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merry christmas

The Christmas season is officially over for this Byce family this year. It was an amazingly unstressful and even enjoyable Christmas season as far as these busy seasons go. Our house now looks  like an Apple commercial what with the two iPhones, iPod and now an iTouch (kids) and iPad (Neil) all we need now is the macbook air…anybody? But to counter all the screen time the big kids also got bikes and Jacob got a push/ride car. It was really fun watching the kids this year, I have a feeling it’s only going to get better.

A few highlights.

My mom LOVED the picture calendar we got her and her jewelry box, double win. I’ve never been so gratified with what we got her, our notoriously difficult to buy for person. Totally worth the time spent in creation.

Skyped in my sister for another year. Remember that part in the big ball ride at Epcot, where the grandparents are this holographic image on a screen for a kid’s birthday? Yeah every time we skype her in for an event, I feel like I’m on that ride. It’s the world of tomorrow. It just amazes me how the kids are so natural with it. Jena opens a present from Titi and the first things she does is bring it up to ‘Titi’ and show her what she got. Heck we forgot to do that half the time. Jacob was warming right up by the end of the event and kept coming up to the netbook to ‘chat.’ It was nice to have her there.

Grant managed to get a present that scares his sister at just about every Christmas this year, he finds this hilarious. Those in proximity of the ensuing screaming…not so much. I was getting flashes of my future with every ensuing scream.

I think my favorite gifts of the kids’, not that I’m playing with them…or anything…like that…really. Yeah, so my favorites are the interactive map of the United States for Grant and Jena and Jena’s dress up hanbok from Korea. I love that when Grant was playing with the map this morning he kept hitting all the states over and over and then looked up and said to me, but where’s Africa mommy? And watching Jena prance around in her hanbok and tiara and princess shoes was too fun. I was always Korea when we would do any sort of dance representing nations in my dance group, it’s really neat to see my daughter in the same type of outfit I wore.

I loved all my presents this year, but I think the best of all was the news that we have a renter, 100% official, lease signed. He will be moving in on the 22nd of January, which means we will be moved out 28days or less.

Merry Christmas to me.

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NOT GUILTY!!!!

Ok so maybe that title is a bit of wishful thinking. There are actually a lot of things I am guilty of, but, well, that’s not really where I want to go with this post. I’ve been realizing, again, how many needless things I feel guilty about. (Like right now, as I realized that this is not a new revelation to me, there goes the guilt again).

It probably had something to do with being raised by a former catholic, my father, and a mother who can navigate the guilt trip with her eyes closed. But the more I talk to mothers, especially new mothers, I realize there’s something bigger going on than my family issues. Apparently our culture is breeding this nonesense. I’m not the only one! This is not entirely comforting however. The fact that I’m in good company kinda makes the situation more crazy.

And since one of the primary purposes of this blog is therapy, I will now list some of the things I feel guilty about in any given minute. 

I feel guilty that…

I sometime eat food that the kids might possibly eat (not food that’s on their plate or for them, but food they may like…or possibly eat…at some point…ever)

I might not be feeding them properly (which is moslty only a reality in my head)

I’m not feeding them enough (I’m sensing a running food theme…)

I don’t get home till dinner more than half the week now

I didn’t make my own baby food

I didn’t even try cloth diapers

I let the kids brush their own teeth and only once a day!

My oldest son has allergies (yes I do feel responsible)

My youngest son has excema (he got it from me you know)

There are more days than I’d like to admit that I don’t like my daughter

I yell at my kids WAAAY more than I was ever planning too (aka never)

The kids get more showers than baths, because it’s easier for me, even though they love the bath

I wash Jena’s hair (if you heard her screams for help you’d feel bad too)

Some nights I make up an excuse not to read stories before bed

I don’t remember most of my daughter’s first year

I go longer than a few weeks without taking video/pictures of the kids sometimes

My kids watch TV every morning

I sleep (or at least try) while they watch TV, unsupervised, in the morning

I rarely clean out the car

I never clean windows

I no longer enjoy the holidays

And here’s my favorite

I DON’T feel guilty about working (in my defense this particular one is frequently reinforced outside my head)

There, I feel better already. I actually realized, in making that list, that I could take a number of things off this list. Things I do that aren’t ‘approved’ of. I started to put them down, thinking I should feel guilty about them, and realized, I don’t. Woohoo!

So in celebration, I DON’T feel guilty that I let my kids play in the dirt, or they all share a bedroom, or I only buy them one or two toys at Christmas, or we stay away from the doctor whenever possible, or I love all my kids differently or I sometimes fantisize about the day they’re all off to college and I have my husband all to myself!

I think I’m going to try to add to the second list, or subtract from the first one, or at least not add to the first one, or not feel guilty if I don’t do either, or something like that.

mother’s day

Spent mother’s day at my in-laws this year, which is fairly common. Since my mom has us most of the time, most of the less major (read not Christmas) shared holidays go to his mom. I don’t mind, but it does make it seem strange when people tell me happy mother’s day. I tend to forget that it’s a day for me too.

Nothing too different happened to or for me this mother’s day. I’m still holding out for those years when the kids know what it is and I start getting little hand-made cards and crafts or maybe flowers…actually from the kids.

This year however I got flowers from my husband and 3 daddy prompted happy mother’s days from the kids. From Grant, Happy Mommy Day! From Jena, Happy Mommy! From Jacob, mama, his first ever, and this year, that works for me just fine.

i’m sure there’s a lesson here somewhere

So my mother is now totally freaked after my baby appointment this morning. Never thought a thing of it, she likes to go to a few each pregnancy, I had one today, she came…

So it was the nurse midwife today, I’m blanking on her name at the moment…it’ll probably come to me at my 3 AM pee break, most important things in life do. Anyway she’s the one that’s monitoring my postpartum depression issues, since I am still in that period from the last baby (it can last as long as 2 yrs in case you were wondering) and now pregnant also it means all sorts of fun can ensue. The poor lady had no idea what she was stumbling on, I will try to portray what happened below, complete with explanatory comments, because I can’t help but comment…even on my own stuff.

Midwife: so how are you moods doing? are you taking the evening primrose? (I can already see my mother perk at mentioning my moods…)

Me: Yep went right back on after we talked a few months ago, drastic difference, right away. I’d forgotten how much I love those things. (I REALLY do love them, used to take them all the time for period crap too, I’d simply forgotten about them since moving to hippie-less Orlando a few years ago)

Midwife: Great. There’s also something we can do that’s a little stronger, if needed, after the baby. We’ll just keep monitoring things. It’s a real simple all natural blah blah blah (at this point I started to realize my mother was paying too much attention, and I stopped paying attention to the midwife)

My mother: what is that stuff for? did you say depression?

Midwife: Oh yeah, Joy’s like me. Handles the baby’s great physically, but you know mentally it isn’t that great. That’s why we stopped at three it was just too much to handle the aftermath. (rambles on about her depression issues for a bit) You know when the thoughts about driving your car into the tree on the side of the road start coming it’s no fun…hahaha (this isn’t really as bad as it sounds, the two of us had actually joked about that earlier. It’s not like we’d actually do it. It’s just one of those signs you look for after the baby to know to start watching things. If you’ve had postpartum depression or any kind for that matter, I’m sure you get it.)

At this point if you want an accurate depiction of what happened you’ll have to somehow manage to read all of these comments as happening AT THE SAME TIME. Did I mention the kids were there too?

My mother: that’s not funny!

Midwife: It’s not like you’d actually do it, it’s just the thought. (at this point she’s beginning to realize what’s going on)

Grant: I in da garbage can momma! (for the record it wasn’t a REAL garbage can, he was pretending)

My mother: I knew something was wrong with her! I ask her ALL THE TIME! She always tells me she’s FINE!

Me: (sort of under my breath and sheepishly) Mom likes to freak out a bit, I don’t handle that too well, it just makes things worse for me, so I didn’t tell her much.

Midwife: well she is fine, she’s doing great now and we’ll be monitoring things after this baby too.

Grant: Momma! Momma! Look me! I in da garbage can! 

My mother: someone needs to know these things! She has to tell someone! She can’t do this to me, she has to tell me!

Me: (again under my breath to the midwife) Neil will know, he always knows, just talk to him.

Midwife: it’s really ok, this all common, she’s educated about it and knows what to do. There’s stuff we can recommend if she needs it.

Grant: Momma! I in da garbage can by myselves! (as he pushes Jena off the ‘garbage can’)

Jena: *frustrated scream*

My mother: she’s just like her father! I can’t believe she didn’t tell me this!

At this point I must have mentally went away because I don’t remember anymore. Somehow the midwife managed to get her distracted and it all ended fine. I love my mom, she just tends to freak a little bit. I AM ok, no need for her to have to live through the gory details, right?

I’m sure there’s a lesson to be learned here. So someone find it.

gift #1

So I’ve decided the next series of posts will be on the gifts of the season. I promise I will not tell you of them all, even though we did cut it down to just three Christmases this year. I wouldn’t want to bore you, or myself for that matter. So I will limit myself to some yet to be determined number of gifts that will be at least two less than the total received.

Gift number one was from my mother, at Christmas number two, and it was, you ready for this? An Obama angel for the Christmas tree.

Now I feel this gift needs a bit of history to be fully appreciated. This year I had told myself and my family that whoever I decided to vote for, I was not going to tell them. It was simply too polorized of an election.  As many of you have already guessed, I did not keep my vow…and my family doesn’t read this blog anyway. So here it is…I voted for Obama.

The day after the election my mother was practically in tears over the fate of our country, as it was common knowledge that Obama was certain to usher in the end of the world. Now I was not a feverent Obama supporter, I’m glad that he won, I did vote for him, but it really felt more like voting for the lesser of two evils this election than anything else. So to ease her fears I told her that her overly rational and highly beloved daugher voted for Obama. And then tried to assure her that he was indeed NOT  the anti-christ. After she got over her shock, which lasted for days, she tells me she is going to try to like Obama (I can barely even say his name….she tells me)…after all he is our President.

So for Christmas she gives me a little black naked cherb angel ornament and proudly proclaims it is an Obama angel, to show her support of me and Obama. How a naked angel ornament supports Obama I’ll never know, but she was quite proud of her creativity…and Lord help her, she’s trying.

On a side note…my son enjoyed the gift. He went around all morning carrying the ornament and telling me “little boy clothes off momma” and “no clothes poo poo.”

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