Sunday, September 27, 2009

Events that should be in the Mommy Olympics (If there were such a thing)

I was trying to be productive today because TOMORROW IS MY BIRTHDAY (hint hint hint) and I didn't want to do any cleaning or anything ON MY BIRTHDAY (hint hint).

Let's just say that with a three year old and a very mobile 7 month old it is nearly impossible to get anything done. Aaron is in love with the cat food bowls so I pick him up, put him in the living room, go and pick up a rag in the kitchen, put down the rag, pick up Aaron, put him back in the living room, etc. Or, at random points of my day I had both children clinging to my legs laughing hysterically as I struggled to not trip over the children and break my arm, causing me to make up some cool story as to how I broke my arm rather than being honest and saying I tripped over a child.

As I was getting Aaron ready for bed tonight I thought of a couple of different events that there could be for a Mommy Olympics.

1. Get the baby changed into pajamas.
In this event the Mommy will be given a pair of jammies, a clean diaper and one (very) wriggly infant. The winner of the event is the Mommy who can get baby dressed the fastest. Bonus points if you can do this without muttering curse words and if you can keep the baby from crying as you try to shove his flailing arms into his t-shirt.

2. Cleaning the kitchen (can also substitute bathroom or living room for this event).
The participants must sweep, mop and wipe down everything in the room while the children are awake. The winner is decided by cleanliness and speed. Participants are automatically disqualified if a movie is put on to distract the children. Bonus points are awarded if no cat food or cat water is spilled during this event (I totally lose on this account. Also, might I add that after I finished my kitchen, I found *gag* maggots in my garbage can!).

3. Wrestling
In this event the mom must happily wrestle with all of her children, giving each child her full attention and making sure that no one (including herself) gets injured. The mommy gets bonus points if she gets both kids giggling at the same time. The children get bonus points if they manage to make mom cry (eye gouges and stomach jumping are fair game).

That, in a nutshell, is what my day looked like.

But, the kids are in bed, the laundry is almost done (ants in the dirty clothes, ugh!), and it's only 9:34. Plenty of time to relax.

Did I mention that tomorrow is my birthday? :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Follow up to the last post.

I just wanted to clarify some things from the last post. Just in case I came off preachy or judgemental.

1. I don't think that the moms who watch their kids play are clinging to their children and not allowing them to grow up. I think it's great that they can do that. I just choose not to because I wasn't sure how Nathaniel would have reacted to that and I want his teacher to have full control over him while he's there.

2. I think that it would be perfectly fine for me to stand and watch Nathaniel play during his recess time, but now I am utilizing my free time in the morning to do productive things (like prep teachings and work on finding a job) while Aaron naps. I want to use up every single minute I can!

I hope no one thought I was looking down on the mom's who were watching their kids. I was just talking about my own personal parenting style.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Letting them learn to fly.

Nathaniel has started preschool and Cubbies (the preschool program in the AWANA program at church). I thought I knew my little boy's personality well. He has always been an initially timid kid. Even as a baby, he would smile at a stranger, but was not about to allow some unfamiliar person hold him.

I thought he would have a hard time with preschool. I thought that he would hesitate going into the room and would be a little teary. I thought that perhaps he would be a bit more clingy the days following the beginning of preschool.

Nope. Not at all. In fact, on the first day of preschool he happily walked into the classroom, hung up his backpack, walked over to his carpet square and began looking at a book. He waved once and settled in like it was a regular part of his day.

I was a little sad, but then I heard a couple of kids who were in complete meltdown mode (including clinging to the door frame while the teacher tried to bring them into the classroom). I realized that I would rather have Nathaniel be happy to go in than super sad.

I am enjoying my time with Aaron one on one. Even though he usually naps the entire time Nathaniel is in preschool, occasionally I get to be with him while he's awake and he can have my undivided attention. We went shopping today and I got to hold him/wear him on my hip and it was nice to have him there with his giggles and smiles.

I got to the school a little early to pick Nathaniel up. It was okay because I needed to adjust Aaron's car seat to fit him and I used that time to do that and change a diaper. It's funny because I notice that there is a group of moms who come early and hang out by the playground watching their kids play. Some of the kids don't care that their moms are hanging out, and just continue playing, while a few seek their moms out and leave their play time to go talk to them.

It got me thinking. Am I a bad mom for not going over and saying hi to Nathaniel?

Here's my thoughts on this. I am raising up someone who is going to be an adult in 15 short years. I need to teach him how to be independent and do things on his own and I need to start now. It's little steps that will prepare him for adulthood. It would be ridiculous for me to wait until a magic age and then tell him to go and be independent. It's all a part of training up my child.

So, if letting him have his full 2 hours and 45 minutes at preschool without me there watching him is putting him on his way to becoming a functional adult, then hooray. It's the same thing with Aaron and letting him fall asleep on his own or play on his own for awhile. It's a journey of raising strong, independent young men.

And it breaks my heart that there will be a day when I'm not needed, but I am relishing the moments I still have.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

More traveling stories.

I realized that I have a ton of stories from our Iowa/Midwest travels that I have yet to share. I will probably post one every couple of days, interspersed with updates on what life is like here in Cali. There are big things brewing in the Grummons' household (preschool, Cubbies, job searching, prep for end of deployment, future missions trips, etc.), but I have some great stories to share from my trip still.

I also realize that I will probably be working backwards in time, so the most recent stuff will be told first. Sue me, I call it my poetic license!

For the record, I'm not a very nervous airplane flier. I used to pay attention during the pre-flight instructions, making sure I knew where all of the exits were and knowing exactly what I should do in case of a water landing. Now, however, I have flown enough to know that if anything should happen to our plane I should simply put my head between my knees and kiss my butt good-bye. Seriously, how often does a plane crash and the passengers live to blog about it?

Imagine my nervousness when, halfway through my Des Moines to Dallas flight, the flight attendant approaches my seat and asks me if I am traveling alone with the two boys. Thinking that she is going to offer me some sort of amenity (like free food, or maybe free alcohol to help me cope, ha ha ha) I tell her that I am. She proceeds to ask me if I could use some assistance in case of emergency.

WHAT THE CRAP!!?? I look at her and say, "Do you know something? Are we going to crash or something? Is this something I should worry about?" I mean, how often does the flight attendant single you out asking if you need assistance in case of emergency? It didn't help that our airplane was no larger than a regular sized yellow school bus. I thought the thing was going to fall apart during take off, and having the flight attendant approach me mid-flight didn't make me feel any safer!

The ever so helpful lady replied, "Oh no, I just want to make sure that you are taken care of so I can do my job if something happens." Then she proceeds to ask the guy sitting across the aisle from me if he would be willing to assist me if anything happened. When he said yes she said, "Oh good, now I don't have to worry about it."

Thank you very much flight attendant lady. I feel so much better.

I was really happy when our tiny little plane landed safely in Dallas without so much as a bump. I'm also happy to report that nothing bad happened and I didn't need any assistance. Whew!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I miss Iowa.

It's been an interesting week back in California. I feel like my brain is finally catching up with the rest of me. We've been to Disneyland twice and shopping a ton of times (we were completely out of food when we got back), not to mention preschool started today--which deserves a blog entry of it's very own.

Shopping has been an adventure. When I was in Iowa the workers at stores were super friendly and super helpful. If I looked lost someone would ask me if I need help. When I went through the check out the clerk was usually upbeat and chatty (unless I was at Wal Mart), so imagine my culture shock the first time I went up to the front of the check out line all smiley and said, "How are you!?" and was met with a blank stare and a mumble.

Yesterday we were in the grocery store and Nathaniel was having a melt down in the check out aisle. He was crying because I wouldn't let him stand next to the cart or in front of it (I didn't want to run him over and he couldn't stand next to the cart in the check out aisle because both don't fit). He was really letting out a good one, but all I could do was hold him firmly by his shoulders and ignore it because I knew that anything else would only make it worse.

As I was unloading my cart and Nathaniel was belting out a good one, the clerk at the register next to us came up to me with a sucker and said, "This might make him stop crying, can I give it to him?" Which was really nice of her, but I said, "Oh, no, he can't have that." Not because I'm mean mommy, but because I can't bribe my kid with candy to get him to shut up. Once I go down that road, there is no turning back! The clerk was visibly miffed that I wouldn't shut my kid up. And, of course, the clerk in my aisle would barely look at me, much less ask me how I was doing today.

Perhaps it was clear how we were doing?

Today takes the cake though. I was at Target and bought some stuff that I had coupons for. The lady in the check out got halfway through scanning my coupons and then put all of them in her drawer. When I checked my receipt I noticed that half of my coupons weren't used. When I pointed it out she got really angry with me and barely spoke as she opened her drawer, double checked my receipt and then gave me my four dollars back from what I should have saved. I felt like I had done something wrong with the angry way she treated me.

I miss my "helpful smile in every aisle" (Hy Vee). But, at least it wasn't as bad as my friend who, when observing a man peeing outside of Target the other day, asked the security guard standing nearby if he would do anything about it. His response? "Not my problem, I'm on my break."


Friday, September 11, 2009


I can't believe it's been eight years since 9/11 happened.

It feels like a lifetime has passed, but as I look at the pictures today from that day it really doesn't seem like long at all.

I hope that I never forget that day. I hope that we as a nation never forgets that day. I know it's easy for us to sit here now and say that we will never forget, but how old was I before I realized the importance of December 7th? The day that Pearl Harbor was attacked was a huge day in history for my grandparents and great grandparents, but to my parents generation and my own it is just another day to memorize in history class.

On September 11, 2001 I was a junior in college. Sam and I had been dating for about four months and I was just getting acquainted with all things military. I was living in the dorms still and since the 11th landed on a Tuesday I didn't have class until 10:30 so I was sleeping when the towers were hit. I was woken up by the phone ringing and Sam on the other end telling me that the United States was under attack.

I laughed at him. I told him that some radio station was playing some sick joke on him (he was driving in the car when he found out). Then, just to prove him wrong I turned on the radio in my dorm room (no t.v.). There was a song playing so I knew that nothing terrible could have happened because a radio station would not have been playing music if the United States was truly under attack.

But, as I slowly woke up more and poked my head out into the hallway I realized that things were indeed happening in New York.

I didn't know how to react. I remember praying a lot. I remember comforting people as we all just cried. I also remember showering and going to class like usual because I didn't know what else to do.

I made sure that I didn't watch any t.v. on September 11th because I did not want the images engraved into my brain. For that, I am grateful to myself. It may have been a selfish thing, but I am glad that I didn't see anyone jumping out of the buildings. I watched the news the next day after they edited all of that. I know that I couldn't have handled any of that.

I found my journal from that day. Here are some things I wrote.

It's crazy, everyone is walking around very solemn. All I can hear in conversations are things about what has been going on... I have been on the phone with Sam off and on all morning. He was on his way to Winterset, but came back. A little part of me, no matter how irrational it sounds, is afraid that Sam will have to get involved. That would only happen if we went to war and if we were desperate, but it's still a fairly scary thought.

How odd is it that four years after I wrote that journal entry Sam was deployed to Iraq?

Never Forget.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The joys of traveling.

We're back in California. I am so proud of my little troopers for having good attitudes as I dragged their tiny butts approximately 6,000 miles in 6.5 weeks (that includes round trip flying and all of the driving we did once we were in the mid-west).

I have lots of different stories to share, but the one I'm going to share tonight is by far my favorite and was actually the highlight of my day yesterday.

We flew out of Des Moines through Dallas and into Santa Ana yesterday. Because I brain farted and left my cell phone in my rental car we were delayed in getting out in time to get to the airport. (I had to go back to the rental place and wait until they were open so the guy could get unlock the car for me).

Our flight was scheduled to leave at 11:35. We got to Des Moines International Airport at 10:25.

It took me forever to figure out check in because usually I have to check in with the counter people since I am carrying a baby on my lap, but this lady was adament that I check in with the handy kiosk (which didn't want to recognize me as a paying customer).

I finally got everything all checked in, including the car seats and my 58 pound suitcase (yup, paid extra for THAT one) and started the run to security with my laptop, my backpack, Nathaniel's backpack, a bucket of toys, my umbrella stroller, a feverish three year old and a 23 pound baby on my hip. I was sure we were going to be late.

Luckily, Des Moines is a small airport and the security line was only three people long. As we approached the front of the line I reminded Nathaniel to take off his shoes as I feverishly got my laptop out of the bag and into a bin, put the toys and stroller and my bag into the bin and made sure I had my boarding passes (which, btw, apparently you don't need through the screening anymore).

I had a baggy with Aaron's antibiotics (for the double ear infection he happened to get last week), some baby food and some Motrin for Nathaniel. I took that out and threw it in a bin and managed to shove it all onto the conveyor belt while three different security people are telling me to get my stuff into the machine and to make sure my liquids are out.

In the shuffle I forgot to take my shoes off and no one noticed at all. I guess the 4 ounce bottle of Children's Motrin threw them for a loop.

As I got myself and my children through the screening the main security guy held up my backpack/diaper bag and asked me if it was mine. When I told him it was he said, "Well, there was something suspicious in there so we have to empty everything out and send it through again."

At this point it was 11:05 and my plane was supposed to start boarding any minute. I was definitely sweating!

So, while Nathaniel put his shoes back on and Aaron chilled out in the stroller I had to open up the sealed Motrin bottle so the security guard could check it for explosives (I assume) and I watched them open up the antibiotics and look at the pink liquid carefully.

All the while the main security guy is sending my stuff through individually and muttering how he can't find the thing that set off their suspicion.

Then he pulls out my tube of Lansinoh soothing ointment. It's supposed to be used to soothe the discomfort of nursing babies, but I use it as lip balm. (It's awesome, but that's another post for another time...).

I could see the look of puzzlement cross the man's face as to what it was and why it was in my bag. Then he turned red as he read the label. He looked at me and then shoved the tube into one of my baggies of liquid and said something about it not being 3.5 ounces as he trailed off.

I felt like explaining what I used it for, but I quickly realized that I had zero time to chat as I snatched my stuff from security, repacked my bags and dashed for my gate.

Our flight was delayed by an hour. But, we made it through security and I still have my "lip balm".

More fun traveling stories to come!