Everything I want, I see you in…

Where were you when your child said something to you that you never in a million years you thought they would be thinking, none the less say?  

Well, we just got a puppy; yup, a puppy!  Soo, you know; two young boys, a pandemic, moving 5 states away from ‘home’ and a whole new world of homeschooling; so why not add a puppy? 

The whole family is trying to add more regiment to our daily and now there is a puppy in the mix to try and train.  Our oldest is VERY excited, to say the least.  He hovers over the puppy, follows the puppy, and is always trying to hold the puppy.  We ask him repeatedly to leave the puppy alone, to be gentle, and do not smother it.   He gets so excited and crazed that it can become overwhelming as a parent to all-day constantly say the same thing over and over again.  

So yesterday was the day.  It had come to a point where I could see it was getting to my husband how often he had to say the same thing to our oldest about how he was behaving with the pup, so I separated my oldest from my husband and the pup and took him inside to just spend some time with him alone.  He sat at the breakfast bar while I put dishes away requesting his dessert.  I walked over to him and stared him straight in the face and said; “you know you are a good boy, right? you know that we all love you and know that you are a good boy, right? But what you need to know is that when you get very excited and start to act uncontrolled, people will forget that you are a good boy and you could get yourself in trouble.”  He was actually looking me in the eye as I spoke to him.

My oldest guy is super sensitive, he tries to turn everything into a joke if he is uncomfortable with the situation.  He uses humor as his self-defense and cowers at confrontation.  He can be very confident in himself when it comes to certain things, but can also hide in the shadows when he feels inferior.  It has been hard to get him to focus on one thing, he often starts to look around as if not interested and is generally set on a one-track mind of video games, cartoons and making sure his younger brother isn’t touching any of his toys.  He is better in one on one situations and is very attentive to the person who is attentive to him.  

As I spoke to him, with my hand on his and us eye to eye; I could see soo much love in him.  I could feel his hurt of how much he feels misunderstood.  I tried to reassure him of how much he is loved and how much we understand that he is a good boy and that we know he means well.  I asked him if he understood what I was telling him.  I asked him if he understood what I was saying; he said yes.  I started walking away to head back towards the sink when I heard him say “everything I want,” and I said “what?”, so with all seriousness in his face, he looked me straight in the eyes and repeated, “everything I want, I see in you.”  I honestly was shocked, I didn’t know if he knew what he was saying, “what does that mean?” I asked, “I love you,” he said.

And that was the moment, I want to remember forever. 

 

holding their hands

There are so many things that happen on any given day with my boys that would make for great memories.  The unfortunate thing is, I pretty much forget everything.

Countless times I’ve seen cute little babies and have thought; ‘I don’t even remember my boys at that age.’ Or the best is when my husband has these great memories of things the boys used to do and either I stare into space trying to collect this memory from a magical vault I have stored in my head that holds special moments or the description my husband has laid out for me was so vivid it almost seems as though I am remembering the moment, but I’m not, it is just his description bouncing around in my mind. 

But there is one thing I think I will always remember; holding their hands.  Even my older guy still lets me hold his hand.  He is 5 going on 6 and when he holds my hand it feels like the purest love I have ever felt.  His thin fingers going in between mine.  His soft skin feels so warm against what I like to call my old lady skin.   I try so hard to always hold my little men’s hands; and most of the time they let me.  This is one of the most joyous moments for me.  Something so simple that they don’t even realize it is happening or the joy that they are bringing me.

It is also now, that I realize why it was my dad would always grab my hand.  It never seemed to matter where we were or what we were doing, he would always try to hold it.  He would stare at it as if there was a treasure map on it and he had this glazed over look in his eyes as if he was teleporting to a different place.   As I got older I would pull it away and look at him and laugh.  He would smile at me and try and grab it back.  In my 20s, I would laugh and say; ‘come on dad!’  He would just leave me alone and try again later on in the day to get ahold of it again.  In my 30s, this game continued.  Me; never understanding what it was with my hands! 

His large working man’s hands would almost completely cover my hands which are not dainty at all.  His cracked skin from years and years of laying bricks and rocks and building homes and buildings; seem to be so delicate as he tried to hold my hand between his.  Never would I have thought what it meant to him to just do something so small as to just hold my hand.  Now he is no longer with us physically. But as I hold my children’s hands, I realize what he was trying to do.  Holding my hand was his window to our past.  To our youth and the times where I needed him and could help me with the little things in life; and our troubles may have seemed difficult at the time, but they were much easier than the current issues.

I was lucky to have my father with me with the birth of my two boys; my boys were lucky enough to meet my father.  And I was lucky enough to be able to see him hold their hands.   So, now as I hold my children’s hands, I realize how powerful something so small can be.   The joy of such a small and quiet act, and the ease of it.  

I do pray that as my boys grow they will continue to hold my hand.  Even if we get into a laughing match as I did with my father.  Because one day I pray that it acts as a window for me as it did for my dad and ends up meaning just as much to the boys as it did to me.  

Remember to hold those little hands, they truly are the key to it all. 

and so I cleaned

I didn’t clean for a visitor, I didn’t clean because the kids made a mess (because that is normal), I didn’t organize and call that cleaning.  I took out the antibacterial spray and paper towels and I sprayed everything and wiped everything.   Now, this may seem to be a strange thing to write about, as I am sure many do this often; 2 to 3 times a day, I am sure.  But for me, I wipe counters down with a soapy sponge hide things in the cabinets and just walk away.  Clean enough, I scoff to myself.

But today, I felt like crap.  For a few days, I had felt like crap.  Tried taking showers, still felt like crap, trying to eat less crap, never succeeding making me feel more crappy.  I would run my fingers through my hair to find many, MANY extra strands of hair falling from my head.  I would look in the mirror and see the awesome bags under my eyes, the awesome shiny, oily skin, the scraggly hair, and my own sad, reflection looking back at me.  

So, I put on my big girl pants (I actually did put on pants, it was only 60 degrees and cloudy in NC), and I went into the kitchen and I cleaned.  I got out the antibacterial multi-surface cleaner and I sprayed.  I wiped down all the countertops.  I scrubbed and scrubbed the electric stovetop.  I put away all the junk that was sitting on the counters.  I swept up the floors and made sure all the Bermuda grass that makes its way into our house was gone.

Again, this might sound silly, but the kitchen in our house is connected to the living room, which is where the kids spend most of their time.  The kitchen is where I spend most of my time, either preparing them a meal, playing on my laptop, or just standing around watching the boys.  So, if that is a cluttered mess, I absorb it.   I absorb it all, the good, the bad, or the indifferent.  I think that when you start ignoring your surroundings, you don’t realize how it impacts your body and self. 

 

I was allowing myself to slip into a bad place.  Mentally cluttering my mind with the clutter that I was allowing to form in my living space.  By cleaning up my living space, I felt as though I had cleared some of my mental space too.  I suddenly felt a sense of relief from something I didn’t realize was weighing me down.   

After the cleaning was done, the boys and I took a much-needed nature trek and enjoyed the great outdoors.  It was a good morning and afternoon of actually no fighting.  I hope to be able to clear up some more space, mentally and physically.   I am realizing my body is a sponge, and as tough as I may think I am, I can’t shut out everything all the time. 

House Vs. Home?

It is said that home is where the heart is.  I do believe this, but what makes a house a home?  What makes the heart be there? Is it the pitter-patter of baby steps or of pet paws, or a family heirloom, a certain someone or painting?  To everyone the response might be somewhat different. 

As previously mentioned our four-person family has uprooted from New York to North Carolina during the COVID-19 pandemic.   My husband and father of our two very active boys is an essential worker still based in New York, so he has not been with us in North Carolina but for some short trips.  So turning our house into a home is somewhat more difficult than one would hope.  Of course, the first thing our house will need to become a home is all four of us together permanently under this new roof.  Secondly, it is our stuff to fill the rooms, and our laughter to fill the air.  

The boys and I have been hanging out for the past five weeks doing things as normally as possible.  No trips to the stores but taking neighborhood walks and pacing our empty home.  I have come particularly comfortable with online shopping and trying to find fun unique items to fill our home. 

After spending a small fortune, some rooms are coming together, but yet still not that warm and cozy comfy that you would want for your home.  I had ordered a mattress and bed frame for the master bedroom, new loft beds for the boys, some funky cabinets to use as nightstands, and cool barstool seats for the breakfast counter.  But still felt like something was not right.  We spent 5 weeks sitting on the floor watching TV in our living room, the boys loved the space to play and roll and run, so as much as I missed having a couch, I really wasn’t too focused on the fact there wasn’t one. 

As furniture and odds and ends started arriving, being unboxed and unwrapped, we started seeing the house somewhat come together.  But it wasn’t until the family room and loft couches appeared that it suddenly felt like home. As soon as the delivery men placed them in order the boys settled into them and sat, quietly.  

I walked around the house and all of a sudden it happened.  Warmth fell over me and as if I couldn’t wait for my husband to be with us before, now with a completed family room I truly realized the void we had.  

So to all out there.  Take the time to sit back and find your heart to your home.  Ours to me are my three men, a cozy room for us to settle in and a story to start.   I can see us sitting here and enjoying the silence or a movie together.  The boys bringing their friends over or building forts out of the three thousand pillows that came with the sectional sofa.  In this world of chaos, please remember to keep your house a home and love near to your heart.  

 

 

Quarantine blues got you down?

Anyone else have the quarantine blues? I sure do.  The fun mom has seemed to have drifted into the horizon and the down in the dumps, no patience, evil mother has emerged.  

I have found myself no longer interfering in the ridiculous fights between my two boys and pretty much allowing them to progress into true duke ’em out brawls.  I’m sure there are many parents out there tisking and shaking their heads at me, but I’m also pretty sure there are some who are sighing in relief, thinking ‘oh thank heavens, it’s not just me.’  It hurts me to hear the wretched voice that comes out of my mouth as I yell at them.  It eats me alive to listen to them cry as I have to separate them from each other and as they scream out ‘mommy’ while I walk away; also removing myself from the situation.  

I worry that the boys will end up hating me when all this is over and they will view this as the most horrible time of their lives.

As much as I say that I am so grateful for this time with them, I do wish I were better equipped; mentally and physically.  In a world where the time goes so fast, and our children age overnight, I pray that I can fix my mood and way of thinking so my family doesn’t regret me.

I am writing this during a brawl in the house.  I allowed throwing of toys and threats from my boys towards each other as I type how horribly I feel about myself and my own actions during such situations.  I stopped typing to separate them into two separate rooms to get their space. While my oldest child cried for me, my youngest locked himself in the room silently.  

I allowed a few minutes to pass and neither of them changed their actions. I walked to the room where my older dude is crying for me. I open the door and tell him with a smirk to stop the crocodile tears and he chuckles. I hold his hand as we walk to my younger guy, unlock the door and he pushes it back to shut it again. Through a slight crack in the door, I ask if he is ready yet.  He mumbles no, so I leave him. 

My older dude sits with me and continues his whine while I put something on TV to watch.  He settles himself onto my legs and starts to enjoy the silence. Before I know it my younger guy creeps out of the other room and nuzzles his face into my neck and then gets comfy on my side.  We all sit in silence and my younger guy whispers; ‘mom, I love you.’  

Ugh. From chaos comes calm and so on and so forth. I pray for everyone stuck at home thinking they aren’t enough. Try and remember the pressure you’re putting on yourself is probably more than anyone else is putting on you, especially those who love you.

Keep your heads up, love the ones who love you, and remember to love yourselves. 

 

Can we actually be the cause of how chaotic our children are?

My peaceful day with the boys, but not one minute to myself.

 

Here we are, two boys and their mother.  Hanging out in a barely furnished new home, trying to live as “normal” of a life as possible during a time of quarantine.  As each day begins, it also ends; one screaming and the other whining.  The constant fighting and bickering are more than anyone human can handle.  Only several minutes in between are filled with their laughter that quickly turns into a tug of war match over some ridiculous toy that has laid in the same spot and they haven’t touched in weeks.  Oh, and watch those moments of silence; although the silence is amazing, and it allows for the parents to do as they need; return phone calls or emails, etc., it also means they are up to something.  I have been burned several times this week during these silent moments! 

I write to all parents wondering if you find these items to be true?  Am I the only one who is losing the battle against their children in their own homes?  In an effort to change a chaotic day into a peaceful one, I put down my phone, I didn’t turn on the laptop, and I made sure to be more focused on the boys.  I made sure to let them see that I was more focused on them and allowed them the time to go off and play on their own if they wanted.  But what happened made me realize ‘maybe I hadn’t given them as much attention as I thought I had been’? 

So I played Legos with them, and I mean really played, I sat there for over an hour constructing my own little Lego garden while they put together their weapons or vehicles.  I found pieces that they needed when they couldn’t.  I showed them how to pull the pieces apart without giving up.  And most of all I showed interest.  I know this probably sounds silly to some people reading this, but think about it, when I normally play Legos, I throw together some blocks, and when I realize they are off and running I walk away and try to finish up something else I had on my to-do list. 

I also let them show me how they do things that I tell them not to do.  I may have ground my teeth the whole time, but I allowed them to show me things that made them proud of themselves.  I made sure to remind them how unsafe or how what they were doing shouldn’t be done but I at least gave them that moment of gratitude that they had been looking for.

We even baked and I read the same Dr. Seuss book three times in a row just because they asked.  It was a full day of just their needs.   I realize this is not feasible for everyone every day.  It was just sort of an “aha moment” for me.  Maybe the kids aren’t being bad because they are just bad, maybe they are being bad because they are feeling neglected?  Possibly they aren’t getting the attention they need from me?  And honestly, I believe that is what it was. 

 So all I ask is that when the moment arises when you feel your blood boiling under your skin and you are ready to run for the hills or lock the kids in a room for eternity; try breathing, try taking a step back and think of the day, think to yourself; ‘was I attentive to them enough, truly attentive?’  And you may, just maybe have your answer as to why the chaos is ensuing.  

 

Moving out of state part II

To move or not to move? That is the question…

After about 25 houses in South Carolina and North Carolina, we finally found our calling in a newly developed area that was just perfect in North Carolina!!!  New homes being built as we toured the properties, a pool and kid’s splash area, a gym, and even a coffee bar! I was in HEAVEN! 

 So deciding to move is one thing, actually moving is a completely different thing!  As mentioned we did a lot of looking, approximately three years worth of looking.  My husband would spend hours on the computer sending me information about towns, and of course, I would continue to find reasons as to why it was no good for us.  The poor guy would try so hard to show me these beautiful houses and say; ‘this could be us’, and I would turn around and say, ‘but the front door opens to the right and I prefer to the left’.  HAHA Ok, Ok, I wasn’t that ridiculous, but you get the drift!  

I couldn’t believe that he was actually able to pick up and move out of state like that.  But then as time was nearing that he would be retiring, I started to realize how serious he was about it.  

As the saying goes, ‘things happen for a reason’, things do happen for a reason.  On one of our many trips to South Carolina, we were cruising around and happen to come across an open house, so we went in.  The house was not what we were looking for, but it ended up not being a wasted trip; here we found the sweetest real estate agent.   

This woman would take time out of her already busy schedule to show us 6 to 7 houses a day since we were not local.  She would get us into houses if we just happen to come across them while walking through another house.  She was so accommodating.  

For about 2 months we did everything she could to help us, whether we were in New York or in South Carolina.  Even to the extent of going to houses for us and recording herself walking through as if giving us the tour. 

We saw several houses, most with pretty much the same layout, but we were being outbid before we could even finalize our numbers!  It was as if we hit the jackpot of complexes and people knew it! So if a house went on the market, it quickly came off!!  We had put multiple offers in on multiple houses, continuously either being outbid or out-negotiated. 

With us being back in New York, we knew we would have to take another trip down and as most of you know, flying and hotel accommodations for a family of four doesn’t come cheap.  We were very quickly racking up the credit card bills.  So again, things happen for a reason; all of a sudden, it was there, for sale, a house in our price range, in the neighborhood we wanted and pretty much the exact layout.  So, what would any sane person do?  Of course, without even taking one walkthrough we put a bid of asking price! 

Some would call us crazy, but we just knew, this was it! 

Good morning (although by the time I get this done it may be evening!) 

Quarantine day approximately 40 for this family, but it feels like 1mm. Kids are insane and I am shot, but we have to remember that during this quarantine we have to stay healthy and active. We can’t let the couch potato mindset take over!

Try to make sure your quarantine breakfast includes some fruits and veggies and if you can try some Isagenix, why not!?  It keeps me going!!  

During this time I make sure to take my Ionix and Immunity. The Ionix helps my mood(s) <ha!> and the Immunity is a definite 👍🏼 with all who are getting sick at this time.

Don’t forget to feed the little ones some healthy stuff too!  It is always easier to just throw them a pop tart or a frozen pancake (one of mine eats them frozen!! Hahah), but they need to stay healthy and alert too!  I like to sneak some Immunity into their morning orange juice. As long as I mix it well they have no idea it’s even there. If I don’t mix it well they tell me there is pulp in it! Hahaha no flavor tastes just texture!

(PS – real mom issues – while trying to type this there is a royal rumble occurring upstairs.  Good luck everyone, apart together we can make it through this).

Moving Out of State Part I

To move or not to move? That is the question….

I am sure many of you have thought of just picking up and moving, right? Well, my husband and I have made it our reality. 

Both of us were born and raised in the great state of New York.  I am not a New York City, New Yorker, but I still feel like a “New Yorker.”  I wear a lot of dark clothing, I guess some might say I seem slightly unapproachable, and I am not one to just strike up a conversation with a stranger… More of a wallflower if you will.  But all this aside, I currently do not hold employment, my husband will soon be retired, and our children are young.

Even though New York has so much to offer its residents, it has become overcrowded, very expensive and a “Keeping up with the Jones'” culture.  A rat race, if you will.  So the question truly stands, to move or not to move?

So, with a wife who doesn’t work, a husband who is substantially younger than one should be to officially retire, and two children under the age of 6, why not?

There are many things to think about when you are thinking of moving, especially moving out of state.  The things I asked myself were; is it financially worth it? is it going to be better off for our family dynamic? and how far is too far from extended family? 

We took many trips over approximately three years; some by plane and some towing our travel trailer, to get ideas of areas.  It took a lot of traveling and soul searching for us to find somewhere we thought we could settle down.  Something with fewer taxes and more of a work-life balance.  More bang for your buck sort of state. 

We wanted to make sure that the area was family-oriented.  A mix between up and coming but still a small-town feel.  And while we are a pretty active family, we wanted to make sure the climate would provide us more time outdoors than we currently had in NY. 

And while we would all like to believe moving only has to do with your immediate household, we all know that isn’t true.  Of course, there is the extended family to think about.  So we didn’t want to move too far that they wouldn’t travel to visit or in a location too hot that they wouldn’t want to come and we couldn’t enjoy the outdoors.  

As mentioned we have family that we would visit.  A lot of our family members objected to the thought of us moving out of state and not within the tri-state area.  It took some convincing and a guest room in our new house for them to understand, <HA!>, but all in all, they understood. 

A good family always sticks by and whether they agree wholeheartedly or not, you know they will support you and your decisions.