Saturday, March 16, 2013

spring ...

Spring has sprung in The Leverett House and I couldn't be more happy!

Even though we had a very mild winter, the brood and I have anxiously awaited the blue bird skies, warm sun and late sunsets!

As I type this, I'm sitting in my front yard, with my hiney and feet resting in the chipped red plastic lawn chairs left over from my college years.

Please ignore the neon white legs!

The kids are enjoying a pretzel and gold fish picnic on an old oak tree stump.



Sissy is sprawled out next to the picnic action patiently waiting for some table scraps.



Our front yard is littlered with a bike, big wheel, several pairs of muddied shoes, a soccer ball, a cabbage patch doll, some socks and leg warmers.
Even the dolls at our house don't wear clothes!

bh  hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhbb            
(and the Doodle Bug is helping me write this)



It is days like that that I look around and am filled with gratitude for the blessings in my life!

Dear Lord,
Thank you for the beautiful warm weather as it warms my body and soul!
Thank you for the allowing my family to experience another amazing day!
And thank you for the perfect setting for a lazy Saturday pretzel and goldfish picnic!
 
And ... please keep my crazy husband safe as he experiences his newest adventure today ... riding a motorcycle!
Amen

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Morning Mama Win ... Pancake Windmill

Date:  Monday, March 4, 2013, 6:42 AM

Location:  The (still bitchen') kitchen in the Leverett house.

Scene of the Incident:  It was a typical morning in the Leverett kitchen ... the Boy is camped out, half asleep in his soaked pull-up, watching the morning news; the Girl is "helping" Mama make a nutritious breakfast feast to enjoy before the day begins. 

Mama gives the Girl her frozen "pake" to snack on while the other pancakes take their spin in the microwave for 55 seconds.  During the 55 seconds, Mama pours Katie a sippy of milk and Nathan a cup of OJ and takes the first sip of her coffee (which is cold from sitting untouched for 50 minutes).  As Mama pulls the steaming pancakes from the microwave, Katie pretends the apple cutter left out from last night's dinner prep is a steering wheel (I know ... good job at letting my child play with a sharp kitchen device).  Mama says "Katie, ouchie!  ouchie!  The apple cutter can cut you ... let's not play with it please."  So Katie then sets the apple cutter on top of her nibbled frozen "pake" and Mama has a (very rare) moment of genius!

The apple cutter is the exact same size as the pancakes! 

(cue the choir of angels singing from heaven)

Now the Stink-o-potamuses can have Windmill Pancakes, Flower Pancakes or any other Triangular-Shaped-Pancakes!  Score one for Mama!!  Breakfast just got way more fun and approximately 1:47.3 minutes was cut from the morning routine!


Steaming, fresh, frozen pancakes!

Katie demonstrating on her frozen "pake"

Mama demonstrating as well.

Pancake Windmill!


SUH-WEET!

And I think only parents with children will understand the enormity of this situation ... it REALLY is the little things in life that make us the most happy!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Two stress relievers ...

I’ve come to understand that life is a very stressful occupation; you cannot give your two weeks when you get burned out and need a change of pace.  You cannot take a vacation from life.

As a result, it is a mission of mine to alleviate as much of the unnecessary stresses in life as possible.

I have my husband to help bear (and sometimes contribute to) the burden and stress of domesticated life ... but I don't have a partner at my paying job.**

Whenever I feel overwhelmed at my day job and want to strangle the sender of an insanely ridiculous e-mailed request, I breathe and look at my computer.  I have two “reality checks” taped right under my monitor which recenter my mind.  (And no, I don’t mean my two stinky-poos that I gave birth to!)  I am referring to a fortune  I received at the height of my postpartum depression and the Serenity Prayer.


The source of repose and relaxation is physically attached to one of the sources of my day-to-day frustration ... I feel it's rather poetic!


The Fortune:
No need to worry!  You will always have everything that you need.
These words hold so much comfort to me when I feel troubled … it’s as if I receive a big bear hug of peace when I need it.  I am not a believer in fortune cookies or any mystical mumbo-jumbo, but I do believe that I need to keep my eyes open to the messages given to me.  When I opened this fortune cookie, I was emotionally and physically experiencing the toughest journey of my life.  Reading these words helped to pull me from the darkness in my soul.  And I revisit this message at least once a day.  

The Serenity Prayer:
God Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The Courage to change the things I can,
And the Wisdom to know the difference.
Most people know this as the prayer for those struggling with addiction ... but this prayer can benefit anyone who faces a challenge in their lives.  An easy translation to this prayer is: Give me the ability to know when to surrender and when to persevere.  For anyone that knows me, knows this prayer is very special to me and dear to my heart.  My family struggled (and still struggles) with addiction in many forms for many generations so I was born knowing this prayer.  I never took the time to understand it until I was in high school when I had a difficult journey to make and the prayer finally clicked.  Ever since then, I carry this prayer with me and lean on it for strength and courage whenever I feel weak.

My message is:
It is not good or healthy to live life full of stress ... no one deserves it.  If you find yourself struggling with stress, try to find the source either physically or metaphorically attach your "reality check" to that stress.  I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me over the years.

**P.S.  Don't confuse this as me saying I work with poopy people!  I love my co-workers but no one can do exactly what I do every single day. 




Why can't I sleep...

It's 4:17 AM and I can't sleep!

Below are some possible reasons of my restlessness:
1. I am going back to work after a three day weekend and my brain is already hard at work on my to-do list.
2. I have two very pregnant ladies in my life and am wondering how they are sleeping. Or are they possibly in labor?!
3. I had a cup of coffee after my 3:00 PM cut off time.
4. I'm hungry.
5. I have a small skin tag that magically appeared on my right eyelid.
6. I have to fly up north in a few days for work and don't know what outfits to pack.
7. I'm tired.
8. Cracks keep appearing on the walls. Is it time to call out the foundation guys??
9. I can't forget to call the lawn guy! Our yard needs some major TLC!
10. Will my carbon monoxide detector work if there's a leak?
11. I can't remember if I reserved a room at the hotel? If not, I hope the couches are comfortable in the lobby!

Ok. Enough ramblings. I am going to attempt a nap before my alarm goes off in an hour!

P.S. this is a self portrait as I was typing under my covers!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy VD (valentine's day) ...

My thoughts on Valentine's Day ...

Thought #1:
I've never fully understood the concept of Valentine's Day ... never ... really ... ever!
Why on God's green earth do you need a special day to say "I Love You"?!  If I waited for just one day a year to send my love, I would be up from midnight to midnight calling, texting and yelling my sentiments to anyone that would listen because I (pretty much) love every person I meet.



Thought #2:
As a kid, it was a day to realize how popular you were by the number of valentines you received.
As a teenager, it was a day to either wallow in self pity or make-out with your boyfriend.
As a young adult, it was a day to protest all things "romantic" while internally wallowing in self pity because you didn't have anyone to make-out with.
As a parent, it is a day to sneak candy from your kids when they aren't looking and make out with your husband in the bathroom while the offspring beat on the door yelling "WHATAYADOIN'?"



Thought #3:
I think Valentine's Day is the straw that breaks the camel's back for all of the "I'm Working Out Every Day" resolutioners because it seems like the gym starts to thin out shortly after 2/14. 
My theory is that perfectly amazing people start working out after the first of the year with the hopes of a killer body.  Shortly before Valentine's Day, they are tempted by the aisles of candy at the grocery store.  And their esteem takes a hit when they realize their body isn't super model perfect.  Mix in a "romantic" holiday and it is a recipe for a mental breakdown!




Thought #4:
I understand why the heart is the symbol for love and all things valentine-y ... but, c'mon!  The heart (in it's literal form) is ugly!  I think I am going to make shirts for my kids that look like this:




... well ... I've run out of time for thoughts as I have to go make my son's valentines for his school party tomorrow.  At least now each child has to bring enough valentines so each child in the class receives one.  Maybe this will help break the cycle in thought #2.

Monday, February 4, 2013

don't be a samantha ...

Days like this make me remember a magnet I had in my locker during my sophomore year of high school.  It was a cute little mouse with big ears and a little flower that read "I know God won't give me anything I can't handle.  I just wish He didn't trust me so much!"

I am a firm believer that all people I meet in life are here for a purpose and that I should try to learn something from all of my interactions.

That being said, I am faced with an unusually challenging character on a daily basis ... let's call her "Samantha". 
After 11 years in the corporate world, I have mountains of experience in dealing with bullies, wussies, chickens and tattle tales.
Samantha is a single, independent woman with a strong will and amazing sense of pride.  While I respect her independence, strong will and pride, I cannot appreciate her haughty, condescending and passive-aggressive attitude. 

I was face to face with an exceptionally painful conversation with Samantha recently and thank God this was over the phone so she couldn't see the clenched fists and steam coming out of my ears.  I had to mentally keep myself in check and force my yoga breathing throughout the conversation.  "Becky the B" almost came out and that is never a good thing!  After I hung up the phone, I was short of breath and had hives on my neck ... I am not kidding!  She stressed me out to the point of hives!  (I'm even feeling breathless as I mentally recount the conversation!)

When the conversation was over, I took stock and forced a positive light on things so I didn't feel like I wasted 30 minutes of oxygen. 

Some of the key learnings from Samantha are:
1.  Be Nice!
2.  Don't Lie!
3.  Have a Back-Bone
4.  Use Proper English!

But the most important lesson I learned from Samantha is "DON'T BE A SAMANTHA!"

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Waltzing with katie ...


This evening, Katie was especially restless and had a very hard time settling down for bed. 

The logical side of my mama brain said: 
"Leave her alone.  She's fine and will settle down and fall asleep when her body is ready."  

The irrational side of my brain questioned: 
"But what if she is wrapped up in her blanket and can't get comfortable?"  

And the Iincredibly-fearful-worst-case-scenario side said: 
"OMG!  She's dying!  She's foaming at the mouth and will not survive unless I go in there and save her life!"  (yes, this really did go through my head!  And don't say you have never had a similar thought when your kids are crying in their cribs!)

So, against my logical judgement, I went in there.  The poor bug was just laying in the middle of her crib with the most forlorn look on her face just tossing and turning.  I whispered to her: "do you want mama to rock you a little bit?" and that little face lit up from within and she whispered back: "uh-huh" and quietly popped up to her feet and outstretched her chubby hands to me.

The second I picked her up, her warm body melted into mine and the next 30 minutes of my life were filled with hummed love songs, endless prayers and silent tears.

I knew she was sound asleep ten minutes into our waltz around her bedroom, but I was too selfish to let this dance end.  The muffled voices of my boys and the dog's over-grown nails pacing to be let outside all but disappeared.  No one else existed in the world other than me and my angel girl and the moment we shared.

I knew it was getting late and time for the dance to end so I reluctantly and awkwardly laid her limp, 30 pound body back in her crib and covered her up.  I crouched over her and rubbed her back and hiney and thought how quickly the past 20 months have gone.  It seemed like just last week I was hovering over her crib, patting her bottom and shushing her to sleep. 

Eventually, I was beckoned back to consciousness by the logical brain, the sounds of the boys and whining from the irritated dog. 

I quietly whispered "good night" and many "I love yous" to my doodle-bug.  I crept backwards out of her door not wanting to take my gaze from her crib. 

And as I closed her door as silently as possible, I caught my breath and thanked God for blessing my life with the dance I shared with my daughter tonight.




Friday, January 18, 2013

my reality check ...


As I sat at the table this evening zombied out to my computer, the boy kept nudging me. 

I ignored ... said "no, mama's busy" ... and paid no attention to his little voice saying "please?"

The sound of his sobs was an alarm clock that woke me up.  I look down and he has tears pouring out of his eyes ...

Me: Baby, what's wrong?
Nathan: I want to sit in your lap. 

All he wants is to sit in my lap.  All he wants at this very minute is to be with me.  And I'm too busy updating my Facebook status to stop and realize the huge moment I was passing up.

THE status update.


As a parent, this was a huge gut check.

Seriously? Seriously.

As soon as I caught my breath and came back to reality, I closed my computer and snatched my soggy, snotty boy into my arms and hugged him to the point of asphyxiation. We then proceeded to spend the next 2 hours snuggled up in his tiny twin bed watching the Powerpuff Girls.

I do my best to stop and smell the proverbial roses but I still falter and get knotted up into the unimportant. 

While spooning my little Turkey Leg, I took stock of my life and said a silent prayer of thanks.

"Thank you for the blessings you bestowed in my life.  For my husband, my turkey leg, my doodle bug and the dang dog.  I also thank you for the moments you lay before me which redirect me to my true priorities in life.  Please continue to remind me ... Amen."


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Random Thoughts ... 1/9/13


Greetings from 20,000 feet up (or however high airplanes typically fly)!  I am en route from the lovely northeast on my way back home!

While cruising at this altitude, I realized that I should take advantage of this uninterrupted down time by working, facebooking, blogging!

So, without further adieu, I give you my first random thoughts of 2013.

1.  Why does it always seem to take longer on the flight back home than it does on the flight to your destination?  Seriously, I feel like I've been on this plane for 99.3 hours!

2.  The gentlemen next to me is watching The Dark Knight ... and it keeps distracting me.
 
3.  I hate my skin.  Seriously.  I know hate is a very harsh word, but I am sick and tired of these boils that keep erupting on my chin.  hate. hate. HATE!*
love Tyra!

4.  I wonder what state I'm over.

5.  Sorry ... The Dark Knight distracted me.

6.  I miss my babies.

7.  This woman in front of me is pissing me off b/c she keeps pushing her seat (even though fully reclined) back.  My tray table is digging into my body!


8.  Onboard wifi is one of the most amazing experiences ever!  Everyone should try it!  It is especially heavenly for me since I hardly ever have the opportunity to fart around on the internet at home without a little sticky finger messing with my keyboard.

9.  Road bike or mountain bike ... that is the question.

10.  Has anyone every stuck to a Pinterest workout?  If so, did it work?

*Whatever you do, don't google "big ugly pimple" ... it will make you vomit in your mouth!

written on Wednesday, January 9th at 7:49 in 23 minutes.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Stupid, useless brain ...

Here's the set up:
It's Friday night at 8:30.
Kids are in bed "sleeping"
I have my hot tea and wine.
My fingers are loose and I want to blog.

******************************
Grrr.
Gahhhh.
Buuuuuuuuuhhhhhh ....
********************************

My brain is not working with me.



Stupid, useless brain.
*********************


The challenge with my blog writing is I like to accompany them with funny pictures to convey my message, but when I actually have TIME to write, my picture subjects are no longer available (because they are asleep).

**********************

Instead of a thought provoking, insightful topic, I just have lots of topics bouncing around like pinballs!

Topics are:
1.  There's a silverware thief on the loose!
2.  For sale: 2 single baby shoes
3.  Yes, that's part of a racetrack taped to my TV
4.  What feels better?  Q-tipping your ears or Scratching your back

**************************

... ANNNND ...
It is now 9:12 PM, my hot tea is gone, my wine is gone, I have to pee and I am tired.

My apologies to anyone who reads this!  The next one will be better!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

resolutions for 2013 ...


*****************************************************
A dog's New Year's Resolution: I will not chase that stick unless I actually see it leave his hand! ~Anonymous (searchquotes.com)
*************************************************** 
 My 2013 Resolutions
  1. Get my body in the best shape possible and run at least 1 half marathon
  2. Embrace my husband and go on a mommy/daddy only vacation
  3. Keep my cool when the kid's push every single button known to man (especially the power button on the tv during the last 2 minutes of House Hunters)
  4. Find a signature fragrance (other than pee, poop and vomit)
  5. Limit the wine and booze intake.
  6. Finally fix that sprinkler leak in the front yard so it stops flooding the neighbor's driveway.
  7. Organize the cul-de-sac pool party I have planned in my head (it will be legendary)
  8. Continue to nourish my kid's creativity and individuality (Who cares if they want to dress up as a Storm Trooper to go to the dr's office?!)
  9. Grow my hair out as long as possible and donate it (If it's healthy enough)
  10. Stop bringing my work home with me every night (I work to live, not live to work)
  11. Write in this damn blog as much as possible (even if it means locking myself in the bathroom for privacy)

**********************************************************
 Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink and swore his last oath.  Today, we are a pious and exemplary community.  Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever.  
~Mark Twain (quotegarden.com)

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Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.
~Brad Paisley (twitter.com)