Saturday, May 28, 2011

Monkey turns 7

My Little Monkey,

I love you.

For all that you are, and all that you do!

You're magical. And sweet.

Your smile makes life a treat.

You're playful, and such a delight.

You make me laugh, all day and night.

Whether you're glad, sad, silly or spunky...

You'll always be, my little monkey!

- book By Sandra Magsamen

Ah, what a bittersweet day. Today I have been a little teary - eyed, more than once, because it is my Ryker's 7th birthday. He is my youngest, my baby........but not a baby anymore.

I can't believe it. Where did the time go? How did this happen? One minute he's crawling, and the next he's running around and next he's singing along to The Lazy Song by Bruno Mars.

I'm writing this post late at night on his birthday because, quite frankly, I didn't want to think about today being his birthday. That would mean I would have to admit that he is growing up. I would have to think about what an amazing little boy he is. I don't want to realize how fast he's growing and how small the window I have with my kids really is.

But then I realize that one day I'm going to take all these blog posts and put them into books for each of the boys, and I am going to want Ryker to know what a caring and brilliant and wonderful boy he is. A boy that is strong and funny. A boy that I love and am so proud of.

Watching him with is dad cracks me up. Dad spoils him rotten and Ryker knows it. He knows just who to go to when he really wants something. And man, Ryker are you ever your dads mini me.....from his crazy curly hair to his infectious smile.

And boy can you giggle. When you get going, Ryker, it's just unstoppable. I really think you must be the happiest, silliest boy in the world.

And while you may have daddy's curly hair, you definately inherited a music gene from your mom. You can remember lyrics to songs like nobodies business and have a sense of rhythm that would make some people jealous.

And you are the most caring and generous child I have ever met. How does a 7 year old learn to be as compassionate as you are? I honestly think it was just something you were born with, because you have always been that way.

You've told me and your dad that you are going to live with us forever, and on days like today I really wish that were true, but selfishly, I wish you could live with us forever as you are now, not the grown up you.

Happy Birthday my little monkey. And thank you for all of the joy you have brought into my life; I would not be the same without you.

Thank you for all of the lessons that you have taught me. Thank you for all of the laughter and creativity and most of all, thank you for being you. I could not ask for a more wonderful child.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Popular, I wanna be pop-uuuu-lar

I was not the most popular child in my class. In fact, I wasn't in the popular circle at all. I was way, way down the popularity totem pole and I knew it. But what I couldn't figure out was why the popular kids were popular.

I mean, from where I stood (way, way down on the totem pole) it appeared that nobody liked the popular kids. So how could someone be "popular" (i.e. widely liked) if most people secretly despised him?

Leave it to my 11-yr.-old son to answer this question for me. He's at the age where popularity is becoming a very real concept. He's in school, and he played on the basketball and badminton teams, and he -- like all the boys -- are well aware of who's popular and who's not.

The difference, my son said, between the popular boys and the unpopular boys is that the popular ones have power and can get people to do things.

Ah-ha!, I thought. I remembered hearing about a books some years ago, Queen Bees and Wannabees, that dealt with female popularity. Queen Bees, it said, are usually attractive, charismatic and skillful in maniuplation.

Seems the same things apply to popular boys.To my son, the concept of someone being popular but not well-liked makes perfect sense. The popular boy might be powerful and respected, but deep down, the boys he's manipulating may not like him all that much after all.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

You Know You're the Mother of Boys When.....

* You have 2 laundry piles -- dark, and underwear

*You spend hours watching tractors and machines on the Learning Channel

*Wrestling is a typical after-dinner activity

*Your home resembles an ammo depot -- in small scale plastic, of course

*Your couch cushions are off more than on

*You can mark the 4 seaons by the debris on your kitchen floor: mud (Spring), sand (Summer), leaves (Autumn) and slush (Winter)

Care to add to my list??

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Do you know who I am?

I know it's been a slow month here in Blog of Mayhem.....but I couldn't see THIS video, and not share it. It made me smile.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Do You Know What Today Is?

Today is my middle son, Max's birthday. And he's 11! How did that happen? He went from a newborn baby to this

and then straight to this

at least that's how it seems to me.

It was just yesterday that I was debating on how to tell hubby that we were again expecting our second child (having suffered a miscarriage the fall before). I settled on buying Drew a plain white t-shirt and taking a fabric marker to it. I wrote on it in big blue letters


And I took him straight to the hotel to visit his daddy at work. Needless to say, hubs was a bit stunned.

The day he was born I should have known what a stubborn child he was going to be. We ended up walking the hospital for HOURS. I was stuck at three centemetres and the little bugger woudln't budge. But then when he did decide to make his entrance, it came so fast that I didnt' even have time for those glorious pain inhibiting drugs.

Randall Max made his entrance at exactly 4pm on May 5, 2000. I remember looking down at his sweet little face and wondering how anyone can hold a newborn in their arms and not believe in the existance of God.

If having my second child has taught me anything it is to expect the unexpected. My first pregnancy was a breeze, the actual delivery a breeze and Drew's first few months were a breeze. Max by comparison was a much fussier eater and a horrible sleeper. We had him in the hospital quite a bit his first year with bout after bout of RSV. He spent a lot of time under an oxygen tent, and at home he had to get used to nebulizer treatments, which he didn't like AT ALL!!

He crawled early, walked early, ran early and climbed all over my furniture early. But he did it in his own time....along with eating solid foods, potty training and giving up the bottle (which he didnt' do until he was almost 4).

A couple of weeks after his 4th birthday he became a big brother -- which he took pretty much in stride.

Instantly protective, he didn't like it when someone would reach down and touch his little brother. Even now, with all their fighting, no one is allowed to mess with Ryker.

Max is a tough kid....always has been. I always said that if he ever did actually cry after a fall that we better get him to an ER because he is actually hurt. But he is a very sensitive young man, and would give you the shirt off his back if he thought you needed it more.

He's got a sharp wit, and a sharp tongue which I both applaud and abhor (sometimes). He thinks for himself, stands up for himself and doesn't take crap from anyone. He has an opinion on everything, and has a fantastic memory for animals and all things scientific. I've had many teachers tell me how remarkable it is that he knows so much stuff about so much....stuff. Seriously, the kid is like a walking, human discovery channel.

Max is my mirror image in how he looks, but is probably the child least like me in attitude and mannerisms.

He is an amazing kid, and I am thankful every day for his quick wit and quicker hugs.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Picture This

Sweat pants, t-shirts, and tennis shoes: it’s the mommy uniform. I should know since I wear it every day. I remember when my closet contained cute clothes. The tag of nearly every garment read ‘dry clean’ or ‘hand wash.’ Those were the days when spit up only got on your duds after your friends made you laugh so hard that it flew out of your own mouth.

When I look in my closet now, I cringe. It’s pretty pathetic. If a t-shirt is stained, I wear it anyway. If a pair of pants has a hole, who cares? It’s sad but true. My main clothes criteria three kids later: is it washable? I see how the mommy uniform grabs you and never lets go.

Enough is enough.

Take a look at this top from Hale Bob. The kimono style blouse is silk. A four letter word that’s rarely allowed in my home anymore. The floaty fabric is embroidered with sparkles and falls at the hip.

I’m so excited that it’s dry clean only!

It’s the perfect uniform for date night.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The More the Merrier

I've been thinking a lot about friendships lately.

My friend's 7-year-old granddaughter is having some issues on the playground. She can't quite understand how her best friend can be her best friend one day and completely ignore her the next.

"That's just rude, Gram. And it hurts my feelings."

It's tough being a girl. Women are difficult creatures. We desperately need each other but we push each other away, claw and snap and bitch, and talk behind each other's backs.

My friend assured her granddaughter that "one day" she'd find that one true best friend:

"Really, Gram? You promise?"

"I promise."

I told my friend that I thought that had been a terrible promise to make (we're honest like that). I'm not sure I really believe in the notion of a best friend anymore, although lately (and here's the truly ironic part) I feel I am in some of the healthiest relationships of my life. The notion of That One True Best Friend--the promise that little girl is holding out for--puts a whole lot of pressure on her and especially on the girls around her. No one person should be responsible for being every thing to anyone.

That little girl may be so busy looking for that One Girl that she may miss out on all the ones skipping happily around her on the playground.

* * *

In spite of the fact that most people would probably describe me as very outgoing, I've actually spent most of my life being somewhat anti-social. Growing up, I was never accepted into any of the Cliques Of The Moment, and more often than not, I'd find somebody who was "like me" (read: a little too loud or a little too dramatic or a little too awkward or a little too whatever I happened to be at the time) and I'd latch on. I'd found her: my friendship soulmate! And eventually, as is almost always inevitable with females, she'd screw me over.

There was Jessica in 3rd grade, who one day came back from lunch and abruptly and silently pulled her desk a few inches away from mine and refused to speak to me. I remember Susan, in middle school, who decided hanging out with "the other girls" was way cooler than hanging out with me (she was probably right). The list goes on and on.

I realize there were probably many times that I, too, had disappointed them...I don't doubt that I said something completely inappropriate to Jessica that day at lunch, but couldn't she have told me what that something was?

What I've come to realize over the last couple of years is that all that time I spent excluding everyone else to be with my One True Best Friend, I had missed out. A lot. On people, outings, experiences, adventures, life lessons.

I now find myself surrounded by a lot of really remarkable women...some are just the type that I had pushed aside for years because I simply "didn't have the time" to spend with them. I am more open, less judgmental, and having a whole heck of a lot more fun. My "collection" of girlfriends are all incredibly different: with some I can discuss, in great details, Marc Jacobs's personal make-over...others shop "exclusively" at Walmart. For some of my friends, sweating is restricted to dancing and sex...others are game for anything from a 5k to a full-out adventure race.

I would not call any one of these women my Best Friend. I know who I can call in the middle of the night when my kid is running a fever of 105. I know who I can call when I'm desperate for a vent about like, work, kids. Some of these women know secrets about me that the rest of the world would be shocked to know. Others, I'm just starting to truly trust.

I recently started to talk to someone at work who seems to be so amazingly interesting and intelligent and just plain "cool," that I stepped out of my old comfort zone and, after 30 minutes of chatting about designer galoshes, world-wide travel, Christian Louboutins, mamas' boys, marriage and children, I decided to make a plan to get together next week. This may seem like a totally normal thing to do. But for me, it felt foreign. This woman may become one of my girls. Or, perhaps we will get together and have absolutely nothing to talk about (although after that 30-minute-all-inclusive-chat, I doubt it!). But the point is that I have finally figured out that I don't need one Best Friend. I need lots of really fantastic friends.

I am no longer disappointed, because I don't put all my eggs in one basket. I have lots of baskets, and I'm skipping happily around with them on the playground.

Easy Ways To Be Happy

In the monotony of daily life, chasing after happiness can seem like an endless, really big project. And sometimes, it is. But sometime...