Uh, oops

The holiday on Monday kind of messed me up.

I walked around all day yesterday thinking it was Monday.

My obliviousness continued as I was sitting poolside with the kids, sunning, and congratulating myself on having such a fine, carefree life.

At about three-thirty, I glanced at the calendar on my phone and realized my mistake. A mere half hour before Hannah had a mandatory rehearsal for her dance recital. And an hour before Chase had track practice. And an hour and a half before McKay had baseball.

Needless to say, there was a little bit of cursing.

And a lot of scrambling.

Thankfully, we made it to all three, in large part due to some awesome friends who had left messages offering to carpool. Mindy and Beckie, I owe you one. You girls are the best, and you totally saved my hide.

It was a crazy few hours yesterday.

And so I offer my apologies to you How-To Tuesday devotees. Those of you who put your posts up, patiently waiting for me, the blog host who never showed up to her own party.

I'll try to get my act together a little better next time.

Share with us your wisdom anyway, won't you?

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Waterloo in the backyard

Our neighborhood does not contain a whole lot of children.

We did not know that fact when we chose to purchase this home. We (like all the really old folks surrounding us) were lured in by the siren song of the HOA paying for lawn care and snow removal. It has been nice living here, in spite of the guilt I feel when I see all of our 90-year-old neighbors vacuuming their lawns for six hours a day, while my yard sits as the one blight on the street, shamefully un-vacuumed.

And mine the one back literally strong enough to do it. Go figure.

But the kids do not lack for friends. There is a neighborhood adjoining ours that is full of playmates, and at least several days per week there are strangers' offspring rooting around in my pantry for after-school snacks. It's great and I love it.

There is one boy, however, who lives down the street and - for reasons unfathomable to me - hates my children. We have invited him over countless times, and each time our invitation has been met with an excuse about the important date he has with his video games. Shrugging our shoulders, we moved on to other friends, and have not mourned the loss of his company.

The problem with this kid is that he is constantly challenging the neighborhood boys to duels of physicality. A baseball pitching contest. A basketball tournament. A foot race. These challenges are always issued with insults and spite -- and he has yet to win any of them.

He reminds me slightly of Napoleon (Bonaparte, that is, not Dynamite). He is short, angry, and determined to conquer the world and everyone in it.

The problem with the war he is waging on McKay lies with me. I have this innate psycho need to be liked. And to have my children liked. I can't fathom what we have done to offend him, and feel that he must be brought to reason. He MUST not know how awesome we are, otherwise he could not possibly dislike us. Surely, he has just not looked closely at our strengths of character, wit, and charm. I mean, we are likable people! We are funny! We are charming! We I have issues!

I am constantly interjecting into the strategy conferences between McKay and his allies that maybe all Napoleon needs is to be invited over for cookies and ice cream.

These suggestions are met with blank stares and questions regarding my sanity.

Apparently, war is not resolved over homemade chocolate chip cookies.

It is decided on the basketball court with a very short, hateful boy named Napoleon who does not like me my children.

And it is okay.

Or so they tell me, while I sit rocking in the corner mumbling, "But why? Why doesn't he like me?"

Don't worry. I'll be all right. Eventually.

Not seeing the boy

He walks through the door, dropping his jacket and backpack in a large heap behind him. I trip over his shoes as I bend down to grab the wrapper from his after-school snack off the floor.

"Do you have any homework?" I ask, wearily.

He launches into a tirade of all the projects he is working on. I groan, knowing just how much time all those things will take.

Grabbing a paper towel, I wipe up the milk he has just spilled. I snap at him for his carelessness. Reaching for another towel, I stumble over his trumpet case.

In an instant, all the petty annoyance bubbles up and spills over. I chew him out for not practicing often enough, making threats about canceling his trumpet lessons. I move to the projects he has coming up, and remind him angrily that he better get them done before scouts. I grit my teeth and spew venom about the mess he has made on the counter.

I turn around to continue my rant, and notice his blue eyes fill with tears. He hangs his head and apologizes softly. He promises he will practice more. He reaches for his backpack to start on homework, as the tears spill over his lightly freckled cheeks.

Guilt and regret instantly turn my irrational rage into compassion.

I move across the room and take him into my arms. I apologize for snapping at him, and tell him that I love him. He sobs quietly, as he tells me how overwhelmed he is feeling today. How the projects at school seem insurmountable, and he doesn't know if he'll be able to find the time to get it all done.

I wonder then how I didn't notice the sagging shoulders and somber expression when he walked in the door.

How could I only see the mess and the shoes, and miss the boy completely?

I curse myself, wishing I could take it all back and start again. Today was a total mom fail. Doesn't matter that I am right. He does need to practice more. Those projects have to get done before he runs off to play. He should have been more careful with the milk.

But he's only a kid.

And he's my kid.

And today, instead of noticing that he needed to be picked up, I knocked him down. Instead of being that safe, warm place to come home to, I hit him with anger and annoyance the minute he walked through the door.

I need to remember when I'm tired and cranky, that I have no right to take it out on him. I need to look first, and yell later (or not at all). I need to be grateful that I have such a good kid. A kid who gets straight A's, is friends with everyone, and always tries to help those around him. I need to tell him how much I love him, and how proud I am of who he is.

Because at the end of the day, the trumpet, the milk, and the homework do not matter one bit. What matters is that he knows just how much his mama loves him.

Here's to a new year and a new me

Oh, internet. Words cannot begin to express my gratitude at your heartfelt empathy, sympathy, and love on my behalf. You are just plain good. When I think that the majoirty of you have never even met me in real life, your sweet words are that much more touching.

Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. It was not easy to put that post out there. It is hard for me to put my weaknesses on display - be they real or perceived. I have a hard time letting my guard down. But this blog has become such an important record of my life that I felt I could not let such a soul changing, monumental experience go unwritten about. And yet you embraced me anyway. And made me wish we could all sit around in my living room, large slices of coconut cake on our laps, and laugh and cry over it all in person. Please tell me there is a way to make that happen? Someday?

Anyway, when I saw this video on my real-life friend Katie's blog - I knew I had to share it here and make it my new motto for the year. I love it. Made me laugh and made me cry. My two favorite emotions rolled into one.

No more looking back. Only moving forward.

Trying desperately to turn the glass upside down

I am not a glass half-full kind of girl.

I would like to be, but it is just not in my nature.

For example: A bad haircut can dissolve my seemingly rational self into a puddle of tears that lasts several hours, and continues every morning for oh, say, about six months or so.

Also? I am the person that will always react first, and think later.

I frequently resent the consequences of my own choices.

And I even pout in bad weather and cast blame on the universe for its conspiracy to ruin my life.

(Why, yes, I am a treat to be married to. Thanks for asking.)

In short? I'm a two-year-old temper tantrum in a 36 - almost 37 -year-old body. So naturally, when a minor [albeit highly annoying] medical issue* crops up in my life, I do what every sane, rational, intelligent grown-up would do:

I cry and feel horribly sorry for myself. For weeks at a time.

Turns out? I'm really, really good at that. Might be my best talent even.

Only it doesn't take very long and my kids are affected by it, and in puddles of tears themselves. My husband feels helpless and worried that this beast who has come to visit is his new wife.

And at the end of the day, I still feel angry and sorry for myself with the same problems that I had when I woke up. That isn't exactly the way I want to go through life.

So, I'm doing what most of you probably learned long ago: I'm sucking it up and focusing on the good things in my life. Like the fact that I have this awesome man who loves me (in spite of me) and works very hard to support my ridiculously lavish lifestyle. I have three beautiful, healthy, happy children who just want a mom that doesn't cry all the time. I have a wonderful home with all the comforts anyone could ever ask for (and then some). I have friends who love me and bring me dinner and diet cokes. I have family who call ALL THE TIME to see if I'm okay.

And in spite of the fact that the universe probably still has it in for me weather-wise, I think it's safe to say that I'm doing all right. My life is a good one. And I'm going to be okay.

Just wanted to say it out loud.

[*Yes, I am okay. No, I don't want to talk about it. It's truly not a big deal and I will be fine. Thanks to you sweet internet friends who noticed my absence and checked in on me. You all rock.]

She's trying her darndest to save my soul

There is a new master in my life:


Thanks to the Hannah, I have been made to be accountable for my sins:


Apparently, girlfriend doesn't like it when the mama swears.

I would not think of myself as a foul-mouthed fiend. I don't swear in casual conversation with friends. I do not ever swear at my children in a fit of temper. And I have yet to fling any expletives at the Husband during marital, ahem, disagreements.

But occasionally, a mild swear slips through my fingers on the keyboard and ends up here as a joke. Or I drop something heavy on my foot and grumble a less-than-choice word in frustration.

Like the hell word.

Or the damn word.

Very rarely, maybe a version of the son-of-a-beyotch word.

Most certainly never the F word. [Unless that word is the frick word. Guilty of that one a lot.]

But on our recent trip to Utah, my lack of appropriate language when joking with my brothers brought Miss Hannah to tears. Her little heart overflowed with worry for my soul. With pleading green eyes, she looked up at me and softly asked why I keep breaking the commandments.

I had no answer.

Clearly, saying to my brother on the phone, who was leaving work to meet us all for dinner, "Hurry up, dammit!" does not a joke make in the mind of Prudence McPrude Hannah.

And so I have acquiesced. After all, were those same words to escape my children's lips, there would most certainly be hell heck to pay.

So consider this my formal resignation from the use of bad language on this blog.

No more hell. Or damn. Or even frick.

[Shoot. I just totaled up the number of quarters alone this post is going to cost me, and I think somebody will be a few dollars richer by the end of the day.]

Crap. [&#@!!#]