Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Maybe She's Just Having A Bad Day

My typical method for coping with being home with children
all summer is to simply not be home. 
Don�t get me wrong, I am a homebody at heart but I find that keeping us
all out of the house as much as possible is best for everyone�s mood.  Out in the world, either at the museum,
pool or the river, I find that I am more present with my kids.  I can interact with them without being
distracted by other things that I think I should be doing.  No work, no household chores, no
Facebook or blogs � just my children and me.

It sounds so perfectly serene, doesn�t it?  Except lately, each outing seems to end
with my turning into that mom that is pitied, judged or held up as an
example.  Take for instance, our
last trip to the Museum of Life and Science.  Dean was bitten by what he described as a �small black
spider� and his hand instantly began to swell.  He was in pain and we were the furthest point from the car
that we could be so I rounded up my crew and we began to walk back to a place
where we could get ice.  Not
knowing if he had a Black Widow bite or something worse, I was worried and
getting frustrated with Logan who was not cooperating.  Dean walked ahead and then was quickly
out of my sight.  When we reached
the spot I had assumed he would go, there was no Dean.  We had to go find him.  Jess, however, had the idea that we
would stop and eat at the caf�nd would not be consoled.  I was trying to stay calm but patient I
was not.  We were all hot, hungry
and tired.  I had to keep walking
with a six year old having a tantrum and a two year old having a sit-in on the
middle of the sidewalk. 

So I was shouting because I had one child not moving and too
big and wet from water play to be carried, one child sobbing and walking away
from me in his anger, and my oldest nowhere to be seen.  And people were looking.  I had one mom ask Logan where his mommy
was and a staff person ask me if the crying boy belonged to me.  When Dean caught up with me, I yelled,
Where were you?!   I think
part of me wanted to be loud about it because I wanted everyone to know that I
was scared - that I had good reason to be crabby with my kids.  So, yeah, I�m that mom.

Last week while Dean was at camp, I needed just a few things
from the grocery store.  I took the
youngest two into Whole Foods since we were in that neighborhood.  We started off so well.  Jess wanted to push the carriage and
was navigating the tiny aisles full of obstacles carefully.  Logan chose some peaches that he
literally chucked into the cart.  I
winced at that bruising fruit and suggested we put the peaches in a bag since
throwing them hurts them and makes them yucky.  Logan chose a few more and carefully placed them in the
bag.  We moved on.  By the time we found the milk, I was
less patient and just wanted our errand to be finished.  The quick stop was turning into a long,
drawn-out affair and I was no longer interested in quietly using my �nice
words.�  As I was trying to choose
the coffee, firmly hold Logan in place in the carriage so he wouldn�t jump
(again) and field Jess� relentless stream of questions, I became increasingly
snappish.  It was time to leave
whether or not we had everything we needed.  In the checkout lane, a cashier suggested that I take the
kids shopping at Super Wal-Mart instead. 
Excuse me?� I said. 
Perhaps I didn�t hear him correctly.  He repeated himself adding, �If that is how they are going
to behave�
� I paid for my items and left the store � but not before
accidentally ramming the cart into Logan�s face.  I do so like to make an exit scene.  Yeah, I�m that mom.

I�m the mom who goes somewhere with her kids and then when
they leave, everyone else knows her children�s names.  I�m the mom who is constantly trying to choose between
disciplining a child and letting him run amok.  I�m the mom who has to physically pull her child out of the
pool because he doesn�t want to leave. 
I�m the mom you hear hissing through clenched teeth, �You have until I
count to three
�� Luckily, no one has questioned what happens on three.  We�ve never had to find out.  I�m the mom who handles her children�s
behaviors, no matter what scene ensues.

I�m the mom who has many tools in her toolbox to manage her
children.  I�m the mom who
sometimes runs out of tools.  I�m
the mom who sometimes gets exhausted using the rights words all the time and
making a game out of basic tasks. 
I�m the mom who sometimes just needs her kids to get into the damn car
seat already for the luvaGod.

I�m the mom who is sleep deprived and looks it.  And I�m the mom who might need her anti-depressant
dose increased and her caffeine dose decreased.  I�m the mom who needs your compassion and
understanding.  I might welcome a
sympathetic smile rather than your judgmental and snide remarks.  I�m that mom and I�m every other mom.

I�m the mom who calls the store manager when she gets home
to complain about the cashier�s rude comments and threatens a boycott on behalf
of all moms.  (You with me?)  I�m the mom who can say her children
are difficult but will take offense if someone else says it because I am their
mom.  I live with them.  I am the mom raising them.  And I�m the mom who loves them.  I am well aware of their faults � and I
love them anyway.

I�m not the mom that I thought I�d be.  Sometimes I have it all together and
lots of times, I just don�t.  But
my kids aren�t the kids I thought they would be either. I�m trying.  And I know they are too.  And 99% of the time, I wouldn�t change
a thing.  But you�ll understand if
you don�t see me shopping at Whole Foods for a while, won�t you?

This is a Triangle Mamas original post posted by Susie.  Susie occasionally blogs about the joys and mishaps of being a mom to three boys at At Home With Me when she is not busy being humiliated by pretentious store clerks.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Good Neighbors Are Worth Their Weight in Ice Cream

The following essay was my entry for the Edy's Slow Churned Neighborhood Salute.
I'm so excited to be a grand prize winner, which means I'm one of 1,500
people across the country who get to throw an ice cream party for their
neighbors courtesy of Edy's. Hooray for free ice cream!

August 2003, my husband and I bought our first house, located in the
Lakemont neighborhood of Raleigh, N.C. Over the next few years, we had
our first child and became good friends with our neighbors. Our
neighborhood group quickly became our community support network � the
people who brought dinner when you'd had a family illness, watched your
kids in a pinch, offered hand-me-downs and holiday treats, donated to
your causes, cheered your talents, celebrated your successes and
mourned your losses.

In July 2007, we sold our house in Lakemont
to move to Greensboro for a great job opportunity. We didn't want to
leave Raleigh, but felt like it was the right decision for our family.
Long story short, over the next 11 months, the job opportunity fell
apart, we had our second child, my husband found a new job in Raleigh,
we sold our house in Greensboro, moved in with my parents for two
months, bought a house back in Lakemont (a few streets over from our
first home) and moved back to Raleigh in June 2008. Phew.

our friends from the neighborhood showed up in the front yard of our
new house at the same time that the moving truck pulled up to the curb,
we knew we'd made the right decision to return. It was an exhausting
year � both emotionally and physically � but we felt that coming back
to Lakemont was coming home for us, returning to our "family."

neighborhood isn't fancy, the houses aren't glamorous, the residents
aren't making millions. But we have a wealth of community that I think
is rare in a time when people are so transient and keeping up with the
Joneses is more about the car you drive than about what sort of help
the Joneses might need.

We�d love to host an Edy�s party to say
thank you to all our friends and neighbors, new and old, and to
celebrate how wonderful they are � they�re what makes Lakemont home for

Crossposted at Junius & Pippi Take the Cake. When she's not blogging, Cyndi can be found clearing out space in her freezer for 15 quarts of ice cream. And thanks to Spry on the Wall for her comment, which led to the title of this post.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

He's a Lumberjack and He's Okay, He Sleeps All Night and Works All Day

IMG_1244 I'm not sure at what point in a person's career path one decides to become a tree removal specialist. Does your guidance counselor suggest that your propensity for strapping spikes to your boots could be useful for climbing trees? Or do you just feel that being suspended in the air with a chain saw tied to your belt sounds like fun? Or maybe it's that conquering anything outside that's 90-feet tall beats tackling a 90-page pile of paperwork inside any day.

Either way, I'm thankful that someone else takes that path (however he or she gets there), because there is no way in hell I could do it. Not that I'm in the market for a new career at the moment anyway (seeing as there's all this laundry to do and dinner to make and research reports to write), but after watching the crew from Arbor Barber Tree Service at my house on Tuesday, I'm more certain than ever that it's not the path for me.

IMG_1251 Once I recovered from the painful shock of seeing the first of 14 pine trees get decapitated, dismembered and ground into bits, it was quite an impressive performance. Like a really loud and slightly violent assembly-line choreography with this continuous flow of tree parts moving across my yard and out into the street. Each man worked his specialty area, whether in the enormous crane or up in the trees or down on the ground. From take-down to clean-up, it was a seamless process that moved surprisingly quickly.

So now that we're a month into hurricane season, if you're looking up at those tall pine trees wobbling around your yard and wondering how much wind it would take to knock one into your living room, call over to Arbor Barber and see if they can fit you into their schedule. And if you're thinking that hurricanes (or ice storms) don't affect us here in Raleigh, ask one of your neighbors if the name "Fran" means anything to them.

An original Triangle Mamas post. When Cyndi isn't basking in all her newly-available sunlight (wearing SPF30, of course), she can be found blogging at Junius & Pippi Take the Cake. It should also be noted that no compensation was offered or received from Arbor Barber Tree Service in exchange for this post.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rules of Engagement

As a Rule...

I don't get my haircut at places where all the stylists are wearing Crocs.

I don't let anyone who looks like she's wearing make up give me a makeover at the Bobbi Brown counter.

I never dated a guy whose butt was smaller than mine.

I eat dessert every night (after the boys go to bed!).

I don't wear holiday themed sweaters, jewelry, or shoes.

I refuse to carry a diaper bag that looks like one.

I stick to stylish ensembles that work on playdates with the boys' friends or mine.

I make my kids eat food at the table. Water or milk in a lidded cup is the exception.

I consider myself a MILF...if I don't, no one else will.

I drink red or white depending on my mood or what's available, not based on what the wine snoots say.

stay far, far away from the Hudson jean wearing, blinged out cell phone
chatting, Burberry diaper bag toting, Prada loafer clad moms at the
park. Ditto for their uber-smocked children who are still wearing Keds
bumpers at age 5.

I read books. Real books. Like the kind without pictures, cardboard pages, or cellophane protective covers.

I serve two servings from the fruit and vegetable food group at dinner every night.

I make sure our family eats dinner together every single day. At the table. With no TV. No toys. No phone. No Crackberry.

I never vote Republican. EVER.

I embrace progressives, but really wish the earthy types would shave their legs and pits and bathe once in a while.

I take unposed photos of my children to document their myriad expressions of pure joy, utter defeat, and brotherly love.

I don't drive a minivan. No MILF does.

I buy myself fresh flowers for no reason. If I don't, only my dad will...twice a year anyway.

I surround myself with people who are smarter, funnier, handier, and kinder than I am.

I don't camp.

I don't like to touch nature. I just like to admire it from a porch with a Mojito in hand.

I don't stay in hotels that don't have internal hallways.

I don't let my boys go to school, or anywhere for that matter, in dirty clothes.

I carry Purell with me everywhere and use it incessantly.

I stash Chapstick in every purse, tote bag, glove compartment, drawer, and pocket I have.

I take Bird and Deal on an adventure of some kind or another every day.

I don't tolerate stupidity. Dumb people ruin everything.

I don't download music unless my friend Tony has endorsed it. Here's where you'll find him: http://www.croutonboy.typepad.com/

play regular music in the car. I would crash if I had to endure some
singalong children's chorus singing Barney faves. I am getting ill just
thinking about it. There's no reason the kids can't enjoy Jimmy Buffett
(minus "Why Don't We Get Drunk and Screw" of course), the B-52s, and
the Beatles.

I don't kiss Mac Daddy if he isn't clean shaven. If I do, I break into massive hives. Trust me on this. Odd but true.

I don't buy shoes or jeans that hurt. Looks above comfort is a crappy way to live.

slather on sunscreen. On myself. On my kids. Mac Daddy is more
resistant to it than a 2-year old, and he's the one who's so white he's

I leave painfully long, blabbering voicemail messages because the machine is a captive audience.

I don't take sleeping aids, though I haven't slept a straight seven hours in about 18 months now.

I have hardwood floors in my house.

going to see my friends Shan and Chris at least once a year. Our boys
became fast friends on our last visit to Minneapolis so I can't deny
them that. Plus, Chris and Deal share a birthday, and Mac Daddy and
Shan share a birthday. Our fates and friendship are inextricably

Cross posted at Dirt & Noise.

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Music and Movies by Moonlight

Congratulations to Jo, who won our giveaway for Animal Planet's Emergency Vets for the Nintendo DS. Thank you to all who entered!


If you haven�t been to the North Carolina Museum of Art for an evening out, add it to your list right now. Their summer series includes a variety of movies and concerts, all performed in the open-air theater beside the museum. You can bring a picnic, buy a bottle of wine when you arrive, and enjoy a lovely evening under the stars.

My husband and I used to go there regularly before we had kids �- we even went to see all three parts of the Lord of the Rings trilogy on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. At the time I had no idea that going out to see a movie on three consecutive nights would soon become a crazy luxury.

Last weekend was our first time back to the amphitheater in years when we went to see Pink Martini (and opening act Sneakin� Out ). It felt like old times in the best way �- the music was fantastic, the weather was beautiful, the picnic was tasty, the moon was full and the people-watching was highly entertaining.

Although we went without kids, we saw plenty of families with children of all ages. I was most impressed by those with new babies, strolling up and down the sidewalk trying to lull their little ones to sleep during the concert. When my firstborn was fresh, we were so overwhelmed and exhausted that we never took him out at night. It wasn�t until many months later that I realized we missed our window �- we weren�t sleeping anyway, so we should have just tucked him into the baby carrier while he was tiny and gone to every outdoor movie and concert we could find.

Now that our children are almost four and just turned one, it�s too hard on them (and us) to keep them up past their 7:30 bedtime. And since neither one of them turned out to be those kids who can fall asleep anywhere anytime, we can�t bring them along and tuck them into their blankets under the stars. I�m hopeful that will change in a few years and we�ll be able to take them to fun shows -� but for now, it�s nice to have the occasional night out without them.

Picnic with sushi and chocolate cake� $12
Two concert tickets� $40
Babysitting by the co-op� $0
Date night with my husband� priceless

An original Triangle Mamas post. When she�s not packing picnics and dressing up for date night, Cyndi can be found writing about why she wants to come back as China Forbes from Pink Martini at Junius & Pippi Take the Cake.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Win Animal Planet's Emergency Vets for the DS

One of my favorite events in Raleigh happens every October. It's the Dog Olympics at the North Carolina State School of Veterinary Medicine. I used to take my little American Eskimo mix, Chelsea, and watch her whoop up on the Labrador retrievers in the retrieving competition. Imagine my pride when she tied for 2nd amongst a big group of dogs whose name alone implied they should have beaten her.

I love that we have the vet school right here in the Triangle. I have taken my dogs there multiple times and always received phenomenal care. Our chocolate lab even presented with a good learning opportunity because he had some weirdo eye condition from where he pulled too hard on the leash. I sound proud, but I was actually embarrassed that he was so rude on a leash. Of course, we had only had him about 2 weeks at that point, which would be a great excuse if he wasn't still rude on a leash 18 months later.

Anyway, without disguise of a smooth segue, we have a copy of Animal Planet's Emergency Vets, a new game for the Nintendo DS that lets children play as a veterinarian in 15 vet mini-games. They can care for 30 different animal species cleaning teeth, grooming them, and even examining x-rays to diagnose problems.

Standard giveaway procedures apply. Earn an entry for each of these:

1. Leave a comment telling us about your pets.
2. Post a link on your blog about our little giveaway; leave another comment with the link.
3. Tweet a link to the giveaway; leave a comment with a link.
4. Follow us on Facebook; leave a comment letting us know.

Entries remain open until 11:00 PM on Tuesday, June 16, 2009. A winner will be chosen at random after the contest closes. Please make sure we can contact you in case you are the winner.

Good luck!   

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