Being A Mom Without A Mom

When I was growing up, I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would have to do life without my mom. I think we all get into the mindset that those we love will always be there. My mom and I were very close, even in the midst of my teen years and my rebellion and attitude. She loved me through it all. When you’re 18 years old, you don’t think you will have to go through the rest of your life without your mom. You expect her to be there for college, your wedding, and the birth of your kids. The list goes on.

When I started my 18th year I had no idea that by the time the year was over it would be the worst year of my life. The 4 or so years that followed weren’t any better, in fact they were very dark. By the grace of God I found my way to a better and happier place.

I think about her a lot. I always have. But since I have had kids I have missed her more than ever. From pregnancy…to giving birth to Audrey and Lauren…to now, there isn’t a day I don’t wonder what it would be like to be able to call her up and ask her advice, ask her what I was like at this age and how she handled this and that. The thing about losing her so young is that she wasn’t here into my adulthood to share that stuff with me. Share her memories of my childhood. She isn’t here to fill in the blanks and it sucks. She isn’t here to tell me that in spite of all the frustration of having a full blown threenager and feeling like a giant failure much of the time that I am indeed doing a good job. It’s hard and sometimes even at 40 years old, you just want your mom to tell you that you’ve got this. There really isn’t a manual on how you became an adult and a wife and a mom, and without your mom, you just have to figure it out.

Lately Audrey has become more and more aware of things and who is who in her life etc. I know that it’s only a matter of time before she starts asking why I don’t have a mommy. I know it will be hard to explain it to her and I am not looking forward to it. What I do know is that I want her to know that her Grandma was a pretty amazing lady. She was quiet but she loved her family fiercly. She made me laugh. She taught me how to love others. She taught me compassion. She taught me what it means to be strong. I don’t know what my future holds. I do know that if my girls ever have to go through what I did I want them to have things to look back on to remember. The one thing I have that my mom didn’t is technology. Sure–she may have kept a journal and she took pictures, but it isn’t the same as the way we can record everything these days.

I’m not really sure where I intended to go with this post. It’s been on my heart for a while, but now that I have actually tried to sit down and put my thoughts down it just feels really disjointed. I’ve actually written and deleted this 4 times now. I guess one of the things I wanted with this blog was to be completely transparent, vulnerable, and raw. Motherhood is so many amazing things–but it’s also hard, exhauasting and emotional. And without my own mom here to walk me through it, those things are magnified times 1000. I am not going to sugarcoat it.

Today we have digital cameras, computers, cellphones, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, etc. It is so easy to capture every moment, good or bad. We post every milestone or every funny thing our kids say. I can pretty much find every picture I have ever taken of my girls in minutes. They will have a lifetime of memories to share with their own kids. I don’t have that and it sucks. I hope this blog is a place one day they can look back on and see the stories and struggles I went through at different stages of their lives. I hope when they have kids of their own and their 3 year old spits in their face (yes, that happened today) that they will know how to handle it and realise being a mom is hard–but so is being 3.

I never thought I would be a mom without a mom, but here I am. My mom taught me a lot in the 18 years I had her here. Aside from documenting my kids lives in a way she couldnt, I hope I can be half the mom she was. I was lucky to have her, and I hope one day my kids feel the same way about me and God willing they won’t need this blog or anything else to learn about their childhood.


 

 

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Balancing Act

5 months ago I started this blog, and I’ve struggled ever since to find it’s direction. So it has sat here vacant for months. I have come to the conclusion that maybe I don’t need a specific direction. Maybe it’s okay for it to be a little bit of everything. So for now I am back. For now I am here to just write about whatever it is that is floating around my head on any given day. That could be a good or a bad thing, you decide!

As a stay at home mom of two young kids (3 years old and 19 months) I have been really struggling with balance lately. I am not a planner and I am not organized. This just makes trying to balance things even harder. Between meals, crafts, naps, keeping the house clean, spending time with Chris (what’s a date?), laundry, exercising, gymboree, school and church–there’s a lot going on. Some people are natural planners and organizers. I am a natural “let’s let future Evey take care of it” type. Actually now that I think about it, maybe I am a planner, maybe the problem is more the follow through. Every night before I go to sleep I set my alarm so I can get up to exercise, make coffee and prepare for the day. Every day I plan to do crafts with the girls, to read with them, to paint with them. It just all gets away from me. Balance, I need to figure it out.

My girls deserve more from me and I deserve more from myself. So…where do I begin? At the top of my list is to make a list. I don’t do lists. I never have. Maybe that’s the problem. I don’t know how many times I have been at the grocery store and Chris has asked me if we need a certain item and my answer is always, “I don’t know!?!” Why don’t I know? Because I didn’t make a list, of course. Logic would tell most normal people to make a list for the next time. Not me, I don’t need a list. Sigh!

With the New Year creeping up on us ever so quickly, maybe this should be my first of many changes to make this coming year. And maybe instead of waiting till January to start I will start now. I want balance so I better make a list. Stay tuned. And if any of you have great advice and ideas on balance please let me know.

1. Make a list

2. Follow through

 

The Peepening!

“Potty training was the worst experience of my life.”

“Potty training is the best birth control.”

I dreaded it. For years all I heard from friends and family was how terrible and hard potty training was. Traumatic! Agonizing! Awful! I. Was. Petrified. Thankfully, I had a good friend who calmed my nerves and told me how she potty trained her two kids. I took her advice and vowed to take the journey in the least stressful way possible.

We bought Audrey a potty almost a year ago. For a long time it just sat in our bathroom downstairs and she really had no interest. Eventually…she was curious. She started just randomly sitting on it at times–and funny enough–the first time she sat on it she pooped a little! Every time she did even the littlest bit of something, I jumped around and celebrated like a crazy person. We had a timer that I would set during the day every 30 minutes or so and I would have her sit on the potty for a few minutes. Most of the time nothing happened and sometimes she refused. I never forced her. Not one time.

I slacked off for quite a few months with the timer thing and encouraging her to try sitting on the potty. I was always so distracted by Lauren who was always needing me for something or other. Once I decided to start trying again, Audrey had zero interest. I was frustrated at first but then once I thought about it I quickly realized that wasn’t going to help either one of us. So I let it go–Frozen style! When she was ready she would let us know.

A few weeks went by without even looking at her potty. Then a few months ago she was sitting on the couch one morning watching a show and she just looked at me very matter of factly and said, “Momma, I want to go peepee on da potty!” Um…OKAY let’s GO!!! So to the potty we went. She excitedly exclaimed, “Momma, I’m peepening!” The next week she peed on the potty on a regular basis. No prompting by us whatsoever. When she had to go, she told us and she went. Before long she was asking to go first thing in the morning and right before bed. After a week of peeing on the potty and having a dry pull-up all day, she told her teacher at Kids Church that she had to go potty. Huge step for her–to not only not go in her pull-up–but to tell someone who wasn’t me or Chris that she had to go. That night we took her to the store to pick out her own underwear. Of course, she picked Frozen. The next morning for the first time we put our big girl in underwear and off we went.

Poop took a while to master. She either went in her underwear or she waited till she had a pull-up on. But our reward and sticker system worked and eventually she just got it. We only ever had one poop accident outside of the house. Not bad if you ask me!

We are using her sticker chart and rewards for a few more weeks but even now we are fairly confident she is full speed ahead as a big girl. She hasn’t had an accident of any sort in weeks. She poops on the potty like a pro and doesn’t even need our help when she goes pee anymore. In the past week we have stopped putting a pull-up on at naptime and she is currently only wearing a pullup at bedtime. Even then in the last 3 weeks or so she has only had a wet pullup one morning. She goes potty right before bed and even wakes us up in the middle of the night! (Yay? I think?)

We couldn’t be more proud of our big girl!

My advice to those of you who have not yet entered the land of potty training is to not force it. I would highly recommend introducing it early around 20 to 24 months. But just let them explore. Don’t pressure them. Let them get comfortable with the idea of it and when they’re ready they will do it. No sense in traumatizing everyone in the process.

So what are your tips and tricks? What advice would you offer others getting ready to take this step?

Where’s Audrey?

A few weeks ago–Fathers Day to be exact–I thought we lost Audrey. She’s at that age when she feels independent. She thinks she can walk off on her own, doesn’t want to be in the shopping cart or hold your hand etc. She’s a big girl and she wants you to know it. In a lot of ways this is a good thing…but in a lot of ways it isn’t and it can be very frustrating.

It was a beautiful warm and sunny day. Not a cloud in the sky. After church everyone was gathered outside eating sliders, root beer floats, racing remote control cars and hitting balls on a putting green. All around were conversations going on and kids laughing and playing. Audrey was sitting on a little cement step right behind Chris. I was holding Lauren and turned around for literally 5 seconds or less to throw something in the garbage and when I turned back around Audrey was no longer sitting there. At first I wasn’t worried. She had been obsessed with the putting green and the remote control cars so I assumed she was just right there. But as we looked in those two places she was nowhere to be found.

Now in my mind I knew she couldn’t have gone far. It is a rather large property and she couldn’t have covered that much ground. She could have gone inside the building. She could have been running around with some other kids. But as I stood back from the crowd of people and couldn’t see her anywhere, panic started to set in. With each pan of the crowd of people my heart started to race a little more. My hands were shaking. Where was she? It was the longest two minutes of my life! I have never felt that sort of fear. I felt sick to my stomach. Where was she? Just as I was about to lose it, the guy Chris had been talking to motioned over to me that she was over playing in the bushes next to the building right behind where she has been sitting. The bushes were just tall enough that we couldn’t see her. Seeing the little girl bound towards me was the best feeling I have felt in a long time. I then quickly felt anger and I sternly called her by her full name. She had a look of “what’s wrong momma” and I told her not to ever run off like that again. She probably thought we were being silly considering she knew where she was and probably could see us the entire time. My heart probably didn’t return to its normal rhythm for at least a half hour, same with my shaking hands.

It was only two minutes–but man it scared me. I cannot imagine either of them actually going missing. It was the worst feeling of my life. We have been having talks more and more about how she needs to stay with us and hold our hands etc. The more she grows and the more independent she gets the more anxiety it gives me.

How do you keep your kids safe and within your reach when you are out and about?

Big Brother Time!!

Well it’s the most wonderful time of year…

Summer!

And summer means Big Brother. It means starting tonight (well, really tomorrow night once the live feeds are turned on) I will be obsessed with all things Big Brother. Live feeds, BB After Dark, and of course the three weekly episodes. Also, gotta keep on top of things BB via Twitter and the internet which includes my go to site–Hamsterwatch.com. Go ahead, judge me all you want. I have NO shame, I love BB!!

Tonight is the season premiere, which means since I’m on the west coast it is not live. So I will need to stay off Twitter until later tonight when we’ve had a chance to watch. But before I do I wanted to do a little pre-show player rankings. It’s always fun to rank them off of first impression and see how wrong you were as the season moves along. First impressions don’t always tell the whole story, so I will most certainly be wrong on a lot of these. The order I have these listed is based on nothing more than the order I watched their interviews in.

First up–I need to address the rumor that Paul from last season will be returning. A lot of people don’t like when former house guests return. For the most part I don’t mind it. I would prefer an All Stars season. But for now a returnee here and there–specially if it’s someone I liked–then I am cool with it. As for Paul specifically, I HATED him in the first few weeks of last season. But as time went on he really grew on me and by the end of the season he was one of my favorites. He played a great game (IMO) and he made me laugh all of the time. So if Paul is indeed back then all I have to say is FRIENDSHIP!

Dominique – I honestly had a really hard time deciding what I thought about her. She seems really nice and her interview made me laugh. But I can’t decide if people will like her or if she is going to be all attitude and get herself in trouble like Da’Vonne in her first season. Totally torn on this one.

Cody – Totally bored me to death. I feel like he will end up making it far just because he will probably be good at challenges. Outside of that I just didn’t get much from him. Yawn!

Josh – First impression tells me he is in a little bit of trouble. He seems like he will be full speed ahead and his mouth will get him into hot water…quickly.

Mark – Totally loved his interview with Jeff. He is cute and seems really sweet and I felt a little connection to him cause his mom died when he was 17. Mine died when I was 18. And he used to be a fatty, another thing we have in common. I have a good feeling about him that he will go far for a few reasons:
1. He is big and strong, he will do well in physical challenges.
2. He seems like a genuinely nice guy and I think it will take him far. He did say he has a soft spot for the ladies so this could ultimately get him in trouble down the line. We shall see what happens.

Megan – Her laugh! Nope! I was a fan of Rachel on her seasons but not that laugh! Megan seems to have potential to make me just as crazy. However she seems pretty well-rounded with the ability to connect with a lot of different types of people.

Ramses – Right away he was really hyper and over the top to me. He seems pretty genuine and sweet so I see some potential there for him to do well. It will really depend on how he connects with some of the girls because I feel like that type of friendship (not showmance) to help him along. It doesn’t feel he will fit in with most of the guys. However he also has the potential for to be well liked like Ian and Steve were in their seasons. That worked out pretty good for those two. Sometimes being the loveable nerd goes a long way.

Jason AKA Whistlenut – He seems really nice and was super charming in his interview. However, that’s where it stopped for me. I mean don’t get me wrong, I like him. But he’s never even seen BB and that just never sits well with me. That being said he is high energy and definitely seems like he will make the live feeds fun while he is in there.

Elena – I like her. But I do not have to live in a house with her. It will be interesting to see how she connects with others. I feel like she is totally a love her or hate her type of person. She seems like a good talker and that can always be a really strong characteristic in BB.

Cameron – Another one I really liked. Nerdy but not. He seems like a really good guy and really passionate. He could care less what America thinks about him and I love that. I think he makes it pretty far.

Kevin – Ok so this guy made me laugh. I am always all for an older cast member doing well and making it far in this game. Didn’t work out so well for Glenn last year. Haha! Kevin seems entertaining with stories upon stories to regale us with daily on the feeds etc. I might be totally wrong but I think he is going to do really well socially. Ultimately I feel his age will be his downfall in really connecting and forming a strong alliance but I still think he will be well liked.

Raven – Okay, she will probably need to tone down the perky a little bit for me to get to have any deeper of an opinon formed of her. But like I said first impressions aren’t always right. I felt the same way about Meg in BB17 and she ended up being one of my favorites. But for now I will reserve my opinion on Raven. Too perky for me!

Jillian – Another one who literally bored me to death in her interview with Jeff. Zero substance. I envision her being the girl who cries a lot and plays the victim. Not a fan!

Alex – Nope! Something about her I just didn’t like. Hopefully with some of these people once I see them on the feeds for a week or so my opinions will change when I see a little bit more of who they are. For now though Alex is at the bottom of my list! And seriously she didn’t even know Jeff was JEFF when he was interviewing her.

Matthew – Cute. Nice. Funny. personable. I think he does well. I think the girls will definitely like him and I think he will fit in well with the other guys.

Jessica – I am totally on the fence about Jessica. She is really confident, perhaps overly confident. She is already talking about winning this season and then next season being All Stars and winning that. Let’s pump the brakes a little! She talks a lot, if she can back it up she may do very well.

Christmas – “I’m going to let the loud ones take each other out to begin with!” Yes yes YES! The loud ones always send themselves packing right off the bat. I like Christmas a lot. I like how she talks about her life, her family and her dog. She seems pretty well-rounded with a lot of life experience. I absolutely love her energy and I think she goes far!

With all of that being said my rankings based off of the pre season cast interviews:

1 Christmas
2 Mark
3 Megan
4 Cameron
5 Elena
6 Matthew
7 Jessica
8 Dominique
9 Ramses
10 Kevin
11 Raven
12 Cody
13 Alex
14 Jillian
15 Josh
16 Jason

IF Paul is indeed back for this season then I would rank him after Christmas! Super excited for the season premiere tonight. I will have to stay off of Twitter and Facebook until we watch later this evening. Looking forward to looking back on this post and seeing how wrong I was about every single person. Haha

What’s For Dinner?

I recently read a blog post about sitting down together as a family and eating dinner. It got me thinking about my own family growing up and how we always ate together. I assumed it was just a thing everyone did but it turns out that I am totally wrong.

When I was growing up, sitting at the table together for supper (dinner for you Americans) was mandatory. Every night my mum cooked and we all sat down together and ate whatever she made while talking about our day. After dinner, my brother and I took turns cleaning up. It was our routine. After school was a snack, then off to play outside or inside depending on the weather and time of year. Then dinner, a family devotional, dishes and then we would settle in to our evening. Sometimes it was homework, sometimes it was off to any number of different activities at church or school and sometimes it was just relaxing reading or watching tv together. Whatever it was–that was the routine my family had every single weekday. I am sure there were times I hated it, especially as teenager. But now as an adult with kids of my own I recognize how important it is and it surprises me that more people don’t make this a priority.

And before some of you get all defensive–yes I realize that for some people with crazy work schedules etc this can be difficult. But the reality is there are plenty of families who are having dinner in front of the tv or in separate rooms and so on.

What are the potential benefits of a family eating together as many nights of the week as possible?

Communication: I feel like we talk less and less these days in general. As a society it seems like we are spending more time staring at screens instead of each other. I know I am guilty of it. Having 30 mins or so a day where you sit down as a family with no other distractions seems more important now than ever. With all the crap going on in this world it seems like a great way to stay connected and have healthy and open communication with your kids about what is happening in their lives.

Healthy Relationship with food: Before I had kids I didn’t really realize the importance of this. When we sit at the table together our girls are watching us eat our fruits or veggies and learning the importance of it. Right now they both love fruits and veggies, I know that might not always be the way it is so while I can I want them to follow me when it comes to that. If they see me and Chris eating the healthy stuff as well as whatever else we are having they will learn about balance when it comes to food. We are constantly telling Audrey these days she needs to eat so she will grow to be big and strong.  More often than not we get her to eat by having her race us taking bites. It works for us. Although I am also realizing the importance of not forcing it.

I liked what THIS article had to say about it.  The last paragraph specifically.

— It is time to bring the “family” back to the dinner table. Sharing dinner together gives everyone a sense of identity. It can help ease day-to-day conflicts, as well as establish traditions and memories that can last a lifetime–

At 1 and 2 our kids are obviously still young but I am a firm believer in what we teach them now will only help as they continue to get older. Audrey–who will be 3 in August–is a little chatter box. I have tried to start having her tell Daddy about her day when we are eating dinner. I want her to feel included. As Lauren gets older we will do the same with her. My hope is that as they grow and life becomes busier that we will always find a way to make dinner time OUR time. Some may say it’s impossible but I don’t believe that. I grew up with it being a priority and I intend to give my kids the same experience.

All of that being said, I think there are things we can definitely be better at as a family and dinner time. For the month of July I want to commit to eating dinner with no phones and no tv. We have gotten better about not being on our phones but the tv is usually always on in the background.

How about you? What are you dinnertime traditions, rules etc? What can you do better or what do you want to change?

How Many Licks Does It Take?

One night a few years ago we were out walking our dog Belle. She was sniffing around in the grass and found something she just had to eat. Next thing we know she is looking at us in a panic with her mouth covered in poop. Soft smelly poop. She immediately knew the error of her ways and appeared just as disgusted as us as she tried to get it off her face. Dogs are gross, but at least she realized it and didn’t continue to try to eat it. Toddlers on the other hand…

The list of why toddlers are gross is in-depth and long. But lets just talk about licking things. Stop licking the dog, stop licking the couch, etc. A few weeks ago we were at a splash pad. Audrey was having the time of her life running in the water, screaming and splashing. She absolutely loves the splash pad and would probably spend the entire day there if she could. We were starting to wind things down, LoLo was done and just wanting to sit on the sidelines drinking her water. As Chris and I were focused on getting our stuff organized and LoLo changed, I turned around to find Audrey licking a huge vent on the wall. Repeatedly! Um EW!

Here’s the thing I want to know. I get it–kids are weird and curious and are going to lick things and eat random weird things. But, after that first lick why would you go back for more? Like I would have to assume it didn’t taste great, so why the need to lick it again and in this case two more times?! It just makes no sense to me. Toddlers are weird, gross and totally random. Don’t lick the dog, stop licking the couch, don’t lick the wall and on and on it goes. Just this morning LoLo was pulling hair off of the dog and putting it in her mouth. Like a monkey picks fleas and other things out of each others fur and eats it. It was gross! When we noticed and told her to stop she smiled and did it again. She thought it was funny. Again, EW!

I realize that licking a vent on a public building or pulling out and eating the dogs hair isn’t the grossest thing either of them will ever eat or do. I realize that there are many more times ahead of me where I will utter words that I never thought I would say in this life. Bring it on, show me what you got tiny humans!