When your daily activities are in concert with your highest priorities, you have a credible claim to inner peace. – Hyrum Smith


Wildlife Experiment

Parker has numerous grandparents (4 grandpas and 2 grandmas). Who said divorce doesn't have an upside?

Anyhow, one set of grandparents (Grammy and PawPaw) live in the country. It's not too far outside of Louisville, but it is out there. Windy roads, farms, horses, you name it.

Driving to their house one day, Parker said, "Look mommy! A dee-uh cwossing (deer crossing) sign! That means there are deer out here!...Do deers read signs like people do?"

Me: "Um, no, I don't think so. You have to know the alphabet - the ABC's - in order to read."

Parker: "Oh, I can teach them. I will go home and get on my boots and go outside and they will say, 'Oh, hi Parker. Are you here to pet us or teach us how to read?' And I will say, 'I am here to teach you A -B-C-Deer!' And then they will be able to read."

Good luck with that, bud.


Mother of the Year Award Winner, right here

Of course, I'm being sarcastic. In fact, after today's adventures, I'm not sure I should be allowed to supervise small children...ever.

While feeding the kids a highly nutritious lunch at "Old McDonald's," (as Parker likes to call it) I noticed Maddie's soiled diaper was starting to leak...down her leg and *gasp* onto the highchair.

That's when the frenzy began. Yanking Maddie out of the chair, I called for Parker, who was high in the play area tunnels. Despite a crowd of staring parents and children, I yelled to him that I needed to take Maddie to the bathroom immediately. Pointing to the green door nearby, I told him to knock if he needed us, and then ran for it, praying the mess wouldn't get all over my shirt (since I had only packed "emergency clothes" for the kids and not myself).

As soon as the door shut behind me, panic set in. The play area was filled with strangers. I was used to going to McDonald's Playland with friends. No one was out there to watch Parker. Surely a stranger was dragging him off right at that very moment. Frantically, I wiped Maddie down and changed her. It's a shame no one timed me, because I am sure I set some sort of poopy-diaper-changing record. We flew out the door.

"He's right there," a friendly father said, pointing. Relief washed over me. I set Maddie down and sank into a chair. Whew! Then I cringed, my eyes darting around the room...How many people had witnessed my reckless parenting? I lowered my gaze and set about scrubbing/sanitizing the highchair. When I looked up, Maddie was gone.

I had last seen her near the entrance to the tunnels. Surely she wouldn't have ventured up in there all by herself! She'd never gone up before...

I sent Parker in after her. He came down the slide a few seconds later. "Yeah, she's in there," he informed me nonchalantly. Sighing, I took my shoes off and climbed in after her. After navigating my way through several sticky tunnels (eww), I found her.

When we emerged from the slide a few moments later, we were greeted by the sound of Parker's cries. Not the whiny kind, but real, frightened cries. I couldn't see him anywhere. I panicked again.

The same friendly dad walked up and explained Parker was behind the shoe cubby. He was stuck between the netting that enclosed the Playland and the cubby. Apparently, Parker had watched a bigger girl climb on top, but when he tried to follow suit, he fell behind it. I tried to calm him, but he was in hysterics. He couldn't move or see anyone. I pulled his arms with all my strength, but his head was stuck. With the help of two strong dads, we tilted the massive cubby (bolted to the floor) away from the play area and extracted my sobbing child. I quickly gathered the diaper bag and kids, ducked my head, and made my getaway.

I hope I never see those parents again! Unfortunately, this McDonald's happens to be very near where we will live for the next few years. I hear Chik-fil-A has a nice indoor play area...


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

Well, usually, it was just the worst of times...What am I referring to?
Simply the times when my mother-in-law has seen me over the past 10 years. We have not lived in the same state in the last decade. Typically, the only occasions during which we have spent extended amounts of time together include when Aaron and I are:

Moving into/out of a new place (not just a residence but a new city/state)

About to have a baby (imagine bloated, hormonal, uncomfortable me...not my finest hour)

Just had a baby (again, bloated, hormonal, uncomfortable, add in sleep-deprived)

In town for the holidays (trying to spend equal amounts of time with each family, schlepping our stuff, rushing around)

Those of you who know her, love her. It's impossible not to. She's just one of those people...never met a stranger, gracious, funny, generous, always ready to have fun. In fact, when I got engaged to Aaron, my girlfriends wanted to know if she could birth a few more sons just so they could have her as a mother-in-law. She's awesome.

So it's a real bummer she has only really spent time with me when I've been in virtual crisis over the last 10 years. I was hoping when we moved home, that would change. However, it's not looking good for the home team. See, we are currently living in her basement until our house becomes available.

Just this evening, she saw me in all of my matronly glory, banging around her unfamiliar kitchen, snapping at my children who were crying and hanging on my legs while I tried to cook dinner. Lovely.

Hope she doesn't give up on me!


The end of an era?

I read something really frightening the other day. The doctor gave us a handout on typical 3 year old behavior at Parker's last visit. It stated, "Naps often end."

WHAT???? Were they kidding me? Were they really suggesting that only constant in my life keeping me from slipping over the edge into insanity would suddenly just vanish?

I entered into the first stage of grief: denial. Not my son. Surely he expends enough energy every morning that the 2-3 hour afternoon naps will continue until college. Yes, they were talking about a "typical" 3 year old - not Parker.

However, I'm afraid there have been signs indicating the beginning of the end. Just this week he began to get out of bed himself. No more crying from his room for mommy and daddy. He just climbed right out and came looking for us. It was so vastly different from what we had experienced for the last 2 1/2 years, it took me by surprise. At first, I was elated. Then I realized he can (and will) get out of bed whenever he wants. Oh dear.

Case in point: Grammy is in town to help us move. The day after she arrived, exhausted from jet lag and the stimulating company provided by the children [read: indoor zoo at our house], she attempted to take a nap. Did I mention the spare bedroom is on the first floor...next to the playroom? She came out again pretty quickly. Parker looked confused. "Grammy, why are you up? Mommy told us you were taking a nap, and we had to be quiet." (No doubt the attempted nap failed precisely because of his inability to do so.) Grammy was very gracious. "Oh, I wasn't napping. I was just laying down a little while."

Later, I put Parker down for his nap. I was surprised to see him downstairs again just a few minutes later. "Oh, I was just laying down for a couple of whiles...like Grammy." Fantastic. Needless to say, I put him back down for a couple more "whiles."



Parker's never minded shots. He's always done really well. Usually doesn't even cry.

However, in the fall, we all went to a clinic and got the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine. I thought he was going to get the nasal spray, but they opted to give him a shot. It was quick and painful. He remembered it well.

When we went to the doctor for his well-child exam today, he asked if he was going to get shots. I told him yes, and he flipped out.

I've never seen anything like it. You would think he was about to receive a lethal injection. When he viewed the actual needles, he started screaming like a wild man. He was crying and writhing. It took all my strength to pin him down. He looked at me with those huge, blue eyes...fear, confusion, pain. Why was mommy letting them hurt him? It was awful.

When we left, he was sobbing. "We shouldn't have come here! I nevuh, evuh, evuh want come back here!"

Relieved that we're moving to KY, I replied with confidence, "We never will!" Whew!


My Little Extrovert

I marvel at Parker. Really. He is an amazing little boy. He is like his own one-man show. He talks and climbs and jumps and sings. Watching him grow is one of my favorite things to do.

Today Alex came over (remember, our awesome babysitter?). She brought her friend, Antonia. I have to be honest, I love it when she brings friends over. I know she is bringing them to come see my kids (how cute and entertaining they are). Parker came down the stairs from his nap, chatting away. He noticed Antonia on the couch and waltzed right up to her. He began chatting with her about his balancing abilities. He sang her a song. He asked her if her daddy brought her home treats, too and if she liked them and what kind she got and would she like some of his?...

She was grinning and laughing. Amused and basking in his attention. He just makes people feel good. He is so friendly.

We were at the store the other day. He likes to call the clerks by name. "Mommy, is that Kellen?"
I glanced at the name tag. "No, he's not Kellen, but they do look similar."
Parker walked over to him. "Hi, what's your name?"
"Oh hi, Mike. My name's Parker. It's nice to meet you, Mike. What a nice computer you have!"

Ever meet a really nice, extroverted person who likes to ask you questions about yourself? They listen and are genuinely interested in your response. They just suck you in...And it's wonderful! You feel so special in their presence. You want them to like you back, to find you just as charming and delightful as you find them. You secretly hope you will one day rank among their treasured friends but suspect that they already have all the friends they'll ever need.

I feel that way about Parker. He is charming! I am blessed because I have been given a God-given special rank in his relationships: Mommy.