Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Making Mommyhood a Little Easier

You know the old saying, "It takes a village to raise a child"? Well, I'm not sure about that. I am certain though that a village helps keep a mama functioning at full capacity.
Back in September or so, one of my stay-at-home mommy friends suggested a girl's night out for dinner. So a few of us girls got gussied up and put on clothes that we normally can't wear (you know, the stuff we don't want covered in boogers or milk), left the kiddos with their fathers, and we had a lovely supper. We had some wine, we had lots of laughs, we actually were able to finish a conversation without telling anyone to sit down, take someone potty, or stop a little person from slinging their food across the table. It was AMAZING! We decided it must be a monthly ritual. We weren't sure how the hubbies would feel about it. But I guess seeing how we came home happy and refreshed and how that worked out to their advantage...well, they haven't complained a bit (or at least mine hasn't!)
Then about the end of January, as the gloomy days of winter were really settling upon us, one of the mommies had the most fabulous idea: we should meet once a week in one another's homes for coffee and a playdate. Having as many as 10 children all under the age of 4 in one house (sometimes your own) might seem a little crazy. And it usually is. But to sip on coffee and chat with several other mommies (even while chasing after kids and breaking up the occasional toy battle) does very good things for morale. Tuesday mornings are a highlight of my week. Gabriela and Lilian absolutely LOVE getting to play with their friends. And I love getting to visit with other mommies who understand the joys and challenges of spending all day, every day with little people who make big messes and tend to need a lot of things wiped.
The high for today is supposed to be in the 80's (highest temp of the year, so far). So this morning, the girls and I went to a local park with two of the other mommies from our Tuesday morning group. Our five kiddos played and ran and giggled and squealed. As I basked in the sunshine and chatted with my friends, I said a little thank you prayer for these women in my life that have made my (and my children's) winter so much brighter!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sometimes Life Requires a Plan B

And sometimes even on Valentine's Day.

I have always had a thing for Valentine's Day. Since 3rd grade, I pretty much always made sure to have a boyfriend, or later in life, a date, on February 14. As lame as it sounds: 1. I've always wanted the fairytale. 2. I'm a sucker for romantic. 3. I like hearts and flowers and red and pink.

Post-kids, Valentine's Day has a little bit of a different look, but it is still fun to celebrate with all my loves.

Since the 14th was on a Tuesday this year, we decided to really celebrate with the girls the weekend before. That way, Papai could enjoy an entire day of love with us too!

We woke up and had some family cuddle time before I made heart shaped Belgium waffles topped with chopped strawberries and whipped cream. Eric cooked up some sausage and formed it into a heart (sort of). After that we gave the girls their presents: a percussion instrument set to share and a pair of sunglasses for each of them.

Most of the rest of the day was spent making music, dancing, and lookin' cool in the new shades. We stayed in our pajamas until almost lunchtime and just had a jolly good time together. (There were only a few moments throughout the day that I questioned our sanity for buying the children a drum and other loud toys...fostering musical talent be danged! I like QUIET!...but no, really, I wanted them to have a chance to make music since I am so seriously deficient in that department! And they do LOVE it!)

A couple days later, as the real Valentine's Day rolled around, we decided to avoid the hassle of a sitter and fancy meal on such a busy day. Instead, we decided to opt for all going out for Mexican food (a family favorite - both girls are obsessed with salsa, they eat so much of it when we go out) and then making a fun dessert together after the kiddos were in bed. has been happening an awful lot the last several months, Eric got stuck in the office. He was hoping to be home by 5:00 or 5:30. I think I held out until about 6:45 at which point the girls were starving, starting to get tired, and beginning to frazzle their mama's nerves (who had been pretty excited about a nice evening on Valentine's Day). Not having planned to cook supper, I had nothing ready or thawed out. So I grabbed a frozen pizza and threw it in the oven. Eric got home right about the time I started cutting it up...

Extremely apologetic and a little annoyed with his job, he joined us for our special V-Day was, after all, rising crust frozen pizza (ooooooohhhh-aaaaaaaaawwww . . . special, no?) I tried to hide my own disappointment, and got Gabriela pumped up to have Eric open his presents from me (shiatsu neck massager - since his neck is always bothering him, some new shirts, and a special Year of Romance package I created with an envelope to open each month of the year with special "date" suggestions for us - it was really fun to make!) He pulled out some presents for me too (some cute new clothes and coffee he knew I'd like.)

We finally put the monkeys to bed, a little past their bedtime, and then he inquired as to what kind of dessert I wanted to make with him. Exhausted from an extra-long day with the girls (plus an extra little one I babysat for a friend that day) and a smidgen pouty from not having things go as planned, I suggested he just go get the ice cream from the freezer and two spoons. We collapsed on the couch and ate ice cream out of the container.

My 13-year-old version of me would have been most disappointed. (To his credit, I should add that Eric had shown up unannounced at lunchtime and brought me a bouquet of roses and a card.) And admittedly, the 30-year-old version of me really doesn't like it when plans fall through. Which seems silly since the plan was nothing stellar; it was just our local Mexican restaurant. But getting significantly less time with my sweetie on the Day of Sweeties made me sad, I guess.

But, you know what? Life happens. I'm blessed to have a hard working husband with a job that supports our family so that I can stay home with our children. He totally adores me and tells me I'm beautiful even when my hair is in a messy ponytail and I'm looking completely grungy and not even a little bit cute. We have a nice house, reliable vehicles, and even some fun toys. I have two gorgeous girls that make everyday exciting and full of laughter and joy. We have a wonderful family and some awesome friends. And you know, I AM living out that fairytale I always wanted.

I just didn't know that sometimes my fairytale would involve frozen pizza on Valentine's Day. But aren't the surprises in the story what make life fun?!?

And let's be honest. After getting to spend last year's Valentine's Day on the beach in Rio de Janeiro, I think we all saw the disappointment coming this year! hahaha