Never Enough Time – Part 2

fullsizerenderI love fall. ¬†Changing leaves, starting a new school year, celebrating my birthday — my favorite holidayūüôā — and football.

Fall is also bittersweet…bringing up a lot of memories of my father. ¬†In the fall of 1998, I turned 21 and my dad was dying.

I was in middle school when we found out my dad had cancer. I remember sitting in the back seat of the bus, chatting with my best friend and just blurting it out. I didn’t really even know what it meant to have cancer. She didn’t either. I’m pretty sure we skipped right over it and back to our conversation about best radio DJ.

Through the years I learned cancer meant doctor appointments. Family vacations to see specialists.  Medicine. New treatments. Surgery. Scary stuff for a kid.

We had plenty of time to say our goodbyes, to give one last hug, or to watch one more football game (or cooking show) together. The thing is — it is never enough.

Technically, I was an adult. Truthfully, I was just a child.

I had so much of my life ahead of me. I am forever grateful for the years we had and the memories I now hold; but, there was (is) so much he missed —¬†my college and graduate school graduation, my engagement, my wedding, the birth of each of my four¬†kids — just to name a few.

Little Man, my oldest, is now eight, about the same age my brother was when we knew we wouldn’t have long enough.I can’t even imagine what it was like for my father and mother to tell us. Just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes.

My father was brave, he was strong, and he was stubborn. But my mother was stronger.¬†They didn’t let us worry. They didn’t let us live in fear. They weren’t weepy. We went on with our lives — we made great memories, we laughed and we cried, but we lived.

One of the biggest lessons I learned from my dad (well, my parents) is that no matter what you don’t stop fighting and you don’t stop living. You deal with the doctors or the treatments and then you come home and you live.

My dad lived. He didn’t act like he was in a fight for his life. If you had known him then, you probably wouldn’t have guessed he was sick. He didn’t let his illness define him or control him. He lived until his last breath and even that was years after doctors told him he wouldn’t.

I miss him, but I know he lives on through me and now through my children. I’m just as stubborn. I’m a little bossy. I like order and discipline in my life. Little Man has my father’s strength and determination. Cricket is brave and just as stubborn.¬†Peanut has his eyes — pale blue like the sky. ¬†I don’t know about Baby Girl yet — but there will be something.

My kids may not know him the way that I wish they could have, but they carry him inside. I share stories and memories. I talk about him, the things he would have liked or dislike and how much he would have loved them.

Fall is my favorite season. It is the time of year when I think of my father the most and all I learned from him. I miss you Daddy.

____________

If you like this post, try

Loved and Lost

The Story of Cricket

Homework Sucks

Homework_Sucks

Homework Sucks

Many, many years after elementary¬†school…homework still sucks.

Homework sucked in high school. It sucked in college. It sucked in graduate school. And it still sucks when I am doing it with my second grader.

He loves school. I love that he loves school. He participates in class and is one of the first to raise his hand. He gets excited about learning; he asks questions — really good ones. He does it work in class, never complains. Believe me, I’ve asked!

Once he gets home, all bets are off.

Ask him to read a book with you–no problem. Want to research something online — yes, of course! Want to play an educational game — sure! Let’s do your homework — no way.

We need to rename homework.

Something cooler, something more fun. I’m too sleep deprived to come up with it, so let me know when you think of an idea and I’ll adopt it.

There isn’t a lot of homework and it wouldn’t take him long, if he would just sit to do it. But he doesn’t. ¬†There are complaints and more complaints. There is frustration (on both our parts). Sometimes, there are even tears (one or both of us)

I have tried having him run around first, play for awhile before starting. I have tried waiting until the morning to do homework. ¬†I have tried getting most of the homework done on Monday so we don’t have to do it all week long.

I tend to not argue over the small things with my kids. They can pretty much wear what they want…it isn’t worth the fight. Skirts and rain boots…no problem. Clothes on backwards…who cares. I don’t argue over meals. If they don’t like what I serve they can have a yogurt.

But they have to do their homework!

I’m ready for summer. For warmer weather and no homework.

How do you face the challenge of homework? Please tell me I’m not alone.

Courtney

 

Negotiations with a 3 Year Old: Toys

When we got our puppy we swore she would not be allowed on the furniture.¬† Then one cold night she laid her sweet head in my lap and looked at me with her sad, brown puppy eyes, and I said, “Oh, all right.¬† Just this once.”

That was three years ago.¬† I’m pretty sure she sleeps in my bed more than I do¬† now.

You must be careful what you give in to. This is as true for toddlers as it is for puppies.   And, more importantly,  you must understand the unintentional manipulation tools they both possess.  Because toddlers and puppies share two other unique traitsРeyes two sizes big and sweetness so pure it is hard not to bite.

Negotiate at your own risk…


kitchen

Me: ¬†“Hey Guy, whatcha doin’?”

Guy: “Pwaying.”

Me: ¬†“Those are mommy’s good pots. ¬†You have a whole kitchen over there you can play with. ¬†These are off-limits. ¬†Let’s put them away.”

Guy: “But Mommy! ¬†In this house we share.”

Me: “Right. Yep. ¬†That’s what I always say. But these aren’t toys. ¬†Come on, I’ll help you.”

Guy: ¬†“But I need to make you bweakfast!”

Me: ¬†“Well you can make that in YOUR kitchen. ¬†Right now we’re going to put these away. ¬†And you need to help me.”

Guy:  Silence.  (Eyes cast down. No movement.)

Me: Guy!  You need to help me right now!

Guy (Big brown eyes open wide beneath a halo of blond curls.): ¬†“But Mama, you make good food with these. ¬†I wanna make you really good food too.”

He pauses and presses that adorable head against my chest.  Then he tilts his head just enough to look me in the eye.

“I just wove you so much. ¬†You the best Mama in the whole wide world. ¬†PWEASE I make you a super yummy bweakfast.¬† Right here.”

And then more softly, “Please, Mama?”

 

Seriously?  How do you say no to that!

 

 

The FULL potential of the Swagger Wagon

IMG_1981So I have been driving the Swagger Wagon for almost a year now. And yes, I’m still going to call it that. I mean, there is no way I’m saying¬†I drive a F*ing Minivan!

I could¬†probably come up with a better name…maybe Bob? or Selma? Sallie Mae? (I paid off my loans and now I have a new one!)

Anyway, not that I have become accustom to the bells and whistles–I’m started to enjoy them, even respect them a little bit.

Case in point. Cricket wanted a playdate, so I invited another little girl from her class over. That, of course, almost sent Little Man¬†over the edge because IT ISN’T FAIR! So that is how I ended up with six¬†kids who needed a ride. And the Swagger Wagon (Bob?) fit the bill.

We piled them in there, extra carseats and all. I survived as the only adult at a six kid playdate without drinking (sometimes nursing blows) and we all had a great time.

Now I’m obsessed with all the benefits of the van. Like the sliding doors! My kids just jump out of the Swaggor Wagon like little ninjas. I imagine them hitting the ground, tucking and rolling with their little backpacks strapped on — off to conquer school! Well, it doesn’t exactly go like that but you get the idea. (My Little Man’s Ninjas are pictured in this post.)

There is also this rearview camera. So cool. I am now a parallel parking fool. I haven’t had this much practice since I was stuck in my driver’s ed class between two orange cones. Man, I’m good. I sneak my giant ride into the smallest of spaces with the help of that camera. My five-foot nothing self can’t actually see the back without it, so there’s that too.

And don’t even get me started on the glorious seat heaters. I gift really.

So, I may still drive a¬†F*ing Minivan, but I’ve got a little more swagger about it now!

Courtney

PS: I’m calling it a Swagger Wagon because of this video — personally, I drive the Odyssey, but this is my life as I imagine it! Swagger Wagon

Keep Your Comments to Yourself

file000450171216Today I was thinking back to my pregnancy and I got all worked up again…Why do people feel like they can comment freely on a pregnant woman’s body?

Case in point, I teach at a local university in the evenings. I informed my class at the beginning of the semester that I was pregnant, just to avoid the awkward questions throughout the semester. A fat lot of good that did me!

Every week, my students comment on how pregnant I am, specifically noting the size of my belly. After the second week, I stopped class and said something along these lines:

Remember, I told you I was pregnant and as I think you recall from junior high health class that means I will continue to get bigger each week. Yes, but the end of the semester I will be the size of a whale and you will wonder why how I am capable of wattling in here to teach you. However, please stop talking about my body — just keep these observations to yourself.

I might have left the whale part out, but you get the idea.

For some reason, people see a woman sporting a pregnant belly and feel like they can say things like:

“Wow, you are so big.” — Ummm.

“You could have that baby any day!” — Well, actually have three more months.

“You are so cute, like a little pot-bellied pig!” — Is that supposed to be a complement?

I am always amazing by other mothers who say this shit! Don’t they remember the weird strangers at the grocery store? Don’t they recall crossing their arms or putting on the death stare as you can see someone reaching out for your belly. Oh yes, if you haven’t had the pleasure of being pregnant and having a stranger rub your belly — you are really missing out!

So, just stop and think.

Don’t touch strangers.

Don’t talk about someone else’s body, period. Not even if they ask!

Don’t ever tell a pregnant woman (or anyone else for that matter) that they look big! The only people who¬†can say you look big and genuinely think it is a complement — are CHILDREN!

You might as well leaving the glowing part out of it too….the preggos know we are just sweating and it doesn’t make us feel any better about it.

Just a friendly PSA

Courtney

 

 

Are You Hip to Jive?

Recently, I was pursuing Facebook — as I am known to do during my late night feeding time. I came across the BEST post and conversation thread happening in on my¬†local community Facebook page. I almost peed my pants and laughed a little too loud for Baby.

So basically a parent was crowd sourcing for the new kids lingo and a lot of people had fun sharing their thoughts. I picked out the best gems to share with you so that you can up your game. Some are real and some are throwbacks so beware and use at your own risk!

  • Bye Felicia – A dis to someone who isn’t worth your time. Try it out on your favorite teen, your kid will appreciate it!
  • So if a guy is gawking over a girl you say “thirsty much?” Or you see a hot guy, just follow him with your eyes and say ‘the thirst is real.’
  • You’re so lit. — Apparently, this no longer mean drunk and now means cool, awesome and/or great. Who knew?
  • On Fleek — fly and sleek…unfortunately is no longer ‘on fleek’
  • Remember ‘oh snap’ well now just say ‘roasted’ or ‘you totally roast’
  • Bae the baby. Yes, they are too lazy for two syllables. Insert huge eye roll here.
  • Woke is knowing what’s going on. What’s hip. What most parents¬†aren’t.
  • Netflix and Chill. Well this one is tricky. It could just mean Netflix and Chill, but to most teens it means turn on Netflix and hook up, make out, have sex. Just tell your teen that you are going to Netflix and Chill tonight and watch their face. The disgust shouldn’t be hard to spot and it might even make this saying go away.
  • Salty. To be pissed or angry. ‘You so salty’
  • Yuge. a take on the word Huge. Only the Donald uses this…it is not a thing.
  • When someone says something you agree with, you say “facts.” Or “true facts.”
  • Sauced is what the cool kids say¬†when we used to¬†say juiced or pumped. I¬†used sauced for something else…
  • Yo stop d-riding! Which I believe has replaced being “all up in someone’s grill.” And yes the d as in….

Anyway, this should get you started and make sure you are hip to jive. I sounded like an uncool idiot when I was saying these kind of things in high school, so now I think is my chance to shine. Watch out!

Courtney

 

 

 

 

Happy Anniversary from Mom Upside Down

2nd Anniversary

2nd Anniversary

Today is our Second anniversary! Thank you, our readers, for supporting us, sharing our stories, and being open with us. We appreciate each of you.

We have experienced a lot this year and have had many Upside Down moments that have kept us on our toes. Therefore, we have been a little more out of touch lately; however, we are hoping to reconnect in 2016 — so stay tuned and keep reading!

Some highlights and throwbacks from the last year…

It’s My Choice, Not Yours

Please, Before You Become a Step-Parent

Upside Down and Inside Out

F*ing Minivan

We’d love to hear some of your favorite Mom Upside Down moments!

We can’t wait to see what this next year¬†has in store for us and we hope you will be there through all of it!¬†We couldn’t do this without each of you!

Happy Mom Upside Down New Year,

COURTNEY & NATALIE

Preschool Problems

Preschool_Problems

Me NO school!!!!

With the new baby due to arrive in January, I wanted get Peanut in preschool a couple days a week for a few hours.

Peanut has only ever been at home with me; so I was really worried about school. He was so excited to go. He was so cute ¬†with his miniature-sized pack-pack (backpack). He practically jumped out of the Swagger Wagon and raced over to the playground–dragging his big sister behind him.

This was pretty much the case for the first few weeks. I was so proud of him and it was so awesome to see him so excited .

I guess the novelty wore off, because now we have some Preschool Problems!

There was a switch. My cute, happy boy who was so excited to go to school was replaced by a screaming, temper-tantrum throwing two year old. He starts at least an hour before school with the ‘me no school’ and ‘me nooo school momma.’ This continues while I try a million different ways to Sunday to distract him. He cries getting into the car and a whole new set of distractions are needed. As soon as those doors open up the school there is full-on screaming and real tears. The teachers have to help pry him off of me. It is awful.

I don’t hang out either. I drop and practically run out of there (really more of a waddle these days). I’m so sad for him and for myself. We both hate the experience.

I call the school and he is fine after a few minutes. At least I know once he is settled in he enjoys himself. He is always happy at pick up. He does this completely adorable thing where he runs to me, hugs me, and then looks up and says “me cry today, mama.”

I swear that little s*&% does it on purpose. My sweet little boy knows how to twist the knife.

For a couple weeks we are going to go every day instead of just two days a week to see if that helps. Any other tips or tricks?

Thanks for your advice!

Courtney

 

It is MY choice, NOT yours

Baby#4

Baby #4

I know, I know you are probably wondering where we have been all summer. Well….we have both been pretty busy. We didn’t abandon ship though. We want to continue to share our stories with you!

We have a few updates for you!

I (Courtney) have big news. We bought a new house! OK, that isn’t the biggest news…but it has still been crazy dealing with buying and selling a new home. And moving…don’t even get me started on moving!

The BIGGEST news is that I’m having another baby! Yes, that will be baby #4 in Courtney’s Clan. Little Man, Cricket and Peanut are excited to welcome our newest addition in January.

If your first thought wasn’t “congrats,” ¬†“great news,” or something along those lines….don’t share it with me, because frankly I don’t want to hear it.

Maybe you think I am being harsh. Maybe I am. However, you should hear some of the other responses I have gotten.

“Holy Cow! FOUR kids! You are really going to have FOUR kids.” — yes, four I can count too.

“Are you crazy” — well, it is a little late for crazy, but thanks for your concern.

“So glad it is you and not me.” — umm, thanks?

I mean really, think a little before you speak. Just say congrats or great news. And if your really don’t think either of those things, just smile.

Just remember that this is MY choice. Not Yours.

Oh, and do me a favor and don’t ask me if it was an accident. Don’t ask me if I am ¬†happy about it. Don’t tell me how you could ‘never do it.’ or you don’t know HOW I could ever manage it.

It is no one’s business either way. But for the record we are really excited and it wasn’t an accident.

You can think all those things and be grateful of your own decisions, but don’t judge mine to my face.

Just be excited for me. I am. Just be happy for me. I am. Just support me. I would do the same for you.

Courtney