Adventures at church…

Ok, let me first start by saying that I am a “believer” but not much of a church person. I have my faith and I have my relationship with God, but I have that in my own home…not a building that is supposed to be “His home”.
I have nothing against those that are church-goers…to each their own…it just isn’t my thing.  I think it is my inner rebel…I don’t like people telling me how to pray or what I should believe…again, that is just me so please don’t take offense.

So it is Lent and my mom and dad like to go to Wednesday night church during Lent so the kids and I attend with them.  It is good exposure for the kids and it is quality time with my family.  Plus we have dinner at the church which is good socially and let’s face it…one less night I have to cook! 🙂

Last night I corralled the kids as soon as I got home from work and got their supplies (diapers, formula, baby cereal, a spoon, extra outfits, blanket, spit rag, sippy cups, “toys” for distraction in church, etc.) together and coats on and everybody loaded into the van and seat-belts on….breath….and headed over to my parents’ house.  I unload the kids and with the help of my brother get everybody and everything in the house.  Liam, the 4-month old, is hungry and wants to eat so I make his bottle and cereal and feed him.  Mom informs me that dad has to work late and will not be able to join us…so it is just me and mom and the 4 rugrats.  I don’t like those odds… 🙂

After we fed Liam we loaded everybody up and off to church we went.  With hands full, mom and I unloaded the kids and headed into the church.  First stop, hang up the coats (less “stuff” to carry around!).  As I am hanging up our coats, my mom is unloading Liam from his carseat because he is fussing.  Logan, the oldest, announces that he has to go to the bathroom so he heads towards the bathroom door which is right next to where we are standing.  Of course, Austin then has to go too because his big brother is and then Lexie, not wanting to be left out, chimes in as well.  So I tell them wait just a minute so I can finish hanging up the coats and I will take you in to the bathroom.  I turn to finish hanging up the last coat and when I turn back around Austin is kicking off his boots and pulling down his pants in the middle of the foyer area!  He is now naked from the waist down in the middle of church…yep that is my kid that is naked in church!  The mom part of me is telling him “Austin what are you doing?!  Wait until you get into the bathroom before you take off your pants!”   My mom and the grandma part of her is laughing hysterically at the whole thing.  Yes, it is very funny and I will laugh about it for years to come, but I couldn’t let him think that I thought it was funny or he would be naked everywhere just trying to be funny!!  So I run over to him and scoop him and his clothing up off the floor and head into the bathroom before anybody else can see him “streaking” in “God’s house”. 

Fast forward toward the end of dinner and the start of church.  We get the kids and stuff into one of the pews at the back of the church and just sit down and Liam starts to cry.  Now it is not just any cry…it is the “I am in pain, my tummy hurts, and I am over-tired” screaming kind of cry.  So I take him back out to the foyer area and get him to calm down and go to sleep.  I head back in to the church and mom takes him from me and snuggles him for a bit.  We get about 5-10 minutes into the service and he wakes up screaming again.  I take him back out into the foyer and try to calm him down with no luck at all…in fact I think he is screaming louder!  He is being so loud in fact that the usher closes the doors to the church so as not to disturb the service going on…embarrassing!  So I take him further back in the church where the nursery is located and by then Lexie is realizing mommy is gone and wants to find me and proceeds to walk out of the church!  So I got her and took her and Liam to the nursery where Lexie played happily and Liam screamed.  I finally got him to calm down enough that he was just fussing slightly off and on when Lexie announces “My poopy mommy!”…awesome.  So I leave her in the nursery…yes by herself…I know, “bad mommy”…and took the now quiet Liam into the church to get the diaper bag.  I headed back to the nursery and laid Liam on the floor so I could change Lexie’s diaper.  And so begins another round of screaming.  So I change Lexie, get cleaned up and pick Liam back up.  Still screaming.  I tried sitting, rocking, walking, bouncing, shhhh-ing, talking, singing, etc.,etc., etc.  Still screaming.  So this continued through the entire service and then I see my mom (with no kiddos) walking toward the nursery and asks me if that is Liam screaming…yep it is!  So she goes to get the boys and our stuff so we can head home.  The service is now over and people are leaving. 

Fast forward again to the car ride back to mom’s house to drop her off before heading home.  Mom and I are talking and she says that if she had known that Liam was crying that whole time that we would have left earlier.  I told her I thought about that, but didn’t want to walk into the church with a loud screaming child to try to come get her and the boys.  She said “If only we had some kind of a signal…”  My reply….”Caw-caw!”  We both started laughing!  We now will always have a “Caw-caw” signal associated with church and my little rugrats. 

A crazy, hectic night…but good memories and laughter will be associated with it. 
So today I am one tired mama as it was a long and exhausting night with a fussy baby, but a happy mama just the same!

Enjoy the rest of your week all and enjoy those “fun” and challenging parenting moments!

Can’t we all just get along?

I watched the Grammy Awards show and the thing I loved most about it was what LL Cool J said about all of the musical artists coming together as a family.  They are all from different backgrounds, countries, and music genres but they all are able to come together and recognize each other’s talents and successes and celebrate together.

Then on my drive to work the next morning I heard a person on a country music station make a comment about what a “freakshow” Taylor Swift’s opening act was and how “she has to do something like that to fit in with the other freaks in a show like that”.  Really?!?  So let me get this straight…because the Grammy Awards celebrates all genres of music (including a new Urban music category) and not just country, that makes the other artists freaks?  Let me just say that I am a huge country music fan, but I enjoy listening to a wide variety of music across all genres.  I found offense in the statements I heard from that person on the radio.

So that brings me to the point of my blog…Can’t we all just get along?!
Seriously, when did we develop the mind set of “mine is better than yours”?  Why does it have to be that way?  And this is true in so many aspects of life.  I see it in music, religion, schools, businesses, cities, states, countries, parenting, oh heck…everything!

Let me just put it out there…nobody is better than anybody else!!  We are all unique and that makes us all special.  If we would all just allow ourselves to be more open-minded and accepting of others, this world would be a much nicer place.  Yes we may have different opinions and yes we have different ways of doing things, but that doesn’t make them wrong.  (Ok…disclaimer…it is wrong if your “way of doing things” causes yourself or others harm so keep that in mind!).

I am not asking you to agree with everything, just acknowledge that something is not wrong because it is different.  The world would be a very boring place if everybody was exactly the same.  You know the old saying “Opposites attract”?  There is great truth to that saying!   

So open your minds and look at the world a different way.
It is OK to be (and I am not leaving anything out on purpose, I just can’t type everything out…giving examples so you get the idea!):
White, Black, Asian, Latino/Latina, Gay, Straight, Christian, Catholic, Buddhist, Atheist, American, African, Australian, Puerto Rican, Construction Worker, Manager, Nurse, Doctor, Right-Wing, Left-Wing, Democratic, Republican, Non-Partisan, Single-Parent, Mixed Family, Traditional, Creative, Country, Pop, Urban, East Coast, West Coast, Midwest, etc.

Can we all set a goal to try to be more open and accepting of others and our differences?

In the words of my friend Ellen Degeneres (ok she is not really my friend…she doesn’t know who I am at all actually…but a girl can dream can’t she?!)
“Be kind to one another.”

A case of the Mondays…

So it is Monday…
Did anybody else have a difficult time getting out of bed this morning? The very first conscious thought I had today was “I don’t wanna get up” (in a whiny voice) when my alarm went off at 5:00am. Guess how my day will go if I keep that mentality all day. Probably not so great and I would have a severe case of the Mondays.

Thus take a stand against the “Mondays”…and no I do not want you to boycott your TPS reports or take a printer out to a field and destroy it!  (Office Space references for those that haven’t seen this iconic movie)  🙂
Instead change your way of thinking!  Ok, I know how cliche that sounds and how that is so much easier said than done…but I am going to walk you through this so stay with me!

This morning when my alarm went off and I had those feelings of blah and all I wanted was to roll over and go back to sleep, I instead got up and walked into my bathroom (grumbling the entire way).  Step one…get up!! 🙂
Next, as I was brushing my teeth, I thought about what the day ahead of me held.  What meetings do I have at work?  What projects am I working on that I am excited about?  What television programs are on tonight that I look forward to watching?  What fun things do I want to do with my kiddos when I get home from work?  Just thinking about those questions brought me out of the blah and got me motivated enough to at least stay awake and hop in the shower to proceed to get ready for work! 
Finally, I turned on my handy IHeartRadio app on my phone and listened to some of my favorite tunes as I finished getting ready.  By the time I was dressed and ready to go, I had a whole new outlook on my day and my attitude was much brighter!  The grumblings and whiny voice disappeared and were replaced by singing and dancing and a smile!  A much better way to approach the day and to start the week!

So if you find yourself grumbling this morning as I was…do yourself (and everybody that has to deal with you today) a favor and take a moment to think positive and find your happiness.  Trust me…your day will be much brighter if you start it with a song in your heart rather than a whiny voice in your head.  🙂

For those that have noticed…I usually end things with the phrase “Make today fantastic or happy and healthy” and not “Have a fantastic or happy day”.  Do you see the difference?  You have the power to MAKE your day what it will be…it is not pre-determined.  So go out and make it wonderful for you and others!

Happy Monday!!!

Stress…

I apologize to all my loyal followers for the delay in my blog postings.
This Monday we buried my grandfather, may he rest in peace.  And then Tuesday my grandmother (his wife) was put into the ICU with some pretty major health issues.  Needless to say it has been a very stressful and upsetting time so I didn’t really feel like blogging.
However, I am feeling more like myself again and was missing all of you so here I am! 🙂

So today I want to touch on the topic of stress.  We all have it, there is no escaping it…stress is part of life.  Stress can be good or it can be bad and it affects all aspects of your life, especially your health and wellness.  Weddings, babies, work, vacations, relationships, illness, death, etc. all create stress.  The most important thing is how you deal with it…what are your stress management techniques?  How are your coping skills?

First step is to recognize that you are experiencing stess.  Determine how the stress is affecting you…what are you symptoms? 
Are you experiencing any of the following:
– Fatigue
– Anxiety/Nervousness
– Shaking
– Loss of appetite (or the opposite…cravings/binge eating)
– Headaches
– Nausea
– Aches and Pains
– Insomnia
– Forgetfulness
– Lack of focus
– Irritability/Moodiness
….this list could go on forever! 🙂  Check out more symptoms of stress on the webmd site: http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-symptoms-effects_of-stress-on-the-body.

So now the important part…how to cope.  What do you do once you recognize that you are indeed experiencing stress and you identify what symptoms you are experiencing from that stress? 
This is the part where things get tricky and there is no “right answer” so to speak.  This is because everybody is different and the way that works best for one person may only cause more stress for somebody else.  So you must look into yourself to determine what will work best for you.  Look through the following examples of coping techniques and see what works for you.
Some examples of coping techniques are:
– Exercise/Activity
– Reading
– Journaling/Writing
– Talk to somebody (friend, family member, therapist, doctor, coworker, etc.)
– Take a relaxing bath
– Sleep
– Do something you enjoy (gardening, scrapbooking, dancing, etc.)
– Let your emotions show (laugh, cry, express your anger, etc.)…just DON’T bottle these feelings up or ignore them.  They will NOT just go away if you ignore them.  You must acknowledge and deal with the emotions you are feeling.
– Meditate
– Watch a favorite movie
– Listen to your favorite music
…Again, this list could go on and on and on!
Find more information on stress coping techniques and a list of healthy and unhealthy coping activities at the Helpguide website: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_management_relief_coping.htm.

The most important thing is to acknowledge your stress and find a healthy way to deal with it.  The one thing that is most damaging is to ignore your stress or to fall into unhealthy or unsafe ways to cope with it, such as engaging in promiscuous behavior or turning to drugs or alcohol.

Enjoy your Friday and make this weekend a spectacular one!
Wishing you all a low-stress day today! 🙂