Category Archives: Relationships

Oh crap, sister can spell.

I’m annoyed at my child’s education. Not the lack of education, but the speed at which she is becoming educated. It is really messing up my life. For example, I used to tell my kids to go to bed, and it was inevitable that one of them would say, “But it’s not bedtime.” To which I would respond, “Yes it is.”

That was it. They believed me. Mama said it’s bedtime, therefore it is bedtime.

Not anymore. I say, “Go to bed.”

Someone says, “But it’s not bedtime.”

I say, “Yes it is.”

“No mam, it is not. It is 7:28 and we read at 7:30. Then, we read for 30 minutes. THEN, we go to bed at 8:00!”

Well….thank you Sister Mathematician.

Like most mamas, I need my kids to go to bed early. This is my survival, my sanity. My time to eat all of their Valentine’s Day candy.

It took me forever to get my husband to realize that if he wanted to talk about doing anything even remotely fun without our kids he would have to spell the fun. He used to just say, “Hey you want to eat some candy or ice cream when they go to bed?” Of course, they would start crying, “I want ice cream! I want candy!”

This started many fights. I would storm off, angry because my candy eating was ruined & the kids would never go to sleep with thoughts of mama & daddy eating candy racing through their minds. So, like most men, he finally learned! He started spelling, “Hey, you want C-A-N-D-Y and P-O-P-C-O-R-N?”

This worked for a while. Until recently. Now we spell and suddenly sissy becomes an annoying episode of Seasme Street…

“What did y’all spell? I know. ‘c’ ‘a’ ‘n’ ‘d’ ‘y’…..’can’ ‘dy’…CANDY! Bubba, daddy is talking about candy! We get candy! Yay! Candy!!”

(I guess we will have to resort to Pig Latin, surely that will not be covered by Kindergarten Common Core Standards?)

I love teaching at Sissy’s school. I get to walk down the hallway and see her cute little artwork. All the other mama-teachers get to see the cute little artwork as well. Parents who walk their kids into school get to see the cute little artwork.  Actually, pretty much everyone I know sees the cute little artwork.

I recently walked down the kindergarten section of the hallway and saw that Sissy’s teacher had changed out the display. Their new assignment was to write about Valentine’s Day. Everyone wrote words like, “Love” and “Friend” all phonetically spelled and hilarious of course.

Sister Speller had to take it to the next level. Apparently she thought the assignment was to make your parents look like weirdos.

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I had to fight the urge to scribble at the bottom, “We really only barely kiss in front of the kids, I promise…We aren’t crazy making out….Really! Seriously!”

In all honesty, I am thrilled watching her spongy little brain soak up all of this knowledge! Her teacher is awesome, and Sissy is learning so much! She leaves little scraps of paper and notebooks all around the house with her sweet writing scrawled across them. I found this one yesterday:image

I’m assuming I left my Bible and a container of yogurt on the table. That or she was really confused during chapel this week.

 

Mary Katherine Gallagher & Her Ball Rodeoing Friend

I almost lost a friend once. We were very best friends. Like…do everything together, love you so much, thick and thin, tell it like it is friends. You know those kind of friendships that feel like forever; where you know that, no matter what, you will care where that person is  when they are eighty?

I have a few friends that I can say this about. Girls who I would run to even if I hadn’t seen them in years. The friend I am talking about holds a very special place in my heart, and it is hard to think how close we came to losing that.

A little history: (I could tell you a million stories, but they just seem too personal… too “ours.”  So, I will give you the ones I feel are shareable.)

Friendship example #1, 2002’ish…At a Halloween costume party, just before we decided to ‘perform.’ 

My friend: Katina, I don’t think you should smell your pits on stage!

Me: Call me Mary Katherine Gallagher.

My friend: OK. Mary Katherine, I don’t think you should smell your pits on stage! And don’t you try to do a back handspring either. Don’t you try to do it!

Me: (bounding onto the makeshift stage) Sometimes, when I get nervous…

My friend: (behind me, through gritted teeth) Don’t you do it, Don’t you tumble…

mary kath

 

 

 

 

Friendship example #2, Sometime after 2002 at our little old house with the giant ditch in the back. My husband & my friend’s husband had gotten angry at our ridiculous ability to telepathically give each other Taboo answers. My friend had an idea… 

My friend: Hey, I just had an idea for the best game…it’s gonna be called, Ball Rodeo! All you do is see who can balance on this yoga ball the longest.

My husband & friend’s husband: Yeah!

Me: I’m tired. I’m going to bed.

Friend: You’re going to miss out. It’s gonna be awesome.

Me: Goodnight, y’all better not break anything.

Crash sound coming from ‘game room’ (‘game room’ may be a bit of an over exaggeration…’tiny room with Scarface poster, futon, and play station’ is more accurate)

Me: What happened?

Friend: Don’t come in here. Katina, DO NOT come in here!

Me: (walking in & seeing husband’s upper torso plunged through the wall) Oh my GOSH!! What happened?!?

Friend: Two words, Ball… Rodeo

I can’t remember the exact moment, but at some point we kind of drifted apart. (I know, I know! How could Mary Katherine Gallagher & Ball Rodeo Queen ever drift apart?!?)

I had been married for a while, and I wanted a baby. She had not been married as long and wasn’t ready for that yet. When I started going through all my baby junk…surgeries, doctors, shots, my friend was in a different place. Looking back, I can see that I completely shut everybody out. I was hurt and I wanted to waller.   (I think the real word might be wallow… This is probably one of my Granny’s southernisms.)  Anyway, I wanted a pity party, and I guess I was mad when my friend didn’t throw it.

I also had a massive amount of strong hormones pumped into my body, so I may have been irrational. For example, we were both reading the Twilight series. She finished before me. As I was reading the honeymoon chapter, I became suspicious of stupid Bella’s stomach aches & throwing up… My heart rate sped, my world spun, was this vampire loving hussy about to be pregnant?? No!!!! Not Bella! Not this stupid, vapid, teenage cliche!! I quickly texted my friend:

Me: (in a very hostile tone)  Is Bella pregnant?

My Friend: Who is Bella?

Me: (shrilly) Don’t play dumb!! I can take it! Just tell me. Is… BELLA… PREGNANT?

Minutes pass…..

Friend: Yes.

Me: Noooooooooo! I’m burning these books!

Life went on, as it always does, and my husband and I moved on to adoption. This was a super lonely time in my life. I think it was because I was younger than most people who adopt, and I didn’t know anybody else who was in the same situation. I was really bitter and angry. I got pregnant and had a miscarriage. It’s been years ago, but it honestly still stings to write about. I was extremely hurt. I was so very sad.

It was about this same time, that my friend started trying to have a baby. I hardly remember what was going on with our friendship then, but I know it seemed strained. We hung out some, but I was probably weird & totally self absorbed. (I started doing a lot of yoga, quit eating meat, and obsessed over possible adoption situations. So, basically, I was a super fun person to be around. ;)) Also, I just knew that at any given moment that old heifer was going to get knocked up, and then I would have to hate her forever! (I’m sorry, I already admitted my bitterness & anger! The hormones, remember? Don’t judge!)

She didn’t get pregnant; and even though we had drifted apart, she was still the person I called when the miraculous happened…

I will never forget finding out our little girl had been born. My husband and I called our parents and brothers, but as soon as we hung up I immediately called my old friend. I could hear the true joy in her voice, the laughter, the tears… (I don’t know if you are crying reading this, but tears keep escaping my eyes as I am writing it!)

Life got crazy, I was crazy, she was crazy…

My friend found out she was pregnant. She miscarried.

I found out I was pregnant again. I miscarried.

You would think two old friends, like Mary Katherine & Ball Rodeo, would have bonded over these hard times. But we didn’t. Somehow, we had both hurt each other’s feelings. We fought on the phone, we yelled, we hung up, we unfriended each other, on Facebook & in real life.

I’m not making this up: I found out I was pregnant… I found out my friend was pregnant. (Goodness, doesn’t God have an interesting sense of humor! He knew we were two jealous, crazy ladies! His ways are so awesome & his timing perfect.)

This sounds unrealistic, but I can say with all honesty, I had just felt the first little gold fish flutters of Bubba moving in my tummy, when I heard my phone’s text alert, and saw a text message with my old friend’s name at the top. It said, “Congratulations.”

Y’all, it was like she knew…like she knew I had just felt this tiny little thing move…she knew this was real…Like when we used to kill it playing Taboo...(Seriously, one word & we knew exactly what each other meant.) She knew.

I cried so hard. I ugly cried… for myself…for her… for our lost babies… for Mary Katherine… for Ball Rodeo… for the dumb girls we were… & the grown mamas we were becoming. I cried for the last few tatters of our friendship.

So, here we are, some years & some babies later. Is it the same friendship as when we were twenty? Of course not! We were idiots! Do we still love each other? Yes! Can we read each other’s minds? I’m not 100% sure, but I have gotten some perfectly timed text messages.

I’ve been thinking about how God looks at us like I look at my babies. He loves us more than that. It’s incomprehensible. I think about my kids fighting, and how much I hate it. I can’t stand seeing them being mean to each other. I think about how happy I am when they love each other. If they randomly hold hands, my heart swells. How much more must God feel…

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

This is me randomly holding my old friend’s hand. Love u, Ball Rodeo… Yee-Yee…

 

 

 

Bye, Old Friend

Dear friend,
Once we were so close. We shared everything. (Well, everything I thought you would enjoy.) I gave you my best. I worked so hard at our relationship. When I awoke to the cries of a sick child, I had to take the time to let you know. If my house needed to be cleaned, you listened to my complaints. New book, new hair, new vehicle….you were the first to share my joy. Embarrassingly enough, I sometimes had moments recreated for you! If my children did something adorable, cute, or even stupid, I forced them to relive the moment for my camera. Then I proudly displayed the photo for you.

Oh we had good times, but something has changed. No, no, don’t worry. It’s not you it’s me. I realize I allowed you to control my moods. If we shared a happy moment, I was happy. If we saw something terrible, I felt terrible. I was jealous of your other friends, and I judged myself based on their accomplishments. So, dear Facebook, it is with great sadness that I pack my things; my feelings, my children, my marriage, my family, my friends, my life, and I move on.

I know what you’re thinking, she’ll be back. She can’t stay away. Unfortunately, you are probably right. But until then, I will enjoy my newfound freedom. I will put down my phone and live in the moment. I will endure the confused looks when I fail to realize my friend has given birth. I will laugh and pretend to know what everyone else is laughing at when the conversation moves to ‘that video of the parents who tell their kids they ate the Halloween candy.’ I’m sure it’s hilarious, but I have my own kids and I really did eat their Halloween candy so…
Anyway, I’ve made this breakup letter too long already. I will leave you with a quote from my new friend Jen. (By friend, I mean author whose books I’ve read.)
No one can pull this off. No one is pulling this off. The women who seem to ride this unicorn only display the best parts of their stories.”

Dear friend, I’m getting off the unicorn for now! My story isn’t always happy. Actually, it really sucks sometimes. (I don’t say that in an ungrateful way, I’m very blessed. But, I’m also a human.)

See you soon ole frand. (Probably later on tomorrow, when I ‘borrow’ my mama’s phone and hack her account.)
Love,
Katina

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The quote is from Jen Hatmaker’s For The Love, which I just started reading. Yep, I haven’t even finished the book and I’m quoting it. 🙂 I’m truly responsible. 

I’ve Got You Babe. (I took care of your stalker. Happy Anniversary.)

weddingTwo teenagers all fancied up in their wedding clothes hold hands as they look out across the church. Their eyes travel up when the disco ball begins to spin. They lock eyes and laugh. Over the speakers Sonny and Cher sing, “They say we’re young and we don’t know. We won’t find out until we grow. Well, I don’t know if all that’s true ’cause you’ve got me and baby I’ve got you. Babe…..I’ve got you babe…”

A few jobs, houses, friends, babies, bosses, good times, bad times, one stalker, and fourteen years later…

That’s right, a stalker. My husband’s stalker. My husband’s scary, adult male stalker.

My husband is a high school basketball coach. This job has its ups and downs. A major down is that your job performance is judged by how well teenagers perform. Not only judged, but publicly displayed and written about in the newspaper. The good, the bad, and the ugly is all out there for everyone and their grandma to discuss, yell about, and write about.

My husband’s stalker, we will call him Stalker Bob (not his real name), started out by making snidey comments under the articles that told of the team’s loses. This was upsetting, but normal. Of course, as a coach, you will have naysayers.  These normal comments quickly escalated to vicious attacks of character when Stalker Bob commented on ALL articles mentioning my husband. If my husband’s team lost, oh my, it was on. Stalker Bob had the best time sitting at his computer in his button up paisley pajamas (I haven’t seen his pajamas, I’m just assuming) sipping some weird tea (again, an assumption) and typing out a cruel message focusing on my husband and his team. If the team won, Stalker Bob actually had the gall to comment negatively. (By the way, Stalker Bob had no children on the team. Actually, he had no known relatives on the team. We still aren’t sure of the reasons behind the obsession.)

Well, Coach Brown took all of these annoying comments in stride. He kept his head up. He smiled. He tried. But, let me tell you something, I was not so forgiving. I was angry. My husband’s life, outside of his family, is his coaching. He loves his job and his team. I totally understand the normal upset parent, the grandma who thinks her grandson is Lebron James, the kid who just doesn’t understand why Coach Brown can’t let him try to dunk. These are all part of the job. But, when a 50 something year old man comes to your game, sits in the middle of the back row wearing a low hat and sunglasses, and snarls, things are getting a little weird.

I repeatedly told my husband that I had to do something. Maybe I should find Stalker Bob on Facebook and explain that my husband was a good person who worked hard and tried to make everyone happy while doing his job. Or I could comment to Stalker Bob’s comments on our newspaper’s website. I just needed to say something. My husband pointed out that I was becoming Stalker Katina. (Oh, he had no idea.)

Not long after that conversation, my husband’s team had a seriously great victory. They beat a team they weren’t expected to beat and had the most winning season that the school had seen. My husband was thrilled, until…STALKER BOB, the joy thief!

Stinkin Stalker Bob had comments to make, and I was done. That was it. This idiot was not going to talk about my husband anymore. I was going to do something.

I decided to anonymously comment on his comments, but our newspaper would not let me comment anonymously. I had to create an account. So, I decided to create a fake newspaper account. But to do that, I had to have a Facebook page. So, I decided to create a fake Facebook account. But to do that, I had to have an email account. So, I decided to create a fake email account. But to do that, I had to put in a cell phone number. (Don’t worry, I didn’t buy a new phone just to create a fake number, that would be crazy.) I just used my mama’s cell phone number. (She wasn’t in on it. She is probably sitting on the couch now, scowling at her iPad. Wondering why on earth I would do such a thing.)

Now, I had my fake person. He loved LSU and the Saints. He was a real sport’s fan. He liked gumbo and dogs. Apparently, he really loved grilled cheese. (I happened to have a picture of a grilled cheese sandwich on my phone.)

I would like you to meet David Smith, my fake person.dave smith fb2

 

 

 

 

The time had come, David Smith was ready to get Stalker Bob. I even asked my husband what would he say to Stalker Bob if he could say anything. I edited his version and angrily typed it out  in response to Stalker Bob’s most recent comment. I smashed that POST button and waited. I checked back and waited. I looked again and…David Smith’s comment was gone! Oh Nooooooo!

Alas, I learned that I had to have 20 friends to comment on articles (Geeze local newspaper, chill out!). I started to invite my ‘most likely to accept’ friends, but then I would have had to friend my fake person. Stalker Bob would just say that it was a friend of Coach Brown’s wife defending him. All would be lost. I thought about creating 20 fake friends, then I realized I was crazy. Crazy as the day is long. Crazy as Sonny and Cher. Crazy as getting married at 19. Crazy as having a disco ball at your wedding. Crazy. Crazy about my Babe.

Don’t worry Coach Brown, just like the lyrics to the song we picked for our wedding 14 years ago today, I got your back, Babe…l got you Babe.

Nice Guys Finish First

I was desperate to get out of the house. It was raining, and I didn’t want cereal. I threw the kids’ clothes on, put them in the car, and drove to… dare I say it….McDonalds. That’s right! McDonalds! And not only did we eat greasy hash browns and sausage biscuits, but the kids played in that giant, virus infested playhouse! (Yes, Yes… I know they are gross.)
As I lazily sat there drinking coffee and looking at my phone my lovely children, I noticed a few bigger kids walking in. They bounced their too tall tails right into the playhouse and climbed up. I watched as they approached Bubba and yelled, “Move, kid!” Bubba stood there for a second, stared cooly, put his arms up as if to say ‘whatever’, then moved! He moved for those little bullies! Oh my!

My first instinct was to claw my way up and…well, I’m not going to finish that sentence. My second instinct was to get Bubba down and firmly tell him to take up for himself, to use force if necessary! You know, “Be a Man, son,” that sort of thing.

I didn’t do either. I watched Bubba as he carelessly went on about his business, playing and even making friends with the mean boys. He was being the bigger person. I was about to teach my baby to disobey the Bible, to fight, to push back when pushed. What was wrong with me? (Maybe too much coffee.)

It’s Father’s Day week, which makes me think about my daddy, my husband, my father in law. Why are these men in my life? I mean, lots of men don’t stick around…right? There are so many fatherless children. How did I get so lucky? Then I realize…These are nice men. They are kind hearted, not quick to anger. They are not the bullies of the world. They don’t go around pushing people who make them mad. They are not pulled out of bars, arrested for fighting, running around taking what they want.

I have repeatedly watched as my husband chose the high road. I am sure my son has watched as well, and I know my husband watched his own father do the same.
When you teach your boys to be kind and respectful of not only other adults, but each other, they can grow into men who are respected. They don’t need to push their way around the world. They are good men and great dads. Instead of shoving back they can cooly raise their arms, say, “whatever,” and go on about their business.

kids and josh mowing 2

To Sissy, on her 5th bday. Love, Little Miss Not-so Perfect

Dear Sissy,

If you are reading this, you are probably old enough to realize I, your mama, have two pretty prominent character traits. I am a major procrastinator. (I know, I probably need to sign some kind of field trip paper that has been sitting on our table for forever!) Also, I am kind of a perfectionist. Not the ‘there is a crumb on the floor’ type, but a more internal perfectionist. I really do not like to mess up! (Something I should probably get over before your wild brothers prove I am an inept mother!)

My perfectionism was never more dominant than when I was in elementary school. I memorized bible verses for fun, loved workbooks, always read, and played teacher. I remember coming home crying, and my mama asking what was wrong. I told her my teacher called me little miss perfect. She seemed confused and asked me to explain. My lip trembled as I told her that my teacher would say things like, “Okay, everybody stop and look at little miss perfect. She has to get ALL of her books and go to her little GIFTED class.” Mama’s jaw dropped. I am not sure what happened, but shortly after that conversation my teacher stopped with the ‘little miss perfect’ comments.

Not too many years later, I married your daddy, and we decided to have a baby. It just didn’t happen. I know it sounds conceited, but this was the first time that I really could not do something that I wanted to do. (Keep in mind, I was still a child.) Not being able to get pregnant was like fuel to some type of fire that had been burning inside me. I really felt lost. I remember talking to a friend of mine, and telling her that I understood what God was all about now. I told her how I felt like a kid again. I had been told as a kid that Santa brought my Christmas gifts. God was like that. I thought he was the one protecting me, clothing me, feeding me. I learned it wasn’t God after all, it was my parents. (This sweet friend, a mother of FIVE, listened and told me I would change, it would be ok.)

So, life went on. People moved on. Friends came and went. Family changed. I grew older. I needed a baby. The perfectionist in me was giving in. I jokingly told your mammy that I would just steal a baby. The look on her face said I think you need to be committed. She actually said, “You need to think about adoption.” The snotty, prideful, perfectionist in me replied, “I refuse to beg for anything.” Mama stared at me. She very bluntly told me that if I wanted a child I just might have to beg.

I thought about that for a while…procrastination…and I knew she was right. Not about begging, but about adoption. I should adopt. I can’t even begin to explain the feelings that went into this decision. I was scared. I didn’t know what to expect. I did NOT expect you! Throughout the whole adoption process, I was brought to my knees. My pride was thrown out the window. I had to completely admit  that I could not do this on my own. Worst of all, I had to ask for help. I prayed, but I didn’t feel it. I felt like I was praying to Santa.

Then…well, through lots of hurdles… there you were. I recently read something about an adoptive mother admitting how she didn’t quite bond with her adopted sissy babychild. She said she felt detached, and I am not disputing her feelings. I imagine those feelings are very valid and totally normal, but…Oh my goodness…Sissy! I just fell in LOVE with you. I tried not to. The perfectionist in me said to be careful, to guard my heart. I was repeatedly reminded that this could fall through. I should try to stay detached until all the paperwork was completed. But, seriously?! How could we be detached from this tiny, sweet smelling, beautiful little girl?

I will never forget the bond your daddy and I felt after meeting you.   We left the hospital to check into our very creepy hotel (thank God for the Ronald McDonald House), when daddy turned to me and said, “How can we ever go back? If this doesn’t work, how will leave?” We knew loving you was risky, but how could we stop? Logical or not, we loved you. You were just amazing to us. In that moment, those silly ‘God=Santa‘ feelings were crushed. God was so real. You were so real. I wasn’t perfect. I couldn’t do the most basic, womanly thing..make a baby. But, in all honesty, you weren’t perfect either. You were early. You were orange. Your eyes were bruised from a difficult delivery. But…Oh my baby, we were meant for each other.

josh sis

me sis

 

 

 

Now, of course you know you are adopted. We do not share DNA. You did not grow in my tummy, and I did not give birth to you. In spite of that, there are things I see in you (memorizing bible verses for fun, loving workbooks, always reading, playing teacher) that force me to make the following speech:

Perfect is boring.

God works in the imperfect.

Do not focus on fixing your imperfections.

Don’t compare your body with your friends’ bodies, (skinny isn’t skinny forever…cupcakes beat genetics eventually).

Grades matter.  (I know we should have some type of college fund. Don’t count on it….procrastination) But, you are not your grades. I love you outside of that. Your intelligence is amazing, but it is not your identity.

Your heart is beautiful. But, you are human. You may not always instinctively know what to say or do. You will make mistakes. You will lose friends.

Don’t blame yourself when bad things happen, they just happen.

Don’t blame God when you don’t get what you want. That is immature.

You are you because God made me imperfect. You are you because God made your birth mother imperfect.

Your birth mother’s imperfections led her to me. My imperfections led me to you.
Imperfections can be beautiful!

I love you.

Love,

Little Miss Not-so Perfect

Ariel at desk

 

me in desked

The Mama Bear Glare

I remember the first time I met my mother in law. I was sixteen and we had moved to a new church. She was playing the keyboard and singing, and I thought she was just so pretty and had the most beautiful voice. (This is not ‘suck up’ talk, it’s a fact! The lady is lovely and can sing!) Not too long after that first church visit, I started dating my now husband. I don’t think I realized it then but you really can get a good idea about a woman’s personality by looking at her home. The first time I went to their house I came home and told my mama, “I love their house! They have a leopard print rug in the living room.” I guess I should’ve known then… my future mother in law had that mama bear animal instinct!

Like all teenagers, I was quite flippant about love and boyfriends and whatnot. So, at some point, something about my boyfriend annoyed me, and we broke up. The next Sunday, I walked in church and sat with some girls. The music started and I had that ‘somebody’s watching me’ feeling. I looked at the stage and saw my ex-boyfriend’s mama giving me, what I thought was, a big time mama bear glare. I am sure I just imagined it, because as soon as we made eye contact she quickly smiled, turned back to the keyboard, and belted out a beautiful worship song.

Cut to 11 years later. Me lying in a hospital bed, sweating, hurting, and extremely  slightly emotional after having Bubba. My inner mama bear was threatening to come out. (Don’t talk to my mama or my husband. They will tell you some silly story about a cray cray woman screaming at people and flashing everyone. It’s just not true.)  My mother in law walked in and I began to shed a few small tears. (Again, do not get your info. from anyone else! I was not irrationally shouting at my loved ones.) I calmly explained that I was having a difficult time breastfeeding and everybody wanted me to just give Bubba a bottle, but nobody understood how much I wanted to nurse him…Everybody was against me…Nobody loved me…. Why didn’t they understand…. Wahhhhh… (Ok, I’ll admit it. The mama bear may have actually shown herself, and she may have needed a little help dealing with her post partum emotions.) My sweet mother in law looked at me as though I were totally sane, which I wasn’t, and kindly told me it was hard for everyone and babies survive, and he would be ok. I took a deep breath and thought,  I can do this. Somebody is on my side.

Since the day I married her baby boy, my mother in law has always given me that kind of peaceful feeling. When things were sad, or hard; when I thought my situation was hopeless, I would talk to her and walk away thinking, Ok, I can do this…. I can handle this miscarriage. I can make it through my Granny’s funeral. I can survive the adoption process. I know it’s strange to say about a mother in law, but I love this woman so much! She is so many things to me; an example of a strong woman of God, an amazing mama to my husband, such a loving Nina, as she is called by my babies, and…she is my friend.

Katina and Josh's mama playing in the snow!Just the other day, I was talking to my friend, AKA Nina, and we were discussing that mama bear instinct. She said, “You know, I would do anything for my children. And now, with my grandchildren, I feel the same way… I would do anything for them.” I knew exactly what she meant, because my inner mama bear has shown herself many times over the past five years. I try to smile and be that mama who is calm and nonchalant, but often my mama bear is inside screaming, “If you harm one hair on my child’s head I will claw your eyes out.”

108blgteresa

We can’t help it. It is an instinct we mothers must fight against to allow our children to do basic things. They have to go to school, make friends, fight with friends, play sports, and eventually date…. Oh my goodness…. My children will want to date!

One day a girl will like Bubba. She will sit by him in church. She will hold his hand. (If you could see my keyboard now… There are literally tears dripping down on it.) He will think he loves this little hussy. He will ask me to buy her flowers and take them to the movies. Then, out of nowhere, over the silly whims of a teenage girl, she will break up with him! She will break up with MY baby! She will find a flaw in my perfect, beautiful, little man!

Now look who is sitting at a keyboard glaring…..

Snow brings out the devil

In case you haven’t heard folks, we’ve got some winter weather… here…in Louisiana! And I’m not talking about a little wintery mix! Oh no, it’s a Jim Cantore gets excited kind of snow! Apparently, this massive amount of white, fluffy stuff causes all members of my family to temporarily lose their minds. Let me explain.

We woke this morning and looked outside expecting to see beautiful snow on the ground, but nope… just nasty, cold rain. Meteorologists had predicted snow would fall over night. (Goodness, don’t they know we tell our kids this junk.) Sadly, I have been plagued with strep throat for the past several days. Like always, I used my free time yesterday (ahahaha…. Free time) to browse Facebook, where I was bombarded with the sight of everybody playing in the ice. I saw cute little pictures of their babies frolicking around licking icicles, while my kids put on Halloween costumes, jumped on mattresses, and ate junk off the floor. (Don’t judge, this was a painful strep throat!) I just couldn’t get off the couch, and I felt too much mama guilt for not taking my kids outside to play. I know what you are thinking. Why doesn’t your lovely husband, who you gushed over in the Popcorn Guy post, take them out to play? Well, here’s a little secret; every so often, my amazing husband is a BOB (This is an acronym my friend & I made up before acronyms were cool) Let’s just say it means he doesn’t want to do any activities! 😉 So, when we saw that stupid rain this morning, everybody was a little heartbroken. My throat was killing me and baby boy had kept me up most of the night with his ear infection. I was tired and totally over all this winter weather. We called Nina & Gramps (husband’s wonderful parents) and they gladly agreed to watch the kids so I could sleep off this nagging sore throat. We left their house, and it started sleeting.
My husband asked, “Is there anything you think you could eat?”

“Ummm, yes, I could definitely eat some Counter Culture frozen yogurt!” (or froyo for you cool kids) “Look, they are open! Oh my gosh! I’m so happy! There is absolutely nothing else I could imagine eating!”

“Ok,” my husband said, “I want Captain D’s.” (We were excited, my lack of employment has led to some very interesting at home dinner creations!)
I told him we would get his first, so mine wouldn’t melt. We got in line at Captain D’s and waited, and waited, and waited. As we sat there, small flurries started falling. My husband ordered his TEN dollar fast food meal! (What the heck? TEN dollars for weird, fake fish! Grrrrr!) We got the million dollar meal in a plastic sack and proceeded over to the yogurt place. “Closed due to inclement weather”  This was the point at which I snapped. (Please keep in mind, ‘You’re not yourself when you’re hungry.’) I was going on two days of chicken broth! Chicken broth! I was very upset with the following people in the following order: 1. Husband 2. Captain D (I don’t know what he’s the captain of? … the gross factory where minced shrimp guts are turned into fryable mush… Just a guess.) 3. The lady in front of us, at Captain D’s, who must’ve ordered fifty pounds of fake fish 4. The meteorologists 5. The Counter Culture girls (I know, my list is ridiculous!)

By the time we pulled into our driveway, giant snowflakes were piling up like something from a movie… definitely not set in Louisiana! It was beautiful. Instead of thanking God for this amazing snow, my time off from work, my healthy babies, heat, a fireplace… I was sad. I honestly started crying, just a little. (Disclaimer: I was sick, starving, & still running a little fever.) I had a crazy moment; I started furiously making mashed potatoes. (You know, chopping a little crazily, mashing kind of wildly.) I told my husband he would just have to pick the kids up, because I was about to play in the snow. I could tell by his scrunched up facial expression that he did not think this was a very good idea, but he just said ok. (Still my popcorn guy!)
I stood at the stove, baby on my hip, hair not washed, same clothes as the day before, and shoved mashed potatoes in my mouth while I thought about all the fun other people were probably having. It was in that self pitying moment that I heard an ambulance. This pulled me from crazy land and plopped me back down in snowy Louisiana where my husband had just driven away to pick up two pieces of my heart. I tried to call him while remaining calm. (Do all mamas do this when they hear an ambulance?) He didn’t answer. Two more times, and, finally, he quite grumpily says, “Hello.” I knew they were fine, I truly did. But, I just needed the reminder: be thankful.

So, everyone was home and bouncing off the walls. Bubba cried because he couldn’t find his gloves. “Just put socks on your hands.” I said. Sissy cried because she didn’t want to wear her big mittens. “Here,” I cheerfully replied, “mama found you two little gloves.” Woo Hoo! I was on a role! Everyone was bundled up and ready.

 

I opened the front door and saw my so sweet husband already outside, not being a BOB at all. He smiled a huge smile and began rolling snowballs to make a snowman. The snowman looked awful, and Bubba just had to give him two hookers, clothes hangers, for arms.

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My husband looked so happy as he grabbed a handful of snow and started making a snowball. Then I saw that competitive, masculine little grin on his face. Before I could say no, he was throwing snowballs at the kids. He was relentless. He looked like Jack Nicholson in the shining. It was terrifying. At one point he yelled, “Hey, Strep Throat!” I stupidly turned and got a snowball in the face. Next, he told the kids, “Come here, I have something to show y’all.” Weirdo, I know! He was standing by the truck. The kids slowly walked over to him expecting a snowball in the face. When it didn’t happen they relaxed and looked up at him. It was then that my loving husband scraped all the snow off the top of his truck onto the babies’ faces. Of course, tears started, and they stomped toward the house while their daddy grabbed his stomach and laughed.

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I’m not sure what this says about our life as a whole, but this was truly a wonderful day. How blessed am I?

Why I’m the disciplinarian

On a few occasions my husband has found himself in a position where he needed to discipline the kids. (I said, “You need to discipline the kids.”) I have learned his methods are crazy unique.
The last time he was given the opportunity to show the kids who’s boss he really let his creativity shine. We were on our way home and the ridiculous whining started. Whining that makes you want to jab sharp objects in your ears. It was late, and the kids were hungry. We drove through Taco Bell and picked up food. (I know…fast food=bad mama) The whining didn’t stop.
“It’s cold.”
“Noooooo I’m hot”
“She kicked me.”
“Well, lasterday he took my baby, and now I’m gonna take his Spider-Man.” (Lasterday translation: yesterday)
“Noooooo, now I’m gonna throw Josh off the castle.” (Josh: baby doll’s name, castle: loft bed)
Me to my husband: “This is getting out of hand. You have got to start disciplining them.”
Husband to me: “You’re right. I’ve got this.”
Husband to kids: “Hey, are y’all hungry?”
Kids in super whiney voices: “Yesssss sirrrrr!”
Husband: “Well, too bad. I am throwing your food out the window.”
Before I can explain to him why this is the worst possible idea ever he rolls down the window and pretends to throw the food out. Oh my goodness, I cannot express how horrible the last five minutes of our ride home were. Those kids screamed and cried the whole way. As usual, there was no reasoning with them. They couldn’t understand that daddy was only pretending. They cried in the house, they cried while they ate, and they cried getting ready for bed.
They finally calmed down and we sat together to say our prayers. The oldest looked at me with teary eyes and asked, still in a very whiney voice, “Mama, can we pray for daddy because he lied?” I gave my husband the stank eye, said, “You’ve got this right?”, then walked out of the room.

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I’m in Love With the Popcorn Guy

Pregnant people cravings have always annoyed me. I never understood all this pickles and ice cream junk. If I heard a pregnant woman talk about her husband driving to McDonald’s to get a stupid hamburger I couldn’t help but roll my inner eyes (I’m a people pleaser. I can’t roll my actual eyes.) I mean how bratty…. “I need a double meaty, extra cheesy hamburger. Now!” So you can imagine my surprise when, at around four months pregnant with my last baby, I woke up with a serious craving; Movie theater popcorn.

Nothing could be substituted for the real deal, not microwave bags, Jiffy Pop, the microwave buckets, not even an at home popcorn popper would work! I know, I know! It was karma and it was awful! All day long I could just imagine that rich buttery popcorn crunching in my mouth. The salty deliciousness sticking to my fat, sausage fingers! That was it, I had to have it! I frantically searched for a babysitter so my husband and I could go to the theater. I didn’t care what we watched as long as I got my fix. I tried my parents, but it was Thursday, that’s when my mama watches her “shows” (outward eye roll here, my mama isn’t included in the people I have to please). When my husband walked in the door I told him about my desperate need for popcorn. He sat me down and calmly told me his parents were out of town, there would be no popcorn. NO POPCORN! I was like Ross Gellar when someone ate his sandwich. I now understood the pregnancy craving phenomenon. My husband looked at me in my pathetic state and I could see the pity on his face. He stood up, walked to the door, and said, “If my baby wants popcorn, my baby gets popcorn.” HaHa, not really! He would never say something like that! But, he did give me an “I’ll fix it” look, and walked out the door. About thirty minutes later in he walks with that ridiculously large tub of popcorn. I had never loved him more.

That night as I was picking the popcorn off my clothes (and putting it in my mouth) I asked my husband if he was embarrassed going in just for popcorn. He said, “Baby, I would travel to the ends of the earth to get you what you wanted!” Just kidding, he would definitely never say that. He simply said, “No, I just told them my pregnant wife wanted popcorn.”

That pregnancy craving is still going strong, although my baby is five months old. The last time we went to the theater I heard the ticket kid tell his friend, “That’s the popcorn guy.” I smiled a big smile, grabbed the popcorn guy’s hand, and walked to the concession stand to get that delicious snack, the one that lets me know just how much my husband loves me.