Words with Daddy

I think I just fell more in love with my husband tonight.

My husband is a different man since he’s become a father.   He’s always had a good heart, very intelligent, and just an all around awesome guy.   Becoming a father seems to have magnified all of that with me and nights like tonight just make me love him more (if that was possible).

My husband’s job has him traveling a lot.    He left early this morning well before Davey was even up.   The only time he’s had with his son was last night when he put him to bed.   I spoke with him briefly this morning on his drive and put Davey on speaker phone so he could share some words with his daddy.   They were brief and to the point, but the love between my son and his father is evident.   My boy worships the ground Daddy walks on and I’m proud of that.

Tonight, my husband decided to Facetime me on my iPad which is perfect for Davey.   We sat in the recliner as my husband’s face popped up on the screen.

“Daddeeee!” Davey screamed (he’s moved past the da-da portion).

“Hi, Buddy,” my husband said back to him.

Davey looked up at me and then back at the screen as he saw his Daddy’s face in front of him.   He pointed at Daddy, waved at him, blew him kisses and even laughed.   It made me smile, but I suppose what made my night and made me fall more in love with my husband was the fact that he sat in a lonely hotel room and sang nursery rhymes to our son.  He read him a Dr. Seuss book, one that my husband knows by heart since he’s read it so many times to Davey.   He played “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” with Davey.   They did their ABC’s and even sang the song about two little red birds sitting on a hill.  It was the greatest ten minutes of my night and I know it was the same for Davey.

My husband talked about his day.   He asked Davey about his lunch and his dinner and inquired about the homemade strawberry muffins I’d made.   Davey did his best to communicate with the occasional nodding of the head, and his gobbledy gook of baby talk he has.   It was awesome and at one point my son tried to hug the iPad before waving good night to his daddy.   It melted my heart and made me smile as my husband did the same thing for our son.   They blew each other a kiss before we signed off, then I got a hug that I’m sure was meant for Daddy as Davey squeezed me tightly and then said silently and almost sadly into my ear, “Dadddeee.”

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Hanging My Heart for Davey to See

I’m on week three of the book “52 Things Kids Need From a Mom”.   This week’s reading is entitled “Kids Need Their Mom…To Hang Hearts of Love over their Lives.”   After reading, it had me wondering if I really do hang my heart for Davey to see?

Every morning, when I get Davey up, I tell him how much I love him.   I sing to him as I change his diaper and try to make some of the songs about how much I love him.

I’ve written him letters and even started a journal from the moment I found out I was pregnant with little things about my experiences, but mostly I’ve written him to tell him how much I love him.   I want him to know how much he’s meant to me, how thankful my husband and I are that he came into our lives.   He hears the words I love you continously throughout the day.   I’m not shy about saying it.   I congratulate him on little accomplishments.   I recognize him.   He’s the recipient of hugs and kisses on a daily and continuous basis.

I try to make sure my heart is ALWAYS worn on my sleeve where Davey is concerned, even when my feelings are hurt and I’m sad.   I think this generation has started down that path more with our children as opposed to that of my grandparent’s generation.   I think it’s important for our children to hear daily how much they’re loved, how important they are.   We seem to take it for granted too often that they know how we feel, so we just don’t say it.

I know my parents love me, but it took my c-section and my mother being out of town on business to actually hear her say the words “I love you”.   I haven’t heard those words in a really long time.

How often do you hang your heart for your child(ren)?   Have you done it today?   Make a conscious effort to make sure THEY know how much you love them.

Almost Time for the Razzle and Dazzle…

I keep seeing posts on Facebook about Oscar parties going on tonight.   The Today Show had Martha Stewart on Friday showing how to set up a bunch of swag should you decide to host a viewing party.   Flipboard is full of stories about who is wearing what, and how long it takes the stars to get ready, and I see Kim Kardashian flaunting her baby bump.

All of this got me to thinking about my life pre-Davey.   It’s like a song that brings back a memory and transports you to a previous time, a time of happiness, a time of sorrow, a time of a different you, a more free you.   Did I go to Oscar parties?   Um, no.   I don’t know of anyone who had Oscar parties either.   Would I have gone to an Oscar party?  Perhaps a LOOONNNNGGG time ago when I was in my early to mid twenties.  But I have to admit this does have me thinking…perhaps next year I should throw a pre-Oscar viewing party with Davey.   How am I going to do that you ask?

Well, he’s much too young to really understand the movies and what goes on with them, so this year isn’t necessarily a good time, but next year is a whole different story…he’ll be almost 2 & 1/2.   So, here’s my plan.

We’re going to start viewing all of the movies appropriate for his age.   I’m even contemplating scheduling movie dates with some of his playgroup friends so that they can partake in the fun as well.   We’ll watch new movies and old movies throughout the year and then by next January we’ll vote on these movies.    The movie that wins for the year will be a part of our Oscar celebration.   We’ll view it again, hand out awards, eat popcorn and hor d’oevres and even have some sparkling grape juice to toast.   The kids can dress up however they want.   I will encourage the moms to let them pick out their clothes for the special occasion.   I’m over the top just thinking about it right now.

And just as quickly as some little thing reminds me of my previous life, I look at my son and the above idea pops into my head.   I just ran this idea by Davey as he sat in my lap.   This is the response I got:

“Yeah, Mama.”

I don’t know if he’s really into next year’s plans or if that’s the only sentence he can say right now.

As for tonight, my plans for the Oscars…I may steal a glance at it when my husband isn’t looking, but I’ll probably be taking advantage of my time with Davey being in bed to get my writing done.   Oh, how things have changed.

Happy Oscars Night, Everyone!

Oh, No, No, No….Not Me!

Were the words that spilled from my husband’s mouth last night when I told him that I was going back to work and he was going to stay home with Davey.

What led me to encourage my husband to switch roles thereby eliciting a huge sense of fear from him?   I just don’t think Davey appreciates me anymore!   Ha!   I know, a lot of you out there think I’ve lost my mind and perhaps it’s much too soon to be taking this mentality, but it’s true.   My son pinches me, tries to bite me, smacks me and when it’s time for bed at night, I no longer get a hug from him.   Last night, when I tried to get a hug, he smacked me in the face!   The nerve!

After putting my son to bed, I asked my husband why he seemed to be so apprehensive about staying home with Davey.

“No way.   I just don’t think I have your patience.   I’m home with him for two or three hours at night and I feel like I’m losing my mind!”

Do you know how happy that made me?   Maybe I shouldn’t be ecstatic about my husband’s anxiety and frustration, but I am.

Here’s the thing, and a LOT of people who’ve known me can attest to this, I’ve never really had patience before.  When I was pregnant it was a hundred times worse.   I actually went a little nutso on one of my co-workers and from that point on, he was afraid to come near me.   He wouldn’t even tell me goodbye on my last day.   So, to have my husband tell me that he doesn’t have my patience has just made my day.

I’ve actually replayed last night’s conversation over and over in my head today.   It’s made me smile.  It’s made me happy.   It’s made me feel good because it’s like getting instant gratification.   My son has changed me and it has been for the better.   I can’t see it, although I can feel it sometimes, but apparently those around me can see the change.

And by the way, I’ve since changed my mind about going back to work, at least for today.   So far, Davey hasn’t underappreciated me and when I ask for a hug, I get one with a nice little stroke of my hair.  Stay-at-home mommydom is working again.

Discipline…How Do I Enforce Thee?

When I was pregnant with Davey, I used to watch Super Nanny.   I don’t know why I was drawn to the show.   Perhaps it was to see what I may have in store for my future or maybe I just wanted to see how lazy parents were as compared to my parents.   I mean, let’s be serious, my brother and I didn’t climb on the kitchen table and start throwing food.   We had some sense and we knew that if we misbehaved there would be disciplinary action to follow.

After watching the show, I developed some theories and ideas on how I was going to enforce some rules within my house.   I knew what I could tolerate and what was definitely going to be out of bounds.   And truthfully, I didn’t think it would be as difficult as it is now boding.

I don’t know what to do with Davey.   He’s only 16 months old and while he’s not out of control, he’s still doing things that are definitely considered off limits.   If I try to discpline, then he laughs at me.   It’s all a game to him and I’m quickly losing patience.   I’m the one taking time outs for crying out loud and I’m not the rule breaker!

I grew up in a time when paddling your child was acceptable.   My brother and I turned out perfectly fine, no emotional scars on my end, but we quickly learned that if we didn’t want to get paddled, then perhaps it was best to NOT break the rules.   In today’s time, paddling your child is almost tantamount to child abuse (which I don’t agree with).

Davey has gotten a pop on his hand or even on his leg, but I’m not interested in taking that approach to discipline him.   I’m not judging it, but I don’t want to do it.   It doesn’t make me happy and I know that it didn’t make my dad happy either.   I used to think he got some sort of thrill out of paddling me and my brother, but now that I’m a parent, I know he didn’t like it.   It’s not fun when you have to discpline your own child.

I guess what I need is some advice.   What can I do?   Davey understands “no”.   He knows when he’s not supposed to be doing something, but he does it anyways.   It’s literally a game to him and I don’t know how to get it through his head that jumping from the coffee table to the hearth is not a game.   I can’t just sit back and wait for him to bust open his head and say “well, I hope you’ve learned your lesson.”

I’ve tried to put him in a time out chair, but that doesn’t work.   I feel like some of the moms from Super Nanny and I’m frantically trying to recall what they did to get their toddlers to sit and learn (maybe it’s too soon for mine).   I’ve tried to ignore him, as I think sometimes he breaks the rules just for attention or to see what sort of behavior he can elicit from me.   I can’t ignore him though when he’s trying to climb onto the stove for the umpteenth time.

I know I’m not the only one to go through this.   I know there are others out there and I need you.  I’m imploring for you to help me.   Please save a least this one portion of my sanity.   What can I do?

My Mama’s Not So Secret Recipe

Here’s the latest on my cooking expedition. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with ideas and make things that are inexpensive, healthy, and that allow you to use what’s already in your fridge or pantry. Thankfully, we buy a lot of chicken when it’s on sale (must be less than $1.99/lb), then we bring it home and freeze it. Chicken is easy and versatile and can be healthy as long as you’re not frying it.

Last night, I decided to do a homemade recipe that comes from my mother’s archives. She’s been making this chicken for as long as I can remember and it is literally the best barbeque chicken I’ve ever had. The sauce is the key and it’s made from scratch and super delicious! My husband loves this and gets super excited when he walks in the door and the aroma smacks him in the face.

The first thing you always want to do when cooking chicken is to cut off any sort of fat. We usually buy boneless chicken breasts as they’re much easier to work with, at least for a novice like me. Occasionally you might find a random bone, just look at the breast before cooking them.

Once that is done, I just quickly seasoned the chicken breasts with a little salt and pepper before dipping them into my homemade sauce. The recipe for the sauce is attached. As a side note, my husband is a bit disappointed that I’m posting this as he believes my mother’s sauce is some age old secret recipe. I’ve conferred with her on this matter and she’s unaware of it being a secret since every woman in her family over the years has used this exact same sauce.

BBQ Chicken

The chicken has to bake for an hour and a half total, so that gives me a little bit of downtime and the opportunity to determine what sort of side dishes to make. Last night, I decided I would roast a butternut squash and then just cook some green beans. I actually went easy on the beans and just opened a can of Green Giant (I had coupons and the cans were on sale, so I got a steal at 30 cents a can and stocked up on them like I did with the chicken).
There’s really not a recipe for the butternut squash, it’s all just seasoning to taste. I like to cut the squash down the middle long ways and then spoon out all the seeds. Next I peel the squash and then start slicing and dicing. Now that I’ve learned the technique to NOT drawing blood while using a knife, I LOVE to dice.

Butternut Squash
Butternut Squash

Once you have little cubes, I put them all in a bowl, salt and pepper them, pour some olive oil over the top and then add in some crushed rosemary. I give them a quick toss before putting them on a greased cookie sheet and then put them in the oven at 300 degrees for 45 minutes. I flip them over midways through cooking and then just let them cook along with the chicken. For the next 45 minutes, I’m playing with my son.

Here’s the turnout for last night’s dinner:

Ah...dinner!
Ah…dinner!

It’s all a huge hit in my house, except for the beans. I can’t seem to get Davey to eat them unless I sneak them in with a macaroni noodle at some point!

My husband is travelling this week, so Davey and I will be on our own with dinners. Guess it’ll be frozen pizzas and hamburger helper!

Never Forget the Power of YOUR Touch

You’ll recall a little over a week ago, I spoke of a book I’m reading and I encouraged all of you out there to pick it up as well.   It’s titled “52 Things Kids Need From a Mom” by Angela Thomas.   As I stated, it’s an easy read and separated out to be able to read a chapter a week, with each chapter really only being about five pages long.   Now, if I had been on schedule (which I’ve learned can be quite difficult once you become a mom) then I would have posted a blog about the second chapter on Friday.   Of course, last week wasn’t the best week.   I was sick, my child was sick, we had some snow, and my husband and I were eager for a date night.   Needless to say, posting a blog on my weekly reading took a back seat, but now I’m back at least on this topic.

Chapter 2 is entitled:  “Kids Need Their Mom…To Never Stop Touching Them.”   Being a part of our sometimes warped society, I immediately went into a not so happy place in my mind when I read the chapter title.   I had to remind myself that this is a Christian book written by a Christian woman who would never encourage any perverse ways of “touching” your children.   With that frame of mind now accomplished, I set about to read the chapter and I have to say, I find myself touching Davey more and more everyday.

Much like Ms. Thomas, we have affection in our home.   My husband and I love to hug each other, we hold hands (a lot of times just walking through a parking lot) and we both dote and love on our son.   He is our treasure, our gift from God and I can’t stop touching him and telling him how much I love him.   Over time, said touching can diminish.   It does a lot in marriages and it’s something that my husband and I must be conscience about.   We have to remind ourselves to not be complacent and to touch each other.  The power of the human touch is a magical thing.   Fortunately, at this point, we don’t have to remind ourselves to touch Davey.   It just seems to come with the territory when having a baby.

“To touch someone can communicate a million things,” Ms. Thomas says and she’s right.   I think we lose all sense of what our touch can really mean to a child.   It can bring forth feelings of love, home, safety, comfort, and acceptance just to name a few.  Isn’t your child worth receiving those feelings?   How often do you touch your children?   How often do you hug them, tousle their hair, kiss their foreheads, wiggle their toes?   It seems like such a small and almost effortless thing to do, but it’s worth more than can be quantified.

Ms. Thomas puts in best when closing this chapter she states, “Never stop touching them.  The gift of your enduring affection will become one of the greatest gifts you ever give to their souls.”

So, I ask all of you who are parents out there and even those of you who aren’t, will you please touch your loved one tonight?   Never forget the power of YOUR touch and what it can mean to someone, especially the smallest ones in our lives.

As a bit of inspiration, here’s a picture of one of my first touches which just happens to be a hug from my beautiful bundle of joy:

Our first hug.
Our first hug.

Happy Anniversary

One year ago today I embarked upon a new career.   It was a career that I’d never considered before, but once I made the decision to switch things up, I eagerly counted the days until I could start my new life.  

I have to admit that it was completely new territory.   I’ve never voluntarily quit a paying job before especially if I didn’t have another one lined up.   I was nervous and a bit scared as to what may come into play.   Could I handle it?   How long would it take before I missed my old life?   How many people would judge me?   And then what about my education?   I have three degrees, one of which is a Masters and I was giving up all of that for the coveted Stay-At-Home mom role.  How exciting and intimidating. 

To tell you the truth, I couldn’t exactly imagine being able to keep this job for a month much less a year.   I worried about our finances and I worried about my state of mind.   Would I be bored?   Would I be overwhelmed?   Would I lose my sense of self?  I had numerous questions roaming through my head. 

I can still remember the first day.   Davey and I stayed in our pajamas the entire day!  I know, I know, way to be a good and productive stay-at-home mom, but I figured he and I both deserved a down day, a day for just the two of us to soak each other in and get used to the fact that we were going to be inseparable for a long, long time.  

A year later, I look back and reflect on how my life has changed, how enriched it has become, how truly thankful I am to have the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom.   It was a decision I was doubting, one I was fretting over, but one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.  

Happy Anniversary to me and to Davey.   We’ve made it a year together, kiddo.   Here’s hoping for many, many more.

Twitter feed….to the right, please

I’m not sure how many of you follow my Twitter feed.   I’ve posted it on the home page on the bottom right below archives.  Most of what I tweet is related to my life as a mother and it usually comes from other mothers throughout the world whom I follow.   Of course, sometimes you’ll get the occasional rant (like I can’t stand Justin Bieber and I’m not sorry about it).

Anyways, I follow this one mom.   Her name is Kimberly and she is a mother of 4 (bravo to her!).   She wrote a beautiful little poem on her page and it was called Entangled Hands.   It made me smile and cry and just warmed my heart.   If you have a moment, please go to her website…www.reflectionsofnow.com and read her post Entangled Hands.    I retweeted the link and again it’s on my Twitter feed at the bottom right of my home page.

Enjoy!

If You’re Happy and You Know it….

Say “hooray!”

HOORAY!

I love that little song.   I sing it every morning to Davey.   He’s able to do everything except actually say “hooray”.   So, what made me decide to start a blog out this way?   I suppose it could be based on this article I read on Parenting.com.

As you all know, I’m constantly perusing Flipboard coming up with new things to write about it.   Sometimes I get a twinge of inspiration, other times, I get on a rant.   This time I was intrigued by a title that read:  Study:  Older Parents are Happier Parents.   And of course, since I’m only a couple of years away from 40, I feel that I am older than the average parent (especially first time parent).

New research published in Population and Development Review claims that most parents under the age of 30 are less happier than those who are over the age of 40.   Hmmm…..interesting and I seem to fall right between the two age sets.   Before I go too deep into the survey, let me give you some quick 411 on PDR.  It is a journal published by the Population Council that seeks to advance knowledge between population and social, economic, and environmental change and provides a forum for discussion of related issues of public policy (verbatim from their website:  www.popcouncil.org/publications/pdr).   Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find the actual survey as apparently I need to make a donation in order to subscribe to them (everyone wants some money these days!).

I trust the abridged version I read on Parenting’s website and it’s gotten me to think about how happy I am now as opposed to how happy I was before.   I can’t speculate much on if I’m happier than my friends who became parents in their 20s, but I can say that this is the happiest I’ve been in my life.

I was happy the day I met my husband and the day I married my husband.   I was genuinely happy, but this is a different level of happiness, or maybe its a whole new happiness I’m looking at.   For the first time in my life, I feel that my life has a purpose and that makes me happy.   For the first time in my life, I feel that I’m needed and that makes me happy.   I’ve had purposes before and those that needed me, but it wasn’t the same as it is now.   Of course, would I have been this happy had I become a mom in my 20s?   Too hard to say.   There was a different frame of mind and priorities in play at that point and that’s what a lot of this survey is focusing on.

For example, the reason the researchers deduce that older parents are happier is because they’ve “lived” a life before having children.   They’ve sown their wild oats, indulged in a career and dreams and travel.   A bit shallow if you ask me, but it’s also something I can relate to.  Of course this is for “first time” older parents, but let’s take a look at the other side of the spectrum.

Older parents with older children seem to be just as happy as those older first time parents and the reason being is because the older children are lower-maintenance, thus allowing more personal time for the parents.   Again, a bit shallow, but it is reality.   And it seems to be that every part of the “happiness” wheel revolves on the one thing and that being the frame of mind of the parents.   Let’s see if I can make this a bit clearer…our happiness (at least from what I am able to read on this survey) is based upon selfish reasons and those selfish reasons are how having children seems to impact our lives outwardly.   And the one common denominator with this survey is that apparently first time parents in their early to mid twenties are less happy.  Don’t shoot the messenger, folks!

I’m a happy parent because I get to have this wonderful little gift from God.   I’m a happy parent because I get to learn something new everyday.  I’m a happy parent because I wake up and go to bed to unconditional love.  I’m a happy parent simply because I am a parent and I can’t imagine that really being different at any age.

I’m going to attempt to do a little bit more research to try to get my hands on this survey (free of charge) and post it on this site, but I’m curious as to the rest of you out there.   Do you feel that you’re happier than your younger or older peers?