Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Valentines, Flowers and a Dead Snake

In the land of sugar and spice and everything nice, I wasn't quite prepared for my first "boy" valentine. But from the realm of snips and snails and puppy dog tails, I received a gift to scream for. Those who read this blog will know that I found two adorable puppies on the edge of the interstate in early January. Yes, we still have them. No, we haven't as yet found the perfect home for both of them. We are getting close, though, and my heart will break a bit. In their little puppy innocense and their gentle kisses and bounding enthusiasm at my bedside in the morning, I have felt again what it's like to be a mother and to be loved as one.
I was relaxing at home on a rare night off with my husband, when I was presented with my puppy "Valentine." The little pooch, whom we call Scout, came bounding in from outside and hopped up on my lap, snuggling next to me on the couch. Usually, he's perfectly content to plop down and stay for a few minutes before finding a place to sleep on the floor. This time, he was behind me and wriggling a little too much. I leapt to my feet, feeling something foreign on my back and saw a long, thin shape that I recognized by screams before I did by sight.My husband confirmed that I had been presented with a dead snake. Granted it was only about as big around as a pencil and slightly longer than one, but it was still a snake. Matt grabbed it up and took it outside and I tried to calm down. I'm usually quite rational, but I was a bit weirded out by the thought of a dead snake on my couch with me!
A little while later, the dogs were coming back in from an outdoor potty trip. I can still see little Scout in slow motion. That "thing" was in his mouth and he was headed straight for me. Needless to say my hysteria reached a new level, but was contained as soon as the snake made it to the garbage can outside.
I only have a little girl, so I'm using this boy puppy experience to imagine what it would be like to have a male child. As my husband was trying to tell me, the snake was a gift, a present, and expression of love. As a mom, I've learned to rave about all of Faith's gifts to me. Just the other day I became so frustrated while trying to get out of the house to get back to work and I couldn't find Faith. She had gone out again in the rain when I told her it was too nasty outside. I saw her coming up the driveway and I was about to reprimand her when I noticed the flowers. She had been out in the rain picking a bouquet for me. My heart melted and the reprimand softened considerably. I know you're never supposed to look a gift horse in the mouth, but nobody ever prepared me for the dead snake.
- Liz Fabian

Sunday, February 26, 2006

He's ready NOW

So we've been explaining to Daniel about the move, shown him his new house, even bought him some new red sheets for his big bed. Basically, he's ready. And I mean he's ready to move now. Last night he wanted his new house, his new red sheets, and that's all there was to it. Personally, I'm with him. Can't wait for the big moving day. If only it didn't require actually physically moving all our furniture. Where's a good Star Trek transporter when you need one?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Matching Moms

Feeling a little alone? Looking for other moms in your area? Looking for other kids for playdates? Visit www.matchingmoms.com! I've found several good friends, and some great contacts, on the bulletin board. It's worth a shot.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Moving madness

In our quest to move from Macon to Warner Robins, Daniel has been pretty good. Of course, our Realtor helped; the first day she met with us Heather (from Fickling) brought him a couple of coloring books that explain what moving is all about. We read them together and he seemed to get behind the idea. He was excited, of course, by all the people who came to look at his house, showing off for each one. Then he was impressed the day we went to look for "my new house," collecting nuts and yard debris from each place. He even helped pack his toys. But then he helped unpack them - before we actually moved. And of course, every time I put something in a box, that's the one thing he just has to have. Bless his little heart.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Day care fun and games

Every working mom knows how hard it is to find someone you trust to take care of your child. For Daniel's first three years, I worked nights while my husband worked days, just so one of us would be home with him most of the time. We did fairly well, even though I was burning the candle at both ends. I think Daniel is stronger and more secure now for that little bit of time he had with us. Plus, bing at home with dad every evening has turned him into a real guy - you know the type - works on his trucks, landscapes the yard, kicks back in the recliner and leaves the seat up. And days with mom taught him about doing laundry, putting his dishes away and helping clean the house. But since I started on days, we've been through three day cares. The first one was good, and I had used them for short-term care or songle days when I was working nights. But when he was going to go full-time, I wanted something a little more learning-oriented. The second one was structured, but the staff turnover was dizzying. He had three teachers over the course of a day, and I felt I could never get a full answer on how he was doing, until there were problems. Because he finally figured out that each teacher had different rules and a different tolerance for misbehavior. And to a 3 1/2 year old, that's license to act up. Plus, once he got caught a feww times, he learned that acting up was the way to get mom or dad out to his school. Not so good.
So we've changed care providers again, and I think this time I've hit the jackpot. The curriculum is structured and on-level. The classrooms are neat, but crammed with stuff to do. And the teachers are young, energetic, and involved with both mom and kid. Every afternoon I get a little report on how he did, whether he took a nap, ate his lunch, took care of bathroom business, the works. And if I can't be there, that's the next best thing.

Friday, February 17, 2006

UsBorne Books

So, my UsBorne books consultant moved away, and I'm looking for a new one. Home businesses are an interest for me, as I have been a PartyLite consultant for some time. I've met Discovery Toys folks, Creative Memories and Tastefully Simple people, and even a Surprise dealer. So if you've got your own home business, drop me a comment - especially if you're with UsBorne books! My little side business just keeps me in candles, but I know moms who are able to stay at home with their kids thanks to their entrepreneurship.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Dinner's ready

Faith was helping me cook the other day. We were having guests so she wanted to make a salad. In a little plastic bowl, she broke up pieces of graham crackers and crumbled a piece of bread. We definitely needed some greens. Holiday M&Ms did nicely, she thought, some of them are green. Why not add a few fruit treats for added color and texture? Pretzels and Cheerios completed the dish.
Our guests bypassed her bowl, but mom and dad each had a healthy helping. Dad even went back for seconds.
We're high on praise for her culinary efforts. The marble cake from the Easy-bake oven for dad's birthday last year was quite tasty. Her watermelon/olive/soy milk surprise lunch was not as big a hit, but worthy of praise.
We started working on her kitchen talents a couple of years ago. One night she surprised me with "dinner." I knew the plastic delicacies on the Barbie plates would do little to satisfy our hunger or nourish our bodies. When I told her we needed real food, she protested and was about to get really upset. To head off any crying during my dinner hour, I invited her to help me fix our real dinner. She took me up on my offer, pulled her stool to the sink and started helping me peel shrimp. Although some nights her "help" causes me more work when I have to clean up spills, I enjoy the time together. Too many cooks can spoil the broth, but not enough parental attention might ruin a child.
- Liz

"I hate mommy"

I knew this day would come. Even before I was pregnant, I anticipated hearing the words - "I hate Mommy." To be honest, I didn't hear them directly from my 5-year-old. My husband repeated her declaration for me. The funny thing is, he's actually responsible for the incident that sparked her hate speech.
What was the crime? Changing the sheets on her bed. One morning last week, Faith and I both decided it was time to remove the snowman flannel sheets that ceremoniously appear around her birthday. We agreed she could help me put on her flowered sheets when she came home from school. The problem is, Dad beat us to it and chose the wrong sheets. I knew he was in trouble and warned him to be prepared for an emotional reaction when she saw the fresh striped linens already on her bed. I didn't realize I'd be the target of her outburst.
As usual, I tried to use this as a lesson. While I know she doesn't really "hate" me, I feigned hurt feelings for hours. I wanted her to know her words can have consequences.
"I didn't know you didn't do it," she explained.
It didn't matter, I told her, because you shouldn't "hate" anyone over a pair of sheets. You shouldn't hate anyone. Period.
There were plenty of hugs and kisses to make up, but I'm not sure she saw the error of her ways. There will likely be more opportunities to reinforce the moral of this story. She won't be a teenager for 8 more years.
- Liz

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Mom's love in the morning

I got my Valentine's Day present at 5:15 this morning. Ususally, when Daniel gets up at this Godforsaken hour, it's with a list of "I need," or "I want." This morning, though, he crawled in between mom and dad, snuggled up to us both, and proceeded to cuddle and talk to us until we were ready to get up. I know this time won't last - the time when he wants to spend time with us instead of us chasing him. And in the crazy, busy days we let slip by, I'm glad to stop and recognize how precious and important those few minutes are. So Happy Valentine's Day to all you moms, here's hoping your kids come to you today.

Monday, February 13, 2006

"Surprise" birthdays

So how often has your baby come home from school with a stealth invitation to a best bud's birthday event? Or worse, you simply forget altogether that little Jimmy's birthday is coming up until the day of the party! Here's a way to avoid a last minute panic:
In the bottom drawer of a desk, cabinet nightstand, or under a bed, keep the following: Small game sets - jacks, marbled, tiddlewinks, dominoes, jump-ropes. Books and book plates (This book belongs to" for a variety of ages. Fun patterend socks. Mini-art sets - avoid anything that will dry out. Bubble, bubble bath or bath crayons. A couple of gift bags for each gender. Anytime an event sneaks up on you, grab a bag and drop a couple of items in it. Voila - no panic, no problem! And for the hosting mother - pretty bath soaps, a small tin of flavored teas or a variety of tealight candles say "thanks for inviting my kid" and assure an invitation to return.

Friday, February 10, 2006

To-do list

For your list and mine:
Don't forget the Almost-2-new consignment sale today and tomorrow.
Houston County High students are putting on a play just for kids: "The Adventures of Rikki Tikki Tavi" at 2 p.m. Saturday at the school. Sounds like a fun 50 minutes, and a great way to support your teen actors.
Support your new Children's Museum: It's cold, and if you and your little ones want to stay warm and have a blast this weekend, head for the Children's Museum in downtown Macon. Take a picture. Send it to me. I'll post it.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Policing our kids

The Peach County Sherrif's Office has a new program where you can put a bumper sticker on your kid's car and, if he or she is stopped, the officer will report the time and day of the stop, the reason for the stop, the number of passengers in the car, etc. to parents. Am I the only one not sure about this? First, it smacks of distrust between parent and teen. Second, it almost begs an officer to pull your kid over. If we call this what it is -- profiling -- then shouldn't we be as concerned about it as we are outraged by other types of profiling? Or do we, as parents, really want (or need) Smoky's help in keeping track of our little bandits? Strikes me we could just stick a GPS on the kid's car and keep track from the comfort of our laptops. Let me know what you think -- really. Just click on "Comment"

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Scaring mom half to death

Note to dads: When mom has had a kid-scare, such as "Where'd he go? He was just right here!", give a couple minutes of comfort and make sure her blood pressure has returned to normal before moving on with your day.
My husband learned this one the hard way Sunday after our son disappeared down the street in hot pursuit of the dog (which he'd let out of the back yard). I chased down boy and dog, secured both in the house, then called my husband and demanded he pick up padlocks for the backyard gates on his way home. "No problem," he says. "I've got one in the back. But I'm here at Best Buy and this is this and that is that...." I'm pretty sure I snarled at him as I hung up the phone. I just couldn't downshift from panic-mode that fast, you know?
Speaking of moms-in-panic, isn't it odd how the list of our fears is directly affected by the list of our children's fears? What I mean is, the fewer things they are afraid of, the more things we are afraid of for them.
For example, moms' fears include: sharp sticks, strange dogs, snakes, bugs, spiders and lizards (just on principle), sunburn and whatever is in the dirt that made that mud pie. Kids' fear: that mom will make them come inside before the sun goes down. Moms' fears: Toys with small parts (including those building toys with the magnets), rubber balloons, plastic bags, pennies and too many stuffed animals in the bed. Kids' fear: that mom won't let them play with something. Anything. Doesn't really matter what. Mom's fears: Anything that makes kids mobile - power wheels, roller skates, bikes and cars (God grant an extra angel to every mother's child with a driver's license). Kids' fear: none of the above. All together now: "God grant me the serenity..."

Friday, February 03, 2006

Resources for moms

I ran across two gems this week that I have got to share with all my fellow moms.
The first came in the form of a flier at my son's preschool: The Almost 2 New consignment sale is coming up, Friday, Feb. 10 8-10 a.m. and 4-8 p.m. and Saturday, the 11th 7 a.m. to noon, at 209 Willoughby Court, Macon. For those of you familliar with the MOPS consignment sale twice a year in North Macon, this is built on the same principles, only for South Bibb, Houston and Peach county residents. the organizers, Pamela (781-7046) and Jennifer (785-0103), have been at this a few years now, and the sale has been growing. They are still accepting sellers; the guidelines are simple: don't try to sell anything you wouldn't buy. That means excellent condition, reasonably priced for a consignment sale, and clearly tag items. For specifics, give them a call. Sellers get 70 percent of their sales; the remaining 30 percent covers mailings and advertising for the sale each spring and fall. "I let my daughter pick out toys she no longer plays with to sell," says Jennifer. "She gets a little spending money that way." Very nice, ladies.
My second blessing of the week was the arrival of my subscription to MomSense, a magazine put out by MOPS International. I signed up as research for the blog, but with my subscription came a free copy of "Just give me a little peace and quiet: 60 mini-retreats for a mom's soul" by Lorilee Cracker. And it couldn't have arrived at a betteer time. We've had a rough week, my boys and I, and just about the time I'm ready to snap, God sends me a reminder that I'm not in this alone. "God is full of gifts for us moms." reads the intrduction." One of those gifts is time - when we take it - to revive the spiritual, gifted, beautiful woman inside that meat-cutting, fight-refereeing, sleep-deprived chick our kids refer to as "Hey, Mom." " Love it. And I'll share some of the better passages as I get to them. MOPS also has a list of titles that include "Five-Staar Families: Moving yours from Good to Great," "Real Moms: Exploding the myths of motherhood," "Children change a marriage: What every couple needs to know," "What every mom needs: Meet your nine basic needs and be a better mom," "The scoop on being a young mom," and my favorite, "Mommy's locked in the bathroom: Surviving your child's early years with your sanity and salvation intact." Tell me more!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Puppy Love

With Faith now filling up the bathtub, I miss those cuddly days.She can hardly fit in my lap anymore, let alone cradled in my arms.Maybe that's why I've fallen so hard for "the boys"- two little pups I found wandering along the guard rail on the shoulder of Interstate 75 about three weeks ago.
My first thought was calling them Ying and Yang as they are nearly identical except one is white, the other black with a tiny touch of white on the bib and as a little goatee.But after their first bath and the shedding of thousands of fleas, the names "Boo" and "Scout" stuck. They are named for two characters in my husband's favorite black and white classic film, "To Kill a Mockingbird."
With the boys "fostering" with us while we find a loving home, Faith has become quite the little mommy. She lovingly lugs them around with her hands grasped under their front legs that stick straight out in front flanking their round bellies. Faith cried the first school morning because she didn't want to leave the puppies.
We've been straight with her that we were probably not going to keep them, although maybe my husband and I are the ones that need convincing.I guess the message is getting through to her. Faith has moved from "if God wants us to have the puppies, He'll make a way," to "I'm not going to thank God tonight for the puppies because we're not keeping them. Right?" Let me get back to you, Faith, after I snuggle a little while longer with them on the couch.
Those little guys have really gotten to all of us. Now the challenge - find a home for them as good as ours! Next step, the classifieds... Puppy love for your Valentine... I sense the inspiration.

Get Belle

There's a great article in the February Belle (out today) by Kim Zachman. It's an excellent review of her afternoon at the Museum of Arts and Sciences with her girls. Also, I'd love to hear from anyone who's taken their little ones to the new Children's Museum in downtown Macon.