Date Night…Again

Yesterday, after a previous engagement I was looking forward to was canceled, my husband asked me on a date. He even went so far as to line up a baby sitter for the evening first, to make sure we would be able to go.

(This is where we cue a chorus of “Awwww” and this face:)

Awwww, shucks, ain’t he sweet??

Date night is always something to look forward to; am I right, ladies? But when you’re parents, and your daily schedules revolve around things like picking Cheerio dust out of the carpet and changing dirty diapers that smell like rotten cauliflower, the idea of a night out sounds like a straight-up vacation. And if there’s some kind of chocolate dessert involved, that vacation just got promoted from a weekend at a bed and breakfast to a week in Maui.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, my mood went from blue to “woo hoo” in the ten seconds it took me to say yes! Then I asked him the ultimate pre-date night question.

“Got anything special planned?”

And as usual, got the same response that I’ve gotten on every date night in the last 13 months. “Dinner and a movie?”

Insert pouty face here.

See, here’s the thing. We are creatures of habit. We frequent the same handful of restaurants. We frequent the same number of stores. And when it comes to fun time out, especially in the Deep South in the middle of the most miserable summer in recent history, the movies is it. Dinner and movie is great….but can you blame a girl for wanting a little romance? Candlelit dinners in some perfectly quiet restaurant with linen tablecloths and snooty waiters? A romantic stroll on the beach, holdings hands and strolling down memory lane? Maybe even an unexpected adventure, exploring this place we call home, but that has so much more to offer than we’ve ever really bothered to experience?

So I whined a little. “We always go the same places…we always do the same things…wah wah woe is me.”

And Brian, being the knight in shining armor that he is, suggested a NEW restaurant that we’ve never been to before! Placated, I agreed to the dinner and a movie date as planned, with the shiny new restaurant in my pocket as a consolation prize to not being whisked away in a private jet to Italy for dinner and drinks. (So sue me, I read too many romance novels.)

As I headed to bed last night, though, I really started to think about the way things had transpired between us. Here is this man—–this hard-working, generous, thoughtful man who went out of his way to make me happy. He secured a babysitter, looked into movie times, even asked his co-workers about restaurants, so he could take me on a date. This guy—the one I’ve been married to for almost 12 years, the one who still makes my heart skip a beat, the one who always knows how to make me laugh…

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…that hunk of mine wants to take me out on the town. He wants to share a special meal with me, just us, where we don’t have to race through our meals as fast as we can because a certain little squirtlet is tired of his high chair. He wants to take me to a movie, where we can hold hands in the dark. He wants to spent time with me…just me. Just the two of us.

And that’s what date night should be about. Not about what fancy restaurant we try, or what others (read, wives who read too many romance novels) perceive as being “grand romantic gestures.”

So I don’t need the flowers and the ambiance and the “someplace new.” I don’t need the fanfare or the box of chocolates. But what I do need is a few hours every now and then to spend with the great love of my life, to remind ourselves that even though we aren’t as young and thin as we once were, we are still those two crazy kids who fell madly in love one summer in the mountains of North Carolina.

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Besides, movie theater popcorn rocks.

Musings of a Tired Mom

We’ve been watching a lot of Sesame Street lately. (And when I say a lot, I mean enough that Brian and I are walking around singing songs about sharing, the alphabet, and the wheels on the bus on the regular.)

Now, if you’re not familiar with the Sesame Street family, this post isn’t going to mean anything to you. We thank you for stopping by, and wish you a very happy Tuesday.

But if you ARE familiar with the Sesame Street family, you’re totally going to get this post. Especially if you’re a stay-at-home-Mom with a pile of laundry up to your nose and an ever-overflowing trashcan.

I know Prairie Dawn is kind of a stick in the mud, but there are a lot of cool cats on the Street. You know, the kind of folks you might like to be friends with. Super Grover would be handy to have around as a pal since he’s generally adorable (even if he sucks at fixing stuff.) Elmo is a delight, once you get around the nasally voice and penchant for singing constantly. The Count is always helpful—especially if, like me, you stink at math.

But I’ve decided, of all the kids that live on Sesame Street, I’d like to be best friends with Abby Cadabby.

Abby and Abby

She has the coolest name on the planet. She’s pink and fluffy and adorable. And she has a penchant for making her own rules. But while those are all valid reasons to befriend a … puppet … that’s not the main reason why I’d woo her and make her my very own shiny BFF. (Just go with me here.)

I’d choose Abby Cadabby to be my best friend because she’s a magical fairy. And surely, in her large repertoire of spells, she MUST have a “clean the kitchen, vacuum the living room, wash all the laundry (and fold it too), write a grocery list, pick up all the stray Cheerios, steam clean all the bottles, and take out the trash, all while keeping the teething, clingy toddler happy” spell.

That’s not too complicated for a 4-year old imaginary puppet fairy, is it?

So move over, Elmo. Us Abby’s have to stick together.

This post is brought to you by the letter “P,” for Poorly Photoshopped Pictures.

Sentences I Never Thought I Would Say

Motherhood changes a lot of things: your daily schedule goes from “All About Me” to “All About Baby;” the amount of sleep needed to function changes from 10 hours per night to two; how much time you spend watching Sesame Street increases exponentially; and the sheer volumes of coffee required for daily activities makes you consider buying stock in Folgers. But the one thing that has changed the most, for me, (other than the lack of free time I now have to stalk Zachary Levi on Twitter) is the stuff I hear myself saying on a daily basis.

Seriously, guys. At least three times a day, I have this moment:

source: GIFSoup

So, for your reading pleasure, here’s a quick list of just a few of the things that have come out of my mouth and made me question my sanity.

Pooping in the tub is rude. And gross. Mostly just gross.”

“If it hurts when you hit yourself in the head, then don’t do it!”

“If you pee on me, you’re grounded.”

“So that’s what a Cheerios-and-green bean burp smells like…”

“Oh, honey! It’s toilet paper, not confetti!”

“Poop is not for playing with!!!”

“The cat is not a chew toy, dear.”

“I know they smell nice, but bananas are NOT shampoo.”

“Don’t eat ___________!” (Insert items at your own will, and don’t be afraid to be creative here. Answers might include, but aren’t limited to: Daddy’s shoes, carpet fuzz, the remote, your foot.)

“Where did you find that _______?” (Insert items at your own will, and don’t be afraid to be creative here. Answers might include, but aren’t limited to: that old BandAid, pair of Mommy’s underwear, three-week old petrified noodle, phone book from 2003.)

“I know the Desitin looks creamy and delicious, but trust me when I say it’s not.”

And finally, the coup de grace…

Your butt is not a set of bongos. Especially when covered in poop.”

Shaping Future Memories, One Day At A Time

​When my son looks back on his childhood, I want him to remember snuggly Sunday mornings filled with homemade cinnamon rolls and movie marathons. I want him to remember autumn afternoons spent with family in the backyard, swinging so high it’s as if his toes might touch the clouds, the smell of hotdogs on the grill. I want him to reminisce fondly about this football game, or that trip to the zoo, or the evening we caught fireflies by moonlight. My hope is for him to look back and know he was loved, beyond measure, and be happy for it all.

Some days it is harder than others, to be the perfect parent he deserves. My nerves may be frazzled from constant demands and lack of sleep. My patience wanes after the two-hundredth time of explaining, guiding, teaching. We may struggle learning the concepts of “please” and “no.” There have been tears shed — his and mine — as we test boundaries and try new things.

I am in awe of his courage, his intelligence, his eagerness to learn. I strive, every single day, to quench that thirst for knowledge. And I worry everyday that I am failing. We sing, we recite the alphabet, we count everything in sight and still — he wants more. I fall into bed every night and replay those teaching moments on repeat. Did I do enough today? Could I have been better? Should I do that differently? How can I be the best Mom I can be?

In the end, my goal as a Mom is that one day, in the not so distant future, he will remember mud pies and long games of tag and splashing in the surf. That he will remember the Board Game Olympics and Mario Kart matches and epic pretend Stormtrooper battles with his Dad. He will remember how much we laughed. And that he won’t dwell too much on the days I lost my temper and shouted, or the minutes spent in timeout for biting the cat, or the restricted screen time he doesn’t know yet is for his own good. I can only hope that these lessons of kindness and respect and manners will, in the end, be appreciated by the man he becomes. And that the silly knock-knock jokes, and the required family dinners, and the ticklefests will enrich the fabric of his childhood.

In the meantime, I will have an extra cup of coffee to stave off the sleepies. I will take a deep breathe and explain, again, that yelling to get what he wants is much less effective than asking. And I will make sure my face lights up every time he sees me, so he knows how glad I am to see him (even though it’s 5 a.m. on a Sunday.) Because he deserves the best mother in the entire world, and even on days when I feel less than, it’s my job to give him everything I have and more.

365 Days Ago…

….”we” became “three.” And we’ve loved every single minute of it. In celebration of our son’s first birthday, I’ve created a little video compilation of all our favorite moments. It’s been, without a doubt, the best year of our lives.

I’d walk you by it step by step, but I’ve got a shiny new toddler to spoil today. Happy viewing!