Remember The Time

Remember that time, I had a pretty good blog.

I would write things.  You would read them.

Sometimes we would laugh at my parenting shenanigans and other times we would cry about my past traumas.

We built a relationship.  We were falling in love.

I took you out for coffee on Saturday mornings and showed you photos on Wednesdays.  We had a routine.

Then I started seeing other people.  Well, I had been cheating on you for months with Roller Derby.  However, recently, I started also seeing Education.

My life is squeezing my blog out.  It is squeezing my time for reflection and creativity in this space to an all time low.  My blog already lived on the fringe of my family time.  It slept at my feet and often got kicked off the end of the bed.

Well, now The Mother Flippin’ Blog is sleeping on the floor in the basement.

Let us take a moment to review my ridiculous schedule.

  • Monday is now assigned reading night after an early evening of helping with homework and making dinner.
  • Tuesday I have an online class followed by half a roller derby practice after an early evening of helping with homework and making dinner.
  • Wednesday is my only free night and my two oldest boys have karate.  After which I try to squeeze in a little homework so that I can be ahead of the curve.
  • Thursday is roller derby scrimmage night (FUN!) after an early evening of helping with homework and making dinner.
  • Friday used to be family night and if I can squeeze that in, I end up staying up until midnight finishing my online assignments and working on my portfolio.
  • Saturday, if I do not have a roller derby bout, I have a day at home with my little ones that I spend cleaning at a relaxed pace.
  • Sunday, a final roller derby practice (Endurance. Uuuugh!) an online class and meal prep for the upcoming week.

This does not include the 40-60 a week I work, have meetings or the time I take to be a good wife, daughter, sister and friend.

I am breathtakingly busy.

I am an overacheiver by trade.  I could be less busy if I chose to get less than a perfect 10 on every assignment.  Why would I do that though?

I could have more time, if I didn’t try to help my children with their homework or insist on tucking them into bed on the nights I do not have to skate.  Who would ever want to miss those kisses and snoozles.

I have also started doing research for my book and sometimes, I open up a dusty box and find anxieties, depression and sorrows I was not looking for.  When that happens, I slip up into my attic and hide until I can allow myself to cry it out on my yoga mat or into my keyboard.

I now remember why crock pots are the greatest invention of all time.  I check my calendar every morning and still managed to miss my first physical in two years.

(Don’t worry, I will call and reschedule.)

I am tired but I miss you.  I will try to remember to call every once in a while until our casual dating can turn into something more serious.

Until then, feel free to date others but don’t forget about me.

Love,

Tashmica

PS – I have recently discovered Tumblr and I love it.  You can find me there on the go OR on twitter @MotherFlippin

Happy 7th Birthday, Little Fish

This week marked the 7th year of life for you, Isaac.

You are the little boy we named “laughter” in Hebrew and watched blossom into a true joy. You are the prankster in our family. You love to pull pranks and whether we fall for the joke or not, you still point and laugh uproariously.

This year has been a year of seeking for you. You are the finder of rare rocks, interesting bugs, magic potions and the very best hiding spots. You are starting 1st grade this year. I can’t believe how you have grown.

I am not entirely sure why we are so lucky to have you as a part of our family but I am so happy you are. Nothing would be near as funny, sweet, joyful or loving without you right in the middle of all of us.

We love you, Isaac.

Mommy loves you.

Enjoy a whole, full year of learning, seeking and finding new things. Thank you for sharing your discoveries with us.

Sincerely,

Mom

Seek & Find Isaac

The Sock Hop

I believe that you lose a bit of your soul every time you have to match and fold white socks.

I hate it.

I know.  This is the part when you tell me folding is for suckers.  You probably just pile them in a drawer somewhere and match while you go.

I am sure that is just awesome for you, yourself and…you.

Huh.  That worked out way better in my head.

As for me and my house, we have a lot of feet.  Ten feet, to be exact.  Most of which need a readily available pair of socks prior to putting on shoes.

If you have a lot of children, like I do, than you know that a single road block on the way to becoming fully dressed is like the Berlin Wall of accessorizing.  There is no try. There is only do or watch your children completely lose it over the mismatched sock drawer.

“Isaac, do you have your shoes on?”

“Nope.”

“Why not?”

“There are no socks in the sock drawer.”

“Yes, there are.”

“Not in my size.”

Harumph.

“Of course, there *move socks around* are.  I just folded *pushes more socks to the side* socks yesterday. Who unfolded all the socks? *darts evil stare at Vito*

*Vito smiles, farts and pretends to cluck like a chicken.*

Wonderful.

Some hours later, we do finally manage to finish preparing to venture out into the world and I am already exhausted.  It is 9a.m.

Today, I decided that the boys could and would help me fold socks.  Vito was mainly directed to play elsewhere.  I showed them how to match and then how to tuck the socks inside themselves to keep them together.

Isaac was off like a flash.

If it were to save his life, Isaiah could not fold socks.

I taught.

He struggled.

I encouraged.

He complained.

I became frustrated.

He did too.

“Isaiah, why is this so hard for you?” I said completely perplexed.

“It’s just not my gift.”

I laughed. I laughed loud.

I then encouraged him to keep trying.  He kept whining and I started to think.

COME ON, MOMMY BRAIN!  There has got to be something I can use from my handbook on parenting!

What is it?  What is…it?!

I HAVE IT!

*Sigh*

“I *dramatic pause* am a terrible cook.”

“Mom, you cook good stuff all of the time.”

“Oh honey, it was not my gift though.  I hated cooking and had to practice for years to learn how to make things that taste good for my family.  I still don’t really enjoy it.  It’s something I have had to work on.  Now, I am proud of a very few things I can make for friends and family.”

*Isaiah, catching on to the parallels, eyes me suspiciously*

“Keep trying, babe.  You’re doing well.  It may take a minute but you’ll get it.”

*Isaiah drops sock*

Wordless Wednesday: Sleepyheads

I was doing my late night checks.

This is similar to what you’ve seen in Girl Interrupted but with more love.

I go through the boys’ bedrooms shutting off lights, covering bare toes and kissing lightly warm foreheads.

I’m also making sure all of my boys are where I left them. Sometimes they move.

I panic a little and eventually find them sleeping under the bed, in a closet or in a laundry basket piled high with blankets.

All of those things have happened.

Levi wasn’t in bed last night. So, I went to the next obvious place, my bed.

Nothing.

I could hear him breathing. I checked the floor on the other side of the bed.

Nothing.

And then this.

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He had slipped under the fitted sheet.

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(Yes, he does have a shiner.  I told you.  He’s a mob boss.)

My guy lifted the veil so I could snap that photo. I stifled giggles while Paul lifted him up and headed to the correct little bed.

I guess he gets his sleeping habits honestly.

This is our Little Fish at around the same age.  My apples are lying directly under the right trees.

If you have a sleepyhead photo of your child you’d like to share, visit The Mother Flippin’ Fan Page and add your own Wordless Wednesday to the wall. :)

Enjoy your day, wherever you may fall asleep.

Love and checks,

Tashmica

Love Letters

I leave in 6 days.

I will cross an entire ocean in a plane.  I will visit two continents before I come home.  My children will not be in either of them.

So, yes.

I am experiencing a bit of anxiety.  In fact, more than I thought.

My husband will cook for them.  He will prepare healthy meals.  Some of those meals will even include organic produce.  Their laundry will be washed and folded by him or Bobby and Adrienne (our part-time nannies).

They will receive handwritten notes from me, published blog posts and a visit from a few of my friends.  I will call them from a very remote area.

*deep breath*

Many of my friends say that they will be fine and I agree.  They will be fine.

I am the one who is a basket case.

Do you know what I have been telling myself?  Do you know the Xanax to my maternal panic attacks?

2.4 million orphans in the country of Uganda due to HIV/AIDS.  So many mothers and fathers gone.

I have the gift and the opportunity to leave love notes. I imagine, that so many would have loved to have been able to plan better for their deaths.  No parent hopes for a death that will impoverish their entire family and leave children hungry.  We hope with bated breath that our babies will live long, full and successful existences.  We hope that we will die first after preparing them for life.

When life smashes the glass, we do our best to deal with the circumstances we have been dealt. Dealing can leave so much to be desired, even when parents are at their very best.

I keep thinking that I am a love letter.

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And who wouldn't love this face?

I keep thinking that if my children were left with no one, I would want a loving stranger to step in.  I would want an organization like Nyaka to work hard to serve them.  I would want teachers to be thought of as family.  I would want donors to see value in lives that have no connection to their own.

The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project is a love letter.

It is lives smashed like glass and dealing at its very best.  It is wear empty meets full.

I hate leaving my own children.  I question getting a job regularly.  Even this job.  I wonder if it is worth it.  If the little bit I do on a daily basis is enough for the school presentations I miss or the spring break I won’t be a part of this year.

Then I think about how I tell my children…

I loved you before I knew you.

I think about all of the notes on their bathroom mirrors, secretly tucked in uniform pants pockets and written on windows.

I am a blessed woman and I will take a different kind of love note with me this time.

We May Have A Tie

Ok.

So yesterday, I reported to all of you that I won Christmas.

While this is mostly true from my perspective, there is definitely more to the story.  As I said before, Paul is the undefeated champion of all gift bearing holidays.  He was not going to go down with out a fight.  And fight he did.

He used that spreadsheet, counted stars and came up with some crazy good gifts.  He told me in advance that one was sure to make me cry.  I started to doubt him when he admitted he forgot to get me any stocking stuffers.

What?  No chocolate?  No Biggby giftcard?  No winter socks?  I have come to expect certain stocking privileges.

In response to my obvious disenchantment with an empty stocking, he changed his tune and put one of my gifts in there along with a school gift from Isaac.

One gift was beautifully wrapped.  It could have been a tiara.  I tried to shake it.  Paul wouldn’t let me.

Harumph.

I had to wait.  I tried to wait.  To prolong the inevitable goodness.  I love gifts and I love surprises.

Christmas is my day.

Well, actually it’s Jesus’s day but let’s try to focus on my story, shall we?

I was certain the pretty box was going to be the winner.  Nope.  It was a tea kettle for my latest addiction to tea.

Really.  According to a friend,

“Tea is a gift to your body.”

I am a new part-time convert.  I still love my coffee. It is brewing now.

Anywho, the kids all hand painted the sweetest pottery.  A heart-shaped platter made complete with a face complimented by wild Emo hair.  It made me giggle.  I have been drinking and eating out of a cup hand painted by my Vito every day since Christmas.  Isaiah painted a snowman that is sitting on my kitchen counter that I imagine will be brought with the Christmas decorations every year.

The boys picked out purple slippers in the UGGs Style.

Do you see what I am doing here?  So much suspense!!  I nearly died.

Wait for it though.  This is gonna be worth it.

Finally, I opened the big box.  I waited as long as I could but finally the boys forced it upon me.

It’s just an amazing Zuca bag.  The bag of all skate bags for my derby.  I immediately  packed it.  Practice is only one week away.  I need to be prepared.

Okay.  Are you ready?

I was allowed to get my stocking before nap time.  Mostly because I am a grown up and mostly because I was dying to know what was going to make me cry more than my beautiful Zuca bag.

Yes, this 31-year-old woman has been stating that she might want to go back to school eventually.  There was never a concrete plan, enough time, enough energy or enough money.  So far, eventualities seem to be failing me.  Apparently, someone wanted to put his money where my mouth was.

Nice move. *sob*

We may have a tie.

Sincerely,

Tashmica

PS – Don’t forget to “like” The Mother Flippin Fan Page!  I will be posting pics of my handmade pottery there.  I am a lucky momma. :)

Now Off to Peel, Boil and Mash the Potatoes!

Before I had children I worried that people would think I talk too much. I worried that my opinions were too strong. I still worry that my inappropriate humor will seem, well … inappropriate to more appropriate people. As I have evolved into a woman of almost thirty I worry less about what others think of me and more about my inner truth.

No, not some relative theory of right versus wrong.

I worry that I will not have enough integrity to be who I am in every situation.

Facebook is one example. Do I post that I would rather throw myself down the stairs than create another meal plan? Or do I say what everyone wants to hear a mother say? Something like, “So, glad I put that roast on this morning. Now off to peel, boil and mash the potatoes!” with a little :) to place an emphasis on the joys of my domesticity. Do I post that I hate being organized because it causes my neurons to catch on fire with everything I am now responsible with? Or do I say something positive?

Even now, I can’t think of a single example of something nice to say about my schedule. How’s that for a :).

My search for personal integrity is only complicated by my family. Children have a way of making you face your insecure worries about other peoples’ thoughts. Every time you are forced to make a decision about your children in the presence of another human being your personal integrity is being tested. Oh, and don’t let that human being be a person whose opinion actually counts for something. Sweat drops will start to form and your brain will start to ooze at the thought of making the “wrong” parenting choice.

Marriage means compromise. It means that because you are now one human being, you get to share a personal integrity that may not be your own. My personal integrity tells me that my sarcasm will give my children a unique sense of humor while my husbands’ says it will give them all smart mouths. Unfortunately, we are probably both right and we have to negotiate what our personal truth will be in our home.

I try to live honestly. I hate it because it does mean vulnerability. It means that when you are moving through this world you are not wearing a coat of arms. There are no facades. When people say mean things about me, there can be no misunderstanding. They are talking about ME. When my parenting is called into question, it really is MY parenting. I am not pretending to call my son a Ding Dong when he finds his gloves in the bottom of his backpack (but Mom, I looked there!).

The good news is that this rule also applies in good circumstances. When I tell my husband that he is the hardest worker I know, it’s the truth. When I allow a friend to sit in the warmth of my kitchen it’s because I want her there. When I am praying for a friend, I am praying with sincerity.

Where my honesty fails me I hope that my love will bring me some mercy.

:) ….for emphasis.