Thursday, August 27, 2009

Follow the Paper Trail

I just need to vent for a few minutes today. Okay? Thanks.

I love school. I love many of the people who decide to become school teachers. We all know they do it out of love for the kids and love of the profession, because it certainly isn't for the money. And I have to admit, I do love having a few hours during the day to get some things done around the house without the kids running around behind me undoing my work!

What I don't love? The thousands (okay - it just FEELS like thousands) of papers that come home everyday!

Half the time I can't figure out what's supposed to stay home and what's supposed to go back because my children don't pay attention to where they put the papers in their folders. The teachers have a system: one pocket is for home, one is for stuff that needs to go back to school. Not a complicated system, but apparently REALLY time consuming for a couple of boys, because they can't seem to be bothered to figure it out.

My job? I get to sift through the piles and try to discern what got turned in, what got forgotten, what's homework and what's just graded stuff for me to look at.

I am overwhelmed with the sheer volume of stuff that I have to look at everyday!! 6-10 pieces of paper per kid a day! How do people with lots of kids not drown in it!?

So I'm begging you, teachers...PLEASE! Can you quit sending home every scrap of paper my kids make a mark on? Just give me the highlights!! I need my sanity and my couterspace back.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why Do I Have to Keep Saying It?

Overheard in the back of my car today on the way to school:

"Big Brother, I love you."

"I know, Little Man."

"Aren't you gonna say it back?"

"(Heavy sigh) Little Man...I have to love you. I'm your brother."

Okay...not exactly the loving sentiment I would have liked him to return, but at least he feels some kind of obligation toward his younger brother. I guess that's better than them fighting. I hope he grows out of his apathy toward his sibling soon and returns to being his loving self.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Need Help with Dinner? Try Fix Quix!

Now that school has started, our family is struggling to get back into the routine of school and homework and sports practices, etc. I don't know about you, but as a mom I sometimes feel guilty that the meals I feed my kids are not as healthy as I would like them to be, because frankly? There are days when I am just too tired or overscheduled to cook a perfectly balanced meal. Add to that the fact that its still blistering hot here in Arizona and the thought of turning on the stove or the oven is just too much to bear.

We have resorted to lot of salads and sandwiches lately. In trying to be creative with my salads I ran across Fix Quix products by Buddig. Fix Quix is a new, convenient to use, refrigerated, cubed meat product that can be a versatile meal starter, as well as a healthy protein snack.

It's available in 3 different flavors: Grilled Chicken, Oven-Roasted Turkey, and Smoked Ham, so it gives us some variety to work with. It's also low in Calories – (Grilled Chicken has 60 Calories per serving, Ham and Turkey have 70 Calories per Serving) and fat, so I feel a lot better serving it to my family. Because Fix Quix meats are high in protein, it'll be much easier for me to incorporate them into salads and casseroles and have a more nutritionally balanced meal.

I actually tried 2 of them for the first time today. I tasted the turkey and the chicken and like them both equally.

Ready to try it? Fix Quix can be found in the refrigerated meat section of your grocery store. And Buddig is offering a $1 off coupon just for Arizona, Texas ans St. Louis residents, which you can download and print - just present it at the register when you check out.

$1.00 online coupon

Tonight on our menu? Pasta Salad with Grilled Chicken Chunks and Garlic Bread (inspired by the picture!). Yummy, easy and healthy, cause it's loaded with lots of veggies and protein. Buddig just made our night a lot less hectic.

**I received compensation for this product post. In accepting thsese sponsorships, I always give my honest opinion, regardless of whether or not I am compensated. If a product is great I'll tell ya! If something stinks, I say so. If you are a loyal reader, you already know that about me. If you are new to Boymom, you'll soon find out that I calls 'em as I sees 'em.


I Yam Who I Yam

THANK YOU! Finally a magazine got it right!

Have you seen this?

Am I alone in finding this a refreshing departure from the picture perfect bodies I see all day long in advertisement after advertisement in print and on TV?

In all honesty, I cannot name one person among my friends who has six pack abs. I cannot name one of them who doesn't have some kind of issue with her body. So why does the media portray the SuperModel body as the norm for our society?!

I know, I know. This issue has been hashed to death and we have all have an opinion about women and our body images and how those images create issues and how those issues mess or don't mess with our ability to be at peace with who we are.

My opinion on the issue? Well, I'm fat. And I have issues. I'm fat cause I have issues stemming from abuse and they mess with me everyday in some form or another and my body takes the brunt of my emotional issues. One of these days I may get it all figured out and actually end up being a fit, healthy middle aged woman. But it's a struggle. So, yeah...I guess my body image affects my ability to be at peace with who I am, along with all of my other "issues." And I hate having to feel worse about myself than I already do because society says my body doesn't fit the "norm." So please, media...remind me everyday by shoving perfection in my face, okay? I'm pretty sure that will help get me motivated!

You know what actually DID get me motivated today? Lizzie Miller and her picture. You know why? Because this beautiful woman, with her full thighs and flabby belly and stretch marks, looks very comfortable in her own skin. (She's a plus size model at size 12? Gimme a freaking break!) And I for one am glad that she was comfortable enough to let someone take a picture of her in all her glory. Why? Because as fat as I am, seeing this picture made me remember that my body image shouldn't define who I am as a person. Fat, not fat, flabby or toned, I am who I am because of what's on the inside (just like we tell our kids, right?).

Maybe the media is finally getting it. Yes, it's nice to see beautiful, healthy women with six pack abs and a perfectly toned butt in nice clothes and pretend that's how we might look in those clothes. But it's just as nice to see beautiful, healthy women who have left over baby houses on their tummies in nice clothes (or in this case in no clothes). Why? Because it's reality. It's who we are. Yeah, the clothes may not lay as nicely or fit as snugly without bumps, but Lizzie represents the other 95% of us who weren't born with skinny genes and who aren't great about working out 4 hours a day or who have other issues that keep us from becoming a hard body mom. She shows us how clothes will really look - on a normal person. She reminds us that we are great women and mothers and wives and sisters and friends, regardless of the body we come in.

Thanks to Glamour and Lizzie for showing us the true "Normal."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Big Brother is Growing Up

Big Brother turned 10 yesterday. It was a good birthday. We spent the day together with his friends seeing a movie with lots of military guys and explosions. His kind of flick. Then we ate pizza. His kind of food. And to finish the day, the boys had a big afternoon at the pool. His kind of exercise. So it was easy for me. My kind of party.

As I watched him throughout the day, my mind was flooded with memories of him from the last 10 years. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Big Brother loved his Winnie the Pooh Bear. We had it in his crib when he was born and he immediately bonded with that bear. He loved it, he hugged it, he talked to it, he needed it. When the bear got left somewhere, we had to go back and get it. He rubbed part of the fur off of the paw because he would rub his mouth and nose with the paw to relax or go to sleep. Bear was his stress relief. We loved bear too. Bear was the embodiment of Big Brother. Bear was cuddly and soft and happy and comforting. Just like Big Brother. They were a package deal...where there was one, there was the other. When Little Man came along and started to be aware of Bear, he was always "borrowing" him. The problem was that Little Man did not necessarily care about where he left Bear when he was done with him. One day we took a wagon ride, with Big Brother pulling and Little Man riding in the wagon with Bear. Somehow, somewhere during the ride, Little Man tossed Bear out of the wagon. We didn't notice until that afternoon that Bear was gone. When we finally realized what had happened and feverishly retraced our path, Bear was nowhere to be found. We even put up "missing" posters with Bear's picture. Bear was never recovered. Big Brother shed a few tears and we gave him a stuffed rabbit to sleep with that night and he got over the whole thing in a matter of a day or two. Big Man and I however, still mourn the loss of Bear. It was like we lost part of Big Brother when we lost Bear.
  • When Big Brother was little, I was always worried about him choking on his food. He would eat fast and not always chew good. So sometimes he would kind of cough or gag on a big bite and I would always panic and ask him if he was choking. (My husband teases me about the asking thing, but I was trained in CPR as a hostess at a steakhouse - people always choke on meat! - and that's one of the first things they teach is ask the person if they are choking before you do anything. Google it. Anyway, like a toddler would know or even answer, but it's what I did and I was a new mom, so give me a break!) So apparently I asked him if he was choking alot because one day we stopped to get an Icee while we were driving home and I looked over to see Big Brother holding his head and making these twisted, painful faces. "You okay, buddy?" I asked. He looks up at me with this squished up face and says "I choking. I choking. My head, Mommy! I choking." I immediately recognized the signs of Brain Freeze and busted up laughing. He looked back at me, kind of puzzled..."I okay?"
Yep Big Brother. Yer better than okay. You are the most amazing boy any mother could ask for and you have brought me more joy in 10 short years than I have experienced in my entire 45 years of life. Because of you, I am a better person (and yes, a little forgot to take your house - my stretched out belly - with you when you were born). I try harder and I love deeper. You are kind and forgiving and accepting and loving and funny and you light up the world when you smile. While I have had the greatest honor of bringing you into this world, you have given me so much more...You gave me life, son.

Happy Birthday Big Brother.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Yes, I Love That Man of Mine

I have been so ungrateful lately. I have good friends and a good family. And I don't thank the people who support me like I should. So thank you to all of you for your constant stream of positive input and encouragement, for your prayers and the efforts you make on behalf of me and my family.

But most deserving of my recognition today is my husband - Big Man - for his efforts as of late. I've not been very good about recognizing his contributions for a while now. Because I have been very frustrated with our life for a while now. And I kind of blamed him for a lot of our struggles. Some days I still do. But I am realizing that I bring a whole box of blame to the table too, although I think my box is like the size of a shoe box, while his is more like a refrigerator box moving box. Anyway, whether I want to acknowledge it or not, my emotions are just as much of a drag on our marriage and family life as his issues are.

The thing is...he went above and beyond for the last month and a half and did something I wasn't willing to do. So I need to give him credit. After several years of working in an office, and another year and a half of either unemployment or partial employment, he took a job working out in the 113 degree sun all day, in the hottest July on record here in Arizona, doing something that was so physically draining that he could barely make it into the house at the end of the day. He did it for very little pay compared to what he used to make and he tried really hard not to complain (I think he was just so tired and sick from the heat he couldn't speak). He didn't want to take the job when his brother told him about it. He knew it would suck. But at my request, he humbled himself and made the sacrifice so he could take care of his family.

The job is over now, so we are back to worrying about money again. But he learned alot about himself. And I learned some things about myself too. While I seem to have lost most of my confidence and direction, he seems to be regaining his. I kind of blamed my loss of self-worth on him for a long time. I am realizing that my lack of confidence, which has NEVER, ever been a problem for me before, is more due to my not taking the time to stay educated and prepared for a time when I might have to help support us financially again. I can get mad and blame him for being unsupportive all I want, but the truth is, I didn't do anything to take care of myself the last few years; not physically, spiritually, mentally or financially. I kept waiting for him to do that. That's why I got married. So I would finally have someone I could count on to help me meet my needs. No matter what they are. I didn't always have that growing up and that's what I thought marriage was about. Filling that void...right?

Well, I am learning that I have to be responsible for my own peace and happiness, regardless of what my husband does or does not bring to the table. And I am learning that I need to accept his offerings with more gratitude. Maybe his gestures are not as big and grand as I want them to be. Maybe his growth is not happening as quickly as I need it to happen. I need to acknowledge the fact that it is happening at all. He is moving forward, albeit in babysteps, and that is more than I have done for a few years now. And it took him putting himself in a really difficult situation for me to appreciate his efforts, because truth be told...I would not have been strong enough to take a job like that and suffer through it.

So I want to publicly thank Big Man for putting himself out there. It may not seem like a big deal to some, but it is to me, and to him. It's a sign that maybe, just maybe, he is starting to overcome some of the dysfunction. That maybe he is more willing to keep an open mind about his future. That maybe he can overcome his demons and find his life path. And if he can do that, maybe I can too. Then maybe our boys will actually end up with highly functioning parents who can offer them something of value as they grow into adulthood, like support and love and direction and guidance.

He and his brother are going to start their own business because of this job that he took. It was truly the job from hell. But he lived through it and I am excited for him to be successful with this new venture. He and his brother have earned it with blood, sweat and tears. Literally.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Back to School Backlash!

We had the big blowout today. Actually, we've had the big blowout the last two days, over homework and chores and getting ready for school in the mornings. Because I guess my boys lost their capacity to think or function over the summer. And apparently their brains are not prone to recalling previous experiences with the whole school routine because they act like this is all new to them.
So we will try a new tactic tomorrow which DOES NOT involve me herding them like mindless sheep through the process of getting ready and to the car. I don't know what the new tactic is, but I do know it will not leave me feeling bad when I drop my kids at school for the day having fought with them all morning so we coud get out of the door on time.
I'll let you know how it goes...once I figure out exactly what it is I will be doing.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Back to School

My boys started school last week. They don't ride the bus. If they did, I'm sure this is what they would be doing:

Why? Because that's what boys do.