Just Poppin In on Your TV Screen!!

I have neglected this blog a little because its so easy to write about my furry friends, but I learned some awesome news about our blonde friends!! Mandy and Carly the creators of Just Pop In (http://www.justpopinonline.com/) located in Indianapolis (who I wrote about for one of my very first posts) informed us today that they were on Ellen live on Wednesday!

Holy crap!! That was my first reaction! If you haven’t read their story check it out because its pretty amazing.  To make it easy just click on Just Pop In to the right of this post under “Links”.  We are so proud of them and I thought it appropriate to tell their story once again with a little extras. 

After quitting their jobs weeks apart, Mandy and Carly started a small store front with the idea of poppin’ corn. Really? Popcorn? Who knew?  Since 2003 they have gone from a little store front in Broadripple to a location in the Indianapolis airport and yet another location in Indy sharing space with another spectacular idea that Mandy dreamed up.  Night Owl Baby. 

As they spread the love all over Indy  their locations have almost doubled, their charity to the AIDS foundations have been recognized, they have seen their faces and their stories in Indianapolis Monthly on multiple occasions and they are an official sponsor for Izod, which brings me to Ellen.  As a sponsor, in the last week they have traveled (apparently we can now officially call them international (well national) business women) to California for the Long Beach race.  In the process of their sponsorship and their promotion of Just Pop In, they Popped into a live taping of the Ellen show and actually made an appearance.  We don’t know the details but it was too cool not to talk about. 

Two local girls (who partied their way through college-don’t tell them I said that) taking a chance with a shared idea gives the rest of us hope for dreams to come true.  Congratulations Carly and Mandy-have fun in Cali and we WON’T 😉 think about you as it rains and is 40 degrees out here!!

(Pictures from “Just Pop In” and “Night Owl Baby”)

GET IN THE KITCHEN!

 

Definition: Kitchen [noun]: 1. A room equipped for preparing meals.  2. A cookroom; the room of a house appropriated to cookery.  3. A utensil for roasting meat; as, a tin kitchen. OR the place on a pool table you place the cue ball when your opponent scratches.

 *******

“Get in the kitchen”…a phrase I never knew had any other meaning besides it was my turn to do the dishes.  I had no clue it was a phrase linked with playing pool, even though my aunt and grandmother had a pool table.  This ignorance may have had something to do with the fact that I could never develop any knowledge or skill because I am the only girl on my mother’s side with a brother and five cousins.  During family parties, even if they asked me to play, it was a winner-keeps-going kind of “tournament” and, as you can guess, I pretty much sucked.  “One and out”, now that phrase I was familiar with.

So you can only imagine my excitement when part of the deal in combining households was that I also got to adopt a badass pool table.  A pool table I didn’t have to compete to play on, a real pool table I might actually get to use with cues and everything.  Yeah, I was ecstatic.  If only I knew how high maintenance a freakin’ pool table was going to be.  Think I’m exaggerating? Not so much, let me break it down for you:                     

No. 1:  Not many houses have the space to accommodate a real game of pool without having to stand on chairs, shoot backwards, between the legs or around the waist.  In our relentless search to find the perfect home, this had to be a factor.  This factor almost put me in a position where I would have had a pool table in my dining room….my dining room. (Oh, it was considered).  When we finally admitted to ourselves that finding a place big enough was virtually impossible, we settled on rat-holing the table down in a basement, because getting rid of it was absolutely not an option.  Fortunately, after a little convincing, we saw the house with the outdated brick 🙂 and we discovered the space.

No. 2:  Now that we finally had the room to accommodate our new growing obsession, we had to then figure out how in the hell were we going to move the thing!!  This is where our incredibly strong 😉 and wonderful friends come in, along with Mike—who we affectionately refer to as our pool table guy. 

Because the company originally used to move the very heavy, backbreaking, 100-year-old table the first time around was now out of business (probably due to some sort of bodily injury), we were at a complete loss.  Wandering around Northwest Indiana trying to come up with a solution, we headed into an “indoor/outdoor store of fun”.  You know it as The Great Escape.  Bracing ourselves for an astronomical price to get the job done, we were pleasantly surprised to be referred to Mike Bement, owner of Integrity Pools. (Ask for him specifically when buying your next pool). 

No. 3:  Taking apart a pool table (at least a pool table made in the early 1900s) is a really crappy job.  For those that don’t know, underneath the felt are three massively thick pieces of slate and about 1,000 bolts (that may be an exaggeration).  Newer tables have one whole piece of slate, but this particular table was made up of three because of its age, each weighing more than a grown man.  Enter Mike, the pool table guy.  He turned out to be great and knew his stuff, but the only problem was that he also installed swimming pools and we were now getting into the swimming pool season.  He agreed to come to the house to take it apart, but we (a/k/a our very strong friends) would be responsible for physically moving it.

I am told that the taking apart process is not necessarily that bad, it’s the conversation during and after that process that became the issue.  Apparently, while taking apart the high maintenance table, Mike explained that he also could/should order and install new bumpers, new felt and that we probably should get new pockets…let the games begin.

(I’d like to take this paragraph to again Thank our friends who almost disowned us for asking them to move the slate not just once, but because of unexpected circumstances, twice.  Thanks, and we appreciate that you are all still speaking to us and that nobody was injured, at least not seriously.)

No 4:   Now that the table was in the new house (in pieces) and Mike was ever so convincing about ordering new…everything, we did.  We picked out new felt color, new bumpers and even found a place that made leather pockets.  It was pretty cool, until we found out that we needed the pockets sewn onto the actual table pieces.  Good luck finding someone who does that.  After a ton of phone calls, we were about to resort to shipping everything out of the state until we met our savior—Debbie, the shoe cobbler lady at Feet First located inside Meijer.  Who would have ever thought Meijer would be the place to find someone to sew on pool table pockets! 

Then, just to add a little bit more excitement to the mix, we also decided that tiling the section underneath the pool table would be a fabulous idea.  So if you’re keeping track that was new felt, bumpers, pockets, Meijer and tile, not to mention we just bought a flippin house!

No. 5:  As for the table in general, we were in good shape, everything was ordered and on its way.  We just had to get Mike back over to put the beast back together, but as I said earlier, we had fallen right smack dab in the middle of swimming pool season.  The problem, we were planning a thank you party and we had three weeks to get everything done. We were so delusional.

Luckily, Mike was able to come by one a night for a few hours after his day job and at least get the frame together.  All we had to do now was wait………………………………..and wait.

No. 6 (AHH):  In the middle of all of this, our basement flooded, but that’s really all I have to say about THAT!

No. 7:  It was one (1) day before the party, and we had convinced Mike to stop by after work.  The beer was flowing (for us, not him) and we were ramped up to get it all done just in time.  Well, it wouldn’t be a story if that were the case.  It was 1:00 a.m. the next morning, and after a TON of laughs about Benny Hill in a diaper, an unstable toilet, a very large pig, and an almost completed pool table, we shut ‘er down. 

Mike had worked through the night with a very pregnant wife and three kids at home.  He fixed a damaged slate even though it took a lot longer than it should have, because he’s a perfectionist. He never got irritated at our insistence and we made a great connection and friend.  Mike came back the next day as soon as the party started and finished the unfinishable pool table.   Ironically, it turned out that we had mutual friends so we paid him in conversation and food. (just kidding). 

Standing in my awesome downstairs, playing on the badass “new” pool table, I think about the insane trip to the “kitchen”, but, just like my house, I would do it all over again.  The kids are becoming sharks and will soon surpass me in the winner’s circle (surprise).  My son has the lingo down pat, and not only do I get to play whenever I want, for as long as I want, we established yet another friendship.  AND, I now know who I’m calling when we get the pool.    Oh yeah, we’re getting a pool and its gonna have a deck, a hot tub attached, palm trees, lights… …rudely interrupted by my four year old….“MOM! I scratched, GET IN THE KITCHEN”!

Just Jokes!!

A Few More Tales to End the Week…

Have a happy and safe 4th of July weekend!!!

A  DAY  AT  THE  PARK

It was yet another situation where my daughter was stubbornly putting her foot down, and was determined to let everyone around her know what she had to say.  Although this time, instead of refusing to get out of the car seat like the “Choices” incident, she refused to get in it.

We had taken my daughter to the park after work one afternoon, and treated her to some nuggets and fries.  After shoving her food in her face so she could go play, she bounced around the jungle gym until the sun was beginning to set.  Baffled by the way her tiny legs continued to go, go, go, and tired just from watching her, I decided it was time to leave for home.  I thought it may help to explain the reasons behind my decision slightly ahead of time.  In my mind, I was preparing her for the inevitable, not realizing I was setting myself up for the inevitable…a massive fit.

Attempting to depart from the park area once realized my explanations did nothing but upset her earlier than anticipated, her resistance was so persistent that I had to pick her up, carry her to the car, and place in her seat.  I was trying to secure the seat belt, and ignore the crying, kicking and arm thrashing when she yelled out, VERY loudly…

“WHHHY ARE YOOOUU DOOOING THIS TO MMME?!!”

Mmmmmmm, it was beautiful. 

MENU PLEASE

Every parent knows that feeding a three year old can be like swimming against the current in the Nile.  Impossible.  My son is no exception.  ‘Donalds was one of his first words, and chocolate has been banned from our home.  He is my junk-food-junky (a maternal trait I so graciously passed down).  Although it’s always my intention to feed him the good stuff, it is not an easy task.

Despite my mission to have healthy diets, I told myself that in the process of raising my children I would allow them to express their own choices when it came to certain things, which sometimes included what was on the home menu.  I believed this encouraged them to form their individual opinions of what they liked and disliked, a type of independence.  Hahahaha.  Not a smart move on my part.  I love that my kids have their own little minds, but I learned a very hard lesson when it came to feeding them.  They just wound up using the opinions I was determined for them to form against me.

 For quite some time, I asked my children what they would like to eat before every meal.  My son, of course, requested donuts or “chippies”.  My daughter always responded with a very unenthusiastic, “I don’t know.”  It was frustrating and time consuming.  It took me awhile but eventually, I put my foot down, and they now get what I give them, but the following is a time before I wised up.

 It had been an exhausting workday, and dinner needed to be cooked, baths needed to be taken and I just want to veg on the couch.  To make things simple, hot dogs and macaroni were the foods of choice for the night.  After repeating the TWO item menu approximately seventeen times, Mr. Picky finally agreed to a hot dog.  Excited he had made a decision; I hurried up and cooked it to avoid any second thoughts.  As I placed the dinner of HIS choice in front of him, my sweet, charming son looked at me in disgust, and said…

                                                 “Ahhh Maaaan, I don’t want dat!”

 Shaking his head, smirking in my direction and smacking his lips as if I should have known better. 

 Kids.  Aren’t they precious?

PUT YOUR DUKES UP

Growing up I developed a bad attitude toward life that unfortunately limited my opportunities and kept me from the enjoyment of just being a kid.  Once I reached adulthood and realized all that had passed me by, I have been making up for it in everything that I do.  This includes acting like a child on as many occasions as I can get away with.

Most of my pent-up anger became a thing of the past after having kids.  They have opened my eyes, and have taught me so many lessons in life, including how to have good old-fashioned fun.  Some of my favorite times are when I get down on the floor with them to play a game, chase them around the house, dance crazy to loud music, or even reenact a little wrestle mania.  There is always a lot of laughing and the entire time we play, even if only for a few minutes, the worries of the day disappear.

At three, my daughter was a sweet little blonde that could charm the pants off a stranger, but you couldn’t let your guard down, because she was also scrapper.  She would take you on, head to head, no matter how big you were.  She also unbeknownst to her, she had a witty sense of humor, and the keen ability to pick up on things not always meant for her ears.          

I learned not to mess with her one day when we were about to engage in the wrestling match to end all wrestling matches.  She may have been small, but her comebacks were mighty.  I was on my knees in front her with my dukes up, and asked her if she wanted a piece of me. She squared off, looked me straight in the eyes, her little pig tails swaying, put up her fists, and in a very serious three-year-old voice, said…

“No mommy, I want the whooooole thing.”

I am sure she was only repeating what she had heard somewhere, but the truth was, I had been defeated by a three year old.  I was completely caught off guard, too overcome by laughter to defend myself, and she took advantage of my weakness.

 

THE HOUSE HUNTER OR HUNTED?!

Under the “about me” page, you may have read that I have recently proclaimed peace and happiness… well as much as that is true now; peace was not exactly the adjective I would use to describe my life about 3-6 months ago.  Let me enlighten you as to why–because buying/selling a house has to be the most stressful time of anybody’s life.  If you don’t agree, try it, but before you do, read along and prepare yourself.  It has taken me some time to get over the uber traumatic experience enough to talk about it (dramatic undertone) but I’d like to express my thanks to a few specific people for getting us through the chaos and by helping me let go of my desire to punch quite a few others, but I won’t dwell on the ugly.

I’m not quite sure how buying a house ever came up, but I know it had something to do with the cool $8k I could get if I signed my life away in the housing market.  Needless to say, the promise of thousands worked.  Deciding to sell one house and buy another along with combining households and lives, didn’t seem like it was gonna be too bad.  The kicker was that nobody told me that was the easiest part. 

So now that the decision was made, the next steps seemed simple:  put the house up for sale, (By Owner of course-because we were “educated”), and find one that we wanted.  Simple.  HA!  Don’t get me wrong, it was totally simple to buy the sign, stick it in the yard and obsessively access the MLS to check out houses (I had somewhat of an addictive house hunting problem), but the fun took a screeching halt and the targets began to form on our backs as soon as the ball started rolling and the showings commenced. 

At first, it was exciting, for every person that walked through the house, the more the fascination of owning a new home became reality.  On the other hand, as time went on, I began to learn some unfun lessons about the real estate game, including:  cleaning everyday got really old, staging (packing your cute little trinkets and clutter away) was important, and what you may think looks really awesome, to someone else, looks like crap.  I have to say though; one major lesson I learned was that people just expect everything for nothing and when they walk in, the sweet smiles they portray and compliments of how much they love it END the moment they exit your home.  I understand that the ultimate goal is to get the best deal and this adventure of cat and mouse is pretty much defined as who can make the other one think you are doing the other a favor, but seriously, there was no reason to be just plain mean…Bull’s-eye!! 

This is where the stress began to creep in, hopes were dashed and there came the point where there wasn’t a day that went by without some sort of obscenity flying.  This point brings me to how to we met our realtor (who I will shamelessly plug in the next few paragraphs).  No, we didn’t curse at her, but cursing to her became routine.

After spending multiple weekends driving around and hours searching the Internet, we had found a few houses we wanted to see, and called for showings.  Its so funny how the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” is extremely significant in buying a house.  There was one particular one that caught our attention and I believe we even played mental move-in before we saw the inside.  Well, after the realtor opened the front door and I was blown away…by the overpowering stench of a mixture of cat pee and smoke, I mentally moved right back out.

However, we did see a couple really nice homes, but could not find one that had everything we needed and the options in our price range were beginning to dwindle.  Then we found it!  It was perfect, but because of our last “perfect” walk through we withheld our enthusiasm until after we smelled the inside.  We did call the selling realtor for a showing not knowing she would turn out to be our new best friend for the next nine months. 

After the initial showing, we once again mentally moved in and had the entire place decorated in our taste.  Convinced THIS was the house, we made an offer, contingent upon selling.  “Contingent” is a word I never thought I would grow to hate with a white-hot intensity of a thousand burning suns!  However, our offer was accepted and now all we had to do was sell.  Apparently, easier said then done.  After a few more weeks of unappreciative strangers touching and moving everything, and one broken promise of an offer, we finally waived the white flag and hired the selling agent of our perfect house.  I bet she didn’t know regret until the day she signed that listing agreement.

For three months she worked her butt off to sell the cute little bungalow we never thought would be a problem.  Three months of watching my phone for a message saying it was finally going to happen.  Three months of negative reactions to stupid things that just didn’t matter.  Three months later and two possibilities, but no taker, we were at a loss.  The targets on our backs were turning bright red.  It was a unanimous feeling that the perfect home was out of our reach and after a failed attempt at a rent to own scheme, a falling out with my landlord and a complete mental breakdown on my behalf (yeah I’m full of drama), we let our offer on THE house expire.  It was a very sad day, but turns out, it was meant to be.

The winter months were very cold and depressing.  New houses were not being listed and my shot at $8k was almost lost once due to a deadline, and after rejoicing when there was an extension, the potential of losing it again was right around the corner.  At that point, we were both ready to give up, and then…it came.  We finally had a serious offer…from a crazy person who had hired an even crazier realtor.  That is strictly opinion, but between you and me its total fact.  The only reason the deal stayed together was because in the last 6-8 months our realtor learned how to handle us.  She did a good job at keeping the tension at a minimum, because let me tell you, I am not a violent person but during this transaction violent tendencies were viable. 

That being said, we finally did sell (after an extremely unexpected nasty closing that left me screaming down the HALL…mmhmm, you know who you are), and we found our new home!!  (Ironically, it was one that one of us refused to look at because of outdated brick, but I digress).  It truly is perfect and without the help of our tolerant, loving family, fabulous friends, a tad bit of fate and last but not least, Lisa Grady of Keller Williams (who you can find at www.kellerwilliams.com or her soon to be finished website at www.lisagradyhomes.com) we would have never been able to get it done.  THANK YOU! 

As I sit on my back porch now, that peacefulness I talked about briefly sets in and the stress of the entire process fades away, but the damn target is still there and even after three months the bulls-eye just gets bigger…the joys of owning a new home, but I would do it all over again.  The house may have its demons hiding in dark corners waiting to be discovered, but along the way we met some pretty fantastic people and I wouldn’t trade for them (or our house) for the world.  So along with new friends, a great neighborhood, an amazing house and a big chunk of peacefulness, I think the “hunted” won in the end. 

 Now just wait until I tell you about the freakin’ pool table!!

“Just Pop In” to “Night Owl Baby”

I thought for my first attempted review I would write about the coolest two chicks I know!! To introduce them properly is nearly impossible, but I will do my best.  No words can describe the energy and inspiration that radiates off of these two and sometimes it is a bit overwhelming. On the other hand it is addictive, just like their popcorn.

 I first met the twins, Carly and Mandy, about five years ago, but was introduced to their story about eight years ago, and what a story.  Growing up in, and terrorizing Crown Point (from what I’m told), the girls graduated from CPHS and, like most ambitious teenagers, went away to college.  I’m quite sure there are plenty of stories that came out of that time period, but it wasn’t until they were out of college and trying to accept their fates in their 9-5 jobs did their real story begin…

 I’m not sure whose idea it originally was, but the way these two are cosmically linked together they probably came up with the concept at the exact same moment.  Sick and tired of not loving what they did for a living, both Carly and Mandy wanted something more. Instead of fantasizing about doing something they love, they bravely did it.  They took the risk and POPPED!  They opened their first gourmet popcorn storefront on a whim and a prayer.  By taking a creative idea, running with it and popping corn, sometimes through the night, they are now widely known in Indianapolis as “Just Pop In”.

 I remember when they first opened their doors in Broad Ripple.  The future was unknown, especially because neither one of them had ever run a popcorn shop, or any shop for that matter, but the excitement and enthusiasm they projected squashed the fear anyone had for them.  And now that the future is here, the popcorn is overflowing.  Not only have the girls been successful enough to hire employees and open a second location in the Indianapolis International Airport, they are the proud, and deserving, recipients of Best New Retail Concept of the Year. (Recognized by Airports Council International-North America “ACI-NA”).   

 But what about the popcorn, you ask, is it any good?  Well only if you love flavor, fun, style and, of course, popcorn (nuts, too).  The girls have it all; from cheesy to chocolate, cinnamon and sugar to colorful arrays of crunchy sweet happiness, signifying events, holidays or your favorite sport.  You name it, they have it, and if by some crazy chance you can’t find what you like in one package, you can create your own—package, that is.  Choose the size, the popcorn and even the sticker for any occasion and have it shipped wherever your heart desires. 

 If that’s not enough to entice you to “pop in” the coolest store ever, the best part, is that the way that Carly and Mandy are wired, they could never do anything without helping someone else.  Every purchase made from the Hope Collection of the their popcorn generates a donation by Just Pop In to the Damien Center.  The Damien Center located in Indianapolis, Indiana is a leader in the fight against and prevention of the spread of HIV. 

 So if I still haven’t awed you with this tale, I’m not done.  That’s right, Just Pop In is only part of the story.  The rest is completed by Mandy and a calling to design clothes.  Anyone who knows the girls is very aware of their undying love for their children.  My theory behind Mandy’s clothing idea comes straight from that love.  I truly believe the emotion felt for her kids couldn’t be contained and if she didn’t share it with the world, she’d just explode.  Thankfully, the explosion occurred in the form of Night Owl Baby.  A unique collection of baby/toddler clothing that includes:  onesies, t-shirts, wrist wear and even neck ties (let me tell you the ties are adorable).  Bright colors, stylish design and incredible fabrics all incorporated within the face of a wide-eyed owl make it hard not to smile when you see a little one sporting this clothing line.  Even if owls aren’t your thing, don’t worry, you can have your child’s initials embroidered with the same concept. 

 In the beginning, Night Owl Baby was strictly online and every purchase was made to order, but just like the popcorn shop, it has blown up and they have just recently opened the doors to a new retail shop located in Indianapolis.  Also, just like the popcorn shop, no success can be enjoyed without giving back.  One dollar of every article purchased at Night Owl Baby will benefit the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. 

  (My little guy in the dirtbike themed “owl” gear)

Hopefully I’ve done two of my very favorite people justice in this article and hopefully you will “pop” in for some delicious popcorn or some new toddler wear at one of their Indianapolis locations next time you’re in town.  Or, if traveling to Indy is not in your future plans, visit them online at www.justpopinonlin.com and/or www.nightowlbaby.com.  You never know, you just might be lucky enough see the two little blonde twins that ran their Crown Point neighborhood back in the day, and if you’re not familiar with them, no worries–you absolutely can’t miss them.  They will be the most welcoming double dose of happiness you have ever met.  They truly are an inspiration, and to anyone who is too scared to do what you love, check out their stories.  It just may be the push you need.

Tales of a Three Year Old-Conclusion

ADMIRATION

To remember every moment that my children have either embarrassed me, made me laugh, or driven me crazy, is a task that I’m sure I could not fit into one book.  There are so many lessons we learn on a daily basis just by living with these tiny balls of energy, sarcasm, and fun.  Just a few examples are…never give one child more of anything than the other; never put juice in a cup with no lid; never underestimate their ability to stuff themselves into small places; never turn your head when they are mad, or else you may get a stuffed animal wiffed at you; and most importantly, never forget that even the worst day can be fixed by a look and a hug.

I do love to tell my three-year-old tales, but I also realize that theirs are only half the story. The parents of each of these little monstrous angels are the other half, and I admire all who have made it through the year of the three and beyond with any sanity.  This post is for you, because even if it doesn’t feel like it at times, you are admired, and below are only a few of the reasons why.

I admire every parent who…

…while checking out at the store, has had to chase their little one through the aisles because you refused them candy, at the same time, smiling at the clerk, pretending that you are actually in control of the situation.

…has had a child stand up in a wedding, and no matter the amount of effort you put into distracting them, they are bored, full of energy, and entertain themselves by running across the front of the church as the bride and groom are saying their vows, and somehow you continue to keep your composure.

…has had toys, books, cups or whatever their children could reach, thrown at them due to a meltdown over their obsession of the day, but you continue to be patient and try to understand that they are only venting.

…has had food, milk or spit on the floor, couch, bed or backseat of the car, and continues to wash, wipe and clean, no matter how many times it happens in just one day, or even one hour.

…allows their three year old to climb into your bed after a nightmare, even though you are well aware that you will be sleeping on about six inches of mattress, eventually in pain from their little heels dug into your back, because as tiny as they are, they still require more room.

 …continues to change sheets in the middle of the night without making it a big deal so as to not embarrass the already upset child in potty training.

…has watched four hours of mind-numbing cartoons because your sweet baby is lying on the couch with a fever, and has a request every couple minutes, which you fulfill.

…continues to repeat themselves while trying to teach even the simplest of lessons, when you know it goes in your child’s one ear and out the other, hoping one day it’ll stick.

…takes the time to play with, teach, love and be proud of their children. You understand that they are our future, and they learn from what we portray.

And to…

…the single parents, who at the end of a very long three-ism day, don’t have anyone to vent to, but continue to get up each morning to endure and enjoy each moment over again.

…the two parent households, who when they can’t determine the best way to handle their three year old’s behavior, continue to try together.

I admire you all. Have fun, laugh, crawl on the floor, and play cops and robbers.  Don’t miss the things you can never get back, especially their childhood.  As frustrating as it can be at times, try to think of that innocent smile as they look up at you, and remember they admire you, too.

CONCLUSION

I end this post even though there are a million more stories to tell, and a million more that have not happened yet, but I have to stop somewhere.  I hope you take in each smile, each tear, and each defiant act, and file them away as a three-year-old, five-year-old, or even sixteen-year-old moments to keep forever in your heart.  I know I will.

Each child is unique and special, each has a gift of making you laugh, making you cry, and sometimes making you want to tear out your hair.  Remember each moment, even the tough ones, because no matter how hard it can get, the time will come when each storm braved becomes a rainbow worthy of it all.  It may be unexpected, and catch you off guard, but it will happen.

You’ll be sitting on the couch, involved in something grown up, and you’ll hear the little feet of your three year old running full blast in your direction.  You prepare yourself for full contact, as they proceed to jump up on your lap with no concept of what is landing where, and in their sweet voice, say “I love you” lay their tiny head on your shoulder, and give you the best gift in the world…a big bear hug only your little one can give.

They all have stories, so file them away or write them down.  Not only are they memories, but reminders to your child one day, when their three year old has been running them ragged, and they say to you:  “I don’t know what I did to deserve this.” You can hand them their stories, all along thinking, “isn’t payback grand,” laughing at them, like they laughed at you when they were three.

This is for all the parents out there that can relate to the world that is three, you are not alone, and for all of the soon-to-be parents this is only a hint of what you get to look forward to.  So as I end my journey with you, I encourage you to love your children with no boundaries, listen to the lessons they teach, be patient and remember….

“Looking into the eyes of a child is looking into a mirror of our souls. They are a reflection of who we are, how we love, and what we teach;

Teach them tolerance, show them unconditional love, and believe in who you reflect.  In turn, they will believe in you.”

 

Tales of a Three Year Old Part II

Here’s a few more I thought I’d share…

NO! IT’S MY TURN!

My kids are a few years apart and, most of the time, they are each other’s shadows. My son follows my daughter around like a little puppy, and my daughter “mother-hens” my son.  Not to say they don’t have their “off’ moments when they won’t stop tormenting each other, but honestly the majority of their time together is spent complimenting each other well.  Unfortunately though, the shadow dancing can backfire even when they are friends.

When I say shadow, I mean that what my daughter has, my son must have, whatever she is doing, he has to do; not forgetting that whatever room my daughter is in, my son has to be in, too, including the bathroom.  One day I learned the hard way to never underestimate the lengths they will go to avoid waiting their turn.

Right in the middle of a very intense game of “CushionLand” (which my children define as taking every cushion off the couches and throwing them on the floor)  my daughter ran to “powder her nose”.   Of course, my son was not far behind, insisting that he had to go, too.   My daughter has longer legs and made it there first, and my son was yelling for her to hurry up.  It was loud and obnoxious, but nothing unusual.  All of a sudden, there was the strangest sound…complete silence.

I heard them arguing, but did not have a grasp of the situation, or believe there was a problem, until I heard nothing.  Every parent knows, quiet is always a bad sign unless they are sleeping, so I sprinted to the bathroom.  They were standing in front of me laughing and acting as if they just executed the perfect crime.  I knew I would regret it, but I asked anyway… “What happened?”

“Oh, it’s okay Mom, Tyler just peed in the bathtub.”

Problem solved.

KISS THIS

I have never been the type of mother to baby my children.  If they fall, I tell them to get up, give it a good rub, and carry on, unless, of course, the injury is worthy of a little coddling.  I feel that, in turn, they will never make a big deal about a few bumps or bruises, and it has worked.  My kids play hard, and when they stumble, they usually shake it off, and keep going.  Every once in a while, however, there are “owies” that need extra mommy attention.  In these cases, a big hug and kissing the boo-boo satisfies them.

My daughter was less of a risk taker at three, so it was very rare for her to request a boo-boo kiss.  My son, on the other hand, is quite different.  He is the one who purposely runs full throttle and throws himself onto the ground.  So naturally, he needs more kisses, more band-aids, and more insurance.

For my son to ask me to kiss an “owie” is a daily routine and, truthfully, I love to oblige.   I know it won’t be long until he will be totally embarrassed by me, and a kiss from mom will render him socially unacceptable.  Sometimes though, you have to question where the boundaries lie, even as a mother.

It was one of those crazy mornings when no matter how many times I told my son to stop doing something undesirable, his ears were turned off.  It truly amazes me how they can look straight at you, see that your mouth is moving, and still not acknowledge, or care, that you are speaking to them.

While dressed in only his little boy undies, my little guy was jumping up and down on his bed as I was attempting to clothe him.  No matter what I threatened him with or how loudly I expressed my displeasure, he just laughed and continued on with the “fun” game he had created.  I was about to give up, and let him go to school as is, when he slipped and fell directly on his butt.  He began to cry, but I did not want to feel sorry for him after his animal-like behavior.  My motherly instinct, however, did not allow me to ignore how pitiful he became.  I was about to give him a hug, when my whining son turned around, bent over in front of me, and said…

“Kiss my butt, Mommy.”

Everything he had just done to upset me faded away due to my laughter.

 TIMEOUT

 Fortunately, I am not only blessed with two beautiful and entertaining children, I am also the proud aunt of two incredible nieces.  One is too young to speak, although with her personality, I can only imagine what she’ll have to say.  The other is three.  The very age I love to reminisce on, and boy, has she had some good stories.

My brother and his wife enforce the time-outs in their home, and my niece, being her cute stubborn little self, lands in the corner chair every once in a while.  Whether she was learning what time-out truly meant still remained to be seen.  It wasn’t until “Foo-Foo” needed to be taught a lesson did they realize she had been listening.  Keep in mind that “Foo-Foo” is a stuffed, stinky, floppy bunny that has been run through the mill, the mud, and who know what else but is very lucky to still be recognizable. 

One afternoon, my niece was playing on the floor trying to convince  “FooFoo” to sit up next to her.  Apparently, he/she/it was not cooperating and kept falling over. This infuriated my niece to no end and she finally became fed up.  Feeling the need to show him/her/it who’s boss she sat poor “Foo-Foo” in a corner, got down to his eye level, not far off the floor, and explained to him that he was in time-out.  She informed him that he needed to sit there and think about what he had done.

She then went to tell her mom and dad that “Foo-Foo” was in trouble for not listening.  My brother and his wife thought it was funny, and tried to console her floppy bunny, but my niece was not havin’ it.  She snapped her little head back, very sternly SSHHHSHED her parents, and advised them that they were not allowed to talk to “Foo-Foo” while he was in time-out.

A few minutes went by, and it must have been a fair punishment in my niece’s opinion, because she walked over to her bunny, squatted to his eye level again, and said, “now Foo-Foo, you can get up, but you have to say you’re sorry”.

He must have apologized because I’ve seen him out and about since then, and from what I hear, “Foo-Foo” has never disobeyed the three year old again.

 

 Quote of today:  

Imagine like a child; Play like a child; Dream like a child; Love like a child;

 Children do it best; Learn from a child.  © 2006