I am always so excited to give back to the community and nothing makes me feel better than helping someone in need, which is why I was so excited when Collective Bias, Champions for Kids, and Odwalla put together a sports equipment donation drive. I had the fantastic idea of mobilizing Styles’ 5th grade classroom [...]
For 5 years, it was just Styles and me. I was a single, working mom who was also a full time college student. We didn’t have a whole ton of time together but I really tried to maximize the time that we had together. Every Sunday we went on dates to the movies, a restaurant for dinner, or to Disney. I woke up early at least once a week to bake fresh blueberry muffins because they were his favorite breakfast. I was always the mom bringing in the fun, dressed-up snacks for his class.
When The Workaholic and I got married and had Madilyn shortly thereafter, time with Styles became even more scarce than it had been before. I sank into a postpartum depression, we moved to Savannah, and Grady was born shortly thereafter. Holy cow. If I thought time was scarce before Grady was born, I was certainly at a loss for where to find it afterwards.
Some parents help their children with their homework. Some parents sit down and have a nice dinner together every night. Some parents take all of their children to do fun things on the weekends. For us, those things were a little more difficult because The Workaholic is, well, a workaholic. That leaves just me vs. three very needy children. God didn’t bless me with children with varying degrees of neediness. OH no. He challenged me with three wonderful children who are all extremely needy emotionally and physically.
I found time for Styles where I could but he was often busy with friends from across the street, reading, or playing video games. I really didn’t feel that he was mourning our relationship until just before we moved to Raleigh when he told me that he missed our dates to the movie theater. It made me sad.
I know not every parent/child relationship is as awesome and involved as ours was for so long, but I felt terrible that we had been so close for so long and things suddenly changed. I tried to figure out how I could add time into my already jam-packed day so that Styles and I could start having some quality time together again.
There is really nothing that I can change about my schedule and I can’t ask the kid to drop out of middle school, so I decided that we would start running together. Every other day, we have been going to the YMCA to do the Couch to 5k Program. Styles loves to run but I loathe it. I LOVE working out but running has never been my forte.
I am actually learning to love my little 30 minute runs with my baby boy. We walk/run with the program and during the walking portion of the program, we get to talk and check in with one another or discuss our favorite television show, Pretty Little Liars. He pushes me to run faster and harder than I would by myself during the running portions.
So far, it has been a win-win and I am really enjoying my time with my handsome, nearly grown little guy.
Where has the time gone?
What do you do to spend special time with your kiddos?
12 years ago I didn’t think I wanted children. I was content to be without kids for a really, really long time. I was 19, for goodness sake! (Yes, that makes me 31 – good job on the math). I wanted to finish school, enjoy going to parties with my friends, and enjoy LIFE.
I found out I was pregnant in December. I was already almost 2 months pregnant and still on birth control pills. I would meet FOUR other women who got pregnant on Ortho-Tri Cyclen that year. Four other women who, like me, took their BC pills on a regular basis and didn’t skip pills.
For about half a second I considered terminating the pregnancy but that decision never sat right with me. I don’t judge people who go that route, but it just wasn’t for me. I also thought about adoption. I thought about adoption for a long time but in the end, his biological father and I decided to keep him.
My pregnancy went off without a hitch. I was due August 17, 2001. I was one of the lucky few who went into labor on her due date. It was 7pm and I was cooking. The Bio Dad was out surfing and I was home alone, cooking. I felt this surge of, not liquid, but matter inside my undies. I went to the bathroom and pulled this Gak-like substance off of my draw’s. It was disgusting and fascinating at the same time. I knew that it was my mucous plug, but I also knew that it didn’t mean eminent labor. I had, after all, been 1cm dilated and 100% effaced for 4 weeks.
At 9pm I felt a searing cramp. At 9:10 I felt another searing cramp. At 9:17 I felt another searing cramp. Holy crap. I was in labor. I let the labor pains come as I fussed around our tiny 600sf condo. He eventually came back and drew a hot bath. I got in, only to start puking my brains out shortly thereafter. The contractions were coming without ceasing by 10:30 and I didn’t even want to bother with getting dressed to go to the hospital. I desperately wanted to lie naked and wet on my bed and cry through each contraction.
We left for the hospital around 11pm and when we got there, the nurse checked me. I was 3cm dilated but went to 4cm in one contraction. ”Get this girl a room!” she told another nurse.
My doula told me that it would probably be about 1 hour per centimeter, so we figured that I had a good 7 hours left. I hadn’t slept in 3 days and I was exhausted but things were moving so quickly. I wanted to go drug-free but I just couldn’t handle the pain because I was so tired, so I ordered an epidural. They fitted me with an IV and started hydrating me in preparation for the drugs.
I kept dilating quickly and once my IV bag was empty and the epidural arrived on the scene, Styles was crowning.
I hadn’t even pushed yet.
Styles arrived 6 minutes after midnight on August 18, 2001 in a fury of nurses and a room full of family members. That epidural? Yeah…not so much. Not when you’re crowning!
I used the Lamaze method and felt like I was going to pass out after a very short 16 minutes of pushing. God bless you women who were able to do that method and survive!
The doctor dropped a slimy football onto my stomach and I just stared at it while my mom yelled at me to “TOUCH HIM!” I had never been around a baby before and I didn’t play with baby dolls. The whole maternal instinct thing doesn’t come naturally to me and I was in shock that I had just squeezed this little being out of my body in just over 3 hours. I touched him as they cleaned him up and assessed him. AGPARs of 9 and 10 – he was amazing.
Styles and I learned how to nurse over the course of the next couple of weeks and we kept that relationship until I went back to work when he was 9 months old.
I became a single mom to Styles when he was 2. In that time, he saw The Bio Dad every other weekend for about 18 months. After that he saw him occasionally and then never. He asked about him for a while and then the questions stopped and our relationship forged even deeper.
Styles has always been intuitive and inquisitive. He doesn’t miss a single thing and blows me away with his cunning intellect. He is funny without trying and wants to be a scientist when he grows up. ”A Mad Scientist, Mom”, he says.
During the 5 years that it was just the two of us, we used to go on dates every Sunday. We went to see movies, we went to fancy restaurants, we went to fast food restaurants, museums, and Disney. There is nobody on earth with whom I have the same relationship as I have with Styles. I love each of my children so much, but the time that Styles and I spent together during those 5 years can not be recreated with the babies. It was just the two of us. I needed him and he needed me. I love looking back on our time together and every time I do, I wish that I could go back to that time and enjoy those moments even that much more.
Little did I know that he would grow up in the blink of an eye and be strolling into Middle School, staring in the face of puberty, and teaching me Chess.
I’m a lucky mom to have a kid like Styles. I am grateful that he has enhanced my life the way that he has and I love him more than he will ever know.
Gosh, vacation really screws things up, doesn’t it? I mean just life in general, routines, sleep. EVERYTHING!
Especially when “vacation” isn’t really a vacation because instead of it being a “vacation” it’s more of a “familycation” where you go stay with family in order to visit them in a familiar city.
A far cry from hiking up a snow-capped mountain in uncharted territory.
And vacation never seems to go the way you plan it. Like our last vacation lasted a couple of days longer than we thought it was going to so it took us even that much longer to get back home and resettle into our routines. Grady wasn’t sleeping through the night any more because, you know, when you stay in someone else’s house you can’t just let them cry.
But good things DO happen when you leave your own home.
1. When you return, you realize that despite being 2 years old, your house still smells brand new and not like the poop-crusted diaper that you swear it smells like every day of your life.
2. You love your extended family so much that you’re willing to spend your time “off” with them instead of alone on top of a mountain.
I have the best neighbors on the face of the planet. I really mean that. I couldn’t have better neighbors if I paid them. The great thing is that I don’t have to pay them. I just have phenomenal neighbors.
I currently pick my neighbor’s boys up from school 3 days a week and when their gramma isn’t staying with them, I watch them for a few hours those days.
I know, I sound like a saint, right? But that doesn’t even come close to what they do for us.
Styles practically lives at their house. I often joke that I should just pay them child support for entertaining and feeding his skinny little white butt.
But, you see, Styles prefers their cooking to mine because they’re from Laos and they cook just like they still live there. Styles has apparently told them that he’s going to marry an Asian woman when he grows up because he loves the food.
They also take him to the pool where he tries to pretend that he’s brown and from Laos too, where the reality lies in the fact that he’s very much an American white boy who burns after 10 minutes in the sun.
They let him crash birthday parties with him, take him to movies, take him bowling, and to sports activities that he’s not involved in.
They do SO much for him, which in turn really does do so much for me that I can’t ever thank them enough. Because I have the babies, I can’t do nearly for them what they do for me and while I hate that, I had been searching for a way to pay them back.
Then one night it dawned on me: I could smother their fur-baby with some love so I decided to put together a care package for their dog, Boudicca. This is the same dog I taught a trick to back in January. And the same dog who ate my blinds while her family was on vacation a year ago, but we won’t talk about that. ;)
I heard that Milk-Bone had some new treats out, and so did Pup-Peroni. Something with EGG in it! Who doesn’t love EGG?!
The next day, I picked the boys up from school and I decided to brave Walmart with 5 children to find Boudicca some new treats and toys.
The boys were extremely helpful in our venture.
No, really! They were!
I immediately found Milo’s Kitchen Homestyle Treats which Boudicca loved back in January. I let Ben pick which flavor he thought she’d like and he chose the Beef Jerky.
Collin picked out the best toy EVER. This thing is so incredibly soft that I want to rub it all over my face. The head is a hard, bouncy ball and the tail has a squeaker in it. CUTE!
Styles tried SO hard to find Milk-Bone Trail Mix and Pup-Peroni Mix Stix at our Walmart but he couldn’t find it ANYWHERE. We were so bummed and I really wanted the trifecta of delicious new dog treats in Boudicca’s care package so I left it at that and decided that I’d look for those treats in Orlando while we were visiting family. SURELY Orlando would have what Pooler does not.
While we were in Orlando, we ran to Walmart to check for the treat and guess what? We FOUND them at the College Park Walmart up the street from my mom’s house. I was so thankful to have found them!
So when we got back in town, I dragged my butt. I unloaded our clothes. I washed laundry. I started working out. And I dragged my butt some more. Then when Styles got to go see “The Avengers” this past weekend, I figured I should probably get the care package to Boudicca before another day passed!
Here’s a look at what we got for her:
And you can see that Boudicca was very excited to have some yummy delicious snacks.
I hope she loves her new toys as much as Styles loves hanging out with the family!
She’s obviously loving the Pup-Peroni Mix Stix:
For a barking good time, check out Milk Bone on Facebook & follow #ILuvMyK9 on Twitter
I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™. #CBias #SocialFabric All thoughts and opinions are, as always, my very own and were not influenced in any way.
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