Traveling Band


So let me start by saying that I love that I have the opportunity to travel with my band of crazies. I love the memories we make, the places we see and that we have the means to these things. BUT…. 

Getting there is another story! 

First, if you have children under the age of “independent teenagers” then you know you can’t just simply pack and be done it is a week long affair. Sure we may only be going a couple of days but with kids the formula for packing is — figure out how many days you will be gone and double that — because something will surely happen and if you don’t abide by this formula you will find yourself in Walmart at midnight buying a new wardrobe after little Johnny decided to jump in a mud puddle, or puke all over the back seat on the way to said destination. Trust me, this stuff happens, you live and you learn…. true story. 

Second, if you are like me, and you probably are not because most mama’s have there act together… complete with activity packets and road trip game boxes and a complete road trip playlist! Me?! I make sure the tablets are fully charged and there are plenty of Legos and coloring books to be fought over and plenty to eat, that is essential! Fill them up on junk food, sure they will be off the chain the first 2 hours but when they crash you get control of the radio again.

Third, road trips with my crew barely make it outside of town before I hear the first “there’s nothing to do, how much longer?” I am about ready to pull my hair out before the first 30 miles are finished, and then come the “one more time and I am pulling over” threats …. key word “threat” because y’all know I am not drawing this trip stuff out more than I have to with meaning less pull overs… I just turn the back seat into a UFC ring and pretend there is an invisible sound proof partition. 

And let’s not forget the numerous restroom breaks because everyone can’t possibly go at the same time that would just be ludicrous. I mean, I love all those rest stop experiences as much as the next mom. Like the time the little boys were babies and I had to take them all in one stall, hold Alex while hovering Zoe, using my leg to keep Brac from going under the door and praying Caleb wouldn’t pick up something from the hazardous,corroded floor. Oh good times! Traveling ALONE with 4 kids is another tale for another time. 

And if you have the privilege of riding in my tour bus then you will know that it is impossible to nap with the Barber driving. I get about a million and one taps and hey you’s before the halfway mark. And his DJ skills could desperately use a tune up!

But once we arrive … that is when the fun begins. Memories are made as my crew leaves a lasting impression on folks they meet along the way! Their eyes light up as they see sights never seen and collect treasures to share with there friends back in small town America. I didn’t travel much as a girl so to have this chance with my monkeys, as crazy as it may be getting there, well…there is nothing like it. 

To mama’s who pack and get there crews ready, load up on your favorite “juju” and take a few deep breaths cause you are not the only mama going crazy packing the bus! 

Thank You for Saving His Life

Recently, while scrolling through social media, I stumbled across a clip of a woman who had lost her husband in a horrible accident and was looking for the team of doctors, nurses and caregivers that saved her infant son.

I was so moved that I watched this clip with tears rolling down my face, thinking back to the numerous doctors and nurses that saved my sons life.

In the moment that they are going through the treatments you are grateful to the team taking such good care of your baby but you are so focused on the needs of that baby that you don’t think to really stop and thank the team.

I knew then and I know now that had the doctors and nurses and child-life teams and the social workers and the therapists not been there, that Braxton would not be here today. I am so thankful for them.

One doctor, in particular, always stands out in my mind, because Braxton’s rapid treatment and essentially his rapid response goes back to him.
I knew that there was something seriously wrong with him when I carried him into Archdale Pediatrics that day but I wasn’t sure what and I never would have imagined the later outcome of the day. That day in the pediatricians office still stands out so clear in my mind and I can still see it as if I was living it today.

Dr. Dan Entwistle was the pediatrician that took care of Braxton that day. He was thorough, soft spoken, patient and caring and he was determined to find out what was making our boy so sick that day. He constantly reassured us, held our hands {literally}, he sent us immediately for further testing and then later when HE called us to tell us to go directly to Brenner Children’s Hospital because they were VERY concerned with his blood work, he paused…. he said “I would like to pray with you before you head to the hospital.” I paused because this was not what I had expected. With silent tears flowing down my face, I listened to him ask for comfort, ask God to give the doctors wisdom, he prayed that God would be with us through whatever was to transpire and then when he was finished praying he told me that he believed it was going to work out fine and that Braxton was in the best of care and that God had great things in store for him later.

I do not know if I ever had the chance to thank him for all that he did that day so today I am saying “thank you”.

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As a mama, those words were what I would cling to in the coming days and weeks and months and years.

He came to visit Braxton that first week in the hospital and brought him a giraffe because it reminded him of the giraffes he saw being a missionary in Africa. I believe now more than ever that God knew exactly who to put in that small pediatricians office that day. I believe that God placed Dr. Entwistle there to comfort us in that scary time. I believe his fast thinking and his persistence that day saved our little boy. Leading him to amazing Oncology teams and the best nurses. For that I say thank you to the doctor that started all of Braxton’s healing.

I will forever be thankful, grateful and blessed, to have had the very best teams on our side through that chapter of our lives.

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Who’s Sahm

I am a mama.

I have been a mama for 10 years now!

I think this makes me a veteran or something.

I am also a nurse by proxy, a chef, a waitress, a maid, a handyman, a counselor, a referee, a coach, a taxi cab driver, a fixer of all problems, a librarian, a teacher and the list goes on and on…. {toot toot, that’s me tooting my mom horn}

I worked for about 7 years pre-kids and I worked for the 1st year of Braxton’s life. When he got sick and we moved to Indiana I became a SAHM {that’s internet lingo for Stay at home mom}.

I used to envy those mama’s that got to stay at home with their kids all day. From the outside looking in it seemed like all they did was shop and do crafts. And then I was given the opportunity to stay at home and my perspective changed.

Working outside of the home was difficult because I missed Braxton so very very much. I would go in at night and when I got home at 7 the next morning he was ready to start his day but I was so tired that my mom came to hang out with him so I really only saw him for a couple of hours before I went back to work. I was sad that I was missing so much of those formative years. I was happy that I was able to help my family out financially and I was blessed to have a great job that I loved but still a part of me was missing me.

This stay at home mama stuff ain’t no joke. It surely isn’t for the faint at heart.

It is NOT shopping all day and lunch dates with friends and craft parties in the middle of the day. It is everything but that bed of roses.

My day starts full throttle at 645am and I am NOT a morning person {that is why I worked nights for 7 years,duh!}, I get 4 kids up {the first call is a sweet “up and at em’ sugar”, by the 7th call I am putting Marine Corp drill Sgt. to shame}, I fix  5 different breakfasts because my family is spoiled and it would be too easy for everyone to like the same things.

With a “June Clever” smile I wave good bye to the Barber and round up 4 rascals. If you have never loaded up 4 kids with hopes of getting to school on time, you have not lived. There is always that one that HAS to have a certain pair of shoes that have done some crazy disappearing act through the night. They insisted “I put them right there” …. NO they are not “right there”.  I get them to school and with a messy bun, a hoodie with a coffee stain on it and Muk Luks that do not come close to matching said stylish ensemble I run into the school and you know it’s bad when the principal suggests I have a stamp made to use on the sign in sheet.

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Once I am home I have a 3 and 5 year old that are best buddies for 5 minutes and enemies the next 5, this makes the noise level go up and down from 0 to 80 all day about every 5 minutes.

And because I love kids sooooo much I have another little person come hang out with me all day. Increasing the whining and temper tantrum decibel level significantly.
Do you know that I have never found time to go shopping in the middle of the day, or to be “crafty” or have a play date, imagine that 🙂

I don’t know who these women are, where they live or how in the world they do it but I am calling shenanigans on this rainbows and unicorn mom stuff.

At 230 I have cleaned the kitchen again and put, yet another, load of laundry in and by that time it’s time to go get in that dreaded car line.

The 2 older ones that are supposed to be more mature get in the van and instantly start irritating the little ones …. {insert forehead smack}

Once we are home I am in charge of checking through folders and cracking a whip on homework. I start dinner and we eat {complete with whines and groans about the menu} after cooking for 2 hours it takes less than 20 minutes to clear plates and I am BACK in the kitchen again, cleaning…. again!  And of all things asked by the Barber…. “what did you do all day?” …. husbands be mindful of your tone of voice when asking this question.

Bedtime is another chore, complete with 20 million questions, “I’m thirsty”, “one more story” and sudden bursts of energy  and then maybe if I am lucky I can sit down while folding another load of laundry this time while they all sleep.

Then to bed, where my sleep is never uninterrupted and I am up again the next morning to start all over…. 24/7…. 365. At least when I worked I was allowed to get time off.

I love being mama to the quartet but if I said I didn’t miss my 12 hours of alone time 2 days a week I would be lying. Adult conversation, eating an entire lunch, 30 min drive ALONE in the mornings… yes, that was much easier.

To all those SAHM’s…. you ROCK!! Everyday you ROCK!!! To those working mama’s you are awesome too because no mama likes to leave their babies. It is a constant battle of wills in this mama world. But even in the craziest times I can honestly say I wouldn’t change a thing. Take a deep breath, eat a piece of chocolate {or a box} and fix yourself a big pot of coffee… you got this!

 

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Being married for almost 14 years and having 4 kids there is always a lot of love in this house.

Mostly a love for Jesus, love of Lego, love of dinosaurs, love of music, a love of motorcycles, a deeply misunderstood love of coffee and sweets, an unhealthy love of money and a love of tormenting each other in some form or fashion… but still a LOT of love floating around.

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Braxton walked up behind Caleb last night and pinged him at close range with a Nerf gun, Caleb squealed like a girl and said “THAT WAS NOT VERY ‘LOVABLE’, IT’S VALENTINE’S DAY PUNK!”  That is the kind of love that we have in this house. Nerf wars and laughter.

Zoe is usually tagging behind the boys, annoying them to no end trying to kiss them or hug them, knowing that it drives them crazy insisting it’s because she LOVES them.

And then when the barber steals a random kiss there is a loud chorus of “eeeewwwww” making him kiss me again. That is the love in this house.

And because alone time never happens in this house, I ‘borrow’ chocolate from the Valentine’s bags the kids brought home and lock myself in the bedroom for just a moment, ignoring the whines from outside the door, and the banging and the “moooooommmmm” that resonates down the hall, soaking in the 3 minutes of me time I can muster on the opposite side of the door… kid free. Because that is way better than a dozen roses and a box of chocolates he could have brought home.

Braxton has had a “love” since he was about 4 and he decided this year that he was “single” and that meant he got to keep his money and his candy all to himself. He said he didn’t need a girlfriend now and that one day when he was ready he would take her back {obviously he is either overly confident or extremely confused on how this love stuff works}

The barber and I have had 16 Valentines together, the very first one he picked me up at my high school, with 3 cards, one for each month we had been dating and the “kiss kiss” bears that Hallmark had promoted that year. I still have those cards tucked away somewhere. As time has moved on, we have changed and now a date night takes LOTS of planning, begging some poor soul to watch our kids, praying that she doesn’t run for the hills and after 45 minutes in the car, with an empty back seat, we are missing the kids terribly and talking about them and  by 730 that night we are both yawning and seeking out coffee like a crack head on a corner just to make it through the rest of the night {ROMANCE to the extreme} … we enjoy the moments alone but I am sure we drive a little faster on the way home. It’s funny how much you evolve as a couple over the years. Looking forward to many more with my darling Valentine.

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Spent the weekend with the Barber, had an amazing dinner at Jeff Ruby’s The Precinct in Downtown Cincinnati

I had the task of planning a Valentine’s Day party for Zoe’s class and by the end of Valentine’s Day I was exhausted and over all the candy and hundreds of little cards lying around. I was a Valentine’s Day Scrooge. I treated myself to a large coffee and a cake pop and ran around like a chicken with my head cut off. By the end of the day I LOVED my bed, my pillow and my cozy fuzzy Pajamas…. that’s what love is all about.

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The “Adkins” Diet

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This morning I had 2 LARGE cups of coffee {as is my norm} black…. no sugar… fat free and a hand full of caramel rice cakes, because they were on sale and the idea of eating “cake” for breakfast is always appealing…. although my taste buds were greatly deceived when I ate said CARAMEL rice cakes. I also had a nibble of my kids pancakes this morning because I had to make sure they were OK to eat  [wink wink]

Already my heart was racing… mostly from the sugar high. But you are supposed to get your heart rate up… yes, you are, I read that somewhere, either way I was already burning calories… I could feel it!

Then for lunch I did drink water because I am really trying to be more healthy… OK, seriously, I just didn’t want soda and I had already exceeded the legal coffee drinking limit, so I loaded it down with Dasani Coconut-pineapple enhancer {fabulous for masking the tasteless, filtered stuff} and chugged away. I also had a handful of salt and vinegar chips because, again, I read that apple cider vinegar was great for the body and thinking of it this way justified my indulgence.

I also had 3 mini corn dogs that were left over from the boys lunch. Because “waste not want not” like my mama taught me.

I’m a grazer. At 31, some would say that I should eat like an adult and have 3 meals a day and small healthy snacks in between…. {pish-posh}.

A friend once told me that if you graze like a cow, you may end up looking like a cow…. I’m not there yet so I will continue on my path to enlightenment.

For cardio I moved around the living room furniture … again! I do this about once a month, mostly because I rarely go anywhere exciting or to someone else’s home and moving the furniture gives me a shock factor when I go get the kids and come back home. The kids do an “eye roll”, followed by an exaggerated “agggain” and then they run to there respective after school zones. I, on the other hand, stand back and think that I hate it and that I will get a great work out next month when I move it again 😉

Cardio…. consistency people CONSISTENCY.

Oh! Yeah!! And I managed to work in a 3 minute dance break with the boys… Nothing gets your heart pumping like trying to keep up with the choreography of a 3 and 5 year old… don’t believe me??? Try it!!!

I believe in taking care of yourself and making sure that you are healthy enough to take care of your family. BUT, if you are happy with you and your health is not at risk, be just that …. HAPPY. WITH. YOU!

I won’t lie…. I am connected to tons of healthy guru people, my sister is one of them.  I follow them in awe, usually as I eat a cupcake or a pack of gummy snacks I found in my purse, but still in awe. I know that I will never be a “gym rat”, I have tried to be that 6 am workout gal…. it lasted a week. I have tried taking the kids to the childcare at the gym (which they loved by the way)… lasted about 2 weeks and I have tried all those home exercise programs and those lasted about 6 weeks, until the awe factor wore off and I slowly 86-ed it.

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I WANT to be those people but my ADHD just will not have it. And it doesn’t help that I still eat like a teenager and I ENJOY it VERY much. Y’all, I get palpitations just standing at the gym door… I suppose if I stand there and watch others work out my heart will race and my nerves will kick in causing me to sweat hence … cardio! BAM!!!

You may say “Amanda, when you eat right you teach your children to eat right”…. yes, that is probably right, but I have only offered them healthy choices since birth and so now without prompting I don’t have to beg them to eat fruits and veggies.

We LOVE to eat and me personally, I refuse to go my entire life “dieting”. Counting calories …Ugh that sounds like math … yeah, NO! To me it looks miserable. And I have a strict policy never to be miserable if I can help it. I watch what I eat, usually as it goes in my mouth, but still I watch it. And I am lucky enough that it doesn’t take much to fill me up. Given it lasts for about 30 minutes until I am on to my next victim. Kudos to all of you who can diet and go to the gym… one day I want to adult like you! For now, I watch you and pretend that the cupcake I am eating is a whole grain muffin.

Love you! Don’t let what others look like, or what Hollywood says you should be govern how you feel about you. Dress the body you have, not the one you wish you had…. Feel pretty, refuse to compare yourselves to others. If you feel bad about the way you look then, yes, makes some changes. But if you wake up in the morning and you know that you are happy and you can look in the mirror and say “girl, you look GREAT” then go on about your day. Smile and hold your head up high and have a great day.  Usually when someone says “I wish I looked like you”, my response is “you are beautiful, you don’t want to be me”.  I think that as women we silently  body shame ourselves looking at others. That gal that you said you wished you looked like may wish that she could put on more weight to avoid the stares. You never know.

PS… I am not “skinny” by any means… again I dress the body that I HAVE. After 4 kids, I feel like I have done decent sticking around a “goal” wait and I am OK with that. I don’t set goals that I can’t reach, mostly because I usually forget the outlandish goals. I don’t believe in standing around in the molly grubs because you are not where you want to be either. If you know that you are not what you want to be and you  are NOT happy… suck it up buttercup and get to moving. There is NO excuse not to be happy with you.

And if you really don’t have the time for the gym… call me I will loan out my 4 rugrats and you can keep up with them for a day and guaranteed you will have some cardio, a few squats and a couple of crunches in before you bring them back. And you will be out of breath and most likely sweating…. The “Adkins” Diet.

Who knows maybe when they are all in school, I may join a gym… MAYBE!

Love YOU! BECAUSE YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

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