Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Blogging, Social Media, Parenting Teenagers and our decisions

For YEARS I have been sharing funny and personal moments about my family on this blog. I even have a blog before this that was private and DARLING and I have so many precious memories from. One of these days I am going to use one of those print my blog applications and have an incredible keepsake.

That said - my kids are 14, 11 and 9 now and we are entering a new phase of our life. I have started and stopped SO.MANY.POSTS. I do have so many stories to share - funny and horrifying and things I have learned and things I want to tell you to try and things I want you to NEVER.EVER.DO but you know what? I am the Coach. Husband and I need to be on our absolute A game for the next 9 years and no successful coach in their right mind would ever release inside stories and details of plays that they are running while they are playing the game.

My oldest found this blog and has read it cover to cover. I would LOVE to share teenage stories with you but also - I need her to feel safe. I need her to know that each and every conversation that she and I have is not going to turn into a blog post.

There is also no WAY that I am going to release victory details on battles that been waged in this house to the next two soon to be teenage warriors who are warming up for the fight. Sorry folks - I love you more than my luggage but I seriously can't do that.

Now the nice thing for me is that this has never been a big blog and the folks that read this are my actual friends so ya'll - seriously - anytime - come and pull up a chair, pour a glass of wine and let's swap stories. I get some of my best stuff from other people and I really do want to share. I just won't share online.

That said - I have been asked on MULTIPLE occasions what our internet rules are so here goes - they are pretty simple:

1. We have all of their passwords. If you want to go on social media - great. We have access - to everything.  We are also smart enough to know that they are probably trying out some new secret social media thing as we speak. It's alright - bring it on - keeps us on our toes. ;)

Now right here in typing this I am actually putting myself in some danger because I happen to know for a fact that A LOT of my childrens' friends do not have this policy. If you are one of those parents PLEASE - I am really begging you here - PLEASE do not go to your teenage child and say "well Oldest Bowheads Childs' Parents have her passwords".

(I do love ya'll so here is the one and only thing I will say - your children have "rinstas" and "finstas" and snaprants and GOD KNOWS WHAT ELSE. I am telling you - they have accounts that you don't know about and what they post there is really quite unbelievable.)

ok - I cannot say another word about that - on to rule number 2

2. All devices are turned in at 9:30. Period. End of story. We did learn from this lesson because the charging station USED to be downstairs in common area of the house. The charging station now lives in my room. By my bed. Lesson learned.....

3. We respect the family. Period - this family is a safe place. No picture is to go anywhere without permission. No story to be shared. No ranting - period. end of story. This goes for adults (read - me - Husband is not on social media) and kids alike.

4. We have implemented time limits and parental controls and we do use Circle by Disney. That is a whole other post so I will type that up and post next.

5. The last internet rule is a parent rule - we have vowed basically to never say never. We will not say "oh my child would never...." I would never...." "That could never happen to us...." because we have already learned - they will, we might, and it probably already has......

My final point is that all of this has caused some BIG fights but also some VERY amazing teachable moments.

Our mantra has been from the beginning to your children:

You are precious. You are the MOST IMPORTANT THING that we will ever ever do. We make you get shots and go to the dentist and finish your homework and eat your broccoli. We don't get to be the good guys and we are totally down with that. We completely own our bad guy role. 

We would never let you eat nothing but cupcakes (and we really like cupcakes). We would never let you sit around and only watch TV (and we like TV). We won't let you have unlimited time online (and we like online). 

It is our job to parent you and there is no way on God's big, green earth that we would ever let you loose on the big, bad internet without doing our damndest to parent you through it. Sorry - know that you are loved and know that we are trying our very best to do right by you. 

It would be SOOOOOO much easier to just sit around at night and eat bon bons and watch TV and eat fast food and not have to talk to any of them but you know what - we aren't taking the easy way out.

How will it turn out?

 I really don't know but I will tell you - we won't go down without fighting.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Yep - a blog post

The last time I "wrote" on the blog was December 15th, 2014. That post was actually a post that I had written years before and copied and pasted.

I like to write ya'll - I really do and I miss the blog but I am not going to lie to you - I am in the weeds.

Since this will mostly be read by my Facebook friends who already know me I don't have to go into too many details but I am a fourth grade teacher and the proud parent of a 3rd grader, 5th grader, and 8th grader. That basically means that I get to have 29 children on my mind - pretty much all of the time. I love love love my life but it is not easy right now.

We are happy. We are healthy but I am here to tell you - it is not easy right now.

I really started keeping a blog when my third child was born. Having three kids under the age of 4 will do something to you people - I kid you not. I started the blog because I wanted to remember. I started the blog quite frankly because - well - solidarity my sisters and brothers. Parenting is NOT easy. There are times that it is terrifying and times that it is so joyous that you cannot believe your luck. There are times when your heart is shattering into millions of pieces and times of love so profound I will not even try to write about it here. The truth of the matter is though - most of the time - you are pretty much just slogging through and only someone who is right there in the muck with you slogging through day after day can really understand. Telling our stories keeps us sane. Hearing the advice of those who have pioneered before me gives us guidance. Guiding those with littler ones behind us gives us purpose. The stories of parenthood should be shared and for a while there I was doing a really good job sharing mine.

Then I started sucking at the sharing.

You see - when they are babies and you are slogging it out there are moments of boredom so intense that you literally might pull your eyeballs out just to add a highlight to your day. The monotony and the repetition of when they are young is rough - I mean rough - serious solidarity to those of you are going through it now but also you find yourself still quite a bit. I distinctly remember that I would often volunteer to be the sleeping bear in their pretend play so that dozing off on the floor was an option in between bouts of having to come alive and growl at giggling little ones.

I loved those years. I do sometimes miss those years but when I am with someone with a little tiny one I mostly think - "Lordy I am glad I don't have to do that again." (This is the point in the blog where you do not see my husband and I knocking on wood and vowing to not touch each other for a week just in case I could have possibly just jinxed us with that statement.) but hey - let's face it - we are starting to grey a little bit around the edges around here and honestly - that is just fine with us.

OK Holly - back on point - I was saying - in the little years you did actually have time to blog because they did nap and they went to bed at 7 and good grief did those kids like the Teletubbies so - blogging was an option. I also got to stay home from the time my youngest was born until the time he went off to Kindergarten so my entire focus was them and my house and you really do just need moments to talk like a grown up even if it is just to type.

Now I get to teach. I love to teach. I am good at teaching. I love having colleagues and a purpose. I love being in a classroom but there are just not enough hours in the day.

I also get to parent a teenager which is one of the reasons that I decided to start writing again. Sanity check time here people. I actually said the words the other day to my husband "I have never wanted to bitch slap someone more in my life than I do that child of mind." That sweet angel child who had the curly hair and the chubby cheeks is now a full blown 14 year old girl.

Sweet Jesus take the wheel.


I just can't.

Oh but wait - you are telling me not only now have I gotten these three children this far - alive and functioning in society, I have managed to get myself back into a classroom and situated in a school that loves me and intends to keep me but also I have to PARENT MY ASS OFF for the next 10 years?

Yep - time for me to start blogging again.

Solidarity my sisters and brothers.

More from me tomorrow.

Monday, December 15, 2014

We Believe - the yearly post

First off before I even get going on Santa and the elf on the shelf and what not I have got to say that first and foremost here is what I believe:

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.

I also believe in

I believe in the spirit of this season. I believe in the imaginations of children and you know what else?

I Heart Santa

I really do. I think he is kind and giving and jolly and I 100 percent believe in the magic of Santa.

Now I am going to talk about something that I hope no young eyes will read because this blog is not intended for young eyes. It is really intended for the eyes of people who have been tasked with the care of the young and I believe that this is a really timely topic.

This house believes first and foremost in the reason for this Season. We talk a lot about Jesus and the manger and all of the true meanings of Christmas. We talk about how lucky we are and all that God has given us.

We also believe in Santa.

We just don't really oversell Santa.

You won't find an elf on the shelf in this house. I just can't pull it off. You also won't hear my husband or I say to the children,

"Now you better be good or Santa won't come."

Just not going to happen. Once again - I just can't pull it off.

Three years ago (now four)- my then 9 year old - came to me and said,

"I need the truth Mommy - does Santa really come down the chimney and leave presents?"

Here is what I said:

Baby girl,

How are you getting so big so fast? I am your Mom and it is my job to lay it all out straight for you so here goes.

I love Christmas. I love this magical season. I believe that Mary and Joseph went and put a little baby in a manger that was sent to save us all. The Bible tells me the story and I have Faith that allows me to believe.

Santa is the same way. Tomorrow we can go to the library and check out books on the legend of Saint Nick. I believe that magical things happen this time of year and I never ever want you to forget it. I always, always, always want you to believe in magic.

"Yes Mommy but how does he fit down the Chimney? I don't understand how that is possible?"

Do you really think that a big guy comes down our chimney and puts all the presents there or do you think that Mommy and Daddy help with that?

"I think you help"

Yes - we help

"Where do you hide everything?" How do you get it all wrapped?"

You know what Ladybug? That is the most amazing secret and one day you will find out about it also. The most amazing thing about being a Mommy is that you get to create magic all the time. Now I get to have a secret Mommy workshop and make magical things happen. I get to work hard to see smiles on your faces on Christmas morning and it is the most precious gift that I have ever been given.

I love being a magic maker. One of the best parts of being a Mom - hands down.

She smiled and kissed me and went to bed happy. She asked me a couple of questions (in my ear of course we talked about the importance of keeping the secret to ourselves) about my Mommy magic and then

much like magic

The discussion was gone. There were no tears. There was no "why did you lie to me drama" just finished.

What is even funnier - it is "that which we will never speak of again." (Even to this day) ****2014 sidebar - of course she is 13 now but I LOVE that with the exception of a couple of funny "this might be worth mentioning to Santa" exchanges it remains a sacred topic that she respects. A secret to be cherished.*****

She is all about magic and Santa and believing and says that the friends in her class that are "bah humbug" as she calls it are missing it. It is like we answered her logistical questions but allowed her the space to imagine and dream.

So yes my friends - we believe and I am loving every minute of it!

Cute 2012 addition to this story. My second grader came RUNNING to me the other day and said "Um Mommy - isn't it Summer in Africa? I remember that right? Won't Santa get hot? How does that work?" 

Me: "Remember - they celebrate Kwanzaa in Africa? Let's read a book. Here I have one right here." (Because I am going to say this right here and now - 
Hello my name is Holly and I have a children's Christmas/Hannukah/kwanzaa/anything with a snowman book problem.)
So it is possible that I have a book
or two in this house relating to this or any holiday related subject.

Anyhoo - she was all
"PHEW - that makes total sense" 

We read a nice book about Kwanzaa and off we went. 

Another holiday crisis averted. 

For now......

****2014 update******

You know that second grader in the above story from 2012? Well she is now a fourth grader and I have never had a We Believe conversation with her because guess what - she BELIEVES. Without question - without concern - if a kid on a playground were to tell her something other than what she believes I think she would probably tell them to go fly a kite. She believes without reservation, question or concern. Her second grade brother of course just follows along blindly. It will be interesting to continue to share this post year after year and add to it with each child's experiences.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A birth story - thirteen years told.....

*******Post Warning - you know I usually digress - a lot? Well this whole post is basically one big digression so hang on to your hat and try to keep up because I am all over the place with this one!**************

(How is that strategy to keep you reading working? There is probably some blog guru somewhere having a terrible flutter at their typewriter as I continue to break lots of blog rules and suggestions)


We must start with a little back story. Husband and I were married in March of 2000. Our Pastor provided us with some wondeful marriage counseling. One of the things that he advised us was to wait one year before we started having kids.

(There is no real way to tell this story without including birth control details so - with apologies.....)

I was on the pill and stopped taking it in March of 2001.

I promptly contracted the Chicken Pox - yes the Chicken Pox.

What is worse is that we did not know right away that I had the Chicken Pox because we thought that maybe my body (this is why you should go to the dr and not self diagnose) was freaking out with hormones or something from stopping the pill
(I look back on this and I really can't believe it but anyway) so long story short - I had a raging fever and was very sick before I went to the doctor and we figured it out.

Now - where does this fit in with her birth story you ask? Well - all of this happened in March. We were going to San Antonio to celebrate our first wedding anniversary and it was on that vacation that we were going to "start trying". I do remember asking the doctor about the Chicken Pox and trying to have a baby - I was told once the pox were gone - I was good to go AND that it was a real blessing that I got the pox when I did and not after I was pregnant. Off we go to San Antonio and had a wonderful time.

We come back and I decide that I need to find a good OB/Gyn. I pretty much went in and talked to the girl at the front desk and told her that I needed someone who would be very calm with me and answer all of my questions and put up with my idiosyncrasies and would never ever in any way be mean to me. The girl was like "ok - I have the perfect doctor for you."

Turns out he totally was because he wound up delivering all three of my babies!

Anyway - off I go to the doctor and at the time I was a shy pee-er - you know - had a hard time going on command (now 14 years and 3 babies later - let me assure you - no longer a problem)

but once again I digress.....because I could not go in the cup - I talked to Dr Greve about what to do in order to help me get pregnant, we talked about starting folic acid then - you know - the pre pregnancy stuff.

FINALLY I go in the cup and I have my little "so you want to get pregnant bag of goodies" and was ready to walk out the door.

Denise (Dr. Greve's nurse whom I still love and see to this day) came out of the bathroom and said,
"Holly - you are never going to believe this!"

Yes - I was pregnant - I had been off the pill for about 2 seconds, and had the chicken pox and bam - pregnant. I just kept saying, "no way no WAY!" Then I turned to Dr. Greve and said,

"wow that was some pill!"

Of course I could not wait to tell husband so I called him at work. He knew I was at the appointment to find the OB and I just said,

"Guess what - I was going to think of some clever cute way to tell you this but I really can't think at all right now - I am pregnant!"

He said,

"Man Babe - when you decide to do something - you really don't mess around, do you?"

It was cute - while I was on the phone with him in the doctor's office the nurse just quietly came up and took the "so you want to get pregnant" bag out of my hand and put the "congratulations you are pregnant" bag in it, grinned, gave me a thumbs up, and walked out.

We were of course thrilled - my Mom guessed the second I called her and I think that Husband called his parents that night.

Now in order to break up this incredibly long story - I am inserting a few pics of her as a baby.

Hit the milk a little too hard this time
She loved our dogs! Sniff Logan and Lewis - miss them.
Bring in the Fire Chief!

Food - Good! (You can see the Ladybug Curl Mohawk starting here)
Baby girl driving the car - she was pretty little in this one

That was her sticker from Gymboree class on her head - she was being silly.

Now moving on to her actual birthday. I am convinced that her due date was December 8th. For whatever reason - we had her due date as December 2nd. I really did not know any better and I just thought that on December 2nd - she would just come. I was patient and never even dreamed of having her until December 2nd but when December 2nd came and she was still not here - I was VERY ready to have that baby!

I fell twice while pregnant with my ladybug - once hooking up a horse trailer and once on the bleachers at Scott's indoor soccer game - both times - I was basically perfectly fine. Couldn't knock that baby out of me with a baseball bat.

I pretty much kept trucking with her without even thinking about it - I did gain quite a bit of weight (45 pounds) so I was good and chubby.

Anyway - I remember - I was working at the auto auction and I was mad at one of my car dealers and I went stomping out on the lot to find a car and bring it in. One of the guys that worked on the lot hopped on a golf cart and tried to get me to get in - I refused - so he followed me slowly creeping behind the little round angry pregnant woman who could have gone into labor at any moment - all the way out to the back lot.

I stopped working on December 2nd - it was my due date (although I still say not the right one but anyway) and I felt I should stop working that day. I kept getting calls - "hey where are you? I need some numbers..." (auto auction talk). I kept saying I am about to have a baby!!!!!!!

We induced her on December 7th - which - in retrospect - I actually wished that we had waited. I think that we made her come earlier than she was ready but hindsight is of course - 20/20.

We went to the hospital at 6:00 in the morning and they started the inducing process.

Here is how the next part goes:

Nurse: Are you allergic to any medications?
Me: Nope
Nurse: ok I am going to give you penicillin in your iv
Me: Great
Fastforward 5 minutes

"Honey - my tongue feelth kinda funny...."

as my whole face was swelling up.

Nurse: "ok you are allergic to penicillin - don't ever take that again

Me: "otay" (ok in really fat tongue speak)

The day went on and on and on and on and finally at 9:15 that night - I was able to start pushing - an hour and a half later - she finally came into this world. At one point in the middle of the pushing - I actually fell asleep - yep - asleep - just for a second mind you. Husband thought that was hysterical.

Now I have to admit for the sake of telling the story accurately - she was so wonderful and I was so happy to see her but the whole experience was so different than with my younger two children. I was so traumatized and so tired and so unsure - it was so new and I look back on that time and wish that I had enjoyed it more which I know sounds crazy. I cried and cried after they took her to the nursery and I just remember feeling so so so tired. I tell this because I want to try and remember what the experience was like and that was a part of it.

The positives - she was so perfect - so beautiful - so tiny! She was 7 pounds 3 ounces when she was born and we brought her home to our warm Christmasy house. I remember just looking at her and thinking that I could not believe what we had created. I remember holding her so tight and feeling like she and I were on a journey together - partners - lost and found together. With her brother and sister - the journey was different - I was already the Mommy - I knew more and I was much more solid in that role.

With her
it was just

all firsts

I wouldn't change a thing

(except for maybe the penicillin thing - it does not feel good to have your face swell up like that)

but anyway

I digress.........

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

a hashtag night before Thanksgiving post














Sunday, November 23, 2014

In the Trenches

So tonight I read this article while husband was driving us home from a basketball tournament and I thought to my self - "self - I really relate to that". You see when she says "But for the longest time, it all seemed so endless. It seemed like I’d always have kids up my ass. It felt like I’d be wiping faces and fannies and driving people all over creation forever. And now, just like that, I don’t."

I thought - you know - one day - one day too soon. I just won't. 
When I moan and complain - people love that. They tell me that they worry about me and I should slow down. My favorite is always when people tell me that we should do less.....

I just want to say

um - you do see that there are THREE of them - yes? 

Three times a dentist - that's a lot. 

Three times a pediatrician - that's a lot. 

Three times any sort of activity - that's a lot.

Do you see where I am going with this? Don't even get me started on my friends with four kids. I really don't know how they do it except the thing is - I kind of do. 

You see - I did the math and you know what - in 5 years my kids will be 17,15, and 13. The baby will not need me to tie his shoes or ask me to watch the Wild Kratts with him. My middle daughter will no longer want me to build legos with her or ask me to look at books with her in the library. My middle schooler will no longer be a pain in the butt. (Well - here's hoping and of course I jest but those of you with middle school age children know that I only jest - just a little bit) 

Three is a lot but also three is so awesome. I.WOULD.NOT.CHANGE.A.THING. 

I am rambling at this point and you know what - I am a little rusty at this whole blogging thing because (and I am sure that my two readers plus my mother have noticed) I have not been blogging. There are days where I LITERALLY do not stop all day long. When on earth would I blog? 

Well you know what - that is all going to change. Who cares if I am a terrible blogger. Who cares if I jot something down that doesn't make sense. It will help me remember this crazy time in my life nad I want that because I am telling you - I am lucky and happy and just because I am busy those facts simply do not change.

 I also understand that this time, like the time when they were babies and would fall asleep with their fists in the air in victory or when they were toddlers and would pop up and laugh and say "HERE MY ARE", or the times when they were preschoolers and you would eat your lunch of cheese its and grapes and watch a show like Dinosaur Train and then take a nap, or..... do you see? It is all fleeting.

For posterity's sake - here is what my week and weekend looked like:

oh man - one thing at a time - no way I feel like typing all of that up - let's just take the win (I wrote a blog post) and set the alarm because 5:30 tomorrow is going to come nice and early......

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Birth Story of the baby - the baby is always the hardest

***Last night I went in to kiss him as he slept - the last night that a 7 year old would be asleep in my house. His brown little boy hand, tanned from the sun and scratched from his adventures was wrapped around Chubby the Bear. His chest rose and fell and his little face was so peaceful and my heart broke and grew all in the same moment. Birthdays kill me and the baby is the hardest.***

Well - I have to say - I am basically in shock and denial that my baby boy is EIGHT! I like to retell their birth stories each year on their special day and well - here is another special day.
I guess I should begin with how we came to have him in the first place. Sorry if this is too much information but this is basically a story that is tossed around at family functions quite a bit anyway so I want to go ahead and tell it here so that I have it down on paper er I mean computer somewhere. :)

We were a very happy little family of four and we talked about maybe trying for a third one day but we were certainly not looking to add on to our family at that time. It was Christmas Eve 2005 and we were celebrating, as is our custom, at my Sister in Law's house. We were enjoying some good food and family fun and I was enjoying an adult beverage. I raised my glass and said, for the universe to hear,
"I am having the BEST time. This is the first Christmas in forever that I have not been pregnant or breastfeeding!!!!!!!"
Fastforward to one week later - yes - one week later - New Years Eve - I knew I was pregnant.
The Buddy's pregnancy was nothing like my pregnancies with my girls. I pretty much knew this one was different from the beginning. I had a small puddle of blood that was sort of pooling between my uterus and abdominal wall and had to go for a BUNCH of ultrasounds. I was also supposed to be careful about lifting things (yeah right with a 4 yr old and a 2 yr old).
When it was time to go in for my 3D Ultrasound at 20 weeks I took my oldest daughter (then age 4) with me. She was very good and we found out that our baby was a baby boy. I had her call Husband and he picked up and she said,

"Hi Daddy - guess what? It is a boy baby!!!!"
We moved in May of that year - once again - pretty much a whipping to be 6 months pregnant with a 4 year old and a 2 year old and move but - we were actually doing pretty good!
Then - it happened -
the dreaded P.U.P.P.S rash.
I went ahead and made that a link if you are interested in it but basically it is a terrible itchy red painful rash that goes across your big sore pregnant belly and in the creases of your arms and legs.
Now - not to beat this point to death BUT - here I was - new town, a 4 year old and a 2 year old (have I mentioned that?), August, in Texas, 110 degree heat with a terrible painful rash.
I tell you -
talk about being trapped in your own body and life -
pretty miserable I will say.
Positives - my husband and the girls were really great and those two little girls were so sweet and good to their Momma - I will never forget that.
Anyway - my doctor wanted to induce me on August 27th. I said
"no way am I am having a boy in Texas in August"

(the cut off for school IN Texas is September 1st and he was not due until the 16th so I felt very strongly about this point).
September 2nd came and we headed off to the hospital for the third time at 5 o clock in the morning to be induced. Things went pretty smoothly and my husband went to go grab some lunch. The nurse came in to check me and I had gone from a 5 to a 9 REALLY fast so I had to call him - "Honey - come back FAST!"
My doctor (who is the GREATEST) came in - checked me and we told him that my husband would be back in just a second. He said, "ok good - I need to go to the bathroom anyway and you guys can wait a minute - perfect" and off he went. I had this crazy urge to call after him -
"be sure and wash your hands"
but anyway......
Husband came rushing back in and it was time to meet the Little Buddy.
That is when I heard my doctor say,
"oh, oh, well, ok, well, he is ok"
and then he said something like, "I want to send that off to the lab."
I cannot really describe what that split second of fear felt like but I can tell you it was so tangible that I remember what it tasted like.
We were told that he had one single knot in his umbilical cord and two double knots in his umbilical cord and the entire thing was wrapped around his neck. My Doctors exact words (and I will never forget them) were,
"he is destined for greatness - he really should not be here - I have really never seen this and have it turn out ok. I just lost one like this at 37 weeks."
We induced him at 37 and a half weeks. He was 7lbs 8 ounces and he was perfect.
Everytime I think about it.
Everytime I think about how close we came to losing him I get a chill.
I thank God each and every day for that terrible, awful rash!
I kept asking, "are you sure he is ok? He is really ok?" and he was.
That night - in the hospital room - I felt a sense of euphoria that I really had never felt and have not felt since. I could not sleep - all I could do was sit up and watch my sweet baby boy.

And now 

That baby is 8 and going into SECOND grade!

Sigh -  need time to slow down.