Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Exhaustion has a new meaning…

So, I thought that having a newborn was as exhausted as I would ever be. That was before I took out of state trips two weekends in a row with the kiddos. I would like to say that at this moment and I delirious and exhausted, but entirely hopeful that our trip to the beach in 2 weeks might not actually kill me!

Two weekends ago the kids and I took off on our first road trip in a car by ourselves. To say that I was worried, was an understatement. But, I was bound and determined that we'd make it to Dallas no matter how long it took us. It had been mother's day since we'd seen Mimi and Pops and we all needed a little face time.

Contemplating life with Pops after a game of hoops
Well, the trip was as perfect as could be! We left right at Amelia's naptime so the first 90 minutes were bliss. Braden was content watching movies and Amelia was napping. When she woke up we stopped for a bit and got on down the road. Only took us 4 ½ hours to get there.

(One complaint I do have is that every public restroom, save a 21 and up place, should have a baby changing area in it. More often than not, when we stopped it seemed like there was no changing station which posed all sorts of new problems!)

So, we got to Dallas and got settled in our fabulous room. Late that night Mimi, Pops, and Uncle Ross arrived. Amelia was not feeling the crib in the closet set up and woke us all up at 4:30am. Good times.

Later that morning Melissa and Bobby, and Jenny, Aunt Susie, and Madden stopped by the hotel. This was pretty epic because the 4 of us cousins had not been together in one place in 12 ½ years. We had a blast catching up!

Ross is excited that he's finally the tallest

The traditional 'Benson' pose - gotta start em early!

After that it was off to the water park for me, the kids, and mom and Larry. The water park was great! Had lots of kid areas for both Braden and Amelia and I won't lie – we all enjoyed the lazy river for about half an hour. And I can proudly say that Amelia didn't try to catapult herself off the raft even once.

After a nice refreshment of Marble Slab creamery we went back to the room for some down time. We were all kind of zonked from the sun.

The next morning it was more pool time and catching up with Deana. Uncle Ross decided to brave the ride back to Arkansas with us. It wasn't too bad of a trip either. Both kids threw small fits, but nothing a little time and tuning out couldn't handle =)

When we got home I didn't really even bother unpacking all of the bags because the very next weekend we were headed to Nashville for a girls' weekend.

Again, the kids and I headed out Friday afternoon and surprisingly enough made it to Nashville (380 miles) in one piece. We got all checked into the hotel and waited for the rest of the crew to arrive from Atlanta.

Friday night was an early-ish night for the kiddos and some much needed girl talk for the grown ups. Saturday morning we got up and headed to the Nashville Zoo. The kids had a blast and I was very impressed with the zoo, but it was 8000 degrees outside so we left after 2 hours. Spent the afternoon in the pool where it was again confirmed that I have the least buoyant (Braden) child on the face of the planet, but we all cooled off and had some fun.

They had a great playground that the boys loved!

It was Ice Day at the zoo so the boys checked out (aka licked) the ice sculpture they had on hand
Amelia was Amanda's little buddy all weekend
That night we loaded up and went to downtown Nashville. Ate dinner at a BBQ restaurant downtown and then crammed ourselves into a buggy for a horse drawn carriage ride through downtown. The kids were amazed and I have to admit, it wasn't a bad way to see the city. That night we all kind of crapped out early and tried to get a good night's sleep.

Sunday we tried to go see Opryland, but since both of my kids fell asleep on the ride over I thought it best to get on down the road towards home. We stopped at a Train museum on the way home and played for about 45 minutes. Other than that, no notable issues or meltdowns.
Choo Choo

For now, we're home and unpacked, but I'm already mentally preparing myself for the trip to the beach in T – 10 days (520 miles).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

All Part of the Plan

Those of you who know me, know I'm a planner. As a matter of fact, it is July and I spent the afternoon planning Braden's birthday part. Not too bad until you know that his birthday is in March =)

I've received a lot of good natured ribbing lately because of my crazy planning skills, but in my life, it is a necessity. Any mother knows what I'm talking about. Any mother of two or more especially knows what I'm talking about. And any single mother of two under four really knows what I'm talking about.

This is what happens when I don't plan for everything... at the beach with nothing to wear! Granted it was November so I wasn't expecting to be in the water...
I would love to be one of those people who floats through life and takes things as they come. I would love to be able to tell you that I don't already have a packing pile started for a vacation that I won't leave for for over three weeks. But I can't. I'm not that person.

Now, I will say that I am better now than I was before I had kids (and that is a scary thought!), but now I plan because of necessity. On the weekends sometimes we leave in the morning and don't get home until bedtime, so I have to make sure that I have the diaper bag, a change of clothes for B, swimsuits, towels, food, bottles, and pajamas because we never know where the day will take us. I have to have a schedule for almost everything. Tuesday is trash day, Wednesday is grocery day, Thursday is cleaning day, etc.

Several friends have recently commented that they would "die" if they had to go to the store on a certain day. I do this because it makes my life easier. I always say that if you plan for the expected, then you can much more easily manage the unexpected.

I want to be able to give my kids the best of everything, including my time. So, I feel like if I'm always running to the store, that takes away the precious little time we get to spend together each night. I also want to give my kids fun memories, and some of my best memories were my birthday parties growing up. So, I plan. I plan ahead. I plan so that the handmade invitations and decorations can be done at night after they go to sleep and I have literally months to work on them. But in the end, my kids and I both get wonderful memories.

Sometimes planning ahead takes a little coercion for the kiddos. Perfect example – last year Old Navy put Halloween costumes on sale the day before Halloween. They had costumes in the sizes that Braden and Amelia will wear this year at Halloween, so I bought them each costumes. Now, I immediately went home and asked Braden how exciting it would be to be a hamburger for Halloween next year. Now, he talks about his Hamburger costume at least once a month because he's so excited about it =)

So, while in my life, planning is the mother of necessity, it also allows me to spend more time with my kids doing what we love to do. Maybe one day I can be a little more like others who take life as it comes, and who knows, maybe someday some of you can be a little more like me. It's a plan =)

Friday, July 8, 2011


So I know most moms have had to go through this before, but this week I am a super proud, yet kind of sad mom. Tuesday, Amelia stood up by herself for the first time…at daycare. I had to hear about one of my baby's biggest milestones to date from a teacher.

I was lucky enough with Braden to be at daycare to see him take his first step. There is nothing like that moment when you see your baby proudly toddling towards you. Like I said – with him I was lucky. Had I been 2 minutes later to pick him up, I would have missed it.

Now, short of winning the lottery and being able to quit my job, or somehow convincing daycare to allow Amelia to wear a helmet cam (which may or may not be a bad idea), I think I'm going to have to get used to missing things like this. Even though I've been doing it for 3 years now (and sometimes guiltily enjoy the alone time), it still is a hard concept to get used to – someone else having that big of a part in raising your children.

But, speaking of milestones, it is funny how differently I have come to feel about milestones. With Braden I couldn't wait for him to do everything. I would eagerly read ahead in my "What to expect" books to see just how far ahead of the pack he was and revel in it. When he rolled over for the first time it was a glorious moment. Started crawling, even better, but when he started walking at 10 months I was over the moon. My kid was an over-achiever!

Now, fast forward 2 ½ years to Amelia. Not that I am not equally as proud of everything she accomplishes, because I am, but I find myself willing her to accomplish things at a slightly slower rate (not that it is really working). When all she could do was lie and wait, life was good. I didn't have to worry about what she would get into next or how I might lose her in my own home. That is no longer the case. I have been used to Braden being somewhat self sufficient and knowing what he can and can't do and where he can and can't go that I'm having to retrain my mind for another infant. She is constantly disappearing on me, and now that she is mobile, getting her dressed every morning resembles several heats of a 100 yard dash.
But, no matter how quickly they walk or run, no matter if they can count to 2 or 100, no matter what else happens with my kids and their development, I am one super proud momma and nothing they can do will ever change that (even when they would rather me not be!)