Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What I Know

In nine days, my daughter turns five.

FIVE!  Cinco!  A nickel!  A whole handful!  Five fingers!  I.  Cannot.  Believe.  It.  She is growing up so quickly.

I cannot believe that I have been a mom for five years.  FIVE!  Naturally, I still feel like such a novice; like one stumbling around a pitch-black house during a nighttime power outage.  I keep thinking the lights will come on any minute, and then..."A-HA!"...I'll get it!  Illumination!  (AKA, wisdom.)  I'll finally know how to handle all things and all situations when it comes to being the mother of my munchkins!  Until that day comes (ha!), I'll sip my Diet Coke with a slice of lime.  I'll think about what motherhood has taught me.  As I have admitted, I don't know much.  But here's what I do know: 

--I will never "summit" the Everest-like mountain of laundry I constantly find overflowing from the hamper.  *Sigh*  There will always be laundry to do.  It will never go away...unless we stop wearing clothes.  I look totally weird naked, so that option is o-u-t, out!

--More often than not, eating out as a family is a scary adventure.  (How scary?  "Tomato-slices-flung-at-old-ladies" scary!  "Chocolate-milk-dumped-in-laps" scary!  "Annoying-fellow-diners-with-shrieks-of-'Cam-stop-touching-my-fries'" scary!)

--When Sharpie claims their markers are permanent....they mean it.


--Poop in the tub will always and forever be as disgusting as hell.

(NO poop in this tub pic, I promise!)

(Or this one!)

--Grocery shopping or running errands while kids are hungry and/or tired, is a bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad idea.

--Watching my husband play "house" with our daughter is like enjoying a warm funnel cake at the state fair...It is a sweet, special treat!


--Being a mom is a very tough job.  My "employers" are frequently difficult to work with.  There is no pay.  Sometimes, it is a thankless job.  BUT...it is by far the coolest and most extraordinary job I've ever had.

--The cure for a long, hard day is a cinnamon roll.  Or a cookie.  Or a doughnut.  Or a cupcake.  Or Taco Bell.  (That one was for you, Maria!)


--The names "Ma, Mom, Mother, Mama, Mama Leisha, and Mommy" will never, ever grow old for me.  They make my heart soar.

--Lastly, I am blessed


(I don't know much, but I do know that!)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fire and Sass


Ms. Lilly has "fire"--a sassy spunk that curls my toes with utter frustration and makes me want to jump and shout, "Hooray," at the same time.  She is fiesty.  She puts her hand on her hip often.  She walks the runway (that is, the shag carpet in my living room) with a diva attitude and a "don't mess with me" flare.  She happily answers to, "Your Highness."

I love it.  And I hate it.

I hate it when she cops serious sass and informs me that she's moving to the neighbor's house:

Me:  Raul and Bertha's?  They are very nice, but they don't speak much English.  Do YOU know Spanish?
Ms. Lilly (eyes rolling, of course):  NO, Mom!  But they have a dog.

I hate it when she tells me I'm not her favorite parent anymore.  (Punch-in-the-gut insulting, right?  Especially when you consider my competition....McHubby?  Really?  HE'S the better parent???)  Or when she accuses me of not loving her anymore:

Me:  You bet I love you, Lil!  What would make you say such a thing?
Ms. Lilly:  Well...you didn't get me any apple juice.
Me (irked):  You didn't ask!!

I hate it when she dumps the dirty laundry all over my floor, coaxes Cam into the hamper, then immediately blames HIM for all the mischief:

Me:  So...Cam did this all by himself?
Ms. Lilly:  What can I say...he's a crazy baby.


BUT...

I kind of love it when she scrambles up our bulky, age-worn sofa with those skinny legs; climbing until she is perched on top of it like a baby chickadee.  She slowly stands and surveys the toy-cluttered landscape of the living room.  Then, with a flick of her ponytail and an over-the-shoulder glance at Camren (who is sitting on the floor), she yells, "Watch and learn, baby!" 

And then, she jumps. 

My little girl leaps from the couch and lands in an impressive Tom Cruise-esque "tuck and roll" that resembles a stunt from a Mission Impossible flick.  She shows no fear. 

I believe her fire--her ferocity--is what gives her the courage to take that leap.  As she grows and matures into a lovely, smart woman, I hope she never loses her fire.  When she is told she's not good enough, when she feels she's not pretty enough, when she wonders and worries, when she loves and loses, when she doesn't make the grade, when she feels lost or down-trodden, when a man breaks her heart, when disappointment outweighs hope on life's scale, I hope she climbs high above it.  I hope courage and strength and a unabashed belief in her own magnificence will give her the confidence to jump; to overcome her unique challenges.  I hope she'll remember to say to the world, "Watch and learn," because God did not send her to earth to fail.

With a little bit of faith, she'll soar.



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

She Saved the Day


UGH!  It was one of those mornings.

Cam was perched in his highchair, combing strawberry jam through his "barely-there hair."  He was playing a rousing game of "Throw-the-Waffles-Onto-The-Floor-And-Score-Extra-Points-For-Beaning-Lilly-In-The Head-With-Them."  Lilly was squawking like an eagle and insisting on eating Oreos for breakfast.  I had had it up to my eyeballs!

"Kids," I said, "we are going outside to get the wiggles out!"  Lilly was shaking a milk carton bird feeder--a preschool project--like a rattle.  I got an idea.

"Better yet, let's finally hang the bird feeder in the backyard," I said.  ("Any activity to get you to stop acting like hyenas," I thought.)  I was met with a chorus of "yipees" and "hoorays" as the kids scrambled for their shoes.

Now, it must be said that I have a sliding glass door that leads to the backyard.  We have a large wooden dowel--that serves as a "security bar"--wedged horizontally between the door that slides and the frame.  Simply, it serves as an additional (albeit makeshift) lock for added home safety.  When the dowel is down, the door will not open.

I propped the dowel up (vertically) in the door frame, slid open the back door, and shooed the kids on through.  Once we were all outside, I turned to slowly slide the door shut again. 

And that's when I heard a clunk.  I could see our "security bar" being "oh-so-secure" at a 45 degree angle; snugly resting between the frame and the door.  Somehow, it had toppled over.

Panic, panic, panic!  I pushed the door!  Nothing.  Not even a smidgen of a budge.  Nothing but an inch of open space I could barely stick my nose in.  I was starting to sweat, and I could feel the refreshingly cool whisper of my AC through that blasted crack!  I could see my front door through the glass.  Locked.  I could see my keys on the table.  Taunting me.  I could see my cell phone sitting next to my keys--equally taunting me.  AAHHH!!

CRAPPITY-CRAP-CRAP!  I was locked out.

I quickly took "inventory" of myself and my kids:

Lilly
Wearing dirty pajamas?  Check.
Bird feeder in hand?  Check
Messy face and disheveled hair in need of a shampooing?  Check

Cam
Wearing a sticky and crusty pajama top?  Check. 
No bottoms, just a saggy diaper?  Check.
Looking like a poor miscreant?  Check

Mama Leisha 
Polka dot pajama pants?  Check.
Mismatched t-shirt?  Check.
Teeth in major need of a brushing?  Check.
No bra, no makeup, and bed head?  Check, check, check.

What to do?  What to do?  I picked up Cam, fluffed my hair, grabbed Lilly's hand, took a deep breath, put my chin up,  and said, "We need to get some help.  We are going to Amanda's house."

To make a long story short, Amanda saved the day!  She welcomed me into her home with all the kindness a true friend can muster.  She let my kids play, she let me borrow her broom (which was used in my attempt to jimmy the kitchen window open), and she let me use her phone (when the broom failed to work)!  I called James at his office and he happily and willingly (har, har) left a work meeting to drive home and unlock the front door for us.  (McHubby:  Well...this is to be expected.  Mama Leisha:  What on earth do you mean by that?!?!  McHubby:  You ARE accident prone.  Mama Leisha:  You love me.)

Here's how I know my sweet Amanda is a true friend--She didn't judge me for being bra-less and ugly!  She didn't even bat an eye when she saw that my children looked like vagabonds.  She offered her car, in case I needed to drive to James' office to pick up our house key.  She never made me feel dorky about my predicament.  (She never would.)  We laughed about the whole ordeal.  We had a good chat while we waited for James.  She told me that my bedhead was cute.  (HELLO!!  TRUE FRIEND!)

And she offered me a cold Diet Pepsi and a candy bar.  Which I gratefully took.

I think I'll get locked out tomorrow.    

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Staples Story

I'm a cornball.

I am.  I admit it.  I am an absolute cornball.  Not only do I secretly listen to really bad and really cheesy pop music on occasion (*gasp*), I also have a silly infatuation with office and school supplies.  I love spiral bound notebooks and new packages of pencils.  I love folders and highlighters and binders.  A new box of crayons makes my heart do a little flippity-flop.  And don't even get me started on how much I adore post-it notes!  I just can't handle it.

It's no surprise I went to Staples today, cruising the vast aisles in search of these:


(WOO-WEE!!!!  Saw an online ad for them and KNEW I had to have them.)

And these:


You bet I found them!  And with minimal disturbance from the kids, too.  (Only one "hiccup" from the Cam Man over a small, dry erase board.  I said he couldn't have it; he laid down in the protractor aisle.)  A nice girl with raven-black hair and an exorbitant amount of dark eyeliner ("emo?" or "misunderstood?") smiled her best "Staples employee" smile (more like a tired grimace) and offered to help me at her checkout stand.

In the middle of the transaction, an elderly man approached from behind and asked for assistance.  Seconds later, he saw me and said to the Staples employee, "Oh!  I'm sorry.  You finish helping this gentleman first."

WHAT?!

Naturally, his comment caught my attention!  I turned around, looked right at him, and smiled.  His jaw dropped.  "Oh my goodness!  I am...so sorry," he stammered.  "You are a lady!  I'm sorry!  I...I...I didn't know...because of your hat.  I'm so sorry."

(Side note:  I was wearing an Old Navy baseball cap.)

Clearly, this man was flustered.  I could tell he felt bad.  So, in true "Aleisha fashion," I acted like a cornball.  You see, I have this thing I do whenever I am nervous or uncomfortable.  I always, always say something really stupid or really embarrassing, in a vain (and lame) attempt to be funny.  You know...to lighten the mood.  To help everyone feel less uncomfortable.  Call it a coping mechanism.  Perhaps it is a defense mechanism.  Maybe, simply, it's a cornball mechanism.  Sometimes it works; most often I end up sticking my foot (clad in pretty, polka-dot flats) in my mouth.

I turned to the blundering man and said, "It's alright.  I DO look like a guy, especially with this hat on.  With my hat, my short hair, and my flat chest, it is easy to make that mistake."

He just looked at me.  The mom that was third in line, buying school supplies with her kids, just looked at me.  The "emo checker" just looked at me.  I giggled nervously, like a five-year-old, and lugged Cam up onto my hip.  I simultaneously grabbed my purchase and Lilly's hand, and bolted for the door.

As I ran across the sweltering parking lot, my brain was screaming:  "Foot in your mouth!  FOOT IN YOUR MOUTH!!"

Later, I was telling McHubby my Staples story.  When I told him what I said, his comment was:  "Oh no!  You didn't!?!  Good one, Aleisha!  You probably made the situation more awkward by drawing attention to your chest.  I mean, he was an old man!"  Ugh!

So before I go to bed tonight, I'll write, "I will NOT make comments about my lack of boobs to old men in Staples," one hundred times.  I think I'll write it in my Justin Bieber notebook.   I'll use my spiffy, new, leopard-print pen.




 (For another "gender blunder" story, check out my dear friend's blog, A Day in the Life.   Amy also writes a wonderful food/recipe blog.  www.famousberriesandbeans.blogspot.com

Friday, August 19, 2011

I'm a Guest!

Today, I am being featured on the blog, Midnight Mommy!  What a neat opportunity for me, and I'm grateful to Midnight Mommy for giving me a chance to strut my stuff on her blog.  Hooray!

In other news...I was bringing groceries, my huge purse, takeout, toys, and sippy cups into the house when I dropped an OPEN can of Diet Coke onto the floor.  What a mess!  Lilly said, "Mom, why are you always dropping things?"

I sighed and said, "I don't know, Lil.  Probably because I try to carry too much stuff at one time."

As I reached for a roll of paper towels, she said, "You really need to be an octopus, Mom.  Wouldn't that be great?!  Then you would have enough arms to carry everything!"

That would be nice...but TWO is enough!  That's all I need to hug and squeeze that darling daughter of mine.




Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why I Live Here 


Mountains.
The rugged and rocky terrain.  The steep, jutted cliffs.
The streams and waterfalls
that carve white, ribbon-like paths down the mountain face.
The smell of pine sap.  The sound of river rapids.
The cooler temperatures at a higher elevation.
The closer I feel to God.


Something interesting happens while traversing mountain trails.  
I start to think about how small I am in the big, wide world
--but how significant I am, too.  
I count my blessings.  
I smile at the chipmunks.  
I don't mind the wind in my hair.  
I turn my face to the sun.
I think about climbing every mountain.

Why I Love Him


He is climbing mountains with me. 

 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Guest Post: Back To School


I'm thrilled to be having my dear friend, Sunshine, guest post today.  Since her post is of a "back-to-school" nature, I thought it would be only fitting (and funny) to upload some of my school pictures.  A few words about the pictures:  I cannot justify my hair.  Also, I had man-brows until I was in college.  And don't knock that red sweater--it was my favorite.  Remember, I was a product of the 1980s.


Sharpen your pencils, it's time for school!  AND HAVE A SUNNY SUNDAY!


(Cue music: "It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year)  

That's right kids your days of firing off rockets for the better part of July...OVER.  (Yes, I'm still holding a grudge for those of you wondering.)  Eating enough junk food at the local amusement park to kill an African elephant...GONE.  Tan lines from living in your bathing suit for 3 months...VANISHED.  It's back to school you go.

This year, I get to hold my head up high and join the ranks of "carpool moms" across the country as my oldest daughter begins kindergarten.  I'll let you in on a little secret:  It's just about killing me.  Let's face it, I don't know this new woman in our lives--this new kindergarten-teacher person.  Will she know that my young-un is just learning to ride her bike (and as a side note here, for all you kids out there WITHOUT training wheels I would like to remind you that you had to start somewhere, and if I have to hear one more of you tout your two-wheel awesomeness to my 5-year-old we're very likely going to have a good-old-fashion Mommy smack down right in the middle of the side walk where I call you a name and stick my tongue out so bad your face will probably fall off.)

Anyway, where was I...oh yes, kindergarten teacher...will she know that the princess doesn't like mushrooms, that she has a high tolerance for pain and a low tolerance for little brothers?  Will she know she gives her dolls names that make no sense what-so-ever, or that a princess band-aid has miraculous healing powers?  Does she know that spot on her knee that, when squeezed, sends her into hysterics, or the fact that one of her toes is just slightly crooked in it's perfect-little-girl way.  Will her teacher know that she loves toe-nail polish, her Daddy, and cotton candy more than anything in the whole world?  Sigh.

This is my problem.  I've had the last 5 years to learn all these things and why am I suddenly feeling like it's somehow going to be different?

So, to all you other seasoned veterans.  Help.  When you see me in the hall, curled up against the wall, clutching an abandoned brown bag from the hyperventilating, tears coursing down my cheeks as I watch her new Hello-kitty back pack disappear into the public school system, could you hand me a kleenex and offer a hug?  I just recently read the book The Peach Keeper by Sarah Allen Addison and the following quote has been following me around like the smell of unopened crayons and big pink erasers:

"We're connected, as women. It's like a spiderweb. If one part of that web vibrates, if there's trouble, we all know it, but most of the time we're just too scared, or selfish, or insecure to help. But if we don't help each other, who will?"

I solemnly swear that next year, mine will be the first hand you'll see,
Yours,
Sunshine

(Carpool extraordinaire and exhausted, frightened Mommy) 

 

Friday, August 12, 2011

BUTTON!

If you ask Cam, "Where's your button?," a wide smile slowly spreads across his little-boy face.  He lifts up his shirt, pokes his belly button with a chubby finger, and laughs happily.  It's adorable, and I love it!


Now, if you were to ask ME, "Where's your button?," I would NOT lift up my shirt to show you.  Nope.  No how.  No way.  Not ever.  I've had two BIG, watermelon-sized babies (I'm not even kidding about that) and thanks to my pregnancies, my belly button is now a deformed, stretched-out, mutant of its former self.  (I know, don't think about it too much!!  It's gross!!)

What I would say is, "Oh!  If you go to callmemamaleisha.blogspot.com, you'll find a tab labeled 'Buttons.'  The tab is right below the picture.  Click on it!  That is where you'll find my button!"  Ha ha!

It's true!  I have a blog button.  My little ol' blog-a-roo has been in existence for almost a year now.  I figured it was time to create a button...or two!  If you read "Mama Leisha," think "Mama Leisha" is wacky-doodle, or would just like a "Mama Leisha" button to put on your blog, then by all means...TAKE ONE!  I'd love it.  (Just wish I could give you a chocolate chip cookie and a can of Diet Coke to go with it.  I mean that!)

A final note-- My blog buttons are free of charge.  Unlike a peek at my "real" button, which will cost you. Your eyesight. 



Thursday, August 11, 2011

Frosty and The Power of Lipstick

I think Lilly has a multiple personality disorder.

 

There.  I said it. 

It's just that she's been acting "coo coo ca-choo" lately!  Her new favorite activity is to put on a frightening amount of lip gloss (I'm talking about GOBS, people) and run throughout the house hollering, "Frosty is back!  Frosty is back!"  ("Frosty" is the alter ego??)

Alarming, right?

When she is "Frosty" she prances on her toes, up and down the halls.  She growls like a Gremlin.  She talks like a robot circa 1985.  She becomes wildly boisterous.  She laughs maniacally.  She slides down the stairs on her belly.  She jumps off the night stand in my bedroom.

When Lilly grows tired of these "funny farm" shenanigans, she calmly strolls into the bathroom, wipes the gloss off with a piece of toilet paper, and says with a serene smile, "Frosty is gone."  She goes back to watching Dora the Explorer.  When the lip gloss is gooped on, Frosty is back.  When the lip gloss is wiped off, Frosty is gone.

Being the obsessive and analytical "Mama Leisha" that I am, I have thought a lot about Lilly's new-found hobby.  (Better to spend time pondering than to spend it Googling specialists in my area who are used to handling this sort of thing.)  In all my thinking, I made a surprising discovery.  (Besides coming to the conclusion that my kid is normal.  Squirrely, but normal.)

I can relate!

I can totally relate to Ms. Lilly!  When I am Queen Sweat Pants--looking out over my domain of sticky floors and windows that need to be washed--I feel a little glum.  When my hair hasn't been washed in a week and my t-shirt is grubby and filthy, I get a case of "the blahs."  When my face is "makeup free" for an extended period of time,  I start to feel like the Kraken.

BUT with a lipstick as hot pink as Barbie's corvette, or as red as a chilli pepper, I can conquer the world!  I step a little lighter.  I prance on my toes too!  I get out of the house more.  I smile at the boy bagging my groceries at Smith's.  I laugh more.  I feel good.  I feel pretty.  And there is power in feeling pretty (aka being "Frosty") and in doing something nice or special for yourself; like applying lipstick.  (Side note:  That's the key--doing something nice or special for yourself, so you feel...well...nice and special.)

I act more confident.  I hold my head a little higher.  I face monotony with a sultry pucker.  ("Take that, Monotony.  Mwah!")  I can grocery shop with crabby kids and change diaper blowouts.  I can keep my gagging to an absolute minimum when my son hands me his booger.  I can tackle laundry and fix dinner and play tag and build blanket forts and clean the oven with zest.  When my lips are smokin' like a four-alarm blaze, my attitude is smokin' too!  I can do anything.

Even jump off my night stand.

       

Monday, August 8, 2011

Don't you just love grandpas?


And hot pink bows?
And sugary, "little girl" kisses?
Sticky-sweet lollipops and warm summer nights?
Don't you just love backyard birthday parties
and pinatas shaped like ice cream cones?
And soft, green grass?
And the welcome shade from a towering, old tree?
Saltwater taffy that melts in your mouth, and tootsie rolls?
Don't you just love cupcakes frosted with icing
as fluffy and pink as cotton candy?
And light-hearted laughter?
And sisterly cuddles?
Moments shared with loved ones, who are wacky and wonderful?

Don't you just love making memories with the people who matter the most?

I do. 
     

Friday, August 5, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, Kristina at Peaches Reviews notified me that I would be the featured Smiley Hopper for her weekly "Smile With Me Saturday" blog hop!  Hooray and what fun!  I'm excited to have this opportunity and just wanted to thank Kristina.  Happy Weekend and Happy Hopping! 





First off, smile with me :) You made it through another week and deserve a big smile. You've got the whole weekend ahead of you so make it a good one!

This week's featured Smiley Hopper is Aleisha from She Calls Me Mama Leisha!!

I asked Aleisha a few questions about herself and her blog so you could get to know a little bit about her.

1) When did you first start blogging? Why?
I started blogging about a year ago. I have the most hilarious four-year-old. I was constantly sharing funny stories about her with my dear friends and family. Several people asked me if I was writing them down. When I replied, “No,” my loved ones said, “You really should. People would enjoy reading them.” That is what got me thinking about starting a blog. Plus, I've always had a passion for writing. My blog is a creative outlet for me and I enjoy sharing it with other people.

2) What's your favorite part about blog hopping?
That's an easy question to answer! I sincerely enjoy meeting new people out there in "Blog Land." I especially love connecting with other women. Through our trials and our triumphs, we are able to relate to one another. Women have an uncanny ability to do that! When we relate to one another, we start supporting and encouraging one another...even if it is cyberly!! Plus, blog hopping is such a stellar way to make new friends...and you can never have too many!

3) What's your favorite hobby
Eating chocolate chip cookies! HA! Goodness, it's hard to pick just "one thing" or an "absolute favorite." My favorite hobbies would include reading, writing, biking, going on picnics, traveling, crafting, gardening, and spending time with my family

4) Who's your role model?
I deeply respect and admire Mother Theresa. She strongly believed and taught that we should "leave people better than we find them." Her beautiful life was a message of faith, compassion, service, and love. Also, my mother is a terrific role model for me. She has always been an excellent and loving mother, who wasn't afraid to run through the sprinklers with us when we were kids!

How it Works

* Follow Me and the Smiley Hopper of the week! (Spots 1 & 2) Leave us a comment with your blog/twitter/facebook url so that we can follow you back

* Grab the Smile With Me Saturday button then post on your blog to give your new followers a place to comment

* Add your blog/twitter/facebook to the list- (NOT YOUR BLOG HOP or GIVEAWAYS PLEASE) These entries will be deleted.

* Follow as many people on blog/twitter/facebook as you would like, Make sure you leave them a comment so they know you stopped by. Then Follow Back everyone that follows you & comments.

You can link your blog every Saturday at 12am EST. Have fun!!


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Honesty Is Such A...Lonely Word???

Dearest Lilly,

As your doting mother, I feel it absolutely necessary to teach you ethical standards.  The world has a lot of beautiful and wonderful things to offer...BUT...sometimes it is like a pond, and there is a lot of scum out there!  It is imperative for you to maintain your integrity.  That is why I strive to instill in you the value of honesty.  I want you to always tell the truth!

When you want to fib about smacking your brother in the head for putting one of your Barbies in the toilet (what IS up with Cam and the toilet??), be honest.  Truthfully tell me what really happened...because I already know what happened.  (Thanks to the eyes in the back of my head.)

Accept responsibility for your own actions.  When your report card is distributed, don't hide it.  If you get a "D" in English, you'd better own up to it.  If you don't, I WILL make you read Shakespeare the ENTIRE summer break.  (Your mama has an English degree!  Don't think I won't do it!)

If you are considering lying, try to think of the consequences.  When you are tempted to lie to me about being out all night with a shady hooligan who drives a Camaro and answers to the name, "Toker," don't.  Tell the truth.  Your lying will only hurt yourself, your conscience, and your character.

It is important to be honest, and...

Alright, alright!  I admit it! This letter is not entirely about pointing your moral compass in the right direction.  Truth is, I must confess something to you.  I should be practicing what I'm preaching, and because I feel so strongly about the principle of honesty I must "come clean" about something.  (I refuse to be "Mama Hypocrite!")

Yesterday, you asked me, "What do you have in your mouth?"  I answered, "Carrots," knowing how you despise them.

I lied.  I'm so sorry.  I lied to you because I did not want to share with you.

They were pretzel M&M's.

Forgive me and remember, "to thine own self be true,"
Your "Mama Leisha"
(Who has been reformed.  Honest.)