The pics you've all been waiting for

Here are the pics of the Monkey, the Cheese, and the Golfer from my brother-in-law's wedding. It was one of the most beautiful weddings that I have ever had the pleasure of attending, but my three boys were the best looking ones there. Can you blame me?

Here is the precious groom with his two ring bearers at the rehearsal the night before. He is the best uncle and my boys adore him.

The boys stood still and paid attention during the rehearsal. It was a miracle. Makes sense since we were in a church.

Some of my favorite pics were the ones that I took as the Golfer helped the boys into their tuxes before the wedding. I also took pictures to document the fact that the Golfer was actually dressing the boys without my asking him to do it.

The best line of the wedding: "Mom! I look awesome!"

I took this picture of the Cheese (he was actually sitting this way) as we were outside taking the pre-wedding pictures. Such a professional looking pic--maybe they should have hired me to be their wedding photographer instead. But I would have had to decline. It's too hard to drink a martini and take good photos.

The boys were excited to be in the wedding. Neither had ever been in one (or even been TO one) before. I was a little nervous about their performance, but they both did outstanding. With all of these pretty girls to follow behind, can you blame them?

10 days is our limit

We've been away from home for ten days now, and my kids have had it. They're done having fun and visiting relatives. They're done swimming and playing on the Slip 'N Slide. They're tired, they're whining, they're covered in mosquito bites, and they're acting as if they've been sedated.

We're ready to go home.

Oklahoma used to be home. It was home to me for 33 years. And I know that it will always be home to me no matter where I live. But for my boys, California (or "Califorja" as the Monkey calls it) is their home, especially for the Monkey who moved there when he was only one-year-old. And to be honest, California has become home for me too and is starting to make its own special little place in my heart.

The town that I grew up in seems so small now. The people are slower; in no hurry to get anywhere too quickly. There are more bugs, less traffic, and lots and lots of weather alerts. None of this is a bad thing. I grew up surrounded by this way of life, but it now feels a little distant and strange.

Life is California is big. There's lots to do and everyone's in a hurry to get there. The people might be skinnier, but not nearly as friendly. There are wild fire alerts instead of weather alerts. Gas, groceries, and everything in between costs more. And as crazy as it sounds, I absolutely love living there.

At my brother-in-law's wedding, everyone kept asking us, "How do you like California?" And every time I answered in the same way.

"We love it there."

And that's the truth. We love our life in California. I know that my family and friend who live in Oklahoma may not like to hear it, but we're in no hurry to ever move back. We're spending the 4th of July on the beach, followed by a quick stop at Legoland...just for fun. In August we're going camping at a really cool place just north of Santa Barbara where you stay in log cabins with running water (the only way that I'll actually camp) and you can hike in the canyon or bike down to the beach. We've made great new friends, live in a great new house, and belong to a great new church.

Life is Good.

The last ten days, we've had a blast. We've spent all kinds of time with family and friends--quality time. We've dressed up, worn tuxes (the boys, not me), played at Splash Pad, played naked with the hose in the backyard (the boys, not me), cleaned out our storage unit, had a garage sale, made a little money, spent a little money, went to the movies, went to Sonic every day for a Cranberry and Diet Sprite, etc...etc.

It's been wonderful, but we're ready to go home. Home to California. As the Mamas and the Papas once sang, "I'd be safe and warm if I was in L.A. California Dreamin'..."

We own a lot of...stuff

We came home to Oklahoma last week for a visit. Oklahoma is no longer home, but I have a feeling that no matter where else I live and for however long, I will always call Oklahoma "home."

We came back for my brother-in-law's wedding. The boys were ring bearers and they did an fantastic job! The Monkey kept asking "Where's the princess(the bride)?" and after he got all dressed up in his tux came into the bathroom to tell me, "Mom, I look awesome!"

He's the new King of One-liners.

Their wedding was one of the prettiest weddings that I have ever been to. They thought of everything--even having Taco Bell delivered around 11:30 to sober up all of the guests before driving home. (How creative is that?) But the best part of the wedding was watching how much fun the bride and groom were having and knowing how much they were in love.

So now starts the second phase of our trip--emptying out a 10 by 20 storage unit that we've had for the last two years. When we moved across the country, we didn't have enough room for all of our furniture in our little townhouse. We had a huge garage sale and got rid of a ton of stuff, but there was still plenty left over that needed to be stored.

Two years later, we now have our own house again that's big enough for most of our stuff. Today we spent about five hours emptying out the whole thing, putting about 2/3 of it on a moving truck that the Golfer gets to drive for 1,300 miles. The other 1/3 is going to be sold tomorrow in a sale. I've had several people say that they are interested in buying some of our furniture. They have to because there isn't any more room on the truck!

The thing about this that bothers me the most isn't having to pack it all up and spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on gas to get it home. What bothers me is how much stuff we own. We aren't that old and we own a lot of crap! The Golfer has boxes and boxes of memorabilia from his days as a junior and a college golfer--the kind of stuff that you move from garage to garage until eventually your own children have to deal with it.

There's also baby clothes that I can't bear to part with and boxes of teaching supplies that can't be replaced. We've weeded through most of the junk, getting rid of anything that didn't have some kind of special meaning attached to it. And still we have a truck load full.

I used to shop a lot. When we bought our first house, I bought all kinds of cute little things to decorate with. Then we started to have children, and there were all sorts of other cute little things to buy. Before long, we had bought our second home which of course had more room for more stuff.

But now I have a new way of looking at all of that stuff. I have a responsibility to each and every little thing that I own. Most of these things will have a life way beyond my own. Plus, I don't want to burden my children one day with having to find a place to put it all--like in the city dump.

I don't shop anymore like I used to. I like to think that I'm slowly turning into a minimalist, but our Budget Rent-a-Truck says otherwise.

The Cheese: No more kindergarten.

Yesterday was the last day of kindergarten for the Cheese. We had talked about it all week--how he wouldn't be a kindergartner anymore and would be a first grader in a few months.

I was prepared to shed a few tears when he started kindergarten. It's a mother's right of passage to be emotional when her baby goes off to big-boy-school for the first time. What I wasn't prepared for was getting all choked up on his last day.

Part of it had to do with the fact that the Cheese will be going to a new school next fall. We've loved our experience at this school, and we were sad that we weren't able to buy a house in the school's boundaries. The new school in our new neighborhood is great--no worries there. But I was still a little sad that we won't be returning to one of California's Most Distinguished Schools.

I was also sad that we won't be seeing the new friends that we've made every day. I've made as many new friends this year as the Cheese has. Kindergartners have to be picked up at the front gate of the school, so all of the mothers gather there together every afternoon, giving us five or ten minutes to chat. I've met so many wonderful mommies this way, and I'm sad that our children won't be going to the same school anymore. I plan to make an effort to stay in touch with these ladies and the excuse of getting our children together make it easy to do that.

Kindergarten is the last "baby" thing my child will do. Even though it was elementary school, the Cheese was only going half days--still spending most of his time with me. Now that he will be a first grader, he'll be gone all day long. There's a part of me that's excited about that--about the freedom it will give me during the day. There's also a part of me that's a little sad thinking about it. It makes me feel like I'm going to turn around and it will suddenly be his senior year in college. You know that's how it works don't you? When you're not looking they suddenly grow up and leave you for good.

But I have to push all of those emotions aside for now. We've got a summer to start--trips to take, family to visit. We leave today to travel home for my brother-in-laws wedding. Both of the boys are in it--carrying a pillow down a really long aisle and looking all cuteness and sweet in their tuxes. Good or bad, they no doubt will steal the show.

Any time I travel, the theme music from the movie "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" starts playing in my head. I'm not a good traveler and neither are my children. I'm prepared--new books to read, lots and lots of snacks to eat, and a charged up DVD player. Unfortunately, none of that will protect me from inevitable meltdowns and repetitive questions like "Why aren't we there yet?"

I'd tell you to pray for us, but it's really my husband that you need to be praying for. He's the one who has to put up with all of us.

Shopping in heels? Good luck with that.

Is this how I am supposed to look while shopping for groceries? Because if it is, then I am missing the mark...BIG TIME.

This pic of Bridget Moynahan from the current issue of Harper's Bazaar is just that...bizarre. I mean, isn't that exactly how you look when you are coming out of a grocery store? Yeah...uh, huh. Me too.

Let me just describe for you how I looked coming out of the grocery store the other day.

Wearing the previous day's shorts and T-shirt (they weren't that dirty, so why force more laundry upon myself), I struggled to find my keys in the bottom of my over sized purse that I have to carry in order to have band aides, coupons, wet wipes, Kleenex, anti-bacterial hand gel, and an extra pair of Buzz Lightyear underwear with me at all times. Not paying any attention and wearing Old Navy flip flops, I stubbed my toe of the grocery cart wheel, chipping my two-month-old pedicure polish even further.

I was yelling at both of my children to "hold on to the cart, HOLD ON TO THE CART!" because neither one of them was willing to ride in the child safety seat and all of the special carts made to look like race cars were taken. I know kids love those things and the grocery cart makers thought they were doing something really nice for all of us mothers by making them, but trying to push a cart the size of an extra long tractor trailer personally doesn't make anything easier for me.

Coming out of the store I was none of the things that you see in the beautiful picture of Ms. Moynahan. And yes, I get it. I get that the picture is supposed to be...artistic. It's not meant to picture the real world. But how often do we see pictures of real moms in magazines? Let's face it. Even in my most down-to-earth parenting magazines, the mothers still look a little to "with it" for me.

Do they think they are making us feel better about being mothers showing beautiful celebrities doing "normal" mommy things? Well it doesn't. Nope. Huh-uh. Personally, all it does is remind me that, once again, I don't measure up.

I never looked as popular as the girls did that were pictured in Seventeen. I never had as great of a sex life as the single gals in Cosmopolitan. And now, I'm not as fabulous or as chic of a mother as all of the celebrity mamas in every single magazine on today's newsstand.

I don't think it would bother me so much except for the fact that I'd kill for those shoes she's wearing and that stroller looks uber-cool and makes me want one. And here I thought I was starting to get over my stroller buying addiction.

Damn you, Harper's Bazaar. Damn you.

The Cheese: New glasses

The Cheese had an eye appointment on Monday. No big surprise the doctor informed us that he needed glasses. Really needed glasses in fact. Boy was he excited! Three other kids in his kindergarten wear glasses, so he had been asking for a while about wearing some. I knew that based on his genetic code (I wore glasses starting in the first grade) that it wouldn't be much longer.


For all of you curious family members, he also has to have another surgery this fall. (He was born with a droopy eye lid--the lid muscle didn't form completely--that requires surgery to fix.) He's not quite as excited about that part as he was getting the glasses. But most of the year he's been asking us when he'd get to fix his "little eye."

Every time he calls it his "little eye" I have to restrain myself from going into a lengthy discussion about how it's not little and it's just the way that God made him and I think that he's perfect and that if anyone ever says otherwise to let me know because I'll hunt the kid down and...

But instead, I smile and simply say "Soon, buddy. You'll have another surgery to fix it soon."

When he was a baby, before his first surgery, people would ask me questions about his eye all the time. Total strangers would ask me if he had a lazy eye. No offense to anyone who has a lazy eye, but that really bothered me. Not because he didn't have a lazy eye, but because here was this total stranger was trying to talk to me about something that they knew absolutely nothing about. They obviously had no idea what a lazy eye looked liked, so why were they trying to talk to me like they did?

The other people who were really irritating were the ones who would say, "Oh, he's so sleepy." Depending on the mood that I was in when the person said it, my response would vary. If I was in a semi-decent mood I would simply say, "Uh-huh. Yeah." And if I was in a not-so-friendly mood I would lay into them with, "No, he was born with a small birth defect that will require a painful surgery to fix, but thanks for bringing it up."

I said that to a lady once in the checkout line at Target. She was so embarrassed I thought she was going to pass out. Ahhh...So satisfying.

Apparently, I need some therapy regarding this situation.

I'm interested to see how long his excitement about his new glasses lasts. I already had to tell him twice yesterday to put his glasses back on, and I'm dreading the inevitable words "Mommy! My glasses broke!" because you know that it is bound to happen.

The glasses apparently haven't affected his ability to enjoy his latest addiction--the brand-new Wii that his PaPa brought for him last weekend.

Guess it helps strengthen his hand-eye coordination. At least now he can see the screen better.

There's a national championship trophy in my kitchen

When the Golfer finally made it home after the tournament, it was finally time for us to celebrate as a family.

Finally seeing the trophy helped to make it real for the boys. I'm still not sure if they really get it. To them, Daddy just won another tournament. No biggie.

Daddy brought home the trophy belted into the front seat of his car.

What they did get was how fun it would be to spray Daddy with silly string.

After coming inside to see the celebration that me and the boys had planned (streamers, balloons, homemade cards, champagne, and milkshakes) the Golfer casually sat the trophy on the kitchen island and went out to the backyard to play with his boys. I got all choked up as I realized that I was making dinner around a national championship trophy. That certainly doesn't happen everyday. But it sure is something that I could get used to.

Simply the best...

My husband is the absolute very best at what he does. Of course I've always known that, but now everyone does too.

Six years ago, my husband changed jobs. It wasn't the easiest of decisions. He was making a six-figure salary, we had a new baby, and I had quit my job to stay at home. We drove nice cars, had a mortgage, and even had a membership to a really nice country club in the city.

Life was good. Why change?

There's nothing worse than getting up for work every single day and not loving what you do. The Golfer was good at what he did, but he didn't love it. Making a long story very short, we both decided that life was just too short to not spend your time doing something that you love.

As a great poet once wrote, "two roads diverged in the woods and I--I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all of the difference."

All of the people who thought we were crazy six years ago were proven wrong last Saturday when the Golfer--six years a coach, one year into being a head Division I coach, won a National Championship at one of the top collegiate programs in the country.

We both knew that it would happen one day, we just had no idea that it would be so soon.

All those nights that we sat together at the dinner table after the kids were asleep, worrying and talking about whether we were doing the right thing, whether or not we would survive financially, seem like a really big waste of time now.

My husband is the best at what he does. I married him because I always knew that he would be successful no matter what he decided to do.

I love it when he proves me right.

The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.