Joyfulmamaheart’s Weblog

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Why does my minivan… have to SMELL like a minivan?? August 30, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — joyfulmamaheart @ 10:23 pm

These days I’m driving the ultimate mom-mobile…. a bright red minivan.
Most days you will see our van cruising around town, with some soft kiddie-bop music playing, B singing and L dancing along, and toys hanging from the ceiling. (B has discovered these weird velcro circles on the ceiling of the van and loves hanging toys from them. It entertains L, so I’m great with it… but what the heck do you think these things are really for???)


I was not one of those girls who swore she would never drive a minivan. I was happy to take it on! Give me a minivan, stick some babies that look like R in the back, and I’m happy.

The one thing I did promise myself is this: MY minivan would never smell like a minivan! You all know what I’m talking about… that weird sour milk- old gym socks- McDonalds combo that just about makes you sick.

I guess I underestimated the incredible ability of my little ones to generate that smell so quickly!!!

Miss L has learned the thrilling effects of turning her bottles and sippy cups upside down and shaking. B DID leave his shoes and socks under the back seat after Saturday’s baseball game. (I honestly don’t understand how I missed him running into the house barefoot, I think I must have just discovered that L had shook empty an 8 oz. bottle out on the seat next to her while we were driving home from the ball field…) And yes, while cleaning out the minivan, I do occasionally find a stray french fry… or goldfish… or yogurt container… (DON’T ask!!) And to top it off, the summer heat sure isn’t helping.

Bottom line: My minivan smells horrible!

Today we had to go out to do a little shopping. Afterwards, I loaded the kids in the van along with our purchases. I was a bit annoyed that the smell was so strong today– and there was a new smell that I couldn’t identify that had added itself to the mix… oh joy! Before we had gone into Wal-mart, I had cracked open the back window, hoping some ventilation would help. (It didn’t.) I went to walk the cart over to the coral and B yelled from the vented window, “This is the minivan monster! {giggle, giggle} I love you Mommy!! I mean I love you J {giggle, giggle, giggle!!}!! ” (I’m sure B was thinking that since the windows are tinted, I would have no idea who was randomly yelling at me!!)

I smiled as I walked back to the van… Ok, so it might really smell like a minivan, but it is filled with little minivan monsters that do look like R!! And I can always put them to bed when we get home and go start scrubbing upholstery again, right??


thoughts on the boy

Filed under: Uncategorized — joyfulmamaheart @ 1:37 pm

We all headed to church bright and early on Sunday morning. Our little L was not really in the mood. Almost as soon as we arrived, Dad was back in the hall with L. B and I stayed to enjoy the hour without our grumpy baby!

About halfway through, B sat straight up all of a sudden and looked very surprised! He leaned over to me and said, “MOM! Hurry! We have to go meet him!!”

I had no idea what he was talking about.

“Who??” I whispered back.

“Jesus!!” B said excitedly.

“Huh?” I said.

“Jesus!!! That guy just said he was in the building!!”

I tried to remember what had just been said… and how B’s half-listening ears might have gotten the idea that Jesus was physically in the building, ready to meet and greet!

“Sweetie, Jesus isn’t actually… well … I’m not sure what you heard… but we actually can’t go and meet him at the moment… ” I tried to explain.

“Oh, Man!!” B looked SO dissapointed. “I’ve been waiting my whole life to meet him!!!”

After church, I had a horrible headache, and went to lay down while R fed the kids lunch and helped everyone settle down for afternoon quiet time. B asked about me and R told him I had a really bad headache and needed to rest.

“How much does it hurt?” B wanted to know. R tried to explain a headache in terms B could understand.

B responded, “Oh, poor Mommy! I wish that I could have her headache so that she doesn’t have to hurt!”

I just about cried tonight when I woke up and R told me what he said!!

We talk about this scripure- Matthew 18:3, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Little children have such perfect faith–B’s is a bit intimidating to me at times!! He wholehearted believes that Jesus is real and approachable because we have taught him that he is! B has a natural interest in and love for others. It is amazing to me how he seems to understand gospel principles at five much better than I do at my age.

I feel so lucky to be a mama… I get the impression that these little people I am raising have to be such strong spirits to face an increasingly scary world out there. I am so glad B is confident and a good leader, I think he will need these talents in life! It also makes me so happy to see him developing faith and compassion for others along with those other practical life skills… all the while perfecting some pretty sweet ninja moves!!


I never claimed to be a mathematician August 29, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — joyfulmamaheart @ 2:25 am

I have discovered the reason my brain never understood math. All along, it was just a set up to help me bless the lives of others.

I always strongly disliked math in school… I was such a stereotypical girl who loved reading, writing, history… and was baffled by math. I can’t even count the number of nights I sat at our kitchen table and dear ole’ Dad tried to help me understand my math homework. He rubbed his poor forehead bald in frustration, trying to help me understand that stuff.

I have a fiend who is excellent with numbers. I’m not sure how we stumbled upon this little factoid, but she is the only person I know who memorized pi for the fun on it. You know, that 3.14 thingy? Did you know it does on, um… forever? 3.14…15… on and on! She’s got it memorized to like 20 digits out or something. This is the same friend who is like a walking phone book- she’s got everyone’s number memorized in her head. And that is saying a lot, these days, in our era of cell phones that can store all of that information for you!

This friend is so handy when I’m quilting. Because quilting is actually very mathematical… you have to know how many little pieces to cut, how big to make them… oh, it makes my brain hurt. All that algebra. I’m just not good at it, and when I don’t have anyone to help me… well, let me just tell you the story of my friend’s baby blanket.

The baby blanket. (One of Four)

I started making this darling pink and black blanket for my friend’s little girl. I started by sketching it all out, writing down how much of each fabric I would need. Then I got out the trusty rotary cutter and went to town. After that, I started sewing it together… and then, holy cow. What happened to my BABY blanket? Why did it look like I was working on a king size comforter? Then I realized… my faulty math brain was at work.

The silver lining? Now my friend’s baby, L, and two other sweet baby girls get to snuggle in their homemade pink and black quilts!!

And then last night, the night of all that banana bread…

I decided kind of late in the day that I wanted to make some of my famous banana bread for family night. In my haste, I decided I wanted to double the recipe so that I had extra loaves to share with a family from church. I got to work, doing some quick multiplication in my head (I KNOW. MULTIPLICATION. I only wish it took some more complex math to double a recipe, to cover my shame… but alas, it was multiplication that was my downfall…) Anyway, I had the butter and the sugar creaming away in my stand mixer, and was about to add the eggs… and wait a second. It was another one of those “How did my baby blanket turn into a King size comforter?” moments.

I started doing the math again, and realized I was creaming enough butter and sugar… FOR EIGHT LOAFS OF BANANA BREAD.

And no, the four sticks of butter did not tip me off a moment earlier when I added them.

And Dad, I can just picture you reading this at your computer and rubbing that spot on your head again.

Well, I wanted to share some banana bread with a family from church, and now not one, not two… but SEVEN families can be blessed! What banana bread joy I have created with my non-math doing brain.

And this really is a wonderful day, because my banana bread may just be the crowning glory of all my lifetime achievements… especially if my children turn out rotten!


Reason # 7982 August 20, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — joyfulmamaheart @ 11:22 pm

I miss B.

I know what you are all thinking, “Didn’t that boy go to school a week ago?!?!?”

He did. But if you thought I would be over it by now, you are sadly mistaken, my friend.

NEVER underestimate my ability to hold onto a good mope!
Today, I cried again when B ran from the van after morning drop off. It being week two, I wasn’t expecting it to hit me so hard. Oh, but it did.

L and I returned home and I decided I needed some retail therapy. I consulted the trusty internet to check and see if any of the department stores opened at 9 at the local mall.

Cause you know, waiting until 10 just wasn’t an option.

Luckily, JCPenny advertised they were opening at 9 am. L got some cereal, and we hopped back in the van and headed to the Promenade.

…where we were locked out of JCPenny. I stood there yanking on the door (I just couldn’t understand why the thing was locked!!) and a grumpy looking employee approached. She looked me over, cracked the door, and said, “We don’t open until 10.”

“But your website said you open at 9!!” I tried to argue. (I’m not sure if I really thought arguing was going to let me in early, but I was grumpy myself, so I gave it a good try.)

The lady stared at me for another second, then glanced out to the customer parking lot. I was obviously the only one who thought JCPenny opened at 9.

“Is that your van out there??” the woman asked.

What kind of a question….??? I turned around, where I saw my bright red minivan.

With the back HIGH IN THE AIR.

I hurried back to the van, feeling like such a dork. This is exactly why I need B around, to avoid making embarrassing mistakes like that. He would have quickly gotten my attention as I walked away from my wide open van, laughing and pointing at my silly mistake. Unlike his little sister, who I’m sure was just silently snickering to herself as we walked away.

I shut the darn van, and we killed an hour and headed back to the mall. Miss L and I found this sassy leopard print corduroy skirt at the Children’s Place.


Sweet Sassy Molassy!

It was on sale, so I applied the “spend to save” method and brought it home. And while she will be looking oh-so-cute come fall, it didn’t really help me feel better.

You know it’s a serious mope when the “spend to save” method doesn’t cheer you up.

After a moping through lunch, I decided I really needed to get out from under the dark cloud that was stalking me. So I reached deep into the “cheer myself up arsenal”, and I came out with my no-fail tactic: I was going to scrub the baseboards!

I spent nap time working on that little pet project, and while you can now see your reflection in my baseboards…. I still felt blue.

Growing up, I can’t count the number of times my mom said three little words to me: Nope, not “I love you”, but “GET OVER IT”. It’s not exactly something I’m good at.

This afternoon, we went to the school to get B. While we were gone, the UPS fairy visited our house!

We brought in our unexpected package, and opened it up to find this:


Oh, these pecans make me happy!


My grandma had sent me a giant box of pecans!! Because really, what is a southern kitchen if it doesn’t have 40 lbs of pecans in the freezer?

The pecans cracked. me. up. I have no idea why the pecans were the magic ticket, but every time I think about those pecans, I just feel happy all over. Maybe I was way off with the retail therapy and cleaning therapy, what this girl really needed was “cook a whole mess of pecan pies” therapy.

Every time I look at those pecans, I think, “Someone loved me enough to send me a giant box full of pecans!!!”

And that’s reason #7982 why I’m loving being Nannie’s granddaughter!


the girl baby August 16, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — joyfulmamaheart @ 9:58 pm

As my daughter has gotten bigger, I’ve noticed some differences between her and her brother.

For example, when B has the chance to have a babysitter or go to the nursery at our gym, he is ecstatic! To him, that is a golden opportunity to socialize! There is nothing better than meeting a new friend and talking that person’s ear off, in the B’s book.
Ls got a little different take on strangers. This morning, L struggled with the gym nursery. After some initial screaming and fit throwing at drop off, she seemed to calm down. When I went to peek in the window to check on her, I saw L by herself in the corner. She was clutching a toy for dear life and giving all of the other toddlers a look like, “You come any closer and I will chuck this at you!!!” One poor little boy walked a little too close to her and she let out a loud, shrill warning noise. Her personal space perimeter had been breached! The little boy wizened up and ran off in the opposite direction.

After we were done at the gym, I sat her down in her car seat. To be fair, this heat and humidity is just miserable right now, even at 9 in the morning. Our van was like a sauna. When she started squirming to let me know she had no intention of going willfully into the car seat, I understood where she was coming from. But, driving home without her in her car seat was just not an option. So I persisted in buckling her in, and she took it as a personal insult… and threw a FIT.

L screamed the entire ride home. I couldn’t help but wonder if she thought the screaming made her cooler, somehow. By the time we got home, we were both a little irritated with each other.

Now, all of this struggle with her lately makes me wonder if I am a better boy mama. When B was this age, he would get frustrated and start banging his head on the floor. Don’t get me wrong, his head banging certainly worried me quite a bit and warranted a trip to our amused pediatrician who assured me that head banging does not always mean your child has a brain tumor, like I had assumed. After that had been cleared up, I was fine to just help him find the softest place possible to head bang his frustrations away. B would get it all out, and a minute later be happy as a clam. I have come to appreciate that attribute in my boy. He gets mad every once in awhile, but he’ll get over it and forget it ever happened before you even know it.

His sister, however, has already mastered the fine art of holding a grudge.

And then, there are those moments when I get a glimpse into her little world. After we got back from the gym, I gave L a bottle of cold milk and went to cycle some laundry. When I got done and went to check on her, she’d taken off all of her clothes. She was so pleased with herself, she had solved her own problem! She was hot and uncomfortable, and felt better sipping away at her bottle in the nude.

I think that this has got to be one of the biggest challenges of parenthood. Once you have you first child’s personality and quirks pretty much figured out, you get a little overconfident and think you could handle another one. That child will then come along and be completely different.

This morning, I had a little epiphany. I looked down at my little giggling naked girl, and realized, “Oh. I get it. B needed to bang his head on the floor, physically getting out his frustrations. You are just going to have to prove that you have your own ideas and want to do things your own way, even if it wears your Mama out!!” But… I have decided that having a headstrong girl does have an up side… I think the nudie bottle drinking is way funnier than the head banging ever was!!!