Tuesday, November 25, 2014


I took the boys to McDonald's.  Ash had his two year well child visit and there happens to be a McDonald's, with their unmistakable golden arches that work like homing beacons on small children, right across the street from our pediatrician's office.  After deflecting chants of Donalds, Donalds, Donalds the entire visit, I caved and we went.  Seriously, someone with more money than me, please start a chain of healthy restaurants that have a play land?  Please?

Anyway, we were having a grand o'l time-The kids rocking that play land like champs and me, quietly obsessing over how many french fries is too many french fries, when out of nowhere a little boy, slightly smaller than River, so I am guessing about four, kicked Ash right in the face.  That's right.  Out of nowhere!  Ash wasn't blocking him.  There were no toys involved.  He just happened to be the smallest kid at the play land and looked the most kickable I guess.  I  ran over to pick  Ash up, but before I could get there River let out a mighty roar!  "Don't kick my brother!!!  It hurts!!!"  His face was flushed and his fists were clenched by his sides and his whole body was shaking.  Then he just yelled, "AHHHHH!!! I AM SO MAD!"  I helped Ash up and grabbed River tight, and just let him breathe into me for a second.  The other boy fled into the arms of his very embarrassed grandmother and they quickly left.

When everyone's heart rate returned to normal, I began putting their shoes on and two moms came up to River and told him they thought he was awesome for protecting his little brother.  He shut down the way he always does when he gets a compliment.  It really embarrasses him.  Then when I tried to tell him how proud I was, he told me, "No.  Don't say that."  So I let it drop, but I just wanted to write down how proud I am of him.  He was brave and acted quickly.  He was not passive and his mighty yelp got the attention of everyone in that play land.  He could have hit that boy.  He wanted to so bad.  It took every once of impulse control he had, not too.  All the adults would have thought it pretty justified too, but he didn't.  He was assertive, not aggressive and that is a hard path to choose.  Look how many adults can't do it.  We either say nothing and complain later, or completely over react.

I am a fighter.  It's taken my whole life to calm my temper and I promise you, I would way rather hit somebody, than tell them, "Stop!  I don't like it when you do that."  When I finally learned I shouldn't be hitting, I thought my only option was too squash my feelings, walk away and complain about the unfairness of it all later, but it is not true.  Assertiveness is a skill and it can be learned like any other, but no one is teaching it.  It is hard teaching skills to your kids that you don't personally possess, but maybe, just maybe, if I keep trying to teach them, I'll finally learn something myself.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


You guys... they just grow up so dang fast!!! It is Ash's second birthday... aka... 730 Days SINCE I'VE SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT! I don't say that lightly, in a cliche' kind of way. I very literally mean Ash wakes up three to six times a night like a newborn baby! It has been hard and I'm pretty sure the ongoing exhaustion has permanently affected my intelligence, capabilities and appearance, but Ash is my ray of sunshine. 2014 has been a pretty crappy year for me. Sorry for the negativity, but it is true. Don't worry, nothing to start a Fund Me account over, it's just been one of those years you have to just get through. That being said, I wish everyone that was having a hard time had an angel like Ash to help them get through it. From the way his upper body and lower body swing to opposite sides in his awkward toddler run, to his declarations of "That So Fun!" when we do anything from crunch leaves, to blow out birthday candles for the sixth time in a row, he constantly reminds me of the source of real joy. Failures, struggles, disappointments... they all end, but Family is Forever. I am so, so, so very blessed to be his mother. Happy Birthday Ash Phoenix! You have my heart.

Photos by Melissa Sue Photography