With Mother's Day just around the corner, I thought I'd take a minute to reflect on the past 11 years and my journey as a mother.  There are countless reasons why I love being a mom, but here are just a few of my favorites.

1.  My body

Yup, I said it.  Why do I love my post-baby (three of them actually,) body?  It's a little complicated.  It's my go-to excuse for why I'm not in better shape.  Take this real conversation from my life for example.

Skinny child-less friend: "Hey, you're looking pretty good.  How have you lost weight?"

Not so skinny mother of three: "Thanks!  I've actually been running a lot.  Getting ready for the half-marathon.  But it's been pretty slow going in the weight loss department."

Skinny friend: "Are you kidding me?  For having three kids, you look great!"

Me: "Thanks!  Now pass the cupcakes."

Why do I have a few extra pounds still to lose?  I get to finish up the last of the mac and cheese.  I get to make THREE birthday cakes a year.  I polish up the last of the Halloween, Christmas, and Easter candy.  And I love doing it. For the kids, of course.

2. Movies

I took my daughter to see "Beauty and the Beast" when it was re-released in 3D.  Because she really wanted to see it.  Ok, ok.  I really wanted to see it.  She was pretty clueless when it came to the power of that particular Disney movie.  She grew up in the "Monsters Inc." and "Toy Story" generation.  But I know every song from that movie by heart.  Oh, and the High School Musical movies?  Yup.  I'm a sucker for musicals too.  Pretty much every movie made for kids, I see in the theater.  Partly because my kids want to see them.  But mostly because I do.  Thanks kids!

3. Daily Dose of Laughter

Like Bill Cosby and Art Linkletter before him knew, "Kids Say the Darndest Things." Sometimes comments out of the mouths of babes can be embarrassing if spoken at an inopportune time. Other times, it's so hilarious you can't wait to tell the stories back to them when they're old enough.

My favorite story ever is one from my oldest child--Maverick--who is 11 now. To this day he wants to hear this story over and over again, because it was so funny, even he can't believe he said it. He was about 2 at the time, and very rapidly learning to repeat things he heard adults say. I did my best to make sure he knew that some phrases he would hear adults say aren't appropriate. One of the big ones that came up was "Oh my God." Every time he said that, I would remind him, "Maverick, we say 'oh my GOSH,' not 'oh my God'." Oh, and side note--he was also potty training at this same time.

One day we were sitting at my parents house, he was in Papa's chair. Out of nowhere, he says, "Mom! Mom! I JUST S%&# IN MY PANTS!" I stifled my laughter the best I could (like any good mom would,) and said (as sternly as I could under the circumstances), "Maverick, you don't say that, that's a bad word!" He looked at me with a "deep in thought" look on his face and came back with, "I just Oh My Goshed in my pants!"

Now that's some funny sh...stuff.

4. Cop-Outs

Did you get invited to a neighbor's barbecue the same night of the (insert your favorite TV Show) season finale? Do your single friends want to hit the bars on a Saturday night when all you want to do is curl up on the couch and watch romantic comedies? Does the idea of attending yet another shower for your aunt's cousin's step-dad's sister's wedding make you cringe? Well, it's just too bad that little Johnny has a nasty case of pink eye, or it's little Susie's first dance recital, or it's time for Parent-Teacher conferences.

Not that I've ever used my kids as an excuse to get out of anything...but the option is out there. ;)

5.  Unconditional Love

This one may be a given, but it's pretty awesome.  The love you feel for your own children is so incredible, it's almost painful.

From the moment you hold them in your arms for the first time, you are changed.  From that point on, every bump, bruise, scrape, heart-break, and fear is something you feel as well.  Their pain becomes your pain. And every one of their proud moments becomes yours as well. The emotions they feel are reflected in our own ten-fold.

Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny are believed in once again. You realize the true meaning the phrase "it's better to give than to receive" on Christmas morning when they pitter-patter their way to the tree and you see the way their eyes light up.

They love you. And you love them. Unconditionally. There is no stronger bond, and I am grateful every day that I have three that I am so proud to call "my kids."

Being a mother has also made me realize how much I appreciate my mom.  It took a while for me to put it all into perspective, but now that I have, not a day goes by that I don't think about my mom.  Everything she did for me, everything she gave up for me, and everything she continues to do for me and my family.  I love you, mom!

So from me to you, and all the other moms, grandmas, foster moms, step-moms, adopted moms, and the like,  Happy Mother's Day!