The Identity Crisis of Motherhood
10th November 2014

He reached up for my hand in the store and said, “I hold your hand, Mommy?” I grabbed his tiny, almost 3-year-old hand and for a second, my heart exploded. I wanted nothing more in the world than to hold that tiny hand forever and ever.

Lately, I’ve been feeling more often than not those quiet feelings of immense gratitude. I look at my kids and feel a love so enormous it would literally be impossible to express. I see glimpses of the big kids that they will one day be. Some days, I feel glad life seems to poke by slowly, and they will still be two years old tomorrow. I’m finally wishing for life to slow down instead of speed up.

Some days, I think, I’m finally beginning to be the mom I’ve always wanted to be. The one that is present when it’s important. Who follows those little whispers to give undivided attention when it matters. The one that breathes in their smell right after a nap and promises herself, wills herself, to remember it. The one that sees the importance of child-rearing and not only appreciates it, but loves it.

But, I’m imperfect, and well aware that next week, I might be crying in the bathroom because I yelled at my kids for letting the glow stick leak onto the living room chair and ruin it. I hear a quiet whisper in my head of a quote I heard somewhere that one time, “People are more important than things”. I swallow the anger and promise myself that I’ll do better the next day. And, I might forget that a few days before I was the mom that I wanted to always be.
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Easy Taco Soup
24th October 2014

We LOVE soups. You may have noticed because I’ve shared a few of them here. I like them mostly because they are usually one pot meals, and I can hide veggies in them and my kids will eat them. I made this recipe this week for dinner and my two year old ate it. I repeat, my two year old ate it.

I let my kids dip chips in it too, so that always helps.

This recipe comes from my amazing sister in law who is coincidentally named, Meridith. She made this for us years ago, and it’s been a staple ever since!

Easiest Taco Soup! Uses Fresh Ingredients and canned soups so that this comes together in just minutes.
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25 Foods That Scare Me More Than Pumpkin
22nd October 2014

It’s a problem, it’s true. Pumpkin flavored food is EVERYWHERE.

People love to make fun of pumpkin while they secretly stuff their faces with it. And, drink it down by the millions at their local starbucks.

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Pinterest LOVES pumpkin. Heck, I love pumpkin. Frankly, if you don’t love pumpkin (and I know some of you are out there) then I get why it’s annoying. All the cool kids (or hypocrites sipping on their pumpkin spice lattes) are mocking pumpkin these days.

But, for the rest of you that love it…you have to admit you salivate just a little when you hear the words, pumpkin flavored ….

But, I have found that there are far too many other foods and food posts that scare me a lot more than pumpkin season. When it comes to food, recipes, and pinterest, there is a lot to be worried about. There are many foods lurking out there that are down right spooky, creepy, and disgusting. Why pick on pumpkin? Here are 25 foods that bother me more than pumpkin spiced flavored anything.

Why does everyone pick on Pumpkin Here are 25 Foods That Scare Me More Than Pumpkinphoto credit: Sakurako Kitsa via photopin cc (text added for purpose of this post)
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The Secret to Feeling Happy as a Mom
21st October 2014

When I used to work full-time, I was that employee that lots of other employees resented.

I was always on-time.

Never missed a deadline.

If anything, I got my work done ahead of time and asked for more. Annoying, right?

Even when I was a waitress, I was the one that was standing around waiting to get another table because all of mine were happy as could be. I still miss that job sometimes. Weird, I know.

Today, when I picked up the spoon from underneath the dining room table that had been sitting there for 3 days, I thought about how no one else seemed to notice it but me. While I seriously doubt that’s true, because as far as I know, the other 4 members of my family all have perfectly good working eyes, I came to the realization that it was my job. Plain and simple. My job now is to pick up that spoon that no one else cares about. I’ve made it my job. I wanted this job.

I’m the one who always puts the toilet paper on the roll, I’m the one that vacuums and dusts. I’m the one that makes sure we are to doctor’s appointments and homework gets done, and I’m the one that picks up that dirty sock that has been sitting just outside the laundry basket for a week. Some days, I think my sole purpose on this earth was to follow behind people and pick up their messes.

If I’m so miserable, why don’t I just go and get a hobby? You might wonder.

Well, the truth is, I do have a small, part time job that I love. But, the dirty clothes, the homework, the piano practice and the mopping still has to get done, regardless of my job. I suspect moms that work full-time feel this way too. They have to be a breadwinner (how 1950’s is that term?) and do the laundry. I’m grateful my most important job is staying home.

But, let’s be real, the reason why stay at home moms complain is because our job is hard just like everyone else’s. The thing I realized about myself is that in every job outside of the home I’ve had, I’ve excelled. I got praise, raises, good reviews, and rewards for a job well done.

Being a mom and a perfectionist don’t mix well. I’m never asking for more work because I have so much that I often feel that I’m drowning in dirty shoes by the back door, and laundry sitting folded at the foot of my bed that never seems to get put away.

There is an occasional sweet moment where a child says thank you un-solicited, or a husband comes home from work and actually notices the clean bathrooms without being told to notice them. But, the typical day in and day out work of a mom is unforgiving. There is never a pat on the back. You can never say to yourself, “Well, I finished that” when you’re talking about raising a child. And, there certainly is no paycheck.

I wish I could say that being a stay at home mom fulfills every part of me. But, that would be a lie. The truth would be, I believe I’m doing the right thing by staying home for my family and my kids, but I don’t always feel 100% happy having my only title be stay at home mom.

So here is the real truth behind why I complain sometimesI’m not completely fulfilled as a stay at home Mom, but I think it’s important, so I do it. There are moms out there who ARE completely fulfilled staying at home with their kids. I’m not. I cringe even writing that because I know it’s the most important job I could ever have. Yet, it’s not all I want out of life. I want to write. I want to be creative. I want to have time alone. I want to eat a hot meal. I’ve sacrificed in ways I never dreamed I would have to.

The Secret To Feeling Happy & Satisfied Being a Mom. It's not always easy, but if you look in the right place for satisfaction, it might be possible. -- Perfectionpending.netphoto credit: ~PhotograTree~ via photopin cc (Text added for the purpose of this post)

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10 Things Every Parent is Doing Right
16th October 2014

You know those posts that tell you, 10 Mistakes You’re Making as a Parent, or 5 Ways to be a Better Mom? Well, forget those. I’m tired of those getting shared to motivate us to be better. I am good enough. So are you.  All parents are getting something right, and I think we need more positivity spread that is realistic, achievable, and just plain honest. So here’s my list of 10 Things Every Parent is Doing Right. Share it with someone you love.

Maybe you think you aren’t doing anything right? My guess is you probably are.

Forget the posts telling you all the things you can improve. Here are 10 Every Parent is Doing Right!!

You sacrifice yourself. Daily. Every mom and dad does it. Whether you work or stay home, or whatever. It doesn’t matter. Moms (and dads) sacrifice themselves. Their bodies. Their peace of mind. Their personal space. We all sacrifice something. Why is this a good thing? Because sacrifice helps us grow. It helps us become less selfish. And, we learn to serve. Service is a good thing.

You also take time for yourself. This one seems to contradict the last one. Yet, it’s SO important. If you’re doing this, you’re doing something right. Letting someone else hold the baby while you take a nap? You’re taking care of yourself so you can be better later. You’re also teaching your children you’re human. Girls night out? Perfect. You’re re-filling your soul and reminding yourself that you are more than just a milk machine. You’re a human being that likes to laugh at stupid stuff with your friends, and then come home and appreciate your babies more.

You feed your children. Mac and cheese or all organic? It doesn’t matter, really. I recently told my kids that we had cheese on our broccoli almost every time when I was growing up. They thought that was weird. I told them it was VELVEETA and they didn’t even know what that was. I was proud. But, then I fed them mac and cheese for lunch. If you feed your kid breast milk, or formula, you’re doing a good job. If you make your own baby food, or buy it, you’re good. You’re giving sustenance and feeding another human being!! You’re getting it right. Because, hello. You’re feeding them and they are growing.

You clothe your children. Maybe they stepped out of a Baby Gap ad, or maybe you are lucky if you remembered underwear. Either way, you wrestle tiny bodies into clothing so that they don’t go out into the world baring everything. Booties are covered and feet have shoes on them, so you’re protecting your kids from serious injury. Every day. Good job, mom and dad.

You manage a household. Maybe you haven’t changed the sheets in 3 months, or maybe your house runs like a well-oiled machine. Doesn’t matter, really. Either way, running a house takes immense amounts of effort and work. If you manage to do laundry often enough that a kid doesn’t look homeless, then it sounds like you’re doing a good job. If your house looks like a pottery barn kids catalog, good for you! Tell me your secrets, please? Are you cleaning the bathrooms at 2 am?

You play with your kids. Maybe you hate make believe. But, trust me, if you’re a mom, you’re probably playing with your kids. Maybe you read with them, or take them to the park, or watch movies while you cuddle. You don’t have to play barbies for it to count that you’ve played with them. I have to really be in the mood to play with my kids in the make believe kind of way. I do it, sometimes. But sometimes? I keep it simple. We play a game while we’re eating dinner, or I teach them how to cook. Whatever you do with your kids that is even slightly fun (which most things are for kids), count it. Spending time with them is what matters.

You Celebrate Magic. When you’re a parent, you’ve got a lot on your plate when it comes to this one. The Easter Bunny, Christmas, the tooth fairy. It’s all so exhausting. Let’s not even talk about that little elf on the shelf. Whatever it is you do, if you’ve got kids, you’re celebrating magic. Maybe it’s not fictional characters. Maybe you walk slowly around the block and let them inspect every leaf and rock. Childhood is the best time to believe in magical things, and even if your elf on the shelf doesn’t wrap the toilet in toilet paper or some other crazy escapade, if you’re helping your kids believe in something magical or letting them enjoy the little things, you’re doing it right.

You sometimes don’t screw up. Sure there are plenty of times you do, but we’re not talking about those. We’re talking about the times you get it right. Like the time that your kid told you about his science fair project the night before and somehow you stayed up late when you were TOTALLY exhausted and helped him put it together. We’re talking about the times you did stay calm and didn’t yell. The time you actually remembered that it was crazy hair day at school. If you kept a running total, you’d probably realize, that you don’t screw up just as often (if not more) than you do.

You’re a teacher. I underestimated this as a parent. Not only do we teach them basic things like eating, talking, walking…SLEEPING, but we have to teach them crazy stuff too. Like, why licking the pavement is not OK, and why we don’t peek under the door of the bathroom stall next to us in a public restroom. You have to teach them not to interrupt, how to be a good friend, and how to be a responsible, respectful, kind human being. As a parent, you have to teach E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. So, good job for being a teacher of all things common and crazy. You’re probably doing it right.

You’re surviving. In the trenches is a term I keep hearing thrown around a lot. But, let me tell you, some days it definitely feels like I’m in the trenches. Last night, I got no sleep. OK, maybe like two hours. But, today, I accomplished 25,000 things. If you’re a parent, then you’re putting one foot in front of the other and getting stuff done even when you want to hide under the covers. And, let’s face it, days turn into weeks, months, and then years. And before you know it, you realize that you WILL come out alive on the other end despite the sleep deprivation, and the extra 20 lbs. you put on eating your kids’ leftover mac and cheese. So, good job for surviving. You’re almost there.

Parenting is hard. Some days it sucks, and yes, some days we mess up. But, remember the most important thing, you’re doing the best you can, and YOU are the best parent for your kids. So, you’re probably doing it right. No matter how your friend, neighbor, or enemy might be doing it different.

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Do you know a parent that is doing something right? Or maybe they feel like they aren’t doing anything right? Then share this post with them. I’m sure they’ll thank you.

I’m So Fancy. I’m a Stay At Home Mom.
10th October 2014

It’s official. I read too many blog posts.

In an effort to clear up common misconceptions about stay home momery, I wrote Tuesday about how when you’re a stay at home mom, you’re not allowed to complain.

Today, I want to write about another post I read titled, Being a Stay-at-home parent is a luxury…for your spouse.

At first, I found myself nodding my head in agreement with this post on Babble. You’re darn right, my husband better appreciate the fact that I stay home! He IS lucky to have me! I SHOULD stop feeling guilty because I get to wear sweats all day (even thought I don’t) and he has to go to work (and incidentally wears scrubs…the most comfortable clothing on the planet). What would he do without me? I even shared it on my Facebook page with the disclaimer that I knew it was a luxury for me too.

But, there was one little thing that bugged me about the whole article. Her use of the word….luxury.

Excuse me? When did my life become luxurious exactly?

Sure, if you count having your toddler use you as a walking kleenex, trash can, or butt wiper luxurious, then I guess I am. It’s like that song we all love/hate: “I’m so fancy. You already know”

I'm so Fancy. I'm a Stay At Home Mom. Are you fancy too

What added fuel to the fire was when another working mom posted it to her Facebook page in disappointment that people weren’t recognizing that the stay at home parent was living a luxurious life too. I have to say, I agree with her that both parties benefit, but again, us stay at home moms were accused of not appreciating what we have. Again. (insert eye roll).

I don’t know about you, but my day to day life doesn’t feel very luxurious. A luxury by definition is “the state of great comfort and extravagant living”. Excuse me while I take a break and laugh hysterically at that one.

Ok, I’m back.

When my husband and I made the choice to have kids, we knew we wanted to make it work somehow so I could stay home. When our first was born, he was smack dab in the middle of graduate school. I had been working at a law firm, and earning decent money for someone with just a bachelor’s degree. But, quit? How would we survive?

We did it though. And, we may or may not be paying a hefty student loan now that proves that fact.

We’ve sacrificed lots of things we used to enjoy to have me stay home. For one, eating out. But, we also have student loans that might be paid off sooner, cars that could be nicer, and a tiny home that could use some work, but will just have to be enough the way it is.

Yes, it’s nice that I don’t have to get dressed in a business suit and show up at a job at 8 am, but my work is still work. And the ability to stay home isn’t a luxury. It was a choice. One I stand behind, and one I’m grateful for (even if I complain sometimes). I know not every mom gets that choice, and for that, I’m thankful.

I also don’t really like being told I’m lucky. Luck is only a tiny fraction of it. We made this choice happen through lots of sacrifice and choices with this goal in mind. My husband chose a career path that would make enough for me to stay home. That meant extra schooling, extra school debt, and putting off buying a home even though all our friends were doing it. We don’t have flat screen TVs in our house, or super nice clothes. We make choices everyday to be frugal and save.

This ain’t no Real Housewives scenario. Maybe it should have been titled, Being a Stay At Home Parent is Beneficial…For Your Spouse.

So, here are a 10 ways I think our lifestyle and me staying home is “fancy”:

1. Today, I got woken up by my 5yo who needed a kleenex. At 6 am. There was a box IN his bed with him already. We’re super fancy because we let our kids sleep with tissue boxes.

2. Yesterday, my breakfast dishes sat in the sink until right before I cooked dinner. It wasn’t laziness on my part, but extreme busy-ness. There just was not time.

3. Instead of sending my laundry out for someone else to clean and fold, I wash it myself. Leave it in the dryer for 3 days, then fold it and leave it at the foot of my bed for another 3. It eventually gets put away by magical creatures known as children (or adults) that ran out of clean underwear.

4. Sometimes we get a caterer for dinner. His name is Papa John. He makes really good take n bake pizzas.

5. We have this GIANT TV in the basement. It’s awesome for movies and video games. Except I think it weighs 5,000 lbs. It’s a large box tv from before the flat screen was invented. We’ve decided that instead of moving it OUT of the basement by 4 large men swearing, we will just dig a hole in the basement floor and tip it over into it.

6. People hacking into my phone are in for quite a show.

7. I’ve shared my holiday home tour. DEFINITELY fancy.

8. Sometimes I wear socks with flip flops. I really try not to leave the house like that though.

9. I’ve flipped the cushions on my couch so many times to hide some stain or another, that I should really start using all those cleaning tips I have pinned.

10. I have a nanny. She’s called the TV. I use her whenever I’m desperate to pee alone, shave my legs in the shower, cook dinner, or think.

I love being a SAHM, but we make it happen with budgets, and planning, and saving money for things. We chose this life, and while I know it’s not a possibility for everyone, I do think it’s a misconception that those that get to stay home are somehow living the high life. And, I’m definitely NOT fancy. My t-shirts from Target with holes in them prove that. Blessed, yes. Luxurious? Now, that’s funny.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Lentil Soup for the Crockpot
8th October 2014

We kind of love soups around here. In fact, my KIDS eat soup like crazy too. Especially if we let them dunk bread in it.

I’ve been making this recipe for Spiced Sweet Potato & Lentil Soup for a while, and it really is SO easy. Mostly because it’s in the crockpot. You can substitute Butternut squash for the sweet potato too if you don’t like sweet potatoes.

The PERFECT Crockpot Recipe! Spiced Sweet Potato & Lentil Soup!! So yummy for Fall & Winter

Spiced Sweet Potato & Lentil Soup (For the Crockpot) 

1 Cup dry lentils (rinsed)
2 1/2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. garam masala
4 cups vegetable broth
4 tablespoons butter

Rinse and drain lentils. In a crockpot, place lentils, squash, onion, carrot, and celery. Sprinkle garlic and garam masala over vegetables. Pour broth over all.
Cover and cook on low heat setting for 8-9 hours or on high for 4 to 4 1/2 hours. If cooking on high, make sure it is not losing moisture. If so, add water as needed. 5 minutes prior to serving, add butter and let it melt. Spiced Sweet Potato & Lentil Soup in the Crockpot!! The perfect fall soup recipe!

Doesn’t that sound easy? It really is. Let me know if you try it! The garam masala is what makes this soup, and it’s one of my favorite spices to cook with. Don’t try to substitute it, or it won’t taste as good!

Crockpot Spiced Sweet Potato & Lentil Soup!! Simple ingredients and SO easy to make!

If You Stay At Home With Your Kids, You Can’t Complain.
7th October 2014

I’ve been thinking about my role as a stay at home mom lately, and reading a lot on the subject too. I’ve started several blog posts trying to encapsulate my feelings as of late, and none of them have been published. Instead, I’ve taken time to sit and think, and really scrutinize myself, and my own feelings about motherhood. Waiting to hit publish is so unlike me! But, now I’m ready to write about what I feel are some big misconceptions about stay at home moms. And, I’ve decided to make it a little series of posts. Later this week, I’ll be talking about another blog post I read that suggests that being a stay at home parent is a luxury….for our spouse.

But, first, I want to talk about complaining. Since I was a little girl, I wanted to grow up, get married, have kids, and live happily ever after. Maybe that’s not what everyone aspires to do, but for me, it was what I thought was the picture perfect ideal. All I needed in the world. Now, I have it. All of it. The little house in a great neighborhood, the kids, the husband and the ability to stay home with my kids. So, I should be perfectly content, right?

Last week, I read the post, Dear Stay At Home Moms, Shut the Eff Up, and felt a little miffed. To say the least. Lucky for me, I have some kindred spirits in the blogging world that get me. And, get why stay at home moms sometimes complain. Stephanie from Mommy, For Real is one of them. Read her response to the Dear stay at home moms letter here. I love it.

But, I’ve been wanting to write about my feelings as a stay at home mom for a while.  This post has nothing to do with working moms vs. moms that stay home by the way. It’s not even about that for me. I respect working moms, and I know that many of them don’t have a choice. They have to work. But, what bothers me is the judgment made by others if stay at home moms muster out a tiny little complaint from time to time. And, working moms aren’t the only ones judging and pointing fingers.  Other stay at home moms judge too.

Here’s my biggest complaint with her post about stay at home moms complaining (see how I did that?) No one should be judging my gratitude (even if I do complain from time-to-time). Picture for a moment a baby shower of a close friend. You took a lot of time picking out her gift, wrapping it nice, and were so excited to see her open it. When she did, she thanked you politely and then moved on to the next gift. You felt satisfied, but another friend also attending the baby shower stands up, points a finger at the mom-to-be and says, “I don’t think you showed enough gratitude for the gift she just gave you! You didn’t even look like you were excited! What’s wrong with you? You must not be thankful for any of our gifts! You don’t even deserve that present or any of our presents!!”

That would be crazy talk wouldn’t it? It’s no different with the gift of parenting. The mom-to-be was thankful, she even said it out loud, but other people thought she wasn’t exactly thankful enough? Give. Me. A. Break. We would all probably sit in that baby shower with our mouths hanging open and be in complete shock that someone dared to say she wasn’t grateful for that gift. So, why is it OK for anyone to say I’m not thankful for my role as a stay at home mom?

Maybe I don’t voice my gratitude like you do, that doesn’t mean I don’t have it. And, a complaint from time to time doesn’t negate a grateful heart.

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For me personally, I would feel like a total fake if I went around spreading sunshine constantly. And, I would also feel a bit like a bragger too. “I love my life. I’m so grateful that my kid makes straight A’s, I’m glad I can wear yoga pants to my job everyday!” It’s totally not my style, and feels a bit self-indulgent too. But, gratitude? I’ve got a lot of it. Right inside my little heart that you can’t even see.

Now before you think I love dwelling on the negative, I have to say that I DO feel gratitude is extremely important. But, I don’t think it’s a gift that comes to everyone naturally. For me, I have to make conscious efforts to feel gratitude for my blessings throughout the day if possible. It helps me have a better attitude. But, I also think gratitude is a personal growth exercise that takes time. You can’t just wake up and run a marathon. Don’t feel guilty if you complain once in a while. Or even every day.

Gratitude is a personal growth exercise that takes time.

I believe in a loving God that gives me blessings daily. And, I believe those blessings are gifts from Him. I also believe it’s my responsibility to thank Him for those blessings and have an attitude of gratitude as much as possible. But, I’m human, and I’m not perfect (hence the name of my blog…ahem). So, I complain from time to time. I know that He does not view those complaints as total ingratitude for all that I have. It’s ridiculous to jump to the conclusion that I’m miserable because I voice a complaint. Because, I also spend time trying to be grateful. Quietly. And, I definitely don’t think there is a third party that gets to point out that I’m not grateful enough.

I’m not in a competition to be the most grateful, and you shouldn’t be either. I’m just trying to do the best I can in this crazy job I have and stay true to myself. Even if that means complaining once in a while.

Seriously. Let’s just stop telling each other how to be. That’s all it’s really about isn’t it?

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What are your thoughts? Should SAHMs never complain about their jobs? Do you think that means they aren’t thankful for what they have?

How to NOT Plan Your Trip to Disneyland and Still Have Fun
30th September 2014

My cute little family and I went to Disneyland for the first time last week.

Here are two things you should know about me. I HATE car trips (30 minutes is too long to be in the car, much less 12 hours) and I HATE crowds. But, for some reason, I was determined to take my kids to Disneyland even though I never went as a child. Especially my daughter before she completely outgrew the princesses all together. And she was close. I think she enjoyed the rides a little more than the princesses.

For me, it had been almost 15 years since I had been. I never went as a kid. For my husband it had been more than 20. For us, we were Disney virgins and about to take our 3 small children to Disneyland by ourselves. So, I was SUPER excited, and freaking out too.

I had been dreaming about this trip for years, and pinning tips and tricks on pinterest. There are lots of blog posts written about how to plan a disney trip, traveling to disney with small kids, etc. etc. I wanted to do it RIGHT.

But, when we finally got around to booking the trip, I had 2 weeks notice that it was going to happen and not a lot of time to get ready. I went through my pins and found the ones I had pinned, and started reading. Then, I promptly started having a panic attack. I could seriously feel my chest tightening as I tried to remember all the tips, tricks, and ways to make it easier.

I got so overwhelmed that I said, screw it. We’re winging this party in Crazyland (what Disneyland should be named) and we’ll survive. And, guess what? We did! And it was amazing.

I thought I’d suggest my own tips for going to Disneyland that are for the family that doesn’t want to  plan anything. Sound awesome? It’s a How to NOT Plan Your Trip to Disneyland and Still Have Fun post.

How to NOT Plan Your Trip to Disneyland and STILL have fun!!

1. Chill the heck out. Disneyland is about the experience. It isn’t about rushing around and seeing every little thing. It’s impossible. There are like 300 towns there, with 2,351 rides. I-M-P-O-S-S-I-B-L-E. So, calm down. Please. I get it. You want it to be perfect, but NOTHING is perfect, so give it up and let go. Decide right now to chill out and just experience it. You’ll be a lot happier.

2. Ask along the way. If you have one day, then of course you need to plan a little, but if you have multiple days, then go and just enjoy the first day at your kids’ pace. Ask about tips for seeing the things that are a priority on subsequent days. We wanted to see the Frozen chicks (like the rest of the world). It took us until Day 3 to finally make it happen. (Email me if you want to know how). But, by simply asking questions, you’ll figure it out, and it will ALL be OK. Promise.

3. Be prepared to hate adults that go without kids. OK, this is just a pet peeve more than a tip. But, I can’t tell you how many times my precious babies were standing in long lines to meet their favorite Disney character and there were 42 adults there without kids wanting to take their picture with the character too. It’s an adult in a costume people. Let’s be real, here. Disneyland is for everyone of all ages, I get that. But, do you really need to take a picture with Anna & Elsa as an adult when another child might miss out on the opportunity?

(FYI– They won’t. They’re for real. Some of them even have conversations with Minnie Mouse who DOESN’T EVEN TALK). Ok, rant over.

4. Ask someone who’s been. I had two weeks notice. So, I just asked a friend who had been multiple times to circle things on a map with notes of what she loved, and she did! We referred to it often. So much easier than trying to decipher whether or not conflicting information on 5 million blog posts about it is right.

5. Be smart. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that you need a poncho if it’s going to rain, or sunscreen if it’s going to be sunny. Pack extra clothes if your little ones tend to have accidents, etc. Those sorts of things you’ll figure out. You will be just fine using your mama instincts on what to take with you. For us it was a stroller, snacks, and a water bottle for each person. Other than that, we didn’t need much else.

6. It’s Disneyland. It WILL be fun. You’re going somewhere magical. Even I can admit that. There were so many things that were serendipitous during our trip that didn’t take an ounce of planning. The more you relax and see the experience through your kids’ eyes, the more fun it will be. You don’t need a guide to tell you how to enjoy it. It’s DISNEYLAND. Remember, it’s the happiest place on earth.

Most of the time.

 

How to Clean for House Guests (A Practical Guide)
22nd September 2014

One extremely fascinating fact about me is that I have a brother.
It’s actually not that fascinating because many people in the world have brothers, but he’s kind of like an enigma. I never know when he will pop into my life. And, it’s always exciting when he does.

Like, recently he sent me a random card with zebras laughing on it, and a $50 Olive Garden gift card. That my friends, is true sibling love. My little family ate the you know what out of some breadsticks and fettucine and even ordered dessert which I think really confused my children. In a nutshell, it was fun.

So, one day, I get a random text from my brother, all casual like we talk and text everyday, announcing that he was coming to my neck of the woods (I have 3 trees in my yard, so it’s the woods, OK?). After I got over the initial confusion of mistaking his identity for another family relative named Chris, I was excited to hear it was actually my brother texting me.

I immediately offered to let him crash at my place for the 11 hours he was going to allow me to see him (love you bro). After he debated for several days, he finally conceded to staying with me. He was road tripping with his a friend for a football game. I immediately forgot all details about the football game and panicked about him staying with me.

It has never happened before, so it was a justified moment of panic.

As I was pondering the fact that he never comes to my house, I decided that a full clean was in order. I was killing myself making sure that the house was spotless for him and his friend to come stay. Half way through scrubbing my bathroom, I realized I had made a huge mistake.

I had two grown men coming to stay with me, and they sure didn’t give a crap about how clean my bathrooms were. So, I pulled out the clorox wipes and called it good.

This got me thinking. It would be really helpful to have a guide or scale measuring how much cleaning is required for whatever type of house guest you might be entertaining. Although, not much actual entertaining happens at my house. It’s more like survival of the fittest around here.

So, I created one for you. You’re welcome.

Cleaning for House Guests How Clean Does it Have To Be A Practical (and funny) Guidephoto credit: splityarn via photo pin cc (text added)

Next time you have house guests, use my hand dandy guide to know how clean it really has to be.

The Less than 24 Hour Notice Guest- If someone is not nice enough to give you notice that they are coming in less than 24 hours, immediately lower your standards. They are not considerate enough to give you notice, so they don’t deserve the cleanest place to sleep either. Sure, pull out a set of clean sheets, but it’s OK to give them the ones that are a little scratchy in the middle. Drop hints like, “Oh if you had let me know you were coming, I would have had my 3,000 thread count sheets clean for you.” This may help with avoiding future sudden drop ins.

The Brother Visit- Brothers don’t care. They want a pillow, and a blanket, and they are fine with that. If your brother is married with kids, then he will just be glad a kid is not stepping on his face at 6:30 am as usual. For fun though, you could still encourage your kids to go wake their Uncle in the morning. It’s payback for the time he put your childhood pet in the microwave and turned it on for 3 seconds. Clorox wipes in the bathroom and a few squirts of febreeze are about all that’s required.

The Sister Visit- Now, in general, I would say that no cleaning is required whatsoever if you are close with your sister. However, we know that sisters do secretly judge your cleanliness, so you will probably want to go close to all out anyway. You’ll give the bathroom a proper clean, and make sure the microwave is splatter-less, but you won’t worry about the smudges on the windows. In the end, you know she’ll help you clean your stove if necessary, and she will come back. No matter what. While she’s there, you’ll secretly wish you were allowed a sister wife.

The Childhood Friend (You haven’t seen in years) Visit- Even though you know she won’t judge you because she’s seen you at your worst (like crying at that NKOTB concert), you’ll still clean anyway. You won’t reach perfection although you will definitely try, but you will immediately confess that upon her arrival by blurting out something like, “I ran out of time to mop the floors!” Luckily, she’ll hug you and let you know that she does not care whatsoever, and you’ll know she’s telling you the truth.

The Motherload Clean- You can probably guess that this level of cleaning is required when your mother, or mother-in-law is coming to stay with you. This level of cleaning is the highest. You must wipe smudges off of windows, clean baseboards, and vacuum up those cobwebs in the corners that frankly you had never even noticed before. Most likely, you will fall over from exhaustion before you get to actually achieve the level of cleaning you’d like. This is, after all, totally out of the norm for you to check every surface for fingerprints. Since it’s impossible to actually finish everything you suddenly see through new eyes (hers) you will pray the entire time she’s there that she never has to lift up a couch cushion or look under a bed for anything.

There are definitely more guests to consider like the random visit from a friend of a friend, or the cousin that is in town for a few days, but for the most part, the best advice I can give is as soon as they utter the words, “I’m going to be in town in two weeks” beat them to it, and blurt out, “Oh I know the BEST hotel just a mile from my house”. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

What kind of house guest makes you clean like a 1950’s housewife? Is it your mom, or a judgey cousin? I want to know!