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. It’s an adult in a costume people. Let’s be real, here. Disneyland is for the kids, and the rest of you better get out of my way.

(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!

5 Tricks to Feeding Picky Toddlers
11th September 2014

I often teeter somewhere between not caring if the picky two year old eats, and desperately trying to get him to. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll probably roll your eyes that I am blogging about how I hate feeding my kids.

But, this time, I thought I’d share 5 things that have actually WORKED when feeding my picky toddler in the hopes that it will help some mom save her sanity too. If the average two-year-old is anything like mine, then there are moms all over the world frustrated. One minute he gobbles down something that surprised you, and you make a mental note, “I’m making this dinner every week from now on.” Sound familiar?

But, the problem is that the next time, he won’t even pick up the fork. It reminds me of that Katy Perry song I hate,

‘Cause you’re hot then you’re cold
You’re yes then you’re no
You’re in then you’re out
You’re up then you’re down

You’re wrong when it’s right
It’s black and it’s white
We fight, we break up
We kiss, we make up

Aside from the breaking up part, I never realized how easily this song can work for a two year old too.

But, back to the tips. I have learned after three kids that the #1 thing that the toddler wants while eating is for it to be FUN. That’s right. For some strange reason, he doesn’t care one bit about actually eating, or nutritional facts like eating ritz crackers for every meal is not healthy. He doesn’t care about any of that at all. So you have to keep changing things up to keep them interested.

5 Tricks to Feeding Picky Toddlers. I've tried these tips and they actually work!

Here are 5 tricks to feeding picky toddlers that have worked for me!

1. Involve his favorite stuffed animal. One night I was so frustrated that the 2 year old wouldn’t even pick up his fork to take one single bit of a food he loved, that I got desperate. I talked him into eating while I pretended to be one of his stuffed animals that was feeding him. It worked! He laughed the whole way through, and had a blast.

2. Switch up the serving dish. I’ve blogged about how if you serve my kid anything with a dixie cup and a spork, he’ll eat it. Well, that’s still true. Sometimes I just have to make it fun. Toothpicks, dipping things, dividing it up in small cups. It’s exhausting, I know, but it works.

3. Letting him feed you. This has worked countless times for me as well. I will tell him, “you feed me a bite, then mommy will feed you a bite.” This is his favorite game.

4. Get siblings involved. My older kids are so sweet. They always try to help. Sometimes they feed him and that works, but other times, we make up games with them. We have races to finish our green beans, or we clap when he takes a bite. Sometimes getting the attention from older siblings is helpful. If there are no siblings, find a pet dog, fish…anything!

5. Examine the time of day. My youngest eats best when he is hungry. I’m trying not to starve him, but I’ve learned that if I can keep snacks away for at least an hour before mealtime, he eats better. Sometimes, moving dinner time up a half hour or back a half hour can make ALL the difference.

You could always resort to food art like this:

olaf-draft-2

Isn’t it amazing? I had to ask the blogger/artist if she actually let her kids eat this. I was going to die a little inside if she said yes. I was relieved when she said no. Because honestly, how could you let a two year old destroy something like this after all that time and energy?

Oh, wait. I let my kids do that to my clean house every day.

**********

Do you have any tricks for getting picky toddlers to eat? Please share!

Help for Marisha Dotson
8th September 2014

Do you ever hear a story that is so heartbreaking, that it makes you squeeze your babies a little tighter, and be thankful for your trials that seem all of a sudden a little bit less significant?

A childhood friend of mine asked me to share this story, and I jumped at the chance after watching this video. This girl is a friend of hers. In fact, my friend’s husband is one of this girl’s teachers in college. But, if you take the time to watch the video (the video is graphic, so beware of that), there will be no doubt in your mind that this story is real and this girl is in desperate need of help.

Can you imagine supporting yourself at 16? And, supporting a little brother too? Then, discovering you had a very rare form of skin cancer? No parents to help, and all while in your 4th year of college? THAT is a trial that seems to shrink mine in comparison.

Here is Marisha Dotson’s story in her own words.

    After months of being ill, a spot formed on my nose in June 2014. I spent hundreds of “bill money” going through the UT clinic only to find that the doctors there were not equipped to deal with my health issues. I needed a dermatologist to look at my nose. I used what would be my last paycheck and borrowed money from a friend to cover the visit and biopsy. July 2014, I was officially diagnosed with a rare form of squamous cell carcinoma on my nose. The tumor was rapidly growing and did not adhere to any typical growth pattern. Furthermore, while also being rare, this type of cancer is never seen in someone as young as I am. I do not currently have any health care, but I am working diligently on trying to obtain coverage.
This is extremely difficult and humbling for me to ask for help as I have worked hard my entire life. An abusive father was out of the picture young, and my mother suffered many illnesses while trying her best to raise us on her own. As a result, I have a uniqe life experience from most my age. I lost my mother within days of my 16th birthday in my very own arms. Since then, I have had to care for my brother while learning to become self-sufficient in a world where trusting people to be good to us has not always been true or easy. We have no parents and no family to help care for us through this process. We have lived almost our entire lives with only each other to get by. I have worked two part time jobs to support my younger brother and myself most of my life. I have done this while simultaneously putting myself through school at the University of Tennessee for the past four years. I am a double major in psychology and environmental sociology along with a minor, four classes away from graduating magna cum laude. Unfortunately, it does not appear that I will be able to graduate this semester as planned. I will be unable to afford this semester along with the issues that arise from being unable to attend class. I was unsuccessful at getting my professors to allow me to do my course work remotely from home, thus forcing me to drop this semester. I will have to reapply for admissions in January at the higher tuition rate (not the rate I have now as an on-going student), reapply for student loans, and reapply to graduate to actually finish my final four undergrad classes. I include this because I think it is unfair to penalized for something I cannot control.(*I have been told I can and will petition this when it is time to register for spring semester. I still find it ridiculous that there is a need to for my situation)
I have survived so many awful and painful experiences in my young life, most people will never have to experience such in a given lifetime. These experiences have taught me so about life, love, and perseverance. This cancer, along with the multiple surgeries and subsequent consequences, will be extremely difficult and painful. I am taking each day, one at a time. I do not want to go through this alone. I tell myself the Lord is preparing my life for some greater purpose and plan that I cannot yet see. I do trust in His plan and in His timing. I feel it is part of His plan that I be open and share my struggles.
My brother and I have completely exhausted all of our meager pay in trying to receive medical care these past few months for me. We have been barely surviving, living paycheck by paycheck, before this tragedy had struck us. This last year, I had promised to help my brother find the means of paying back the $1600 student loan to Pelissippi State Community College so that he may register for classes and work towards fulfilling his own degree. His greatest dream right now is to have the chance to obtain an education, a promise I cannot fulfill any time soon and feel guilty about. He has started a new job this week at a factory working 3rd shift. My brother struggles with clinical depression, so this is going to be a huge battle for him to try and work so much to help out with bills and manage his his depression. I know this situation is stressing him out. He has weekly therapy sessions that we have had to miss due to financial hardships. I have always been there to take care of him. He is doing so amazing at handling all of this, but please send prayers his way as well that he can remain strong and healthy.
Keeping up with the daily bills along with the medical bills has proven to be a never-ending uphill battle. We were unprepared for how extensive and life threatening the tumor had become over such a short amount of time. The surgeons have told me my case has never been seen before so aggressively nor in one as young as I am. In fact, my surgeon asked to have his fellow colleagues sit in on my surgeries.
On August 7, 2014, I had an extremely painful emergency surgery for which I was awake to remove the gigantic tumor growing on my face. What I walked into thinking would be a simple detachment surgery, turned into one of the longest days of my life. Halfway through the surgery, the surgeon brought my brother to me and explained that what I was going through could kill me. She explained, as I saw the fear in my brother’s eyes, that she would be cutting the tumor deep on the nerves way down into my nasal cavity where it had attached itself, and she would keep cutting until we found clear margins. As well as being massive on the surface, the tumor had grown excessively on the insided and attached itself to the nerves along my septum and inner nose tissues. I found myself in the most deeply terrifying and life changing moment. All I could think about was the life I have lived and the life I have yet to live. Thoughts of my brother, the gospel, the people I know, the people I will know, the people I am meant to help, what I am supposed to do with my life, eternal marriage, children, and utilizing my education, were all crashing around in my mind. Ten agonizing stages and 15 hours of being stabbed thousands of times in the face with a needle to be operated on, another first for the surgeon, we finally got clear margins by the grace of God. The price for this was great. As a result, I have lost ALL of the tissues (inner, middle, outer) on the left side of my nose and a little on the right side of my nose. I have lost almost all of my nose cartilage. This procedure was costly and painful in more ways than just one.
My entire life has been affected and will continue to be affected in the wake of this cancer. This is something that will be with me always. I was scared when I found out this could kill me. I am scared now. I am completely overwhelmed at the moment as the procedures must continue and the bills must continue. For a first in my life, I am unable to just push through and continue working without a thought to my own health. I am fighting to save my life and to be healthy once again. The estimated time of returning to work and school has been tentatively suggested at January or February at the earliest. Until then, I require a sterile environment to prevent infection and promote healing, rest, and sleep as the wounds are so extensive.
There are medical supplies I require to treat the wounds and will continue to require to treat the wounds. At the moment, I am relying on friends and my brother to help me keep the wounds clean, as I am unable to care for myself. Being an independent woman, I have never been so weak and so helpless feeling in my life. My immune system is deficient as I try to overcome this battle. As I am beating this battle, I must have more reconstructive surgeries to repair the damage to my septum, facial, and nose tissues.
The first reconstructive surgery was on August 21, 2014. It was a dangerous and delicate surgery, as the surgeon needed to utilize his best skills. The procedure lasted a little over six hours. Dr. Mathison put a stint up inside my nose for support and removed my entire right ear’s cartilage. The skin along my forehead and hairline extending way up in to my scalp was removed and twisted down to create a flap over my nose. This is now covering the tissues that he reconstructed underneath. Part of my head was shaved, skin cut, and then mostly sutured closed. He lifted my entire head up off my scalp to try and close the wound together. A small section on the scalp couldn’t be closed. My entire face is stretched, sutured, stapled, moved, and in so much. More pain than I am apt at describing. Dr. Mathison has already said my nose and face will never look the same, but he will do his best to repair the damage. Dr. Mathison, a true blessing to me in this, has encouraged me that this journey I am on is a marathon that will most likely be over a year in the making to get me to the finish line. It will be a long while yet before I resemble myself once more, if I ever do. This is okay. The next surgery is scheduled for September 18, 2014.
The surgeries are extremely painful periods of time that will require long recovery periods. My face will be under construction for the next few months, so every day will be a battle in and of itself. I am now under bed rest and must try to remain rested for my body to begin to heal from the continued trauma.
Following these necessary reconstructive surgeries that are in the hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars mark, I will require radiation treatments once my face has healed. It is my prayer the cancer will all be gone and stay gone forever. I pray this is something I never have to repeat. I would honestly go back to work tomorrow if I could, but it will be a long journey until I am well enough. I have never been in so much pain, but I choose to see the daily blessings in this. I choose to hang in there and fight with a smile on my face. I cannot change that this has happened to me. What I can do is control how I feel about it and make sure that this is a positive growing experience to share with others. I see Heavenly Father’s hand in this, directing me to the surgeon I needed and placing people in my life to help me. I am grateful for the people who love me.
Please know I am in true desperate need of help in paying for the medical treatments/medical bills that will save my life. I am also in desperate need of help in keeping a roof over my brother’s head, keeping food on the table, keeping my car from being repossessed, and keeping the utilities on while undergoing these surgeries. These things do not stop for cancer. My bank account is in the negative. We will need help on getting caught up with bills then staying caught up on bills over the next several months. My brother and I need help paying the necessary living expenses and medical expenses while I am unable to work. We are in for the long haul, so the more support we can gather the better our chances of actually making it are. We will need continual support to see us through the next difficult months ahead.
I have always tried my best to make things work all on my own, but I need to reach out for that helping hand right now. Please know any help at all will be greatly appreciated on this journey, even if it is only in prayers and thoughts. Please take the time to help us out in any way you can. We are grateful for any help. Please share my story to as many people as we can reach. I plan on doing my part in the future in paying it forward. I am working on a skin cancer awareness campaign even at this moment. Skin cancer can happen to young people; it can happen to anyone. If my story can bless someone’s life, save someone ‘s life, or prevent some one from having to go through what I am going through, then this will all be worth it in the end. If you would like to be a part of this campaign with me, please feel free. We all can make more time for others in our lives everday and be better off for it. Even if I do not know you, I do love you. Thank you for taking the time to read part of my story. Please share it on. May God bless you!

Everyone has difficulties in life, and I know my trials are meant for me,  and hers are meant for her, but sometimes, I feel like others are given big trials in order to give the rest of us opportunities to help and serve and lift. When you see someone truly hurting, and in need, God also expects us to help. That’s what I’m asking you to do.

Since lots of my readers are bloggers, I ask you to either share this post, or donate. If you could write a post about it, even better!! Feel free to re-blog, or copy and paste my post verbatim. My readers are small, but we can be strong in numbers if we all share. I’m hoping that some of you will be touched to at least share on FB, twitter, or any other avenue where you think we could help this girl out. If you’re not a blogger, please think about donating, or just sharing this on your FB page.

And, make sure to count your blessings too. I know I sure did.

***************** To donate directly to Marisha (because what she needs is money for medical expenses and living) go here: http://www.gofundme.com/cxp05g ******************

10 Things You’d See if This Mom’s Phone Got Hacked
5th September 2014

When I first heard about the celebrity phone hacking scandal, I immediately rolled my eyes.

Do that many people take naked pictures of themselves?

I mean, haven’t they learned? The average relationship in Hollywood lasts about 2.5 seconds and yet they are apparently swapping nude photos with each other as often as my eight year old daughter cranks out those rainbow loom bracelets.

But, they have rights too, I guess. Even though they are uber rich and pretty and famous. They are still HUMAN. I have my doubts when they do things like write books full of their own “failed” attempts at selfies. But, since I do care about human rights I guess I will admit that it was super wrong of those creepy hacker people to steal their photos. Shame on them. But, shame on the celebrities too, no?

You might not believe it, but I recently decided to join the world of people addicted to their smart phones. Yep. I got my VERY FIRST EVER smart phone about two months ago and I finally learned which notification sounds mean what this very day. Like today, I realized the difference between the text notification and the FB one. That’s progress people.

So, I started thinking about my phone. And, started worrying about getting hacked. What would they steal? My photos? My identity? What!?

Then I realized I’m a 37 year old mom to 3 and nobody cares about hacking into my phone. But if they did, they might find some interesting things. Here are the top 10 things you’d see if this mom’s phone got hacked.

1. Kid selfies. Self-explanatory really, but why not share some evidence anyway.

Kid selfie

2. REAL failed selfie attempts. Like the one where I suddenly surprise myself when I go to camera mode and it’s pointed directly at my double chin nasal shot. Glamorous. Then I hit the button actually taking a picture while trying to turn the camera around. Perfect.

surprised selfiechildren were cropped out to protect the innocent. As usual, please refer to the about me page for how normal I really look.

3. Pictures no one can identify. Sometimes, I can figure it out. If I try really hard, I can see that the two year old took a picture of my armpit at some point that I can’t remember, or the kitchen floor, or my hairy leg. No, I will not be posting a picture of that.

4. The should-I-take-this-kid-to-the-emergency-room picture I send to my husband in the middle of the day.

Swollen Eye

5. The pictures I send to my sister in a dressing room asking something like, “Does my butt look big?” or “Can I really pull off skinny jeans?” or “Does this color make my skin look pasty?” She already knows that she must delete immediately after viewing. But, if you’re lucky, I may have forgotten to delete one or two of those.

6.  There are lots of, I-hope-I-never-forget-this-moment pictures.

Snow cones in summerDon’t mind the plant that’s dying a slow and painful death. 

7. Unread emails from the PTA.

8. Missed calls from people I won’t name.

9. Lists of notes I’ve taken so I can try to remember something simple, like you know, the first day of school.

10. And last but not least, lots of texts between my husband and I. But, they don’t ever include nudity. They look something more like this.

Husband and Wife text

So, hackers, have at it. I’d love to see how you use all of the valuable information I have on my phone. If it’s interesting enough to sell to People, I’ll split the profits with you.

What would I find on YOUR phone? Tell me. I want to know!

Conversations with a Two Year Old
3rd September 2014

I wrote a post a little while ago that was featured on Scary Mommy. It was innocent enough, and all about my two year old declaring he had a hard dayHonestly I had no clue if people would find it funny, but in my wildest dreams I never thought anyone would find it controversial. That just goes to show you I still have a lot to learn. Funny how I thought the mommy wars were over.

I’m cute and naive that way.

But I have to owe the popularity of that post to the first commenter who started the controversy. She innocently suggested I just ask my toddler why he had a hard day.

Oooh. Thanks random interwebs lady. Never thought of that one.

Then I started to fantasize about a world where you could actually communicate with two year olds in a clear way.  Sure, now, I can ask him questions, and he answers me to the best of his ability. But, real conversations with a two year old with meaning and purpose are still a little bit elusive around here.

What would it be like? I wondered.

Conversations with a Two year Old (If they were actually listening)

“Why was your day hard little man?” I could ask.

“Because you wouldn’t let me strangle the cat.” He would answer.

It could be nice. And so handy. I mean one sweet commenter lady declared her kids were “speaking in complete sentences at two because she asked them questions and challenged their brains” sooooo, yeah, that would be nice.

Because I’m totally anti-brain challenging. Obviously.

But, for real. Think of the possibilities!

We could wake up and just ask what they were going to destroy that day.

“Glad you asked, Mom. I was thinking of taking a sharpie to the couch first and then trying my hand at a little frisbie throwing with your new plates.”

We could ask about naptime and know whether or not it was going to ruin the day.

“Yeah, I was thinking I would toy with your emotions for a while and make you think I am going to nap. Then about 15 minutes in I’ll attempt to take my diaper off in bed and pee on the sheets you just washed. At dinner, I’ll fall asleep in my bowl of spaghetti. Cool?”

And meal planning could get so much easier.

“Yeah, so I will refuse all meats and veggies this week and stick to a strict diet of noodles and protein bars. Forget making that meal I loved last night for dinner. It’s so last week. Save yourself the time and energy.

You could be warned about catastrophic events ahead of time.

“I love Target and all too, but about ten minutes in, I’m going to make you wish you had never come. Right when you fill the cart so full that I have to walk, I’ll start pulling things off shelves, demanding to be held, then go limp and lay down on the floor screaming. Next time, just buy me the popcorn, OK?”

We could just cut right to the chase and be told so much information.

“I won’t potty train until I’m 3 1/2 because I’m scared a shark is lurking down there.”

“The reason why I’m still waking up at night is because my foot gets itchy and I want you to scratch it.”

“I really wish you would let me play with knives and do all the dangerous things. Since you won’t, I’m going to start refusing to eat breakfast for a week.”

In the photo above, he refused to believe me that the cone was edible. So, he insisted on having a spoon. We aren’t exactly dealing with rational little human beings people.

And, it would be SO nice to hear, “I love you mama. I know I’m difficult, because I work hard to be. But, I know you work hard too, and one day, I’ll take care of you when you’re old and gray and wrinkly, so try not to worry too much about my temper tantrums. It will ALL be worth it in the end.”

A tired, exhausted mom of three can dream, right?

 

20 Reasons My Two Year Old Had a Hard Day
2nd September 2014

My two year old said, with a mischievous look in his eye, “Mommy. I have hard day.”

I turned to his older brother and said, “Did he just say what I think he did?” He shrugged. Five year old brothers tend to not care what two year old brothers are saying.

So, I asked, “Did you just say you’ve had a hard day!?” He smiled, his coy little smile and replied, “Yeah” as he continued to twirl in circles for some unknown reason that was making me slightly queasy just watching him.

I didn’t know whether to be horrified that he’s obviously heard this sentence one too many times, laugh at his cuteness in saying something so grown up, or be worried that I’m coddling him too much and therefore, he already thinks his life is rough. At the ripe old age of two years old.

Instead, I gave it a little thought, because having three kids makes me pensive when it’s not making me yell-y, and thought to myself, “Hmm. Maybe life was hard for this kid today.”

After all, I could think of several reasons that, in his mind, life was extra tough that day.

He had to get out of bed at 9 am after sleeping for a short 14 hours straight.

I wouldn’t let him eat potato chips for breakfast.

I dared to tell him his pacifier was just for bed time and took it away so he could eat a real breakfast which he changed his mind about ten times. Nothing must have sounded good to him since the potato chips were off limits.

I dressed him, so of course that always makes my day a little tougher.

He was forced to drink out of the yellow cup at lunch instead of the blue one.

I wouldn’t let him squirt his brother in the eye with a water bottle.

I wouldn’t let him jump on the picnic table in the backyard.

I wouldn’t let him wrap the cord to the blinds around his neck.

I wouldn’t let him play with a knife.

Basically, I prevented him from his various attempts at taking his own life.

I changed his diaper when he was stinky. Poor guy.

I made him wear shoes to go play outside when it was a whopping, scald-your-bare-feet-on-the-pavement, degrees outside.

I buckled him into his car seat.

I mistakenly put his blanket on him the wrong way at nap time.

I didn’t hold him for 25 minutes after his nap giving him time to wake up and be happy again. After all, he only napped for two hours after his short 14 hours of sleep the night before.

I made him eat pasta for dinner that had tiny flecks of something green in it, therefore making it so obviously inedible.

I told him hitting his brother in the head with whatever object was in his hand at the time was not OK. (Repeat 10 times)

I held his hand while going down some stairs.

I attempted to actually brush his teeth instead of letting him suck on the toothbrush for 10 minutes.

I told him to be quiet and go to sleep.

Hopefully, I will be a better mommy tomorrow. I’d hate to hear that he had a hard day again. Poor little guy.

Coping with Loss
21st August 2014

I apologize for my lack of blogging lately. I’ve had good reasons. It’s been a crazy summer, and I’ve been contemplating a lot of things. Couple that with the loss of a dear, and trusted friend, and it’s been quite a lot for me to take in.

I thought I’d blog a little about that friend today. It came as quite a shock to me when I lost her. She had been by my side for, I think, close to twenty years, but the truth, is that I don’t remember exactly when we met.

You see, there came a point in my life where I left home, and had to cut the cord. Gone were the days of relying on my parents, and it was time to become independent. So, I purchased my very first hair dryer. I suspect it was sometime around 1996, but it may have been sooner.

Coping with Loss

That hair dryer unexpectedly died a tragic death a couple of weeks ago. Cause unknown. It happened shortly after I decided to cut off all of my hair, thus requiring daily hair styling in order to look somewhat normal. Maybe it was just too much for her to take in.

When she finally stopped working, I tried slamming her against the counter a few times, and that kept her alive for a few minutes, but the 18-20 years worth of hair lint that had piled up, coupled with the constant need I suddenly had for her seemed to just take it’s toll. It was time for her to give up.

I called my sister.

“Wait. WHAT? You’ve had the same hair dryer for almost 20 years?” she asked in shock.

“I know. Crazy huh? I’m so sad.” I replied.

“What kind was it?” she demanded to know.

“I’m not sure. The letters on the side have been rubbed off. I think it was a Revlon.” I said forlornly.

“That’s insane. I buy a new hairdryer almost every year.” she said.

“REALLY?” I asked in disbelief and suddenly terrified of buying a new hair dryer. Would it last? Would I suddenly need a hairdryer budget?

“Yeah. One time, I bought one and had to return it twice.” she said.

It was almost too much for me to take. Coping with loss is never easy. This hair dryer had traveled the world with me, going away to college with me, on a mission for my church, crossing state lines hundreds of times, and living on both the east and west coasts. We had a history.

And, honestly, it just all felt so…..I don’t know…Ironic.

I had just said goodbye to my other trusted friend, the ponytail. She and I were close too. I had super long hair before I chopped it all off this summer, and I was just tired of looking like that frazzled mom with the pony everyday. So, I made my peace, and decided to do something insane. Go with a haircut that would require styling everyday to look normal.

I know. I had lost myself for a moment. I must have thought I was a celebrity mom with my own personal stylist that could pull it off. Instead, I’m just me. And, now my already hectic mornings will be cut short by the need to style my hair. With a hair dryer. And a brush. That was fun for exactly 3 mornings. Now, it is a dreaded task that makes me long for the days of my ponytail.

So, the death of the hair dryer at almost the exact moment that I needed her most, felt truly ironic. And, maybe a little bit like the universe was telling me that I just need to accept the fact that I’m a mom to three kids, and the ponytail is my signature.

But, let’s be real. Probably the only reason my trusted friend lasted that long was because she and I met only once a week for the obligatory hair drying session before church. The only time every week that I had to use her. So, when I suddenly needed her every day after 18 years of faithful, once a week, hair drying sessions. It was all just too much. I can’t say that I blame her. I hated every minute of those sessions too.

So, this summer, I said goodbye to my friend. I haven’t tossed her yet, even though it’s been a couple of weeks. Maybe now, I will be able to say goodbye.

I did eventually find a new friend, though.

Revlon Hair Dryer

But, she comes with a retractable cord and a folds in half for extra storage space. So basically, I’m not sure she can be trusted. Only time will tell.

 

 

How to Let Your Kids Help In 34 Simple Steps
28th July 2014

Recently, I had to clean out a refrigerator. I’m not talking about tossing the gross rotting food out that you found in the back, I’m talking deep clean a refrigerator because I was selling it to someone else.

The fridge was already moved out into my driveway, so I thought it might be a fun project for the kids and I. It wasn’t until I uttered the words, “I’m going outside to clean the old fridge…who wants to help?” and I heard three very enthusiastic “ME!!!”‘s that I had a feeling that things wouldn’t go quite like I envisioned them.

You see, it was 5 pm. I had been running ragged all week, and it was dinner time. The time was mistake #1. You’d think I was new to this whole parenting thing or something. Mistake #2 was thinking that using the hose would be a good idea. Mistake #3? It was already pushing 97 degrees outside and, of course, it was the hottest part of the day. So, we had fatigue, hunger, water, and heat. And three eager little people.

I realized in this process that having kids “help” you with a project that is really meant for adults is almost always a mistake and will almost always end up in somebody crying. Luckily, this time it wasn’t me.

How to Let Your Kids Help. {In 34 Simple Steps}

How to let your kids help in 34 Simple Steps.

  • 1. Offer to let them help.
  • 2. Do not expect actual help.
  • 3. Get the necessary equipment for helping. Each child needs their OWN rag, water bottle, and bucket of bubbles. Sharing is not possible.
  • 4.  Remind them each that they have their own equipment and not to touch their siblings cleaning tools.
  • 5. Begin. This is the fun, exciting part that will last for about 2.3 seconds.
  • 6. Refill the buckets of water.
  • 7. Tell them it’s OK when they decide to “wash” the car instead of the task at hand.
  • 8. Remind them gently not to use the black rag they buried in the dirt to “clean” the actual thing you started cleaning.
  • 9. Refill the buckets of water.
  • 10. Tell them more forcefully that they are no longer allowed to touch the item you are cleaning.
  • 11. Finally give in to the two year old who wants to control the hose.
  • 12. Deep breathe after he sprays you with it.
  • 13. Refill the buckets of water.
  • 14.Teach the 2 year old which direction to point the hose.
  • 15. Wait for him to spray you again.
  • 16. Refill the buckets of water.
  • 17. Take away the hose.
  • 18. Let him throw a temper tantrum and fall to the ground.
  • 19. Give him the hose back.
  • 20. Say “But, you said you were going to help me!” when the older two kids say they are going back inside to play video games.
  • 21. Tell your toddler to wash the car. Maybe that will distract him for a minute.
  • 22. Sweat profusely and wonder how bad it would be to just sell the fridge dirty. That green goo in the back doesn’t look that bad does it? Is that fuzz?
  • 23. Take away the hose from the toddler when he starts a puddle of mud by your feet.
  • 24. Let him cry.
  • 25. Keep cleaning and try to ignore his cry.
  • 26. Tell the neighbors he’s OK when they come to see why there is a 2 year old crying, “DAAAADDY” over and over again on the front porch.
  • 27. Speed up your cleaning and sweat some more.
  • 28. Explain to the toddler that Daddy is still at work, so will he please stop crying?
  • 29. Blame your husband for the whole scenario even though none of it is his fault.
  • 30. Strip the two year old down who is now shivering and crying in wet clothes.
  • 31. Keep cleaning in a puddle of water, and hope that no one notices how stinky you are.
  • 32. Put the crying toddler inside.
  • 33. Enjoy your peace and quiet, and finish the job. Alone.
  • 34. Remind yourself to never do this again. Even though, you most likely will anyway.

 *************

 

This is a parenting blog hop. What are you thinking about this week? Link them up so we can visit each other and hear about what’s going on in YOUR parenting world.

Going to join us? Here are the “rules” (Feel free to follow them loosely):

1. Add your link below

2. Grab MY button found below and add it to your post or sidebar, and then come back and link up with us here. It’s that easy! I’ll try to promote your post on social media by pinning, tweeting, and sharing.

3. Visit the other awesome bloggers that are also linking up and leave comments on their posts!

 Perfection Pending

Getting Out of My Own Head. The Reasons I Write.
22nd July 2014

In some ways, I felt like that nerdy girl in middle school (because I totally was that girl) that got invited to the popular girl’s party. When Emily from Girl Always Interrupted asked me if I wanted to participate in a blog tour with her and some other awesome mom bloggers that have written books and stuff, I was floored. Me? Of course, I said yes faster than a wallflower getting asked to dance at the school dance.

3980770If you don’t know Emily, then you are missing out. She has been featured everywhere you want to be featured, Freshly Pressed, and on Scary Mommy a few times. So, of course, she’s pretty amazing, and her writing doesn’t disappoint. Her post 15 Things Experienced Moms Really Want to Say to New Moms is so spot on, it made me want to be her best friend.

I love hearing why other bloggers write, and her post is so similar to how I feel about writing. But, it’s her posts like What to Expect When You Expect Goodnight makes you feel like you aren’t the only parent that feels a little crazy sometimes. In other words, she’s real and normal, and awesome.

I hope you’ll check out her blog, because trust me, you don’t want to miss out.

Now, on to her questions….

Why do I write?

This question has no simple answer for me. I write for my therapy. I write because it makes me happy. I write because I feel physically compelled to do so. I write to stop time. In fact, I’ve written a lot about why I write in the past. But, when I REALLY analyze it, I think I write because I just need it. I need it like I need that diet coke in the middle of the day to make it through the remaining long hours until bedtime. I write because it helps me feel less stuck in my own freaking head.

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I write, because frankly, I’m a better mom when I’m over-analyzing my life in words.

What does my writing process look like?

I was never a “writer” per se growing up. I was hit and miss on journaling, but I was an avid reader. So, I like to tell myself I was studying writing for 30 years before I decided to actually start writing in 2007. However, I could whip out a paper in high school and college in minutes it seemed and get an A on it every time. So it was always in there, but I didn’t realize the compulsion for it until I became a stay at home mom. Now my writing process is mostly off the cuff, and a little rushed.

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I have ideas and I jot them down, and 50% of them are crap when I finally get around to writing them. I love to write in the heat of an incident with my children, but I’ve learned in 7 years that those initial feelings aren’t always what I want to preserve on paper forever. Sometimes it is the more reflective feelings after the fact that have true, deep meaning that I want to cherish.

Why am I different than other writers?

This is hard for me to answer because sometimes I just feel so damn insignificant. But, the thing I’ve heard over and over from my readers is that they can really relate to what I write. The good, the bad, the funny, and definitely the ugly. I like to think that I’m unique because I’m not afraid to share my insecurities, and my flaws, and the uglier sides of parenting. But, I ALWAYS reflect and try to learn from my own writing in the hopes that it will help someone else learn too.

What am I working on?

I’m assuming that this question is supposed to point to my upcoming job as a HuffPost editor, or my secret novel that is going to be published this fall. But, since those two only exist in my fantasy world, I’ll say I’m working on blogging in a more relaxed way. I used to feel the pressure to blog every day, but now I’m working on letting things stew and simmer so that I can write good quality stuff.  I will say that I’m thrilled to be published on Scary Mommy next month! And, I’m always working on trying not to be so yell-y with my kids and finding time to engage with them more. That’s my most important job.

Who’s next?

Jen Groeber from Mama Art

img_4502-e1380574178587Jen started popping up a  while back and commenting on my blog, and when I finally got around to checking hers out (sorry it took me so long, Jen!), I was hooked. I have a confession. I am a skimmer. Sometimes I don’t read every word of blog posts, but her blog is one of those that I like to read every. single. word. Her writing captivates me, and sends me back into her childhood effortlessly.

You must read her post, My Mother’s Letters which got her Freshly Pressed (along with this one…yep, she’s been FP’d twice) But some of my favorite posts are about her relationship with her mentally retarded brother, Butchie, which will make you wish you had a brother like hers. Those posts tug at my heart and make me love her even more.

But, she’s also an amazing mom who had 4 kids in 3 years (crazy, right?), and manages to write about it in a way that is laugh out loud funny while also being thoughtful. I love her post, I Don’t Like 7-Year-Old Boys and Other Zen Thoughts. Doesn’t that title make you want to click over? It should. Jen, I’m so glad that you’re up next week. I can’t wait to hear what makes you want to write.