The Other Side

This weekend was a long weekend in our household for the Easter holiday. The entire family had work and school off Friday and Monday, and the weekend was chock full of family time plans.

With the long, holiday weekend also came the required photo’s: in our Easter best, of joyful faces Easter morning at the finding of eggs filled with chocolate scattered through the yard, of tasty looking Easter meals, looking happy spending time with our family in a variety of funfilled activities. You know the instagram/Facebook picture post drill.

These photo’s get shared and tweeted and posted in all their filtered lovliness on social media. “Likes” are clicked, comments are left about “what a lovely family!” you have, how “delicious!” that Easter meal looks, “what fun!” you all are having.

Then there is the other side. That’s right, the OTHER SIDE of instragram. Those lovely photo’s aren’t a “ruse”, but they are definitely misleading. Don’t get me wrong, my family got dressed up and looked beautiful, had a great meal and we spent a lot of quality, fun, wonderful time together.

But there is, indeed, another side to those perfect looking pictures. Today I am here to talk about THOSE stories. The REAL stories behind the perfect looking pictures.

Instagram

1. The Family Photo

We all have posted them- first day of school photo’s, sitting on Santa’s lap photo’s, birthday party photo’s, perfect outfit wearing family photo’s. In these, everyone has smiles on their faces, they are looking at the camera, most likely are showing some sign of affection, and are dressed impeccably.

Our latest was the Easter Sunday photo. Behold, my well dressed angels!

family photo

There are smiles, there are hugs, there are no stains on clothes there are shoes on feet and bows in hair. That lasted a mere 30 seconds as the picture was being taken and threats of no more candy for the rest of the day unless they came over for this picture. Shoes were shed on the car ride to Grammy’s, hair bows were also lost enroute, or were in such disarray it didn’t matter they were in their hair. By days end chocolate ice cream was all down the front of dresses and they are now in heaps in the laundry room. Also, you can put a little girl in a dress, but you can’t make her stop rolling around on the floor to show everyone her My Little Pony underwear.

2. A fan favorite- or a major pet peeve for some- are posts on delicious looking, home cooked meals. Voila!

tasty eggs

Beautiful deviled eggs. One Easter themed egg dish, the other passed down from my grandmother. Tradition AND holiday related! Beat that!

But let me tell you, getting to this point took 24 hours. That’s right, making these eggs took 24 HOURS!!!

Why? Well, I put the eggs in cold water and onto the stove to boil. While waiting, I ran to the bathroom. On my way out,  I looked out the window and remembered that I needed to cut down the bush to make room for our garden fence. I get my garden gear, head out and start chopping down that bush. After around 45 minutes of hard labor, I go inside to reward myself with a beer. I open the front door and think to myself, “gosh, it really smells like egg in here!”. Then I remember and yell “CRAAAAAP!”, run to the stove and find the water all boiled up and exploded eggs in the empty pot. Since I had no eggs left, I had to go to the store. But since I’d been out engaging in hard labor, my nails were all chipped, so I made the executive decision that a trip to the salon was much more important. I eventually got the eggs made, around 20 minutes before we left the house the next day to go to brunch. But they look great, right!?

3. Oh, this is great. So, the weather was wonderful- sunny, partly cloudy, warm. After a seemingly endless winter, we were excited to get out of the house and go do something fun. Like a farm! We’ll go see the cute farm animals. We would have fun, together, as a family. And look:

piggy nose

Have you ever seen such cute piggy noses? SJ was so excited she was almost squealing louder than they were.

piggies

We happened to be there right when another litter of pigs were being born. They were so cute and pink and wiggly. Mahlie was so excited she was next to me wanting to get a better look. This is a huge deal for a girl that is walking around with her fingers in her nose yelling, “oh my gosh, what is that horrible smell?” every time we entered another barn. So I was really glad she’d forgotten about that. Then one of the farm workers opened the back of the pig pen and, I thought, was going to show us the newborn piggies up close.

No. Not so much. What we saw, up way too close, was the other end of momma pig.

Mahlie: “mommy, what is THAT?!” she practically yells in disbelief.

Me: “well, that is where the baby pigs come out…let’s just watch the farmer get the little piggy” I saw, trying to distract her.

But then, OH BUT THEN…the farmer puts on a BIG, BIG glove and before you could say, “slipperier than a wet pig!” she was all elbow deep in piggy vagina.

Mahlie: “OH MY GOD! I CAN’T SEE THIS ANYMORE! I NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE!” and she runs off.

Yeah,  beat that.

After we retreated from the pig debacle, we decided to go hike down to the creek. It was really nice out now and a good family hike was a great idea. See:

at the creek

Floating leavesIt was, definitely, a great day. The girls LOOVED the hike. They loved playing next to the creek, climbing on the rocks, and floating leaves in the water to see if they would go all the way down the small waterfalls. I of course was ready for someone to fall in and get wet, and Mahlie was first to take the plunge. She gets up, arms soaking wet and she’s yelling, “oh my gosh, whatisthatwhatisthatwhatisthat!?!?” pointing to something clinging to her wrist. It was a leaf. Drama, nice to meet you.

I’m thinking, besides the pig vagina and the attack leaf, things are going pretty well.

Famous last words. When it was time to leave, of course SJ wanted to be carried. I like to think of myself as a pretty adventurous nature girl, so I was all confident carrying her across the creek.

Then I hit the slippery moss covered rock. Since I had SJ and a purse in one arm (because don’t all adventurous nature girls take their purse on hikes with them?), I had nothing to balance myself and I went down. Right onto the rocks, knees hitting first. SJ got a bit wet and may have hit her head, but let’s focus on me and my knees. I was in pain, I was soaked to the knees, and my jeans were covered in what I can only describe as “creek poop”. I’m limping my way out of the creek and some guy is standing there saying, “oh, did you fall?” in a deeply concerned voice, and when I start to answer him I realize he’s talking to SJ. Whatever, she was safe in daddy’s arms, getting carried back to the car. For me, it was a struggle. Then my uber concerned husband asked me, “so, do you want to go out to eat or do you want to go home?” I think we can all agree that was a divorce worthy question.

I can barely move today. I am injured. All I wanted to do was create a nice nature loving adventure for my family and I come away possibly with long standing structural knee injuries (this maaaaay be slightly exaggerated). BUT- fortunately for me, I’ve got the instagram worthy photo to show off.

So, my good people, remember this when you are looking at those perfect family photo’s on instagram: on the other side of those perfect pictures very well could be the equivalent of life long pain and suffering and a farmer elbow deep in pig lady parts.

I’d love to hear your “REAL” stories behind the “perfect” photos!

Have a great crazy day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strong Women

Oh Crap

I’ve been fortunate to have many strong women in my life. Starting with my mom, who moved to DC from a small town in Missouri at the age of 19. She’d been recruited by the FBI and was known as “the blonde bomber”. How much does that rock?

My mom, being the strong woman that she is, surrounded herself with other strong women. Growing up, they were constants. Dinner parties, beach weekends, bday party celebrations, holiday’s.

I’m not sure when they went from being called the polite and formal “Mrs. so and so” to being called by their first name. I am not sure exactly when they went from being my mom’s friends to being my friends. It doesn’t matter. Their presence in my life was all that mattered.

Except now some of them aren’t present in my life. Women that, to me, always seemed larger than life ultimately are not. They leave behind stories that I will carry with me, pass on to my kids, tell over shots of Tuaca, remember with a snicker and a “god, I can’t believe she did that!”

I will raise my girls with their voices in my head. I will reflect back on what they would do in a given situation, and perhaps think better of it b/c it may have been illegal. Fun, but possibly arrest worthy.

I will raise my girls, armed with the advice they gave me over the years. I will pass on the recipes and the traditions.

I will raise my girls to be strong women; in that way I will honor my friends.

Have a great crazy day.

“Get Out The Hoes!”

For all of you that have clicked on this link expecting a very different kind of post, I’m sorry. That was a dirty little trick. Hahaha. I might be the only one laughing, but it got you here!

But for all of you that were expecting a post about gardening with kids, welcome!

I’d be more excited for Spring if mother nature would get her mood swinging self together and give us some sun and warm weather.

I’ve got my seed packets out. I’ve dug out around 1/2 dozen gardening books. I’ve created plans for our 23×10 foot garden space that will take around a 1 acre plot to accommodate.

And that bitch mother nature is still sending us snow.

HAPPY FIRST DAY OF SPRING!

I need the weather to get warmer. For my sanity, I need the weather to get warmer so I can send my kids outside with the catchphrase of moms everywhere; “don’t come back inside until dinner!”

They may come back in covered in dirt, giving Pi OCD type fits, but anything keeping them out from under foot while I am browsing Pinterest cooking dinner is fine by me.

We have a big gardening project planned. We are clearing out some overgrown bushes, re-fencing along our property line and creating a 23×10 space for raised beds.

I’ve had a 3×11 space before in a community garden and have always kept a garden in the back yard. Last year we moved and between unpacking boxes, furnishing the house and adjusting to the commute from the ‘burbs, I didn’t quite get my act together enough to get a garden started.

Not only do I love gardening, but I love gardening with my kids. Having a garden opens up an entire outside adventure for kids. Unsure of how to get started? You don’t need to have a huge space, just a pot and a pack of seeds will do if that’s all you’re capable of managing. But if you are looking for some great outside gardening activities, or just some fun outside in the back yard, here are some great books with loads of ideas.

1. Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots- Sharon Lovejoy

I love Sharon Lovejoy. Her books are filled with great ideas for garden fun. I’ve always wanted to build a green bean tee-pee…this is the year!

Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children

2. Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars- Sharon Lovejoy

Like I said, I love Sharon Lovejoy. More ideas for getting your kids connected with nature and the great outdoors.

Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars: A Grandma's Bag of Tricks

3. The Kids’ Outdoor Adventure Book- Tornio and Keffer

It’s a nature’s bucket list! As easy as collecting leaves in the fall to going fly fishing. Start making your list, and checking things off! Ignore the title where it says things to do “before you grown up”. You never grow up enough to stop doing the activities in this book!

The Kids' Outdoor Adventure Book: 448 Great Things to Do in Nature Before You Grow UpKids not into the great outdoors? Start small. Read a book or 5 to pique their interest. Oh, don’t know of any? Let me help you out! Follow my link to fabulous books for kids on gardening!

Not sure how to get YOURSELF started on a garden? I love this book:

The Complete Kitchen Garden: An Inspired Collection of Garden Designs and 100 Seasonal Recipes

It gives great ideas for garden design, and while I realize not everyone will have space for what is suggested, they give you ideas. And there are recipes that go along with it. So awesome.

Anyways, some people are probably wondering “where are the funny stories about her kids?” or “why is she posting all this domestic crap that doesn’t interest me at all?”

They are coming. It’s just not all that organized in my head. Like, I was going to write about how the wrecking ball (my youngest) pooped in the tub last night or how my oldest, Sweets, is turning into a Pyramid Schemer.   But my head is just in a gardening state of mind right now. I am sure someone will get naked and run around the neighborhood soon, and when that happens, I’ll let you know.

Have a great crazy day!

 

 

The Art of Being Messy

thevoltz2000:

I was talking to Pi about making the backyard more “kid play friendly” so they’ll want to spend time back there. Currently they like to play in the front yard. There is not fence in the front yard and Sarah likes to, shall we say, meander around the cul de sac unencumbered (a rephrasing of “she runs off when we’re not looking” so that CPS is not tipped off). So I was talking about making an outdoor chalkboard and creating a “mud pit” for making mud pies.
What was Pi’s response?
“Let’s make sure we make it so things don’t get too messy.”
I am not sure anyone has told him yet that we have kids.
This post may remind him.
Oh, and the books recommended here I still read- pay special attention to “Monsters Eat Whiny Children”. I use it as a cautionary tale.
Have a great crazy day!

Originally posted on My Special Kind of Crazy:

Childhood is not neat. It is messy. It is messy in the best possible of ways.

From exploring, playing, discovering, creating and experimenting, kids get MESSY.

I am not the parent that gets upset if my kids drag dirt into the house, get food/paint/dirt on their clothes, or have permanent black feet from running around outside in the dirt.

The messier my kid comes home, the more fun I know she had. And if she was playing and having fun, that means she was learning.

Because as we all know, play is a child’s work.

While I am all for messy fun, Pi is all about clean floors. Most weekends he walks into the kitchen where I have set up an AWESOME activity for Sweets and she is having a grand time and beaming at her Daddy, “Look what I’m doing!” and all I see is him scoping out the…

View original 662 more words

A Balancing Act

I am notorious for biting off more than I can chew. Well, not when it comes to guacamole, or shrimp platters, or Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. But when it comes to planning activities for the kids, errands I want to run, chores I want to finish and projects I want to start….yeah. Waaaaay too much.

On any given weekend, this is a conversation between my husband and I:

Pi: “What are your plans this weekend?”

Me: “Well, I think I’m going to make the kids a special pancake breakfast, then we’re going to head over to the farmers market, then we’ll hit up the library and the playground on the way home. After a ridiculously complicated and filled-with-foods-they -won’t-eat lunch, we’re going to hit up pinterest and do all those fun “make your own play dough” recipes I’ve been saving…ooooh, the one with lavender essential oils sounds nice! Then we’re going to bake some bread to have with dinner and while we do that I’m going to get all of the girls’ spring clothes out of the attic and dust as I go. Since we’ll still have so much time left, I thought we could have a family game of Twister while taking the dog for a walk….blahblahblah (list like 5 more activities/chores here)”

I am ALWAYS dumbfounded that I didn’t get everything done. I usually never even made it past activity number one, which was BREAKFAST. Because making a special breakfast when the kids are actually there takes until lunchtime.

In my head I’ve got it DOWN. In reality I’m going down, in flames. With kids running after me.

I always want to do as much as possible with my kids on the weekends because I’ve got SO MUCH I want to do with them while they are at a fun age for doing all the things that I can’t justify doing on my own.

Honestly, I LOVE this age. I love seeing my kids discover things for the first time, seeing their reactions, watching them explore and learn and laugh. I WANT to go out and see and do and BE with my kids. And since the weekend is primarily the time I get to spend real quality time with them, I just want to DO IT ALL.

So I have lofty ambitions.

I’m sure you’ve noticed (quite presumptive of me, I know) my absence on the blog for the past week-ish, maybe 2, possibly 3. My absence has also been noticed at home. While most of the time I am quite good at the whole work/home life balance, there are times when one trumps the other, and this past month work has been a priority.

Well, don’t get me wrong, my kids will always be the priority, but if they want me to buy the bazillions of My Little Ponies then I need to work. And sometimes that means spending a lot of time at work and not as much time at home.

My guilt is like that little pebble in your shoe. You feel it, you know it is there, you take off your shoe and shake it out and then you put your shoe back on and…

there is that damn pebble.

No matter how many times I tell myself “you are a good mom, you are a good employee” I always have a bit of guilt that I’m not putting my all into either.

When I stay home because a kid is sick or they have yet ANOTHER snow day, I am sneaking peaks at email to keep up to date.

When I am at work, I look at the silly, smiling faces I have as my screen saver.

Whenever I am with one, I am still thinking of the other.

My balancing act often feels more like a Jenga-style game that could collapse with just the wrong move. Nothing intentional, trying my best, but no matter what I do things are going to fall apart around me.

This is all a work in progress. I am always working on carving out more time with my kids, but sometimes the time I want to give them just isn’t possible. So instead I focus on making the time I have count.

Tomorrow the snow is coming. Again. This time it looks like we will ALL be home. While I shouldn’t WANT my kids to be out of school and I know I don’t WANT to try and figure out how to make up another day on my school’s calendar.

But I will be pretty darn happy to snuggle up with my kids and watch Despicable Me.

Just hope they don’t see me checking my email….

How do you manage your home and work lives?

Have a great crazy day!

A Snowy Snow Day

Do you know what it is like living with a child that YEARNS for a snow day? I mean, I know ALL kids love a good snow day if for nothing else they get to stay home from school.

But Mahlie is OBSESSED with the snow. Which makes our typical “non-snow” snow days all the more disappointing. Waking up saying, “no school, you have a snow day” brings her running out of her room to look expectantly out the window. What she sees is bare driveway, uncovered cars, and streets not needing to be plowed.

“But mommy, there’s NO SNOW!!!!”

Yeah, I know. We’ve had numerous “snow days” where the accumulation isn’t enough to create even the most meager of snowmen.

To make it worse, news of the huge snowfalls in the northeast are all over the place. Mahlie’s cousins all live in the affected areas and she’s been looking longingly at the texted pictures of her Grammy and Grandpa’s yard covered in 5 feet of snow.

Her family in the NE, however, are on the other end of that spectrum now, cursing at the sky at the mere mention of a flake. Yep, things have gotten out of hand up there.  I mean, the Mayor of Boston had to come out and publicly denounce jumping out one’s window into the snow.

Seriously.

So when Mahlie woke up Tuesday morning, she ran to every single window in the house, drew up each blind to make sure there was snow outside ALL the windows.

“Mahlie, relax!” we tell her, as she is scurrying around like a demented blind mouse only wearing her underwear.

“Relax? Who can relax at a time like this?”

Out came the boots and the mittens and the hats and the snow pants, which have been sitting largely unused in our front closet. I had to pull Sarah’s out from the attic.

The ensuing play session is what one would think of a snow day- eating snow, falling in the snow, shoveling snow, losing gloves in the snow, complaining about hands being cold out in the snow.

Mahlie stayed out in the snow all day practically. She helped the neighbors shovel their driveway. She re-shoveled our driveway. She sat in a snow bank, just staring at the sky. I asked her what she was doing.

“Just snowlaxing”.

That girl.

Now we are on our second snow day. My school district where I work is open on time. Hers is out for the day. Second snow day in a row for her and billionth day off for me that is not a day off for me. Since my husband had “stuff to do” in a location not close to Sarah’s daycare, she stayed home with me. Oh, and I’m sick. So this will be fun.

I’m watching the Today show and there are sections dedicated to “what to do on a snow day” and some expert is giving all kinds of suggestions for keeping your kids busy.

There are lists and sites and books and Pinterest boards dedicated to indoor activities to keep your kids busy on snow days.

Here is what I do with my kids: bundle them up and throw them out. When they come back in, I turn the TV on and tell them not to bother mommy unless someone is bleeding. When they get “sooooo boooored!” I tell them to figure it out. There is whining and complaining.

But then there is play and laughter and giggling and made up games.

Oh, there is also yelling and crying and “she did it!” comments yelled from the other room.

But that’s okay.

Because it’s a snow day. That’s what my mom did with us, so can’t be that bad!

hot choc

Hot chocolate with whipped cream and sprinkles. Snow day tradition.

snow day

There may have been a bit of “flinging the younger sister into the snowbank” going on here. When I asked, Mahlie just said, “I’m helping her.”

shovel

We only have 3 snow shovels for a reason. Excuse me while I go refresh my coffee.

snow dog

Our Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, bred for this kind of weather, is taking it all in….

Hope you have a great crazy day!

What’s Better On Valentine’s Day Than A Little Bit Of Mr. Darcy?

Valentine’s Day has turned into a commercial mess.

Cards and candy and jewelry and overpriced dinners that you enjoy with a room full of 100 other strangers. Romantic, eh?

You know what is romantic?

Mr. Darcy.

That’s right, Mr. Darcy of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”.

Jane Austen, the mother of the rom-com, creator of chic-lit, master of love and chivalry.

Sigh.

So this Valentine’s Day Eve, I bring to you, 10 shining moments of Mr. Darcy.

You are welcome. (*I apologize to my sis-in-law Tricia for not using the Colin Firth Darcy, but this version of P & P is my favorite).

10. Flirting, Mr. Darcy style.

9. She went to Pemberly. He was home.

8. Compliments, back in the good ole days.

7. Coming to his senses. Unrequited.

 

6.That first dance. Not quite today’s pop music Valentine’s Day teen angst dances.

5. Just…yes. I’ll take this scene over any 50 Shades….

4. They should bring back this phrase.

3. Arguing in the rain is a lost art….

2. First Proposal. Even though he was turned down, damn. My favorite scene.

 

1. Second, more successful proposal.

Bonus:

Have a great crazy day!