The Size of 4

They say good things come in small packages. Thing is, my package didn’t start out small.

No, when she was born she surprised us all by weighing in at 8lbs 11oz, beating her sister by over a pound.

Since then, her personality has outpaced her physical growth and, as Willie Shakes said; “Though she be but small, she is fierce!”

No part of her personality is small. Her ire is fierce, her joy is fierce, her squeezies (aka hugs) are fierce, her competitiveness is fierce, her sense of humor is fierce, her love is fierce.

I know many talk about the “spirited 2nd child”, and while she certainly is spirited, I don’t want to say that her grand personality is the product of being born 2nd. She defies conformity on a daily basis, so I don’t want to group her into that typical definition.

For her, every day is lived in extremes. There is no pause button, no reset. Once she’s started down an emotional path there is no changing it. Whether it be red-faced anger or unabashed joy, you get what she’s giving. There is no in between.

She is my rainbow baby. My special girl who was oh so wanted and every day I thank those that need to be thanked for bringing her to me. With her namesake’s spunk and feisty-ness and her cousin’s mischievous ways, she shook up life as we knew it and has been leading our new charge forward ever since.

Sarah Jane, my squishy, you are going to make 4 an adventure. I’m looking forward to it!

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Her personality pretty much summed up in this photo

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Her namesake, Sally Jo, would approve of SJ’s ways.

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SJ also wears her heart and compassion on her sleeve. She loves her family.

Her fashion sense is one of a kind. She loves wearing “sock pants” aka tights/stockings.

She’s grabbed hold of the hearts of those around her. Just a few here: her “life coach”, “crisis manager” and “grammy”.

She enjoys the small, delicious things in life.

She can also clean up nice and put on a pretty face….

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When it suits her.

My baby girl to my big girl. There is lots to love in my big, little package.

Happy 4th Birthday, Sarah Jane!

Caution: Dangerous Things

Kids, it would seem, are on the brink of imminent danger ALL OF THE TIME. They fall down. They run into things. They fall off of things. They fall off something and then run into something on the way to tell you they fell off something.

They always need a band-aid for something that does not require a band-aid.

Kids take risks. As parents, our job is to keep those little risk takers as safe as possible and prevent them from physically harming themselves….too much.

Here is the thing though: you need to do this while still allowing them to take those risks that could result in some sort of physical hurting that requires a band-aid.

For our kids to grow up understanding how to take APPROPRIATE risks, we need to allow them to take the risk in the first place. They need to learn their boundaries, what they can and cannot do. On their own. Otherwise we are going to have kids that, given the first taste of freedom, are going to do something incredibly stupid because we were not there to tell them THAT IS GOING TO REALLY HURT YOU AND POSSIBLY SOMEONE ELSE. This happens because they have no idea of their limitations because they’ve never tested them before. And when you are older, your “risk taking” is going to be much more significant; a risk that will land you in jail and/or the hospital or…let’s not think about it.

I was thinking about this over the weekend as we were engaged in all sorts of Halloween fun. Some of these fun things included very sharp carving implements and things with warning labels saying “Toxic and harmful if swallowed”. There were also 0 incidents of calling poison control or 911 for a missing digit.

This is what I did. I showed them how to use the razor sharp tool/deadly poisonous paint appropriately, doled out some very detailed rules such as “be careful”, “don’t poke anyone in the eye”, and “don’t spray this in your face”, then stood back and watched as they very appropriately and very carefully used these items. On their own. Without me next to them.

Kids, when given the opportunity and responsibility, will amaze you. And it shouldn’t even be that amazing, because contrary to popular belief, kids don’t want to hurt themselves. But they DO want to try out that cool thing you’ve told them they can’t touch. So when you give them the chance, they are careful not to blow it. Did they get non-washable spray paint on their clothes? Yes. Did they carve the pumpkin within an inch of it’s ability to stay standing and showing any semblance of at one point being a pumpkin? Yes. Did they have a great time and show mommy that they can be big girls and use dangerous things with a little bit of modeling and trust? Yes.

However, they both ended up running into things and needing band-aids for injuries that in no way needed a band-aid.

Come on, some things never change.

 

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Using Very Sharp Tools

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Just Pretending To Be Dead and Being Eaten By Spiders

 

 

Have a great crazy day and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

The Obligatory Posts

It’s that time of year. End of summer. Beginning of school.

WAIT A MINUTE! It’s OCTOBER!

Jeez, I started this post, then got busy folding up my daughters shirts that she had spread out all over the floor to use as blankets to “put her babies to bed” and the next thing I know, end of summer DONE, beginning of school, DONE.

And I never posted my summer or beginning of school pics.

What kind of parent am I?!?

I am the kind of parent that realizes September is the suckiest time of year for parents. My close friend and I had this discussion just recently- September SUCKS.

Back to school supplies, back to school clothes, back to school night, back to school permission forms, getting kids back into school schedules, getting up at back to school times, and getting into back to school arguments with kids about….everything.

September is not for the faint of heart when it comes to parenting. It is beyond busy. There are 100 different forms to fill out all asking for the same exact information. You need to get physical’s completed (oops) and permission for medication forms signed.

You have to sign up for PTA and Parent Teacher Conferences, and Back to School Night, and volunteer for room parent and book fair and ice cream social.

You have to decide if you should sign up your kid for language or drama or art or STEM after school extension activities.

And still go to work. And still get some sleep.

Doing all of that while having full on battles with your kids resisting the back to school everything.

So I am late to the party, y’all. Now it’s October and I am in the middle of pumpkin patching and ordering Halloween costumes. Here’s a question for you- if you didn’t post it on Facebook/instagram/snapchat did it really HAPPEN?

My kids are still funny, they still drive me crazy, SJ still likes to say “bagina” at inopportune times. I’ve got a treasure trove of stories to tell, and I promise they are coming. But right now, let’s just catch up, shall we? I’m going to flash back to the end of summer, consider this my TBT of posts.

First up, cousins are the best. Summer vacation included an OBX stay, which is always fantastic. Cousins are like mini-parents. My kids probably listened to them more then they did to me and their dad. You’re probably looking at the lone guy cousin and thinking he got a raw deal on this vacation- don’t feel bad. He was most awesome with my girls and what made it the best is that he GENUINELY enjoyed playing with them. He didn’t get annoyed, he didn’t shoo them away. All around great” big scary monster” (per SJ) cousin to have around. He also got 2 jet ski trips out of it, so a sufficient dose of fast and furious type activity thrown in there. And the older girls, they just doted on the younger cousins. Lots of love goin’ on there.

Obligatory beach scenes.

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Oh, this one.

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And this one.

A busy kid equals a sleepy kid.

For all of you that are experiencing the back to school chaos that is all-consuming, I feel ya. How do you deal in times of chaos? Might I suggest:

margarita

Have a great crazy day!

How To Have A Happy Birthday

You know the best way to have a birthday party for your kid? Let them be a kid.

My girl just turned 7 and she had a FANTASTIC birthday. It wasn’t at a giant venue with bounce houses, trampolines, magician’s, a petting zoo, or any other organized type of event. Those are fun, and we’ve been to many.

But it’s not her thing.

I asked her what she wanted- if she wanted to go to a place with a bounce house or trampolines, or a petting zoo.

She wanted to have her friends come to her house and have different craft activities. AND a pinata….can’t forget the pinata!

So that’s what we did, and the kids had SUCH. A. BLAST. that I actually had to call the parents and tell them to come pick their kids up an hour LATER it that was okay. My husband said, “do you think they’ll be able to change with such short notice?” Through my hysterical laughter I could hear my phone start immediately buzzing with incoming texts, all saying, “FINE BY ME!”

I am all about simple, because most of the time my life feels anything but. So here are my tips for throwing a super fun, low key, simple birthday party where the kids will have a blast and you will keep your sanity

  1. Limit the numbers. You don’t need to invite your child’s entire class in order for her to have a great time. Our rule of thumb is she can invite the same number of friends as her age. This year, it was 7. But she ended up just asking that her 4 best friends be there. And they had a GREAT. TIME. A small group ensures everyone gets to hang out.
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Colorful hair chalk (washes right out!), leis from the dollar store and they were decked out.

2.  Don’t over schedule. Kids are great at entertaining themselves. When the girls arrived, they head off to my daughters room where they were fully engaged in some game that involved many items to be strewn all over the floor. But they were laughing and no one came out saying they were bored. My daughter is a big arts and crafts girls and all she wanted was “a couple of craft activities set up, like in centers.” What, is she a teacher?? So I had 2 planned activities and they had such a great time and got so into them that i had to call the parents and have them come an hour later because they hadn’t finished their project. Believe me, not a single parent bawlked at having to delay picking up their child. One parent, when they arrived; “Oh my god that was the best text I ever got! I took a nap!”

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A tie dye party was my daughters idea. Make sure you warn parents not to send them in their party best! It’s MESSY!

3. Keep it simple. Kids are easy to please. Usually when things get too complicated its because we are trying to make ourselves feel good about everything we’ve planned. But for realz, they don’t care. As long as there is cake, they are good. We tie dyed some shirts, decorated some hats, had a pinata and boom, party success.

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Hats, fabric markers, BOOM. Simple activity.

5. You can’t go wrong with a pinata. Seriously- kids go crazy over candy and cheap plastic toys. It’s like they have won the lottery. These days they have those pinata’s that you just pull a string and the right one will open it up and the candy will spill out. I thought that idea was great, and last year we had one, but this year I went with the old school hit it with a stick while you are blindfolded method. And I kid you not, when I brought out the stick and told them what they were going to do, a few started saying, “uh-uh, that is NOT safe!” Like they’ve never had broom sword fights in their living room and busted up a lamp.

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Give a kid a big stick and they are bound to bust something…..

4. Smile, and have a drink. ENJOY YOURSELF! This is your celebration, too. Sit back and look at how wonderful your kid is and then cheers to you, for doing such a kick ass job.

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The smile on her face let me know the party was a success!

Do you have any tips for surviving planning your kids birthday? Would love to hear them!

 

Have a great crazy day!

Summer Days

Ahhhh. Summer. Relaxing days at the pool. Evenings spent on the patio with a cool fruity adult beverage. Husband grilling up dinner. This is summer living.

Everyone has their “summer activity list”. You know the ones, they pop up at the beginning of each summer, listing all the fun things to do in summer with your kids.

I have found, though, that these lists are not really reflective of my summer. Even my own list that I created is not an accurate picture of what goes on in my family during the summer. I thought I would update portions of my list to show what the summer for a family of young kids truly looks like.  This is a more realistic list of how those “fun” summer activities get checked off my list.

  1. Spend the day by the pool. I will take my book, fully understanding it will remain in my bag because I will be too busy adjusting goggles and “watching this” to read more than a sentence. Also, no matter how many times we reapply sunscreen, some random bright red spot where we clearly missed will pop up.
  2. Have a picnic in the park. I will have grand plans of chicken salad sandwiches, and a fresh fruit salad . In the morning, I will realize I have run out of mayo for the sandwiches and will need to make a “quick” trip out to the store. When I get home, I actually read the entire recipe and realize I skipped over the whole “boil chicken” part. Once the boiling of chicken is complete it is now noon and the kids are whining for their lunch. I give them fruit snacks and leftover pizza and have them eat in the backyard. Picnic, CHECK!
  3. Go for a hike. Before going for the hike, make sure to study which trail is for “beginners” so that the 3yo can complete it without being on someone’s shoulders for 3/4 of the hike. Even with intense studying of map, I will end up taking a wrong turn, resulting in the last 3/4 of the hike being for “experts” and the 3yo will be on our shoulders. Oh, and I will forget the bug spray or the sunscreen, or both, leading to miserable scratching of massive bug bites or sunburn that will keep the kids up all night. We will stay indoors the rest of the summer watching “Dora the Explorer.”
  4. Go to an amusement park. Spend the day filling my children with sugar, taking them on rides that will make them throw up, and spend a lot of money on carnival games resulting in a buttload of very cheap stuffed animals.
  5. Visit cultural exhibits on a rainy day. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! Once you realize you are never finding a parking space remotely near a museum, you head home, make a huge vat of Sangria and part the kids in front of the TV.
  6. Make homemade lemonade. Watch as your kids make puckered faces and spit it out. Buy a case of extremely sweet lemonade that doesn’t seem to have any traces of actual lemons in it. Sit back and experience your kids bouncing off the walls after drinking this “less than 10% real fruit juice”.
  7. Pitch a tent in the backyard for a camp out. Spend 4 hours setting up the tent for 10 minutes of kids being in it before claiming it is “too scary”, “too dark”, “too outsides-y” and they come back inside.
  8. Have a water balloon fight. Spend hours tying together balloons because in true parenting fail you forgot that even though velcro shoes are a nice alternative, there are other reasons to teach your children how to tie something in a knot. Then listen to your kids as they cry because the other one threw something at them and got them all wet.
  9. Go to the liquor store. Your summer budget of going to the liquor store only one time a week is blown out the window. Spend evenings sending recipes of tasty drink recipes to your Pinterest page and learn 10 ways to make a pitcher of sangria.
  10. Hire a babysitter. Because you are ALL DONE with summer.

Have a great crazy day!

Silly, Sweet, Sassy, and…..SEVEN!

Well, well, well. Look who’s seven today.

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This of course calls for a super special 6am celebration of birthday ice cream. Song and all.

My girl with the bright blue eyes and sweet smile.

Mahlie

 

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Who also happens to be super sassy.

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She is known on occasion to be super silly.

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She is an adored sister.

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She is my sweets who loves her sweets.

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She’s grown to be strong and self confident.

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But still super serious about her books.

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She’s my super girl.

 

Have a great crazy day!

That’s What She Said

You know how when your kid says something that isn’t funny, but the WAY they say it, MAKES it funny? And you know how that thing they are saying isn’t really all that appropriate to be yelling out in public, so the less attention you give it the better?

Right. So I’m failing at that.

This isn’t the first time I’ve failed at parenting. Failing at parenting is actually something I am quite good at.

If you remember, way back when, my older daughter took to whispering to me, “I HAVE A PENIS!” and I would burst out laughing and could not stop. I give it all caps because that indicates a child whisper, which is not a whisper at all but more like a scream that can be heard by the neighbors.

Fortunately, over time, she stopped. It had nothing to do with me stopping laughing every time she said it, I think she just thought to herself, “too easy, and now this is boring, so I am going to start running through the yard naked and see how that goes.”

I digress.

I now find myself in a similar situation with my youngest. It started innocently enough. I had a routine when tucking my daughter in to bed. It went something like this:

I would cover her up and say, “Now your feet are going to bed” and I would squeeze her feet; “Now your legs are going to bed” and I would squeeze her legs; “Now your shoulders are going to bed” and I would squeeze her shoulders. I would end by saying, “now your head is going to bed” and I would kiss her on her head.

One night, she turned over, looked at me, smiled and said, “Is my bagina going to bed?”

I tried, oh I tried SO. HARD. not to laugh. But my cheeks started twitching and my eyes started tearing and I just couldn’t stop it.

Now, in the same vein as her sister, she comes up to me and says, “Hey mommy, BAGINA!” and I am helpless. HELPLESS.

I have created a monster. It is now her favorite word. She replaces words in songs with it. Example:

“Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-BAGINA!”

Or makes it into a joke:

“Knock Knock”

“Who’s there?”

“BAGINA!”

This is my own fault, I realize this. I try walking away, she just runs after me, repeating it louder and louder. I hide in my room, she lays down and yells it from under the door.

Anyways, that is my most recent colossal parenting fail; failing to get my child to not say bagina.

Have a great crazy day!