New Year’s Came In With A Bang (To The Head)

When you imagine a gathering of 23 kids ages ranging from 3-8, what comes to mind?

Kids at camp? On the playground? Chuck E Cheese? Hell?

We called it “vacation.”

Over the winter break, 11 crazy families decided to get together, rent a house and “hang out” and “relax” for New Year’s Eve.

You know what happens when you do this? The adults hang out in the kitchen and on the couches, chatting and watching football (guess which adults were in which places) while the kids roam the house like a pack of wild wolves. They were having a great time, chasing each other around, running from those that had “cooties”, forming little tiny people gangs. As the saying goes, “everything is okay until someone loses an eye.”

Guess whose kid almost lost an eye?

cut eye

Is this not the saddest little look on a face?

In the midst of the running around and slamming doors on each other, a picture fell off the wall and nicked SJ’s eyebrow.

That is what the other kids tell us, and we’ll need to take their word for it. The adults were in varying states of making and drinking eating their breakfast downstairs. All of a sudden there was a door slam, silence, suddent crying, and what sounded like a stampede of bison coming down the stairs.

All at once those that witnessed the event were screaming out, bombarding us with descriptions of what happened; “there’s blood all over the face!”, “she’s bleeding from the eye!”. Not even having been told exactly WHO was bleeding from the eye, I was running up the stairs. I just had an inkling it was my kid. Because Sarah.

Sure enough, there she is, one of my friends holding her and pressing a tissue to her head. I took her downstairs and sat her on my lap, applying pressure and wondering, possibly out loud, “where did my mimosa go?”

Right. That sounds bad. I took a look at it on the way downstairs and while it was a bleeder, it wasn’t that bad. There was a brief discussion of whether to take her to urgent care, but experience has taught me that the most they would treat her with was a lollipop and a bandaid. Way back when, Mahlie face planted into the fireplace when Brian and I were at a baseball game . Strasburg was pitching- it was his starting weekend. We had 3rd base line seats. We’d just sat down with a nice refreshing beverage when the phone rang. I think my butt was on the seat all of 5 minutes before we had to leave and meet out friends who’d been babysitting to haul her to the ER. Where they treated her with…you guessed it, a bandaid and a lollipop.

I could do that.

bandaid eyeShe was like a tiny rock star after that. Bleeding from the eye and just a bandaid! WOW!

The life of a second child…

Have a great crazy day!

The Holiday Season Is Not For Sitters

Holiday cheer. It’s everywhere. On TV, in shop windows, in grocery store aisles, on social media everything, on neighbors lawns, on the radio. Holiday cheer is keeping me busy.

The foods and treats to cook and bake. The gifts to buy, the gifts they NEED. The festive activities. The 5 things you MUST do with your kids this season! The 101 ideas for your Elf on the Shelf! The 25 most commonly yelled curse phrases while stringing the lights on the tree! The 91 different ways to make egg nog!

I’m exhausted. I’m not feeling the Christmas Spirit, I’m feeling the weight of exhaustion. I want to sit back with one of those 91 egg nogs, put my feet up and admire our tree at night. I want to sit with my kids and read Christmas stories. I want to….just sit.

But I can’t sit.The holidays are not for sitters.

I need to shop and I need to prepare. I need to get things and I need to wrap them. I need to pack and I need to travel and I need to cook and I need to do, not sit.

Oh! How I wish I could sit. Which reminds me, I still haven’t gotten the requisite picture of my kids sitting on Santa’s lap! Must get out calendar and squeeze that in, maybe between decking the halls and jingling the bells. One night, I began to sit myself down on the couch when all of a sudden my little elves came bounding in and jumped up next to me yelling, “Rudolf is on! Rudolf is on!” and they cozied up, taking my space, and settled in for an evening of Very Special Christmas Shows.

So I get up, and start doing again. Get out the flour, the sugar, the icing and recipes for 75 of your favorite Christmas Cookies, and while I’m at it, I may as well write down the ingredients for The Best Holiday Roast in 49 easy steps. Opening my newest Martha Stewart’s Living Magazine, the Holiday Edition, I look for different table settings and see how she carved napkin holders our of pine trees cut down at her organic Christmas Tree farm and 8 simple ways to make decorations which, I swear, include putting decorations on store bought Christmas Balls (yes, Dave, I said balls) which are themselves decorations. I draw the line at decorating my decorations.

Speaking of decorations, I remember that I haven’t turned on the Christmas lights outside, which seem quite measley across from the larger than life blow up Olaf and Santa’s elves that adorn our neighbor’s front yard. I straighten the garland on the front  porch and remember- THE ELF!- don’t let me forget to move the elf!

I check the mail and pull out a bundle of Christmas cards…oh DAMN! The family Christmas Card! Not only are they not sent, they aren’t even made! I run to my computer and scroll through all the pictures…nothing suitable…no cute outfit was ordered, no holiday props…time to get to the store and get the boxed version. Maybe I can write a holiday newsletter.

I hear my favorite line from Rudolf, “Bumbles Bounce!” because that is at the end of the movie and finally the kids can head off to bed and I can get the couch back and sit.

I go to help them brush teeth and think to myself, wow that holiday scented soap really smells like cookies, but sort of like burnt…….OMG THE CHRISTMAS COOKIES!!!

I rush to the kitchen and throw open the oven to a cookie sheet filled with Pinterest-fail Christmas cookies.

Defeated, I sit.

Close to tears, thinking of all the ways I failed to make my holidays festive, I look up to 2 little faces peering at me, eyes wide.

“Did you burn our cookies??”

“Yes, mommy burned Christmas.”

“Silly mommy, that’s okay! I’ll tell Santa to bring you some!”

I get hugs and squeezes and bedtime kisses and I love you’s.

THERE is my Christmas. My Christmas is wrapped up in My Little Pony jammies. No matter the lack of decorations or gifts or Pinterest worthy Christmas crafts or Martha Stewart looking meals, Christmas will be at my house.  Christmas will be jumping on me at 6am Christmas morning and making a mess of my house at 6:45am under the tree.

I get up. I can do this. Because I’m not a sitter.

And I’ve got to move that damn Elf.

 

Have a great crazy day and an even crazier holiday!

 

xoxox

A Special Crazy Mom

 

 

 

 

Double Up

“Amateur.”

That is the answer I got when I asked my best friend about gifts for her girls for Christmas. They each wanted the same thing.

“Should I just get one  and they’ll share?”

Every mom reading this is inwardly groaning/laughing/spitting out their drink at my stupidity. I deserved the “amateur” I got flung at me.

What was I thinking?? EVERYONE knows that you need to get two of everything.

Let me set out some scenario’s:

BREAKFAST TIME.

SJ walks in, all smiles, asking for cereal. I get her favorite color bowl and fill it up. She’s eating happily.

In walks Mahlie, also wanting cereal. I get out her favorite color bowl and fill it up. She’s eating happily.

SJ looks over at Mahlie’s bowl and declares, “I want that one.”

“You have yours right here and LOOK! IT’s your favorite color, green! Mahlie has hers in her favorite color, purple!”

SJ: “I WANT THE PURPLE BOWL!!” and she sweeps her arm across the table, cereal and milk covering everything.

Mahlie: “The purple bowl is MINE! She’s ruined my breakfast! She got cereal all over my breakfast!”

Me: “Your breakfast is cereal…how did she ruin it with MORE cereal??”  But I digress…

If you get things in different colors for them to share, they will ALWAYS want the color that their sibling is using. If you get them each their favorite toy, the minute you get home they want to play with what the other is playing with, but don’t want the other to play with their toy.

If you get 2 of an item that look exactly the same- same size, same color- they will want the one their sibling has. If they have something and their sibling wants it, it all of a sudden becomes their most FAVORITE TOY EVER.

If you give one of them a spoonful of ice cream after taking yucky tasting medicine, the other will scream, “NO FAIR! They get ICE CREAM!”

If you take one to a birthday party where they get to jump on trampolines, eat candy and cake, drink all kinds of artificially flavored drinks and come home with a load of plastic crap in a paper bag and their sister, who was not invited and was appeased at home with a piece of candy, the bday party goer will yell “NO FAIR! SHE GOT CANDY AND I DIDN’T!”

If you only have one left of something, you throw it away. That there is just a no win situation that will end in tears and rocking in the corner and then while you are doing that who knows what they’ll get into.

It’s the holiday season, so make sure you double up. 2 of everything.

Including the wine.

Have a great crazy day!

 

“I Won’t Give In To My Kids”

Every well-meaning parent-to-be has had their share of “this is how I’m going to do it” statements they have publicly declared in front of large groups of their friends that already have kids.

Admit it, you’ve done it.  I know that a good number of you are all now inwardly cringing. You are thinking about that time you said, “I’m never going to let my kids eat Swedish fish for breakfast” to your crew and you are now looking over at your kids who are eating cheese puffs and m&m’s for dinner, on the couch, while watching SpongeBob SquarePants, at 10pm. On a school night.

Listen, I am not judging in the least. As I wrote last week, I don’t give a rats ass how you parent your kids. I am too busy over here trying to keep my household afloat.

What I do know is that you will, against all better judgement, give in to your kids. Because if you don’t, you’ll end up in the loony bin. There is only so much whining and arguing and “he’s touching me!”, “she took mine!”, “he’s looking at me!”, “she’s touching me again!” one can take.

There are only so many ultimatums one can give a child. You start making up such ridiculous consequences, like my own,  “if you don’t stop this RIGHT THIS MINUTE you are NEVER getting ANYTHING ever again!”, that your kid just looks at you and raises a “yeah, RIGHT” eyebrow.

They got you. That very uncomfortable spot between the rock and proverbial hard space- it sucks.

You need to go to work and are seconds away from being late. They are naked and want oreos for breakfast before they put a stitch of clothing on.

What do you do? The “behaviorally and research-based correct way of parenting” response of waiting them out or the guaranteed way to get you to work on time response of stocking up on oreo cookies?

I think the choice is obvious.

This will happen. I guarantee. If you don’t have kids and you are reading this and you are saying to yourself, “nope, not me, not going to happen” come over here so I can hit you upside the head with a reality rock.

You may start out that way. But watching a parent “do the wrong thing e.g. the thing you would never do” when you see them at Target is entirely different when you ARE that parent. Giving “the look” and getting “the look” evoke very different feelings.

Now, come over here. I will give you that reality rock smack to the head and hand you the reality rock so you can pass it on to the next naïve non-parent friend once you’ve had your kids.

You’re going to need it.

Now, excuse me, I need to go find some oreos so I can get to work on time.

The Independent Streak

Sarah did it.

That is going to be what is indicated as “cause of death” in my obituary.

She will not have ACTUALLY physically caused me harm. She’s as sweet as they come. But if I lose my sanity and die an early death, it will be because of her.

SJ standing

Sweet, right?

Don’t let that cutie pie face fool you. Come by any morning when we are getting ready to leave the house. I don’t need to give you the address, you’ll hear us when you get within a mile. Trust me.

In typical “second child” fashion, Sarah has a stubborn, independent, “tempestuous” streak a mile long. She wants to be 10 years older and do all the things without any of my help, thank you very much.

Gone are the days of getting up, throwing a diaper and some clothes on her, grabbing a snack and heading out the door. I used to get her up 10 minutes before it was time to leave the house. That gave her as little time as possible to be distracted by all the things she would rather be doing than leaving the house, like rearranging the crayons in the crayon box or making sure the magnets are JUST RIGHT on the fridge. It worked like a charm. Have her snack visible as soon as she rounded the corner and we were out the door. Worked like a charm.

She was dressed up, cute as a button. She had matching skirts and tops, fun colorful pants and whimsical dresses with tights.

Then she got an opinion when it came to fashion and wanted “choices”.

Choices that one would describe as “eclectic”, “eccentric” and “unique” on a good day.

And these choices are not made lightly. OR quickly. No, not quickly at all. With a commute that even a 5 minute delay can be the difference between smooth sailing and dead standstill, I do not have time to waste.

But apparently the artistic choices of my pintsized Fashion Plate cannot be rushed.

Oh, and help is not wanted. Nooooo, no help. She needs to do it. “I do it myself!” In a state of frustration, one time (maybe even this morning) I took her pants off after she, for 10 minutes, declared she wanted to do it herself. I pointed out to her that she was, in fact, doing nothing herself so I would help her. I am sure you can imagine how that went.

There was flailing about, tears, throwing of things, and she was even worse.

She finally got her pants and put them on.

Just not the pants she needed to put on for school. She put back on the pants I took off of her. Looking at me defiantly she declared, for the 100 bazillionth time, “I do it MYSELF.” She then took those pants off and took another 3 years to put on the rest of her outfit.

I love her independence. I love she wants to do these things herself because at times it really helps out. On the weekend she is dressed and ready to go before I even get her out of her room. Standing there sweetly, “I did it myself!”

Then she demands I make her breakfast, like a little tyrant.

I know some people can’t stand their kids going to school in outfits that don’t match, isn’t appropriate to the weather, or don’t fit quite right.

I understand that. Sometimes my daughter looks like something belonging on the Island of Misfit toys. But I love it. There will be a time she will be all to self-conscious about what she is wearing, wanting to look like everyone else. I am going to enjoy her being entirely 100% true to herself, in all of her colors, prints and patterns.

Even if it means I will be pulling my hair out.

Sj outfit5

Strips and multi-flower patterned items do, in fact, look adorable.

SJ outfit4

Burgundy and gold are always a hit with me, the purple plaid pants just add some much needed pizazz.

SJ outfit3

Florals tend to be a fan favorite, and go quite well with the famililar plaid pants and accompanying snowman bag.

SJ outfit2

Catching on to the one up/one down trend and giving it a spin all her own.

SJ outfit1

Her star cardigan really pulls together the floral and polka dots.

SJ outfit6

Comfort or fashionable? Who says it can’t be both???

Have a great crazy day!

In The “Mom Wars”, I am the “Honeybadger Mom”

You’ve heard of the mommy wars, yes? How could you not- it’s everywhere. Moms pitted against moms on how they should be, or how they are perceived to not be, parenting.

This war doesn’t seem to be waning. Moms are still all up in arms to defend how they parent and cut down others that don’t agree with them. Some moms even call other moms BAD MOMS because they don’t parent in the same way they do, which apparently is the “right” way to parent.

The SAHM v. Full Time Working Mom.

Breast Feeding v. Formula.

Baby wearing v. Stroller Pusher.

All organic v. food from a can.

You know what camp I’m in? The Honeybadger Moms.  Just like the honey badger, I don’t give a shit. I don’t care what others think of my parenting, and I really could care less how you decide to parent your kids. That’s your business.

My parenting style is for my kids. Period. It is for their well-being. It is to instill in them values, morals, and a world view that my husband and I have determined to be important for us to pass on to them.

My parenting is not for anyone else. Thus, I don’t care what they think of it.

You know what I think about the parenting styles of others? Good for them. They are doing what they feel is good for the well-being of their children and are instilling in them values, morals, and a world view that is important to them.

You want to breastfeed in the middle of Old Navy while you clothes shop for your other kids? Go for it. You want to formula feed your kids from day one and use the generic target brand of formula? Good for you.

Your kids eat all organic everything, no exceptions? Kudos, mom!

Your kids had Lucky Charms for dinner? Whatever works for you!

You pick out your clothes for your kids and make sure everything is matchy-matchy, do their hair, and carry a tide stick in your purse? Power to you.

Your kids come downstairs ready for school wearing tights, a tutu, a plaid shirt and rainboots? Style on, mom.

I’m not in their shoes. I don’t know what their life experiences are. I don’t know what their day, night, week, month has been like. Besides, who the hell am I to tell them what to do?

A family may be all “being outdoors is the best!” while another family is fully embroiled in the tech industry. Maybe you grew up getting homemade meals served to you from veggies grown out in your garden; maybe you grew up getting frozen family dinners in front of Family Feud everynight. Maybe you had a combination of both.

WHO CARES??

How in the world is anyone else’s parenting style affecting you in the least? Why in the world would you care what other people think about your parenting? Are your kids happy? Are they loved? Are they kept out of imminent harm? Do you protect them? Do you teach them right from wrong?

GREAT. However you show them you love them, however you protect them- GOOD FOR YOU MOM! YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB!

You think I should have my kid go to bed earlier/later? You think I should give them more fruits and veggies? You think I should give them more time/less time with tv? You think I should give them less/more freedom?

Here comes Honeybadger. I don’t care what you think. You are not their mom, you are not in my shoes, you do not know my family, you do not know what is important to me.

I don’t give a shit that you feed your kids spaghetti-o’s from the can or if you give them organic free-range beef meatballs with quinoa spaghetti.

I don’t give a shit that you let your kids run around barefoot in the neighborhood or if you make them wear protective gear walking down the sidewalk.

I don’t give a shit if you spend all day watching reruns of SpongeBob or if you spend the afternoon making crafts from old toilet paper rolls you’ve saved all year.

I am not sure when how one parent makes decisions for their family it started being taken as an insult by the parents that do something different. For example:

Mom 1: “OMG I am so tired, I can’t wait for my Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte to kick in! My kids hogged the bed all night and I barely slept, what with the feet in my face!”

Mom 2: “I let my kids cry it out, are you saying I’m a bad mom because I don’t let the rugrats climb in bed with me and they are going to require therapy because I didn’t cater to their every whimper?”

*STORMS OFF IN A SELF-RIGHTEOUS HUFF*

When did that start happening?

Parents- do your thing. To hell with what everyone else thinks. I think, admittedly, that we all want to be seen as doing the right thing when it comes to being a parent. When someone questions your parenting decisions, or outright declares them as the wrong thing to do, you take it personally.

The only people it really matters to is those in your immediate family. And if you think about it, you don’t let the kids call the shots, so really the only person it matters to is you.

And moms, you’re doing a great job.

Join me in being a Honeybadger Mom.

Have a great crazy day!

Where’d Summer Go?

 

Summer. Lazy days out in the sun. Sleeping late. No schedule.

That was not my summer. My summer was so crazy that before I could sit down and enjoy it, I found myself opening up the windows in the evening, turning off the a/c and putting on a sweater.

When in the store shopping for my favorite summer beverage to enjoy on one of those lazy days, I had the option of Octoberfest or Pumpkin Ale.

Out buying clothes for my kids, I was amongst the hottest in puffer snow jackets, snow boots and a variety of snowman hats and mittens.

What the hell? Where did summer go?

This morning my daughter asked me why I was getting up for work in the middle of the night. On my way home from work, I saw the sun setting.

Where did my long, summer days go?

Looking back to my collection of summer blog posts….wait. Where are all my summer blog posts?

They are in pictures. They are in memories. They are in stories told over dinner and to my mom over the phone. I still have yet to put them on paper. Alas.

So I will share my summer of blog posts in pictures, which never materialized into the written story. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so this blog post is going to be approximately 15,000 words long, but won’t take as much time to read.

See ya, summer of ’15.

watermelon

There was plenty of watermelon to be had, dripping down hands and down necks and making hair sticky. I’d like to say there were as many baths, but no. There was just sticky kids.

water balloons

The favorite pastime in the early days of summer was water balloons. Oh, all the water balloons! Which turned into tiny particles of balloon remnants all over the lawn, like summer confetti. My husband muttered that he “wasn’t supposed to rake until fall.”

lightening bus

We did the whole traditional glass mason jar with holes in the top to catch fireflies. You know the one problem with that? Fireflies don’t really come out in the summer until dusk-ish, which is around 11pm practically. I love the longer, sunny, days, but when you have tired, cranky kids waiting to catch fireflies it makes for a long day.

grammy

Time with beach grammy. She took time off from the beach on a couple weekends to hang out. So nice of her.

pool

We joined a pool and spent many hours trying to keep our kids from drowning. Mahlie, thankfully, learned to swim. Sarah THOUGHT she knew how to swim and would intermittently jump into the water without her floatie. She does not know how to swim, so that caused some anxiety.

evan sparklers

On the Fourth of July we always light off sparklers for Evan. It was his favorite holiday.

OBX bay

OBX walk

OBX girlsWe took our annual vacation to OBX with family. The girls loved our morning walks on the beach and days in the pool. It is one of our most favorite vacations.

NS family

cousins on swing

We had a last North Shores friends and family dinner at our beach house. Someone may have ended up in the bushes, and we never did find out who the poor mystery guy was that mistakenly was added to our group text and we refused to remove him even when he told us he had no idea who we were. Summer is all about making friends.

The porch swing in our courtyard that has been the focal point of decades of family photo’s is now in my garage. I took it with me, along with its wonderful memories.

girls and smoopshmoop

We said good-bye to Mira, that big goofy shmoople stink head that was my best furry lovey. I will miss her, even though she is not quite gone. Her ashes are on our mantle and her dog hair is still all over our floor. Probably will be forever. That crazy lunkhead shed like you would not believe. I would give anything for one last smash kiss. Sarah still walks around trying to find “her doggie” and thinks she is at camp.

ice cream mess

SJ proved to be quite adept at making a mess eating fudgecicles, and was required to eat them naked on the patio.

garden

The garden- it’s done! Right in time for Fall! Bring on the kale.

festival

What good is summer without a festival? Mahlie got dolled up like a princess with her cousin and rode an elephant. I did laundry. I think she had a better day.

dockI said good-by to 3 Harbor. The beach house that I will always and forever consider my home. One last look at the view. I will see it in my dreams and soon over the mantle. My high school friend has painted a 22″x77″ canvas of my most favorite view. I can’t wait to have it hanging up!

off to school

And nothing says “end of summer” like the first day of school. Off goes my 1st grader, in all her My Little Pony gear.

Have a great crazy day!