Looking Around

This past weekend my husband was out of town and I had the girls and 2 full days of “what the hell am I going to do?” ahead of me.

My one goal was to wear them out. I planned a packed weekend that ideally would have them crashed out and leaving me alone with my glass of wine at a decent hour. A girl can have goals, y’all.

Saturday was already filled with Mahlie’s track event, and since that involved lots of running, the exercise piece was already taken care of. Afterwards it was to the park to get the little one tuckered. On Sunday it was up and out bright and early, first to a park we’d never been to before, then to lunch at a popular restaurant, the bookstore, the garden store….whoo.

I can guarantee at least one of us was totally exhausted. We had a great weekend, spent a lot of time together, had fun, only a few tantrums, but man.

It wasn’t just the moving around and being busy and being physically tired.

I was constantly looking around.

Looking around at all the people.

And looking for the exit routes.

I’ve taken to planning my “escape route” when I am out in busy areas. The mall, for sure. Restaurants, yep. You’d think a park with so many young kids….but then there was the concert in Manchester yesterday.

I am constantly looking around. For my way out.

It’s exhausting and sad and scary, and I wish I could tell myself “oh, don’t worry, it won’t happen to us here” but that is what I am sure everyone says until it does happen to them there.

I wish I could enjoy my outings with my kids without the morbid voice in the back of my head guiding me to look for the closest exit in case a person comes in to do the unimaginable.

I’m not going to stop giving my kids freedom to run around in their neighborhood. I’m not going to stop taking them out and sharing in new experiences. I’m not going to wrap them in bubble wrap and put them away for safe keeping until it’s safe to come out….because when will that be?

So, I’ll continue my being vigilant with my escape route plans. But I’ll be out there. Looking around.

Prayers and thoughts are going out to all the families that lost loved ones or who experienced the traumatizing events of yesterday’s attack in Manchester.

 

No Middle Ground

Kids are pretty much “all or nothing” type creatures. There is no “gray” area. When told to do something, they either do it ALL THE WAY or sulk in the corner and proclaim that they CAN’T DO ANYTHING.

Like wearing underwear. Simple enough, right? WRONG!

After her shower the other night, SJ comes out laughing and lifts her jammies to a bare butt.

“SJ, go put on some underwear!”

So, not unlike Joey from Friends, she comes out wearing ALL THE UNDERWEAR.

baby21

Could she BE wearing any more underwear??

13 pairs of underwear, to be exact.

We eventually got down to a more respectable 1 pair of underwear, though not without a debate on how her butt “needs to be cozy”.

Have a great crazy day!

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.

 

halloween1

Using Very Sharp Tools

halloween3

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.

img_6192

Oh, this one.

img_6312

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!

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.

bday girl

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

 

bedhead

Who also happens to be super sassy.

sassy

She is known on occasion to be super silly.

silly

She is an adored sister.

sis

She is my sweets who loves her sweets.

sweet

She’s grown to be strong and self confident.

sweets

But still super serious about her books.

read

She’s my super girl.

 

Have a great crazy day!

Celebrate Good Times

Well, that went by fast! I had every intention of posting about our great 4th weekend, but summer got in the way and I was busy having a glass of wine on the patio instead of inside on my computer. Alas…here we go. A wee bit late, but perhaps everyone else is on summer time along with me.

We celebrated the 4th by….staying home. We barely left the house! In years past we’ve spent it at the beach, or gone to a big BBQ or gone to the pool for the majority of the weekend. This year- we parked it at our house. No grand plans to prepare for, no packing up the kids. It was a welcome change from the constant plans we’ve had so far this summer.

Yet, it was just as busy. I do have 2 kids and staying home and kicking up your feet and relaxing doesn’t compute to them. So I broke out Pinterest and did my best at creating a fun weekend for them, while maintaining my sanity and getting some sort of relaxing in for myself.

My girls are a crafty couple, so I hit up Michael’s to stock up on enough supplies to keep the house good and messy for a another 2 weeks. I will be finding pom-pom’s and glitter in all corners of the house until Christmas. A friend asked me where I get all my craft ideas and I laughed and said, “I just throw out a couple art supplies and say, MAKE A MESS!” and consider the end result “art”. In all seriousness, I have included links to craft activities my kids did over the weekend here, here, and here.

paint

Firework Art, otherwise known as “water fight with paint”. Don’t wear your 4th of July best for this one.

art

The result of all that paint flinging. Not pictures, the clothes that immediately needed to go in the laundry.

Flag

Gluing pom-poms onto things are way harder than you would imagine. Except to your fingers. They will absolutely stick to your finders. And your hair. But on the things you WANT to stick them too? A lot harder.

tyedye

Be warned: Tye Dye does NOT come off your fingers for a good week. And it will not come out of your most comfortable pair of shorts in forever.

dog

We decided to have a 4th of July Parade, and Oscar, who we were dog-sitting, was our mascot. He may not have exactly volunteered and he may have jumped out of the wagon 5 seconds after this photo and shredded his outfit.

parade

Our parade consisted of one decorated wagon and 3 participants. But they were DECKED.OUT.

Fourth of July was Evan’s favorite holiday, so we always get fireworks and sparklers for him and like to think he’s watching our fun from heaven.

fireworks

Sarah doesn’t like loud noises, so fireworks are not her thing. So i asked the guy at the fireworks stand for fountains that were “quiet”. The one labled “TNT” should have tipped me off they were not going to be quiet. Even the one that says “quiet” didn’t quite live up to its name. Safe to say Sarah bolted out of there and remained hidden in her room for the duration.

sparks

It’s not a celebration until we give our kids something really hot that could likely result in them burning their fingers.

Holiday celebrations also wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t make enough food for 20 people when we are having exactly 0 people come over. I’d link the recipe for the pulled pork, but I leave the grilling/smoking to my husband.

butt

I made a huge batch of pasta that I thought would last all weekend for lunches for the girls. But all of a sudden Sarah “hates” pasta and Mahlie made us question her parentage when she declared she hates bacon. No worries, more for me. Link to recipe here.

pasta

We are also big on frozen treats. Stick some fruit in juice, freeze it, and our kids think it’s the best snack in the world! You don’t really need a recipe for that, I just used lemonade and put in raspberries and blueberries. But for some festive frozen treats for your kids see here and here. For a festive adult treat, see here.

SJ3M

I hope everyone had a great holiday!