< Things I Can't Say: May 2011

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Monday, May 30, 2011

The Beach: Before and After Kids

We spent yesterday afternoon on the beach with our boys... and a couple who is expecting their first child.  I couldn't help but giggle when I thought about the differences between a beach trip pre-kids and a beach trip post-kids.

Well, I giggled and then I felt a little jealous.

Packing for a day at the beach

Pre-kids: Not much needed but your suit, sunscreen, and a towel.  You might add a beach chair, a book, games like horseshoe or cornhole.  Cooler of beer and snacks.

Post-kids: Suits for all kids, changes of clothes for all kids.  Every beach towel you own.  Sand toys, beach balls, floaties, water toys.  Cooler of water and juice boxes. Kid-friendly snacks.  Sunscreen. Swim diapers.  Regular diapers and baby wipes. The camera. Cell phone in case you need to call 911.  Baby powder to remove sand.  At least three bags to carry all of it in, plus a trash bag to collect all the mess afterwards. Don't bother with a chair because you probably won't sit down.

Activities at the beach

Pre-kids:  Reading, napping, chatting with friends, playing games, casual stroll along the beach, swimming.

Post-kids:  Keeping all kids from drowning or taking off down the beach.  Digging giant holes in the sand.  Non-stop counting of kids to be sure you have them all.  Jumping in the waves. Running down the beach.  Making sandcastles.  Doling out snacks and drinks.  Reapplying sunscreen to small backs and faces about 10 times during the afternoon.  Remembering whose towel is whose. Remembering whose shovel is whose.  Playing every possible beach game.  Talking to friends while not looking at them because your eye is on your children.

After the beach

Pre-kids: Going for a swim at the pool and then taking a shower.  Going out to dinner.  Relaxing.

Post-kids: Convincing the kids that yes, we will go back to the beach, so it's okay to leave.  Loading up the minivan.  Quick and easy dinner, but not out somewhere nice because those kids are TIRED.  Hosing off the kids at the house.  Bedtime for kids. Parents pass out before they can even bother getting showers.

Beach days with my boys are a blast and I wouldn't give them up to go back to those pre-kids days. Though we will make it a point to have Grandma watch the boys a few days this summer so that Hubs and I can do the beach in pre-kids style!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Blog Friend Feature: The View From The Shoe

"So many kids, I don't know what to do." You have to love the tagline from this week's Blog Friend Feature. Heather from View From the Shoe cracks me up with her view on parenting... and life, in general, really.  Even though she makes me feel like a major slacker because she runs all these races and I only run to get another glass of wine from the kitchen.  Read her BFF post and you'll easily see why I chose her as this week's feature:

Finally all the bribes and candy I have been sending Shell have paid off and she asked me to be her feature BFF!! I am so excited. I have been waiting for this opportunity to take over the blogging world!!!!!!!!! (Evil laugh here.)

I have noticed after giving birth to a certain number of children people think I am either weird or a superhero. It isn't unusual for strangers to ask me how many kids I have then gasp or shudder a sigh. Next they will utter, "You must be the most patient woman ever." OR "Don't you have cable?"

I am NOT the most patient woman ever and I do have cable, so I was thinking what makes it possible for a mere mortal to cope with five kids? The guidelines I came up with basically apply to any number of offspring. I personally think three is when the balance shifts and after that it doesn't matter how many kids are in the family - they outnumber the parents.

1. Call all the kids by the same name. It isn't necessary to give the all the same actual legal name. I am not George Foreman here. Just calling them all the same generic name like, "Kid" will make life easier. I can't say how many times I have been in the midst of an important, in depth, heart felt conversation with one of my kids when they interrupt my genius to point out I called them the wrong name. "I am _______." they will say. By then I have of course forgotten what I was telling them and the moment is lost and they will never understand the importance of cleaning out the litter box.

2. Count them often. I lose things. At least while my husband is haranguing me about losing keys, sunglasses, social security cards, and cash, or the car I can always point out I have not yet lost a child.

3. Space them out so eventually there will be one kid who can also double as a parent type figure if needed. Realize this older child will be a crappy parent, but better than the dog. I mean he at least has opposable thumbs. Older Child will however feed them Fun Dip for dinner and allow the babies to completely destroy the house while he tries to overcome the parental controls in order to access porn. (But he doesn't charge much.)

4. Standards should be lowered with each subsequent child. I have done this very well. Because my husband has only two biological kids, he has not. He lives with my kids every day and loves them like they were his own, but he wasn't around during their younger years to experience their baby antics. As a result he still freaks out if Shaye Baby say...happens to reach a butcher knife left on the counter and walk around with it. Whereas I tell her that is not the proper knife to use while trying to saw the cable cord in two. Really a serrated bread knife would be much more efficient. (Stupid baby.)
It is important not to limit this to safety standards, but also educational standards, and fashion/cleanliness standards as well. With five kids in the house sometimes just splashing water on them as they walk by counts as a shower.

5. And finally the last key to surviving a big family.....always wear steel toed shoes. Although my size 9 feet are usually in the same location in relation to the rest of my body it seems impossible for the kids to walk by me without stepping on them. This may be the biggest danger of a large family. I have nightmares that I will be crippled before I get them all raised.

There you have it. If you have ever wondered how moms of large families cope these are the secrets. I hope this helps you with your family, or at least serves as a reminder to use birth control.

(I promise my blog is not all about my weird kids. I do discuss current events, legitimate family issues, and politics there. Also, I lie. I didn't send Shell any candy or bribes. But I was getting ready to.)

Don't you just love Heather? Please leave her some comment love here and then go follow her blog if you don't already!

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Little Fluff is a Good Thing

I love all the stories that y'all share on Pour Your Heart Out days. And it's good therapy for me to make sure that I write mine each week.

But, sometimes, you just want a little fluff!

Like when you eat healthy but occasionally crave a big bowl of ice cream for dinner. Or when you have to read the classics but really enjoy chick lit.

Most of you know that I write for Famecrawler, Babble's Celebrity Parenting blog. So, I've got tons of fluff for you! Here's a sampling- and yes, I'll love you forever if you click some of these links:

Brad Paisley's Must-Hear Song for Parents of Boys

The Pint-Sized Reason One of the Bachelors Quits The Bachelorette

Victoria Beckham's Best Pregnancy Tip

Baby Name Suggestions for Ivanka Trump

No Royal Baby? Kate Might Have Fertility Issues

If you want more fluff, you can check out all my celeb posts HERE. And yes, you will be my favorite person if you tweet/fb like any of my posts over there.

Honesty y'all: yesterday? Was a hard day.  So yes, today, you get fluff and a request for favors.  We all have our bad days, right?

Comments are off.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pour Your Heart Out: What They Don't Understand

Psst: If Blogger is still being difficult with comments, here's a way around it! When you go to comment, select "name/url" when you are chosing "comment as."

Welcome to Pour Your Heart Out- if you need more info on how to participate, check out THIS post. But it's personal- it's what YOU think is pouring your heart out. Please grab the PYHO button or link back in your post if you are participating.

Again, just a brief reminder that everyone linking is pouring their hearts out and we should all be respectful in our comments. ;)


I want to vent about how some people judge a child without having any idea of what that child is going through. How they make comments or stare at a child, assuming they are just acting out and that the child is bad or that the parents need to do a better job at parenting and then the child wouldn't act like that.

I want to remind people that they never really know what is going on. How they might think a certain behavior is acting out, but really, it's something that a child can't help.

But, I know that y'all will tell me that such people don't matter. To ignore them because they don't mean anything.

And, in my head, I KNOW this. I know that those people don't matter. I know that they don't have a clue what sort of difficulties my Bear has.  I know I should say say screw them and just focus on what an amazing little guy my Bear is.

Because my Bear is amazing.  I love him. I love him fiercely.

But, do you know what?

Sometimes I just want to stamp my feet and yell and scream that it's not fair.

I want to slap someone who says something judgmental about my child.

I want to shake someone who dares to stare at my child when he's doing something that he can't help.

Part of me wants to try to explain it away. To make them understand that he can't help it. To watch their expressions when they realize that maybe they judged too quickly.

But, then again- I don't owe any of those people an explanation.

Not even a little bit.

It's not their business.

What good would it do to explain? So that they can then nod their heads knowingly, give me a look of pity and superiority, and then rush to gossip with the other moms?

I don't freaking think so.

So instead, I take a deep breath.

I focus on my child until everyone else is blurred away.

And I see his huge smile.

I feel his arms wrapped tightly around me.

I hear him whisper "I love you in my heart, Mom."

And I realize that HE is the one who matters.

And that those who don't take the time to get to know him- it's their loss.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Each Child Is Different

Baby Planning
First Child:  Let's stop using birth control and see what happens
Second Child: Let's check with the calendar and plan
Third Child: Birth control? Calendar? Who has time for that stuff?

The Ultrasound
First Child: I wonder what we're having.
Second Child: Do we have to go clothes shopping or can we use his brother's clothes?
Third Child: Oh, thank GOD it's just one baby in there.  I don't care if it's a boy or a girl: it's just ONE. Yes, my doctor thought my third was twins.

Getting Ready for Baby
First Child: Read all the baby books, had four baby showers, got everything together, and worried
Second Child: Diaper shower, double stroller ready to go, and worried
Third Child: Huh, I wonder how we'll fit all these kids in our vehicles. Hmmm. Who has time to worry?

The Delivery
First Child: Got to the hospital ready to push. There for less than an hour before baby was born. No time for drugs.  Hurt like nothing I've ever felt.
Second Child: Got to the hospital with two hours to spare. Time for a little bit of drugs. Still hurt like hell, but not as bad as first.
Third Child: Induced so I didn't deliver him on the side of the road. Epidural. Bliss. Easiest delivery of the three, by far.

The Hospital Stay
First Child: Wanted visitors, but didn't want to let go of my baby.  In no rush to go home.
Second Child:  Let people hold the baby. Worried about his big brother at home.
Third Child: Just wanted to go home. 36 hour mark came and we hurried home.

The First Week
First Child:  OMG, why didn't anyone tell me how hard this was? And why does breastfeeding feel like glass being sucked out of my nipples? And why doesn't this baby sleep? Lots of tears.
Second Child: Wow, a newborn who can sleep. This is cool. Put him in the baby carrier and let's go.
Third Child: Oh, look at the cute baby. When I'm not too busy, I'll stop and cuddle him.

The Milestones
First Child:  Is this normal?  Checking the books and asking his doctor to make sure everything is okay. Recording all milestones with photos and written documentation.
Second Child:  Wait, is he doing things when his brother did? Is everything okay? Is this normal?
Third Child: Eh, whatever. He'll get it all eventually.

To my dear third child, my Cub:
yes, we were more laidback with you than we were with your brothers. We'd learned what is worth worrying about and what isn't.  You are the last to do everything and we aren't in a hurry to rush you to hit those milestones.  That grin of yours lets you get away with things we'd never let your brothers get away with, not even when they were your age. I see why the baby of the family is treated like the baby of the family. And we adore you! Happy third birthday!

Newborn Cub

My big boy


Monday, May 23, 2011

What Paying It Forward Means to a Kindergartener and How I'm Going to Look Like a Bad Mom

Oh yes, I'm going to do it.

Something I never thought I would do back when I was a teacher and not a parent.

I'm going to call total B.S. on a homework assignment brought home by my kindergartener.

Friday afternoon, Monkey brings home a letter from the kindergarten team explaining how his school is a "service learning school" and how each kindergartener now has an end-of-the year service/pay it forward project to complete, along with a "booklet, poster board(flat or tri-fold), model, photo album, scrapbook, or mobile" to share their project with the school. Due in one week.

Now, I think the idea of teaching children that they need to help others is fantastic.  But, the display??? Is not homework for the kindergartener: it's parent homework. And Mrs. Kindergartener Teacher, I have enough to do.

Not to mention that there was very limited time given to complete this project and display, when it's obvious that this is something done each year.  Why not send this assignment home with a month to do it instead of a week?

The actual intent behind this assignment? Is fabulous. But, the time frame given to get it done and the display requirements? Notsomuch.

There was a list of suggested projects to get us started.

Donate clothes/toys/books/cell phones to a nonprofit organization: oooookay. We do this several times a year. But, too bad we just did this last week: we cleaned out and donated to my middle son's preschool for their yard sale. Sure, we can scrape up a few more things to give away, but we really cleared out for this sale. And of course, I didn't take pics for a display since I had no clue that this project was coming.

Donate time to a soup kitchen, volunteer at the USO, or participate with Habitat for Humanity: all good ideas, but again, giving us a week's notice makes this all a little hard to do.

Locks of love: a very worthy organization. But, my boys don't have hair long enough to do this. And while I do, they don't take my bleached hair. Yes, I bleach my naturally blonde hair just for fun. *cough, cough*

Since I know that they have been talking about this at school, I thought I'd ask Monkey if he had any ideas about how he could help someone.

"If someone falls, I could help them up."

Okay, that's very true. But, I explained that we have to do something planned. And we can't KNOW that someone will fall down.  Monkey found a loophole.

"Well, I could tell someone to shove them down and then I could help them up and we could take a picture of me helping."

So, obviously, he's been missing the lessons I thought I'd been teaching on helping others. So, we need to figure out something to do to help others.

And we will.

But, will I be creating a trifold display to show it off? No.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

The March of the Penguins: 21c Hotels Style

When I went to Kentucky for the GE Momsperience, they put us up in the 21c Museum Hotel which has the most heavenly beds ever and, as the name suggests, is also a museum.

As an employee told us after I'd had a few martinis so I'm only sort of sure the details are right, there used to be an art exhibit with these red penguins and after it was over, the penguins stayed at the hotel and became the most recognizable symbol for the hotel.  The penguins move around during the day: by employees, by people who come through, or maybe all on their own.

This guy was right outside my window, keeping me safe:

This guy welcomed us to GE Momsperience:

Me and Ashley with the penguin who hung out with us as we waited for a table for 12 at Proof on Main, the yummy restaurant in our hotel.
After dinner and after the welcome reception (so this would be after approximately 4 martinis or 12):
Deciding I was in love with this penguin and was going to take him with me- but I was told this was perfectly fine, as long as I didn't walk out the door with him- sorry to my boys, who would love a penguin to play with
So, I decided to take him to bed with me:

Somewhere on Ashley's camera exists a picture of me in bed with the penguin, trying to give him a cuddle.

And then I realized that I never get to sleep alone, so Mr. Penguin was sent to the elevator.  I assume that he took a ride and walked himself to another part of the hotel. Or that he frightened the next group of people to get on the elevator.

GE paid for my trip, but all opinions and strange pics with penguins are my own.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Blog Friend Feature: Emmy Mom

Oh, what a fun girl I have for you to meet today! From Proud Mommy Moments- the good, bad, and the funny, to the Status Quote- where you can share fb statuses you've seen, to 10 Things to Smile About, AND amazing photography- you should definitely know this total sweetheart: Emmy Mommy

I know many others have said this, but when Shell asked me to be her BFF this week I was beyond thrilled. I immediately texted my IRL BFF CA Girl. Then I texted my husband, I said- I know this might seem silly and told him how excited I was. He said, no it's not silly, it's awesome. Yes, I married a good one.

I have been contemplating what to say. I thought about telling about some of the features of my blog, but I am hoping you head on over and see for yourself. Then I thought, how do you really get to know a person? And sometimes don't you just wish you could get into someones head and hear what they are thinking. So today I am going to let you in.

I have always had an active imagination with stories easily playing out in my head. I even dream in stories, often an observer on the side of my own dreams.

I remember as a child sitting by our big picture window wondering when my parents were going to get home from their date night. Knowing in my mind that something horrible must have happened and picturing various scenarios, car accidents, robbery, to the point of real tears.

But somewhere in my childhood logic I figured out that if I let these scenarios play out in my mind and didn't interrupt them, then imagining them would ensure they never came true. It became my way to ensure that my parents did return home safely. I know this theory is the exact opposite of what some people have sold books about with their theories of positive thinking- but in my mind it made perfect sense.

As a preteen- the scenarios changed to me being abducted by a stranger. I guess a few too many stranger danger talks.

Teenage hormones must have overrun my logic-as a teen it was the party scene- you know the one I am talking about 'their eyes locked across the dance floor.'---but my previous logic triumphed and fantasy didn't become reality too often.

Now as an adult, these imagined scenarios vary. Sometimes it is something happening to my husband, or someone breaking into our house, but there is one scenario that often gets me in trouble.

The scenarios that I try and push out of my mind and not dwell on are the confrontations. The confrontations were I imagine an argument with a person who in real life just kind of rubs me wrong. No real offense has ever been committed- but in my head- oh they say something about my children and I respond with the perfect comeback (it is amazing how quick I am at comebacks in my head) and we argue back and forth.

I always come out victorious.

But then there is that twang of guilt with that victory. You know the whole, turning the other cheek thing that I should have done.

The trouble with these day-dreams comes when I see that person again in real life. In my head we had this huge confrontation and they said all these mean and awful things and so if they rubbed me a little wrong before- well now there is just full out contention and anger- at least in my head. I find myself battling and fighting, reminding myself that it was all just imagined.

Sometimes it makes me wonder if my active imagination is a blessing or a curse. If only I could imagine myself winning millions of dollars and make it come true. Oh but wait, it doesn't work that way with me, I guess what I need to do is imagine myself going broke.

Yes, losing it all...... (lots of money, here I come!)

Ha! I wonder if that will work. And then we can all say we knew her when... Please leave Emmy Mom some comment love here and then go follow her blog

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Company That Knows How to Work With Bloggers: Lessons from GE Momsperience

I spent Saturday-Tuesday at the GE Momsperience event in Louisville, KY. And while I had an absolute blast and have some fun pics to share with you, what I wanted to write about first is the job they did working with bloggers.

We hear a lot of complaining about companies who ask bloggers to do a ton for them, without any sort of compensation in return; companies that know they "should" be working with bloggers yet they don't have a clue how to do it; companies that end up coming off as offensive to those of us in the blogging community.

But, today, I'm going to talk about GE, a company that got it right.  And no, I wasn't asked by GE to write a post about this. In fact, I was told numerous times by various GE peeps that they don't expect us to write even one post about it. While I'm sure they'd like us to, there was no requirement.

Here's what GE did right:

1. It's obvious they took their time planning this event: deciding who to invite and what to do during the event.  While Regan, who is cute as can be, came up with the idea back during Blissdom, it took GE a few months to pitch the event to bloggers.  Megan, who is usually the one tweeting for GE and who is not only darling but so incredibly personable, really took her time researching bloggers: she looked at authentic conversations on twitter and read our blogs.  They also chose bloggers from a wide variety of areas: it was not the same incentuous little group of bloggers who get invited everywhere: most of us have very different audiences.

2.  They took care of everything and valued our time.  When I first got the email from Megan inviting me to this event, I scanned it, thinking oh, this would be nice, but I'll never be able to make it work. Until I got to the point in the email where they said that all of our expenses would be paid and everything would be arranged for us. Would I have wanted to go otherwise? Absolutely- it's GE!  But, would I have been able to go if everything wasn't taken care of for us? No, unfortunately not.  In addition, anytime I thanked any GE person for having us there(including Nancy, who arranged all our travel- whom I may have almost knocked over because I hugged her so hard), they all said something along the lines of "No, thank YOU for giving up your time to be here." There was no sense of "we are putting on this fabulous event for you, so you better be thankful to be here." I WAS thankful, still AM thankful... but they knew that they wanted us there and acted that way.

3.  GE had a mix of events for us, with lots of personal touches.  On our first night, we had a martini party where we created fun hats that we'd wear the next night to Churchill Downs. We met and talked to a lot of GE employees in an informal environment.  We went to the GE Monogram Experience Center on Monday, where we heard from a variety of the departments and got to explore the products.  We donned aprons and cooked our lunches, as instructed by GE's fabulous chefs.  We went to Churchill Downs that night, all dolled up and in our hats for dinner.  Tuesday morning, we went to the Kentucky Arts and Crafts Museum, and then back to the Experience Center for a wrap up session. While this doesn't begin to describe all we did, GE had a good balance of events that were just for fun, ones to educate us about them, and ones where they were getting feedback from us.

4. Speaking of the blogger feedback, this one deserves its own point.  I really wasn't sure what to expect from the sessions. I thought it might be possible that we would get talked TO a lot. You know: GE telling us how fabulous they are. And really, they are. How did I not know about the GE Advantium? And every time I think about the GE Profile Front Load Washer and Dryer, I actually say outloud "Hello, Lover" in my best Carrie-Bradshaw-talking-about-shoes voice. Even in my sleep. Because I dream about those things. A-hem, back to my point. Sure, they gave us plenty of info about their products and their company. But, everyone we talked to wanted our feedback. They wanted to know what WE thought about their products, what we wanted in a product, what we thought about the way they did things, and how we could work together. And they listened. And even took notes.

5. GE said that this is not an "in and out relationship"- they didn't bring us there to make us fall in love with them and then never talk to us again.  Once again, it was the feeling of being valued that really struck me.

Now, as much as I adore GE and loved the GE Momsperience event, I'm going to give you my very petty short list of things that they could have improved on. It's not much. But, I tend to trust someone who can give me both pros and cons, not someone who never has a bad word to say about anything. So, here goes:

1.  Not everyone was invited.  I know some of you are wondering why I was invited and you were not- because well, some of you asked me that. Or, for those of you who are a bit nicer about it: why you weren't invited, too.  But, they couldn't possibly invite every blogger who would like to work with them. Yes, this could cause hurt feelings and they were even aware of this and felt bad about it.

2.  They used the term "mommy bloggers." Now, in case you missed it, I actually have a post about Why I'm Proud to Be a Mommy Blogger, but not everyone embraces this term- a few were not happy to be called this. "Bloggers" is probably the safest term for those who are easily offended.

3.  Breakfast was early on the last day(8am- I know, I'm a big baby).  Maybe have breakfast an hour later on the last day, because we were all tired. At least there was caffeine to perk us up.

The GE Momsperience could be used as a lesson for companies on how to work with bloggers. They truly did an amazing job. And yes, I'd totally go back if they invited me again and would work with them in a heartbeat.

Let's get all legal here: GE did pay all my expenses to attend this event. However, all opinions are my own and I was not required to write a word about them. Really, they did such a fabulous job that it'd be near impossible for me not to blog about them. 

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pour Your Heart Out: Doing It All

If you have never visited Pour Your Heart Out before, see THIS post for more information- but it's personal- it's what YOU think is pouring your heart out. Please grab the PYHO button or link back in your post if you are participating.

Again, just a brief reminder that everyone linking is pouring their hearts out and we should all be respectful in our comments. ;)

Please grab the button code from the memes tab.

I don't know how you do it all.

I hear that a lot. Do you?

Three small kids, the house, the husband, working from home, cooking, cleaning, blogging, twitter, keeping up with emails, and yet still having a life(and by life, I mean going to the gym, the grocery store, and all the places that I have to for my family- a mom's life).

I have two responses when someone says I don't know how you do it:
  • I don't sleep.
  • I don't do it all.
The first is only sort of a joke.  I'm often up way too late, trying to get one more thing done.

But, the second is the reality.

I don't do it all.

I do a lot. But, it's never everything that I need to do.  It's all a balancing act and determining which ball I can drop or put off juggling for a little bit.

From Friday through last night, I've been running non-stop: from a field trip for my kindergartener to a playground with my boys in the afternoon to a date with my husband on Friday and then I was out of town from Saturday afternoon until last night for #GEMomsperience(which was incredibly fabulous- but not a "Pour Your Heart Out" post so I'll tell you more about it another day).

Oh, and while we're adding to the insanity, let's throw in Blogger's crazy issues last week that still hasn't restored all of my comments from last Thursday and didn't allow me to post a BFF on Friday.

So, BEHIND is what you would call me. Even more right now then when I am being THAT MOM.

Instead of doing it all, I put out fires. What really needs to be done.

I couldn't tackle Mt. Clothesmore last night, but I could ensure that my boys had clean clothes to wear for school tomorrow. (Thanks to @oneandonlyoka for that term!)

I haven't been on email, twitter, or blogs much since last Wednesday. And while that tends to make me feel bad and guilty... I had to let go of that and think well, I'll just start fresh today.

Not having enough energy to do a truly heart pouring post today- there's always next week. Pour Your Heart Out Lite this week.

No gym for a week- I'll start again tomorrow.

Somehow, what needs to be done will get done. It won't be perfect and my to-do list will never end, but I've learned to laugh when someone implies I do it all.

And not to feel guilty when I can't do it all.  I never expect someone else to do it all, so it's only fair to cut myself the same slack.

No more guilt.

Do you do it all? (I'll try hard not to call you a liar if you say YES) Do you feel bad when you can't do it all or have you let go of the guilt?


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pause Life For a Moment

Today, my sweet friend JDaniel4's Mom has asked me to give my take on "Pause Life for a Moment" for her weekly series.

Please go visit my guest post over on her blog.  Who wouldn't want to pause life for a moment?

Reviews and Giveaways

P.S. I've been in Louisville, KY  for #GEMomsperience since Saturday night and will return late Tuesday night. I'll return emails and blog visits on Wednesday!

I know you're shocked I'd choose a bright pink hat.

Comments are off.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Parenting Do's and Don'ts

We hear a lot of do's and don'ts as parents. And most aren't very helpful. But, here's some real advice on parenting from the Blogosphere! Be sure to visit some of these wise mamas!

DO get every minute of sleep you can

DON'T ever leave the toilet seat up for any reason. If you're not on it, it should be shut. Trust me.

DO give your kids good advice that can see them through adulthood.

DON'T be surprised if they don't listen.
Oh and also, you can borrow my motto for success and use it to make kids you like: everything successful in life relies on your ability to harness your awesomeness and force it onto others.

DO Relax. Take a deep breath. A lot of the things we think are SO important now we will look back on in a few years and realize we really should have been worried about something else completely. {smile} It all works out in the end.

DON'T Try to do it alone. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Reach out to your mom, your aunts, your cousins, your friends, the people you go to church with, that girl you knew that one time in high school but really didn't like. You never know where help will come from, and a lot of times it is from a place you would least expect. Motherhood is hard. You don't have to do it alone.

DO remember that this, too, shall pass.

DON'T EVER put your kids to bed late, thinking they'll sleep in later in the am. That never works. Never. In fact, they'll get up earlier, and be even crabbier.
-Gigi @ Kludgymom

DO do take a shower before your toddler wakes up.

DON'T don't forget to eat.
-Jessica @ My Time As Mom

DO listen to your intuition. Just because a book or a person says your baby should be sleeping, eating, crawling, walking, or doing cart wheels at 2 months doesn't mean that is what your baby will do. All babies are different...some need to be held more, some don't. Some catch on to the sleeping thing pretty quickly, and others need more coaching. You know what is best for your baby, so don't worry if it doesn't fit into a box. It's your baby, and you know what's best for him or her.

DON'T think that everything you do is either going to kill your baby/child or scar them for life. You hear so many things about parenting that will freak you out such as holding your baby will spoil them or if they go asleep in a swing they will never learn to sleep on their own. I am pretty sure our parents did worse stuff to all of us and we're still alive and kicking.

DO listen to those seemingly annoying advice-givers when they tell you that your children will grow up too fast and DO enjoy every moment of their mushy babyness. They will be walking and telling you “no” before you know it.

DON’T expect that your life will ever return to “normal” after having a baby. The lack of sleep, the bizarre excitement over your child’s poop, the world revolving around those sacred naptimes, the desire to wear yoga pants ALL the time, the necessity of large quantities of coffee to get through the day … THAT is the new normal.

DO take time for yourself!
Last week I had reached my max. I have had a gift certificate for a pedicure since Christmas! That's right almost 6 months old! That shows you how often I get out. I needed a break so bad, I thought I might explode. The kids weren't able to say anything to me without fear of being lynched, and I was just plain mean. When my husband got home, I left. I got a pedicure and brow wax. I took my time, read my kindle, and sat in the drying chair for about a half hour after I was done. It was only an hour and half, but I felt good afterwards. When I came home I was a nicer mom. I need to remember to do these little things for myself before I reach a boiling point. Sometimes you just need a few minutes where no one is calling your name.

DON'T compare yourself to other moms, or your kids to other kids. No one knows your children better than you. Every child is different. Therefore, we parent differently. what works for some families may not work for yours and vice versa. So what if Suzy Q feeds her kids organic only, and your kids live on Ramen noodles. So what if Johnny is a baseball all star and your son trips over his own feet standing still. We have special talents and abilities as moms, and our children have special talents too. We can't all be perfect and excel at everything. So stop trying. Embrace our differences and celebrate them! The only thing we should all have in common is love for our children, and making the time to show them. That's what matters!
DO document things--be that a blog, a journal or an obsessive amount of photos. You will forget things you never thought you would and looking back to reminisce is so much fun.

DON'T get caught up in what others think, in the Judgey McJudgerson's of the world. Someone somewhere will always have an opinion about what you should or shouldn't be doing. Just keep being your awesome self!


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I Wanted To Be One of Those Moms But Instead, I'm THAT Mom

You know those moms. They look totally put together each morning at preschool drop-off. They've always on top of everything that their kids need for school. So organized and polished.

That was the dream. To be one of those moms.

But, instead, I'm THAT mom.

Let me give you an example from Monday morning.

My kids decided to sleep in. This rarely happens, but when it does, of course it's on a school morning: we now have 15 minutes to get everyone in the van.  I rush around and get the two who are going to school into their clothes while deciding a diaper change is enough for the baby.

As for me, I threw on a pair of shorts and decided the tank top that I'd slept in would be fine for drop off- since I don't actually have to get out of the van for that. So, of course I don't need to put on a bra. My hair is in the messy bun that I'd tied it up into the night before.  And I don't need shoes, either.

We rush out the door and root around in the van for snacks for the boys to take to school, while promising my kindergartener that I will check the lunch calendar when I get home and bring his lunch to school if they are having something he doesn't like.

Drop off the kindergartener. Drive to preschool, drop off the preschooler.

But, wait.

The assistant who gets my child out of the van asks me if he has his white t-shirt in his backpack.

What white t-shirt? I have no idea what on earth she's talking about.  Was there something about that on his calendar? Where did I put that calendar anyway?

But, I smile like I have a clue when she tells me that his class is painting their shirts that morning.  I tell her that I'll just run across the street to the store and pick one up for him and be right back.

Drive across the street, thankful that the parking lot of K-Mart is still empty.  Survey what is in the van: there's a light pink hoodie that I can toss over my tank to disguise the fact that I don't have on a bra. Even though my shorts are bright pink and I sort of look like a giant cotton candy in this outfit.

Then I start looking for shoes.  In the trunk, my options are a pair of black high heels with bright pink accents or a pair of black flats.  I put on the flats, grab my youngest, who is still in pajamas, and head into the store, praying not to see anyone I know. Or anyone at all.

The K-Mart gods are smiling on me so I am able to grab a white shirt and checkout without seeing anyone but the cashier.  We were in and out of there so fast that I got back to preschool before all the drop-offs were over: I was able to hand the white t-shirt to one of the assistants through my window.


That morning? Pretty typical. Because I'm not one of those moms, I'm THAT mom.

I don't look put together while I do this mom thing, but I still get it done.

And my boys love me anyway.

Are you one of those moms or are you THAT mom?

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Pour Your Heart Out: When Our Babies Don't Need Us Any More

If you have never visited Pour Your Heart Out before, see THIS post for more information- but it's personal- it's what YOU think is pouring your heart out. Please grab the PYHO button or link back in your post if you are participating.

Again, just a brief reminder that everyone linking is pouring their hearts out and we should all be respectful in our comments. ;)


My middle son, my Bear, turned 5 on Saturday. It's a big milestone. Five means no more baby.

Bear was SO EXCITED for his birthday.  It was all he could talk about for days.

But, one day I heard him saying "I'm five, I'm five, I don't need Mom to help me."

WHAT? You don't need Mommy any more????

Bear heaved a big sigh and informed me that he was practicing.  I dug around and found a note from his preschool- there was a poem that they are supposed to practice for their end of the year program called "I'm Five."

One of Bear's practices (right after bathtime- and yes, he does have on clothes):

In case you do not speak Bear:

I'm five, I'm five, I'm a big kid now, I'm five!
I can dress myself. I don't need Mom to help me anymore:
And when I sit in my dad's chair,
My feet can touch the floor (well, almost)

I'm five, I'm five, I'm a big kid now, I'm five!
My mother doesnt' scold me just for going without a hat!
She knows good and well, I'm too old for that!
What? Does she think I'm three?
Huh? Not me!
What? Does she think I'm four?
I'm more than four!
I'm even more than four and a half!
I'm FIVE! (well, almost)

How cute is that?

Except that I don't like to think about my Bear being so grown up that he doesn't need his mama. He'll always need me, right?

Just not like he did back then:

It's such a bittersweet mama moment, his 5th birthday. But since he just told me "I love you in my heart, Mom," I think I'll try to focus on the sweet.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Cheating-ist Days of the Year

While I was curled up on the sofa yesterday, eating bon-bons, I was watching The View.

Okay, okay, I really don't know what a bon-bon even is.  And I never used to watch any talk shows, though now I occasionally turn them on when I am looking for fodder for my posts over on Babble.

I watched in fascination as the ladies talked about how yesterday was the second most popular day for women to decide to cheat on their spouses.

The other day? The day after Valentine's Day.

Why? Well, the theory is that women have high expectations for these days.  It's a chance for husbands to show their wives how much they are loved and appreciated.

So, if the husband lets the wife down, it can be the final straw and she'll then make a decision that she's going to have an affair.


That's an awful lot of pressure to put on a day.

I'll admit I love presents gimmee gimmee gimmee appreciate a thoughtful gift.  And I want to be treated like a princess like when my husband puts a little bit of effort into our Mother's Day plans.

And I'm not complaining: I had a nice Mother's Day. I got to sleep in, we went out to brunch, and had a relaxing family day.  Hubs and the boys bought me some outfits from White House Black Market because I put a coupon for WHBM on top of his keys when I knew Hubs was headed out to shop.

But, if the day had been like any other Sunday and nothing special had been done, would it be enough to make me get up the next morning, determined that I was now going to cheat?

No way.

Then again, I think that statistic was talking about marriages that are already on the rocks. Where the wife is looking at Mother's Day as some sort of test, wanting a grand gesture that will somehow save the marriage.

But, to me, it's the little gestures every day that make our marriage work. The little things that don't seem like a big deal at the time, but when you add them all up together, they show that I'm loved and appreciated.

Okay, okay: I'd TAKE a grand gesture. It would be nice, I'll admit.

But, not getting one? Is not a dealbreaker.

My marriage is worth more than that.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Me Time Monday: Because We Need It!

To me, Mother's Day is a time to spend with my boys.  It's having those wild precious little boys that gives me something to celebrate on Mother's Day.

But, there are other times when OhDearLord, do I need some Me Time.

Grab a button...or two...

So, I'm joining in with Courtney at The Mommy Matters for Me Time Monday.

Last week was a bit crazy: we had just returned from a week away for Spring Break.  Getting back into the routine and playing catch up kept us busy. Add in work, a preschool field trip, housework, the gym, and all the typical mom stuff.

By Friday, I was starting to feel worn out. School drop-offs and then running around to get last minute items for my Bear's fifth birthday party the next day.  Getting my younger two to their grandma in the afternoon so that I could attend Monkey's kindergarten Mother's Day program.

And we had a long weekend ahead of us: a birthday party for Hubs's friend that night, Bear's birthday party on Saturday morning, and of course Mother's Day.

I caught sight of myself in the rearview mirror as I was driving and sighed.  I LOOKED tired.

My hair was a wreck. And trying to find time to wash, blowdry, and style my obnoxiously thick and unruly hair was going to be impossible. But, I was TIRED of looking tired.

So, my Me Time? I called my hairdresser to see if she could squeeze me in for a wash and blowout.

Totally self-indulgent. It was something just for me.

But, do you know what? It was worth it.

I was in and out of the salon in about a half hour, feeling much better about myself.

AND, I didn't have to fuss with my hair at all during our busy weekend. Don't worry, I still showered.  Shower caps are highly underrated.

I really need to remember to take more Me Time moments. What was your last Me Time moment?

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Blog Friend Feature: Good Day, Regular People

The only reason that I held off on asking this week's Blog Friend Feature to guest post over here is that I pretty much assume that you all know her.  Because she's one of the most amazing bloggers there is.  You won't find anyone more supportive.  She's witty and caring and flat out fabulous.

But, then I realized that the blogosphere is such a huge place that some of you might not have met her yet. And you are really missing out if you do not know Alexandra aka The Empress from Good Day, Regular People. 

It's Not So Bad, This Getting Old Stuff

"And look at this...my elbows. Just look at them. All droopy and stretched out and....OLD looking. It's all over. My neck? My neck is all full of lines, and I hate this getting old stuff. I just hate it. I don't want to get old." I watched my new neighbor assess her body, unhappy, on this beautiful summer day.
I sat staring at the woman across from me, the one who seemed to be falling apart, with...well, falling apart.
Sighing, I exhaled: "Hey, you're TEN years younger than me. What are you complaining about? You look good."
She looked up at me, startled, with the realization of how she may have hurt my feelings with her lamentations on the inevitable. "Oh...uh..sorry. I mean, you don't look old, I mean, you're not old, it's just...I mean..."
"It's alright," I assured her. "I'm fine with getting old. I like it."
I gave her a few minutes to consider this different point of view, on aging. I took pity on her. She was just 40. The age at where your age starts to sound old.
"I like getting older," I continued, "I like seeing who I am, and not having to pretend I'm somebody else. I like realizing  I'm not perfect, and it's Okay. It's nice to be free of all the pressure that the world puts on a woman to be beautiful and just right all the time. It's really nice."
I meant every word I was saying. There is a beauty in becoming mature, in realizing that half your life is lived, and deciding that you want to spend the second half, happy.  With getting older comes the grown up wisdom of knowing who you are.  You base your decisions on what you will be handing over to the next generation.
I am no font of wisdom, but I have been around the block not just once, but a few times. I have fumbled my way through my twenties and thirties and forties.  I feel a welcome sense of relief, knowing that so many phases of uncertainty in my life are over, behind me.
I am a semi geezer. Not full blown geezer yet, but inching toward the line. I have become blessed with a short memory, which makes it easy to forgive; a lapsing vocabulary, which makes it easy to be understood; and dimishing vision, which makes me look all the more lovely than I remember myself looking, in the mirror.  My hearing? My hearing is shot. So I don't hear any gossipy whisperings.
Like I went on to say, that morning last summer, to my poor, young neighbor, "It's nice getting old, you'll like it."

Please leave our dear Empress some comment love here and RUN over to follow her blog!

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

What It's Like to Have Three Little Boys

You have your hands full I hear all the time.

Monkey is 6, Bear will be 5 this weekend, and Cub will be 3 at the end of the month.  And yes, they do have a crazy amount of energy.

So, what is it like to have three little boys to take care of?

Most days, it doesn't feel like three- it feels more like this:

But, they make me laugh, they give the best hugs, and they love their mama.

And I love them so much!

Even if I do need a bottle glass of wine after they go to bed every night!

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pour Your Heart Out: What a Mom Teaches

If you have never visited Pour Your Heart Out before, see THIS post for more information- but it's personal- it's what YOU think is pouring your heart out. Please grab the PYHO button or link back in your post if you are participating.

Again, just a brief reminder that everyone linking is pouring their hearts out and we should all be respectful in our comments. ;)


Mother's Day is this Sunday!

Usually, around this time of year, you read a lot of sweet posts about all that a mom has done for someone.

But, for some of us, we took what we learned from our moms and used it as an example of what not to be.

My mother believed that boys' needs should always come ahead of girls'. What they wanted to do, getting served meals, their wants ruled.

And so I learned to stand up for myself and say hey, I'm important, too.

My mother weighed herself every day and would fast if she had gained even a pound.

And so I learned that the numbers on a scale aren't important: I go by the feel of my clothes.

My mother thought it was okay to lie and backstab to get her way, all in the name of "wanting what is best for someone."

And so I learned that my integrity is much more important than getting my way.

My mother would lie and say one of her ideas came from someone else because she was afraid that someone wouldn't like her idea.

And so I learned to be proud of my own ideas and be willing to voice them.

My mother gossips about everyone and everything to everyone she talks to.

And so I learned that secrets are for keeping and to be careful who I share what with.

My mother judges other's choices based on how they affect her, not looking at why the decisons are being made.

And so I learned that not everything is about me and I need to see others' actions for what they are, not as a personal attack on me.

My mother's love has always been conditional and she's told me at different points in my life that I'm not her daughter any more.

And so I learned that a mother's love should be unconditional and never-ending.

You see, I could let the example that my mother gave me negatively affect me. I could let her drag me down.  I could use her as an excuse for bad behavior.

But, instead, I choose to let her serve as an example of how not to be.

Before you judge: A Glass of Other People's Problems


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The "Oh Crap, I Forgot" Teacher Appreciation Gift


I'm usually so prepared for Teacher Appreciation Week.  I know how much that meant to me back when I was a teacher. Because I love gifts. Even the smallest gesture meant a lot.

But, with Easter being so late and us being out of town, I got totally thrown off schedule.

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, with TODAY being Teacher Appreciation Day.

Did you forget, too?

If you need an easy gift, I'll give you a few ideas.

Send the teacher a note or email, saying that you would like to bring her lunch on Friday: give her two or three different suggestions as to where you could bring lunch from and ask if she has any requests.  This works because it's a sweet gesture, but you have a few days to actually do it!  And really, bringing in a lunch that the teacher didn't have to make or buy from the cafeteria really is a gift!

Gift Cards!  The real beauty of these is that you can most likely send one to your child's teacher's email! Like you had it planned all along, but wanted her to get it on Teacher Appreciation Day. But, no need to even go to the store to buy one!

A thank you note goes a long way: your child's teacher spent a LOT of hours with your child this past year.  Whether they were your favorite or not, they still put a lot of time into helping your child.

Creatively disguise some candy from your child's Easter basket as a sweet treat for the teacher. Okay, maybe not: there are nasty kid germs on all my boys' candy. And if I gave it away, I couldn't eat it.

Lunch, a gift card, a thank you note: those are my suggestions for those of you who, like me, let Teacher Appreciation Day sneak up on you!

What are you doing for your child's teachers this year?

See the Movie Baskets I made for Teacher Appreciation Day last year, when I wasn't a slacker.


Monday, May 2, 2011

I'm Back! Highs and Lows of Spring Break

I'm back! Thanks so much for showing lots of love to my guest posters. My family and I were out of town for the past week, but you know me and my paranoia: I don't announce that I'm out of town until I'm back! Since we were traveling, I didn't get to read any blogs(except PYHO links) and I didn't have much time to answer emails- my inbox is SCARY!

Going to try to get caught up today.

But, for now, here are the highs and lows of our Spring Break:

LOW: Two children puking as we drove across state to the NC Zoo.
HIGH:  One of them made it out of the van before he puked.

HIGH:  The boys had a blast at the zoo!
LOW: They also got overtired and cranky from a 3 hour drive and then a 5 hour walk around the zoo!

HIGH: Dinner at Darryl's. Seriously, I think it would be my favorite restaurant ever if only it were closer to us. Grown-up food, but kid-friendly. They even have a kids' concierge! Oh, and s'mores for dessert.
LOW: My boys got arrested while we were there.

LOW: Bear getting himself so twisted up in his seatbelt that we actually had to cut it off of him. We tried for 45 minutes to get him out of it but it was hopeless.
LOW: Third child puked.
HIGH: Puking child was playing a game on my iPhone and yet didn't get anything on it!

HIGH: Getting to spend time with my friend Angie, my margarita girls, and some college friends.
LOW: Realizing that I don't ever get to go out like that down here.

HIGH: Playdate with friends, Children's Museum, and Natural History Museum with my kids.
LOW: OMG, do I feel old! Where do my kids get all this energy?

HIGH: Getting to meet my newest nephew, see my niece, plus spend time with my brothers and their wives.
LOW: When I totally misunderstood one of my sils and almost took her head off because of what I thought she was telling me. Good thing I bit my tongue and waited.

HIGH: Shopping at the White House Black Market OUTLET for some clothes to wear to an event that Ashley and I are going to in two weeks. And sending her pics of my outfit choices so I could get fashion help.
LOW: I didn't find a money tree before I went to the outlets.

HIGH: The Royal Wedding- even though I didn't think I'd watch it- it was fun to imagine that was my life, that I was a princess.
LOW: HAVING to get up to watch it so I could work!

LOW: Driving past where we used to live and having the Garmin display that address with a house symbol and the word "Home," knowing that will never be home again.
HIGH: Realizing that where my boys and husband are: THAT is home.

That about covers it- or as much as I can remember when I'm this tired after a week of traveling! I'll be by visiting y'all today!

P.S. Did you meet this week's Blog Friend Feature?