The Bedtime Routine

By Lindsey

I wrote this post about 7 weeks ago and never posted it.  

Our bedtime routine is probably not unlike most families with two little kids.  It’s tough. It’s lengthy. It’s noisy. It’s frustrating. These little people should be exhausted by the time the day is finally over, you know you are, but they’re not.  Not even close.  They run from one room to the other trying to escape, refuse to open their tiny little sugar ridden mouths for brushing, decide tonight is the night to go commando, and refuse to wear anything but fleece pajamas in the middle of the summer.  Book choices tend to be whatever is long, and the story I hate the most.

I’ve been making note of our bedtime routine for a while, hiding it from the outside world because I am the mom that lays with my son.  It didn’t start out intentionally, but I was just pregnant and basically up for a nap at any moment of the day.  It was easier, and frankly I couldn’t muster the energy to climb off the bed and make the parental “you’re going to bed alone” stand.  My son was great about going to bed.  We read books, we turned off the lights, a little back rub, and goodnight. See ya tomorrow. Mommy’s alone time begins.  My husband and I switched off nights putting the easy kid to bed because the nights where we didn’t have to read books to the baby was like bliss.

Out of the blue one day our oldest decided he only wanted daddy to read.  We decided after arguing about “it’s mommy’s night, it’s daddys’ night” we’d just let him choose.  Well, after about a week of daddy reading he wanted mommy.  9 months later he wants mommy to read every night.  Why? Because I lay with him, I get him water, I let him choose an extra book, I rub his back, arms, legs, feet, tummy, and hair.  I’m guilty through and through.  It’s the only time of day that he snuggles with me, that he stays still for more than 5 minutes, and obviously I love that.  I’ve read blog posts about laying with your kids and enjoying that time with them etc. and I totally felt validated, but the biggest difference is that many of these moms that say they lay with their kids because it’s their chatting time, they’re only young once, etc. aren’t caught in a trap of having to lay with their kids.  They choose to lay there for a bit, but aren’t stuck laying there until they fall asleep because it’s easier than sending them back to bed 10 times and yelling at them until 10 pm when whey should have been asleep by 8.

I’m stuck there.  If I can manage to stay awake through all of the tossing and turning until he falls asleep my alone time can begin between 8:30 and 9, but if I fall asleep I’m down for the count until at least 10.  Last night I woke up in his bed at 10:30.  What?  This has to stop!

I Ferberized this kid hard when he was 4 months old and I thought my work was done.  Ha ha moms and dads who decide on some other method.  You’re missing out big time!  My kid sleeps from 7 pm to 9 am.  It’s still light out when my kid goes to bed and in the morning I can drink an entire pot of hot coffee before I have responsibilities again. Well, I got mine! Ferber’s got nothing to say now.  Apparently he thinks he’s so great that he doesn’t need to write another book on what to do when your kid is 4 and refuses to stay in his bed.

In all seriousness though, if you’ve got a baby that won’t sleep, this book will change your life!

So, one night I realized I’ve got a baby coming in 4 weeks and I did what any mother would do and got my information from Facebook and proceeded to order…another book.  Yup, because I still think that there must be magic in one of these damn bed time books that will make my son forget about the noises outside, the shadows in his room, the zombies under his bed, or any other multitude of random impossible things his little imagination can think of. Something so magical that he will actually be tired and feel comfortable falling asleep without me. Maybe I’ll be the next parent to comment on Amazon with 5 stars.  I’m crossing my fingers that this little book holds the key to mine and my husband’s sanity!

Additionally though, we’re cracking down hard core on all of this crap.  You want water?  You get it before you get in bed because there’s no water trips anymore.  You want Mommy to read tonight?  Sorry, it’s daddy’s night. You want 5 books?  Sorry only 2 and your brother is reading with you.  You want to sleep with all of the lights on?  Sorry! Haven’t they taught you anything about Melatonin in daycare yet?

We need our life back, like now!

I was able to score the magical book of the century and had the opportunity to read it to my oldest at nap time.  Let me tell you, it was shocking!  I decided I would try it over nap time on a day when we actually had afternoon plans where he HAD to take a nap first or we weren’t going. I figured that since he needed to be out by 1:00 in order for this whole day to go my way, this book would do it 100%.

First of all, lets just get it out there that if I ever want anything to go my way and there’s some kind of plan and other people involved, and always when things are pre-paid for it will NEVER, I repeat NEVER go as planned. This day was not unlike any other day with a plan.

I showed him the book while he was eating lunch.  He seemed excited.  There are two really cute tired little bunnies on the front cover. I was already pumped because usually it takes a little bit to convince him to try out a new book. I read the directions, and the warning.  Warning?  Yup, right after the title of the book there’s a warning about not reading it near anyone who is driving.  Woah!  Ok.  So, we get up to his room, get comfy, and he starts throwing a fit, like straight up yelling at me, shaking his finger, pointing at me.

“You are not reading that book to me.” “I don’t want to listen to this book.” He turned his back to me, crossed his arms and sat at the end of the bed.  Sometimes he’d come and check out a picture before he’d toss himself around on the bed, kicking the mattress, kicking me, yelling at me.  To be clear, this is out of character for him completely!  I mean, sometimes he doesn’t want to take a nap but he always snuggles for books.  Always.

It’s like he knew he was being psychologically manipulated.  He totally saw right through the whole thing.  He was making these really weird faces.  It was truly the strangest reaction I’ve ever seen.  Needless to say, the nap never happened. Our afternoon plans never happened and we ended up taking a drive for 30 minutes just so he’d fall asleep and stop yelling at me and his little brother.

This book did not work for him.  I thought maybe it would be interesting to see what happened if I tried reading it to my little guy.  Being 2 he’s pretty good about bed time, but sitting for stories is difficult for him.  Maybe if I can get him to sit he’d relax and not lay awake so long in bed at night.  So, I showed him the book.  I said, look at this cute book.  You want mommy to read it to you?  He took one look at the front cover, grabbed it from my hand, pulled a Nolan Ryan on me and chucked the thing across the room.  Seriously!  Then he screamed at the top of his lungs, like I’ve absolutely never heard before “NO!”

And there you have it.  Do my kids have super human powers? Are their brains different than the other kids whose parents are raving about this book? Probably not. But for now, this book is shelved.

Anyone want to borrow it?

You want a good book for your kids?  Journey is great! It may not hypnotize them into a sleepy state, but it grabbed my son’s attention immediately and he absolutely loves it.

My “No Plan” Plan

By Lindsey

Do you know anyone who’s been pregnant forever?  Well, I suppose not.  Not until now.  Okay. okay. So my due date is tomorrow, but I seriously feel like I’ve been pregnant forever! Most pregnant women feel that way and say the same thing I’m sure.  I got pregnant in January and now it’s the end of September. That’s longer than a year right?  I’ve been through all of the seasons. I’m kind of like an elephant.  I feel like one and the gestation period of this child is pushing 2 years…i swear!

So, I don’t have a plan.  I’ve had 2 kids and I didn’t have a plan with either of them.  Just basically get pregnant and wait for it to come out some day.  I was warned against the plan thing from the beginning because they say the birth never goes as planned so it keeps you from being disappointed.  I mean, sure it’s good to know what hospital you want to be at, if you want an epidural, and if you plan on pooping.  Wait?  Poop? Everybody poops…True Story!

So, here I am, The “No Plan” Plan Lady, and my plan has been foiled. Turns out I did have a plan.  I guess it’s kind of impossible to plan nothing, but I thought mine was pretty fool proof.  I just intended to go into labor naturally at home like I did with the other two, wait for my contractions to be close to 5 minutes apart, and then head to the hospital with just enough time to get an epidural.  Take a nap while my husband stares in awe at my strength through all of those contractions on the monitor, wake up, push, and welcome number 3 into this insane world.

Number 3 comes early right?  Number 1 is always late, number 2 is usually a few days early, and numbers 3+ are ALWAYS early.  Nope, not here.  I was so sure this kid would be early I was actually concerned when I received a birthday present in August with the birthstones of my kids, one of which was displaying September.  All I could think about for like 2 weeks was how I was going to have to return it for the right month.  I’ve been having contractions for well over a month.  Braxton Hicks they call them.  Well, Dr. Hicks, I am not your biggest fan. I never had a single contraction with the other two until I was actually in labor.  This time, every day is a false alarm. Every day it hurts, every night I figure I’m headed to the hospital, and every morning I wake up…still pregnant. I guess because I anticipated an early birth I feel like I’m a month overdue.

So I hit the doctor’s office AGAIN last week and we discussed induction.  No!  I don’t want to.  I really don’t want to, but there are lots of things to consider I guess.  Being late leads to baby’s first bowel movement in the womb.  That happened to me when I was born and I was really sick.  It happened to my first and luckily he was ok, but there was concern.  I don’t want that.  Then there’s the practical stuff like my doctor’s schedule.  Will she be available to deliver my baby?  Of course, we all run the possibility of showing up at the hospital on a night our doctor isn’t on call and it all just goes that way, but when you’re making the decision to have the baby on a specific day, don’t you choose your doctor?  I like my doctor.  She seems confident.  She did fine with my second kid.  I mean, she was there.  I saw her face.  My kid came out unharmed.

More practical stuff like my parents postponed their anniversary trip five days so they could be here when the baby was born, assuming it would be here by then.  My sister is in town for the weekend and she’s hoping there will be a baby before she heads back to her life in New York. My arm is numb. Apparently from extreme edema, or double crush syndrome as my chiropractor calls it.  Basically I have a numb hand and an on-again off-again burning sensation in my arm.  I can’t feel the keyboard keys with my right hand and I’ve had about enough of this.

But then, then there’s this really weird part of me that thinks that if the baby is forced out when it’s not ready and it’s not an emergency that they will forever be energetically unbalanced.  Maybe?

So, I jumped in.  I made the appointment for tomorrow morning.  I have to be at the hospital at 6 a.m.  The good parts are that I won’t have to call my mom in the middle of the night and wait for 30 minutes for her to get here to stay with the kids wondering whether or not I called her too soon or too late.  My husband’s boss won’t wonder where he is tomorrow morning on the day his office is supposed to relocate to a different city.  Did I mention my husband is kind of a big part of that move and without him it may be difficult?  I’m tooting his horn a little bit, but seriously losing a member of your team to baby day isn’t that great for them.  At least they know it’s coming.  My induction options were limited provided I want to have my doctor there.  Like I said before, why bother choosing a doctor that fits for you only to choose to have someone else deliver the baby?

In the bottom of my heart, deep down though, I want this whole naturally going into labor thing.  I held so much in this one being just like the other two in that respect and now its not looking like it’s going to go that way at all.  This is my last pregnancy and I really don’t want to spend those hours in the hospital having contractions when I could be at home.  It’s the only way I know.  Now I’m entering foreign territory, which is kind of strange on your third trip to the rodeo.

Everyone has their own story and every story is different.  Come the end of the day tomorrow I’ll have three completely different stories to tell.  Every day is different. It wouldn’t be exciting if everything were the same all of the time.  Tomorrow is no exception.

My Days Off

By Lindsey

Saturday and Sunday are my days off.  Being a stay-at-home mom, I’m always at “work”.  There’s always laundry, dishes, cleaning, putting away, etc., but seriously I have to take a couple days off from that.  What if your boss said that you had to work 7 days a week without taking any time off?  You’d probably say No Way!  It’s kind of the same thing for me.  I’m certainly not comparing myself to working moms or anything like that, but I do look at the tasks I have to accomplish in my daily life as a job.  I think that if I didn’t treat it like a job and take a break from it, I’d go completely mad.

So, on Saturdays and Sundays I do not vacuum unless of course Kinetic Sand or cloud dough find their way to the floor in large quantities. I don’t pick up any of the kids toys outside of making a path to the couch or bed. I don’t spend nap times mopping floors or doing laundry because Pinterest is calling my name and I deserve the same break my husband is taking right now (watching TV). I don’t put away our swim bag mess or clean bathrooms (except in cases of over spray).

Those are my work responsibilities and my work days are Monday through Friday 8 to 5.  Mentally, I perform much better at these tasks when Monday comes and I’m refreshed and ready to go.  I always wanted a job where I could be my own boss and choose when I wanted to work.  My advice is pick your days.  It doesn’t have to be Monday through Friday, but give yourself a couple of days off from your daily grind.  Play more, leave more messes, ignore out of place toys because your Monday is coming and when it does you’ll be ready to rock after a couple of days off.  I definitely find myself more effective during my work week if I give myself a weekend too.

Do you give yourself a weekend?  Some time to decompress and be less responsible for all of those household tasks?

Everything is Messy

By Lindsey

Summer has been busy and writing on the blog has been something I’ve been thinking about constantly, but never actually getting the energy, inspiration, or time to sit down and do…anything about my hot mess life.  Every time I think of a post it comes up boring, or worse yet, not even a hot mess.  As I sit here in my office (my dining room table) between Optimus Primal and cloud dough gone mad while my kids spend the morning at my parent’s house I think about how some days this mess is the worst thing to happen to me. Finding space at our gigantic dinner table to actually eat, hoping my husband won’t notice his plate is sitting in the sticky honey mess from snack time (I blame the geniously chosen hand scraped table from World Market…worst purchase a family with small sticky oatmealy children could have made), and hoping my kids don’t think anything of it.

Like I said, I kept thinking things weren’t hot or messy enough to be interesting. Like my life is so regular and ordinary without any major moments of pain, hilarity, or danger to be worth documenting until I took a step back, looked at my life right now, and realized there’s one big hot mess happening right in front of my eyes.

Baby #3 is coming in a matter of weeks. We’re all a little freaked out about it.  Well, everyone except Hudson who just goes on about his almost 2-year old business in complete care free mode.  He’s different than my first one was when it came time for baby #2.  He’s a little more oblivious and more like what I imagined kids to be like when more babies arrive. Ryter on the other hand…breaking my heart for the second time.

We’ve done everything I promised to do.  We’ve talked about the baby.  We’ve prepared for the baby.  At least once a week he picks the gory magazine the OB gave me in my “yay, you’re having a baby” welcome pack so we can look at all of the pictures of the baby growing inside me month by month right before he drifts off into a blissful, multi-time waking, wetting the bed sleep.  We’ve discussed epidurals, mommy’s pain, spending time in the hospital, umbilical cords, placentas, and lanugo. We’ve talked about names, what if it’s a girl (he’s not having that!), how he’ll be the big responsible brother-mommy’s little helper.

Then I realized, what I imagined as fun, interesting, and something only he and I could chat about, has become an amazing amount of pressure. This time, though, he’s 4.  What were acceptable 2-year-old tantrums have turned into downright nasty moments. He talks back to me, like a lot.  It just happened.  One day he just started yelling at me and blatantly refusing to do anything I asked of him.  Sure, part of it is being 4.  I get that.  He’s not perfect, no children are. They’re all a healthy dose of Jekyll and Hyde, but woah!  He called me a bad person.  He’s being really honest I guess.  At the moment I told him we had to leave the playground because giving him 3 chances to stop talking back to me about putting his shoes on was enough…I guess I was a bad person to him. Does he really know what it means to be a bad person?  Of course not, but it hurts when you hear your kid say stuff like that.

I haven’t even had the baby yet and we’re already in survival mode.  Just trying to smooth over all of these icky moments, make it to the next one, and hope nobody gets too hurt, scarred, or forgotten about in the process. Exciting moments are on the horizon that will make the next 5 weeks fly by I’m sure.  Between birthdays, visits to the grandparent’s house twice, more birthdays, a wedding, and school starting, September 21 will be here before we know it. We’re rearranging the biggest boy’s bedroom, making space for baby “Skeleton” in the guest room, and turning a baby room into a big boy room.

While all of this is happening, I just have to keep reminding myself that kids are sensitive.  They know things you think only you know.  They feel everything you’re feeling and it’s a lot for their little bodies to handle. Every change is an upset for them. The next few months are going to be tough as I figure out how to handle 3 kids, my kids figure out how to deal with a baby, and my husband figures out how to…just deal and before I know it it’ll be 2 years later and I’m sure I’ll be wondering how we ever made it through!

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I Could Make That!

By Lindsey

My oldest is turning 4 next week-seems impossible, but it’s true.  He’s at the age now where kids are starting to have parties.  I thought maybe we could squeak out one more year before we have a party, but he knows too much. It’s not the kids or the parents or anything like that.  It’s my internal battle between Pinterest mom and my desire to be lazy and not overdo it for a kid and guests who won’t remember it past Sunday.

I’m totally obsessed with this stuff…

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(Image Source)

but internally settling for the crock pot, disposable aluminum pans, and store bought cake. What parent of a 4 year old has the time to produce such magic I ask you?  It certainly isn’t me despite the fact that I love crafts, Pinterest, Hobby Lobby, etc. I literally die and go to heaven in the sticker and paper aisles and cannot resist the idea that I’m going to decorate individual treat bags for 15 kids.

“It’ll be easy” I think to myself.  “I’ll start early.  Make one decoration every night.”

“I can always go on Etsy in a pinch and buy adorable things that other people have made.  Yeah!  That’s actually a better idea.  $35 for a Robot banner?  FU Etsy! I could make that.”

So, it’s been 1 week since we decided to have this party which means there’s 1 week left until the party.  Well, I got the invitations out…thank you Evite!, but the Robot themed plates, napkins, and stickers (for my home made silverware wraps) are still in my Amazon shopping cart and the robot t-shirts I almost purchased for the entire family are still in my Etsy shopping cart.  I’ve done nothing except think about how cute it could be if I really busted my ass.

Another thing that is hanging over my head is the food.  I love party food.  I love making party food.  And I LOVE eating party food.  I can’t.  I just can’t.  Seriously, I can’t even make dinner on a Wednesday night without melting down into a puddle of tears and olive oil, but literally nothing is stopping me from thinking “I could make that.” What makes me think for a second that I’m going to be making individual sandwiches for every guest, wrapping them in wax paper and that cute stripy natural string?

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(Image Source)

Which of you isn’t just waiting to be invited to a party where that happens?

I could just order stuff and have my parents be in charge of picking it up for me, but then I look at the catering menu for a sandwich shop and I think…”I could make that.”

Additionally, our house has been in a state of renovation for the last 2 1/2 years and will likely continue for at least another year.  Right now our focus, and what we’ve slowly been doing is REMOVING OUR SCREEN PORCH.  Great idea Lindsey, lets have a backyard party with kids around a dilapidated screen porch.  BRAVO! Maybe I should just make it a construction themed party and give everyone a hard hat and hammer when they arrive.  It’ll be like the opposite of a Barn Raising.  We’ll fill the Bagster up with balloons to start and the goal will be to pop them all with rusty nails, corrugated metal, and splintered wood.  Sweet!  You think Etsy has any cute party banners for that?

And then there’s the toy stress.  Is my son going to get toys for his birthday?  Absolutely.  Will they be F*@#ing awesome to him and will the whole experience be just exactly what any 4 year old boy could ever want? Totally!  In all of the excitement will he forget to say Thank You to everyone during his group present opening?  Sorry, but Yes!  Will I have to find a home for all of these toys?  Yeeeeeeees.

I’ll never forget my sister’s 4th birthday party.  Maybe it was 5?  Lets go with 4 because this is totally something a 4 year old would say.  So, she opened a package of Play Doh which incidentally I LOVE unlike many parents, and before the Thank You, before the Ooohs and Aaahs she says “my mommy doesn’t like it when I play with Play Doh”.  It’s true.  My mom totally didn’t let us play with Play Doh because our entire house was carpeted (even the kitchen…yup) and I’m pretty sure she thought it would get stuck in the carpet or something. But, being 8 I knew that was so NOT what you say to someone who so graciously brought you a gift that they were so excited to see you open.  Seriously, the thought of that happening gives me nightmares. Luckily, being the mess that I am, about the only thing I won’t let my kids play with is sharp knives.  They have to be pretty sharp though.

So, then I start to think about everything that I have accomplished and I start to feel better about myself…for a couple of seconds.  I got my living room bookshelves styled.  Yay!  I painted my super cute side table from black to aqua and bought a plant for it. Yay! I painted the used playscape we bought a couple months ago. Yay!  I cleaned out my craft closet in the baby’s room to make room for that little bundle of joy. Double Yay! Then I realize that nobody cares and none of that has ANYTHING to do with a 4 year olds robot themed birthday party.

Oh! I reserved the bouncy house, because obviously I can’t make that!

So, this kid is going to have the best robot themed party with basically no robots (except the invitation), because I guess this year robots aren’t as popular as Ninja Turtles, Frozen, Star Wars Rebels (whatever the hell that is), or anything nautical.  Nautical!  His first birthday was a nautical theme and I couldn’t find a damn striped napkin within 50 miles.  NOW?  Now, I can buy everything at Marshalls for about $10.

For those of you planning a party about 4 years from now, keep robots in mind.  They’re going to be big!

One Hot Mess of a Play Date

By Kensley

The three of us had the rare opportunity to see each other two weekends in a row last month. The first was a crazy girls’ weekend getaway to Savannah and Hilton Head, the details of which will remain in Savannah and Hilton Head. Though we did get a couple of great shots together.

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The second was the following week in Austin when Lindsey was in town visiting family. This was the first time in a year that all of us (plus the kiddos) were under the same roof together. And what a memorable experience it was. So much so that we thought we’d share how we roll. On a play date.

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Lisa: I hosted, so I tidied and mopped the day before. Why bother when kids are coming over, you ask? Well, because they will inevitably eat off the floor, and this way the floor is at least somewhat sanitary. And if my house is clean, maybe people will forget about that hideous abandoned house at the entrance to my neighborhood. I now understand the value of a Homeowner’s Association.

Lindsey: Let’s just keep in mind the terror I felt going over to Lisa’s house knowing my kids basically destroy most things so fast I can’t keep up. Maybe destroy isn’t the right word because only one of Craig’s rare stalagmites got broken, but they definitely dump and run. I had nerves built up inside of me for months because the original plan was to dump my kids at 7:30AM and run like hell (wow, I wonder where they get it) and head to my cousin’s graduation ceremony. Do people with only one child get up that early on a Saturday? After further analysis of this very flawed plan I had come to the conclusion that getting up at 5AM in order to get ready and drop my babies off just wasn’t going to work. We got up at 3AM the day before to travel and the only sleep the kids got was in 15 minute increments between airport-restaurant-condo etc. So, I sheepishly cancelled on my cousin, let my kids sleep a good sleep, and headed over for a refreshed morning of play.

Lisa: That morning, I got out a scooping activity for the Little Dude, to keep him occupied while I started to get food prepped. Immediate fail! He dumped an entire bowl of dry lentils on the kitchen floor just moments before everyone started arriving. Of course!

Kensley: Murphy’s law.

Lindsey: Things are different at different people’s houses, and I just let my kids go when we walked in. Well, the first thing my oldest needed to do was pee. He usually waits until the last minute, dances while he unbuttons his pants, and hops up on the potty just in time. He usually says “phew” like he wasn’t really sure he was going to make it. Well, he didn’t. Have you ever seen one of these?
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Lindsey: Of course you have! Because you’re responsible parents who lock the toilet so your child can’t toss your phone into the drink. Well, lets just say…they work! They work so well in fact, even I couldn’t get into it. Thank goodness I wasn’t the one that had to go because, well… So, my adorable son in his adorable blue collared shirt with whales and cute as a button preppy striped shorts were soaked. The floor was soaked. His feet were soaked. The toilet, seat, and lock were soaked. Welcome to the world of me on a play date.

Lisa: This was C’s first actual play date at home, with kids his age, that aren’t family. But I wasn’t worried about it. He’s played with his cousins and his aunt & uncles (who are adopted and only a few years older) at our house before, and he loves all of his little buddies at school. Thank goodness he takes after my extrovert husband and not me. Right? Ha! Well, the little dude was NOT a fan of sharing toys that day. Or interacting with anyone. He whined. He pushed. He was kind of a brat. :-\ For the first half hour or so, all of the children ignored each other and played by themselves.

Lindsey: Yeah, pee pants played by himself until Craig was done cooking and then proceeded to swallow up all of his time sitting on the kitchen floor with Magformers (the most awesome toy ever!). Is it true that first borns usually play better with adults? I know I always did.

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How big boys play.

Lindsey: My youngest took a little horsey ride on Calvin’s back and proceeded to steal all food and toys from everyone. He may or may not have eaten at least two different snack cups he stole from other children, and definitely took a fork or two from Nina. Talk about sticking up for herself. Man, that girl knows what’s up and she held her own with the boys no problem! Kensley, you have nothing to worry about! Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it because she takes no shit from nobody!

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The gears are turning as he plots her demise.

Lindsey: After my youngest stuffed his entire breakfast into his cup of milk and proceeded to spill it everywhere, we had an awesome cinnamon pancake breakfast (I may be a pancake convert after that), which neither of my kids ate. Instead, they inhaled spoonful after spoonful of the precious honey I carefully transported back from Atlanta to Wisconsin to Texas and insisted on using a  knife to cut the cheese. After brunch, we headed outside for what was sure to be the BEST part of the day.

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Aaaand I’ll help you with that.

Kensley: It got rather sunny that morning and when you get a break from Memorial weekend torrential rains that began the worst flooding in recent Central Texas history, you go outside for some water play. By the way, if you haven’t already, please donate to help the Central Texas flood victims!

Lisa: Suddenly, success! All the children gathered around the water table. All was harmonious and wonderful.

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Mmmm. Sponges.

Kensley: Without a thought to packing a swimsuit, I just let Nina go for it and decided to suffer the drenched consequences later. Eh, it’s just water, what can happen?

Lindsey: My oldest had the squirt gun. The dominant older boy in the group that day, he actually listened fascinatingly well, but the rule to not squirt anyone got the better of him. He got Nina a few times and much to my surprise, she loved it! Phew! She loved it so much so that naked time was next on the list. I was worried.

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The gears are turning as he plots her demise.

Kensley: Yeah, layer by soaked layer she asked me to help take off her dripping romper. I glanced at my friends as I helped peel off her top. Nervous laughter. Then she insisted on her shorts. “Um, she doesn’t normally do this.” (I think I’m that explanatory mom Lindsey can’t stand). Then she demanded her pull-ups! On the outside: “Well, that’s awkward.” On the inside: “FOR F%CK’S SAKE!”

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Skin care first. Nakedness second.

Kensley: Yes, my daughter was the only naked tot in the bunch for a long while. And not just naked. Exhibitionist naked. I’m talking prancing around naked as if being liberated was her cue to begin the ballet performance she was too stage frightened to do a month ago. She even inspired another to lose his own layers and together they ran around in pure bliss as I satisfyingly doused them with a hose.

Lindsey: Maybe I should continue to worry. Was that Ryter’s plan…to get her naked? What would the boys think of the lack of…? What would she think of the presence of…? Well, turns out it didn’t look like any of them noticed the slight differences. Again, Phew!

Kensley: Yes, it was all fun and games until. It was time. TO POOP. Cringe. We are in the midst of potty training and she doesn’t always get the signal to go early enough to find a bathroom. So when she used the magic words, “I go potty!” and I saw her getting ready for battle on the back porch, I found myself with a naked toddler H-AAAAAND a turtle-head. As we raced to the bathroom I heard screams behind me and instinctively knew. To catch. The inevitable.

Lindsey: That shit was hysterical.

Kensley: I was traumatized.

Lisa: Little C decided he was tired of all this [barbaric] socializing and went inside. He convinced Papa to put his favorite movie on (My Neighbor Totoro). His indignant eye roll said it all: “It’s my party, and I’ll go inside and ignore everyone if I want to.” Sigh. I guess he’s inherited some of my introversion after all! Hopefully this means he won’t be the one streaking when he gets to college.

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He was over being social. Get. Out.

Lindsey: After a couple of virgin mimosas for us…

Kensley: Correction: virgin mimosas for you. And you alone. Okay, and your kid.

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Never fails to crack me up.

Lindsey: …and after the stalagmite oopsie-daisy, we started to pack it up.  Broken things are usually the sign that I’ve taken it a few minutes too far.  To finish off the day, my kids, after almost an entire year of not having pacifiers, gravitated to Nina like flies on shit when her paci came out. Trying to keep my youngest away from her face was nearly impossible!

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The audacity of paci-stealing.

Lindsey: All in all, it was a great success.

Kensley: Except for the poop.

Lindsey: I’ve spent many a play date uptight waiting for my kid to hit someone for no reason so it was such a relief to see them both playing so nicely and listening so well! Again, one more time, Phew! And for the ride home? A treat from Lisa: homemade grapefruit white chocolate brown butter cookies…she only has one kid, people.

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Tuckered out.

Now that’s what I call a play date.

Hey Failure. Sup?

By Lindsey

Failure.  Have you failed miserably in certain situations with your kids?  Maybe your failure is giving them too much candy because it was easier than arguing only to face their little candy demons later.  Maybe your failure was not paying attention because, that day, you just couldn’t and they touched the hot stove?  Maybe your failure is one of them ate too much toothpaste?  Maybe your failure is letting them stay up too late. Who knows.  We all have different levels of what we consider a failure, what we beat ourselves up over, or what we just wish we could do over.

Well, let me tell you about our most recent failure.  This is not the worst failure by far, nor will it be the last time we fail miserably when times get tough.  As funny as it all sounds it is definitely on the top of my list of Do Overs if I ever get the chance.

Our oldest was playing barefoot on our new (old) swing set which I haven’t had the time yet to sand and restain.  He got a splinter.  Gasp!  I know…terrible parenting headline Barefoot Child Plays Outside. Gets Splinter.  Well, if you haven’t gathered from other posts, or maybe I just really haven’t expressed it yet, he’s kind of a frady cat.  He’s rough and tough and he’ll jump off of anything, but at the same time he cries if gnats come hear him.  It’s a strange way to be, but I’m blaming it on being 3 1/2.

So, trying to convince him to get that splinter out is where we pick up this story.  I’ve pulled needles out of his hand from prickers in the lawn and even managed to douse some wounds with peroxide before he knew what that little brown bottle meant.  All was well with the world.  Whimpering yes, but still managing to get the job done.  This time?  Ha!  This time?  Nuh Uh!  This time?  Dad was involved.  We all know what that means…business.  I’m sure you remember when you were kid, if dad was involved that meant no whimpering, do it, get it done, no questions asked.  They just don’t mess around.  Well, maybe I haven’t threatened dad’s involvement in situations enough in his life so far, but getting dad involved simply turned into terror.  Enter my best friend

Failure

Daddy started cool, calm, and collected.  He first requested a needle, “a sharp one” right in front of the kid.  Next he requested “the rubbing alcohol” and “a lighter”.  My husband is the son of a doctor.  He is by the book when it comes to sterilizing.  Me?  Eh, lets just say a needle run tightly through the freshly washed squeeze of my finger tips is clean enough for me.  Get out the little brown bottle and some Neosporin later.  The other thing about my husband, God love him, is that he doesn’t listen to anything I say.  He only says “you were right” later.  He has some things to learn still, but we’re working on it.

So, you can already see how this situation could go from bad to worse really quickly.

Guess who else is there for the show?  The squirmy wormy 1 1/2 year old who thinks the alcohol bottle is water and would really like a drink.  Yeah.

So, the fear started to show in my son’s face.  Then he started to refuse this simple splinter removal.  He was brave for a few seconds until Dad put the rubbing alcohol on the splinter.  As you can imagine, crying ensued and my husband started to get frustrated. He then decided he’d fight it at all costs, kick his foot wildly, and make it abundantly clear that this splinter was now part of him.  Forever.  I could see the wheels turning in my husband’s head, but what came out of his mouth was not what I expected.  All I remember is “emergency room” and “cut off your toe”.  Oh boy!  Hello Failure, nice to see you again.

Well, that challenge ended abruptly after the whimpering turned crying turned hysterics was enough to quit for now.

It’s so hard because as adults we know this thing is going to get infected.  It’s going to get worse.  It’s going to hurt. And, it’s entirely possible that we will end up in the doctor’s office although I don’t believe there would be any toe removal involved. At any rate the splinter, or blizzard as my son calls it, had to come out.

We attempted multiple times to talk him into it.  I tried, thinking maybe the mommy way would work better.  We both tried showing him how the needle can go into your skin and not hurt.  My husband stuck it in his foot multiple times.  I stuck it in my finger multiple times.

Really, I think that if I had been the one to go first the splinter would have been out no problem.

Step 1:  NO RUBBING ALCOHOL (What?)

Step 2:  Turn on the TV (Yup!)

Step 3: DO NOT tell him you’re going to use a needle (Lie if you have to! *FYI, that could be really bad advice*)

Step 4: Work really fast (Because it really doesn’t actually hurt)

Step 5:  Promise a treat (Because candy is YOUR best friend!)

So, on and on we went with the “blizzard”.  Daddy eventually promised a trip to Target for a toy if he would just. let. him. get. the. splinter. out.  See Step 5, although I wouldn’t recommend skipping directly to Step 5 without properly performing Steps 1-4.  See, the problem is that my poor little guy was so terrified about the ER and the toe removal, but not enough that he’d be willing to let daddy put that needle in his foot.  Eventually it started to get infected as all dirty foreign objects placed under the skin would at some point and my husband decided that the middle of the night would be the best time to deal with it.  Uh…hello…I said that.  But, lets not worry about that for now. Toe removal is so much more dramatic and really did inspire this post.

Next morning?  Well, the blizzard was gone.  The toe was already mostly healed up and of course my son noticed right away because I’m pretty sure he was thinking that was going to happen on its own.  He was right!  He was saved!  No ER.  No toe removal. No needle.

Until…

Daddy said to him “I did it in the middle of the night”

Pause…

“So, we get to go to Target now and I can pick out a toy?!?!?!?”

Huh? Hey Failure.  Sup?

My last words before the two of them left the house at 6:00 p.m. headed to Target to reward my son for being the bravest he could be I said, and I absolutely quote “DO NOT let him come home with that booger game!”

gooeyLouie

HGooLou

RGooLou

Note to Self: Do Not allow husband to be in charge of, well, anything!

The Playground

By Lindsey

Beer

Confession: I used to be one of those moms.

You know those moms!  The ones that tell their kids No constantly even when they’re doing nothing wrong. The ones that interject constantly to make sure they’re playing “appropriately”. The ones that constantly explain to other adults why their kid acts the way he acts because they feel like their kid is being judged. Are you one of those moms?  Are you trying not to be one of those moms?

We had been writing the blog for about a month at the time that I wrote You Have No Idea How Lucky You Are and I was just starting to see how crazy I was. That was probably the beginning of my realization that I had a problem. I was exactly what I hated, but didn’t know how to not be that person. The best thing that’s ever happened to my kids was for me to start writing on this blog.  I saw myself from a totally different perspective and after being at the playground the other day for the first time this spring I can officially say I’m a changed mom.  I am no longer one of those moms!  I’ve wanted to be this mom for a while, and I probably have a ways to go still, but I’m so proud of myself and my kids are so much happier because of it.

As I said, we went to the playground the other day.  I just took my 19 month old while my oldest was at school.  The playground by my house is one of those gigantic playscapes where nobody can get hurt because it’s too new and way too safe.  You can tell because if you look closely there’s literally no way to injure yourself in any way. You can’t fall off of anything. The ground is squishier than my bed. The teeter totter isn’t so much a teeter totter as it is two springy chairs across from each other. The slides are made so kids can’t build up enough speed and go flying off the end.  It’s a dream come true…for those moms.  I don’t want my kids to injure themselves by any means because it’s so awful to see them sad, but seriously the city might as well just provide every child a bubble and say “here, enjoy your insurance protection”.

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And yet, if you just stand and watch and listen all you can hear is the chatter of parents.  Some are chatting with each other about vegetable growing techniques and whether or not you can make salsa out of cherry tomatoes (No!), but most of them are talking to their kids.  Maybe it’s more accurate to say talking AT their kids.  You know the ones I’m talking about.  The moms that are talking in the air so that other adults can hear them.  They’re not looking at their kids.  Their kids are not looking at them.  The kids are likely not listening, but the moms are talking.

“Be nice sweetheart.  She’s your friend.”

“Say hi baby.  It’s not nice to stare.”

“Why don’t you come over here and climb on this ramp. Doesn’t it look fun?”

“Oopsie daisy darling. Wait your turn.”

As I stood there and listened I got increasingly annoyed.  I heard my old self in so many of these moms and I honestly couldn’t handle it. I just kept thinking You’re telling your 18 month old not to stare at my kid because it’s not nice?  What does that even mean? My kid was straight up staring.  Did he say hi? No. He can’t even talk. Who the hell cares. After a good staring session, this one mom was still yapping.  She was sort of pacing like she had somewhere else to be and she was talking.  Louder when she paced away from her child and still pretty loud as she walked back toward her child.

To her kid (the air): Go down the slide honey. Say Wheeee!  Have you seen the train honey?  Do you want to go on the swing honey? Say hi honey.

To me (but not looking at me): He knows how to talk and he always says Hi to everyone at the grocery store, but I guess he doesn’t want to talk now.

Was that meant for me…was she explaining to me how her kid can talk, but just isn’t into it right now?  Again, who the hell cares?

I think my little guy was actually kind of freaked out by this lady because multiple times he ran over to me and looked at me like Is she serious? He was literally avoiding her.  I started to feel bad for her kid because he is never going to be able to shake this yappy mom.  He probably doesn’t say hi because she does it for him.  She says all anyone needs to say and more!

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We moved from that location.  Neither of us could handle it.  Next we came across the mom that tries to please her kid at every moment of the day while still trying to get her life mildly accomplished.  That was really annoying.  Please stop trying to please your kids every second of the day.  Just.  Please. Stop!

Then to our third and final location, the dark purple covered curly slide.  The kids fear it, and apparently so do the parents.  It’s COMPLETELY ENCLOSED people. COMPLETELY. ENCLOSED.

PurpleSlide

There are more warnings and chatter from parents on that slide than any other play spot in the park.  I’m sure it’s because the parents are actually losing sight of their sweet little Timmy for what feels like an eternity as he slides slowly and safely down the curly slide.  I’m usually there by myself and can’t be at the top of the slide and the bottom of the slide at the same time like so many of the parents do.  I have no idea how or why, but many times there are two parents there.  Dad at the top and mom at the bottom.  Did dad or mom or both take off work for this?  Did they call in sick to man the kid at the park?  Don’t get me wrong, it’s great seeing both parents with their kids, but for real.

I’ve seen absolute shock and awe on so many parents faces and received comments about how my little guy “really gets around”.  He’s 19 months old for crying out loud.  Should I be carrying him?  I’m confused.

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He climbs the steps safely enclosed with jail bars no more than a tiny fist size apart, gets to the top where there’s a window so we can all wave, blow kisses and say goodbye forever, wait to see if they make it out alive and down he goes.  Usually someone pushes him and he comes out head first, laughing.  Then up he goes again.  That little independent stinker, thinking he’s hot shit going down the slide without any adult supervision.  What kind of tyrant am I creating?  How horrible am I to be so unsafe?

Well, I’m so horrible that after a few times down my little able bodied child just walked frantically to his stroller and climbed in.  Have you ever seen a kid choose to leave the playground of his own accord? He was over it, and so was I.  Whatever!  Lets go home, eat dirt, and pour water on our slide!

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30-Day Challenge

By Lindsey

DeskSpace

I started my challenge on May 1 and it’s going really well so far.  So, to back up for a second, I need to be more productive personally if I’m ever going to get my dream home accessories thing off the ground.  You can read about my feelings on life right now and my vague plan here. That’s where the 30-day challenge comes in.  I figure if I can manage to do these things for 30 days I’ll be on my way to creating a new routine and new normal for myself and my family.

As I think about the things that I can do to make myself more productive, get more things accomplished, and feel like bothering it’s really very simple.  I’m sure to some it’ll sound like I’m a total slob and others will absolutely agree with me.  Showers are few and far between in this house.  I think us stay-at-home moms can all agree, and discuss it frequently…we NEVER shower.  Why?  Because what’s the point?  Because we don’t have time?  Because we prefer Pinterest and coffee while our children are sleeping or watching cartoons?  For me, it’s all of those things.

I discovered recently that there are a few roadblocks that keep me from being my best productive self.

Showering/Removing My Pajamas

I don’t shower every day, because lets be real…ugh!  BUT, for the next 30 days (and hopefully much longer) I do plan to put on my makeup and get dressed in something other than stretchy pants and a cleaner tank top than the one I slept in.  I am presentable and I like looking at myself in the mirror.  I need to feel confident that my Rodan + Fields business is going somewhere and when I look in the mirror and see pink cheeks and bright eyes I carry that confidence with me.  I want people to ask me about my skin and tell me I look young.  Those are my openers.  That’s my job.  It’s important to me.  Additionally, I’ll get my kids dressed too.  It paves the way for them to be more productive too.

I also have a problem with my kids playing by themselves.  They basically don’t and that does not work for a mom who wants to work from home (a little bit).  Or really any mom who just needs 15 minutes. In the past I’ve always put on the TV or given my oldest the iPad so I could shower without him getting into stuff in the house, waking up those that are still sleeping, or getting naked and getting in the shower with me.  Well, my new rule is that there is no technology while I’m in the shower.  They must play alone.  It is hard because they come into the bathroom 100 times, daddy gets woken up on the weekends, my 20 month old cries the entire time, and my living room looks like a total war zone.  My expectation is that after 30 days (probably more like 15 days of showers), they will be better at playing by themselves and we will be able to branch out from there.

Simple advice I have for a new mom…ignore your kid for a while.  Trust me.  I’ve got one I did that with and one I didn’t and it’s so important for them and for you as time goes by.

Making My Bed

I think an unmade bed gives the wrong message to myself and my husband.  It says “I don’t care”.  I do care and a nicely made bed bookends my getting ready process.  My room feels clean just because my bed is made plus I’m not tripping on 15 pillows that my husband curses every time we climb in bed every night.  Seriously, it’s a little Along Came Polly, but it’s eye candy for me. It makes me feel great to see a pretty, nicely made bed.  Plus, I am a decorator at heart and it makes me feel confident in those abilities too.  It’s the only place in the house I don’t have to let the kids destroy.  We don’t have a TV in there, we don’t sleep with the kids in there so why does it look like the kids live in there?  They don’t!

Being on the Computer/iPad/Phone

I do not discourage any of these things, because I’m probably the worst, next to my husband with the phone in hand or the idea that I must have the iPad before I sit down on the couch.  The problem with those devices, regardless of what you’re doing on them, is that there is no end.  Contrary to popular belief you can’t actually finish the internet like my husband and I joke about frequently.  It’s always there.  There’s always more of whatever you’re interested in.  I have a gigantic pile of magazines that seriously stresses me out to no end.  They take up valuable space in my TV cabinet, they slide all over the place, they annoy me when a new one arrives at my door.  I HATE them, but I LOVE them!  There’s the wasteful non-green part about them, but being green is not important to me if I let everything else in my world slide because of it.  So, I started picking up a magazine with my coffee while my kids watch cartoons instead of Pinterest and Houzz.  I’ve read one every day since May 1, tore out the articles, pictures, and recipes I want and recycled the rest.  Just reading one from start to finish makes me feel like I accomplished something.  I made room in the drawer and I actually took some stress off the giant stack.  The most important thing I’m getting from this though, that I totally did not expect, is that my kids are different when they see me reading paper vs. reading a computer.  Within 5 days they have picked up more books.  My 20 month old has started asking me to read books which a week ago, would have never been an option.  I have found my almost 4 year old looking at books on his own, which he has never voluntarily done before. WOW!

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The cool thing too is that all of the magazines I read are online which means I can easily take my stack of torn out pages, search for them on the internet, and pin them later.  Then I don’t have a pile of torn papers to deal with.

I’m really excited to see what happens over the next week.  What new things my kids do that I didn’t expect.  I want them to see a mommy, but also a woman who is confident and accomplished.  Don’t men usually marry women like their mothers?  However I decide to display this, I want them to marry a woman with her own life, that takes control of what she wants, and gets it done?

Something More

By Lindsey

getDressed

I’ve been a stay at home mom for the past 3 1/2 years.  It’s the only thing I ever wanted, but it’s a lot different than I imagined.  It’s not bad or disappointing, it’s just different.  I imagined a much more active life with more showers, cuter clothes, and better behaved children. I’m definitely the mom that started out devoting all of my time to my first born.  I wasn’t ever the mom that made my kid play alone ever.  Maybe it’s his personality, or maybe it’s his age, or maybe I trained him this way but 3 1/2 years later he is terrible at playing alone and I’m trying to teach him with very little success.  My second born, at 20 months is better at playing alone, but his attention span is quite short still at his age. My third born, coming in September will be all consuming for quite a while, but I’m imagining something more. I’m trying to figure out how to be at home with my kids, have them, play with them, do things for them and still have myself and my time.

The longer I cater to children the more thirsty I get for something more adult.  I don’t mean like a night out with the girls to just renew my grown up status or even a vacation without my kids.  Like something permanently more. Since I was a teenager I wanted a home accessories retail shop.  I always imagined someday it would happen, but it can’t be someday forever.  Eventually someday will turn into today right? That’s where I am now.  I want Today so badly!

I’m stuck because being a stay at home mom was my only plan.  Not a very good plan simply because I didn’t know my 30 year old self when I was 18.  I want all of the stay at home mom stuff with a little extra responsibility that doesn’t involve children.  I’m kind of sick of cleaning sticky stuff off the walls and pee off the floors.  I LOVE my children with all of my heart and leaving them, even for a few hours, can be difficult and heart breaking.  In the big picture though, it’s better for them if I do leave them sometimes.  Maybe more often than I do. But 3 1/2 years is a really long time when you’re talking about changing your daily routine.

I think about what it would be like to be a working mom, like 40+ hours per week and sorry, but no thank you. It has nothing to do with how my children would be cared for or anything like that, but I feel like I’ve got too much going on at home that would never get accomplished and the mess that we currently live in (that drives me insane on certain days) would be so much worse. My kids are really sweet and adorable, but total terrors and honestly, embarrassingly, I let them run completely wild. I’m starting to regret that and wondering how I can change that going forward. Part of me thinks that if I had a job (using the term very very loosely), I would bring more structure into our home.  Not every day would be a loosey goosey “what should we do today?” kind of day. I love being “free” to do basically whatever I want whenever I want, but how long can you spend your life going to Marshalls and Target and the playground?  How long can my children do the same thing?  What are they learning?  Well, they’re learning a lot for sure, but their horizons need to be expanded too.

I want my own business.  I want my own hours. I want a very very flexible schedule.  How does one accomplish that with 3 children, very little extra income, and the obvious need for child care?  Well, I started with direct sales.  Some call it network marketing.  I like to call myself an Independent Skin Care Consultant. I work with Rodan + Fields and I make money.  Some money.  Good extra money I guess, but I still want more.  It’s partially about the money, but more so about the actual activity that I’m doing.  I will never give up Rodan + Fields, but being an Independent Skin Care Consultant is not the same as surrounding myself with all things home decor.

Pretty and interesting decor pieces. Refurbished furniture. Beautiful chairs recovered in unexpected fabrics. Sure, I’d have clients but they’d be shoppers, not people who are afraid to paint their walls pink, but prefer a safer beige option. I don’t want to decorate your home, although it’s probably all I think about while I sit in your living room, but I do want to contribute to your decor with something unique you won’t find anywhere else. I want a place where people who make unique and interesting things can showcase their work.

Sure, there are options like actually opening a shop on the corner of Wisconsin and Main, but that requires regular hours, a large investment, and the sheer hope that somebody will walk by, come in, and actually buy something.  Risky!

There’s the all time crafters standby, Etsy.  Eh. I guess that’s how I feel about it.  While providing a place to sell, it’s not really giving me what I want. I want the store shelves decorated beautifully.  I want to stand behind the cash register.  I want the fun French cafe music. I don’t want to make everything I sell. I want to get out of the house to do it.

There are craft fairs.  I suppose you get a form of store shelves, but I feel like it’s overdone.  I feel like if you can’t get into the big ones in the area, the rest are just to stay busy.  Maybe sell something to the stay at home mom looking for something interesting to do with her kids for the day. I am her.  I do that.  I’ve never bought anything.

There are those bigger shops where you rent a space so it’s kind of like a permanent craft fair.  I did that once. Great idea for those people that are really about making their craft and want to leave it up to somebody else to sell it.  Just drop it off, display it, and get the hell outta there.  If I had a shop, I’d need people like that to stock my shelves, but I don’t want to be that person. It circles back to my first example that it’s still a permanent location that may or may not get business.

It can be compared to those that want to start their own business, but have a day job.  Just because I don’t have a job doesn’t make it any easier for me.  It’s still a challenge to give up what I currently know for something unknown, to spend money I’m not making, spend time working on it outside of my regular “work” hours, and hope that this thing takes off and doesn’t flop.

So, I have an idea.  It may be a crazy idea.  It may fizzle as I continue planning how to make my dream come true, but for now I’m excited. I must start somewhere though and so instead of starting to shop for inventory or old furniture pieces to refurbish I’m going to start with me.  I’m going to start with a 30-day challenge for myself.  Something that gets me to a little bit more of a functioning adult and less of a pajama wearing mommy who cleans her house and crawls around on the floor all day.  Stick with me as I talk about what my 30-day challenge will be and how I think it will make a huge difference in my life and my kids in a very short amount of time.