Monday, April 30, 2012

When You Give a Mom a Pancake...

If you give a mom a pancake, she will have to clean up your mess that you made while making the pancake.

When she is cleaning up the mess, she will notice that she needs to mop the floor.

Before she can mop the floor, she will have to wash the dishes.

When she goes to wash the dishes, she will notice that she has to first unload the dishwasher.

When she finishes unloading the dishwasher, she will remember the dirty containers in the refrigerator.

When she cleans out the dirty containers in the refrigerator, she will realize that she needs to go the grocery store.

When she gets in the car to go to the grocery store, she also remembers that she needs to go to the drugstore to pick up some medicine.

When she is at the drugstore, she remembers that there are clothes to pick up at the cleaners.

When she leaves the cleaners, she discovers that her car needs more gas.

When she leaves the gas station, she finally gets to the grocery store.

When she gets home from the grocery store, she has to unload her groceries.

After she unloads her groceries, she remembers that she was going to mop.

Before she can mop, she has to clean the kitchen counters.

When she cleans the kitchen counters, she realizes that she should probably go ahead and dust too.

When she begins dusting, she notices that there are a lot of things that need to be put up.

When she is putting things up, she realizes that she needs to do laundry.

When she is doing laundry, she hears the garbage truck and takes out the garbage.

When she takes out the garbage, she realizes that the yard needs watering.

After she waters the yard, she has to go pick up the kids.

After she picks up the kids, she remembers that she has to cook supper.

When she is cooking supper, she remembers that she needs to mop.

When she gets out the mop, the kids need help with homework.

While she is helping the kids with homework, she remembered that she needed to fold the laundry.

After she folds the laundry, she realizes it is time for supper.

When it is time for supper, her husband comes home and says, "I thought you said you were going to mop?" -

Friday, April 27, 2012

I'm a Survior, I'm Gonna Make It...

As a parent, we have goals that we achieve to meet on a weekly basis.  Some weeks are spent trying to get a certain amount of things accomplished.  There are weeks that are spent with the goal of a clean house.  Others are spent trying to attain the goal of taking a shower without a person under 4 feet knocking on the shower door.  My goal for this week was to just get through it and come out on the other side with my sanity in tact.  Let's be honest, a lot of weeks are spent just trying to get through it with my sanity in tact.

When the phone rings at my house during the school day, I get nervous.  I do not want to answer it.  I do not even want to look at the caller id (I can't believe we use to live without that).  You know that you do it too.  Your palms get sweaty, your heart skips a beat, and your mouth gets dry.  Well, you do this if your kids are school-aged.  At my house, nine times out of ten, that phone call is from the school telling me that someone is sick or hurt.  That is always the begining of the snowball effect.  One kid get sick, another one gets sick, then the other one, and then they all trade illnesses or share them.  I'm all for kids sharing, but what kids have been sharing with my kids lately (apparently a lot of germs), I could have done without.

This week we didn't even make it to noon on Monday before we got that dreaded call from the school.  My kindergartner had an earache (3rd one in as many weeks).  Here is where I have to admit that I did not really believe her.  She is my child that does not want to go to school, she wants to stay with me all day.  I feel as if sometimes she likes to make up excuses to come home, and she has found that the ear excuse works because she does have ear problems.  So being the smart mommy that I was giving myself credit to be, I picked her up and took her to the doctor to prove that she was not sick.  As we were
sitting in the waiting room at the doctor's office, she was almost in tears because she said that her ear hurt so bad.  I was starting to believe her, and feeling a little guilty at my doubt.  Meanwhile, my one-year-old who had to come along for the ride kept breaking free of my restraint and was running around the waiting room.  I was thankful that there were no sick children in the waiting room, only those in the well child waiting room that my toddler kept running up to.  After we got called back to see the doctor, I found out that my kindergartner did in fact have an ear infection.  At this point I was feeling pretty bad about not believing her ("mommy guilt").  Before the doctor got out of the room, I asked him to look at a
rash that my one-year-old had developed over the weekend to see if there was some kind of medicine that would make it go away.  However, it was not a rash, he diagnosed her with the chicken pox.  That's right, I said "chicken pox."  At this point I thought he was joking, I mean she had been vaccinated and this is not supposed to happen, that's why she had the shot.  Apparently I was wrong and they can still contract the chicken pox after the vaccination, just not as extreme of a case.  They wouldn't let us leave out the lobby after that,  In fact, they took my money for the visit in the room and checked us out there and made us leave out of the back door so that we wouldn't infect anyone in the office.  Sorry to the people in the well child waiting room that my chicken pox infected child was playing with, didn't know she was sick too....oops.  Oh and, since she was probably infected two weeks ago (because it takes that many weeks for them to break out), we probably infected the entire state and the neighboring states, double oops.  Just do not come knocking on my door in anger when an epidemic breaks out.

Thankfully my oldest child was not sick.  She was the only one that for the majority of the week I allowed to brave the mass public at school, while hoping that she did not catch some highly contagious infectious disease to bring home and share with the rest of us.  Did I mention that my husband was not home this week?  He did not get to share any of these wonderful experiences with us.  But my other kids did share.  The cold that caused te kindergartener to have the ear infection has been shared with the chicken pox girl (that makes for an even more miserable sleepness night) and the oldest child that was well. 
And as I sit here typing, I have begun to sneeze.  So you see, my goal for the week is to just make it through it and come out on the other side, which we almost have.... - Do you know how hard my week has been? Do you??!!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Seriously? Am I Being Punk'd?

Lately I have been looking around and trying to see if I see Ashton Kutcher.  Then I realized that he is old-school, so now I have been looking for Justin Bieber.  You see, lately I feel as if I am an a never-ending episode of Punk'd.  Seriously, I'm just waiting for someone to jump out and tell me that it is all a big joke, that none of this was real.  Sadly, no one does, so I trudge along usually feeling like I have been run over by a bus that I am sure my kids were driving.

I am blaming most of this on my husband, even though it is really not his fault (don't tell him that, it would ruin everything).  He has had to go out of town here recently and when he does, thing seem to really go down hill.  One kid developed pink eye, another one got an ear infection, and yet another one got a bladder infection.  Then the bladder infection went away, and she got an ear infection.  The one with the ear infection got well and then developed some form of school phobia.  The one with the pink eye got over it, and, because she is the oldest, was threatened to not get sick again or Mommy might die.  Oh, and the dog ran away, the cat started hocking up fur balls, and I lost a toe nail when ear-infection girl (the first one with it) stepped on my foot while trying to avoid the contagious hug from the pink-eye girl.  But, we eventually found the dog.  Just as I thought they were going to have to put me in a padded room, my husband came back and everyone seemed to miraculously get well (except for the school phobia, but that is for another story).

However, once the dominoes started falling, there have been events that still have me looking around for the Punk'd people.  Like the school phobia kid falling and doing the splits in a shallow, water-filled, muddy ditch when wearing the brand-new white dress I had just bought her to try to bribe her into wanting to go to school.  Oh, and we were not at home, so we had to drop everything and leave.  After we got home and I had gotten her clean and put the one-year-old down for a nap, I discovered that the one-year-old (who I had thought was asleep) had taken off her dirty diaper in the bed and made a mess with it.  Apparently, because I caught her doing something she was not supposed to be doing, I scared her when I came into her room  and she peed everywhere (keep in mind she was not wearing her diaper).  My husband is going out of town again today so  please excuse me while I go hide out in my dark garage for a little while hoping that no one under 5 feet tall finds me... - I am going to get a drink, go into the garage, sit in the dark, and hope that no one under 5 ft. tall can find me...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Letter to My Teenage Daughter

Dear Daughter,

I know that it is hard to believe that one day you will be a teenager, but you will.  That day scares me more than anything because it means that you are that much closer to leaving.  But for now, while you are still little (well, sort of little), I think I need to write down some things that you need to know about being a teenager.  I need to do this now before you turn into one and I lose my temper and my mind and forget the important points I wanted to make.

1.  Being a teenager is nothing like it is in the movies, or in a Taylor Swift video.  If you are considered a geek or a nerd, embrace it, do not be embarrassed of it and feel the need to be something you are not.  If you prefer to stay at home and read or study instead of riding around in the back of someone's pick up truck or driving too fast down a winding road, please stay home.  The people who judge you for it do not matter, and at least I will know that you are going to live to make it to college.  If boys make fun of you for being a loser, do not listen to them because you do not want to be with that kind of boy anyway.  If girls make fun of you for being who you are, you do not need them for friends so forget them.  If they call you ugly, just know that they are the ones who are ugly, especially on in the inside.  Be who you are and know that people will love you for that.

2.  If you do have a boyfriend (assuming your dad lets you get away with that), know that [usually] it is not the one you will be with forever (no matter what the boy says because believe me, he will try to convince you otherwise; just try to be smarter than he is).  It is high school.  High school ends and so do relationships.  I know you might feel like it is the end of the world, but it isn't.  You will meet more, hopefully ones that I approve of.  If you have to wait three years to have a date to a dance, it is ok, we will go out and buy you some new shoes so you will forget about it. Above all, don't worry about it, there are more important things even though you probably will not realize it at the time.

3.  Friends are human, they will let you down.  They will let you down more than once, and you will probably let them down at some point too.  If you are real friends, you will eventually overcome this.  If you weren't real friends, it is probably better to find out now and break ties for good.  I will take you for ice cream with all the toppings that you want and you won't even remember their names.

4.  Bad things happen sometimes.  I hope these things never happen to you or someone you know, but know if they do, I will always be there for you no matter what because I can never not love you.

5.  We may not always get along.  You may think you hate me or that I hate you, but I don't.  When you think this, I will bring out all of our family pictures and talk about how proud I will always be of you, even if you make bad decisions.  It's the decision, not you, that I am not fond of.

Above all, just be yourself and not who society, pop culture, friends, peers, or whoever else wants you to be. 

Mom (because I am sure by now you will no longer call me "Mommy", sniff)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"Happy Weight" - Does It Even Exist?

I have had the pleasure of the doctor telling me that I need to gain weight (this one time in middle school when I could not gain weight no matter what I ate..sigh), lose weight (I gained a little too much weight during my first pregnancy), and that I am the perfect weight (obviously told to me by a male doctor because a female would have known better), but what about a "happy weight"?  You know, that weight where you are not ashamed to go in public or wear a swim suit at the pool (assuming that there is a weight in which this exists); a weight in which you are satisfied.  Is there even such a thing?  Or are we trying to obtain something that does not exist?

I assume that most people are like me (that is my narcissism coming out) in that there is more than one "happy weight."   I know that I am much happier with my weight in the winter when I can layer clothing in order to hide the fact that I have been eating the kids' Christmas candy.  However, when the weather gets warmer and clothes get more revealing, I am less likely to be happy with my weight.  Of course my husband thinks I'm crazy, but he is male and he knows that he would suffer if he said anything less.  Until we are all equipped with vision that automatically Photoshops every one's appearance (I would like this
technology in my bathroom mirror, please), maybe we should not be so focused on looking "perfect." After all, even Kim Kardashian seems to fall victim to not being perfect enough to not be Photoshopped.

This crossed my mind this morning as I have three girls.  Those three girls gave me stretch marks, broken blood vessels, and gray hair (ok, maybe that last part is genetics), and I do not want them to be as concerned about their appearance as I am about mine.  Maybe chasing this "happy weight" that never seems to be attainable (because let's face it, even when you lose the amount of weight that you want to lose, there is always something else that you want to do to your appearance) is a waste of time.  Maybe instead I should focus on being happy that I am at a healthy weight, and ignore the broken blood vessels and stretch marks (I cannot ignore the gray hair, I dye it). Now, since that is settled, I will now proceed to go to my closet and eat the last Reese's egg from Easter. - Forget exercising, I'm running home to get the last piece of Easter candy before the kids get home...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Rules I Said I Wouldn't Break When I Became a Parent

Before I was a parent, it was easy to judge people who were parents.  I found myself constantly judging them and being horrified at what they were letting their children do or what they were doing for their children.  I was very judgmental.  Thank goodness I never told these people what I thought (I can only imagine the reaction that I would have received), I just kept it to myself and made a mental note of what I would and would not do when I had kids.  Here is the list of sins I vowed I would never commit:

1.  I will not let my baby watch TV.  When my children are old enough to watch TV, they will have a limited daily viewing time.
Reality:  I did not let my first child watch TV until she was two.  When she was two, I had our second child.  The second child got to watch TV from the day she was born because my then two-year-old was watching it.  Oh, and the "limited daily viewing time," yeah, that was how ever long I needed them to watch it in order for me to gain some sanity.  The TV stayed on the entire time that they were home and awake.  By the time that our third child came along, she watched it all day.  After all, it's like preschool on TV, right? I'm doing her a favor.  There is no way that I could teach her everything she has learned from the TV.  She would not believe me if I told her that the healthy food wanted to go the party in her tummy, but because she saw it on TV, it must be true.

2.  I will never let our baby sleep in the bed with us, that is too dangerous!
Reality:  When we brought our first child home from the hospital, where she slept like an angel, I assumed that she would also sleep well at home.  Wrong, apparently we needed a team of nurses to pass her back and forth in order to sleep.  We didn't have that luxury at our house, so one night when we were at our wits end, I put her in the middle of our bed in order to rest my arms.  Do you know what she did?  She fell asleep immediately.  From that moment on until she was ten months old, she slept between us in the middle of our bed.  Judge me if you want, but at least I was not sleep deprived.

3.  Our baby will have to adapt to our schedule, we will not adapt to the baby's schedule.  The baby will not run our life.
Reality:  I am really glad that I did not spew this wonderful advice to new parents before I had any experience on the subject, because I am pretty sure they probably would have slapped me, or worse.  I have news for everybody: your baby does not care what your schedule is or what you have planned.  If she wants to pitch a fit, take an unscheduled nap, poop through her clothes, projectile vomit across the department store, she will do it and there is nothing in this world that you can do about it.  Accept it, deal with it the best you can, and move on.

4.  I will not let my two-year-old have a pacifier in her mouth in public, it looks ridiculous for a child that old to be sucking on one.
Reality:  I do not care if my child is six, if there is something that makes her not scream and throw a tantrum in the middle of the store, by God, she can have it.  There are few things that we understand less before we are parents than how shopping with a screaming child can completely crumble our normally calm composure.  When your child is screaming through the store, every nerve in your body is standing on end and screaming right along with your child.  If there is something that you can stick in their mouth to make them hush, then so be it.  Pacifier it is, I do not care how old they are.  Silly non-parent for judging the quiet three-year-old sucking on their pacifier.  Little do they know that their shopping experience has also been made more pleasurable by that pacifier.

5.  I will not let my child take over the radio in my car.  I will not let an infant/toddler/child dictate what I will and will not listen to in the car.
Reality:  "Oh, watching The Wiggles will make you stop screaming so loud that the cars next to us at the stoplight are looking at us finny?  Ok,  you are right, 'Toot Toot Chugga Chugga Big Red Car' is a better song than anything Carrie Underwood or John Mayer could ever sing."  Let's face it, when dealing with screaming kids, listening to anything that will knock the noise level down a notch or two is worth it.  And knowing all of the words to "Just Like a Rockstar" by the Fresh Beat Band could come in handy some day.  I'm not sure when, but when I find out, I will let you know. - Oh, to take back all of the advice I spewed to new parents, before I was ever a parent, about what they should or shouldn't do as parents....

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ode to my Minivan

My perfectionism can be annoying.  It can cause me not to sleep if the kitchen is not clean.  It is not that way with everything.  I like to think of myself as having "selective perfectionism." I care if the dishes are clean, but not if the clothes are clean.  I care that everything is "picked up," but not that the floors are immaculate.  And then there is the car...well, minivan.

There are days when I wonder if my van will ever be clean again.  Currently my minivan looks as if there has been a Cheerios snowstorm inside of it that also hailed dry, old French fries.  When we open the doors, things fall out.  That usually leaves us chasing a rolling sippy cup through a parking lot.  It is not just the one-year old's fault either, although she is the one who caused the snowstorm and hail, it is also the older children's fault.  By older we are talking six and eight.  They are little trash hoarders.  The two of them sit in the back of the van and are in charge of keeping their area clean.  I have news for everyone, their area is not clean.  It is not even remotely clean.  I am not sure that a trash dumpster is not cleaner than the back seat of our van.  There are little pieces of paper stashed everywhere.  If you open up their cup holders, you will find sucker sticks with no suckers on the sticks because they ate them and conveniently forgot to throw away the sticks.  They get these at the drive through at the bank or when leaving the doctor's office (that is our home away from home; we should pay them rent we are there so much, but instead we just take their suckers and run hoping not to be back for at least a couple of days), and you can't tell the bank lady "no" when she offers suckers because that appears rude.  So I let them have them with the reminder that they have to throw away the sticks when we get home.  Of course they say they will and of course they end up in the cup holder along with broken crayons that are melted (I do not know how they smuggled crayons in the car in the first place).

The carpool line is really embarassing; especially since I have to go through two carpool lines. So the embarassment isn't over after the first stop, I get to experience it again two minutes later.  When the teachers put the kids in the car, I am silently praying that they will not notice the weather conditions in the van, which has been the snow and hail storm, nor the fact that my sweet, adorable children are really just a couple of trash hoarders.  Sometimes, if I am lucky, the one-year-old is screaming so loud by the time that I pull my car up to the teachers, they throw my kid in really fast and shut the door without noticing the disaray of my van.

I notice other vans that drive by me in the carpool line that have their doors already open awaiting their clean, non-trash-hoarding kids to jump in their van, and I wonder how they can keep their van so clean.  If I were to drive through the carpool line with my van doors open, I would be fined for litering because of all of the things that would fall or fly out of my car.  I am sure my van will be clean one day. One day when my kids are no longer at home and I am not sitting in carpool lines or waiting for children to finish one of their activities.  Until that sad day is upon me, I think I will keep my messy van (with the doors shut). - Did you see her van? I don't know how all those kids fit in there with all that trash!!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Unspoken Rules Parents Ignore

School programs.  If you have school-aged children, you have been to at least one of these.  If your child has been in school for several years, you have been to a countless number of these.  Still, parents seem to not understand the rules of a school program.  Apparently all politeness goes out in the window with the parents' goal of seeing their child.  Because they are the only child in the program.  At least that is the impression that some parents give.  There are rules, unspoken ones that should be followed by all in attendance.

First of all, if you bring smaller children to the program, which I do, please do not allow them to stand in their chair in order to see.  There are people behind them who would also like to see.  I do not care if you are in the back row, it is still rude.  If you want your smaller child to see, stand in the back and hold them up.  Or, now here is a bright idea, get there early enough to get a front row seat.  I know that this is hard, so just order the video and your smaller child can watch it on tv.

Second, for those parents who brought another child with them, please do not let them "roam."  They are not in a pasture, they should be sitting down.  I do not care how cute they are, they are disturbing the other people who are trying to watch the program.  Yes, these people are there to see their kids, not yours, so make your munchkins stay in their seat.  Or strap them down in a stroller like I do mine.

Next, if there are people standing up at the back of the room or on the sides, do not stand in front of them.  You are not a window, they cannot see through youI don't care if you are shorter, they were there first and they are standing there for a reason: to see their kid in the program.  If you stand in front of them, they cannot see.  Oh, and do not act surprised if you receive a "look" as they step around you in order to see.

The last one goes out to the school.  Stop scheduling programs so early in the morning.  When you do this, the parents who are trying to attend the program are fighting the car pool line and buses to try to get into the school parking lot to park and get into the school in order to get a seat before they are all taken so they don't end up sitting behind a child who is standing in their seat.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Keeping Up With the Joneses

You've lived there.  You know, next to "The Joneses."  The place where you are always trying to keep up with them and in some cases compete and surpass them.  I've lived there.  No, really, right next to them, our neighbors were actually Mr. and Mrs. Jones.  And we kept up with them.  Then we moved. 

The thing about "keeping up with the Joneses" is such a waste of time.  I've been there, I know.  The grass is always greener and your life will always be better and you will always be happier "if only we had...."  That is a bunch of hogwash (insert worse word here).  We had the hand-scraped hardwood floors, stainless steel kitchen with the granite counter tops, fabulous staircase, study with bookshelves, fancy dining room, valuted ceilings, outdoor fireplace, and more square footage than we actually lived in.  No kidding, I lived there.  The fact is though is that it did not make me happy.  I thought that once we moved into that house I would never again utter the words "wouldn't we be happier if we had....."  Truth is, things don't make you happy, people make you happy.  That house cost more and my kids still spilled apple juice on the hand-scraped hardwood floors just like they did on the other floors in our other house.  The granite counter tops got sticky just like the laminate countertops at our other house.  The kids still made a mess of their bedrooms just like they did at our other house (only this time I had to climb a fleet of stairs to clean them).  You know what wasn't just like our other house?  How much longer it took me to clean that square footage that we couldn't live without and the amount of money that it took to heat and cool the rooms with the vaulted ceilings.

That was then, this is now.  Like I said, we moved.  This time we got a more "sensible" more our style.  We don't have hardwood floors, we have carpet (even though when it is time to replace the carpet my husband is pushing for hardwood floors), our counters aren't granite and our appliances are white.  There is no fabulous staircase, it is all on one floor (so yes, I have gained 5 pounds because I'm not doing stairs a hundred times a day anymore).  I can stand on a stool and touch the ceiling (this fact alone dropped our electric bill $200).  You know what else?  We are a happier family because of it.  We love our house, we love our life, and we love each other.  There is no more "keeping up with the Joneses," we keep up with ourselves (this is a big enough chore with all of the extra-curricular activities). - Smaller house? Does this mean I don't have to clean as much?