Wednesday, July 27, 2016

To My Child On The Day You F#@% Up

Hey Kid!

I'm writing this to you while you are still cute and somewhat innocent. You still love your dad and me and the sun and moon revolve around hugs, kisses, and tickle fights with us. I love that you still think we are the coolest people in the world and you want to spend all of your time within a half inch of us. You even beg us to watch you pee and insist on us looking at your poop.

No empty laps are allowed in this house.
Layne, you begged me to watch you poop and cried when I wouldn't hold your hand.
(You can thank Kayden for ripping off the toilet paper holder the first time, and your handy work for the second time)
I know this will all fade soon and things will change. You'll want to go out at night and hang out with your friends more than us. Love interests will take over your thoughts and I'm sure that grabbing pizza as a family will result in eye-rolling and death looks. 

There is one thing I know for sure, you will fuck up at some point.

It might be something big and life changing, or something that won't matter a few years down the road, but seems like the end of the world at the moment. One thing we know for sure; it will happen eventually. I want you to know a few things for when this does happen. 

Tell us first.
Finding out through the grapevine doesn't sit well with us. We want to hear it from the horse's mouth. Take responsibility, suck it up and tell us. 

We will yell.
Your dad and I love you more than anything else, we truly do. We are also very passionate people, in that slash your tires then buy you new ones type of way. So just be prepared. Your dad will say one too many cuss words, and I will lecture your ear off. But we can't yell forever, and we will eventually calm down. Just give it a minute, or ten.

There will be consequences.
Everything has a consequence. No, we will not run to your teacher and defend your case when you mess up, they are right and you are wrong. No, we won't try to "fix" everything around you so that you don't feel pain/loss/disappointment. These are all things that you will always have to deal with in life, better get used to it.

The world will keep turning. 
You might feel like nothing can fix it, and everything is ruined. Guess what though? The morning after, the sun will come up, and every morning after that. You might have to fight through some challenges, but every day will be new again.

We live in a world right now where parents are trying to bubble wrap the world around their kids. Everything is about warm fuzzies, participation trophies and being sure no one's feelings are hurt. Sorry buddy, you drew the old school straw for parents.

We won't try to be the perfect parents that make sure you your fuck ups don't really effect you, and instead pass the blame to someone else. We won't sugar coat life for you. There will be hard work, tears, and sweat; accept it and move on. 

But we will love you, be your support and your shoulder to cry on. We will try to provide you with the life skills in order to turn every stupid mistake you make into a learning opportunity.

And as I write this with you next to me, I just want to remind you. You just told your father and me that we are "the best!" Remember that in 10 years while you are stomping upstairs and living in a bedroom that has lost its door because you slammed it one too many times. 

Love,

Mom

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Finding Our NEW Normal

Check out my newest post on The Huffington Post here. I'd love for you to comment/share/post it on a billboard, whatever your heart inclines you to do!

Finding Our NEW Normal

Something is happening in our family that hasn’t occurred in the entire 10 years that Jason and I have been together. I’m excited about it. He’s excited, but apprehensive, and the boys can’t fully wrap their heads around it. Jason will only be working one job!

Here’s some background. He’s worked his current full-time job our entire relationship and then helped his dad with a side business up until 4 years ago when he became a partner. Two years ago he bought his dad out and we’ve been running it like a full-time part-time job ever since. He’d work 40-60 hours at his main job and then another 20+ on the side.

We never saw him. He missed weekend wake-ups, nightly dinners, bath time and hearing all of the boys’ goofy stories. Weekend trips were just the kids and I because he had to work. He’d go days sometimes without seeing the boys and only seeing me for an hour or so before I fell asleep. He was tired all of the time and testy.

I got to the point where I became resentful. We didn’t NEED the money from the side business, my husband was just a workaholic, and that drive was causing him to miss so much. So after a long, hard and stressful week a couple months ago, he put an end date on the calendar.  His side business would be done.

As of today, it is. There are a few loose ends to tie up, but overall, we are done! I couldn’t be happier! The boys are adjusting, they keep asking on the weekends, “Why are you here daddy?” It makes me smile, but breaks my heart that that was all they’ve ever known.

There is a struggle though that I didn’t foresee. A recovering workaholic…..it’s a thing! We are having to make adjustments, and it’s hard. He needs projects and lists; something to keep his hands busy once he’s off for the day. On the weekends he can’t just hang out and relax, he goes crazy! Fishing is something he’s always enjoyed, and he’s finally gotten back into it. We run a lot of errands as a family, go to the farmer’s market, and took him to his first splash pad experience!

Photo credit: Tori Bruno Photography
He’s getting more time with the boys than ever before! I laugh when he gets frustrated by some of the things the boys do, but that don’t faze me, because to me it’s normal. There is the whining over what’s for dinner, the fighting over who goes potty first or the crying for mommy for every bump they get.




Layne learning man skills!
As many things that he finds  irritating, there are moments I’ve witnessed that warm my heart and am so happy to see! There are the endless amount of stories being read aloud while I cook dinner, living room wrestling matches, daddy/son fishing outings, and extra weekend naptime kisses.

Photo credit: Eric Francis Photography
Photo credit: Eric Francis Photography
Photo credit: Eric Francis Photography

Sunday will be six years we’ve been married, and we are celebrating it with a family camping trip. The man I married in 2010 is not the man I sleep next to at night in 2016. He’s more selfless, caring and gentle than ever before. Our marriage is growing as we learn to be around each other more. It seems crazy, but it’s like we are starting a new book in our life, not just a chapter. I look forward to see where this sequel leads! 

Photo credit: Tori Bruno Photography
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Friday, July 15, 2016

5 Reasons I'm Not "Super Mom"

I get told a lot that I'm "Super Mom" by friends and family. Maybe it's that I take all 4 boys on outings alone? Really I'm just too much of an extrovert to stay within four walls all day long without interacting with society. Maybe it's the amount of shit I clean up daily? I am impressed by it myself. Maybe it's that I've not been committed to an asylum yet? Although there are some days I've thought of self-committing and calling it a 24-72 hour vacation. I don't know. As flattered as I am to hear that, knowing that it is always from a place of good intention, I'm totally NOT one at all! 

1. I Yell
Bless those mothers that don't raise their voice over the appropriate church level decibel, I've never been that soft spoken. I'm constantly competing to be heard (call it the middle child syndrome) and therefore often sound like I'm in the trying to have a conversation at a rock concert. "WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR SNACK?" "DO YOU HAVE TO POOP!?" "STOP TRYING TO PICK YOUR BROTHER UP BY HIS NECK!"

2. I Create Unrealistic Fears
I'm not proud of this, but sometimes things fall out of my mouth and I can't shovel them back in. Kids are sponges and they take everything I say to heart. So yes, monsters are on the other side of the garage (along with sharp objects and greasy car parts), opening the bedroom window will cause bugs to come in and sting everyone (as well as make falling from the second story more likely), and constantly opening the access panel to the fireplace will make the flies come out and get you (while messing up every single function that it has).

3. I Ignore My Children
How many times can I repeat the same answer to the same question in a 7 minute time frame? The block dinosaur with an elephant nose was cute the first 9 times it was built. So when I've hit my limit for the day, I shut off. I give generic answers to things I'm not even sure I understand. I've probably agreed to things that I typically wouldn't, but hey, we're still alive!

4. TV Is My Bestie
I'm convinced that I wouldn't have made it as a stay-at-home mom during the pre-television times. Sometimes (ok, several times during the day), I need the kids to stop trying to kill each other and destroying the house so that I can get something accomplished. The whole, "they are only little for so long, cleaning or cooking can wait," saying is fine until you're up to your armpits in dirt, laundry and take out boxes. Mama has to get something done, and if some Mickey Mouse or PJ Masks can help me, then I'm game!

5. Fed Kids Are Happy Kids
I'm not saying that every time my kids present an emotion I shove food down their throats causing them to have food issues. But my kids definitely have the hangry attitudes with the slightest inkling of hunger or thirst. So our days revolve around their meal times. Yeah I'll pack 12 snacks for a four hour outing, and they may end up not wanting to eat lunch because of it. But hey, at least we didn't have a full on diva style meltdown while we were out! And I also possibly promised them a "special treat," like two marshmallows, if they would get in their car seats without fighting me. Positive reinforcement, right?


As you can see my parenting faults are pretty awesome, but this is what I know, and how I survive! I would love a cape though, maybe one that said, "I Fuck Up Daily!" I'd rock the hell out of that at Target and the grocery store!

This is what happens when #3 happens!


On a side note, I would love to thank everyone that showed me so much love with my first Huffington Post article! Your warm words, congratulations and shares made me blush! If you missed it, here is the link.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Camping: Fantasy vs. Reality

We recently bought a camper, and I’m beyond excited about it! I wasn’t raised in a camping lifestyle, but I was always jealous of kids that were! So when the hubs and I took the plunge and got one, all of my thoughts shifted to how much fun we were going to have with the boys and the memories that would be made.

The camper came home on Thursday night and like any other crazy people, we decided we would take it out of Friday for the long Fourth of July weekend……along with every other RV and tent owner!

Our failed attempt at a picture on the water's edge!

And then the crazy began, and I realized how different my fantasy of camping versus reality was!

Bunk Beds

Fantasy: Every kid will get their own bed! It will be glorious, because we won’t have the “He’s touching me/taking my blanket/looking at me,” argument!

Reality: It’ll look like a rave with strobe lights till midnight, because the genius who put the camper together gave every bunk their own flip on/off light, or two and children were blessed with fingers that have to touch everything! Not to mention multiple kids falling out of the bunks on different nights, and onto their siblings, waking everyone!

Because this is totally safe!
Outdoor Fun

Fantasy: The kids will run outside and play like crazy until they are dead on their feet!

Reality: It rained for nearly our first 24 hours straight and the kids ran back and forth in the camper like we had just given them 12 candy bars….so much so we drove the 5 miles back home for nap on day 1!
We did make it to the playground eventually!



"Mom the tree is all fuzzy! Let me rub it!"

No he isn't twerking.....just walking like a bear!

Campfires

Fantasy: We will sit around the campfire and cook s’mores and hot dogs while laughing and looking at the stars.

Reality: Kids will throw every goddamn item they can into the fire until mom loses her shit and then we will sit inside while dad cooks the hot dogs and s’mores and brings them inside. And when they are around the fire, they will get so damn close mom will have multiple episodes of pure panic!
This was a rare moment....and it lasted for 37 seconds!

How to keep a baby away from the fire!

Technology Free

Fantasy: We will focus on family time and not have any screens, because kids can be outside looking at nature.

Reality: Technology withdrawals are legit and we might've just drove home to get the iPad because a 2 year old at 6am when everyone else is either sleeping or in their pajamas is too much to handle before the coffee has been brewed!

Fishing
Fantasy: Everyone one will sit by the lake for hours casting and if we are lucky we will catch a few.

Reality: Mom and dad will cast out for everyone while they reel it in as quickly as possible! One will get lucky and catch a fish! Oh, and this will all happen for ten minutes, and then they are over it and want to leave, throw bobbers in the water, play in the mud or all of the above!


Layne caught it by himself! He was very proud, but needed some help from dad getting it out of the water!

Paitence had worn off.
"Mom I'm just going to shoot the fish, ok?" -Kayden

Relaxing Evenings

Fantasy: Kids will go to bed at a decent hour, and we will have some lovely couple time drinking around the campfire!

Reality: Children become allergic to sleep and once they finally crash, we run to bed as quickly as possible because we are exhausted!

Camping “Neighbors”

Fantasy: We would make friends with whoever was around us and maybe share a beer or two with them!

Reality: Our kids would ask repeatedly “where’s that old guy’s shirt,” while Jason hears the man’s entire life story, and we wouldn’t see our other neighbor except for him to come borrow our hose.

Dirt

Fantasy: Kids will get dirty, but we'll hose them off before bed, it'll be fine!

Reality: Mom's OCD in a brand new camper kicks in and the kids that are MUDDY as hell have to strip outside before they are allowed in!







After all of this though, I’m still super in love with camping! We had more time with daddy than we have in a very long time and it was amazing! I look forward to many more exciting mini-vacation weekends to come!

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