Crap! It’s Summer Again… Now What?!

It is my experience that most people look forward to summer.

I don’t like those people.

Since I happen to be a mom of school aged children, I hate summer… loath it, don’t want it to start. I tried to rip June, July and August off the calendar and hide those months until my husband informed me that that was just a dumb plan and really wouldn’t keep summer from coming.

Ok, fine.

We will have summer.

But I am not going to like it.

Ok, that’s not true. I’ll like it, well I want to like it.  It’s just that I have gone soft. I am not used to the kids home all day every day being all up in my business.

boys being silly

I’m not used to their non-stop crazy antics like what the hell is a banana fart and why does it involve trying to pull over the dinner table.

I mean, last summer about near killed me. By the end of July, I contemplated breaking the law just for a stint in Jail because Jail sounded like a little slice of heaven.

Yeah, it was bad. If you don’t believe me… just ask my liver. We still aren’t on speaking terms.

Anyway, you get it. I was dreading the end of school.

But then it hit me.

I am a strong, smart, college educated woman. I have life experience. I can do something about this. I can plan. I am good at planning. I can organize. I am so so about organizing.

I put my girl panties on and asked myself, what is it about the school year that I like besides the fact that the kids are going from the house for more than 6 hours a day?

And I answered myself, “The schedule!”

We have a routine. Its all laid out. The kids know what is going to happen, I know what is going to happen. It’s wonderful.

Then it hit me, so simple, so genius, so awesome… Let’s have a daily summer schedule that is posted so that the kids know what is going to happen when. It will be laminated because laminated things mean business and are respected. Then when the kids are ‘board’ or asking to watch TV or play video games for the 87th time in the first hour of being awake, I can just point at the schedule.

Bam! Done! Shut your mouth and do it!

The other thing that is a sanity savor for this summer is activities. Things to go and do so that we are not just stuck at home looking at each other. Things that get us out and let us experience the world… or at the very least the city where we live.

But going out and doing things can get very expensive and before you know it you can spend your whole wine fund on sending kids to summer camps and we all know that it just unacceptable.

Now don’t throw out the baby with the bath water just yet, tempting as that my be and  turn to your trusty friend the Internet, Facebook and even talk to people, yes real face to face conversations with people, and you will find little gems like Michael’s Passport to Imagination program.

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Michael’s, you know the craft store, has a summer crafting program for kids. It’s for kids ages 5 and up held across the country at Michael’s stores. It happens Monday, Wednesday and Friday starting June 16 to August 1st from 10am to 12pm and it’s only $2 per kid.

For me that’s $8 for 2 hours of entertainment for the children. That’s crazy talk because getting them to clean the basement costs me at least $20… and they don’t even like doing that.

This year, Michael’s has partnered with 7 of North America’s best museums to create a museum road trip. Each day, kids will experience culture through crafts with projects inspired by world-class museum exhibits.

Hot damn! I’m signing my kid’s up.

It’s a win win situation. The kids get to learn cool things and they get to craft with crafting professionals at a craft store which will keep the glitter use to a minimum at my house meaning the dinner table will not look like a stripper’s closet threw up on it.

Stages of a Butterfly

We are so going next week, maybe twice so make sure and watch for stories of our experience.

And in the mean time… Good luck to us all. We are gonna need it.

 

 

*I was not compensated to write this post… I was given a gift card to attend the Passport to Imagination program but I would have attended it anyways because kids love crafting and I have to do something with these kids. 

 

Boys are Dumb

Elmo

Sometimes I feel really bad for my daughter being in a house of mostly boys. If it wasn’t for me, she’s be truly the only girl because even the cats are boys.

Don’t get me wrong, she totally holds her own against her brothers. She is after-all a tom boy and when that doesn’t suit her, she is bossy as hell which she comes by naturally because she is my daughter.

It’s just that no matter how much she tries to be like the boys, she can’t be a boy. Those natural born, genetically given, imprinted girl tendencies will always come out . She can’t help it which means no matter how hard she tries she, like me, will never fully understand boys.

For example, whacking a tree with a stick. The boys do this. They get great joy in performing this task and will go at it for hours on end but when asked to explain why? Why do they do this? They will just shrug their shoulders and pick up a rock to throw at other rocks.

It makes no sense to me. I have just come to the conclusion that there it must have something to do with the penis. There must be something in that organ that makes these acts make sense to them. And since I will never have a penis, I will never understand it.

Claire is slowly grasping this concept.

It’s difficult for her. All she knows is brothers and their weirdness and since she wants to be included with her brothers and their play, it’s a daily struggle. But sometimes, when she’s feeling girly and those female tendencies are at their highest and she can’t take it anymore.

“… yeah and then Elmo’s head will explode,” Jake said in between bites of waffle.

“Next his body. It’ll explode all over the street,” Quinn chimed in making Jake and Hayden snort with laughter.

“And his purple blood will be all over the place making the buildings explode,” Jake said, gesturing with his hands.

“The explosion will be HUGE… EPIC!” Hayden added.

“Elmo’s exploding head,” Jake said, now beside himself with laughter.

“STOP IT! STOP IT!” Claire yelled at the top of her lungs across the breakfast table which made the boys laugh harder and broke me of my Facebook reading trance.

“Claire, don’t yell,” I scolded.

“But mom,” she whined. “Make them stop. Tell them to stop talking about explosions.”

When she said that word the boys snickered and giggled again like they were all 13 and in a room where there was naked boobies.

I sighed at her request. My sluggish not fully caffeinated brain trying to comprehend what was happening.

“Boys, stop it,” I said halfheartedly, just trying to keep the peace.

Claire gave me her, ‘mom that’s totally not gonna work’ look because she thinks at times she is a better mother than me and pushed back her chair to take her dirty dishes to the sink. The boys once again started discussing Elmo’s head exploding and purple blood going every where.

“Why do they have to talk about exploding so much?” she said looking at me, waiting for an answer that would enlighten her.

“I don’t know,” I said after a sip of coffee.

She wasn’t satisfied and she stared at me, her eyes begging for knowledge and understanding.

Then I felt like I could keep the secret no longer. I had to give it to her, I had to give her the only answer that has been keeping girl’s (and women) sane since the beginning of time.

“Boys are dumb.”

 

Mama’s Losin’ It

This is my Body and I Love it for You

I lay on the couch on yet another snow day morning, another day stuck home with the children. At this point in time, I had lost count at how many days we had been home and had long stopped caring if the children ate, slept, pooped or wore clothes.

I couldn’t have told you when I last showered or even if my underwear was clean. Putting on a bra or real pants seemed like an impossible task for you see, we were snowed in but there was also the plague making it’s way through the house.

Snot was flowing and puke was spilling. This is the stuff that makes day drinking happen.  It was so bad, I knew the inevitable should happen… I had to clean the house.

But later.

I adjusted my position on the couch, turning more on my side and as I scooted my shirt pulled up revealing my stomach. I was playing on my phone, it didn’t matter to me.

She came out of no where as she often does when I’m laying down. It’s funny she never wanted to cuddle as a baby, always wanted out of my arms, miss independent so similar to me. But as the years have past, she never misses an opportunity to crawl on top of me and nestle her head just under my chin.

mother and daughter

She seems to need to be close, breath me in.

I never push her away even when she decides to cuddle at the most inconvenient times like during ‘wrestling’ between me and her father but that’s what happens when we forget to lock the door.

She crawled on top of me, sticking her bony child knee in my groin causing me to scream.

“Sorry mommy,” she said with a giggle but not stopping on her way up.

She lay her head down, I wrapped my arm around her and I could feel her relax. I continued reading on my phone and she began to trace the lines of my shirt.

She traced the scoop neck of my tank top and with a hint of mischief, let her finger slide over my breasting knowing that she shouldn’t touch it because breasts are one of those special parts no one gets to touch (at least for now, I’ll talk to her about ‘2nd base’ when she’s older).

Her finger reached my exposed belly, “Mommy, your shirt is too small. I can see your belly.”

My normal reaction would be to quickly pull down my shirt, covering a part of me that I’m not the most proud of, that’s not ‘perfect’ and don’t want people to see. My body would tense and cringe. I would usually swat her hand away as she tried to touch it, telling her no. But this time, this time I decided to just let her touch.

I decided the message was to important.

I want to raise a strong and confident daughter. I want her to know she’s beautiful because she is. I want her to embrace her imperfection and know that she is perfect because she is who she is and there is no such thing as the perfect body. I watch her watch me as I look in the mirror and do my makeup. She questions why I wear it, what I like about it. She watches me dress and stress over clothes that will hide those areas I don’t like. She hears me say things like, “Ugh this makes me fat.”

She sees my insecurities…. I need to let her see my confidence too.

My body is beautiful. It’s healthy. It’s strong. It’s sexy. It’s done amazing things; pushed on another’s chest to make blood pump when their heart had stopped, turned on a man I’ve known and been with for more than 17 years and most importantly, my body has given life to 4 children, 3 of whom lived inside me all at once.

I want her to know that I am proud of this body of mine and I have earned every scar, freckle, wrinkle and stretch mark. Well, some I earned and some were just given.

She traced the stretch marks on my stomach, buried her finger deep in my belly button and poked my stomach to watch the squish wiggle. I didn’t say a word, just watched her, let her see I wasn’t ashamed.

Her hand went flat and she placed it on my stomach then laid her head on my chest.

“My momma,” she said. “…pretty and squishy.”

I kissed the top of her head and held her close. She stayed a few more seconds and just like that she was gone but I can only hope the message, though it will need re-enforcing, will always stay with her.

 

 

The Mirror

“What should we get mom for her birthday?” Jeff asked as he drove, Hayden and I to the restaurant to celebrate Hayden’s 9th birthday.

“I don’t know?” Hayden said from the back seat.

“Well, what does mom like?” Jeff asked

I looked up in the rear facing mirror at Hayden and waited for the answer. This was going to be good.

“A new phone,” Hayden said with a smile. “Mom really likes her phone, we should get her a new one.”

Jeff snickered and Hayden beamed for making Jeff laugh but those words hit me right in the heart. They stung deep. I tried to smile and brush them off as Jeff asked Hayden what else I liked.

“Maybe some coffee or new sunglasses, mom is always wearing her sunglasses even when it’s not sunny…” Hayden rambled on. I couldn’t focus on the conversation because in my head, I was beating myself up.

I know he didn’t mean to hurt me. I know he was just being honest and it’s true. I do love my phone and it’s usually always in my hand. But I suddenly wondered, is that all he sees of me? Does he think I want to be on my phone more than with him?

My kids are excellent mirrors.

They seem to have no problem finding my flaws and reflecting them back at me. Every little ugly thing about myself, they magnify. I see it and it stings. It’s like a constant reminder that I had no idea what I am doing as a mom. They don’t do this on purpose, it’s just a fact.

I am a yeller.

I feel like I’m struggling to be heard. The noise of life is all around and to cut the chaos, I yell. It’s also my stress release. I’m like a pressure cooker ready to burst and to release that pressure so that I can focus, I yell. I yell at my kids and during some conversations my throat is raw afterwards.

“I just don’t know how to parent without yelling,” I lamented to my mom as we sat and ate lunch. “And that means I’m raising children who yell at each other, yell at me.”

She looked thoughtfully at me and then because she is my mother and still after 30 plus years of being a mother is at times insecure, she asked, “Was I a yeller? Did you get that from me?”

I didn’t mean to be her mirror and reflect her flaw but because I am her child, I did.

A smile spread across my face, “I don’t remember you yelling.”

We got quiet and both took bites of food, kind of both seemingly pondering motherhood.

She was the first to break the silence, “Say, you didn’t tell me that you made a crafty tail-mix snack for Hayden to take to school as his birthday treat.”

“Well, I didn’t think it was that big of deal,” I said as I took another bite.

“When Hayden was at my house, he went on and on about how the two of you worked together, pouring all sorts of treats into a big bowl, stirring it up and then putting it in little bags that he decorated with Halloween stickers. He was so proud that he got to make this treat with his mom and then give it to his friends,” she said. “From what he told me,  you made like 30 little bags. Wow.”

I looked at her as a single tear rolled down my cheek and I released the breath I didn’t know I was holdinhg.

“H-h-he said all that?” I asked, my voice getting caught in my throat.

“Yes,” she nodded.

I couldn’t help the second tear that rolled down my face.

“That was a bad day,” I began. “We had gymnastics that night. And homework to get done before going and then I added this project…. all I remember was yelling at them to stop stealing pieces of candy and to stop sneezing on the bowl.”

“Well, all he remembers is that you took the time to make an extra special treat and that you did it together,” my mom said.

I wiped the tears from my cheeks.

“It really wasn’t that big of deal,” I shrugged, trying to lessen the situation.

My mom reached over the table, took my hand and looked me right in the eyes, “Yes, sweetie. It was… to Hayden.”

And that’s when I realized, he didn’t remember the yelling either.

 

I’ve Got Vine and It’s Fine

So I know that I haven’t been in this space much. This ‘ole blog and me have kind of grown apart.

I’m not sure yet if the relationship can be fixed or not. Don’t worry I am still writing…. more on that later.

Also, I have a bad case of ‘Social Media killing the Blogging Star’. I don’t post much here but I am all over Twitter, Instagram, (sometimes Facebook) and Vine.

vine-image-21

Don’t know what Vine is? Well, it’s video app that you can get for your phone where you can make 6 second videos that loop. I love it. It’s another media for me to be able to spew my random thoughts and give you a chance to ‘see’ me doing so.

I thought it would be fun for me to make a compilation of all Vines that I made in September (with a couple Instagram videos in there too). You know, in case you missed them or just want to see my hilarity again.

See, isn’t awesome? I bet you can’t wait until next month’s compilation because there will be a next month’s compilation.

And if you’d like to see some of the funniest Vines from the app for the month of September, check out this YouTube video.

This post is part of Mama Kat’s Vlogging Workshop.

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*if you can’t see my video click here*

 

Similar Names and Awkward Text Messages

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I have a problem.

My husband and my best friend have very similar names. Well, kind of similar in the fact that in both their names the first two letters are the same and in both their last names the first two letters are the same.

My husband is Jeff Mitchell and my bestie is Jen Mil… (not sure she wants her name on the Internet so I’ll protect her innocence from you all crazy stalkers)

See, not exactly the same but very close. It confuses me and has produced a some awkward situations.

These two people are the people that I text most so they are both on the top of my texting list. I have been know to send a bitchy text about my husband meant for my bestie to my husband. Or a sexy text meant for my husband to my bestie. Or worse a text about how I want to jump the hot construction worker that just winked at me meant for my bestie but sent to my husband.

It’s all good. Jeff will just text me back saying, “Are you sure you wanted this to go to me?”

I can almost see the eye roll through the phone.

Another way I get confused is that by their responses. Since I am constantly texting these two, I will often not pay close enough attention to the sender.

If I just sent Jeff a text and then my phone beeps with a new text message I just assume it’s from him when  a lot of times it’s actually from Jen.

This just happened recently.

I had texted Jeff something about something he needed to do after work for the kids. I don’t remember specifically but probably something along the lines of ‘Hey dude. Don’t be a dumbass and forget to pick up our kids’ or ‘Can you get milk because our kids guzzle it by the gallon daily and we really need a cow’.

I hit send and then went back to scrolling through Facebook to pass the time.

As I was scrolling a text banner flashed across the top of my iPhone meaning I had a new text message. I glanced up, quickly saw a ‘Je’ and then part of the message that said “my dress keeps riding up when I sit down…”

Not exactly the message one would get from their husband but my brain processed it and I said to myself, “Huh, I don’t remember Jeff wearing a dress this morning. I wonder which dress of my dresses Jeff borrowed to wear to work?”

I paused for a moment.

This is didn’t make sense. I probably needed to read the whole message. I felt like I was missing something. Something was off. I wasn’t getting the whole picture.

I closed the app I was using and opened my text message.

“My dress is riding up when I sit down and my vagina is acting like a suction cup on the stool.”

Well now this was weird. I know my husband does not have a vagina. I checked that this morning. So I looked more carefully at the message and that’s when I realized, it was my bestie sending me the text and not my husband.

Whew.

Glad, I cleared that one up because I really didn’t want to share my dresses with Jeff. He just doesn’t have the boobs to make them look good.

 

Playing Tooth Fairy

Well, the triplets have reached that age.

No, not the age were we can send them off into the world to fend for themselves, tempting as that may be, that is not the age I am talking about.

The triplets have reached the age where they are loosing teeth. Dropping those little pearly whites like we have never brushed their teeth, taken them to the dentist and fed them sugar since birth.

Ok, maybe not dropping them that fast and so far only Jake and Quinn have lost teeth but I know more are coming. The dam is about to break and soon I may need mash up all their food since they won’t have any teeth left in their heads.

Every day one of them will tell me, “Mom, this tooth is loose or this tooth hurts.” I’m preparing myself to see a lot of toothless grins.

What does reaching this right of passage mean, besides the fact that the next time I blink my three babies will be asking for the keys to the car? Well, it means that Jeff and I get to play tooth fairy.

Childhood is grand for it’s innocence and the belief in magic. I’m all for keeping it that was as long as possible. It’s just that having to play tooth fairy or more honestly, remembering to play the tooth fairy is hard.

You would think that since it’s happening more and more often around this house it would get easier but no, it’s not.

I mean poor Quinn, the second tooth he lost the tooth fairy forgot to come for two nights in a row. How are she do that to him. Poor kid was crushed. And my mommy guilt was at an all time high so much so I begged Jeff to give me lashes with a wet noodle.

I don’t mean to forget and neither does Jeff but for some reason, slipping into their rooms and exchanging that tooth for a golden dollar is one of the most difficult things in the world. I think it would be easier to get Kim Kardashian’s stop being a reality TV star.

We’ve tried all kinds of ways to remember, setting alerts, writing notes, even asking the cat to remind us. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

boy with a lost tooth

This time it was Jake’s turn to loose a tooth. Actually, I pulled it out during our family movie night movie because I was kind of sick of seeing it dandle by a thread. It was his first loose tooth, the first one he lost and judging but the loose ones next to it, it won’t be long until another one can be yanked from his head.

As we tucked the kids in and said prayers, he put that tooth under his pillow and talked non-stop about how the tooth fairy would come. Jeff and I gave each other ‘the look’ and as soon as the kids were all in bed, Jeff retrieved a golden dollar from the hiding spot.

“What are you doing?” I ask as Jeff started up the stairs again.

“Going to make the exchange,” he said.

“Um… they just went to bed. We kinda have to wait until he’s asleep.” I said.

“Oh, yeah” Jeff answered as he walked back down. “Where should I put this so that we will remember to do it later?”

I stopped for a moment, that was the million dollar question.

“Just set it on the counter, then we’ll see it when we head to bed,” I said.

Jeff walked over to the counter and set the golden dollar down but then paused. “The only thing that setting his coin here will mean is that Jake will find it here and not under his pillow in the morning.”

I laughed, he had an excellent point.

“Do you have a better idea?” I asked.

He shrugged and I turned my attention to my phone that was beeping with some twitter love.

The night progressed as planned with Jeff and I settling in to watch a movie together which meant that soon all tooth fairy duties were forgotten.

We were mid movie when I needed a bathroom break.

“Pause it, please” I said as I jumped up and ran into our bedroom and to the bathroom.

I flipped the light on in the room and something on the bed made me stop. I walked over to investigate.

A baking pan?!

At first I was confused, why was there a baking pan on the bed? I almost gathered it up to put it away but then I saw the golden dollar and smiled. Jeff had placed the baking pan on the bed with the golden dollar in it so that he couldn’t get into bed without dealing with the pan and remembering to play tooth fairy.

Sometimes that husband of mine is completely brilliant.

I think I’ll keep him.