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.

PassportSummer_2014_pin_US

 

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. 

 

Let’s Get You Home

I woke up that morning with a big smile on my face. I didn’t toss and turn and avoid getting up and I only hit snooze button once instead of the usual five times.

Today was gonna be a good day, today my baby was coming home.

It didn’t really hit me that he was gone until we had returned home from dropping him off. As we walked in the house and the triplets scattered, I instantly felt a pain in my heart. Someone was missing.

And that’s when gates opened and I crumbled into a mess of sobs.

My oldest son away from home at camp for one week.

He was so excited to go, couldn’t wait for the day when he could go to overnight camp. I was so proud of him. Seven days away from home, not knowing a soul at camp and not even blinking an eye when we all said good bye.

But as the week progressed, my need for him increased. I couldn’t help but worry… Was he eating enough? Was he sleeping? Was he wearing sunscreen? Was he drinking enough water? Were the kids being nice to him? Was he changing his underwear? Was he having fun? Was he missing me?

I can’t tell you how many times I wished that I could just call and check on him. Every day, I would excitedly check the mail for a letter, a quick note, a random art project of feathers, something that would connect me to him but nothing came.

I told myself that this was a good thing. He was too busy to miss home, miss the family, miss… me. That’s how it should be after all.

But that still stings.

When we arrived at camp, I was giddy. I couldn’t help but smile. We had about 20 minutes to wait until the end of camp program started and it took all my self control to not run through camp like a lunatic yelling and shouting his name. Being in the same location as him but not being near him was killing me.

I just wanted him.

We decided to walk to the seating area and suddenly there he was. He popped up in the window of the dining hall. He was surrounded by friends and all smiles.

boy at summer camp

The triplets ran to him and he acted cool. He nodded at me and his dad, said something about needing to eat his toast and then was gone from sight.

I sighed.

There he was. I had laid eyes on him. He was wearing pajamas and a straw sombrero, his face was smudged with jelly and dirty but he was in one piece. He looked happy.

It was then I released the breath I didn’t know I was holding.

As the campers walked into the seating area and took the stage, I was flooded with memories of my time at summer camp. The freedom to be a kid. No parents nagging, no real rules to follow, just good times. I felt goose bumps prickle my arms as the kids sang some of their camp songs and I knew this would be a time he would never forget.

I watched my son pick at his hat, toss his shoe in the air and do anything but sing the songs. I smiled to myself, being away for a week really didn’t change him. He was still the same kid.

The ache in my arms grew stronger. I wanted him. I needed him. It was long past time.

All the campers filed out and were supposed to head back to their cabins and that’s where families would be reunited but I couldn’t wait.

The sombrero made him easy to find and from the way he was trying to play is cool but also wondering around looking, I knew he wanted me too.

“Hayden!” I called.

He didn’t hear me.

“HAYDEN!” I called again, louder but still he didn’t hear me.

“Hey,” I said this time close enough to touch his arm.

He turned to face me and literally fell into my arms and that’s when the tears began to fall as he tried to press his little but big body into mine trying to erase all the distance between us.

At first I was worried he was hurt but then I knew… he just missed me.

I held him. I held him as we stood together in the middle of a crowd of people. I held him as tight as I could.

And he held me back.

Finally, I pulled him off of me to get a good look at him.

Before me was my oldest son who, even though was only gone a week, looked older… more mature, more independent. He was also dirty. Probably the dirtiest kid I had ever seen.

He wiped the tears from his face making the dirt smudges worse, he said to me, “Mom, I ran out of underwear so my weenie is just dangling in my shorts.”

A spry smile spread across his face and I couldn’t help but laugh.

“Come on,” I said pulling him close and kissing his forehead, “let’s get you home.”

mom and summer camp boy

Crying over Sippy Cups

There is a drawer in my kitchen that holds nothing but sippy cups.

It used to be completely full with cups trying to make an escape when the drawer was opened but now there is only a handful left. That is because somewhere in the house, van or back yard there lies partially filled cups with old fermenting apple juice and chocolate milk cheese.

sippy cups

I don’t know exactly where these sippy cups go to but I do know that I will never see them again. They have gone the way of the missing socks from the dryer and that one flip flop that has been missing for about a year.

There is a part of me that wants to refill that drawer, go on a sippy cup shopping spree… get that drawer so full that we can’t close it.

But that isn’t right.

The truth is, there really shouldn’t be sippy cups in our house.

The kids have long out grown the need for them. They are totally capable of drinking out of a regular cup and have been for sometime. In fact, when they are home with their dad while I am working, the sippy cups don’t really make an appearance.

They are still around because of me. I am the one who just can’t part with those danm cups.

I just don’t think I could bare to pull open that drawer and not see sippy cups in there. The kitchen would sound so quiet without the rolling and rattling of those cups in that drawer. Some of those cups we have had since the days when Hayden was a baby. In fact, I still have and use the very first sippy cup, I bought for him.

Those sippy cups are the last remnants and reminders of the past. They are the last of the baby thing in the house (expect for the random pacifier I found in the back of the bathroom cupboard last week).  Long ago, we purged all the baby bottles, cribs, bedding and clothes. All the baby proofing, electrical coverings and safety gates are gone, in fact our house could be considered quiet hazardous to a baby.

There is not a thing about our house that looks like there used to be babies here beside those sippy cups.

Truth be told, the sippy cups annoy me. I hate the search that needs to be done to find them because God forbid, the kids remember where they set them. I hate taking the plastic inserts out to clean them. I hate opening one only to be hit with the horrid smell of rotten milk making me want to vomit.

I really don’t like those cups but I can’t bare to get rid of them. The kids don’t need those cups and honestly, look a bit silly drinking from them.

It’s just that, I love to see them drinking from them. It reminds me of when they were small, when they could still fit in my lap without arms and legs and other body parts spilling all over. It reminds me of when I used to be able to pick them up with ease where now I have to grunt and end up saying, “Oh my back” afterwards.

But it’s time. It’s time to say good bye to the past.

toddler triplets with sippy cups

Jake, Quinn and Claire turned 6 this past week. It’s a big deal going from 5 to 6. That means they are leaving all the things preschool and kindergarten behind. They are now grade schoolers… 1st graders.

So in the next few days, maybe weeks, I will get rid of those sippy cups. I might save one or four. I will probably shed a tear as I put them all in the bin to be recycled.

It has to be done. I’ve known this for a while.

And I will do it but only after I cover the entire house in plastic because even though they are getting older, they are still my children which means spilling is in their genes.

The Most Dreaded Phone Call

*ring ring*

“Ah, crap!” I thought to myself as the phone rang. Mostly because I was upstairs putting laundry away and I would have to make a mad dash down the stairs, risk spraining my ankle because every thinks the stairs in a perfect place for all their crap, to answer it.

“Do I have to answer?” I asked myself. I could just let it go to voice mail. I mean that is why there is such a thing.

But I’m curious. Who is calling?

*ring ring*

Maybe it’s my girl friend wanting to chat as she drives to work. Maybe it’s my mom offering to keep the kids all weekend. Maybe it’s the lottery calling to tell me that I won.

Damn, curiosity.

*ring ring* 

“Hurry!” I tell myself. “You are gonna miss it.”

As I turn the corner, I begin the decent down which causes me to step on a dinosaur so lovingly placed in the middle of a stair, I have a thought.

“What if it’s school calling?!”

*ring ring*

School calling is one of the most dreaded phone calls, even worse than those people that want me to take a political surveys or ask me about what grocery stores I shop at and why. Usually, when school calls that means I am going to play a game of Russian Roulette.

There is one reason that school calls in the middle of the day and is to tell me that one of the kids is sick. This means that I must find out if said child is really sick or they just didn’t want to have what school is serving for lunch that day and would rather come home.

I get that teachers have a class full of children to deal with, all of whom have different needs and if one child is whiny, unwilling to participate and says they don’t feel good the best thing to do is make a call to the parents. Its just that, if my kid is going to come home sick, then I want to make sure they are really sick.

I know this makes me look like a very insensitive mother but school is the kid’s job. They need to be there.  And this is where the game comes in. Is the child really sick or are they just faking it?

really sick or faking

Does the child that says, “my tummy hurts” really have the stomach flu or do they just not want to be at school. Am I going to risk this tummy ache being fake when it’s not meaning the child will puke on a teacher?  Or do I just believe them and let them come home when they are totally fine.

Sometimes I wish school wouldn’t call unless the child was on fire, already puked, broken or bleeding. That would take away the whole need for this game.

Jeff and I noticed an increase in these ‘my tummy hurts’ calls from school. The victims would look horrible in school but as soon as we got out of the building the child began doing kart-wheels to the car and would ask, “Can we get McDonald’s happy meals for lunch?”

Oh hell no!

This needed to be nipped in bud so we came up with a plan. If a child was sick and needed to come home from school, they would go to bed. Sick children need their rest so it was nap time for the day. If they couldn’t sleep, they would lay in bed and rest. If they wanted something to do, they could watch the paint dry.

No TV, no video games, no toys. Rest is what sick children need.

The truly sick children took to this time fish to water and the fakers well, they asked to go back to school.

*ring ring*

Alright, phone… who’s on the other end of this call?

If it’s school… I’m ready.

 

Spring Break Crazy Times *edited*

When I was in college, spring break was awesome. It was a time for me to leave the cold and dismal Michigan weather and head down to the sunny tropics where my boobies could make me some extra money winning wet t-shirt contests.

Ok, yeah… that’s not true. I never left Michigan during spring break and my boobies never made me any money but spring break in college was still awesome. Instead of studying, I would work enough hours to make a workaholic look lazy and maybe take one day to chill. If I was feeling crazy.

When I was a new-ish mom and had young kids at home, spring break didn’t mean anything different for me. It was just another week on the calendar. My life went on as normal expect for the fact that all the places that I frequented with my small kids were over run with big kids who were not in school. Annoying!

Now, I am an old-ish mom and for the first time spring break will mean something to me. Spring Break will mean that my normally in school all day every day children will be home for a week.

Yup. My kids home. Not just for a week but for a week and a half. I’m not sure when spring break became longer than a week but it is. Seriously, I pay good tax dollars for my kids to be in school and school keeps sending them home to me on longer and longer breaks. What in the world is up with that?

Anyway, so what will spring break mean this year? Well, craziness… of course. Here see for your self.

You know what else is crazy times on the farm?

Mama Kat’s Vlogging Workshop

***

After watching the video, many people have asked, “What in my crock pot?”

Well, nothing because that is not my crock pot in the video. It’s an old speaker with Oobleck  in it. Yeah, it’s science and it was my husband’s idea.

You wanna know how to make it?

how to make Oobleck slime

What you need to do to make ‘Oobleck slime’ is to mix 2 parts cornstarch to one part water. For example what we did was take 2 cups cornstarch and 1 cup water. (After it was all mixed, we added a little more cornstarch get it to the right consistency. You are looking for something that looks like a solid but is a moves like a liquid).

Add a little food coloring to make it pretty.

Find a speaker to an old stereo that you don’t ever want to use again and take the grate off.

Pour the mixture into the speaker well.

Then turn the speaker on and your Oobleck slime will dance.

Easy as that.

Also, it will impress the hell out of our kids and gross out people who have no idea what it is when you put it in a YouTube video.

Mommy Need a Sick Day Too

Dearest Children,

We are gonna do something a little different around here. You see, you know how you have all be coughing, sneezing, and snotting up the place, well you got daddy sick and that means since I like to kiss him, I now got sick.

And guess what? I’m gonna take a sick day.

Here’s what this means for you…

I will not be remaking your peanut butter and jelly sandwich with strawberry jelly because you changed your mind after I put grape jelly on it.

I will not be flushing the toilet after you poop in it and left it sit for 12 plus hours.

I will not find your socks because you can’t remember to put them in the laundry basket after you take them off.

I will not pick up your skid-marked underwear off the floor.

I will not find your missing library book that’s probably under your bed.

I will not wash your favorite shirt so you can wear it for the 6th day in a row.

I will not make you a sack lunch when I know you can eat school lunch.

I will not change the TV channel for you.

I will not find your boot which most likely is out in the garage under the sled you didn’t lift up when I sent you out there to look for it in the first place.

I will not make you tacos, your brother pizza, your sister mac-n-cheese and your other brother rice.

I will not find your stuffed animal that’s been missing for months because suddenly you need it right now.

I will not get you a snack.

I will not bring your homework to school.

I will not make dinner.

I will not, I will not, I will not.

Now I’m not trying to be mean. I’m just sick. I just want a ‘sick day’… a day to lay on the couch, watch my TV shows which are not cartoons and recover from this cold you shared.

Look at it this way, if you ever wanted a time to eat nothing but cereal and candy, drink only Kool-Aid, and run around naked this would be your day.

But you do need something, you could always ask your dad… you know that guy you walked past on your way to ask me to do something for you.

I love you, dear children.

And this shouldn’t last long, maybe a day… two, if I can get away with it.

~Mom

5pm

I always figured that as the kids got older this would just stop.

It was a phase, something that they would grow out of. Some day, I would learn not to dread this so much.

But after almost 5 years, that has yet to happen. Still to this day, at 5pm, something happens… all the children go bat shit crazy. At 4:59pm the children are calm, beautiful, loving, following the rules but as the clock changes to 5pm, the gloves come off and the gates of insane open.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t need to start making dinner at this time. We have always run our house on a finely tuned schedule. We had to when the triplets were young or we would have not survived and as the years went by, we just stayed with it. We can be flexible when needed but living by a schedule is just what we know.

When the 5pm hour hit when the kids were younger, to keep the out from the kitchen, I got creative. Setting up barricades and road blocks to try and keep them out so I could work and not trip over a baby spilling hot whatever I was cooking on them.

But in truth, the barricades only pissed off the already angry and disgruntled children more. They plowed right through like it was nothing more than a sand castle and took their anger and crying right to my feet.

As they grew, the children could be distracted more easily with TV and movies. I could set up a movie and if I planned dinner right, have it pretty much made in the 12.3 minutes it held their attention. You know, if I was lucky.

Recently though, the diversion tactics are not working. It’s like we are back to square one in this battle of wills. And even candy as a bribe for good behavior doesn’t work. In fact, it kinda makes it worse. It’s like they behave just long enough to get the candy, ingest it and then go freaking crazy any way.

Tuesday nights seem to be the worse for this. This is probably because this is a busy night for our household. Hayden has cub scouts that night and homework and dinner all need to be completed before the 6:30pm den meeting.

Again, the schedule comes in. After school, there is 30 minutes of TV time, then homework, dinner, and then Jeff and Hayden are off to scouts.

This schedule is all great and it works well but the only problem in that 5pm is included in there. Something always happens at 5pm. I feel it lurking like a big bad monster hiding in the shadows. I get a chill down my spine as the clock strikes 4:58pm. I know it’s coming. I try and ignore, carry on, but it doesn’t matter. Just like a zit, it will come to a head and explode.

“Ok, Hayden just a couple more words. Spell ‘awkward’,” I said.

Hayden wiggled on the bar stool back and forth. I glanced at the clock. I had to hurry. I walked to the fridge to get my ingredients to make dinner and then set a pot of the stove.

“Hayden don’t do that, you’re going to fall. Now spell ‘awkward’,” I instructed.

He stilled for a moment and tried to write just as Quinn popped up from the basement where he was supposed to be playing.

“Mom, there is cat threw up on the carpet,” he said.

“MOM!” Jake called from the basement, “Claire is climbing on the curtains.

I began to walk towards the steps when CRASH! Hayden knocked himself off his stool and sent the other one cascading down.

“Are you ok?” I asked turning around to help him.

“Mom, can I throw a football at the window?” Claire asked suddenly appearing before me.

“LaLaLa, Meow, Meow, LaLaLa, Meow,” Quinn sang, “I’m a dancing kitty.

The stove top hissed as the contents in the pan boiled over.

“ALRIGHT!” I yelled, running to deal with the pan and then added, “Hayden, get up and spell awkward. Quinn please be a dancing kitty downstairs and put a towel over the cat vomit. Claire, you may not climb on the curtains or throw footballs in the house, go read a book. And for the love of Pete, where is Jake and what is he doing?”

I took a breath as the kids scattered. Hayden put his pencil to paper and began to write. I cleaned up the stove top. Order seemed to be restored as I looked at the clock, 5:04pm. We were in it now.

“Done,” Hayden said.

“Ok, next spell ‘known’,” I said.

I turned from the sink back to the counter where Hayden was sitting just in time to see Jake walk through the kitchen, naked, carrying one of my old anatomy text books.

“What are you doing?” I ask him.

“Well, I gotta poop. This is gonna take a while,” Jake explained and continued walking without missing a beat.

I just watched him, trying to decided what to do as Quinn come out from behind the cupboard and screamed, “BOO!”

“Freaking Hell!” I screamed, startled.

“I’m a ninja. I scared you, mommy,” Quinn said with a smile.

“Mommy, there’s poop and my football in the toilet,” Claire called as she ran out from the bathroom Jake close on her heels.

Yeah, I really hate 5pm.