Category Archives: Family Fun

Our Family Trip Facebook v. Reality

The best thing about Facebook is that it is a highlight reel of your life. The good points, the funny moments, what you have edited and are willing to share. There are happy family pictures, parents sharing their child’s latest accomplishments from sleeping through the night to reading to scoring a goal, and your latest accomplishments. Sometimes, I feel like my life could be a complete failure if I didn’t know that probably these people had just as many “bad” moments as “good” moments, they just don’t care to share their fails with the world. Which brings us to our family’s recent “trip”.

I stopped calling them vacations when Molly was a baby because frankly, we stopped taking “vacations” the second I had to pack formula and a pack and play. Now, this trip we actually traveled without both of those items but it was still far from a vacation. First off, we thought that we could leave at 3 AM so the kids would sleep half of the trip. So naturally, they did not.

We rolled into my husband’s aunt’s house a little before 9 AM all of us exhausted and smelling like vomit thanks to Charlie. (Note to self: always pack a trash bag). That afternoon, after not napping and spending time on the boat I posted this picture to facebook:

It’s a picture of my feet looking out towards a toddler relaxing in a hammock and I can assure you I had a sippy cup of wine in my hand so, obviously I’m living the life.

Reality: This scene was about 5 minutes of relaxation. Probably more like 3. I had my wine in a sippy cup so I could take it on the go as I chased my kids around a new environment. Did I mention they had been up since 3 am? They were so overtired that any listening skills a 4 and 2 year old possess were long gone and they were beginning to act like chimpanzees on PCP. Stampy took Charlie in the car in the hopes for at least a 30 minute car nap and returned home to hear Molly screaming bloody murder from the bath tub. It’s a good thing Aunt Jane doesn’t have close neighbors or CPS probably would have been knocking at the door. Later that was followed up with a text:

“my kids are acting like assholes”

They had become those people. The ones that make you shudder when they show up to your party and you know that something is going to get broken. I feel lucky that our family was extremely understanding. That was where my day ended. Tired, slightly buzzed (but not in a fun way) and sharing a pull out twin bed with Molly. Honestly I was so tired that I didn’t care that night.

Day 2:
We went to the beach. Yay! The beach! Charlie fell asleep on the way there so Facebook got this post:

Charlie fell asleep on the way to the beach. What you don’t know is that he had been up since 4 am. So, of course at 10 am, he was ready for a nap and was not thrilled when it only lasted 20 minutes. He eventually rallied and played in the sand.

That was a nice 10 minutes on the beach.

Reality: Charlie decided that wandering in every which direction was much better than building things in the sand or going in the water so I spent the day burning my feet chasing a 2 year old. On the plus side I met some nice people as we walked by 8,000 times. Then we left the beach and the old Routine Monster reared it’s ugly head and Molly asked demanded to go to the outside shower at the beach like we did last year. Ugh. Outside shower is in Kitty Hawk, we are in Southern Shores. Not that it is a far drive, but not really on the way to anything either. Still we were left with the decision of giving into a semi tantrum and everything we fight to overcome or listen to screaming for the rest of the day. We chose to give in and have peace so off to the outside shower we went.

Day 3:
We headed off to another beach at Jockey’s Ridge. Facebook got this nice post:

Which actually, real life did mirror Facebook here. This day was relaxing on the beach. It was when we went to leave that all hell broke loose. We were that family. The family with 2 screaming kids as we wrestled them into car seats. I didn’t put that on Facebook either.

Day 4:

Best Buds

That was the picture that was posted to Facebook along with Molly noting that she’s sees corn so therefore we must be home.

Reality: The drive home. Dear God. Charlie woke up at 5 am. I was up at 5:30 am. We had at least 5-6 hours to drive. Charlie went along with the program and pooped before we left. Always a bonus if you don’t have to change a poopy diaper in the car. We actually managed to remember to pack everything (rare event) and be in the car almost on schedule. 2 minutes into the trip Charlie was asleep, Molly was watching Toy Story and I was exhausted. Oh, I still have at least 5 hours til we get home. Patience draining. I had just lived off of snack food, coffee and wine for 3 days how could I possibly keep it together for 6 hours in the car. I didn’t, but I also didn’t air my grievances other than forcing Stampy to post to my Facebook

Vir-gina. Worst. State. Ever.

It really is.

What I also didn’t post was a how my 4 year old with a fear of public bathrooms started screaming about an hour away from home that she had to go to the bathroom. I tried to coax her to go to my brother’s to use his bathroom but even that wouldn’t do. We pulled over and offered her a Pull Up. No dice. We then had to spend an hour hoping Molly didn’t poop or pee her pants. That wasn’t stressful. Then the last 40 minutes she asked every 3 seconds if we were home. Every. Three. Seconds. After 15 minutes Stampy told her that we would be home when we went up the really big hill. Sounds good in theory but we live in rolling country side, there are hills everywhere. Now we alternated between “are we there yet?” and “is this the big hill?”. Finally we hit the big hill and were home. Only to come home to realize that we had left in a huff and the house was a disaster. I’m going to believe that we were robbed and they just messed everything up and forgot to run our dishwasher and didn’t actually take any of our stuff.

A week later and our house is somewhat put together. Not really.

Can’t wait til next year!

My Kids Eat Jelly Sandwiches

Dear Parents Magazine,

While I appreciate your monthly reading material that comes to my house, I’m having difficulty following you on Pinterest. I guess I usually just flip through your magazine, reading an article here and there and just looking at pretty pictures along the way. You always have the cutest babies and toddlers.  However, on your Pinterest page I’m forced to read your captions on Pinterest and then I realize that I’ve been missing a lot of shenanigans while flipping through your magazine. For example, this jewel of a pin you had last week:

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Now, I’m not saying that this isn’t a cute idea. I mean, probably to get my kids to do this would suck about a good hour of our day which I’m always looking for activities that occupy little hands for more than 10 minutes but I think you are overlooking a big problem in our house. My kids eat sandwiches, yes, but fancy ones? No. Charlie would’ve thrown all the Cheerios on the floor and proceeded to tap dance on them to create a nice sandy floor to roll on. Molly would end up screaming and in tears over the fact that her masterpiece wasn’t good enough and demanding that I sprinkle her Cheerios for her. Oh, and I also wouldn’t do it up to her standards so there would be more tears. This time from both of us. I’m sure at this point Charlie would be bored of his Cheerio dust and decide to mess up what Molly has been working on for 20 minutes to get “just right”. This leads to more tears, usually followed by “mean actions” and a time out. Did I mention my kids don’t eat vegetables? Charlie’s would be on the floor with his Cheerios and Molly would be telling me 800 times “I don’t like that” and insisting it be removed, then crying because her flower doesn’t have a stalk or leaves. Skip ahead through a few more arguments and time outs and we are now way past lunch time, nobody has eaten and I’m half a bottle of wine in and it’s only noon.  So, while I like your idea of fancy food, I have to admit that my kids aren’t fancy and if it’s all the same we’ll stick to our plain old grape jelly sandwiches.

Sincerely,
Jamie, mom to Sensational Kids.

Parent Fail: Miniature Golf Style

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Doesn’t this look like a fun family outing? Everyone is enjoying a round of miniature golf, the Wild Card is even wearing a collared shirt, but in reality it was a disaster. A parenting fail at its worst. The Mollinator is a perfectionist at the age of 4 and thanks to her Sensory Processing Disorder she also has motor delays, primarily in motor planning. It’s hard enough for a 4 year old to grasp the hand-eye coordination to successfully putt the ball through obstacles and into a hole, now imagine one that can’t sequence all of her movements correctly or figure out how hard or soft she needs to hit the ball to get it to the hole and on top of that have her be a perfectionist so when she doesn’t get a hole-in-one she thinks she failed. Did you get all that? I can tell you that it’s a recipe for disaster and tears next to a #8 flag. She actually sat down on hole 8 to exclaim she was a bad golfer. She’s 4 and the thought that she couldn’t hit the ball into a hole in one shot was just too much for her to bear. Luckily it was a rainy day so the course was pretty empty but those that were there saw parenting at its worst best.

As parents we want our kids to have fun so we tried everything in our power to turn that frown upside down but nothing worked. Her frustrations got bigger and our patience got smaller. I tried to avoid it but I walked to the car with a screaming kid in tow. I did my best not to yell, I just handed her putter to Stampy and walked away, but honestly I wanted to scream. Not at Molly, this isn’t her fault. I wanted to scream at the universe for making this our reality. Our reality that we will most likely leave places early and in tears. Only to come home and have whiney temper tantrums and cling with all her might to me. It’s the reality that some days make me want to peel my skin off and it’s the reality that ends in alcohol or exercise.

So I take a lot of pictures in hopes that when I look back at them I will remember the few moments where we smiled and laughed. So I remember fun outings with the kids. And so when Molly accuses me of never taking her anywhere, I can show her that we did. Maybe I’ll also show her this post to explain why our outings were so few and far between.

The Wild Card was there too. I assumed he would run like a crazed monkey all over the course so naturally he tried to play golf and stayed right by me. He also got carried to the car screaming, but that was because he was having fun and didn’t want to leave.

Baking Bread

This year our garden had a plethora of squash (read: Why I shouldn’t Garden) that my family won’t eat. I can’t really blame them. As I don’t mind squash, it also isn’t my favorite vegetable and I’m certainly not going to eat 5 squash plants worth of squash. So, what to do? Head to Pinterest of course! (you can find me here). And since Pinterest does not disappoint, I got a wonderful Bread Recipe from The Virtuous Wife. The kids were so excited to help bake and scampered up to our dining room table and waited while I got out the ingredients. I made the mistake of bringing the flour to the table first.
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So instead of helping, the kids decided that antiquing each other would be much more fun
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Followed by flour angels
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Thank goodness the recipe was super simple to make, pour everything into a bowl and stir. I would hate to see the mess they would’ve made if it took me longer than 5 minutes to get it in the oven! The bread was worth every messy second though, it is delicious!

Therapy Thursday: The Whistle Game

I’m squeaking in on Thursday after a long day of dental work. Thanks to a Percocet and a pain free induced state, I napped for 2 hours today… now I’m wide awake at 11pm. This won’t make for a happy Friday. I will take it since for the first time in 9 days my tooth hasn’t been in excruciating pain.

Anyways… Therapy Thursday. We have been lucky enough to get Molly into both behavioral and occupational therapy for her Sensory problems. I can’t even thank the woman who got this ball rolling enough. She was our lifesaver. These therapy sessions have given us a lot of knowledge and activities to try and experiment with so today I thought I would share one of our favorite OT games. (Disclaimer: I invented this game, not our pediatric OT. It was invented by my orthopedic PTA brain once we were told to work on weight bearing through large joints). The kids call it The Whistle Game. Basically it’s this: I use a Tabata Timer app on my phone and force the kids to exercise. 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off for 4 minutes, come on kids… burn those calories! We pretend we are animals for 20 seconds at a time. This also helps for turn taking and quick thinking. At each whistle one of the kids picks an animal and everyone acts like it until the whistle blows again, then the next kid picks an animal. This is really good for weight bearing through the extremities as they crawl and slither around the floor and it gives Molly the proper input and help her calm down and keep her from full body slamming Charlie. I strongly recommend playing this game before making dinner. This helps change things up as the kids are getting bored and need something to do and it also helps give them the attention they crave before you need to disappear. It’s amazing how much can get accomplished if you give the kids your undivided attention. This game only backfires when someone chooses “horsey” and then everyone wants a horsey ride. Then you are the only one working on all 4s. What’s great is that this game allows for a lot of variety, not feeling animals today?? That’s ok, we sometimes do actual exercises: jumping jacks, squats, push ups. or running laps. You can really do any activity you want for this, the possibilities are endless.

There are a ton of free tabata apps on the phone, I use the HIIT app for Android. It’s Free and it’s easy enough to use that Molly has figured out how to use it so they can do it while I cook.

How To Get Things Done: Elefun Edition

Being a working mom is hard. There is a constant struggle of trying to get things done and spending quality time with your kids. After all, once they are in bed I have cupcakes to eat and my dvr’d 3 week old Chelsea Lately isn’t going to watch itself. Therefore I try to incorporate work and play. Today I managed to empty and load the dishwasher in less than 30 minutes. Amazing, I know. I was so proud of myself, but I owe a lot of credit to Elefun. So here’s how it works:

1. Play 1-2 rounds of Elefun with the kids
2. Load up the butterflies and while they are distracted, run like hell to the kitchen.
3. Unload 3 plates
4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 several times
5. Show kids how to load butterflies themselves, run like hell
6. Realize it’s been quiet for a good 60 seconds, sneak a peak to make sure everyone is still breathing and/or not coloring on the walls
7. Start loading dishwasher
8. After getting the silverware in, see the Wild Card run by with a bare bottom yelling “bare bum!”
9. Chase Wild Card for several laps and try to wrestle new diaper on
10. Realize the kids have moved on from Elefun and distract with Alphie, run like hell
11. Quickly throw remaining dishes into dishwasher and hope none of them really need to be rinsed.

And done. One less thing to accomplish after bedtime and since I got some exercise in, I can now have 2 cupcakes. I call that a win-win-win.

My Stampy

As if raising the Wild Card and the Mollinator wasn’t exhausting enough, I have been blessed with “raising” Stampy as well. I will say that I’m grateful to have him around. He does a mean load of laundry and gets all the nooks and crannies when he vacuums. However that being said, we also have conversations like these. A lot.

Stampy: Is Charlie’s birthday on the 26th or 27th?
Me: [blank stare]
Stampy: I can’t remember which
Me: [blank stare]
Stampy: Oh right, it’s the 22nd.

Or this:

Stampy: What are you eating?
Me: Peach cake
Stampy: Are those apples?
Me: [blank stare] peaches.

However my favorite is this- I plan dinners a month at a time:
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and yet this happens:
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At least 3 times a day. At least. And usually all after 3pm. This is also why I’ve started on my first glass of wine by 2pm. (Other reasons why I drink)

Weekly Wrap Up

I’m tired. Beyond tired. I got lucky and got a great night out last night with the best friends I could ask for. It included wine and great conversation which is literally just what our therapist ordered (I love our therapist!). Late to bed of course means one of the children will need me at 1am. Last night it was Molly. She wet her bed and I, in my zombie state, thought bringing her to our bed instead of changing her sheet would get us all back to sleep faster. At 3:30 I realized I was wrong. Worst. Idea. Ever. New sheet was put on her bed and everyone returned to their rightful place, only to have my alarm go off at 6:15.  I’m newborn tired.

This week Molly attended VBS with several of her friends. There was music, there was bright colors, there were activities and commotion and a microphone. We then endured upwards of 45 minutes of screaming and crying and fit throwing after bible school everyday. She dried up her “well” of sensory tolerance by noon and my emotional well was dried up by Tuesday. It’s been a long time since we have had extended temper tantrums and they seem to just keep coming the further into summer we get. This week was bad. By Thursday I was doing my best not to tear up as I put a screaming 4 year old into our car and relied on the help of friends for my 2 year old. I just can’t handle both of my kids when one is violently screaming. I wish she could just say what it is that sets her so off, but it’s probably as much of a mystery to her as it is to me. When all is said and done she is excited to go back the next day, so I take her because I know in some way it is what she needs and endure what I know will come when she is picked up.

On a good note, she pooped on the potty! Just once and didn’t repeat the behavior, but she did it once. Big step. Although I offered her a cookie today if she pooped on the potty instead of in her diaper and she declined. *sigh* there’s always tomorrow.

Charlie made it through another week without finding random old food to snack on so I’d say he had a successful week. We like it when his weeks are uneventful.

A big cheers to the end of this week!
cheers

Why I Shouldn’t Garden

For several years Stampy and I planned on having a garden. The idea sounded wonderful. Lots of fresh veggies, maybe some fruit bushes, and lots of fun working out in the sun. Oh, and the kids! How the kids will love our garden. How could things possibly go wrong having a family garden?? Everyone helps, everyone gets to benefit in so many ways from the responsibility of having our very own garden. It’s like we forgot who our kids were. We were just like our bright-eyed bushy-tailed selves deciding to have kids in the first place. Stampy built us a great garden space and I took over planning what vegetables we would grow. The kids were 18 months and 3 1/2… they didn’t realize anything was going on other than the fact that there was dirt to play in!! We are now 2 years into gardening and I’ve realized that maybe, just maybe, we shouldn’t garden.

10 REASONS WHY I SHOULDN’T HAVE A GARDEN

10. I hate weeding. Seriously HATE. This is why I don’t do flower beds. Apparently weeds don’t have a preference between flowers or vegetables.

9. I work full time, I have 2 kids, a house to clean and a garden. I’ll give you 3 guesses which comes last on the “Things To Do” list. (hint, it isn’t work, kids or house)

8. I spent more time saying things like “Not the green ones! Pick red tomatoes!” or “You’re stepping on the lettuce!” or “Stop throwing grass clippings at each other” or “do not use the tomato stakes as swords” than actually working in the garden.

7. I hate bugs. However, bugs love me. It’s not a good relationship. They even bite me through my pants.

6. I didn’t plant any squash this year yet I have more squash than I know what to do with. I planted 4 pepper plants and have no peppers. Today I found a pepper plant growing in the watermelon plant (also not something I planted this year) and I pulled it thinking it was a weed.

5. Not having time to weed means not having time to pick vegetables.

4. Not having time to tend to the garden goes along with not having time to can, freeze, sauce or any other kind of preserving that goes along with having vegetables. However we have 8 tomato plants. I didn’t do the math.

3. I don’t actually understand how to maintain plants. I sort of just thought I would plant them, they would grow, produce vegetables and that would be it. Apparently there is watering and pruning involved.

2. I spend more time on Pinterest, pinning things for the garden than I do in the garden

1. Our kids won’t eat vegetables.

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How Molly Will Save My Fellow Shoppers

I have a real problem. It’s of the farting kind. It’s not your typical several farts a day kind of problem, it’s several an hour. If I and the others around me are lucky. I should probably be checked out by a doctor, but it’s entertaining. I’ve been able to get away with it for a long time, thankfully to a best friend that lost her sense of smell and a husband who wooed me with dutch ovens. Not really, but he did it often enough you would think I liked it. I also fart in stores. That smell you get when you walk down an aisle but no one is there, that was me. Sadly, these days are coming to an end.

Why?

Because my daughter has the sense of smell of a blood hound. And she announces that things smell. LOUDLY. She can smell things that no one else can smell. Sometimes I wonder if she is just saying she smells something for effect. However, it only took once twice, er…. half a dozen times for her to out me in the store before I learned my lesson.

So, my fellow shoppers rejoice! The crop dusting has ended but be warned for she may call you out one day.

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She smells something and she doesn’t like it