Category Archives: Family Fun

I ran a marathon…. relay

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That’s me, waving and smiling after running 7.3 miles. Crazy. Even crazier is the fact that I’ve probably never run more than 4 miles in my entire life and no more than 3 in my adult life. Did i I’m a terrible runner. I did it to prove something to myself but I also learned a lot on my journey (probably because I had a lot of time to think while I was running).

Here are a few things I learned from running:
1. Stupidity is contagious. Apparently when you voice your desire to run a long distance you instantly have 3 friends that are willing to do it with you. And everyone thinks it’s the best idea we’ve ever had.
2. When you sign up and pay money for something AND have people counting on you, it’s a lot easier to follow through.
3. I’ve moved from being a terrible runner to a slow runner and for the first time ever, I’m ok with that.
4. My kids love the playroom at the gym. In fact it’s one of the few places I can mention to get them to get their shoes on and out of our house in a timely fashion.
5. My husband actually knows something. Although I was hesitant to trust my runner husband to make a program for me, he did it, I followed it and it worked. 1 point for Stampy.
6. Running keeps you regular. Sometimes while you are running.
7. Running uphill gives you a butt. My town is all uphill. I can no longer fit into the skinny jeans that yoga blessed me with because I now have a big ass. I’m ok with that. In fact, I’m more in love with how I look after 2 kids than I’ve ever been in my entire life.
8. It feels good, really good, to do something for yourself. It’s a sense of accomplishment no perfect meal or craft time can give you.
9. This would’ve been much better if followed by some day drinking instead of running home to care for the kids. It also would’ve been better if the family had seen me finish. Maybe next year.
10. The same amnesia you have after childbirth, you have after running. I do remember thinking at mile 4 of 7 that I will never do this again but 24 hours later I’m considering a half marathon. Considering it.

We Are Supposed To Be Having Fun!

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This weekend was the Fall Festival in our town. We don’t have the standard summer carnival, instead we have a big event for 3 days that includes carnival rides, music, food, crafts and games. It’s a pretty big event for our little city and of course it seems like the perfect way to spend a Saturday morning if you have kids. Or I should say, if you don’t have our kids.

Three reasons why we should stay home:
1. Food Allergies. First and foremost pretty much all delicious carnival food is a no no. All those peanut oils and chocolates and deep fried foods are all a danger to Charlie and being in the air is enough to make me almost insane. Peanuts are one of those great food allergies that become environmental when cooked apparently so there’s the fear that random peanut proteins will jump from the fryer and into Charlie’s mouth, eyes or nose. Plus Charlie thinks ground food is equally if not more edible than normal served at the table food so I’m on extra alert.

2. Motion Sickness. Charlie gets car sick. He has now vomited twice in the car and complained of being sick and hot numerous times while driving. Needless to say, one ride and he was done. I’m honestly amazed he made it on one. It’s the first time he’s been on a carnival ride by himself. And probably the last time.

3. Molly.

I can’t tell you how many times we do things that are “family fun” oriented and end up leaving stressed, tired and with cranky kids. Molly tries her best but when push comes to shove, she can’t regulate that much stimulation so she ends up trying to soothe herself which means she ends up trying to hang from all my limbs or asking to be carried. Have you ever carried a 35 pound 4 year old for a prolonged period of time? I have. More than once. I have carried her through the zoo, I have carried her through the tractor show, I have carried her on walks around the block and I saw myself carrying her from our Fall Fest. It was coming: the whining, the hanging and the carrying. You could see it in her deteriorating behavior and we quickly opted to leave, unused ride tickets and all.

Then there it was…. the playground.

An entire carnival the kids want nothing to do it with but a playground?? Hells yeah! After 10 minutes and Charlie trying to play in a near by dumpster and throwing himself on the mulch face first in a fit, we quickly gathered the kids and headed for home.

I hope the kids remember these times fondly, as we have no real pictures of the kids not enjoying are family fun outings.

Toddler Beds: Molly v. Charlie

Our neighbors gave us a twin bed. It was in great condition and Molly was 3 so it came at perfect timing. I figured she would outgrow her toddler bed at any time. We put her new bed in her room and she was so excited to go to Target and pick out brand new sheets. She was so proud as the cashier rang up her “Mad Bird” sheets (what she calls Angry Birds) and even announced they were for her new bed. At bed time she climbed into her new bed with her animals and snuggled in. I was amazed at how easy it was to transition her into a new bed. I left her room and turned on the video monitor.

Not as easy as I thought.

She had already moved her blanket, pillow and lovie into her toddler bed and fell asleep. Seriously, she must have instantly moved beds the second I closed the door.

She’s almost 4 1/2 years old and still sleeping in her toddler bed.

We kept a full sized bed in Charlie’s room as a guest bed. Charlie was in a toddler bed for a week before he climbed out of the toddler bed and into the full sized bed. It’s been 2 weeks and he’s not looking back. He sprawls himself out taking up every last amount of space he can with his 36 inch 30 pound frame. He loves it.

I never thought I would be taking apart Charlie’s crib before Molly’s.

On the bright side, we can just move Charlie’s mattress onto Molly’s bed since hers has started to rip.

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!