Tag Archives: Family Fun

Dear Lifeguards, I’m sorry.

I was once a lifeguard. It didn’t seem like that long ago, until I started talking to the now assistant manager of our pool and realized I sounded like Grandma telling him about my days as assistant manager at the pool when he was five years old. Ugh. I’m older than I like to realize. So that being said, I feel like I need to apologize in advance to the lifeguards at our pool this summer.

Dear Lifeguards,

I was once you. I was once 19 and fancy free. I had lots of opinions and little experience to actually back them up. I’ve lived your carefree life and I know what irks you and makes you roll your eyes. In no particular order, I apologize in advance for the following things.

1. We will be there any day that does not have lightening. If it’s raining, we will probably be there and I’m sorry. However, I can’t keep my kids in my house and our backyard just doesn’t cut it when they can go to the pool. I also need to get out. Staying home makes me realize that I have carpets that need to be vacuumed, dishes that need be washed and a bathroom that is need of cleaning. None of these things will get done no matter what, so I might as well not have to look at them.

2. Charlie will run on the pool deck. I will tell him to walk but he will be the kid you yell at all summer long. 

3. Molly will scream in fear for no apparent reason. Don’t worry, she won’t get her head wet and is extremely cautious so the chances of her going under are minute however her voice will be loud. 

4. One child will insist on being in the baby pool, the other in the big pool. This will mean I will have to stand at the gate and divide my attention and yell at them from away. It also means that I might not actually be in the baby pool gate with my child as your rules so apply.

5. Speaking of rules, I grew up there, I life-guarded and managed there, I was on the swim team and my face is all over the club house in many picture collages, I didn’t follow them back then, I may not now. 

6. Molly will not flush a toilet. She doesn’t like the noise. 

7. One of my children might be naked. It’s just how it is.

8. I might talk to you about the old days. Thank you in advance for being polite.

 

Sensational Christmas morning

I remember being a kid and waiting not so patiently for Christmas morning. I remember my brother and I trying so hard to stay awake to hear Santa and waking up at 4 am and waiting until our parents would allow us to go downstairs. I couldn’t wait for the presents, to see what exciting things Santa left. Christmas morning was awesome.

Naturally when I had kids I couldn’t wait to relive that moment. I was excited to see the reaction of all their new gifts and toys under the tree. This video is a pretty good representation of every Christmas morning, except the fact that no one is crying this year and it didn’t take 20 minutes of coaxing to get the kids even near their gifts. In fact the kids actually opened their gifts this year, so it is a step in the right direction. I have high hopes for Charlie next year that he will actually be excited on Christmas morning. I only assume Molly will be questioning the existence of Santa by then. This year she already wants to know why Santa built her a chalkboard last year on the wall and this year brought her one on an easel. Santa needs to get his stuff together.

On the bright side, we don’t have kids waking us up at 4:30 AM to collect their bounty.

Embracing Christmas

It’s no secret around here that I’m not a fan of a certain December holiday. I make no attempts to hide the fact that I really dislike Christmas. Somehow long ago I thought it was my duty to make sure everyone had a fantastic holiday and the aftermath just meant that I did not. Then, I had my normal pre-Christmas breakdown but I did something that I don’t usually do, I went over to my schedule at work and I took time off. Not because we had therapy, not for a doctor’s appointment or a school function, but just because I needed some time. Granted it was for the week after Christmas, but I took days off work for me. And it felt good.

Then it snowballed.

I found myself saying I couldn’t go to parties. Not because I had something else to do, but because I didn’t want to.

I found myself accepting the Christmas gifts we could afford and not stressing that it wasn’t enough. The kids have plenty.

I found myself not stressing when certain people didn’t provide ideas for gifts. These people will get what they get. And maybe without a gift receipt to return it.

I found myself making the kids chicken nuggets or sandwiches for dinner because Christmas baking or activities made us late for dinner.

I found myself baking less and accepting the fact that a batch of cookies turned out less than perfect.

I found myself not caring that the kids didn’t sit on Santa’s lap. Neither of them, they were both terrified.

I found myself actually living up to my so-called belief that things don’t have to be perfect.

And it felt good.

I didn’t scream “I HATE CHRISTMAS” this year. Not once. Although I did freak out a little and send my husband a text that read “I JUST WANT TO BAKE F%$&^% COOKIES”, but no one is perfect.

I’m completely prepared for the fact that once again my kids may be afraid of Christmas morning. Or maybe just Molly will. She’ll come around and when she does we will be opening our presents under the tree. Then I hope my family is prepared that I will be drinking wine out of a new wine sippy cup Santa will be leaving in my stocking. After all it’s Christmas and what kind of holiday would it be if there weren’t some day drinking involved.

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Tales from an un-crafty mom

My artistic abilities are comical. Seriously, Stampy came home from work and was crying from laughter looking at my latest “craft” I attempted with the kids. And like all of my artistic endeavors, he had to ask multiple times for verification that my project was in fact what I said it was.

Tonight it was a Rudolph head made from felt.

It all started because I ordered 17 pounds of felt, so I thought I should do something with it.
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Seriously, why did I order so much??

So after I cut out a triangle to make a Christmas tree and about a dozen ornaments, I came up with the brilliant idea to make a Rudolph head and red noses so the kids could play “Pin The Nose On The Reindeer”. Now, I don’t get creative ideas too often so I tend to run with them even when I realize that I have absolutely zero artistic ability to actually carry out the idea. Ignoring that fact I proceeded to make the most satanic goat-deer for my kids to play with. After screaming “monster” and running and hiding, the kids actually played the game for 5 minutes. I consider that a success.

In case you would like to make one yourself (I actually feel like this could be a fun game for kids) I will give you instructions. To start the process, you need brown, red and white felt. I cut out 6 red noses, but that is completely optional. Draw and cut your own animal head. The less it actually looks like a reindeer the better. Then 2 white eyes, I suggest using a marker to give some color to the eyes to tame down the nightmares, but that’s a personal call.
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Once that is done, you can hang on a wall and let the kids have at it. I managed to get each child to close their eyes for about 5 seconds while placing the noses on. I couldn’t tell if they just didn’t get the premise of the game or didn’t want to take their eyes off the demon hanging on our all, lest it attack them.

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Everyone survived. We will be having a cleansing after the Christmas season to rid our house of evil spirits.

 

Dining with Charlie

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Last night I was having dinner with the kids. A meal I prepared myself, with nut free ingredients in our allergen free home. Charlie started to cough and cough and cough. Now it was the cough that sounded like something went down the wrong pipe and if that had been Molly coughing, I most likely would’ve told her to get something to drink but it was Charlie so instead I started to internally panic. I realized that most non-food allergy parents miss out on this psychosis, so I thought I would share my train of thought with you after I heard Charlie coughing for the next 5 minutes.

Why is he coughing?

Why is he still coughing

Oh God, did a factory cross contaminate?

Did I read the french fry label?

Did someone put their hand in the peanut bin and then touch the broccoli at the grocery store?

He is still coughing.

Wait, he has been coughing all day. Is he sick?

Does he need a drink?

Yes, get a drink.

Is his face red? Is it getting redder? Oh, right, he is coughing.

Has he developed a new allergy?

What did I put in the meatballs?

Is your lip swelling?

No.

Is that a hive?

Seriously, have his lips always been that puffy?

Phew, coughing stopped.

Breathe, breathe, breathe

Please don’t vomit. Please don’t vomit.

I should check for hives.

That was seriously 5 minutes. The rest of the evening was keeping one eye on him in case he started breaking out in hives or vomiting. The fun never ends here.

Bedtime or Bust

I’m sure every family has a time of day that just seems to cause stress. Maybe it’s the breakfast and out the door to school/work rush, maybe it’s the afternoon when a toddler has stopped napping but still needs one, or maybe you are like our family and it’s the time between dinner and bedtime.

From 6-7 pm every night I’m pretty sure someone has taken my children and replaced them with caged monkeys that look like my children. They are wound up, their listening ears have long since shut off and I seriously find myself wondering how I haven’t downed an entire bottle of pinot in this hour. 

I get it. Other than school in the mornings, the kids don’t really leave our house. So from 12-7 they have the same toys either inside or outside to play with and see the same faces. I get a little stir crazy too and I have stuff I should be doing. It’s also the time where we don’t really have enough time to get involved with anything (especially anything that makes a mess) but they are bored and dying for stimulation. Only, I’m at my witching hour too. I’ve been at work all day and have come home to make dinner and am brain dead or I’ve already been entertaining them all day long and am fresh out of ideas. And fresh out of patience. 

I try to keep it to a simplified routine, but Charlie somehow thinks that alligator wrestling pajamas on him is part of his routine and Molly thinks draining our entire city of water by playing in the sink for 10 minutes is part of her routine. Just once I would love to brush everyone’s teeth without someone biting down on the toothbrush or sealing their lips like they’ve been super glued. And I’m not sure exactly but I’m pretty sure that there is a game of “hide the lovey” that the kids have created in order to extend bedtime by another 10 minutes as we search high and low for someone’s favorite stuffed animal. I think Charlie’s beige puppy dog shoved into my Ugg boot wins the prize of the longest search. Tonight like a crazed maniac I forced the kids on a death march to search for said puppy dog then realized that a 4 and 2 year old are probably the worst searchers ever. I don’t know what I was thinking, these kids can’t find me hiding under the dining room table while we play hide and seek, how are the going to find a stuffed dog the size of my hand? (and why can’t their favorite stuffed animal be those ginormous ones you win at carnivals???)

We finally make it to the bedrooms only to not be able to agree on 1 story to read, so we read 2. Or 3. Or I put my foot down at 4. Technically I could do it earlier but I hope if I give them lots of attention before leaving they will be less inclined to exit their rooms looking for more. I’m usually wrong. With Molly, she was content with us kissing her goodnight and leaving, we had that part in the bag. We were home free once that door shut. Then Charlie decided that he wanted to sleep in a double bed and needs us to lay down with him, lest he cry like we have broken his heart. So we lay with him for a couple minutes. BIG MISTAKE. That leads to Molly wanting to cuddle and why not? We cuddle with Charlie, it’s only fair. Bust, we let that good thing fly out the window and added an extra 10 minutes to bedtime. When we finally do get to evacuate, we are only at a 50/50 chance that Molly won’t wander from her room and whine for me at the top of the steps to tell me that one last pressing item before going to bed.

An hour later, everyone is maybe asleep and I flop on the couch only to realize that it’s only 7:30 and the night is still young for this mama in need of doing dishes and cleaning up and all that other fun household work that doesn’t get done while I’m at work. But what I really want is some cake and a glass of wine so I compromise and drink while I fold laundry then eat cake. Which reminds me, I’m out of cake.

So, what is your stressful time of day? Are you a morning, afternoon, or like us, a bedtime monkey show?

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.

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!

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!