Tag Archives: Wild Card Charlie

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.

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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?

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!

20 Questions To Dine With Food Allergies

It’s rare that you get to talk to an owner manager or chef of a restaurant while not in their restaurant or while they are working. I’m trying to ask all kinds of questions to find out if the Wild Card can safely eat while they are tending to me and other customers. Sometimes I feel like I get memorized answers. I think several restaurants go through the same “food allergy training” seminar. Yesterday I got the undivided attention of an owner chef of a local eatery outside of work and I jumped on the chance to question him inside and out of his allergy practices. The good thing is that he is a small deli and he is the main person preparing food so I know he is on top of what is what. It’s also from a place which I love to eat. I sent my labor coach/friend there after I delivered the Wild Card to get me a cold cut sub for lunch, no doubt the best in town. I needed this place to meet my standards and it did! For those of you that have never asked about food allergies, here is a list of some of the questions ER have to think about to ask.

1. Do you have any peanut or tree nut ingredients in your food?
2. Where are these ingredients stored in comparison to your non-nut ingredients?
3. Do you clean your meat slicer after each user?
4. How?
5. Do you fry anything?
6. Do you have desserts?
7. Are all desserts made on premise?
8. Where do you get your chocolate from?
9. Do you know for certain their plant does not handle nut products?
10. Do you mix your homemade cookies with outside cookies for packaging?
11. Do you wah your hands in between handling different types of food?
12. What you’re of oil do you use?
13. Do you bake your own bread?
14. Where does your bread come from?
15. What else does the bakery make?
16. Are you sure they only make bread?
17. Can I have their info to talk to them about food handling and allergen information?
18. Are you tired of my questions?
19. When are you having pit beef again?
20. Are you going to hide the next time you see me?

See the problem is that most people only know the handling and preparations of their restaurants, not their food suppliers and since you don’t have to label for contamination, many people don’t realize if products have been tainted. I’m glad that owner Bill took my concerns seriously and answered my questions thoroughly. It’s nice to know we can get a good meal that wasn’t home made and support local businesses at the same time. This place got an A+ in my book.

Disclaimer: this is not an entire list of questions that need to be asked, it’s dependent on the type of food and “yes” answers.

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!