Friday, October 26, 2012


I don't think I'm an awful wife and mother, but I'm always looking for ways to improve. While I was laying her, unable to sleep, I came up with a challenge. Here's what prompted it. I'm laying in my bedroom. On the other side of the door is the living room. Where my husband is sleeping with our daughter because she was scared. At first I thought, how is is possible for a man to snore that loud?! Then I changed it to, I'm so thankful that he went and slept in the living room with our daughter. He knows I can't sleep with a kid kicking me in the face and he can sleep standing up. So when she came to our room he took her out there. He's such an awesome husband and father. This moment is one of the many things I love about him.

So here's the challenge. Write down 100 things you love about your significant other. I think it sounds easy at first, but will become more difficult to finish. This is when it becomes homework. Maybe I'll then be so focused on finishing my list and concentrating on all the things I love about him that all the little things that drive me nuts won't be so noticeable.

So give it a try. I think it will be therapeutic! Maybe you'll be able to turn some things around like I just did with the snoring. Start by naming 5 things. Share them in a comment below. Just writing, or typing, it can make you smile. I'll go first:

1. He gives the BEST hugs. Like there is nothing else on earth to be done at that very moment than hug you.
2. He is an awesomely involved father.
3. He doesn't care what I do to the house as long as he has a place to sleep.
4. He always lets me control the remote.
5. He calls me pretty girl.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Parents: What to do when you come home with your new vehicle.

When I was pregnant with my 4th child my husband and I decided it was time for a suburban, or a bus as I lovingly refer to it. We were already borrowing my mom's when we all had to go somewhere because we couldn't fit our oldest child between the two car seats in the vehicle we had, a midsize SUV. Why not a minivan you ask? Cause I hate them. Whenever my truck is being worked on that's the loaner they always give me cause it's the only thing they ever have that will haul my crew. I hate them. I can get bales of hay and baseball stuff in the back of my suburban. I don't care what my minivan mom friends say, you just think you can fit a lot in there, but if you've never owned a suburban, or yukon xl, or whatever version, then you have no idea. And you just can't go back to something smaller. My mom still gets a new one every few years and she has no children at home. Sure comes in handy on trips and when she has her grandkids tho. And that's another thing. Trips! I took 5 kids to the beach this summer for a week. Try getting all the stuff you need for that in a minivan, with the 5 kids.

So that was in 2005. We bought a bottom of the barrel used 2003 suburban. We were buying it for room, not for luxury. It was not uncommon for me to have 5 children under the age of 5. At that time I stayed home and was kind of the family babysitter. Which I loved by the way. So when I drove that truck and always had lots of babies, cleanliness was at the bottom of the list. You want french fries? Well, if it will make you stop screaming and hitting the child next to you then here are your french fries. The truck did not have leather. I had never had a vehicle with leather. I had never driven a daycare van either. BIG mistake. One time one of those convenient little tubs of caramel that come with the convenient apple slices got spilled between car seats in the 3rd row. I had NO idea how to clean that up. My solution, tear open paper sack and stick over sticky mess to keep sticky mess from getting on children.

Now I have a new suburban. I've had it for a couple of years, and it was used, but it's still my new one. My hubby turned the old one into a work truck and I just thought it was bad before!

My only demand with the new one was that it have leather! One of those DVD players would have been nice, but maybe next time. I almost only ever tote children small enough for booster seats now, so surely they're old enough to not make such messes as the did before. WRONG!

Whenever my kids tear stuff up, which is just about daily, I say "I just can't have anything nice!" I always say I won't buy new furniture or anything until they're gone. I did however save up and buy the nicest fridge I could cause I've never owned a new fridge. One of the drawers is already broke. I should have known better!

So now I add my truck to long list of things I give up on keeping nice. These are the things I should have done the day I brought it home.

What to do when you come home with your new vehicle:

Take muddy shoes and drag across ceiling of vehicle to simulate small children climbing over seats.

Take those same muddy shoes and rub on the backs of the 1st and 2nd row seats. Depending on how many rows you have.

Place crayons on different surfaces and leave for a weekend in 100 degree weather.

Poke pencils in leather seats to make designs of your choosing.

Spill sticky unidentifiable substances into all cup holders.

Cram used chewing gum into any small hole. The holes in the seats where the belt buckles go are a popular choice.

Take a set of bicycle handle bars and run down each side of vehicle.

If you do have a 3rd row, you're probably not going to climb back there very often, so the floor back there will be a great place to store all your trash.

Take some toys, backpacks, lunch boxes, whatever and slam around back doors to simulate children climbing into car and slamming there stuff all over it.

Have small children drive bicycles and big wheels into it. Every side.

Go ahead and jam 2 cds at a time into the cd player. Make sure they're good and stuck.

If you have a back windshield wiper, go ahead and hang on that til it falls off. Same with the rear view mirror.

If you have pockets on the back of any seats this will be a good place for your left over fast food. Shove it down in there so no one notices til it really starts smelling. Under the seats is another good place for food.

Get you a pack of Dum Dums, suck on a few of them for a minute and then throw those down on the carpet. Make sure they're good and stuck. Any kind of dipping sauce or any liquid for that matter will also go nicely on the carpet as well.

Randomly throw some rocks at it. Make sure you get at least one good hit on the windshield.

Get your hands nice and nasty and put them on all the inside windows. Go ahead and press your face to them and give them a lick too.

And last but not least, put a first aid kit in the back. And if you have little girls, an extra thing of hair ties never hurts.

There you go. I'm sure I didn't cover everything, but you get the point. The sooner you get it over with, the sooner you can be over it and except that as long as you're a parent, you just can't have anything nice!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Special Butterfly

My daughter's first grade class has been growing things. Like grass and ladybugs. It's part of their science curriculum. She has enjoyed it so much!

Well, one day last week as I was walking my children to class she insisted that I come see the butterflies! They had grown them from caterpillars. They were very pretty and fluttering around in their special cage. All except one little fellow on the bottom. My daughter's teacher explained that he was a "special needs" butterfly. You see, he did not fully develop wings, and so he can't fly.

I am SO glad this special butterfly came to be in these children's lives! He has prompted not only conversations with me and my children about all special needs creatures, but also conversations and teaching opportunities in the classroom. I have been able to talk to my children about what it means to have special need, and different kinds of special needs, and how we treat others with special needs, etc. AND they have been enthusiastic conversations. They get it. They understand that he's just as wonderful as the other butterflies. A special need does not make you any less. It just makes you more special!  :)

Although I'm sure I knew it, it just never occurred to me that other creatures, like butterflies, can have special needs. This little fellow would have surely been lizard food had he not come to this class. He's a lucky butterfly!

The class released the butterflies a few days ago, but the children pleaded with their teacher not to let him go. She had basically explained to them the circle of life, but their little hearts just couldn't stand it. So, now he's a classroom pet. At least for the remaining 2 weeks of school.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mother to Son

All my children hold their own special place in my heart and pose their own special challenges. I wouldn't necessarily say that one or more of my children are more "difficult", just that there may be a couple that require me to put more effort into my parenting. We'll just say they won't stand for lazy parenting.
A little while ago I was straightening a shelf and came across one of my pocket books, Mother to Son. I've shared from the Mother to Daughter one in the past, but thought I would share some of my favs from this one today. With 3 boys I think everything in this book applies to at least one of them! Enjoy.

Spend as much time with his as you can. This is for your sake, as much as for his.

Know that your job in life is to feed him, love him, and point him the right direction.

If you wait until he cries to pick him up, you're teaching him to cry.

He will need a nap every day for the first five years. So will you.

Relax. Throwing food is normal. Heck, throw it back! (love that one)

Don't forget, he needs one on one attention from you. (This one can be hard for me, but I think even just a snuggle in bed, just the two of you in the morning, counts.)

Practice staying calm. This will serve you well in his teenage years. (Amen.)

For reasons unknown, he will want to sit in your closet and play with your shoes. For hours! (so true)

Remember, boys tend to be competitive about everything. It will make no sense to you and sometimes scare you to death.

From you, he'll learnt he importance of telling the truth. be a good model.

Teach him how to make a peanut butter sandwich. This could be his main source of sustenance for the next ten years of life.

He will want a bike. He will fall off. He will live.

Your purse will always be a source of mystery to him.

Don't let his father forget that his son is still a little boy.

Don't tolerate his tantrums. EVER!

He will always want to show off his injuries. Act horrified!

Try not to spend time arguing. make a decision and move on.

No matter how much he protests, put him in his car seat. In the backseat.

Be prepared when taking him shoe shopping. Boys test new shoes by racing down the aisles of the shoe store.   (This one made me laugh. SO TRUE!)

Teach him to help you out around the house.

If he comes home filthy and muddy, have no qualms about hosing him off before letting him back inside. (Sometimes it's okay to just give them the soap too.)

Always be his cheerleader.

Generally speaking, your advice in picking out soccer or baseball shoes is not welcome.

Be prepared: The price of his athletic equipment will make you consider taking out a second mortgage.

He'll always look for you at his games. Sit where he can see you.

If he gets cut from a team it will be one of the worst days of his life. And yours.

If he's old enough to play, he's old enough to carry his own equipment. (Amen!)

Tell him he had a great game. Even if there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary. He just needs to hear you say it.

Walk him to school for as long as he'll let you. (I still walk my 3 youngest into school, even tho my 8 year old bolts as soon as we hit the door.)

Teach him to hang up his clothes, even if it's easier to just pick them up yourself. (Some days I struggle with this one. )

When he dresses himself, tell him he looks great. Don't worry about what others think.

Get to know his teachers. They now spend as much time with him as you do.

He will want a puppy. He will love it. You will clean up after it. (Or possibly a goat.)

Join the PTA/PTO. Become a homeroom sponsor. Volunteer as a classroom aide. Know what's going on at his school.

Give him a Valentine's Day card every year. He'll say it's corny, but secretly he'll always look forward to it.

Treat his father with love and respect. Show your son that being am an is a good thing.

Don't tolerate meanness.

Stand up for your morals. Don't give in. He might protest now, but eventually he will model himself after you.

Make sure his home is a haven of love and peace.

Demand respect. At all times.

Prepare to spend the next few years in the car. (And depending on how many you have, this could be more time than you can imagine!)

He will want you to be his friend. But what he really needs is a mom.

Everything will smell better when he starts using soap. And deodorant. Regularly. (remind constantly how important these two things are)

Do not let one single disrespectful comment slide.

He's ready to learn about girls. He can either learn form you, or from MTV.

Make sure he does volunteer work. It's a proven way to make him stop thinking about himself.

Feed his friends. You'll learn about them - and your son - as they raid the fridge.

Be unified with his father. (And when you're not, don't discuss it in front of the children!!)

Insist that he let you know where he is at all times.

Don't let him spend every dime he makes on her.

He will need you to explain the way girls think. His dad can't help him here.

Be careful not to attach special meaning to any of his girl friends. They will come and go.

Make sure he knows that his grades matter more than ever now.

If he knows he can come to you with a problem, he will.

Hold him accountable for his actions.

Don't be concerned with him disliking you. Instead, be concerned with him respecting you. (AMEN!)

When he's driving and you're in the passenger seat, don't scream, have a panic attack, or claim he's trying to kill you. Be calm. Be calm.  (this one has proven to be a little tough for me...)

Learn to listen without judgement, or even talking. (I struggle with this one too.  But I think I'm improving. My son would probably disagree.)

Apologize to him when you screw up. (!!!!!!!!!!!)

LEAVING HOME (This is a very short chapter. I'm going to put them all here)
Ask him to please never get a tattoo involving the word "mom".

Tell him you will always love him.

Remind him that beer is not one of the major food groups.

He will tell you that you're the best mom in the world.

Hug him fiercely.

Tell him to call you.

Remember, he'll be back. He's hungry.

Let him go.

I just LOVE these little books. My daughter does too. I find them next to her bed all the time. Thank you Harry and Melissa Harrison for writing them.