The Miraculous Mundane.

The intrusive siren of my alarm ripped me from my peaceful island, and suddenly I found myself within the 4 walls of my bedroom.  My fan hummed in the distance, a soundtrack to the army of thoughts suddenly invading my mind.

I blinked a few times, and let out a sigh as I lazily kicked my covers from my legs. I desperately wanted to pull them back up and stay snuggled inside the warmth of the soft fabric.  Instead I shuffled to the bedroom next to mine, and quietly opened the door.

As I took in the sight of my beautiful toddlers sleeping peacefully, the infantry of thoughts in my head began firing all at once.

I have to hurry, we have 55 minutes until we leave.  Aubrey’s vocabulary words are due today and I have to remember to bring wipes to Kaiden’s school. Hopefully I can find a pair of matching socks, I think they are still in the dryer. Speaking of dryer, did I ever hang Aubrey’s uniforms up or are they still on the table? The table, breakfast, what am I giving them for breakfast? I need to go grocery shopping.  There’s no money on the card, I’ll have to go to the bank. I’ll need gas if I’m going that far.  Shit, I can’t get gas until I go to the bank.  I’ll have to go before school.  We have to hurry. I really need to get organized. 

“Hey guys, time to get up for school.” I whisper softly.

Both babies stir simultaneously and Kaiden springs up like a Jack-In-The-Box. “Morning Mommy, me hungey.” He says rubbing his eyes. I hear Aubrey coming down the hall. “Good morning. Do you know where my uniforms are?” She asks from the doorway, her hair wild, from sleep.  I smile at her as I lift Chloe from her crib and notice Aubrey’s pajamas are too small for her.  She is growing so fast, too fast.

The morning commences the same way it always does; I frantically walk in circles picking up clothes, dressing children, packing backpacks and making food.  10 minutes left. Panic sets in.  The children want to dance and play- they are children, after all.  We have no time.

I should wake up earlier, I hate mornings.  I can’t wake up earlier, the army of thoughts take residency in my mind until the wee hours of the morning.  They never leave. I never sleep. Maybe I’ll nap when I get home. I can’t, I have to clean, and make dinner. Dinner, what am I making for dinner? I need to go grocery shopping. I have to get money on the card.  Shit. The bank…

Guys! We have to go now!”

Mornings. They are repetitive, chaotic, stressful, day in, day out. Groundhogs day. I want more, I want peace, I want to sleep in. I want someone else to get them ready, to drop them off, to carry the overwhelming weight of motherhood, I want someone else to carry it for me. Please, just for one day.

And then I remember.

I remember what mornings used to be like.

I remember popping my eyes open and immediately wanting to die.

I remember twisting in pain beneath the covers as the opiate withdrawal kicked in.

I remember spending my entire day like a 2-liter of Coke that had been shaken, ready to explode at any moment, if only the lid would open.  But it never did. The pressure was stuck inside me with nowhere to escape.

I remember telling 7 lies before noon.

I remember sneaking around in the darkness while scheming and plotting and planning and stealing and lying and hurting and dying.

I remember waking up 121 times in a jail cell.

I remember waking up 176 times in a rehabilitation center.

I remember waking up 181 times in a twin bed next to a room mate in a halfway house.

Today I woke up in my own bed, in my own home.

I glance into my rearview mirror with new eyes. I watch as Kaiden gleefully kicks his legs up and down, and Aubrey sings the song on the radio at the top of her lungs as if she were in a music video. Chloe’s tiny little arms stick up above her car seat as she claps to the beat.

We do this everyday, everyday the same. Today it’s different.

My resentment has been replaced with gratitude.  I am grateful for the clothes I dressed my beautiful children in. I am grateful for the breakfast I fed them. I am grateful for this stressful, chaotic, repetitive morning. I am bursting with joy as I am reminded of the magnificent responsibility my higher power has bestowed upon me – the role of a Mother.

Today – this day – that has been the same as all the other days this week, is the greatest day of all. I am clean, I am healthy…

I am alive.

My “Ah-S**t” Moment.

Hey everyone!

So I haven’t written in a bit and my fingers have been itching to get some thoughts down on paper.  Whew, what a crazy week it’s been, huh? Since I posted my “Eyebrow Stamp” video on my Facebook Page, things have been poppin’ off!  I have gained like 700 something new followers and my vids are being shared all over the place.

It has been super fun to see how many moms can relate to my shenanigans, and I’m grateful for the platform I’ve been given to let other hardworking moms know that they are not alone in the obstacles that pop up while facing the daunting task of raising children.

Speaking of, is anyone familiar with having an “Ah-ha” moment? It’s a moment of sudden insight or discovery.  We have all had one at some point or another and when we do, it can change everything.

This morning, I experienced something similar, except it was more of an “Ah-S**t” moment.

I was suddenly overcome with the realization that I f***ed up, and upon experiencing this revelation, I knew something had to change, and quick.  Here’s what happened.

I woke my son up for school, and instead of greeting me with a “Good morning, mommy”, he began shrieking as if I was tearing his limbs off one by one.

“Hey, woah, calm down buddy, it’s time to get up” I gently whispered, rubbing his back.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! You don’t do dat! Lee me awone!” he wailed, rolling over and ignoring me.

I nervously glance out the bedroom door and see Chloe running around with a chocolate chip waffle she stole off her brothers plate, smearing chocolate all over the walls and sofa while Aubrey is yelling across the house about how she can’t find her back pack.

Deep breath, Momma,  you got this.

“Kaiden, get up. Now” I said sternly this time. The clock was ticking and my anxiety was rising.

No! Top it. Weave me awone!”

“You want a waffle, Bud?”

“No!”

“If you wake up now you can have a lollipop on the way to school”

“Noooooo!!! Goooo away!”

“Honey, you have to get up.  You wanna watch Mickey?” I said as a last resort, (he could never say no to Mickey).

He jumped up with a huge smile, “Mickey!?” He squealed.

“Ya Buddy, c’mon, if you get dressed you can watch Mickey”.

He began crying again, and not wanting to further damage my ear drums that were already ringing from his shrieks, I quickly grabbed the remote.

“Okay, okay, easy.  You can watch Mickey while Mommy gets you dressed” I said, scrambling to pull up OnDemand.

When Mickey began playing, I looked at the smile on his face and was overcome with relief.  Thank God, I couldn’t bear to take another second of —   then it hit me.  Ah-S**t…..

I messed up.  I messed up bad.  Not just today.  Everyday. All the time.

My.Son.Is.Spoiled.

I have spoiled him.  In every sense of the word. And it took me this long to realize, I had been messing up.  I’m sure most of you reading this realized it right away, but I hadn’t.  My love for this little dude blinded me.  He’d been taking advantage of me the whole time.

I glanced out the door at my girls.  Aubrey had gotten herself dressed to the shoes and was sitting quietly on the couch.  Chloe was sitting in the middle of the floor giggling and munching on a waffle. Meanwhile, My son, Kim Kardashian, was staring mindlessly at the T.V. while his servant quietly dressed him, careful not to disturb him.

WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME?!

This kid is two freakin’ years old! He is not the boss, I am, so why the hell do I let him dictate how this morning is going to go down? On his terms?

It was as if I had been slapped across the face by the invisible ‘Common Sense’ fairy. Suddenly everything became clear and I realized not only am I enabling this kid to act like a jerk, but his sisters are watching, and I’m giving them a front row seat to the movie “How To Get What You Want By Acting Like An Asshole“.

With a newfound determination I bounded over to the T.V. and shut it off.

“HEYYYYYYYY?!” Kaiden screamed as he collapsed onto the bed kicking his little legs in frustration.

“No, I don’t care, there’s a new Sheriff in town, Buddy, so you better buckle up yer britches ‘cuz things are a’changin ’round here”, I said.

(Okay, I didn’t say that, but when my life is made into a movie that’s  how I want my line to go).

I literally dragged him into the van kicking and screaming.  He screamed the entire ride to his sister’s school, and then daycare.  When I unbuckled him he was covered in sweat and tears and continued to protest until I threw him at his teachers and ran full speed out the door like I was being chased by a swarm of hornets, arms flailing and everything.

I sat quietly in the van for a moment, replaying the mornings events in my head while taking deep, slow breaths in an attempt to slow my blood pressure down. This isn’t the first time this has happened, it happens often.

Wanting to “give myself a break” I thrust a snack into his hand or throw him in front of a T.V. so that I can have a few moments of peace. But this kid is smarter than I realized and over time he has learned that the ear-piercing shrieks and tears will get him exactly what he wants, every time.

I love seeing his eyes light up when he gets something he wants, it makes my soul happy to see my baby happy. But holy s***, he is turning into a bit of an a-hole and there’s no way in hell I’m putting up with 16 more years of this crap.

So, after I write this, I have a plan of action.  I am finally doing what I said I’d never do – I’m making a damn schedule for this family.

My laziness and love of spontaneity has kept me from creating a set list of things we are to do at certain times. I have always been a fan of “seeing where the day takes us”, but I realize now, that this leaves room for chaos and rebellion, and I need to nip this thing in the bud, (butt? is it bud or butt?) before it’s too late.

There will be set times we eat.

Minimal screen time depending on behavior throughout the day.

We will have set homework, reading, bath and play times.

And I will be more diligent in bed times.

I am expecting it to be difficult, exhausting and stressful. It’s gonna suck.  A lot.

But, I have faith that it will pay off in the end.  There’s a difference between making their lives “fun”, and “letting them run the show”, and I have been blurring those lines a bit.

So as I set of to begin the task of organizing the days into a schedule, I ask for prayers and luck to be sent my way.  Because as usual, I have no clue what the f*** I’m doing.

Also, if anyone has any advice, tips, or tricks that work for your routines, please help a sista out and leave them in the comments below.

Lastly, if anyone has the number to Nanny 911, I’ll take that too….

XOXO

I Applaud You, Mother Hustler.

Hey friends!

You know that moment, when your walking through the mall, minding your own business, and all the sudden in your peripheral vision you see a person beginning to approach you from a kiosk.  You try to avoid eye contact and pick up the pace of your step, in an attempt to visually convey the fact that you are not interested in whatever the hell they’re about to ambush you with?

“Free sample?” they blurt as you pass, holding out an object to lure you into a sales pitch.  Ugh, that’s the worst, right? Talk about pressure.  I mean, you aren’t interested in what they are selling, but you don’t want to feel like a jerk by rejecting them either.  It’s a tough spot to be in, when all you wanted was a pretzel and some new shoes.

Sometimes, it can feel like this exact same scenario plays out on a place most of us spend a lot of time — Facebook.

There you are, scrolling along, minding your own business when all the sudden, you get a message in your inbox.

It’s from someone trying to sell you something. Be it directly or inadvertently, their mission is the same, to get you to purchase their product. 

Unsure of what I’m talking about? Here’s a few examples:

Now, I have seen many people ranting on Facebook about this issue, understandably. I can understand the frustration of having your inbox look like this (this isn’t even the half of it).   If you aren’t interested, you aren’t interested – I get it, I really do.  But the thing is, each of these people was unaware that the others had done the same thing. How could they know?

I feel the need to make a few quick points about this situation.  Not to change peoples minds, but instead to make them think twice before lashing out against those who are trying to grow their business. Here are some things I think about when responding to the influx of messages I receive.

They are supporting a family. Lularoe, ItWorks, Thrive, LipSense, Nerium, Isagenix, Limelight, Plunder and Paprazzi Accessories – just to name a few – are companies that allow people to generate extra income for their families – from home.

One of the toughest things that a mother (especially of a newborn) has to do is return to work after giving birth to a child. It’s heartbreaking for a mom to have to leave her heart at home and walk out the door without it, I know from experience.

These companies allow mothers to spend more time at home with their children, while still managing to generate much needed income for their family. They are able to use social media – the most easily accessible form of networking – to get their product out there and into the hands of the consumers quickly and easily.

Side-Hustle. Some of the people who sell these products aren’t always mothers.  This day in age it seems oftentimes the middle class (like myself) are working SO HARD to move forward and make ends meet, but we often find ourselves running in place and getting nowhere, living paycheck to paycheck.

Some people have decided to take it upon themselves to do something about it.  They have started their own business and are working furiously day and night to get their product out into the world, in exchange for a small profit which they can use toward a down payment on a home, or groceries or car payments.  They aren’t doing it just for fun – it’s their livelihood.

Believe it or not, they don’t want to stalk you. I don’t personally sell anything, but I am close to many people who do.  After numerous conversations with some of them I can tell you, that they don’t want to bug you about their stuff.  They really don’t.

They don’t wake up in the morning and say “Oh man, I can’t wait to see how many people I can piss off and annoy today, it’s gonna be great!”

It goes more something like this: “Rent is due in 2 days and despite the fact that my husband has been busting his ass at work this week, it’s still gonna be tight.  If I can sell a couple ( insert product here) today it will help tremendously”.

OR,

“Oh my gosh I can’t believe how good I am feeling and how much energy I have because of this (insert product here). I really need to tell my friends about it so they can feel this good too!”

It takes a lot of balls, tenacity and motivation to put yourself and your business out there,  facing the risk of being ridiculed and rejected.  But they continue to do it because they are passionate about it, and that deserves praise. You don’t have to buy it, you can tell them you aren’t interested, hell you can even unfollow them – but bear in mind that their goal isn’t to lose a friend, it’s to do whatever they can to raise awareness about what they’re selling.

They believe in the product. Listen, if someone dedicates their life to a company or product, and spends countless hours purchasing, organizing, promoting, invoicing and networking – it’s not because they think the product sucks and doesn’t work.  They wouldn’t give so much of themselves, if they didn’t truly believe in their heart that what they are selling is quality and will be enjoyed by the consumers.

I personally get genuine enjoyment from supporting my friends in their business ventures.  I would rather make purchases from people I love, knowing exactly where my money is going. as oppose to a big box retailer who’s CEO is currently parking his private jet in the backyard of his mansion and has no clue I even exist.

I applaud anyone who busts their ass to do something positive for their loved ones, who doesn’t rely on others to support them and does whatever they can to build a successful future.

I understand the frustration these sales pitches may cause some of you, and to be honest I think there are a few people out there who go overboard, and give the rest of them a bad name.  Don’t let a few bad apples spoil the bunch.

I sincerely hope that you will take all of these things into consideration the next time someone approaches you about something.  If you aren’t interested, let them know.  You don’t have to be a jerkface about it. A simple “No thank you” will suffice.

And for you business owners out there, if someone does say “No thank you”, leave it at that. No need to question their decision or try to convince them – that’s when you cross over into the stalker category, people.

If you sell a product I would love for you to leave a link to your business in the comments.  I think you are wonderful for doing what you do and I will always support you. Not always financially though, my husband is getting tired of my shit….

7 Things I’ve Learned Since Becoming A Parent, That I Wished I’d Known Sooner.

According to Wikipedia.org, the definition of “parenting” is as follows: “Parenting or child rearing is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, financial, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood.”

Jesus, that sounds serious.

I mean, that’s a lot of responsibility, and since it’s my job to “support” and “promote” all of those things, this means there’s a chance that I can royally screw it up.

When I first became a parent, I was clueless in regards to just about everything.  I have made lots of mistakes, but I’ve grown from them, and what works for me, might not work for you, it’s a learning process.

I’ve decided to share some tips, tricks and bits of advice that I wish I’d known sooner. Things that have not only made parenting easier, but also helped my children to flourish and become rad little people.

Get an app with toddler lock. Listen, if you have a baby, you know damn well that kid is scratching and clawing to get at your phone.  If you turn your back for 2 seconds, they are updating your Facebook status with baby-jibberjabber and liking the photos of people you were just secretly stalking. Babies are little geniuses and master the “unlock” patterns as soon as they exit the womb. Get a free toddler app like this and let them go crazy.  They can’t exit the screen, and this buys you time to wash dishes, talk to doctors or get 5 minutes of peace.

Purge, and purge often. All it takes is one holiday with relatives, and your house looks like  a Toys-R-Us exploded.  Chances are, your kid plays with the same 3 toys despite having 74 billion of them.  Kids will play with cardboard, shoes and toilet paper.  They don’t care.  Take a damn garbage bag in the kids room and stuff it with toys they aren’t attached to, or don’t even know exist, and take them to one of these places.  Not only will other kids benefit from your bag of goodies – but you will feel a thousand pounds lighter mentally. Trust me.

Make sure all your kids stuff goes back where it belongs. If I had a dollar for every freakin’ time I ran around this house like a chicken with my head cut off trying to locate socks, shoes, sippy cups and hair ties – I’d buy an actual person to live here and find the stuff for me. Like literally, purchase a human, I’d be that rich.  I now put things back where they go (most of the time), and while it takes an extra second to put it back, it saves me hours of pulling my hair out and shooting death glares at my kids as I run past them full speed, with a single shoe in hand.

Kids are smarter than you think  My son is 2.  When he finishes a meal, he asks if he can please be done, takes his plate to the sink and washes his hands – without me saying a word. Other times he collapses on the floor in hysterics claiming he can’t pull the blanket up over his legs. When they ask me to do something for them, I always ask them to first try themselves. Whether it’s toothpaste on a toothbrush or putting their own socks on, push your kiddos to do things they think they can’t, and both of you may be pleasantly surprised.

Proceed with caution when asking strangers in “Mom Groups” for advice. I learned this one the hard way.  After posting a photo of a red mark on my sons leg, a few mothers convinced me he’d been bitten by a Brown Recluse spider. I yanked him up, threw him over my shoulder and ran full speed to the car where we proceeded to speed to the hospital.  It was a pimple.  A pimple that cost me $4,500.  Thanks “Shelley” from Nebraska. If you are worried about your kid – call the doctor or a trusted relative. Don’t allow strangers in Germany to diagnose them based off of a photo.

Watch this video. If you don’t know what to do if your kid starts choking, (aside from panicking and swinging them around by their ankles). It’s under a minute, and may save a life.  Click Here.

Finally, Don’t answer all your kids questions. Whenever Aubrey asks me a question, instead of answering it,  I almost always ask her; “Well, what do you think?”  This allows her to get her gears turning, use her imagination and most times, come to her own conclusions. She is usually super excited when she answers her own questions, and it helps her to have confidence in her abilities and problem-solving skills.

 

That’s it for now, I’m sure I could think of a bazillion more, but it’s 11:00 p.m. and my son is refusing to sleep without me in there.  That’s another thing, I wish someone would have told me what a bad idea it was to put the baby in my bed with me.  It seemed fun at the time, but now I spend my nights getting karate kicked in the temple and punched in the eye sockets. I do love snuggling with him though, I’ll put him in his own bed soon, maybe, someday….When he’s 18.

Goodnight friends….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Quick Easter Message To Moms In Early Recovery.

Happy Easter my wonderful friends!

As I sat on the couch and watched my kids running around this morning, my heart filled with gratitude, my mind began wandering.

I began thinking about all of the moms in recovery, who are working to rebuild their lives, piece by piece.

The moms who didn’t have the opportunity to spend the night excitedly making special Easter baskets for their babies.

The moms who woke up this morning to heartbreaking silence.

The moms who wish more than anything that they could have watched as their babies gleefully popped colorful eggs open, their little faces covered in chocolate, giggling uncontrollably with excitement; but didn’t have that opportunity because they’re only just beginning their journey in recovery.

The moms who are busting their ass to repair relationships with their children after addiction.

I want you all to know that you have already given your children the greatest Easter gift they could ever hope to receive – you got sober.

I know firsthand the willpower, determination, resilience and strength it takes to put down the drugs, and head down the road of recovery without the one thing you’ve always counted on to make it through the days.

But you did it.

You may not see your children as often as you’d like yet, you may not see them at all.  They may be too young to understand, or they may be old enough to grasp what has happened, and hesitant to trust you just yet.

Either way, you have already taken the first and hardest step.  The blessings of recovery will come, but sometimes, they take longer than we’d like.  If you keep doing the next right thing, I can promise you that everything will fall into place, over time, in God’s time.  Trust in his process.

In case no one has told you lately, I am proud of you.  You are the definition of a miracle and have already overcome so much.  Please don’t be discouraged today, be grateful that you are alive to see this Easter Sunday, whether you have your little ones with you or not.

There is a lifetime ahead of you and plenty of time to make new memories.  Be patient, remain grateful for the progress you have made, continue taking it one day at a time and I promise, your life will be more beautiful than you can even imagine.

Where there is breath, there is hope….

Happy Easter.

 

 

 

The Egg Hunt From Hell.

Hi friends! I am wide awake because ice cream sounded good at midnight, and we don’t have the kids (whaaa?) so I hopped my fat a** into the car and did a soft serve run.  I am on day 3 of my diet, so now that the ice cream has been inhaled, I’m feeling a little guilty.  Only a little guilty though, barely.

Anyway, I had a very eventful day today.  To say the least.

The children and I went to find Easter eggs at “The Annual EGGstravaganza”,  ( get it?). I was due to meet Aubrey’s grandparents there at 9:30 am.  So when I woke up at 9:01 a.m., you can imagine the chaos that ensued.  Children screaming as I ran in circles, half asleep, like a dog chasing it’s tale.

Chastising my husband for not putting Kaiden’s socks on fast enough while violently shoving various objects into the diaper bag and trying to get my life together- it was good times.

I wore my pajama’s to the EGGstravaganza.

Yeah, I sure did. Because I don’t give a damn. And also I didn’t have time to change.

We made it on time (because I’m a superhero), and headed to the “2 year old area” of the egg hunt. The announcer came over the intercom and told everyone that the gates were about to open, and when they did – I s**t you not, all hell broke loose.

I thought I was at the Running Of The Bulls for a second.  People – mainly moms– were elbowing and shoving people to get into this damn gate.  I pulled Kaiden close to me, for fear that he might get whacked with a purse or rammed with a stroller.

These people were acting like the building was on fire and they were trying to escape. I had never seen anything like it and honestly, I was shocked. Like, listen Rebecca, these children are 2 years old and have no clue why they are even here, no need to hurl your kid over the wall and yell “Get in there and make Mommy proud, Tommy!”. Calm down.

When we finally entered the Gates of Hell, I noticed that eggs were randomly placed in various spots on the ground in order to make it easy for the tots to grab them and secure them in their baskets.  I saw a small pile and excitedly exclaimed “There you go Bubby! Go get some eggs!”.  Kaiden’s face lit up and he began trotting toward the spot.

Out of nowhere, this Mom and her son, hand in hand, cut Kaiden off at the pass and dove to the ground as if they were sliding into home plate.

They scooped the eggs up and began high-fiving one another, until the mother spotted another pile, and with a newfound determination and a wild look in her eye, she grabbed her son by the wrist and yanked him in that direction.

What, in the actual hell, just happened. Does this lady realize that she isn’t on an episode of American Ninja Warrior? It’s a damn egg hunt, for 2 year olds. I stared for a moment in complete shock, debating on whether or not it would be appropriate to knock her unconscious with an empty Easter basket, until I saw the confused look on Kaiden’s face and that snapped me back to reality.

My heart broke a little imagining how excited he was for those eggs before they were snatched up right in front of him.  I suddenly felt determined to get this kid some eggs.  I took out my earring and cracked my knuckles, then squatted down until he and I were eye to eye.

“Now you listen to me, son.  We are gonna get you some friggin eggs, okay, and they are gonna be the coolest eggs on the whole planet.  Then we are gonna open them, and eat the hell out of whatever is inside.  Now I want you to get out there, and show me what your made of.  On three! 1…2…3…break!”

Kaiden and I took off like horses out of a gate. Chloe clung to the sides of the stroller for dear life as I whipped and swiveled in and out of groups of people. Kaiden was trotting beside me with his war face on as we headed off on our mission. We weren’t leaving here until we got the goods.

“Kick him in the shin, Kaiden! Grab that egg!” I yelled as Kaiden and another child ran toward the same pink egg sitting alone on the ground. I cheered triumphantly as Kaiden rose from the dust holding it up.  “Put it in the damn basket let’s go!” I yelled over my shoulder as I charged forward toward the last remaining eggs, sitting alone in the corner, unclaimed.

I heard the clicking of heels on the ground next to me.  I glanced over my shoulder and saw a flash of blonde hair.  Hell no.  Not today Suzie, those are mine.  Chloe squealed with delight as I took a sharp right to cut her off.  I don’t even know where Kaiden was at this point, honestly.  I was on a mission to get my kid some friggin eggs, and if these mom’s wanted to play dirty, I was happy to oblige.

“Really?” soccer mom said as I began running full speed.  They were so close. I could see the shiny plastic glimmering in the sun as I approached.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I made it to the egg pile.  Out of breath and beaming with pride, I bent down to grab them and suddenly realized; they were empty.  An impatient child had apparently opened their eggs and seized the candy, leaving the discarded shells and wrappers here, for me to find.

I took a deep, defeated breath and tried to center myself.  I am an adult.  These are just eggs.  We can get them at the dollar store. Get your life together, Tiffany.  Also, where is your son?

Shit.

My son.

Panic rose within me as I frantically began searching for Kaiden.  “Momma, lookie me!” I swiveled around and realized he had been 2 feet away from me the whole time.  He was crouched down next to a bush and closely examining something.  I ran to him — thankful that he wasn’t kidnapped or trampled by a pair of Louis Vuitton’s — and I scooped him up into my arms and squeezed him.

I’m sorry we didn’t get you any eggs Bub, when we leave here we will get you some of your own, okay?” He had no clue what I was saying, he’s 2, but it made me feel better to say it. “Lookit Mommy, eggies!” he said, pointing to the ground near the bush.

His basket was sitting behind the bush – that must have been what he was looking at – and the inside of his basket, was filled with eggs.

My heart leapt from my chest. I don’t know how the hell it happened, where he got them, or if any children were hurt in the process, but he did it.  He got his Easter eggs, on his own.

As it turns out, some of the eggs had tickets for free bikes and theme parks, which somewhat explains the ravenous egg hunting mothers, but not really.

It ended up being a great day.  Kaiden and his sister gathered around a table and enthusiastically pulled their eggs apart to reveal the hidden goodies inside, (none of which were tickets for a bike, FYI).  We had delicious snacks and the children ran around the playground while periodically munching on Easter candy.

Did Kaiden have a blast at the egg hunt? Yes.  Did he know that at a few different points, his life was in danger? No.  Will I stick to strategically placing eggs around the yard and avoid mobs of crazy moms in the future? I’m not sure.  However if we do go to this event next year, I’ll be sure to wear running shoes and pack Pepper Spray.

Happy Easter, friends!

kgu

 

 

 

A Letter To My Pregnant Self About Having A Baby. (With Pictures)

 

Hey Tiff,

Congrats on the news! Woohoo! A baby. Terrifying, amirite?

Listen, I know right now you are a bundle of nerves.  You are currently experiencing every emotion known to man and are in desperate need of guidance.  Since Mom is in heaven, (and we obviously can’t call her there, which is stupid) I am here to save the day!!

I have some information and tips that I’d like to share with you, in hopes of preparing you for this exciting new journey! I’ve included pictures, In case your “Mom Brain” is in full effect and you don’t want to read words. Okay, here goes!

 

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Girl, the beginning is glorious.  You are gonna take 800 selfies of your fine ass, impressed with how cute you look pregnant.  You will imagine how your body is gonna snap back into shape once the baby is born and be the hottest M.I.L.F. in town….Okay, that’s fine.  Live in that moment. Just….yeah.  Good for you and your confidence.

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Buy some maternity pants asap though because, shit’s about to get real.

 

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Yeahhhhhh, so, staying in shape while pregnant won’t be as easy as you thought…It’s actually really friggin hard.

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Pregnancy is a great excuse to eat a lot.  You will use the term “I’m eating for two”, a few times too many.  Also, maybe don’t eat cheeseballs at 3:00am…every night.

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Sooooo, remember how you, um, thought you weren’t going to get any stretch marks because you were gonna lather yourself in coconut oil? Yeahhh. It didn’t work.

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There will come a day, when you desperately need him out of your body.  That also happens to be the day that time slows down, and every second feels like an hour and every hour a year. You will spend hours googling: “How to self induce labor” and will try numerous ridiculous tricks to get him out.  It won’t matter. Spoiler alert: He’s gonna be a week later.

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On that day you will decide that you’ve changed your mind about him being out, and would like to keep him in.

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But he’s a’comin whether you like it or not.  Which you will, once you hold him on your chest.  Also, I hope you weren’t too fond of celebrating your birthday, because from now on you two will share a birthday.

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Don’t worry, you didn’t accidently give birth to an old man.  All babies look like senior citizens in the beginning.

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Just when you think your husband can’t get any sexier, he is going to hold your son for the first time.  You are going to fall in love all over again ….Until it comes time to change diapers, he will lose some brownie points there.

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Okay, so, this is an important one.  Make sure his, erm, “part” is pointed downward in the diaper. Otherwise you will get pissed on numerous times a day and wonder if your baby is broken.

Also:

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One minute you are gonna be watching Dr. Phil, and the next, your breasts will become engorged and you will leak like a Faucet.  Put some breast pads on when you get out of the hospital.  Trust me.

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Okay so this one kinda sucks. Your “baby bump”, doesn’t go away just because the baby is born.  I know, FML right? It’s okay, it will over time. Give yourself time.  Enjoy the moments following the birth, instead of obsessing about your weight.  It’s a waste of precious time.

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Although this will be right around the time Facebook Memories reminds you of your pre-baby body.  DON’T LOOK AT YOUR FACEBOOK MEMORIES! – Yet.

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Speaking of, there are gonna be days when you do your hair and make up – even though you aren’t leaving the house – just to feel beautiful, because at times you will feel anything but.  That’s okay.  You do you girl.

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You are gonna freak about every scratch and bump on the skin of this new little being you’ve been entrusted to care for.  You will send countless photos pleading with your cousin to diagnose him over the phone.  He will be fine.  Everything will be fine. Chill.

You will soon discover that your husband is just a big kid.  Resist the urge to “correct” his parenting style.  Let him find his own way, and create his own bond with the child.  Let him be Dad.

Make sure you have plenty of storage on your phone, you are going to need it.  A million pictures of him in the same position will soon become the way you spend your free time.

Speaking of photos, you will keep your camera pointed at your sleeping child for about 7 hours a day, in an attempt to catch his adorable sleepy little smiles.  Although there are more constructive ways to spend your time, you will treasure these pics later, so stalk away!

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Hey, so, I know you’re a big fan of sleeping, bad news, those days are gone my friend.

The good news is, you get to dress him up in fun outfits on holidays, so, there’s that.

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Try not to get him started with electronics too soon.  It seems like a good idea at the time, but before you know it he will be throwing himself on the floor screaming, demanding you put Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on for him.  Sometimes you will, just for a moment of peace. And by sometimes, I mean all the damn time.

The next bit is really important, it’s actually the reason I’ve decided to write this to you.

You are going to blink once…..

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And it will be his first birthday…Blink again…

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And it will be his second.

Time flies by faster than you realize, and one day you wake up and…

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Your baby, isn’t a baby anymore.

Treasure. Every. Moment.

. You are going to spend so much time worrying, wondering, obsessing and stressing.

You are going to spend way too many hours scrolling through Facebook and not enough staring at his face.  Put the phone down, and hold him instead.

Rock him, sing to him, embracing his crying and wipe his tears. Smile when it’s time to make him a bottle, enjoying the moments when he wakes you from sleep to comfort him.  In those moments, he needs you. 

One day you will blink, and he won’t anymore.

You are going to experience frustration, resentment, anger, hopelessness and anxiety throughout the early years of his life.  You will question whether or not you are cut out to be a mom.  It’s important that you know that it’s okay to feel that way.  You will also experience joy, giddy laughter, pride and a love for him that will intensify each moment that passes. Your heart will become so full of admiration that it feels it will burst at any moment. You are going to be an incredible mother.

Anyway, congratulations on the pregnancy.  You are gonna do great, seriously.  There’s one more thing I need to tell you, in the spirit of preparation….

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You’re not done yet…

How I Snapped Out Of My “Lazy Housewife” Funk.

I’ve always believed in being transparent.  Honesty is key for growth.  So if I am being honest with you (and myself),  on a scale of 1-10, I am at about a 5 on the “awesome housewife” scale right now.

I have been sllllllacking.  I can’t pin point how, when, or why it started, but you can bet your ass it started, and I have the piles of laundry to prove it.

It seems I go through stages.  Some days, I cartwheel out of bed and karate chop my daily duties in the throat; flipping around my home like a gymnast with paper towels and a broom.

Other days, (like the past few days, weeks, month or so), I have been a Lazy Leslie.  I have tried to justify it to myself and it sounds something like this: “Girl, you got like a hundred kids and a big house, you aren’t super woman. Chill, relax, you’ve earned it.  Why don’t you lay down for a bit and rest your tired mom-bones”.

This self-dialogue is backed up by the fact that the bed is a mere 10 ft away from me all day everyday.  Sometimes I swear I hear it yelling at me the moment I pick up a dish to wash: “Ay! Get in here baby, I miss you.  Your hands are too delicate to be getting all pruney in that yucky sink water.  Put that down and come lay with me.” To which I usually reply, “Oh, bed. You know me so well. Here I come boo”.

In addition to my lack of enthusiasm about chores and cooking,  I have also been neglecting my body, shoveling ice cream sandwiches and Taco Bell down my gullet as if I was competing on Man Vs Food.

I have a history of depression and self esteem issues, so it’s important for me to be aware of my behavior.  For awhile now I’ve been in a funk, and I’ve been using the excuse “I’m overwhelmed” for too long.  The truth is, there is plenty of time for me to accomplish the things I need to during the day.  I just don’t want to.

I feel anxious when the house is cluttered and messy,  I am a happier person when everything is in it’s place and it smells like febreeze and wax melts up in here.  My husband had been busting his butt all day long to support our family, while I laid around for hours, occasionally moving some stuff around to make it appear as if I wasn’t indeed the sloth that I’ve been.

I wasn’t holding up my end of the deal, I wasn’t contributing as much as I could, I was neglecting my role in the family and it wasn’t fair.  I am a firm believer in taking some time to yourself to recharge, however my ass had been on the charger for long enough, and it was time to get it together for my family, and myself.  So what did I do?  I burned the house down so I didn’t have to clean anymore.   Just kidding.

I turned to my best friend, Google.  Together, Google and I did some digging and stumbled upon a website called “Organizing Made Fun”.  I threw my head back in maniacal laughter\at the blatant misspelling of the word “sucks”.

I clicked the site out of curiosity, eager to see why this crazy person thought it would be okay to put “organizing” and “fun” in the same sentence.  It came as no surprise that the website itself was beautifully organized.  It had different categories clearly displayed for everything from organizing your kids stuff to room by room cleaning/organizing tips and tricks.

If you’re like me and were addicted to opiates for ten years and never wiped a baseboard in your life and could use some motivation, inspiration and guidance – this is where it’s at! The woman who runs the blog is Becky, and she uses her site to help mom’s like me get their s*** together.

She delivers insightful articles about getting finances in order, meal planning, DIY projects, schedules, and organizing tools (which, she mentions using velvet hangers and, I don’t want to brag butttt….I already own those, so, beat ya to it Beck).

Anyway, she has a section of her website where she shows us what the inside of her home looks like. At first I was all like “Omg, #goals” but then I was like “HA! Wait a sec, this lady obviously doesn’t have kids. Okay, whew! I was starting to feel bad about my life for a second there”. As I continued scrolling through her photos, a picture of a child’s room appeared on the screen, and then another.  Damnit.  This lady is a magician.

It really got me thinking.  I can do better, I know I can.  When I sit on my butt instead of making my home a haven of peace, I am putting my own selfish needs before others.  If I had a dollar for every time I scrolled through Facebook and said to myself “Okay, 12 more minutes then we are done reading about Sarah’s time at the gym and Donald Trumps wire tap allegations” , I’d be rich.

There’s nothing on that phone that is more important than seeing my family comfortable, and happy. The only way I can improve at something is to learn to do it better.  I am not even close to perfect and need all the help I can get, so finding a site that makes it easy for me to learn to be the person I want to be was a breath of fresh air.

I spent about an hour reading advice on that site, and made a conscious decision to put the phone down and start making a change. I organized my pantry, cabinets and fridge.  It took a couple hours, but the relief I felt after decluttering and the joy on the kids faces once their snacks were all organized and accessible was beyond rewarding. 

I’m doing little things each day, but they are slowly adding up; and I honestly feel better than I have in a long time.  My husband deserves a wife who takes care of things for him, because he does so much for our family.  I want to be that wife.

Now don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying organizing is “fun”, okay, let’s not get crazy.  But being organized and tidy is much easier than scrambling each morning to find my sons infamous missing shoe and throwing random items from the fridge into a lunchbox as we are running out the door late for school.

I welcome chaos, all I’ve ever known is chaos, but from here on out; I’m gonna try to do things differently.  Will I be back to throwing random articles of clothing over my shoulder as I furiously search for a pair of matching socks in a few weeks? Possibly.  But if there is something more I can be doing to keep our home running like a well oiled machine- I’m sure as hell gonna try.

How do you keep your home organized? Do you have any tips or tricks you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments! (I need all the help I can get!)

 

 

In Case No One Has Told You Lately, You. Are. Amazing.

From one mother to another, I have some things I feel the need to share with you.  They are coming from a place of love, and complete understanding.  I hear the deep sighs and I see the tired look in your eyes, and I believe you are long overdue for some appreciation, so here it is.

I know the incredible amount of work you put into your home, and your family day in and day out, and you probably don’t hear the words “thank you” nearly as often as you should. Being a good mother takes an excessive amount of energy, and an endless supply of patience and love.  It takes a special person to selflessly put others needs before her own, so from one hardworking Momma to another, thank you.

You are beautiful.  I know there are many days when you hurriedly get the kids ready for school, and catch a glimpse of your reflection on your way out the door and think, “Wow I’m a mess, I’ve really let myself go”. I think it’s important that you realize what the definition of beauty really is.

What makes someone beautiful is not hair that falls perfectly into place or flawless make up.  True beauty is defined by ones soul.  The “mom bun”, sweatpants and natural face are a symbol of the immeasurable amount of love you have for the children you have created.  Anyone can slap make up on and straighten their hair, it takes a special person to be more concerned with ensuring their loved ones are ready for the day first. That’s what makes you so beautiful.

Your body is perfect. I am sure you’ve have heard the old saying “stretch marks mean you’ve earned your stripes, embrace them!”.  I can tell you as a mom who’s stomach has been stretched to it’s limits and beyond; that this saying doesn’t help me feel any sexier when my husband’s hand brushes against my stomach.

What I will tell you is this; if given the choice between having a toned flat stomach, or having your children, you would choose your babies – every time. Stretch marks are a small price to pay for a lifetime of joy.  Like a home with dashes on the wall to measure a child’s height as they grow, try to imagine these marks as a reminder for yourself, once the kids are grown up and on their own, that they were once there, that your body at one time, was their home.

You are doing great. You are! I think at times we start to feel more like servants, and less like wives and mothers. We get into a routine of cooking, cleaning, diaper changing, homework, errand running and so much more.  At the end of the day we are utterly exhausted and most times, our partners are none the wiser.  I know how hard you worked today, how much you gave, and how much you achieved.  You. Are. Amazing.

Keep in mind, that each chapter is temporary. I know there are moments when you feel that if you step on one more Lego, or hear the “Mickey Mouse” theme song one more time – that you will explode.  The sad thing is,  you will blink; and your babies will be grown ups, and they will be living on their own.  Your home will be quiet. The silence will be deafening.  The toys will be long gone, stored in the attic.  Embrace and appreciate this chaos while it’s here, because we are gonna miss the hell out of it when it’s gone.

Lastly, It’s a beautiful thing when you give your all to your family, but it’s imperative that you don’t end up losing your identity in the process. We get so caught up in the routines, and schedules and tasks that we rarely take time to do things for ourselves.  Relax.  Take a bath, go for a walk alone, meditate and give your brain a break from racing thoughts and worries. The dishes can wait.  It’s important to recharge your batteries from time to time, because you can’t pour from an empty cup.  You don’t have to feel guilty for sitting down for a bit and doing…Nothing.

Being a Mom isn’t like a regular job, where you receive accolades and promotions for doing a good job.  Sometimes even getting a thank you is like pulling teeth.  There will come a day, when your children grow up and recognize the love, strength and sacrifice that went into raising them.

We aren’t doing what we do each day for daily praise.  There is a much bigger picture that we must remain focused on when we feel like giving up. We are doing it for the day they walk across the stage to receive their diploma, the day they stand at the alter with the love of their life at the beginning of their new chapter.  We are doing it for the day they come to us as successful adults and give us a great big hug, and they say “Thank you Mom, for everything”.

You are wonderful, you are strong, you are appreciated (whether you hear it or not)  and you are making a difference. Thank you, for all that you do.

Quick Update

Hello friends!

Soooo, some of you may have noticed I haven’t been posting for a bit (or maybe my ego is hoping you noticed, you may have been oblivious to my MIA status because I’m nowhere near as cool as I think I am), either way, I am going to make this brief, but I wanted to fill you in on what’s been going on lately in the Jenkins household!

For starters- I haven’t had a phone for about a week now – and I’m totally fine with this.  In a perfect world, I would spend the rest of my days phone-free, however a replacement is on the way and will be here today. Booooo.

Also, my handsome hunk of a husband, started his own business about a month ago.  It’s a 24/7 on-call business, so he has been busting his butt to get this thing up and running and I couldn’t possibly  be ANY MORE proud of him than I am at this moment. He is doing amazing things for our family and I feel very blessed to be by his side through this next chapter.

So, in case some of you didn’t know,   I am fortunate enough to work from home for a carpentry/ remodeling company.  In addition to this, I recently picked up a side job writing for and working on The Purpose House website/Facebook. I am very grateful for this opportunity and hope to bring more awareness to the incredible transitional home that gave me a safe place during my transition into the real world after addiction.

Lastly, WE FLEW TO PA! We flew to surprise my sister for her birthday and it was incredible.  I am probably going to make a post with pics and stories of our adventure because it is worthy of it’s own space.

The kids are wonderful, Chloe will be walking any second now, Kaiden is loving school but hating mornings and Aubrey is my angel child sent from above.  She is such a wonderful help with her little brother and sister and I truly don’t know what I’d do without her!

So that’s it, we have been busy bees around here but hopefully in the upcoming week I will be able to catch up on my writing, because there is LOTS to talk about!

I love you guys and appreciate all of your love and support more than you will ever know!

XOXOXOX

Putting My Own Oxygen Mask On, First.

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Today, while on all fours searching for Chloe’s binky under the couch for the 4th time today; I had a revelation.

I don’t even know who I am anymore.

Seriously.  I’ve gotten into this routine, where my new normal is being the caretaker for 3 children, (4-if we count my husband).  I spend my days changing diapers, preparing meals, comforting , folding laundry, paying bills – and so much more….

If I happen to get lucky enough to get an hour to myself while the kids are napping; I spend that hour debating.  I have a very important decision to make.  Do I take a nap as well? Mop the floors since I can’t when they are awake and crawling all over them?

Do I catch up on that show I’ve been meaning to watch but haven’t had the time? OH maybe I could take an interrupted shower – if I do it quietly enough not to wake them up,  I may even be able to fit in shaving my legs.  Or maybe I should use this time to scroll through Facebook mindlessly and catch up on the latest drama.

By the time I figure out what to do – naptime is almost over.  Usually when I do end up taking a break, I feel guilty for sitting down because there is always SOMETHING productive I could be doing, because being a Mom is basically all about playing catch up.  There is so little time to myself that even if I am granted a few spare moments – I usually end up spending them doing things that help the family.

I have become so consumed with my role as “Mom“, that it has been a very long time since I thought about Tiffany.  Tiffany the friend, Tiffany the wife, Tiffany the sister; Tiffany the PERSON.

I didn’t always have children; they are semi new.  So what the heck did I do before they arrived?

Who am I without them? What do I like to do apart from being with my family? When was the last time I had a night out with a friend? (Last time I did something with a friend I spent the entire evening silently obsessing about my family at home – wondering how the hell they were surviving without me)

I realize the importance my role in this household – but I also recognize how crucial it is for me to have my own identity.

Momma’s – you know how consuming and exhausting it can be when it is your job to be the glue that holds everything together.  Even when we lay down at night, we don’t immediately drift off to a magical slumber like our peaceful snoring partners without a care in the world – our minds are racing.

“I forgot to put Sara’s library book in her backpack”, “I have to pay FPL tomorrow”, “What am I gonna cook for dinner tomorrow night? We have no meat – I need to go to Publix. Oh, speaking of Publix, I should get some flowers for Sara’s teacher because its her birthday Friday. Speaking of Friday, Billy has a project due that day – oh I can get the supplies while at Publix and – Damnit the baby is crying – time to feed.  I’m so tired, but no one can do my job but me so I gotta get up and get her.  Maybe I’ll put Sara’s library book in her backpack while I’m up…..”

A. Mother. Never. Clocks. Out.

So let’s make a plan. Right here, right now.  At least once a day momma’s, we do something for US. I’m serious. Let’s lock ourselves in the bathroom for 5 minutes and eat a snickers with headphones in.  Or ask our husbands to take the kids to the park so we can take a real, for real, uninterrupted solid ass nap. (P.s. if you are a husband and you are reading this, letting your wife nap is the sexiest thing you could ever do – aside from the dishes).

Let’s put the kids to bed and run ourselves a luxurious, solitary, peaceful bubble bath with candles and a book, (You guys remember books, right?)

I don’t care what it is, let’s practice focusing on ourselves – only ourselves– at least once a day.  It will take practice, and it won’t be easy; we have become programmed to give, give, give. But damnit, it’s time we start doing a little taking.  Who’s with me!!!!? *Thrusts sword victoriously toward the sky*

Seriously though, we can’t pour from an empty cup and it’s so important that we recharge our batteries from time to time.  It’s a beautiful thing when a mother gives everything she has to her loved ones, but let’s just make sure we aren’t losing ourselves in the process.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to grab my son’s Paw Patrol Bubble Bath soap and have some Tiffany time, thank you very much.

 

 

Too tired to think of title.

Hello my friends.  So, to be completely honest with you, the last thing I wanted to do today was write.  The reason being – I am freakin’ exhausted.  However my husband is watching basketball; and I’ve already seen this episode of Shark Tank twice, so I figured I’d hop on here and tell you about what’s been going on lately in the Jenkins household.

WE ARE MOVING!!!!!!

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Yup, we’re moving this week.  My stepfather and stepmother have chosen to relocate to Georgia.  Before making the decision to purchase the house in Georgia; they first had to find someone to rent their incredible home here in the heart of Sarasota…

They thought of our family and the moment he extended the offer to me; I had to pull over my car before I crashed it into a gas station from excitement.

Currently; we are a family of 5, living in a 2 bedroom house.  The 2 smallest children sleep in the master bedroom with Drew and I; while Aubrey sleeps in her own room; which doubles as a toy storage facility.  We have all shared one bathroom, and it has been fine.  We started out with nothing; worked our way into a tiny apartment; stepped it up and got our own home with a back yard and now- it’s time once again to expand and move forward onto bigger and better things.

Each place has been a stepping stone and we have remained grateful throughout each stop on our journey…

BUT THIS HOUSE…..this house……is SUCH a blessing.

It’s a 3 bedroom; 2 bath home.

It has a massive (I mean, massive) yard.  There is a playground, a large deck, a separate patio, and 2 sheds.  In addition to the 3 bedrooms – there is a gigantic playroom in the back and a separate parlor (where I intended to light incense, burn candles and do my writing!)

I will take more photos once we are settled and share them with you all.

The home is so bright and open – when I walk in my soul immediately feels at peace.  Todd and Jennifer have truly blessed us with the opportunity to rent this home and my family is so excited to be able to stretch our wings and run freely with all this extra space.

Another reason I am super excited to live her is because my stepdad has left behind some furniture and knick knacks that belonged to my mother.  My family will be sitting on the same couches that I sat on as a child.  I somehow feel closer to her when I enter those doors.

So stay tuned for the tour once we get settled!

Having said all this. MOVING EFFING SUCKS! It is so tedious, and time consuming and stressful and my brain hurts and my arms are sore from lifting dressers and it hurts to type I need sleep I’m going to bed I love you goodnight.

 

 

Cheap Indoor Activities For Kids, For Moms Who Suck At Pinterest.

zaIt’s Saturday and you’ve got big plans for the day, you are taking your rambunctious, restless, energetic kids to the park. As you start getting their shoes on to head out the door;  you hear the first few drops of rain falling from the sky and landing on your front stoop.  You glance out the window in terror as you curse the skies, because you immediately realize this means one thing, and one thing only….

You are trapped.

Trapped in your home with wild little creatures who are hopped up on Capri Suns and gummy bears – and there is nowhere to escape to.

FEAR NOT my friends! I have a solution. I have a “magic closet” loaded up with tons of supplies that I picked up from the Dollar Tree, and I pull them out when the kids need something to keep them occupied, and I need a mini break.

I have made a list of some of the cool stuff we have done, that is super easy and incredibly cheap.  Check it out below!

 

Sensory Bottles

This one is pretty cool because you can use stuff that you have lying around your house.  The idea is, you put different items inside the bottle, and the child gets an opportunity to see how those items interact with different ingredients.  I have also used these as “calming bottles” -when a child has lots of tense energy built up, you put some calming music on and add sparkles and color.  Here’s what you need to make these….You can get all of the ingredients at the Dollar Tree – minus the bottle.

Supplies Needed:

Clear plastic bottle-( I like the Voss bottles)

Water

Vegetable oil

Food coloring

Anything else you want! Example: Beads, sparkles, pipe cleaners, straws, tinsel, craft puffs, water beads, etc.

To Make Sensory Bottle:

Peel the label off of bottle so it’s completely transparent.Now you have a couple options…

A) Fill half of bottle with water (Add a couple drops of food coloring if you’re feeling crazy, and fill remainder with vegetable oil (Add some food coloring to oil before putting in bottle) and BAM. Lava lamp.

B) Fill bottle almost all the way to the top with water ,add food coloring and tilt back and forth until it blends. Then you can add sparkles, water beads, etc and then close the lid.  You can seal it shut with glue if you need.

C) Combine the 2 ideas….or do your own thang, you really can’t mess it up.

 

Pipe Cleaner Flower Garden

 

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So check it out, this lil project only cost me a total of $3, (we already had pipe cleaners and tissue paper). I stayed and made sure she got the hang of it – then I dipped out and watched Dr. Phil.  It took her about 45 minutes to finish and she had a blast!

Supplies Needed:

Dry floral foam rings  (Dollar Tree – $1)

Pipe Cleaners -(You can get 45 for $1! Whaaaaaaat?)

Pony Beads- Like This. ($1)

Straws (Cut at different lengths).

Tissue Paper.

Planters- Like This

To Make Pipe Cleaner Flower Garden:

Take the round Styrofoam and set it flat on table.

Poke a hole (with a pen, skewer, etc) then place pipe cleaner into the hole. (I found it difficult to make the holes with the pipe cleaners alone so I had to MacGyver it with something sharp.)

Show your kiddo how to put different patterns of beads and straws onto the pipe cleaner to make the stem, be sure to leave a little room at the top of the pipe cleaner because you will need that space.

Grab some tissue paper and cut 3 small circles, then push the pipe cleaner through the center of all 3 circles and secure with another pony bead. Also you could basically crumble the tissue paper up and wrap the damn pipe cleaner around it somehow so it resembles a flower – again, they are kids and will think it’s cool either way.

Continue doing this all the way around the Styrofoam circle until your kid is tired of doing it, or satisfied with their work – then pop that bad boy in the planter and you’re done. Boom.

Homemade Disney “Frozen” Silly Putty

Ya’ll this was my favorite project that we’ve done – mainly because I totally felt like “Bill Nye The Science Guy” when I was showing the girls how to do this.

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Supplies Needed:

1 bottle of clear school glue (147 ml)

The same amount of water (147 ml)

1/2 Teaspoon of Borax. (Wtf is Borax? Here ya go)

1/2 Cup HOT water

A few sprinkles of silver and blue glitter ( or a s**t ton of glitter – its up to you)

A few drops of blue food coloring

To Make Disney’s “Frozen” Silly Putty”:

Step 1 – Pour bottle of glue into bowl.

Step 2 – Fill the empty glue bottle up with water and add to bowl.

Step 3 – Stir it until it’s combined.

Step 4 – Add a few drops of blue food coloring and stir again.

Step 5 – Add sprinkles and keep on ah stirrin’.

Step 6 – Get a separate cup, and put 1/2 cup of hot water into the cup.

Step 7 – Add 1/2 teaspoon of Borax to the hot water, and stir until it is dissolved.

Step 8 –(So many damn steps) Pour this solution into the bowl and stir – this is when the cool stuff starts happening! The kids will watch in amazement as it turns into silly putty right before their little eyeballs.

We took it a step further and grabbed some kitchen utensils and started putting jewels into it (See picture) We brought it out to the sun and it looked awesome.  It’s a lot of work, but your kids will think you are a magician….Totally worth it.

 

Build a Fort – Because Forts Are Awesome

 

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Supplies Needed:

I mean, this is pretty self explanatory, right guys? Kids love forts, I literally have no idea why, but they do.  Throw some blankets and sheets over chairs, if you wanna get wild – tack them to the wall with thumbtacks, throw in some pillows and books and Booyah! You just bought yourself at least 20 minutes of alone time.

 

Popcorn and a Movie FTW

 

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Supplies Needed:

Movie, popcorn, children.

This is my go-to rainy day activity when I’m feeling lazy, but its something about a freshly popped bowl of popcorn that makes watching a movie 10x more exciting for them. When they start getting restless I bust out my secret stash of Twizzlers and that buys me a few extra minutes.

Bake Cookies!

Supplies Needed:

Let’s just keep it simple here and buy premade cookie dough, kay? Because ain’t nobody got time to be measuring sugar and flower. (Also, I would have to Google how to make cookies from scratch because I have no clue.)

Sprinkles.

To make cookies:

Open package, pull apart pre – made, pre-sliced cookie dough.

Have your child space them out on pan.

Decorate with fun sprinkles.

Put them in the oven for however long the package tells you to.

High five them and pretend you are excited that they are baking, when really you are just excited that you get to eat cookies.

Eat Cookies.

Indoor Bowling

 

 

This was so much fun, and it helped Aubrey practice math! I don’t want to brag buttttt….I was pretty proud of myself for thinking this up.

Supplies Needed:

10 Water bottles

Water

Food Coloring

Ball

To Make This:

Fill bottles with water, then drop different color food coloring into bottles. Each color had a point value – Green – 1 pt Red=2pts

Have the kiddos take turns rollin the ball across the living room and have them total up the points of each roll, based on the colors they knock down.

Neon Bath

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Supplies Needed:

Bath

Bath Bubbles

Glow Sticks (Dollar Tree)

Children

Water

How To Have Neon Bath Party:

Run Bath

Put Bubbles in it

Put children in it

Turn lights off

Toss in glowsticks -Party Time!

(Techno/Rave music optional)

10 Ways To Be a Kick A** Step Parent.

Being a step parent is one of the most challenging and confusing titles one can hold – as there are many gray areas that go along with raising someone else’s child as if they were your own.  Knowing when to step back and when to step in, or when to speak up and when to remain quiet – can take a while to sort out.  Parenting your own child is confusing as it is, with a stepchild there are usually a few other disciplinarians in the picture that you have to consider when establishing rules.

I have had my struggles in the past-misguided resentments, frustration and control issues-just to name a few.  Over time I realized it was up to me to create that bond with her.  I was the adult, and she wasn’t just going to wake up one day and feel close to me based on the fact I happened to love her dad.  I chose to put the effort into our relationship and in return-she blossomed.  I have decided to share some things that worked for me, in case you need a new perspective while you are in the process of working on a personal relationship of your own with a stepchild.

1. Spend one-on-one time with them.

There is nothing kids love more than attention ( Okay, maybe ice cream), either way-children love it when someone shows interest in things they enjoy. (If I had a dollar for every I heard “Momma Look! Watch mom! I’d be rich.”  Find out what their hobbies are and plan a time when just the two of you can explore them.  Not only will it make them happy that you are showing excitement for things they are passionate about, it will be a good opportunity for you to converse with them and get to know them better.

2. Get excited when you see them.

This kind of goes back to the giving them attention thing.  Whenever my bonus daughter walks through the door I usually yell something like “Heyyyyy pretty girllll!” and give her an embarrassing dancey hug while giving her about 10 too many kisses all over her head. Obviously avoid this advice if they are over the age of 12- otherwise you will just creep them out. But if they are younger than that-act ridiculous. She giggles uncontrollably as soon as she walks in the door, and that sets the tone for the rest of our time together.

3. Insist on being the one to tuck them in and tell them a bedtime story.

My kiddo and I have a routine every night.  I tuck her in (literally) then I sit on the edge of the bed and make up a crazy story. I use her as the main character, and add a scary moment, and then a happy ending.  I usually leave it with a cliffhanger, so that she is excitedly anticipating the next installment of “Bedtime Stories with Tiff” the following night. I give her a kiss and a hug and tell her that I’m so happy she is in my life. She goes to bed with a smile on her face every night….(as we all should)

4. Create something together.

Here’s what you do- hop on Google (or Pinterest, for all you fancy pants out there) and search for fun crafts for kids. Make a quick supply list and shoot on over to the Dollar Tree. Grab said supplies and head home to lay it all out on the table.  When they get there, the two of you make an awesome masterpiece and hang it somewhere in the house.  Every time either of you passes it by, you will remember the wonderful bonding time you spent creating it together.

5. Be consistent when disciplining.

Believe it or not, children thrive in a routine environment. They crave consistency. If you tell them they are not allowed to have chocolate before bed, and they defiantly inform you that “Grandma lets them eat ice cream in bed as they are falling asleep”-stick to your guns. Establish rules and boundaries for your home so that they always know what to expect. And hey, if you want to reward them with an ice cream sundae in their pajamas one night for getting good grades-do it….Do it because you want to, not because Grandma said it was okay.

6. Speaking of rewards, reward them for awesome behavior.

This is a fun one, because I do this regularly and I love watching her as she smiles with pride upon completing a task. We have a big chart on the wall with different categories: brushing your teeth without being asked, being kind to your brother, using manners, etc. We put a sticker each time she does something on the list, and after 10 stickers she gets a prize. After a while it became a habit for her to do these things and waalah!

7. Put the phone down and watch “Dora The Explorer” with them.

I know. This is probably the last thing you want to do, because the best time to scroll through Facebook uninterrupted is when the kid is preoccupied with television. However, if you are wanting to work on your relationship with the child, you can’t do it by liking a status, you have to get down on the floor with them – fists under your chin – learning Spanish from a small cartoon with a backpack.

8. Never, ever, EVER speak negatively about their birth mother/father.

Listen, your job is not to be “Captain Super Parent”, swooping in to be the perfect mother/father they always needed. Your job is to help guide them on their journey through life. Don’t make it a competition with your spouses ex.  Regardless of how hard you try, you will never be able to sway that childs opinion of their parent. I know this one can be hard sometimes, especially if you know what a deadbeat or crappy parent that person can be.  Children are unaware of conditional love, so they will adore them regardless of whether or not they have missed their birthday for 3 years in a row and never show up to their school performances. Always speak positively when speaking about their parent, it helps them in the long run, more than you realize.

9. Surprise them.

There is no greater blessing than seeing joy on childrens faces..(okay, maybe an hour alone in a bubble bath with candles-but smiles are a close second). On a Friday or Saturday, wait until they put their pajamas on and start winding down. Then tell them to “hurry up and get in the car!” and take them on a surprise trip to the ice cream shop. Tell them you’re going to (insert most boring store ever) then pull into the movie theater instead. Fill up water balloons and put them in a laundry basket, tell them to do you a favor and grab the mail- when they exit the house-sneak attack water bomb ’em. Aubrey and I had a surprise water balloon fight once and she still talks about it to this day..

10. Get Weird.

Blast “let it go” from the speakers as you drive around town yelling the lyrics at the top of your lungs.  Pull them out the front door with you once it starts raining and do a rain dance in the yard.  Hide behind doors and pop out as they walk by. Play charades, do an animal impression contest, play dress up. Life is too short to be boring.  Make their childhood as fun as humanly possible, and they will fondly reflect back on it for years to come.

There is no perfect way to be a step parent, all you need is a desire to be close with them, and the willingness to do whatever it takes to contribute positively to their life.  You are there to guide them, gently nudging them in the right direction along the way.  You are an extra person to love them, and children need as much love as they can get, there is no such thing as too much.  If you show them you care, show them you support them and show them you will always be there for them forever, then chances are when they grow up – you will be one of the people they hold closest to their heart.  Because you didn’t love them because you “had” to, you loved them because you chose to, and that makes you pretty special.

 

 

 

10 Things I Didn’t Anticipate With Having 2 Under 2.

Hello my friends! I almost didn’t make it.  Between driving around listening to the ‘Frozen’ soundtrack while looking at Christmas lights and hand-washing my husbands work uniforms in the bathtub (because our friggin washer broke), this almost became a “Terrible Mom Tuesday” blog. But here I am! With 2 & 1/2 hours to spare.

Anyway, as most of you know, I have 2 children who are 16 months apart, not quite “Irish Twins”, but close a-freakin-nuff.

Having a second child so that Kaiden could have another little buddy to play with was part of our plan.  My sister and I are 17 months apart, and despite giving each other black eyes and scratches all over our bodies when we were kids, I couldn’t imagine what life would have been like had I not had her around.  The decision to reproduce again was quick and spontaneous, therefore-there were many things that I did not take into consideration prior to hatching Chloe.  I knew it would be a challenge and I knew I would struggle at times-I had no idea what to expect and I have come to realize many different things over the past year. Mainly I have learned that my mother was a Goddess and it’s no wonder she built a Tiki Bar in our backyard….

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Below is a list of 10 things I did not anticipate when I made the decision to have 2 babies so close in age:

  1. There will be diapers. So. Many. Diapers. My children like to synchronize their bowel movements so that the moment I change one, I hear a familiar rumble coming from the other one-followed by an evil grin. They are conspiring against me – I can see it in their little eyes.
  2. I have to start preparing to leave the house 30 minutes before go-time. Long gone are the days of getting myself dressed and heading out the door.  Even though I am only making a quick trip to the grocery store, I must now not only lay out an outfit for myself (usually pajama pants & my husbands shirt); I must also lay out one boy outfit, one girl outfit, 2 back-up outfits (because, poop) 4 pairs of socks, 4 shoes, 4 diapers, wipes, 2 binkies, a snack, and toys.
  3. Despite my best efforts, it’s nearly impossible to get them both to fall asleep at the same time.  One drifts off, while the other cries out, rebelling against naptime.  I have to start all over with the first one and hope the second keeps its mouth quiet long enough for the other to enter deep sleep. I magically get the second one to sleep as well – then the Jehova’s witnesses come a-knockin on my front door and they are both back up..
  4. I’m covered in sweat by the time I get them both unbuckled, out of the car and into the store.  People in the parking lot point and stare as I wrestle one child out of the confines of their seatbelt yelling “Don’t fight it! Just let it happen! Then run full speed to the other side of the car while carrying a little baby on my hip to release the other.  Sometimes the onlookers clap when I’m done. No they don’t…. I made that up.
  5. Taking a shower is a challenge. I have a few options to chose from when contemplating getting myself clean. I have to either: A) Wait until another adult is present. B) Do it during naptime (Yeah, see that is when I scroll through Facebook and watch YouTube videos uninterrupted so, not really an option).  C) Put one in a high chair and the other in a play pen and listen to them scream as I rush to wash my hair, getting shampoo in my eyes and slipping and cracking my elbow. Or D) Just not take a shower. I usually go with D…..Just kidding……no I’m not.
  6. I let my children use technology waaaaayyyyy more than I ever intended. Here’s me before: “Ew, my children are NOT going to be zombies, staring at a screen all day, what kind of parent wouldn’t rather spend that time interacting with their child?” Here’s me now: “Sweet Jesus, take my phone. Here, I pulled up one of those weird “Surprise Egg” videos you like-mommy needs 5 minutes of peace. Beat it”
  7. I would have to make life or death decisions in one second flat. Here’s the scene-I’m home alone with my kids, minding my own business, when I notice my son, is trying to stick a plug into an outlet with wet hands, as I run toward him, I notice Chloe has pulled a butcher knife out of the dishwasher and is trying to get a close up view of the tip of it.  This is hypothetical, but crap like this happens everyday. It’s like being on Fear Factor.
  8. I would have to keep them separated during all meals, every time. Otherwise, my youngest will claw her brothers eyes out in an attempt to steal one of his chicken wings.  Then he will scream and collapse crying, and she will pounce on the opportunity to take advantage of him while he’s vulnerable, and steal the rest of his wings.
  9. Kaiden not realizing that Chloe, is not a toy . This issue has gotten a little better as time has passed, he was a little rough with her in the beginning.  Trying to squeeze the life out of her and drag her around by her hair.  He realizes now he can’t do things like that,  however- I still have to remind him occasionally like, “Hey Bud! Chloe is not a coloring book so, lets lay off drawing squiggles on her face, Kay?”
  10. And the last, but most important thing I did not anticipate-was being able to love my second as much as I love my first.  I have more history with Kaiden, so I found it impossible to fathom being able to re-create that love for another person. The thing is, its a completely different type of love for each child-but equally as powerful.  I love different things about each of them, and just when I think I can’t love them anymore, they giggle together and hug and my heart explodes all over the living room.                                                                                          Some people said we were crazy when they heard we would be having 2 children 16 months apart. Of course there are temporary moments of craziness: one has an accident all over the couch while the other is getting ready to jump off a chair.  One insists on being held while the other needs food. Its a constant balancing and juggling act. Keeping both babies safe and happy while attempting to do laundry, clean the home, make dinner and work can be a challenge.  We prayed that the lord would give us the strength to handle it, we prayed they would have a close bond, we prayed that we would be able to show each enough love and attention that they felt complete. The lord has given us so much more. Its double the diapers, food, car seats, clothes etc…but more importantly its double the love, joy, and laughter. I am feeling so grateful for the bond these 2 and their big sister share today, and even though I haven’t taken a proper shower since 2014, I wouldn’t change a single thing.

 

Dear Technology: You Are Kinda Ruining My Life.

Listen guys, I’m a little sad.  It’s a strange kind of sad, almost like mourning.  It’s like when you drop your favorite coffee mug, and it cracks.  You may be able to glue it back together, but the truth is, despite your best efforts, you know it will never be the same.

I have that exact feeling, when I think about the world, more specifically, our society.  It has changed drastically in a short amount of time, and I know deep down in my heart, it will never be the same.  I’m talking about technology.  I know this subject has been talked about countless times on social media (ironically), but I’m gonna go ahead and add to what has already been said; technology is awesome, but it also really sucks.

The other day, Aubrey and Kaiden were reading a book, the kind where you press a button and an animal makes a noise to correlate with a picture.  Kaiden was mimicking the animal noises and the two of them proceeded to laugh hysterically, then eagerly smash the next button. Guess what? I. Missed. All. Of. It…..

Why? Because I was more interested in reading about why Sarah – the girl who sat 2 seats behind me in class in middle school, whom I had spoken maybe 2 sentences to in my entire lifetime – wasn’t going to be shopping at Walmart anymore because they refused to give her the merchandise at the price it was listed for in the aisle….

What the hell is wrong with me? Why would I rather read about “The Top 5 Reasons Squirrels Would Make Great Pets”, rather than shift my eyes 2 feet to the right, and take in the glorious sight of the little human beings I created dancing to the Macarena? It baffles me, yet I find myself continuing to do it every single day, and I’m confident that I’m not alone.

I take my kids to the park, and I am not savoring the moments, I am busy attempting to take the perfect picture. “Guys, stop what your doing and look at Mommy! Say Cheese! No, Aubrey honey, your eyes were shut, again ready? Say cheese! Ok, nope, no, get closer to your brother, yeah put your arm around him.  Yes that’s perfect! Good, Ok now lets get one of you guys going down the slide……”

My memories are constantly being interrupted, due to my incessant need to capture them. Experiences aren’t even experiences anymore, they are photo ops.

When I was younger, I specifically remember being so curious what my friends were up to at any given moment. I would call their house phone, and if they didn’t answer, all I knew was that they had left their house, destination: unknown. Now all I have to do is click a couple buttons and I can tell you where they are, who they are with, where they were two hours ago, what they had for breakfast, what show they watched last week, what time they wiped their a** and what brand of detergent they are going to wash their clothes with tonight. The mysteries of life, aren’t really mysteries anymore.

A family goes out to dinner to eat, and their children are playing games on a tablet, like, when I was little, I was lucky if I got to draw on the back of the paper menu with a pen from my moms purse. Nowadays kids can update their status, talk to someone in China, and play a full round of Mario Kart before the appetizer even arrives.

I feel like hundreds of years from now, evolution is going to run it’s course, and the humans of the future are all going to be hunchbacks with elongated necks. Because 90% of our lives are spent looking downward at some kind of electronic.  I mean, the minute a commercial comes on the T.V. I’m reaching for my phone so that I can aimlessly scroll through opinions, memes & videos of goats singing. Why is that my go to? Why can’t I just be still, be present, be free? It’s simple, because that’s not what we do anymore. We need constant stimulation.

Imagine sitting in a room, and instead of holding a cell phone, you are holding a piece of cardboard. Just a small, plain piece of cardboard. Imagine your children calling your name over and over as you ignore them to stare at this piece of cardboard. Your alarm goes off in the morning and you immediately reach for your cardboard, and you lay in bed staring at it for the first 15 minutes of your day. Picture sitting in class and instead of paying attention, you are randomly sneaking glances at your cardboard. Out to dinner with friends, while you wait for your food to arrive, everyone just whips out their cardboard and stares at it, like zombies. Really picture it for a second. It sounds crazy right? Like a weird cult of brainwashed cardboard people. ………Just blankly staring, occasionally letting out a chuckle…for hours and hours…….When you replace the cardboard with a phone, and you replace those zombie with you, and I, and our children; it’s suddenly not so crazy right? But it is crazy. When you actually stop for a second, and realize what we are doing….it is.

So what do we do about it? Do we all gather together and start a revolution, throwing our cell phones, laptops and tablets into a raging fire while chanting “No More Technology! We Want Freedom!” in protest?

Naw, that’s never going to happen……Ever. Sadly, it’s too late. We have become too reliant on our phones, if they went away, we would all kind of be sitting around anxiously wondering what the hell to do with ourselves.  We’d be eating at crappy restaurants because we were unable to check Yelp for reviews, we would have to attempt to work an AM/FM radio to listen to music, but would just end up twisting all the big knobby button things to no avail, giving up and sitting in silence. We would pick up the house phone to call our grandma and wish her a happy birthday, only to realize we didn’t have the slightest idea what the hell her number was because house phones don’t have a “contact list”, and we would all be driving around town lost and hanging out the window asking for directions, because none of us owns a map.

However, fear not….All hope is not lost. There are a few things we can do, starting today, to create better habits for ourselves and our family. I believe if we start making a conscious effort to do these things, as hard as it may be at first, our lives will improve drastically.

*Start small. Monday through Friday, create a “phone free zone”. So from, let’s say, 7:00pm to 9:00pm, every family member is required to turn their phone OFF. (But what if there’s an emergency, what if my boy crush Billy Baxter calls…blah blah blah,) No.  There was a time when phones didn’t exist, and people used lanterns to light up the house, you’ll be fine.  You should turn the T.V. off too. You will all be awkwardly sitting around at first, realizing you have no idea really, how to function or what to do without a phone, but as time goes on it will get easier, and you will think of creative ways to fill that time as a family.  You might learn things about one another you never knew, and even crazier, you may just end up having fun *gasp!*

*If you go out to dinner with your friends, you will be there an hour, 2 hours max. Put everyone’s phones in a bag under the table. The first person to touch their phone, has to pay the bill for the person to their left. You can snap a photo of yourselves in the parking lot at the end of the night if you must.

*If you are playing with your baby/kids, really play with them.  Don’t try to momentarily stimulate them to get a cute picture of them laughing.  Throw your phone at least 2 feet away, and spend some time just genuinely enjoying your babies. They will only be that age for that moment, they are growing older every second, of everyday.

*Your mom didn’t give birth to a phone. She didn’t spend hours rocking a phone to sleep, changing it’s diapers, taking it to soccer practice, wiping it’s tears away, and paying for it’s college; that was you, she did that for you.  Don’t just send her a “Hey Mom, I miss you” text.  Pick up the damn phone and call that woman. Give her the pleasure of hearing your voice, your laugh, your personality. Better yet, pay her a real life visit, if it’s possible. She won’t always be there, trust me.

*Leave your phone at home every now and then.  I know this sounds completely unimaginable to some of you, but it’s possible. I do it all the time.  You would be amazed how much more of the world you are able to take in, when you don’t have your leash with you. It’s actually quite freeing.

Can you imagine if every memory you have of your parents, consisted of them staring down at a phone? The smallest changes can make the biggest impact on our children and I truly believe, this technology addiction has severely affected some aspects of our quality of life.  Don’t get me wrong. I admire the technological advances we have made, I have found it to be incredibly useful. I just feel that there is a fine line between convenience and reliance, and we have to be careful.

SO, having said all this, I am going to practice what I preach.  Starting today (Monday) I will be implementing a “No Phone Zone” rule in my house, (shhhh, I haven’t told my husband yet.)  I am very much looking forward to the extra memories I create this week, and will be reporting back soon to let you know how the week went.  If you are crazy enough to try this with me, I would really love to hear about how it went for you. Was it harder than you thought? Easier than you thought? Did you do anything amazing that you might have otherwise missed? I really want to know.

I meant what I said earlier, our children are getting older by the second, as are we.  Life is fleeting, and temporary, it can be over in an instant.  Let’s try and make sure we are looking up, when that time comes…….

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Well Hello PPD, I Wasn’t Expecting You.

Don’t you just hate that feeling of dreading going to sleep, because you know the next day, you have to wake up and take care of your children? You know your newborn is gonna be there when you get up, looking at you and crying, and want to be fed and have her diaper changed, your toddler is going to want breakfast and to change out of his pajamas, and all you want to do is leave them alone in their cribs and run out of the house and never come back.  That feeling of resenting them because they are so needy and all they do is take, take, take giving you nothing in return. Ugh, that’s such a drag, isn’t it? …..

Wait, why do you look so confused?  ….. You are probably sitting there wondering what kind of monster could possibly say those things about their own children. Well, I’d like to introduce myself, I am Tiffany, and that monster was me.

My first pregnancy was glorious.  When my little man came earth side, everything was right in the world. I would hear his little cry in the middle of the night and fly out of bed, eager to comfort this sweet, innocent, wonderful little being that I had created. We would wake up in the morning and I would spend literally hours, just studying his beautiful little face. I would snap 8,000 pictures of him in the same pose, then when he would nap, I would smile as I looked through all of the pictures I had just taken an hour before. My love for him was overwhelming, and I would have done anything within my power to make sure that baby was cared for.

I got pregnant again when Kaiden was 6 months old. I had wanted to have another baby. We planned it so that Kaiden could have a sibling close in age. I knew I wanted another child, and I didn’t want to have to start all over later on in life, so we decided to just pop another one out right away.

I knew this new baby was going to give me a run for my money when I found out I had Gestational Diabetes.  During pregnancy, the placenta makes hormones that can lead to a buildup of sugar in your blood. Usually, your pancreas can make enough insulin to handle that. If not, your blood sugar levels will rise and can cause Gestational Diabetes. Long story short, I had to spend the remaining duration of my pregnancy eating cheese and crackers and pricking my fingers to check my blood 4x a day. All I wanted was a lot of ice cream and I couldn’t have it. This baby hadn’t even been born yet and I already had a small, unjustified resentment against her.

My delivery was a breeze, Chloe was out in under 4 minutes. All of the resentment I had felt prior had been erased the moment I laid eyes on her.  She immediately made me realize all of the sacrifices I had made during pregnancy were worth it.  She arrived healthy and happy and life was good.

Until we brought her home… She cried all night that first night. Literally…The. Entire. Night…..And she didn’t stop, for about 2 weeks.  If her eyes were open, she was screaming. I spent every night trying to keep her quiet as to not wake my husband, and her brother and sister. Everyone would rise for the day, and I would still be awake.  They would enter the living room chipper and ready to start the day, and I would be on the couch with one eye closed, the other half open, covered in poop and my own tears, rocking back and forth furiously in a desperate attempt to achieve one moment of silence.

Chloe would eventually fall asleep around 10, but I didn’t have the luxury of taking a nap with her, because I still had a 1 year old, and sometimes a 5 year old to look after.  I found myself becoming short fused. Kaiden would want to laugh and play, but all I wanted to do was sleep. I found myself crying out in desperation numerous times throughout the day. I questioned on many different occasions whether or not I made the right choice in having her.   It became impossible to form a bond with this screaming child that I was supposed to love.

I found myself lying in bed, dreading having to wake up the next day to take care of my own children.  I didn’t want to do it.  I resented them for existing.  I know this may sound unfathomable to most of you, but it was my reality at the time. I. Did. Not. Want. To. Be. A. Mom. Anymore.

I had slipped into a depression. I didn’t have the energy to shower, I stopped answering my texts, because I got sick of lying to everyone when they asked me how the baby was. I couldn’t tell the truth, which, at the time would have sounded like this; “Hey! thanks for asking, she actually sucks, all she does is scream and cry, yeah, and her big brother like, constantly wants my attention, it’s super annoying, uh huh, yeah and I don’t even have the energy to shower, let alone take care of 2 kids,  I kinda want to die, so, other than that, things are good!”  

I didn’t want to tell my husband the truth about how I felt, because I didn’t want him to think I was a bad mother, or regret choosing me as the one to bear his children. I didn’t really know how to talk to anyone else about it either.  It is a hard thing to put into words, that form a sentence, that would make any sense to anyone, so I kept it to myself. I buried it deep down and continued pretending all was ok. I was drowning, and taking my little ones down with me, and there was no one there to rescue me.

I didn’t have it in me to do it anymore.  The constant screaming, the constant yelling, the constant crying, it was too much to bear. I needed out. My kids didn’t deserve this, it wasn’t their fault, they didn’t ask to be born.  They were beautifully delicate little humans who needed love, protection and compassion, and at that time, I had none to give.

I googled “I am depressed and just had a baby, help me.” A million websites popped up immediately all saying “Post partum depression.” I had heard about it, I think my Dr. talked to me about it, but I had paid no attention at the time because I was waiting with baited anticipation for my ultrasound.  I began reading the various threads and was immediately overcome with emotion. This was real, and it was common.  The moment I realized I wasn’t in fact a psychopath, I called my Doctor. I cried to them telling them the entire truth, begging them to help me. They got me in that very day. (Shout out to Dr. Sullivans office!)

The Dr. Spoke to me as if he had had this conversation thousands of times, and that made me take my first big sigh of relief, in as long as I could remember.  He went over my options, and we came up with a treatment plan we both felt would work best.

I joined a support group of moms with PPD and gained a wealth of knowledge from others whom had experienced my same struggles. I told the group my story, and someone suggested I get my daughter to the E.R. to be checked for “Silent Reflux.” I went that night, sure enough, she had it.  They put her on Zantac and kept us there for 3 days to monitor her.  That night, was the first night she had slept since she had been born.

After getting help for myself, and my daughter, my world changed.  I was able to enjoy her smiles, her giggles and her funny little faces. I watched her sleep peacefully and felt an overwhelming feeling of love and pride. I was finally able to begin bonding with her once we were both feeling better. My son had his mom back, and my daughter had the mother she always deserved.

Reaching out for help became an easy thing once I realized I wasn’t alone.  The fear of how people may have perceived my emotional state, kept me from getting the help I needed much sooner. I wish I would have gotten help straight away, but then again, I am glad I got to experience those feelings.  Not only because it gives me an appreciation for my life now, that is renewed daily, but it also allowed me to experience those thought processes so that I can write this today to tell you, if you too have felt this way, you are not alone.  PPD is incredibly common, and there is no reason to be ashamed.

Talking about how you are feeling and getting help is the single greatest gift you could give to those children, and yourself. PPD can affect 1 in 4 women, and the sooner you get help, the more quickly you will recover. You deserve to experience the joy associated with celebrating those milestones with your little one, and your little ones deserve to have a mother who will gratefully, and enthusiastically guide them through life. I have included some links at the bottom of this page for anyone who thinks they may be suffering from PPD, or if you just want to better understand it for yourself, or a loved one.

Life is hard, raising children is hard and sometimes asking for help can be hard.  You do not have to go through it alone, there is no shame in reaching out for a hand if you feel lost. I am so grateful that I did when I did. I am currently watching my daughter try with all of her might to climb up on the couch to get my cell phone so that she can accidently call various loved ones for the 6th time this week. My heart feels like it’s going to explode watching her little baby legs wiggle back and forth while she makes her noble attempts. Moments like these I am so thankful that I was strong enough to overcome those incredibly dark days, allowing me to enjoy these bright, beautiful ones.

Overview of Post-Natal/ Post Partum depression: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0024789/

Signs you may be at risk: https://www.care.com/c/stories/5347/postpartum-depression-signs-youre-at-risk/

Here’s a Facebook Support Group: https://www.facebook.com/PerinatalDepressionSupportGroup

 

 

 

I have a bonus daughter…

Happy Monday friends! I wanted to take an opportunity to talk about being a step parent, and what it means to me. I have a 6 year old bonus daughter.  I don’t like calling her a stepdaughter.  The term “step parent” has never made much sense to me.  I find that perhaps “Step-up Parent” would be a bit more fitting for most of us who do it, as that is essentially what we are doing. Stepping up and taking on an incredibly challenging (and rewarding) role. Stepping up to love, care for and help raise another’s child as their own.  Besides, “Bonus parent” sounds a lot more fun.

The Merriam-Webster definition of a “step parent” is pretty cut and dry, it reads as follows: “Someone that your mother or father marries after the marriage to or relationship with your other parent has ended.”

Nowhere in that definition does it state any duties of the step parent.  It doesn’t say “Someone who promises to love, care for, protect, help mold and shape you, and love you as if they gave birth to you themselves.”……They left that part out.  They didn’t include that because it’s not required.  All you have to do is marry someone who had a kid before meeting you, and you automatically qualify for this title.

That’s what makes a lot of Bonus Parents so special.  If you fall in love with someone, you are not required to fall in love with their child.  It is as simple as that.  Love takes time to grow and flourish. It requires a lot of work, sacrifice, and selflessness. It takes an extraordinary person to become willing to not only dedicate themselves to nurturing the love they have for their spouse, but are prepared, and often enthusiastic to take on the endeavor of building a separate and equally as meaningful relationship with his/her child.

The first night I started crushing on my husband, he had a speaking engagement, and was up on stage.  I remember thinking how handsome he was and how well he spoke.  As I was mentally deciding what color the flowers at our wedding would be and what our kids were gonna look like,  this itty bitty little 2 year old girl with a head of bright blonde hair came bouncing up to the stage yelling “Daddy!”.  He picked her up on his lap and she hugged him. My imaginary wedding plans came to a screeching halt and I thought…… “Oh, s***”

I had never dated anyone with a child before.  So when we first started seeing each other I  was unaware of how it worked. I remember excitedly turning to him one of those first nights and suggesting we take his daughter trick-or-treating.  He got very quiet and let go of my hand.  I was thinking “Oh s*** what? She can’t eat candy? They don’t celebrate Halloween? What just happened?” He turned to face me, and I could tell by his face, things were about to get real.

He explained that it was nothing personal, he just wasn’t ready for me to meet her yet (ouch).  He wanted to make sure that I was going to be a lasting part of his life, before bringing me into hers. I would be the first girl she had met since her mother, and he didn’t want to confuse her, had I not been the one.

Ok, so if we are being honest here, my very first thought was “oh hell to the no. Here I am, with a list of our future kids names (jk), and he’s not even sure I’m gonna last? Ha….Wow. But my second thought was “Wow, that is a really important, and responsible point.  It made me respect him even more.

A little while later, I finally won him over with my charm and gorgeous looks (ha), so he decided it was time for me to meet her. I remember very specifically being nervous as hell now that the time had come. I googled “How to make a 3 year old like you.” “Funny things to say to a 3 year old to make them laugh”, “What do 3 year olds eat?” Etc…..The articles had a lot of great advice, but I went with a foolproof plan.  Bring that kid a toy and bribe her into liking me.  Besides, she had just had her 3rd birthday, so it was a perfect excuse. My heart was pounding as I stood outside the door of his mothers house.  That little blonde girl was just on the other side, having no clue I existed. Drew opened the door and I followed closely behind. “Daddy!” She yelled jumping up to give him a hug.  When her feet hit the ground, I emerged from behind him….She immediately burst into tears and ran and hid…so….it went well.

I eventually coaxed her out of her hiding place with the promise of coloring with her.  She hesitantly took me to her room to get her coloring books, periodically peering over her shoulder to catch a quick glimpse of this tall strange lady following behind her.  We spent the next 3 hours coloring, making animal noises, doing horsey rides and eating snacks. She hugged me and asked when she could see me again, I looked over at Drew and he smiled and said “Whenever you want”. My heart jumped for joy as I noted that she was sad to see me go.  I nailed it!

I ended up marrying Drew, and giving Aubrey a brother and a sister. Over time we got to spend more and more time with her.  Initially we would visit with her on the weekends, working our way up to having her stay with us one night a week, then two, then three. Now, she lives with us full time. Over the course of this transition, I have faced many challenges as a bonus parent. I have experienced misplaced resentments, frustration, feelings of being underappreciated, feelings of inadequacy, and questioning whether or not I was cut out for this. To parent a child that is not your own can be confusing.  When to step in and discipline, when to remain quiet.  Wondering what rights you have as far as decision making, in regard to what is best for the child. When you throw Maternal grandparents, paternal grandparents and a couple of other children into the mix, it makes it a little trickier.

I laid in bed many nights thinking “Geez this is confusing! They say love a child as if they were your own, but then they say ‘Never forget, they already have a mother'”. They say “Don’t over-step your position, let the real parents do the disciplining”, But what exactly is my position if I’m the only there and she is swinging from the ceiling fan? They say “You are there support your spouse as they raise the child,” But what if he works a lot and when she over she spends a lot of alone time with me? Am I allowed to tell her she shouldn’t call her brother stupid? Am I allowed to make her eat broccoli  because I’m making her brother eat broccoli? Am I allowed to tell her that despite the fact that “her grandma lets her jump on her couch” that doesn’t mean she’s allowed to do it here? If I bring her to school and her teacher asks me to sign a permission slip, am I allowed to sign it? There are so many gray areas I had moments of wishing that somebody could be there with me telling me the right decisions to make. Unfortunately that is not how life works. You must live and learn.

Once the transition of her living with us full time was complete, everything improved. I no longer felt like a “weekend babysitter” (who wasn’t getting paid). I enrolled her in school myself, I filled out all the paperwork, I got her shot records, I bought her patches, I chose a teacher, and I began taking her to school in the morning and picking her up.  I became the one to ask her if she has homework after school, the one to sit and do her homework with her. The one to make her a healthy dinner, make sure she brushes her teeth. The one to wipe her nose when it runs, and reward her when she gets a good report at school.  I was finally the one that people were asking questions to. My role became clear. I was not her mother, I was not her babysitter, I was just an extra person to love her and steer her in the right direction, and help provide her with the stability she so desperately needed.

Aubrey is loved by so many people. My mother in law has been a godsend in every facet of me becoming a mom.  She has been there every step of the way, for Aubrey since birth, then with my own children. And once I started openly communicating with Aubrey’s mothers parents, everything fell right into place. I knew where I stood.  We all have her best interest in mind and they have been more than gracious and respectful of my position, and have helped me get comfortable with my role. We have a very close relationship with Aubrey’s mothers’ parents now, we have dinners there, we swim in their pool, we have spent holidays together, and they adore my children as well. We all feel as though it is important for Aubs to see there is no separation, family is family, and sometimes, it takes a village….

There is no perfect way to be the perfect Stepmom.  However if you have love in your heart, and a desire to help them grow and become the best person they can be, then you are off to a good start.  It is not easy, but it is the most rewarding job I have ever had.  I am so grateful to God for trusting in me to help mentor, and be an example for this little girl.  She has a heart of pure gold and has honestly brought so much joy to my life that I cannot imagine it without her. Each night when I tuck her into bed I tell her a story, then kiss her goodnight, I whisper into her ear that “I love her more than she will ever realize”.  And I mean that from the bottom of my heart. She was placed in my life purposefully by a power greater than myself.

I have learned a very valuable lesson about family because of her.  It is not about titles, it is not about where you came from, it is not about biology or  genes, family is about love. Everlasting, infallible, unconditional love. If you are willing to give this kind of love, then you have succeeded in fulfilling your life’s purpose. To love, be loved, and help others along the way……

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Men, don’t say I never gave you anything…

If you are a Male, you should read this. If you are a Female, you should share it with a Male. Just saying.

So, today, as I walked passed my garbage can, I looked down and admired the sheer focus and determination it must have required my husband ( as well as a few small children who shall not be named) to construct such a massive pyramid of miscellaneous garbage, without it toppling over.  It was as if the other members of my family huddled around the trash can, laughing and high-fiving while they played Jenga with Taco Bell wrappers and empty toilet paper rolls…….. I was impressed.

I was lucky enough to be the one chosen to disassemble it. I smiled the entire time thinking to myself “Man, they worked really hard on this, it’s a shame we have to take it down.”

Just kidding…..It went something like this; “Oh you gotta be friggen kidding me, this s*** again? ….GUYS!? Am I the only one with eyeballs in this household? You literally walk by this thing 34 times an hour. Is there some kind of Guinness World Record tryout going on around here that I’m not aware of? Biggest effing garbage stack in America? I’ll tell you what….I’m gonna start my own Guinness World Record tryout starting  right now.. “Most roundhouse kicks delivered to loved ones throats.” Guarantee I’ll be the world champ. Try me. I’m not cleaning this up! …………I’ll tell you that right now.” Saying that last part under my breath as I defiantly exit the kitchen with my arms crossed stomping past the room full of people watching SpongeBob who didn’t hear a word I just said……

……As I was cleaning up the garbage, I had a lot of time to think.

(And before I go any further, I would like to state that what I’m about to say is not in any way directed at my husband specifically.  He is a hardworking handsome hunk of a man with whom I am eager to spend this life and the life after this world with. It is a culmination of past relationships, current ones, and things I’ve witnessed over time. By the same token, I am not saying this applies to all women…..just like….97% of them)

I know most men will say women are complicated creatures. Let’s be real, there is some justifiable evidence behind this theory. …Take the time I told my husband I wanted ice cream for example. I expressed a burning desire for this sweet delicious treat.  My husband decided to surprise me with said ice cream out of the kindness of his heart.  I proceeded to verbally assault him for 10 minutes straight, because I am trying to get skinny and hot and he should have known better.

Man’s Brain: Wife want ice cream, must get ice cream. Why she mad I got ice cream. Me so confused.

My Brain: How on earth could this sonofa b**** have the audacity to show up in this house with ice cream.  When I said I wanted ice cream so bad I could cry, what I meant was “Man, this diet sucks, I would really love to have some ice cream, but I can’t button any of my jeans anymore so I obviously can’t eat it.”  God, what is so hard to understand about this? Does he listen to a word I say? Ever? If he really cared about me, he would support my lifestyle change.

Man Brain: Me support you, here, I bought you workout pants and protein bars.

My Brain: Woooooooooww…….okay….Ha…..so you agree, I’m f***ing fat. Cool. Super cool babe. I’m sorry I’m not *insert air quotes*  SKINNY enough for you.  You shouldn’t have gotten me pregnant if you didn’t want me to gain weight. Gah you are so ru-………

Man Brain: Malfunctioning, malfunctioning….powering dowwwwwwn……

By now you have heard the age old saying “Happy wife, happy life.” In other words,  if you want to avoid feeling as if you want to gouge your eardrums out of your head on a regular basis with sharp pencils, to avoid having to hear the constant nipping of your Chihuahua of a wife, than you should just agree with everything she says.

And while I do feel that agreeing with everything your lady says is a surefire way to create peace within the home, (Ha, OBVIOUSLY)….I don’t think this is fair to the fellas. So I’ve decided to share a few tips with you men, because I’m pretty positive that if you try at least one of these, you will have just narrowly avoided a verbal smackdown. Take my suggestions or leave em. It’s your safety that’s in question here, not mine.

*Ahem*…..

  1. If your lady spends time in the bathroom applying makeup, doing her hair or getting dressed up,  even if she’s only in there for 5 minutes, when she walks outta that bathroom-you better act like Marilyn Monroe just showed up in your living room.  You could even slow clap if you want….get crazy. Why? Because having to paint the face you were born with in order to feel presentable to the world sucks. It also requires some skill. 98% of women on this planet wish they could roll out of bed and let their hair go natural. However this is impossible.  People would be throwing change at us on the streets and offering us their leftover sandwiches out of pity. Straightening and curling individual strands of hair is tedious and ridiculous. But it’s necessary.  Therefore, if we know you are outside waiting for us to finish so we can go somewhere, the moment we step out of that bathroom we are displaying the art we have created, using our body as a canvas. You better look up from that phone and  give us a damn compliment or you will hear about it. Maybe not tonight, maybe not tomorrow. But she is saving this situation in her arsenal ,as ammo for when she feels you don’t give her enough attention.  Trust.
  2. So here’s a tip guys. Women want what they want, when they want it. If we say to you “Honey, could you please fix the ice maker, pretty please??” To be honest with you, we aren’t really asking. While it may appear as those this was posed as a question, we are kinda expecting you to put the controller down and fix it immediately. We may let it slide once or twice, gently reminding you, trying to sound as sweet as possible.  But when it’s 6 months later and I’m still getting pelted in the eye socket by wild flying ice.  We are gonna throw hands. Why? Because women desire a man that is dependable. Most men are born with a specific set of skills, such as: Hammering stuff, killing insects, doing mechanicky stuff to the car, unclogging drains, etc.  I personally, find it sexy when my man grabs a tool and fixes the s*** out of something…maybe it’s just me. My point is.  We tend to directly connect your desire to help us, with your level of love for us.  “I don’t want my baby getting a black eye every time she tries to cool down her drink with some ice, let me fix that for you beautiful” VS “Jesus woman, I told you I’d fix it when I had time, besides, I’ve seen the speed in which those ice cubes fly outta there, it’s not even that fast.  If you can maneuver your cup just right, you may even be able to catch em in midair! Aw man that would be cool” …………See what I mean?
  3. Give your lady a big hug from behind.  Out of nowhere.  She’s doing the dishes? Sneak up behind her and wrap your arms around her.  Tell her she’s beautiful. Give her a kiss on the forehead, grab her hand and hold it.  It sounds cheesy but I’m serious. Why? Because over time we get comfortable in relationships. Our woman “knows” we love her by now so we don’t have to show it as much. Skkkkkeeerrrttt. Let me stop you right there. Women always have, and always will, long to be desired. Best believe I’ll be 80 years old struttin around this house showing off my goods, whether he wants to see it or not. Let me put it to you this way. If you are in a relationship with a woman, you are the only man who is allowed to hold her hand, to kiss her, to hug her romantically from behind.  Since you are the only man allowed to do this….you better f***ing do it. Otherwise, you are robbing her of the joy that goes along with being wanted by someone, which is something I think all of us want.
  4. Here’s a quick one.  If a woman is experiencing anxiety over something that may seem insignificant to you, for example, she’s sitting on the bed crying because she has no clothes, (as you glance at the closet and note it is completely filled to the brim with tank tops and dresses). Under no circumstances are you to use words such as; overreacting, irrational, or crazy.  We are well are we are being ridiculous.  We can’t help it.  We need a hug, and for you to ask us what you can do to help.
  5. If you see her huffing and puffing around the house, overwhelmed by the amount of chores that need to be done before she can relax, get your a** off Facebook, off the couch, off your high horse, and pick up a shirt off the floor.  Think about it, for every piece of laundry you pick up, that’s one less that she has to.  Every bit helps. Seriously.  Besides, you will never catch a woman yelling at you while you’re vacuuming the carpet.  Won’t happen.  She will hold on to her resentments for fear that out of spite, you may never pick up a vacuum again.
  6. Lastly, and most importantly…………Stop pissing all over the toilet seat. I’m not even going to explain why.

 

 

 

 

This is your brain on drugs…

Mom Blog Monday! Let’s talk about drugs mannnn!

So check it out. Here is something you probably didn’t know.  The human brain doesn’t fully mature biochemically until between the ages of 24 to 26. So basically this means, up until this point, the part of your brain that handles decision making is not fully formed, (which explains many questionable choices I made during my early twenties).  Anyway, while there is no concrete evidence, there is plenty of information provided by individuals and psychologists which support the theory that relationships and personal emotional growth is vastly effected by prolonged drug use.

Why the hell am I getting all “Bill Nye the science guy” on you you ask?

Here’s why. If these theories are correct, people who use drugs for a long time, can stop maturing emotionally.  So if I started heavily using drugs at age 20 (which I certainly did) as a result, my brain would’ve stopped developing the way it’s supposed to right then and there. So while currently I may physically appear to be 31 (which, let’s be honest here, I don’t look a day over 18), mentally, I’m still in my car with the bass pumping  Akon’s “Smack That” while driving home to watch “Twilight.”

As an addict this philosophy make a s*** ton of sense.  My singular focus for many years, was getting high. My first thought upon waking was “How can I get high today?” Immediately followed by an elaborate scheme to beg, borrow and steal to get my drug.  Then came the physical aspect of going about said plan, followed by me attempting to locate a dealer who happened to be holding my desired merchandise.  Upon meeting with said dealer and collecting my drugs, I would then administer them.  By now it is night time and I am ready to lay around and attempt to watch Shark Tank while periodically nodding out, only to be awoken by my forgotten cigarette burning a hole into my thigh.

That is how a typical day in the life of Tiffany would go, for many years.  At no point did I take a break to study how to file my taxes.  I didn’t set up an online account to pay my FPL bill efficiently and on time.  I certainly didn’t take any cooking classes, or study the correct settings on a washing machine to get optimum clean.  My brain consisted of a set of railroad tracks.  Those tracks carried a train that went from stealing, to scoring, and getting high.  The train reset it’s starting position each morning, and rarely steered off course, leaving me completely and utterly clueless on how to do adult things.

What does this have to do with motherhood you may be wondering.  It has literally EVERYTHING to do with motherhood.  I got clean right after I turned 27 upon entering jail, where I spent many months learning how to make “whip-it’s out of jelly packets and coffee.  I also learned how to consume an entire meal in 7 minutes flat and how to play spades for honey buns.  No life skills there.  I then entered rehab, and began learning specifically about my addiction, which was wonderful, but up until this point I still didn’t know that you are not supposed to put butter on your toast before putting it in the toaster.

As soon as I left rehab I went to a halfway house……….2 months later, I was pregnant. There was a real life human baby person growing inside me that I would be in charge of.

I had to go from zero to adult super fast because now, not only was I in charge of learning how to become a productive member of society myself, I was responsible for raising one.  I stopped by the library, but unfortunately they were fresh out of the “How to be a cool person and not f*** up your kid” workbook.

Here’s the thing about being a Mom.  Regardless of whether or not you are able to fold a fitted sheet, balance a check book, or order school pictures on time (FML), it’s already in our DNA to nurture and love our babies.

I had an epiphany the other night while I was playing with my Talk Boy and feeding my Tamagachi.  Back in the day, when people lived in tiki huts in the woods, they were stripped down to bare necessaties. They weren’t checking the Dow Jones industrial average everyday, or shopping for f***ing  life insurance policies.  They were feeding their kids berries off the ground and pooping in bushes. Time and technological advances have now made it possible for us to be better protect and nourish our babies obviously, but the point is, they survived. (Well, most of them, I’m sure they had their fair share of lions and poisonous snakes inhabiting their neighborhoods). You get what I’m sayin.

Now I’m not saying, “Hey, it’s cool if you live under a bridge while shooting dope with your kid’s 3 feet away, as long as their eating something it’s all good.” But what I am saying is, being mentally stuck in the early 2000’s might not necessarily be a bad thing. Take this morning for example, before school I turned the disco ball on and we danced to the classic tune “Milkshake” by Kelis.  Like, they wouldn’t have even known how to avoid a flock of boys arriving to the yard if it wasn’t for me….so….you’re welcome….

It all boils down to this.  There are a few wrong ways to be a parent, but there are a few right ways too. Over the course of my life I’m certain I will experience both.  I try everyday to educate myself on how to be a better person.  Do I occasionally have to google “How long to cook chicken in a skillet”,”Why is there a crayon in my washing maching?” “How long can a car run on empty before it breaks down?””Tips to decompress after a childs temper tantrum”, “How to remove cheerios from a nasal cavity”? Hell yes.   And that’s OK.  Remaining teachable is a crucial part of being a good parent.

I’ve learned a lot about life through the course of my journey, but the most important thing I’ve learned so far is to go easy on yourself and don’t take life too seriously, as it is temporary, and fleeting. Quit focusing on being the perfect parent, stop listening to the advice of random strangers in Facebook Mom groups. Love your kids, do what feels right to you. Raise them to be kind, respectful human beings. Put the phone down and watch them dance. Run outside with them when it starts raining. Wake them up with sprinkle pancakes for no reason at all.  Have fun and cherish every moment. That’s all we are left with in the end, the moments………. Now if you will excuse me, I have a Pog tournament with the neighbor boy and I have a brand new Slammer that needs breakin in.

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Fundraisers & Ghost Pants

mondsay

 

Happy Monday Friends!!!

I think Monday is gonna be my blog day.  It’s perfect because Mondays usually consist of me sitting around, staring at my messy house, repeatedly saying, “Alright Tiff, refresh Facebook ONE more time, then if there’s nothing new, get up and clean”.  Before I know it, my husbands’ walking in the door from work wondering WTF I’ve been doing all day. So if I pump one of these bad boys out, I can say I accomplished something.

Anyway, if you follow my YouTube Channel (which you don’t, because I have zero subscribers, so, thanks for that) then you will see that I already covered some of this on my last video. But the video is 8 mins 30 seconds, so if you don’t have 10 mins to spend watching me be weird on camera, I’ll recap.

You know how in high school, someone would invite you to a party, and you knew that the cooler, more mature kids would be there.  So you’d get dressed and stand in the mirror, giving yourself a pep talk like, “alright, this is it.  We are going, we’re doing this.  We gotta impress these people. Play it cool, just blend in…..don’t be weird.”

This is exactly how I feel……every time I walk to pick Aubrey up from her class after school.

It starts on the Sidewalk of Shame. I refer to it as the Sidewalk of Shame, because this sidewalk runs parallel to Webber Street.  Between the hours of 2:45-3:15, a parade of parents can be seen traveling by foot to pick up their offspring.  Therefore, if your destination takes you down said street at said time, you have a front row seat to a runway show of Moms and Dads modeling the latest trends in the parent fashion world.

This really sucks for me, seeing as how my outfit of choice usually consists of the same shorts I wore yesterday, a hideous bun thrown hurriedly atop my makeupless head, and my husbands work shirts which are usually covered in paint and other miscellaneous man dirt.

Last week, the universe aligned and placed my path, directly behind them. We will call them Becki, Lexi & Skipper…

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They are a trio of moms/milfs/supermodels, who really have their s*** together. I initially observed their hair. Becki had fresh highlights, Lexi had waist length straight red hair (think Jessica Rabbit) and Skipper had gorgeous flowy curls.

They each had tank tops on that displayed their beautifully tan, toned arms. Becky had a pair of cut off short shorts ( a little too much leg in my opinion…..could be the jealousy talking I’m not sure ). Lexi had a cute skirt with crazy patterns on it that flowed in the wind, doing its own beautiful dance around her perfectly petite body. But SKIPPER, Skippers pants really made my blood boil, and here’s why…..

Skipper had on a pair of leggings (cool) I’m assuming, judging by the 342 Facebook groups I’ve been invited to that these must be of the Lula Roe variety (they are all the rage and I’m pretty sure they feel like buttah, a sensation I will never experience because I’m broke), they had little ghosts on em, just, ghosts floating up and down her leg.  Here’s the thing…..

I specifically recall, in 7th grade, I made the bold attempt to wear spandex pants with ghosts on em and everyone called me a loser weirdo.  Skipper slips em on, and suddenly she has grown women chasing her down the street throwing money at her shouting something about a unicorn and trying to buy the pants right off her f***ing legs.

Life doesn’t make sense anymore.

Anyway, Lexi is pushing this $29329 stroller down the street, her perfectly clean, well dressed child licking an organic, soy free, gluten free lollipop waving to strangers, meanwhile I’m hobbling behind her with my umbrella stroller, trying to keep it on the sidewalk because the wheel is broken so it shakes uncontrollably. My baby still in her pajamas from the night before, because I didn’t have time to put a cute outfit on her for our one, singular outing of the day.Her tiny hand grasping a leaf I picked up off the ground to keep her occupied during her bumpy journey.

They are talking and laughing about how splendid it was to see the look on their kids faces as they brought all the cookie dough from the fundraiser back to the customers in the neighborhood.

My heart dropped upon hearing their conversation.

I remember the selling of the items (thanks to her awesome grandma who got some of her friends to buy stuff), I remember turning in the forms and money. I do not however remember gleefully passing out the goods to their rightful owners.

This is because we didn’t.  We didn’t do that. Nope, we sure didn’t.

Some idiot forgot to pick that s*** up. Now, I’m not gonna name names here, but let’s just say…..ok no, ya it was me. I didn’t, I didn’t pick it up…..

Now that I was thinking about it, I did remember there was a pickup date, I also remember a line at the bottom saying “any items not picked up will be considered a donation.”

Ha…haha…….hahahahahahha……….*laughter turns to tears of sadness…

I began internally panicking. You had ONE job Tiffany. This was your first opportunity to step up and be a kicka** mom. Now you gotta go friggin door to door and hand over pennies and nickels from your change jar to people expecting delicious cookie dough.

I started thinking about how I was gonna tell Aubrey, I imagined it going something like this: “Aubrey! Guess what honey! The uh, school called, and, ha, this is gonna sound crazy but, I GUESS mice got into the cookie dough box and…you’ll never believe this but, they ate ALL the cookie dough! But this is good news, because we get to go on a treasure hunt around the house to gather all the change we can find! Yeah, and then we get to hand it to the neighbors yell “Sorry!” and run as fast as we can back home it will be so fun!”

When she got into the car I asked if she had any homework. She said yes and mentioned how it was really important that we return her library book the following day, seeing as how we had forgotten to bring it with us today.

I took this opportunity to lecture her about the importance of being responsible.

I decided maybe this wasn’t the time to have the cookie dough talk with her….

The next day I marched into the school.  I had been up all night preparing my “I’m not f***ing buying 18 houses worth of cookie dough” speech. The woman at the front desk seemed really sweet, so I decided to change my approach to the innocent, doe-eyed, disheveled ignorantly busy mom.  I am pretty sure I even cried a little, for dramatic effect. I really had to sell this to her, because the last thing I need is a mugshot in the Gotcha with a charge of grand larceny, cookie dough theft.

I explained my predicament through nervous laughter and a look of apparent disappointment plastered on my face. I finally finished verbally spewing pitiful excuses in her general direction and waited in suspenseful anticipation for her reply.

“You still have 3 weeks……So…”

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When I feel embarrassed I get really akward. I get loud and over explain things. So I started laughing at the top of my lungs and yelling about how foolish I felt and how grateful I was for her and how beautiful she was then I left.

So all is well, everything is cool. So, now I just need to figure out how to explain the missing cookie dough from Mrs. Millers box when we go to drop it off.

cookie-dough

It wasn’t me, at midnight, watching the Walking Dead and binge snacking.

Friggin mice.

 

 

 

 

I almost messed up, BAD.

This is my first ever blog post! Super exciting stuff.  This sight suggested my first blog be about why I decided to start blogging. Which is a great idea, but, no.  Mainly because there isn’t any cool story behind it. I was sitting in my living room and thought “Hey, I should blog!”. The end.

Having said that, I have decided to take this opportunity to tell you a true story.  For no reason other than I believe it needs to be told, as a warning, to those who may be as naive as myself.

There I was, driving down the road after dropping my beautiful bonus daughter off for her first day of kindergarten.  It had been a wild morning up to that point.  Getting 3 little people ready and out the door, two of which are incapable of dressing themselves or saying words, had proved to be a daunting task.

I was cruising down the road, a bundle of nerves, wondering if Aubrey was terrified, if she was uncomfortable, if kindergarten would be too much for her little body and mind to handle.  I was contemplating turning the vehicle around right then and there to go get her and say screw school, bring her home, burn her school uniforms so that I may begin homeschooling her in the safety of my living room….that was when I saw her. There she was.  We will call her Edna.

Edna, was a crossing guard.  But not just any crossing guard.  She was different. As my truck slowly crept up to the red light at the corner of her stationed post, I realized she was taking the time to wave to every single person, in every single car.  It’s 7 in the morning, and this lady is acting like she is on a float in the Thanksgiving day parade.

I noticed every so often as a car passed, she would give a double thumbs up.  I quickly concluded that the reason she did this, is because the occupants of the passing vehicle must have waved back.  All the anxiety I had been experiencing was quickly replaced with excitement as I realized I, too, could be the recipient of an early morning thumbs up.

When the light turned, I hit the gas and began to drive in her direction. My heart began pounding, THIS WAS IT! Our eyes met, as if time had slowed down I watched her hands begin to wave.  I was overly excited and began rapidly waving before she even had an opportunity to be the first waver.  But it didn’t matter, she twisted her hands into the thumbs up position and shook them at me.

Call me childish, call me a loser, but THIS made my day.  This lady is happy as a pig in s**t to be standing on the side of the road, in the blazing heat, waving her hands back and forth for hours, so WTF to I have to be unhappy about.

I saw her every day for a week.  Edna and I had formed a long distance bond.  I wanted to find a way to thank her for brightening my mornings.  Here’s where I almost f***ed up.

The next day I decided I was going to go to my local gas station and pick her up a flower and give her a thank you card.  Just a simple, “Thank you for being you” gift.  I looked up the phone number and called said gas station. “O*** Fuels,this Mishak, how can I help you?”. I proceeded to ask if they had flowers there.  He said “We have Forever Love roses?”. Ok, I thought to myself, this sounds a little too romantic for a new blossoming friendship, but I was on a time limit. “Great, thank you!” I replied.

I loaded the kids up and headed to get Ednas’ gift.  I walked into the store with my children in tow and as I approached the counter my eyes began shifting left to right in an attempt to visually locate the flowers. When I couldn’t spot them I leaned in to the cashier (while still looking all around for them) and said “Hey, uh, I umm…called about the Forever Love Rose?”, Still a bit perplexed about where they were hiding these roses.  The cashier leaned back a bit said “Ahhhh, yesss” and gave me a little wink.  Which was super creepy.

Anyway, he went over to the swisher sweets and blunt wrap section (Huh) reached behind a display of grape flavored blunts and pulled out a small box with a lid (weird).

He set it on the counter in front of me and said ” Here ya go, there are only two left…”. I looked down and was overwhelmed with the feeling that I was on a hidden camera show. Because life suddenly didn’t make sense. There was a box, with tubes sticking out.  In each of these tubes was a rose.  I pulled a tube out, and carefully examined it. The “rose” was literally 1/4 inch long and was made of felt. Like it was microscopic.  My first thought was “Ok, how the f*** are they almost sold out of these cheap ass roses that were clearly designed for ants to give one an other on valentines day”. And my second though was “Hmmm, it might be kind of cute because the rose tube would fit perfectly into the card I had gotten her, and I was in a huge rush so I said “Ok, whatever lets do it.  $4.99 is a little steep for a piece of fabric claiming to be a rose that I need a magnifying glass to even enjoy but, I know you just work here and don’t make up the prices”.

It was then he got a strange look on his face. I was trying to read him. I was listening to the deafening silence for clues as to wtf he was looking at me like that for and what I was missing.  It was as though he realized the children hovering around my ankles for the first time. He looked at them, looked at the gift I was about to purchase, then looked at me. “Why are you buying this?” He asked. At this point I wanted to roundhouse kick him in the throat. This guy is gonna charge me my life savings for a piece of s**t tube with a piece of s**t flower, then have the audacity to question me???

“It’s a gift”

“for who?”

“A crossing guard ”

“Who?”

“A really sweet little old lady who works at my daughters school, I wanted to get her a gift for being so great at her job? I really have to go though,so can we wrap this up here please?”

A look of sudden understanding swept across his face then immediately turned to fear. He literally grabbed the flower tube OUT OF MY HAND, shoved it back into the box, turned around, placed it back into its’ original resting place, then circled back around, placed his hands on the counter and smiled at me. I smiled back, laughed a little and began fixing my hair because I knew at any moment Ashton Kutcher was going to jump out and yell “YO! You got punked!”

Mishak told me quite abruptly “Those are not for sale”…

Dude, I rolled my eyes more confused than I had ever been in the history of my existence and exited the store with my children.

I was fuming, this a**hole ruined my suprise present plan and I wanted answers damnit. I dropped Aubrey off, drove past Edna and gave her a defeated wave, knowing I had missed the opportunity to make her day.

I got home and decided to google Forever Rose.  Because there was something very strange about my encounter that morning and I needed answers. After one minute of googling, everything fell into place. Mishaks behavior, the words that were never spoken between us. The twilight zone episode I was trapped in finally made sense. When I realized what happened, I wanted to go back and give Mishak a hug….. I was LITERALLY 10 minutes away, from giving sweet little Edna…..

A crackpipe…….

A f****ing CRACKPIPE dude. I’ve done alot of drugs in my day, but I’ve never done crack. So I had no clue that the object I was holding in my hands was to be filled with brillo pads and smoked in a back alley somewhere.

I was about to walk up to Edna and be like ” Hey Edna, here’s a crackpipe, thanks for being you!”

Like, WHAT?! I came into the store with 3 children, granted most mornings I look like an extra from The Walking Dead season 6 but for CHRISTS sake dude.

I’m glad Mishak did what he did. What if Edna didn’t know what it was either??? What if she strolls into the crossing guard lounge where all her crossing guard friends are located, sitting around eating their lunchs, minding their own business and Edna slaps down a crackpipe in the middle of the table and says ” Look what I got today ladies!”

What if they all exclaim how cute and simple it is and now they all want one and they go get one and every crossing guard in this town is walking around with crackpipes in their pockets and its ALL MY FAULT.

They all get arrested, right, now theres no crossing guards left in the town, so I feel obligated to pick up the slack. I recruit a bunch of my friends to help me man the corners, the only trouble is, we dont know what we are doing.  So cars are crashing, kids a running for their lives screaming, diving for safety, I’m in the middle of the road screaming “I KNEW I SHOULD HAVE TURNED AROUND THAT DAY, PICKED AUBREY UP, BURNED HER SCHOOL UNIFORMS AND HOMESCHOOLED HER IN MY LIVING ROOM!!!!!!!”.

Anyway, we ended up getting her a card.  I thought it would be really cute if Aubrey was the one to give it to her.  I had Aubrey get out of the truck and I watched her gleefully skip to Edna, filled with pride as she knew she was about to make someones day.  It was then that Aubrey tripped over a branch that had been jutting out of the ground, I watched her face turn from happiness to terror as she faceplanted into the ground. Edna ran over to her than began visually searching all around for the piece of s*** parent in charge of this kid.  I thought about slinking down into the seat so she couldn’t see me but decided to do the right thing and go peel Aubrey off of the ground. She dusted herself off, handed Edna the card and limped back to the truck. I explained to Edna that we wanted to thank her for making our mornings so much brighter, and that we thought it would be sweet if Aubrey had been the one to deliver the card. I thought Edna look at the card, she thanked me, and as I was walking away she yelled “Mam?!”, my heart skipped a beat, she realized what a nice gesture it was..” “Yes? ” I  smiled.

“You really shouldn’t let yo kids run out by the road all willy nilly, what if she woulda fell into traffic? You probably woulda felt real bad if she got slammed by a car. Ya gotta be more careful out here.”…She turned back around and began smiling and waving to cars…

I felt like s***. I am a crappy mom. I shoulda never sent Aubrey to her imminent death.

I learned a very valuable lesson during this experience.

F*** Edna.

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