Kids, Parenting

Are Single Parenting Classes a Thing?

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So…. My husband has been out of town this week in Washington D.C…

Now, usually I’m the one traveling for work so when he told me a few weeks back that he was going to be the one gone for 5 days, naturally my competitive self-started singing the song from Annie Get Your Gun “Anything you can do I can do Better” I just thought I would put on my supermom cape and be ready to go.

WRONG!

My husband’s plane is scheduled to land this evening at 6:57 pm … YES, the exact minute is important so I can more accurately calculate the exact moment that he will walk in the door and I can collapse in his arms and thank him for coming home to us.

Like I said, I’m usually the one traveling so I’m used to being the one that packs the bag, walks out the door, sleeps in a huge king bed in my own hotel room, wakes up to room service and the only responsibility I have is getting myself ready, going to great restaurants in fun cities to entertain clients, etc. When I’m gone, I get to call home and hear cheerful voices that are so happy just to be talking to me. I get to be the one that walks into a spotless, clean sparkling house at the end of a trip and be the hero that hands the kids their new magnet from a new city (we collect magnets from each city visited). In other words, my husband seems to have it all together, knows what he’s doing and everything runs like a well-oiled machine.

During the past five days, I have quickly learned three things…

  1. I need to take classes in being a single parent
  2. My husband deserves a round of applause for how well he manages the house/kids when I’m out of town
  3. Supermom capes are earned/given… if you’re rocking one that you put on your own shoulders (like I tried to) it’s no more than a self-righteous accessory

When Daniel left on Saturday morning it was raining and the forecast for the rest of the weekend was rain and freezing rain. I had a sinus infection and didn’t feel well so I let my kids talk me into going to Fastlane in Rogers, AR (think bowling + laser tag + Bumper cars + arcade games and a giant play structure). Selfishly, I thought to myself, kids can play and I can sit still! Well for anyone who has been to Fastlane or anything like it you know sitting still is not an option, especially with a 2 year old. By the time that experience was over I was down $60 and left with a screaming 2 year old under my arm who refused to put on her shoes. I got all the wonderful sympathy looks from other moms as if to say “I feel ya” All I had left in me that night was enough energy to pop the Friday night left over pizza in the microwave for dinner.

Surprisingly, that became a trend for the next couple of days. My well-balanced sit down family dinners turned into anything that I could whip up in 5 minutes or less so they could eat before 8:00 pm…

Saturday – Leftover Friday night pizza
Sunday – 2nd Sunday Pizza night at Tim’s Pizza on the square (tradition with friends that we go to Tim’s pizza every second Sunday for food and fun)
YES…if you’re counting that’s pizza three days in a row – Mom of the year, I know!
Monday – My two year old ate ramen noodles for the first time ever, and loved them. My older daughter choked them down as she knew I was struggling and my son fixed his own PBJ and grilled cheese when he got home from baseball practice… I think I finally ate an orange Popsicle at 11:00 pm for my dinner.
Tuesday – I swore I was going to cook something…. we ended up a Chick-fil-A!!

I can just feel my super mom cape getting farther and farther away as I type all this out…If I kept a food journal it would have grown its own legs and hopped in the trash can by now.

On Monday, I thought we were doing well. We had just used my counterfeit carpool line pick up sign to get my son from school…. yes, that’s right… counterfeit. I can’t for the life of me find where I put that official neon yellow green tag with the school logo and my sons name on it… so I whipped up a counterfeit one with the same color sticky notes tapped together a sharpie and a printer because I didn’t have the extra 5 minutes in my schedule to have to get out of my car, explain and pick him up from the office.  We dropped my son at baseball practice in Springdale and had two hours to get to “Hobby Hobby”… as my two year old calls it… home to feed the girls (yes that was Ramen night) and back up to Springdale to pick up my son. We were almost to the finish line when all the sudden the girls started dropping like flies…. My younger daughter, out of nowhere, could no longer put any weight on her left leg, screaming in pain each time she tried to take a step… So, I had broken the two year old… and my older daughter all the sudden started screaming in pain holding her stomach. When I say screaming I mean holding it, doubled over like her appendix had just ruptured. We raced home, massage the two year old’s leg (because I didn’t know what else to do) and got her in the bed. I then start using WebMD to pinpoint what could be happening with my other daughter… DON’T DO THIS… I REPEAT, DON’T DO this.. there is a reason you cannot get a degree in medicine online. I finally started thinking like an adult and realized that the stellar meals I had been feeding my kids may have had something to do with this stomach pain, so Zofran and bedtime was my solution… not before going to the neighborhood market to get a giant Gatorade and Saltines just in case.

On Tuesday of this week I was trying to make myself feel better by giving myself props for having all three kids to three different schools in 45 minutes. But, then I walked in the door and saw forgotten lunch boxes sitting on the counter…OOPS, one step forward, and two steps back!

I wake up this morning and my oldest daughter comes in with a sad face holding the Ziploc back that contains her tooth she lost yesterday …  THAT’S RIGHT… the jackass tooth-fairy (um… that’s me) forgot to come last night. For two seconds I contemplated telling her right then and there that the tooth-fairy does not exist, that it’s really daddy and I. But, then I came to my senses and realized that’s not the right thing to do and quickly started thinking of all the reasons that she didn’t make it last night and that we would try again tonight. Oh, and if any of you out there have good excuses, send them my way as this is not the first and won’t be the last time I forget!

I had 9 minutes to wake up the two year old and get her dressed, hair brushed and in the car for drop-offs before we would be behind schedule. She insisted that she have 4 blankets to get in the car. After dropping the older two, we round back to her school for the daily separation anxiety episode. I walked in her room and told her teacher, who was looking for my daughter under the pile of blankets she was carrying, “Don’t worry I won’t leave all these with you, she just insisted on bringing them all in.” To which I get the response from the teacher, “Oh don’t worry about it, she actually needs a sheet and blanket for nap-time because you forgot to bring one on Monday for the week.” …I hope you could not see on my face what I was thinking in my head at that point….

As my oldest daughter exited the car this morning she looked back and me and said, “Mom, you’re doing a good job… I love you and I’ll see you after school!” Well that made my day. I started thinking about perceptions. I can’t tell what all goes on back here at home when I travel. My husband may fight the same battles but chooses not to talk about them because he knows that I feel guilty when I have to travel a lot. Or, the mothers that I see on Facebook with 3+ kids that seem to have everything together and perfectly managed. That’s what they want people to see, what they post, not what happens every day, right?

All that said, it’s Wednesday, SuperDaddy comes home tonight and we are ALL excited about that. I can’t promise that the house will be neat and clean, laundry will be done or that there will be a good home cooked meal on the table (oh man, just realized it’s Wednesday night church night and the kids get Chick-Fil-A for dinner at the church…. two nights in a row on CFA now… yikes!), but the kids are still all in one piece, and we will all give him a very warm welcome home!

#GivingTuesday, Health, Hydrocephalus, Kids, Parenting, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized

#Giving Tuesday

 

November 29th was the Global Day of Giving.

Yes, after you’ve probably spent way too much money on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday (not me, unfortunately, I haven’t started Christmas shopping yet) we now have the kick off of the charitable giving season known as #GivingTuesday. We decided to give to a non-profit association  that furthers the research, education, and solutions for Hydrocephalus, The Hydrocephalus Association.

It wasn’t until April 21st of 2015 that I even knew what Hydrocephalus was. The afternoon before, I had taken our new addition to the family for her 5-month check-up. Moms, you know the drill… strip the baby down to the diaper, place them on the freezing cold scale for a quick weight and length check and then back to the exam room for a head circumference measurement. Now, I had noticed that my little one’s head seemed a bit larger than normal, but I just figured she would grow into it. Up until now, we had always been fortunate enough to have normal, uneventful routine check-ups at the doctor’s office. It kind of hit me in the gut when the doctor brought out the growth chart analysis and showed me that her head circumference was measuring off the charts. “What does that mean,” I asked?  The doctor proceeded to tell me that he wanted us to go across the street to the diagnostic and imaging center where they had scheduled a CT scan. We would have the test done first thing in the morning and they would call us directly with the findings.

I remember feeling numb, not really knowing what to do. Of course, I called my husband and told him everything I had discussed with the doctor while driving home. I called my mom and told her as she and my dad are prayer warriors and man did I feel like we needed some. The next day seemed to take an eternity to arrive. Daniel and I both went in for the CT scan, but when we got there only one parent was allowed to go in the room. Daniel took one look at my face and said, “you go,” God bless that man! Luckily our little one didn’t move an inch so there was no need for sedation. The CT was short, just a few minutes and the nurse said they would send the results to the doctor who would give us a call.

I had no idea how long it would take and trying desperately to keep my mind off of things (right, like I could do that) I took our little one to go walk around at the mall for a bit. We had just made it to the second floor of Dillard’s when my phone rang… it was the doctor’s office calling. I quickly picked up and heard Dr. Ball’s voice on the other end of the phone. He proceeded to tell me that the CT scans confirmed what he had been thinking, our baby girl had a condition known as Hydrocephalus.

Now for those of you who like to break down the parts of a word in order to find its meaning, you would know that Hydrocephalus comes from the Greek words hydro meaning water and cephalus meaning head. The Hydrocephalus Association defines it as an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within cavities in the brain called ventricles. Cerebrospinal fluid is produced in the ventricles and in the choroid plexus. It circulates through the ventricular system in the brain and is absorbed into the bloodstream. This fluid is in constant circulation and has many functions, including to surround the brain and spinal cord and act as a protective cushion against injury. It contains nutrients and proteins necessary for the nourishment and normal function of the brain and carries waste products away from surrounding tissues.Hydrocephalus occurs when there is an imbalance between the amount of CSF that is produced and the rate at which it is absorbed. As the CSF builds up, it causes the ventricles to enlarge and the pressure inside the head to increase thus making the head size increase as well.

At this point, I was in “fix it mode”… tell me what to do! Dr. Ball was great, he went on to say that he wanted us to go straight to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock (three hours from Fayetteville) he knew that by the time we would arrive we would need to go to the emergency room, so he had already called ahead and alerted the pediatric neurosurgeon that we were coming and paved the way for a smooth arrival. I quickly jumped in the car called Daniel and told him what we were doing and what needed to be done so we could make our way to Arkansas Children’s Hospital. As I had done just a few months back, I called my friend’s Karla and Wendy to once again seek help with the older children for the night until my parents could arrive in Fayetteville the next day. And again, without hesitation or pause, they both jumped in to help as needed.

A short while later we were on our way to Little Rock with our little girl. I think Daniel and I may have held hands the entire ride. Once we arrived they already had our paperwork, but we did have to wait what seemed like an eternity. My parents, on their way to Fayetteville to help with the older kids, stopped by the hospital in Little Rock to see how we were doing and bring us some food. It was good to see their faces and hear their calming voices as we waited to see the neurosurgeon. Finally, we were called back and spoke with a neurosurgeon who had already talked to his superior, Dr. Cai, regarding our daughter’s condition. We did receive a bit of good news, he told us that her case was not bad enough to operate tonight (although by this time it was about 2:00am) that he would have his nurse schedule surgery for the next day.

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Resting with daddy the day before surgery

We checked into a hotel in Little Rock and tried to sleep a little bit. We spent the next few hours in downtown Little Rock trying to keep busy. The nurse called and gave us the rundown of how to prepare, what to expect and told us to be at the hospital at 8:00am in the morning. We were there promptly at 8:00 filling out paperwork and having her vitals taken, all of the normal pre-surgery prep seemed to be happening quickly.

We were taken back into a private pre-op room and dressed little miss in her surgery gown. The surgeon, Dr. Cai came in with his operating room nurse, the anesthesiologist came in… basically, anyone who was going to be in the room with our daughter came into speak with us, tell us what they were going to do and tried to put our minds at ease. Dr. Cai, with the help of his nurse as he speaks fluent Chinese and broken English, let us know that they would put her under anesthesia, once she was asleep they would call us in the waiting room to let us know they were beginning surgery.

The surgical procedure for Hydrocephalus requires the neurosurgeon to implant a VP (ventricular peritoneal) shunt in the ventricles of the brain. After she was under general anesthesia, they would make two incisions, one on the head and one in the abdomen to allow the neurosurgeon to pass the shunt’s tubing through to the abdomen. A small hole is made in the skull, to allow the ventricular end of the shunt to be passed through the brain and into the ventricle. The abdominal (peritoneal) end is passed into the abdominal cavity through a small opening in the lining of the abdomen where the excess CSF will eventually be absorbed. Here is a visual to help you better understand…

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I felt good about her surgeons and nurses and felt like I had a good grasp on what was about to happen. BUT, NO ONE… I mean NO ONE can prepare you for that moment when the nurse comes to take your child for surgery. Her nurse wheeled her out of pre-op and we were able to walk with her until we got to a hallway with two doors. She was headed through the door on the left and we had to exit out the door to the right. I will never forget that feeling of complete and total helplessness as we kissed her on the forehead and had to turn and walk away. I had absolutely no control, there was nothing I could do but sit and wait. I think I prayed the entire time. Daniel was calm and collected, which definitely helped me.

After surgery, Dr. Cai came out to the waiting room and said that everything had gone well, that she was in post-op recovery and we would be taken back as soon as she woke up. I called those on the phone tree and texted friends and family that had been praying for us all that day to share the good news. Getting to hold and feed her in post-op may be one of the most special moments I’ve ever had. All that feeling of helplessness had gone away as she rocked in my lap and nursed.

Fast forward to the present. I am thankful to say that she is doing well, happy and healthy and has not experienced any issues with her condition or hardware that will remain in her body the rest of her life. Sure we know that at some point it’s likely she will have to have a shunt revision and possibly more surgeries, but we are thankful that everything has gone so well thus far.

I remember thinking this verse from the time the doctor said “abnormal head circumference” to the evening we were discharged from the hospital and we were once again able to sleep in our own house and hear her sweet little snore in the next room…

Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I was right, I wasn’t in control through any of it… there was nothing I could do to change or help things back a year and a half ago and there is nothing I can do to make it all go away now. But, I know that God was in control back in April of 2015 and He is still in control of the situation to this day.

We are blessed with what we have been given and therefore give joyfully to an association that continues the research to find a cure for Hydrocephalus.

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Pre-op

 

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Post-op
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Present
Christmas, Holiday, Kids, Parenting, Uncategorized

Trees…Tinsel… and Three Kids

img_4367img_4364Yesterday we took our annual trip to the Wisconsin Tree Farm to pick out the O’Brien Family Christmas Tree… not to be confused with the Griswold Family Tree. Daniel and I are the perfect mix of picking a tree that has no business being in our modest size home. I always go for the tall ones and he always goes for the big round ones. Usually, by the time the tree is in the house there is NO room for a star or angel as the top is smashed into the ceiling and if you indulged a bit too much at Thanksgiving you’re going to have to find an alternative route around the tree as it’s usually so round that it takes up the entire walkway.

The Wisconsin Tree Farm is a great family owned business right on College Street in Fayetteville. Each year the Latzig family from Merrill Wisconsin comes to Fayetteville, lives in a camper and sells their homegrown Christmas trees in the Gator Golf parking lot. They have all types, Balsam Fir, Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir and Scotch Pine just to name a few. We have purchased a tree from this family every year we’ve lived in Fayetteville.

 

We don’t have a designer tree, never have… but I love our tree as it’s covered in ornaments that both my husband and I have collected as well as the kids handmade ornaments they’ve made each year at school. It’s colorful and about 75% of the tree is covered in some type of kid craft that involves glitter, paint, and sequins.

Am I the only one that has this grand picture in my head of how decorating the family tree should go? Let me set the stage for you…

We are all in the living room listening to the Pandora Christmas radio station, fire flickering and hot chocolate or egg nog in everyone’s cup. We all sit patiently while my husband puts the lights on the tree. After all the lights are hung each child goes to their marked Rubbermaid tub and begins placing their ornaments on the tree, taking turns and making sure they are well spaced in order to have a well-balanced tree. all three kids listen to me as I say, “Be sure to put the heavy ones on the top branches.” After the tree is covered in ornaments we sit and listen to the music and stare at the tree filled with lights while everyone gets sleepy for the night.

NOPE, not at all close to the madness that happened here last night (remember my post on Hostage Negotiating?) … Here’s the real picture…

We are all in the same room most of the time and yes, Pandora radio is playing some of our favorite Christmas tunes, but there is no flickering fireplace as it’s a little too warm for that just yet. No one has hot chocolate or egg nog at this point because the milk that my ten-year-old was trying to boil in the tea kettle is shooting out the whistle whole as it got waaaaaaaayy too hot. I’m burning my fingers trying to clean up boiling milk from the stove while my son is yelling from the other room that he’s hungry and my two-year-old is screaming at the top of her lungs because we won’t let her touch any ornaments. It’s finally time for the lights. I work to get the lights on the tree as my husband unravels and checks each strand… Apparently, we aren’t moving fast enough for my son who is trying to see how many times he can slide off the arm of the sofa onto the ground behind the tree and make his way out without touching any branches… our very own American Ninja Warrior!

After all the lights are finally on the tree, it’s time for the ornaments. Now you know those Rubbermaid tubs I was talking about, each marked and organized with each child’s ornaments… HA, wishful thinking… we have four to five buckets full of ornaments wrapped in 5-year-old newspaper and old grocery bags (read this blog from Rubbermaid – awesome storage idea for ornaments). The kids are holding the newspaper and unraveling them so quick that ornaments are hitting the floor like raindrops. We ALWAYS have a designated area for ornaments that need to be glued back together, because we just can’t do it without breaking any. We should probably buy stock in Gorilla Glue this time of year. The kids are all trying to attack the tree at once and all the heavy ornaments that they placed on the weak lower branches are hitting the floor one by one. My two-year-old is climbing the ladder that I forgot to move post – Christmas tree lights and as soon as you go up to make sure she doesn’t fall she repeatedly tells you “GO WAY!” By this time I have stepped on at least three hooks and a shard of glass from the broken ornaments (think  Marv from Home Alone entering the window with no shoes).

My two-year-old has now come up with a new strategy to reach the branches she can’t quite get to, toss those Christmas balls right on up towards the tree and see if they’ll stick … of course bringing two or three other ornaments down along the way! By this time the tree is pretty full and I start hiding ornaments because we need to wrap this party up before someone falls off the ladder or has to go to the emergency room for glass removal. The two-year-old is now standing over by the wooden nativity scene picking up each animal and very loudly showing off that she knows her animal noises.

My husband and I escape to the garage for 60 seconds to put all the empty boxes away… we pause and look at each other like we’ve just been through an F5 tornado and bust out laughing while we hold each other up from exhaustion.

It’s the same thing every year… I have a pretty picture in my mind about how it’s supposed to go, and then it goes in a completely different direction. It’s crazy and the house is now covered in glitter, pine needles and ornament hooks (I used the old trusty Hoover Wind Tunnel to get the glass up already… that thing is like the perfect kid, cleans up and very quiet) but in the end, everyone had a good time. The kids will remember the laughs and their baby sister telling everyone to go away and saying “haw hee” as she holds up the donkey from the manger scene (one of these days we’ll tell her it’s hee-haw, but it’s just so darn cute). For now, I’ll treasure the years we have left with each of them while they want to be around us, want to help decorate and make fun family memories. I can’t wait to see what next years tornado will bring!

What is your family Christmas tree/decorating tradition?

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Kids, Parenting, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized

FRIENDSgiving And A Two Year Old…

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Today we are not only celebrating Thanksgiving Day but also a birthday!

I can’t believe our caboose is now two years old. This time two years ago I went to my routine checkup at the doctor’s office. Only this time… I didn’t get to leave! I’ll never forget the words that came out of the nurse’s mouth as she checked my blood pressure, “did you run up the stairs when you came in?” “Uh, No…” I told her, why would she think that? She told me that my blood pressure was pretty high and that she would give me a minute to relax and then check it again. After checking it again, she asked me if my blood pressure had ever been high. Again, I said, “Uh, no…why do you ask?” It was in that moment that I was beginning to understand what was happening. The nurse left the room and quickly returned with the doctor, who began asking me a bunch of questions.

Doctor: “Do you feel dizzy?”
Me: “No”
Doctor: “Are your ankles swollen?”
Me: “No”
Doctor: “Do you feel nauseous?”
Me: “No”

I felt normal! Then she proceeded to tell me that my blood pressure was so high that she wouldn’t be surprised if I started having seizures… after that, the only thing I remember was the number 160/100. I could see her talking to me, but I was not really processing all she said. She told me that I was going to go on upstairs to the hospital and have this baby today. “Wait, what…” I said. I haven’t packed a bag, my parents aren’t here, it’s three weeks early I probably need to call my husband! Lots of thoughts were running through my brain. The last thing she said to me was that I could call my husband, but we wouldn’t wait to get things started, so tell him to hurry.

Ok… so I grabbed my cell phone, shaking I called my husband and tried to tell him what was going on. Later he told me I had made absolutely no sense on the phone so he figured he better come to the hospital. My second call was to my parents to see how soon they could get to Fayetteville and finally, I called two of the first ladies I’d met when I moved to Arkansas Wendy and Karla, to see if each could take one of my older children for the evening. After that everything went really fast and our third child, a daughter had come into the world around 4:15 that afternoon.

We ended up having to stay in the hospital for a bit longer than normal until they could regulate my blood pressure. Finally the day before Thanksgiving we were able to go home and finally be together as a family of five. (six if you could the giant dog). I’ll never forget the next day. It was Thanksgiving day and I had bought everything we needed to cook a full Thanksgiving meal. Only, I didn’t really feel like cooking. Daniel stepped up to the plate and offered to cook everything! He said, “just tell me where your recipes are and I’ll get everything ready for a late afternoon meal.” “Hmmmm…” I thought to myself, looked at him and said, “I don’t really have recipes written down, I just do it from memory.”

Now, for those of you that know my husband, you know that he is a process person. Everything has its place, processes are written down and followed exactly in order to always have a successful outcome. And, while at this point he was probably ready to strangle me, he didn’t let it show. He proceeded to pick up a sharpie and write directly on each ingredient how much he needed for each dish. Some hours later, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day meal that he cooked all by himself. Love him!

Since that day, I have never cooked a full Thanksgiving Day meal. We have been blessed with wonderful friends (Lee & Greg) that have invited us over to join in and celebrate with their family. I bring the crockpot mac n’cheese (because we’re from Alabama where you have mac n’cheese on Thanksgiving) and everything else is taken care of. What a blessing!!

There are so many things for me to be thankful for; God’s Grace… because I’m a sinner saved by it, my husband, my three kiddos, my parent’s, my sister and her family, Daniel’s mom and siblings (and all of our extended family). I’m thankful for the Lord bringing us to Fayetteville where we have made some really great lifelong friends. As I think back to this day two years ago, I will forever be thankful for the wisdom of the doctors and nurses who helped bring our little caboose into this world three weeks early for both her safety and mine.

Thinking back, I wasn’t ready for number three to arrive when she did, but I quickly remembered that it’s usually not my timing that matters. I’m usually impatient for things I want when I want them and worried when things happen too fast or I feel unprepared. But then I remember the Lord has His own perfect timing and everything is part of His perfect plan for me. So, I am Thankful most for a God that knows my every need and provides exactly what is needed in His perfect time.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Kids, Parenting, Uncategorized

“Mom…I’m Bored!”

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It’s been two days… 48 hours that my two older kids have been out of school, that’s it! I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard, “mom… I’m bored” over the last two days.

When I was 8 and 10 I used to spend hours outside or down the street playing with my friends. I’m pretty sure it was only when it was too dark to see that we would finally go inside. I remember making up all kinds of games to play or setting up cans to shoot with the BB gun (no, I’m not a girly girl) and my all time favorite memory had to be making a car out of a moving dolly and actually riding it down the street (yes, without a helmet – Please don’t tell my kids).

Kids are overstimulated these days. Screens are everywhere and I think it kills their creativity. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m just as guilty as the next person giving in and allowing more screen time to get them out of my hair while I’m trying to work or on a conference call, but I really think I’m doing them a disservice.

I was so tired of hearing “I’m bored” I even looked up a list of 101 things to do when your kids say they’re bored… below are some of the suggestions, I’m sorry but seriously.. is this  a serious list or a list created to just to make me laugh.

  1. Plant a tree – I usually don’t have trees that are ready to plant just lying around
  2. Act out your child’s favorite book – Not sure a book on wrestle mania would be the best one to act out.
  3. Build an indoor tent or fort with couches and some bed sheets – This one’s okay, we’ve done it before but once they’re done building it, they’re right back to being bored… and then I have to wash all the sheets again… dog hair!
  4. Head to the local library – this is a good one… if my son can use his inside voice
  5. Create paper mache –um no, BIG MESS
  6. Plan a scavenger hunt – We’ve done this one before… we made our hunt a video scavenger hunt for added fun.
  7. Learn how to tie-dye T-shirts – Um no, see number 5. BIG MESS
  8. Count how many times you can spin in a circle without getting dizzy – The answer is 5 and then someone falls and gets hurt… possibly me.
  9. Construct an indoor obstacle course – this is a good one for rainy days
  10. Choreograph a dance routine – If you know me, you would just laugh and shake your head no at this one
  11. Take silly pictures with a camera. My kids do this all the time and then I have to delete stuff from my phone because there is not enough memory
  12. Make a paper mache volcano and mix baking soda and vinegar for an explosive reaction – Explosive reaction, really?? No!
  13. Break out the pots and pans and practice drumming skills –
  14. Rearrange your child’s bedroom – afraid of what I may find under the bed
  15. Ask “what do you want to be when you grow up” and then plan your day around that career. Last time we asked my son what he wanted to be he said a “boxer and a diamond digger” hmmm… we may skip this one
  16. Count and roll loose change lying around the house – My dad does this one with the kids… they seem to enjoy it.
  17. Run relay races – We do this one a lot because it also tires them out
  18. Give the family pet a bath – We have a Great Dane… NO WAY…my daughter took it upon herself to do this once… it ended in all of us chasing the wet, soapy dog around the house.

After making it about half way through the list I stopped… clearly this list was not going to give me my magic answer.

I read a few articles about how it’s good for your kids to be bored. Why You Should Do Nothing When Your Child Says, “I’m Bored” and Handling Boredom: Why It’s Good for Your Child.

Being bored is usually what leads to some pretty neat activities that they think up on their own. After I decided I wasn’t going to give them a running list of options and just told them to figure it out, they had the best time! They played a pretty cool wall ball game outside, played in the rain and tried to see if the wind would lift them off the ground if they hit it just right with the umbrellas. They road bikes and scooters and laughed together most of the afternoon.

Next time they come to me and say “I’m bored” I’m going to say “I love bored” go figure it out!

Parenting, Uncategorized

Hostage Negotiating

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Can I get an Amen? Does anyone else ever feel like this?

My really good sleeper (child #3) did not get her nap in yesterday and it was torture on all of us. We attempted to take her sleepy self to my older daughter’s basketball game and it was like wrestling an alligator to get her not to run out on the court or right out of the gym door. I think at one point I was even letting her play with my fingernails (ok she wasn’t playing with them, but more so trying to rip them off) so that she would sit still. You know it’s not going to be a good experience when the toddler goes through her “sit still and be quiet snacks” before the opening tip.

By the time it was all said and done I needed to take Advil for my jaw and she was chewing on her toes. That’s right, she had done the old toddler move… You know the one, when they don’t want to sit in your lap and they arch their back really quick and their head ends up cracking you right in the chin, sending this sharp pain up your jaw line so bad that you see stars. Yep, at that point I handed her off to husband for a moment, and the next thing I see is that she is quiet, yes, but it’s because she’s removed her shoes and socks and is now chewing on her toes…. Whatever! If she’s quiet and still, at this point I could care less… I was really impressed that she could get her toes all the way to her mouth!

The rest of the day was spent looking at the clock and praying that it was closer to bedtime than it really was. As much as I wanted to come home and put her back in the bed, I knew that would mean a late nap and a crazy wild toddler when it was time for bed that evening, so we stuck it out.

Add two older siblings to the mix and that’s really where the crazy comes in. I mean, riding in the car with the two of them in the back seat really makes you rethink what a genius idea it was for limousines to put the partition between the driver and the passenger rows. AND, why has someone not thought to do this in the family SUV… I would pay extra for that!

Even our four-legged child (Duke the dog) couldn’t keep his crazy contained. I won’t go into detail, but when your 140lb Great Dane is in the house while your gone and has a very, very bad stomach issue, all you can do is toss the rubber gloves when you’re done cleaning up and pray that the nice living room rug will make a full recovery and not have to be burned.

Sometimes, I just want to lock myself in the bathroom, eat chocolate and cry… but let’s face it, they’ll find you there too! At the end of the day, I wouldn’t trade our crazy for anything else in the world. Sure, it’s hard and they try my patience a lot, but they’re good kids. They have big hearts and dream big so I can’t wait to see what the future holds for each of them. I thank God every day for all three of my kiddos and always ask for strength and wisdom to make it through another day of being a parent. Oh, and yes I thank my parents for putting up with me for so many years.img_3767fullsizerender-23img_3791

 

 

 

Parenting

Things you never knew you had to say…

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If you’re a mom like me, I’m sure you can relate to this quote. It’s always the things you never imagined you’d have to say to your kids that will zap your energy…

“No, you cannot clean the new flat screen TV with milk!”

Wearing underwear isn’t optional. You must wear underwear.”

“When you shower you need to use soap, every time!”

“No, we don’t ask random strangers if they’re going to have a baby, especially when they are men!”

I mean, I could write a book of all the things I’ve told my kids that I never thought would have to be explained.

In the moment I get so frustrated that I’m even having the conversation. Then afterward, sometimes LONG afterward, it’s fun to think back about all the things they say and do. I used to think that it was just me, but don’t worry, every mom has a conversation with her children at one point or another that she never dreamed would be necessary. AND I can tell you if you’re the mom of little boys, hold on for the ride as you will have these conversations A LOT!!

My oldest two, who have been the main culprits, are now ten and eight. I fear that our conversations are going to start changing quickly…

“No, you can’t wear that out of the house!”

“No, you are not old enough to have a cell phone yet!”

BUT, with an almost two-year-old….I Can’t wait to see what the next few years will bring!

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O’Brien Girls
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The Boy