Saturday, August 29, 2015

It Is Always Something

In the last ten days E2 and I had a stomach bug and/or food poisoning, E2 got a bad cold filled with snot everywhere, and just today E1 fractured her elbow.

Raising girls is supposed to be filled with coloring, arts & crafts, rainbows, hair bows, sugar, spice and everything nice. I have that PLUS running, fighting, swinging, climbing, racing, biking, hanging, jumping, balancing, tripping, falling, breaking. My girls are the literal tomboys in tiaras. All dressed up in ribbons and bows and covered in mud from head to toe. AND I LOVE IT.

Today we met friends at our elementary school's playground. The climbing structures have huge tents over them so the equipment does not get hot and the children can play. Genius. All the kids are playing, having a great time when their eldest and E1 decided to play on a "zip line." It is a metal handle you hold onto and swing your body back forth to travel across the way.

The hubs gives E1 a little advice to "pump her legs" to keep it going and she falls. Whatever. No biggie. She falls all the time. E1 landed on her feet, fell to her bottom then braced going back with her arms. Again, whatever. She fell. E1 seems fine, seems fine, says she is fine, looks at me, seems come the tears, eyes are filling up, and THERE IT IS...CRYING!! "IT HURTS!" E1 is dramatic and therefore it does take some time to assess the situation.

The friends say, "Hey, that's how our kid broke his elbow. He fell just like that."
Fuck you very much for that information.

The hubs who apparently got his medical degree in the last 30 seconds says she is fine. She rests, it still hurts. Then E1 sits on the hub's lap and it actually seems she is ok. The crying has stopped and she is sort of dangling her arm in a way that seems to indicate nothing is wrong.

A few minutes more.....tears resume. At this point, I am arguing with my husband about which ER to use. He swears she is fine and is just being an attention whore. Since this is a strong possibility, we go home. The hubs, again using his google medical degree, tells E1 and me "RICE." WTF is "RICE?" Are we ordering Chinese food????


Whatever. So we RICE her arm and depending on which way she moves....tears.

DAMN IT. I AM LEAVING. I take E1, against Dr. Dad's advice, to the stand alone ER.
An hour later, X-Rays show a small fracture. She is in a splint and sling for a few days and then will wear a cast for three weeks.

Dr. Dad was wrong.
Mother knows best.
It is always something.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

It Takes A Village

Yesterday was the first day of school. E1 started a brand new school, transitioning from private to public. She went from 21 kids in the grade to 21 kids in her class. She went from carpool to riding the bus. She went from the familiar to the unfamiliar.

8:00 am: As we entered the new school we were greeted by smiles, welcomes, cheery faces, and how are yous. The energy was positive, upbeat, wonderful. Through the sound system they played "We are Family." I was in heaven. I felt as if our neighborhood school was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I spent ALL day telling people how E1 did great at drop off, the new school was wonderful, and I was so pleased with our decision to switch schools.

3:30 pm: E1's face is sad. Really sad. Tears are quietly streaming down her face and I see this through the window pane of the school bus. As she gets off the bus, parents around say, "Oh no" as E1 falls into my arms in this dramatic hysteria. "I HATE SCHOOL. I'M NEVER GOING BACK. EVERYONE IS MEAN." E1 is crying hysterically saying this over and over and over as we walk the longest three minutes home. I am crumbling inside. I am about to fall apart myself when I remember I am the damn mom and have to figure this shit out.

E1's day was a straight up cluster fuck. Whatever could go wrong went wrong. As I listened to each part of the day we discussed how she could have changed the outcome using different words, standing up for herself, asking for help, etc. While all this was going on texts from family and friends are coming in asking how the day went and receiving the text "terrible." Poor E1. She was heartbroken and I was feeling the most immense amount of guilt.

Later in that day I spoke to the teacher. Son of a bitch. I am that mom and she is that kid. Fuck.

The teacher is a gift from G-d. She offered up some changes and E1 was prepared to go back for day two.

Day two: E1 woke up and I reminded her today was a new day and that quite frankly it was going to be better because it couldn't get any worse.  She left for school with no tears and I prayed.

3:20 pm: Two moms at the bus stop asked me how I was doing, if E1 was ok, and how terrible they felt that she was so upset yesterday. And now we are that family around the corner - the family with the new kid, the family with the kid crying. FUCK.

These moms and other moms took E1's crying as a learning opportunity for their children. The neighborhood bus stop moms told me how they spoke to their children about how terrified E1 must have been being the new kid. They said not talking to her is the same as being mean and they had a responsibility to make her feel welcome. And now I am choked up at the bus stop, overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers, the kindness of neighbors, and feeling assured once again we made the right decision to switch schools.

3:30 pm: E1 JUMPS off the bus and with her ENORMOUS toothless SMILE and exclaims, " I HAD THE BEST DAY EVER. I LOVE MY SCHOOL." She introduces me to her new friend in her class that rides the bus too and begins to tell me how GREAT her day was.

With yesterday behind us, the present being just that - a present, I look forward to her bright future.

It definitely takes a village and I am proud to be "that family" in this terrific village.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Free School

This year, my husband and I decided to pull E1 from private school and send her to our neighborhood school. She starts first grade on Monday and her own words, "Is a little excited." Change is difficult for anyone and I am not too concerned about her nervousness because I had concerns too with this decision.

I had. Past tense. I am no longer concerned at all. This school is great. It runs like a well oiled machine and quite honestly, it is "fancier" than the crazy expensive private school we left.  The building itself is not fancier, but everything else screams private school and I just laugh that I was worried.

Our fancy free school has:

A PTO with its own website. Yeah. Their own website. WTF. There is the school's website and then the PTO's website. Both have their own information. Both have their own forms to fill out for the school year.

A volunteer form with so many opportunities to help I thought I was joining the Junior League. It is so amazing the PTO can provide all these events....remind me again, this is a public school? I was afraid of sending my kid here?

PTO dues. We are so fancy our dues start at $30. For $50 you can receive a school directory plus membership. $75 or more and you are a friend of the school. You do not have to donate the minimum suggested amount of $30. You can click OTHER and enter your amount. Um, I am not "othering" my PTO dues our first year at a new school. I am not going to be the mom trying to volunteer and trying to help my daughter make new friends and at the same time be the "other" mom. Not going to fucking happen. This PTO is fancy because people like me are too nervous to be an OTHER. Fucking suburban peer pressure - and note to all of you, no one has made me feel this way. This is my own shit. I hope to meet an OTHER mom soon and maybe I can follow her lead next year. Or maybe I will be volunteer of the year and we will be "friends" with our school next year...who knows.

First Day of School Teacher Gifts. Say what? I was in Target today buying MORE crap for our first year in free school when I bumped into a friend of mine. She showed me her gifts for her kids' teachers. My exact response was, "Shut the fuck up." I then proceeded with, "I don't think people at E1's school do this. Shit. Let me text my friend." Oh yeah, WE do this.  DAMN IT. My friend let me know it was "no biggie" if I didn't buy one. UM. Kind of like the PTO dues, I am not being that mom. Damn suburban peer pressure.

I know it sounds like I am complaining, but I am laughing at all this. We pay damn high taxes to live in the neighborhood and our schools are fantastic. I laugh that I was ever nervous to send E1 to this school. This place and its staff have been nothing short amazing and all the friends we have met are great too.

For all the money I am going to spend this year in free school, I say bring it.
It is still less than tuition.
And it is still first world problems.

Happy School Year! First grade, here we come!


Regifting. We all do it. If you say you don't, you are lying. We all have a space in our home that houses the presents that had no receipt and the usual Target and Wal-Mart did not carry them so you could not return for a store credit. Maybe the present is from Amazon or a specialty learning store. I don't really care, it is a regift.

I have regifted. I have. I believe there is a statute of limitations on this practice.  Arts & Crafts, which include all supplies such as sticky paper and/or glue goes bad. It does. How do I know? The girls just tried to complete a project from one of their birthday presents and could not finish it.  The glue and sticky paper were all dried up. Yes, we have regular glue that we used, but that is not the point.

If it has been a year since you received the present, throw it away or let your kid play with it. Nobody wants a present that does not work. Glue dries up, batteries go dead, buttons stop working, matchbox cars' wheels stop moving, etc. Regifting a present that does not work is worse than no present at all.

I understand the practice of regifting. Your child receives something they already have or something they do not want, but most likely a friend will enjoy the present and it was not why not? I agree with you. Regift away.

1. If you regift, make sure the present has not "gone bad."
2. If you regift, make sure that if the recipient's parent actually figures out where to return the present, you are not embarrassed that it is now $2.97 and on clearance from four years ago.
3. If you regift, make sure the recipient will really like it. Regifting a regift sucks.
4. Don't regift just to get rid of it. (See above)

For now, the girls are going back to their arts & crafts project using the supplies we owned because in their words, "This present is broken."

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Shaving Cream Art

Here is the link to the project we completed this afternoon.

We used food coloring, pyrex dishes, and wood skewers. The girls also experimented with their hands. The project lasted about 40 minutes with E2 washing up first. They enjoyed it and I am sure we will do this project again. (Added bonus: shaving cream cleans up easily and smells pretty nicely.)

Monday, August 17, 2015

Little Live Pet

E1 and E2's Bubbe sent them money for their birthdays. When this happens, I let the girls choose whatever they want within the amount of money sent.

This year, E2 chose a stroller and E1 chose a Little Live Pet. Beauty Bella, to be exact.

I FUCKING HATE THIS TOY.  I might throw it away. I might light a match, set it on fire, and dance a happy dance while it melts into a tiny glop of dead bird. FUCK. This toy SUCKS.

E1 LOVES this toy. She will not put it down. She will not it put it down. OH MY G-D PUT IT DOWN, PLEASE!!

Beauty Bella records your voice, E1's voice, E2's voice, my voice, the hubs voice, the dog's voice, the radio, the television....with a tiny push of a button, E1 can record and then the GLORIOUS bird repeats back whatever it heard.


The bird has repeated back a radio song. The bird has repeated back E2's tantrum - did I need a replay? The bird has repeated my phone conversation. The bird has repeated the dog breathing. The bird has repeated a TV show theme song. The bird has repeated E1 about a million times. The bird also repeatedly tells E2 "no" when E1 gets tired. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!? Beauty Bella is a BITCH.

This damn bird goes EVERYWHERE.

I think I am going to order E2 a little live pet, cat edition and let it eat that damn bird.


May the batteries run out before my patience.

Blame It On Dr. B

I blame a shit ton on our pediatrician. Any random rule...Dr. B's fault. I do not do this because my children do not listen. I do this because they LOVE Dr. B and if he says it, well hell, it must be true. After all, he is a DOCTOR and I am just a mom.

Everyone must use the bathroom before we leave or you will get sick and Dr. B will have to give you a shot.

If you do not poop, you will have to see Dr. B and get a shot.

That show is not appropriate. Dr. B sent me an email saying you could not watch it.

Dr. B says you may only have one pantry snack a day.

Dr. B says you must eat a fruit and a veggie at every meal unless you're on vacation.

You have to play outside every day even it is hot. Dr. B said so.

Everyone your age can ride a bike without training wheels. It is part of the check list at Dr. B's visit. Let's go learn.

Dr. B says no soda until your are 5 and then you can only have sprite and root beer.

Dr. B says caffeine is really bad for you.

No gum until you are 5 - Dr. B said so.

You can only have one juice box a day and then water or milk - Dr. B told me I gave you too much juice at our last visit.

Dr. B said to use this monster spray and then the monsters will no longer be in our house.

Dr. B says you need to sleep X amount of hours.

Dr. B said you cannot play on the computer or iPad that much.

You can only buy lunch once, maybe twice a week - Dr. B said my lunches are better.

The best part of all this is when we see Dr. B for our annual check ups or a sick visit, E1 will say to him things such as, "I have been following your iPad rule" or "I have not been drinking that much juice" and he will respond with, "Oh really? Please tell me what you have been doing so I can make sure you understand my rule."

Dr. B always backs up his rules he knows nothing about. IT IS GREAT. I love having a partnership with our pediatrician. It is nice and calming to know he really knows my kids and really knows me and all my crazy. My girls feel safe with him and know he cares about them and their health. They trust him completely. I trust him completely.

We love Dr. B and I especially love all his rules. Pretty sure at this very moment, he is making up some new ones.

Friday, August 14, 2015


Dinner time....always a win for for E1. She willingly tries new foods, eats what is served, rarely argues for different food.

Dinner time....always a guess for E2. She does not like to try new foods, sometimes eats what is served, often argues for different food.

Tonight was one of my "quick dinners" - easy to make - lazy to make. Fish sticks and broccoli.

E1 ate and patiently waited for E2. E2 got up and down from her chair, went to time out, tried to ride her bike, ate one bite, got down from her chair, went to time out, tried to ride her bike, ate a second bite, and then the cycle continued. About three seconds before my patience was going to explode, E2 declared she was not hungry and was all done. FINE. I knew it was bull shit and did not care. You are not hungry? FINE. DON'T EAT.

Off the two girls went to play outside and they had a fun time while I cleaned up dinner.
(Yes, I know they should help clean but when I am frustrated I would rather have alone time with dishes then deal with children.)

Bath time came and went, bed time routine of books and prayers were finished, lights out.

"Mommy." Crap. I seriously hate hearing my name after lights out. It is like nails on a chalk board. I thought the day was finished. I shush E2 through the monitor - that's right, I can talk to her through the monitor. The mommy calls continue....ugh. Up the stairs I go, walk in E2's room and ask her what's wrong.

"I am hungry. I want dinner." SHOCKING. You're hungry?? Never in a million years would I have guessed you'd be fucking hungry. Too bad she is just four and I cannot use foul language or sarcasm. My actual response
"I gave you dinner. You chose not to eat it. You will be hungry for breakfast. I love you. Good night."

TEARS!!!!!! Like I am chopping off her arm "BUT I AM HUNGRY."

Again, I repeat myself and again she cries.

I close the door, head downstairs, and then through the monitor I hear "Mommy said no dinner. I am hungry."

Yep. My kid went to bed hungry and without dinner. Guess what? She is sleeping soundly, she is totally fine, and she will hopefully never do that again and if she does, she will be hungry again.

I am not a short order cook. I will not negotiate with children. Don't fuck with me. I am mom.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Happy 4th Birthday

To my youngest daughter on her fourth birthday,

I do not even know where to begin. Happy 4th birthday! It amazes me that you are four. You are no longer a baby or a toddler. You are a kid. A real kid. A four year old girl with opinions, love, and a smile that never quits.

You are probably one of the happiest children I know. I do not say that with bias, I say it with some fact. You are always smiling. (Yes, you have tantrums, but not often and they are short lived - thank the lord.) You are happy. You find joy in every single thing you see and do.

When you see the moon, or visit Disney, face time with family, riding in an airplane, going to a museum, or running love it all. You smile and laugh at every turn. I envy your joy. It is pure. It is genuine. It is truly inspiring. I am so lucky I get to see this smile and hear your laughter daily.

Having you as a daughter has taught me (us) to take risks. We never thought we would be so lucky to have you. We never thought we would be parents twice, but we took a second leap of faith and so you came to be. Four years ago, you came into this world and my amazing daughter, this world is better with you in it.

You have taught us everything works out, whatever "it" is - it will happen, and patience. Slow and steady wins the race. You have always been on your time table. When you are ready, you let us know.

It is a privilege to watch you grow. I am amazed at your perseverance. When things get tough, you work harder. You have never met a challenge you shied away from.  You take each day as it comes and gain knowledge from what is in front of you. Whether the day is mundane or adventurous, you learn and yes, you do it with a smile.

Our dinner conversations now have your little voice telling us about your day, your favorite part of the day, and if anything made you sad or mad. I am so happy to hear that voice (even during tantrums) because it took you so long to find it.

You are funny, caring, sweet, a good friend, and although a tattle tale sometimes - a terrific little sister. You love with a huge heart and are willing to share that love with anyone or anything. You love to play outside and this summer's heat has nothing on your new bike riding ability. You love to be read to, to bake, to play dress-up, and mostly you love playing with your sister. It warms my heart to hear and see you two playing - you are two peas in a pod and I thank G-d every single day for bringing you to us. You completed our family when I wasn't even looking.

In your four years of life you have overcome only obstacles you know, as these things come so easily to other children. You want to do better, you want to achieve those milestones, and nothing has ever or will ever stand in your way. Your overall change in this past year is nothing short of phenomenal. My face glows with pride.

You are determined and that determination will take you where ever it is you want to go. This world and our family will see great things from you in this upcoming year and for years to come. Your sunshine brightens everyone's day and life.

I love you from the bottom of my heart and thank you for being who you are - I would never change a thing.

Happy fourth birthday to my little firecracker.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Birds and The Bees (Minus the Bees)

E1 is in an inquisitive child. She always has a question, always is curious, and always needs an answer. Since she was little, I have told her I would never lie to her. E1 asks me anything that comes to mind. Some questions have been easy "Why does the sun set?" and some have been tougher, "Why did you name me E1?" "What does adoption mean?"

E1 asked a few years ago about how babies "get out." The simple answer of the doctor takes the baby out was sufficient (and truthful) for some time. Then came "But HOW does the doctor get the baby and HOW does the baby get out?" She was ready for a mature answer, so I told her. I told her how women push the baby out of their vagina. Yes, we use the word vagina. We also use the words penis, butt, breasts, nipples, and teach about privacy.

E1's response to how babies get out "So you push it out like a poop?" Why, yes. Just. Like. That. When E1 heard the real answer, she stopped asking and never brought it up again. Her thirst for knowledge had been quenched, at least on that topic.

E1 and I have discussed aspects of puberty - breast development and pubic hair - yes, we use those terms too. A little girl wants to know what a razor is for and when will "my boobs look like yours?" So, at 6 and now 7 when she asks, we discuss it.  I have contemplated a weekly waxing appointment, but aint no one got time for that type of grooming. NO. ONE. Well, maybe strippers.

I will blame the tampon machine for today's discussion. E1 asked what the machine was, a tampon machine. She reminded herself I have tampons at home and she has heard that word.....then came, "Mom, what exactly do tampons do? Why do you need tampons?" SHIT. This was not on today's plan. Here goes nothing.....

I told her. I told her about her period. I told her it will happen between the ages of 10 and 14. When she said she hoped she never got hers, I explained that you want it to come. That it is a part of growing up and means her body is healthy. E1 asked a few questions about whether or not your period hurt and how frequently you use a tampon. We discussed a little bit about eggs and your period is the egg coming out. Yes, I explained it is not the same egg from chickens. E1 was fine with this discussion. She did not laugh. She was not confused. E1 listened, asked a few more questions and then was satisfied.

We did not discuss sex. We did not discuss the male's role in the egg becoming a baby. We did not discuss pregnancies. We discussed what she asked - the purpose of tampons.

I am so happy with my decision to explain to E1 these topics as they come. I do not want a friend telling her and I do not want her to hear false information. When I explain things to E1, I tell her these are parent/child topics and she should not discuss them with other children.  So far, so good.

What shocks me in today's parenting world, is how many parents I know who actively avoid these topics and how many parents won't even say vagina or penis. Are those words a really big deal and I don't get it? I am not saying parents should tell a three year old about sex, but is it really a big deal to say, "Your body will look like this when you get older."  Why are we embarrassed to discuss these topics with our kids? Why do we expect them to tell us everything when we cannot reciprocate?

Of course, there is discretion. Of course some topics are for older children vs younger children. My friends who have answered some blush worthy questions have come to the same conclusion I have....children have an innate sense of when they are ready to hear the truth.

In this fast paced world we live in, where information is readily accessible, I have decided I do not want Google (or a friend) answering my daughter's questions.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Smart Games


E1 received a logic game from a friend yesterday for her birthday....challenging! I had never heard of the brand, Smart Games. As an educator, I am VERY impressed. As a mom, I am equally impressed and a tad bit annoyed because the first challenge caused E1 some aggravation. LOL

Now that E1 is on challenge three, she is getting the hang of it and can work independently. Her smile was HUGE after figuring out the answer.  The beauty of hard work paying off, a teacher/mom's dream.

Logic puzzles/games are a terrific way for children to have fun while learning.
(After they have a meltdown saying it is too hard.)

I will be purchasing this game and others for our family and friends - FANTASTIC product.

This is the exact gift E1 received:

Challenges 1, 2, and 3 completed by E1.

Wizard's Brew

Wizard's Brew is number three on the list provided in the above link. I also love that blog and follow it for great ideas.

Yesterday, both girls and my niece and nephew made Wizard's Brew. They LOVED it. The experiment was simple to follow and gave a great "wow factor."  The mess was minimal. We all enjoyed it and will definitely do it again. SO FUN.  The kids wanted to keep the brew going, but it was time for dinner and our supply of vinegar was running out.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Happy 7th Birthday

To my daughter on her birthday,

How are you 7? Where has the time gone? Wasn't it just yesterday I was cleaning up baby sweet potato off your face? When did enough time pass for you to be seven?

As you know, seven years ago I left a meeting to head back to work to prepare for another school year. I was in the role of administration now, building a career in education when our lives changed with a phone call. After two and half years of waiting, I was a mom. We were parents. Standing outside the school building in the heat of August, you were here and we were chosen. As tears streamed down my face I learned you were born at 37 weeks, were 5lbs 14oz, and ours. Your birth mother chose us the day you were born. With a million emotions, I called your dad to tell him we were finally parents. I referred to you as "the baby" until your dad asked, "Is it a boy or girl?" I was so elated, I forgot to ask our caseworker. I called her back to find out you were a girl. Phone calls to our family and closest friends was followed by a shopping spree of baby furniture, clothes, purple paint for your room, and everything else we thought we needed. It turns out, as you know, we already had what we

I love you with every inch of my being. Your arrival brought more meaning to our lives than you will ever know. You're one of the most phenomenal people I have ever encountered. The way you refuse to brush your hair, but then beg for the girliest of dresses is so typical of your personality. You're stubborn, opinionated, and brilliant. You are too smart for your own good. Wise beyond your years. You are loyal, trustworthy, generous. Your heart is filled with joy and laughter. You are simply divine.

Please know, you are not perfect. You have your tantrums, your screams, your frustration, your anger. I can tell what you are feeling by looking at those huge brown eyes. You wear your emotions on your sleeve. With every life lesson you learn, you take away something.

In seven years you have learned to let some small things go, you have learned to treat others with respect, you have learned that lying is horrible, you have learned how to be a good person. When others are sad or hurt, you ask them why. You try to make them feel better. You are getting better at conflict resolution.

Words cannot express how grateful I am to be your mother. Even on your very worst day, I am grateful. Even when you get so mad you slam a door, I am grateful. You are a gift from G-d and trust me, I remember that daily.

You are an incredible big sister. You were so excited to become a big sister. Even at three, when your grandmothers took you to build-a-bear to make a special bear for yourself - you asked to make one for your little sister. You look after her, you think of her, you never leave her behind. She is your partner, she is your best friend, she is your sister. You adore her, except when she tattles. (and that's ok!)

While you are not perfect, neither am I. I mess up, I get frustrated, I make mistakes. Some days I make more mistakes than I care to and you are there to love, to hug, to forgive. We are mother and daughter and while independently not perfect, we are perfect for each other.

You light up my life with that great big smile of yours. A smile mixed with baby teeth to remind me you are still a child and big teeth to remind me how much you've grown.

Your inquisitive nature keeps me on my toes. I have no idea what a certain animal's diet consists of, or why the clouds look the way do, or how an airplane works, but together we find the answers. Together, we have navigated friends moving away, changing schools, independence, death, adopting your sister, traveling to different cities and countries, and countless other moments.

On this seventh birthday, you should know you are terrific. You are determined. You will make anything you want happen and I look forward to watching you grow and learn and continue to become an amazing woman.

I am proud each and every day to be your mother. Thank you for the last seven years. I look forward to a lifetime with you.

Happy seventh birthday to the baby who first held my finger, who was the first to call me mama, who was the first to do everything. You may be the oldest child, but you will always be my baby.

May all your birthday wishes come true.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

I win

I win. I win. I win again.

No, these are not words from E1 and E2. These are my words. These are my husband's words. We win almost always when we play board games or card games or any game against our girls.

We do not believe in throwing the game to make them feel better. If you want to win, learn how to win. Does the game require a specific strategy? Does the game have tricks? Do you need to move faster, slower? Is it all just luck? We have kicked their asses more times than I can count and they are just fine.

Each daughter has learned how to go from a sore loser - picture candy land board and pieces flying threw the playroom - to gracious winners. We do not stick out our tongues, roll eyes, or quit. We never quit. Quitters never win.

It is exhilarating for them when they do win because they know they earned it.  There are no participation trophies in this house.

Tonight, E1 and I were playing squares and I was crushing her. She was not paying attention and I took advantage of this fact. She said, " I thought you were going to go easy on me. I am only almost 7." I explained to her that she needed to pay closer attention to what she was doing and while she most likely would not win, she could come close. I also asked her to remember a time when I or daddy threw a game so she could win.

It seems the "pep talk" worked. While E1 did not win, she finally figured out the strategy and started thinking one, two, three steps ahead and learned where and when to make her mark.

I love it when the girls win. Their pride and smile light up the entire house and for a brief moment they are the Queen of Candy Land, The Tic- Tac- Toe Champ, and The Best at Hi-Ho-Cherry-o.

A Screen Free Day

Nobody watched television or played on the computer all day today. From wake up to bed time, no screens. In all honesty, E1 is grounded from screens until Thursday and in an effort to not rub it in her face, I tried not bringing up the TV to E2. (I would have let E2 watch if she asked)

While we drove in the car today we listened to music and sang along to our favorite Disney songs vs the girls watching a movie. When we were home today the girls played together nicely upstairs (for the most part), played together outside, did some arts & crafts, chased the dog around the house, did some school work, and played again.

I did not realize we had not turned on the TV until around 3 pm when E2 started whining. I was about to offer her a show when I stopped. I realized how many times I turn on the TV to just make both of them stop whining. Yes, kids need down time and the TV/iPad/computer is not the devil, but I abuse it as much as they do. I used to only turn on the TV while cooking dinner. Now I use the TV if I want to talk on the phone, cook dinner, fold laundry, have a sane moment, etc. I created the TV monster. Damn it. Parenting fail.

When the girls were younger I had a much stricter screen schedule and I am now going back to it. Today was great! Sure they got on my nerves, but instead of turning on the television or iPad, I put my parenting skills to work. Without screen time today, I still talked on the phone to a few friends, cooked dinner (which they ate), emptied the dishwasher, and put away clothes. I am literally stunned at today.

Yes, E2 whined for juice. Yes, E1 interrupted me 100x, but we dealt with it, together.

Doc, Sofia, Jake, Liv & Maddie, and all the other fake people in our lives never entered our day and it was glorious. I am not shutting off screens forever, but I am going to reevaluate. If today happened, it can happen again.

I am committing to less screen time in general and hoping one day in the near future we will choose one day a week with no screens at all.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Mondays suck

Mondays suck. They just do. Not always, but today SUCKED the big one.

Yesterday my car did not start - we will not discuss my frustration, my husband's frustration with me, and my two whiny sweaty children. It all worked out, but I cannot handle car problems (or traffic or delayed flights). They are my weakness.

This morning I took my car and children to the dealership to be looked at (it is 2 months old and under warranty). I waited in line, told the man what happened and he directed me to a different line. The girls and I got out of the car and waited for my friend to pick us up. (Yes, a very nice friend.) While waiting E1 asked for a snack out of the vending machine - answer, no. We just had breakfast. Cue the stink face. This is something new this summer and it has its own name - stink face. It is the face a child wears when they want to say "Why are you such a fucking bitch?"

My friend is around the corner to get us when maintenance is finished. Apparently 2 hours means 20 minutes. Maintenance tells me my battery is fine. Um thanks. Why didn't my car start yesterday? Ah, this question has now baffled maintenance. I should not have been in his line. His line is for batteries. I calmly, firmly, explain that I was told to get in his line. Well, I was told wrong. At this point, my blood is boiling and I want to scream "Are you all fucking incompetent?" but I take a cue from E1 and give him the stink face.

Here comes Mr. Maintenance Manager. They will put my car in the correct line and it will be seen in two hours. Not ready in two hours, but will first get looked at in two hours. UGH. My friend drops us at an outdoor shopping center where we school shop and meet my mom for lunch. My mom is on hold with the dealership for me because my cell battery is dying. (Today fucking sucks) 20 min later, maintenance answers.

While talking to maintenance to try and see what they figured out about my car, my husband calls to tell me what is wrong with the car...HUH?? Oh maintenance, you called the wrong number. My car needs to stay the night. WHAT?!? WHY?!? The hubs doesn't know and it seems the louder I scream at him it still does not produce the answer....told you, I am NOT good with car issues.

My friend comes to collect us again and drive us to the hubs who is meeting us at a rental car place. Why? Oh because I "need" a car and so does my husband and my using his car while he is going out of town (tomorrow) somehow warranted a rental car for the day? Whatever. I don't give a rats ass. I am pissed off, confused, hot, and still don't know what the fuck is wrong with my car because they called my husband and he doesn't know what's wrong - he just knows we "need" another car.

I get in my husband's car, drive 10 minutes and my phone rings. Maintenance felt badly about stranding the mother and children and looked at my car - there's nothing wrong it - EXCEPT THAT IT DIDN'T START YESTERDAY! Car is ready for pick up.

I am literally laughing while talking to my husband who is now on the way back to work in a rental car because I am in his car. Seriously, is this happening? This is what happens when two people who have no patience for this shit make rash decisions. We know. We own it. We are perfect for each other.

Tonight my car is in my garage and so is my husband's. He is no longer leaving town tomorrow and we have a direct number for maintenance's preferred towing company, but they doubt it will happen again.

By the way, maintenance did want to know if I had left my car outside in the heat for an extended period of time. It is summer. What do you think?

When you see my kids and I stranded on the road, don't worry - it is not us because we doubt this will happen again and I have a preferred tow company's number and I am sure they will be right there to rescue us.


With the school year approaching, back to school shopping has begun. The girls have new shoes, E1 has a new backpack, both have new lunchboxes, and E1 is presently collecting a new wardrobe. She had a uniform last year and her school wardrobe is lacking.

People are judged based on how they look. That is reality. You can never make a first impression twice. Even in first grade, children will notice what others wear. Last year in kindergarten, my daughter only wore the red uniform shirt because that is what all the girls wore. The white ones were unacceptable and on the mornings the red ones were dirty, I received the stink face for making her go to school in the dreaded clean white shirt. I am a terrible mother.

Luckily for me, E1's taste is overall acceptable. I am not a fan of animal print on children, but my daughter and society is overruling this opinion of mine. It is EVERYWHERE. So, I've caved and bought two animal print dresses. I am hoping to avoid buying more.  She has also chosen stripes, butterfly prints, floral prints, and solid dresses. There are a few skirts/skorts thrown in the mix and some solid shirts. I think for the most part we are finished buying clothes.

E1 is very excited about her new school clothes. I just hope whatever she chose is "cool enough" and she doesn't come home requesting something different. I know peer pressure and fitting in is a part of growing up and all children must learn to navigate this part of their lives, but I feel like just yesterday she was spitting up on her 4th onesie of the day. Time is flying by and I wish it would slow down. Today's animal print dress will be tomorrow's iPhone and I am not ready.

I am grateful that this year's back to school shopping was pretty painless. I am afraid what it will look like in Jr. High. (Give me strength!)

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Lone One

Sometimes I am left wondering if I am the only one. I know I am not "down" with the new age of parenting and very old fashioned when it comes to many things, but some things are common sense and others are common courtesy.

Am I the only one that thinks it is fucked up for an older child to push a younger child out of the way for a turn and for the parent of that said child to do nothing?

Am I the only one that thinks it is so rude for another child to ask my eldest to make of fun of her sister?

Am I the only one that thinks the children at the restaurant playing on iPads should be talking to their family?

Am I the only one that teachers elevator courtesy? Let the fucking people out first!

Am I the only one that makes my kids say excuse me when trying to pass other people?

Am I the only one that still plays with my child when on vacation? Put down the beer and go down the water slide. Your kid has asked you at least 10x that I've seen.

Am I the only one that still believes your child should stay a child....some movies are just not appropriate.

Am I the only one that makes my child hold the door open for other people?

Am I the only one saying "no" to too grown up clothes? Geez, she is about to be 7....not 17.

Am I the only one who thinks we put too much stress on little kids? They cannot handle school and 5 gazillion activities.

Am I the only one with an honest outlook of my children's athletic ability?

Am I the only that believes if your kid has a fever, even low grade, you cancel plans? How do you know it is teething? How do you know it is allergies? Oh, and if they had the stomach bug last night and are now, ok -please cancel plans with us. I am like school. 24 hours free of any symptom and then you are welcome.

Am I the only one that tells my children not to ask for food at another person's home?

Am I the only one that expects my children not to run around at a restaurant?

Am I the only one that still restricts my children to sprite and no other soda? (And they only get that while on vacation or for their birthday.)

Am I the only one that still recognizes birthdays are big deal? Let your child have a cupcake for breakfast - it is once a year.

Am I the only one that lets the children play outside unattended?

Am I the only one explaining why a person looks different vs letting the child point and stare?

Am I the only one that wants my kids to believe in the tooth fairy? Santa?

Am I the only one that hears all the other parents whispering about that kid whose behavior is atrocious? Someone tell the mom! (I am not friends with her, but I hear the gossip)

Am I the only one that chooses family time over a play date? I know friends are important, but family is forever.

Am I the only one that wishes it was the 1980s - before kids were labeled, before we put our cell numbers with sharpies on their arms, before we had so much technology, before GMOs, before organic, before the vaccination debate, before all the things that makes us crazy?

I do not think I am the only one, but sometimes it sure feels like it.