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Now, that's what I'm talking about...

Now, that's what I'm talking about...

Sometimes the best things in life are free.  I’m not sure who said that or if it is the lyric in some Beattles song…but, it’s true.  My husband asked me what I would like for Mother’s Day.  I could think of a few things that are totally unrealistic right now:

A cream colored Volvo C70, a diamond Tag Hauer watch with a platinum band, a trip to London,  decent looking shoes to fit my ginormous narrow feet,  world peace and an end to famine

….you get the drift.

However, these are all things that I won’t be given any time soon (at least not with private school tuition looming in the future for three kids)…and the shoes are a lost cause.

I honestly couldn’t think of anything that I couldn’t live without.  I could think of some really cheap (or totally free) gifts that I would adore:

1.  A nap:

Seriously.  I would love to take a nap…by myself….for any length of time that I should need to get recouperative sleep.  Of course, if I were to really get this much-needed REM sleep, I may not wake up for several days.

2.  The laundry done:

I would love to walk into my laundry room, for once, and not see piles of clothes on the floor.  With a husband and three small boys, I feel like I am constantly doing laundry.  In fact, my dryer has begun to squeak.  I think it’s probably time for a new dryer.  UGH.  The thought makes me shudder.

3.  The house cleaned:

So, I’ve gotten Maid Brigade from time to time…maybe twice a year.  It’s not often enough for me.  I’m the one who cleans our house.  I’d love it if I could just go take a nap and awaken to a house that is clean and smelling like lemon Lysol.  However, I think this a fairytale complete with little mice that sew ballgowns and a fairy Godmother that turns pumpkins into stagecoaches.

4.  An hour long uninterrupted phone conversation:

My best friend lives over 500 miles away.  We talk on the phone 3 or 4 times a week.  Unfortunately, our conversations are often interrupted by someone needing to go “potty,”  children fighting, or someone needing “Mommy” for some reason or another.  I’d really like to curl up on my sofa and just catch up with my best friend  for an hour.  This seems to be impossible.  My children aren’t even interested in talking to me…until I pick up that phone receiver, then I am the most popular person in the world.

5.  An afternoon with NOTHING to do:

Is this even possible?  I’m the kind of person that constantly keeps “to do” lists.  For one day, I’d like to take my list and throw it in the trash.  I’d like to spend an afternoon at an antique mall or at Sephora, trying some new lipsticks.  Maybe a pedicure would be nice?  This is definitely something that I could do for myself.   It’s all about scheduling, right?

See?  Somethings in life are free.  My son drew a picture for me for Mother’s Day.  He drew me with big round eyes and a brown nose.  My hair looks like two antennae on top of my head.  My son is 5 years old.  I think he did a fantastic job and I love my picture….even if I look like a big blonde bug.  I’m thinking about framing it.  He worked so hard on it.  I love it.

My husband is still wondering what to get me.  I think I’ll tell him about this list….and start with #1.   A nap would be nice….

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Did June ever say No?

Did June ever say "No"?

I just can’t say “NO.”  I guess I’m just easy.

Well, that sounds really bad.  What I mean is that I feel compelled to say “Yes” when someone asks me to do something. Whether it is volunteering for a silent auction  or making 32 sugar cookies shaped like hearts for my other son’s Valentines Day party at school…I can’t help myself.  I always say “Yes.”

Deep down I know I feel like I need to have my calendar as busy as possible so that no one can say that I am lazy.  With three little boys, all age five and under, who could possibly say that I am lazy, right?  Well, I was raised to believe that women who stayed at home instead of working forty hour work weeks were “ladies of leisure.”  My mother worked full time and was engaged in full combat battle of the “mommy wars.”  There was no word so dirty as “housewife” in my household.  June Cleaver, Donna Reed and Carol Brady were considered a bad influence on a generation of women.

And here I am…no longer a practicing attorney….now I am the dreaded…

h-o-u-s-e-w-i-f-e

Call me a stay-at-home mom, domestic engineer, housewife…whatever.  We can spruce up the title, but it is what it is.

So, to compensate for my new title since leaving the workplace, I try to stay as “involved” as possible.  This is what I had planned, right?  I wanted to be the mom who makes homemade cupcakes from scratch for school parties instead of store bought cupcakes.  I was determined to make my sons’ Halloween costumes, go to story time at the library, take trips to the children’s museum.  I wanted to be busy and involved.  What I wasn’t prepared for was the onslaught of requests…from everyone.  I didn’t know that when people got wind that I was a stay-at-home mom, they thought that I would have all this time on my hands.  I became a volunteer magnet.

Can you substitute for the preschool?  Are you available to teach choir?  Can you sew my child’s Halloween costume?  Will you make a paper mache volcano for the project?  Do you mind making 42 chocolate covered strawberries for the class party?  Do you mind babysitting my sick child?  Can you make our meeting?  Will you smock my daughter’s Easter dress?  Will you facilitate our group?  Can you fill in for me?  Will you chair this event? Can you do the Thursday morning group?  Will you return this to the store for me?  Blah, blah, blah!

The requests do not seem to end.

I am not a martyr.  I admit that I like to stay busy, so I usually don’t mind doing most of what I am asked.  However, I do think that most people assume way too much about stay-at-home moms.  It is assumed that because I am at home, that I couldn’t possibly be as busy as I would be if I worked outside the home.  Let me clarify:  Because I am not working outside the home does not mean that I am not working.  Period.   I work very hard, thank you.   Even if I didn’t volunteer my time for a variety of things, I would still be extremely busy.  Here are a few reasons why I am busy…at home:

I have a three year old that is struggling with potty training.  That alone takes most of my patience.  I hold my breath when we go out the door and into the van while he is in his “big boy underwear.”  Things were so much simpler when he wore a pull-up.  Now, we may have two pit stops from our door to his preschool….a mere five miles down the road. The ten minute car ride now takes thirty minutes.  Don’t get me started on how he feels the need to use the bathroom in the great outdoors.

I have a nineteen month old that is no longer content to be “strapped in”…to a stroller, a car seat, etc.  He wants to run free.  This isn’t happening while we are out and about.  At least not while I’ve got to keep an eye on my two oldest children.  Therefore, I (and everyone within a five mile radius) must endure screaming from a child secured to an umbrella stroller.  It’s the only way I get things done and I can’t bring myself to use a child harness.  Those things just look like leashes to me.  Plus, he is strong.  Very strong.  Walking an enormous English Mastiff down the sidewalk would be easier.

I have a five year old that has no fear.  Self confidence is one thing, but this child likes to run and jump and leap…you get the picture.  I must keep one hand on him at all times.  Otherwise, I’m back in the ER with blood and stitches.  For some reason, he thinks the big red cement balls outside of Target would be perfect to run and jump on top of.  For this reason, I try to avoid Target when my two oldest sons are in tow.  Not good.

Mental note to self:  Never, ever, ever let my sons watch Jackass.

What I am trying to get at is that I have my hands full.  I didn’t even mention housework, laundry, running errands, chauffering children, attending practices, church events, etc.  If someone thinks I’m lazy then so be it.  So, I’ve decided that I will not sign up for everything that is put in front of me without giving it some serious thought.  I’ve just been way too cavalier in filling up my calendar.   The main thing is that I’ve got to stop feeling like a sell-out for staying at home to raise my children.  I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.  Working at home is working.  Plain and simple.

I’m no lady of leisure.  I’m busy with or without all of my commitments.  I just wonder if June Cleaver ever felt frazzled?   Did she ever say “No” to the PTA when they asked her to chair the school benefit?  Did June ever buy Little Debbie snack cakes instead of making brownies from scratch?  Did June ever take off those pearls?  Who knows.  What I know is that I work…it’s just work within the four walls of my home.  There is no crime in thinning out my calendar and letting go of some of the madness….I think.


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Simply hilarious

Simply hilarious

When I graduated from law school several years ago, I can honestly say that I never pictured myself driving a minivan.  I thought that after becoming a lawyer, I’d drive a Volvo or maybe an Audi.  Never a minivan.  Not ever.  However, when my husband and I started our family, I didn’t care much about style.  I needed room…and lots of it.  First, I had a station wagon.  That wasn’t so bad.  When the third baby came along, I knew that I needed the dreaded minivan.  It was a surprise that I, like so many people before me, came to love the van.  It was great.  I had enough seating for three car seats, two strollers and room for all of the other stuff that comes along with having three preschoolers.

My minivan is an American breed that gets me where I need to go.

However, I have a confession….

My van is a total pigsty.  I’m serious.  When I pick up my son from school after lunch, his teachers insist upon opening the van door for him and chatting with me until he is safely buckled in.  I’m usually embarrassed because during the course of my day, I have thrown the other two boys in the van with drinks, pretzels, animal crackers, etc.  The remnants of the snacks are scattered about the floorboard.

Well, today was the day I decided to clean out the van.  Here is a list of the things I found:

1.  An umbrella stroller:  located at the bottom of the back compartment, it would’ve been nice to know that was in there instead of hauling George on my hip and carrying three bags like a pack mule.

2.  Dried up french fries:  if anyone with kids says that they don’t have these in some crack in the seat of their car, they’re lying.

3.  Baby nail clippers

4.  Package of unopened wipes:  Woo Hoo!  That’s like finding gold.

5.   Burt’s Bees Lip Balm:  I knew it’d turn up…see recent post on my favorite things

6.  Power Ranger action figure:  I think it’s supposed to be the one that turns into a wolf or a tiger…I don’t know about Power Ranger Jungle Fury versus Power Ranger Ninja Storm…whatever.

7.  Slimy frog toy that is supposed to stick against the wall when thrown (now covered in lint):  Will “won” this at school for a week’s worth of  good behavior.  Why, oh, why must teachers send this crap home as a “prize”?  Like throwing a slimy frog against the walls at home won’t get Will in timeout?

8.  Individual Goldfish package wrappers:  if I had a dime for every empty wrapper found in the van…

9.  Empty Clinique lipstick tube:  Very strange that it’s empty…no lipstick to be found.  Where did it go?  Weird.

10.  Empty Diet Coke can

11.  Broken yellow umbrella

12.  One navy blue Sea Wees baby sandal:  thought we’d lost this on our last trip to the beach.  It makes me sad to look at it.  George’s foot was so tiny!

13.  Brown Bear, Brown Bear..What do you see? book

14.  Shinguard from soccer this past fall

15.  Map of South Carolina:  No, we don’t have GPS.

16.  Artwork from Vacation Bible Schol:  This explains why my sons all have glitter on their face from time to time

17.  Jack’s raincoat:  He never wears it…Jack would prefer to run out in the rain, face up, with his mouth open.

18.  Orange swim goggles

19.  $2.34 in loose change

20.  Small bottle of hand sanitizer:  I gave up using this stuff a long time ago.

21.  Extension cord:  Makes absolutely no sense why this is in the van.

22.  Batman mask

23.  Invitation to a “Benefit Gala” …black tie:  As if I can find a sitter in time to attend this.  In fact, I think that all of my sitters are not returning my calls.  Just a hunch.

24.  Lynyrd Skynrd CD:  Note to self – hide this from the boys unless I want to hear “Freebird” over and over and over and over…

25.  Box of old, hard raisins:  so much for eatin’ healthy while on the run

26.  Soccer ball

27.  Bike pump

28.  Pair of 2T khaki pants:  these were the “emergency pants” for the van.  I need a bigger size to replace them now…like a size 4T…how time flies.

29.  “Things to do list” from Christmas:  So, that’s where that went….

30.  Church bulletin

31.  Card for free chicken biscuit from Chick-fil-A

32.  Unopened bottle of orange Gatorade

That’s it, folks.  The van is clean.  By the time I load up the kids in the van next week, I am sure that it will need to be cleaned out again.  That’s just the way it is with three little ones.  We’re always bringing home artwork, crafts, food…you name it.  I’m not going to beat myself up about how clean my van is.  I’ll try to clean it out when I can.

As to the empty tube of lipstick….

I found it.  When I was cleaning out the van, I didn’t notice that the lipstick had hardened and slid out of the metal tube and onto the floorboard.  Well, when I sat on the edge of the van to vacuum underneath the driver’s seat…I sat smack on top of the gooey lipstick.  Great.  Just great.

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Kiss My Face Honey & Calendula lotion is the bomb

Kiss My Face Honey & Calendula lotion is the bomb

I live 20 to 30 minutes away from Whole Foods.  This is a tragedy for me because I love to find great products at natural food stores.   I was scheduled for a volunteer shift last Sunday afternoon and found myself minutes away from Whole Foods.  It was then that I realized that I have several products that I can’t live without and I better stock up.  Then it hit me…if Oprah can have a show dedicated to all of her favorite things/products…why can’t I blog about mine?  Blogs are pretty self-indulgent, anyway…so here  goes:

#1 – Honey & Calendula Lotion by Kiss My Face – This is the only lotion that hydrates my parched skin.  I’ve never found anything that works better.  I only wish that they sold this lotion by the gallon.

#2  – Burt’s Bees Lip Balm – I have at least five tubes floating around.  There’s one that I keep in my purse, one in my makeup drawer, one in a kitchen drawer, one in my van, and one that will reappear at a moment’s notice…eventually.  This stuff is awesome and can now be found at Walmart.

#3 – Frownies – These things are miracle workers.  Seriously.  Cheaper than botox and just as effective.  I have this stubborn deep wrinkle between my eyes caused by refusing to wear reading glasses and from being constantly confused.  They look like little stickers on brown paper that you wet and stick on the wrinkle.  After three hours, the wrinkle begins to disappear.  I love these things.  Finding them is the hard part.  I’ve only found them at Steinmart.  Good luck hunting them.

# 4 – Trapp Candles (especially No. 13 – Bob’s Flower Shoppe) – I love good candles.  I burn them every day.  I’m not joking.  I like for my house to smell wonderful.  I’m not a big fan of candles that smell like food (apple pie, pumpkin, coffee, peaches), but I’ll burn them when I have nothing else.  I do love lavender, sage, woodsy scents, etc.  I think Trapp has the best arrangements of scents when it comes to candles.  Bob’s Flower Shoppe reminds me of a flower shop that I used to frequent when I was in college.  I’d step in on a Friday afternoon and buy a little bouquet of fresia and stock flowers to arrange in vases throughout my little apartment.   It always smelled so good.  Trapp Candle No. 13 is perfect for spring time.  Lemongrass really smells great for summer and Water is wonderful for anytime.

#5 – Target – Surprise!  Yes, I know I started out this blog saying that Whole Foods was so wonderful, yada, yada, yada.  Well, I have to admit that Target is one of my most favorite things/places.  As a stay-at-home mother of three small children, I don’t even have to explain why I love this discount chain store.  The prices are great, but I never, ever, ever feel cheated when I buy something from here.  It isn’t like going to Walmart.  In fact, I hate going to Walmart so much that there are times when I’d rather stick needles in my eyes than go there.  Target is different in that I really don’t mind buying clothes, makeup, shoes, underwear, anything really…from there.  The quality isn’t bad and the stuff is just downright cute.   Target is a happy place.  Where else can I get a Starbuck’s coffee while I shop?  Not bad.

That’s it for now.  These are my top 5.  I do have more, but not enough time to write it tonight.  Maybe later.  Now go out and get some of that lotion and burn a candle…

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Its a three ring circus over here

It's a three ring circus over here

It’s Sunday and we’ve survived the day.  It’s a miracle that we even get to church at all considering the craziness that ensues every Sunday morning.  My husband is back from his business trip and we are trying to get back to “normal.”  Normal means going to church on Sunday, including Sunday School.  When people see us unload our crew from our minivan on Sunday morning, we are a frazzeled bunch.   I half jokingly tell people that it’s a three ring circus at our home on Sunday.  Today went something like this:

Saturday @ midnight (officially Sunday) : Mommy lays out everyone’s clothes to make it easier for Sunday morning.  Mommy goes to bed.

6:00 a.m. – Daddy hits the snooze button

6:30 a.m. – Daddy hits the snooze button…again.

7:00 a.m. – Daddy turns the alarm off.   (We are now running late…let the craziness now begin….)

7:45 a.m.- Jack & Will run into Mommy & Daddy’s room & proceed to pounce on sleeping parents.

7:50 a.m. – Daddy gets up and realizes that he is to be at church early because he is helping with the offering and freaks out.  Family must be at church by 9:45 a.m.

8:00 a.m. – Daddy gets Will, Jack & George into the shower for a “quick soap up and rinse.”  Mommy makes up parent’s bed and places boys’ clothes on top of the comforter.

8:15 a.m. – Daddy hands boys off to Mommy.  Daddy gets into shower.  Mommy dries off each boy in assembly line fashion and gets them dressed accordingly.  Will whines that he wants to wear the blue sweater and not the yellow one.   Boys brush teeth.

8:30 a.m. – Will & Jack go downstairs to watch Max & Ruby on Noggin.  George stays in Mommy & Daddy’s room while Daddy gets dressed in bedroom and Mommy goes into shower.  Jack sneeks back upstairs to change from his church clothes into a Spiderman costume.

8:35 a.m. – George finds sippy cup full of juice in Will’s room and unscrews the top.  George pours juice down the front of his outfit before running into Daddy.  George clings to Daddy’s leg with wet clothes.  Daddy’s pants are now saturated with sticky apple juice.  Daddy & George must change clothes.

8: 40 a.m. – Mommy is putting on makeup, but must stop to help Daddy find another outfit for George.  Mommy finds Jack in closet dressed as Spiderman…with cowboy boots.  Jack doesn’t see what the fuss is all about and announces that “Jesus loves Spiderman.”

8:45 a.m. – While Daddy changes clothes, Mommy changes George.  Mommy convinces Jack that “Yes, Jesus loves Spiderman, but Spiderman’s mask is in the wash, so let’s wear something else.”  Jack agrees and changes back into his original outfit.  Mommy sends Jack back downstairs and resumes getting ready.

8:50 a.m. – Mommy and Daddy hear screaming coming from downstairs.  Will comes upstairs with a black eye.  Will and Jack were “play fighting” and things quickly got out of hand.  Jack has hit his big brother in the eye with a juice box.  Will’s eye has started to swell.   Mommy must abandon attempt to put on hose to get an ice pack for Will’s eye.  Daddy has put Jack in “time out.”

9:03 a.m. – Jack’s time is up in “time out.”  Jack tells Will he is “sorry.”  However, Will’s eye is swelling and it is official…he will go to church with a “shiner.”

9:07 a.m. – Mommy finally has clothes on, but realizes that there is no time to “do her hair.”  It looks like a ponytail day for Mommy.  Daddy is downstairs getting the diaper bag ready when he announces that this would be a great day to get doughnuts.  Boys all scream with delight.

9:10 a.m. – Mommy pokes herself in the eye while rushing to put on mascara.  Mommy’s eye will not stop watering.  Mommy throws on a pair of black sling back pumps.

9:11 a.m. – Because Mommy is blind from sticking the mascara wand in her eye, she can’t see and gets her heel gets caught at the top of the stairs.  Mommy falls as she is descending the stairs, ripping a huge hole in her hose.  Mommy must change her hose…and shoes because her heel broke.

9:12 a.m. – Mommy yells to Daddy to “Get the kids in the van!  Strap ’em in!  I’ll be there in a minute!”

9:13 a.m. – Mommy wonders why the kids couldn’t have just had a freakin’ cereal bar and juice this morning.

9:15 a.m. – Mommy has changed clothes and is running down the stairs…with different shoes in hand.

9:16 a.m. – Mommy is in the van and tells Daddy to “Haul it to the doughnut shop!”

9:20 a.m. – Mommy is ordering doughnuts and is obsessing about whether or not she unplugged the curling iron.

9:22 a.m. – Mommy asks Daddy whether they should swing back by the house to make sure that she unplugged the curling iron.  Daddy winces.

9:40 a.m. – Everyone has had a nutritious breakfast of milk and doughnuts – the breakfast of champions.  Mommy and Daddy load everyone back into the van.  Daddy has agreed to go back home, so Mommy can check to see if she unplugged the curling iron.

9:48 a.m. – Mommy feels like an idiot because she did unplug the curling iron.  Mommy wonders if she has obsessive-compulsive disorder.   Suddenly, Mommy smells poop wafting from the backseat.  Mommy looks behind her and notices that George has a hand full of brown “mud.”  (This is definitely not mud, folks)  Mommy tells Daddy to pull back into the driveway.  Mommy instructs Daddy to go on to church with Will and Jack, as she will meet him there in a second.

10:15 a.m. – Mommy is at church with a clean baby.  George had an “accident” and had to be bathed and changed (again).

10: 20 a.m. – Mommy must check George into the church nursery.  The church nursery rivals the Pentagon with its security clearance procedures.

10: 35 a.m. – Mommy plops down on a church pew.  (The service started at 10:15)  Mommy is very, very tired.  Mommy asks the Lord to forgive her for saying bad words before church and wanting to sleep during the soloists’ performance of “Amazing Grace.”  Mommy finds a half-wrapped mint in the bottom of her purse covered in lint and debates whether to eat it or not.  Someone interrupts her thoughts to comment on how nice the children look today.  Mommy laughs like a crazy lady…

10:45 a.m. – Mommy gives in and eats the lint-covered mint because she is hungry.  She didn’t eat at the doughnut shop due to worrying about the curling iron.

11:00 a.m. – Mommy is nudged by Daddy because she dozed off during the sermon.

11:15 a.m. – Mommy goes to nursery to pick up the boys.

11:30 a.m. – Off to eat lunch.  Woo Hoo!!!!!  We actually made it through another Sunday morning.

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