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children

Irrational Mommy Thoughts

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It is often easy to feel that you are alone in your paranoia & fears when you are a mother. We worry about so many things. Are we spoiling are children too much? Are we disciplining them enough? Are we handling tantrums the right way? Are we feeding them the right foods? These are things that things that we constantly wrestle with, but then there are other more irrational thoughts that we contend with as well.

This weekend we had a play date with a friend of mine and her children. We were having a discussion about how our kids would fall asleep in the car while running errands. We were joking that they need to come up with a babysitting service that will come to your car so that your children can continue to sleep while you complete your errands. My friend told me that sometimes she will run in to the ATM while her children sleep because she can still see them in the car. She then went on to say that this even worried her. What if someone kidnapped her from the ATM with the children in the car & nobody knew that they were in there?

This made me come out of my seat. I have had many crazy thoughts like this since our daughter was born. How many times have I thought of scenarios just like this? In one, I have just finished fastening her in the car seat. I go to return the carriage and get hit by a car and can’t tell anyone that my daughter is in the car. In others, I am home with her alone and fall down the stairs or collapse from a heart attack or some other ailment. How will she take care of herself until daddy gets home? Will she be scared? It’s funny that nowhere in my morbid fantasies am I concerned that I just got plowed down by a car or broke my neck tumbling down the stairs.

Death used to scare me. It still does, but now for different reasons. I worry that I might not be there to watch my daughter grow up and how it might affect her. My mind is a dangerous place filled with far too many fears. I thought as she got older it would get easier, but it hasn’t. It has just opened up a new set of worries. I still check on her every night. I still look to see that she is breathing. I often felt as if I was turning into a crazy person for feeling this way. It was a relief to find out that I was not alone.

Easy DIY Personalized Ornament

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This weekend was filled with Christmas parties & breakfasts with Santa. We were on the move all weekend long trying to make sure that the big guy knew that Mai really wanted that train set for Christmas.

The parties had a ton of great activities and projects for the kids to do and as we all know my daughter loves her projects. There was a cookie making station that Mai took full advantage of. They had assorted sugar & gingerbread cookies for decorating along with colored icing and assorted candies & sugars.

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There was also a watercolor station, a sticker station & an ornament making one. The crafts just kept coming. My artsy little girl was in her glory. She brought home several cookies, a few new crafts & a new dolly from Santa. The ornament making reminded me that I had bought a couple of cheap clear plastic Christmas balls at the beginning of the season. I had completely forgotten about them. We kept our craft momentum going when we got home with our quick & easy personalized ornament.

What you will need:

Clear plastic Christmas bulb ornament

A black sharpie

Kid’s paint (We use Crayola’s water based non-toxic paint)

Directions:

With a sharpie draw on the name of the person you are making the ornament for. We made two, one for Mai & one for her Nana.

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After you write in the name, draw random lines & closed shapes all over the whole rest of the ornament.

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Paint each shape in a different color. Mai chose to just mix her colors for her ornament for her Nana because “Nana likes a rainbow.”

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Let the paint dry & hang your ornaments on your tree & admire. I touched up the Sharpie lines on Mai’s Nana ornament after it dried.

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10 Things You Can’t Do If You Have Kids

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There are many things that you take for granted before you have children. The small everyday things that do not seem like much turn into a rare treat once you have a child. Here are 10 things that are almost impossible to do when you have a child.

1. Get through a whole meal without getting up – “Mama, I want juice.” “Mama, I spilled my juice.” “Mama, I need more juice.” Between wiping up spills, cleaning a dirty little face & making a cheese sandwich because spaghetti just wouldn’t do, it is amazing that I am not a size 2.

2. Go to the bathroom in private – Since the day that my daughter was born, I have come to terms with never getting to go the bathroom without an audience. As an infant our daughter would accompany me to the can while riding shotgun in her Bjorn. As a toddler she will just bust in on mommy. “Pick me up.” Not now, mommy is pooping. Let’s not even talk about using a public restroom.

3. Have an uninterrupted phone conversation with a friend – Before our daughter was born it used to drive me crazy when I would talk to my friends on the phone that had kids. I would be in the midst of a riveting story about my carefree childless weekend when “NO! Don’t touch that!” “Get that out of your mouth.” I am not sure which is worse, being on that side of the conversation then or being on the other side now. Now the only time I get a chance to have a full chat with a friend is in the car while I’m driving.

4. Take a shower – Perhaps this does not belong on the list as obviously I do shower, but it can be such a challenge at times that I think it has earned its spot. If the hubby isn’t home, I usually do not get a shower that day.  

5. Sleep in on the weekends – Oh how I miss sleeping in late on the weekends. I have tried to explain to my daughter that on Saturdays mommy likes to sleep in, but she does not seem to understand this. It seems as if she purposely wakes earlier on a weekends than on the weekdays. I think this is meant as a payback for dragging her out of bed to go to daycare.

6. Make it anywhere on time –  It does not seem to matter how much additional time I give myself, something always holds us up. Trying to get my daughter out the door as she is tearing off her clothes and having a half-naked tantrum because she wanted to wear her purple shirt, not her pink shirt can be time consuming.

7. Take a sick day – If you are under the weather you might be able to call out of work, but your little boss at home does not give days off so freely. She requires overtime & constantly has you on call. She expects 3 meals on the table, a few Play-Doh crafts and sheet forts set up all over the house before your work day is over. She does not accept excuses.

8. Have nice things – Nice things could mean anything from clothing & jewelry to furniture & other home decor. I have not worn earrings in 3 years because my toddler’s first instinct is to try to yank them out of my ears. Our couches are full of dried up Play-Doh chunks and missing puzzle pieces. If you have a child don’t buy nice clothes. You are just asking for peanut butter finger prints all over your lovely new frocks.

9. Watch TV during the day – I can remember lazy weekends cuddling with my husband on the couch watching movies and just relaxing. Those days are over. I try not to allow too much television time during the day, but if it is on, it is Bubble Guppies and Doc McStuffins that light up our screen.

10. Swear – Alright, it is not as if my husband & I used to sit around throwing F-bombs at each other, but if one did slip out there were no consequences. These days with a little parrot in our midst, if a naughty word comes out of one of our mouths it could result in an outburst of toddler Tourettes in the grocery store. It is not just the curse words either that are repeated, so watch all context around your little mimics.

 

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My Favorite Christmas Songs

1001Tonight I was on hold with the warranty company for my camera. Being the clutz that I am I dropped it & broke the flash. The hold time was lengthy. I might have been annoyed, but my wait seemed easier as I listened to the beautiful sounds of the Christmas carols that were playing. One of my favorite songs played. I found myself hoping that they would not come back right away because I wanted to finish listening to the lovely tune. As the representative processed my request I started compiling a list of my favorite Christmas songs.

All Time Favorites

1. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

2. Walking In A Winter Wonderland

3. I’ll Be Home For Christmas

4. Please Come Home For Christmas

5. Chestnuts Roasting on An Open Fire

Favorite Christmas Originals

1. Rocking Around The Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee

2. Merry Christmas Darling by The Carpenters

3. All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey

4. Happy X-mas – (War is Over) by John Lennon

5. Wonderful Christmastime by Paul McCartney

Favorite Children’s

1. The Chipmunk Christmas Song

2. Up On The Housetop

3. Frosty The Snowman

4. Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer

5. The Charlie Brown Christmas Song

Favorite Religious Christmas Songs

1. The Little Drummer Boy

2. Oh Holy Night

3. Do You Hear What I Hear

4. Silent Night

5. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Favorite Silly Christmas Songs

1. Dominick The Donkey

2. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause

3. Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer

4. Walking Around In Women’s Underwear

5. All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth

Disclaimer* These are my favorite songs. I am not claiming that these are the best, they are simply the ones that I like best. Please feel free to share your favorites. I would love to hear from you.

30 Holiday Season Activities For Your Family

IMG_7615The first snow fall of the season inspired a fun snow-filled weekend. We had a fun family day yesterday complete with more snow angels & snowmen. Even though the temperatures have dropped there are still a lot of fun things that we can enjoy with the family through the winter & holiday season. Whether it means bundling up & hitting the outdoors or keeping warm & cozy in the house there is a long list of things that you can do together with your children.

Outdoor Play

1. Build a snowman– Building snowmen has been a winter favorite long before Frozen ever came out. Do you want to build a snowman? You bet I do.

2. Go sledding

3. Make snow castles

4. Have a snowball fight – It turns out that my daughter loves snowball fights. I threw one at daddy & that was enough to have her sold. She laughed & jumped in excitement at each ball thrown.

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5. Paint the snow- Put food coloring & water in a squirt or spray bottle & have a little bit of artistic fun in the snow.

6. Make snow angels

7. Build a snow fort

8. Use beach toys in the snow- Keep those sand pails & shovels out for the winter. They are wonderful for snowy days.

9. Go for a hike

10. Ice skating

11. Have a snowy photo shoot– A camera with a timer & a tripod are my family’s best friend. Most of our family photos are shot this way. Don’t forget to capture each of these moments while you can.

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In Home Activities

1. Drink cocoa around the fireplace-  What is better than snuggling up with your family around a warm fire on a cold day?

2. Write a Christmas list to Santa

3. Watch Christmas movies

4. Bake holiday cookies– I adore baking with my daughter. She is baking up pure joy.

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5. Decorate the Christmas tree

6. Elf on the shelf- – That sneaky little elf is back. You better watch out. He tells Santa all.

7. Bake a gingerbread house

8. Make homemade Christmas cards

9. Make winter & holiday crafts– I will be honest, this is one of my favorite parts of the holidays. I love holiday crafting with my daughter. Here was our latest over the weekend… Mini muffin liners strung up around a pipe cleaner & topped off with a pipe cleaner bow.

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10. Read Christmas stories

Family Outings

1. Go Christmas light peeping– I love the twinkling lights during the holidays. They are beautiful. There is always that street that is filled with the best Christmas lights in town.

2. Pick out a real Christmas tree

3. See a Christmas show

4. Go on a sleigh ride– There are places that do this. If you are lucky enough to find one, grab your family a blanket and some cocoa and go.

5. Go caroling

6. Visit a winter/Christmas bazaar

7. Visit Santa– My daughter is still pretty skeptical about the big guy in person, but she stepped up & asked for that train set that she wanted.

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8. Donate toys or gifts – Teach your children that it is better to give than receive. Help those less fortunate than you.

9. Go Christmas shopping

I hope everyone embraces all that the holiday season brings this year.

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Talking To The Angels

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It has often been said that children can see the angels among us. Our daughter has been surrounded by two very special angels her whole life. Sadly my mother and my husband’s father passed before ever getting the opportunity to meet their first grandchild. That did not stop us from introducing Mai to them at an early age. She wakes to their faces every morning. Their photos guard over her while she sleeps. She recognizes their pictures.

It has been many years since I lost my mother. My husband’s loss is fresher. The start of every football season sends my husband into a tailspin of emotions. Football was something that he shared with his father. I can remember the exchange of phone calls after plays. Sometimes they were screams of victory, other times they were filled with obscenities and anger about bad plays, poor calls and a plethora of other football related things that I know nothing about. Those calls are something that he misses.

My husband is in a football pool at a local Legion hall, one that his father had frequented in life. Every week he goes to play his picks for that week. Recently, he needed to take Mai with him. They went into the hall, made their choices and headed right back out the door. As they were leaving, Mai pointed behind them. “Look, it’s Grandpa Mike.” My husband stopped. “Where? Where do you see him?” “Right there.” she said, pointing back at the empty doorway again. There would be no reason for our daughter to make the connection between that building and her grandfather, but she did.

Last night as we were relaxing before bed, Mai began talking about her grandfather again. She was telling us a story about Grandpa Mike. I asked her “Do you talk to Grandpa Mike?” “Yes” she replied. “What does grandpa say to you when you talk to him?” “He says I am growing bigger & bigger.” My husband & I fell silent and looked at one another. We didn’t need to speak. We both already knew what the other was thinking. I didn’t ask another question. I just reflected on our little girl’s answer.

All this time I have felt so much sorrow that she never got the chance to meet her grandparents, but it seems as if they have been with her all along.

 

 

Through The Eyes Of A Child

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This weekend we took an early trip to Santa’s workshop to beat the crowd and get in our Christmas lists. My daughter asked Santa to bring her a train set this year and some more Play-doh. She made certain to reiterate that she wanted a train set two more times before leaving his side.

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Outside of his workshop there is a room, a magical room filled with twinkling trees & falling snow. I watched my daughter & her friend as they ran through the fake snow. As the snow formed small piles around them, they tossed it up into the air, giddy with excitement. At first I began to object, but the objections trailed off. Have I ever enjoyed anything as much as they do right now I wondered? I stared at my girl, unable to blink. I didn’t want to lose a precious moment. I felt my eyes well up with tears. I hoped that nobody saw me. I felt silly to be crying, but I just couldn’t help it.

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There are moments when a mother cries. The tears are not from sadness, they are from joy. Sometimes there is so much happiness, so much love that your body simply cannot contain it. When it finally bursts, it can bring forth an explosion of smiles & laughter and at other times it flows out as tears. These tears are not bitter, they are sweet.

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I felt as if I had never witnessed anything quite so beautiful. I could feel her wonder. It was magical. Her energy was contagious. I found myself grabbing a handful of snow as well. Before I could throw it, I was hit in the face with a small handful of white flakes. My assailant was a dimpled face angel with braids in her hair. She laughed uncontrollably. “I got you, mama.” She giggled & then ran away.

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I looked around at the disapproving looks from the other mothers at our antics, but I simply did not care. Let them look. Today, I see life through my child’s eyes. Today, I am innocent and free and I don’t care what others think. With tears in my eyes, snow in my hair, a smile on my face & love in my heart I realize that this is my happy place. This is what life is all about. This is why I became a mother.

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Do As I Say, Not As I Do.

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“Do as I say, not as I do” This is the hypocrite’s mantra, an expression abused by parents for years to justify the fact that they are modeling bad behavior. I think about some of the things that I say to my daughter and then think about my own actions. I realized something. I am not always leading by the best example. How can I ask something of my daughter that I don’t always follow myself?

“Pick up your mess.” – I am not sure how I could ever get that statement out with a straight face. As I speak the words out loud, my mind wanders to my unmade bed, the pile of laundry sitting in my hamper & the tumbleweeds of dog hair that just rolled over my feet. I am just waiting for her to say “I’ll pick up my toys when you run a Swiffer over this floor.”

“Don’t say no to Mommy” – No! I said don’t say no. No, don’t shake your head no. No, I said no. Why are you still saying “no” to mommy? Maybe I should try only saying yes.

“No sweets before dinner. It will ruin your appetite.” – These words have been muttered as I ducked behind the kitchen island to pop a handful of Hershey kisses in my mouth.
“Mama, what you eatin?”
“It’s a piece of broccoli, honey. Broccoli is good for dinner.”
I think she bought it. Is there any chocolate on my teeth?

“Don’t yell at the dog” – Perhaps, I raise my voice occasionally at our furry baby.
“DuUuUuUkE!, GET IN THE HOUSE!” “SToOoOOoooP BaRkInG!” “DON’T SNIFF THE BABY’S BUTT!!”
OK, I am definitely to blame for her yelling at our pup. I have however, never put a towel on his back & tried to ride him like a horse. She came up with that one all on her own.

“We have to put your jacket on. It is cold outside.” – I have been known to walk out of my house in the dead of winter with flip flops on. A few years ago I got poison ivy on my chest because I brought in the firewood from outside wearing nothing but a pair of underwear & sneakers. Don’t judge me.

“It’s late, it is time to go to bed” –  I think my daughter has a checklist under her pillow of excuses for why she shouldn’t go to sleep.
“Mama, I need juice for my throat.” Check!
“My tummy hurts, I need a rub.” Check!
“I want a cheese sandwich.” Check!
I think she forgot “Mama, I got a poop in my butt.”
I have a similar list.
The Big Bang Theory marathon is on tonight. Maybe I should do some housework. (I can’t even say that without laughing). I need to write in my blog. So here I am typing away at midnight thinking “Wow, it’s late. I should probably go to bed, but of course I won’t, because I need juice (wine) for my throat too.

If Mai asks I went to sleep at 8 o’clock.

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Mini Pumpkin Crafts

Pumpkin Family

Last weekend was a big fun fall weekend for us. We did our hayride, went apple picking, went to the fair & picked pumpkins too.

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This weekend, in the aftermath of a bad tummy virus, we put a hold on our plans to go to the corn maze & leaf peeping. All is well now, but I wanted Mai to continue to rest at home rather than running around. Last weekend we picked up a lot of pumpkins. I bought two full sized ones for carving, but Mai really wanted the little pumpkins because they were so cute.

The mini pumpkins were great because they were just the right size for my little pumpkin. She may still be too small to be wielding carving tools, but that doesn’t mean that she can’t have some fun. Pumpkins are not just for Jack-O-Lanterns anymore, after all.

Painting Pumpkins

We painted pumpkins mid-week. She is getting to be such a great little painter. She painted one pumpkin red with a green stem. “Look mama, it looks like an apple.” It really does.

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Yesterday she asked to paint more pumpkins, so we did. Then we broke out the glue & the glitter for some extra fun. Seriously nothing lights my daughter’s face up faster than the prospect of pouring glue & glitter on something. This is a super easy, moderately messy, but very cute craft. Simply let your artist pour or paint on the glue & then shake on the glitters of your choice. Let dry & then shake off the excess glitter. Use paper or drop cloths to work on & to catch the glitter. When you are done, if you are stingy like me, you can pour the excess glitter back into its container for next time.

Glitter Pumpkins

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Mai had so much fun making these. She even made one as a present for her Auntie Linda. “I make this one for Auntie Linda. She is so proud of me.” I bet Auntie is going to love it.

Mai's are in front & mommy's are in the back.
Mai’s are in front & mommy’s are in the back.

Glitter pumpkins Glitter Pumpkins - a pretty craft for kids or for adults

Our little pumpkin family.

As I have told you before, our daughter has a very strong sense of family. It is extremely cute how she refers to everything in terms of mama, dada & baby. When we were picking the pumpkins, she would tell me, “This is mama pumpkin, daddy pumpkin & the baby pumpkin.” And so they shall be.

Draw out you pumpkin family's faces & then carefully carve out.
Draw out you pumpkin family’s faces & then carefully carve out.

For daddy pumpkin, I fashioned him a Patriots hat out of foam.

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For mommy pumpkin, I just hot glued some yarn to the top of the pumpkin. I did the same for the baby & then braid the hair into pigtails
For mommy pumpkin, I just hot glued some yarn to the top of the pumpkin. I did the same for the baby & then braided the hair into pigtails
I hot glued all 3 pumkins together, putting the daddy on the bottom, mommy in the middle & baby on top. I used a pipe cleaner as a scarf for the mama.
I hot glued all 3 pumpkins together, putting the daddy on the bottom, mommy in the middle & baby on top. I used a pipe cleaner as a scarf for the mama.

It looks just like us doesn’t it? These were all so much fun, I think we will have to pick up more pumpkins next weekend.

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15 Reasons That My Husband Is Like Our Toddler

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Once upon a time not so long ago I had a sweet little mama’s girl. One day she woke up and decided that mommy was old news & that daddy was the new headliner. It stung a little, alright it stung a lot, but it made perfect sense. I am not nearly as much fun as daddy is. They do have a lot in common after all & I am not just talking about the blond hair, blue eyes and dimples.

1. They both have a keen sense of fashion. 

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2. They think farts are funny.

3. They both have a hard time getting their pee into the toilet.

4. Neither one listens to me when I speak.

5. They would both prefer to run around the house naked.

6. They think Doritos & jelly beans are an acceptable lunch.

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7. Neither has an issue wearing stained clothing.

8. They both laugh at there own jokes.

9. Both get cranky when they haven’t had a nap.

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10. Neither one will eat their vegetables.

11. They both like Elsa from Frozen.

12. They leave crumbs everywhere.

13. I have to remind them both to brush their teeth.

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14. They both will eat food that fell on the ground.

15. Most importantly, they both love me.

Check out Living In Momarchy’s list of 12 things her toddler & dogs have in common.

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