Monday, February 4, 2013

How do you find the time?

I was talking to a couple of friends earlier this week, the first, mind you she has a 4 year old too and almost 4 month old twins, about how do you find the time. She is doing phenomenally well with getting used to having 3 children under 5, one which goes to preschool and 2 that need all her energy almost every second of the day. Wow, I just don't know how she functions most days.

But she really got me thinking!

Many of us look at each other in bewilderment and say "I would love to, but I just don't know how to find the time."

From a mommy perspective, which others take for granted...

* I would love to take a shower everyday, but I just don't know how to find the time...

It might not be an everyday occurrence like so many of us need, especially when you have been covered in spit up, milk, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and the God awful exploding diapers but when you have company in your house, hell even if you are the company... speak up and say, go take 15 minutes and scrub!

* I would love to cook a nice dinner for my family instead of eating left overs for 4 days in a row...

Most of us hugely busy people, have the "what's for dinner" battle if not everyday, most days. But it is nice, not to cook one huge meal and then have to eat it over and over until you finally say screw it and throw it the leftovers in the freezer and start your next meal that you will eat again for the next 3 days. So how do you find the time. My FIL used to have a stock pot and add something new to it everyday. Well frankly, this grossed me out, he would never know what he was mixing, but always ate it. Well start off simple. Say a whole chicken, throw it in the crockpot, have chicken tonight, after supper if it's not all gone, throw in some water and boil the crap out of it so it's easy to pick apart and then freeze. Next week take it out and concoct away! Once you get into a good cycle with this, it gets better!

* Come on Over, means hang out with me for awhile, I need to feel human again...

When we lived in Raleigh, I had a few friends that did not have kids that were awesome about this! I maybe a mom, but I am still a person that even if you sit on the couch with me and talk, it makes it so much better. One friend would come over, after a busy day and just sit and watch TV and have popcorn with me. We would leave real world problems to themselves and veg. It was awesome. So how do you find the time for this...even if it is once a month, a great stop in by a friend is cathardic!

* When you invite yourself over, without calling or just walk through my door, be prepared to be put to work!

I say what I mean and mean what I say. I live in a toddler's world most of the time and consistency is the key. So how do I find time to actually get stuff done, nap times are just for the kids. I have to cram as much as possible into this time frame, so if my kids are awake, how do I find the time...15 minute intervals for getting stuff done. I take 15 minutes, set up an activity for my kids to create and while they are in my sight I get something done. But if you are in my house, how you can "help" me is to let my kids play with you. I play with them all the time and mommy play time gets old. They have fun with you, I love you more for it and so do they and I can spend more than 15 minutes getting stuff done! Please to God, do not sit down on my couch and fall asleep or play on electronics, my kids are dying for your attention! If you need sleep, go to a bed. If you want to play on electronics, do it when my kids are sleeping!

* Sleep is obviously overrated

A twenty minute power nap or rest is good for anyone's body, but in a mommy world, when I have gotten 6 hours of sleep over the course of a few days or possibly weeks, dear friend, let me tell you I will love you even more if notice this and let me check out for 15 of those 20 minutes! I get up an hour before my house wakes, to attempt to start my day with a cup of coffee, brushing my teeth, and to change my underwear, go through mail and make my to do list of the day, if I didn't I wouldn't be able to function to raise the next generation!

* Don't judge me or tell me what I "SHOULD" do

Your opinions are duly noted, advice is welcome when I ask for it, and more importantly, though I love you and value your opinion, I am a grown capable person that has my own problems in life and the ways in which I choose to solve them will always be on my own terms. Interjections in a mommy's world just flat out suck. I abhor the "oh it's ok, though your mommy just fed you, you obviously didn't get enough to eat and I must feed you again", or the talking to my children and telling them that "your mommy must not love you enough to let you..." You will be making more of a mess of my controlled bubble than you ever could imagine.

* I love you, and you should by now in all the years of knowing me know this but...

When you want to come and "help" me, please to God do not think for one single solitary minute second that I want to sit here and listen to your groans and moans every time I see you or talk or text you. I have mini-humans that do enough of that throughout everyday of my life. I can not fix your problems, Hell, I can barely find the time to fix myself lunch.

So in other words to wrap things up, I do not sit around eating bon bons all day long. I would love to but that is never the case, and from what I have learned about my life in the last few years, I won't for the next twenty!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I say what I mean and mean what I say

One of the things, my father took pride on in his life as a physician was a piece of advice one of his college professors had given him. This professor, obviously had been very wise, he said, "when caring for another person, if you truly listen to what your patient is saying, they will tell you what is wrong even if they don't have the technical knowledge to." This piece of advice stuck with my father and he instilled it in my sisters and I. I tend to utilize it in every fashion of life. Not necessarily for the "what is wrong" but "what is someone saying" and "why do they think this is important".

I live in a toddlers world. In that world, they do not understand inference. There is no guessing that mommy or daddy or whomever is being facetious; they understand the literal. So in all actuality... what it wrong with this method of thinking? Nothing. Many a man wants to understand the woman's world. So many women are so indecisive about things and understanding a man is easy. They say what they mean and mean what they say, or at least my husband does. I too, say what I mean and mean what I say. There is just no point in life beating around the bush and not living happily. This is how our marriage works. 

The nice thing about this, is it's just how, theoretically, life works. If you honestly express what you really want, there is no misconception on how you, as a person are and how others see you, viewing the world. This is one of the things we are striving to instill in our children.

The human race, no matter who you are holds the premise that "honesty is the best policy." But somewhere along the line, beit in my world it is black and white, however, the world outside of my bubble has made the gray bigger than the line itself. Why? I tend to blame this on political correctness and entitlement. We as a society, are spending too much time trying to tend to emotions and feelings rather than saying what we mean and other people taking it for face value. Too many are using "copouts". Why should I teach my child that life is a cakewalk and things will be given to you? It is total BS. I teach my children that if they work hard, be polite, and take a genuine interest in what others are saying to them, he WILL be successful. He might not be the monetarily wealthiest person on the planet, but he will be bountiful in other ways.

The fact of the matter is, we are so busy in our lives that we are letting too many "things" surpass our humanity. But when is it ok, to let humanity suffer and bow down to the whim of every emotional copout? It is not, so if everybody put on their big boy or big girl panties, we might just have a little less entitlement and a lot more understanding of the human mind.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Laundry Piles and Mind blowing Detergent!

So in a house of 4, laundry only seems to stop for all of 5 minutes. I have specifically taken note of this and tried my best not to let it get to me! I had to come up with plausible and possible ways to keep track of it. I have said in the past, I am kinda OCD. Well, not kinda.

Finally, last week I was at my wits end. I needed a plan. I was tired of forgetting that there was laundry in the wash, especially when it came to having to do dipes. Everything was carted down to the basement and I started the great laundry wash. When I first saw how much of it there was...I did 14 loads of laundry, I knew we had way too many clothes, sheets, towels and blankets. I wish I could say that the cupboards were overflowing, but in all actuality, they weren't and we don't have much storage space in this house. I was exhausted.

Having children means you have a lot of sheets. So I knew there was no getting around to getting rid of any of those, but how could I make sheets disappear? I already change our sheets every week because the thought of sleeping on dead flaky skin freaks me out! And this task was getting daunting. So, I brought out the old crib method! Layering them! So for the kids...repellant pad down, sheets on top, and again and again. So, not really a laundry saver, but a time saver for us. All in all, I only have to make the bed 1x a month! Plus if any accidents happen in the middle of the night, we are only up for a few minutes instead of awhile!

A couple of months ago, I ran out of laundry detergent. Previously, I had it in my mind that I was going to make my own laundry detergent to see how much money we could save. A neighbor of ours in NC has been making her own for years. At first, I thought it was a little odd, especially when she had to order supplies to do it at the grocery store. So, I still wasn't that enthusiastic about it and loaded the kids in the car and ran to the store. Well, let me tell you. It was the first time in years that I actually had to pay full price for laundry detergent and I about fell over. So no more. I got home, got out the supplies and well 15 minutes later I had a gallon bucket full of laundry detergent! It really wasn't hard to make, since I had bought...ready to make supplies. Soap already grated, washing soda and borax that just needed to be heated, poured and measured, dawn, and water. Simple really.

So how is it fairing against store bought laundry detergent? I am finding that it gets our clothes much cleaner and the house smells wonderful! For those of you interested in the recipe, which does it in small batches and there is no need for a 5 gallon bucket, check it out! Plus you can add Dawn, though this recipe doesn't call for it, but hey any grease fighter in a house of boys and southern cooking isn't bad in my mind!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hush Bottles

Here in VA, I belong to an online mom's board where mom's can ask questions, share answers and offer helpful tips. On this mornings daily email, there is this mom that her husband just moved away, I don't know what for, but she works 3 days a week and is physically and emotionally drained with the behavior of her 2 daughters ages 2 and 4. Tantrums apparently are running amuck. So this particular "What do I do?" got me thinking about a post I had seen, where else but Pinterest, called Hush Bottles.

Hush Bottles work like a snow globe, but with glitter, water and glue. It's concept is that the wonderment of a child, whilst gazing into the bottle doesn't instantly hush and calm down but does it within about a minute watching the glitter whirl around the inside of the bottle before settling to the bottom. 

Pretty neat concept, if it works, but seems kinda "New Age". But hey, anything that keeps us calm, cool and collected is worth a try to me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Warning Parental Failure: Yes, I'll let you be a Big Boy

Over the past couple of months we have watched our little Gator blossom into a sweet and loving little toddler, who wants to be just like his big brother. He wants to ride his big brother's bike, sleep in his big brother's bunk bed, and now try to use the potty like his big brother. So, one thing at a time.

We still do not let Monk sleep on the top bunk bed. This is a safety concern for us, of course we don't want him falling out, even though there is a rail, but more or less let's just say...we are not the best waking family on the planet. Meaning it takes all of us a good 20 minutes before we can function to even hear what is going on around us! That being said, when he wakes up at night to go potty, we need him to be able to function to get to the ladder and climb down, understanding that he can't just swing his legs over and sleep walk to the toilet. Reality: We still have the ladder hidden away!

So how does this fair for our Gator? Well, he saw all the hype that Monk displayed over his getting bunk beds.

Confession: We have had the bunk beds all along, we just never put the top bunk on until we moved and didn't have the space to store the pieces for the top.

Gator sees Monk in his new bed and wants to get in EVERY night. So he learned to hoist his little short heiny over the top of his crib. Yes, he fell out once, then tried multiple times again and one of those times he lodged himself between the wall and the crib rail. Yes, I stopped got out my phone to take a picture of this adventure. I know horrible mama not immediately coming to his rescue.

But the moral of my bed story is a 20 month old being able to climb out of bed every night is just not a good thing. We as parents know this and we also know that he just isn't ready for a big boy toddler bed yet and neither are we. Finally, just before he turned 21 months we got up the mustard to do it. Better to attempt to transition him, than him fall out break a bone or knock his pearly whites out. 

He is in love with the fact that he can get in and out of his bed on his own, but has absolutely no desire to actually sleep in it open. What is a parent to do? We tried for an hour and a half every night to get him to lay down and fall asleep. We even sent Monk out of the room and well that didn't work. We pretty much tried everything and got no where, then we turned the "bed" backwards against the wall! As you can see the sides of the crib are slanted so there is no hoisting capability, and he sleeps and so do the rest of us. 

So on to my parenting failure...

Our big boy, who isn't ready for a big boy bed yet, has decided that his new favorite word is POTTY. Everyone in the house goes potty in the toilet and well the other night he wanted to too. After putting him to bed, he started saying "POTTY, POTTY". What's a Parent to do? Picture this... Mr. BBH grabs him out of the crib, hands him over, goes running into our bathroom to get a toddler toilet ring that just never made it into a box when we moved, as I am ripping his footed jammies off and pulling his diaper off and then hoist this little barely 3 foot mini human onto the toilet where his legs barely hang over the edge. Then he is very uneasy on the toilet ring, why? He has a big booty and well the little potette ring just wasn't big enough. Well nothing happened but a battle of the wills. Gator swiftly trying to out smart BBH reaches for the flusher knob and woosh. Then again, but blocked by Mr. BBH. Now, the game has begun. 

We bought him some of his own Big Boy undies and let him try them out. He is very proud of his undies! I know blurry picture but the expression says it all!

So last night Mr. BBH, not wanting to have a toilet battle of the flushing wills take two, climbed up into the attic and searched for the box of Potties, since "Potty, Potty" came out at dinner time. We put him in his big boy undies and over to the potty he went. Nothing again, but hey it's a start. Not thinking Gator was still in just undies, the kids ran down stairs to the playroom to play for a bit before bed. Well, we called them up 10 minutes later and he was wet. Ok, so he just peed. No big deal. Upstairs to get ready for bed and clean jammies on. "Potty, Potty". This time, we put him in washable trainers and a vinyl cover, had a little potty in the bathroom, but footie jammies. Nothing happened in the potty, but his trainers were wet. We got him cleaned up, put a new pair of trainers on and vinyl again and off to lala dream land he went. Or so we thought. 

At 4 am. He woke up screaming. Now, not being those waking parents, Mr. BBH finally heard him and went in. I have been under the weather and well comatose at night. Finally 20 minutes later, Mr. BBH comes in and wakes me up, he can't figure out what is wrong and needs to go back to sleep. I go in. I reach into the mock crib for him, and he is soaked. Vinyl pants, you suck is all I thought. My poor little Gator, was freezing. So I call for Mr. BBH, "I need some help, I need a dipe!" We had pee, we had poop, we had a frozen little big boy that didn't want to take off his big boy undies and a wet bed. As I was ripping everything off, Mr. BBH felt horrible. "I asked him, I did, I checked to see if he was wet, he wasn't, I asked him if his teeth hurt and he said NO!" The Gator was just embarrassed he had an accident. Everything was alright we reminded him. We got him cleaned up and he was still hysterical. Mr. BBH took him back to our bed while I cleaned everything up. 

So much for our Big Boy, who needs a toddler bed... who just doesn't want one, and neither do we, but wants to potty train instead. What is a parent to do? Fail. Yep. We failed on our first go round of the big boy bed...our first potty training go round, by doing it at night. Hopefully, this doesn't deter him, but we are going to hit this full speed ahead this weekend and see where it lands us. We know better, I know better, but I wanted to let my child take the lead on this. So it's a dreary Wednesday and sleep deprived parents, our poor children who are all geared up for an awesome day are going to have to witness totally caffeinated struggling parents!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

5 Things around the house that lead you to the loony bin that aren't your children, and friendly tips to help fix it

Around the house:

1. Flat Paint
Why oh why would someone ever want to put this on their walls. Wait we did before we had a dog and children. You just can't magic erase any blemishes. Save yourself some future headache and paint with anything BUT flat paint! What I have found that works, but doesn't leave you with those oily looking blobs, is Myers Cleaner. It is a natural cleaner that is sold in a concentrated formula and you dilute it. You need a spray bottle, put 1/4 cup of it in at a time and add water. This stuff is great at cleaning almost everything.

2. Baseboards and Crown Molding
These things just scream "Hello and and all dirt left around the house come and magnetize yourself to me!". I don't know about you, but it just doesn't matter how clean your home can be, but the second you see "yuck" accumulate on the baseboards (which in our house, only takes 30 seconds), it makes me feel like my house is dirty again. So I have tried the Bounce dryer sheet tip you see all over Pinterest and well, if your baseboards and molding aren't as smooth as a baby's behind, you end up with dryer sheet particles, so save yourself the aggravation and just bring out the good ole Dustbuster.

3. Stove Ledges & Hoods
Pointless in my mind. Yes, I love the convenience of not letting little hands play with the buttons and knobs, but come on, we all know it is just a reachable place rather than the ceiling of your kitchen for all the grease and nasties of cooking to gather. So, I tried the absurd tip of wiping it off with cooking oil and voila! It worked and actually makes life a whole lot easier because you only have to do it a couple of times in between cleanings!

4. Tile Grout
I hate it. I have found nothing that will act as a repellant from this getting dirty. I am a freak when it comes to bathing in a place that remotely doesn't look or feel clean. I would rather not bathe! I know no matter which way you look at it it seems gross, but hey, I am the person that left for college, knowing that I was going to have to share a shower (ick by the way) with a CASE of Scrubbing Bubbles! In the past, before children I discovered a cleaner sold only at the Dollar Store called Awesome. You could spray it on walk away for an hr and come back with a toothbrush and a little elbow grease and in 20 minutes you were done. Now with kids, I don't have that hour to wait nor the 20 minutes to scrub. So I came across a "recipe" that works almost as AWESOMELY and takes you're done in minutes. Spray, walk away for 15 minutes, rinse.

7 c. of Hot Water
1/2 c. of Baking Soda
1/4 c. of Vinegar
1/3 c. of Lemon Juice

5. Cleaning the Fridge
Now I am not talking about removal of old food, that has never been a problem for me since, I am an expiration date freak. I know some will argue that it is a sell by date, but nothing is worse than putting non-curdled soured coffee creamer in your morning cup of ever so needed STAT Joe. I am talking about that food particles that accumulate everywhere and well those pesky hairs that if you have critters in your house, you definitely know what I am taking about, sticking to the crevices of the sides/bottoms of your fridge. Cheap and easy fix...That box of Saran Wrap that supposedly sticks to itself that you just can't bear to purge, since you found out its crap! Well it actually sticks to the shelves in you fridge! Boom, clean fridge no scrubbing except for the sides and seals of the door!

These are my main pet peeves! What are yours? I am starting a new quest of moving through the tips and tricks around pinterest that can help with the main cleanings of the house and if they really work or not and how long they last! Today, after I finish cleaning the bathroom, I am going to try the wax paper trick. Hello new science experiment!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Operation: Register For School

It is almost time to register Monk for school.

In NC we had so many choices of different schools he would be eligible to attend...Traditional, Year Round, Charter, Magnet and "regular" school. It actually was pretty straight forward and if you got turned down for your particular selection you could always appeal.

Since moving here to VA, where the schools in our county are supposedly some of the top in the country, this is going to be a daunting task. From what we have figured out, we pretty much don't have any options but our assigned "pyramid" school unless we want to pay for public schools. We do not have the option of placement into a Charter or Magnet school until he is in the second grade and at that it isn't our choice to place him there. We have the option to decline, but that is all. Even at that, from my understanding, if we do not like his placement then, we have to pay. Quite ironic for public schools.

We have looked into private schooling here and well even at the preschool level, most of them cost more per year than I paid for out-of-state college tuition! So what is our family supposed to do? This is why we are starting Operation: Register for School. Incoming Kindergartener registration and open house schedules actually won't be out until March/April, but apparently we need to be ahead of this, especially IF we have to opt for private school.

As far as private schools go. Mr. BBH is a strong activist, I on the other hand, abhor the thought. We have different backgrounds on the subject. He went to private school, the same school for all of his primary education until college. I, however went to public school for grade school and then was thrust into private school for grades 6-12. Those formidable 6 years are why IF we have to place him into a private institution, it will be non-secular and he will not attend mid-education. Parochial school was just not for me. Plus raising anti-consumerist children, will be an uphill battle placing him in an environment where private entitlement supersedes humility and humanity. There are a lot of issues that I had and still think!

There is a lot of work ahead of us and well, any helpful suggestions are welcome!