Monday, September 30, 2013

Sh!t My Toddler Says

"Look Mommy," points to the clock. "Oh 5 zero! I like oh 5 zero." Son, nobody likes 05:00.

No penis.
Silas had been toting around one of my teddy bears for a few days. This one was one of the ones my Mom had bought me when Daddy and I got married. They were dressed in Halloween costumes and she had on a big poofy dress and carried a spider-shaped handbag. After two days of loving her intensely and bringing her everywhere, we were in the car and he lifted up her dress. She had no undies on. "Mommy, where her penis?" She's a girl sweetheart. She doesn't have a penis. "Oh well den I don't wan her." And he throws her on the floor board and their friendship is over. Psh, no penis? What was she thinking?

I was driving the boys to Grandma's house 2.5 hours away. They slept most of the way. When Silas woke up he started, "We dere yet?" No. "We dere yet?" No. "Wedereyet?" No. "Yet?" Nope. "Now?" No. Pause. "Now?" No. Seriously we went on like this for 20 minutes. I didn't think he'd start this yet...

Every night when we go to bed Silas says, "Let's tell a story Mommy." OK you start. "Once upon a time there was a pirate. And den?" And then there were two pirates and they were named Silas and Sage. And then what happened? "Dilas and Say had a boat." What was the boat named? *Stupid look* "Pirate Ship." Right. Of course. Silas and Sage found a treasure map so they loaded up Pirate Ship and set sail. "No dey took da boat." Right. Sorry. They took the boat to an island to find the treasure on the map. They found it and dug and dug. They of course took turns digging so neither one would get tired. Then they found the treasure. What was it? "Gold. And chocolate!" Fantastic! Then what happened? "Then the princess came...and a dragon came *whoosh* fly by and blew fire." Oh dear. This story just got very confusing.

One night Silas invented a game, rather like Calvin Ball (from Calvin and Hobbes). It took Mike and I about 25 minutes to figure out (somewhat) the rules to this game. Basically you threw the ball to another person and that person tried to hit it with a drum stick and then Silas would yell, "You a WINNER!" But the adults at least couldn't figure out what exactly made us winners. But Silas always knew who won and who was "Noh a winner. Sorry. Try again!"

What entertaining things have you heard kids say recently?
Sunday, September 29, 2013

What We Learned This Week (Sunday, September 29th Edition)

Where does the time go? It's yet again time for the weekly round up. We hope you enjoy reading these (or at least they entertain you) because we enjoy writing them! So Mamas, what did you learn this week?


I've learned Saturday mornings are Wild when I step back and observe...The kids came in (at 730...c'mon, seriously!) our room, wrestled us outta bed, and proceeded to follow like ducklings. Here we go! Into the bathroom. As the baby is strapped to my hip, I brush my teeth with the other hand, and the boys prep for Sean's haircut. Kasen got the broom and dustpan (riding it like a witch at times), while Dad cut Sean's hair into a Mohawk. "Gawwww, I'm BEAUTIFUL!," Sean says. And yes, picture day is this week folks. 

I've learned just how tacky people can be. Kasen had his opening day of baseball this week. At the game, all sorts of people show up. Classy, sporty, and everything in between. While Kasen was batting, I noticed a grandma with her granddaughter sitting in fold out chairs. The grandma was changing the granddaughter (who was atleast 3). The granddaughter was standing up, and taking off her pull up in plain sight! I was disgusted that the woman didn't know better to atleast cover up that poor child. With all the pervs, pedophiles and molesters out there, you would think that more common sense would be used! SMH.

I've learned that every girl needs 'her girls'. My bestie is in North Carolina, and I miss her everyday. She knows me in and out, as I do her. We don't have to talk everyday, but when we's like nothing has changed between us! I've learned to never trust that girl that doesn't have atleast 1 close girlfriend. There's a reason she can't keep any close confidants. She'll spill your business to get what she wants, destroying everything in the path. Be aware, these women don't change. Just be careful: these girls (mommies too) are PTA members, girlscout moms, home room moms, teachers or anywhere else women go! They are a Red Flag, Ladies! SWIM AWAY, SWIM AWAY :D

1. I was able to get Banshee a medical ID bracelet that is waterproof and little kid proof!! WOOHOO! She keeps it on every day and likes wearing it because it is "pink". It has the basic information on it and I feel better knowing that there is information in there that will help out a first responder. Go me!

2. I learned to give in and buy myself some maternity clothes. I am just not fitting into any of my regular clothes now and I kept putting off going to the store to grab a couple pants. Sigh..why do I make things harder for myself? Happy to report that I am now more comfortable and so is Cubby.

3. I learned that it is good to be teaching again, in any capacity. I volunteered to help out with the girls' Sunday School and it felt nice to be in the classroom again as an assistant. I feel like I take on a lot sometimes because I like to help but I had a blast today. It was cool. :)

1) I learned that children's watches aren't necessarily waterproof. Silas got a watch because he used the potty. He wore it in the bath. It's now in a bag of rice on the counter. #Mommyfail

2) I figured out how to do some pretty cool stuff on the blog. Never too old to learn about coding I guess!

3) I heard Roo (Sage) say I love you back to me for the first time this week. Makes a Mommy's heart melt :)

What did you learn this week? Anything fun and amazing? What do you think about our learnings? Tell us about it in the Comments area!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Annie's Homegrown Organic Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese Review

Who will get to eat the Annie's??
We have two sons, ages 3 and 15 months. The mac and cheese flows freely in our house and our microwave gets a workout. I received some Annie's Homegrown Macaroni and Cheese from Influenster and wanted to share my views on it.

It only takes 2 minutes in the microwave whereas other brands take 3 minutes and 30 seconds. I tried it and found that the cheese actually does taste like aged cheddar. Silas tried it and he ate it (which is a feat, and telling in and of itself). Mike tried it and said that of any of the brands we've tried so far (which is many), he likes this one the best. Well. I was not expecting to change up our MacNCheese routine, but I guess that Annie's #Realcheese it is!

What else rocks about it? Well, organic pasta is nice. Great taste. It definitely looked different than the other macNcheeses we've tried when it came out of the microwave, but once I put the cheese in and stirred and let it cool, it was awesome. I had to try it multiple times to make sure it wasn't too hot for Silas ;)

I received Annie's Homegrown complimentary from Influenster.

Have you tried Annie's microwavable macaroni and cheese? What did you and your family think? Share your views below.

Top 5 things I've mastered as a Mommy

As a multi-tasking Mom, I've mastered many things. These are just some of them.
5. Eating fast. It has no longer become enjoyable to eat, but more like a mad dash to sustain energy. From breakfast sandwiches to spaghetti, I can scarf down anything in 60 seconds. 

4. Multi-tasking while multi-tasking. It's amazing how I can drive the kid to an appointment, drink morning coffee, curl my eyelashes, schedule the hubster a separate appointment, make a grocery list, call in prescription refills and wish my BFF a happy day all while driving. 

3.  The 'mom rock'. Even while standing in line at Target. By myself. With no kids hanging off my hip. I later realize I should've turned around and yelled at my invisible kids and noted peoples reactions! Heh heh heh. 

2. Falling asleep. 15 min power naps are always refreshing...Even if it is on a bench with sunglasses on.

1. Toe dexterity. I can pick up socks, clothes, toys, fuzz, and even leaves! Next step, hello cooking dinner while sitting down?!

What about you? What could you add to this list? What have you mastered as a Mommy?
Friday, September 27, 2013

Toys R Us Gift Card Blogger Opportunity

Christmas is almost here!!

We are giving away

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What is BlogLovin'?

You may see on the top left of the page that we've got snazzy new social media buttons (the turquoise circles). You recognize Facebook, Twitter, maybe Instagram...but what's that plus sign?

How Bloglovin' looks on your phone
Bloglovin' app for iPhone
If you're an avid blog reader, that plus sign is a godsend. Bloglovin' is a free service where you can follow your favorite blogs and get all of their new posts emailed to you daily or weekly. No more bookmarking pages. No more wondering if you missed a post from your favorite bloggers. You can get them sent straight to you. It also cleans up your inbox - you don't need to subscribe to individual blogs, all you need to do is add them to your Bloglovin' feed. Fabulous!

You can also download the app and read and add new blogs from your phone or tablet. Very cool if I do say so myself. 

Do you follow us on Bloglovin'? Of not, you should! Want some motivation? Follow us on Bloglovin' and comment below that you do, and you'll be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card. Be sure to put your email in the comment so we know how to contact you if you win! One random commenter (who follows us - we'll be checkin') will win! Comments to win close at 11:59 p.m. CST Saturday, October 5!
Thursday, September 26, 2013

Phone reminders, Volunteering, and mayhem

I actually love volunteering, but every once in a while, I really dread being called in to help out at the spawn's school. There are some days where I really just don't want to do anything but sit somewhere and read. Just take a break from the hubbub of homework, routines, and whatever else the day throws at me. Unluckily for me, I set a reminder alarm for absolutely everything so that I don't forget and have craziness ensue.  I had a day yesterday of only alarms, mayhem, and volunteer time. Sigh!

It started out as any other day. I got the girls ready for school, packed lunches, got in the truck and dropped them off at their respective schools, about 5 minutes away from each other. Easy, right? I thought so too! I went home and got some chores done, let the wolves out, and actually read for five minutes. Then, the reminder alarm on my phone went off. Yup, I had forgotten that I had an appointment with my OBGYN to check on Cubby. Ooookay. Now comes the long drive to Walter Reed Hospital. Oh boy!

I managed to make it super early to my appointment, only to find out that the midwife was running 45 minutes behind schedule. No matter, I thought, I have my book and it is all good! I was just settling in to a great adventure with Rachel Morgan(main character in the Hollows series by Kim Harrison), when the nurse informs me that I need to get my flu shot. Oh! I didn't even think of doing that! No problem, I shut my book and walked to the tent they set up for flu shots at the hospital, got my flu shot, and went back to the waiting room to wait for my appointment to get underway. This certain midwife is NEVER on time and I don't like getting her. She feels that by hugging me, I will forget that we are now 2 hours into an appointment that should have started ages ago.

As I was settling in to read a little bit, my reminder alarm on the phone went off. Again?! Oh sweet God! I had to volunteer for the parent meeting in the evening, which was now only two hours away. How did I forget this? I really try not to forget but my energy was gone. See, at Pixy's school, every family has to put in a certain amount of volunteer hours by the end of the year. Most vet parents, like me, schedule their volunteer hours early on in the school year, so we don't have to scramble to fill those hours later on. If there are any hours not completed by the last week of school, you have to pay a certain amount of money to the school, so that they can keep tuition low. It's a nice arrangement and everyone really does take advantage of it, if anything, just to spend a little time with their kids outside the home.

Truth is, I really do love going into the school and helping out when I can. I feel like I am doing something important for Pixy and her school, as well as teaching her the value of hard work and service. But, as I rushed through my appointment, jumped in the car only to get stuck on 95 traffic, I really just didn't feel like doing anything. My flu shot was kicking in and I was positively exhausted. I so didn't want to go sit at a parent meeting, that could possibly last for hours because it was the first one of the year.

I made it home in record time and asked the Sailor to drive me to school and help me for a bit. I am usually helping with the setup of the hall for the meeting but with my 6 month bump, I help where I can. Dude, he saved my butt! I was able to sit and help with laying out the uniforms for the Used Uniform Exchange and rest a little bit. Just those couple of minutes really helped recharge my battery! I was able to greet the parents coming in, hand out information, and just chat with the other parent volunteers. It was nice and added bonus, I was able to sit in the back of the room, listen to the meeting, and reboot. I was hoping it was going to last.

Problem: It was getting late, the meeting was still going, and I was fading fast. So fast, that I started to play with my phone to stay awake and alert. I came to the conclusion that it was not going happen. I called the Sailor to come get me, right as the meeting was drawing to a close. I made it!

Part of me felt silly, I mean, I was dragging and there I was, trying to get things done all because I always keep my word. I am sure that I am not alone in this. Lots of Mamas do this. We overschedule or underschedule, only to have things pile up in the matter of seconds. I am not going to lie. Today, I am taking it super easy to get these elephant cankles to ease up a bit. I have a date with my book in a little bit but before I do that, there has to be a lesson in this, right? I know it. I mean, besides organizing things a little better and pacing oneself so as to not create total mayhem. I am too tired to see the big picture now, but I am sure it will hit me eventually. Sometimes, the greater lesson is just to take a minute and relax.

                                         Have you had a day like this? Fill us in and vent! 
Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I Admit It, I'm Addicted to...

Everyone's got their thang but at least we can admit it right? Today the Mamas talk about their little dirty (or not so dirty) secret. Give it up ladies! What's your poison?

Liz's makeup drawer
So much little time.
Liz: If you know me, if you see me every day, I'm rockin' the t-shirt and jeans and sneakers (since flip flops have been banned due to lack of support). My hair's all frizzy (thanks to natural curls and Texas' humidity and random rain), and maybe, just maybe, I have some earrings on. What you wouldn't see is my makeup collection. Wait, what?! I am a makeup collector. I have two drawers and a basket on the sink of this stuff. Primer, base, foundation, eyeshadow (powder and other sorts), eyeliner, mascara, eyebrow color, eyelash curler...the list goes on. Nail polish like you wouldn't believe. Sparkle and glitter galore. Professional brush kits. Most of this stuff barely sees the light of day. But I keep buying it. Why?! Because it's just so pretty! And one day (never) I will wear it.

Robyn: I kiss other people a LOT. Wait, that came out wrong. I kiss my family a lot. Hello, goodbye... just because. The boys' heads, Reagan's cheeks and I can't resist my hubby's lips. It's not actually the kissing I'm addicted to. It's what happens afterwards. To my lips that is. They always end up dry. Not like flaky, and peeling (Gross!). But it's just that feeling when I know something needs to be on them. Like a pre-emtive dryness. Like a lip pick me up, if you will. Yes, world, I am addicted to Chapstick.

Bibliophiles we all
We be book people
Lisa: My addictions are kind of boring. I am a bibliophile, so I love having books of all kinds all over the place, and yes they do get read/loved many times. I also collect elephant figurines because in my culture, if you put elephant statues with their butts facing the front door, it brings good luck into the home. I have also, since forever, collected dolphin figurines. I love dolphins so much, I even got a tattoo of them! Pisces and dolphins=great mix!! 

So what's your thing? What do you collect? What fills the nooks and crannies of your abode?
Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A night out as a Mommy

During the day, my kids chat in the backseat while we run errands. I pick up on conversations about who's booger is bigger, and who's train is blacker and better. (Using their words) Chatting turns to arguing and then yelling (usually in that order) and then a 3 way tattle-telling session. While wanting to fling my arm in the backseat and hope to make contact with one of the turds back there, I instead reach for the radio. I turn up the beat, and start singing along in hopes they will follow.  And drowning out their voices is always a plus! night, it's a diff story. 

I went on a quick grocery run last night. 

First, I unlocked the car, and plopped in the drivers seat. Next, I turn around and check the backseat? Yes, a villain or serial killer could be waiting for me! I could secretly wish it would be a tan, six-pack stricken, blonde haired cabana boy handing me a margarita in a deep latino voice...but hey! Let's be REAL here! No killer, ok check! 

Second, I turn the radio down. who am I kidding? I turn that sucker completely off! I'm not gonna say I procrastinated while out, but I obey'ed ALL the rules of the road. I went the EXACT speed limit and yielded accordingly. I waited for the perfect parking spot, and got in the longest line after perusing the store. Did I mention I was in no rush? At 8 pm, long lines are slim pickings. It's all the single people headed home from the gym and stopping to get dinner. Like the guy in front of me who has bison meat, an onion, an apple, a Shiner Bock and Stride Gum in his basket. Hmmm....interesting. 

 Have you ever done that thing where your so deep in thought (in the silence of the car) and your arm flies up and hits the volume on the radio, and you almost ship your pants (Kmart commercial...YouTube it!)? The volume jolts from 0 to 20 and 'Super Bass' is suddenly blaring? Nobody needs that nonsense from you this late at night, Nicki Minaj! 

On the saddened drive home, I realize there's one thing I must do before I come into chaos. I realize there's one thing I CAN do. Alone. By myself. And be stingy! I pull into the gas station. Walking through the doors, I have no hesitation in grabbing a fountain Dr. Pepper with the left and a Reese's with the right. Lookout Valero customers, this girl is more sure of this than a prom date on prom night. 

Walking out to my car, I again unlock it. I plop in the seat just like before. The difference was this time, I had a childish grin. This was my moment. I was alone, with two devilish treats, and nobody was asking for a bite. After enjoying my moment, I started the car and drove home. I walked in the door to find 2 outta  4 kids in bed, a PO'ed teen, a crying baby, and a homework encompassed husband. I swooped up the baby, kissed the boys goodnight and then destroyed all evidence of my Reese's affair. It felt good. 

Until the next afternoon. 

Exercising was a b!tch.

It was worth it! 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Review and Giveaway: How to do a wool dryer ball review

Order dryer balls from Amy at Redhead and Blue on Etsy. Get them super fast. Sniff the package straight out of the mailbox. Mmmm Liz got Spun Sugar Champagne. Lisa got Fall Honey Harvest.
Mmm Spun Sugar Champagne
Take them out of the Ecoenclose envelope (love them by the way). Admire the packaging.
Great packaging!
Read Amy's sweet note (and remember why you love ordering from Work At Home Moms [WAHMs] and homemade crafters).
Amy's cute note
Remove gorgeous dryer balls from package and place them in the dryer.

Lisa's dirty duds.
Wait for someone to dirty some laundry (HA! Wait, I'm a waiting...). Be excited to see how much quicker your clothes dry and how awesome they smell.

Dry clothes.
How cool is the inside of Lisa's dryer?!
Listen to the "thump thump thump thump" of the dryer balls rolling around in there separating the laundry. Smile when you realize what usually takes 80 minutes to dry took 60 minutes.
Lisa's dryer has a light. Totally jealous.
20 minutes off a large load is great (says Tony the Tiger), especially over time!

Order more dryer balls or a scent refresher kit from Amy by using the %15 off code she gave us just for our readers. Didn't get that code in your email? Huh. Are you signed up for our email list? If not, do so here. Subscribers will receive an email with a promo code for 15% off on Monday, September 30 so be sure to register by then!

Enjoy awesome smelling laundry, save electricity, and don't have to use dryer sheets. Love it!

Want to love it even more for free? Enter our giveaway for four wool dryer balls from Redhead and Blue LLC. How to do it?

1) View the options available at Redhead and Blue LLC on Etsy. Choose which color and scent you would pick if you were to win.
2) Comment on this post with the color and scent you would want.
3) Use the Rafflecopter form to gain entries. You only have to technically do the first one, but the other ones can gain you more entries.
4) Share with your friends!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Saturday, September 21, 2013

Service es muy importante

I've always been one to give a restaurant a second or third chance if I had service issues. I know they're busy. I know my order's not special to the folks that work there - this is their job. But I'm frustrated enough to put people on blast.

Those bags? Not so full.
Every Saturday my husband works until 12 and then brings the whole family lunch. He gets the boys nuggets and fries. At least once per month something's missing from our order. Sometimes we didn't pay for it so it was a miscommunication issue. Most times we did.  This afternoon Mike ordered two orders of nuggets and we didn't get either. And we did pay for them. 

Now, really, in the grand scheme of things losing $2.50 ish isn't bad. But after  a few weeks of missing bits, I was annoyed. So i called the store using the number on the receipt. Twice. No answer. So I called the corporate line and answered a survey. But it was about food quality. There were no questions about service or not getting your food. I quit halfway through the survey after I told the computer Imd had an issue and it started asking me which food item the issue was with. 

I have to say, I'm disappointed. I love my Saturday lunch with my family. I'd even been looking forward to trying the flatbread things this company had just brought back. Now I'm a lot less interested in having my husband even go back next Saturday. Why go if you never know what you're going to get?

Have you ever had an issue with a restaurant? How did you deal with it? Did you keep going there?

Full moon fever

Last night, I was woken up by the Pixy at 3am: "Is it full moon time yet, Mama?" Nope, not yet, get back to bed! At our house, full moon time is always marked by a couple things: misbehavior by the wolves, i.e. dominance plays, howling randomly, wolfy get the idea, and my spawn goes wild. I am not kidding! The girls energy level ramps up and they can't sleep, their appetite goes off, and my house turns into a zoo.

Back home in Puerto Rico, my family would say that full moon fever hits children and animals strongest, because they are so sensitive to nature and her rhythms. Something with the ground being close to their center of gravity, you know, they are 'in touch' with the Earth. I remember my uncles watching the calendar and watching the tides, too. They were fishermen and would often say that the full moon played havoc on their night fishing. This is usually about the time that they would come back with tales of mermaids, or shark attacks('Never swim where a female shark roams!'), or one night when they saw a drug deal going down in the ocean! Can you believe it? So, for me, being respectful of the full moon and her powers, is really second nature. I didn't know that this information would come in handy when I got older.

My personal big bad wolf and lord of our little wolf pack, Kai, goes very wolfy at full moon. He starts to do naughty things all over the place. This morning, I was nipped on the butt for shuffling by him, half-asleep I might add, and not greeting him. He opens trash cans, opens doors, climbs into beds to randomly wake up the occupants. He will hunt me when we go to the backyard and get extremely protective of the girls. You would think he would hunt down the girls--they're easy prey after all. But noooo. Kai likes to hunt his pack leader down, pregnancy is not an obstacle. In other words, if Kai was human, he would totally punch a guy with glasses. HAHA! I digress... I will go outside and about four steps into the backyard, I realize that everything has gone deathly quiet. No sounds whatsoever. This of course means, I need to brace myself because Kai is lying in wait somewhere around me. Sigh! Then, with no warning, BAM! He nips my butt, grab my ankles, and yes...he tries to pull my pants off. Randy wolf! It is actually kind of funny, but when you are on the receiving end of 100+lbs of wolf love, it can get frustrating. A few strong words on my part quickly calm him down and he is back to trying to figure out when to attack me next. Juneau, on the other hand, follows Kai's lead. He waits in the wings and then runs around in excitement. He is still getting the hang of full moon fever. Poor boy was forever tied to a chain when we rescued him, so he loves the feel of open space much better than silly wolf games.

All of the cubs (as they are lovingly called by family friends), wait with excitement and crazy anticipation for full moon night because it is the one night of the month when we go outside when it is dark enough for moonlight to shine over everything and we howl together. It is a way to get the energy out, worship the moon(who, I am sure appreciates it), and scare the neighbors silly. It truly is terrifying to hear Kai and Juneau howl and be accompanied by other howls too--even if they are human howls. There is something very primitive, powerful, and refreshing about letting it all out. Our old neighbors got used to it and though they wouldn't howl with us, would sit outside and just admire the moon. Our silly little family ritual rubbed off! They often said it took our little band of misfits to get them back in touch with nature. Woohoo! More power to us!

Tonight will be much the same as every other full moon night, with the exception that it is a new house, with new neighbors. But also, because we are actually in the countryside now! We might get some interesting answers back! Whoever hears an answer back first, gets a prize. Here's hoping I hear it first! Last full moon, Kai and Pixy banded together and won an ice cream before bed..cheaters. I hope that in spite of the silliness of this ritual, once the spawn grows up, they remember it and create something similar for their children. Sometimes, family legends get started this way.

Does your family have any traditions that are fun? Were they superstitious? Tell us all about it! We might use your tradition soon! 
Friday, September 20, 2013

A Hope for My Sons if They Play Sports

I work as a college professor and many days I go to the campus gym to run on the track (because it's too damn hot in Texas to run three miles outside still). Today I noticed a bunch of folks scrimmaging on the basketball court and realized that it was day 2 of men's basketball try outs.

If there is a sport I love, it is basketball (followed far off by football then hockey...then baseball is very far away). My Dad taught me the rules for most sports as a kid - he really wanted a boy to watch sports with so if I wanted to hang with Dad, I had to learn sports. From him I learned not only the rules, but the "etiquette" of that sport, if you will. And things like teamwork. Look for the open (wo)man closest to the goal. Don't showboat. Be a team player, not the jackass who plays for "all eyes on me."

Leave the ego here.
As I ran, I watched these (19 year old-ish) kids playing and got really frustrated. I know this is tryouts. This is the time to show you have skills, I get that. But when you bring the ball down the court, see an open man by the goal, and still stop at the line for the 3 (which you brick), that doesn't make me want to pick you for the team. It makes me want to kick your ass out of tryouts and let someone else play - maybe they can use their teammates to score as a team. Or maybe they can at least pause and check their options before attempting the Look At Me shot.

And there wasn't just one or two of these showboaters. Three of the guys on each "team" played for Team Me. The others were getting frustrated. Wouldn't you? If you're not a guard, if you're not a ball handler, then you're getting ignored even if you're open and have a shot. B.S.

IF my boys want to play basketball. IF they have the coordination (they're going to be tall so they may not). I hope that I'm able to practice with them and show them how useful an effective team is. Now, don't get me wrong. They will be practicing their skills drills. Layups, non-dominant hand dribbling, freethrows, 3s, crossovers, and obvious defensive moves will be just like at my Dad's hand (stay outside until you can MAKE [not take] X number of freethrows). But we'll also watch effective teams and talk about why they're effective as a team. Most sports are not a one man party. Unless you're playing golf. But that's not a party (I kid). I hope that if they decide to play a sport that they play for love of game instead of love of self.

And of course I will be in the stands screaming "GO ANDREW!" (inside joke if you went to Bourne High School football games in the early 90s) but if my kids decide to showboat, you know who the first person to chastise them about being humble is going to be. This Mama.

Did you play sports as a kid? What do you hope to pass on to your children?
Wednesday, September 18, 2013

For Those About to Write...We Salute You! Blogger Idol 2013

If you read a lot of blogs like we do, you'll know that there are some amazing folks out there. Great storytellers. Funny. Amazing writers. Some of them are all of those and then some. Blogger Idol is an annual contest to find THE most amazing writers who appeal to a wide audience (especially the judges). The contest allows them to show their stuff, meet new people, and maybe find some new readers who wouldn't otherwise stumble upon their URL. You can also win some cool prizes. But nobody plays just for prizes (right?!).

And we're throwing our three amazingly stylish hats in the ring.

Liz (finds her hat under the desk): Damn it, mine's made of paper and covered in purple marker scribbles. I swear Silas writes on everything. I'll never have anything nice until that kid's 18 and at art school.

Robyn (perfectly coiffed): Mine's pink and sparkly camo with a Harley logo on it.

Lisa (takes her hat off): Seriously. There's wolf hair. All. Over. Mine.

Why would we do this? Because it looks like fun. Because we'd love the challenge of weekly prompts and the excitement of possibly making it at least two weeks before we get eliminated (because we know we're not going to win). But who cares. Not us.

So this is our audition post. *Ta dah!* Who are we? We're three moms from different parts of the US. Liz started this blog in 2011 as an outlet for writing about her experiences with her first son. It waxed, it waned, until finally something clicked and she decided to play "go big or go home." In August of 2013 Liz invited two friends, Robyn and Lisa, to write with her, expanding the scope of the blog and adding in some fresh voices (Robyn's the fresh one, Liz and Lisa are pretty tame in comparison). The focus of our blog is, obviously, on parenting, but we tend to stray into different areas, flexing our writing muscles and our brains (which can get taken over by children). We write a weekly "What We've Learned" post which shows parenting experiences from different perspectives. We write about parenting stories in the news, cloth diapering (since we all cloth diaper our Littles), cooking, and introspecting, all things that parents these days may spend some time doing.

We hope that you have enjoyed what you've read and that you get a chance to click around the blog at different recent posts. We love seeing new faces around our Facebook community, so be sure to stop by!

Want to learn more about Blogger Idol or follow the contest on Facebook? Do. It.

It's All Fun and Games Until...

I have spent the last year watching my boys start to interact (rather than Silas ignore Sage and Sage gaze adoringly at Silas). Today Sage learned to climb on the couch and the arm chair in the living room. He got himself up in the chair, sat all the way back, and started trying to rock it back and forth. The jerky motion attracted Silas who was playing trains. Silas stood behind the chair on a windowsill and pushed Sage's chair so Sage was rocking back and forth. He was of course giggling and Silas was yelling, "Whoa! Whoa!" It was cute to see them interact until I thought of two things.

Mommy and Boys
One, this could go badly and I should stop it. Sage could fall out of the chair, Silas could fall off the windowsill, the window could break...OK let's stop.

Second, I realized that Silas wasn't trying to make his brother laugh. He pushed faster and faster and Sage almost fell out of the chair numerous times before we stopped. Silas was trying to dump his brother. 

Sigh. So much for thinking they were being cute.

I had no siblings. Is this animosity towards a younger sibling normal? What did you and your siblings do to each other as kids?
Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Potty business, David Sedaris, and adulthood

Pfffftttttttt. Uuuuuugh. Grrrr. Wait a minute, Grrrrr? That is NOT a noise that should be coming from the public restroom stall next to me. I couldn't help but giggle a little bit. Clearly the person next to me was trying really hard to do their potty business as quietly as possible, and not being super successful. Another woman two stalls down asked: Are you ok? The answer, a frustrated yeah, echoed through the whole bathroom.

It got me to wondering where did this habit of being super quiet in a bathroom came from. We ALL know what we are going to do in there, putting lipstick on and smoothing your skirt is just bonus. Right? As I flushed the toilet and giggled again at the predicament of the person next to me (namely because we have all been there), I thought about a story that David Sedaris shared on one of his live readings. I am a huge David Sedaris fan, by the way, HUGE but I digress.... In his story, David Sedaris shared that while on one of his book signing tours, he started to ask people about how they handle their potty business as a way to make the long hours of signing books move a bit faster. Having been on the receiving end of one his questions, let me tell you, you have to be honest. Brutally honest. Anyway, he asked the people in line and the answers he got were off the wall. He started to wonder about this whole "need" to be super quiet in a bathroom, even though we are doing things that will naturally produce some kind of noise. Some people told him they place some toilet paper in the toilet and thus, make no noise when using the toilet. Others told him about how hey timed their bodily functions to the time when people flushed or used the sink. The funniest response was the person who told him that they would sneeze, cough, or blow their nose to cover up the sounds because it embarrassed them, nevermind the people in the other stalls! Interesting, huh? 

When does this phenomena to be quiet in the bathroom start? Clearly, when we are kids, we could care less about what noises we make. We feel like champs just because we used the potty. Sometimes, with the door open, even! That takes some mad skills. No, it can't be when we are kids. How about teenage years? I suppose it could happen then, I mean, we are all so worried about what others think of us that we constantly metamorphose into something else. There could be something to that. But, why adulthood? We've already surpassed our most embarrassing moments, right? So, why do we feel that the bathroom, potty, is really a RESTroom? Last thing I do in there is rest. HAHA!

I am from the school that you do what you have to do in the bathroom and you're done. Easy. Get in and get out. I don't have time to worry about what the people in the other stalls are thinking, I am a mother. My brain is wired to think about other things. I am worried that the toddler in the stall with me isn't trying to start a conversation with person in the other stall. I am worried that the pacifier that was just dropped on the floor doesn't go back in that child's mouth. Sigh! Yes, all of these have happened to me and then some.  

I was brought back to the present, as I washed my hands. The person in the other stall was definitely dawdling in the stall so she wouldn't have to see any of the other ladies that were in the bathroom at the same time. As I was drying my hands, she finally emerged from her stall. She really did look embarrassed at herself. She gave me a look in the mirror and made a face, as if to say "what are you going to do?". I just smiled at her but any response I might have given her was lost forever in that bathroom, as a little girl (followed by her Mama) runs in and pronounces as loud as she can: "Mama, I really have to poop right now and if you don't help me, I am going to have an accident." We all connected over that and started to laugh. We've all been there, I guess we just have to be the right age to cop to it. Maybe Sedaris was on to something when he asked that question. 

         Just take a minute and laugh at this post. :) Ok, now tell us... is this behavior an adult thing? 
Monday, September 16, 2013

What We've Learned This Week (Monday, September 16th Late Version)

After our announcement about a great giveaway yesterday, we're doing our What We Learned post a little late this week. So without further ado, I give you...the Mamas.

1) What we once loved can become the bane of our existence. Take my dissertation for example. I spent the week focusing on finishing it. I loved this topic intensely when I started this project. Now I do not want to hear about anyone's environmental identity development for at least 6 months. And if one more committee member tells me to do something that goes against what I have learned throughout my program, I may just send them my sources.

"Destroy Buzz Lightyear"
2) Toddler cognition is both interesting and limited. Silas watched Toy Story 3 this week. The next day he took his Buzz Lightyear and removed his jetpack which broke him. Nobody can get Buzz to talk again. When I asked why Silas did this he said, "Spanish Buzz?" Thanks Pixar. My kid thought you could really make Buzz speak Spanish and so he did exactly what you showed him in the movie. And people say kids don't pay attention to movies...Silas now wants a new Buzz. I told him we would ask Santa Clause. "Where he live?" Um the North Pole. "Let's go get him Mommy!" Uh no.

Sage is getting tallllll.
3) It's time for the Great Push Back. If you're a parent you know you distinctly recognize the day when a small person gets tall enough that counters are no longer an obstacle. Sage has reached the "don't leave a plate or knife or anything on the counter" stage. We had to push everything back and be super vigilant with Silas, then he got old enough to know better. So it begins. Again. Thankful this is our last go round with this game as my husband is not good at remembering these things.

1) Sometimes the best thing to do is just to be quiet and listen. I learned that after the girls were busy trying to tell me something and apparently, I wasn't listening. I got a scolding from my spawn and I really felt bad. I mean, what was so important about washing the dishes that I didn't hear them trying to tell me that there was a groundhog in the backyard? I have no idea, but my priorities were not in the right place.

2) I need to pace myself and just enjoy the moment. The Sailor and I put together the girls' swingset that my father had purchased for them before his death in March. We wanted to hurry and get it done as fast as we could, because we wanted to have the afternoon to do other things in the house. Well, it didn't quite work out that way and we spent 5 hours putting it together. You'd think that it was a tedious 5 hours, but strangely and thankfully, we joked and laughed the whole time! It felt really nice to be able to connect again with my hubby on something other than our busy to-dos. The girls still got to play on the swingset and the wolves guarded know, in case a breeze blew a little too close to where the spawn was playing. Sheesh!

3) I finished my bookclub book and man was it good! It was a great gothic-style novel set in the present and past(due to some time travel), and there was a huge cliffhanger which killed me! Because of this, I learned to attempt to calm down and carry on with life, even though I really feel like the world is over after I finish a good book. I love to read, so I go through a mourning period after I finish a book

1. I've learned that back to school also means back to school colds. One of the turds brought it home and gave it to Dad, Mom and Reagan. Thankfully, it's not a stomach bug! It still blows (pun intended) when 'that time of year' is here. 

Sleepy lil' girl
I've also learned how once Reagan goes down for a nap, I can take a few minutes and pick up the house. All Sean's trains go in the basket by the stairs for him to take upstairs when he gets home. Geez! When did the front foyer get so dirty? What's.....yeah, that's a dead scorpion. Get broom, sweep foyer. Gotta flush the scorpion because you can't REALLY trust those things are dead anyway. Ok, it's noon, I'm just gonna nuke up a quick lunch. While the timer is going on the microwave, It's motivation to get other stuff done before it beeps. Run to put broom away. Slide into kitchen while wearing socks before it....BEEP BEEP BEEP.  Heh heh, I smile and nod to Usher's "Yeah" in the background. My lunch is then inhaled as I hear baby stirring over the monitor. Wait, how did that ONE thing turn into 2 hours?!? 

Mama and Baby Reagan
3. I've learned that when Reagan comes close to feeding time, and I'm on the road, I turn into one of 'those' drivers. Get outta my way fellas! I'm passing on the left, and passing on the right. (Still using blinkers, mind you!) I'm running yellow lights, and white knuckling the steering wheel when I'm forced to stop. Ill politely 'shoo' you to the side, and romp on the gas to pass you too! Please comply, or I'll be using one finger to 'shoo' you away! Be on the look out, Woman on a mission here!

What did you learn this week?
Sunday, September 15, 2013

Open Giveaway: Safety 1st Advance Air+ Car Seat

Are you an expecting parent or does your family need a new car seat? How fantastic would it be to win a car seat that will fit your child from 5 pounds all the way to 40 pounds rear facing and 7o pounds front facing? Safety is important for our Littles, and that's why we've partnered with other bloggers to bring you this awesome giveaway. Be sure to enter and enter often before it closes on September 29th!

Sept 15-21 marks Child Passenger Safety Week. Did you know that car crashes are the leading cause of death for children age 1 through 12 years old?  Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the goal of Child Passenger Safety week is to make sure all parents and caregivers are properly securing their children (ages 0-12) in the best car restraint (rear-facing, forward-facing, booster, seat belt) for their age and size.  

In honor of this important week, I've partnered with Thrifty Nifty Mommy, IHeart-Motherhood, Housewife on a Mission, Viva Veltoro and a handful of other great bloggers to offer our readers a giveaway for a Safety 1st Advance 70 Air+ Car Seat!

Product Details (provided by Safety 1st):

This convertible car seat was inspired by race car drivers. Air Protect+ combines Safety 1st Air Protect® Technology with GCell HX™ - hexagonal rebounding foam used in the body of the car seat to protect the child from the multiple hits that occur in crashes. Coupled with this is the placement of Air Protect® Technology which takes crash forces away from a child’s head.  This technology was developed in partnership with racecar engineers at Bald Spot Sports and INDY Car Driver Scott Dixon to better understand the energy dynamics that a high performance driver faces in the event of a crash. 

One lucky person will win a Safety 1st Advance 70 Air+ Car Seat, valued at $190!

Open to the US only, ages 18 and up.  Ends 9/29/13 at 11:59 PM EST.
Enter using the Giveaway Tools form below.  Good Luck!

Disclosure: The participating bloggers have not been compensated to host this giveaway. Prize fulfillment is the responsibility of Safety 1st. If you are a business or company and you're interested in being featured in a giveaway like this, please contact Thrifty Nifty Mommy.
Saturday, September 14, 2013

Keep Calm and Pump on

This past week, I've been trying to pump and get a good supply together in preparation for going back to work in a few weeks. It's been quite difficult to produce extra with baby number 3. I mean, with picking up Kasen in the early afternoon, waiting for Sean's bus, and taxi-ing Bailey to practices 3-4 times a week, it leaves hardly any time to pump for Reagan.

I was running out of options and damn near ready to give in. Just then, I turned to the best of BF advice in Oklahoma, my sister. She is a RN and has practiced midwifery for many years. Her advice is always helpful and I'm thankful to have her to turn to. She understands exactly what I mean (I think she's seen it all, folks!) and uses homeopathy. She believes in natural and organic remedies when a client has a dilemma. (No artificial crap, or unnecessary prescriptions) She preaches on eating right, and not pumping chemicals into a woman's body to have a healthy pregnancy, delivery and recovery. Its not like the cavewomen back in the day could get a Vicodin script for a headache. I mean, how did they survive? Must've been rough (Yes, that's sarcasm).

I told my sis what kind of pump I was using, and she opened my eyes to the misconceptions of the sellers. If that particular brand also sells formula, do you think they would design a pump to help you exclusively breastfeed? Wow, holy smokes. She's right. Ain't that some BS? Here I am (and many other women too), trying to do the right thing. Im trying to provide my baby with the right nourishment for her first year of life. I bought a (shi-tay, but not cheap) breast pump only to be set up for failure. Whats worse, I gave them my trust (and dollar bills) just to be lied to. Thanks. Just awesome. 

But, I still won't let them get me down! No way, no sir-ree! After they took my money and a smidgen of my pride, I'm more determined than ever to be successful at BF'ing!!!

So, you wanna know the secrets to pass on? Huh, do ya?! Then, read on my friends.

Mother's Milk tea, by Tradional Medicinals. 

I've been drinking 3 cups a day, for 3 days and have successfully pumped last night and this morning (5 oz each time. Can I get a 'Hell yeah'?!)

More milk plus by Motherlove. 

It's en route, and I can update when I know more. Its a little bit pricey, but highly recommended as far as effectiveness goes. So, we shall see. 

Dark German beer.
Dark beer has more hopps and helps stimulate milk production. Also, since breastfeeding requires more calories, this can help with daily caloric intake. I tried this, but it made my tummy bubble (all night and all day) and that's no fun. 

The last thing my sister recommended was to take Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle, 2 capsules, 3 times a day. I haven't tried this one personally. I'm taking on one option at a time and will try these if all else fails. 

My sister and I are not doctors and provide no professional medical advice. Please take this into consideration while sharing the advice on this blog. I listen to her because I know she knows what she's talking about. We're family. I trust and love her, and am thankful for her wisdom. 

Lets spread the good word. Do you have any advice for increasing a milk supply? What does and does not work? 
Friday, September 13, 2013

We Need Your Opinion

Have you ever woken up and thought, "My bedroom needs a new color paint?" So you go to Home Depot and you look at the paint swatches and try to decide what would be cool.

But then your two friends are there, and they spend a lot of time in your house and you want them to have input too. But nobody is "OMG!" excited about the same paint.

Welcome to our world. I (Liz) am tired of the blog's look. It needs a makeover (especially after this week's "code takes over the home page" fiasco which has caused the current template choice). So I started looking at templates and sent some to Robyn and Lisa. The ones Lisa loved, Robyn "meh"d and vice versa. You try getting three chicks to agree on one template!

So we're turning to you, our readers. The ones who, you know, look at the blog. Four options. Choose your fave and comment with "blue," "yellow," "pink," or "rainbow."





Thursday, September 12, 2013

Show me...the MRI

As a psychologist and a scientist, I love reading research related to parenting and kids (both psychological research and biological research). I will regularly do a Google Scholar search for parenting-related research articles just to see "what's going on." So...what's going on this week?



Researchers at Emory University studied 70 fathers and found that men with a smaller testicular volume were more likely to demonstrate empathy towards their children and to provide more of the care for their children than men who had a larger testicular volume. They also found that men with lower levels of testosterone are likely to do more of the child care in the home.

As a researcher my first thought is, "A sample size of 70 participants is..." well not so hot. Typically if you want to make big claims, you need a big(ger) sample size. But the empathy and testicular volume measurements were taken via MRI, and that's a + (whereas the sample size would be a -).

So what does this mean? Do dating women who want kids need to take their beau to the doctor for a brain and testicular MRI prior to deciding to have kids with them? "Sorry babe, we have to get your 'T' checked before I'll agree to marry you. I don't want to end up changing all the diapers." Should women be avoiding "macho" men (who may have higher testosterone) if they eventually want a family? Or is it possible that as men age their testosterone decreases as does their testicular volume, and thus older men would be more empathic and change more diapers?

This. This is why I love reading research studies.

What have you read that was of interest to you recently?
Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Going Amish

We all have that happy place we go to. Most of the time for me, it's in a book. I love to get away from it all while in the comfort of my reading nook. Sometimes really do need to physically get away. Just for a break. Lately, it seems I need to do that STAT. My special escape is not too far of a drive away from my house, I can get to it in an hour and a half. It's quiet, relaxing, has some good eats, and great friendly people. Yup, we like to escape to Lancaster, PA, or Amish country.

I know, I know. You're saying right now: "You go Amish?" Yes, we really do. We've been going to Amish country for years now and when we want to disconnect from the world, that's the best place to do it. It's like a little slice of peace pie when you go there. Life runs at the speed of a buggy, the day starts very early, and winds down at dinner time. Perfect! And this is coming from a night owl, ok?

While we are still Englischers (non Amish) to the friends we've made there, we try to respect their rules, so we don't offend anyone. We put cell phones away, take no pictures of any kind, and try to dress in colors and styles that are close to what they would wear. The Amish ladies always laugh that they can't tell our girls apart from theirs, as they are barefoot in dresses and bonnets, running around with the rest of the children. I always find that to be a nice compliment...I mean, there are worse things to be than dirty right? A little Tide and a good scrubbing takes care of that.

Truth is, we hold a special place in our hearts for Amish country and our Amish friends. When Banshee was 5 or 6 months old, she couldn't keep any commercial baby food down, even though we'd gotten the go ahead from the pediatrician. We decided to get away from life back home and ended up in the old schoolhouse, with a baby that was vomiting everything and would go catatonic almost after. Some Amish lady friends saw Banshee's problem and made her some homemade baby food. It was the first meal that Banshee kept down, along with breast milk, and she got fat during that trip very fast. It was a godsend. So, after that, we religiously went up every weekend to the farms to get our groceries. It has been a routine/tradition ever since the girls have known, and a fun one for the Sailor, who had never been exposed to that culture before.

While we are there, we visit the farms and see what's new with life: at the Esh farm, there's a new calf and a new quilt finished, at the Lapp place the ice cream is ready to eat, the Fishers have a cookbook out now and the best pretzels ever, Mr. Stolzfus has some yummy bacon burgers out in the freezer, pop by Zook's fabrics and talk cloth diapers with some of the Amish mamas there(yup, I got them on the cloth train again. They'd gone the disposable route), and at Bluegate farm, the shoofly pie is ready to eat. Of course, a visit wouldn't be complete without stopping by a local playground, where we can play with the Amish children, I can read my book, Sailor can eat a whoopie pie, and we can watch everyone cruise by in their buggies for an end-of-day treat. It's a different kind of fun, you know?

I always feel refreshed after a trip there. Almost like the simplicity of things, helps my brain to run on actual time and not hyper speed.  I'm sure Banshee feels the same way! Some of our Amish friends always tell her its ok to not like being around people(how they interpret autism), because they don't much like being around lots of people either. I think she likes that she can go at her own speed there and not struggle to catch up, while Pixy just fits right in. She asks questions, makes friends, and bounces along as she always does. Sailor likes to turn off his "music brain" and talk about landscaping and the outdoors with folks there, something he loves to do. So, it is always nice to reboot that way.

This doesn't mean I haven't made an ass of myself while there. I've had a breeze come by and blow my skirt up over my head one time while walking. I fell off the porch of a farm with an armload of whoopie pies that ended up in my face. I lost my shoes (I've been doing this since childhood, don't ask why), in a field and ended up needing to get new ones before we left. Oh!! My personal favorite, I got stuck on top of a mule because my dress got tangled. Yup....sigh!! At least, I know how to laugh at myself and laugh along with others, even though its at my own expense. My little family just shakes their head and says: Mama's always doing crazy things like that. Thing is, they're right. I think Amish country, though different, reminds me a lot of life in Puerto Rico. I want my girls to know that feeling and way of life. I think it's great. Now, let me go warm up the truck for the trip up.

                               Do you have a getaway spot to reboot? Tell us all about it! :)