KonMari vs. My Brain

Hello out there! I know it’s pretty awkward, but I think it would be best if we both just ignore the fact that I haven’t written on this blog in nine months. I’m about to give you a peek inside my brain which should really explain a lot. In a few minutes you’re going to be shaking your head in pity and mumbling something like “Bless that poor child for trying.”

And try I do. On August 11, 2015 I purchased The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. (I know the date, not because I’m organized, but because Amazon wants to remind me that I already bought it.) Thanks Amazon, you’ve got my squirrel brain covered and I appreciate it.

Anyways, for about 3 months it sat on my night stand in a pile of other books. Actually Danny read it. While it’s right up his alley (as an organized person), he instinctively knew not to push me to read it, probably realizing there’s a good chance it would make my head spontaneously combust. Finally I got around to reading it on my own. Not sure what pushed me to finally spend a weekend devouring it, but it probably had something to do with a rock bottom moment where I couldn’t find a matching pair of socks.

So, being the go getter I am *cough*, I jumped into purging my dresser and closets. It was kind of a clown car situation, I removed 3 full garbage bags of clothes and still was hard pressed as to how everything would fit back in.¬†Possibly some of my problem was with KonMari’s idea that most clothing items shouldn’t be hung on hangers, but folded. Why? Because you really like to iron everything? No, because your clothes are happier folded. Perhaps like myself, you’ve been a self serving brat and put your own happiness before the happiness of your t-shirts. It’s not too late to make amends, my friend. Shirts are very forgiving, particularly if they are made of non synthetic materials.

chooseyoumust

So the folding began. I was actually quite excited to come across these amazing little videos on Gwyneth Paltrow’s site showing how to FOLD. It was like a whole new world had been opened up to me. Folding. Neat rows of underwear. WOW.

Since this is all about minimalism, I was not permitted to blow money on drawer organizers. Kind of takes all the fun out of it, right? So I cut up some boxes to use as dividers (cause otherwise those cute little origami socks will just fall over, ya know?) This brilliant move led to cardboard lint all over my clothes. Maybe that planted the seeds of dissatisfaction in my brain. And the fact that I STILL was struggling to fit everything neatly in my drawers. I know, I know. That means I did not get rid of enough. The whole theory is that if an item doesn’t bring you joy, it doesn’t belong in your home. I am all for clothes that bring me joy. The problem is when you have 6 pink tank tops and 4 of them are downright delightful. Hmm…

I was still relatively pleased with the results. And Danny thought it was so cool he decided to KonMari his own drawers as well. But as a Born Organized person, his KonMari-ing was so much more impressive than mine. His folds were so professional looking. His drawers looked like artwork, swirls of color, fabrics neatly arranged to perfection. Just looking at it made me feel panicky.

Me: “I think your drawers are giving me a panic attack.”

Him: “There really is something wrong with you.”

Kindly, he agreed to putting away his own laundry so that I wouldn’t have to feel the pressure of maintaining the Sistine Chapel of clothing storage. And I tried to KonMari the boys’ clothes too. Kind of. But before I knew it, the laundry started piling up. I was procrastinating putting it away (even more than I always did), knowing it would take SO. STINKING. LONG. to make everything into little origami burritos. The idea of folding underwear started to feel like a ridiculous time burden I was not willing to impose on myself.

Look, I know it’s awesome opening your drawers and hearing the angels sing about your perfectly arranged leggings. But it’s also pretty awesome doing other things. Like exercising, preparing food, homeschooling children, reading a book, and running a business. Heck, maybe even WRITING something. Imagine that! ūüėČ All of those things come up higher on my awesome list than folded underwear. It got to the point where I just¬†could¬†not reconcile myself to spending one iota of time on neatening skivies when I could be fulfilling a greater purpose.

I recently heard someone say that you get much better results when you embrace your strengths and run with them than you do by focusing on your weaknesses. Apparently that’s scientific, but even if it’s not I plan on running with it. ūüėČ Organization is not my strength. I still can keep myself in line by not procrastinating and by using my planner. But I’m always going to be a little (lot) crazy, a little messy, and perfectly okay with wrinkled underwear.

So I’m a KonMari dropout. I don’t like to think of it as failure, I just choked a little on greatness. ūüėČ Keep trying to be your best self, friends!

chokeongreatness

 

 

 

Keeping Boys Busy: The One With Play Dough and Puppets

Hey there! ¬†What have you been up to? ¬†Us? ¬†Oh, just the usual fun, keeping boys busy…

Don't you just love Play Dough???, keeping boys busy

Don’t you just love Play Dough???

Never mind.  I hate Play Dough., keeping boys busy

Never mind. I hate Play Dough.

Yup, so that’s pretty much what we’ve been up to. ¬†Clean the Play Dough up. ¬†Get the Play Dough back out. ¬†Clean it up. ¬†Get it out. ¬†Clean it up. ¬†Say were not going to get it out. ¬†Cry about it. ¬†Get it out. ¬†Cry about cleaning it up. ¬†Clean it up… but somehow it’s never quite gone. ¬†Look, I know this is gonna sound crazy, but I SWEAR that the bits of it appear on the floor overnight while we’re sleeping. ¬†Even though I swept before bed, in the morning I will inexplicably find the kitchen sprinkled with colorful bits of dough. ¬†How did I miss them? ¬†Were they stuck to the ceiling with gravity slowly working them back to Earth? ¬†Or is Dash up during the night playing while we sleep??? ¬†Hmm… it’s not an implausible theory…

Anywho… ¬†I promised you all pictures of our Sea Animal Stick Puppets project, and I know you were just waiting on the edge of your seat to see how they turned out. ¬†No???

seapuppetscollage, keeping boys busy

Hey, is that Manty-Manty? ¬†Or Manty-Manty-Manty??? ¬†It’s so hard to tell.

Aren’t they cute? ¬†This is what we used to make the puppets:

  • Poster board
  • Felt
  • Google-y Eyes
  • Yarn (for walrus whiskers)
  • Glitter Glue
  • Wooden Dowels
  • Tongue Depressor style sticks

Additional supplies:

  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Pencils

This is an easy peasy project!  First:  draw animals with pencils on poster board, cut them out.  Next: trace poster board animals on felt and cut them out.  Hot glue the felt cut outs onto the poster board cut outs.  Hot glue eyes and decorations (like walrus whiskers and manatee snouts) onto the felt.  Let them dry a bit, turn over the puppets and glue tongue depressors on the back, along with wooden dowels on the larger puppets.

Notice in the bottom right photo we had to touch up the glue where Dash was already tearing his apart. ¬†Perhaps these puppets AREN’T two year old proof. ¬†But really, what is??? ¬†Lastly, we decorated with glitter glue. ¬†Okay, that was just me and my mom, getting carried away with decorating the turtles. ¬†Even grown ups gotta have some creative fun, right?

Well, that was last week’s art class! ¬†Everyone enjoyed it! ¬†This week, the boys drew tree houses, which of course included things like laser beam security systems, elevators, and walrus pools. ¬†Because if there’s one thing we’re good at around here, it’s Thinking Big. ¬†And thinking about walruses. ¬†Yeah.

Well, I’ve got plenty more big thoughts to share with you all, even some that aren’t about walruses. ūüėČ ¬†But right now I’m going to check the ceiling for Play Dough.

Talk to you soon,

Jennifer

 

 

 

 

A Homeschool Day in the Life (7 Months In)

Hey all! ¬†How’s it going? ¬†I decided to do another Day in the Life post. ¬†It seems they’re all the rage right now. ūüėČ ¬†Anyways, I’d been wanting to catch y’all up on our homeschooling journey. ¬†When I saw that Simple Homeschool was hosting a Homeschool Day in the Life hop, I figured this was the perfect time. ¬†Except that now it’s 10pm the night before and I’m just getting around to typing it… Oops.

Okay, let’s get on with it!

So we’ve been homeschooling for about 7 months. ¬†WE LOVE IT!!! ¬†But do our days always go smoothly? ¬†If you are actually asking this question, I invite you to look at the title of my blog… ahem...

Things don’t always¬†(ever?) go super smoothly. ¬†It is bumpy. ¬†It is messy. ¬†It is exhausting.

But it is incredibly worth it.

Still, I wanted to streamline a bit. ¬†We’d gotten away from the strong routine we started with. ¬†The house was looking a bit disaster-zone-ish. ¬†There was too much whining and not enough “YES Mom!” ¬†at chore time or school time or any time. ¬†I decided a new written schedule was in order. ¬†So I called Finn and Beau to help design a schedule.

“Guys, what would you guys like to put on the schedule?”

Blocks World!” cheered Finn. ¬†What is Blocks World? ¬†Just a gateway drug to gaming addiction, that’s all. @_@

“Chocolate Chip Math!” ¬†(Finn’s suggestion again, which involves doing as little math as possible to eat as many chocolate chips as possible.)

Shockingly, no one asked for time to clean bathrooms? ¬†Unexpected! ¬†We discussed things a little further, making a list of “Want to Do’s” and “Need to Do’s”. ¬†Finally, Beau typed our new schedule up on the computer. ¬†It took him a really long time because he wanted to find a way to put the word “Butt” in the title. ¬†AT LAST it was done, no Butts included. ¬†And…..

No ink in the printer!!! ¬†AGGGGHHHHH! ¬†(Did I mention how things don’t always run smoothly???)

Good thing I had been writing it out on notebook paper as well. ¬†The newly proposed “Homeschool Day In the Life” looks a little something like this:

  • 6:00¬†5:30 Mom: Workout/ Shower/ Dress
  • 7:00 ¬†Boys get up, Breakfast and Daily Scripture Text
  • 7:30 ¬†Mom: ¬†Clean up kitchen, Boys: Get Dressed/ Brush Teeth
  • 8:00 ¬†Chores for all
  • 9:00 ¬†Reading together and discussion
  • 9:30 ¬†Exercise break
  • 10:00 ¬†Math
  • 11:00 ¬†Lunch
  • 12:00 ¬†Games INCLUDING Chocolate Chip Math
  • 12:30 ¬†Recess
  • 1:30 ¬†Rotating subjects (such as Science, History, Art, Music)
  • 2:30 ¬†Reading (Quiet for Beau, with mom for Finn)
  • 3:00 ¬†Free time (Yes, Finn, including Blocks World!)

Yay for STRUCTURE! ¬†Feeling highly motivated, we were ready to implement it straight away, even the Mom gets up at 6:00 5:30 and works out part. ¬†And then…

This is Dash, being up at 3AM. By 3:30AM, he was getting hungry for breakfast.  That wasn't on the schedule???

This is Dash, being up at 3AM. By 3:30AM, he was getting hungry for breakfast. Um…is this on the schedule???

So that whole thing kind of threw me off. ¬†Like threw me off so that I didn’t get up until 8:30. UGH.

We still got quite a bit done, just not by way of the schedule. ¬†The next day we’d try again! ¬†Failure is not an option! ¬†And then this happened:

Now, really, who can do school when there's a Snowpocalypse???

Now, really, who can do school when there’s a Snowpocalypse???

A Snowpocalypse is no time to be following a schedule.  It's a time to be holding your own Winter Olympics using baby ride on toys!

A Snowpocalypse is no time to be following a schedule. It’s a time to be holding your own Winter Olympics using baby ride on toys!

Okay, so our schedule is a flop so far. ¬†But is it a failure? ¬†NO! ¬†It’s a work in progress. ¬†And if I’m done proofreading this before midnight I just might get up at 5:30 6:00 6:30 and workout. ¬†The rest of the county is still shutdown for the Snowpocalypse, so I’m cutting myself a little slack, okay?

Lately I’ve been thinking about an old favorite book I have sitting on my shelf by John Maxwell. ¬†Maybe you’ve heard of it? ¬†It’s called Failing Forward, and that is exactly what we do around here.

We aren’t perfect.

We make a plan.  It goes awry.

We set lofty goals.  We fall flat on our faces trying to reach them.

We get up and we try again. ¬†We reassess, change our plans, push through it, and sometimes…

We still fail, but we fail better than last time.  Sometimes what looks like failure is just laying the groundwork for greatness.

Or perhaps what looks like Failure is just Success sleeping in a couple hours because Success was up late with a toddler.  You got a problem with that?

ūüėČ

By the way, I’m not saying our 7 months of homeschooling have been a failure! ¬†Not at all!!! ¬†But homeschooling is a living, breathing, growing process and I am exploring and learning right along with the boys. ¬†I’m not about to sit back and say “Good enough!” ¬†That’s why we’ll keep tweaking our Days and trying to find a good balance between being structured and spontaneous, between being productive and getting burnt out. ¬†I’ll keep trying to get up early and Dash will keep interrupting my sleep.

Whatever life and the Polar Vortex throws at us, we’ll be here, just trying to make each day better than the last.

Thanks for visiting and hearing about our Homeschool Day in the Life! ¬†Don’t forget to visit Simple Homeschool and see what everyone else is up to!

Talk to you soon,

Jennifer

 

 

Rough Times

Whew, what a day! ¬†My poor kids are beat. ¬†Yeah, they’ve got it rough. ¬†HOW rough? ¬†Where do I start?!?

Why, this morning they had to do chores after breakfast.  Beau got the job of cleaning the tiniest bathroom in the house.  He emerged 22 seconds later, looking quite exhausted.  I peeked in and surveyed the filth.

“Try again, you have to actually wipe things off.”

Beau: ¬†“I did!”

Me: ¬†“I can see pee on the seat from here.”

He shrugged as if pee being on the seat was a non issue.  SIGH!  Back into the bathroom for another full minute of bone crushing work.

Chores are HARD.

Next, it was time to wash up and get dressed. ¬†Finn was entirely too exhausted to walk up the stairs. ¬†After 15 minutes of whining, he decided he needed something up there anyways and was miraculously transformed into a ball of energy, shooting up the steps at warp speed. ¬†“Don’t forget to get dressed!” ¬†Several minutes later, he returned in fresh pajamas.

“Finn, you will need actual clothes before we go out to play.”

Finn: ¬†“UHHHHH”. ¬†(This is the sound of exhaustion that requires massive amounts of energy to produce and takes even more energy to listen to.)

It’s okay, Finn, we get it. ¬†Wearing pajamas for only half the day is HARD.

I couldn’t blame Finn for being a little down, because his favorite stuffed animal, Zoe the dalmatian, was missing!

“Did you check your bed?”

Finn: ¬†“YES! ¬†I looked super good. ¬†I even checked the crack!”

Beau also climbed up the bunk bed ladder to help look for Zoe. ¬†A massive search ensued, combing under furniture and behind curtains. ¬†Still, no Zoe. ¬†I’ll admit, I was worried. ¬†Possibly more worried than Finn…

Finn: ¬†“If Zoe’s lost, then I want a stuffed manatee instead. ¬†And I’ll name him Manty!”

Beau: “No, you can’t! ¬†MANTY is MY manatee!!!”*

*Backstory: ¬†In Florida Beau got a stuffed manatee at the Ron Jon Surf shop. ¬†Finn and Dash were not interested and chose other souvenirs. ¬†Within 48 hours Finn and Dash were both obsessed with Beau’s Manty the Manatee.

Finn: ¬†“Well, MY manatee can be named Manty too!”

Beau: ¬†“NO! ¬†He can’t! ¬†You can name him Manters or something, but NOT MANTY!”

Finn: ¬†“MANTERS? ¬†I HATE THAT! ¬†YOU’RE THE MEANEST BROTHER EVER!”

Fighting over names for stuffed sea cows that you don’t even have??? ¬†Hard. ¬†Hard to listen to, that is…

Had we seen the worst of it? ¬†I’m afraid not. ¬†At lunch time, Finn wanted his favorite, macaroni and cheese. ¬†First, I had the nerve to ask him to get the box while I got the pot of water. ¬†He had to open a door. ¬†HARD. ¬†As if that wasn’t bad enough, I put fresh grated cheddar in his bowl. ¬†“Mom! ¬†That macaroni and cheese was TOO CHEESY! ¬†I could only eat one bowl.”

Macaroni and cheese that’s TOO CHEESY??? ¬†Now that is a tragedy of the worst sort.

Just when everyone had almost recovered from the macaroni incident, I had to go and make chili for dinner, which was just plain cruel. ¬†Chili is really close to soup, and if you were to ask my boys they would tell you we have soup “EVERY DAY.” ¬†That means once ¬†a week. ¬†To their credit, they were not whiney and they ate their chili. ¬†I guess they are getting used to prison life. ¬†But to add insult to injury, there was nothing for dessert except for a few white chocolate chips. ¬†“Those will do” they responded with a glimmer of joy. ¬†See? ¬†During rough times you have to be grateful for what you have.

After dessert, the small sugar rush impelled them to want to slide around on the kitchen floor in their socks. ¬†When Finn went to look under the kitchen table for his socks, they had disappeared! ¬†“Where are my socks?!? ¬†I need those socks I left under the table!”

Hmm, maybe I had already moved them when I swept? ¬†I should have known better. ¬†Obviously if you find socks under the kitchen table, they aren’t abandoned, they have been left there for safe keeping! ¬†Poor children. It’s SO HARD when you don’t have a safe place to leave your dirty socks!

Well, without socks, there is no sliding on your feet, so the only other option is “Butt racing”. ¬†Butt racing is where the poor children turn themselves into little human plasma cars and scoot along on their bottoms. ¬†Sure, it’s kind of a pitiful sight, but I was glad to see them making the best of the situation.

Can you believe what a rough day these guys had? ¬†I’m glad they’re getting their rest now. ¬†Oh, but there was ONE silver lining in the day, (besides the stale quarter bag of white chocolate, that is.) ¬†I went upstairs, climbed the ladder to the bunk bed, and untangled a rolled up sheet. ¬†Inside the sheet was Zoe. ¬†Because the saying is true, “Nothing is lost until Mom can’t find it.”

FINNANDZOE

I know a lot of people out there are having hard times for real.  I hope if you are going through a rough patch, maybe our silliness will put a little smile on your face.  Tomorrow will surely be much better!

Chin up! ūüôā

Jennifer

 

 

 

Predictable

Hey there! ¬†Remember me? ¬†Yeah, it’s been awhile. ¬†I’ve been up to stuff. ¬† Oh you know, this and that…

Why, I’ve been doing some baking…

It is easy to make bread. Making edible bread is the real challenge.

It is easy to make bread. Making edible bread is the real challenge.

Well, some of it was edible. ¬†I will have to try again. ¬†And again. ¬†And then we won’t have any bread for 3 weeks. ¬†And then I’ll say “Forget it!” and I’ll buy bread again. ¬†But would you believe I even ground my own flour from wheat berries? ¬†I felt so Little House On The Prairie. ¬†What? ¬†The Ingalls didn’t use a Vitamix to grind flour? ¬†Are you sure?

Anyways, I’ve also been doing some crafts:

Looking to good ol’ Pinterest, I found various sites that led me to believe making a burlap wreath would be EASY and take less than 20 minutes. ¬†Three hours later there were shreds of burlap everywhere. ¬†I could feel it in my ears. ¬†No one warned me that personal protective equipment was needed in order to prevent the inhalation of microscopic threads of burlap. ¬†So, I’m warning you now. ¬†Burlap is a hazardous material. ¬†And Hobby Lobby has great prices on it. ¬†You’re welcome. OH, and I will also inform you that a burlap wreath makes a lovely Bug Home at this time of year. ¬†Overall, I’m happy with how the wreath came out. ¬†And I have a feeling the cockroaches are even happier.

Burlap Bug Home

You know who HAS been doing some writing around here? ¬†Beau and Finn. ¬†Many of you are already familiar with Finn’s critically acclaimed short story, Blue Poop. ¬†Well, as I already announced on Facebook, he’s working on the sequel.

Blue Poop

Lest you think we have been negligent in our parental guidance, we HAVE been encouraging both of the boys to broaden their horizons and explore topics outside of the Poop Fiction genre. ¬†Seriously, they have not disappointed. ¬†Beau is delving into non fiction writing, taking on the challenge of being informative AND entertaining. ¬†Take for example, his recent ¬†work “Body Explorers: ¬†The Butt Part”. ¬†Very informative and only mildly disturbing. ¬†Why, just check out this page which explains the proper use of toilet paper.

Very informative

What? ¬†You already knew how to use toilet paper? ¬†Well, it may seem self explanatory, but I have known some people who could use *ahem* some refinement in this area, and I can’t think of a better way to get the message across. ¬†In fact, I’m going to order extra copies.

So, yes, great literary classics are being produced under my very roof.  But me?  Writing???  Not. So. Much.

You know, I read before that the average blog lasts 6 months. ¬†Around that time, you either dig in or throw in the towel. ¬†Out of curiosity, ¬†I took a peek at when I started The Ordinary Chaos site. ¬†My first post was 4/30/13. ¬†The last post I did was 10/28/13. ¬†One, two, three…. Seriously??? ¬†How can I be so predictable??? ¬†Disappointing. ¬†Being a quitter is one thing, but being a predictable quitter is a whole new low. ¬†Anyways, here I was, ready to join the ranks of the Towel Throwers, when the fan messages started pouring in. ¬†“Bring back the blog!!!”

…Okay, that didn’t really happen. ¬†But there was one message from a family member, and I do take requests. ¬† Besides, I know y’all were missing this face:

Dash Age 2Yup, Dash is TWO now. ¬†Terribly, wonderfully Two, with all Two’s messes and tantrums and snuggles and giggles. ¬†He talks really well now, and by that I mean he says things like “I luh loo”. ¬†Melts my heart. ¬†<3

So I’ll try to keep writing. ¬†Because I never quit while I’m ahead. ¬†I only quit when I’m really far behind and haven’t a shred of dignity left. ¬†Besides that Facebook can’t contain my run on sentences. ¬†And because I know y’all really benefit from me telling you how not to bake bread and how not to decorate and how not to get your kids to write about things that aren’t poop. ¬†I cannot decide if that even makes any sense, but if you’re still reading this, it’s not because you’re overly attached to things making sense. ¬†Anyways, I’ll be back soon with more of The Chaos.

Luh loo all,

Jen

 

Enter At Your Own Risk: Lego Disaster Clean Up

Remember this picture of Finn in his room from How Finn Got His Knack Back?  Yeah, this one where he was looking really happy, surrounded by a sea of Legos and Snap Circuits?

Notice the Lego bin tower in the background that has no Lego bins in it.   They and their contents are ALL ON THE FLOOR.

Notice the Lego bin tower in the background that has no Lego bins in it. They and their contents are ALL ON THE FLOOR.

 

A disaster zone, right?  Although Finn seems to have a mental inventory of each piece and it's location on the floor.

Although Finn seems to have a mental inventory of each piece and its precise location on the floor.

Despite Finn being totally content with the situation, every one else was fed up with not being able to so much as walk through the room anymore.

Time. To. Clean. Up.

Naturally, Finn was completely overwhelmed by the idea.  Being a gracious Mommy (sucker), I agreed to help.  Helping of course means I do 95% of the work while he writhes around on the floor, occasionally tossing something in a bin and acting like life is really hard.

I didn’t mind helping, but I was soon aghast at what I found. ¬†Seriously, it wasn’t for the faint of heart:

Lego mini figures with their pieces strewn everywhere, yellow heads just rolling around willy-nilly, not so much as a hand left attached to an arm. All I could think was “Who does this to their mini figures???”

My first instinct was to put them back together, but soon I was overwhelmed. How do you choose who to help? The grandpa because he’s charming? The Ninja Turtle because he’s part of a set? ¬†The Yeti because we just got him and could we not keep it together for THREE DAYS??? ¬†And do I just leave the Snake guy because he’s kind of creepy? Doesn’t he still deserve arms?

So I decided the best thing to do was to gather all their pieces and put them in one bin, creating a sort of safe zone where they might at least have a chance of being reunited with their missing parts.

legopartsAfter AT LEAST TWO HOURS I stumbled out of the disaster zone. ¬†Honestly, I had completely lost all sense of time while I was in there. ¬†Every time I was about to give up I would see another little arm peeking out of the bricks and have to keep searching. ¬†I was physically and mentally drained from the experience. ¬†(That isn’t a joke. ¬†For real, I had HAD IT.)

At the end of the day, Finn had assembled sixteen mini figures, which he proudly declared were his own “Series”. ¬†There are still more displaced torsos and hands in the box, but I will sleep well knowing I did all I could.

And I’m pretty sure that I ranted enough about “You’re not getting anymore mini figures if this is how you treat them” to make an impression on a certain little person… ¬†Let’s hope.

 

 

Dear Dash,

Dear Dash,

Listen, Buddy, we need to talk.  The other day you figured out that if you pushed a chair up to the kitchen counter you could access a whole new world of exciting things.  This morning you got up, pushed the chair to the sink and spent an entire 2 hours there, playing with dishes and soap bubbles.

keeping toddlers safe

Look, Dash, I’m glad you’re having fun. ¬†But Mommy really needs you to grow up.

I’m sorry, I’m saying this all wrong. ¬†Let’s back up a little. ¬†Do you remember when you were 14 months old? ¬† That was when you learned to open the “toddler proof” cabinet locks. ¬†At first I thought they were left open? ¬†Defective? ¬†Nope. ¬†You could actually open them. ¬†So I found high up shelves to put cleaning products on. ¬†What I couldn’t fit I moved to the garage. ¬†I put all the sharp things and breakable things up in high cabinets. ¬†Well, most of the breakable things. ¬†The ones that stayed put are now broken. ¬†No big deal, Dash, I can do without the ceramic bowls.

The same week, you started climbing up on the kitchen table. ¬†There was only one thing on the table, a glass pitcher. ¬†It was shattered on the floor within hours. ¬†That’s okay, Dash, I should have thought to move it.

cropped-027-001.jpg

Remember this little guy?

Around the same time, you learned to dismantle the play pen, which was supposed to keep you safe while I cooked dinner.  So much for that.  Down to the basement it went.

Pretty soon you were climbing the barstools onto the counter.  I already knew those stools were trouble.  Finn has a scar on his nose from knocking one of them over on himself when he was tiny.  We could do without the extra seating.  Barstools went down to the basement.

One day you pulled a little table over onto yourself. ¬†You were so short, it actually fell right over top of you, landing with you standing between the legs. ¬†Thankfully you weren’t hurt. ¬†I immediately put that table in the basement and I had Daddy double check that all the other pieces of furniture in the house were tethered to the walls.

So now we’ve gotten you to almost 21 months old. ¬†You can open and unscrew bottles as fast as an adult. You’re obsessed with electrical outlets. ¬†You love to turn on the water faucets. ¬†I’m trying to teach you which is “HOT” and never to touch it, but I always have my eyes on you in the bathroom. ¬†You always have to lean over things and reach so far that you go toppling in head first. ¬†You’re always knocking your head into tables and I’m always trying to put my hands out to cushion your little noggin when I see you’re too close to going BUMP. ¬†You put everything in your mouth and jump at a chance to get your brothers’ little Legos. ¬†I’m always scanning the house to make sure they didn’t leave anything choke-able within your grasp. ¬†You climb everything that will stay upright and plenty of things that won’t. ¬†You scamper up the boys’ bunk bed ladder and start jumping and squealing and hitting your head on the ceiling, all while trying to scoot just out of my grasp. ¬†I try and let you climb and jump as much as possible while always keeping my arms out to catch you if you get to close to the edge.

But now, NOW you are climbing the chairs up to the counter. ¬†The kitchen counter with all the hot things and sharp things. ¬†The stove, toaster, coffee maker, water, knives, glass, pottery, garbage disposal… ¬†AAAGHHHH!!!!

I’d really like to put all the chairs in the basement until you are three. ¬†I could live without them, but I don’t know how your Dad and brothers would feel about eating standing up. ¬†So for now,¬†I’m keeping the knives out of the sink and I’ve barricaded the knife block so you can’t get to it. ¬†And I’ve dragged you away from the hot toaster and stove (kicking and screaming, I might add) multiple times already. ¬†And I’ll never let you be in the kitchen by yourself.

But SERIOUSLY DASH. ¬†You’re wearing me out. ¬†I need you to grow up.

It’s not that I want to rush you through your toddlerhood. ¬†I love your snuggly toddler-ness. ¬†I love your little stinky toes. ¬†I love your curly baby hair. ¬†I love the way you ask for a smoothie and call it a “mini”. ¬†I know soon you’re going to be all grown up and I don’t really want you to be all grown up just yet. ¬†But I get so scared sometimes that I can’t keep you safe. ¬†So I stand in the kitchen for two hours helping you play at the sink, making sure you don’t get hurt and hoping you get sick of it soon. ¬†And then I start crying because your new carseat won’t fit rear facing in the van and I really want you to be rear facing because it’s safest and I just don’t know what to do to make sure this incredible little person in my care grows up and never, ever gets hurt.

You’re just so tiny. ¬†And so crazy. ¬†And I’m so tired. ¬†Know what I mean?

So Dash, I’m sorry. ¬†You don’t have to grow up just yet. ¬†But I’ll be glad when you’re a bit bigger and you have a little more sense to stay out of trouble. ¬†Until then, and after then too, I’m here for you Buddy.

I LOVE YOU DASH!!!

Love, Love, Love Always,

Mommy

That Run Over By A Truck Feeling (aka Sleep Deprivation)

The last time I wrote, I was excited after Dash had slept through the whole night on his own.  I hoped that perhaps we had finally turned a corner with him.  No more sleep deprivation!

NO. SUCH. LUCK.

That one glorious night of peaceful slumber has been followed by two (or three? I can’t count) miserable nights of wakefulness.

Apparently, that one full night of sleep was enough to fully charge his little battery and keep him going all week.  Despite lots of time running around outside and trips to the pool, Dash is not one bit tired.  It really defies logic.  How could a one year old spend two hours at the pool and splash park and then not sleep until 9pm?  Of course taking three kids to the pool makes Mommy tired.   But Dash?  NOPE.

I don’t know what’s waking him up. He doesn’t seem to be in pain, but his teeth are still coming in, so maybe he’s uncomfortable. ¬†He basically just seems mad if he wakes up and I’m not there. ¬†If I am there, he just reaches out and tries to pull my hair out of my head to comfort himself. ¬†OUCH!

Last night, I had already given up on my bed and was laying on the floor of Dash’s room. ¬†I had decided to pad the floor with a nice big down comforter, so I was “relatively” cozy there. ¬†Then, sometime in the middle of the night I woke up (to my hair being pulled) and I really had to use the bathroom. ¬†I waited until I thought he was back to sleep and tiptoed out of the room. ¬†“MAMA? ¬†MAMA! ¬†MAAMAAAAAAA!!!”

For goodness sakes.

I tried to hurry up in the restroom and rush back to calm him before he could wake up the whole house. ¬†“Dash, it’s okay, I’m right…”

BOOM!

I stepped on a truck (Rocky the Robot truck to be specific) and like a roller skate it went out from under me and I landed with my ribs on the side of the toddler bed.

Dash just stared at me in the dark as I laid on my face groaning.

EVERYTHING hurt. ¬†I dragged my battered little self back to my floor bed. ¬†“Dash, PLEASE, just go back to sleep.” ¬†He did, laying his whole body on my pillow. ¬†And so did I, with three inches of pillow to lay my throbbing head onto. ¬†(Because the whole thing triggered a headache in addition to a rib ache, hand ache, and foot ache.)

This morning I am a bit sore, my foot has a nice ugly bruise on it. ¬†I don’t think my ribs are broken, which is a plus. ¬†I wish I could say “you should see the other guy”, but Rocky looks no worse for wear. ¬†Stupid Rocky.

I had a lot of plans for today, but now here I am, back to shuffling around aimlessly, feeling like I’ve been run over by a truck. ¬†(Though technically, I ran over the truck, not vice versa.) ¬†I’m trying to type this while figuring out how to spell difficult words like “here” and “this”. ¬†Getting that little taste of having energy and mental acuity again, only to have it quickly snatched away has been somewhat cruel. ¬†Luckily, I don’t have the energy to be bitter about it. ¬†Bitterness is way too exhausting.

This too shall pass. ¬†Someday I will not suffer from chronic sleep deprivation. ¬†Someday I will sleep in a bed again. ¬†Someday I will be able to get up early and exercise instead of getting up at 8 and struggling to limp into the kitchen for coffee. ¬†Someday I will be able to answer complex questions like “how are you?” and “what’s the date today?”

Someday my Dash will be a big boy. ¬†So for now I will *try* and enjoy his snuggly toddler-ness. ¬†And I will also make sure all trucks are cleared off the floor before bedtime. ¬†Yup, definitely going to do that… ¬†ey ey ey.

sleep deprivation gets worse when toys are left on the floor

Kids Are Gross

I was going to write about something different today, but after having to put my couch slip covers in the washing machine I felt a new inspiration coming on:

Kids Are Gross.

Through the fine art of the English language, I’m going to try to convey this concept with as little disgust to the reader as possible. ¬†I don’t want you to have to wash your couch slip covers too.

So, here’s a question for you. ¬†Are all kids gross? ¬†Or is it just boys? ¬†I’ve heard friends say that their girls like to be neat and clean. ¬†And I do remember that when I was a little girl I wouldn’t even open my mouth in the morning until I had gone straight to the bathroom and scrubbed my teeth. ¬†(I don’t know if this is usual for girls or if I was especially neurotic?) ¬†What I DO KNOW is that when I tell my boys to brush their teeth, they say “WHY? ¬†We aren’t going anywhere!?!” ¬†or “I just won’t breathe on anyone.”

Much to my dismay, my kids seem to have a disdain for basic personal hygiene.  Not to mention a keen fondness for poop.  POOP, POOP, POOP.  If I had a nickel for every time I heard that word, well, for starters I would hire someone to clean the bathrooms every time the boys used them so I never had to lay my eyes on such horrors again.  Anyways, my personal theory is that girls are probably gross sometimes, but boys have pretty much corned the market on grossness.

The thing that really amazes me though is the ability these children have to blithely ignore their own ickiness while being thoroughly nauseated by someone else doing the same thing.  Remove the mustard from your own face before gagging over the ketchup on the face of your brother!  <- Pretty close to what the Bible says, although perhaps referring to weightier matters.  Anyways, it is a lesson we need to learn around here!

Seriously, meals at our house are a NIGHTMARE. ¬†Everyone is messy and they are all too worked up pointing out the other’s messiness to worry about having good manners themselves. ¬†Example:

Beau: ¬†“EWWW! ¬†A crumb just flew off Finn’s fork! ¬†It LANDED right by me! ¬†I CAN’T EAT!!!!” ¬†(As he points with food covered fingers.)

Dad: ¬†“Finn, stop waving your fork around! ¬†Beau, use your fork! ¬†Pasta is not a finger food!”

Beau: ¬†(licking fingers) “Sorry, Daddy.”

Finn: ¬†“Dash is being GROSS! ¬†He just spit out his food! ¬†EWWW! ¬†I’M GONNA PUKE!”

Beau: ¬†“I can’t DEAL with this!!! ¬†I’m going to eat at the counter!!!”

Me: ¬†“I’m going to pour some wine.”

photo-1Ah, nothing like a relaxing family dinner. ¬†Oh, and by the way, they aren’t joking when they say “I’M GONNA PUKE!” ¬†Take this morning, for instance.

Dash had pancakes with a little peanut butter on them.  I washed him up after he was done, but I forgot to get his plate off the table.  A few moments later, I hear screams from the living room.

“HELP! ¬†MOMMY! ¬†DASH IS WIPING PEANUT BUTTER ON US!!! AGGGHHHH!!!”

And, because that’s not dramatic enough, “I PUKED!!!”

Yes, Beau, actually puked on the couch because Dash wiped some peanut butter on him.  So while I took the slip covers off and put them in the wash, Beau went to take a shower because he felt compelled to scrub off his first layer of skin after the incident.  And I still have to ask him if he used soap after washing his hands???

If you think the food based incidents are bad, just imagine when something really nasty happens. ¬†Like this weekend, when we were out driving on the highway in Dad’s car. ¬†All three boys are lined up in the backseat, seemingly in good spirits when suddenly, a crisis ensues.

“EWWW!!! ¬†Dash is picking his nose!” ¬†At first they are amused by it, like, “Cool, Dash is just like a big boy now!” ¬†… until he is successful.

“AGGHH!!! ¬†DASH HAS A BOOGER! ¬†HE HAS A BOOGER!!!”

I scramble to open some tissues from the glove box, but my fingers can’t work fast enough. ¬†“JUST GIVE THEM A NAPKIN!” hollers my husband.

“I’M GONNA PUKE!!!” cries Finn.

I hand the napkin to Beau, who is somewhat of a booger fan and is able to handle the task. ¬†But it’s too late. ¬†Finn is puking all over his pants and his booster seat.

Thankfully, I have an extra pair of pants and a BIG pack of wipes for just such an occasion. ¬†So we are soon on our way again, with the windows rolled down to air things out. ¬†(Until we hit construction and the asphalt smell becomes more overwhelming than the vomit smell.) ¬†The next 40 minutes are spent in bumper to bumper traffic with Finn crying that he can’t stand the smell of his own mess and the rest of us not wanting to be asphyxiated by road construction gases.

“I hate puke!” ¬†he complains. ¬†“I wish there was no such thing as puke!”

So do we, Finn, so do we.

Sorry, I hope I didn’t make you too nauseated with these stories. ¬†Myself, I have a pretty strong stomach (and good thing for that). ¬†How about your family? ¬†Are your kids grossed out by each others grossness?

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Anything For The Perfect Shot

Since the other day I was talking about what an ADVENTURE it is shopping with kids, I thought I’d tell you about another wild time we had this week with the boys. ¬†Now, I warn you, this kind of thing isn’t for the faint of heart. ¬†It’s an experience that could make Bear Grylls of Man Vs. Wild go weak in the knees.

I’m talking about an Outdoor Photo Shoot With Three Kids. ¬†So brace yourself for an edge of your seat tale of danger, close calls, and adorable coordinated outfits.

The day started off with a certain middle child who woke up on the wrong side of the bed. ¬†“GET PICTURES TAKEN??!?!? ¬†I’M NOT GOING!!!” he hollers from under a blanket on his favorite chair, quite possibly intending to stay there all day.

Not to worry, I fully expected this and have counter intelligence tactics prepared. ¬†(AKA: Bribery.) ¬†“But look! ¬†Surprise! ¬†I have a new Lego Batman movie for you guys to watch when we get back! ¬†IF you cooperate!!!”

It is enough to propel him out of his comfy chair.

Things run smoothly until it is time to get dressed. ¬†Last year I bought the boys coordinating outfits on sale from Janie and Jack, specifically with pictures in mind. ¬†Don’t you just love Janie and Jack? ¬†I do. ¬†What do my boys love? ¬†Jogging shorts and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle tees. ¬†So they were not too happy when it was time to put on their linen button up shirts with roll-cuff sleeves. ¬†“WHAT ON EARTH?!?” (referring to the rolled sleeves.) ¬†“AGGGHHH! ¬†I CAN’T DEAL WITH THESE SLEEVES!!! ¬†THEY’RE SO UNCOMFORTABLE!!!” ¬†This is BOTH of the older boys freaking out. ¬†Don’t even get them started on the sandals.

Bribery time. ¬†“It’s only for a little while! ¬†I’ll get you a treat afterwards! ¬†What do you want? ¬†Chick Fil A? ¬†Cold Stone? ¬†Lego Mini Figures?” ¬†I’m sorry, what’s that? ¬†I sound desperate? ¬†Okay, so maybe just a little.

The thing about photo sessions is that they are usually a big investment for parents. ¬†Photographers are expensive (though totally worth it), but even if you get a ¬†special price, by the time you factor in the clothes there is a lot riding on a good outcome, you know? ¬†I have one piece of advice for having a happy and relaxed photo shoot with kids: ¬†LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS. ¬†And then lower them even a little more. ¬†And if that’s not enough to quell your anxiety, have a stiff drink. (Kidding! ¬†Well, at least only if you don’t have to drive to the photo shoot.) ¬†I know all of my kids are not going to cooperate. ¬†I know we are more likely to have a meteor land in our front yard than to have everyone looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. ¬†I am totally okay with that. ¬†I like shots that capture the kids’ personalities (even if certain personalities are a bit… quirky?) ¬† Besides, it always seems like the photographer manages to get plenty of amazing photos despite the chaos.

So, yes, I was totally relaxed when we got to the park to meet the photographer. ¬†I in no way expected to get a smile out of Finn, who was still On The Wrong Side Of The Bed. ¬†I’ve seen what happens when photographers push the issue with Finn. ¬†It’s not good. ¬†We can have him looking serious, even sullen, but I don’t want to put an “If Looks Could Kill” photo on the mantel. ¬†Beau, on the other hand, is the glue that holds everything together. ¬†That boy loves the camera. ¬†So not only did he gladly cooperate, he tried to get Finn to smile too. ¬†And it almost worked. ¬†I think there will be a cute shot of Beau whispering something to Finn and him cracking a smile.

So, we spent some time with the boys running around a grassy knoll until the photographer suggested heading towards The Pond. ¬†There was a bit of a hill leading down to the water and she had a little square stool for the boys to sit on. ¬†Beau sat on one side and Finn shoved his way onto the other. ¬†Dash was supposed to stand in front of them. ¬†Dash screamed and didn’t want to do that. ¬†Finn decided Beau was hogging the stool and pushed him off into the grass. ¬†Enough of the stool. ¬†But wait, Dash wanted to climb on the stool and stand up. ¬†This doesn’t seem very safe, as the stool isn’t even on a flat surface, but we let him do it because by then we had lost our sanity in the quest for a good picture. ¬†So we’re all diving to catch him and strangely, we just keep letting him do the same thing over again, like maybe they’ll be a good shot before he starts to fall again?

After we’ve had enough of Dash’s stunts, the photographer suggests going down to the water so the boys can throw rocks in. ¬†Except there are no rocks. ¬†My mom came with us to give me a hand, and she is really determined to cheer Finn up. ¬†So, bless her heart, she sees some rocks in the water and starts wading in to get them. ¬†Dash thinks this water thing looks like a good idea, and he will not let the big boys hold his hand (would have been cute, right?) ¬†So I keep diving into the shots just in time to keep him from ending up face first in the pond. ¬†Every way Dash moves, the big boys are moving the other way, so they are never all in the view of the camera at the same time anyways. ¬†I suggest they sit on the park bench. ¬†Dash falls off the park bench. ¬† My mom slips in the mud and falls in the water. ¬†Amazingly, Finn smiles straight at the camera. ¬†The perfect shot.

We walk back to the van and notice there is a gravel path filled with rocks, just waiting to be thrown in the water.   Mmhmm.

On the way home, my mom asks what Beau whispered to Finn to make him grin earlier in the session. ¬†“He said someone in his class had POOP on their face!!!” ¬†BAAHAAHAA! ¬†They roar with laughter. ¬†Really? ¬†All this time we have been wasting our breath trying to get the kids to smile with phrases like “Ice cream!” and “Puppies!”??? ¬†Boys!

Alas, we spend the rest of the day trying various stain removal techniques to get red mud out of clothes. ¬†And watching Lego Batman. ¬†And today I will clean out my van because it smells like Chick Fil A and Pond Scum. ¬†Memories are made of this. ūüôā

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