Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pouring My Heart Out...What I Hope My Kids Remember

As I sit on the couch in the family room watching my children engage in a fun game of hide and seek, I'm reeling from the fact that another school year has come and gone.

Time goes by quickly, so they say.  The days are long but the years are short....yet another saying that rings true.

I'm deep in thought, wondering which childhood memories from this past school year, they will recall with fondness...which ones they will remember with sadness, perhaps even bitterness.

As a mother, I hope I'm doing right by them, even though I struggle every waking moment wondering if I'm merely creating more issues for them to discuss in future therapy sessions.

I want them to know that every decision I make on their behalf is made with a conscious effort to keep them safe, happy and responsible.

When they say I'm being mean or that they don't like me, I try to convince myself that must be because I'm doing something right; however, it still hurts...it strikes panic in my very core and makes me question everything I thought I knew.

What I hope my kids remember are these things....

  • How much fun we had together
  • All the hugs and kisses provided to them when they were hurt
  • Eating breakfast for dinner and having dessert for breakfast
  • Giving them the very last cookie in the package even though it's the one treat I'd been looking forward to all day long
  • Wiping their poopy asses, even though they were perfectly capable of doing it themselves
  • Rocking them to sleep, although they barely fit on my lap any longer
  • Holding their hand as they puked
  • Singing "Rainbow Connection" to them every single night before bed
  • Gently pinching their butt cheeks incessantly
  • Singing silly songs to them and dancing around the family room with glee
  • Eating the cake batter straight from the bowl simply because we could
  • That as often as I raised my voice to them, I always remembered to apologize
  • Reading books together and making up crazy voices for all the characters
  • Days filled with bowling, swimming, jumping rope, riding bikes, going on treasure hunts, seeking out earthworms after a rainy day, gardening, hopscotch, blowing bubbles, jumping on the trampoline, games of freeze tag and hide-n-seek, baking cookies and decorating cakes.....
  • Lastly, I hope they remember how much they were loved and cherished...and still are, every single moment of every single day.


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Thursday, April 19, 2012

I got a visit from the Fairy Hobmother...and you could too!

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Just a couple days ago, I was having a particularly rough day with the kids.

Oh hell, who am I kidding?

Every day is a particularly rough day with the kids.  Because there are four of them and one or two of them is bound to be in a crappy mood for one reason or another...usually over something so silly it makes me want to stab myself in the eyeball with a germ-infested 22-gauge needle.

Instead of wasting what very few brain cells I have left by yelling at them (and let's face it...even yelling at them doesn't really work), I decided to go out back and tend to my vegetables and fruit trees.

Plus, they don't tell me they hate me or cry for an eternity when I prune them.  It's a give and take relationship....very different from the relationship I have with my kids, which is take, take, take and take some more until I'm a dried-up shriveled old woman begging for mercy.

Little did I know that when I got back inside and sat down at my laptop, there would be a lovely little gift awaiting me in the form of an e-mail from the Fairy Hobmother, granting me the fulfillment of one wish.

Seriously, people.  It happened.  I wasn't dreaming it and I certainly wasn't in a wine-induced stupor.

Here's a direct quote from the e-mail....

"I stumbled across your blog today and your story struck me as deserving of some recognition. Dealing with four kids at once must be tough, you've got to be made of pretty stern stuff to handle that and blog at the same time!"

Yeah, "pretty stern stuff" is just 25% of it.  The other 75% is just sheer guts and determination to survive.

If you don't know who the Fairy Hobmother is, let me tell you...he (yes, it's a dude) spreads light and joy throughout the internet, offering to grant your biggest wish in the form of a generous Amazon gift card.

One of my biggest passions is reading.  And I finally caved last year and invested in a Kindle.  Reading takes me to my happy place and allows me to escape from the chaos in my life, if even only for a few minutes.

So, obviously, I'm using my wish to purchase books, books and more books.

What?  Did you really think I was going to use the one wish on my kids?

Clearly, you don't know me well enough.

Call me selfish or whatever you want.  But it's not every day I have someone as generous as the Fairy Hobmother presenting me with an opportunity to fulfill one of my wishes!

Would you like the Fairy Hobmother to stop by your neck of the woods and grant you a wish?


Leave me a comment here on this post, telling him what your biggest wish is.  


You never know...it may come true!


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Monday, April 16, 2012

Getting to the Core of Your Child's Education

Guest post written by Jenna Smith.   For more information on this kind of post, please read my disclosure statement.


Recently, the majority of states adopted a new set of education standards called the Common Core Standards. Essentially, these standards outline the fundamental educational skills that we feel American children should grasp by the end of their public school tenure. These standards cover all children from kindergarten through high school. 

There are two primary focuses of the Common Core Standards, Math common core state standards and English Language Arts. The standards provide the outlines, but how the standards are met in individual schools are determined by the states themselves.

How Can the Standards Help Parents?


Even if you live in one of the four states that have not yet adopted the Common Core Standards, parents can use them to discover whether their child is performing to the standards which have been developed by experts in various educational fields. The key to knowing where your child stands in their education in through involvement.

First, visit the Common Core Standards Initiative website where you can find detailed information regarding the standards and answers to many of your basic questions. You can also go to your child's school and ask an administrator or your child's teacher to provide you with information about the standards.

Next, participate in your child's homework with them and see what topics they're covering in class. This is the best time to see if your child's school is addressing important learning goals and assess how challenging your child finds the lessons. If you begin this type of involvement, the easier it will be to maintain as they get older. You can also encourage your child to share their quizzes, tests, and exams with you. Be sure to look over the actual work and not just learn their grade. Showing your sincere interest in what they're learning will encourage them to open up more about their education.

Finally, ask your child's teacher any questions you may have about the standards. The teacher will be able to directly address how she is designing the curriculum and give you ideas about how to more effectively participate in your child's education.

If You Suspect Your Child is Behind.


There are many after school activities that can help fill gaps in your child's learning. Tutoring from a teacher or instructional games can be enjoyable and rewarding. Remember that a positive, informed outlook is always the best approach.



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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My sincere, heartfelt thanks....

I'm never one to ignore the blessings I have in my life.  And I believe it's important to give thanks for those blessings as often as I can.

First, I'd like to thank my kids for the following...

1)  Promising me, with angelic smiles, that they will most definitely be sure to leave some jellybeans for me.  Turns out it was all the black and white ones....that they know I hate with a passion.

2)  Breaking one of their plastic eggs and leaving it on the floor....for me to step on with my bare feet at 6:00 in the freakin' morning.

3)  Whining about the flavor lollipop that was left for them by the "Easter Bunny" after the "Easter Bunny" stayed up way past her bedtime, digging holes in the dirt in the backyard in the pitch black of night to ensure that their magic jellybeans sprouted into beautiful, colorful lollipops.

4)  Peeing all over the wall behind the toilet...and blaming it on the cats.

5)  Always being sure to give Daddy plenty of unsolicited hugs, kisses and I love you's but seemingly forgetting about me until I remind them that I was the one who carried them in my body for months on end and got gutted like a dying fish to bring them into this world.  Seriously....WTF?!

Next, I'd like to thank my loving husband, Tim, for the following....

1)  Inviting his parents over for Easter dinner...and conveniently forgetting to mention it to me until the day before the holiday.

2)  Paying me back-handed compliments that always seem to insinuate that he's not getting laid enough.

Like, "I love when you wear your hair like that.  It has that hot just-fucked look, even though we haven't had sex in....um, well...37 days.  Not that I'm counting or anything".

3)  Trying his best to help around the house but only managing to do things half-way.

Like, sweeping the floor but leaving a million mini dirt piles around the house, washing the dishes by rinsing them off and leaving for me to load into the dishwasher, and unloading the dishwasher by leaving the clean dishes on the counter.

And, now, just some random thank you's....

To the mom who spent months avoiding me after I graciously hosted a play date with her and her kids at my home...who now wants to be my friend on Facebook.  Ignore?  Definitely.

To the neighbor who smiled graciously at my children when she allowed them to climb up her lemon tree to pick some fresh lemons...and then invited them to come over and enjoy a lemon meringue pie next time she makes one.  Little does she know they won't soon forget that invitation...like, EVER.

To my other neighbors who wave politely at me instead of giving me the finger every single time one of my kids tramples over their freshly mowed lawns with their bikes.

To my cats who poop 28 times a day to ensure that I never run out of crap to clean up after, especially now that all my kids are potty trained.

To Jillian Michaels for being an obnoxious, bossy bitch who kicks my ass 6 times a week while doing her Body Revolution program.   And to her perfectly chiseled fitness minions...doing bicep curls with a 5-pound weight?  Really?

And, lastly, thank you to the developers of silly, pointless apps, like Oldify and Baldify, which keep my kids entertained for hours....so I can pee in peace and quiet.

What are you thankful for today?


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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How to survive Spring Break with your kids....

An oldie, but goodie....from last year's spring break.

Spring break has officially begun in our neck of the woods, people.

This is what I call a serious "fight or flight" situation.  The way I see it, I can either lock myself in the bathroom, curled up in the fetal position while sobbing hysterically OR I can suck it up and make the best of it.

Since having a complete meltdown doesn't bode well with the spawn (it makes them think they're in total control), I have no choice but to make the best of a horrible situation.

So here are some of my best tips for surviving Spring Break with your spawn....

1)  Chances are, they had some type of celebration at school the Friday before break began.  You know, the party that occurred 10 minutes before school let out, when the teachers shipped your kids home to you with a shit load of candy-filled plastic eggs, as they smiled and waved a friendly goodbye to their lovely students?

Never mind that the principal and teachers were all high-5'ing each other and giggling hysterically as the last student left campus...that's when the REAL party began as they popped open the bubbly and played a nasty adult version of Twister.

And chances are, you hid that candy almost immediately upon returning home, right?

On Monday morning at approximately 9:00 am, break out the candy, folks.  This will buy you enough time to perhaps shower and eat breakfast.  It'll take the spawn roughly 30 minutes to consume all the candy and then what will follow will be what I like to refer to as "the sugar coma".

The sugar coma lasts for about 28 minutes, 10 seconds.  Enjoy it.  Have that 2nd cup of coffee.  You'll need it.

2)  Have plenty of activities planned that you can casually mention every time they misbehave.  Like, say, dyeing Easter eggs.

Try this..."Uh guys, if you  keep spitting at each other, I'm afraid we won't be able to dye Easter eggs".....or play at the park, fly the kite, poke the kitty, whatever.  Make it sound like they're really missing out on something good.

3)  Actually, have plenty of activities planned for real....or you will get your ass kicked and handed back to you on a silver platter by those same spawn.

4)  Some activities to do....
  • start a vegetable garden (no, I'm not joking...it'll kill some serious time)
  • open the front and back doors and tell them to run around the house, in and out, quickly 10 times (be sure to lock both doors on the 9th round, while they're still outside...that's KEY)
  • go for a bike ride (bring band-aids because you know someone's gonna get hurt)
  • go on a treasure hunt (and tell them they can't come back until they find Mommy's sanity)
  • walk around Costco while eating free samples (what I like to call "the poor man's lunch")
  • take them to the gym with you and let your trainer beat them into submission while you enjoy a strenuous stroll on the treadmill
  • break out the paints that you've hidden away, if you can find them (be aware they will more than likely paint on each other instead of the paper you've provided)
  • bake cookies (try not to lose your mind while repeatedly warning "don't eat too much dough or you'll die of salmonella poisoning") 
5)  Some activities they will find more enjoyable....
  • smelling each other's asses to see whose smells the worst
  • pulling each other's hair out in huge clumps
  • stuffing their younger siblings into the huge plastic bubble you bought at Costco, plugging up the exit hole and farting into it
  • jumping into the humongous pile of clean laundry you just sorted
  • hiding your beloved bottle of vodka 
  • screaming so loudly that the neighbors have considered calling 911 at least 3 times in the last hour
  • digging up the flowers you just planted in the front yard
  • frightening the family cat so badly that she refuses to leave her litter box for days
  • harrassing the exterminator to the point where he's tempted to "ignore" the obvious hornet's nest hanging from your child's outdoor swing set
  • texting the word "shit" to random people in your address book on your cell phone (including the grandparents who believe their grandchildren are the most precious and sweetest children alive)

6)   Be okay with the fact that they will probably not brush their teeth, change their underwear or say one nice word to their siblings the entire week.  It's only 7 days, people...if they were doing this shit during summer break, you'd have reason to be concerned.

7)  Stock your liquor cabinet with plenty of tequila, vodka and other fine spirits.  Have your Wellbutrin prescription refilled early.  And be sure to have plenty of chocolate, ice cream, cookies (hell, even pancake batter...whatever your necessary evil is) on hand to enjoy during those moments when you begin to think that coming back as an aardvark in your next life sounds like a darn good plan.

This is a sure sign that you are dangerously close to completely losing your mind.  In fact, you might want to have the local psych ward on speed dial, just in case.

8)  Go ahead and canvas the neighborhood, letting your neighbors, who don't have spawn living at home, know that it's Spring Break.  Apologize ahead of time for making their lives miserable for the next week and ask them to try to not judge you too harshly when they see your spawn riding their bikes outside in the middle of a tornado.

While you're at it, go ahead and give them your most recent picture so they can be sure to share it with the news reporters and local police when you go missing, after finally having followed through with that threat you're constantly making, "If you all don't calm down and find something to do, I'm gonna throw myself into oncoming traffic".

9)  Realize that Spring Break only happens ONCE A YEAR...thank God.

10)  If nothing else, count down the days on the calendar until the spawn return to school the following week, giving yourself permission to do nothing else but sit on the sofa and stare at the wall come Monday morning.

Or you can spend your quiet time googling "is it possible to grow back brain cells after having been subjected to extremely loud noises, God-awful smells and horrendous sights for 7 days straight?" and "What will happen to me if I ever lose my sense of humor?"

Pick your poison.



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I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr



 
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