Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Counting Game

So, the 4-year-olds yank me into the family room to show me a new game they invented called “The Counting Game.” Here’s what it was. First, put two stuffed animals in the middle of the floor. Then, chase each other around the animals while counting. After the determined number, boy stops, let’s girl pass him, then pushes her as hard as he can, launching her five feet and into the couch. Boy approaches girl and both raise their fists with their thumbs up and swing at each other while yelling, “Thumb fight!” Then, repeat.

Uh … yea … no. You’re going to hurt mommy’s couch.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Parent Bloggers—We are a Cult … and Sometimes Inspirational

Here’s what I’ve learned about the Parent Blog community in the last 5 months. It is just that … a community. It is not a competition between who has the most stalkers, who can make you pee your pants the most times (not hard since most readers have had children or are pregnant), or who can make you shed the most tears (again, not much of a feat since most moms are emotional basket-cases who haven’t slept in years and whose hormones have been bitch-slapped up and down, left and right).

Yes, there are contests from time to time—and, having tens of thousands of followers does help—but the losers are not sore, and everyone is sure to find additional blogs to add to their reading repertoire. Most of these writers, from what I can gather, write as an outlet and to pay it forward to other parents. Most of these writers have no trouble pointing out their own mistakes and shortcomings. And, most of these writers are in complete support of the other writers in this space. I am proud to be part of what has become a HUGE list of Mommy and Daddy bloggers.

One mom, in particular, made me realize what a support system this is—for writers and readers. Miss Ellen, over at Bad Word Mama, just gave me an “Inspiring Blog Award.” 

This Bad Word Mama is what she says, and makes me laugh every day. She is a rookie just like I am, but has enough content to keep you laughing for hours. She describes her blog as “An inside look at the crazy shit that goes through my head. Good Luck!!” You won’t need luck, just some Depends. Thank you, Ellen. I am honored.

As a recipient of this award, I now must tell you 7 things about myself and pass this award on to 15 other worthy bloggers.
    1. I am a stay-at-home-mom to 4 ½-year-old boy-girl twins and a 14-month old baby boy, but I hate being at my house.
    2. Close friends describe me as a lipstick tomboy.
    3. My roots are deep in the soil of a small Nebraska farm, but my branches led me to Richmond, Virginia.
    4. I got my first tattoo at age 38—just last weekend!
    5. My favorite thing to watch is my husband wrestling with the kids.
    6. I go through spurts of Martha Stewartism, but after collecting my supplies, they are just added to the many other unfinished projects in the closet.
    7. I have a lot of windows in my house, so I’m not sure how much of a secret this is, but my secret passion is dancing like a crazy person with my kids to any and every kind of music. Even at their ages, they already think I’m a horrible dancer.
    Here are the 15 bloggers I feel deserve this award. Please check them out.

    ComfyTown Chronicles. GAWD not another mom blog. Shut yer cakehole I'm funny. And swear-y. Warned.

    The Girl Next Door Drinks and Swears. Life’s more fun that way.

    Mommy Shorts. Parental snark & entertainment from the mind of a mom with a three-year-old and a brand spankin' new baby.

    Sole Searching. Welcome to our crazy, country, family, fun, farm-life with an occasional beer and and every day run. Sometimes it's a beer run, but it's always a little of both! Make yourself at home!

    Moms Who Drink and Swear. I write a profanity laced blog about everything and nothing.

    The Daddy ComplexBad parenting, accidental victories & abject panic from a father of twins.

    Moms Who Need WineTogether, we revel in our imperfections and find solace in the fact that we're not going it alone. 

    In the Powder Room. Social shopping with WeShop & fabulous editorial from funny, feisty women. Shop. Share. Earn. 

    Mommy’s WeirdA radio DJ who is adjusting to being a Momma of two children. Main problems? Lack of sex, hot moms, and too many books and movies to review.

    Rants from Mommyland. Welcome to MommyLand, where raising kids is like herding turtles. Is it bedtime yet?

    KvellerA Jewish twist on parenting.

    The Creative Mama. Team of writers covering every day living with a touch of creativity.

    Jamie the Very Worst Missionary. I'm Jamie Wright. I'm the Very Worst Missionary. That's really all there is to it. 

    On Bramble Hill. Domestic Diva wanna be... homeschooling mom and lover of photography.

    Raising Wild Things. I know where the wild things are--I'm living with them! This blog is about the hilarity (and sometimes missteps) of raising young children.

    Some of these bloggers I have been following for a while, and some are brand new. Some are seasoned, some are rookies with huge potential that could use more followers. I hope you find some you like on this list.

    Bloggers, if you choose to accept this award, all you have to do is leave a comment here letting me know that you received it. On your blog, tell us all 7 facts about yourself and then, pass this award on to 15 bloggers of your choosing. Mmmmwah!

    Tuesday, February 26, 2013

    Moms Get Tattoos, Too

    I waited 38 years to get my first tattoo. In general, I’m kind of an all-or-nothing girl. If I don’t think I can do something big, I don’t want to do it at all. Like my blog, for example. I really only have time to make one post per week, but I said I wasn’t going to do it unless I could post at least 4-5 times/week. It was like that with the decision to get a tattoo. Most have been shocked by the size of my tattoo, considering it is my first. But, if I was going to do it, I wanted to really do it! A two-inch butterfly on my left butt cheek wasn’t going to cut it. So, why now, you ask?
    1. I never had something I was passionate enough about to take this step.
    2. I never before had the confidence to say, “I truly do not care what anyone else thinks, except my husband and my kids.”
    My passion is my family. My family is also what has made me stronger and more confident than I have ever been my entire life. I am not afraid to say or do anything if it means defending, caring, or honoring my family. And, honestly, I couldn’t think of a better way to scream this to the world.

    Hubby's Tattoo
    So, my husband and I decided we would do it together—his first time, too. Both of our tattoos represent our family. My husband’s is a compilation of the zodiac signs of each of the kids and me (Saggitarius, two Leos, and a Virgo) on the inside of his forearm.

    My inspiration—besides my kids—came from The Little Golden Books from the 1940s. My dad and aunt had a collection from when they were children, and recently passed them onto me and my brothers. I fell in love with the illustrations and knew that style, applied to my children’s animal representations, would make a beautiful storybook scene for my left shoulder blade.

    My Storybook Tattoo
    From very early in each child’s life, we labeled them as a type of animal. My 4-year-old is our monkey—at first because of his hairy shoulders and ear shape, but since then by his silly behavior and his ability to wrap his body around you so tight you don’t even feel like you are holding anything. My 4-year-old daughter is our turtle—at first because of this certain way she would lift her head and look at us when she was about 2-3 months old, but since then by her laid-back demeanor. My 14-month-old son is our bear, which was clear from day one with his growly sounds—sounds he still makes as he is falling asleep or grabbing onto his loved ones for deep snuggles and kisses. His huge bear paws for hands and his meaty and strong body type do not at all take away from this likeness. The “22” was snuck in to represent my husband. That is his “number” for all you sports fans out there.

    So that’s the story of my first tattoo. I am still not cool to society. I still drive a minivan and live in suburbia. But, my kids think I’m cool, and I’m going to hold onto that as long as I possibly can.

    Special thanks to The Reluctant Missy, another kick-ass mom of three--who blogs about music, ink, and sass--for the referral, advice, and friendship. And, to Adam Marton at River City Tattoo in Richmond, VA, for his professionalism and for creating this masterpiece that, thankfully, only took two hours.

    Monday, February 25, 2013

    To Teach Taboo or Not To

    My twins say a lot of funny things. They are 4, and I am starting to think this is the peak of hilarious and memorable comments that will come out of their mouths. Some things they say—this will come as no surprise—could be considered taboo. However, I don’t have the heart to tell them most of the time. I’m afraid they will stop talking, and the entertainment value is much too important to me.

    For example, over the weekend, my daughter proclaims, “When I toot and when Weber toots (her twin), I kind of like how it smells. But, when you or Daddy or Grafton toots, it’s stinky.”

    First of all, let me say that I do NOT toot. She must have been smelling the dog. Now that we have that cleared up …

    Part of me can’t get past the weird twin connection we have discovered here, but that can be saved for another day. The other part of me wonders when I should break the news to her that we probably shouldn’t say these kinds of things in the company of others. Of course I don’t want her to get teased for saying something like this around kids who would rant about how disgusting that is. But, the honesty and ignorance is just so damn cute and harmless right now, that I am not ready to turn that off.

    When are they going to get teased for comments like this? Should I be teaching taboo now?

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

    I'm Now Known as "My Honor"

    My son thinks if he asks for something and follows it with, "my honor," that I will always say yes ... until today.

    Can You Clean in Your Sleep?

    I used to do the same thing when my mom asked me to clean my room.

    Tuesday, February 19, 2013

    The Old Maid of Kids Games

    I am certainly not going to sound like a good mom for saying this, but here goes. About 90 percent of the time I hate playing board games with my 4-year-olds. I AM the Old Maid of children’s board games. Let me follow by saying I think most board games are excellent for their development and provide a lot of enjoyment (until one of them loses). I would never consider depriving them of these games. I’m always happy we have done it when it is over, but the suffering during play is damn near intolerable.

    Maybe part of my problem is that I am a rule follower. I’ve talked to some moms who let the kids cheat. Not me. If I catch them trying to cheat, they will be penalized. Perhaps this makes it harder on me, because I can’t just sit back and let things happen. But, I’m thinking if they play the same game at someone else’s house, I don’t want them to cheat there, so I can’t let it happen in our own house. Not to mention, I am a firm believer that rule following is a very important skill for children.

    Of course this may often lead to crying—usually by my son, who cries every time he loses. That leads to us sending him away, because “we don’t want to play with a sore loser.” He’s getting better, and will even choke out the words, “good game” from time to time.

    Here are the games we play most and why I find myself encouraging them to just watch television for a while.

    Chutes & Ladders. I’d almost rather land on a chute that would take me to the gates of Hell than play this game. It never ends! If you are not familiar, this game has 100 marked spaces. On the board there are ladders that connect lower numbers to higher numbers so you advance quickly if you land on a space with the bottom of a ladder. It also has chutes that connect the higher numbers to lower numbers, which can send you plummeting down 30 spaces at times. Of course, we make it harder on all of us by implementing a rule that if they can tell us the number they landed on, they get to move ahead one space with no penalties if they land on a chute. They can now name every number from 1-100, except 11 through 19. I know these numbers don’t make sense, and I try to be patient. But, here’s a scenario:

                    Me: What number is that? (14)
                    Child: 34?
                    Me: Good guess, it’s 14. (Pointing at the 14) What is that number?
                    Child: Uuuuhhhhh. 24?
                    Me: No, I just told you. Do you remember?
                    Child: Oh, 89. No, 38? No, 56?
                    Me: It’s 14. Can you say 14?
                    Child: 14.
                    Me: Okay, what is that number (pointing to the 14).
                    Child: 34!
                    Me: Okay, it’s Daddy’s turn.
                    Child: Do I get to move ahead because I got it right?

    Candyland. Once the kids learned which direction to move their game piece (apparently a skill not yet developed at age 3), it became tolerable. However, if the game carries on too long, you have to start slipping out the cards with the candy on them. Oh, by the way, while I am a stickler of rules, they don’t apply to me in children’s games. Mommy = Double Standards. Also, this game lead to an addiction to twizzlers and gumdrops.

    Hi Ho! Cherry-O. If you plan for a couple of cherries to end up going through the air vents in the floors each time you play, you’ll run out after a few times and won’t ever have to play again.

    Hungry Hippo. Seriously? Because more noise in the house is exactly what we need. Thank goodness the baby came along. Choking hazard was a great excuse to retire that one.

    Zingo. There are different forms of this game, but the one we have has tiles that go from zero to 12. Once again, recognizing the numbers 11 and 12 is challenging, so we have the Chutes and Ladders conversation a few more times. And, even when they know the number on the tile, they count every object in every space, so it’s a good 5 minutes before someone yells out the number on the tile. It could be a “1” and they will count the space with 12 fish. “1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12 … No, that’s not a 1.”

    Old Maid. They don’t seem to understand that we know the card they put closest to us or highest is the Old Maid. We are not going to pick it. Then, there is the look on their faces when they pick the Old Maid from someone else. Ha! I will highly encourage them to put off playing poker for a few more years.

    I assume my parents suffered through board games with me and my brothers when we were young, because it is one of our favorite family activities now. Every time we get together, there is always a card game or board game going on. I want that same thing when my children are grown and have their own families. This is just the price I have to pay, I guess.

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    Wednesday, February 13, 2013

    Multiple-Sized Thank You!

    Well, I made it to #40 in the Funny Mommy Blog contest at Circle of Moms with over 1,000 votes! My goal at the beginning was top 50, so yay!!! I wasn't picked as a blog to watch, but I'll keep writing, and hopefully next year will be better. I have only been doing this for 5 months, so I'm trying not to be too hard on myself.

    I certainly wouldn't have done as well as I did if it wasn't for the amazing support of my friends, family, and followers. So, thank you, thank you, thank you! Several of you posted on your own pages, and that helped a ton. I can't tell you how much it means to me to have so many people on my side. Definitely gives me motivation to keep going. Please stay involved and write to me anytime with ideas or input. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart!

    Check out the winners. You'll find some others very worthy. A few of my favorites (if you like them, tell them I sent you):

    Though this was a competition, of sorts, we Mommies who laugh at ourselves, are a team. I've shared their worthy stories and they share mine.

    Cupid is Welcome Here Any Day

    I’ve heard so many married couples say that Valentine’s Day is for couples who are dating. Well, I AM dating my husband, and we DO celebrate Valentine’s Day.

    Some married couples claim they don’t need a holiday to express their love for each other, and there is no need for a specific day to do that. Women say their husbands should send them flowers on random days and that Valentine’s Day is too cliché.

    But, how often do these couples make that extra effort? I’m sure intentions are good, but life gets in the way with work, tasks around the house, and certainly children. I think Valentine’s Day is MORE important for married couples than for unmarried couples. Unmarried couples—at least those who are still in young relationships—impress each other effortlessly. They still hold hands in the movie theatre. They still surprise each other with little gifts and weekend getaways. They still have sex several times a week. If you are a married couple that still does this, then please share the recipe for your success. I’ll bet part of it is that you celebrate Valentine’s Day.

    So, you married folks that poo poo on those of us who celebrate this prefab holiday, think long and hard about where your relationship is. And, maybe—just maybe—it might not be the worst thing to count on that something extra once a year. I’m not talking about extravagant gifts. This is a time where it is truly the thought that counts.

    We always go to a nice dinner, spend a little more on a bottle of wine, and sometimes exchange thoughtful gifts. But, my favorite gift every year is the letter. My husband has written me a letter on Valentine’s Day every year since we started dating. Some have been three pages, some have been three sentences, but I have loved them all. I’m not super sappy, and don’t save every ticket stub and wine cork, but these letters I will cherish for the rest of my life.

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your lovers. And, sorry, Hubby, if any of your friends read this and learn that your tough exterior is just a cover for the sweet, soft man underneath.

    If you like my blog, would you vote for me in a Mommy Blog Contest? Click here to go to my voting page. Feb. 13 is the last day to vote! Thank you!

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

    Crap Kids Say ... Making the Rules

    4-year-old son: "I can't wait to be a daddy so I can make the rules."

    I feel a sense of mommy accomplishment today, because apparently he knows he doesn't make the rules now. :-)

    Crap Kids Say ... Growing Old

    Daughter: Why can’t I have coffee?

    Me: It will stunt your growth.

    Daughter: Why can you drink coffee?

    Me: Because I am done growing.

    Daughter: No you’re not. You’re growing old.

    Me: Touché. 

    My kids are funny, for sure. I hope you think they got it from me. If so, please vote today and tomorrow in a Funny Mommy Blog Contest. Click this link and click on the heart on that page to vote. Thank you!

    Monday, February 11, 2013

    Half Birthdays are a Racket

    So, my twins’ half birthday is coming up this Friday. Yes, I said “half” birthday. I don’t know how it is where you live, but apparently it’s a “thing” where I live. It’s more than just your kids being able to say they are now “four-and-a-half.” The kids’ pre-school teacher spoke of the half birthday earlier in the year, and since then, I sense there is a sort of obligation for parents to bring in cupcakes for the event. IMHO, half birthdays are a racket staged by cupcake bakers and candle makers—and, one I will not recognize.

    I kind of feel like a jerk about it, because my kids have come home talking about the celebration of classmates’ half birthdays. But, here’s what I told them. “Do you remember your real birthday? Well, Mommy put a lot of effort into making the cake you wanted and giving you the most special day I possibly could. If you celebrate your half birthday, it makes your real birthday seem less special.”

    They took it well and really didn’t seem that disappointed, so I decided to stick with it. I haven’t yet decided how to break it to the teachers. Hopefully, avoiding eye contact and acting like the frantic mother trying to hold a squirmy toddler, shove that day’s art projects in their bags, and bundle them up in their coats and hats while other parents anxiously wait their turn will be enough for me to avoid the conversation altogether.

    It’s not that I can’t go to the store and find gluten-free, nut-free, sugar-free, taste-free cupcakes. It’s more about principle, and the fact that every time I turn around there is another holiday or birthday celebration. I want my kids to look forward to special events … if they are really special. The half birthday is not, and I’m not about to set a precedent I will have to one day wiggle out of. Am I being a jerk?

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    Friday, February 8, 2013

    Convincing DINKs to Have Kids

    I saw a post on Facebook the other day where someone was trying to convince a friend that having kids doesn’t have to change your lifestyle that much if you don’t let it. Either the friend with kids is planning an evil plot on the kidless friend, or the friend with kids was referring really to their pets as their children and not actual human children. So, I got to thinking about how exactly marriage does change after children, because truth-be-told, it does.

    What used to be a gentle, loving touch in bed under the covers is now a nudge—sometimes a full-on kick—to prompt your partner to attend to a crying child. “You got him this time?” “Huh?” “You got him this time?” “Oh … yea, I guess. Have you been up with him tonight?” “Yes, three times.”

    Date night used to begin at 8 p.m., with a dinner reservation at 9, and end with a cab ride back home at an undetermined time b/c you were too drunk to see your watch. After kids, date night starts at 5:30 p.m. to avoid feeding the kids their dinner, because EVERY … SINGLE … MEAL with children is a battle over vegetables, manners, and needing something every two and a half minutes. The date ends at 9:30 to avoid a hangover with three screaming kids the next morning, and because, well, you’re freaking exhausted. Though, you wait in the driveway until 10 so your 19-year-old babysitter doesn’t think you are completely lame.

    Sex before kids would happen anytime, anywhere, and often. After kids, sex is only in a locked bedroom and is scheduled like an adult playdate.

    Relaxing before kids was a day at the spa for the women and a golf getaway for the men. After kids, relaxing is driving to the grocery store by yourself and listening to your own music as loud as you can.

    Before kids, you didn’t give bathroom time a second thought. You went when you had to go and that was that. Bathroom time after kids is a community event—if and when you finally get there.
    Before kids, you wouldn’t have stepped foot in a chain restaurant like Red Robin, Applebee’s, or Olive Garden. After kids, the waiters in those restaurants will immediately bring you your favorite adult beverage with crayons and balloons for your kids, whom they call by name. You will leave a 30 percent tip, because you tip a percent for each piece of food and broken crayon under your table.

    Before kids, vacations were on a whim and to fabulous places with bed and breakfasts and 5-star restaurants. After kids, vacations are … gosh, you know, I can’t even answer this one. Vacations aren’t yours anymore, so I don’t even count them. A vacation with kids is so much more work than just staying home, that it’s not worth going. And, to take a trip without the kids requires so many logistics—not to mention people you can trust to care for your kids and who will not be driven mentally insane after 24 hours of being with them. You don’t actually realize how difficult that is to find.

    Now realize that this is coming from a mom, who is nearing 40 with three children ages 4 and under. I still hold out hope that some of our pre-kid experiences will come back to us one of these years. I just pray I still have my sanity and an ounce of energy left when it does happen. So, you kidless DINKs out there (Dual Income, No Kids), don’t ever let any of your friends with kids tell you that your life doesn’t have to change. However, as painful as all of this seems, I doubt there is one parent in the universe that would give it up for their old life. God love those little monsters!
    If you think I'm kind of funny, and would be willing to support me in a Mommy Blog contest, please click this link and select the thumbs up button. Thank you!

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

    Using Fertility is Cool

    It seems as though there is a misperception by some that people are using fertility measures as the “easy” way to get pregnant. Here's just how "cool" it is ...

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

    No Mom of the Year Award Here

    I’d like to say all this went down over a year’s time, but most of it was this week. So hold off on the nominations, I’m just going to bow out of this one.

    Monday, February 4, 2013

    The Struggle of a Midwest Farmer’s Daughter All Grown Up

    Seeing the Ram Trucks Super Bowl commercial with Paul Harvey talking about farmers, made me pretty sentimental. I heard that voice—that deep, soothing, slow-talking voice—and it took me back 25 years to a 13-year-old Nebraska farm girl sitting down to lunch with her family (or “dinner” as they call the middle-of-the-day meal in the Midwest). My family was not a church-going family, though I believe we lived the highest values. And, I guess Paul Harvey was kind of our minister, delivering his sermons every day at lunch. And, somehow, remembering this brought up a lot of questions—questions to myself about where I came from and where I have chosen to raise my children.

    And, now … the rest of the story.
    Some call it the closest thing to Heaven.
    My family’s farm was 14 miles from the nearest town, and that town was population 900. Ten of those miles were driven on gravel roads, where sliding into the ditch after a good rain or snow was not uncommon, and where I found myself changing many flat tires. It was another 30 miles beyond that to the nearest movie theatre, which I believe runs only two movies simultaneously. Our nearest neighbor was a mile away. The only trees were planted by the farmers to shield their homes from the treacherous winter winds. There were more cattle in the county than people, and some of them were my best friends. And, everybody waves. Yep, the one-finger wave from the steering wheel. My city slicker husband still can’t get over that one.
    While to some, that sounds like the closest thing to Heaven; I could not wait to get out. I knew I was city-bound, though I did not know where. Since then, I have bounced around the country and landed in a mid-sized city in Virginia, with pretty much all the amenities a person could need or want. It is the city my husband and I chose five years ago to raise a family. Now, I question whether we made the right choice. Coming from a small town seems like such a sheltered life, but now it seems that’s just what parents want—to shelter their children from what seems to have become a scary world, at times.

    Where I grew up, the kids worked. I mean, really worked. Cleaning your room, taking out the garbage, doing dishes, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, feeding the cattle during a blizzard after school and before you started homework … that was not work. Those were chores. We were the hired hands on our farm. I turned baby bulls into steers. I climbed to the top of grains bin when it was 100 degrees as the auger emptied dusty wheat into them. I tromped down hay in a metal cage to build 20’ haystacks. I tilled the fields in the tractor. One summer, the only way my dad would let me go to volleyball camp is if I agreed to milk the cow once a day for the summer. Damn, I hated it! But, sometimes I think about what little work ethic I will be able to instill into my kids where we live now.

    We rarely went to a restaurant of any kind. It’s likely that once every six months is a generous estimate. Now, we have family date night at a restaurant once a week. But, it occurred to me that maybe noisy restaurants aren’t the right place for family date night. It’s hard to hear. We’re always worried about the baby getting restless. I stress over how much food has hit the floor and over tip because of it. How much “quality” family time is that? It gets me out of cooking and doing dishes, but sometimes it’s just more calming to be home. Maybe it would be better for my family if I didn’t have the option.

    The only time we would have fast food was on a once a year trip to see my relatives in Wichita, KS, or when our high school bus would stop at the nearest McDonald’s after an away game. I will admit my kids eat fast food an average of once a week. Though, when doing so, I do my best to choose the healthy options—white milk and fruit, no fries. But, that’s never going to be better than what I could cook for them at home. The many chain restaurants stare me down as I drive the kids home after school, knowing my options at home are slim. It’s just too easy. It would probably be better for my family if I didn’t have those choices.

    Organized sports during the school year didn’t exist until 5th grade, and that was a few weeks of basketball on Saturdays during the winter. Where I live now, you could overlap activities for 3-year-olds all year long if you wanted. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to make the choice to enroll them or not to.

    The only stores I went to with my mom were in our small little town, and the toy selection was … well, it wasn’t. I take my kids to Target on a weekly basis, and all I feel like I do is say “No.” While these conveniences just five minutes from my house are wonderful, sometimes I wish I never had to take my kids anywhere where they would see something they want. The battle is tiring.

    When I was a kid, we didn’t have soccer nets, fancy baseball equipment, children’s museums, or parks down the street. We created our own fun with anything we could find around the farm. Old window weights, the gas tank, and a light pole were bases for baseball. Our bat was an old wooden bat I think my dad used as a kid. We got roller skates one year for Christmas, but the only smooth surface was a sidewalk/patio at the front of our house that took about 6.5 seconds to round—and that was if there was no collisions or you didn’t trip over the crack in the sidewalk. We created our own track meet with some hoed up dirt and an old board for a long-jump pit, and some homemade stands to hold a bamboo stick and a pile of hay for the high jump. Sometimes I wonder if my kids will ever want something so much they will invent it themselves.

    I despised every one of those things as a child, but look so fondly on them now. I guess it says a lot about my parents that they were able to send five kids out on our own with an appreciation of where we came from—and wondering if it isn’t the best place to raise our own children. But, even if I came to the conclusion that raising my children on a farm in Western Nebraska was the best for them, I couldn’t do it. The life of the small American farmer is a tough one—and getting tougher every day. I’ve become too soft and too selfish for that life. Paul Harvey’s story was a lump-in-the-throat reminder of what this country was built on, and how far we have gotten away from it. My only hope is that those values will carry through to my children, regardless of where they are raised. God bless the American farmer.

    Good Day.

    Click here to see the Ram Trucks and Paul Harvey commercial.

    Friday, February 1, 2013

    Crap No One Tells You ... About Personal Hygiene

    Today, I am throwing myself under the bus in a public apology to my husband. My personal hygiene has taken a pretty big hit since having children. My mom advised me after the twins were born to do my best to shower and get myself halfway presentable every day. This wasn’t for others; this was for me and my own feeling of self. It was great advice and I think I managed pretty well, especially considering I had twin babies. But, now that number three is in our lives, I have forgotten what it’s like to feel “put together.” The Crap No One Tells You is not that you might miss a shower here and there, but that you will become flat out disgusting after having children.

    It’s not uncommon at all to go 48 hours without a shower. For most people that’s probably not that big of deal. When your baby is young and spitting up on you all the time—on top of breastfeeding, if you are doing that—you will start to get a little ripe by day two. But, that is also the time when you wouldn’t let your husband touch you with a 10-foot pole if he tried, so really no harm done there.

    Then, it leads to skipping hair washing. Often, I will go 4-5 days without washing my hair. Once the oil starts to appear on day 2-3, it almost looks as if it’s a little wet, so that someone might suspect you just got out of the shower. By day 4-5, there’s no other way to say it … nasty.

    I shave my legs pretty frequently because I can’t stand the feeling of scratchy legs in bed. However, I neglect the areas that have been introduced to hair as I’ve aged—top of my feet, toes, random hairs growing out of weird parts of my body. What’s worse is I haven’t been to a professional landscaper in over a year, and the DIY project has fallen by the wayside. My eyebrows are overgrown, and will soon become one.

    I haven’t flossed since the morning of my last dentist apt. I should, however, get points for going to the dentist. Though, it was two months ago. I could also stand a week of whitening strips to get rid of the coffee stains I’ve obtained in order to survive every day.

    The last pedicure I had was towards the end of the summer, and that was done by me and my 4-year-old daughter. The same polish still remains, untouched, except by time. I’m almost afraid to take it off for fear of what I may find underneath. My fingernail tips are short and smooth, only so I don’t scratch the baby. But, the cuticles are jagged and approaching about a quarter of the way up my nail bed.

    I haven’t purchased new underwear in probably 2 years. And, remember, I was pregnant last year.

    The only time I wash my face before bed is when I play volleyball. My pores are so clogged it almost looks like I have smooth skin.

    Besides recreational volleyball once a week, I haven’t had a lick of exercise in months. Though, my 4-year-old son informed me when we were out for frozen yogurt (you know the kind that’s not horrible for you until you pile on the gummy bears, nuts, sprinkles, M&Ms, marshmallow cream, and hot fudge), that if you take a big spoonful, “it’s pretty good exercise.” I’m going with that.

    My husband and I do make a good effort of getting out for date night. But, when we do, I still don’t have much time to get ready. The only way it will happen is to have the babysitter come early, but then I stress over paying a babysitter so I can flat iron my hair. It’s just not worth it.

    Yes, I’m hideous. I can’t even stand myself. So, honey, I did my best this morning while the baby was sleeping and the twins were at school. I could have forgone the blogging, but instead I didn’t do the dishes. I did take a shower, wash my hair, and shave my legs. I even took a Q-Tip to my ears and spent longer than 20 seconds brushing my teeth. I have a little bit of makeup on and blow-dried my hair straight. I’m sure by the time you return this evening, I will again be a disheveled mess, but please know I tried. I’m sorry I’m disgusting.

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