Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Winter Break

We've kept busy in one way or another over this holiday break.  Life is great with no schedule to keep.  We ate when hungry, slept when we were tired, and played in the times between.  With only a day or so left before it's back to bedtimes, homework, and after school obligations, I reflect on what is so great about having three crazy, demanding, rambunctious boys at home.  There's never a dull moment, and there is always someone to play with, and something fun to do.  We were lucky to go plenty of places, and see plenty of friends, but truthfully my most memorable moments were here at home shared with one another.

I didn't take this picture, must of been part of the bunch taken on an impromptu photo shoot with friends, not even a real computer, just a prop that they use in there pretend play game.... I think they call it Computer Nerds.

Like when Abe convinced Jonas to trim his hair, on my orders, so he says.  And Jonas just following orders, gave Abe's hair a good trimming, some might use the word chopping to describe it, but no real damage done, we've all see Abe's hair, can't damage what's already broken.  It still makes me giggle that Jo completely believed what his three year old little brother told him, no doubt in his mind that he was trimming hair under my orders, some might call him gullible, I call him an innocent believer.

Sol even invented his own super hero, Rainbow Ranger.  He decided to design and make his own costume, out of what else then....... scotch tape, markers and paper.

Inspired by his older brother Abe made his own costume.  Attaching the picture he was most currently coloring onto his chest, costume complete, he was...... Hawkboy!?! (pumpkin has nothing to do with his theme, I know I also was a little confused)

Again with the marker, at least it's mostly on his arm

But probably the sweetest moment was a shared conversation during a late night rocking to a fevered three year old......
"Mom look we're like a puzzle, our pieces go together, see."
He motions to the snug fit we have, he's right we go together, just like two puzzle pieces.
"Mom it's a good thing I'm tough and can fight a germs.  You want to know why I'm so tough.....it's because I'm half human, half pig, and half duck!"
"Is that so.... so tell me how come you're so stinken' cute?"
"Stinken?" glances over his shoulder, "Are you talking to me?"
There is no one else in the room.
"Yeah, why are you so stinken' cute?"
"Um, that's probably cause I eat too much food?"
"So you're stinken' cute cause you eat too much food?"
"Wait..... Um.... no maybe it's cause I have too much gas?"
Obviously "stinken'" to a three year old has only one meaning, even when he doesn't feel well he can make me smile, my sweet, sweet, stinken' boy.

This past week and a half has been great, but hasn't been without it's challenges.  We've had tummy troubles, ear aches, arguments, sniffles, failed experiments, fevers, a wicked cough, and one rough movie outing.

I'm no amateur, I take the kids on my own far more often then with the help of Monte, but sometimes I can't seem to get it right.  After some initial difficulties we were able to purchase our tickets for our chosen show, the only ones left, front row and all the way to the right, even with us being 20 minutes early.  I was even encouraged to spend the extra $7 for Abe a front row ticket for a seat that he would never sit in.  Just enough time to hit the concessions, which also went a little rough, and then off to find our seats, at least that was easy, they were the only empty ones in one extremely packed theater.  Abe spilled about a third of his drink down the front of his shirt before opening credits, an easy fix, remove wet shirt and replace with fleece, shirt will dry, thank goodness for layers.  Another quarter of his drink ended up in the popcorn bucket after he kicked it from the cup holder about 20 minutes into the movie, it's hard for him to get situated on my lap.  The last of his drink was kicked yet again, despite my previous warnings, this time spraying the group next to us and leaving a huge puddle at our feet.  It was a large enough puddle that I had to do some sort of cleanup, which meant I could either leave the kids for a minute to find something to wipe it up with, or take all three with me, I opted for the first, and made a dash from my now even more noticeable front row seat.  With our mess somewhat contained, I tried to enjoy what was left of the movie.

"Where is the Popcorn?"  "What do you mean it got ruined?"  "Let me see it, I think I might like it with root beer."  "Why does this movie have so much singing?"  "I have to go to the bathroom."  "Mom, what happened to my drink?"  "I'm not sharing my drink, he'll spill it!"  "I really have to go to the bathroom."  "No I can't hold it."   "I told you, I wanted to see this movie in 3D!"  "Wait, where is the popcorn!?!"  "Mom, I've got to go pee!!!"
As soon as the closing credits rolled, I was ushering my kids from the theater, we made a race for the bathroom, and because of the crowds, I made all three go in the family bathroom with me, despite  objections.  The half full drinks that no body wanted to share earlier were left on the floor of the bathroom, which I almost immediately kicked over.  So there I was for a second time, moping up root beer from a dirty floor, public restrooms, yuck!  Only have to get to the car, that should be easy right?  I spoke too soon, lost a child before the exit, found him carelessly checking out a "new and improved movie seat", grab his arm a little harder then I should, but not nearly as hard as I wanted to.  One last disagreement in the parking lot over slug bug rules, it ended in one child slugging his brother a bit too hard on false slug bug pretenses, oh yeah and I forgot Abe's root beer soaked shirt.  For several minutes it was a pretty tense car ride, I'd taken my own advice, and said nothing at all.  At least the mood lightened before we got home, even I'd relaxed and was enjoying hearing about movie favorites.

There's been a couple of nights I've wondered "What should we do tomorrow?"  Some days we've planned, and others we just do what the day bring us, but truthfully whether planned or not, it will always be entertaining, for us all. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

T'was the Day After Christmas.....

Abe asked me this morning if it was still Christmas, after telling him it was only Christmas time, he asked if his presents were still here, funny little guy thought his presents were just on lease for the Christmas day.  I quickly straightened things out, and off he went, he had toys to play with.  Is Christmas done for the year?  Already Monte is back at work, there's no more parties to attend, even the once over abundance of Christmas goodies is looking a bit sparse.  But as I look around, Christmas is still alive... and kickin'!  With a new vigor we've gone back for a second look at the gifts we got yesterday.  Already today we've completed a couple of puzzles, tackled a Lego set (they're begging to do another one, but I'm refusing until they find the missing pieces from our first, I wonder who will hold out longer?), pulled out our new crayons, paints, paper, and coloring books, Jonas even had some time to write a thank you note to Santa (sweet guy, Jo not Santa, haven't forgiven him for the fart gun yet).  Even planning a trip to our friend's house to check out what Santa brought, share at least one meal, and hopefully some game playing.

Dollar store puzzles have really stepped it up

You guessed it, that is a picture of Jonas shooting his fart gun, thanks a lot Santa

We've pulled out Dad's presents for a second read through.  Monte has always given the boys a book for Christmas, a book about their most current interest, and inside the front cover he writes them an encouraging note.  They love their father's note as much as the book, I love his notes even more, and because I want to always remember them, long after the ink has faded and the paper has yellowed, I'll share my favorite line.    Abe got King of the North Pole, a typical super hero book, a perfect fit, and a perfect line from his dad, Always remember what your power is Abe, it is love!.  Sol's book is my favorite The Ballad of Valentine, read to the tune of "My Darlin' Clementine".  We'd checked it out from the Library back in February for Valentine's day, my singing Sol loved it so much he memorized much of the book, and still repeats the lines.... "In a cabin, in a canyon, near a mountain laced with pine, lived a girl who was my sweetheart, and her name was Valentine".... I have no doubt he'll sing this to his own sweetheart someday.  Monte wrote, Sol you have a gift to remember things, this can be both a blessing and a curse, a curse if you choose to remember the things that make you hurt, instead of the things that make you smile.  Now for Jonas, my boy who has no love for books, but a love for all things funny, his chosen book was More Parts.  It's a funny book with great illustrations, and by his favorite author, Tedd Arnold (Fly Guy).  So for our funny boy Monte says, Jonas I like you, you make me laugh, all the time, it's a special gift, you can use that gift when you see someone who is sad to make them smile and feel better about themselves., which he does, everyday.  Great stories and uplifting notes, definitely worth a second look.  

There is one gift that I did go back for a second look, actually it's just my first, I refused to look at it the first time.  It caused a big argument Christmas morning, big enough for one man to go missing for quite a while.  I have complained about my camera for years.... but a beautiful new camera, comes with a beautiful BIG price tag, I don't know if I can justify it.  I can't lie, I rely on talented friends with great cameras who feel compelled to photograph, to take my favorite pictures.  Because truthfully I'm lacking talent, have only an alrightish camera, and no real compulsion, just a desire to capture a moment (which I usually miss).  So although it hasn't gone back to the store, it's still not out of the box.

We still have plenty to do over the break, helping the Christmas spirit to linger a little longer.  There will be visits to the park for ice skating, sledding with friends, and I'm sure we'll all make it to the slopes at least once.  We're even planning a trip down the hill to Ogden, to catch a movie and let the boys use some of those gift cards they got from family for Christmas.  Friends to visit, meals to share, yep plenty to do.... and still, I'm undecided on how well they'll be photographed. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Favorites

What a beautiful day, isn't Christmas great?  A day hopefully spent with those you love, sharing and doing the things you love.  So as the day draws to a close, I reflect on some of our favorites.

Abe's Top Three
-Chocolate for breakfast (and a morning snack, and a before lunch snack, and a after lunch snack, and an afternoon snack....)
-New super hero dress ups (even the one your big brother gave you made from an old t-shirt)
-A older brother with similar taste in toys

Sol's Top Three
-Jellybeans for breakfast
-A plethora of new Power Ranger zords & accessories (including a new 200 page coloring book to fill, already down five pages)
-A little brother with similar taste in toys

Jo's Top Three
-Tape Gum ("Mom, I'm going to chew so much that there isn't enough room for my tongue.", which he did, eventually had to spit it out, was the size of a golf ball.)
-The one and only thing on his wish list that he seriously wanted, a fart gun, and yes I've already grown tired of it
-Testing out his favorite present in the hot tub

Watch out Jo, it's a sea monster..... oh wait.....oops my bad, it's just your Uncle Matt

Trigger's Top Three (I wasn't going to forget him)
-A Christmas stocking full of treats
-Three new toys (Thanks Chelsee)
-A new bed to sleep in on Christmas Eve (hope you two enjoyed his company)

Monte's Top Three
-A large crock pot of shrimp creole
-New ski attire (It's about time, he's a bit overdue, finally coming to terms with going up a size, at least he'll finally be able to bend over and not pop a button.)
-My gossip magazines (Alright, so they're my guilty pleasure, only get them in my stocking at Christmas, funny thing is Monte spends more time looking at them then I do, probably has something to do with Kim Kardashian in a bikini on the cover)

Syrina's Top Three
-An intimate Christmas Eve gathering with close friends and a visit from a special Santa (Thanks Bub)
-Two extra helpers on Christmas eve, and Christmas day, great to have family here, don't know what I'd do without them (once again, thanks Bub & Heidi, love you guys)
-Thoughtful gifts, including but not limited to..... one completed quilt, not one but two new can openers (thanks McDonald clan, I get the hint), two new Sudoku books, a carved wooden bowl, a handpicked yellow pouch ("Mom, I found you something yellow, cause it's your favorite!), and how could I ever forget this awesome key chain and bracelet, both bought from the school mini store.

Hope your day was full of favorites.....Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Handmade Gifts

"And what would you like for Christmas?"
"A bird, from an egg, with other eggs, and a nest for it to sit in."

Abe was very specific on what he wanted for Christmas this year..... eggs with a bird and a nest for them all to sit in.  He loves playing with little birds, he digs through games to find his special bird pieces, his favorite bird recently lost his beak to a certain black and white dog who shall go unnamed.  I think this accidental bird de-beaking is what brought on his Christmas wish, a new favorite bird.  After days spent searching, I knew in order for him to get his particular request, it was going to have to be homemade.  Lucky me with just a bit of bartering my close friend said for one pair of used ice skates, she'd create the perfect thing... and she did.  He'll love it (and so do I), it'll get plenty of use, and after it loses some of it's appeal I'll make sure to save it along with our other special homemade gifts.

For as long as I can remember homemade gifts have always been made and given in my family.  I remember Christmas mornings with my brother and I tearing open packages in matching homemade Christmas p.j.'s, and then later snoozing while wrapped in homemade blankets.  I'm glad to have carried on this tradition, I try each year to at least make a couple of homemade gifts for family and friends.  I've made capes, sweater monsters, 12 foot snakes made entirely of fabric scraps, pillows, two years ago I even decided to make a couple of quilts, one for my brother and one for myself.  These quilts were made from strips of fabric cut from old t-shirts, Levis, and blouses, left behind from both our parents.  Since it's construction, I've made sure to pull it out every Christmas eve and leave it as a soft place to lie in front of the fire during the holiday break.

With my mother's crazy wardrobe, it's a colorful quilt, full of texture and love.
Every year we get the opportunity to participate in a Children Homemade Holiday Market.  What once started out relatively small, now has over 50 young participants, each with their own homemade wares to sell.  It's a great way to let my children shop for people on their list.  There is no real money exchanged, if you brought goods to sell, you receive a small bag of paper bills and fake gold coins, and after a couple of shopping sessions, it all works out, your wares are sold, and your list is checked off, everyone goes away happy.  I have to confess, I did a little sneaking and spotted a great handmade necklace, wonder if it's for me?

I'm grateful to have friends with similar traditions.  So far this year I'm the lucky recipient of homemade treats, jellies, mittens (I'll just add those to the hat and scarf from previous years, and I've got a complete winter set), and a jar of honey gathered from their own bees.  I even have a besty (who's been known to over think things) who rewards me with her art.  Her paintings and sketches are not only some of my favorite gifts, but also some of my prized possessions.  Monte even volunteered this year to help out with some homemade gifts for some family friends.

Found Monte's leftovers on the back porch this morning, they just didn't make the cut.  He's pretty thoughtful, he won't give away an acorn that he isn't completely happy with.
I've passed out a few small handmade gifts this year, but nothing really significant.  I'm about two weeks behind with my usual holiday spirit, however I did receive some gifting inspiration while at a friends house yesterday, when I spotted their wood carrier.  Monte's hinted about something to carry wood in the house with for a while now, so with some digging I was able to find the perfect material to make it with.  I found this old army pup tent for four dollars this summer, I knew eventually I could find something to do with it, and this was it's time.  It was a quick project, despite some tricky sewing around the grommets and snaps I'd decided to leave be, I had it done before the kids even finished their breakfast.  I don't mind the raw edges, and given it's use didn't see any reason to pretty it up.

My only desire was to keep the "US" print visible, kind of had a double meaning that I liked.

It's a far more functional and macho gift then last years fox embroidered pillow made from an old wool blanket, It'll probably even get a better reaction.  I tested it out, it holds Abe, I think it will work out great.  Now to just get it wrapped and hidden under the tree before it gets too much later, it'll be a busy night, and in the morning we'll all be excited to open our gifts, both the store bought and homemade. 

Our Nativity

The curtain was up, the lights dimmed, and the stage set, and where was I, behind the scenes trying desperately to convince our beautiful angel that she didn't want to be Mary.  I had gone about casting our pre-school nativity like any body else would for a small group of three year olds, plain common sense.  Our strongest and biggest boy is Joseph, who else can pull our little wooden donkey carrying one expecting Mary across the stage.  Our angel, obviously our most out spoken pre-schooler, the angel is the only character with lines to share.  Our lovely Mary, a bonus that she has dark hair, but really with only two girls in the class it was an easy decision.  And for the little ones who love treasure, let's make them the Wise Men.  Add in a few older siblings for the shepherds and Narrators, and it was a perfect cast.

I did convince our sweet angel to enter stage right, and after that things went without any other hitches, even when baby Jesus was wrapped in "swatting cloths" and the shepherds were "testing their sheep".  I later heard the show described  as "magical", and really I'm not surprised, I mean I did see most the action through the curtain, with my backstage pass and all.  It was a special night, and I couldn't think of a better crew to not only represent this extraordinary event, but also remind us what this holiday season is really about.  May your Holiday be filled with love and magical moments.       

The Jolly Big Guy

I'm not talking about my older brother, although he's been known to sport a red coat trimmed in fur around the holiday times, I'm talking about the the Head Elf, Old Man Christmas, why St. Nick himself, and all his appearances he makes during the Christmas season.  We've seen him at the store, the school, the mall, in fact he even showed up at our family Christmas party, and even though my children know these Santas aren't the "real" Santa, their reaction is always the same, fascination.  They're always anxious to get a closer look, is his beard real, what about the belly, and those bells let me just give them a shake, they're so eager to investigate they almost forget the purpose of seeing him.

Abe was in tears (didn't get to share his Christmas song) until Santa came bounding in, with his boisterous "Ho, Ho, Ho!".  Quickly wiping his tears, he hung on Santa's every word until it was his turn to examine the Jolly Man.

Three matching sweaters, you should see them on Easter, one of the things I really can't explain about myself. 

In the end I only have one complaint about our visits with the Man in Red, why is it if you put three children on Santa's lap at once he's bound to make some sort of comment about it?   "Oh wow, I don't know if my knee is going to hold out.", or "Oh boy, someone ate a big breakfast.", or even "Whoa, I don't know if this was a good idea!?!"  Really Santa, don't be such a lightweight, let me know when their using your back as a ladder, and your legs as a slide, all while your trying to nurse a baby, then maybe you'll have something to "O boy", or "Whoa" about, until then just consider yourself lucky.

So here's Merry Christmas to those of you who really knows what it means to have a knee go out while juggling children (and a Merry Christmas to those of you who don't, lucky suckers)!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Visual Blessings

What did I do for my morning work out?  Swim, nope, run, not that either, put in that dusty yoga video, not even close, I shoveled hundreds of pounds of snow.  I don't really mind, it gives me an excuse to spend time outside, enjoying nature and checking out what wildlife has to offer.  When I'd visited with my friend earlier  she'd told me she needed to go refill her bird feeders, the deer had creeped during the early morning hours and emptied the seed from them.   How beautiful, dozens of birds, and a herd of deer, what would I be visually blessed with this morning while shoveling?  

After grabbing my extremely warm puffy coat, I got straight to work, walks cleared fairly quickly, but the trees, they really needed some help.  I could see that there had already been a few casualties.  This snow was not the kind that Utah is famous for, nothing powdery or light about it.  After giving all the trees a good shaking, I was still waiting to be visually blessed.  Strange it seemed especially quite, and when I thought about it I hadn't seen some of our regular cold hardy feathered friends for a while, must be the extreme temperatures.

I moved on to some of my other concerns, the tramp, pathways to garbage, and then the deck, this was some seriously heavy wet snow.  Tramp done, pathways finished,  I'll for sure see something elevated up on the deck.  I was right, something did catch my eye.  What was it, the flock of wild turkeys that are known to wander the streets of town, the mother porcupine and baby spotted a couple of days prior, what about our resident beaver that lives in our pond?  Nope, nope, and nope, just a scraggly cat, not even our own, oh and look there is another, and another, and another, and another (at least this one is ours, but only kind of), well I guess this explains the lack of birds lately.  What is going on, I gave my best "scat cat" holler and received no reaction, even with my super intimidating puffy coat on.  I can imagine what my cat is saying to his traveling feline friends.... Feel free to stay a while, the chicken scraps are great, the food comes daily from the back door, the garage has plenty of warm spots, and the one that wears the silly puffy coat, is a real sucker, even sneaks me into the house when the big guy is gone.  

Came into the house sweaty, cold, and annoyed.  No visual blessing, just a pack of cats, a handful of chickens, a dog who is completely worthless in the snow (insist on following me everywhere, but in the cold he just sits and shivers miserably), and if you count the surprise I got when opening up the chicken food, a mouse.  And the nerve, I am not, I repeat NOT going to increase the amount of food I put out for that no good, ungrateful, scrap stealin', wearin' out your welcome, CAT!!!..... but did you see that little fluffy cat, the one with the crooked tail, and extra long whiskers..... it was pretty cute the way he pounced through the snow, and I loved the way he wiggled his ears when I was hollering at him, and that crooked little tail.... pretty adorable..... maybe I'll see it when I go out to shovel at lunch....but definitely.....well maybe..... no I'm not going to put any extra food out.... but that tail.... nope...... and those whiskers.... absolutely not.....

Friday, December 20, 2013

An Answer

"Mom, mom, time to wake up, I need to get ready for school.  I got up early, so can you help me find something Christmasy to wear to school today, I'm so excited.  I'll go hop in the shower, and I don't think I should have sugar this morning, so maybe just some toast."  I blinked, rubbed my eyes a few times, and tried to figure out what was going on, was this a dream?  Nope, this was actually happening, Jonas was up, and showering, and totally going to be ready for school, SUCCESS!

I have found the answer to getting Jo off to school with ease, keep him home a couple of days thanks to a stomach bug, and then send him back the day of the school Christmas party.  Sol even broke his shower hiatus, in his excitement.  They got to go to school together this morning, the whole school meets in the gym to sing carols around the school Christmas tree, what a fun memory for them.

Only thing hectic this morning is when I couldn't find a shirt that met Jonas's approval.  I can't just layer a couple of red and green shirts, he needs something more..... "Christmasy".  A shirt is easy after last years pants, the ones he just needed, I just didn't know the importance until the night before (good thing they still fit), I'm grateful for a decent fabric stash.  Almost done, now just his Santa jacket, and of course his "Flippy" (thanks Grandma Tilly), who from a previous demand already had his own small Santa hat.

Well I gotta go, I've got a caroling party to attend, I'm sure I'll see Sol and Jo too, he's kind of hard to miss!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Stopping by Woods via Sliegh Ride

Who's woods these are, I think I know, their house is in the village though;
They will not mind me stopping here, to watch the elk eat from the snow.
Our little horse won't think its queer, to stop without all five dogs near. 
Between the woods and frozen lake, the greatest sleigh ride of the year.

I could go on but I'm not real pleased with the first verse, so I think I'll leave Robert Frost behind and sum things up in my own words.  Just around the lake in Liberty lives a family that offers sleigh rides through the winter months.  During the holiday season you can even take a ride to pick out a Christmas tree or wreath.  It's a bit like a painting, a small make shift building lit with a simple strand of lights stands among a grove of aspens, add a horse drawn sleigh, a fire burning among the snow, and give or take about five large dogs, and it could be a Thomas Kinkade original (that's for you Jamie, I know your love for his work, already got your Christmas present).

What are those two up to?

                           Sufficient bundling and layering..... check
                           Great company (including not one but two great photographers)..... check
                           Elk to feed..... check
                           Great scenery..... check
                           Personal heaters in the form of five(ish) dogs...... check
                           Reindeer petting..... check
                           Hot chocolate break with friends..... check
                           Great memories made..... check


Abe with his best bud, not even home but they'd already shed their boots and socks, and found a warm spot together.

The day was so great, and given the present company, I even thought we could possibly get a worthy Christmas card picture from it, set my own bar a little too high.  I'm really not too picky, love candid shots, we don't all need to be looking at the camera, not bothered with uncombed hair, I'm even fine with the big red scab on the side of my face, but please just let me have one picture where someone doesn't look miserable.  A little more to the right, eyes open, smile, Monte open your eyes (again), Abe please pretend to be happy, Jo no rabbit ears and please not that pained smile, Monte, really, open your eyes, I'm doing my best just trying to work with what I got, and Sol.....lucky little man, never, ever, takes a bad picture.    

And miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.....

Keeping it Local

We like to support local businesses, but when your town's total population is right around 600 there's not going to be many local businesses to support.  We do our best, we're on a first name basis over at the hardware store, we frequent Huntsville BBQ, more then I'd like to admit (good food, outdoor dining, live music, all just a short bike ride away, it doesn't get any better),  and despite the fact that the Shooting Star Saloon isn't all that kid friendly (but they do give out full size candy bars to the kids on Halloween), they do have take-out, and it's just across from the park.  So, that just about covers it, but lack of establishments doesn't have to stop you from keeping things local.  I love that our town works together to make a wonderful ice skating rink.  So with second hand skates in hand, we had a fun, free, and local afternoon on the ice.     


And just so you know, not that it really matters, but I totally won the skate race, that's right, I'm way faster then Monte.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Face Book Rules

Alright, so I think I've finally got the hang of the Facebook thing.  Even done my fair share of Facebook snooping, checked out old friends, old boyfriends, old college teammates, even tried to find my brothers ex-wife, cause I knew that would be entertaining (you've all done it, curious to see who's aged better, who's more successful, who's put on more weight, guess what, I'm definitely skinnier then the old high school prom queen).  I'm still a little on the fence, believe me I see all the benefits of Facebook, but what I don't like about it is exactly what I thought I wouldn't.  I already have my vices (did you know that Hallmark plays corny Christmas movies, all night long), and I know that I have an addictive personality, so I knew that Facebook would only add to these problems.

From the beginning I set some rules for myself, check in a couple of times a day, morning and night, that should be enough, but is it?  I feel awful when I do check in and see friends and family writing about sick kids, dying dogs, health issues, and hard times, six hours ago.  They wrote it, needed someone to tell them "everything is going to be okay", and I wasn't there, darn it, I feel like a bad friend.  At that point I can either write a quick comment, click that little "like" button, or scroll on past, because I've already missed the bus.  But (very early) this morning I thought I'd take some time and give it a thorough go through, even made some comments, that's when I found this great "Tips for Busy Moms".  I'm not a huge vinyl sticker sign fan, but I might make an exception for this one.

#1  Lower your standards for cleanliness and order.

Great thing about my children's playroom, is that it is up a flight of stairs only accessible from their bedroom.  People assume that when there bedroom is clean, what's up those stairs is too, so rarely is it ever visited by anyone over the age of 10.

#2  If you can't change them, change your perspective.

Sol came down wearing six weapons this morning.  Abe was so jealous he immediately went to get his own.  Hard to believe I once had a no weapon rule.  Did you read my eating my own words post, pretty much sums it all up. 

#3  You can never have too many Popsicles.

I have an extra freezer and it's only for Popsicles.  Popsicles are completely functional food in our family.  Grab a bag to share with friends on hot summer days at the beach, magic.  Hysteric child, offer a Popsicle, problem solved.  Child that hasn't kept food down for 6 hours, half a Popsicle is the perfect solution, all that glucose helps settle an upset stomach plus give a little boost, and you have to eat it slowly, can only eat it as fast as it melts, medicine for the body and the soul.

#4  Embrace Chaos.

No explanation needed.

#5  Don't buy white furniture.

Precisely why you should not have white furniture, see the round stain between the two of them, that's new, guess it's time to pull out the carpet/steam cleaner, the best investment I've ever made.

#6   Your house will never look like the ones in the magazine, move on.

Magazine worthy, probably never, but I'm a big believer in distracting with the good.  Candles almost always do the trick.  The house looks great you say, everything looks great under candle light, so great you didn't even notice that your currently standing on a set of nun-chucks.

#7  Breathe.

Once again no explanation needed

#8  Noise canceling headphones?  Just yes.

What's that you say, I can't hear you?

#9  One day it will all be funny.

They do this all the time, funny thing, not all "washable" markers are washable.  My children go days with faint mustaches, and uni-brows.  Also see Tender Moments post.

#10  If you have boys your bathroom will always smell faintly of pee.

What about three boys, two of which still don't have the greatest of aim, and one who opts out of the toilet all together.  I promise this will be the one and only time you'll see my child's pee, just thought you might like to see what welcomes me when I go to take a relaxing bath.

#11 No one cares what is stuffed under the bed, NO ONE.

I've known this one since I was a kid.  I even have bed risers so I can cram even more stuff under them.  You can only see our junk when I pull up the blankets, otherwise, out of site, out of mind. 

#12 Get chocolate.

That's a given.

#13 Would you rather do the chores yourself, badger the kids to do it, or let it go.  If your confused about what to do see #1.

I believe that chores are important, it's just about finding the balance.  We've had some epic battles about no free rides in our house, everyone helps out, even if you're three.  My boys have the hardest time cleaning their playroom.  It goes far too long between cleanings, and can take them days to clean it, so one morning I'd had enough and really laid down the law.  I told them I was setting the timer for an hour, if they weren't done after the timer dinged, I was going to spank them (I know mean mom, I never spank, NEVER, but I really didn't think I'd have to, thought for sure this would motivate them enough to get it done).  After an hour I went up and checked, nothing done, I followed through with my threat, and then told them this time I was only setting the timer for a half an hour and if they weren't done, it'd be another spank.  After another half an hour, still nothing really done, spanked them again, and repeated my previous threat.  After a third time of nothing being done, they asked me if they could just take an extra spank and have me help them clean it.  We all smiled when I said sure, and together we picked up their play space.  I learned some valuable lessons that day, first I must not spank all that hard, and second my presence in their life, in any capacity, allows them to be far more successful then being left to do it on their own.  So not only did I badger the kids, I also did the chore, guess I was a little confused, maybe I should have just let it go.  

We're all there, Abe is just in my tummy
Facebook, I get it, it's even become a bit of a guilty pleasure, just forgive me if I haven't "liked" your post yet..... I mean I've got rules to follow??????