I’m Still Here

Hi everyone.  Sorry I have been missing the last month or so.  I have had some health issues; nothing very serious, just seemingly non-ending.

Needless to say, I have been focusing the minimum energy that I have on my 3 little rugrats, who, let’s face it, don’t help with my exhaustion but do help with motivating me to keep on trucking.

We’re still having fun when we can and loving life as it comes along and I hope to be back to regular posts very soon!  For now, I will leave you with a view of why I still choose to embrace the insanity of motherhood. 🙂

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these little hoodlums drive me crazy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way….unless it involved more naps….

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Ten Thoughts Tuesday

ten

Since I am obviously not able to keep up with my blogging these days, here’s a few of the thoughts going through my head this week:

1.  It’s Tuesday – that’s not nearly close enough to Friday.

2. Big Brother will be having his 8th birthday party on Saturday and I am praying that it goes well and he has a great time with his friends.

3. The first school project of the year has been assigned and it is a diorama of an animal’s habitat for Science class.  Big Brother chose the camel as his animal.  Do you have any idea how boring the landscape is for a Middle Eastern desert?! Beige, beige, and more beige.

4. Tomorrow I get to help chaperone the first field trip of the year.  It is at a nursery (the plant kind, not the baby kind) so it could be interesting, assuming the love bugs stay away.

5. Speaking of love bugs, I am so OVER Florida love bug season.  I don’t mind the occasional mating bugs flying around, but they have been EVERYWHERE lately and in droves!  The Princess is not a fan and is overly dramatic (shocking, right?).  Her screams regarding love bugs are enough to push me over the edge.

6. Big Trouble is obsessed with PRETENDING to go potty (not sure if this is better or worse than him saying he is scared to go).  He will literally sit/stand on/by the toilet for half an hour until I finally make him leave the bathroom and then he will promptly pee in the new clean diaper (or on the floor) the minute we exit the proper area.  Same old, same old.

7.  I helped a young mom out in Target this week when she spilled her coffee all over her cart only to have her 3 year old yell out “Mom, you made a mess!”.  I have totally been that mom on numerous occasions and this happened during one of the few times I have ever been to Target sans ANY of my kids so I helped her transfer her goodies into my empty cart before they got ruined and I found someone who had a wet floor sign because she didn’t want to just leave the mess on the floor.  She smiled that grateful (and tired) smile of a Mom who knows when someone isn’t judging, only sympathizing from experience.   You don’t find that much anymore (believe me, I have learned this with Big Trouble) so it made me feel good to offer any assistance that I could.

8. I took Big Trouble grocery shopping this morning after I dropped the big kids off at school.  He was incredibly well behaved, mostly because he kept taking everything out of the basket part of the cart and trying to stack it up in the seat next to him; and he said good morning to nearly everyone we saw.  Surprisingly, he didn’t break anything and we only had a tiny milk leak when he roughly tossed the milk up onto the conveyor belt.  I couldn’t believe he was strong enough to lift the milk!  I wish he could always be so helpful and happy.

9. Big Trouble’s preschool has a “cooking” center where the kids get to help make their snack once a week.  The first week, he kept coming home and talking about “the butters”.  I knew there had to be more to the snack than the butters but he couldn’t quite explain it.  I finally remembered to ask his teacher and she said they had made toast and used cookie cutters to cut shapes out of it and then put butter on it.  That made much more sense, but I love that he keeps saying butterS.  Kind of cute.  Clearly, he is having a blast at school and not missing me at all.

10.  I signed up to volunteer in the Princess’ class on Monday mornings to help the teacher with the homework folders.  It doesn’t take long and I am happy to do it.  It kind of makes me sad though because you can tell which kids have helpful parents and which are really struggling.  That has to be tough for the teacher too.

Embarrassing Kid Moment #247,023

child commentsThe following event occurred yesterday morning whilst I was in the store grabbing a pack of diapers for Big Trouble (who is obviously still determined to break me in the potty training department since we were getting yet another pack of diapers, not underwear).

The Setting:

Big Trouble was being quite the little gentleman and this trip to the store had me beaming at the people passing by as I showed off how well my little boy was behaving.  Yep; pat on the back for being an awesome mom;  isn’t he just the cutest little thing?!  I made him.

The Incident:

Then he opened his mouth and SHOUTED a question that no one ever wants to be asked loudly in public:  “MOM, DO YOU NEED TO POOP IN THE POTTY?”

Shh!  No honey, Mommy’s just fine right now, thank you.

He wasn’t satisfied so there was a follow-up question:  “NEED TO PEE-PEE?”  (people are now staring and snickering)

No baby, Mommy already went to the potty.  Do you need to go?

“NO!  DID YOU TOOT?”

Good Lord, NO!  There are no bodily functions going on right now so please stop shouting!

“I GET DIAPERS.  I STINKY GROSSY! MOMMY STINKY GROSSY! HA HA!”

Oh my Lord, please just come with me to the self-checkout so I don’t have to face a real cashier!…..

End of Scene.

Needless to say, I was quite embarrassed by this happy outburst.  I assume it was payback for my constant barrage of questions concerning his potty training process and lack of progress, but who can say?

I know I can’t be the only one with crazy kids who say things like this, right?!

Turns out, I’m not.  So, here’s a few more fun things that other kids have said!  I would love to hear your stories, too!  Misery loves company! 🙂

Ten Thoughts Tuesday (AKA: Yes, I’m Still Here)

tenThings have been CAH-RAZY around our house over the last few weeks so I haven’t had the time I usually do to blog.  Hopefully things will start calming down now that we are getting into the rhythm of school again, but until the calm arrives, here’s a few random items affecting my life right now.

  1. Big Trouble is still refusing to use the potty.  Story of my life.  I am convinced he was put here on Earth to test my ingenuity and patience.
  2. We just got a “Best Of” dvd of the Wiggles.  I have never seen Big Trouble sit still longer than while watching this (yes, I count his randomly standing up to dance as sitting still because he will eventually sit back down to watch some more and he’s not trying to escape or get into any shenanigans).  Best purchase EVER.
  3. My older kids are driving me nuts with their picky eating.  Pasta is quickly losing its appeal and there’s only so many times I can give the “Brinner” option.
  4. I am on my 2nd round of antibiotics since school started.  First for strep throat and now for what appears to be a sinus infection.  Good times.
  5. My house is taking a lot longer to clean than I originally anticipated.  This is partly because I have been sick, but also because I am actually going through everything and donating/trashing/organizing the way I said I would.  Who knew that after 8 years of accumulating things that this would take time? Will I ever finish?!
  6. I have to go for a meeting of just the 3rd grade parents tomorrow night at my kids’ school.  Apparently 3rd grade is a very big deal and I need to know about every aspect.  FUN!
  7. My husband agreed to co-chair the “walking school bus” this school year.  Basically the kids just meet up on the first Wednesday of each month, at the main square of the neighborhood that the school is located in, and walk safely to school with a group of parents and teachers.  They get a stamp on their card each time they participate and they can earn prizes for being active.  I get to participate with them on the first walk tomorrow.  I am not that excited seeing as though I have to drag along Big Trouble and I have to walk all the way back to where we started once they reach their classes.  Yes, I am a terrible example of laziness.  But, at least I’ll have help since hubby HAS to be there!
  8. Today Big Brother told me about the Sunshine State Books program.  I haven’t fully learned exactly what is involved, but there are 15 “longer” books that are recommended statewide for 3-5 grade levels and 6-8 grade levels and if you read a few, you get something special at school.  If you read all 15 by the time the school year is over, you are a super star.  So, this is how I am going to get him to stop rushing through the easy books and just take his time and enjoy a longer book.  At least that’s the plan.  Right now he is very excited about going with me to the public library tonight to get his first two books because there is a waiting list at the school library and his brilliant Mommy found a way around it.  Score.
  9. The anniversary of my 29th birthday is next week.  Since my husband and I share a birthday, my mom is coming on Saturday to celebrate just me and she worked out a special trip for my husband to celebrate just him on Sunday.  I think that will be a perfect balance so that we can enjoy sharing our birthday on the actual day, even if it means that I have to acknowledge that I am getting older.  I’m still 29 if anyone asks.
  10. Our tv is in the process of slowly dying.  We got a new one when they were on sale for Labor Day (Happy Birthday to us), but we are having issues getting the old one off of the wall mount.  What a pain.

Needless to say, we’ve got a lot going on right now.  So, please forgive me if my postings are just here and there.  I’m still trying to keep up with everyone at night after the kids go to bed and hopefully I will catch up with myself one day too!

Have a great week!

We’ve Mastered Another Skill…Just Not The One I Was Hoping For

Today, Big Trouble started drinking from a straw.  I’ll hold for applause.

SUCCESS!

SUCCESS!

Now, this may not seem like that big of a deal, but seeing as though he gets soaked every time he tries to drink out of a regular cup, it really is!  The kid can literally take a dime-sized amount of water and make it look like he just survived a flash flood.

But now, thanks to this new development, we can start using the “big kid” cups with lids and straws instead of sippy cups or the “ok, guess we’ll go get a bath now” cups!  I’ll admit that it was torture so fun making weird faces and trying to give him samples of how to sip from a straw, only to have him just make noises and/or accidentally blow spit bubbles and laugh.

Mind you, this has gone on for nearly a year.  The kid has no interest in my time frame for ANYTHING.  I’m just now starting to get that (can’t imagine where he gets his stubbornness from).  But, I keep trying like the idiot that I am because I that’s my job.  And, nothing makes me feel like a bigger success than finally seeing one of my kids master something they have been trying to do; even if it is as insignificant a milestone as drinking from a straw.

The moment I saw my troublemaker give me a huge victory smile, thus drooling out most of the liquid he had just learned to sip up, I held my head high, looked to the sky and thought, “yeah, I taught him that” (not the drooling part, just to clarify; the actual sipping from a straw).  I am a success and so is my boy!

Then I turned back to look at my precious little one who was making me so proud…and I see this:

"Wook at my hat, mom"

“Wook at my hat, mom”

Yep.  That’s the inside of his consistently unused potty seat sitting there, upside down on his head.  I did not teach him that.  Guess we still have a little work left to do on some of our skills….sigh.

It’s Almost Back To School Time….Hooray!

I’m the first to admit that I have been a little slacking in the blogging department this Summer, but I feel like my brain is all over the place between camps and “vacations” and having 3 kids home 24-7, etc.  To say that I have been overwhelmed is an understatement.  However, in just one short week, all 3 kids will be starting school. YES, BIG TROUBLE IS GOING TOO!  They are so excited; I am more excited.drink

This will be the first time in 8 years that I will be home alone without at least one child with me.  I am not exaggerating.  I am never AT HOME without a kid.  Yes, I get to break away with the occasional doctor’s appointment or grocery store trip (sidenote: how sad is it that I look forward to the dentist and taking the car for an oil change because that is my “time off”?!), but if I am at home, there’s always a kid with me, making it virtually impossible to thoroughly clean.   Suffice it to say, our house always looks like a tornado hit it and I AM SICK OF IT.cleaning

So, as I try to survive the last week of Summer, I am reminding myself that I will actually have up to 9 hours of quiet a week.  I have no recollection of what that feels like but it sounds like heaven.  I plan on going on a cleaning spree a la a “Clean House” episode and getting rid of a lot of stuff that the kids will never miss (shhh don’t tell them and they will never know).  Goodwill and other various charities will be the recipients of our goodies and I will smile victorious.

I am hoping these few hours a week will allow me to catch up on all of the things that I have let go over time because I have been too tired or exasperated (maybe even sneak in a coherent blog here or there).  I have BIG plans.  We’ll see.  These plans are contingent upon Big Trouble not getting kicked out of preschool for being big trouble and me actually being able to function without a child around (I sometimes have trouble speaking without the kids around because I am not used to NOT being interrupted so I am fearful that this might carry over to everyday actions).

But, assuming all goes to plan, I will finally have a (semi) clean house and I will also be able to volunteer at the kids’ schools when the classes need parents and I won’t have to ask my husband to take an earlier lunch or drag Big Trouble with me.  These are the days I have been working for over the last 8 years.  And, who knows?  Maybe I will finally find the right part time job that will allow me to get back into the adult world, while still maintaing the balance at home?  One can dream, right?  (This dream goes right under the dream of Big Trouble actually using the toilet instead of just playing with it – Lord, bless his poor teachers.)

Well, I am rambling (which is why it has been hard to actual sit and write a blog these days) but that’s where I am right now.  My kids are starting to grow up.  Part of me misses the baby days (they seriously seem so easy looking back now) but a bigger part of me is excited to see where they are heading and where I am heading.

I am MOTHER; hear me roar….or sigh….ask me

How To Tote a Car Seat Through An Airport Without Losing Your Mind (Or Spending A Fortune)

airplaneI’m the first to admit that the scariest part about flying cross-country with our three young children was thinking about how in the world we were going to get our 2-year-old (Big Trouble) to sit still on the flights.  I mean, he doesn’t sit still at home or nearly anywhere else, so why would I even think he would stay in an easily escapable plane seat?  Even though I have never used a car seat on a flight before, I knew I really didn’t have any other options if I didn’t want our flight crew to kick us off the plane.  My tiny “angel” had to be strapped in.

I started asking around and getting ideas from various people and friends and family and while the consensus was that it is a pain to use a car seat on an airplane (yes, it is, when you factor in the narrow aisles and even smaller areas for leg room between the seats while you are trying to set everything up), there are things you can use to get it around the airport without a lot of trouble; everything from specialty bags with wheels, to collapsable luggage carts, to specialized straps that you can buy to attach the seat to a rolling luggage.  The prices ranged from $19.95 to over $100.

Well, there was no way I was going to spend a ton of money when we hardly ever fly, not to mention that a lot of these products had to be ordered well in advance and had numerous reviews citing that they are not as easy to use as they appear so I would need to practice so that I don’t hold up the line at security and getting on and off the plane.  Um, no; having to practice something hardly makes it easy.  But, we had a TON of luggage that would be going with us and there was no way anyone could carry the car seat through the airport.  So, I looked around for an alternative and, guess what?  I found it very easily for $1.50 at The Home Depot.

all of our junk on the "helpful" luggage cart (this did not include the car seat or our three kids so you can imagine the struggles)

all of our junk on the “helpful” luggage cart (this did not include the car seat or our three kids so you can imagine the struggles)

The mystery item that was the secret to my success?  A bungee cord with plastic hooks.  Seriously.  That’s it.  It is an adjustable cord that allows it to go from 24″ to 42″ so it will fit any size car seat and rolling carry-on luggage (no, it was not created especially for this purpose but I had no idea what size I would need so the adjustable worked beautifully).  And, it literally took me about 10 seconds to strap together and less than that to take it apart.  Every time.  Absolute life saver in my book.

perfection

perfection

Just flip the seat upside down, place it on top of the luggage and strap on.  Never had an issue with it sliding or falling off or not wheeling correctly, etc.  And, the cord doesn’t have metal so it’s safe for you, security doesn’t think you are going to use it as a weapon on anyone else, and it’s easily stored in a back pack or the rolling carry-on until the next use.

The car seat worked well for us and Big Trouble was renamed “Just a Little Trouble Because We’re Flying At Awful Times” for the duration of our flights to the West Coast and back home again.

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Strapped in and ready for Take Off!

Seriously, if you are flying and need to bring a car seat, even if you just check it at the gate so that there’s no fear of losing it along the way, this is the way to go!!!  Now, if only I could have figured out how to strap Big Trouble to the bigger luggage…..

We Are Back And Just In Time To Remember Why We Put Potty Training On Hold

Well, we survived our trip out West.  I must admit that Big Trouble, while still active and randomly crazy, was pretty good on all four flights we had to make, despite the crazy times we were flying.  It was not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but it could have been MUCH worse.

I should have some pictures up later this week showing off a few of our adventures, but until then, here’s an update on our return to potty training.

When we last left you, things weren’t going so well with Big Trouble and his dependance on diapers.  I started seriously trying with him in January.  It was pretty difficult because of the fact that every day we had to leave to do drop-off and pick up for my big kids so I couldn’t just stay home for a few days while he went naked or in big underwear (thanks a lot for that “tip” educational potty books – who has time for that?!).  I kept trying here and there, but 2 months later and still no real interest.

So, as any other good (tired) mother would do, I called it quits until we returned from our trip to San Francisco.  Let’s face it; Big Trouble is trouble enough without having to deal with taking him to the bathroom every 20 minutes on a plane and then in strange places we have never been before.  I just couldn’t go there.

But, now here we are, back at home and I no longer have any excuses.  The kids are home with me full time until school starts again so I can actually stay home a few days in a row to try things out again.  I am ready!potty

But, as usual, Big Trouble has other ideas.  He has now developed a fear of the large potty.  “I scared” is his mantra any time he ventures toward the bathroom.  Lovely.  So, I pulled the little Cars potty back out of storage and convinced him not to immediately take it apart, and while he was very encouraging to the rest of the family regarding our use of the potty, I couldn’t convince him to sit on it anymore!  Fantastic.

watching other kids relaxing on the toilet has to be motivating, right?

watching other kids relaxing on the toilet has to be motivating, right?

Back to the library I headed and re-checked out the original potty dvds along with a new one about being a potty pirate.  He was intrigued this time (although it took me actually sitting my big butt on his potty for him to get back on).  He was excited about being a potty pirate and actually sat on his potty for almost an hour with a drink in hand, watching all of the excited children sing about bodily functions and being big kids.  I offered him an m&m as encouragement.  NOTHING HAPPENED!!!

Finally back on the potty and being a potty pirate (at least in his heart)

Finally back on the potty and being a potty pirate (at least in his heart)

He finally stood up; I was frustrated so I let him put his diaper back on since it was only day 1, and we headed back to join the rest of the family.  Within 1 minute of the diaper going back on, he peed (while chanting “no more diapers for me” from the pirate dvd – oh the horrific irony).  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!  It’s like he’s doing this on purpose to drive me nuts!

So, once again, I am going to need some kind thoughts and prayers sent my way as I travel down this road AGAIN with Big Trouble.  He is clearly going to live up to his name in this endeavor, too.  I may even give him a promotion to Major Trouble.