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Duplo Blocks & Leather Jackets

I’ve never considered myself to be an overly soft, ooey-gooey momma type. Taking a second to note: there’s NOTHING wrong with that kind of mothering if you’ve still set boundaries, etc. It’s just simply not my personal mothering style. Carry on!

I’ve always classified myself as a Momma Bear. Raising boys, I guess that comes with the package. I love my brood, but I keep tough love on tap around here. Funnily enough, I didn’t think I’d be Betty Badass as a mom growing up. My own mom is basically southern sweet tea without the lemon twist, personified. She has basically been in training all her life for grandmother-hood… and she’s got that role in check, y’all. My boys know they’re going to get a hug and a quarter from her the minute they sense her presence. It’s a trip, to be sure.

But I digress. In spite of my momma bear ways, I’ve still got a soft spot hidden amongst all the fluff, delirium, and innate survival skills. That soft spot doesn’t often rear its head, but LAWDY MERCY when it does. Kleenex, please and thank you.

Back in, oh… I dunno, September? We moved Gabe out of his “little kid” room he shared with his brother and into his own room. The move, itself, was a feat of comedic horror. It involved moving Mason (the youngest) out of that room, which involved moving clothes, toys, furniture… disassembling furniture… nearly taking out a window and my kneecap… you know. The usual. And then came the big dogs. I ordered a metal loft bed to help with space management. The room he’s in now isn’t very big, but he also wanted a desk so he could draw and do his homework away from the noise of the house. The loft bed has a built in desk, so I really thought I was on a roll with that purchase. I’ll take, “Things I’ve Never Been More Wrong About in My Life Before” for $1,000, Alex!

I’m not even going to talk about that life experience as I’m still having nightmares (insert eyeroll here), but rest assured, it was an EXPUREEUNCE. Needless to say, I got it up not long after I swore to burn the whole room to the ground, but I don’t suggest putting a metal loft bed together single-handedly unless you’re roughly the size of Hulk.

I also put together a couple of bookshelves and rearranged the entire room — all in one school day. Yeah, yeah… I’m a total badass.

“Why is this relevant to the story?”, you might ask. Patience, young Jedi.

During the entire disaster that basically proved Joanna Gaines I am NOT, I was a swearing, sweaty, nearly broken mess. I could not wait to be out of that room and to get my hands on a Twisted Tea. It wasn’t until I finished replacing Gabe’s things with Mason’s that reality started to sink in. Reality shook my by the shoulders, though, when I put Gabe’s old sock monkey on his desk. The monkey he’s had since he was about a year old.

From out of nowhere I saw that room in a totally different light. I went from angsty and irritated to somber and emotional in just moments. The difference in the two rooms shook me to my core. My oldest spent the last night in his room just half a day before. It took a room change and stopping long enough to see how his tastes and interests have changed. He was no longer the little boy who needed stuffed animals and a song to go to sleep. He didn’t have a need for train tables or coloring books. Nightlights had long since proved unnecessary. Yet, until those things were removed from his space, they still seemed relevant. Once upon a time, they were relevant. Once upon a time, he needed those things.

Now, going in to my youngest boys’ room, I see very clearly the difference in little boy and young man. And, I’m not at all embarrassed to admit, it scares me a bit. “They grow up so fast,” is a cliche most parents (myself included) don’t often have the patience to hear.

“Why can’t they grow up faster?!”, is something that I have, on occasion, been guilty of thinking when I’m feeling overwhelmed or flustered. But, oh my goodness, the years do soar on by without a moment’s hesitation. And, before you know it, you’re replacing Tonka trucks and Duplo blocks with cologne and leather jackets.

Tonight I’ll sing my song to my littlest boys. I’ll sing because they still need it — and so do I. And maybe I’ll sing just loud enough for my “too old for songs” boy to hear, too. Because maybe he still needs it — because so do I.

Blog, Boy mom, Chaos, Children, COVID, Family, Home, Home life, Kids, Kids' Health, Life, Lifestyle, Lists, Mom blog, Mom hustle, Mom Life, Motherhood, New Post, Parenting, Recent Events, Relatable, Tips and tricks, Uncategorized

When Life Gives You Stomach Bugs…

…pack a bucket.

2021 has started off explosively…. and not in a good way. As if 2020 hadn’t been enough to knock all of us senseless, here comes the New Year on a bender. COVID, quarantines, masks, virtual schooling, job loss — we’ve experienced constant historical events and, I think I speak for all of us when I say, it’s gotten old FAST.

Parenting in all of the nonsense has certainly been a stay-at-home adventure that I’m sure most of you can relate to. Our lives stopped (basically) on a dime back in March and humanity as we knew it was shuttled in to virtual learning, virtual working (or, like in mine and my husband’s case, lack of working altogether), virtual everything. This world-wide-web, instant-gratification generation still proved that we as a people still crave outside human interaction. In short: it’s been nothing less than a dumpster fire.

Some things that have not changed on the parenting front are tummy aches, booboos, and other such childhood ailments. That, my friends, is where this story and the things I’ve picked up on over the years begins.

My boys are attending school on campus because my husband and I work. Virtual is just not an option for us. Besides the work factor, my kids learn better in a traditional school setting. Our school is amazing and has done a stellar job at keeping things as “normal” as possible as well as keeping our kiddos safe. So far, so good (praise!). That said, kids are gross in general. Colds, flus, and stomach viruses are basically unavoidable. My kids pick up everything like a bad habit, so I knew they’d be sick soon when I heard a stomach flu was making the rounds. Man, when they get sick they go big. Both my middle and youngest woke up sick last Saturday morning with no end in sight. I registered almost 2,000 steps on my FitBit between 1AM & 8AM just cleaning rugs, couches, blankets and children. By the time I got them both settled in and I tried to do likewise (about 4AM), I was exhausted. Unfortunately, and I’m sure you mommas can understand, I startled awake in mild panic with every cough, sniffle, and sudden movement from the boys. Both boys woke up around 830, which meant I only got a solid 30 minutes of sleep. Thankfully, they bounced back relatively quickly. This momma sure could’ve used a solid eight hours — although I’d have settled for at least a few hours uninterrupted.

That said, here are a few things that I wish I’d have known going into this parenting gig:

  1. Invest in buckets. Y’all, I cannot stress this enough. If you can buy buckets by the dozen, do it. I keep one in my car and we have several in the house for times such as these. Believe me when I say you’ll much rather clean a bucket than have to scrub a carpet at 2AM. However, when accidents happen (and they will) make sure you have…
  2. Kitty litter & baking soda. Do yourself a favor and don’t skimp on the kitty litter. I mean, it doesn’t need to have gold flakes in it or anything, but you’ll want something that won’t morph into a gelatinous mess when all you’re trying to do is restore some semblance of order in the house at the buttcrack of dawn.
  3. Any beverages need to be sugar free. I almost didn’t add this one, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t consider the effect sugar can have on a sick stomach. Basically, it’s not great. Stock up on sugar free ginger ale, Gatorade, and Pedialyte. This will help hydrate the body without stimulating another bout of tummy upset. Plus, at least for my kids, it helps control the urge to take long gulps. The taste isn’t bad, but my kids sip these beverages slowly rather than sucking them down in .02 seconds.
  4. Mattress protectors. It never hurts to have a few cheap mattress covers on hand. My boys like to sleep on the couch when they’re sick (I did when I was a kid, too), and a twin size mattress cover will cover the most couch cushion sets without issue. Obviously, these are great for actual beds, as well. So… not a bad investment in general. I don’t leave them on mattresses all the time because the noise drives me nuts, but I learn to deal with it during stomach flu attacks.
  5. Emetrol & kids’ Pepto tablets will be your besties. I just found Emetrol this past go ’round so maybe I’m late to the game, but Y’ALL. I love that it didn’t make my kids sleepy but that it helped soothe their tummies enough to help make them comfortable for sleep. I don’t like giving my kids anything that might make them drowsy, but know that they’re like me enough to not handle nausea well. This is something that will be a permanent medicine cabinet fixture in the Paul home. BONUS POINTS: it’s safe for kids 2 and up.
  6. And last but not least, find Febreze Pet Odor Eliminator. “But Sarah, that’s dumb.” Nah, girl. Hear me out. This stuff doesn’t mask rough odors — it totally annihilates them. Plus, it leaves a clean scent that isn’t overwhelming, flowery, or super sweet. When I say it smells clean, I mean it. smells. CLEAN. And it completely covers that puke smell that even the most iron-gutted individual struggles with tolerating.

I’m sure there are other things I could point out that I’m just not thinking about, but I think you get the idea. If you take nothing away from this except, please do yourself a favor and remember to “Invest in buckets”.

Boy mom, Chaos, Children, Coronavirus, COVID, Family, Home, Home life, Homework, Kids, Kids' Health, Life, Lifestyle, Mom blog, Mom Life, Motherhood, Parenting, Recent Events, Relatable

COVID Chronicles: Catching Up

Hello again.

I’ve been out for the past few days because: life. It’s amazing how time can get away from a person when epidemic strikes. Honest to God, my days have not been fully getting started until around 9:30, and it’s killing me. Between that and our days running together, I feel like I’m catching myself coming more often than not.

The boys and I have started walking around a track (no worries — we’re practicing social distancing) and I’ve been making sure to get 10,000+ steps in every day. This is a welcome change as my desk-job did not allow for this. I’m feeling so much more energized and I’m even sleeping deeper through the night than I had been. I know that exercise making one feel/sleep better is common knowledge, so no huge revelation here. But I guess I didn’t realize just how tired, both mentally and physically, I’d become. Yay, body cues.

The boys have continued on with their studies and have otherwise amused themselves with various activities. We played a rousing game of Monopoly the other day (insert exaggerated eyeroll/dry heave here), and I figure if I could survive those shenanigans, then COVID ain’t a thing. Right?

In other news, it looks like we all may be quarantined until April 30th (if not later) because people cannot follow directions and keep away from crawfish boils/bonfires/and other public places (lookin’ at you, Walmart). Y’all, I think I’ve done pretty well thus far considering my extroverted-introvert ways (I’m missing that Target dollar spot like you WOULD NOT BELIEVE), but I honest to God don’t think I can hang in until the end of April. The stir-crazy is real here, y’all.

Social Distancing, because I ain’t trying to catch ya cooties.

In trying to contain my crazy, or at least quell it a bit, I have been trying to stay on top of Facebook LIVEs and posts for LimeLife by Alcone (a cosmetic/skincare company I joined back in September). I’ve certainly got more time to dedicate to it now that I am no longer working with Allstate, but I’ll be the first to admit that it can be difficult juggling household activities, the kids’ schoolwork, getting in exercise, and marketing my company with this weird situation we’ve got going. Like I said earlier, our days are getting kicked off around 9:30AM, and that has been such a HUGE time-suck. I decided this morning that I’m going to come up with a new house schedule since the one we have now isn’t exactly the best.

I’ll take a gander at Pinterest and put that together with what will work best for us and let you guys know what I come up with. I’ve put together some charts and whatnot using Canva, and I love how that has helped to keep us organized. I may even feel froggy and put together a Facebook/Instagram schedule for LimeLife (I should have done that a long time ago.. procrastination is my greatest skill set).

How have y’all been passing the time? My kids are going to start AR testing today, so drop some book recommendations (my boys are 10, 6, & 2) and anything else y’all may be doing that might be budget and kid friendly. We love suggestions!

xoxo
Sarah

Blog, Boy mom, Chaos, Children, Coronavirus, COVID, faith, Family, Health, Home, Home life, Homework, Kids, Life, Lifestyle, Mom blog, Mom Life, Motherhood, New Post, Parenting, Relatable, Trend

COVID Chronicles: Day 2

It is bewildering to me how wildly different children from the same gene pool can be in personality. Truly mind-boggling. Today, we started full-fledged “school work” in an effort to stay on top of things. I kept it light and simple and let the boys know that they were under no circumstances on a “time limit”, per se, but that the faster they completed their work, the faster they could make way for free-time. I knew two things going in:

  1. Connor would be overly enthusiastic and foam at the mouth to do all the things and,
  2. Gabe would all but do a sit-in to protest any and all things academic.

This is nothing new and is what it is, but Lord have MERCY, y’all — help me, help you.

Let me backtrack a bit and say that Con woke me up at the butt-crack of dawn asking when we would do classwork.

SIX O’FREAKING CLOCK IN THE MORNING, AND THIS KID WANTS TO DO HOMEWORK. AND IT AIN’T EVEN FOR A GRADE.

I let him know in no uncertain terms that if he did not release the death-grip on my cheeks and get out of my face that he would have zero homework and we’d move straight to naps (savage move). He grudgingly let go of my face and then asked for Pop Tarts and cereal. Kid doesn’t exactly take a hint.

So we finally got to what I thought was a more manageable time for homework shenanigans. Connor, ever eager, jumped right in and flew through five or six sheets (front & back) in about 15 minutes. And then there was Gabe. Bless him.

Gabe is not my homework fan. Having a double whammy of Sensory Processing Disorder & ADHD has left him wanting to do literally anything but anything classwork related. It’s not that he can’t, it’s just not his jam. It took him about forty-five minutes of complaining and the removal of screen privileges before he finally conceded and went through the multiplication motions. But he got it done and, after realizing momma ain’t playin’ around, decided that he would rip it off like a Band-Aid tomorrow to avoid losing further device time.

Gabe did do something today that pulled at my heartstrings, though. He’s such a sweet, goofy kid, anyway — but today… this was special. Like I said yesterday, Ev & I have been stressing over work and whatnot. We set off hard this morning/early afternoon trying to find some resolutions that would work best for the family, and I think Gabe knew we were overwhelmed. He went to the office letting us know that he’d prepared lunch for the whole family and was so proud. I gotta say, I was proud for him. Sometimes I have a hard time seeing him grow up, and then other times I see this little boy growing into a big guy and, gah. It just gets me right in my gut. It was nothing fancy, but man it felt like a million bucks. Just when you think your kids aren’t paying attention, you know?

Ham sandwiches, courtesy Chef Gabe.

He made everyone ham & cheese sandwiches and was in the process of grabbing drinks and chips when Ev & I made our way to the kitchen. He even thought to make Mason ham and cheese roll-ups rather than a big sandwich.

The rest of the day was spent playing, catching up on laundry, napping, watching dragonflies on the deck, and ending with baths and a ZOOM call with Connor’s teacher. She’s been calling her class to read them bedtime stories and to ask about the kids’ day and Connor LOVES it.

Watching dragonflies.

We’re currently watching old episodes of Scooby-Doo for the millionth time and are settling in for the night. I’m not sure what the day holds tomorrow. Guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

I think of all the things I’m hoping to gain from all this COVID business is some patience and maybe a little boost on my faith. It’s been severely lacking for quite some time, and at no one’s fault but my own. I think we could probably all find some kind of life lesson from this situation if we open our minds to it — hard as that may be.

pc: Brooke Wilkerson of Coffee & Chaos (fb)

Going to get these feral children off to bed, now. Talk soon.

xoxo
Sarah

Blog, Boy mom, Chaos, Coronavirus, COVID, Family, Health, Lifestyle, Mom Life, Motherhood, News, Parenting, Recent Events, Relatable

COVID Chronicles: A SAHM's Musings, Day 1

If you’ve never had a Nerf bullet bounce off of your forehead at point-blank range, are you even a parent? Maybe. But the likely answer is, “No”. As much as this might sound like a barrel of laughs, I assure you it is not. “Shots fired!”, my six year old proclaimed. I don’t think he was really expecting his mom to lunge off the couch in his direction but, hey. Live and learn.

Living in Central Louisiana, this is our first “real day” of quarantine. We are on a Stay in Place order, and I’m gonna be honest with you — even though I totally understand and agree with the precautions, I can’t help but feel annoyed. I am a rational enough human to understand that this isn’t affecting solely me & my family — so don’t get the wrong impression. I just feel like had this been done sooner rather than later (now), that a lot of this nonsense could have been avoided. That said, I’m not too big to admit defeat when I say I was a HUGE COVID naysayer at the beginning. I’m not one to jump headfirst into anything the media deems as a “catastrophe”, so I’m definitely eating crow on this event.

At this point, we’re just doing our best to keep our heads above water. Things definitely just got real for a lot of us, so it’s still a lot to process.

Until Friday the 13th (go figure), I was a full-time LSP at a local Allstate branch. With the schools and daycares closing, I had no choice but to come home and stay with my boys. This being the precarious situation that it is, I didn’t feel comfortable seeking assistance from anyone outside of the home. My husband and I co-own an arcade, Wayback’s, with a friend of his. We opened February 14th. A month later, and we’ve had to close our doors — with the hopes that the economy will be stable enough to reopen after all this dies down. My husband is also out of work for the next two weeks, minimally.

To say that I’m stressed to the max about what’s going to happen next is the understatement of the century. I’m doing my best to stay calm, though, and we have been pulling together as a family unit to try and stay on level footing with one-another. During times like these, it can be easy to get on each other’s nerves. So far, we’re fine. Some bickering here and there (that’s to be expected when you’re parenting more than one kid, anyway), a few removed screen time privileges, and trips to our local track, and all is well.

Well. Apart from being shot with a Nerf gun and having my knees knocked senseless, courtesy my broom-wielding, Braveheart wanna-be toddler.

Our kids’ school is AMAZING and they have provided some packets for the boys to keep up with studies since we likely won’t be back until August. They’ve also been providing breakfast and lunch for kids in the area, which I think is incredible. This year is a pivotal one for both the boys since Gabe is in 5th and Connor is in 1st. LEAP testing has obviously been canceled and all school minutes suspended thanks to COVID. Nonetheless, we’ve got to maintain some degree of normalcy (and mom’s sanity), and 2nd and 6th grade is inevitable.

Situations such as these always show a community’s true colors though, don’t they? I have to say, I’m extremely impressed and grateful for so many people in the area. People have really stepped up and are going above and beyond to help. If everything keeps up at this pace I know we’ll all be back on top before we know it.

I’m signing off for now. Y’all take care!