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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”.

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Do They Know It’s Christmas?

Evidently not, or else they wouldn’t be poking one another in the eyes and hollering like banshees every .02 seconds.

Long time, no see friends! In case you’re wondering, I’m referring to my feral heathens precious moppets. I feel like if they had an adult’s understanding of the impending doom that is Christmas, that they’d make like a play and get their act together. But that is CLEARLY wishful (if not mythical) thinking.

Don’t get me wrong — I love Christmas. This year, however, I’m having a hard time getting into the spirit, and I’m placing all of the blame on the crap-fest that has been 2019. That and the break-neck speeds at which this year zoomed past. We’re a week away from Christmas and, just short of having our tree and lights up, I’m nowhere near ready. I’m feeling somewhat like what the product of Scrooge and the Grinch would be — and it ain’t pretty, y’all.

I’m using this post, however, as a last-ditch effort to get over my damn self and embrace the beauty that is holiday magic.

It is, after all, a truly wonderful time of year if you go about it the right way. And there are so many things that I have to be thankful for. Don’t worry — I won’t go full Hallmark card on y’all. ūüėČ

As I said earlier, this year has been hard. Actually, adulthood has been hard. But if that ain’t life then I simply don’t know what is. I’ve recently come to a very hard self-realization that I have a hard time letting things go. Not like “holding a grudge” letting things go, just “trying to sort crap out” letting things go. I like to have life figured out and, let’s face it, that will simply never happen. None of us really ever have life all panned out, no matter what our social media presence allows.

We’re all just winging it — granted, some better than others. But what I do have figured out is this:

  • The love I have for my kids and their big, generous hearts. Though little urchins they may be, they all really do have sweet hearts that are just beating to be loved and to love. Their compassion can truly be overwhelming at times and I am so, SO proud of them for having spirits of giving.
  • I have a home that can be warmed and cooled at my will (thanks to living in Louisiana, my thermostat is permanently set on “freak out”), and that it is covered from the elements.
  • We may not have tons of gifts under the tree, and the ones that are there (or will be there because: toddler) are given with a heart of love and received with hearts of thanks.
  • I have a tribe that consists of friends and family that I know have my back at the end of every. single. day.
  • My health, which has been iffy this year, is still with me. I’m more thankful for that than I ever have been in my life.
  • My ability to find humor in utter BS, while it is indeed on edge these days, is still ever-present with the help of snark and sarcasm.
  • I have a job that helps pay the bills and that has allowed me the opportunity to meet some of the nicest, most humble humans.
  • I have the sweet, sweet knowledge of what truly makes this magical time of year pure magic, and it didn’t come with ribbons or tags, or in packages, boxes or bags.

I am far from perfect, y’all. So, so far. I am horribly flawed and, yes, often times Grinch-like. I sometimes forget the Reason for the Season and allow myself to get tied up and bogged down in Christmastime commercialism. But, at the end of the day, I know the sweetest gift came down in the form of a beautiful baby whose life would be the ULTIMATE gift to a world full of hate and venom. And for that reason, and that reason alone, can I be truly grateful for all of the things that make my existence this “hot mess express” that I know as life.

I wish you all a very, very happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

xoxo
Sarah

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Elf on the Shelf? Hell to the No.

Okay, guys. I’m going to go ahead and preface by saying I’m no Scrooge and I am not bashing any of you parents who have gone the Elf on the Shelf route.¬† I think the actual little Elf, itself, is precious and I understand that the idea behind it is¬†less so¬†teaching kids proper behavior and¬†more so¬†good, festive fun.¬† This post is mostly targeted at myself and my inability to properly “mom”.¬† With that said…

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Mother of three boys and ruler of utter chaos, here.¬† I know most of you have 2+ children, are rulers of your own chaotic kingdoms, and are still able to fulfill your Elf Shelf duties.¬† I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t envious of those time-management skills.¬† And while I love my boys and the insanity they bring (that’s a lie.¬† I am not a fan of the madness), I am the queen of absentmindedness.¬† Case in point:

I struggle to remember what needs to be put on my grocery list.¬† If I remember what needs to be written down, I forget to remember to put it in my purse.¬† And if I remember to put it in my bag, the list will, inevitably, somehow get left behind in my car.¬† And¬†if,¬†IF, that list actually makes it’s way into the grocery store, a breeze will steal it away in a last-ditch effort to give my attempt at organization the ultimate middle finger.

I left my phone at home Friday.¬† Actually, I thought I’d left it on the roof of my car and lost it to the great outdoors.¬† However, my husband was kind enough to send me a picture of it via messenger of it sitting on the bathtub.¬† Because that’s CLEARLY where it belongs.¬† (FACE. PALM.)¬† Once I finally retrieved it, I realized I’d forgotten my wallet at the office.¬† With my debit card, checkbook, and license in it.¬† And also, my Burt’s Bees which, obviously, is infinitely more important than say, MY LICENSE.

I forgot to take my keys out of the front door last night after I’d unlocked it to get my heathens inside.¬† After a frantic thirty minutes of searching for the “lost” keys the next morning, I found them on my way out said front door to search my vehicle.¬† Y’all.¬† I can’t make this crap up.

So do you guys really¬†think I need to attempt to remember to move an elf every damned day of my life?¬† No?¬† I didn’t think so.

seriously?!¬† this would be part of their christmas gifts.¬† have y’all priced foil lately?!

Listen, I’m from a generation where we didn’t need a rogue North Pole spy to remind us to behave —¬†especially¬†during the holidays.¬† We fully relied on, and were totally okay with, being told¬†once¬†that Santa, an old man who knew our every flippin’ move, could see us 24/7.¬† We didn’t need to see that Christmas-y creepiness to believe it — our parents took full advantage of our fear and innocence¬†stupidity.¬† Nothing was ever moved, there were no elaborate schemes, and mom didn’t have to bold-faced lie to us with an outrageous story-line about why an Elf had or hadn’t been moved because THERE WAS NO FREAKING ELF NARC.

As a product of the eighties, I distinctly remember belting Alvin & the Chipmunk’s version of, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” on my Fisher-Price cassette player every day of my existence when I was a kid.¬† Yes, even then I was that obnoxious person who played Christmas songs on loop all year ’round.¬† There was no doubt in my mind that I risked “losing it all” if I didn’t get my act together.¬† My parents didn’t have to waste precious hours of sleep and ungodly amounts of aluminum foil to keep us in check.¬† The simple white-lie of Santa’s existence was enough to go on.

And I get it.¬† These days, kids literally (think they)¬†need¬†elaborate plots and twists and turns.¬† Most of these kids have everything on demand — and I’m not even talking about the bratty ones.¬† No, today is very much an on-demand kind of life.¬† So maybe the purest form of Christmas magic is simply fading into the background.¬† I remember the excitement of driving around neighborhoods just to look at lights and decorations.¬† These days?¬† That simple kind of happiness just doesn’t exist.¬† I can’t even say that¬†my kids are ovely-excited at the prospect of light searching.¬† Sure, they love the festive twinkling of lights that only come once a year.¬† But does it thrill them?¬† Not the way it did when¬†we¬†were kids.¬† Now, if there aren’t a couple of inflated Nutcrackers in addition to the lights, it’s just… “meh”.

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I guess I’m just too old-fashioned, and too absent-minded, to fully appreciate the newness that is Elf on the Shelf.¬† Or, perhaps, I’m just stuck on the simpler magic.¬† The things that left me breathless.¬† The things that, growing up, I couldn’t wait to share with my own little ones.

I suppose, though, that traditions are fine but are sometimes meant to be broken or bent.¬† Not only that, traditions are best when they’re made or reinvented with the ones you love.¬† Rest assured, there is no hate for the Elf and his (or her) antics, and if y’all could package up some extra energy and Ginko Biloba and send it my way, that’d be swell.¬† ūüėČ

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Fangirl Friday – Lexie Too Designs

Happy Black Friday, y’all (is that even a thing?)!¬† I’m super excited to share with you guys a new series that I’m calling FanGirl Fridays.¬† No, this isn’t about Jason Momoa or Captain America (although I know some of you would be all. over. that).¬† In this series, I am going to be showcasing female entrepreneurs, near and far, and the businesses and products that they have helped pave new roads for their dreams and goals.

First up, I have Jessica with Lexie Too Designs.  Jessica is a Louisiana native and single, working mom.  The idea behind Lexie Too is so cool and inspiring and I am so excited to introduce her to you guys.  So without further ado, I turn the mic erm, blog, over to Jess.

**At the end of this post is a link to her Facebook page.  Please check her out!  If you like what you see, follow and share!**

1) Hey, Jessica! Thanks so much for joining us today!
Thank you for having me.

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2) So today you’re going to tell us about your business, Lexie Two Designs. How did this get its start?
I started this as a fundraiser for my daughter’s cheer. She was accepted to University Academy. Sports can be expensive lol. So in June we came up with making a few colors of faux druzy studs. They sold out really fast! I added a few more colors and it just grew from there. A few weeks into June a wonderful friend of mine gave me a nudge to turn it into an LLC.

3) What is the best thing to you, personally, about Lexie Two? Has this changed anything for you and, if so, how?
I love creating new pieces. I spend alot of time finding new materials to work with and in different ways. Helping people find what they are looking for and at an affordable rate. I’ve been a single mom for 13 years. I wanted to make something beautiful that all women could afford. I am incredibly grateful for Lexie Two Designs. It has truly been a blessing for our family.

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4) If you weren’t doing this today, what would you be doing?
I would still be looking for my passion & trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Now I’ve found it.

5) I’ve looked at your designs, and they’re stunning! What is your favorite thing about putting art into everyday items?
I like to find the beauty in everything. Have you ever seen a woman’s face light up with a compliment on something as small as her earrings?

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6) How has sharing your creativity with others changed you?
I am more open to others & their likes & dislikes. Some friends and I have bonded over discussing LTD and its operations.

7) These days, everyone has so much going on and dreams/goals become lost in the busyness. How would you encourage other women to stay goal oriented?
Find out why you are doing this. What’s your motivation and what do you want out of it? Find your brand. The look, logo & feel of your company should match your mission. Write it all down! And then the most important….do it scared. If your dreams don’t scare you they aren’t big enough, right?

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8 ) Thanks so much for sharing with us today! Anything else you’d like to add?
Just to all women, know your worth & add tax. Never settle for a life less than what you want & deserve. Make it happen you’ll never regret it.

Lexie Too Designs

Anything else you guys want to know?¬† Hit me with your questions and I’ll pass them along!¬† Hit her link directly above to check out all of her new designs — and don’t forget to follow!

Interested in being featured on FanGirl Fridays?  Shoot me an email or message me at Memoirs of a SAHM.