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Ten Ways Children Are Like the Government

Growing up, I was so blessed to have parents who not only discussed with us current events and political/moral beliefs, but who also allowed us to have our own opinions — no matter how laughable or illogical those opinions happened to be. The same could be said with their methodology of parenting, though; nothing was off-limits as far as discussing why things were the way they were. We didn’t have to agree with their standards, we just had to respect them. Having since grown up, I realize that we, as kids, did respect our parents for this — even though it wasn’t necessarily a conscious effort. We recognized from early ages the work and effort our parents put in to our raising and, even though we obviously saw them from a childlike standpoint, my siblings and I developed strong work ethics and values.

That said, we were kids and made mistakes. Our parents allowed us to make those mistakes and we knew fully that there would be varied degrees of consequences when those missteps were brought to light. A lot of these occurrences were brought to light by discussing with us similarly-happening current events/politics and the outcomes that came from the choices that had been put into motion. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for those life-lessons; it’s something that my husband and I are subsequently (attempting to) instill into our own children. Now with that said — the one thing my parents never fully explained to me that, sweet Lord, I wish they would have, was how BLOODY FRUSTRATING it would be to develop and mold our children into productive, decent, non-life-sucking individuals.

Y’ALL. I. CAN. NOT. EVEN.

What’s more, since becoming a parent and a more involved adult, it’s occurred to me how similar raising small children and sorting through political garbage tends to be. Seriously, it’s baffling. Is it because our children are politically geared and diplomatically minded? Anyone who has ever listened to an argument between two or more ankle-biters know that that’s not the case. No, it’s because politicians and their individual agendas have become so mundane and juvenile. Think back to the latest presidential election if you aren’t catching what I’m throwing. I couldn’t watch or listen to the debates half the time because of how much they sounded like my kids’ arguments. No joke, sometimes I replaced the words “foreign affairs” with “sneezed on my pizza” and the comparison was uncanny.

I’ve decided to share with you all my epiphany, so sit back and enjoy my list of “Ten Ways Children Are Like the Government”.

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  1. Someone is always watching you.
    Never was I so paranoid — until I had children. These days it’s a miracle if I’m not constantly looking over my shoulder. Forget about “Big Brother”; it’s “Tiny Terror” that you should really be worried about.
  2. They argue even when they know they’re wrong.
    I tell my husband regularly that if our kids don’t grow up to be successful lawyers I’m going to be pissed. Seriously, these kids would argue with Jesus. My two oldest boys argued recently over whether the name of breakfast was “banana blueberry pancakes” or “blueberry banana”. Facepalm, guys. Face. Palm.

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  3. There’s a lot of name-calling.
    Look, I could be okay with this part if the names being called were at least witty or came from a place of some intelligence. But no. My kids dig down deep and go low and it doesn’t even have to MAKE SENSE. That’s the worst part. My kids were both in tears the other day because they both called each other, “Mick McBootyFace”. I cannot make this shit up, y’all.
  4. Denial, denial, denial.
    A few days ago I walked into our bathroom to get something or other. I don’t remember what. But that’s not important. What is important, is that upon walking into our bathroom, I noticed my once white and turquoise bath mat was stained a gross shade of mud. Naturally, both suspects adamantly denied having even been near the bathroom. One even blamed his sleeping (infant!) brother. Not today, Satan!
  5. They’re wildly out of touch with reality.
    And I’m not just talking about the Santa & Tooth Fairy stories we pump into our kids. No, kids in general, like most politicians, have zero sense of time & zero sense of reality. Case in point: Connor said we bought our house for $50 and a four-wheeler trade. Gabe threw in that if there weren’t so many of us that we could have a DeLorean or a motorcycle with a sidecar. SAY WHAAAA? Adulthood is going to hit these kids hard.

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  6. You never have a shortage of bed partners.
    Okay, so at least the only thing I’m catching from my bed partners is an occasional black eye or the flu. Nevertheless, co-sleeping can be a beeyatch and I’ve got a dislocated shoulder to prove it.
  7. Whatever it is, it’s never their fault.
    Oh, sure. You might have witnessed your kid dump an entire gallon of milk onto the floor because he was attempting to impersonate Captain Underpants. But was it his fault? According to him, no. Why? Oh, it could be anything. The floor made him slip; his foot was itchy; he got too “into character”.
  8. Things aren’t always what they seem.
    It’s quiet in the house? They’re all “sleeping”? Think again. They know they’ve got you where they want you… and they’re coming for you. “He’s right behind me, isn’t he? HE’S GOT THAT WATER GUN AGAIN, DOESN’T HE?!”
  9. It’s all a big mess.
    Nobody is ever on the same page, we’re always running thirty minutes late, and we’ve misplaced homework or doctors’ excuses for the millionth time. Our house is clean, but only because our closets aren’t, and if we can distract you with something over-the-top to keep you from seeing what a shambles our lives are then, dang it, that’s what we’re going to do.

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  10. No one ever really knows what’s going on.
    We’re all just winging it, guys. Doing the best we can day by day. So long as everyone is fed, (fully) clothed, & dry shampooed, I can deal. Did we throw out the permission slip instead of the two-year-old water bill? Probably. Did I make a grocery list and leave it sitting on the kitchen counter (again)? You betcha. Are my kids going to need therapy in adulthood? Psh — I’m not paying for it.

I’m just trying to raise kids who won’t grow up to be entitled man-children. If they grow to be successful and happy, then I’ve done my job. If they end up being life-suckers? See numbers 4 & 7.

However, if they grow up to be politicians…. eh, can’t say I didn’t see it coming.

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Final Countdown

We’re in the process of some life-changes in the Paul household.  Read: I’m studying for my insurance license exam until I can get back to school.  Because of this, household chores are being re-delegated according to age, capability, and efficiency level.  My boys have done piddly chores here and there, but nothing chore chart worthy since I’ve been a stay-at-home-mom for so long.  I mean, hell — I get most everything done during the day (or week), so by the time they come home, tasks are slim pickins.  Don’t get me wrong — they’ve been exposed to yard work, laundry, and garbage detail; slackin’ is not allowed here!  But now that we’re looking at life and schedule changes, more daily chores added are pretty much a must.  I’m not staying up until midnight only to get up at 5AM every freaking day of my life.

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I’ve looked at lists on Pinterest of “age appropriate” chores for the boys and have modified accordingly.  Adjustments will likely still be made, but baby steps are the best steps in figuring out who is best at what and who can stand some improvement in other tasks.

One chore that both boys have been assigned is folding, putting away, and sorting their own laundry.  This is one chore that neither of them mind doing as it allows them some TV time — provided they stay on task and get the job done quickly and neatly.  This has gone off without a hitch…. mostly.  As with most things, there is one flaw that, by God, I’ll have hammered out by the time I’m employed.  Both Gabe and Connor have a SUPER annoying habit of showing off their (lack) of basketball skills by throwing their socks and underwear in the general direction of the washer.  Only their socks and underwear, and only in the general direction.

I don’t know if y’all know this but… I’m a big girl.  I’m also thirty going on one hundred.  My appliance climbing days are DEFINITELY behind me. But, since I’d prefer to not continuously repair or re-buy equipment attachments or hoses, I’m the one climbing behind the washer and/or dryer to retrieve the wayward foot and butt covers.  This wouldn’t be an issue if it weren’t happening daily or if they weren’t running out of undergarments.  Really, I guess “issue” is the wrong word.  Nuisance, perhaps?  Because it isn’t the end of the world, obviously — just a pain in the ass.  Nevertheless, two straight weeks of me crawling my mom hips and carb-loving arse over and behind the washing machine has left me desperate for a solution.

I thought and thought about how I could get their attention that would get the message across loud and clear but without going full Ozzy Osbourne Crazy Train.  I considered making them do jumping jacks every time they missed the desired target, but they enjoy exercising and the goal, here, is for them to put aside their Kobe Bryant tendencies — not encourage them.

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I thought about acting like I was stuck between the wall and dryer, but I am 99.9% certain they’d take advantage of that situation.

And then one day it hit me.  CANTEEN MONEY.  Canteen cash is like gold around these here parts and I’m not above making a dollar for a large Diet Coke, no ice, from McDonalds (a dolla ten, y’all!).  I only ever give each of them a dollar for canteen anyway, so this works out perfectly.  Monday through Thursday they have an opportunity to keep their canteen money.  Every time I have to hoist myself to the back of the washer/dryer, they lose a quarter.  They’re fast learners, so each had seventy-five cents to take to canteen this past Friday.

I’m not above taking candy from a baby my kids, guys. This is especially true if it means I won’t get stuck in a place tighter than pleather leggings from the clearance rack at WalMart.  But I digress.

Other than our battle with “The Case of the Missing Skivvies”, chore completion and delegation is going pretty smoothly.  I’ll admit, I was planning for the worst.  Both boys like to help, but as with any new strategy, things get bad before they get better.  Luckily, there have been little-to-no hiccups and I’ve only had to issue threats of death a handful of times.  My night-caps have drastically decreased in volume and we’re making it to bed by 10:00 instead of 10:30 (BABY STEPS).  Also, my voice is slowly coming back from all of the Death Metal-esque yelling that took place ALL OF LAST WEEK.  Side eye to you, Eureka Math.

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Tonight I’m shooting for a 9:45 bedtime and only refolding the towels once.  Fingers crossed, y’all.  Fingers crossed.

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Poop & Circumstance

“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.” – Mary Poppins

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There’s a reason her name wasn’t Mary Poopins, y’all, and clearly, she never had to deal with one of Jane or Michael’s poop diapers. Sometimes there simply isn’t a big enough spoonful of sugar to make those BM explosions go away.

You’ll find a common theme in my posts among the rest of my Disney references that involve Miss Poppins. Girl had it going on, y’all, and I’d kill for that bag (in an updated fabric, of course). But, as is characteristic of opinions, I have to disagree with one of my favorite fictional characters on her “element of fun” mantra. I just can’t see myself gettin’ jiggy with a poop disaster. Sorry, lady — “A” for effort!

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I’m not necessarily complaining about diaper changes, guys. It comes with the territory, after all, and truth be told I’d rather deal with having to hose my kid down than having a little one with constipation issues. On that note, however, a spoonful of sugar ain’t gonna help that issue, either.

Being a mom of three, I feel like I can confidently say I’ve seen my fair share of different tummy and booty-cover nightmares. All three of my guys have had varied tummy issues, all of which have been a chore to sort out. Gabe was lactose intolerant until pre-k and, thankfully, we figured that out relatively quickly. He took to almond milk products really well and still likes them even now. Connor was my easiest to figure out as far as gastrointestinal fun goes, but even now his tummy can’t hold much of anything which leaves him as a “grazer”; no lie, it takes him an hour to eat dinner — or anything, for that matter — and even then he becomes full quickly. Mason has occasional bouts of constipation, which can be normal for his age, but Lord when he is experiencing constipation it’s a doozy. He has been harder to figure out as far as formula goes because he also deals with moderate acid reflux from time-to-time.

When he hit six months he was able to begin eating small amounts of whole milk yogurt. I bought a brand that I’d been eyeing since he was a newborn and was so excited to give it a go. I was a little nervous giving it to him as sometimes yogurt can be a little sour, but I was determined to try it anyway and hopeful that it would grow on him eventually. As luck would have it, he loved it and, bonus!, his tummy loves it, as well. The probiotics in HappyFamilyOrganics have done wonders with helping regulate his digestive system and the taste is absolutely on point. They aren’t limited to just yogurt for babies though, guys! Their products begin with mommas (breastfeeding bars!), and move on to babies, toddlers, and kiddos!

Listen, I’m in no way getting paid or otherwise reimbursed for my opinions. This may be a no-no in the blogosphere, but I just really felt like other moms and dads out there might need a recharge for baby tummies. I sure did! You all should also note that this product is being used in addition to small amounts of gripe water (when needed!). I try really hard not to give in to gas drops and gripe water unless absolutely necessary, although neither hurt him (gripe water is 100% natural! — here is the brand we use for drops and GW).

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I’ll be so glad once we are all finally past the baby tummy ache stage — I hate it when they hurt! But I am relieved to know that there are products out there that help keep everything moving as they should. What are some remedies or products you use or have used? Hit me up! Like this post? Sharing is caring!

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What is This “Effortless” You Speak Of?

What is with all of these “effortless” families I’m seeing on Instagram lately? Like, seriously. There is no way on Earth that you always look like you’re ready for an impromptu photo shoot.

I mean, we get it. You like for everyone to think that you have it all together as though you’ve stepped out from the pages of a Nordstrom catalog. And it really helps brand your creative image. But just like those effortless buns, that, again, let’s face it, we all know took you 2 hours and a 1/2 a can of dry shampoo to put together, we know all about the righteous chaos that is your life. Why? Oh, honey. Because we’re there, too.

Embrace it. Accept it. Life with children, although a wonderful thought, is not a fanciful, whimsical world. It is chaotic, loud, and often a muddy mess. Even Princess Kate has her off-days — even though, thanks to royal protocol, her kiddos kind of have to always look put-together. But don’t be fooled! She’s definitely the kind of mom I’d want to have triple shot mimosas with.

Listen, I’m not mom shaming or even being judgmental. I’d love to be “that mom” who color coordinates with her kids and has matching (but not matchy-matchy) tee shirts. I’d also love for my own messy-yet-effortless bun to be less Miss Trunchbull and more sexy, exotic Pinterest board, but that’s just not my life. But I digress. Like I said, I’m not mom shaming. I’m inviting you to the ease of letting kids pick out their own outfits (within reason and season), pull on some leggings, and come sit amongst my laundry pile fort and have a margarita with me. It’s five o’clock somewhere, and even if it isn’t I’ll toast up some frozen waffles and we’ll call it brunch.

You can go back to your regularly scheduled programming of fake-it-or-make-it after you’ve ugly cried and even uglier laughed during a Boy Meets World/chips and salsa marathon if you want. I won’t mind. But come sit with us hot mess moms for a second. You may hate it — but I’m betting you won’t.

Just a heads up — we wear pink on Wednesdays. But only because Karen left a red sock in with her whites a few weeks back and, well, we still haven’t beaten that joke to death yet.

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If Moms Put in Resumes

I’ve been a stay at home mom for going on three years now. Let me tell you — it isn’t as easy as it’s cracked up to be. In fact, just being completely honest, it’s flipping hard. I went into my current “gig” thinking it would be a cinch; that I would be able to get SO MUCH DONE with all that FREE TIME I’D HAVE. Pftttttt. What is free time?! And y’all, I’m getting next to nothing done these days. Do you want to know when I’ve actually been able to achieve any of my housework/me-time goals? It was the three-month span between Connor starting pre-k in August and Mason’s birth in December of 2017.

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I got SO MUCH DONE. No, seriously. My house was clean. The baby’s room had (relatively) effortlessly come together. My laundry was largely kept up with. I SHOWERED DAILY. Hell, I even made it to the gym almost every day in those three months. It was amazing. And it all ended as quickly as it began. I don’t know what sparked my post-partum baby blues faster: the fact that my productivity levels would abruptly stop or the crashing hormones. In truth? Probably knowing that my house would, once again, be on permanent upheaval.

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I’m going to be real with you guys right now: I’m not a Mary Poppins, spoonful-of-sugar kind of mom. Nope. I’m definitely a weird mixture of Roseanne and Debra from Everybody Loves Raymond (minus the awful in-laws. I legitimately love my in-laws). My kids can attest to the fact that I put the “bear” in “momma bear”. With that said, three years in and I’m still not adjusted to this SAHM lifestyle. It’s just not something my personality type knows how to handle. And you know what? I’ve come to realize that’s okay.

Anyway, I’ve said all that to get to this: I’m very much looking for a job. Any job. I don’t care if it’s Hobby Lobby’s day-shift, I’ve got to have some Sarah-time, adult interaction before I blow a fuse. Unfortunately, my search has turned up a whole lot of nothing. I had an interview a few weeks ago for a school secretarial position, but the job was given to someone else with prior experience in that particular “field”, which — I get it. Really, I do. Total bummer and hit on the ego, but I understand why the decision had been made.

But that got me to thinking about maybe fixing up my resume, which got me to thinking, “What if moms put in resumes? What might that look like?”

This inquiry resulted in a surprisingly difficult-to-answer response. What makes moms tick? What makes us special? What makes us the so-called “glue” of the family? I don’t know about y’all, but I have a super hard time coming up with adjectives for myself — even those that are somewhat obvious. I also have a hard time giving myself credit where it is due. I’m the poster-child for being one’s worst critic. What I came up with was slightly humorous (not guffaw-worthy, obviously) and a little cliche. Okay, a lot cliche. But this little accidental exercise also helped me realize and remember some of my pre-mom self-worth. I was definitely given pause towards the end of my quick-ish presentation.

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Long story short: it’s hard being any kind of mom. At least, it’s hard if the mom in question is actually doing the “momming”. For me, personally, it’s hard because most of my mom friends work, live out of town, or have conflicting schedules. Sure, I have a tribe — but it’s a busy one. I can’t expect them to slow down to keep up with my pace. It’s also because my husband is gone Monday through Friday practically every week; the boys take that so hard and I really believe a lot of our week-to-week issues are because they just miss their dad. It’s because I went from being an independent, 3-job-working, college student to being a full-fledged mom. Obviously, this wasn’t an overnight occurrence, but y’all know how time flies. Gabe will be nine in August, and Connor five. I still vividly remember the days they were born. To further frost that cake, Mason will have his first birthday in December. My caboose baby is definitely not tee-tiny anymore and that hurts. It’s because I have literally craved peer-interaction since I was a toddler; it’s a weakness, I know — but that’s just part of my personality. Finally, I need to feel productive and worthwhile. I need to feel like I’m contributing to the cause and like I’m not just a glorified butt-wiper and toilet cleaner.

Is being a momma important? Absolutely. I love my boys; they are my heart. I’ve long-fought this, shall we say “demon”, of mine for a long time. Being a mom is part of who I am, now. And I love that. But this feeling that maybe I can find part of my old self in the chaotic toy-bin that is my head these days? That gives me some hope.

What would your mom resume look like?

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While in Biloxi

I’ve been MIA for awhile because, well, life has been unusually hectic. Our schedules could be likened to the Twister sequel, so I haven’t had much time to update much of anything. If you follow me on Instagram, you likely know where we vacationed over the weekend. If not, this past Wednesday we decided enough was enough and that we all needed a change of scenery. We didn’t have much room in our budget for a huge vacation, but we still wanted to do something that all of us would enjoy. A beach trip sounded like the ticket and, with that, off to Biloxi we went.

The boys had a blast on the beach and they love “camping out” in hotels. Mason did surprisingly well even though he did battle “travelers tummy”. Luckily, we found a Walmart near our hotel for a remedy and that seemed to fix his tummy woes.

 

 

We hit up some great new-to-us restaurants (Slap Ya Mommas BBQ) and some family favorites (lookin’ at you, Waffle House) and took in the sights over the pier. Evan even found a train & Lego museum just outside of Biloxi in Gulfport and the boys were in love.

 

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After a long but enjoyable couple of days, we headed back home for The Boot. It was a nice, much needed break and the little guys can’t stop asking when we’re going back.

Family vacay for the win!

Hit me up with all of your family adventures below! I’d love to hear from you.

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The Floor is Lava

Bedtime (bed-tahym) n. –

  1. the time at which a normal person usually goes to bed
  2. the time at which my children shift gears to FULL. FLIPPING. TROTTLE.

Bedtime around here has always been a bit painstaking.  When Gabe was first born, he had serious acid-reflux that, of course!, always triggered at nighttime.  His tummy finally settled as he grew and when he was about two he would put himself to bed.  He still does this (thank God!), but now he wakes up during the night to either a) pee or, B) have a full-on night terror.  Good times, y’all.  Connor has never, I mean NEVER, been a good sleeper.  Not even now.  He’s four and an acrobatic, ass-kicking ninja from the fiery ball pits in the sky.  Co-sleeping with him is less like co-sleeping and more training to kick Chuck Norris’ ass — with your eyes closed.  To date, Mason has been by far and away my easiest to put to sleep and the most likely to stay asleep — until lately because: erupting teeth.  Can’t really fault him for that, and most nights he still sleeps pretty well.  HALLELUJER.

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When your kid gets out of the bed for the millionth time to “go pee”.

Those of you who are parents know my plight well.  You probably read all of that and pictured your own sleep-anxiety-riddled spawn and experienced a cold chill down your spine.  No, that’s not winter coming; it’s bedtime.  In t-minus eight(ish) hours.

For those of you childless individuals, I have a pretty graphic example of what bedtime is like — around here, anyway.  I’m sure there will be some Betty Badass momma who is scoffing at my inability to keep my children in their beds (we’re not even going to talk about their pajamas).  But this example is coming from a real, live, nannyless parent.

Imagine, if you will, a less-chaotic opening scene from Titanic.  “Rated E for Everyone” Rose and Jack are enjoying each other’s company playing, I dunno.. freaking Rook.  And then, out from nowhere, an alarm sounds.  A band of pirates (read: the children) ram into the ship, causing it to collide with an iceberg (read: your patience).  Your recently thought “unsinkable” vessel plummets into the abyss.

THEN SHIT GETS REAL.

I’m gonna let you guys in on a little secret: there is a way to train for bedtime.  It’s painful and a bit legendary — but it’ll save at least a few hairs from being ripped from your noggin.  If you’re still hangin’ in there, then follow along:

  1. Journey to the worst part of your town and find a group of stray cats.
  2. Pick the leader of the cats and bring it home (make sure you’re up to date on your shots).
  3. Give said stray cat laughing gas and a wine cooler.
  4. Now try putting that cat in a bubble bath.
  5. THE FLOOR IS LAVA.

If you can survive that, then there’s a 62% chance that you’ll survive putting children to bed.  Notice, please, that I said survive.  I didn’t say you’d be successful in getting your kids to stay and sleep in their beds.  I mean, I’m not a miracle worker here and Jesus has bigger fish to fry than making my kids stay in bed.

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I’m not going to lie to y’all, though; there is something infinitely more terrifying than sleep-allergic children that exists (and oddly enough, my preference).  And that is when the kids who never put themselves to bed… PUT THEMSELVES TO BED.  Gah, y’all — I just made myself dry heave a bit.

When Connor puts himself to sleep it isn’t because he’s trained himself, or that he’s super tired, or just needs some quiet time (what is that, anyway?!).  No, no.  It’s because at 1:15AM he’s going to be puking.  In his bed.  And down the hallway.  And then in my slippers — in my room.  I mean… I just can’t even.  And then after the puking?!  He’s totally fine and ready to roll, leaving me a gagging, half-asleep, pants rolled up to my navel hot freaking mess.

You may be thinking, “There’s an obviously better option here, Sarah; pick your battles!”

Oh no, friends.  It may seem obvious.  Sure, most people would rather be a bit sleep deprived than swim in an ocean of Kool-Aid vomit.  But I’m not necessarily one of those people.  I can’t say I’m one of those, “If I don’t get my eight hours of sleep…” people, because let’s face it: I haven’t gotten more than 4 hours of sleep (not consecutively) in going on nine years.  But I am one of those, “If I can get at least forty-five minutes of sleep I won’t hit anyone with chicken nuggets at Walmart” people.  Y’all — I’m not trying to go to Walmart jail for assault with frozen foodstuffs.  So as terrifying as it is to watch my kid’s head spin around like he’s in need of an exorcist, all the while spewing what I can only hope was something he didn’t find off of a public restroom floor, I’ll take puking kids over sleep-deprived Mombie any day.  Because kids are going to throw up, anyway, and I’d rather be somewhat alert to deal with it.

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I can’t be the only one here who deals with that bedtime struggle.  Hit me with some of your favorite bedtime stories below!

**The above post was written entirely out of humor.  No animals were trapped and given wine coolers or laughing gas, nor were children harmed in the making of this post.  I, on the other hand, might possibly have a bruised lung courtesy my ass-kicking ninja child.  All crappy, can’t-take-a-joke comments will be kept on this page so that people with a sense of humor can see what a turd you’ve been.

 

cropped-untitled-22.jpgA SAHM’s take on her three-ring-circus and the three Converse wearing monkeys who live there.

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