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Snack Thirty

Lemme just preface by saying this post isn’t about my snacking habits.

This time.

Before this summer, my kids weren’t super snack-y.  I mean, sure — from time to time they’d request gummies or an apple.  Nothing out of the ordinary and not super often.  Little did I know that dark days were upon our household.  Enter Summer 2018: the two and a half month period where my kids asked for snacks literally every ten minutes (no kidding — my oldest just came in and asked for a donut.  UH, NO).  I didn’t mind for about the first week.  I’d simply throw them a banana or give them a bowl of grapes and some water and send them on their way.  Then week two reared its ugly head; it was then that I realized my kitchen, nay, our LIVES would never be the same.

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Now, in case the obvious has escaped you, my parenting style is “sasshole”.   I haven’t always been this way, though.  No, there was a time when you could see me frolicking through the tulips, singing songs from The Sound of Music.  I’m done making apologies for that.  My kids are great, but they’re challenging.  It’s either be a sasshole or rock back and forth in a padded cell, and my insurance doesn’t cover that.  My kids, on the flip side, are newbie SNACKholes.  I mean, they could own Snickers commercials guys.  “Hungry?  Grab a case of Snickers.”  Except don’t, because: diabeetus.

My boys could have feasibly rivaled any hongry, hormonal woman during her monthly visit from Aunt Flo this summer.  Things got ugly, FAST.  You’d think that after almost 5 and 9 years of me being their mom that they’d know better.  Well, my children are smart, but no one has ever accused them of being Mensa smart.  And so the Battle of the (Mom’s Trying to Keep You From Developing a Stomach) Bulge began.  There were survivors — but only because I don’t do orange jumpsuits.  Also, I’m not mentally prepared to be anyone’s cell wife.

Listen, I’m no skinny-Minnie.  I’ve struggled with weight since I was a kid, partially because of a (legit) thyroid issue.  And I say “legit” thyroid issue because it’s just that — legit.  Not a, “I ate ten pies and a cake, and I don’t understand why my pants don’t fit” issue.  But because thyroid issues run through my family (as well as diabetes), I try really hard to make sure my kids understand that it’s okay to enjoy themselves but to believe in portion control and self-restraint.  My goal isn’t to be a party pooper, but for them to live their best lives — and part of that means self-control where eating is concerned.  My boys are healthy and active, but that doesn’t mean they can’t change those qualities one day down the road.

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It occurred to me that they could actually be hungry — they will be five and nine in the next week, after all.  Of course, they could also be bored (unlikely) or dehydrated (more likely).  So we agreed that they could have snacks if they A) had been largely active prior to eating a snack and B) had consumed x-amount of water prior to snacks.  This wasn’t a huge deal for either of them because they are pretty much constantly active and they both drink water without complaint.  I also told them that large amounts of junk food were out of the question and that our snack choices would be healthy.  At first, they were worried that snacks would be gross.  I distinctly remember Gabe saying, “Are we just going to eat lettuce all day?  Because we don’t like lettuce.”  And I get it — snacks are a part of childhood memories.  I assured him he wouldn’t eat lettuce 24/7 and that I would find fun, healthy alternatives.  He didn’t believe me.

Enter KidFresh Triple Cheese Pizza Bites.  They’re packed with hidden veggies which include pureed carrots and spinach (joke’s on you, bud!) and made with whole wheat flour.  There’s no high fructose corn syrup and nothing chemically engineered, so I feel totally cool with letting my kids nom on these!  Bonus: my kids love them and never believe me when I tell them about the “hidden” veggies.  And while KidFresh Pizza bites are considered a snack, I’ve even given them to my kids as lunch with a not-so-hidden vegetable and cup of applesauce.  Winning!

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My oldest starts school tomorrow and Connor begins a week after.  I’ve already promised them that these will be in our freezer ready for a school-afternoon-snack the minute they walk in the door — give or take fifteen minutes.

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photo courtesy: me. illustrations courtesy: kidfresh website.

Disclosure: The above opinions are those of my own; I am receiving no compensation from KidFresh brand, nor have I been approached by them to advertise.  This is simply a product that we, as a family, have tried and have enjoyed.  Any opinions given are given purely as personal recommendations to other parents and/or anyone interested in healthier snack options for little ones.  The above image is linked to the KidFresh website; illustrations are not my own.

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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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The Safeword is “Paw Patrol”

“I need you,” he sighs.

Don’t lock your doors and switch your browser to Incognito yet, y’all.  It’s just my four-year-old on the other side of the bathroom door, needing me to poke a straw in his millionth juice box.

It’s an age-old story that we moms know all too well.  I’m sure if you go back in obscure history you’d see that even the cave-mommas were subjected to their offspring rushing to the designated toilet-tree just to ask if they could ride the family sabertooth.  Nevermind that cave-daddy was sitting on a nearby rock, scratching his backside and watching grass grow.  Because, obviously, mom grunts, “YES, GET OUT OF MY FACE,” BETTER.

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To be honest, I’m not really sure where to place the bathroom creeper blame.  Is it my fault for dragging their baby swing into the bathroom with me just so I could shower when they were small?  Is it the obligatory, “Herd all the children into the bathroom so they don’t flood the joint” mentality?  Actually, that second one is pretty legit.  They’ve both been known to flood bathrooms.  THANKS, KIDS.

Lately, I blame my eight-year-old who has become an expert bathroom lock picker.  No, he’s not creepin’ on people who are using the facilities.  He only does it to me and only when Connor has been whining for 2+ minutes about aforementioned juice boxes — or anything else, for that matter.  “Moooom.  He just won’t quit whiniiiing,” he, himself, whines.  But that’s another post for another day.

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In the way of motherhood privacy, there is no such thing as “privacy”.  The only me time I get these days is when a child’s nose is pressed into the corner of our bathroom or a fitting room.  “If they can’t see me, I can’t see them.”  (Yes, I know that’s not the saying and, yes, I know that doesn’t actually work.  But I’m doin’ what I got to do.)  For the past approaching nine years, I have been watched closer than a Russian spy.  My kids know no boundaries, and if one of them doesn’t one day have a career in the FBI, then I’ll be sorely disappointed steamed.

I don’t know when bathroom visitation ends, but I’m not seeing a clear end in sight.  I’ve got minimally four years left (Mason) until my privacy probation ends with no chance of parole.  What I don’t understand is why this glorious potty booty call doesn’t happen to my husband.  IT NEVER HAPPENS TO HIM.  No one ever busts up in the bathroom when homeboy is taking a shower.  No one slides notes under the door for him asking when he’ll be done.  No one goes in full Kramer-style with a mango and the TV remote asking for a hamburger (that actually happened).  They leave him the hell alone.  There have been no threats issued.  No discussion.  They just… leave him to his devices (read: cell phone).

I gave birth to these children.  My dignity has long since gone down the toilet.  My body has gone to crap.  My patience has been washed down the drain.  AND I JUST WANT TO URINATE IN PEACE, DAMNIT.

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“Safeword is, ‘Paw Patrol’,” she mumbles to herself, as she zips up her pants and shuffles, defeated, to the living room.

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The Magical Jacket from Land’s End

I bought Gabe a jacket from Land’s End a few years ago.  It fit him well and I loved the look of it.  He loved that it was comfortable (score for my sensory processing kid!).  They didn’t have any in Con’s size, but I found a similar one for him elsewhere and we were set for colder weather.   The jacket was uh-may-zing.  The outer layer repelled stains and the inner layer was soft and warm.  It lasted the season well, so I put it up for Connor to wear later down the road — or so I thought.

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Fast-forward to the next fall:  I’d just left my job, so things were tight while we re-budgeted our lifestyle.  It hit me then that the kids would need new outerwear for the upcoming winter.  To quell my curiosity, I pulled both jackets out of storage before hitting the pavement in search of new Louisiana winter gear.  I tried Connor’s first — no dice.  “If Con’s doesn’t fit, there’s no way Gabe’s will.”  But I like pushing my luck, so I gave it a go.  Thank God I did — it fit!  I couldn’t believe my luck, but I chalked it up to a fluke.  The jacket continued to impress, showing hardly any wear whatsoever.  Back in storage it went, this time I was sure for Connor.

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Things weren’t as tight the following year but, being the frugal momma that I am, I pulled the coats out, anyway.  Once again, Connor would need a new jacket — but what about Gabe??  It would be waaaay too good to be true.  Nevertheless, I tried it.  Y’all, my poor kid was all but crossing his fingers that he’d need new digs.  I was crossing mine that he wouldn’t.  EUREKA!  I felt like a winning contestant on The Price is Right.  The damned thing FIT.  I couldn’t believe it.  Poor Gabe couldn’t either but, regardless, we were set for another season with what I dubbed as, “The Magical, Hunter Green Land’s End Miracle Jacket”.

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How my kids feel when hand-me-downs fit.

By the end of the final cold snap, the jacket finally showed signs of becoming too small.  My boy would no longer be forced to don the same coat for a fourth year.  But even still, the M.H.G.L.E.M.J still looked great.  It withstood playgrounds, pizza joints, field trips, and little brother sticky hands.  So back into the closet it went — waiting on the next time it’ll get to serve its purpose.  Am I intrigued?  Y’all know I am.

Any of you guys experience the gloriousness of seemingly magical kids’ clothing?  Drop your frugal but awesome finds below.  I’d love to hear from you!

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All Aboard the Hot Mess Express

In the train station of life, I am the conductor of the Hot Mess Express.  My kids are the cowboy bandits Rowdy McGee, Ruckus Brown, & Ryder “Big Stink” Calhoun — the fastest Nerf-gun slingers in the South.  Their goal?  To rob me blind of sanity and Goldfish crackers.  The train leaves the station at “Oh, Shit, We’re Late” thirty and pulls in around “Sorry, We Hit Traffic (But Not Really)” o’clock*.  Needless to say, my ability to conduct chaos is ASTOUNDING not the greatest.

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Since becoming a SAHM, I’ve found that my resourcefulness as far as managing the clock goes is…. well.  Lacking.  When I had a 9-5 job, I had to be efficient at all times.  If I wasn’t on the road at Time A, there was no way that I’d be at work for Time B.  And if I couldn’t get out of the office at Time C, then I was going to be fifteen to twenty minutes late for pickup at Time D, which cost me $5 a MINUTE.  Y’all, I’m frugal as hell.  I’m not paying anybody, but anybody, to watch my kids for five bucks a minute.  So get outta my way, slow-moving eighteen wheeler on the freeway!  Momma’s burning gas and rubber to save $75 and you’re impeding my progress.

I don’t really know what happened when I left my job to stay home.  I’d been momming for eight years, so I knew that being at home — ALONE — with the ankle biters would be no easy task.  I knew that I wouldn’t be sitting with my feet propped up, lovingly stroking their heads, reading a bajillion Dr. Seuss books, sipping on luke-warm cocoa.  I’m a lot of things, but gullible ain’t one of them.  So all I can think is that maybe, just maybe, I thought I’d have more time on my hands being at home all day vs. going to work and then struggling to get all the things done.

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Sigh.  Could there have been a time when I was really that stupid?  Me thinks so.

And summertime — sheesh.  Summertime is the worst time-sucker of all.  I’ve been telling myself for weeks now to invest in room-darkening curtains.  I’m a cheap ass, but really… I feel like those would be a sound investment.  Because eight o’clock rolls around and my kids see half a glimmer of a fourth of a sunbeam and they’re all, “PARTY TIL MORNING” and I’m all, “OH HELLLL NAW”.  No kidding, I’ve been trying to write this very post for three days. THREE DAYS, Y’ALL.  Rowdy, Ruckus, & Ryder are about to find themselves hogtied if they don’t cut out the hoopin’, hollerin’, and general shenanigans**.

When we do manage to get out the door on time (read: minimally ten minutes late), my kids are clean, dressed, pressed, and look like little gentlemen.  I try to come out looking somewhat presentable, but sometimes my appearance is that of a frontierswoman who fought a bobcat — and lost.  I think my most favorite “getting ready” activities are hollering, “PUT ON YOUR PANTS” from my bathroom and explaining to my husband the million reasons I’m not ready but the children are.  Like, are you kidding me, dear?!  Don’t call me darlin’, darlin’; I’ll be ready once the children stop urinating on the floor.

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You’re probably wondering why I’m still not on the stick after 8.75 years and three children.  And I wish I could tell you.  What I can tell you is that if you looked at the alarm app on my phone, you’d think I was in the business of timing heists.  I’ve got an alarm for EVERYTHING.  Departure times, arrival times, bath times, eating times, times we could ideally leave, and more realistic alarms for when we’ll actually be getting in the car, and an additional timer for when we’re all in the car but we haven’t actually left the driveway just yet.  Think I’m joking?  Think again.  Those little alarms are the only things that get my ass in gear — who cares if they also give me anxiety?!

One day I’ll have it all together.  hahahahahahaha

No, I won’t.  I can’t even finish that paragraph without lying my backside off.

One day, I’ll try to focus on being less anxious to get out of the house before noon and just roll in the reality of this: I do have children.  BOY children.  And I know there are mommas out there who are also boy moms.  I know there are moms out there who also have 3+ children.  I know those women manage to get out the door dressed, unscathed, and on time.  I’m not even going to be bitter about it, because that’s just not my life right now.  And that’s okay.  Because those women likely have other issues that I’m not dealing with, and if life has taught me anything, it’s the grass ain’t necessarily greener on the other side of the fence — and if it is greener, it’s probably fake.

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So to you moms out there who struggle with promptness like I do***, raise up a glass of sasparilla, whiskey, milk… whatever you’re drinking and tell yourself this: just don’t forget to turn off your straightener.
*Obviously, these times vary because time management is an unfamiliar concept as a mother of bandits.

** Not really.  But only because I have no idea what hog-tying entails.

***Before anyone jumps on the, “If you can’t be on time you’re just rude” comment — don’t.  If I do nothing else, I consider other people’s feelings as well as their (valuable) time.  This is something written in jest, but also something that I genuinely struggle with.  So make nice, or move on.  kthanks!

 

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A SAHM’s take on her three-ring-circus and the three Converse
 wearing monkeys who live there.

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30.

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Today, I am thirty.

….sooo…. why do I feel no different today than I did yesterday, at 29?

Probably because my kids went to bed squabbling and woke up squabbling.  Thanks for keeping it real, kids.  You da real MVP.

But I digress.  Today isn’t just that huge of a deal for me.  It is what it is.  My best friend made a valid point this morning — 40 will probably be my epic meltdown birthday.  So, there’s that.  Ten additional years to prepare for being a complete basket case.  She also told me to party like a rockstar — little did she know that I woke up laying in puke that wasn’t my own (thanks, Mason!) and to an unwelcome foot down my pants (thanks, Connor!).  So while I’ll likely not party like a rockstar, I certainly woke up like one.  Same difference, right?

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I’m pretty sure my body is just in shock that I’ve made it thirty years through three c-sections, a slew of super-stupid life choices, and a nearly completely pickled liver.  The “dirty thirty” birthday bonanza will probably hit me like a semi-truck later when I’m kicking children out of the bathroom so I can just take a damn shower.  So for now, I’m going to leave you with thirty things about myself that, like ’em or not, have made me who I am today.

  1. I was born May 30th, 1988 at 8:15 AM.  I only know the time because my sweet mother has hammered that into my memory for, oh, thirty years.
  2. I have three siblings (two brothers and a sister), all of whom I am extremely proud of.  No, their accomplishments are not my own.  But they make me proud to be their sister.
  3. I have always rooted for the underdog.  That hasn’t always worked out in my favor.
  4. I am a momma to three beautiful and slightly deranged little boys.  They are my reasons to get up every morning — largely because they wake me up at the buttcrack of dawn every. damn. day.
  5. I love Diet Coke and would drink it by the case if I didn’t think it would kill me on the spot.
  6. When I was growing up, I wanted to be a writer.  …that clearly didn’t pan out.
  7. I also wanted to be a pilot and an interior designer.  I don’t mean to brag, but I chauffeur my kids around like nobody’s business and I can feng shui the hell out of some Legos.
  8. My most favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird.
  9. love murder-mysteries in any form — except for in real life.  Don’t nobody got time for that.
    • Murder, She Wrote is my JAM.
  10. I love to explore and would pack my family up to become adventurers if given the chance.
  11. Ireland is on the top of my “Places to Go” bucketlist.
  12. I talk with my hands.
  13. I’m a hugger (comes with that Southern territory — sorry, not sorry).
  14. Daisies are my favorite flower with tulips following at a close second.
  15. I love all things history, emphasis on Early American and European history.
  16. I am fascinated by the lives of people from the past.  I think I romanticise it all and get it in my head that they lived these super intriguing lives when, in reality, they were probably pretty ordinary for the times.
  17. I romanticise a lot of things, come to think of it.
  18. I was a single mom for two years.  Not a very long time at all by most standards, but it taught me a lot and helped me really appreciate life and, more importantly, my son’s life.  On a more serious note, he truly did save me from myself.
  19. I met my husband through my ex-brother-in-law via Facebook.  Truth be told, I only met Evan to shut Jake up.  Little did I know…
  20. My abhorrent punctuation skills aside, my favorite subject in school was English.
  21. I plan on taking the leap one day and writing a book.  God bless the editor that is assigned to that hot mess!
  22. I am terrified of deep water.
  23. I wish I were a bit bolder.
  24. Sometimes I feel altogether useless as an adult and parent.  But don’t we all?
  25. I really love deep conversations.  I know that’s not a super popular thing these days, so I have to censor myself lest I become a real buzz kill.
  26. My mouth is absolutely horrid.  Seriously, I don’t even realize I swear half the time.  I’m working on it.
  27. One day I hope to explore an old house and find a secret passageway.  That would be the equivalent of finding gold for me.
  28. I have no idea what I’m doing most days.
  29. Writing this list made me realize how little I really know about myself, which is oddly scary.
  30. And finally, I hope to lose minimally thirty pounds by the end of the year.  Not just for myself, but for my kids as well.

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So there you have it.  If you made it through that somewhat redundant list, then bless your heart.  I’m off to celebrate the morning at IHOP with my kiddos, because prying sticky pancake off of my four-year-old is the best thing EVAH.

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A SAHM’s take on her three-ring-circus and the three Converse
 wearing monkeys who live there.

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