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He Said, She Said: Non-Sleeping Children

 
 
 
 
{You know all those funny and/or stupid little moments that happen in every marriage but nobody ever talks about? Well welcome to He Said, She Said: True Stories where I give you an unprecedented glimpse inside the marital dysfunction. You are welcome.}
 
 
 

Setting the Scene: Matt and I have been having a terrible time with our kids bedtime routines lately. I know it’s just the effects of daylight savings time plus the end of school coming combined that are making them insane. But damn- I’m tired. We’re putting them back in bed at least 4 times each night before they finally fall asleep. The following conversation took place a few nights ago at 9:45pm when the little kids had finally fallen asleep.

 

He Said: Why won’t they just sleep?

 

She Said: They hate us.

 

He Said: Clearly.

 

She Said: I think they were sent to punish us for our own youth. 

 

He Said: Well it’s working.

 

She Said: And if they were sent to punish us for our own youth it’s only going to get worse.

 

He Said: That’s comforting.

 

She Said: Just wait until they’re teens. We can drag them out of bed at 7am on the weekends.

 

He Said: And laugh while we do it.

 

She Said: Something to look forward to.

 

He Said: It does sound great.

 

She Said: It’s all that keeps me going some days.

 

He Said: Well, that and the liquor.

 

She Said: Truth.

 

The End.

 

**Have you entered for a chance to win a $100 Visa Gift Card on THIS POST yet? What are you waiting for?

 

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How To Negotiate A Marriage (without bloodshed)

 If only more people realized this.

 

 

Marriage is work, y’all. Just in case you didn’t already know that. But I’m sure you do. It’s work. And it’s compromise. And it’s negotiation. And it’s forgiveness. Sometimes it’s looking at your spouse and wondering how you got so lucky. And sometimes it’s looking at your spouse and wondering where to hide the body. That’s marriage. And anyone who says or indicates that their marriage is all sunshine and rose all the time is either a total stone-faced liar or they are heavily medicated. If it’s the latter, ask if they’d be willing to share. Just kidding…..not really. 

 

Matt and I have been married for 18 years this coming August. We’ve been together almost 20 years- more than half of our lives. And we are still negotiating our way through marriage. After so many years together we’ve developed our own little systems and patterns that work for us. My sister laughs at some of the ways we compromise and navigate our way through what is an extremely busy life. 

 

Small Ways We Keep Our Marriage Running Smoothly

 

-Rock, Paper, Scissors solves everything. Can’t keep track of whose turn it is to change a diaper or get up with a crying kid in the middle of the night? Can’t decide between burgers and Chinese for dinner? Don’t remember who picked the last movie? Rock, Paper, Scissors solves the dilemma quickly with no fuss. We always do best 2 out of 3 because neither one of us wants to concede after the first loss. Try it- it really works.

 

-Conversations without words. Over time we have cultivated the ability to communicate with each other through facial expressions. Our kids are baffled by this skill but it does come in handy. Matt knows when I’m telling him to stop being as ass and I know when he’s telling me that he’s about to yell at the annoying neighbor if I don’t get her off our front lawn. This ability is really beneficial when we’re out in public and have to pretend to be upstanding members of the community.

 

-We appreciate what the other does. He works hard. I work hard. There is no arguing about who works harder. If he comes home and the house is a mess he jumps right in to help me out instead of complaining that he’s worked all day. On the flip side, I do my best to have things under control by the time he comes home so he doesn’t have to jump in right away. It’s all a balancing act. 

 

-He knows my love language. He knows when I’m having a particularly bad day and he’ll show up with a Venti Iced Chai with whip for me. Or on a really bad day- a half-dozen Krispy Kreme Donuts. And on a truly horrible day- a Five Guys cheeseburger. He gets me. And I know when he’s having a bad day to grab a 6-pack of his favorite beer that he never buys for himself because he says it’s too expensive.

 

-We do the jobs the other one hates the most. He knows that I absolutely hate to drive so he does all the driving when we go anywhere together or as a family. I know he is totally grossed out by cleaning the toilets so I do that. He knows I can’t stand talking on the phone to people I don’t know so he makes most of the household phone calls. I know he despises going to the grocery store so I do it during the week when the kids are in school. 

 

-I sleep in on Saturday mornings. He sleeps in on Sunday mornings. 

 

-He likes his dress shirts washed a certain way so he washes them himself. Then I match his shirts up with ties for the week because Matt is colorblind. Cheaper than weekly dry cleaning and he doesn’t look like a bachelor when he leaves for work. Win/win. 

 

-I don’t complain about boys night out and he doesn’t complain about me never remembering to put gas in the car. We give each other grace.  

 

-We have 3 checking accounts. We have a main household account that pays bills, buys groceries, etc. Then we both have our own fun accounts. We deposit money into our fun accounts every month to pay for anything not household related. The first rule of Fun Accounts is we don’t ask questions about the other’s fun account. We spent years arguing about what the other was spending money on every month until we started this system. Now we haven’t argued about anything money related in years. 

 

-We use the 10 point system to settle big disputes. I can thank Dr.Phil for this one. If we’re arguing about whether to sell our house and move, we put a number on it. If I’m a firm 10 on not selling and staying put and he’s only a 7 in favor of moving then he concedes. But we only use this system for major issues (like moving, or having another child, or buying something major) and it only works if you are both willing to be 100% honest. 

 

-We embrace each other’s interests. He watches NASCAR with me even though he doesn’t care about it. I watch gory Gladiator movies with him even though I’d rather watch…well, anything else.

 

-We respect each other’s limits. I don’t make him watch Honey Boo Boo and he doesn’t make me watch car shows. Now if Honey Boo Boo’s family buys a new car then we might convince each other to watch. 

 

-We never ever let the kids divide and conquer. Ever. And boy do they try. Especially the older kids, they really really challenge this rule. We don’t fight about much but one thing that will definitely start an argument is the kids. Matt and I both have learned to ask a simple question whenever one of the kids approaches us for permission to do something. “Have you asked your mom/dad?” More often than not the other parent has already said no and we’re the back-up parent. The last resort, if you will. Not in this house kids, not in this house.

 

-We recognize that it’s not always 50/50. A marriage where everything is 50/50 all the time sounds great in theory but in reality it just doesn’t happen often. There are days where I really can only give 20% and he throws in the other 80%. And vice versa. It’s not about always being equal. It’s about being willing to pick up the slack when you need to and doing it without complaint because you know the other person will return the favor in the future.

 

Those are a few of the ways we manage our marriage without bloodshed. It’s hard work- maintaining a house, raising kids, managing a busy schedule, and staying married. If we don’t both invest the time and energy, it won’t work and the whole thing will collapse faster than a deck of cards in a strong wind. 

 

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Thoughts On Being A Writer

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When someone asks me what I do for a job I always hesitate. I don’t know. I’m a mom. I blog. But telling someone you are a blogger is usually met with a smirk and/or laughter. But if I say I’m a writer they want to know what I’ve written. And we’re back to being a blogger. And the smirking. I’ve always written- short stories, elaborate fairy tales, kids books, long detailed descriptions of what I hoped would happen one day to the mean girls in school….my mom has spiral notebooks full of stories dating back to when I was 8 years old. She always predicted I would grow up to be a writer. My favorite high school English teacher encouraged me endlessly to hone my writing skills and to attend workshops and share my work. I was always shy about sharing my words. It wasn’t that I was afraid people wouldn’t like what I had written, it was more of not liking the feeling of being exposed. I have always been better at expressing my feelings in writing than with spoken word. Just ask Matt. Until I started blogging I kept my writing private in a journal. My college English and Creative Writing classes were enough to give me stress induced panic attacks. Getting up in front of a group and reading my own work was terrifying. Being behind a keyboard feels much safer. 

 

But I always thought about writing a book. I did write a book about our journey through foster care adoption. Ultimately I decided it was something I should not pursue getting published because of the sensitive nature of some of the stories. They weren’t really my stories to tell. So I scrapped it and told myself I was satisfied just writing a blog. And I am. I love blogging. But I still have that niggle in the back of my mind telling me I could do more. 

 

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So I’m doing more. Recently I was invited by one of the most inspirational people I “know”, Carolyn Savage, to collaborate in a series of books with herself and some other bloggers. For those of you who don’t know who Carolyn is, she is the author of Inconceivable– her story of carrying another couple’s child after an embryo mixup. Her story has been one I have followed for a long time and I was honored to receive an email from her about writing for this series of books. The other bloggers involved are fabulous and most of them were already regular daily reads for me. A lot of the details, including the title, are still under wraps for now but the creative process for the first book is already well under way, contracts have been made, she has secured an editor and a designer. The first book in the series is due in early 2015 and will be available in both print and e-book format. 

 

I’m super excited to see where this journey leads me. I’m excited to share parts of my story that I haven’t really shared before and I’m very excited for my words to be included alongside these other great ladies. More details will be forthcoming in the next few months and I can’t wait to share it all with you. I truly believe this is going to be the start of something wonderful.

 

So now when someone asks what I do I can say I write. I’m a writer. 

 

I feel so legit.

 

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The Fine Line Between Sharing And Over-Sharing

Whenever someone I know in my real life asks about my blog the first thing they want to know is how I decide what to share and what to keep private. They wonder how I know what is over-sharing when it comes to my kids. I think I do a fairly good job of walking the line between being open and sharing glimpses of our life without crossing over the line into inappropriate over-sharing. Now that’s not to say that I haven’t regretted writing a post or two in the past 6 years and there have been a few that have been deleted. 

 

As my long time readers know, I’m not shy. Not at all. And I share pretty much anything funny that happens to me. Because I do not get embarrassed and I don’t mind when people laugh at me. I laugh at myself all the time. But the kids are a different story. As they’ve gotten older I’ve been a lot more conscious of what I write about them and what stories I share. After all, I would hate for a story I share on my blog to be the reason my kid doesn’t get into law school one day when the admissions officer Googles their name. That would suck. I figure anybody who Googles me at this point is not going to be surprised by anything they read. I mean, come on, I told you all how I peed myself in Target, I shared the humiliating moments of my youth, I recounted the whole bikini waxing incident for you, I told you about my inappropriate laughter in my kid’s 5th grade sex ed seminar, and I even shared the drunken bachelorette party incident with you. I’m fairly certain nothing I share on this blog about myself with shock anyone at this point. Yeah?

 

I think the line is different for each kid though. There’s not a blanket formula to figure out what you should share. It’s very dependent on their personalities. Ty, for example, is not shy, he doesn’t get embarrassed, and he has a fantastic sense of humor. I tend to share more funny stories both on the blog and through pictures on Instagram. I do ask him before I post a story or picture. He’s old enough to have a say in what I write and share about him. Rarely does he ask me to not post something. Maia on the other hand is somewhat shy, wears her heart on her sleeve, and does not like to be the center of attention. I share less funny stories about her and more of the feely good stuff. Again, I ask her permission before I post about her.

 

 

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Luckily Mase and Zoey are young enough to not care what I post about them yet. And that’s a good thing because quite frankly they give me a goldmine of fodder for the blog. I imagine it won’t be long before Mase wants less pictures of himself posted but he seems to share Ty’s sense of humor so maybe he’ll surprise me. 

 

 

 

 

And poor Matt- I post about him all the time. Poor, poor Matt. Truthfully though, he doesn’t care what I write. He knows I won’t ever write anything disrespectful to him or to our marriage. We are both very sarcastic people with really dry sense of humors and he doesn’t mind me sharing glimpses of that on my blog. You won’t see me post intimate details or stories though. It’s not that kind of blog, y’all. 

 

I get a varied response from people in my real life. Some love my blog and think it’s something that will be really fun to look back on later in life. Others think it’s exploiting my kids and roll their eyes. They’re entitled to their own opinions even I don’t necessarily think they need to share those opinions with me. I think if you choose to share parts of your life online then you have to find your own line and make sure you don’t cross it. The fall out for posting something that hurts or embarrasses your kid is not worth the laughs your story might get from virtual strangers. 

 

Just my opinion. And you know what they say about opinions….

 

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Making Brushing Fun With Orajel

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Orajel Kids.
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One of the most challenging parts of our day revolves around brushing teeth. For some unknown reason my two youngest children view brushing their teeth as the worst form of torture that we, as their parents, could ever inflict upon them. They whine, they stall, they beg, they run, they bite, and they scream. Normally the screaming comes last and truth be told, Matt and I seize the opportunity while their mouths are open to stick a toothbrush in there. It’s a truly exhausting routine that plays out twice a day in our house. The litany of complaints from the little people includes the toothpaste tasting yucky, the toothbrush being ugly, and the brushing of the teeth being not fun. There’s not a whole lot I can do about the brushing of the teeth not being fun but I can at least remedy the first two issues. And hopefully broker peace during our twice a day routine.

 

 

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I switched both of the youngest kids in our house to Orajel products this past week. Mase is 6 and Zoey is 3. My biggest challenge with both kids, other than the whole getting them to stop screaming and stand still long enough to actually brush their teeth, is them wanting to do it all themselves. They are caught between needing assistance and wanting independence, which makes it even harder to get a complete brushing done twice a day.

 

 

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Zoey’s idea of brushing is to suck the toothpaste of the toothbrush and swallow it immediately. Luckily, the Orajel Toddler Training Toothpaste is fluoride-free so I don’t have to worry as much about how much of it she is swallowing while we brush her teeth. As an added bonus, she loved the Tooty Fruity Flavor of the Thomas & Friends toothpaste we tried. And because the toothpaste is fluoride-free I was able to promise her she could brush her own teeth after I finished. It worked like a charm and not only were her teeth fully cleaned but it happened with no screaming.

 

Mase was super excited to see his new Orajel Bubble Guppies toothbrush and toothpaste. He’s old enough to help brush his own teeth but the taste of the toothpaste usually makes him resist. He’s very sensitive to flavors and most of the kid toothpastes I’ve tried have not met with his approval. The Orajel Bubble Guppies Anticavity Fluoride has a “fin-tastic” fruit flavor that he liked while the toothbrush has a colored bristle guide to show him where to place the toothbrush. 

 

 

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Orajel wants to celebrate your child’s smiling milestones- their “Smilestones”. Head over to the Facebook Page before June 18th to share your favorite “Smilestone”– from baby’s first tooth to the first day of school- and you can be entered to win a grand prize trip for a family of 4 to Beaches Resorts. 

 

How do you encourage your kids to brush their teeth?

 

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Orajel Kids.

 

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