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Enjoying Summer Time With Kids

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We were at the pool last week and a new family to the neighborhood was there. I watched them for awhile. It was mom, dad, grandparents, and 4 small kids probably ages 7 and under. They rolled in with huge floats and big bags and all the stuff that accompanies a trip to the pool with small kids. But what I noticed the most was the mom. She was miserable. She never once smiled or laughed. She yelled, she snapped, and she huffed. It hurt my heart to watch her and it broke my heart to watch her kids.

I get it. I was her a few years ago. It was like watching my past through a mirror. I remember those days clearly. I remember bringing 4 kids to the pool when they were all very young and only 1 could swim. I remember being in a constant state of panic trying to keep up with 4 kids and make sure nobody was drowning. I remember dreading days at the pool and being ready to leave 10 minutes after arriving. Oh, I remember. 

I wanted to tell her that it’s just a stage. That it gets better. That soon she will enjoy these days. What I didn’t want to tell her is what everyone always told me. “You’ll miss these days so enjoy them”. Because, no. I don’t miss those days. I don’t miss the sheer panic of those 30 seconds where you can’t see one of your kids in the pool. I don’t miss the huge bags and floats and stuff that you need to lug around. I don’t miss those things. 

Watching her made me realize how long ago those days were. I lounged on a pool chair with a new book on my Kindle sipping a watermelon lemonade while my kids swam and played. All of my kids can swim now and can swim well enough that I don’t need to be within arms reach of them. They also play together without fighting and genuinely enjoy each others company most of the time. I feel like I’ve graduated to a whole new stage of life. And I love it. I love it a lot. And it’s a great feeling to love your life. 

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5 Thoughts Mom Have At The End Of The School Year

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We are T-11 school days left in this year for the 2 youngest kids. Tyler is done for the year and Maia has 5 days left. I’m almost there. I’ve almost made it, y’all. I’m running seriously low on energy, brain cells, and cares at this point. My brain has hit the end of the school year wall. It’s a real thing. Don’t believe me? Here are 5 thoughts that ran through my very tired brain in the last few days. 

1. We just spent 3 hours at the pool. That totally counts as a bath, right? They smell good- like sunscreen and chlorine. The chemicals in the pool are even better than soap. They sanitize the pool water from all those little germy gross toddlers so they surely cleaned my kids off better than the kids body wash. Yep. They’re good. No shower time fights tonight. 

2. I have 7 slices of bread, 4 slices of ham, a half can of tuna, a can of olives, and 3 bananas. I think we’re good. I don’t have to go to the grocery store for a couple more days. I can make it work. Ooh, there’s still 8 cheese cubes left. Boom. We’re good. 

3. What kind of sadistic teacher sends a project home in May? Seriously. What is the purpose behind this? I’m not doing this. No. It’s going to require glue. And glitter. And a poster board. I don’t have any more construction paper. I’m going to have to go to Wal*Mart. Why is this happening to me? 

4. If they turn their underwear inside out and I spray their clothes with Axe I can do that laundry tomorrow. I just freed up 2 hours. More margarita time in the hot tub for me. 

5. If one more end of the year event paper comes out of a book bag I swear I’m going to home school next year. I swear it. Well I’ll think about it anyway. Probably not. Where’s my calendar? Damn it. 

T-11 days. I can make it. If there’s a God in heaven I can make it. 

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9 Truths About The End Of The School Year

*Full Disclosure- parts of this post appeared last year on the blog around the same time of year. I’m phoning it in here folks. Phoning it in. But I’ve added some new stuff so keep reading. 

The end of the school year cannot possibly come fast enough for me, y’all. We are limping along, just limping to the finish line. I started out the year so bright and shiny with enthusiasm and plans. I don’t know where I lost it. Somewhere between the Thanksgiving play and the January snow days I assume. The new planner I bought to keep track of all the stuff was filled in faithfully for the first 4-ish months of the school year. But the last 6 months are completely blank and mocking me. I’ve given up. Let me give you some insight into what giving up means in this house by the time we reach mid-May.

1. All the reading logs are falsified. Totally fake and not even remotely believable. As if my 3rd grader read 45 pages of Anne of Green Gables. But the teacher clearly didn’t notice so I assume she’s given up too. 

2. Lunch boxes are no longer a work of art. Last week one kid went to school with a half eaten slice of pizza and half an orange. So basically whatever they don’t finish from dinner the night before gets tossed into the lunch box. Yesterday I tossed $10 at Mason on the way out the door because I had no change and no leftovers. I’m sure he bought ice cream and cookies. I do not care. 

3. School spirit is at an all time low. Spirit nights? PTA meetings? Talent shows? Volunteers for pretty much anything? No. 

4. My kids look homeless. We started out the school year with perfectly coordinated outfits free from stains or holes. At this point as long as they aren’t going to school in their pajamas, I’m ok with it. But if their pajama pants can pass for real pants I’m ok with those too. I’m calling it a gray area. I refuse to buy them new clothes because they will all be wearing uniforms next year so why bother? Even Tyler has given up. He’s gone to school 4 days in a row out of uniform. Nobody noticed. 

5. Their book bags are so disgusting that they could pretty much walk to school on their own. I think Mason might have some kind of a Science project growing in his. I might leave it there and actually use it as his Science project next year. 

6. Morning drop off gets later and later. My kids go to a late start elementary school so the final bell doesn’t ring until 9:15am. At the beginning of the year we were in the car line no later than 8:50 so they had time to get to class and unwind without rushing. These days we are screeching into the parking lot at 9:13 and the kids shoot out of the car like track stars at the starter pistol. 

7. Any further assigned projects that require my assistance will be half-assed. Period. I only give my whole ass to projects in the first 6 months of the school year. Maia had to do a book report that consisted of a poster about her chosen book. She did it herself and it looked good. Much better than the kid who brought in the poster with a DVD of Little House on the Prairie taped to the poster board. Zoey did her own map project this week. I don’t know what it was a map of. I don’t care. 

8. Attendance at year end events will be spotty and entirely dependent on whether or not there’s anything good on TV at that time. End of year picnics, field days, volunteers breakfast, athletic banquets, muffins for mom, awards ceremonies….can’t we do these at the beginning of the year when we all still care?

9. A bake sale planned in May means I will be sending in store bought treats. Guaranteed. And I won’t even try to fake it by arranging them on a nice plate. They’re coming in the original box with the price sticker still attached. 

See how far we have fallen? I’d like to be embarrassed but I’m too tired. I just need it to end. Immediately. 

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5 Reasons Why My Current Stage Of Life Is Easier

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I almost hesitate to say it out loud or write it down but my life has gotten much easier. I feel like I’m tempting fate to drop the other shoe but it’s the truth. Gone are the days of midnight feedings and dragging baby equipment everywhere and entertaining small humans all day long. Life is busy, don’t get me wrong, but it’s inherently easier. It’s been a few months since I really started noticing the change. It snuck up on me out of the blue. 

1. We have built in babysitting. Matt and I went on a quick trip to Lowes last night at 7:00 and left the girls at home together. We routinely let Tyler or Maia babysit for Zoey and Mason. Small errands that used to be awful when we dragged 3 kids with us are actually enjoyable when it’s just the two of us! 

2. The house is cleaner. As the kids get older we have less big toys cluttering up everywhere and the toys that the kids do still have are all kept in their bedrooms. I have a strict policy on toys downstairs now. If they are still downstairs when I go to bed they get tossed in the Goodwill box and the offending child has 5 days to earn them back before they get donated. My house is very nearly company ready most of the time now. I never thought I’d see the day.

3. The kids help. They all have daily, weekly, and monthly chores that they’re responsible for doing. I hate washing windows but Zoey loves it so that’s her chore. I hate to dust so Mason does that. Maia is in charge of picking up dog poo in the yard. Tyler takes care of the yard. They all are responsible for bringing their dirty sheets down on laundry day. They get their own drinks and snacks now instead of bugging me 38 times an hour for a snack. They put their dishes in the dishwasher. It’s glorious.

4. We have better technology. I never set foot in a grocery store. I order on the app and pick it up in the parking lot. Anything I forget I can have delivered to my door in 2 days with Amazon Prime shipping. Almost all of my shopping is done online now for household stuff, kids clothes, my clothes, dog supplies…this alone has increased my happiness level by at least 150%. Pretty much anything I need to do I have an app for on my phone. I love technology.

5. There’s less pressure. I don’t know what it is about getting older that makes me care less about what others think. I don’t feel the pressure to put on a facade of the perfect life anymore. Life is messy and there’s no such thing as perfect. I care less about keeping up with the Joneses and more about finding satisfaction in the things that bring me joy. I don’t care if someone is judging my pajama pants and top knot in the car line. I don’t care. It’s very freeing. 

I’m really loving this new stage of life. I’m enjoying every day. I’m taking time to do the things I like- drinking margaritas in the hot tub, reading a great book at the bus stop, sitting by the fire pit with Matt at night making plans for the summer. Those are the things I want more of in my life. So all you mamas who are still in the trenches of toddlerhood and sleepless nights and the dreaded 3 year old dictatorship stage- hang in there. It gets better. 

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10 Friends In Your Mom Circle

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As I’ve gotten older I’ve noticed that the friends I have fall into a category. I have very few friends that are just friends- not people I met through my kids or who I associate with so frequently that we’re technically friends. Being a mom means you don’t always get to choose your own friends. I’ve lucked out and I have some great friends, even the ones that I met through my kids. There are pretty much 10 types of friends in my circles these days. 

1. The Favor Friend- You might not really like her but somehow you owe her approximately 347 favors. She’s always the first one to jump in and volunteer to help you with something, even when you haven’t asked for help. Then the next thing you know you owe her another favor. She’s a stay home mom but could probably be a very successful mob boss if she really wanted to go that direction. 

2. The PTA Friend- She’s very involved and actually enjoys the PTA. She attends all the meetings (sober) and reports back to you so you don’t have to go. She organizes the bake sales and charity concerts and end of the year carnivals. But fair warning- let her calls go to voice mail for at least 3 days after a PTA meeting or the next thing you know you’ll be dressed like a clown sitting in a dunk booth at a carnival that you had no intention of attending. True story. 

3. The Carpool Friend- The friend you call at the last minute when something happens and one of your kids needs a ride to school. And she always says yes without hesitation. You do the same for her. This is a very powerful friendship and should not be underestimated. A mom willing to sit through car line for you is a true friend.

4. The Sports Team Friend- She’s not really your type but your kids have been on the same sports teams for years and she’s grown on you. It helps when she’s also a rebel who likes to bring wine in her Yeti cup to the games. Bonus points if she knows the refs by name and yells at them. 

5. The informed Friend- She knows everything about everybody and she’s the first call you make when you need details. This is not the friend to have a heart to heart talk with, however. Anything you tell her is fair game for public consumption. So listen, smile, nod, and keep your thoughts to yourself to make this friendship work. 

6. The Play Date Friend- Your kid is best friends with her kid so once a week you make small talk over organic carrots and gluten free hummus (her house) or BBQ chips and Sprite (your house). Make sure you scrub your bathroom spotless before the playdate. She is judging you. 

7. The Hand Me Down Friend- Every few months several big bags of clothes and toys end up on your porch. And not the junk- the good stuff.  I have a hand me down chain going on. A friend hands down to my kid and I pass on to another kid whose mom then passes on to another kid. It’s saved all of us thousands of dollars over the years.

8. The Sales Friend- She sells every life changing product around. And she shares her discount with friends which is great because that crap is expensive. Just don’t try to rope me into your sales crew. I don’t like people and that makes selling them crap they don’t need really hard. 

9. The Melodramatic Friend- You spend most of your phone conversations talking her down off a ledge because her kid ate soap, or a worm, or started talking to her imaginary friend in the grocery store and oh my gosh, does that mean she’s having a psychotic break? True story. Pro tip- screen her calls and don’t answer every time or she’ll expect it. 

10. The Selfless Friend- She will drop everything and anything if you call her in an emergency. She’s a great listener, not a gossip, loves your kids, always has good advice, and is fun to be around. These friends- they are unicorns and should be treasured above all others. 

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