A Morning in Quotes

This morning was slightly more chaotic than usual. My husband, who usually makes the kids lunches and drives them to school, is out of town. So, it’s all me. Yeah, I know, moms do this every day. But you see, we have a system in our house and the system works! So, I’m proud to say I was proactive and made the kids their lunches last night. Oh, and before I fell asleep I saw a friend’s post of her daughter harvesting kale. Kale, I thought. We have kale. I can make a healthy breakfast for my kids. (Another Brilliant Mom Idea.) And with that, I give you the following one-sided conversation which is essentially a summary of the two and half waking hours I spent with my three kids this morning.

Good Morning!

It’s time to wake up!

Do you still want to work out with me?

Guys, this is mom’s time. If you’re just going to argue, go back to bed. (I work out every morning and they always want to “help” which typically means they sit on the couch under a blanket and watch me workout.)

Stop fighting over the blanket.

Put away your blanket.

Come on guys, let’s get dressed.

Seriously you guys, go get dressed.

Get off the couch.

It’s time to wake up! (See how we’ve circled back?)

Yes, its green stuff. It’s kale.

Kale won’t actually kill you.

Did you wash your hair?

Then why is your hair still dry?

No, you cannot wash your hair in the sink.

Yes, you have to wash your hair all the way to the front.

The shampoo doesn’t wash out by itself!

Stop hitting your brother.

Go to your room. You can come out when you behave yourself.

You can have the toy back when you can be kind to one another.

Where is your lunch?

Did you remember your lunch?

Is your lunch in your backpack?

Where is your coat?

Why don’t you have socks on?

I love you, have a great day!

No, you cannot bring your whoopee cushion to school.


Lose 10 Pounds This Week

Okay, so the title of this post may be slightly deceiving. I have no idea how much weight you could actually lose – but based on the amount of sweat dripping from my body last night – it might be a lot!

The Mommy Exercise Plan

Step 1 – Agree to the many requests by your children to go to the park.

Step 2 – Dress in something that’s okay to get sweaty. And dirty. Dress your kids in helmets and gear.

Step 3 – Run after your kids as they bike to the park. Don’t worry – all those pauses and walking you do when they get off their bikes to look at an ant marching down the street or investigate the pile of dried up dog poop on the corner will be made up for in the all-out sprints you will perform when they get a little too close to the intersection.

Step 4 – Arrive at the park. Catch your breath. You’ll need it.

Step 5 – Proceed with an intense game of “Zombie Mommy.” Zombie Mommy – if you don’t know – is when the children run from you while giggling as you chase them from one piece of playground equipment to the next. Be prepared to stop on a dime as they suddenly claim, “NO, Mom! You DIDN’T tag me, because I’m on the swing and the swing is base! Duh!”

Step 6 – Pause briefly to catch your breath while random children approach you and ask you to play with them as well. And chase them. Make eye contact with said children’s parents to make sure they know you’re not some weirdo chasing their children around a playground while making growling Zombie sounds.

Step 7 – You’ve caught a child. Carefully throw the child to the ground – carefully, I said! Tickle the child and say in a friendly-Zombie-tone (yeah, you can do it) that you’re going to eat their brains. Release them. Repeat steps 5-7 for about half an hour.

Step 8 – It’s time to tell the kids – in your non-Zombie regular mom voice- that it’s time to go home. Threaten to not play Zombie Mommy again if they don’t listen.

Step 9 – Perform step 3 in reverse. Run after them all the way home.

Step 10 – Collapse into a sweaty pile on your couch.


Congratulations – you’ve just burned a million calories, played with your kids and tired them (and you) out for the evening. Give yourself 1.5 hours total for this exercise.

Oh – and it’s worth noting – despite the fact that you made eye contact with the other kids’ parents, you may still be perpetually labeled as the “crazy mom who chases kids at the park.”




The Chuck E Cheese Phenomenon

Chuck-E-Cheese-Logo1I have learned certain things over the course of my life. Things like dress in layers to cover up my innate ability to spill on myself, or always tell someone where you’re going if you decide to travel in winter in Alaska. Then, there are other things I have learned. Things about motherhood. Things about places like Chuck E Cheese, where we celebrated my son’s third birthday. It’s a venue where we have often celebrated birthdays, both for my children and other young friends and relatives.

As soon as you walk into the doors of Chuck E Cheese (whatever happened to the small door intended only as a child’s entrance? Did they take that out?) you can feel a shift in the universe. I imagine it’s like a kid version of Vegas. What happens at Chuck E’s house stays at Chuck E’s house. That is, until now. Here are my observations about the Chuck E Cheese Phenomenon.

  1. Your children will beg you for pizza every day of the week. But, the moment you place pizza in front of them at Chuck E Cheese and tear them away from the games long enough to consume their meal, they will hate every fiber of your being as if you were trying to force them to eat shards of glass.
  2. Much like prom, your child will likely end up in tears by the end of the night.
  3. No matter how many tokens you buy, it will not be enough.
  4. You will leave with something sticky on you.
  5. Your child will leave sweaty, amped up, tired and cranky – all at the same time.
  6. Energy reverses itself simultaneously providing your child with endless energy while sapping you of every ounce of remaining energy.
  7. A kid will get stuck, sobbing incoherently, in the tubes of play land. You (or another parental volunteer) will climb up, rather ungracefully, to rescue the child.
  8. Once you have rescued an inconsolable child from the tubes of play land, that same child will begin screaming that they want to do it again.
  9. Your bank account will shrink like a contestant on The Biggest Loser.
  10. Your kids will beg you to come back, no matter what.

A Very Griswold Christmas…

Clark-GriswoldRaise your hand if you’ve seen the “National Lampoon Vacation” movies. Okay, put your hand down – people are staring at you.

If you’ve seen those movies, you know Clark Griswold is notorious for setting these ridiculously high expectations of family events and then failing miserably at meeting them. For instance, the Christmas lights scene: he and his son, Rusty, set up a million or so lights all over the roof… and they don’t work. It’s those kind of expectations that I seem to model in what I like to call my “Brilliant Mom Ideas.” These are ideas that seem great at first and that I later regret.

As I mentioned a while back, my minivan is on its last leg. So, I’ve been doing a lot of Craigslisting in search of a new vehicle. I found one this weekend. It completely matched what I was looking for, but… (yes, there’s always a but) the owner and the vehicle were 251 miles north of me. Like a good Alaska girl, I didn’t let a simple thing like distance stop me. I decided to make the most of it. Enter my latest Brilliant Mom Idea.

Deciding to make a 251 mile – wait, make that 502 mile (round trip) – trek with your three kids requires a lot of thought/energy/planning/stupidity/prayer. But, why stop at 502 miles? Because, just another 126 miles and you’d be in North Pole, Alaska. And you know what’s in North Pole? SANTA! So, we decided to keep going and make our 502 mile trek into a 754 mile trip.

We waited until we’d packed up the kids in the car to tell them where we were headed. We hit “record” on the camera and broke the big news. I expected “You Tube” quality reactions – maybe screaming, jumping up and down or even tears. Nope. Nada. They were like, “Oh, that’s cool.” This should have been my first red flag.

After driving the first 251 miles, test driving the truck and continuing on north, we spent the night in Fairbanks and woke the next morning, primed to see Santa. We psyched the kids up to see him, asking them repeatedly what they were going to ask him for. We drove to North Pole, pulling up outside Santa Claus’s House. The kids took a moment to say hi to his reindeer, before running-full-speed inside. We ran through the very crisp and cold air and opened the doors to his workshop. The children tore through the store in search of Santa and his big chair. I turned the corner and stared – at an empty chair. “Oh, where’s Santa?” I said aloud, and then read the sign: 257606_10151299024252722_1996882062_o

Did I fail to mention this was MONDAY?

At least the kids did not come apart at the seams. I, however, felt like Clark Griswold when they drove cross-country, only to discover that Wally World was closed for maintenance. Yeah…

Two days in the car with three kids… and no Santa. Well, at least it’s a family memory we won’t soon forget.

Tell me – please – have you created any Brilliant Mom Ideas this Christmas?

The Mommy Christmas Spirit

Christmas-mom-e1354208408685-38878_466x180Are you feeling waned of energy? Being torn in 70 different directions? School plays and baking cookies for various events got you down? You may be suffering from a lack of Mommy Christmas Spirit.

Don’t worry, you are not alone. Millions of mommies are suffering from the same syndrome.

We busy ourselves with so many activities and festivities and parties, plus all the shopping for everyone from the day care lady to the teacher’s class assistant that we feel overwhelmed.

There is a cure – a home-remedy, if you will, to boosting your Mommy Christmas Spirit: downsize your Christmas.

We’ve all super-sized our Christmas’s to such proportions there is no way to keep up. Stop worrying about the tinsel and the assorted gifts and focus instead on the true meaning of Christmas. Your family and friends, believe it or not, will thank you.

Go to Church

Put your heart back where it belongs this Christmas – hint, hint, it’s not in the mall! A few carols in about the birth of baby Jesus and you’ll find yourself filled to the brim with Mommy Christmas Spirit again.

Forget the Gifts

My closest friends have all determined our kids have way too much crap. Our solution? Stop buying our friend’s kids toys. Instead, we may set up a special play date or hang out in a joint-family cookie-making day.

Make a Deal

Agree within your close-circle of friends or your extended family what your gift-giving expectations are. You might think this would be an awkward conversation, but chances are, your friends are panicking over whether to buy you a teal turtleneck or a Milli Vanilli CD, too.

Work on the Memories

Now that you’ll have all this time on your hands that you won’t be spending shopping for gifts for every obscure friend or long-lost relative on your list, fill that time with something that actually matters. Take the kids sledding, color a nativity picture and hang it in your house or share some hot cocoa.

Remember What GIVING is All About


Throw a dollar in the Salvation Army bucket. Buy the guy behind you in line at Starbucks a coffee. Adopt a family in need. Hope Community Resources helps people who experience disabilities achieve their dreams. Every year, they put up an Angel Tree to help people who are struggling at Christmas time. Make giving a family affair.

Let Go of the Guilt

I’ve saved this one for last for a reason. I can see you now, reading my list of ways to downsize Christmas and you’re thinking, “There’s no way I can do that! I have to buy gifts for Tommy and Suzie and my neighbor and…” Let me stop you. Release the guilt about someone who isn’t going to get a gift from you this year. Plan to do something special for or with them instead. Your Aunt in Texas might not need another fruit cake, but I bet she’d be thrilled to hear your voice. A five-minute conversation has more value than anything you can buy and ship from Amazon.

Mommies – we owe this to our kids. Lets not have them growing up remembering us as the frazzled and frantic moms, dragging them from store to store. Lets teach them the true spirit of Christmas. So, moms and dads, what can you add to our list of ways to downsize Christmas while super-sizing our spirits?

Rated R for Crude Humor

If you got past the title of this post, you’re ready for some crude content. Today, I give you one thought and two pictures.

Thought first – I never, ever, in my life, thought I’d have to sternly say the words, “Well, then, you shouldn’t have your penis out in the kitchen!” <—- Said to my two-year old who was wagging it at me. After my response, he cried. Hopefully, this incident does not land him on a psychologist’s couch one day, dwelling on the shame he now associates with his manhood.

Also today, ( I know I said only one thought, but come on! Give me a break…) I stayed home with my ten-year old daughter who wasn’t feeling well. I made her read a chapter in a book and write a summary of it. The experience may leave her magically feeling better tomorrow… (It was nice mommy-daughter time, you know, when I wasn’t working and she wasn’t begrudgingly reading a book.)

Okay – now for show and tell. I made dinner tonight. My seven-year old son thought this was pretty funny.

I find it’s a good way to teach the kids a recipe (stuffed peppers) while also sharing the hazards of binge drinking.

Later, while continuing to make supper, I hurriedly checked my first grader’s homework. His reading assignment caught me off guard, to say the least.

For the record, the book, “One Big Rock,” was a lovely read.

The Whipping Boy

In elementary school, The Whipping Boy was required reading. It’s about a bratty prince who is always up to no good. But, in royal society,  no one was allowed to lay hands on the prince. So, they brought in another, poor, unfortunate kid to get whipped for him: hence, the title.

I found this book at a garage sale a while back and, in a moment of nostalgia, bought it to read to my kids. We’ve also read, with success, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, also an award-winning book. 

My kids have been listening to me read The Whipping Boy to them on and off over the last couple of weeks. Although it’s only 89 pages, I was beginning to think they were losing interest or, at least, not paying very close attention to the plot. That is, until our car ride home yesterday.

My kindergartener was asking me what we were going to do when we got home. I jokingly said, “Oh, we’ll be giving you 97 spankings. Sound good?” To this, he quickly replied, “Actually, mom, you’ve been named my whipping boy. So, you’ll be receiving 97 spankings. Sound good?”

 Note to self: add “reading books to children about ridiculous forms of punishment” to the list of other Brilliant Mom Ideas that have backfired… Will I ever learn?

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