There’s Bound to be a Letdown

My kids returned home today from an epic adventure spanning from Chicago to Disney World. Their days have been filled with extended family and lots and lots of fun. Tonight, I will pick them up from this whirlwind adventure and plant them back into the reality that is the typical summer vacation: food cooked at home, bike rides and chores.

I know I’ve quoted my step mother’s words of wisdom before, “You’re not their cruise ship director.” And yet, I fear the letdown. I worry about what they’ll expect after two and a half weeks of constant stimulation. We do a lot of playing outside, reading books together and playing board games. That’s got nothing on Mickey Mouse.

While they adjust to normal life again – you know, the kind that doesn’t involve theme parks – I hope they take it in stride. I hope there won’t be a letdown. I hope there won’t be a meltdown. But, above all else – I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE THEM!

The Mess Remains

My children have been gone for nearly two weeks. I’d like to say in that time I have cleaned their rooms, organized their toys and shelves and read a few good books, just for good measure. I have done none of those things.

When my kids go with their dad – typically a week at a time – I leave their rooms the way they left them. Despite my constant longing for fairies to come to my house and clean it while I am sleeping, they never do. When I wake up, the mess is still there. I want my kids to know, the same goes for them. I am not the magical midnight fairy that cleans up their messes while they are away. If they made a mess, it’s still there when they get back.

Having said that, I had looked at these two weeks on the calendar – a two-week vacation they are spending with their dad – and calculated all the things I could get done. My daughter’s room is chaotic, beyond the typical mess. It needs order. She needs a place for everything to go. And we definitely need to purge some of her things. (She keeps everything from a scrap of paper she once doodled on to projects she completed in 2nd grade. She’s going into 7th.) And yet, nada. I had hoped to redesign her room so she’d come back to something all new. Then life got in the way.

The past two weeks have been filled, instead, with gardening and lots of it, and work and a week of a clean eating challenge that took two hours a night to accomplish. Oh, and lets not forget about the wildfire that danced its way toward our rec cabin – causing us to spend two days rushing up there and retrieving as many valuables as we could. Life gets busy. Messes stay messy. And while I’m not exactly zen about it, I’m just going to let it go.

So, the mess remains. And that’s okay. Because what’s that they say about cleaning while raising children? It’s like trying to brush your teeth while eating Oreos.

And Now My Couch Smells Like Urine

Furniture and children – it’s a troublesome mix. There’s bouncing off furniture – using the sofa as a trampoline and forever damaging the springs. There’s hiding candy wrappers between the cushions or otherwise leaving behind remnants like popcorn kernels. And then there’s bodily fluids.

Having a child around furniture is kind of like carrying around a beaker of highly unstable and corrosive chemicals above your living room set. You never know what’s going to happen – but it will likely result in a mess.

When they’re babies – spit up and diaper blow outs threaten your couch.

When they’re toddlers – crayons and smooshy snacks are the culprits.

When they’re preschoolers – when someone comes home with a tummy bug, it’s typically the sofa that gets the first splash.

When they’re in grade school – who knows what can happen? Soda. Snot. Sticky. Sand. And… sometimes… urine.

Two takeaways from this:

1. Never buy expensive furniture until your kids are in college. (Even then, maybe wait a few years.)

2. Does anyone know how to get urine out of my couch?

Sleepovers: The Root of Much Crankiness

Sleepovers can be fun, something to look forward to and silly. They can also be the root of drama amongst friends and siblings (and parents).

Here are the top 10 ways you know they’ll be drama:

10. One child gets a sleepover and the others don’t. “It’s not fair, MOM!”

9. The child having the sleepover’s friends are more interested in the siblings than the child. “How come when he’s over he only wants to play with my sister?!”

8. The inevitable disagreement takes place between the children and one of the following phrases are uttered: “I want to go home!” or “I want him to go home!”

7.  It’s time for the child to depart and the mess has to be cleaned up, leading to a symphony of “He made the mess, not me!”

6. Your child or a visiting child wears pull-ups at night to protect against nighttime accidents and the other kids want to know why they are “wearing a diaper”

5.  Your child is at a friend’s house and you get a call late at night asking you to pick your child up. (This usually involves vomiting.)

4. A visiting child won’t eat your food “because it looks gross.”

3. The kids never fall asleep and you find yourself moving from, “Alright boys, lights off” to “Boys, morning is going to come early” to “That’s enough! Don’t make me come in there!”

2. Your child is at a friend’s house and stays up way too late and comes home a horrible, cranky, mean, hot-tempered mess. “YOU ARE SO MEAN! I am going to move in to (insert name of friend’s house he/she just stayed at) and live there forever!” <– typically exclaimed after I have done something so vile as asking them to unpack their sleepover bag.

1. Your child forgets his/her toothbrush or clothing and comes home exhibiting a stink that is normally reserved for the elephant house at the circus.






Six Years of Silence

Last night I went to the movies with my 12-year-old daughter and one of my best friends. On the way to and from the theater, my friend and I attempted conversation with my tween. Attempted. I offer now a brief summary of that “conversation”:

“Hey, what’d you think of the movie?”


“Did you like it?”


“Did you like this one better or the first one?”

“This one.”

“So, how was the last day of 6th grade?”


“What are you looking forward to in 7th grade?”

“I don’t know.”

“What electives are you taking?”

“I don’t know.”

“Did they let you pick?”


“So, what’d you pick?”

“I didn’t get to pick.”

(Pause for confusion on behalf of the adults)

“Wait. You said you got to pick. Did you get to pick?”

“It was too late.”

“So, were you supposed to fill something out?”

(Insert five-minute very confusing conversation about whether or not there was a form and whether or not it had to be signed by a parent – which quickly turned into more of an interrogation than anything.)

After a pause in the conversation she asks:

“Can I show you a video on your phone?”

And that’s how all the “conversations” end. The phone. Face glued to a screen. Parents effectively blocked. Silence officially in place. Except for the singing along to the YouTube videos, of course.


Mind you, my daughter is not a shy and quiet individual. She will talk to you. And she can be pretty spirited. But, it has to be about something she’s interested. Which, apparently right now, is strictly YouTube videos and performing songs from Just Dance or something she sang in choir.


OOH – maybe that’s the tactic I should take from now on? For the next six years, if I want to communicate with my daughter – I’ll just record a video of myself singing and dancing about it and post it on YouTube!

“Sweetie, be sure to use shampoo.” (Sang to the tune of a Taylor Swift song.)

“Did you get all your homework done?” (Awkward mom dancing – waving hands over head. Maybe going old school and breaking out the Roger Rabbit.)

Yeah. That should about do it. At least I know for THAT I’ll get more than a one word response.

All I Want for Mothers Day is….

Stop for a second. Think about this statement and complete it:

All I want for Mothers Day is….

Here’s the thing – I don’t know what I would even ask for. Nothing store-bought, that is. I’m not secretly wishing for a new purse or a pedicure or scented candles or any of those standard things. Honestly, before I started writing an article today for work about Mothers Day, I hadn’t even given it a thought.

Like Christmas and Easter, I feel like Mothers Day has gotten ridiculously out of control in the commercialization department. Here’s my solution – lets ask for something money can’t buy.

Instead of an expensive bouquet, I want my kids draw me a flower. (I’d say pick a wild bouquet, but this is May in Alaska, so yeah…)










Rather than pricey jewelry, I’d love a noodle necklace to add to my collection.

noodle necklace






Forget a day at the spa, I’ll take a private potty break.

pee alone






We don’t need a restaurant for brunch, my kids can make me breakfast in bed.

breakfast in bed









Move over Hallmark, hand-made cards are the best.










And, when all else fails – there’s always bacon.










So, what’s your answer? Complete this thought: All I want for Mothers Day is….  Oh, and be sure to tell your family before they spend a bundle buying you a bottle of perfume, lotion or a candle…

Playing Telephone

Seven. That’s the number of times my phone rang in church yesterday. Seven. And it’s only a one-hour service! Thankfully, I had turned off the ringer. When church was through, I saw I had missed seven calls. But here’s the deal – there were only two callers. And they were both friends of my kids. One child called six times. The other just called and left a voicemail. My theory is the parents of the six-timer didn’t know what he was up to.

Now, let me start by saying – my children are not innocent of this. In fact, I wrote a post about the same phenomenon when my daughter was nine. She would call people and if they didn’t answer – no problem – she’d call back until they did. It must be the age because now my nine-year old son’s best buddy is calling and doing the same thing. He’s called 13 times since Saturday morning at 8.

He’s excited to get together with his friend. It’s understandable. But, what do you do with that? Do you call the parents and alert them that their child is calling ALL. THE. TIME? Do you mention something directly to the child?

What do you do when a child wants to play telephone?

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