Monday, July 21, 2014

Have a #Selfiebration

I was never a big fan of selfies. I would see the same people posting them almost every day, always with the same pose – arm stretched out over their heads off to the side, looking up at the camera, sometimes with duck lips, sometimes with sultry eyes, always looking unnaturally natural with their bathroom as the backdrop. Seriously, who feels that sultry in the bathroom on a Tuesday morning?

I wondered how many selfies they took to get that perfect, Instagram-worthy expression. It all felt like narcissistic nonsense, and it kind of annoyed me.

But then I realized I was really just being a hater. I rarely like photos of myself (except for my driver’s license photo). I critique my huge nose, dark circles, unruly hair, giant pores, crooked teeth, wrinkles, and what is up with that gnarly vein in the middle of my forehead?

And that’s just from the neck up, people. No one is better at tearing my appearance apart than I am. So the idea of posting a photo of just myself, especially a close up of my face? Nuh uh. No way.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Are sleepovers safe anymore?

I recently came across this article by Tim Challies saying he doesn’t allow his kids to attend sleepovers. He argues that children are vulnerable at bedtime and should be at home in their own beds.

At first, I thought the article was ridiculous. Some of my best childhood memories are of sleepovers – playing “Truth or Dare,” belting out pop songs into hairbrush microphones, blushing about cute boys, and giggling until the wee hours. My best friend, Kelly, slept over at my house almost every weekend, and I had a slumber party for my birthday every year until junior high. 

Sleeping at friends’ houses exposed me to how other families lived and taught me to respect their rules and values. I definitely got away with stuff I wouldn’t have gotten away with at home – like staying up late, watching scary movies, and wearing makeup – but I gained independence and learned to be responsible for my own behavior and decisions. What parent would shelter their children to such an extent and deny them these experiences?

But then I remembered that not all of my sleepover experiences were positive ones... 

Once, when I was in either kindergarten or first grade, my friend’s older sister had a birthday sleepover, and my friend got to bring me along. Everything was great until bedtime. I always had trouble falling asleep, and a couple of the older girls thought my being awake was spoiling their fun. They stole my pillow and threw me a tiny heart-shaped pillow smaller than my head. They kept telling me all the terrible things they would do to me if I didn’t fall asleep. Then they told me all the terrible things they would do to me if I
did fall asleep. I wanted to call my mom and go home, but I didn’t want to look like a baby, so I laid awake all night staring at the wall.

But as it turns out, bullying wasn’t the worst thing that would ever happen to me at a sleepover…

In ninth grade, I slept over at a friend’s house, and the night went terribly wrong. We weren’t great friends – and after this night, we wouldn’t be, ever. We were hanging out in her basement, and everything was going fine until her delinquent older brother came home drunk. He tormented me the whole night, threatening to do vile and disgusting things to me while my friend pretended to sleep.  

He blocked the stairs so I couldn’t go up and call my mom. He stayed so close to me I could smell his breath, rancid from alcohol and cigarettes. He never actually hurt me – that wasn’t part of his game. Just the threat of what he might do and the fear on my face gave him all the thrill he needed.

The sad part was I actually felt lucky that that was all that happened. I suppose I was.

Eventually he passed out on the basement floor right in front of the stairs. Too afraid of waking him, I sat in the corner until the morning light peaked through the tiny window near the basement ceiling.

I agree with Challies in that the world is just as unsafe today as it was back then, but we talk about it more now and have greater access to information. But even with my awful experience, I think banning sleepovers might be extreme, although I can certainly understand why he and many other parents choose to do so.

If parents do decide to allow sleepovers, they need to know the other family very well and ask lots of questions before every sleepover because circumstances can change. Parents should know if the other child’s older sibling will be home and if he/she will have friends over. They should know where the other parents are going to be the entire night. They should know if the there is a gun in the house. And perhaps they should require that their child check in periodically, that way they know something might be wrong if they don’t hear anything.

But I’m no expert on this. My boys are too young for sleepovers yet, and I dread the day they will ask to sleep somewhere other than Grandma’s house. I’d like to think that I would do enough homework on the other family so that I can feel comfortable giving my kids some independence and permit them to sleepover. But we all know what an over-anxious freak show I am, so we’ll see when the time comes.

What do you think? Are your kids allowed to attend sleepovers? If so, what are the ground rules? 

Monday, June 30, 2014

How a mother of two goes to the grocery store

You’ve just pulled into the parking lot at your local grocery store at which you’ve been shopping since before your first born was born. It was a bit daunting at first, taking a baby to the grocery store, but now that he’s a toddler, you two have the whole process down. You’re food procuring pros. From his throne in the front of the shopping cart, he helps you bag the apples. He grabs his favorite cereal off the shelf. He puts the not-gonna-break-if-he-throws-them items into the back of the cart for you. Then the two of you stand and watch the fresh produce get washed and simultaneously wonder why they chose the sound of thunder to cue that the sprinklers are coming on. Fascinating.

By preschool, you and your not-so-little one have grocery shopping down to a science. You’re in. You’re out. Tantrums are thwarted with songs, distractions and bribery treats. And before you know it, groceries are loaded in the back of your SUV without a single tear shed by either of you.

Booh-ya, mother shoppers.

Then you and the Hubs had the genius idea to have Baby #2 and eff-ed up the whole system. Now your grocery shopping experience is more like this…

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

DIY wall display for kiddo art projects: #IPinnedItThenIDidIt

That’s right, ya’ll! Check it out. I pinned then I did it! What.

*drops mic*


*picks mic back up again because I'm not done telling you about this!*

I found this idea on Pinterest a while ago, and I’ve been dying to create a wall just like it for Q’s art projects. Now that he’s in preschool, the kiddo brings home about seven projects a day. I mean, what the heck am I going to do with all this painted construction paper? I can only send so much to Grandma’s house!

Plus, we had an enormous, empty wall space in the family room that has been driving me crazy for the five and half years we’ve lived in this house. We have a slanted ceiling in that room, so one side of the wall is ~10’ high. I’ve tried a few art pieces in that space over the years, but always ended up returning them. Nothing felt right. So when I saw this idea for displaying kids’ art, I knew I had to try it.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

My Etsy shop is open! (And how to make your own train wall decals)

I can’t believe Q has been in his big boy bedroom for almost a year. Luckily, the kid still loves trains. I had so much fun putting that room together. Speaking of which, did you know that one of my pins of his train themed bedroom on Pinterest has almost a thousand repins?! Seriously!

But eleven months later, that big, empty wall over his bed still bugged me. I can’t hang anything there because I’m worried it will fall on him in an earthquake… or, more likely, if he keeps kicking his wall. Since Quinn loved the train silhouette I put on his closet doors – and since I got so many compliments on it – I decided to make another one to go around the wall, the full length of his bed.

Friday, May 30, 2014

The night everything went wrong and I wanted my mommy

My Hubs travels a lot for his job. In four weeks, he went on four business trips. Two were quick overnights, but one trip was five days in San Diego and one was a week in Switzerland. All together, I parented solo for fourteen nights in April. The kids and I are together all day, so without Hubs coming home from work, day simply blurred into evening without any of us getting a break from each other.

We didn’t get off to a great start. The first night of Hubs’ first trip, both boys were sick. I’d finally get the baby to sleep, then Quinn would wake up. So I would lay down with him for a while, and just when we’d start to nod off, Reid would start crying. All night, I shuffled back and forth between Reid’s rocking chair and Q’s bed. I got exactly zero minutes of sleep, and my head never once touched my own pillow.

Red Bull should really come in a box, like wine.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The one where my 3 year-old schools you on all things science

Quinn watches a lot of TV – enough that I know many parents would have something to say about it. But I’m okay with it because a certain program on PBS has turned my three year-old into a science whiz. So pay attention, Judgey McJudgerson!

Quinn used to watch some shows that drove me crazy. (I can’t tell you how happy I am that he’s finally over Team Umi Zoomi. As much as I love that it taught him a ton about numbers, shapes and patterns, that show quickly became awfully annoying.) But these days, Q is all about Sid theScience Kid on PBS, and Hubs and I couldn’t be happier.

Q’s been obsessed with this show for over six months. It’s literally all he watches now. Occasionally, I try to suggest something else, but he never goes for it. “I want to watch Sid,” he says. Every time.  Quinn doesn’t just repeat what he hears on Sid. He actually applies the lessons to his own environment and reenacts the experiments.

To review, my son just turned three. And he’s been saying this stuff for at least six months. Here are just a few ways Q has blown me away with everything he has learned from Sid. We'll start with a super cool one.