Getting All My Ducks in a Row: Blog Posts


I am beginning a new era of Motherhood. In my second decade as a Mother of 4, I am exploring childhood through my children's eyes. Thanks for checking out my blog - I invite you to subscribe through e-mail or follow me blogger, twitter or facebook!



We Need a Plan



I am a purposeful parent. I love my kids and I want them to know it. With that said: I am stinking tired of them at the moment. I am tired of the constant bickering about cleaning up after themselves, keeping track of their stuff and doing their homework and chores. I am plain tired of being a thorn in their sides with my constant nagging and was completely out of ideas until this morning. While blow drying my hair I caught a glimpse of their bedroom floor and thought:

As soon as they get home from school they are cleaning that up. But my next thought was what's the point. It will just be that way again tomorrow.

But then this tiny little nugget of an idea started to take shape. I grabbed a piece of paper and sketched out a plan. As I waited on tables I thought it through - planned for a budget and then worked up the nerve to ask Hubby for the money that I needed. Not that I was scared of asking Hubby for money - but that I was afraid that he wouldn't want to spend it on his up until now ungrateful kids. That he would picture their broken and lost toys instead of the vision that I was going to lay out before him. Lucky for me (and them) he agreed to fork over the cash.

So I have a plan to turn this unused area in my house into a playroom/hang out area for my kids. The downstairs living room which until now has been used for nothing short of storage. I figure if I take out all of the things that bother me about their room and move into an area that would only get play time if and when they did the things they should...we might all get what we want.

Hubby and I have allocated a budget and I plan to get the most for not only my money but also out of my kids for having such an awesome place just for them. After dinner tonight we talked about the rough guidelines that must be followed in order for them to be allowed to play/hang out down stairs.

They Must:

Get up in the mornings and get dressed without argument (as of right now it's an all out war just to get them up, fed and out the door on time wearing appropriate clothing.)

Make their beds.

Brush their teeth and wear deodorant (you wouldn't think this would be something that they wouldn't have a problem with - but it seems my boys don't give a flip about hygiene yet.)

Must do all of their homework.

Must do 2 chores (these will be set for one week increments. If their chore is to set the table they will do that every night for 1 week - then be assigned a new chore every week.)

In exchange for these things I have promised to outfit the downstairs with a mini fridge (they are asking for Sprite, Root Beer and Sunkist cause that's what kids like) and snacks ( chips and crackers.) I will provide a TV, DVD Player and game system. I will invest in new Lego sets, star wars toys, art projects, games, and puzzles. I will make it a place just for them to hang out and play in. I will make sure to provide a quiet area for reading and enough storage bins that clean up is easy. 

But there will be consequences:

If I find food anywhere other than in my kitchen or the wrappers in the trash can...if I walk downstairs to find toys strewn all about or outside to find shoes, clothes or toys left out...

There will be an immediate ban of kids from the area for 2 weeks.

I also made sure to include a reward:

If all rules are followed for 1 week by all boys...they will be allowed to invite one friend each to come over.

I will be updating throughout this and next month about the progress of the playroom and how my kids are managing with the new rules and chores. I know that with 2 kids right on the cusp of being tweens that it is going to be very important to have a place for their friends to come over so that I know where they are and who they are with. So my plan also has a 5 year plan...turning the down stairs into a place for them to hang out as teenagers too. 

Do your kids have a place to hang out? Am I missing something that should be included in the playroom?


10 Signs Your Little Boy is Not So Little Anymore

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

1. His toys are now nano size with a million pieces.

2. He can tell a pretty funny fart joke...and almost make Diet Coke shoot out of your nose.

3. That outside smell that you used to think was endearing is now endangering your health.

4. The pitter patter of little feet has now become a pounding that knocks on the door of your ever present headache. Why are boys so loud?

5. Eating in restaurant is much easier as he can order himself...but not at all feasible as he can eat both you and your Hubby under the table.

6. Those bugs he used to run from are a thing of the past...he now says things like "Have you met my little friend, Steve?" while shoving his fist fat with cricket in your face.

7. Where he used to hang back and hold your hand...he is now off like a shot as soon as the door is opened or sometimes even before the car rolls to a stop.

8. While his fearlessness used to scare you out of your now fills your heart with pride that he is not afraid to try new things.

9. You start to realize that you will not be the only woman to love this little boy - and want to teach him things like how to apologize sincerely, mean what he says and do what he says he will, love unconditionally, take care and be kind. Oh and how to wipe properly.

10. As your little boy moves from the world of playful little boy to a defiant sullen little punk you find your self uttering phrases you swore when you had had kids you would never say: Life's not fair! I said so that's why. Just wait til your Dad gets home. When I was little...


Life's Not Fair

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Avery came to me this week asking for 50 cents. He was told that he could buy a snack in the lunch room on Tuesday's and Friday's. It was his classes day. I asked him what kind of snacks and if there was anything that was healthy.

He listed off packaged cookies, fruit rolls ups and chips.

I asked if they had anything that was good for him...but nope. Not a thing. I said no thanks. But he was persistent saying that It's Not Fair that he has to watch the other kids in the lunch room eating things like that when he can't.

I have given it a lot of thought to all the things that my kids have been through with me on of food revolution journey - they are mostly drinking white milk at school, taking their lunches all the time, eating fruits and veggies for snacks instead of junk after school, eating a healthy breakfast and dinner with their family.

I don't agree with it, but am giving him 50 cents a week now.


It's Not Fair that my kids are told that they can buy packaged cookies, fruit roll ups and other junk food in the lunch room right after lunch. Seriously - they only have 15 minutes to eat anyway. So they would either have to shovel it in or just not eat much in order to have time and room in their stomachs for anything else. I would never have agreed with the choices of snacks but I might be able to see the reason for the snack.

It's Not Fair that my kids are made to watch the other kids in the lunch room eat Doritos and drink Pepsi.

It's Not Fair that by doing what's good and right by my kids that I am making them outcasts.

It's Not Fair that fruits and veggies aren't cool.

It's Not Fair that all my hard work and hard earned money spent will lose out to Twinkies, peer pressure and the cool table.

It's Not Fair that my kids are old enough that what they take for lunch matters to the kids sitting next to them.

It's Not Fair that other parents aren't concerned with the foods they are feeding their kids making it next to impossible to convince my kids that the foods we eat make a difference in how we feel.

It's Not Fair that there are no rules or regulations on what you as a parent can include in your kids lunch.

It's Not Fair that the public school system has learned to work the numbers nutrition wise convincing parents, students and the government alike that kids can eat chicken nuggets, pizza and hamburgers everyday with no consequences.

It's Not Fair that pizza, chicken nuggets and hamburgers are so much yummier through a kids eye than salads, sammies or celery.

It's Not Fair that I am thinking of giving in to my kids a few days a week and letting them eat junk at school even through I know better.

It's Not Fair that while I will still be fixing their breakfast, some lunches and dinner every day that it will be years before they learn that they can think by themselves - make their own choices.

It's Not Fair that I think it may be to late when that days rolls around.


Meal Time is Family Time

Friday, August 27, 2010


I want to hear about your day.

I want to know who you played with on the playground and what you did or didn't do in class.

I want to know if you made a new friend or teach you how to introduce yourself.

I want to know if you ate your lunch that I packed and if you chose white or chocolate milk.

I want to know if you thought your teacher really listened to you and what you made on the spelling test.

I want to know if you learned how to multiply, read or color within the lines.

I want to cheer for you when you did something that was really tough - or chide you for taking the easy way out.

I want you to know that your Mother and Father will sit at the ends of the table for as long as they are living because they want to be surrounded by you - filling up with your happiness, sadness and exuberance.

I want to teach you to keep you butt on the seat of your chair and listen when those around you are talking. Not to talk with your mouth full and to eat your veggies.

I want you to respect my table and chairs - keeping your feet off the rungs and your legs under the table.

I want you to know that I care and love you enough to sit through a meal with you. That the substance that you are taking into your body I prepared lovingly for you...which means that yes you will have to try it before declaring it's disgust.

I want you to know that family is important enough to make time for.

I want you to know that your parents hear you.

I want you to know that if you don't help prepare the food you will help clean it up.

I want you to know that I have been there, done that and lived to tell the tale. That you are not alone in your suffering, pain or trials.

I want you to flourish under my watch and watch I will from my place at the table.

I want you to know that meal time is family time.


I Keep Telling Myself She's Only 3

Monday, August 16, 2010


I keep telling myself she is only 3 - as if to explain to myself why my sweet little Princess is all the sudden getting into so much trouble and mischief. It's as if her internal clock is one year behind where all the children's articles say she should be - sure she is meeting milestones but why do I feel as I am in the midst of the terrible 2's without actually having a 2 year old in the house.

It's been going on all summer long...not wanting to put away her toys, eat anything that I serve or just general disobedience. I am thinking that it has a lot to do with the fact that I worked a lot more that she is used too.

To bad for her - I am in this for the long haul and I know where she gets her stubbornness first up dinner time. It's been a battle for the last 3 nights...poor thing hasn't seen a chicken strip in a while. She dug her heels in and refused to eat but I knew better than to force her. All 5 of us continued to eat around her and politely ignore her crying, screaming and general unhappiness. She wanted to get down since she wasn't going to eat but I wasn't having any of that. Dinner time is family time in this house. 3 nights of this and finally we are starting to get some calories ingested. She was a lot more stubborn than any of the boys have ever been - so I had to go the extra mile and cut out snacks in the afternoon. I will slowly add them back once she realizes that while it might be OK for Grandma to give her chicken nuggets every once in a while - Mama is all about fruits, veggies and proteins.

As for the toys - I think that has a lot to do with my general tiredness which is finally starting to slip away. Tonight we will get back into a regular bedtime routine. I truly think this is really all that is needed.

Bath time

Clean up room so that we can start the day in an organized way - let me tell ya stepping on a toy first thing in the morning while surprising - not really energizing.

Story, kiss, hug and to bed I said.

What about you guys? Are your kids putting you through the paces? What do you do to keep the pace while sticking to the rules of your house?


10 Things I Do Even Though I Know I Shouldn't

Thursday, August 5, 2010


1. Let my daughter eat spaghetti with her hands even though I know at almost 3 she should be using a fork. It's just to much fun watching her slap it against her chin and cheeks in an effort to get it to her mouth.

2. Let me kids say Gosh Darn Dagnabit. It's just too cute.

3. Watch Celebrity Ghost Stories even though I then have trouble closing my eyes in the shower for fear that I will open them to a ghost.

4. Drink coffee at all hours even though I know that it might keep me up later than I need to.

5. Talk back to my kids when I know that ignoring them is sometimes so much more powerful.

6. Take my kids to the grocery store even though I know that I will more than likely buy more than I should and leave in a huff from all the I wants, I needs and It's not fairs.

7. Order a Dr. Pepper instead of a Diet Coke or better yet water while on vacation. Just because I am in a different state doesn't make the calories count any less.

8. Let my laundry build up on lazy days when I know that all it takes is a load a day to stay on top of it. But some days that is just one load to many.

9. Buy crackers even though I know my weakness for them. Some women love chocolate, hand bags or jewelry. My love affair is with Keebler.

10. Let my kids go to bed every once in a while without a bath - An hour on the water slide counts as a bath when America's Got Talent has finally been uploaded to HULU right?


I Just Want Something

Thursday, August 5, 2010


While on vacation recently I made a stranger laugh out loud and I wasn't even talking to him...he was listening to a conversation my oldest son and I were having. We were visiting The Largest Toy Museum and were right in the middle of the gift shop - a place that I have come to dread. Jakob wanted to know why he couldn't have 3 different toys. I was honest. I said "Because you were born to a family with 4 children and not as an only child."


I then turned my attention to the stranger snickering behind me and raised my hands as to as - what am I supposed to do?

We had already been through Ripley's Believe it or not, The Wax Museum, The Dinosaur Museum and the Butterfly Palace. I tried to prepare my kids that they were going to want a lot of things - but that their parents could only afford to buy a couple...but I guess the thrill of being in the gift shop was just to much for them...we heard a lot of:

Can I buy this too? Can I get something from the gift shop? Is there a gift shop? Is $20.00 for a toy too much? I just want something, anything and everything. What about his cool thing? What is it? Can I have it?

I thought to myself often when I was younger - when I grow up I am going to give my kids the things that they want. I grew up with siblings and I know where my kids are coming from - but you know now that I am a Mother myself - I find it very easy to say no.

I know how hard we work for our money and I also know how long a toy will hold the interest of my children. So at every gift shop - I would say the same thing - I am not spending that much money on junk that you will not play with tomorrow.

I did let them get a few things on vacation - but I was very selective. They each picked out one small toy at the toy museum and then later at the Butterfly Palace they each got one thing.

Do you allow your kids to buy souvenirs while on vacation? Do you find it hard to say no?


Thursday Morning Free Writing –

Thursday, June 3, 2010

 I was seduced into thinking...

There are so many things that can influence

the way that we see (or choose to see) the world.

Here are just a few of the influences

that I have witnessed

and what I think of them.


I was seduced by country music songs into this romantic over the top view of marriage - only to find out that it's only as good as you try to make it. I had always imagined that just loving someone was enough - but you need more - you need to invest time and energy into loving that person and you have to be able to put up with them...that's the real secret to marriage.

I was seduced by long standing blog's into thinking that anyone could blog and be good at it - only to find out that it takes a lot of work. Blogging takes a lot more work and dedication that I at first thought. You have to have a good posts, good blog etiquette, time to read other blogs and a thick enough skin that when someone un follows you - you can shake it off enough to get back to your next post. There is also the constant need to steer people into your direction via facebook, twitter and linkys.

I was seduced by weight loss commercials into thinking that if I took this pill or used this piece of equipment that I would lose all the weight that I wanted to only to find out that only exercise and watching what you eat will do that.

I was seduced by diaper commercials and every cute baby I saw into thinking that having a baby is all cute and cuddly (which it sometimes is - only there is also a lot of puke, poop and whining involved.

I was seduced by 24 hour news channels into thinking that there wasn't any good left in the world and while I shudder to think what being made aware of a constant crisis/horror story/death is doing the American psyche - I know that there are still people with good left in their hearts. They are in every corner of the world - only hardly anyone ever mentions them.

I was seduced by credit card companies into thinking that I could have anything that they would allow me to buy - when I really need to think about whether I want/need/or can afford the things I buy.


Thursday Morning Free Writing - Keep it to Yourself

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I feel like as a Mother who has had all the children she is going too...I am now a magnet for other Mother's newborns. I an not sure if it is their sweet little baby sent wafting in the air or if I zero in on them but I just sigh with sweet baby memories of another time in my life.

A sweet little family came into the restaurant where I work a few weeks ago. This beautiful young couple had just had their very first tiny little baby. While waiting on them - I was finding it hard to concentrate on their service as I had to stop the flood of information that I wanted to pass along to this newbie Mom.

I wanted to tell them...

Spread those children out...when my kids got to about 10 months old I got this urge to have another baby. I think it's no surprise that that this is also about the age that they start pulling away - don't get me wrong - they still need you - but they have figured out that there is more around them than just you. But the truth of the matter is when you have your kids so close together - it's physically tiring...imagine a Mother of 3 trying to get groceries with a newborn, 2 year old and a 3 and a half year old. That was me! LOL - Imagine carrying all that weight - holding all those hands. Complete circus act. Now that they are a little older - I think it's just more mentally tiring. One of them always needs you to do something, be something or make something. They all talk a lot. They all talk at the same time. They all have questions and need help, inspiration and a Mother who has had her morning coffee.

Put one of those headbands on your little girl. You are missing a window of opportunity to instill in her that it's normal. I didn't do this. So when Miss Maddy's hair was finally long enough - and I started putting clips and bows in her hair...she just ripped them out...make it normal if you want to decorate their heads later.

Vacuum when your baby is sleeping. This one just sounds weird. When my kids were babies...I didn't shh anyone...I didn't turn off the ringer on the phone...or put one of those cute little baby is sleeping pillows on the front door. I never worried that they would be startled awake by the normal noise of the day - since they had to become accustomed to it as babies. Now my kids can blissfully sleep through just about anything.

Enjoy it - it flies by. We've all heard it before...probably said it too...but in the rush of life - to get it all done...we sometimes miss this simple step. Get down on the floor with your kids, take them to the park, chase lightening bugs, let a caterpillar walk along your arms so that your son will too, pick up a crayon instead of your iPhone, go for a walk, ride bikes with your kids, plant flowers, play trains and enjoy them when they are little.

I didn't tell them any of this though...I kept it to myself...why?

I didn't want to be that crazy lady who walked up to me in the grocery store - put her hands on my pregnant belly imploring me to make sure to give my baby enough tummy time.

She was right though - that's important too!