Feb 262014
Grab up that remote, Mom! Game ON!

Grab up that remote, Mom! Game ON!

I was raised as a gal’s gal. In a family of two girls, my gentle father didn’t have much of a shot at perpetuating a rough and tumble boys’ world. I happily enjoyed a house filled with multiple cans of hairspray and thought the whole world watched Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman on Saturday nights. Wait, they didn’t??

You can imagine what a shock it was when I married my husband because he was a man. Who had been a boy. Who had been raised in a house full of boys. He enjoyed things like farting and then talking about his farts–at length.  Whew, this was going to get interesting…

And then I had a boy. My very own male child. Sure I was nervous about my competence with a foreign gender, but let’s be honest, at first, except for the shooting pee, not that much is different. Things were okay.

Yet, while he’s only four and it’s not as though I’ve had a lifetime of raising a boy, some notable unique situations have come up.

Like the time he came to me and said, “Mommy, my penis hurts.”  My husband was deep in the middle of an extended work meeting and “unavailable”. Excellent.

“What do you mean, your penis hurts?”, I flailed.

“It hurts.” Super, I was really getting somewhere now.  As I mentally ran through treatment options ranging from various creams to ice packs, this was one of the times in my life I really wished I had my own penis–so I could know what the heck he was talking about. (To clarify: the other times I have wanted a penis were so I could experience perpetually avoiding ever throwing dirty clothes actually inside the laundry basket versus beside the laundry basket without the slightest sense of self-annoyance.)

Months later and no repeat incidents of achy penises, I thought perhaps we were in the clear.  And then, he said it.  The words my girlie-girl self had long feared ever since my little dude learned what the Wii was.

“Mommy, you wanna play Mario Kart with me?”  Craaaaappp…..

We never had video games in my house growing up.  They were scary and weird to me.  Moreover, I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THEM.  To be clear, I do not like them.  And I don’t want to play them.

“Uhh…sure, buddy?  When were you thinking?”. I try, I really do.

“Monday!”, he brightly answered. We were in the clear!  It was Tuesday, so surely he would forget in 6 days time…no worries.

Except…he didn’t forget. Monday, aka Doomsday arrived.  Again, craaapppp….

Okay, I could do this right? I was semi-intelligent person.  Pass me the remote; I could figure out how to drive a virtual car? I could not. The highlight of our Wii session was literally watching the secondhand of my watch tick by out of the corner of my eye, praying for a miracle from God to somehow fast-forward time. It was going well.

I could have stealthily hid the spare Wii remote, formulated dramatic lies about how I wanted to catch up on laundry, or just flat-out broken his heart and said, “no more”, but…I love him.

And my son loves his Wii.  He’s so excited about his new game and giggles with glee whenever it’s game time. So when he asked me a couple days later if he could “show me Lego Star Wars”? Okay, buddy, okay.

So I got on my big girl pants, stashed my watch out of sight, and settled in. And you know what?  It was actually kind of fun.  As video game compadres go, four year olds aren’t so bad.  When I can’t figure out what the heck I’m supposed to be doing and make stupid mistakes, he doesn’t make fun of me–that much.  When I give up and start to laugh because I’m so utterly lost?  He laughs with me.  And he’s pretty cute when he does it.

But even if I didn’t laugh–even if I hated it with every fiber of my being?  I’d play the boy’s video games.  I’d actually follow him to the ends of the earth and back.  Because I love him.

Video game date in 5, little man.

No, no--these pictures weren't posed at all...

No, no–these pictures weren’t posed at all…

Feb 232014
Source Yes! I can hear you!
Yes! I can hear you!

Not hearing well is hard.  As an adult, I can mostly work around it; I fantasize about a groovy new set of hearing aids I hope to someday claim and annoy my husband by endlessly asking him to repeat himself in the meantime.  But as a kid?  It just plain stinks.  Aside from all the many social and physical challenges hearing loss presents for children, the educational hurdles they face can be very developmentally serious.

We all know how quickly our young ones soak up knowledge, but real and meaningful learning happens when kids are truly engaged.  If they can’t hear and understand their teacher, achieving this engagement is tough.  Educational deficits incurred now will have lasting impact for these children, and if there’s anything we can do to improve this situation, it must be done.

I have teamed up with Hear the World and The Motherhood to explore pediatric hearing loss before, and I’m honored they asked me to help out again.  Together, we’re hosting a Twitter party on Wednesday, February 26 at noon ET, and we would love for you to be involved.

Why does this matter? Information is power.  The Motherhood will be sharing insights about the potential impact of hearing loss on children’s education during the Twitter party with the Hear the World Foundation.  We’ll be joined by an expert on the topic of hearing loss and education: Christine Jones, Au.D., CCC-A, Director of Pediatric Clinical Research at Phonak.  The more we know about how to help these kids engage at school, the better we can work to make a difference.

I know our schedules are all so full, but if you’ve got a lunch hour, or simply can’t stand to argue with your toddler once more time about why she must eat four more bites of her grilled cheese sandwich and you NEED A BREAK, consider taking a minute to tune into the Twitter party.

And bonus? As a thank you for your participation, The Motherhood is giving away five $25 Amazon gift cards during the party as prizes from eligible correct response to trivia questions. (No purchase necessary. Entrants must be legal residents of the 50 United States + D.C. 18 years of age or older. Void where prohibited.)

Ready to hop in? Follow the #HearTheWorld hashtag to track the conversation. You can see more details and RSVP using the Twtvite: http://twtvite.com/heartheworld3

Thanks for your support, friends, and hoping to see you at the Twitter party!

Thanks for working so hard at this, Hear the World.

Thanks for working so hard at this, Hear the World.

Hosts: @theMotherhood, @theMotherhood25, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann, @hear_the_world (handle tweeted by Christine Jones, Au.D., CCC-A, Director of Pediatric Clinical Research at Phonak), and blogger co-hosts (Annie, Mama Dweeb – @MamaDweeb, Ashley, Crunchy Frugalista – @crunchy_f, Jenna, MommyJenna – @MommyJenna,Jennifer, Mom Spotted – @MomSpotted, Linda, My 2 Crazy Curls – @4evamamii, Maureen, Wisconsin Mommy – @WisconsinMommy, Meredith, The Mom of the Year – @meredithspidel, Mimi, Woven by Words – @MimiBakerMN, Rachel, Yellow Tennessee – @YellowTennessee)

This is a post sponsored by Hear the World and The Motherhood, but all opinions are 100% my own.



Feb 222014

I’m excited to be teaming up with Productive Parenting and Strider Bikes to bring you an awesome (free!) app that you’re going love – and a chance to win one of five Strider Bikes!

Thousands of Activities for Kids!

Productive Parenting has been around for years – offering fast and simple activities that you can do with your kids. The activities are created by a team of childhood education experts and categorized by age (0 – 5) and also by skills learned.

And now they’ve taken all of their amazing activities and created an app. You download it from the iTunes store, quickly enter in the names and ages of your children, and each day you’ll be given a new (simple) activity to do with your kids.

Simple Activities for Kids Free App

No props? No problem. Productive Parenting activities require little to no preparation or materials; but don’t let their simplicity fool you. They provide a solid foundation for Kindergarten and at the same time promote lasting parent-child relationships.

Productive Parenting App Screenshot

I don’t know about all of you, but it’s getting pretty nasty dicey up in here trying to keep the kiddos occupied during these bleak times of endless snow and frigid temps. This app is a Godsend in trying to shake things up (read: maintain a sliver of sanity for all of us).  Snatch it up ASAP–TRUST ME.

And the cost?  Can’t beat this…

Free until March 5, 2014! Until March 5, 2014, the Productive Parenting app will be available for FREE in the iTunes store. After that, the price will be set at $1.99.Click here to download it now.

Download and Enter to Win

Download the free app, and use the Rafflecopter form below to enter to win one of FIVE Strider Bikes.

Productive Parenting Giveaway

Retailing for over $100, STRIDER balance bikes are perfect for children from 18 months to 5 years old. This no-pedal balance bike teaches your child balance and coordination while developing confidence.

There are multiple ways to enter each day, so be sure to check back to increase your chances of winning.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is available to the Continental US and ends at midnight on March 4, 2014. Five winners will be able to choose from one of Strider’s ST-4 Strider branded bikes (12” bikes for the 18 month-5 year old crowd)

The Mom of the Year received no compensation for sponsoring this event, and is not responsible for the delivery of the prize. Prize delivery is the sold responsibility of Strider. Five winners will be drawn randomly and notified by email. The winners will have 48 hours to respond in order to claim their prize. If they do not respond within the 48 hours, they will forfeit the prize and an alternate winner will be chosen. This post may contain affiliate links.

Feb 192014
This will ALWAYS be me...

This will ALWAYS be me…

Several months ago, something weird happened. Very weird. I started to care about myself.

It wasn’t a sudden, overwhelming recognition that Meredith, outside of sippy cup provider and snotty nose wiper, existed, but it was more a dull thud of a reminder that some part of her was still hanging around somewhere.  The thud grew louder and then all the messages my mother spent a lifetime imparting to me started to thunder.

You see, my mother loved beautiful things. She delighted in taking time to make her world pretty–both through loving on others and enjoying tangible loveliness. So stuff like jewelry and make-up mattered to her.  Not because she was shallow, but because she appreciated the beauty God creates on this earth.  I spent a lot of time thinking my mom was crazy. but when it comes down to it, I’m her daughter.

I’m also 34, really tired, and too often feel like I don’t exist in this selfless cloud of being a mom to two young kiddos.  Throw all of this together with lots of heavy missing my mom, and it was time–time for me to dig out my make-up. Time for me to start washing my face. Time to stop living in fear of skinny jeans (not sure my ginormous thighs are on board with this one yet). Time to consider stashing my diaper bag and digging a regular purse out from under my bed.

...but it's nice to know she's in there somewhere too.

…but it’s nice to know she’s in there somewhere too.

I subscribed to People Stylewatch. I cashed in my LivingSocial credit to score a sweet at-home gel nail kit and fell in love with it.  I learned what a hydrating mask is really supposed to do and couldn’t be prouder of the gorgeous Stella and Dot necklace I snagged from my online yardsale group.  I gasped in horror over the discovery of my ladystache and schooled myself quickly in the intricacies of home waxing kits. 

My sister is terrified. I tell her to table her fears and give it another five years–then we’ll be drooling over the Urban Decay website together.  In the meantime I paint her nails, run her through the rigors of my new 10 minute skin-care routine, and ignore her eye rolls.  Whatever, she’s still in her 20s and ergo, clueless.

My husband is a saint.  He knows not to ask; when I ask him to help me convert a office drawer cabinet to an accessories case, he silently reaches for the drill (possible Pinterest-worthy post on this later if I am feeling brave enough to share). Past experiences have proven that whenever something possibly related to my mom is questioned, things can get a little tearfully messy, so it’s best to just roll with it.  Poor man.

Don’t get me wrong; I have worn basically nothing except my sweats in this delightful February Winter Wonderland and can count on one hand the number of times I’ve broken out the make-up since the Snowpocalypse has started.  I will always be the harried, unbrushed hair momma trying to hide from you at the grocery store, I promise.

But…but it’s nice to have options.  To know that Meredith does exist and if I get my crap together, I could maybe even say hello to her once in a while?

The entire time I was working on this post, this song kept playing through my head.  Because we know the breathtaking power of God to transform us into beautiful things extends far beyond the magic of nail polish. xo, friends.

And stay tuned; on Friday, I’m sharing a very cool blessing that has come my way in the form of the lovely Rebecca from Frugalista Blog.  Frugie not only captures me with her beauty, but with her kind, patient and generous spirit in mentoring me through this new world of self-discovery.  I can’t wait to tell you more about this beautiful gal and all of her beautiful things.  Check back on Friday!

Feb 172014
Source My kind of gal

The superfan CAN be you!

One of my happiest memories of our early marriage is holing up in the bedroom of our first apartment watching the Olympics.  We channeled in The Games by carefully positioning the rabbit ears “just so”.  As long as we didn’t move or breathe too emphatically, NBC came streaming in with only a teensy bit of black and white static, and we were in our biennial viewing glory.

Ah…the good old days… While we’ve now gotten ourselves all cabled up with far clearer reception, we’ve hit another glitch: CHILDREN.  While the little loves are adorable, they have absolutely no interest in The Olympics. I know, ghastly incomprehensible.

For several days upon realizing this, I panicked that they weren’t actually my children, that the hospital had sent me home with the wrong set.  It didn’t feel like this vein of thought was an over-reaction.

I’ve semi-calmed myself with the very likely possibility that it is their young age, that they may indeed still be my offspring and that more blissful co-viewing may be in our future.  But I won’t lie; this serious stuff, people.  I’ve never lived with a non-fellow Olympic psycho, and it’s a jarring shock to my aged 34 yr. old self.  Colossal blow.

What’s a super fan to do?  Hold my paper bag and pat my hand while I hyperventilate in the background, and I’ll fill you in on our game plan. Obviously, there are the usual bribes, retreating to individual electronic devices, and the old school move of trying to teach your kids something classy, like sharing the TV.  But, this is The Olympics, so it’s time to get creative, people.

Source Look at the pretty princess!

Look at the pretty princess!

Play the athletic attire to your favor. Shamelessly. The figure skaters? Clearly princesses dancing on ice in those pretty dresses.  And who says the skiers can’t be superheroes racing to someone’s rescue in their tight suits and fancy helmets?  Use the cards you have.

Fall in love with the short events. The biathlon and the long program in pairs figure skating?  They’ll be there in 20 yrs. Trust me. Does the biathlon ever go anywhere??  For now, get your short track on and time the diaper changes around the sprints. You’ve got this.

Bed time? Entirely negotiable. Let’s be real. You’ve now been snowed in with your cherubs for weeks on end anyway. What can they possible need to do with another hour to their evening?  Bathe ‘em up, read those night-night stories, and stash them in those beds.

Sure, as they get older, you can try to explain the sports and have them try to actually follow, but we’re working with a 2 yr. old and 4 yr. old.  I have better luck with, “See who can guess the winner!”.  Lollipop prizes are never a bad thing?

If you’re a die-hard, true story: the 3am broadcasting? NBC might actually not be that crazy. Maybe, just maybe, the programming execs are parents themselves?

Bottom line: the world is on the line here. Step aside, kiddos, Mommy and Daddy are needed to contribute to the global spirit of camaraderie.  We all have to make sacrifices. It’s The Olympics.

Source Super-hero on the loose!

Super-hero on the loose!


Jan 202014
Source Hey God! Please add this??

Hey God! Please add this??

I’m struggling right now.  The kids, and all their stuffed princesses and shooting neon Nerf guns are adorable, but…but…this mama is TIRED.  You see, I think I am missing some gene…

The gene that has endless patience with 2 yr. old fits over why Mommy makes her wear shoes when the temps are in the teens.

The gene who doesn’t mind trying to put up with my 4 yr. old’s fury with me because “it gets dark at night” (so obviously my fault).

The gene that allows me to not mind still being a parent when I have a 102 degree fever.

I really wish I had this gene.  I wish I got giddy about all the sandwiches that must be cut in 4 perfect triangles lest the wrath of Hell breaks out.  I wish I could always remember my daughter furiously requires her bird pillow and pink sippy in close proximity at all waking moments. And pray to God that I never forget how to cue up the latest Wii penguin game.

Sound like I’m just whining and complaining?  Maybe.  Sound like my kids are schooling me and leading the show? Maybe.

But the thing is, I’m a “good” mom.  I know this.  I distinctly remember the moment in my early 20s, when after years of raging at my parents in classic teen angst, I finally got that they got it right. They kept us safe. They fed us. They attended school concerts. They got us to the doctor every time we needed it and for not-so-silly things like annual check-up.  They loved us and made sure we knew it.

These are the things that matter.

I do these things.  I’m not saying my kids always like me.  Or that I always like them.  Sometimes, they really, really piss me off. I set limits. We fight. We have time-out stairs.  It gets ugly.

Source WHY must they be so darn cute?!

WHY must they be so darn cute?!

Yet the darnedest thing is that these kiddos God entrusted to my care are people.  They have needs, opinions, thoughts.  And while it is my job to temper and guide them, I can’t control them.  And I get tired of trying. I get tired of fighting.  This is where I figure I am missing some gene? But regardless, this is my job.

I signed up for this.  Even when I don’t feel like it, I am still a parent. Shoot.

So bring on these sucktastic temper tantrums.  I can sleep in 20 yrs., right? For now, I just keep mantra-ing, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ” And then when I get to the point where I feel like I still can’t even stand-up much less face another messy poop wipe? Again: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  And again. And again. And again. Until it’s bedtime and I get a chance to start all over tomorrow.

I can do this.  I may not want to. I may be missing a gene. But God gave me this job, so let’s school this beast, shall we?

Jan 082014
I've got you for now, babe.

I’ve got you for now, babe.

Last week, during the height of our Sickness Apocalypse, my daughter WHO NEVER SITS, somehow landed herself on my lap for a minute.

Was I being punked? Had someone traded out the little girl for a look-alike angel while I had been scrubbing a toilet?

In any case, we cozied up on the couch to catch up on Monsters University and she did that precious perfect thing where she just sort of “fell” against my chest.  If you’ve ever held a relaxed young kid, you know what I mean.  And you know how it’s as close to Heaven on Earth that we can get.

I shifted my weight to get comfy and then began stroking her neck with my thumb–a motion soothing to both her and me.

Against the soft sweetness of her baby skin, I felt the roughness of my thumb.  The thing is, as thumbs go, mine is in decent shape.  I lather up my hands with foot cream before bed. Oh crap, I just publicly pronounced this.  I buy the Mary Kay Satin Hands set from my friend with her seller’s discount. And I use it.

My hands, my thumbs–they aren’t terrible.  But they are 34 years old.  34 years of bumps, life lessons, and hard knocks.  Her skin is young.  It is innocent.  It has yet to meet life for all it’s worth–hard and gentle.  Undoubtedly, as she rocks through this world, she’ll find the calluses; she’ll meet the wear and tear.  She’ll grow.  And I would want nothing less for her.

The thing is, I’m not raising a princess.  I’m raising a child of God.  A child who will walk on this earth, who I pray will not allow life to pummel her down, but fortify her.  When she falls, may she get back up.  When she bruises, may she heal and be all the stronger for it.

I’m not betting the farm that she’ll plop in my lap again soon, but I’m grateful for the time she did.  It’s a reminder that she is sweet and gentle, as she should be.  It’s a reminder that I have toughened up a bit, as I should have.  My prayer for her is that she will follow in the same steps.  May someday life beat her up a bit, roughen those thumbs.  But then someday may it give her a baby child of her own so she can appreciate the blessing that comes through the toughness of living.

Perfectly soft skin is fantastic, but it’s not real.  Thanks for being a perfect angel now, little one, but when you get ready to go harden up those hands–I’ll be waiting with the foot cream.

Dec 312013

Yeah, a whole year has gone by and 100% no change…we are DEFINITELY the crazy partying parents around these parts…

Or…not.  Can you even remember a New Year’s Eve without kids?  I vaguely recall a few things about it:

1.  There were no mad dashes to Walmart to stock up on diapers before it closed at 6pm for the holiday.  It mattered less if we ran out of Pampers because we didn’t need them.

2. My driving panic was less of the, “Ack!  A drunk driver is going to crash into my new-ish minivan!” variety and more of the “Crap!  I snagged my nylons.  Is there a place I can discretely pull over to change them without someone thinking I’m giving them a peep show?”.

3.  Staying up to see the ball drop at midnight was not an act of God.  As in, it was semi-feasible.

4. Not as many of the fake ringing-in of the New Year events at 5pm at the community center with a bunch of screaming kids.  In fact, there were none.

5. If I was going to waste a bunch of calories on grape juice, it would be alcoholic and definitely not have the “Welch’s” label on the bottle.

6.  The next day didn’t feel like the March of the Walking Dead because I had dared to stay up past 9pm.

7. If I wanted to actually leave the house for the evening I wouldn’t have had to pay off some teenager at 3x her normal rate to watch my kids after having booked her 5 mo. in advance.  I would have thrown a treat to the dog and just…walked out the door.  And I could stay out past 10pm.

8. We could drink out of actual glassware without fear of little heads breaking it.  Not that the discount plastic wine glasses aren’t super-nice.

9.  Pigs-in-a-blanket was not always the hors d’oeuvres of choice.

10. When I kissed my husband at midnight, he wasn’t always asleep.

Again, this is just a vague recollection, so I could be off on a lot of these points.  But it’s definitely possible that my husband and I won’t be blowing the top off of this New Year’s Eve.

Hey, my cozy heated mattress pad, latest issue of Star, and 9:30pm bedtime isn’t all bad, is it?  Just say yes so I don’t feel totally lame about myself.


Dec 262013
Christmas craft

The brilliant result

Gosh, yes…I actually tried to craft with my kids.  I am so adorably annoyingly stupid…

Once upon a time in the not-so far off land of Suburbia, there was a Mommy who was a very good at caring for her home and her family, except for the fact that she sucked at cleaning and cooking, wasn’t awesome with young kids, and was generally terrified of crafting.  This Mommy was married to a very good man; we’ll call him Daddy.  Daddy was reading a book to their little boy and chanced upon cute idea for a fun project to do with kids.  Daddy mentioned this to Mommy, and apparently Mommy had skimped on her daily sanity meds, because she thought this craft would be fun to try with the kids.  She planned to give it a whirl one morning the next week.

In general, anytime Mommy decides to “give something a whirl”, it’s best for all nearby parties to run quickly into a cave and hide.  And so this is the point where our tale takes a very nasty turn south…

Preparations for the crafting event were going relatively well until Mommy realized she needed supplies to create the popsicle stick Christmas tree craft.  Dastardly truth of crafting: supplies are necessary.  Queue to Mommy diving headfirst into several scary large Rubbermaid totes in the basement where the glitter was conveniently stored.  Listen carefully now for the sounds of angry grunts, muffled explicatives and panicked screams for baby daughter to NOT start crawling up the un-baby-gated cement steps.

After some further desperate searching and a minor hiccup when Mommy’s sweet angelic son locked her in the basement as she was juggling the glitter, the baby, a psychotic dog and a laundry basket under arm (there is always, always a laundry basket involved, right?), the necessary materials were finally secured upstairs.  Mommy then felt insanely wise for setting daughter up in her chair with some Color Wonder markers so the rest of this fun event could ensue.  The scene was mostly set with only the paper plates still needed.

For the record, paper plates are definitively integral to all craft projects.  All of them.  If you are looking to go into crafting, start buying paper plates in bulk, and stash them in every nook and cranny throughout your house.  You will always need them and you will never have them when you need them.  There can never be enough paper plates.

While Mommy went in search of the necessary paper plates, her daughter took the opportunity to eat the tip off of a marker.  After a certain amount of hysteria and speculation that Color Wonder ingestion would lead to brain damage of some sort, it was determined that everyone would survive, and the festivities could joyfully continue.

As goldfish crackers flew at Mommy’s head (an alternative activity was needed for daughter after the unfortunate incident in which she ate the provided markers), she learned that hot glue gun glue is indeed rather hot when squirted all over one’s hand.  As Mommy screamed through her pain, her son fled the room in terror.  But with a little convincing, he soon returned to participate in this delightful experience.

Bring our engaging tale to a close, you can tell from the pictures below, the end result was stunning.  Clearly entirely worth all the effort and served to completely re-educate Mommy, who will now be running gleefully headfirst into the next crafting opportunity after having such a blessedly positive experience.  Bring on the crafts.

Christmas tree craft

Just thought you would appreciate
that I’m still using paper plates from
my daughter’s birthday in July

Mommy is now making “I Heart Crafting” t-shirts which will be available for sale in the very near future.  Stay tuned for this one.  She’s entirely sold out for crafting and wants the world to know.


Also, pop on over to Hollow Tree Ventures and check out As (Never) Seen on Pinterest for further evidence of how crafty and artsy I am and snag some top-notch creative ideas from some of my favorite bloggers.  As a teaser, my fantastic design inspiration for your child’s train table is pictured below:

Child's Train Table Design @mererdithspidel @RobynHTV

Yes, yes we are awesome parents…


Nov 272013
Source A magical place indeed

A magical place indeed

Previously, when I heard this tagline from Home Depot, I never gave it much thought.  I presumed it had something to do with drills and bits and building houses or some such business.  Probably making people’s dreams come true through a lot of hand-on hard manual labor.  You know, the stuff that I love. (If you didn’t catch the sarcasm there, please just give up on today, go start eating turkey and drinking beer now please–it’s probably best for everyone).

My husband adores the store.  I think he wants to live in the tool department, and honestly, with how often he’s there, it would probably be a gas save.  By the way, what is an appropriate Christmas gift for Christine who works at the Return Counter?? For someone so important in our lives, a fruitcake just won’t suffice.

In truth, I kind of like the store too.  It’s bright, smells fresh and clean, and somehow makes me feel kind of boss to be trolling the aisles and kind-of know what I looking at.  A weekend trip to The Home Depot?  Sure, count me in.

Source Kids love it.  Seeing things like this? Same thing as Disney, really...

Kids love it. Seeing things like this? Same thing as Disney, really…

Then something happened to throw a bit a of wrench in the game.  We had kids.  Two of them to be exact. Two who need A LOT of attention, and lately have really been driving Mommy bat-crap crazy. It became a thing, when the first Home Depot run of the day was announced, I would suggest my husband grab one of the munchkins to take along.  I would stay home and enjoy the vacay of running herd on only one cherub.

Then one day, when it had been a very, very long time since I had taken a private dump, I asked my husband to take both of them with him.  He looked at me and said, “It’s really hard to shop with two kids.”

I just stared back at him.  Maybe there was some way to silently emblazen all the grocery store trips from hell I had endured into his brain with sheer will?  I tried.  It did not work.

He took one child. I pooped with an audience of one and we carried on.

Then this past weekend, we made a family trip of it.  I had to meet some people from my online yardsaling group there, so he would take the kids in the store until I finished peddling second-hand jeans in the parking lot and could join them.  Some people ended up being late, so I had time to just sit in the minivan and watch.  Watch all the dads with children. Screaming children. Trying to launch themselves out of the cart.

It looked genuinely hellacious for the dads.  No doubt.  But you know what I saw the most? NO MOM.  Genius women who set aside their Saturday guilt and cheerfully pushed their kiddos out the door with dad so they could clean the toilets in peace.  Or write blog posts, what-have-you.

And Home Depot?  I fell further in love because I saw at least 3 different kinds of carts that had fun seats for the kids.  Step aside, beastly grocery store car carts, this is the new generation of belting your kids into a metal cart.

Don’t get me wrong; my husband is a fantastic father and husband.  He is incredibly hands-on and does so much around here to help out.  But any future references to shopping with kids being a horror?

Yeah, I know.  DO IT ANYWAY.

Source Exactly what I was thinking, Home Depot.  Except maybe in a slightly different way...

Exactly what I was thinking, Home Depot. Except maybe in a slightly different way…

And this is my hope for you, dear readers, on this elongated weekend of thanks and kicking-off the holiday season–may you find yourself with a moment.   That perfect moment of guilt-free ALONENESS while someone else manages the sippy cups, snack bags, and the impossible joy of taking little ones to pee in public bathrooms.

Somehow, eek it out.  Find it.  Grasp it.

And if it happens courtesy of Home Depot, feel free to hop in on the thank-you gift to Return Counter Christine with me.

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