Jul 212014
 
Go ahead, Summer, throw us your best, we are suited up and ready to take it!

Go ahead, Summer, throw us your best, we are suited up and ready to take it!

I love summer.  I love swimming in the pool, walking barefoot, and the splash of freckles across my nose.  I love lazy evenings on our deck, the smell of fresh-cut grass and sleeping with the windows open.  I love the ease of trading in snowsuits for sandals and how ridiculously blue freeze pops turn my kids’ tongues.  I love watching them chase each other through the sprinkler in the sunshine and then chase fireflies in the moonlight.

I love summer so much I’ll even tolerate the not-fun things.  The infinite number of flies that always get inside our house no matter how many times I holler to shut the door, the inanely popular notion that I should expose my legs to the world at large by wearing shorts, and my endless non-sexy sweating.  For the chance to wear cute sandals, I’ll agree to repetitive toenail-painting.  And because I am a good sport, I’ll even put up with the fact that those popsicles make every single surface of my home sticky, including my children.

I won’t lie; I jumped for joy when the school year ended.  Mostly because I had spent nine months fruitlessly trying to figure out how be on time and I had to officially resign my title as The Late Mom. Darn.

I longed for staying-in mornings, relaxed visits with friends, birthday parties, a beach vacation, precious help from my Mother’s Helper, an amusement park visit and lingering hours of daylight.  It was all going to be glorious.

And you know what?  It IS glorious–all of it.  I love every minute of our summer so much.  So much that it is actually starting to hurt. It hurts in the form of countless missed naps, running from dawn to past-dusk, endless fun with friends, completely obliterated schedules and lots of cherished US-ALL-BEING-TOGETHER-ALL-THE-TIME.

I was chatting about this with a friend who is experiencing the same “exciting summer intensity”. I went home, ruminated on it, and then had my epiphany.  “It’s the PACE of summer!”, I later declared to her.  “It’s the pace.  It’s all good, it just never ends.”

Those rare few minutes we could snag in the middle of winter of settling down into our couch? I’m honestly not sure if my couch is still there.  It might have been moved.  I’ll check in September and get back to you on this.

I know I have oft-shared how I pass out from exhaustion early in the evening, but let me give a true glimpse of how our summer nights go down:

My husband (who bizarrely has extended hours in the summer) walks in the door late.

I glare at him. I know, I know; he’s a lucky guy.

Shaking it off and coming back for more…

We may or may not eat dinner.  The kids and are in a fabulous state of mixed-dress combining elements of wet bathing suits, day wear and pajamas. If I attempted to put on make-up that day earlier, it is now streaming down my face and congealed in pretty globs as an effect of repetitively chlorine-bathing my face.  I am hot; again, he is lucky.

Somehow the kids land in their beds. I then romantically look at my husband and ask if he would like to watch an episode of Game of Thrones.  We cozy in, I pick up my knitting and then…

It is morning.  I have literally no clue how I landed in my bed or what happened after the yarn was broken out.  It’s sort of like wild college days with a more suburban, middle-age vibe and less booze.

Regardless, Summer has clearly won.  It has overtaken my life and weakened all my defenses of order and routine while exhausting me beyond capacity.  But like a classy victor, it leaves its adversary respecting its methods.  And in this case, it leaves me wanting more and more of all the sweet stuff it has to offer.

Well played, Summer.  Well played…

Jul 192014
 

A couple weeks ago I shared with you why childhood hunger is such a serious concern in the summer months.  When school isn’t in session, many kids lose their access to the free or reduced price meals they get throughout the year.  Thanks to organizations like the ConAgra Foods Foundation, taking steps to battle childhood hunger is within reach.

Remember this video from my first post?  As part of the Hunger-Free Summer campaign and through a partnership with Kid President, ConAgra Foods is committed to donate the monetary equivalent of one meal to Feeding America, up to two million meals¹ each time this video is viewed.  That’s right:  simply view, like or share this video to help out kids in need this summer.

For more information on this campaign or for more ideas on how to support happy and healthy summers for kids everywhere, check in on all the posts pinned to the A Childlike Summer board.  I’m proud to have teamed up with The Motherhood, ConAgra Foods and some super bloggers to create this collection of ways we can all work to make these sunny months a time of joy and play for everyone.  Check out the board and follow along!

The resources above are fantastic as you explore ways you and your family can tackle childhood hunger this summer, but in case you are in similar shoes to mine and are looking for some guidance explaining what this all means to the young kids in your home, I created this brief video.  In it, I outline a few key points to keep in mind when discussing childhood hunger with young ones. My kids also love words that sound funny, so I went with a “KUDOS” acronym to help me remember the steps I wanted to take when talking to them about the issue.

I don’t love the camera, so bear with and excuse any mumbling in advance!  Here are the steps I outline to help you follow along:

KUDOS 5 Step Plan for Talking About Childhood-Hunger with Young Kids @meredithspidel

K — Know your kids.  My son is super-sensitive, so I won’t be able to focus too much on hungry kids or he will start sobbing–and I’m serious.

U — Use words they can understand.  For my kids, I say, “Some kids don’t have enough food” rather than launching into an explanation of school lunch programs–they won’t get it.

D — Don’t linger.  Keep your explanation of the problem brief.  Attention spans are short at this age.

O — Outline simple ways to help, such as “watch this video together” or “put cans of food in a bag”.  Clear action steps work for young kids.

S — Set to work. Go do the activity you discussed.  Kids don’t plan very far into the future.  Tackle your plan ASAP!

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I worked with The Motherhood on this post, sponsored by ConAgra Foods. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Jul 142014
 

I’m not the kind of gal who loves rolling around in the sand. Or the hot beating sun. Or mixing sweaty drip in with with sunscreen and feeling like a greased pig on parade.  You might go so far as to say, I’m not a beach gal.

Except I love my kids.  A lot.  And they love the beach.

Being that they are 3 and 5, the kind of beach-loving they do involves less of Mommy lounging peacefully on a chair cozying up to a novel and more running-around vigilantly monitoring their safety while fetching countless pails of water from the ocean.

Since I had already abandoned foolhardy visions of laziness, I decided to go for it the one day.  This was it.  This would be the day I was The Cool Mom and build the sandcastle to beat all sandcastles. I set to work.

And this is what I came up with:

I KNOW.

I KNOW.

So, basically, I’m fabulous.

While I sulked and pouted a bit over my fabulousness and generally felt like an idiot, I took a minute to actually look at my kids.  They were jumping and laughing in the shallow waves, still too young and uncertain to venture out very far.  They were having fun and they were happy.

I spied one of our cheap plastic beach shovels tossed to the side (this had been abandoned after my daughter’s inspired effort to move all of the sand back into the ocean. While her progress was significant, she of course had to stop for a needed juice box break.) Pausing for a minute, I had a revelation.  I might not be able to build, but I could dig.

So I did. Shovelful after shovelful, I dug my kiddos one boss pool.  They splashed and splashed, having the time of their young lives.  And as the ocean kept eroding and filling in the pool, I kept digging.

Because I love my kids.

And they love the beach.

And while fantabulous sandcastles remain woefully out of my reach, it turns out I can create something pretty nifty for my kids.  And the arm workout didn’t suck either.

As it turns out, sometimes this Mom of the Year gig isn’t always about building to the heights. Sometimes it’s just about hanging out in the shallows and appreciating what you can do.

It’s about finding your inner sandcastle ability–whatever it looks like.

And it’s about watching your kids laugh, a lot.

Kids playing at beach @meredithspidel

Jul 072014
 

MomAssembly @momassembly @meredithspidleIf I had to guess my most oft-said phrase in my parenting journey, “I’m losing my mind” would probably go for the win.  From the moment my son let loose his first wail, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of being completely clueless.

I had read all the books.  I had friends. I even managed to find the phone under some of the piles of burp cloths so I could call them. I still felt alone.  I still felt lost.  I still longed for someone to hold my hand and tell me exactly what to do.

Five years later, I now have a daughter in addition to my son, but overall, there are far less diapers to change and food doesn’t need cut in quite as small pieces.  It’s a bit less never-being-able-to-sleep-more-than-an-hour-at-a-time, but there are other fun things.  Like trying to figure out discipline and making decisions about preschool.

The truth is, I don’t feel like I know anything more than when I first started being a mom.  I have questions every day.  I find myself longing for an instruction manual…

Enter MomAssembly, the world’s first online video-education site for moms.  It’s an interactive university, available 24-7 from the comfort of your home, that gives you all the information you need to raise happy, healthy kids. Whether you are interested in child-oriented topics like baby development, sleep or behavior or want to focus on more parent-focused goals like finding work/family balance, losing the baby weight or childproofing your marriage, it’s all there. MomAssembly was co-founded in 2012 by Jill Spivack, LCSW and Jennifer Waldburger, MSW , who have nearly two decades of experience as family and parent educators.  These ladies are experts at knowing what help moms need, and they are bringing it to you in this incredibly convenient format.

I’ll admit, when I first heard of  MomAssembly, I was a bit skeptical.  A site full of expert parenting video courses sounds fantastic, but the idea of taking a course was somewhat intimidating.  Would there be grades?  Was there a weekly schedule to keep up with?  Exams?  I have trouble finding time to shower, so wasn’t sure if I could handle going back to school.

But how wrong I was.  MomAssembly couldn’t be easier.  There are no exams, schedules, or grades.  It is super user-friendly.  You log into the site, and the menu of courses immediately pops up.  You click on the age and stage of your children, and all the available courses of interest appear. To take a course, you click on it and then press the play button.

@MomAssembly @meredithspidel

Courses are broken up into class segments, average of about 8 classes per course.  Each class is typically around 5-10 minutes.  You can start and stop them at any time. Read: sippy cup emergency?  Hit the pause button and it’s fine.  Come back when you can–or wait a few hours (or even days if need be!) and come back when you can.

I love that the courses are audio-friendly, meaning that I can set-up my laptop on the kitchen counter while I attack the dishes and still take my classes.  If you’re a bit more modern than my old school self, you can also snatch up the learning from your phone/iPad/etc while you are on the go.  It’s all online, so whatever is easiest for you.

The price of this assistance is minimal.  For only $7.99/mo., you receive access to over 500 classes, over 50 downloadable handouts & workbooks, and you can add up to 4 family members & caregivers to your account for free.  Ready to sign up for the whole year?  It’s only $3.99/month with the annual plan!  Both options come with a 7 day free trial to make sure than MomAssembly is a good fit you.

And as a special offer to my readers, the first 10 Mom Of The Year readers who sign up for a MomAssembly plan from THIS LINK will get their first month of membership free!

Mom Assembly‘s user-friendliness is fantastic, but my favorite part of the courses is that they soothe me.  I know, this might sound a bit odd, but it’s true.  The first course I took was Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting 101.  More than any other course, this title appealed to me (My stress level of late managing my 2 and 5 yr. old has a “bit” high), so I eagerly selected this course.  As I listened to the the instructor speak, I felt myself relax, normalize, if you will.  I was feeling like someone got me and was giving me welcome advice on how to manage my life better.

Once I started, I kept taking more and more courses as I realized how helpful the classes were.  Raising Children that Other People Like to Be Around?  Yes, please!  Please help me figure out a way for my kids not to be the weird ones at social gatherings.  Coping with Preschool Panic may actually be more for me than them, but my family needs this course.  It’s a really hard and sad/happy things sending your kiddos off to school for the first time and I’ll take any help I can get.

And The Discipline Do’s and Don’t’s course has been a blessing–am I the only one who never received the clear instruction manual on how to raise kids?? Check out one of the classes from this course for a sample of how MomAssembly works:

Remember my longing for an instruction manual?  This quote from MomAssembly sold me, “Good news! Babies do come with instructions!”.  The truth is, as a new mom, as a current mom of toddlers/preschoolers, this remains the promise I most want to hear.

Thanks to MomAssembly, the instruction manual is here, and I am grateful.  So, so grateful.

Jul 032014
 

July 4th is one of my favorite holidays.  It’s full of grilling, kids running around the year, adorable star-printed duds, the sky lit up with magnificent colors, and a recognition of the most boss moment in our nation’s history.  This weekend is a fun weekend, a time of celebration.

When The Motherhood asked me to team up with the ConAgra Foods Foundation to introduce their Hunger-Free Summer campaign, I realized this weekend was the perfect time to fill you in on the work they are doing.  You see, at a time when our country is enjoying our blessings, let’s just take a few extra steps to make sure everyone has a reason to celebrate.

What is the Hunger-Free Summer Campaign?

Did you know that when kids are out of school for the summer, nearly 90 percent have limited or no access to the free or reduced price meals they receive at school during the school year. This means that summer can be a really rough time for some kids.

The ConAgra Foods Foundation has recognized this problem by continuing to raise awareness and invest in solutions for child hunger in the summertime.  They have developed and fund a campaign that allows 26 food banks in 18 states to use Hunger-Free Summer grants – ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 – to expand their summer feeding program, bringing more healthy meals to more children during the summer.

ConAgra Foods’ Hunger-Free Summer initiative with Feeding America, now in its fifth year, has supported the delivery of 3.8 million meals to children struggling with hunger over the summer.  In the four years of Hunger Free Summer, they have increased the number of children reached through the program by 166%, and grown the number of Feeding America food banks operating summer feeding programs.  ConAgra Foods is on track to exceed their goal of reaching at least 25% more children in need during the summer than before, over the course of five years.

What can you do?

They went to work at Grandmas house too

They went to work at Grandmas house too

Volunteer: Food banks can always use hands-on help. Visit www.feedingamerica.org to find a nearby food bank in need of volunteers.

Or if your kids are on the younger side, like mine, work it on the homefront. (I think about taking my children into a foodbank to help serve and picture a lot of flying mashed potatoes with Mommy hyperventilating in a corner) When the sweet teenager in our neighborhood was gathering up food and paper goods for a donation to our local food bank, we made a big deal in our house out of raiding our pantry, hitting the grocery store, and bagging up items to send along.

Advocate: To find meal sites in your area, call the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479).

Learn: To learn more about the issue of child hunger, visit www.childhungerendshere.com and click on “tacking action”.

Teach: Tell others what is going and explain to them why we need to help and how we can help.  This can be tricky with kids, especially if they don’t quite grasp the concept of hunger, but work to explain it to them on a level they can understand and help them feel empowered to make a difference.

When we first bagged up items to donate, I told my then 2 and 4 yr. old that we were “getting stuff together to help people out”.  That was enough explanation at the time. Six months later, I had a box of stuff to drop off at the food bank, and my son had a lot of questions, “Why, Mommy?”.

“Because some people don’t have enough to eat, so we are going to give some food to make sure they do.”

“They don’t have enough to eat? They don’t have food?”, his eyes were huge.

“Not always, honey.”

“Kids?”, his lower lip started to quiver.  His sweet, sensitive soul can’t quite handle this.

“Some kids, but we are going to help them by giving them this food.”

“Are we going to take care of them?”

“We’re going to try, baby…”

The thing is, kids without food is a sad thing.  A very sad thing, and while my little guy’s tears for hungry kids is heart-breaking, we all need to have our heart broken over this.

Celebrate this July 4th weekend and have so much fun, but during the festivities, set aside a can to drop off at your local food bank or make a note to check in next week on some other ways you can help the cause.

One other, super-easy way you can help fight against childhood hunger right now?  Watch the video below.  ConAgra Foods has partnered with Kid President to help spread the message. Simply view, like or share this video to help raise awareness for child hunger this summer. For each of these actions, the ConAgra Foods Foundation will donate the monetary equivalent of one meal to Feeding America, up to two million meals.¹

 

1For every view, like or share of this Kid President video recorded on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+ from May 22, 2014 through July 31, 2014, the ConAgra Foods Foundation will donate 11.1¢, the cost for Feeding America to provide one meal through its network of local food banks. Minimum donation of 10,000 meals ($11,111). Maximum donation of two million meals ($222,000). Valid in U.S. only.

*******************************************************************

I worked with The Motherhood on this post, sponsored by ConAgra Foods. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Jun 092014
 

Son with friend driving gator @meredithspidelI sent my son off to preschool last year with very little expectation aside from the hope that as a young 3 yr. old he wouldn’t poop in the middle of circle time, or commit some equally horrific toddler social misstep.  When he not only loved his class and his teacher and starting soaking up wild amounts of learning, I was tickled.  This was going really well; who would have figured?

And then it happened.  One day my little guy started talking endlessly about his new friend Cole.  He told me he loved Cole and asked if he could come over for a playdate.  They giggled together in class and when I saw them walking up the stairs together, holding hands, at the end of the day, my heart caved in from the cuteness.

To be honest, it was more than just the sweetness; gratitude filled me.  You see, as a first time mom, I didn’t know how the friend thing worked.  Was I supposed to put out an ad in the preschool newsletter?  Should I sequester fellow moms at the playground? What was the procedure?

As it turns out, kids just find friends on their own.  For us, this has been one of the things that goes over so much better if Mommy just takes a backseat and lets the young ones lead the show.  As with most things, they do a better job.

Son with best friend at preschool @meredithspidel

But when Cole first set his sights on my dude, I swooned. We had a friend!  This was real.  And it was so fun.  He quickly became part of our life and hasn’t left since.  We just did the boys’ first sleepover, the grandparents love him, he takes his turn praying before meals at our table, Cole’s brothers all know our home, his mom is one of my very best friends, and he has his own car seat in our van.

Such a crappy photo, but I love that Mr. Jackson was supposed to be graduating preschool but my daughter wouldn't stop flirting with him.

Such a crappy photo, but I love that Cole was supposed to be graduating preschool yet my daughter wouldn’t stop flirting with him.

Most over is the way Cole has always loved on my daughter.  He is her best friend too.  While it may be a bit unnerving to leave some preschool boys around a 1 yr. old baby girl, I never once felt concerned with Cole.  He has always been kind to her–kinder than her blood brother, truth told–and just accepted that she was part of the package that came with having my son as a friend.

Since he first came into our lives, we have been blessed with so many other wonderful friends and delighted in growing those friendships too, but we remain so thankful for Cole, who taught us how to have and be a friend.

They play together

They play together

They nap together

They nap together

Recovering from a sleepover together

They recover from a sleepover together

Next year he and my son will separate to different Kindergartens, and who knows what the future holds, but I do know as far as friends go, Cole was the first–and for now, is definitely the best.

We love you, Cole!

And here's to a whole summer of fun awaiting!

And here’s to a whole summer of fun awaiting!

Jun 042014
 
OTCSafety.org is full of helpful info

OTCSafety.org is full of helpful info

 

Friends, we need your help.  And a lot of it.  When OTCSafety.org reminded me that June is National Home Safety Month, it couldn’t have been a more timely nudge that my husband and I have some serious safety issues to address in our home.

The advice offered at Up and Away to keep medicines out of the grasp of young ones are truths we have been learning the hard way.  Tips like “picking a place your children cannot reach” and “put medicines away every time” are things we can no longer ignore.

You see, we’d had a few problems with our kids “getting into stuff”.  It’s been a progressive learning curve for us as parents.  My daughter is the true wild child, the kiddo who has no problem finding trouble, but as the oldest, it’s always been our son who (lucky him!) has been our guinea pig.

He was the one who showed us that childproof latches don’t always work when he discovered the world of ladies’ feminine products as a 1 yr. old:

Baby son getting into tampons @meredithspidel

He will LOVE this picture when he gets older

So we forewent the child safety latches and decided to move anything of concern to a physically higher level, where surely, our kids couldn’t access such items.  Please note: “anything of concern” included our Sharpie permanent markers and the stash of stamps Mommy had just sunk some fancy cash into. This went well:

He was supposed to be napping...

He was supposed to be napping…

Obviously, higher ground is not a viable option for safe storage of non-kid-friendly items.  This was also made apparent when my little dude somehow scaled the shower wall to retrieve my razor from the faucet caddy and shave his legs.  This happened.

Fortunately, so very fortunately, this shenanigan resulted in no more that a few minor surface skin scraps.  Lucky. We were both too traumatized to think to snap a pic at the time, but let’s just say the razor is no longer kept in the shower caddy…

After this shaving incident, we decided to be smart and put unsafe items in the bathroom closet behind one of those nifty childproof door handles (you know, the ones that hug the entire handle and you have to use your fingers to pinch open?).  And no lie, this very day, as I was prepping to write this post, my son introduced himself to green nail polish:

He is so fancy!

He is so fancy!

I joke about this stuff, but truly, I do recognize how lucky we have been.  How very worse all these situations have been.  How very, very serious.  And this is why I need help.

Clearly, after today’s discovery of nail lacquer, that genius door handle on the bathroom closet door isn’t so genius after all.

Also, given our track record, I’m guessing my proud solution of stashing anything of question above the bathroom cabinet is only time limited.  Let’s not guess how grouchy Mommy will be if someone gets into her precious Urban Decay make-up.  Not to mention the non-medicine stuff I store in the medicine cabinet itself, which is definitely not-so-safe in young hands.  Things like eye drops, hair products and my fancy face creams can be incredibly dangerous if misused.

So it appears we have two rather un-safe storage spots in our home:

Clearly, this doorknob safety situation isn't cutting it when it comes to nail polish appeal

Clearly, this doorknob safety situation isn’t cutting it when it comes to nail polish appeal

The clear valuables at the top--you know, make-up, neti-pot and the like...

Obvious valuables at the top–you know, make-up, neti-pot and the like…

Learn more.

Learn more.

This is why we need your help.  Tell us what to do.  Short of a locked safe with a hidden combination, I’m feeling tired.

It’s all you, readers.

You see, June is the month we take the time to explore the potential dangers in our home.  Beyond exploring, we need to address them and fix them to create a safer environment for ourselves and our kiddos.  And as summer approaches, it’s important to remember that this applies to not only our own home, but all the places we may travel to and visit on vacation.  We have to make sure our environments, be them permanent or temporary, are safe!

Stories of what our kids get into can be funny–very funny–but the reality is safety is no joke.  So help us figure out the best solution for protecting our kids from things that could hurt them in our house.

And then go make the same safety fixes in your own homes–or on the road as you travel.  Keep it real this summer, friends, and tighten up the safety quotient wherever you find yourselves!

****I am compensated as an OTCsafety blogging ambassador for this post, but my opinion are my own.****

May 282014
 
I asked my husband to pick up "fancy crackers" for book club.  I love him.  Also, if you get hungry anytime in the next 5 years, please stop over.

I asked my husband to pick up “fancy crackers” for book club. I love him. Also, if you get hungry anytime in the next 5 years, please stop over.

Friends, there is very little of interest in my life.  I wake up, I reach for my vitamins caddy and then lube up with my Vaseline Lip Therapy for the day.  I feel blissfully 80 yrs. old and have zero interest in pursuing anything seemingly younger.

On good days, I fascinate over John Stamos’ obsession with me.

I like knowing what will come next, and like knowing exactly what came before. I like order. I like knowing what panties I will wear tomorrow.  And what panties I will wear Thursday.  If there was ever a candidate for Day-of-the-Week panties, it is me.  Please send me organized panties. Please.

As it turns out, life did not mean for this season of my life to be an organized bliss.  Unstated curses following HERE.

You see, within 29 days’ time,  my son will have had eye surgery, he’ll have graduated from preschool, we will have enjoyed some massive Blog U prep time, book club with lots of Ritz crackers will have been hosted, our yard will be played upon by an energetic camping birthday party/sleep-out for my son’s 5th birthday, Blog U will actually happen, and we’ll pop out for a beach vacay.

I want a nap.

The truth is, I can rage against these harried life circumstances all I want; they will still exist. I might have planned better while designing our schedule, but when isn’t hindsight 20/20?

Regardless, I don’t think this current period of life was never meant to be one of order.  Sure, I wish there was more Things That Made Sense, time for teeth-brushing and remembering-to-get-the-mail.  But the truth is, God has always designed me for a reason and a season.

And this season? I will be late. For everything. I will have wet hair. For everything. Mascara will be a solid bonus and fresh socks will rock enough extra credit points to lend me into a powerful woman. On the days in between? My head really itches from lack of showering and I am so proud when I remember to fill the wipes case

There is a time for the hospital duds. Yes, there is always a time

There is a time for the hospital duds.

I am tired, very tired, but the thing is–for now, this just is.  We all land on times like this in our lives, when the wave of the days doesn’t just carry us, it floods us.  Busy days wouldn’t be busy without the slower times to define them.

Sure, I hope that in a couple months, things will settle. In the meantime, check the hospital-gown cutie-pants, because they are The It Fashion right now, and, really, are kind of cute.

Of course I will always, always dream of more sleep and all the fun late-night People Style Watch readings a less harried life suggests.  But truth told? Right now, let’s slug out what’s on the plate.

Cool?

Sure. Yes.  Let’s roll.  Just don’t blame me if I enjoy the surplus sangria from book club without abandon along the way.

You’ve gotta keep these Busy Days real, after all…

May 092014
 

Friends, we all know I love my products.  I find something I love and I don’t shut up about it.  I annoy those around me endlessly babbling about the latest and greatest. It was almost embarrassing when I spent over half of the goodbye Bible Study raving about my new Huggies Clutch ‘n’ Clean.

Almost, but not quite.

Because I am so taken with this product.  In fact, I had already included them in a post about the new items I was crushing on.  Then I published the post and indignantly declared to my husband, “I can’t believe Huggies hasn’t asked me to write about this new wipes case.” He looked at me like I had three heads.

But then they did ask me to write about them! Wa-hoo! Celebrations of all sorts around here. My husband? Obviously embarrassed over his lack of recognition of my pull with the diapering industry…

If I have to pick, my favorite one. Hey, I'm a sucker for flowers.

If I have to pick, my favorite one. Hey, I’m a sucker for flowers.

Why do I love this new wipes case, “The Latest Must-Have for Parents On-the-Go” so much? Three reasons:

1. Those hard plastic refillable wipes cases of back-in-the-day? We emptied them in under two seconds in this family.  I needed something larger.

2. I had a gorgeous cloth wipes case that I still love and use. But it was cloth, so I still had to stick a case of plastic wipes inside it. I wanted something adorable that was more convenient.

3. I had resolved to carrying a disposable pack in my purse. But, it felt a)wasteful, b)covered with cute pictures of giraffes and c)very large at until we used the pack for a bit.

I am not opposed to giraffes. Or large packs of things.  But my children are (gasp!) nearing being fully potty-trained. We still need wipes aplenty for random messes and to survive meals.  I love that Huggies is giving me a means to meet this wipes need in a fashionable, user-friendly, and economical way.

My new Jenny Lynn Bag is adorable, but I need this wipes case that can actually fit in it!

My new Jenny Lynn Bag is adorable, and I need a wipes case that can fit in it!

I can stash up on the refill cases and then just add more to my pretty new Huggies Clutch ‘n’ Clean as needed.  If we have a huge day out planned, I can stuff it up, but if it’s just a regular errand run, I can fill up my case just enough to get us through our running while still fitting it smoothly within my bag.

So snatch one up for yourself.  They are available nationwide everywhere for $3.99–I got mine at our local grocery store.  You will love the new portable designs, the trendy designs, and the fun strap that makes it it versatile and accessible anywhere, from the diaper bag and the stroller to the car seat handle and more!

My only problem? I now want them in every single design.  Go check them out–promise you’ll love ‘em ;)

Can you sense the genuine giddiness over my my new Huggies Clutch n Clean?  I love them!

****This is a post sponsored by Huggies Clutch ‘n’ Clean* Wipes, but my love for them is 100% genuine.  Just ask any of my IRL friends I annoy on a daily basis.****

May 082014
 
Source Someday, my love, someday one foot will go in front of the other.

Source
Someday, my love…someday one foot will go in front of the other.

Sunday morning my husband rolled over and whispered some sweet, sweet nothings in my ear, “I just want to sit calmly with you over a cup of coffee.”

I swooned at his amorous words, “Me too.”

We then looked at each other, got up and wordlessly split duty, each wrangling one fussy child into their church clothes. Over a leisurely breakfast of repetitive screams to not spill milk, it became very apparent that we would have to table our coffee date.  Until about 2029. The estimated year that my daughter might leave for college.

This theme of tabling stuff until the kids get older has come up a lot recently.  The thing is, it didn’t occur to me until last week that I wouldn’t actually be able to physically take progressive steps until my children were older. I know, silly ignorant newbie mom…

We had some dear friends visiting one day, and much in need of a little exercise, we decided to trek down to the park.

The fact that we can walk to our local park is one of my favorite things about our house.  For years, it worked out super. I threw the kids in the stroller and off we rolled.  When they were very young we went to just spin around for fresh air.  When they were older, we crawled around the playground equipment while Mommy madly snapped pictures until someone fell and began sobbing.

The good old days…

Source But for now, this is the name of the game.

Source
But for now, this is the name of the game.

I was going to be smart this time.  The week prior I had gotten burned carrying three bikes, multiple helmets, and one scooter up a very large hill while my kids and their friend gleefully ran ahead.  The extensive bruising on my shins still hasn’t forgiven me.  I won’t be able to wear a mini dress without raising alarms of abuse until mid-summer.  Never again.

This time, Mommy was smart.  She pulled out the wagon.  Told each child they could pick one scooter and would have to walk the entire way to the park.

My daughter promptly sat down in the wagon and refused to move.

No sweat; we could still get this thing.  Undaunted, I threw her scooter in the front of the wagon and took off.  We covered at least a dozen steps and all appeared to be working out extremely well–until it occurred to me that two of the children in my care were nearly out of yelling range–in opposite directions.  I panicked a little, ran in circles herding everyone back together, and then we were back on track.

We pressed on further, threw several temper tantrums, and incurred more bruising of various type.

The sum total progress of our efforts at this point?  A half block.  I wrote a long time ago about the sheer difficulty of trying to get further than the end of my driveway with a baby and a toddler.  What I didn’t know is that several heavier-than-you-think tricycles and children who can walk later, I would be longing for those baby days.

As it stands now, I am firmly anticipating getting at least halfway to the park by July. Momentous forward progress is, for now, tabled.  In the meantime, I looked over at my friend, and said the most-true truth of motherhood, “I need a drink.”

Better make it a double?

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