Category: parenting

Mar 08

Confessions of a Shameless Mother

I have to admit, I have been a little scared to take my three kids on vacation. The idea of hours of travel, via plane or car, have intimidated the hell out of me. Because of this, the furthest we’ve taken our kids is to Lake of the Ozarks last summer. And that was only like 5.5 hours and we left the baby behind.
If I can get my mind beyond the travel, then I start picturing all of us in one hotel room and I see sleepless nights, cramped quarters and a jug of milk in an ice bucket for the baby. I picture eating out for several meals and I see spilled drinks, a crumb-covered restaurant floor and kids whining about their food.

I also have to admit, I have often wondered how the heck my parents got motivated to take my brother and I on vacations when we were little. I vividly remember fighting relentlessly in the back seat, begging for pricey souvenirs and asking “are we there yet?” a few too many times.

But they did it. Many, many times. We traveled all over this country. Often, in a conversion van (which sounds SO nice now!). And I know of many other families that have braved the trials and flown with their kids. So it can’t be that bad, right? Or, let me rephrase myself – it is worth it, right?


We took our crew on a little vacation recently and I got a glimpse of what fired all of the traveling I did as a kid. Seeing your kids experience new stuff and get excited for it is awesome. Totally worth it.

We went to Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City (only three hours away). They have an indoor water park, amongst many other kid-friendly attractions. The kiddos were beyond pumped to go – we talked it up for days prior to leaving. Seeing their faces the first time they got a glimpse of the water park was priceless. Watching Lilah, who is almost five, conquer new things (like giant water slides) so fearlessly was incredibly rewarding.

And yes it was work. Timing naps was difficult. Sitting still at restaurants was tricky. And it seemed like no matter how prepared we were, the kids inevitably needed to go to the bathroom as the most inopportune moments. We had to sit silently in our hotel room to get them to fall asleep (thank goodness for iPhones!) We nearly drove the car off the road to get Owen to quit crying.

But, it was all worth it. And, believe it or not, I am looking forward to our next family vacation! I highly recommend Great Wolf Lodge for a quick getaway. Go during the week if you can, for sure.


Mar 15

Confessions of a Shameless Mother

Adding a third kid to our live has been a true transition. While we still have the same amount of hands, there are increasingly more diapers to be changed, faces to be wiped, books to be read, etc. Over the last three months since the baby arrived, I have noticed myself slipping. What used to be structured is no longer. For instance, I used to limit my kids to one 30-minute cartoon in the mornings. And maybe another in the evening while I was cooking dinner. But now, we often have the TV on for 1 – 2 hours while before preschool – it keeps them distracted as I buzz around the house getting everybody fed, dressed and ready for the day.

Today Lilah and I were browsing through pictures of my niece, Eva’s, birthday party on my computer. Lilah was commenting on most of them and when we came to the below shot of Owen in his party pirate hat, she pointed out that he was wearing the same thing today as he was wearing in that picture. As in STILL wearing it. The party was Saturday and today is Tuesday. Gulp. And, I even remember that Saturday wasn’t his first day to wear it! So, not only does that remind me that he has been wearing the same clothing for 4+ days, but that I can’t even remember the last time he had a bath!!

When our first was born, I remember changing her outfit at least once a day. And Brady and I giving her nightly baths. Now, I just don’t find the time, energy or motivation to do maintain that. But I do realize that I should strive harder to find the middle ground. So, I changed him right away and added “give Owen a bath” to my to-do list for the day. It went right after “clean the kitchen sink so Owen can take a bath in it”.


Nov 01

Coming down from a sugar high.

Well, we survived the week of Halloween! The kids loved it and I am exhausted! They were so cute trick-or-treating last night that I seriously wasn’t ready to stop. Each holiday that comes and goes, I become more aware of how much holidays are all about the kids. Guess my perspective has changed some.

Over the past month, I have found myself wishing away these last weeks of my pregnancy. But then I think twice and realize that I am wishing away a holiday season with Lilah and Graham. Plus, I realize that carrying an unborn baby in my tummy, despite all my complaints, is way less work than caring for a newborn. All the diapers and feedings and laundry and willing the child to sleep! I think I’ll take the indigestion and back pain for a few more weeks.

I have been VERY busy lately with my freelance work, so I have been trying extra hard to keep the kids busy. Now, I wouldn’t say that it’s worked, but I think they like the new activities. Here are a few that I took pictures of.

When I was a kid, I was VERY into rubber stamps. I still have a huge tub of stamps and ink pads that I never use. I let the kids pick a few out and stamp their little hearts out.

About 10 minutes in, they decided that it would be more fun to stack them up and build towers. Knocking them over was just as much fun as getting ink all over our hands and arms.

Last week, during the Halloween madness, I thought I would let the kids attempt to make some treats. My first thought was sugar cookies, which Lilah and I did last year, but remembered how much work that was for me. So I decided I’d try some other treats that looked simple enough. It went pretty well, but again, their attention span wasn’t nearly as long as I hoped. They had the most fun placing eyes on whatever treats we made.

We made ghosts (out of Nutter Butters), spiders (out of chocolate cake mix cookies, pretzels and M&Ms), witches hats (out of Keebler cookies and Hersey Kisses) and “spooky” eyeballs (Bakerella’s cake balls).

And because Lilah has been interested in sorting things lately, I got out her boxes of crayons and let her sort them by color. We used a muffin tin and she sorted through them all two times. Graham “sorted” too, but not with much method. This drove Lilah up the wall but kept them both occupied as she “taught” him how to separate them.

So, keeping them busy often keeps me busy. But at least I feel better about the hours that I don’t give them any attention because I am stuck at my computer.


Jul 01

Confessions of a Shameless Mother.

So, I’m cleaning Graham’s room today and lift up the bedskirt on his crib. And what do I find? But a stash of my son’s tossed, finished bottles of milk. Nasty, dried, yellowed (even greened), rotten milk remains. Um, gross. Guess that’s what I get for breaking the Don’t-put-them-to-bed-with-a-bottle Rule. I really do try not to do it. But I guess this is proof that I have. But only seven times. I swear.

Seriously! How nasty are these! They must be like six months old to have the milk turn GREEN.

And the Mother of the Year Award goes to…

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Mar 30

On my mind.

What’s on  my mind today? Getting my kids to eat better, that’s what.

One of the things that has always worried me about teaching my kids good eating habits is that I am an incredibly picky eater myself. And kids, in my opinion, pick up their tastes directly from, ahem, mommy and daddy. Now, I’m not the most picky eater ever, but there are many foods that I stray away from. Namely, there are lots of fresh fruits and vegetables that I won’t touch – like pears, blueberries, cantelope, watermelon, avacados, cucumbers, tomatoes and green peppers. I know, that’s bad, huh?? I also would never eat a fruit that’s been cooked (i.e. applesauce, apple pie, or any kind of pie for that matter!)

I have always thought that I would not let my kids grow up to be so picky! And I have also felt like I make a pretty good effort at that. But last week, during a lunch playdate, when Lilah was given a plate with sliced cucumbers and diced cherry tomatoes on it and stared at it with complete bewilderment, I realized that I have been slacking lately.

So, here’s to a renewed effort. To buy and cook and feed my kids a more balanced variety of foods that I wouldn’t naturally eat myself. And who knows, maybe I’ll find a few new foods for myself.

During my latest grocery trip, I purchased several foods that I wouldn’t normally consider. And have been sneaking them onto my kids plates over the past few days. Some hits, some misses. But I don’t give up on the first attempt – according to this article, a kid can take up to 20 times to realize they like the new flavor.

For instance, I have been giving Graham cucumbers (yuk!), cherry tomatoes (ewe!) and low-fat cottage cheese (which is something I like, but rarely buy because Brady’s not into it. Proof that I’m not the only picky eater in this house!) throughout the past few days with here-and-there success. But today, I made him a plate of cottage cheese mixed with diced tomatoes, grilled turkey breast and cucumbers and … he finally pulled through and actually ate it! All of it. Seriously. Now, don’t get me wrong, I had to use a few strategic moves. Included (but not limited to) mixing cottage cheese with cucumbers (gross me out!) and (very realistic) airplane sounds/motions.

What foods do you dislike that you wish you did – and want your kid to appreciate? Do you have this same challenge? I’d love to hear.


Mar 05

Confessions of a Shameless Mother

I just put Lilah in timeout and left her there for so long that I forgot that she was there and what she did wrong. I had to ask her what she got in trouble for to refresh my memory. (For hitting me and throwing a fit.) At least she remember, right??

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