I received an email from my internet provider today warning me that we had some heavy usage happening this week. I almost sent them a picture of my middle finger and then another picture of my 4 yo curled around her iPad like a security blanket with her booger-filled tissues littered around.

Umm…yes…internet provider, we have had some heavy usage. Bite me. I’m pretty sure your job is to just PROVIDE INTERNET and not judge our heavy usage. If watching hours of Room on the Broom and Daniel Tiger is what will help my coughing, feverish, very crabby 4 yo feel half-way normal, then that is what is going to happen. In a related note, I haven’t had much sleep and may be feeling a little more hostile than normal.

This is her all dressed up in her ski clothes to NOT go to her ski class where her teacher has promised gummy bears. I haven’t told her yet, I’m scared.

NoraiPad

 

I had very high hopes coming into 2016. Goals. Schedules. Lists. Things were going to HAPPEN. And now it’s the end of January and I’m not really sure what actually happened.

It all starts to get fuzzy after our dog died. He was probably the best dog in the world and it’s hard to explain the grief of losing an elderly pet. He was almost 14 and his back hips would sink if he stood too long and he couldn’t really hear our voices anymore, so we had to motion with our hands when we wanted him to go outside. He had been our first baby. He was a wild and annoying toddler who escaped to the beach any chance he got. He was a happy and loyal guard who, after we moved to the mountains, only barked when it was serious; bears, moose, coyotes. He was afraid of brooms and plastic bags. He once went to sniff what he thought was a log on the beach and it happened to be a large sea lion that barked at him and then he was afraid of logs. He once came home with his toenails inexplicably painted red with a note in his collar that said, We love you Cookie. His name was Reckless. He loved to lay in the sun and that is where I picture him now. Or like this.

FullSizeRender (46)

 

We also played hooky from life one week and escaped to Crested Butte. Just the four of us. We have never done that before. We skied and swam and rode the shuttle into town each night to eat great food and then we would rush out at just the right moment to run our frozen butts off to try to catch the shuttle again. I remember snuggling with the kids on the bus, the ice sculptures, sitting in the outdoor hot tub while snow flakes floated down, margaritas the size of my head, watching Nora turn on her skis like the next Lindsey Vonn, watching Gray jump off of everything he could find to jump off of, the scary drive home.

 

 

And now Nora has been sick this whole week and I am reminded of that quote about how to make god laugh. I guess I made too many plans, because January hasn’t looked anything like I had written down in my planner. So, if there has been some heavy internet usage this week it’s because I think I’m feeling a little afloat.

January has seemed to be a lesson in letting go for me, letting go of our dog friend, our schedules, any semblance of control over our lives. And that is probably okay. Until February. Right?

 

helicopter

Warning: Satire approaching, please do not actually follow these steps.

Do you want to become a helicopter parent? Have your lovelies by your side and in your home for the rest of your life because they are unable to function in society? I have created an easy-to-follow list to make sure your children will rely on you … FOREVER.

Step 1: Don’t allow your children to do anything by themselves, ever. Get off your butt and keep tying those shoes, Mama! Why do they need to learn how to pour their own milk? Or even find their own employment? You are going to be doing it for them, always.

Step 2: Insert yourself into their lives at any, and I mean ANY, opportunity. Involve yourself in all social interactions and take control when things don’t go your (I mean your kids’) way. And when they go to college and get a B on a test? You call that professor right up on the phone and offer inappropriate things to get that kid an A. That’s not weird or stalkerish at all.

Step 3: Give them everything they want, always. Nothing is enough for your darlings. They are the fruit of your precious womb and it’s very important that they experience all of the physical joys of this world. Just ask Veruca Salt.

Step 4: Believe that your children should never fail. What does failure teach you? Nothing! Only success teaches you how to be more successful. So, if it appears that your child will fail at something – cleaning their room, writing a high school essay, or even forming a relationship – just do it for them! They will really appreciate you texting their boyfriend behind their back to get things back on track for them.

Step 5: Teeter on the brink of being delusional. This really helps when you are still wiping your 10-year-old’s butt.

Step 6: View parents who make their children do things for themselves as “mean.” Your kids are only kids once, right? Well, not your kids. They will be kids forever so that you can bask in the glory of feeling needed. Feeling needed is the best thing ever.

Step 7: Create a sorority of like-minded moms. They will support you when the rest of the “cruel” world wants to make your baby “be a working member of society.”

Step 8: Feel crushing guilt if your child’s world is not perfect. The creature that you birthed through your golden tube of life should never have a moment of discomfort, be it with discipline or normal life challenges or loneliness. *shudder*

Step 9: Interact with your child constantly. They must have constant stimulation and flash cards if they are to become the next scary kid living in their mom’s basement playing video games.

Step 10: And finally, invest in something. Because you will need the extra cash when your child, at age 35, has to enroll in a Failure To Launch survivalist camp. This is a real thing.

There you are! How to be a helicopter mom in 10 easy steps. You too, can make sure that you are on speed-dial at your child’s first job at age 40.

This post originally appeared on Scary Mommy.

If this makes you happy, then you should be overjoyed to know that I’m on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and even Pinterest!

pregnant

(FYI: I am definitely NOT pregnant)

Studies have shown that if you do any of the things listed below and then look in the general direction of your husband, your eggo will automatically get preggo. It’s true.

I recently heard a story of one woman who danced just a little too enthusiastically when her youngest child became potty-trained and then used her husband’s toothbrush and BAM! 9 months later she popped out number four.

Here you go, a list of surefire ways to get yourself knocked up without ever stepping one foot into the bedroom:

1. Whistle as you drop off every single baby item that you own at Goodwill.

2. Have no urge whatsoever to produce any more offspring and talk to everyone, including the deli person, about this.

3. Get your husband an appointment to have a vasectomy.

4. Start being annoyed by crying babies on planes again because you are so far past that shit.

5. Get a tattoo of your children’s names on your body. With no room for any other names.

6. Have a smug little inner smile every time you walk past the diaper aisle.

7. Fall in love with skiing.

8. Finally hit your pre-pregnancy weight (after 10 years and an incredible amount of celery).

7. Buy a smaller car because, Screw You Carseats!

8. Have your friends over to your Maternity Clothes Burning and BBQ Summer Bash.

9. Sign a 5-year non-refundable contract with a gym that doesn’t have day care.

10. Brag to everyone loudly and obnoxiously that you are going to have SO much time to yourself now that your youngest is in kindergarten.

11. Sleep through the night.

12. Create life goals.

13. Finally realize your lifelong dream of becoming a tightrope walker.

14. Take up horseback riding.

15. Take a sushi-making class.

16. Start making raw and questionable cheeses.

17. Win a wine-of-the-month club for a year.

18. Buy a hot tub.

19. Plan and pay for your dream vacation that happens in exactly 9 months.

20. And finally … laugh openly and maliciously with your husband when you find out that one of your friends is accidentally pregnant.

Be careful out there ladies. It could happen to one of you.

 

If this makes you happy, then you should be overjoyed to know that I’m on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and even Pinterest!

This post originally appeared on Scary Mommy.

kiss

To be married, partnered, or in any long-term relationship, you must forget every romantic movie you have ever seen and accept the fact that you are binding yourself to someone who will know all of your flaws and who will sometimes point them out to you.

My husband is not one to show his love with flowers, or chocolates, or fancy jewelry. But every Sunday night he cooks the most amazing meal, whether it’s big pots of chili verde, smoked ribs, French onion soup, roasted vegetables, or homemade apple crisp. He usually starts with marinating things in the morning, and the process lasts all day long. By dinnertime, with every bite, I know how much he loves me.

Here are few other things that I have realized about marriage over the years:

Marriage is sitting reluctantly through a documentary about gold-mining, but not impaling yourself with the remote control.

Marriage is someone reminding you that you’ll feel better if you go out and exercise, even when you’re pretty sure you’ll feel better if you eat a donut.

Marriage is sometimes flipping someone off after they turn around.

Marriage is anticipating the exact Monty Python quote that is appropriate for any situation, even if you’ve never seen Monty Python.

Marriage is trying not to talk about the kids when you are out on a date, but failing.

Marriage is remembering the story of how you got there and telling the story badly at dinner parties.

Marriage is jumping out and scaring the crap out of someone for fun.

Marriage is being in a social situation and having someone who can perfectly time the eye-roll that you are feeling.

Marriage is getting really hot while cuddling, but lying there for a little bit longer anyway.

Marriage is stopping yourself from saying, “I told you so,” when you reallyreally want to.

Marriage is making chicken soup happen.

 

And you can go over to Scary Mommy and read the rest here! 

I’m over at Scary Mommy this week with these posts:

10 Reasons Grandparents Are Better Than Parents

Why I Don’t Hover Over My Children

and How To Approach An Angry 4-Year-Old

Here is a sneak peek at the last one!

 

angry

 

Four-year-olds can get very angry. At 4, they are harder to fool, and they have a lot of passion about things like yogurt. Also, they can speak in full sentences and tell youexactly what they think, which is not always nice. I made the recent mistake of disagreeing with my own 4-year-old about whether or not she ate a certain yogurt (shehad eaten it, but I couldn’t figure out a way to evict the yogurt from her stomach to prove it to her). Three days later, and I’m still startling at loud noises.

If you find yourself stuck in a room that is being dominated by an angry 4-year-old, here are some steps you can take to try to ensure your own survival:

1. Start with giving them a time-out. Realize quickly that you did not anticipate the level of their commitment to the yogurt that has already been consumed. It appears that they have associated the yogurt with “oxygen” or “will to live.”

2. Suggest taking deep breaths as the child seems to be self-combusting. Call and apologize to your neighbors for the noise. Explain to them that you have a 4-year-old who wants a certain yogurt that has already been eaten. They end up apologizing to you and sending you a get-well package.

3. Speak softly, or loudly, or don’t speak at all. I’m not sure. One time, one thing works, and then the next time, I am told that I am a horrible, mean, no-good sort of person.

4. Create a diversion. Or focus on the problem. Do whichever but make sure you are wearing a protective coating of some sort.

5. Play soothing music. And then stop doing that, immediately.

 

And you can read the rest here!

sisterwife

I have decided that becoming a sister wife might be the most awesome thing ever.

A girlfriend who lives with me and helps me cook and clean and remember what our husband said during that last argument so we can both hold it against him? Yes, please.

However, I also realize that it would take a special woman with very specific characteristics to want to join our band of crazy. 

Along with the ability to laugh at fart jokes and negotiate your way out of a toddler “why” spiral, here are the qualities you would need to have as my sister wife;

1. You can’t be too hot. Let’s even say you could be manly-looking. Facial hair, displeasing moles, that type of thing. My husband must still see me as the hottest. You aren’t here to rain on my parade, just to hold my umbrella.

2. Okay, maybe no umbrella holding. Lets just say you are asexual. We need to take that whole thing out of the equation.

3. You don’t want any of your own children, ever. Mine are enough, trust me.

4. BUT…you have to love my kids as much as I do. And you have to really like getting down on the floor and playing with them. You don’t mind getting bossed around by toddlers and you love to hear lengthy descriptions about Minecraft worlds complete with nausea-inducing demonstrations. The kids will still love me the most, though.

5. You don’t judge the occasional glass of wine before 5 o’clock. In the morning. I’m kidding. 

6. You don’t mind getting asked trick questions by children all day long.Like…”Sister Mommy, do your want the blue blanket or the green blanket?” If you say, “The blue one.” You will be told, “Actually, you get the green one.” This happens every single time. You will never get the answer right.

7. You have a high tolerance for sleep-deprivation. In fact, you think sleeping is for sissys and grandmas.

8. You love irony. For example, a child who has not wet the bed in years will always wet the bed the night after you wash their sheets. Or, a child will only throw down the f-bomb in front of your mother-in-law or the clergy.

9. You get genuine joy from removing brown kid goo from walls and teaching unwilling participants to use forks and saying things like, “You guys have lost the right sit within touching distance of each other for the rest of your lives.”

10. Cooking dinner is your jam. Because the people around here expect dinner every night. I KNOW. 

11. Speaking of dinner, you don’t get your feelings easily hurt because the amount of effort you put into cooking dinner is directly related to how much everyone is going to hate it.

12. You would love to read the children’s book Holler Loudly! 10 times a day for 6 months with a convincing southern accent.

13. You are very creative and know a wide variety of fun activities that the kids would like to do around us but by themselves. That’s the key. BY THEMSELVES.

14. You enjoy the feeling of asking someone to clean their room and they burst into tears.

15. You don’t have an aversion to strong smells. In fact, you consider catching vomit with your hands an art form.

If you match all of the above criteria, congratulations and I’m very sorry. You just might be my sister wife.

 

This post originally appeared on Scary Mommy.

remember

 

On the best days I patiently, creatively ward off Monsters. I am able to convince my children that we have magic Monster-proof paint on our house, or that the Monster is actually very tiny and wearing a tutu and singing Puff the Magic Dragon.

On the worst days, I get horribly, loudly frustrated when my child comes upstairs for the fiftieth time, “Just go to freaking bed, already!” is the last thing they hear from me before they go to sleep.

On the best days, everyone is groomed, including me. Clean, sweet-smelling children. Nails clipped, hair combed and braided, faces free of food or boogers or whatever that brown stuff is.

On the worst days, they walk around like little wild animals and the first time I see myself is in the mirror as I brush my teeth going to bed at night. I am usually a little frightened by what I see.

On the best days, I look them in the eyes when they talk to me. I put the computer down. I get down on the floor. I mentally force the memory of their sweet voice saying, “Mama, Wook!” to stay with me forever.

On the worst days I say, “Oh my god, you need to stop singing that song right now before I fling myself out the window.”

On the best days, I can sit and watch without intervening as my child attempts for the thirtieth time to put their favorite, stained, disgusting t-shirt on in the right direction. I don’t reach forward to help them even once.

On the worst days, I wrestle them into their clothes. The ones that I want them to wear. They cry. Their blotchy face clashing mightily with their beautifully coordinated outfit.

On the best days, I am the memory-keeper of their lives. I am the one who will tell them that, at seven, they seemed physically unable to sit down at the dinner table or that, once, at two, after sitting on the potty they looked down and said, “Holy Shit!”

On the worst days, I say “Hurry Up!” over and over and I rush around and I look past them toward whatever I have to do next. And I forget.

On the best days, I look away from the mess; the clothes, the dishes, the floors, the bills, the whatever whatever. I say, “Do you want to go outside and go for a walk?” And everyone is so ridiculously excited about this that I feel bad for not looking away more often.

On the worst days, I let the stress of living life get to me. I talk with that Crazy Mom voice that I don’t even know that I have. It happens.

On the best days, when the homework crying inevitably appears, I slide the work aside and give them a hug because it isn’t always that important.

On the worst days, when the homework crying inevitably appears, I talk and talk until even I don’t understand what I’m saying. And I realize once again why I could never homeschool.

On the best days, I take a large dose of Chill The F*&$ Out. I take it and I do, I chill out. Life is usually not that big of a deal.

On the worst days, I push and try to control everything and ultimately fail and then feel bad and Ugh. Why.

On the best days, I sit and I read to them. I read and I read until they are ready to be done reading. I read until piles of books line the side of the chair and they look at me hopefully, “One more?”

On the worst days, I don’t have any time to read. Not even one moment to read to them.

On the best days, I think, “Please remember this.”

And on the worst, I hope they forget.

 

If this makes you happy, then you should be overjoyed to know that I’m on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and even Pinterest!

This post originally appeared on Scary Mommy.

I’m over at Scary Mommy with this one.

 

judgingyou

 

Hey you, over there. I’m watching you, and I have to admit, I’m judging you.

I see you grab his hand in the parking lot while he flops like a fish to get away from you. You swing him up in the air, and even though you are probably exhausted from running errands with a human tornado, you turn him upside and tickle his bare belly. His squeals of laughter can be heard all the way over here.

I know you, I think. You go to work. Or you might stay home, I’m not sure. You tell yourself they will turn out OK, but in your mind, you aren’t really sure you’ve made the right decision.

I watch as you squat down and take her chin in your hand so that she has to look in your eyes. You are outside the ice cream store, and you are frustrated because she whacked her sister in the head. Still, you talk to her in a low voice so that she isn’t embarrassed. And even though you probably feel like saying, “I just don’t want to raise an asshole,” I’ll bet you didn’t.

You look tired. Occasionally, you look around like you don’t know how you ended up with all those kids who run up to you and insist that you are their mommy. They touch you a lot. They are loud and sticky. And, still, I can see that you give them everything that you have. Everything.

 

And, you can head over to Scary Mommy to read the rest!

 

If this makes you happy, then you should be overjoyed to know that I’m on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and even Pinterest!

playalone

My mother never hovered over me. She shooed me outside and went about her business; baking, cleaning, and visiting with her friends. I don’t think she ever thought twice about any of this. Children played outside so that moms could get something done.

Today, I watch my daughter playing with her blocks on the floor, the sun catches her in the eyes and she frowns and moves. She has the palest blue eyes which seem to be more sensitive to the sun. She is chatting to herself about the castle she is building and the baby princess that is sleeping and the dinosaur sisters that sit and watch over the kingdom.

I sometimes feel a guilt and I’m not sure where it comes from. Should I be playing with her? Should I be teaching her letters right now? Should I be down there on the floor so that she knows that I love her?

But then I think of the shooing.

I often shoo her and her brother outside. Even though we live in the forest and there are wild animals out there. Once, when my son was three, he was relaxing in his hammock and a bear walked within ten feet of him. He ran inside, scared but exhilarated. He still remembers every moment. There are other animals; coyotes, mountain lions, owls. Something could eat them and I make them play outside. Their only rule is that they don’t play alone at twilight.

Today, we are told that we must watch our kids’ every movement, prevent every bad choice, protect, hover. We are told to make little bubble-wrapped children looking outside through a sparkling clean window. Outside, there are dangerous things and people. Yes.

And with every hovering moment, I think we steal something from them. A memory, a realization, a story. When my husband was six, he was walking alone through the forest and he fell on his hatchet. He then made the terrible choice to pack the wound with Mississippi river mud, just like the indians. Thus, he has a large scar trailing down the side of his waist. And he has a story for his life.

Our scars are the maps of our stories. If we bubble-wrap our children, their bodies will be smooth and unblemished, but they will also be like direction-less maps. Maybe they won’t know where to go with them.

I will continue to shoo because I love them. And because I can’t stand the thought of my kids growing up without a sense of freedom. Without a sense of being in their bodies as they clamber over rock forts and fall out of trees and make good and bad choices that have nothing to do with me.

I lived a whole life that my mother didn’t even know about, and I want that for them. A life. And some scars.

How to make a family video:

1. Have your kids each write a story. Give them a firm deadline. Watch them stress out about it.

2. Put the stories together in a kind of random way, because, well, all of the details were random.

3. Film them acting out their story. Take approximately 10,000 takes of each scene.

4. Realize part way through that your 4 yo doesn’t really know what is happening but she is having a great time anyway.

5. Splice together other random stuff, an Ugg boot, a clock, pots and pans, dad in a ski suit riding a plastic horse.

6. Laugh your ass off when you see the footage

7. Realize that your family is FOR SURE going to be YouTube stars.

8. Try to figure out how to set up a YouTube channel.

9. Spend many hours on post-production. Many, many hours.

10. POST IT!

 

Have fun watching our first family short film, Zip and Zap Fight The Gremlins!

 

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