Thursday, September 15, 2016

Two boys at home vs. One girl at home: It's crazy different, y'all

I know that I used to think having kids of any gender was going to be kind of the same either way, at least when they were babies.  Like, aside from the obvious, how different could having a baby boy be from having a baby girl? As babies, they kind of do the same things, right? Eat, sleep, poop, scream, repeat. Most of my family had only had one or the other (boys OR girls), and so no one disabused me of this notion.

I Was Wrong. So Very Wrong.

I try to raise the kids in a pretty gender-neutral fashion. We all cook, we all clean, we all go to the zoo and the aquarium and play with ninja swords and be princesses and dress like pirates at the Renaissance Faire and I don't care if my boys wear dresses or my girl plays football (although I'd be bored to tears, so I hope that she doesn't). That kind of stuff just doesn't matter to me. I'd like Stenni to learn to change her own tires and kick some ass and I'd like Cua to learn to bake bread and someday clean his own toilet. But I was not prepared for how the day-to-day operations and mechanics of having only boys in the house all day differed from having a girl in the house, especially now that she is in school all day long. The boys...they just don't like the same things. I pretty much just run around after them and try to stop them from destroying everything they touch, and then collapse into bed at night.

I look back at this blog and the posts from when Stenni was a baby and a lot has changed. But most glaringly different is the fact that I can't beg, bargain, badger or otherwise convince Cua to do a craft with me, bake with me, or pretty much do anything besides run around throwing rocks and smashing things (ah, boys). And the baby? Well, he's a baby, what can I really expect from him besides cuddles and cuteness?  Stenni could always be persuaded to paint or draw or craft or cook with me but the boys are just not interested.

This means a few things. For starters, I have to find different ways to keep my creative juices flowing, probably on my own. It hasn't happened yet, but I know it has to. Also it means that we spend a lot more time outside enjoying nature (and by enjoying nature I mean throwing rocks and mooing at my neighbor cows).
I mean, there are still things that we can do that we always did. We can:
  • play in the yard
  • go to the zoo
  • hit the library
  • go for a hike
  • watch a movie
  • read books
  • mall walk
  • go to the playground
But aside from that? I'm kind of at a loss. It's different having a baby and an almost-3-year-old too, because the attention span just isn't there and I do have to keep constant watch on the littler guy, who is just starting to crawl so he isn't always where I put him anymore.

I have to say that I miss having Stenni at home but she likes her school, and I like that she likes it. She needs things of her own to enjoy, without me and the boys. But I do enjoy more outdoor active time.

So that's where I'm at today. What do you guys think? Those of you with both, what differences are there for you and how do you overcome them?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

the skinny (j/k, fat, so fat)

So here's the skinny on what I've been doing since I last updated: moving and being pregnant. And that's pretty much it. I mean, there's been other stuff too. We went to Disney as a family, twice (I'm gonna have to do a series on that because OMBloody Hell there's so much to know before you go, especially when you take a zillion kids), we did some serious entertaining, Stenni started public kindergarten, hubs and I became landlords, my little Cua turned one and then two! And other things. So I'm back to entertain/infuriate/disappoint the masses for a while, at least until my new little Fritzy gets here in like 7 or 8 weeks.
So how about you cholos? What you been up to? Missed you!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Magic Mike XXL and my Mother of the Year Award

I recently went with a girlfriend to see the movie Magic Mike XXL, as we had seen the last one together. Don't judge me, btw, because you know you saw it too and if you didn't? I don't even have time to get into all that. I haven't been to a movie in a movie theater in almost a year either, so it was about time. Plus it was girls night! So naked dude movies and burgers.
Anyway, my almost-5-year-old daughter caught me looking at my phone and laughing at lunchtime today and asked me why I was "staring at my phone and giggling." My girlfriend who had gone with me to see the movie had sent me a YouTube clip of a scene in which one of the "male entertainers" was trying to make a convenience store checkout girl smile while dancing around to "I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys. If you saw the movie, you'd know that this particular scene was far more hilarious and cute than racy, and there was pretty much nothing suggestive and no nudity besides some male toplessness, which kind of doesn't even count.
So my daughter sneaks up behind me and asks, why is that naked man dancing in the store?
I'm all, he's only shirtless, not naked. Let's be real. You see that that man has pants on, right? Right?
And she's like, mom, that's still not allowed. He should know better. And she shakes her head and walks away.
So I put down my phone, stuffed some mac and cheese in my face, and gave myself the Mom of the Year award for accidentally letting my kid sneak-watch scenes from Magic Mike.
Also, if you want my actual review of the movie? Hilarious and heartwarming. Everybody gets what they want in the end, but after a lot of stripping at a stripper convention (which really exist maybe? I have no clue). It was way funnier than the first one. Lots of partial nudity and adult situations though, so if you don't like that? Probably don't go then, I'm guessing. But if you're ok with that? Then you've probably already seen it, because I'm a little late on this one. I'm kind of lucky it was still playing, since the latest showing was at 4:50. But in real life that means I can still eat dinner by 6:30 and be in bed by 9. A+ mom time all around.

Friday, February 6, 2015

How did you decide whether or not to homeschool your oldest child?

I'm at a crossroads: the memo came home from Stenni's preschool the other day, an official-looking memo about kindergarten sign-ups, complete with requests for vaccination records, birth certificates, sign-up dates and places in alphabetical order by last name, and all that jazz. Sign-ups are in less than a month. I still don't know if I want to send her to public school or not. I like the idea of homeschooling, but I don't know if I'm capable or organized (OR PATIENT) enough to really teach her everything she needs to know at home. I worry about her attention span. I worry that she won't listen to me. By all accounts, she is well-behaved at both school and Sunday school, but of course she's different at home with mom, which isn't to say that she's a terror or anything but we are both very strong willed and have been known to butt heads occasionally. So would she listen to me as a teacher or view me as an adversary? Who knows.
I'm not worried about socialization. For what we were paying for her preschool, I can send her to tumbling/dance once a week, plus all of the free events at the library and camp and VBS in the summer. But I'm really concerned that she will think that school at home is not serious enough and that I'll end up super frustrated. Also: I went to public school up til college. It wasn't super great for me, but I'm ok I guess, and nothing truly traumatic happened because of the school system. I'm not cool with common core or all of the testing, and I think it's a breeding ground for mediocrity because of the trend to teach toward the middle. Which is not the teachers' fault, they are only doing the best with the resources that they have, which are few and far between since people basically demonize them for the public. And to be honest Stenni is much more outgoing than I am, and infinitely better at making friends and making the best of a situation. She might just blossom in the school setting. Would it really be more for me than for her?
I imagine that a lot of moms have had these (and tons of other) issues in the past, so I could really use the wisdom of the world here. What was the deciding factor, or was it a more pros and cons thing? I know that some people feel super strongly one way or the other but really? I don't. I just really don't  know what would be better in the long run.
So other moms of the interwebs: How did you decide to homeschool (or not)? What were the deciding factors? Anybody else flying by the seat of their pants?
For our family, homeschooling isn't a religious thing, it's more that I feel like the classroom in general is more likely to kill creativity than nurture it, and might eventually squeeze all of the natural love of learning out of my Stenni. And that would be a tragedy, but of course it is also still a hypothetical at this point.
Can anybody offer any insight? Any great resources out there? Help!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Dear Winter: I Hate You.

pic courtesy of

I know that in the winter, I don't shut up about my seasonal affective disorder, or how much I just hate winter in general. Here in the northeast, it just seems to drag on forever (although I feel like the fleeting beauty of fall almost makes up for it, almost), and this past week or so has been the worst of the worst. There have been snow storms, ice storms, migraines, and (GAH) the super bowl to contend with. Gross. On top of that, Hubs has put in about 40 hours of OVERTIME in the past week or so which means, you guessed it, that I have here at home too. Being stuck in the house is no picnic, but board games and crafts (and Netflix) have made it ok, as well as knowing that even though it feels that way, this will not last forever! Also with Valentine's Day around the corner it is helping me to have something to focus on in the short-term. The days are only getting longer from here on out!
If you, like me, need a lift this winter, here are a few links to help you out:
  •  Over at Modern Mrs. Darcy, Anne blogs about the things that are saving her life right now (she is dealing with some seasonal bummer-tude too). For me? It is between spending the remainders of my Christmas Starbucks giftcards so I have a reason to leave the house, you know, besides grocery shopping and preschool drop-offs, and the coveted "Mom Time" when I get the house to myself for a few hours and turn my brain off. Oh, and doing bootleg Leslie Sansone walking videos from youtube in my living room *if* the kids decide to nap during the day. She's a guilty pleasure, and I know I can't really count it as a workout, but I love it. So what is saving you right now? It's a hell of a question to ponder.
  • Be glad you don't live near me. A town nearby is considering outlawing sledding. You heard that right. I don't really sled (part of the whole "avoiding the outdoors in winter" thing) but when I take the kids to the field by the legion to drag them around for a few minutes, I can't imagine being given a ticket for it! Instead, focus on the million reasons why you should never come to New Jersey (all sarcasm. It's gorgeous here, despite my seasonal hatred for everything).
  • Boardwalk Cats. Atlantic City has taken quite a beating lately with all of the casinos closing and the economy kind of tanking and though I would once have wandered around that town for days, now I wouldn't leave the relative safety of the boardwalk, because that's how bad it's getting down there. But you don't have to leave the boardwalk to make friends with these adorable felines, who live under the boards and are part of a trap-spay/neuter-return program there. I have personally befriended many a boardwalk cat and also considered taking them home in my purse but you know what's worse than driving 4 hours home with a feral cat in your car? Winter, but not much else.
  • The Walking Dead comes back this Sunday, so there's that to look forward to. Here's a link to the first two minutes of the mid-season premiere, courtesy of AMC. Poor Maggie. But Beth was not making for terribly riveting television. Now we know that they're heading somewhere outside Richmond, though, at least in theory.
Chew on that for a while. I'll be jacking up the heat and dreaming of Wildwood in the summer!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Beating the Winter Doldrums...Maybe?

In the winter, I try to do a lot to keep myself busy but really end up doing very little. Last weekend, the hubs and I made a gallery wall in our red room (which is not red, nor had it been for at least 4 years or so, but old habits die hard), and it came out alright despite me kind of flying by the seat of my pants and not making a plan at all. Well, that's not entirely true. My plan was to take pictures I had laying around and put them on the wall. So, success.
Also since the house is still up for sale, there's a ton cleaning and upkeep, besides just picking up the same toys for the 67th time in a day. But I'm trying to keep busy in other, more personally satisfying ways too. Here are a few:
Today is library day at our house, so I'm starting the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2025 Reading Challenge, and I encourage you to check it out as well. It's only 12 books total for the year. Totally do-able, right? There are 12 categories, and you just pick a book from each and read it. You don't have to do it in any order, and there's no book club, and no pressure. I'm psyched about the "Book by a Favorite Author" and "Book You Should Have Read in High School" categories, and not so much for the "Book Your Mom Loves" one...yeah, we have markedly different tastes, and our interests really no not intersect at all. Any time either of us has recommended a book to the other, we've both kind of regretted it. That said, January is almost done, so I'm a bit behind and I'm excited to go to the library and get started!
I'm also participating in Sarah Mae's 31 Days to Clean, cuz to be honest? The abode could use a little boost this time of year, and so could my spirits. It always helps me when I can look around and not feel like I'm living in the basement of a junk store. So I'm following her steps and hoping that at the end, I have a more comfortable space for everyone. Yesterday I started in the kitchen and today? I need to clean the fridge and the microwave. Just to let you know an embarrassing truth about myself: I store all kinds of crap in my microwave. We so rarely use it to just nuke anything, but I am forever putting open bags of popcorn and other junk in it. See?
Right now there's a bunch of leftover candy canes and Christmas stocking candy in a Halloween candy bin, because obviously that's how I do. Oh, and hot sauce popcorn. And a tin full of Hershey kisses, and about a thousand ring pops (why are ring pops so popular for little kids at Christmas? They drive me nuts). I'm embarrassed, but I'm so much more embarrassed of what the inside of my fridge looks like that I'm not even going to show it to you. It's that bad. I've got my work cut out for me!
Also, I'm trying to get out and walk or run a little more every day. Has it been working? NO. But do I feel better when I do it? Oh hell yes.
What do you do when it feels like winter is never going to end (and you're not even halfway through)? Help a sister out!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What I've Been Doing Lately, and What I HAVEN'T been doing...

So you obviously already know that I haven't been what else haven't I been doing? Here's a non-exhaustive list:
  • running
  • Jazzercising
  • blogging
  • reading
  • baking
  • sleeping (for the most part until very recently)
  • dieting
And here, dear readers, are the things I have been doing:
  • hiking a TON, and trail running some
  • prepping the house for showings, yes again
  • hanging out with the kiddos
  • camping
  • travelling
  • enjoying October, my absolute favorite month
  • starting to get some sleep (when Cua sleeps)
  • catching up on fall TV the near future, expect super-nerdy and comic book-y reviews/critiques of Gotham and The Walking Dead, among others
So I haven't hit a ton of goals this year. I haven't really been editing, writing, blogging, crafting, baking, recipe-making, working towards my half-marathon, losing weight, or anything super-productive like that. I've been learning to take it slow with the kids after a very long time of not taking it slow at all and you know what? I like this pace in this season of my life. It just feels right.
You'll hear from me a little more now, because I feel like I finally found that balance I've been looking for for so long and maybe I can handle it a little better now! Hope you're enjoying your fall!