Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bragging rights

We are getting all entrepreneurial up in our house!

 My boys are generally full of ideas and slow on the follow through. I love that they're creative but I'm always a little sad to see how much they shy away from anything that requires any amount of work. So many missed opportunities! But not this time. No. I don't know if they're still riding the high from the $5 mcdonalds gift cards they got for participating in a thanksgiving art contest, but it's like they suddenly want to do stuff and accomplish things.

The local elementary school craft fair was a perfect example of a missed opportunity. I signed up to have a booth and sell my baby blankets (need a blanket sewn? I still have materials for another hundred or so) and mentioned to my boys that I would have extra space if they wanted to sell something. They were brimming with suggestions, but in the end they didn't get anything completed before the event. They were utterly dejected and it may have been one of the first times they genuinely saw why you have to plan ahead and work hard to accomplish things. They saw me sell a lot of my items and were bummed not to play a part in the event.

Well, their Aunty took pity on them. Lucky boys. When she realized that they hadn't finished their 2 biggest ideas, homemade boxes of fudge and handmade rice packs, she gave them the opportunity of their lifetime. She hired them to make her Christmas presents for the people she works with at the local elementary school. They took her order, gave her the friends and family discount, and threw in free gift wrapping because they're cool like that. It was the perfect business deal.

Then they forgot about it. Well, sort of. I reminded them exactly 2000 times in 2 days that they might want to get started on their projects, but no, they were mad with free un scheduled time and could not be bothered. Monday brought the return of scheduled chaos to our home and then, when it could interfere with their schoolwork, they remembered that they had a gazillion things to complete and asked me to fit it in the schedule.

I complied.

Larry watched a video on the worlds easiest fudge a month ago and has been in a chocolate induced frenzy ever since. Each batch he makes tastes a little bit more amazing than the last and he constantly wants to come up with new favors (so far he has classic, peppermint, toffee and peanut butter mastered.) he whipped up 3 flavors in one day and let it rest and set in the refrigerator. Since he had promised free gift wrapping he stole his brothers idea of origami gift boxes (he also stole all my Christmas scrapbook paper) and proceeded to convince his brother and myself to make him 24 boxes. No biggie, it only took us 3 hours... He has magical powers of persuasion. While we slaved away for him, he whipped up some adorable hang tags on the computer and dug through an old box and found amazing paper to print them on and took a picture of his amazing fudge and made a cute little fudge map to tape inside the lid. Basically, he created perfection. Magically, he finished his project ahead of schedule and delivered them to my sister as promised. 

Then there's Curly. He sewed himself a rice pack several months ago and realized how easy and fun they are to make. Then, my sister used the rice pack to seal her Jamberry nail wraps and told him he should make them and she would sell them when she did Jamberry parties. He did not follow through. He actually got the packs cut out and half sewn before the craft fair but he didn't plan his time well and wasn't able to finish (I'm the mean mom who wouldn't let him stay awake all night getting the project done.) Since they were half finished it was fairly simple for him to finish filling them with rice, scenting them and sewing them closed, so he skipped a few math lessons and sat down at my sewing machine and did just that. The child has focus! He then packed them in origami boxes too (they really are cute boxes!) and added a little business card with directions (he's crazy proud of his business cards, which do not include his name or contact information, because he forgot that part.) He already has his second order and will be sewing more tomorrow.

And that's it. I'm proud. It was nice to see some follow through and fun to see them make a project their own. They are very cool dudes.

P.s. As I waxed poetic on my creative boys my husband sat next to me and pondered aloud if they were really creative or if they just do the projects I creatively create for them. So, please note that I may have had a heavy hand in their above entrepeneurialship. I'm not sure, I'm too close to the situation to be objective. Regardless, I'm still proud.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

I know, I know.

I didn't post for a few days. I'm already getting back into my bad habits. Etc...etc...etc...

The late start to Christmas has been magical and I haven't wanted to interrupt it with anything. It's been a great couple of days.

I'll give you a highlight reel since none of these moments were amazing enough to write a whole blog about. 


Had the worst nap ever. Husband asked why I was so cranky and I tried to explain I that it was a very interrupted nap. He asked the boys if they had been bothering me and they began a long conversation in the car about how you can't bother mommy when she's sleeping, it's impossible. She sleeps in this really cool way where she's only 50% asleep. Like, She doesn't open her eyes but she still hears everything and can have a conversation while she sleeps. :/

Inside Christmas decorations went up. It was the first year the boys got excited to see each ornament and had conversations about where they came from etc... as they were putting them up. So precious! That elf on the shelf that I was positive I donated showed how truly magic it was and appeared in a random box of ornaments. Curly "wired" the tree and is so proud to explain to anyone who will listen how hard it was to figure out all the circuits. So cute! Larry is pretty sure we are living large now that we have a rotating tree stand, it's like we're multi-millionaires! Larry also went create your own Christmas crazy and my decorations have some extra special blinking seizure inducing lighted special effects this year courtesy of him. Beautiful baby loves trees so much that she is now always in her happy place and my rotating tree may become a permanent living room fixture. Moe found the Santa hats and has announced he will wear one every day til Christmas. 2 days in and he's taking his promise seriously. He's adorable.

Attempted outside decorations. Crazy windy and everything was blowing away. Larry kept announcing that anyone who wasn't helping was just giving up on Christmas and was just generally disgusted by the rest of the families lack of holiday gusto. Boys took turns hiding from their brothers and wrapping the presents they had purchased for each other and it produced much yelling and giggling and festive furvor. Ended the evening with those melty bead things. I spent at least 2 hours sorting them by color while husband and boys went creatively crazy making every wonderment they could conceive. Pretty sure the beautiful baby is going to find a million dropped beads and poop colorful plastic for days. It's all very festive.

This time of year is fun :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Late starts

Late starts aren't always bad things. Sometimes they help you get rid of the nerves in sports. On trips they may be a blessing in disguise as you see the world around you at a different time then planned. With developmental milestones it's often worth the wait.

I'm repeating these positive vibes to myself because I need it. You see, our family is getting a late start at the Christmas season this year. Sickness, events and school deadlines all loomed over us and enveloped us in their black clouds for the past month and a half. We have had a rough go of it. But today, today it all ended. We reached the point where we are relatively healthy, we have nothing on our calendar and we have mostly accomplished our school goals. The weight on our shoulders is lifted and I can see everyone beginning to smile again! So, it's a late start but we are about to do up this holiday season in a big way!

Movies, decorating, wrapping, singing, Christmas light walks, baking, crafting and generally spreading good cheer to everyone far and near. That will be us. I hope. These late starts can go either way.

What are your favorite ways to celebrate the holiday season? 

Please don't say Elf on the Shelf. He's a fun idea but in my house, like the tooth fairy, he gets forgotten in my slumberour stupor and then lying has to happen to cover the tracks, and then bribing and then all the magic in life gets slowly sucked away. We donated ours to a family that could more adequately handle the magic. We wish them all the best. We apologize to our children for sucking at magic.

I love making my kids wear lots of red and green and that they all sleep under the tree in giant stockings Christmas Eve. Of course I could name 20 wonderful Christmas things easily, but these are a few special to me ones.

The truth is I don't do it all

A mom sat down next to me at our kids swim practice today with her arms overflowing with bags. I made a witty comment about her looking like she was going on vacation. She gave a heavy sigh, let her shoulders droop, and said, "I don't know how you do it!"

I almost laughed out loud right in her face! 

Once I had gathered my composure, I smiled really big and said, "I don't. I don't have a clean house, I don't finish my errands, I don't cook many meals and I go berserk regularly. I finish every day feeling 10 steps behind."

The look on her face was priceless. I don't know if it was my honesty or if she was incredulous, but whatever caused her expression compelled me to continue. I harangued her with tales of my past month of mishaps with sickness, missed practices, unfinished schoolwork and a floor that had only been cleaned by the dog licking it for the past two weeks. I then went in to detail about the last 3 days where I had essentially turned my house into a prison in order to make my kids get their schoolwork done. They did more work in those 3 days than in the past 3 weeks! I shared the tales of visiting family woes from the recent holiday and I finished by explaining that tonite I would be driving through Taco Bell and using coupons to purchase dinner. I overwhelmed her with details and ensured that she would never accept an invitation for her son to hang out at my house for fear of his safety and well being. 

I may have gone a bit overboard.

At this point I was receiving a blank stare. I nudged her on the shoulder with my shoulder and said, "The truth is I don't do it all. I bet my story makes you feel better though, right?" She visibly relaxed and started laughing and nodding her head. We then spent the next while discussing the probable "secret lives" of the people who appeared to have it all together. We're assuming there's a mix of hired help, medication and insanity.

So to those of you out there wondering how you'll get it all done or berating yourself for an unfinished to do list, I encourage you to stop. Take a moment and appreciate what you did accomplish today. If you're still feeling bad, give me a call, I'm sure I can spin you a worse tale and make you feel better about your day.

P.s. Please know that whenever I berate myself it is purely to make you all feel better about your lives and would not be happening unless I had come to terms with myself and was already able to laugh at the situation. I received several comments of concern regarding my last post and I am not looking for praise (not that it's not welcome...) or for help. I'm mostly hoping my sharing will help and/or entertain all of you.

In case you doubt me, here's a classic picture of a mess that can be found around my house. This is what I found under Tobens bed a few months ago when I helped him change his sheets. My response was to make him clean it out and then take away the bed :/ 

Monday, December 8, 2014


Unfiltered is a hard word. 

I tried synonyms, but raw, original, uncut, unplugged and untouched were all just as difficult. Filtering seems a good and necessary skill for survival. Shockingly enough, everything I say isn't solid gold, some of it's a real stinker. So I filter to try and encourage as much gold as possible.

And yet, in recent months, filtering has crippled me to the point where I struggle to post on Facebook or write this blog at all. In my quest to not offend I'm finding that often times the only option I'm left with is silence. Sometimes it's valid, I need to vent to feel better, forgive and forget etc... The person involved may read it and those words are seered in their brain forever. Better to not say anything. Other times it's irrational but palpable. A friend is struggling and if I post something happy it's like I'm ignoring their struggle or rubbing their face in my happiness. Silly I know, but these are thoughts that I have. I can't share my true feelings about pictures of naked babies because they're the in and popular thing and it would make all my friends that love their naked baby pictures feel weird. With all this and more rattling around in my brain my online life is slowly becoming a lone cricket. You catch the occasional chirp but it's hard to figure out where I'm coming from.

I say all of this because I want you to know that I realize what's going on and I'm not happy about it. I'm stifled. So now that I've had time for some heavy self reflection and a healthy dose of screw you attitude, I'm  making plans. My lone cricket voice will become like an entire field of crickets til my noise is so deafening you just can't read me anymore! 

That may be a little extremist, crickets can be really annoying, but you get the idea.

Family members and friends have now mentioned to me that they read my blogs out loud to others and at least one of those family members and friends recently mentioned to me that they noticed I haven't been posting and they wish I would. Message/hint received! You can thank these 4 people for Time for B 2015 - B unplugged. Getting feedback makes my writing seem more real and important so that has been pretty cool. I feel a little pressure to make sure I'm providing my 4 loyal fans with morning coffee talk but I am nothing if not capable of rising to the challenge.

Here's hoping I can find a balance between telling you life like it is and not hurting peoples feelings. I do have the fact that I've become a reclusive hermit on my side. Less human interaction means less ways to hurt people's feelings. It also definitely brings out my unfiltered side. It also really narrows my field of vision and subjects that I feel prepared to talk about. You may just get a lot of stories about homeschooling, chaos, diapers and my hatred towards meal planning and cooking. Only time will tell. 

Enjoy this unfiltered selfie, I think it might be the first selfie I've ever taken. It is also the last. And so my new mindset begins.