Bouncing Babies, Effing Four Year Olds, koefoe party of 5, momlife, Momsquad, parenting, The Salties, Tips & Hacks

Tips for Leaving the House with Multiple Kids

I was at the Aquarium, Izzie on my hip, one eye on Cole and the other on Evie. Wait – where’s Evie? Oh, there she is! Yes, one eye on Evie. Check. A woman with a toddler caught my eye and exclaimed, “Wow! I’m not even brave enough to bring both my kids to the Aquarium and you’re here with three!”

I never know how to respond to these confessions from other Moms. As a Stay-at-Home-Mom, if I didn’t brave the outside world and leave the house with three kids, I’d never leave. So hiding inside doesn’t seem like much of an option. And sure, some places we go are much more painful than other places. (Yes, I’m looking at you Costco and Trader Joe’s). But a place specifically made for kids? It’s not always fun and it’s basically never easy, but I promise you that if I can do it, so can you.

Here are some tips to help you get through it. Continue reading “Tips for Leaving the House with Multiple Kids”

koefoe party of 5, Married with Children, momlife, parenting, The Daddys

Work Trip Martyr

This morning, I got up early, hunted around the house for clean socks and underwear and jeans, and helped pack up my husband for a work trip. I loaded the kids in the car, drove him to the airport, watched tearful goodbyes from the kids and drove home with cries of “I miss Daddy” ringing in my ears. He’ll be back in three days, but for these kids, three days might as well be three weeks. They should be used to this. They should understand the routine. Daddy has to travel at least every other month or so and has since they were born. But still, they take it hard. And so do I. At least…some of the time

But can I be honest with you for a minute? It’s not ALL bad….

The reality is, I’m parenting alone from about 6am to 6pm anyway. The kids go to bed by 8:30 at the absolute latest. So yes, while having help during those couple hours a night is hugely helpful, the net gains aren’t too shabby. Continue reading “Work Trip Martyr”

Recipes, Salty Mama Lists, Saturday Six, The Salty Mamas Bookclub

Saturday Six

This post contains affiliate links. You can read more at our Legal Page. Thank you.

It’s that time again! Just like we’ve gotta feed these kids breakfast every morning, so too can you expect our Saturday six every weekend! Well, unless we run out of coffee. Then, no promises. But this week we’re caffeinated and hyped up about these six things.

1. This week we were called “Brilliant.” And we will not let that go unacknowledged, so that you very much to The Mummy Club! Obviously they have fantastic taste in blogs, so go check out the rest of their Blogger Showcase.

2. Christine was a little disheartened last year when she didn’t hit her reading goal for the first time in forever, but she’s back in the saddle and killing it this year. Right now she’s reading Little Fires Everywhere and it may just be our next Salty Mama Book Club selection…I mean real characters, Mothers that aren’t perfect, exploring Mother-daughter relationships – what more could you ask for in this can’t-put-it-down book?

3.  It’s National Chocolate Cake Day. Which needs no explanation except now you have permission to get dessert tonight, so you’re welcome.

4. Thank goodness for Caitlin over at Real Mom Recs who did our meal planning for us next week with this awesome list of Easy, Family Friendly Dinners for Slacker Moms. Because yes ,we are slackers and she had us at easy.

5.  The Salty Mamas trade babies every Friday while the Bigs are in school so we can cross some things off our list totally childfree. And despite having a list of errands a mile long, Christine made the executive decision to do this instead.

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And she doesn’t regret it one bit.

6. And finally, once upon a time, Christine thought Twitter was lame. Also, she didn’t understand it at all. Which is probably why she thought it was lame. But now? Obsessed. Here’s a mini roundup of Tweets that made us laugh this week.

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What made you laugh this week? Drop it in the comments!

Married with Children, The Daddys, Why We're Salty

If You Give a Daddy a Task…

If you give a Daddy a task, he’ll smile and say sure.

He’ll start to unload the dishwasher, by putting away the glasses.

When he gets to the cabinet, he’ll realize there are a lot of glasses we don’t use.

He’ll go unload the Amazon box of baby’s birthday presents to use for storing glasses to donate.

Once he starts with glasses, he’ll think about the vases you can probably get rid of too.

Looking at all that nice space in the cabinet, he’ll remember that the cabinet above the refrigerator could use some reorganizing as well.

In that cabinet, he’ll notice that he doesn’t really use the mini kegerator as often as we used to, and will suggest that we sell it.

The kegerataor will need to be set up somewhere with good lighting, so he can take a picture to post on a trash and treasure sale site.

Since someone comments right away, he’ll need to spend 25 minutes texting back and forth with the guy about beer refrigeration and tubes and keg prices.

Now that he’s on the internet, he’ll see an article he needs to click on.

And another.

And another.

And since he’s fallen down the rabbit hole, Mommy will need to go unload the dishwasher.

All because you gave a Daddy a task.

#momhumor #momlife #dadlife #childrensbooks
What happens when you give a Daddy one little job to do? Spoiler alert: Everything gets done – except that one job.
Cheapskating, Tips & Hacks

OhmConnect Revisted (AKA How I Got Free Electricity All Summer)

This post contains referral links, which means that we may receive a small commission from people who sign up using the link. As always, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are our own, though your results may vary. Read more in our disclosure policy, and thank you for supporting The Salty Mamas!

Okay, so I have told you all about OhmConnect, and how residents of California and some parts of Texas can pay earn credits by saving electricity when they receive alerts that “dirty power plants” are about to turn on. You can read all about how it works here,  but Y’ALL. I just HAD to update you.

I didn’t pay for power this summer. Not a penny in June, July, August, OR September. And I keep my house at a brisk 72 degrees.

And I have OhmConnect to thank for that.

I know a few of you Salty Mamas have joined, and you may be thinking I’m a big fat liar since you are pulling in a massive 70 cent payout. I know. I hear you. It so doesn’t feel worth the sweat for 70 cents.

But as in all things MicroHustle, you gotta focus on your long game. The more Ohm Hours in a row you hit  (they call it a streak), the higher your payout is going to be. And as you level up, your amounts go up again. So if you hit Platinum level on a 60 Ohm Hour streak, you could be talking about making nine times as much each Ohm Hour as you are right now. And if you haven’t sign up already?  Head to OhmConnect now to see if you qualify.

Now is the PERFECT time to start your streak, while the weather is cooperating and the sacrifice doesn’t seem as big. And by this time next year, you may be flipping the breaker and heading out to sip some margaritas, and proposing a toast to the good people of OhmConnect.

And to the Salty Mamas of course.  Because obviously.

Looking for a way to earn extra money? Or save on your electric bill? Head to thesaltymamas.com to find out how to get your bills paid for FREE! (Sponsored)

 

Mama Mojo, MicroLuxuries, vacation

MicroLuxury Monday: Find YOU

It’s a little sad that this has to even be said. Because truly, the MICROEST (and yes, that’s a word now) luxury there can be is taking five minutes and finding yourself again. Not you the Mom, or you the Wife, or you the President of the PTA, the Brownie Mom, or the Soccer Mom.

Just. YOU.

The you that you were before all the other stuff. You can still LOVE the other stuff – and for your own sake, I hope you do! But that doesn’t mean that deep down inside there isn’t a part of you that you’ve lost a little.

There are parts of me that I try so hard to make sure stay present in my life. Me the reader. Me the crafter. Me the Aunt. Me the sister and friend and bowler (yes, bowler!) and roller coaster lover and dancer.  21463211_10214630619225503_4027589449378062963_n

And me the PSYCHO FOOTBALL FAN.

Oh, was that not where you thought this was going? Sorry. Because the truth is, pre-kids, from September to December Football. Was. Life.

When my husband and I got engaged in November 2010, he asked if I had any dates in mind. I immediately said, “next October 8.”  He was a little taken aback that I’d already had a date totally selected and wondered how I ever picked that so fast? My response? “Well, let’s be honest, I sort of knew this was coming and I want a fall wedding and so I checked the football schedule and we have a bye that weekend so everyone can come and no one will be checking the score all night. Plus, it would totally ruin my wedding day if we lost. So this just makes sense.”

1917057_1288549740177_4483465_nSo it was that Saturdays were spent off to the game or parked in a bar, friends house or our living room stuffing ourselves with snacks and beer and cheering until our throats were sore. Sunday was church, rinse and repeat. It was an exciting way to spend the weekend, and let’s be real, we didn’t have a whole lot of other commitments or responsibilities. The house stayed cleaner and there was way less laundry to do back then too.

Then, kids. And for a while we tried. We took each of the kids to a game or two as babies. We watched games on the weekend but had to stifle our cheers so as to not wake said babies. We got distracted and missed the big play because we were rocking a baby, feeding a baby, changing a baby. Slowly but surely, our priorities shifted.

My sister called me the other day because she needed help with a fantasy draft and I had no clue what to tell her. It didn’t happen overnight, but the realization still stung: I wasn’t a football person anymore. It was like a crushing blow to who I always thought I was. I still have all the sweatshirts, put up the decorations, and love the game. But I just. Can’t. follow it like I used to.

At this point I could either accept the new normal and keep falling farther and farther out of touch with this thing that I loved, or make a change.

I opted to change. Not completely. I still have important obligations on Saturday that mean I can’t spend every weekend glued to the screen or sitting in the stands. But I made a pact with my best friend. Once a year, we were going to pack our bags and travel to an away game for our favorite team. No husbands, no kids, just two best friends going to a football game together. Like old times.

Which brings us to today. Fresh off a plane from Oakland where the USC Trojans took on the Cal Golden Bears. I would like to tell you that it didn’t matter if we won or not. That sharing a great weekend with my girlfriend is the real win. That making myself a priority is a win in itself. Because what the weekend was really about was finding me. But guess what? If it didn’t matter, then I wouldn’t have found me! Because football is NOT about the journey. It’s about the destination – and we. are. WINNERS!!! That might not matter to Mom/Wife me, but pre-kids football psycho me? Went. Crazy. Just as it should be.

Today I’m back to being the Wife, the Mother, the person that does everything for everyone else. But this weekend? I was the psycho football fan. And I loved it.

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football
Bujo, Mama Mojo, MicroLuxuries, Tips & Hacks

MicroLuxury Monday: Bujo to Pick Your Favorite Kid

As I’ve mentioned, I love me some bujo (bullet journaling). And God bless Pinterest for giving me all kinds of awesome inspiration – it’s a FABULOUS resource when you’re looking for monthly or weekly spreads, list ideas and trackers, ALL the trackers! But I have noticed a serious lack of bujo pages for Moms. So today I’ve got some tips for Moms that bujo and a couple page ideas I hope you’ll love!

Tip of the Day: Pick a weekly spread that is realistic.

I had to go through a few spreads before I found something that was functional for me, and that I could keep up with. Do not give up if you haven’t found yours yet. There is something for everyone – that’s one of the awesome things about bullet journaling.

Too Much WeeklyI started with this. Because it’s beautiful. And it’s got all the detail I could ever want in my life. I was gonna track my steps and my water and what I ate for every meal and snack and the WEATHER and I customized it a little so that I could have a cute little section at the bottom of each day to write something about each kid. Holy overkill, Batman. Check out how much I didn’t finish – and that was just the first three days. I fell off that one FAST.

Then I tried this spread. a little less info…I was only tracking one Medium Weeklymeal a day (better) I added some trackers for housework (for the record I did more than this, just didn’t track it) and health habits and then realized I hate daily trackers. I did like the little To-Do list and I thought it was an attractive layout, but after a few weeks I was over this one too. I still needed to simplify or this wasn’t going to be fun anymore.

Light Weekly

Then I went SIMPLE. And I LOVED it. Big ol’ blocks where I could write everything and a bonus space where I could add a family saying, something cute the kids did, etc. In the middle space I would write what I was reading, watching, anything over-arching for the week. I kept this spread up for a couple of months and then only switched it up for something different – but at least I’d found the kind of spread that works for me. Once you do, I promise it will improve your bujo satisfaction by like 500%.

Mom Friendly Pages

Monthly Stats

With three kids, I have fallen off the baby book bandwagon. Hard. When I had two I Kid Statswould say, “Cole was born at 10:56 in the morning. Evie was born at night.” With three? It got even worse. I did one of those Line a Day books with Cole that I kept up for like a year. With Evie I had little notes and post its and stuff in my pockets and purse and always was totally going to write them down somewhere permanent. With Izzie, I have just accepted that Facebook memories are going to remember for me. If Facebook shuts down I’m screwed.

Now I do often have a spot in my weekly spread to write a little something about each kid – whether daily or weekly. But it’s very open ended, and I know there are going to be a billion things I wish I remembered! So, inspired by Back to School printables with likes and dislikes and other kid info, I made a simple chart I can fill out for all the kids at the end of the month. Because like with the weekly spread style, I have to find a balance of what’s reasonable for me to commit to – and so far this feels good. I set it up at the beginning of the month so I can fill in as things happen or cram at the end. (Let’s face it – I cram at the end!)

How to Measure Which Kid is Your Favorite

Okay at the risk of tooting my own horn (toot! toot!) this is probably my favorite thing I’ve ever bujo’d. I was in a dark place with my baby’s sleep patterns. She was up. all. night. And then the other ones were getting up so early. (Or at least it felt early at the time). I felt like I had to channel my frustration with her into something tangible.

Enter: Kids Sleeping In Chart. Kids sleeping chartAs you can see, Evie, my little lavender dot, was clearly my favorite child that month. It was neck and neck for Cole and Izzie for a while, but Izzie had those God Awful open circles (which means she woke up but I eventually got her back to sleep). It was a silly chart, but the kids and I had fun doing it – every morning they would help get their colors and watch when I put their dots. Evie will still find the page and point to hers and say, “That’s me Mama?” Yep, my lovely little sleeper, that’s. you.

The cruel irony is that when I made that page – I thought the kids were getting up early. But these days they mostly get up in the 5:00 hour…..so I’m thinking it might be time to figure out which one’s my favorite again 😉

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Stay tuned next month when I’ll share some more pages for Mama’s Bujo! And let me know if you have any pages you’d like to see! Things you want to find a way to track! Or ideas for lists you need in your bujo 🙂

Salty Mama Bujo Tips and Hacks.png

 

Bouncing Babies, Cheapskating

MicroHustle Monday Presents: My Son Was a Model (For a Minute)

Abram Torrez HRFor one brief, shining, so-very-SoCal moment, my son was a model.

That’s right, an honest to goodness, has an agent and gets craft service, model.

And honestly? Best . MicroHustle. EVER.

It started when I submitted him casually for a job through an agency some friends of mine worked with.  We were out of town for the shoot dates, so that particular job went nowhere, but it did lead to him signing with a reputable kids’ modeling agency. We were thrilled (I mean, that’s undeniable proof that your kid IS as cute as you think they are, am I right?), but no one was more thrilled than the grandparents. To be honest, I was almost embarrassed about it (did people think I was gonna be a stage mom now? Or that I was desperate? Or vain?) and I kind of tried to keep a lid on the whole thing. But the grandparents couldn’t help but tell everyone they saw anywhere that their grandson was a model before he had so much as snapped a picture.

I’m not gonna lie, getting started was a total nightmare. The agency we worked with was great, and SO helpful, but the mountain of paperwork was unreal. He needed a copy of his birth certificate and social security card (he was only three months old, so these had to be procured ahead of schedule). He needed a work permit, and headshots, and bank accounts and a special Coogan account (so a portion of his earnings could be held in trust for when he is an adult, in accordance with California law).  But FINALLY, a few weeks later, he was ready to work.

Taking him to his first photoshoot in La Jolla was just this side of hysterical.  There was a gorgeous home, a million snacks, and a fake mommy and daddy for him to shoot with.  He had an onset “teacher” and an onset nurse who made sure his every need was attended to. He wore a freaking Burberry onesie that probably cost more than he made for shooting that day, and definitely cost more than the outfit I was wearing.  He shot for all of 15 minutes, and we were off.  It felt like the coolest little mommy-son adventure, he made some money for his college fund, and, honestly, he was none the wiser.

But by far our most lucrative “job” was for a prominent diaper company.  And since babies shoot best with their actual mommies, I got hired too. You heard me right- I am a paid model.  You can be impressed now. Okay, you may not be impressed, but I was sure impressed with myself.  The set teachers held and loved on my baby while I got full hair, makeup, and wardrobe done.  Y’all. It was basically a vacation. We once again shot for twenty minutes, I got a free Diet Coke, and we were on our way with a VERY decent paycheck in our back pocket.  I quickly decided we would be doing this forever and all time.

And then, a few months and a few jobs later, the BAD SHOOT happened. Abe was ten months old, and was supposed to crawl towards a toy with a look of joy on his face.  Except Abe was not joyful. And he would not crawl towards that toy. He wanted the camera, the lights, the lantern in the background.  He wanted to crawl fast, or stand up, or shake the toy like a polaroid picture.  Anything but what he was supposed to do. And honestly? I got PISSED.  These people were counting on him, had PAID him to be there, and he just wasn’t compliant. I turned into the anxious mom, the one who’s like, “He’s never usually like this” (Side note: he is), the one who’s like “I swear he can do it, just give him another chance.” They didn’t, and he didn’t, and I left there disappointed and even a little angry.

And that was enough for me, and so I called it. I know it was just one shoot. I know this was the opportunity of a lifetime.  I know that this was the best MicroHustle I could have hoped to find. And I still walked away.  Some parents can keep that good attitude, know that kids will be kids, and shake it off and try again next time.  THAT is who should be pursuing this. They’re in it for all the right reasons. But me? I can’t do it. And so WE couldn’t do it

Every once in a while, pictures from one of Abram’s few photoshoots will pop up on Facebook or the internet, and I get so wistful thinking of those one-on-one adventures we used to go on. And frankly, I think of the checks we used to deposit into his savings account (I mean, let’s not pretend that isn’t why we were doing it).  But then I remind myself of the monster I could quickly have become, and I come to peace with my decision.

The grandparents however? That’s a different story.

 

Read all that and still interested in getting your child started in the modeling industry? We don’t blame you. We were too! Read all about the steps to getting started here.

My Son Was a Model Pinterest 2
My Son Was a Model Pinterest
Effing Four Year Olds, koefoe party of 5, Terrible Twos, Why We're Salty

How to Have a Successful Day at Disneyland

Collage 2017-08-03 10_09_47

As I sit here in our staycation suite, thanking the little baby Jesus that I somehow – finally – MIRACULOUSLY got all three of my spawn to nap at the same time I can’t help but reflect on the past couple of days…and how freaking good they went. Sorry, this is going to be a straight up BRAGFEST up in here. Because my husband and I just spend three days at “The Happiest Place on Earth” and it was actually the Happiest Place on Earth. At least most of the time. Which got me thinking – why???

What did we do to deserve this? Was karma just on our side? Had we had enough shit shows at Disneyland that we were simply due? I felt like I HAD to pin down the reason – hopefully to replicate it! As I reflected on our day, it came down to three things:

  1. Attitude
  2. Parenting
  3. LUCK

Attitude. Yesterday we were in line to meet Mickey and behind us was the grumpiest 20624061_10214214203175362_318810456_nperson in Disneyland. Yes, Grumpier than Grumpy himself. She grumbled all through the line to see the Mouse about how terrible the day had been. Someone asked her if it was the people? The crowds? No, it was EVERYTHING. Well listen, we go to Disneyland a lot. And yes, it was hot as hell and it was crowded and I’ll give you that it ain’t cheap. But it surely couldn’t be that everything is terrible. Take a minute to enjoy something. That place is CLEAN. Like, a first time Mom that’s a germaphobe could probably let a baby eat a cracker off the floor kind of clean. And there is such a meticulous attention to detail there’s lots for your eyes to enjoy everywhere you go. Chad could spend hours just checking out the plantlife – but he’s a nerd like that, so I cede that isn’t everyone’s jam. I just don’t know how someone could HATE absolutely EVERYTHING about Disneyland. So I’ve got to assume this chick needed an attitude adjustment. If you’re grumpy and miserable, nothing’s going to make you happy – not even a corn dog or a pineapple Dole whip!

Parenting. Okay, this may be controversial. But YES, parenting CAN have an influence on how your kids behave. It would be lovely to think that it was all a crapshoot and we were never responsible for our kids bad behavior, but tragically, it’s not true.

Side story: My husband does storytime with the Bigs before bed while I’m dressing/diapering/feeding the baby for her bedtime. Recently, I’ve overheard him reading “The Berenstein Bears Get the Gimmies” and talking to them about the Gimmies (“gimme this toy” and “gimme that candy” type of stuff). I was always like, “Hell yeah! Teach the kids to knock it off with the Gimmies!” Then one day my kids asked me to read the book. And, spoiler alert, it’s totally the parents fault that Brother and Sister Bear have the Gimmies in the first place! SO, moral of the story: Parenting. Dang it.

Back to Disneyland…The most commonly used four words to end a sentence at Disneyland? “….Or we’re going home!” As in, “knock it of or….” and “stay in the stroller or…” and “stop licking your sister or…..” And guess what? The kids know that it’s all BS! Cause you’re not gonna do it. So your threats mean nothing. Find a threat you can stick to. There with multiple adults? How about “….or you can’t go on X ride.” Yep, cause let me tell you, you only need to make Evie sit aside and NOT ride The Little Mermaid about once before she realizes you’re not playing. My kids will never remember where they left their shoes, but they will never forget that time their siblings got to ride without them.

Luck. Look, it may have seemed like I talk a big game back there in the ol’ “Parenting” section. But let’s be clear. I don’t actually know what the F I’m doing.  I also know that you can be a black belt ninja in parenting and still have the world go against you. Good parenting cannot make sure you get the exact color Teacup your son will die without getting. Good parenting does not prevent your daughter from spilling her brand new popcorn all over the place. Good parenting does not help when your 2 year old is to small to go on all the “good rides” her 4 year old brother is going on and the ONLY thing in the world that will make it better is riding on The Little Mermaid ride – again – and it breaks right before she gets on. In that case? You’re just screwed.

Use all your tricks, bribes, food, distractions and pray you can turn that juju around, because luck is definitely the most critical component for success.

But, if you have a great attitude and you find your inner parenting blackbelt and karma is on your side, maybe just maybe you can get a great day at Disneyland.

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