Kids' Activities, Married with Children, momlife, The Daddys, The Salties

The Wading Pool

It was a hot, salty summer day, and I was LIVING for the moment my husband got home. The kids and I were on our last strands of patience. We were tired and grouchy and so sick of our house and, frankly, each other. We were trying to keep it together, because we had BIG plans to head to the local park’s wading pool when Daddy got home at 5:30. An OhmHour was coming at 6, and I was gonna be darned if we were still in our un-air-conditioned house when it started.

And then it’s 5:30. And then it’s 5:45. And then it’s six, and we lose all the power (both literally and, like, the power to HANDLE MY LIFE, you know?). And I call the husband. “So what do you want to do tonight? Are you staying late?”

“I got a little caught up, but I’m coming home. I thought we were going to the wading pool.” And I almost lost it. We’d had a DAY, and there was just so much logisticking to do that I thought my brain was gonna fall right out of my head. The prospect of suiting them up and sunscreening them down and driving them over for only forty-five minutes of fun before unsuiting and towel-drying and redressing? I just. Didn’t. Want to.

But because we had no electricity, and it was either go to the wading pool or stay in a hot house with my cranky kids, I decided to give it one more bit of effort before I called it. I rechecked the times and found they didn’t close until 7:30. Truth be told, I was still less than willing to suit them up for those 45 short minutes, but heck, I had promised the wading pool already. And frankly, I didn’t feel up to being the bad guy that made the call that it wasn’t worth it. So my husband rushed home, I suited and sunscreened them babies, and away we went.

And, you guys. We had the best. Night. Ever.

It turns out that 45 minutes is exactly the right amount of time to be at a wading pool. And the later you go, the less odds that other people will still be there. And you might just get the wading pool to yourself, with your husband and your two small, perfect children, and you might look romantically at each other over their perfect little heads while the sun literally sets behind your husband’s happy face. And then you might go out for ice cream and kiss that sweet baby’s cheeks and smell his sunscreeny head and nearly burst from happiness while your daughter tells you that this is her most favoritest day ever.

And you would have missed all that if you’d decided to sit around being crabby at your husband and your kids. Don’t get me wrong, there are days to be mad. There are times when you have to turn on the TV for hours, or bicker with your husband about coming home late, and sometimes things get cancelled because you just can’t. There will be tense words and rushed dinners and early bedtimes. And that’s okay, too. Because that’s real life.

But once in a while, you’ve gotta embrace the lucky chances, push through the cranky, and go anyways. You’ve got to decide to be tired and crabby later, and be a family now, because we never would have gotten last night back. There will be cool drinks to ease the pain of long days, and bedtime will eventually come whether we enjoy the evening or not. But we need to take the time to embrace each other now. Cause I’m not gonna remember the irritation of the day (well not FOREVER anyways) but I’ll remember that perfect evening with my almost-perfect family for a lifetime.

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Wading Pool
Baby Model, Child Model, College Fund
Bouncing Babies, Kids' Activities, side hustle

How to Get Your Child Into Modeling (If You’re Sure You Want to!)

As you may have read on our blog last week, my son Abe spent a brief but successful six months as a baby model (if you haven’t read it yet, you should head over and read it here now. There’s some disclaimers!). We learned so much along the way, and even though we chose to walk away from the opportunity eventually, I’m so glad we went for it. We actually spent a lot of great one-on-one time together as part of the process, in addition to padding out his college savings account pretty nicely. Are you eager to get your little one started in the modeling world? Keep reading to find our 10 steps for getting started.

1. Know What You’re Signing Up For.

Having a child model can be amazing, but it can also be a bit stressful. There are hoops that need to be jumped through, and appointments to be made and kept, and castings and call backs to be attended (sometimes on only an hour or two of notice). If you have more than one child, this means you’ll need to have a lot of flexible, reliable childcare options available, as only the requested child will be allowed to attend the casting or job with you. And if you work a traditional job outside of the home, be prepared to be relying on your village to get your kiddo to and from “work” on a regular basis. Agencies want you available any time, and anywhere, with not a ton of notice.

2. Consider Your Location.

You should probably live near a metropolitan area to consider modeling in any real way, as there aren’t many companies that will fly you and your kiddo out for castings, or even jobs. But even if you live near one of these areas, be prepared to spend a lot of time in the car. Like, a LOT of time in the car. I live about twenty minutes outside of LA, but I regularly drove an hour and a half or more (sometimes because of traffic, sometimes just because of distance) to get Abe to work. And it does start to get old, especially when you make that drive for an audition…and don’t get the job.

3. Take High Quality Pictures (At Home or on the Cheap!)

Don’t go shelling out the big bucks to get headshots done- at least not yet! Abe got signed after submitting pictures we obtained from a $20 Groupon to JCPenney’s, so it’s not like we went all out to be selected. You can even take great pics at home, with a few simple tips. First, use a proper camera, not a cell phone. Dress your child in bright, solid colors (no logos or busy patterns). Take photos of them outside on a sunny day, with a neutral background (think the wall of your house, a brick wall, something like that.) Leave the accessories, like headbands and even earrings, off for this one. They just want to see your child’s beautiful or handsome face without any distractions. Submit photos of them smiling alongside neutral-faced photos (no real expression).

4. Secure Some Documents

Make sure you have an original Birth Certificate for your child, as well as a Social Security card. Many jobs and some submissions even require your child to have a passport (although we never got one for Abe). These things can be obtained later, but you don’t want to miss out on any work while you’re waiting for these things to arrive!

5. Find a Reputable Agency.

This is probably the most important of all the steps. Google “Best kids modeling agencies in (Your City)” and cross-reference different articles that you find. Look them up on Yelp, and in the Better Business Bureau. If you know anyone in the industry, ask for their advice. You want to know that you are signing with a good agency from the beginning. A reputable agency will not ask you for ANY money upfront. Not even for photos, styling, etc. If they ask for any kind of money, that is a HUGE red flag and a sign to get out immediately.

6. Submit Your Child’s Pictures.

Many agencies now have websites for you to submit online, or you can mail in photos. Then cross your fingers, say a little prayer, and wait for a response!

7. Celebrate! Or Shake It off.

If your child doesn’t get accepted? Please, please, PLEASE don’t get your feelings hurt. Your child is likely every bit as adorable as you think they are. But maybe they already have enough kids on their roster that are the same “type” as your child. As in, they’ve already got too many blondes, or they are full for your child’s age range. Feel free to update your pics and try again in a couple of months, because you never know what will have changed by then.

8. Secure MORE Documents

Now that your little bitty has an agent, take any direction they give you (still don’t send any money to an agent, and drop them like a hot potato if they have a photographer they require you to work with. Obtaining headshots is reasonable, but they shouldn’t cost you hundreds upon hundreds of dollars. You’re here to make money, not spend it.)

You will need to obtain a work permit for your child (you can do it online here if you live or plan to work in California). Your child will need a savings account, which you can likely set up at any bank. And if you live in California, you will need a special account called a Coogan account that is only for children who work in the entertainment industry. By law, 15% of a child’s earnings must be held in a Coogan account until they turn 18. Many major banks, such as Bank of America, do not offer these, but many credit unions (including the one we used, First Entertainment Credit Union) do, as well as US Banks. Get these done ASAP, because you have a very high change of missing out on work without it.

9. Update Your Pictures

You need to keep your photos updated, according to your agency’s standards or once every couple of months (especially when they’re little!) You can either take high quality shots at home, or hire a pro photographer to do them. That’s between you and your agent!

When you get your pictures updated professionally, your agent will likely ask you to get a photosheet made. They are basically a collage of pictures of your child with different “looks”- standing, sitting, smiling, serious, etc. Get a few printed up, as you will be taking these to auditions with you. You might even be asked to make a resume for you child which…I can’t even. It’s too hilarious. But still, it also may necessary.

10. Work, Work, Work.

Get to those castings, submit for jobs, and- hopefully- get to work! Your child will almost certainly not get chosen for every job and that’s okay. An industry person once explained it to me like this- a company is looking for a certain look for their ad- let’s call their “type” a Red Circle. Your baby might just be a Blue Square. They may be the absolute cutest of all the Blue Squares, but they are still blue, and still square. There’s no way they can be a Red Circle, and frankly, you wouldn’t want them to be.

So update those pictures, get to your castings on time, and just wait for the day when they are looking for a Blue Square. And then, little baby, it’ll be your time to shine.

So there’s our ten steps to getting started in the modeling world. Got a question we didn’t answer? Drop a comment below and we’ll get back to you soon!

My Son Was a Model Pinterest
Baby Model, Child Model, College Fund
10 Steps to Getting Your Child or Baby Started as A Model
Mama Mojo

The Salty Mamas: Award Winning Bloggers

21039709_10102403228263397_24966802_nYou guys. We won a THING!

And not like a raffle! Like something based on at least a minor amount of skill or talent!!

We want to thank our families, our friends, and, our readers. We are grateful for the nosy people at Panera, the jerk checker at the grocery store and, most importantly, our husbands, for giving us oh.so.much to write about. Oh and The Salties. Where would we be without The Salties? Probably eating dinner at fancy restaurants with tablecloths or on vacations at adult only resorts, but we have kids so we’re here. With LOTS of hijinks to write about.

But most of all, we want to thank The Wordy Mom for choosing to nominate us for the Liebster Award for New Bloggers. This award serves to give exposure to new bloggers that are considered to be on the rise.

Hear that, judgy people at Chick Fil A? We’re on the RISE.

When we first started blogging a couple months ago, we didn’t know how we would be received, if anyone would ever read our pieces, or if this was even a thing that we could do. We have been surprised by so many aspects of this whole blogging thing, but mostly, we are pleasantly surprised by the community we’ve built and the support we’ve received. We are so grateful for all of you!

The Liebster Award is given to new bloggers with under 200 followers (want to help us break through that threshold, pretty please? Click “Follow by email” in our sidebar (desktop) or down below on a phone). Nominees are asked to answer ten questions about themselves, and then nominate five other new bloggers to receive the award.

The Wordy Mom asked us:

  1. What’s your blogging niche?

Jaymi: We know that no mama is one thing all the time. Sometimes you’re the “I just can’t even” mama, sometimes you’re the Pinterest mama, and sometimes you’re both at the same time.  It all just depends on the day, your mood, and, usually, how much coffee you’ve had to drink. So sometimes we’re sweet, sometimes we’re salty, but we’re always big fans of keeping it real. And whichever mom you are today? We’re here for YOU.

Christine: We’re a couple of Mamas that are by NO means perfect, aren’t Pinterest-worthy, and that have embraced the art of lazy parenting – which is actually still a decent amount of work! We found ourselves sending each other texts that said, “OMG can I complain about something real quick?” to which the other always replied “OF COURSE!” We figured we couldn’t be the only Moms that were a little salty about motherhood, and The Salty Mamas was born!

  1. On a personal level, what do you get out of blogging?

Blogging gives me something that is just for me. A way to be creative, to learn new things, and to engage with the world in a way that is mine-all-mine (And also kind of Christine’s. But you know what I mean).  I love this way to pursue my own interests, interact with other moms, and, maybe most importantly, find ways to carve out time that is just for me. 

I get a way to make all the nonsense even more worth it. The fights my kids get into with each other over the crazy stuff, feels less crazy when I put it out into the world. I see things my husband says or does through a more comical lens, and I’m able to laugh about it instead of let it drive me crazy. And I can wash my hands of all the stupid things people say by writing about it and then washing my hands of it. Basically all that crap that happens doesn’t happen in vain anymore! I just use it to fuel my creativity.

  1. Besides blogging, do you have any other creative outlets?

I love to bake and rotate through crafty pursuits like it’s my job. I’ve been a papercrafter, a seamstress, a cake decorator, and am now onto my Cricut. For real though- I cricut ALL THE THINGS.

I love to bujo! Bullet journaling is definitely my outlet for drawing, coloring, making something beautiful. I wish I could just stop time like once a day to bujo to my heart’s content.

  1. If you could give a new blogger one piece of advice, what would that be?

Decide upfront what you want your “brand” to be. Who are you writing for (besides yourself 😉 ) What is your name, what do you stand for, what kind of things do you want to post? Write something like 10 posts ahead of time so you can get a feel for your own vibe before you commit to it. Like, if you can only think of 6 recipes, a recipes-only-brand is not going to work for you. Also, get ready for the technical parts of blogging, and the social media aspects. It’s all hands on deck once you go live, and there’s LOTS to learn, especially in the first few months. 

Be ready, because it’s a LOT more work than you think it is! In my head I was like, Cool, I’ll basically journal my day and it’ll be fun! But now it’s figuring out Instagram and Twitter and Pinterest and algorithms and I hate math and you’re doing ALL THE THINGS. But at the end of the day – I’m loving it.

  1. Breakfast in bed, reading in the tub … Describe one ritual you cherish.

Everyone once in a while, I do this really long pampering routine.  First I take a twenty minute detox bath (Epsom salts, essential oils, baking soda).  I soak, I read a book, I drink a glass of wine. When I get out I do this ridiculous charcoal mask that is just fun. I don’t know if there’s any actual benefit to it, but it feels like the real deal.  I paint my toenails, I deep condition my hair, I rock out to this mellow Pandora station I made. It’s a tiny slice of heaven, and is actually super out of character for me, which is probably why it feels so indulgent.

I haven’t done this in a LONG time, but I love to drop the kids off at school or my Moms or anywhere and go to breakfast by myself, order a fancy coffee the size of my head, eat something sweet AND something savory because I can, and enjoy my coffee alone, and then read a good book while getting a pedicure. I’m totally setting up a date to do this again asap.

  1. Who’s your favourite musical artist, and why?

I don’t have a favorite musical artist per se, but I typically like music by Sarah Bareilles, Regina Spektor, Corinne Bailey Rae and the like.  Something mellow but with a little bop-bo-beep to it. I think that’s how it’s described in the music industry. 

I feel like “Trolls” is the wrong answer….honestly? I’m such a music dud. I don’t listen to music that often and when I do it’s probably like the Pop2K or 90’s station on satellite radio! I love cheesy music that I can sing and dance around to so we’re throwing it back to some classic Britney, I’m team *NSYNC forever, throw in some Lady Gaga, and I’m a happy camper.

  1. Introvert or extrovert?

I am an extrovert. For sure. If I don’t have people to talk to I wilt like a sunflower in the basement.  I “recharge” by talking to people, even people I don’t know if necessary. So be nice next time someone overly chatty is next to you in line in the grocery store. They may NEED you!

We were just talking about this! Being an introvert is so hot right now… I think everyone would say I’m an extrovert because I’m loud and friendly and have some characteristics that are very easily identified as extrovert. But I read once that it’s about where and how you recharge – and I crave alone time, am a thinker, so then I go, “maybe I’m really an introvert.” But I don’t want to say that because it’s SO ON TREND. So I had no other choice but to go to the internet and take a quiz. That said I’m an ambivert! Which is apparently a blend of the two. And since I’m a libra and am indecisive as hell, that sounds about right.

  1. Dog person, cat person, neither or both?

I am in love with my dog. He is my first baby, and even though he is a total jerk, I love him unconditionally. So I guess a dog person, but probably it’s more accurate to say I’m an Ace person.

I’m a dog person that has two cats and no dogs, haha! We got our first cat when we lived in a place that wouldn’t allow dogs and our second so he’d have a friend. Then we had a baby. And another. And another. And I said, NO DOGS until our first baby is 10. So for now, cats!

  1. Would you consider yourself to be a risk taker?

Oh heeeeeck no.  Nothing scary, nothing with potential for danger, nothing with potential for loss.  No gambling. No stocks.  None.of.It. This blog is probably the riskiest thing I’ve done!

Medium? In my mind, yes! But then I think I just like to ride roller coasters, not take ACTUAL risks. This may be another case of “I used to be, before I had anything to lose.” And now I’ve got all these kids and a life and people that rely on me, so that’s not as fun. But I tried to go a week without coffee and that seemed to be pretty risky so….. 

Oh and gambling. I do love to gamble at like a $3 craps table.

  1. If you were being sent to a desert island and only allowed to take one thing (not person) with you, what would you take?

Only one thing?!? Aaaagh!! Can it be a tablet loaded with all the books and all the music and the complete series of the Office? Is that cheating? I say no. I mean, it’s technically one thing and this is my blog and I can do what I want.

The complete collection of Harry Potter.

Until what Jaymi said when she cheated. Then I want exactly that.

And now it’s our turn to nominate other fantastic bloggers you oughta know:

1. Mish Mash Mommy

2. 3 Mom Circus

3. With Love and a Little Self Deprecation

4. The Non-Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom

5. Chaos in Mommyhood

If you delightful ladies would like to accept this nomination, it’s your turn to write a Liebster Award 2017 blog post. In your post, please follow these simple Liebster Award rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you for the Liebster Award (thesaltymamas.com)
  • Link back to the blogger who awarded you (us! — thesaltymamas.com)
  • Upload the award to your blog. It can be done as a blog or on the sidebar.
  • Answer the questions you have been asked. (Scroll down)
  • Nominate 5 blogs with followers less than 200 followers that you believe deserve to receive the award. If you feel others deserve the award, then you are welcome to nominate more.
  • Notify the nominated bloggers so that they can accept the award. Bloggers can be nominated more than once, giving their readers more chances to learn more about them.

Our questions for you:

  1. What’s one thing about parenting that makes you salty?
  2. What’s the sweetest thing your kid has done recently?
  3. What’s your favorite guilty pleasure TV show?
  4. Would you rather have free Starbucks for life or free trips to Target for a year?
  5. What’s your dream date night?
  6. What’s the worst parenting advice you’ve ever gotten?
  7. What is your favorite little luxury (or MicroLuxury, as we like to call them)?
  8. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
  9. What is your favorite restaurant to go to with your kids?
  10. What advice would you give someone just starting out in the world of blogging?

Please check out our other nominees! And thanks again to everyone that let us do this for this long and get this far!

MicroLuxuries, Recipes

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches

If you’re looking for the perfect crowd-pleasing dessert for your summer barbecues, you can stop looking now. You’ve found it.

These sweet little Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches never fail to bring the Oohs and Aahs, and they are crazy simple. Better yet, they are made ahead of time and pop out as individual desserts, so there’s no cutting a cake or hearing people ask for a “small slice of pie- no maybe a little bigger than that- okay now it’s too big.” Which Drives. Me. Bananas. So all you’ve gotta do is pass these bad boys around and then you’re free to accept all the compliments (and eat all the Ice Cream Sammies).

Dessert recipe for simple brownie ice cream sandwiches, a sweet and cool summertime favorite. Crowd pleasing and perfect for sharing!
The perfect summer BBQ dessert- individual Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches! So simple, but sure to impress!

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches
Makes 6-8ish

Ingredients:
One batch of brownies, 9×13, fully prepared
Half gallon vanilla ice cream

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Prepare and bake a 9×13 size batch of brownies. Any moist recipe will do (sorry if you hate that word, but there’s no appropriate substitute), but I use a box mix because EASY.

Line a cupcake pan with Saran Wrap (please don’t skip this step. You’ll hate yourself for it when it’s get-them-out time).

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Put your ice cream on the counter to soften.

Get a little handful or spoonful of brownie and mush some into each cupcake space. Don’t use more than half of your brownies to do this step, or you won’t have enough left to do the bottom of the sandwich.

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Top with vanilla ice cream. Put cupcake pan in freezer to harden for twenty-thirty minutes.

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Remove pan from freezer and top with remaining brownies. It should form a little ice cream sandwich.

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Return to freezer until fully frozen. Lift the Saran wrap and remove the ice cream sandwiches from the pan. Place on a plate and keep in freezer until ready to serve.

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Try not to eat them all before your guests arrive.

momlife, parenting, Terrible Twos, The Daddys, The Salties

Salty Tears at Preschool Dropoff

This post includes affiliate links, which means we’ll earn a small commission off of in made by clicking through. Thanks for supporting The Salty Mamas!

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, for nearly a year, Cole and Evie have had an emotional goodbye through a chain link fence. It’s like a scene out of some prison movie. They tell each other how much they love each other and are going to miss each other and then I tear Evie away from the gate telling her we’ll see Cole in four hours. Often, I have to carry her writhing body in one arm, while balancing a baby in the other, and haul these girls out to the car. After dealing with this week after week, month after month, Chad and I had to have a serious conversation: Is it time to start Evie in preschool?

We had made bold proclamations and decisions on our plan for Evie’s schooling. I’m a stay at home Mom and she’s just fine here with me. She can wait until she’s 3 like Cole did. We can see if they have a spot open in January and if they don’t she can start the next fall. Two years of preschool will be plenty for her.

But it seemed she was disagreeing with us.

So I asked the Director at Cole’s eternally waitlisted preschool if they happened to have a spot. No rush, anytime really, we’re fine keeping her home as long as we need – oh, what’s that? You already had her on a list because I mentioned it to you once in passing? She can start next month? Yeah, okay, that works too…Suddenly we were launched into preschool prep mode! I bought Evie a lunch bag, did some “Back to School” shopping, grabbed her a water bottle and talked about the impending start of her career as a student. She proudly told everyone, “I go to school with Cole soon!” She was excited. Like really, REALLY, excited. Drop-offs were suddenly much easier, because as they hugged and kissed each other each morning, they’d exchange excited words about how soon Evie would be joining her big brother.

She was excited. I was all the feelings. Normally made of stone, the idea of having two kids in school proved too much for my solid core to handle. I just wasn’t sure I liked this. At all.

Then it was the big day. We got dressed in one of our new outfits. I busted out the chalkboard easel for important stats and pictures and a giant display of “Evie’s first day of preschool!” I took a thousand pictures of the three kids in every possible arrangement – sitting, standing, two sitting – Evie standing prominently, all three sitting together – Cole in the middle, Evie in the middle, Izzie in the middle – you name it, I probably have a picture of it. Evie looked happy and proud – probably a combination of first day excitement and the promise of a lollipop in exchange for endless smiles.

We loaded into the car, drove down to school, hopped out of the car and proudly marched down the hall. Which is about when all hell broke loose. To our complete and utter surprise, our cool, confident, happy-go-lucky, independent daughter freaked the F out. We thought we’d done everything “right” to prepare her! She knows this school, knows the teachers, knows lots of Cole’s friends! Plus the school happens to be on our church’s campus (though not affiliated) so she literally has been in the classrooms since the week she was born! We talked, oh how we talked, about what the first day would entail. And she was sooooo on board. Lest she forgets, this was HER IDEA!

But, as is a woman’s prerogative, she reserves the right to change her mind. And oh did she change it. My husband and I looked back and forth for a minute, telepathically running through our options.

Me: Evie, it’ll be fine. Cole’s right here with you. *Jump in here dude! Tell her it’s fine!!*

Chad: That’s right, Cole’s going to go do circle time, you can sit with him. *She’s screaming! Why is she screaming??*

Me: Honey, honey, honey, calm down, baby. *I don’t KNOW!! We gotta get out of here!*

Chad: *We can’t just LEAVE her like this!*

Me: *Like hell we can’t! She’ll be FINE! Band-Aid! RIP IT!*

Chad: Okay Evie, Mommy and Daddy have to go, you’ll be okay. *You’re a heartless monster*

Me: I’ll be back sooooo soon, you’ll have lots of fun, okay? We love you! *Oh, grow a pair*

Us: Bye sweetie!! We love you!!

I may have been the one to force us to leave, but I thought of my sweet little baby all day, hoping she’d calmed down and found some fun. I picked her up a few short hours later. Before she saw me, I saw her eating and laughing and I knew we had made the right call. She looked up, saw me, ran and jumped in my arms.

When we settled in the car I asked, “What did you do today Evie?” She said, with a big smile on her face, “I did art and crying.” I laughed at her and hugged the heck out of that kid. I said, “Maybe next time we’ll try for just art, huh?” She replied, “Yeah, I liked the art.”

So yes, in the grand tradition of first days of school, there were tears. Lots of tears. Mostly from Evie. But, as terrible as it is to say, the tears were a nice reminder that even though she’s a sassy, independent, stubborn, “I can do it myself” kind of 2 year old, she’s still my two year old baby, that just needs her Mama once in a while.

 

Salty tears.png
Married with Children, momlife, parenting, The Daddys, Why We're Salty

Day to Day Operations

I run this house.

This isn’t a bold statement, it’s just really honest. My husband participates, he helps whenever I ask, he fills in where and when necessary. He thinks that he’s super vital in the day to day ops, but the real truth of the matter is that he changes the kitty litter and pays the bills. Of course there’s much more than that as far as his overall role in our lives. We love him dearly, he’s a great Dad, and I don’t say any of this to diminish his status around here. It’s not meant to be as harsh as it comes off.

Basically he’s a moderately hands off CEO that rolls up his sleeves when his employees are really in the weeds.

Until the weekend hits. Or he’s on vacation. Then he’s like the guy that buys the company and starts to make all kinds of changes before he asks any questions. He doesn’t know how things work, but that doesn’t mean he won’t give you all his GREAT ideas of how to make things better.

I didn’t realize Chad was this kind of Dad until recently when a few conversations made me realize he just doesn’t understand how things get done around here. A few weeks ago he suggested that we change breads:

Chad: That bread Joy had the other day was really good! We should start using that!

Me: Yeah, it was. I checked though and it’s like twice as much as the bread we buy….

Chad: Well that’s no big deal. What do we use? Like a loaf every few weeks?

Me: Uh, no bro. We use two loaves. A week. Every week.

Sure, it’s just bread, but did he really not notice that I make at least three people toast every morning? And a sandwich for our son to take to school three days a week? And I can’t blame him for not knowing how often Evie and I eat sandwiches for lunch during the week while he’s off eating Chipotle or something glamorous. But a loaf every three weeks?? At this my radar went up that he was REALLY out of the loop.

Then on the drive home from vacation:

Chad: What should we do for dinner tonight?

Me: I probably have something in the freezer I could throw together.

Chad: Awesome. And like a salad?

Me: Well, I’d have to run to the store real quick, but that’s doable.

Chad: Oh, we don’t already have salad stuff?

Me: I mean, we’ve been out of town for a week. I don’t usually stock the house with fresh produce before we go out of town.

Poor kid was incredibly disappointed. Because he really was thinking there would be fruits and vegetables and a bounty of salad awaiting him when we arrived home. Like, does he not know how grocery stores work? Or the shelf-life of lettuce? I swear it was only a few years ago that he was living on his own, responsible for his own groceries, but apparently that info in his brain also has a short shelf-life!

Then one day I realized I needed to harness this lack of household intelligence…

Chad: *checking spending on Mint* Hey, big trip to Target today, huh?

Me: Dude, we needed a lot of diapers…

Chad: Like $167 worth of diapers?

Me: Well I needed regular diapers for Evie and Izzie, and Pull-Ups for Evie cause she’s going to need a lot when potty training at school and [his eyes start to glaze over] and then I needed swim diapers for the girls, we’ve been swimming SO much that we’re burning through those and…

Chad: Got it. Diapers.

Did I spend $167 on diapers? No, I did not. But he has no clue how much diapers actually cost. Or bread. Or how produce works. Or basically anything about our day to day operations. And if it drives me crazy all the other times, I might as well get to cash in once in a while.

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Bouncing Babies, Cheapskating, side hustle

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.

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My Son Was a Model Pinterest
Mama Mojo, Married with Children, momlife, parenting, The Daddys, The Salty Mamas Bookclub

Book Review: Baby Proofing Your Marriage

Welcome to the first in our ongoing series of Salty Mama Book Reviews! We hope you’ll join us in The Salty Mamas Book Club – read with us, join us in discussions on Facebook, and check out our reviews!

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There are two things you should know before you add “Babyproofing Your Marriage: How to Laugh More, Argue Less and Communicate Better As Your Family Grows” to your “to-read” list.

The first is that you must either a) read this book in total secret or b) be ready for anyone and everyone to ask if you and your partner are doing okay. I’m a big fan of carrying a book EVERYWHERE. Which means that inevitably I leave books all over the place. Which leads to everything from sad looks from strangers or concerned questions from close friends and family when you read a book that implies that the baby in your belly is going to destroy your marriage. So just be prepared.

The second is something a very good friend gave me a loving heads up about, and I am now paying that forward to you, dear reader.

There is no delicate way to put this, so I’m not going to dance around the issue.

This book is going to tell you to do certain acts. Oral acts. A MAJOR takeaway from this book is that these loving services may very well save your marriage. So be prepared.

That stuff aside, there’s a LOT of awesome information in this book, so even if you think “are you kidding me? I made him dinner and am raising his kids and am up to my elbows in spit up and poop and now I’m supposed to do what???,” just trust me for a solid second and give it a try. The book. And probably that-which-shall-not-be-named, but the book for sure.

Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, onto the review!

Gut reaction: LOVED IT.

There were some MAJOR takeaways that I implemented darn near immediately. One of the first things I realized was that I’m HARD on my husband. On a daily basis, I don’t think I am. I think he has it easy. Heck, I generously give him TONS of advice on what to do and how to do it! How loving is that?? Unfortunately, I learned recently that he just think this makes me a control freak! And guess what? It makes it not super fun for him to do things with the kids! Fun fact: Men do not like to do things when they are set up for failure. Now, I try to empower him and set him up for success. In some cases have I lowered the bar for him? Sure have! But it gives him a chance to fly over it. To gain confidence. And the positive reinforcement makes him WANT to do more with the kids. Win – freaking – win!!!

The other thing that I now preach to everyone I can find is to GO OUT OF TOWN AND LEAVE THE KIDS WITH YOUR PARTNER. Whenever I first suggest this to someone, I always get a response that’s some version of, “Oh, I can’t do that.” Why? “Well he doesn’t know what she eats.” “My kids are REALLY busy and it’s just a lot to take care of.” “He’s never been alone with both kids for more than a couple hours.” “We have a unique situation because my kids are [fill in the blank].” Well guess what? Lots of people have kids that are really busy. And we ALL have unique situations. But if you don’t give him the chance he will never know what she eats, he’ll never be alone with the kids, and by God he will NEVER understand what you do each and every single day until he gets the opportunity to live your life. Not for a few hours, not for a day, you’ve got to go out of town for a solid two nights to let the reality really sink in.

Lest you think I don’t practice what I preach, after reading this book, I booked a three day cruise with my girlfriends. Yes a cruise. I couldn’t turn around, come home early – shit, I didn’t even have cell phone reception. I left my husband with three kids. Cole was 3 years, 9 months. Evie was 2 years, 3 months. Izzie was 5 months old. And had never taken a bottle, no matter how hard we tried. And yes, I left them all. Here you go, take a minute to be appalled at how heartless I am, I can handle it.

Done? Okay, moving on…

Guess what? He handled his SHIT! He kept the two older kids fed, entertained, alive. He got the baby to take a bottle. He did all the carseat buckles and got clothes on the kids and kept them in clean diapers the whole weekend. Did I think he could? Eh, I was pretty skeptical to be completely honest. Did he think he could? He was a healthy blend of overly confident and naïve enough to have no idea what he was getting himself info. But the end result was that he stepped up, took care of the kids, and best of all, had an opportunity to bond with the kids that was never available to him with me always hanging out in the wings.  And I knew he could do it, which is such an amazing feeling to have.

Now, I know I said I wouldn’t bring up you-know-what (and yes, I’ve equated this act with Voldemort a few times, so sue me) but I feel like I need to clarify something before y’all write me off as someone who turned in their feminist card, put on an apron and bowed down to serve my husband. THAT is not what the book is endorsing. At the end of the day, you need to find what makes your husband feel loved. Feel appreciated. Feel special. That-which-shall-not-be-named is generally a safe catch-all way to show your partner appreciation. But that might not be your Boo’s favorite way to be appreciated. That might not be on your menu. That’s FINE. But find what is, and do that. A lot.

These are just a few of the nuggets of advice that I swear I couldn’t live without. And in case you’re thinking, eh, our kids are older and my partner and I are doing just fine, I’d STILL say to read this book. I finally got around to reading it when we were gearing up for Baby #3. It’s like a textbook in my house. I am forever flipping back through it to find a helpful hint, tip, or piece of advice.

I can honestly say that my marriage truly is better because of this book. And that is worth every single penny.

Grab your copy here! We’d love to hear what you think 🙂

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Next month we’ll be reading/reviewing “It’s Okay Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids.” We hope you’ll get a copy and join The Salty Mamas Bookclub!!  Don’t forget to follow The Salty Mamas on Facebook so you don’t miss out on our upcoming Facebook Live event, The Salty Mamas Book Club Margarita Monday, on September 18, 2017!

Book Club
Effing Four Year Olds, Kids' Activities, momlife, parenting, The Salties, Tips & Hacks

10 School Readiness Skills (That Have NOTHING to Do with Academics!)

 

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This post includes affiliate links, which means we’ll earn a small commission off of in made by clicking through. Thanks for supporting The Salty Mamas!

The school year is rapidly approaching, and for the very first time, I am preparing my own little girl for going “Back to School.” As a former teacher, there are soooo many things I want to teach her before school starts- and believe it or not, letters and numbers are the least of my concerns! Here’s ten things that you can teach your kids that your Kindergarten/TK/Pre-K teacher will LOVE you for.

1. How to Write Their Name
This is a really, really hard thing to teach whole group. Spend a little time having them trace their name before having them move on to writing it solo. And feel free to leave the paper and pencil approach until later- check out Practical Name Writing in 12 Fun Ways by Hands On As We Grow.

2. Cutting on a Line/Curve
Similar to the skill above, scissor skills are really tricky to teach when you’re no longer one-on-one. Show your kiddo how to hold the scissors, to use them safely, and to move the paper (not the scissors) as they cut. You can draw lines on paper for them to practice with, or buy this colorful activity book that gets progressively harder with each page.

3. Coloring Skills
Now listen, we LOVE a kid who colors outside of the lines. BUT, there are times when coloring inside is important, too. Help your child to learn the difference between coloring for fun and coloring on schoolwork. Help them to decide when to use “realistic colors” versus when they can go rogue. Any coloring book can be used for this, but this fun book really narrows in on these skills.

4. Glue Skills
Let’s save the poor teacher some mess, yeah? Can you imagine cleaning up after thirty kids with glue bottles? Let’s don’t do that to him or her. Work on squeezing the glue bottle just a little (we use the phrase “Dot, dot. Not a lot!”). This exclusive, Salty Mama printable can help your kiddo to practice this skill, along with a few others on the list. Also work on using gluesticks. Need more help with gluesticks? This cute little craft kit  will give your child plenty of practice- and they won’t even know they’re working on school readiness skills!

School Readiness Printable
You can work on several school skills at once with this fun printable craft! Get yours here!

5. Pencil Grip
I don’t want your child’s teacher to have to run around to each student and show them how to hold a pencil. Think of all the time wasted! Have your child practice using a functional grip (on or two fingers on top of the pencil, with the thumb underneath). Is your child struggling? Use shorter pencils or crayons, which eliminates some of the other, less useful grips. Need more tips on how to help with this? Head on over to Living for the Sunshine to read more about ways to practice.

6. Folding a Paper in Half
Okay, this is a weird one, but there are a LOT of school crafts that involve folding a paper in half. Practice folding length-wise and width-wise (like a “hot dog” or a “hamburger,” if you remember from your school days). You can have them practice their scissor skills on their folded paper by tracing a half-heart and letting them cut it out.

7. Workbook Skills
I am no fan of workbooks personally, but there are going to be plenty of them at school. Grab one from the dollar store or the Target Dollar spot, or order a fun one here. Kids can practice valuable school-skills like circling an object, drawing lines from one item to another, and finding the line where they should write their name (or writing on the top right-hand corner if there isn’t one).

8. Putting Things in and Out of Their Backpack
Can you imagine the first-day-chaos if none of the kids could do this? Practice opening and closing backpacks with your kids, and make sure they are able to open any containers/packages that you plan to send to lunch with them. There’s not a ton of time to eat, and you probably don’t want your kid waiting the whole lunch period for it to be their turn for the lunch aide to open their Pirate’s Booty or juice box.

9. Taking Off/Putting On Their Own Sweater (Shoes, Etc.)
Big kid school is not like little-kid-preschool or daycare- there just aren’t enough grown-up hands to assist with these tasks! Help your child to become independent with their own zips/ties/snaps. And avoid sending them to school in shoes with ties until they can retie them on their own!

10. Wiping Their Own Booty (TK and Up, at the Least)
I mean, I’m just saying.  I can almost guarantee that wiping booties was not a part of your child’s teacher’s credential program, and someone’s gotta get it done. It’s gonna have to be your kid, so get to work on this one- stat.

Want to make sure you never miss out on exclusive Salty Mamas content (including more free printables like this one)? Click the link in our sidebar to the right to follow us via email!

Effing Four Year Olds, momlife, Terrible Twos, The Salties, Why We're Salty

Terror at Trader Joe’s

Apparently I was feeling brave. Apparently I was feeling confident. Apparently I was a fool.

Because for some reason, I thought it was a good idea to load up my kids and go to the grocery store. But not just any grocery store, Trader Joes. Now, let me be clear. I LOVE Trader Joe’s. If you don’t have on near you it’s a wonderful neighborhood grocery store with amazing food and drink from around the globe and around the corner. When my kids were little – wait, they’re still little, but like, really little, cart bound “little” – TJ’s was the best. We’d walk into the store and there was always a beautiful buffet of bananas welcoming us. We’d toss a half dozen or so in the cart and then I’d hand each of my kids one. I mean, I always paid for the bananas later, but I think the produce lady at Ralph’s doesn’t trust that I’m actually going to pay….No such problem at Trader Joe’s. No one there threw us shade for sampling the product as we strolled through the produce section.

The banana usually lasted through produce and fresh meat, and then we rounded the corner and it was time to start looking for the Bixby Beagle. Now, I won’t tell you how long it took me to realize that the Bixby Beagle isn’t a fixture at all locations, despite it being named after my neighborhood, so I don’t know what the dog is called where you live – or if it even IS a dog – because I just learned it could be any animal, but I love that dog. Because it gives my kids something to DO for the next little bit. As I meander through the frozen foods, my kids have their eyes peeled for that beagle. Because when we find it? They get a lollipop! A nice fresh, not-covered-in-lint-because-I-found-it-at-the-bottom-of-my-purse-while-hunting-for-something-to-calm-the-storm-brewing-in-my-cart lollipop.

We can usually make the lolly last until checkout at which point my kids get to try to entertain the checker, who then HANDS THEM A MILLION STICKERS. It’s like Willy Wonka’s factory over here when they start unraveling the giant roll of seasonal stickers. Sometimes, they’re even scratch ‘n’ sniff. My kids think every day is Christmas at Trader Joe’s.

But then my kids got older. And they got wise to the fact that there are ADORABLE tiny little carts that are just their size! First the bananas, then the lollipops, then stickers – clearly Trader Joe’s was catering to their VERY specific needs. So it should have come as no surprise to me when Cole told me that “Uncle Robert” got him his very own cart too! This will teach me to pretend that the manager of the grocery store is related to us.

For a while, things were okay. Cole was the biggest and somehow Evie just accepted that she still had to ride in the cart and Cole was allowed to push his own. And he did surprisingly well. He took his new responsibility seriously and I think he could smell the fear on me and knew he was one bruised shin away from having his rights revoked.

Then I started getting wise. I started getting organized. And for the love of God I started going to the store while Cole was in preschool. Going to a store with a 2 year old and a baby only feels easy when you’re used to having a 4 year old there too. I had gotten so used to the chaos of all three that two felt like a breeze! It was like old times! And that’s when you start to make mistakes. You get sloppy. You decide to let the two year old give this whole tiny cart thing a try. You think this is your new normal, not remembering that there will come a time when you will have to go to the store again with all three kids, but by then, it’s too late. By then, you’ve created monsters.

Which is how I ended up as the caboose in a crazy choo choo train of tiny cart insanity. To those we ran down, I apologize. To those that looked at me like I’m crazy, yeah, you’re probably right. To those that muttered something under your breath like I couldn’t hear you, I could. I’m not even saying I disagree with what you said, but I heard you bitches, okay? To those that seemed entertained by us, thank you. And to those that gave me a look of, “Hell yeah, mama, you got this!,” a huge, huge, thank you. It was because of you that we made it. Because of you that I didn’t give up in the pasta aisle, just lay down on the floor and cry, and just GIVE. UP.

Instead we pushed on. Ate a banana. Found the beagle. Got our lollipops. Grabbed some stickers for the road. And got the F OUT OF TRADER JOES.   trader joes