koefoe party of 5, momlife, Tips & Hacks

How to Survive a Family Trip to Costco

It seems that every other weekend or so, my husband gets it in his head that we NEED something from Costco. A part of me seizes up inside because carts and samples and hot dogs and toys and clothes and so many things for the kids to ask for and so many places for them to get lost! Another part of me knows that I CANNOT send my husband alone because he will come home with a new TV, 96 beers, a giant tool chest, a squatty potty 2-pack and a gallon of potato salad. He will spend $800 and will not get the paper towels we were going for in the first place.

One might think, take a page from Jaymi’s playbook! Divide and conquer!! Check things off your list, girl! And I admit, that sounds good. But somewhere along the line we got into the habit of just being together all weekend. Even if that means five of us strolling through Costco trying not to lose each other. And for me, after five days of braving the day to day parenting alone, I want to attach to Chad like a barnacle and have him there to help deal with any tantrums, freakouts, blowouts, accidents, or injuries.costco shenanigans

So most Saturdays, after our family breakfast, we drive through the car wash (another family favorite) and then head to Costco. We’ve gotten it down to a bit of a science, so here’s what works for us – including a couple tips I KNOW you’ll love!!

1. Don’t be shy about the samples. I used to be so embarrassed to hover by the samples and get enough for Chad and the kids. No longer. I proudly announce that I’m with an entourage and take however many samples I need to survive until we get to the next aisle. Maybe even one for the road. It’s easier than having my kids throw a fit in the middle of the store. And guess what? No one cares! Except maybe the other people hovering waiting for free food, but guess what? I waited my turn patiently (I’ll turn into the sample police when it comes to waiting your turn) and they can wait for theirs. There will be more. Grab your stash and carry on.

2. Set limits about toys/books/craft supplies early. My kids go ape-shit for the books and toys at Costco. And they often have giant bins of some sort of crafts for sale. Unless you want eighty thousand puff balls and 40 baggies of glitter all over your house, set limits before you even get out of the car. I like to tell the kids they can get a book just to keep them happy. In our house we will (almost) always allow books. And a book or two is better than listening to my kids cry desperately for a GIANT BEAR THE SIZE OF MY CAR. We always give the bear a hug though. I’m not a monster.

3. Ask the cashier for an extra receipt. Yeah, you heard me right, your kids do NOT have to fight until the end of days over who gets to carry the receipt to the door and get a happy face. If you ask nicely, your cashier will print out a little extra paper so that each kid has their own!! This was maybe one of the most life-changing parenting tips I have ever received. So you’re welcome. Now, if your kids are like mine and decide to try to make the person working the exit play Pictionary with them I do not have help for you. But I do know sometimes they’ll draw a fish if you ask nicely.

4. At the food court – ask the cashier to cut your pizza slice in half. You know how the pizza slices at Costco are HUGE and your kids each want one and refuse to share? So you end up asking for a plastic knife and hacking through the thing like a bad slasher movie? No need my friends! If you ask, they will straight up slice your piece in half. AND give you an extra plate. You just gotta slide that over real stealth like and your kids have their own slice. I know. Life changing info here.

So yes, doing all the things as a family can be intimidating, but with a few tricks and tips, I promise it’s not as miserable as it sounds. And if it all backfired on you, the iced mocha at the food court isn’t half bad. You earned it.

costco

 

Bouncing Babies, Effing Four Year Olds, koefoe party of 5, momlife, Terrible Twos, The Salties

Introducing The Salties! Part Two

Yesterday you got to meet Jaymi’s little ones, and I know what you’re thinking: mic drop stuff. Trust me, I know. I love that little sassafras and my meatball like they were my own. It’s one of the many benefits of knowing someone’s kids basically since they were covered in vernix. (Too far? Sorry. But true). But ladies and gentledads, don’t write off the rest of the Salties just yet. Mine are kinda badass too.

So, without further adieu, I’d like you to meet my three: Cole, Evie and Izzie.

cole

Cole. Holy moly, where to start with Cole? Honestly, I’m not even sure.

Here’s the thing…I was actually supposed to be the one to post yesterday, but for the life of me I COULD NOT FIGURE OUT HOW TO DESCRIBE COLE. So you know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words? Here’s a picture that might help: C4 remix edition

This wasn’t something special. This was just like a Tuesday. He’s a performer that just wants to entertain and make people laugh. And damned if he doesn’t succeed every time. He loves to play in the dirt with toy dinosaurs and touches ALL the bugs, building them habitats and taking care of them like beloved pets. He also likes to wear costumes, sing, dance and get his nails painted. When you think you have him figured out, he will throw you a fastball. Oh yeah, he’s also like REALLY good at ball sports despite my great desire to never attend a little league baseball game. He’s also a really, REALLY good big brother, which is probably one of my favorite things about him. Also, dimples.

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Evie. My little Grumpy Cat. This girl was born with a scowl on her face and a naughty twinkle in her eye. Sometimes I feel like I’m in physical pain because of how cute she is and the rest of the time she is driving me nuts. I’m pretty sure she’s the former out of necessity of the latter. She’s very particular and knows what she wants. I have high hopes that this will serve her well as a young woman, despite being utter hell for her Mama during the toddler years. She loves to play in the dirt while wearing a dress and “farkle jelly shoes.” (See picture above). She’s lightened up considerably in her short two years, and now spends most of her time striving to be as silly as her brother. And she’s giving him a run for his money.

Izzie

Izzie. My little Love Nugget. She is leaps and bounds more snuggly than any of my other kids. I had high hopes that she was also going to be my most well-behaved child, but then she stared at me in the eyes and took two steps. The week she turned 9 months. So I’m pretty sure she’s decided to defect and join the Bigs in their attempts at mutiny.  At least after playing she always wants to come back to snuggle with Mama. She pretends to be shy, but loves anyone and everyone. She has stinky little feet, an ear piercing squeal, and thinks sleeping more than two hours at a time is for losers. But we love her anyway.

If you’d like to see more of our Salties, make sure you’re following us on Instagram @thesaltyamas and like us on Facebook!

Effing Four Year Olds, momlife, The Salties, The Wonderful Ones

Introducing the Salties (Part One)

I know every mom thinks their kids are the coolest, and I’m no exception. Mine are pretty awesome.  I mean, most days anyways. Other days I threaten to throw them both in the trashcan twice before 8 am. But that’s for another post. This post is for introducing you to my two little salties, the little cuties that made me a mama and the reason I drink have so much to say on this blog.

lila.jpg

Lila, Age Four- Lila is something.  That little girl started acting up in the womb, pressing her little booty against my tummy and shaking it for all the world to see. We promptly had to change her name from the sweet, demure Caroline we had planned to the takes-on-the-world-and-makes-no-apologies name Lila.  And she has not disappointed. Lila is petite, has this tiny voice, and has an incredible spark. My daughter is smart and fierce, she catches attention everywhere she goes, and is incredibly bossy shows amazing leadership skills. She loves making new friends, and can play with them for hours. She loves fashion and makeup, has five boyfriends at any given time, and loves nothing more than putting on a show for people.  She was born a diva, and she’s still going strong.

abra

Abram, Age One- Abe is still a baby, MY baby, but that doesn’t stop him from taking on the world. He’s a fully grown man trapped in a baby’s body. We call him The Meatball, and I am obsessed with his chubby little cheeks. He is bright and athletic, and is the boyishest boy the world has ever seen. He loves puppies, basketball, and cars. He wants to run, climb, and explore. He is easygoing, but adventurous.  Thank goodness he balances all that male energy with a soft, cuddly side that keeps him within mama’s reach most of the time.  He plays hard and with abandon, and then wants to snuggle in for some hugs and kisses before he’s off again.  He’s as quick with a smile as he is a pout, so Abram is sure to keep you on your toes.

 

So those are my two little Salties, but there’s more where that came from. There’ll be a whole other set of Salties to learn about tomorrow! In the meantime, we’d love to hear more about YOUR little Salties. Drop a comment to tell us about your babies below!

salties

Mama Mojo, momlife, parenting

The Shame of Having Your Sh!t Together

At this morning’s playdate, a little girl was on a mission to eat all the snacks. Her mom nervously laughed and was like, “you’d swear I didn’t feed her this morning! I promise, she had a full breakfast- eggs, sausage, hash browns- from scratch mind you- and she ate them all.”
And I swear to God, the entire playdate came to a screeching halt.
“UM, DID YOU JUST SAY YOU MADE FREAKING HASH BROWNS FROM SCRATCH?”
There was a quick moment of silence and then Christine, being Christine, initiated a slow clap while the mama blushed and pretty much immediately started backtracking.
“Well they were actually kind of easy. It wasn’t a big deal. And I don’t do it all the time. I happened to have time this morning.”
And then I’m like, hold on. When did it become embarrassing to have your shit together? Why is this poor lady ashamed of being AWESOME this morning??
I get it. Hot mess mom culture is in. We’ve turned the tides and are owning it. Messy buns? Hells yes. Messy house? Of course! Yoga pants? All day. Every day.
And you know what? That’s fine. Be a hot mess. Everyone is at some point. Lord knows I spend more than my share of time in the Hot Mess Mama Club. This job is hard, and we sure don’t need to be judging each other.
But also, we don’t need to be judging each other.
You shouldn’t have to be embarrassed that you are nailing this mom thing. You can take pride in a job well done without coming across as braggy, and you can tell your friends about what your life is like without people thinking you’re an asshole. Make your kids smoothies, or kale, or hash browns from scratch. Take them to the park, be screen-free, do an arts and crafts project every day. It’s okay to be a hot mess somedays, or all the days, but it’s also okay not to be. And unless you’re being a dick about it, you shouldn’t have to hear that you have too much time or your hands, or that you’re making everyone else look bad, or whatever it is that people might say to ward off their own insecurity. You’re doing fine, mama. More than fine. And frankly, we’re a little jealous.
And as for the rest of us- if another mom mentions that she is nailing this parenting thing, try to rein in your judgement and applaud her. Literally or figuratively. Because maybe tomorrow, you’ll be the badass making smoothies, and you’ll want a slow clap of your own.

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Effing Four Year Olds, Kids' Activities, koefoe party of 5, momlife, parenting, Terrible Twos

When Dance Parties Go Bad

The morning started out in our usual way. Mommy makes coffee for herself, breakfast for all the kids, makes Cole’s lunch while the kids eat, and then once the kids are done/too restless to eat without making a bigger mess than I’m prepared to handle we move to the living room for a dance party led by DJ Alexa.

IMG_20170718_074937287[281]Alexa Dance Party is usually a complete and total highlight of the day. It’s fun Mom shit. My kids think I’m cool and not all rigid and full of rules. I lipsync to Trolls and Moana and put on a performance reminiscent of Britney in her heyday. I’m a pretty big deal for a few minutes each morning. The kids giggle and clap and dance and sing along and we all just have FUN.

Sometimes, when the party is really rockin’ and rollin’ I sneak out to go to the bathroom in peace. Inevitably this is when the party gets REAL real fast.  Usually it’s something I know how to handle: “Evie ate my banana.” “Cole knocked me over because he was dancing too much.” “Evie won’t dance with me.” “Cole is singing too loud.”

Here’s another banana, say you’re sorry, try dancing with Izzie, sing louder too.

I can field those all day long. I was not prepared for this mornings fight. I ran out of the bathroom to INCONSOLABLE SCREAMS from 2/3 of the children. I breathed a sigh of relief upon realizing at least the baby was happy. One point for Mommy. The other two were simultaneously screaming something about Trolls.

Mommy: Kids, kids, kids, what’s the problem?

Evie: Cole wants to listen to Trolls!

Cole: But EVIE wants to listen to Trolls!

Mommy: Okay, I don’t understand, you both want to listen to Trolls?

Evie: YES! But it’s MY TURN to pick!

Mommy: Okay, so pick Trolls.

Evie: But COLE wants to listen to Trolls.

Mommy: Okay, Alexa, play music from Trolls soundrack.

Cole: NOOOOO I want to listen to Trolls!

Evie: NO! It’s MY turn, I want to listen to Trolls!

Mommy: I’m so lost. You both want to listen to Trolls, but you won’t listen to Trolls because the other one ALSO wants to listen to Trolls?

Both kids (wailing): YEEEEEESSSSSSSSSS

What. The. Fuck?

I, of course, sent my Salty Mama Jaymi a play by play of this insanity that was my 20182465_10214046646946561_1450931712_o (2)morning to which she calmly and rationally responded: “Kids literally just want to make us crazy.”

And somehow, that made it better. My stubborn side came out, I dug in my heels, and played freaking Trolls. They screamed louder because they HATED that the other one was happy, even when it was really what they wanted. They threw themselves on the ground and then they decided to – yes, I’m going to go there – get back up again.

IMG_20170717_074305750[278]They just couldn’t help themselves. As quickly as it all went to hell, it went back again. In a few minutes, we were back to normal: I was painting my sons nails while breastfeeding Izzie…but that, my friends, is a post for another day.

Probably a day where the kids fight over who gets to tell Alexa they want to listen to Shiny from Moana. Because Lord knows they’ll both want to.

 

Mama Mojo, MicroLuxuries, momlife, parenting

MicroLuxuries

Imagine, if you will, a delicious three day cruise with your best girlfriends. You buy some tickets, pack some things, kiss your kids goodbye, and sail off into the wild blue yonder. I’m talking about three days of independence, doing things on your own time, eating meals you don’t have to cook and drinking cocktails that are included in your package, and spending SO.MUCH.TIME. with your best friends. The lap of luxury here, folks, or at least the closest thing to it that an exhausted mommy can get.
And then you go home. And basically immediately, it’s back to wiping booties and buying your daughter clearance-aisle Lunchables for a treat.
So, yeah, it was a harsh awakening.
But once I was back on land and thinking back to the cruise, do you know what I missed the most? Reading a book on the deck. Drinking a hot latte with a few more sugars than I usually allow myself. A ten minute chat with a friend. Going swimming. Eating French toast every single day. And I mean, what the hell, guys. It’s not like my favorite part was shopping for diamonds. These were things that are absolutely attainable within my every day life, I just don’t do them.
So I decided to start doing them. Every day, giving into at least one micro-luxury. I sucked it up and took my kids swimming at the YMCA, then soaked up some sun afterwards while they played. I saved up and bought myself a sweet Ninja coffee bar system (via Ebates, using coupon codes, while earning Kohl’s cash and Yes2YouRewards. Obviously.) and made myself some fancy-ass coffee. I put my kids in the childcare at the gym and then sat on the patio and bullet journaled all by myself. And then a few days later, I called up Christine, made a couple of lattes, and we stuck ALL of our kids in the gym’s childcare, and we sat on the patio together and drank coffee and had a little friend date of our own making. I made myself delicious French toast while the baby was sleeping and Lila was at playgroup, and I just sat there and ate it. I went to cocktails with a friend once the kids were asleep. Like real people do. Things started changing, I started taking advantage of more little snippets of time throughout the day, and it gave me the balls to carve out increasingly larger chunks of time for myself. And little by little, I am starting to remember what life was like before kids, and to take back the parts of that life that I miss the most. Because they’re still out there. I just had to start getting them.
So yes, I was very lucky that I got to go on an amazing vacation with my best gals, and visited the lap of luxury for a couple of days. But I am even more lucky that it reminded me that are a million tiny luxuries within my grasp all the time, and that I just have to make them happen.
A few of my favorite little indulgences…
• Make yourself a fancy coffee. Even if you don’t have the coffee bar, it is totally doable to add some foam or flavored syrup to your daily brew.
• Give yourself a pedicure. I like to add these cheap little stickers and pretend a talented nail artist put them on there in a salon.
• Take a detox spa bath and put on a charcoal mask. The more ridiculous looking, the better.
• Sit on your patio/in your front yard/at a park with a smuggled cocktail and a good book.
• Take advantage of the childcare in a gym, either for working out, or if your gym permits it, for not working out. I mean, my gym calls itself a wellness center, and being kid-free for an hour makes me WELL.
• Make yourself some French toast. Or buy yourself a donut. Whatever floats your boat.
• Take turns hosting wine dates with your friends when the kids are asleep. Put them to bed, give your hubby a kiss, and head out. We take turns in our little circle- if your husband goes out of town, you buy a bottle of wine, make some brownies, and open the place up to your best gals.
• Find some kind of exercise you enjoy. A Zumba class with friends, or a yoga class that makes you relax all the way down to your toes. I am a regular treadmiller, but once every couple of weeks I make a point to go for a run in the evening, just me and my dog, and it feels like a teeny tiny vacation from the monotony of the gym.
• Take a minute to write down the things you love to do and just don’t do. Maybe it’s going to a comedy club, or hitting the beach, or sewing a quilt. And figure out a way to make it happen, soon. Start actively saving up for it, talk to your spouse about how to fit it in, calendar some time to get it done. Even if you can’t do it RIGHT NOW, taking steps to make sure it happens soon can feel pretty damn indulgent.

 

Which do you want to try? And what would you add to the list?

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Kids' Activities, momlife, parenting, vacation

Road Tripping

So I’m not trying to brag or anything, but…well I totally am. I’m shamelessly going to proclaim myself the queen of road trips, because everyone has gifts, and this may well be mine. My family ROCKS at road trips.

No, I’m totally just kidding. I’m currently writing this while draped over my crying one year old, making shushing sounds in his ear. So for sure I don’t have it all figured out.

But I will say that my kids have been road tripping since infancy. We drive two hour stretches very often, like monthly. And we’ve taken many, many 9+ hour trips, from when we had one tiny baby to today. Like, TODAY today.

Anyways, so I’m not an expert, but I am very experienced. Here’s a few tips, so you can gain from my wisdom learn from my mistakes.

Phase One: prep within an inch of your life (your sanity may depend upon it). Bring so many more snacks than you ever dreamed (fruit and cheese for early on, then goldfish and pretzels, and chips and fruit snacks. You’ll want options). Bring drinks. They shouldn’t be alcoholic, though you’ll wish they were. Raid the dollar store, or more than one if you have time. Buy self-contained projects, toys, candy. Buy stickers, crayons, dry erase markers, magnets and a cookie sheet, window clings. Buy everything, because on hour nine you would pay ANYTHING to keep the kids from crying and/or screaming. $1 is the bargain of a lifetime. Also pack quarters and dollar bills, in case you need to bribe them reward their good behavior.

Phase Two: Do nothing. For as long as possible. Look out the windows. Try not to entertain your kids in any way. You might (hopefully) be surprised. Our last road trip, this phase lasted an hour and a half. Valuable time when I wasn’t using up all my pre-prepped stuff.

Phase Three: move on to classic road trip games. 20 questions for the older kids, I Spy for the littles. Take turns counting (you say 1, they say 2, and so on) or saying the alphabet. Play Peekaboo. Sing all the songs.

Phase Four: bust out the most boring activity you brought. Probably a book or coloring. Draw it out.

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Phase Five: time for a more exciting activity, like sticker mosaics, magnetic games, or a sticker book. Or maybe a new toy. Whatever you think will give your kids some hope on a dark, dark day.

Phase Six: start doling out the snacks. Puffs, Little Crunchies, and pouches for your solid-food-eating babies. Pretzels, raisins, and granola bars for the older kids.

Phase Seven: try to cycle back through the other steps. Pray it works. Cry a little when they aren’t looking. Regroup.

Phase Eight: electronics. Time to bring out the apps, the DVD players, and the downloaded shows. Now is not the time for high horses. It’s the time for survival.

Phase Nine: try and cycle through the tips. Again. You’re almost out of tricks, and you’re not. even.close.

lollipops

Tip Ten:  I hope you brought alllll the candy. And did not tell the children about it, or let them see it. This candy was to be secretly reserved for an emergency. Now it’s an emergency. Draw it out. Make them guess what the surprise is before you show them. Make them pick a hand. Spend ten minutes where they keep not guessing the right hand and they giggle (hopefully). When you finally produce the goods,  dole out one piece at a time in exchange for answering trivia questions. Or as prizes for who can keep their eyes closed longest. Or whatever you can think of. This is your last hope, and you’ve got to make it last.

Or rather, I’VE got to make it last. For the next hour  or so. We’re on hour ten of an eleven hour trip, and I’m fresh out of candy… And patience. Wish me luck.

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momlife, side hustle

Full Disclosure

There’s something I need to tell you.  Mostly because I don’t want us to get too far into…whatever THIS is (don’t worry, you don’t need to DTR with me 😉) and feel like I duped you. Because if I DON’T tell you, one day you’ll be reading and go, wait a minute, this chick is trying to sell me something!

I’m not. I swear.

BUT, like so many good stay at home Mom’s before me, one day I decided that I needed something, ANYTHING to fill the void and make me feel like I was contributing monetarily to my household. Sure, I had my micro hustles, but I was going to go down the rabbit hole and, you know what I’m going to say, right? “Own my own business!”

Half of you just groaned and rolled your eyes and the other half just gave me a mompreneur fist pump in the air and remembered that you needed to post something inspirational on your businesses Facebook page. Let me save you some time. Here, use this:

inspiration

Where were we? Ah yes, you’re on PINS AND NEEDLES waiting to find out what I hock! Is it skincare? Nah, my friend Jennifer is our local R&F Goddess Superstar. Am I going to sell you some buttery soft goodness? Nope, I can hardly keep my house together without storing inventory! I WISH I could tell you I had a beautifully Younique face, but I am terrible about keeping up appearances (but I have a gal for that too!) It’s not candles or oils or cleaning products – oh my!

No, I sell bags. Purses. Totes. Thermals. Home organization. Yes, I’m a bona fide bag lady, or as we prefer to be called, an “Independent Consultant” with Thirty One Gifts.

Truth be told? My girlfriends all loved the stuff and the consultant we normally bought from was moving away. Rather than keep buying from her, I figured, hey, I could sell this stuff to my friends! PLUS, I’ll get a discount on all the stuff I want! So, badabing badaboom – bought the start up kit and here we are!

Do I still love the stuff? I really, truly do. And I use it a lot. So if I post pictures of me schlepping all my kids to the beach and you think, wait a minute, she’s trying to 10979977cfe1356a2206af6884c5618e--thirty-one-disney-my-thirty-one.jpgadvertise her shit! No, I really take eleventy different 31 bags to the beach. A picture of my kid throwing a tantrum with what appears to be a conveniently located pile of 31 in the corner? Nah, I probably just haven’t put it away since my last party – much to my husband’s annoyance I’m sure. And once in a while, we’re going to do posts where we recommend products. What do Jaymi and I use for our bullet journal organization? What do we use for busy bags? What all do we take on car trips? And sometimes – not all the time – but SOMETIMES, it’s gonna be 31 stuff. Because, honest to God that’s what we really use.

Plus, YOU can benefit from my side gig friends! Because just yesterday I bought a couple things for some upcoming giveaways, so stay tuned! If you love Thirty One we’ll have a chance for you to get your hands on some more. If you’ve never tried it, well here’s a shot to win some for free!

So if you see something you love, sure I can help you get it. I can help you find a local consultant near you. You can say, that’s cool, I also sell Thirty One sistah! You can tell me I suck and share your idea of a better product or solution. All totally cool with me. Well, except telling me I suck. That would bum me out a bit, but you do you.

So there’s the truth. I’m a complete and total Mommy cliché. And now with a blog. Wearing a shirt that says “Naptime is My Happy Hour” as I type this. But you know what? I freaking love every bit of it.

koefoe party of 5, momlife, The Daddys, Traditions

For the Love of Being Right

Things you should know about me:

  • I LOVE to be right.
  • I HATE to be wrong.

I know, most of us do, but I’m brave enough to admit that I can be kind of, well, obnoxious about it. I’m also incredibly stubborn. I know, it’s an incredibly attractive combination ain’t it? But I try, oh how I try, to not say, “I told you so.” Especially often. Especially to my husband. Lucky for me, said husband is also phenomenally stubborn, so we’re really two peas in a pod. He also is one of those delightful people that has to learn things the hard way. There is no amount of talking that will convince him that his way is not the right way.

So while I fretted about our trip to the cabin for weeks, he quickly dismissed my concerns, telling me not to worry about it. We were going with some of his family, and the quarters are somewhat cramped. I asked him repeatedly to make a couple calls to find out what the sleeping arrangements were. I do better being able to visualize where I’m going to sleep, where my kids are going to sleep, and depending on their proximity to me, how much alcohol to bring to survive.

Kidding.

Sort of.

He said we’d figure it out when we got there and it wouldn’t be a big deal. I took a deep breath, and chose to trust him.

I was worried about my husband’s expectations for the week…he wanted to take Cole fishing. He wanted us to go on a family hike to the Wishbone tree – a 45 minute hike each way. He wanted us to stay up and cook s’mores and share his love of the great outdoors with our kids. I worried about the record breaking river levels and it’s speed. I hate hiking and was skeptical our 2 and 4 year olds would be up for the trek. I warned that if we let them go too many days without a nap and staying up late they’d turn into actual literal monsters. They may grow horns and extra eyes, I don’t know, I just know that it’s not advised to try.

He thought I was just being negative.

He grew up at the cabin. He knew what he was doing. I’d see.

Now this is where you have to decide, dear reader: Which of us stubborn ass people won the day and got to be right?

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Have I built up enough suspense??

Okay, I won’t make you wait any longer…..

ME!

That’s right. Me. This is NOT one of those posts where I realize that my kids are lovely, that my husband is capable and thoughtful, that I just need to take the road less traveled and be brave and bend the rules and not be such a rigid, negative, naggy B of a wife.

No, this is a post where the moral of the story is TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!

Because here’s what happened our first night: The baby was asleep, a minor miracle with all the excitement of a new place, the kids were just finishing up a movie, their beds set up, and we had almost made it to bedtime. And then it happened. My husband’s Aunt and a carful of teenagers pulled up. They came in the house, guns of excitement blazing, woke up the baby, amped up the other kids and killed any chance my husband had of being right.

We had arrived first and taken the “Master” room, as it was the largest room and we, the largest family. But apparently that room wasn’t to stay ours for long and we had to cede it to the Aunt who basically complained until we gave up. So then we had to move the beds – the ones we had set up for all three of our kids, shown to them, explained how this was the place they’d be sleeping, etc. – to the other, much smaller, room. The teenagers were to sleep up the ladder in the attic. A ladder that the teens had to go up and down one hundred thousand times in the first seven minutes of being there. A ladder that is VERY enticing to 2 and 4 year olds. 2 and 4 year olds that are supposed to be going to sleep even. Especially?

Three hours later, we had the baby back down and the other 2 were wavering between complete and total exhaustion and an undeniable desire to be outside around the campfire with their cousins. A delightful combination let me assure you.

The first morning went a little better…because pancakes are generally a uniting force no matter your age or how much sleep you got the night before.

And then we went on Daddy’s hike of his dreams. We slathered on sunscreen and deet, I put the baby in her carrier and we put the 2 year old in the hiking backpack. Off we went! And everyone LOVED it. For four minutes. We got hot, but we trudged on. The kids got heavy, but we trudged on. We got hungry and THIRSTY, but we trudged on. And then we found a GOD DAMNED ROTTING MOUNTAIN LION CARCASS. We did not trudge on. Cole burst into tears, and stubborn Daddy started to crack realizing this whole thing was a terrible mistake. I may have never loved him more than when he latched onto the giant dead animal on the trail as an excuse to turn around and head back.

As we walked back Daddy said, “Well, you’re a trooper.”

“And?”

“And this has been kind of a mess.”

“And?”

“And it’s been a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.”

“And? Come on…give it to me…..”

“And you were right.”

“Thank you!!!”

God, I love to be right. But sometimes I really wish we didn’t have to live out all the wrong to get to the right…

Cleaning, momlife

The Heirarchies of Cleanliness

I feel like everyone can relate to the panic of impending houseguests.  First, there’s nonchalance. “Oh you’re in our neighborhood, how fun! You should stop by.” Then there’s the cold sweat of panic as you exclaim, in a high-pitched voice, “Yay, this is so exciting! What a fun surprise!” And then there’s the sense of doom that sets in. You look around your house. You die a little inside. And then you run around your house like a damn crazy person, trying to strategically decide what to tackle first. The dishes in the sink look awful, for example, but the duck potty full of pee in the living room and the dog food your toddler was having for a snack might prompt someone to alert the authorities. So yeah, you hit that first.  And then spiral as far as you can before you hear the slam of a car door and pray to God your daughter flushed the toilet the last time she pooped.

But there are hierarchies to this whole thing, too. What I have to clean depends entirely upon who is coming over.  There’s a range there, from Christine all the way down to my mother-in-law, and how I clean for each group adjusts accordingly.

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When Christine is coming over: put out more dog food. Her kids might want a snack, too.

Mommy friends for a playdate: Definitely flush the toilet. Remove the duck potty of pee. Put away things that are breakable or suddenly “very special” to Lila.  Brew a very full pot of coffee.  Forget about the toys and the dishes and the floors, this playdate is only gonna worsen those scenarios and you don’t want to do it twice.

Neighbors for a playdate: Ask yourselves, are their moms coming? Or will they stop by later to collect the kids? Dishes are fine, and toy messes are expected, but you should sweep the floors.  Throw your unfolded laundry pile into a laundry basket or something. Wipe down the bathroom real quick in case they happen upon it. 

Out of Towners You Haven’t Seen in a While: Oh boy. Time to go full tilt on the common areas. All of the above, plus clean the kitchen. Make sure their pictures are still up in your friend-collage-frame (you don’t want them to think you forgot about them).  They don’t see you often, so yeah, they’re gonna judge your house.  You don’t want them leaving saying, “wow, they’re kind of letting things go, huh?” Cause they really might.

People Who Have Never Been to Your House Before: Oh God. Now you have to try to clean furiously, as mentioned above, but you also have to clean your shower and make your bed, because those people may ask for a tour. They may want to see what your shower looks like after the remodel. So bleach the grout while you’re in there. Scrub your damn baseboards.  Wipe down your blinds, they may inspect them and say, “are these real wood,” and you don’t want to have to awkwardly laugh and say, “no, just real dirty, ahahahahaha.” And now you will probably try to hang those pictures you’ve been meaning to get to and fluff your pillows and stuff, because the house is the window to your soul or something.  You want your house to reinforce the image you’ve been attempting to project to the world, and not scream out “Fraud! Fraud! FRAUD!” Time. To. Hustle.

Mother-In-Law: Just burn the house down. It’s the only way.