Cheapskating, Kids' Activities, microhustle, momlife, parenting, The Salties, Tips & Hacks, Traditions

Micro Hustle Monday: The Pumpkin Fairy

Today’s Micro Hustle won’t actually make you any money, but it can save you big bucks, and isn’t that kind of the same thing? Also, it’s a Hustle on your kids, which – I think it’s safe to say – we’re all on board for every once in a while! Enjoy! 

Ask any Mama what she loves about the fall, and nestled somewhere between a Grande PSL and putting on a cozy sweater will be taking the kids to the pumpkin patch. Because kids and pumpkins are adorable. Need proof? Fine.

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Moving on…

The pumpkin patch is AWESOME. Whether yours is in the middle of a city and has carnival style rides, a petting zoo and a concession stand or is out in the country and has apple launchers, a corn maze and homemade cider, every one is full of fun for the family.

Also, EXPENSIVE PUMPKINS.

Yes, the seedy underbelly of the pumpkin patch operation is insanely expensive pumpkins. And while you’re there for the adorable photo ops, your kids are probably there for the expensive stuff – like the rides, treats, and pumpkins. The pain that I feel in my heart – and my wallet – as I hand over a credit card to pay $20+ for a pumpkin that I can get for $3.99 at the grocery store is palpable. But what else can you do? It’s a pumpkin patch – you can’t just leave without a pumpkin!

But you can leave without a GIANT pumpkin…..

Enter…..The Pumpkin Fairy!

Oh you don’t know about the Pumpkin Fairy? Well let me introduce her to you! Because she may very well change your life at the Pumpkin Patch this year!  You see the Pumpkin Fairy is a beautiful and magical fairy that can turn tiny (read: cheap) pumpkins from the pumpkin patch into big, beautiful pumpkins – overnight!

Confession: The Pumpkin Fairy isn’t real, folks. But it can be real in your house this year if you follow these steps!

First – you gotta sell this to your kids. Start laying the groundwork immediately. Tonight, when you put them to bed, don’t forget to tell them about the legend of the Pumpkin Fairy! She’s beautiful, with orange hair and a dress made from pumpkin seeds and the stringy stuff inside the gourds! And every October she visits all the little children to turn their baby pumpkins into big magical pumpkins! (This may be harder if your kids are used to picking out a giant pumpkin at the patch, but you can talk them into it – I believe in you! I mean, who wants one of those big pumpkins, when you can have a pumpkin that has been made out of magic???)22523653_10214869927088050_2006313105_n

Then you go to the patch. Remind them of the new plan – tiny pumpkins kids! The cheaper smaller, the better! Let them pick any pumpkin they want out of that bargain bin!

When you get home, find a nice easy spot to put your pumpkins! Don’t do something stupid like put them under pillows. The Pumpkin Fairy is a LOT bigger than the Tooth Fairy and isn’t as good at sneaking around- especially after a glass of wine or two. The porch is an excellent spot.

Then, tuck the kids in.

Have a glass of wine and watch Real Housewives while you wait for them to fall asleep. You’ll be kicking yourself next year, and spending big bucks, if you get caught. Then – swap out those pumpkins with the grocery store ones you’re hiding in the trunk of the car. If you want to get REAL fancy, sprinkle some glitter around. Fairies are notorious for getting glitter on everything.

And that’s it! You saved a ton of money and made a Pinterest-worthy tradition that will have you looking like a) a money saving genius and b) Mom of the Year.

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Don’t forget, now through October 31 you can enter to win some of our favorite things! Read here for more info and click here to enter The Salty Mamas Favorite Things Giveaway! Good luck!

#fall #pumpkins #pumpkinpatch #pumpkinfairy #cheapskate #savemoney #momlife #falldecor
Let the Pumpkin Fairy help you save big bugs this year on your trip to the pumpkin patch!
Bouncing Babies, Effing Four Year Olds, Kids' Activities, Terrible Twos, The Salties, The Wonderful Ones, Threenagers, Tips & Hacks

9 Ways to Play with Rocks

My kids have thousands of dollars worth of games and toys and arts and crafts and I even am not above allowing some indulgent screen time. But the fact is, at the end of the day, they love dirt and sticks and rocks. Yeah, rocks. Which – don’t get me wrong – I love. I love SO much, I want to pass that love of rocks on to you! So here are nine fun ways for your little ones to play with rocks.

  1. Paint them. Rock painting is so in right now. Seriously. It seems that it’s t22447575_10102454468377797_269538747_nhe hot kid  craft on Pinterest. And it’s hot for a reason. Because kids love to paint rocks. Whether your kids want to paint ladybugs or pumpkins or just go nuts free form, kids will love it. Plus, you can do it outside, which is extra awesome because you aren’t going to ruin your dining room table. We even have some friends whose kids love to paint rocks with WATER. I mean, you literally can’t get a cleaner craft than that! It’s. Just. WATER. And rocks. World’s easiest cleanup ever.
  2. Tic-Tac-Toe. My 4 year old is obsessed with Tic-Tac-Toe right now. Which means there are sheets of paper all over my house like confetti with scribbles all over them. So you know what’s boss? A reusable tic-tac-toe board. Even better? One that’s in my yard, that I only have to draw once, and then can use rocks for our “X’s” and “O’s.”
  3. Stacking. All three of my kids love to stack things – anything! They also love to compete with each other. Who can make the highest stack of rocks? Who can keep the tower balanced? Who will knock it over? There are so many variations even in different ways to just stack the rocks. And endless entertainment!IMG_20170826_103408267
  4. Carrying them back and forth. Okay, I know what you’re thinking, “Hey, this list just jumped the shark. These chicks think my kids will be entertained by carrying rocks back and forth across my yard.” And maybe you’re right. Maybe your kid won’t do it. But we’re here to tell you that we literally sat in Jaymi’s backyard and watched our kids carry rocks from a bucket to a pile AND BACK AGAIN for like 45 minutes last week. I think they made some sort of a secret game out of it, but they didn’t clue the adults in on the rules. All I know is those rocks were on the move in the hot little hands of our kids. Kids that got wiped out from all that rock carrying. So, SOLD.
  5. Rock Hunt. This one’s pretty simple: Do just what it sounds like. Hide those rocks and let the kids find them. As one of our kids’ friends announced the other day, “You don’t have to wait for Easter to do an Easter egg hunt!” True that, Muriel! Egg hunts are great one day a year, but rock hunts – those are a classic the other 364.
  6. Steal the Bacon. Remember sweating on the blacktop waiting for your number to be called so you could race to grab a blackboard eraser? Well, we’re fresh out of blackboard erasers at our house. But we got rocks! And whether it’s a group of kids at a playdate or just two of mine facing off head to head, a race for the rock is a big hit. More bonus points for this one being another tiring activity. With basically no setup, no cleanup and the only parental involvement being to yell, “GO!”
  7. Rocks as Cooking Ingredients. Stone soup isn’t just a classic story about a selfish
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    You can never have too many cooks in a stone soup kitchen!

    town that is tricked into sharing their soup. It’s also a culinary classic in our backyard. Stones, leaves, dirt all create a “delicious” base to be stirred with sticks. This one takes some more parental involvement (I admit I’m wayyyyyy over pretending to slurp soup and report how delicious it is) and can be significantly messier than some of the other options, but my kids are all about getting messy, so bring it on!

  8. Story Garden. A story garden is the perfect way to bring your kids’ imaginative play outside. This one’s a two parter, but worth it! First, see #1 and paint those bad boys. You can paint anything you want on the stones – houses, animals, boats, foods, cars, bugs, rainbows, shapes, people – you name it! Then, make stories! The possibilities are ENDLESS with what you can create! Here’s a few ways to play with them compiled by The Artful Parent and we’re partial to this cute Hungry Caterpillar set which is perfect for retelling.
  9. Rock Toss. Only to be played if you trust your kids won’t chuck the rocks straight at your head, their siblings heads, their friends heads, etc. Once that’s established, my kids dig this one. We use a hula hoop as the place to toss rocks and we start a foot or two away from the hoop. Each kid gets to toss a rock into the hoop. After they make that shot, they step back. And back. And back. And back. Until they miss at which point we start over. My competitive little kids love the challenge of this. Once the hula hoop has been mastered, you can always make smaller targets with anything you have around the house!

Now go find some rocks, and have some fun!

#rocks #paintedrocks #stonesoup #pretendplay #childhoodunplugged #toddlers #preschoolers #kids #outdoorplay #imaginativeplay #getoutside #letthembelittle
Get outside and have fun with these EASY ways to play with rocks – that your kids will LOVE!

 

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.
Crafty Mamas, Mama Loves a Party, The Salties, Tips & Hacks

Putting the GOOD Back in Goodie Bags

I.Hate. Goodie Bags.

There I said it.

Controversial? Sure. But true. SO FREAKING TRUE. I just want them gone. But as I stare at an ominous October calendar that has a giant star on October 8, my youngest daughter’s first birthday party, I start to waver in my conviction. Because as much as I don’t want to make them, I know there will be kids that expect them. Hell, there will be parents that expect them.

I’ve given into the Goodie Bag monster before. At my sons second birthday I made little 11401548_10207121368018916_8004798448923372245_ncanvas bags, complete with each child’s name on them. A dinosaur themed event, each kid got “fossil dig” brushes – each with painstakingly Cricut-ed labels – and of course, the homemade salt dough fossils to go with them. There were bubble wants and homemade crayons in the shape of dinosaurs. And I’m not gonna lie, it was ADORABLE. But looking back, Good God was it a lot of work!

By the time I got to my second child’s first birthday party at the end of December, each kid got one coloring calendar. Because easy.

Three days away from the seventh birthday party in my resume, and I’m ready to throw in the towel and say eff it. I’m afraid I’m not going to get my dream of saying goodbye to the goodie bags, so here are a few Do’s and Don’ts for putting the GOOD back in Goodie Bag! Continue reading “Putting the GOOD Back in Goodie Bags”

Kids' Activities, koefoe party of 5, momlife, parenting, The Salties, Threenagers, Traditions

Halloween Hysteria

As a proper 21st century Mom living in a Pinterest world, I start thinking about Halloween in about March. Not because I’m going to do anything crazy like come up with handmade family costumes that I’m going to start working on or anything. No, I’ve just got to come up with a concept so that by the time September rolls around I have a fully flushed out idea of what kind of family costume I’m going to buy. Because every year I have it in my head that THIS is the year that everyone’s going to want to collaborate on something. Plus, October is BUSY. Like, super busy. We have our wedding anniversary, my birthday, oh, and I was due to have a baby October 5th. So I figured if I could get us all organized, you know, BEFORE I had the baby that would be ideal.

Last year was the year of 1,001 ideas. We were going to have Mommy, Daddy, 3 year old Cole, an almost 2 year old Evie, and a tiny baby girl – who we estimated would be about three and a half weeks old. And man – OH MAN – did I have ideas!

Pitch ideas included:

Circus: Daddy – Ringleader, Cole – Strong Man, Evie – tightrope walker, Mommy – Lion tamer, Baby as lion!

Zootopia: Daddy – Chief Bogo, Cole – Nick Wild, Evie – Judy Hopps, Mommy – Gazelle, BABY AS BELLWEATHER! (Side note: I DIE for babies dressed as lambs!)

USC Inspired: Daddy -Coach, Cole –  Football player, Evie – Cheerleader, Mommy – Referee, BABY AS MY YELLOW FLAG!!!

Wizard of Oz: Daddy – Scarecrow, Cole – Cowardly Lion, Evie – Tin(wo)man, Mommy – Dorothy, BABY AS TOTO! How cute would that be???

But alas, NONE of my ideas stuck.

I spent hours, days, weeks, begging my kids to tell me what they’d like to be. Something fun, cool, creative! But Cole wanted to be a ghost. I took to Pinterest and showed him every ghost I could. I scoured Amazon, Costco and eventually Halloween stores. Nothing. That was not what he wanted. He wanted to be just a regular ghost. Not a scary ghost or a happy ghost or Casper the friendly ghost. He specifically wanted to be “a sheet ghost.” I tried to change his mind up until about 3:00 on Halloween afternoon. I just knew he was going to change his mind at the last minute. He swore he wouldn’t, so I went and found an old white sheet. I held it up and showed him and he said, “Yep, just like that.” I asked what to do and he instructed me to cut two eyes – and that’s it. That was how he wanted his ghost. We adjusted the length, and ended up cutting slits for his arms.

As we got ready to go trick-or-treating, I grabbed his Buzz Lightyear costume and shoved it in my purse – just in case he got tired of his ghost costume, or decided once he saw all kids dressed as Catboy and Spiderman and all the Paw Patrol dogs he’d be wondering why he was just wearing a freaking sheet.

But I was wrong.

LORDY was I wrong.

The kid was the happiest ghost you have ever seen. He ran from house to house, LOVING Halloween. He was soooo proud of his costume and would announce at every house, “I’m a GHOST! But not a real ghost – just pretend!” And as I watched him, and laughed, and just LOVED that little boy, I realized that’s what Halloween is about.

It’s not about the perfect family costume. It’s about finding pure joy in a busted old sheet.

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#Halloween #costumes #fall #kids #kidscostumes #familycostumes
The countdown to Halloween is ON. Read about how Christine got all kinds of caught up in the Pinterest Perfect Halloween last year. And why she gave up.
momlife, The Salties, Threenagers, Tips & Hacks, Why We're Salty

Picture Day Preparations. And Why to Let Them Go.

Last year was my son’s first school picture day. And I. Was. Ready. I may have a lot of Mom fails – I don’t have the perfect set of first day of school traditions. I have forgotten for a solid year to prep my son’s emergency kit. Today I didn’t realize until it was too late that I had basically nothing for my kids’ lunches. But picture day? That’s one of those days that I ROCK. Shopping, practicing, pep talking to the kids – we slay picture day. But now, a year later, I realize that I had put a tad bit too much pressure onto picture day.

My guess is, you have to. We all do. But we NEED TO STOP. So here are three things to just LET GO of on picture day.

1. The perfect outfit.
If my Mom had it her way, I would have worn a corduroy jumper every year on picture day until I graduated college. I hated it. Because I was not a corduroy jumper girl. I’m sure that on more than one occasion I screamed at her, “I’ll NEVER make my kids wear a stupid corduroy jumper if they don’t want to!” Fast forward to Cole’s first picture day. And no, I did not make my son wear a jumper.

But damned if I did not force him into FREAKING. CORDUROY. PANTS. Like, is there some weird genetic inclination in my family?? I don’t know. All I know is that my son – who had NEVER worn corduroy before – was wearing it on picture day. And he hated it.

Looking back? I should probably have let him pick what he wanted to wear. Because it’s HIS picture day too. A snap in time of who HE is. Not who Mommy was making him be. Even if just for a day.
2. Hair.
Okay, I’m not saying have your kid roll out of bed and head off to picture day. Run a brush through that bad boy. Maybe even bust out some product. Have a girl? Have an entire treasure chest full of clips and headbands that she refuses to wear? Bad news – she ain’t gonna suddenly love headbands and hair clips just because it really means a lot to you today. Maybe you can bribe her. Maybe he’ll agree. But keep your expectations LOW.

I killed myself and got into the biggest fight my son and I have ever had over his hair that morning. In the end, it was perfect. He was so. Freaking. Handsome.

And then I got the proofs of the picture. And wondered what the hell happened. Because his head looked like it had been through a blender. So unless your kid is going to sit in a chair with their hands strapped down until the picture is taken? It’s probably not worth the grief.

3. Smile.
Fun fact: There is NOTHING your kid will love more than you yelling at them to “smile!,” and then telling them they’re doing it wrong.

Follow up: Your kid’s smile will actually NOT get more natural if you tell them repeatedly, “That isn’t your real smile! It doesn’t look natural!”

Photographers generally know what they’re doing. They can make your kid laugh. And if they can’t, none of your coaching is going to change that. Trust me. I coached Cole all day and he had his smile down. It was amazing. And let me tell you – I ended up with not a single one of those well-rehearsed smiles.

Truth be told? Some of my favorite pictures – of my kids and my friends – are the one’s where they’re not smiling! Especially if they’re not smiley kids! Evie was a GRUMPY CAT when she was a baby. She was born with a pouty bottom lip. So when we went and got professional pictures taken and I chose to keep one with her resting B face, the photographer couldn’t understand it. But that’s what she looks like! That’s the face I’m going to want to remember forever, way more than a fake plastered smile.

I know what you’re thinking, uh, Christine – outfit, hair and smile are basically ALL the elements of picture day. What am I supposed to stress out about then?

Nothing.

Just let it be.

Easy for me to say? Maybe. Or maybe I say it because I tried. I tried so hard. I had the perfect outfit. We got his hair to be on point. And he left the house with a picture perfect smile that would make you swoon. And then, even then, we got…..the picture.

And now, I present to you, the best, most epic, you WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED EVEN WITH ALL THE HYPE school picture, you may have ever seen. Just let it all soak in. You’re welcome. And happy picture day.

 

The Most EPIC School Pic EVER!
Trying to get the “perfect” school picture? We were too – and got this!
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
koefoe party of 5, momlife, parenting, The Salties, Why We're Salty

My Clock is Ticking

NO! Not my biological clock!! I’ve had three kids since 2013 and would very much like a break! No, unfortunately I’m counting down to something absolutely terrifying. I have nine years – or 8 years, 8 months and 21 days to be exact – until I get my first….teenager.

See, my kids drive my crazy, but they’re still pretty freaking cute. And they’re FUNNY. And they are so incredibly charming. And they make me smile for days. They are beautiful when they sleep and no matter how much we push each other’s buttons, at the end of the day they LOVE their Mama, unconditionally and, maybe more importantly right now, unembarrassedly.

Look, they’re not perfect. It’s taken me nine minutes to write this tiny bit because I had to referee two fights, get on my son’s case about throwing toys at the baby’s head and play three games of tic tac toe so that they’d leave me alone for a second.  Also this and this and this.

But teenagers…..that’s a whole different thing.

We spent a few days with four teenagers on our cabin trip this summer and their apathy made me want to scream. The way they sat with each other, but completely ignoring each other, with their ear buds in FOR FOUR DAYS STRAIGHT made me stare at them with utter confusion. I felt like I was eight hundred years old when I heard the words, “Did you BUY that shirt with that many holes in it on purpose?,” just FLY out of my mouth before I could stop it. I quickly tried to turn it into a joke, like “Ha, kidding! I’m a cool Aunt that would never actual say something like that! I’m not your Grandma! She’s the worst!” But jeez, seriously! There were holes! Everywhere!! And I could see her BRA through it!

But what pushed me straight over the edge and broke my heart was the way the brother and sister seemed completely and totally disgusted with each other. They’re 15 months part, a few months closer than my oldest two, and I have to assume that once upon the time they were enamored with each other like mine are. As much as mine fight over toys and torment each other by putting their feet on the other one, they are also self-proclaimed best friends. They love each other and aren’t afraid to show it. My son, who will one day be too cool to even hear this story, regularly walks up to his sister, offers her his hand and asks her to dance. Like WALTZ. While he sings “Beauty and the Beast.” It’s the sweetest thing I could ever even imagine my kids doing, and it happens almost every day. So to imagine a world where these two will seem to hate each other is more than I’m prepared to handle.

But it’s coming. Those teen years.

And I don’t know what I’m supposed to do to prepare. Is there anything I can do to stop this impending doom? Do I just accept that they’ll be apathetic and think I’m a loser and will have their eyes permanently set to “Roll”? I don’t know…I know I’m not on Team Friend, that I want to stay firmly in the Parent position, so I can accept a certain amount of “My Mom is SO out of touch” vibes heading my way, I’ve accepted that. But the rest of the stuff? I don’t know…the countdown is on though. And if the next 9-ish years go anywhere near as fast as the first four, I’m in trouble.

My Clock is Ticking.png

koefoe party of 5, momlife, parenting, The Salties, Why We're Salty

Aiming for Average

My husband is tall. Like, really tall. Like, “hey, did you play college basketball?” levels tall.

And he’s smart. Like went to a super academically demanding college, and killed it. Like, when I told my parents he existed I said, “he’s a rocket scientist” – and I wasn’t lying.

These traits are both VERY celebrated in his family. On a trip back East during our engagement, there was a robust conversation about my ability to provide sufficiently tall grandchildren, what with my diminutive stature. I somewhat nervously defended myself, “I mean, I’m 5″8’….. that’s not exactly short?” My mother-in-law to be quickly rebuffed me, questioning my asserted height, as though perhaps I would lie about it to get in her good graces? There was only to be one solution. I was to be measured. Yes, she ACTUALLY measured me.

I passed.

Thankfully, there was no such test to measure if I would adequately assist in our children’s mental agility. I would like to think I would pass that as well, but I’m honest enough to admit I’d fail the math portion.

That being said, there are tall expectations set on my husband’s family, both literal and figurative. So it was with great joy when we dropped the bomb on them: we were aiming for average.

Personally, I’m tired – nay, downright exhausted – with the quest for excellence. Every child cannot be in the 99th percentile at their 6 month well baby check. It’s not possible. That’s just not how percentages work. Every child cannot be leaps and bounds above their peers academically. If they are? Great, if they’re not, that’s fine too. That HAS TO BE FINE TOO.

So when asked if our son was just “off the charts” in regards to his height, we would often reply, “nope, he’s right on track” sometimes even fudging the numbers to make him MORE average. The looks of horror on my in-laws faces were priceless. (However, they were quickly replaced with theories as to why he was so stunted, but that dear readers is a story for another time – spoiler alert: it’s my fault). A family of engineers, they would see him holding an object and making it work and excitedly exclaim, “oh, I see we’ve got another engineer on our hands!” They decided quickly and concisely that he would, obviously, attend his father’s alma mater and we’re debating what kind of an engineer he would be. My husband, again enjoying getting a rise out of his family, would say, “I don’t know, I think he’s more inclined to be an entertainer. Maybe in Vegas!” You’d think he said, “I don’t know, I think he’s more inclined to be a serial killer. Maybe one of those cannibal ones.”

And I get it, it’s back to school and there’s AP classes or “gifted classes” and Varsity Football or a starting spot on pop warner and someone’s getting first chair in the orchestra or the solo at the fall concert or will be the kid with the longest line in the Kindergarten production of Peter Rabbit and so many areas for our kids to have the opportunity to shine and excel. And we absolutely want to give our kids all of those opportunities and encourage them to be the very best version of themselves that they can be.

But we can’t all be 6′ 7″ (yes, that’s how tall my husband is) and we can’t all be engineers. And why should we all want to? Our kids won’t all play major league baseball or be famous actors or cure cancer. Most of them? Will just be average. Wonderfully, beautifully, average. That’s truly all I can aim for.

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Cheapskating, Chick-Fil-A, Mama Mojo, MicroLuxuries, momlife, Salty Mama Lists

25 Things That Make Us WAY Happier Than They Should

If you had told us before we had kids that one day we would be absolutely giddy over double naps, I’d probably had thought you were crazy. How exciting will it REALLY be? I mean, it’s two kids falling asleep at the same time. Probably happens all the time. Except when it turns out it’s about as rare as that solar eclipse everyone was freaking out over. Triple naps? Haley’s comet status. So yeah, we get WAY more excited than we ever thought we would.

Here are 25 other things that made us WAY happier than they should have:

  1. Getting a good parking spot at the YMCA. Or anywhere.
  2. Getting the “Right” cart at the grocery store.
  3. When Chick Fil A runs out of balloons.
  4. Drinking coffee while it is still hot.
  5. The corner piece of cake because it has the most icing.
  6. The kitchen floor drying without anyone stepping on it.
  7. Five minutes of peace and quiet.
  8. New flavors of potato chips.
  9. Real Housewives reunions.
  10. A white shirt with no stains on it.
  11. $1 CocaColas/Diet Cokes from McDonalds/Anywhere
  12. Drive-Thru Donut Shops
  13. A really good fast food coupon.
  14. An Ebates double cash back day (link to sign up!)
  15. Free snacks at ANYWHERE
  16. When you stuck out a lot of boogers with NoseFrida
  17. Playplaces where I can just sit and watch my kids play.
  18. Perfectly crisped bacon.
  19. Going anywhere alone. I went and got a TB test on my own this week and it felt like a vacation.
  20. Dance parties of any kind.
  21. Ordering an 8 piece chicken nuggets from Chick-Fil-A and getting 9 pieces.
  22. Almost any meal I don’t have to cook.
  23. Watching my kid bust a move to his favorite song, with moves NO ONE wants to see.
  24. Live eviction night on Big Brother
  25. Drop-off playdate…..or any playdate really. Just so long as I don’t have to do pretend play.

What else are you WAY too happy about?

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