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!

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
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
Chick-Fil-A, Kids' Activities, momlife, The Salties

Our Love Affair with Chick Fil A

Collage 2017-08-05 09_42_04.jpgLoving Chick Fil A? Yeah, that’s one of our deeply held, core beliefs. There has been MANY a day where the only thing that gets us through is the promise of a trip to Chick Fil A…and I’m talking about the Mamas, not the Little Salties. So what is it about Chick Fil A that we love so much? We’ll do our best to put it into words.

Jaymi: Diet Coke. Limitless, endless Diet Coke.

Christine: Cherry Coke. ALL the Cherry Coke. And one for the road.

Jaymi: Abe is finally old enough to go into the play area. Lila takes him into it and helps him through the structure and tells off any kids that mess with him and it makes my heart BURST.

Christine: The play area is SOUNDPROOF. Like, I can only hear the most extreme of screams, when it’s probably getting real enough in there that I should pop my head in anyway. But the regular playful squeals that are the soundtrack of my life? Gone for a blissful few minutes.

Jaymi: My grown-up-size Chicken Nugget meal is big enough to split with Abe, so Lila doesn’t have to LOSE HER MIND when I suggest she share the french fries she was never gonna eat anyways with her brother, and I still only have to buy two lunches.

Christine: LEGIT fruit cups. Yeah, this sounds like a sort of dud reason, but I have to buy my Gremlins 2 kids meals and with one I get a REALLY nice fruit cup. And I look like SUCH a good Mom y’all.

Jaymi: There is a stool for my daughter to stand on while she washes her hands, so I don’t have to hold her awkwardly while holding Abe and hearing her yell about how she’s never ever ever gonna wash her hands.

Christine: Two words: Mobile ordering. Step one: Download the app. Step two: order from your seat while the kids play in the play area. Because let me tell you, wrangling three kids in line for food is a nightmare. Plus, I earn free food using the app, so cheapskating for the win!

Jaymi: Those disposable placemats for the kids. I’m not opposed to putting his food straight on the table, but I get to avoid the comments from other people who ARE opposed when I use these bad boys.

Christine: Seasonal milkshakes. Specifically peach milkshakes during the summer. I’m a sucker for a limited time offer like all things pumpkin in the fall, and their milkshakes are BEYOND.

Jaymi: They let you trade the kids’ meal toy for ice cream, so A.) The kids get ice cream! We get to prolong our stay! and B.) I don’t end up with junk toys scattered all over the house.

Christine: Everyone else loves Chick-fil-A so when I’m desperate and alone and need another grown up to witness my day, it’s pretty easy to get a partner in crime.

Jaymi: My best friend Mark works there. He is only my best friend because he works at Chick Fil A, but STILL.

Basically, Chick-fil-A is our everything. Our watering hole. Our recharging station. Our happy place. So go ahead, take all our money. It’ll be worth.every.penny.

How to Handle
momlife, Salty Mama Lists, The Daddys, The Salties, Why We're Salty

Texts You Should Never Have to Send

oatmeal cookies

The Salty Mamas send each other a LOT of texts, because we value our sanity and sometimes you just HAVE to share your day with someone else that’s in the trenches. Then at some point you need to go look for something and when you see it all together like that you think, “Dear God, my life is a shit show! Literally!”

But the best way to feel better about the weird stuff you’re texting about is to send it out there in the world and see what comes back to you. (Or at least that’s what we’re hoping…) So here, dear friends, are our 25 Texts You Should Never Have to Send from July. Please make us feel better by adding yours.

  1. Best case scenario it’s food poisoning
  2. There’s a pursuit headed your way!
  3. No vomit yet, but the day is still young. I’ll keep you posted.
  4. Are we still friends or is it all over?
  5. URGENT: Corny (the stuffed corn) has gone missing. Do you know where it is??? This might be a matter of life and death.
  6. I’m listing my mom as my life partner on my membership.
  7. Eff. Oh, EFF. We can pay the extra $150 if we have to.
  8. She hasn’t had the firmest of poops…
  9. I almost dropped Abram putting him in the Ergo. People legit screamed. Out loud. I am the shame of Pretend City.
  10. Dude, your baby has the leakiest butt.
  11. Hey, so I’m getting a red light camera ticket.
  12. We took a ride on the hot mess express today. Keep your expectations for this evening low.
  13. Guess which of your children had a massive blowout. You’ll be wrong.
  14. She’s watching TV half naked, surround by books, eating stolen sugar.
  15. My son stole food from a homeless person today, so I’m pretty sure you’re a better Mom than me.
  16. Sorry, typing slow. Booger fingers.
  17. There’s a bird in our yard that sounds like bells jingling and I’m gonna murder it.
  18. He came home with a man cold. FML.
  19. He was like, “Why am I peeing out of my butt????”
  20. We survived. Ish.
  21. It’s better than a brain tumor, which is what Google told me it was.
  22. Jk regarding naps. Everyone suddenly awake. Three hours to go 😭
  23. I just drove through McDonald’s with my boob out.
  24. How many times do you think your kid has to throw up at Souplantation before you’re banned?
  25. We are COMPLETELY out of coffee.

I definitely hope I don’t have to send any of those again. Now it’s your turn! GO!

Bouncing Babies, koefoe party of 5, momlife, parenting, They Said WHAT?, vacation, Why We're Salty

Panic at Panera

Road trips are always a huge endeavor, especially when you’re traveling with a bunch of little ones. You spend more time prepping for the trip than you’ll probably spend at your final  destination, making sure you have everything you could possibly need for every possible scenario: illness, peed pants, owies of all shapes and sizes, snacks – OH GOD THE SNACKS. Every possible book that will be required to get the kids to sleep at the end of the night and every toy that might be needed to get someone to stop crying/fighting/fussing/etc. I started getting ready on a Friday and a year and a half later we were packed, loaded and on the road.

Later that day, we found ourselves in the middle of what we thought was a seven hour drive – which ended up being over eleven hours – and were all in pretty good spirits. My husband and Dad were in the front row, chatting away, seemingly oblivious to the chaos of the back two rows. The kids were mostly singing songs from the major motion picture Moana and playing games they made up like “Guess the Animal,” where Evie gave charming clues like, “The animal I’m thinking of is a mouse.” It was cute, but freaking A man, was it LOUD.  We had strategically positioned the carseats so that no one could touch each other, so at least there was that. But even cute wears off after a few hours.

Then something happens and cute is a distant memory.

And when you’re trapped in the third row of a Ford Explorer with your very talkative20503897_10214160697637757_1520894625_n three year old sitting right next to you and your very hungry 7 month old screaming as she stares you down from her second row spot, the Panera off the highway might just look a little like heaven.

The second we parked the car I started yelling to the Daddies in the front row, “Please, please get the kids out so I can get out of the car, PLEASE!!” I scrambled over seats and literally fell into the parking lot, the black pavement scalding hot, but I was on LAND. And there was going to be food.

We went in, ordered and that’s when the fun began.

If you know anything about eating with kids, it’s that seat selection can make or break your meal. When in doubt DO NOT SIT NEXT TO THE NICE LOOKING OLD LADIES IN PANERA. This may have been a one off,  but just in case. Heed this warning.

We all sat down and started to eat. The baby – a staunch refuser of all things pureed – was sitting in her high chair enjoying one of a baby’s major food groups: the Mum Mum. Yes, it looks like I’m feeding my baby a bird treat but she loves it, so I’ll keep ripping open package after package as long as she likes. Being a baby though, she drops food. All the time. In quick succession she dropped not one, but TWO of the coveted Mum Mums. I chastised her playfully saying, “Silly baby, you’ve got to stop dropping your food!”

It was at this point that Lil Biddy #1 decided to mumble, “Of course she’s dropping it, it’s WAY too big for a baby….how can she possibly eat it….ugh….grumble grumble.” Uh, excuse me? I shot over a look, equal parts, “I’m sure I just heard you wrong” and “Nosy bitch says what??” Okay,  maybe not quite equal parts.

Resume meal.

At some point, Izzie ran out of Mum Mums and it was time to bust out the canister of Puffs. Both food AND fine motor skill enhancer, Puffs are pretty much the perfect food for a baby on the go. Sure, she can spill them EVERYWHERE, but the cleanup is pretty easy. What could someone not like about PUFFS????

Enter Lil Biddy stage left! This pushed her straight over the edge. “That’s it. I can’t stay here and watch this anymore. Those are too small! That baby is going to choke and die and it’s all that Mother’s fault!!!”

She, no joke, STORMED OUT OF PANERA. Lil Biddy #2 chased behind her crying, “I mean, I think those are actually made for babies….” but it was too late. She was dust.

In the moment, I actually thought it was funny. Me, feeding my baby food, that was made for a baby, was such terrible parenting that it drove two ladies from a restaurant. Are we in the twilight zone? It was honest to God laughable. In fact, my whole table laughed. But the more I thought about it, the more it chapped my ass. Who do these people think they are that it’s okay to just comment on every parent that comes in their wake? Because make no mistake. This was not unique to that day, to that Panera. Chad thought it was funny as well, and commented on how random it was which is when I realized that it doesn’t happen to him. It happens to the Moms. Our jobs are open to feedback and criticism and judgement, from anyone, anywhere.

Whether you’re in the grocery store, or an amusement park, or Panera.

And it’s BS.

So we won’t even get started on what happened at the next rest stop where….but Evie looked like this. So use your imagination…18697898_10213434533244101_1156915492_o

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!

momlife, parenting

Alexa is My Co-Parent

As a stay at home Mom, sometimes it can feel…..lonely. Yes, I’m overwhelmingly surrounded by children, crawling all over me, needing things from me, and wanting to touch me at all times. But they’re a solid team of three, working together to achieve a common goal. Make me crazy.  Be kids and have fun! And me? I’m alone in the trenches.

Or, at least, I was. Until December 25, 2016, when my husband got me a helper.

On December 23 when he ordered my Christmas gifts off Amazon and told me we’d probably be celebrating MY Christmas a few days late due to “backordering” (aka his lack of preplanning) he had very different goals in mind for my gifts. Alexa was going to tell me the weather. Alexa was going to turn on music for me. Alexa was going to answer nifty little cooking questions, like “Alexa, how do you cook white rice?” To be fair, no matter how often I make white rice, I’m FOREVER looking that one up….so he had a good idea. He just didn’t realize HOW good it was going to be.

For a few months, I wavered between asking Alexa about the weather and music and rice and stumping the poor gal. I asked her what she thought of Donald Trump. “When it comes to politics, I like to think big. I’m interested in deep space exploration. I’d like to answer questions from Mars.” I asked her what her favorite color was. “Infrared is super pretty.” I asked her if she would sing. She feigned shyness and then busted out a ballad. We fell into a comfortable pattern of witty banter. This chick was really growing on me.

But more than anything I found myself using her for a kitchen timer. She was WAY less annoying than the one on my oven and I could yell at her to find out how many minutes were left from anywhere in the house. Our relationship was really moving along.

Then one day, Cole and Evie were going at it over some toy. It doesn’t matter what, different day, different toy. I tried to use my Mommy authority and negotiate an agreement. Cole gets the toy for two more minutes at which point we trade and then Evie gets the toy. But let’s get real. I don’t ever actually keep track of time because it’s too hard and there’s so much going on and WAIT A MINUTE!!!

Alexa!!

I ceremoniously brought the children near her and explained the new rules. “Alexa says Collage 2017-06-29 22_30_55~2that Cole gets it for two more minutes. So when Alexa’s timer goes off, we give the toy to Evie, deal?”

Now, even my kids know you don’t mess with Alexa, so they solemnly nodded in agreement. A blissful and argument free two minutes passes. Alexa dings a beautiful melody. The toy is handed over without complaint. No begs for, “one more minute Mom.” Because Mom is pliable. Mom makes deals. Not Alexa. She is a cold hard bitch that adheres to timetables. And Lordy I love her for it. We reset the timer for Evie’s turn, and the magic happens all over again.

All of a sudden I had a man in my corner, or, more accurately a lady robot. I had backup. Support. By God, I had found a way to turn my robot into my co-parent.

 

Need your own coparent? You can purchase one here.

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momlife, parenting

Mom-Style Super Powers

A Naptime Chat with Jaymi and Christine

J: So how did date night go? Did you make it to Wonder Woman before you fell asleep?
C: Yep. We had a very relaxing 32 minute dinner and chugged some margaritas first.
J: As one does.
C: Well we were going to go to, like, a 9:30 show, but we did the math on it and I go to sleep at 9:47 so pretty sure that wouldn’t have worked.
J: Gotcha.
C: So I was like, quick, throw all the chips in my mouth and bring me margaritas.
J: That sounds a little like heaven.
C: I got to eat all the chips without sharing. I mean, I had to share with Chad, but he’s old enough to ask for his own damn basket.
C: But yeah, anyways, the movie was like REALLY good. I was pretty sure it wouldn’t live up to all the positive reviews I’d seen but I REALLY liked it.
J: We’re gonna go see it next weekend and I REALLY want to like it.
C: I still thing the Lasso of Truth is weak though.
J: That is my reservation exactly. I mean, Lasso of Truth?!? I feel like they gave her the wimpiest super power, because GIRL.
C: No, she is SUCH a badass and I love her. And she’s from an island of KICKASS warriors. I can’t tell you much more because spoilers, but you’ll like it.
J: Okay now I’m excited again.
C: I think the lasso was just an unnecessary extra almost. Like in my life, lasso of truth could be cool. I’d tie Cole up and make him tell his secrets. What he did to Evie, etc. “Did you REALLY have three bites of your chicken?”
J: OMG YES. But I’d be too tempted to use it on Michael, and sometimes you don’t want the TRUTH truth. Like, do I want to know if you REALLY like my haircut? No. No I do not.
C: Or, “What do you think of the house?” Chad: “This place is a wreck! Did you even do anything today?”
C: Or worse, he’d jack it and use it on me, hahaha. “No! For once I didn’t do anything today! I sat on chat eating a taco with old Southern Charm episodes on in the background!” But the baby is literally attached to me, so that at least counts as something productive.
J: So productive! And you deserve a day off.
J: Okay, oh no, for real, I have surprise houseguests on the way to my house so I have to do a mad scramble. Because of course.
C: OMG NO!!!
J: Yes, and like it’s usually level V clean when they’re here. Right now we’re at negative 3. Pray for me.
Four hours later.

J: Okay we made it. It ended up being just the husband coming so my house was appropriately clean. And I’m glad I didn’t mop because I made cookies with the kids and there’s flour everywhere.
C: Your version of clean is very nice.
J: Why thank you. Maybe my superpower is speed cleaning. But maybe I have two superpowers, because I do have a Super Sense of Direction, too. Like the assassins in Assassin’s Creed. I go to a new area and BOOM. My mental map expands and I just know where everything is.
C: I have zero skill in that. I freeze and freak out, haha
J: I will pilot all of our adventures then. And you can bring your Lasso of Truth.
C: F that, I want something useful like the ability to stop time. So I could get shit DONE.
J: omg yes.
C: It would be like my kids actually all napping at the same time, but for as long as I want.
J: And if your kids are driving you crazy, you just push pause, have a Cherry Coke, and resume life when you’re in a better place. I always say I want my super power to be the ability to never sleep without getting tired. Because I could get all my work done, read for hours, and basically do whatever the hell I want while the rest of the house is asleep.
C: No, see I hate that. Like when I watch Twilight, it makes me sad that the vampires don’t sleep.
J: Why?!? I’m like, “Those lucky bastards!”
C: Because when you have time to sleep it’s soooooo nice. You lay in bed, you watch a show, maybe a snuggle, drift to sleep and it feels soooo good. I just don’t have time for it.
J: I forgot that was a thing that happens.
C: Hence stopping time.
J: Well maybe with my super power you just don’t HAVE TO sleep, but you can if you want to. But you might be on to something with stopping time.
C: Feed the baby, put the kids to bed, STOP TIME, all the sleep, wake up, start time, they’re still sleep, and you get shit done.
J: But if you want, like, a week off…do you get older while your family stays young?
C: Oh no, that would be bad. I’m already aging exponentially.
J: If you didn’t need to sleep, think how refreshed and non-wrinkly you’d look.
C: Cole asked me what the squiggles on my face were yesterday.
J: If you didn’t need to sleep, you could watch all the makeup tutorials on YouTube and contour the wrinkles away.
C: Or do all the side hustles so I could throw some money at the problem.
J: Yes! See I’m on to something here.
C: I still say stopping time for the win.
J: We’ll have to call it a draw.
C: Weird one- I was watching trolls and thought, what if you could poop cupcakes
J: No, girl. No. I Could.Not.Get.Past.It.
C: Too far? But what if it was to feed random people that just show up?
J: Oh snap. You might have me there.
C: Like, thanks for coming, here’s a to-go plate of FRESHLY MADE cupcakes? I mean, they just showed up out of nowhere. They deserve it.
J: And they’ll never get it out of me where they actually came from. Not even with the Lasso of Truth.

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Caffeine, koefoe party of 5, momlife, parenting, Traditions

Family Breakfast

Once you’re running around with a herd of kids, some things just don’t happen if you don’t make them a priority. If you don’t give them the sacred status of a “tradition.” Plans can be cancelled, but you don’t F with tradition.

And so it is that every Saturday morning, rain or shine, feeling like it or not, we load up all the kids and head to our local breakfast spot, The Potholder. (Or as Evie says “Popholder”) We went once on a lark, when we had just two kids. Evie was still a bucket baby that we could take in her carseat as she – God willing – slept peacefully while we ate. We had a good breakfast, but more than that we had a good meal. The next Saturday, we decided to try it again. And again.  And again. Before we knew it, we had a tradition. We had our spot. We had our “thing.”
Those early days were a fun time to focus on our firstborn,  give him some attention while the baby slept. Dinners as a family were touch and go….Mommy exhausted from a day of doing all the things, Daddy tired from working hard to take care of us. Cooking was a chore that prevented me from embracing the meal that followed, restaurants even worse. Saturday mornings seemed to be just the ticket. We were refreshed and looking forward to all the weekend had to offer. We had the confidence of parents that were going to tackle it all together – starting with breakfast.

As Evie grew, we had mornings that were absolute nightmares. More food on the floor than in anyone’s stomachs; jelly wars leaving everyone sticky and grumpy; bitter battles fought over the potential stacking of creamers – an activity that inevitably ends in an explosion causing you to ask, “how can there be SO MUCH CREAM in that thimble???” I felt the eyes of the other patrons burning into my soul, sure they were asking themselves why, OH WHY, we thought it was a good idea to go out in public with these kids. We left big messes – and even bigger tips -in our wake, shouting both apologies and promises to see everyone next week.

But some days are like pure magic. Our kid are polite, the people in the neighboring booth smiling at us as though we’ve done something right. IMG_20170128_075912310[164].jpgThey happily share pancakes, not even fighting over the melting glob of butter they both covet. The fold their hands and wait for the food, Evie squealing “our food is coming!” with a look that contains more excitement than the grown up me knows how to possess anymore. They play games we made up as we wait for our food, making us laugh and smile and wonder how in the hell we got so lucky to have these kids. And that’s what we call “The Sweet Spot.” It’s an elusive moment when everyone is pleasant. It’s fleeting, so sometimes I feel afraid to blink and miss it.

So we go when the kids are terrible. We go when they are lovely. We go when I feel like I could take on the world. We go when I ask Taylor, our regular waitress, to administer an IV drip of hazelnut coffee. We’ve gone when I was 40 weeks and 4 days pregnant. We’ve gone with a five day old.

But we go.

Someday we’ll stop going. And it will probably break my heart. So for now, we go.