momlife, parenting, Tips & Hacks

Four Family-Focused Things to Consider When Buying a Car

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This holiday season, The Salty Mamas are going to be logging a LOT of car hours. We’re only one holiday in and we’ve already driven hundreds and hundreds of miles. (Okay, Christine’s family is maybe at nearly 100, but Jaymi has totally made up for it). Between Christmas tree and present shopping, schlepping to holiday parties, and visiting out of town friends and family, we spend a lot of time in the close quarters that are our cars. All the more reason to make sure we LOVE our cars!

Last year at this time, we were trying to decide on what car we needed for our new family of 5. Here are some of the unique things to consider when picking out your perfect family car: Continue reading “Four Family-Focused Things to Consider When Buying a Car”

Caffeine, 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.

momlife, parenting

6:59 am

There are certain things that should not happen before 7am.

The phone should not ring. The neighbors gardener shouldn’t use his blower outside my bedroom window.

And my children should not be playing with Play Doh.  play doh mess

Yet here we are. 6:59 on a Wednesday and we’re elbow deep in Play Doh. Mommy confession: Play Doh is NOT my jam. Most of this is because I’m a control freak monster. Yes, I’m one of those people that spends way too much time and energy making sure none of the doh colors touch. If I have to sit and play endlessly with it, I at least need to be touching vibrant pinks and blues and neon greens. Getting orders from my son the likes of, “Make me a bicycle, clown!” are just too depressing when I have to use a color that is far to close to that of my baby’s endless poops.

And frankly, it requires far more parental supervision that I’m ready to provide this early in the day. My day is a carefully constructed model shaped around when I’m most prepared to tend to my children’s needs.

An average day is as follows:

Dawn: Breakfast. I can’t get out of this one. No matter how I try to work it, I’ve yet to master a four year old, two year old and 8 month old being in charge of their own breakfast. Now, THAT would be my miracle morning….but that is another post for another day!

Early morning: Now that the children have been fed (the first of SEVERAL times today they’ll expect this courtesy) I have set up a BEAUTIFUL expectation that they are to play like angels in one of their rooms. I even let them pick which one! They can play trains or dress up in my son’s room! They can play restaurant or dolls in my daughter’s room! They can pick EITHER room and put on an animal show! I’m very flexible! Just play alone for 42 minutes so that I can drink coffee and watch Real Housewives of New York for God’s sakes! Of course, that only ever occurs on the world’s most perfect day. Usually, I get 7 ½ minutes of freedom and then 34 ½ minutes of being on edge trying to hear what Bethenny and Luann are fighting about, punctuated by screams where I run in and beg the question, “why is your sister crying????”

Mid-morning until as long as physically possible: We leave the house. Go Anywhere. Get outside. Look for distraction around every corner. Maybe we go live at the YMCA for the day. Maybe we go torment some kids at a park. I don’t know, just DON’T. BE. HERE.

And then…..the moment we’ve ALL been waiting for…..NAPTIME!!!

Once upon a time, in the beautiful days of two children, this was a magical hour, where I would gently lay my angelic children down and they would drift off into a peaceful slumber AT THE EXACT SAME TIME.  Now, I pray that I get 2/3 down at the same time. And that the third will take a “rest” aka watch Paw Patrol on a loop. If all goes REALLY well, I’ll eat food. Yes, actual food! And I won’t share it with ANYONE!! Ahh, the dream.

Afternoon: THIS is the time for Play Doh. For arts and crafts. For getting creative and making a list of things to look for on a nature walk around the neighborhood. This is the magical moment when I’m the BEST version of my Mama self. (I largely give credit to that food that I ate). We all play together, I drink pretend tea, I take care of pretend babies, I fall endlessly into a world of make believe. We play soccer in the yard, we sit in the dirt and play with dinosaurs, we even PAINT. We love each other and our lives and it’s freaking perfect.


5PM. The Witching Hour. It all. Goes. To. Shit.

Do you actually have tiny people living in your house? Then you know exactly what I’m talking about. They forget about all that nice time I JUST spent with them and become actual living demons. It’s like they can SMELL how eager I am for my husband to get home from work. They can sense that I need to be responsible and make dinner for everyone. They simultaneously want all the food in the house but will stop at NOTHING to prevent me from being able to actually prepare any of it. The screams, the tantrums, the fighting, it’s honest to goodness like a dark spell has been cast over the house. I half expect Voldomort himself to show up in my backyard.

“5:45” – but it’s usually more like 6:30 – DADDY IS HOME! The children throw a parade in his honor. They wipe away their tears, forget their injuries and become the sweetest, most loving children that ever existed on the face of the planet, because Daddy. He asks me about my day and cannot POSSIBLY believe that these sweet angels are the children I’ve been texting him about all day.

But who cares, Daddy is home. We dinner. We bathe. We bedtime. We made it through another day.

And God-willing, tomorrow morning we will NOT be getting the Play Doh out before 7am.