Saturday, November 23, 2013

My Biggest Pains of Christmas

This year Santa made his big appearance at the local mall the day after Halloween. Jesus, I haven't even polished off all the peanut butter cups from my kids candy buckets yet and their already throwing candy canes in my face?
My Biggest Pains of Christmas ~

The fact that every time a commercial comes on the TV for a Lalaloopsy Doll my kids go crazy yelling and screaming "That's it! That's what I want Santa to bring me!" They each have a specific doll that they want. Easy right? Wrong. The problem is that each day that specific doll changes to a different one. When I say things like "Didn't you say you wanted Santa to get you the pink one yesterday?" I'll usually get a big fat "NO, I said I wanted the one with stripes. That's the one!!" I really hope I don't eff this up. When it's all said and done, they'll get what they get and they won't get upset. . .Well, they may get upset . . . just know that "Santa" listened to the indecisiveness Every. Single. Day. for two months straight . . . I tried.

My Biggest Pains of Christmas; tangled lights ~
I have to get down to my basement and find that large ball of Christmas lights that was nicely placed on our outdoor railings last year. One day when my kids both decided to take a nap and Christmas was over, I decided to take them all down. That did not go over so well.

I'll have to wrestle tights on my girls for several different holiday parties. Just thinking about this is giving me anxiety. Next . . .

Taking the perfect Christmas card photo where both of my girls are sitting still and looking happy. Then, taking the time to address and mail all those cards. We have a big family to send cards to, so this will perhaps be a good excuse to break out the wine.

We haven't even made it to Thanksgiving yet and most stores have jumped on the band wagon of decorating early. Loud Christmas music, along with fake trees, shiny stars and colorful ornaments make for chaotic times while shopping with your kids. Who am I kidding? I'm just using this is as an excuse for already chaotic times while shopping with my kids. This added eye candy just enhances the chaos to whole new level of crazy.

Baking Christmas Cookies ~

In the end, the memories of cookie baking, decorating the tree, reading our favorite Christmas stories, and the smiles on their faces Christmas morning will all be worth it. (Provided that Santa gets the right damn doll!)

Wake me up when December ends . . .
Oh right, it hasn't even started yet. 'Tis the season for limited (if any) parking spaces, sugar amped-up/hyped-up kiddos and egg nog spiked with the strong stuff. I heart Christmas.

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Sharing is Caring

Sharing is caring! That's our motto around here, or at least the one I'm trying to enforce.

Sharing a Birthday ~
Over the weekend my youngest daughter Charlotte and I celebrated our birthdays. I now have a two year old, a three year old, and I'm just old. Actually, I take it back, I'm 37 going on 21. During my big mom's night out I got carded while ordering a glass (or two, okay maybe three) of wine. Im not typically a big drinker, but after the temper tantrums in Target last week I did indeed take advantage of my much needed night out. I wonder if bartender girl would have felt the same way about my age three days prior, before I got all of my white hairs colored? Anyway, I just had to throw in that slight ego booster, I'll get back to the point . . . 

Though I love the fact that I share my birthday with Charlotte, I always thought that eventually there may be some jealousy issues with my older daughter Lanie. Understandably, there were. Nothing too major, and I'm sure there may be more down the road. Luckily, this year Lanie was easily persuaded in a different direction when I reminded her that her birthday is in June . . . even though she insisted it was in November. I said that she could eat my share of cake at this party since I don't really like cake, and then she could have more cake on her birthday party day. She asked if she could have my share of cake in June as well, and I agreed.

Sharing is Caring - Turning 2 ~
That morning Lanie was pretty excited to take a special trip out with my husband to pick up some ice cream. She also came home with a giant balloon bouquet that she nicely handed over to Charlotte and I while yelling "Surprise! Happy Birthday!" It was very sweet, and I was very impressed that she didn't hold onto those balloons for dear life with her Kung Fu grip and insist that they were hers. Balloons are kind of a big deal around here, so we are clearly making progress!

As you know, along with any kids birthday party comes toys, a whole lot of toys. Some of our newest additions include a princess castle, a drawing board, legos, a toy phone, a school bus, a kid's tablet, puzzles, lots of books, stuffed animals, some Peppa pig figurines, a doctor kit, fridge magnets, a handcrafted stool, and lots of clothes (which they don't fight over now, but I know that someday they will.) All the toys we have here, old and new, are age appropriate for both girls, which in return causes a lot of arguments. In the past, we've never really had any problems deciphering what belongs to who, because they share and often times fight over them all. With the ages they are now, the whole sharing verses what's mine is mine concept has become a little more of a challenge. Not only for them, but for me as well. It's not in my nature to try to explain to a two year old that she can't play with the 150 piece Duplo Lego set that was actually given to her sister as a gift a year ago and vice versa.

When it came time for Charlotte to open her gifts, one of the first things in Lanie's sight was the Peppa Pig figurines. If you've read my past blogs, you may remember that my oldest daughter is slightly obsessed with Peppa pig. Her eyes lit up as she dove for the pigs that Charlotte had barely opened, and she quickly claimed them as her own. What potentially could have turned into an old school Andre the Giant vs. Hulk Hogan wrestling scene, surprisingly ended up just fine. Those pigs kept Lanie busy the entire time, allowing Charlotte the opportunity to open up more of *her* birthday gifts without the help of a potentially unwanted sidekick. Thankfully, no foam fingers were needed by me to direct my kids back to their respectable corners, and Charlotte really didn't seem to mind sharing them.

The following day was ideal. They were both very occupied with all the new choices to play with, and it left little time for them to argue over all the usual old stuff. I'm banking on a weeks worth of thrills 'til the excitement fades and things get old again. In the meantime, I've made note to both girls about how well Charlotte is doing with sharing all of the new toys, and how they have both been playing so nicely together. Lanie agreed, and also stated that she was very happy that Charlotte gave her a Peppa Pig for her birthday. I reminded Lanie that her birthday is seven months away and to remember this when Charlotte wants to play with her presents. So far, so good . . . Hopefully this sharing kick lasts for a while! (Who am I kidding? I've got two little people that are 16 months apart. They can be a tad bit stubborn and very strong willed at times. I'm not holding my breath, but I'm certainly enjoying it while it lasts!)

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Friday, November 8, 2013

The Punishment, Terrible Two's and Tantrums

This blog contains jaw dropping material . . .
teeth grinding, hair pulling, it's 5 o'clock somewhere content.
Reader discretion is advised.

The Punishment, Terrible Two's & Tantrums ~
My goal by writing this is to, 
A. Attempt to relieve my own stress, and
B. Let other parents know that if you are dealing with hard times with your kids that you are not alone.

For the first time ever, both of my kids were faced with consequences that they did not like due to their actions.  Don't get me wrong, they've certainly dealt with consequences in the past due to misbehaving, they've just never dealt with so many all at once.

This morning's adventure out led to coming home early and the kids spending 45 minutes in their rooms. This was followed by no iPad, and no TV for the rest of the day. Just so we are all clear, I don't plop my kids in front of the TV, or let them play Candy Crush all day. They are allowed a little time each day to watch a favorite show, or play an educational game. That's why these times are a big deal. Some may think that a 45 minute time out in a room for an almost two and a three year old seems like a long time, but seriously, that's how long it took my husband and I to recover from this adventure out.

The morning started off fine. They slept well, (for them) and ate a good breakfast. My husband and I decided to run an errand at Target to get some things we needed for our upcoming birthday party for Charlotte. Oh yes, terrible two's! I remember them well since it seems like just yesterday that Lanie was two.

As we parked the car, the usual fuss about riding in the shopping cart started. This is not a huge deal for me. Both of them are typically good when it comes to holding your hand, and with my husband being there it usually makes shopping with them a little easier. It leaves me a free hand to work with. I mean how hard can it be to pick up a card and a stupid paper tablecloth for a birthday party? I said it before and I'll say it again . . . shopping with your kids is NEVER easy. As a matter of fact, I've decided I'm not doing it again until my kids are 12 and 13. I figure in about 10 years or so, it may be a little more manageable. Most likely by then I'll be dealing with a new set of challenges, and I'll have forgotten about all the tantrums they pull now.

Temper Tantrums ~
When we got in the store my husband went off with my youngest, while Lanie and I searched for the perfect birthday card. That 25 second search turned into my oldest ripping cards off the shelf and throwing them on the floor. When I got down at her level and told her to pick up the cards she lost it saying, "NO, don't you tell me to pick them up. I'm not doing it." Really?! I sense a massive meltdown coming because that crap does not fly well with me. "Lanie, I'm going to ask you again nicely to pick up the cards. Someone worked really hard to put all these cards on the shelves. We need to put them back where they belong." Her response, "NO!" Really?! (a WTF moment). "Lanie, if you don't pick up the cards, I will bring you out to the car." Not only did I get a big fat "NO", I also got a slap in my leg. You bet that shit didn't fly well. My husband saw this and instantly scooped her up, kicking and screaming and brought her out to the car. One down.

Now I'm left with Charlotte and I'm thinking that I'll get my items and get out of there quick. Nope, not the case. Another meltdown, or more like five meltdowns. One in the toy isle that she ran to, one in the clothing department, one by the hair accessory shelf, one at the checkout, and the massive one as I struggled to carry her out of the store kicking and screaming all while attempting to maneuver the shopping cart that she refused to sit in. I could sense lots of onlookers staring, and I was so embarrassed that I could not make eye contact with anyone . . . until I had to. A woman in a caravan pulled up beside me and said "Hang in there. You're doing a good job." A big shout out to that woman. Thank you! At that point I desperately needed a kind vibe. 

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Friday, November 1, 2013

The Fun of Fall with the Kids

Well it's official! The heat was turned on and the cool, crisp air has made it's way to Massachusetts. There is something about replacing short sleeves with hooded sweatshirts, and trading in my summer iced coffee for a warm cup, or in my case pot of coffee, that I find very comforting. I love the aromas of Fall too. Warm apple crisp, apple pies, pumpkin seeds and all different kinds of cookies baking just to name a few.

Fall Fun with the Kids ~
I was never one to bake. I can thank my kids for that. Their love for baking has challenged me to give it my all, and not be so scared of the kitchen. I've done good . . . It's been months since I've set off a smoke detector. The upside to baking with your kids is that 1. It's fun for them, and 2. If a stray eggshell ends up here or there you can says things like, "That's what happens when you bake with small children." For the record: I don't let my kids touch the eggs, but nobody needs to know that.

When I think of Fall, I think of things like Halloween and Thanksgiving. I think of school and the fact that Charlotte, my baby, is turning two! Though I'm thankful for everyday with my kids, Fall brings out the subtle reminders of the little things. For instance, the leaves changing colors and falling from the trees. Though I know the colors are changing right before my eyes, my kids often remind me to stop for a minute and take a look at how beautiful they are. They're right, they are beautiful. For some reason the stresses of that dreaded fall clean up don't always seem so bad when you have little ones. Taking a break to watch the excitement in their faces as they jump in a pile of leaves, or stop to count acorns always makes it just a little easier.

Halloween and Fall Fun with the Kids ~
I'm thankful for Lanie's preschool, and all the fun she has there. The look in her eyes when I come to pick her up each day is priceless. She is always eager to show me all the artwork she has stuffed in her backpack, and it's beyond clear that she thoroughly enjoys herself while she's there. I'm thankful for those two mornings a week when Lanie is in school. It gives me one on one time with Charlotte which is rare, and it's really nice.

My kids often remind me to take a step back and enjoy the little things. I thank them for that. As a matter of fact they both took a nap the other day at the same time. I think that has happened maybe three times total. Instead of catching up on housework, I cracked into the Halloween candy stash, sat on the couch with my feet up and ate three mini snickers bars. I'm thankful that Halloween only happens once a year and I don't have pounds of candy hidden in my cabinets. However, I am thankful for that moment. I've dreamt of that stay at home mom, kicked back on the couch, eating chocolate image for so long. It really happened!

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