Monday, August 25, 2014

The Silver Lining of Sick Days

"Yeah - if you could hook me up with a Gatorade, I'd be ever so grateful," I said to my husband groggily, my body aching from nearly two days of camping out in bed, not changing positions to avoid waves of nausea. My heart also ached from the sounds of my boys playing downstairs, asking for their mommy and the sound of familiar chaos that generally accompany weekends.

To top off a challenging three months of hormone whateverness (augh - womanhood), I managed to catch a little bug or bout of food poisoning in the middle of the night Friday, rendering me helpless over the weekend and canceling the last of our summer plans. Finally accepting that quality family time and crossing more items off our August bucket list was not on the agenda, I gave in to my body, who seemed to be saying "don't move an inch lest you feel as if you're on a cruise ship during the world's wildest hurricane." Even those magic pills I held onto from pregnancy and sea bands weren't strong enough to fight this virus. Water was not even my friend.

Le sigh.

So the days gave in to hours of "Sex In the City" - nearly 11 hours to be exact - followed by the movie. And though these sick days were not some that can sometimes result in reflective gratitude, I did find a little silver lining in there, which is:

I have friends like these.

Circles of them. Those that text and offer up soup when you're sick. Those that call in the middle of the night after a tough chat with their husband. Those that find solace in the circle in the loss of a child. Those that celebrate birthdays, entrance into grad schools and PhD programs and your children's birthdays. Those that can find room for a dance party in a living room. Those that spend sunny afternoons at the pool as you watch your growing families delight in the summer nearby. Those who offer hands to move, host events, help your extended family and don't judge you for asking such first-world questions such as "do I need bangs?" Those that share they are no longer in love with their career, the next step in their dreams and all the real things in between. Those you can ride in the car with and say nothing at all. Those that hug and say "love you" with each greeting and departure. Those that you don't say for years in between but at that first coffee it's like no time has passed at all.

It's pure magic.

And extra bonus: mine are not fictional.

So see, there is a silver lining to sick days: it gives you a moment to rest, relax and check out of the day to day to focus on what really matters and find gratitude that's always there, but sometimes hard to keep at the forefront when deadlines call, bottoms require diapering and cars need oil changes.

So thank you to my very own Mirandas, Carries, Samanthas and Charlottes. You know who you are and I love ya to pieces. (Note: not all are pictured here!)

And in sickness or in health - you are my life's silver lining.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Here's To You, Milestone Moms

"Girl - are you sure you're going to be ok?! I'm here for you - any hour. I can't imagine. So awesome, yet so hard!" I said to my friend as she clutched my office door, her face paling as she counted down the days to her daughter entering kindergarten, her list of concerns and to-do list items growing the more she talked. I wasn't sure if there were enough hugs in the world...

Scrolling through your Facebook feed in the past week, you've likely been moved by the darling back to school pics, children clutching chalkboards, a too-large backpack weighing them down, some pics slightly blurry because the parent behind the camera couldn't hold it together.

Carry on, warriors. You're amazing. Strong. Loving. Brave. And your children are too. 

We've been thinking of you all week, wishing your family the warmest of transitions and new discoveries that bring magic and melt hearts. But in the meantime, if you need to cope with it all:
Dig into the mom basket!

How cute is this?! A colleague made this for another team member as she sent her oldest to kindergarten and her little to a new daycare on back to back days. It includes chocolate, lotion, a stress ball, Kleenex, cleansing wipes, candy, pencils, booze and a set of spiritual verses and sayings to get her through her week.


Can I count this as virtually making one of these for each of you?! 

So make one for your transitioning mama - she deserves it. And she may even share that beer with you.

Big hugs!

Oh - and if you're having a hard time understanding her, read this. But DON'T let her read it until she's healed a bit more :) 

In Form: Tracking Down the K Uniform

"Whoa, whoa, I have to WHAT?!" my oldest asked, his eyes growing bigger as he clutches the loose, silky lining of his basketball shorts. "You mean I have to wear HANDSOMES everyday?!"

And suddenly, the hopes and dreams of Montessori Kindergarten are dashed.

Missing the regular cutoff date, Big L starts kindergarten through Canterbury in early September. With this comes - you guessed it - uniforms! Not something I'd been privy too or was required to wear in my lifetime, I shook off the whole conformity feeling of it all and thought about how much money were saving and the ease of the mornings and got a little perkier about it all. And off we went to track down these items that fit the protocol and found:

Old Navy Flat Front Slim Fit Khakis

Old Navy Twill Pull on Khakis

GAP plaid shorts
Given our big guy is incredibly thin, these were the best fit for us, providing length with the ability to cinch inches at the waist. And the twill ones are incredibly light weight and easy to move in, not unlike the beloved squishy pants. Both come in navy. Paired with his red branded polo, we think he may even be quite dapper...

So use all that fast cash and savings and grab the rest of your uniform wear this month - it's not too late!

Monday Momfessions - Aug 18 Week

1. Shoe shopping with two boys under five may be equivalent to running a half. I know this from the amount of blood, sweat and tears that goes into our attempts. It too should require training. And potentially earn a medal and cold beer. Or delicious pancakes. At minimum, a t-shirt.

2. I let my wee one wander Home Depot with bare feet. You pick that battle, fellow shoppers.

3. Sometimes...ok just a HANDFUL of times, the Little poos right as we're walking out the door and instead of dropping all items, removing baby gates, traipsing upstairs, sweating even more profusely, yelling at the dog, battling the diaper change and once again getting covered in the stuff, I let daycare do it when we arrive. There, I said it. The guilt...

4. Teething is the devil. Legit turns already slightly demonic toddlers into that which may require an exorcism.

5. If it smells decent, was worn only one day and has minimal stains - it can be reapplied in desperate situations. This also applies for bathing techniques.

6. I've lost count the amount of times I've used candy or food as bribery this week. Le sigh.

7. In a trustworthy moment, I will hand a potentially dangerous or swallowable item to one of the children in order to a) accomplish a quick task b) help turn their tears off c) keep them distracted so I can brush my teeth. I'm just holding my breath until this backfires. Or I get called on - one of the two.

8. Just when I was jealous of all the girls' frills and thrills, I knock out fall shopping in an afternoon with a pile of basketball pants, uniform wear, a few tees and polos and wa-la - we're done! Related: the Big wanted his toenails painted the other day. Best of both worlds.

9. My son claims to want to blow kisses to his friends. TOO SOON. And why are mine already wiped off?!

10. With the arrival of the new bunk bed, I promised to sleep on the bottom on night one. After 476 checks, he finally passed out and I stuffed a pillow under the blanket to potentially pass the midnight checks. At the 4 a.m. - busted. Lesson learned. Unforgiven for DAYS.

So, what shenanigans have you been up to, my mom friend?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Easy Like Saturday Morning

"Oh my gah, I'm so excited...this is the first time in nearly three years we have a Saturday with no plans! No sports, music, social outings, obligatory workouts, etc.! Spontaneity for the family - let's do this! Summer bucket list here we come!" I practically shouted, my husband starting to look alarmed at the gleam in my eye that starts to sparkle when it comes to weekend planning when he has things like yard work, naps or football on the mind.

Given this gift of undesignated time, we consulted our summer bucket list and did a few site checks, only to find our wish to hit the local blueberry and strawberry patches were too late, the last of the fruits picked just days before. Plan two involved water and the air was a bit nippy for that kind of thing. And plan three? Too early for snocones. So a new event was added to the list, the car packed and off we went to:


Feeling a bit like Claire on "Modern Family" when she forced her fan into mini golf fun, I gambled with the children's fatigue, playing with fire as they'd been at Parents Night Out and off their schedule the evening before. Not to mention the little one holding on to a low grade fever and battling five teeth coming in once. But hey, once a Jayhawk, always a Jayhawk, and campus was calling our name.

The weather was perfect, a light breeze aiding us in carrying two 30-give or take pounds across the green of the campus, the memories of our regular routine as undergrads straining the nostalgic strings of our hearts. We marveled at what a difference 12 years makes as we clutched the palms of our little ones, an experience so different than sprawling out on a blanket without a care in the world, waiting for one another after class.

Hitting all the hot spots and explaining the history of the Campanile, Chi-O fountain and various educational buildings, we trekked through campus, avoiding the significant construction and slightly wishing the Unions were open for some gear. The boys took in the marble steps and long sidewalks, the Big asking questions and checking out all there was to see. Soon the popcorn, movies and late bed times caught up with them from the night before, so we decided to attempt some eating downtown.

One trip to Free State, the Mass Street Candy Shop and for mommy, some cookie shop with the best red velvet treats one could dream of, and we got our second win, enjoying the sites and sounds of the unusually quiet college town awaiting the arrival of students next week.

As the light snores of the boys trailed us home, the beer bread settling in our stomachs, we sat quietly and wondered as we always do why we don't make the trek west just 20 minutes more often.

It was, perhaps, one of the best unscheduled weekend days we've had. Easy like Saturday morning...Lawrence style.

Add it to your summer bucket list today!

Hunting for Camo

"Yeah, Mom - EVURYBUDY should wear army stuff. It will be so cool!" he said excitedly, his constantly tiny limbs moving even faster in motion than a regular day. He went on to daydream further about his party, yet another year hosted at Pump It Up, this time an army theme given his year-long obsession with "guys," endless hours spent having imaginary battles on our bed and of course, much to every BoyMom's slight dismay, love for toy guns.

So you know what army means, right? Camo!

Luckily this season it's not hard to come by, the shorts lining most clearance racks and what's coming in for fall available in several colors. And while finding pink and gray camouflage was not the easiest trick in the book, we scored some ribbon for the favors and the following outfits for our little non-hunting family:

For the birthday boy, courtesy of Old Navy

And the little brother, courtesy of Old Navy

And Mommy, again, courtesy of Old Navy
Daddy will likely sport a GAP crew in army green. And from what I hear, guests are already preparing their ensems for the jumping event.

See you there, soldiers!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Monday Momfessions: The "How Kids Are Like Dogs" Version

1. Both are capable of being banned from restaurants. Just ask Little L...he's currently under hiatus. Warning: he can't talk, but he may chuck a chip, sugar packet or knife at you. Or simply throw himself on the floor and have a tantrum while pulling chewed gum off from beneath the booth. Or  dart out the establishment without looking back. There are so many ways that conversation could go..

2. Dishes and utensils are licked, thrown, stolen and chewed after most meal times. Particularly when you're attempting to empty the dishwasher. Must.clear.the.table.faster.

3. Bathing them takes major bribery, convincing and largely resembles alligator wrestling.

4. When on walks, there is a high probability that chasing rabbits, squirrels, dogs or other children will occur. Or that you'll have to carry the being or the thing they are supposed to be riding in or on.

5. Grooming is not a favorite activity. Eating is.

6. Their kisses and loving gazes are the best. And although questionable at times (particularly from the kids' perspectives), their unconditional love.

7. Waking before 6 a.m. is the only option. Likely motivated again, by food.

8. Proceeding down the stairs simultaneously resulting in tripping the adult human or racing ahead is a must.

9. Slobber, digging in the dirt, running around naked and inserting objects into the mouth are preferred.

10. In the younger, less stubborn ones, commands are often responded to in a timely manner, especially "come, sit, here, eat and fetch." Yes I've said "fetch" to my son before. What? He loves it.

See the resemblance?

Rage Against the Rash

"Yeah, so maybe it's because you moved to bigger diapers and the moisture isn't wicking away like it should," my boss said, the scientist and mother in her surfacing to help me out with my first world problem of extreme diaper rash.

And right she was. As always (shameless boss plug!)

So now when we go to rage against the rash, we follow these steps:

Ensure he's in the right size, style and material diaper. With all the options out there, it's hard to pick just one cover for the rear, especially when cost weighs in. For kiddos with extremely sensitive skin, there's usually one brand that is the only answer (for us it's Pampers Swaddlers). And size matters! Though a range is listed and your child will generally fit in one or two, pay close attention to how his/her skin reacts when making the switch, particularly with moving up. If red, flared and open-sore skin becomes the name of the game, head back down a size.

And when the rash does rear it's ugly head:

Try cornstarch. Sprinkle the natural cornstarch directly onto their bum and red parts. This removes the moisture without adding any chemicals and doesn't tend to further irritate their skin. Plus they kind of laugh when you pouf it onto their little behinds. (Boss - again, you're a genius. Shameless plug #2).

Follow that with your favorite diaper paste. Create a sort of cornstarch/butt paste concoction and slather it all around so the irritated skin is covered.

Wrap up with Calmoseptine. Use this magic potion designed for geriatric patients battling the loss of their system to keep skin clear, smooth and calm.

Then kiss their little heads and tell them you love them. Follow this with "is baby ready for potty training?!" in your most sing-song voice.

Complete this little ritual and wa-la. Tomorrow's booty should be as good as new.

For the Love of Organization

"For real - no spills!" I said to the lunch crew, their eyes staring slightly incredulously at the plastic that lay before me.

For once I had packed my lunch and made the most of our Gladware collection that is normally reserved for busy toddler hands, generally resulting in mismatched lids or slobbery sides. But this set had made it through the fray and housed taco meat, shells and sauce for a little something tasty at noontime.

And where did the taco sauce go if not mixed in you ask?
Right there, tucked in the lid! Stowed away with no leaks and spills. Perfect for salad dressings, that ketchup you don't want to quite smear on your burger or about a quarter cup of anything you would like separate in there, but all in one piece.

Washable, reusable, convenient and fab. Yet another one of those, "why didn't I think of that?!" moments.

This nerdy post not sponsored by Gladware, but I sure do support them. Happy organized eating!