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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Congratulations are in order, not disapproval and unsolicited advice

Congratulations are in order, not disapproval and unsolicited advice!

My cousin recently found out she was pregnant with her fourth child, and she surprised us all with the news via a Smilebox online greeting she sent out on Christmas.  My cousin is immensely talented, and the Smilebox was a beautiful slideshow complete with a rhyming verse that delivered her news.  On the very last slide she told us all, "Congratulations were in order, not disapproval and unsolicited advice!"  I've never been so proud to call someone my friend in all my life.  I was thrilled for her, but more than anything, I applauded her for doing what so many parents dream of, but don't have the guts to do.  I really think my cousin could make a fortune selling maternity shirts with this sentiment printed boldly across the front.

We live in a society that pretty much condemns every parenting choice we make as wrong.  Women who breastfeed their children are often seen as nudists, who parade their bare breasts out in public for fun.  At the same time, we condemn the mother who chooses to feed her child formula because breast milk is obviously the healthier choice for every infant.  You just can't win.

If you vaccinate your child, you are asking for Autism, but if you don't, you are singlehandedly bringing back the measles.  

If you are a stay at home mom, you are lazy and don't earn your keep; whereas, working mothers are seen as callous woman who put their careers ahead of their children and prefer to let someone else raise them.

Heaven forbid you find yourself pregnant with a child you didn't plan on having after your marriage hit a rough spot or when your finances aren't completely in order.  Heaven help the poor woman holding a positive pregnancy test, who can barely keep up with the kids she's already got.  Surely her husband should've gotten a vasectomy years ago.

Frankly I'm sick of it.  I've decided to revise the definition of what it means to be a good parent.  

Here goes:

You are a good parent if you got out of bed this morning.  Trust me, I know it was tempting to just hide from the children under the covers all day, but you didn't.  You got up.  That makes you a good parent. 

Did you love your kids all day? Notice I didn't ask you if you liked them all day.  I'm guessing at some point today at least one of your kids did something that was highly unlikeable.  Did you handle it with love?  Tough love is okay.  Sometimes it's the best kind of love to give.  If you loved them all day, then you are an awesome parent.

Did you do the best you could for them all day?  Even if the best you could do was sitting on the couch next to them while they watched NickJr all day.  Raising children isn't easy.  As long as you did your best today, you're a great parent. 

Is your house still standing after your children played in it all day?  Then you're a great parent.  

The bottom line is you're a great parent.  Your kids love you, and look at how amazing they are!  Yeah, sometimes they act like little jerks, but sometimes you do too.  So what if the baby is sporting a mustache and a bald spot because your toddler got ahold of some gum and a sharpie while you were doing laundry.   You're still an amazing parent.  You loved your kids all day long.  That's all it takes to be a great parent.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Man Cold

I'm currently hiding in my closet eating store bought baked goods and drinking my way through a bottle of fake alcohol.  

You're probably wondering why.  The answer is simple: my husband woke up sick this morning, and it's either hide in the closet and drink my sparkling grape juice and eat my cookies or murder him.  
My husband is a total pain the butt when he's sick. Probably I'm not an amazing person to hang with when I'm sick either, but this is my blog.  If he wants to talk about how awful I am when I'm sick, he can get his own blog and do it there.  

He spent the morning in bed alternating between trying to convince me he was dying and trying to proposition me.  Around 2:00, I couldn't take it anymore and decided to take him to the doctor.  My youngest son is sick too, so we made it a family excursion.

We finally found an urgent care clinic that wasn't completely full and finally made it back to see the doctor.  Her initial thought based on his symptoms was the flu.  I'm pretty sure this is when the doctor started thinking I was an awful person because I looked her in the eye and said, "He doesn't have the flu.  He can't have the flu.  Swab his throat.  He says it's sore.  I'm sure this is just strep throat."  She looked at me like I was crazy, but agreed to swab his throat for strep after she swabbed his nose for the flu test.  

While she checked Tyler out, I began bargaining with God.  "God," I prayed, "He can't have the flu. Please let it be strep throat.  I can live through a few days of strep throat, but we both know I won't make it through a week or two of the man flu."  I didn't think it was necessary to tell God that if Sam had the flu, there was a good chance I might snap and murder my husband in his sleep.  God knows how much patience I have.  He made me.

Anyway, the nurse came in 5 or so minutes later with the results, and I was right.  Sam had strep throat.  When she announced the winner, I might have thrown my hands up in victory kind of like  famous people do when the announcer says, "And the award goes to..." and then says their name.  

I'm pretty sure the doctor thought I'd completely lost my mind after she witnessed my victory dance. I am also pretty sure she wasn't married otherwise she would've understood my plight.  

She began to write out prescriptions, and I had no choice but to intervene again.  "Can't you give him a shot in his butt for strep throat?"  I asked/demanded.  She gave me the "You're a crazy lunatic" face again, but agreed to give him the shot.

I wanted to explain to her that I'm not crazy.  I've just been married to the same man for eleven years.  I love Sam with all of my heart, but when he's sick, I have to care of him and do things for him that I don't normally do.  For example, I had to drive him to the doctor's office.  I'd rather have dental work done without Novocain than drive my husband anywhere.  I almost shoved him out of the car six times on our way to the doctor.  "Rachel, why are you in this lane?  Rachel, why are you going this way?  Rachel, why didn't you run that last yellow light?"  Seriously, if he made one more remark about my driving, he was going to need a coroner instead of an urgent care doctor.

So anyway, I stopped at Wal-Mart to get Sam and Tyler's prescriptions filled and decided it might be best to buy myself a little something to take the edge off.  I don't actually drink, so I bought the next best thing, sparkling grape juice.  I've been meaning to bust out my best Martha Stewart impression and bake a bunch of Christmas cookies with the children, but that ain't gonna happen anytime soon, so I bought several boxes of premade cookies.  Now I'm hiding in the closet drowning my sorrows in fake alcohol and cookies while Sam sleeps and the children watch Mickey Mouse.  In case you're wondering why I'm hiding in the closet, it's because I'm not in the mood to share.  I'm planning on becoming the best fake alcoholic I can be, which means I've got to drink the whole bottle by myself.  

Probably you're wondering what you can do to help out in my time of need.  If you really want to raise my spirits, you can hit the share button and tell your friends about me.  You can also tell all your friends to head on over to 
and like my page.  Thanks bunches!  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Great Vaccination Debate

Question: Should I vaccinate my child?

Here's the thing, I actually have a very strong opinion on this subject, but I'm not going to tell you what it is.  As it turns out, watching episodes of ER, Chicago Hope, General Hospital, Grey's Anatomy, and reading a bunch of crap on the internet is not the same as actually attending medical school.  I know, crazy right?  I'm not saying that you shouldn't watch these shows.  I'm just saying that the only thing you really learn from them is how to have sex in on call rooms.  

The decision whether or not to vaccinate your child is an important decision and one that you should make after you've consulted a bunch of different sources written by people who have actually attended medical school or who have actual degrees in some science related field.  Get your information from a reputable source.  A reputable source meaning not an internet blog or a shady internet site that has strong opinions that can't be backed by multiple medical studies.

Unless your best friend or your mother in law has an MD after their name, ignore them too.  If they have a strong opinion on the subject, ask them to provide you with the medical research to support their opinion.  Again blogs and shady internet sites don't count as supporting documents.  Facebook postings should also be ruled out as reputable sources unless they are written by an actual doctor or someone who works in a disease prevention field.  Again, I'm not trying to personally influence your decision.  When I say you should only trust opinions from people who have a degree to support their opinion, I am also including people who study Autism and the possible side effects of vaccinations.

Read up on the diseases that vaccinations prevent and how the vaccinations actually work to protect our entire society against these diseases.  Read up on Autism and the validity of any and all studies that link it to vaccinations .  

This is an important decision that effects our entire society.  Please don't make it based on some article you read on the internet that is filled with inaccurate, distorted information designed to scare you.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Dear Big Toy Makers

Dear Big Toy Makers,

It's the holiday season which means you are about to make a whole lot of money off of junk that is going to fall apart on Christmas morning.  I mean seriously do you actually let real children play with your toys before you ship them out to the stores?  If you do let actual children test out your toys, you are obviously picking the wrong kids to test them for you.  Toys should have to meet the same rigorous testing standards that the military uses for their body armor.  Since the holiday season is in full swing and you guys probably don't have enough time to conduct a full scale quality review, I am going to be nice and give you a list of toys that promptly need to be pulled off the shelves and/or revamped.

Toy #1: Any dollhouse, superhero lair, or doll/action figure vehicle that simply snaps together

When Colin was three, he was obsessed with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so I shelled out a small fortune for their three story lair and Turtle Vehicle thingy.  The lair was three feet tall and had a "working" crane that the turtles were supposed to be able to swing around on.  

Christmas morning came, and Colin was absolutely delighted with his new toys.  After he opened them, he waited patiently (yeah freaking right) while we put them together.  I opened the packages and was horrified to discover that neither the turtle lair or the turtle van came with screws.  Not because they'd been left out, but because the manufacturers of the crazy expensive plastic toys were to darn cheap to add little screw holes and screws in their design.  They seriously thought that a three foot tall plastic toy that was design to hold an incredibly heavy action figure didn't need them.  Nope, the stupid toy just snapped together.  Same story for the turtle van.  We spent the entire day alternating between listening to Colin cry because his toy kept breaking and attempting to put the stupid toys back together.  

Toy companies: Stop being cheap and add screws!

Toy #2: Any doll/Barbie with body parts that snap on and off

Little girls tend to have these people in their lives called brothers, who delight in dismembering dolls and Barbies.  I honestly have a basket in my daughter's room that we put random doll parts in when they get separated from their doll's body.  

Every time I find a dismembered doll part, I wonder if my children are on the path to becoming little serial killers who favor decapitation and dismemberment.  I suggest figuring out a way to make Barbie more durable, or be prepared to foot the bill for a good attorney for my boys' when they are on trial.

Toy #3: Brown Play-Doh

I'm sorry, but if you put 200 kids in a room filled with every Fun Factory Play-Doh ever made, where the possibilities for creativity were endless, and you only gave them brown Play-Doh, every kid in the room is going to make the same darn thing: a giant turd.  Do mother's everywhere a favor and just stop making it. 

PS..if you really want to make us happy, you'll also starting including a bottle of solvent for free in every package that will magically remove Play-Doh from carpet.  Yes, I said for free.  You've been tormenting us with your product for years.  It's the least you can do!

Toy #4: Legos with 9 million pieces that have a picture on the front of the box of what they are supposed to snap together to make

You have two choices on this one.  You can either start putting them in the packages pre-made or you can start including a complimentary bottle of super glue in the package, so parents don't feel like complete assholes when they glue them together.  There is nothing worse than spending 3 hours constructing a Lego masterpiece that your child abandon 5 minutes into the construction process only to have said child break it or take it apart and then cry until you fix it.

Also, my feet would appreciate it if you would figure out a way to make your pieces squishy yet sturdy.  

Toy #5: Any toy that sounds like Satan when they batteries run low

Seriously, there is nothing worse than a toy that won't shut up or stop doing it's best Satan impression at 3 AM.  It's always impossible to locate the creepy toy in a timely fashion also.  

When the batteries get low, the toy needs to just die.  Also, any singing toy should have a built in limit to the number of times it can sing in a given time period.  Hokey Pokey Elmo should only be able to turn himself about 10 or so times before he insists on having a nap.

Toy #6 Moon Sand and/or Ball Pits

Here's the thing, these toys can't be improved.  You either need to pull them off of the market or put the CEO's home address on the front of each package, so that when my kids wants to play with moon sand and/or the blow up ball pit his/her company is getting rich off of we can head on over to his/her house and destroy his/her living room.

In the spirit of the holidays, I'm offering you these suggestions free of charge this year.  Next year though, you'll have to pay for it.  Please note my children are available year round to test your products.  Trust me if they can't break it, destroy it, or lose all of its important pieces, no one can.  They are also available to give opinions on cars/minivans.

Happy Holidays!
A Concerned Mother

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What to do when your Elf on the Shelf drops the ball

It's almost December which means it's almost time for your Elf to visit from the North Pole.  I've seen approximately 900 million blog posts this past week detailing all the fun things you can expect your Elf to do while he or she is at your house.  

This is not one of those blog postings.  Nope, this blog is for the parents who get stuck with a lazy, dud of an elf, who halfway through the month of December, forgets that he or she is supposed to visit Santa in the middle of the night and come back the next morning and hide in a new spot.

Without further ado, I present how to turn your crappy Elf's behavior into positive learning experiences for your children.

Problem #1: What to do when it becomes apparent that your Elf has a drinking problem.

It's cute when you wake up one morning and discover your Elf has spent one night drowning his sorrows away with your red wine or the Elf drink of choice, syrup, but what do you do when he spends 5 nights in a row doing it?

Simple.  Stage an intervention and set up an anonymous meeting of sorts in your living room.  Have your child show their support for the Elf's recovery by going around and confessing to behaviors they are addicted to. 

"Hi, my name's George, and I'm a compulsive nose picker, toe nail bitter, booger eater, fib teller, etc."  

Then spend the remainder of the month encouraging your kids to give up their bad habits in the hopes that their Elf will follow suit and sober himself up before Santa comes.  Feel free to hold anonymous meetings every night.

Problem #2: Your Elf spends one night in Barbie's dream house and refuses to leave.

First off, you need to set the ground rules with your Elf the first night he arrives.  Tell him that if he's going to fool around with Barbie, he better fool around with the ugly one you hate.  Because when you catch him engaging in funny business with Barbie, the only solution is to stage a wedding.  That way your children learn that it is in no way acceptable for Barbie to shack up with a guy before they are married.  At the reception, remind your Elf that Barbie's dream house isn't paid off yet, and that he needs to continue working for Santa to make the mortgage payments.  Then on Christmas Eve make sure he takes the Barbie you hate, you know the one with the crappy, child inflicted haircut from hell, to live with him at the North Pole.  Ain't nobody got time for an Elf who sneaks out on Barbie on Christmas Eve.

Problem #3: What to do when your Elf climbs to the top of your Christmas tree and then refuses to come down until Santa comes and rescues him.

Obamacare is hitting everyone hard this year.  BlueCross BlueShield is no longer offering the affordable low deductible plan Santa has been using to insure his Elf's for the past 500 years.  He was forced to get a high deductible plan off of the insurance marketplace for all of the Elfs.  None of the Elfs can afford to pay their high deductible in the event that they fall and get hurt on Christmas.

Use this opportunity to explain to your children the importance of voting when they turn 18.  Otherwise they might find themselves the unwilling victims of change they didn't want, but can't complain about because they didn't exercise their right to vote for the other guy.
Problem #4: Your Elf refuses to get off of the computer.

Probably he's addicted to Elf porn.  I highly recommend you take this opportunity to inspect the parental controls on your computer because if your Elf can find porn, so can your kids.  

Tell your kids that the cost of Elf magic has gone up this year kind of like the cost of gas.  Santa is saving money by having all the Elf's Skype (FaceTime) him at night.

Problem #5: What to do when your Elf develops a Facbook/texting addiction.

I say make sure you have an unlimited data package and tell your Elf to have at it.  The only thing better than your Elf telling on your kids to Santa at night is an Elf who is constantly in communication with Santa.  An Elf who texts Santa all day is an Elf you children will truly fear and respect.

Disclaimer: All of the Elf pictures in this post were borrowed off of the internet.  I'm not lazy.  I just have no idea where our Elf is.  I'm pretty sure that he ran away from home last Christmas.  

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

How to deal with the mortification that comes with raising a small child

Dear New Mommy,

Welcome to this amazing institution we call motherhood. I'd like to say the road called motherhood is paved with pure happiness and unicorns. Unfortunately, I can't because most days it's paved with pure mortification and unparalleled honesty. 

One of these days, you are going to be the mother of the child who loudly proclaims, "Oh shit, I forgot my bible," as he is walking out of Sunday school.  Don't worry, you'll live through it, and it will be a great story to tell when you give the toast at his wedding.

You know that awful website called Pinterest that you spend hours upon hours on planning the perfect birthday party for each year of your child's life?  I don't care how much time you spend hand making decorations, party favors, and the perfect birthday cake there will eventually come a day when your child will look at all your hard work and ask, "Why can't I have a party at the bowling alley like Jimmy does every year?"  Instead of killing your child, call up the bowling alley and let them handle his next party.  Then devote all of the time you normally spend on crafting the perfect party on crafting something for yourself.  Your kid will eventually realize your parties are way superior to anything the bowling alley can put together, and you can tell him, "I told you so," from the comfort of the new gazebo you just built.

Eventually you will manage to figure out how to juggle one child, and you'll probably have a second.  I wish I could say that motherhood will be easier the second time around.  It won't be though; It'll be a lot harder.  Having multiple children forces mommies to do things they swore they'd never do.  Like one day you'll be at the pool with both of your kids.  After spending the morning in misery trying to convince your youngest child that he actually likes the pool, he will finally settle down and begin to play happily in his little float.  You will have thirty seconds of peace before your oldest child announces he has to pee.  Then you'll be stuck with a tough decision.  If you take your oldest kid to the bathroom, you have to disturb his now happy sibling.  If you do that, there will be a good chance he might not be able to find his happy place again.  After wrestling with your morality for a few minutes, you'll decide that five minutes of peace is worth any price, so you'll call your oldest son over and quietly instruct him to just pee in the pool.  It'll take a little coaxing, but eventually he'll agree to do it.  You'll get to enjoy thirty more seconds of peace before everything will go to hell when you notice your child has misinterpreted your instructions and is now standing on the edge of the pool peeing for all to see.  Fair warning, don't yell at them.  If you do, the mortification is only going to get worse when they yell back, "You're the one who told me to pee in the pool."  This is one of those situations you just live through.  Trust me when I tell you it will eventually be really funny.  Especially if you tell it at his high school graduation when all his friends are listening.

The good news is that all mothers will eventually go through this.  It's what makes parenting fun.  So instead of looking for a rock to hide under the next time your child embarrass the you know what out of you, just smile and know that eventually you'll get even.  

Friday, November 1, 2013

Dear Laundry Fairy

Dear Laundry Fairy,

Why don't you ever visit me anymore?  When I was a little girl, you used to visit me every day.  I'd throw my dirty clothes on the floor every night before bed and they always magically disappeared while I slept.  I'd come home from school the next day to find that they had magically reappeared in my closet smelling fresh and perfectly pressed.  It was amazing!

I'm not sure why, but when I grew up and moved out of my parent's house, you stopped coming every night.  I distinctly remember throwing my clothes on the floor the first night I slept in my grown up house and waking up the next morning to find them still there.  It was awful!  I waited all week for you to come, but you never showed up.  I eventually ran out of clean clothes, and I had to wash them myself.

Its thirteen years later and I find myself doing laundry every day.  The only time you come now is when my mother in law is here.   I can only assume that you still like her and that somewhere along the line I upset you.  I would love to know what I did to make you mad.  Honestly, I'd love to know how to get you to come back.  I am so sorry I took you for granted when I was a child.

Are you mad because I didn't look forward to your visits as much as I did the tooth fairy's?  Is it because I didn't leave you cookies every night like I did Santa Claus?  Perhaps you're mad because I thought the Easter Bunny was cooler than you?  Did you hurt your back picking my clothes up off the floor one night and get mad because I didn't have the decency to put them in the laundry basket?

Whatever it was, I'm sorry.  I may not have appreciated you when I was a child, but boy do I appreciate you now.  You are the coolest of the magical beings that visit children and leave them cool stuff while they sleep.  Trust me, if I could only have one magical being visit me as a grown up, it would be you without hesitation.

I didn't realize how amazing you were until I had to start doing laundry all by myself.  I never realized how many socks a family of five wears each week or how awful it is trying to get mystery stains out of pants.  I had no idea how bad pants could smell after a small child wore them all week, spilled crap all over them, and then hid them under their bed.  When you did my laundry, you always checked all the pockets.  I never remember finding clothes in my closet that had crayons melted into them when you came every night.

I'm sure you're out there tonight about to visit some small child who doesn't appreciate you.  If you find yourself fed up with picking her nasty clothes off of the floor, feel free to head over to my house.  I have 300 loads of laundry with your name on them.  If you could convince your friend the ironing fairy to come too, that would be totally awesome.  Warn her that she might want to bring her own iron, my rotten children broke mine.  I haven't gotten around to buying another one because that would mean I wouldn't have an excuse not to iron things.

Your Biggest Fan

PS...Also it would be totally cool if maybe you could convince the gas fairy to come and put gas in my car like he used to when I was 16 and I'd leave my car parked in the driveway completely on empty.  I know you guys know each other because he stopped visiting the same time you stopped coming.