How To Annoy Your Husband

I’m not really an expert at anything. I once had a lady tell me that she could do a hundred things with great mediocrity; I know the feeling. But there is one thing that I do believe I have mastered and it is this: how to annoy your husband.

 

It’s very difficult to be a sweet perfect wife.

The day before we were married when I wasn’t annoying at all.

I tried that road at the starting line of our marriage. Once we started running the actual marathon and I got a taste of just how long till death do us part really is, and just how long I’d have to strive for perfection I realized that it was an effort in futility.  I reasoned that if I couldn’t master how to be perfectly pleasant all of the time, I may as well master the opposite.  After all it feels good to be wholly accomplished in something.

So without further ado here is my take on how to annoy your husband.

#1. How to annoy your husband with your cell phone

Never remember to plug your phone into the charger so that your battery is either dead or nearly dead at all times. This way he can’t reach you or will be afraid he won’t be able to reach you, should there be an emergency. When you do remember to charge your phone, take the one charger that he has designated as his and remove it from where it is always plugged in. Then plug it into a random receptacle around the house. Immediately forget where you plugged it in so that later when he goes to plug his phone in neither one of you can find it.

In conjunction with this or as an alternative: lose, break, or otherwise always keep your cell phone in a state of disrepair.

Accidentally have the ringer turned off: all the time. Especially if you are running errands and it’s getting late. Do go shopping and have it turned down so that you miss all of  his calls and messages ; leaving him to wonder where you are and whether or not he should call the police to report a wife abduction.

Also: just simply don’t answer it.

I mean yes, usually it’s because the baby is crying because the toddler put her in the toy chest and then threw in all of his favorite blankets on top of her, then shut the lid and is now sitting on top of it eating a pile of warm gooey messy cookies you just baked that he shouldn’t have in the first place…but, the reason you never answer your phone is irrelevant.  Just don’t.  Let him assume it’s because the children are all studying a second language, the house is clean, and you are soaking in a warm bath ignoring the world.

Finally- ask to use his cell because yours is dead, lost, broken, etc. while he is in the middle of playing Clash of Clans. ( Clash Royal- whatever)

#2. How to annoy your husband while mowing the lawn

This is such a great one because you have the advantage of being “helpful” while being totally annoying at the same time. And he can’t complain because, after all, you did just mow the lawn.

Your man will most likely prefer to have pristine, perfectly straight lawn mowing lines in the yard. When he mows the lawn it’s a big deal which direction the lines go, as well as keeping the lines straight and even. So basically you need to mow the lawn like you have adult attention deficit disorder. Which, if there are children in the home, or you have a brain that functions like mine; this will be no struggle at all.  I happen to have both my brain and kids! So this is a breeze.

Exibit A – Not Annoying

 

Exhibit B – Annoying

 

 

 

#3. How to annoy your husband while working on projects around the house

Definitely spend more time watching than working.

With a look of great skepticism ask him questions like,

” Are you sure you know what you’re doing?”

or

” Huh, I didn’t know you knew how to do that.”

and the ultimate one,

” Maybe we should call my dad and ask him? ”

While working together make sure you have constantly malfunctioning power tools so that you have to interrupt what he is doing and enlist his help in straightening out whatever mess you keep getting yourself into.  This will assure that the 1 hour worth of yard work you guys were gonna knock out together eats up an entire afternoon.  Receive any advice he gives you on how to operate said power tools with stubborn indignation.

Finally, tackle home projects while he is away. Preferably ones he was skeptical about or said no to.  Most likely his irritation will be brief once he is eclipsed by the brilliance of your completed project and he will apologize for his lack of faith in your creative genius.

#4.  How to annoy your husband with intimacy

Send him alluring texts, emails, snaps etc. only to be completely exhausted at the end of the day after you finally get your kids to sleep. Then fall asleep on the couch while watching t.v.  Eventually roll off the couch and throw yourself into bed with ” don’t even think about it” written all over your face.

When your husband is clearly interested and doing his best to “express his interest in you” prattle on about anything you can think of. Going on and on about the conflict you are having with your mother or mother-in-law is really icing on the cake. Nothing like emotional conflict with your parents to take the wind out of your husbands sails of arousal.

If you really want to go all the way with this one, say something random out loud during actively intimate moments like, ” Oh dangit! I forgot to take that Redbox movie back! Why do we even use Redbox!”

@ Coffee Fest refueling for even more annoyingly good fun.

#5 How to annoy your husband while driving together

The best thing to do, other than second guessing his sense of direction, is to outrageously gasp or brace yourself at any sudden stops, if he follows anyone too close, almost hits a pedestrian, accelerates too quickly, or if you are driving in bad weather; anything to heighten the tension in the vehicle. When the tension builds to just the right amount say, ” Do you want me to drive?”. Bam.

If you are the one driving there really isn’t a whole lot you have to actively do to be exasperating. You know the whole ” female driver” thing.  I’m afraid it’s a true story. Just the act of you driving is probably a little hair raising for your man.  I said probably.  If your relationship doesn’t land in this sphere then congratulations to you.

#6. How to annoy your husband while on a date

Note my husbands worried expression

Have very strong opinions about what you do for the evening while simultaneously having no opinion at all.  Be in the mood for any kind of food except for his first 5 or 6 suggestions. Force him to spend 30 minutes driving around the city while you keep saying, ” I don’t know! Anything sounds good, and I picked last time. Seriously I don’t care whatever you want.” When he says, ” Okay, McDonalds it is!” Throw him a look of exasperation and get irritated.  Eventually end up at the place you went last time and order the same things, because it’s just that good.

While you are out absent mindedly bring up conversations that trigger arguments between you.  It’s probably a good idea to try and hash out some of those things in the middle of your favorite Italian joint.  Especially if the issues are of a deeply personal nature, then you can have the added bonus of making the wait staff feel out of place when you both fall awkwardly silent every time they come over to see how everything is going.

Tip them well.

As I type this I realize that this could be an extremely long list, I mean, infinity long. That’s just how much of an expert I am.  But because this is a blog I’ll wrap it up with the speed round of annoyances:

Cry, cry often.

Say ” I’m sorry”  to ad nauseam.

Pack him a lunch with a defunked ice pack so that his sandwich is waterlogged by the time he goes to eat it.

Compare him to the husbands of other people you know.

Nag. Nag again. Throw in a little more nagging for good measure.

Of course the classic, ” I’m fine!” when clearly you are not.

Ask him about the attractiveness of other women

or

body image questions in general, ” Am I fat?” Is this too saggy? Is this too small, or too big, or just “too” of something.” There’s a lot of material there to work with.

Always go on about how you need new clothes and you have nothing to wear.

Go shopping for clothes and come back with things for the kids instead.

Invite people over on the one weekend he has free all month.

Run back into the house 3-4 x to get things you’ve forgotten inside.

Leave him waiting in the vehicle for excessive amounts of time waiting for you while trying to leave home for a function, or while trying to leave said function, or while you “run” into the store for 1 thing.  ( 1 thing… bahahahaha!)

Here’s the thing ladies. All of these things; all of the completely obnoxious things that you do won’t matter in the end! Because you’re a woman, and let’s face it, you’re irresistible and it’s okay if you drive him crazy in more ways than one.

So the next time you feel like you just can’t get it together, you’re tired of failing at everything, or you just can’t find that one thing you excel at- give the annoying wife thing a try.

You may find that it’s your thing too.

Cheers*

Holly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Great Parenting Hacks For An Easier Life

 

It would be an understatement to say that parenting is a tough job, but there are plenty of  ” hacks” out there that can help make it a little more cut and dry.

I don’t claim to be the authority on parenting, but I’ve done quite a bit of babysitting, worked as a nanny for  few different families, and eventually went on to have 6 children of my own. So there are some things that I’m basically qualified to address, or in the very least to have an opinion on.   ( but only in regard to children under age 10. We haven’t gotten past that yet; in that case I can just give you a lot of theory and hot air, which I have plenty of.)

And now with google at our fingertips there is basically nothing that the average person cannot become an expert in; so on top of all my hands on experience I have earned quite a few credits from Google U.

Now that you’re convinced my words hold the weight of someone who has their PHD in child psychology and development; read on for golden nuggets of parental wisdom.

#1. How To Deal With Fighting Over Toys

Inevitably children will fight over toys. Here are a few things you can do:

The moment you hear a high pitched struggle coming from the next room: intervene.  Most likely you will find the squabbling children each with a hand on the toy of their hearts desire and unwilling to give it up.

Find out who had it first, and immediately restore ownership. Then, lay on sharing guilt. ” Sharing guilt” goes something like this,

” Now Susan you’ve been playing with the toy train for a long time. Wouldn’t it be nice to share it with Sally? Look at how sad she is! Wouldn’t it be so nice to share the train with Sally?”

Most kids are going to say, ” No.” But that doesn’t matter; ask them to give one to Sally. If they refuse, pry the toy from their tiny vice grip like fingers and hand it over to the waiting child’s outstretched hands.

Ignore the bitter look on Susan’s face; you’ve definitely planted seeds of lifelong benevolence and generosity in her heart; even if she doesn’t know it yet.

Alternatively you can…

Ignore them. Ignore them for as long as humanly possible, and hope that they work it out among themselves. ( This is a particularly popular strategy employed by Dads) They usually do work it out, meaning: they get distracted by something else. But the problem subsides and you didn’t actually have to do anything so, win win!

Finally, you can also walk in and snatch the offending toy out of the hands of the fighting children and place it in the highest spot in the room; then say,

” Nobody gets it.”

Say this in your best “no nonsense” voice; then walk out. Do this enough and the kids will

a) Learn not to fight about toys or else nobody gets the pleasure of playing with them or

b) The problem is solved because eventually all the toys will be on top of a bookshelf.

Ta Da! No more fighting.

#2. Asking for food 24/7. Asking for things in the store repeatedly. Basically never being satisfied for one stinking second

Kids are smart. They’re little experts at knowing how to get what they want when they want it, and usually all they have to do is ask on repeat, because it’s annoying, and most people don’t take a class on coping with physiological torture before becoming parents.

Here’s the trick ya’ll… let me whisper it for you… just… say…no.

You’ve probably heard the exact opposite. You’ve probably read all about the power of positive parenting, and being a ” Yes!” parent and avoiding negativity  and blah blah blah gag.

I’m telling you say no. Say it often. You can say it with a smile and a positive voice, but say no.

Say no every time you are in the grocery store and they ask for something. Say no every time they ask for a toy, or a snack, or a drink, or —  whatever, and eventually they will realize the futility of asking and just be happy to exist.

And then… the random time when you say yes, will be the ultimate. That trip to get ice cream will be the most amazing ice cream they’ve ever gotten. That small toy you buy them from the dollar spot at Target will be the treasure of the century.

Presto chango. No more asking.

Or…

Say yes. Just get them what they want. You’ll go broke and they’ll be temporarily happy, but isn’t that what parenting is all about?

#3. How To Keep Track of Your Kids Shoes

Buy a trendy shoe bench for the entry way of your house with a cute basket for each child to deposit their shoes in every time they come into the house.

Use it consistently for 1 week; then continue to collect their shoes from all around the house, out in the yard, in the car, at the neighbors house, in the lost and found at the store… and when even after your best efforts each child only has 1 shoe from each pair they own, go buy more shoes.

The goal here is to have shoes on their feet where socially and legally required, and to have some great pictures of your organizational skills to post on facebook after buying your trendy shoe storage bench; organizational follow through and making life easier isn’t really the goal.

I mean, you’ve got kids… life? Easier? BAHAHAHA!! You’re cute, but naive… so naive.

Easy peazy, no more shoe issues.

#4. Getting Your Kids to Behave in Not Child Friendly Situations ( doctor’s office visits etc. )

Give them sugar and electronics.

Since you’re already saying no about those things in every other situation, the novelty is guaranteed to keep them occupied for a solid hour.

And that hour of them binge eating skittles and playing Daniel Tiger on the ipad isn’t going to kill them in the long run and without it they may just kill you.

So that’s it. You’re welcome.

#5. Getting Kids To Go To Bed

Put them in bed. Ignore all protests. If they get out of bed, put them back in bed.

If they ask for things say no. Make sure they’ve had a drink, used the potty whatever so you can confidently say no to all pleas and questions.

Put them in bed; ignore all protests. Silently, swiftly… put them in bed. Put them back in bed. Calmly. Ignore all protests.

One more thing you can do….

Put them in bed, ignore all protests.

I also recommend doing this in silence with a pleasant expression on your face. Let them know you will not be broken. You could do this all night for weeks. They’ve got nothing on you. Bring it tiny person.

You can also:

Lay in bed next to your child until they fall asleep and then roll silently onto the floor in one swift movement, army crawl across the floor and out the door while holding your breath and praying they don’t wake up.

If they are taking an extremely long time to fall asleep try saying something like, ” I’ll be right back honey, Mommy just needs to go potty.”

Hopefully they stay in their beds waiting your return and they fall asleep. It’s worth a shot anyway.

The final solution is to give up and let your kids sleep in your bed with you. It’s not ideal, but it may also aid in natural family planning.

Bam! No more bedtime struggles.

#6. How To Potty Train

Here is the plain hard truth, oh unseasoned first time parent; you will be cleaning up poop and pee off of things, off of surfaces, and off of people almost every week for the next 2-3 years. Period. You just will.

I don’t care what technique or method you use; your child will not care either. They don’t care about the 4 steps to easy potty training. When they are ready to go on the toilet. They will.

So my best advice is to just keep cleaning. Arm yourself with a bottle of Resolve, some disinfectant wipes, and a tub of Oxy Clean; then do your best to stay zen.

Chance are your kids not gonna be accepting their high school diploma in an XXL pull up.

See, no worries.

#7. Making Time For Yourself

This is one of the most difficult parts of parenting; finding time alone to decompress. Especially if you are a stay at home parent and are in the trenches of emotionally demanding children 24/7. Alone time is important but oh so hard to come by.

First, search for a babysitter you can trust who isn’t going to break the bank. Surf through all the listings on care.com of young girls making a sexy duck face, and the older ladies who talk about loving kids and making ends meet after their 3rd divorce. Then have a good cry that the $4 an hour sweet innocent 16 year old of yesteryear is no more, and that all of your relatives that could help are either mentally unstable or live a thousand miles away.

Resign yourself to putting your kids to bed and staying up for hours and hours… and hours.

Settle in to watch Parks ad Rec for the 3rd time while eating the ice cream you hid from your kids, or eating chips and queso with a scarf on to muffle the sound of your crunching.

Then go to bed ashamed of the calories you’ve consumed and the lateness of the hour; then vow to make better life choices in the future.

Voila! Alone time problem solved!

I could keep going with all of this sage advice, but I know it’s a lot to chew on. So I’ll let you digest.

Parenting is hard work. Hard rewarding work. Hopefully I’ve helped to lift some of that burden from your shoulders with these revolutionary parenting hacks.

Cheers *

Holly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Experience Of A Highly Dysfunctional Clothes Shopper

By: Holly

Not every woman is going to relate to this post, but for those of you who do my heart goes out to you. Truly.

I hate clothes shopping. It’s ridiculous. If clothing was simply meant to keep you safe from the elements and keep your elements, well, safe – it would be no problem. But as it turns out you actually have to look good in them too, ideally.

When I go shopping for clothes I morph into an emotional psychopath that can’t make decisions and has major commitment issues, and yet I always look forward to going? It’s weird.

I enter a store with so much optimism, because the last time I was in this store they had tons of cute things on sale and in my size, but I wasn’t able to buy them then so I focused on the moments necessities and told myself I would be able to spend some $$ on me in a few weeks.

I’m not sure what happens between then and the moment I walk in the store with cash in hand ready to buy clothes. Suddenly everything is overpriced, undersized, and not nearly as attractive looking as I remember. Even so, I manage to rifle through the store and walk into the dressing room with an armful of clothes.

The dressing room is where hopes and dreams go to die. It’s where that really cute sundress reveals where all those Oreo cookies you ate ended up. It’s where you realize the word denim in the original Greek means, ” not for you girl “. It’s where you realize 99.9% of bra’s are a letdown… literally. It’s where you realize that your body was just not meant for clothing period and you silently curse Eve and her craving for forbidden fruit.

But maybe it’s just me. Maybe I have this bizarre body that just doesn’t fit into normal clothing. Perhaps I need to just hire a tailor and have all my clothing made specifically for me. It doesn’t help that sizes are confusing and inconsistent. A large in one thing, a small in another. A 10 in one pair of pants a 14 in a different brand. I wish clothing stores could be divided into honest body type departments. Like, instead of petites, misses, and plus it should be,

” Short, Small Rear, Spare Tire”

” Busty With Muffin Top”

” Tall and Hippy”

” Love Handles, Thunder Thighs”

” No Butt, No Breasts, No Problem”

How much easier would this be? Amiright? Just be honest with yourself and head to your body department! I know exactly where I would be…

So after trying on a mountain of clothes I narrow it down to a few items that I don’t like all that much anyway, but the price is right so I head to the checkout. While on my way I talk myself out of half the purchases I am going to make and abandon them at random, because spending money on clothes gives me heart palpitations.

Once I get home I realize that I didn’t actually buy anything I needed, much less any cohesive outfits, just a bunch of random pieces of clothing that don’t really go together.

Oh well. * shrugs shoulders and stuffs said random articles of clothing into a dresser drawer that is already at maximum capacity.*

See, like I said, an emotional indecisive psychopath. Anyone who knows me personally probably feels like my wardrobe makes so much sense now…

I always feel like men have it so much easier than women in this department. My husband looks good in just about everything. When he goes shopping the dressing room is unnecessary.  He picks out his sizes and he’s outta there. Done. Emotional health still in tact.

Maybe it’s all the variety out there for women? I mean what, guys have the t-shirt, the long sleeved shirt, polo, and button up…

I walk through a department store and I’m like huh… this shirts front is higher than the back? And This one has like a belled tulip sort of bottom thingy going on. And this one? I don’t understand at all. Yep, okay, yeah that’s built in.

There are just so many different styles and cuts, it’s ridiculous really. And it’s as if every clothing designer get’s together and they’re like, ” What can we design to make women hate themselves? Oh the skinny jean? Intriguing. Tell me more…”

Cause who looks good in skinny jeans? Almost no one. Teens. Cute little itty bitty teenage girls. Before they grow up and have more real estate in places they did not realize could be developed.

So my only solution is to lose weight. I will go shopping for an appropriate adult woman wardrobe after I lose 15lbs.

This is a lie I tell myself. I know in my head it is a fantasy, but I cling to it . It gives me hope that the sun will come out tomorrow. That someday I will get super motivated and shed my baby fat. My only desire will be for spinach smoothies and I won’t be able to get through a day without going for a 5 mile run. I’ll be like, ” Oh I’m sorry I can’t make it to such and such event because I’m in a super model fitness competition that day.”

That’s the day that all the clothes shopping stars in the universe will align for me.  That’s the day when everything in every store cascades over my bod like a fountain of glorious-ness.

Until then I will continue to squeeze into my pre-baby jeans with a hair tie strategically holding them closed at the top.

Gah. I’m gonna go stress eat something.

 

no-shopping

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gardening Advice From A Novice Gardener

By: Holly

I don’t know very much about gardening, but I have visions of creating a beautiful cottage style oasis of vegetable goodness.  Rows of carrots and lettuces, natural branch archways cascading with climbing beans and vines of lovely little tomatoes. Stalks of sweet corn standing tall with silk blowing in the breeze that sweeps across the farmland… and melons, pumpkins, and squash all a tangle of perfection…. sigh.

garden-veg

I’ve tried to garden here and there over the years with very little success. Our previous home was situated on top of a hill surrounded by trees, so not much flat treeless space for planting anything. I tried some raised beds that always yielded a sad handful of sugar snap peas and little else, except gladiolas. Those did amazingly.

So moving here I had such high hopes for my garden. Alas dear reader… this whole gardening thing is going to be a little bit more difficult than I thought. But like anything, it’s a learning process and this year has proven to be full of very valuable lessons which I will now graciously pass on to you.

Lesson #1. When 9 months pregnant DO NOT plant a garden.

To most people this observation seems elementary, you know, common sense. But for any woman out there who is, well, like me, please file away that planting a garden 1 week before you are due with your 6th baby is stupid. It’s crazy. It’s idiotic. You will hoe, and bend, and crawl, and pant, and squat, and hate every part of your enormous body and cry hot tears of anguish by the time you are through. And as you lay in bed surrounded by a mountain of pillows, with an ice pack on your butt and hot water bottles on your calves you will bemoan how green beans and tomatoes will only be .80 a lb all summer and you hate canning anyway. Do yourself and your swollen.. uhem, parts, a favor and stick a few tomatoes in pots on your deck and enjoy strolling the farmer’s market with your new baby for everything else… you know, like a normal person.

Lesson #2. If you have birds, deer, rabbits, cranes, or cats in the area be prepared to build a gitmo style fence to keep the terrorists OUT of your garden.

If you are blessed enough to have such wildlife wandering around your home be mentally prepared for the fact that everything you plant, EVERYTHING YOU PLANT will be eaten, or in the case of cats scratched up and pooped on. Which really isn’t any better. Those sweet little Bambi’s that you oohed and ahhhed over in the fog of a weekday evening will become your mortal enemy. You will dream of painting your face and waiting like a sniper in the grass so you can put those wild beasts in a roasting pan right alongside the parsnips that you are trying to grow.

Lesson #3. Japanese beetles are the devil.

As theologically inaccurate as that may be, it’s totally true. I’m pretty sure if you look up the name Beelzebub in the dictionary it says, see; Japanese Beetle. These horrid little freeloaders show up outta nowhere and feast upon the foliage of any plants that happened to survive the other wildlife. And once they’ve moved in there isn’t a whole lot you can do other than maniacally drown them in a bowl of soapy dishwater while they rudely copulate on your Swiss chard as if it were a Sandal’s for insects.  It’s horrifying.

Lesson #4. Give up on weeding if you have an emergency appendectomy.

5 weeks after our baby was born I found myself hobbling into our local E.R thinking my abdomen was about to be torn into a million pieces. Darn superfluous appendix.

Sane people understand that when life hands you situations beyond your control wherein you need to just ” let some stuff go”  you should probably just, I dunno, “let some stuff go”. Insane people like me continue to try and keep up on their animal ravaged garden by scooting around on their rear ends pulling up weeds while trying not to engage their abdominal muscles that are healing from an emergency surgery. Yes, that happened.

I’ve learned that is an effort in futility, because you just can’t keep up in that condition. So if you ever find yourself in this situation. Take a deep breath, let the weeds take over… count to 3… and envision yourself walking through your favorite farmer’s market with a latte in hand effortlessly bagging up beautiful veg that you didn’t have to break open permanent sutures to enjoy.

Lesson #5. When all else fails there will always be zucchini.

Oh dear lovely zucchini! You make us all feel like glorious successful gardeners. We love you. Even if we end up giving most of you away after making a few loaves of bread or muffins loaded with so many other ingredients no one can tell you’re in there. But we still love you. I promise.

Lesson #6. Gardening is worth it, even when it’s “not”

Even if it feels like life and nature has bulldozed your fantasy garden, the few things that you manage to grow will be worth it. It’s miraculous to put a seed into the ground, care for it, and then enjoy it’s fruit. There is something so natural and good about connecting to the earth and all that our good God has made in this way. and you’re vegetables will taste better and have like, 200x the nutrients. I made that up, but probably.

So it’s been a productive year of learning, and now I look forward to planning and trying again next year.

Here’s to the lessons I will learn in the years to come, Cheers!

girls-carrots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confession: I Hate Cleaning

By: Holly

I hate cleaning. There, I said it. It sucks. It’s the worst. It’s the lemon juice to my paper cut. The Miley Cyrus to my ears. The McDonald’s to my stomach. The face of Donald Trump to my eyes. The- you get the picture…

The conundrum is, I like a clean house. When my house is a mess I feel inner turmoil, like my life is outta control. I try to talk myself out of caring while I sit on the couch and survey the damage a day in the life of having 6 children has caused, but I just can’t-not-care.

But it is freaking impossible. Yes freaking. As in, freaking out over the peed in underwear shoved in a dresser drawer. Freaking out over the bread dough that magically made it’s way all over the couch cushions. Freaking out over the fingers and faces pressed against the porch door immediately after I have given it a good old Windex-ing. Freaking out over all of the bedding stripped from the beds and piled at the bottom of the stairs so my children can hurl themselves to the bottom without sustaining any injuries.

 

Here is my dining room today… wanna know when the last time it was cleaned? Yesterday.

dining

Here is my daughters’ bedroom… wanna know when the last time it was cleaned? Yesterday.

room

 

Here is my office… wanna know when the last time it was cleaned? YES.TER.DAY.

office

 

Here is my kitchen… wanna know when the last time it was cleaned? WRONG, it wasn’t yesterday. IT WAS 3 HOURS AGO.

kitchen

 

And notice there is no dishwasher in this kitchen? That’s right, I wash all of our dishes by hand after I have carried in buckets of water that I’ve drawn from our well out on the back 40.

That’s a lie. There is no well and we have indoor plumbing just like every other fortunate American. Except for the Amish. Which doesn’t count, since I’m pretty sure that eating pizza and watching football is required for citizenship.

I just totally made that up, I have no idea if the Amish eat pizza.  But I digress…

Housekeeping is a silent killer. If you don’t get cancer from all the cleaning products then the mental and emotional wear and tear will eventually break even the strongest. There should be some rigorous testing like they have at NASA for astronauts to make sure a person has the fortitude to keep house before they fill out the application for being a SAHM ( This is a real acronym: Stay At Home Mom )

There are only two circumstances wherein I magically find the energy to get it all together; Firstly,  when I’m angry at my husband. What is it about spousal frustration that fuels the fire of the cleaning machine?  Push a few buttons and BAM! Before I know it I’ve cleaned like a crazy person wandering sporadically between rooms. However, you can tell by the photos above that we have a really good relationship. If my husband were more of a jerk our house would be cleaner, so really, it’s his fault that our house is like this.

And the second time would be…..

When we have company.  Same.  I clean like a crazy person, and then I fight the impulse not to exclaim, “ THIS IS ALL A LIE!” When I welcome guests into our home. And then I cross my fingers and  hope that they don’t see all of the places that I’ve strategically hid laundry all around my house since I lack  a separate laundry room where I can close and bolt the door.  ( Yep, our laundry is in the entryway of our house, what genius thought that up? )

The saddest part of all of this is that it is self induced. If we each had 1 play/work outfit, and one for Sundays, that would solve my laundry problem. My kids probably only need a few corn husk dolls, some trees to climb, and rocks to throw at one another. There that would take care of bedrooms.  And as long as there is wine, bread, and cheese we could sustain ourselves pretty well, maybe throw in some limes to stave off scurvy, and the kitchen would basically stay an oasis of cleanliness.

 

Sigh.

Perhaps someday I’ll take that leap to extreme minimalism and freedom…but today is not that day.

Actually, today is shopping day… see the irony?

 

Oh well, I’m gonna go clean something.

 

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………Two hours later.

 

 

It’s cyclical. Depending on what time of day someone happens to drop by I will look like a really bad housekeeper or like I am a moderately respectable human being ( as long as you ignore my unmade up face, my husbands t-shirt, and classic SAHM edition yoga pants.)

I can hear the trolls now, ” IT’S YOUR OWN FAULT YOU HAD SO MANY KIDS!” or ” THEN DON’T STAY AT HOME!” or ” YOU HAVE SO MUCH TO BE THANKFUL FOR YOU WHINY BRAT!”

Alright so, this blog is not nearly read enough to be ” trolled” or receive comments of any kind. Those are actually the things that I say to myself everyday. Everyday…

And as cliche as it sounds, it is worth it. My family is worth it. A beautiful comfortable home for all of us to enjoy is worth it.

So, I’ll just keep cleaning. Just keep cleaning, just keep cleaning cleaning cleaning- Gah! BLAST YOU FINDING NEMO!

But it is true. Just keep cleaning.

 

Missing our smallest sweetie, but she doesn't move yet so, the messes are not hers.
Missing our smallest sweetie, but she doesn’t move yet so, the messes are not hers.

 

 

The Olympics : You Too Can Be A Champion

By: Holly

Ah, the 2016 summer Olympics, a time to sit in amazement at the amazing physical feats performed by the world’s’ greatest athletes.

When I watch the Olympics I always think back about my own fleeting youth and how I use to think that I might swim in them one day. I loved to swim as a kid and into my teens. My husband tells me I still could if I wanted to. This makes me laugh, like spit flying laughter. Sure baby, I’ll just get right on training for the 2020 Olympics! Right after I change this diaper, and finish a package of Oreos…

There really is nothing like watching the most perfectly chiseled bodies competing in various states of undress to make you realize just how far gone you really are. It’s almost offensive, and in this progressive culture of inclusion I’d like to suggest adding in a few sporting events that some of us… I don’t know, “ Not-so-into-moving” folks could participate in. We all deserve a chance at being recognized for our unique skills, don’t we? For some of the everyday Olympic worthy challenges we face with strength, flexibility, and precision.

So to the Olympic powers that be, I respectfully submit these ideas for the games of 2020.

#1. Leaving The House With Children

Individuals and/or teams of two compete in getting children dressed, ready and buckled into the car with a maximum time allowance of 30 minutes.

Scoring based on time, organization, and blood pressure.

Deductions made for multiple trips back into the house, missing shoes, and children who have to pee after they’ve been buckled into the vehicle… For the second time.

#2. Grocery Shopping at Costco

Anyone who has ever shopped here understands why this qualifies.

The objective will be for competitors to complete a shopping trip through the Mecca of the “bulk everything” store in 1 hour.

Scoring based on not forgetting anything on your list and staying within your budget.

Deductions made for any random purchases of gigantic quantities of crap you don’t need, forgetting your Costco membership card, and feeding your family lunch with free samples. ( Not classy.)

#3. Talking about money/finances with your spouse (budgeting)

This event focuses on mental and emotional fortitude rather than physical strengths. Scoring will be based on feelings of mutual satisfaction and agreement on all budgeted categories, taking care of financial obligations, saving, giving, and a little fun.

Deductions made for yelling, crying, fighting, sarcasm, finger-pointing, burning bills, or giving up entirely and watching Netflix and ordering pizza.

#4. Holidays With Relatives

Depending on the family situation, there is plenty to qualify as a sport in the gathering of extended family. The object of the game? Host a family function with love, peace, joy, feasting and merrymaking all around with HGTV inspired home decor and festive music.

Deductions made for forgetting to include that one random relative who doesn’t use Facebook, (Just get a Facebook page already will you?) using canned cranberry sauce, asking that relative who is always notoriously very late to bring a staple food item instead of something random you don’t really need. ( P.S If people are always asking you to bring napkins… You are that person.) Having your holiday meal ready 3 hours past go time… And not having hors devours. Not playing background music resulting in uncomfortable silence.

Extra points awarded for deep-frying your turkey( or wrapping it in bacon), sculpting a turkey out of tofu or sprouted grains for your vegan cousin. Remembering gluten-free alternatives for everything. ( also for your 1 cousin…) extra, extra points if everything is organic non GMO.

Disqualification for inebriated relatives, emotional conversations, or cooking a turkey in a Nesco for 20 hours….

#4. Losing Weight

Many people can relate to the Olympic struggle of weight loss. Weight loss really is kind of a 1st world problem, like, aw man, I have way too much to eat and so little to do. But in any case, the struggle is real and deserves a place in our lineup of Olympics for the average Joe… Or Jane.

The object of the event is to lose weight (obviously). Each competitor will have 1 week to lose 2 or more lbs through a combination of balanced healthy eating and cardio vascular exercise.

Deductions made for previewing at home exercise videos while eating your favorite late night snack food. Wearing workout clothes around your house without actually working out. Drinking ridiculous amount of water at the last minute in order to magically flush the fat away. Spending gobs of money on a health club membership when there is perfectly good pavement to run on outside.

Extra points awarded by the amount of healthful un-pronounceable super foods eaten to obtain health and vitality. ( ex: Quinoa ) And actually exercising.

This list could go on into infinity. Really. The everyday challenges of everyday people merit gold, silver, or bronze for sure. So the next time you’re sitting around at 10:30 at night eating a gigantic bowl of ice cream in your underwear and t-shirt watching the “ Real” (smirk) Olympians, remember all the ways you can be great in your own life, with all of your clothes on. And perhaps someday soon the world will be inclusive enough to acknowledge all the ways we are really athletes worthy of our own Olympic gold.

Here’s to 2020.

 

image

 

So, What’s it like? Having six kids?

By: Holly

I always knew I wanted to have a lot of kids, but I wasn’t really sure what that actually meant.

What was ” a lot of kids” ?

mud bath
mud bath

 

When I was pregnant with our 4th I found out that to the standard make and model of American, four kids was the threshold one crossed to be considered a big family.

In this day and age kids are like cars. You have to have one, cause you know,  you must have one. Two is acceptable and necessary for most lifestyles. Three… you’re getting a little excessive. But maybe it’s a collector car or a pick up truck or something. Four? Now you’re pushing it.

Kids are also like having cats. One cat, cause pets can be nice company. A second cat is totally understandable because the first cat needs a friend. Three cats? Wow, they must really like cats. Four? Crazy cat lady. No one wants to come to your house.

Kids. The human version of cars or cats.

I suppose that make me the allegorical crazy car collector cat lady of kids.

What’s it like to be the crazy car collector cat lady of kids?

I recently had someone ask me what my daily schedule looks like. This was asked in the same way that you ask someone how they got a horrible scar, or what life is like living with a missing limb, like… how do you do stuff? What’s it like?

So here we go, this is what it’s like…

I’m tired. Tired is a state of being, and I am in that state all the time. When I drink coffee, I am now just tired and jittery. Between pregnancy, breastfeeding and toddlers I have literally not slept a full night without waking up a few times in years. But really, it must not be that bad, because in spite of how tired I am I still refuse to make it in bed at a decent time. All day I dream about crawling into our beautiful bed only to suddenly feel like, meh,  I’ll sleep when I’m dead, at about 9:30pm when the last of our wee ones has finally drifted off to sleep and the house is quiet and Netflix is calling my name.

 

Anyway, so I wake up every morning about 6am to the sound of our 2 month old baby rooting around in her bed and sucking on her fingers, I get her and snuggle her into bed next to me and nurse her. Before long my husbands alarm goes off. It will go off every few minutes for the next 45 minutes. I will smack him every time it goes off, because by some sort of power of the dark arts he can’t hear it.

Finally he turns it off for the last time and with his eyes barely open tends to his clash of clans. ( I know right? )

Next, coffee. French press. Cream. Breakfast.

Then… diapers, whining, crying, laughing, spilling, biting, playing, giggling, nursing,  tripping, pushing, pooping, sharing, joking, not sharing,nursing, complaining, laundry, hugging, kissing, too much hugging, then fighting, laying-on-baby, nursing, jumping, jumping off of things, now crying, unnecessary band aids, farting, boogers, poop, more poop, poop in the bathtub, cleaning, lots-of-cleaning, naked, someone is always naked, questions, nursing, water-on-the-floor, somewhere there is always water on the floor…

Perfect Selfie
Perfect Selfie

Then lunch.

Repeat.

Then dinner.

Repeat.

Then dessert.

Repeat.

Then bedtime…………………………

The stair master
The stair master

Teeth brushing, flossing, water, potty, books, songs, prayers, theological discussions, reminiscing about birthdays gone by or frogs found in yesteryear…

Then….

Get back in your bed, what are you doing? Why are you up? Why is someone always up? What the heck, I thought we put you in bed? Yes we did, we prayed with you. I’m positive. Yep, go to bed. Don’t kick the top bunk. Stop singing you’re bugging your sister. Yes I love you too, lots of love, okay now stop kissing me, alright one more, one more kiss…. What? You just went to the bathroom. Okay go, you’ve got 30 seconds…Did you wash your hands? Then why do they smell like poop? Dangit.

And then…………………………

My job is tough. Juggling a big family is a lot of work and I would be lying if I said I liked it all the time. Some days between cleaning poop out of the bathtub and begging our 3 and 5-year-old to please for the love of all-that-is-holy stop whining,  I rethink my life choices.

Theo chasing poultry like a man.
Theo chasing poultry like a man.
What else could I have done? What kind of self fulfillment could I have gained from a different profession, one far more glamorous and less… well, poopy?

 

I dunno. When I let my brain travel down that path I feel loss, not a sense of loss at what I could have been or done if we had fewer children, or if I had pursued a “real” career, but a loss of the woman my children have helped me become. A loss of love and relationship with  the most amazing people I’ve had the privilege to meet, my children. Because they truly are. I don’t care what else I could have been or done if it means going back on all the lessons I have learned and the beauty that has been created and brought into my life because of them.

So for me, that’s what it looks like to have six children. It looks like a whole-lotta-life happening under one roof.  A whole-lotta-life well lived.

Now if you’ll excuse me…

Smallest cutie!
Smallest cutie!

Netflix.

 

 

How To Be Pregnant: A Comprehensive Guide for First Time Moms

 

Congratulations! You have successfully conceived your first baby! Now what do you do? Having been down this road a few times myself I’m almost qualified to give medical advice. In fact, here in Wisconsin I could even legally deliver your baby for you in spite of having no formal training ! (  My schedule is currently full however so I’m not hiring out birth services at this time. )

Pregnancy is an amazing time of self discovery, and to make that journey easier for you I have put together a guide to show you the way. You’re welcome.

#1. Announce your Pregnancy

It is very important to your pregnancy journey to announce your pregnancy via Facebook or other social media outlet in as creative and personal a way possible. This is a reflection of how much you love your baby, and it would be heartbreaking for your child to look back and see a lack of creative energy put into the announcement.  “Likes” and “ Comments” are basically a measure of the bond you will share with your baby.

# 2. Choose your Pregnancy and Birth Club

There are two main clubs in which you can ascribe yourself: The Natural Mama or the Medical Mama. Your first step on your pregnancy journey is to decide which of these clubs you fit into and then ardently follow the club rules unquestioningly. This may sound overwhelming, but it’s easier than you may think. To select your club all you have to do is run a google search on birth and read birth stories of varying persuasions, watch a few youtube videos and then jump on board with what seems right for you! Definitely avoid actually talking to or interviewing any medical professionals, CNM’s, Midwives, or other birth service providers. Too much information can overwhelm the process.

#3.Dealing With Morning Sickness

A good option for most first time mama’s regardless of club affiliation is to spend several weeks nauseous and or throwing up while trying a variety of tried and true home remedies that never actually work, but make you feel better knowing that you put in a good effort. You’ll consider talking to a Doctor, but after hearing how much worse your second cousin Sally had it you decide to suck it up ( literally) and tough it out like a real woman. If you’d prefer to adhere to club affiliation the suggestions are as follows:

Medical Mama: At your first prenatal ask for Zofran right away. You never know how bad it may get and you don’t want to risk actually throwing up and spending a night at the hospital on IV fluids because you’ve become dehydrated.

Natural Mama: Ginger everything. If that doesn’t work Raw Apple Cider Vinegar.

#4. Buying Maternity Clothes

Your first stop should be a maternity boutique store, such as Motherhood. Here you will find the cutest maternity clothes meant to fit you amazingly and make you feel like you can still be cute and sexy while rocking 9 months of pregnancy curves. They have belly simulating bands to help you buy clothes that will fit you throughout your pregnancy. Try on several and fall in love envisioning your growing belly filling out these adorable outfits.  Next look at the price tags and decide to leave the store with nothing but guilt over wasting the overly helpful dressing room attendants time.

Next visit Target or Kohl’s and find a few cute pieces off of the clearance rack. They may be a little out of season, but that’s okay since your hot flashes will still make it possible to wear that sun dress in January;

Finally hit up Goodwill, Savers, or St. Vincent De Paul. After seeing the $50 price tags on maternity jeans at the previous stores you will feel relieved to pay $7.99 for the slightly stretched out and faded variety you’ll find there, even if they smell like they’ve been in storage for over 20 years and possibly worn by your mother. ( Added bonus, that industrial sized thick front panel can double as breast support in the coming months.)

Finally, break down half way through your pregnancy and fork over the $50 for those pair of adorable comfortable jeans from Motherhood that you wanted to begin with, and then plan to wear them everyday…. for the rest of your life. Seriously.

#5. Dealing with Discomfort

It’s a well known fact that growing a baby comes along with some unpleasant side effects.  After the initial morning sickness phase you are likely to experience one or more of the following ( most likely more…sorry):

 

pregnancy discomfort

 

During this time you will likely run into a woman who did not experience any of these symptoms during her pregnancy journey. These women unfortunately suffer from a post pregnancy condition called “Vanidicus” which is latin for the word “liar”. If and when you run into this situation it’s best to smile, praise their delusion, and then sing of how perfectly pleasant your pregnancy has been thus far. After all you don’t want to seem like a weakling or whiner, and you don’t have time to listen to all the amazing healthy things they did to stave off discomfort because you have to make a run to the bathroom before you experience involuntary urination.

Here are a few club specific tips to get you through your nine months of baby growing bliss:

Medical Mama: Take tylenol daily even if it’s worthless, perhaps the placebo effect will help you. Then drown your sorrows in food cravings. If you’re going to be miserable it may as well be with a side of cake… or fries, or hot wings.

Natural Mama: Rub some virgin coconut oil on it, if that doesn’t help try raw apple cider vinegar.

#6 Writing a Birth Plan

It’s 2016 so you should know by now that a birth plan is absolutely essential.  Many babies and women did not survive the birthing process a hundred years ago, the reason? No birth plan. A birth plan is like a roadmap of smooth sailing from the uterus to the big wide world. Here it is very important to be club specific. The internet is full of great birth plan templates, but here are a few suggestions in helping you to plan yours.

Medical Mama:  If survival is important to you then it is safe to assume you will be giving birth in a hospital.  Hospital births are notorious for their “cascade of interventions”.  This terms refers to the slippery slope of medical interventions that will end with you on an operating table having a cesarean birth if you allow an Obstetrician in the labor/delivery room.

To avoid that stressful scary process your best bet is to schedule your cesarean birth right away. No stress, no pressure! You will be able to plan time off of work and make other such arrangements for your new arrival. In addition, because you will be avoiding contractions and labor all together you don’t have to waste any time or money on lengthy expensive birth classes. Win, win…win.  

Natural Mama: Your birth plan is a little more complex. There is a lot to think about! I mean a lot.  First of all you have a few more location options for your delivery: home, free standing birth center,hotel, friends house, ocean with dolphins, labyrinth, jungle, rice paddy, yoga studio, tranquil forest, the sushi bar you and your husband had your first date,  the possibilities are literally endless, with each carrying a different impact on the emotional health and temperament of your baby.  But regardless of where you choose to have your baby it is important to avoid entering a hospital at.all.costs. ( see; “cascade of interventions” )

Your next step is to plan on coping with labor pain. The easiest thing to do is simply have a conversation with your baby and let them know you are planning a natural labor and delivery so they need to come out quickly and painlessly.

In the event that you have a strong willed fetus with good leadership skills, there are other options for natural pain relief that are every bit as effective as an epidural, if not more. Meditation, acupuncture, rhythmic breathing, hyrdo-therapy, massage, aromatherapy, and herbs to name a few. If these measures fail it’s worth it to try some Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, consumed, rubbed on the belly, or sprinkled around the room.

After the pain free, relaxing birth of your baby make sure you keep the cord on until it dries up and falls off. Some say until it stops pulsating, but I say why not go the extra mile? When your baby’s body is done with the placenta it will fall off on it’s own naturally. When this happens have your vitamix on hand and a few good placenta smoothie recipes ready.

After the healing powers of placenta all that’s left is to join your local baby and nursing mothers drum circle and your journey will be complete. Namaste.

And that’s all there is to it!

I hope you have found this a helpful resource on your journey toward motherhood, and feel more prepared for what lies ahead.  From one mother to another, I salute you.

******This piece is satirical and meant be read for comedies sake and to encourage women to laugh at themselves.