Top 10 Things I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Motherhood

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I can’t believe I now have a decade of parenting under my belt. No more rookie status for this Messy Mom; I’m going Pro. Actually, I’ll save that status for mothers of teenagers, but I think I’m ready for semi-pro. Yeah, that’s me. One decade of experience. I’ve finally found my footing, even if it is on top of a few legos. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned along this motherhood journey so far.

1. You don’t need all the junk they market to parents.  

If I were stranded on a deserted island to raise my children and could choose three things to have with me I would pick

  • The Bible
  • A double stroller
  • Chocolate chip cookies

and I would have it all delivered by Amazon and repurpose the box. I could totally live with that.

2. Moms aren’t the only ones who can have an appreciation for mini vans.

They are also well received by the hundreds of cars that will NOT have their sides dinged by careless children abruptly exiting a vehicle. You’re welcome.

3.  There is no amount of admiration that compares to what you feel watching your precious angel child sleep peacefully…

and the most frustration you will ever feel is often the moments leading up to that point.

4. Don’t tell kids ahead of time when a fun thing is happening.

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT announce a fun upcoming activity until you are ready to listen to your child ask/talk about said activity incessantly until the moment the activity actually takes place.

5. Kids are fast.

Turn around for one minute and suddenly they’ve climbed on top of the counter and devoured half a sleeve of Oreos. They can run in the library at Olympic level speed while you “whisper scream” at them to walk. When I get tired of chasing my kids I hold onto the hope that it will all pay off someday in the form of some kind of athletic scholarship.

6. Kids are slow.

Forget what I said in #5. All of my dreams of a scholarship or college in general disappear when I see how slow my children move when we are trying to get out the door. Or when we are in public and someone needs to get by and says excuse me. I try to coerce the child who suddenly has a fascination with the ceiling and has lost the ability to understand English in that moment. Time to bring in the arm yank.

7 .Eating out at a sit-down restaurant is like going to the dentist.

It’s a great way to spend a lot of money on a painful experience.

8. Children aren’t afraid to tell it like it is.

Like when your four year old needs a new pair of glasses and you have a terrible experience at the eyeglass store. You walk away venting about how bad the service is and that you will never come back to that establishment again. Then an hour later when the frames are ready you go back in to pick up the glasses and the child shouts loud enough for the entire store to hear, “I thought you said you would NEVER come back to this place again!”

9.  Your “mother-age” is the age of your oldest child.

When you have your first child they are a newborn and you are a newmom. When your child is 5 you are a 5 year old mom. Keeping this in perspective allows us moms to cut ourselves some slack.  Now that I am a 10 year old mom I am starting to get pretty confident at this gig, but I’m still young. I’m still learning and I am also getting ready to go through a lot of hormonal obstacles, i.e. puberty!

10. Now I understand what my parents went through and how awesome they are.

Hopefully my kids will also have this same epiphany, even if it does take 20 years, give or take.

By | August 30th, 2017|Laughter, Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Four Kids in a Grocery Store

Every once in a while I go somewhere with all four children and seamlessly accomplish the daily tasks at hand. That happens about as often as I find the perfect avocado and consume it at its peak ripeness. It is an anomaly.

Last week I attempted grocery shopping with all four kids. I have done it before and managed okay, but I try to avoid it at all cost. On this particular outing I prepared ahead of time. I had them get their wiggles out before we left and I had something to entertainment each child while in the store. I searched around the parking lot until I found one of those shopping carts that have a car in the front.

grocery shopping with children

This is a different shopping trip.

Once I had the “shopping car” I strapped the baby into the baby seat, the two younger ones were side by side strapped in with their own steering wheel, and my oldest has, by the grace of God, reached the level of maturity where he can walk beside me for an entire 45 minutes (PTL).

The first half of our excursion went okay. They each got to pick out one treat for later while I scanned the aisles. Toward the end of our excursion we hit some rough terrain. Despite my threats and pleas I could see that we were headed for a crash landing. We barely made it to checkout when Elle started screaming. Then everyone started fighting and shouting at illegal decibels levels. The young man that was bagging my groceries was moving at a glacial pace and for some reason he kept asking me if I wanted my items bagged.

Do you want this bagged? He would mumble slowly holding up a package of gum.

Yeah, that’s fine. I tried to shout back over the screaming children.

Do you want your milk in a bag?

No that’s okay. 

Do you want your watermelon in a bag? 

No.

I finally unleash Ezie and SJ thinking they could help put groceries on the belt and they did, but afterwards they decided to climb on top of the plastic car. At this point the bag boy is still asking if I want stuff in a bag.

Now hold up a second. I’ve been to the grocery store a few times in my life. I get the question about the milk, the gum, the watermelon, but he even asked if I wanted my cinnamon rolls from the bakery which were in a plastic container in a bag! Huh? I was so desperate at the moment that I just told him No. Just throw it in the cart.

The bag boy  put all of my groceries in a separate cart from the one containing my children so I definitely needed his help getting it to my vehicle. Then I realize on my way out that I had pre-purchased a bag of ice. So I left the bag boy, the carts, and all of my screaming children in the doorway as I quickly grabbed the ice.

The ice is right by the door! Right there! But in that brief moment it was like a crowd rivaling that of black friday were trying to enter the doorway we were blocking. Really!? Why? How?

It happened quickly, but you know how in a car wreck or life threatening situation things seem to happen in slow motion? That’s how this was.

I saw all these people with carts wanting to get past my traveling circus and they are staring in horror and disbelief as Elle is screaming bloody murder, SJ is sitting on the car like she’s riding a horse and Ezie is running around wildly. It was like I died right there and left my body and my spirit was floating above watching the tragic scene and my spirit man was also staring down in shock at the four crazy children and screaming mother. Then my spirit came back into my body and I managed to get my cart and my clan out the door and into the parking lot.

The second that my key remote was close enough I popped my trunk and told the bag boy he could just load them on top of the stroller in the back. Except when he got to my vehicle he left the cart full of groceries and took off. He didn’t make eye contact or mutter a word. He just fled the scene like a victim escaping captivity.

I sighed. Who could blame him? I loaded up my kids as steam was evaporating off of my body. Z was the only one who got to have his good behavior treat that he had picked out. Every else including myself had acted out of control in the store.

I just have to take it all in stride knowing someday I’ll be able to go to the grocery store and maybe, just maybe I’ll find the perfect avocado.

By | August 12th, 2016|Family, Laughter, Motherhood, Uncategorized|4 Comments

Look Back and Laugh 006 {Star Wars Melt Down}

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This is an unrelated photo from last week.

Ezie is kind of into Star Wars these days. He isn’t even aware of the original film, but I think just the concept of there being war in the stars evoke some sense of early masculinity in the heart of most boys I guess.

One day I was cleaning (as I do every once in a while) and I needed the vacuum attachment to get the cobwebs out of the corners in the ceiling. Ezie had been playing with the crevice tool and I told him that mommy needed it now.

No! I pway with it. He argued.

I am sorry, but mommy needs it now. You can play with it when I’m finished. 

He wasn’t going down without a fight. I think I was Darth Vader in his eyes at the moment. So I had to eventually do the ole grab-and-go technique. I snatched the attachment from him and that is when he lost his ever loving mind.

Now this isn’t my first rodeo so I just continued doing what I had to do and started vacuuming despite his cries of sheer horror. He grabbed my legs begging and pleaded and shouting

STAAARRRRR WARRRRS!!!!

I figured that the crevice tool was his lightsaber. I have an imagination too and I can totally get that it looks like a lightsaber.

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I shouted back over the roar of the vacuum.

I know honey, Star Wars. Just a minute and you can have it back.

His face was turning red as he panted

Starararar Warararars….

I felt bad, but soon enough I was done and handed him his lightsaber back. He looked inside the vacuum part and was not satisfied. Buckets of tears ran down his cheeks and he managed to squeak out

Star wars in there

and he pointed to the vacuum. I admit I was confused for a minute and then it hit me!

I pulled the vacuum apart and because I am a loving and courageous mother I dug into the vacuum bag full of dirt and hair (and possibly dead insects). Sure enough there was a mini R2-D2 figurine which he had lodged into the crevice tool before I took it from him, turned on the vacuum, and sucked it into a galaxy far far away. He wasn’t trying to get his lightsaber, he was trying to get me to give him his toy!

Once reunited with his beloved R2D2 I was a heroic Jedi.

That was a close one though.

By | July 4th, 2016|Laughter|0 Comments

Messy Mom Math Problem

If you are not following Messy Mom on Facebook then you haven’t seen my latest fascination with creating my own memes.

Like this one

clean as you go

Or this hilarious shot of baby Elle’s face
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Or lastly, another funny baby Elle expression.

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Today’s Messy Mom original meme is kind of like a common core math problem and yes those are just a fraction (excuse the pun) of my family of six’s mix-matched socks.

how many socks

I am going to get back to sorting, but I have an audiology appointment later this week. I’ll be sure to give an update on my hearing aids!

By | June 28th, 2016|Laughter|1 Comment

Store Membership Rant

I know I will be dating myself with this complaint, but remember when you could go into a store and buy your groceries by simply exchanging money for goods? There was no harassment from cashiers or cash registers asking you a gazillion questions at check out? It was as simple as That will be $29.37 will you be paying with cash or check? Done.

Not anymore. Not even close.

store membership rant

Let’s say I’m at my local drug store buying some chapstick and gum really quick and I am asked for my rewards card. I say I don’t have one, but then of course there is the speil about how I could sign up for one and it wouldn’t take long, and I would save so much. Blah blah blah. I politely say no and continue on with my purchase. The next question is debit or credit. I say debit, then swipe my card and enter my pin. Done. Just kidding.

First I get asked if I want to donate a dollar to some worthy cause. I say no and feel like a terrible person. Then the machine asks if I want cash back. I say no. If I am at a gas station it will ask if I want or a car wash or a snack. NO. NO. NO. The answer is no. I just want my chapstick and gum and I want to get out of here. Except for in my haste I accidentally selected “No” when it asked me if this the amount was correct. Crap. Now I have to start all over.

Here’s the thing about all the membership card stuff, they will brain wash you into joining their cult. I held out for a long time, but eventually I realized that it wasn’t going away so I succumbed to having an outrageous amount of plastic keychain cards on my key ring because despite the hassle it really did save me a bunch of money. At first I was really frustrated about having to get a stupid membership for every store I stepped foot in even if it’s a store that I only go to once a year, because if I am not a member I might pay $3.89 instead of $2.59 and I don’t know if I could live with myself if I let that deal slip by! Over time I was suckered into signing up for every single rewards program, advantage card, extra care ID, loyalty plus, or pharmacy covenant card  out there. I finally stopped complaining and decided it wasn’t so bad. In fact I forgot that it ever really bothered me. That’s when it happened.

I call it Attack of the Apps.

That’s right friends, it’s not enough to have a rewards card. Now you have to have an app for every store you step foot in. I don’t have room on my phone for another stinking app! Maybe if I delete a couple hundred selfies that my toddler took, but I don’t have time to do that at the moment and therefor I have to pay $4.27  instead of $3.39! Or I have to wait in line at Starbucks or Chic-fil-A with other low life people that don’t have the app. Gah!!! Why can’t a store just have a sale, take my money, and be done with it.

Except, I am a blogger and I know why they can’t do that. It’s because they want your commitment and they want your information so that they can continue to harass you offer you awesome deals. That is why I have experts telling me that if I don’t have a pop up ad asking for your email I must not really care about blogging and if I don’t have said pop up ad I should expect to never have a real fanbase. I have never followed through with this advice and probably will never have a substantial fanbase because of it, but whatever.

Eventually, I will probably get all the apps. I will have the apps and the cards and a pop up subscription. Then they will probably want me to get a microchip implanted in my wrist, but that is where I will definitely draw the line.
I don’t care how much I save on shampoo. So there.

By | June 21st, 2016|Laughter|0 Comments

Look Back and Laugh 005 {Quirky bag boy}

Last Friday I shared this photo and update on the Messy Mom Facebook page.

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Great news! I always grocery shop on Friday nights (it’s a glamorous life). Tonight J is busy and we needed groceries. I am proud to say I went grocery shopping with all four kids and I didn’t loose any children or steal any products (that I know of, I probably should have given the kids a pat down). We may have come home with a little more junk food than usual, but all in all it was a success! 

By the way I usually use reusable bags and prefer it because they hold more… 

Talking about the reusable bags reminded me of a recent look back and laugh with a quirky outspoken bag boy.

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I usually get as many freebie bags as I can. Most of them aren’t cutesy, but who cares. I rarely pay attention to what’s on the front. Not so for my bag boy on this particular day. He had an ongoing commentary for every bag that he filled.

employee: Oh Minnie Mouse! Did you go to Disney world?

me: Uh, no that was a bag my daughter got a present in for Christmas last year.

employee: I see you have a Meijer’s bag. That’s our competitor. Their prices are not as low I can tell you that.

employee: Is this your Doctor? Grabs a pink bag that has “Women’s health specialists” with Doctors names on it

me: Um, yeah (it was technically an ObGyn thank you very much. I never had anyone ask about it before, but at this point I am starting to feel self conscious).

He truly did go on and on until the bags were full and loaded into the cart. I quickly paid and he asked if I needed help getting them to the car. I declined. I felt like he already knew too much about me just by examining my reusable bags who knows what a trip to the car would entail.

In all seriousness though, he gave me a good laugh as I thought about it on the way home. He was an interesting character, but he was friendly. We need more friendly people in the world so more power to him.

By | June 8th, 2016|Laughter|1 Comment

Look Back and Laugh 004 {throwing up over a cliff}

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In 2005 I went on a missions trip to Acapulco Mexico to partner with some of our church’s missionaries that head up an orphanage there.

We kept busy the entire time with various projects, but one evening we had the opportunity to go to watch some cliff divers. These incredible athletes would climb up 100 feet onto a tiny ledge and then plunge into the Pacific Ocean with style and finesse.

I really wanted to see the performance, but I didn’t feel all that great at the time. Yet I talked myself into going. We had been working so hard and this was our chance to see some of the sites the locals had been raving about.

The place was packed with hundreds of tourist all gathered around hoping to catch a glimpse of the acrobatic stunts. However, just before the show began my stomach started doing some acrobatic stunts of it’s own. I felt really queasy and despite doing everything I could to resist the urge to vomit, my body began to launch projectile chunks over the edge of the rocks. I distinctly remember looking over at the strangers beside me and muttering “I’m sick”. I guess I thought I needed to explain myself? But there was no way out and the show must go on and so did I.

On the way back down the rocky hillside I continued to make “deposits” every few steps. My biggest fear in that moment was that it would start coming out the other end if ya know what I mean. I expressed this concern to my husband and his response was “it’s okay, we will still love you.”

Luckily that didn’t happen (at least not until I reached a bathroom.) I did however have a lot of tourist accuse me of having too much tequila. In the end our whole team came down with montezuma’s revenge because we had tostadas with lettuce that was rinsed in local water. That’s all it took to knock us out.

It’s been 11 years since that trip and I still can’t eat Tostados to this day. Despite all that it was still a really successful trip. One that I will never forget and neither will the strangers next to me on the cliff that night.

By | May 3rd, 2016|Laughter|1 Comment

Look Back and Laugh 003 {Broken Glasses}

Untitled-2-300x300This post was originally from March of 2009! I only had one child at the time. Talk about Time-Warp Tuesday (sorry, I guess that doesn’t have quite the same ring as Throwback Thursday.). Thankfully this embarrassing moment never happened again.

I was pretty exhausted and feeling a little brain dead after having just gone grocery shopping with my one year old (need I say more?). When we leave the store I throw on my sunglasses and head home. I felt like one lens was really dirty, but I was driving so I didn’t want take my hands off of the wheel to fix it. It was a beautiful day and a lot of my neighbors were outside. I smiled and waved as we drove past. Even J was outside doing yard work . As I pull up he starts motioning to me. I thought maybe he was gesturing for me to park somewhere else so I rolled down the window to ask what he wants and he says “your glasses” and points to his eyes. I then looked in the mirror to see that I had been driving around with one lens missing.

I looked utterly ridiculous. Z had thrown my glasses on the floor in the grocery store and one of the lens busted out. I just popped it back in and thought they were fixed, but apparently I was wrong. I think this deserves a face palm.

By | April 26th, 2016|Laughter|2 Comments

Look Back and Laugh 002 {Switching Seasonal Clothes}

Sorry I’ve been so absent lately. My website is still down way too often and so for those not on Facebook you may think I have abandoned ship, but this is not so! Please don’t give up on me. As for today’s link up, this isn’t an embarrassing moment, but it is a funny exaggeration so that’s why I am posting it for today’s Look Back and Laugh. Maybe some of you will relate.

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Now that we finally have some spring weather it’s time to pack up the sweaters and bring out the shorts. This is always a big task to tackle, but this is the first time I have done it with 4 children. And let me tell you, it is a NIGHTMARE!

I have been working on it for daaaaays. Maybe there are people that have containers and storage for all this, or their closets are big enough  to fit winter and summer clothing year round. None of this is the case for me. We have hobbit closets and live by the philosophy if it wasn’t worn by 8 different children then someone didn’t get their money’s worthSo clothing rotation in our home is an art form and one that I have yet to master.

seasonal-clothing-rotation

One problem is how to group things. There is the obvious grouping by size and season, but we have up to size 10 and both genders. If I had a bin for each size, gender, and season we would have forty bins of clothes. So I try to scale down as I go through everything.

Let’s start with the first son. I have to decide if it’s something that will fit him next year. If yes, I put it in the size “8ish” winter pile. If not then it is either a future dust rag, donation, or I hang onto it for when the next son is in size 6 or 7.

See that’s the other problem, just because something says it’s one size it doesn’t always fit that way so you may have everything from a 6 to a 9 in a closet at one time. Then you have things that you want to pass on or give back to a specific family. That’s another pile. There are always a couple items that look like they need to go through the wash once more before being packed up, so you’ve gotta throw those in a pile. Or maybe it’s something you feel is valuable enough to sell. Start a pile for that too. Do this four times over and you have 23 piles and house that looks like an episode of Hoarders Buried Alive.

winter-clothes-in-storage

I do realize in hindsight that there is no 5T or 6T, but after going through so many toddler clothes I got carried away with the T.

Then heaven forbid your child realize you are getting rid of one of their prized possessions. Oh it’s all over! Go ahead and bring in a professional counselor for this part. Yesterday SJ wanted to know what the letters on the trash bag spelled and I told her it said “Donation” and she gave me a quizzical look. Donation? What is donation? She asked. I dodged the question. We’ll talk about it later.

Then Z saw a pair of jogging pants in the trash pile and he freaked out on me. I told him they are a size six and too small, but he began to protest.

Z: That’s just a label mom. They still fit me.

Mom: They have holes in them. They are going in the trash”

Dad: You could cut them and make them into shorts.

Mom: He has plenty of shorts! You stay out of this.

This conversation went on for a long time and I kid you not he wore them to school today. Sigh.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I am just as much a culprit when it comes to clothing attachment issues. I see a vest that Z wore for Easter of ’09 and I react like my 13 year old dog is being euthanized. 

It’s all just too much. I mean, I understand why we have clothes I guess, but sometimes I wonder if they are overrated. Maybe unisex rompers will become a thing. Until then I better get back to sorting or it will be winter again before I finish.

By | April 19th, 2016|Laughter|1 Comment

Look Back and Laugh 001 {Experimenting With Essential Oils}

Who’s ready to stop thinking about all the chaos in the world and have a little laugh? I am willing to let it be at my expense if that’s what it takes. This is my first time hosting a link-up so if anyone wants to participate in the future feel free to join in. For now I just plan on trying to post one every Tuesday and keeping it casual. However, any and all Look-Back-and-Laugh links are welcome anytime (check out the guidelines for more info). If you do share a link I will be the first one to jump over and read it. I am sure I will be laughing right along with you.

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My first Look Back and Laugh is about experimenting with essential oils.

In 2004 another diet book hit the scene called The Maker’s Diet by Jorden Rubin. This was before I had kids and I was exploring an alternative wholistic lifestyle while working on a farm tending chickens and milking goats. So I bought the book and delved into the philosophy of treating my body the way The Maker had intended (it lasted a month or so).

In chapter 11 Dr. Rubin talks about using essential oils as they are referenced in the Bible. Keep in mind this was over ten years ago before anyone was into essential oils at all. At least no one I knew had heard of them. So consider me a pioneer, or maybe guinea pig is a better description. The idea fascinated me and I ran out to the health food store and picked up a couple bottles of these concentrated elements.

One of the oils was Cassia: 

“a species of the genus Cinnamomum, known for it’s effective antibacterial and antiviral agents that God provided to protect the Israelites from disease.”

I figured if it worked for the Israelites I might as well give it a try. So I went through the instructions given in the book.

“Place a few drops of one of the biblical essential oil blends on your palm, making several clockwise circles with your fingers. Then rub your palms together and cup them over your nose and mouth. deeply inhale the aromatic vapors.”

As I was breathing in the essence of the oils it filled my senses with the sweet fragrance of cinnamon.

Ah… exhale.

The joys of healthy biblical living. How nice.

Oh my. I am starting to feel a little tingle.

Ouch… okay my face burns a little bit.

 Oh God help me! I think my face is on FIRE! AHHHH!
I look in the mirror and the entire area around my mouth and nose was swollen and bright red. I panicked thinking that I was having an allergic reaction. I was about to seek medical attention, when I read further down in Dr. Rubin’s directions “HIGHLY CONCENTRATED, not for topical use. Burning sensations may occur. If irritation occurs apply vegetable oil immediately.”

Obviously I lived to tell about it, but I never tried that form of aromatherapy again.

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By | April 12th, 2016|Laughter|3 Comments