Ditching the Kids: My Two Hours of Freedom (thank you baseball camp)

Today I am maneuvering the super highway of motherhood like a pro race car driver. I’m in the fast lane; changing diapers, fixing cereal, and everybody is completely ready, including hair done and teeth brushed, by 7:15 in the morning.

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It’s Bradley’s first day of baseball camp. This is actually his first time for any kind of “camp” and I’m a little nervous and a little bit excited and I really don’t want us to be late on his first day. But I don’t know what I was thinking, I have to take all these little monkeys with me (2 two-year olds and a 3-year-old) and I think I have lost my mind.

And of course things can’t run smoothly. Collin starts running through the house and saying naughty words (can’t wait till we get out of this stage!) and the twins are fighting over shoes. It’s like a big pothole that I got stuck in and came to a crashing halt. I’m stalled and on the side of this motherhood super highway. I’m cursing myself for not finding a sitter for a couple of hours. I don’t want to take this chaos with me on his first day and try to figure out where to be and not lose anybody. It’s like driving with no headlights in the dark.

So I do what any desperate mother would do…I start calling people at the last-minute. “Can you come watch the little ones this morning for 2 hours? PLEASE! It’s Bradley’s first day of baseball camp.” It’s my last-ditch effort. Terri (who watches the kids a lot for me) came through for me. God bless her soul. Saved again!

I grab a jacket and head out the door. It’s a cool morning. If we hurry we just might make it in time.

As I approach the sign in table I am so grateful I don’t have the little ones with me. The stands and fields are filled with boys ages 7-12 years old with all their baseball gear and parents milling around. Not a whole lot of babies trying to run out onto the field, like I know Collin would try to do.

I just sort of stand there, feeling a little lost. I’ve never been to one of these things. Do I stay or do I leave? I’ve never left him before. I feel the jitters in my stomach at the thought –  he’s still so little, he’s only seven! –  and the excuses run through my head. But the rational side takes over, he’s old enough. It’s camp. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do at camp, drop ’em off and pick ’em up?

Luckily I ran into a couple of old high school friends and chatted with them in the crowd. “Have you done this before? Did you do this last year? Do you wait around or just drop them off?” I was so nervous. They seemed like pros. “See ya later. I have other kids at home.” and “I’m gonna go workout and run some errands.”

Hmmmm….why couldn’t I take this freedom and run with it? Why don’t I have plans or things to do? The freedom was a strange feeling I wasn’t sure what to do with. I stood and watched my son in the group go to the farthest field with all of the other boys. Little baseball feet ran through the field in unison, like little wheels going round and round, and my son’s feet blended with the others as he became one of the team. I guess I am free to go.

But instead I still stood there debating in my head, should I stay or should I go? But it’s two hours long. Finally, after making small chit-chat with a grandpa on the sidelines, I decided to enjoy my freedom. I can be like my friends, I can have plans and take the time to go do something. Maybe I should go workout. Nah, I don’t have workout clothes (and a ton of other excuses for that one)….so I went to the library.

And let me tell you, that two hours of freedom felt amazing. I went straight to my favorite section of the library. No kid section. No shushing them. No losing the little stinkers in the aisles. No threats about leaving if they couldn’t behave.

Just me and books. It felt like heaven. I even got to go to the magazine section. I signed up for the summer reading program. I felt a hundred pounds lighter, even though I had a heavy stack of reading material in my arms.

I should ditch the kids more often, I thought as I was leaving the library with a humongous smile on my face. Maybe I could find a “camp” for ALL of them. Do they have camps for toddlers? Hmmmm…it was fun while it lasted, that two hours of freedom.

I think I will find a babysitter again some morning and ditch the kids. This mommy time was just what I needed!

What do you do with your freedom when you “ditch” the kids?





Not Just a Pinner…I Cooked!

I spend tons of time on Pinterst pinning away but rarely ever make anything. I know I’m not alone on this- thank you very much you other pinning freaks for making me not the only other person who can waste a whole evening online.

But last night was different…

I actually cooked! (sort of, does a crock pot count?)

It was edible!

And I actually used a recipe that I found on Pinterest (so see, I’m not totally wasting time).

But I will admit, it was a pretty darn easy recipe. Chicken Tacos. And it only has 3 ingredients you throw in the crock pot. So it is practically fool proof.

But it was really good. I’m proud of myself (not that I created the recipe, just that I was able to duplicate it and my family could actually eat it) and I would definitely make it again.

Check out the link for the recipe.


What are your favorite and easy recipes from Pinterest that you actually make regularly? Leave the link in the comments. I would love to try a few more!

How I Got a Day Off

There have been so many times that I have wished for a day off to just “do nothing!” And I believe that if you keep wishing for something hard enough, eventually it comes true. But I had to have surgery just to get a day off. Maybe next time I should be more specific with my wish, like pain-free.

But really, I have been sick since October off and on. I thought I was getting the flu-like once a month. It would only last a day, but it was excruciating. The vomiting and the back pain. It got so intense at times I could barely see or breath. And for the first 3 or so months, I just kept thinking, “Man, really?! The flu again?!” But then it would be over by the next day and I would forget about it…until it happened again. I knew I wasn’t pregnant, so I figured it had to be the flu.

I don’t know why I put off going to the doctor for so long. I guess it might be a mom thing. I get busy and just forget. It didn’t even really occur to me to go to the doctor because it would go away and then I would carry on with my life. It was my mom who finally said, “I don’t think you are getting the flu every single month for this long. You should call the doctor.”

So I finally did. They told me I had to have my gall bladder removed. My gall bladder? I forgot I even had an organ with such a name, let alone to know what it did or what the heck it is for. But since I have had it and I mention it to someone, they are all like, “Oh, yea. I had to have mine removed too” or “Oh, my daughter just had hers removed last year.” Like this is a common thing. Who knew.

But surgery is still surgery, even if it is outpatient and laparoscopic, it still sucks. It’s so weird thinking that something in me isn’t working right and they can just “fix” it by removing it. It is so weird thinking of my body sprawled out on an operating table and allowing another human being to take something from inside my body. Just weird. Like, what do they do with it? What did it look like? Was it hard to get out? Did they have to yank and pull? Or was it “lasered” out? I try not to think of myself out cold on a slab like a specimen and something is being taken from inside my body. Glad I didn’t wake up to aliens.

But I’m also so thankful that I could be fixed. Thank you modern medicine. Because I am really tired of being sick. There were so many days hovering over the toilet bowel, heaving my guts out. I couldn’t even take care of my kids, who would be barging in the bathroom, “Hi, mom! Ewwww…ewwww…” but still staring because that seems to be what my lil’ weird toddlers do. Smarten up kids, mommy’s puking. Run the other way. Nobody wants to witness this.

Today is the first day since my surgery that I’m starting to feel like myself again. I can move without feeling like my insides are going to slide out of the incision on my belly button. The pain isn’t as bad and I can finally move again, although bending is still a little difficult.

So since I had some “recovery” time I have been laying around burning through the books, which is exactly what I have always wanted to do with “a day off to do nothing.” I have been putting my feet up, reading and napping. Oh, and immensely enjoying the TOTAL and COMPLETE silence. I can go all day without even turning on the tv and it is wonderful! I absolutely love it.

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I have been on so many adventures these last couple of days. I started reading James Patterson’s “Maximum Ride” series. I am addicted! It’s totally a young adult book and it’s totally an awesome read- a thrill ride. The pages fly by like the hybrid mutant bird kids that I have come to love so much.

I’m almost done with the third book. I have been averaging a book a day, gobbling them up and snapping through them like guzzling down a pack of Pop Rocks. These books are soooo my new favorite candy. They rock!

So I gotta go join my “flock” now and see what kind of butt we can kick tonight! We are off to France.


Easter Leftovers

It was just last week that I stood at the kitchen counter after all of our Easter eggs hunts and family gatherings. I popped open the plastic eggs and poured the kids’ candy into a community candy bowl; jelly beans, Reeses’ cups, scrunched up packs of Skittles and Miniature m&m’s. My eyes glazed over in a sugar coma as I looked over the sea of candy.

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Holy Crap! These kids have a shitload of candy!

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Let’s do the math. 4 kids + 3 Easter egg hunts (home and both grandparents’ houses) = 8 chocolate bunnies and waaaayy too much candy, probably enough to hold us over until Halloween (I will throw it out way before then). There is so much candy my eyes are turning into jelly beans. I just can’t believe how much candy there is. They got other stuff too; bubbles, bouncy balls, sidewalk chalk, books…but I’m still amazed at the amount of sugar.

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Why do we do this each and every year?

We fill and hide eggs from the “Easter Bunny,” they gobble up as much as they possibly can and bounce around on a sugar high until I take it away, declaring “Easter egg hunt is over. Hand over all your eggs. You are not eating Peeps for breakfast!” Such a mean mom… but I do let them eat a little bit.

The twins, they suck at hunting for Easter eggs. They each found three or four eggs and promptly sat their diapered booties on the steps and ate up their goodies. They refused to find anymore. They were content with popping jelly beans in their mouths and watching the boys collect the rest of the eggs. When they wanted more, they held out their hands and grunted and Collin would deliver an egg to each sticky hand.

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That’s why I decided next year I’m filling eggs with cereal; Captain Crunch, Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops, Cocoa Puffs – all the kinds of cereal I rarely ever buy. Then, instead of taking the time in the morning to feed them breakfast, I can just send them outside to hunt for their meal. Win win situation. It kind of reminds me of a Family Guy episode where the babysitter threw a bunch of crackers in the yard along with Stewie. “There’s your lunch. Go get it.”  I’ve always wanted to do that. Here’s my chance with a good excuse, Easter!

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Until they get older…I can picture it now…them throwing the plastic eggs at me, a blue egg bouncing off my head and spraying cereal everywhere. Orange and purple and hot pink eggs hitting my arms and sides and legs, leaving little welt marks and breaking open, crunch berries and fruit loops littering the yard. “What the hell?! What kind of Easter bunny leaves cereal?! Where are the real eggs?! Where is the damn candy?!” The rebellion.

But I actually did fill a few eggs this year with cereal. After I took the eggs away, the girls just went into a fit. They didn’t understand. They screamed and whined. They turned into the evil twins. It was horrible. So I took a couple empty eggs and filled them with Cheerios and they were happy. Problem solved. Crying stopped. Phew!

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But I was really happy this year. The kids were so good helping each other find eggs. They didn’t push or shove or get stingy. They were so helpful and nice to each other. Bradley, still on crutches with his broken leg, couldn’t even bend down to pick up the eggs off the ground. Collin was so nice and helpful. Bradley would say, “Collin, see that green sparkly one? I want that one.” And Collin would get it for him and pick one up for himself. They were so good, which rarely happens for that amount of time, especially when candy is involved.

So glad it’s over. Time to go eat the ears off one of those bunnies.


A Story From Our Day

“Bradley, keep an eye on your brother and sisters. I have to run downstairs and switch the laundry,” I told Bradley. I also yelled over my shoulder to them before the basement door shut behind me, “Bradley’s in charge! Be good!” Ha! Like that is gonna happen, but I’ll test my luck just to get a little bit done.

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I hurried down the steps and switched the laundry over like a mad woman. I turned shirts right side out in lightning speed. So much can happen when I switch laundry, which is why I never get it done and always have humongous piles of it. What are they doing up there? I stopped in my fury of clothing and listened; no panicked footsteps, no screaming, I”m doing good,” I thought to myself and finished up quickly.

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When I went upstairs Bradley had a piece of paper and pen. “Mom, I wrote down everybody’s names of who was being naughty,” he told me. Collin’s name was down three times (go figure), Elsie and Mallie’s once each. “What did they do?” I asked. He listed all the things they did and he didn’t cut them any slack. Wow, he really takes his job seriously and couldn’t help laughing to myself.

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It has been a crazy week here with the kids. I’m usually working, so we are not in a routine and as soon as we get one, it will be time to go back. But right now…right about nap time when I really need a breather…well, it just doesn’t happen. The twins think nap time really means party time and wont sleep for anything! Collin thinks it is time to go to the bathroom, get a drink, anything to get him up from laying still. There are times I just want to cry. Please just go to sleep! Mommy needs a break.

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And then I take a step back…letting all the fighting and bickering and crazy screaming with joy around the house go into the background. I take deep breaths and focus on the little things…like when Collin ran Mallie over with a car and knocked her down, he stopped and helped her up and tried to giver her a hug. Bradley offering to brush his sisters’ teeth in the morning. Elsie puckered up for a kiss. They really can be sweet, despite all the havoc they create.

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I captured one silly moment with the girls. It is now one of my favorite videos. I am so happy that they actually play together, even though Mallie seems a little unwilling. 

I love being home with them and I can’t wait to go back to work. I wish I could do it half and half…a little bit of this and a little bit of that.


Vacation is a Relative Term

So we are on our Christmas “vacation” or holiday “break” from school. And as I do dishes two or three times a day, fold four loads of laundry, bake cookies that stick to the cookie sheet, chase the kids around the house, “Get down! No jumping on the couch. Have you lost your mind?!”…I wonder when the “break” will begin because I think I’m losing my mind.

christmas 2012 022  When you are a mom, the term “vacation” or “break” doesn’t really mean time off to relax or get things done. That term is deceiving. It means chasing the kids around the house, being a referee to the fighting and bickering, “Mum, Bradley said ha ha to me” and “MOM! Collin threw a car at me.” It is thinking (and really believing) you are going to get all kinds of things done with this “extra” time, like organizing the closet and cleaning out the cupboards and then get all stressed out because you barely got anything accomplished and are counting down the hours until daddy gets home because mommy is really starting to lose it. Where is my break? And why wont these children nap?!

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I will admit, the first week or so was fun; waiting for christmas, baking cookies, wrapping presents, playing games, making crafts, admiring the christmas lights. But ever since New Year’s…well, I am totally over it. I am ready to get the hell out of the house!

I need to work for my sanity. I need to see people. I need to talk to somebody over the age of 3. Now, Bradley (my 7-year-old) is pretty good company and we have some great conversations…but it’s not the same as seeing people “out in the real world.”

I love my kids. I just don’t want to be home with them every day, all day. I will lose my mind…sweet and cute as they are. I really don’t know how stay at home moms do it. It’s just not for me. I find myself wishing for work so I can have a “break”…oh, the irony.

Must be time for a mommy night out…or a drink, either one or both will do.

How do you make it through “breaks” and “vacations” from school?


A Letter to Santa

The other night Bradley sat down with a pencil and paper and wrote his letter to Santa. I love his first grade handwriting and creativity. I love the fact that he put directions on how to open the letter – that is the “rip” at the top of the page and an illustration!  But I think my favorite part is that he asks if he has been good or bad. Shouldn’t he just know? I thought most kids just said they were on the good list no matter what. He just cracks me up. I can’t help but laugh. I think he thinks there is some kind of chart, like the clip system at school.

santa letter In his letter he did list all of the nice things he did, like helping his sisters put on their shoes in the morning and working hard in school. On the other side was his list. Surprisingly it was a really short list! And at the end, he wrote “I am 7,” and circled it, just so Santa would know.

I “mailed” it to the North Pole this morning, which is basically dating it and putting it way in my cedar chest where I store all of my favorite keepsakes. I can’t wait to give him that pile when he is older.

I wonder what my Santa letters were like when I was little.

How do you save your Santa letters? Which ones are your favorites? I would love to hear your stories!