This Friday marks the first day of summer and I could not be more excited. My husband’s birthday is in May. My anniversary is in June. Pumpkin’s birthday is in June and Ladybug’s birthday is in July. I work in a profession that has summers off. Is it not obvious that summer is my favorite season-HANDS DOWN? Along with summer comes the boredom/insanity challenges. I have an over-inquisitive five year old that functions best with routines and procedures in place (blame me). With summer being a time of fun and exploration, I like to venture out on at least one outing a week. This year I wanted to involve the angels and decided to create a Summer Bucket List with their input.
I am a semi-creative person that does NOT believe in recreating the wheel. I searched and searched for a printable with pictures of summer activities that would be age appropriate for my angels and I finally struck gold. I simply cut and paste the pictures to construction paper and put it on a poster board and our 2013 Summer Bucket List was created. Simple and applicable. It actually surprised me how excited and ready the angels would be to start scratching items off their list. So, now that I am being held accountable by a very intimidating 5 year old and three year old…I better get to planning our first outing.
Activities On Our 2013 Summer Bucket List
Watch a Movie
Teacher Appreciation Week made its appearance and disappeared into thin air. And now it’s really time to thank the angels’ teachers because it’s the end of the year and these teachers have given their blood, sweat, and tears (I’m sure they shed many. At least I know I did.) to 15-25 sweet, sweet children. Between the two angels, there are SIX teachers and as much as I want to give them a gift card to Nordstrom’s, I just can’t do it. So, I found a reasonable and creative way to thank each teacher for at least three days. We were out-of-town the last two days of the week and I took full advantage. I gave each of their teachers a gift a day and these ideas were found after a bit of late night reasearch and Pinteresting. The total cost of the project cost $15.86 (excluding the card stock, glue, and pattern cut-outs).
“You Are Extra Special”
Pack of Extra gum (I found 4-5 piece packs for $1.00 at Family Dollar)
Star (or any fitting) pattern
Glue stick/Hot glue gun
- Print or write the following statements and glue to a piece of card stock:
You are extra special. Thank you for everything you do every day.
- Glue the pattern and Extra gum to the piece of card stock
- Write the teacher’s name and student’s name on the card stock
Small container of hand sanitizer (I found 3-2 oz bottles for $1.55 at Family Dollar)
Glue stick/Hot glue gun
- Print or write the following statements and glue to a hand pattern (trace your hand or your little one’s hand) cut out of card stock:
I am thankful for the hands that help me every day.
- Glue the hand sanitizer to the hand pattern
- Write the teacher’s name and student’s name on the hand pattern
“Thank You Notes“
Small Clipboard (I found these for a $1 each at Target)
Small legal pads (I found packs of 3 small legal pads for $.94 at Walmart)
Multi-colored writing pens(I found a 10 pack of multi-colored pens for $1.67 at Walmart)
Heart (or any fitting) pattern
Glue stick/Hot glue gun
- Print or write the following statements and glue to a piece of card stock:
Just a note to say, “You are awesome.”
- Glue the pattern to the piece of card stock and clip to the clipboard
- Attach a pen to the card stock with ribbon
- Write the teacher’s name and student’s name on the card stock
My dear friend made an hour long car drive (which is not uncommon in Houston) to drop off clothes and baby essentials (crib mattress, changing pads, diaper genie) that she no longer uses. I have a sister and sister-and-law expecting this summer and these items will be greatly appreciated. (Now if you are one of those moms that believes hand me downs are beneath you and your little….keep reading. You’ll change your mind at some point after their arrival.) I was/am one of those moms that takes it all and sorts through it later. We were blessed before my son was born to have great friends that gave us a bassinet and activity center. And now my friends and I are in such a groove of rotating clothes and items that it is ridiculous (see pic above). This winter I really could have survived with only buying Ladybug underwear and been just fine (I did buy a few pieces I couldn’t resist.).
You know as well as I do that your angels wear clothes and shoes for a hot second in their early years. And you also know how frustrating it is when you are trying to make those now high water jeans you just purchased two weeks ago last another two months. If you have your own circle of moms or know of a mom that might be interested, I highly suggest organizing a closet swap. The benefits are endless.
It took less than 10 minutes.
Ladybug’s room went from this:
For over a month I had been slowly purging Ladybug’s room. From the precious baby blankets to the itty bitty baby toys she and her brother had finally outgrown, I was passing it all on and I had finally completed this endless task. You could not believe (or maybe you can) my frustration when I walked in her room. I wanted to pull my fingernails out one by one. And I totally should have known what was going on because as I was diligently working on some other task (It’s shameful that I don’t even remember.), Pumpkin found me and said, “Ladybug hit me with a book.” Well, now I see…she probably hit him with every book she owned.
Later that evening as I cleaned her room (for the ten thousandth time), I shared precious time with her. She was intrigued by everything about me in that moment and it melted my heart. It started with the sticker on the bottom of my shoe. As she handed me the sticker, she was distracted by the curls in my hair and wanted to sit in my lap and touch them. Her attention then moved to one of the million books on the floor and she wanted me to read to her. After that, we sang and danced to a few songs (kid friendly of course). She was finally ready for bed as I finished cleaning her room. I was in love. She gave me new life that evening and secured her spot in my heart (just kidding).
That mess was deliberately made for me. Without us knowing the plan, I truly believe God sent me to her room for us to share a treasured moment between the two of us. I now look at cleaning a little different. I won’t mind as much when I clean life’s little messes. There just may be a reason for it all.
It was a lazy Sunday afternoon and I was napping comfortably, when the texts began. My sister found a “new” Christmas tradition that she just knew Pumpkin and Ladybug would enjoy, The Elf On The Shelf. I had no idea what she was talking about and did a little research. The elf is adopted by your family, every night s/he “flies” to the North Pole to report to Santa about the day’s activities, and before the family awakes, the elf flies back to their adopted home. The elf cannot be touched or s/he will lose its powers. I was sold!!! I am not an easy sell, but after I read all the posts and stories about the Elf On The Shelf (because apparently we were out the loop), I had to do it that night. So, at 6:00 pm, I set out on my mission to find my elf. My first stop was Target and EVERYTHING was sold out.
As usual, I began to let my stress level rise. I bought a bootleg sock monkey just in case I had no luck finding an elf and planned to just download the book to my iPad. Super Auntie was not having it. Although, I was the one out like a maniac looking for a freaking elf and its book. I digress.
I ended up at Barnes and Noble that had an overabundance of Elf On The Shelf kits. I coughed up the $30 with a frown on my face and headed home or so I thought. I ended up caught in a Christmas parade at 7:00 pm. Can you say, “HOT!”? I was UPSET! Who gets caught in a parade on a Sunday night with an elf and its book? I do. I called Super Auntie and vented for about 20 minutes until the parade passed.
So, after dinner, I couldn’t wait to break out our new elf. We read the book and Pumpkin named their elf Herman (don’t ask). The kids were completely clueless and were only interested in the story. I thought my work was in vain until the next morning. The angels found Herman and were TOO excited. Ladybug couldn’t contain herself and jumped around the entire kitchen. Pumpkin was excited, but a little leery. Needless to say, Herman has now become an exciting tradition and I am so thankful that Super Auntie DEMANDED (I need to listen to her more, because her demands have become very fruitful for my family!) I start the Elf On The Shelf tradition. The angels are excited every morning and cannot wait to call MiMi (their grandmother) and Super Auntie to tell them all about Silly Herman! I don’t want to blame it on the elf, but the angels are more cognizant of their behavior and I will admit, I have used the phrase, “You know Herman is watching and will report it to Santa.” DESPERATE TIMES CALLS FOR DESPERATE MEASURES and in all honesty, I don’t feel the least bit guilty.
Below are pictures of our first Elf on The Shelf experience and I will update nightly. You may even get some great ideas yourself! Pumpkin is four and Ladybug is two, so most of Herman’s adventures will take place out of reach because as you know….the elf cannot be touched or he will lose his magic!
Herman spent his first night on our fireplace mantel. I was new this tradition and had to take baby steps.
The next night, I stepped my game up just a little. Herman was drinking Mommy’s tea out of Ladybug’s cup. She was tickled pink!
The angels had a great day back at school after being out sick and Herman decided to leave them a note praising their good behavior when they returned home from school. I wrote the note with my left hand to look more like an “elf”s” writing.
The angels almost missed Herman this morning. He got stuck in the shower curtain trying to take a shower.
Herman was stuck in the chandelier in our dining room.
This is one of my favorites. Herman was caught eating remnants of Halloween candy.
This is another favorite. Herman was found in our bathroom attempting to brush his teeth after eating a ton of candy the night before.
Herman decided to take pictures of his bottom upon his return from the North Pole. I forgot to close the copier cover and probably wasted an entire ink cartridge.
Herman decided to draw a nice picture using the angels’ crayons and easel.
The kids loved this one. Herman tried to pour himself another bowl of cereal and got caught in the container.
Herman decided to orchestrate his own “panty raid” as my Husband called it!
Herman likes hiding in all kinds of light fixtures.
Herman is reading a book to his friends.
Herman is resting as Simba and Nahla watch his area to ensure he gets adequate rest.
Herman decided to help me wash and hang some pjs to dry.
Herman returned from the North Pole and got stuck in the Christmas tree!
It was deja vu. Pumpkin was sick with a low grade fever on Thursday evening and all day Friday. Saturday morning I made an executive decision to take him to the doctor’s office. Oh, what a early birthday gift to me! I was exhausted from Black Friday shopping and hanging out with my sister-friends from college and the angels could care less. Ladybug was out of control. She orchestrated a beautiful 2 year old tantrum. It started with her claiming she had to go to the potty. So, I pack up two backpacks, a purse, an iPad, and two angels. There was a 5 minute wait for the single restroom in a large PEDIATRICIAN’S OFFICE and during this wait, the angels decided to run to the back of the office and to the lab. I had to do the unthinkable which was leave my purse and ipad and hope the next mom in line doesn’t steal it! (Did I mention that I was exhausted because I was Christmas shopping for these two?) When we finally make it in the restroom, I realize that Ladybug’s pull-up has leaked and her pants are wet. As we are washing our hands, Ladybug gets upset again and begins screaming and crying at the top of her lungs. I swoop her and her brother up along with all our belongings and we go outside to clean her up. As we walk back in the office, she gets upset again and all I could do was sit down and let her scream as the other moms glared at me. I was SO not in the mood. We FINALLY make it out of the waiting room and into the exam room. The doctor comes in the room to begin his examination and Pumpkin fights (and I mean fights like a grown man) the doctor because he is trying to check his ears. Instead of calling in the nurse to assist, I wrestle Pumpkin as the poor man checks his ears. In the meantime, Ladybug is having another tantrum on the floor for no apparent reason except that maybe she is exhausted. The doctor leaves to run some tests and then she appeared. The nurse. She takes Ladybug and Pumpkin to look at the aquarium. When they finally return, Ladybug has her shoes and socks on (she took these off in the middle of her tantrum) and they are drinking juice boxes. We finally walked out of that endless appointment without any further incidents and I couldn’t get home fast enough.
The nurse salvaged my sanity. I was about to lose it. It was going to be one of those moments until she swooped in. And it wasn’t the doctor, it wasn’t the surgeon, it was the nurse. The sweet, compassionate nurse. I wanted to hug her; but I figured that would be too forward for her. I did tell her how grateful I was and how she saved me. She completely understood because she had two at home that were the same age as the angels. I have always been aware that in order for an operation to run effectively it takes an entire team-chiefs, indians, quarterbacks, kickers, principals, teachers, janitors, managers, secretaries, doctors, and nurses. The key is to know your role and be confident in it. You are needed and are fully contributing to the cause. That nurse saved me (and the angels from being dropped off at the fire station across the street) that day and I will be forever thankful.
This post is a part of a week-long series hosted by Melissa at Adventuroo called A Week In My LIfe. For an ENTIRE week, I will share with you the trials and tribulations of being a mom, wife, and everything else! On a side note, this challenge actually started two weeks ago and at the last-minute, I decided to join!
Today, I am going to give you a glimpse into a full work/school day in our house….
This morning, I physically CANNOT wake up until 5:00 am which is 30 minutes later than planned. I miss bible study, get ready for work, and end up in a heated argument with Husband (and he absolutely knows I am NOT a morning person). About 5 minutes later than planned, I go get Ladybug bug dressed and discovered she peed in the bed, I wipe her down, get her dressed, and start the washing machine. We are already 15 minutes late, and Ladybug pitches a fit because she doesn’t want to take the wings off her costume (It’s Halloween, so of course it is Costume Day at school.) to put on her jacket because it is cold this morning. Finally, I buckle the angels in the car, get behind the wheel, and Ladybug tells me, “Buckle your seat, Mommy!” I absolutely love the fact that at 2 years old, she reminds ME to buckle my seatbelt.
We finally arrive at school about 30 minutes late, yet I am able to talk to Pumpkin’s teacher and the director about his progress in class. The director also tells me that Ladybug’s allergies are disturbing her during the day and I need to bring in her medicine. Great! I then leave their school and begin my commute to work. Of course 30 minutes later, my mom finally returns my phone call as I am two minutes away from work and my Halloween anthem, “My Mind Is Playing Tricks On Me” is on the radio. I make the decision ignore my mother’s call (she is not going to let me live this down) and continue listening to my anthem, I need some release from this stressful morning.
I finally arrive at work (about 30 minutes late) and hit the ground running:
- I complete my missed morning bible study
- I attend two scheduled meetings
- I attend an unexpected parent conference
- I put on my “policewoman” hat because a calculator was stolen out of a teacher’s classroom
- I visit with several students about discipline referrals submitted to my office on their behalf, issue consequences, and contact their parents
- I answer a few emails
- I conduct lunch duty
- I drop my lunch (and I was so looking forward to it) on the floor as I take it out the microwave
- After I clean my lunch mess and walk out of the lounge, I realize my glass ring breaks on my finger and I have to visit the nurse to have it removed because the sharp edge is digging into my skin and I cut myself
- I call parents and issue consequences for a student that cursed another student out across the classroom
- I issue consequences and contact parents for another student that was involved in another verbal altercation
- I meet with three teachers
- I spend some time mentoring a new staff member
- I listen to a “rehabilitation” speech for one of my students with discipline issues
- I conduct afternoon bus duty
- I attend a staff meeting
I finally leave work and make it to CrossFit. For one hour, I focus on putting all my energy and effort into meeting or beating my personal goal. I am slowly beginning to realize that it is truly my release.
I leave and pick up the angels from school. When we arrive home, the angels eat a snack as I do a load of laundry. We eat dinner early (Husband prepared it the night before in preparation for Halloween.) and then go trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. The angels are tickled pink because their aunt was able to join us. We return home after about an hour and I let the angels hand out candy to other trick-or-treaters, the candy was gone in about 15 minutes.
After baths, books, sight words, prayer, and bed, I finally look forward to a little down time. But, I thought too soon. Pumpkin comes around the corner wide-eyed about 10 minutes after “lights out”. I get him back in bed and complete another load of laundry. I finally get the opportunity to indulge in MY time. I take a shower, complete Bible Study, and get some blog and Printed Sugar work done. An hour later, as I am preparing for bed, emergency vehicles pass and the dogs howl which wake and scare Pumpkin and Ladybug. So, the three of us lay down in Pumpkin’s bed. We ALL end up falling asleep. Another hour later (about 12:10 am), I put Ladybug in her bed and sleepwalk to my bed. At some point in the middle of the night, Pumpkin ends up in our bed. I don’t even remember him coming in our room.
After this “normal” day, I am exhausted and look forward to the sleep I don’t receive. And then, I get to do it all over again tomorrow.
It was one of those mornings. We were late. Super late. I was rushing to get the kids out the house. When we arrived at the sitter’s house, the sitter was outside watering the grass. I almost threw the kids out the car and rolled down the street. I was NOT looking forward to another late morning. In actuality, I didn’t throw the kids at the sitter, I took each of them out the car, handed them off, and ran back to the car to drive another 35 minutes to work. As I shut the car door, I heard, “Mommy, STOP! Mommy!” I stopped briefly at his command and looked at Pumpkin. He then said, “Mommy, I luuv you.” Well, cry me a river! I held back tears, ran to him and my daughter and said, “Well, LW I love you too. More than you’ll ever know.” I got back in the car and cried myself to work. UNBELIEVABLE. He did it again. The little boy made me stop and smell the roses.
I need to slow down. It seems as if my life is always in overdrive. We move so fast and so often, we barely take a second to tell each other, “I love you.” Pumpkin reminded me of how important it is to stop and be grateful. Wherever I was going would still be there when I got there. I needed to stop and love on my angels.
A few days later, I was buckling the kids in the car and Ladybug did not want to get in the car, she demanded her father. And then it was like a ripple effect, Pumpkin then wanted a moment with his dad. The carpool was waiting on my husband, I was late, and I stopped. I gave my husband and the kids their moment. In the end I was late, but we had a great morning by simply enjoying the small things that we live for and that makes us a family.
It was a beautiful Sunday morning and we were preparing to attend church. My husband was in and out of the house doing his normal duties-taking out the trash, locking the backyard gate, feeding the dogs-the usual. Pumpkin was still eating breakfast. I was doing my normal tasks-cleaning rooms, getting dressed, preparing outfits for church-the usual. I heard my “husband” go back outside and softly shut the door. I continued moving about the house and then the house fell unusually quiet. I suddenly screamed, “Ladybug! Ladybug! Where are you?” No response. I didn’t wait long for a response because something clicked in my head. “It was not her dad that went outside.” I dropped whatever I was holding/doing and ran outside. I scanned the garage and didn’t see her so I took off running towards the street instinctively. And there she was running down the middle of the street with my keys. She made it to about the 4th house down the street. In my robe (I’m glad I even had on a robe.) and house shoes, I grabbed her, grabbed my keys, kissed her forehead, and scolded her all the way home. By this time her dad and brother had run outside and they were dumfounded. They scolded her some more and we all went inside and locked the doors. I honestly have only been that scared one other time in my life, and that was at the birth of my son (6 weeks early). It all ran through my head. I was visibly shaken for a good hour.
As the day progressed, one would think we learned our lesson. Apparently, God was not done with us just yet because at my in-law’s I felt that eerie silence from earlier and started screaming again. “Ladybug! Ladybug! Where are you?” There were even more adults this time and she managed to make it to the end of the driveway. I was outdone and speechless. After that, we got the message and loud and clear. Clear and loud.
It can wait. It doesn’t matter how important it is to finish that load of laundry, it can wait. If you don’t hear the little ones, STOP and find them. Most accidents can be prevented. I also learned to listen to everyone no matter how young. Ladybug actually told me, “I want to go. Let’s go Mommy.” I told her to wait, I guess I took too long and she took matters into her own hands. She surely taught me a lesson; one I will never forget!
One day this week, it rained all day and we were stuck in the house. At the end of the day we all had cabin fever and absolutely had to get OUT of the house, even for a short outing. I decided to take the kids to Walmart. I know. Of all the places, I choose Walmart, but of course being the efficient mom that I am, I was trying to kill two birds with one stone. Little did I know, this outing was going to be a disaster before we even made to the front door.
Being the fun mom that I am, I put the little ones in their rain boots. What was I thinking? In the parking lot, LW Pumpkin was determined to jump in every puddle, and Ladybug had disappeared. Yes, I said it, “Ladybug disappeared in the Walmart parking lot.” I quickly found her, scooped her up, and put her in the basket with her brother once we entered the store. But, guess who wasn’t having it? You guessed correctly. Ladybug did not want to be in the basket today. I turn my back for a quick second, and she tumbles over the basket and almost falls out (Mommy does a quick save!). I give her another chance and tell her to sit down, because remind you, this is supposed to be a fun outing and needless to say she almost falls out again. Unfortunately for her, I strap her in the basket. And then it starts, the screaming/crying. When she gets to this point, there is no stopping her. But, on the flip side, there is no stopping me, I finish with my shopping and I am getting looks from everyone all kinds of ways. And I just keep shopping with a big smile on my face and then they hit me again. In the produce department, Pumpkin asks, “Where’s my penis?” And to add to my embarrassment, a sweet gray-haired lady looks over, luckily she chuckled. I simply responded with, “Pumpkin, I’m sure your penis is still there. We will look for it when we get home.” I mean really, what was I supposed to say? Ladybug is still screaming/crying (She cried for over an hour). So, we continue shopping, and I hear, “SHUT UP!” I wanted to just leave them both in the store at this point. SHUT UP is our big “no-no” word at the moment. We got rid of it, and somehow it resurfaced. I don’t even know who said it, but they were both reprimanded for it and the screaming/crying continued. About ten minutes later we check out and everyone is in great spirits. They can’t stop talking and laughing with the checker. Ladybug wanted to wave and tell everyone bye-bye. And I look an absolute mess, my hair is all over my head (as it usually is), my clothes are disheveled (from repositioning Ladybug in the basket several times), and my glasses are twisted. Yet, we survived and as I left the store, I just knew everyone was looking at me crazy and I thought, DON”T JUDGE ME! Another lesson learned.
During this entire trip, all I could remember was the poor lady being arrested because she spanked her children in the Walmart parking lot and they caught her on video. I just knew I was being set up. I knew it.
You never know someone’s situation. During my experience at Walmart, I could see the ugly looks. I look like a struggling teenager with two unruly children. The truth is I am a grown woman with two unruly children on this particular day! Seriously, there have been several times when I have seen the stressed mom in the store and the children were all over the place and thought to myself, “What is her issue?”. I have now had this experience myself and I will not judge again. You never know someone’s struggles. It could just be a really bad day and the four-year old and two-year old could care less!