Category Archives: Parenthood

Whether or not they’re vaccinated, your kids are going to die

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Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Whether you choose to vaccinate or not, your kid is going to die. So is mine. Hopefully, its not until have lived long wonderful lives. But the reality is, my vaccinated child could die in a car accident tomorrow. Your unvaccinated kid could die from measles complications in a few weeks. Both our kids could go to school in a few years and get shot by some pyscho.

Good grief, Bri. Why you gotta be such a buzz kill? Are you trying to freak us out even more? No, I’m not. I’m reminding you that no matter what you do, your child’s life is not in your hands. The way some of these parent’s are talking, you’d think that a decision for or against vaccination was an instant matter of life and death. My son’s days on this earth are not determined by me or my choice to vaccinate. There are determined by God alone. All I can do, all any of us can do, is make the most informed, best possible decision for our families and then live it up. Life is way to short to make decisions based on fear.

Look I get it, fear is easy. Everywhere we look the media is telling us about a horrible kidnapping, and some mom is blogging about mold she found in a Capri Sun. And we love our kids so freaking much. We want to protect them from every possible harm. But we can’t. When we jump at things that go bump in the night, we teach our children to walk through this life afraid instead of empowered. We teach them that it’s their job to control things, not God’s. We teach them that its better to take the safe boring road rather than to take great risks and experience great success and great failure. We build a generation of robots instead of a generation of revolutionaries.

So do your kiddos and fellow moms a favor and stop the fear mongering. Don’t share those over emotional blog posts that lack scientific evidence. But keep sharing those articles that are fact based, because we need more of those! Better yet, do some research and create your own!

Don’t cancel that trip to Disneyland just because there is a slight chance you’ll come in contact with measles (unless of course you have pre existing conditions that would make measles deadly, in which case maybe do Knott’s Berry Farm instead).

When you share your personal experiences, don’t present them as the final word but rather as one possible outcome, and encourage your friends to seek counsel from multiple sources.  While you’re at it, how about finding some moms and bloggers outside your usual circle and getting some advice from them?

And lastly, once a mom, or any person for that matter, has made her decisions don’t use fear and guilt to change her mind. If it bothers you that much that her kids aren’t vaccinated, then don’t invite them to your house (for the record, although I am strongly in the pro vaccination camp, healthy non vaccinated children are welcome in my home.)

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A Messy Girl’s Guide to Making Your House A Little Less Disgusting

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“Good moms have sticky floors, messy kitchens, laundry piles, dirty ovens and happy kids.”

I love this quote. Not because I think bad moms have clean houses, but because I have yet to master the whole “being a mom, being an employee and keeping a clean house” thing and this quote makes me feel better about myself. But here’s the thing: while sticky floors and piles of laundry are okay, mold on your dishes, muddy dog footprints on your sheets and trash that spills onto the floor are not. Therefore, at some point in life we moms do have to do some sort of cleaning. I’m sure your favorite mom bloggers have been giving you cleaning tips for years. Some of you may actually be using those tips and you might have a decently clean house most of the time. You’re good moms and you have a clean house. Kudos! This post is not for you. This post is for the rest of us. Those of us who have permanently given up on “clean” and instead strive for “a little less disgusting.” Here’s what you’ve got to do.

Prioritize

You will never have time to get all the chores done, so you’ve got to prioritize. Here’s how I determine which chores to do first

  1. I look around my house and think  “If child protective services came right now, what would they consider a health code violation?” Those issues get taken care of first. Hint: that moldy maggot filled apple at the bottom of the toy bin is probably violating some sort of parenting law.
  2. Then I look around my house again and ask myself “If that stuck up mom from play group came over right now, what would she comment on?” It’s not that it’s important to impress the stuck up mom, it’s just that she says what everyone is thinking so if I don’t want my friends to be silently gagging as they hover above my toilet seat, I should probably clean said toilet seat.
  3. If by some miracle you have time to more chores, do something that will make you feel like a good about life. For me, that’s clean sheets. The entire house could look like a tornado rampaged a muddy thrift store, but if I have clean sheets on our bed and the baby’s crib, then its all okay.

Psych yourself up

I usually do my cleaning on Saturdays (oh the joys of being a working mom) but I start mentally preparing myself on Friday night, usually by watching an episode of Hoarders. Nothing will get me to clean my bedroom closet faster than seeing what will happen if I let it spill through the living room and out the front door.

Keep the kids safe and contained

This is pretty important. If you don’t contain the kids, then they will make messes literally seconds after you clean. If you don’t keep them safe, you’ll waste valuable cleaning time with annoying things like bandaids and trips to the ER. But don’t let the kids trick you into thinking that safe and contained means happy and entertained. It doesn’t. You’ve kept those little darlings entertained for a week straight, that’s why your house is a wreck. This is the day ish gets done! If you can find something easy to entertain them, like a movie, then great. If not, just contain them in some sort of fort/prison and clean as fast as you can before they break out.

Find some audio entertainment

Cleaning is sooooooo boring. Gah, just thinking about it makes me nod off. For years I tried having the t.v. on while I cleaned, you know, for background noise. But then I had a kid and realized that I could not take 30 minutes to vacuum, so I had to find some other sort of entertainment. Music, of course, is is great entertainment. And if you dance while you clean then that counts as exercise. I’m also a fan of listening to comedy stations on Pandora, or books on tape. Anything that will keep me from poking my eyes out with the broom handle.

Hire some help

Try as we might, there are just some days, months or years that we can’t do it all. So don’t be afraid to get some help. You could hire a professional housekeeper, but that’s expensive and let’s be real, your standards aren’t that high. Instead, I suggest asking the highschooler down the street or the college kid from church that’s home for the summer. I’ve asked my sister who is nursing school to help out. She enjoys the flexibility and extra money, I enjoy being able to see the beautiful hardwood floors my husband installed. It’s a win win. Another idea is to chore swap with a neighbor. Everyone has those chores that they hate more than others. Maybe your most hated chores don’t seem that bad to your neighbor and their dreaded tasks don’t seem that bad to you. You could go over and clean their windows while they wash their dishes. Granted your still cleaning, but its easier and faster to do chores that don’t feel like Chinese water torture.

Harder Than You Thought and Better Than You Can Imagine

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I was recently talking to a dear friend of mine about having children. Like me, she has a lot of fears and apprehensions. I’m not sure I did a very good job of easing those fears in our discussion, so I decided to write an open letter to her and anyone else who is on the fence about having kids. The reality is, not everyone should have children. However, I think there are a lot of people who would make great parents and are missing out on the experience because our society sheds a negative light on parenthood. It sounds cliche but trust me when I say, it’s worth it. 

Dear Friend,

I understand your fears about having children. I had a lot of fears about having kids and being a parent. I had fears about pregnancy. Would I be sick all the time? Would I be an insane emotional psycho bitch? What if I got stretch marks?  What if that lunch meat I couldn’t resist kills the baby?

I even more fears about delivery. Would I need an episiotomy? What if I felt it? What if I didn’t have the strength to push the baby out? My friend who is super athletic said delivery was the hardest work out of her life. I can’t even run for 5 minutes, how would I push a baby out? What if something goes wrong and the baby is sick or dies?

And then, of course, are the fears about being a parent. What if my kid is annoying? What if the baby cries all the time? I don’t think I could handle one that cries all the time. What if we don’t bond? What if he doesn’t like me? What will I do if he chokes?

The worries are endless.

I wish I could tell you that all of my worries were unwarranted and that everything was perfect. But the truth is, a lot of the things I worried about happened. Pregnancy sucked and I was sick for most of it. Delivery was brutal and I felt that damn episiotomy. My baby doesn’t cry all the time, but he doesn’t sleep much and sometimes that’s just as bad. I’m constantly second guessing my parenting decisions and I’m always worried that some freak accident will kill my son.

So, after all of that, why in the world would I encourage you to have children?

Here’s the thing. It’s easy to talk about the hard stuff. It’s easy to say “I’m so sick of being covered in spit up and poop!” But how do I put into words the love that I feel for my son even when I’m changing his diaper for the 12th time while he screams and wiggles? How do I describe the joy I feel every time he smiles at me? How do I communicate to you the fact that I, a task oriented and career driven woman, now feel that if I never accomplished anything else in life it would be okay because I made one amazing little human being? I can’t. And neither can most other parents. So we tend to keep that stuff to ourselves, and in doing so we paint a thwarted picture for you. I’m sorry. Just trust me when I say that parenting is much better than we make it out to be.

Not everyone should be parents. But you should. You and your husband will be amazing. And yes, it will be just as hard as you think it will be. But it will also be better than you could ever imagine.

100 Things To Do Instead of Play On Your Phone

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Today is the first official day of summer for the teen, and this will be the first summer that I watch her and the Tot. There are some unique challenges that come with keeping a 10 month old and a nearly 12 year old entertained. First off is the whole napping thing. I’ve finally got the Tot to take some what regular naps and to take them in his bed instead of in the baby carrier, however, his natural nap time is late morning. The teen loves to sleep in so as soon as she wakes up, the Tot goes down for a nap and we can’t get out of the house till about 2. So I’ve got to find ways to keep each of them occupied at home while the other one is sleeping. When we finally do get out of the house, I’ve got to make sure that we are going somewhere that is interesting to both kiddos. Well honestly, every place is interesting to the Tot but I’ve got to come up with places where it won’t be a pain to have him there. And on top of all that, there were volunteer hours to fulfill and summer camps to sign up for.

With all that in mind, I created two lists of summer activities, one for the Teen and one for the Tot. You’ll notice that the one for the Teen is considerably longer, it’s not because I love her more it’s just that a majority of the Tot’s day is still made up of eating, pooping, napping (or fighting a nap depending on the day) and throwing things across the room. I share these lists with you below, feel free to use them for your own family and tell me what you did. And if there are any activities you think we’ll love, tell me about them!

100 Things To Do Instead of Play On Your Phone

Things To Do At Home Alone

  1. Read a book or magazine
  2. Read a poem
  3. Walk the dogs
  4. Write a letter/email to your pen pal
  5. Make a collage for your room
  6. Make dinner
  7. Practice batting
  8. shoot hoops
  9. play with the Tot
  10. play the Wii
  11. Watch a movie you’ve never seen before
  12. Do some scrapbooking
  13. Do your summer homework
  14. Write in your journal
  15. Write a letter or journal entry in Spanish
  16. Play online math games
  17. Learn a magic or card trick
  18. Take pictures and play with picture editing software
  19. Decorate your room
  20. Do a painting on canvas with acrylic or water paint
  21. Go online and find instructions for paper airplanes. Test them and see which one works the best
  22. Add things to your joy jar
  23. Make your own board game
  24. Mix and Match painted rock faces http://teachbesideme.com/mix-match-painted-rock-faces/
  25. Make a homemade lava lamp http://slsmithphotography.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/06/lava-lamps-summer-fun.html
  26. Make paper flowers http://spoonful.com/crafts/10-pretty-paper-flower-tutorials#carousel-id=photo-carousel&carousel-item=4
  27. Do a craft with Duct Tape http://www.bystephanielynn.com/2012/02/45-creative-duct-tape-crafts-projects-saturday-inspiration-ideas.html
  28. Learn origami
  29. Write a letter to people in the persecuted church https://www.opendoorsusa.org/take-action/write/
  30. Make a time capsule and bury it in the backyard

Things To Do At Home With Friends

  1. Gather a few random props, then write and perform a play using all those props
  2. Make edible playdough
  3. Have an at home day spa with facials, manis and pedis
  4. Go swimming
  5. Wash Brianna’s car
  6. Make bleach or tie dye t-shirts
  7. Host a food drive and collect food for a local shelter
  8. Go on a scavenger hunt in the neighborhood or the mall
  9. Bake a tasty treat
  10. Play jumprope or chinese jumprope
  11. Play board games
  12. Choreograph a dance to your favorite song
  13. Hide something in the house and make a treasure map for your friends to find it
  14. Draw with sidewalk chalk
  15. Make homemade icecream
  16. Host your own backyard Olympics with events like three legged race, water balloon toss, hula hoop contest and limbo
  17. Have a Christmas in July party. Decorate cookies, make gifts, sing Christmas carols and draw a poster board Christmas tree
  18. Play freeze tag, tv tag or regular tag
  19. Have a shaving cream fight
  20. Cover your extremities in shaving cream and have a partner toss cheese puffs on you. Whichever team gets the most cheese puffs to stick wins
  21. Play outdoor tic tac toe http://www.aturtleslifeforme.com/2011/06/wrapping-up-school-year.html
  22. Have your friends bring some of their clothes and accessories over, mix and match to make new outfits and have a fashion show.
  23. Make bouncing polymer balls http://chemistry.about.com/od/demonstrationsexperiments/ss/bounceball.htm
  24. Do the milk, soap and food coloring experiment
  25. Do the melting ice experiment http://artfulparent.com/2012/07/melting-ice-science-experiment-with-salt-liquid-watercolors.html
  26. Dancing Oobleck experiment http://www.housingaforest.com/dancing-oobleck/
  27. Experiment with some new hairdos http://www.byrdie.com/easy-summer-hairstyles-2014/slide5
  28. Go around the neighborhood and collect canned and boxed food to donate to a local food bank
  29. Play steal the bacon
  30. Play Farkle
  31. Play hurry and eat the candy bar http://oneshetwoshe.com/2014/05/8-family-games.html
  32. Write inspiring cards to kids that are in the hospital
  33. Organize a swim for MS fundraiser
  34. Play charades
  35. Have a water balloon/ squirt gun fight in the front yard

Things To Go Out and Do

  1. Go for a hike to take pictures
  2. Go bowling
  3. Have a picnic at Irvine Regional Park
  4. Go to the beach to swim or play volleyball or fly a kite
  5. Go to the park
  6. Do a beach clean up
  7. Ride the orange balloon at the Great Park
  8. Visit Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach
  9. Kidnap Grandma Carol and take her to lunch
  10. Go to the softball fields to play kickball
  11. Go to the tennis courts at Brianna’s house to play tennis
  12. Visit Bowers Museum
  13. Visit the Nixon Library
  14. Go on an alphabet tour. Take your camera and take pictures of things that start with each letter of the Alphabet. Or take photos of the actual letters. You can journal them and create a book, or print out the letters that spell your name and hang them in your room
  15. Go to the Santa Ana Zoo and photograph or draw the animals
  16. Wade through the tidepools at Tablerock Beach in Laguna
  17. Go to Big Air Trampoline park
  18. Go to Knotts Berry Farm
  19. Go to Knotts Soak City
  20. Bring a camera to Fullerton Arboretum and take cool nature photos
  21. Tour Heritage House Park in Lake Forest
  22. Go to Boomers for mini golf, laser tag, arcade games, go karts or the small water park
  23. Go to Zoomar’s petting Zoo
  24. Explore the San Jaoquin Wildlife Sanctuary
  25. Have lunch and go shopping in Downtown Orange
  26. Go to the Long Beach Aquarium
  27. Visit the Queen Mary
  28. Balboa Fun Zone
  29. Paddle Boarding in the Dana Point Harbor
  30. Have tea at the OC Mart Mix
  31. Go to the  dollar book store for new books
  32. Go to a park and play frisbee golf
  33. Volunteer at El Toro Library
  34. Go fishing
  35. Go to a Farmers Market

 

Things to do with a 9-12 month old

  1. Play with edible playdough
  2. Put pipe cleaners through the holes of a strainer
  3. Stick his toys to the floor with duct tape and have him help me pull them off
  4. Put different types of toys and household items in a box or bag and have him pull the items out
  5. Paint on the sidewalk with water and paintbrushes
  6. Bubbles
  7. Put scarves in an old tissue box and let him pull them out
  8. Play copycat. Do simple motions and have AJ copy, or copy what AJ is doing
  9. Play catch. Roll the ball to him and encourage him to pick it up and throw it back
  10. Play hand over hand. Put your hand down, then AJ’s on top, then mine, then his. Then move my hand on top of his, his on top of mind, etc
  11. Put him on a blanket and drag it on the floor
  12. Let him rip apart an old magazine or catalog
  13. Play peek a boo
  14. Read a story
  15. Play with ice cubes
  16. Play with tupperware, wooden spoons and plastic ladle
  17. Swim
  18. Crank up the music and dance around the house
  19. Shine a flashlight on the wall or floor and have him watch it and chase it
  20. Build a simple fort and let him play in it or read stories in it
  21. Play with stuffed animals and have them talk to him