Yes, You Can Have Candy After You Brush Your Teeth!

School is back in session and the morning routine, or should I say struggle, is back in place.  Despite my husband’s wise advice of, “Well, you may just have to get them up earlier,” I have to remind him, I could start last night and I would still be pushing them out the door 5 minutes late. They are kids!  Two kids I love dearly of course.

So, I started thinking strategically last night, how can I simplify the process in the morning and get them out on time?  There really is no simplifying the process honestly…how hard is eating breakfast, getting dressed and brushing your teeth?  But I still needed a creative idea.  So this morning I told the children that the first one to get ready got a piece of candy.  They always love some competition. It worked beautifully!  They even had time to watch TV for 5 minutes.  Well, my daughter won and got 3 skittles.  Upon receiving them she asked, “Mommy, can I have the candy now even though I already brushed my teeth?”  My response….SURE!

Now, I probably will not be considered for Mom of the Year, but my morning battle disappeared and everyone was happy.  So was it really that bad of an idea?  I won’t ask their dentist!

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Chirpy

I am a HUGE bird lover!  To give you a clearer picture, I have two bird feeders on my deck right at the door so I can see them at the kitchen table.  We have a huge bird mansion in the backyard that holds about 3 gallons of bird food, and several bird houses personally painted by my talented little artists. I actually started to wonder which costs more to feed, my dog or the birds.  So obviously…I love birds!

Well, it all started a few nights ago, at least to my knowledge.  For all I know, “Chirpy” has been back there forever, but it was the first night he woke me up.  Around 11P.M. I started hearing Chirpy chirping away.  My thought…“What the?”  So I get up and notice my neighbors had left their floodlight on in the back.  I was wondering if Chirpy was a little upset about the light and it all went downhill from there?  Finally, the light went off and I figured Chirpy would go to sleep.  Wrong!  I guess now that he was awake, everyone else was going to join him!  Not sure what had me stirring that night but needless to say, that darn bird and I never went to sleep.

While awake in bed I did some research…birds that chip at night.  This is what I narrowed it down to in my quick search http://goo.gl/Qfy7ri. The Northern Mockingbird “often sings after dark, especially in artificially lit suburbs” made me feel mockingbirdboth confident this might be my guy and discouraged about my artificial suburbs. Wikipedia says they can imitate other animal sounds and even car alarms. That is quite a skill in my opinion.
Not sure this is really my guy, but it seems like a good answer for someone who spent a whole five minutes on the internet researching the subject.

Since that night, I have learned to sleep through Chirpy’s music so we are on good terms.  But each night I laugh when I lay down in bed now.  Chirpy is going strong!  Last night, some of the girls on my street and I were having a drink together a few houses down.  As a walked home I could hear Chirpy getting louder and louder the closer I got. That darn bird!  Funny enough, I have grown quite attached to the little guy in a very short period of time and would miss him if he left.  I actually got up and filled the bird feeders this morning before leaving for work, just in case we are his stop for food.  But I must admit, I really wonder what in the world they are talking about all night?

The little things in life…

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I have the joy of helping at my kids’ school once in a while; it is so nice to see what takes place during their day and how much they love it! And what a huge relief to see your children interacting with other children, happy and loving to learn. (On a light note, based on the “college fund” that we gave Primrose Schools in the early years of their lives, they better be the smartest, most social children at the school!)

Just last week there was a Mardi Gras wagon parade at the school (it was delayed due to the EXTREME winter weather Atlanta experienced that caused school cancellations the week before…yes “EXTREME” is sarcastic!). This parade was something that seemed so uneventful to the adults, but the children were so excited about this wagon parade all day, that the teachers had a hard time keeping them focused on school work. I look at these types of things and look at my kids every day and realize how much your perspective changes in adulthood. Why does it take so much to thrill us as adults? My children are always so excited about their next birthday, losing their next tooth…I am about to turn 40 and let me just say, I am not counting down the days because I am so excited…I am counting down the days I have left in my 30s wondering where the time has gone and wondering if we can slow things down.

I try my best every day to encourage their creative minds, pretend play, youthful thinking but sometimes it does require me to take a step back and correct myself. As grown-ups we often try to rush them along in our busy days and I remind myself, how unfair that is. Let them play school, color and make a mess on the kitchen table, paint, dress-up, make paper airplanes…let them be kids. And mostly importantly, learn something from them…slow down and enjoy life. The house doesn’t have to always be spotless. And who cares if dinner is not on the table at 6PM as planned?

It should be so easy….right?

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One would think the simple painting of your house would be so easy, right? I don’t mean the actual task of painting your house, but deciding on the colors for your home. Especially for a creative mind that loves to paint, design, decorate, and coordinate colors. Not so much! My husband and I are both pretty creative minded people and we have no problem looking at a paint card and saying, “wow, those two colors would look great together!” But oddly, the color on the sample card never looks the same as the color on the house or wall. Why is that?

It all started 13 years ago when we built our first home (before children). We selected the colors, the architect approved the colors. Easy enough. Well, actually, the guy was a little stubborn and we did have to try a couple different ideas before we were given the ok.   Anyways, five years later we added a member to our family and decided we needed a little more storage space, so we called up our builder and asked him to build us a house with a basement. During the building process we had to select paint colors for the new house. We drove around our neighborhood of over 1,000 houses, which offered plenty of choices and the best thing…you could see the colors on the houses! So much better than just a paint card! It took a while, but after several weeks, we determined the house we loved most and told the architect what we wanted for our new home. We were amazed when he told us we had picked out the same colors as our last house! Really? You must be kidding! How boring!

Alright, so now the time has come to paint the house again and it will NOT be the same. No matter what!!

We just have one other small problem…the trend in our section of the neighborhood is, “what can brown do for you?” The color of every house in our section is brown. Peanut butter, baby poop, chocolate, khaki, you name it; every possible shade of brown. So we are in search of a color combination that stands out from the norm, but does not look like a pink flamingo in the middle of elephants. Make sense? Therefore, off we went to Sherwin Williams this past weekend. While there we purchased four sample containers…trim, shutters, under the porch and the rest of the house…and painted an area on the rear side of the house to make sure it looked good on the house, not just a paint card. We were feeling so confident! But then, holy cow! The red that was meant to look rather brick red-like looked like bright cranberry. And the dark brown sample for the shutters looked more like a seal skin (hence the name “sealskin” I guess), but it really did look like a dark brown on the card…I swear! Well, as a result, my lunch hour was spent this afternoon going to search for another round of colors. Again, I’m feeling quite confident as of right now, but curious what I will think when the colors are added to the actual side of the house.

Whoever came up with that $5 sample idea was a genius! I wonder how many samples we will go through before we make a final decision? Your guess?

Urgent! Grab Your Milk, Bread and Beer!

Oh my gosh!  There is snow headed to Atlanta!  Time to stock up on bread, milk and beer.  Especially the beer!  So, the expected accumulations are unknown at this time…it could be an inch it could be three.  And in the end, it will probably be none.  Everyone gets all excited then not a single flake falls.  But IF it snows, one inch shuts down our city for one day, three inches is at least 3 or 4 days.  This is pure entertainment for those people in Boston. And honestly, we even laugh at ourselves in Atlanta.  But Atlantans are like kids in a candy store when it comes to snow.  We always wish really hard for at least one snow a year because it gives us a couple free days at home.

Let’s not forget Snow Jam 2014.  Within about one hour Atlanta was in gridlock on the back roads and interstates.  There may have been an inch of snow on the ground at that point!  It took my husband eight hours to get home what should have been a 35 minute drive. Both of our cars have four wheel drive, but it was difficult to get around all the two wheel drive cars blocking the roads.  (I was able to utilize sidewalks and things to get around all the cars that were in the way.)  It was quite an adventure.

But the most amazing thing I learned from Snow Jam was the wonderful community we live in.  We had kids stuck at schools, families stuck in cars and people walking several miles home barefoot in the snow (just kidding about the barefoot…I just had to throw that in there). Those with four-wheelers were making trips back and forth to rescue people from the roads and schools all during the night.  Those without four-wheelers were placing gas containers on their front porches for them to use.  One guy was even picking up pizza orders at the pizza place for everyone.  Groceries, food, you name it…everyone was helping each other. In the end it really made us appreciate everyone around us and realize, that despite the craziness in life we can all come together when needed.  (That sounds kind of deep considering it was 1 maybe 2 inches of snow, doesn’t it?)  

My children sometimes wish we lived in a city with more snow, but I warn them, those cities have equipment to keep the city operating and it takes a lot of snow to cancel school up north.  The drama and excitement snow creates in the south is far more exciting!

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Heart of Gold

We live on a great street in a wonderful neighborhood located in the middle of suburbia.  Yes, even I make fun of suburbia, so go ahead!  But fortunately, it does provide my children with a safe street full of kids where they can play sports and hangout…of course the houses are on top of each other (but the good thing…less yard to mow).

Our street has about ten to fifteen kids that play outside on a regular basis.  Ages range a great deal, but for the most part everyone tries to include everyone.  When it comes to the boys on the street, my son is the youngest of the group, however, we have a couple older ones that do an excellent job watching out for him.  Unfortunately, none of them were present yesterday when six kids were playing basketball in our driveway.  Playing in our yard is always welcome, and it does often to seem to be the basketball goal of choice…not sure why.  Anyhow, it had started with three elementary school kids then two high school aged kids joined the game.  I was watching out the window to see if my son was getting the ball since the older kids joined the game.  Avery started playing recreational basketball this past season, but he still has less experience than all the other kids and often has to fight for the ball.  I understand this will improve over time, but of course a mother is always protective of her babies.  On that note, I try to avoid being that helicopter parent.  I called Avery to the door after a while of seeing him be left out and quietly told him to speak up and say he wants the ball too.  I doubt he said a word.  My Avery has a heart the size of Texas and he just wants to make sure everyone is happy.  For example, last night his sister had her cup of water taken away at bedtime because she was mad and kicked dad.  Avery took his cup of water to her when dad walked away.

Last night, while sitting on the sofa, I asked my sweet boy, “Honey, does it upset you when the big kids don’t give you the ball, or do you just enjoy having all the kids at our house to play?”  It broke my heart when he said he wants the ball and wants to play too.  I took the question a little further and said, “Do you want mom to speak up and tell everyone to make sure everyone is equally included?”  (Not sure what age parents start becoming embarrassing.) I was actually surprised when he said yes to that as well.

Sometimes it is so hard to keep yourself in line as a parent.  Where do you let your child fight for themselves, and where do you step in?  I certainly would not walk down to someone else’s driveway and give orders, but when kids are playing in my driveway, my kid gets to play.  I look at my children and see so many differences.  My daughter, who is three years younger, has no problem fighting for herself…remember, she kicked her dad when she was upset.  But my boy has the huge heart and always wants to play nice and fair; I really hope he does not get walked on in life for being so sweet.

Valentine’s Fun Stick Guilt

Last year I had that mom guilt…the guilt that made me feel my children needed to go to drastic measures to make overly creative Valentine’s cards for their friends.  And yes, although cute, I realized that was simply me feeling that guilt. I’m curious why moms often feel that guilt. Well, this week started off with one child home from school with a stomach and then me sick with a cold (performing at half the speed of smell).  I am blaming my cold on my daughter’s kindergarten class that had six kids out sick yesterday (this was her third stomach bug since December).

Anyways, since I’m still feeling pretty blah from this cold I took the lazy route yesterday and bought the Valentine fun stick packets for my kids to give out at school.  My children thought those were the best things in the world!!!!  So my question, why do so many parents feel like their kid must take this extraordinary product to school when the simplest thing makes the children happy?  Even now I still feel my children need to add a sticker or something special to the packet so it looks like we put work into it. The funny part, I recently found my son’s box of cards from last year thrown in a corner of his room.  So obviously this isn’t something they think much about after Valentine’s Day.  We won’t talk about why it is still in a corner of his room…that is a whole different subject…

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