Friday, February 28, 2014

Cat Eyes, Grapefruits, and Stars: My Favorite Shares

I cannot be the only one...who was late to the greatness that is Google+.  I have been amazed at the ease of making friends and building circles on Google+, so much so, that I haven't been to my own Facebook page in days. In honor of my new found love affair with Google+, I decided to give a little extra love to my favorite shares from last week. Check out these blogs for fantastic inspiration in fashion, food, and family (and if you are already a big time Google+'er, share and +1 these babies).

Beauty Trends to try this Spring: Cat Eyes from Shoplinkz
Oh this fabulous eyeliner cat eye, so classically beautiful while daring at the same time.  I am waiting for the Hubs to ask me out so I could give this a go (and break out of this dreadful Mom Rut).  Visit the blog Shoplinkz for even more spring beauty inspiration.
photo credit:

6 National Grapefruit Month Ideas: Broiled Grapefruit from Oubly
This sounds a little on the crazy foodie side, but personally Grapefruit is my perfect combo of sweet and tart, add those attributes with honey, cinnamon, and banana slices, and it's even better (although, I am sure my picky 6 year old will not be partaking in this deliciousness).  Check out the blog Oubly for the other five grapefruit inspirations.
photo credit:

10 Star Crafts for Kids from Powerful Mothering
Any crafting ideas that are easy on the wallet and will keep my Sonny Boy entertained for a half hour (minimum) are all right with me, and these star crafts from the blog Powerful Mothering look like they could do the job. Who knows, one crafty star could turn into an entire night's sky worth of starlight (and I don't think I am going to have to force Sonny Boy to craft these stars, like I did with the creation of Valentines, thankfully).
photo credit:
Please visit one, or even better, all of these fantastic blogs for some motivation to add inspiration to  the many different facets of your day-to-day life.

Oh yeah, if you are Google+'ing, add me to one of your circles and I won't be able to help myself but to add you back: I Cannot be the Only on Google+

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

He's the Boss Around Here

I cannot be the only one....who is a Mama to a child that believes they are the boss in your house. Giving directions in place of taking directions has become a normal Sonny Boy'ism, whether it be when the dog needs to be walked or what I will serve for dinner, his two cents are thrown around freely. Sonny Boy's bossiness is especially in full swing when he's playing, or rather supervising, with me or his dad.
Showing me the game score.

I've seen this bossy behavior in other homes as well, like the time I was playing Barbies with a friend's chubby cheeked daughter and she not-so-kindly let me know that I was "doing it wrong." Apparently, I was unaware that Barbie isn't supposed to wear her boots in the dream house, those are for driving the pink corvette only.  All I could think was, well…forgive me for playing, I'll just head my way back to the world of grown ups and choose to wear my boots in the kitchen with a glass of wine.

Making sure he wins.
This type of dictatorial playing was taking place in my home while I was up to my elbows in suds washing the dishes before school this morning.  I could hear the creaking of the floor boards upstairs and my Sonny Boy directing the playtime with his dad, "Okay, now you have to ask me what I am doing here and then try to take my sword away so you can throw it into the Volcano." Sure, this sounds like fun, swords, volcanoes, adventure in full swing, but what about what the Hubs wanted to do, did he have any say in the play?

The good sport, and also imaginative, Hubs went right along with Sonny Boy's authoritative playing, that is until he switched the script (he threw the sword in a mouth of a whale as opposed to the volcano), and Sonny Boy was not happy.  If he were to review the Hubs performance in this playtime, I don't think the Hubs would fare well.  The Sonny Boy insisted that was not the way the game is played and that Hubs needed to get the sword back and do it again, right this time.

Unsettled with Hubs playing.
I started to wonder about kids and bossiness, does this happen because I boss Sonny Boy around, is he going to shove another kid into a locker in high school because the kid didn't play "right," or is this dictatorship just a phase?

I typed in "bossy kids" into google search and found an article on the blog The Mother Company titled, Bossy Kids, in which I learned that bossiness can be a sign of confidence, strong will, or possibly that the child is gifted. I've got to be honest, I am not betting the farm on him being gifted, but can attest to Sonny Boy's strong will (or stubbornness as it usually manifest itself). So, as the article suggested, I need to work on Sonny Boy's delivery, maybe a little less Stalin and a little more Mary Poppins, and hopefully smooth over the rough edges of his strong will.

Are you living with a mini-despot? What do you do to keep from being trampled over by your child's strong will (a.k.a.: bossiness)?

If you do have a bossy pants living in your humble abode, give the article Bossy Kids a read here: The Mother Company.

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Mom Rut

I cannot be the only one…who checks them self periodically in order to determine if they have fallen into the dark crevice that is the Mom Rut.  The checks are easy to determine, have I worn these same jeans more than twice this week (check), have I resorted to only sort-of blow drying my hair (check), and when putting on my face (as my grandmother called it) did I only apply mascara (check). 

Outcome: I am in a Mom Rut.

For those of you Mama’s who also find them self in this careless copacetic existence, I offer you the following suggestions that I use when I need to break free of my Mom Rut:

1.     Dig into my closet and pull out something that makes me feel great about myself and wear it out.  Now, I would love to wear a sequined evening gown and stilettos, but dropping junior off at school could be awkward. Although, those skinny jeans and a fabulous blouse or sweater would be perfectly fine for my day-to-day chores of life, and who knows I may garner a couple of compliments, which always inspires me to try harder on my appearance.

2.     Skip eating my love bug’s left over mac n’ cheese or dinosaur nuggets.  After a week or two of refraining from these handfuls of extra calories, I feel more in control, confident, and even possibly a smidgen lighter in my boots, a win-win-win.

3.     Create a quick, but more comprehensive, make up routine. I get it, a full put-on face is a little much at 7:55 AM for the pledge of allegiance, but a neutral eye shadow, clear or lightly tinted lip gloss, and shaped brows make me look more put together when I glance in that rear view mirror to make sure that little mister’s lunch box made it into the car.

4.     Make a plan to hit an early evening out with a girlfriend.  I tend to skip the coffee shop or yoga class, I prefer somewhere with a bit more ambiance, like the bar at the local Mexican or Italian restaurant. Both of these places serve coffee (and drinks, wink-wink) but the people watching is kicked up a notch, which reminds me of my life before “Mama” was my name.

5.     Put myself out there.  When I step outside my comfort zone I tend to care more about how I am presenting myself to others. Joining a writing group or a dinner club give me another reason to slather on that make-up and ditch the jeans with holes in the crotch (there is no guarantee that people aren't seeing those holes, by the way).

These are just a few of the things I do to put my Mama-self back in check every now and again, what do you do to dig yourself out of a Mom Rut?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sink to a New Low

I cannot be the only one...whose child's behavior, or lack thereof, has an uncanny ability to make you lower yourself to a level of response that you are ashamed of later (or in my case, immediately).  A child can bring out your childlike happy go-lucky side or a petty not-so-nice side that has been hibernating within your psyche since junior high school.

I have adapted to my surroundings as a Mama, my aptness at tuning out whining or just general six year old blabbering could amaze the best of them, but there are times that even my ever long patience is pushed to the brink. In hindsight, the straw that broke this mama's back is generally ridiculous, but at the time my reaction seems appropriate for the situation at hand.

To illustrate my point, I offer you: The Ungrateful Lego Boy.

While playing with a brand new Lego City logging truck set, Sonny Boy began to make grunts and grumblings of frustration.  I tried to ignore his animal sounds hoping they were just part of the play, but I knew they were a sign of grump heading our way, and that it wouldn't be long before I heard the, "Maaaaaaammmm," that accompanies any, "I need you to do it," moments.

Looking over the counter of the kitchen,  to see what was going on in the world of Lego's,  I could see Sonny Boy attempting to put a piece of the truck that had come loose back together.  His eyebrows furrowed and his cheeks turning pink he said, "I hate this truck!"  This is when I sunk to the level of a six year old, annoyed and dismayed by his lack of gratitude that he has brand new toys to play with, I launched into a high pitched, almost yelling tirade, of just how lucky he is. I shrilled at him about how there are children in this world without shoes, much less new toys to complain about.  I finished it up with by letting him know that I didn't want to hear anymore complaining about his "fabulous, wonderful toys that he is so lucky to have," and asked (more like demanded) him to go play in his room.

It was obvious that Sonny Boy learned a lesson by the tears welling up in his little eyes and how his jaw had gone slack, but the lesson wasn't to respect and be grateful for what you have, it was Mama has gone off the deep end.  I had such a good message to teach him, a great opportunity to explain gratitude, and I allowed my delivery to completely sabotage the meaning.

I was immediately wishing I could borrow the DeLorean from Back to the Future so I could rewind and do the moment over again, this time sans ravings and that shrieking sound to my voice, but it's not 1985 and I don't have Doc Brown on speed dial, so I was left with my own sense of shame.

Every time this happens, when I decide to react to a my child like a child, I promise myself that I will not allow it to happen again, but the only time I remember that promise is when it's already happened again.  This time I mean it. I really, really mean it (just saying "really" a lot isn't going to actually help, it it?) I am not going to allow myself to sink to that level anymore. Next time I am going to talk to Sonny Boy like the almost well adjusted adult that I am, walk away feeling good about my behavior, and stop the shame cycle once and for all.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Well Again

I cannot be the only one…who has been lucky enough to have made it six years without a cold or flu hitting all the members of our house at one time, that is until the last three days.  Fortunately, this dastardly bug only knocked the Sonny Boy and I out, but it definitely makes for a trying experience when your child and yourself are both sick at the same time.

Finally...finally resting!
As usual, the sickness culminated from the Sonny Boy, considering his proclivity to hang out in places with an abundance of germs (school, playgrounds, and such), it’s never surprising when he is the first to sniff and cough (then sniff and cough, and sniff and cough some more).  While I have grown accustom to the kid cold, something different was happening this time, he was nauseous. After the third delightful trip to the restroom I was in shock, the flu shot didn’t protect my little boy from that needling germ finding it’s way into his system.

I took care of Sonny Boy all day long, offering any comfort I could give to a little boy that was chained to the toilet, tears streaming down his little soft cheeks, and misery written across his face. Early in the evening, as I was washing and disinfecting anything that the Sonny Boy could have breathed in the direction of, I noticed I was feeling achy. I grabbed the thermometer and was astonished to see that I was now running a fever as well, panic sunk in, how was I going to take care of my Sonny Boy when I was sick too?

By bedtime, the Hubs had returned from work, into a house of his worst nightmare, coughing, blowing noses, and yes…vomiting. The poor man had worked all day and now was running up and down the stairs, carrying glasses of Gatorade, hot tea, and anything else one of us may have moaned at him as a request. This trend didn’t stop with sleep, no one was sleeping, the carpeting worn down by trips to the bathroom and between bedrooms, our house was alive with illness throughout the night.

When morning came, the Sonny Boy and I made our sick bed in the biggest bed of the house (the Hubs and mine), piling up blankets and pillows, settling down for the duration of the day.  The anxious trips to the bathroom and back into the bed continued until after three in the afternoon, when finally the Sonny Boy decided that he would try to eat something. One of the best things we had heard in two days, if he was feeling well enough to eat, then he must be on the road to recovery.

There is nothing worse than watching your child suffer through illness, you are helpless to solve their pain and discomfort, the best you can do is let them know you are there for them (even if you are lying on the bathroom floor right next to them waiting for your turn to be sick).  This Thursday I am Thankful that we made it through this double doosey bout of illness in our household, without a trip to the Doc’s and without too much mass destruction in our house. Now I can say that I have made it through the dreaded mother and son simultaneous sickness and survived to tell the tale, but I definitely do not need to do this again, seriously, never again.

This is what the Hubs needed.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Forcing the Valentine's Day Love

I cannot be the only one…who lives in a house ran by boys and who knows that, even with their brawny efforts, making Valentine’s Day anything other than a run-of-the-mill Friday will be up to me, and this includes the Sonny Boy’s valentine exchange at school.

I started asking the very indecisive Sonny Boy what type of valentine he would like to hand out to his classmates as soon as I saw them popping up at the stores (you know, approximately the day after Christmas). With more than one Target in our neighborhood, the choices are close to limitless, Star Wars, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I have even seen a mustache themed box of valentines.  In typical Sonny Boy fashion, he showed no interest in my suggestions, and with ample time still available before V-Day, I let it go, planning on returning to this inquiry at a later date.

When the list of names (that was incomplete, by the way, sorry to the kids the teacher forgot to include) and information concerning how the kindergarten class gets down for Valentine's Day came home in Sonny Boy’s backpack a week ago, I bridged the valentine choice gap again. I began naming off ridiculous character themed valentines that have no business clogging up my brain for to him to choose from.  Again, no choice was made.

I can already see the storm clouds rolling in over the dinning room table, where I am going to have to practically sit on Sonny Boy’s lap and hold his pencil wielding hand to write the To’s and From’s on these silly pieces of heart laden paper to make this happen. This valentine exchange tradition mixed with my Sonny Boy's complete lack of enthusiasm is not lovely or charming, it’s annoying.  The darlings in his classroom are not looking forward to receiving a Valentine from old lady Sonny Boy, they want candy hearts with ridiculous text message abbreviations on them (“LOL” and “TXT ME”), not my handwriting and possible red wine spills.

This Valentine's Day, when you are emptying your precious little one’s backpack of all the paper hearts and red lollies that stain their newly forming teeth, take a minute and remember all the other parents that also had to force their children to print their shaky handwriting on all this Valentine's Day stuff and know you are definitely not the only one who had to force the love.

What happened to the classic valentine?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Growing Independence

Even drying himself...
I cannot be the only one…who has noticed their child has started to show signs of real independence; whether buttoning up their own shirt or washing their own hair in the tub, the small things that can be done without Mama, are being done without her.

This realization came to me the other day as I was attempting to complete a set of sit-ups (attempting is the key word there) while the Sonny Boy was scrubbing away in the shower unassisted.  Although, I am too afraid of bathroom accidents to leave him alone in there, slippery floors covered with soap bubbles and a choice of scalding hot or extremely cold water make for some serious disasters, I no longer need to stand almost in the steaming shower and do all the washing myself. The Sonny Boy has finally started to take over this rather personal chore of making sure he doesn’t smell too much like a little boy, you know snips, and snails, and puppy dog tails, for when he heads to school the following morning.

Another moment that Sonny Boy’s independence really struck me was while he was getting ready to leave the house with his Dad for a little Saturday afternoon man time of In and Out Burgers and laughing at bodily functions, and I caught him buttoning up his own flannel shirt. Sonny Boy seemed to be struggling for a moment and I launched into let-Mama-help-you-mode, to which he replied, “I got this Mama.”  He’s got it? Sonny Boy actually turned down his Mama doing something for him? He did get that shirt buttoned up, he looked like he got dressed in the dark with the buttons being off by a button hole or two, but that little blue flannel shirt was definitely buttoned closed.

This Thursday I am grateful for the natural progression of my Sonny Boy’s growing independence and autonomy, this could be a glance into the future, a future when I might actually be able to finish a sentence of this blog without cutting open an Otter Pop, snapping a stubborn snap on a pair of Levi’s, or pushing a straw through a juice box without having juice shoot across the living room. 

It would be nice to have that time that I spend doing the mundane activities of the day for Sonny Boy to do things we enjoy doing together, like impromptu dance parties and laughing at the Hubs when he hurts himself while having a go at home improvement (this last one is completely unintentional, we just both happen to think grunting and under the breath cursing is funny sometimes…well, all the time).

He could dry himself even better with this towel!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Busted by a Five Year Old

I cannot be the only one…who has told their child something in the safe confines of their home, to only hear that comment repeated back to them by another child at the elementary school playground, leaving you wondering what else your child blabbers about while not in your care.

One of Sonny Boy’s little girly friends asked me an interesting question as we were walking to the classroom the other day, “Are Lunchables filled with junk?” At first I had no clue what this darling kindergartner was referring to, that is until she clarified with the type of sentence that no Mama really wants to hear, “Sonny Boy said that you told him that Lunchables are just junk food and that’s what Sally brings to school everyday.”

I looked at the other mother who had been keeping step with this conversation and couldn’t help laughing, I had been busted by a five year old.  That little rascal, Sonny Boy, had been touting my lunch packing inexpert opinion to the rest of his friends at lunch, most likely alienating some children and apparently rousing questions in others, and now I was the one being looked to in hopes of verification or explanation.  Thanks, Sonny Boy.

I flashed back to a supermarket trip, attempting to quicken the pace in order to get out of the refrigerated section before a scarf becomes necessary, and Sonny Boy begging for something.  I didn’t look to what that “something” was, but responded with, “I am not buying any junk food today,” realizing now that is was in fact a Lunchable.

I made the quick excuse that everyone is allowed to do what they like in their family, in my family I don’t pack Lunchables, but in Sally’s family they do, and that’s their choice. Of course, by the time I got to this “it takes all kinds to make the world go round” speech, the little girl had run off, leaving me in the playground dust with my Ugg boot shoved firmly into my mouth.

Lesson learned, don’t talk about ANYTHING in front of your child, because it can and will be used as ammo against you at a later time.

Maybe a little lunch inspiration?