90's music and failing at life...

Discovering late 90's/early 00's hit music radio has changed my life. No, seriously. I never processed how much happier I could be while cleaning, folding laundry, doing all the tedious tasks I hate-- when jamming to N*Sync, Britney, Destiny's Child and all the other songs that were my high school years. It takes me back to a simpler time... a time when my worries consisted of homework, dive practice and the next day's outfit. A time when food magically appeared in the pantry and fridge. A time when my schedule was mine and mine alone. A time when I didn't truly understand the meaning of stress and responsibility. A time when I listened to music that didn't have the name "Disney" or "Kidz Bop" involved. 

I miss that time. I would never change my current life, but there are definitely moments I wish I wasn't SO in charge of SO many things--- three small humans being my main schtick. 

Last season on Grey's Anatomy (yes, I still watch it), there was an episode where Meredith was supposed to go visit her husband for the weekend. Instead, she missed her flight, got a hotel room and did absolutely nothing, by herself. Her excuse was she just didn't want to be anything to anyone for a minute... not anyone's doctor, mother, wife, friend. But the problem is that life keeps spinning, even if we want to hide for a minute. 

I have said many times that I often don't feel mature enough to be a parent. The pressure (I put on myself) to give them the magical, carefree, wonderful childhood I want for them can induce panic/guilt/depression/endless adjectives. I vent to Matt quite frequently that I just feel like I'm failing in every aspect. Yes, I do have a perfectionist personality which is a challenge. Pre-motherhood, I went through life pretty much succeeding at anything I put my mind to. These days? The house always seems like a disaster despite feeling like I clean ALL the time. Laundry and dishes are my nemesis. Trying to make a quality dinner during arsenic hour is near impossible. I should take it back a step further... having planned and purchased all of the ingredients to make a quality dinner often times seems near impossible. Working out? HAH. How about giving my wonderful husband the time and energy he deserves? Being a good friend, daughter? Comical attempts. I find myself thinking, "Why do I even try?" My mom used to say the phrase, "Jack of all trades. Master of none." Basically it means that if you are going to do a lot of crap, you are only going to be mediocre at them all. That is REALLY hard for the perfectionist in me. 

The one subject that I would truly like to be a master of is, of course, my girls. But that is impossible, which is so very hard to accept. There are many, many moments when I think to myself-- Wow, am I utterly screwing up my kids? Am I creating monsters who will be incompetent members of society? What if what I'm doing right now is something they will spend countless hours rehashing in therapy? 

This past weekend we took all three girls to the Redskins game... and we won!!! Miracles happen. We actually all had a great time. 

Gooooo Redskins! 

A little parking lot football. You can see how far Liv threw it. 

In these pictures, we look like an adorable, loving family. Which we are... except when we're not. Not when everyone is whining and fighting and complaining and crying and interrupting and tattle-taling and hitting and shrieking "MOMMYYYYY" 20439834098 times a day. 

So. Despite the fact that I know that I will never fully master these three nuggets, I am quite determined to never give up trying. Some days are better. Some days are truly quite awful... on those days, while I don't disappear to a hotel room for a weekend, I do run off to Home Goods and T.J. Maxx by myself if at all possible to get my sanity back. It isn't a cure-all but it does help. Or at least it gives me enough energy to go home and start all over again the next day. What also helps is the hilariousness that this picture is (even though, shocker, it made a massive mess): 

Happy Thursday! 


Times are changing...

Times are changing. I always knew it was going to happen. You just never really process that it IS happening. 

I have left behind the era of diapers, bottles, nap schedules, massive carseats and cribs. 

I have entered the world of managing activity schedules, carpools, homework, sleepovers, and the PTA. 

I am of the opinion that the stage you are in with your kids never really gets easier, per se. The difficulties just change. Am I thrilled that I don't have to pack a diaper bag with an endless supply of snacks and multiple outfits in case of a poop explosion? Of course. Do I think comforting my daughter when a friend is mean at school, or becoming basically an Uber driver is a walk in the park? Obviously not. Am I utterly terrified of teenage years? No question. Despite my new, current stage of life, the ends of my days haven't really changed... utterly exhausted and quite often with a glass of wine. 

We had a fantastic, busy summer. Between swim team, family vacations, a few camps and lots of pool time, my girls got tanner and blonder than ever. Here are a few of my fav moments: 

Despite all the fun of summer, August always brings out the cravings of structure and organization in me. I have discussed in past posts my awkward obsession with the feeling of a new school year (and my hoarder-like pen collection). To me, even more than New Year's, it really represents a fresh start. With Summer going into 2nd grade, Layla starting Kindergarten and Livi in preschool three days a week, I started freaking out about the potential for morning chaos. Summer has one speed, and one speed only: that of a snail. A snail who gets sidetracked by ANYTHING that comes her way. Layla is not a snail, but she is my late sleeper who is no peach when she doesn't want to get up. Then I have Olivia who, on a daily basis, comes up with something she just doesn't know how to do anymore by herself. "Mommy, I just forget how to put underpanties on." 

Needless to say, I was concerned. I didn't want every morning to be running around, yelling, complaining, where-are-my-shoes chaos. I implemented a few things that (for these first few weeks) have actually worked gloriously. Like I kind of can't believe it. They do require upkeep on my part, but that is 100 schmillion percent worth it to have the decent mornings we have had. 

1. They pick out all of our outfits for the week on Sunday. I check the weather, they choose things, and I make adjustments on the really terrible outfits (no Layla, a purple tutu does not mean you need a purple shirt). It takes 10 minutes and saves me EPIC amounts of time and stress in the mornings. We drape them on hangers next to cute little day of the week labels I made (and laminated... obvi). 

2. They pack their own lunches. No, I don't care that they are only almost four, five, and seven years old. They are all perfectly capable of making a sandwich. They know the categories to fill: 
-dairy item (yogurt, string cheese, etc) 
-snack (goldfish, Pirate's booty, etc)
I try to prepackage the snacks and fruit/veggies in baggies so they just grab them but I haven't even done that 100% and it has been fine. AND no more coming home from school and complaining that I forgot that one of them doesn't like the Apple-Banana Fruit Squishems. And now they use it as a bargaining chip with each other... which is a risky move. 

3. Lots of easy breakfast options... but whatever I give them, that is what they eat. No one kid wants a waffle, one wants cereal and one wants peanut butter toast. A frequent phrase in our house is, "You get what you get and you don't get upset." I made a bunch of breakfast burritos (large batch of scrambled eggs slightly loose and whatever else you want--cheese, bacon, sausage, salsa, whatever. Roll up in a flour tortilla, wrap in a paper towel and then plastic wrap. Store in a freezer bag. To reheat, unwrap plastic wrap and put in microwave 1-2 minutes or until warm), batches of pancakes, stocked up on waffles, english muffins, you name it. I also wrote a list of ideas for those mornings that I just can't think. 

So. Up to now, we got off to a good start. And an adorable one. 

Happy Thursday! 


The Depths, Mexico and a Striped Cast...

I have reemerged. I know, I can't believe it either. 

So I'm going to state the obvious... Life is clearly crazy. But it is crazy for everyone. I'm not that special. Last I posted (<--link) was when I was wallowing in the depths of despair prior to our family vacay in Mexico. I have since risen from said-ridiculous depths (for no real reason), but have had plenty of moments where I went right back to the same place. 

Yesterday, just yesterday, I shed actual tears. I will officially, 100 bagillion percent say this time and time again. I hate winter. 

The current phrase on the chalkboard in my family room. 

If I feel so strongly about it, you wonder why I still live in a place where it snows. Well because it doesn't always snow. I had far too many winters as a child (when I actually sort of enjoyed the crap) when it never.freaking.snowed. Not even a drop all winter. Now it happens. Now. NOW, when I have three small children of my own and it takes 47 minutes to bundle them up to go out and play for 11 minutes; when snow days deplete my very few, short, oh-so-precious hours each week that everyone is at school and I relish in my aloneness; when everyone rotates their sickness and someone always seems to be sleeping on top of me blowing snot rockets in my face; when I plan appointments around those few hours that I am supposed to be alone; when my pantry and fridge are just empty in general and everyone else buys out all of the eggs, milk and bread. Now. Now is when we get snow. 

But this is life. And it is now. 

To sum up two major events in the last few months... 

Livi broke her wrist. I always knew she would be the first of the three to break a bone. She is basically our human wrecking ball. I'm talking she will run straight into a wall, go flying, pop up without a complaint and keep on going. It is quite comical to watch (when I'm not concerned about constant brain damage). So a slide at a birthday party got the best of her. A full 24 hours later after she just stopped using her right arm entirely (mom of the year), I took her in to get an x-ray (she actually looked at me and smiled as the doctor was examining her... the child feels no pain). 

Lo and behold, it was fractured... a mere week and a half before our long-awaited trip to Mexico. There was no question in my mind to pay extra for the waterproof cast; that was just not something I was willing to deal with. She obviously requested pink and purple stripes and was strangely happy and didn't care at all about it. 

I somehow packed myself and everyone without TOO much stress, was able to find the neck pillows that the girls were dying for, got ridiculously sick the night before we left (I legit could not breathe), and we were off. 

To recap an utterly amazeballs trip, we drank, we ate, we swam, we held a parrot, I got felt up by a monkey, we swam with dolphins, we got serenaded by mariachi dudes, and we drank some more. A bed on the beach with glorious sheers fluttering in the wind is now the level at which I will grade all other beach trips. My Tommy Bahama chair in Ocean City may no longer cut it.

Our dolphin adventures. The one of just me is actually two dolphins pushing me from my feet under the water. Bucket list item-- totes checked off. 

We obviously had a good time. Then we had to come back to real life, which during this time of year genuinely can suck. Livi got her cast off, then back on again (it wasn't fully healed), then finally off. She had a rockin' tan.

Adding to my pure detest of coldness, in the weeks since our return we have broken our freezer, garbage disposal, garage door, AND we have a suspected pipe leak because our water bill is out of control. #adulthoodisoverrated #soisowningahome

So this week, the day after yet another snow day, when I was awakened hourly (just as I was drifting off from the last cleanup session) to help and comfort my daughter vomiting as intensely as her little body would allow, I cried. From exhaustion, from cabin fever, from sadness that I could do nothing to help her, from thinking about which child would be getting this sickness next and from the dread of repeating this night. And then I cleaned the bucket yet again, washed out her mouth, held her close and didn't sleep. Just like every other mom would do. 

Happy Wednesday :o)


A Different Kind of Mommy Guilt...

It is a new year. A fresh start. A time for resolutions and re-energizing... or at least it is supposed to be. 

I usually feel a sense of excitement and motivation during this time; positive thinking about everything I want to accomplish in the next 12 months. We are leaving for Mexico in just a few days for a whole week, and I have been counting down the minutes. 

So why do I feel so frustrated, ungrateful, guilty and just plain down? 

When I think about mommy guilt, I think of the "normal" kind... you missed out on an important milestone while at work, you let your kids watch too much TV today, you snapped when you could have been patient and loving. 

People would kill to have my life and I am fully aware of that. I don't have to work, I have a wonderful husband, three healthy, beautiful girls, a lovely home, no major health problems... I know I have it good, I really do. It just feels like all I do is feed everyone, clean up after everyone, break up fights, try to silence the whining, shuttle everyone from here to there and back again, and then clean up the new mess that was just created. I feel like I'm losing control and I'm not really sure how to get it back. 

Mommy needs a minute. More than a minute, like a week. But the ironic agony is that as soon as I am away from them, I miss them. 

This is the life of being a mommy... so does that just mean I'm terrible at it?

I never had a period of time in my life just to be. I went straight from college to married to pregnant just a few months later. I would never change anything, but I sort of skipped over that period of time when you can be selfish. No responsibilities for anyone but yourself. I'm 30 years old and I have been blessed with the task of raising these three amazing girls. But I'm tired. And I'm with them every.waking.moment. When they say, "Mommy I want you" when I have not parted from them in oh, a schmillion days straight, I want to tear my hair out. The seemingly endless cold of winter (that has really just begun) makes all the days run together into one big whiny, messy blur. 

I know, I know, I will miss these days when they are gone. I recently read a book where the mom was looking at her teen and tween daughters craving the snuggles and the love they once showered on her. I'm terrified that I'm not enjoying these moments. And then they will be gone and I will hate myself for having been so over it. 

The feelings of failure every night when I drop into bed exhausted are all-consuming. I look back knowing I was constantly busy and was cleaning up and running around all day... but what is there to show for it? Nothing. Just a still-messy house and a to-do list out the wazoo. Sometimes I just don't know how to be grateful, which then sets off the guilt. It is an endless, vicious cycle.

I know I need to just re-wire my mindset. I need to focus on the positives and not let the little things weigh me down. I know how privileged and fortunate I am, and when I feel like this I am basically being completely unappreciative to Matt for how hard he works to provide this life for us. I'm sure these feelings are related to the lovely world of hormones... or maybe they are not and I'm just an awful, spoiled brat. I don't know. Now I will go drive my kids in my nice big car out of our wonderful neighborhood to their lovely preschool, and then continue packing for our tropical vacation. I know, gag, I'm ridiculous.  One thing I do know is that writing is therapeutic to me. So to all of you reading this, thank you. And Happy New Year.