The Bedtime Hoops: 4 Important Questions To Ask Your Kids Every Night (Guest Post)

A few years ago, I signed up for the 31-Day Challenge: a challenge to blog every single day for 31 (consecutive!) days. Through that process, I came to know Christine. While we’ve never met in person (yet!), we have always felt connected. I’m so pleased she agreed to guest post for me and share with you on the Mind Mumbles blog. I’m honored to know her, I’m blessed to call her friend, and I’m thrilled to introduce her to you all today. I know you’ll love her as much as I do. ~ Val

The Bedtime Hoops: 4 Important Questions To Ask Your Kids Every Night

 

This post was first shared on Her View From Home (www.herviewfromhome.com )

I love my kids, but by bedtime, I’m just exhausted. At 8pm, my patience shuts off. It’s like I have some sort of glitch in my mommy code, or maybe I just missed the patience upgrade with each kid or something? Continue reading “The Bedtime Hoops: 4 Important Questions To Ask Your Kids Every Night (Guest Post)”

How to Ruin a Friday Night in 10 Simple Steps

I’ve shared before how I have no sense of style, and I used to tell people “I got dressed in the dark” when really I just didn’t have a clue what went together or how to make an outfit. Lately, though, I’ve been taking careful care in applying the fashion tips I’ve learned from dear friends over the years, and start piecing myself together.

How to Ruin a Friday Night in 10 Simple Steps

It was because of some newfound pride in an outfit I wore today, that I started the domino effect of ruining our Friday night. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of what happened, and how you can recreate the same experience.

1. Have your five-year-old take a picture of you in said outfit. This in itself proves challenging. Yes, I mean make sure I’m in the center of the picture, not that the frame of the picture cuts through the center of me… 

2. Decide you’re too cute to stay home and cook on this frigid Friday night. Make plans in your head to go have dinner out with the whole family.

3. Email picture to your husband and say something cute like, “Hey, wanna have dinner with this gal and her kids?” and give up on cooking altogether. Notice in the picture your hair is a little wonky. Run it under water four minutes before you leave, so it will freeze nice and solid when you walk outside in North Dakota in January as you prepare to dine in public.

4. Choose to meet your husband at a restaurant that doesn’t have childcare. Why do restaurants not have child care? Make a mental note to one day open a restaurant that has child care. Make sure said restaurant is also super popular at 5:00 on a Friday. Try to find one on a busy intersection.

5. As you wait for a table and your youngest starts screaming and throwing a fit because he doesn’t have free reign of said restaurant and your husband says, “I should probably just take him home and you and Little Miss can eat”, talk him out of it. Tell him “Once we’re seated, he’ll settle down” and believe it. Because apparently you’ve forgotten the last six years of parenthood and dining out.

6. When the child doesn’t stop screaming once you’re settled, order food right away for the children like it will magically make everything better.

7. When the children’s food arrives and is also nothing like you expected, make sure it’s so hot it will take another 30 minutes to cool enough for your fit-throwing-child to be able to eat it. Try to keep your child from dipping various limbs in ketchup.

8. Make sure you order something spicier than your taste buds can handle, and be miserable the entire time you’re eating.  Eat only with one hand, as your other is gripping the leg of the fit-thrower, keeping them in their high-chair. Make sure your eating arm is being held on to incessantly by your well-behaved child who feels like she can only eat dinner if she hugs you every 3.2 seconds.

9. When the fit-throwing child settles down and is distracted by others in the restaurant and taking on a pleasant tone, take that to mean he has turned a corner, and you should order dessert. Act surprised when suddenly, he reverts back to his fit three seconds before your dessert arrives.

10. Insist on eating more of your dessert than will fit in your stomach, simply for the fact you long to enjoy any single moment from the adventure out. Leave the restaurant feeling worse than when you walked in. Apologize to your husband for your great idea.


Tonight was just about as bad of a family outing as I’ve ever experienced. I enjoyed getting home. That was the highlight. I enjoyed walking through the doors of a place I shouldn’t have dared to leave tonight to begin with.

I would have saved time and experienced the same degree of pleasure if I had simply thrown a $50 bill in the garbage disposal. Next Friday, I might still look like I should be out and about, but we’re staying in. And I’m making popcorn for dinner.

Summer Lovin’

Summer lovin'

“I mommed so hard today.” Those words ran through my mind as I crossed the threshold of home after a morning at the splash pad. If there had been a survival badge, I would have somehow adhered it to my shirt for the entire world to see.

The morning started out typically with both kids waking up well before anyone needs to, and wanting care and attention before any coffee has been consumed.

When breakfast wasn’t received quickly enough and demands weren’t immediately met, the whining started.

Lord, the whining. I’d bet my left leg the Lord doesn’t like to hear whining, so I’m not entirely sure why we were created with the capacity to make such sounds. Especially before Mama has had coffee.

I turned out my best non-threatening-threat of, “The whining needs to stop, or no surprise today.” That’s right. I’d kept the splash pad plans a secret. Because I’m smart.

Everyone was fed and it was time to move on to preparation for leaving the house. When I was single, I had to grab my keys and cash. Now that I have children, I have to remember to grab something from every room, pack it into every nook and cranny in the all-too-small-but-bulky diaper bag, and still manage to leave essentials sitting on the counter when we walk out the door. It’s a gift.

Also, I’m not sure how many times you’ve slathered sunscreen on an active 15-month old, but in case you haven’t, I’d suggest practicing by rubbing coconut oil on your hands before holding a large, living catfish in your lap. It’s a real trip. The way they thrash and slip themselves onto the floor while your hands are a glove of grease can be really humorous. To everyone but you.

Once everyone was SPF’ed (except my own legs, because – I forgot), we slipped on our sandals, grabbed the diaper bag that had been packed for a 7-day hiking trip in the backcountry, and started our trek to the splash pad. We live a whopping 4 ½ minutes from the park, so this was a big voyage, to be sure. To make the gas worth the while, I took a quick detour through Beans Coffee Bar’s drive-through and got me a little hug-in-a-mug. Mama needs a “latte” of caffeine before noon.

We met up with friends at the splash pad and envisioned catching up in some adult conversation while our kids squealed in delight playing in the water. What really happened was short, Morse-code sentences, while our kids stayed wrapped in their towels, complaining of being cold, interjecting their two-cents into every half-sentence we spoke. While the staccato conversations were taking place, Little Man was on a mission to escape, and I repeatedly abandoned post to chase after him.

When the kids got bored sitting in their towels, and every 10 seconds thereafter, they asked to change into their clothes and play in the park. This was a great idea for everyone but us moms. There is no shade at the park. Also, changing clothes in a public place takes strategic planning and placement, and when we figured the kids were just going to ask later to put their swimsuits back on and run through the water, we implemented Operation-Stall-Tactic.

Operation-Stall-Tactic ultimately failed and we hoisted towels, dropped drawers, and got the kids dried and changed. Then we went to bake in the sun while they played for two minutes in the park.

In timely fashion, Little Man’s swimming diaper had reached capacity and suddenly I felt something running down MY leg. He was sitting in my lap, and naturally, I’d forgotten to change him.

Being peed on while sitting in the hot sun means only one thing: time to go home.

After wrangling the kids, survival luggage, and saying goodbye, I managed to get both children safely buckled in their seats for the drive home. Upon putting the mom-mobile in reverse, Little Man fell asleep.

Thankfully, he also fell asleep once I placed him in his crib after I carried the 55 pounds of belongings back through the door of our home. I mommed so hard, and it just might have been my favorite Thursday ever.

My Son the Philosopher: How My One-Year-Old Schooled Me On Life

In the days leading up to Little Man’s first birthday, I was feeling increasingly like a failure. “Mom fail” after mom fail, as they’re now known, seemed to be the only items on my list of achievements. I had nothing planned until the night before his birthday party, and we didn’t buy a gift until the morning of. (Son, years from now if this website is still around and you find yourself reading this, I hope you can forgive your mama.) 

Sometimes, and this may come as a real surprise (insert_sarcasm_here), I tend to shut down in the face of events I am not mentally prepared to deal with. This last week, I shut down. Little Man is my baby. My last child. I didn’t want him to be having a birthday already. Where has the last year gone? While I’m thankful he’s no longer peeing into the air every time I change his diaper (no seriously – so thankful), I still struggle to believe so much time has passed since those days. In that realization, the weight of time passing by no matter how hard I will against it, was too much for me to carry. I had to set that burden down, but I’ll be daggummed if I wasn’t kicking my toes against it all weekend long.

My Son the Philosopher-

The family arrived from out of town, the guests appeared at our door, and I was so thankful Little Man got to be adored and doted on for several hours. He was absolutely the most charming birthday boy I’ve ever encountered, and I’m especially grateful he got to show his stuff to a larger audience. I’m convinced the kid loves me as his mama, but he’s got to think I’m old hat by now. He was thrilled to entertain new faces and have every eye fixed on him. He didn’t miss any opportunities to show himself off, and he melted my heart moment after moment all weekend long.

We were running constantly – entertaining guests, cooking, doing last minute party-prep – it was a busy weekend. And it wasn’t until this morning that I was able to let everything catch up to me. My baby is one. He sat in the living room, pushing all kinds of buttons on new toys, taking to himself and anyone who would listen, and I felt a tear trickle down my cheek.

I don’t often feel this way, but for that moment, I envied my son and I wanted to be him. I was flooded with a new perspective, and in seeing the world through his eyes, I suddenly became completely schooled in life by my toothless, slobbery son.

He coos and squalls with the most poignant thoughts and declarations, I’m sure – if only I could understand what they meant. In the meantime, though, I like to listen to his incessant babble, as it is a definite response to the unadulterated joy he feels throughout the day. He is entertained by the simplest of objects, and his favorite thing is to take a break from the mundane and have a wrestling match. I’ll admit, those wrestling matches do me as much good as they do him. Sometimes you just have to stop what you’re doing, and roll around on the floor. Find joy in the simple.

His curiosity is insatiable. He touches, prods, and investigates everything. He can’t decipher whether something is interesting to him unless he can put it in his mouth – which is a not something I long to emulate. Nothing seems to escape his attention, however, and he notices absolutely everything. Even now, at the ripe young age of one, he is incredibly in tune with his surroundings, and soaking up every possible morsel of information. Sometimes the best way to figure something out is to take the time to sit and tool with it a while. And by George, take the time to be interested enough in something to figure it out. Focus is a lost art. Don’t ever stop exploring.

The most important lesson my one year old taught me? Even the best things in life are only worthwhile for only a moment. There is no need to cling to anything other than the joy you have in this very moment. Everything should be held with an open hand, to come and go as it may, because when it’s time to move on, you won’t have time to be burdened by the weight of anything else. Surroundings are changing, relationships are changing, and diapers are changing. All the time. Holding on to one thing too tightly means you don’t have the flexibility to take hold of the next opportunity that comes along. Besides that, most of what you cling to is going to be lying around waiting for you later. You just have to trust enough to let it go in the first place. Give yourself freedom to be free.

Of course he’s also taught me that it’s okay to cry when you feel like it, and that’s a truth he also lives by example.  Cry it out. Because…well…sometimes a mama needs to know it’s her son’s party, and she can cry if she wants to.

Son, I’m so blessed to have you in our lives, I’m so honored to be your mama, and I’m so thankful for all you’re teaching me just by being you. Happy birthday, Little Man.