Dear Parent who Likes Snow Days

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snowman

Dear Parent who Likes Snow Days,

I like you. I do. I just don’t understand you. You seem like a normal person and then a snow day is called and you are all smiles. I worry that you don’t understand how snow days work so I am going to explain them to you.

When school is cancelled, the kids stay home with you.

If your response to this information is still, “Yay!” I am going to assume one of the following:

1. You are being sarcastic.

2. You work outside the home.

3. You have a nanny.

4. You have better meds than I do.

5. The kids have tied you up and are answering for you.

There can be no other explanation. However, in order for us to understand each other, I will explain why my reaction is not “Yay!” but “F@#!”:

1. I do not want to be a short order cook.

2. I need to write and cannot write while people cry about broken bands in their Rainbow Looms.

3. I like to go to the bathroom by myself.

4. I feel guilty if I let my kids watch movies or play video games all day but – oh my god – all the talking.

5. I have to share my snacks.

So, I hope you can understand where I’m coming from and, if you can’t sympathize because you are busy making hot cocoa for your blanket fort, please…please…can I drop my kids off at your house? Just for the day. Unless school is cancelled again on Monday.

Sincerely,

Vikki

An Open Letter to Educators Caught in the Crossfire of my Ineptitude

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chaotic desk, covered with all kinds of paper, files and envelops

Dear Everyone Presently Involved In My Kids’ Education,

Let me cut right to it.

You won’t remember me as Elizabeth. Or Liz. Or Grace’s, Jack’s, Henry’s, George’s and/or Nina’s Mom. You will remember me, this year anyway, as That Parent. I’m going to own it right from the get-go in order to save us both time and disappointment. You’re welcome.

No doubt, you are some of the most under-compensated, under-appreciated individuals on earth. And not for one moment do I want you to believe that you are under-appreciated or under-valued by me. You aren’t. You hold a very dear place in my heart as a catalyst to ensuring that these kids can move out one day. And survive for more than 22 minutes.

We have just embarked upon what is sure to be an indescribably long school year, and I feel it’s incumbent upon me to identify and justify myself before anything really embarrassing happens within the confines of your classrooms.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the first year in 14 YEARS that I’ve had all 5 kids in school full-time. I apologize in advance.

I thought this was going to be the start of a totally awesome new era. And it is. Sort of. I mean, as it turns out, having these guys in school all day is harder than I thought it was going to be. It’s a LOT of work.

You know those papers I was supposed to sign acknowledging agreement that kid would have to run a mile every Monday? And that she might have photos taken of her? And that if he searched for porn on the school computer he’d be expelled?

To be clear, the reason they haven’t yet been returned to you is not that I don’t support my kid running. Or that I support inappropriate Internet searches. I don’t. The “Selena Gomez naked” search recently discovered on our home computer was dealt with. Okay? I have no problem with my kid having to run a mile. Now, I’ve never seen it happen, and I’ve no idea if it’s even possible, but I don’t have a problem with it. Nor do I have a problem with them being photographed. In fact, if you could do it frequently, I’d appreciate it as I haven’t taken a quality photo with a real camera since 2009, or printed one since 2006. If you think you’re overwhelmed, you should touch base with Shutterfly’s servers.

I didn’t sign them because I’ve decided that rifling through my kids’ backpacks is an activity from which I graduated when they graduated kindergarten. You have my permission to present the logical consequence of them not having forms signed. If I need to sign a form consenting you to dole out that consequence, we may be at an impasse.

To the band instructor: Jack does not yet have an instrument. This is not my fault. This is because Jack signed up for strings thinking that he thought he could play the electric guitar. After accepting (read: violently acknowledging) that electric guitar isn’t an option, he chose the cello. Sir, a cello won’t fit into my car. As soon as he accepts that I’ll order his violin.

To the language arts instructor who gave my oldest child a “0″ on Monday because her copy of To Kill A Mockingbird hadn’t yet been procured, it’s all Amazon’s fault. I plan on blaming them often this year. So you know. But their pricing is just really good.

To the nurse: Every time the school’s number pops up on caller ID, I panic. I’m at first relieved it that it isn’t the principal. When I learn it’s you, however, I go into fits. Remember that part about this being the first time in 14 years I’ve had 6 hours per day to myself? Therefore, I’d like to state up front that if Jack or Henry hasn’t thrown up and doesn’t have a fever, he needs to go back to class. It’s not that I don’t care. It’s that their stomachs experience divine healing the moment they are within 10 feet of an XBOX which tells me that, 99% of the time, they are just fine.

To the art teachers: I realize I’m late with my payment for the kids’ supplies. This is because the vat of supplies they needed just to start school cost $7689, and it wiped me out of Starbucks money, without which I can’t deal with the fact that more money is required. So just hang on.

Speaking of supplies, I would like to communicate my joy that I didn’t have to purchase toilet paper as a supply. Because I hear some schools in the area required that. Just wow.

To the math teachers: Please just tell the kids that asking mom for help is cheating. When George, who is 9, came to me asking what the probability was that a sock chosen from a group of 6 red ones and 5 blue ones would be red, I told him probably the same as the probability that I would survive the next 10 years, and I don’t know what that is either. My apologies if he actually wrote that down as his answer.

I guess that’s all for now. I’m exhausted. If any of you would like to meet me at the liquor store around the corner anytime after 4:00 today, I think they’re having a 2 for 1 special on Skinnygirl. I’ll bring the straws.

Sincerely,

The World’s Okayest Mom (which I’m having printed on a T-shirt by end of day)

What to Expect From Your Kindergartner

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Little Girl in Classroom

Dear parents of new kindergartners: As a long time teacher to children like yours, I thought I’d give you an idea of what your children will be doing when in school, in case you are wondering just what to expect…

1. Your son or daughter will go into the bathroom and leave the door open while doing their business. They might even occasionally break into song.

2. Your child will pick their nose in front of the class for about 6 months, until they are SICK of the teacher telling them in front of everyone to “Get a Tissue!!” Then they’ll graduate to doing it with a hand in front of their nose. THOSE kids are talented, brilliant, and have learned good manners.

3. Your child will forget to go to the bathroom while out at recess, and accidentally pee in their pants.

4. Your child will walk out of the bathroom with their pants around their ankles.  Oops.

5. Your child will call the teacher mom, dad and grandma at some point during the year. The first two will evoke a chuckle, and the latter will result in a shriek and a run to the Hand and Face lotion in an attempt to smooth the wrinkles. She will also probably either take a long leisurely bath or go straight to the liquor store. Or both.

6. Your child will tell an incredibly embarrassing story about you, your husband and your family.  More than one. The teacher will chuckle, make a mental note to remember that for the family picnic, and move on to the next child. Teachers also know not to use real names when repeating funny stories. They know that their OWN kids are in someone else’s room doing the SAME THING.

7. Your child will tattle on their best friend, make mean faces to them, and then play house or Lego’s with them all within the span of 5 minutes.

8. Your child will take a tumble on the playground, get pushed by someone, skin his or her knee and then bounce up and get back in the game.

9. Your son will forget to push his penis down and pee all over the bathroom floor, wall, toilet and his own pants. (He might also throw the wet underpants at the teacher.)

10. Your child will find a way into the teacher’s heart, and she will cheer and laugh and wipe a tear from her eye when your baby reads her first word, writes her first sentence or makes their first friend.  It’s what makes it all worthwhile.

10 Ways Birthday Parties Suck

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10 Ways Birthday Parties Suck

So let me get this straight: I push an 8-pound bowling ball out my hoo-ha and who gets to celebrate every year on that date? The f’ing bowling ball?

In less than two months my poop machine is turning four (Dear God, pleeeeease let four be better than three), which means it’s time to plan another birthday party. Agggggh, is there anything more torturous on this planet? Maybe water-boarding? Hmmm, no, I’m gonna say it’s a tie.

1. The Cost. I’d love to have the party in our backyard and save like a bazillion gajillion dollars, but A. You know if I do it’s going to tornado and hail and rain nuclear ash that day and B. My kid’s like 200% dead set on one of those bouncy house places. Are you f’ing kidding me?! Once we were at a bouncy house place and this kid must have had too much cake or caught Ebola there or something because he threw up in one of the bouncy houses and all the kids kept bouncing because no one noticed it was filled with vomit until it was all over the kids. Let’s just say I bleached and loofa’ed my kid until she had no more skin left. And now I kinda sorta have a thing against bouncy house places.

2. The goody bag. I just entertained and fed your little jackass for two hours, and now I’m supposed to send him home with a parting gift too? Some people call them goody bags. Some people call them party favors. I call them cheap plastic crapola from China that cause cancer and have parts that fall off and choke babies to death. Hmmm, yes, let’s waste more money on stuff that kills our kids and helps China. Brilliant.

3. The kids. Holy shit, we have to invite HOW MANY people to this birthday party?! Are we planning a wedding here? I mean, she’s four. For starters there’s this new rule that we have to invite every single kid in her class so we won’t hurt any feelings. What?!! They’re four. They’re not talking about what they did on the weekend. All they ever say these days is doodie and poo poo and toot. Besides, what ever happened to the whole damn totem pole of popularity and not everyone gets invited to everything? It’s like how they give a stupid trophy to every kid who participates these days. Remember the good ole days when kids could be like, “Nahhh, you’re not invited because you wear your underwear on the outside of your pants and save your boogers on your desk for when you’re hungry.” But seriously, I have nothing against Mr. Booger-Eater and my daughter is totally welcome to invite him or whoever else she wants to her party IF THEY ARE FRIENDS.

4. The whole RSVP thing. For the love of God, respond! I know that technically it means s’il vous plait, but it’s not really “if you please.” It means DO IT. I know you’re busy, but do you know what I’m busy doing? Counting the number of slices in a pizza in my head to make sure I’m ordering enough to feed your RUG RAT. So here’s the deal, if you don’t respond and your kid shows up, he’s not getting anything to eat. Nope, I don’t care if we have enough cake left over to make my ass look like J Lo’s. I’m sending your kid home a hungry, crying, snotty mess.

5. Cake. Are there things I can complain about when it comes to birthday cake? Sure. Am I going to say them? N-O. Birthday cake is like my bestest friend in the whole wide world, and I’m not going to say bad shit about my friend. I love you, birthday cake.

6.  And speaking of friends, let’s talk about enemies: Pinterest. Pinterest is like the bane of my existence. ‘Cause here’s the shit I see on Pinterest:

StrawberryElmo
Damn it, now I need a snack break after seeing those donut holes. Back in a minute. Okay, I’m back.

This is actually a party I went to last week at my friend’s house. Correction, ex-friend’s house.

ME: WTF, Penelope, what is this?   PENELOPE: Isn’t it adorable? I saw it on Pinterest. No, Penelope, it’s not adorable. It just makes me look like a shitty mom for dumping a bunch of chips in a bowl and forgetting the forks at home so everyone has to eat cake with their hands and now they’ll all have black fingers for a week from the black frosting (which should be illegal).

7. Balloons. Kids think balloons are basically gold spun from unicorn hair but they’re wrong. Balloons are annoying as shit and I refuse to have them at my kid’s party and here’s why:  a. Your kid’s going to let go of her balloon like a thousand times and whine every time and every time you’re going to have to reach up and get it for her.   b. If you’re outside, your kid’s going to hold onto that ribbon tight until the second she’s out the door and then she’s going to let go of it and lose her shit as she watches it getting smaller and smaller in the sky.  KID: Wahhhhhhhhhh ME: I told you not to let go. KID: Wahhhhhhhhhhh  ME: Sorry, honey. We’ll get another balloon later. KID: Wahhhhhhhhhhhh ME: Okay, that’s enough. It’s a piece of plastic. KID: Wahhhhhhhhhhhhh   ME: Fine, hold on, I’ll go get you another.  c. No officer, I didn’t see you following me with your lights for the past two miles because all I could see in my rearview mirror was a giant purple orb of latex bobbing around.  d. Don’t bite the balloo— oh shit, that’s gotta hurt. And judging by the giant red welt across your jaw it hurts like a mother-F’er. Let’s just hope you’re only psychologically scarred for life and scared shitless of balloons from now on and will never want one again.

8. Lunch. Eight times 22 divided by 2.5 plus 7 times 15, awww screw it, I can’t figure out how much pizza we’re gonna need. Just give us the largest pizza package so we don’t run out and we’ll just take home the leftovers. Only we won’t end up taking them home because our trunk’s gonna be full of presents. Then again, this is probably a good thing because if we take them our trunk’s gonna smell like pizza for the rest of the week and make me salivate every time I get into my minivan.

9. Gifts. Recently I’ve heard about some moms creating registries for their kids’ birthday parties. Insert barfing sounds here. But fine, just to go with the flow, here’s my registry:   1. 2. 3.   No, that’s not a typo. It’s supposed to be blank. Because WE DON’T NEED ANY PRESENTS. The last thing I want is more shit in our house. Wait, no I changed my mind. You know what I want. I would like everyone to bring us empty gift bags in assorted sizes because that’s the only thing having a party is good for. Getting all the wrapping you can use for the rest of the year.

10. And what comes after getting a lot of crap you don’t want? Thank you notes. I’m all for thank you notes WHEN MY KID CAN WRITE. Exhibit A:

Zoey

So guess who has to write them all. Yours truly. So if you give my kid a drum set or finger-paints or another stuffed animal or pretty much anything else they sell at Toys R Ass, guess what I’m gonna do. I’m going to fill your thank you note with glitter and confetti. It’s raining sequins, hallelujah, it’s raining sequins, amen!

And there you go. So if you don’t get an invitation to my kid’s birthday party in a few weeks it’s actually a good thing. It means I like you and don’t want to subject you to the torture. And if you do get one, I’m sorry.

Extra-Curricular Crackdown

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Watch out folks, Mama’s stepping out of the mini-van. That’s right, you’ll no longer find me schlepping all over town at ridiculous hours of the day. How did I pull off this ambitious feat without selling my three kids? I staged an extra-curricular crackdown! If you’re overwhelmed by your kids’ schedule, I urge you to join me.

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#1. No more classes at inconvenient times. Nap time is sacred. I don’t care if the  Queen Bee from Mommy and Me with the non-napping kid convinced the whole gang to register for a 1PM music class next quarter. Stay home and take advantage of the peace and quiet. This wisdom also applies to full-time working parents who’ve been suckered  into evening classes. Sing some catchy songs during dinner and clap your hands a few times. You’ll skip the 6PM fiasco at the actual class.

#2. No more driving out of your way. If there’s a perfectly good soccer league in your park district, but you’re driving thirty-minutes during what should be a relaxing weekend morning to be with “everybody else,” ask yourself whether that’s a good use of your precious time. Whatever you decide about the best location for your family, remember this crucial nugget: in an extra-curricular crackdown, there’s . . .

#3. No more picking activities based on your friends. Who is this so-called “everybody” anyway? Your friendships will survive your independence. And let’s be honest, parents spend a good portion of the bleacher time on their Blackberries or chasing after the younger sibling(s) who got dragged along. Carve out quality time to see your friends. Sure, some people will disappear now that you watch ballet or swimming class through a different window, but those people weren’t your real friends in the first place.

#4. No more picking activities based on your kids’ friends. We have to stop projecting our social anxiety onto our kids. If choosing the time of day and location that works for you means your child won’t know a soul in the class, then to that I say: So what!? Kids’ friendships ebb and flow. Those little buggers are consistently fickle. Don’t let your family’s schedule be dictated by your child’s flavor of the day.

#5. No more secretly hoping you gave birth to the next superstar. We sacrifice our time, money, energy, and depleting resources of sanity so we can feel proud of our ourselves–I mean, our kids. Even if we’ve accepted that our child isn’t going to be the next pre-scandal Tiger Woods, we justify the over-programming by insisting we want our kids to have hobbies. I want my kids to have hobbies, too. But I hope they’ll come by some of those interests naturally. For free. And within walking distance of our house.

#6. Remember: money doesn’t grow on trees and neither do hockey skates. It’s good for kids to understand there are other people in the house (and, um–the world) with wants and needs.  In fact, the astronomical cost of activities is reason enough to scale back right away. Why should it be that you don’t get out on Saturday nights or go on a vacation for fifteen years, but little Riley has sampled art, karate, gymnastics, and T-Ball in one semester? It’s not right. Take a stand.

So who’s with me? Let’s pull over our mini-vans, raise our hands in unity, and take back the day. And the night! And the weekend! Let the crackdown begin.

10 Reasons Not To Play Board Games With Your Kids

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game_stuff

My husband’s Saturday morning ritual of making pancakes with the kids has been replaced recently by him going to work instead. This makes my “sleep-in” day vanish entirely. I never really got to sleep-in anyway, but there was hope. What’s life without hope?

This past Friday night as my husband reminded the kids that he won’t be here in the morning, I overheard my son complain, “But Mommy never plays with us. She’s always just on the computer.” Cue the mom-guilt. I promised that I’d play games with them after I finish my first cup of coffee in the morning. Despite nursing that first cup of coffee and hoping they’d forget, they showed up at my desk with arms full of board games. So we played. And I quickly remembered why I don’t play games with my kids…

1. The Sore Loser. Whether it’s really losing the game, or just having to go fish immediately after a sibling got a set of four, my kids are monumental sore losers. They cry, complain of unfairness, and spread misery with alarming generosity.

2. The Obnoxious Winner. Ha ha! I won. Oh yeah! Oh yeah! I won! Oh yeah! You lose! Ha ha…. This winner’s dance of gloating lasts until someone cries.

3. The Cheater. The kids lie, peak, steal, grab, stack decks and try whatever else is possible to give them an advantage and make the game suck more than it does naturally.

4. The Gang Up. My kids don’t understand that if some non-self-person is going to win, it does not matter which non-self-person that might be. Instead, they have some sort of ranking of which non-self person is the least/most objectionable winner. They band together, conspiring so that the most objectionable non-self person does not win. I am always the most objectionable non-self person.

5. The Never Ending Game. Chutes and Ladders. ’Nuff said.

6. The Back to Start Game. Any game where a roll of the dice or selection of a card results in a person going backwards towards the starting point inflames sore losery, inspires cheating, lends itself to attempted conspiracy, and then never ends.

7. The Mind Numbing Stupidity. I mean, children’s games generally suck.

8. The Mess. Children’s games come with parts, pieces, cards, sticks, marbles, dice, timers, boards, and other small objects. These pieces are inevitably left all over the place and/or lost. A lost card from a game of Memory? Sucks. A lost piece from Sorry? Stepped on. Ouch!

9. Ending the Play. I remember reading once that children are like batteries in that you can “charge” them with some attentive play and then they’ll be more ready to play independently for some time, as they’re all filled up and satisfied with love and attention. This is either total bullshit, or my kids need to read that book too. There is no way to extract myself from playing with them that doesn’t end in anger/tears for all involved.

10. The Begging. If we do something fun with the kids once we are then stuck with them begging for it again for the rest of our lives. My kids beg for fairs, parades, skiing, swimming, roller skating, movies, sledding, ice cream, candy, gum, restaurants, late bedtimes, the beach, Christmas, birthday parties, friends’ houses, cookies, zoos, Grandma’s house, popcorn, plane rides, bus rides, train rides, etc, etc, etc all.the.time. If they’ve never done something, then they don’t know to beg for it.

Organized Sports Suck

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I love to see my children happy. I live to see them healthy, well-adjusted and enjoying themselves. I want them to develop life-long skills now, and I want them to always feel comfortable in their own skin.

I’m a mother, after all.

But here’s the problem: I despise organized sports. If there were a magic potion they could drink every morning that would give them all of the admittedly wonderful social and physical benefits of organized sports — rather than actually playing those sports — I’d give it to them in a heartbeat. And that is saying a lot, considering that getting my kids to swallow liquid medicine that comes in delicious flavors like cotton candy and grape is like a scene out of The Exorcist.

Now, we’re not a super active family. The kids aren’t involved in 500 activities during the week and our weekends aren’t solely spent shuttling the kids from sport to sport. But, they do each pick a couple of sports that interest them and we try them out for fit. Some fit the kids better than others, but most of them don’t fit me in the least. I’m finding this whole sport thing incredibly overrated.

The drama starts at home. I swear, getting my kids ready for their Saturday morning tennis lesson is the hardest I work all week. While the kids scream, “but, I don’t wanna go” and “can’t we just skip it,” I find myself running around the house looking for the rackets that I swore were in the hall closet just 7 days ago and the socks whose mates have mysteriously disappeared.

Once we arrive at tennis, the torture continues. First, there’s all of the other people who paid good money to play tennis, under the assumption that the rotten kids in the court next to them would not be hitting balls into their space every five minutes. We lob balls their way, and they lob looks of death our way.

Then, there is always an injury, and, usually, one of my kids is behind it. Let’s just say that Ben doesn’t have the greatest depth perception and is known to swing his racket a little wide. Wide, as in right at another kid’s face.

Baseball has been no better. Neither has soccer. Both sports require that I do even more laundry than I already do. Who the hell thought white was a wise choice for baseball pants, anyway?! I’m thinking about going on strike and just letting my kids wear the same, grass-stained uniforms to their games each week. Maybe we can make a game out of it, like “name that grass stain,” where the kids have to recollect the date and place of each stain.

That would require actually being in possession of their uniforms, though. My kids, unlike their team mates, aren’t even in their approved uniforms most of the time, because we’ve inevitably lost them weeks before. For most of last fall’s soccer season, my kids wore green shirts, because they were on the green team but I had NO idea where their uniforms went. Probably the same place as the missing socks. But, a tad more expensive to replace.

Plus, no offense to my charming children, but watching them clumsily run around and miss balls is far less fascinating than my iPhone or a rest. If it were up to them, my eyes would be glued on them the whole time. If it were up to me, I’d be napping in the car.

Dreaming of weekends that didn’t involve sports.

Reasons to Homeschool

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Homeschooling

You could be a homeschooler since you don’t care for your school system. You could be a homeschooler because its a good fit for your family and you like to travel the world. You could be a homeschooler because you spent so much time volunteering at school, you should’ve been an employee (and taking a much needed cocktail to PTA meetings was frowned upon.) As someone who is a homeschooler hoping to expose my children to the world they live in, I have often felt as though I have been pigeonholed as some narrow minded, extreme right wing, homophobic, religious bigot. I have to say, this really does not sit well. We have many reasons to homeschool, starting with these…

Alarms: Hate them. Nothing sets my teeth on edge as much as an alarm. I am still up early because I love the quiet, but mostly because I love watching the mini vans fly by my house in the morning filled with screaming Moms and crying kids. (I stand voyeur like at my window sipping my hot coffee in my pj’s while my cherubs are asleep in their beds – it never gets old) Imagine never setting an alarm unless you have a plane to catch, which in turn brings me to …

Travel: We can go whenever we want. You know those fabulous off season rates? We would like to thank you for them. Someone told me the other day that their kids love the atmosphere of being in Disney when its busy, seriously? What kid wants to stand in line for hours at a time? Field trips are never on a tight schedule, and never start at 8am. If we get there and its lame, we go to lunch. When we go to lunch, I can even have a glass of wine. (nuff said)

PJs! My kids get to do their work in their pj’s rather than worry about the latest fashion. Back to school shopping consists of a day buying pj’s – yes, pj’s. They sit (or lay) with the class pet on their laps.

The work they hand in, is really their work. It would be pretty pointless to do it for them and then grade myself. Used to love those over the top projects that came in at school all powerpointed by an 8yr old! (btw, we do not have homework unless someone has really annoyed me and I do.not.pack.lunches – jealous much?)

I encourage discussion of the world. We study countries, people, religion and of course, food … always the food. Sometimes we even get to go to the country – awesome-ness on the field trip scale!

Elections. Last time around we attended a political debate and let our oldest hear both sides to make an educated decision on how she felt. Yes, how she felt. (it was a foreign concept too many, and for the record, she loved neither candidates)

I encourage full immersion when it comes to studies. Children should be taught about Mexico on Cinco de Mayo, you should do so in a Mexican restaurant with a margarita in hand. Also, running a vacuum or wiping down a bathroom will get you an A in PE.

We never expect our kids to just fit in. As my oldest, Wiki stated in her blog about going with the crowd – why would you want to fit in when you were born to stand out? They are free to be their exceptional selves. And they really are exceptional (its not the margarita talking)

The World is our classroom – and we embrace it!

(P.S. Yes, somedays cocktail hour arrives a little earlier than others, and my Mom friends don’t judge.)

Making Lunches

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pbj

Yesterday, I was standing in the kitchen making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch, when Jeff came up behind me.

“You’re not making those with much love,” he snidely remarked, as I plopped the jelly down, assembly line style, on three slices of bread.

Love?” I snorted. “No, not really.”

Perhaps it’s that they’ve eaten the same thing every day for years. Perhaps it’s that when I swap out any of the items, they come home, uneaten, and I’m met with famished children. Perhaps it’s that I’m half-asleep in the morning when I’m making them. Perhaps it’s that I would much rather be eating their PB&J than my Greek yogurt. Perhaps it’s that I have six dozen loads of laundry to do and a sink full of dirty dishes. Perhaps it’s that I show my love for my children a billion other ways. It could be any of the above. Or, all of them.

But, no, love is not the secret ingredient in their lunch boxes.

These are the lunches made with love.

A lot of love.

A whole lot of love.

And a little bit of crazy.

Mine are made out of necessity.

And I bet they taste just as good.