What I Wish I’d Had When I Was Stranded at SFO

I wish I'd had the myCharge HUB Max when I found myself stranded at the airport for a gazillion hours trying to get home for my grandmother's funeral.Recently I flew back home for my grandmother’s memorial service. She passed away a few months ago and the plan was to have a bonfire on the beach and then spread her ashes at sunset. A lot of family was to arrive and it was to be a sweet time of laughter and sharing stories and remembering her. I made travel arrangements to get into town around noon on Friday, her service was at 5, and then spend a few extra days with my parents and family since I hadn’t visited in a year.

That was the plan anyway.

What happened was a travel atrocity which kept me from attending the service thanks to United Airlines.

My first flight arrived earlier than expected which is always nice. I had plenty of time to get some coffee and hang out with my phone until my connection. Until my connection got delayed. Then delayed again. Then cancelled.

I and other flyers stood in line at customer service to get rebooked. I still had time to make it with my new flight so I wasn’t worried. Until that flight got delayed. And delayed again. And delayed again. And then, yes, cancelled.

At this point I had spent over seven hours in the airport just trying to get home. When I was rebooked once more I wouldn’t be arriving home until after 11pm. My grandmother’s service was at 5.

I was rage texting my dad and sister during the entire ordeal which was sucking away at my battery life. The battery life of a phone that was on its last legs and got drained if I just looked at it wrong. I needed my phone to keep them up to date on the arrangements but trying to find an outlet in a crowded and pissed off terminal wasn’t easy. Luckily I managed to eventually find one and thank the good Lord I had the foresight to pack my charger in my carry-on bag.

I needed my phone to stay in touch (because what eventually happened was my dad and sister drove four hours to rescues me) and what I really needed that day was this.

mycharge

Wait. My camera skills suck. Look how pretty it is when professionals take the picture!

mycharge stock

The myCharge HUB Max portable charger. This thing is TSA approved so I could’ve had it with me in the terminal. It’s super fast and extends talk time by 67 hours – plenty of time to keep my fam up to date – and could’ve even charged my tablet which I would have brought had I known I’d be spending the entire day at the airport. It has both an integrated Apple charger and a micro USB. (I’m an iPhone lady and my husband’s an android man so it works great for both of us.) It charges tablets, fitness watches, digital cameras, all the things us moms have at our disposal to help us stay sane during stressful times.

Just this week my husband got home from work earl y and wanted to take the kids for a walk in the stroller while he listened to an audiobook. His phone was almost dead so he just plugged it in and took them both with him so I could have a few moments of quiet time. He, and the HUB Max charger, are lifesavers. We’re also going camping in a few weeks and I’ll definitely be bringing it with us. In case we have an emergency I don’t want a dead phone battery to keep us from getting help.

Maybe you don’t wanna miss taking a video of your son’s dance recital or your daughter’s solo in the school play. Maybe you just wanna keep it in your car in case you get stranded in the Target parking lot after spending $200 on stuff you didn’t know you needed. Whatever your life entails, this is a great device to have on hand.

AND, lucky for you, the awesome peeps at myCharge have given me the power to give one away to one of my readers! So here’s the deal. Either comment on this blog post below with your email address (for contact purposes) OR tweet at me that you wanna win OR comment on this post on Facebook. I’ll choose a winner on Sunday as a Mother’s Day gift from one mom to another.

If you’re not the gambling type and want one right now, use promo code MOM when you’re checking out at their web site for 40% off the HUB Max. It retails for $129.99 so you’d be getting a great deal on it.

So who’s feeling lucky?

(NOTE: Winners must live in the US.)

 


No More Baby Blankets: A Real Life Baby Shower Guide

Get the mom-to-be something she really wants and needs like batteries and booze. The decorations are Pinterest perfect. The snacks are being scarfed down. Games are being played and, at any given moment, at least four hands are on the mom-to-be’s uterus waiting for the baby inside her to kick.

It’s a baby shower!

The new mom may be giddy (“Look at all these people who love me!” or grumpy (“Who are all these people eating my cake?!”), but one thing all guests of honor have in common at these functions is the thought, “What did everyone get me? … I mean, get the baby?”

As a woman in her 30s and a mom of two toddlers, I’ve been to my share of these events and have seen more ruffles and tuxedo onesies than I ever thought possible. If I could go back in time, I’d tell my pregnant self about the real gifts she should register for. The gifts that will save her sanity. The gifts that will keep on giving for years to come. The gifts that will make all other moms think, “Dang! I wish I had thought of that!”

If you’re pregnant—congratulations!—or you’re headed to one of these hormone fests, heed my advice and choose a gift from this handy dandy gift guide I’ve prepared especially for you.

1. 3T Clothes. For the first couple months of a baby’s life, everyone the new parents have ever met buys the kid clothes. When the little baby becomes a big kid, no one’s buying them a new wardrobe. Also, when the child is this age, the mom is going to have her hands full as it is and a loving gesture would be to save them the hassle that is going clothes shopping with a toddler.

2. Costco-sized box of batteries. All different kinds, from AAA to D. Kids will want toys that sing songs, shake, rattle, roll, blink, put on a Broadway musical, and clean their rooms for them. These toys require batteries, and the last thing a mom needs is her kid freaking out because they can’t go to sleep without their Glo-Worm but their Glo-Worm’s batteries died and they are now considered the worst parent in the world.

3. A set of screwdrivers. Installing batteries in irritating toys also requires screwdrivers of all shapes and sizes. Save Mom and Dad a trip to the hardware store and purchase these instead of yet another baby blanket.

4. Coffee, beer, and booze. Because motherhood.

5. Subscription to a media streaming service. It’s not just the newborn stage during which kids don’t sleep. It’s toddlerhood, too. Teething, growth spurts, brains that are learning, skills that are developing—it all means kids will be up at all hours of the night and there’s not always a kid-friendly (or mom-friendly) show on at three in the morning. If she’s left watching infomercials in her sleep-deprived state, it’s quite possible the new mom will order the Chop-O-Matic, Blend-O-Rama and Bing! Bang! Boom! Dish Detergent that she doesn’t need.

6. 700 boxes of macaroni and cheese. Because toddlers.

7. Three months of a housecleaning service. Everything is overwhelming to a new mom. Her baby, her marriage, her armpit hair, her life. Don’t let her housework overwhelm her too.

8. Spa gift certificate. The trick with this one is to tell her that it expires within six months of the child’s birthday. This guarantees that she will get out of the house, get a break from her baby, and pamper herself, which is what every new mom needs.

Take my advice or don’t, but in the name of all that is holy, please heed this one warning: NO MORE BABY BLANKETS. She’s having a kid — not opening a Bed, Bath and Beyond.

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© 2015 Toni Hammer, as first published on Scary Mommy

A Love Letter to Shapewear

It took me way too long to buy these magical garments.Dear Shapewear,

I never planned on becoming friends with you. For that matter, I never planned on falling in love with you. For so long you were like a popular kid in school, and I didn’t understand what the big deal was. You were just another item of clothing. One more thing to put on and take off. One more thing to wash and put away. Why was everyone else fawning over you?

It was just a normal Tuesday when I saw you in the store. I perused shirts and pants, but my eyes kept being drawn toward you. I looked at a belt and a handbag, but you were still there, staring at me. It was as though you were saying, “Hey, come over here. I won’t hurt you. You’ll love me. I promise. Would I lie to you?”

In a moment of weakness and curiosity—and the fact I was shopping by myself so no one could judge me—I put you into my cart and swiftly took you home. I was positive I wouldn’t even bother taking the tags off, as surely everyone else was wrong and I was right: You were nothing special.

Once I returned home, I scurried to the bathroom to change, and it was then and there that our romance began.

Our relationship was rough at first. Pulling you on took a feat of strength that I didn’t know I possessed. I tugged and grunted and shimmied and then, finally, the moment came. You were properly in place, and I looked at myself in the mirror through eyes squinted into slits for fear of what I would see.

And what did I see?

Magic.

That’s the only explanation. You had to be some sort of magical being to do what you had done. No longer did my love handles peek over the band of my underwear. My postpartum pooch was flat and smooth. My butt was where it was supposed to be. Through the power of just one exhausting struggle to spread you onto my body, you had completely transformed me.

It was love at first sight.

Oh Shapewear, where have you been all these years?

You have given me new life and saved me so much time. I no longer have to sweat in the gym to fit into my favorite jeans again. I just pull you on and, in an instant, I can snap the fly.

You have given me confidence now that I no longer have bumps and bulges protruding beneath my clothes.

You have given me good posture because there’s no way to slouch when you have a vice-like grip on my midsection.

I feel elated whenever I wear you. Perhaps it’s because you are squeezing me so tight that I can’t breathe, and my elation is actually my body telling me I’m about to pass out, but I don’t care.

I don’t care.

It is always sad when we have to say goodbye for the day. I peel you off of my body, which returns to its squishy state. I look in the mirror and long for you once more. But I know that I need to let my skin and muscles relax, and I need oxygen to once again return to my brain.

And I also know that tomorrow we will be reunited once more.

Thank you for calling to me in that department store, Shapewear. I love you.

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© 2015 Toni Hammer, as first published on Scary Mommy

You Don’t Eat Food Off The Ground & Other Teachable Moments

There are so many things you don't realize you have to teach your kids until you're in the moment. And it's exhausting. Over the weekend we took the kids to a local interactive science museum thing. It was their cheaper admission day, as well s Super Bowl Sunday, so we thought what with everyone watching sport ball and chowing down on bean dip, it’d be less chaotic and more fun. We were right.

The kids had a great time playing with all sorts of cool science-y things, and I made it about two hours before becoming socially overstimulated and over it. A good time was had by all.

We were just about to our van when Levi noticed something on the ground. Someone had spilled a good pile of popcorn right outside of his door.

“Popcorn!” he exclaimed with joy.

“Buddy, you can’t eat that.”

“But it’s popcorn.”

He looked at me confused as if to say, “But, Mom, it’s popcorn. I’m two and even I can recognize that it’s food. What’s the problem? Why can’t I eat it?”

It’s strange the things you have to teach your kids that you don’t even think about. I mean, when you’re pregnant or have a baby you think about teaching them to talk and walk and about colors and shapes and whatnot. Those are the givens that everyone thinks about. But other teachable moments surprise you when they’re looking you in the eye.

Like you don’t eat food found in a parking lot. And you don’t squirt hair gel all over the bathroom. And you don’t wake up at 2 a.m. and decide it’s time to play. And you most definitely do not scream for me from the living room saying you need help instead of calmly walking to the office where I am right now and asking nicely for help. Not that that’s what’s happening right now at all.

There’s always something to teach kids. Always. And it’s exhausting. We’re moving past the middle of the night wake-ups and into the realm of why this and why not that and I think it’s almost more exhausting than cuddling at 3 a.m. because it requires me to think of ways to explain things to a small child that I take for granted for already knowing.

Not gonna lie; These days I think I’d prefer a teething baby to attempting to explain the color turquoise to my three-year-old.

I Took My Kids To Story Time And Lived To Tell About It

Story time with toddlers is not for the faint of heart or anyone with any sort of social anxiety, but I braved the ordeal for my kids and survived. Barely.We’ve recently moved and if my circle of friends was small before this move it is minuscule now. I really only have two close mom friends. One in Colorado and one in Idaho. I have a handful of close friends but I don’t see them often because I can’t drive (poor eyesight – this is important to the story) and the drive is a bit much for my closer in proximity friends to come up.

Instead of sitting around with my two toddlers all damn day, every day, I’ve decided in 2016 I will go and make mom friends. I will seek them out and drug them and drag them back to my lair where I will force them to drink coffee with me.

Points for honesty?

And how does one make mom friends, you ask? In my mind, they find them by going and doing kid-related shit you don’t want to do. I could live a blissful existence spending most hours of my days by myself but kids aren’t down with that plan. Additionally, my daughter is so social and so badly wants other kids to play with and it breaks my heart so, damnit, I will venture forth into the world and meet people.

Ugh.

So today we went to story time at the local library and it was a bit of a shit show. I’ll start from the beginning.

I checked the web site and story time began at 10 a.m. I am an annoyingly punctual person and believe something one of my high school teachers pounded into my head: “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.” I do my best to always be 15 minutes early to any and every event because I’m terrified of being late and missing out or being a distraction or causing a commotion.

I immersed the children in head-to-toe rain gear because it’s raining because we live in the Pacific Northwest and OF COURSE IT IS. Remember how I don’t drive? That means we have to walk 7 blocks in the rain to the library. Seven blocks isn’t that bad of a walk — even with two toddlers in tow — but in the rain it sucks. They were amused for a bit by the water falling from the sky and the puddles but after about three blocks we were all over it.

But we pressed on.

Despite whining and hand holding and, “Please walk faster!” said a million times, the library was in sight. The beacon of warmth and light and hope for future friendships. We all got a little more pep in our step and headed to the front door only to find it locked.

The library doesn’t open until 10.

The same time that story time begins.

It is 9:46.

A very kind lady peeks her head out the door and says, “Hi guys! We don’t open until 10.”

“Oh okay. Story time is today, though, right?”

“Yes, at 10. So in about 15 minutes.”

“Okay. Great.” Not great. You’re really going to leave us out here?

“Did you guys walk here?” My kids look like drowned rats. What do you think?

“Yep.” Glimmer of hope…

“Well it looks like you’ve got some cool rain boots! See you guys in a few minutes!” And the hope dies.

I spend 15 minutes trying to entertain my kids in 45-degree wet weather. We sing songs, they whine, we run up and down the ramp, more whining.

“I know you’re cold, honey. I’m cold, too. No, it’s not time to in yet. Just a few more minutes. Hey, look, a squirrel! Yes, I wanna go inside too. It’s not time yet…”

Another group of children show up at precisely 10 and FINALLY we are allowed entrance and all of us begin to thaw.

We follow the gaggle of kids upstairs to the children’s area. There are chairs around a large alphabet-dredged carpet and I urge the kids to take a seat. They’re cool. They like it. They’re just sitting there next to each other watching more kids wander in and get name tags and I find a spot on the floor opposite of them so I can watch. Another mom sits next to me and opens a book and I think, “Damnit! Why didn’t I bring a book?!”

Before the whole thing starts the kids migrate towards me. Lily takes a seat in one of the chairs and Levi sits in my lap. Soon the stupid thing starts. There’s a song. My kids look at the librarian and at me as if to say, “What are we supposed to do? Are we having fun? Is this what fun is like?”

They start to get the hang of things and begin doing the hand clapping, stomping thing everyone else is doing. I breathe a sigh of relief. This is going to be good.

The librarian pulls out the story to read. Penguins! It has penguins on it! My kids are excited because they are related to me and therefore love penguins which is an excuse I use for some of our Christmas decor still being around the house.

She gets about three pages in before Lillian tells me she has to go potty. Of course she does. And, since she does, Levi has to pee also. So I ask the book-reading mom next to me where the bathroom is and we head over to the other side of the room. “Hidden” behind a shelf of books is the other half of the small room which has paints and crayons and crap on tables because after the story will be an art project.

I would say this was the beginning of the end.

I wrangle the kids into the tiny bathroom where they fight over who gets to go pee first, exclaim that the water is too hot, they didn’t get enough soap to wash their hands, and attempt to open the door while I myself am sitting on the toilet because, hey, I’m here so why not.

We begin our trek back to the neon carpet but Levi isn’t having any of that.

“I want to color!” he screams.

And screams and whines.

And whines and screams about how he wants to color some more.

For, like, forever it seems this happens.

Lils eventually gets bored with Levi’s charade and heads back to the carpet while I become that mom in the corner trying to console her son in the loudest whisper imaginable.

“Levi, I know you want to color. We’re going to get to color after story time is over. You just need to wait.”

Cry, whine, scream, repeat.

I’m sure the whole thing lasted less than five minutes but it felt like a fucking eternity. Everyone can hear him and everyone can hear me and in the name of all that is holy, son, please just stop.

Somehow, by some miracle, I get him to calm down and head back to the carpet.

Okay that’s a lie. I didn’t do anything. He just sniffled and said, “Where Lily?” and goes off to find his sister.

I remain on the floor trying not to cry because this is our first time here and I feel like a shitty mom and my clothes are damp and this is dumb and I hate everything.

I take a deep breath, regroup, and head back to the carpet.

Now everyone has scarves that they’re tossing and swinging around to some song but we were all in the bathroom so we have no scarves and damn if that just doesn’t make my kids sadder than a snowman in Florida. Somehow Lillian acquires one that was on the floor but Levi has nothing and begins to whine some more until book-mom goes behind the singing, scarf-wielding librarian and retrieves a scarf for him.

Once again they are pacified.

They sing a few more songs and read another story and honestly I must have blocked most of this out from being overwhelmed with how my kids were behaving because I have no recollection of the last 10 minutes of story time. Finally it’s arts and craft time! Each kid got to paint (“Mom! We get to paint!”) a penguin and glue on eyes and a nose (“Look, Mom, glue! Can I have the glue please please pleeeeaaaase?” and all is well for seven seconds until my kids realize there are now TOYS on the carpet and off they scamper to get into all the things.

I stood in the back and watched and sighed and tried not to cry because I just wanted my kids to have a good time and it’s so damn hard to tell because they have the memory and attention span of a rock. I couldn’t spend much time feeling sorry for myself before Lils needed help with a puzzle and I headed over to assist. They played with books and cars and crap until it was time to leave and I’d say, in the end, they were happy.

So happy, in fact, that when it was time to go, Lillian began whining and didn’t stop whining until we got home.

Seven blocks of whining seems like an appropriate indicator that she had a good time.

In the end, the only person I talked to was the librarian (why didn’t I talk to book mom?!) who I apologized to for Levi’s meltdown. She assured me it wasn’t a big deal, that it happens to all the kids, and I shouldn’t worry about it. Of course I did, and still do, but I feel a little better.

Will I go back? Yes. Will I enjoy it? All signs point to no. But next time I vow to say something to someone other than the librarian and maybe, just maybe, make a new friend.

9 Books Toddlers Would Write If They Could

Unless they’re a genius, most toddlers can’t read let alone write. I’m a master at getting into the mind of little ones, though, and I’ve compiled a list of nine books toddlers would write if they were able to. Most of these would be international bestsellers their first week.

1. Where Has All The Glitter Gone? by Spark Lee

If they could, here are 9 hilarious books toddlers would write. "Can I Pee On That?" would be a bestseller.

Synopsis: A coming-of-age tale documenting one girl’s journey from three to three-and-a-half. She must leave childish things behind in order to become the preschooler she longs to be.

Sample chapter titles: I Can’t Eat Play-Doh Anymore, I’m Too Old For My Binkie, Where Are the Real Scissors?

2. Brown Hair, Gray Hair by Vicktori Ismine

If they could, here are 9 hilarious books toddlers would write. "Can I Pee On That?" would be a bestseller.

Synopsis: Part how-to, part memoir, this title will make you laugh and cry. It follows Tyler, a two-year-old boy who is determined to drive his mother to the brink of insanity… or at least give her as much gray hair as possible before he begins kindergarten.

Sample Chapters: I Need A Drink of Water, Why Why Why, Loved It Yesterday, Hate It Today

3. Can I Pee On That? by Yorin Fortruble

If they could, here are 9 hilarious books toddlers would write. "Can I Pee On That?" would be a bestseller.

Synopsis: A compilation of stories from those as young as newborns to as old as five who tell of the equally dangerous and hilarious places and things they’ve peed on across the planet.

Sample Chapters: Leaning Tower of Peesa. I Wouldn’t Sit There If I Were You, Nice To Meet You, Mr. President

4. Cheese: A Love Story by Gouda Luck

If they could, here are 9 hilarious books toddlers would write. "Can I Pee On That?" would be a bestseller.

Synopsis: One little girl’s romance with a slice of cheese lasts way too long as the cheese begins to mold. Is there anything she can do to save it from the trash?

Sample Chapters: Love At First Bite, I’ll Never Brie You Nor Forsake You, Mold, You Munster

5. Making Insomnia Work For You by Snuzi TymeIf they could, here are 9 hilarious books toddlers would write. "Can I Pee On That?" would be a bestseller.

Synopsis: The Tony Robbins of toddlerhood, Snuzi Tyme will tell you the steps you need to take to get anything and everything you’ve ever wanted from your sleep-deprived parents. Funny, heartwarming, and guaranteed to get you all the candy you can put your hands on.

Sample Chapters; How To Wake Up Every Hour For Life, The Three Things Every Toddler Must Do Before Going To Sleep, Yawning Is Weakness: When To Strike

6. How To Be Independent In A “Because I said So” World by I. Ownyou

If they could, here are 9 hilarious books toddlers would write. "Can I Pee On That?" would be a bestseller.Synopsis: Just because you live in a world where you’re told you can’t do anything doesn’t mean you can’t actually do anything. This heartwarming memoir will teach toddlers by I. Ownyou’s example how to get the most enjoyment and glee from their daily lives without submitting to their parent’s authority.

Sample Chapters: Hiding Cookies In Your Bed, Racing The Clock, Clothes Are More Optional Than You Think

7. Run Until You Fall by Imma Klutz

If they could, here are 9 hilarious books toddlers would write. "Can I Pee On That?" would be a bestseller.

Synopsis: The story of one boy who learned to walk, and then run, and vowed to never stop until that damn crack in the sidewalk got in his way. Will he get back up or will he stay on the ground forever?

Sample Chapters: Sweet Victory, My First Skinned Knee, Carry Me

8. The Witching Hour War by Tan Trum

If they could, here are 9 hilarious books toddlers would write. "Can I Pee On That?" would be a bestseller.

Synopsis: The only historical novel to make the list, this is a no-nonsense, completely factual account about the first toddler to ever look at the clock, see it was 5:30 p/m., and declare war on his parents until he went to bed.

Sample Chapters: Dinner Was Awful, Everything Is Falling Apart, I Hate You, I Hate You, I Hate You

9. 101 Ways To Cook With Candy by S. Ugarrush

If they could, here are 9 hilarious books toddlers would write. "Can I Pee On That?" would be a bestseller.

Synopsis: The most well-loved cookbook in toddlerhood history, this book is chock full of recipes for everything from appetizers to midnight snacks — all made with a sweet candy touch. As a special bonus, it includes a list of optional activities to do while you’re twitching from all that high fructose corn syrup.

Sample Chapters: Cheerios With Sugar, Bacon-Wrapped Snickers, Gummy Bear Crusted Chicken Nuggets

 

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Dos and Don’ts For Holiday Survival With Kids

Holidays are stressful enough and then you add kids to the mix and it's a whole new ball game. Here's some holiday survival tip to help you be prepared.Holidays are hard with kids. Well, any day is hard with kids. But holidays are “special” days where you want your kids to be on their best behavior, mind their manners, and earn their “Mommy loves me best” shirt. Here’s a handy guide of some dos and don’ts to help give you a scream free Christmas.

Do dress the kid up in a cute outfit. There will be pictures. A LOT of pictures. If you don’t dress the kid up there’s a good chance Aunt Sally will magically have “the most adorable” outfit for your baby which will inevitably require three adults and a Cirque de Soleil performer to put on. Just dress the kid at home.

Don’t keep your baby in that same outfit when it’s time to eat. They will destroy it. That’s what babies do to nice things.

Do give your baby new and different foods. This is probably the only time of year they’re going to have cranberry sauce or sausage, sage, and walnut dressing on their tray. In 365 days, when they’re a full-fledged toddler, they won’t be going anywhere near that stuff.

Don’t plop a steaming pile of mashed potatoes onto your 8 month old’s high chair tray. Your in-laws will swoop in to save your child, tell you how awful you are for giving him food that’s way too hot, and the whole time your kid will be screaming, “Give me back my taters!” in baby talk.

Do allow your kid to have a sweet treat. It’s Christmas after all – the season of giving. And sugar.

Don’t put the dessert table at the perfect height for your toddler to pilfer cookies all afternoon long. We had this issue with my daughter and she was so hyped up on sugar she didn’t sleep until Labor Day.

Do hand off your kid to any and every family member that wants to hold them. Take a break, Mama!

Don’t pass your kid to your sister-in-law and run to the local bar for a shot, a beer, and a couple karaoke renditions of “Christmas Shoes.” You’ll make it through the day. I promise.

Do let your kids help prepare the meal. Younger children will love feeling like a “big kid” when they get to put rolls on a baking sheet or pour chicken broth into the stuffing.

Don’t let your kids set the table. Remember Aunt Sally? She has spent the past three months pinning every table setting she could find and you do not want your kid to be the one that demolishes her perfectly folded origami Christmas tree napkins which she’s been working on since Halloween.

Do teach your toddler Christmas carols to sing with everyone. Few things are as cute as a kid singing Jingle Bells. Especially after a few Screwdrivers.

Don’t let your kid sing “Let It Go.” It is not a Christmas song just because there’s snow and we’re all tired of it the stupid thing. Dear Santa, make it stop.

Do let your baby help open presents. Ripping wrapping paper asunder is one of life’s great joys to a baby. It’s practice for wrecking your house.

Don’t use wrapping paper smattered with glitter. Eating wrapping paper is also one of life’s great joys to a baby and you really don’t wanna change a diaper that sparkles.

Do take a moment to step back and see the awe and wonder of the holidays through your child’s eyes.

Don’t expect them to nap. You could put them in a sound proof, black out curtained room and it still won’t happen. There’s a party going on that needs them.

Do let your kids watch the big game. Football is a Christmas tradition and they may as well learn now that it’s the only thing they’ll get to watch on TV until Dad passes out in the recliner with a half empty beer in his hand.

Don’t let your kids repeat what they hear while watching the big game. The holiday spirit isn’t so merry and bright when you’re trying to explain to the daycare lady why your toddler won’t stop yelling, “Is this ref effing blind?!” during a game of tag.

Do pack up the car with all the new gifts shortly after they’re opened. It’s one less thing to worry about and it’s the last few hours of sanity for you because, once you get home, it’ll look like Toys R Us had a drunken frat party the night before.

Don’t forget your kid’s new toy that lights up, blares music, shakes, rattles and rolls at Aunt Sally’s. Your kid will scream for days that it’s their favorite and you’re an awful mom for forgetting it, and Aunt Sally will have already packed it away for next year. That’s what happens when your kid cuts down the napkin Christmas trees.

Good luck!

Bedtime Routines & Pirate Spray

The older a kid gets, the more steps get added to their bedtime routines. It's oh so awesome. Ever since my kids were born, I have sucked at putting them on any sort of routine or schedule. I try all the time, and I’ve gotten better, but I’m not perfect. Sometimes we’re doing errands past nap time. Sometimes they go to bed at 7. Other times they go to bed at 9:30. It happens. It’s life.

One thing I have learned, though, is the power of the bedtime routine. And it’s not because it’s anything I necessarily wanted to do. It’s because of my kids. And Daniel Tiger.

PJ’s, brush teeth, story and song and off to bed.

You’re singing it right now, aren’t you?

I guess maybe five or six months ago this began to be our norm for bedtime. The kids throw a fit if Luke and I try to “forget” their story and song because omg just go to sleep.

Also in the past few months, my daughter has become scared that pirates and/or monsters are going to get her. I know it’s a natural fear. Well, maybe not specifically pirates, especially since Jake and the Neverland Pirates is one of her favorite shows, but I get it. She’s older, more aware, it’s dark, sometimes it’s scary.

But neither my husband or I could figure out a way to console her and let her know THERE ARE NO PIRATES OR MONSTERS in her room. Eventually she’d just wind up in our bed and I’d wind up on the couch because sometimes giving in is just easier. It’s not being lazy. It’s survival.

And then one of Luke’s old co-workers gave us the best idea ever.

Anti-Pirate Spray.

It started off as me just spraying a little of my body spray in their rooms. Then we added a song. “Monsters, pirates, go away. Let Lily and Levi sleep today.” Now THEY — yes, both of them — have to be the ones to do the spraying and singing. Every night.

I don’t know if it actually helps them feel better or if they just like staying up for an extra fifteen seconds or if they just like screwing with me, but it’s what I do now. Because I’m a mom. And moms do weird stuff if it means their kids might actually go to sleep.

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