Thursday, June 30, 2016

Pool Party

best inflatable pool with pump
Keepin' the neighborhood classy this summer with our giant inflatable pool.
It's officially summer here in the land of concrete and broken dreams, which means it's too hot to go outside and the air conditioning is set to "liable to bankrupt you".  Sure, it's a dry heat, but unless you enjoy walking around on the surface of the sun, it's way too hot to do anything other than lie under an air conditioning vent bemoaning your lack of full time childcare.

I'm a pretty adventurous parent - I take my kids to museums, beaches, and activities - but once the temperature hits 90 degrees the last thing I want to do is push my kids in a stroller or load them into a hot car.  Unfortunately, I also get super bored being stuck inside my air conditioned duplex for months on end - there are only so many games of hide and seek and Candy Land one can play before going batsh*t crazy - so I needed to figure out a solution for how to play outside during the long, hot, never ending So Cal summer.

I present to you the best thing I have ever purchased on Amazon: a 12 foot inflatable pool with an actual pump.
intex inflatable pool
I've always dreamed of living in a house with a pool.  Granted, I dreamed that I owned the house, that the pool wasn't inflatable, and that I was hugely successful, but beggars can't be choosers.  I am now the proud owner of an above ground pool that my white trash relatives would love.  I've even got some AstroTurf around it to really class up the place.

Here's the beautiful thing: my kids love the pool.  They don't care that it's inflatable and makes our backyard look tacky; they just want to spend every waking moment splashing in it. The best part is that thanks to our new fancy pool, I get to spend hours on end doing nothing except sitting on my butt making sure the kids don't  drown.  I call that a major #lazyparentingwin.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Preschool Panic: Changing Schools Edition

"You can study gardening?"
So...we're moving the Muffin Man to a different preschool.

I'm going to assume that your initial thought is "hasn't your kid already been to every nursery school in Los Angeles?" and while it may seem that way from how much I've written about this whole ridiculous preschool journey, the truth of the matter is that we've applied to almost every school on the East side of Los Angeles at least once (some, twice) but he's only actually attended one school.  

When we started the whole preschool process, I didn't really think it mattered that much where Noah ended up going to school.  I had my favorites, and a few places that I didn't much like, but overall I considered preschool as a way to give my kid some basic socialization while simultaneously allowing me to have some time alone.

Well, it turns out that preschool actually is about more than just giving Mommy the opportunity to shower alone.

Four things that really matter when it comes to preschools:

Community.  The main reason we decided to switch schools is because Noah's old school lacked a strong community.  On the one hand I really appreciated that we weren't constantly pestered to volunteer or spend time in the classroom, but I do want to get to know the other parents.  I really liked the few parents I did meet, but there was no back to school night, no roster of contact information for the other families, and unless you were able to forge friendships during the five minutes you were at school for drop-off or pick-up, you were SOL.  If our kids are interacting on a daily basis, I'd like to get to know you myself and to suss out whether you're the type of woman who takes a flask to the park and therefore destined to be my new BFF.

Boys will be boysWhen I started looking at preschools, Noah was only seven months old.  At that point the most interaction my kid had with his peers was swapping spit on a teether at Mommy and Me class.  The gender of your kid's friends doesn't really matter at that point, and to be honest, the friends you foist on your kid have more to do with whether you like their mom rather than whether or not your kids are well-suited.  Once your kid is old enough to attend school, however, it turns out that having enough kids of the same gender to play with matters.  Boys and girls really are different for the most part, and my tool and car-loving kiddo needed more boys in his class who shared his interest in swords and standing up to pee. 

Schedule.  Little kids thrive on routine.  If you've ever traveled with your kids, you know how much a change in schedule can screw up their sleep, digestion, and temperament.  Noah's old school had a flexible schedule, which meant that kids could attend anywhere from 1-5 days per week, for half or full days.  I think this is incredibly convenient for the parents, but my kid was so confused about who would be in his class with him every day that he had a hard time forging friendships.  Between his confusion about who was actually in his class, and my not knowing who any of the kids or parents were, trying to identify his classmates was like some sort of "Who's on First" preschool routine.

Enrichment.  This is just a fancy word for things like music and gardening, two classes that didn't exist at the old school.  If I'm working my bony a** off to pay for this place, it better have the same level of enrichment courses all my friend's kids are getting at their school.  Sure, I'm going to throw the noodle and glue collage away while my son is sleeping, but gosh darn it I want to at least have a chance to fake some enthusiasm for my kid's hideous artwork. 

Noah's new preschool has all of the stuff I want in spades, and it was a miracle that we got a spot.  I'm sure in a few months I'll be complaining about all the volunteering I have to do, or the allergy-free snacks I have to provide, but give me a moment to revel in it before I revert back to my usual snarky self.

I won't be sharing which schools my children attend simply for privacy sake, but if you live in Los Angeles and would like to know specifics (and you're not batshit crazy), feel free to get in touch.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

I Survived the 90's. My Eyebrows Did Not

trends from the 1990's
Looks like someone had a few too many Midori sours.
I've been in the process of going through all of the crap that's accumulated around Casa Lane over the last three years.  Call it what you will - Marie Kondo-ing or purging - but it's really more that I haven't had a chance to get rid of stuff since I went through the whole nesting stage back when I was pregnant with the Muffin Man.  One doesn't exactly get a lot of chances to use the label maker when chasing a baby and a toddler. 

Now that my kids are older and therefore able to entertain themselves while I ignore them, I've been slowly sorting through all of the accumulated junk that's managed to pile up in the closets, cupboards, and garage.  Pro tip: you really don't need to hang on to a bunch of spit-up stained bibs if your uterus is closed for business.  Also, you really are never going to fit into those pre-pregnancy jeans again, so stop holding on to hope and invest in a pair of pants that don't cut off the blood supply to your lady parts.

As part of my garage purge, I stumbled upon a giant box filled with old photos from my high school and college years.  While I was sorting through the pile of snapshots, two things crossed my mind: one, that my children will never experience having to wait several days or weeks in order to see what the photos from their disposable camera look like, and two, that there were some really hideous trends from the 90's.

Brown lipstick.  I'm sure there are women who look incredible in brown lipstick.  I, however, am not one of these women.  The fact that brown is not my color did not dissuade me from wearing this trend with pride.  I spent a significant portion of my allowance at the local drugstore purchasing tubes of some hideous, slightly shimmery cocoa-brown color.  I guess if the look I was going for was "crypt keeper" this would have been an excellent fashion choice, which I will certainly keep in mind come Halloween.

Trends from the 1990's
Giant clothing.  I came of age during the grunge era, which means that I listened to a lot of Nirvana and Pearl Jam while smoking pot, and that all of the clothing I purchased was size Men's XXL.  My body type has not changed significantly; I'm still a toothpick, just older and saggier, so I had no business wearing an XXL anything.  In hindsight I realize that most of my sartorial choices back then hinged on my wanting to hide my slender figure, but instead of turning me into some sort of voluptuous goddess I just looked like a badly-dressed toothpick.  On a side note, if I could go back in time and give my teenage self some advice, it would be to wear midriff tops every single day, because I had amazing abs and it's a shame that I kept those undercover.

I graduated from NYU, but it appears my eyebrows did not.
Over-plucked eyebrows.  As a woman who comes from a rather hirsute background, I have spent my life attempting to tame the uni brow.  I didn't learn about the magic of waxing until I moved to New York because, Berkeley, but once I did discover the allure of hot wax and no body hair, I began a years-long obsession with removing all traces of my Russian Jewish ancestry.  Unfortunately, I got a little too close to my waxer, and while I'm grateful to her for ridding me of my uni brow, I wish she hadn't taken off quite so much of my gorgeous Ashkenazi dual brows.  It turns out that looking permanently surprised is not a great look for most women.

The Rachel cut.  We all had this, right?  I mean, it was the hottest haircut in practically ever and yet it was heinous.  Who in the Hell thought that a weird, layered bubble cut would be flattering?  I clearly remember thinking I looked so hot when I walked out of the fancy San Francisco salon that specialized in this tragedy of a hairdo.  I spent precious amounts of time blow-drying my hairdo every morning - time when I should have been sleeping - in order to make all those layers look halfway decent.  I have super thick, wavy hair, which, it turns out, meant that if I didn't spend the time to blow dry my hair would have me looking like some kind of Golden Doodle who'd been to a sub-par groomer.  Thankfully, I was saved by a cross country move and an (expensive) New York hairdresser who turned me on to the pixie cut and the joys of doing blow at work.

Midori sour.  Whoever invented this drink and dared to call himself a Mixologist should be drowned in a bin of dirty ice, because this "cocktail" is vile.  I sincerely hope that the young girls of 2016 are not still ordering this monstrosity and fancying themselves sophisticated, because this is basically just Otter Pop-flavored alcohol.  I threw back my share of this horrendous drink, which may explain why I slept with as many losers as I did.  Any drink that is garnished with a cherry - other than a classic Manhattan - should not be ordered by any woman fancying herself an adult.

I guess, when all is said and done, I'm happy to be a grown-up.  Sure, I would love to have those teenage abs back, and I could really do without the postpartum tummy pooch, stretch marks, and saggy boobs, but at least I have a great haircut and would never, ever be caught dead drinking any cocktails the color of nuclear waste. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

How to Plan the Perfect Family Vacation

How about we just stay home and hang out in our blow up pool for free?
I've been talked into taking a "vacation" with my family this summer.  I was probably slightly tipsy when the Hubster broached the subject, and in my altered state thought it sounded like a great idea, but now that I'm sober and figuring out all the logistics, I'm beginning to fear for my sanity.  I'm still recovering from the last trip I took with my kids over seven months ago.  In fact, I haven't even finished unpacking yet.

On the one hand, I'm incredibly grateful that we have the time and the financial resources to even consider traveling somewhere.  But on the other hand this means we have to travel...with our children.  Gone are the days of impulsive trips that involved throwing a string bikini and some birth control in a bag and catching the next flight to paradise.  Now everything has to be planned in detail, because I can tell you from experience that doing anything impulsively or last minute when children are involved only leads to sleepless nights and tantrums, from both children and parents.

Destination.  When you have little kids who are not yet capable of sitting still for longer than 14.5 seconds, you have to pick vacation destinations that aren't too far from home.  Hawaii is beautiful, but it's also 5-6 hours away by airplane, and until my children have the ability to entertain themselves and use the bathroom alone, I'd like to avoid any trips longer than two hours.  Sure, you can try drugging your offspring with Benadryl in the hopes that they'll sleep through the flight, but if your kids are like mine, and they get totally wired instead, then you'll get to enjoy five hours of your children using you and your fellow passengers as a jungle gym.  I'll just have to wait to take that trip to Italy I've been dreaming about until my children are, well, no longer children.

Air or land?  Traveling by plane is shitty enough these days when one is flying alone, but add two children with all their stuff and who like to make jokes about flying with power tools, and you've got a recipe for the flight from Hell.  Road trips sound fun, until you realize that you'll have to entertain your children the entire time.  Also, instead of listening to that awesome road trip playlist you made when you were single, you'll have to rock out to Baby Beluga and the Wheels on the Bus.  For the entire drive.  All while your children repeatedly kick your seat and ask "are we there yet?" every three minutes.

Accommodations.  I love a nice hotel room as much as the next gal, but I do not like having to share that hotel room with my kids.  I have a hard enough time getting my kids to sleep through the night at home, but expecting them to snooze peacefully in a roll away crib that I've locked in the closet or the bathroom is just delusional.  Not to mention that I have to bring so much crap with us whenever we're not sleeping at home - white noise machines, night lights, blankets, pillows - it takes a whole extra suitcase just for all the accoutrements my children need in order to sleep.  If I'm spending $500 a night to stay somewhere, I better be getting the best sleep of my entire freaking life, not jumping out of bed every 30 minutes to reassure my kids that there are no monsters hiding in the toilet.  

Food.  Children eat all the freaking time.  Once they finish a meal, they want a snack.  Then they want another snack, followed by a second meal, followed by another snack.  It's a vicious cycle of constantly preparing food and doing dishes.  Unless one can afford to spring for a suite (and we can't), hotel rooms do not have kitchens, which means you're constantly ordering room service or running to the snack bar for stuff for your kids.  Other than being a complete pain in the ass, this will also set you back practically $4000.  I'd rather just rent a house with a kitchen so that I can spend my vacation doing exactly what I do when we're at home: dishes.

Activities.  My ideal vacation involves reading books and eating delicious food, but unfortunately my children don't feel the same way.  They want me to play with them and swim with them and take them to places like the aquarium and the zoo.  I may dream of a food crawl through Portland, but unless the dishes being served are plain pasta and white cheese, my kids won't be participating.

Maybe we'll just take a staycation instead.  Sure, there won't be as many Instagram-worthy shots as there would be if we went to Cancun, but at least there's a chance my kids might sleep, and it's safe to drink the water.  And with all the money I'll be saving by not taking a trip, I can hire a babysitter to watch my kids while I go to the beach alone.  Now that's what I call a vacation.  

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Four Things Your Dad Really Wants

What does the Dad in your life want for Father's Day?
What does the man in your life want for Father's Day?  Probably sex.
With Father's Day just around the corner, the Hubs has been sending me subtle hints about what he wants for this father of all holidays.  I thought for sure that he would choose something from my fabulous Gift Guide, but alas it seems that the only things he wants involves me having to be naked and awake; specifically sex.  This got me thinking about how different the wish list is between Mother's Day and Father's Day.  In fact, when you compare and contrast, it seems that everything on my DO NOT BUY list are all the things that my spouse actually wants.  The only crossover item is sleep because, kids. 

Sleep.  The need for a decent night's rest crosses all gender lines when it comes to parenthood, which makes this a universally desired item on every parent's wish list.  I suspect that when my Husband wrote "sleep in" on his Father's Day gift list, he actually meant until after 9am, but there's only so long I can hold my savages off from waking him up.  He better be happy with a 7:30 wake-up call because there's only so long I can keep my children distracted with the Disney Channel and breakfast popsicles.

Sex.  It seems to me that men want to celebrate anything that passes for a Holiday with a romp in the bedclothes.  My husband has actually tried to use Arbor Day as a valid qualifier for obligatory sex.  Obviously when it comes to Father's Day - a Holiday all about him - you're basically going to have to put out.  The only way I can think of to weasel out of sex would be to remind him what your vagina looked liked when you pushed out your children, or to actually be in labor on Father's Day.  Even then, he may have the audacity to ask for a BJ between contractions. 

Gadgets and tools.  My spouse is not a tool guy - he's Jewish, after all - but the man loves a new kitchen gadget more than he may have loved his ex-wife.  While I don't ever want to be gifted with something I'm expected to cook, clean, or actually use, the Hubs wants nothing more than a new smoker and an immersion blender.  Give a non-Jewish father a set of tools and watch his face light up at the prospect of fixing sh*t around the house or building something for his man cave.  I'll never understand why men enjoy gifts that come with the implicit requirement that the receiver must do something productive.  Now if only the stuff they wanted to fix was what you've had on their "Honey Do" list for the last four years.

Sports.  I don't have a spouse who is in to sports - I suspect it's from too many years of actually playing them - but every man I meet wants to spend his Father's Day either watching sports or participating in sports. I sometimes wonder if sports is what passes for foreplay for men. My Husband may not want to watch any sports, but I know that he would be thrilled to have an hour or two to ride his bicycle, alone, to someplace other than the ice cream store.  The closest I want to get to any sports is having a former Olympic Gold Medal wrestler give me a massage. 

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads, Pops, Grandfathers, Step-Dads, and Stepped-up-the-plate Dads.  Here's hoping your day is filled with lots of the things you love.  Just remember to use birth control for all that Holiday nookie or risk having another offspring to support next June.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Who's Your Daddy?

Father's Day humor
 Each year, when Father's Day rolls around, I find myself thinking about the "road not taken" or, as I prefer to call it, "thank goodness I remembered to use birth control when I slept with all those losers."  Do you ever think about that, about what your life would be like if you'd ended up with someone different?  In my Mother's case, that would've spared me a lifetime of therapy working through my daddy issues, but when it comes to my own choice of Baby Daddy, I'm pretty happy.  Nevertheless, I sometimes have one of those "what if" moments.  

What if....

I'd married my first boyfriend?  
When a guy can't remember if you were number 57 or 58 on his conquest list, it's hard to imagine him sticking around for the long haul.  Young love may be sweet, but the last thing I'd want in a husband is a guy with a wandering peen and an endless string of ladies willing to oblige. Sure, he was well-endowed and knew what to do with it, but If I'd taken that road I would've been divorced by twenty-two and facing a future of rooming with my Mother. 

I'd moved in with the questionably gay one?  
I'm sure there are straight men who love musical theater and can quote every lyric to every Rodgers & Hammerstein score ever written, I've just never met one.  This guy liked attending the Gay Pride Parade and wouldn't let up on wanting to try anal "just once".  He claimed he liked women, which he proved to me by boning my roommate.  I'm glad I didn't procreate with him, mainly because it would've been awkward to explain to my kids why Daddy left Mommy for a woman...who he then left for a man.

I'd gotten hitched to the drug addict?  
Drugs and alcohol are awesome...until you have kids.  This guy was the life of the party, and we had a great time together slamming back the shots, hitting the after hours clubs and living the (literal) high life.  I probably would've married this guy if he'd ever been sober enough to ask.  I could've popped out two kids and had enough material for my own Movie of the Week.  But you know what's super not awesome?  Watching Daddy do lines in the living room before you leave for soccer practice.  I already attend Al-anon meetings; I don't want to see my kids there. 

I dated more than my share of losers, but in the end I'm terribly grateful that I didn't end up marrying or (G-d forbid) having a kid with any of them.  I thank my lucky stars every day that I met, married, and procreated with a guy who is not only an amazing Father, but also a loving and caring partner.  This Sunday, I'm looking forward to celebrating Father's Day with the Hubs in a fitting manner: by letting him sleep past 7am, and possibly even giving in to some pity sex.  Oh, and by giving him something from my Father's Day gift guide, of course. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Buy Your Daddy Something Fabulous

Father's Day gift guide
What do you get for the man who carries it all?
A good man may be hard to find, but it's my personal opinion that a good gift, for the aforementioned man, is even harder to find.  Father's Day is next Sunday, June 19th, which means that it's time to buy the Dad in your life something he actually wants.  It may be the thought that counts, but I have a feeling that a guy who doesn't smoke may not be too thrilled to receive a ceramic ashtray.

The good news is that I've done the hard part for you - researching stuff Dad actually wants - so all you have to do is some online shopping from the comfort of your desk.  Just be sure not to use your joint credit card and risk the Mastercard Fraud Department spoiling the surprise.



1. You can't beat a classic pair of Vans kicks for the summer.  Hip, comfy, and affordable.

2. The best verbena soap on the market.  The scent is subtle (even my scent-averse hubster likes it), and the bar is huge, so it lasts forever.

3. A high-tech meat thermometer that lets you keep track of your meat temperature from your phone.  No more charred steaks! 

4. Non-stick steel griddle so that your Hubs doesn't ruin the stove-top one you use for pancakes (ahem, Chris!)

5. Rescue your popcorn-loving spouse from the toxic microwave popcorn chemicals and get this glass microwave popper instead.

6. If your Hubs doesn't have a subscription to Dollar Shave Club yet, remedy that immediately.  No more overpriced blades and the monthly subscription is delivered to your mailbox.

7. Spice-loving spouses will dig the limited-edition Fuego Box.  The ghost pepper salt is outrageous.

8. If your Baby Daddy is a traditionalist in the BBQ department, order up a set of meat thermometers calibrated for different types of deliciousness (beef, pork, lamb, etc.)

9. Card shark poppas will get a kick out of custom playing cards with family photos on the back (order immediately for guaranteed Father's Day delivery).

Happy Father's Day to all the fantastic Dads out there.  Enjoy sleeping in, spending the day being badgered by your offspring, and potentially having some mediocre married sex with your wife. 

P.S. - for more gift ideas, be sure and follow me on Pinterest, where I'll post other goodies that strike my fancy.  You can also check out last year's gift guide.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Beach Day with Toddlers

how to go to the beach with your kids
All this stuff for an hour at the beach?
Ah, summer vacation.  The perfect time to go to the beach and enjoy some fun in the sun and sand.  Unless, of course, you have children.

While the idea of taking your kids to the beach may initially seem fantastic, the reality of actually going there is an entirely different animal.  Unless you live literally on the beach, taking two little kids to the beach in LA looks something like this:

1. Decide several weeks in advance when you will go to the beach.

Two days before:
2. Locate all the beach gear.  This includes beach towels for every member of your family (two for each child because, kids), beach blankets, swimsuits, rash guards, hats, beach chairs, beach umbrella, cooler, and beach toys.  This takes about four hours because you constantly get interrupted by your children, and because you cannot find your son's swim trunks anywhere in the house.  In desperation, you order your son a new swimsuit on Amazon to be delivered the next day.

One day before:
3. Go to Costco.  Buy juice boxes, bottled water, snacks, baby wipes and sunscreen.  You probably also buy a bunch of other sh*t you don't need because it's Costco and that's how it works. 

4. Pack up the car.  This is done under the cover of darkness because trying to do it while your children are awake is nigh on impossible.  Of course, on the one night you have something to do other than watch Game of Thrones, your children stay up until 9pm and you are basically a zombie.  It takes over an hour to drag all the stuff out of the house and figure out how to fit it in your stupid eco-friendly vehicle.  You curse yourself for listening to your spouse who thought it would be a great idea to trade in your SUV for something more environmentally conscious.  You actually give your spouse the finger halfway through struggling to shove all the crap into your hatchback.

5. Prep the food.  Make sandwiches, slice fruits and veggies, and put everything in separate baggies because your children are assholes who refuse to share.  Yes, plastic bags are terrible for the Earth, but your kids throwing a tantrum about having to share cucumber slices is terrible for your sanity, so screw Mother Earth.

Beach Day:
6. Get up at 5:30am because your kids think this is an acceptable time to get up.  You park your children in front of TV while you wait for the caffeine from your first coffee to hit your bloodstream.

7. Load the cooler.  Feed your kids breakfast while you simultaneously load up the cooler with all the sandwiches and snacks you prepared the night before.  Your children help with this task by opening all of the snacks and eating sandwiches as their second breakfast.  You prepare a second round of sandwiches, and pick up all the pretzels and crunchy dried fruit your children have strewn all over the floor.  There's so much stuff in your cooler that you can barely lift it into your car, and you are sweating profusely by the time you get it loaded. 

8. Get dressed.  You haven't bought a bathing suit since before you gave birth to your first child, and you can't even remember the name of your waxer let alone the last time you attended to the situation happening at your bikini line.  You have to improvise a strap on the top of your swimsuit because you have no boobs anymore, the top won't stay up, and you don't really feel like flashing all of Malibu with your pancake boobies.  Try not to look at yourself in the mirror before you throw on some shorts with an elastic waist band and a t-shirt that's very possibly a maternity top.

9. Get kids dressed.  Spend another hour convincing your children to get dressed.  This mostly involves chasing them around the house begging them to put their clothes on.  Bribe, threaten, and cajole them and finally succeed by changing them while they are mesmerized by TV.

10. Slather everyone with non-toxic sunscreen that probably doesn't even work.

11. Get kids loaded into the car and actually pull out of your driveway.

12. Sit in traffic on the way to the highway.

13. Sit in traffic on the highway while your children ask, "are we there yet?"

14. Sit in more traffic once you get off the highway while your children scream for snacks and punch each other.

15. Finally arrive at the beach.  Or rather, the parking lot for the beach.

16. Pay $20 for parking.

17. Park.  Drive around the parking lot at least six times looking for a spot closest to the sand until your son says he needs to go to the bathroom.  Screech into the nearest parking spot, unbuckle both your kids as fast as possible, and sprint to the bathroom.

18. Go potty.  Attempt to hold your 35-pound son over the toilet while carrying your 22-pound daughter in the other arm.  This results in your pulling a muscle in your neck and no longer being able to turn your head to the right.

19. Go back to the car and unload all the crap.  Try to get your kids to help carry something (anything!) but they refuse.  You end up carrying both your children and all the gear, while rolling the cooler behind you.

20. Find a spot on the sand on which to set-up camp.  Spend 30 minutes laying down blankets and towels, unfolding chairs, and setting up the umbrella while your children throw sand at you.

21. Two minutes after you finally get a chance to sit down, your kids say they are hungry.  You dole out sandwiches, snacks, and drinks from the cooler.

22. As soon as you take a bite of your own food, your kids declare that they are finished and want to go in the water.

23. You take your kids in the water, which they hate.  The older one says it's too cold, and the younger one is scared and won't stop screaming and/or clinging to you.  You adjourn to the blankets for more sand play.

24. You attempt to take a couple of cute photos of your kids playing in the sand, but mostly they just make weird faces or throw sand at you and each other.

25. You realize that it's time to leave in order to get home for naps.

26. You rush to pack everything up while your kids scream that they don't want to leave.

27. You carry everything (and everyone) back to the car.

28. No matter what you do, you cannot get everything to fit in your trunk.  You decide to abandon the cooler because you saw them on sale at Costco yesterday.

29. You get your kids loaded into their seats.  You get into the drivers seat, shut the door, turn on the engine, and smell poop. 

30. You unstrap your youngest kid from her seat and quickly change her diaper on the pavement in the parking lot because your trunk is too full of stuff to use it as a changing table.  Your older child screams "let's go" over and over and over at the top of his lungs.

31. You finally get loaded up again.  You make sure your kids have books and snacks and ipads to keep them occupied for the ride home because you do not want them to fall asleep.

32. Sit in traffic on the way to the highway.

33. Sit in traffic on the highway while blasting the Toddler Tunes station in an attempt to keep your kids awake.

34. Sit in more traffic once you get off the highway while you tickle your children in the backseat in order to stop them from nodding off.  You very possibly dislocate your arm while doing this.

35. Finally arrive home.

36. Race your kids upstairs to put them down for their naps.

37. Pass out from exhaustion in the hallway outside their room and swear to yourself that you will never, ever take your kids to the beach again.

At least until next summer.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Mommy Needs 10 Minutes (Headspace giveaway!)

Headspace giveaway
Feeling overwhelmed by motherhood?
I've started meditating every day.

I know, I'm so embarrassed to even type that, because it makes me sound like the butt of a joke from overheardla, but, yeah, I'm taking 10 minutes every day to breath and still my thoughts.  Now before you navigate away from this page and write me off forever as having gone full crunchy granola, give me a chance to defend myself.

Firstly, I'm originally from Berkeley, so while I may not look like a dirty hippie on the outside, I can assure you that she's buried deep inside and she only wears natural deodorant.

Secondly, and more importantly, I started meditating because I found that I was really angry all the time.  I was grouchy, snappish, and impatient, and one afternoon I found myself sitting in my car yelling at my kids because they didn't want to go to a birthday party.  Actually yelling.  At my two little kids.

Not my finest moment, to say the least.

I'm the first to admit that kids, especially toddlers, can be infuriating.  They totally know how to push your buttons and they do it frequently and derive a lot of pleasure from it.  Basically, toddlers can be total assholes.  This makes it difficult to remember that they're just being kids and that it's your job as a parent to not act like a child yourself, even when your gut instinct is to yell, "stop calling me names, you're a jerk!" and to hide in a corner with your security blanket.

I knew that if I didn't get my sh*t together, I'd screw my kids up more than I already have, and that I'd basically end up paying for a lifetime of therapy for my offspring.  Also, I admit to not wanting my kids to remember me as mean mommy.  No one wants their future son or daughter-in-law to think ill of them, amiright?  #Selfish, but whatever works.   

I started using Headspace thanks to a tip from a mommy friend.  I hadn't heard of it, but I guess it's one of the most popular apps right now, which just goes to show you that I'm apparently not the only one who has rage issues.  Honestly, I thought I was really going to hate meditating.  I'd tried to meditate so many times in the past, but always ended up throwing in the towel after a few weeks or a month, but this time it's been different.  Headspace is great for beginners, especially the initial 10 days of guided meditation, and I've found that I look forward to taking time out of my day to sit quietly and still my mind.  There are all different kinds of meditation packs, and while I personally prefer the ones focused on silence, there's definitely something for everyone.

So, does it work?  Am I less angry and overwhelmed?  For the most part, yes.  I think that meditating every day has helped rein in my natural craziness and calm my anxiety.  I still get frustrated with my kids (who doesn't?) but I'm aware now that my initial instinct is to lash out at them, so I make an effort to take a deep breath before reacting.  I'm not a perfect parent by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm a nicer and more patient one, so I'm officially a meditation devotee.  But don't worry, I have no intention of giving up shaving and wearing patchouli.

You look like a person who could use some meditation.  
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