Category Archives: Kids Are Funny

A Last Minute and CHEAP Kids Valentine

Okay… so I am not sure how Valentines Day came up so quick… maybe now that Pierce’s (my youngest) birthday is in the mix on February 6th, I can’t think past that until its done and then T-Ball started… either way not only did Valentines Day sneak up on me it is also a day early in our school district because our kids (for whatever reason) have Friday off. Bah!

Last year I got all cute and early January I ordered mustache tattoo’s and thought “How fun! The tagline could read ‘I Mustache You A Question… Will You Be My Valentine?'” So I made these with the kids and attached them in a cute clear bad to a few finger-stache tattoo’s…

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Cute! Well this year is a whole other story… and it’s the day before the Valentines Day Swap at school and my kids have no Valentine’s to give! What’s a Mom to do? Well here is the real problem… thanks to the epidemic of food allergies my children are not allowed to bring traditional candy gram Valentines to school (the best part of getting Valentines at school!!!). Well David technically can at preschool, but Eliann has a for sure NO CANDY/FOOD RULE at her school. So I have to think of a gender neutral non-candy Valentine that is cheap (because did I mention this year Eliann has 26 kids in her class and David has 12…. sheesh) for them to give that isn’t lame (pressure I put on myself of course) because I don’t want to be buying multiple kinds of Valentines. Ugh.

So I walk into Target (like I do at least ten times a month) and pass by the dollar section. I immediately am reminded of Valentines Day because everything is Pink and Red and I am like ‘oh man Valentines!’ and I get to looking. But even if I only spent a dollar on each kid that is still close to $40 I would have to spend on Valentines… boo… that is almost a date for me and my husband!

Ugh.

And then I see it… a pack of three fun neon colored (gender neutral) water guns for only $1. Now that is more like it! If I get these and think of some cute tag line like “You’re A Blast” for the water guns then I am only spending like $13 on these Valentines. Genius!

So I buy 13 packs of water guns and spend a little under $14 at Target.

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When I got home I looked on Pinterest to see if I could find a cuter tagline  than “You’re A Blast” for the water guns… but alas nothing came quick enough so I moved on to finding a cute “You’re A Blast” graphic I could use. (Too bad the kids wouldn’t get “Shot To The Heart” or “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” LOL!)

I found a graphic that would work and quickly manipulated it to look like this:

Valentines 2014- Eliann    Valentines 2014- David

Then I pulled out some tools! Luckily I had all these other items on hand in my craft cabinet. All you need is a paper cutter, scissors, string or ribbon, and a hole puncher. You probably have these items at home too.

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Step 1: Print out the Valentine image. (I provide a blank one at the bottom of this post so you can just write your kids name in if you want to try to make this Valentine).

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Step 2: Cut out the Valentine image. I used the paper cutter because I wanted straight lines and I know my fast scissor cutting skills are not up to par… but of course you cant just use scissors.

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Step 3: Punch a hole in the Valentine image and thread the string or ribbon through the hole. 

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Step 4: Tie the ribbon around the water gun to secure the Valentine image.  

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Repeat easy Steps 1-4 until all the water guns you need have been transformed into a fabulous non-candy, cheap, gender neutral Valentine your kids will be excited to give there friends! Done.

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Copy and print this image to add your kids name to this easy Valentine. You can even have your kids practice writing their name on each of these to add an extra ounce of cute (I love kids handwriting).

Valentines 2014

Reasons You Might Be Late For School

Dearest Daughter,

You are my first, so therefore our family enters a lot of uncharted waters as you continue to grow. Since you have become school aged a new dilemma exists in our home: the need to get you to school on time every morning. I want more than anything to get you there on time because I was always late for school and it killed me when I was older to be late.  But there are some realities our family needs to consider as we face this dilemma together… like the fact that you aren’t the only one who needs to get out the door.

Today was a great day! We arrived close to ten minutes before school started… an almost miracle… but as I sat thinking about how we managed to get to school that early I started thinking about all the reasons we’ve been late in the past. You are after all in 2nd Grade this year, so you’d think with two years of experience we’d have this morning routine down. I found the list in my head kind of comical… so I decided to write them down:

REASONS YOU MIGHT BE LATE FOR SCHOOL

YOUR MOM…

  1. Is blessed with wonderful kids who sleep in, so she want’s to play too. It’s true. You and your brothers are not up at the crack of dawn so I have to set an alarm to wake me up to wake you up. Boo. I want to sleep in with you guys too.
  2. Hit’s snooze one too many times. In an effort to make sure I sleep in with you guys Mommy likes to hit the snooze button… but every extra five minutes she sneaks in is five less minutes we have to get out the door.
  3. Tried to sneak in a morning shower. This is a disaster waiting to happen, but sometimes it is the only time Mommy can find to take a shower. But of course the warm water beckons me to stay just a little longer, not to mention that now my hair is wet so I’ll have to spend the extra 10-15 minutes blow drying it or else Mommy’s head will look like a mop (which she has lovingly sported on more than one occasion when she realized how late you would be to school because she selfishly decided to wash her hair).
  4. Didn’t dry the clothes in the washer. Sometimes life get’s busy and laundry isn’t on the top of the priority list… which leads Mommy to forget that she needed to put all the clothes from the washer into the dryer. So there have been times when Mommy gets up in the morning only to find that all her pants are sitting wet in the washer. We now have to wait for them to dry (or at least half dry) so that Mommy doesn’t have to drop you off with no bottoms on.
  5. Can’t find her bra. I don’t know why this becomes a problem but sometimes Mommy can’t find the right bra (or any bra) she needs to wear with her outfit. Maybe it is also sitting with the wet laundry, or is dirty, or has been thrown about by Daddy and is no where to be found… either way we cannot leave the house until Mommy finds her bra. Trust me.
  6. Forgot to buy milk. No milk? How will we have breakfast now! This is a major set back which is super annoying if we’ve already poured the cereal.
  7. Decided to check her Facebook. You know I totally knew that would be a bad idea, but alas… Mommy did not withdraw from the screen fast enough to make you lunch.
  8. Had to make your lunch. I am not sure why I forget about lunch… but sometimes I do. I think to myself whoo-hoo we are making good time, ” Come on kid’s let’s get in the ca… (oh crap)… grab your lunch box and juice box I’ll make the sandwich.”
  9. Had to fix everyone’s hair. Some day you’ll be old enough to do this for yourself but right now Mommy has to fix her hair, your hair and both your brothers hair so that alone is a production in the morning which is why Mommy’s hair is usually just pulled back.
  10. Couldn’t find her shoes. I know I have a lot of shoes… but would all of you please look around for Mommy’s flip flops while I finish making this sandwich.
  11. Wanted to stop and take a picture. I am sorry if this is annoying but I have a problem… if you kids would stop looking cute or doing funny things I wouldn’t have to stop and take so many pictures! Speaking of pictures…
  12. Forgot it was picture day at school and dressed you in something cute but not cute enough for picture day… quick hurry up and get undressed again…put this on!
  13. Couldn’t find some other key item in order to leave the house. Think keys, purse, camera… I already mentioned bra and shoes… you get the picture.
  14. Decided she needed to turn off all the lights in the house and close all the windows right before heading out the door. I am sorry for trying to save us money on our electricity bill and keeping the house cool for as long as possible.
  15. Has to put on a little bit of make-up and brush her teeth so she can interact with other adults at your school when she drops you off. Okay Mommy is going to brush her teeth really fast so you guys go start getting in the car… (accidentally looks in the mirror while brushing teeth) oh geez… where is my eyeliner?!
  16. Remembered it is the day to take out the trash. Look I don’t want the trash being left for another week at our house stinking up the place so get your seat belts on and let me roll all four of our bins to the curb.
  17. Forgot to put gas in the car. I knew I should have done it yesterday (or really the day before that), but it just didn’t happen, so now we’ll have to stop and get gas unless we want to get stranded on the way to school.
  18. Left the house at just the right time to get all eight traffic lights on the way to school RED. It’s a conspiracy. The lights know I am running late and when I get one red… they all turn red! Ain’t nobody got time for red lights!!!
  19. Left the house at just the right time to hit the school traffic from the three other schools we pass on the way to your school. Get out the way… other people have to get their kids to school too you know!
  20. Has to wrangle all of the kids out of the car and walk a mile to your classroom from the school parking lot without looking like a mad woman. Sounds easy enough… but this production easily adds an extra five minutes to the morning.

YOUR YOUNGER SIBLINGS…

  1. Needed to sleep in. They don’t have school, so sometimes Mommy let’s them keep sleeping so she can focus on getting you ready for school. Unfortunately, that may mean last minute changing and breakfast making as we are trying to rush out the door.
  2. Dumped their breakfast on themselves. Now I need to change them and clean up the mess before we leave.
  3. Shared their breakfast with Mommy. Oh thank you for getting that yogurt and applesauce all over Mommy’s shirt. Now I have to change and clean up yet another mess.
  4. Need Mommy to chase them around and pin them down to get clothes on their naked booty. Unfortunately they need to be wearing something to get out the door.
  5. Made a huge mess. Quick get a towel… we need to soak this up!
  6. Had to go potty. Are you done? No… (Ugh)… Come on let’s go… But I am not done yet!
  7. Decided to poop in his diaper on the way out the door. Mommy doesn’t want to smell that stench the whole way to and from school so we have to deal with this now.
  8. Are having a meltdown about Mommy not letting them take something inappropriate with them in the car with us on the way to school. Go put those things back in your room we are not taking them with us!
  9. Are having a melt down about needing to sit in their car seat quickly so we can go. Stop arching your back and let me get you strapped in already.
  10. Are having a meltdown for no apparent reason other then to make us late! It sure feels that way sometimes… I really have no idea why they are crying right now.

Not to mention back when I had an infant needing to deal with getting them dressed and fed and in the car all the while potentially only using one hand and having to try to nurse somewhere in the mix.

YOU… 

  1. Want to play with your siblings in the morning instead of get ready for school. So sweet in theory and I love you for it… but stop coloring, pretending, hiding and get your shoes on we have to go.
  2. Left your lunch box at school. So we spent a bunch of time looking for this item and then needed to find something with which to improvise to get out the door.
  3. Remembered it was bring your stuffed friend, rainbow socks, crazy hair day, etc. It would have helped to know this yesterday and we could have found your rainbow socks ahead of time instead of panicking that we can’t find them as we are running out the door.
  4. Left your back pack in Daddy’s car. More time wasted searching for an item that wasn’t even in our house! Let’s go. It’s okay you don’t carry very many things in your back pack anyway.
  5. Have breakfast or toothpaste stains on your face and need to run in and get a wipe to clean it off. Seriously… otherwise I can lick my hand and do it for you. Hurry up.
  6. Forgot your homework on your desk at home. But Mommy it’s due today and if I don’t have it I won’t get a happy face, star or dollar to buy something from the teachers store on Friday… please turn back around.

Thankfully you yourself are pretty well organized and self sufficient that most of the time it is not because of you we are running late. However, we as a family need to get out the door together so please bare with the rest of us. Thank you for helping where you can to move us along.

Love,

Your Mommy.

I have resolved not to let any of the above turn me into an awful person to my children in order to get out the door on time. I would rather be late to school than to get their having just yelled at my kids, destroyed my witness to my neighbors who heard me yelling and slamming car doors and having sat in silence the whole way to school because my kids are afraid to breathe with Mommy so angry. I’ve been that Mommy too. It does not glorify God to be frustrated and short tempered with my kids. What kind of a day have I set them up for with that?

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I have implemented many things to help avoid some of the pitfalls to being late for school and I would say 7 out of 10 times she is on time. But of course there are days when it can’t be helped and, because of one thing or another, she has to walk in five minutes late… and no I don’t think simply suggesting that I get up ten minutes earlier might be the solution to those times. I am thankful for teachers who have grace and see me lugging my brood towards their classroom, simply smile and welcome my daughter into their class. It wasn’t her fault, more than likely it was mine.

My prayer for the morning craziness is this:

Lord, help me to be better prepared for my mornings. Help me to rise and seek You first. Fill me with your Spirit before my feet ever touch the ground. Help me to flee from distractions that would waste time and cause me to stumble. Help me to model an even temper with my children as I get us out the door. I want to glorify You with them in the morning and prepare their hearts for the day with love and kindness. Bless and protect them while they are at school. Help them to model an even temper, love and kindness with those they encounter as well so that they can be a light for You even at this young age. I love you Lord and will give you the glory when we have even the smallest of victories like getting to school on time. I pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Has anything caused you to be late recently? How have you handled being late for something?

Breaking the Habit: Pacifiers

I have three kids and my experience with pacifiers has been different for each. I am not sure what your personal stance is on pacifiers, but for me if there is something that can soothe my screaming child, I say yes! Plus after dealing with David (you can read below) you better believe we were going to try everything to get Pierce to take a pacifier.

ELIANN

When Eliann was born, while we were still at the hospital, we were given a Soothie style pacifier for her by our nurse. It was like the pacifier just came standard with having delivered a baby at the hospital. We were new parents and so we accepted the pacifier without question- after all it was coming from the hospital and obviously they wouldn’t give us anything “bad” for our child in spite of the mixed messages I was receiving from baby books about pacifiers before having children. Besides, it helped soothe our crying baby so we were sold! We honestly didn’t question it or the brand (since you can read all kinds of crazy about whether to use a pacifier and which brand is best if you do so there is no nipple confusion, etc.).

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When we moved back to college, after coming down for a quarter to deliver in San Diego, Eliann was about 3 months old. We lost a lot of pacifiers in transition and by the time she was 4.5 months old she wasn’t using a pacifier. We honestly lost them all and just didn’t really replace them. It was a smooth transition and she took a bottle at that time so drinking from a bottle provided the soothing she needed. Easy-peasy… no dreaded weaning period or pacifier withdrawl from our little lady.

DAVID

Oh David. David hated anything that wasn’t a boob. He wouldn’t take a pacifier or a bottle! I’m serious…  we would try to hold it in his mouth and he would wail louder… and yes we tried all kinds of brands. At first we thought oh good we don’t even have to worry about having to wean him from the pacifier but no, no it was awful alternative. I became a human pacifier.

For the first eight and a half months of his life he would wake up every 2.5 hours on the money unable to soothe himself back to bed. I would cave and let him nurse just so I could get any kind of sleep. I know I created a monster by allowing the cycle to even begin, but so it continued until a glorious night when he was almost nine months old and he slept for almost six hours straight. The very next day we moved him out of our room and into Eliann’s room hoping it wasn’t a fluke. Thank the Lord it wasn’t! He slowly added more hours to his sleep and by a year he could sleep all the way through the night. Whew! It’s exhausting just remembering that time… Brian literally slept in another room for six months while this was going on (but that’s another story).

PIERCE

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After dealing with David’s hate of pacifiers, we were determined to make Pierce take a pacifier. We packed pacifiers in our hospital bag when we went in to deliver him. Thankfully, there was no struggle. He accepted the pacifier… eureka! That meant we were going to sleep more, right?! Well… although he wasn’t up every 2.5 hours like David, he was up every 4 hours until he was about 13 months old. For whatever reason I was able to function a little better with this scenario… but I am not going to lie it was still rough. We moved him into his own room when he was 4 months old and I just dealt with grabbing him to feed when he needed it.

Flash forward six more months and Pierce still needs a pacifier to help him soothe himself to sleep… that and his trusty blankie (he is the only one of my kids to have a special blankie he loves to snuggle to sleep with). He is now 19 months old and I am ready to begin weaning him. The dreaded event I had read so much about. The reason you shouldn’t give your child a pacifier to begin with.

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The weaning process actually started several months ago. I caught him walking around trying to communicate with me while the pacifier was in his mouth. What? I am sorry I can’t understand what you are trying to tell me Pierce? Here let me get that pacifier out of your mouth. Something about him walking around with a pacifier bugged me. He didn’t need it then… he wasn’t being soothed. This is when it occurred to me we may have a problem.

So I started pulling it out of his mouth if I didn’t think he needed it. But when it was convenient for me (aka. he would’t stop crying or I’d go for a drive) I would pop it back in. Aaahhh much better. Pierce just turned 19 months old and now the routine is that he can only have a pacifier if he is going to bed. I put a cute green tin can on his changing table and when he wakes up we put the pacifier in the tin (at first we would do it but now he takes it out of his mouth and puts it in himself… so smart this guy… see you do not need a pacifier Pierce). It works great unless he finds a pacifier and puts it in his mouth at which time I tell him, “Are you going to sleep? No. Okay then give me the pacifier,” and I take it away. Minimal fussing about it.

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But now I am ready for the whole shebang… no more pacifiers period. A couple of days ago I did the normal bed time routine with Pierce- head to his room, read a couple of books, turn out the light, give him his blankie and pacifier, then sing Twinkle Twinkle, You Are My Sunshine and Rock-A-Bye Baby and put him in bed. Only I didn’t give him the pacifier and I didn’t do this in his room, I did it in mine. When I was done with the songs I laid him next to me in my bed thinking he would need a little more love adjusting to no pacifier.

He was hilarious. He didn’t know what to do with his mouth. He kept making random sounds bah….. mah….. and smacking his lips. I had the lights off so I could only hear him. When he stopped tossing I moved him into his crib. He wasn’t asleep but I planned to leave him there see what would happen.

I closed the door quickly behind me… walked away slowly bracing myself for a cry…

… but, nothing.

What?! Was it going to be that easy? About forty minutes went by before I heard the inevitable cry. He had obviously fallen asleep and now something caused him to stir but there was no pacifier to soothe him. Oh no! I waited before running to check on him. Within 10 minutes he had stopped crying. I stayed wondering if there was a leftover pacifier in his crib that I hadn’t seen that he grabbed and was using… but I didn’t dare check.

The next time I heard him cry it was 7:02 AM… a little earlier than I would have liked but it was a school day and unfortunately we did need to get up. So I went to get him and started the day (I searched and I did not find a sneaky pacifier in the crib) . Not too bad for the first night of no pacifier!

Nap time, however, was another story. I tried to mimic the same bed time routine but since there was more light in my room (because it’s daytime) it somehow didn’t go as smooth. His tossing turned into playing and I knew this wasn’t going to work. I moved to put him in his room but he immediately was upset. He was on to me. I was going to have to let him cry because he didn’t want to be sung to and rocked in my arms. Ugh. So I closed the door quickly behind me but this time there was full blown screaming. Noooo! I just went into another part of the house and let him cry. He cried again for about ten minutes and to my surprise the crying slowly ceased. I didn’t go in and check on him.

About 20 minutes into the nap he was crying again. Noooo! Was that it? Was that the only nap I was going to get? Was he now going to treat that as a power nap and be awake? I decided to wait it out and see if he’d go back down. Sure enough within like 5 minutes there was no more crying. Phew! But now I was on edge.

About 40 minutes later he was crying again. Boo. Now it had been about an hour and half since I initially put him down. The crying didn’t stop and it half turned into babbling. He was officially awake. It was a poor nap by my standards and I desperately wanted to leave him there because I wasn’t ready for nap time to be over. But, unfortunately, this was part of the price I would have to pay as he adjusts and finds a new way to soothe himself to sleep without a pacifier.

I think we’ve said goodbye to the pacifier (so long as I stay committed) and I will continue to play this bed time game with him in hopes that soon I will be able to simply lay him down to sleep, kiss him goodnight and walk out the door with no crying. Wish me luck!

What’s your experience been with breaking the habit of pacifiers?