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Parenting FAIL Friday: Those aren’t candy.

What better way to kick off a new year than with a classic anecdote of “How are you allowed to be a mother?”

If you are raising, or someday hope to raise, multiple children, there’s a very good chance you’ll have to dial the Poison Control number at some point. We had to do it when Punkin ate deodorant (yes, deodorant) and when Goo ate approximately 30 gummy vitamins. But you know what there is no hotline for? Inedible objects.

Ringing in the New Year, everybody is making New Year’s resolutions. I’m not really into that, because I’m fairly certain 90% of those are failed attempts. I prefer to continually be trying to be the woman I want to be, whether that means joining (and actually using) the gym, or organizing the art cabinet. A sparkly ball dropping in NYC with a poorly hosted show of random celebrities does nothing to motivate me. Sorry, Carson.

While thinking about the things I’m currently working on, I thought: Maybe this will be the year. Maybe I’ll finally have my stuff so amazingly together, I’ll have to get rid of Parenting FAIL Friday because I’ll run out of material.

I made it 2.5 days.

Finding this next to your toddler is never, ever a good thing.

Finding this next to your toddler is never, ever a good thing.

While getting the girls into bed the other night, I was snuggling Goo, and I heard a distinct crunch, then cough and gag, from the other bed. Cue this conversation:

Me: Smush, are you okay?

Smush: *gagging, spitting* Umm, yeah.

Me: Did you eat something?

Smush: Yeah.

Me: What did you eat?

Smush: Umm, just a Christmas light.

I flew, I mean FLEW, to her bedside, to find her spitting out tiny pieces of red Christmas bulb. Thankfully, it appeared that she did not swallow any, but Mom radar doesn’t shut off, so I have spent the last several days monitoring her eating and pooping (so. fun.) and waiting for the slightest sign of digestive issues.

In the meantime, all Christmas decorations have been taken down, and I’m seriously considering getting those electric shock pads to put around the tree next year. My girls broke no less than 6 ornaments this year. Plus there’s the whole issue of Smush apparently having some mild form of pica. If you read that definition, I’m fairly certain every toddler in the world has had “pica” at some point. Kids eat things. Like crayons, and paper, and light bulbs, evidently.

Maybe I should start off small with this New Year’s thing. “No ER trips in 2013.” Has a nice a ring to it.

Parenting FAIL Friday: Santa needs to keep his mouth shut.

The Nerd and I took the girls to his company’s annual Christmas shindig for the employees’ families. Let me just say, the Nerd works with the woman who heads up these events, and why she is working in HR when clearly should be an event coordinator to the celebrities is beyond me. Girlfriend is amazing: every kid met Santa and Mrs. Claus, dropped off their letters, got faces painted, airbrush tatoos, one Christmas gift, a bag of goodies from the candy shop, and free snacks. They mingled with elves, Frosty the Snowman, and the Gingerbread Man. They had live caroling from a choir. I can barely pull off a birthday party for a 6 year old.

It’s always a wonderful thing for the girls, because the whole Santa experience is so magical. When they met him, he naturally asked what they wanted.

Santa (to Punkin): And what would you like for Christmas this year, since you’re the big sister?

Punkin: Colorful stuff for my room, please.

(Me thinking: Yes! I got this. I already snagged a bright pink area rug, and a canopy tent for her reading nook. I’m good to go.)

Santa: Oh, well that’s nice! I certainly think we can do that.

(Me: Watch it, Santa. Let’s not make promises that you most certainly don’t intend to keep, since it will be my wallet getting hit.)

English: A postcard from 1919, with artwork of...

We’re here to shatter your Christmas dreams, but still take credit for the good stuff. Ho. Ho. Ho. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Santa: How about a pillow that lights up with bright colors?

(Me: Mayday! Mayday! Abort. We do NOT have a light up pillow, Santa. So unless you’re actually making a midnight stop by our tree, shut it.)

Punkin: Ooh, yeah! I would love that.

(Me: Santa, meet me in the parking lot after this.)

Crap. Now what? Freakin Santa has no business saying anything beyond, “Ho ho ho!” and, “We’ll see if the elves have those in stock,” because last time I checked, Santa wasn’t whipping out the card for those Amazon orders.

I get home and Google stupid light up pillows.

They cost $40 each.

Santa is not bringing a $40 light up pillow for Christmas. Neither are Mommy or Daddy. And now I have to come up with yet another reason that Santa didn’t bring the gift he suggested. Punkin’s going to start wondering why so many machines break down at the North Pole.

I had this Christmas owned, Santa. See if I leave you any cookies this year.

Top 9 Christmas presents for a pregnant woman.

It seems to be baby season right now. I currently know 4 pregnant women, 3 of whom are repeat offenders, but for the last one, it’s her first time.

Side note: So dang exciting! I kind of love watching other couples experience the joy/wonder/paralyzing fear that is first time parenthood.

Sadly, two of these ladies are experiencing pregnancy the way I did the first time: persistent, nearly relentless nausea, pain, and indescribable fatigue. Pregnancy is so magical.

In an attempt to be a wonderfully supportive, loving husband, future Daddy went out to buy his lady some bubbly beverages to tame her tumultuous tummy. (I like the alliteration there.) Seltzer is her thing, so he got a myriad of flavors: Boston cream pie, rum punch, and pomegranate.

As soon as he proudly listed off the things he bought his honey, I nearly gagged. Nothing related to Boston cream pie should be mentioned with severe nausea. I took a look at her, and she gazed ever so lovingly at him and said, “You’re joking, right?”

First time dads are the best. They have no idea what to do with the woman they love so much, carrying the baby they love so much, who now throws up as often as she pees. Sometimes simultaneously.

For all the soon-to-be dads, I’ve put together a handy list for you to abide by. It’s probably in your best interest not to venture outside this list.

Also, a disclaimer: pregnancy is different for everyone. You should probably check with your love before doing any of these. One woman’s craving is another woman’s uncontrollable vomiting.

  1. Ask her what she can eat/drink. Purchase only those things. If she says chicken flavored Ramen noodles, do not buy beef. She didn’t say beef, and it’s probably because beef makes her hurl. If she says blue Powerade (that was my only drinkable substance with Goo), don’t get any other color. You’ll thank me later.
  2. Understand when she’s tired. Every. single. time. She slept 16 hours yesterday and needs a nap? You bet your bippy she does. That little gumball-sized parasite miracle is sucking the life out of her right now so she can grow another one. Just get her a blanket, and let her sleep.
  3. Don’t say anything stupid.
  4. Take on the tasks she can’t handle right now. For nine months, your wife may experience unimaginable sickness, exhaustion, aching, insomnia, shortness of breath, and other crap. You can handle the dishes. When I was pregnant with Smush, I had hyperemsis. Puking 12 times a day was not unusual. I ended up at the hospital for dehydration after spending two straight days vomiting nothing but my own bile. Related, the smell of sponges made me vomit when I stepped into the kitchen. I threw them out after a couple uses. This irritated the Nerd. You know what irritated me? Crawling from room to room because I had to hold a bowl with me to puke in while I walked. Throw out the stupid sponge. Or whatever item your lady asks you to, regardless of how absurd it may seem.
  5. Buy her one slammin’ maternity shirt. Something that she’ll feel pretty in no matter how big she gets.
  6. Tell her she’s beautiful every single day. When we watch our bodies explode and morph like some alien has taken over – because it kind of has – we need to hear that you guys still think we’re the bee’s knees. Even if we say we don’t.
  7. Two words: back. rub.
  8. Watch the same chick flick 100 times if she wants to. I watched Nine Months like it was my job when I was pregnant the first time. This made absolutely no sense to the Nerd. Insider tip: Nothing about pregnancy makes sense except the actual baby.
  9. Buy her the good stuff, if you can. Pregnancy also induces rhinitis (runny noses), bleeding gums, and changes in hair consistency. Get her the lotion-y tissues so her nose doesn’t get sore, the soft tooth-brush so her mouth isn’t a bloody mess, and the fancy conditioner so she can relish in the fact that her hair is the thickest it will ever be in her life. If she’s miserable, the least she should get is hair that looks like it came off a salon poster.

Holiday gift guide for that special lady.

Holiday shopping can be stressful. The Nerd is the hardest person to buy for, and I’ve been married to him for 9.5 years. He’s just not a gift person. And when I finally got him to tell me something he’d really, really like to have, do you know what it was? Drum roll please….

An organ.

Not like a kidney or gall bladder. And not the big kind in churches that are built into the walls. The kinds that are sort of like pianos but don’t sound nearly as nice.

Ace Tone unknown 1 electronic home organ

Know what our living room is missing? NOT THIS. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It took a long time to teach the  Nerd how to shop for me. I’m not huge into gifts either, usually because people are like, “I know you wanted a gift card to TJMaxx, but I just thought these cat pajamas were so cute.” His gifts transformed beautifully though, from a piñata and Glad-Ware in the early days, to a Pandora bracelet and my first real pair of earrings over the past few years.

If you’re shopping for that special lady in your life, I’ve put together a handy buying guide for all occasions: no kids, one kid, lots of kids. Once kids enter the picture, our bar for gift gifting drops drastically. So bonus there.

English: A completed PANDORA bracelet

YES. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bling

No kids: Tennis bracelet.

One kid: Authentic Pandora charm.

Multiple kids: Wal-Mart costume jewelry. When the kids break it, I won’t cry.

Housekeeping

No kids: Maid service for full spring cleaning.

One kid: Family cleaning day, no whining allowed.

Multiple kids: To be able to walk through the living room without stepping on a Lego.

Pinatas

NO. (Photo credit: dog.happy.art)

Car

No kids: Shiny new car, red bow attached.

One kid: Full tune-up, detail the interior.

Multiple kids: Find the source of that God-awful smell.

Clothes

No kids: Two words – Michael Kors.

One kid: A new outfit for date night.

Multiple kids: Socks that don’t have holes in them would be fantastic.

Night on the town

No kids: Weekend trip to NYC.

One kid: Dinner at a family restaurant that serves both mac n cheese AND wine.

Multiple kids: “McDonald’s” has never sounded so sexy.

That being said, I’ve saved my secret weapon for last. It is universally the gift that (nearly) every woman wants, it’s free, and it applies to every stage of life:

A day off.

Wash the dishes, vacuum, wrangle the kids if there are any, take the dog for a walk, do some laundry, make dinner, watch a chick flick with her, and give her a back rub. Merry Christmas.

Christmas with kids.

I wrote an entire post today before realizing I had already published one just like it. Apparently my coffee is rebelling.

And because December is the busiest month ever and I’m in a hurry, I made this for your viewing pleasure. Who’s ready for the holidays?!?

Stocking stuffers on a budget.

Remember how our Christmas always tends to look a little…underfinanced? It looks like that again this year. So once again, I’m putting my thinking cap on and coming up with creative ways to make Christmas morning cheap magical. I always stress about the gifts under the tree, until I stop and realize how insanely expensive it can get to stuff 3 stockings (the Nerd and I generally only do something small for each other, if anything, and we never do stockings). This year, I am determined to make those stockings gloriously stuffed for a very, very low price tag. And because I’m putting off mopping the floors I like you guys so much, I’m sharing my ideas with you.

  • Two words: Dollar. Store. My favorites are the packs of multiples: bubbles, cars, other small toys – anything that can be divided up between the kids.
  • Favorite way-too-expensive-for-regular-grocery-runs items. My kids love pomegranate, but they aren’t a regular since they’re like $2 each and require a lot of prep work. I’m kind of a wash and eat girl when it comes to the girls’ snacks. Bonus: big pieces of fruit fill lots of empty stocking space for very little cash. (Alternative: junk food you don’t normally let them have. Punkin gets really excited about white bread. Weird.)
  • Stuff they need anyway: toothbrushes, socks, sparkle underpants, hair elastics, pencils, shampoo, you get the idea. My kids get excited over EVERYTHING, so I can totally get away with this. Going to the dentist is practically a holiday for them because they get new toothpaste and a bouncy ball.

    English: Lysol products on a Costco store shelf.

    Look! It’s a bottle of brightly colored, super fun cleaning solution! Merry Christmas! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Freebie coupons: family movie night, ice cream date with Daddy, play date with a friend of their choice, you pick what we eat for dinner, etc.
  • Discount bins: Please, for the love of your bank account, peruse discount bins everywhere. I hit up the back to school clearance at the end of September and snagged stocking stuffers for 50 cents a piece.
  • Homemade stuff: Pinterest has so. many. ideas for cheap homemade gifts. [This is where the Nerd rolls his eyes until he sees the finished product and eats the amazing recipe I just pinned.] I have lots of ideas for homemade/cheap gifts pinned already, including some I’m working on for Punkin. If you aren’t following me yet, you can by clicking the Pinterest link on the top of the column to the right.
  • Random things you need but they’ll get excited over anyway: I bought a packet of yellow sponges for Smush. She’s obsessed with the color yellow, and got so excited in the grocery store cleaning aisle the other day, I’m totally throwing in a package for her. Bonus: she actually cleans things with them. Because they’re yellow. Winning.

If you have other cheap – I mean frugal – holiday ideas, please share them with me! I’m lacking in the creativity department and I love recommendations from others. I’m kind of obsessed with Christmas so we tack on new traditions and ideas every year for our little family. Happy bargain hunting!

Before and after kids: Christmas card photos.

It’s that time of year again. Where houses are filled with crackling fires, hot cocoa, colored lights, and empty threats about Santa not bringing presents. Which also means – it’s time for Christmas cards. And that means getting a photo for said cards. Which, when you’re trying to capture holiday joy on the faces of small children, often requires patience. And bribery. And wine.

I’ve been perusing holiday photos from all our friends who don’t have kids (yet – muahaha), and realizing how relaxing different that must be. Husband, wife, outfit changes because not only do you own more than one Christmas-appropriate ensemble, but you can change without tiny people throwing the door open and revealing your business to the photographer. The Nerd and I never had that chance. Our first Christmas together I was pregnant with Punkin and puking. A lot. No idea why that never shows up on a Christmas card. And obviously every year after that, there was a kid in tow.

Side note: sarcasm aside, I LOVE our Christmas cards. The Nerd, and our amazing photographer friend whom I shall lovingly refer to as Audrey Hepburn because she’s classically beautiful and looks amazing in everything and if she weren’t so nice you’d want to hate her, take amazing photos of my children. The candid shots always capture the sheer joy of Christmas during childhood, and make me forget that Smush pooped on the rug that morning.

Anyway. Christmas photo shoots with kids look very, very different. Kind of like this:

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