My Morning Routine: Keeping it Real

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I was reading this article at Nutrition Stripped about how she creates her morning routine because don’t all mothers wish the mornings ran more smoothly? I definitely see room for improvement in mine. Her routine obviously sounds amazing but reading her article I noticed two things:

  1. Her morning routine starts at 5:00 a.m. Like intentionally. Anybody who knows me knows that this is laughable. My husband has tried to get me to wake up earlier but my body doesn’t acknowledge common sense that early. If I have to get up at 6am to get the kids to school by 7, most of that hour is technically still spent in bed. I’ve learned to shout commands with my eyes closed, literally.
  2. Throughout her morning of meditation, Matcha tea lattes, walks in the park and infrared sauna routines, I didn’t notice any children asking for cheerios or carefully planting LEGOS under her feet as she walked.

Now I’m not saying that having kids precludes having a relaxing morning routine. I know plenty of mommas that achieve this and most of them are those annoyingly clever early rising mommas. They are my heroes. But I am saying that our situations are a little different.

I still think my morning routine could use some improvement though. Here’s what it looks like during the summer:

giphy7:00am : My bed does the wave as my husband gets out of bed. Or maybe he’s been up for an hour and he’s lifting it up and down now to spite me. Who can say? He murmurs something about clever people waking up early and I throw the blankets over my head and try to pretend I don’t hear him.

giphy37:15am : Subconsciously I am awake now but my body cannot move yet. So I start mentally throwing together a to do list for the day or think about all the things I sucked at doing yesterday.

7:30am : My alarm goes off because good intentions. This makes me immediately exhausted so I hit snooze. Didn’t I, like, just fall asleep?

7:40am : I swear I just fell back to sleep but my alarm is going off again. How rude! I’ll press it just one more time, I swear

giphy47:50am – 8:20am : Somewhere in this time frame I give up the ghost because the kids are shouting under the door about things like Minecraft and oatmeal and how hard they can hit each other.

giphy58:30am : Acknowledge bladder. Stare at my empty closet and think about the laundry I need to fold. Find a shirt I don’t hate and put that on so that I can call myself dressed.

8:40am : COFFEE. I should eat breakfast, too, but I can’t think about that because I haven’t had coffee yet. I ask the kids if they have eaten and usually the answer is yes. I ask if they put their dishes in the sink or dishwasher and usually the answer is no. I goad them into chores and have them feed the dog if this hasn’t happened yet. My kids are independent rock stars, this was not an accident.

giphy6 8:50am : Find somewhere to sit and drink my coffee. Preference is usually for in my office so I can check my email or in the living room where I might catch up on an episode of tv. Either way, I will do this for at least half an hour  or until obligations present themselves. Every two minutes a child will ask to play Minecraft or use their kindles and I throw out alternate suggestions like reading or drawing pictures or doing jumping jacks until about the 8th request when I’m grumpy and give in.

giphy109:30am : My coffee is gone! We should do something productive like humans! Let’s get ready for swim lessons or go to the park or visit the library!!!! What do you mean you aren’t dressed yet? What have you been doing all morning? How did you lose one shoe? No you cannot wear that! You can’t be hungry, didn’t you just eat? Hurry up!

giphy89:50am : Halfway to wherever we are going I realize I didn’t eat breakfast and my socks don’t match.

So clearly there is room for improvement.

What does your morning routine look like?

ps: During the school year you can erase everything after 8:40am and move the time frame up an hour and a half.

I wish that I could be like the cool moms.

Remember when we were in high school and a bundle of nerves and self consciousness? We’d walk the halls of our school filled with envy, wishing we could be a “cool kid” – to get in with the right crowd and be adored by all. If only we dressed a certain way or could afford a certain accessory or tech gadget. If we were smarter or taller or more athletic or could carry a tune or win that competition – then everything would be different, right?

I’m certain that at some point I got over that notion and realized that “cool” was a mirage that didn’t really exist. Cool is just confidence masquerading as something unattainable. And even if we weren’t completely 100% cool with where we stood in the ranks of High School, we were placated by the knowledge that someday we’d grow up and wouldn’t feel so judged all the time.

Fast forward fifteen years and I’m wondering when someday is coming because the truth is not much has changed. I still catch myself thinking “if I were thinner or made more money or lived in the right school district or drove the right car or…” I still catch myself observing the other moms at pick up after school, wondering why I don’t feel like I fit in.

The rebellious teenager in me refuses to mimic the perceived cool moms – I don’t park in the inconvenient (to me) parking spots just so that we can all sit in our cars and sip our lattes and somehow talk to each other through the windows or osmosis. I don’t want a minivan (I don’t!) even though it means not being able to transport more children than I own (that still seems like an advantage to me actually). And I feel no need to buy certain clothes or whatever just to be more like them. But…

I still find myself on the outside looking in. Envious. I think we all do. I love the point of this video parody of Echosmith’s “Cool Kids” which reminds us that we all feel like we’re not cool or don’t fit in or aren’t doing it right. It’s like the Mommy Wars except it’s all in our own head (though isn’t that often true of the Mommy Wars also?) – this need to defend our life choices and question them all at once. It’s high school all over again.

No matter how much we grow and how old we get, we all still wish we could be like the cool kids. It seems the odds are good that I’ll be an old granny at the Home someday, wishing I had just the right shade of gray or the “cool” floral pantsuit – or that I was better at Bingo or lived on the “cool floor”. We’ll all be vying for the coolest walker and showing off our fancy orthopedic Toms.

If only we could convince ourselves that we already are the cool kid – that we are all cool in our own fantastically unique ways. Just think – if we are alI looking at other moms and thinking they are cool, that means someone is looking at you and thinking it, too. It seems like even though we are all thinking it, nobody is saying it and maybe that’s the problem.

My challenge for you: Remind the moms in your lives how cool they are. I’ll start. You guys – you are really immensely cool. Yes, you. you are awesome.

tbt: Halloween through the ages.

With tomorrow being Halloween I thought it would be fun to go through pictures from the kids’ Halloween past. Fun for me at least. This task proved harder than I expected because ALL of my 2009 October pictures had literally vanished from my computer – no idea why. And in my 2010 October folder I found no pictures of BB’s costume at all. Luckily I dug deep into the Mommablogsalot Archives and found what I was looking for (and saved them to my computer!) – hurray! How’s that  for blogging power?

So without further adieu, let’s start at the beginning:

2006 : MM’s First Halloween

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MM the Pumpkin and his parents, the Pumpkin Farmers

2007: His second Halloween

Halloween 2007

We went to a little Halloween party with friends – if it isn’t obvious, MM is the little lion.

2008: Halloween Take Three

Halloween 2008

Our Dan’s first attempt at a homemade costume, MM is the Man in the Yellow Hat.

2009: Our First Halloween as Parents of Two

2009 her first Halloween

In keeping with tradition, BB was a Pumpkin – in a ballerina tutu of course

2009 Halloween Costume

This year MM was a Firefighter – we took the kids Trick or Treating at the Zoo!

Halloween 2010: Matching Costumes Begin

Halloween 2010

We went trick or treating with neighborhood friends! MM was Mickey Mouse.

BB's Halloween 2010

BB was Minnie Mouse but this is the only photographic evidence I have of that. When she wasn’t crying she was tucked into a baby carrier sleeping soundly.

Halloween 2011: A hiatus from matching costumes

Halloween 2011

For her third Halloween BB was a sweet kitten and her brother was Woody from Toy Story

2012: A Whovian Halloween

the Doctor & Amy

Meet the Doctor and Amelia Pond: If you understand this picture, we are besties now.

2013: In Which MM Regenerates

halloween 2013

Last year MM regenerated in reverse from the 11th Doctor to the 10th. BB wore two different costumes last year – photographed above she was Rapunzel.

DSC_5950But on Halloween night she was a Mermaid Princess. Obviously.
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Also, this happened.

On (or after?) Halloween 2014 you will meet The Astronaut (the obvious transition really) and The Fairy Princess. I know you are waiting with baited breath.

What are your kids dressing up as this year?

Old School Blogging, Vol. 2

old school bloggingI’m back with six more “old school blogging” style questions that I borrowed nicely from Krystyn @ Really, Are You Serious? They dwell mostly in the categories of marriage and family life. Wanna play along? Tell me your answers in the comments below or leave me a link to your blog if you post them there.

1. How did your husband pop the big question? The question was technically already in the air as we were one of those crazy couples that did the whole “get married, have babies” thing out of order. But he was still a little nervous that evening in December 2005 when he took me out for dinner at Olive Garden and then afterwards in the parking lot popped the question. It was a grimy New England December with slushy pavement around us so he didn’t get down on one knee but I was too busy being ecstatic that he’d asked to worry about stuff like that. Eight years later and we’re still going strong!

2. What are the three most surprising things about married life? 

  • Our marriage grows stronger every year as we grow older and learn more about each other. It’s amazing how even when you are disagreeing about something or they are being soooo annoying about that thing that you can still just love someone with all your heart.
  • Nothing is sacred. Just… yeah. Especially if you’ve been through motherhood, too.
  • That we still manage to find new things to talk about every day! If I have to go an extended time without talking to him about all the inane things I go a little crazy.

3. How did you find out you were pregnant for the first time? I think the way most people find out. Morning sickness and a missed period.

4. How did you choose your first baby’s name? It honestly just felt right. We thought about a lot of different names and I think up until the ultrasound I was still thinking about several for each gender and then when we found out we were having a boy it just suddenly clicked. His middle name is my father’s middle name (and my grandfather’s first name) but his first name is just one we both liked.

5. Describe where you see yourself in 10 years from now… I assume that ten years from now when you ask me how old I am that I’ll be pretty sure I’m older than 40 but I’ll have no idea if I’m 41, 42 or 43. Hopefully I have it narrowed down at least that far. Cross your fingers that I’ll have replaced my Buick by then, preferably with something that has All Wheel Drive and maybe an auxiliary port. MM will be EIGHTEEN and we must absolutely not think about that. BB will be FIFTEEN so basically, hold me. I’ll probably still be changing my blog’s theme every 2 1/2 weeks and I’ll probably tell you I’m writing a novel but likely will only be 2 or 3 chapters into it at best and haven’t looked at the thing for weeks. My one gray hair will probably have a few friends.

6. Describe how you find bliss, either with words or images.

latte love

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Kindergarten Looks Like: Paper Craft Extreme

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Can we talk about BB’s new craft obsession? Every day she painstakingly cuts out little shapes from bits of paper and then assembles them into pictures, coloring in all the little pieces. This is a self portrait of hers that she gave me recently and it’s just one in an ever growing collection of patchwork pictures.

Is this a common hobby? Because MM – who frequently gets lost in making intricate diagrams and charts – has not inundated me with anything similar. I mean sure he’s done his fair share of cutting and pasting different things together, but never on this level and I can’t recall having done it myself as a kid.

I don’t want to be that braggy parent that we all hate but I’m kind of blown away by this. The level of creativity, concentration and organization needed to do stuff like this? It seems like it wouldn’t be an ordinary hobby for a 5 year old but maybe I’m just underestimating all the five year olds in the world. Maybe we’re all much more brilliant than we give ourselves credit for.

Any other five year old future quilters out there? What has your kid done recently that just blew you away with Momma Pride?

CLEAN: a look at what exactly defines clean and tidy.

CLEAN

I was thinking about what is considered “clean” this weekend, while attempting to tidy up a bit before having friends over for dinner. “Clean” seems to vary depending on who is doing the cleaning and what the occasion is.

Cleaning the stove for me means wiping off all the gunk and maybe pulling out the fancy stove top cleaner gunk made by elves in the Forest of Naboo. For my husband it means pulling out a razor blade and some elbow grease. For my children? hahahahahahahahahahahahha

Vacuuming to my seven year old means picking up all the cheerios on the floor and making a halfhearted pass of the kitchen with our stick vac. To me, it usually means cleaning the edges of every room where most of the dirt migrates and moving the dogs crate to make sure all the hair gets picked up. To my husband, I vacuum like a girl and “should get out the actual vacuum and stop bending over with the hand vac to clean the house.”

And if company is coming over? The rules all change – toilets get scrubbed, towels get washed early and I suddenly notice a million dirty nooks and crannies that hadn’t been visible before. And if it’s someone like a mother in law or that friend whose house never looks as dirty as ours ever? See the graphic above and maybe buy a second bottle.

What does clean mean to you?