Category Archives: Mommy Musings

The Problem With Toys

As is the case with 99% of families I know, we have a serious problem at our house.

Mason has TOO MANY TOYS.

Seriously, we never intended it to be like this – our house looks like a toy store exploded and picking up every night takes longer than one DVRed sitcom. Grandma buys him a new toy EVERY SINGLE WEEK (and yes, we’ve talked to her again and again). It’s like they’re multiplying while we sleep. The dog and husband are ALWAYS tripping over toys (me, I look where I walk) and this insanity needs to end.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about how kids who have fewer toys tend to use their imaginations more, play longer with the same items (instead of bouncing from toy to toy), struggle less with picking up when they’re done playing, and take better care of their stuff. Don’t those all sound like a much better alternative to buying a third toybox?

Well it just so happens that the huge fall consignment sale is in a few weeks. Perfect timing, right?! I went into this with big plans to purge purge purge.

Only, I’m coming up blank.

Yes, Mason still has toys that he is way too old for. I’m looking at you, ball popper and ride-on zebra. Except, he plays with these things ALLLL the time. He sobbed and cried for two hours when I tried to give away the ball popper a few months ago. I can’t see selling something he’s so attached to.

ballpopper

He has 6 fire trucks. No kid needs 6 fire trucks, he only has two hands for pete’s sake! Well, he makes fire truck fleets. They work together and put out fires and pull the bus out of the ditch. Every fire truck has a job. So no go with the fire trucks.

firetruck

Okay, so he has like 15 monster trucks. Again, two hands, 15 trucks…. Well, he lines them all up and they jump over one another, crash into each other, different days he plays with different trucks. And he knows which ones he has, so I don’t think I could sneak some away.

I have a HUGE bag of  MegaBlocks that I got at Goodwill for a killer deal. He wasn’t too interested in them the last time we had them out (which was at least 7 months ago – my fault) and I feel like these are a no brainer to get rid of. Only, what if this winter he’s ALL ABOUT building stuff with blocks and I end up having to spend $40 on something I use to have in the basement and only paid $8 for. I feel like I’m saving money by hanging on to these.

We do the toy rotation thing. Things go in the basement and new toys come up. A lot of the stuff (like his toy kitchen) he asks for again and again. Obviously, the toy kitchen shouldn’t go anywhere, even though it’s been in the basement for a month. But what about the stuff he doesn’t ask about? Well, when he goes to the basement and sees those toys, he’s like a kid on Christmas – super excited to see his truck/tractor/toy that has been off rotation and begs to bring it upstairs.

So how the heck do I eliminate toys? What do I sell? I realize he’s three and I’m the boss, but the soft-hearted mom in me doesn’t want to get rid of stuff that would make him cry if it was gone. The thrifty person inside of me doesn’t want to get rid of stuff that I might want to re-buy down the line. I really don’t feel like he has any toys that he’s not interested in, but since he has SO MANY TOYS that doesn’t seem possible, does it?

How do you decide what stays and what goes? Is there an age where you say “You shouldn’t play with X anymore?” How do you convince people to STOP BUYING YOUR KID stuff? How many toys is too many? Do you rotate toys? How do you decide if a toy is “unused” and when it’s time to get rid of it? I would LOVE people’s feedback on this issue!

We Live in a Crazy World

Today as I was driving and reflecting on the book I’m reading (Tiny Beautiful Things) I got to thinking about what a crazy crazy world we live in.

We tell our kids not to say “stupid” and “dummy” while we say things like “Jim said a f*ggot started working at the factory today” and “OMG! Look at that fat cow pig out!”

We send our 3 year olds to expensive tumbling and foreign language classes and then put our mortgage on the credit card because we’re stretched a little too tight this month.

We think nothing of spending $20 on a t-shirt our 6 month old will wear maybe twice but buy a poorly rated product because it’s $1 less than the one that gets the good reviews.

We want to put bulletproof glass and armed guards in our schools to prevent the one in a billion school shooting, yet ignore the hundreds of children dying of cancer every single day.

We don’t let our kids play outside anymore because of stranger danger, yet refuse to see that a majority of child abuse, kidnappings, and sexual abuse predators are parents or relatives.

We let our 2 year old drink pop and eat all the candy he wants and then wonder why the biggest health problems facing kids and teenagers today are dental disease and obesity.

We take all the “fun” stuff out of the playground because it’s too tall, get’s too hot, spins too fast, or might cause someone to break an arm or skin a knee but show no concern to car seat safety when car accidents, (not death by merry-go-round) is the leading cause of death for children and adolescents.

Our children watch TV shows and play video games where people get their heads blown off or are dismembered, yet we ban toy swords and toy guns because that’s scary violent play and not something we want to expose them to.

There are so many double standards these days and in so many ways, we’re barking up the wrong tree. We put so much time and energy into what the media SAYS are the big issues and overlook the stuff that affects millions of families every year. We all know about Columbine and Sandy Hook, but do you know how many dressers and TVs kill children every day? Do you know how many families lose their children to cancer? Do you know that most car seats are installed wrong?  Do you know that violent crime is less common now than it was in the 80s and 90s, yet we keep saying how “Things just aren’t like they use to be…. It’s just not a safe world anymore”

We need to step back from our TVs and step out of this “It’s a crazy violent world and no one is safe anywhere” frame of mind that the media has brainwashed us into thinking. The biggest change in society over the last 20 years isn’t that there is more crime or more crazy people, it’s that we’re plugged into the news (and social media) 24/7. We don’t just get our news at 5:00 and then hear a little bit more the next day when we read the paper – we get the same story pounded down our throat and 15 different channels, Twitter, Facebook, and every website online until we think that ONE violent person or ONE crazy freak accident is the norm. We hear SO MUCH about violence and crime these days because we’re spoonfed the info every. waking. second. of the day.

As for me, I fully believe that Mason is more likely to be killed in a car accident than he is to be kidnapped. I fully believe that he is more likely to get cancer than get shot at school. Because statistically and realistically, that is 100% the truth. I do what I can to keep him safe in his every day life WITHOUT ever giving him the idea that this world is a scary bad place. Because it’s not. A life lived in fear or trying to keep up with everyone else’s ideals is not a life well lived and I won’t let the media take that from us.

Five on Friday 8/9/13

Today I’m linking up with “5 on Friday” to share five good things that have happened lately and/or five things I’m excited about (or a mixture of both) Here are mine!

1) Tomorrow we’re going to ride Thomas the Tank Engine. Some of you may remember that we planned on doing this last year but at the last minute, the venue backed out of our agreement. This year, I bought tickets early on so we wouldn’t have to worry about it. While we asked Mason a few months ago if he wanted to ride on Thomas (his answer was a resounding yes of course) he doesn’t know we’re going tomorrow and it’s going to be a great surprise when we show up at the train station.

2) I’m signed up to do a Biggest Loser 5k this October. I’m a big fan of Biggest Loser and it’s one of the very few TV shows I watch. Last season there was a contestant from the same town my aunt and uncle use to live in and I’m on her “team” for this 5k. Super cool!

3) The other day we told Mason we were going to go to the indoor water park and he instantly thought we were going to the Dells (how he remembers a trip we took well over a year ago AMAZES me) and proceeded to pack both his penguin backpack and his Brobee backpack. They contained some clothes and lots of monster trucks. SO cute.

4) SuperDad started dayshift at the end of June and it’s going well. It’s so nice to have him home (and awake) when I come home from lunch some days and his weekends start on Thursday afternoon instead of him sleeping half the day away all weekend long. Mason and I are both enjoying it and Joe the Greyhound isn’t doing as poorly as I expected with being home alone so much. Yay!

5) In the past month, I’ve gotten back in touch with my best friend from 2nd grade thru college. We fell out of touch because of some stupid decisions I made and I finally got the courage to suck it up and reach out to her and much to my delight, she responded with something other than “screw you.” It’s been fun catching up on the last few years of our lives.

Currently… 7/25/13

Mason is currently

reviewing what he did at Grandmas. After spending Friday afternoon thru Monday morning with Grandma B, he likes to go over things that happened there – what shows he watched, what they played, where they went, and what he wants to do again.

wishing that we could go to the beach. His one trip to the beach made a huge impression on him and he is constantly asking to go back.

beach762

eating graham crackers. These have been a favorite snack as of lately. He’s also convinced that the only things he can eat for supper are the meat in his spaghetti, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets. Ohhh, toddlerhood!

carrying the cat. Our cat likes to run out the deck door if given the opportunity and he’s NOT suppose to be outside. The other day SuperDad sent Mason to fetch him and Mason was so super proud that he was strong enough to carry the huuuge (9 pound nearly 15 year old) cat into the house all by himself.

running non-stop, usually pushing his bubble mower, which sadly does not blow any bubbles these days.

Mason’s Mom is currently

reviewing all sorts of “Blogging 101” pages in hopes to jump start her blogging mojo (and audience) once again.

wishing that summer wasn’t disappearing so quickly. It’s almost August. Next thing you know, snow will be here again. Excuse me while I sit here and sob at that thought.

eating not as good as she should be. A week of stress eating followed by two weekends of festival eating and the healthy eating / no out of the box snacking / not all junk all the time habits are dying off quickly.

carrying a long to do list and zero motivation to do it. How come it’s so much easier to find more things that need to be done than it is to actually get them done?

colornumberrunning out of time to complete two more 5ks. I’ve given up on the whole running thing, but walking is still great exercise and I had hoped to participate in a local competition where prizes are given to people who complete at least four 5ks this summer. I’ve done two and had planned to do the third next weekend but now I have to work.

What are YOU up to? Link up with Randalin and Lindsey

HK

My Mother’s Words Come Back to Haunt Me

When I was younger and being particularly bratty, my mom would say something along the lines of “I can’t wait until you have kids and they act like this! Then you’ll see!” and all I would do was roll my eyes.

The scene would usually be something like this – we lived in the sticks (still do!) and my mom would drive an hour to take me on an awesome shopping trip. We’d spend the whole day going from store to store, buying most anything I asked for, eating where I wanted to eat, and having the whole trip be mainly about me me me. Then, we’d get in the car to go home and a magical switch would flip and I’d become a nasty eye-rolly pre-teen who would do nothing but snap at my mom, or possibly worse, just grunt in response to her attempts at conversation. And then she’d pull out the “We’ve had such a nice day! Why do you have to act like this and ruin it?” Which would make me angry and the whole situation worse. Then the “I just can’t wait until you have kids of your own. You’ll see then!” would come out, which made ZERO sense to my young self and drove me NUTS.

Fast forward 20 years and I sure understand that now! Lately, it seems like the MORE fun I have with Mason and the bigger and the funner (yes, it’s a word, go with me on this) his day is, the more absolutely out-of-his-mind naughty at the end of the day he is. Saturday we spent several hours at the lake and I’ve never seen him smile more. It was pure magic. Two hours after we got home, we were BOTH doing nothing but yelling and crying. Sunday we spent the day at a fair and later that night I was tempted to lock him in his room until bedtime as one never ending time-out. (Don’t worry, I didn’t)

I caught myself saying/thinking “Mason, we’ve had SUCH a fun day today. Remember how fun it was? Why do you have to act like this and ruin such a nice day?” And instantly, all the memories of the smiles and laughs earlier in the day were tainted by the awful end of the day – the whining, the crying, the total 180 in attitude….

And at that moment, I fully understood just what my mom meant all those years ago.

Don’t worry, I fully understand that Mason’s bad end of the day behavior is 70% pure exhaustion and 30% threenager. That doesn’t meant it doesn’t suck after a fun day though!

And Mom… I hope you’re happy now. LOL

So how about you, have you ever had your parents’ words come back to haunt you?

Currently… 5/16/13

Mason is currently

hoping that when he wakes up he can get a sucker for pooping in the potty and look at the picture of the fire in the newspaper like I promised him. On that note, how do I break my child of the whole “rewards for using the potty” thing? Oops

reading a Mickey Mouse book with buttons and make sounds and gears that really turn. I picked it up at a garage sale and it became an instant favorite

wearing shorts and a John Deere shirt. He was so proud of his new John Deere shirt that he had to tell each kid at daycare this morning about it.

making his monster trucks crash and help each other out of the imaginary mud over and over again

planning his next trip to Grandmas. It involves wearing his boots and riding his tractor. And he mentions it frequently.

Mason’s Mom is currently…
hoping that I can stay on track for Couch to 5k this time. I attempted running outside yesterday for the first time basically ever and it went pretty well. I’ve got three weeks until my first 5k and all I can say is Thank GOD it’s an un-timed fun run. LOL

reading All You Could Ask For by Mike Greenberg. I love “all these people are tied together by some random thing” plots.

wearing my scrubs and a hoodie. SuperDad hates it that I don’t always change out of my scrubs when I get home (I do if they’re dirty!) but they’re so freaking comfortable and he’s at work right now, so scrubs it is!

making calendars and charts and planning out our new schedules as SuperDad switches to dayshift in July for the first time in over twelve years. Daycare transport, my bookstore job, and “who will watch the dog during a thunderstorm” are front players in my obsessive planning and I’m also trying to finalize plans for all of our usual music festivals of the summer. It’s all coming up fast!

HK

How about you? What are you up to this week?

Things I’m Afraid Of: Blog Every Day In May

Things I’m Afraid Of

(Not including obvious stuff like people dying, people getting hurt, the house burning down, that stuff that’s on everyone‘s list)

Heights above water – bridges, airplanes, whatever – if it’s above water, I don’t want anything to do with it. I like swimming, but even a fishing dock freaks me out.

Driving in busy traffic – I live in the sticks, my commute to work is a three minute drive where I might come across 5 other cars. This is good because multi-lane freeway traffic FREAKS me out. Like, hyperventilating, can’t drive in it, can barely ride in it freaks me out. I think a lot of this fear is due to my really poor depth perception. Either way, it’s very annoying, frustrating, and really limits my plans at times.

Getting burned by the oven – yep, this is part of why I don’t cook. I’m a huge klutz and reaching into the oven freaks me out. One of my last attempts to cook with something other than a cookie sheet resulted in me dumping a casserole down the oven door because I tilted it too much in an effort to not touch anything hot.

When I was little, I use to be really afraid of skunks. I was convinced I would get sprayed by one and my parents would disown me. I had nightmares about it all the time. LOL

And because this list makes me feel like kind of a freak, I’m NOT afraid of spiders, snakes, birds, tornadoes, big dogs, public speaking, severe weather, or clowns. LOL

How about you – what random things are you afraid of?




Blog Every Day In May: Favorite Quote

This is a tie

It’s better to be hated for who you are than loved for who you are not”

I just find this to be so true. I hate fake people and I hate feeling like I need to pretend to be someone I’m not. It seems like an incredible waste of time to pretend to be interested in something or care about something that you don’t, beyond common politeness I mean. I would much rather people were my friends because of who I REALLY am rather than some sort of “fake” self I put out there to please them. I’m very much of the “I am who I am, and if you don’t like it, well that’s too bad” frame of mind.

For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one. Happiness is a journey, not a destination.” ~ Souza

This is a big one for me. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life thinking “Well, once this happens, things will be great, no, wait, once THIS happens, yep, then it will all be good….” and every time I turn around, there is another “thing” that I feel is standing in the way when in reality, life is NOW. Yes, I can look forward to RockFest this summer, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t enjoy the next two months. Yes, I can hope that I finally can fit into a size 8 pants at some point, but that doesn’t mean that I’ll magically be 100% happy with my body and fitness level – and that’s OKAY! Sometimes, I get so busy making to-do lists, it’s easy to forget to stop and smell the roses. Life is happening all around us, even as we hope for a new house or our kid to get through this next phase. Enjoy it because there is no magical “if this, then life is PERFECT” point.




How about you – are you guilty of life being a destination and not a journey? Have any favorite quotes you’d like to share?

 

Blog Every Day: Things that Make Me Uncomfortable

The next prompt is “Things that Make Me Uncomfortable”

This is what just popped into my mind – I tried not to think too hard about this one so this is pretty random!

People suggesting they can “fix my hair”

Having bosses with who have very loud political opinions that are very different than mine

My parents (who are in their 70s) saying they’re not racist/sexist/homophobic/etc but then making remarks that are everything but

That horrendous moment when you audibly pass gas in an otherwise silent room

Being the party pooper when a group is deciding on a restaurant – I don’t do most ethnic foods, but hate being the complicated one.

When friends do something that is incredibly “against” my parenting views – I know that it’s their kid and that it’s not my place to say anything, but it’s still awkward.

Glass foot bridges with heavy traffic underneath – I prefer metal and railings, thank you very much

Thongs

Being expected to practice high pressure sales techniques when I know the recipient isn’t interested. The #1 reason I hated my banking job!

When people insist on gossiping about someone who could walk into hearing range at any moment

People who suggest shooting their pets instead of spending money at the vet clinic – while I’m working at said vet clinic

Public changing rooms

When daycare employees give me the “Your kid listens to me, why doesn’t he listen to you?” look

Going out for a night on the town with people who are REALLY into the “getting all gussied” up because I’m so… not


 

How about you? What random things make you uncomfortable?

Back on the Bandwagon

it’s been two weeks since I’ve posted anything and I’m just not feeling the whole blog motivation lately. It’s not for lack of post ideas (I have a list of things I want to post about, spanning back to Easter 2012, but more for “I have so many things I WANT to do (spend time with SuperDad, work out, blog, read, sleep) that I feel guilty doing any of them so instead, I mindlessly surf the internet and do none of them! It’s pretty self defeating and needs to end! Then since I haven’t blogged in weeks, I feel like I need to play catch up, which makes me avoid it more.

So I decided I’m going to be a HUGE cheater and jump into the “Blog Every Day in May” challenge and try to post something for each of the prompts. I will probably combine a few prompts into one post until I get caught up, but I think trying to blog every day and the whole “challenge” concept of it will help me get back into the swing of things! It can’t hurt, right?


So, Day One Prompt: The Story of My Life in 250 Words or Less

I was born in the Children’s Hospital 30 years ago as a very sick baby. I had numerous surgeries and spent the first year of my life on oxygen. Let’s just say, I was very  fortunate to grow up into a pretty healthy adult despite everything. I grew up in a small town with my Mom and Dad and two older brothers. As a kid, I was a tomboy and my favorite things were animals, riding my bike, reading, and my small close circle of friends. Oh, and I loved school. I grew up with a Sunday drive being our family’s main entertainment and “vacation” meant visiting my Grandma in Milwaukee. My brother was my best friend when I was a kid and I actually met SuperDad through him. After high school, I got my Associate’s Degree at a local 2 year college with plans to go away to college. Instead, SuperDad and I bought a house. The same year we bought our house, we adopted a greyhound and became engulfed in the world of greyhound rescue. Since high school (and prior to today), I’ve worked as tech support, a bank teller (where I met my BFF), and an office manager.  In 2009, I became involved in an awesome online community and to this day, those folks are some of my best friends. In 2009, my brother and SIL had a daughter and we decided  a kid seemed like a good idea, so we followed suite and Mason was born in 2010. The rest of the story can be found here on the blog.

Are you doing the Post a Day challenge? Do you have a blog post that has the very very condensed version of your life story? I’d love to read it!