My Thoughts Exactly….

If you don’t follow Jenny Lawson’s blog, you are missing out on the good stuff.  Usually there are a lot of laughs and completely ridiculous shenanigans… but this hit me right in the feelers.

You never know what someone might be going through.  Go… read this blog.

Then, when you have hours to invest, go back and read some of the other posts.  You won’t regret it….  she hooked me a long while back with the story of a giant chicken named Beyonce.

via Happy Whatever.

Everyday Appreciation

It is Appreciation Week for Teachers/School Staff!  Always a fun and busy week – full of treats and surprises that show how much we appreciate all that these folks do.  Let me tell you – a week isn’t enough (kind of insulting like one day a year to appreciate Mom/Dad… but I digress).

Look – your child’s teacher is not only dealing with whatever you deal with daily (times 20-30 more kids)…. but there is SO MUCH drama and emotions that are so very different at school than they are at home.  I highly suggest that you hang out at the school a few times a year (note that any time after a break or holiday is 10X worse… and don’t get me started on rainy day schedules).  Kids at school have a pack-mentality, and it is a volatile environment! You need to be in touch with teachers on a regular basis – don’t wait until you are dealing with a major issue.  Being in contact with them also might give them the chance to tell you all the good things going on too… and who doesn’t love that!?!

And if you hear that there is a “problem”…. LISTEN to what they are telling you.  Don’t start out defending your “poor” child.  Actually listen to what they are saying.  Process it.  Understand where they are coming from, and work together to resolve it.  If a teacher is reaching out to you – they are TELLING you that they need your support as a parent – take that gift and BE AN ACTUAL FREAKING PARENT.  Chances are that your child is not a sweet and innocent victim, at least not 100%.  Even if they feel justified in their action – use it as a teachable moment and help them understand that while their intentions were different, the perception of their behavior does matter.  Now, I know of adults that need this lesson too, but I am going to leave that alone for now.

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My kids have had such AMAZING teachers over the years.  I’m not just saying that.  Many of their teachers I consider my personal friends.  I trust them with the well being of my children.  They deserve my respect.  They deserve your respect.  Respect their time.  Respect the rules of their classroom.  Respect the depth of what they are trying to achieve every day, every year…. They are expected to reach certain levels of academic achievement, while dealing with all these emerging personalities!!!  I don’t know about y’all, but I can barely deal with 2 the same age!

By showing your teachers you are human, by showing them that you listen, by working together…. you will build a relationship that benefits your child.  You guys… your teacher should be like family.  They say it takes a village, and I agree – it makes life SOOOO much easier.

My kids are in the 5th grade.  Hormones – UGH.  One of my kids (who fancies himself something as a funny-guy), has had a few “instances” this year.  But because our teachers know I will listen to what they are saying, and address it with my kid – they reached out to me to “fix” what was going on before it became a real problem.  Now, we aren’t talking major crimes…. we are talking inappropriate behavior in PE (twerking instead of squats, telling a classmate that his push-up isn’t good, unless his penis hits the floor), or the day he was enjoying (read: goofing off) a dance class with his buddies, and the visiting instructor found him disruptive, or when his teacher found him just a bit too talkative….  Each time the teachers reached out to me and told me what the concern was.  I cannot tell you how much I value the opportunity to talk to my child about choices and consequences of his actions – that is the bread & butter of raising tiny humans.  After talking with the kid – he explained his side of the story, I heard him, I explained to him that while he did not intend to be disruptive or rude – he needed to understand that his actions affect others.  I had him write an apology for his behavior (or the perceived outcome of his behavior) and have him explain why he was sorry – not just go through the motions.  Whether I agree that his actions were wrong, right or indifferent – it doesn’t matter.  His actions caused an issue that was worth his teachers reaching out.  It is my job to address it the right way.  I did not have him take blame for anything he didn’t do.  I did not run to the administrative staff and complain that my goofy kid is being picked on.  I handled it. #LikeABoss

And you know what I love even more…. when these teachers take the time to send a little text or an email to says – your kid is doing AWESOME, or hey – you are doing a good job as a parent!  Things like that make me so proud and grateful that someone see’s how hard we are working at something so important – so why wouldn’t I want to show them the same appreciation like ALL THE TIME!

Now, let’s talk the administrative and support staff at school….  these are the folks who have their pulse on the big picture.  They see all.  They hear all.  Usually, the only people causing them issues are parents. They deal with those who feel their child is being picked on – when usually they are part of the problem.  They deal with those who show ZERO responsibility – oh yeah, school pick up was at 11:55 today, and my kid is still there will you 2 hours later.  People yell at them.  People demand from them.  People dismiss them.  You guys – these are my people, and I love them!  Years of volunteer work, I cannot tell you the value of an amazing school staff!  I can tell you that they have a lot more patience than I do – I don’t know how they stay so calm and nice to all “those” parents.

My point here today is this – the folks at school are an important part of your child’s village.  An important part of your family.  This week is a great week to celebrate all their awesomeness – but keep in mind that they deserve a little love and respect EVERYDAY.  Try to make it a habit to occasionally pop by (and a Starbucks card is always nice too), and tell them that they are doing a great job.  Or talk to them if you have a concern.  They are hard working peeps who do their best each and every day they walk into their classroom.  Be involved – and be an actual, grown-up parent to your little!  They need that more than they need another friend.

Treat your tribe with the same respect that you deserve & it comes back tenfold.

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Thank you to ALL the teachers and every staff person at Ladd Lane Elementary School!  You are hands-down the ABSOLUTE best school around!  Thank you for whatever part you have played in raising my (not-so) tiny humans so far!

#CrazyAsAMother #FrickAndFrack #LaddLaneRocks #ParentingIsHard #ItTakesAVillage #RaiseThemRad #BeTheCorn #IFreakinLoveYouGuys

Happy Earth Day!

It’s Earth Day! A day to celebrate this beautiful planet we live in, and make an effort to keep it that way….

Now, not everyone can (or will) go out and do an organized clean-up – I get that. I’m not asking you to get out and hug a tree, install solar on your home, get a hybrid car, or to start a petition to your government to make changes for the better (it doesn’t have to be done today, you can do those things any day & you might like hugging trees)…. what would be great, and make the best impact is to take the time to learn something new.

Figure out what you can change in your day to day life, that will make a long term impact!

I’m not a full blown conservationist…. I do what I can, and teach my kids what I know. I try to buy from socially responsible companies. I love my oils for everything. I recycle (and bitch to my family when they forget). My new favorite shoes are made from recycled water bottles (Rothy’s). I can always do more, you can too!

So celebrate Earth Day by learning what you can do EVERYDAY!

Here are some pics from our Beach Clean Up yesterday. It was a very clean beach to start, but Kev & I found 46 pieces of litter & got to play in the sand and waves!

#HappyEarthDay #ReduceReuseRecycle #RaiseThemRad #CrazyAsAMother

Dear MomWhoLostHerShit

This is an open letter to the mom who lost her shit at our kids school yesterday.

This is NOT the first time, and I am sure it won’t be the last.  I don’t need to give your name, or feel the need to public shame you – to give you more fuel for your raging fires of hatred….  You know who you are (and well, so does ALL the parents in the pick up line who watched it go down, and the amazing staff who helped diffuse the situation, and well – it is a small town, so…)

In case you didn’t know- your kid is THAT kid at our school.  The one who no one has to say their name, and everyone knows who you are referring to.  They are the one that the teachers and staff tiptoe around, because every time your kid gets in trouble for his actions, they know that you will be in the office freaking out. No one wants to deal with him (you), because nothing good ever comes of it.  And that makes me angry.  It makes me sad for him.  It makes me resent you.

Maybe you don’t realize the lasting damage that is taking place.  Your kid is smart.  And when he wants to be, he is polite and very nice.  He has the capacity to be anything he wants to be.  But, he needs to learn to respect people.  All people.  Other kids and certainly adults.  Respect for ANYONE is clearly lacking, and you continue to make him out to be a VICTIM – when I have seen first hand that the staff at the school is trying to keep him on task and moving forward.  YOU ARE FAILING HIM AS A PARENT.

You are not teaching him that there are consequences for his actions.  You have put it in his head that when an adult corrects his behavior, they are harassing him.  He thinks that the yard supervisors and teachers pick on him.  I have been in the classrooms helping out, I have been on field trips with your child.  I have seen him on the playground, and I have heard from my own children what they deal with (or avoid) every day that they are in school with him.  Your child has yelled in my face before as I was volunteering at the school, and I was just trying to offer a suggestion to solve what he perceived as a life-and-death emergency…. Funny thing, he was trying to avoid making you mad, mom….

It is no mystery why your child shows no respect or self control.  He learns it from you.

Yesterday your child was reprimanded for physical violence against another child.  The yard supervisor (my sister) stepped in, because HER JOB is to keep all the kids safe.  Then he used his cell phone, that he wasn’t supposed to have out on the playground, and called YOU.

Your son was in my sisters face, yelling at her when she stopped his violent behavior, and he calls you?!?  Did you ask him what he did?  Did you come to office and calmly ask to speak like an adult to the adult that was doing her job?  Of course not!!!

You showed up at the school, and tried to physically assault my sister while verbally berating her – in front of the entire after school pick up line of parents.  There were students and parents RIGHT there!  YOUR CHILD watched this happen – in fact he is the one to call me the authorities! Because somehow he has been raised to think that someone stopping him from being violent towards another student is a violation of his rights.

What makes me sad/angry/anxious about the whole situation is that you will face consequences for your actions – but it will just feed your narcissistic victim mentality.  Somehow the actions of your son that put that days events in motion, and your own choices thereafter – are not your fault….  Somehow, in your mind, it is the system and the staff failing the two of you.

It is time to wake up.  If I wasn’t so angry about the whole situation, I would feel sorry for you.  Like it, or not – we are part of the same community.  As a parent, you need to set an example for your child about respecting other people.  You need to teach him that there are consequences for his actions.   If you don’t do it NOW, the ramifications are going to be HUGE.  He feels like he is untouchable – and that scares the crap out of me.

Lady – my kids are NOT perfect.  And I sure as hell am not a perfect parent…. but, my kids are held accountable for their actions.  I have first hand experience with our school staff  reaching out to me about a behavior “concern”, and working as a team to correct it.  My kids are not victims of society – I will not allow it.  I usually ask my kids to be inclusive of all other kids – no matter what… but sadly I ask them to just stay away from yours – and that breaks my heart.

I wish that you would let people help you.  I wish that you would listen and learn and work with our community to help get your kid on a good path.  It is heartbreaking to watch adults give up on your son’s potential, because all the work they put in is undermined by you.

We aren’t raising kids in some inner city, where they are just a number in a system.  We have amazing resources, parents, teachers, staff in our small town school.  All of whom what to see every child succeed.  I wish that you understood what a gift we have in being part of this community, and that you would use the help that is offered to you.  I hope that someday, someone is able to reach your child on a level that connects with him – and that he is able to break this cycle….

You have attacked a member of my family.  You have gone onto a campus, that I regard as a safe place, and attacked a staff member – making it feel less safe.  My venting here is not going to change you.  You don’t want any help, because I guess you think people would see you are weak, or you would have to admit you might be wrong.  I am so angry, and only YOU can change the path you and your son are on. I wish you luck with that…

Holy Hormones, Batman!

You guys.  I don’t know how parents survive this.  I really don’t know how teachers and school administrations deal with it en mass….  The tween mood swings may just be the end of me (or the start of a long relationship with my wine glass).

img_1530These two.  My almost 11 year old twins.  This weird tween-ish age where they both are and are not little kids.  They want to be older.  They want to say and do things that their older cousin does (uh…. no).  But there are glimpses of my littles still there, wanting and needing my help – but they are becoming few and far between.

It is such a weird time.  They are grumpy, they are goofy.  They are angry one minute, and completely chill the next.  They can’t stand each other.  They are worried about each other.  They sleep more, they stink more, they eat more, they worry more. They are pushing their boundaries and pushing my buttons.  The eye-rolls and frustrated sighs…. They are at an age where I don’t really want to know why showers take longer, or what they are doing in their rooms (this is where the men need to step in).

When I have a conversation about “why” they are doing whatever has been called to my attention – I get tears of anguish… cries of “I don’t know” and “I can’t control my emotions”.  I am left feeling helpless, because I cannot fix things for them, I can only give them a little guidance and support, and hope they make the right choices (or are ready to deal with consequences).

Basically I am in a house full of males – and I am terrified they will all end up on the same hormonal cycle of IMS: Irritable Male Syndrome.

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No matter how much these changes stress me out, I try to be the calming voice of reason (it is not pretty when momma loses her shit).  I read something a while back, and it stuck with me and helps how I approach the wild beasts….. Here are 9 SUPER IMPORTANT THINGS that every Tween (and every child) needs to hear:

  1. I love you.
  2. You matter.
  3. I’m proud of you.
  4. I’m sorry.
  5. I’m listening.
  6. I forgive you.
  7. This is your responsibility.
  8. You are capable.
  9. I am so glad you are mine.

Seems so simple right.  But think about the last time you made a point to say any or all of these things.  Even if you think they know….. they need to hear the words. 

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I miss when they were small enough to carry them both around… it would be interesting to try and recreate this picture now – I would drown!

Seriously though.  I feel like my hands are full with 2 boys.  Imagine being a teacher with 30 or so hormone twitchy tweens…. the mood-swings must be full blown carnival rides.  I am thankful for the teachers we have.  I am glad that they are open and communicate with me when something is “off” with my monsters.  It gives me an opportunity to have a discussion and try and sort it out – I’m not always successful, but I am glad for the chance to try.  I feel like I need to buy them all drinks, or chocolate, or both…. along with a medal of honor and bravery for dealing with so much more than I could handle. Thank you for being amazing.

I am fiercely proud of the people my kids are becoming.  I know that at the end of this phase, we will be stronger and ready to face what the world throws us next.  As always, thank you for my village for helping keep us sane – I hope the odds are ever in our favor to survive the raging changes.

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#CrazyAsAMother #TwinTweenTerror #FrickAndFrack #BringMeAllTheWine #TeachersAreSuperHeroes

Aged to Imperfection

Today is the big day!!! Happy new year to me!

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The BIG freakin four-oh! At least I always thought of it as some HUGE milestone.  An inevitable sign that I am old.  **sigh** I thought I might be a little sad.  Maybe even a little disappointed that I haven’t achieved all that I used to think I should have done by now.  But, you know what….  I honestly feel like the best in life is yet to come!

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I am my best self, right now.  I know exactly who I am.  I know who I want to be.  I am genuinely happy.  I still have goals, and dreams and plans – but I am at a point in my life that I know that it is super important enjoy the journey too.  I’m not saying I am perfect – I am very far from it & my life isn’t all sunshine & rainbows…. but I do feel that am getting better with age.


Here are ten things that I have read or learned in my “old age”, that help remind me to live the life I love – and hopefully they can help you too:

  1. You are responsible for your own happiness.
  2. Make your reasons better than your excuses! You can’t have both.
  3. You don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward.
  4. Don’t get worked up over things and people you cannot change.  It isn’t worth it.
  5. You owe yourself the love that you so freely give to other people.
  6. Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.
  7. Life becomes more meaningful when you realize the simple fact that you will never get the same moment twice.
  8. Love out loud & have fun!
  9. Breathe.
  10. Never underestimate the healing powers of uncontrollable laughter, music, the ocean & letting go.

Growing older is awesome….  You reach a point in your life, where you truly have zero fucks given for people who are judgy, rude,  or small minded –  and it is like a breath of fresh air.  A giant middle finger to all of those who tell you you aren’t good enough.  It feels AMAZING to just be myself, full of flaws and mistakes – to just be me. I surround myself with people who amplify my strengths and carry me through my weaknesses.  I wish someone would have told me all of this 20 years ago – but maybe at that age we aren’t ready to listen.

Now – my mom didn’t do any cute milestone birthday photos when I was a baby – because there was no social media peer pressure – and, well I am the middle kid – so we are lucky there are ANY pictures of me as a baby.  I am the mom of boys, so how often do I get to put on frilly, sparkly crap and be the center of attention? (for those of you who don’t know… the answer is NEVER)  So why the hell not plan something fun for myself for this milestone age?!?

To help celebrate my birthday, I went to visit my friend (and amazing photographer) Patty, for a fun little photo shoot.  We laughed a lot, I drank most of the bottle, & I ate a ton of frosting….  it was a BLAST!!!

So cheers to the next 40 years and all that life has to offer!  My new year starts now, and my resolutions are going to lead to fulfilling my heart and enjoying every moment.

Here is my parting thoughts for you today:  So what if your life so far hasn’t been “fair”…. don’t be a victim of your excuses.  You can’t change the past, but can change your mindset and make the most of the days you have left.  As the song says – I hope you have the time of your life….

I can’t leave without mentioning: If you are in the Fresno or Monterey areas of California, and you need an AMAZING photographer, please check out Patty Schmidt Photography   She is the only person who can get all the dudes in my house to cooperate & we always have a ton of fun (as evidenced in the photos above)!

#CrazyAsAMother #FortyAF #ChooseHappy #SayWhatYouMeanAndMeanWhatYouSay #CakeSmash #IEarnedAllThoseWrinkles #TheBestIsYetToCome

Ahhh…. love

I’m not one for hoping for big romantic gestures on Valentine’s Day (or ever really).  I am more of a love with all you have every day type of girl.

Seriously – I get anxious if someone spends three times as much to buy flowers or go to dinner – just because of the holiday!  I would rather stay at home, and get flowers another time.

Now don’t get me wrong…. I love when thought and effort goes into making any day a little brighter.  It can be something really small.  It can be a huge, grand shenanigan…. as long as I know it comes from your heart, it is my favorite.

As a hot-mess mom, I (of course) spent the last few nights staying up later than I should to create the Valentine’s for my boy’s classes…. This is likely the last year I will have such a task to undertake – next year we will be in middle school, and I am sure we will be much too cool to do something like it.

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Nate’s Valentine for his class. I never buy these for him – though he would eat this crap every day…. He actually helped put them together last night! #MomWin I am sure this year’s teacher will be happy it’s not whoopie cushions again (sorry about that Mrs. Corea!)
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Kevin’s choice of class Valentines…. Swedish Fish!  And of course we had to make a dozen extra, so he can pass out to favorite teachers, staff and friends not in class!

We try to not make a big deal about this holiday (because I would be disappointed by the lack of enthusiasm in my house… because #boys) – but I know that all my guys know that I love them… I only say it a million times every day.  I love all my people!

I did get a new to us treadmill for the garage this week as an early gift (thanks love!)…. now I just need to get my ass up in the morning and use it!  I bought some yummy sugar cookies for the guys (sorry didn’t bake myself, but I kinda suck). Exchanged some bitmoji messages and GIFs with my boys, to show my unwavering love. Oh, and one of our dogs left a surprise in the hallway this morning, so there is that.   If I am lucky, the other little dog will probably eat another one of my shoes today too…. It will be a no-cook, leftovers and wine kind of night – and that is perfect!

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I hope that your Valentine’s Day is whatever you want it to be!  Whether you go big or keep it quiet – I hope that you know you are loved EVERY SINGLE DAY!

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My love for these three is fierce…..  

#CrazyAsAMother #HappyValentinesDay #LoveEveryday #FrickAndFrack #BoyMom #LastMinuteCraftsAreMyJam #YouDoYou