Category Archives: kids

Summer Plans for Moms of Preschoolers and Toddlers

That dreaded day on the calendar is almost here.

You can feel a bead of sweat start to trickle down your temple.

All of a sudden, your armpits are sweaty.

You can feel your heart pounding in your chest.

You think you might be having a panic attack.

Your mouth is dry and you’re having trouble catching your breath.

All from looking at one day on your calendar.

IMG_6620

Last day of preschool!!!!

I remember trying to cram everything I’ve ever wanted to do by myself into that last day of preschool because I knew I wouldn’t get another minute during the day to myself for the next 3 months. Bless the moms who have children under 4 at home during the summer. I know you’ve got your camps planned out, dreams of chore charts, lists of free things to do in your city, and so much more summer fun planned. I know, because years ago that was me. Back when I tried to have my act together, have a plan, be a “fun mom”. I love the idealists and the hope-filled dreamers. We’ve all done it. We have so many well-laid plans and dreams of summer fun. It’s cute really. All is well until things don’t go as planned. Until someone starts whining. Until someone hits his sister. Until someone is SOOOOOO HUNGRY! Until we realize we’ve basically taken a bunch of small humans with mood disorders out into the world who all have a tendency to wander. It’s a crushing reality.

 

Here’s a rundown of how summer’s going to go:

  1. Camps will be amazing until you pick them up and they’re so cranky from not having a nap you will want to put them to bed at 5:00 pm every day of said camp.
  2. Chore charts will last approximately one week. You will forget to get quarters or $1 bills out so you won’t be able to pay them and then you’ll end up forgetting all together. Then you’ll figure out it’s easier to wipe a counter yourself and you know it’s actually clean when YOU wipe it down, so the “chores” will fall by the wayside.
  3. Guess who likes free things? Roughly everyone, so free events for kids is a guaranteed circus. It will be similar to herding cats because what did we say about children? (“prone to wander Lord I feeeeeel it…”)
  4. The pool will be fun for a while but the work of sunscreen and fixing goggles and “Mom, watch this!” and always scanning the pool to make sure you can see all your kids will become taxing.
  5. You will eat Chick-fil-A approximately 87 times this summer. This is also the number of times you will have to endure the Play Area. You have my deepest sympathies.
  6. You will do so well at the beginning keeping them off all the electronic things but by August, they’ll be looking at a screen for 9 hours a day AND YOU WON’T EVEN CARE BECAUSE YOU ARE SO DONE.
  7. During naptime, you will tell them every 2.5 minutes “If you’re not going to lay down, you have to at least play quietly in your room.” This is will last for infinity.
  8. You need to go to Costco now and buy every snack food they make in bulk because your child will want a snack every 26 minutes. But they will never be hungry at dinner. It’s some sort of voodoo magic they do.
  9. Your home will look like a frat house after a band party. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. It’s fine.
  10. If your potty training this summer…………………

I’m just going to go ahead and start a prayer circle on your                                     behalf.

 

Sweet moms of toddlers, my prayers are with you. You will make it through. Your ears may bleed from all the whining and you may find yourself hiding in the bathrooms and closets just for time alone but it’s all going to be ok. If you find yourself circling the drain at some point, call a sitter or a friend to watch your kids. Tap out of being a parent for a hot minute. It’s ok. I didn’t do this as often as I should have because I wanted to be a strong mom and one who’s able to handle it all. I was “fine.” Let me tell you something about being fine: it’s overrated and underwhelming. Let yourself have a break and have a feeling. You are doing hard work being with your kids all day. You will survive. And this will be your reward:

IMG_6621

(Clearly I didn’t plan my Dr’s appt. to coincide with preschool pick up.)

-Courtney

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter!
Follow me on Instagram: @thecpallen
Can’t get enough? Click here I’ll send these straight to your inbox!

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

To the parents of teenagers

d7a01b1ca5d36914a5874a68c8891189

To the parents of teenagers,

I owe all of you an apology. I was naïve. I was proud. I spoke of that which I did not know. I would listen as you talked about your teen with desperation in your voice at how they had somehow changed overnight. They were now these angsty, hormonal humans who could cut you with their eyes and under their breath mumblings. The looks. The sarcasm. The eye rolls. Honestly, I judged you. I would never have said anything out loud, but in my mind I thought, “Well, maybe if you talked to them more. Maybe if you monitored their every move more. Maybe if you taught them about Jesus more…”

Bless my little heart.

What can I say? I had no idea. I broke the Mom code. I judged you without having walked in your shoes. I’m so ashamed I had these thoughts that it was something YOU did to make your teenager live on the brink of emotional breakdown at all times. I thought you had some control over their stubborn will and annoyed sighing. What did you do to make them stomp off and curse you under their breath?

Oh, it’s called you were being a GOOD parent? But I thought it felt good to be a good parent.

Lies. If someone tells you they are slaying this parenting thing and they never really have any issues with their kids, they’re either liars or really bad parents. You are allowed to feel like an amazing parent for one hot minute. That’s it. You get one minute when all your kids are good and you’re good and your marriage is good, then something will fall apart. It’s SCIENCE.

Maybe I’m writing this to make myself feel better since I’m on the cusp of having a teenager myself. Moods are changing, eyes are being rolled, and general annoyance is heightened. It’s coming. I feel it in my bones and I need to know grace exists when my kid is the one screwing it up. I’m going to be the one needing handholding from those brave mamas that have gone before me. I will need reminding that my identity is not in the hands of my children; it’s in the hands of the God who made me. And my children’s identity isn’t in my hands. I don’t need to be making them into who I want them to be; I should be praying for them and giving them the freedom to be who God wants them to be. That last statement…that’s the hard one. Giving them freedom. The constant questioning of when to give them slack on the rope and when to reign them in is a doubt-filled struggle. And if I’m not going to get it right every time, how can I expect them to always make the right choices? Oh mamas, how do we do this? What are we to do with these children who are turning into adults? We pray. We cry. We open our hands and return to God what was His all along. This is when we begin to trust God with our kids, and when we remember He’s writing their story.

Maybe I’m writing this so I will remember that very thing. He’s writing their story just like He’s writing mine.

Sheesh.

Now I know why no one tells you about actual parenting at your baby shower. Mothers everywhere would be Googling “How to keep your baby in utero longer.” I think I need a “teenager shower” where older, wiser moms can come over and give me advice/condolences about the teenage years. And instead of diapers, everyone just brings me $20 because THESE HUMANS COST SO MUCH MONEY!!!!

Anyone else watching their children turn into little adults before their very eyes?

-Courtney

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter!
Follow me on Instagram: @thecpallen
Can’t get enough? Click here I’ll send these straight to your inbox!

Tagged , , , , ,

A Letter to the Mamas,

I’m writing this to you because I think you need to hear it, but I’m also writing it to me so I don’t forget.

Hey, you. Yeah, I know you don’t have time for this. You need to get out the door and nobody has their coats or shoes on, and Baby has decided to take his pants off and run around the room. You’re going to be late to the kids’ doctor’s appointment and if it’s by more than 15 minutes they’ll make you reschedule. You’d think a pediatrician’s office would be more FLEXIBLE since, I don’t know, their dealing with CHILDREN WHO CAN’T DO ONE BLESSED THING FOR THEMSELVES SO HOW ON EARTH ARE YOU EXPECTED TO BE ON TIME? Anyway, by now you’ve gotten their coats and shoes on and Baby has on hand-me-down jeans from who knows where and you’re getting them in the car. Now one of them is crying because somebody hit her and Baby is whining and arching his back making it nearly impossible to buckle him into his car seat. As you use your best stern Mom voice to tell them “hands are not for hitting,” you notice you forgot to wipe of Baby’s face from breakfast and he has sticky syrup on his cheeks that has attracted every dirt particle from your home. He basically looks like a homeless baby. So you grab a wet wipe from the diaper bag and wipe his face off which makes him scream and you try to comfort him but you’re late so you figure he’ll get over it and jump into your seat. As you turn on your kids’ music or show, you find yourself starting to zone out.

This is where you need to listen, Moms.

As you begin to tune out all the car chatter, the voices in your head may take you down those old familiar roads. They are like a corn maze you can’t get out of. On your first turn, you head down the “What am I doing with my life?” path, then you take a right onto “Is this what motherhood is supposed to look like?” then hang a left on “Endless fighting and whining is not what I signed up for,” then merge onto “Am I even doing a good job?,” then you make a hard right onto “I suck at being a mom.” Then you’re basically there.

“Where?” you ask.

Right in the place the devil wants you. A place of vulnerability. A place where you’re so unsure of who you are and what your purpose is you are desperate for someone to tell you. So he does. He whispers things like, “No, you’re not really a good mom because what good mom yells at her kids/lets them watch THAT much TV/loses her temper/can’t get her kids to eat healthy foods/can’t get her kids to behave in public/doesn’t want to spend every second having “intentional” time with her kids/scrolls through her phone THAT many times a day/(fill in the blank with anything else that makes you feel like a crappy mom)…

And then the devil takes his toxic shame coat and drapes it over your shoulders and that’s how you live. Covered in shame.

This is where you need to listen, ladies.

Don’t let shame make you forget who you are.

Don’t forget that you are the woman that fed your kids today, you helped them get dressed, you held them when they cried, you listened when they told you about their day, you gave them encouragement when they doubted themselves, you washed their clothes, you picked them up when they needed to be held, you laid with them so they could fall asleep, you read them books, you helped with homework, you got them new jeans because theirs were getting a bit too short, you signed them up for camps, you made doctors’ appointments for them, you put money on their lunch card, you prayed for them, you prayed with them, you told her that she most certainly could not wear shorts that short, you said no to the party that was sketchy on the details, you called them out when they were being less than kind, you pointed them to Jesus with loving words, you corrected them and loved them, YOU DID SO MANY IMPORTANT THINGS.

Don’t forget that the God who made ALL the people gave you a few of His own to raise; because He knew you’d be the perfect fit for them. He chose YOU. He knew you would need help and He knew you would screw it up and He was ok with that.

See, the thing is, as much as we forget who we are sometimes, God doesn’t. If we have been saved through faith in Jesus, the Word says “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10)

I believe being a mom is good work. It can be exhausting and wonderful and mundane and sweet and aggravating and beautiful and just plain hard. Lots of times being a mom doesn’t feel good. When we feel like all we do is discipline and say no, it doesn’t really feel that awesome to be a mom. But my feelings are all over the place sometimes so it helps to go back to the Truth. “for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” (Prv. 3:12)

Aaaaahhhhh. Nice to know that all our reproving means that we actually LOVE our kids…contrary to what our kids may say. We’re just trying to point them to Jesus and keep them out of juvie, am I right?

All that to say… Moms, you’re doing a good job. What you’re doing matters. I see you and you are good enough. Actually, scratch that. You are excellent. Now go forth into battle and don’t forget to put snacks in your purse.

img_3053

(This pic was taken many years ago but it reminds me that winter with littles is HARD.)

-Courtney

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter!
Follow me on Instagram: @thecpallen
Can’t get enough? Click here I’ll send these straight to your inbox!

Tagged , , , , , , ,

If a waterbed wasn’t ridiculous enough, Caitlin wants a…

After 3 years, I finally caved. She’s been asking for 3 blessed years and because she doesn’t have much else on her list, she’s going to get that thing she’s been wanting. It is against my better judgment to let Santa bring this thing into our home but what am I to do? I’m already nixing the waterbed off Blake’s list, shouldn’t at least one of my kids get what they want? Paxton’s easy, his list can be bought in the electronic department of Target in a day. But my girl, sigh, she’s pining for this one thing and this is the year she’s gonna get it. She’s gonna be STOKED!

What’s the “thing”, you ask?

Oh. That.

Well, see, it’s the enormous stuffed bear from Costco. It’s the size of a Yeti (the monster not the cup) and I’m not even kidding. I have held it off for 3 years but she won’t stop asking for this silly bear. What can I say? The heart wants what it wants.

So I go yesterday to Costco to purchase said Yeti bear and OH. MY. WORD. It’s a monstrosity. It is bigger than ME and pound for pound we’ve got to be close to the same weight. I sort of wish I could see the store video footage of my trying to get this bear into my cart. It was basically a comedy sketch and by the end I’m in a full-blown sweat. I imagine it is like trying to get a 7 ft unconscious person into a car. And never mind the passersby that gawked at me like I was some sort of sideshow entertainment.

I finally manage to get the stupid thing into my cart but I have to hold the side of the cart to drive because it’s hanging out of both ends.

img_5998

Then come the people with all their commentary…

“Is that for you? Heh heh.”

“You should take the stuffing out and it could be a costume!”

“That’s bigger than you!!”

It was really precious, all those non funny comments.

Ya’ll would have been so proud of me. I didn’t say one ugly thing out loud to any of those people. I kept all my nasty, cutting comments to myself. I wore my invisible “SUCKER” sign on my forehead and walked to the checkout like a schmuck. I tried to avoid eye contact and looked at the ground but it was obvious people were staring as if to say, “What kind of idiot would by that?” Yep. That’s me. Idiot, Party of 1. I wish Kyle had been with me. He would have laughed along and had something funny to say to all their little jabs, but no, I wore my SUCKER sticker all by myself that day. I mean, people were literally pointing their fingers and laughing at me. Are we even allowed to point and laugh at people anymore? I feel like that should be a new rule. “No pointing and laughing at people unless they are a comedian or a clown.” I’m starting a petition.

Anyway, I check out and get to my car and just stand there, looking at my trunk. Like a statue.

img_5999

I have no idea how I’m going to get this beast of a bear into my car. Luckily, I didn’t wait long because a sweet couple offered to help me. They told me they had bought that same bear 3 years ago for their 10 year old granddaughter. Hallelujah and praise hands for compassion! We stuffed that bear into my car and I headed home, my faith in humanity restored. Look at this picture. I can’t even handle it.

img_6001

Big Foot Bear is residing in my garage at present, covered with a sheet and massive amounts of junk. See, there ARE perks to being unorganized and having piles of crap in your garage– no one notices when you add to the pile. Hopefully she won’t notice. Fingers crossed.

-Courtney

Tagged , , , , ,

The weirdest thing my kid wants for Christmas

Blake is always my most vocal child when it comes to what he wants for Christmas. He’s quick to make a list but I can’t shop too early because chances are he’s going to change his mind. There’s one thing on his list this year that has stayed the same. I keep waiting for him to decide he doesn’t want it anymore and cross it off the list. Unfortunately for me, this hasn’t happened yet. As a matter of fact, it’s the #1 thing he wants this year.

Any guesses as to what it is?

“OBJ jersey?” No. He’s already got one of those.

“Video games?” Nope.

“Football cards?” Please, baby Jesus, no. We’ve got enough.

The item topping his list this year, the thing he has not waffled on once, the thing that may or may not end his belief in Santa is…

Wait for it…

A WATERBED.

I’ll give you a minute. It’s ok, I about took a knee when he told me that’s what he wanted. What in the heavens? Is this some sort of joke? A waterbed?! Do the 1970s somehow come with it? Do I need to buy him a lava lamp and shag carpet as well?

I’m sure you’re wondering his reasoning behind wanting a waterbed as was I when he told me. After he told me why he wanted it, I COMPLETELY understood.

Me: “Blake, why on earth do you want a waterbed?”

Blake: “I just do.”

That’s it, folks. He just does. As compelling as his “I just do” argument is, I can’t. Right? I can’t get my 8 year old a waterbed. Like really?! I’ve tried explaining that there’s no way Santa could fit a waterbed down the chimney. He says he can just come through the front door. I half think that Blake knows the goods about Santa so he’s doing some sort of Christmas test on Kyle and me. He’s heard rumblings about old St. Nick at school and Paxton has almost blown Santa’s cover several times. I think in Blake’s mind it goes:

Waterbed= Yes, Blake, there is a Santa Claus!

No waterbed= My parents are lying liars and they deserve to have their pants catch on fire.

Well, it was fun while it lasted, Santa, but I can’t get my kid a waterbed. I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Do they even MAKE waterbeds anymore?” Why yes, yes they do. I only know because I just looked it up on Google for the purposes of this post, NOT for the purposes of purchasing one. (And in case you are in the market for one, they now make them to look like regular mattresses. So you can have the feel of the ‘70s without the look of the ‘70s. However, if you want that bed-encased-in-wood look (i.e. 1976), they still offer those.)

A waterbed for Blake would be like most other Christmas gifts he receives: it’ll be awesome for a hot minute then he won’t care about it anymore. Or worse, he’ll pop a hole in the thing and we’ll really be up a creek. Literally.

I know Blake, and I know he’ll be disappointed when he comes downstairs to find no waterbed but seriously, I just can’t. He’ll get over it, right? If he grows up and wants to buy his own waterbed, more power to him. Then maybe his wife can be the bad guy and tell him there’s no way she’s sleeping on a waterbed. Good girl.

Anyone have any suggestions on a good substitute for a waterbed? Is there another substitute other than, well…a regular bed? Maybe I’ll just give him a lava lamp and call it a day. He’ll think a lava lamp is totally groovy.

-Courtney

**Since writing this post, he has changed his #1 spot to a new bike! Glory be! A bike I can do! And look a little further down on the list…

img_5973

A lava lamp. Large. I didn’t even know there were different sizes.

What in the world.

It’s like he was born in the wrong decade.

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter!
Follow me on Instagram: @thecpallen
Can’t get enough? Click here I’ll send these straight to your inbox!

Tagged , , , , ,

What is infecting the kids in our community?

img_5635

WilCo-itis.

It’s infecting children everywhere in my community, Williamson County. It may be genetic, but it is highly contagious from kid to kid. I felt like it was my duty to inform you as I’ve seen signs of it in my own children from time to time. Here are 7 signs your child might be suffering from WilCo-itis:

  1. The idea that any “break” from school demands an amazing vacation.
  2. If you didn’t beach it at 30A, your child may not even consider it “the beach.”
  3. A little man on a horse is no longer a good enough shirt emblem. It has to be a whale or you can just forget it.
  4. Sonic happy hour? No. Frappes from Starbies.
  5. Duckface with a peace sign is the only selfie worth posting on social media.
  6. Expecting a car before their sixteenth birthday.
  7. Nike is so old school, Under Armour and Lulu are the only athletic clothes to be seen in. Even if you’re not being particularly “athletic.”

 

I know it sounds bad but don’t worry, it can be remedied. Sometimes it stays in the system for a while so it’s hard to kick, but hang in there. The treatment for this is going to be hard, parents. You will have to be vigilant. So here’s the cure:

WORK.

That’s it. Make your kids do work. Then make them use the money they WORKED TO EARN to pay for their own Starbies and whale shirts. Some other treatments are: phone deprivation, staying home during school breaks, and keeping your money in your own wallet. These are also effective.

Now, I have to warn you, the side effects of the treatment can be brutal. Here are 7 side effects that come with the cure for WilCo-itis.

  1. HEAVY eye-rolling
  2. Huffing
  3. Puffing
  4. Complaining
  5. The phrase “But ___________’s parents don’t make him/her work!”
  6. Overall tiredness
  7. Grouchiness

I know, the side effects look grim especially if you have to live with them every day. Not the kids, you. You will have to live with them every day. It will be hard but I think you can do it. YOU have the ability to raise children that aren’t entitled little jerks running around with their parents’ credit card. YOU are the parent, not the fun/entertainment director. YOUR KIDS ARE NOT THE BOSS OF YOU. You are the boss, and occasionally, you let them make choices and you don’t have to feel bad about it. Even the tweens need (GASP) guidance even though they know everything already. You are equipped to do this. You can cure your kids of this nasty disease and they will be better humans for it. Together we can beat Wilco-itis.

-Courtney

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter!
Follow me on Instagram: @thecpallen
Can’t get enough? Click here I’ll send these straight to your inbox!

Tagged , , , , , ,

A note to my younger self about parenting books

FullSizeRender-2

Dear 29-year-old self,

We need to have a little chat. You are so well intentioned with all those parenting books, really, you are but you’ve got to remember these are people’s opinions, not Gospel truth. Many of them have wonderfully helpful information on parenting so don’t completely disregard, but there’s something you need to know when it comes to raising kids: A plus B does not always equal C. Just because you do everything these books say doesn’t mean you will raise the perfect child or be the perfect mom. Because lesbihonest, you think that children are a direct reflection of how they’re raised. Bless. You have so much to learn, dear one. You will meet so many parents you admire whose kids are screwing it up and you don’t think this makes them a bad parent. It means that you can try your darndest to control them, but kids will eventually make their own decisions.

It’s noble that you want to get this mothering thing right the first time but for goodness sake, quit beating yourself up about it. You’re going to learn that loving your kids well has a lot more to do with how you communicate with them and a lot less to do with providing a perfect environment for them to grow, impeccable Sunday School attendance, how many sports they’re involved in, and how many social engagements they have. And rather than trying to do everything by the book, spend time in the Word. Pray for your kids. Talk to the God that made them, He knows far more about your kids than any other person who wrote a book on parenting. I wish you would do this more. I wish you were on your knees praying for God’s edification in your life because it will bleed into how you mother those little ones.

The books are great but just keep in mind that you don’t have control over how your kids turn out. Your jobs are to be faithful to what God has called you to and teach your kids about Jesus. This is what you do, no matter the outcome. God is writing their story, Precious, not you. God has hard lessons for them to learn so let them learn. Don’t shield them from everything or they will never learn how to be brave and fight for themselves. Give them a safe place to land, not a bubble to live inside. This will be hard; especially living in the community you live in where all the kids have all the things (clothes, technology, money, status, etc.) It’s a fight against defining happiness with the amount of stuff you have. Teach them that stuff doesn’t bring eternal joy. In a world that is full of bullying and greed, teach them to be kind to others and generous with what they have. This is the better way.

And remember, when your kids make decisions that break your heart, you haven’t failed as a parent. God isn’t done. Don’t lose hope. Continue to be faithful to what He has called you to.

Remember those marriage books you read while you were engaged? And remember how you laughed and laughed when you found out nothing could’ve prepared you for what marriage would be like? (Apparently no one thought it especially important to write a book about getting married 2 months after you graduate college, then getting pregnant 3 weeks after the wedding. Weird that no one thought that book would fly off the shelves.) Many of the marriage and parenting books have great information but marriage and parenting aren’t formulaic. Everyone’s different and that’s ok. You are 36 and still flying by the seat of your pants most every day. You do not have it figured out and, unlike when you were young, you don’t care who knows it. Cut yourself some slack, the kids are amazing.

Love,

Your Older, Wiser Self

P.S. The other day you got a flat tire with your kids and groceries in the car and you figured out what to do ALL BY YOURSELF! Then the next day, your debit card was stolen and you took care of it ALL BY YOURSELF! You are so tired of wearing your big girl panties but YOU DID IT! You slayed adulthood this week! You are such a grown up and you hope it never happens again because you’re exhausted.

Follow me on Facebook (Thecpallen) and Twitter (@Thecpallen)!
Follow me on Instagram: @cpallen216

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Happenings lately

Rogers

(I saw this on Instagram and I loved it. There is always good. Even when it’s hard to see, there is still good.)

Sweet friends, so much has happened since the last time I posted to this blog. On a large scale, our country is grieving for those that were injured and killed in the Orlando shooting a few days ago. This makes my heart sick. It makes me sick to think there are people out there that are resolved to killing people who are not like them. These people thrive off being feared by others and it’s just disgusting. I hate that I had to talk to my sweet children about people like this as they just looked at me with confused faces, like “Why on earth would you kill someone just because they’re different than you?” I adore their innocence and it makes me ill that the world they are growing up in is not idyllic for them. I hate that they will have to witness hate that is beyond their understanding. People hurting groups of people to foster fear in the hearts of others is so cowardly. But I’m grateful that in these instances, I get to talk to them about Jesus. I get to tell them how Jesus is grieved for this community that lost so many. I get to tell them how Jesus would never think it’s ok to kill someone just because they’re different. Jesus commanded us to love one another. That’s it. I get to tell them that because of what Jesus did for us, we can be kind and love other people because we have hope. The brokenness of our world will only become more real to our children as they grow. I pray this reality will open their eyes to the beauty of what God did through Jesus. It’s all grace upon grace upon grace.

Ok, other happenings on a smaller scale include:

-It’s summer

-The kids ask me what we’re going to do every blessed day

-They also might eat me out of house and home (canihaveasnackmom?)(eventhoughiate20minutesago)

-Nash the dog tore his ACL and had surgery (ohmygoshthismightsendmeovertheedge)

-We are researching a gluten free diet for our family (ohmygoshthisishardtoo)

-It’s supposed to get up to 99 degrees this week and we all might melt

-I have come to terms with my inability to multitask (ijustcant)

-After 13 years of Kyle’s nagging, I finally caved and picked up a tennis racket (eatingcrow) (tennisisactuallyfun)

-My hopes of maintaining some sort of exercise regimen in the summer have come crashing down (doessweatingatthepoolcountasexercise?)

-My kids were at camps last week and Kyle and I ate ice cream every night (itwentdownsmooth)

-I’m learning to embrace my lack of productivity with kids at home (messyisthenewblack)

 

AND THE BEST ONE OF ALL…

-I’ve got another children’s book going to print!!!!!!!!! (YIPPPPEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!)

I’ll tell you more about the book as it gets closer to being finished, but just know it’s fun, has really cute illustrations, and will be a great Christmas gift! I literally can’t wait to tell you more!!!

Until next time…

-Courtney

 

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

The Day Time Stood Still

Do you ever feel like time stands still? I’ve heard that when a tragedy happens, time seems to stop. I remember being in Pathophysiology and watching the second hand on the wall clock crawl like a turtle. Sitting on hard bleachers during your child’s practice can also seem like an eternity. Last week, I discovered another place where time stands still.

Chuck E. Cheese.

In a weak moment during spring break, my kids convinced me that going to Chuck E. Cheese was a great idea. Now, this was only after the trampoline/ninja warrior gym we were originally going to go to was packed, so my kids opted to do this another day when it wasn’t as crowded. Because, heaven forbid, the children be bored. I think my kids think that being bored is some sort of punishment. Like if I’m not entertaining them every day when their friends aren’t around, I’m somehow the mean mom. No, children, I’m not mean, I’m just not your cruise director. But on this particular day, I decided to cave and took them to the place germs go to spawn, Chuck E. Cheese.

Upon walking in, the smell of greasy pizza and sweaty kids made me question my decision. Pair that with the blinking lights from 50 arcade games and kiddie music blaring from everywhere and I knew my fate was sealed. I was going to die here. Right here on this ‘80s carpet with old pizza crust and stray tickets.

We go to buy tokens and I told them that when the tokens run out we’re done and going home. Once tokens are distributed, they take off, each to their own games. I go find the cleanest looking table with the least amount of trash to sit and scroll through all the social media. Judge away, helicopter parents. Turns out that takes all of 10 minutes. This is about the same time Caitlin and Blake run up to me and give me plastic cards with their pictures on them to hold until the end of time.

Getting bored, I go find my kids to see what they’re playing. Paxton can always be found playing some sort of racing game. He doesn’t care about getting tickets, he just wants to simulate driving. Unfortunately, wrecking in simulation and wrecking in real life have very different outcomes. Luckily he’s only 11 and we’ve still got time to work on his skills.

I look at my phone to check the time. I feel like we’ve been here at least 30 minutes. What? 16 minutes?!? That can’t be right! Surely we’ve been here longer than that! I really am going to die here.

I found Caitlin playing a bow and arrow simulation game. The more targets you hit, the more tickets you get. She was a decent shot but kept missing the bonus shot at the end. You had to hit an apple that was sitting on someone’s head.

IMG_4910

I asked if I could give it a go to which she obliged since she knew if I could hit the apple, she could win 25 more tickets. No one’s ever called Caitlin a dummy. So I line up my arrow and find that when the timer starts, the bullseye moves just the slightest bit back and forth. Oh, those wicked arcade games! Always so tricky! I kept my hand as steady as possible and shot my arrow.

BULLSEYE!!!! 25 TICKETS!!!! I’m not gonna lie, I was more excited than I should’ve been to hit that apple. Then I realized that I was in Chuck E. Cheese, the place where adult coolness goes to die. I was fine. Caitlin was pumped and wanted to move on to Skeeball. Ah, Skeeball. So many memories from my youth. I love Skeeball. I have hope that I’m going to hit that 10,000 hole every time and every time I’m disappointed. I never learn. I go for it every time and get the lousy 1,000 hole. It’s still my favorite game though.

Blake is shooting basketballs and missing most of them but he keeps trying and hoping just like his mom with Skeeball. Blake likes most anything where you’re shooting something. A ball, a watergun, you name it. He was in between games when he noticed the big Cheese himself walking by. That’s right Chuck E. had come out to see his pint size fans. They were all crowded around him and singing whatever song he was singing. Then he started making it rain tickets on the little children. Like manna from heaven. These kids became lowly beggars crawling all over the ‘80s carpet trying to get as many tickets as possible. I thought it was a bit pathetic then I noticed Blake was down there with them. Sigh.

IMG_4911

(This was before Chuck made it rain)

The tokens finally ran out and it was time to feed the tickets into the ticket counting machine. This could take an hour if you have to put them in 1 or 2 at a time. IMG_4913

IMG_4914

(We had a lot of one offs and twofers)

The best is when you have a long chain of tickets to feed the ticket monster, alas, we only a couple of those.

IMG_4912

(Paxton got the bullseye on his own. You would’ve thought he won $1 million dollars)

After the counting was finished, we went through the excruciating task of picking out prizes. I can’t even. It takes so long for my kids to decide. I took a picture of their loot so you could see how well my $20 was spent. Looong sigh.

IMG_4916

Then, with much anticipation on my part, we got to exit the building. Hallelujah! I survived the hour that seemed like an eternity! I can’t remember exactly when, but I’m pretty sure an hour later the kids were asking, “So, what are we going to do now?” Loooooonger sigh.

-Courtney

Tagged , , , , , ,

Why I don’t cook for my kids

IMG_0848

(This was taken years ago but is still pretty accurate.)

I know it sounds a bit harsh: “I don’t cook for my kids.”

But it’s the truth.

I had a friend ask me a while back, “Doesn’t it hurt your feelings when your kids don’t like your cooking?”

The short answer? No.

Here’s why:

  1. If I cooked for my kids, we would only eat chicken nuggets and cheese quesadillas. That’s a fact, friends.
  2. They think the Kids Cuisine TV dinners are real food. They would be wrong.
  3. They eat old candy they find in my car.
  4. They think box macaroni and cheese is better than homemade. It’s baffling.
  5. Basically, they think anything out of a box is pretty much going to be better than whatever I’m making.
  6. They’re little, surely their taste buds are still developing.
  7. They judge a restaurant by whether or not it has an iPad at the table or queso as an appetizer.
  8. I’ve seen them eat their boogers.
  9. They don’t love when I cook Pioneer Woman recipes. Say WHAA?
  10. They hate Tazikis.

 

Because of these things, I feel they are not objective when it comes to good food therefore their opinions are invalid. Seriously, who doesn’t like Pioneer Woman?

I’m not great at a lot of things: cleaning, putting away laundry, excel spreadsheets, sticking to a budget, walking into a room full of strangers, and on and on the list could go. But one thing I would say I’m pretty good at is cooking. I’ve made some disgusting meals I wouldn’t even feed my dog but for the most part I can follow a recipe. So when my kids put up a fuss about dinner and say “It’s GROOOSSSSSSS!!!!” (a regular occurrence) before they’ve even tried it, I don’t pay it any mind. When they just look at their plate of food and ask how many bites must they eat before they can get up, I smile and say, “Just go ahead and get started and we’ll see.” They love that. I’ve seen them eat old M&Ms off my dirty car floor, why on earth would I let them hold my cooking ego in their grubby hands? This is ludicrous.

There was a time when I cooked for my kids, or kid. When I had only one child and he was a picky eater I catered to whatever I thought he would eat. It was easy because, well, I just had the one kid. My mother guilt sometimes creeps in and convinces me this is why he is still a picky eater at 11 years old. I only did it until I had my 2nd kid and realized Mama ain’t got time for all that. Sorry, bro, you gotta eat like Mom and Dad. These were hard times for Paxton.

Do I think I only cook well-balanced, nutritious meals for my family? No. I love some enchiladas and jambalaya. Do I think most of the food I cook is healthier than what they would pick if they had a choice? Most definitely yes. Do I sometimes give them quesadillas and chicken nuggets because it’s easier? Yes, because sometimes I need sanity and if I hear one more complaint I might lose it.

So to the Mamas whose kids hate everything they cook: I FEEL YOU. Keep cooking good food. Remember they are kids; they wouldn’t bath or brush their teeth if not for you. Clearly they don’t always want to make good choices and this is why they have us, the parents, to teach and guide them that there are other foods out there. Expand their palates!! Maybe just maybe they’ll end up liking it one day.

-Courtney

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter!
Follow me on Instagram: @cpallen216
Can’t get enough? Click here and I’ll send these straight to your inbox!

Tagged , , , , ,