Weekly Update

Weddings on Weddings

I love weddings. It is so fun to meet all the family and friends who have formed the couple into who they are today. I love putting faces to names. I love watching the groom watch the bride as she walks down the aisle, the glowiness of the new couple, and the joyful anticipation of the happy years ahead. I love listening to the vows and remembering my shaky voice as I took my own vows. And obviously I love a good reception full of happy people, cake & dancing.

And so, I was not disappointed to celebrate a second wedding (in 2 weeks) back home in Minnesota. In my head I called it “the nerd wedding” because it was full of pharmacists and other medical professionals as both Jill and George are pharmacists. If you needed to code, this would have been the place to do it. (Luckily no one did.)

Jill and I met back in high school when we ran cross country and track together. There’s something about running that innately bonds people; I think it has to do with the pain that running can induce. When you are in pain at the same time as someone else, it connects your hearts. You don’t need to talk to understand that the other person is also suffering. A side glance will do to communicate, “I am with you. We’ve got this.”

And so, ever since high school, Jill and I have been close friends despite different life paths. After we both went to college in Winona, MN (Jill at St. Mary’s University and me at Winona State University), she went on to graduate school to become a pharmacist while I worked as a nurse and got married. I had my first child. She graduated from pharmacy school and went on to residency. She met her now husband during residency. I had my second child. She finished residency. I moved to Florida. And then she got married.

I think it is special that we’ve been able to maintain our friendship. It can be really tough to maintain friendships long term, especially when you are at completely different life stages. She has remained a tried and true friend as I went through the ups and downs of motherhood, despite having no children of her own (yet).

So anyway, the moral of this sappy portion of the post is that I couldn’t be happier for Jill and George.

The girls traveled okay. After their rock star traveling last trip I was hopeful it was an indication that things were changing for the better. Alice is exploring the terrible two’s and her new favorite way to express unhappiness is banging her head on things. I’m terribly sorry to the man sitting behind her on the airplane whose tray table was rocked by Alice earthquakes every 20 minutes. We ate dinner at a classy restaurant in Minneapolis while Alice threw a tantrum under the table…at least she was contained and hidden.

But while the travel was not smooth, it definitely wouldn’t classify in the “top 3 worst trips” (if you’re curious what would, think on the level of projectile vomiting and explosive diarrhea at the same time in a hotel bathroom. TMI? Sorry)

Highlights from the trip aside from the wedding include: seeing my parents and their chocolate lab puppy, “Bear”, visiting some old coworkers at Minneapolis Heart Institute for lunch, and visiting my cousin who works at Perkins prior to our flight back to FL.

Chad flew to Canada for an Actuarial conference (BOOOOOORING) while the girls and I flew back to Florida. The girls were pretty good travelers once the plane took off & we made it home intact and still loving each other. We are lying low today. The girls are happy to be back to their toys and I am happy to be back to my bed.

Quote of the week:

A plumber came by to fix a leaking pipe. When I told Avery not to use that toilet since the water is shut off, she asked “What happened, Mom? Did someone go potty too hard?” Uhhhhhh….I guess that is a possibility.

Sending love from FL,


Weekly Update

“Recovery” Week

We are just about at the 2 month mark of our Florida adventures. This upcoming week we will be heading to Minnesota (again) for my friend Jill’s wedding. Jill and I have been friends since high school and I am so excited for her to tie the knot with George!

This past week has mainly been a recovery week for the Onstot clan. As included in last week’s report, I came down with a cold when we returned home from Minnesota, so I’ve been trying to get some extra rest. The girls went through their usual “return from travel” adjustments, which include a few extra meltdowns per day along with increased clinginess. They adjusted much faster this time around. Yay!

Chad’s grandparents are now in Florida for the winter and we are loving having them nearby. Avery and Alice played shuffleboard for the first time, surprisingly not resulting in any injuries of themselves or others.

The mall near our house has a farmers market every Thursday. I took the girls for the first time this week. I thought it would be a really fun experience but the girls were pissed that it was not air conditioned. “That’s the thing,” I tried to tell them, “the fun thing about a farmers market is that it is outside!” They gave me a look that I only envisioned they would give me when they turned into teenagers. So…. we will check that one off the bucket list.

We made it to three beach sunsets this week, which were gorgeous and left us all feeling calm at the end of the day. We saw two washed up jellyfish- we aren’t sure if it was related to red tide, or simply a random occurrence. Avery and Alice received the “Do not touch the jellyfish” education, and actually followed the advice.

A tropical storm blew across us yesterday and experienced our first almost full day of rain. The gloomy weather was welcome as it gave me a chance to catch up on housework and prepare for the week ahead. Coming from Minnesota, I have this mindset that we MUST BE OUTSIDE when the weather is nice. But since the weather is nice every day, we spend a lot of time outside… and sometimes it is lovely to have a day where I don’t feel guilty about being inside.

We still found a rain-free window to get to the pool. As expected, it was empty so we enjoyed the pool to ourselves. We ended our evening on the perfect note with a game of Dominoes with Chad’s Grandparents. We played boys against girls. Helen and I let the boys win so we didn’t have to listen to them whine for the week.

I regret teaching Alice the phrase, “Today, Junior!” as she yelled it in church today while waiting for people to finish going through the communion line. “Today, guys!” She had important two year old things to do I guess.

The girls and I spent this afternoon at the beach while Chad golfed. There were huge waves (result of tropical storm) which washed up some neat shells. Our plans to watch the sunset were dashed by a rain storm and a diaper blow out. At the same time.

As I am reading through this post to check for typo’s, I realize this was not a “recovery week”. We packed in a lot, in keeping with the Onstot pace.

I have some exciting news to share! All of the positive support I’ve received from readers of this blog has inspired me to start a legit blog that will cover the topics of parenting & travel. I’ve been working on setting it up for the past 6 weeks and am excited to announce that my planned launch date is November 1st. I will give you more info next week! This blog will remain intact because it is perfect for giving more family/ friend geared updates.



Weekly Update

A Minnesota Wedding

As promised, last week’s update is late as we were in MN for my sister Amelia’s wedding. The trip was a whirlwind and we did not stop moving from the moment we left Florida until we returned home. I am surprised and proud to report that the girls traveled like absolute champs.

I think my pride over their traveling well is finally a combo of me having realistic expectations from them when we travel, and the fact that they are actually getting better at it. When I first started traveling with the girls, I had really high expectations- no tantrums, good listeners, and that they would go to bed without complete meltdowns.

Now when we travel, I expect tantrums. And sure, we get a couple- always on the airport floor, which is teeming with germs. But because I’ve come to expect them, I’m able to calmly wait it out without getting all feisty myself and in turn riling up the girls even more.

I have resigned myself to the fact that I will snuggle with the girls until they fall asleep when we are traveling (and maybe have even come to enjoy it).

Minnesota greeted us with dreary weather and snow, confirming the fact that we are happy we moved to FL.

The wedding was beautiful. I could not be happier for my sister, Amelia and her husband, Brian. As I stood at the altar, I had my eyes glued on Brian when Amelia started processing down the aisle. Of course, Amelia was looking absolutely stunning and radiant. He sighed when he first saw her and his eyes began to tear up. “That’s right!” I wanted to yell, “You got a good one!” We danced the night away and my calves are still sore (like, literally more sore than after I ran a marathon). I take weddings seriously, okay? Also, my dance moves are pretty horrible so I’m sure my bad dancing form contributes to my sore legs.

Avery and Alice were flower girls for the wedding. None of us expected that they would make it down the aisle gracefully, but they did. I was shocked. Did someone drug my children? Why were they behaving so well? It is still a mystery what their motive was for behaving well, but I will take good behavior when I get it.

<<side note: It is possible that the good behavior was related to the fact that I told the girls King Kong would come and eat them if he heard them whining.>>

It was so lovely to be able to see a lot of our MN family and friends. While we love living in Florida, it is really sad to be so far away from our peeps. I was able to get my hair cut and styled by my favorite hair stylist who has been cutting my hair since I was 6 days overdue with Avery. We danced the night away with our childhood neighbors growing up- and while we haven’t seen each other in a LONG time, it was as if no time had passed.

I got to see one of my favorite aunts (who religiously reads this blog and always leaves a nice note)- shout out to Aunt Kris! And my Grandma, who is way cooler than anyone else’s Grandma as she goes by the name “G-Dizz” a true gangsta at heart (who graciously accepted this name I gave her back when I was in middle school).

Not too surprisingly, I came down with a case of the sneezes on the plane ride home, which quickly morphed into a full blown upper respiratory cold. Yesterday I spent the day on the couch, napping away most of the day while letting the kids watch an insane amount of TV. But it was so worth it- though I’m still tired, I feel a million times better today.

We are happy to be back home in our Florida digs. The Florida weather is now a bit cooler, with highs in the upper 80’s. This week should be a quiet one, allowing catch up on laundry and cleaning and hopefully some time to relax before we travel back to MN in 2 weeks for my good friend, Jill’s wedding.

Sending love to all,


Weekly Update

Curdled Milk

A few weeks ago, as I was suffering from a case of writers block, I prayed, “Dear God, please help me find things to write about.” And high in heaven, God laughed. I imagine Him shaking His head and saying, “I’ve got you covered.”

For those who are squeamish, consider yourselves forewarned, this update contains bodily fluids.

I love watching the sun set over the beach. It is so peaceful, calm, and everyone on the beach sits in awe. It doesn’t matter if it’s the couple who has lived here for 50 years or the international tourists. As the sun sets and the last few rays disappear, everyone watches, soaking the moment in.

The sunset provides beautiful lighting- and everything looks magical with the orangey glow reflecting off the dark blue water. Awhile back, we watched a sunset at the beach after dinner. We sat on the pavilion to avoid sandy feet, but I was so inspired to bring the family back for a picnic dinner and then a swim during a sunset. In my head, it sounded so lovely. So picture perfect. So calm and peaceful.

And so, Chad and I decided to make the magic happen. Last Saturday we packed up what felt like all of our belongings, wrangled the girls into their swimsuits and brought them to Fort Myers beach. We had just survived the stomach flu and we were excited that the girls were healthy and we could finally get out of the house and do something fun.

Things were going well. I was feeling good about our dreamy sunset swim after a relaxing dinner.

After swimming for a while, we realized the girls would need dinner prior to sunset so we decided to go to a restaurant on the ocean where we could watch the sunset from our table. It was not the swimming during sunset I had conjured in my mind, but it would do. “No problem,” I thought to myself, “I’m a parent… I’m used to these compromises.”

We were seated at a nice table at a restaurant with a beautiful view of the pending sunset. The girls were whiney but such is life. As we waited for our food, I ordered the girls milk to drink. Because I’m a good mom who is going to prevent osteoporosis in her children by feeding them tons of calcium. The girls drank their milk (and whined) while Chad and I tried to carry a civilized conversation. It felt like the food took forever, but it finally arrived.

I attempted to move Alice, who was sitting on my lap, to her own chair. But she kept whining and being clingy. Then she uttered a phrase that made me freeze dead in my tracks, “I have to pee.” If you read last week’s post you will know exactly what is being referenced here. My brain went into a combination of denial and trying to make calculations as only a mom brain can: should I rush her to the bathroom? Should I just catch it in an empty water glass on the table? Or maybe just with a napkin? All those thoughts crossed my mind in the 0.00025 seconds before she projectile vomited curdled milk EVERYWHERE.

My jaw dropped. Everything started moving in slow motion. Our sweet waiter had just arrived to check on our food and witnessed the whole event. “I am so sorry,” I gasped as I picked my puke cover child up and placed her on a chair in attempt to clean up what I could. Our waitress was so kind and said, “Oh don’t worry about it. The milk she drank probably curdled. That’s why I don’t like to give kids milk at outdoor restaurants. My daughter does the same thing.” “Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy didn’t you warn us?” I wanted to ask. But there was no time to continue the conversation, because Mount Alice erupted again, covering a whole new trajectory with curdled milk vomit.

Chad watched in horror. “Get her out of here!” he whispered in a panicked voice. And so I did what any parent would do. I picked up my puke covered child and ran out of the restaurant, unsure when the volcano would erupt next, leaving Chad to deal with the puke, our waiter, and Avery.

Luckily she only puked twice. This is now Avery’s favorite story to tell anyone who will listen: “My stitster (can’t pronounce sister) PUKED at the restaurant.” Everyone who hears the story takes 10 steps back until I’ve reassured them that the stomach bug is long gone… we think.

Aside from this traumatic event, it has been a pretty quiet week. Next week’s update will be a little late since we will be in MN at Amelia’s wedding through Sunday.

Sending love to all,


Weekly Update

Week 5 update: Frogs & Vomit

It is hard to believe we are over a month into this Florida stay. When talking to my Mom on the phone the other night, she asked, “Does it feel like home yet?”

We are at the “we feel comfortable and can relax here” stage of adjusting to our new place but it doesn’t feel homey quite yet. I created an infographic to show where we are in the process. I’d say we are right between stage 2 and stage 3.

This week was spent readjusting to being back in our Estero place after spending last week in Palm Beach, FL. As we were settling in, Avery and Alice were playing with their blocks. Avery came over and reported, “Mom, there is a frog in our block box.” She tends to be a bit over dramatic and anytime she sees a black piece of fuzz, she freaks out and tells me we have an ant in the house. With this, I never take any insect/animal reports from her too seriously.

Anyway, I went to check out the situation because I am a good mom. Initially, it looked like a turd on the block box lid. And I was about to ask who pooped in the block box when I noticed that the turd had beady eyes that were staring at me. What happened next can best be described as chaos as Chad and the girls panicked that the frog was going to escape the box and live in our house forever. Due to my training in emergency situations, I was able to calmly carry the lid outside and thankfully the frog did not hop off until we were outside.

the frog/toad….looking guilty

We went to the Children’s Museum in Naples, FL. The museum was incredible. It was built off of a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) thought process and incorporated a lot of science and creative thinking activities. The girls favorite part was a fake orchard/ garden they had, where they could transport the picked food to the grocery store, where they could pretend to buy the food and take it over to the restaurant where they could cook and serve it. We spent a whopping FOUR HOURS there. I would highly recommend it to anyone in the Naples area with kids.

We played our weekly round of mini golf. I’d like to report that I got a hole in one (accidental) and at one point in the round I was beating Chad (on the 2nd hole). There was a fake gorilla on the course that Alice was terrified of and refused to pose for a picture with it. After our game, we went to the beach on a whim to watch the sunset. It was beautiful.

Sunset at the Beach

A few days later, Alice caught a stomach bug similar to one Avery had 2 weeks ago. It was the dreaded middle of the night wakeup, where I found Alice sitting in bed, covered in vomit, reporting “I peed”. Because, hey- if you’ve ever puked before it kind of is like peeing… out of your mouth…with chunks. So I spent the night in Alice’s room, bolting out of bed every time she uttered the words “I need to pee in the bucket.” I’ve never been so terrified of pee.

I’m experiencing a bit of cabin fever after spending 2 days inside with the sick kid. Today we ventured to target, which was glorious. The girls are obsessed with the large red balls outside Target. Every time we get there, they yell, “Mom, can we touch two balls?” And then I internally laugh. Last time we were there, one of the girls said, “Mom, these balls are so HOT!”

I’ll end on that note.


Weekly Update

Tofu & Turtles

“Be like tofu,” she said with a grandmotherly smile, “take on the flavor of Mayo (the hospital, not the food). Absorb its unique culture.” And just like my college days, I’ve been practicing taking on the flavor of Florida.

The culture here is quite the mix. I’ve been mistaken as Spanish speaking multiple times, with people speaking Spanish to me as if I must know the language. I do know a few phrases “Me gusta helado” (I like ice cream) and “Me llamo Laura” (my name is Laura). Both important phrases that have gotten me quite far in life and here in Florida.

This has been a week of firsts for us: Chad’s first nationals golf tournament, first alligator sighting (in the zoo), first dolphin sighting (at the beach, about 20 yards away from where we were swimming), and first time snorkeling in the ocean.  

We spent 7 nights in Palm Beach while Chad played in his tournament. The girls and I explored the area while Chad played in the tournament:

  • Manatee Lagoon – was a bust since it is not Manatee season. No manatees were spotted, but does look like a cool spot during manatee season.
Manatee Lagoon
  • Palm Beach Zoo – we saw their “white alligator”- which is pretty much the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen and a normal alligator (also creepy due to how well it camouflaged into the pond).
The only picture I have from the zoo. Alice was experiencing the effects of a sugar high.
  • Palm Beach Science Center – captivated us for hours. They had a lot of fun exhibits with my favorite being a neuroscience exhibit and the girl’s favorite being the kids area.
Science Center
  • Loggerhead Marine Life Center— A turtle hospital that cares for injured adult sea turtles and also cares for baby sea turtles who had trouble making it out to sea. While we were there, we were able to watch them do an ultrasound on a sedated 290 lb turtle. I was fascinated by all of this… my sidekicks however, were not.
The babies!!!!
An injured adult sea turtle
  • Juno beach – was gorgeous, but were unable to swim there due to big waves & “unsafe conditions”.
The waves @ Juno Beach

While we weren’t out exploring, we spent a lot of time at the resort hotel pool. The girls made a few “friends” who were fun at the beginning, but then turned into normal 3 & 4 year olds. As we tried to leave one day, 3 year old friend Gracie said, “NO! YOU CANNOT LEAVE!” And then I happily left her with her mom. There were sharing wars of course. But also fun things like the game of “let’s see how much water we can dump on mom’s head” and endless alligator rides. The childless women of the pool, luxuriously sunbathing in peace while sipping pina coladas, shot smiles of amusement as they watched me give endless alligator rides. Whenever I hopped out of the pool to reapply sunscreen or grab a drink of water (not vodka unfortunately), dictator Alice would yell (in a tone eerily similar to mine when they are in trouble), “MOM! GET IN THE POOL!” Jeepers, kid.

PGA Resort Pool

We came back a day early since Chad finished his golf round earlier than expected. After 7 days of hotel living, we were so ready to be back “home”. It feels lovely to be back in our Florida place, where we don’t all have to share one room. The girls don’t sleep well when we travel, so I’m enjoying full nights of sleep again.

On Saturday we went to the beach, where we saw the dolphin and a live sand dollar (which I learned is a living creature). To top off a lovely day, we stopped for ice cream on our way home at “Sweet Melissa’s”, where we are becoming regulars.

Building Sandcastles at the Beach.

The past two days have been gloriously humidity free, making 90 degrees feel… might I say, cool? *** Of note, our AC is finally fixed- thank goodness. We are looking forward to 3 weeks of no travel and then will be heading back to Minnesota for my sister Amelia’s wedding!!!

Sending love back home,



Parenting Simulation Activities

So, you’re pregnant. Congrats! Now what? Here is a comprehensive list of activities you can do to practice parenting skills:

  1. Get up every two hours at night. Pull your boob out of your shirt or mix a bottle of formula. Watch horrible TV for 20 minutes while feeding your imaginary baby. Put baby back to bed. 3 minutes later, get out of bed. Try to sooth imaginary baby. Repeat x 20.   
  2. Rub melted chocolate into half of your baby outfits. Attempt to get the stain out. *In this simulation you are not allowed to eat the chocolate off of the outfit. That would be a fatal mistake in the real parenting world.
  3. Practice feeding baby food to a rock. Or a rabid dog. Both would be similar to what you will experience.
  4. Have someone scatter goldfish across your floor every day. Make sure they put them all over the house and in obscure locations. Then step on them or rub them into the carpet.
  5. When you go grocery shopping, throw one item out of your cart every 30 seconds. Pick it up. Put it back in cart. Repeat.
  6. Take $1,500 and throw it in the garbage. That’s to simulate paying for diapers.
  7. While eating dinner, wait 5 minutes between every bite of food you take. Sometimes for fun you can take 1 bite, pause for 30 minutes, and then return to your meal. At this point you can take 5 bites. But then your imaginary baby will wake up. Throw the rest of your meal away.
  8. Take a class on negotiating with terrorists.
  9. Have someone ask you the same question over and over for one hour straight.
  10. Before you leave the house, run up and down your stairs 10 times. Spend 10 minutes searching for a “lost” item. Put a coat on your cat. Try to herd the cat into the car. Once cat is in car, attempt to buckle into the car seat.
  11. Do laundry for your entire neighborhood.
  12. Bring a puppy to a restaurant. Make it sit in the high chair for the entire meal.
  13. Have someone interrupt every sentence you speak for the next 5 years.
  14. Sit in a rocking chair and rock for 24 hours straight. This will simulate length of time it takes to get baby to sleep and keep them asleep.
  15. Stop using half of your dishwasher to simulate amount of space required for baby bottles and baby things.
  16. Have hide 50 pacifiers throughout the house. Set an alarm for 3am. When it goes off, you must find one of the pacifiers in the dark. Alarms should also be set for 4am, 4:20am, 5am, and 6am. You must find a different pacifier at each of these time points.
  17. Every time you take a picture (of a person, place or thing), say “smile!” (while obnoxiously smiling yourself) at least 15 times before each picture. Take at least 100 pictures to try to capture one where your desired object is smiling.
  18. Shake a whole box of lucky charms into your car- make sure to get in the crevices.
  19. Sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” every time you are in the car for the whole car ride.
  20. Have someone respond “No” to you every time you ask them a question.  

I’d love to hear your own ideas!


Weekly Update

“Do Not Fill With Alcohol”

I write this after returning from a five hour stint at the pool with Avery and Alice. It was a relaxing morning, and the girls would have continued to play for many more hours had Alice not yelled, “Mom! I’m pooping in the pool!” (Disclaimer 1: she was wearing a pool diaper. Disclaimer 2: pool was full of adults who did not know this.)

We are currently at a PGA golf resort in Palm Beach, FL for a vacation while Chad plays in a nationals tournament. Palm Beach is on the East coast, almost directly across from where we live. It was a 2.5 hour drive across the Everglades/ Big Cypress National Preserve. Each side of the highway is fenced in, which we speculate is in place to keep the gators and snakes off the road. Chad asked me how long I would survive if I got stranded in the Everglades. I told him I would probably only last a day. “What would kill you?” he asked. “Starvation,” I replied. He smiled, “Do you know that most people can survive over a week without food?” Not me. I need food every 4 hours.

Chad is in his glory, golfing every day. I am enjoying being surrounded by like-minded golf widows while lounging at the pool. We will be here for a week and then return back “home” to Estero, FL.

Avery and Alice are turning into fishies and it has been so fun to watch them learn to swim. I think Avery will be swimming within a month or so- she’s doing great with kicking, paddling, blowing bubbles, and she’s starting to put her face in the water. Alice likes floating around in her life jacket and has become very proficient at paddling wherever she wants to go. Despite SO MUCH SUNSCREEN, we’ve all turned a few shades darker.

Other things to report on prior to this trip:

  • Our AC has been malfunctioning for about a week. It’s not completely broken but it keeps the house between 76-78 degrees. Apparently it is some rare problem that two different AC guys have never seen before. A part has been ordered & hopefully will be fixed soon. We are very appreciative of the fact that we are renting and this is not our financial problem.
  • Alice is becoming quite the chatty Kathy. While waiting for Chad the other day, she plopped down on the floor and remarked, “I’m just going to sit here and talk.” And that she did.
  • I made a 75 year old friend, Gene, who is always at the pool. The first day I wore mascara while in FL he looked at me and smirked, “I don’t know how to tell you this but you have black circles around your eyes. I haven’t seen that in a long time!” He’s honest so I will keep him around.
  • The weather in FL is very consistent- 92 degrees each day with a 30 minute rain shower around 5pm; otherwise, sunny. It is a bit too hot for my liking, but we try to do our outside activities in the morning/ evening to work around it. I’m loving all the sunshine.
  • I tried going for a run at 3pm the other day and it was a very bad idea. Way too hot. It is tough to stay hydrated even on short runs, so I invested in one of those water backpack things. It had the funniest warnings: “Do not fill with milk” (duh, I’m not stupid), and “Do not fill with alcohol.” I can’t believe I didn’t think of that! So now I carry my water backpack filled with wine. Makes life a lot more enjoyable!

That’s all for now. Sending love,



The Psychological Impact of Spending Too Much Time with Illogical Humans

Stay at Home Parenting, Part 1: Psychological impact of spending too much time with illogical humans

As a working mom, I had the utmost respect for stay at home moms because as I liked to put it, “I think I would go psychotic.” I have to give my working self kudos, because I hit the nail on the head. Two months into this gig, I’m about psychotic.

Stay at home parenting is funny, because it doesn’t fully hit you until months (or years?) until you’re into it. It has a building effect. 1st week of stay at home parenting: “Look how cute they are listening to stories.” 4th week of stay at home parenting: “There is too much crime in this paw patrol city. Mayor Goodway needs to up her game.” 5th week of stay at home parenting: “Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy does Paw Patrol exist?”

First week of staying at home, I gushed to Chad, “It’s so easy. Now I don’t have to cram cleaning the house and giving the kids attention into 3 hours of a day, after a full day of work.” And certainly, I had a point there. The house is cleaner; and, I have endless time to spend with the children.

The difference between being a working mom and a stay at home mom is more of an emotional/psychological difference than anything else. You have both the benefit and the disadvantage of a full day to spend with your children.

When I worked, I had a built in group of friends/ adults who I got to interact with 8 hours a day, 4 days a week. I was able to use my brain to think about complex topics and problem solve on a high level. I was thanked for my work. We had adult conversations! I didn’t have to run around at lunch time, negotiating a meal that would satisfy the cheese stick only child, picking up food off the floor and wiping messy hands. Most importantly, I got to drink my coffee in peace and didn’t have to talk to anyone until I had consumed a full mug.

Now I interact with extremely emotional children who are completely illogical. My brain cells are now used to calculate avoidance of tantrums. My creativity is used to devise a plan to put a diaper on a running 2 year old as she yells, “Naked baby!” I serve as a referee between illogical arguments:

Child 1: “She’s my mommy!”
Child 2: “Nooooo! She’s my mommy”
Me: “I’m not sure how to explain this without going into too much detail, but it is possible for a female to mother two children. She has plenty of eggs.”
Child 1: “Can we have eggs for breakfast?”  
Me: thinks to self, “argument averted, self high five!”

I answer endless why questions:

Child: “Mom, why won’t the bug in the pool hurt me?”
Me: “Because it’s dead”
Child: “But why is it dead?”
Me: “Because bugs can’t survive in the water”
Child terrorist (chanting): “Bugs can’t survive in water. Bugs can’t survive in water. Bugs can’t survive in water!”

Then child sees a water bug. All hell breaks loose because BUGS CAN’T SURVIVE IN WATER. Or can they?

My initial goal as a stay at home mom was to raise well-adjusted children who don’t need to see a therapist in their adult years due to poor parenting. I wanted them to be smart, have good manners, and treat others kindly and with respect.

My goals now: Maintain sanity. Survival of self and children.

In spending such vast amounts of time with these young children, their illogical behavior has begun to rub off on me. I’ve changed my parenting tactics and they are aimed at survival only. Favorite lies I’ve told my children to encourage good behavior:

  1. “If you don’t brush your teeth, they will fall out. Then you won’t have any teeth. Then you won’t be able to eat.” This has backfired a few times when the kids were exhausted, needed to go to bed immediately and I tried to skip teeth brushing. It triggered a full blown meltdown: “But I don’t want my teeth to fall outttttttttt!!!”
  2. “If a car runs over you, you will be squished like a pancake and I will have to eat you.” (got this gem from my Dad, works wonders in parking lots)
  3. “Alligators can hear whiny children and they will come eat you. You better stop whining so they can’t find you.” They are legit terrified by this one. It is especially great if the doorbell rings when they are whining because then I can say, “Uh oh, I think the alligator is here.” It shuts down the whining real quick.

Certainly, being a working mom had its own set of difficulties, and that could be an entirely different blog post. So often, “working mom” vs. “stay at home mom” are compared as if one is better than the other. Having lived both realities, I’m learning that one is not superior to the other. Each has its own difficulties. Each has its own joys. But maybe more importantly, in each reality, the kids will turn out okay. And maybe I will too.



Weekly Update

Next Female Tiger Woods

Well folks, we are officially 2 weeks into our time here in Florida. I have yet to spot an alligator, but am always on the lookout because I value my life.

Adjustment is a trajectory. The girls are finally sleeping through the night after about 7 days spliced with night time wake ups. Avery continues her pattern of joining us in bed at some point in the middle of the night; luckily, she always faces me so I get the snuggles and Chad gets the kicks.

Our daily pattern is beginning to emerge. We usually wake up around 8, eat breakfast and then either head to the pool or beach. We (me, Avery and Alice on weekdays, Chad included on weekends) stay until one of us has a meltdown, and then we head home for quiet time.

Quiet time is the worst. The girls refuse to nap, so I force them to do quiet activities. In return, they force me to be a good mom and read to them for an eternity. Here’s the thing: I like reading, but kid books are the worst. I’m not saying this because their content is bad. I’m saying it because they force me to read the same 7 books at least 2 times a day. So every day at quiet time, we read “Strega Nona’s Christmas” (actually a cute story that I’m not sick of yet), and 6 Paw Patrol books. Every day, the girls have the exact same argument over which book we should read first. Then we all get into an argument over whose turn it is to turn the pages. Then I threaten that if anyone whines one more time, I’m going to stop reading. Then someone whines, and just like that, quiet time is over.

Our evening schedule hasn’t fully emerged. It obviously always involves dinner and usually ice cream in one form or another. Sometimes Chad plays a round of golf and often I’m able to fit in a run as the sun begins to set and Florida cools off a bit.

The other night we played our first family round of mini golf. Here is how it played out: 1) Chad was wearing his golf attire to remind us all that he is basically a professional. 2) Chad spent a lot of time coaching Avery on her grip and swing. I felt like I was witnessing the birth of the female Tiger Woods. I should have videotaped it so they can play the clip in inspirational golf commercials when she’s famous. 3) Avery was decent. I was a little jealous, but I’ve learned to accept the fact that I will never have hand-eye coordination. 4) Alice and I hung out. I would putt horribly and then she would run, pick it up, and drop it in the hole. She’s my girl.

Surprisingly, nobody attempted homicide by golf club blow to head. Most likely person to do that? Alice. She has anger management issues. Like I said, she’s my girl.

All in all, we are really enjoying our time here. Sending love back home,