Top 10 Gifts for BOYS: Gifts they will actually LOVE and KEEP for Years to come!

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Christmas is just around the corner! As a mom of boys, I try so hard to find gifts for them each year that they will love and keep playing with for longer than a few days. Every parent understands the struggle. You spend all kinds of money on gifts, they’re excited, play with it for a few minutes, and then end up playing in the box it was packaged in. True story. It’s enough to make Santa want to skip your house completely next year.

Twelve years after I started this crazy Boy Rodeo, I feel like I can offer some decent advice on Boy Gifts.

Top 10 best gifts for boys*This post contains affiliate links. For more info, click on my disclosure page.*

In order for a Gift to make my list, it had to pass 2 Tests:

First, it has to be something they will love!

Not just for a few minutes, days, or months. It has to get serious use. For multiple years. all of these gifts are things that my boys remember and will remember playing with when they are 33 years old. You know; like those Polly Pockets, Micro Machines, Lincoln Logs, or Care Bears. All things we had and wish we would have kept for our kids to play with. That’s how awesome these gifts have to be.

Second, it has to withstand the “Boys are destroyers of everything” test.

This is totally a thing, people. Boys are rough on stuff. Or, at least mine are. They just don’t know how to love soft. Everything on this list has withstood a large amount of abuse and survived, or at least stood it’s ground for a very long time. Nothing is more frustrating as a parent than spending the time and money to pick out a great gift, only to have it break a month later. Or, if it’s an electronic device, 2 days after the warranty expires. Yep. It’s happened to us all. None of that is allowed up in here.

I have tried my best to find the EXACT items we have. When I couldn’t locate the exact item, I found the one most similar to the items we own and I made sure it has received great reviews as well. I also tried to find the best price I could for you! Make sure to shop through the  RED LINKS if you can, that helps me out a ton! Amazon is my Go-To now. I skip the chaos of Christmas Shopping and still get done what I need. I have honestly done 90% of my shopping online this year and am loving it.

Top 10 Gifts For Boys:

  1. Color Tiles: Shape Mags

Top 10 gifts for boysHulk received a set of these for Christmas when he was 5. He loved them so much he asked for more a few months later on his birthday.

All of our boys have spent countless hours building (and smashing) castles, robots, cars, and everything under the sun with these. I may have spent an hour building a really epic castle with them once. A tear or two may have been shed when Tornado came bounding into the playroom only to smash it and walk away.

We have had them for 3 years now. We probably have close to 200 pieces. In that time, ONE piece has broken. Even that one piece wasn’t broken completely. It was stepped on and cracked, causing the magnet to shift. I was able to fix it easily. The link is to the set most similar to the one we purchased for his birthday after realizing how much Hulk loved them. It is the same brand, some of the pieces are slightly different shapes, that is the only difference.  The price is awesome. I researched these things a ton before purchasing the first set. The quality and the price are unmatched. End of story.

2. Legos

legos

I know. Duh.  I hate stepping on them as much as you do, trust me. But, the benefits outweigh my rage as a mother with sore feet and a messy house. They are creating something and using their imagination! Using math! Engineering their own creations. It cannot get better than that.

Plus, I LOVE Legos. I love building with my boys. I love building without my boys. When they get a brand new set, I always try to find a way to be the parent who gets to help them assemble it. “I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE!” Every. Single. Time.

Even Buddy, our 12-year-old still loves them. He helped us pick out this exact set for his brother this year. Hulk is getting this same set for Christmas! Shhh!! If I can give him Minecraft without a screen, I will do it. I love the jungle feel of the set and my husband thought the waterfall looked, “Sweet”.

Legos are amaze-balls. If you’re a hater, I’m so sorry. I hope you find your happiness elsewhere. I choose to find mine in tiny blocks that last so long my 20-year-old brother handed HIS OWN down to my oldest son when he was 5 and we STILL have them. Build On.

3. Wooden ABC Blocks

top 10 gifts for boysBoys or not. Every house should have a set of these. Buddy was playing with them from the time he could crawl up until a few days ago when he  had them flying across the playroom with a catapult he had built. The possibilities are endless!

My boys chewed on them as babies and all of them still play with them to this day. This set is almost identical to the set I bought 12 years ago. It has a drawstring bag, just like the set I have. Love that part. I’m all about everything having a place to hide.

They last through the abuse inflicted on them by building and destroying boys. Even Clarabelle has gotten a hold of a few and she hasn’t done too much damage. They are a must have for every house hold and this set is an awesome price!

4. Nerf Guns

top 10 gifts for boysPlease don’t shoot me. *Pun intended* I know some of you may be “anti toy gun” and I totally respect that. But, those of you who aren’t can listen up.

From age 3 up to 35 and beyond, boys will play with these. They’re running around, strategizing, laughing, and learning to be good sports. I, personally, have zero qualms with this. Boys need to learn the difference between playing and real life anyway.

NOT ALL NERF GUNS ARE EQUAL! I am not throwing a blanket approval over all Nerf Guns. We have had some real duds. In my experience, bigger is not better. It may be fun to shoot a gun the size of your 8 year old brother, but you can’t run around with it and it takes different darts than the rest. That is my pet peeve. I don’t like having to buy 3 kinds of darts in order to have a Nerf battle of epic proportions. I want universal darts.

It’s all about the small and medium-sized blasters. They are portable, don’t take up a ton of storage space, take the “normal” darts, and don’t tend to break as easily. This model is one we have had and love. My husband even “modified” one with a buddy at work several years ago. The boys fought over that baby, because it shot faster. Ugh.

Told you. They’ll play with them forever. Don’t fight it. You can’t win. Just get a better blaster and join in.

5. Pixar Die Cast Cars

top 10 toys for boysOur middle son LOVED these! We now have quite a collection that continues to grow now that Tornado has discovered and enjoys them as well.

More than any other Die Cast car we have ever had, these are constantly played with. Over time, the paint is chipped and part of Mater‘s tow cable is missing. But, that doesn’t stop the boys  from playing with them one bit.

On occasion you can find them in Target. A few years ago they were easier to find. They are worth the effort though!

These are probably one of the toys I will keep for Hulk to give to his children someday. That is how much he has loved them and still does today.

6. Sit N Spin

top 10 gifts for boysBest nausea inducing toy ever! I had one as a little girl. My brothers and sisters and I loved it. My boys all play with it still, whether they should or not. I’m fairly certain it wasn’t made for a 12-year-old to stand on and spin as fast as he can.

But, no matter how many times I think it’s about to break, it hasn’t. They still drag it out of the playroom to the wood floor because it “goes faster” on the hard surface. In fact, Tornado has this exact one out there as I’m typing.

It’s a classic. Whenever my boys have friends over to play, someone plays with it. It’s not a toy that gets ignored. Who passes up an opportunity to spin in a circle until you wanna puke?!

7. Little Tikes Cozy Coupe: Tikes Patrol

top 10 toys for boysThis little Cozy Coupe has seen some serious love over the past 6 years. Aside from a few stickers peeling off, it is still kicking.

ALL of our boys STILL play with it! Yes, even the 12-year-old and the 8-year-old. Granted, they use it to ride down hills while laying on the roof or have the dog pull them around while standing on it.

The abuse it has withstood is incredible. Yet, it’s still ready when Tornado wants to hop inside and play with it the way it was meant to be played with. You know, riding inside of it. Like a civilized human boy, rather than a crazy ape child.

This is the EXACT model we have and it is on a GREAT SALE now through Amazon!

8. Plasma Car

top 10 best toys for boysThese things are so much fun! Yes, I know from experience. It happened. I rode it. It was a blast.

My in-laws bought one of these for all of the grandchildren several years ago. We had ours for probably 5 years before it went to the great beyond. It was abused and battered. A grown 200+ pound man rode it on multiple occasions. Not taken very good care of. Yet, it still lasted 5 years.

Even though this toy broke, I would buy it in a heartbeat. While we had it, it was honestly used almost every day. I will probably be buying another for the crazy toddler this coming year. This is the same one we had, just slightly updated.

9. Bop It

top 10 toys for boysThis toy has been revamped and changed so much over the years. But, every time it’s still great. I still remember the original 90’s version! Now, it’s a little more streamlined and less clunky to pass around.

We have had the version just before this most current model for probably 5-6 years now. It is still played with often! I’m pretty sure I’ve never changed the batteries. The kids love to play it. Even the crazy baby is starting to try his hand at “bopping it”! It’s a fun activity for a family game night or for friends to play together as it has a group function as well as the “solo” version. It has withstood a fair amount of tossing around as well. It’s still Bopping!

10. BMX Bike/Skateboard Ramp

top 10 gifts for boysI know, I’m giving some of you a heart attack right now.

Years ago our oldest saved up his OWN MONEY for a bike ramp very similar to this one. He originally had 2 of the ramps and a “table top”(Whatever it’s called.) that went between the two.

The ramp has seen years of serious abuse. From being left outside all the time, jumped on, ridden up by grown men, and drawn on with lots of sidewalk chalk. The one thing that killed off one of the ramps was Buddy having the bright idea to ride his insanely heavy pro pogo stick on it. busted a hole right through it. I could have told him that was a bad idea. But, nobody asks Mom before they do questionable things, otherwise questionable things wouldn’t happen.

Despite the casualty, we still have one ramp. Which he uses on a weekly basis. All of our boys use it. Yes, I’m “that mother”. I throw a helmet on the toddler and he tries his best to keep up. Usually not even making it to the top of the ramp, so have no fear. This model seems to be very similar to the one we have left and has good reviews. Just don’t try bouncing up it with a pogo stick.

Happy holiday shopping!

I truly hope this list helps you! I know I have spent countless hours narrowing choices down between gifts to give our boys. Hopefully this list can help you and your friends save some time and money this season! Please share to help others save some time and energy this year! More time to focus on the true reason for the season and more time to spend with family is never a bad thing!

Feel free to comment with any questions you have about any of the items listed or any other gift giving questions! I’m full of unsolicited advice, but I prefer to keep it trapped until solicited…

What are some of your kids favorite toys they have kept and still play with? Share with us in the comments! I do not discriminate, I love to hear about girly toys too. Someday I will use the information to buy hoards of pink things for my 21 granddaughters!

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Keep the Bathroom Clean… In a House Full of Boys

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If you’re a mother of all BOYS, or you have a son, brother, cousin, or have used the bathroom in a house with one: You understand how REAL the STRUGGLE is. I am tired of stepping in, smelling, wiping up, and sitting in another human being’s urine. I have my own pee to clean up!

My children are not little babies. We are past the days of me wiping the pee off their behinds (Except for Tornado, who delights in torturing me for as long as possible with his bodily fluids.). I refuse to clean their bathroom upstairs because it is a Health Hazard.

You know the saying, “The World is Your Oyster”? Well, their ENTIRE BATHROOM is their Oyster/Urinal. I’ve come to terms with it. I never use that bathroom. I would just as soon pee myself as use that upstairs hall bathroom.  If you visit my house, you are NOT ALLOWED to use it. You are permitted to use the one downstairs. If it is in use, form a line ladies and gentlemen.

So, When I went to clean that “guest bathroom”, there was a serious problem. I had gone “Nose Blind” folks. And all other kids of blind as well. During the week I must not look too closely while I’m indisposed. If I’m not smacked in the face with eye-watering odor upon entering, I carry on and get out as quickly as possible. OK, sometimes I hide in there and read… But, when I clean I look closer. Too close it seems.

that is when the pee hit the fan. or, it would have if there was an actual fan in the bathroom.

This is not a joke. Not even kidding a little.

Yellow= where pee was located

How to keep the bathroom clean

 

 

Outside the bathroom door. OUTSIDE! What is wrong with them? Are they some sort of creepy exhibitionists?! “Hey! Everyone! Watch me unzip my pants and urinate outside the bathroom like some sort of inebriated boob!” I just can’t. Where did I go wrong?!

 

bathroom4

 

 

My children must have been Jackson Pollock in another life. Or they were BFFs in the Pre-Earth Life. I honestly have no idea how the huge drips of urine came to be. There were two frames hanging on the wall there a few weeks ago. Surely it must have been “fresh” pee… I couldn’t have missed it for that long people. Maybe I was reading a book or something and otherwise engrossed…

 

how to keep the bathroom clean with boys

 

No. You’re not imagining things. That IS indeed the bathroom ceiling. I wiped pee off of the AC vent. Told you the pee would have hit the fan if there was one. I’m both confused and astounded. How on earth did this happen?! There was PEE ON MY CEILING. But, obviously some seriously acrobatic things must be happening in my guest bathroom. I think all 3 boys are getting signed up for gymnastics.

At this point to be honest, my blood was boiling. Deep breathing was happening. But, not too deep. It smelled like tinkle after all.

 

how to keep the bathroom clean

 

Yeah. I’ve got nothing, folks. I honestly contemplated just posting an image of a yellow square rather than this. It may have been a more accurate depiction of the wee-wee carnage.

 

 

 

In my rage, I did the only logical thing:

sprayed the entire bathroom with ammonia.

I sprayed down EVERY SURFACE, turned on the fan (Not the spinning type the pee would have hit.), shut the door, and walked away.

The fumes took less time to chill than I did. It was on like Donkey Kong. They can pee like wild animals all they want in their nasty urinal UPSTAIRS BATHROOM. But, I will NOT have guests knowing that my children relieve themselves like blind, convulsing hyenas.

plan a

Once I finished sanitizing the bathroom, I channeled my fury. Into 3 “Instructional Signs”. One outside the bathroom(Because apparently my children need to be reminded to keep their penises in their pants.), one on the shower to see immediately upon entering the bathroom, and the last inside the toilet lid. You can even DOWNLOAD them yourself! Here’s a link to your FREE DOWNLOAD created by my rage. First sign, second sign, toilet sign.

Hopefully “Plan A” works. My neighbors aren’t going to like “Plan B”.

plan b

keeping the bathroom clean with boys

All boys pee outside.

I really think this is a solid back up plan. Maybe the neighbors won’t notice. I mean, our dog pees out back all the time.

How do you keep your bathroom “Free of Wee”? 😉

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How To NOT Dress Like A Mom: LulaRoe Carly

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Recently, I had a good friend approach me about doing a review/”how to style” post about a new dress she was carrying. She was crazy. I am not a fashion expert by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t even abide by most fashion “rules”, in fact I break them on purpose most of the time. My personal style is classic with some funky and different tossed in the mix to keep people guessing. But, I also like to be comfortable and not take 3 hours to get ready for the day. Hence, the pixie cut. I wear what makes me smile, which is what fashion should be about. Unless eating an entire pint of ice cream and wearing sweat pants on a date makes your inner fashionista smile… In that case, just because something makes you smile doesn’t mean you should do it. Or, at least not every day…

So, I’ve decided to start a monthly post.

How to NOT dress like a mom

How to NOT dress like a Mom

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING A MOM. I am a mother. It is my greatest calling in life. But, before I became a mother, I was Melanie. I am still Melanie and will be forever. And Melanie likes Hot Pink Stilettos, dang it! Being a mother shouldn’t define a woman’s style. Her likes and personality should. That is my meaning behind the title, before someone decides to toilet paper my house because I’m mocking “mom style”. Which, shouldn’t even be a style. Your style is YOU, and YOU happen to be a Mother. End Rant.

There will be no fashion forward, fancy photography here peeps. I don’t take myself seriously enough for that nonsense. Having my husband take my picture was plenty nonsense for me. And I love me some good nonsense. So, I’ve sprinkled my own brand of sarcastic fashion all over this post. I do hope you’ll forgive me.

Lularoe: “Carly”

Megan and Shelley sent me one of LuLaRoe‘s NEW dress styles, the “Carly”(*I received the dress at no cost to me in exchange for my HONEST mommy opinion.*). I opened the package up and immediately loved the “heathered” navy color of the dress. Personally, I love to mix classic looking pieces with fun & funky accents, so I knew it would work for my style. The fabric was really soft, as are most of the LuLaRoe fabrics I’ve seen before. A+ so far in my book.

LulaRoe Carly with Vans

Wearing sneakers with dresses always seems whimsical to me. I think it is a great way to be funky & feminine at the same time. The Carly looked adorable with my favorite Floral Vans! I had to make it more “Melanie” by throwing on an animal print button down shirt. An added plus: It dried really quickly when I spilled water on it while doing dishes!

LulaRoe Carly Wedge sandals

This dress was so comfortable. Throw on a pair of wedge sandals with some fun earrings and you’re ready to go to church or just hide on the front porch and eat peanut butter while reading about angsty teenage vampires(Or another book… suit yourself, no judgement here.)! So relaxing. Especially when you have a hamster grave right behind you(See my left shoulder.), it really helps one get in the mood to read a vampire book, just saying.

LuLaRoe Carly Dress

The Carly is a “Swing Dress”. It is also longer in the back than it is in the front.(FOR SIZING REFERENCE:  I am 5’3″, the XXS I was sent came just above my kneecap. I normally wear a size 4-6. The XXS fit me just fine, I would say I could also wear an XS without looking like I’m wearing a circus tent.) The dress has plenty of extra fabric to tie a knot in it without it seeming ridiculous. Ta-Da! It’s a shirt! Put on some skinny jeans, some ankle boots, and you’re set. Also, very comfortable. I was worried the knot would annoy me or feel awkward, it didn’t! The only awkward thing was my 12 year old’s hair. Someone needs a haircut…

How to dress up Lularoe Carly dress

When I saw the dress, I knew I wanted to try to “dress it up”. Ask anyone who knows me, I cannot stand things that aren’t multi-taskers. The same holds true for my clothes. I need an item to be able to work in lots of situations or I just don’t have the patience for it(My uterus is falling out, I don’t got time for that.). Nor will I spend the money on it in the first place. Also, going back to having your style be “YOU”, I wanted to “edge” this dress up a little. These adorable booties were my inspiration. Then I grabbed a Moto-style jacket from my closet, some statement jewelry, and my signature “Faux-Hawk”. I seriously could have worn this outfit all day and run errands in it. How awesome to be that comfortable on a night out?!

lularoe carly dress casual

This dress was also really comfy for playing tug-of-war with a gigantic dog! Super twirly, totally helps when you need to run for your life or when you get knocked down on your backside with a huge animal on top of you. Not that I know from experience. I’m just assuming…

Final say

The Carly is definitely a great pick to have in your “Non-Mom” closet! Easy to wear and really versatile. LuLaRoe clothing is simple to care for as well. I washed it and then hung it to dry. Easy peasy, Lemon squeezy!

Make sure you click here to go to Megan & Shelley’s Facebook Page and get 10% OFF your order! Remember to comment “Sold, (your email address), MD” on the items you want to purchase to get your discount! Megan and Shelley will take great care of you! They have a great selection of other beautiful LuLaRoe items as well!

What are your favorite ways to show your personality in your personal wardrobe? How do you keep your fashion identity while chasing your littles around town? Comment below and share your thoughts!

 

 

 

 

 

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Laughing Until My Uterus Falls Out. Which May Actually Happen…

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Today, I’m sick at home with a 2-year-old.  We are watching movies all day and eating candy I bought on clearance at Target yesterday.  I could use a good laugh. So, I decided to share with everyone about the day I learned my uterus is falling out. Completely logical place to go, I know.

WARNING: You’re about to be smacked in the face with a giant bag of “TMI”. if you can’t handle the heat, Back slowly out of the kitchen.

Prolapsed Uterus

Have you ever seen “Dumb & Dumber”? This story should have been in there somewhere. Mary could have had her uterus fall out or something. It would have worked great. I digress…

Nobody likes going to the “Big-Girl Doctor”. It’s a fact of life. To all you young ladies out there: It doesn’t get any better. I mean, you care less that someone is LITERALLY all up in your business. But, you still put it off, just like the first time you have to call when you’re 18 and mommy isn’t there to hold your hand and make the appointment for you.

“I just love going to the gynecologist!” said nobody. ever.

I finally went, after rescheduling, TWICE.  The doctor finishes up and lifts her head above the paper blanket(do they really think that helps us feel more decent? I mean, really? Do they?) and gives me a confused look for a few seconds. I’m thinking, “Ummm… Hi. Remember me? How can I help you?…” Then she snaps out of it and says,

“Has a doctor ever mentioned ‘Prolapse’ to you?”

My mind goes blank. I feel like somehow this is a trick question and no matter what I say she’s going to laugh at me and tell all of her doctor friends about the “half-naked lady who didn’t know what ‘Prolapse’ was.” later over drinks.

“Umm… No?…” I’m sure I had a super interesting look on my face when I said that, because I certainly had some super interesting things going on in my brain.

“It’s just that your cervix(There it is! TMI! Can I even write a post with that word in it?!) isn’t as far up as it should be.”

Ladies(and a few very brave Gentlemen), I do not pay attention to my female anatomy. I prefer to keep it clean and go about my life pretending it doesn’t’ exist. So, I just stared at her when she said this to me. COMPLETELY BLANK STARE. Not one of my finer moments.

Don’t feel too bad for me, she quickly picked up my total confusion and eased my fears by telling me, “Well, it usually only happens to MUCH OLDER women. Like, 80 years old even. In medical school I worked in an assisted living center, I met a sweet 84-year-old woman who had a Total Prolapse. She would just be laying in her bed when I came to check on her and her uterus was just laying there between her legs on the sheets. I always felt so bad for her. When you get older, the muscles that hold your uterus in place become weak. The uterus can start to drop and it can fall completely out, like hers had.”

Two things went through my head very quickly.

First, “Why the HECK was her uterus just laying there?! That CANNOT be sanitary! Throw it away, folks! It’s not like she’s using it!  Does she want to keep it close like a pet or something? Does your uterus falling out make you have strange life choices?! If so, I’m in serious trouble!”

Second, “What is wrong with my freaking lazy uterus?! I am 33 years old! It’s just giving up like I’m 84! Hello! Uterus!? The party isn’t over! You still have to stick around and make my life miserable by giving me a period for years to come! Stop being such a useless quitter! Stand up and fight! Stupid, lazy uterus!”

I walked in the door and pronounced to my husband,

“Hey Babe! Apparently, I have a geriatric uterus. Because, the doctor told me it’s old and is slowly falling out of my vagina.”

It was payback time then, because now I was on the receiving end of the “Blank Stare”.

He is far too used to my shenanigans though, he recovered much more quickly than I had.

After “Googling it” and learning that I would not be dying tomorrow, I went back to business. Which is all that can be done. Until that fateful day…

So, If one day you’re talking to me and I suddenly interrupt you by saying, “Oh! Please excuse me. My uterus has just fallen out into my underwear.” please don’t think I’m rude. Also, please don’t let them put me in a bed with it laying there like some homicidal house cat who thinks it’s the boss of my vagina. Throw that thing in the trash and take me out for pancakes.

Then vow never to speak of my uterus again.

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There Once Was a Boy Mom Baker…

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There once was a Boy Mom Baker. One day, it all went wrong. And she lived happily ever after.

boy mom baker

I LOVE to bake. Maybe it comes from the burning desire I have to feed people. I blame my great-grandma, “Nanny”. She constantly fed everyone until they were stuffed, and then acted like she would cry or make you “go cut a switch” for her to whip your a$$  with if you didn’t eat another plate of her food. But,  her cooking was amaze-balls. So we happily ate ourselves into oblivion. Essentially, It’s her fault I have a baking problem.

Nothing makes me quite as excited as a girlie wedding cake. Drowning in Myth-busters, Perry the Platypus, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cakes for most of my early baking years has left me on edge. I tend to jump at the opportunity to cover anything with flowers or pink. So, when a friend asked me to make her daughter’s 9th birthday cake, I was all over it like white on rice in a glass of milk on a paper plate in a snowstorm.

Where the best of baker intentions went wrong…

My brain was spinning with different ideas. I trolled Pinterest. I finally settled on what I wanted to do. My friend had told me that white icing was fine, and maybe to add some fun sprinkles. Normally, I would have left well enough alone. But, this was a GIRL CAKE! All of my built up Boy Mom Baker frustrations came spilling out.

It was on like Donkey-Kong. Lucky for me, Buddy was grounded. So, rather than being banished to his bedroom, his punishment was keeping Tornado from destroying the world while I baked. A barricade was erected to prevent Clarabelle from entering the kitchen with her nasty furry self.

Dog baker blockade

Not kidding. It happened.

I wiped down every surface in my kitchen to remove all the stray dog fur. I lint-rolled my entire body. Twice. Trust me, it’s necessary.

newfoundland slobber

Do you want any of that up in your birthday cake? I didn’t think so. As I was saying…

I busted out the pink gel food coloring, which is sadly neglected in this house. Powdered sugar was flying. Sprinkles were covering the floor. Clarabelle was losing her mind seeing the floor covered in edible things that she couldn’t get to. I was in my happy place, people. Torturing the dog was an added bonus.

Finally, it was perfect. A Unicorn/Barbie/Butterfly barfed all over it. Just what every almost 9-year-old girl wants their birthday cake to look like. I boxed it up, feeling pretty happy with myself. How awesome was I? I had even finished in time to sit for a few minutes before the cake was picked up. I sat down to turn on Dateline(I know, I have problems.) when I froze.

someone punch me. just knock me out. please. now.

“I used pink gel in the frosting. OH. MY. GOSH. Her daughter isn’t supposed to have red dye!”

I’m not even exaggerating. I sat there frozen like a statue for probably a good 10 seconds. I wanted to hide in the closet and not answer the door when she came to pick it up. Or just tell her that a leprechaun came and stole her daughter’s cake.

Luckily, I have friends who understand the struggle of “mom brain”. Hopefully her little girl isn’t too jazzed-up on red dye. It’s her party she can spaz if she wants to, right?! When she’s out of control, just send her over here. I deserve everything her temporarily hyperactive little body can dish out.

You can’t win them all, folks. Even when you think you killed it. Always remember to laugh at your idiotic mom moments. Because otherwise, you’ll just end up with an ulcer. Or four.

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10 Things I’ve Learned About Life From Being a Special Needs Mommy

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Those of you who know our family know our awesome middle boy, “Hulk”. Yep. Hulk. Just go with it folks. His kindergarten teacher did, for an entire month.

Every day we are learning new things from being his parents. Sometimes they’re wonderful things. Sometimes they’re not so wonderful.

A few days ago, my husband was running to the store to grab a few things and I received a text from him.

“I’m having a tough morning. Got pull-ups for Max and thought, ‘This sucks that he’s eight and still uses pull ups at night.’ Want to cry.”

His text and our conversation afterward got me thinking.

Our son was diagnosed with ADHD & Autism Spectrum Disorder about 3 years ago. I had been arguing with doctors for a few years at that point, telling them he had High Functioning Autism. I could tell something was different in the way he thought and perceived things. Most people ignored my comments and told us our son was fine, or that he wasn’t “Autistic Enough to get a diagnosis”. In other words, “We don’t want to be forced to give your child services.”. It was infuriating. Once we talked to the right people, I felt so much comfort. I could now move forward and help my son in the best ways possible.

I’m sure there are other parents out there who have similar struggles. I’m sure many of them are just beginning their journey and feel overwhelmed. So, I wanted to shed a little “light” on being a Special Needs parent.

special-needs-mommy

10 Things I’ve Learned About Life From Being a Special Needs Mommy

  1. Never take a seemingly “good” day for granted. It can turn into a disaster in the time it takes someone to hand your child the wrong pencil. You’ve got to work to make your day great. Obstacles are thrown at you all day long. Overcome, move on, and find a way to make everyone smile again.
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Aftermath of tripping at Cub Scout Day Camp. Resulted in broken glasses and broken face.

2. Things will break. Even bodies. A lot. I cannot tell you how many pairs of glasses we have been through. Or the amount of ouchies I have kissed. Hulk is completely unaware of his body and it’s location. “Oh, I’m sorry my son just stepped on your foot as he ran up the stairs!”. “Oh, my gosh! Did he break his brand new bike already?!”. Keep lots of bandages and ice on hand. Wounds heal. Things are just things.

3. Celebrate the little victories. Everything in life is worth celebrating. Did he read for 20 minutes without having a meltdown when you asked him to do it? SCORE! Did she play a game with a group and keep playing even though she was tagged “it”? PAR-TAY! Did your husband lose his job, but now he doesn’t have to commute over 3 hours a day? WAHOO! Find the joy in the small things, it’s always there if you look hard enough.

Yes. That’s fur. Call for help. Please send lint rollers.

4. You will do anything to help your children. Even buy them a bear/dog. Thus, sentencing you to a life covered in dog fur and slobber. If it will make them happy and not turn them into juvenile delinquents, the smile will be worth it. A clean house is a secondary thing when it comes to your little people.

5. Cereal. Never. Ever. Run out. If it’s the wrong end of the pay period and you have to choose between bread and cereal, always pick cereal. Many meltdowns have begun in our house because someone ate the last of the cereal. Every time you go to the store, buy more. Even if you don’t need it. You do need it, you just don’t know it yet.

Excuse me, your Hulk is showing… Yes, he wore this to school. Also, note the cereal he is eating. Told you so. Now go buy more cereal.

6. Clothing is just for covering the essentials. It doesn’t need to look adorable or “match”. This one is still painful for me. But, I can now shut my mouth and look the other way when he insists on wearing green from head to toe. Or the time he wore knee-high Hulk socks to school(Everyone thought he had an entire costume on underneath his clothes, it was pretty epic.), that one killed me. But, I did it! He walked right out the door in those dang socks without a second thought, and I kind of loved him even more for it. Let kids be themselves. Unless, of course, it makes them criminals (see number 4.).

“Henry and Mudge” is a current favorite. Possibly because of the huge, slime producing dog.

7. Variety is the spice of life. Unless you have a special needs child. Then it is the enemy to order and initiates total chaos. If your child will only read books with dogs in them, carry-on son. Hop online and buy every dog book you can find, and pray that it is part of a series… At least they’re reading.

"I'm being a tree. I want the birds to land on me."

“I’m being a tree. I want the birds to land on me.”

8. Strange is a relative term. You cannot compare apples to oranges and you cannot compare any child to another. Each child has their own unique code that makes them their awesome self. Don’t squash it. Teach them to cope with the realities of life, and then let them free to find their own way to accomplish it. If they want to be a tree so that birds will land on them; you go to the car, get a cracker, put it on their head, and tell them that they must be very quiet and stand very still. Help them be the best “Tree” they are capable of being.

Buddy & Tornado. The bread in our Hulk sandwich.

Buddy & Tornado. The bread in our Hulk sandwich.

9. You will worry about your other children. Do they know that you love them just as much? Do they harbor any resentment toward their sibling? Will they be kind toward others like their brother or sister? This has been a real struggle for me. Hulk takes a lot of energy. Sometimes there isn’t much left at the end of the day for the other two (three if you include Captain) who need me. The answer I have found is simple: Ask them. Help them understand the situation. Let them be part of the solution. Odds are, they would love to help you have more time for them. Keep the conversation open so they know they can always come to you if their feelings change.

Post Meltdown Hugs

Post Meltdown Hugs

10. When you think you cannot do it anymore, when you feel like being their parent is just too hard, your heart is breaking for the struggles they will face, and you have exhausted every ounce of patience you possess; you will keep going. Something deep inside of you will rise up and you will pick yourself up off of your knees (That’s usually the position I’m in during these moments.) and face their challenges head on. You will be there for them. Even when you feel like you’re not the right person for the job. You are the right person. You are THE PERSON. God gave that child to you for a reason.

Each of my children has helped shape and mold me into the person I am today. Sometimes I’m proud of that person, other times I know I can do better. But, I am becoming the exact person that each of my children need me to be. That, I am proud of.

 

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Stop Arguing and Give the Toddler Everything They Want.

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Nothing can make a person insane like arguing with a toddler. You are the adult. You refuse to be pushed around by some tiny tyrant. If anyone is a tyrant around here, it’s you. You are in charge.

stop-arguing

But, that’s all very exhausting. You start to question your own sanity after a while. “Why do I even care who’s toothbrush he uses?!” You become a toddler and start picking fights with the fight picker! It’s all downhill from there people. Remember, you created this monster. Your stubborn blood courses through it’s tiny veins.

In order to combat the madness: Stop arguing and give the toddler everything they want. What’s the worst that can happen?

boysenberries

They want to eat the funnel cake with Boysenberries and ice cream on top, even though they’re lactose intolerant? Insert the ice cream in his mouth, the screaming will stop. Bring on the diarrhea. Diarrhea is more quiet than screaming. Usually…

stitches

Climbing kids are stressful. But, some of the best lessons in life are learned while climbing (Or so I’ve been told…). He wants to climb those boxes stacked precariously by the piano bench? Just toss some pillows on the ground and hope he lands on them. His forehead needed a cut to match the bruise.

lotion

Everyone is getting ready for church. The toddler wants to play in the bathroom while Daddy shaves? Game on. That face was looking a little parched. Moisturizing is important stuff, folks!

barette

He wants to wear the pretty barrette he found on the floor at church? Work it, kid. God gave you those curls, use them before you lose them!

underwear

Potty training hell? They want to try on ALL 7 PAIRS of the new Mickey Mouse underwear you bought them? Just let it happen. While you’re at it, let them wear the life jacket you told them was just for swimming too. Yeah, 10 minutes from now they will pee in ALL 7 PAIRS, but that’s why we have a washing machine. Everyone needs to run around the house in their nakedness.

van

Time to pick up the big kids from school & they refuse to put pants on (Who’s kid is this? Stinking exhibitionist!)? Fine. Go get in the car seat kid. You wanted to play hide-and-seek, right?  Fishing their half naked butt our from under the van is totally your idea of a great time anyway.

Trust me. Someday they’re going to do something worth arguing about. Save your arguments. When they are more rare, they instill more fear. The shock factor will help your case when they want to make a dry ice bomb in the backyard or push their brother down the steep street in a Tonka truck.

Little people, little problems. Big people, destructive/terrifying problems. Save the rage. Cultivate it. Nurture it. You’re gonna need it.

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Life is crazy. Be happy anyway.

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be-a-rock-but-dont-throw-yourself-at-people

Some days I’m angry at the world. Really crappy stuff happens and I can’t rise above my own self pity. Poor, poor Melanie.

But, today is not going to be one of those days. Some really yucky stuff has happened to us lately, folks. Next level ridiculous yuck. Miraculously, I am choosing happy. Crazy, right?! My husband keeps looking at me nervously… waiting for the sh*t to hit the fan.

Our journey hasn’t been the easiest road to travel. There have been many times I chose to be unhappy. It was the easy way. I chose to be lazy and unhappy. Sure, life was smacking us around when my husband lost his job twice in 18 months. But, I chose to lay on the ground and play dead.

I wish I could go back and re-do those beat downs. Kind of. OK, not really. They were awful and I never wanna do them again. But, I wish my husband could look back on those times and tell people what a rock I was for him during that time. I wasn’t. Unless, I was the rock being thrown at him over and over. Instead of giving him something sturdy to hold onto, I was a pile of medium sized rocks(not quite pebbles, I wasn’t that awful). Sometimes, he could get a good grip on me. Other times, if he grabbed on, we were both going down…down…down.

I’d like to think I’ve learned from our struggles.  Which means I’m super smart now, people. Like, genius things happen in my brain from all this “learning from trials” nonsense I keep doing. I hope I’m better than I once was. I would love for other people to learn from our stupidity and not have to do it the hard way, like we did. But, then I’d have all the smarts and the rest of the world would stumble about in ignorance.

So, because I am now so wise, I choose not to waste my energy being angry or stressed about unimportant things. I will save it for the true injustices of the world. Like animal cruelty, the 2016 Presidential candidates, ISIS, my husband wearing his Captain America PJ pants to the store(in broad daylight), human trafficking, my sons not flushing the toilet (“But, Mom! There is a drought! We’re conserving water!” Ummmmm… No. You’re being lazy. The drought is a convenient scapegoat for your nastiness), or my dog barking at me every time I sit down for 5 seconds (This is not an exaggeration. It’s like she’s saying, “Oh, no! Surely you know that if you stop moving you will die!” Or, at least that’s what I think she’s saying. But, in an Eeyore voice).

Moral of the story: Be a rock. But, don’t throw yourself at people.

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