NBC Get A Clue

A few months ago, I “liked” the FB page for “The Mysteries of Laura.” I like Debra Messing. I liked “Will and Grace.” And I love “Law and Order: SVU.” NBC was advertising Olivia and Laura together under the hashtag #WomanCrushWednesday. I assume I am the target audience; FB did plenty of advertising before I “liked” the page.

I was sold. I’ll watch a new show.

And I did.

And NBC needs to get a clue.

“The Mysteries of Laura”

Laura (Debra Messing) is a detective with twin sons. She is in the process of a divorce from a husband who cheated on her and is disinterested in his family life. She is a funny, tough detective who reminded me of Encyclopedia Brown. She is busy, and her kids are ill-behaved. When the twins get expelled from pre-K, she looks for a new facility. Worried about the boy’s behavior in a school interview, she drugs them with cough syrup. The boys fall asleep and one vomits during the headmistress’ questioning.

History

One of the reasons I fancied “Will and Grace” was because I knew that it was a part of social change. I have seen a positive trend in acceptance of homosexuality and others, like Rick Santorum, have acknowledged that television has an influence on this change in perspective.

I have always wondered when that started with “Will and Grace” though. Did NBC-thinkers decide from the start that the show would be influential? Did they realize it after a few episodes? Did they realize that customers (viewers) were attached to Will and Jack, and saw them as people? Did they initially intend to do this with humor? Was it a happy accident?

Maybe it was a bit of it all. It matters that it happened though. TV is influential. Advertisers pay big money for TV spots.

Did you know some kids get high from OTC drugs?

Perhaps educating parents (and NBC) is key. Drugging kids for a break is abuse. It sets a bad example. It is dangerous. I have no idea what it does to a developing brain or liver because I’m not a medial professional – and most parents don’t know either. I do know that my pediatrician has never suggested it as a possible parenting technique. Doctors warn parents about giving cough medicine to kids.

Why is NBC worsening a serious problem? Parents have warning signs to observe if their child is perhaps abusing OTC medicine. Organizations are devoted to stopping OTC abuse. The government knows it is a problem.

It seems NBC news knows it is a problem. But on a new show, a parent is reassured of her mothering skills after drugging her kids. NBC, get a clue, please.

TV is not real life!

I know this. Whenever I write about a television show sending a nasty message, I get called names and receive a bunch of weird blog comments.

And before anyone says it, yes, I have watched shows like “Breaking Bad” and I am not a meth cook. But. But – think about what parts of that show has influenced viewers, and what parts are fixtures in society. (Jessie’s catch-phrase? Walt’s, I am the one who knocks or Say my name?)

Another character who abused drugs comes to mind – Karen from “Will and Grace.” That always required quite the suspension of disbelief on my part. Secretaries don’t swallow down handful of pills with vodka midday while their bosses sigh and carry on. Karen was disgustingly wealthy with a household staff. I know no one like Karen. Even if I did, Karen is an adult.

Last night, Laura drugged her kids behind closed doors. She hid this. The writers capitalized on parents’ overwhelming… well, their overwhelming children. Parents are overwhelmed. Parents often don’t know what to do. They wanted moms to related to Laura.

Laura was overwhelmed and drugged her kids. And after she told her children’s father – a serious moment in this comedy-drama -he explained why she was a good parent. The husband gave a huge speech about Laura and her fabulous mothering. The kids told her that yes, you really are a great mom. The most serious moment in the pilot episode was a pep talk for Laura – that she is a good mother – and that her kids love her.

Unfortunately, I know that kids are drugged and I have heard parents discuss the best OTC meds to quiet children. Parents brag that they keep medicine in the glove compartment of the family van, ready to dose on long trips. This is a real-life scenario and NBC handled it incorrectly. It would be the same as if Laura beat her kids to quiet them, and then her husband told her what a great parent she is.

If you are a parent who thinks, “I watched Laura drug her kids last night and I would never do that,” good. I’m glad. I’m not going to do it either.

Television does influence viewers. Some television shows massively change society. If we weren’t influenced by television, why would retailers spend billions of dollars on advertising and product placement?

But…

So maybe a hundred people will read this blog post today, and no one from NBC will.

I am writing this as a parent who has the sense and the ability to defend little kids. Until television companies see that this stunt is offensive and that some parents will take this message as an acceptance to drug kids behind closed doors, and until they lose money over their crummy storyline, nothing will change. I’m hoping to make a tiny change.

Social change can happen. NBC knows that, and they’ve profited from it before. Why are they trying to make money providing humor in abused children? Why are they targeting me with a product that has a dumb message? (I’m your target audience? Really?! I am offended). It’s offensive to everyone. NBC needs to get a clue.

#RossFallFaves

Are bloggers allowed to use hashtags in the title? If not, consider me a trendsetter.

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This past weekend we headed to St. Louis. I want to live there someday and my husband needed to return two of the three birthday presents I ordered him. (Of course Peoria does not have said store). When he suggested Thursday that we head down, I agreed.

I have great luck at Peoria’s Ross, but when I realized that the Ross at the outlet mall in St. Louis was gigantic, I headed in. The kids bet ‘over’ (am I using that term correctly?) on their mom purchasing at least one item for each child, so they didn’t complain. Plus, Za loved the enormous sign.

We spent right at forty dollars on the kids. Ty got a pair of athletic pants, Za dress shoes, and C.J. dress shoes.

Monday, Za planned her school outfit around the shoes.

Monday, Za planned her school outfit around the shoes.

Ty will not pose for blog pictures, but luckily, the girls are quite compliant with picture-time.

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C.J. is less enthusiastic about pictures, but is also easily tricked.

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Or active, and I can catch her in mid-jump.

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Flowers and a buckle. Perfect shoes for so many outfits.

Together, the dress shoes were under thirty dollars, which is the price I need because my children destroy dress shoes about two seconds before we arrive at church, or the photographer’s studio, or a Christmas party. Za did, however, arrive home from school yesterday with her shoes unscathed, which speaks to their durability. (Her tennis shoes are a bit worn after only a month of school).

Anyway, Ross allows me to deck my kids in cuteness, while not making me broke. Both girls had numerous pairs to choose from. Ty’s pants are name-brand, and I was shocked to see the small price tag on comfy school pants that he will wear weekly when the weather turns cold. I start my weather-changing-must-buy-kids-new-outfits shopping trips at Ross.

Would you like to win a gift card to Ross? Right now, Ross is giving away $150 gift cards. Head to their Facebook page and vote for your favorite #RossFallFaves look. I’ve entered, which means all the cool people are doing so. (It’s easy. Promise). 

This was a sponsored post by Ross Dress For Less. All opinions are my own.

Niagara Falls and Chicago

Last time I left you all on the edges of your seats, awaiting to hear how our “quick trip” into Chicago on the way to Niagara Falls turned out. My husband needed to pick up a passport, and that morning we awoke to news that passport offices had “crashed.” We don’t believe it.

Pehffff. On with vacation!

We’ll be fine, my husband said as he jumped out of the van in downtown Chicago. Drive around for a bit. I scooted over to the driver’s seat and that nauseating, hot tingly in the arms and icy cold stomach set in. Why? —-

Well, I grew up in a town with zero stoplights. (We had a four-way stop with a blinking red light. The light didn’t always work, so I’m not counting that). I had to drive about thirty minutes if I wanted to find an interstate. I didn’t drive on the interstate until I was in college. Driving in Peoria freaks me out sometimes. Driving in Chicago kills me. (End childhood explanation for adult paranoia).

So, I started “driving around for a bit.” But people are mean. And crazy. They do not abide by the driving lanes, blinkers, light colors, or any other traffic law. I worry about bicyclists and pedestrians. I know that I’m inexperienced and a worry-wart.

I also don’t care, and will avoid driving in huge cities whenever possible. Hushing Ty who asked a few time, are we lost, I pulled into a parking garage that possible wanted a hundred dollars for twenty minutes, happily grabbed a ticket, and started driving for a parking spot.

I’m not sure what I did wrong in the parking garage, but there never was a parking spot. There wasn’t. As I’m thinking I must have missed a “full” sign, I notice that I am approaching the pay booth.

I pull up to the booth and luckily the nicest person in Chicago works there. I asked her if the garage was full – and she laughed. She was so nice and I am very, immensely sure I looked desperate. She told me to back up and park at the side of the booth. If she had not been so kind, I would have melted. She was though, so I grabbed all three kids, noticed the lady was still chuckling, and headed downstairs.

Thinking ahead, I noted the street name and a landmark. (Smart, right?) We headed across to a coffee shop. I got a coffee and an enormous cinnamon roll which the kids barely shared with me. They were pretty good, and hubs texts me – he’s done! He’s within walking distance! We will make it out of Chicago, out only about $30, and a decent time! With happy kids! I mentally celebrate!

My excitement bubble didn’t last. There are multiple coffee shops with this name, on the same street. And in Chicago, an apartment building isn’t really a landmark. Hubs is lost and when he finds me, he explains that he’d done waiting in line to submit his papers. Those two hours that I drove around and fed the kids took care of hubs’ wait in line.

Niagara Falls by evening. Right.

Because what will we do with three kids on an unplanned trip to Chicago? Sounds fun.

Book Review: How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare

Book Review: How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare.

shakes

 

This past summer I jumped at the chance to review Ken Ludwig’s book, How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare. The book is long – over 300 pages. Plus, I did activities from the book with my kids as I read – during a busy summer – so I apologize for the tardiness of the review.

Child: Mom, I’m so bored I’ve started talking to pictures on the wall!

First, the concept. Ludwig is an acclaimed playwright with two children. Like any theater geek, he gave his children the best theatrical knowledge he could: Shakespeare. His passion overflows in every chapter and I believe he sincerely taught his children Shakespeare with the same enthusiasm this grammar geek teaches her kids about verbals.

Ludwig doesn’t just want his kids (and your kids) to know about Shakespeare, he wants them to memorize Shakespeare. He says:

For many of us, Shakespeare has become a kind of Bible for the modern world, bringing us together intellectually the way religious services have traditionally done… To know some Shakespeare gives you a head start in life.

I’m unsure if his intention with this was to put Shakespeare as part of our American fabric like the bible is, but from a literature standpoint, it makes sense. As an English teacher, students with a working knowledge of the bible and/ or Shakespeare write, read, and speak better than those without.

In further explaining his reasoning for memorizing Shakespeare, Ludwig gives multiple examples of how children can analyze the nuances of poetry, of well-written and complex poetry! Kids can later apply this formula to any reading, hopefully with a dose of confidence from already dissecting the most difficult poetry out there.

Finally, Ludwig theorizes that exposing children to difficult concepts, that teaching them bits of a complex and larger picture can be a starting point for learning in other life areas.

After he explains the reason for his process, he provides a sensible order for teaching children Shakespeare.

Let it go! Let it go!
- Anyone in the family, whenever someone is holding something 

What I like. The book made me hopeful, which may sound odd, but I’ll try to explain. Ludwig is a cheerleader for parents, encouraging them to work with their kids while tackling Shakespeare. He gives anecdotes along the way from teaching his kids, and how they implemented quotes into spontaneous theater productions.

In addition to memorizing Shakespeare, Ludwig provides background with his plays, the time period, and his life. This is important for understanding the plays, and additional information is easy to find.

The format is an easy read even if the content isn’t always. The book covers comedies, tragedies, and histories, with special attention to Hamlet (commonly referenced as Shakespeare’s perfect play). Each type of play requires unique approaches, especially for younger children. General tips are included, and Ludwig gives specific times to incorporate Shakespeare with children.

The website, http://www.howtoteachyourchildrenshakespeare.com/, has printables. I have started the first suggested poem (“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows”) with my kids. The printed sheet has helped, a cheat sheet if you will.

My kids have memorized that piece from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I’m excited. My seven-year-old was compliant, but my five-year-old eagerly sing-songs it. Will my son benefit from knowing a bit of Shakespeare? Probably. My daughter has found an interesting learning opportunity most kindergarteners don’t have – and all of that makes me hopeful.

Hi Sven’s family! It’s nice to meet you! I understand you are love experts.
- Me, seeing my family together – at any time

My hesitation. The book is a smooth read, but Shakespeare rarely is. In fact, William Shakespeare typically scares people.

I am not sold after reading this book that a parent with little Shakespeare background could use this book as intended. Ludwig addresses this when he says:

Like Shakespeare, opera can seem a bit frightening if you haven’t grown up with it. But if you roll up your sleeves, and your children’s sleeves, and take a few minutes to listen to a little Rossini every now and then, your children will soon be humming opera tunes as easily as they’re reciting passages from Shakespeare.

I agree with the notion that kids’ surroundings influence them, but Shakespeare is not like watching Sunday night football. Kids might hum a bit, and quote characters a bit, but to make it part of their lives? Many adults attempt to do this with unoriginal alterations of “to be or not to be.”

I have a degree in English and took an entire course on Shakespeare. I have identified authors’ references to Shakespeare’s work. I have read almost all of his plays and have taught many of them. In fact, I can quote Shakespeare beyond the cliche quotes.

But. I’m not sure that my kids will comfortably quote the Bard in everyday conversations. I believe Ludwig’s kids do – but he lives and breathes this difficult, often overwhelming concept. While his mind eagerly applies Shakespeare to everyday life, the best the rest of us can do is grab a book and search for a quote.

Speaking Shakespeare in everyday life is a lofty and admirable goal, but the typical reader should not be discouraged from introducing and practicing Shakespeare because of it.

Ty: Mom, do you know when we are going to the store?
Me: Yeah! Why?!
Ty: (giggling, understanding) Can you tell me when we are going to the store?
Me: Yeah! Why?! 
Ty: (Any question that I can answer with, Yeah! Why?!)

Overall? The process works. My five and seven year-olds can quote the Shakespeare I have taught them. They even want to know what the “new words” mean. (Four-hundred year-old words). Learning Shakespeare makes people feel smart! Hopefully my kids feel less overwhelmed when their teachers assign them a difficult reading assignment because, honestly, if you can understand Shakespeare, you can tackle other authors.

And of course, I could be wrong about making Bill a part of everyday life. Shakespeare is fascinating and complex. If we work at memorizing these lines as my children grow, maybe they will incorporate Shakespeare into our daily quotes as they do their Frozen lines. Those natural, non-hesitant, jovial digs at others may come easily. A fun family joke.

After all, I do hope that as my kids grow, their interests do, and that they identify more with Othello’s struggles or Ophelia’s love torment than what Anna and Sven think. Encouraging them along the way, and studying Shakespeare as a family may make that possible.

Final Note. I will use this process as a parent, but will consult the book as a teacher. I have acted out Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar with classes before. My only experience is theater is that of an audience member, and this theater perspective will help me as a teacher.

I was compensated with a copy of How To Teach Your children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and ideas are my own. 

Niagara Falls Food Review

A week later, I’m back at running my Niagara Falls series. Hopefully other family travelers stumble upon my ramblings as they plan a family vacation. This Niagara Falls food review is meant to help other travels because we wish we knew a few things before we went.

EDIT: (Look at that. It is now two weeks later since I started this. Such a slacker).

We read reviews before we ventured and thought we had a handle on what to eat and what to skip. We didn’t. I’ve divided the review, below, into broad and specific categories. I saved the worst review for last. Experience my wrath below.

On Strip

Niagara Falls has a strip, much like tourist parts of Florida, or any other such place. The Niagara Falls strip reminded me of Vegas without the lights and billboards. Mostly the prices.

Dairy Queen

We went to a DQ because of the familiar name. The prices were about triple what we would order in Illinois. I think I paid $9 for three small cones.

Italian Restaurant

This was a prominent restaurant, and we went here our first night. It was clean and nice, and the service was great. I’ve had better Italian, and I can make better fettuccine than what I had there.

The prices were outrageous for what we got – and we would skip it on our next trip. (I will write what the name is when I remember it. I’m lame, I’m sorry).

Off Strip

After our first few meals, we researched and decided to venture away from our hotel, the downtown area.

Tim Hortons

You are safe with Tim Hortons. I read that a few Tim Hortons are in the states, but this was my first experience with them.

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Ty eating a bagel with an egg, slice of turkey, lettuce, and tomato. And a chocolate donut.

They have donuts, and coffee. Good coffee, yummy donuts. The kids found something to eat every day, which is normally a struggle. (The oatmeal was popular).

Breakfast cost us about $20 a day, which is fine, especially after our breakfast experience at AlMacs (see below).

Yanks

We ate at the restaurant Yanks. The price was fair and the food was good. Nothing spectacular, but a great meal.

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Flying Saucer

This was our last big meal at Niagara Falls, and it was fun. The Flying Saucer intrigues kids, and our waitress (it seemed like the other ones too) joked with the kids about aliens preparing food at night. At the end of the meal, she asked if the kids could have a special alien-treat, which was red jello. It was cute.

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Our bill was about $50, and we had four meals and an appetizer. I would go to this restaurant again. It was interesting, and the food was good.

Special Notes

We had poutine at two different restaurants, and I found it odd. I like fries. I like gravy. I like cheese. Why do I not like poutine?

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If you like salty sticks with canned gravy and chunks of nonmelty cheese dumped atop, poutine is where it’s at. Otherwise ask for another Canadian specialty.

And finally, the worst dump in Canada: AlMacs Buffet

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I cannot even type a sentence I am so disgustingly angry with this place. And it wasn’t because the food was inedible.

And it wasn’t because I tried to down the worst cup of coffee I have ever been served in my life – and if you know me, you know that I drink coffee everywhere I go. (If you know me a little better, you know that when I was first out of college and poor, I would reheat coffee that was a few days old. If you know me really well, you know I reused coffee grounds in my illegal coffee pot in my dorm room). I’ve experience all coffee, but this was somehow horribly new. If I had told the waitress that it was a nasty cup of coffee and she had replied that that was because she peed in it, I would not have been shocked.

And it wasn’t that the fruit looked like the same color, or that the french toast sticks looked like Halloween fingers, or that the ham was possibly bologna.

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It was because of the deception, rudeness, and complete exploitation of families who come to Niagara Falls.

* The Almacs Buffet is $6.99. A bottle of water is $3.00 – and- AND – the waitress cannot give you a glass of water.

* A cup of coffee or a glass of orange juice was $4.00.

* When my husband told the waitress that the food was not very good, she delivered her rehearsed line quite well: Two hundred, two hundred people came in here today. You are the first to ever complain. 

* So for three meals – I did not eat and neither did the baby – we paid almost $40. Unfortunately we ordered drinks before we saw the buffet. There was a huge line and since the food was hard and a bit of a mystery, we never went back for seconds.

AlMacs had a complete disregard for the customer, because the entire system is a robbery. They never have repeat customers, and they don’t care. They swindle customers who are tourists – and taking advantage of people like that doesn’t sit well with me.

So here is my AlMacs review, and I hope other people stumble on this and know that if they see this sign, promising a breakfast buffet for $6.99 (because I know you’ll think like we did: really, how can you screw up a breakfast buffet?) they will skip it.

photo 2 (37)Unfortunately we wasted some money for our first day at Niagara Falls. The strip is expensive, which we sorta expected, but the food was mediocre. We had better luck off strip, but felt ripped off (this is a euphemism for how we actually felt) at AlMacs. I hope this Niagara Falls food review saves you pain and money on your vacation.

Next time I’ll write about more of our Niagara Falls trip, and I promise to be happy.

 

Niagara Falls: Part Something

My husband decided to pile three children under the age of seven and his non-experienced-at-traveling wife into our Honda and head to Niagara Falls. I agreed because I strive to think outside the minivan, even though I really, really dread long drives.

To throw in extra twists and hunts for passports, we decided to visit the non-American side. Stay tuned for pictures, complaints about food, and fun in a few posts – or more or less.

Traveling to Niagara Falls: Chicago

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Driving into Chicago. I remarked to my husband that thankfully, I was the photographer and he was the driver. This is important later.

Because of organizational mishaps, we needed to stop in Chicago to pick up a passport. This was great, because my brother lives in Chicago and graciously let us stay the night, which saved from spending big-city money on a hotel.

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We also got to drool over his garden that he grows in the city. My garden, which I grow in the country, is approximately 1/32 the size of this.

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And of course my brother is lovely, and he loves my kids.

We sipped coffee, and jokingly laughed that of course this “crash” covered by major news sources concerning the passport offices would not affect our 8:30 appointment and we would be in Canada by nightfall.

We’re optimistic like that.

So when we arrived in Michigan round-about eleven later that night, you can imagine how our telling the kids (who were in the van all day) about not arriving in Canada until the next day (while we stared at the border that night) went.

I’ll write about finally seeing Canada, poutine, and Niagara Falls tomorrow. Hopefully.

Morning, Moms

Good Morning, Moms.

It is 5:30 – in the AM here in Illinois. Yours truly awoke at 4:00 and could not fall back asleep, despite heavy eyes and numerous yawns that prove my tiredness and impending grouchiness.

So what did I do for the last hour and a half in my warm bed? Well.

I listened to the oscillating fan, which when it gets to the left (maybe the right? all the way to one direction) sounds like the bottom of the coffee maker, that “gurgle, suck” sound that makes my inner brain refuse sleep, like some weird Pavlovian coffee training.

I thought about grammar hopscotch, and how I wanted to use paper for whatever words – but then the kids would rip paper with their feet. They will probably also slip on plastic if I cover the paper words. Vinyl is too much money.  Chalk? In my mom-mind, I would like an inside game too. I’ll keep thinking. I’ll get back to you, promise, but climb off the edge of your chair because it might take some time for me to solve this dilemma.

What else?

How I would eventually fall back to sleep and be so happy when my alarm finally went off that I slept extra.

How I should plan something for the baby’s second birthday. (That is not an oxymoron. Promise).

How if I don’t go back to sleep this second you will be grouchy at the end of the day and you are working today and will have no time to sit and this is the last rest you will get for the day.

How getting up will put you ahead in the day and obviously you can’t sleep because your body is well rested.

Obviously I’m delirious and awake, sitting at the computer cranking out this stellar material, coffee in hand. Moving onto actual work and spreading the “Good Morning Moms cheer.”

When will the children awake? Oh yes. Whenever I look at the couch and think, I could lie down and sleep for about thirty minutes. About to happen any second.

Summer Reading Programs

We complete a few summer reading programs every summer. The kids like trying new books, and meeting different goals. Plus, they really like our town’s new library.

This year the library started a different summer program. The kids cannot read any books – they need to belong to different categories. I thought this was a nice change. Normally they kids would pull thirty books and get points, one per book. This worked, but the program was forcing them to experiment.

The biggest surprise has been Ty’s interest in graphic novels, specifically the Smurfs. He had to read two graphic novels for his summer reading programs, and he has gone back for more.

I am happy with this Smurf books too! I dislike how the word *Smurf* completes most sentences, but they are fun. I especially like how the story lines tell historical tales using Smurfs.

For example, in one book, Papa Smurf leaves and the Smurfs decide to elect a new leader. A Smurf makes empty promises, becomes king, and earns hatred. Soon enough, the other Smurfs are revolting from the high taxes. Ty and I ended up on the computer researching King George III.

Our summer reading programs are going well and we are headed to the library today to make our final returns and new checkouts of the summer. Summer has flown for us, as I am sure it has for my readers!

Workout Gear

What’s the saying? If it looks like a duck, it’s a sponsored post, or if a blogger writes about a store a bunch, it walks like a duck? Something.

The kind folks at Ross Dress for Less understand that a SAHM is paid in cuteness and kisses and that a mom’s wardrobe is typically underfunded. I don’t talk about it much on here, but I have been losing weight – I’m down fifteen pounds and would like to lose five more. This is great, but I need to tug on my old workout shorts as I run (or walk, honestly, I walk) which is a pain and fulfilling simultaneously. Since it is summer and I need to new workout clothes, I took Ross’ Summer Style Quiz, which labeled me an Outdoor Explorer. I normally slog around the block, but I’ll change my title for sure.

Holding a tired baby.

Holding a tired baby, with new workout shorts and lightweight shirt.

I love going to Ross, but my kids normally destroy the joint, and I worry that the kind customer service folks might ask the kiddos to leave. One night after bedtime, I knew that I had needed to buy diapers and was dreading it because I was done for the day. Read: messy and I didn’t want to fix my hair.

Procrastinating and playing on my phone, I found at that Ross is open until, wait – 10 pm. I did not know that. By the time I drive across town, that leaves over an hour of blissful shopping, of enjoying the treasure hunt. I brushed my hair with my fingers and slapped on lip gloss. Out I went.

First, I splurged as any SAHM would on the kitchen gear:

photo 3 (15)I wandered and bought new workout gear, which was a great price and comfy, but does not excite me because I loathe working out. Baskets though, they excite me. I can’t understand why, but I love baskets. Maybe they are Little House on the Prairie -ish.

Where was Ross when I did the girls' nursery? These are the EXACT colors of their nursery. Exact.

Where was Ross when I did the girls’ nursery? These are the EXACT colors of their nursery. Exact.

I stood in the basket section too long and finally tore myself away and found…

Ross has a clearance section! It was in the back and since I normally don’t make it to the back of the store with kids in tow, of course I didn’t know. Shirts – $2! Six pairs of socks – $2! Here is baby with her $2 shirt, totally not looking like a $2 shirt:

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Anyway, I came home and showed my husband all the goodies, none of which were for him. I honestly told him that I saw several golf shirts, but that I lack any wisdom concerning golf shirt colors, prices, deals, material, texture, etc., etc. So over lunch yesterday he came home with a new golf shirt. Of course, he said, he got it for a deal.

This was a sponsored post by Ross Dress For Less. All opinions are my own.

10 Things I Hate About Summer

Yeah, I’m lucky. I have three creative and fabulous kids and I get to stay home with them all summer. We’ll get that out of the way right now.

I’m going to vent today though and if you don’t like snark, there’s a little “x” in the corner of your screen right now. You know what to do.

Summer is hard and it is all about perspective. I give myself pep talks and try to go with the flow and try to enjoy the mommy moments and the chubby cheeks but summer is hard. They fight and I’m tired and they are little and don’t understand why they need to sleep. So.

Here are 10 Things I Hate About Summer. (I know I’m not alone).

1. I live in the kitchen. They want a minimum of three meals. My desire to feed them healthy, fresh food leaves when I’ve prepared the third meal and the third snack.

Plus, I only attempt taking three of them to the store when I’m well-rested, which I’m not and when I’ve forgotten about the last trip, which I haven’t.

2. Sometimes the older two get up at crazy early hours. I want to appreciate that they leave me to sleep, but one morning Za fed herself chips for breakfast and today she said, “I found out what’s great on cereal. Syrup.” (duh) Plus, they destroy the kitchen which means I’m already behind on the entire day.

3. The television. I hate tv. All those moms and teachers who say tv turns kids’ brains to mush? I’m one of them.

I turn the tv off and dismiss pleas for “one more” most of the day but I need the tv to shower, which I hate because the scenario is this:

The baby naps, or worse, I get the baby (she’s almost two, I need to stop saying that) settled in front of the tv so I can shower, maybe comb my hair. Either way the older kids settle in front of the tv. Fifteen minutes later, I come down and they immediately beg, “the show’s almost over!”

OK. Great. I’ll do laundry/ dishwasher/ sweep. I circle back to the living room, “the next show came on! Please!”

I can scoot them out the door, or leave them planted which means I may get that rush of accomplishment because I actually finished a task.

I really don’t know an alternative because they are not old enough to play outside alone and I want them safe for those fifteen minutes. Plus, they always want to go ‘side and I’m not a fan of ‘side…

4. ‘Side. My husband teases me that I grew up in the country but hate the outdoors. It’s not that. You know those lists that float around Facebook, explaining why mosquitoes like certain people? I am those people, except that I’m not pregnant. And two of my three kids get welts like I do, hard knots the size of quarters.

Do I spray me and the kids? Do I spray the yard? Don’t those chemicals cause cancer? What if the baby chews on her hand after spraying her? I’m thinking all of this while I bat at mosquitoes and guard the end of the driveway.

She gets tired the second we go outside. Then she wants in. and then back out.

She gets tired the second we go outside. Then she wants in. and then back out.

And I will play outside, but it’s not my strength. I prefer to read books but will go outside with them – I know it’s important! But the mud, the filth in my house, the indecisiveness of being in or out, fighting the dog…

5. August. The Doggest. (also see in my blog, “Augie Doggie”). He’s part beagle, which means that his nose rules his life. He takes advantage of the tiny kids and sneaks out the door, only to run wherever he smells something, like something dead in the middle of the road.

Or. (this dog). He runs far away and finds a dead deer, a decomposing something. And messes in it.

So he returns, I scream for the kids not to touch him, I corral three kids, and I tie up the dog who needs cleaned. I’m normally a nice person who brings buckets of warm water outside to wash him but at this point, I need the power of the hose. The other day a neighbor looked over and said, “I think he’s cold.”

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Do not be taken by these big brown eyes and long velvety ears like I once was. He rolls in poo.

Yeah, probably.

Moving on.

6. Laundry. Ridiculous amounts of laundry.

7. That damn ice-cream truck.

8. No rules. We have rules, but my kids are no dummies. They know that as a treat they can stay up late, yes they can have ice-cream, and a sleepover on a weeknight. It is what makes summer fun, it is what I hope they remember when they are taking difficult college summer classes.

Za hiding in the closet, escaping bed.

Za hiding in the closet, escaping bed.

It still becomes too much.

9. Dirt everywhere. You would think that playing outside so much would result in a cleaner house than winter. Not true. Taking the shoes off before coming in, washing hands immediately – it doesn’t work.

Za and I picked up the second floor this morning, and already it is disorganized. The kids are home more, but I what are they doing that is so different than weekends?

It must be extra traffic, Augie shedding, that summer equals extra dirt. I don’t know. I am cleaning extra these days and I wish I wasn’t.

10. Zero calm time. Yesterday we went to the water park. My right arm is burnt, except for a a handprint where some sunscreen must have landed. I must have put sunscreen on my left arm but I remember none of it.

Baby selfies. How does she turn on my phone? When does she get my phone?

Baby selfies. How does she turn on my phone? When does she get my phone?

I just got the baby to sleep and am finishing this post I started five hours ago. Ty and Za have wrapped a scarf (they got out all the winter gear while I put the baby to sleep) around my body and are saying, “getty up!”

Za just asked me for the tenth time today when are we going to see the fireworks? And can we go back to the water park?

I told them to pick up and I would read to them. And of course, they want to read ‘side.

OK. I know. The things that drive me crazy today I’ll love tomorrow. In the dead of winter, I’ll long for summer vacation. I’ll miss my babies while they are at school.

But right now, I hate summer.

I’m over ‘yonder:

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