Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Secret To Being A Mom

“You’ve got your hands full!” This is hands-down the most frequent comment I get from strangers when I’m out with all or even some of my offspring. If you have more than one kiddo, I’m betting you’ve heard it, too. It’s true, I do. But, I’m amazed people are unaware that the last 9 people who walked by said the exact same phrase to me. I’ve come to employ a standard response: (smile and nod) “A little bit!” That seems to satisfy most of the gawkers, and I’m permitted to walk 5 feet and repeat it to the next lookie-lou.
Next in the line-up, (but more often from other moms who know me): “I don’t know how you do it! I’ve only got __ kids and I go crazy!”

I’ve even had several requests (I’ll be honest, they were all from Mac) for a 4SmartPants post about how to handle life with a million kids. I have been hesitant, because I don’t feel like I have a great answer. But I’ll do my best, and hopefully a mom is reading this who is sleep-deprived and at the end of her rope, feeling like she must be the only mom in the world who can’t get it together, and comparing herself to the mom she knows who has a couple more kids than her and makes it seem easy.

Here is the secret to caring for little kids without pulling your hair out and wanting to lock yourself in a room and hide before it’s even naptime:

You are not alone. You are not crazy. Every mom who looks like she’s got it together wants to pull her hair out and lock herself in a room before naptime, too…. on a daily basis. I hope that doesn’t shatter your view of that woman in your life. Hopefully it helps you feel a little more human to know that even the calmest, patient mothers experience the stress and chaos you thought only existed in your home.

I get asked how I do it all the time. (I have two 4 year olds, a 3 year old, 18 month old, and 5 month old, I’ve spent the last 5 years pregnant.) The answer is I wake up, put one foot in front of the other, do what I gotta do, and survive the day. There are a lot of time-outs, a lot of refereeing, a lot of rescuing one child from another, a lot of pants-wetting (usually by the kids) and a LOT of deep breaths. At the end of the day, I usually feel so exhausted from wrangling munchkins that I convince myself the kitchen doesn’t look THAT bad and I’ll have all kinds of energy to tackle it tomorrow. My laundry is generally sitting in baskets rather than in dressers, and I haven’t dusted since we moved in. My kids rarely wear socks because I can’t find 2 that match, and IF I wear makeup, I put it on in the van while the whole family is going somewhere and my husband is driving.

It’s more than a full-time job, and it wears me out daily. I do have a few practices in place that keep me from being resentful or forgetting why I do this. I make it a point to note everything my kids do that make me laugh. Kids are hilarious! Especially mine. I often post on Facebook or text family and friends funny things my pipsqueaks do, because everyone else usually finds them humorous, too. That reinforces it for me. I take a million pics of them with my phone. Kids are adorable! Especially mine. My screensaver on my Mac Mini is a slide show of thousands of pics of my kiddos, a constant reminder in my home of how beautiful my children are. I tell them how amazing they are everyday. They are smart, and funny, and gorgeous, and brave, and fast, and silly, and awesome. And hearing myself tell them they are those things reminds me of what incredible creatures I have the privilege of raising.

It’s hard. It’s stressful. At times, I DO remind myself that this phase won’t last forever, and one day they’ll be more independent, and I will sleep again, and go to the bathroom alone again, and eat a plate of food before it’s cold again. But then again, this phase won’t last forever, and one day they’ll be too big to fit on my lap, and they won’t wear pigtails, and I’ll be “Mom” instead of “Mommy,” and I’ll miss the smell of a brand new box of Luvs.


Categories: children, Family, Multiples, Parenting | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

Playing DJ with the kids! (How to Avoid “Dead Air” in Your Life)

Good afternoon, SmartyPants!   I’ve been scarce on here recently.  The fact is, my second child was born almost 5 months ago, and I’ve STILL been struggling to regain any semblance of the (sorta) orderly life I had with one child.

After weeks of arguing with Stephanie (the 4SmartyPants blogger with 37 children), she outright refuses to write a post revealing all her secrets.  Only recently has it occurred to me, that maybe there really AREN’T any secrets.  Maybe life with young children is just plain chaotic, unpredictable, messy, and HARD!

I have to laugh at myself.  I mean, after all, how could I not have realized before that two kids would be twice as many as one?!  But, as much as I struggle, at least I’ve come up with a fun productivity game to help me deal with it all!

Pretend you’re a radio DJ!

Like many media majors in college, I took my turn at the mic of our campus radio station.  Today,  most stations have converted to automated computer systems, but my first year, I had the privilege of using antiquated technology like CDs, mini-discs, and unscreened telephone calls!  The first thing they teach you before handing over the golden mic, is to always think three steps ahead.  Yes, every evening held a basic outline, but with callers, requests, and all the technical difficulties that tend to multiply when manned by amateurs, having your next three moves plotted out like a chess player can save even the inexperienced from the curse of dead air!

So now, when both kids are screaming and I find myself staring at them blankly from a knee deep pile of toy debris, I rescue myself with my mad college DJ skills.  Just three steps:  Put the baby in the Bumbo, grab my preschooler a cheese stick, clear a path to the bathroom.  Wash off the paci, kiss the boo boo, vacuum the spill.  Then pick the next three more most urgent steps.  Before I know it, the chaos dies down a little, and slowly but surely, a bit of order comes back into my home.  1, 2, 3, 1,2, 3, waltzing through my day.

I don’t play the game every day, but when there’s so much that needs tamed that it just seems impossible, playing DJ can make me feel like I’m back in control.

So, quick, life is crazy:  What are YOUR next three steps?  GO!

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Dino-Tail Hairstyle

I was inspired to write this post after fixing a fun hairstyle for my daughter yesterday. It was “Dino-day” and I, owning no clothing even remotely dino-ish lent myself to my creative properties and whipped up a quick hairdo that was sure to please. Well, please it did! After getting nothing but rave reviews from the local preschool that my daughter attends, I decided that I needed to write a quick post and share my genius with the masses.

What you’ll need…

Hair elastics (approx 4-5)

Bobby pins (about a dozen)

Hair spray

What to do…

Simply separate the hair into four to five separate sections by making ponytails in a straight line down the center of the child’s head. You can gather the hair for the top pony by using the top hair and then gather sections of the side hair to make the remaining ponytails. The bottom ponytail should house all remaining hair.

You will then make each ponytail into mini buns by first twisting each ponytail and then wrapping it around the elastic for each given ponytail. Secure each mini bun with bobby pins. From this point you will have what look like spikes going down the center of the child’s head.

Leave approx. half the ponytail length out for the last ponytail and allow that to hang freely. This acts as the dino’s tail.

All that’s left is to use hairspray to prevent those pesky fly-aways.

Your child’s head should now resemble the back and tail of a dinosaur. Happy dino days!

Categories: children, Hair, Parenting | Tags: | Leave a comment

Jumpstart your Spring with Faux Terrariums!

February is almost over, SmartyPants!  Time to get in the groove for spring!  Inspired by a beautiful tutorial from Please Note, I decided to take the Valentines down from my mantle and add a little spring green!  Here’s hers:



But, Stephanie suggested that I use a bit of Easter inspiration and put some eggs in mine.  I loved how this project came together in just a couple minutes!

My materials were fairly inexpensive:  About $5 from Pat Catans.  I opted to skip adding soil to my terrariums.

From start to finish, it only took about 5 minutes!  Check out my results!

Before I settled on eggs, I noticed a gob of neat miniatures near the dollhouse kits that could make this project even more personal.  I considered frogs, turtles, ladybugs, gardening tools, an old fashioned tricycle, or a little red wagon!  Imagine how cute this would be with a pair of pink flamingos!

Tell me how you’re adding a bit of green to your home this time of year!







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Host A Winterfest!!!

No one was safe from the snow war!

By now we’ve all had our fare share of winter weather. Some
have spent the last few months trying to plan a social life whilst accounting
for cooler temperatures. Others have spent what I am sure by now seems to have
been countless days battling icy cold temperatures, unable to make a move
without defrosting automobiles and toes. Wherever our location I think we’re
all due for a little winter fun.  I recommend we take the advice I gave in my post

“Hello Dark Dead of Winter. Meet Winter Wonderland” . Let’s host a Winterfest!

Allow me to ask the question for you… “Okay Bectoria,
what on Earth is a Winterfest and why do I need one?” Winterfest is a
celebration of a season most wouldn’t mind living without. It’s a way to look
the cold, darkness of winter directly in the face and dare it to do its worst.
Intrigued? Here’s what to do.

First, choose a date. Outdoor winter fun is most enjoyed
during the daytime. To get the most out of this special event I recommend choosing
to host your Winterfest on a Saturday or Sunday.

Next, choose a venue. While some might opt to host a Winterfest
at their residence, others might prefer a local park, ice rink or toboggan run.
Once a venue is selected, make sure all administrative details, like
reservations, are made prior to sending out invites.

Now you’re ready for the invites. I recommend including a
short explanation with what to expect and what to bring (including extra socks
and clothing, camping chairs, sleds, shovels, etc.)

No party would be complete without a menu. Let’s just skip
the nostalgia of chestnuts roasting over an open fire and get real about
comfort food. When I think about what comforts people in cooler or even
freezing weather I think cookies, hot donuts, cocoa, cider and coffee. If this
type of menu is what you’re after, there are a number of businesses and coffee
houses that have disposable containers that will easily suit your purpose.  If you’re going for a heartier menu, soups,

Everyone got a kick out of shooting kids down the snow on different sleds

small sausages, meatballs and other such fare can be easily transported in
disposable containers purchased at any party store or in your trusty slow
cooker. (NOTE: Alcoholic beverages are not recommended for this event).

Okay, kids! Time for the fun! Take a moment to plan the flow
of your event. For instance, you could plan to greet your guests with a warm
beverage. After partygoers have had time to visit, you could recommend any
number of activities you have planned for the special event. Some activity
ideas include snowman building or a snowball war (for snowy weather), soccer
(on a smaller-scale field), and finally, sledding. And NO sledding does not
just have to be in snowy weather. Doubt me? Just take two sleds, plop a person
in each one then add another person (one for each sled) with a case of the
sillies to pull each one and watch the hilarity ensue.  (NOTE: If you’re planning a bonfire, open
flames are dangerous and not recommended).

Finally, it’s time to make a list of needed supplies. Many
of the venues suggested above will have tables and seating available. If not,
you can rent or borrow whatever you might need so that your Winterfest can go
off without a hitch. Take special note of any paper supplies you will need to
accompany your menu. Ooh! And don’t forget the camera!

Now that we have a fool-proof plan for an awesome event, go
ahead, strap on your boots and host a Winterfest of your very own.  So what’ya say?

My 5 year old being "in charge" of my 1 year old! (Mother of the year, I know!)

Let’s shake it up a bit and let all the fun fall out!

Categories: Activities, Entertaining, Party Planning, Social Life | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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