Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Resolutions for Parents (by Mr. Grouchy Pants)

Yesterday, my mom, in a feeble attempt to make conversation, asked me if I had any New Year’s resolutions. I had no freakin’ idea what she was talking about. I’m 4-years-old for goodness sakes! I mean I’ve got to start smoking before I can quit, right? My parents, it turns out, have been doing this New Year’s Resolution bull-poop for decades. Apparently, it’s NOT working. They show all the restraint and willpower of jackals.
That said, here are some suggested New Year’s resolutions for my parents, and parents everywhere. (Let’s cross our fingers this year, shall we?)
1) Be LESS “social”
Accept your vanishing social life and stop using Facebook to simulate actual friendships. Your obsessive trolling of profile pages cuts into the time I could be kicking your aging booy at Memory or Candyland. Face it mom and dad, you’re no longer part of a vibrant social scene. Sheesh. You can barely stay up past 9 p.m.
2) Stop dieting
Plain and simple. Your endeavor to eat healthier is messing with my ability to acquire candy. Stop it.
 3) Start listening
Parents are constantly telling us to, “Be a good listener.” Yet, here’s what happens when my mom is “distracted” by one of her many selfish habits (i.e. attempting to cross 8 freeway lanes to get to an off-ramp.)
Me: There was a spider in class today and Julian crushed it on the window with a LEGO and blood squirted out.
Mom: That’s nice.
Nice?! Blood, dripping down the window of my preschool?! Nice for Freddy Kruger maybe. UM, WHO’S NOT BEING A GOOD LISTENER NOW? That crap might’ve worked when I was two but I’m four now and I can tell when you’re phoning it in. Try opening up your ears for 2012. Deal?
4) Spend more time with people you don’t like.
Instead of carting me off to playdates with your friends’ kids — usually the kid and I have nothing in common except a toxic disdain for each other– hang out with a mom you can’t stand — whose kid I DO like. Now it’s your turn to be bored to tears!
5) Don’t get attached to material things.
Vases shatter, walls get written on, couch cushions become fused together with syrup, expensive lipstick is used for my stuffed puppy's “food” and dishwasher doors break when used as one-sided see-saws. Crap happens. This year try not let your possession possess you.
Good luck Mom and Dad.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fair Housing Laws of the Clark Clan

No, silly child art. Everyone (with excellent credit) deserves a home.  

Before the days of sippy cups and aprons, I worked weekend-in-and-day-out at a luxury apartment home community. In addition to enduring rigorous training to exchange terms like “luxury apartment home community” in lieu of “property” or “regretfully decline your application” instead of “We don’t want you” I spent whole hours clicking through on-line training courses ranging from Sexual Harassment In The Workplace to the golden laws of leasing known as Fair Housing. The sexual harassment rules were mostly simple. While I didn’t see the harm in calling everyone Honey, I grasped the inappropriateness behind using sporty chest bumps and tush smacks as friendly, co-worker greetings. The Fair Housing standards were, well, fair. The purpose was to dictate what could and could not be used against an applicant in the court of The Clubhouse. All potential residents were approved or declined based upon identical rules. The good news is I could rent you an apartment because you have a spotless rental history (even if your dog is nippy and I think you’ll be the type to call me about your microwave clock being too bright at 2:30 in the morning). The bad news is I couldn’t rent you an apartment because you have horrid credit (even if you are a uber fine bachelor with brilliant John Stamos hair). The worst news is I couldn’t so much as flood conversations with the Stamos-haired stud with suggestive innuendos (ex: This gourmet kitchen is so spacious. You know what else is spacious? My bed) due to the threat of a sexual harassment suit.

Rules. They are no fun. 

After two pregnancies, a couple of births, and- who’d of thunk it!- two babies! I turned in my name badge, burned my pantyhose, and delved into the domestic world. I was not truly boss-less. I learned that sometimes bosses hand you projects and paychecks while others call you crying at all hours of the night and bite your nipples. There were definite perks to this new career. The formality of dress code no longer applied, and watching Oprah in the afternoon was pleasant. Oh, and the concentrated spiritual connection between mother and child was great. Loving to the moon and back and all that. But for all the sudden comforts this was a foreign workplace, and I would have to navigate without the aid of online workshops. I quickly missed the nine-to-five grind of an office, the systematic routine that blocked off work from life. I was on-call always. I diligently completed tasks just as before, but they involved less paper, less daylight. More lullabies, more spit up. And where did paid vacations go? Or pay in general? 

Trying to make sense of a world without structure, I quickly resorted to employing tactics from the safer days of employment.  

I fashioned a name badge out of duct tape. It read Michelle, Professional Nap Administrator. I greeted the small child with a firm hand shake. He cried. Handshakes work best when hands are soft and doll-sized. I gave him the grand tour of the grounds, a detailed displaying of what our place had to offer.  

Over here we have a relaxing bathtub. No sir, it’s filled with water. I’m certain it’s illegal to fill a hot tub with instant jello. Anyways, I think you’ll find our state-of-the-art Fitness Facility just what you need to work up a sweat. The baby didn’t look impressed. I couldn’t tell if it was the dismal appearance of the dust-covered pile of hand weights tucked in the closet or that he lacked the motor skills with which to control limbs.  

We pride ourselves on creating a friendly atmosphere. Community events like play group and pacifier potluck are held regularly. And I know you’ll feel right at home in our luxurious suites. This particular home is offered furnished with discount Target crib and further discounted Wal-Mart bedding. I’m sure you’ve noticed we aim to give all residents with a Ritz Carlton experience. The small man quickly announces that he’d like a concession on rent, seeing as how he doesn’t sleep and has no use for elephant-themed bedding. I am professional, so I try to turn my audible whimper into a giggle.  

I felt the thrill of having performed a solid tour. I was about to welcome the newbie into the community when I was struck by my absolute foolishness.  

I’d yet to properly approve the client.

He announced that he would have two roommates, a dad and a brother. I cursed the Fair Housing rope that bound me when I discovered that the dad failed the Dishwasher Aptitude Test. The brother did not contribute to the income ratio. Equal opportunity being what it was, I approved their applications despite the fact and told the dad to thank the Visa God he had good credit.  

Housemates approved, I turned my attention to the smallest sir.  

Criminal Record: Applicants with criminal records (felony or otherwise violent misdemeanor) will be automatically declined. While the kid’s long rap sheet included citations for Playing Under The Influence Of Formula, Public Intoxication (sloppy vomiting and slurred babble-speech), and Small-Manslaughter of Perfectly Innocent Diapers, I had no formal cause to decline his request for residency. The criminal justice system has yet to rightfully enforce punishment to the most dangerous of toddler offenders. Smooth criminal. Smoother bowel movements. 

Rental History: Applicants with unpaid debts to previous landlords will automatically be declined. I asked my womb a series of questions regarding the tenant’s stay there. Turns out the boy thumped on uterine walls at all hours of the night, clogged up the plumbing, and had the audacity to vacate the premises before daybreak, leaving a total mess behind. Unfortunately my woman parts can’t sue for damages.  

Proof of Employment: Applicants without documented & current income will most likely be declined... because in my case, your home is my business. I asked the prospective client to supply proof that he wasn’t a freeloader. After all, I would need to know where his rent money would come from every month. He spat a half-chewed gob of banana into my palm and smiled.  

A freeloader. 

A midnight mover. 

The decision then was simple… 

You’re definitely going to need a co-signer. Could you call your mom?

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Prayer Over My Kids by Tina Fey

It's not terribly often that I read something that literally makes me LOL.  But this lady seems to do it quite frequently.  She has a book out that I desperately want to read called Bossypants.  Now that she has children, her humor on the topic of child-rearing and parenthood constantly leave me in stitches.  I found this poem that she wrote in the form of a prayer that came out of her book.  Enjoy it below.  It's one that I can see myself praying a time or two also!

Prayer Over My Kids
First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.
May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.
When the Crystal Meth is offered, may she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.
Guide her, protect her when crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.
Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, dangit.
May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.
Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.
O Lord, break the Internet forever, that she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.
And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.
And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.
-Tina Fey

Friday, December 23, 2011

An Entitled Mom's Plea to Santa Claus

Dear Santa,

I think I’ve been a good Mom this year. I’ve kissed foreheads Good Night, wiped away tears caused by hurt feelings, administered to a myriad of boo-boos, and wiped the booties of not only my little ones, but some friends. I’ve rallied playdates, fed the preschool class kids, and worn out entire bottles of Excedrin attending parties at Chuck E. Cheese. I’ve carpooled the boy to a seasons’ worth of sporting events and kept my toddler entertained at numerous friend's weddings. I’ve endured the smell of feet while the little ones insisted on playing at every McDonald's playplace, paid copious dues for preschool Pizza Days, and taught various grades of Sunday School. Ok, I’ve yelled WAY too much and probably fed them more junkfood than my pediatrician would like. And yes, I’ve allowed them more television than the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends, but I like my sanity and need a little peace and quiet. But overall, I think I deserve to be on the nice list.

Here’s what I would like for Christmas:

1. A sick day once in a while. When I’m running a 104 fever, I’d like to be able to stay in bed and have someone take care of me.
2. A complete night of sleep without someone either calling me or coming into the bed. Yes, I know when they’re in college I’ll miss them, but I’d like one night NOW.
3. A free limousine service to drive my kids wherever they need to go, on time, without having to nag kids a few hundred times to put on their shoes.
4. An automatic tushy wiper so I don’t have to.
5. A self-cleaning house.
6. Calorie-less cheesecake, beer, Doritos, onion dip, milkshakes, candy, and Italian food.
7. A free in-house masseuse.
8. Garbage that takes itself out.
9. More television shows like “Up All Night,” “Supernanny,” and “Modern Family.”
10. Peace on earth or at least peace in my house.

By the way, I know your weight is unhealthy, but I think you look great in that red suit. Hugs to the reindeer!

Ok, so I know some of my requests are unrealistic, but thinking about them helps me join the 87 percent of happy adults waiting for Santa.

Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dear God, Can You Give Santa the Memo?

Mr. Grouchy Pants speaks to himself on a regular basis. I would worry about this, as he is a bit past the whole “imaginary friend” phase, but the fact that he is usually just talking to his action heroes makes me have less cause for concern. Lately though, he has been talking to God quite a bit. I will catch him talking while he is playing by himself with his cars on the floor. Usually he just jabbers on about what he wants for Christmas and I simply perk up my ears a bit and listen, but yesterday I caught him explaining to God why he's been a pain in the butt lately. Mostly, he said things like "Stinker was mean to me when mom and dad weren't at the dinner table so I had to kick him under the table, but then he was mean again so I told on him so don't be mad God, because I didn't even tell him he was stupid, I just told him I was telling on him".

I just listened in shock.

He knows that if he says ugly words that we will take away priveledges AGAIN but he didn't exactly say them to us. He was having a private conversation with God that I wasn't invited to eavesdrop on.

He then said something even more shocking. “So God, can you tell Santa that I should still get good presents cause I've been good most of the time and I am only bad when I have to be. But Santa sees everything like you do, I just don't get to talk to him like you. So will you tell Santa that I've been trying to be good?”

In other words. . .God, could you give Santa the memo?

I was about to intervene in the conversation, but I stopped myself. I guess he should be able to just tell God how he really feels. And I'm sure that God can get the message to Santa......... Why not?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Jesus vs. Santa? We Choose Both.

Christmas! Christmas! Christmas! I love Christmas, all of it. I love the Baby Jesus part of it and I love the buying presents part of it. We didn't have that much money to spend on gifts, but if I had more, I’d spend more. Hear that? More presents! (I have toddlers! And toys are fun!)

I don’t believe that Jesus and presents for my babies are mutually exclusive. There’s this new equation going around that (starts to sound like it) says, “take how much you think you love Jesus, subtract the number of Christmas presents that you buy, and that is how much you actually love Jesus, if and only if you can somehow relate the presents that you buy to the gifts of the Magi, then you can add back one love point”.

Now, I understand that people are doing what’s right for their family, just like I’m doing what’s right for my family.  And believe me when I say that I realize sometimes how the massive amount of things can sometimes cloud what the true meaning of the season.  We've even tossed the idea around of trading the materialism in for more traditional ways to celebrate in the upcoming years.  But this year, we still believe in Santa.  Yet the judgements insue.  It's just this vibe that I get from time to time. I  judge myself sometimes.  Because hey, I want my kids to love Jesus and to not be materialistic little snots. (There are actually very few people who do want their children to materialistic little snots, by the way.)

So I was thinking about all this this year and I’ve come to a conclusion. I will teach my children that Jesus is the best gift the world has ever been given, that He was born to die for their (and everyone’s) sins, and that they (and everyone) can be saved by accepting the gift of Himself that He gave to those He loved: them (and everyone). I will teach them that we take this time to be thankful and pay special notice to the love, peace, joy, and selflessness already in the world and that they can give give to the world.

I will show them we can partake in all those things and still buy presents for each other. I will show them how to delight in thinking about their siblings and buying them something “perfect”. I will savor their joy at receiving good gifts that they haven’t earned that are given out of love with no restrictions.

This year we’re going to have a Christmas season that is filled with family, fun, gift giving and receiving, the Truth of the birth of Jesus, fairy tales about Santa and flying reindeer, service projects, and a mischevious little Elf named Elvis. . .

…and let’s be honest: temper tantrums, lost patience, crying, gallons of hot cocoa, anxiety about the whole season, and hey, the one morning a year that I won’t mind a ridiculously early wake up call.

So, yes, I’m shooting for the best of both worlds here, and yes, of course, “Jesus is the reason for the season”, so if it comes down to a smack-down between Jesus and Santa I know which side I’ll be cheering for, but really, I think we can avoid that. And no, I don’t want a figurine of Santa kneeling in front of the manger, but thanks for asking.

To guide me through this cosmic balancing act I’ve bought lots of children's books on the nativity as well as our beloved "Elf on a Shelf" (who's been at it all December, I might add!) . I’m going to be using them to set up some new traditions, hone some old ones, and peacefully juggle jingle bells from now to New Year’s.  So Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, friends! Enjoy a little (spiked) eggnog and Christmas carols.  And remember to invite Jesus to your Christmas, in whatever way means the most to you.  He truly is the reason for the season.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Are Santa's Gifts Wrapped or Unwrapped?

 The Christmas Season is finally upon us!  Everyone is gearing up for all of the carol singing, hall decking, and tree decorating. The following is a guest post by one of my friend's experience with making holiday memories.  I hope you enjoy it!  Take a peak at her blog here:  Raising Inspiration: Seeking God Thru the Spit-Up     She is such an inspirational chick and fellow toddler mom.  Give her some of your feedback!

 It is officially the holiday season! I love this time of year. I love the winter, the family gatherings, Christmas trees, I pretty much love it all! I have so many great memories during this time of year, and now I am a parent and get to build those lasting memories with my children. I look back at all the memories and traditions I have with my family and get all excited thinking about passing these same things on to my children. But, the one thing I never thought about was that every family has their own traditions, their own favorite way of doing things. Wait, what? We don't all celebrate Christmas the same way? No, and I learned this from my husband.

I grew up where Santa did not wrap his presents, in fact not all the gifts under the tree were from him either. We had a mixture from him and from our parents, but the ones from him were always unwrapped. This completely shocked my husband. In his family every gift was wrapped and every gift was from Santa. I would be lying if I were to tell you that our conversation about which way was the correct way didn't get a little heated. (sad I know, but we both could not comprehend the others tradition) Another example of the difference we found was just how we opened gifts Christmas mornings. We have known some friends whose families would all open gifts at the same time. Both of our families took turns and watched each other open gifts. However, my family made a pile for each person at the beginning and we could decide each turn which one we wanted to open. His family would pick one person each year to pass out the gifts, one gift for everyone to open and then would pass out again like this until all were gone.

The more we talked about different traditions we loved and wanted to pass on, the more we realized that some of those traditions we both did growing up, but differently. I knew that not everyone did things the way my family did, but never really cared or thought about it much until the time came to start thinking about my children. What my husband and I learned during this discussion, and the many more that followed was that we have to find a median, AND make sure that the other person doesn't feel like we are saying that their traditions are less important than ours. We had to decide what things we wanted to take from both of our childhoods to pass on and then we want to come up with our own traditions for our family to start passing on. The important thing is that we create a family tradition, whatever that might be, but something that is ours and for our children to grow up remembering.

Things will not change. Every family will continue to do things differently. As long as my family has beautiful memories that my children love and that they are shocked to find out later that not all families celebrate Christmas like our family, I know then that we have done a good job. We will have created a legacy that they will find a way to incorporate into their families one day. So, have you started making a legacy for your family?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Monkeys Have All the Luck

One night after the kids were in bed, Bryan and I were actually sharing space in the same room.

But wait...that's not the actual story. Just thought I'd point it out because it's a rare occurrence.

The news was blaring on the television, but both of us were stuck with our noses in separate technological devices (A problem that should be addressed in a later post. . .). Something in an online article caught my attention, so I read the entire story about a man who recounted the story of an orange baby monkey who had been born at a zoo recently. A Francois Langur monkey, he announced proudly, as if he had given birth to the monkey himself.

I know, I know...monkeys are born every day, but wait, it gets better. Trust me.

The man continued with the story, discussing how the other female monkeys will take the baby from the mother so the mother can have a break.

Bryan cackled under his breath as I screamed, "WTH! Where the heck is MY monkey? I need one of those to come here and give ME a break!!" (I'd have to elaborate for him later.)

Yes, people....apparently, in the world of the Francois Langur monkey there is a thing called "aunting", where when a female gives birth to a baby, all the other females in the group who are not yet mothers, will come take care of the baby so the mother can rest.

As I watched the video of these amazing monkeys, I sat there in disbelief.

One of the "aunt" monkeys had to literally pry the baby monkey away from its mother in order to force her to take a well-deserved break. All the other childless monkeys gathered around the aunt to help her care for the baby while the mother rested in a nearby tree.

Color me disillusioned but I don't remember any childless friends knocking down my front door, demanding that I hand over my newborn son so I could rest my weary body, after having been doped up with an epidural and gutted like a fish.

Nor were there any well-meaning family members forcing me to temporarily discontinue the endless routine of mixing formula, measuring breast milk, cleaning bottles and changing diapers to give me a much needed mini-siesta. (After the first two weeks, that is. I must do a shout-out to my mother and mother-in-law. They would have LIVED with us if allowed when both boys were born.)

Oh, but the unsolicited advice and harsh judgments (along with a huge side dish of guilt) came aplenty. Of course.

"Don't wake the babies up to feed them. That's so cruel," they would argue.

"Why are you supplementing with formula? Have you tried everything possible to make more breast milk?" Other experienced mom-friends would accuse.

"I can't believe you let that baby sleep in his car seat!" they would scrutinize.

The way I see it, those people who claim that monkeys are smarter than human beings may be onto something. Lord knows, they certainly appear to be more thoughtful than we tend to be with one another.

Instead of giving away free cars, I believe Oprah should've been giving away monkeys.

"To every exhausted, overwhelmed mother in this audience today, you get a monkey! You get a monkey! And you get a monkey! Everybody. Gets. A. Monkey!"

Sure, I may be coming off as a little bitter...and, yeah, I'm still seething with envy.

Those darn Francois Langur monkeys have all the luck.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hot Moms Drive Minivans

I pulled up behind a minivan the other day while I was out running errands. I immediately laughed out loud when I read one of the obnoxious, tacky, ridiculous decals on the back. Right next to “Jenni-Softball” and “Mark-Baseball” was a decal that said “Hot Moms Drive Minivans.” I scoffed. I laughed. I took a picture with my Iphone. Ridiculous!

What’s the big deal, you may wonder. Well, I have a confession: I will NEVER drive a minivan. Ever. I’ll ride a bicycle. Take the bus. Hitchhike. Segway. Use my good ole-fashioned “ChevroLegs.” You may be wondering why I feel this way, and it’s pretty simple. When I was a teenager who knew EVERYTHING about nothing, I swore on my cheerleading hot pants that I’d never, ever, under any circumstances drive a minivan. It’s a matter of personal pride. Style, if you will. It’s just not for me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I can see the practicality of such a vehicle. In fact, I can even understand why some moms and dads actually desire the minivan. It has the easy-to-load door, the roomy interior, etc., but it is lacking in one key department: cool points. There’s nothing sexy about a minivan. There’s nothing hot about some mom rolling up to a stop light kicking her six-disc changer to Kesha…in a minivan. There aren’t leather seats, moonroofs, or Bose speakers. Minivans aren’t built for speed. They’re not built for status. They’re certainly not built for sex appeal. They’re utilitarian. Minivans are the granny-panties of the automobile world, right next to the girdles that are station-wagons.

So, in my quest to feel sexy, Milf-y if you will, I have kept my solemn vow from the years of Smirnoff and Friday night football. I will never drive a minivan. I reserve the right to feel like a hot mom once in a while, and to me that means rollin’ my leather-clad, Bose-equipped, moonroof rockin’ SUV up to stoplights with the wind in my hair…and a carseat in the back, dignity and sex appeal intact!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Guest Post from Jaxon Jill Designs!!

Today is a first for us on the Banana Pants blog!  My very first guest blogger "tutorial"!  I'm so excited!  Kristina is a mom and a SUPER CRAFTER who owns her own company at Jaxon Jill Designs.  I'm in awe of all her adorable boutique outfits for kiddos and her beautiful hairbling!  Please welcome her and feel free to share this tutorial and her website with your friends and family.  Without further ado. . .

Well hello! Let me introduce myself. Some call me Kristi, some call me Tina, some just call me soccer mom of the year. Ok, only the 1st two are really true. You can call me Kristina, though. I am a stay at home mama with two kiddos, a 3 1/2 extremely active boy and an 18m old sweet and sassy daughter. I also have a small business that was born out of my love for crafting, sewing and making things for my two kids- Jaxon Jill Designs. When I’m not busy with taking care of hubs, kiddos or JJD, I love to do some crafting.

One of my favorite things to do is refashion-Take something and turn it into something else other than it’s intended purpose. With the Christmas season here, I’m going to share how I took some Christmas napkins and turned them into decorative throw pillows.

Here is what you need:
-2 packs of decorative fabric napkins size 20”x20”
  (I found mine at Target-on sale! Suh-weeet!)
  • 3/4 yard burlap (optional) 
  • Wonder Under or Heat n Bond (fusible interfacing)
-1 package fiber fill (fluffy stuffing-found at Hobby Lobby-pretty sure even Wal-mart)
-Sewing machine or glue gun (I won’t tell if you want to glue will be our secret!)

Print a letter or short word from your computer that you would want to applique onto your pillow. You can even google “shapes” and print out a Christmas tree. I chose “joy” to applique onto my pillow. Be sure to change your font to about 300 in size.

Iron your napkins flat. Use the directions on your fusible interfacing to fuse the interfacing onto the wrong side (back side) of one napkin (this napkin will be what we will use to cut out your word or image). I don’t have pics of this step because I thought I could skip it...but it doesn’t look as well as it should as I say...not as I do haha!

Pin your letters onto the napkin that has fusible interfacing on it. 

Cut your letters/shape out from the fabric.

Fuse your letters/shape onto the face of one napkin. I chose the right side to fuse the word “joy.” You can stop here or top stitch for a more durability and finished look. 

Place your napkin face down (right sides together) on top of the burlap to cut a 20”x20” piece of burlap. Pin napkin to burlap. You could totally pin two napkins together instead. I like the contrast and texture the burlap adds.

Sew the four sides around the pillow leaving about a 4-5 inch opening (for filling). Turn your pillow right side out. Use a pin to pull out the corners.

Fill your pillow with the fiber fill until it is mostly full. Don’t stuff it so much that it makes it difficult to close. 

Fold the opening inward so that you can stitch it closed with your sewing machine. Most people would hand stitch this opening closed but I’m too lazy so I use my machine. If you’re really lazy, you could totally hot glue it! (I actually hot glued a corner that was a little open...shhhh!) You can stop there or go make 2-4 more pillows with your remaining materials. 

 Place your new pillow or pillows on the couch. Ooooh and ahhh over them and let hubs ask you if you bought ‘em. You can proudly tell him you whipped this baby up yourself! Viola! New pillows that didn’t cost $40 each and they also match your kitchen napkins. Woot!

Make sure you visit Jaxon Jill Designs for more craft ideas and amazing boutique items and outfits for you and your kiddos! 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Your Kids Do Not Wear Fur Coats

Yep, ya gotta love 'em. It's the law. Try not loving your pet and see what happens. Don't get the idea I'm against animals or having a pet or two. I have had 3 dogs, 5 cats and probably a few other critters runnin' around here since we have been married. Currently, the two little monsters (boys) are all the animals I need, but I am in no way not pro-animal. But...animals are not people and shouldn't be treated as such. Please don't be offended. It's just a fact of life whether we act like it is or not. I've put a great deal of thought into this hypothesis (well, I did think about it for a little while anyway). I think I've come up with 10 definitive reasons we can all agree on proving my case.

Reason 1: Lousy conversationalists.

Pets don't talk. Notice I didn't say they can't. I said they don't. Other than the random bird or two, nothing. Not a word. They either have nothing to say, in which case, they're beneath us on the food chain as any person always has something to say no matter how insane. Or, they deem us unworthy of conversation whereby they station themselves far above us and remove themselves from the realm of peoplehood. If an entity has the gift of speech, sooner or later something is gonna happen requiring some sort of statement from that entity. Accidently drop a dozen eggs on the kitchen floor (done it). One of your cats will stand there watching you clean up the mess and I swear you can see what he's thinking, "Smooth move, Sherlock", but he doesn't utter a peep (or purr). We used to have a parrot that could only say "Dumb". (Thanks to my little brother). One of the cats ate him, I think. You'd have thought he'd yell for help.

Reason 2: They're pets.

They're pets! That should be enough right there to disqualify them as human. Yeah, we all have a pet we think of as a member of the family. We even give 'em our last name and act like they're somebody. They're a PET! What living, breathing, thinking human would allow themselves to become a pet?

Try this....go next door and buy your neighbor's 5 year old for, say, $500. Make sure you get the papers on him so you can register him (this is in case somewhere down the line you want to breed him and sell the forthcoming litter). Have him eat and drink from two little bowls with his name on them that have been place on the floor, usually next to the kitchen garbage can. Smack him on the nose whenever he does something wrong and make him use the bathroom out in the yard regardless of the weather. If you do indeed try this, call me when you've completed your prison sentence. We'll do lunch.

Reason 3: No sense of financial responsibility.

Money means nothing to our pets. They never seek to enter the job market, aren't concerned about earning a decent wage, do not buy American. They're just there, sponging off the rest of us, napping, eating, sleeping, scratching, sniffing their lives away. Blissfully ignorant of what it takes to survive in todays economy.

Case in point; my sister has a weenie dog. A very pampered weenie dog that constantly gets new toys from PetsMart, gourmet dog food, and the best of the best bacon treats. Yet he eats her shoes. Flip flops Nikes, Nine West heels, Coach boots, everything. How fiscally irresponsible can ya get?

Growing up on a few acres, we went through 50 bales of hay each year to feed the cows through the winter. Do you know that's about $20 a bale?! Do the math. Do you think that even once these cows have ever chipped in to cover the expense? Never! And, to add insult to injury, they won't just eat the darn hay. They have to walk on, pee on it, play in it or, sometimes, turn their noses up at it cause they obviously want something else.

Reason 4: Carpet is toilet paper.

Be honest. You've seen your pet do this. Drag his or her butt across the carpet. Somebody want to explain this to me? I once had a pet rabbit for a while that did the same thing so don't tell me it's worms (by the way, one of the cats was always trying to eat the rabbit. See, not human.)

When was the last time you went to a dinner party and at some point during the evening you, during conversation, excused yourself, pulled down your pants, drug your butt back and forth across the carpet a few times, pulled your pants up and said, "Whew, that's much better!"?

Wonder why the Johnsons never invite us over anymore?

Reason 5: Eat or drink anything.

As humans we're very selective regarding what goes into our mouths. Pets could care less. The grosser the better seems like. If you have a pet that drinks from the commode, raise your hand. Every hand went up. You ever drink from the commode? It taste funny cause of that blue stuff we put in the tank. Also, if you're not careful the lid falling can give you a concussion. We all know what we've seen dogs eat in the yard. I ain't going there.

I once had a friend in elementary school who had several praying mantis in an aquarium as pets. When they mated, the female ate the rest of the guys. First, this did help us distinguish which were male and which were female and second, sex ain't all that much fun for some pets. Some pets will eat their young. I'm not gonna say this is a bad thing. I have 2 boys. I've often thought eating your young before they became a real pain might not be such a bad thing. I didn't do it though. Not so much because I thought it was wrong, because I knew I'd never get away with it and I know what happened to Jeffery Dahmer when he was sent to prison. See, I'm human.

Reason 6: Body parts.

Most, but not all, pets have tails. Nothing wrong with a little tail. I've seen some very nice ones I'll admit. However, if you can put your tail in your mouth, or if you can chase it around in a circle and catch it, you're not human. No thumbs (unless you have a pet monkey). As a result, pets make lousy artists, mechanics, typists, they're no fun to pay catch with, they can't even hitchhike. I'll guarantee you've never had your pet thumb his nose at you.

They have cold noses. So do Alaskans but they have a good reason. It's pretty dang cold where they are. Pets' noses are cold when they're healthy. What's with that? If a human's nose is cold they do something about it. Pets could care less. As a matter of fact, I believe they're proud of the fact. Look at where they're always poking the cold thing!

Reason 7: Gaseous Gas.

Everyone has gas at one time or another. Yes, even your girlfriend, mom, gramma, etc. Everyone. If you didn't, you'd explode. No human has gas that comes remotely near that of indoor pets. You can be minding your own business, sitting on the sofa watching the game with your trusty dog, Lexi, by your side. Suddenly there's a wave of aroma washing over you that smells something like a dead beaver smoking a cheap cigar that was previously soaked in yak urine. Anything, or anybody for that matter, that can emit a smell like that is not only not human, they're not even from this planet.

Reason 8: No sense of self-preservation.

Horses will run right back into a burning barn. Dogs will chase 3,000 lb. automobiles, cats will climb miles up a tree knowing they can't possibly climb down. What gives? They're not just dumb or careless, they're not human. I'll be the first to admit we as humans can be pretty stupid. We drink and drive, participate in extreme sports, marry red-heads, etc. but, we learn from our mistakes for the most part. You can climb the tree or call the fire department to get the cat down and he'll run right back up the tree.

Animals appear not to care whether they live or die. There are so many sail animals (a sail animal is one that's been run over numerous times, dried, and can be thrown like a frisbee) on country roads you'd think the possum, rabbit, raccoon populations would be growing pretty thin. Which reminds me, if you see a possum and a lawyer run-over on the highway, how can you tell them apart? There are skidmarks in front of the possum.

'Nough said.

Reason 9: Pets have no depth perception.

I don't exactly know why I included this as a reason. I'm not even sure I know what I mean. Give me a break, I'm only human. I will tell ya this. My childhood dalmation would bark at and chase clouds. Haven't got a clue what that signifies but he did it.

Reason 10: Pets can't tell time.

Our pets have no concept of time. Whether you leave the house to go to the grocery or to Holland, your pet doesn't know the difference. When you return they're just as happy to see ya back from one trip as they are the other. To them, you weren't just going to be gone for an hour or a week, you were gone for good. I've never owned a pet that wore a watch. I don't think a single one of our cats or dogs has ever even glanced at a clock. There is one thing they do know. When it's time to eat. How do they know? These non-humans will stand at the kitchen door at the exact same time every morning and evening waiting for the lunch wagon and yet the same animal will set with me in the den watching the weather channel and still not get out of the rain he had to know was coming.

I rest my case.

Monday, December 5, 2011


It's not often that I will blog about anything particularly useful; I suppose I've come to the realization that my blog is niche-less, not really parental in any fashion, far cry from the normal "mommy blogger". Useful? Not so much. Humorous? To some. At any rate, today is a departure from the Woe is Mama Monologues of last week and I'm talking about something important! I know, I'm as shocked as you are.

Those of you who may read my blog know I refer to my 4-year-old as the Drama Queen, I don't know where he gets it, I blame his father, I suppose. (wink, wink) I may also be wearing a Tiara right now. But I'll say it again; I don't like kids who sass me. Who does? Now before you start rolling your eyes, and saying things like, "just wait, ha!” I know, I know it's normal, I know it only gets worse, teenager, blah, blah. But really when is it too much? That's my question. When is the sass out of control? And...can you nip sass in the bud?

I've been called a lot of things, 'good Mom', 'lenient Mom', 'crazy Mom', 'hot Mom', oh wait....there are others too, just can't recall, I block some things out. My favorite insult regarding my no-sass policy and manner requirement was this line, "you are raising little adults"; uh, yeah, pretty much, but I digress.....this means nothing coming from the parent whose child is standing on his chair at dinner kicking his sister. Not bitter whatsoever. It hasn't always been this way.  I like to think that I've always given my boys the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes I'd been known to brush-off the sassing as "they're just joking".  But we (the hubs and I) decided that we don't want this behavior to get out of hand, so we've started buckling down and not letting the munchkins buck the system hardly at all without immediate punishment.  Here's the situation:

Drama Queen (or King) Grouch, the Lil Stinker, and I were going to Toys 'r Us.......long story, but we were going there together around the holidays. This was my first big mistake. In hindsight is good, because Toys 'r Us can swallow you up and spit you back out worse for wear. Grouchy Pants had $5 dollars to spend and knew we were going that day. All morning long he was a down-right brat. (Now I don't like to call my child a brat, but it is what it is.) Sassy, throwing tantrums and huffing around, I had called him on it one too many times that morning and he and the Little Stinker were plotting against me. I had worn out the line, "Knock it off or you will not spend your money today". Finally, at each incident I just got down to his level and said, "Remember how you are acting right now, and what you just said to me, because I'm going to ask you later." Four times I quoted that.

Now at the toy store I remind myself that he will not be getting anything.  It's a good thing I remember to talk to myself, or I think that I may have crumbled. He started talking about what he was going to pick out and I said, "Sorry, hon, you're not getting anything"..... {insert crying eruption} Through the tears were why, why, whys and I calmly said, "Remember when I told you to remember how you were acting and what you said to me...that's why."

Mean Mommy trick? Maybe. Okay, totally. But nothing else was working. Did I know this would cause a meltdown at the toy store? Meltdowns don't scare me, my littlest one still has them daily, I kick meltdowns butt. Okay, sometimes they kick mine...but most of the time. The threats of not getting anything weren't working; so I had to take action and follow through. If there is one thing I have learned as a parent it is IF YOU THREATEN YOUR CHILD WITH A CONSEQUENCE, BE PREPARED TO FOLLOW THROUGH. Otherwise, you lose all credibility. You may as well just hand over the car keys and call it a day, they're driving.

In the parking lot things escalated, a full-on screaming tantrum by the Drama King. Those are practically unheard of for him, so this was rare. I was walking in front with the Stinker, and I said nothing. Tried the 'ol, ignore it approach. No dice. I supposedly ruined his life, was mean, etc. Okay kid; get it out of your system. Then he says, "You just hate me". I finally whipped my head around and yelled, "Enough, you're done". We were drawing a crowd of on-lookers, and I was done with the pitiful me fest.

I put the kids in car, and told Mr. Grouch that we were going to have a long talk. I didn't  really have to rehearse my plan of action, because neither me nor his dad ever tolerate bad behavior, and I'm lucky in the fact that BC will most often times back me up. I am the disciplinarian, as I'm the one with them the most. But dad is the one that usually reiterates the “sentence” later on. Kids need to know their boundaries and that the parents have a united front; otherwise it just leads to insecurity and anxiety, or acting out... Then there was fifteen minutes in the car lecturing the Grouch where he ultimately lost “superhero privileges” for further sass, which he had to earn back; and did {he even got a note home from school about how he had gone out of his way to be kind}. So I consider this bump a success.

We are all blazing new paths on the parenting trail, and nobody has all the answers. One day I think I know what I'm doing and the next it's all gone to heck.

Let's also not lose sight of the fact that there is a line between voicing your opinion and being disrespectful. Far too many kids are just downright disrespectful to their parents. I think I would be doing my child a disservice by allowing them to whine and sass me, that is not how you get what you want in this world.

So how much Sass is normal? And how do you deal with it? There is no parental judgment happening here, I sincerely want your opinion. I am wielding the power of the blog and asking for your best advice, even if it is Dr. Phil-ish.

{Disclaimer: I am fully aware that I am one of the most sasstastic people that has ever roamed the Earth and this is my Karma.}

Friday, December 2, 2011

Confessions of a Multitasker

It's the hap-hap-busiest time of year, and if you're not doing at least two things at any one time, how will you ever survive? I myself am an incurable multi-tasker. I'm almost certain that many of these tasks would get done more quickly if I could only force myself to uni-task. But I can't seem to do it. Is there a support group for this? (I'm even folding laundry with my feet while I write this! Just kidding, but it's not a bad idea...)

I'll share my list in hopes that one of these tactics will be just the tip you needed to save that 5 extra seconds that will change your life forever.

Confession time. I have been known to...
1. Talk on the phone while typing an email.
Neither is ever very intelligible.

2. Talk on the phone (hands free) incessantly while driving.
Actually, I don't know if my car even functions unless my speakerphone is blaring through my stereo and I have a friend on the line.

3. Talk on the phone while running on the elliptical machine at the gym.
Please excuse the heavy breathing.

4. Do a bit of dancing while brushing my teeth.
Hey, if I'm just standing there brushing for 2 minutes, I might as well try to burn off an M&M or two.

5. Do standing leg lifts while flossing.
Luckily, flossing doesn't take very long.

6. Squeeze in a mini workout while making dinner.
Stair push-ups until the microwave pings, lunges while waiting for the water to boil. Embarrassing!

7. Update my FB status while running my first 5K.
And I didn't trip once!

8. Read my scriptures while in the plank position (for abdominal strength).
Man, it sure sounds like I should be in better shape!

9. Eat oatmeal out of a PAPER CUP while driving to work, and eat while driving in general.
Well, that explains it.

10. Eat cereal in the shower.
The cereal is in a bowl, of course, while I am the one in the tub. Does that make it any better?

11. Read a book while blow drying my hair.
Everything's fine and dandy until it's time to turn the page.

12. Read a book while making dinner.
Stir with one hand, hold book with the other.

13. Text while vacuuming.
But usually only if I'm responding to a text I received, and I always get them right away because I also listen to podcasts while I vacuum.

14. Check email on iPhone while running on treadmill.
Not recommended.

15. Change clothes while driving.
In my defense, I was 18 years old, invincible, and driving in lightly populated areas. And my car was an automatic volkswagon with bench seats.

So, are there any embarrassing admissions you'd like to make? Believe it or not, there are a couple that I was wise enough to keep to myself.