Saturday, July 9, 2016


     I'm blessed.  

I realise those words in the middle of everything going on outside of the walls of our homes may come off as shocking or uncaring but the truth is, is that I'm blessed. 

    Everytime I check Facebook, scroll through my Twitter account, or read the news I am bombarded with how horrible things seem. It makes sense to me because everyone loves to shout about what they are upset over and whisper their thanks but's overwhelming right now. I constantly find myself asking my husband if my reactions to some of these things are valid or just pregnancy hormones rearing their ugly head because
Makes me laugh every time...
our innate visceral reactions to some of these events are extreme emotions. When things get overwhelmingly negative in life I go to a few safe places online like pinterest (who can say no to hover kitties?) or a few good christian blogs to reset my mindframe about what is truly important in life. Lately though even those have let me down. In the light of all the negativity people are obsessing over how to fix the future for the sake of our kids. They talk about how godly women raise godly children. How you have to be a good solid man to raise children who won't go off the deep end. 

In theory they are right.  

    I see it play out so different in my day to day. Wives who can't say anything good about their husbands, husbands who are just going through the motions in life, people bashing each other for stupid things. I'm a part of several "Crunchy Mama" groups on facebook. You all know the food, baby led weaning, baby wearing, CIO / non CIO fighters, cosleeping,circumcision, placenta pills, gentle parenting techniques...It's very draining some days. I realise that I was born in the wrong era when I am on those sites because I refuse to co-sleep, don't have a clue how to baby wear effectively, and definitely believe in Spankings. These women balk at the idea of not hugging out a tantrum ( yes that's a thing now...) but then turn around and get so upset with their men. Most days it's a man bashing fest on some poor schmuck who works swings and won't help out around the house. We all hear about those men all the time right ladies? The guys who come and go "as they please" without kids in tow and don't know how to get their laundry in the hamper. What I realised though when telling my husband about some of the crazy is that most of these men probably don't have a clue what to do at the house, with the kids, concerning all the crazy practices in place. My husband and I parent in a "middle of the road" type manner because we are very different people. We talk through situations and come to an agreement on what works for us as a whole. I get the impression from so many that that isn't normal. It's mothers laying down the law for their kids. Baby wearing, sharing the bed, breast all good if the father is on board and understands it. Let's be honest, most men don't understand it

Men don't understand why there is a 5yr old laying between him and his wife.
Men don't understand why the kids HAVE to be in the bathroom with them when they just have to go pee for a second.
Men don't understand why they are expected to hug out a screaming child who is being disrespectful to them over a toy they don't even own.
Men don't understand why they have to get up in the middle of the night to keep you company when you solely breastfeed.

I don't understand why we expect them to be us. 

    I am a very different person than my husband. My patience levels, reaction times, go to methods...they are all different than his. I couldn't fathom handling a situation like him so why do we as moms expect our men to handle things like us?

    Our lives breakdown more than we realize because of decisions we make. If you choose to breastfeed then I applaud you. It is tough and exhausting at times. It's not a fun road for most moms. It's also not easy for dad. Breastfeeding is so much more than food. It's a bond that makes your relationship unbreakable with your child. You become their comfort and their safe space. Dad's can't compete with that. We put our children in a position to need us as moms and then get upset when the dad's don't help out. We take the kids to the store because the dads can't feed them. We get up at night because the dad's can't feed them. We arrange our entire day around this small child and they don't...because they can't feed them! Little by little it trickles down to other things around the house. We cook while baby wearing because they throw a fit otherwise. Dad isn't their safe space. We clean while having a little person follow us around because we're their best friend. We vacuum at certain times because of their schedule. Which the schedule! The almighty schedule that dad's have no say in because they aren't a food source or a comfort source. We have put our men in a position to not be able to help and then we get upset with them for not doing so. We nag them for not playing with the kids more, bash them behind their backs for not understanding how "our home" works, get upset with them when they run errands for us "without the kids", (and my personal favorite) get mad when they watch the older kids while we moms run errands with the baby. 

Most men I know are trying. 

    They think that they are helping you by either staying out of your way or running errands outside of the house for you. They work in the yard to make sure that your house looks good. They are actually trying. We're not letting them.We've boxed them into this corner where we are our children's be all, end all and then get mad when they don't participate like we do. The same women who don't yell at their toddlers because they are having "grown up emotions that they can't communicate" always seem to be yelling about their husbands over emotions they are not allowed to say. I was blown away when my husband told me a few years ago that he didn't feel like a parent because he didn't feel included with me and monkey. He was the back up parent. I was the primary feeder, comforter, playmate, and disciplinarian all rolled into one. I was getting upset with him for not helping out and then I found out that it was partially my fault. I set him up for failure as a dad. I set him up to be of no good to me as a spouse. Then I would get mad about it. Looking back it's childish at best and destructive at worst. We had to have a come to Jesus meeting about how we parent. How many Dad's feel like they can't do that? How many are in the same positions but don't have the energy anymore to fight for their voice? 
Monkey was so little! 

    As women we need to evaluate the decisions made concerning our children. We need to take into consideration the impact it will have across the family. If you breastfeed, great! Just don't get mad when your husband sleeps through the night or you have to take your kids to the store with you. If you have a spouse with a shorter temper then hugging it out may not be the way to go if they're not on board. Better a middle ground strategy than two totally different approaches that confuse the child. If you have a schedule in place, write it down for your spouse and place it somewhere convenient for them. If you co-sleep make sure your spouse is ok with it and talk about the length of time you'll do it. Their bed is their safe space too. They have a right to have a say in it. Parenting is about merging two people's ideas into one small kid. You have to be on the same page for it to be effective.

    The biggest issue though is one that is so simple. Stop tearing each other down.  

Build each other up.
    See the world from their point of view and try to understand where they are coming from. Stop assuming they are out to make you look bad or undermine your decisions or trap you in the house with small 4 foot energy sucking monsters. Communicate to each other what you want. I'm not a mind reader and if my husband is one his memory wouldn't remember what it had read in the first place. We both know this. We write out what we want from each other so he has a way of reminding himself down the road and I have a way of feeling secure concerning what page we are both on. It seems drastic sometimes but it works for us. Find what works for you. Even if the decisions are hard and not the direction you prefer.You have to be a strong supportive wife in order to have a strong stable husband. 

    The more we build each other up as parents the better off our children will be. The more equality shown in a home on a day to day basis the better our children will understand what it is. But none of that happens if we don't communicate and parent together. I genuinely believe a loving mom and involved dad makes a world of difference with children and how they turn out as adults. I think our boys need strong male role models to help teach them and guide them. I think our girls need active involved women in their lives to teach them how to be ladies and have respect for themselves and believe in themselves. I also believe if we tell a child that they are special and worth listening to but then yell at their other parent or talk about them behind their back that we will have undermined everything we were trying to teach. 

As a nation we want the violence and hatred to end in our world.

As a nation we have come to the consensus that good parenting is where the change begins. 

As a family, we believe that good parenting starts with both parents being on equal grounds, with open communication, and with equal say in how the children are raised. 

As a wife and mother I know that if I constantly downplay my husband and make him feel like a failure than I have set him up to fail. 

I'm Blessed. I'm blessed because my husband believes the same things. I'm blessed because he fought to have a voice in our family as a parent. I'm blessed because he believes that being honest about our family is the only way to fix the problems that arise. I'm blessed because he trusts my judgement because he knows I value his. 

This world is crazy and scary and i want to bury my head in the sand some days but when I look at the issues that arise and the solutions being offered I know that our family can survive. And if our bungling struggling little family can work through issues than I know there are others out there that are too. I know that there are enough amazing children being raised by some extraordinary people and that because of them our future isn't as scary as we think it is.


                  Best Wishes,

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Preggo Problems no one talks about...

     I'm moving into Week 34 of our pregnancy and I feel like things are sneaking up on me. Not big things like decorating a nursery or pretending I'm nesting so I can fit in with the cool crowd but little things symptom wise that I was just wholly unprepared for. And then I realized why. No one talks about these crazy side effects of pregnancy! So here it is...a whole list of weird things pregnancy does to you so all my fellow preggo's don't have to feel alone in the craziness.

  1. Cravings aren't always food. I crave everything from sunshine to a certain set of pajama pants. Yes, I still crave Bacon anything and soups...I'm a soup girl with a good grilled cheese, but the other cravings range from "needing" to sit in a certain seat for the awesome air flow that is happening to "needing" that "exact" pillow that happens to be under the happily sleeping husband's head. I feel like Sheldon half the time now...
  2. Drooling in your sleep is proudly worn like a badge of honor. When you wake up in a pile of pillow drool and your husband tells you how much you were snoring you high five him with a big smile. It all means that you slept! Even if for only 2 hours, you slept. There is nothing better than that, because...
  3. Insomnia happens at the weirdest moments. Like at 2:30am when there is nothing but weight loss commercials on T.V.. Which by the way, nothing like being guilt tripped about your food intake and weight while pregnant at three in the morning. Do everyone a favor and invest in a tablet or smart T.V. and get yourself a hulu or netflix account. Might as well binge watch while you can't sleep.
  4. Hormonal crazy isn't always there, even though everyone assumes it is. No matter what you say or do everyone chalks it up to "you're hormonal". So much so that even when you're completely rational and having a legitimate discussion your opinions will be written off. What people don't realize is that we know we're hormonal, mostly because that phrase alone makes us want to King Kong rage at people. So we do our best to check ourselves. If anything we are better suited for discussions at this point in our life. We actually are aware that we do not need (fill in pricey object here) although we still definitely want it.
  5. Energy levels vary day by day, from 5% to maaaaybe 20%. Either way coffee or cookies are needed for survival. It's gaging our energy that becomes tricky. Everyone talks about being tired but they never mention that being tired makes you incapable of thinking clearly. 10% energy level? Normal people think "do I do the laundry or the dishes". I think "do I cook my favorite soup from scratch or pinterest hunt for recipes my family won't eat". And that is ok...till we run out of clothes and get buried naked under pizza boxes and paper plates.
  6. Nesting isn't a real thing for everyone. Some women get it and others like me just clean random things that don't matter like the Guest Room or Garage or all the chocolate and potato chips out of the pantry.
  7. Everyone eats deli meat and drinks coffee. No one admits to it. Seriously, Everyone. Especially if this isn't your first kid. How else do you keep up with the first Monster you're raising if you don't get to have the National Mommy Go-Go Juice?
  8. Memories become a literal thing of the past, as in you no longer have a memory for anything. I'm responsible for remembering everything for everyone in our house...except now I can't remember if I put my keys on their hook or in the fridge. If laundry was switched over or I just threw it back in the basket. If there is a play date I forgot...I apologize. I don't know to who because let's face it, I forgot about the play date in the first place. 
  9. Everything stops fitting. Not because of weight gain but because your bones shift. Your feet get wider, your hips get wider, your boobs live in a land of their own...just find some LulaRoe and roll with the newly expanded addition of yourself. It might go back after the baby. If not...New Clothes! and shoes...don't ever forget the new shoes.
  10. You get superhuman powers like smell or touch. I can smell cat pee everywhere. And sex. I can now smell sex on anyone who didn't shower after. Now take a moment to realize how awkward that makes life when you're sitting in the middle of choir practice at church or hanging out at Chick-Fil-A surrounded by friends and strangers alike. And extreme touch is just as bad! It either hurts or annoys you... or it feels so great that you want to curl up in their lap like a stray cat and beg for them to keep scratching your back. There's really no winning with these new found powers... so I know these are two superpowers I will be glad to get rid of!
  11. There is never a thing as too cold. I normally freeze, like wearing sweatpants or a sweater during the Mississippi. Now I keep it so cold in the house my human heater of a husband is bundling up and swearing our son is going to get pneumonia. Who cares if there are icicles forming on our windows and snow is falling in our Living Room...I feel like I'm on fire!

     I've spent months now feeling like I was going crazy. It's par for the pregnancy course but seriously every woman knows that pregnancy does weird things to our bodies. Talking about them makes it easier to bear. Plus I get a good laugh at the stuff my friends deal with and vice versa. Happy pregnancy trails to you all.

                        Best Wishes,

Friday, April 10, 2015

Vacation Fun (One Memory at a Time)

Making Trips Fun...One Game at a Time!
Ripley's Hatfield's & McCoy's
We have never taken a true family vacation but boy when we finally got around to it we went all out! We were celebrating so many amazing life changes in our family like the fact that we survived two years of a medical review board and came out on the
other side with good results, a new job for my husband, and a big birthday milestone for my husband as well. We decided we needed to get away and refocus on us and figure out who we were without all that stress. So of course we went to Gatlinburg...Antiques and foodie paradise for me, race cars and carnivals for the boys! We got an amazing deal on a beautiful cabin, packed the car the way I always do for any drive with a kid and off we went to have fun and make some memories...

I mean cute are these cousins!
The only thing I did different was plan for the aquarium. We were meeting up with my sister and niece there for a few days so our kids could finally meet and we wanted to take
the kids to the Ripley's Aquarium to see the penguins and sharks. Since my son has issues with crowds and noise and needs help focusing in on what is happening, I made an "I Spy" book for both the kids. Ripley's has certain types of fish that are special to them and certain features that are unique to their building. I put the animals that are linked to those in the book so he knew where to focus. As well, they are out of order so he had to be careful walking through and pay attention to the animals around him. It was a lot of fun. It was still overwhelming for him in the long run but let's face city, new people, new toddler world that equals Crazyville. By the time we got home and he was looking through his book he was remembering the cool things he had seen and was asking questions about them. Definitely worth the time and effort put into the book. Now the fun part! Making it available to everyone!!! 

Inside the Shark Tunnel!

Simply print out the pages, staple them together, and bring a crayon for them to check off the animals as they find them. In the kids center is a great "Sunken Treasure" machine where you can get a gold coin with a Ripley's animal on it. That's what we used as a prize. You can use whatever you want (My kid is partial to pirates).

Cover Page  

Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
Page 8

Whether you're taking a long trip or just going up the road I'm a firm believer in planning ahead. I also love games! Just remember that sometimes as moms we get trapped behind the camera and computers because we're so busy planning and recording that we don't get involved in the moment. I used so many other games done by so many other great moms and I truly hope you use this one. Anything to get a few extra moments with our babies and to truly enjoy hanging out with them in the moment. 

Best Wishes,
Jules & Monkey

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I should have been named Lucy...

So as always, something I posted made a scene and I've been told in the words of my Nonnie's and I's favorite show hunk, Ricardo, "you've got some splainin' to do"...although it was by some really good friends who actually thought the whole story would be beneficial in the long run so per their advice I'm going to do what I don't normally do. I'm going to actually explain where I was coming from with my last post, RSVP 

I had several people call me or approach me even at church with smiles and concern just wanting to make sure that I wasn't referencing them. I was blessed to have the chance to explain to them already I was talking about a business man who had just sent my blood boiling that day but in order for the whole picture to be seen we're going to back up a month. Ten amazing vendors and I spent hours putting together a craft show that involved a lot of money to take care of enough food to feed 40 people (per the rsvp of 30 plus the 10 vendors), the decorations for eight tables, and the gift baskets that were donated by the vendors for our raffle. This was all done voluntarily by spouses who wanted to do something nice for other spouses. We had 30, count 'em 30, RSVP's that said yes we will be there. 6 showed up. SIX! Some of the vendors were upset. I was upset. My husband was upset because he helped pay for the people who never showed...When I finally got home that night after two amazing spouses I had just met helped me with so much I sat down and just talked with my husband. One of those eye opening, dot connecting conversations that happen when you're just worn down in life. That's when I realized how I felt about our generation and RSVP practices. We don't treat appointments this way I thought. Just each other. Just parties and play dates and Facebook related events...

So I sat down and vented about it. Because that is what my blog is for. To vent my opinion. In my safe zone.

Fast forward a month when life has gotten crazy and I have three posts sitting there untouched just waiting to be finalized and posted...because in order to post I have to move something else off my calendar and that isn't easy during the holidays. Normally I write Holiday posts during the summer so all I have to do is hit post. 

That's my dirty little secret of the week. I, like so many other bloggers, cheat!

All of a sudden though, I found myself with time. Time that normally I would spend with my son. This day though I had a fire lit under me because of a phrase said by a professional at a reputable college.

A phrase that had fire because of two weeks of work that went under because of one little person. You see two weeks earlier I decided to pick up a dream that I had set aside when I got married. I decided to finish my degree. Except I spent two weeks having to prove who I am as a person vs an appendage because the government thinks that as a married woman I am nothing more than a surname. Want to go to school under your married name? Fine. Have your husband sign this form. Orrrr....fill out this packet of info. Changed your SS info to reflect your marriage status? here's a packet of info! Want you transcripts sent over? Fill this out! Taxes for Financial Aid? Packet. I spent weeks printing, filing, scanning, emailing, calling, loopholing, proving to everyone that I'm a real person who can stand on my own and not as an adjective to someone else, ie: Airman's Wife or Monkey's Mama. It was degrading and frustrating and then when we're down to the wire after dealing with transcripts and 5 different schools and so many people I lost count it came down to one crucial appointment over the phone with a Financial Aid Manager. 8:30am Friday morning. School started on Monday bear in mind...but you know 8:30 came...and went. So did 8:45, 8:50, 8:55...9:00 hit and I called them. Thirty minutes later I was finally put in touch with the right person. THIRTY MINUTES! I was told my number had been transposed. Instead of the guy saying "hey, this girl has been successfully contacted for 2 weeks now so something must be wrong", He just went about his day. When I finally was about to be transferred to him they told me he would just call me back later because he was about to do something else. Welllllll, that didn't work for me. Appointments are appointments for a reason. I had planned my day to accommodate him. Cleaned my house, cooked lunch, prepped for a playdate that didn't happen, all so I could give him my undivided attention. When I told the CSR that He needed to speak with me then this is the response I got. "It says in your chart...   

You're a SAHM. It's not like you have anything else to do today".

I about pulled the poor kid through the phone line and ripped him three new holes to operate with.
RSVP issues suddenly aren't in Facebook land. It's in our professional world. Appointments mean nothing. Our time means nothing. My time as a mother was severely disrespected yet again by a man in a suit who thinks I'm sitting on my laurels eating chocolate watching soaps...when in reality I am now plotting how to pull his butt through a phone to beat it for the sheer impertinence of his statement. 

*LiGhTbUlB* RSVP Post! I already have it ready...tippity tap tap...finalize it in anger at this stupid stupid man and then on with my day I went...until shit hit the ceiling.

Suddenly I have someone mad because it must have been directed at them. I have someone else messaging me because they wanted to check it wasn't at them. Others are still coming out of the woodwork asking me about it from all over the U.S. and while some are really sweet about it others are not. It's just like every other post. I'm used to the dialogue at this point. Someone tells me to "see it from the other point of view" and inevitably brings my kid into the mix and my husband and I end up laughing in the kitchen over it. I tell him what's said and inevitably he asks "Has anyone asked you what was going on behind the scenes with you?" and my answer always has to be "No". No one has actually asked me what my family is dealing with. I am an open book. I will tell you what we deal with if asked but I find that most people genuinely don't care enough to ask. And the ones that have are never the ones that get upset over my blog. 

And my crazy amazing kid who has beat odds that most people don't even know about...In the last month he finally tested at the low end of the acceptable normal hearing levels. For the first time since he was 6 months old. He's got more testing to go through for other things and various doctors are thinking he might be borderline spectrum so when people throw my kid in the mix my husband and I laugh at that too. Inevitably my husband asks "so having one kid makes your emotions moot?" and I always have to say "apparently so". It is so stupid to us for two reasons actually. One, Having one kid doesn't make our feelings matter less or us understand less. In fact, little known fact about me, I have 4 years as a live in/ full time nanny under my belt. Those moms we make fun of...the SAHM who don't stay at home because they're too busy working out, shopping, or brunching...yea. I was that nanny. The one who from sun-up to sun-down was mom. With 4+ kids. Cooking, cleaning, shopping with multiples is nothing to me because I was doing it at 19. 19 people! It takes planning and a schedule and it blows but it was a choice. That I made and loved actually. We have made a choice for medical reasons to have one kid at this time, against what we actually wanted to do when we got married, so throwing that at us isn't ok anymore than using your kids as an excuse for always being late is. Get up earlier. You chose to have multiples. I have friends and family who have 5+ kids and they're always early. It's not only possible it's just as required as anyone with just one kid. We don't get an excuse and neither do any parents with more than one. And gender doesn't matter either. I'm so tired of hearing this. There is good and bad for both genders so when people tell me it's easier to deal with my boy it makes me want to punch something. I have a son who doesn't mentally comprehend on some days how to put a shirt on. other days he's fine. His comprehension is hit and miss so I get to get up early regardless because we never know what type of day we're going to have.
Every parent's day is determined by their child's mentality and comprehension not their age and gender.

And that doesn't even begin to cover the rest of the stress going on...Because that's part of why I posted what I posted. I am so stressed with Permanent Leave starting on the 18th, the temporary apartment hunting, the permanent house hunting, the packing for the move, the VA loan, the two job hunts happening simultaneously, the school research for me and Monkey which impacts the house hunting and job hunting in so many ways it's comical, the Dr. switching for all three of us...and doing all of this blindly because that's the way we do things in the Military. Better yet with all of our support multiple states away. I am beyond stressed. So stressed that to have someone tell me that all the work I do as a SAHM doesn't actually happen apparently, threw me over the edge. Instead of playing nice and blowing it off, I posted about it.

So yes...There is always something happening behind the scenes in peoples lives. No, I was not lying about the last post when I said it was a generational issue that needed to be fixed across the board. Yes, it had been written ages before it was posted. No, to all the lovely people who came to me graciously and asked was not about you. It was about that idiotic professional at school if it's about anyone. 

The best part about all of this is that it worked as this weird sort of weeder for my life. In one fell swoop I found out who would forget everything they knew about me and focus only on the bad vs those that would give me the benefit of the doubt. Those that would jump on an invisible bandwagon and choose sides without ever stopping to find out the truth vs those that would pause and realise that while I am a lot of things, subtle has never been one of them. I found out that in the midst of this crazy busy and incredibly stressful time that is threatening to drown out my family who I can really count on, and for that I am grateful. I had prayed for help in paring down our lives and focusing on those that were best for our family and God in His weird way, answered that prayer. He used a genuinely innocent post done in anger towards a faceless man to show me the true feelings of soooo many people around me, both good and bad. With that note I am done. I am done explaining our life and my state of affairs.  You can take it or leave it as you wish. But from here on out I have decided that all laughing with my husband in the kitchen will be over things that are worth remembering. This Season in life is too precious to miss and as stressful as it is, I for one don't want to miss the other amazing ways God will show Himself.

Best Wishes, 

Jules & Hubby

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Lost Art of the RSVP

    In today's culture of Facebook parties, E-vites, and one touch responses to any and all invites to games, magazines, and online subscriptions we have lost something so special. We have lost respect for the RSVP. We have lost the value of what it means to say we will be somewhere and then actually follow through. It is so frustrating as a party loving type A personality to go through the hassle of anything in today's day and age just to have it fall flat because everyone around me doesn't seem to understand that a simple press of a button has huge ramifications. So let me break it down for you. 
    RSVP: répondez s'il vous plaît, In other words...Please Respond. It doesn't mean Please Say Yes. It simply says Please Respond. Use the best logical, according to your calendar so we can plan accordingly as well, response to our invitation. Annnd here's why...

1. The Food: When you say yes, the amount of food goes up. The amount of money going into the food goes up. The amount of time going into the preparation of that food gets longer. Have respect and don't waste the Hosts time, money, and energy. Respond Accordingly.

2. The Cleaning: Depending on the person and the venue the amount of cleaning that happens is directly correlated to the number of people coming or the number of new people coming. To be honest I normally stick most of my laundry in the laundry room and shut the door, scrub down the toilets and the sink in the bathroom we'll be using and call it a day. Unlesssss... it is a big fancy party then it's an all out cleaning fest for three days in which my whole family hides and cries for their toys. Show some respect for the energy spent people. If you say you'll be there. Be there. 

3. The Time Spent: For most Moms who are planning any sort of get together it takes more time than the average person solely because we  have a mess making force sucking Being following us around all day. Errands to pick up plates and decorations? 3 hours instead of 30 minutes because we get to drag a little person and 2 bags plus 3 sippy cups, a stuffed animal, and a crumbling pack of crackers up and down every aisle that is approved for not causing temper tantrums just to make it to the party aisle that doesn't include Frozen or Jake and the Neverland Pirates rather than bee lining it like normal people...and don't get me started on hanging the decorations if they are awake. That's a hazard in and of itself! Want to make cookies instead of buying them? Plan on making double because little ninja fingers will poke holes in half to claim them as "theirs" before the party starts...Favors? Have to be done during naptime and bedtimes so any sharp objects don't become WMD to the poor animals in the house if you have a little boy who thinks he's a TMNT. Think sleep is happening? It's not...Respect the time spent people. There's so much more happening behind that cute hairdo and lipgloss sheen of a smile that it will make your husband's nightmares look like unicorn and rainbow sprinkle dreams. 

4. The Money Spent: For every "Yes", the average party can cost between 5-15 dollars depending on the occasion and event. Your haphazard Yes that should have been a Maybe that actually was a No just cost that Host money. Are you reimbursing them? Probably not. Be respectful. Think through your schedule. Realise that not everyone has the money to blow and some of them do this because they love to tak
e care of people and hosting is one way of doing that. 

5. The Emotions: Do you know what it is like to deal with a heartbroken child who thinks people are coming to a playdate...and then not have them show because of last minute issues. That could have been resolved with simple adult steps in place. Like an alarm clock? Do you know what it is like to have people text you last minute because they forgot that so & so was supposed to be in town that day so they had to cancel on you instead? yet invention...a calendar. Do you know what it is like to spend weeks organizing an event just to have the 30 Yes' turn out to be 6 because everyone in Facebook land are button pushing happy people who have forgotten that on the other end of that Yes is an actual person with actual feelings?  

I do. 

I know what it is like to have too much money spent, too much food left over, no one show, people show up 3 hours late because apparently that's ok now, and a heartbroken boy who thinks no one likes him. I know what it is like to be mad at this generation for thinking all this is ok and not knowing what to tell my kid because at the end of the day...I'm right there with him. I feel just as heartbroken and rejected and lonely as he does when all my hard work and energy is so easily blown off and forgotten. What's worse is that the outcome of all this are people who are giving up on people, in my son's case - a hardening towards people at a young age because of early heartbreak that shouldn't be happening. It makes people distrustful, builds fake relationships that are online only, false hopes every time we see those numbers climb online, and ultimately it shows our true lack of respect across the board as a generation. 

I for one am tired of it. I'm tired of all the planning and hoping just for all the letdown and heartbreak because as a mom you still have to smile and act like it's ok. You have to be the bigger person and say that everything is fine when it's not. So let's try three things:
1. Check your schedules. If your busy, say No.
2. Mark your calendars and set your alarm clock. Be an adult and utilise the tools given you on your phone. Your using it to read this, use it for other things as well ;)
3. Actually show up. Be Respectful to your host and be there on time.

Hopefully it will help turn around this horrid trend of today. Good luck with your next party.

Best Wishes,

Jules & Monkey

Thursday, October 16, 2014

When Santa says you suck...

      So I'm running around the other day desperately trying to play catch up on errands and grocery shopping and play date planning all while dragging my toddler with me, because let's face it...they go EVERYWHERE with us! Here I am fresh in the world again after recovering from strep with my hair a hot mess rockin out leggings and boots (like the mumu of our generation that they are) with my son high on the steroids they gave him for his pneumonia and laughing at everything...

I'm pretty sure we were the walking version of what every mom fears that day.

And as I'm walking around I realize through the haze of flying cereal trying to attach itself to me and my son trying to lick random strangers (yes I said lick) that I am surrounded by not one, not two, but three...count them, THREE holiday displays. 
      A Halloween Cupcake decorating display on how to throw the best playdate for your little with the creepiest chocolatey fingers in town! A Thanksgiving Tablescape display on how to wow your guests with your savvy plate setting expertise (more on that later)! Annnnnnnd Christmas! A pint sized Santa staring at me with a half off sign begging to be bought so he can hold our guests cute little scarves when they come in the door! All of this within 2 aisles of each other!!!!!!!!! I'm fresh in the world again hoping I get the right deli sliced ham through a medically induced haze and I have this shoved at me. I have a crazy kid singing "I like that booty" at the top of his lungs and Santa staring at me disapprovingly and the only thing I can think of is

 "Where's the Nutcrackers? Can they squish my head?"
My dream and nightmare every holiday season...

     No mom should feel this behind. This early in the game. Halloween isn't even here yet. I'm still

Halloween 2013 :)
carving pumpkins and painting with apples. I'm still looking for a leaf pile to throw my kid in and a way to have Fall pictures without an actual Fall season down here in good 'ol Mississippi. I don't want to think about Tablescapes. I have all next month to freak about Thanksgiving Dinner. In fact I will do just that. Not the dinner itself because I'm awesome, and you can be to thanks to my Dinner Prep Post Here, but the people around and whether they thought it was good enough. Whether they liked my plates and my house smelled sufficiently like fall and if my kid didn't try to build a sandcastle out of mashed potatoes because that seems to be a distinct possibility this year. I have allllll next month to worry needlessly about all the things that won't go wrong about Thanksgiving, so why push that on me now. On October 15, 2014 why is it necessary? WHY?!
This is my husband's Awesome Family for our second Thanksgiving:)

     And Christmas...good 'ol Christmas. Why is Santa lurking in the aisles waiting to pounce on me with that judgemental stare? Who is he to judge my guests scarves and where they go? Who is he in the middle of OCTOBER to come out of the woodwork and give me that judgey look of disapproval. If he isn't dressed as a zombie and pretending to be on the Walking Dead then I don't want him around right now. I can't handle him right now. Him and his horrible little helpers who jump out in the cooking aisles and preach about perfectly cooked hams and the tree aisle (yes, there's a tree aisle) to tell me my tree skirt is all wrong for this season and I am failing as a decorator can just go back to the North Pole until it is their turn! People, I just wanted to buy fresh deli sliced ham!
     Then I realized I was being told by Santa that I suck. As a Mom, a Decorator, a Wife, a Consumer, a Woman...
     and I punched him.
I punched Santa.

 I really hope it didn't scar my son and to be fair he laughed at it like everything else that day. I just couldn't take it! Here I was in the aisle turning slowly around with all these advertisements bombarding me and Santa just staring at me and I snapped. I'm sorry Santa, I really do love you. During December where you belong. Not here though and not now. I get told everyday through magazines and billboards and facebook how I can be better as a... fill in the blank...but I don't want to be told that by you. 
Maybe my reaction wasn't the best. In fact picking on pint sized plastic well dressed Santa's with great boots is not highly recommended. Punching things is not either. Shopping so soon after recovering from being sick is no longer either...which I only was doing to fulfill the role everyone has written for us moms. Things crash and burn when we get sick and we race around to play catch up too often too soon. Instead of asking for help and getting it, we give in to the judgements and overdo it and end up punching Santa. I know over commercialization will not end with the holidays and I will never be able to keep up or tune it out completely. I am learning to laugh at it. I am learning to go with the commercialized couponing flow and I am learning what is important to our family. I'm slowly learning to tune out the media and tune into me and my awesome family. The very same ones who eat the deli sliced ham even when its the wrong one and laugh at me when I go off on a plastic toy for being detrimentally judgemental. Hopefully somewhere in the chaos of these upcoming seasons you can come to some peace about it to. If not, there's three other Santa's in the BX who could use a good 'ol West Side Story "Dance off" if you know what I mean. ;)

 Best Wishes, 
Jules & Monkey

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

DIY Advent Calender

      I LOOOOOOOVVVVVVEEEEEEE the Holidays! I love the smells, the food, the guests, the made for TV cheesy movies that my hubby laughs at me for...I love it all! I especially love that for the first time all year the whole world seems to be in sync with teaching my child about selflessness and giving and love for others. I love that there is an entire season that is dedicated to my Savior and the songs that everyone plays on the radio are about family and love and togetherness.
   The one issue I find though is that with the constant commercialization of Christmas it can be overwhelming for a toddler, for anyone really. They hear "if you're good Santa will bring you presents" or "You better behave if you want gifts!"...I don't want my son to think that Christmas is solely about what he can get. It's not about the haul he makes every year under the tree...don't get me wrong, he's spoiled every year by all the grandparents and aunts and uncles and gets more toys than I can count...but my job as his mom is to teach him to be thankful for them all because of who gave them to him, not because of what they are. Does that make sense? I firmly believe that a gas station toy truck picked up last minute is just as meaningful as a fancy electronic gizmo and should be treated with the same respect and sense of thankfulness. That doesn't happen overnight though. We instill that into our children over time with our words and actions. We model that behavior and also show them how to do so by allowing them situations to practice it. 
   When I started researching Advent Calenders I didn't find any that fit my needs financially, family wise, or time wise. I needed something that could change yearly as we grow as a family, move, or as our finances change. So I took several ideas that I liked and combined them with some of our favorite family traditions to create our Advent Calendar. I'm hoping it works for you too!
Not above using Grandparents to my advantage...


Kept him behaving for two weeks!

   Here's how it goes...

1. Start with 25 Envelopes and Cards of your liking. I personally use Kraft Brown for both because it matches our Christmas decor and wrapping but you could use whatever you want!  On the Envelopes write the Numbers 1-25. On the Cards write one thing from your list of things that you decided upon. Match your Card with your Day and put it into your Envelope. The best part is that next year you can change the order of you need to, just remember not to seal the envelope! :)

2. Decide upon your order based upon your checks, school activities, work days, family movie preferences, family visiting on certain days, etc...there's a lot going on in life. Don't let your calender be a burden. Make it work for you! Just be smart about it, obviously certain things need to be done earlier in the month than others. whereas baking cookies for Santa may need to wait a while :)

3. Some days require things to be done and therefore require supplies to do them. I start picking the supplies up as early as possible. PJ's on sale, Gingerbread house kits in October, Mini Candy Canes from the dollar tree...I scour Pinterest starting in July when I have free time for ideas that are cheap and quick but still meaningful and then make a supply list. As things pop up on sale I buy them and stash them away. Come November the Advent Calender is done. I even wrap the supplies so my toddler and hubby feel like they get a gift every day. It's cheesy but effective. It gets them hyped about family time and community service. Having everything pre-gathered makes it quick and easy as well as one less thing I have to stress about. It is also one less thing in the budget to worry about.

4. Below is our list but you can change it to fit your traditions. I promise no one will be offended :) Think of it as a kickstarter for your brain. Just try to keep a balance between family time and community thankfulness. It is about teaching your child  
Home Depot for a tree...weird I know!
Some kids are soooo dramatic about hanging lights...

1. Let's Go Christmas Tree Shopping!

2. Let's Decorate the Tree!

Ornament 2013

3. Homemade Ornaments for Grandparents

4. Write Letters to Santa
Torts are easier :)

5. Bake an Apple Pie

6. Take Cookies to Fireman

                      7. Family Movie night ~"Charlie Brown Christmas"
Like Father, Like Son
Mason chose the colors across the board
on this. Let your kids have a say :)

8. Build A Gingerbread House
9. Family Movie Night ~"How the Grinch Stole Christmas"
10. Homemade Hot Cocoa with the Family

11. Teacher Appreciation Day


PInterest is your friend!

12. Visit Veteran's Retirement Center with Mini Candy Canes
13. Pull Names and go Shopping! ($10 limit)
14. Visit Santa!

15. Daddy / Monkey time :)

Kid Crack!!!!

16.Quiet Day (no yelling, timeouts, etc...everyone on their best behavior for Santa :D)
17. Put together Present Bags for Teachers!
18. Take Presents to Teachers :)
19. Take Mini Stockings to Policeman (filled with candy of choice)
20. Clean out toys and Donate them
21. Christmas Shopping (last minute if needed)
22. Look at Christmas Lights in the neighborhood
23. Bake Cookies for Santa!
Nothing sexier than a man who bakes ;)

24. Polar Express Night!
  1. Put on your new PJ's
  2. Make your Hot Cocoa
  3. Polar Express Movie
(this is my favorite night of the whole thing! We actually take a breather before the chaos and I love the family time together.)

25. Merry Christmas!!!!

    At least that is what the kids look for right? Here is what we do...We "feed the reindeer", put the kiddo in bed, make it look like Santa was here, put the rest of the gifts together, make elf prints, clean up the house, prep for breakfast, chug about a gallon of Coffee, try not to kill all the other adults in the house as we run into each other in the process, and somewhere along the way we get great memories like these...

     Christmas is so magical when you're little and soooo much work when you're older. But with a little planning and clear goal in mind I've found that it can be a lot of fun as an adult too. Just remember that in the long run it's about family and giving and not about the gifts. Just keep it simple and family oriented and I guarantee you will have a fantastic Christmas Advent Season. Early Merry Christmas Planning Everyone!

Best Wishes,
Jules & Monkey