They Will Slash Your Tires: Story Time Moms Unveiled

Our library has a fun story time program for young kids.

…and judging by the squealing Honda Odyssey tires in the parking lot, it’s not as rainbow-y as it sounds.

Story Time at our library is a short program for parents and toddlers that involves a little dancing, singing, reading, poems, and a take home craft. It is also limits it’s attendees on a first come, first serve basis, due to “fire code”/instructor’s sanity. Story Time hits capacity quickly, and moms are universally a few minutes behind.

Let me tell you the result of this equation from personal experience.

I am one of the rushed moms, throwing my kids in the stroller and running to the library entrance. Half a dozen grown women all run through the parking lot, driving their strollers around and sometimes over parking hurdles (or just plain off-roading their City Selects through the plants if it’s a quarter after).

Gus face planted last week, but brushed off and continued running next to me without a peep. Even he knew from our pre-Story Time huddle—one man down is another man’s spot on the rug.

The running slows to a brisk walk at the library entrance, where women smile politely at…nothing. They don’t even make eye contact. They just have a thin smile plastered onto their faces, because they’re terrifying like that. (You know this feeling from when your mom would thin-smile at you, and something inside of you would squeak, “What does this mean?!”)

In this instance, the women are thin-smiling because they’re about to turn the corner and dart to the elevator, all while keeping their Story Time competitors in their peripheral vision.

I missed the elevator by just a few feet, and as the door closed, I heard an “Oh, sorry!” and a laugh that was VERY MUCH A WITCH CACKLE. Gus almost said, “Trick or Treat, b—-,” under his breath.

I’m just kidding. Inappropriate. (Gus wouldn’t dream of that kind of language.)

By the time the second elevator of tangled strollers arrives to the second floor Story Time entrance, it’s too late. The limited story time tickets are gone.

I’m not sure if there is an after market price being offered, but I’m pretty sure I could scalp Story Time passes in the parking lot, or at least over by the Gardening Self-help section. Money ain’t a thing to a woman who has woken a sleeping child or rearranged nap schedules for story time.

Should we happen to not make it in time to get tickets, which is fairly regularly, my kids are offered a consolation prize of playing with the Pink Eye Puzzles. Agree with me that we are looking directly at bacteria without a microscope. Streptococcus? Flesh eating.

All I’m saying is that it’s possible Ronda Rousey began her career in the Story Time parking lot.

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I’d Give Myself a Solid B Today

I was a crappy mom last Thursday. All around. I ended up letting my kids just splash around in a mall fountain to their hearts’ content, while I sat defeated on the side eating a caramel apple.

I’d glare from behind my caramel apple at anyone that asked if my kids needed a towel, or gave the oh-so-clever, “Looks like you’ve got your hands full! Har har!” comment.

I know, it’s February, and Shamu reenactments can be a little brisk. It’s just that the night before I forgot to completely recharge my patience the way I do my phone. I was in low power mode. (My kids were super happy, for the record.)

Because of my bland mothering the end of last week, I went into my long work weekend feeling guilty. After hearing a few sad stories and seeing a friend get hit by a drunk driver with her son in the backseat, I was fiercely determined to be an A+ mom this week.

So, we have played all day the past few days. I put my phone in a drawer. We got out the Playdough. We went out to eat. I cleaned G’s little spot on his wall where he (carefully and intentionally) displays his boogies after declining Kleenexes. My kids refused their naps, so they just watched Mickey…but no naps don’t fly with me. The precious, precious, precious synchronized naps are when I gloriously recharge, and my guys awaken to a clean-ish house, and a mom with clean-ish hair.

Naptime is my phoenix rising from the ashes moment, if you will. It’s as dramatic as it sounds.

No naps really steal my thunder, but I triiiiied to not fall off the wagon by playing with stickers and coloring and tickling and reading and playing hockey.

That A+ grade is hard earned, man. It reminds me of my freshman year biology class, when I worked SO hard for a grade that would make you pat my head.

This time, I’ve got nothing to study, and all those Pinterest moms are throwing the curve.

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I’d Like to Title Today “L-O-L.”

I would like to title today “L-O-L.”

Even though I was not laughing out loud, I think the universe was. At me.

Because I’ve being up multiple times a night this entire week (and because I don’t have a newborn), I hit the pillow everrrry night with the thought, “This is my night. Tonight. I. Sleep.” The moon says, “LOL! See you in thirty!”

I tried to do my slept-on-it-wet hair this morning, and my hair was like, “LOL!”

I thought Gus’s ear infection issues would be a simple fix…two weeks ago. LOL!

I thought Gus’s ear infection situation would finally be resolved at the doctor today! LOL!

If we have to go to a specialist, odds are good that we will meet our deductible in a month! LOLSIES!

We discovered the price tag on Gus’s third prescription, and my bank account said, “LOL!”

I almost took a nap today, and Roscoe said, “LOL. Mom. LOLOLOL.”

I tried to Google (misspelled) “My 3 year old won’t take medicine” for some new ways to sneak Advil to Gus without him throwing up, and I actually did LOL. By the looks of the suggested search items, looks like 3 year olds are collectively conspiring against the world. Or just real jerks.

Good one, January 19.

What a weird week.

Sidenote: I’ve noticed that when I reach a certain threshold of sleeplessness, really obscure thoughts/memories bubble up to the forefront of my mind. They’re long forgotten mementos from my life that escape confinement when my brain is so tired, it literally can’t even (like me, with my kids today, when I let them watch Mickey over and over and let Roscoe run all over and over).

I couldn’t get Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi” out of my head last night, and today I suddenly remembered how eager I was to try a Giada brunch recipe I’d seen around Thanksgiving several years ago. So, there I was tonight, standing in front of a blender with a little guy hanging on my leg, making a sage hollandaise sauce.

Brian came home from work, nonchalantly set down the box of tampons he’d been requested to buy (LOL), and swept up the boys’ dinner (and breakfast) from the floor. Bless Brian. I don’t know if he competely disregarded my one-person,Thanksgiving-inspired brunch for dinner because I looked like I was going to crack, or because I looked like I was on crack, but either way, it was much appreciated “LOL” ending to an “LOL” day.

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This Week’s Secret to a Successful Nap

I have a lonoooong few days of work ahead of me, so I’m wrapping up my evening flipping through pictures, reminiscing on all the delights of being in full mom mode these past few days.

I’m struggling with G starting to outgrow his daily nap. He and Roscoe finally have synchronized nap times, and keeping it that way is imperative to my 3:30/4:00 mental stability. Transitioning Gus from his still much needed nap to an occasional “rest time” has been frustrating, but the heavens smiled upon me this week.

A few days ago, I could still hear a lot of rustling in Gus’s room. My fingers were crossed that he’d fall asleep, but eventually, I went in to check on him.

He was all jumbled in his blankets with only his head popping out, a little contorted, but very stiff. And HUGE eyes.

“Hey bud, why aren’t you slee—Gus? What are you doing?”

“I’m a hot dog.”

Like I said, the giant eyes really added a nice effect.

His little stuffed animal Chuck E. had been included.

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“We are cooking.” (I mean, not even a BLINK.)

It took everything I had to retain a naptime boss face. Upon request, I blew on them, re-wrapped them both in their buns, and VOILA! They (they, really?) fell right to sleep in their comfortable bun cocoons.

Solid nap times compliments of the Costco food court this week, and just another illustration of Costco’s applicability and welcomed influence in so many, many aspects of my life.

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How Far Do You Walk While Preparing Dinner?

Do I know dinner time? Come on. I’m a mom. I’m the queen of this ish.

Studying the food on MY plate, which will always be eaten faster than the exact same food on THEIR plates.
Studying the food on MY plate, which will always be eaten faster than the exact same food on THEIR plates.

I’m only a few years in, but that’s enough for me to laugh hysterically at the thought of dinner being a leisurely meal for any mom with young kids.

Who forgot a spoon? Who spilled ? The sippy cup lid is the wrong color. Someone’s food is too hot and needs a little ice. A hurried potty run for the new man in undies. Why is the fridge door open? I need a knife to cut my baby’s food smaller. Someone needs more water…because it’s being used as a marinade on the spaghetti.

You already know.

So, exactly what would you estimate dinner time mileage to be? Should we require sports bras instead of hair nets? I asked Brian what kind of distance he thought we traveled during meals, but since his unenthused guess work could not qualm my curiosity, I wore a pedometer for five dinners.

Here are my results.

Night one: TACO SALAD
Steps: 399
Flights climbed: 2 floors, looking for what couldn’t possibly be the only clean sippy cup in our house, but was.

Night two: THAI CURRY
Steps:572

My son doesn't love when I get all "international buffet" on him.
My son doesn’t love when I get all “international buffet” on him.

Night three: SPAGHETTI
N/A. I lost track while cleaning up the kitchen bomb detonation spaghetti night inevitably is. I didn’t even get a picture of the upside down bowl on the floor with sauce splattered everywhere. I was crouched under the table waving a white flag.

Night four: BRISKET
Steps: 424

Night five: LETTUCE WRAPS, WITH A SIDE OF FRUITY PEBBLES
Steps: 488
I gave myself props for busting out a quick, light meal, but G only wanted cereal. It turned into Fruity Pebble lettuce wraps. I don’t foresee it being a Food Network feature anytime soon.

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In conclusion to this very prolific experiment, a total of 1883 steps were walked during dinner alone in four days. It can be assumed that my spaghetti night surrender would have made that at least around 2000 steps.

According to The Walking Site, an average’s person’s stride computes to about 2,000 steps per mile.

That means, I traveled at least one mile during 5 dinners.

Should we dump a cooler of iced Gatorade on the hostess of Thanksgiving dinner? If nothing else, I’m at least pitching Orange Theory a spin-off idea called “Kitchen Theory.”

Feel free to share this with any parent that needs electrolytes for dessert.

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I Hid in the Bathroom for a While When Brian Came Home…

More and more often, I find myself trading in my beloved bedtime internet surfing/checking weather in Fiji for looking at photos from the day.

More and more often, those pictures are reminders of how many times I said, “No.”

“Hey, don’t climb on that (everything)!”
“Quit wiping your hands on the wall!”
“Don’t squeeze your brother that hard!”
“Stop poking that dead bird with a stick!”

Okay, they’re all valid “no” situations, and said with love (usually), but tonight, I came across this picture from the other day:

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I wondered what my sweet boys’ perspectives of me were that day as we grocery shopped. I wondered what their little minds absorbed as they ate their doughnuts in the cart and quietly observed me.

How odd it must seem that I say hello only to the people I am acquainted with and ignore everyone else (unlike Gus).

Hold cold I must look not waving to every person we pass in every aisle (unlike Gus).

And how demeaning it must be for me to apologize to the man whose arm Gus was tapping to tell him his hat is “very very neat.”

Amongst other concerns, what kind of person am I going to turn into one day without innocent, perfect little children in my home teaching me? It’s taken me 30 years to understand what being childlike really means, and I am in awe at the near perfection that word truly implies.

These past few weeks, I discovered I’m not learning patience because they’re testing it; I’m learning patience because of their examples of endless patience with ME! I’m so thankful that these babies are quick to forgive and forget as I figure out this mom thing. I’m still in training, but I’m deciding lists, titled:

BARE PRIORITIES
WHO CARES
THINGS THAT ARE ACTUALLY DANGEROUS VS THINGS YOU CAN’T KEEP LITTLE BOYS AWAY FROM
CAFFEINATED DRINKS TO KEEP STOCKED

I’m looking forward to a bright, new morning to cuddle them tomorrow. If they want to sleep in a little bit, that would be okay, but my mom guilty makes me so excited to pull their faces away from Paw Patrol to kiss them.

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We may be more worried about plumbing than accidents.

Announcement. We have a potty trainee.

This was a bridge I was resistant to cross, and since I took so long, G was more than ready to claim his rightful seat on the porcelain throne. (I would like to take this opportunity to point out that I was not on board until after our Disneyland trip, because that sounds stupid…right?)

Once again, Gus has proven to be the easiest little guy. He required no potty charts, no bribery, no rewards, just the thrill of toilet flushing with a purpose. Our house is filled with pride and commemorative toilet paper squares, courtesy of Roscoe, who is also a determined flusher.

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Happy Birthday To My Child Who Was Created Solely By In n Out Protein Style Cheeseburgers

My babies’ birthdays are bittersweet to me, and birthday eves seem to be the “bitter” part. I can’t help but feel incredulous that an entire year has passed. I accuse time of robbing me, yet with an overflowing heart.

Three years ago, at this very moment, I listened to my unborn baby’s little heart beat with a total serenity that one can only experience when Heaven is lingering very near. It’s not necessarily emotional; it’s just perfect. It’s calm and blissful. It’s overwhelmingly familiar. It’s short lived, and it delicately slips through the fingers of anyone trying to hold onto it.

Mercifully, your hands to get to hold a more tangible piece of that bliss, to take home and marvel over for a little while longer.
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Gus has brought us that light far beyond the newborn stage. He is so EASY. He is happy. He is kind. He is fun and enthusiastic. He is a sleeper. (Bless him. His brother was not.)

Gus is excited about EVERYTHING.

…as evidenced by this reaction to his dollar store gifts. (We already took him to Disneyland, remember? That’s what I had to keep reminding myself.)
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I enjoyed the “sweet” part of his birthday today as he played with his new toys, fresh from China, that will probably fall apart tomorrow…just how I like them. In the garbage by next Thursday is the goal. My house doesn’t have storage for this stuff.

We had a handful of friends over tonight, and Gus was beyond thrilled.

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I adore this little guy, and love this tiny human he is becoming. He tells me almost daily, “I so proud of you, mama!” I hope I have another while before I embarrass him. Happy third birthday, my sweet boy. I’ll love you forever.

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For All The Other Ashtons Out There Wondering About The Disneyland Hotel

You know that face that you make when you squirt ketchup on a bun, and only ketchup juice leaks out? And your bun is just shriveling while marinating in ketchup juice?

It’s a look of disgust and disappointment, in case you have never had this misfortune.

That’s how you will look at the nightly room fees for on property Disneyland accommodations.

That, or the Macaulay Culkin Home Alone face right before you slam your laptop shut.

But, Disneyland was calling my name. For like, a year, and I couldn’t swipe left on Disneyland Hotel, either.

I pored over travel blogs, hotel feedback, hazy personal memories, and a million reviews before deciding that I would at least cough up extra money in the name of convenience to park access. I discovered that most hotels that are comparable proximity wise really aren’t THAT much less. I was pretty 100% sure we wanted to have the option to walk back for a break/nap.

There are other hotels that may actually be less walking distance to the parks than those on-property, but when Disneyland Hotel advertised a fall deal, I filled out my payment information, closed my eyes, and pressed “confirm.”

I semi-forgot about that number as soon as I started getting things like this in the mail:

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So, now that I’ve stayed there, was it worth it? This is the kind of stuff I wanted to read when I was debating my level of YOLO-ing, so I’m just putting it out in cyber land.

G tested out the beds ASAP, and approved.
G tested out the beds ASAP, and approved.

Expect The Mouse to shake every last Peso out of you in the name of magic.

…but even the headboards are magic.

The rooms have recently been renovated, and are beautiful.

Disneyland Hotel guests walking to Disneyland never have to go into “real world.” It feels like an enchanted vacation the whole ten minute stroll through Downtown Disney.

Hotel guests also get a one hour early entrance to the parks, but since only certain areas are accessible at that time, expect to still wait in small lines.

We easily walked back, and really did nap for a couple hours.

The pool was amazing, and we could have spent the entire day sliding down water slides. They did NOT offer complimentary sunscreen, which can easily be mistaken when lifeguards leave their own sunscreen near the complimentary swim diapers and kid floaties…

I’ll speak only for the Disneyland Hotel, but we had THE best interactive character experiences, which was the most fun part of the trip with an almost three year old. Instead of waiting in line to meet characters, they’d surprise us at the hotel and were so much more friendly. Since there were few other kids around, if any, they’d play with my son, and G LOVED it.

In Disneyland
:

My child is the one you can't totally see...
My child is the one you can’t totally see…


At the hotel:
Now that's a hug.
Now that’s a hug.

I may still be high on pixie dust, but after a relaxing stay, I would consider The Disneyland Hotel again for a short trip. So, if we start selling plasma now to book rooms during the off season…it’s doable. I’m saving my kidney for an overwater bungalow in Fiji.

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My Thesis for a Future Dissertation on Fast Food, or My Babies’ Thesis for a Case Study on Mom

Have you ever stopped to listen how people order food?

I’ve noticed that men are generally more the statement making, demanding type, and to the point. “Gimme uhhh…Let me get the #1.” “Double double, no onions.“ They look the cashier in the eye while they speak, unlike most women, whose eyes are darting all over the menu even as they order. (I think I’m one of them. Can’t commit.)

Women seem inclined to let their demure nature shine through during the moment of ordering truth. “I would like a cheeseburger. Oh, and fries. Do the fries have sizes? Oh, a small. No, a large. Hehe. Thanks!” “Can I please have a #2? With grilled onions?”

That’s the worst one. The questioner. The vocal inflection is a higher pitch at the end of every sentence, making the last words dangle so every statement sounds like there is a question mark at the end. “I’d like a #2? Animal style? And a lemonade?”

That’s what I do. I’m pretty annoying.

I continued burger order auditing while I was sitting on a bench at In n Out, waiting for Brian and the little guys to meet me for dinner. I eavesdropped on people’s orders while I watched this guy mop.

Unbeknown to me, this was my child’s throw up.

My current standings of 1 year olds throwing up while ordering: 2 for 2.
My current standings of 1 year olds throwing up while ordering: 2 for 2.

Part of me felt bad, and part of me was guiltily relieved I had been spared clean up duty.

My guys were in the bathroom cleaning up the entire time I was situated on the bench, and although Roscoe was smiling and perfectly thrilled to be there in his sopping clothes, Brian took him home while I stayed with Gus to eat his “cheeburber.” Within 5 minutes, Gus knocked over our lemonade, so I had to go do my question ordering again to alert that blessed cleaning guy. “Hi? My son spilled lemonade? Oops, sorry?”
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Let’s give a slow clap for these guys, In n Out’s sacrificial lambs of the night.

We're taking our In n Out burbers to go for a couple of weeks.
We’re taking our In n Out burbers to go for a couple of weeks.
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