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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Break at the Beach

Tomorrow morning B Daddy, Blue Eyes, my amazingly fabulous sister-in-law and I are heading to Panama City Beach. We're going with our sophomore students from Buckhead Church for a five day retreat. My sister-in-law is coming to watch the babe, so I will be on milk duty and hardly anything else mommy-related for 5 days.

I will have NO toddler drama to deal with for 5 glorious days! That's 120 hours of tantrum-free living. I'll trade toddler drama for high school girl drama any day of the week. Check back with me in about 15 years, but right now it doesn't phase me at all. 

I'll get to go to the bathroom all by myself! That right there is such a strangely peaceful thought, clearly my world has been turned upside down in the past 3 years. 

I have half a dozen books on my Kindle Wish List and I may just download all of them. We have 5 hours of free time each day! 5 HOURS. That is what life looked like when the Squirt was a newborn. Oh to have that time back and use it more productively. I could have written a novel. Or at least read a few more. 

I'll be waking up each morning to a view of the ocean. THE OCEAN. Ahhhhhhhhh -just thinking about it slows my pulse. There may be 15 more pounds of me walking the beach this summer, but I'm going to rock my mama-suit with confidence and stare out at God's extraordinary ocean as much as possible.

Oh yeah, and I'll get to worship with close to a thousand high school students each day. All those beautiful hearts lifting up something other than themselves in the world of Instagram, Facebook, twitter and ieverything - it's a glimpse of heaven. 

I'll be back to toddlerland and blogging next Monday. B Daddy and I would appreciate your prayers. Our mothers (who will be presiding over toddlerland in our absence) will absolutely need them. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

On Going to the Pool

I hate taking my kids to the pool. As in, I. Hate. It. I know this makes me a terrible mother. Summertime is supposed to be about flip flops and chlorine and the faint whiff of sunscreen. I know. I KNOW.  But come on. If you have young kids of your own or have seen someone at the pool with toddler-age kids, you must be aware that the effort required by a mother to get to the pool is not in any way, shape or form equivalent to the pleasure received from being at the pool.

All around me my friends are proclaiming the glories of summer. Breathlessly anticipating time at the pool or God forbid, a trip to the beach.  What do these women know that I don't? The emperor has no clothes ladies. Pardon my French - but going to the pool sucks. Don't even get me started on the beach.

Last week I fell under the summertime spell and decided that a trip to the pool was just the thing we needed to break up the monotony. The pool opens at 11 - which meant preparatory activities began at 10. First up - the sunscreen dance. This is the part where you have to locate and strip down your children, hold them in one place and rub creamy white goo all over their tiny bodies so their tender skin doesn't fry under the withering sunshine. It's recommended to do this at least 20-30 minutes before sun exposure. My kids hate this part of pool-prep, so I'm always prepared for battle. Sunscreen makes kids slippery, so the more success you achieve, the harder this activity becomes. It's maddening.

Naturally I'm already dressed and ready to go - wearing the very latest in post-partum pool attire (wink wink) and having generously slathered myself in SPF 50 as well.  Of course I can't reach my back on my own, so I'm prepared to burn - anything for the children.

I also need to be sure to have plenty of snacks and drinks so that we can stay at the pool for longer than 45 minutes. Something nutritious and easily eaten without utensils, preferably not too sticky, crumbly or messy. Organic carrot sticks and homemade hummus would be ideal. I'll just pop that into my small, lightweight cooler with padded shoulder strap (I am after all, the only sherpa coming on this trek. Did we go over that part?)

At long last we arrive at the pool. I unbuckle car seats, grab my purse, diaper bag, slow-walking 18 month old and small, lightweight cooler and trek across the blazing asphalt towards that beacon of happiness - The Pool. I hand my passes to the teenage gatekeeper who interrogates me on the number and type of swim diapers I've brought with me before letting us pass.

Oh yes....The Swim Diaper. Nemesis of toddler mamas worldwide. Pool diapers are ridiculous. They are marketed as enabling your child to pee and/or do #2 while swimming in a public pool without contaminating the water. Yet I and every other mother know that putting a swim diaper on your child any sooner than one millisecond before your kid hits the water means they will pee instantly and a swim diaper can only handle one tiny little pee before it's rendered useless. And a #2?! Let's not even go there.

Back to our arrival - after a quick scan of the crowded deck, it is obvious that ONLY ONE LOUNGE CHAIR REMAINS. The kids make a break for it and we all squeeze together on the sun-scorched plastic slats to unload our gear. Out come towels, off with shoes, I pull on swim diapers, tug up suits and re-lather faces with sunscreen before giving the blessing to enter the water.

Are you still with me? This adventure has only just begun...

Inevitably, 5 minutes after the kids start swimming the whistle blows and it's time for adult swim. At 11am on a Tuesday morning we need to have Adult Swim? At the YMCA. Seriously? Every mother drags her kids out of the water and we all huddle at the fountain splash pad until the break is over.

Repeat the above scene twice- stopping to do the sunscreen dance at least one more time- and it is noon. Time for some food and a potty break. Trying to get Squirt's swim diaper (yes he's fully potty-trained, but again, the swim diaper is required by the teenagers at the gate) down off his bum and back up his pool-wet legs again is an exercise in patience and self-control. And what's that face Sweet B is making?? OH NO. Noooooooooooooooo. She's pooping. In the swim diaper. Awesome. Now I have to take both children and a diaper bag to the tiny pool bathroom stall, get a wet swim suit off my girl, continually admonish Squirt NOT TO TOUCH ANYTHING, clean her hiney and get a fresh swim diaper on. Have we talked about the humidity levels in this tiny little poolside bathroom? On par with a rain forest.

Two hours into this performance I'm cooked, the kids are looking a little too-pink and I decide it's time to surrender. A mom with older kids might just throw towels at them and trek back to the car -but a toddler mom must prepare for nap time. I change the kids out of their swimsuits and of course - swim diapers - and put them back in regular clothes again. Never mind doing this for myself, I'll just deal with a wet butt in the car.

Mercifully we're home 15 minutes later. The tots have fallen asleep in the car, so I lug them off to their beds and collapse on the couch - my hair a tangled mess, my cover-up plastered against a lobster-red back. I pray for long naps and drift off to dreamland with the kids (never a given despite the morning's madness). 

And so dear friends if you call and invite me and my brood to the pool one of these days, please don't be offended if I decline. We'll be playing in the sprinkler for the rest of summer.

If you liked this post, subscribe and keep reading! Or just check out these posts for more of the same: Grocery Shopping With Three Little BearsDropping the Bomb

Monday, June 18, 2012

Creative Jewelry Organization

I cleaned out my closet around this time last year and did a pretty thorough overhaul... except for my jewelry. I had a nice little jewelry box and this silver coral branch thingamajig for my necklaces and figured my humble collection was organized enough.

Then I made this for my sister-in-laws birthday and decided I liked it so much I wanted one for my very own. Making the frame took less than 30 minutes (it helped that we had extra chicken wire laying around from building our coop) including spray painting. ...organizing all my jewelry? Now that took all of nap time. 

I love the fact that I can see my favorite pieces at a glance. It also forced me to narrow down the ones I display to those I wear most often. All the rest is on the coral thingamajig on top of my dresser so I can easily change things out as often as I want to. Note: This frame really only worked well for necklaces and earrings. 

I also discovered I have a pretty substantial bracelet collection - which was smushed in a jumble on a too-small dish. So I broke out a fancy-schmancy bowl we got as a wedding gift. Now my beautiful bracelets have some breathing room and I get to see the bowl every day. Love. 

And my watches (none of which work...) found a new home in this beautiful heirloom cup my grandparents gifted us when Sweet B was born.

My rings went on the too-small dish and barely take up any space. Obvious conclusion? I need more rings.

It's all looking much more sophisticated and I love that I can actually SEE my stuff now. Thanks sis for having a birthday so I could make myself a copy of your present. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What Do You Feed the Babysitter?

Every Sunday night and Wednesday night B Daddy and I leave our kids in someone else's capable hands for dinner/bath time/bedtime.

Our (wonderful) Sunday sitter comes at 4:30 and leaves at 8 - so she definitely needs some kind of nourishment from us. Almost every Sunday for the past year she's gotten frozen pizza. I now cringe inwardly each week when I (again) instruct her on where/what dinner is. You would think I could change it up now and again, but it really exhausts me to consider preparing a dinner hours before it will be consumed for two picky toddlers and the (fantastic! we love you!) sitter. 

Anyone else out there have a go-to kid + sitter dinner that I can steal? Any thoughts on what would be easy/universally loved? 

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Stay At Home Date

I sent this text to B Daddy at work this past Friday:

Tired, kidded-out, overweight, 
pooch-bellied mama 
longing for freedom 
from babies and budgets here. 
This is the life we've made 
and I do love it,
but today I'm burnt out. 
Need wine.
And possibly a romantic comedy.

An hour later I met him at the back door with the kids and we took them out for ice cream instead of making dinner. We went to the park after and played. Then quickly came home and put all the littles in bed.

It was 8 o'clock and we didn't have a sitter and we couldn't leave the house, but I needed a date.  We didn't have wine, so we made mojitos (not a terrible substitution if you ever find yourself in a similar situation). I tossed this together for dinner. We sat at the dining room table and lit a candle. B Daddy even cleared off the pile of bills and lost toys that find their way onto the table each afternoon.

We ate. We laughed. We filled each other's glasses and talked about nothing and everything.

We realized we don't always need a waiter and a babysitter to have an evening out.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Got Milk? (Reader All Skate)

I'm officially appalled by the amount of milk this household consumes each week. Two gallons is no longer enough. I think the amount of milk in your fridge must say something about your stage of life - so I'm really curious - how many gallons of milk does your household go through in a week? 

(Reader All-Skate means please join the fun and share...see Urban Dictionary for additional explanation.)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Day in Our Life

What's it like to spend a day at the Leipprandt house?

I've been meaning to do this post for a while now because I'm always curious what kind of pictures I could take to make mundane things like cleaning up breakfast seem hip and cool. Enter Instagram. The best app ever for making laundry, traffic, dishes, and awesome.

And because a few people have asked me how I do it... staying at home with three little ones that is... and I really don't have a great answer. I just, sorta do it. So here's what we did yesterday in case you want to have a look. Be warned: there was a little more excitement than usual yesterday. Bodily fluids ARE involved. You've been warned.

I'm up at 6:20. The alarm went off at 6:00, but I snoozed for a bit. Typical. B Daddy is already at the gym, trying to show me up in our Biggest Leipprandt Loser competition. I lace up my Nikes and pop Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred in. 24 minutes later, I'm done! Love this DVD.

B Daddy came home while I was working out. Shower, dress and get to the kitchen for my favorite part of the morning. Coffee and time in the Word - reading James 3 for small group, oh the conviction! I get B Daddy off to work with coffee and kiss. (No pic, I know you're disappointed.) 

I expect the kids to be up by now, but since everyone is still snoozing I head out to say hello to the chickens and grab our breakfast.  

Mmmmm - cup #2 of coffee and breakfast while reading blogs! What a treat. I savor the peace and quiet. God knew I needed a few minutes of quiet today. They are the last I will get for the next 12 hours...

The Squirt is on the scene at 8:30 and promptly empties his bladder on the kitchen floor. Oh boy. Here we go...

Laundry load #1 is in the wash and the rest of the crew is up in the next 10 minutes. By 8:45 our day is in full swing. I make eggs for everyone, nurse Blue Eyes and we talk about dreams. The Squirt always says he dreams of monkeys.

After breakfast I do the dishes and clean up while the big kids attempt to suffocate Blue Eyes. By 10 the baby is understandably ready for his nap, so I put him down and the big kids and I head to the playroom. I read Mr. Popper's Penguins aloud while Squirt and Sweet B ignore me.

We make it through a chapter and I surrender. The kids are getting along, so I enjoy watching them play for a while.

A very short while. The Squirt only wants to play with whatever toy his sister has and after several toy snatching incidents, a time out and a spanking, I send him to her room (Blue Eyes is napping in his) until he can come out with a happy heart. -Sigh- he's in there for a long time.

Noon - I have to wake the babe so we can all get out of the house and hopefully get the Squirt out of his funk. It's lunchtime and we are out of milk, so I decide to be the cool mom and let the kids have Raspberry Ice Crystal Light instead. This turns out to be a very bad decision. Stay tuned.

We head to the mall so I can make some returns and let the kids play at the indoor play area (it rained all morning long.)

Proof I was here today. Although I do look like a ghost in this picture - what is that about??

We shop, we play, we head home for naps.  By 2:30 the kids are all down and I make myself a sandwich. My plan is to read during nap time and maybe, just maybe do some dinner prep.

Sweet B's stomach apparently had other plans. She wakes up screaming after 45 minutes. She's covered in fuchsia puke courtesy of Crystal Light and a stomach bug. Poor babe. Laundry load #2 goes to the washer.

After a change of clothes, she's acting fine, so I enlist her help in dinner prep.

Twenty minutes later she pukes again. On the couch. On the one cushion I've slipcovered. Thank you Lord for small miracles!  Load #3 goes in and I enact a clothes-ban for the rest of the day.

The Squirt wakes up around 4:30 and promptly throws up in the hallway. Again - fuchsia puke. It's beautiful in a scary way. I took a picture but wimped out on sharing it with you.  I am extremely thankful for hardwood floors right now. Normally we'd go to the park or play with neighbors at this time of day, but today I turn on Mickey and order everyone to the couch. My washing machine is earning its keep as I throw in load #4. (Did I mention I did two loads before everyone woke up? That totals SIX loads of laundry today.)

At 5 o'clock I called for reinforcements. Hello Mimsy! Thank you for commiserating with us.

6:30 - Dad is home! Angels sing and Mimsy takes flight. Dinner is short and sweet for these sensitive tummies. Oh, I made this - it was eh/okay.

After dinner it's time to brush teeth, put on PJs and read a book. No wrestling or dance parties tonight. 

B Daddy gets Sweet B and Squirt down while I nurse the littlest man. By 8:05 everyone is sound asleep. It's amazing what being sick does to these little guys.

B Daddy and I tackle the mountain of laundry waiting to be folded together and talk about the day.

At 9:00 we call productivity quits for the day. I'm blogging on the couch and B Daddy is watching Moonshiners. (You'll have to use your imagination for this craziness.) 

10:30 is bedtime for mama. Brush teeth, wash face, slip into soft sheets and thank God for His grace... see you tomorrow to do it all over again.

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