Parent Fail Friday

Last Friday was the kids annual Jog-a-Thon. I am sure every parent with a child in school understands the particular  level of awkwardness this brings. You can thank me now, my friends, that I don’t send my adorable children to you door asking you to give them money for running around their school playground. You’re welcome. 

It’s a great cause, it truly is. It supports our local PTO which has paid for things like this amazing new playground, Missoula Children’s Theater and more. Chuck and I always donate but we don’t send our kids asking for donations. And of course, I always show up to cheer my kids on and take pictures, and usually freeze in the cold, drizzle.

This year it was warm and sunny for a change. Trying to figure out how to watch five kids in five separate classes at three different times (and join one for lunch) is more daunting than the Matrix. I showed the schedule to Tilly and as we hovered over the Jog-a-thon pamphlet like early explorers mapping out the New World. 

Or something like that.

Apollo and I arrived to bask in the sun. Mordecai and Jubliee’s classes were first (Mordecai couldn’t run- he hadn’t been cleared by the surgeon yet- so he punched cards). We cheered. We smiled. We clapped. Apollo ran. And ran. And ran some more. jog-a-thon-9977-2

 Then Apollo came up to me and said, “Mom, we missed Hezekiah running!” 

No we didn’t!” I said. “He runs next.”

Except he didn’t. His class was the first (of my children) to run and I wasn’t there. Yeah, I felt like a real heel. 

So we watched all four of the other children run and had lunch with Mordecai and his class. Poor Hezekiah.

So there you have it, last week’s parent fail.

Do you have any parent fails to share? Or am I the only one?

Large Family Laundry Hacks

Large Family Laundry Hacks that work for everyone!

After my last post about laundry in a large family, I decided to answer a few more questions and share a few more of my large family laundry hacks. Its funny, when you are used to doing a rather mundane job (like laundry) a certain way, it never occurs to you that not everyone does it the same way. Hopefully this post answers your questions and give you a few new tips to conquer the laundry  pile.

Use big bins instead of traditional1. Rethink your laundry baskets

There is no need at all to stick to traditional baskets. We use these huge storage bins for baskets. Yes, it means more laundry can pile up, but it is also easy to sort and keep contained. Each of these bins holds at least three loads of laundry. Yes, that m means it has the potential to pile up more, but in our large family we are doing multiple loads daily anyway, and I the bins at leas contain the laundry this way!

2. Rethink sorting your laundry

Do you really need to sepearte you colors? Most clothing is color fast now.  Your  delicates? If so, great. If not, think outside box. I sort laundry into the following categories: work clothes, pants, shirts, towels/jammies/socks/underewear. This method is easy to use and easy to remember.

You might also consider sorting by room (makes it quick and easy to put away and often works well for large families) or by boy/girl, or size. Find a method that works for you family and stick with that.

Clothing is made a lot differently now than it was a generation ago when our grandmas ironed everything and needed to separate by color. Find ways you can simplify (read labels and check for colorfastness) but I bet there are a few ways you can simplify laundry in your house.

ASOS and method laundry detergent have combined to offer easy-to-wash, versatile clothing and cleaning.

Prevent permanent stains by writing on

3. Prevent permanent stains by writing on your washer.

Have you ever had an item of clothing ruined because you (or someone else) put it in the dryer without checking to see if a stain came out or not? We have had countless items of clothing ruined in our house this way. My new method? Something no one can miss: write directly on your washer with a dry erase marker! It wipes right off my machine.

{You may want to try this on your own, in a spot on the side first, just in case. I don’t want to be sent bills for new washing machines if this doesn’t work on yours!}

Store socks in one large bin

4. Store socks together. 

When I fold socks, I throw them all together in one large bin; this way I am not running from room to putting socks for 12 different people away! If some people are motivated enough to dig through and find their own socks, more power to ‘em, but I’m not doing it. This large bin is stored in a cupboard in our living room. Easy to put away, easy to find when the kids need socks.

Throw shoes in the washing machine

5. Throw shoes in washing machine

I have washed half a dozen pair of shoes just this last week and have been blown away buy the results. See that photo of Apollo’s shoes? The front one I tossed in the washer, the back one hasn’t been washed yet (I wanted to show you the difference). Crazy, huh? That shoe is nearly two years old and looks brand new after going through the washer.  I have drying our shoes in the sun or on Chuck’s boot dryer.

{Obviously, some shoes are not meant to go through the washer: leather pumps, dress shoes, etc. I have been successful so far with: Converse, running shoes, Keen sandals and more. When Tilly saw the results I was having with shoes, she promptly took hers to the laundry room and put them in line to be washed!}

Method_Detergent_031315_Fresh_Clover_128x

 6. Choose an effective laundry soap.

NEW method 4x concentrated laundry detergent has naturally derived cleaning power that is tough on dirt and stains. The cleaning power proven to remove tough dirt + stains (even from shoes!) IT keeps colors bright + whites white, works great in cold water so you use less energy for every load and is biodegradable and hypoallergenic

Use the code THREEFORME for $3 off your online purchase of method laundry detergent.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Compassion or Responsibility?

Post includes affiliate links.A visit to Children's Autism CenterYesterday was a red-letter day for Mordecai. We visited a Subway for lunch. Or breakfast, depending on your perspective. On our way home from Mordecai’s recent visit to an orthopedic surgeon he asked, “Mom, have you ever been to a Subway?”

It turns out Mordecai has never been to a Subway, but heard kids talk about it. I decided then and there that I would make time to take him to Subway in the near future. It was a small desire, but one within my ability to grant. Those small moments in our children’s lives are often the big moments to them. 

Lessons in teaching children compassion

Mordecai has been anticipating this return visit to Seattle Children’s Hospital for another reason. He was also going to get to visit the hospital gift shop (something he also noticed on our recent visit). He was armed with anticipation and his wallet. It was to be a great day.

A long day.

Our journey started when we left the house at 10 am. Knowing we were going to stop at Subway for lunch, I packed water bottles but no snacks. We had a few errands to run. We dropped Enoch off at work, we got gas in the van then headed to pick up this sweet 28 mm lens I am borrowing from a friend. It was now 10:45 and we still hadn’t managed to leave Bellingham yet. 

Mom, I feel like I’m going to throw up

A quick glance in the review mirror at a pale-looking Mordecai has me hustling for a vomit receptacle. A paper bag would have to do. 

If you need to thow up, do it in the bag. But try not to! Did you eat anything for breakfast this morning?”

No.”

Just then we were approaching a Subway. Initially I had planned to get lunch further south, maybe even all the way in Seattle. It was early, but I knew a child who had no breakfast and was feeling sick was in no shape to drive 100 miles south on an empty stomach.  

Lessons in teaching children compassion

On the bright side, we were the only customers in Subway. The boys were excited and confused and overwhelmed by the 352 choices to be made….bread, meat, cheese, veggies, sauce, chips. Somehow we made it vomit and tear free.

Back in the van, I tried to make the best of it. 

Well, it’s almost eleven and we haven’t even left Bellingham…But we dropped off Enoch at work and we got gas; that was important. We picked up the lens which I really wanted to try out today. And we bought lunch which we needed to do, since Mordecai hasn’t eaten anything today” I said with a smile.

Until Mordecai said, “Yeah, all I had was a bagel before we left the house.”

Wha??? Apparently a bagel doesn’t count as breakfast. 

*sigh*

At last we were finally on our way south. 

Lessons in teaching children compassion

The visit with the orthopedic surgeon literally took less than five minutes. He looked at his finger, looked at his toes, asked if we had any questions, smiled and left.

Lessons in teaching children compassion

Next up was the gift shop. We generally try to avoid any type of gift shop, but Mordecai had spotted it on our last visit and we planned that into our day. There he was faced with the excruciating choice. Should he buy Louie the Lion or Bananas the Monkey? It was a really, really tough decision and he waffled several times. Finally, he chose Louie and we were free to head to our appointment at the Children’s Autism Center where he was being evaluated to see if he falls on the spectrum.

Chuck (who made appointment)  was told on the phone this visit would last half an hour. It didn’t. It was over an hour long, which made for a very long day for both boys. And then we hit Seattle traffic heading home. 

The day was much longer than anticipated or planned for. It had now been five hours since we had eaten and I had no food in the van. So, we stopped at a random McDonald’s on the way home. Apollo had fallen asleep so I was faced with the big debate: go through the drive thru and have him sleep, but wake up at some point needing to pee? Or wake him up and risk the Wrath of Apollo and go inside to pee and get food? Thankfully, the choice was taken out of my hands when Mordecai woke him up.

In we went, Mordecai with Louie the Lion and Apollo with Waddles the Penguin. We got our food (and a cup of coffee for me) and headed back to the freeway and traffic. The boys ate happily, we listened to audio books and drove and drove and drove some more.

Just as we pulled off the freeway, into Bellingham, Mordecai realized he had left Louie the Lion in the McDonald’s. Louie, who he spent all of his money on, just hours before was now sitting in a McDonald’s, abandoned. Mordecai covered his head with his blanket and sobbed all the way home. 

“Are we ever going to go back there?” he asked.

The rest of the drive home, I pondered my options. I thought about posting on Facebook to see if anyone lived nearby and could rescue Louie…then I realized I wasn’t even sure where that particular McDonald’s was located. I could “teach him a lesson” and help him “learn to be responsible” by doing nothing. But his heart was torn up over the whole situation. He knew he made a careless mistake. He was suffering as a result. He didn’t need me to remind him. Apollo clung to Waddles and looked at his big brother with wide eyes.

When we arrived home Mordecai ran down to his room to cry.  I found Louie on Amazon and ordered him for Mordecai. Sometimes, as a mom, you need to just follow your heart. I knew, deep down, the “lesson” to be learned was about compassion and caring. Not about responsiblity. 

I called him over to me, told him I ordered Louie and intended to asked him not to be upset if the Louie that arrived in the mail was slightly different from the one he purchased (since I didn’t have the original to compare it to). Before he let me finish, he said, “I know, you wasted money buying me a new Louie”

“No, Mordecai, I didn’t ‘waste money’. I bought Louie because I love you and I know how important it is to you.”

Because today, that is the lesson I want him to learn. That he is worth $10.48 to me. That I know he is hurting. That I care.

Teaching Children Compassion

6 Ways Teens are Just Like Toddlers

Originally posted in April, 2014. Still relevant today.6 Ways Having Teens is Exactly Like Having Toddlers

1. Late and sleepless night come back. With a vengeance.

Think you are safe once your little angels are sleeping through the night? What nobody tells you is, they stop. Or stop sleeping normal human hours, anyway. Instead of waking up and feeding/nursing/rocking a baby, you are waiting for them to arrive home from: babysitting/school/work. THEN, they want to stay up and chat.

It’s exhausting.

6 Ways Teens are Like Toddlers

2. Temper Tantrums

Its just now we call them: “being assertive” and “showing independence” and “sharing their opinion”.

Um, yeah.

6 Ways Teens are Just Like Toddlers

3. Clothes

Remember those days when you toddler changed their clothes half a dozen times a day (Apollo is currently in this stage)? Yup, it comes back. Only the clothes are bigger now.

And speaking of clothing…have you every raised an eyebrow over your toddler’s clothing choices? Oh boy…just wait a decade or so. You may find yourself wishing they “just” wanted to wear a mix of: rainbow, plaid, stripes, cowboy, princess with a boa and goggles for good measure.

6  Ways Teens are like Toddlers4. Messy rooms

Somehow a teen can manage to make a bigger, uglier, smellier mess than a toddler. Maybe because now, instead of toys strewn all over, the mess now includes: food wrappers, school work, make-up and stuff from camping trips they “are going to put away”.

6 Ways Teens Are Like Toddlers

5. Helping teens work is just as strenuous as helping a toddler work

You know how when you are teaching a toddler to “work” you expend way more effort than they do? I have told Chuck for years that I can do “half the work in twice the time” with my little kids “helping”. Somehow this has returned with my teens as I drive and drive and drive some more so they can work and earn “their own” money. If I earned a hourly commission or was paid milage, I’d be independently wealthy by now.

6 Ways Teens Are Just Like Toddlers

6. Two hour feeding schedule

Think you are home free once you have your child eating three meals and one snack per day? I hate to burst your bubble, but the two hour eating schedule returns in the teens years. I’m still waiting to see if that ever goes away.

—–

How about you? Can you think of any other ways teens are like  toddlers? I’d love to hear them!