"There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot." (Aldo Leopold) Apparently, I cannot.

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Lazy Sunday: Week in Review 3/31/13

Lazy Sundays

If you’re celebrating today, Happy Easter! And in case you missed anything this week . . .

My Blog Posts

I began the week getting reacquainted with my pregnant self. Well, not reacquainted since although I’m currently not pregnant, I still have some things in common with that person I am when I’m pregnant. Like hairy legs, bleeding gums, and that pregnant glow. Oh, and the fact that I still look pregnant. Jealous much?

I also introduced a new recipe and crafting post, since it seems a lot of blogs do something like this. But because Martha Stewart I am not, and because I’m a little short on time these days, I started Too Tired to Try Tuesdays. Basically, I’m going to look around the interwebs for recipes that look yummy and activities  that look fun to do, and then I’m going to post them for you. You can either look at them and say, “Hey, that looks fun to try, hope someone does,” (like me) or try them yourself. (Or, I guess say, “Bleh, no way.”) But, if you do try them, please let me know how it turns out. And send pics if you’re so inclined. In this inaugural post I shared a post from my friend over at Naps Happen for how to make a PEEP volcano. (If you have tons of PEEPs left over, you might want to give it a try.)

Not all of my posts are necessarily coherent, though, as evidenced by the post where I tried to work out some questions I have about how we teach our kids to be themselves and not worry about what anyone else thinks. This post doesn’t end with a resolution or confession of an “aha” moment, because I’m still working through all of this. As a mamma bear, I only want what’s best for my kids, but it’s so hard putting them out there in the world when not everyone is going to support their decisions. Even at this early age.

And of course, we ended the week with our Shiny, Happy, Sparkly, Feel-Good Friday post. In addition to the glimpses into our week here, I was thrilled to get some pics and stories from some of you sharing your bits of happiness from the week. Please, keep em coming!

My Favorite Kid

This week my favorites said:

  • Sunday: For the double win . . . “Mamma, can I go back to sleep for a little bit?” asked my favorite today . . . a few hours later, talking to the baby . . . “I’m so glad we have you. You’re fun. I’m going to love you forever.” *heart melting*
  • Monday: “Can we have two dance parties today?” asked my favorite today.
  • Tuesday: “Mommy, you have such a sweet face,” said my favorite today.
  • Wednesday: “Can you just keep reading me books?” asked my favorite today.
  • Thursday: “We make a good team, Mamma,” said my favorite today.
  • Friday: “Here is your golden star for being quiet,” said my favorite today.
  • Saturday: “You’re my best mommy in the whole wide world,” said my favorite today.

My Top 5 Facebook Posts

My hubby took the kids to the park for a bit so I could get some cleaning done. A nap counts as cleaning, right?! Like, cleansing the soul? A tired, frazzled, outnumbered soul?

Sitting in the middle of the floor folding laundry while the baby is screaming in his pack n play, the 5 yo is tap dancing right next to me, and the 3 yo is calling me to wipe his butt. Send help.

Not sure which is more comical: the fact that I came back from taking out the trash to find the 3 yo standing naked on the front steps or the fact that I didn’t even bat an eyelash.

I bet I wouldn’t mind if it were Brad Pitt over here trashing the place and being a whiney mcwhiney pants while I’m trying to make dinner.

And this pic:


There you have it. Just another week with the wild things.

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Shiny, Happy, Sparkly, Feel-Good Friday: 3/29/13

If you missed it, last week I declared that Fridays on Raising Wild Things will forever more be known as Shiny, Happy, Sparkly, Feel-Good Fridays! Since parenting can sometimes suck the  life out of me, I wanted to do these posts as reminders of the good, the great things that happened during the week amid all the crazy, exhausting, sometimes frustrating, sometimes maddening, sometimes head-exploding moments that seem to linger in my memory and put me in a mommy funk.

Here are some things that made me happy!

Our first complete family outing to the park this "spring" -- marina gazing, Eli's first time swinging . . . beautiful day

Our first complete family outing to the park this “spring” — marina gazing, Eli’s first time swinging . . . beautiful day

Getting ready for summer by finding all of the flip flops; playing at the library

Getting ready for summer by finding all of the flip flops; playing at the library

Cuddles and running with pants on backwards

Cuddles and running with pants on backwards


Silly monkeys; opening an Easter care package from grandparents

Finding all of the missing tea balls and a page out of a library book that made me chuckle (because of my 12-year-old sense of humor I guess)

Finding all of the missing tea balls and a page out of a library book that made me chuckle (because of my 12-year-old sense of humor I guess)

But I don’t want these posts to be just about me, so I invited you to share as well. Here are some pics and stories of things that made you happy, too.

One reader's 3 yo helping her little brother blow bubbles

One reader’s 3 yo helping her little brother blow bubbles

From Cheryl in NY: I love their spontaneity, their silliness, their everything!! ♥ "Dark" vader is 5 ;)

From Cheryl in NY: I love their spontaneity, their silliness, their everything!! ♥ “Dark” vader is 5 😉

From the Hernandez family in CT: Oh, to be 5 again!

From the Hernandez family in WA: Oh, to be 5 again!

From Natalie in TX: (1) Enjoying some tummy-time......finally! (2) My little firefighter having some peanut butter crackers, or as he calls them, "pea-butt tracks"!

From Natalie in TX: (1) Enjoying some tummy-time……finally! (2) My little firefighter having some peanut butter crackers, or as he calls them, “pea-butt tracks”!

This little guy makes me happy every day. That will all end as soon as he can talk so I'm soaking it up while it lasts. :)

From Erin in MO: This little guy makes me happy every day. That will all end as soon as he can talk so I’m soaking it up while it lasts. 🙂


From Julianne in MD: I went to Sam’s kindergarten spring fling party yesterday. It was an ice cream social. Sam was soo excited I was there, and was more than a little social (and had more than a little ice cream). As we walked to the car he said, “Mom, wasn’t that fun? That was the best party EVER!!”

That’s enough to melt any mother’s heart, but was particularly meaningful since I always wonder whether Sam will care about those social events that are such a fundamental part of typically developing children’s young lives. Autism has actually made me savor these moments even more.

Thanks to everyone who submitted some happiness! Please keep it coming. Until next week…


Keep Calm and Let Your Son Dress Like a Princess if He Wants

I’m at a point in parenting where a lot have come before me and many will follow, and I’m left with a ton of questions and am not sure why it has to be so hard. This post is my way of trying to sort through these questions. I warn you now that this post does not take a straight path to its conclusion. And I don’t have any grand revelation at the end or a lesson that I learned. For I am still looking for answers and grappling with how to deal with all of this . . .

My husband and I have three children: 1 girl and 2 boys. As such, we have all manner of toys and whatnot in our house: We have princesses and ponies, dinosaurs and matchbox cars, dolls and trains. Not to mention an entire wardrobe of dress-up clothes. We have tutus and dresses, superhero capes, and firefighter and police officer uniforms. So pretty much a good mix of everything stereotypically “girl” and stereotypically “boy.”

But, as I know is the case in many houses, there are no rules in our house about who can play with what. There is no rule that only my daughter can play with the toys meant for girls and only my sons can play with the toys meant for boys. (The fact that I just had to write about toys being “meant for” one sex or another is so very irksome to me!) Same goes for dress up. Although they do tend to stick to gendered norms, they don’t always. Sometimes my daughter wants to be the male superhero and sometimes my son wants to be a princess. My daughter likes to put on makeup and paint her nails like mommy, and so does my son. And we’re ok with that.



What I’m struggling with now, however, is the double standard our society places on even our youngest members–namely, that it’s ok for girls to play with “boy” toys and dress up in “boy” clothes, but not ok for boys to play with “girl” toys or dress in “girl” clothes. Why is it more acceptable for my daughter to wear her hair short, get dirty playing sports, and dress up as Spider-Man for Halloween than for my son to wear his hair long, take ballet, and dress up as a princess for Halloween? Why is it when a girl does anything traditionally male she is considered tough, but when a boy does anything traditionally female he is considered a sissy?

I ask these questions in earnest because I don’t know the answers to them. Is it because our culture respects men more than women so that a girl dressing as a boy would be considered an “upgrade” in status, whereas a boy dressing as a girl is considered a “downgrade”? Is there a worry that boys playing with girl toys and dressing as girls might mean there is a question about gender identity? That these little boys either are already showing signs they are gay or might somehow turn gay if allowed to continue playing or dressing in this manner? And why aren’t these same concerns raised for girls? (Not that I’m suggesting in any way that they should be!)

Most importantly, how the hell are we supposed to address these issues with our children?

I like to think that I have a pretty open mind about things, and we preach equality to our children in all things–we are all people first and should be treated equally no matter what. Period. End of story. “Do what you want kids and don’t worry about what others think!” I’d like to practice what we preach here, BUT unfortunately, it’s just not that easy in real life. I’m learning that just because our family holds this belief, that doesn’t mean everyone does. We do not live in a bubble, and as much as I wish everyone felt the same about it as we do, they don’t. How do we teach our kids to be themselves and not worry about what anyone else thinks when there are so many people out there ready to tell them exactly what they think?

What do we do, for instance, if one day our son wants to wear a princess outfit out of the house? Part of me couldn’t care less what the kid is wearing as long as he’s not naked. But the other part of me knows that there are bullies and haters and people around every corner just waiting to tear down anyone who thinks or acts differently from the societal norm. The thought of my kids being subjected to ridicule or hate, even, makes me ill. All this mamma bear wants to do is protect her precious little cubs.

I can say with great conviction, for instance, that I’m going to allow my kids to be themselves and do and wear whatever the hell they want and f#ck the rest of the world if they don’t like it. But it’s hard to actually do that in real life. In an ideal world, no one would blink an eye if my son went to the grocery store in his princess outfit. But we don’t live in an ideal world. How do we deal with the looks? The snickers? The teasing and taunting? The suggestions that maybe we need to get our son some more masculine clothes? And how do we explain all of this to our kids?

Do we teach our kids that there are societal norms that they need to follow in public, but they can do whatever the they want in the privacy of our own house, or does his somehow promote hiding their true selves or shame them into following the norm if they are inclined not to?

Do we use this as a lesson that people have different opinions about everything imaginable, including gender norms, and that even though we don’t care, for example, what our kids do or wear, other people might? And they might make a big deal about it?

Do we instill these lessons early on, or do we go along minding our own business, doing our own thing and try to protect their innocence as long as we possibly can?

As much as I want to shout, “Keep calm and let your son dress like a princess if he wants!” do I actually have the courage to heed my own advice?

keep calm image


Let’s Do This (Or Not): Too Tired to Try Tuesday

So I have yet another confession for you: I have never been on Pinterest. Well, that’s not completely true. I have clicked on links from people that have taken me to Pinterest, but I have never gone on there of my own volition looking for new ways to prepare mac and cheese or looking for fun and crafty things to do with all of my empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls. I’m sure you’ve noticed, there is no Tasty Recipes or Fun Crafts tabs on my blog.

The reason I don’t go on Pinterest is not because I don’t want to be fun and crafty, or because I’m opposed to other people being fun and crafty, it’s because 1) I know it’s going to be another time suck that I can’t really afford (I mean between my family, sleep, my “real” work, blogging, and more sleep, there’s just not enough time in the day), but more importantly, 2) I’m afraid that going on there is going to make me feel even worse about my already lacking domestic abilities.

I’ll be honest, I’m not so much into cooking or baking, and there are no wheels that start crazy spinning when I discover I have extra tissue paper and pipe cleaners on my hands. Martha Stewart I am not, that’s for sure. This is not to say that I can’t cook or bake or craft with the best of them, because I’ve been known to whip up a tasty dish every now and then, and I could turn a plastic bag and dried out wipes into a piece of art if I needed to–I simply don’t have the passion for these things right now. I really wish I did, but I just don’t.

I am, however, envious of mommies and daddies that do. And I really hope that I can cultivate these passions as my kids get older. Because, another confession, I kinda do want to be that mom who always has something fun to do with the kids and can whip up a tasty, healthy meal with ingredients I already have on hand and without having to consult a cookbook.

Because I’m not there yet and can’t share with you crafts and recipes I’ve tried and can give you my stamp of approval on, I’ve decided to dedicate my Tuesday posts to sharing crafts and recipes that I’d really like to try but am just too damned tired (that sounds better than lazy, right?) to get around to. And so I give to you Too Tired to Try Tuesdays! (Like the alliteration there?)

TTTTT imageI guess this means I will have to start poking around on Pinterest. And like actually sign up for Pinterest. Shit. Ah well, if it provides you fine people with some new ideas, I’m up for it. And if it turns out I can figure out what I’m doing on there, I’ll share my page (is that even the correct term for Pinterest?) or board, whatever the hell it’s called, with you.

I’m also open to submissions from you–either something tried and true or something you want to try but haven’t had the time to. Just send me an email at raisingwildthingsblog@gmail.com with your ideas, and I may share them here. (And by “may” I mean “will definitely”! I’ve just been lamenting about how I have so little time to do stuff, so if you take the time to send me something to share, I’m going to share it!)

Ok, so my first Too Tired to Try Tuesday share comes from a fellow blogger over at Naps Happen: it’s a PEEP volcano. I’m not a Peep person myself, but this looks like a really fun activity. (Heck, maybe I will actually have to try this!)


Just before disguising the top of the soda bottle with an entire can of whipped topping and a little strawberry syrup for authenticity.

Click here to get step-by-step instructions on how to make it and see a video of the finished product. And while you’re there, stay and look around a bit, I guarantee you’ll have more than a few chuckles.

Let me know if you try this, I’d love to hear how it turns out.


10 Things I Still Have in Common With My Pregnant Self

A lot of things happen when you’re pregnant. There are physical changes, hormonal changes, emotional changes, memory changes. Sometimes you start liking foods you’ve never liked before, and sometimes you ralph at the mere mention of a food you considered a favorite before you started growing another human being in your body. Things just start happening that are beyond your control.

And I don’t know who started it, but there seems to be a myth circulating out there that these things start balancing back out once you deliver your little bundle of joy. Pfffffttttt. What a bunch of bull doody. Ok, well maybe it’s true for some people, but not for me.

Here are 10 things I still have in common with my pregnant self:

  1. Bleeding gums. Many people don’t know that bleeding gums are very common during pregnancy. With all of the hormonal changes going on, your gums can swell and become inflamed, which causes them to bleed more easily. Now my bleeding gums are caused by gingivitis because I hardly have enough time in the day to squeeze in two brushing and flossing sessions for the kids, let alone myself.
  2. Food avoidance. When I was pregnant I had to avoid certain foods for two reasons. Either the food was on a “do not eat this because it could harm your baby” list or it gave me heartburn so bad I wanted to rip out my own throat and beat myself with it. Now I have to avoid certain foods because I’m nursing and don’t want to deal with epic episodes of baby diarrhea, like that which comes with too much Mexican or Indian food, two of my favs.
  3. Eating extra calories. Most doctors recommend that a pregnant woman increase her daily caloric intake by 300-500 or so calories a day, depending on what trimester she is in. These days I’m eating extra calories because nursing makes me so freaking hungry and I need to keep up a good milk supply. Thank goodness for Girl Scout cookies and the peanut M&Ms we have around for potty training. Hey, it’s for my milk supply! Don’t judge.
  4. Hairy legs. Fact: When you’re pregnant, especially in the last few months, it can be very difficult to shave your legs when you’re contending with a giant belly and can’t see your feet. I just give up on the whole practice altogether. These days, I have so little time for personal hygiene (refer to #1) that even when I can get a shower I often have to choose between shaving my legs and washing my hair so that I can get out before the baby completely flips his shit. (For some reason my happy baby turns into a shaking, screaming banshee when I attempt to shower.) Washing hair always wins out because I can always cover up my legs by wearing pants, but I can’t walk around all the time wearing a bag over my head. (Although some days I’d like to.)
  5. Insomnia. I’m not sure it’s scientifically documented, but even before I was so hugely pregnant that I couldn’t get comfortable in bed to sleep (and apparently had such labored breathing that my hubby likened sleeping next to me to sleeping next to a water buffalo) I had trouble sleeping. And apparently a lot of women have this problem when pregnant. Now, of course, I can’t sleep because the baby is crying or I think I hear the baby crying. And if it isn’t the baby, the other two are always wandering into our room at all hours of the night because they have bad dreams, they’re too hot, they heard a noise outside, or their eyebrows hurt. The usual stuff.
  6. Not exercising. It’s no secret that I hate to exercise. But before kids I did it and actually wanted to continue doing it when I got pregnant. BUT, the exercise gods had other plans for me. With my first pregnancy, I had placenta previa, so my doctor’s told me to avoid exercising. Didn’t have to tell me twice. Done and done. And then because my first was born 11 weeks premature, my docs advised me to take it easy in subsequent pregnancies. Again, don’t have to twist my arm. I managed to get back to exercising some after both my first and second pregnancies, but now, 8 months after having my third, I have no time or energy or motivation. Or time, did I mention time?
  7. Late-night food runs. I didn’t have too many crazy cravings when I was pregnant, but when they hit, they’d always hit at night, and I’d make a late-night run to Taco Bell the health food store to get something to hit the spot. These days, the thought of taking all three kids to the grocery store makes me all jittery and crazy-like. (Have you ever seen that episode of “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” when Will teaches Ashley how to handle a bully by acting crazy? Yeah, that.) Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done it, but if I can avoid it, I do. Which is why I often wait until they are all tucked into bed before heading out. It’s sort of a double-edged sword because I’m often surrounded by other crazies doing their shopping so late, but I’m alone. And it’s like a mini-vacation. Just with crazies. (Ok, so it’s actually not that different from vacations with my family. Hi family, love you.)
  8. Peeing all the time. When you’re pregnant, you pee ALL THE DAMN TIME. At the beginning it’s because of hormonal changes resulting in increased blood flow that causes your bladder to fill up faster; later it’s because your uterus is so big that it puts a tremendous amount of pressure on your bladder. Now, after having three kids, I still pee all the damn time. Like when I sneeze. Or cough. Or laugh really hard. Or blink.
  9. The glow. People will tell you all the time when you’re pregnant that you have this special pregnancy glow. I’ve never understood if it’s a sincere compliment like, “hey you look really great, pregnancy really agrees with you” or if it’s just something someone made up because they didn’t have a handy compliment for giant protruding bellies. “Hi, you are hu . . . wow, your belly really . . . ummm, errrr, you are absolutely [sees pretty lamp on table] glowing!” I was told this a lot, so I’m going to go with the former. And again, 8 months out, I’m still glowing. Only now it’s more of a glisten. From all the freaking sweating I do. Not sure if it’s my hormones or from chasing around three kids all day, but I swear, if this is even a slight hint at what menopause is going to be like, I’m in trouble. I’m going to be glowing the whole freaking rest of my life.
  10. Looking pregnant. Refer to #s 3, 5, and 6. Oh, and the fact that my daughter recently asked, “Mamma, when is your other baby going to come out?” Guess I really should get back to exercising and eating better. First, however, I’ll need to eat up all the unhealthy food in the house. And get over this plague that is still (yes, still) lingering. Seriously, though, as soon as I can breathe again, I have a hot date with my elliptical machine. Hopefully it still works.

Please for the love of all that is holy, someone tell me that I am not alone here! Or if I am, lie to me, dammit! Then give me a cookie. Then tell me to get my ass on the elliptical machine.

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Lazy Sunday: Week in Review 3/24/13

Lazy Sundays

In case you missed anything this week . . .

My Blog Posts

The week started off with some new friends, so I took the opportunity to finally play the “Who Are You” game that Slice of Humble tagged me in a while back. In this post I shared with you some smells I like and some other fun facts about me, like my special talents, whether or not I’d want to be a pirate, and what song I want played at my funeral.

I got all serious-like in another post where I confessed that I parent each of my kids differently. This was a lesson I learned after the arrival of #2 and the resulting shock, confusion, and failure I felt when my previously kick-ass parenting skills with #1 just weren’t working. I’m so glad I wrote this piece because many of you reached out to tell me that you do the same.

I ended the week by introducing a new weekly theme post — Fridays around here will forever more be known as Shiny, Happy, Sparkly, Feel-Good Fridays. With all of the stress and sometimes not-so-good days that come with parenting, I thought it’d be nice to have a day where we share some happiness. In this inaugural post, I shared more than a few photos of things that made me smile throughout the week, and I invited you to share your photos and stories for use in future posts. So please, share, share, share!

My Favorite Kid

This week my favorites said:

  • Sunday: “Mommy, I love our baby,” said my favorite today.
  • Monday: “Fine! I’m just not going to talk the rest of the day,” said my favorite today.
  • Tuesday: “Leave mommy alone, she’s trying to rest” said my favorite today.
  • Wednesday: “Mommy, can you find me all your old Dr. Seuss books?” asked my favorite today.
  • Thursday: “Mommy, when is it nap time? I want to take a nap today,” said my favorite today.
  • Friday: Apparently I didn’t have a favorite this day.
  • Saturday: “I’m so proud of me,” said my favorite today.

My Top 5 Facebook Posts

Here are my top 5 liked Facebook posts:

This photo I shared was re-shared 88 times and reached a little more than 6,800 people (and counting)! Like, whoa!

This pretty much sums it up

This pretty much sums it up

Tonight’s dinner included someone tripping and splattering applesauce everywhere, someone dumping milk all over the table, someone smearing food all through their hair, and someone sitting in pasta sauce. And don’t even get me started on what the kids did.  

Forget instruction manuals. Babies should come with helmets.   

Today’s moment of zen was disguised in a trip to the grocery store. Alone. You gotta find the peace and quiet when and where you can, people.  

“You’d better take off your clothes so you don’t get drenched again if you’re going in there to give your rocks a bath.” Filed under things I never could have imagined saying before having kids. And no, not those rocks. Actual rocks. Actual rocks. 

There you have it. Just another week with the wild things.


Shiny, Happy, Sparkly, Feel-Good Friday: Inaugural Post

Truth: Parenting is hard.

Truth: Parenting is tiring.

Truth: Parenting is trying.

Truth: Parenting is stressful.

But, among all of the everyday whining and fussing and tears and chaos there ARE a lot of smiles and giggles and hugs and cuddles. Actual happiness! Sometimes it’s glossed over or ignored or simply not recognized, but it is there.

I was reminded of this recently by my friend Julie over at I Like Beer and Babies (her blog name alone is great, no?). She does a post each week, “Puppy Dogs and Rainbows Friday,” in which she shares some of the good things that have happened in her week so that on not-so-good days she can remind herself that her life is good overall. How cool is that?! As she puts it:

As moms (and you awesome dads that read this), we seldom have the time to see the sparkles in our fog of dirty diapers, whining toddlers and constant need by others. Moral: be sure to stop and smell the unicorns every once in a while.

I was so inspired (plus I want to know what it’s like to smell the unicorns) that I asked Julie if I could steal this idea and do it here. She was excited for me to do it, and so I’m going to make this a weekly post. Fridays will forever more be known as Shiny, Happy, Sparkly, Feel-Good Fridays around here.

SHSFGF image

In this inaugural post, I’m sharing with you some photos of the things that made me smile this week. But I’d love to open this up to you as well for future posts. So, if you have a photo (or three or twenty) that you would like me to consider for next week’s SHSFGF post, please email it to me at raisingwildthingsblog@gmail.com. Or you can post it to my Facebook page, with a note it’s for the SHSFGF post. (Please see the notes at the end of this post about photo submissions.) 

Please also feel free to share quick stories if you don’t have or would rather not share a photo. I welcome anything that will help put a smile on our faces. 🙂

Now, without further adieu, here are my shiny, happy, sparkly, feel-good moments from this past week. There are actually quite a lot. Looking back, there were more than I realized going through each day. And these are only the moments I captured on camera! Enjoy. (I’ll pare these down in future posts, but since this is like the grand opening, I’m going balls out on this one.)

My morning cuddle bugs

My morning cuddle bugs

This outfit . . . and her confidence!

This outfit . . . and her confidence!

I hope he's always this carefree!

I hope he’s always this carefree!

First Cheerios

First Cheerios

Girl after my own heart -- loves to read!

Girl after my own heart — loves to read!

Fun with a laundry basket

Fun with a laundry basket



Chocolate-covered strawberries assembly line

Chocolate-covered strawberries assembly line

Helping to clean up the chocolate

Helping to clean up the chocolate

She's like his second mommy

She’s like his second mommy

Another fun outfit

Another fun outfit

Someone was preparing for lunch

Someone was preparing for lunch

More fun in a basket

More fun in a basket

Not that common anymore (plus it's on a towel in the middle of the living room!)

Not that common anymore (plus it’s on a towel in the middle of the living room!)

Catching snowflakes

Catching snowflakes

Watching his sissy and brother catching snowflakes

Watching his sissy and brother catching snowflakes

Looking forward to seeing what makes you all smile. Until next week . . .

Notes About Photo Submissions

  • When emailing photos, please use SHSFGF Blog Post as your subject.
  • Please only send photos that you have taken and can give permission for me to use.
  • By emailing or messaging me your photos, you are giving me permission to use them on my blog, specifically in my Shiny, Happy, Sparkly, Feel-Good Friday blog posts. I will only include these pictures in the SHSFGF blog posts, but please note that I do share my blog posts on my Facebook page, so there is a possibility your photo could appear there as well.
  • I will give credit for every photo in the photo caption. Please let me know in your email if you would like for me to use your name (and specify how you would like it written) or “Anonymous.” Please also let me know if you’d like to include a short caption with your photo. (Please, no longer than one sentence.)
  • Which photos end up in the SHSFGF posts are solely at my discretion, although unless there is a compelling reason not to (see next bullet), I will try to include every photo that is submitted. Depending on the number of submissions, however, photos that I’m going to include may be held for later posts.
  • Please keep the photos clean, people. I will not post anything I find to be offensive or in any way contrary to the point of these posts, namely, spreading happiness!


Multiple Personality Parenting

Each of my kids has a different mom. Sort of. No we didn’t adopt. No we didn’t use surrogates. I definitely grew and birthed all three of them. Believe me, I remember. But I have a mommy confession: I parent each of my kids differently. I suppose you could call it multiple personality parenting. But I like to call it doing what’s best for my kids. Each one of them. Individually.

Before having kids, I knew exactly the type of parent I wanted to be. My hubby and I talked through everything. I was going to breastfeed. We weren’t going to use binkies. We weren’t going to introduce tv for the first two years. We’d make all of our own baby food. We wouldn’t eat fast food. We weren’t going to co-sleep. We weren’t going to use spanking as a form of discipline. In other words, we had it all worked out. We were so pleased with the kick-ass parents we were going to be.

And then we actually had a kid.

And you know what? Aside from a few circumstances beyond our control (our first was born 11 weeks early and couldn’t breastfeed, for example), we were pretty much able to be those kick-ass parents we dreamed of being. Belle was such an easy baby. She slept well wherever–in her crib, the swing, the pack ‘n play. She ate well. She naturally fell into a sleeping and feeding schedule very early on. She travelled well. She hardly ever fussed. Looking back, it’s no wonder we were able to be those ideal parents we had set out to be. We didn’t have any resistance, and Belle’s personality meshed so well with how we wanted to parent.

And so we had a second kid.

And boy did this throw a monkey wrench into things. Enter Saurus. I am not exaggerating when I say that he was the complete opposite of his sister in every single way as a baby. He was the king of fussy babies. He didn’t sleep well. He cried all the time. We could never seem to get him on a consistent sleeping or feeding schedule. And god forbid we try to take him out of town. Or out to a restaurant for that matter. Any time we’d start to make progress with him, something would happen to land us right back where we started.

I was in shock. I was depressed. I was confused. I felt like a failure. And I was left analyzing every parenting philosophy that my husband and I swore to abide by and that worked with our first child. I felt like I was a first time mom all over again. I had done all of this before. What the hell was the problem? What was I doing wrong?

I started getting angry. And frustrated. I blamed my child. What was wrong with this kid? Why couldn’t he just sleep like his sister? Why couldn’t he eat like his sister? Why couldn’t he be easy-going like his sister? Why was he making it so hard for me to parent him like I did with his sister?

Because he wasn’t his sister. BECAUSE HE WASN’T HIS SISTER!! This realization hit me like a ton of bricks. What the hell was I doing? Why was I trying to parent my children the same exact way when they clearly had very different needs?

This was another “aww hell” moment for me. I realized that the perfect, kick-ass parent I was able to be with Belle was because that was the type of parent she needed. Saurus, on the other hand, needed me to be an entirely different parent. In many ways, the type of parent I had never intended on being. Where Belle was content to be put to bed awake and drift herself off to sleep without a peep, Saurus needed to be rocked, and swayed, and cuddled until he fell into a deep sleep and could finally be put into bed. Where Belle could sit in her swing and be content for 30 minutes to watch her little birdies fly ’round and ’round, Saurus couldn’t stand to be in one place for more than 5 minutes at a time. Where Belle was independent, Saurus was clingy and needy.

This was a difficult realization for me. One that was not apparent in the baby books I read or in the advice I was given from family and friends. Sure, the “do what’s best for you and your kids” mantra was thrown around a lot–heck, I’ve even shared that advice with people–but the missing piece for me was that this mantra applies to each child. Individually.  “Do what’s best for this kid. But also do what’s best for that kid.”

And then we had a third kid. And although at 8 months he’s just now coming into is own, we’ll be parenting him the same way as we parent our older two. By whatever methods work best for him.

Don’t get me wrong. My kids are not running around willy nilly doing whatever the hell they want. We have rules and we have consequences for breaking the rules. We have expectations for our kids to behave in certain ways in certain circumstances, and we have consequences when this doesn’t happen. But our approaches for fostering these behaviors are not the same for each of our kids.

With Belle, for example, the mere mention that she might have to go to timeout is usually enough to get her behavior in check. With Saurus, we usually need to not only put him in timeout but also take away a toy or privilege before he understands we mean business. With Belle, a hug and a quick kiss is usually all it takes to help her feel better when she is upset. With Saurus, we often have to hold him in a tight embrace until he is calm.

And we’ll do whatever works best for the baby. Once we have some more time under our belts and learn what this is.

What about consistency? What about being fair? How can you possibly parent your children so differently? Well, we’re consistent when something works. And then when it doesn’t, we find something else that does. Our consistency is always doing what is best for our children. And this seems pretty fair to me.

I’m learning that as my kids get older, my parenting needs to evolve every day, every second for each of my kids. Sometimes what’s best for one kid is best for all. But sometimes it isn’t. And sometimes what’s best for one kid on one day, isn’t what’s best for that kid on another day. And that’s ok. At least for me. Because I know that “I am exactly the kind of mother my children need.” Each one of them.


Thanks to Leslie over at The Bearded Iris (http://www.thebeardediris.com) for letting me quote her here. When I saw this image on her page it really resonated with me and boiled down everything I wanted to say in one sentence. I just knew it would fit perfectly here.


Smells I Like and Some Other Fun Facts


The missus over at Slice of Humble tagged me in the “Who Are You” game, and since I have some new followers (welcome again!), I figured it’d be a great time to do this so that you can learn a little bit about me. If you haven’t checked out my “Me and My People” section on the blog, you can learn even more, like my favorite punctuation or how I like my toilet paper (you know, the important stuff).

And go check out Humble. She’s funny and tells it like it is. Oh, and she has 5 kids. “Like a boss.”

So, here are my answers to the “Who Are You” questions:

  1. Where were you born Columbia, MD
  2. Were you named after someone? Sort of. If you consider my parents having a name picked out for me but then changing their minds in the hospital after seeing and liking an actress’s name on tv. Going into the hospital, I was going to be Sara, but I came out Mackenzie.
  3. How many children do you have? 3 (5 yo girl, 3 yo boy, 8 mo boy) 
  4. How many pets do you have? 2 cats (Lucy and Charlotte)
  5. Your worst injury?  Besides the three times I pushed babies out of my nether region? Probably the time I broke my nose. But it was my fault–I thought it’d be funny to put some tape on a guy friend’s leg and rip it off. Didn’t end so well. 
  6. Do you have a special talent? I’m pretty ordinary, actually. A lot of people have told me that I have really nice handwriting, does that count? Let’s see, I can tie a cherry stem in my mouth. That seems a little more special.
  7. Favorite thing to bake? A domestic diva I am not. I don’t bake too much. I do however make a mean key lime pie . . . graham cracker crust from scratch, real key lime juice . . . so good!
  8. Favorite fast food? Currently Taco Bell’s Cool Ranch Doritos Taco Loco and churros. Man, all this food talk is making me hungry.
  9. Would you bungee jump? Never ever. I’m too afraid of dying.
  10. What is the first thing you notice about people? Their manners. 
  11. When was the last time you cried? A few days ago when my 8 mo accidentally slammed his melon into my nose. (Again with the nose. Maybe I should get a different one.)
  12. Any current worries? Unfortunately, I’m a chronic worrier. This is something I am trying to work on. But I worry I’ll never be a non-worrier.
  13. Name 3 drinks you drink regularly. Diet soda, water, sunrise orange drink (made with those drink mixes)
  14. What’s your favorite book? I cannot possibly answer this question. I am an editor and avid reader, and I love everything from 18th century British lit to the current vampire invasion.  
  15. Would you like to be a pirate? Definitely not — I am deathly afraid of swimming in the ocean.
  16. Favorite smells? My kids (only after their baths), my husband’s cologne, pretty much anything baking related, cilantro, fresh linens.
  17. Why do you blog? As an editor, I’m often rewriting other people’s work, but blogging allows me to have a voice. And unwind. And share the crazy sh$t my kids do. 
  18. What song do you want played at your funeral? I’m hoping by the time I’m old they’ll have figured out a way for us to live forever. Ok, sorry, I have no idea.
  19. What is your least favorite thing about yourself? I’m short on patience. This is a difficult quality with 3 kids. But I try to work on this every day.
  20. Favorite hobby? Sleeping.
  21. Name something you’ve done, you never thought you would do? Get a tattoo. Get a second tattoo.
  22. What do you look for in a friend? Sense of humor, compassion, honesty, good listener without judgment . . . someone who will tell me when I’m being an a-hole but still love me.
  23. Favorite fun things to do? Ummmm, sleep. 🙂 I also like going with my family to the park and dance parties.
  24. Pet peeves?  Bad manners, saying “could care less” (incorrect) instead of “couldn’t care less” (correct), my kids blowing whistles. 
  25. What’s the last thing that made you laugh? My kids make me laugh every single day, thank goodness. Like tonight, I came home from a quick trip to the store and my 3 yo was hanging out on the couch in a laundry basket. Such a nut!

To continue the fun, I have to tag some others, so I’m tagging Funny is Family, RealMomofNJ, ComfyTown Chronicles, Whoa! Susannah, and With a side order of crazy . . . hey, don’t blame me friends, take it up with Humble. 🙂 If you choose to play, let me know when you share your answers; I’d love to read them.


Lazy Sunday: Week in Review 3/17/13

Lazy Sundays

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, ya’ll! In case you missed anything this week . . .

My Blog Posts

This week started out with a bang. Or a splash, actually. Either way, it was pretty disgusting. And beautiful at the same time. (No? Just me? Ok.) If you missed it, I shared how we came to name baby #3. If you’re squeamish, or don’t like the word “placenta,” I’d steer clear of this one.

I also shared a day in our life here at the crazy house through a photo essay of sorts. In support of Sarah Emily Tuttle-Singer’s post about how we need to stop telling lies on Facebook, I wanted you to see the real stuff that happens with my little wild things. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s sweet, but sometimes it’s messy and tears are shed. And sometimes we spend more time than I’d like in front of the tv. Or crying.

My last post this week was a spin-off of Jason Good’s “46 Reasons My Three Year Old Might be Freaking Out” (if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend you take a minute to do so) where I put together a list of reasons moms and dads just might be freaking out. You know, like when your kid takes a swig of milk from a sippy cup you lost 4 days ago, or when your bathroom gets flooded from one too many dinosaur baths.

My Favorite Kid

A few weeks ago, I posted something one of my kids said and how that kid was my favorite for that day. Truth be told, I do absolutely love all of my kids equally, but definitely differently. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a favorite kid at any given time. Usually it’s the one that’s not whining or complaining of breaking stuff, or the one who’s being extra sweet and cuddly. And this can change by the second. And sometimes, all three are my favorites at the same time. 🙂

Since this first post, I try to end every day with a “favorites” post. Here are what my favorites said this week:

  • Monday: “Mommy, you’re a big genius,” said my favorite today.
  • Tuesday: “Mommy, may I peeze be may-cused [excused]?” said my favorite today.
  • Wednesday: “Mommy, I’m berry sorry you’re sick,” said my favorite today.
  • Thursday: “Can I make dinner?” asked my favorite today.
  • Friday: “Mommy, I think we all just need some quiet time,” said my favorite today.
  • Saturday: “Zzzzzzzzzzzzz,” said my favorite today while rocking a 3-hour nap.

My Top 5 Facebook Posts

Instead of recapping my favorite posts–and at the risk of appearing too narcissistic–here are my top 5 liked Facebook posts:

I was wholly unprepared for raising boys after a girl. The exhaustion from telling my 3 yo to get his hands out of his pants may do me in.

Had to drag my sick butt off the couch to pick up Saurus from daycare. Got myself a salad while I was out. And by salad, I mean a cool ranch Doritos loco taco. And a churro. Don’t judge.

The laundry gods are smiling on me today–had a match for every little blessed sock! The fun and excitement gods, however, have given me a big ole middle finger.

Me to 3 yo: “You don’t sneak food little mister.”  3 yo: “You don’t sneak food either, Mommy.” Touche.

How is it my kids are clumsy and loud by day but super quiet stealth ninjas in the middle of the night?

There you have it. Just another week with the wild things.