The Mom Olympics

There is a lot of competition between us moms. Am I caring enough? Do I speak in sweet enough tones to my children? Do I discipline the “right” way? Do I never EVER put convenience above hygiene or general cleanliness? Am I making activities educational enough? Oh, that other kid knows his ABCs at 18 months, should mine too? The list is endless. Add snarky looks from other moms who OBVIOUSLY do it better than me and other moms who could OBVIOUSLY learn so much from me and my mommy-skillz and my self-esteem is always tip-toeing on the wall between the confidence of Kanye West and George-Michael Bluth.

My vote is that we stop this arbitrary and objective competition and hold one that matters for realsies and can actually be scored (preferably by someone holding big white signs with numbers 1-10 on them).

Enter the Mom Olympics.

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We will have general areas of expertise with sub-events in each area. This is an Olympic year, after all. Let’s get in gear, Mama.

Hygiene

  •  Nail-cutting: Momletes would be judged on speed, overall precision, and ability to hold toddler still during event without clipping skin or using “scary mom voice.”
  • Diaper-changing: Momletes will be given a toddler with a dirty diaper who has been fed 3 pixie sticks and shown a light-up toy that is just out of reach and then evaluated on swiftness, ability to keep diaper pad clean, and least number of wet wipes used.
  • Bath-time: Momletes will be given two children ages two years apart to fully bathe while being scored on memory of and cleaning of all parts and crevices, creativity with bath toys, lack of actual or perceived soap-in-eyes, and least amount of body splashed.

Bedtime

  • Bedtime Story: Momletes will be judged on use of theatrical character voices, maintaining control of situation with tired, banshee children, and resistance to urge to suddenly shut the book mid-story and say “the end.”
  • Bedtime Ninja Crawl: Momletes will be given an only somewhat sleepy child and tasked with putting said child to bed, only to be asked by child to “lay down for a minute.” Momletes will then have to wait until child is asleep and then do her best stealthy escape without waking child up with movement, sound, light from outside of room, or annoying 6th sense of child.
  • Post-Bedtime Victory Dance: Momletes will be allowed to include a partner for this event, and will be scored on enthusiasm, overall choreography, creative inclusion of partner, with bonus points given if dance is continued all the way to the place where wine is kept.

Sickness

  • Nose-Sucking: Momletes will be evaluated on ability to hold down child while keeping his/her hands from swiping the bulb mid-suck and completing actual snot-extraction with only her two arms, and also instinctual knowledge of whether there is more gunk in child’s sinuses, paired with decision of whether or not it is worth it to retrieve said gunk or just call it a freaking day.
  • Comforting: Momletes  will be judged on use of soothing tones, creative use of unnecessary medical items (ie: bandaids) as a placebo effect to trick child, and resistance of using the phrase “suck it up” with over-dramatic children.
  • Immune System: Momletes will be scored on dodging of sneezes, coughs, and throw-up, remembering to take Vitamin C tablets (even though science has told us that this mostly does not work), and of course, sheer internal will to not get sick.

Communication and Media

  • Listening: Momletes will be paired with a 7-year-old who had an interesting day at school and then have to listen to the child turn a simple story into a 30-minute saga while being judged on head nodding, tracking sounds that make her seem interested, resistance to checking time or letting mind wander, and performance on detailed quiz at the end.
  • Deciphering Cries: Momletes will be played a series of cries, screams, and tantrums and tasked with deciding whether each one is a result of child letting go of a balloon or of breaking an actual bone.
  • Instagram: Momletes will be paired with a toddler who couldn’t care less about being photographed and then scored on ability to use creative lighting, difficult positions, and non-cooperative child to create the best photo shoot with the wittiest caption.

Being in Public

  • Grocery Store: Momletes will be given 3 children and an extensive shopping list and then evaluated on tantrum policing, control of situation on cereal and snack aisles, and will-power to not abandon cart and carry all children football-style to car.
  • Other Children: Momletes will be paired with a child in dire need of a nap and placed in a dentist office waiting room with badly behaved children whose mother is at the point of waving a white flag and doing nothing to control them. Momletes will then be judged on ability keep child from also turning into a monster and resistance to crazy-eyes.
  • Mall-Escape: Momletes will be placed in a crowded shopping mall and paired with a child who has been told “no” multiple times when he or she requested to purchase wildly unnecessary items. Momletes will then be scored on attempts to keep child’s spirits up, followed by ability to stop child from laying down in the middle of the mall while throwing a tantrum, and finally, discretion on best timing to airlift child and take situation to restroom or vehicle.

Playtime

  • Park: Momletes will be tasked with taking a child to the park and evaluated on ability to push child on swing with vague “correct” speed and height, coming up with new and convincing reasons why she cannot play tag beyond a quick 3-minute stint, and knowledge of when to put down phone and look attentive to child for the sake of other, judgy moms.
  • Arts and Crafts: Momletes will be given multiple children with varying personalities and tasked with casting their hands, putting together a gingerbread house, and supervising them playing with a bead set. Momletes will be judged on ability to pep-talk herself before activity begins, willingness to throw structure, order, and instructions out the window, and coming out of event without crazy-eyes or more than one child punished.
  • Make-Believe: Momletes will be scored on correct portrayal of character they barely remember from some children’s show, enthusiasm while being stabbed by fake sword, shot by fake gun, or otherwise slayed as a dragon, and ability to expertly repeat mildly decipherable line of dialog fed to her by child.

The award system will be tiered with:

Gold: Night in a hotel to yourself

Silver: Drinking an entire beverage while it is still hot

Bronze: Getting to pee alone

I really feel like this should be a thing. Can we get on this? 

What events am I missing? Lay ’em on me!

Love, Alex

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I Be Missin’ You

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I’m writing this while listening to my 1-year old cry because the poor thing is surrounded by toys in his playpen, but is PISSED that I put him in there instead of continuing to chase him around and keep him from physically harming himself at almost 8 months pregnant. The audacity. He’s just lucky it’s not cheerios in his high chair while Curious George does the entertaining for me. Or perhaps he would like that more. Maybe that’ll be my after-nap strategy.

If this isn’t an indicator to why I have had trouble making it to my computer to actually put ALL OF THESE WORDS into blog-form, I don’t know what is. I feel like my eyes are permanently on the crazy setting now.

Anyway, HERE I AM YOU’RE WELCOME. I actually have been really missing this. I’ve been tossing the idea around to try and create blog content every day for a while just because I need to. Like for me. And my sanity. I’ve been holding back because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to follow through, and then I would be embarrassed in my failure…because that’s a thing I do. BUT I’m going to try it anyway. So basically, get ready for a lot of boring blog posts with daily (or not) ramblings about our turned-upside-down life.

I really don’t know how to do an update without organizing and categorizing it, so that’s what I’m going to do, sorry for you free spirits who don’t understand the NEED for bullet points and numbered lists (but how?).

Me: Since Jane is still a part of me for now, this update is really about the both of us. I have been feeling a lot of the same symptoms that I felt toward the end of my last pregnancy when I got pre-eclampsia. I’m a lot less far along than then, so it’s been worrying me. At one point, I felt so bad that we ended up going to my clinic’s ER (it was like 10 pm on a Friday night). It was a pretty terrible experience in which I was made to feel really stupid for daring to believe that something could be wrong outside of normal pregnancy symptoms. This is super different from our usual experiences with this clinic and hospital. So yesterday at my regular pre-natal appointment, my doctor took me seriously and has placed me on a tighter appointment schedule, as well as some extra testing to be on the safe side. We set her c-section (!!!) to be April 21st, but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t make it that far. We’ll see! Other than that, I’m just trying to keep up with everything without going crazy. The norm. Bryan would prefer if I sat around all day and literally ate bon-bons, but I have trouble sitting down long enough to feed the 3-month-old. So this is going well.

Bryan: Still running around like a chicken with his head cut off. Always dreaming and scheming. I love this about him, I really do. Now just to get him to sit still and finish something. You guys he is just so cute to watch be a dad though. We now have 3 boys, and while I always saw him as more of a girl-dad, he truly has so much fun with the dudes. It helps that we gender-swap in a lot of areas, so while I could cry actual tears while being forced to snuggle for an extended period of time, he is a rock star with the middle of the night baby breakdowns. I and my body-heat-thermometer thank him.

El Oso: He started at a new high school at semester, which was both scary and exciting for him. He’s getting a lot more one-on-one attention from teachers, but it’s the #1 school in the state, so the stakes are a lot higher for him. His grades are a constant battle for us, but we’re working through them little by little.

Grady: You guys, no one told me how fun of an age *1* is. He is an absolute mess, stubborn as a mule (or his mama), and gets into EVERYTHING, but watching him learn new things every day and figure stuff out on his own is so much fun. It helps that he is so good-natured and thinks things like pretending to drink out of his sippy cup could be slaying material for comedians everywhere, but I digress. SO MUCH FUN. It makes me sad that he will eventually get sassy and develop an attitude. Can he just stay this small and adorable, but learn to spoon/fork-feed himself?

Osito: He is making leaps and bounds in the medical realm. He has appo

intments on appointments on appointments lately, but everything is improving and not getting worse, so we will happily take it. He’s a smiling fool now and JUST LAUGHED FOR THE FIRST TIME TODAY OMG. He’s also just so handsome. He has these dimples and when he smiles I can just tell he is going to be on every girl’s crush list. I’ll of course tell them all to back up off asap, but I doubt it will work. It’s crazy that he will start solid foods soon and move to a new nap schedule that will match Grady’s for a while (Thank the good Lord above). I’m excited for that stability before the new baby comes though. Perfect timing.

So that’s us right now…the very abridged version anyway. Congrats to the people who read this far! Hopefully my creativity will pick back up and I’ll be able to write actual meaningful posts soon.

Love, Alex

That Time at Mentor Camp

april seggebruch

This is April Seggebruch. She owns a company called Movista. She also played basketball for the Razorbacks. Soooo yeah, it was a pretty cool interview.

This is probably going to totally embarrass my husband, but let’s be honest, when has that ever stopped me? (That was a joke, it has actually stopped me a lot, believe it or not. Oh the stories I could tell…)

On Wednesday, I went with him to Mentor Camp, which is a thing that happens in different cities around the world (for reals) where people who are successful in business and entrepreneurship come together and meet with less seasoned companies and coach them. The founder, Permjot Valia, chose Northwest Arkansas as one of these cities. We’re officially the cool kids. Forbes thinks so too.

Mentor-Camp-Logo

Anyway, because my husband does cool things, namely, The Go Rogue Podcast, he and our friend Jason from Red Barn Studio  were able to set up a mock studio at the event and interview some really cool people from all over the world. I’m not gunna lie, you guys, seeing my husband talk shop with the big timers was pret-ty sexy. The sexiest part, however, is that he is super respected in this field. There were plenty of times where he was asked a difficult question or put on the spot in a way that made me nervous for him, but every single time, he handled himself so gracefully that I was impressed with him all over again.

joe stump

This is Bryan interviewing Joe Stump from Portland, Oregon. PORTLAND! Needless to say, Bryan had much to talk to him about his favorite city.

Uh, here's me "helping" with mic check. It was really just a lot of snarky answers to Bryan's test questions.

Uh, here’s me “helping” with mic check. It was really just a lot of snarky answers to Bryan’s test questions.

There have been lots of times recently where I have questioned how thinly Bryan spreads himself. He does a lot of stuff. And don’t get me wrong, I still hold to the fact that he needs to learn to manage his time with all of his side ventures in a better way, but it’s reminders like this that remind me to encourage him to keep going.

It’s only recently that I’ve been able to admit to myself that my husband is cooler than me. This is a pretty deep subject to delve into, but let’s explore it a little. There are two different reasons why this statement is not bad, but actually a good thing.

First, it helps me see the division of responsibilities that must exist between us. After working together on our businesses for almost 5 years now, we have finally started learning the importance if roles. I am not as outgoing or “Salesman-y” as Bryan, and that doesn’t make me less-than or a slacker. I’m good at the administrate stuff. And that has to be ok with me.

Second, it shows me the areas in my life where I could stand to be less afraid. Bryan is cooler than I am, he has less fear, I’ve written before about how much of a dreamer and eternal optimist he is, and that’s true in every facet of his life. He is doing such amazing things, and instead of thinking that he has worked hard to get to where he is and that he has earned it, he feels just so truly honored to get to be there with all of these successful people. It makes me want to be more like him. More brave. Less fearful. More carefree. Less cautious.

I strongly encourage all of you to support your significant other. Sure, we have to keep our dreamers grounded sometimes, but I never want to tether his soul too close to the earth. I needed this reminder, Mentor Camp. You keep doing you.

Love, Alex

P.S: Keep checking in at goroguepodcast.com to hear all of the interviews from Mentor Camp, including Stephanie McCratic (Who I LOVE), Permjot Valia, Joe Stump, April Seggebruch, Ross Webb, and Abby Kiefer.

Attention Shoppers: Stop It

I have a bone to pick with the youth of today. Particularly the ones attending music festivals.

First of all: Stop it. Simply put, you just must cease all fashion choices until you are responsible enough to handle them properly.

Secondly, please allow me to get a few things off of my chest.

bad fashion

I don’t get it. This is 2015 for crying out loud. shouldn’t evolution and natural selection have weeded these terrible fashions out by now? Instead, you people have intentionally brought things back into style. It’s much like when Ross tried to bring back his self-inflicted nickname “Rossatron” and Joey cried “Is that back?” out of genuine concern. That’s me looking at you. It’s as if you guys took the worst styles from every era and were like “Mmm, let’s give this another go.”

Some recent offenses I have seen with my own two eyes:

Booty shorts that put Daisy Dukes to shame. Listen, I get it. You have a rocking bod or whatever, and I’m all for showing it off, but aren’t you uncomfortable? I take one look at your bare butt hanging out of denim shorts and instead of admiration, I just imagine how bad your wedgie must be. I mean, don’t sit on hot bleachers or anything. You’re really limiting your mobility with those bad boys.

Ridiculous legging patterns paired with TUCKED IN t-shirts complete with lines of all kinds showing. And this was on a dude I’m pretty sure. Sheesh.

Peter Pan hats. Feather and all.

Seizure-inducing pattern mixing. I just really want to know if you stood in front of the mirror in the morning, took a look at your red and yellow plaid mixed with pink and white polka-dots and…checkered vans? and said to yourself “Nailed it.” I just don’t understand.

Kilts. Aren’t we done with these? I mean, I get the tradition and all, but what part of you is like “Man, the ladies are going to DIG this look.” We don’t.

Overly baggy t-shirts. Like, skinny guys rocking 2X. You’re not at home watching Netflix. Aren’t you hot in that? As in temperature? There is really not even one plus side to an overly baggy t-shirt. I got nothing.

Fanny packs. You’re not a tourist abroad. Use your pockets. Or a shoulder bag. Or a Walmart sack. Anything really. It isn’t cute and unless you are wearing roller blades as well, it doesn’t count as an ironic throw-back.

Bucket hats. Who are you, Jamiroquai? At least this style serves some function I guess. I’ll just pretend that’s why you’re wearing them and not for irony’s sake.

Mesh clothing of all kinds. Are you trying to be in a biker gang? It just looks terrible. What even is the point? Just run around in the bikini and ditch the weird non-tights. Please.

…Velvet? That died with the 90s and lets pleasepleaseplease leave it that way.

Furry boots. What the actual crap? This is summer. I’m sure I don’t need to remind your sweating calves of that fact though.

What’s next? JNCO jeans? No wait, I’ve seen a few of those floating around too. You guys are truly shameless.

Look, there are cute retro styles. I can get on board with the flower crowns and the high-waisted mom jeans. You guys look super cute in those and your little crop-tops and truly, I wish I had the body to rock that look. Even though I’m not personally a fan, we will even accept the overalls. But please, take inventory of which styles are worthy of bringing back, and leave the rest in their extinction.

That is all :).

Love, Alex

8 Things I Learned About Taking a Baby on Vacation

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Whew. We just got back from a week in Hilton Head, South Carolina with some of our very best friends, and then I pretty much immediately turned around and toted Grady to my birthplace, Shreveport, Louisiana for a long weekend. It was a whirlwind of crazy things, two of them being fun and stressful, but I feel like I’ve learned some lessons about taking a baby on vacation that I’ll be remembering for our next beach trip in August. Yes we’re nuts. Thankfully, our August trip is in Gulf Shores where another one of my very best friends resides, so if I run out of baby things I can just beg her for them. (Haaaaaaay Arden.)

1. Whenever possible, leave when baby is supposed to go to bed or at the very least, down for a nap. This should give you a few hours (or normal naptime) of peace when you can start the trip off on a good foot with getting gas, stopping for Sonic drinks (duh) and whatever road trip necessities you have.

2. Stock up on whatever will make your kid happy for the duration of the car ride. I learned that babies just don’t like the car for long periods of time. Or at least my baby doesn’t. Even with leaving past his bedtime, we still ended up with a cranky, fussy baby. Tylenol (because they get sore) and toys are mom’s best road trip friends. For older babies, snacks can probably be thrown in there, but mine is still on purees. For even older babies, those portable DVD players probably seem like God Himself reached down from Heaven and nestled them into the grateful and loving arms of moms everywhere. I look forward to these times.

3. Schedule-Shmedule. We’re not on a super tight schedule around here, but our routine is pretty bomb. We both love it and function very well by knowing what baby thing comes next. Plus, Grady is a pretty good baby. He’s still a baby of course, but for the most part, he will sleep and eat and everything else while we’re out and doesn’t have to be at his home base to function. Enter vacation. Crazy trip schedule + cranky, overtired baby + new and foreign place = yeah right on the normal routine. His naps were a fraction of their regular duration, every mealtime was a struggle, putting sunscreen on was as if I were rubbing Tabasco on open wounds. The list goes on and this type-A mom had to learn to roll with the punches.

4. I totally overpacked the wrong things. Because babies fit into clothes for like a minute tops, I packed alllllllllll of his cutest clothes that fit him right now. I thought I could make do with 2 swim shorts, 2 sun shirts, and 2 swim diapers. I did make do, but I definitely wish I would have considered the type of trip we were going on and what I would need most. we pretty much woke up and threw on swim stuff, so I for sure should have brought more of that. Especially the diapers. Those do not dry fast. And I as a first time mom did not understand the cleaning necessities for them. One poopy diaper being washed out in the ocean had me wishing I would have stocked up on those things instead of the cute clothes he wore half of. (He did look dang cute though let’s just be honest.)

bryan and grady

5. Sunscreen. Like all of it. I thankfully did not have to learn the hard way on this because I slathered it on my crying kid as often as I was supposed to. And really, how often do we reapply sunscreen as instructed? I even thought I did a great job on me and I still got sunburned on the first day, so I was grateful that I didn’t have to deal with a hurting baby on top of a hurting mommy.

6. They will have more stuff than you. Expect and accept it. Babies need a bunch of crap, and since mine is on solids now, food crap was added to the list. Seriously though, so much stuff. I wish I had taken a picture of our trunk. Bryan and I shared a bag and each had our personal totes, plus my sister’s bag, aaaaaaaand the rest was either Grady’s stuff, or stuff used for Grady (pumping supplies, nursing pillow, rock-n-play, etc).

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7. Just buy baby food. I usually make mine, but buy it sometimes when I’m in a pinch too. Like an idiot, I brought a bunch of frozen homemade baby food with me that I ended up throwing most of away. I thought I could keep it frozen during the trip, but it all thawed, and Grady couldn’t eat it fast enough before it went bad. Exactly half a day into the trip, I was wishing I had just bought it and left my frozen stuff at home for when I got back. Plus it would have saved me from having to pack and wash and keep track of bowls. Even the pouches can just be squeezed directly onto the spoon. Gaaah, so much baby food down the drain. Hold on, I need a minute.

8. Take advantage of people offering help. Because OMG vacation should not be as stressful as it definitely can be with a baby. When people offer to hold your kid so you can eat or go to play candy crush in the bathroom, for the love of all things good, LET THEM. Having people on your team makes babying sooooo much easier, especially on vacation.

We are pretty #blessed (Sorry.).

bryan and grady2

Love, Alex

So much to do and I’m doing this instead.

alex, bryan, new house

In the wise words of Jim Gaffigan, “you ever have so much to do that you just take a nap?” That’s where I’m at, you guys. My house looks like a tornado went through it, we’re going on vacation next week WITH A BABY FOR THE FIRST TIME, I’ve done zero packing or purchasing the necessary items to TAKE A BABY ON VACATION TO THE BEACH because even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t know where anything is in my house because it looks like a tornado went through it. We’ve come full circle. So now you can see why I am sitting at my bar on my laptop instead of doing I don’t know, anything productive. (Even if you can’t, please just nod and smile.)

I’m also slightly distracted by the fact that a very important conversation regarding that whole adoption thing is happening at some point today. If you’re the praying type, we could use it.

Speaking of the house. I’m still in that honeymoon phase where I get in bed every night and say to Bryan “I can’t believe we get to live here.” I want to stay this way. I really don’t want to get complacent and start thinking of this house as anything besides such a blessing that isn’t really mine, but is God’s to be used for His glory. So bring on the parties, bring on the small groups, bring on the bridal/baby/wedding showers, the guests, the students needing a place to crash, and on and on.

The next subject on my mind: vacation WITH A BABY. You guys. I’m kind of stressed about this, which I realize is ironic given the fact that it’s vacation. This is Grady’s first time outside of like a 100 mile radius and most definitely his first overnight trip besides to my parents’ house. And it’s the beach, and the ocean. I need your tips! What’s your best advice for babies at the beach? Especially babies at a beach I’ve never been to. Also, babies on long road trips? Bring it on, readers!

Camping in Our House.

You guys.

We are sleeping in our new house for the first time! Oh, you didn’t know that we bought a house? That’s probably because I suck at blogging as of late and also because OMGithappenedsofast.

We drove by this house on a Saturday and I said “nah, I don’t want to look at it because it’s a row home and probably isn’t what we want. On Sunday, Bryan went to look at it anyway without me. He called and said “So how would you like a house that has 4 bedrooms plus an office, a formal dining room, a big kitchen, and a bonus room, AND is in our price range?” I was all “Please yes I would like that please.” “Wellllll it’s that house you didn’t want to look at.” So our awesome realtor Blair showed us both the house on Monday, put our offer in and the owner accepted it on Tuesday. For real. They wanted to close 30 days later and we had to slow their roll.

(Seriously though, if you are local-NWA-call Blair Williams asap to be your realtor. He stuck with us even after last yeah when we had him show us houses all over the area and then were like “Haha jk Alex is pregnant so we’re not buying for like another year hahahaha sorrrrryyyy.” He did everything we asked and took amazing care of us. CALL HIM.)

So moving still sucks, in case you were wondering. We have been moving throughout the week and have been stuck in the limbo of two different houses with halfish of our stuff in each of them. Tonight though, we are sleeping here! It’s not as chaotic as I thought it would be, but I still feel like I’m camping out in my own house. I mean sure, our bed is here, but Grady’s is not and neither is his monitor, so I’m typing this all stealthy-like because he is asleep in the rock-n-play beside me and I’d like him to stay that way.

Here are a few of the many piles of un-gone-through stuff that I am choosing to deal with tomorrow instead of tonight. (“LALALA it’s all organized and decorated so you can take a chill pill and go to bed crazy person LALALALA”)

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piles4

piles3

piles2

I’ll try to put together some sort of virtual tour soon for you guys. I know you’re all dying to see an undecorated house with boxes everywhere.

We filmed a virtual tour earlier today TO SEND TO AN ADOPTION HOPEFUL! The kid will be shown our photos and video on Tuesday, so if you’re the praying and/or encouraging words type, we could use all of the things before and on that day.

I’ll keep you posted! Eeeeeeee!

Love, Alex