Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Top 10 Must Haves When Trapped in a Car with Young Children

This year my family road tripped for Thanksgiving.  Over 6 hours each way.  Two adults.  Two kids.  One puppy.  Not exactly one of my favorite things to do.

The Roller Coasters have been on all sorts of trips, and over the years I've discovered a few techniques to make road trips bearable, especially as my children get older.  Here are my...

Top 10 Must Haves When Trapped in a Car with Young Children

10)  Games
I'm not talking about board games where the pieces go flying all over the car at every sharp turn.  No, I'm talking about the creative interactive old-fashioned games.  Looking for license plates from every state.  I Spy.  20 Questions.  Even Rock, Paper, Scissors.   Somehow last weekend I forgot about the magic of car games.  But I'm sure a good game of I Spy would have greatly cut down on the whining. 

9) Reading Material
Mr. Roller Coaster typically does most of the driving on family road trips.  So I get a chance to catch up on all the magazines and books I've been neglecting.  My kids bring books too.  It's one of the few quiet activities they'll willingly engage in. 

8)  Comfortable Clothes (and backup outfits in easy reach)
My daughter is extremely picky about her clothes.  And when I say picky, I mean she throws screeching tantrums almost every morning because of her clothes.  So if I know we'll be in the car, I make sure she's wearing her favorite outfit.  The last thing I need is a wardrobe malfunction 100 miles into the trip.  And I need to have easy access to more clean comfortable clothes.  You never know when she's going to fall in mud right before getting in the car or vomit all over herself.

7)  Music
I remember making the 10-hour drive home from college on breaks and blasting my music.  I spent the entire trip singing at the top of my lungs.  It kept me entertained and kept me awake.  I still love listening to music.  Unfortunately, Mr. Roller Coaster and I don't always agree on music.  I guess that's what headphones are for.

6)  iPhones with kid-friendly apps
When we bought our car, I told my husband I didn't want DVD players installed.  I didn't want to be that mom who needed television to make a 10 minute drive to the grocery store.  My parents never had tv in their cars, and my brother and I managed road trips just fine when we were kids.  That being said, I have no issues with my kids entertaining themselves with games on my iPhone.  And maybe in a dire emergency a Netflix movie.  Ok, so maybe I did let my kids watch tv in the car.  You gotta do what you gotta do.

5)  Baby Wipes
Someone will spill something.  Someone's hands will get dirty.  Someone will pick her nose and have boogies stuck on her fingers.  Someone will vomit all over the backseat.  Nothing takes care of quick clean-ups like baby wipes.

4)  A Handful of Plastic Grocery Bags
What don't I use these for?  Trash to toss at the next gas station.  Dog poop clean up.  Vomit.  Clothes covered in vomit (in case you're wondering about the common vomit theme, yes, there has been a lot of vomit in my car).  I don't go anywhere without plastic bags.

3) Toys (of the kids' choosing)
I once made the mistake of packing bags for my kids with toys they could play with during the car ride.  Big mistake.  I either didn't pack enough, I packed too much, I didn't pack their favorite toy, I packed toys they didn't like anymore, you name it, I got blamed for it.  Now I make the kids pack their own backpacks with toys and books.  Just make sure they pack enough toys.  One time Little C had this big backpack, and when I peeked in to see what she had chosen to bring, she had one lonely toy.  She wasn't very happy.

2)  Food
Have you ever noticed that kids are hungry the second you hit the highway?  Why is that?  It doesn't matter if they had a four-course meal before strapping their seatbelts.  They will want snacks.  And they will whine until they get them.

1)  Patience
And a whole lot of it.  Because you can only hear "What time is it?" and "How long have we been in the car?" and "I'm bored." and of course the traditional "Are we there yet?" so many times before you feel like jumping out the window.  And when you run out of patience, that's when the headphones and reading material come in handy. 

What things do you absolutely have to have with you when you're on a road trip (with kids or without)?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Unplugging for the Holidays

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone.  Another Thanksgiving that flew by too quickly.  Another Thanksgiving that involved an obscene overindulgence in food and alcoholic beverages.  Another Thanksgiving that ended with a need for a vacation from my vacation.  And now that Thanksgiving is over, we can all move on to December, a month filled with holiday magic and glee.  Or for people like me, stress, stress, and more stress.

I'm well aware that a lot of my holiday stress is self-induced.  But how can I NOT be stressed when I get on Facebook and read about the holiday feats of my amazing friends around the world.  Thanksgiving turkeys are being stuffed while Christmas trees are simultaneously being trimmed and Black Friday sales are being pursued and Christmas cards are being signed, sealed, and delivered.  And my Facebook friends have photos on their walls and status updates to prove it.

Despite the fact that I was visiting family and wasn't the one required to prep recipes for 4 days, I still felt like a slacker every time I signed onto Facebook and read of the spectacular culinary feats of my cohorts.  Facebook was stressing me out!  So I decided to unplug for the Thanksgiving weekend so I could enjoy the holiday without feeling as if I was failing to live up to some sort of bizarro world Facebook expectations.  I didn't see photos of Food Network-worthy turkeys and lists of Black Friday deals and retellings of Christmas tree trimming ceremonies.  It felt almost liberating to divorce myself from the computer, like I was living my life instead of narrating it on Facebook.

Now that Thanksgiving is over and I'm home from my road trip, I'm back on Facebook.  But now, instead of Thanksgiving turkeys, I see photographs of beautifully decorated Christmas trees.  And I imagine the photos of holiday preparation and status updates checking off holiday to do lists will only increase in the next couple of weeks. 

I guess I can't avoid Facebook for the next month so I'll just have to embrace my inner slacker and ignore those in high holiday gear.  Who knows, maybe next year I'll join the ranks and have my Christmas tree up before the Thanksgiving dishes are washed.  I can dream anyway.

Do you get lost in the magic of the holidays or the stress?  Are you a holiday early bird or a slacker like me?  Does Facebook ever stress you out because of friends' status updates and photos?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Top 10 Little Things I'm Thankful For

Thanksgiving is almost here, and like most people, I'm thinking about all the things I'm thankful for this year.  Of course I'm thankful for my husband, my children, my new puppy, my family and friends, our health, and steady paychecks. These are the obvious big ticket items, the things I am grateful for every year, the things that are always on my mind as I sit together with my family for our Thanksgiving feast.

This top 10 list is dedicated to the little things I'm thankful for, those things that often get forgotten. These things may not be as important as those big ticket items, but they sure have made my life easier and for that I'm grateful.   Here are my...

Top 10 Little Things I'm Thankful For

10)  I'm thankful for Pandora radio.  I couldn't live without music.  But I have a very eclectic taste in tunes, and I get bored easily.  Pandora is like a homemade mixed tape, instantly customized to whatever mood I happen to be in at the moment. 

9)  I'm thankful that I have a sense of humor.  Life would be way too depressing without one.

8)  I'm thankful for 15 minutes of quiet in the morning.  I love to sleep, and my alarm clock is my archenemy, but I willingly wake up 15 minutes early every work day so I can start my day off with quiet.  My whole house is still sleeping, and I know I have a few minutes before the little critters start stirring.  Sometimes it's the only alone time I get all day.

7)  I'm thankful for wine.  I don't think an explanation is necessary.

6)  I'm thankful for my blog.  It's my creative outlet, my way of reaching out and meeting people, my souding board.  It was almost 2 years ago that I decided to start a blog thanks to my mother-in-law, and after the initial struggle with a name and the oh-my-gosh-what-in-the-world-am-I-going-to-write- about-every-day self-doubts, I jumped right in and never looked back.  I definitely have my moments when I consider shutting down the blog to make more time for other writing projects, but I can't do it.  I love blogging.

5)  I'm thankful for my new iPhone, an early Christmas present from Mr. Roller Coaster.  This thing is awesome!!!

4)  I'm thankful I have rediscovered running.  I've been an athlete all my life, but after a hamstring injury 2 years ago, I thought my running days were numbered.  Running is my escape.  It keeps me sane.  And I'm actually thankful for that injury that put me in physical therapy for 4 months.  It made me a smarter runner, and I appreciate my accomplishments so much more.

3)  I'm thankful for the times when my children get along.  When they play well together it reminds me of how close my brother and I were at their age, how much we loved each other's company.  My children are such loving playmates.  Until they're not.  And then it's chaos.  Very loud chaos.  So I cherish the happy times and hope the chaos passes quickly. 

2)  I'm thankful that my second year of teaching kindergarten is going so much more smoothly than my first year.  I actually feel like I know what I'm doing this year.  And it doesn't hurt that I have a new assistant who is amazing.  I'm so thankful for her too!

1)  I'm thankful for another year that my husband will be home for the holidays. 

What little things are you thankful for this year?

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Quest for a Baby-Sitter Who Puts the Pizza in the Fridge

My husband and I went out on another couples' date over the weekend.  (Wow, going out 2 weekends in a row.  Maybe I'm not such a party pooper!)  We don't really have a regular baby-sitter so we borrowed one for the night.  This girl was a sweet, responsible, married, 20-something-year old who works in a preschool and is studying to become a teacher.  Sounds like the perfect sitter right?

Wrong.  I paid this sweet, responsible girl $10 an hour to do nothing.  She sat on the couch and watched television for 3 hours.  My children are old enough that she didn't have to change diapers or warm bottles or listen to colicky screams.  She came over late enough that she wasn't required to feed them or bathe them.  And according to my very informative 7-year-old, she chose not to read to them, play with them, or even have a conversation with them.  I basically forked over $30 for her presence.  When I returned, she was still on the couch watching tv in one room, while my children  (still awake at 9:30!) watched tv in another room.  It pained me to give her money.

But she's hardly the only baby-sitter I've encountered who behaves this way.  It seems that every baby-sitter I use thinks it's acceptable to park the kids in front of the television for movies and video games until it's time for bed.  When I was a baby-sitter, I actually played with the children.  We colored, we played board games and hide and seek, I read them stories.  Even at the age of 12, I knew I was being paid for a particular service, and that service did not include ignoring the children.

I often tell people that the sign of a good baby-sitter is a pizza box in the fridge.  I typically order pizza for the sitter and the kids to eat for dinner, and I don't think it's unreasonable to expect the sitter to simply shove the box of leftover slices in the refrigerator.  My theory is that if she's thoughtful enough to put away the pizza, then she's more likely to do other thoughtful things like wash the dinner plates and clean up toys and oh, I don't know, interact with the kids.  These are all tasks I was quite capable of doing at the age of 12.  Most of the sitters I've used have graduated from high school and live on their own.  Don't they clean up after themselves in their own homes?  Would they leave the uneaten pizza sitting on their kitchen counter and wait for someone else to clean it up?

I had one baby-sitter who was amazing.  She brought a craft book and made origami with the kids.  She drew pictures for them.  She limited their television viewing.  She played Candy Land with them.  She read them bedtime stories.  She washed the dishes.  She cleaned up the toys (or made them clean up their own toys which is a feat that should have doubled her pay!).  And not only did she put the pizza in the fridge, but she located my tin foil and individually wrapped each slice.  That's a girl who earned her $10 an hour.  Sadly, we were only able to use her once before she left for college.  But she set the standard high, and no sitter since has been able to fill her shoes.

When I mentioned my frustration on Facebook yesterday, several friends wrote in and told me about Sittercity.com, an online source for finding baby-sitters and nannies.  And the best part is that they offer free memberships to military families!  I'm now signed up and making a list of potential sitters that have completed background checks and are certified in childhood CPR and First Aid.  And because they're seeking good reviews from parents on the website, I'm pretty sure these ladies will do more than catch up on their Lifetime movies.

I'm hoping this new avenue of sitter hunting will change my now tainted view of this generation of baby-sitters.  I'm hoping I can find a baby-sitter who actually likes her job, who can give me a reason to dish out all that cash, who can maybe even be a regular, positive fixture in my children's lives.   But honestly, at this point, I'll take one who'll simply put the pizza in the fridge.

Do you have a regular baby-sitter you love and trust or have you had sitter trouble like me?  Have you ever used Sittercity.com?  What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Party animal or party pooper?

Over the weekend friends of ours came to visit from out of town.  I'd been looking forward to their visit for weeks.  This was one of my best friends in the world, a friend I've known since we were 9 years old, and her brand new husband.  I couldn't wait for a weekend filled with talking and laughing and reminiscing and drinking and painting the town red. 

Although the weekend didn't disappoint, it was definitely a reminder that we aren't the 9-year-old girls we used to be.  Nope, we're the 35-year-old grannies who had to take naps after a shopping excursion and send the baby-sitter home after we finished "painting the town red" at a pathetic 9:00 PM.

Yeah that's right.  My big night out ended at 9:00.  I'd like to defend myself by saying that 9:00 isn't so bad considering that the baby-sitter arrived at 5.  But that ages me even more.  We may have been eating at a cool restaurant, but we were dining with the early birds. 

I didn't used to be this old.  I used to be able to stay up all night long, whether I was cramming for finals or closing down a fraternity party.  Now I consider it a late night if I stay up past my 10 PM bedtime.  And if I do stay up late or have one too many glasses of wine, I pay the price the next day as my mother's words reverberate in my aching head: You play, you pay.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a complete hermit.  I enjoy going out to nice restaurants and bar hopping with friends.  But after a couple of hours I'm more than ready to get back home, crawl into my jammies, and watch a good movie from the comfort of my own sofa, which is exactly what we did last weekend. 

I don't know when I transitioned from party animal to party pooper.  I don't know when I started ending my nights at the same time they used to kick off.  I don't know when loud music in a club became irritating rather than invigorating.   I don't know when I started looking at girls in their 20's and thinking, wow, I wish I had their energy.  I don't know when I started giving myself a bedtime.

I don't know when I became OLD. 

Are you a party animal or a party pooper?  Have your thoughts on nights out changed over the years?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Top 10 Overused Phrases in My Vocabulary

About a year ago, I realized I was saying the word "actually" a lot.  So I decided to make an effort to reduce the word's usage in my eveyday vocabulary.  But while I bit my own tongue to keep the word from slipping out, I discovered I wasn't the only one who was overusing actually.  My ears perked up whenever I heard someone else saying it, and soon the word was like fingernails down a chalkboard every time I heard it.  The word nagged me, it insulted my ears.  And every time I heard it I felt like I just had to tell the speaker that he or she had just used the word 3 times in the same sentence.  I had to enlighten everyone on the overuse of actually!!!

But alas, I got over my actually phobia.  I still try not to use it unneccessarily, but I do giggle whenever I hear my 4-year-old daughter saying it.  Actually seems to be the like of this generation.  I remember driving my parents crazy with that word.  Like school was like totally stupid today and like I have way too much homework (and yes, I really did talk like that when I was in middle school.)

We all have certain words or phrases that are stuck on repeat in our everyday vocabulary.  Some are harmless, some aren't exactly G-rated, and some we swore would never escape our lips.  Some are used incorrectly (it's not "I could care less"  because that means you care enough to care less...the proper phrase is "I couldn't care less."), some have picked up momentum from tv shows (Seriously, didn't Grey's Anatomy seriously initiate the whole seriously catch phrase?), and some are used for the purposes of emphasis but really don't make any sense ("I literally laughed my face off."  Well, your face is still there.  I see it.  So you didn't literally laugh it off.   ***As an interesting side note, one of the definitions of literally is actually.***)

Anyway, like I said, we all have our sayings.  And here are my...

Top 10 Overused Phrases in My Vocabulary

10)  "Is that right?"
Mr. Roller Coaster once told me that our son knows when I'm not paying attention to what he's saying because I say, "Uh huh.  Uh huh.  Uh huh.  Is that right?"  Guess I need a new phrase of feigned attention.  Or I need to start paying more attention to my child.

9)  "Roger that"
I say it to my husband.  I say it to my children.  I say it to my students.  I say it in emails.  Sometimes I annoy even myself.

8)  "Chillax"
Obviously a combination between chill out and relax.  I stole this one from a friend, and it's definitely my most popular phrase as a kindergarten teacher.  (Runners up include good gravy, okey dokey artichokey, and holy cannoli spicy guacamole.  Don't you wish you were in kindergarten again?)

7)  "Get your...."
Shoes on.  Backpacks and lunches.  Teeth brushed.  Homework done.  Oh there are so many ways to fill in that blank. 

6)  "One...two...two and a half..."
I'm such a sucker.  I rarely get to 3.  But boy if I do, my kids are in serious trouble.

5)  "Mind your own beeswax."
As a kindergarten teacher and a mom, I say this phrase way too often.  The sad thing is, kids think it's hilarious and don't really pay attention to its meaning.  But I guess it does its job as a distraction when that embarrassed little girl has an accident in the bathroom and you need to help change her clothes.

4)  "What time do you think you'll be home tonight?"
I don't know why I bother asking Mr. Roller Coaster anymore what his schedule will be like.  The answer is always the same: Your guess is as good as mine.

3)  "Scheisse" (German for sh*t)
I always figured it was better to curse in another language than to curse in English for my kids to repeat.  Well I guess that backfired because my 4-year-old daughter repeated me the other day.  But I wonder...if she repeated that in school, would her teachers be appalled that she said a curse word or impressed that she was speaking a foreign language?

2) "Because I said so"
Didn't we all want to spit nails when our parents said this to us?  Didn't we all swear we'd never say this to our own children?  Well guess what.  I said this 10 times yesterday.  I counted.  I'm utterly ashamed.  Sorry Mom and Dad.

1)  "Just a minute."  (often coupled with "I can only do one thing at a time.")
I didn't even make it through this blog post without saying...hmmm, what's that noise?...just a minute readers...my kids are screaming...and I can only do one thing at a time.... 

What sayings come out of your mouth too often?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day

"When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep?
~George Canning

Last year when I first sat down to write about Veterans Day, I started wondering what the true meaning of a veteran is. After asking friends, I realized I'm not the only one asking this question. Is a veteran someone who once served in our armed forces? Is a veteran someone who is currently serving? Is a veteran someone who served our country in both times of war and times of peace?

I also wondered what exactly Veterans Day means. Of course this day holds a special place in the hearts of military families. But what does it mean to the general public other than a day off from work?

In my quest to find the answers, I stumbled upon quote after quote about Veterans Day. But I wanted to share one in particular that seemed to sum it all up:

"A Veteran is someone, who at one point in their life, wrote a blank check payable to the United States of America for an amount up to, and including, their life. That is beyond honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer remember that fact."

So what is a veteran? What does Veterans Day mean? A veteran is any man or woman who has worn a uniform, past or present, in times of war or peace. These are the people we are honoring on Veterans Day, the people we need to thank for their service to our country. Veterans Day means so much more than simply a day off from work and sales at the mall.

As we celebrate this Veterans Day, I hope you take a minute to thank a service member. Whether that person is your grandfather, your husband, your neighbor, or someone you see in uniform at the mall while you're shopping those sales, they deserve our thanks and appreciation for the sacrifices they have made and continue to make for our country. They are true heroes.

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

What does Veterans Day mean to you? Who are you going to thank today?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Facing My Technophobia

I admit it: I have a severe case of technophobia.  I just started texting about 6 months ago.  I couldn't stand reading the book Mr. Roller Coaster made me read on his Kindle.  I have no idea how to use all the features on my iPod or my fancy camera.  And when I once sat in front of someone's Mac, I had no idea what I was looking at and had to ask for help just to get on the internet.  So it was a big step for me to ask Mr. Roller Coaster to buy me an iPhone. 

I swore I'd never cross over to the dark side of the latest technology.  And I'm not the kind of person who wants something just because everyone else has it.  But for some reason, I felt the need to get myself an iPhone.  Mr. Roller Coaster was thrilled.

So now I have this iPhone that my husband already set up, and I'm looking at it and thinking: Now what?  Where do I start?  What do I do with this thing? 

What are your favorite features on your iPhone?  What are the coolest apps you can't live without?


Monday, November 7, 2011

To Whom It May Concern

Dear Daylight Savings,
For the first time in years, you actually worked to my advantage.  I've learned the key is to wear out the kids to the point of exhaustion on Saturday so they'll sleep late on Sunday.  Then Moms and Dads can sleep late too, and no hours of Sunday productivity are lost.  It's amazing!  Now if you could just help me figure out how to squeeze an extra hour into EVERY day...

Lots of love,
A Rested Fan

Dear Parent-Teacher Conferences,
Please go easy on me tomorrow.  Or at least easier than the first round of conferences last year when parents asked me crazy questions and went over their allotted time blocks.  I'm already chilling a bottle of wine in your name.

A Teacher Who Would Much Rather Teach Than Conference

Dear Halloween Candy,
Is it possible that my children have forgotten about you already?!  Did my evil plan of hiding you in the closet actually work?!  Good.  Now maybe you'll stay away from thighs too.

All my best,
A Closet Chocolate Junkie

Dear 6 Mile Run,
You really sucked yesterday.  Please remind me to buy more winter running gear.

Your fair-weather friend,
Summer Runner

Dear Wind,
You not only threw a wrench in most of the outdoor activities I participated in over the weekend, but you upturned my patio table and snapped my patio umbrella pole in half like it was a toothpick.  Not cool!  Please go away.


Dear Leukemia,
For almost a year now I've watched you tear down a dear little friend of mine.  Over the weekend, my family and I participated in a fundraising walk in honor of that 5-year-old friend to get rid of you.  The walk was so moving as I watched supporters and survivors walking and uniting and laughing and singing and smiling and embracing and basically saying a big fat screw you to cancer.  I'm so proud to know my little survivor and her family.  And I'm so glad the Roller Coaster family could help in some small way.

Later Leukemia!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hold Your Children Close

I ran a 10k on Saturday.  The weather was crummy and I was recovering from a cold, but somehow I ended up feeling great and finishing with a personal best time.  The best part was when I was about halfway through the race and spotted Mr. Roller Coaster and my kids on the sidewalk cheering me on.  Big C was supposed to have a baseball game so I wasn't expecting my family to come.  But thanks to that crummy weather, the game was canceled, and the Roller Coaster clan was able to meet me at the finish line.

After the race, I waited in line with Little C to accept some free runners' goodies while Mr. Roller Coaster and Big C entertained themselves.   I was almost to the front of the line when my cell phone rang.  "You need to get over here now," Mr. Roller Coaster said.  "I can't find Big C."  Long story short,  Big C wandered off.  A kind stranger saw him crying, asked if he was lost, and brought him to an ambulance where he sat next to another lost child and where Mr. Roller Coaster found him about 15 minutes later.

Those 15 minutes were gut-wrenching as I thought of all the horrible things that could have happened to my 7-year-old son.  I stood at the location of separation in case Big C wandered back, while my husband ran around looking for a little boy in a crowd of thousands and thousands of people.  I tried to contain my emotions as I held Little C's hand tighter and tighter the longer her big brother was missing.  But I couldn't help but think, "What would I do if something happened to my baby boy?"

But Big C was fine.  Shaken up, but otherwise fine.  We were lucky, and I think it was a good lesson for all of us.  As the day went on, I thought about how blessed I am to have two healthy, happy, intelligent, sweet, beautiful, funny, huggable children.  I have a lot to be thankful for.   I know many other people who are either struggling to become parents or are parents struggling with their children's various health problems.  I've recently gotten to know one mother in particular who is coping with her daughter's cancer.  Her daughter is a student of mine, an amazing 5-year-old little girl who is fighting a fierce battle against leukemia.

This little girl doesn't come to school every day.  She doesn't always make it through an entire day of school when she does attend.  She doesn't go outside for recess.  And she doesn't have any hair.  But this little girl is beautiful.  And she has a smile that brightens an entire room.  And she is a wise old soul.  And she is one great big fighter.

This weekend the entire Roller Coaster family is participating in a fundraising walk for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honor of my student who is fighting for her life.  We are participating because this child holds a special place in my heart.  We are participating because this is a fellow military family whose lives have been turned upside down by a diagnosis.  We are participating because no child should have to endure what my little friend has had to endure.  We are participating because my daughter is the same age this child was when she was diagnosed, and I would hope that if the roles were reversed, our family would receive the same level of support from loved ones.

So while my own children are healthy and happy and willing to be hugged, I'll hold them close and remember how truly blessed I am.

For anonymity purposes, I'm not going to post my donation link but I do ask that you keep my student and her family in your thoughts and prayers.  If you'd like to donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in her honor, please feel free to contact me personally at ontherollercoaster@gmail.com.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Top 10 Reasons I'm Not the Cool Mom on Halloween

I'd like to think I'm a cool mom.  But at times like Halloween, I'm sadly reminded how NOT cool I really am. 

Top 10 Reasons I'm Not the Cool Mom on Halloween

10)  I allowed my kids to have a whopping 3 pieces of Halloween candy when they got home from trick-or-treating.  When I was a kid, I remember eating candy until I felt sick.  Not my kids.  Three pieces and straight to bed.  Plus, if they still have candy in 2 weeks (which they surely will considering how small their daily ration of candy will be), I'll be hiding it.  Last year, we all totally forgot about it until I found the stash at Christmastime and tossed it.

9)  I don't buy all the cute Halloween shirts and socks and hair accessories and jewelry that all the cool kids wear throughout the month of October.  We each have exactly 1 Halloween shirt that we wear once a week until Halloween.  That's it.

8)  I don't put together cute little Halloween goody bags for my kids to distribute to their friends at school.  Don't they get enough crap when they go trick-or-treating?

7)  I don't decorate my yard.  Yes, I think my neighbors' houses looked really spooky with the tombstones in the grass and skeletons hanging from the tree.  And sure, my kids ask me if we can "look like the other houses."  But until they're old enough to help me put all the decorations out and then clean them up on November 1st, I have no desire to keep up with the Joneses.

6)  To be honest, I'm not so great with indoor decorations either.  My tubs filled with Halloween paraphernalia sat in my family room for 2 weeks before I realized that I better take the contents out before Halloween came and went and I'd be back up on the attic for Thanksgiving decorations.

5)  I never remember to bring water for the kids to drink while they trick-or-treat.  Then when my daughter whines about how thirsty she is, I'm the bad mom who has to tell her that I can't make water magically appear and she has to wait until we get home.  (But at least she's resourceful.  Last night she walked away from one house with a treat in her bag and a bottle of water in her hand.  Guess she figured they were giving out candy, why not ask for some water too.)

4)  When my kids have Halloween parties at school, I jump on the sign-up list.  But not because I want to be the one bringing homemade cupcakes or pumpkin shaped finger sandwiches.  No, I want the easy ones before someone else takes them!  Candy corns and juices boxes.

3)  I never dress up.  The only reason I had a costume this year is because I needed one for my Halloween 10k. 

2)  I have never put together a creative, homemade costume for either of my children, and I can't imagine that I ever will.  Costume Express is good enough for me.

1) And then there's the story of the pumpkin.  Last week I forgot that I needed a pumpkin to carve with my students.  Mr. Roller Coaster bought us a pumpkin weeks ago, so instead of rushing to the store first thing in the morning before school, I just used ours with the intention of replacing it the next day.  Well, 2 days and 4 stores later, I discover that there's a shortage of pumpkins.  On the morning of Halloween, I decided to try Home Depot.  A nice man said he had one left but he wasn't sure I'd want it.  "You could always carve the other side."  I chuckled when I saw it but I was desperate.  The Roller Coasters are now proud owners of this beautiful pumpkin...

Hey, it's better than no pumpkin at all right?

Are you the cool holiday mom?  Do you go all out for holidays or do the bare minimum?  

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