May 21, 2015

10 End of School Year Survival Tips

It's the end of the school year which means there are award ceremonies, Spring Fling, year end conferences, and unfortunately for me also dance recital season.

Lord give me strength.

The end of the school year is a sprint to the finish. Thankfully the reward for making it to the end of the year is a nice long lazy summer. And trust me, moms need summer! But before we can relax by the pool we have some work to do. Here are some tips to make it to summer with your sanity intact.

1. Embrace buying school lunch or allowing your kids to pack their own lunches. Lets face it moms, we are tired. I don't know why packing lunches is such a hated chore but that's just the way it is. This is the time of year that I allow my kids to buy lunch more and I pack the saddest lunches. It's OK, let go of the guilt. The kids will be fine and their lunches will rock in a few months when you're so sick of summer you can't see straight.

See I was just as sad last year as this year. 

2. Let go of the guilt when schedule conflicts arise. It's OK not to go to everything. If you have more than one child chance are something will overlap and you are going to miss an event. And that's OK. It's not like anyone asked you if the volunteer appreciation breakfast was scheduled at the same time as your daughter's preschool graduation. That decision is a no brainer but some are harder than others.

3. Just say ehhhh to homework. Don't tell my principal that I said this but you can skip homework on the insanely busy nights if your school is like mine and they don't grade homework. Last night my daughter did a measurement assignment and I was too tired to get up from the table so she measured the things in arms reach including a wine bottle and wine glass. I don't even care, the fact that we did homework is pretty much a miracle at this point in the year.

4. Don't sweat how often your kids watches a movie at school. Yes plenty of teachers are showing extra episodes of Magic School Bus and there is a great reason why. They are testing each child individually and that takes approximately two weeks to accomplish. It sucks for everyone but we all have to live in the world of high stakes testing. Unless you're willing to come in and teach a lesson stay quiet. And just think if you really stretch the imagination Pocahontas is a history lesson.

5. No Gourmet Cooks Allowed. Cereal and Sandwiches make a good enough dinner. There is no need to kill yourself to cook dinner when you have the end of year banquet and dance rehearsal on the same night. Look at your schedule and plan meals accordingly.

6. Schedule a Night Off. This week I have a commitment every single night except Thursday. I scheduled a movie afternoon with my kids so I wouldn't be tempted to say yes to something. It's a good thing after getting cornered by a coworker about staying late today. No can do, I have plans. Hey watching a movie in your pjs is a plan in my book.

7. Embrace your emotions. As preschool is coming to a close I'm an emotional mess over saying goodbye to my son's teachers. Yes he will be at the same school but after 2+ years with his teachers I don't want to lose them. I made a promise to myself to only cry a little. After all, I work there and I can't make a complete fool out of myself.

How could you not love these ladies?
They may kill me for this picture.

8. Plan a date night for when school is out. There is nothing that gets me through long days and nights like the reward of a night away from home. I don't even care what we do, I just want a night off.

9. No need to kill yourself over end of year gifts for your kids' teachers, anything you give them will be appreciated. My favorite gifts were always letters from the parents or kids telling me what they'll miss about my class or why they liked being in my class. When in doubt go with a gift card. My son's teachers are getting gift cards to Total Wine this year, it's been a rough year for them and they deserve it.

10. Remember that this is just a busy season that will be over before you know it. Soon we will be relaxing by the pool with the kids. You know if your idea of relaxing is being a referee, lifeguard, snack provider, sunscreen applier, look at me mama watcher, and lugger of all the stuff.

They say sharing is caring. So what are some of your end of the school year survival tips?

May 13, 2015

The 8 Moments of Motherhood

There are many great moments of motherhood and some not so great moments. In honor of my past Mother's Day where there were the inevitable highs and lows, I thought I would reflect on some of the different moments mothers have in their day. If you're like me, you might experience several of these moments in the same day. 

1. Heart stretching moment-This is when your child does something so sweet and loving that your heart has to stretch fit the new love in it. Like the Grinch when he understands the real meaning of Christmas. I watched my kids say goodbye to each other yesterday and they were so sweet hugging goodbye you would have thought we were leaving for weeks not 8 hours. 

2. Ah crap moment-When the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and your mom intuition tells you that your kids are up to no good. This moment normally happens when they get too quiet.

3. Ahhhhhh moment-This is when your kids are finally asleep and you can have some quiet time. Perhaps you have a glass of wine in your hand. Even better if you are drinking that wine in a tub filled with bubbly water. 

4. Side splitting moment-When your kid does or says something so funny that you cry from laughing.

5. Angelic moment-When your kid gives you the smile or look that says "who me? No I would never do anything wrong." These looks are normally given in public or right after they do something wrong.

6. Eye drooping moment-When you're so exhausted you can't even get the energy to open your eyes all the way. I think you outgrow this moment when your kids go to college but I'm not completely convinced that this is true. If you have a new baby you live in this phase permanently.
7. Playing Hooky moment-This is when you get away from your kids and you feel like you're back in school playing hooky. It's OK to want to scream FREEDOM Mel Gibson style as you leave the house. 

8. Delightful moment-When you are so proud of your child for doing what they are supposed to when no one is looking or asking. Just don't get too cocky or they will immediately start acting up. Savor the moment internally and tuck it away for the times they are melting down at Target and people are staring. 

May 1, 2015

Dial for Kids Giveaway

I love Dial Body Wash and Hand Soap! There are so many great scents available and I like the way the soap suds up. Having a nice sudsy soap is very important in my book. When I heard that Dial had kid's products available I wanted to try them for myself. I was sent a sample of Dial Baby Body & Hair Wash and Dial Kids Foaming Hand Wash to facilitate this review, all opinions are mine and no further compensation was provided.

Both the Dial Baby Body & Hair Wash and Dial Kids Foaming Hand Wash were developed with pediatric dermatologists. The formulas are designed to be gentle on babies skin yet tough enough to get your baby or child squeaky clean.

My kids love foaming hand soap! My younger daughter likes it a little too much and will wash her hands over and over again since she likes the feel of the foaming soap. For this reason, I put the Dial Kids Foaming Hand Wash in the kitchen. The hand wash smells like watermelon which most kids will like and it lathers up really well.

The Dial Baby Body & Hair Wash is designed for babies ages 0-2. My kids are all older than that so I assumed I wouldn't like the product as a shampoo. As far as body washes go it's a great product. My kids didn't like that it was fragrance free but that's OK. I did use it once as a shampoo just to see how it would clean. I had no problem with my son's hair but it wasn't good for my daughter's long, thick hair. Now I'm just using it as a body wash.

Three lucky readers will win a coupon to try one of these products. Enter on the Rafflecopter form. Learn more about these products by visiting Dial's website.

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Apr 22, 2015

Needing Alone Time

I am introverted, pretty much the definition of introverted. I get crabby and stressed when I'm around people too much, eve my own family. Which is why I created quiet time when my kids stopped napping, I knew I needed some quiet time to myself so I can recharge.

I'm a much better mommy when I get an hour or so to myself everyday.

I went back to work full time in January and I am adjusting to the change in my schedule, being dressed every morning, and running my house and working out of the home. It took a few months to not feel completely thrown off but I have a new system and things are much better.

Do you feel the but coming yet?

But I'm never alone now. Like ever. Not even for lunch.

The kids and I pretty much wake up together and my husband is now home in the mornings thanks to a new job. Super helpful getting everyone ready, not so helpful for my quiet time. Then I drive to work, normally a time alone except I work at my kids' school so they are with me. My kids stay in my classroom until the bell rings and then they go to their classes while my students start filing in.

Long story that I'm not going to get into on my blog, but I have to eat in the classroom while all the kids are in there. It's not exactly relaxing or a break when you're with 21 kids during lunch.

After school I'm with the kids until my husband gets home around 6:15 and then it's go time with dinner, bath, and bedtime routines.

Basically I'm never alone and it's stressing me out. And it makes me feel bad that I need time alone to function. Don't most moms want to spend time with their kids once they get off work?

It's not that I don't want to spend anytime with them, I just want 20 minutes or so alone when we get home. Most days the kids will play alone long enough for me to get some downtime but it's usually interrupted several times which defeats the purpose.

Hopefully I can get a different position next year and I'll have a little downtime during the day, at the very least during lunch. Until then I'm stuck in the relentless cycle of needing alone time and then feeling guilty for it.

Apr 19, 2015

How to Survive Allergy Season

I spent most of my life blissfully unaware of the reality of allergies. Yes it was wonderful and no I had no idea at the time how lucky I was to not have any allergies. Now when the weather turns warm for the first time I no longer run to open the windows and let the fresh air in since I know that air is filled with pollen. Here in North Carolina every surface is covered in yellow and I make sure I take some allergy medicine every morning. I'm teaming up with MinuteClinic to bring you some tips in this sponsored post on how to survive allergy season, all opinions are mine.

The year I was diagnosed with seasonal allergies I thought I had a cold that wouldn't go away. I was teaching Kindergarten at the time and I blamed my students on feeling so miserable all the time. When I finally went to the doctor he told me that I probably had allergies and sent me to get tested. Sure enough I developed allergies as an adult and didn't even know it.

I'm not alone in that diagnosis, 35 million Americans suffer from allergies and don't even know it. It's not surprising since colds and allergies have the same symptoms. A few clear signs that you are suffering from allergies is when your eyes are itchy, your symptoms last longer than 10 days, and your symptoms start at the same time every year.

MinuteClinic can help you get through this allergy season. While avoiding the allergen is the best treatment option, it's not always practical or even a realistic option. I have recess duty everyday so it's impossible for me to avoid being around pollen. When avoided your allergens is not an option, head to MinuteClinic. Their nurse practitioners and physicians assistants can recommend the right over-the-counter medications and write prescriptions when medically appropriate.

How to Survive the Allergy Season

1. If you're like me and you know you suffer from allergies start taking allergy medicine a few weeks before your symptoms start. 

·         2. It's impossible to keep your kids from coming into contact w/ pollen, but it is possible to get relief - fast! 

·        3. Shake it off! Before coming inside, rid your clothes of pollen with a good shake.

·         4. Did you know hair gel could be a pollen magnet? Skip the sticky stuff during allergy season for a little extra relief.

·        5.  Avoid window fans! While convenient, they tend to bring in unwanted pollens or mold spores.

·        6.  Don't accessorize w/ itchy red eyes! Visit MinuteClinic for the allergy relief you need: 

·        7.   Pull out the shades! Sunglasses protect your eyes from pollen, while keeping you looking stylish at the same time.

·         8. Fall asleep on clean sheets. Wash your bedding every two weeks to help ease allergy symptoms.

For more information about allergies you can visit your local MinuteClinic at CVS. They are opened 7 days a week so you can visit when it's convenient for you.

Apr 1, 2015

Major Progress with Cerebral Palsy

If you looked at my son today, you wouldn't see Cerebral Palsy. The most common comment I hear today when people learn that Mark has Cerebral Palsy is that they would never guess that or that they can't tell. I never know what to say to that but I understand the sentiment.

Today as I talked with the OT at school I was reminded just how far my son has come in 5 years while I went over his history with her.

Mark's tone in his hands was so severe that he couldn't open his hands on his own until he was 7 months old. His hands were always in a fist and we had to pry them open.

Hands always fisted

There was a time when we were told that Mark would never walk. After over a year of intensive therapy, Mark finally took his first steps at 17 months. It was a few more months before we was walking like a typically developing toddler. I'll never forget the day he took his first steps during PT, it was the happiest day of my life. Today he can run, climb, dance, and do pretty much anything any other typically developing 5 year old can do.

At almost three Mark was diagnosed as borderline nonverbal. I didn't even know such a title existed. He had about 15 words but rarely used them since gestures and his sisters did enough talking for him. Today I can't get the kid to be quiet and he never stops talking. Sometimes I'm able to remind myself that this is a good thing but usually I take it for granted.

sweet twins

At three Mark was also diagnosed - severally globally delayed. He tested in the lowest range in all five areas that they test. It was a rough day hearing a PANEL of "experts" tell me that my son sucks. Of course they didn't use those words but they might as well have and they didn't think at three that traditional school was in Mark's future anytime soon. Today Mark is almost on target with his peers. He's just a little behind and he's going to traditional Kindergarten in the fall with his twin.

handsome dancer

It's amazing to me how far Mark has come in just 5 years. The tiny baby that started therapy in the NICU is now a strong, independent little boy. He even takes ballet and tap once a week and is doing great in class! He can hang in there with the other preschoolers and if I do say so myself, he's a handsome little dancer.

Mar 28, 2015

Win a Bottle of Dial Sugar Cane Husk Scrub

There was a time before I had children when I bought fancy expensive hand soap. After having three kids that just wasn't in the budget anymore. Thankfully after trying Dial soap I realized that you don't have to spend tons on money to get a great product. I was sent a sample of Dial Sugar Cane Husk Scrub to facilitate this review.

In my house we need soap that smells good. I don't know what it is about my kids but they will not use soap that doesn't smell good. I'm pretty sure they get it from me. OK fine they definitely get it from me, I won't use soap that doesn't smell good either.

My favorite part about the Dial Sugar Cane Husk Scrub is the scrubbing part. I'm using this soap in the kitchen and it's perfect for washing your hands after handling raw meat. I just feel like my hands are really getting clean, Like the sugar is doing a better job than plain soap alone.

But don't worry, this soap will not try out your hands. It is very soothing and makes your hands fell soft. It's almost like exfoliating your hands like you would exfoliate your face. The smell is pretty good too since it smells like sugar. Who doesn't like the smell of sugar?

I have two coupons to giveaway to two lucky readers so they can try the Dial Sugar Cane Husk Scrub for themselves. Enter on the Rafflecopter form to win, US residents only.

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Disclaimer - I received a sample of Dial soap as a member of Purex Insiders. No further compensation was provided and all opinions are mine. 
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