The Downside of Having a Large Family

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Don’t get me wrong… I love having 3 kids. I didn’t always, but as they got older, I started to embrace the beauty of having 3 daughters. It’s part arguing, a pinch of drama here and there, and a whole lot of love. Still… there are some things I will never like about having a large family.

Traveling

Traveling basically sucks when you have more than 2 children. Not only are airline tickets unimaginably expensive, there really is no good way to configure your seating arrangements on an airplane. There might be a 3-seat row across from a 2-seat row, but in my experience that isn’t the norm. Someone usually has to either sit alone or with strangers and we all know that strangers on a plane aren’t always eager to sit near kids. We would love to be able to take the girls traveling. I say… bring back the child fare. Anyone under 18 should be half price!

Hotels are NOT family-friendly. The maximum amount of people they allow in a hotel room is 4. When you have more than 2 kids, you basically are forced to lie. Yep… we lie because my kids are not only too young to have their own hotel room, paying for 2 rooms is completely out of our budget. We try and reserve two queen beds and then we bring an air mattress. Kind of sucks. Come on hotel industry… this is fixable. Do it. Say YES to big families!

Restaurants. Most restaurants have the deuce (2 seat table) or the 4-top. If you have an extra kid, they will be happy to pull over an extra chair, but that means that someone always has to get the lone end seat. It’s usually Dad because nobody wants to sit at the end of the table. Never mind that the table is actually made for 4 people and there is never enough room for 5 plates, glasses, utencils, bread basket, and salt & pepper shakers. More restaurants should have kids eat free. Just saying.

And don’t get me started on those giveaways or contests where you can actually win a trip. I don’t even enter those anymore. The trip is ALWAYS for a family of 4. I feel discriminated against. What am I supposed to do with the 3rd kid? Leave her at home?

Schools

There is no good way around this. When they are all young and in the same elementary school, you have to make some serious decisions. Do you volunteer in all 3 (or 4 or 5) classrooms, or do you just do one, ultimately disappointing a few kids. On Back-to-School nights and Open House, you kind of have to race around so you can hit all the classrooms in the one hour allotted time frame. You never have enough time to talk to any one teacher, so you just kind of pile up the handouts and art projects and hope you can figure out whose is whose when you get home. Or you toss it all before you even enter the house. You can’t possibly hold on to all that paper. Fire hazard, you know.

As they get older, you might find yourself with kids in multiple schools. Mine are in elementary, junior high, and high school. Of course, nobody coordinates with each other and you will most likely find yourself having to choose between Open House at one school and a Banquet at another. Cloning would be a really great idea.

For some reason, the schools all start and end around the same time. Luckily, my high schooler is close enough to walk to school. The other two both start around 7:45 so one of them ends up getting to school too early. Staggered start and end times… what a concept! How about syncing the minimum days/vacation weeks/last day of school?

Extra-Curricular Activities

Take a deep breath and be happy if your kids want to do nothing but hang around the house all the time. When they all want to do activities after school and on weekends, good luck with trying to fit in anything remotely geared toward you and your interests. Try figuring out how to get Child A to soccer at the same time Child B has to be at tennis at the same time Child C needs to be picked up from study group.

Clothes

When the kids were small, I was forever in debt to hand-me-downs from friends and family. We went through so many clothes (kids grow up fast, ya know!) and I couldn’t possibly keep up with the laundry. Try figuring out which pair of underwear goes with which kid… especially when they kind of all fit the same size. Now that they are older there are no hand-me-downs… and they wouldn’t dare wear each other’s. Have you ever tried shopping with 3 daughters? Don’t. Just don’t.

Food

Someone is always hungry at every given moment. Trying to keep food in the house for all those kids is a full-time job. One likes apples while the other will only eat grapes. They all like bananas, but one will only eat them cut up with milk. Which one doesn’t like mushrooms? Oh right… that’s me. The oldest doesn’t like her sandwiches smashed up in her lunch box, but the middle one doesn’t care. Are they too old for a juice box? There is something to be said for Lunchables.

I have trouble enough with 3 kids and I have friends with 4, 5 and 6 children. I don’t get it… it seems less businesses are family friends these days. Having a large family shouldn’t be such a challenge.

Those of you with large families, what have been your biggest challenges?


Helicopter Parents – a Guest Post

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This was an essay that my 12 year old daughter, Amanda, did for extra credit for one of her junior high classes. She got an A.

Is your parent overprotective? Are your parents overly concerned with your safety? If so, then chances are, you have a helicopter parent. A helicopter parent is a parent who is way over protective; a parent who won’t let you do anything without them or a trusted person. Do you think it is good or bad to have a helicopter parent?

It’s understandable for a parent to want their child safe. No parent wants anything bad to happen to their child. Some parents go too far in protecting their child. Some children need a lot of protecting, and some need their space. The metaphor started from a book written by Dr. Haim Ginott. In the book a teen complains that her mother hovers over her like a helicopter, meaning that her mother never lets her do what she wants and is always looking after her.

It’s not that great to have a helicopter parent. When you have this type of parent, you won’t be able to do a lot of things that other kids can. Your life will revolve around your parents. If you have a helicopter parent when you are younger, it will effect your future. In the future you might not be able to make your own choices because you never learned how to as a kid. The president of Frost State University, Jonathan Gibralter, has gone through situations where parents call his office about their child’s roommate. He has said, “rather than telling their son or daughter to talk to a [resident assistant] or [resident director], parents will immediately call my office. And that I consider to be a little over the top.” The parents who have called were all helicopter parents to their child when they were younger.

Yes, being a helicopter parent to a child can prevent your child from getting hurt, or from not making mistakes, but making mistakes is healthy. If you never make mistakes or get things wrong, you will never learn. You can’t learn how to problem solve if your parents are always problem solving for you. If you never get hurt you won’t know what to do or how to react when you do get hurt. If your child doesn’t have a bump or a bruise once in a while they won’t know that it’s no big deal. Parents can hurt their child with helicopter parenting more than they would get hurt without it.

In conclusion, being a helicopter parent can damage your kids future and live. Kids won’t be able to do things on their own. A lot of children just need their space. By making sure you don’t get hurt you aren’t learning anything new. Just remember, next time you want to hang out with your friends or want to go to a school dance, tell your parents, “Don’t be overprotective, don’t be so worried, don’t be a helicopter parent.”

 

I have to say… I do NOT consider myself a helicopter parent. At all. From my kids’ perspective… they might see things a little differently. We all think our parent’s hover too much. Just part of being a kid.

 


5 Lessons Learned on the Way to Having it All

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I’ve had this blog a long time, probably longer than most of my blogging friends. I started it as a way to document a family road trip, but I didn’t realize back then that this would become the start of something much bigger. Had I knew there was a world of blogging before I started, I would have begun even before I did. I had no idea that there could be so much support and friendship found online… although considering I met my husband online, I should have known better. The internet has opened up a new world for  me… not just because it introduced me to my husband, but because it introduced me to a new way of life. It brought me some of the best friends a girl could ask for, a business partner, and a new career.

Sometimes I drown myself in sorrow and what-ifs. Why don’t I have a bigger house, a better car, more money, more opportunities? We all want more, don’t we? But wanting more doesn’t mean that we can’t be happy with what we already have. When I think about how much I do have, it’s overwhelming. I really DO have it all. They say that it can’t be done, I say they’re wrong. You CAN have it all… maybe not at the very moment you want it, but eventually you will find that it’s possible to get everything you want.

Of course, along the way there were many (many) trip-ups. Part of what held me back for so long was not being happy with what I had. Before you can begin to move forward, you have to appreciate the things you do have. Sometimes that means letting go of what isn’t working, sometimes that means asking for help.

These are the lessons I learned on my way to having it all.

Like Yourself

This is the most important, and it’s also the hardest. If you don’t truly like who you are as a person, what you stand for, make peace with what you look like, know your abilities and your limitations, you can’t possibly be happy. Acceptance of the muffin top, the wrinkles, the fact that your friends might disagree with you on a social or political issue… it is all part of who you are. You can’t expect anyone else to like you (or want to work with you) if you don’t like yourself.

Ability is Learned

Sure, there are people who are naturally smart in any given subject. There are great writers and great mathematicians and fantastic artists, but there are also careers out there that you can learn. Don’t let yourself be held back because there is something you don’t know. Google it. Take a class. Ask for help. Read. A lot. If there is something you want to do, something you have an interest in (maybe even a passion for) and you are afraid you don’t know enough about the business… LEARN IT! You are NEVER too old to learn something new.

Count your Blessings

Life is messy. People come in and out of your life all the time. Find the things (large or small) that are the MOST important to you and make yourself a BLESSING LIST. When you are feeling down or disappointed, go down the list and count up how many wonderful things you have in your life. Most likely, they will be things that other people don’t have. Wow… you ARE lucky.

Say No 

I love this one. It took me a VERY long time to learn this lesson. I was always the one who volunteered for everything. Women, in general, have this need to be liked and be seen as agreeable and dependable. Saying yes to things that you don’t really want to do (and don’t have time to do) makes us miserable. I can’t tell you how many nights I would stress myself out over having to do something I didn’t want to do. Of course, there will always be things we just have to do (wake up early, pack lunches, go to the dentist), but once you learn that saying no to things you don’t really want to do (like meeting a friend for coffee, volunteering in your child’s classroom, driving an hour for a blog event) isn’t going to be the end of the world… you will free up time to do the things that make YOU happy (reading a book, taking a hot bath, going to a movie alone).

Be Kind

You can have the worst day in the world, but I bet if someone compliments you on your outfit or thanks you for helping out, it turns your day around. Be that person to everyone else. Say please. Say thank you. Hold the elevator. Tip. Compliment a friend. Compliment a stranger. I promise, you will get SO much more out of it than they do.

And when you are feeling like nothing is going right… take a lesson from Abileene. Sometimes we all need to hear it one more time.


Take it FRESH & EASY this Mother’s Day

This post has been sponsored by Fresh & Easy. All opinions are my own.

 

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Mother’s Day is coming up this weekend and, OH NO, you probably forgot something for Mom, or your Wife, or your Sister, or your Girlfriend, or…. anybody who is a Mom that you need to get a gift for. Sure, cards are easy, but then what? You don’t have time… or the ideas… or the energy… whatever will you do? Hint: It’s not just Dads/Husbands who forget about Mother’s Day.

 

Fresh & Easy is going to take the pressure off. This year, they will be holding a “Mother’s Lane” – very much like the “Lover’s Lane” they did for Valentine’s Day. You will be able to literally drive-thru the parking lot and pick up your Mother’s Day gifts (flowers, chocolate, etc.) without even getting out of your car. This is pretty awesome!

 

Wondering what you are going to find? Fresh & Easy doesn’t just have great food, they also have a fabulous selection of flowers. You’ll be able to pick up Mom’s favorites… and get her some candy, too. Because Mom’s love candy. Okay… Moms like ME like candy.
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On Saturday, May 9th from 3pm – 7pm and from Sunday, May 10th from 8am – 12 noon, the drive-thru will be open in the Fresh & Easy parking lot. Get Mom some flowers and chocolates the Fresh & Easy way.
Mothers Lane
Find your closest Fresh & Easy store HERE.

 

How are you celebrating Mother’s Day?

The Avengers:Age of Ultron Has Invaded Our Home

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser.
All opinions are mine alone. #AvengersUnite #CollectiveBias

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1 Mom + 1 Dad + 3 Daughters = 5 MARVEL-LOVING FANS

I don’t know how to even begin to tell you how MARVEL and The Avengers have invaded our home. When we ended up with three daughters, I think my husband’s hopes for anything remotely boy-oriented went out the window. My girls are all pretty “girly” and it’s unusual for any of us to sit down and watch sports on the TV with my husband. But… for some reason, we have ALL become MARVEL addicts. Yep… ADDICTS! Since The Avengers: Age of Ultron is inching toward opening day on May 1st, we have gotten all giddy again over our favorite characters and can’t wait to see them again on the big screen.

We thought it would be fun to have an AVENGERS day where we re-watched all the movies leading up to attending the new film this weekend. Yes… we DO have them all. I also thought we would absolutely need to have a few “things” in order to watch our film-fest at home. Off to Walmart to pick up some supplies.

The marketing for this is phenomenal. Despite the fact that I don’t have sons, I knew my daughters would love some Avengers toys. But honestly… I didn’t realize how much they would love them!

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STOP FIGHTING! I picked up Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk and Thor dolls… and who did they all fight over? Captain America! Even my husband, who insisted HE was Captain America and as the head of the family should have the doll for himself. Honestly… a 50 year old man fighting with 3 little girls over a Super Hero doll! Have you ever?

I also purchased a bunch of snacks to tide us over as we spent a marathon day watching movies.

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Before you head to the store, download the awesome The Avengers: Age of Ultron app. It’s currently available in iTunes and the Google Play store. With this app you’ll be able to keep up on all the latest movie and behind-the-scenes action. You can scan Avengers displays throughout Walmart and Walmart.com to become your favorite Avenger, and you can bring MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron characters to life with augmented reality.

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Also, remember to scan in-store signage and all your favorite products that contain The Avengers: Age of Ultron images (Kelloggy’s, Hasbro, Dr. Pepper, and Marvel) to reveal super-secret content. If you scan any 12 packs of Dr. Pepper Avengers or scan the in-store signage, you will be able to unlock a digital comic book. Wow… thanks Dr. Pepper!

Welcome to our MARVEL The Avengers movie marathon!

It all started with an awesome banner (not to be confused with Bruce Banner). I found some foil stars in the craft store and cut out white letters to glue in the middle of them. I outlined the letters in red and tied the stars together with twine.

bannercollageThen I set the table.

tablesetting

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We had Cheez-Its with The Avengers logos on them (how cool are these?), Thor’s hammer pops, made with krispy bars and melted chocolate, Iron-Man cocktails (orange soda and grenadine) and a Captain America inspired fruit tart. Those darn blueberries weren’t cooperating… they kept sinking into the custard.

All ready to snack and watch movies.

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Of course, my girls decided to get involved and created their own miniature version of The Avengers using their dolls. The only problem was that there wasn’t a Hawkeye, Fury, or Black Widow doll. No worries… my girls created their own. Because in our house, it’s all about the dolls.

avengersgang

 

How are YOU celebrating the release of MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron?

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