Winter ice-cream adventures and other memories with littles

article_wine-and-drink_Ice-Cream-Cocktails_1074x800Tonight, the girls and I took an “adventure” as Charlotte would call it. Poor girl, I got her using the term to pretty much describe any outing or errand. “Charlotte, you want to go on a mailbox adventure?” “Charlotte, we’re going to go on a Lowe’s adventure.” “Mommy, can we go on a Taaaaarrgggeeett adventure tonight?” She’s no dummy – she knows Target comes complete with popcorn and a slushy. It started in the womb ok?! I couldn’t stop eating Target popcorn and slushies when I was pregnant with her, but I maintain the deep desire for Target and all that comes with it is part of a woman’s DNA, so can’t be held responsible.

To be fair, tonight’s adventure truly was something fun and out of the ordinary – winter ice cream. Weeknight, winter ice cream (even more rebellious!). My husband Matt has drum practice on Wednesday nights, so the girls and I ventured out after dinner to appease mommy’s craving while creating childhood memories that appeared to be all about them. Isn’t that how it’s done? It was fun, quality time, and did create a memory – however the reality of a scenario with young children versus how you’d imagine that scenario to actually play out is always a stark contrast. In my mind, Charlotte, Olivia and I would skip together while holding hands into the welcoming doors of Dairy Queen. We’d decisively choose our ice cream, find a seat and have darling conversation while basking in our sweet treat. We’d live on the edge, because it’s a weeknight and close to baby bed-time.

How it really went down was more like …

Balance Olivia on my hip and figure out the smallest possible treat for Charlotte while she changes her mind 17 times over three entire choices. Dig through my purse, pay and sign the credit card slip – all one handed.  Set up camp in the cozy, over-sized booth where  groups of teenagers usually sit. Spend the next five minutes taking off the children’s coats and arranging the ice cream and napkins.

“Mommy, I have to go potty.”

Scoop up both  girls, my purse, leave their coats and ice cream behind and hope for the best. Hold Charlotte over the potty so as to spare her bare bum from less-than-clean DQ toilets, while shewing Olivia away from touching anywhere else in the stall and praying she doesn’t drop her stinky elephant (this is her lovey) since she chews on his nose and can’t sleep without him. Wash our hands, get a little too wet before reaching for the unstocked paper towel dispenser, and finally make our way back to our booth where our slightly melted ice creams await.

Ahhh memories.

Later that night, I found myself a little sore from the extended hold of a 30 pounder, sick in my stomach from a bad choice of dairy before bed (notice it’s only a bad choice for being dairy and not 5,000 extra calories) and trying to reign in an extremely hyper three-year old and tired, fussy baby.

Me: “Hey girls, it’s time for a very exciting bed-time adventure!”

Girls: *meltdown*

Me: *sigh*

 

 

 

 

 

2016 – Bring it.

I can hardly believe it’s been another year. New Year’s Eve celebrations have definitely changed for us in the past three years. What used to be celebrating with friends at a house party with one too many ridiculous decisions, or attending the at-least-once radio hosted bash, have alas evolved into a 7:30 pm mock countdown with the kids, mundane bedtime routines and beginning the night after hours (hear: after baby bedtime) for what we consider our actual celebration. We usually do it up with a nice meal- sans leaving the house, getting a sitter, squeezing in an undesirable reservation time and best of all, avoiding an enormously up-charged bill with obligatory tip. So it’s actually quite enjoyable. We try our best to stay up until midnight, and by we try our best – I mean me … because I just assume be in yoga pants by 5 pm and bed by 8 pm. I made it this year! We watched the ball drop at 11 pm CST and counted down our own 10 seconds before midnight. All in all, a grandiose time and worry-free of drunk drivers. Worth every homebody second.

A new year to me isn’t as much about official “resolutions,” but  just a fresh start. Why not take it up a notch at the beginning of a new year? I am the Queen of Purge. Something magical happens on Jan. 1 and dare not any item cross my path that shall not want to plead its case. If I haven’t thought about it in the final days of the year, it’s GONE. Over the New Year’s weekend, I started with the play room and the girl’s rooms and managed to gather a large Amazon box full of toy donations. I  also retired yet another Rubbermaid tub full of baby clothes. Then I purged all bins of baby clothes into a large black hole.

No, no I didn’t.

Don’t judge me, this is where I draw the line. I can’t get rid of all the teeny tiny baby girl clothes, because that would mean I have to admit I no longer have teeny tiny baby girls! Speaking of my little angels – word to the wise when gathering toy donations: make them disappear. I made the mistake of leaving the box accessible, to which Charlotte embarked on a treasure hunt and commenced a meltdown over a small, stuffed duckling she likely received in her first-ever Easter basket. “Mommy PLEEEEAAAASSSEEEE (super dramatic) don’t give away my chicky!”

But honestly, decluttering is the key to a fresh start. If you don’t have the time or energy to get it all done, at least make a list and accomplish some quick wins like cleaning out your personal e-mail account. Take care of some tedious tasks you’ve been putting off forever, so another year doesn’t pass by and you’re still in your own way. To help you get thinking, I’ve compiled a short list of ridiculousness that has become a background to my daily life. I’m calling this my sarcastic, “I would rather” for emphasis:

I Would Rather 

  • I would rather …  use a blow dryer with an extremely shortened cord and giant knot, than take an extra five seconds to untangle the cord.
  • I would rather … use an extra clunky, battery-powered, spin toothbrush with a dead battery, and cause my arm to get tired while reducing molar leverage, than replace the damn battery.
  • I would rather … skip eyeliner or find an alternate, than take the time to sharpen my eyeliner pencil.
  • I would rather … spend excess minutes looking for apps on my junked up phone and politely share a few choice profanities, than take the time to declutter my apps and rearrange my screens to be more accessible.
  • I would rather overbuy groceries and be wasteful with the excess, than declutter my fridge and pantry.

Ok, so the majority of these are related to getting ready and food. But, you catch my drift. New year, fresh start. Get er’ done.

Another quick win is to take an hour one day, (your lunch  break for example,) and schedule all your appointments and your family’s appointments that you’ve been procrastinating. Start by identifying the necessary appointments and calling just to get them SET. That is all. The more you can accomplish in January, the better. Dental cleanings, flu shots, that weird quirk you need an expert opinion on – get them on the books and feel amazingly accomplished.

Here are a couple of tools that might be worth looking into, both of which have made an impact on my life:

Unroll.me: This is an app you can get on your phone and/or visit their website. It  helps you unsubscribe from all the copious amounts of promotions you’ve inadvertently subscribed to, that are flooding your inboxes. All with a quick swipe or click of a button. I unsubscribed from more than 100 sites in about five minutes. No to mention, for anything I wanted to keep – I either flagged them to stay in my inbox OR “rolled them up” into a curated newsletter. I now receive a daily roll-up from Unroll.me, with only the promotions, news, etc. I chose to keep. Here is what you can expect in your inbox:

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Another handy tool is an app called Wunderlist. I still find it extremely gratifying to write lists with pen and paper and cross things off. If you share this neurosis, try keeping that list as your present “To-Do’s” but use an app like Wunderlist to list big picture or recurring items. This list synchronizes across all devices and can be shared between you and your husband or other family members. Matt and I have a Grocery list, Lowes/Home Depot list, Costco List, House Projects list … pretty much anything we can add to at any given moment and ensure we’re efficient and aligned. It’s fabulous! And for a special treat, you can stalk one another through the checked off notifications should you find yourself separated but following a shared list.

Wunderlist Shenanigans:

Matt (from home): add’s 17 lines of beer, a steak and tons of candy to Wunderlist.

Amie (@ H-E-B): checks off all beer, steak and candy as “done.” adds a new line item for “in your dreams” to be checked off.

Ok, so maybe that just got creepy. But once again, you get the picture.

2016 is going to be a great year. I’m already killing it, and it’s been an entire 5.75 days. You too can achieve rock star status – so get motivated, embrace your crown of purge and start listing, making calls, trashing and donating your crap.

Happy New Year friends!