Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Yes,They're All Boys... Now GTFO of Here.

We were in Walmart when it happened. Because isn't Walmart where the best stories take place? More specifically, we were in the hair care aisle trying our hardest to find a purple shampoo to act as a stand-in until my go-to brand arrived in the mail. 

If you're a faux-blonde like me, you know that even one wash with well water without your trusty purple shampoo can do bad, bad things to your hair and having just had fresh highlights I wasn't about to let the brass monsters come creeping in. Mama ain't got time for that! 

I digress. Where was I? Oh, right there in the hair care aisle at Walmart with all three members of my man-tribe in tow. Only one of them was buckled giving the other two free reign to pick up every. single. bottle with any hint of purple writing on it and yell, "IS THIS ONE, MOM?" 

That's when I heard it. 

"Three boys, huh? Aww..." 

It was the "aww" that caught me off guard. As a seasoned mom of three boys, I knew immediately where this conversation was headed. Usually I just laugh and smile and if I'm feeling particularly prickly, before they can say it themselves, I tell them how full my hands are. You can imagine my surprise however, when I turned to find another young-ish mother staring back at me, her boy/girl twins watching a movie on her iPhone from within the large basket of her cart. I was surprised to see one of my own staring back at me and if we're being honest, a little disappointed too. 

I laughed and said, "yep, three boys!" And in an attempt to add levity to the situation, I quickly followed up with, "I really should be shopping for Clorox- who knew there could be so much pee on bathroom walls?!" 

She didn't laugh, perhaps because her son didn't look old enough to be out of diapers or perhaps she just wasn't feeling my wholehearted attempt at being funny that day. 

I shrugged my shoulders and turned just in time to catch several Lightening McQueen bubble bath bottles from meeting their demise as my two-year-old teetered precariously from the cart trying to grab as many as he could and hurl them into the cart. It was time to give up the hunt and get moving.

"But you won't get to do dance classes... or Girl Scouts! Don't you want just one more and hope that it's a girl?"

I cringed.  

I completely understand that 85% of these comments come from well-meaning places. I'm a girl therefore I must want more like me! Girls are the best, I should know, I'm one myself. What could I possibly have in common with something that has a penis and will eventually grow up and leave me for another woman? Or man, even? (Hey, it's 2017 folks...)

In my experience these comments usually come from mothers with young girls. Rarely have I ever had a fellow mother of all boys turn to me and say something like, "I wish one of them had been a girl!" even in jest. 

I've learned that mothers of all boys are a special kind of crazy and I'm honored to be a part of a club full of sword fights (moms of boys know what kind of swords I'm talking about) and bathrooms that will forever smell like NYC subways and I get it! We're kind of like an enigma. As women, why wouldn't we want to raise someone with whom we could braid their hair and paint their nails and sit through 8 hours of dance recitals on our Saturdays with?

Let me let you in on a little secret. My identity isn't suddenly lost on me because I'm the mother of all boys. I'm not any less "girl" because I'm not raising a daughter and as far as I know, a little piece of me hasn't died because I can't braid my son's hair or paint his nails or go shopping with him for prom dresses.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I do not feel as if I'm missing out on ANYTHING when it comes to being a mother solely because I'm a mother to only boys and you shouldn't either. Please, please do not have pity on me or feel sad for me because of what you think I'm missing out on. I promise you that these three boys bring me more joy than I ever thought imaginable and mothering them, in all of their testosterone-fueled glory is right where I'm meant to be.

Do I tell her that when I found out my third and final baby was a boy that of course I felt a twinge of sadness and mourned right then and there the fact that I would never experience the kind of mother/daughter relationship that I have with my own mother that has brought me so much joy or is that a silly conversation to have among rows and rows of shampoo and conditioner?    

I wasn't sure if I should excuse myself and pretend I didn't hear her, or if maybe I should tell her how there's so many other things that I'll get to enjoy as a mother of all boys. Or maybe I should just turn and bolt because that wouldn't be at all awkward, right?

Before I could say anything, however, a little voice arose from beside me. 

"I yike to dance. Wook at her butt!" 

And then another,

"My mom's a girl, She's my best girl."

And finally, 

"My mom's got her hands full with me and my brothers. She'd go crazy with another kid!"

- - - - -

I'd never been more proud of my three boys than I had been in that exact moment. You know, I worry a lot about what they're hearing when someone says something like "you gonna try for a girl now?" It hurts my heart to think that they'll internalize that and feel as if they're not enough. As if I could ever wish them to be anyone other than who they are. As if they're parts or lack thereof make a difference to me. 

It was in that exact moment I realized I couldn't have said it any better myself.

- - - - -

I laughed. "Nope. These three right here are more than enough for me," I said with a smile and as I turned to walk away my six year old stops me in my tracks, high-fives me and says, "how's that for being on team Mom?" 

Nope. I'm definitely not missing out on a thing.   

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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Winter Wardrobe Blues? Mini Boden To The Rescue! - A $500 Giveaway!

One of our most favorite children's clothing brands just released their Spring line and it's chock full of the cutest, most totally rad rescue and superhero prints! In honor of the release, we're dressing up in some their funnest, most colorful threads and sharing two SUPER fun (get it, super) activities you can easily do at home with your own super savers of the day. 

First up, Color Your Own Superhero Masks. While we have no shortage of superhero capes and masks in our dress up arsenal, sometimes you just can't beat a homemade mask and pillowcase cape. I always try to keep a stash of these superhero masks (found on Amazon) tucked away for a snowy day and they never fail to entertain. The kids love to put their own spin on their costumed character and if we're feeling really adventurous, I'll even let them bust out the feathers, glue and glitter. 

All of their hard handiwork often results in extreme hunger so what's more fitting for a trio of superheros than POW! Popcorn? This sweet superhero snack is made using only three ingredients and chances are you probably have most of them on hand! Just toss together freshly popped popcorn with a handful each of sprinkles and M&M's and in no time, your clever superheros will be fueled up and ready to fight inter-sibling crime. After all, somebody's gotta be the to lay the law down on those guilty of leaving the toilet seat up! Bonus points if your popcorn matches the uniform of your favorite SUPERhero!

The celebration isn't over yet- we've joined forces with a whole host of other Boden-clad cuties to offer one lucky reader a $500 Boden Gift Card! Be sure to head all the way to the bottom of this post for entry as well as the details for all of the clothing pieces seen in this post. A big, huge thanks to our friends at Boden for this opportunity!  

Top / Track Pants / Hi-Top Sneakers

Tee / Canvas Pull-Ons / Retro Sneakers

Play Set / Printed Wellies

In addition to this fantastic giveaway, our friends at Boden also have a coupon code for all ILYMTC readers. Use code 2E9T for 15% off plus free shipping on all orders placed between now and 1/29/17. 

 Be sure to visit each of our friends' sites for more cute styles and heroic fun. The Chirping Moms have a DIY  cardboard rescue boat & super hero accessories. To go along with the accessories, Lay Baby Lay and Hello Baby Brown have DIY super hero capes. Hello Happiness visited local heroes to say thank you and I Love You More Than Carrots has a yummy rescue themed snack & hero masks. Seven Graces is sharing why her kids are her heroes. For great spring style inspiration, visit Style SmallerJordan & CoFancy Ashley and Walking in Memphis in Heels

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Sick Day for Mom - The True Unicorn of Motherhood

This post has been sponsored by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare.

As a nurse I was exposed to my fair share of germs but nothing, I repeat nothing, would prepare me for the onslaught of germs I would encounter once I became a mother of school-age children. It's because of these germs that the months from October through April are the some of the most feared months in our household.  

Not only does the utterance, "Mom, my belly hurts" instill immediate fear down into the deepest, darkest depths of my soul but in case you didn't know, moms don't get sick days. 

When the kids are sick, for the sake of this story, moms are usually the ones who stay home with them. They care for them, tuck them in, rub their fevered heads, feed them Popsicles and cater to their every sad, sick little need. When moms gets sick they're quarantined to the couch (not even their own bed!) and everyone basically forgets they even exist until mealtimes. Or if the dog ate a LEGO. Or if somebody can't find the remote, or until somebody hit somebody else, or someone breathed somebody else's air, or... you get my drift. 

I can't even remember the last time that I was sick and someone rubbed my back let alone brought me a Popsicle. Actually, that's a lie. I was the sickest I'd ever been in years over the Christmas holiday this year and do you know who brought me magazines to read in bed, fresh Popsicles to soothe my throat and made sure that I had enough blankets, tea and medicine to soothe my every ache? 

My mom. Which just goes to show that moms are the true superheros of life. 

Moms just shouldn't get sick. For starters they're the only ones in the house who know where things are. Important things like all of the accouterments for the sick. While the chest rub, the thermometer and the throat lozenges may all have been in the same basket in the same cabinet for the last 674 days, the minute mom goes down no one knows where to find them. 

Moms also know where everything else is like the books that the middle child took out from the library at school that were due back yesterday and the sight word flash cards that the biggest little needs to cut out and bring to school tomorrow as well as the money envelope for the donut fundraiser that needs to be signed, sealed and delivered to the front office. Accordingly, she also knows where the school's front office is and how to use the intercom to get in the front door...  

For those of us who hit the spouse lotto and have better halves who will stand in the gap for us mothers while we are certain death has become us, there are still loads of things that fall under the "I only want mom to do this," realm. These things include but are not limited to adding milk to cereal, putting socks on left feet and wiping butts.

Do you know how you can tell when moms get sick? Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime stock rises exponentially. Kids heads explode at the mere thought of how much TV they'll be encouraged to watch while mom is down for the count but for some reason, suddenly, they want to do anything and everything but watch TV. Things like scale the kitchen counters, explore the wide array of uses for packing tape as well as break into the play-doh and paints closet become priority activities. 

Even on the rare occasion that Netflix releases a new series of Disney movies or my husband stays home from work to take over Keeping the Kids Alive Another Day, someone still manages to sneak away and enter the hot zone, just for a snuggle, just to hear my voice, just to make sure I'm still alive and that Daddy won't be making their peanut butter sandwiches with the crust on for the rest of their little lives. 

That's why, as a mom, I've nailed it, down to a science, the arsenal of things I need the moment I feel a sickness coming on. When I get sick I rely on the big guns, Advil Cold & Sinus to get me through the day. The #1 pharmacist-recommended brand for cough, cold and flu combinations for daytime, it provides fast relief of my symptoms so that I can get on with my day and get back to being the mom my kids need. 

Well, between that, Netflix and $45 of new LEGOS shipped Amazon Prime, it's all I need to keep the drama of a cold from stopping me be who I truly am, a Super Mom to the Bash Brothers three.

How do you handle sick days at home? What are some of your must-haves to make it through the madness? Leave a comment below and you'll be entered to win 
a $25 VISA gift card! 
Giveaway ends Sunday, 1/22/17 at midnight.

* Must be 18 to enter and have a valid email and U.S. shipping address. Good luck to all those who enter! 
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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Mom n' Tot Box - A Monthly Subscription Service That's Worth It!

If there's one thing that sucks about being a grown up, it's checking the mail each day and being met with nothing but bills and those coupon books filled with deals on things like roofing, plumbing and landscaping services. I mean, wow, I get it. I'm old but that doesn't mean my mailbox needs to remind me of that each day! 

Enter the subscription box. I firmly believe this idea was invented solely to brighten up the mailboxes of responsible grown ups. Nothing, and I mean nothing, puts a skip in my step like knowing a subscription box is due to arrive on my porch at any minute. 

While there are hundreds of boxes out there, today I want to share with you one that's designed specifically for moms and their babies. Mom n' Tot Box is a monthly subscription box that, for a flat rate,  brings to you unique, age-appropriate items handmade by small businesses far and wide. Not only does this business support other US small businesses but by your subscription, you'd be supporting Rana, mom of 2 boys and founder of Mom n' Tot box as well and there's nothing I love more than supporting moms with a little side hustle. 

Come see what was inside of our December Mom n' Tot box! 

Mama's Lil' Cub T-shirt from Loved By Hannah and Eli

Felt Play Sandwich by Ellie and Pug

Wooden Painted Eggs from Pembi Made (another fellow boy mom, what what!)

+ a sweet and delicate leather key ring from Etsy store Just A Darling Life that I completely forgot to photograph because it had already made its way onto my key ring but I will happily share over on my instastories on Instagram! 

Since our box arrived, the boys haven't stopped playing with their new goodies! They love playing "restaurant" and taking turns placing orders and delivering pretend food to their table. I've always had a soft spot for felt and fabric food and honestly, this sandwich is the absolute cutest. Please, please check out Elli and Pug's shop and all of the insanely adorable (and delectable) treats she creates, like this felt and fabric sushi set:

We really loved December's Mom n' Tot box and look forward to our future subscriptions! If you, too, want to join in the fun, use code "subscribe10" for $10 off your first purchase! If not for you, a subscription like this would also make an excellent gift. 

You'd better hurry though, orders close TOMORROW, Friday the 12th, for the January box! 

*We received this box free of charge in exchange for our honest thoughts. No additional compensation was included and we're thrilled to spread the word about another fantastic mom-owned small business!

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Beat the Winter Blues at Hershey's Water Works Indoor Swimming Complex

As we settled into the month of December I began feeling that overwhelming sense of "oh crap, how am I going to keep my boys entertained indoors for the next 100+ days?" that usually hits right about the time the temperatures begin to dip into the low 30's. I think I can safely say that at one point or another, all moms who are forced to, well, mom, during the icy, cold winter months have these or similar freak-out moments when faced with the task of planning activities to keep kids busy indoors for weeks on end. 

One thing that has helped me personally has been planning a weekend getaway or two that involves some sort of hotel pool that helps to  break up the monotony of cold winter weeks spent at home and indoors.

It was during the first weekend of December that we took our annual trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania's Hershey Lodge, home of the new indoor water park known as Hershey's Water Works. We arrived shortly after check-in and it wasn't long before we made it up to our room and into our swim suits to burn off some of the cooped up energy from the long car ride, but only after consuming some Hershey's chocolate that welcomed us upon our arrival. 


We've been to several indoor water parks as a family and while this was one of the busiest and most packed that we've visited, it was hands down one of the most fun as well. Since the indoor swimming complex caters to a variety of swimming abilities and ages, there was something to enjoy for everyone. 

If we're being honest, I also appreciated the presence of the on-site bar and concession concession stand, Cocoa Cabana. With a variety of starters, salads and snacks to offer, we took full advantage of the food here and made this our dinner during our second night's stay.

The boys loved the sand castle climb-on, complete with slides, spray zones and kid-controlled water features. Our youngest took full advantage of the zero entry pool and even joined in on a basketball game or two. While we're not quite at the parenting stage of "sit back and watch," both my husband and I agreed that even we had tons of fun chasing the boys around inside Water Works.

Located just outside of the pool area is the game room, chock full of traditional arcade games like air hockey and skee-ball. It's the perfect reprieve for when your little ones (and big ones, too) get too water logged and need a short break. 

If you're looking for a sweet getaway, (get it.. sweet as in Hershey chocolate sweet...) I highly recommend a night or two at the Hershey Lodge. With package rates starting as low as $169 per night, kids can play, splash and eat for free and the best part? They sleep well too, given how much energy they've expended doing all of that swimming,splashing and playing! With so many different amenities that cater to families with young children, the Hershey Lodge is my favorite place to stay, especially when we visit Hershey during the holiday season. 

This post is brought to you in partnership with Hersheypark and my working relationship as a Sweetest Moms ambassador. In exchange for my honest opinions as expressed above, we received a complimentary stay.

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