Saturday, December 14, 2013

Altruism isn't born . . .

. . . it’s learned when your mommy takes away your birthday presents and makes you cry . . . oh wait, did I just say that out loud?!

The other day I went to a meeting for a wonderful philanthropic organization.  While there, a woman made an extraordinary statement that really resonated with me.  She said “philanthropy is not innate, it’s learned.”  I truly believe this whole heartedly – I learned from my mom who I remember letting me put dollars in the red buckets and adopting children from the “wish trees” at the mall AND, from both my parents who I can’t get to stop meeting with the Development Officer at their alma mater who keeps convincing them to give their University all of my inheritance.  Oh, wait, I said that out loud too, didn’t I??!! 

During this season of giving, I began reflecting on what I might be teaching my girls (other than cuss words, smart@$$es)!  And then I realized that as with anything in this Runamuk household, it hasn't always been pretty!  The intent is there, but the execution is sometimes lacking!  :-)

6 months ago following a particularly annoying episode of cleaning up one too many naked Barbies (who I'm pretty certain have not had clothes since the girls opened them), 15 too many doll shoes (15 individual shoes, NOT pairs), and 10 Happy Meal toys that the girls haven’t touched in 2 years, I decided that for the girls’ birthdays, rather than gifts from their friends, they would tell their friends about a charity to which they wanted to donate items. Of course, when I informed the girls of this, you would have thought I took away their birthdays . . . oh wait . . .

The screaming, yelling and crying in the backseat of the car could be heard for miles!

Of course, it wasn’t until a few days later that I realized this idea may have been the result of a particularly bad case of PMS.  But, I had already committed, and the more people I told about it, the more encouragement I got.  So, I decided we were going for it!  

But, as we come to the end of another giving season, mommy decided to share what she learned in 2013 about charity that's Runamuk:

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

She's Makin' a List . . . Checkin it twice . . .

. . . . gotta make sure some things are naughty, while most things are nice!

It’s that time of year again, and mommy has a whole new list for her holiday wishes (these, of course, are wishes she’s already fulfilled herself, but she loves them so much she thought she would share them with you too!) And, of course, mommy includes her latest naughty book!

And, today, a bonus, a guest post by BFF Molly’s very funny real life (yes, she actually gets up on stage in front of people) comedienne sister Jessie who shares her lessons learned the hard way about one of the items on my list!!

Here are mommy’s top picks for makin it through the holidays and everyday!

Favorite new Alcohol (where else would I start???)
      1)   Kambucha!  This drink has alcohol naturally (who knew that Kambucha could do that?!), but it also has cleansing properties and you can drink it while you are on a cleanse!!  Now, lets not kid ourselves, this will never come close to Skinnygirl, but when you just need a little something to keep you from losing your mind while losing your toxins, this will do the trick!

Favorite App(s)
      1)   iAllowance – sorry, this has to make a repeat performance.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this app.     
      2)   Food onthe table  - not only will this keep track of your grocery lists, it will keep track of which stores you get what from, whether the store has coupons on items you need, which store has the best deal that day, and it even will give you recipes if you tell it what you have in your pantry!  If only I cooked!!!!  J

Favorite Website 
     1) - to go along with my essential oils obsession!!

     1)   WomanCode – Will change the way you look at food and how it impacts your overall health and hormones!
      2)    The China StudyWill change the way you look at food and particularly how we are feeding our kids and how to solve many chronic health issues and change your life simply by changing your diet.
      3)   Take MeNovella by J. Kenner that concludes the Stark Trilogy.  Definitely not the best in the series, but closes it out nicely.

Bath Product
     1)   FairyTales Rosemary Repel Leave in Conditioner – See Jessie’s post below!  Plus, it can prevent lice!

Gluten Free Food Product
      1)   Cup 4 CupFlour – People often ask me what flour they can use or how they can make their favorite holiday treats and still be gluten free.  This flour is magic and it will be torture for your waistline (just ask mine that scarfed down 5 mexican wedding cakes and about 4 tablespoons of batter over the weekend)!  D@MNIT!  (you didn’t think I’d make it through the list without at least one swear word, did you??!!

And now, before I get to Jessie’s post, I just found out that she has been selected as a finalist in an essay contest sponsored by Oroweat Bread!!  She needs us to help her get more online votes than the other two California b!tches, I mean finalists.  If she wins, she gets a big chunk of dough (and not the bread kind), and she says she’ll share half with me!  Oh, wait, maybe that wasn’t part of the deal.
At any rate, Jessie deserves our support (that means you Nana), so please vote for her at  Hers is Essay #4, a letter that begins “Dear Diabetes."  The contest goes from December 9 – January 3 and you can vote up to once a day.  So, vote early and often.
And now, as we enter the season of family gatherings and family photos, Jessie’s post that beautifully encapsulates the f*&#ing nightmare that every parent encounters when they try to prevent their children’s hair from becoming fodder for Ellen’s ugliest family photos contest!  Bonus – you may find some stuff to add to your wish list!!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Keeping us in stitches . . .

So what happens when your week starts out on Monday with a 4am wake up call from the baby that says “Mommy, I barfed in my room . . . can I sleep with you?”   By Friday when you are sitting in the hospital with your oldest child, you will ask yourself “can we just go back to the barf on Monday”.

The holidays are off to a Runamuk bang for the Dugdale clan.  The Monday before school was out before Thanksgiving (so two weeks ago) the Ego and the Id stayed home with a terrible cold and stomach flu.  By Wednesday the Superego had broken her arm in two places while doing a trick at gymnastics, and by Friday (when we were supposed to be flying to Denver to see Grandma and Grandpa), Mommy had stitches removed for a previous skin procedure, and we were in surgery to fix the Superego’s arm.

By the Monday of Thanksgiving week (a week ago) we had finally made it to Denver (3 days late), but almost immediately the Superego came down with a stomach bug and was vomiting all night long.  Exhausted can’t begin to describe how we were all doing, but I have to say, the Superego is my hero.  Her strength and resolve is unmatched.  After everything she had been through, she only complained when the pain meds and antibiotics made her sick.  That kid is amazing. 

Smiley cookies from Auntie Ju Ju (that might have been out in the sun too long.  Either that or their eyeballs are supposed to be running!!)
But, as it always does, life just kept on movin’, and taught us some lessons along the way – such as:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Twas the Night after Hallo-Giving Chrismakuh . . .

. . . and all through the house, all the creatures were STILL bouncing off the f*&#ing walls because mommy DID NOT  manage their sugar intake and in fact she made sure they ate so much sugar it was going to take 4 days to de-tox them!!

In true Runamuk fashion mommy and the girls hosted a mish-mash holiday party with a purpose.  This time it was Hallo-Giving Chrismakuh and it’s now November 12th and we’ve done all we need to do for the holidays, right?!  We’ve celebrated all of them and we even added our standard charity component that wouldn’t be Runamuk if it didn’t combine a canned food drive meets extra candy drop off meets toy drive!

Mommy’s been away from blogging for a little while (something she’ll explain in the next post), but she thought she’d start up again with a bang so you all didn’t wonder if she had a lobotomy or fell down a holiday rabbit hole!   

Here’s what I learned happens when you mix 32 kids + 12 mommies + 22 TONS of sugar (and I’ll explain at the end how we did it all):

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

5K your way to family fun!

So what happens when in May you decide to sign up for a “color run” 5k that happens in October?

It won’t be until the day of the run that you will realize it is the same day as:

     1)   the day AFTER you took a hot yoga sculpt class for the first time (and hence you cannot walk 15 feet to say nothing of running 3.1 miles);

     2)   the football game for which your daughter is a cheerleader starts one hour after the START time of the race and the game is 30 minutes from where the run is located;

     3)   There will be TWO birthday parties for your oldest child, both of which are 30 minutes from your house and for which you will have to trek back and forth because you look like a muppets character and need to get to a shower in between;

     4)   There will also be a cocktail party for you and your husband at which you still look ridiculous with blue hands and a Happy tattoo on your arm

Who knew that when they say “color run”, they mean “this sh*t is going to turn your hair, nails, toes, fingers, butt crack and everywhere in between purple, pink, blue, yellow and colors of the rainbow that even Crayola hasn’t invented.”  My underwear is still pink!!!  Oh yeah, I said underwear!  That sh*t got everywhere!!!!

Here’s what we learned when mommy’s inability to keep track of the children's schedule results in looking like THIS all day:

This would be a great picture if it weren't for the fact that we have a sh*tty camera that decides to focus only sometimes.  Of course, you can't tell if the picture is in focus until you get it on a larger screen, so we didn't realize it at the time.  So, mommy decided that she's "keepin it real" and posting this crappy picture anyway because there isn't another one of the four of us in all our post race glory!  

Monday, October 14, 2013

Time out for the Ta Ta's!

Haaaa, made you look!

So I have just been informed by my Dr. that I should not get Ta Ta’s that look like that!  And Husband from Heaven just said "D@MN!!"  That was right before he also just put me on a blogging time out!!  

This picture from a Girl Scout event (yes, I said that-I’m irreverent everywhere and yet they haven’t revoked my membership card) reminded me that it’s that time of year again when even the football players are wearing pink and we are all reminded to fondle ourselves.  Oh yes, I just said that out loud!!  

In honor of the boobies, in addition to our Halloween nonsense, mommy decided to have the girls do a few projects for Breast Cancer Awareness.  Of course, it’s a bit odd talking about breasts to three girls who have no sign of boobies, and who’s mother’s boobs were sucked the life out of (literally) long ago. 

But alas, mommy decided to pursue it anyway,  and here’s what we learned when you turn the world pink:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mommy's drinking the kool aid . . .

. . . and definitely NOT the red-dye #5 kind.

Tis the season of Tricks and Treats, and we all know how much mommy likes to trick the children – why did I put them on this earth, after all??? 

So, as we enter this season of filling our kids and ourselves with crap of one kind and another, I figured it was time to reveal how to torture your kids all year long so that when they do get treats, you can actually throw in a few tricks!  And of course, it wouldn’t be Runamuk if a few of these tricks weren’t on mommy.  So here's what I've learned about playing with food:

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Confessions of a Multi-tasking mommy - Back to School Edition

School has been back in session for a little over a month, and fall is officially upon us.  So here’s the question I have - who’s the joker who made the one time you REALLY need a drink, the same time that you HAVE to drive your kids all over creation?!

Yeah, and the smart@$$ who named 5-7pm “Happy Hour” has never had to drive 3 children to 3 different activities in 3 different locations ALL AT THE SAME TIME beginning at 5 and ending at 7!  It occurs to me now that it should still be called the witching hour!  You know that time everyone prepares you for when the kids were babies and all holy hell would break loose and they would cry inconsolably for 2 hours.  Now that they are older, all holy hell still breaks loose, but it’s actually mommy who spends that two hours WANTING to cry inconsolably!!

So here’s what mommy has learned about back to school survival, and how to keep on adding to the Nana's custody file:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

It's time to SPAAAA. . . . RTAY - the Mommy version!

So not to be outdone by the little Id, mommy had planned a spa party of her own for her birthday.  Mommy’s version, of course, involved borrowing Nana and Sir’s condo for a sleepover with her college roommates and some incredible peace and quiet for a WHOLE DAY!!  Shhhhh, don't tell the Id that mommy got a sleepover and she didn't.

And, now, of course, we not only have a Husband from Heaven who took the Ego for the weekend, but we also have an Uncle from Heaven (who might get an inflated head if we tell him that too often, so we’re going to keep that part under wraps) who took care of the other two over the weekend.

One again, because of the wonderful design talents of my friend Melinda and her Sparkleberry Studio, I had a gorgeous birthday set up.
How adorable are these glasses?!  Painted with gold paint and glitter.  There's a little more to it than that, but these were plain glasses that are now fabulous!  Again, Melinda is amazing!

Here’s what every mom needs to know about hosting your own spa party sleepover:

Monday, September 23, 2013

It's time to SPAAAA. . . . RTAY!!!

So mommy learned this week why when she was working (outside the home, that is), she SWORE she would not host parties at her house and she would pay any amount necessary for someone else to do the party.

The Id turned 7 and, of course, since she is going on 16, she wanted a spa party.  So mommy thought “how hard can this be?” some nail polish, some hair braids, some cucumbers on the eyes, I got this, no sweat!

Well, we all know how this is going to turn out, so at the very end of the post I’ll show you what the party would have looked like on Pinterest.  But first, I’ll share the behind the scenes version that would get mommy kicked off Pinterest:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

No good deed goes . . .

. . . without someone yelling “your customer service is horrible”; and for a moment, you think, “they might be right, this isn’t my best moment . . .”

And then it hits you. . . “What am I, f*#&ing Nordstroms?!”  And then you will have a conversation in your head with that person in which you say “and by the way, in case you were unclear, “volunteer” means I’m paid exactly NOTHING to put up with verbal abuse from people like you.  Oh, and in case you wanted to file a customer service complaint, please let them know how to properly serve a pink slip . . . including a severance package.”

And that is how I started out the girl scouts new year-a mom becoming very upset with me because I could not give her the answer she wanted, and therefore I needed to be schooled about customer service.  

So I began reflecting on how I got myself into this predicament in the first place.   

Here goes . . . "I admit it, my name is Mommy and I’m a serial volunteer."  

I get it from the Nana and I just can’t help myself, every time someone asks for help, I check the “yes” box.  And as I’m sure you all know, I open my mouth often enough that I find myself in charge of things before I realize what I’ve done.

So since I don’t see entering myself into “volunteer addiction” rehab anytime soon, I figured that in case it might be helpful to anyone (including myself) in the future, I’d provide my lessons learned about coping with your volunteer addiction (oh yeah, you guessed it, these include all the dirty little secrets of volunteering that no one ever admits in public):

Monday, September 9, 2013

I called the witch doctor . . .

. . . she told me what to do (and because of it I don’t have headaches, cystic acne, breast pain, and on and on)!

So I know I’m backtracking a bit, but I never did fully explain what happened during my emergency room visit this summer and last week after receiving a $15,000 insurance bill (of which we had to pay $700 - thank God for insurance), even Husband from Heaven had to admit that my acupuncturist was a bargain.  

As most people who know me are aware, for several years I have not only visited an acupuncturist, I have recently started using DoTerra essential oils to treat everything from mildew to warts to fevers.

HfH still believes I’m crazy, but as we all know, he’s pretty patient in putting up with my shenanigans, including the time I threw away everything in our pantry after learning of my gluten intolerance.  That experience will have to wait for another day because today I thought I would share ways to torture your husband with "voodoo" theories (and better yet, prove you're right - which, of course, ALWAYS happens in our house-I'm pretty sure HfH is going to pull out a voodoo doll of me right about now):

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Labor of . . .

. . . Love, Exhaustion, Pride, Exasperation, Joy, Exhaustion, Laughter . . . did I mention Exhaustion?!

So as I reflect on my Labor Day (which, by the way, the irony is not lost on me that any day where the children are home from school is a “labor” day), it also occurred to me that we labor to bring them into this world, we labor to entertain them, we labor to clean up after them, we labor to educate them . . . hell, as I see it, EVERY day is Labor Day!!!!

And, all this time while I’ve been thinking that if I can just get them to 18 and out of my house, I can breathe a big sigh of relief.  And then, I turned on my TV and saw . . .

Now that I’ve had time to recover from my nightmares and remove all the teddy bears from my house (which, by the way, now rank on the “scare the sh*t out of me” scale right up there with Clowns and Chucky Dolls), I realized that behind that “child” is a parent who tweeted how proud he is of his daughter.  So then I thought well, if we can give awards to people who’s greatest accomplishment is that they have proven to their parents and the world that they Can’t Be Tamed, we really should have awards for the people who started it all.

And that, my friends, is how I landed on formalizing what I’m going to call the Parent Of The Year awards.  Of course, as I came to this epiphany, I remembered that The Nana has a “custody file” that is thicker than a Harry Potter book, and therefore I should probably explain the criteria for these awards just so that everyone is clear about how you can earn one.  These are no ordinary awards!!

Here is how you know that YOU might be eligible for a P.O.T.Y award (and again, one has to appreciate the irony that the acronym just happens to remind us of all the sh*t we put up with – figuratively and literally) by the way, as you read these, you need to imagine that Jeff Foxworthy is saying them in his “You Might be a Redneck” voice:

Monday, August 26, 2013

Don't Blink . . .

. . . or you might look over one day and realize that your 6th grader has practiced her leg shaving skills on your 7 year-old.

"I don't smile for pictures" is what this child says to me!
The summer has flown by, I’m now the parent of a 6th grader and I’m in complete denial of what I call the “trickle down” effect of having older children in the house.  For everything from chores to bedtime to learning about body hair, the younger children learn it all at the same time the oldest one does!   And good, bad or ugly, I need to buckle up because there are a few things I’ve learned over my summer vacation with three pre-teens (oh yes, I said it, even the 7 year-old Id is going on 16 and momma’s in for a loooooooooong decade)!  Gone are the days when my biggest concern was a rock stuck up someone’s nose or a crayon stuck in an ear.

Of course, I meant to write many times over the summer, but every time I tried to sit down before midnight, someone was coloring someone’s hair, shaving someone’s legs, destroying someone else’s bedroom and generally about to commit some form of Hara Kari!

Here are what I call my Summer 2013 Greatest Hits:

Friday, July 26, 2013

I hold these truths to be self evident . . .

. . . that all children are created equal (but they will argue to the death that they are “more equal” than their siblings), that they are endowed by their creators (aka those who put their DNA together never truly appreciating how all those bad traits they have could combine and manifest themselves as Mommy+Daddy, 2.0) with certain inalienable rights, that among these are:

 Life – that might be hanging by a thread if you create a scenario where mommy pulls out the old “I brought you into this world, I can take you out!"

Liberty – which is only possible if mommy DOES NOT send you to your room “until you are forty”

The Pursuit of Happiness – which mommy can make d@mn near impossible if you push her too far!

It’s been three weeks since we celebrated the very document that gave rise to these words, but as the children are now at summer camp and mommy is enjoying a “summer camp” of her own with daddy in  South Carolina, mommy thought it only fitting to utilize those words to describe what lessons she learned when she spent her first full 24-7 stay at home mommy summer week with the children and  what she now realizes was “unstructured” time (CAVEAT: of course, mommy wrote these words BEFORE she left on her vacation and now she is posting them as she is sitting on a porch in Beaufort South Carolina with her glass of Skinny Girl - so, don't feel too sorry for her, but if you ever feel like the descriptions below, leave your children in the capable hands of college students in the mountains for 14 days and it will cure you right up):

1) “Summer bridge” workbooks and summer incentive programs so that your kids “avoid the summer slide” were created by the same people who you tortured for 9 months as you dropped off your children at 8:30am and picked them up at 2:30pm (aka your child’s teacher).  This fact should make you very suspicious of pursuing a course where you try to have your kids do these workbooks.  Of course, what the reviews for these books DON’T tell you is that you had better take a class on how to do 2nd, 4th AND 6th grade math, language, grammar and science because when your kid asks you what a quadrangle, dangling participle or a preposition is, you better have a better answer than “lets see what Google says”. 

This picture's been used before, but it's so priceless I couldn't resist using it again.  Not sure who was more tortured - the Id who was stuck in the chair, or mommy who had to enforce the punishment!
And by the way, I also learned that I need to seek a refund of my undergrad and law school tuition.  I am in no way suited to be alone with 2nd, 4th and 6th grade children working on summer workbooks.

There are two workbooks I would recommend, however, if you have kids that might have ADD or OCD issues.  They are:

I won't identify which kid has what issue, but these books have been very helpful for 2 of the kids.

2) Multi-tasking should be re-named “WTF-are-you-doing-taking-your-eyes-off-the-children-when-they-are-loose-in-your-house" tasking.  When I was working I somehow managed to get myself showered, dressed, children fed, lunches made, and out the door by 8am.  I did this all while typing out an e-mail, answering a phone call, and signing the permission slip that wasn’t due for another week.  Now, I’m lucky to get out the door with my hair brushed, and forget that shower thing . . . that’s not happening. Oh, and those permission slips – I actually average at least once where I have to ask the teacher for another copy.  Last week I was lucky to be out of the house by noon, and I was lucky to have showered.  The 24-7 exposure to miniature versions of myself made my brain mush.

I have absolutely no idea what the children are doing with their faces, and it wasn't until I posted this photo that I realized they even did that!!!  Mush, I tell you, mush!!!
3) During the summer the phrase “stay at home" mom manifests itself as “Dear God, please, can I be anywhere but home" mom; for if you are at home with your beloved children, someone (named the Id) might get strapped to a chair with an ace bandage so she can’t run away, and someone (named mommy) might find herself the spectacle of the neighborhood as she sits on her front porch and cries during her nervous breakdown!  Of course, at the time mommy was not sure if she was crying because she was really upset, or if she had such bad PMS that she could no longer control herself!!  Mommy can’t even bring herself to think of what it’s going to be like when there are FOUR of us suffering from PMS.  We’re pretty sure mommy will have actually moved into the looney bin by then.

A P.S. to the Nana who I am certain will put this in her custody file - that was an ace bandage and she was able to get out of the chair if she tried hard enough!!!!
Moral of this tale, if you have any prayer of any semblance of sanity, DO NOT “just hang out” with the children.  You can:

Visit the NAT! (Natural History Museum)
Of course, you may regret the gelato stop when the children become absolute looney tunes because of the sugar.  Nonetheless, Yelp didn't lie - Pappalecco in San Diego's Little Italy was the yummiest gelato I've had since going to Italy 10 years ago!

Visit the San Diego Children's Discovery Museum in Escondido.

Of course, mommy didn't remember her ice cream rule from the day before .  This was at Golden Spoon,  which,  by the way, was really good.  I loved the way they did their toppings (inside the yogurt, not just on top).

Pick Strawberries in Carlsbad!
These strawberries were so good, they ate 2/3 of them before we even got home.
One BIG CAVEAT - it's very muddy in some parts, and this is what your child's shoes can look like.  Of course, this is my little tomboy the Ego (middle child)!  We needed those shoes the next day for summer camp.  CRAAAAAAP!

 And, of course, enjoy the San Diego sand and sun!!

Oh yeah, and the other moral . . . send the children away to sleepaway camp, and send yourself for a southern vacation for two weeks!!

Second generation campers at Geneva Glen Camp in Colorado.
Mommy and Daddy at Magnolia Plantation outside Charleston - Gorgeous!
 And before you go, you could get a new do!

Mommy sent TEN INCHES to the organization Children with Hair Loss, and she couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity to have done so!!  Got a sassy new do and helped a girl scout troop earn their bronze award.  :-)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Life Happens . . .

. . . when you have other plans.

This past week was one of those where we had planned a Triathlon, a visit to the County Fair, Camp Runamuk and a 3 day vacation within the span of 5 days.  I say “we” as if Husband from Heaven had anything to do with packing that much insanity into such a short span of time.   I really shouldn’t put this on him . . . then again . . . he’s not getting off that easy because he is what we call an "enabler", so I think he’s half responsible!

In hindsight, it was one of those weeks where I look back and think “how the f*&# did I fit that much sh*t into 7 days?! Actually, I didn't . . .

Yeah, this week the universe had slightly different plans for mommy, and rather than a Triathlon she started the week with TWO visits to the ER and ended it putting the dog to sleep (Ok, I have to admit . . . HfH actually took the dog because Mommy was too traumatized).

But, as we all know, mommies don’t actually get sick days, and as usual, we did almost everything and of course, I learned a few things along the way:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Just in case parent of the year isn't all wrapped up . . .

. . . I figured I should provide a post I was going to do in April shortly after Husband from Heaven and I thought it would be a good idea to take the children to the middle of the desert for the Stagecoach Music Festival.  Of course, I actually forgot that I had written this post until I came it across it today.  I also think I hesitated in posting this for fear that my mother would add it to her already thick custody file; but, we’re so far gone and as we all plan our summer vacations, I figured someone might actually be able to benefit from what I call:

Quotes from your children indicating that you may want to select another vacation destination:

Friday, June 21, 2013

Beach Bummed . . .

It's the first official day of summer, and mommy has survived the first full week of summer vacation.  I'll just admit that mommy hasn't quite broken open the case of Skinny Girl, but she's REALLY thankful that next week is a full week of Summer Camp! 

To start out the summer vacation, we HAD to do nothing other than . . . go to the beach, of course.  But, what happens when it's 1 day in to summer vacation and you really piss the mommy off?!  Well, lets just say that the Id (the baby) found out!

Little booger spent the entire time at the beach in that chair reading a book.
Mommy is so mean she didn't even let her make a sandcastle!!
So, while we're on the topic of things you find out during summer vacation, here is what mommy learned are the top Summer MUST HAVES and Summer MUST NOTS:

Monday, June 17, 2013

Clampett Family Father's Day

So here's a lesson I learned the hard way . . . when it is Father's Day and you feel guilty because you have left your three children plus your niece with your husband on his day so that you could attend your cousin's graduation, do not say "sure honey, we can do whatever you want after I get home in early afternoon".  If you say this, you may find that your husband says "Ok, I'd like to go to the Swap Meet".  We all know that I adore HfH, but his frugality can drive me batty!  He knows full well that anything that starts with "Swap" gives me hives.  But, it was his day, so off we went.

Here's what I learned about something for which the only description I can come up with is "Craigslist on Steroids":

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The anti-pinterest!

I thought this title was only fitting because to me, Pinterest is something akin to the anti-Christ.  And I've decided that to save mommies out there from hours of trying these crazy DIY ideas, I'll instead post the "real mommy" version of Pinterest ideas.  We'll call it "What this sh*t really looks like erest".  Maybe "Realsh*terest" for short.  Still too long and complex?!

In order to get some inspiration for my crazy shenanigans, I occasionally peek at Pinterest.  Despite urging from several friends I still haven't "joined" Pinterest for fear that they will in fact kick me off for posting what stuff really turns out like.

But, against my better judgement, the other day for the Ego and Superego's softball parties I thought I would use my new Cakepop maker and make little softballs.  Thankfully this cakepop maker was from BabyCakes, and it makes perfect cake pops every time - unlike the Jaba the Hut version that was circa 4th of July 2012.

Btw, cake that looks hideous, does not taste hideous!  Just for grins I should have laid these out at the 4th of July picnic for everyone at the park to see and wonder "what in the hell happened there?!"  And rather than a sign that says "SH*T Happens" it would have had a sign that said "Pinterest Happens".

But, here is "the sh*t that neither BabyCakes nor Pinterest will tell you" before you embark on your cake pop adventure:

Friday, May 17, 2013

Happiest f*#*(& place on earth . . .

. . . just got grumpier. . . oh, wait, I mean . . .

So this post was supposed to be completed in mid-March just following spring break.  Again, better late than never!  I figured now was a good time to post as we are all preparing for summer vacations!

For my niece's birthday the Trifecta and I traveled to Disneyland for a girls weekend.  In honor of the weekend I've decided to re-draft the Disneyland marketing materials to more accurately reflect how amazing the experience can be.  For your convenience, I have added information in italics that I think might get left off the brochure so want to make sure you have it.

1) Located in always sunny Southern California with plenty of time to work on your tan.  (Located in in the armpit of southern California where on a good day it feels like you are a mile from the sun.  Your outdoor wait times will be so long that you will put 2 applications of sunscreen on before arriving at the front of the line that happens to be INSIDE!)

We still can't believe we got my niece to copy her cousins like that!  

2) Luxury hotel room includes special access to resort attractions. (Pay through the nose for an "adequate" hotel room so that you and 5,000 of your closest friends can enjoy one extra hour of 10 minute lines rather than 45 minute lines.  All bets are off when 50,000 more of your closest friends show up 60 minutes later to crash your party.  Oh, and you MAY spend the first 15 minutes just getting to the first attraction, so you really only have 45 minutes.)

Don't let the cheshire grins fool you . . . the baby looks like we all feel, I was just able to bribe the other two!

3) Lots of entertainment for the whole family. (After a 45+ minute wait in the blazing sun with starving, sleep deprived children, you can enjoy 2 1/2 minutes of entertainment featuring cardboard cutouts).

If they could point those "blasters" at each other and have paint balls hit each other, they would have!

4) Beautiful Sunrises (If you do not get your @$& out of bed at 5:00am to be at the gates 1/2 hour before the 7am opening, you might as well sleep until 10pm because that's the next time you'll see a line shorter than 45 minutes).

5) Family Friendly environment (There is NO ALCOHOL within the entire park.  You have to schlep your @$& and all your belongings to "California Adventure" for adult beverages.)

At least we found a way to entertain the baby.
4) Accessible Restroom facilities (That can only be found by those who have been in the park many times and that were placed by an adult who can hold it and won't decide just as you are getting on the ride that it's an emergency).

5) Well-maintained, gorgeous pool. (That you can't swim in because every 45 minutes the pool has to be closed for an hour because some kid sh*t in the pool and we don't want to kill you with E-coli).

This was the closest we got to a picture of the pool.
6) A land full of Fantasy awaits children 6 and over.  (Our "Fantasyland" consists of rides highlighting absentee mothers, mothers who poison their children, man eating whales, Toad's that go KaBOOOM, a queen who screams when her flowers are not the right color and pirates who make little girls walk the plank - such images are best enjoyed by children who are no longer afraid of Monsters under the bed - but, if they'd like to know what happens to those monsters, we have a ride for that too, but you'll have to "hop" over to our other park).

I'm not exactly sure what possessed me to go to Disneyland by myself with three children, one of whom is a "runner" and impossible to locate in our own house.  The first hour of each day (otherwise known as Magic Hour), we did have a great time, so I can't complain too much.

BUT, if you ever feel the inclination to do this to YOURSELF, maybe the following lessons can assist you:

1) The Disneyland Touring Plans App is a must.  You can sign up here.  Just be sure you DO NOT give in to your child and believe that the lines won't be what the app says they will if you don't follow their suggested plans.  These people have the lines down to a science and you should trust them!

2) DO NOT leave your 10 year-old child in charge of one of your bags while you run after her sister.  For if you do, you may come back to find that your bag has been quarantined by security and you have to wait 10 minutes for security to search and clear your bag - that is full of clothes and sunscreen.  This my friends, was a mother of the year moment.  I ask the Superego where our bag is and she says "over there".  As I look over, a Disney "Cast Member" is standing by the bag that is now surrounded by stanchions and rope.  She would not let me touch the bag until security could arrive.  Mother of the year moment, right there!  Of course, on a serious note, I wrote this (and was supposed to post) before Boston.  Now, I'm grateful for the proactive approach of the Disney cast members, and am reminded that even when we enter a world of Fantasy, we can't escape our post 9/11 reality.

3) Fantasyland is the only place in the park that you cannot Fast Pass any of the rides.  Go there first thing and get it out of the way before the little ones who actually belong there wake up and make it from the entrance gate.

4) Park Hopper tickets are a rip-off.  The only person who can "hop" that far that fast is the Easter bunny on Speed!  More than once I've been duped into buying the park hopper ticket only to find out that I can barely finish one park in a day to say nothing of two of them, especially with small kids.

5) World of Color at California Adventure is a must see.  BUT, if they tell you that you are in the "wet zone", you MUST wear a rain coat.  Otherwise, you will spend the entire time ducking and praying that the water show ends soon.

Of course, none of this will deter us from visiting again, but next time it will be on a weekday in the middle of winter!!!

The Id has had enough of mommy's constant pictures!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mommy is best at . . .

. . . “yelling!”  Love, the Id.

Is what was contained in the card the Id (the baby) gave mommy for Mother’s Day.  

After yelling a few choice words in my head, and pulling the knife out of my heart, I pulled a classic mommy move . . . I said sweetly “thanks so much”, turned around and left the room to pour myself a drink.

As I reflect on mother’s day (or as I like to refer to it, the holiday from hell where all mommies are set up to think that their children will somehow have a lobotomy and will avoid fighting, kicking, screaming and reminding mommy why it is that she needs cocktail hour), here’s what I’ve learned about Karma:

Monday, April 29, 2013

Always more time for foolin' the kids . . . and margaritas!

What happens when . . .
1) The Easter Bunny comes waaaaaay too early;
2) You have a mommy who takes sick joy out of “foolin” her children and their friends; and
3) There is an international holiday centered around margaritas?!

. . . you get a Fools Eggscinco Hunt!!

Mommy decided that she still wanted to have her spring egg hunt, but couldn’t get her sh*t together fast enough to do it before Easter, so she decided to have it 3 weeks later and make it an April Fools, Cinco de Mayo Spring Egg Hunt.  

Here’s what we all learned when the children and Husband from Heaven let mommy’s creativity run wild:

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Ain't no foolin . . .

. . . it was a baaaaaaad stay at home mommy day, and I kept wondering when someone was going to jump out of the closet and yell "April Fools"!

The rain stopped me from doing my run in the morning, a strep throat false alarm hijacked my mid-morning and afternoon, and my poor coughing child hijacked my evening.

I did, of course, find time to f*&# with the children though!  I still haven't figured out why none of them get me back.  It must be fear of retribution.  Of course, the Superego (oldest) spent the better part of her strep throat false alarm trying to figure out ways to mess with her sisters and her dad.  That should have been my first clue that she was a big faker.  But, she came up with some clever tricks that I may have to use again.

Here's what I learned about messing with your kids on April Fool's Day:

Friday, February 15, 2013

I cannot tell a lie . . .

. . . mommy got a tattoo.  I thought it only fitting that near Washington's birthday I should share just how far my cherry obsession has gone.

Of course, I realize that MY mommy’s mouth just fell on the floor.  Not quite sure about Husband from Heaven’s mommy, but I’m pretty sure a tattoo parlor was not exactly where she would envision her son spending Valentines Day with his wife.

So yes, I’ve taken my cherry obsession to the next level and here’s what I’ve learned

Sunday, February 10, 2013

My teeth are shrinking . . .

. . . from all that f*&#ing valentines day candy you are eating.  Oh, no, that’s not what I said to the Id (the baby) today.  No, today she decided that she couldn’t do her chores because . . . and I quote “my teeth are shrinking”.  We can’t figure out if this is because her teeth hurt because she has a bacterial infection in them because her parents don’t adequately supervise the nighttime teeth brushing routine, or if this is one of those “I can’t do my chores because it takes away my smiles” moments.  Either way, Husband from Heaven couldn’t help himself but laugh out loud and make her repeat it to me.

On the valentines day candy note, we had our first annual Runamuk Manor Valentines making tea party yesterday. 

Here’s what I learned:

Monday, February 4, 2013

Abracadabra . . .

. . . POOF, you’re SECOND child is now one year shy of being a decade old too! (Warning . . . the following contains more cuss words than usual.  Mommy's not really sure why.  Maybe it's been building up.  She did drink 4 days this week).

WTF?! . . .when did my kids get so old?!  And, why have I not learned to stop asking the Ego (the middle child) what theme she wants for her birthday party?!  Last year it was Tom and Jerry.  Seriously, a cartoon that hasn’t seen primetime since I was in the third grade?!  This year it was Wizards of Waverly Place.  At least this year was a bit more mainstream, but girlfriend pushed my creativity limits because apparently no one does these kinds of parties.  Just ask Party City or Oriental Trading! 

First she asked to go to Medieval Times.  So instead of NOT cleaning my house,  NOT planning one single moment of the party, and sitting back and enjoying some good old fashioned entertainment. I had the brilliant idea that I would talk her into not just a party, but a sleepover!  I have GOT to stop drinking so much.

So, mommy just made sh*t up, as she’s been known to do.  At the very bottom of the post is a list of the things I did along with the spells/rhymes to go along with them.  Unless you plan on pulling a rabbit out of your @$& . . . I mean, hosting a Wizards of Waverly Place party, you can stop reading after lesson #4!

Here’s what mommy learned about magically bringing your child’s birthday wishes come true (and pulling a few surprises out of her @$&):

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Operation Groundhog!

You've heard of Punxsutawney Phil, well meet Do-si-do Dottie!!

It's Girl Scout cookie time and mommy's absolutely lost her mind (as if this was a surprise to anyone).

Today as I was pondering what to do for Groundhog day (and in case you are wondering, yes, I've been drinking a lot lately, hence coming up with the idea to do something for Groundhog Day), I came across this adorable dessert in the Disney Family Fun magazine.  I'd show you a picture of what theirs looked like, but a) I can't find it on the internet; and b) why would I do that and show you what this is actually supposed to look like?!  Their dessert is a groundhog made with Pepperidge Farm Mint Milano cookies and Oreos, among other things.

As I looked in my garage at more girl scout cookies than I could ever fathom I thought "well, why should I pay extra for cookies when I've got a few right here?!".  Of course, the ever frugal Husband from Heaven pointed out that I would have gotten waaaaaay more cookies for much cheaper if I had bought the Milanos and Oreos!

But, alas, in true mommy fashion I decided to make my own version of Groundhog cookies and this is how they turned out:

The girls mimicking what emotion they think their groundhog has!  The Ego's got a pretty good "mad" face.  And we all know how much practice the Id has had with the fake sad face!!!
These were super easy to make.  Just make pudding according to this recipe (this was sooooo good).
Then, use the following ingredients:
Crushed Thin Mints
Do-si-do cookies
Slivered almonds (2 for the ears and smaller broken pieces for teeth)
Butterscotch, peanut butter or white chocolate chips (whatever might be in your cupboard)
Black or brown frosting or gel

Crush up the thin mints and put on top of the pudding

Put some slivered almonds in a Do-si-do for ears;
Attach the chips (we used white chocolate and "glued it on" using left over pudding);
Put some gel dots on for eyes
Shove some almond pieces in under the white chocolate chips for teeth (check out the snaggle tooth below on the front left) and

Before you know it, you have Do-si-do Dottie!!

Hopefully the groundhog in your area didn't see it's shadow.  Here in San Diego, I'm not sure it's ever seen it's shadow.  I'm certain we'll see 80 degrees before the week is out.

I hope you enjoyed your Groundhog Day!  And, don't forget to support those girl scouts in your lives!