The dinner time ritual

Let me paint you a wonderful picture:

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A family is sitting down for dinner. Mom and dad are pulling the delicious meal from the oven, maybe putting a few sides in bowls and placing them on the table, the kids are adorning the table with napkins and forks. Everyone sits down to enjoy the meal mom and/or dad labored over for at least the last 45 minutes. UNTIL….

“I’m not hungry.”

“BLEH.”

“Done!”

Welcome to my hell. Yes, dinner time is my actual hell. Feeding two kids under the age of 5 is actual torture. If the CIA/FBI/NCIS/Any other acronym you can think of really wants information from someone, ask them to cook a dinner and sit down to enjoy that dinner with toddlers. I promise you, they will give up any information they are holding on to.

Dinner in my house seems to be done before it even gets started. Most recipes take 30 minutes (plus the prep time). I am averaging 45 minutes in the kitchen, which in the scheme of things it isn’t that long, but when you sit down to eat that meal and your kid won’t even take a bite and the other one is picking at the broccoli, you wonder what the heck you are doing it all for.

Will they eat chicken nuggets and mac & cheese every night if you let them? ABSOLUTELY. Do you want to feed your kids chicken nuggets and mac & cheese every night? ABSOLUTELY! But you realize that as the grown up in this situation, you have to make tough choices, and for whatever reason that means you put yourself through self-inflicted torture of making a meal you yourself are probably half-excited about to feed to a pond of flesh hungry piranhas for them to say they are done after licking their fork.
Forget that 5 minutes before dinner was ready, your kids were on the verge of disintegrating because they were so famished. Forget that they were whining about needing food NOW and you promised them food in just five minutes. Dinner literally just needed to be taken out of the oven, placed on the table, then onto their plates. Yet, somewhere in that point of dying because they were so hungry and sitting down at the table, the three animal crackers in their bellies turned into a 5 course meal and their stomachs are magically full. Who knew I was experiencing a miracle every night at the dinner table!

So if your dinner table looks anything remotely like mine, don’t despair. All you can do is put food on the table, get the kids to sit for 5.7 seconds, and just know that they will never be so hungry that they will actually disintegrate. Then try to enjoy an unplanned romantic meal by yourself or with your significant other while the the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song in the background sets the mood.

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My Hesitant Nutritional Journey

 

carrot-1085063_1920We live in a very conflicting world. We are bombarded by images of “perfect” bodies, sex appeal, and 1,001 diets we can jump on to help us lose weight. At the same time we are also bombarded with stories about learning how to fuel our bodies properly, being strong and confident versus tall and thin, and loving the body we have been given. As an adult, this can get confusing, so imagine what it’s like for the youngest members of our family.

I recently decided for myself that I needed to change some bad habits. I have a HUGE sweet tooth and I love my carbs and dairy. Subsequently, so do my kids. I have been a part of an accountability group for months. Each month I feel motivated and determined, then week one comes and goes and then all of a sudden the month is already over without me making much of an effort and continuing to find excuses.

A lot of friends have jumped on the Whole 30 diet, Paleo diet, or 21 Day Fix diet. (I hate calling them diets because that has such a bad connotation.) While I am not ready to give up dairy, coffee, or the occasional glass of wine, I am ready to change some dietary habits. What has jumped out at me the most was the fundamentals of each of these diets; moving away from processed foods to eating more fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Luckily, our family is pretty good at limiting processed foods, but you put a vegetable in front of me and you might as well call the hazard team over.

Don’t get me wrong, I love vegetables. I love broccoli, Brussel sprouts, green beans, asparagus, but I genuinely HATE cooking. If I could have a permanent chef in my house to cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner- cutting up a fruit salad, preparing my dishes, I would eat SO. MUCH. BETTER. I now described wanting my very own nanny (maybe Corinne from the Bachelor was on to something) and now I am wondering why when I do this all for my kids, they refuse to eat anything. Don’t they know a good thing?!

Also, if anyone can figure out why I take the time to prep my kids meals and make them well balanced dishes, how do I manage to still eat like complete crap. This was where I knew I needed to start. I finally (after 4 years of prepping meals) that maybe, JUST MAYBE, if I also took a few minutes to put some extra fruit and veggies into a third bowl then I would eat a tad bit better. SO… that is what I started doing this week.

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So after weeks of inspirational and motivational posts from friends about eating mostly fruits and vegetables, feeling amazing, having more energy, sleeping better, feeling stronger, and no longer making the number on the scale a thing, I was convinced that it was my time to start doing this too. I know it’s not going to be easy. There are days I’m going to want to binge eat a package of Oreos and there might be days I allow myself to, but I’m going to stop making the number on the scale mean something and start making my body the priority. I need to be happy, healthy, and strong for two small kiddos who look up to me. If I can’t do a hard thing for myself, then I will at least do it for them and my husband.

If you are on your own nutritional journey, I would love for you to share. I know some have FB pages, some have blogs— share your story, because you never know when you will inspire someone else.

Green Little Leprechauns

It seems as though on March 17 (and the days surrounding), everyone becomes Irish. Green is worn with pride. Parades become a family tradition. Corned beef, cabbage, and Irish soda bread adorns dinner tables. I’m proud to have Irish blood in me and I love to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. I love it even more now that I have kids. Here are some ideas to make your St. Patrick’s Day a little more fun and a little more green!

Leprechaun Traps

IMG_7200This week, we worked extremely hard on our leprechaun traps. This became more of a thing for us when my kids entered school. I remember doing it with my students, but it’s way more fun to see your own kids at work. All you need is a box. It can be as small or as big as you can handle. My oldest started hers in school and brought it home and worked on it for another 2 days! Some traps are covered completely in green, maybe painted or wrapped in paper. Ours were simple and decorated with favorite stickers. Crayons and paint markers are our favorite decorating tools in our house and were also out, but my kids seemed to stick with stickers.

IMG_7203You set the traps the night before St. Patrick’s Day and put something inside you think the leprechauns would like. Some suggestions: anything gold/shiny, picture of a rainbow, a pretend leprechaun. Set the traps and kids go to bed. When they wake up, the traps are closed and inside may be a leprechaun, but in most cases, they are too sneaky and fast to catch and instead they leave behind candy or chocolate. Ours left behind notes, too.

Mischievous Behavior

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Leprechauns are known for their mischievous behavior. In my classroom, the kids would come in to overturn garbage cans, green footprints on the floor and up the walls, lots of glitter, things put in the wrong place, and green toilets. They are not AS messy at home, in our case. We wake up to a green toilet and a few green footprints on the toilet seat. Some friends woke up to green milk or green eggs, footprints on highchair trays, and books knocked off shelves. There is no changing food or drink colors in my house as I believe my kids won’t eat or drink anything green and I hate the idea of wasting food, even for a day, so maybe one day this will be in our routine, but for now, it’s just a little green on the toilet.

Erin go Bragh

No matter how big or little your St. Patrick’s Day traditions are, may you find a little Irish in your self today. May you find luck and good fortune.

May you always have…
Walls for the winds 
A roof for the rain 
Tea beside the fire 
Laughter to cheer you 
Those you love near you 
And all your heart might desire.

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(photo credit: my lovely momma on her trip to Ireland a few years ago)

 

Wardrobe Capsule Guide *GIVEAWAY*

GIVEAWAY!!!
Are you looking for ways to make your wardrobe easy and stylish?! I have a capsule wardrobe guide ($27 value) to giveaway from my dear friends at Apple and Pear Wardrobe Design! The goal of the capsule wardrobe is to make it easy for you to have better style. Capsule wardrobes save you time and money, and take away wardrobe stress each morning, with less $ than you ever thought possible. 35 pieces, over 100 outfits, all mapped out for you!!

Jennifer Mary spoke to my MOPS group recently and I love her simplicity and straightforwardness. I love that she made it clear that just because most of us were stay-at-home moms that there was no reason we couldn’t be put together. I have always been a mom who needs to be dressed and ready before my kids get up. Even in college, I never wore yoga pants or sweatpants to class. I believe in getting dressed, even if I was the only one seeing it.

I find that too many stay-at-home mom are stuck in this “I have no one to impress” mindset and that not only can damage one’s own psyche but can also feed into other areas (marriage, self-esteem, kids). Just by putting on real adult clothes and stepping out of the over priced, “feels like butta” leggings or yoga pants you are sporting and putting on a simple cotton black dress or jeans and a graphic tee can totally change your mindset and get you feeling more like a human than just a chauffeur, chef, maid to your family. These simple to assemble outfits will get you out the door in no time and really pick you up!

              

In order to enter the giveaway, you must head over to my FB page and:

1. LIKE Darling Chaos page; 2. Comment on THIS post; AND 3. SHARE the post.

Winner will be announced Sunday night at 8:30pm!

https://appleandpearwardrobe.leadpages.co/transform-your-wardrobe/

Bloglovin’

When I was first home from the hospital after having both baby number 1 and number 2, there are lots of hours in the day that you can’t do much else besides feed your baby. I found Bloglovin’. I found some amazing blogs to follow on there from parenting to cooking/baking, to healthier living. I’m now on there! I would love for you to follow me and while you are on there, find some other amazing blogs to follow!

<a href=”https://www.bloglovin.com/blog/18777343/?claim=urxvwk3e7hm”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Potty Train in 24 Hours?!

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You probably clicked on this post because of the amazing title, right?! So we are in the middle of potty training the second child. It’s also our first experience with a boy. I have read EVERY 3-day training guide that is out there. I’ve asked for tips and tricks from other moms. I have had dreams about Toy Story and Mickey undies and lots and lots of laundry. Then we started!! I was ready. I was amped! I was going to get my son potty trained in 3 days, if not less!! And…… it failed.

So while there are a ton of moms out there who are claiming the 3-day potty training guide works, it did not for us. OK— so I will also admit that I was not FULLY committed. I was not ready to throw away ALL diapers/pull ups in the name of my sanity. Rest time and bed time were non-negotiable times of the day that we used these. Being a military wife and dealing with potty training with a boy on my own, I wanted to keep my limited sanity of not cleaning sheets twice a day (or more) and I’m pretty sure my washing machine is also singing my praises and thanking me for this decision. I can ONLY handle so much bodily fluid in one day. Between dog walks, a 4 year old daughter who still needs some bathroom help, and a potty training 2 year old, I had to set limits!

So, why the post, you ask?! While the 3-day method didn’t work, I have found some success. Are we fully potty trained yet? No, but we are well on our way. He turns 3 next week and I would love to be over the hump before then. So I am going to share what I have done and maybe it will help someone else in the wide world of the internet!

Is your child ready?

This always seems to be the first step. I was told by lots of people that I will know when he is ready to start potty training. Even my daughter, at 18 months, started to show interest in the potty without any attempt from me, so why wouldn’t my second? We had only one indication. It was much like a war zone. He would find a hiding place, set up camp, keep a look out, and defend his territory if we began to advance. All so he could poop in “private.” OK– this MUST be the indication he is ready, so I followed the books and pumped him with water, juice, milk– whatever liquid I could entice him with and placed him on the potty every 15 minutes. HUGE MISTAKE.

Feeling the pressure

He began to feel the pressure of being put on the potty every 15 minutes. I mean, I was totally cool, calm, and collected. I couldn’t imagine why he didn’t want to go on the potty through my screams and cries of pee on the floor that I had to mop up for the 20th time that day, all happening 30 seconds after he screamed to get off the potty because he was done. He clearly wasn’t ready. I clearly wasn’t ready.

Bring in reinforcements

If you have a spouse at home to help, FANTASTIC!!! They can be the one who leaves the house and worries about the grocery shopping or the errand running or the chauffeuring the other kid(s). OR you make sure you are all on the same plan and it allows YOU to sneak away for a short period of time. This step is HUGE. I had my parents in town for a weekend and it was the perfect time to introduce the “no diaper while we are awake” concept. I was able to still run to the store or make sure my poor 4 year old wasn’t house bound for 3 days because her brother was being potty trained. My parents were on the same page as me and it allowed me to always have one adult at home with him so we weren’t tempting fate. Then they went back home and I fell apart. More because I can’t be house bound for a week. My oldest has preschool; I work in the afternoons; we have babysitters. It wasn’t practical and all that progress went right out the window because I immediately reverted back to pull-ups.

The last straw

I’m anxious for my boy to be ready for camps this summer and school in the fall. The whole being diaper free is just icing on the cake. We are back to the idea of wearing undies at all times when we are in our house (minus rest/bed time). We have had HUGE success this time around. I’m keeping the pressure low and the enthusiasm high. He gets 2 M&Ms for each time he pees. He especially loves yellow ones, so this is our incentive. It doesn’t work every time, but it works enough. Wearing his favorite characters is also a pretty big incentive… although having Mickey on the pull-up sort of defeats this incentive some days. When we make some ground on the #2, I will update this post. Until then, feel free to share your best potty training tips— for boys or girls or if you can provide us with a good laugh with an experience, I would love to hear it!

To all the mamas potty training, may the force and the Clorox wipes be with you!

When a village doesn’t feel like a village

We are in a unique world. Sitting with some friends this week, we had a very interesting conversation about where our expectation of being a “perfect” mom comes from and what we think a perfect mom does. My two cents was that we see the “perfect” moments people photographer-16022_1920share on Facebook. You know- the picture of the perfectly dressed kid making the most perfect bubble with the most perfect smile with the most perfect caption of being a perfect day with their perfect child and everyone is happy and healthy and perfect. You know those pictures? Except we don’t see the tantrum right after the picture was taken, a perfect bubble solution puddle developed and the wand and bottle were thrown in a tantrum or the mess of a mom on the other side of the camera. We don’t see the other kid swing upside down from the front steps throwing rocks and sticks. (OK– maybe this is just at my house?!)

So I find that we need a village to talk to, vent to, bounce ideas off of, but it’s hard to come by. We don’t live in the times of all stay at home moms who are doing their laundry together while their kids play in unison somewhere in the neighborhood. We don’t live during the times of one big casserole feeding a family of 8 and everyone is sitting down at the table at 6pm sharp. We live in a world of trying to buy the most perfect, organic, non-GMO food, preparing the best gourmet meals no kid  anyone would eat, while washing our clothes in the most environmentally stable detergent, and signing our kids up for all the top activities in town and we barely get a sit down dinner.

Our villages have turned virtual because that is the world we live in. So what’s the problem?! The problem is that people monitor and make rules to these virtual villages. By sharing a personal blog post, it’s look upon as “selling one’s ideas” and that topics need to be shared that are interesting to everyone. A village isn’t about what is convenient, happy, and perfect all the time, that’s why we need it. It’s about brainstorming ideas or thoughts around with others, venting when things get hard, looking for support when support is needed.

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I’ve decided this week (after my last post) that I don’t want to be a “perfect” mom. I want to be a mom who supports my kids’ ideas and emotions. I want to be the mom who other moms can come to knowing there is no judgement. I want to be the mom that embraces all parenting styles, regardless if it’s my own parenting style or not. I want to be the mom that when people stop to think about who they can trust, rely on, bounce ideas off of, vent to, that I come to mind. I want to be the mom that someone can drop by for a cup of coffee, tea, or wine and know it’s a safe place. I’m not saying I’m perfect. I’m not saying I have this parenting thing down, but I can confidently say that I will always do my best to be the most inclusive as I can possibly be. I can confidently say that even if I don’t agree with a decision you make, I will never make you feel judged or wrong just because I don’t agree. I can confidently say that I will do my absolute best to be the role model I want my daughter to have so she can continue in this light one day when she becomes a mom. I want to be a mom who NEEDS a village and is part of a village.

Let’s go forth, supporting each other in a true, real way! KEEP GOING, MAMA! You are a strong, amazing, wonderful mom and we are here to support you 100%!