Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Just For Kicks

I'm in the midst of a crazy week here but I wanted to give you something to hold on to until I could write something terribly witty ;) Cause, you know, we're friends & everything. I like to take care of my people.

This came across my TV this morning. Just a little mom/preschool humor for ya!

You can thank me later.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

5 Signs It's the 1st Week of School

Well, we made it through the first week!

Here are 5 signs that it's the 1st week of school:

1. You've logged more consecutive hours at the bus stop in 3 days than you will all year.

Have you been doing the obligatory bus stop wait? I'll keep showing up until the first frost. After that, these kids are on their own ;) 

2. You're halfway through a new book of checks already.

How many checks have you written this week? School fees, lunch accounts, class t-shirts, the list goes on & on...

3. You have no idea what you've done this week but you're exhausted.

I am tired like no other this week, yet I can't tell you what I've been doing all day. My house is still a wreck but I haven't stopped moving. What have I done? Maybe I should keep a log... on second thought, maybe I shouldn't ;)

4. You had that Holy Crap! Tomorrow is Friday! moment. 

That happened to me as I was brushing my teeth last night. Wait, tomorrow is Friday? Wow, what have I done all week?

5. Your child actually says to you, "Mom, I think I'm acting this way because I'm just so tired."

True story. 

So, I took his advice and put that whiney kid to bed. I love him, but you can only stand so much.

It's the first week of school. Enjoy your well deserved weekend. 

'Twas the Night Before School

And all through the house
ALL the creatures were stirring, including the mouse.

Wait, did you think I actually wrote a poem about the night before school?


Uh, have we met?

I wish I had that kind of time on my hands, except I wouldn't be writing poetry. I'd be reading People magazine or watching E! No, no... I'd be elbows deep in a craft project. ooooohhhh, yeeaaahhh

My back to school eve wasn't so chipper. In fact, it was a bit of a disaster. Dramatically speaking, of course.

Let's start at the beginning.

I was riding the high from the night before when we pummeled the boys with water balloons. You can read about my sneak attack here. It was awesome, kids loved it. Memories made. Boom. I started the day with yet another awesome mom move & took the boys to get hotdogs for lunch. We spent the afternoon at the pool where I successfully defended them from the pool bullies & got their basketball back. I was on fi-yre.

Daddy came home early so I didn't have to load everyone up for football practice AND he took child #3 with him. Double bonus. Off to Kroger for me & the babe, where I saved 25% on my bill (careful planning & coupons). Best 1st day eve yet. I've got this back to school thing.

And that's when it all fell apart. 

No sooner had I entered the garage when it all came unglued. Boys were unloading from football practice. Kid #1 was crying, he spent the whole practice on the sidelines with a stomach ache. Kid #3 was running all over the garage like a maniac. Kid #4 (the baby) started screaming, "I play outside, I play outside" as soon as he saw his brother running around. 

We corralled everyone inside & we playing zone defense with Kid #4 while trying to put away groceries and comforting Kid#1 that was screaming from inside the bathroom about his stomach. All of a sudden, Kid #1 starts throwing up (all over the bathroom floor, not, of course, in the toilet). Now the Hubs is cleaning up puke and I'm trying to keep the groceries from Kid #4 who is scattering them all over the house while simultaneously trying to see what was happening in the bathroom.

Are you tired yet?

By now it's 9:00 (on a school night, mind you). Everyone finally was showered & in bed. There were tears from Kid #2 because he didn't want to go to school the next day. Kid #1 was on the floor in our room in case there was more puking. We finally made it downstairs to pack lunch & tackle the back to school paperwork. I'm starting to feel a little more settled when Kid #3 yells down, "Mommy, can I talk to you about school?"


I brace myself waiting for more tears & questions, especially since he's starting 1st grade. He sits next to me on the couch and says,

"When do you think you're going to be able to bring me Chipotle for lunch?"

Love that kid.

In the end, it all turned out okay. All 3 made it out the door the next morning, no problem. Yes, I did send Kid #1 to school. He woke up fine & had no fever. I did give his teacher a heads up (bet she loved that!). Mom of the Year.

Why am I sharing this? Because I think that I misled you with my post about our water balloon sneak attack. Every now & then, I pull something out of my hat; but most of the time, we're just trying to keep it together like everyone else. I like to keep it real.

The next morning, after all the chaos and everyone was loaded onto their respective busses, I sat down for a minute to snuggle my toddler & watch some Bubble Guppies. It was really quiet in my house.

I miss those guys.

We had an awesome summer & now it was time for an awesome school year.

I let myself be sad for a minute and then I got up & got moving.

After all, those kids were going to be home in 6 hours and I was going to need a nap.

How was your back to school transition? Share with me! 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Shhhhh! It's a Surprise!

This is happening at my house tonight, after 1st grade orientation. 


It's gonna be awesome. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Our Morning Routine

It's Back To School week here on the blog even though we don't technically go back until next week. I'm planning ahead & taking care of this before I get buried in schedules and homework and projects- oh my! I know what's coming & I'm being proactive. So, when you don't hear from me next week you have all of this loveliness to fall back on. You're welcome ;)

I've talked with a lot of parents who struggle with a morning routine & getting kids out the door on time. There's nothing worse than shoving your child out the door to the bus while screaming, "Wait! You have to bring your library book!" I hate having to rush/hurry anybody anywhere. I feel like it sets such a poor tone for the day when somebody is screaming at you to hurry up.

While this does happen occasionally in our house, it's more the exception than the rule. Please note that this is not me saying that we have it all together. Just ask my neighbors, who have definitely heard how much we do no have it all together. But, I think having four bodies that you have to get up & ready leads you to having some type of organization for getting out the door in the mornings. Maybe it's my teacher-brain or my type-A husband, but we run a pretty tight ship in the morning. Here's how we get everyone on the bus without (too much) chaos:

Routine, Routine, Routine

Can't say it enough. Consistency is key to any good system & you must be willing to see it through before you embark. There are no exceptions to the rules, especially in the beginning. Once things are established, you can bend a little but there is no give in the beginning. Here we go!

You are not allowed downstairs until you are fully dressed & ready for the day.

Nobody comes downstairs to eat breakfast in their pj's. We save that for the weekends, when there is less rush. When you get up in the morning, you are responsible for dressing yourself. You brush your teeth, make your bed & do whatever chore you have for that morning. (Click here to see how we do chores at my house.) When you are finished, you may come downstairs.


I don't fight the clothing battle at my house- it's something that I've just chosen to give up, but that's a different post for a different day. We don't do the "pick your outfit the night before" thing because my boys aren't that hung up on clothes- yet. If it's a special occasion, I may lay out clothes the night before or just talk to them about my expectations (i.e. it's picture day, wear a collared shirt). But basically, you go to school in what you decide to wear & I'm okay with it (through clenched teeth). 


You brush your own teeth before breakfast for 2 reasons: A) Your breath stinks & I don't want to smell it and B) if I have to send you back upstairs to brush (especially more than one of you) I lose you to distraction & I need you focused in the morning because Momma isn't getting up any earlier than she has to. Dentists: I know you should technically brush after meals but feel free to come to my house & show me how that goes while you're trying to get 3 out the door & manage a toddler. This works for me, I'm going with it for now. 

Shoes on, lunch & snack packed, backpack is zipped & ready before we eat. 


I hate velcro shoes so all of my boys have to tie their shoes as soon as they are capable. I also have a "no shoes in the house" rule that I let go of in the mornings. I'm not having children putting on shoes right before we're due to leave. That leads to chaos & yelling. So, in the name of sanity, I chose to let that one go in the morning. Shoes are centrally located in the laundry room in a handy shoe cabinet from IKEA that I recommend.

I used to keep socks by the shoes but have since moved them upstairs. That's going to require some planning from the boys this year. Do I have gym? Yes, so I need socks.  Or No, I can wear my forbidden flip-flops.

Lunch & Snacks

This requires some prep on your part. I pack all lunches the night before in Snapware labeled with each child's name.

Everybody has a Camelbak water bottle that is filled & ready to go before bed.

You put your lunch & your water bottle into your lunch bag- which I've laid out for you (the night before) with your daily lunchbox note already inside- and put it in your backpack. If you have something in your lunch that needs to be kept cold, you are responsible for getting an icepack out of the freezer & putting it in your lunch bag. I ALWAYS ask if this happened- no need to for anyone to get sick. (My husband is rolling his eyes right now.)

Snacks are packed similarly; click here for how I deal with snacks at my house. The boys know what & where the approved snacks are. They grab what they want & pack that as well. Snacks are packed separately from lunches at my boys' schools, so I encourage them to take something small & easy. 

Backpack is zipped & ready

This means that your backpack is ready for the day & contains whatever it may need: planner, folder, etc. We use our command center to manage this. The boys also check their daily schedule to see if they need to return something (like library books) or dress accordingly (gym shoes). I like backpacks zipped before being officially packed & ready. If they're not, it just adds one more step to getting out the door especially when those zippers get stuck.

When all is ready, you have free time until breakfast.

When you're ready, you're free to do whatever you'd like until it's time to eat breakfast. The TV doesn't go on until everyone is ready, but I do allow morning TV at my house. We find it's a nice way to ease into the day (i.e. Mommy is cranky until she gets her coffee & isn't up for conversation). Sometimes, depending on what time they get up, they have lots of time to play before breakfast. Other days, we're on the clock. It just depends on our morning. 

This works REALLY well for us. I do have to prod them along sometimes & I ALWAYS  ask them to make sure everything got completed. 95% of the time, it has. I like it because it promotes independence & takes me out of the equation. If you forgot your snack, it's on you. No more blaming Mom for those things. 

This is a lot of steps- don't think you can impose this kind of system on your kids overnight. We gradually evolved into this, adding things/expectations over time. If you have no system but would like to start, I suggest starting with the upstairs component: getting dressed & brushing teeth before coming downstairs. I just feel, with my boys, that anytime I have to send them back upstairs for something it generally turns into chaos. I do not like chaos, especially 1st thing in the morning. 

Hope your back to school goes smoothly!

* I was not compensated for any of the products mentioned above. I just like to share good things that I've found along the way!

What works for your family in the morning? Share your routines with me! 
@preschoolmomma on Twitter

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Wardrobe of a SAHM: School Visit

Since I've dubbed this back to school week, I thought it would be appropriate to dive into what we should look like when visiting our child's elementary school. Last week, we got into what you should wear to preschool pickup (click here so you know what we're talking about). One might think that the same attire is appropriate for a school visit. One would be mistaken.

Preschool is is an every day, routine, ain't nobody got time for that look. No one expects you to put on real clothes for a preschool pickup. If you are visiting your child's elementary school, you must actually get dressed. Parents of middle school or high school students: dress as you see fit to properly embarrass your child. That's your role as a middle/high school parent. Elementary school parents: please do not embarrass your child. They are not equipped to handle it. That's what they learn in the tween years, along with the sigh/eye-roll.

Elementary parents: no embarrassing, it's just mean. Middle/High school parents: it's expected, please embarrass accordingly.

Glad we cleared that up.

Since I have no children above elementary school, I cannot speak to the older grades. You guys are on your own but I would love to hear from you so I can plan ahead. Elementary parents, this is for you.

How to dress for a school visit

It doesn't really matter why you're at school: lunch visit, class party, project drop-off. You need to wear real clothes (i.e. no yoga pants, something with a zipper). 

Acceptable Attire:

jeans (really any kind of pants; nice shorts are also accepted)

Preferably skinny, but any non-mom jean is acceptable; all colors are currently accepted but that is not a blanket statement for years to come. Make an effort people.

skirts or dresses

All tastefully done, of course. Nothing too short or too low cut- 1st graders don't need to see your goods, ladies. If you wear something inappropriate, you will be discussed. Count on it. 
Think casual here. No need to bust out a prom dress or something fancy. You're in an elementary school, not a black-tie event. 

sweaters, t-shirts or non-revealing tanks

Operative word here is, again, appropriate. Think about what you're going to be doing (i.e. are you bending over to help kids?) & make sure the girls are covered. I really can't say it enough.  


All shoes are generally fair game. Watch the heels, though. Nothing like a spike heel on 5 year old toes to get everyone talking. 


Now, this is where you need to step it up a notch. Everyone knows that the mark of a successful SAHM is the quality of her purse. (That's sarcasm, in case you missed it. In fact, this entire series of posts is satirical in case you missed that too ;) I'd never dream of telling anyone what to wear, except, of course, my husband.) If you've got it, bring it. If you have a quality fake, bring it. Please no bad fake bags: you know the ones, with the diamonds & stars instead of the LV. Everyone knows the difference. Know what you're buying, people. This was the bag of choice in my area, in the past years (or some variation of it). Wonder what this year will bring? Santa? (cough, cough)


It should have the appearance of being clean & somewhat managed. You don't have to bust out the flat iron but look like you at least brushed it.


Necessary, but minimal. Smoky eyes are not a requirement for volunteering in a 2nd grade classroom. At least they weren't last year. 

Following these guidelines should help you smoothly pass by the front office without anyone looking twice. School is not the place you want to stand out, unless of course, you need a lot of attention. If that's you, then knock yourself out. You'll get it ;)

** Can I sidebar for a second here? I'd like to make a statement on leggings:
It is my personal belief that everyone can & should be able to wear leggings. They are comfortable & currently stylish & can provide warmth in the winter. However, leggings are not pants & should not be worn as so. Unless you are built like a toothpick, you should wear a shirt that covers your booty. Otherwise, you appear to be half-dressed or on your way to exercise (ok if it's a preschool pickup, not ok for elementary school). Toothpicks may wear whatever they'd like because they are toothpicks. It is their right. The rest of us need to cover it up. That is all.

Changing the world, one pair of pants at a time.

Monday, August 12, 2013

5 Ways to Scare Your Child's Teacher

School starts next week around here & instead of showing you my happy dance (kidding...sort of...) I thought I'd share some back to school fun.

5 things that will scare your child's teacher

Any teacher worth her salt will wait until she meets your little darling and spends a little QT (quality time) with her before making a judgement (i.e. Is this child going to make my job delightful this year OR am I going to count the days until winter break?), but here are a couple of things you can do to scare the snot out of her before that time comes:

1. Sending the "checking in" or "heads up" email

Oh, yeah. If you feel the need to email/reach out to the teacher ahead of time, you'll likely make it onto the "potential high-maintance" list. It's potential because your teacher doesn't really know you yet so she likely doesn't want to label you but at the same time, it's a little high-maintance. Do you really need to touch base ahead of time? Can't it wait until the teacher can get a little more perspective on your child? I prefer the sneak attack email after the school year starts. You know, give her time to adjust to your kiddo & then spring your concerns on her. It's the polite thing to do ;)

2. On orientation day, your child enters the classroom like he owns the joint

There's no bigger red flag for a teacher than when a child enters his classroom for the 1st time and acts like he's in charge. Most children are at least slightly intimidated by a new classroom and a new teacher, especially if it's a new school experience (i.e. a preschooler or kindergartner). I'm all for confidence, but if your kiddo enters the room & takes charge, I know she's going to present some type of a challenge for me early on. Hopefully, it's one that's quickly nipped.

3. AND you let your toddler destroy the classroom on orientation day

Ok, no one should have to explain this one to you. Control your kids. Your new teacher has better things to do than to pick up after siblings.

4. You show up on the 1st day of school, unannounced

Your child's teacher would love to get to know you better & hear your concerns for the school year. The 1st day of school isn't the day for this. This poor teacher is likely trying to meet the needs & concerns of the 20+ kids that just entered her classroom for the 1st time. She has no time today to pay proper attention to you. Do yourself a favor: call her ahead of time & set up a time for you to stop in. Both of you will feel better about this approach. Think about it like this: would you like your biggest critic to show up at your house, unannounced, while you're trying to pack your 2.5 kids for vacation? That's what the 1st day of school is like, but about 20x louder & there are 25 kids that want your attention. It's a wee bit stressful, give your teacher some space to sort it out. She'll make time for you, promise :)

5. AND you bring a gift...

I love a good Pinterest gift as much as the next mom, but if you show up on the 1st day with a gift your child's teacher is going to wonder why. Why do you need to bring gift? Are you apologizing in advance for something? Gifts are always appreciated but 1st day of school gifts aren't necessary. If you feel the need to do something, bring your child's teacher a cup of coffee or something caffeinated. Or something chocolate. Or get involved with PTO and help with the back to school luncheon. Or just send a gift- you don't have to listen to me. 

The good news? Teachers don't really scare easily. Chances are good that they've seen it or heard it before. I'm just trying to help you make a good 1st impression. It's up to you & your little darling to make it stick ;)
Here's to a successful school year! 

Friday, August 9, 2013

She's Crafty

I feel like I need to redeem myself a little after the whole Pinterest debacle. I AM, in fact, crafty. Some might say that I'm quite crafty, but I'm selected about how I use my craftiness.

For example, I love to make things as gifts for other people. I know this teeters on the edge of being that girl who gives people crap she makes because she thinks its awesome when it's really hideous.  I try to only make & give things that I think other people will like AND I only give things that I'd like in my own home. Its a slippery slope but I like to create & share, so deal with it.

I'm great at making & finishing things for my loved ones. I'm terrible at finishing things for myself. In light of public Pinterest shaming, I'm sharing with you possibly my best craft gift yet.

For Mother's Day this year, I was looking for something unique for the ladies in my life. I didn't want to give them the same ole' thing, but rather something different & as awesome as they are. I came across these little cross-stitched families in an Uncommon Goods catalog & thought (this is what gets me into trouble!) "Hey, I can make that!" I grew up cross-stitching so I could do this. And for the UG price tag of $200, I found my motivation to DIY.

I quickly found out why UG was charging $200 a pop- this was a HUGE time commitment. But I can say that I loved, loved creating these for my moms; it was worth every minute to see the looks on their faces when they opened it.

Maybe I should trick myself into thinking the Pinterest project is for someone else... any takers? (wink, wink)

If you want to read more about my Pinterest fail click here and here.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wardrobe of a SAHM: Preschool Pickup

I've been a full time SAHM (that's Stay At Home Mom for those of you not in the know) for about 4 years now. I started off part-time after the twinsies and slowly worked my way out of working as a kindergarten teacher. Now, I'm still a teacher; it just that nobody is listening to me :)

When I first became a SAHM, I made a mental note that I was going to get dressed every morning & maintain some kind of sense of style. I knew when my income took a hit, my wardrobe was going to take a hit as well. I was determined to do it with style, while sporting spit up on my sleeve.

The longer I've been a SAHM, the more I realize that there is an acceptable dress code that one must adhere to; otherwise, you're going to be discussed. It's much like the office is business casual, but if you're the jerk-ball that shows up everyday in a suit, you're going to be discussed. Such is the work place of those of us who do not technically earn income (though we work our tails off 90% of the day).

So, what I'm proposing to you this week is a guideline so that you do not embarrass yourself and so you can assimilate yourself into the culture of the SAHM. You don't want to be that gal. These are women we're talking about, we've all been teenage girls before so I know you're familiar.

What to wear for Preschool Pickup 

Preschool drop off & pickup generally occur in the earlier morning & right before lunch. For some reason, our kind believes that morning preschool is better & we will clamor over each other to get our child into the coveted morning class. Personally, I like PM preschool, especially if you no longer have an afternoon napper. The afternoon is painfully looonnngggg & I like to break it up with preschool. BUT if you still have a napper, the morning is where you want to be.

Proper Attire

Attire for preschool drop off & pickup needs to give the illusion that you're clean, without having actually showered; that you're using your time wisely by going to the gym; OR that you've had such a hectic morning that you can't possibly do anything other than get your child to preschool and you're going to sink into a comfy couch at the nearest Starbucks as soon as possible.

If you're not planning to do any of these things, that's okay. Please dress accordingly so as not to offend anyone. You, by all means, do NOT want to let anyone know that you had an easy morning, you're completely showered, appropriately caffeinated and have run 6 miles before 7 AM. Nobody wants to know that or have it thrown in their face at drop off. This will not make friends. Please just complain about your child's behavior accordingly. 

Acceptable Items:

Yoga pants

Running Shorts

Race t-shirts

Super tight tank tops (so everyone can see your post-baby body)

Anything from lululemon
Sneakers & flip-flops are appropriate footwear. 

Hair must be up: ponytail or messy bun are acceptable. Headband is optional.

Little to no make-up is preferred. 

*side note: words across the butt of your shorts/pants are considered taboo for Moms, still acceptable for teenagers

Please adhere to the guidelines for your own safety & self-esteem. We will be watching you. 

I Have Failed

Put a big fat F on my report card, I have failed.

Pinterest project is still incomplete. It is sitting in my office, unfinished & getting dusty.

I have made some progress. I actually moved my ironing board downstairs to iron the background fabric. I didn't actually iron it yet, but I'm prepared when it's time.

I was hoping that publicly sharing my intentions would help me to follow through, but now I know: shame is not a motivator for me.

I can give you a gazillion reasons why it's incomplete- very valid reasons- but bottom line is I have failed. No excuses.

I'm going to accept my shame & move on.

It's the admirable thing to do.

If you would like to see what my Pinterest project should've looked like click here

Misery loves company. Do you have a Pinterest fail? Share it with me, especially if it's hilarious & includes pictures :)
@preschoolmomma on Twitter

Friday, August 2, 2013

Books I Love: For Teaching Feelings & Relationships

I'm back with another Books I Love post! This time, we're talking about feelings & relationships. These books teach how to appropriately identify feelings (anger, frustration, jealousy) as well as how to interact with others (sharing, new siblings, bullying). One of the best relationship authors for the preschool crowd is Kevin Henkes. His books talk about things that hit at the heart of preschoolers so you'll see many of his books below!

Books About Feelings

Books About Relationships

I warned you there were a lot of Kevin Henkes books! He is the master. Happy Reading :)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

What We're Reading: July

Up to my eyeballs in stuff this week. The big boys started football practice & it's four. nights. a. week. Seriously, it is. I wouldn't joke about this stuff. I have some fun posts planned for us if I can ever get them together but for now, you'll have to settle for this. Or, I guess you don't have to... either way, I'm not real exciting this week. Sorry, some weeks are just like that.

What We're Reading in July

I'm always looking for a new book to read so I thought I'd share what we're into this month. Enjoy!


Some friends recommended this book to me. Normally, it's a book I wouldn't go near. Who wants to learn stuff while in the throws of a good book? I typically go for something light & easy. This is surprising light & easy & I find myself googling these people to learn more. Fun! 


Again, another recommendation. It's about vision (der) & leadership & stuff. I think he digs it. He's not here for me to ask, so I'm assuming he's into it. 

The Boys

This is what they're reading (all 3 of them):

I know, right? I can't even discuss it.

A teacher friend recommended this series for them.

I found book 1 at the library. It's getting dusty on the bookshelf. Whatever. I'll force it upon them next week.

The Baby

How long do you think I can call him the baby? 

He's discovered Eric Carle & is smitten. He's definitely my kid ;) 

Hope your families are enjoying summer reading as well. We finally made it all the way through a library summer reading program log- whoo hoo! It's amazing how much easier it is when they can read to themselves!