Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Time I Got Drunk at the Airport Burger King

Did the title catch your attention?  Well, it is TRUE (though it does make me sound more scandalous than I actually am).  Read on for the full story:

But first, here's the back story:
I'm terrified of flying.  You can read all about my phobia from a previous blog post, right here.  Alas, I know flying is safer than driving, etc.; I just don't necessarily believe it.  But I suck it up and fly fairly often considering just how panic-inducing it is for me.  Anyway.  This is important to know for the following anecdote.

Here's a little more back story:
Our family of four (Franticmamahubby, the kids, and I) try to do an annual family vacation.  Of course, "vacation" with young children is very, very different from pre-kid days.  It involves a lot of chasing our children around with sunscreen, yawn-inducing early mornings, and many packages of fruit snacks.  It also involves some really wonderful moments.  We love the chance to reconnect as beach bums without work and schedules clouding the days.

One last back story:
My husband goes on an annual weekend golf trip with his friends.

The plan:
I was to fly down to Florida with the kids and meet my husband there once his friends had left.

THUMP>  THUMP> THUMP.  [That's the sound of my heart pounding at the thought of what that means].

Translation:  I was to FLY ALONE with a 3.5 year old and a 1.5 year old.  DEAR. Lord.

It's not fun and games to travel by air, right?  Even harder with kids?  Even worse if you're alone with said kids?  Even more gut-wrenching if you have a PHOBIA?  However, I am determined to get over my fear, and I also knew it would be unforgettable to take our kids to the beach while they are so little, so I sucked it up.  "Ok, yes, we will meet you there!" I bravely pronounced when first planning the logistics.

Fast forward:
My kids and I get to the airport, which is no small feat, really, considering the amount of work I had to do already:  Packing alone, getting us out the door on time, driving and parking, unloading, checking in, etc.. So, I'm already fighting off a wicked panic attack (a fun bout of dizziness a.k.a. 'the bends,' accompanied by hot flashes).  We manage to get through security (I shall spare you that process.  A bit of mystery and all).

(Image from; doesn't the picture alone make you all twitchy?)

It's Almost Burger King Time:
I suddenly decided:  the kids need a good meal in their stomachs before the 3.5 airplane ride!  I MUST feed my children.  Truth be told, they were just fine with the snacks I brought; in my mind, though, I suddenly felt it was essential to give them warm meat.  I was simply overcome by the thought.

Enter Burger King:
I was starting to sweat, the kids were getting fussy in the heavy, impossible-to-maneuver double stroller, and the line was slow for no apparent reason.  I ordered their food.  I got them settled at a table.  I started to exhale.  My son announced that his hamburger "WAS NOT PLAIN!"  I had to go back and order another one.  I took my sweatshirt off, revealing a tank top I quickly found out I had not put on all the way that morning.  Most of the crowd saw my bra.  Eh, that was the least of my worries at that point.  Boarding was starting at our gate and my son was going to eat a hamburger or else.

While my kids were picking at their food, I had a brilliant, lightbulb-over-the-head idea:  Vodka!  I retrieved the small unmarked bottle of clear liquid I had somehow gotten through security (Did I mention that part?  Oh yes, well, alcohol helps me calm down a bit during takeoff and turbulence, so I filled a mini shampoo bottle with my allotted 3 ounces and hoped for the best when I sent my purse through security).

I poured half of my stash into my Burger King diet Coke, made awkward eye contact with the hostess at the neighboring restaurant, and chugged.  There was no turning back.

It was time to board, baby.

Here's the Happily Ever After:
We made it safely to Florida.  The kids did as well as toddlers can do on a long flight (though how some people get their children to sleep on planes still mystifies me) with the help of modern devices and ample snacks.  I was never so happy to see my husband in my entire life as I was when he picked us up.

The best part:
We had a wonderful, memorable trip with our young children and their tiny, sandy toes.  My son and daughter will never be this little again, and I think I took over 500 pictures to preserve what I could of this [busy, tiring, but exciting] time in our lives.

(My two munchkins during my favorite part of the day during our trip: early morning, the first ones on the beach!)

So, would I do it all again?  This was actually my second time flying with them solo, and the previous time I did it, I said that would be my last time.  As the saying goes, 'never say never.'

Have you ever done anything a little outrageous with your children in tow?  Please share!

~Frantic Mama

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Frantic Mama & Friends 5 Friday Faves (Round 10)

Did you happen to notice I didn't do a Friday Faves for the last two weeks?  Franticmamahubby was out of town one of those weeks, which means blogging took a backseat to survival.  Then, we were on a family trip the following week, and again, blogging took a backseat to survival :).

As promised, I rounded up some of my friends-- both in and outside of the blogging community-- to share some of their can't-live-without-it items.

I'm excited to share their ideas.  Here they are!

Ceci (remember my mom from The World According to Ceci?):

Pond's Cold Cream
Ceci says it's "the only thing that takes the make-up off easily."

The clean, classic smell of this cream reminds me of her.  It's a little heavy for my taste, but if you have dry and/or sensitive skin, I bet you would love it.

Jennifer Sando @ The Intentional Mom (my blogging bestie):

Aluminum Placemats:  (Available at Pacific Merchants)

These should be self-explanatory to anyone with young kids.  Aren't they a great idea?  Way less nasty than washing fabric placemats with crusted food on them.  Jennifer says, "The aluminum placemats are THE BEST! You can hose them off in the sink or even put them in the top rack of the dishwasher. Love that the description says, 'Go Ahead. Spill something.' Don't mind if I do."

Skinny, cropped Denizen Jeans from Target:  Made by Levi's, only $27.99, and "best of all," says Kate "they're stretchy, flattering, and super comfy."

Also important:  her "ceramic coffee mug with a silicone top that makes it kind of like a to-go cup even though I never go anywhere. It keeps my coffee hotter than a regular mug without a top would, but it's not too travel-mug-ish. If that makes any sense. I use it all day every day and without it I'd be microwaving my coffee every five minutes."

HA!  I can relate----->  "even though I never go anywhere."

Jen @ Wonderfully Unkempt (a fellow Minnesotan blogger):

Jen says, "My favorite thing is my Roku Streaming Player.  We gave up cable about 6ish months ago and I thought I would die without my DVR player. But I haven't missed it with the Roku. I can go and watch my shows the next day, or weeks later. Plus all the PBS kids channel is a lifesaver."

I really like that sound of this device [especially if I could figure out how to use it...].

Elizabeth (my very own sister) and a mother of 3 young boys:  

She uses this product daily and always looks great (even on Facetime!) despite never getting a full night's sleep:

Cover Girl Enhancers Eyeshadow in Champagne ($3.99), a universally flattering shade.

Do you have anything to add to our growing list of items that make life just a bit more enjoyable?  Please share in the Comments.

~Frantic Mama

P.S.  What the Flicka featured me yesterday.  Check out my interview, here!

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Read more of my musings on Mamalode and What the Flicka.  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Life as a SAHM without Naps

Today's topic:  I have so much less time to write recently.

For a while, I had it pretty good for a mom of a toddler and a 3 year old.  For the last few months, both of my kids napped in the afternoons, and they often overlapped for an hour.  For roughly 60 precious minutes, with one ear on the monitor and the other on the clicking of the keyboard, I had the chance to kick up my feet, work on my blog, read other blogs, catch up on news and media...until one of the kids woke up.  Most importantly, I had some time during the day to focus on my needs: eating, peeing, writing, catching up on my life outside of Mommyhood.

If you have never spent at least 9 hours alone with and completely in charge of two kids under age 4, you can not know exactly what a day such as this looks like.  To start, it's busy in a I-rarely-sit-down kind of way.  And funny.  And exhausting.  And fulfilling.  And draining.  And sometimes (only a few will admit this to you) mind-numbingly boring.   But it's also sprinkled with moments of amazing joy.  All rolled into one epic day (every day).

To be truthful, it's less like this:

                                                               (Image from PopSugar).

And more like this:

Back to my main point:  Recently, things have changed.  A lot.  My 1 year old has given up her morning nap (so she's up while my son is at preschool), but she still takes an afternoon nap.  My 3 and a half year old son is now officially nap-free.  (And before you even ask, no, he's not one of these kids who will sit in his room and play independently for an hour.  Blame me and my terrible parenting if you want, but it's not going to happen anytime soon).  He prefers to be within 12 inches of me when he is home, and we talk about cars.  We play cars.  We discuss what snacks we're eating (usually fruit snacks).  And we negotiate which scene in either Cars movie we will watch next.  This means that at least one of my dear, sweet little children is within a few feet of me every day, for the entire day.

She's so ungrateful.  She's so lucky to spend all day every day with her little ones.  Oh, dear.  Of course I am.  I'm not saying I want to give up being with them.  I chose to stay home with them.  But let me remind you that a stay-at-home mother's day with no naps means that I don't even have a drive to and from work where I can listen to my music without throwing toys to the back to calm the baby or tossing another package of Cheez-Its [that I never thought I'd buy] at my son.  All of us deserve even 20 minutes a day-- a lunch break, a bathroom break, a commute-- without tending to another person's needs, right?

I think that's the hardest part for me of this time in my life.  Perhaps its introversion in action, or just a final attempt at preserving my sanity, but I often need time to be all by myself.  I need to be alone at some point during the day in a way that humans need air to breathe.  It is so hard to give up almost every minute of my day to other people, even when those people are the very ones who I brought into being and [usually] worship like the beautiful little treasures they are.

So, lovely readers, I'm in a new transitional kind of space right now.  Time to myself has greatly diminished, so please hang with me as I navigate the lukewarm waters of a no-naptime day.

Also, I want to thank all my readers for your loyalty and support; sharing and hearing stories from mothers across the world has completely changed my life for the better!  Please continue to share your thoughts and comments.  It makes my day to hear from you.

~Frantic Mama

You can receive Frantic Mama posts (~2/week) in your inbox by entering your e-mail address (anonymously)  in the box on my blog's homepage.  You can also follow me on the supercool site, Bloglovin.

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I also contribute to:  Mamalode and What the Flicka?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What to Expect [when you go to a house with young kids]

I get nervous when people who don't have kids come over to our house.  As a mom of a 3.5 year old and a 1.5 year old, I can say with absolute certainty that my house is never perfectly clean.  While I have come to pretty much accept this, I still worry that people without kids will not understand that dusting is simply not in my repertoire anymore (unless I happen to have a used napkin balled up in my hand).  They won't get the fact that in any given moment a fresh disaster is about to unload on my carpet.  Stains, huge primary-colored toys, and sticky countertops are a daily fixture of my life now; I don't see that changing anytime soon.

(Our living room was originally going to be a kid-free zone.  Ha!)

I've compiled a list to help dear friends prepare for a visit to a home containing young children.  I hope it serves as a warning for what they are about to see when they cross our threshold:

1.  Try to ignore the florescent orange Goldfish crumbs in your path.  I vacuumed the floor an hour a few days ago, but then kids were hungry, snacks were had, tag was played, wrestling ensued, etc., etc.

2.  If there is a "potty trained" kid in the house, there will be pee on the toilet seat.

3.  Yes, my kid looks like a ragamuffin in that faded shirt and the sweatpants with holes in the knees.  He was wearing a nice shirt I bought on sale at Baby Gap for your visit, but then he ate a Nutrigrain bar and smeared red jelly all over himself, and this was the only shirt I could grab within reach.

4.  Don't judge me for the cartoon blaring on the television.  If it weren't on, we would have zero chance of having a conversation.

5.  To the ladies:  Would you kindly consider not wearing your cutest outfit for your visit here?  How about a faded pair of yoga pants, your favorite college t-shirt, and a mismatched pair of socks?  Also, make-up is completely optional, even discouraged.

6.  Could you refrain from placing your coffee/glass of water/beer on a table below waist height?  Liquids in our house are begging to be knocked down within seconds of low placement.  (It’s uncanny, the regularity and speed with which this occurs).

7.  Kindly look away from the dust collecting on various surfaces in our house, as well as the dog hair nestled in the corners, and the dry, half-eaten sandwich on the table.  We cleaned as much as we could before you came, and this is about as good as it gets, extreme babyproofing and all [see below].

(We were in awe of the dark wood staircase when we toured our house before moving in; now look at it).

8.   I beg of you to not cancel last minute or to be excruciatingly late.  It is very likely we have planned our entire day or weekend around your visit.

9.  Please don't ask us what we did last night.  We are too tired to make last night's routine sound exciting and fun [and no, we haven't checked out that new restaurant or seen that new movie with what's-his-name in it.].

10.  Last but not least, in repayment for your consideration of these requests, we as parents promise not to bore you with endless stories of potty training, pregnancy complications, and organic pureed baby food. 

~Frantic Mama

P.S. If you are a Frantic Mama Facebook fan, you are awesome, but FB doesn't show you all of Frantic Mama's awesome, hilarious, touching, and heartwarming posts :).  Facebook really wants bloggers to pay for it.  But alas, I shall not. So, if you don't want to miss a thing, enter your e-mail address in the form on my blog to receive posts via email (no spam!).

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I'm also honored to contribute to:  Mamalode & What the Flicka.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Frantic Mama's Five Friday Faves (Round 10)

Welcome to Round 10 of my Five Friday Faves!  It's been a hard week for me-- I've been sick [again] with what is hopefully my last bad cold of the year (fingers crossed!).  So here's a fun list of my go-tos to start your weekend off right.  TGIF.

1.  Tully's French Roast K-Cups.  A flavorful, bold option if you need a hefty dose of caffeine.

2.  Revlon ColorStay Overtime Liquid Lipcolor (~10).  I talk about lipstick a lot, don't I?  I guess I am a lipstick girl.  I like wearing a rich berry color, but there is absolutely no way I can reapply all day with a 1 year old pulling at me to pick her up all day, and a 3 year old begging me to play cars.  I try to put this on in the morning, and then I just apply clear balm throughout the day when my lips feel dry.  My signature shade is Infinite Raspberry.

3.  Play kitchen from KidKraft (~100 on Amazon).  My mom (remember the World According to Ceci?) gave this simple, retro play kitchen to my daughter for her 1st birthday.  Both of my kids like it.  Not only is it adorable, but because of the natural wood color and the simple, pretty pink, it can be in my family room without me wistfully wanting to throw it out like I want to do with all the primary-colored plastic stuff.

4.  Sam Adams "Beers of Summer" variety pack.  Ah, summer.  Considering there is a fresh blanket of snow on the ground here in Minnesota, we can dream, right?

5.  Instagram App (free).  I jumped on the Instagram bandwagon recently, and I am hooked.  Its best feature is the option to filter your photo with different lights and lenses.  You can transform your simple iPhone photo into: black & white, sepia, lo-fi, vintage-like, and many, many more.  Find me on there at FranticMama, and I'll follow you back [unless you're creepy, in which case, no, I won't].

*Stay tuned for my Friday Faves featuring some of my readers' faves!

~Frantic Mama

You can connect with Frantic Mama using: FacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle+, and Instagram.
I'm also honored to contribute to:  Mamalode & What the Flicka.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What to Pack for the Hospital (When You're Having a Baby)

I'm sure there are a million and one articles telling you what to pack in your hospital bag when you're having a baby.  But after having two babies (and 2 c-sections) I want to add my two cents for any pregnant readers out there.

Besides the obvious-- toiletries, a toothbrush, fresh clothes, a going-home outfit for baby, etc.-- I have a few ideas you may want to consider adding to your bag.

(How cute is this bag?  
I found the image on Etsy from Premier Impressions in case you're in the market for one.)

First, let me tell you, I am an extremely light sleeper.  Staying in the hospital is a nightmare for a light sleeper. With my second baby, I did a few things to maximize the little sleep one is able to grab in the hospital.  Another priority for me is staying on top of my hunger and blood sugar.  Last, I needed ways to ease the excruciating back pain that I experienced after both c-sections.

The Necessities:

1.  Sound Machine.  I brought one of these for the hospital when I had my 2nd baby because I had to be able to tune out of all the machinery and comings and goings in my room in order to rest.  This helped a ton.  (The Dohm brand is my favorite; we have them in both kids rooms and in our bedroom.  ~$45 on Amazon)

2.  Neck Wrap.  From clenching from pain, my neck and back were extremely tight and painful during both hospital stays (not to scare any first-timers).  I had my husband warm up one of these in the microwave for me to put around my neck during recovery.  The nurses had warm packs that helped too.
      (This is the one I have.  Bed, Bath, & Beyond. ~$10).

3.  Your own pillow(s).  I assume most people advise you to bring one or more of your favorite pillows so that you can actually be somewhat comfortable in a hospital bed.  I second that advice!

4.  Boppy.  A nursing pillow is very helpful when you are figuring out how to feed your tiny baby-- either with the bottle or with the boob.

5.  Granola bars.  I never leave the house without a bar or two in my purse so I made sure to pack plenty of my favorites in my hospital bag: Luna bars, the original Nature Valley Crunchy bars, and Clif Bars.  Trust me, you will be hungry and thirsty after having a baby, and it just can't always wait until a busy nurse is able to bring you something.

Extra Credit:

6.  Lipstick/Tinted Lip Balm.  This might sound completely ridiculous to some of you, but people take So Many Pictures of you and the baby when you are stuck in a hospital bed wearing a faded, colorless gown.  I am very fair-skinned (even more so when in surgical recovery) and without a little lipstick, I would look positively comatose in every picture without a little color on my lips.  (Burt's Bees makes nice, natural peppermint-scented tinted "Lip Shimmers").

7.  Gift for older sibling(s).  Hands-down, the hardest part of being in the hospital with my 2nd baby was the fact that I missed my first, and I was worried he missed me.  I had complications after my 2nd, so when my husband and I finally felt like I was up for a visit, he brought my sweet little, wide-eyed then 2-year-old son to see me and his new baby sister.  I had packed a book for him and written a note in it.  He curled up with me on my bed (very rare!) and let me read it to him.  I love him so much, and I hope he'll always keep the book to remind him how special he is to me.

Is there anything unique I'm missing here that helped you immensely after having your baby?  Please add it in Comments for my readers!

~Frantic Mama

P.S.  Are you on Instagram?  Me too!  Follow me or send me a comment with your username, and I'll follow you back.

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I'm honored to contribute to:  Mamalode, What the Flicka, & Mamapedia.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Frantic Mama's 5 Friday Faves (Round 9)

This is Round 9 of my Friday Faves.  Enjoy!

*Just for Fun:  Do you have a can't-live-without-it item?  Send me a message using my blog's comment box, and I might just include it with a link to your blog (if applicable) if I love it too!

1.  Boden Clothing.  Have you received a Boden catalog in the mail?  They have adorable, yet a little too pricey for my taste children's clothes, but they also carry really pretty and wearable women's clothing.  It is on the higher end side (a t-shirt will cost you more at Boden than at Target), but I try to buy a few Boden pieces a year to update my "wardrobe."  One tip:  order one size up in U.S. sizes if you want a bit of a looser fit.

2.  Disney Pixar Cars 2 World Grand Prix Launcher (~$20).  My amazing sister gave this toy to my 3 year old son for Christmas, and he uses it daily.  If you have a little kid who is in love with cars, this is a sure bet.  My son likes to organize the cars in it, talk about the cars in it, and then launch them out.  

3.  Marian Keyes.  Have you read any of Irish author Marian Keyes's books?  She strikes a really nice balance between humor and heart, and I love how all of the character's lives intersect.  I just finished the Mystery at Mercy Close, one of her more recent novels.  Some of her older, memorable ones are:  Watermelon, Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married, Sushi for Beginners.  Even her short collections of personal essays make for good reading.

4.  Trader Joe's mini dark chocolate peanut butter cups.  I know what you're thinking: she's obsessed with Trader Joe's!  And you are right-- I am a little obsessed.  I'm also obsessed with peanut butter and dark chocolate, especially when combined.  So these are a perfect little treat.

5.  What the Flicka.  I'm giving a shout-out to the fun website I contribute to, started by the smart and funny actress/wife/mother Felicity Huffman.  The website features cute and often hilarious child-centered YouTube clips, lighthearted articles on motherhood, as well as recipes and crafts.

~Frantic Mama

You can connect with Frantic Mama using: FacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle+, and my newest interest: Instagram!
I'm also honored to contribute to:  Mamalode & Mamapedia.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Pinterest-type Craft Even a Frantic Mama Can Do: Tadpoles and Lilypads

So many things make moms feel guilty.  Not playing outside with our kids enough, not taking our kids to every museum possible, not following the less-than -1- hour-of-t.v.-a-day rule, and, perhaps the newest one thanks to Pinterest:  not doing educational homemade crafts with our kids every other minute.

In Minnesota, we had a record number of below zero temperatures this winter, which means I had a record number of days trapped inside the house with a 3 year old and a 1 year old.  You know it's bad when even the kids are sick of watching t.v.  The guilt consumed me, and I figured: I guess I need to come up with some sort of friggin' project.

So here it goes-- my real first attempt at creating a Pinterest-like craft for my kids.  It is a game that I found in the adorable High Five magazine that my son never reads.

Tadpoles and Lilypads Game:

1.  First, you need to put some uncooked rice in a couple of plastic lunch bags.  Secure the rice in a little ball at the end with a rubber band.

2.  Scavenge for some leftover green tissue paper from your basement Christmas stash, and place it over the plastic bag.  Use a rubber band to secure.

3.  Draw a happy face on the ball end.  Now you have happy tadpoles.

4.  Warning: You will roll your eyes at this part, but here it goes:  Get out the finger paints.  Gah!  There, I said it.  Have your kid glop some finger paint on a few paper plates.  I let my son use different colors; we call them "tricked out lilypads."  (See?  So educational!).

5.  Let the plates dry (while struggling to distract your kids so they don't get paint everywhere).

6.  Now you have a cute little toss game!

To play:  Take turns tossing the tadpoles onto the paper plate lilypads.  With older kids, you can add numbers to the paper plates and keep score.  Or, just let your kid throw the tadpoles a couple times before he moves on to Hot Wheels again, like mine.

Whew!  We did it!  A real, bonafide craft.

I felt like a really good parent [for 10 minutes], and now you can too!  :)

Do you have any similar (i.e. easy/do-able crafts/games) you would like to share?  Please do!

~Frantic Mama

You can connect with Frantic Mama using: FacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle+, and Instagram.
I'm also honored to contribute to:  MamalodeWhat the Flicka, and Mamapedia.