The Great Toy Rotation

If you didn't know, Germany doesn't know sunshine.
They are NOT friends.

It has a lot to do with the fact that NOTONEPLACE in this country has central AC. This is not an exaggeration. So in the 3 months that Germany decides to give the sun a chance, it's miserably hot with no escape.
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But in the other 9 months of the year it's likely to be a foggy, rainy 40-60 degrees (or colder). You can imagine how fun this is with #allthetoddlers.

When rightfully b*tching (making the "i" an asterisk makes this G-rated still, right?) about this 18 months ago on my Facebook, a friend suggested Toy Rotations to keep them more occupied when stuck in the house on super miserable weather days. After Pinteresting my life away, we are now dedicated Toy Rotators & will never look back.

I separated the toys into 3 different piles. Putting a little bit of everything in each one. Some kitchen stuff, some cars, some babydolls, some peppa... you get it.

I labeled them "Rotation 1," "Rotation 2," and "Rotation 3."
Every 4 months we pack up our current toys, and pull out the next rotation. It's like Christmas freakin' morning on the rotation day, and today just happened to be that day.

Come January, we will rotate again and have yet another "Best Day of my Life." hahaha 

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Positive things I've noticed as a result of toy rotating:
+ Less begging at the store for toys.
I comment, "we can get new toys when the new box comes out" and everyone shuts up willingly.

+ More playing with the toys we actually have out.
Before, when ALL of these Godforsaken toys were in the playroom, bins were dumped, toddlers fought, mom + dad screamed, and no one played. Now we get SOLID HOURS of REAL PLAY and it's freakin' GLORIOUS.

+ Clean-up is SO MUCH EASIER.
Due to the major OCD I have inherited, I cannot go to bed without completely cleaning the downstairs of the house. That used to be legit HOURS of me in their playroom organizing the entire thing, and now it's my CHILDREN putting away their toys in bins before bath time, and 15 mins of me going behind them to reorganize because #cantletitgo

+ SEE YA LATER CLUTTER
I actually enjoy the rooms in my house more now that they aren't floor to ceiling devoted to toy storage. #praisejesushallelujah

+CLEAN OUT THE CRAP.
I've recently read one too many tragic articles or news stories about kids choking on broken pieces of toys. Rotating gives me a good chance to go through EVERYTHING, throw out the broken, donate the things they didn't enjoy anymore, and enjoy the piece of mind that purging brings. πŸ™ŒπŸ»πŸ™ŒπŸ»

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Some people do smaller, more often toy rotations--like weekly or monthly. In this household, #aintnobodygottimefothat so, that's why we chose every 4 months. I also have WAY more kids to play with the larger quantity that comes with only rotating 3 times a year.

Other notes:
+We always keep out educational toys
+We always keep out books
+We always keep out puzzles

Right now, I don't involve the kids in the process because I enjoy my sanity. But, as they get older I'll likely involve them in the process and let them choose what they want in each box. 

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Tonight I get to sit down with Netflix, a big cardboard box, an Olivia Pope sized wine glass and bowl of popcorn, and a black trash bag. I'll go through our latest rotation and clear the crap from our lives.
The feeling of freedom it brings is unlike any other.

Also, typing that last sentence out has made me realize just how deep into this #momlife I've plunged.

HAPPY SUNDAY, Y'ALL!

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Worst parenting experience of my life.

OK IM GOING TO STOP YOU RIGHT HERE. 
If you cant handle TALKING about poop, then just click that "x" in the corner of the screen. Because this involves poop. 

AND IT'S HORRIFYING

Ok. So, today Brandon and I decided to have some boy/girl time. Jack and B went on a "Man Mission" this morning to buy a new lawn mower (which is funny because I'm the one who cuts the grass). That lead to our "girls mission" to be had after nap.

We head to our "mall" aka the BX on post, have a lovely girl time at Starbucks drinking strawberry  frapps and GTLs #sobasic. We rode on the motorized car and helicopter, went up and down the escalator, and bought some putty and minions to bring home to the rest. Ya know, just your typical "best day ever" in the life of a 3.5 year old.

I should have known from the smug look on her face something was coming. 

So, We are frapp'd up and shopped out, ready to head to the car. I did my pee-pee check (as we are indoctrinated to do now with 3 potty trained toddlers) and made sure no one had to pee before walking out.

Of course I received a GIGGLING and RESOUNDING, "NO PEE PEE MOMMA! Let's go HOME!"

So, out the door we head.
It was a balmy 85 degrees, and had sprinkled some while we were inside. Basically we walked out into a rainforest. I waddled my way to the car with my little twinnies by my side. I received a few "Any day now" and "are you sure theres only one in there?!" comments on the way out. #typical

As we arrive at the car and climb into our seats Liv starts FRANTICALLY grabbing her crotch and jumping around in her
mid-sugar-rush frenzy yelling "MY PEE PEE IS COMING OUT!!!!"
Yep. EVEN AFTER we checked on pee-pee's before leaving and I got solid confirmation of NO ONE HAVING TO GO PEE, here we are in a panic. 
and yes. we are only literally 2.5 miles from our house. But, when Liv has to pee, she gon' pee. 
Ask the grocery store clerk how that is after I thought I could get through the check out line and then run to the bathroom just to have her pee on the floor with a line of 26 people behind us. 
AND THEN spill a container of blueberries into the puddle of pee. 

So, yea. When Liv has to pee, we have to go RIGHT NOW. 
and people. we've done this before. we are a year into potty training these fools. I've got the V-Sit hold down, mom elbows resting on the knees, propping her far enough away from my feet to avoid the splash zone. 
Girlfriend ain't pee shy, #thanktheLAWD

So we assume the position. In between the passenger door and the drivers door to pretend like we need privacy, but who are we kidding. My 3.5 year old is poppin a squat in a large parking lot and I DARE YOU to come comment about it. 

and then it happened. 

My 38 week pregnant self is squatting down holding my 30lb toddler with sweat pouring off my face because #rainforest as she pees on the concrete next to our car. 

and she shits on the ground.

right there. right in between my feet.

and then laughs. 

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YALL.
SHE πŸ‘πŸΌ SHIT πŸ‘πŸΌ ON πŸ‘πŸΌ THE πŸ‘πŸΌ GROUND πŸ‘πŸΌ LIKE πŸ‘πŸΌ A πŸ‘πŸΌ FREAKIN πŸ‘πŸΌ DOG πŸ‘πŸΌ.
AND THEN LAUGHED ABOUT IT. 

I wasn't prepared for this. No one trained me for "how to react when your kid poops on the ground in public"
OF COURSE, to make situations worse, I JUST DETAILED THE CAR YESTERDAY AND EMPTIED IT OF MY MOM BAG THAT USUALLY RESIDES IN THE TRUNK. 
said "mom bag" contains diapers, wipes, extra clothes, and other rando things. 

ALL I HAD was Half a pack of thieves wipes in my purse. About 6 total wipes to be exact. I was forced to use one thieves wipe on her bare butt. then rush her into her seat as I bent my LARGE self over a pile of human poop to scrape it off concrete. 

I've never run so fast in my life as I did to this trash can with a pile of my child's poop wrapped in wipes in my hand.

and I think I literally PEELED out of the parking spot. Face beet red (probably because I exerted more energy running to the can than I have in 3 months, let's be honest).
With my child laughing her way home. 

Happy Sunday, Y'all
May it be filled with far less crap than mine.
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The truth about motherhood

Motherhood is isolating. Yep. Who would have thought? Surrounded by humans all day and just in the last 3.5 years there have been times where I've never felt so alone. I spent YEARS praying for kids. I still look at my life and can't believe I'm living in this dream. #allthebabies #allthetime - but, that doesn't change the fact that sometimes it totally sucks.

Sometimes I wonder why the heck I wanted this so much. Don't get me wrong, I'm literally overflowing with love for my family. I just finished walking through my kids rooms kissing them all for the 5th time since they fell asleep tonight and putting blankets back on and I want to vomit I love them so much.

But, WHERE DID ALL THE PEOPLE GO? I'm friends with 3,074 people on Facebook and interact on 5 different social media platforms and the only people I physically spoke to today have peed the bed in the last week and threw their mac and cheese on the floor at dinner.

"But she's the full time working mom with ALL the kids. She probably doesn't even WANT to come."

Guess what... I do! We do!! All of us moms with "so many kids" who might seem like they've got too much going on? We are really freaking lonely. And a text once every 14 days doesn't fill us to the brim with that social time we are literally DYING to have.

You never know! Us "moms of too many" might be sitting inside on a Sunday in July in 60* weather alone with four kids wondering what the heck to do because it's Sunday in Germany!

Hey fellow moms- that mom with all the kids over there? The one who looks like she's got it all together on Facebook and Instagram? Really She just wants invites to library time and play dates and impromptu dinners. You might get more "No's" than "yes'" - but she really needs that invite. Her overworked, over emotional, over thinking-it self NEEDS that invite.

This is just one of those seasons. One of those times when things don't seem to fit right. Our family isn't in the right place at the right time to feel whole. And this season will pass. And we will all be better people for it, eventually. But until then you'll find me over here reading articles like "11 ways to cope with lonliness as a new mom." ✌🏻

And hey? Moms feeling the same way- don't be afraid to vent to your husband about all this. It's conversations like these that pull you closer as a family. ❀️

Also, you're not alone, you're not crazy, you can cry about it, and this won't last for forever. Tomorrow's a new day to take 75 Snapchat selfies with your toddler.

to the Mothers

I was vacuuming the living room and moved a chair.
Stella found a cookie + proceeded to eat it standing on the carpet I was actively vacuuming. #motherhood #literallycanneverkeepup
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Happy Mother's Day!
There are literally DOZENS of women in my life who have been incredible role models as perfectly imperfect Mothers. People are constantly commenting to me that when they're having a rough day, they think "Shannon has to do this x3 (or x4 or x5) and I feel so much better."
At first I took that as slightly rude.
When you have a bad day, you think of how bad MY life is and then you feel better? GREAT.Β 
And then I realized, it's the biggest compliment of them all. and the ONLY way I'm able to get through everyday with this brood of children is because of the incredible examples I've been given throughout my life. I think back to every single mom who has been a pseudo mom to me, my Mom -- who is literally the unicorn of Mothers, I seriously have no idea how she accomplished what she did when we were growing up now that I'm attempting to do it, my Mother in Law who has come to our rescue too many times to count, and every single friend I watch being the most patient and kind and exemplary mom to their sweet babes. I think of my sister who walked me patiently through #allofthebabythings while I was on bedrest with the triplets and did every bit of research to come up with the highest functioning nursery for three there ever was. I think of my Sister in law who raised two kids in another country while my Brother was constantly deploying to war.
I've literally been given the most amazing examples of Motherhood that could ever exist. If someone wants to think of me in their time of trouble or need or panic or worry or anger or frustration-- I'm fine with that. I'm fine with them using me as the example. Because the Mothers I've used as examples are freaking Saints.Β 
There are just a few things I want every Mom who watches me on social media, or in real life, to remember: + Everyone posts the glimmers of beauty because it's easier for them to get through the day-to-day. Nothing you see on Instagram or Facebook is ever exactly how it seems. + We all have our meltdowns. I've spanked kids and cried about it afterwards with regret. I've screamed too loud. I've given up endless times. + We all have to find what works for us. Some moms shower every day, some moms thrive on dry shampoo and a prayer. You figure out what works with your life, and you run with it. + I go to bed every day thinking I could have definitely been a better mom. #youwinsomeyoulosesome

The most helpful advice I've ever been given as a Mother is to always give yourself some grace. Nothing is perfect, and Motherhood is far from it. <3Happy Mothers Day!

Playground Sunday in Black and whiteΒ 

A few friends of mine have been doing a whole day of documenting their kids in black and white.  Today I left work a little early unexpectedly (and happily), and we spent this gorgeous 60 degree afternoon at the park!  Stella is a little too fearless for me sometimes... 

We also went exploring for acorns. I'm pretty sure I'll find acorns in pockets and car seats for the next year.

Definitely doing this more often! 

Happy Sunday!