Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Slowing It Down

Today starts an 8 day stretch.  A stretch of time which I do not get to enjoy often enough.  Time I am able to spend completely with my family.  Today starts my only "long" vacation from work for the entire year.  I will be away from the chaos for 8 whole days!  I am excited for the mental break from work life.  I am more excited about just being a wife and mom for 8 whole days.

I have been looking forward to this for a long time.  A very long time.

Now the question is what will I do with the 8-9 hours more with my family duties.  Should I do more chores?  Plan wonderful things for us to do?  Nah.  I am going to just "be".  Enjoy what the day brings and enjoy the moments I usually miss out on.  The little things.  I plan to spend  my time on the little things and little ones in my life.

I will be slowing down for a bit, because let's face it, we often are moving too fast.

Moving too fast and we don't realize it until it is too late. 

Slowing it down...

Today I will put the brakes on the rush of it all and throw it in neutral for the ride.
An 8 day ride...
I am excited to see what this trip brings.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


I submitted this to the work "Gratitude Writing Contest" and won some Starbucks from it this morning.

Mmmmm Coffee!
At first I was irritated that it took them over a month to send the results of the contest.  Then I thought about it a bit more and deciding it was genius.  Pure genius!  So many times we reflect on the things we are thankful for in that milestone month of November.  We often find ways to see the "good" in our hard times we have experienced over the past year. 
Then we go buy a ton of presents that mean nothing and forget about all those things we reflected on just weeks prior. 
So I challenge you to not forget.  And in the spirit of sharing, here is what I submitted.
Gratitude is an attitude.  It is a way of living.  Slowing down to appreciate all the small things we often take for granted.  Realizing that in one mere second, your life could change forever or end.  It is deeper than a simple thank you.  It is seeing the wonderfulness of each event in your life as a chance to better yourself for tomorrow.  A chance to better this world for the little ones we love so much.  Don’t allow the small things in life to cloud the big picture.  Strive to be gracious for each and every moment.
In the MommyRef house we will be creating a jar to place our best moments in for 2013.  Then we will be able to share those memories as a family next New Years Eve. 
Join us!  
365 days of Gratitude

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pay It Forward

What was I doing at 7am on a Saturday morning?  Standing in line at the store because I forgot we didn’t have milk on the way home from work the night before.  I know, why 7am...because the minions had already been up since 6am asking for took me an hour to listen.  So I decided to run to the store and surprise the kids with a rare treat of donuts since I would alread be out getting the milk I forgot.  Then of course I remembered I needed bananas and then I remembered I needed….well you get the picture.  An entire shopping cart later because I clearly have no self control I am finally in line. 

For those of you that shop early bird on a Saturday you know that they more often than not only have one register open.  The Express Lane.  Well I was by no means a qualifier for this lane but I had no other options so into the express I went with my cart of items.  I began to unload my cart…yes I did remember the milk I went for.  A young man got into line behind me.  He actually belonged there.  In his handle basket he had milk, hamburger meat, veggies, yogurt, and eggs.  I offered for him to go before me as I was still unloading my basket, with wheels.  He was thankful and stepped ahead. 

The checker rang him up as I continued to unload.  Then I overheard him asking about removing items from his total as he didn’t have enough money.  In that moment for a quick second I thought, how can you plan to buy all this if you don’t have the money to?  I began to judge...but then I stopped and from my lips came…  Here is $10 and keep the change.  The man looked at me in shock.  The checker paused to see if I was really serious.   This made me pause as well.  Had I just done that? Yes, I did.

The man grabbed my hand and said thank you.  A real heartfelt in his eyes.... Thank You.  He proceeded to tell us both that he had lost his job  a couple of weeks ago and hadn’t had time to put his unemployment check in the bank because he has been at the hospital with his wife and new preemie baby.  He was hoping to just grab a homemade meal with his 5 year son because he loves to BBQ hamburgers.  He thought he had more money in his wallet but remember when he heard the total that he had given $5 to a lady who needed bus fare from the hospital home and he didn’t have any ones.

I had no words.  I still have no words.  Pay It Forward Players.  Pay it forward.

Please share your own stories or plan a pay it forward of your own. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Undercover Writer - My Guest Post

When Miss Banana Pants asked me to write a guest post, I was really nervous to answer “yes”.  I actually read her request and did not respond at first because the original response was a swift "thanks, but no thanks”.  I am a rookie with this blogging/Facebook/writing thing. I don't entirely open up yet. I still hide the "real me" behind "The Mommy Ref" facade. Being new to the writing arena, I am often asked why I choose to "hide" who I am. Is it because I had something horrible happen in life?  Am I hiding to give me an opportunity to talk trash about the people closest to me?  Is the "real" me too afraid of being judged for my parenting decisions or life views by friends and family? Visit Miss Banana Pants.  To find out more!

Miss Banana Pants - Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts with your fans.

Monday, December 10, 2012


Ten down….many many more to go.  Today is the 10th of December and I am officially down 10 pounds since I started this little thing called taking care of myself.  Co-Workers are asking what my secret is but I don’t have one.  I am just finally taking care of me.  Making sure I have time to choose the right foods to get me through the day.  Forcing myself to get out there and “do” things.  Making sure I have time to be the fun Mom.  I got out there and got active instead of dictating how to play a game.  I was out there showing them (winning sometimes too).  You know all those things that we should be doing but we often get too distracted to do.  Shhh, I even got DaddyCool to dance with me in the kitchen while making breakfast.  At first the kids thought we were crazy….then they couldn’t stop laughing.  Go “be” a kid again, even if just for a little while.  It does wonders.  Promise

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Public Children

Parenting is hard. If it is not, then you are not doing it right. Don’t get me wrong some days, even weeks are smooth sailing. That is why many of us have more than one. Well that and they are so darn cute and funny. Do not forget the funny!!! The funny is what keeps us all going and this is by design so we won’t kill them! But really, parenting is hard! Whether you are a Domestic Engineer or work outside the home having kids is a full time adventure. So why do we make it so hard on each other as parents? If I had a dollar for every peer parent out there that started the comment off with…. “I know every child is different BUT…” I would be rolling in dough! I literally mean that because if I was that rich I could cross that item off my bucket list. I dream of the day….ok back on track here.

Recently I was invited to a Mom’s coffee on one of my very few days off. I was extremely excited that they would invite me to their weekly coffee. If you are a working mom you can relate…that is a whole new topic. I arrived to the meeting place and put my cheeks in the sit. The topics were normal, school, husbands, lack of help, blah blah blah. I listened and nodded but didn’t say much. Not because I didn’t want to because I didn’t need to. There was plenty of talking! Then one mom looks over at me and says, “Well your children are always so well behaved, maybe we should go work so someone else can raise our children too”. Pause…because I know you are.

I wanted to say many many things that would not be appropriate. I also wanted to ask her if what she was really saying was that she was capable of raising her own children? I mean really she is basically saying that she stays home all day to tend to them and is failing.

However, I simply smiled and told her that I have “public children”. They behave in public because we have always taught them there is no choice. If they want to go and do things they simply must behave. Ever since a young age we have given them jobs or tasks while we are out. They are included in the event not just brought along. Apparently I have six heads people….the looks…could…make one laugh. So I asked, don’t you include your kids in the things you are attempting to accomplish? I received no response.
So I asked a more simple question… do you make your children order their own food if you are out? I was amazed that they all said no. 

DaddyCool and I are not perfect, we are far far from it, but we use each and every event to create a learning opportunity for our children. Now do they know it, not always, but it builds them. Ever since they could speak clearly, we have encouraged them to speak up with eye contact to the server and order their own food. I cannot even count to number of benefits this provides them for the future. Public speaking, confidence, decision making on the spot, living with the choice they made… the list could go on. 

When we are driving down the street we price shop for gas and decide which station is cheaper and why. 

When we grocery shop they know to look for the price per xxx price and not just a price to find a bargain.

If we go through a drive thru we play a game called good or bad. Once we order the food (and roll up the window…very important) the kids rate the customer service of the speaker voice and then have to decide if they would return here solely based on service. This is a dangerous one as my youngest, 3, had his window open and blurted out, “Hey Momma he didn’t say please when he took your money”. The man, all of 19, looked in the car and say “You are right little man and I am sorry,” These are all life skills.

I am not sure I will be invited back for coffee on my next day off, but I am hoping I helped some children that morning. I think as parents we too often focus on all the things that others do or think we should. We need to do the best we can with what we have. Every home situation is different that is true…but all have down time, drive time, errands and other events that promote the opportunity to build and grow our kids to be better “people”. These are awesome opportunities to teach them what they won’t get in school and the most important stuff to get from YOU.

Oh and by the way…no one is allowed to drive in my car at any time I have kids in it or visit my house between the hours of 4pm and bedtime. It is just safer that way…..
Parents we are all in this together…..just play nice.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas WTF

Christmas is a time of cheer,
A great excuse to drink more beer.
But some people take it a bit too far; 
Enough to drive me to a late night bar!
Here are the things that bug me to no end;
And a few things that bug some of my new Facebook friends.
 High Five - The Mommy Ref

Hope you enjoy, or at least can relate...

#1 - Reindeer ears on door windows or any other decoration of the car.  I don’t get it.  It doesn’t look like a reindeer.  You have to keep your windows up at all times or the person behind you will have an antler in their grill.  Just don’t get it.

#2 - Giving Christmas items as a Christmas gift makes no sense to me.  Nothing says, here is something for you to store for a whole year and enjoy it later like this.  Why would I want to open a holiday ornament on Christmas just to store it until next Christmas?  

#3 - Christmas clothing, because nothing says “sexy” like shiny ornament balls hanging off my shirt.  Oh, don’t want to forget my dangle ornament earrings and sparkly pin to put it all together.  Bling baby!  Someone had the right idea starting the trend of “Ugly Sweater” parties.  Put those hideous things to go use…again only once a year.  I already dressed up once this year, it was called Halloween.

#4 - Holiday baskets filled with cheer, scratch that, cheap foam fills and  sub par candy.  Oh and popcorn that is edible if you are lucky and not just packing peanuts.  What says I love you, care about you, am thinking about you more than a 90% empty container made to look full.  Ironic.  Now be honest…you have re-gifted at least one of these in your time.

#5 - Jewelry commercials – They go all out making partners around the global feel guilty if they don’t drop at least $500 on some diamond sparkly jewelry.  If you don’t buy into this, no worries they will try again in February.  Pile on the pressure.

#6 - Christmas Movies – not all of them, just the ones that people feel the need to remake over and over.  Lifetime channel and Hallmark are repeat offenders of this.  They are already advertising it.  How many ways can the Christmas Carol be remade?   Three ghosts visit someone being a bunghole and then they change their ways.  Call it what you want, the story ends the same.  If you are bored look up the adaptations of a Christmas Carol on Google, it is nuts.

#7 - Laura S - The over abundance on the Christmas Music  - I totally agree and and not sure how I missed this one!  It is so bad that one station out here in MommyRef Land has it on loop and you can listen to the same song at the same time each and EVERY day....  Why?  Too much!

#8 -  Catrina A - Fruitcake  - Another duh moment for me!  Do people really eat that stuff?

#9 - Diary of an Unbreakable Mom - The commercialization of Christmas.  Indeed I remember as a kid eager for Thanksgiving to be over so the Christmas stuff would start to appear.  Now it starts even before Halloween in some cases. Black Friday started on Wednesday night this year.  Cyber Monday started on Saturday.  However, Thankful Tuesday didn't start early, don't give back early...just take take take...spend spend spend.

What is it that drive YOU crazy?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Is Christmas Over Yet?

This weekend we put up our Christmas tree and all of our favorite decorations. It was fun for us all with reindeer ears on and wine in my hand. But then today my middle minion (5yrs) asked me to take down the Christmas tree, all the decorations and skip Christmas this year. My heart breaks for this minion. She does not like Christmas and the magic it brings. She believes so strongly that she is willing to give up any promise of presents to just make the big fat guy and his toy making elf stay away. She is terrified. Not scared, but terrified. No Christmas movies, no stories, she actually wants no Christmas. We can't have a countdown calendar because it makes her more anxious. It breaks my heart. If she was the only child I would just tell her the truth about all this Christmas stuff. About the hype it brings. I would tell her there is no Santa and that elves are not real either. I would strip all the magic so she can sleep at night. But I can't. I still have 2 other minions that are all excited about the promise of magic. The excitement of the season. Last night she was at my bedside at 1:30 sobbing with fear that the big guy was going to come even though we are over a month away. Last year, we taught the real meaning of Christmas. Celebrating the birth of Jesus in an attempt to redirect the attention, but she is stubborn. She is strong. And she will not let go of the magic she believes in so strongly it scares her. This will be another long holiday season for us. I will be undecorating on Dec 26th first thing in the morning and I will have one very eager helper to do so.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Trying To Focus

Looking at myself lately…looking at the good and the bad. Evaluating decisions that have led me to where I am today. My family and kids are what I am most proud of.  I can think of everything awesome for my hubby, kids and family, but I keep finding myself forcing to refocus on things about “me”. It is sad really.  I mean I have never been a selfish person.  I am content with going without for others…but this time…it is not ok.  I need to refocus.  I need to make myself a priority.  I am not happy with where “I” am.  I am not talking about as a Wife, Mommy, or Career… I am referring to the rawest form of me.
I have been trying to digest why I get so angry at the drop of a hat.  Why am I “that” person now?  Why can I not control it?  Why do I continue to blast off just to cry off the embarrassment later?  I don’t have the answer, but I have some background thoughts.  Although I have the world… I am missing me.  I need to invest in me.  I have said this before and it lasts about 2 weeks.  My “me train” gets derailed and instead of getting back up on the rails….I stay on the sidelines.  Instead of plunging forward, I slip backwards.  Instead of doing things for me, I slip back into doing things for others…then I feel lost again.
Reality should have set in when the doctor identified me as obese.  My blood pressure high and in need of meds if not controlled.  My knees hurt going up the stairs.  I am tired after playing with the kids for short periods of time.  I am embarrassed in family pictures.  I avoid cameras.  But it hasn’t…and that bothers me…but it still hasn’t been enough for me to change.  Why?
With everything I do I want to be the best…I excel and make sure it is executed in a timely manner…but for myself I am continuously missing the mark.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dear Driver Of The Flashy Jag:

Your ability to weave in and out of traffic at a high rate of speed (in a 35 mph zone) and end up as the car in front of me at the red light is AMAZING!  It was almost as impressive as the driver of the black truck weaving in and out of lanes on the freeway.....only to find himself behind me at the red light of the off ramp.  Kudos to your stupidity and disregard of others!!  Your stamp of stupidity is in the mail.  Race over there to watch for it!  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Why I Hate Mondays

Why is it that on days that begin with “S” it is near impossible to sleep in? Even if I am fortunate enough to have one or more of my kids sleep in past 6am, I am up for some reason.  Yet, come Monday morning I am pealing myself and the kids out of bed?  Monday seems to be the only day in our house that a body under 5 feet tall could possibly sleep in.  This is why I hate Mondays.
It takes enough energy to get myself up and moving.  Just as I am feeling accomplished with two feet on the ground… I remember that I am soon to be faced with little faces that do not want to get up.  Little faces that I would love to stay asleep and rest the two days prior, but have decided yet again, that Monday is a day to sleep in.  This is why I hate Mondays.
Today, I took the easy way out.  I went downstairs and began to make lunches.  As I was willing my eyes to stay open, I just kept hoping that Hubby would wake up the kids.  I turned on the radio and the coffee pot and pretended it was 10am instead of 5am.  I pulled out my favorite creamer, because coffee is all about the creamer and got to making lunches.  Thankfully when I chose my hubby many moons ago I made sure he had super mind reading powers.
He began operation wake up the grumpy.  It worked! I didn’t have to fight more eyes than my own to stay open!  He fought the fight and pealed the minions from their warm beds.  Got them dressed and sent them down for breakfast…..just in time for me to go up and get dressed for work.  I think I found my recipe for sanity on Monday morning = avoidance!  I may not get the Mommy of the Year award for this morning’s events…..but I did get a bit of sanity on a Monday morning.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


How is it that something so small and so quick can be so awkward for people?  Why do people find the elevator to be so awkward and uncomfortable?  I am not convinced they are all claustrophobic.  It is quite intriguing to me that the ride last under 30 seconds and yet, the entire world stops.  I have determined there most be a set of unwritten rules that I have not been privy to because it happens all the time.

Just the other day, I entered an empty elevator.  I was standing in the back corner breathing slowing willing down my blood pressure so I wouldn't get a lecture from my Doc.  Two other people got on the elevator next.  Before they got on the elevator they were talking and obviously knew each other. Once across the magical elevator opening.....silence!  A man got into the elevator moved to the control panel and pushed the buttons for the doors to close. The common factor, they all got in and turned towards the door.  Staring at the door and not looking at one another.  Just facing forward like a statue, still as can be.

Maybe it has to do with personal space?  Casual conversations happen within 1.5 to 4 feet of each other.  The elevator really compromises this space that some require.

As an experiment, I decided that every elevator I got on for the week I would enter the elevator and continue to face the rear of the elevator until the door opened for me to leave.  I also wished every person that got off before me a good day.  You would not believe how uncomfortable people were.  No eye contact, shifting around as if they can not wait to get out.  Then I added a bit to the test.  Are you ready for it...... I said "Hello" as new people got on.  Some people actually ignored me and said NOTHING.  But most people simply nodded not violating the silence motto.  I guess it boils down to this, if you want to act "appropriately" here are some tips:

Know Your Limits 
Keep your buffer!  Don't make any sudden movements, especially smiling.  Make sure you are always facing the door.

People: Stay Separate
4 People: Each person should take a corner
5 or More People: Face the door, do not touch anyone! Refrain from smiling!

Avoid Eye Contact
Those blank stares you see are screaming - "DO NOT DISTURB!"


In my observations, these tips will assist you in having a nice comfortable elevator ride.

However, it was really fun to break the rules and see people squirm.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Sports, is my comfort zone.  Sports is my go to.  I grew up playing sports, any sports. I loved to play.  I was good at some things and others not so much.  I didn't care if I was good, I just loved to play.  I loved the rush you got working as a team and the bigger rush when you did something as an individual for your team.

While I was going through college I began to coach various basketball teams.  I loved the game and loved to teach others about it.  I enjoyed watching the kids develop.  I enjoyed watching the joy in their face when they made a basket or a great pass.  I enjoyed the excitement of the games.  I enjoyed teaching.  I enjoyed the kids. I enjoyed everything about coaching those kids, except the parents.

I stopped coaching back then because of the parents.  The parents that never did play a sport themselves and are trying to live through their child.  The parents who were great as children and expect their child to be great.  The parents that think their child is the best, when they are not.  The parents that force their child to play something in which they have no interest.  I stopped because of them.

Now I am one, a parent.  I have always promised that I will not be one of those parents.  I will be there to encourage my children.  I will allow them to chose what they would like to try out.  The only part my husband and I enforce is this...If you start a season or session, you finish it.  There is no quitting.

No quitting, that is the part that I have to remember.

Lately life has thrown some curve balls, but I must remember..not to quit.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Spare A Square

Smart phones, social media, and trendy apps make it easier than ever to stalk check up on your friends and family.  Heck, it even assists in checking in on those you are not fond of.  How many of you have used those location tagged posts to decide NOT to go somewhere? 

Now this might be twisted, but I find it hard to believe that I am the only person who thinks like this.  Well, I know I am not, because I married a man a lot like me.

However, with all the stores, chores and juggling kids, I have a new proposal.  Forget Facebook location tagging, forget Foursquare.  My app is going to be called, Spare a Square. Yep that is right.  You read it right.

I figure I will be queen of the app in no time.  I will have fierce competition from other parents of small children I am sure.  Oh, that's right, the app!  Spare a Square will be an app to check in at all the bathrooms we, as parents, are forced to find while out doing the days deeds.

I mean really, it is like a game to see how many bathrooms they "see" on the trip.  And those that have more than one children, know that once one child goes, the others will too.  So my app will be upgraded to include a multiple check in feature for more points and those all so important badges.  And yes, there is different points for #1 or #2 or if you did both, YIPPEE!  I am still deciding if you can score points for a multiple bathroom visit at the same location.  I mean it is the same hassle and effort, so why not?

Now, I just need to begin naming the badges and find a techie to build this for me.  What ya think? 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Copy Cat

Copying someone is the sincerest form of flattery, right?  I mean to take the words, choice or decision of another without having your "own" thought is a compliment?  Isn't that what "they" all say?  I want to know who the "they" are.  I want to know who really thinks this way.  I want to know who doesn't hear or see the copycat attempts and not feel bothered by it.  I can tell you who does not agree with what "they" say.  My children!

I am sure I am not the only parent with children that do not like the idea of copy cats.  Some of you parents out there are nodding your heads or smiling right now at the thought of your own situations.  You know what I am referring to, the screaming and whining about why a sibling picked the same cereal or the same kind of juice box.  I mean really does the food/drink taste any different if someone else is enjoying it too?  For a child under the age of five, the answer is yes!

As a parent, you will also know all too well that there are situations in which being a copy cat is a must.  In these desperate times equality is essential or the rotation of earth as we know it will be compromised.  In our house this is the moment of "same same".  This is the moment in which they will compare the size and number of items you have given them.  All items must be of equal size and volume, this is a MUST.  Oh and remember, this includes a cup of liquid.  As a parent this is a very important to remember.  One slight miscalculation and operation meltdown WILL occur.  Meltdowns will be covered seperately as they are a beast of their very own.

I am still torn on what "they" say.  I mean I enjoy my own ideas and I can respect others original ideas.  If we all kept them to ourselves the world would be pretty boring.  However, copying what others do is pretty boring too.  What do you think?  Who are "they" anyway?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Battle

The battle of the "Moms".  The "working" Mom and the "stay at home" Mom.  Aren't they really both working Moms?  They are both working.  They may hold different job descriptions and provide different benefits, but they are both hard to balance.  Let's take a look at them:

Stay at Home:
  • You may or may not be good at the job
  • You may or may not be fit for the job
  • Being the town taxi is stressful
  • You can not pee alone as there is always an audience.
  • Your day rarely goes as planned, the support staff make sure of that
  • Breaks and lunches are hit and miss
  • Your job duties include "all other duties assigned" a minor
  • Underpaid
  • Appreciation is hit and miss
  • Your social life often seems like Toddler World 24/7
  • You may or may not be good at the job
  • You may or may not be fit for the job
  • Commuting is stressful
  • You can not pee alone, unless you happen to go when no one else in the entire building does not
  • Your day rarely goes as planned
  • Breaks and lunches are hit and miss
  • Your job duties include "all other duties assigned" someone that acts like a child.
  • Underpaid
  • Appreciation is hit and miss
  • Your social life often seems like High School Drama 24/7
Wow, so far I am torn.  Let's face it, being a Mom is hard.  No matter what your schedule looks like at the end of the day, a Mom is a Mom.  It is what you do with your "Mom" time that makes you a Mother.  So many people take for granted the awesomeness of being a Mother.  I am thankful everyday to have healthy and happy children. Whether you have all day with them or a few hours a day with them.  Be thankful you are WITH them.