Tag Archive: parenting


Love. Yo. Self

This conversation happened recently with my 4 year old daughter:
E: Mom, who in this room do you love?
M: I love you, Will, and me (husband wasn’t home I promise)
E: You love you? That’s weird!
M: Why is that weird? Do you love yourself?
E: Yeah, it’s just weird…
And then she moved on to wondering why I gave her the red cup because she wanted the yellow cup and when are we going to Nana’s again. 4 YO attention span, amiright?
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But, it is a little weird. It is something that isn’t talked about very often because it makes us uncomfortable. It is especially hard for women. Loving yourself ‘out loud’ makes women worry “am I coming across as conceited?”, “is this intimidating for others?”, “do all women hate me now?”, etc. And then there are the mommy martyrs out there acting like if you’re not miserable, exhausted, and depressed, you’re not trying hard enough.

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IS it weird to love yourself though? I would argue that it is weird NOT to love yourself. You are the only you that has ever been on Earth, and you are the only you you get to be! What a travesty it would be if you spent your one lifetime not loving the only you you are! That was a little hard to follow but I think you get my point…

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This doesn’t mean that every second of every day you love every single thing about yourself. You can love yourself and wish that you were a little stronger. You can love yourself and not love a part of your past. You can love yourself and be disappointed with the way you behaved that day. Really, loving yourself is like loving another person.

How do you treat the people that you love? With respect, kindness, forgiveness, understanding, etc. Do you treat yourself the same? Would you tell your sister ‘you look ugly today’? I certainly hope not. Would you tell your husband he was failing as a parent because he yelled at the kids too much that day? Not likely. So why would you say that to yourself?

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Let’s do an experiment! Say the 2 sentences below out loud and notice the way they make you feel when you say them.

1. Of course I give my kids their vitamins! I love them and would do anything to keep them healthy!

2. Of course I take my vitamins! I love myself and I would do anything to keep myself healthy!

Or…

1. My kids are in soccer and baseball all summer long. It’s hard to find the time, but their health and fitness is my number 1 priority!

2. I make it to the gym and yoga 4x a week. It’s hard to find the time, but my health and fitness is my number 1 priority!

Gets a little squirmy feeling doesn’t it? It really shouldn’t though. Should you love and cherish your children for the enormous blessing they are? Of course! Does your life change and do you make sacrifices for them daily? Duh! But does your life cease to exist? No! Do you become less of a priority? You shouldn’t. Think about it this way… Does your first born become less important when your second child comes? No. There is just more love! All of the sudden your heart just starts pumping more out. That’s the amazing thing about love- we never run out. We just keep making more.

So trust me, there is enough for you. You might need to practice a little bit. It comes more naturally to some vs. others. But it’s there. Take yourself out on a date, buy yourself a drink, and treat yo self real nice…
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After almost 9 years of marriage, and 2 kids, Valentine’s Day shifts a little. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows and unicorn kisses. Sometimes, it’s sneaking away for 2 hours during the restaurant’s slow time and eating carbs and drinking alcohol. Just us?

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We decided to go to one of our favorite local establishments. 1. Because they have an awesome beer selection! 2. Because they have really great food. If you are in Lake County and don’t regularly go to Firkin, I don’t know about you…
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As we were there, reminding ourselves of how much we actually do like each other, we talked about how great it will be when the kids are in high school, and we can just do this whenever we feel like it (this is not where you chime in and tell me all the reasons why that is not gonna happen. Just let me believe this.)

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We stuffed our faces pretty quickly with Warm Goat cheese in a spicy tomato sauce, Fried Oysters, French onion soup, and Spicy Pork Tacos. #notpaleo We enjoyed some Hopslam and some Affligem Blonde beer. Unbuttoned our pants and went to pick up the kids.
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It was actually a beautiful winter day with snow falling as we ate. Now I have a fire going and I’m happy as can be. 9 years with Brent and I can’t wait for 9 more. A couple that drinks together, stays together…
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IMG_1835Okay ladies, let’s talk. Just a quick little chat. I think it’s time to cool it with the posing in the pictures. Not every pic on your smart phone needs to be a red-carpet moment. You know what I mean: hand on hip, arms away from the body for slimming, chin down, sexy eyes, shot from above, etc. This pose is the new duck face in my opinion. Is it more flattering? Yes! Is it slimming? Yes! Do you need to pose like that for the picture with your 2 year old? No. Do you need to be ‘hot’ in a picture with your kids (or grandma or fish tank)? There is a time and a place for posing: date night, girls night out, weddings, etc. First day of school at the bus stop? Please god no.

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My favorite pictures of me have always been spontaneous. I love pictures where I am laughing- mouth wide open- and looking away. I love pictures where I might not being wearing makeup but I am having fun with my kids. I love pics that are great memories, even if I don’t look skinny. You know why? Because there is not a secret Hot Mom contest. And, if there was, I am sure I would not win. If there was, I would not participate. If there was, shame on anyone who would judge it. I take pride in my appearance, and I take care of my health, but not so I can be photogenic for strangers on the internet. Because I like to feel confident. Because I like when my body can do what I ask of it (like sub for a volley ball game or run a couple miles or dance the night away).

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I am not perfect. I am guilty of the ‘let me see it’ as soon as the flash fades. I am guilty of ‘put a filter on that so I look younger’. I am guilty of the ‘do it again, I don’t like my face’. But, I am going to work on that. I would really hate for my daughter to look at a picture I took of her perfect little self and say that she doesn’t like her face. That is about the saddest thing I can think of. Let’s just go back to having fun and capturing moments. That’s what pictures are for.

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FullSizeRender (9)This morning I was reading a blog post about a mom who got fed up with snacking and it sparked an old feeling inside me. I have talked about snacking before, I have ranted and raved about snacking before, I will talk to anyone who will listen to me about snacking before, but I need to bring it up again.

Our snacking is out of control! Grown-ups and children but this post is going to focus on our kids.

I’ll never forget the time I had to run into Kohl’s really quick to grab something. Maybe a 10 min. trip. I had my daughter with me and the second we crossed the threshold with her stroller she asked for a snack. She not only asked for the snack, she just assumed there was one coming. Like I have a magical snack dispenser in my purse that shoots out pretzels and yogurt covered raisins. When I told her I didn’t have anything, she made my trip to the store much less pleasant. But, it’s not her fault- it was mine. You see, it’s easier to give kids snacks. If they are busy with cheerios, they aren’t whining. They aren’t crying in the car if they have Teddy Grahams. But what is that teaching them? Instead of looking out the window for 15 minutes and observing the world, they are digging for more cheap carbohydrates in a plastic bag. At the store, instead of having polite conversation with mommy and smiling at strangers, they are looking down into cardboard-like ‘gold fishys’. Instead of learning that sometimes they have to behave, even though they are bored, they are self soothing with junk food.

And, even if you are pretty strict with snacks, you have to be like a mom-ninja to avoid all the sugar crap that is being offered to them around every turn. Bank- here, take a hard candy. Hair cut- here take a lolli pop for acting like a human child should act. Grandma’s house- I only gave them 3 donuts with their chocolate milk this morning. Here take a 100 calorie pack of cookies for the 20 min drive home. (Sorry Mom- but you know I am right.) Birthday party- I know we just ate cake with electric blue frosting, but here is a goody bag with more candy for later. Sports activities- The kids stood out in a field being yelled at to pay attention every 3 minutes for a half hour. Let’s replace all those electrolytes and carb load! It’s madness!

Take a look at Pinterest and do a search for Fun Snacks for Kids. Ugh, not only do we not need a snack every hour, we certainly don’t need homemade ‘sushi’ made from a tortilla, chocolate spread, and a banana. (seriously, I just searched it to see what would come up and it was my worst nightmare). I get it, once in a while that is cute… But, your kid should be able to just eat a frickin apple once in a while. Besides, if they only eat sandwiches that look like Teddy Bears, how are you going to sustain that.

All that said, there is a time and place for snacking. Of course there is. I am not depriving my children. But, let’s be careful about what message we are sending. You don’t get a cookie because you didn’t throw a tantrum in toys r us. I expect you not to throw a tantrum in toys r us. You don’t get graham crackers to get you thru the 1/2 mile walk around the block. Your young, healthy body can more than handle that level of exertion. You don’t get crackers because you are bored at the store with mom. Use your imagination. Children that eat when they are bored, turn into grown ups that eat when they are bored.

It is not healthy for kids to maintain a high level of sugar in their little bodies all day long. Cereal, yogurt, dried fruit, cookies, graham crackers, gold fish, juice boxes are all FILLED with sugar (and if they don’t have a lot of sugar they turn into sugar in their blood stream immediately). I don’t want to get heavy into the science, but it becomes very hard for kids to control their mood and their behavior when there is a constant up and down in blood sugar or if it is always high.

So, let’s put an end to this. Take a stand against sugar with me! Go cold turkey. Your kids will be fine. In fact, they’ll actually be hungry at dinner time.

My Idea of Summer

adirondack chairThank you baby Jesus, summer is finally upon us. I literally dream of summer all year long. In those desperate quite moments of February when you feel like you can’t take it for one more GD second, I close my eyes and think about June. I think about the sun on my bronze face and working in my garden and sidewalk chalk and happiness. And, it’s here! It’s finally here!

When I think about what I want to do with my summer… wait let me stop there for a second. Notice how I said MY summer? Notice I didn’t say my KIDS’ summer? That’s right. The kids are going to be fine no matter what kind of summer we have. Me, on the other hand, not so much. You see, my sister is the queen of summer. Not a weekend goes by where she doesn’t know about some awesome free summer event somewhere. Last year she brought us to a hot air balloon launching thing in Grayslake. It was very cool. And, bless her for not getting more irritated with me, but she sends me at least one email per week saying, ‘did you hear about the free summer concert series this weekend….want to go?’ And my response is usually something like, ‘maybe, we’ll see how the week goes.’ But, it’s all good. She likes to do that stuff. You know what I like to do? Sit in my yard listening to Bob Marley and drinking vodka (she likes to do that too…). I’d like to say that I’m joking, but I’m 100% serious. If I got to pick what I got to do on Saturdays all summer long, that would be #1.

I also love the kids running around the yard, playing on the swing set, exploring nature, and not bugging mom. It’s summer for crying out loud. They need Mom to protect them, to feed them, to love them, but they don’t need me to be their super-companion. That what’s your brother/sister, cousins, and neighbors are for. That is what your imagination is for. I’m like all of our parents were, I lose my shit when my kids say they are bored. Any one who says they are bored can go inside and take a nap! This doesn’t mean we won’t also have a blast. We got a new and improved blow up pool- cooler than anything I ever had. We got pool passes. I like to do camp fires and backyard camp-outs. I love going for long walks. We go to the park. And, we are signed up for t-ball. There is going to be plenty of fun for the kids of course. That’s the best thing about summer- it is fun without trying. Bubbles, hopscotch, hula-hoops, and hoses. That’s all it takes.

I just don’t want to jam in so much, that next thing I know it’s September and I feel like I didn’t sit down. Some people like to pack in as much fun into every day as they can muster. I like relaxing outside. To me, that is fun. (It makes me sound so lazy!). I like reading my book in the sun. I like grilling out. I like sitting around fires. I like talking with my neighbors until you say, ‘Holy crap, is that what time it is?’ I like playing bags and drinking shandy. I like waking up in the morning and blogging on my porch while my kids watch cartoons. I like going to the farmers market and touching and smelling and tasting. I like when my husband asks, ‘what’s the plan for the day?’ and I get to say ‘nothing, no plan.’

That is, until we get a boat. And then that is what I want to do everyday. But, with the Marley and the vodka….

Mommy Monster

I wake up in the morningIMG_6468
With my normal mommy-ness
You turn me into something else
When I see the giant mess

I plan to be a good girl
With no yelling and no drama
But you wear me down and help create
This crazy-eyed mean-mama

Why must you fight about
The color of your glass
It’s the exact same milk inside
You’re acting like an ass

My hair is falling out now
What’s left is turning gray
Because you whine non-stop
All the live-long day

It doesn’t change my love
Not one tiny little bit
But if you would just listen
Mommy wouldn’t lose her shit

I dream of peace and quiet
But when my dream is done
I wake up to complaining
Mommy-monster I’ve become

So I wave the white flag
I know I’ll never win
I’ll give into the mess
Can you clean with gin?

I’m being hyperbolic
It’s really not that bad
But all your crappy habits
I blame them on your dad

You fill my heart with love
And though you’re why mom jiggles
I love you little bastards
And your contagious little giggles

XOXO- Mommy

photo (21)My daughter just provided me with a little ‘aha’ moment the other day. I was watching the make-over episode of the Biggest Loser and one of the contestants came out of the dressing room in a red dress. My daughter looked up at the TV and said, “Look Mommy, a princess!” She said it with such joy and wonder on her face. In her mind, this happy smiling woman in a dress WAS a princess. Mind you, this woman had no make up on, her hair wasn’t done, and she is still ‘over-weight’ based on our standards here in the states. This is no offense to this woman; she is simply still on her weight loss journey. None of this mattered to my 2 ½ year old. It really got me thinking.

First of all, I was so proud! I was proud that she has not been influenced by me or by society or by Disney to think that only skinny is beautiful. She can still see a woman who has genuine happiness on her face and call her a princess without any discrimination. I don’t know how long this will last, or even how long I want this whole princess fantasy to continue, but right now I am going to enjoy it.

What this should teach us though, is we are not born to discriminate, or hate, or make fun of, or think less of other people because of their appearance. We are born knowing that every human being is equally amazing and beautiful. We know this instinctually; we know it down to our bones. We learn otherwise, and incorrectly so. We are taught that “mommy doesn’t like to look fat in her jeans” and that “the chubby kid gets picked on the most” and that “there are no fat models” and that “the pretty girls get attention”.

It’s the same thing with racism. Remember that awesome Dennis Leary quote, “Racism isn’t born folks. It’s taught. I have a 2-year-old son. Know what he hates? Naps. End of list.” How true is that?!? And, if I introduced Ellie to 2 men and said, “Joe likes boys, and Mike likes girls”. She would say, “Okay…look at my pony.” She doesn’t care. Are they going to be nice her? Are they going to play Candyland? She’s on board.

We need to be conscious of our behavior, what comes out of our mouths, and our body language. A five year old girl is completely capable of interpreting an exasperated sigh as her mother looks in the mirror and doesn’t approve of what she sees. She is completely aware of the things you enjoy and focus on. If your coffee table is filled with Cosmo and US weekly instead of literature authored by women or books about science and the arts, she will notice. If your ‘down-time’ is watching Real Housewives or The Bachelor, she will notice. Not to mention the message this sends to our sons. Are we teaching our sons to value a woman for everything that she is capable of, or are we showing him that our value as women comes from our appearance?

It’s a lot of pressure, right? Yeah, parenting isn’t easy.

Just today to my husband I said, “I really need to focus on my diet. I am shaving my head in a month and I can’t be bald and chubby.” Granted, this was not in front of my kids, but it still came out of my mouth. I heard me say it. How many times a day do you insult yourself? If you had a friend that spoke to you that way, you would have ditched her years ago. And, my husband heard me say it. How annoying we must be to our husbands…. The person who loves us more than anyone else on the planet, the person who we trust with our lives, our future, our children, and we don’t believe the nice things they say to us.

I want to think like a 2 year old. I want to do what makes me happy. I want to value everyone equally (except moms, moms are the best). I want to play so hard that I fall asleep while eating. I want to be unashamed of my feelings and say what’s on my mind. We think that kids don’t know much, but they are so much wiser than we give them credit for. We could all learn a lot from them if we were actually listening.

What life lesson have you learned from your kids?

Ho Ho Holiday Letter Time

942064_10201449148613312_1625857794_nIt’s that time of year again to catch you all up on how the Reimholzes did in 2013. I realize that between facebook, my blog, twitter, and actual human interaction…. you might not get to know enough about me! Well I am here to fix all of that. These of course are the highlights, I wouldn’t want you to think we were just a normal family, we are a super-family of good fortune and joy!

The Kids:
Will is in kindergarten and is starting to read! I’m sure there are a lot of kids his age that are also learning to read, but there is just something about the way he does it. It’s like, he really gets it, you know? He is also super adorable and can run really fast in his new shoes. He also is very good at playing and sleeping and telling you he loves you. Will is also a great older brother unless of course it is one of those moments that ‘Ellie ruins EVERYTHING!’

Ellie, when she is not ruining everything, is very good at being two. She likes to say “no” and “I don’t want to”. She is so independent! She just really knows what she likes and goes for it. She is also very determined for such a little girl. One day I swear she said “Mommy” 86 times in a row until she got her way. You can’t teach that! She is also very sweet and maybe the cutest child to ever walk the earth (I know that seems like an exaggeration but I’m pretty sure…). I can’t wait until she turns 3 and she magically turns into a sweet child who doesn’t whine or complain or fight with her brother. These terrible two’s are rough, but it’s only one year, right? Right!?
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Brent:
Brent is having a great year just killing it at everything he does. He is a big fan of the Super bowl champs The Baltimore Ravens. It was a great start to the year because not only did they win the super bowl, but they finally listened to him and got rid of their ‘good for nothing’ offensive coordinator. Obviously they didn’t follow the rest of his advice building their 2013-2014 season. I really do think that one day they will realize they should just put him on their payroll and do whatever he says. I don’t think he’s been wrong yet. Or at least I hear a lot of “I told you so’s” directed at the TV. Other than that, great dad, husband, provider, fantasy football stud, and human being.

Me:
There’s not much to say about me, I’ve just been saving the world one blog post and opinion at a time. But don’t worry, I will not rest until you all find inner peace and contentment and look good in bikinis. Also, I have decided to buy all of my own Christmas presents this year so that I get everything I want, and really isn’t that the point? What else…. oh I have seat warmers in my new car. It’s a game changer. I’ll have a toasty butt while I am driving all over town buying myself presents.

That about sums up our year. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

1 teacherMy oldest is a kindergartner this year and I have been trying to think of what to get for his lovely teacher. Instead of trying to come up with something on my own, I decided to reach out to my friends on Facebook who are teachers and have them fill me in on what they REALLY want. The answers were all over the board, with a few surprises, and a couple of hilarious stories. I know this is not a one-size-fits-all, so if you disagree, that is fine. I am just going off the feedback I received. So here it is….But, first and foremost- they don’t want to hear from you or anyone else during their break!

The Good:
Almost every single person who replied mentioned gift cards! So, if you thought gift cards are too impersonal and you wanted to be creative- get over it. They apparently LOVE gift cards. 1. They can actually get what they want and 2. Many of them use the gift cards to buy stuff they need for their classrooms. You might not realize it, but teachers spend a lot of their OWN money on class room supplies. Giving them gift cards to Target, Walmart (boo), and local craft stores is a very popular present. Other gift cards that were mentioned a lot were Starbucks, iTunes, and bath and body works.

Also, it turns out a lot of teachers enjoy getting booze. I don’t feel comfortable sending liquor with my child on the bus, but if you have a personal relationship with the teacher and hand deliver it, this would be an appreciated gift. You could include a little note that says, “For all the times my little monster made you want to drink!” If I were a teacher, this is what I would want. 🙂

Someone shared a great idea for those of you who are good organizers or know the fellow parents well… You could all chip in and get one more expensive gift or gift card. It is hard if the teacher has 10 different $10 gift cards to 10 different stores. But a $100 Visa gift card is AWESOME!

Lastly, a few mentioned that they appreciate any and all presents (you know, those really sweet, selfless ones that think its ‘the thought that counts’.) What I took from this, is if it is something meaningful in some way or really original, the teacher will likely love it.

The Bad:
Teachers get enough strong smelling lotions and candles. They do not need more. Your favorite sent in the world might be vanilla or cinnamon, but that doesn’t mean your teacher will like it. A good quality neutral-smelling hand cream is different than passion fruit body lotion from bath and body works. Be smart here.

Ornaments, Christmas decorations, and #1 teacher swag. Unless the teacher is a first or second year teacher, they don’t want a #1 teacher coffee mug. I guarantee they already have one. And, how many ornaments do teachers really need. They have 20+ students a year for possibly 20 years! That is a shit-load of snowmen. Not to mention, how can you even be sure the teacher celebrates Christmas? You don’t really know unless you personally know the teacher. Don’t assume.

On that note, nothing religious. You might be devout, but the teacher might not be. Even if they celebrate christmas, it doesn’t mean they want a big gold cross. And, yes, even at a christian school. Unless the teacher is a nun, don’t assume anything.

Lastly, homemade treats are iffy. I would say no. 1. They probably get enough chocolates and sweets from everyone and 2. Most people won’t eat sweets from people they don’t know well. They don’t know how clean your house it, how fresh your eggs are, if you washed your hands, etc. Maybe that is over thinking it, but better safe than sorry.

The Ugly:
I should say the hilarious! Teachers really do grow to love our children and develop close relationship with them, but they don’t love your kid like you love your kid. They do not want a framed 5×7 photo of your child. (yes, that is a real story). Maybe a wallet size school picture that they won’t feel guilty about throwing away next year, but come on. Again, 20+ students a year for decades, your kid is not THAT special. That is not mean, it’s just real life.

Anything overly personal or inappropriate. One teacher friend told me that she received a bathrobe from a student. That is just weird. It’s too personal. A scarf is fine, socks are fine, a bathrobe just crosses that line.

Final Thoughts:
Take the time to write a nice thank you note. Teachers work so hard- SO HARD! They get a lot of complaints from students, parents, administrators, school board. They hear all too often that teachers are failing our students and take the blame when they are not at fault. They would love to hear that you appreciate what they are doing for your kid. They would love to hear a personal example of a time that they impressed you or made a lasting impression on your child. They would love to hear from the student how much they mean to them. They like to hear that you know how hard they work and that you appreciate all of it. Also, maybe if your kids are small, include a little question and answer. Mine and Will’s is below.

Q: What is your favorite part about Mrs. ________?
A: She always tells me what to do, and if I make her stuff, she gives me a hug.
Q: What is your favorite part about school?
A: I like walking in the hallway and seeing all the work the other class kids do.
Q: What is Mrs. ______ like?
A: She likes when we all listen to what she tells us.
Q: What is Mrs. ______ good at?
A: She is good at reading stories and teaching and telling me what to do.

Haha, sounds like Will’s teacher has good control over the classroom. 🙂

Kids, no kids

IMG_4413In my vast experience I have come up with these differences between having kids and not having kids:

No kids: Wow, last night was fun. I better sleep this one off.
Kids: Wow, what was I thinking last night. Better get ready for a morning full of mother fucking Dora on repeat.

No kids: Oooh, we should check out that new restaurant. (and then you go the following week)
Kids: Oooh, we should check out that new restaurant. (and then you go within the next 36 months)

No kids: Ew, poop is gross!
Kids: Did the baby poop today? I’m worried, yesterday it was _______ and ___________ (insert very graphic words to describe poop colors and textures). What’s for lunch?

No kids: I’m in the mood for starbucks….(and then leaves to get starbucks)
Kids: I’m in the mood for starbucks… but there is no f’ing way I’m getting the kids f’ing dressed with coats and shit for f’ing coffee!

No kids: Hey babe, wanna do it on the couch?
Kids: Hey babe, wanna do it when our kids are away at college in 16 years? (winky face)

No kids: I love a long hot shower on a cold winter morning….
Kids: When is the last time I showered?

No kids: What do you want for dinner? ‘Let’s get sushi!’
Kids: What do you want for dinner? ‘Have whatever you want. I finished off the kids’ hot dogs and I’m not hungry any more.’

No kids: We should do a vacation this year. What about Mexico?
Kids: There is no way I’m taking these assholes on an airplane! Dells?

*Those are my adorable nieces and nephew. Taking up my poor sister’s entire king size bed. 🙂