Friday, November 30, 2012

Hey Boston--Give It Up, Mommyland!


I’m super extremely very excited to tell you that the Boston Give it Up, Mommyland event is on like Donkey Kong! And hold on to your britches because it’s this weekend. (Hey, as a mom of young children of COURSE I put this together at the last minute. I’m lucky I even had clean underwear this morning…)

So I've decided the Boston area event will benefit an organization called Room to Grow in Boston.  Room to Grow serves children ages 0-3 who are born into poverty in Boston. The moms (who are referred by social services) and babies come to the organization in downtown Boston every three months and meet with a social worker. At each visit, the clinician monitors the baby's developmental progress and provides resources and support to help the parent cope with raising a child in stressful circumstances. After the visit, the moms then get to "shop" in a collection of very gently used donated items, such as educational toys, clothes, etc. The moms are required to leave with a minimum of ten board books, too, so by the time their babies graduate out of the program the family owns an entire library!

My company, Isis Parenting, has an existing partnership with Room to Grow and back in October they set up a chance for employees to go spend an evening after work sorting donations. I went and was so impressed with the whole operation. When you walk into their organized space of donated items it feels like a nice, cheerful, clean real retail store. It's well organized and the items are really high quality.

I think Room to Grow gets it—not only providing educational and baby care items that these moms otherwise cannot afford, but also giving vital emotional support to moms in those first three (tough) years. These are women who are parenting in extraordinary circumstances and might not otherwise have someone to high five them and say—hey, this is a tough job, just try to do your best! To read more about their program mission and goals, click here.

So the Boston event is going to be a big donation drive for Room to Grow! We’re all making room for the influx of STUFF that accompanies the holidays…now is the time to clean out closets of too-small clothes, stack up the board books you no longer need, and set aside those awesome but too baby-ish toys and give them to another mama who really needs them.

My awesome company got wind of what I was planning and very generously donated their space for us to collect donations. They are also going to deliver the donations with their big cargo van next week. YEAH!!!

Here are the details:

What: Room to Grow Donation Drive

When: Saturday, December 1st, 10am-Noon

Where: Isis Parenting, 110 Second Avenue, Needham, MA 02494

Please feel free to stop in anytime in those two hours and drop off donations. Stay and help us sort, if you want. Bring your kids! I’ll put out some toys and coloring sheets so the littles can play and bigger kids can help us sort stuff.

Here is a full list of what Room to Grow does and does not accept…but my contact there told me this week they are currently in desperate need of educational toys, winter coats, snowsuits, boots (esp. newborn-24mo), pajamas, and boy clothes.

Room to Grow accepts the following items suitable for a child under the age of three and in excellent condition only:
Clothing, to size 5T
Toys
Books
Blankets
Crib Sheets
Towels
Washcloths
Bibs
Strollers
High Chairs
Booster Chairs
Bassinets
Baby Carriers
Bouncy Seats
Swings
Play Mats
Exersaucers
Bathtubs
Potties
Feeding Supplies
Baby Proofing Items
Baby Monitors
Diaper Bags
Children's or Parenting DVDs
Children's CDs
Photo Albums
Baby's Room Accessories
Child Rearing Books

The following items are accepted new only: 
Bottles
Breast Pumps
Cups
Teethers
Baby Shampoo
Baby Lotion
Diaper Cream
Baby Care Items

Sorry, we cannot accept: (for reasons of safety, hygiene, or appropriateness) 
Cribs
Baby Furniture
Bath Seats
Car Seats
Car Seat Carriers
Diapers
Diaper Pails
Formula
Baby Food
Stuffed Animals
Walkers
Maternity Clothes
Pregnancy Books
Crib Bumpers
Sleep Positioners

Giddyup!!! Can’t wait to meet some of you on Saturday!
Xoxoxox
Guru Louise


(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Give it Up, MommyLand: Holidays 2012

It's time for our second annual holiday project to help moms and babies and kids and families (and dads, too of course)! This post will include everything you need to know. There are 4 parts to this year's holiday project. There's something for everyone this time. Woot!

No money? No problem! You can join Sweet Relish or you can come hang out with us and donate your time. Super busy? No biggie. Send us an email and we can send you someone whose kids will be grateful for even a $10 gift card. Want to do something but don't know where to get start? WE'RE ON IT.  Want to volunteer your time but need to bring your kids with you wherever you go? Good, so do we. 

Way to Help #1: Gift Card Exchange
This will be just like last year. If you need a little help or want to help out a mom with a little gift card, send us an email. We will be accepting emails from people needing help for as long as we can. Then Kate, Guru Louise and I will then go balls out trying to match everyone up.

The Gift Card Exchange (last year's Helping Hookers project with an all new name -- GIVE IT UP!) will start on Monday, December 3rd. For more information, check back here on 12/3/12. Please note: We are not currently accepting emails for this.

Way to Help #2: Join Sweet Relish and follow Lydia
The awesome people at Sweet Relish are working with us to help moms in need this holiday season. They will donate $1 in gift cards for every person who joins their site and follows me (up to $5,000!!).  If you follow me, I promise to follow you back! It only takes a minute and is really useful and fun.

To join Sweet Relish and follow me, click here.
 
If you have trouble finding me, here's where I am - right on the main page!



Way to Help #3: Volunteer with us. 
Remember Mother's Day and The Mother Pucker Project? One of the things we did was throw a party where over 50 moms and their kids showed up with donations to create gift bags for moms living in homeless and domestic violence shelters. 

Right now we're planning three parties to help local organizations: one in Northern Virginia/DC (where Kate & Lydia live), one in Boston (where Guru Louise lives) and one in Charlotte, NC (where Sweet Relish & our buds from The Dose of Reality live). UPDATE: there are now events planned in Maynard, MA and near Vancouver, Canada, too!

If you want to do one where you live, 
we can help and Sweet Relish 
may even donate gift cards! 

To start a Mommyland event in your community, email Lydia & Guru at: giveitupevents@yahoo.com

To learn more about the events in NoVa/DC, Boston and Charlotte and elsewhere clickety-click here. 

Way to Help #4: Get our kids involved.   
Our kids learned something from what we did last year. And I need them to be the kind of people who GET IT. We help others. And we don't just talk about stuff or complain about how bad things are, we get out there and do something about it.

First, we're making sure that everything Give it Up, Mommyland does is kid-friendly. We want you to be able to do all of it with your kids, so they see first hand how amazing you are for giving a schmidt about families in need.

Next, we have a post that lays out lots of ideas for how kids of all ages can help. To see it, click here.

Thank you so much, Mommyland.

xoxo, Kate & Lydia & Guru Louise

PS: About the name change, we used to be helping holiday hookers and mother puckers but some people ::coughcough:: Cap'n Coupon - thought our excessive use of the word hooker was off-putting and also we were getting blocked by a lot of places (like the US Government). [Riiiiight, because the US government knows nothing about hookers...snort. - Kate] From now on, any project where we give somebody a hand will be part of Give It Up, Mommyland. Because you know you like to give it up. And because we can't be mature about anything, we tried.



(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Domestic Enemies of the Low Income Mom

It was exactly one year ago that we posted this. And the reaction to it, both positive and negative, blew our minds. Reading it again a year later, I'm struck by how the comments section is as interesting as the post itself.  It does what it's supposed to, providing a glimpse of our collective perspective on what it.

From these reactions, the Holiday Hooker project was born. And we helped a couple thousand families like Tara's have a brighter holiday. Tomorrow we'll share how you can help this year, including more information about the gift card exchange.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Today's post is from our pal Tara who wanted to tell us all about the schmidt that low income moms deal with every day.  Here's a little blurbitty blurb about her:

Hi, my name is Tara and I am the mother of two boys, Peanut Butter who is 5 and Jelly who is 2. I am also expecting baby number three, and for many reasons which will become clear, this baby will certainly be our last. I am also married to Jeffe (so named because he thinks he’s the boss, bahaha) who works part-time as a cook when I’m not at work and stays at home with the boys when I am at work. I work as an hourly manager at a fast-food coffee and donut shop. We are an awesome family, but we are broke.  And trust me, broke moms face their own set of enemies. Here they are:

1.) We’re Still Moms: One thing that rings true for all Low Income Mommies is that they’re still moms. Their finances are heaped on top of the fact that there are still chores to be done and children to distract from self-destruction love, and there seems to be a misconception that poor=lazy. I can proudly say that my laundry is folded, the floor is clean (except for the Cheerios under the couch), the dishes are done and the bathrooms are sanitized.

During my pregnancy with Jelly we were working with the local Human Services Department to make some improvements on our house and during the process an employee did several home visits. The first time she came over she remarked on what a relief it was that our house wasn’t a hellhole. You were expecting my house to be a horror-land of microbial death? In the kitchen on top of a very high shelf are the cleaning supplies: sponges, dish-soap and bleach. What can’t be cleaned using those items? There have been times where I’ve had to substitute dish-soap to wash our laundry but we still ended up with clean underwear. So stop-

2.) Acting Surprised: Once, when I brought the kids with me to work a regular said, “Oh, what handsome boys! How do you do it?” A smart-ass response came to mind and instead I asked, “I beg your pardon?” “With a tight budget it must be hard to find nice clothes.” Did you just look up the definition of a back-handed compliment and are now looking for ways to use it? Just because I have a McJob doesn’t mean I can’t clothe my children. Stop acting surprised. Also, keep your-



3.) Advice to yourself. The truth is that no matter how many money-saving tips you give me I’ll still be broke. We don’t go to movies or own any video-games. My phone is the free one I got with the “it’s-the-cheapest” plan, and the reason we have cell-phones is so we don’t get stranded on the side of the road when the POS decides to take a sh*t in our Corn Flakes. If it has nothing to do with survival then I don’t have it. “How are you on the internet? It isn’t a necessity.” If I couldn’t get away from reality the survival of my family would be in jeopardy. Try the whole “unplugged” thing and see how you feel.


Peanut Butter is in Kindergarten and he -- somehow --needs more school supplies. My bras have had the under-wires removed because they were jabbing me in the armpits. Survey says? The markers have it, and I pray to God that none of the kids notice they’re not Crayola. I make decisions like this every day. Gasoline or diapers? Electricity or phone? The gas light is on and my phone is shut off.


4.) Asking For Help Sucks: DHS employees may be wonderful people but when they’re at work they’re demi-gods, handing out favor on a whim. I’ve sat in waiting rooms for hours while my children get progressively agitated and I end up pulling out a bag of Cheese Doodles to keep them occupied. When I finally see someone we step back into their cubicle and they ask me about everything except our underwear sizes. As long as I’ve brought everything, we’ll get benefits. I have to drop off EVERYTHING in person, they NEVER answer the phone and every six months they’ll want an update, so I keep EVERYTHING.


5.) Inappropriate Questions: “Who’s watching your kids?” “Who’s the Baby’s Daddy, and where is he?” I don’t reply because if I did I would succumb to The Rage, but here are the answers: I’m married, all of my children are my husband’s and right now he’s at home changing diapers.

Despite the fact that being broke sucks, there are upsides. When the economic crisis came my family had better coping mechanisms for it than going on a homicidal rampage at Wal-Mart. To get the job I have I’ve had to work twice as hard to get half as much respect as a man, so I work four times as hard and am now The Bad Ass. As far as the rest of the company is concerned, I chew up old smoke detectors and spit out tactical nuclear devices. When people need help they know who to call and it isn’t “Ghostbusters!” My kids will learn to be the opposite of these other over-entitled asshats through our example. And really, love doesn’t actually require that we have money in our checking account, right?

And as a side note: thanks, Lydia and Kate, for writing as honestly as you do about motherhood! You’ve given me some comfort, knowing that I’m not the only one who loses their Schmidt!

**********************************
The awesome people at Sweet Relish are working with us to help moms in need this holiday season. They will donate $1 in gift cards for every person who joins their site and follows me (up to $5,000!!). If you're too busy or too broke to help to a family in need this year, here is one really quick and easy way to help.  It only takes a minute and is really useful and fun.

To join Sweet Relish and follow me, click here.



(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Don't Ask Your Kids About Family Rules

I made the mistake of asking my kids about something again. We were eating dinner and my kids were arguing and it was driving me insane in the membrane. So finally, I said: "THAT'S IT! This fighting ENDS NOW. We need some family rules. "

They looked at me like I had suddenly turned into a T-Rex or something. 

"Come on, people. What rules should we have as a family? You know, so that we can all be happy and everyone will get along and stuff?" Why oh why did I ask them that? 

Here were some of their answers:

10. If you see your mom, ask her for something so she stays busy.

9. Don't eat too much salt. 

8. No more tomato fights. Sigh... Even though they're awesome.

7. Study music until you get to Mozart, then you can stop.

7. Try not to poop yourself, OK? Because it smells bad. 

6. Mommy should sleep in her own bed all night long. BUT WIF ME! Mwha ha ha ha ha ha! [This was obviously Mini who even at the age of 4, feels strongly that I should never sleep again.]
 

5. You want us to say "pick up your socks" but we will never, ever say that.

4. Dogs should never eat chocolate. No wait. That should be a law.

3. More helium balloons.

2. If you're feeling down, disco every four minutes until you feel better.

1. Dis is WEALLY IMPORTANT, OK? Are you listening? When I say turn on Dora, you do it.

 **********************************
The awesome people at Sweet Relish are working with us to help moms in need this holiday season. They will donate $1 in gift cards for every person who joins their site and follows me (up to $5,000!!). If you're too busy or too broke to help to a family in need this year, here is one really quick and easy way to help.  It only takes a minute and is really useful and fun.

To join Sweet Relish and follow me, click here.



(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Muppets and CeeLo! Yesser!


This video just came out today and I really can't tell you how happy it makes me. I freaking love the Muppets and I also have a thing about CeeLo. Him and his bird on The Voice? I don't even like birds and I love them together. And him being such an unapologetic weirdo? And that voice? Puffy heart love. 

My kids have now watched this video about 100 times. I hope you love it, too and like me are able to use it as a means to distract your kids long enough to 1) pee alone 2) play Words with Friends for a minute 3) do something silly like unload the dishwasher.



xo, Lydia

**********************************

The awesome people at Sweet Relish are working with us to help moms in need this holiday season. They will donate $1 in gift cards for every person who joins their site and follows me (up to $5,000!!). If you're too busy or too broke to help to a family in need this year, here is one really quick and easy way to help.  It only takes a minute and is really useful and fun.

To join Sweet Relish and follow me, click here.



c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012

I Put Up The Tree

I'm thinking it's 50/50 that these guys are from NJ. OMG, THE MOM'S FACE.
Oh my goodness. My friend Katherine Amenta (she's not really my friend but I pretend she is because she's so cool) posted this video on Facebook last week and I DIED. Because we're both from NJ and therefore both predisposed to become this woman. I maybe already am this woman, at least when it comes to putting up the tree.

This video is an oldie but a goody and I love it. There's one teeny, tiny curse word in there though, so tell your shorties "EARMUFFS".

 
 

The night before I saw this video my grandmother called me from Trenton, NJ. She had just gotten her hair done and told her hairdresser to call me on her cell so she could talk to me. Now, my grandmother knows nothing about technology but was in thrall to her hairdresser's new iPhone.  

All I could hear was: 
 
"ROSEANN! FAX HER THE PICTURE! OF MY HAIR, ROSEANNE. FAX IT TO HER CELL PHONE! OH IT'S BROKEN. NO IT'S NOT - BUT ITS ALL BLACK NOW AND IT WON'T BEEP. HERE, FIX IT. HELLO?! LYD?! GOOD, NOW FAX HER MY PICTURE IN AN EMAIL ON THE PHONE ON THE FACEBOOK. CAN YOU SEE MY HAIR ON THE FACEBOOK, LYD?! WHEN YOU SEE MY HAIR, CALL ME BACK AND TELL ME IT'S PRETTY IF YOU LIKE IT." 

It was just so awesome. Because the way my grandmom was with the faxing the picture on the Facebook on the cell phone? That's me on Twitter. Anyway, I got the picture and her hair looked great and she seemed really happy and now she wants me to get her an iPhone 5 for Christmas. Sigh...

Oh, and I watched the Lindsay Lohan movie Liz & Dick on Lifetime and I checked in with my Grandmom to get her opinion and she her assessment was DEAD ON. You can read about it HERE.

xo, Lyd

**********************************
The awesome people at Sweet Relish are working with us to help moms in need this holiday season. They will donate $1 in gift cards for every person who joins their site and follows me (up to $5,000!!). If you're too busy or too broke to help to a family in need this year, here is one really quick and easy way to help.  It only takes a minute and is really useful and fun.

To join Sweet Relish and follow me, click here.


(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012

Saturday, November 24, 2012

UPDATE: A Recipe I Made Up That Just Happens to Be Awesome

TWO DAYS AFTER THANKSGIVING UPDATE:  
OH MY SWEET BABY PANTHERA. I just made this with leftover turkey and it's really, really good and super easy. Like with leftover turkey it only took 2 minutes. I may be a genius or something, I don't know. I'm going to have Guru look into it.
****************************************************************************************************************

I've never posted a recipe before (except for the ones the Yenta did for us) but I made this one up, you guys. At least I'm pretty sure I did. I mean, it's possible I saw it on Pinterest when I was drunk but I'm pretty sure this is all me. I'm obsessed with spinach and artichoke dip and want to eat it always. And I kept thinking it was one of those things that I could make in the crock pot, but as I'm generally pretty overwhelmed and also lazy, I never tried.  

But then this week, I had to do an emergency grocery run when I accidentally broke my fridge and had to throw out all my food three hours before my child's birthday party. And all the ingredients were right there and I was feeling a little crazy so I figured what the fluck.



 Here's what I dumped into my crock pot:
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts - sliced thinly as to resemble thin chicken tenders.
  • presumably, you could also just buy chicken tenders and not even have to cut anything.
  • 2 blocks frozen spinach (10 oz each) - mine were still frozen. I've also used 2 bags of frozen spinach because I love it.
  • 2 cans artichoke hearts, drained
  • about 1 cup chicken broth (if you're using pre-cooked chicken or leftover turkey, you may not need to add the extra liquid)
Crock pot on high, cook until chicken has no pink remaining, stirring every hour or so. Drain out maybe 2 cups of liquid. Stir in:
  • 1 block of low fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup of reduced fat mayo
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 bag pre-shredded part skim mozzarella
  • 1 generous pinch of cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper

It will still look oddly soupy. DO NOT PANIC. Let it all cook for another hour or two on high.

Stir it up like Bob Marley. LITTLE DARLIN, STIR IT UP. (Sorry for that, people who went to college in the 90's, you may have a hard time not hearing it in your brain all day. And for anyone who doesn't know that song, here you go). Serve it like a casserole with either tortilla chips, pita bread or garlic bread. Be prepared for the people in your house to think you're some sort of culinary genius when really it only took about 5 minutes of actual work.

Also, it yielded enough for two dinners for my family of 5 and we're heavy feeders. So that's like 5 minutes of work for 2 nights of dinner. I WIN AT DINNER.

xoxo, Lydia
**********************************
The awesome people at Sweet Relish are working with us to help moms in need this holiday season. They will donate $1 in gift cards for every person who joins their site and follows me (up to $5,000!!). If you're too busy or too broke to help to a family in need this year, here is one really quick and easy way to help. It only takes a minute and is really useful and fun.

To join Sweet Relish and follow me, click here.

If you're already on Sweet Relish and you want to find me, click here.
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012

Volunteer with Us! Give it Up, MommyLand

For years I wanted to make volunteering a family holiday tradition, but:
  • I had no money to buy donations,
  • I had a little money but I had no time, 
  • I had no money AND no time,
  • I had no idea where to get started,
  • I needed to find somewhere to volunteer where it would be cool if I brought many small, shrieking children with me. And none seemed to exist.
Well, guess what? If you want to make community service or helping others part of your family's holiday tradition and any of the above things describe your life - we are about to make it easy for you, hookers.

Here's the best option for folks who have no time and no money: join Sweet Relish and follow me. For every person that follows me, they will donate $1 in gift cards to a mom in need. Up to $5,000! Seriously, click here to join and you've already helped a mommy out.

For anyone who can spare an hour of their time, we want to invite you to a party with your kids where you can all volunteer as a family, to help families in need. Remember the Mother Pucker Stuffing Party last Mother's Day? 100 of us got together (kids included) and made gift bags for every mom in every domestic violence shelter and homeless shelter in our area (6 shelters in all). And we had a blast doing it.

This December, we're planning similar parties across the country to help local organizations serving women and families in need:
  • one in Northern Virginia/DC (where Kate & Lydia live), 
  • one in Boston (where Guru Louise lives) and 
  • one in Charlotte, NC (where Sweet Relish and our buds from The Dose of Reality live). 
***********UPDATE**********

For info on the 12/1 Boston donation drive being organized by Guru Louise click here!

Saturday 12/15 there will be a rocking event in Charlotte, NC with Sweet Relish and The Dose of Reality's Ashley & Lisa. Click here for details.

The Northern Virginia/DC event with Kate & Lydia will be Monday, December 17th from 3:30-6 at Fairfax Presbyterian Church in Fairfax, VA. There will be tons of kids activities, so bring your brood. The event will be a donation drive/fundraiser for Final Salute. More details to come!

Two of our awesome, gorgeous readers have organized a party in Maynard, MA on 12/16. They will be creating gift bags for parenting and pregnant teens. For details click here!

Another wonderful, brilliant reader is having an event in Burnaby, outside Vancouver on 12/9. They are assembling bags of toiletries for moms and children in local shelters. For details click here!

One of our energetic, fantastic readers is putting together care packages of warm clothes for families in need near Bedford, TX on 12/15. For details click here!

Another amazing, motivated reader in Hazleton, PA (Northeastern PA) will be making toiletry bags for women in a local domestic abuse shelter on 12/15. For details click here!

Another awesome reader, Sassy Quenpin Mama, is having a stuffing party to benefit local on 12/122 in Roanoke, VA. You can help make gift bags or drop off donations the day before! Click here for details.

IF YOU WANT TO THROW A PARTY IN YOUR COMMUNITY, 
WE CAN HELP!
AND SWEET RELISH MAY EVEN DONATE GIFT CARDS!
  
To start a Mommyland event in your community, email us!
To volunteer your time at one of the parties currently being planned, email us!

giveitupevents@yahoo.com
 
We'll be updating this page all the time with information about each event and the organizations we're working with.


xoxo, 
Lydia (& Guru)  

ps: We'll be posting more information on the gift card exchange later this week. We will not start accepting emails for that until early December.

pss: If you get to Sweet Relish and you don't see me - I'm right here on the main page:


(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

5 Ways Kids Ruin Thanksgiving Dinner

Here’s something we should all already know about Thanksgiving with small children. Contrary to your hopes and imagination, the day will, at least at some point, be more Rocky Horror than Rockwell. Every year, at least one of my offspring -- or failing that, the dog -- will invariably find a way to derail the family’s dining experience.


My husband does all the work of preparing the big meals on the big holidays. Even the shopping, you guys. I love his ass so much for that. Until I became an adult and had to shop for, buy, make fridge room for, prep, chop, stir, whisk, simmer, baste, and roast a holiday meal – I had no idea just how much work went into Thanksgiving dinner. And given that the whole holiday has evolved from and revolves around the meal itself, I find it distressing and ironic that one of the following five things will usually happen.

1. The ill-timed nap
Someone will fall asleep 5 minutes before the turkey hits the table. It’s inevitable. Then you’re faced with the following choice: let them sleep or wake them up.  If you let the kid sleep through dinner, then it’s not officially a “real” family dinner because not everyone is at the table.  But if you wake them up, it could lead to…

2. The holiday melt-down
If you insist on waking up a 3 year old who wants to be asleep, guess what’s going to happen? There will be tears and yelling and mucous streaming and maybe that thing where you try to pick them up and suddenly they go limp and somehow increase their body mass by 400%, leading to a thrown out back and a turkey you can't lift out of the oven. But let’s be honest, kids aren’t the only ones who have melt downs. I used to suffer from Griswold Syndrome, where my ineffectual pursuit of the perfect family holiday would result in getting my B on and being truly lovely to be around.  And then there's the tantrum that invariably happens when you find you didn't buy some critical ingredient, and every store is closed even though all of America is cooking.

3. This tastes weird
Imagine spending 10 hours cooking a meal, then serving something to a group of people whose duty it is to praise the food and the effort, no matter what it tastes like. Little kids don’t get that. They just know what they like. That citrus cranberry relish may be good enough for Julia Child herself, but a 5 year old is just going to see that’s it not macaroni and cheese. And most will comment on that. They will also praise that which they like the best. “These rolls are really good. They’re from the freezer, right? I could eat ten of these.”

4. Something bathroom-related
One of two things may happen here. Someone small will really need to go to the bathroom and decide not to go, resulting in some covert sniffing followed by a conversation that includes the sentence: “Does anyone know where that smell is coming from?”  The other option is the opposite. Someone will decide to hop up and use the bathroom likes it’s their damn job at least ten times during the meal. Each trip will be punctuated by cries of: “I have to pee!” or “Momma! Wipe my bottom!” or “There’s something on the floor in here!”

5. Speed eating so they can go watch TV
For some reason, on Thanksgiving, the TV seems to be on for a good chunk of the day. It starts with the parade in the morning, followed by an old movie or some holiday specials, and then of course… football. So while I’d like to say this is just a kid thing, I’d be lying. While the smaller ones may run for the TV in order to take control of the remote from the grown-ups for a few fleeting moments, the adults may do it, too, sensing an imminent touchdown and scarfing down their dinners in the hopes of seeing it happen.

All these things happen and you know what? It’s cool. Kids are supposed to be kids, and I’ve learned the hard way that nothing is perfect or ever goes as planned. What I’m looking for is a moment, even if it’s brief, where we’re all together and on the same page. We have food – we are so lucky.  We are warm inside on a cold day – so many are not. We are together - isn’t that awesome?! We’re grateful for it all. That one moment makes the day a success for me.  And it makes it a lot easier to giggle when I have to ask where that smell is coming from.

 **********************************
The awesome people at Sweet Relish are working with us to help moms in need this holiday season. They will donate $1 in gift cards for every person who joins their site and follows me (up to $5,000!!). If you're too busy or too broke to help to a family in need this year, here is one really quick and easy way to help.  It only takes a minute and is really useful and fun.

To join Sweet Relish and follow me, click here.

If you're already on Sweet Relish and you want to find me, click here.


(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012

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