LIFE

LIFE PARENTHOOD

5 Important New Year Resolutions For Moms

Tomorrow is the start of a new year. The perfect time to wish everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Also, it’s a good time to choose resolutions for the upcoming year.

Don’t feel pressured. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I am STILL working on my resolutions from last New Year’s Day! They are tough to stick with past January.

But this year I have a few resolutions you can and SHOULD stick with. These are specifically for moms.

They go beyond the traditional, “Eat Healthy”, “Lose Weight”, “Exercise More”. Here they are…

 

THE 5 MOST IMPORTANT NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS FOR MOMS:

 

#1  Put on makeup that ISN’T applied by your 4-year-old.

Everyday. Even just for a trip to the supermarket. I’m not talking full Kardashian-sisters’ makeup, but just a touch of lip gloss, or mascara, can boost how you feel. When I slink out of my house in my pj’s, baseball hat to cover my bed head & maybe even without brushing my teeth (don’t judge – I know you have all done the same!)… I feel like a schlub. Even on my extra-tired days, if I put on a little makeup, even just a little eyeliner & lipstick; I feel almost human again. Those 2 minutes it takes you to apply it, are well worth it for your self-confidence!

#2  Become better at asking for help from the outside world.

This is a hard one. When I had my babies, I was convinced I could do it all myself. It was a matter of pride. Of feeling like I would be a failure if I asked for help. But I quickly discovered that no mother does it alone. Let me repeat that… no mother does it alone. It’s impossible. The smart ones learn to ask for help early. The prideful ones learn it a little later. Eventually, every mom realizes it truly does take a village. And that village is all around you, ready (and often eager) to help. Just ask them.

#3 Take a class.

Not a mommy & me class, but a class for you. Maybe an art class. A pottery class. A fitness class. There are so many options. Just do something for yourself. One hour a week of your own “ME” time, will do wonders for you. If you’re hesitant to take a new class alone, ask a fellow mom friend to join you!

#4  Plan more date nights.

As tough as a date night is to schedule (or to even care much about when you are so tired), they are important. It’s a chance for you & the hubby to reconnect. Go out & have a couple of drinks, laugh at the stupid stuff the kids do, reconnect with each other. You’ll remember why you liked each other in the first place. And let’s face it fellow-moms, most husbands aren’t planning date nights, so it’s up to you to take the reins and plan them.

#5 Yell less. Use the creepy quiet mom voice more often.

Kids become immune to their mom’s yelling & lectures. After a while, all your yelling will accomplish is to frustrate YOU. The kids stop hearing it. But use that quiet, calm, and slightly creepy sweet voice… and they will stop in their tracks. It’s a very useful tool. Remember to use it more often in the new year.

 

My BONUS resolution is:

Enjoy your children this year. It’s not always easy to do as a mom. Believe me, I understand! But soon they will be grown and you will miss these tough years with your little ones. So try hard to embrace yet another crazy year.

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO MY FELLOW MOMS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LIFE PARENTHOOD

Let’s Talk Superpowers

Superpowers. They’re a popular topic in my house these days. My 8-year-old is obsessed with superpowers. He changes his mind daily about which one he would choose to have if he could have just one.

I encourage my kids to dream about having superpowers, probably because I also dream of having powers of my own! It’s fun to envision how different life could be if we had superpowers.

I also say, why choose just one? Now that I’m a mom, I would choose several.

Let’s talk about what game changers these superpowers would be, for a parent!

 

The most useful has to be the power of TELEKINESIS.

Telekinesis is defined as using the mind to influence, manipulate, or move matter or objects.

Think about that for a minute! The ability to move things with your mind. Like your kids’ clothes OFF the floor and into the hamper. Or your kids’ legos off the floor and into a basket before you step on them and hurt your feet. How about just moving the dishes off the dinner table and into the dishwasher? Or even better, I’d use telekinesis to actually move my kids! When they argue, I would lift them up and move them away from each other. The possibilities are endless.

What about the power of SUPER HUMAN SPEED?

When your baby kicks his high chair and is about to fall, if you have super human speed, you can catch him in a split second. Or, your kids’ bus passes by your house without stopping. Sure you could yell, but the driver would never hear you. But with super human speed, you could actually catch up with the bus! Or say you are running 20 minutes late for your kid’s soccer practice. No worries. Super human speed will get you there in 10 minutes! There are some pretty cool uses for super human speed.

How about ATMOKINESIS?

Atmokinesis is the ability to control the weather. Imagine being able to summon a snow day when you need a quiet day at home. Or to be able to stop the snow from coming, so the kids don’t end up with a snow day and drive you crazy. Every parent out there knows what I mean! If not, read about the Snow Day Cabin Fever we experienced. Back to Atmokinesis… it would also be useful when you have a beach day planned and the forecast calls for rain. You would be able to make sure the waves are just right, the sun is shining, and the water is the best temperature at the beach. Ultimately, you could make sure every day would be the perfect day. Not a bad superpower to have.

 

Another cool superpower would be the ability to FLY.

Flying is the superpower every kid dreams of having. From the moment they watch Wendy & her siblings take off into the night sky with Peter Pan, they are sold. As a parent, I think about h0w cool this superpower would be on long sports days. Why drive, if you could fly? Get from one town to the next much quicker! And to see the world from a bird’s eye view, would also be pretty cool. You could hover over your kids at recess, or at a playdate and make sure they are behaving!

Which superpower would you choose to have?

 

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LAUGHTER LIFE PARENTHOOD

Creating The Perfect Holiday Card: Moments of Parenthood Chaos

Each year when the holidays roll around, life feels magical, and I feel like a kid again.

Thanksgiving is the official kick-off to our holiday season. The day after Thanksgiving… it’s game on. The house gets decorated. The tree put up and filled with ornaments. The stockings are hung. The pine-scented candles are lit.

But… as much as I love preparing for the holidays, it’s the smaller holiday moments that fill my heart each year.

Moments like taking my daughter to see The Nutcracker ballet. And enjoying our town’s annual Holiday Stroll. Also, taking the kids to NYC to see the Rockefeller Center tree, watch the Rockettes, and ice skate in Central Park. Those moments are cherished ones.

BUT, there is one annual holiday moment that I dread…   Capturing our holiday card PHOTO.

It is so much harder than it should be!

When our little family consisted of just me & my husband, our holiday card routine was simple: I bought pretty cards. I signed both our names. I mailed them. Easy.

Then everything changed: we adopted a dog.  So we had to announce to everyone that our family had grown. We decided that our new dog should be featured on our card that year. And featured she was!  With Christmas lights (yes, they were plugged in, because LED lights didn’t exist back then!). And yes, she was also wearing a Santa hat.  Poor girl. But look at how cute she looked.

 

WE DIDN’T REALIZE THAT WOULD BE THE EASIEST PHOTO TO CAPTURE

That one photo took us a ridiculously long time to take. Looking back, I can’t believe I thought it was difficult with one dog.

Or difficult with just one baby (who arrived a year later).  Because when our second baby came, all hell broke loose when we attempted a holiday card photo shoot. I mean, chaos, times 1,000. Our toddler refused to sit next to a screaming baby.  So the baby screamed louder.  Then, the baby looked like we were beating him and so the photo shoot had to be postponed. Snack break for the kids. Beer & wine break for mom & dad.

 

THESE ARE THE OUTTAKES FROM THAT DAY

They both look so happy, don’t they?

Fast forward an hour:  Both kids were finally calm again, and bonus, their holiday outfits were also still clean. So we put them in position, and our toddler suddenly said she needed food, “Mommy, I starving.” “MOOOOOOMMMMMMY!, I want to eat.” So we took another “time out”.

Fast forward 30 minutes: Mommy & Daddy had officially lost their minds. Photo-shoot over.

ONE WEEK LATER

My husband and I decided that maybe we should take a little time between torture (I mean, photo) sessions.  So our photo shoot was postponed until the following weekend.

When it was time again, my husband and I cheered each other on, almost like we were planning a bank heist:

“You got this”

“You too…  You can do it”

“I’ll dangle the toys, you snap the photos, and I’ll get out of there FAST”

Then we chest-bumped, yelled, “GO”, and headed in to take the pictures.

AND…

FINALLY, we captured smiles!

 

Don’t be fooled by those smiles though. The little rugrats tortured us again. Those cute smiles were probably the 185th photo we took that day! But hey, we got our card photo!

LESSONS LEARNED

That same chaos has occurred, pretty much every year since our family was born. In the years since, we’ve added 2 more dogs to the family, so it’s gotten even harder for everyone to sit still.

BUT… what has also happened is that we’ve learned to actually appreciate the chaos of holiday card photo shoots. We may even enjoy them a little.

Why? Because we realized that our kids are growing up way too fast, and someday we will miss these chaotic moments of parenthood! Our photo shoots are just another reminder to try to cherish all the precious moments, even the crazy ones!

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOME RECENT OUTTAKES:

 

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LAUGHTER LIFE

That Lightbulb Moment When….

Life is full of moments, big and small.

 

Here at Moments Big and Small, we celebrate and share all of life’s moments.

Today, we’re sharing a “lightbulb moment”. What’s a lightbulb moment? It’s when you say, “oh wow… how true”! Here is one of our favorites…

 

“Life isn’t perfect, but life IS full of perfect moments.”

 

Some days may be tougher than others and feel like they are far from perfect. They may be bad! But even those tough days have their perfect moments. It’s just a matter of recognizing them. Sometimes you have to search for them. If you do, you will find them.

So, today we’re reminding you to keep your eyes open for all those perfect moments, even if your day sucks! And if your day sucks, at least the weekend is almost here!  ♥

 

 

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IN THE NEWS LIFE

Have You Decided What Your Legacy Looks Like?

I am sharing this story in hopes that it encourages you to think about what your legacy will look like. Will it be a legacy of kindness, like this gentleman? He touched thousands of people in his local community, without even realizing it. Simply by “disconnecting” and staying present when he walked the town. He was friendly, welcoming and always very kind.

And he will truly be missed.  Here is his story:

 

THE RIDGEFIELD WALKER

Michael Nardone Jr. remembers when his dad, Michael Nardone, first moved to Ridgefield in the spring of 1997.

A widower from Weston who had run his own consulting company since 1973, the senior Nardone instantly grew enchanted with his new community and began walking the town’s beautiful, idyllic streets, where he’d meet its generous residents — folks he greeted with a warm smile and welcome into his life as if they were part of his family.

“He walked every single day he lived in that town — 12 months, 365 days a year, for four to five hours a day. It didn’t matter if it was raining or if it was snowing,” Michael Nardone Jr. recalled last week about the man many here in town know as “the Ridgefield Walker.”

“He started on those big walks from almost day one, and they really changed him,” his son added. “Before he came to town, my father lived in a very white world. But in Ridgefield, he became friends with everyone, even the dishwashers and cooks who worked in town. He got to know their schedules and when they went on break, and he would speak to them in the back of the restaurants they worked at.

“He never did that stuff before he moved to town, so he clearly evolved as a person and found a lot of happiness through those interactions.”

Michael Nardone’s “walking journey” — the one that spanned two decades and more than tens of  thousands of miles in Ridgefield — ended in this past June when was diagnosed with stage three multiple myeloma, a form of cancer in which abnormal plasma cells build up in the bone marrow and form tumors in many bones of the body.

“He fell in the first week of June and that snowballed into a series of doctor’s visits and trips to the hospitals,” his son told The Press last week.

“He’s recently become very ill and has maybe a few weeks left to live, but wanted to thank everyone who has written him over the last several months.”

‘Bundles of cards’

It didn’t take long for residents to notice Nardone’s warm presence missing on Main Street this summer.

They began writing cards to the 87-year-old man whom they had come to know over the years, wishing him well and thanking him for all the support and friendliness he displayed with such ease.

“We would visit his home, to pick up his mail, and there they were — a few at first, then stacks, then bundles of cards, personally delivered. The cards just kept coming,” Nardone Jr. wrote in a thank-you letter to the community last week. “If people didn’t know where my father lived, they dropped a card at St. Mary’s Parish. If they knew someone who knew my father, they handed the cards to them.”

Nardone’s son said he and his three siblings — Greg, Keith and Beth — have “been humbled by this genuine act of community caring and kindness.”

“It’s helped us better understand that you can truly impact someone’s life just by being ‘present’ and actively listening, as you go about your day,” he said. “Imagine if my father walked with headphones, listening to music. He might have missed these beautiful connections. But he didn’t, he never would have.

“He’s lived his whole life being absolutely present and engaged with his family — through thick and thin — so, of course, he’d do the same for the Ridgefield community that he so loves and that has loved him back.”

“I want to personally thank you, on behalf of my father. Please know that he has read every card and note, and he is so thankful for each and every sentiment of support and encouragement. If he was able, he would have responded to all of you. Please accept this note as his personal thank you.”

Mike’s Legacy

Nardone Jr. said his dad wanted to remind everyone in Ridgefield to stay connected to the community, keep moving forward, and remain positive in attitude, “regardless of what life throws at you.”

“He just wants to thank the town because he’s going to pass really soon,” Nardone Jr. said.

“It’s humbling to see how kind a community can be,” he added. “You forget that sometimes, but there’s no doubt about it — this is a very special place and it changed my dad forever.”

 

Editor’s note: Michael Nardone died on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 23, 2017) with his family by his side.  The Ridgefield community has planned a “Walk for Mike” that will start in front of the RVNA building on Governor Street Sunday, Dec. 3, at 9 a.m. 

R.I.P. Mike. We will all miss you. Thank you for teaching us about kindness.

You can read the original article in its entirety here.*

*Published by the Ridgefield Press on 11/28/17.

 

 

 

 

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LAUGHTER LIFE

My First Time Hosting Thanksgiving

The holidays are certainly full of moments, both big and small.

Full of fun, full of stress, full of warmth, full of too much food, too many desserts. Never too full of love though.  No matter how you spend the holidays, remember to embrace each moment.

A holiday moment I’ve learned to embrace is this one:

 

MY FIRST TIME AS A GROWN-UP HOSTING THANKSGIVING

It was several years ago. My husband and I decided to host Thanksgiving at our new house, which we had recently purchased. We were newly married.  I was three months pregnant. Neither of us had ever cooked a turkey. Overall, not a good combo, but I was excited to give it a try. In the weeks leading up to it, however, I was worried about the fact that I was suffering horrible morning sickness and had trouble being anywhere near the smell of food. My husband told me he’d be there for me if I couldn’t stay in the kitchen. So I planned and prepared. I was nervous about taking on such a huge meal but I felt excited about the challenge.

BUT THEN… (and this is where a big moment occurred), two days before Thanksgiving my husband came home with a second turkey and said he wanted to try to smoke a turkey too. My first reaction was “That’s great – more turkey”.  My second reaction was “Why do we need more turkey when I already have a 25 lb turkey brining?”  And my third reaction was “You’re kidding me, right?  I’m pregnant, nauseous, throwing up, exhausted, my ankles are already swollen, and oh yeah, I have no idea how to cook one turkey, let alone TWO”.  I kept that all in my head though. Out loud, I said, “Okay, great…  but I may need some help in the kitchen.”  He said, “Honey, don’t worry. I can cook everything if you aren’t feeling good that day. I got it”.  Alright. What could I say?  I was a new wife, with a new challenge. I thought, “I can do this”.

UNTIL… Thanksgiving Day. I woke up and it was POURING RAIN.  Which meant the outdoor smoker needed to be watched.  Which meant, there stood my husband, with an umbrella over it. All morning. For hours!  Which meant I was left inside with the turkey, gravy, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing (two kinds), green beans, broccoli casserole… and don’t forget, I was feeling completely nauseous.  The only “plus” was that the desserts were already made.

BUT… It all worked out. HOW?  Because of the big & small moments throughout the day…

THE BIG MOMENT:

The entire meal was heading toward disaster, but my mother-in-law jumped in like a super-hero!  She helped us cook everything. I mean everything. There would have been no food on the Thanksgiving table that year if it wasn’t for her. Her experience and sense of calmness (and humor), were invaluable. Literally, she saved the day. Big moment.

THE SMALL MOMENTS:

My husband’s brother stood in the rain the entire day with him.  Yes, they had a lot of beer to keep them company, but still… I was happy my husband had some company out there.

My niece & nephews showed me what I had to look forward to… they behaved so well. They had patience, had fun… they showed me that my own children would make holidays even more fun.

Pre-ordering desserts from a local bakery…  SMART CHOICE!

The smoked turkey actually tasted even better than the big turkey. But please, don’t tell my husband I said that!

Try to embrace all the moments of the holiday!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LAUGHTER LIFE PARENTHOOD

Just Another Ordinary Week

What’s an ordinary week in the life of a mom?

Mostly it’s boring.  Monotonous.  Mundane.  Same old same old.

Then there is a week like this one…

MONDAY:  Mom wakes up in the morning, to total darkness. She panics. What time is it & why is everything dark?  She discovers the power is out & it’s 9 AM.  CRAP!  That means both kids are late to school.  Frantic, she gets the kids out of bed, gets them dressed & out the door.  Kids are late & then mom is extra late to work.

TUESDAY: Son wakes his mom up saying his throat has a frog in it.  He says he wants to go to school though.  So he goes. Until 10 AM when the school nurse calls and says he needs to come home because he threw up. Son comes home sick as a dog, and mom loses another day of work. Plus gets thrown up on.

WEDNESDAY: Mom wakes up to son standing next to her bed saying his tummy hurts again, then he vomits on her & all over her bed.  This almost makes mom vomit too. She holds it together and calls in sick to work, strips the kid, throws him the tub, strips the bed & starts washing the sheets.  UNTIL… the washer starts making strange noises and stops. SHIT.

THURSDAY: The morning alarm buzzes. Mom hits “snooze” approximately 8 times. She is exhausted.  She finally got into bed late last night after the appliance repairman came & fixed the washing machine.  Just in time because everything smells like vomit.  Good news though: sick son feels better. But bad news: Tween daughter wakes up yelling that she’s done with school. She says she is smart enough and doesn’t need school anymore.  An hour-long argument ensues.  Mom spends way too long persuading her to get out of bed, brush her teeth, and get dressed. Mom doesn’t need this particular battle, after the week she’s had. Finally, Mom goes to work, but can’t stop thinking about her how much worse the tween hormone-filled years are going to get.

FRIDAY: The weekend is almost here. YES!  She gets out of bed & smells something bad.  She goes in search of that smell and discovers the dog is now sick, all over the bed, bathroom AND bedroom rugs.  The washing machine can’t take anymore vomit.  Mom can’t take anymore vomit. Mom yells (quite loudly), “WHEN WILL THIS WEEK BE OVER????”

SATURDAY:  Mom wakes up and thinks, “YES!  The week is over”. The house is quiet. Kids are still asleep. Dogs asleep. Peace at last.  Suddenly, a knock at the front door sends her running to answer it before anyone wakes up. It’s Fed-Ex (at 6:30 AM???)… they need a signature.  So she creeps out onto the front porch in her pj’s and slippers, trying not to make any noise that will wake up the zoo inside her house.  Success.  She signs it, says “Happy Weekend” to the nice Fed-Ex driver, and turns around to go back inside. NOOOOOOO!… the door is locked.

SUNDAY: Mom wishes for next week to be an actual boring, mundane, ordinary week…

 

Share your ordinary weeks with us!

 

 

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LAUGHTER LIFE PARENTHOOD

Who Needs an Alarm Clock Anymore?

Like most moms, I don’t need an alarm clock because every morning I get a specialty wake-up call. Reserved only for parents…It’s called “The Kid Alarm”.

WHAT IS A “KID ALARM”?

First, it’s different from a “Baby Alarm”. Every new parent has to readjust to waking up when their babies do. I struggled through that phase and it eventually turned me into a very light sleeper.  Ever since the “Baby Alarm” days, I now hear every peep.  Every snore.  Every creak.  If something wakes me up during the night, it’s hard for me to fall back to sleep.  Which makes mornings even harder, for a non-morning person like me.  I spent a couple of LONG years dreaming of a day when my kids would regularly sleep later than 6 AM.  But instead, what happened was that once my kids started walking and talking, they could wake up as early as they wanted and come find me. And by “early”, I mean EARLY. So the “Baby Alarm” turned into the much worse “Kid Alarm”.  In hindsight those baby years, when they were trapped in their cribs… well, those nights were easier.

SO WHAT DOES A KID ALARM SOUND LIKE?

Loud. Startling. Occasionally it makes me fall out of bed yelling, “I’M AWAKE, I’M AWAAAAAAKE!”  And because it’s usually the first thing I hear each morning, it’s always “alarming”.  No pun intended.  Unless the dogs beat them to it (we have 3 dogs, so it’s a competition, but most days the kids win). Which means I am woken up by a sweet face (or 2), asking ridiculous questions, making very loud noises at me (“PIKA, PIKA, PIKA-CHUUUUUUUU-Squawk” – true story!), jumping on my head, or sometimes just continuously tapping on my forehead.  Sort of like water-boarding. These wake-up calls are usually not a good way to start the day.

A while ago, I began writing down the different things said to me by my “kid alarm”. (Also  known as “A perpetual pattern of ‘HOLY CRAP, IT’S MORNING & SOMEONE IS YELLING AT ME’ mornings).

I’m sure many of my fellow moms can relate, so I thought I’d share mine so you can all have a good chuckle…

P.S.  I do realize that someday soon my kids will begin sleeping later and later, and I will actually miss these wake-up calls.  But for now, I am trying to see the humor in them by embracing them and trying to laugh and not cry (at 5 AM).

 

Here is a sample of my recent morning “Kid Alarms” (unfortunately, these are all VERY real):

 

“Mommy, I lost my Thomas train, it’s somewhere in the toilet”.

“Mom, HELP!  I can’t find my soccer cleats!” [at 6 am, and they aren’t needed until 3 days later]

“MOMMA?  UH OH. I just stepped in something squooshy that smells like poop.  It’s probably not poop.  Or maybe it’s poop.  What do you think it is?  Smell it.”

“It’s so dark.  Do you think the moon is sleeping too?” [at 3 am]

“How does the moon sleep?  Does it have eyes that close?  Or a bed?  Mommy, how?” [at 3:30 am]

“Are you awake?” [as my eyelids get pulled open] “Because I see your eyeball, so I think you’re awake.”.”See, I told you you’re awake.” [AT 4 am]

“Where’s my iPad?”

“Where’s my iPad?”

“Where’s my iPad?”

“Momma, is it morning yet?” [at 4:30 am]

“Maaa-mmmmmm!  I’m so hungry, I’m gonna STARVE”  [at 5 am]

“YUK…  a dog threw up in my room. What’s for breakfast? I’m hungry.”

“Wake up, wake up, wake up, WAAAAAAAA-KE UPPPPPPPPP” [that’s always a fun one to hear.  I usually yell back “No, No, Nooooooooooo!”]

“Where’s my iPad?” (notice a pattern?)

“Mommy, I had a dream and there was a dog and a cat and a fish and a rabbit and they were talking to each other and they said hi, and they all had purple hair, and they were eating breakfast, and….   Mom? Mom??? MOM???  Did you fall back to sleep?” [Uh, yes… I did]

“Mommy, mom, momma, ma, mom, mommy, ma mommy, momma…” [and that continues until I speak. And trust me, you don’t want to know what I speak after that!].

“Where’s my iPad?”  (OMG… I can’t even…)

 

So what do your morning moments look like?  Comment below.

 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS:

To anyone contemplating having children, a bonus is that you will not need an alarm clock for MANY, MANY years!

 

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LAUGHTER LIFE PARENTHOOD

Life With Too Many Dogs

Life with too many dogs – this week’s edition:

MONDAY: I woke up to a 12 pack of toilet paper, completely shredded in my living room.

TUESDAY: I took my dog’s “invisible fence collar”, aka “electric fence collar”, to get the battery replaced. The guy replaced it for me, handed it to me, and I said thank you and I began to walk out. ZZZZZZZap! I GOT ZAPPED/SHOCKED/FELL DOWN ON THE GROUND YELLING “MY ARM HURTS”. Yep… I’d call that Karma. Sorry doggies.

WEDNESDAY: My UPS delivery guy asks why my middle dog is wearing a diaper. “Don’t judge.” I say.

THURSDAY, While vacuuming my living room, I rolled the vacuum over unseen dog poop, and thus “shmooshed it” into my rug. I then spent the next 2 hours trying to take apart and clean my brand new (yes, brand new) vacuum.

TODAY. Time for a cocktail.

They’re cute, but crazy!

 

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