Sunday, July 17, 2016

Don't Front on the Nap

We all need The Nap

         There are a lot of times where people say to me, “I don’t know how you do it, with all these things going on in your life,” – “it” meaning stay alive I think. I think that’s what they’re referring to. I’ll share a secret with you.
         Come closer.
         *Whispers* I take a nap (almost) every day.
Do Not Disturb
         I have since February 2008 (note that was BEFORE my kids were born).
         Almost every day for about an hour and fifteen minutes (or more if I can) somewhere between 2 and 4:30, I nap.
         Yup. Based upon my schedule (am I working that day, is it a weekend, is it the summer), I have a set time to nap. Weekends it’s 2 p.m. (with the boys who also nap). Weekdays it’s usually 2:45ish.
         At around 2:30 I literally hit a mental wall. If I don’t get to sleep soon, then it will become a full on, “OMG I’m Going To Fall Down And Die” feeling. And if I can’t nap, for example, if I have a meeting at work, then my brain is not in attendance. My frontal lobe, the part of the brain that says, “Oh hey ho, let’s NOT say that at work…” just…doesn’t go to the party. So if you’ve been at a meeting with me and I’ve said something…off…it’s probably because it was naptime.
How my kids found me when they didn't nap today.
        Part of the reason I need to nap is I don’t get enough sleep at night. I know that. I mean, seriously, who does? With two kids, a job, a business, writing a book, trying to keep my house tidy-ish, laundry, and, you know, like talking to my husband for a few minutes a day, I don’t go to bed until far past when I should. I sometimes daydream of going to bed when my kids do and I think, “Wow, that would be amazing…” but then I don’t because there’s stuff that needs to be done. The people keep needing clean clothes and shit.
         So that’s part of it I’m sure. But another part of it is that my brain needs a reset mid-day. I’m not sure if my stroke in 2008 flipped some switch or if it’s because I’m mostly an introvert and my job requires a lot of interaction/mental energy or if there is some other reason (or a combination of them), but I need a mid-day brain break.

         Who’s with me? Admit it in the comments. Who takes Adult Naps?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Yes, I Play Pokemon GO

Last week Pokemon GO, an app theoretically for kids, was released and it has already made its way to the #1 download in the iTunes app store. I watched Facebook for a couple of days, seeing people post about what they found, what they were doing with the app, and I thought, “Huh, Silas might like that.” So I read up on it, and downloaded it for my personal phone.
Don't hate.

The night I got it, I told Silas after his bath, “Hey, get some clothes and shoes on real quick, we’re going for a walk.” Mike looked at me (as he was bathing Sage) like I was high. “You’re going for a walk now?” “I downloaded the Pokemon thingy. We’re going to hunt Pokemon.”
*Eye roll from Mike.*
I’m sorry “Mr. I Still Play Candy Crush and hog my wife’s iPod to do so,” do you have a problem with that?
My kids are learning about technology – we have Leap Pads that they use maybe weekly, Silas knows how to navigate his profile on Netflix, and Sage and YouTube for kids are best buds (and sometimes I wish I could delete some of these toy vloggers’ accounts). But it’s all “alone” stuff. I figured this was something Silas and I could do together (and maybe we could learn more about Pokemon which he has been interested in).
A lot of people have messaged me about the downsides of this game – people walking in the middle of the road to catch a Pokemon (hullo? Have you read the load page?), people robbing users by bringing them to a certain spot by gathering a ton of Pokemon (this is why Silas and I either find them while I drive and he Poke-catches or while we walk around our neighborhood), Google account security issues (no worries, I used a burner account), so I was careful with setting up our account.
Once I read up on it, I showed him how to use it. We caught Pokemon, went to Poke Stops and I showed him how to gather stuff, and we’ve decided which team we want to join (Blue because that’s his favorite color ALTHOUGH he was tempted to Yellow when I mentioned Pikachu). He is desperate to catch a Pikachu. 

So let’s talk about the good and the bad.

  • We’re working on “It’s ok that you missed that Pokemon because there will be another one.” Silas at first would get frustrated while I drove and he missed Pokemon because I was going “too fast,” but now he’s OK with it because he knows more will come.
  • We walk our neighborhood every night “for a reason” instead of just, “Hey, let’s take a walk.” When I asked him to walk with me, he’d get frustrated and tired of it fast, but now he wants to keep walking to find Pokemon and to hatch that dang egg that needs us to walk 5k to hatch.
  • We’re working on sharing and understanding that sometimes other people have skills we don’t. When we’re at home and a Pokemon shows up, I hand him the phone and tell him, “Hey, go catch this guy. You’re good at it.” But when he becomes frustrated after throwing 5 Pokeballs, he’ll ask me for help and we switch back and forth.

  • It hasn’t happened yet, but I can imagine him some day wanting to hold my phone all the time (if we keep playing). I don’t mind him holding it while I drive and he Catches, but I will be drawing the line at home (since I work on my phone and use it a lot).
  • As you’ve probably read, the dang app is a BATTERY SUCKER. I bought a new car charger today (mine died a while ago but I didn’t need a new one).
  • The app settings (as I talked about before) – be sure yours are locked down or you use a burner account as logging in with Google as the app asks you to do gives it access to your account (without actually asking you). There’s ways to change your settings if you’re so inclined – do a search and you’ll find them easily.
  • Gas – I did drive around a bit today after dropping the boys at camp in order to scope out Poke Stops. I had some time, they showed up on my map when I dropped off Silas…but now I know where the local ones are and can stop in quick whenever we drive by if I want. ß Total dork statement.

So for all of the Pokemon Go haters out there, yes we play. Yes it’s fun because it’s something I get to do with my son and see his excitement when a Meowith shows up on our lawn.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Family Table

There was a research study that came out a few years ago that found that children who had regular, sit-down family dinners were more likely to do well in school, were less likely to experience truancy, and were less likely to use substances. As a researcher, I found that super interesting – I assume it’s because the parent or parents are more involved with the child/children than just having family dinners, but it also showed me something.
Could you enjoy this too?

After talking with my students in my Psychology of Personality class (granted, a small sample size), I found that many of them didn’t have family dinners growing up and wished that they had. The ones who didn’t have family dinners as a child either had them now with their children or planned to have them when they had kids. When this study came out, I didn’t have family meals and I rationalized it by saying it was hard with two small children (one taking a bottle and one eating whatever a toddler will eat).

Many of my students didn't have family dinners but they wished they had.

When they became 5 and 3, I decided it was time. No more eating in front of the TV. We all sat at the table together and hung out until everyone was done. We chatted about our day, and eventually my now six-year-old will ask, “Daddy, how was your day? Mommy what was fun about your day?” We get to hear Silas’ (not so) funny jokes (he’s six, he makes them up) and we try as much as possible to get Sage, age 4, to participate in the conversation. If nothing else, he gets to hear conversation and tends to repeat what we say to each other.
As we were eating more meals together, I came to realization – I am not a cook. I can bake like nobody’s business, but cooking just wasn’t my thing. I started ordering those services where they sent you all of the ingredients for dinner and my husband and I enjoyed preparing meals together. It was nice. But one thing got frustrating – when you get a service like that, you get 3 meals (or however many you choose) and you literally have to make them in the next three days or the produce will go bad. So I started looking for other options. I spent a few weeks meal planning but realized I was making the same recipes over and over (because they were easy and I knew we’d all eat them). That “got the job done” but it became boring. I could see the “Tater tot casserole again?” look on Mike’s face.

I became a better cook. Look at me, all cooking and stuff!

In May of this year I attended an event where a representative from a company called Tastefully Simple showed the people at the event their Collections products – for the same price as I was paying for three meals a week, they sold the products, recipes, and grocery lists to make 10 meals. You could also go on their website and find new recipes to make with the products that you received in your Collection so you weren’t stuck making the same 10 meals. You could also join their subscription service (called TS to You) where you received a new Collection ever other month. It came with more new products, new recipes, and new options. I was intrigued.
Then I started looking at the other products (besides the Collections) on their website and made a wish list of over 20 items. “This could actually make cooking FUN,” I thought to myself. So I ordered a Collection called Fix it Fast – all of the recipes take 30 minutes or less to make. The first meal I made Mike ate two helpings of and he didn’t add anything to it (like salt, pepper, or hot sauce as he usually did). “This is really good babe,” he told me. Huh. I was impressed that he was impressed.
I actually started enjoying cooking. I know that for some people that isn’t a big deal, but it was and is for me. I have always felt badly about our dinners – we ate out a lot, we made the same things over and over, and looking back, the meals were pretty damn boring. Now I can make the 6 meals for the week ahead of time and freeze them (and the instructions for making the TS recipe a freezer meal actually came with the Collection). We still do frozen pizza on Fridays, but that has become part of our family’s week and I’m not going to change it.
After trying so many of the Tastefully Simple products, I decided that I wanted to share TS with friends and family – after purchasing a collection, you can become an Independent Consultant for $39.95 and get a discount on your own items (as well as help others make better dinner decisions). I’ve become that person that takes a picture of their dinner and shares it because I am proud of the fact that I made that MYSELF. And my family ate it and ENJOYED IT. To me, that’s huge. And I love it.

I'm not kidding, I make this look easy because it is.

I’m betting there are at least 3 people reading this that would benefit from trying a Collection. Think about it: recipes at the ready, grocery list of meats and produce ready to go, and the ability to make freezer meals and have them ready to go when you’re ready to make dinner. Next month we’re trying the Family Favorites collection, and maybe after that we’ll try the grilling collection. Are you excited about dinner? Do you want to be? Check out the options that my family loves here and let me know in the comments which Collection you think your family would enjoy.


Liz, CEO of Wright Family Dinners

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Family Garden - Harmony in a Autism House

The other night Mike and I were watching TV and someone quoted the Buddha and the quote really resonated with me. Starting in college, I started reading Buddhist texts and felt as if the ideas hit home with how I felt about the world and life.

But this one is more about our family and Sage.

On Family Harmony

Hearing this really made me think about his behaviors and how our family is responding to them, and how that is feeding back into his behaviors. It made me wonder how we can work more towards harmony especially in the evenings.

It can be really hard when your son is scripting on, "Watch Nemo? Watch a movie? Mama watch the movie? Watch Nemo? Watch a movie on laptop?" for over 30 minutes. It would be fine if he would sit and watch his movie but instead he takes it out, starts it over, and continues to do this until I stop him. He doesn't actually watch the movie, he says, "Press play Mama? Which one you wanna watch? I press play? Press play?" Yes buddy, press play. "OK, press play? Press play Mama? OK!" to which he then does then clicks Menu and starts it over again.

He also has trouble with taking turns on the laptop which I also want for work. During the summer especially I work online. So when he's home, it's a battle for who gets to use the laptop. It's like I should just get him his own dang laptop but that's expensive and hell, he'd probably still want to take mine because I was using it.

Finding things to do with him and working with him to redirect him rather than telling him what to do (showing him where to get new undies when his are wet from water gun play rather than saying, "Go get new underwear out of the drawer next to the toilet") are both helpful in stopping him from having a meltdown, but around 8 p.m., it's as if there's very little to stop him from melting down. He gets something in his head and if it doesn't happen then it's a Scream Fest.

Baths, bed time, all of those interrupt his ideas of what he wants to do. We need to work on reminding him that there's something up coming ("Five minutes until bath time!" and set a timer so he knows). Keeping to a routine even when it's summer is important as well.

How do you attempt to maintain harmony in a home with a child with Autism? What strategies have worked for you?

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Are you part of the 70-80%?

As a mom with a full-time job, a husband who works full-time, and two sons 6 and under, getting organized for dinner every night can be frustrating and overwhelming. There have been weeks where I have just said, "Forget it," and we ate out a bunch. But I realized two things. First, this is expensive (duh), and second, coordinating that can get overwhelming too (drive time, traffic, waiting, who wants what, where are we going).

It's like every night they want dinner...
Did you know that 70-80% of people don't know what's for dinner by 4 p.m.? Usually if that's the case, what do we do? We either get food out or order in, or we run to the store and get something that we can make that night (hello lines and spending way more on groceries than we should). But I challenged myself to do all 7 meals for a week at home, just to see if I could do it (and save the time of going out and money).

Start Meal Planning, Yo!

To rid myself of the stress and to save money, I started meal planning. I take an hour on Sundays to figure out what I want to make for the week, make a list of the required ingredients, go through my pantry and fridge to figure out what I don't already have off the list, then create a shopping list based upon my grocery store. As you've probably realized, it's much easier to shop when you have all of the items that are together grouped together on your list. I also look at what I have on hand and search for recipes that use those things so I can save on shopping (and use up what we already have).

I post what's for dinner for that week on our wipe board and check it the night before to see if anything needs to be defrosted. I also overbuy things that are on sale that we use often and freeze them (such as pork chops, bread, butter, or frozen chicken). I make sure to take into account things that we have going on (karate on Tuesdays and Thursdays, pizza night every Friday with our family) so that I can plan for those nights specifically. For example, karate nights I typically have a freezer meal ready to go so that my husband can cook it while Silas and I are at karate and dinner can be ready when we get home. I usually pre-make the freezer meals on Sunday after the boys have gone to bed - ahhhh uninterrupted cooking.

To find my recipes I typically search for recipes with a specific ingredient or I search for meals that have few ingredients (time is of the essence here people!). I have a pile of recipes I have used before and I write on them whether they turned out well, if we liked them, or even recycle the ones that are just NO.

Meal Planning Not DIY

A friend introduced me to a new idea though that I'm pretty excited to try - Tastefully Simple, an online company, offers meal collections that give you the ingredients to make meals along with recipes, a grocery list, and suggestions for sides. The tough work (finding recipes, making the list) is done for you, and you literally have to choose your meals for the week and shop. Unlike the subscription boxes that send you all of the ingredients including vegetables, you don't have to worry about the products you receive going bad before you use them.

There are different options too - you can get a 30 meals and more collection or you can choose one of three 10 meals and more collections. I chose the Fix It Fast 10 meals collection because all of the recipes are ready in 30 minutes or less. There is also a family favorites collection and a grilling collection. We may have to try the grilling collection next because Mike loves to grill.

You can even choose to use TS To You, a subscription service, where you receive a collection every other month (and receive a discount for continuing to use it). You get to choose the collection you want every other month, and each collection comes with different recipes (so the next time I order Fix It Fast, it won't have the same recipes). And you can find new recipes to use the products you receive with your collection on the Tastefully Simple website (click Recipes and Blog). Using the collections makes each serving about $3 and obviously you can save and/or freeze the leftovers for lunch.

Dinner is decided!

It's really a no-brainer. We used to order a subscription service that sent out 3 weekly meals for the same price as the 10 Meals or More collection. The recipes available are amazing (and there's over 1200 of them), and you can also purchase other Tastefully Simple products such as Beer Bread Mix (my family's favorite because it's so versatile), dip starters, drink starters...the list is endless (as is my wish list). I hosted an online TS party and found that a lot of my friends were looking for easy meal solutions as well. This is a universal thing (hence the 70-80%)!

I love all of my Tastefully Simple products so much, I signed up to be an independent consultant (because who doesn't like a discount on your own dinner products, helllllloooo?). When you purchase a collection you have the option to join as a consultant for $39.95 - you can get your products discounted and receive commission on the products friends and family love. Again, it's a no brainer.

I have to say, making dinner is way more fun and less stressful when you know what's coming and that you're saving money doing it!

What's your favorite recipe from the Tastefully Simple recipe collection? Post it in the comments below!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Why I Enrolled My Son in Karate

Right before Silas turned 6, he was having a lot of trouble in school according to his teacher. He wasn't being respectful of school rules, of his peers' personal space, or of his teachers. Some of the things they wrote in his folder seemed small (tapping another student with a pencil), while others were bigger (making a mess in the restroom and not cleaning it up).

In his defense, the school does have a policy whereby the student who makes a mess cannot clean up the mess themselves, no matter if it's urine, toilet paper, or food that they throw. My take on this is that if the student doesn't have to clean up after themselves, then why should they stop leaving a mess? But apparently some parents complained about child labor laws.

No, I'm not joking.


Silas is also big for his age (he's the size of an average 9 or 10 year old boy) but still, you know, acts like he's six. Because he is. And he's terribly uncoordinated. It took him a long time to learn to ride a bike because the coordination of the motions just wasn't his bag (baby).

He also didn't have anything that he could truly call his own. A lot of our time at home is spent together or kind of trying to make sure his younger brother who has Autism isn't tearing up the place or hitting people. So I wanted Silas to have "a thing" that was just his.

We joined the Peace Keeper family.

When we arrived in San Antonio in 2008 (just me and my husband, Mike, no kids yet), a student invited me to his belt ceremony at his martial arts school. We went to support him and I was immediately amazed by the organization - you could tell that everyone there supported each other and it had an amazing "vibe." Family. Respect. Self-discipline.

As I thought about what could be Silas' "thing," I remembered this school and also remembered how he had told me numerous times that he thought karate was "cool." I am sure he had NO IDEA what he was getting into, but I put two and two together and came up with, "Let's try out karate."

His first meeting with his Sensei was...fantastically funny as his mother. He was truly afraid. We walked in and Sensei greeted us and Silas told me, "Um Mom? I'm scared. I want to go home." Sensei sat him down and talked about how it was OK to be scared of new things but that he would have fun and nobody would hurt him. After a few lessons, he earned his white belt, which he was super excited about. But honestly, the things he had to learn to do that weren't too difficult for him (although I was surprised at how quickly he learned the things he needed to memorize).

Sensei and Silas

"Here, educate yourself!"

Here's what kind of amazed me though. He told his teacher that he had karate tonight one day and she made this face at me. "Do you really think it's a good idea to teach him how to hit people with his record?" she asked. I almost wanted to give her Sensei's card and quote Bleakly from Lilo + Stitch, "Here, educate yourself!"

Karate isn't about being the crap out of other kids. It's not the bad team/sensei from The Karate Kid. And if your school is like that, well, I'm sorry. His school teaches respect, following instructions, self-discipline, and many other skills that he may not be able to learn while being active elsewhere.

I remember when Sensei told Silas about discipline, he said, "There's discipline, like when your mom has to take away your toy for being bad. Then there's self-discipline where you do things that are asked of you without complaining. Then there's blackbelt self-discipline - you know your room needs to be cleaned, so you do it without anyone asking you." I was silently cheering, "I LOVE YOU! YES! YES!" as he told my son about the practice of self-discipline. Because I can tell him until I'm blue in the face, but sometimes it takes someone else to remind our kids of it.

But now it's getting hard.

Now we're moving on to his first stripe test. Things are getting a little more...complex. He hasn't quite gotten down the kicks required for Kick Drill 1 (even though I have just from watching) so we practice. Sometimes he doesn't want to. Sometimes he seems to begrudgingly accept that I want to help him get better. But he has started saying, "Mom do I have to go to karate tonight? I'm tired." I'm not sure if getting his first stripe will help reinvigorate him or if he doesn't enjoy it - it's hard for him to verbalize and hard for me to understand. Is it hard and thus I don't want to do it anymore? If I continue to take him will it eventually become better (not easier) and more enjoyable? I can't tell.

As a parent, this is one of the things we kind of fight ourselves on - do I let my kid stop what they seem to not be enjoying or do we make them "pick it and stick it?" For now, we're sticking it. He's gaining coordination and confidence, and my hope is that as that builds, it will be something he WANTS to do every day as opposed to me asking, "Hey, do you want to practice your kicks with me?"

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Week in the Life - Autism Parenting

     Morning: Ugh, seriously, you sucked at sleep last night. Getting you up and dressed is going to be like poking a bear with a sharp stick. Yes we need to get out of (my) bed. (*NO!*). Yes we need to use the potty. (*NO!). Yes we need to get dressed. Go find your shoes. Put your shoes on. (*NO!) Grab your backpack and let's go to school. (*Don't wanna go school!*) Don't you want to see you friends? (*NO friends!*) - Gets to school and races ahead screaming, "FRIENDS?!" Parent is...confused but glad that he's going to be at school for a few hours. Go to work.
     Afternoon: Brace yourself for a sleep-deprived almost 4-year-old. Pick up child at daycare. He falls asleep in the car. You arrive home and try to take him out of the car without waking him. Don't poke the bear. He wakes up and insists you carry him to the house but hits you and screams NO the entire walk to the house.
     Evening: Screaming. Crying. Won't eat dinner (even after you offer waffles and strawberries, his current favorites). Falls asleep on the couch. Help oldest with homework. Huffing and puffing, this is boring, can we do this tomorrow? Carry youngest's 40-pound body to the bed to put on a pull-up instead of his undies. He wakes up and becomes a screaming mess. You lay on the floor and he falls on top of you and you rock him until his heart beat slows from 900 billion miles an hour. You finally get him to bed and he announces, "I need to go potty." Three minutes later he is snoring. You drink wine and feel emotionally and physically exhausted.

Dinner of champions

Everyone slept well because they were so damn tired from not sleeping well Sunday night although you get woken up at 1:30 a.m. by the child coming to sleep in your bed. He tosses and turns and wiggles for 15 minutes before settling. You finally fell back to sleep at around 2:30 a.m. and wake up at 5 a.m. to shower and drink coffee before you deal with The People. 6:45 you bring them THEIR morning coffee (milk cups) and repeat Monday's morning process. "No want to get up!" Me neither dude, but look at me all showered and dressed and shit while you were still sleeping.
Go to work. Come home and nap because 7 hours of sleep in 2 days is wearing on you. Pick up boys from daycare. Drop youngest at home with husband and take older child to karate. Make sure you have snacks, drinks, karate uniform, and coffee. Child with Autism screams as you leave the house (because you apparently won't come back...which you have thought about..). "No mumma no go nooooooo momma nooooooooo"
Finish karate at 6:45. Debate picking up fast food or asking husband who is poor at multitasking (observing a child AND cooking dinner? that can be done?) to cook something while we return from karate (which takes forever due to construction). Discuss why there's traffic with 6-year-old (AGAIN).
Pick up dinner because husband can't find anything to make at the house. Dole out chicken and french fries to happy children. Breathe because...hey, nobody is screaming! Do homework with oldest. He complains and huffs and puffs. 7 p.m. Witching Hour. Baths. Screaming NO. Bed time early because older child is tired from karate and younger child is still off on sleep. Everyone is asleep by 8:30 p.m. Pass out and drool on your pillow (until 1:30 a.m. when child arrives in your bed again).

5.5 hours of uninterrupted (i.e., you were kicked and shoved all night but the child didn't wake up and try to chat with you or watch TV at 3 a.m.) sleep! Glory be! Check your schedule. Work but NOBODY HAS ANYTHING THIS EVENING. Repeat Monday morning routine. Older child is getting better at trying to help youngest stay on track (but you wonder constantly if you're doing a disservice to neurotypical child because you have to focus on child with Autism so much - vow to spend more time with neurotypical child).
Home from work. Take a nap. Pick up boys from daycare. Cook actual healthy dinner. Only adults eat it. Older child cries until he is told he cannot have anything else because "this is dinner." Youngest throws his food at the dogs. Children basically do not eat. Eh, they have fat reserves.
Baths, screaming about brushing teeth, lots of "I need to potty" out of bed behaviors, and finally, sleep. Write blog post and daydream about sleeping.

Repeat Tuesday complete with karate and the possibility of fast food. Tell husband to make leftover spaghetti instead. Children eat as if they haven't eaten in days (wait...well...). Both fall asleep on the couch at 7:30 p.m. Parents debate leaving them there for a while's quiet and they can actually talk to each other for 5 minutes. Wake up children for baths and bed. Make sure oldest has finished his weekly homework (due tomorrow) and force him to finish it if it isn't complete. Decide baths are not necessary and hustle them both to bed. Did they brush their teeth? Can't remember. Tired.

Repeat Monday's morning routine except you get to sleep 1 hour later because you don't have to be at work until later on Friday (so you can come home and shower after dropping boys off). Actually apply makeup without "assistance," anyone taking your shit, or anyone asking what you're doing. Dress and go to work leisurely. Daydream of a time when you had no children. Then the school calls and tells you that older son fell on the playground and hit his head (or insert another reason for call here). You pick up son and bring him home to rest. Work productivity = 10% when expected was 90%. Finish required work and read 5 pages of leisure reading book while child watches Transformers. Feel guilty because there are dishes to wash and there is laundry to fold. Take nap with older child (which is actually really nice because he's a solid sleeper). Drink coffee and steel yourself for picking youngest up. Grocery shop quickly - make sure to get pizza, coffee, and coffee creamer, because, you know, priorities.
Pizza night for dinner - family and friends come over for pizza and relax with beer and wine. Leave the room often, leaving children with unsuspecting family and friends while you breathe and try not to scream about children who are fighting over a toy and still haven't learned to share. Youngest's "MINE!" is a shrill scream. It's lovely. Husband forgets the fact that children still need to go to bed because he's spending time with friends, and doesn't bathe children (which is his job). Children end up falling asleep on the couch after being bathed at 9 p.m. It would be so nice if going to sleep later meant sleeping later, but, you know, HA. Friends leave, thanking you for the free birth control (i.e., hanging out with your kids). You got it! THIS COULD BE YOU.

Wake up at 7 a.m. with youngest who is all about watching "Toy Story videos" on your laptop. As long as you let him, he will be entertained and you can drink coffee, have breakfast, and even relax a little. But you know that when you want to do some work later there will be a disagreement over ownership of said laptop. You contemplate taking children out to do XYZ in the neighborhood but worry that youngest will melt down in public which makes you anxious because it happens often. Decide to stay home because he has already melted down twice this morning over what seems to be nothing. Children begin chasing each other around the house, screaming. Look in the mirror and see a Mombie (i.e., Zombie mom). Oldest is crying because youngest threw something heavy at him. Put youngest in time out and soothe oldest. Start at "Children begin chasing each other" again...go for at least 5 or 6 times before lunch. Try to read books or some enriching activity. Sometimes they participate.
Make lunch. Maybe if you're lucky, a friend comes over to babysit in the morning and you can either a) nap or b) get some work done on your tablet (which is a pain in the ass, but taking the laptop back is poking the bear). Nap while children nap. Make 3 different dinners because nobody seems to want to eat what you had planned for dinner (and it's not pizza or chicken and french fries). Nobody is tired at bath time because they took naps (which they don't usually do during the week). Push bedtime back a little bit because nobody wants to fight with them (and they will literally just keep getting up if you make them go to bed). Feel like a crappy parent. Realize tomorrow is going to suck because they WILL be up at 7 a.m. again. Drink wine. Watch one episode of a TV show you wish you could catch up on and hope that Hulu doesn't take the episodes you need down before you get caught up.

7 a.m. they are up and chasing each other. Husband sleeps until 10:30 a.m. at which point you send child with Autism in to wake him because...otherwise he might not live to see Daddy when Daddy does wake up. Youngest has been repeating, "Eat donuts? Eat donuts mama? Mama, eat donuts? Donuts mama?" for the past 3 hours. Usually Daddy gets up and gets donuts on Sunday.
Consider day drinking.
Children watch TV or "Toy Story videos" on the computer. Lunch is a burned pizza (for some reason the Sunday lunch pizza ALWAYS gets burned). Naps. Feel guilty about not taking boys out of the house yesterday and so you bring them to the park after naps. There's nobody else at the park (you don't live in an area with a lot of kids). Oldest complains there's nobody to play with. Then another kid shows up. Youngest has had his fill and wants to leave but now oldest wants to stay and play with this kid he doesn't know. Sit in the car with youngest for a bit so oldest can have a chance to play with another kid (like, you know, a normal kid whose brother isn't having a meltdown in his car seat). Google all-inclusive vacations for you and husband while youngest screams and oldest plays. Give oldest five-minute warning. Take children home and make sandwiches for dinner because everyone agrees to eat them (but then youngest doesn't, oldest eats his sandwich even though you told him not to, and youngest returns to find he has no sandwich). Cue Sunday Night Cry from youngest. Cries until 11 p.m. (even though they went to bed at 8:45). Go in the backyard and mutter, "WHY WON'T YOU JUST GO TO SLEEP? YOU NEED SLEEP! WE ALL DO! JUST GO TO DAMN SLEEP!" until you feel slightly better about dealing with a wound up, upset, almost 4 year old. Finally say screw it, and take him to bed with you because you want to go to bed and he's still up and crying.

Googling beachfront vacations...with no children.

Enjoy your Monday!

**Stock images from Unsplash - check them out for gorgeous photos!**