Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Murphy's Laws of Parenthood

This may have been done before, but since it has been going on around our house a lot lately, I thought I would prepare some of you child-less people for what is to come. So here they are:

Murphy's Laws of Parenthood

1. When preparing for a family get together or party, your dog(s) and or your child(ren) will poop, pee, or spill something on your carpet ten minutes after you finished steaming it (& 2 hours before the guests arrive, because you did this last, so that you would not have to deal with this situation).

2. If you are having a party with seldom scene old friends, the day of the party, your septic tank will back up into 1 of your bathrooms. Resulting in 1 bathroom being shared by 8 adults and 1 child.

3. If you spend more than a minute deciding where to place your grocery list so you won't forget it, then, trust me, you will forget it.

4. When Christmas shopping, it does not matter how many time you check your list, how many times you go through the presents, you WILL forget someone! If you have children, then 1 child will end up with more presents than the other. And YOU will pay for this dearly in years to come (the severity of the payback depends on the age of the child getting fewer presents).

5. If you have 2 children sharing a room, and they are really close in age, then you will almost NEVER be able to find 2 matching shoes that fit the child you are trying to dress (unless you are a major neat freak, in which case, you're invited for a free "vacation" at my house!)

6. As a parent, you will eventually (or constantly, depending..) crave peace & quiet. And you will get it...but pretty soon it will dawn on you that it has been a very long period of peace & quiet. When you check, you will find your child(ren) sitting in their room making scrambled eggs (with real eggs!) on their carpetted bedroom floor.

7. When you wake one morning, you will hear nothing but silence. So peaceful, so very seldom that you get to enjoy waking up before the kids for some serenity with your coffee. You will very slowly get out of bed, stroll lazily towards the kitchen, savoring this oh so rare moment. You will casually start making coffee, then possibly go sit at the table and enjoy the quiet while the coffee brews. You turn your head to look out the window and admire your back yard, and you will see... your children. Outside, in the cold, in nothing but t-shits ( literally, no diapers, no pants...nothing) rolling around on the frost covered ground playing with the dogs.

8. You will one year decide to have your child's birthday party at a park. Here are 2 possible scenarios....
1) you get to the park to find about a dozen other parents who had the same idea. You end up with a couple picnic tables about a half mile from the play ground. You will lose half of the pizza's to ants, that come from nowhere and get into everything. Right as you're starting to eat, someone (thanks mom) will point out that you forgot to buy bowls and spoons for the ice cream. Mad dash (again, thanks mom) to the store to get bowls & spoons, but by the time everyone is ready for ice cream and cake, the ice cream has turned to soup! (This was the first attempt, as a "learn the hard way" kind of person...I did it again)

2) Since the party is at the park, you invite lots of people (say 75-100). After all, how hard is it to grill hot dogs? You figure on about half the people showing up (standard rule where I'm from, maybe not so in your area), so you buy 10 packs of hot dogs & buns, get the charcoal, & stay up the night before making 50 cupcakes. You get to the park, put together the grill, get the coals going, & start grilling. You then realize the party start time is long past, and only about 10 people are there (and 1 child, other than the birthday girls siblings). So you eat, open presents, & start packing up. You now have 50 hotdogs & buns, 35 cupcakes, 25 bottles of water and 3 12 packs of soda that you must decide what to do with. You consider giving it to the people who show up as you are leaving, but they have their own stuff, so you take it home. (3 months later, we still have half a case of water and some sodas sitting on our porch, and numerous packages of hotdogs in the freezer...)

This is just a random sampling of the sitcom worthy events that go on when you have kids. Everyone has stories like this. I would love to hear some of your favorite "Murphy Moments". Leave a comments, or post on my Facebook Page Wall.
Lots of Love,
from the swamps of the pee dee

Monday, December 28, 2009

What is Normality??

According to Webster's Online Dictionary, the definition of NORMAL is : conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern.
There was a lot of talk over the holidays revolving around what is and isn't normal, in regards to family life.
I think this is a topic that very few people are qualified to discuss. After all, who is normal? I know I'm not.
We were all created by God, as special, unique, one of a kind creatures. There is no one out there exactly like you, or exactly like me. So why, if we are all a little bit different, is there such a controversy when someone goes beyond "a little different" to what some people call crazy.
I believe that God has a plan for each and every one of us. No one knows what God's plan for them is, so why should we assume that we know what is best for others?
And I wonder what Jesus would think if he knew that his birthday celebration was spent bad mouthing people who were not there to defend themselves and give their side of the story.
Live and let live people. If you disagree with someone, fine. That's your right. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. But that does not mean that your opinion is a fact. Just because you don't agree with someone or understand something, that does not automatically make it wrong.
We should all be more concerned with what we are doing, how we are living our lives, and what we are doing to HELP those who may need our help, instead of concerning ourselves with how we can change someone else to fit our standards.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Getting a pet for Christmas?

Well, seeing as Christmas is 2 days away, it might be a little late for these words of advice, but I felt the need to share this anyway.
So, your kid, your significant other, your parent, whoever, has said they want a dog/cat for Christmas. You think, that's fine, we can adopt one from the shelter. So you wait, because you can only hide a living present for so long.
But, there's a hitch. This year 2 days before Christmas is a Wednesday, and our local shelters are not open on Wednesday's. The one in the next county was open today, but they closed at 2 (and they were not advertising this anywhere, you had to call to find out). Both local shelters are closed tomorrow (Christmas Eve). So, the only place you're going to find that "perfect" pet for your loved one (or yourself) before Christmas is either a pet store or in the newspaper. Good luck. (or maybe I should say, better luck next year...)

Monday, December 14, 2009

More Money Saving Tips for the Holidays

Okay, so I remembered some more things that may help you with your finances this Holiday Season...

1) Use comics from the Sunday newspapers for wrapping paper. I say the Sunday paper, simply because those are the only ones printed in color. Feel free to use the weekday comics too, but I would add a colorful bow or gift tag to spruce it up.

2)Another wrapping paper idea is the plain brown packaging paper that you use for wrapping packages to ship. You can dress it up with curling ribbon, raffia, pretty gift tags, or be brave and let your kids decorate it with finger paints or holiday stamps.

3) Do not spend money on gift boxes. Save all good condition bags and boxes from all birthday/holiday parties. Use them, even if they don't quite fit the season or the occasion. The packaging really does not matter. When you run out of saved bags and boxes, hit up your pantry. Yes, your pantry. Got one pack of graham crackers left in the box, well put the last package on the shelf, and viola, you have an instant box, ready to be wrapped. You can use any kind of box...cracker, cereal, even coffee cans. Get creative and keep more of that hard earned money in your pocket!

Love to all, and Peace on Earth!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Surviving Shopping for Santa

Okay, so I'm pretty much done with my Christmas Shopping this year. I may have a few more presents to get, but those are just extras, and maybe some to donate. I went out last Saturday with the intent of finishing, and that is what I did. I left my house around 10 AM, went to 6 different stores (Walgreens, Peebles, Pattycakes, Toys R Us, Jc Penny, and Rite Aid), and was home around 4:30. I saved roughly 40% average on all my purchases, but that's another blog altogether. What I want to do is share some tricks that helped me finish early this year (rather than running around 2 days before Christmas, like in years past) and how to avoid crowds and traffic when you are out on a high volume shopping day.
First, start shopping in the early fall. All the summer stuff will be getting marked down 75% or more. I've gotten $20 purses for $3 this way. When you find a really good deal, buy more than one. Even if you're not quite sure yet who you're buying it for, you'll figure it out. And if you end up with one or two extras, you either have 2 extras for yourself, or you can be the epitome of true holiday spirit and donate the extras to a shelter for homeless people, battered women, a food bank (yes they give out personal items too, though I'm not sure about purses...) whatever your charity of choice.
Next, if you are planning a big shopping day, like I did, then you need to start thinking about it in advance. I'd say a week or more, depending on your financial situation. You want to shop with cash. This will help you stick to a budget. So, if you won't have the kind of cash you need on hand, then you will need to work it into your budget as soon as possible. Some people set aside money every month for gifts that they know they will have to buy.
Once you know how much you have to spend, get out your notebook, pen, sale ads, and coupons. Also, have your Gift List handy. Start your search. Look through the sale ads and cross check these with your coupons. Also, be looking at your Gift List that way you know what you are looking for. I was also shopping for household essentials when I went out, and by doing all this shopping together, I saved even more money (again, an explanation will come on this later).
When you have determined what you want to buy at which store, make a master list, with the stores and the shopping list for each one, all together (mine ended up being about 2 pages...that is with a bunch of cross outs, stores I skipped, and spaces between the stores). I did this randomly and numbered mine so I knew the order of the stores I was going to. I started with the closest one to my house, moved in a circular direction through the stores I wanted to go to, and ended up at a store with an easy and quick route home, but on a different side of town.
The key to moving quickly through crowded stores and holiday traffic is knowing your town. I took every back road and neighborhood shortcut that I could. Instead of sitting in bumper to bumper traffic and getting into a 15 car turn line to go to Toys R Us, I took the back way and was there in 3 minutes. For navigating through crowded stores, I think the only thing you can do is hope for good timing (lucky for me, it was lunch time when I got there). Toys R Us was extremely crowded, but somehow I got in, got what I wanted (which was the last one on the shelf), and got out in 15 minutes. There was no fighting, no pushing, and very few long lines. Maybe I was just lucky. Also, 2 very nice gentlemen helped me put my item ito my cart after I almost dropped it on my foot. Jc Penny was crowded, and ended up not having what I wanted, but the sales people were pretty helpful. They could not fulfill the offer on my coupon, and really didn't offer any consolation to me. But when I was paying, I talked my way into an extra % off of some of the items I was getting. So, if you go to a store, and they can't honor a store coupon, you may be able to talk your way into an extra discount in exchange.
So, I wish you luck in your holiday shopping this year. May you find everything you are looking for, may it be on sale, and may you enjoy the love and laughter that comes with being around so much love this holiday season. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanuka, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Solstice...that's about all I know, but I know there's more. Whatever you are celebrating, may you be surrounded by love and happiness and may you and yours be safe.
Peace and Love,
from the swamp lands :)