the secret to taming the tantruming toddler

Sunday. 8:23 a.m.

I was preparing the family for our journey to church. Yes. Journey. Everything is dramatic where there are children involved. I had managed to wrestle the wiggling infant into a clean set of clothes and convinced the adolescent that wearing sweatpants to church was not acceptable. Everyone was ready to walk out the door and we needed to be leaving within 7 minutes.

Oh, but the toddler. He’d manage to pout his way into watching more annoying YouTube videos on my cell phone. That’s right – this is one of my secrets to taming the toddler. I give in to his pouting and let him watch his videos on my phone because then he isn’t following me around the house as I try to get myself and everyone else ready to go.

The notorious pouting toddler

But then comes the point where I need to take the videos away and get him ready to go as well. This shouldn’t be as difficult as it is. Getting him to go potty so he doesn’t have an accident on the way to church… check. Convincing him to put undies and clothing on – not without having to actually wrangle him into his clothes and nearly get a black eye in the midst of it…. but check.

“Ready to go Gabe? Let’s get our shoes on.”


“Okay, let’s get our boots on.”


I pick out not one, not two, not three, BUT FOUR different pairs of shoes/boots for him to choose from. I’m exasperated and he is screaming. Finally, I throw my hands in the air and tell him to pick out his DAMN SHOES already.

What does he do? Thankfully he grabs two boots. Unfortunately, they aren’t the same boots. One is a light up Woody cowboy boot and the other is a cow rain boot. I try to convince him to pick just one pair – that isn’t going to happen. Screw it. At this point it’s now 8:37 and I NEED to leave so that we’ll get to the early service so we can make it to the Puzzle Room in time. So on go the mismatch shoes. At this point I realize he’s eating an apple… hmm. At closer look it’s definitely brown and likely been sitting out since yesterday. G LOVES to hide apples in places and eat them later. I’ve convinced him to wear a jacket – a raincoat but it’s something – and trying to fight that apple away from him is at the bottom of my list of priorities. I mean, it’s fruit, right?

Another way I tame the tantruming toddler. I let him wear whatever the hell he wants because the fight just isn’t worth the time. He wants to eat an apple that’s been sitting out since the day before? Go for it. At least it’s an apple and not chips from inside the couch.

Seriously though. Sometimes when it comes to the irrational minds of toddlers, the easiest thing you can do is JUST GIVE IN. Because what it comes down to is your own sanity. Mismatch boots with a rain jacket? At least the kid has shoes and jacket on. Seriously.

And yes. We were late to the service. The rest of the day was filled with more toddlerish behaviors as well… stealing a car from the toddler room at church, peeing in his carseat after I asked him FOUR TIMES if he needed to use the potty – like literally peed before I even got my own seatbelt on, throwing his lunch all over the floor because he wanted to watch more videos… the list is never ending. Sometimes you need to stand your ground and make it known what’s okay and what isn’t. But sometimes, like I said, you’ve got to give in so you can survive these years.

Trapped Puzzle Rooms

My mother in law was kind enough to set us up for an escape room experience in St Paul. D has been dying to do one so this seemed like a perfect experience! There are a TON of places doing these puzzle rooms right now – definitely a popular attraction.

We were signed up for A Very Potter Escape Room experience at Trapped St. Paul. Located on Snelling Ave in St Paul, it’s actually inside of an old house.

When you walk in there’s a large waiting area, a coat room and a sitting room.

There was a puzzle being completed on the table in the sitting room that my kiddos were fairly obsessed with.

The staff were all super friendly – especially since we actually showed up on Saturday on accident and were actually registered for Sunday. When we got there Sunday for our actual timeslot we were paired up with 4 other people. We were given our mission – make our way into the Headmaster’s office and retrieve the Elder Wand.

This location doesn’t actually lock you in the room, however the door is closed and you are set about to solve multiple puzzles that will lead you to your final puzzle and the Elder Wand. The great thing about this location is that I was able to bring G with despite his age – although I wouldn’t recommend it. I was also able to wear O throughout the experience.

I would definitely say that these rooms are geared towards older kids, teens and adults – which honestly most of them state clearly on their websites. We were able to complete our puzzle in 52 minutes… 8 minutes left to spare despite the fact that 2 of our participants were too young to help.

We had a fantastic time though and are looking forward to trying out some other rooms soon. Pricing for these experiences range from about $24-$40/person and lasts an hour. This location specifically is on the cheaper end of the price range at $24/person. If you’re looking for something fun to do with your older kids or a cool group date, a puzzle room or escape room is definitely a choice I would recommend.

Check out their website here!

What does she do?

via Daily Prompt: Faceless

I kind of covered this briefly in a different post but let’s go a little deeper.

The job of a mom is one that is often underestimated and always never ending. Some of the roles I play in a day include:

Personal Chef {typically to super picky clientele}
Taxi Driver/Cheueffer {but don’t expect to get tipped}
Housecleaner {cleaning bathrooms for all boys is GROSS by the way}
Laundry folder
Nurse {sometimes just kissing boo-boos is enough}
Play date coordinator
Homework helper
Appointment scheduler
and so on and so forth…

The list of jobs a mom does in a day is not only extensive… it’s EXHAUSTING. Most of the time your being pulled in a million directions by a lot of different people. Typically you’re seen for the things you do rather than the person you are.

Making sure that something your kids actually want to eat hits the table for dinner and everyone has clean skivvies for the day is taken for granted. Making sure that everyone washes their butts and brushes their teeth is met with groans and eye rolls. *insert my own eyeroll here*

If you try to get something done for yourself it takes extra coordination and you end up treating it like a mini vacation. Doctor appointment? Better take that drive home extra slow and stop for a coffee. Grocery shopping? Walk super slow and make sure you go down every single aisle.

The constant barage of questions revolving around what they want or need. The selfishly needy jerks. Do they notice that when they get up in the morning the house is clean again? Or that their too small clothes have magically been replaced? Do they take notice when the paperwork they need turned in is filled out?

Don’t get me wrong. Being a mom is the most fulfilling job I’ve ever had. The snuggles and kisses and hugs and I love yous. All of it is amazingly fulfilling.

… BUT …

It would be nice to feel seen by the people you love the most. Maybe they see me more than I realize. It doesn’t really feel that way often though. I am reminded by my friends and my husband that I am more than a three letter noun though. Thank God for that.

confessions of a hot mess mom

I confess.

I am a hot mess mom.

My house is always a mess. Unless company is coming over of course. In which case you’ll see my social media home.

Sometimes my kids eat organic foods. Most of the time though they eat store brand foods. I do make amazing dinners but I also feed them chicken nuggets and canned vegetables. Candy is often used as a bribe.

I don’t remember the last time that I was caught up on our laundry.

I cuss like a drunken sailor.

I only wash my hair once a week… you can go ahead and guess how often I shower.

I don’t remember the last time I bought an article of clothing for myself.

I use tablets AND television as a babysitter.

I’m pretty sure that I am judged by other moms constantly and I don’t care.

Sometimes I sneak candy in the bathroom so I don’t have to share.

Want to know what else? The REAL confession I have as a hot mess mom?

I suffer from anxiety and depression. And those intense, shitty feelings make it hard to be a good mom sometimes. Sometimes those feelings leave me short tempered and quick to be set off by what is normal toddler behaviors. I yell too much. I’m impatient. I want to be a good mom more than anything in the world. It’s hard for me. Is it hard for other people? I want to have the patience that other moms seem to find so easily. I want to be the type of mom who can do the fun art projects and field trips without feeling like the world is closing in on me or my heart is going to beat right out of my chest.

I know that I’m not the only one who suffers from mental health problems.

And you know what? I keep doing the art projects and the field trips with my kids. And make sure to snuggle them extra tight and tell them I love them. Cause even a hot mess mom can be a good mom.

Boy Mom


Every so often I get that question that you’ve probably wondered or asked yourself. “Don’t you want a little girl?” I know this topic has been covered by almost all of the moms with only one gender of kids BUT here are my feelings on this topic.

Would I have liked to have a little girl? Sure.
Am I going to keep trying until I get a little girl? Hell no.

God has blessed me with the miracle of carrying three very healthy boys through full term pregnancies. I thank him every day for their health and their uniqueness. I was blessed with a bonus kiddo when I met my husband. Another healthy boy who brings his individuality and unique personality to our family. The four of them together brings chaos and disorder to my life constantly. They also bring me a love I never knew was possible to feel.

These boys give me a run for my money. Adding a little girl? Man. She would be one of the most loved, cherished and overly protected little girls in the world, for sure. And with my luck she would be the biggest DIVA in the world. I can guarantee that she would be the worst infant, terrible toddler and absolute nightmare of a teenager to exist. I would love her with everything I have and would finally be reciprocated those feelings when she had her first child.

Seriously though. I love my boys. They teach me new things about myself every day. I wouldn’t change having all boys for anything else in the world. I find myself truly blessed to be considered a #boymom.


Yes. They’re loud.
Yes. They’re messy.
No. I don’t believe that they’re easier than girls.
No. I won’t be trying for a girl.


Burnt Pancakes

via Daily Prompt: Invisible

I set about my morning like any other, walking around half asleep, stumbling like a zombie through the house. Grab baby. Nurse baby. Shush toddler. Make coffee.


We had somewhere to be. Don’t we always have somewhere to be? I used to never be late – I absolutely despise being late. Now I’m lucky if I’m on time. I decided this morning though I was making pancakes. Weight Watchers friendly, kid approved pancakes. Start with making some for the baby. While I cut his up, I start making some for G. While I’m cutting his up, start mine. Except something he does distracts me and I forgot to flip mine. Burnt. Now he’s trying to pour more syrup. Run to grab the syrup. Burn the other side too.

BURNT PANCAKES. ugh. Just mine though. Because despite the fact that I told him I was trying to cook and “please, just eat your breakfast, we need to leave,” he did everything but just eat his pancakes.

I feel like that’s kind of a great description for what my life is during this stage. Burnt pancakes. I’m always so busy being mom and wife, that I forget about myself. And while the pancakes I made were still edible, they definitely weren’t the way they should have been. That’s how I feel. I feel like I’m cruising through this part of life doing all the things everyone else needs me to but forgetting to help myself along the way. And what’s left is a burnt out mama and wife with the individual lost somewhere. Just a burnt pancake of my former self.

I know my family loves me. And my pancakes. But sometimes being loved for more than the things you do for a person is what you really crave in life. That and chocolate. And coffee. I’ve started to try to do more for myself but what I’ve realized is that the only way that my family is going to see me for more than just wife and mom is to do things with them that I LOVE. Go to the theater or the art museum. So that’s my plan going forward. The only way that I won’t be invisible to them as an individual is to make them experience things I LOVE as an individual. No coffee for the kids though. They’re hyper enough as it is.



Trying to get a moment of solitude is pretty much impossible. Maybe if I didn’t own pets… but here I sit on baited breath, hoping O doesn’t wake before I finish pumping or my morning coffee. The dog and cat both constantly seeking attention.

I used to consider myself a morning person. Recently though, I’ve realized I’m just able to wake to an alarm when I really need to. Mornings are hard when there other people depending on you. Especially when none of those tiny humans are morning people either.

I have to nearly drag D out of bed for school every morning. He’s a night owl and absolutely hates getting up. When B is here, he literally will sleep until 10 if I let him. Too bad for him, I won’t. G will scream for me until I come open his door and then he glares at me as though I physically made the sun rise myself. He’ll cover his face back up and tell me “Go way.” Hmmm. Pretty sure you told me to come in here ya jerk. O is hit or miss. Some mornings he wakes up and just babbles and plays in his crib. Other mornings he cries and won’t crack a smile until he’s had time to adjust.

All of these things typically will take place before my morning coffee. So I set an alarm for this morning that I DID NOT want to get up to because O was up twice in the middle of the night. So here I sit, pumping, writing a boring blog, drinking my coffee before all the kids wake up and we have to scurry to get ready for the day…. because today I have to get the two little ones to babysitters so I can chaperone a field trip.

Toddler Potty Training

via Daily Prompt: Patience

I feel like patience is one of those things that just doesn’t come as easily to a person as one would like to believe. If it did, it probably wouldn’t be one of the seven virtues, right? I mean, sure, we all pretend like we’re patient … patiently waiting for the new season of our favorite show to start, patiently waiting for the newest version of our phone to be released …. patiently waiting to get through a difficult project at work, or a particularly trying season in our life. We save face and we exute patience to everyone around us, but really we’re anxious about it… even the silly things. We want immediate gratification in all aspects of our lives.

And it never changes.

Want a perfect example? Kids. They are the epitome of having no virtues. Patience? I could create a YouTube video of a new superhero and name him Captain Patience and they STILL would not be able to emulate it.

As a parent, I feel like my ability to have patience is put to the ultimate test on a daily basis. Prime example – potty training.


This adorable photo was taken 8 months ago. G decided two weeks after bringing O home from the hospital that he was ready to be a big boy. Eight months later and we are just finally wearing underwear with our pants when we leave the house. 90% of the last eight months he has spent entirely butt naked or naked from the waist down. I have seen him naked more than any of the other kids or my husband combined. I have dealt with him peeing on my carpet, on my couch, on his bed (intentionally) and in my hall closet which also led to pee in my shoes. Fan-fricken-tastic. I have dealt with him pooping in his underwear, pooping and not telling me so that I can wipe his butt which led to skid marks on my shins, poop on my lap and poop on my furniture. His carseat pads have been washed more times than I can count and I have absolutely, one hundred and ten percent, thrown away a crap ton of underwear.

Through all of this I have done everything in my power to remain patient. He grasped the concept of potty training immediately. He knew exactly what he was supposed to do and where to do it. And he did great. For about a month. Let me tell you, my patience with potty training at this point is receding to be as thin as the once popular, high school jocks hair line. But it’s almost as if he can see that I’m at that breaking point of just letting him wear diapers until he’s in middle school and he’s suddenly deciding it’s time to give mama a little break.

Today he had his first accident, other than while sleeping, in a week. We’ve only had underwear on, every single day, including for sleep and in the car. It’s been a fantastic feeling to see the toddler I had assumed was potty trained eight months ago, finally almost REALLY there.

I will openly admit that patience is not one of my strong points. Having kids has made that abundantly clear and although it has increased my patience threshhold, I still lose it multiple times a day.

Leprechaun Spotting Binoculars

Happy St Patrick’s Day! I try to find a way to celebrate every year and this year we found out that we actually ARE Irish. Like I needed a reason anyway, amirite? Having kids though makes the crazy shenanigans of March 17 a lot different than they use to be. This year Mr. B and I are planning on bringing the little ones to the parade tomorrow so I made leprechaun spotting binoculars to get G in the spirit!

Things You Need:

  • 2 toilet paper rolls or 1 paper towel roll cut in half
  • Green construction paper
  • Glue
  • Rubber bands
  • Paper Clips
  • Decorations

I glued the construction paper onto the toilet paper roll and then used a rubber band to get it to set in place.

I then took another rubberband and figured eighted it around the two…

I stuck to a simple decoration of gold paper tape and then paperclipped the top and bottom for extra support.

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. How’s that for my first “craft” blog post? I had a hard time making these cause I’m a bit of a perfectionist and these are far from perfect.

Laundry “Day”

via Daily Prompt: Wrinkle

Yesterday during nap I attempted to make a product review video. I was terrible of course and spent hours trying to edit it so I could post it here only to find I need to pay for my blog to post it. Jokes on me, right? In the video you can see 3 overflowing baskets of laundry sitting on my floor by the bedroom door. The nice thing is that those baskets are full of clean clothes – does anyone else know that? Of course not. Would everyone be judging me? Meh. Maybe. But let’s be honest here, I don’t really care.

When you’re young and single, possibly living alone or with a roommate, there’s laundry day. Maybe it’s Wednesday. You wash a load of laundry, dry a load of laundry, hang and fold. Hell, maybe you’re ambitious and you even IRON. hahahahahahahahahahahaha If you’re lazy or just hate doing laundry – like myself – maybe you do A LOT of laundry every couple weeks but chances are it still just takes that one day.

Wanna know what happens when you mix someone who HATES laundry with 5 boys? Hell. Seriously. It’s absolutely ridiculous. Laundry day is every day when there are six people living in a house together. They should just call it laundry LIFE. If I’m able to stay on top of things, I do a load of laundry EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. If I don’t stay on top of things? It’s what I can only imagine a laundry apocalypse would look like. Rolling hills of wrinkled clothes. Some of them are clean, some of them are dirty but they’re taking over the world! Ok. Just my bedroom – clothes on the dresser, on the bed, on the floor, in laundry baskets.

And an iron? Do I own one. Yes. I even own one of those fancy clothes steamers. Do you know how often those things get used? ummmmmm My dryer has become the standard for wrinkle removal in this house. The older boys need it more often than anyone because they can’t keep their clothes folded IN THEIR DRAWERS despite the fact that I put it away that way.

Then there’s the days when I forget about the load of laundry I’ve started. every single day. The clothes in the dryer are now wrinkled, the clothes in the washer are starting to smell musty already. So I restart both. And then forget. And restart both again the next day. So now one load has somehow multiplied and become a three day dance. And the clothes are still piling up! I feel as though they must be breeding secretly … little humping socks and kinky t-shirts everywhere.

My kids are always in clean clothes though – welllllll, they start the day in clean clothes. Sometimes those clothes are wrinkled. Or stained. Hell, half of mine are the same way. thanks kiddos. But man are those dirty, wrinkly kids loved.