I’ve had a long day.  A long day, after a long week, after a long winter, and I am bone-shatteringly tired.  I barely survived the half mile drive to buy Ibuprofen at Wegman’s, and once I arrived, I plunked the kiddo down at WKids and hid myself away in the upstairs cafe section until I could handle the idea of traversing the aisles.  By the time we finally pulled up in front of our house, the thought of cooking dinner was more than I could bear, and then I remembered these:

Mmm..mmm... good?

Purchased in a fit of nostalgia (my mom used to keep a stack of these in the freezer) with a bit of prescience mixed in, I tossed these frozen dinners into my shopping cart ages ago for just this very kind of evening.  After 8 minutes of microwaving, my children sat happily on the couch, in front of the television, eating preservative-laden food on a stick.  Definitely not my finest parenting moment.

My mom always calls events like this red ribbons on the bad mommy hanger.  I have no idea where it came from, though I’m sure Bubbe Margie will be happy to tell us all in the comments.  (Ever the supportive mama, she’s an avid reader of this blog.)  Whatever the origin, I like the image.  Perfect parenting is unattainable, and we’re all bound to make mildly shameful moves from time to time.  The bad mommy hanger gives us a place to put all of these little bits of shame.  Fed your kids crap for dinner?  There’s one red ribbon.  Lost your temper when they were arguing in the car?  Another neat little bow.  Sent your preschooler off to school wearing mismatched socks for the fourth day in a row?  Tie one more on.  Then you get to put the hanger away, in the back of the closet, give yourself a break, and move on with your day.

Anyone else out there starting a nice red ribbon collection?  Tell me all about it in the comments.

-Meryl at the Goose

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I feel like my household brings home a disproportionate amount of illness.  It comes with the territory of having four kids at three different schools and three different age groups — we’re jumping into the germ pool from all sides.  Why I didn’t write this blog appeal for help ages ago is anybody’s guess.  Seriously, check out the pathetic faces of sickness that have shown up over the past few cold and flu seasons:

Right now in my house, I can count one sinus infection, three runny noses, two fevers (one low-grade, one high) and one soul-shaking cough.  Nothing I do seems to help … we get by on baby Tylenol and fluids, but neither seems to make a dent in the giant pile of agony that builds up in the den of sickness.

What do you do for your sick kids when they’re stricken by the dreaded cough and cold?  How do you keep the mucus monster at bay?  I’m desperate for your suggestions … this family may not make it through another snot-infested day.

-Meryl at the Goose

World on Fire

March 13, 2011

Where it all began...

Sometimes being a grown-up, pardon the expression, just sucks.  For Mr. Blogling and myself,  this weekend was one of those sucky times.  Friday afternoon found us with four firetrucks in front of our house and our own little act of God in the basement (a fire and a flood! how does that even happen?)  The culprit was a busted water heater, and it led to one unexpected night in a hotel, 8 hours of husband-labor installing a new water heater, 55 hours and counting without heat, spotty electricity, and the expenditure of many, many, many dollars.  Overall:  SUCKY.

Plus, my little family disaster interrupted my regularly scheduled blog programming by forcing me to flake on a long-overdue interview with mama vendor Amber Siepel.  (I’m so sorry, Amber!  I’ll make it up to you.)  But, it does give me the opportunity to encourage some whining from you, dear readers.  I want to hear about things that burst, broke, bled … anything.  Misery loves company, so please — tell me about your own natural family disasters.  Stories of your suffering will keep me warm at night.  Goodness knows these space heaters aren’t doing the trick.

-Meryl at the Goose

P.S.  There is a picture floating around somewhere of a night last winter when the entire Moreland family slept at The Goose to monitor some frozen sprinkler pipes.  As soon as Kelly and I locate this photographic evidence, it will be yours for the viewing.

It’s Friday night, and the mood is right.  Gonna have some fun, show you how it’s done, TGIF.

Actually, it’s Friday night and the mood is grim.  It’s been a long day and an even longer week and I’m trying to get myself off the couch and out the door to a game night with friends.  This shouldn’t be that much of a challenge — one of my favorite girlfriends is coming to pick me up, we’re going all of 5 minutes away, and I get to bring Apples to Apples.  But ever since I became a mom, and especially since I became the mom of many, it has been practically impossible for me to keep up anything resembling a social life.  It’s not that I don’t have super awesome amazing hilarious ridiculously great friends, or that they don’t do super great fantastic things… I think it’s just that I’m so damn tired.

What about you?  Are you better at striking a parent/person balance than I am?  Tell me about it in the poll below:

-Meryl at the Goose

P.S.  Don’t feel bad if you chose the third answer — that just means you get to spend your evenings reading this blog, and really, what could be more fun that that?

Road Trippin’

February 28, 2011

Road trips are fun, but fun is exhausting

Ahh, the school vacation road trip:  this poor mom’s attempt at evading the winter break blues even though she can’t pack up her family and jet off to Fiji, like she wishes she could.  So, I packed three boys and two suitcases into my pick-up truck, and we hit I-81.

Now, I love a road trip.  Instead of a traditional honeymoon, Bailey (Mr. Blogling) and I packed all of our necessary worldly possessions into a Honda Element and drove around the country for four months.  Life is a highway; I want to drive it all night long.  But this road trip was a first: I was the only parent present and outnumbered by kids 3:1, and that off-kilter ratio led to a bunch of rookie road trip mistakes:

1)  Poorly-timed Potty Breaks.

As someone who has spent the lifetime with a love of water and a tiny bladder, I refuse to deny anyone the chance to visit a restroom.  However, after forgetting to monitor the liquid intake of my passengers, I found myself stopping at almost every rest stop we passed.  With so many stops, it took an extra hour to get to and from our destination, providing extra time for:

2) Serious Sibling Spats

Nothing like the close quarters of a car for your kids to start driving each other (and you) totally nuts.  The particular trouble in my vehicle was an inability to get on the same page:  the big boys tease the little one, rile him up, and then decide they don’t want to play anymore, leaving me with a hyper hyperactive 4-year-old strapped into his car seat wondering why no one will tickle him back like they would three minutes ago and then wondering leads to shrieking and then I want to pull my hair out.  Awesome.

3)  Sad food choices.

Ideally, I like to load up the car with a wide variety of healthy snacks designed to last the entire ride and packed neatly in a cooler. This satisfies dual aims:  it eliminates the need to address hunger with fast food or convenience store fare, and it ensures that all parties involved will travel in nutritional comfort rather than swollen with sodium.  Unfortunately, this was a hasty departure led to a failure to pack anything edible, and the collection of empty potato chip bags and Oreo packages on the floor of my truck is a shameful reminder of that failure.

That’s just the shortlist of my most recent traveling trials, and while there were tribulations as well, I want to hear about you.  Where have you been this week?  How’d it go?  How many miles did you end up out of the way when you missed your exit and realized there wasn’t another one for what seemed like hours and it was snowing and you ended up crying to a toll booth operator because you didn’t have 35 cents?  (Or was that just me?)

-Meryl at the Goose

Snow Day: Help!

February 2, 2011

My hatred of all things winter has become sort of a theme here on the blog. So, it should not surprise you that when the ICSD decided to close school even BEFORE IT STARTED SNOWING, I felt like this:

Full disclosure: This is actually a cropped version of a picture of Ray on the toilet. I thought you might be glad to know that even my total lack of respect for my kids' privacy has some limit.

Also not surprising, is that my kids (and yours, I’m sure) want the day to look something like this:

Clearly, we have a conflict.  So, here we all are: my husband at work, the rest of us still in our pajamas, children antsy, mommy in need of more coffee.  How on earth am I going to survive the day?

Help me!  What are you doing on this region-wide snow day?  I’m desperate for suggestions.  Hit me up with fun indoor games, great places to sled, and offers to come take my children off my hands.  (That last one’s a joke… sort of.)

-Meryl at the Goose

New Year’s Resolutions

January 1, 2011

A scene from our family's New Year's Eve celebration

Given that today is the first day of 2011, the obvious thing for me to do here would be to tell you all about my various New Year’s resolutions and attendant plans for bettering myself and achieving a whole new level of life awesomeness in the year to come.  The things is, though, I don’t really feel like it.  Maybe it’s because I’m not willing to commit to my resolutions in such a permanent way — come July, I don’t want to be reminded by the blog archives of my annual lack of follow-through.  Or maybe it’s that I’m actually fairly hard on myself all 365 days each year, so New Year’s resolutions just become another way to beat myself up for my various shortcomings, and that’d be no fun to read.

Instead, I thought I’d craft a list of New Year’s resolutions for other people — resolutions that, if followed, would definitely make for a happy New Year for me!  Check ’em out, and then leave your resolutions in the comments — your own or wishes for others.  You can even make some for me if you want.  The Goose blog is nothing if not flexible.

Meryl’s New Year’s Resolutions (for Other People)

1)  My eldest child resolves to take better care of his teeth and stop being such a phenomenal jackass in the morning.  (The other day, I woke him up with breakfast from Starbucks, saying, “Good morning!  I brought you breakfast.”  His response, from under the covers:  “UGH!  YOU’RE SO ANNOYING!”  Seventeen is a lovely age.)

2)  My middle child resolves to stop biting me.  Sure, he’s got his reasons, and we’re working on it, but the skin on my forearms really needs a break.  We’ll work on the kicking and punching in 2012.

3)  My littlest child resolves to bring her stubbornness down at least two notches.  Sure, she’s two, but I’m almost positive that her level of attitude is extreme.   In fact, one of her daycare teachers refers to her as exactly that:  Extreme Toddler.  I could do with a couple less extremes in my world.

4)  My parents resolve to start sharing information with each other, so that I can stop doing two separate updates about life with their grandkids.  This shouldn’t be difficult, given that they’ve been happily married for almost 30 years, live in the same house, and talk to each other frequently throughout the day.  Come on, guys.  Give a daughter a break.

5)  The staff at the Goose, especially those goslings with children, resolve to stop looking so beautiful and put-together all the time.  What is wrong with you ladies? You’re giving a blogling a complex.

6)  Kay Jewelers resolves to stop making the most irritating television commercials in the history of cable.  Seriously, every time I catch even the first three seconds of one of these spots, I want to vomit.  Every kiss does NOT begin with Kay.  That’s just a ridiculous thing to say.

7)  Terrible people the world over resolve to stop parking in the “customers with children” spots in the parking lot at Wegman’s when they clearly do not have children.  (I’m talking to you, annoying sorority girls running in to buy self-tanning spray.  Karma’s gonna get you in the end, if I don’t run you down in my minivan first.)

 

Ooh, this is even more fun than I thought.  I better call it quits before my snarkiness reaches toxic proportions.  I genuinely, sincerely, wish all of you the most wonderful things to come in the New Year, unless you happen to be on the marketing team for the above-mentioned jewelry chain.  In that case, you get what you get.

-Meryl at the Goose