Tag Archives: stay at home mom

Weekly Photo Challenge: Split-Second Story

31 May

*Disclaimer:  This post is a complete exaggeration based on a recent conversation with a friend. Thankfully, my wonderful husband could care less if the house, the children, or myself are a complete mess when he gets home from work, or he at least has the sense not to mention it.

The kids and I had great fun staging these pictures that represent a split-second in our day, with so much change going on in between the two pictures! 


You know that moment of clarity when you look around at your life and realize, something must change?  You see that your life is a mess, that you are living in chaos, and there is a strange smell coming from somewhere in the room, possibly from you?  You recognize that something must be done, that you must get to work to end the wreck that your life has become?

This happens every day in my house.

I call it the 5:30 rush.  5:30 is when my husband’s office closes.  I picture him calmly getting up from his desk, gathering his things, and walking out the door, locking up behind him.  Of course, he is looking so forward to getting home to his clean, cheery children and wife, to leaving the stress and busy-ness of the day behind him.

It takes him 30 minutes to drive home, and during that time I am a mad-woman.


The husband rush


I look around, assessing the situation.  I yell at the kids to un-attach themselves from me, go up to their rooms, take off their pajamas, and get dressed in real clothes including underwear.

I begin frantically loading dirty dishes into the dishwasher and putting cereal boxes, a jar of peanut butter, and other various food items into the cabinets.  I throw the stack of paper plates and juice boxes left by the 10 kids and their mothers we had over for lunch into the recycling, then grab the Lysol Wipes container and run through the house cleaning off countertops and toilets.

I quickly make the bed and snatch up the wet bathing suits laying in the floor, running into the laundry room to start a load of laundry.

The kids and I meet up in my bathroom, washing faces and brushing hair.  Charlie finds a can of Glade and goes around the house spraying coconut-scented air freshener around while Maddie begins searching the house for our cats so she can put them outside.

I realize that I haven’t started dinner yet, so I rush into the kitchen, grabbing the glasses of melted ice left on our nightstands from the night before to put into the dishwasher.  I stick a frozen lasagna in the oven, not bothering to preheat the oven, then lay a cutting board and knife out on the counter and arrange a head of lettuce, some carrots, and a tomato artfully on top of it, creating the illusion that I am in the middle of cooking a delicious, healthy, labor-intensive dinner for my hard-working husband.

I walk quickly through the house, picking up Legos, Barbies, and Transformers and tossing them into bins and closets, strategically leaving books scattered about.  I leave a puzzle box lying on the living room sofa and some play-doh on the kitchen table.  Evidence of organized learning must remain as proof of our productivity.

Back in my bathroom, I throw some concealer under my eyes, adding some mascara, blush, and lip gloss for good measure.  I take off my old shorts and T-shirt and put on clean clothes that I would actually wear in public.

Glancing at the clock, I realize that I have 5 minutes left before the husband pulls up in the driveway.  I grab the vacuum and run it over the floors, vacuuming up little piles of sand brought home from the park and the occasional small toy that was inadvertently left out (Casualty of war, I think to myself.) while the kids scrub with some Windex wipes at the chocolate handprints on the kitchen door. As I am placing the vacuum back in the pantry, I hear the garage door opening.

I smile to the kids as they take their places at the kitchen counter, coloring quietly.  I grab a pitcher of iced tea out of the refrigerator and set it out, then stand at the island and begin chopping up the vegetables I had put out earlier.

“Hi, Honey, I’m home!” Husband calls out when he enters the house.  I press a button on my iPod and switch the music playing in the background from “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” to Beethoven’s “Symphony Number 5”.  The kids put down their crayons and run to him, screaming, “Daddy, Daddy!”

He looks at me, “Did you guys have a good day?  What did you do?”

I smile sweetly, noticing that he has on his golfing clothes, and hand him a glass of tea.  “Nothing much.  Just did some stuff around the house.”

The Big Rush After_1







It’s a Jammie Day!

22 Jan

That’s right, it’s jammie day at the Watkins’ house.  This is what we call it when we go the entire day in our pajamas (Well, the kids do at least.  It is a little after 2, and I do have clothes on now, much to Charlie’s disappointment!).  Charlie and Maddie love jammie days, and want every day to be jammie day, so they were really excited when I agreed to skip story time today and have a jammie day.

And it really is a great day for a jammie day, with it being so cold outside.

What do you do on a jammie day, you ask?

Lots of playing!  The kids have played with stickers, Legos, their doctor kit, and have dressed up in lots of superhero outfits.

Lots of playing! The kids have played with stickers, Legos, their doctor kit, and have dressed up in lots of superhero outfits.

We've read lots of books.

We’ve read lots of books.

And we made these wonderful strawberry cookies!

And we made these wonderful strawberry cookies!

We have tons of strawberries from my  mom’s recent trip to Florida.  These cookies are so good, so here’s the recipe if you want to try it out.  Don’t make them too far ahead of time, though-they are best when they are fresh.

Strawberry Cookies

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar and 2 tbs white sugar

1/ 2 tsp vanilla

1 egg

1 1/4 cup self-rising flour

1 cup strawberries, cut up

1. Mix your strawberries with the 2 tbs. sugar and set aside

2. Mix the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar together.

3.  Add the vanilla and egg and mix well.

4.  Add the flour and mix well.

5.  Gently stir in the strawberries.

Drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for a13-15 minutes until brown.  This makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Do you and your kids ever have a jammie day?  What do you like to do on a day like this?

Maddie’s 2nd Birthday Part(y) 3!!!

8 Feb

Ok, I know that this is getting ridiculous!  A 2-year old having 3 birthday parties?  It sounds ludicrous to me, also, but it just had to be done.  I had to have a party for her friends, a party for our family, and a little something on her actual birthday.  It wasn’t much, don’t worry.

She got to wear her fabulous birthday outfit to church, and was so precious even though her birthday onesie did have marker stains all over the front of it.  (I know I wouldn’t be able to get that out.)  You can see my earlier post for shopping details on her outfit if you’re interested.

We came home from church and gave her her birthday present from us: a bike!  We couldn’t decide if we wanted to get her a big-wheel or a real bike, and finally decided that since Charlie has a bike she is always trying to ride, it would just make sense to go ahead and go for it.  Don’t worry-we did get a helmet for that big head of hers, too!

Trying out the new bike!  She hasn't quite figured out how to pedal yet, but she will soon.

Trying out the new bike! She hasn’t quite figured out how to pedal yet, but she will soon.

Then, after Maddie’s favorite meal of chicken nuggets and mac-n-cheese, Maddie got to blow out the candles!

Maddie was well-practiced at blowing out candles by this point, so she got them on the first try!

Maddie was well-practiced at blowing out candles by this point, so she got them on the first try!


So now, for a few months at least, I have a 2-year old and a 3-year old.  People always get very wide-eyed and look at me like I am a little crazy when I tell them the ages of my children!  Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and I have a similar look on my face……..


Maddie’s 2nd Birthday Part(y)2

31 Jan

Hi Everyone!  I hope that everyone is having a great week so far.  We have been very busy this week, so I am just now getting around to posting about Maddie’s 2nd 2nd Birthday party.  It was last Sunday, and this was just a family party.  However, in my family there is no such thing as “just” anything!  Having a party with everyone that is considered family is quite an undertaking.

Our church was cancelled due to “Winter Weather Blast 2013,” so Jason and I had the morning to get ready.  That is, I had the morning to get ready, and Jason had time to research cell phone plans online.

Maddie got dressed up in a special birthday outfit.  It was too cute, if I do say so myself:

Birthday Girl in her tutu!

Birthday Girl in her tutu!



Maddie's 2nd Outfit-She's such a Diva!!!

Maddie’s 2nd Outfit-She’s such a Diva!!!

The tutu, legwarmers, and hairbow came from the shop that my sisters and I run, Mommy in Bonlee.  You can check us out on Facebook,  http://mommyinbonlee.storenvy.com or http://www.etsy.com/shop/mommyinbonlee.  The CUTE onesie was handmade by Say It N Stitches, at http://www.etsy.com/shop/sayitNstitches.  They do awesome work.  I am really disappointed that Maddie drew all over the front of this onesie with a dry-erase marker.  I know from my teaching days that, no matter how long I OxiClean that thing, it just isn’t coming out.

We had our usual hamburgers and hotdogs, with the strawberry cupcakes making yet another appearance!  You can get the recipe from the link below to my earlier post.

Some miniature cupcakes for the dieters-I think most just ended up eating 3 of these!

Some miniature cupcakes for the dieters-I think most just ended up eating 3 of these!

Finally got to use my cupcake stand!

Finally got to use my cupcake stand!

Maddie loved being the center of attention and having Happy Birthday sung to her.

Love her

Love her

She has him wrapped around her finger!

She has him wrapped around her finger!

Enjoying her cupcakes:



Opening presents:


She tried to carry around all of her new dolls and her new underwear all at once!

She tried to carry around all of her new dolls and her new underwear all at once!


Maddie loved her new pocketbook from Gramma!

Maddie loved her new pocketbook from Gramma!


So, Maddie’s 2nd 2nd Birthday party was a success!  It is always a pleasure to get all of our family together, especially to celebrate such a little sweet blessing as Maddie.




You Shouldn’t Yell During Uno!

22 Jan

Today has been quite a day!  We got off to a lazy start, so when Casey and Emma showed up at 11 to visit, I still had my robe on and Charlie and Maddie had just gotten out of the tub.  We had a great visit with Casey and Emma, though, and we got quite a bit of work done even with the distraction of a 1 year old, a 2 year old, and a 3 year old running around!


Isn't Emma precious?

Isn’t Emma precious?


We are working on some new tutus for Mommy in Bonlee and had Maddie model for us.  Charlie and Emma were so jealous, it was difficult to keep them out of the pictures!

Getting ready...

Getting ready…

I love the look on Maddie's face here!

I love the look on Maddie’s face here!

DSC_0045 DSC_0048

...and a supermodel is born!

…and a supermodel is born!

If you like this tutu, you should check out our shop on Storenvy at http://mommyinbonlee.storenvy.com and also like us on Facebook!  This particular one isn’t listed yet, but there are plenty others!

Charlie had me cracking up tonight.  After dinner, we were having a friendly family game of UNO.  Charlie has never played before, and neither Jason nor I have played since we were children.  Jason and I were a bit overexcited, I guess.  We had not told Charlie the biggest rule of UNO: when a player has only one card remaining, they have to yell out “UNO” before the other players yell it out.  Well, when Charlie got down to one card, Jason and I both yelled at him, “UNO!”  Charlie said, “You shouldn’t yell.”  Then he busted out in tears!  It was so pitiful, but funny at the same time.

When that game was over, with Charlie being victorious because of his pitifulness, we played another game.  Jason won this one, and Charlie said, “I was supposed to win!” and started crying again!  He stuck that bottom lip out and just really put on a fit!  Jason and I were just about to die laughing.  I wish I had it on video, because it would have been a YouTube sensation!

Aren’t children funny?



Housebound Day 2

15 Jan

Well, here we are on day 2 of our quarantine.  Maddie has a nasty cold, so I, being the responsible parent that I am, am staying in again.  We normally go to a Bible study on Tuesday mornings, where I go to a small group session then to a large group lesson while the kids stay in a nursery and preschool class, but Maddie is a bear right now!  Plus, if someone else would have stayed home with their snotty-nosed kid last week, I probably wouldn’t be dealing with this.  Not to sound bitter, but just saying.

So, I changed my grocery pick-up time to 5:30 when Jason can swing by the store to get them and am spending another day at home.  It is a rainy, dreary day, so I can’t say I mind that much.  But it is only 11:00.  By 5, I will probably have a different mindset. 

Charlie has been amusing me with his funny sayings today.  This morning, he, Jason and I were sitting in bed for a few minutes.  We were watching our usual morning news program and Sonia Sotomayor was being interviewed.  I got a little teary when they showed a replay of her being sworn in as Supreme Court Justice and saw the look on her mother’s face.  Jason started making fun of me, and I explained that I was just imagining how proud her mother must be of her, and how awesome it would be if one of our children accomplished something like that.  Then I told Charlie that we named him Charles Edward because he could do anything with a name like that.  He promptly informed me, “No, my name is Spiderman.”  I guess I would be proud to be Spiderman’s mom, too.  He does work to rid the world of evil, after all….

Here’s some pics from our morning spent in the tub.  I got the bathroom really nice and steamy, sort of like a rainforest, to get Maddie’s congestion moving around a bit.  I had some almost empty soap bottles that I filled up with water and let them squirt around the tub, so they wanted to stay in there a long time.  FYI, the water is yellow because I put a couple of drops of yellow food coloring in the tub, not because it was peed in (although that may have happened, also).



Anyway, we are off to continue our day.  I need everyone to pray that I make it.  And of course, that Maddie feel better soon.:)

Sweet Devilish Charlie

22 Feb

Charlie, who has always been a little late with everything (he didn’t start walking until he was 18 months old), has decided to come into his terrible-two’s now.  As I type this blog entry, he is throwing balls out of his ball pit at his sister.  I feel like I have to constantly stay on top of him.  So far, I have found that taking away the play-doh and Legos are most effective, along with telling him that he can’t watch Caillou or Bob the Builder (Thank goodness he no longer likes The Wiggles-how annoying is that show?).  He also really hates being in time out, so I just have to mention it and he straightens up.  Of course, there is the occasional spanking.  I have decided not to overuse that form of punishment and save it for the most dire crimes that could result in death or injury.  Several mothers and gandmothers  told me that if I can just hang in there until he turns 4  he will be okay, and I am hanging onto that hope with every shred of my being!

While he has his bad moments, Charlie also has so many good, sweet moments.  A couple of weeks ago he wouldn’t share a toy with a friend who was visiting our house.  I told him that he needed to be nice and share his toys, that God wants us to be nice and kind to people.  He said, through his tears, “God is wrong.” I had trouble keeping a straight face as I told him that God is never wrong.

The day before yesterday he asked me where Heaven is.  I explained to him that Heaven is in the sky, so far away that we can’t see it, but that even though God is far away he still sees and hears everything that we say and do.  At the time we were sitting at the kitchen table and I had the laundry room door open, so the washer and dryer were loud.  Charlie said “God can’t hear us because of the dryer.”  The boy cracks me up. 

One thing I have discovered about children:  They can bring you to your highest of highs and your lowest of lows.

Here’s a picture of Charlie and Maddie on Maddie’s first birthday.  The question is this: Is he hugging her, or strangling her?

Exercise Mommy Style

5 Jan

I am usually a pretty avid exerciser.  I try to do something most days of the week.  After Charlie was born I became addicted to spin class, but I have found that it is difficult to find people to watch 2 children, especially considering that all of my extra caretakers have to take off of work if I need anyone to keep the kids for an hour or two.  I just hate to ask, and I can’t bring myself to take Charlie and Maddie to the childcare offered by the gym. 

This spring, summer, and fall we had a really great routine going with our friends at the park.  At least three mornings a week we would go walk a couple of miles and then play on the playground.  It was great to be outside and have adults to talk to for a little time in the mornings, and Charlie really enjoyed it.  This winter, however, I have found myself in an exercise conondrum. 

It is too cold to walk at the park, I can’t get to spin class, and my treadmill is broken!  So this morning, I decided to create my own exercise plan.  I put 10 minutes on the kitchen timer and went to it.  I jogged around the kitchen island for 1 minute, did lunges for 1 minute, did 50 jumping jacks, did 50 situps (with Maddie sitting on my stomach because she loves to crawl all over me when I am on the floor), did 120 leg lifts, then 50 butt crunches, then jogged around the house for the remaining 1 minute and 45 seconds.  The kids thought I was crazy, but towards the end Charlie was jogging around the house behind me! 

I am planning on doing another 10 minute spurt later today, maybe this time including the stairs.  I know it’s not much, but it’s definitely better than nothing, which is what I am doing currently.

Something fun I did with Charlie a couple of weeks ago: I tied a long piece of streamer to a rod that Charlie took off of my clothes drying rack.  He had a lot of fun swirling it through the air. And when he eventually tore it to shreds I didn’t freak out because it cost me nothing!


A Great New Use for Empty Baby Wipes Containers

27 Dec

Well, Christmas is over and we are dealing with the aftermath of the toys.  They are everywhere!  Right now Charlie and I are deciding what toys we are going to put away for awhile to bring out later and what toys are going to be given to Emma, my neice who will be born in March. I am coming up with lots of different organizational ideas for all of the toys.  Here’s one idea:

I had 2 children in diapers for about 7 months, so I have thrown out (well, we did recycle them) a gazillion baby wipes containers.  I just came up with a great idea for them. 

I have been trying to keep up with all of Charlie’s little matchbox cars.  It seems that they are everywhere, and there is nothing worse than stepping on one of them barefoot in the middle of the night.  I decided to put some of the enpty containers to use to hold small toys.  Use foam letter stickers to label the containers with whatever toy you need to gain control over, and there you go! I made one for cars, people, and animals.  I think I am going to also make one for trucks.  This would also be a great way to store art supplies.

One unexpected plus of this system is that Maddie (10 months) really loves taking the toys out and putting them back in the small slots at the top of the containers.  That is great fun for her.

Like A Kid Again

21 Dec

The great thing, I am learning, about celebrating Christmas with children is that the excitement and impatience that I once had as a child has returned, although in a slightly different way.  Remember when you were a small child and counting down the days to Christmas, and finally Christmas Eve would arrive and that night would go on FOREVER?  It would be so hard to go to sleep knowing that Santa could be downstairs at that very moment, putting out your presents.

As I have gotten older, I have lost those feelings.  Christmas has turned into a holiday of stress and spending.  Jason and I both have divorced parents, and my dad lives almost 2 hours away.  We dreaded the driving, the constant eating, and quite honestly were just exhausted when it was all over.

Now, with Charlie and Maddie here, things are looking up for us this Christmas.  Charlie will be 3 in May, so this Christmas he will really know what is going on.  We have cut out spending Christmas Eve in Mt. Airy with my family and will instead make the drive home that night so we can wake up at home.  I think I will be so excited to see Charlie’s face that I will wake him up  on Christmas morning!  I can’t wait.  Maddie is only 10 months old, so she won’t really know what is going on yet, but I am looking forward to dressing her up for church on Christmas day.

The best thing about having children is that they force us to quit being such adults, for at least a little while!