Summer Essentials!

Welp we have been in summer mode for a few weeks now since our schools let out so early. This has been my favorite year of being a mom by far. Before Emmy was in preschool (4 mornings a week), I really struggled to find my groove. I am so NOT a morning person, but it turns out that having to have all 3 kids dressedish and ready to walk Emmy into preschool every morning at 7:45 am was good for my lazy soul. I thrived having that consistency every day and hope that we can find our rhythm this summer as well!

Emmy & her cousins at their pre-k graduation 
Archie is at a sweet stage, he is scooting but he's not a major threat yet and the novelty of sitting up and spinning around hasn't worn off. It is different having an infant putting things in his mouth this time-- we have so many legos and doll shoes. I throw anything I find in the trash, these kids can't be trusted! Our pediatrician had a great suggestion, she said to show my older kids an empty toilet paper roll. Pointing out the hole, tell your toddlers that anything fitting inside that opening can cause their little brother to choke.

All this has led me to parent using extreme phrasing. Does anybody else do this?! I am constantly saying things like, "If you leave this on the floor, your brother will choke, and die!" "If you jump in your brother's crib, you will break his arm." "If you go into the woods, a tic might lodge itself onto your scalp and suck out all your blood!" "If you push your little brother, he could fall down and crack open his head!" "If you leave the sink on, all of our water will dry up and we will be thirsty forever!" Michal even joined in and told them that "If you leave the lights on, our house will burn down" so Emmy and Mack run around turning lights off all day long!

So I am either raising extremely fearful kids or dramatic ones, thus helping them to take after me!

We are starting out our summer right by making a bucket list. When prompted, they gave me a few suggestions:

1. "I want to lay outside one night and look at the stars!" -Emmy

2. "I don't want our bats to come back" -Mack (our garage served as a bat house last summer. Thankfully our very vicious stray cat seems to be scaring them away this year as we only have a few brave contenders this year. The kids have named them all "Chippy")

3. "I would like my kids to stop fighting over which color plate they use" -Mom

It's looking to be an exciting summer! I made my first trip to the pool with 3 youngins yesterday and it was a relative success. I remembered all the essentials: floaties, sunscreen, snacks, towels but I forgot to have them go to the bathroom the entire time we were there. Cue Mack pooping on the floor when we got home and Emmy peeing on the carpet while I was cleaning up his mess. Archie, never one to miss out on a moment of sibling comradory, peed on me right after I changed my clothes post-poop-fiasco. Awesome.

Kids will always remind you when you think you've got it together, that you don't! I recovered by putting them all down for a nap at 4:30 pm, making myself a hearty snack of chips and dip, and watching this week's The Bachelorette (so much Man Drama!)

When I was little, my mom was a stay-at-home mama as well and she dealt with us in the summers by sending us off to camp. I swear one summer I went to 9 different camps. She said she would sit with the yellow pages in front of her, and call all the local churches looking for Vacation Bible School camps. We had zero say in any of this, openly hating math and science, I found myself spending two weeks at "rocket science camp." Her all time greatest hit was sending me to Camp Superkids, aka an asthma camp where I really thrived under the watchful eye of nurses and air-conditioned cabins.

Like mother, like daughter, Emmy and Mack are doing 2 vacation Bible schools this summer, 2 weeks of swim lessons, a day camp at the YMCA, a week with Grandma, a week with my parents at their lake house, and the rest of the time we will be "enjoying" the pool and the zoo here in Omaha!

One of our 1st summer outings, the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago
These are a few of my favorite things for the summer, share yours if you have any!

1. These awesome kids shoes that they can take on and off themselves and I can hose down when needed.

2. This mosquito repellent was voted the longest lasting on the Today Show as well as WGN news in Chicago (beating other brands by 6 hours!). It is also all natural, I ordered a whole case! *and this is reading like a sponsored post, but none of these are. I don't have time to figure out how to make money on my blog.

3. I needed a secure fitting mom suit to hold all my business in place while chasing toddlers at the pool. I bought this one and this one after reading lots of reviews.

4. Self tanner! I am a sucker for this stuff. I tend to "splotchy burn" at the pool and twice a week I'll apply this using a tanner mit to even it out. This brand gives you a light brown (versus orange) color, has a light scent, and dries quickly so you can apply and get dressed right away. If you e-mail me, I'll send you the tanner with the mit as an added bonus for free! []

5. These shorts from J. Crew. I bought the light pink and bright red during their Memorial Day sale. They don't look like Mom shorts, and are fun to dress up with an embellished tee or a chambray button down if you're going out on the town, or with just a t-shirt for every day affairs. Perfect for my postpartum bod.

6. Star stickers. My only "goal" for the summer is to read all the kids books we have in our house. We have a legit library because my mom saved all of ours from when we were kids and gave them to me in massive boxes that Michal joyfully moved along with us from house to house. Each time we read a book, we book a sticker on it to keep track of the ones we've read.

7. My dad gave the kids a cd player along with a case of assorted cd's (they were all my mix cd's from high school/college-- an eclectic mix of Don Henley and the BackStreet Boys). I found these on Amazon and the kids have been loving them! They will spend hours listening to the stories and following along in their books.

8. Archie is making his beach debut this month so I read some reviews and bought this for the beach and the naps by the pool that I doubt will ever happen. Has anyone else used one of these that they loved?

9. My Winter diaper bag was massive, I bought this "mini-tote" in the black and white print-- I love it so much! It is an awesome transitional bag too so I don't feel super dorky when we go on a last minute date and I bring all my baby toys with me. I had been committed to the back-pack style but this one is small enough but still with a long enough shoulder strap it is light and easy to use.

10. Just have to share my favorite Trader Joes product. I have chicken marinating in this right now. It is wonderful for meat, veggies, or seafood. We grill a whole bunch of chicken marinated in this at the beginning of the week, and then I love to use it in salads or with quinoa for my lunches. It is a way healthier alternative to the nachos I was eating every day!

Our summer is also full of road trips. We have already been on two and one was a semi-disaster! I drove by myself with the kids to Chicago, it took us 8 hours, I die!

Archie did great on his first big car ride, it is so much easier having a thumb sucker. I don't have to pull over every time someone loses a binky and starts screaming their head off
Here is a picture that sums up our drive, Emmy's dress fell in the toilet at the gas station. I made her wear my hoddie and she cried because she didn't understand why she had to cover up. Why couldn't she just be naked? After I explained that her chest is part of her body we want to keep private, she protested, "But Mom, that's so dumb! I don't even have ta-ta's!"

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