Category: Blog

Potty Humor

We went on a trip to Chicago for a few days a while back and visited the American girl store on the first night. I made a reservation for me and the girls to have dinner there. Bryon, of course, wanted nothing to do with it. So, he found something to eat elsewhere. Every time he does something without us, I imagine he’s getting his hair blow dried some place and a massage. That’s just the vision that pops into my mind. Maybe because that’s secretly what I want to be doing. Lol.

So, we sit down to eat and I realize they offer unlimited refills of sweet tea. Not good. I spend the entire evening alternating going to the restroom with each girl. I don’t think I even ate.  I should’ve just told them to lay off the drinks but I don’t think I realized what was happening. Sometimes you’re just on auto pilot, right?  They must’ve been flagging down the waitress over and over again for refills while I was in the restroom. Every time I took one girl to the restroom, the other girls were chugging sweet tea, so by the time I came back to the table the next girl was dancing around. Of course, they don’t tell you they have to go because they don’t want to miss out on anything – they just start dancing around so you have to be able to read body language. My kids literally turn into ducks – they squat and stick their butts out and walk in short quick steps. It’s the darnedest thing to see.

Apparently, I scheduled the dinner too late in the evening because the American Girl store was going to close about 20 minutes after we finished dinner. The girls really wanted to shop but there wasn’t much time left. I asked everyone if they had to go to the restroom one last time and of course they said no because they wanted to shop before they closed. The second we get out of the American Girl store and they lock the doors on us, one of the girls (I won’t say which one for anonymity) says they have to go really bad and they are doing the duck walk so I know it’s bad. I’m like Ugh! The closest place was a fancy steak and seafood restaurant!

Well, I knew this was an emergency so we went in and I begged the restaurant host (Maitre d’?) if we could use the restroom it was an emergency and he saw that I had a girl duck on my hands so he said it’s around the corner. There was a long line of women dressed nicely but when they saw my duck they said we should go on ahead. We go on ahead and right when we get in the doorway of the restroom my daughter stops walking and says, “Uh Oh!” and I look down to see a big puddle forming at her feet – in the doorway of the restroom that has a long line into the hallway.

She tries to help me clean it up but we couldn’t manage to get any paper towels to come out of the really convenient automatic paper towel dispenser (I hate those things). She manages to tear off a tiny triangle of paper towel and soaks it in the pee then flings it into the trash can. While she flings it into the trash can, the pee flings all over the mirror while a lady is trying to do her makeup. I’m sure it splashed her too.  The lady cringes. I apologize and tell my daughter to please not help me. Then, I turn back to see my other daughter hovering over the puddle of pee as if she’s trying to see her reflection in it and she starts gagging and dry heaving and I tell her to leave the restroom before she adds to the mess.  I know I wasn’t saying all this in the most pleasing voice either.

Now, I’m looking like mother of the year in front of an audience and I can’t get any paper towels to come out of the super convenient, automated paper towel dispenser. I dance around in front of the paper towel dispenser frantically waving my hands and arms and finally get one paper towel to come out. I throw it on the floor over the pee and take off out of there because I’m absolutely mortified and not convinced I’ll be able to get any more paper towels to come out anyway. And, at this point, I was just looking like a circus side show act that everyone was literally just watching with their mouths hanging open.

On our way out of the restaurant, Bryon is on his way in and tells me that the third daughter now has to go to the restroom to which I reply – You. Take. Her. – in my exorcist voice.  So then I have to wait outside in front of the full length windows while people eat their expensive steak and shrimp and wait for my husband to come back out.  That wasn’t painful at all.  Just another day in the life with kids.  :-p

Locked Up At Home

In our house, we turned all the locks around on the kid’s doors so they couldn’t lock themselves in their room.  You see where this story is headed, right?  We should’ve just replaced the door knobs but whatever – details.  One day, I was reading to the kids in my youngest’s room at nap time.  My oldest was in First Grade.  My youngest was 18 months old ish and she decides to lock the door from the outside and close it locking us all inside her room.  Luckily, she was in the room with us!

I did not have my phone on me and  I needed to be able to get to the bus stop to pick up my oldest daughter.  I thought about climbing out the window but we were on the second floor.  I thought about opening the window and screaming as loud as possible but I might give someone a heart attack.  I thought about kicking down the door like Wonder Woman.  I thought about finding an axe like tool in the room and axing through the door like the guy in The Shining.  I’ve watched alot of scary movies in my lifetime especially because I had teenage babysitters (older siblings) when I was younger and they let me watch things like Nightmare on Elm Street when I was in elementary school.  :-p  That didn’t have any side effects – none whatsoever.  :-p  I thought about tying some sheets together and rappelling down like Rapunzel but with sheets.  I finally got my wits about me and noticed that there was a tablet on the girl’s bed.  Great!  So I emailed my husband at work explaining the situation.

Next thing I know, not even 5 minutes later, I see a hairy arm push the door open.  I’m like – oh great –  now I’m about to get murdered because there’s no way my husband could have gotten home that fast. The reason that thought was the very first thing that crossed my mind is because there were no side effects whatsoever to watching Nightmare On Elm Street when I was a kid.  :-p  Well, turns out, it was just my neighbor.  My husband had contacted my neighbor to rescue me.

This was one of those times where I had taken a rest from cleaning for a few days and so my neighbor must have had to levitate to get up the stairs b/c there were toys everywhere!  After he left, I did one of those forensic analysis of the house sessions where you walk around and survey all the crap the visitor must’ve seen.  I’m like – oh great – that’s where my kid just blew their nose and threw down the toilet paper on the floor instead of walking a few steps to the trash can.  Oh and they decided to use q-tips apparently – they’ve never done that before – oh, lots of q-tips.  There’s the area where the girls thought they would make a rainbow loom bracelet but three minutes in abandoned it but managed to still make the room look like a rubber ball exploded.  There’s someone’s dirty underpants.  Greeeeaaaat..  So glad my kid locked me in a room on this day.  You know that feeling?  With kids, you just don’t want any surprise visitors, amirite?

Although, I have a feeling that there are people out there who always have their house clean but I don’t want to know about them because then I would just feel bad.  That happens in a land far, far away that is not my reality.  Now that I look at the title of this post though, I realize that it could also apply to feeling shackled to your house at times.  You know as a parent when you just want to go to the gym with your spouse and how easy that is without kids and how hard that is with kids?  Every.  Single.  Time.  we take our kids to the gym day care, they get seriously ill.  It never fails.  And the last time, my husband caught it and actually had to take off work for a couple of days.  Our kids are just not at that age where we can just leave them at home by themselves for any length of time – maybe the older two but not the youngest.  So, I feel like one day we are going to just go buck wild and like grocery shop all day(just us) or something when we can just actually leave the house unattended, you know?  B/c it’s been so long that we’ve been cooped up that it’s hard to imagine.  One day in a land far, far away.  :-p

9 Times Relaxing as a Mom backfired

These are just times for me that I relaxed as a parent (the rules or otherwise) and it’s backfired.  I know many parents can relate.  With kids, vigilance is key, but who has time for all that?

1.) Jumping over cheerios instead of sweeping them up then feeling them exploding between your toes when you accidentally step on one.

2.) Not making dinner and then having 3 little baby birds all barking different orders at you late at night when you’re at your most exhausted.  If I had made dinner, it would’ve been simple – they all would’ve lost their appetite and played instead.

3.)Not staying on top of the cleaning and then next thing you know, your youngest locks you in the bedroom during story time and your neighbor has to literally carve a path through the toys just to rescue you.  I’m not kidding – this happened to me and it was super embarrassing.  I start to think – oh well nobody is coming over for a few days so maybe I’ll take rest on the cleaning and have some fun with the kids instead.  Then the house explodes and either someone pops on by unexpectedly or your kid locks you in a room.

4.) Instead of making yourself something to eat, you eat some of the kid’s cold, nasty leftovers and then realize that they spit up milk in it and you already ate some of it. Also, I usually wake up the next day with a sore throat whenever I eat after the kids.  I’ve learned to just not do it – it’s not worth it.  Let them eat first and then make yourself something nice and yummy and eat in peace after they nap or something.

5.)  Letting them make slime by themselves in the backyard thinking oh it’s just the backyard – what could be the worst that could happen?  Then, you step back out there a few minutes later and you have a flashback to the movie – Swamp Thing.  Let’s call the fire department because we are going to need a fire hose to get this stuff off.  I actually had to throw some clothes away that day.

6.) Not forcing them to go to the restroom before you go on a hike and then end up having to run through the whole hike because they have to go to the restroom and refuse to go out in the woods.  Or worse, not forcing them to go to the restroom periodically throughout the day and they end up peeing themselves in the doorway to the bathroom of a fancy Chicago restaurant that you didn’t even eat at but just begged them to come in because your daughter is waddling around like a duck about to pee herself on Michigan Ave.  Yes, this happened to us and I’ll have to write about it separately because there really is alot more to that story.

7.) Thinking you can casually go into a Taffy store for fun on vacation and not have any rules beforehand.  I think we spent an hour and a half one time.  The kids each filled a bucket with different types of taffy, like a hundred pieces each in 3 minutes, and then we spent the next hour and a half making them each put the taffy back in the proper buckets by flavor and started making up rules on the fly. That went well.

8.) Letting your child pick out their own clothes because you are tired and forgetting to check out what they are wearing on the way out the door.  Next thing you know, they are getting on the bus looking like a street walker!  Woops!

9.) The time I forgot to remind my daughter to share before going to a birthday party and she scooped all the sidewalk chalk into a pile, sat on it, and hissed, “Mine!” at the rest of the kids.  That was a fun time.  We left shortly after.  Isn’t the terrible 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, …’s fun?

I’ve found as a parent that it tends to work out better if you put in your time first and then you relax in peace.  If you spend 15 minutes playing a game or doing a craft with them, taking them to a super crowded pumpkin patch, or making up rules before doing something fun, it buys you 45 minutes (maybe more) of peace and possibly saves you alot of embarrassing moments.  :-p  Although what’s life without embarrassing moments, right?  Those make the best stories.  🙂  And I am certain to have many more because as they are getting older, I am getting more relaxed.  😛

Mommy Independence Day

I think every Mom should celebrate Mommy Independence Day.  This should be a day on the calendar every year in which the Mom gets to celebrate all the things she no longer has to do for her kids.  I mean they do have National Peanut Butter Lover’s day and National Cheese Doodle day so why not?  The end of wiping bottoms would top this list of celebrations.  I know every time my kids have reached a milestone, I celebrated with a great big Hallelujah!  Here’s some of the milestones we can celebrate with glee:

1.) When the kids can put on their own shoes.  Especially when they can tie them themselves.  Of course, it won’t be perfect (laces will frequently be untied), but we no longer have to do it – we can bark at them to do it – woohoo!

2.) Put on their own clothes.  Especially when they can pick them out themselves and not look like street walkers (but I guess this might adjust again when they become teenagers where it seems the goal is to look like a street walker at times).  Not my kids, I’ll have to start picking out their clothes again if it comes to that.  My husband doesn’t even like them to wear the leggings that are so popular these days.  My daughter was horrified the time she tried to wear leggings with a “not long enough” sweater and my husband told her to put on some “real pants”.  :-p

3.) Going on the potty.  The downside to this is that you will spend way more time than you want to in public restrooms which is disgusting.  Every time you run an errand, you hear the dreaded, “Mommy, I have to use the potty!”.  Or, “Mommy, I need a drink of water!” which you refuse because you know it will lead to having to go to the potty.  In fact, I just stopped drinking water altogether when I became a Mom because I didn’t want to have to take the kids to the public restroom – Moms don’t have time to use the restroom.  :-/  And I am still traumatized by the time I took my kids to the restroom only to have my 2 year old dig in the little maxi pad trash can.  “Look mommy!”  I’ll never forget that – I’m sure we all have our own horror stories about public restrooms, right?  :-p

4.) Feeding themselves.  And then, comes the even better milestone of them actually liking food!  Hallelujah!  My oldest started liking food at about age 8.  My middle child is starting also to like food and she’s 8 so maybe 8 is the magic number?  There’s hope everyone!  Of course, they still have their quirks with food but overall they are so hungry they will eat most things – woohoo!

5.) Being able to make their own sandwich.  And then, comes the even better milestone of them being able to make their own sandwich without creating a beach (sandy beach made of bread crumbs) in the kitchen.

6.) Reading.  And then comes the enjoying reading milestone.  This one is amazing!  Now, they can entertain themselves!  But, if you have multiple kids, they always seem to act at the lowest common denominator so I assume that you won’t get the full benefits of this until the youngest one really gets into reading.  Our youngest wants her siblings to play all the time with her and they can’t catch a break, so they only get to read at bedtime and when the youngest is occupied.  :-/

7.) Being able to reach the sink to wash their hands.  This was a big one for me because I have had back problems and nothing seems to aggravate the back more than picking up wiggly kids who can’t seem to wash the soap off just right, etc.  “Mommy, my hands are still sticky from soap – I need to rinse them more!”.  I used to improvise and get down on one knee and let them use my other knee as a step stool.  Also not good for the knees though. :-p

Of course, we will always be mothers and we love being moms, but it’s ok to celebrate when our role changes, right?  I can’t help but celebrate.  Our role is constantly changing, but we can always take comfort in the fact that we are still Mom and our kids will always need us in one way or another.  I prefer they need us conversationally as opposed to, “Mommy, you need to wipe my butt!”.  😀

Life is like a box of board games

I’m channeling Forrest Gump in that post title. So, you have to imagine me saying it in that accent while sitting on a park bench holding a board game. If you’ve met me, this is not hard to imagine. :-p

I like to look at life with comedy because if you don’t laugh you’ll cry, right?  I prefer to laugh so hard I cry – sometimes in an insane-looks like I should be in a straight jacket sort of way – but whatever I take what I can get.  :-p

These are the board games I’ve identified so far in my life:

Trivial Pursuit: When you learn a new fun fact and then you decide to quiz your spouse or friend about it so you can tease them when they don’t know the answer (even though you just learned it yourself :-p). But I’m not that mean – I usually do admit to just learning it.

Chess: When dealing with family (sometimes-amirite? Other times, it’s just easy). BTW, I suck at Chess. :-p

Clue: When trying to figure out which kid did it. Interrogate each kid to make your determination. It’ll be hard because each one will point to someone else. You have to be good at reading between the lines or good at threats.  Was it Colette with the permanent marker in the kitchen? Ding Ding Ding – I win!

Operation: When playing the family nurse.  Feels like this especially when trying to remove splinters and you have to use a needle to get it out.  Except instead of a buzzer going off, you have a kid screaming in your ear.  Bryon’s the nurse in our house – the kids don’t trust me – but I just think that’s because I don’t tend to emit a calm vibe most times..  That’s a nice way of saying I tend to freak out when someone gets hurt.

Charades or catch phrase: When you forget a word for something in conversation. Happens more frequently as we age, eh?  But charades is fun..

Jenga: when filling up the recyclables trash can over the top and try not to be the one who puts the piece of trash in there that knocks the whole thing over. Then, you’re the big loser and get to take out the trash..

Hungry Hungry Hippo: Anytime Mom or Dad is eating something yummy and the kids are around..

Scattergories: When you have to spell something out quickly while on the phone..  My reservation number?  Sure!  It’s R  like raucous.  S like sleep deprived.  V like vino.  1-4-5-6.  Looking forward to staying at your hotel.  Thank you!

Monopoly:  That ones self explanatory except the bank wins everytime in real life.  :-p

This begs the question – does real life mimic the board games or do board games mimic real life? Deep thoughts.

9 Things That Will Turn Your Child from a Gizmo Into a Gremlin

Whoever created the movie, Gremlins, must’ve been a parent. It’s the perfect analogy for children. Ever look at your child one minute and they are sweet and cute (Gizmo), then the next they are foaming at the mouth and having the biggest tantrum ever (Gremlin)?  I call this the Gizmo to Gremlin transition.  It happens in the blink of an eye.  I’m compiling a list of the things that cause it so I and others can be more aware..

9 Things that will turn your gizmo into a gremlin:

1.) Go on a playdate without a snack/drink or go anywhere without a snack/drink. They will claim to be dying of thirst the second they realize you have nothing for them to drink. You will end up buying a $3 water somewhere.  If you are on a playdate at a friend’s house, they will eat everything in your friend’s kitchen or complain the entire time about being hungry.  You may end up clamping a hand down over their mouth and making a bad impression with said friend.  :-p

2.) Let all the siblings sleep together and they stay up past midnight.  In the Gremlins movie, you aren’t supposed to feed them after midnight, but in real life – it’s don’t let the kids stay up past midnight – you’ll regret it.

3.) Wake them up from a nap. The phrase never wake a sleeping baby applies to everyone: never wake a sleeping baby, never wake a sleeping toddler, never wake a sleeping preschooler, never wake a sleeping husband.

4.) The witching hour: anytime between 4pm and 6pm.

5.) Serve them anything homemade.  I no longer answer my kids when they ask me what’s for dinner.  I tell them that’s a loaded question!  Or I’ll tell them it’s something frozen that I warmed up b/c they trust that stuff more than they trust my cooking skills..

6.) Tell them you are going to Home Depot.  They hate Home Depot, mostly because they will usually end up getting barked at by some old, grouchy person that thinks kids shouldn’t exist in this world.  But some are nice and give them lollipops so it just depends.

7.) Tell them it’s time to clean.  Although, now that they are older, I find that I tell them all to clean just to get them to play quietly together.  Somehow telling them to clean, causes them to play nicely.  Not exactly the desired response, but close.  Sometimes, as a parent, you have to improvise and be flexible to get what you want.  :-p

8.) Tell them no at the store.  I like to say, we’ll add that to the Christmas list.  If they push further, I pretend to add it to a list on my phone.. This applies more when they are little – now, for my older children I say no incessantly at the store – it’s like I’m making up for all the times I couldn’t say it when they were little.

9.) Tell them to share.  This evicts the worst response.  It’s like you are asking them to set their toy on fire or something.  Telling them to take turns isn’t much better – they will watch the clock like a hawk and nag you incessantly to see if it’s time yet.

Anyone else have any other things?  My kids are 4,  7, & 9 so the list might’ve been different when they were younger.. No, wait, it was definitely different and more exhaustive when they were younger. I used to say – it’s so hard being little – all the time because it seemed like EVERYTHING upset them.  Seriously, you could say, “We are going to the park!” and they’d get upset.

And gremlin kid after they’ve eaten all the snacks out of your friend’s pantry:

And now I’m going to flip the script down here and write about times when Mom turns from Gizmo to Gremlin:

Here’s Mom “happily” at the computer paying bills:

These are the things that turn Mom into a gremlin:

1.) Talking to me after bedtime.

2.) Scream mommy from another room over and over again and expecting me to come running like I’m some kind of butler.

3.) Leaving the house without shoes on or with only dress up shoes on and not finding out until we are at the destination.

4.) Incessant fighting.

5.) The sound of the bead bucket hitting the floor.

6.) Bouncing around so much upstairs that it sounds like a sumo wrestling match is going on.

7.) Having to repeat myself for the 5th or 6th time.

And gremlin Mom (angrily stuffing face with cookies while offering the kids none):


DIY is Fun (in a laugh at yourself sort of way)

I’m getting tired of watching diy videos with smiling, happy people in them. I need a more honest depiction complete with f-bombs and threatening to jump off a bridge,etc.. That would make me feel better.. I guess me and Bryon could start our own line of “lessons learned”, “don’t try this at home”, “hire it out”, or “just buy it at the store and here’s why” videos with an office space style tantrum at the end…

It would go something like this: you just put this right here like so.. Oh wait, that doesn’t work- I’m going to have to redo the whole thing. Hold on a sec while I get the baseball bat..

Or this: We should leave a half inch gap at the top of the cabinets so they can open and close them. Ya, definitely. Or should we because we will be shrinking the counter space? Ya, definitely not. Or maybe we should because they’ll want to be able to open the cabinets. Ya, definitely. But, then again, the counter space. Will they be able to chop stuff? Ya, definitely not. This conversation continues into the next day.

Or this: Let’s just feel in this duct opening to see how thick the flooring is. Ow – what the!!! Blood gushing everywhere.. Only band-aid we can find is a Frozen themed band-aid.

Or this: Bryon patiently teaching me how to install flooring. Video pans to my face which is bug-eyed because I’m scared I’ll chop off my finger in the table saw. Hence, video is not shareable. :-p

Or this: Filming how to install a door when one of the girls walks in and says, “Mommy, we finished all the Pringles – what else can we have to eat?”. “Just open another can of Pringles.” Bad parenting moment captured – delete recording.

Seriously, we’ve tried to do a few videos and it always seems to end with, “Are you recording? Turn off the camera.”. Mysterious hand comes up to cover the camera lens. :-p Much respect to those people who can make videos with a smile.

Well, I guess we can say it’s a good thing we don’t make DIY videos or no one would be wanting to DIY. :-p Don’t worry, we hire out all the plumbing and electrical – we don’t try to do that ourselves. :-p But flooring, new doors, kitchen cabinets, painting, patching holes, upgrading closets, deep cleaning – that’s all fair game. Maybe one day we’ll get it together and be smiling, happy, diy video people.:-p #MarriageGoals

P.S. The same goes for exercise videos.. If they could just be more honest maybe I could finish the video.. Just throw me a few- “wow- my legs feel like they are about to fall off – but let’s keep going”.. Or “I really feel like having a donut right now but let’s focus”.. Anything so that I know they aren’t oversmiling autobots hellbent on exercising til we drop- that’s intimidating.. :-p And when I start to feel like they are trying to kill me-I have to push the stop button- it’s just self preservation on my end..

But whatever the case, we are having fun learning new things.  And we feel so grateful to be able to work together and do the things we do.  We learn more about each other and life everyday.  It’s an adventure and we love a good adventure.  With the downs, come some really great ups that we wouldn’t have gotten if we didn’t try out new things and experiences.  Isn’t that the great thing about life?  Say yes to the adventures!

8 things I might’ve said to my kids this summer

8 Things I Might’ve Said to My Kids This Summer:

1.) If you don’t want to eat what I make, then you can go outside and forage for crickets – maybe make yourself a cricket taco or something. Or you can take your sling shot and kill yourself a rabbit for dinner.. Lots of rabbits in the backyard..

2.) Singing, “Do you want to be evil like me? Do you want to be cruel?”.

3.) We are leaving in 5 minutes, naked or not!

4.) The house was just clean 2 days ago! What happened?!?!

5.) Stop doing that! You are going to end up on that show, “Top 10 dumbest ways to die”!

6.) Why does the car smell like a dead animal? Forget it – I don’t want to know. Only to find that my kids were shoving actual food in the cubbies! And I had gnats circling my head while driving for weeks before I gave in and investigated.

7.) Shut the door – on repeat – until my voice got hoarse. Only to find out to my astonishment that they actually know how to shut doors – in Minecraft! I guess it’s easier to remember to shut the door when a monster is chasing you. Note to self: buy a monster mask. :-p

8.) This one is more of a thought: waking up in the middle of the night thinking oh dear Lord please tell me they shut off the water!

Ya, I do have some redeeming qualities, I hope. Luckily, my kids have a good sense of humor.. Anyone else have a favorite thing they said?



Northern California With Kids

We took a two week vacation to northern California with the kids this summer! I know some of you may be getting jealous, but let me put your mind at ease. :-p If I had to give it a name it would be the Great California Restroom Adventure Tour. :-p We visited many of the restrooms on the Pacific coast. In the process, we did see some sea lions, sea otters, nice views, etc while running towards the restroom, of course. And we did get to meet many of the locals while running up to them and frantically asking if they know where the nearest restroom is then sprinting off.. :-p And got to know a few more intimately while they watched my little one pee herself while waiting in line for the restroom. Turns out there’s not a lot of potties in nature. Oh, but it was still fun (in a sleep-deprived/slap happy sort of way – you take what you can get as a parent) – luckily, we usually had a change of clothes or a swim suit – Bryon packed the whole house on his back and then hiked with it too – what a man. :-p

For the first part of the vacation – the first week – we visited family in Sacramento. We stayed at my sister’s house. She has two daughters that are around my daughter’s age and a swimming pool so they had an amazing time together! My mom came up and also my brother lives there so we were able to visit with everybody. And we all really enjoyed each other’s company so it was great. They threw my girls a surprise birthday party b/c they aren’t able to be there for their birthdays which the girls loved. This part of the trip was nice and relaxing. Then, we ventured out on our own for a tour of northern California. They say that the difference between an adventure and an ordeal is attitude, right? Well, let’s just say when we were all in the right frame of mind, it was an adventure and when anyone’s attitude was off, it was an ordeal. Well, with 5 people in the family, someone’s attitude was usually off. :-p I joke but it was fun and it’s fun to joke.

The first spot we hit was Yosemite National Park. It was only a few hours from Sacramento. We did the Yosemite Valley Floor Tour. We thought this would be a great way to see all the main sites because we only had a day to spend there – 5 hours to be exact before we headed out to our next destination. It was nice and relaxing- I highly recommend this. We felt like we got to see the main attractions of Yosemite. It was an open air tram so you kind of felt like you were in it. Case in point, I even got hit by a VERY large bug in the head while riding. Of course, I did a crazy dance in my seat and tried not to jump and roll out of the tram. Looked around for it – it seemed to be gone. Then, a few minutes later, I look down at my daughter Cara and the giant bug is on her neck wiggling it’s ginormous antennae. My eyes got huge but I tried not to clue her in to what was going on. I took my jacket sleeve and swatted that thing on to the floor of the tram and then I smooshed it. I know bug enthusiasts everywhere are probably going to jump down my throat about that but as long as it’s not the bug jumping down my throat I’m good.

With kids, this tour was great b/c our kids aren’t that athletic and so hiking usually doesn’t end well – Bryon ends up hiking with the kids on his shoulders. :-/ Which is kind of a shame because we do love to hike and love nature, but oh well, you learn to improvise with kids, right? We do alot of trails that allow strollers, etc b/c even my 7 and 9 year old take turns in the stroller. :-p Yes, I know, we have bred a new form of lazy. j/k Maybe it will be better as they get older.  

Now, we did happen to get the worst seat on the tram because we barely made it there in time – do not sit in the seat where your back is up against someone else’s back – it was awkward and my hair bun kept rubbing against people’s backs – I had to sit hunched over.  The reason we were running late even though we gave ourselves an hour to get to this place was because of the parking – there is no parking – you will have to wait forever for someone to leave their spot or park really far away and hike there.  It’s bad – so that’s the one downfall – give yourself plenty of time to get to the lodge.  I don’t like this picture of me but I want you guys to see the tram so I have to sacrifice.  :-p

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After that, we ate dinner at the Yosemite Valley lodge and headed out for our next destination – San Luis Obispo – this was as far South as we were going to go in California. I’m glad we left while the sun was still out b/c the roads were kind of windy. We arrived at our hotel in San Luis Obispo kind of late. When we got to our room, we found that the bed was not made and there was beer in the trash can and towels on the floor in the bathroom – almost as if someone had just left so we could have the room. It was weird and a little disconcerting. The hotel manager gave us a key to another room, but the other room didn’t have a bathroom and I was not willing to stay in a room with no bathroom – hello! the name I gave this vacation was the The California Restroom Adventure Tour! – I was not about to have an overnight restroom adventure too. So, we just took the clean bedding from the second room and remade the beds in our first room. We were on a budget so the hotel was not the most sought after. You get what you pay for, I guess. The hotel was Morro Shores Inn & Suites. At the same time, this hotel was not as bad as it could have been so I’m still thankful. Otherwise, it was pretty updated and relatively clean (like the carpet didn’t turn your feet black, etc). And it had working A/C which is apparently not always guaranteed at the less expensive hotels. Although it took us a bit of sweating it out to realize that the thermostat was working backwards..

We got to sleep VERY late because we all slept in the same room (2 queen beds). The girls slept in one bed and me and Bryon in the other. They had a hard time getting to sleep, of course, which is usually the case when they sleep together. So, lots of coffee was in order in the morning. We headed out to Montana de Oro State Park and boy was it beautiful! I highly recommend going there. Here’s some pictures:


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We took the Bluff Trail because it was stroller friendly and we definitely used that stroller for all three kids! They were fighting over it. Eventually, we had one in the stroller and one on Bryon’s shoulders and the other one had to suck it up which of course “wasn’t fair”. I was kind of wishing we had at least a double stroller. I had been reading from my phone to Bryon on the way to this park and one of the sites mentioned to beware of rattle snakes. Well, when we were walking the trail, a huge lizard crossed our path and Bryon screamed like a muppet. It seriously sounded like a muppet screaming. We laughed so hard! I had never heard him scream before – now I know why – he keeps that under wraps. I guess telling snake stories on the way to the trail is a good way to freak people out. :-p

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The views were so beautiful! We saw lots of birds and you can go down and explore the tide pools in places. We didn’t see much in the tide pools, but it was cool, nonetheless. I like to explore to see if I can see some sea life. Colette didn’t like that part because she was scared I was going to get swept away by the waves! So, she screamed mercilessly when I was near the water. I might have told them once or twice to be careful near the water because of the waves and might have freaked them out a bit. Learned my lesson there. We ended up on a beach where the girls played in the sand. We ate our Subway sandwiches that we had brought along. It was a nice day. We also saw alot of squirrels or chipmunks along the way.


After that, we began our drive up the coastline to Monterrey. We began that drive around 4pm which was perfect because we got to see the sunset and the roads are really windy so we had enough light to not drive that in the dark which is good. I realized that I couldn’t live anywhere along that drive because it’s too hilly. I like to be able to see for long distances (being from TX). We arrived in Salinas about 8 or 9pm. We passed by Big Sur – the views were incredible.  This was the only time on the trip that we got to see the sunset.  We kept chasing it everyday but it never panned out.  This was beautiful though – it happened so fast – the sun just disappeared into the ocean.


We were pretty excited about our hotel in Salinas, CA. We decided to stay in Salinas because it was significantly less expensive and we were able to score a 1 bedroom hotel room! Woohoo! We had a bedroom with a door on it and the girls slept in the living room on a sofa bed. Privacy, at last! This is the way to go people. I will try to find this from here on out on our vacations. It was Residence Inn by Marriott Salinas Monterrey and I LOVED this hotel. It had a full breakfast buffet included in the price which had EGGS! – I love it when they have Eggs. It had eggs, fried potatoes, salsa, sour cream, waffles, pancakes, sausage, the works! I love breakfast buffets..

After stuffing our faces, we headed to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. This was my second favorite place we visited on the trip. I highly recommend going here. The views the most beautiful and the hike is kind of cool – along the rocky coastline. You also get to see sea lions and otters! Bring your binoculars, but they also have a guy with a telescope that you can zoom in on the animals and animal-watch. There are also tide pools along the trails to explore with crabs and other creatures in there. So fun! My daughter did scream at the top of her lungs again (b/c I was too close to the waves) but I was getting used to it.

Here’s some pictures:

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Next, we headed over to Carmel beach which was beautiful – the white sand was gorgeous. And the bathrooms here were the best! :-p The girls made a sand castle – I called it the meatball castle because that’s what it looked like. The water is, of course, cold but they enjoyed just getting in up to their knees and watching the water pull away from them – they said it felt like they were moving. If you want to get in any further, you have to have a wet suit – too cold. We didn’t get wet suits, etc because our kids don’t really know how to swim that well and it would make me nervous anyway. They were happy just to play in it like that and build their sand castle.  We also saw some dolphins playing which was neat.

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Then, we headed out and did the 17 mile drive which was gorgeous. But I was kind of done by that point. It was alot in one day. And we were ready to eat. We headed to Cannery Row and tried to find food there, but we just walked around and headed back to the hotel – figured we’d save some money and get fast food to eat at the hotel. Everything is just so expensive when you try to eat out with kids. We ended up getting Hardee’s to go. The kids like the huge nachos and we got our burgers that were significantly less expensive than those at the burger joint on Cannery Row. But significantly more expensive than burgers in St Louis – $10 for the combo vs $7 in St Louis. The girls did spend a ton of time at the candy store picking out candy that we missed the hotel pool, but oh well, they had fun deciding on candy.

Next up, our Sea Otter adventure. This was my favorite activity of the trip. We went to Kayak Connection at Elkhorn Slough and did their Family Adventure Tour which was a two-hour kayak tour. I rode in the triple kayak with Colette and Cara and Bryon rode in the double kayak with Sydney. Turns out the triple kayak is a little harder to maneuver because it’s longer but I did ok with it – definitely got my exercise in for the day. They had to wait on me a little bit because we were paddling in circles at times. :-p

Our tour guide was great! We were the only ones on this tour so we got a one on one experience. We first paddled out next to the sea lions which were on the beach right next to us. Then, we headed out into the slough and there were sea otters everywhere – they would just pop up next to us while we were paddling. We even got to witness one eating a shellfish up close – cracking it open and sucking it out. So cool! I will never forget that experience and I hope the girls won’t either. It’s especially unique because the sea otters are endangered and they have just started to flourish in this area so we were witnessing an incredible thing and teaching the girls about endangered animals and the importance of protecting them. So awesome! I highly recommend this. We also got to see and touch a sea hare (it inked itself with purple ink and the girls thought that was so neat) that our tour guide found hidden in the sea lettuce as well as touch the sea lettuce. The girls loved this hands-on type of experience.

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After this, we headed up to Santa Cruz which we were planning to hang out there but it was so crowded and we couldn’t find parking so we just moved along to San Francisco, which I’m glad we did because we were able to make it to our hotel before dark which was good. We had to get to the airport to drop off our car and then catch a cab to our hotel. It would not have been fun to do all that while being tired because it was a lot of work to clean out the car and we had so much stuff to lug around too. It was perfect timing. We got to our hotel (Kimpton Buchanan) around 6pm – a little bit after the happy hour social, but they gave us coupons for 2 free wines each at the restaurant. Then, we explored a little bit the area we were staying in – Japan Town.
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I loved staying in Japan Town. It was so neat and they happened to have a Japanese Festival going on that same weekend we were there. There was also a Pride Festival going on in the rest of the city which we weren’t interested in attending with the kids so we attended this Japanese Festival and it was sooo cool! We also ate some Japanese food at a noodle place and the kids really liked it. We went to Golden Gate Park and let the kids play on the playground there.

Then, we headed to Baker Beach and wished we had brought a bottle of wine! We ate our peanut butter and honey sandwiches (trying to stick to the budget which was hard – I don’t really like peanut butter sandwiches) and lots of chips (because this was the splurge item). The kids enjoyed playing in the surf (up to their knees) and we enjoyed the view of the Golden Gate Bridge wishing we had wine. :-p We took the bus everywhere because we didn’t have a car. It was fine. Better than driving but it was a lot of walking for the kids. They held up though – jumping in and out of that stroller. We did see two naked old men walking around the city while waiting for the bus, but luckily the girls didn’t see them and I only caught the back side not the front. Whew! :-p
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We did have a unique bus experience with one guy saying rather loudly, “The angels are on my side! Are they on yours? I don’t think so!”. He kept saying this over and over and over. Then, I heard a boom and thought (or hoped) he fell down when the bus stopped. I was thinking – the angels might not be on your side right now.  I actually don’t think he fell, but it was still funny to think about that possibly happening. Then, when he got off the bus, everyone breathed a sigh of relief and looked gratefully at each other but then he pops his head back on the bus and says, “I heard that! The angels are on my side! Are they on yours? I don’t think so!”. Geez, guy, just get off the bus and quit trying to tell us that the angels aren’t on our side. How’s that for a Have a good day! :-p It would’ve been kind of comical to watch him walk into a street sign or something, but that didn’t happen..  Sorry, but he was annoying.

Next day, we explored the main tourist places of San Francisco in the city. We took the bus down to the Ferry building. We were planning to eat lunch there but by the time we arrived it was sooo crowded with the lunch crowd that we ended up just eating our dessert on a bench (blueberry cake – cake by the ocean, baby). See a theme here?  If any place was too crowded, we made a beeline for a different place – we aren’t big fans of crowds.  :-p  Then, we took a water taxi to the Fisherman’s Wharf because the walk would have been too long for the kids and we just happened to run into a lady selling water taxi rides.

We had lunch at a seafood place on the wharf and then headed to Coit Tower which we decided not to go inside because the kids would’ve never made it up all those stairs. Then, we headed to China Town and explored a little there and had some Chinese food. The kids get a kick out of it now b/c there is a China Town in minecraft and there all like – we’ve been there!  :-p  And back to the hotel in Japan Town for dessert. We really liked this place across from the hotel called Moyo’s for frozen yogurt – we went there a couple of the nights.  It was in a little mall place that had a bunch of stuff (KinoKuniya Mall).

The hotel was in a great location. We had no problem finding food and snacks – the hotel was called the Kimpton Buchanan Hotel in San Francisco, CA and I highly recommend it. It’s a good price for the city, great location, recently renovated so everything is very clean and nice. They don’t offer breakfast which was the only downside, but we were able to go to the nearby market and get things for breakfast so it was no problem. Love that place!

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View From Coit Tower


China Town Entrance
Back in Japan Town for dessert

We called my littlest daughter Elf on this trip because she actually almost did the splits while getting on an escalator, she really wanted to push all the buttons when we got on the elevator and she thought a wild animal really looked like it needed a hug (though we told her not to).

By this time, we were so ready to get home – at least, I was. Maybe I’m a bit of a homebody I’m realizing. It’s a lot of work taking the kids on vacation and it can get stressful at times with the lack of sleep and the stress of keeping track of everyone and bleeding money but it’s so worth it! I don’t think we’ll be taking that long of a vacation again – one week might be our max but I’m so glad that the kids got to spend time with their cousins and make those memories/have that bonding time because they were at the perfect age for it and that’s something they’ll never forget and that’s the reason for so long of a trip. Next time, though it will have to be a one week max.. I highly recommend seeing Northern California with kids and this was a great, safe, itinerary for anyone looking to go there as a family. Have fun!

About This Site

Hi, I’m Denise!  I just realized that I never wrote an About post for this website.  I started this website when me and my husband began an adventure in real estate.  We bought a 4-unit property that was built in 1969 and is a bit of a fixer upper.  Hence, the realty in the website name.  And housewife b/c I am a stay-at-home Mom to my three daughters.

We were looking for something that I could do from home that was flexible and provided us with a little extra income and so we became landlords.  Plus, my husband is handy and that helps significantly, so he’s basically taken on a second job.  We’ve had many experiences through this adventure and I thought we’d blog about it here and if anything helps or encourages or entertains anyone else through this then great!  We also rent out our old house that we used to live in – that comes with different adventures also posted here.

My hope for this site is that you’ll be able to find recipes (easy, mostly), tips on property management (landlording), cleaning tips (b/c I have to), home decor ideas, renovating ideas, and mommying shenanigans (the most fun and challenging part but also most rewarding).  But through all of it, I hope to convey humor and make someone laugh b/c if we don’t laugh we cry, right?

The name of the website also came from a play on the Real Housewives shows.  I do love those shows and I watch every season and every city.  I know some people are going to look down on me for that and I understand.  My husband feels the same way.  He can’t even stand for them to be on if he is in the room so it’s a secret pleasure of mine.  As I’ve told him, I only watch them as a way to know what not to do.  I really do learn a lot from the shows.

There’s usually a voice of reason on the show and there’s some give and take so it’s not all bad.  It’s not like watching Jerry Springer or anything – which I don’t watch.  I used to watch the Real World but I gave that up several years ago b/c I felt like there was no voice of reason on that show – just bad behavior and I felt dirty after watching it.  I think the Real Housewives casts pretty well to have a variety of people – there’s usually a voice of reason, a pot stirrer, a big spender, and someone on the verge of divorce every season.  I don’t even know why they call them housewives b/c most are not married but whatever – details..

I’m not sure how my About Me post became all about Real Housewives.  I am not one of them nor do I look up to them – no way no how.  I just love analyzing the psychology of relationships and I’m always watching reality shows that involve groups of people and group dynamics b/c I find it interesting.  I also love Big Brother, Survivor, Bachelor, and Bachelorette.  When groups of people that are different are forced to be together, conflict arises and I like to see how it’s dealt with and analyze it.  Could they have said this or that to make it better?  Etc. Or I take mental notes: Never bring sprinkle cookies to a dinner party (those who have seen The Real Housewives of New Jersey will get that).  I really should’ve gone into the psychology field but I didn’t b/c career paths there were less clear.  But I can practice it secretly.  :-p

For myself though, I absolutely abhor conflict and avoid it at all costs – it gives me anxiety.  Maybe that’s why I watch the shows – I’m in shock that people actually willingly put themselves through that.  I couldn’t do it.  This post is indicative of how my website is – lots of tangents, analogies and analyzing things b/c that’s me and I have to be me. I might veer off topic every once in a while, but I’ll try to make it interesting..

Here’s my NOT AN EXPERT clause: I am not an expert – just a person that does a lot of diy stuff so don’t sue me (literally) if it doesn’t go well for you – not my fault.  :-p  When things don’t go well for me, I only blame myself – I don’t understand today’s philosophies of people being sue-happy and that’s another tangent for a different day, but I don’t hang around people like that so hopefully that’s not you and we can be friends.  :-p Unless, of course, a box falls on your head at Wal-Mart or something.. That might be a little different. I suppose there are appropriate times for people to sue, but you know what I’m talking about. People should use it sparingly and judiciously. Besides, I have no money so sueing would be pointless – as I mentioned earlier, I’m a stay-at-home Mom. :-p I just feel the need to put a disclaimer in here somewhere: not an expert. :-p

Which brings me to the next point. The bible warns against quick money: Proverbs 13:11: Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.  Remember: Hard work pays off.  It may not always pay off financially but it may just feed your soul and that’s the best kind of pay.

On that note, last but not least, me and my husband are Christians and we do our best to follow the principles set forth in the Bible.  We fall short constantly but that is the human condition.  We do our best not to judge others b/c we ourselves aren’t perfect.  The only perfect person was Jesus.  Jesus was all about love and compassion so if you don’t have love and compassion then you are doing it wrong – ok, so maybe I am being a bit judgmental on that point.  We enjoy good people and especially people that point us toward God and we’d like to give all the glory to Him in everything we do that’s good.  Everything bad – not God’s fault – the fault of our human condition.