Life's Recipes

complete the sentence... July 28 2015

You know you're a mom when:

- you stopped closing the bathroom door years ago
- you carry candy or treats in your bag at all times for bribery
- your iPhone or iPad is your best babysitter
- you lick your finger and clean your kids face like its nothing
- you say peepee and caca even when there are no children around
- you sing in the shower the theme song to doc mcstuffins
- you mean business if you get to the number "Three" (time-out)
- you eat most meals standing up
- in order to avoid temper tantrums, you lie and say a toy is broken rather than saying no you can't play with it
-you could shower and dress in under 5 minutes
- you know what pee tastes like (mom of boys!)
- you have wipies and/or antibacterial in your purse

This list could go on and on...what would you add to this list?!

-Melina Harvey Read (mama of two)

endless barrage of annoying questions July 21 2015

The annoying questions that other people ask you throughout your adult life are, well... annoying. Once you reach, say, the age of 23 or so (or younger if you don't attend college) people start with the annoying questions about your life plans. The questions usually run in stages; according to the different stages of your life. We have all heard them, and I think women get them a lot more than men do. But men, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. 

QUESTION #1: So, when are you getting married?
Ummm, I don't know. Why don't you let me find a boyfriend that I actually LIKE first and who wants to marry me. More importantly, let me actually be involved in a relationship for awhile with a guy who ISN'T totally freaked out by the idea of getting married. Overbearing aunts, grandmothers, or office-coworkers constant nagging on the topic doesn't exactly help my cause. Why are other people so concerned with when YOU will get married anyway? It is as if they want and need for everyone else to do what THEY did; and if you don't, there is clearly something wrong with you. How do you tell people that you simply haven't met your future husband yet??!

But let's say you have met your future husband and are actually married...on to annoying QUESTION #2: Soooo, when are you gonna have kids?

Okay, this is quite possibly the most annoying of all the annoying questions. First of all; again, these people don't give you much time at all to get used to the idea of being married. In fact, some of them even start in with this line of questioning before the actual wedding. Or at the wedding events. Or a week after the wedding. I don't mind it so much when it is family asking; because at least they know me. What I hate is when it is some co-worker, who I barely know or talk to, wants to know when I am having children and how many and why? And why do people assume that everyone on Earth is planning on having kids anyway? What if I don't want them, or what if I'm unable to have children? I just think this line of questioning is a bit too personal for someone I am only acquaintances with. 

Now, if a few years go by, and you don't end up having kids; then Question #2 will continue until the end of time. If however, you DO have a child; then you would think the questions would stop, right? NO! They don't. They never stop. Then people start in with, "Soooo, will you be having more kids? How many? When? A little brother or sister for baby Lucas to play with? Awwww."

Since I did have another boy the next most annoying question would have to be so when are you going for the girl/are you going to have a 3rd child??

I hate that some people think that because I have two kids of the same sex then my family is incomplete. It's ridiculous. I love my boys and love the bond between them more than anything. I know if my second was a girl I would love her the same, but I don't think their bond would be the same. All I wanted growing up was a sister...someone to share clothes with (or fight about) and I am so happy I get to witness the special bond amongst brothers. It really is special. And although a selfish part of me would want a little girl to dress up and paint her nails pretty in pink, who's to say she would like that or even let me after the age of 5??! So you can't really base having a third child simply to try for a different really have to be prepared to have a third child, boy or girl...or even the possibility of having twins!! 

-Melina Harvey Read (mama of two)

worry wart July 14 2015

When I spend time with childless friends, it never ceases to amaze me how different our lives are. The biggest change since I became a mother is what I worry about. I've always been somewhat of a worry wart, even before I had kids, but being a mom has just taken my worries to another extreme. Worry is the dark underbelly part of parenthood, the flip side of joy, excitement, pride, no one really talks about. As a matter of fact, worrying and parenting go hand in hand. When I found out I was 8 weeks pregnant with Lucas, the first thing I worried about was if he was ok from all the vodka sodas from the previous weekend. I went from routinely worrying about what the best hangover cure was on a weekday morning so I could survive a day's work to worrying about more sophisticated things like:

-poop and what happens if my boys haven't gone in a few days. I feel like I worry about their bowel movements a lot and need to keep a calendar of who did what, when. When they do poop I also worry about it being a normal color and shape.

- if my kids are going to grow up being selfish little brats. I know everyone says its 'the age' and they will get better at sharing with time, but I still can't help but think maybe they will be like that forever.

Of course I worry about the important stuff as well but since it's humpday I figured I'd keep the mood light!

-Melina Harvey Read (mama of two)

bunk beds & toddlers July 08 2015

After my two year old outgrew his crib and was sleeping on a twin mattress on the floor for several months, I decided it was time to upgrade both of them to big boy beds. My older son was still in his toddler bed, but he repeatedly asked us for a bed with stairs. I think this all started because when we lived in Miami, their bedrooms were upstairs and he always knew we went upstairs to go to bed. We shopped around different bed options for their small bedroom. Considered a trundle bed, since it was technically a bunk bed but very low. One of the reasons I didn't like this type of bed was because of the pulling in and out of the trundle every night. Since our apartment is small, their bedroom is also their playroom and we needed to create space for them to dump their thousands of superheroes and cars around, instead of always being scattered throughout our house. The bunk bed seemed to be the best option space saving wise, but also the scariest because of my rambunctious two year old. We decided to just give it a try, and it's going surprisingly well (knock on wood). It's only been a week, so we aren't in the clear yet, but we haven't suffered any broken bones and the boys are happy with their tree house (top bunk) and their tunnel (bottom bunk). The one downfall I will have to point out is putting the sheets on the top bunk, or making the bed even, is a workout!! If you are considering bunk beds for toddlers, I am here to tell you it can work well for two and four year olds. It doesn't stop them from coming into our room in the middle of the night, like I hoped, but it does make a lot of space in their room. I also like the fact that the bunk beds can easily be split into two beds if I ever feel the need to. It's a win, win.

-Melina Harvey Read (mama of two)

to bribe or not to bribe July 01 2015

I know I shouldn't do it. I know better, but sometimes it's just so tempting to get your little one out the door fast when you're running late or when you need them to be calm as you grocery shop or even while you shop at the mall. "If you put on your shoes, I will give you gummies". "If you let mommy do groceries I will let you guys split a doughnut." "If you comb your hair for school, maybe I will have a surprise for you when you get home". I know I'm far from alone when it comes to bribing kids, I hear it all the time at the playground. It's funny how we all seem to say the same stuff to our kids in order to get them to do what we want. Most of the time I am in such a rush to get out the door, or to finish grocery shopping without a meltdown that I am not clearly thinking of the damage I am doing by my bribing antics. It really didn't click until I asked my four year old to pick up his room and his response was "fine, but if you give me a lollipop". I created a monster. It was my fault. Here he was using my own tricks on ME. How could I blame him if I was the one that had schooled him on the art of extortion. All I wanted was a little cooperation in exchange for a sugary treat, and never thought it could backfire. I have been teaching my kids to expect rewards for basic behaviors. What would they expect from their teachers for doing their homework? Or from their bosses for completing a special project? I'm sure they won't be rewarding them for every little accomplishment, so I need to try my hardest and stop rewarding expected behavior. Although it may help me short term, the long term harm I am doing to my kids is probably not worth the stress free few minutes...or is it??!

-Melina Harvey Read (mama of two)

before my cup of coffee June 23 2015

Good morning mommy. I slept in my bed today. The whole night mommy, that's good, right?! I want pancakes for breakfast. With blueberries mommy and milk. Can I have more milk. But I don't want to brush my teeth today. I brushed them last night, why do I have to brush them all the time, mommy, why? So they don't fall off? Is it Tuesday today? Do I have school?! So if I don't have school, what are we going to do. Ok, we can go to the park but can I wear my hockey shirt? Did you clean it for me? But why not. But I like that shirt. Ok fine, but then will you play soccer with me at the park. Louis will be fine on the playground. You could watch him and play with me at the same time mommy. Look, like I'm doing now, see. How long does it take to get to park. Are we going to the one next to our house or the one by Target? Is that really far. How many minutes. What's a mile. How long, tell me. Count to a mile mommy. No, but like, 1,2,3 what's a mile. When do I get to a mile. Oh ok. So how long will that take. Can we stop at target and get a treat. I will be a good boy. But why not. But I'm going to be hungry. What time will we eat lunch? Are you going to pack me a lunch and have a picnic at the park? I want grapes too. I'm going to take Spider-Man to the park. He likes going there. Ok, so are you ready mommy? Why don't you have shoes on yet. But how long does it take you to drink your coffee? What time is it? Oh, it's 7:30 in the morning, so are we late?

-Melina Harvey Read (mama of two)

number 2 June 16 2015

For the past few weeks I've been trying to potty train my two year old son. He has finally (for the most part) mastered peeing in the toilet both sitting down and standing up. He has not however mastered the pooping part. I have thrown away about 4 pairs of underwears because of this. I have tried everything, from begging and making deals with him, to the positive reinforcement sticker chart to even having him sit and observe his older brother while he poops...sadly, nothing has worked. I have a stubborn sally on my hands. I know he understands when I tell him "you poop in the bathroom", because when I ask him, where do you poop, he takes me to the toilet and points at it. I have noticed that when he does go in his pants, the house is awfully quiet and the few minutes of silence lead me to believe that he is doing something wrong. As I look for him around the house, I already know its too late and he is hiding because he pooped his pants. Usually he is behind his closet door, or near the bathroom in squat position with rosy cheeks. I cannot even get mad at him, because the first thing he tells me when I ask him what he's doing, is 'sowwwy mommy". He knows. 

Thinking about his antics, I can't help but notice how closely they resemble my public pooping problems. Going number 2 in public restrooms (or most bathrooms which aren't my own) requires a high level of not giving a damn, which I simply don't possess. Perhaps, that's my two year old's problem as well?! I guess you could call me too considerate, because I think my number 1 concern with dumping in public, is the stench. You never really know how bad it's going to be and you're forcing everyone in your vicinity (or the next person in line) to be subject to your scent. Maybe, that's my little dude's issue as well. I think the only way I have (some-what) over come that is by thinking, everyone poops. Like seriously. EVERYONE POOPS. Just get over it. I plan on showing my little one all my poops and his brother's poops and whatever other floating poops we happen to see in public restrooms to get him more comfortable with pooping. I need to boost up his crappin confidence and hopefully he will poop with pride, in the toilet.

-Melina Harvey Read (mama of two)

good ol' bath time June 10 2015

One thing I have learned from being a mom (especially of boys) is that you MUST love bath time. And by bath time I am not taking about a relaxing, soaking in Epsom salt, with wine glass in hand as the candle light shines over your wet skin type of bath. I mean you must love (or learn to) giving baths, because boys require a lot of them. You must also learn to love doing a million loads of laundry, because again...boys dirty a ton of clothes. You must be prepared for splish splashing, a soaked bathroom floor and tons and tons of wet towels that smell like a dirty sponge or a wet dog. This is raising boys. Even when I let my 4 year old bathe himself it's a lot of work. I have to stand outside the shower pretending to be bathing so he could mimic me. It is a sight to be seen. Hopefully they remember these moments and return the favor when I'm old and senile...oh wait.

-Melina Harvey Read (mama of two)

button pushers June 02 2015

All kids do it at one time or another. Some more frequent than others. It's part of their DNA, they like to test our limits and experiment with our patience. Usually it's worse when they are overly tired or during that time of day when they  have played with all their toys and still have tons of energy left from being cooped up inside because of bad weather. But as bad as it may be sometimes and how badly I wished I never had to deal with another meltdown or tantrum, I somewhat understand it from these tiny humans. They are children and often times cannot handle all these emotions/anger/frustrations they may be feeling and just explode from time to time. What I do not understand and pushes my buttons more than anything is when adults throw tantrums and act like children. It happened to me the other day, when a waiter wouldn't sit us in an outside table of a pizza place because I had my double stroller and he expected me to wake up my sleeping two year old and put him in a high chair because the stroller 'got in the way'. Ummm, what way, sir, its a corner table?!. He obviously didn't understand the whole reason why I was able to go out to lunch and perhaps enjoy my meal was because he was sleeping??!! Then a few days later I hear on the news about a flight attendant had a plane land because a mom couldn't control her crying toddler???!!! WHAT? I had no idea us moms had that sort of control. Please tell me where the button is on my son's body when he is having a hissy fit so I could push it. That would help. A LOT. Thanks.

-Melina Harvey Read (mama of two)

stay at home mama May 26 2015

Some people think stay at home moms do simply that, stay at home. That they have a stress free life tending to their perfectly behaved kids, since they stay at home with them and are able to properly reprimand them. I must admit, I used to be one of those people that thought being a stay at home mom wasn't a real job. Boy, was I wrong. I have worked harder in the past 8 months than the past 8 years in the workforce combined. Not that working in an office setting with deadlines and other stressors was by any means easy, but at least I had a lunch break or coffee break, even a bathroom break to look forward to.  I cannot remember the last time I peed without an audience.

I also knew that my boss (for the most part) couldn't whine all day and throw food at me if I didn't do what he wanted. I currently eat most of my meals standing up. The one time a day I do get to sit and relax while my two year old is napping, I am bombarded with a million why questions from my ever inquisitive 4 year old. Have I mentioned I clean ALL DAY long? Seriously, I am down on all fours half the day wiping and cleaning sticky goo from the floors and at the end of the day my floor still looks dirty.

The most important thing I have learned from staying home with my boys is to never let go of your self. Take some time, a few hours a week even, to do something you like and reminds you of the old you. A quick dinner with a friend, a 30 minute child free walk to Walgreens, a fitness class, anything. It will keep you (somewhat) sane from the crazy, never clocking out job that gets paid with endless kisses and love.

-Melina Harvey Read (mama of two)

make-up monday May 19 2015

Here's the scenario: it's Monday morning and I am exhausted. It has been a busy weekend at our house, catching up on laundry and getting the boys back into their routine after a ten day vacation, I mean trip, vacations are relaxing remember?! The problem is I am starting to look as tired as I feel. No one wants to look tired. I actually hate that comment over having someone ask me if I gained weight. "Are you ok, you look tired?!". Seriously?? I haven't slept a full night's sleep since before my eldest son was born. He's now FOUR. So in my attempt to brighten up my week and start it off in as good a mood as possible, I always apply makeup on Mondays. I have noticed that by having a little lipstick on even if I'm going nowhere, makes me feel better and actually motivates me to tackle my never ending mommy to-do list.

As a busy mom I am always looking for ways to do things as quickly as possible or multitasking whenever I can. Let's face it, we only have a few uninterrupted minutes to ourselves in a day and we cannot afford to waste it applying makeup. So usually my "mom makeup routine" is a bit rushed and different than my going out makeup routine. I apply eye shadow with my finger, mascara while I'm feeding the kids breakfast, and have mastered the lipstick without a mirror technique. On Mondays I tend to wear bright lipsticks, even though I may look ridiculous in my yoga pants and red lips, it definitely livens your face with just one step. It really only takes less than five minutes to apply a little powder, some mascara and lipstick and makes all the difference in the world! So next time you wake up feeling tired and grumpy, take the extra five minutes to doll yourself up and see how makeup can have you looking forward to Mondays!

-Melina Harvey Read (mama of two)

vacationing with kids May 13 2015

So you remember that first post a few weeks ago about feeling guilty leaving the kids for a weekend...yeah those feelings are long gone.

Let's start with the packing. Who knew little people needed so much stuff. Clothes, extra clothes in case the regular clothes gets dirty, extra clothes for the extra clothes, pajamas, diapers, their favorite toy, their pillow or blanket, toothbrush, and let's not forget all the snacks and cups and bottles. Before I even leave on vacation I need a vacation from packing for my vacation.

Then there's the sleeping and napping outside their comfort zone. You would think a beach vacation would be the ideal vacation for young kids since the sun and sand tend to wear them out..unfortunately, that is not always the case. The nap on the drive home from the beach is probably the only time we felt we were on vacation. Those thirty minutes of quiet time were bliss. But since that nap was usually later in the afternoon it would throw off their normal bedtime routine of being asleep by 8pm.

There were some magical moments besides the naps on our way home from the beach, the moments we crawled into bed exhausted at night and fell asleep together as a family of four.  The memories made and fun spent with family and cousins is definitely worth the hard work, but I would hardly call it a vacation. A vacation is being at the beach with a drink in hand and taking a nap in the sun if you wanted, not constantly having to tell the kids to stop throwing sand at each other. A vacation is waking up at noon the night after drinking and dancing, not at 6am when your 2 year old decides it's time to wake up. There will be a time again in my life when I take a vacation, but from now on our "vacations" with family are trips, not vacation!

-Melina Harvey Read (mama of two)

oh fudge! May 05 2015

I knew the day would come. I mean it's inevitable. Not because our language at home is that foul, but because he is bound to pick up a bad word or two from TV or possibly the rap station we listen to on the way to school (or my husband's road rage, ahem)! I just assumed the first time he would say it would be at home, you know, without any strangers around to give me 'the look'. I also thought (or secretly hoped) that the day he did say such word it would be by mistake. Perhaps a speech impediment or some sort of know...the bad word would come out but he was really trying to say...

Oh I'm stuck.

Look at my truck.

That's a duck.

But that was simply not the case. It was a beautiful spring day at the playground. The same playground we frequent daily and tend to see the same kids and parents. It was nice out so of course the entire neighborhood was there during 'peak' park time. And there goes my little two year old down the slide at the same time another kid was trying to go up the same slide..."oh f*^%#" my child yells as they bump into each other. Yup. Loud and clear.

I. Wanted. To. Die. 

It wouldn't of been that bad if he would've just said it and been done with it. But of course that wasn't the case. The other boy, perhaps a few years older..five or six, decided to announce to the whole world that my lovely, beautiful baby boy said the "f word".

I must admit though,  amidst all the embarrassment and looks from hell from the other parents, a part of me wanted to congratulate him and give him a hi-five for using the word correctly. No problem executing the f sound. 

To be honest I didn't even reprimand him or bring up the word again. I didn't want to make a big deal about it and have him repeating it. I just grabbed my fat, little fudger and called it a day ;) 

-Melina Harvey Read (mama of two)

the diet starts tomorrow April 28 2015 1 Comment

We all obsess over it. Some of us more than others. We stand in front of the mirror and criticize every inch, every mark of our new motherly bodies. We go on fad diets, juice cleanses, protein packed meals, whatever it takes to try and get our pre-baby bodies back...Yet, another Sunday rolls around and we are right back where we started the week the same weight and with the same mentality of 'the diet starts tomorrow'. It's happened to me with both my pregnancies. I gained between 30-40 pounds in those nine months and here I am 27 months post postpartum and still have a few pounds to go. And by a few I mean..five, seven...maybe ten pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight … I still beat myself up over it, especially since the pounds don't come off quite as easily as they came on. 

But this morning, as I was making my boys' pancakes for breakfast and sneaking a bite here and there, it hit me. It's not our fault - (our = all of us mommies struggling with our weight) that we can't lose the extra love handles.  I mean, who else is going to taste test the pancakes, cookie dough batter, goldfish, mac and cheese, animal crackers and make sure they are safe to consume and don't have metal pieces in them from the facilities in which they were processed?! Our number one duty as a mom is to make sure our kids are safe, so if that means taste testing their doughnuts and chicken nuggets and cheese sticks before they eat them, then that's what we HAVE to do. So yea, those extra..five, ten pounds we're carrying around are a safety net for our kids. That's how we 'handle our love', right mommas?! So next time you catch yourself in the mirror criticizing your new 'curvier' post baby bod- just think about how good of a mommy you are always thinking of the kids wellbeing first ;) because the diet can always start tomorrow! 

- Melina Harvey Read (mama of two)

leaving the kids for a weekend... April 21 2015

So I am sure the time has come for all of you where friends decided to throw an extravagant, over the top, bachelorette party for that one single friend in another city. Or perhaps a work event or conference is being held in a different state and you are tempted to go. Or maybe you're trying to decide whether to attend your cousin's wedding in Cancun...sans children. Whatever the situation is or wherever the destination, I am sure most of us moms have felt that little pang of guilt mixed with the excitement of possibly being kid-free for a weekend. I mean who wouldn't want to sleep uninterrupted for an entire night (maybe even two!) ??!!  

Although I love the idea of getting away and being around adults all weekend, I would be kidding you if the decision to leave the kids didn't give me (and most moms, as I have gathered) excitement but also anxiety/guilt/worry/sadness. Logically, we know the kids will be fine...but its always those what if scenarios that get me every time. 

What if the plane crashes and my kids are left motherless because I decided to be selfish…(sorry but the thought does cross your mind. I'm just openly admitting it)

What if the kids wake up hysterical at night and no one will be able to console them

What if they eat gummies all weekend and develop type 1 diabetes. 

Well this past weekend I decided to ignore all those what if scenarios holding me back, kissed my boys good-bye and off I went to NYC. 

As it turned out, I didn't sleep as much as I wanted since the whole point of the trip was to celebrate the bride to be and getting her as wasted as possible but I did find myself enjoying the little bit of freedom I had. It's nice to be able to use the bathroom without a little person watching. And eating an entire meal without entertaining a toddler, WOW I forgot what that was all about...

As it turned out, the kids also enjoyed the extra time they had with grandma. And it was nice to have them run to ME for a change when I arrived home...usually that warm welcomed greeting is only for the hubby after a day's work. All and all, I feel sometimes its necessary for our sanity's sake to get away and reboot... and that does not make us bad moms. 

- Melina Harvey Read (mama of two)