I sent an email to another mom today and I asked for help. I never do that. Asking for help means I don’t have my shit in order. I need everyone to think I always have everything in order. Shit included.

Even though I don’t like to admit it, after kid number 1, the order slowly began to unravel.

And now, after kid number 3, shit is everywhere. Not literally. That’s gross. But any order that was left after kid number two, is now completely gone.

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And my mind. That’s officially out of order too.

I can’t find anything. And remembering anything. Forget it.

That is the exact moment I realized three kids is my max.

Three kids. My three kids. They are amazing. Mind-numbingly amazing.

And that amazingness is why every time I see a new, teeny, tiny adorable newborn baby or a pregnancy announcement, I get a little bit of a twinge. Let’s call it a baby twinge. And my mind starts talking.

Maybe just one more baby?

No! I’m done. Totally done. I have too much shit everywhere.

But then I see a mom who is pregnant with her fourth child, and that baby twinge spirals out of control. And that’s when my mind starts saying crazy things. Crazy things that I start to believe.

Maybe four isn’t so many kids.

It’s just one more.

You can handle it.

That fourth baby will force you back into order.

This is when I realized it won’t matter how many kids I currently have, I’ll probably always have that twinge to have another.

This must be how people end up with a million kids. And shit everywhere.

Three is my million. I’m gonna go get a shovel now.

Mom, I’m hungry. Mom, my belly hurts. Mom, the baby is licking the floor again!

I have to focus. I have a speech in 2 days!

Mom, did you get my pumpkin for school? Mom? Mom!

Shoot. The pumpkin patch. Halloween. Your halloween party is coming up. I need to get an email sent out. I’ll just email the moms during lunch, then work on my speech.

Halloween! Is that day I’ll get to wear my costume? Will you take a picture?

Oh my gosh! Pictures at daycare! You two have pictures at daycare with the baby. I need to get to Target to get you new outfits. I’ll go to target over lunch and get you outfits, that’s more important. While I’m at Target I can return the 4 pillows and the chalk and the blanket. I have to get that done. My speech is going to be dumb anyway.

Mom, I’m hunnnnnngry!

Maybe I’m hungry. No, my stomach hurts. Maybe I’m getting sick. I’ll bet I’m getting sick. The kids are probably gonna get sick. At least one of them could get sick. Maybe it’ll be on Wednesday. Perfect, I hope it’s Wednesday. Then I won’t have to give this speech. And no one will think I’m stupid.

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Monday morning is the perfect morning to have second thoughts about anything you’re already having second thoughts about. Monday is the best day to have those “you’re gonna fail” thoughts.

So, let’s talk about this thing called fear of failure and how you can work with it.

Lucky for me, I found the perfect thing on the Psychology Today website (a totally legit website) on Monday. It is 10 Signs You Might Have Fear of Failure. Go ahead and read below, I’ve made a pretty outline to help you along.

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I’ll say I had a solid 8 out of 10 of those signs Monday morning. Eeeek.

But, even luckier for me, the Psychology Today website gave me two things to help deal with the fear of failure.

The first thing: Own the fear.

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Okay, awesome. I’m scared I will fail and everyone will think I’m stupid. I own that. I’m kidding. Sorta. Everyone is afraid to fail, but as much as you don’t want to believe it, fear is a good thing. If you own it. So, own it. OWN. THE. FEAR.

The second thing: Focus on aspects in your control.

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Okay, I can’t control what people think of me. So I won’t focus on that. But what I can focus on is the fear. What am I most afraid of? Forgetting my speech. To help with that, I used a print out (the one above). During the middle of my speech I pulled out the 10 signs and I gave one to everyone in the audience. The audience can focus on the list and I can read along. Tricky, huh?

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So when Monday comes and that fear of failure creeps in, remember these two small things: own the fear and then focus on something that is in your control. With these two things, you can do anything that fear is holding you from. And, as for me, I should be able to give any speech. Especially since I’ve already given The Worst Speech Ever. (:

I really wanted to whiten my teeth, but I wasn’t sure how people even did that. So I phoned a friend (actually just Facebook messaged, I hate calling people on the phone), and she told me she uses Crest Whitestrips, the cheap ones on Amazon. “Don’t get the really expensive ones, these cheap ones work the best.” Dude. Sold.

Here are the exact ones I got: Crest Noticeably White Whitestrips, 10 Treatments, (20 Total Strips)

When the box came in the mail I promptly put it in the bathroom. And then I stared at it for 4 days. It said it took 30 minutes. I needed to find a 30-minute time slot when I wasn’t eating candy and the kids had gone to bed. This was challenging. I knew it couldn’t be during Fuller House; Because even though the kids were in bed, I had some Sour Patch Kids that needed to be eaten. Priorities.

I decided tonight would be the night I would whiten my teeth and let the baby cry it out, at the same time. I knew I’d need a distraction and this might be the perfect distraction. They would both be over in 30 minutes. Hopefully.

I open the box and read the instructions: To apply, simply remove the whitening strip from its liner and place the gel side to your teeth, aligned with your gum line. Press against your teeth for best contact and fold the remainder of the strip behind your teeth. 

Hmm, sounds easy.

I remove the bottom strip first, because further directions recommend it.

I carefully give my biggest smile to the mirror and start applying the strip. What the hell is this stuff? An unusual amount of saliva accumulates in my mouth and then my tongue starts messing up the strip. Shoot. Damn. I feel like I’m swishing with that fluoride stuff from the dentist. Should I swallow? Should I spit? Damn. Now the strip is all balled up. I hate these things. I spit the strip and the saliva into the sink.

Maybe I should try again, with the top strip. I’m not giving up yet. I did pay for these. 10 applications worth, 20 strips. I’ve got at least 19 more mess-ups and then I can just buy another box.

I carefully peel off the strip and give my biggest smile, to the mirror. And that top strip slides effortlessly on my teeth. Hmm. That was easy. Shoot. It’s starting to foam, but I think that’s normal. I ignore it and push onward.

I quickly grab in the box and get out another top/bottom strip. I tear it open and the bottom strip comes off with the first tear. CRAP. It’s fine. It’s just a little rip in the bottom. I can do this.

I start by giving my biggest smile, but not too big, I don’t want the top strip to move, to the mirror. I start applying and the saliva is back. Oh man, I can’t do this. It’s too much. I can’t get this straight. I need to spit. Maybe it’s good enough. No it’s moving. Wait, that’s my tongue. My tongue keeps wanting to touch the strip that has been folded to the back of the teeth. And then it moves the strip. It’s foaming. Is this bad for me? Should I swallow this? What is this stuff? I should google while I wait 30 minutes.

I walk out of the bathroom and proudly tell Preston, “I’m whitening my teeth!” Three minutes later, “I can’t do this. I can’t keep these on my teeth for any longer than five minutes!”

Preston responds, “at least you got them for free.”

Um, no I paid for these, but I’ve got 18 (and a half) more to try. I walk to the bathroom and pull them off.

The directions never said if I could use 6 more strips, each in 5 minute increments, to total the 30 minute time frame. Ugh. I guess it’s time to get the baby to bed. So much for whitening my teeth while the baby cries.

“It’s your turn.”

“I was just up at 2.”

“Well I was up at 3:12. Clearly, it’s YOUR TURN!”

My husband and I have this argument on a nightly basis. Or, I guess it would be early morning.

Maverick is 4 months old and he’s been on a sleep strike for 3 weeks, with one Christmas miracle in between (he slept for like 7 hours straight on Christmas night. Whaaaaaa? I’ll take it).

I miss sleep. My husband misses sleep.

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I’ve come to realize I do unreasonable things when I don’t get enough sleep.

I do things like buy sleep sacks named Zipadee-Zip. Shark Tank bought into it, it’s gotta work. Let me tell you, it ain’t all rainbows and sleepy unicorns with my zippy. I’ve found the key to the zippy is to put baby down very much asleep, and never awake. Never, ever awake. Self-soothing is not your friend with the zippy. At least not with my child. All he likes to do with this thing is look like a starfish. That and suck on the material over the hands. Probably because that’s what 4-month-olds like to do. They like to suck on their hands (or the material that covers their hands). That’s cool and everything, if he’d just put himself back to sleep after he gets the zippy hands disgustingly wet.

But, nope, after he’s done sucking on his hands, he just gets mad and starts hitting himself in the face. Probably because that thing called the moro reflex is still a real thing. I thought that would be gone by now. Sigh.

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After two failed attempts. Maybe three. Who knows how many, I just know I tried really hard. I wanted to like it. Okay, I wanted to like THEM. I bought two Zipadee-Zips. It was the best deal. Two zippies and a cute onesie, all for the low price of $59.95. Yes, indeed, I’ll buy me some sleep. Now, since the zippy didn’t work, I wish they would have had a free hotline to go along with your purchase. Or at least a “things will get better, just keep pushing through” line.

So, now, the zippy was out.

The next unreasonable (that seemed totally reasonable at the time) thing I tried was only allowing myself to follow a strict bedtime routine… I would hold the baby with my left arm, while feeding him a semi-warm bottle and patting his butt and humming to the tune of Silent Night.

That didn’t work, either. The humming kept him awake.

So, I thought I’d outsmart him and close my eyes. If I can’t see the baby, the baby can’t see me. That may have been the best idea yet. We both fell asleep. VICTORY! But shortly after I startled awake, probably because I almost dropped the tiny human cradled in my arms. I tried to put him back in his crib, carefully, very, very carefully. But, he woke up. Again.

The strict bedtime routine was now out.

Then I thought, why not take this opportunity to get him transitioned out of the swaddle during this horrible, no good, non-sleeping time. I’m not sleeping. He’s not sleeping. Let’s make it worse. Let’s let his little arms flail about and hit him in the face, without any material or resistance (at least the zippy had a little of both. Totally worth $59.95).

Quickly the no swaddle was out the window, too.

Back in the swaddle, he went. Both arms in. Because it made me feel secure. It brought me back to those lovely newborn nights that he would sleep 4-5 hours straight. The swaddle made me feel like the night would be a success. It had to be a success. He’s all bundled up in his sleep sack with his arms velcroed to his sides. If he can’t move, then surely he’ll stay there, sleeping. Peacefully.

Some nights he would surprise us and sleep a 4-5 hour stretch, playing with our sleep-deprived emotions. Maybe he’ll keep doing that, we think. Yes! We will sleep again! Then an hour later he’s crying, begging for food. And then 1-2 hours later, he’s up again. And then again. We’re never gonna sleep again. Siiiiiiigh.

All the books say this is the dreaded 4-month sleep regression and nothing you do will make it better. Great. Perfect. I love a good excuse for my baby not sleeping. I’ll take it. Preston doesn’t buy it.

But, now, I’m afraid if I call it the 4-month sleep regression and he’s still not sleeping at 9 months, it’ll be my fault. And, if it’s my fault, that means it’s not the 4-month sleep regression’s fault.

Maybe I should just go ahead and blame myself. After all, I didn’t let my poor mom sleep for 18 months after I was born. 18 months! That’s a long time.

Sweet Maverick, I’m giving you 14 more months of waking me in the night and that’s it. Not a day more.

Until then, I’m keeping score and I’m pretty sure it was just my turn. At 3:12 am.

This year, since I really slacked on the kids’ birthdays, I decided I’d give them a yummy dessert to stick their candles in.  So, here’s what I came up with: chocolate chip buttercream frosting sprinkle cookies.

Aren’t they beautiful?

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I love buttercream frosting. I’d eat it with a spoon. You know, if that weren’t frowned upon.

So, after I baked my chocolate chip cookies (use your favorite recipe, or get the tube in the refrigerated section, whatever, I won’t judge), I whipped up this trusty buttercream frosting recipe. It’s never failed me.

However, if you don’t want your frosting to be off-white, I suggest using the clear vanilla extract. It’s a thing. Amazon it. Or just go to your local cake store, they’ll have it.

For mine, I didn’t care if the frosting was off-white, I used the original (black) vanilla (is that an oxymoron? black vanilla) extract, I was throwing sprinkles on there, because it’s for a birthday! Holla!

Happy 8th and 5th birthdays to my little gingers!

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Don’t worry, these cookies can be for any occasion. Like a world record, 1.5 billion Powerball ticket party. The little sprinkle balls might get everywhere when you eat them, but hey, you’re gonna win that billion. You won’t care. You can hire a person to clean up the mess.

I miss blogging. I’ve done a few posts here and there, but for the most part, during my absence, here’s what’s been going on.

First this happened.

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Then this happened.

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Then this happened.

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And now it’s been 7 weeks. SEVEN weeks with three kids. I’m feeling pretty normal, as normal as any sleep-deprived mom of three kids feels. I’ll say I do a solid good job mom-ing, 3 out of 7 days. Ha.

Right at this very moment, no one is yelling. Partly because, all three kids are in bed (can we pause a moment to rejoice in the quietness and high five over all three kids being in bed) and Preston’s downstairs watching football (I take that back. There is yelling. Just not at any kids).

Seven weeks and two days (but who’s counting?) ago, I couldn’t imagine what life with three kids would be like. And today, seven weeks, two days, seven hours and five minutes (I’m counting) later, I can’t imagine what life would be like without all three.

There are two types of things. The things I want to do and the things I don’t.

Today my friend asked me to do this 7 day blogging challenge with her.

This was on my list of don’t want to do things. But, I’m doing it anyway.

Why?

Because the same friend sent me this article on doing things that are uncomfortable.

Day 1 question: Why are you doing the Your Turn challenge?

Day 1 answer: Because it’s uncomfortable. And, also, I’m really bad at telling people no.

I told myself (and my bloggy friends) that I was going to write every day. Every. Day. Starting January 1.

I didn’t even make it two days into the new year. It’s now January 12 and I’ve only blogged twice. Fine, forget it. I’m not gonna blog at all now. I came up with excuse, after excuse, after excuse (plus four more excuse days) on why it didn’t matter if I continued.

But, today, I’ve decided I can’t use the past as an excuse. Who cares that I didn’t blog every day. I’ll start today. And if I miss tomorrow. Well, “only a fool trips on what’s behind them.” (who said that?)

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Don’t let your yesterdays make your todays less than awesome.

Almost seven years later, Preston and I have finally started Breaking Bad. It took some persuasion on my part, but we’re finally watching it.

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Image from http://wall.alphacoders.com

I meant to start it on the first day of our 12 day Christmas vacation so we could power through all five seasons. Unfortunately we didn’t start until day 11.

Now, we’re five episodes in and I’m pretty sure Preston has lung cancer, just like Walt. Walt would cough. Preston would cough.

This is gonna be a long four and a half more seasons. But I need to find out if Preston (I mean Walt) has a chance to survive this lung cancer. And hopefully make enough meth to pay for the treatments.

Maybe we should watch just one more episode tonight. But, my arm is starting to tingle. My left arm. I’m pretty sure I’m having a heart attack.

This show is making me paranoid.

A few months ago, I had seen commercials for the Rice Crispy Mudslides at Spangles (a fast food joint in Wichita, Kansas). And, even though it said, “for a limited time,” I didn’t believe them.

Today reality set in when I pulled up to the drive thru speaker:

Me: Yeah, um, do you still have the Rice Crispy Mudslide?
Drive thru guy: No, I’m sorry, we replaced that with the Snickers Mudslide.
Me: Oh, dang. Um, is that good?
Drive thru guy: Yeah, if you like Snickers.
Me: Okay, shoot, well, do you recommend that or the Butterfingers Mudslide?
Drive thru guy: Um..
Drive thru girl: The Butterfingers Caramel Mudslide!! You won’t regret it!
Me: I’ll take that!
Drive thru girl: You just made the best decision of your life!
Me: (laughing) I can’t wait!

I smiled as I waited for the three cars in front of me to get their orders. Who smiles in a drive thru waiting line? As I pulled up to the window, a lady was smiling and holding the “best decision of my life” in her hands. While laughing, she says, “that was me! Oh my god, you will not regret this. The taste is indescribable! It is soooo good!”

I laughed and said, “so I’ll see you back tomorrow! Or maybe in an hour.”

She smiles and says, “Yep and you’ll be all thank you very much Jeanae, that was the best decision of my life!”

As I’m typing this I’m shoveling spoonfuls of Butterfingers Caramel Mudslide in my mouth and smiling. The more I eat, the more I smile.

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Clearly, to be sincere is the best decision of anyone’s life. Thank you, Jeanae!