I Hired a Mother’s Helper and Her Name is Choo Choo Soul

God bless Choo Choo Soul. God bless Genevieve. God bless DC. And God bless that blue train.

Child number 3, Princess Angel Baby Lady, has discovered the mesmerizing glory of Choo Choo Soul. Baby Lady joins her brothers in a family tradition of learning how to operate YouTube channels before learning to walk. And now, as she achieves this glorious milestone, her brothers have remembered their love for Genevieve that had been briefly shelved for acceptable but inferior things, such as Power Rangers and Teen Titans. Fortunately I, like my children, have no problem watching/listening to the same things on repeat until the batteries die AND we have approximately 875 phones not fit for a trade-in, so this family can Choo Choo Soul in stereo all. Day. LONG.

Also, don’t wanna brag but I may have followed by and had a (tiny) Twitter convo with Genevieve.

TMIB + Genevieve = BIFF.

TMIB + Genevieve = BIFF.

So, yeah. We are basically BIFF (best internet friends forever).

Now, as a token of gratitude to my BIFF and a guide for all you out there looking for a good babysitter, I shall rank the greatest Choo Choo Souls for your viewing (and singing!) pleasure:

10) Give a Little Whistle. Good message. Good throwback. Solid song to round out the top 10.

9) Animal Sounds. Listen. No one’s getting any animation awards for this one but we’re not here to judge the (really bad) computerized cartooning. The song is top notch and kids love animals. Win. Maybe just listen and don’t look.

8) Do Your Own Dance. I may not love the boys wildly thrashing through the house in the name of “dancing”, but their moves sure do make me laugh. You know. In the 5 seconds between “cute dancing” and “destroying your entire house”.

7) Birthday Song. Lord knows I loves me some birthdays. Also, “A birthday is a day that you were born and everybody’s glad that you’re here.” Cue all the tears. Because I need more things in life to make me cry.

6) Steam Train. This sassy little number gets everybody moving. It’s a great distraction when you can’t even and the kids won’t even. Try it.

5) When You Wish Upon a Star. I can’t handle songs that mingle children, dreams, and wishes. I can’t. Because then I choke on tears and things get weird when the kids are like, “Mom, why are you crying again?” “I want you to keep wishing. Keep, keep wishing.” Bye. Gonna go cry for an hour.

4) A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes. Son of a biscuit. If this mother loving song doesn’t make me cry every. Dang. TIME. EVERY TIME. First, Big G is transformed into a princess and dances with Prince DC. Hi. Finally. In my CCS dreams, DC and G are happily married and all of the kids on the train are their adopted train babies and they all live together in the castle from THIS VIDEO. And they all just travel along singing, learning, and being happy and making wishes. “Keep dreaming, keep dreaming. I’m gonna keep, keep wishing. And one day, my wish will come true.” #tearsforever (Ps: upon listening to this just now, the boys changed the lyrics to “Keep pooping, keep peeping,” I can’t, Jesus.)

3) ABC. This one’s a key change lovers’ dream. Everyone in this home knows this song and, in turn, their abc’s. If you love the alphabet, more key changes than you can count, and letters forming out of a train’s smokestack, then this is your jam!

2) Bullet Train. This song’s got it all. Super fast trains, race car references, intermediate level Japanese. Bullet Train is a huge hit in this house and strikes a sweet little chord in my heart because we lived in (the beautiful land they call) Japan for a few years when I was a kid. If you don’t like Bullet Train, you probably don’t like Christmas or happiness, or joy, in general.

1)Blue Zoo Train. I don’t even care what you have to say about it. This is, without a doubt, the most wonderful children’s musical creation to have ever graced the ears of children and adults alike. It’s sassy, it’s soulful, and it extols the greatness of that precious little blue train. And isn’t that the reason we’re all here?! You go ‘head, Blue Zoo Train.

There are about 9 million others so get thee to YouTube and go nuts!

Please click this. I'm on like, page 9,000 or something.

Please click this. I’m on like, page 9,000 or something.

Five Little Monkeys and Their Inept “Mama”The

Five little monkeys jumping on the bed.

One fell off and bumped his head.

Mama called the doctor and the doctor said,

No more monkeys jumping on the bed!”

We’ve all heard it. We’ve chanted it. We’ve taught it to our children. Now, it’s time to question it.

WHAT is wrong with everyone in this story. WHAT.

Five little monkeys are apparently getting their jump on. Fine. My monkeys jump on our bed. Whatever. One of the aforementioned monkeys falls off and bumps his head. Yeah, okay. That’s not hard to believe. Then mom calls the doctor. Hmm. Okay. Why? Let’s define “bump”. Is this like a sarcastic “Oh, poor baby! Here’s a popsicle!” kind of bump or is it a “DEAR GOD!! BLOOD! BLOOD EVERYWHERE!!” kind of bump. What kind of “bump” are we looking at here? You called the doctor so I’m guessing it’s a legit “bump”. So, here’s a question: if it’s serious (which is obviously what I mean by “legit”), what is calling the doctor going to do? Like, go to the hospital. And, if it’s not legit, GET OFF THE PHONE. Your doctor is NOT even tryna deal with your nonsense after hours because your snowflake got some rug burn. (I’ve just always assumed this bed-jumping occurs around bedtime. Am I wrong?!)

Judging by the rhyme’s response assigned to the doctor (“no more monkeys jumping on the bed”), I’m guessing little Junior didn’t have to visit the ER. Okay, so, then four little monkeys start jumping on the bed. Problems. A) Did you not hear the doctor? NO MORE MONKEYS. B) Where is Junior? Is he dead? Did he suddenly grow some discernment? If that’s the case, maybe you should let Junior handle bedtime for the other monkeys from now on because he learns faster than you.

Then, what happens? One falls off and bumps his head. Where have I heard this before? Mama calls the doctor and the doctor says, “No more monkeys jumping on the bed.” Really? That’s it? Nah. Somebody’s taking liberties with their story telling. Look. I’m not saying the rhyme composer is lying, per se, but maybe doing some serious editing. Here’s me, as the doctor:

*Ring Ring*

Doctor-rolling eyes: “Yes, Mrs. Monkey. Uh huh. So, hold on. Another monkey fell off the bed? After jumping, right? K. Do you remember what I said the last time you called me on my personal phone at my personal home during my personal time? Right. No more. That’s right. Okay. Oh. Also, don’t call me again. Night night.”

Mama Monkey’s got it by now, right? Junior’s fast asleep, hopefully un-concussed. Sally (monkey #2) has an insignificant “bump” and Mama’s gathered the other three and tucked their monkey buns into their own beds.

NO. Girlfriend has THREE monkeys jumping on her bed, now. NO, LORD.

So, brace yourself, another falls off. Brace yourself with even more vigor because MAMA CALLS THE DOCTOR AGAIN.

*Ring Ring*

Doctor: “GOD, NO. FATHER OF LIGHTS. COME TO ME IN MY HOUR OF NEED. (answers phone) YES, MAMA MONKEY. WHAT IS IT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I fail to understand how you not only have raised five monkeys to this stage of life but how you, yourself, have managed to survive to adulthood. CAN YOU HEAR MY VOICE? NO JUMPING. NONE. ZERO. Also, how do you even have my number?! WHO ARE YOU?!” (slams phone and takes 17 Xanax)

Shock of all shocks, the remaining two monkeys jump and fall and corresponding calls are placed to the doctor. After the fourth call, the doctor realizes Mama is beyond reason. He places his coat atop his doctor nightgown while muttering very crazy things to himself and exits his home. He then proceeds to drive to Mama’s house where he’s greeted by an exasperated monkey mother. He, being equally exasperated, walks without words to the bedroom, grabs Mama’s mattress, drags it down the stairs, out the front door and LIGHTS THAT B ON FIRE. Mattress is gone, y’all. He shakes Mama’s hand and drives away to finally get some rest. Mama calls his house before he gets home and leaves a message with Mrs. Doctor asking the doctor his opinion on vaccines.



The End

Ain’t No Party Like a Magnetic Party (Magformers Review)

I was contacted by the friends at Magformers and offered a toy set of my choice in exchange for an honest review.

Well, my Magformers girl gave me a choice but I couldn’t make a decision beyond “one of the car ones” so she hooked me up with a set of her choosing that fit the category. And her pick was awesome!

27 pieces of mind-stretching fun!

27 pieces of mind-stretching fun!

I came home from yet another doctor visit for my little sickies to find a box on our porch. After stirring what little remains of my memory and remembering my product review deal, I called off the dogs and SWAT team and opened the “suspicious package” I originally thought it to be. The kids were totally into it from the start! Our set is labeled ages 3+, and don’t tell anyone, but I let all three kids play with it even though only one is over three. #sorrynotsorry

This particular set comes with 27 magnetic pieces of varying shapes and 39 activity cards that teach both how to build magnetic vehicles and everyday objects with the shapes.


Monkey (4) immediately wanted to build every car imaginable and became a bit frustrated when he pushed too hard on the pieces making them detach from each other. With a little practice and gentleness, he worked it out. Good thing, too, because his fuss is my kryptonite. #supermom


I think this set is worth the money and a great toy for exercising some brain cells. Check out their site for the many different sets for various skill levels!

Five Reasons to “Even”, Today

Many people can’t on Monday’s. In fact, I’d bet a big fat George Washington (a quarter, not a dollar, and that’s only if I can find one under this cushion I’m sitting on), that Monday is number one of the list “Days That Simply Cannot Be Even-ed”. And, if I’m being quite and painfully honest, (which is my curse on this earth), it’s nearly 5pm and I haven’t been able to Even all day. I have tried to Even several times and in various ways to no avail. My attempts at Even-ing have been more of a crash-and-burn than Heidi Montag’s music career (who, you ask? EXACTLY.). But, I’m a grown up, now, AND a mom. And I don’t actually have the luxury of just not Even-ing for a whole day. An hour? Yeah. The length of time it takes to watch four back-to-back episodes of Gossip Girl on Netflix? Possibly, under the right conditions. But, a whole day? Wake up and smell the familial demands, lady, because you’ve got Evens to Even! So, in an attempt to get it together, here is my call to arms; a list of five reasons to “Even”, today.

  1. Ants and Stink Bugs. What. Yes, that’s right. Despite my meticulous sweeping, mopping, and bleach assaults, our home is suddenly and overwhelmingly infested with ants and stink bugs. Again. Ants are obviously annoying but I’ve come so accustomed to them being EVERYWHERE that I don’t care too much about them; except for when their creepily organized and clearly defined roadways disturb the pristine whiteness of my white tile kitchen floor. I don’t like it. And the stink bugs-help me, Father-are DEMONS. They smell like rotting diapers in a hot car and like putrid cilantro. HOW CAN THEY MAKE TWO SEPARATE AND HORRIBLE SMELLS. And they sound like miniature poltergeist-powered helicopters when they fly. BUT! BUT, they aren’t fleas. Which we’ve done before and-DEAR LORD-I will take almost anything over fleas. So, because we do not have fleas, I will choose to Even.
  2. State of Weather Clickbait Hysteria. *Eyes rolling clean out of my head, down the street, hopping on a plane and landing at your front door.* So, our Governor declared a State of Emergency for a hurricane that never came anywhere near our state. It’s good to be prepared. I get it. But, it’s also good to not be hysterical alarmists. “Our models show Hurricane Joaquin heading 875 million miles per hour, directly to your bedroom window, and snatching your people up. If you don’t buy 9,000 gallons of water, rub a purple rabbit’s foot 3 times in a counter-clockwise motion, and share that Facebook chain letter your grandma posted, we’re all going to die. Oh, and minor detail: the European and far more accurate model shows it missing us entirely and completely but STILL. STILL.” Go ahead and put Joaquin in your “win” column, European model forecasters. So, while that hysteria is super annoying, our state was not struck with a pretty intense hurricane, and, for that, I will Even.
    Just drawing lines, now.

    Just drawing lines, now.

3. Out Came the Sun and Dried Up All the Rain. After 1000 years of rain (okay, like, 5 days), the sun showed his glorious and radiant face, today. Rain is wonderful until it floods your yards and roads and drains the vitamin d straight out of your body like a kid at those fancypants Coke machines with a thousand types of soda and a million flavored syrups to add. Another great thing about the rain shutting it’s big, fat mouth; my bangs won’t curl and poof all on their own which means I won’t be sporting the ever chic and flattering “Third Grader on Picture Day” look. Always a reason to Even.

Not today, Jesus.

Not today, Jesus.

4. I Exercised Today. I have no idea how it happened. It’s like my body was independent of my brain and emotions. But, it somehow wiggled itself into workout clothes and did work for a whole hour. My feelings were crying out, with fervor and without ceasing, to be eaten but, by some mysterious force, I exercised and have yet to eat a feeling. Which is reason to celebrate (and, perhaps “Even”) because there are, at the very least, 2,641 feelings begging to be eaten. I have overcome 2,641 cries for doughnuts and chips. I think we can all Even over this victory.

5. #yolo. (Yes. I did that.) I’m not really the “You better eat that because there are starving children in Africa” line of reasoning kind of girl, and “YOLO” is only ever a joke in this house but, I feel like it kind of applies in a non-mocking way, today. There are 52 Mondays a year (probably, right?). If I couldn’t Even for 52 days of the year just by default for the simple fact that those 52 days are Mondays, what kind of life would I be living? And there I’d have to add all the other random days of the year that I couldn’t Even, for the many and various reason that take away my ability to Even, I’d be left with, like, what? 12 days of Even-ing? Maybe? Can’t nobody live like that. I have to make a choice, and I choose to Even.

Sorry, Sam.

Sorry, Sam.

Now, never mind the fact that no one has napped, everyone is angry and the feelings that are begging to be eaten are getting a little loud and violent with their demands. Nah. Forget that and keep your head high, you Monday Masters. Find your reasons to Even, today, and shout it from the rooftops. (Or, like, type in the comments. Whatever’s easier.)

Please click this. I'm on like, page 9,000 or something.

Please click this. I’m on like, page 9,000 or something.

The Seriousness of Stick Families

There is an all-out assault on the family in America, today. Wars are daily being waged on the streets of this great nation. Literal streets. As in, the road that we drive on with cars. And our families are the casualties of this war. Our stick families, that is. Our small, white outline, sticky, window clinging, stick figure families.

You’ve seen them. You may even carry them on the back of the minivan you grew up swearing you’d never buy (but, DID buy because they’re so dang practical). There’s a stick figure window cling family for everyone! Even those (crotchety) people that hate your stick figure family.

Turns out there are people out there that have some strong feelings about your stick figure family. In fact, your stick figure family is so offensive to them, they’ve located, PURCHASED, and placed their own anti-stick family on their own vehicles to…uh…upset you? I don’t know. Prove they’re cooler than you? Establish some kind of social dominance over you? I really do not know. Before we get into the “why’s”, let’s examine their hostility through pictures and sarcasm.

So, here’s the average happy and peaceful stick figure family, just minding their own business, strolling down Main Street along the rear window of their Honda Odyssey.

Harmless, happy, and about to be eaten by zombies.

Harmless, happy, and about to be eaten by zombies.

And then comes along a loud-mouthed F150, most likely with those “really cool” dog testicles dangling from the trailer hitch in the back, with their own window sticker. Because they’re cool and they can.

Where'd you get a T Rex, bro?

Where’d you get a T Rex, bro?

Like, why u mad, Pick Up Truck? Why is Mrs. Honda Odyssey’s stick family making you so salty? Do you hate sticks? Families? The color white? WHAT IS IT?!

And then there are Walking Dead fans that just can’t pass up an opportunity to Zombify anything.

You guys were obviously not prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse.

You guys were obviously not prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse.

This guy. He’s driving around with zero chill. “Listen. Three things I can’t stand: 1) Obama. 2) Nickleback haters. 3) Stick Figure Families. That order.”

You need Jesus, man.

You need Jesus, man.

I took to social media just this past week to address the stick figure family crisis in America and to point out the hypocrisy of hating on window stickers by USING WINDOW STICKERS.

#thinkaboutit #themoreyouknow

#thinkaboutit #themoreyouknow

So, why do the haters hate so hard? We may never know. My best guess is that they just hate families. Or stickers. Maybe they have stickerphobia. Pittakionophobia. It’s a thing. I don’t see how placing angry stickers is going to help you heal from your phobia. But, I’m no doctor, so…

If you are a “My dachshund ate your stick figure family” kind of guy/gal, let us know! Answer the age old riddle: how much sticker hate could a hater hate if a sticker hater could stick their own sticker? And WHY?!

Also, go “like” The Mom in Black on Facebook!

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I’m sure I’m on page 897 so please vote. Or don’t. Whatever.

The Car Rider Line: A Hard-hitting Tell-All

First, I’d like to apologize for being a unpredictable blogger. A new follower informed me just last night that it’s been months since my last post. It would be wonderful if I promised to be more faithful in my posting. So wonderful. But, like, I can’t. I will say that I will try to do better. Definitely better than one post every three months. (Insert iPhone embarrassed emoji face)

Now that that’s over…

Monkey recently started school and I recently started a new routine of analyzing the different types of people in the car rider line at drop off and pick up. I must say I’ve come a long way over the last year with my anxieties, gaining ground and celebrating victories every day. Very proud of that. Yet, while I’m overcoming little by little every day, I thought it best to avoid testing myself and potentially relapsing into an anxiety-ridden oblivion with the terror that is the public school bus. I’m just not there yet, Jesus. So, I drive Monkey to and from school. While it is occasionally inconvenient, it is always a glorious reminder of the strange birds out there in the real word and how much I love to watch and try to understand them.

I’m clearly not the only parent unwilling to let my baby chicken(s) out from under my wing only to be consumed by the hungry viper that is that big, yellow vehicle of destruction, for there are many cars in this car rider line. Many. So many that the line wraps from the front of the building and through a snake-like pattern through one parking lot and out onto the main road. And, in this long and winding baby chicken retreival line, there are several types of mother (and father!) hens. They are as follows:

  1. The All-Nighters. I swear these people live here. Like, in the parking lot. The first week of school, I was determined to be first in line (loser) so I left my house in order to be there FORTY-FIVE MINUTES EARLY. School was 45 minutes from dismissal and there were already 12 cars in line. TWELVE. Like, what time did you guys get here?! Did you camp out overnight? Is there money in being first? What did you do? Drop your kid off this morning and then circle around, put the car in park and take an eight hour nap? I CAN’T COMPETE WITH YOU. “Hey, guys. Loved our breakfast meeting this morning but school ends in five hours. Gotta hit that car rider line!” My presence is not in that high demand but even I have things to do that prevent me from living in the parking lot.

    I woke up like this. (In the school parking lot, I mean. Because I live here.)

    I woke up like this. (In the school parking lot, I mean. Because I live here.)

  2. The Premier Members of the “I Don’t Get It” Club.There is a clear, distinct and very well known pattern to the car rider line. The snake pattern I mentioned above. Everyone knows. Children, animals and inanimate objects even know. Yet, there are at least three cars, every single day, that get wild and try to go against the flow of the car rider line. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? The line is so well established that I take my foot off the gas, my hands off the wheel and shut my eyes because my car drives itself into position. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE. And, no. That is not a question. That is a statement because no one is above the pattern. Figure it out or GET ON THE BUS.
  3. Team No F**cks. These people know and they don’t care. They are, as the current terminology goes, fresh out of f**cks to give. They have been out for some time, now. Most of us keep the line to the right lane of travel. Just standard auto operating decency. These guys, usually in some kind of massive vehicle, don’t even know where they are in relation the road. They have no observed traffic rules. Team NF members sit right the freak in the middle of the road and don’t move until they’re ready. Sometimes somebody leaves the line or the line inches forward for no other reason than the drivers ahead just decided to scoot forward an inch or two. Most of us play along and move the negligible amount forward. But, these guys are like, “Nope. Don’t even look at me. And if you honk, you will meet Jesus before the horn finishes.”
  4. image
  5. The Bloggers and Snark Sharks. These are my people. We’re texting our friends about the I Don’t Get It Club and Team NF members. We will also probably not have any friends at school after this. (Insert iPhone shame emoji face)
Please click this. I'm on like, page 9,000 or something.

Please click this. I’m on like, page 9,000 or something.

Happy, Calm, Focused (aka My Middle Names)

If I had the mental capacity to make coherent sentences come out of my mouth and the desire to wear something other than leggings and old maternity shirts, I might apply for a job outside of our home. And, if I applied for a job outside of our home, and had to describe myself in three words on my job application, I’d probably choose “happy, calm and focused.”

Hahahahahaha. Jk Jk.

Hahahahahaha. Jk Jk.

Okay. So, maybe not. But, that’s why I was so glad when my girl Kathy asked me to try out a bottle of Happy, Calm, Focused; a super sweet supplement with vitamins, minerals and amino acids to help energy, mood, focus and so much more!

Alright. First things first I’m the realest, let’s get the cons out of the way. I’m a bad-news-first kind of person.

Bad News 1: Kathy sent me a 90 count bottle and I was instructed to take three capsules once a day. That means one $40 bottle lasts for 30 days. Now, that’s every so slightly rich for my blood. Especially if I’m planning on taking this for more than one month. But, then if I’m all happy and calm and focused for a solid month, am I really going to let $40 stop me from being happy, calm and focused for another month?! (I mean, yeah, probably.)

Bad News 2: The capsules themselves are intended for small elephants or large cows, I’m pretty sure. I gagged many a morning trying to get these suckers down. I never barfed so I guess that’s a win?

And that’s all I have for bad news! That’s a good sign, right?!

Good News 1: There are no jittery, sleepy, headachey feelings associated with this supplement. No gas, either. Something we can all be thankful for.

Good News 2: It’s about to get really real up in here. I started my month long HCF journey on antidepressants and using food as a way to cope with anxiety. I am now completely med-free and have developed several more healthy and helpful ways to cope with anxiety. Also, my anxiety is at an all time low! Now, I’ve had a lot of personal breakthrough during this time and, while I can’t completely and without doubt attribute that to HCF, it’s enough to make me want to continue trying the supplement (even if it is $40 a month).

So, overall, I give HCF a thumbs up. And, if you can weasel an Amazon gift card from someone, I’d give HCF two thumbs up. Check it out on Amazon for more details!