Win 8 of the Best Summer Books and a $250 Amazon Giftcard!

I’m super excited to be taking part in this great summer book giveaway (plus you can win a $250 Amazon gift card). Read on to find out which book I loved almost enough to DIE 4 this past Spring (hint). Friends, you know we love our books around these parts! We love sharing our latest […]

Learning, Exploring and Having Fun!

Gulf Coast Exploreum in Mobile, Alabama

For the 4th year in a row, we’re going to be part of the  Gulf Coast Exploreum summer camp family. And that should tell you a lot about them. Asher started going to Exploreum camps the summer he was 6. We picked up the brochure while we were there one day (we’re members because the kids love to […]

More Honest Wine Labels for Teachers

Open While Cleaning Out Desks No Sharing Necessary Celebrating no more paper work until August. Allison Hart Probably too mean, but “Because you’re not paid enough to buy your own wine” Enjoy your break from your students’ vomit Because they are all geniuses until they go to school Because you gave me your personal email […]

A Mardi Gras Drinking Game for Parents

Mardi Gras Drinking Game for parents

Today’s post comes at a perfect time for my Mobile and New Orleans friends – and many others who celebrate Mardi Gras. We’re deep in the “throws” (hehe) of it right now and I can back up everything my friend, Annie, has written below. You just can’t get through the parades without a good drinking […]

Getting Sick Is The Worst

Getting sick is the worst. Our family started off school season strong but in the last few weeks, several of us have fallen prey to various bugs. Poor Asher caught what seemed to be the same stomach virus twice and I was throwing my guts up last night. Too much information? Well anyway, cough and […]

How Becoming a Parent Turned Me From An Extrovert Into an Introvert

How Parenting Turned Me From An Extrovert to an Introvert - @toulousentonic

Before I had kids, there was no one who would describe me as anything other than an extrovert. I went out all the time, I was social as could be, sometimes I even danced on tables if I’d had enough juice. But then becoming a parent turned me from an extrovert into an introvert. The […]

More Sexy Halloween Costumes For Moms

Sexy Halloween Costumes for Moms - @toulousentonic

We know. You’ve spent all your time getting your little goblins and ghosts ready for Halloween and now you have nothing to wear yourself! And even worse, you’ll have to watch half the other women parade around as Sexy Pandas and Naughty Nurses while you sit in the house with the lights off because you’ve […]

I Want To Go Back To College. And I Want To Be 18.

I Wanna Go Back To College and I want to be 18 again - @toulousentonic

I’m having this huge battle with the green-eyed monster lately. Well, I exaggerate. It’s not a huge battle but it’s at least a small one. There may not be guns or I dunno, cannons involved, more like one person has a spoon and the other has a feather duster and they’re just kind of slapping each […]

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Win 8 of the Best Summer Books and a $250 Amazon Giftcard!

I’m super excited to be taking part in this great summer book giveaway (plus you can win a $250 Amazon gift card). Read on to find out which book I loved almost enough to DIE 4 this past Spring (hint).

Friends, you know we love our books around these parts! We love sharing our latest picks and favorite finds through our monthly virtual book club, and we LOVE hearing what YOU think as we break it all down. One of the coolest parts of our book club year is partnering with blogging friends at the kick-off of summer and compiling a list of the best summer books and why we think you’ll love them. In addition to sharing our picks, we celebrate the start of summer reading in a big way–with a fantastic giveaway for a $250 Amazon gift card and EIGHT free books! So tune in below for the 20 Best Summer Books List and then make sure to enter the Rafflecopter at the end for your chance to score big. And this year we have a fun bonus–WE ARE GIVING AWAY 100 COPIES OF OUR TOP ALL-TIME PICK too! Wa-hoo!

It's here! The annual list of the 20 best summer books! All come highly recommended and are perfect reads to kick back with this summer! Plus, check out this incredible giveaway--100 copies of ONE book, a $250 Amazon giftcard and a bunch of new beach reads? Enter now!!

20 Best Summer Books:

  1. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Femme Frugality: “Psychology, philosophy and theology have a way of blending together. In this book, psychologist Viktor Frankl relates his experiences as a prisoner in Hitler’s concentration camps, using it as a way to underpin his philosophy that man can get through anything if he assigns meaning to life. Great for anyone going through a difficult time, or anyone who has detached from organized religion but is still seeking the meaning of life.”
  2. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Lindsay of See Mom Click: “If you’ve ever felt like the days are slipping by and you’re just trudging along, The Happiness Project is a must-read. Rubin’s writing really speaks to me, the perfect balance of hard facts and science combined with practical wisdom about proactively making yourself happier and living in the now.”
  3. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver. Wendy of ABCs and Garden Peas: “An inspiring, food-filled story of the Kingsolver family’s adventure as they move to a farm in southern Appalachia and begin living their lives in a way that works with the local food chain. This year’s 10th Anniversary Edition also gives readers a glimpse into how their family has carried their inspiring “real food” journey with them throughout the next decade.
  4. A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline. Mikaela Fleisher of Iris and Honey: “Christina Baker Kline brings an artist and his muse to life in this novel that blends fact and fiction. Based on Andrew Wyeth’s painting, Christina’s World, Kline gives readers a truly beautiful glimpse into the life of the woman behind the painting.
  5. Red Water by Kristen Mae. Kristen Mae of Abandoning Pretense: “An Amazon best seller, Red Water will slither under your skin and stick there. Erotic, raw, and disturbing, and with deeply flawed but relatable characters, Mae’s sophomore novel is a dark, unflinching examination of the psychology of self-loathing and the secret, unspeakable lust for depravity that lies dormant within us all.”
  6. My Lame Life: Queen of the Misfits by Jen Mann. Jen Mann of People I Want to Punch in the Throat: “My Lame Life is a great summer read for teens and adults because it’s a funny and endearing book that is entirely relatable!”
  7. Famished by Meghan O’Flynn. Meghan O’Flynn: “Famished is a bestselling psychological thriller that explores the darkest parts of the human psyche. Hailed as “Thrilling, emotional and depraved,” this novel is one you won’t want to put down.”
  8. Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach. Stephanie of When Crazy Meets Exhaustion: “This one is part cookbook with fabulous, EASY recipes and part narrative by Jenny, fellow frazzled Mama juggling personal and professional responsibilities. When she realizes a family meal is the best shot at quality time with her husband and kids, so begins her journey to make it happen. Witty, relate-able, and educational (I learned how to cook things, you guys!) I went through Jenny-withdrawal when I finished the book!”
  9. So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson. Shari of Adore Them pick: “Jon Ronson is an incredible author who combines objective observations with his own take on these experiences. For this book he spent years meeting people who had been subject to public shaming. It is fascinating (& horrible) to see how one tweet could ruin someone’s life.”
  10. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. Kim Bongiorno of Let Me Start By Saying: “The story is told in alternating voices of three best friends as they begin their senior year: one knowing she is OUTTA THERE, one being OK with staying exactly where he is because he has his stories to escape into, and one not feeling like he can or is deserving of going anywhere but right where his father’s crimes put him. I felt so many things while I read this, but mostly that I will now read literally anything this author writes from now on.”
  11. The Most Beautiful by Mayte Garcia. Suzanne of Toulouse & Tonic: “I devoured this book about Prince by his ex-wife Mayte Garcia. At first I was afraid it would be exploitive but after reading reviews carefully, I gave it a try. It was so worth it. A great portion of the book is the story of HER life. It’s interesting and insightful. The parts of her life she shared with Prince are handled in a respectful but honest way. I feel like I actually know something about this enigmatic man now. I still miss him but 4 me, it brought a little peace.”
  12. Redemption Road by John Hart. Lydia of Cluttered Genius: “Redemption Road caught me from page one and had me guessing the entire way through. I don’t generally choose murder mysteries or thrillers, but Hart’s novel has me wanting to find the rest of his books to read more!”
  13. Everyone is Beautiful by Katherine Center. Natalie of a Turtle’s Life for Me: “Everyone is Beautiful is a heartwarming and humorous look at one woman’s journey through marriage and motherhood as she tries to find small moments of personal fulfillment. The epiphanies and insights she gains along the way are told in a light-hearted manner, but resonate deeply in a way that will have you thinking about it months later. I read this with my book club and we found we were bringing it up again even a year later, because it struck such a deep chord with us.”
  14. Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda. Dani of Meraki Lane: “I loved this book. It explores so many emotionally sensitive topics – infertility, adoption, motherhood, and interracial marriage – and the author did such an amazing job of jumping back and forth between the United States and India. She described each with such vivid detail, and the story truly encapsulated the meaning of the word ‘family.’ It was an easy, yet complex read, and the ending brought me to tears. I highly recommend this one!”
  15. The Twelves Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti. Jana of Jana Says: “I LOVED this book. Dark and twisted and violent and a thriller complimented with a father/daughter/coming of age story told between alternating POV and bouncing back and forth in time until it all catches up to itself. It’s so well done and well written and I cannot recommend it enough.”
  16. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Kimberly of Red Shutters: “It’s the story of a family, torn apart by slavery. One branch of the family aids in the slave trade in Ghana, later becoming involved in conflict with the British, and finally finding their way to America. The other side of the family is sold into slavery and generations later experience an America of incarceration, poverty, and drug abuse. Despite its challenging subject matter, Homegoing is captivating, an extraordinary story about hope, connection, and loss. I couldn’t put it down, and when it did end, I was disappointed–I wanted more. That’s the sign of an extraordinary book!”
  17. The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles. Janine of Confessions of a Mommyaholic: “This is the beginning of a supernatural, romance YA series that struck all the right notes for me. Honestly, think it could be in the leagues of Twilight or even Harry Potter as the writing was superb. Plus, the storyline was unique, fast moving and heart tugging, as well. Therefore, recommend as the perfect summer vacation read.”
  18. The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian. Rabia of The Lieber Family: “Lianna’s mom has disappeared. The most plausible explanation is that her frequent sleepwalking took her over a bridge to her death. But on closer inspection, that doesn’t really make a lot of sense. And the good looking detective assigned to the case is trying to help, isn’t he? So what really happened? I can’t wait to find out!”
  19. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman. Anne of Once Upon a Mom: “I haven’t read this one yet but it looks amazing! It’s a story about a quirky kid with an even quirkier grandma who, after her death, leaves a a series of letters apologizing to people. I’m looking forward to finding out about all of Grandmother’s secrets!”
  20. City Mouse by Stacey Lender. Carrie of Normal Level of Crazy and Meredith of The Mom of the Year: “This defines a beach read for me! So relatable to our own lives as it is all about mom trying to find out exactly where she fits in the in the scheme of suburbia–all that goes along with it. Plus, when a book is described as ‘The Stepford Wives meets Bad Moms’, how can you go wrong?”

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It's here! The annual list of the 20 best summer books! All come highly recommended and are perfect reads to kick back with this summer! Plus, check out this incredible giveaway--100 copies of ONE book, a $250 Amazon giftcard and a bunch of new beach reads? Enter now!!

And that’s it, friends! Our list of the 20 Best Summer Books you need to kick back with during all the sun-soaked days ahead of us! As promised, the giveaway for a $250 AMAZON GIFT CARD and copies of some of the titles on this list (Red Water, Famished, My Lame Life: Queen of the Misfits, The Sleepwalker, Man’s Search for Meaning, Homegoing and Redemption Road) is below! No better way to keep your reading stash well stocked and you can use the gift card to grab some other titles that are on your own wish list. Sweet!

As long as you are 18 or older, live in the continental United States, and enter before June 16, 2017 at 5:30am EST, you are eligible to win!

It's here! The annual list of the 20 best summer books! All come highly recommended and are perfect reads to kick back with this summer! Plus, check out this incredible giveaway--100 copies of ONE book, a $250 Amazon giftcard and a bunch of new beach reads? Enter now!!

Also as promised, we are tickled to be giving away 100 COPIES of the favorite title our book club has ever read, This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel! Read the whole post HERE to find out why it is such an exceptional book, and then hop over quickly to enter the giveaway! Thanks to the generosity of Flatiron Books, copies will be sent to the first 100 people who enter the giveaway* (The grand prize winner included! The same giveaway deadline and rules as above apply.) We could go on and on about This Is How It Always Is, but to put it simply: it is important, life-changing, and beautiful. This isn’t just a book you want to read, it’s a book you need to read.

*Note: remember each person can gain multiple entries, so don’t assume that all 100 copies have been claimed when the entries total goes over 100! I will be updating on social media how many copies are left if you want to check in on this as the giveaway progresses!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Thanks for joining us in this kick-off to summer reading celebration with this list of the 20 best summer books! Happy summer and happy reading, friends!

It's here! The annual list of the 20 best summer books! All come highly recommended and are perfect reads to kick back with this summer! Plus, check out this incredible giveaway--100 copies of ONE book, a $250 Amazon giftcard and a bunch of new beach reads? Enter now!!

***********************************************************************

***Thank you to Flatiron Books, Jen Mann, Kristen Mae, Meghan O’Flynn, Macmillan Publishers, Anchor Books, Beacon Press and Vintage Books for providing copies of the books for the giveaway. All opinions are entirely our own.***

Book photo in second graphic: depositphotos.com, Image ID:9056658, Copyright:belchonock

Last image credit: depositphotos.com, Image ID:13362963, Copyright:coolfonk

 

Learning, Exploring and Having Fun!

For the 4th year in a row, we’re going to be part of the  Gulf Coast Exploreum summer camp family. And that should tell you a lot about them.

Asher started going to Exploreum camps the summer he was 6. We picked up the brochure while we were there one day (we’re members because the kids love to go year round) and he poured over the “menu” of offerings. Then he got out a pen and circled all the camps he wanted to go to (hint: almost every single one).Gulf Coast Exploreum in Mobile, Alabama

Then last year, finally, Meyer was old enough to go as well and has been able to join the traditions of circling the camps he wants to attend and spending his days learning new things with new friends. This year in particular he says he wants to go to every single camp they have because it’s “my last year with Mr. Wayne.” You know a camp leader is special when your kid wants to spend time with him more than he does with you!

I love it because I feel zero guilt about sending them to somewhere they have so much fun and learn, even though they don’t even realize it. I swear it helps prevent the summer slide!

Stop the summer slide with summer camp at The Exploreum - @toulousentonic

Gulf Coast Exploreum Summer Camps are the best - @toulousentonic

If you’re located in Mobile, AL, I can’t recommend Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center Summer Camps enough. They’re reasonably priced and here’s a tip – join the Exploreum as a member and each session of camp is cheaper for you! Then you can take the kids to the Exploreum all year long when they say, “Mom, I’m boooooorrrrrrred!” or you just need to get them out of the house. It’s fun, interesting and you’ll adore the staff.

If you’re not located in Mobile, put the Exploreum on your must-list for when you visit. You’ll love Mobile, with its mossy oak-lined streets, its vibrant downtown area and all the wonderful things there are to do. If you don’t have a visit planned, put it on your travel bucket list. You might even want to follow my Mobile pinterest board.

Now get over to the Exploreum website (or their facebook page) where you can take a look at the remaining camps (different themes for each week for 4-5 year olds, 6-7 yos, 8-11 yos and 12-14 yos (which includes the exciting Airbus Flight Camp, where campers actually get to copilot with a professional pilot!). There are still so many awesome camps left, including the one Asher is looking forward to the most – Wizardry: Potions, Magical Creatures & Intro to Wizardry! Meyer is probably most stoked about Jurassic Fantastic.

Go check ’em all out and sign up now. You won’t regret it, I promise. Both of mine will be there until they outgrow it!

Remember to click like on this post before  you leave, share it if you know someone who might be interested in the camps or the Exploreum – and while you’re here, go ahead and subscribe to my newsletter so new posts will come straight to your inbox. You follow on facebook here.

The post was sponsored by the Exploreum but as always, my opinions are my own.

More Honest Wine Labels for Teachers

Open While Cleaning Out Desks
No Sharing Necessary
Celebrating no more paper work until August.
Allison Hart Probably too mean, but “Because you’re not paid enough to buy your own wine”
Enjoy your break from your students’ vomit
Because they are all geniuses until they go to school
Because you gave me your personal email . . .
Because everyone else’s thank you gift was a stupid wreath made out of crayons and, really, what good is that?
Those report cards aren’t going to fill themselves out
Because you still have to work all summer

A Mardi Gras Drinking Game for Parents

Today’s post comes at a perfect time for my Mobile and New Orleans friends – and many others who celebrate Mardi Gras. We’re deep in the “throws” (hehe) of it right now and I can back up everything my friend, Annie, has written below. You just can’t get through the parades without a good drinking game when there are children involved. Just maybe don’t drink so much you lose them. I can tell you from experience, it’s reeealllly easy when you have a dasher like I do. Anyway, I sometimes call Annie a better version of myself when it comes to my kind of humor so I thought you’d like to hear from her. Be sure to like this post and let her know you appreciate it. Maybe she’ll write some more.

Mardi Gras Drinking Game for parentsby Annie Strange

It goes without saying that everything changes after having kids – and that’s especially true for Mardi Gras. In fact, just yesterday my husband and I were reminiscing of our pre-children days.

“What would we be doing right now, before kids?” he said to me. I thought for a second and I said “well, it’s a non-parade day, so we’d probably be hungover from the night before…or still drinking”.

Before kids, there is so much time and space for debauchery, you easily lose yourself to the magic of the parade. After kids, of course there’s still fun to be had, but you also get to watch your kids’ eyes light up as each float rolls by, throwing magical beads, moonpies, and stuffed animals from heaven (usually from a dumpster – no REALLY – read this).

The hardest part though? The waiting. You want to get to a parade early enough for a spot on a barricade, but not so early that you burn out chasing your children before it even begins. For this, I’ve created a drinking game to help pass the time. Make sure you have plenty of beers or a large cocktail on hand, because this will certainly put you in the Mardi Gras spirit!

MardiGrashorsesThe rules are simple: just take a sip (or shot if you’re feeling crazy) whenever:

 Your child whines for a cheap light up toy for sale

 You or your child has to use a heavily soiled port-o- potty

 You or your child eats a food on a stick

 A motorcycle drives by

 Someone jumps the barricade

 Your kid asks when the parade is coming

MardiGrasvendorTwo sips/shots whenever:

 You lose a child

 A horse shits in the street

 Your child gets stuck in the barricade

 You see someone pre-beading

 Your kid gets in a fight over a spot on the barricade (extra sip if they’re fighting an adult)

 Your child tries to eat an old, smashed moonpie from the previous night’s parade

DirtyBeargraphicFinally, down a whole beer whenever you see someone walking around, confused, still in their tux/ball

gown from the night before. That person is winning at Mardi Gras. And now, so are you!

Be sure to share this game with every struggling parent along the route. And of course, make sure to

drink and parent responsibly (perhaps ask your babysitter to come along).

Subscribe to get every new post in your inbox and follow along on facebook for laughs all day long!

Getting Sick Is The Worst

Getting sick is the worst. Our family started off school season strong but in the last few weeks, several of us have fallen prey to various bugs. Poor Asher caught what seemed to be the same stomach virus twice and I was throwing my guts up last night. Too much information?

Well anyway, cough and cold season is here, and I’m teaming up with Boogie Wipes and Saline Soothers to help you and your family feel better faster with a Cough & Cold Giveaway.

When Kids Get Sick

From the first sniffle to feeling downright sick, Boogie Wipes has tips, tricks and hacks to guide you through the entire cough and cold season (including great information on how to keep germs from spreading between siblings!)

Click here to read through their cough and cold survival guide and be prepared for the season.

cc_survivalboogie_lowtext

When YOU Get Sick

It’s bad enough when your kids aren’t feeling well, but when you aren’t feeling well, it’s downright miserable. While there’s no cure for the common cold, Saline Soothers Nose Wipes provide soothing comfort for sore noses with Natural Saline, Vitamin E, Aloe and Chamomile.

Click here to learn more about Saline Soothers and grab a coupon.

where-to-purchase

It All Comes Down to Saline

Whether you reach for Saline Soothers or grab your kids’ Boogie Wipes, it all comes down to Natural Saline. The Natural Saline in both products dissolves mucus, while the Vitamin E, Aloe and Chamomile soothe and comfort even the most sensitive skin. Click here to learn more about the benefits of all-natural saline.

Enter to Win!

Stock up on your cough and cold supplies so you’re ready when sickness strikes this season. Complete the form below to enter to win! (Click here to enter if you do not see the form.)

One winner will be randomly chosen to receive Boogie Wipes, Saline Soothers, Burt’s Bees cough drops, Purell hand sanitizer, DavidsTea Cold 911 tea and color-changing mug, plus a $100 Target gift card.

Giveaway ends on Monday, November 21, 2016 at 11:59 pm ET. Giveaway is open to residents in US and Canada over the age of 18. If winner lives in Canada, alternate gift card will be provided of same value.

How Becoming a Parent Turned Me From An Extrovert Into an Introvert

Before I had kids, there was no one who would describe me as anything other than an extrovert. I went out all the time, I was social as could be, sometimes I even danced on tables if I’d had enough juice. But then becoming a parent turned me from an extrovert into an introvert.

How Parenting Turned Me From An Extrovert to an Introvert - @toulousentonicThe truth of the matter is that there has always been an introvert hidden inside me. As outgoing as I might seem, the side of me who needs to go back home, be alone and refuel after being with people has always existed. It’s just that before kids, I had the energy to go out and be social because alone (refueling) time was so plentiful to me.

I could say no to any number of invitations and read a book instead. I could use an entire Sunday (after going out Friday and Saturday nights) to watch a Sex and the City marathon and just chill and recharge.

Now I have two little people who need me all the time. Pretty much 24/7. They’re always in my space – in fact I have no space I can claim that they will not come into, including the bathroom. They say mom and mommy and mama at a rate and velocity that would drive Gandhi bat-shit crazy. They need, need, need something all. The. Time. Their voices (and their fighting) ring in my ears constantly. Parenting is chaos and chaos is draining.

What I’ve found is that parenting is the quickest way to convert someone with plenty of extroverted tendencies into an introvert. My energy is always sucked dry and so the amount of time and energy I have to be social is practically nonexistent. I just feel completely drained.

It’s not your fault. It’s not that I don’t want to be around you. It’s that I need to carve out some time and space to be alone and do whatever recharges me. And that’s really, really hard right now while my kids are young. I don’t have free time. I have to MAKE it, and that often means saying no to going out or hanging out.

I had no understanding of this when my first child (now 9) was a baby and toddler. I just couldn’t understand why it was so hard for me. Why I felt so drained all the time. And I think my husband was very confused because he didn’t think I was the person he’d married anymore. Where were the nights out drinking and laughing with friends? Where were the drunken game nights at home? Where was the desire to even invite people over?

Gone, that’s where. Gobbled up by parenting. That’s how parenting turned me from an extrovert to an introvert.

It was only recently that I realized having introverted tendencies was what made parenting harder for me than for some others. I don’t get energy from socializing, from being around people, from being needed – in fact, quite the opposite.

By the time my son would go down for his nap, I would just collapse in a chair – too drained to do all the housework, blogging work, phone calls and other things that needed to be done.

My head buzzed with anxiety and panic from hearing mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy all the time. From being needed all the time. From being WITH someone all the time.

I hope it goes without saying that I love these two boys more than anyone on the face of the earth. But I think it’s important to draw the distinction between parenting as an extrovert and parenting as an introvert. It can help some of us stop feeling so guilty and like something is wrong with us.

In fact, I highly recommend these two books. I’m reading them right now and they really help you understand (for yourself and for your introverted children) how underutilized the power of introverted people is because our society puts so much emphasis on the extroverted personality type. Both are very interesting and very useful. I have an introverted child so I’m reading these for myself and for him.

To be fair, I’m probably more of an ambivert than an introvert (falling somewhere closer to the middle) but parenting has slid (or rather dumped) me down the scale towards the introverted side because I have so little time and space to refuel. I hope I’ll be able to inch back to the middle as my kids get older.

It’s been hard now that I have two boys to realize that it’s okay to feel this way. It’s part of my nature. Being with other people as an introvert is giving to those people. While it can be very pleasant and even fun, it drains something out of you while the extrovert next to you (my husband) is getting energy from the interaction.

So I just wanted to say to you introverted moms, who are suffering and wondering what’s wrong with you and why parenting is so hard for you – this is it. I haven’t solved the problem but I do have some suggestions that I TRY to follow and you can too.

1. I try to take the 30 minutes before my kids come home from preschool/school all to myself. I don’t always do this successfully because often I’m frantically trying to finish something, but when I do manage to do it, the rest of the afternoon with the kids goes much more smoothly because I’ve recharged a bit and now I can do homework with them, catch up on their days, separate them during fights and make dinner without totally losing my shit. And I hate losing my shit.

2. Don’t be afraid to say no to social events. I hate hurting peoples’ feelings by saying no but the truth of the matter is that I know my limits. If I’m as drained as I am, I’m going to come to your event with a sour face and have little to say. Then what kind of impression am I going to leave? I’ve been at events before that I felt pressured to attend and I’ve literally had to escape to the bathroom and chill out until someone knocks on the door. #introvertproblems
Just remember, the kids will get older, it will get easier and you will be able to find the energy to go back out again.

3. Explain this to family and friends. Tell them what it means to be an introvert. Most people thinks it means you’re shy. It doesn’t. I think if more people understood that it’s about how you get your energy, they would be more understanding, and maybe even try to help. Maybe grandma would grab those babies a little more often and take them to a movie so you could have a little time to not only wash the clothes and clean the kitchen but even curl up and read a book for 45 minutes uninterrupted. Doesn’t that sound amazing?

So that’s how parenting turned me from an extrovert into an introvert. I’m hoping to slide back to the middle sometime soon as my kids are getting older – and I try really hard to give as much as I can now socially, because I do want to see friends and I do want to go out with my husband (who could go out every single night, seriously). It’s all about finding some kind of balance. I haven’t found it yet, but at least I understand more about why I feel off-balance and some ways I can help make it a little easier.

Did you like this post? I’m planning to write more about parenting as an introvert so stay around. Subscribe so you’ll get new posts in your inbox (no more than 1 or 2 per week). Then follow on your choice of social media. See the little buttons to the right? Join me on as many as you like. Stalkers always welcome.

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More Sexy Halloween Costumes For Moms

We know. You’ve spent all your time getting your little goblins and ghosts ready for Halloween and now you have nothing to wear yourself! And even worse, you’ll have to watch half the other women parade around as Sexy Pandas and Naughty Nurses while you sit in the house with the lights off because you’ve already eaten all your candy yourself. Well, no more. If everyone else gets a sexy Halloween costume, then moms should too. That’s why we’ve come up with an entire line of Sexy Halloween costumes for MOMS. What’s even better? They’re entirely DIY and in fact, you’re probably already dressed!

Sexy Halloween Costumes for Moms - @toulousentonic

Suzanne of Toulouse & Tonic (as in the blog you’re on right now. Go ahead and subscribe!)

Everybody needs to be somewhere at the same time and you’ll give them the ride of their lives in our Shameless Chauffeur costume. Drive them crazy in our schlubby Tuxedo print tee inspired by your Uncle Ronny who is 44 and lives in Granny’s basement, a pair of gloves to protect you from all the germs you’ll encounter at Chuck E. Cheese and a hat to cover up your unwashed hair. Yoga pants your own.

Sexy Halloween Costumes for Moms - @toulousentonic

Amy of Funny Is Family

Give me an S, give me an E, give me an X, give me a Y. What does that spell? SEXY! And that’s just what you’ll be in our Cheeky Cheerleader costume. Wearing our fitted white tank top that spells out your devotion to your favorite player will give you a jump on all the other moms while all the dads will flip for you in our arousing athletic shorts. Costume comes with pom pom and hair bow. Add your own embarrassed child and beguiling beverage of choice.

Sexy Halloween Costumes for Moms - @toulousentonic

Meredith of Mom of the Year

Your calendar will be completely full this Fall when you dress as our Hot Hairdresser for Halloween. The costume’s black tee and yoga pants bring the (tepid) heat, while the flat iron will curl their toes. Don’t worry, there will be no cancellations because your reputation precedes you and nobody wants to get a blow out from anyone but you. Add your own Little Mermaid-obsessed child.

Sexy Halloween Costumes for Moms

Brenna of Suburban Snapshots

You’ll be as hot as molten lava this year in our Science Fair Femme Fatale costume. Wearing our teasingly paper-thin jumpsuit and standard issue goggles, it’ll be all they can do not to erupt when they see you. So grab that fire extinguisher and create your own foam party because things are about to get weird (science) up in here. Failed science experiment your own.

Sexy Halloween Costumes for Moms - @toulousentonic

Karen of Baby Sideburns

You’ll finally be ready to come out of the closet this Halloween when you wear our Hidden Pleasures costume. But do you have to reveal your secret stash? No you don’t. No one gets a taste of your candy until you say so. The pleasure is all yours.

Costume comes with a box of assorted sweets, heavy on the chocolate — and factory-defective sweatshirt and sweatpants. Extra boxes of candy may be purchased here.

Costume no longer available in L, XL and XXL.

Sexy Halloween Costumes for Moms - @toulousentonic

Harmony of Modern Mommy Madness

Knock, knock. Who’s that at the door? Oh dear, it’s the Foxy Fundraiser here to take all your money and leave you with nine rolls of Christmas paper, a giant tin of popcorn and a dozen boxes of Girl Scout cookies. What’s that? You don’t have any cash. That’s okay. She takes checks and even has a Square credit card swiper on her iphone. Order this costume now because the only way to stop people from trying to sell it to you is if you can tell them you’ve already bought three. Comes with blue tee shirt and yoga pants. Accessories are extra but please buy as many as you can because we really need to raise money for our band trip to Disney World, to save the whales and for the children. Come on, it’s for the children.

Sexy Halloween Costumes for Moms - @toulousentonic

Rebecca of Frugalista Blog

You’re the only one who knows who and what goes where this Halloween when you’re out and about in our Saucy Secretary costume. Keeping up with so many schedules has never been so fetching (and frustrating). Costume comes with sweatshirt, an assortment of pens and a shit pile of whatever papers, cables, books and pets we rake off our table into your box when we pack it.

Sexy Halloween Costumes for Moms - @toulousentonic

Andrea @domesticgoddss

Nobody can collect as many stares as you in our Bodacious Boxtopper costume this Halloween. All eyes will be on you in the aisles and on the streets in this sizzling off-the-shoulder “Flashdance” sweatshirt from 1983 and bewitching black stretch pants. Accessorize with your own box tops because we’ve bought all the Cheerios we can eat for the next decade for our own kids’ schools and quite frankly can’t afford to buy them for you too.

Sexy Halloween Costumes for Moms - @toulousentonic

Terri of Today Parents

You’ll be making all the calls this season in our deluxe Racy Referee Halloween costume for moms. Fierce features include buxom black and white striped referee tee, luscious lavender robe that doubles as a tablecloth, whistle and flag. You know you’ll be calling foul on all the dads in the neighborhood when they try to score with an illegal play. But don’t worry too much – accessorize with a couple of fighting kids and before you know it, the game will be over.

If none of these costumes are perfect for you, just check out the original viral post Sexy Halloween Costumes for Moms or last year’s equally viral (but not in a gross, snotty way) Sexiest Halloween Costumes for Moms. Pretty sure between 30 or so fabulously “sexy” costumes, we’ve got you covered.

Your next need will be wine so go directly to Honest Wine Labels for Moms for more laughs and some really great gift ideas. Yes, you can finally buy the labels for real!

Get these to pour that wine in then get to trick-or-treating like the vixen you are!

Thanks for being big time sexy with us. Hope you enjoyed Even More Sexy Halloween Costumes for Moms. Sit down and stay awhile. Subscribe to get new posts (1-2 per week) in your inbox and like this page on facebook to keep up with the laughs all day long.

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I Want To Go Back To College. And I Want To Be 18.

I’m having this huge battle with the green-eyed monster lately. Well, I exaggerate. It’s not a huge battle but it’s at least a small one. There may not be guns or I dunno, cannons involved, more like one person has a spoon and the other has a feather duster and they’re just kind of slapping each other with them.

What’s strange about the jealousy going on inside me is that I’ve never felt it before. Not jealousy. I’ve felt plenty of that, mostly about people with skinny thighs. But THIS jealousy I’ve never felt.

I Wanna Go Back To College and I want to be 18 again - @toulousentonicIt started a few weeks ago when a friend helped move her incoming-Freshman daughter to college. Since this is a friend with whom I share pretty intimate information (and likewise), I got to hear all about the angst of having your first child fly the nest (and fly it far away) but soon after the move-in, I started hearing stories about her first weeks in college — dating, parties, new friends … and saw a snapchat photo of her ecstatic, wide-awake face at 4am. I remember being excited to be awake at 4am, and it’s far different than the way I feel when I’m awake at 4am now.

And then I felt it. The very first pang of jealousy over being 18 and starting college and being at the very beginning of your life and not having any idea of where it’s going and being excited enough about meeting new people that you happily stay up until 4am talking the night away.

I acknowledged my jealousy, thinking that would make it go away.

Hahahahahahahahaha, laughed Jealousy maniacally.

Next, I started noticing the aisles of merchandise devoted to dorm rooms in Target. I turned away with envy and forced myself to look at spatulas instead. I wanted to be saying “What’s a spatula and why do I need one?” as I juggled a comforter and one of those big study pillows and a crate of plates, a desk lamp and a giant double ply package of Charmin Big Rolls but no. I know what a spatula is and I know that my husband has melted ours again and that’s why I’m looking at spatulas. I can also name almost every other kitchen gadget hanging on this wall and I fucking hate myself for it.

Then I pulled the ultimate rookie move. I went to a college football game. With my kids.

The parking lot was ablaze with beer and hormones. Young girls with long Pinterest hair all wearing basically the same outfit (cut-offs, flowy off-shoulder shirts), falling off their wedges as they tried to navigate the pot-holed parking lot, holding hands like drunk girls do, blithely, seriously.

I was mesmerized by one young couple in the throes of a desperate fight before kick-off even. Her running through the lot in her bare feet, stumbling, glancing back over her shoulder to see if he was following, contorting her face into anger then half giggling despite herself because … so drunk. Him, carrying her sandals, shouting “Shannon Shannon Shannon” and finally giving in to the drama and chasing her.

What is this feeling in the pit of my stomach as I navigate the kids inside the stadium? Jealousy. I am envious of a drunk, barefoot girl having a fight with her boyfriend in a red dirt-covered parking lot. She will throw up soon. She is destined to vomit before half-time. That should be me.

And Sunday, walking the streets of downtown Mobile, trailing my boys while they play Pokemon Go on my and my husband’s phones. Nothing to do but herd them, like little sheep who don’t look up when they cross the street because what could be more interesting than a Pidgeotto appearing right on the sidewalk opposite you?

As I follow them and sometimes lead them, chanting, “Come on, come on, let’s move it. I bet there are some … uh … things over here,” three college-aged kids sit in the coffee-shop window, look down at the boys and mouth “Pokemon Go” to me. And “We play too.”

I smile at them but I want to kidnap them and suck their souls out of them and be them, sitting in a coffee shop on a Sunday afternoon with friends and nothing special to do. No responsibility. A few more steps and 2 girls loll past me on their bikes. They just loll. Whatever that means. Barely pedaling, just kind of cruising. They have nowhere to go and everywhere to go. Anywhere to go.

My "other man" and his feeding tube.

My “other man” and his feeding tube.

When Meyer first got out of the NICU 4 years ago after a 2 1/2 month stay, he had a tube threaded up his nose and down into his stomach so we could feed him. He had an apnea monitor strapped to him. But we decided we were not going to be a stay at home family just because it was infinitely easier. When we had the chance, we were going out. So we packed up all the things (and there were A LOT of things: syringes of various sizes, pumped milk, alcohol wipes … I can’t even go into all the medical stuff you have to pack for a baby with the special needs he had at the time — plus all the regular stuff you pack for a newborn) and we took him and Asher to Inman Park fest. We were driving through the neighborhood looking for a parking place when I saw a guy – all by himself – crossing the road carrying a six-pack of beer – and I started to cry. Not little silent tears rolling down my face … ugly crying. There was heaving involved. And all of this ugliness and heaving was more or less silent because the kids were in the backseat and I didn’t want to explain to my 5yo why I was losing my mind.

Gabe looked at me then followed my gaze, eyebrows furrowed. “Are you crying about the guy with the beer?” he said. “We can get beer.”

But we both knew why I was crying. At that moment in time, after all we’d been through, it felt to me like I would never have as few responsibilities as that guy again. And of course, that is true. I’m a parent. I can’t go back. I can have the six-pack and I can pretend to be carefree sometimes for a whole day but I can’t BE that guy. Even if I had a penis.

I want to go back to college and be 18 again - @toulousentonicThere’s a little of that creeping in here now, I guess. My first “Starting College” envy. I don’t know how I’ve never had it before. I did it, I moved on, I had probably more fun and less responsibility than most of you for longer than you did and when I settled down and had kids, I said “I have no regrets. I did it all.”

More than a decade later, I still mean that. I don’t regret my kids for one second. Well, maybe one second – when they’re really fighting and my husband’s out of town and I’ve just had it with everything. But we all know I don’t really regret them one bit. I don’t regret my husband. It took me a long time to find him and if he were gone, I wouldn’t even try to replace him. I wouldn’t even want to.

I just kind of want a second go-round of what none of us get. The second go-round where we are the ones packing up for college and watching the whole world opening up in front of us like a blooming flower. Where the responsibilities are low and the opportunities endless.

I’ll do it from the other side in about 9 years and it will be the exact opposite of that. I will be terrified as I let my heart loose from my body and let it flutter around in the world by itself when my oldest boy goes off to college. Responsibility is not going anywhere ever again. It is in me, on me, I am comprised of it.

And I think that’s what this jealousy that’s sticking to me like a gummy worm on my car seat in the August heat is about. I don’t really want to go back to college. I just want to be carefree. I want to have nowhere to go, nothing to do. I want to spontaneously meet friends for drinks in the middle of the day and somehow end up not coming home for the next 8 hours. I want to lay out in the sun in my bikini on the lawn by my dorm. I want to go to a toga party. I want to get in trouble with my RA for breaking into my friends’ room and turning all their furniture upside down. I want to know that even now, everything is possible. And I want to skip class and sleep until noon. I want, I want, I want …

Yep, I guess I do want to go back to college.

If you like this, you should read Don’t Vajazzle Your Vajiggle Jaggle and 20 Other Things I Wish I’d Known When I Was 20 and 20 Totally Ridiculous Things That Seem Completely Normal In College.

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We're parenting. And we're laughing. Because it's better than crying.

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