Me, 3 Kids and Tampa Bay

The other day my husband came to me with the most horrific news I’ve ever heard.

He said he had to work all weekend.

Saturday AND Sunday – 9 to 6

No. No, no, no, no, no!

That would leave me, alone, with our 3 children ALL weekend.

First, I cried.
Then I plotted his death.

But after I realized that would be counter-productive, I got real.

If it was going to be me versus our 1 year old, 3 year old and 8 year old – for 18 solid hours – I had to get creative.

I had to stay busy…

So, on Saturday morning at 8:30 when my husband abandoned us – I loaded the 3 kids up in the minivan and headed to the one place I felt safe.


Ahhh, Target. Where a mom can be a mom!

Ahhh, Target. Where a mom can be a mom!

Ahhh, Target. Where a mom can be a mom!

However, I get there and all of the carts that can seat 2 toddlers are gone.

I panic.

There is no way I can go shopping with my 3 year old running wild through the aisles…

Fortunately – some beautiful Mommy with her one child notices me standing near the carts in a cold sweat – and she gives up her 2 seater for a regular cart.

I owe her so much.

While on our Target adventure – we run into these wooden letters.

What a fantastic afternoon activity.

So, I buy the first letter of each of my kids’ names – and a bunch of washable paint.

That’s guaranteed to eat up a good hour of time!

So, we get home, get unloaded – and I set the kids and the paint up on the patio.. and I let them go at it!

They have a great time – The older two even help my 1 year old paint her letter.

Lexi, Audrey, Cameron!

Lexi, Audrey, Cameron!

Lexi, Audrey, Cameron!

After lunch and nap – I’m at a loss…

What to do now?

Fortunately, it’s Tampa… and the weather is gorgeous. So, I order the kids outside to play.

We kick the ball around – We do squats across the backyard – we turn on the hose and get cooled off.

It is an absolutely amazing afternoon!

The kids are exhausted and dirty and I consider the entire day a rousing success!

My husband comes home and I bask in his awe and admiration. Not only did I keep the kids alive – But I kept them entertained!

But then – terror and anxiety seize my soul.

Yes, I got through day one – But there was a full day left — and I was completely out of ideas.

Fortunately, my girlfriend with a pool comes to the rescue.

She invites me and the trio of terror over to her house for the entire day Sunday!  A perfect plan! What could possibly go wrong?!
A lot.

I loaded the kids up in the minivan around 10 Sunday morning.. Unfortunately, I live in Riverview and she lives in Lutz. So it’s a good 50 minute trip. I type her address in the GPS and head off.

My kids talk the entire way.
About everything.
And nothing.

Finally, finally, we get to the street where her house is… And there is a huge car accident. The entire street is blocked off. By that point, I have had to pee for 30 minutes – and I was about to throw the next kid who said, “Mommyy… ummm” out of the car.

I call my friend – who gives me a detour – which is about 15 additional minutes.

And traffic is crawling.

That’s when my 3 year old tells me urgently… “Mommy… ummmm… I gotta go potty”.

And when she says that – I have t-minus 20 seconds to get her on a toilet.

I’m in the middle of Van Dyke road…not moving.

I think quickly.

I have a swim diaper for the 1 year old in the diaper bag!
Yes! Score!

So, I order my daughter out of her Dora panties and tell her to put on the swim diaper and pee.

She looks at me like I’ve grown 2 heads.

I tell her to do it now…Shoot, I would if I could.

After that whole debacle… My kids start complaining of hunger.

They’re clearly starving.

So, I look at the platter of cookies we baked to bring over to my friend’s house.

They did look good.

So, I ask my son to hand them out to everyone.

There. Quiet!

And finally, traffic starts moving.

All of a sudden…I hear gasping from the backseat.

The 1 year old is choking on the cookie. And I don’t mean just coughing. I mean straight up, not breathing, choking.

I slam the car into park.. right there on the busy street…and claw open the back door of the minivan…

Cars around me are honking and screaming obscenities…

I take my fingers and pry the cookie out of my daughter’s throat.

Thank God the cookie comes clear easily…

We get back on the road.. With the daughter who nearly just choked SCREAMING for another cookie.

It’s precisely that time that I realize my other daughter never put her seatbelt back on after the swim diaper debacle.

So I pull over on the side of the road… and try to weave my spaghetti arm around my seat and into the back to click the belt around her waist.

By the time I reach my girlfriend’s house – We’ve been in the car for an hour and 55 minutes.

She meets me out on the lawn with a beer.

After the drive, the day at the pool was pretty uneventful…

I drive the kids home – once again exhausted.

Once again – I receive the admiration of my husband.

But this time, I don’t bask in his awe…

This time – I toss the kids at him – and head upstairs…

I take 5 graham crackers, a glass of milk and offer a silent shout out to single moms everywhere.

The struggle is real.

The struggle is real.

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