How to Know If You Have Buns of Steel

January 6, 2015 in Beth, Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

I accidentally played Buns of Steel with my 8 year old twins.

FYI, for the uninitiated, Buns of Steel is played in one’s laundry room whilst clad in undies (or skivvies if you’re part of the Under 10 crowd), and the rules are as follows:

1. Clench your butt cheeks as tightly as you can.
2. Get someone to punch your butt – HARD.
3. Have the puncher declare whether you do, in fact, have Buns of Steel.

There I was, in the laundry room, minding my own business, trying to find something, ANYTHING, clean to wear when I was ASSAULTED by 2nd graders.

Now I have worked for years… yeeeeeears… to try to convince my children my butt is not a bongo nor is my tummy a timpani, although they’ve been reluctant adopters of the No Beating Your Mother philosophy. Similarly, I’ve tried to assist my adorable cherubs in understanding it’s impolite to giggle, and — OK — guffaw as the case may be, at the way my fine flesh reverberates and wobbles at the smallest provocation.

I thought we were making progress, too, walking that fine line between teaching my children that, while I refuse to be ashamed of being what my maternity nurse generously called “fluffy,” I also don’t need to be poked and prodded to gleeful cries of, “We just watchin’ you jiggle, Mama!” 

Yes, I thought we were making progress ’til I was punched in the rear in the laundry room.

I thought we were making progress, so I wheeled around — unhelpfully sending the whole ship a’shakin’ — to spear my precious angels with the hairy eyeball. The LOOK. The Oh No You Dih-Unt. 

They backed away with their hands raised, protesting their innocence. “We weren’t punching your butt, Mom!” they said. And, to my raised eyebrow, they followed up, “Well, OK, we WERE punching you, but just to see if you got Buns of Steel.” Because that’s way better than beating my butt like drums, I guess. 

So I asked, because I could not help myself, “And do I have Buns of Steel?” And they were caught.




Because not only had they punched me in the butt! Now they were forced to make a commentary they did not want to have to make. BWAHAHAHAHA.

No way out, baby dolls!

Full speed ahead!

Let’s see what you’ve got!

Which is when one twin looked at the other, beckoned him forward, whispered in his ear, garnered his agreement with a quick nod of the head, and said, “No, Mom. You don’t have Buns of Steel. You have Buns of Flexible, and that kind is good, too.”

So here I sit — on my battered Buns of Flexible — realizing we have, in fact, made progress. And for today, it’s enough.





P.S. You can see my Belly of Flexible – and read why I love it anyway – here.

How to Teach Your Kid Effective Communication

June 4, 2014 in Beth, Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

I’ve got one kid who’s more susceptible to the stomach flu than the others. I promise you, if it’s going around, and often even if it’s not, this kid will get it at least twice. Often three times. And repeat every other month or so just so he doesn’t forget how. But the good news is, he processes it in less than 24 hours. Every time. So, silver lining!

The problem with kids, of course, is they suck at communication. I mean, it’s not their fault they suck at communication; it’s just they don’t yet have the experience or vocabulary to give us grown-ups all the information we need. For example, Stomach Flu Kid? Yeah. For the past two years, every single vomitty episode is the same.

  1. Cael goes pale.
  2. Cael complains of headache.
  3. Cael harfs buckets.

And he’s not the kid of mine who always makes it to an appropriate vomit-receptacle, either. Nope; this is the kid who ralphs without warning, but with great enthusiasm, and we never, ever – ever – get the bucket to him in time, because he never, ever – ever – tells us when it’s coming.  

So I’ve spent years with this kid – two straight years at least – trying to help him with his stomach flu communication. Trying to help him understand that the headache isn’t a headache… that’s called nausea, or, if that word’s too hard to remember when you’re sick, then it’s called “I FEEL LIKE I’M GOING TO THROW UP, MOM.” 

But no luck. Just none. Because TERRIBLE COMMUNICATION, I tell you. This kid can talk you under the table about Minecraft or insect anatomy or why 7-year-olds should be allowed to have driver’s licenses, but he cannotno matter what, identify nausea. 

And guess what?

Cael had the stomach flu three times last week. Woohoo! Twice at home and once at school. Three times lucky, friends. And every time was the same. 


Then, “Mom, my head hurts.”

Then me, “That’s called nausea, Cael. Do you feel like you’re going to throw up?”

Then him, “I have a headache.”

Then me, “Can you say nausea? Nausea. You feel nauseated. Do you need a bucket?”

And him, “I have a heada…”…aaannd… puke cascading everywhere.

Every. Where. All of the Places. Like PlayDoh or glitter or those teeny, tiny LEGO pieces, impossible to contain once released into the wild.

And I swear I didn’t chide him for barfing. I didn’t. I wiped him up with someone’s t-shirt and undies, helpfully abandoned in the hallway near-by, and I said as I carried him to my bed to rest, “Oh, sweetie. Honey. That was nausea.” 

And he looked at me, droopy-eyed and exhausted, and said, “I had a headache.”

Which is when it occurred to me that he might be having… wait for it… headaches.

Because it also occurred to me that I get migraines.

And my mom gets migraines.

And my symptoms are primarily headache followed by the sudden onset of nausea / vomitting. Without, you know, a build-up of nausea as a precursor. 

Years. Years this kid has been telling me he has headaches.

Years. Years I’ve been telling him he’s wrong.

So I took Cael to the doctor yesterday to talk about his penchant for the stomach flu. And the doctor listened to his symptoms and diagnosed him with migraines. 

So… that was great.

And here’s my awesome advice on How to Teach Kids Effective Communication:



I’m glad we had this chat.

P.S. Obviously, I have Parent of the Year in the bag, but if you have a similar I Rock Parenting story, I’m not opposed to having some company here on the awards stage. **ahem**

On Getting a Snake (and Possibly New Friends and Family)

April 23, 2014 in Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

I’m so excited to introduce you to Isabelle, the newest member of our family.

photo 2 (76)

Isabelle is a Kenyan Sand Boa who enjoys snuggling and long walks on the beach. She’s really a darling. Also, she might be a boy, but whatever.

Of course, naming Isabelle proved to be a HUGE challenge. 

Greg wanted to name her “If you even think about putting her in our bedroom, I’m moving out,” and “no, seriously; I’m moving out,” and “of the house,” and “what part of I’m leaving you is hard to understand?” but I thought those were unwieldy names for a baby snake. Greg’s not very good at this.

I wanted to name her Fluffy, but my 1st graders thought that was the stupidest snake name ever, so I told them they were the stupidest ever. No, I didn’t. OK; yes, I did, but I assessed ahead of time that they’d understand I was kidding and would find it funny rather than hurtful, and I was right, so HA! Unfortunately, I failed to fully understand the implications of handing 1st grade boys the “Oh yeah? Well, you’re the stupidest ever” weapon, but my boys are driving the point home, one stupid sword thrust at a time, so if it offends you that I’d say such a thing to 7 year olds, you can go ahead and smuggly congratulate yourself on the natural consequences being heaped upon my stupid head.

The 7 year olds wanted to name her Radioactive or Sunshine. 

The 12 year old cried because Isabelle isn’t a unicorn

The 14 year old was sad because he still misses his fish. The one who died 4 years ago. Which is why, he explained to me, he was unable to finish his laundry room chores last night. The grief was just too much.

The 15 year old said she’s moving out with her father.

Having a new family member is an emotional adjustment. 

photo 1 (70)

Our friends suggested we name Isabelle Satan, Lucifer, or Beelzebub. Or Bob. Or Trouser or Inthegrass. Or Houdini. 

My cousin Leslie started a pool so the extended family can bet on how long it’ll take before we lose her or she escapes. 

Obviously, my 1st graders and I are scheduling interviews for new friends and family. Please feel free to apply below by answering any or all of the following questions:

1. What’s your tolerance for weirdos? (psst… High, Very High or Extremely High are all acceptable answers)
2. How do you feel about super sweet, darling, snuggly snakes?
3. Would you ever call your mama a stupidhead? What if she started it and she was, in fact, being a stupidhead?

Thank you for your time.

A Christmas Miracle (and Day 4 of 7+ Giveaways)

December 17, 2013 in Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

I slept past my alarm this morning. It strummed the iPhone alarm strum mockingly at me and I hit snooze. And then I hit snooze again. And then I pushed my face deeper into my pillow and yelled, “why? Why? WHY?” and hit snooze again.

It was, in other words, a morning like every other morning.

Except this morning something wonderful happened. Something beautiful! Something miraculous!

This morning, my 7-year-olds woke up and, instead of going downstairs to cram as many cartoons as possible into their wee little heads to mitigate the imminent effect of school, they did the laundry.


My 1st graders woke up and DID THE LAUNDRY of their own accord. Like, dirty clothes in the washer, and the right amount of detergent, and the wet clothes in the dryer, and the dryer sheet, and all the right buttons, and everything

Who has ever even heard of such a thing as children doing laundry?

NO ONE. No one has! You know why? Because it never happens. EVER. It’s beyond unlikely. WAY beyond. It’s impossible. It could have ripped a hole in the space/time continuum! WE ALL COULD HAVE DIED.

Now, sure, it’s all sorted wrong.

And yes, some of the whites are going to come out purple or pink or a lovely light blue.

And yes, something is going to be shrunk that shouldn’t’ve been shrunk.

And yes, I’ll find crayon melted all over someone’s very favorite, irreplaceable shirt.




BECAUSE MY CHILDREN DID THE LAUNDRY. And if ever there was a time to yell, it’s this one!

And, look; even though I’m very Jesusy and very churchy, I do not ever, ever, ever push my faith here because I believe that whole Love My Neighbor Shtick to the tips of my toes, and I especially buy the bit that we’re ALL neighbors, and ALL worthy of deep respect, and ALL on an important journey in this life, and we can ALL learn important things from each other. I adore my friends who are Athiests and Agnostics, Buddhists and Pagans, Jews and Muslims, and Goddess-Something-or-Others. ADORE you.

But, seriously, folks, MY CHILDREN DID THE LAUNDRY, and we did NOT all blow up, and it’s Christmas time, and THIS IS A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE, friends! JESUS IS ALIVE! 


The End


P.S. This isn’t what I intended to write today. I intended to write a Mea Culpa about this unintentionally deceptive picture I posted on Facebook last night and the ensuing comments in which you expressed your (correct) disappointment. I intended to write my sincere apology and to link to this subsequent picture and the photo comments beneath it, in which I tried to make it up to you, but I think we can all agree that this morning’s miracle needed to take priority over last night’s Facebook missteps. This morning’s undeserved Grace over last night’s Shame. Light after Darkness, always, yes?


Nevertheless, I do want to show you this lovely picture of my immaculate bedroom because it is, in its own way, Grace and Light, too. The mess, surprisingly, always is.


Merry (early) Christmas!
And Happy Holidays!

And if you’re hoping for something actually lovely to staunch your bleeding eyes after that pic,
read on for a rad giveaway from Verve Stamps.



Today is Day 4 of 7+ Giveaways!
(Day 3 is still accepting entries: click here.)

I invited the 5 Kids Blog advertisers (see the column to your right) to join me for 7 (or more!) days of giveaways. CHECK BACK for a NEW GIVEAWAY EVERY DAY.


Today, Verve Stamps is giving a Brighter Days clear stamp set with classy flowers, funky arrows and several trendy, uplifting sentiments. These stamps are perfect for using on an encouraging card or note to a friend, or maybe just to create a beautiful little reminder for yourself that even amidst the chaos, brighter days are ahead.



This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Maira, winner of the Verve Stamps set!

TO ENTER: Leave a comment on this blog post by 11:59pm (Pacific Time) on Thursday, December 19th. One entry per person, please. A winner will be selected using a random number generator and posted on Friday.

This giveaway is open to international participants. International shipping provided by me.

Note: The 5 Kids Blog advertisers provided no additional compensation for these giveaways. Verve Stamps is paying for the cost of the giveaway and U.S. shipping. She paid me for her ad only, and this just seemed like a fun way to work together for your benefit. OK? OK.


On the Importance of Using Our Words

December 3, 2013 in Beth, Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

“OK, boys. We need to have a chat.”

I sat my twin 1st graders down last night before bedtime for a serious heart-to-heart.

“I know you like to sleep with me,” I said, “and that’s fine. You know, when we all get to SLEEP. Because, to be clear, that’s my number one main goal at night. To SLEEP as much as possible…”

And that’s as far as I got before the first interrupter interrupted. Which was RAD because I got out, like, three times more words than I usually do before the interruptions begin.

“Wait, Mom, wait,” Cai said, hand raised in the full stop position. “Wait. I thought your number one main goal is to keep us safe.”

“Well, yes,” I said. “That goes without saying. But my POINT is…”

“But Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. I think you should say it because it’s important to use your words, Mom. Like how would you like it if I say sorry without saying sorry? Because I try that sometimes and that is not OK with you.” Cai looked at me with his I’ve Just Made a Seriously Awesome Point Face. 

“OK. Fine. My number one main goal is to keep you safe AND to get as much sleep as possible, but last night…”

And Cael started to cry.

“Cael, honey, you’re not in trouble.” 


“Then why are you crying?”

“Because I thought your number one main goal was to LOVE US.”

Oh, geez. Knife to the gut, man.

“Yes, of COURSE, baby. My number one main goal is to love you. ALWAYS. AND…”

“Well, you should’ve said that with saying, too, Mom.”


“OK. Sorry.”

“Good thing she said that with saying,” Cai mumbled disgruntledly, and he grabbed his brother’s hand in a show of support while they made Significant Eye Contact. The same kind of Significant Eye Contact I expect them to make when they sit me down someday to tell me I’m going to the home. 

“AS I was saying,” I said, “my number one main goal, in addition to loving you and keeping you safe, which goes with saying…”

“Thank you.”

“…is to get as much sleep at night as possible. But when you’ve crawled in bed with me lately, you’re both sleeping AND kicking which isn’t really working for me.”

“We’re kicking?”

“Yes. Kicking.”

IMG_0939Cai and Cael looked at each other incredulously. “Did you know we were kicking?” “No. Did you?” “No.” 

“Mom, are you sure?”

“Um, yes. I’m sure.”

“Hm,” said Cael skeptically, “It’s just… we sleep together every night, Mom. So if we were kicking, probably we would’ve noticed.”

“Yeah, well, you’re going to have to trust me on this one. You’re kicking. And not just putting your feet on me like you’ve been doing since you were two. I mean you’re picking your legs up in the air and flopping them down on me. HARD. And repeatedly. Giant kicking motions, gentlemen.”

They started giggling which turned quickly to guffawing.

“I’m not saying we do that, Mom,” Cael replied, “but if we did, you have to admit it’s pretty funny.”

“No, Cael. No, it’s not. Also, it’s really happening, so we have to come up with a better solution like you guys staying in YOUR bed or sleeping on my floor. Or me sleeping in your bed after you get in mine. I don’t even care. I. JUST. WANT. SOME. SLEEP.” 

“Don’t panic, Mom.” Still Cael. “We can fix this if we work together. But not with your ideas. No offense, but your ideas aren’t very good because we like to sleep with you.” Cai nodded his agreement, the punk.

“OK. I’m all ears.”

“Mom! I’ve got it!” yelled Cael. “A plastic box with air holes, Mom! We just put you in one of those in your bed and then you get protected from us kicking!”

“So… you’re saying you want to put me away in a human sized box at night.”


“Like a coffin.”

“YES! Except more like a bug container ’cause AIR HOLES, Mom. AIR HOLES.”

Cai approved. “Cael, you are a GENIUS. And I’m not just saying that. You really are.” 

“See, Mom? This is why things need to go with saying. So we can work out our problems with words. I think we’ve all learned a very important lesson about that today.” 

Yep. I know I feel better.


To Grandmother’s House We Go

June 9, 2013 in Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

We work hard to teach our kids that gentle criticism, when used correctly, is an important tool to meet one’s needs. We also teach them that stopping at criticism isn’t enough; it’s essential to offer a reasonable solution to a problem. “Identify what’s not working,” we say, “and also tell us how you’re going to fix it.”

For example, the other night my 6-year-old expressed some dissatisfaction with the way our house and schedule are organized. And then he offered a reasonable solution – woohoo! – which I captured via video interview so we can all see how this works.

(The sound quality on this sucks. Sorry. A written transcript is below.) 



Me: Hi, Cael.

Cael waves.

Me: Can you tell me what you told me last night?

Cael thinks hard.

Me: About Grandma’s house?

Cael: That it is, um… That they’re more organized and they get us up at 7:00 and then we come downstairs and watch TV, eat breakfast, go back upstairs, get dressed and brush our teeth and get ready for school and go to school.

Me: Yeah. So did you say you prefer it at Grandma’s House?

Cael: Mm hm.

Me: And what’s it like here [at our house]?

Cael: It’s like dirty and … you let us, like, do whatever we want.

Me: We let you do whatever you want? And it’s dirty here?

Cael: Mm hm.

Me: So it’s totally disorganized?

Cael: Mm hm.

Me: And how do you feel about that?

Cael: Like I want to live at their house.

Me: Like you want to live at Grandma’s house? That’s what you asked last night, right?

Cael: Mm hm.

Me: Yeah. Is there anything else you want to say?

Cael: No.

Me: You’re good?

Cael: Mm hm.

Me: OK. Thank you for having this interview with me.

End Transcript


So here’s the thing.

You’ll note Cael’s conclusion is not to make our house less dirty or more organized; he understands intuitively that’s not possible. Therefore, the only reasonable course of action is to move to Grandpa and Grandma’s house.

There was a time in my mama life when this kind of bold honesty would’ve offended me. I mean, who wants to be told that her mom-in-law does a better housekeeping / child-rearing  job than she does? No one with a shred of dignity is who. My dignity’s long gone, though, so Cael’s idea just sounds practical.

I totally agree, Cael. 

Also, good problem solving, man.

So that’s why Cael and I are moving to Grandma and Grandpa’s house tonight. The rest of this riffraff can fend for themselves.

The End



I’m a Pee Fight Pacifist

April 2, 2013 in BEGIN READING WITH THESE FAVORITES, Family, Funny, Twins by Beth Woolsey

Look, I don’t usually take on extreme positions here. I’m just not that kind of girl. I tend to be all mushy and “well, there are two sides to every story” and “I’m sure she had the best intentions” and “there’s room for EVERYONE.” On the other hand, I believed Mr. Clinton when he said he did not have sex with that woman so I admit to a certain ongoing struggle with being a Pollyanna.

My point is, I hope you’ll forgive me for stating a firm political position here. It’s just that I believe this very, very strongly.

I’m a pee fight pacifist.


It’s out.

The whole world knows.

I am a pee fight pacifist. I disagree with all forms of pee fighting.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Surely, Beth, you understand that there are times when a pee fight, however distasteful, is necessary.

And that’s what I’m saying. NO. No, I don’t understand this at all. I’m telling you I believe that there are no circumstances which can justify a pee fight. NONE.

But what if the other person agrees to the pee fight, Beth?


Or if they’re really, really bad and have it coming?


Or if we try very hard not to pee fight but negotiations break down?


But what about peece keeping forces? Like, using one’s pee in defense of others?

Still no.

Just no, you guys. No.

I’m like a rock on this. NO.

But here’s another little secret. The Confession of a Confirmed Peecifist:

My children remain unconvinced.

It’s true. Sad. But true. I have not been able to pass my beliefs on to my children.

I caught my twin boys planning a pee fight yesterday. I mean, sure, it was all talk. So far. No shots had been fired. But still. It caught me up short, and I renewed my determination to impose my peecifism on my kids. This is no time for them to think for themselves, friends.

So I engaged in the talks, working hard to articulate my perspective. The correct perspective. The only perspective.

And they remained unconvinced. In fact, the words gross, sick, and I will literally vomit if I ever catch you doing that only seemed to encourage them.

In the end, I appealed to their sense of equity. Fairness. Egalitarianism. I said, “Pee fights aren’t fair. Only boys have hoses. Girls can’t play.” And I made a sad face.

Look, I’m not particularly proud of my argument since I think no one should play, but, like all good negotiators, I was willing to compromise if compromise meant getting my way.

And my boys were sad, too. They like girls. They like me. They don’t want to leave people out. So they called a cease fire. Thank God. Peece before the first shot fired!

Late last night, Cael handed me this drawing, titled “The Pee Fight, by Cael.”

photo (51)In it, he illustrates his inclusive war plan. Namely, to put me on stilts with a specially engineered pee sluice so I can battle the boys.

And look, Mom! We’re all sad ’cause we BEEN HIT. With all your pee, Mom. ‘Cause you are the BEST PEE-ER of us all. And I’m peeing on Cai, and Cai’s peeing on Ian, and Ian’s peeing on Dad. But Dad’s not peeing ’cause I don’t think he would do this game. He’s not really a Pee Fighting kind of guy. 


I have failed.

But all hope is not lost.

No, hope is not gone.

Even in the darkest hour, a glimmer remains.

“Dad’s not really a Pee Fighting kind of guy.”

I pass the Peecifist baton on.

It’s up to you now, Greg. It’s all up to you.