Dear Alyssa…Do you Really Have to Grow Up?

Motherhood

Dear Alyssa,

You like to remind me every day that it’s getting closer and closer to your 9th birthday. Birthdays are a time to celebrate, and you know that I find any excuse to throw a big party and have all our friends together. But then I reflect on the last year of your life, and it’s always bittersweet. Something about the fact that you are almost T E N is really not okay with me. I know this year hasn’t been the best, but to be honest you probably think that it has. I hope you never lose that light you have to offer the world. You really are something special.

You’re a dreamer. You get that from me. I hope that you never waste time viewing that as a flaw or trying to fit in.

Thank you for telling me it was okay so many times when it really wasn’t. Thank you for seeing the positive in every situation and finding the beauty in this ugly world. I am so proud of you for fighting through your fears. You handled all the struggles of this year with grace, sometimes much better than I could as an adult. Thank you for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself. I hope that you look back at this time and know that everything I did was to protect you.

You’re such a cool kid. I’m not even saying that because you’re my kid. The fact that you still want me to pick you up, spin you around, and “squish” you at almost nine years old makes my mama heart so happy. Your Pokémon pajamas, desire to learn everything possible about sharks, and your independence make me so proud to be your mom.

You know that dance parties require 90s music, that the only way to cure a broken heart is by eating a Snickers ice cream bar, and sprinkling glitter everywhere is just a part of life.

I know it won’t be like this forever. This past year you have learned to play violin, found a love for reading, and gave the best dang soldier performance during the Nutcracker that I’ve ever witnessed. You are so intentional with everything that you do, and sometimes I really do love you so much that it hurts.

You find the best in people, even when they really don’t deserve it. It used to worry me, but after this past year I’ve realized that the world needs more people like you.

Sometimes people need just a little bit of your magic. I know that your smile, despite the worst of odds, made me commit to becoming the best version of myself. It’s not fair. It’s not right. And it’s not okay in any sense of the word, but you made me so proud to be your mom by showing everyone what you are made of. Never stop standing up for what is right. You are your only limit, baby girl. I truly believe you can do anything you set your mind to because I’ve watched you do it. I watched you pick up your violin and play when all you wanted to do was hide under your blanket.

I want you to know that I support you. I love hearing all your dreams and no matter how exhausted I am, your energy gives me life. You love to create, and I am so blessed to call you mine.

So many people have told me that kids are resilient, like you can just move on and forget about the trauma you’ve been through. They’re right in a way. You have shown so much strength. But you also have the biggest heart, and you understand things that an eight year old should have no clue about. Sometimes you’re the only adult conversation I have all day. You’re an empath, like me. I want you to know that it’s not easy for me to leave home at night when I know you need me there to feel safe. But I get to spend my days watching you grow.

There have been so many positives this year. You had your first dance recital, you played basketball and had nerf wars. You went to Mexico and swam out in the middle of the ocean and slid down a slide into the water. You jumped off cliffs into the lake. You drove your scooter to your friend’s house all by yourself. You learned your multiplication facts and read your first chapter books.

I won’t ever be ready to see another year go, but I am always up for a new adventure.

Love you allllllll the way to the moon and back,

-The Zombie Mom

How a Room Makeover can Change Everything with DIY Tips

DIY, Mental Health, Motherhood

Back in December, my daughter went through a very public trauma. Our lives were completely turned upside down, and while I can’t go into the specifics of that right now, I can say that her doctor recommended a room makeover for her bedroom. I have four girls. The older three chose to share a room, and before this happened they basically just slept up there and played in the playroom downstairs. I loved having a simple, clutter free space for them to sleep at night. This made cleaning soooo much easier as toys everywhere drives me nuts, BUT it’s super hard to avoid with four kids.

First of all, this kind of wrecked us all emotionally and it was right at Christmas. We had definitely seen better days financially, but you do what you have to do for your kids, right? Alyssa is usually extremely happy, talkative, and has no trouble sleeping because she’s like the energizer bunny all day every day.

Picking the Theme: I wanted something bright with happy colors. My daughter is super obsessed with space, and the younger two really like unicorns, and everything Jojo. It took some time, but between Target, Amazon, the Dollar Store, and Lowe’s we were able to combine this theme and didn’t spend very much money! So here goes!

Glow in the Dark Stars and Twinkle Lights: I ordered these on Amazon and they were very inexpensive. The twinkle lights came in a pack of 6, and we hung them behind her pastel rainbow colored curtains that I’ll get to later. I also picked up a few extra strands of twinkle lights at the dollar store. I pinned these to the higher parts of the ceiling to keep my younger littles from pulling them down.

For the glow in the dark stars, I used spray adhesive to make sure that they stayed on the wall. They came in multiple colors, which really helped with combining the themes of space and unicorn/whimsical. The stars do come with a sticky back, but it took some time to put hundreds of stars on the wall so I only wanted to do this once.

Paint: I love getting Valspar paint samples from Lowe’s. There are always multiple colors to choose from. I used a bright blue, pink, and purple. The samples are less than $5 a piece, and one sample of each color was enough to complete my project. I painted one wall a dual toned blue and pink, and another wall blue, pink, and purple .

For the dual toned wall, I just used painters’ tape to make a line, and since there was nothing (like a bed) going against that wall, I used the glow in the dark stars to make the separation blend a little better.

For the galaxy wall, I painted a spot blue on the wall, and started blending other colors with a grocery sack. I watered the paint down just a little bit since it is pretty think.

Curtains: I got the curtains on Amazon. They are blackout curtains and this was important since I wanted my daughter to feel secure in her room again. These were such a great choice for the focal point of her room and I loved these colors even more in person.

Bedding: Since I have three girls, originally I wanted to get three different color bed spreads, but it was messing with my OCD too much. I ended up purchasing two pink bed spreads and a white bedspread with pops of purple, pink, and blue for my oldest daughter. Her bed is in the middle so it turned out super cute.

Hanging Stars: A couple years ago, I got these huge gold stars from Dollar Tree. They are actually Christmas ornaments, but they look super cute and sparkly (perfect for a little girl’s room(. I picked up a few more white stars at Target (these were also ornaments). I used ribbon that I already had at home and hung them from the ceiling.

I wanted to get the girls a doll house for Christmas and I spent hours looking for the perfect one. I love DIY projects so I thought about fixing up and older dollhouse, but I became obsessed with this one. I watched for sales and got it for about half price closer to Christmas. If they were going to have toys in their room, I wanted them to be cute.

Playhouse/Reading Loft: We had extra wood laying around the garage, so my husband put it together to make a fun reading space for the kiddos. There is a little bookshelf, and the kids grab sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, stuffed animals and whatever else they can find to hang out in there. Alyssa chose some books about space since that’s where she found comfort at the time.

I changed everything about their room, from where their beds were placed, colors, bedding…everything. My aunt and cousin helped out so much and I will forever be grateful. This was at a time when my oldest wasn’t able to sleep at night. I am so glad that she has regained a sense of normalcy through all the chaos.

If you don’t like your story, change it. Don’t just go through it, grow through it. And remember that it takes a village. We are all in this together.

Thanks for following along on our journey!

I hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out!

-The Zombie Mom

 

 

How to Make a Super Fun Summer Obstacle Course for Cheap!

DIY, Lifestyle, Mom Life, Motherhood

If this is your first time here, Welcome! I’m a mom of four girls who works night shift as a laboratory scientist. I homeschool my girls during the day, and I’m constantly trying to come up with new ideas to stay awake all day (while showing my girls the beauty in life). Corona has us all going a little crazy cooped up in the house, right? I planned to blow up the girls’ unicorn sprinkler and let them run around in the front yard, but it had a hole in it. It was way too hot to have a day outside without water so we improvised (which always does end up in the best day ever in my experience).

When we purchased our house, our realtor brought us over a moon bounce the next day!   There were five kids, infant to age 8 so to make this day fun for everyone would take a little work. Most of what I used were just items that we had in the garage. We had a smaller moon bounce/inflatable that served to keep the younger kids occupied while the older kids completed the course. The smaller inflatable was purchased second hand for super cheap.

While the moon bounce was a fun touch, it’s really not needed. This was the end of the course, and everything else leading up to it would have been enough. Here is what I used! Let’s get started!

Toys Used:

  • Two Peppa Pig Trikes (obviously don’t have to be peppa, but the trikes being small made it harder to peddle haha)
  • Hula Hoops
  • Kiddie Pool
  • Baseball and Bat
  • Pop up tent/tunnel
  • Bubbles
  • Water
  • DIY slip and slide (instructions provided)
  • Two Inflatables

Rundown of the Obstacle Course: First, the girls each had to peddle on the tiny trikes to the hula hoops. Once they picked up the hula hoops, they had to hula to the pineapple float (these fun floats were purchased from Target for about $3, I had a Flamingo also). Next, they had to slide down the slip and slide, crawl through the tunnel (pop up tent) and run to the kiddie pool. Once in the kiddie pool, they threw a ball in the air and hit it with the baseball bat. The final task was to run to the moon bounce, and climb to the top of the “wall” in the middle.

Tip: I added water, soap, and bubbles inside of the moon bounce so that it made it harder to get to the top at the end!

 

How I made the slip and slide: You can made this with any thick plastic. I used an old inflatable ball pit that had a hole. I cut it, spread it out, and we put two plastic stakes to hold the plastic in place. You can obviously make this bigger, but since it was just part of the obstacle course, it was the perfect size. You could use old pool floats and if you don’t have anything laying around, a hardware store sells rolls of thick plastic. Another tip to make it extra slippery would be to add dish soap.

Mom Tip: I like to make everything a “game” or “challenge” to keep my oldest interested. It didn’t really matter who finished the obstacle course first, but giving her tasks to complete is also a learning experience. Having ADHD myself, I know how engaging challenges can be and how I can let time slip away from me quickly without even realizing it. Escape Rooms and Obstacle Courses are along the same lines as video games and I have found this extremely effective when learning new topics.

Let me know if you found this helpful! Feel free to follow along for more DIY, life hacks, mom life, mental health, fitness tips and everything in between. 

-The Zombie Mom

 

 

 

5 Ways to Recognize Your Self Worth Even When the Situation is Less than Perfect

Motherhood

Can I just get real for a second? Being a mom isn’t “challenging”. It’s hard as hell sometimes. Recently we were put in a situation where we didn’t feel safe in our own home. Go figure, right? That’s the story of 2020 so far.

We have lived in a hotel for the past few days. I’m going through my own stuff, and trying to hold it together the best that I can for my kids. I had to tell my family about the cycle of abuse I’ve been put through that I’m still trying to figure out myself. It took me a long time to realize my worth, and I am extremely independent by nature. Admitting that I was in a situation where someone had any type of power on me wasn’t easy to say the least.


Why do people stay in situations where they are constantly put down, mentally abused, and maybe even physically abused? Because it’s a cycle. People who absuse others are master manipulators. I have found myself in relationships with people who are not good for my mental health several times, and I’ve been on the other side wondering why someone else didn’t just get themselves out of the situation.

1. One reason is that someone who is controlling and manipulating is an expert at making you doubt your self worth, which ends up making other people doubt your credibility. You find yourself having a reaction to the constant trauma that you have no idea you are even going through. If this person is so awful, why does everyone believe them? Everyone can’t be a narcissist so it has to be me, right? Maybe I did say that and I just don’t remember? Be so sure of who you are that no one can interfere with that.

2. Expectations will keep you in a bad situation longer than anything else will. Here’s why. Because when you expect someone to apologize and they ignore you, or belittle you more…you start to question the situation even more. You start to think that if things happened the way you remember them, there’s no way this person could react like that. Limit your expectations to yourself. You have to take care of your mind, and have a game plan for your goals.

3. Keeping someone in a constant state of confusion allows that person to keep control. If you’re in a situation where you start to see your worth or question of things are normal at home, this will anger the manipulator. They will devalue you, discard you, and possibly try and lift you up the next time they want something…but it’s not out of love or seeing that they were wrong. It’s just the beginning of the same cycle all over again. Realize who you are, so that no one else’s insecurities can make you question your worth.

4. Leaving is hard. Leaving with children is even harder. This can apply to friendships too. I feel like leaving is the hardest when that person will remain in your life in some way, shape or form and you question whether it’s worth it or not. I’m not saying that people can’t change, but they had to want to change for themselves. I like to think that I can fix everyone, and that everyone thinks the way that I do, but they don’t. Realize that you are enough. This situation may suck, but the words you are hearing from someone else are not something that you have to hear forever. The longer you stay, the harder it becomes and the more defeated you will feel.

5. It’s easier to control someone who is vulnerable and full of empathy. I’m a highly empathetic person. I connect to other people’s emotions, and I will genuinely cry with you. If you’re like me, it takes awhile to see all the red flags. But let me tell you, it’s hard. It’s even hard when you have a good job. It’s hard when you can support yourself because they will find a way to make it hard. Own your shit. Own it from the beginning so that you know what you did and didn’t do. Because owning your own shit doesn’t give someone else the right to piss all over you. It gives you the power to say enough is enough and fight like hell to become to person you were meant to be.

If you found this helpful, let me know! I’d be happy to answer any questions. Feel free to follow along for more tips!

-The Zombie Mom

How to Make an Escape Room…Laboratory Style

DIY, Motherhood, Work

Hey guys!

Sorry this has taken me longer to get to than I originally planned, but I hope that you find the information useful. I am attaching a link to my youtube video (first video…sorry I’m awkward) and I will list the steps that I took here as well.

If you work in a lab, you know that lab week is one of the only times we truly feel recognized for what we do. I look forward to lab week every year. With a global pandemic, obviously things have to change. We weren’t going to have food brought to us, we couldn’t have a potluck, and the normal games weren’t an option. I think this year we needed something fun more than ever, which required us to get creative.

 

 

Our shift has done an escape room outside of work more than once. We love them! Escape Rooms are such a great way to promote critical thinking and teamwork.

As a homeschooling mom, I love anything that helps my kids think outside of the box, so I am planning to create something similar for my daughter to help reinforce multiplication facts over the summer.

If you have ever done an escape room, you know that there is a basic storyline and theme.

The best advice I can give you is to stick to your theme.

Do not try to incorporate too much or you will get overwhelmed. In our case, we used Mother Goose nursery rhymes and all clues incorporated a story or character. For example, the first clue tubed down mentioned a Dr. Wolfe (in reference to the Big Bad Wolf). We tubed this down the tube station and then walked down to let our coworkers know what was going on.

The storyline mentioned a patient of Dr. Wolfe’s who turned out to be Humpty Dumpty, and the techs had to work together to figure out what happened with the patient.

We set this up in a way that everyone would have to figure out a strategy together, but they could do this while working since clues were hidden in each department. We tried to utilize clipboards that the techs would look at during specific times (while performing maintenance for example). We placed a logic puzzle on a clipboard in chemistry that would serve as the code for the final combination. Another clue utilized was a pigpen cypher, which was hidden inside of one of the tubes found.

I started thinking of riddles such as

“Mary had a little lamb, its’ fleece was white as snow. Please make sure to run your high control before your low.”

For this particular riddle, this led the tech in Urinalysis to look in the control boxes.

Another riddle used was

“Jack be nimble, Jack be quick. Jack checked for clots with a stir stick.”

For this clue, a tube was hidden inside a box of wooden sticks in Hematology. 

We hid clues in all departments, and the goal was to find all four tubes, which would spell out BANK. Obviously these were blood tubes, so the techs knew to look in blood bank. Once in blood bank, they looked for anything out of place. We place a Mother Goose book on the shelf with procedure manuals, and they used the table of contents along with a Logic Puzzle to crack the final code.

I suggest having a few extra clues, because things will likely not go as planned. In our case, one of our “big clues” was that one of the hidden tubes was tracked. Some of the clues led to a specimen ID where they would find the hidden tube, but one of the techs found this before pricing together the specimen ID. This was no big deal, but I’d suggest having a few extra clues just in case something like this happens.

The final step was to open the locker of the person who helped Humpty Dumpty. The techs solved three math problems to figure out the locker combination. Once they opened the locker, they found a note revealing that they had escaped.

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to comment. Fill out the contact form and follow, and I will send the templates your way :). These can be easily tweaked for a different theme. Thanks for reading!

The Real Reason Why Your Mom Friend is NEVER on Time or just doesn’t Show Up at All

Motherhood

I made this little clip to show what life if like trying to leave the house being a mom of four.

I’m really not trying to be a bad friend, sister, daughter, whatever…but I’m just exhausted. By the time I actually even make it to the car I forget where I’m going and it takes half a day to even make it there. Maybe it’s my ADHD, but I swear it’s the kids. I love these little monsters, but goodness, gracious…we’re just going to stay home…

We can’t find shoes, the TV remote, the dog escapes, the toddler hid the baby in the pantry…I mean I’m drained just chasing them around. And if we actually do make it there…This better be the best dang chicken you’ve ever had in your life!

Do you ever actually make it somewhere and then your kids just complain the whole time? I make some big plans at 2am while I’m at work thinking that I’m so blessed to get to spend all day with my babies. They are the sweetest little blessings, but if we make it to the playground and they don’t swing their little legs off, I might lose my mind (even more so than I already have).

I usually have advice for most mom situations considering I have four kids, but all I can tell you is that you have to pick your battles. If you make it out of the house with your four year old in 12 month pants and mismatched shoes, that’s still a win. If your baby is covered in cheese puffs, I can guarantee it won’t be the first or the last time. And if you’re one of those moms that has it all together and your children walk out of the house with Prada bags, and your baby’s diaper is made of the finest silver you can find…I salute you. But I still got my chicken either way so there’s that.