Welcome to the shit show!

I'm Barrie...I’m sarcastic, vocal, stubborn, strong willed, and kind of a pain in the ass. Welcome to my funny little parenting blog about the trials of life, kids, work, and pure exhaustion. Follow me as I fumble my way through this parenting thing. I promise, there will be lots of laughs, probably some tears, and most definitely monumental parenting blunders. Being a mom is hard, stressful, and crazy at times. Grab a drink and enjoy the shit show!


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Humor, Parenting

Christmas Morning: My Head vs. Reality

What is better than Christmas morning? Nothing. It is the most magical one-day-a-year…at least it is in my head. As parents, we want Christmas morning to be a time full of smiles, excitement, and maybe a little bit of magic for both our children and for ourselves. We hope our kids will remember our Christmases together as a family when they are grown and we can talk about the memories for years to come. Alright, maybe I watch a few too many of those sappy Hallmark Christmas movies. But somehow, every year, I expect this great, wonderful, perfect morning…and each year I am slightly disappointed that it didn’t turn out quite like I had pictured in my head.
In my head
The children quietly wake up on Christmas morning to find beautiful, white, fluffy snow slowly falling and gently covering the pine trees. Excited, to see if Santa came, they sneak down to find the beautiful Christmas tree lit and twinkling with all the amazing, perfectly wrapped presents beneath the tree. There is soft Christmas music playing in the background and the house smells of hot chocolate and fresh cinnamon rolls just out of the oven. The kids quickly run back upstairs and wake up mom and dad to come down so they can open their presents. We all sit around the Christmas tree together laughing and taking turns opening each of the gifts together as a family. Once everything is opened, the kids quietly play with their new toys while mom and dad sip their coffee and just sit back and enjoy the moment.
Reality Check!
The over-tired, over-stimulated, sugar-high children excitedly storm into our room at the break of dawn, slamming the door against the wall from the force of opening it so quickly. Not only do they scare the shit out of us with the loud slam, they proceed to jump on us and nag us until we finally give in and stumble our way out of bed…in the dark. The kids run down the stairs as fast as they can and I am heard bellowing from the top of the stairs, “Wait for mom. Don’t you dare touch those presents until I get down there” as I quickly try to get on my pants and slippers. I fumble for my camera and run downstairs as quickly as I can in hopes of capturing the magic when they first see the gifts that Santa left for them. On the way down, I step on the cat’s tail and she runs away wailing. The dog has to go outside and in the excitement, no one has let him out, so he starts to take a dump right there on the rug. Nothing like the smell of a hot, steamy pile of dog shit to make Christmas morning complete. I’m yelling for my husband to hurry up and get down here so he doesn’t miss it all. Meanwhile, the paper-ripping, box-destroying, toy free-for-all is happening just a few feet away in the living room. In a matter of minutes, the kids have torn through all the packages and their stockings without even a pause for a breath…or a single picture. The whole process lasts a whopping 5 minutes in its entirety…and there is no Christmas magic anywhere to be found. Another Christmas morning done and gone before I am even fully awake to enjoy it. And that’s a wrap.
So, the silver lining or lesson here? I guess all we can do is try to go with the flow and enjoy the moment (literally)…every loud, rushed, glorious moment of it. No Christmas morning is complete without nagging, tantrums, attitude, tears, yelling, and maybe even a little poop. Someday, we’ll look back at these “perfect” moments and wish we could have them back. Or so they say…Meanwhile, perhaps a shot of schnapps in our coffee is in order. Tis the season!
Merry Christmas everyone!

American Girl

Well, the day has finally arrived. I’ve managed to avoid this doll craziness for the last seven years. But this year, the American Girl doll has made her way into the Bismark home. We finally took the plunge and decided to give our middle daughter her first American Girl doll. Happy birthday, baby girl! I hope you love it!
These dolls are a big investment. More than I realized. I mean, I have furniture in my house that didn’t cost as much as this doll. I know there are probably families out there that have a dozen of them, but for us, it is expensive. Regardless, we decided that we wanted our little girl to get what she really wanted for her birthday.
The road to this point took about 4 years. At first, it was just the occasional magazine that would find its way to our mailbox. These marketing geniuses hunted us down and started targeting our house about the time she turned three. Most of the time I was able to quickly throw it away before she saw it. No sense in getting her hooked on something I couldn’t afford to get her. Then, as she got older the magazines started coming a little more frequently. She would find them and look at the pages over, and over again. Now, her little friends all have them and they all talk about them at school, gymnastics, and wherever else there are groups of 7-year-old girls. So now, the pressure is on. She must have one.
Not only is she the middle child and gets forgotten about more times than she should, she also has a birthday a week before Christmas. So, to buy her forgiveness and with the help from Gramma and Grandpa, she is getting her first American Girl doll for her 7th birthday.
Now, the doll that she really wanted was the gymnastics girl. She takes gymnastics herself, so she wanted a doll to be just like her. Well, I scoped out the price on that little gem and realized it would be damn near $300 for the doll and the equipment. For a DOLL. Oh hell no! So, off to Costco we went to get her the $120 package special with three outfits. Sorry kiddo! Samantha, it is. I did find a lovely gymnastics outfit on Amazon for her though. Real doll, generic accessories. That is the best we can do!
Now that we have opened the door into the American girl vortex, I am fearful we may never get out. I mean…there are people that take them out to lunch at the café at Mall of America. There is the enormous store filled with all the billion dollar accessories. I am just not sure if I am prepared to become a part of this cult of cray cray moms that get so excited to bankrupt themselves buying dolls. Let me give you a little example. The other night I was trolling Amazon trying to find alternative doll gymnastics equipment and leotards, I started reading the reviews on some of the outfits. Why? I have no fricking clue. But there I was reading review after review on what is the best outfit for a doll. There was one particular customer who was commenting on an outfit she had recently purchased. She was very upset that it came with open-toed doll shoes paired with a sweater. She went on and on about how she really wished they were closed toed shoes because closed toed shoes go much better with sweaters for the cold weather. Wait. Are you kidding me? I had to reread to be sure I understood. Ahem…Number one. Do you realize you are talking about a doll? I am really sorry to shatter all your hopes and dreams, but dolls are not real and they don’t feel temperature nor do they care if their shoes are open toed or close toed. Why do you? Number two. How in the hell do you have the time to comment and review clothes for dolls? I mean…I guess I was reading them. But still…if you have nothing better to do than critique the style of shoes for your doll, perhaps you should try to find something more meaningful to do. Just a suggestion. My fear…I am going to turn into one of these crazy American Girl outfit Nazis.
Crazy or not, I have entered this doll world. We also have another younger daugher as well, so I think I will be part of this for awhile! She was ecstatic to get her Samantha doll and hasn’t put her down all weekend. I do love to see her so very happy!
Today, I’m complaining about how expensive and ridiculous all this is. Tomorrow, I am going to be having tea with a couple of dolls. Welcome to the other side.
Humor, Relationships

MAN-ual: A Translation to Female Logic

As a service to all the men of the world that seem to be totally lost and confused when it comes to communicating with women, I feel it is my duty to give you a little help. Selfishly, I am really tired of having to explain myself over and over again and never being understood. I mean, you would think that by now men would have figured out the hidden messages we are sending them. Is it really that hard?
The truth is, women are complicated sometimes. I’ll admit it. Quite frankly, half the time I don’t  think we even really understand ourselves. So, men everywhere…here is my valuable gift to you. This is a list of common phrases you probably need help with interpreting because they don’t mean what you think they mean.
You’re welcome.
Fine:  Actually, this means the opposite of fine. It’s not fine. The argument needs to end. We know we are right and you need to shut your mouth. Discussion over.
I don’t care: Yes, yes I do care. I care a lot. Let’s talk about it more.
Nothing: Really means something. Figure it out. It probably means that everything is wrong and everything is not ok. You should be scared.
Go ahead, do what you want: ALERT! This is not permission. It is a dare. Just see what happens. You shouldn’t do it unless you want to experience the wrath.
That’s ok: It’s really not ok. We are actually thinking about how you will be punished for your mistake.
Wow: This means that I’m amazed at your stupidity. Don’t be confused. This is NOT a compliment.
Whatever: Our way of saying F you.
Forget it: Don’t forget it. Let’s keep talking about it. Probably for a long time.
Don’t worry about it: No, you should worry. If I’ve asked you 100 times to do something and you don’t, I’ll just do it myself. I won’t be happy. So you should worry because you’ll pay for this later.
It’s up to you: Really, it’s me deciding here…you just think you are. The decision has already been made. Isn’t the correct decision obvious?
Hopefully, with the help of this MAN-ual, men everywhere will be able to figure this shit out. Study this. Learn this. Really, you should do it. Stop annoying your significant other by not really understanding her.


Good luck to you!


Life Love and Dirty Dishes
Humor, Parenting

All I Want For Christmas

Christmas is upon us. For weeks now, my family has been talking about what we want for Christmas. The kids are making their long lists for Santa and adding to them with every new commercial they see.
I have also been thinking about my very own Christmas list. Of course it includes the politically correct things like world peace, an end to starvation, health…or even a million dollars, or a day at the spa.
But here’s the thing. If I am being totally honest, I really don’t want those things. Sure, they are really important things, but selfishly, there are a few other things that I desperately want for Christmas this year.
Without further ado, here is my REAL Mom Christmas list:
  • I want to stop repeating the same thing over and over and over again and have one of the kids listen the first time.
  • I want to drive a vehicle without garbage, crumbs, and rotten food all over the backseat.
  • I want the kitchen counter tops to be free of multiple piles of papers and garbage that we don’t need to keep.
  • I want to watch an adult TV show in its entirety without having to pause it 15 times because someone got out of bed.
  • I want to sit down with my coffee or my computer for more than five minutes at a time before someone says, “Mommmmm… Will you get me…water, milk, breakfast, a Band-Aid, paper, Kleenex, pants…”
  • I want to look in to the kitchen from my cozy spot on the couch and NOT see all the cupboard doors open and every single light left on.
  • I want to arrive to church on time, and sweat free. Just once.
  • I want all the socks to have matches. Where are the fricking matches?
  • I want to have a pen in the house that works and that is kept where it is supposed to be in the drawer. Just one.
  • I want to have one meal…just once, where the kids don’t fight over who gets to sit next to mom.
  • Even better, I want to sit down through an entire meal.
  • I want one day where I don’t have to watch the Disney Channel and here the song “Hey Jessie”.
  • I want someone else to do the kid pick up after work. Someone else to wrangle the toddler and the two school-agers. Someone else to carry the backpacks, art projects, boots, hats, gloves, and screaming toddler through the snow in the frigid outdoors to the car.
  • I want someone to listen when I say “don’t eat in the living room” and really not eat in the living room.
  • I want A silent night. A peaceful, quiet, calm night.
There you have it. Mom’s REAL Christmas list. In the end, I know I will get perfume, a pair of mittens, or a kitchen gadget. And that’s okay. Even though whatever I get won’t be matched socks, a clean kitchen, a meal with no interruptions, or a silent night, whatever I do get will come with love.
Merry Christmas!
Humor, Working Mom

Reindeer Games…The Dreaded Office Christmas Party

Tis the season! Companies everywhere are hosting the annual “performance” when they pretend they care about their employees for that one very special, drunken night. The awkward boozing and schmoozing with upper management and your co-workers is at an all-time high. Personally, nothing gets me more into the Christmas spirit than being forced to hang out with a bunch of intoxicated co-workers, only a handful of which I can tolerate, late into the night after a long day of working with those very same people. If I am being honest, I don’t like spending time with most of you, even when I am getting paid for it.
How wonderful and generous that our fabulous companies want to throw us a party! How great for morale! Ahem…only problem is…no one actually wants to go. Yes, insensitive bosses everywhere, it’s true. Most of your employees really do hate attending your annual holiday party. Not everyone enjoys drinking, getting harassed by drunk people, and eating the god-awful food you have catered in for the big event. If I was going to have a night out without kids, it would be with my husband and sure as hell wouldn’t be spent with my intoxicated boss.
Those of us who are lucky enough to be in administrative support roles sometimes get the worst of these parties. First, we are forced to be on some dumb planning committee and attend pointless meetings about a party we don’t care about nor do we want to attend. Then, you expect us to plan the party, coordinate all the details, set up the party, and then clean up afterwards. Wait…didn’t you say this was a Christmas party to thank your employees, increase employee morale, and wish them the happiest of holidays? Hmmmm…something doesn’t seem right.
Here are some other reasons why I hate these dumb, forced, drunken bashes.
  • I talk to you jokers every day, all week long. What makes you think I want to spend my evening with you also?
  • Yes, it’s expected that we be there for “team building” I get that. But here is an idea, how about you do it during the day while I am already at work so I get paid for it. Don’t make it more stressful by having it one evening in the middle of the week so your employees have the added stress and guilt of having to make other arrangements for their kids pick-up, transportation to and from sports, and bed time. Not everyone has a paid nanny at their beckon call.
  • The food tastes like shit. Always. We don’t want to be forced to eat nasty food because your best friend owns a “catering” company and you get some sort of discount or kick back for using them. Don’t trade your employees for brownie points with your BFF.
  • Surprisingly, most women don’t enjoy fending off drunk asses as you try to harass us, dance with us, or be inappropriate with us. Really, we aren’t interested.
  • Sorry, but we don’t want to listen your drunken sob story about your divorce or about how you can’t afford to go to Hawaii this year for Spring Break because numbers are down. Really. I. Don’t. Care.
  • And my favorite, you won’t even let us socialize with the people that we want to talk to. You criticize us for hanging out with the people that we work with every day and not “mingling” with other departments and managers. So really, you force us to go, and then force us to talk to people we don’t want to. I can’t imagine why no one wants to go!
I’m not saying don’t have a holiday party. There are probably companies out there that really do mean well and throw great parties where none of these things happen. Just not any that I have ever worked for. I’m just saying please respect your employees, and don’t pretend that a holiday party during the busiest time of the year, in the middle of the week after a long day of working is a perk. If you want to make your employees feel appreciated, then motivate them, respect them, respect their time, and give them a break from work.


Assholes, we drink because of you…we don’t want to drink with you.


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“Real Life” Lessons

Read, read, read. Teachers are always discussing the importance of reading for young children. All young children love to have their parents read them their favorite stories over and over again. Then, once they enter elementary school, the push increases even more as they begin learning to read on their own. Read, read, read. While I don’t disagree that reading is important and essential, it gets pretty boring reading the same story over and over again…at least it does for me. I’m tired of the usual stories about fluffy dogs who find themselves getting into mischief or superheroes that save the world just in the nick of time. I say we change it up a little bit. Let’s teach our kids some valuable real-world lessons.
Here are some short book reviews on some “not so typical” children’s books. Let’s keep it real, kids.
Dad’s New Wife “Chuck”
This is a lovely little tale about Jimmy’s dad getting re-married to his new “mommy,” Chuck. Follow Jimmy through the disappointment when he learns how judgmental and mean the other kids on the playground are about his new life.
Four Letter Words to Share on the Bus
D%#n, Sh!t, F&$%…This educational masterpiece teaches your kids to pronounce all these gems correctly and learn to use them all in the right context. Teach them young. Nothing means business like a 5-year-old dropping the F bomb. Kids will listen to that sh*%
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Life Love and Dirty Dishes
Being A Wordsmith
Humor, Parenting


Being a perfect mom…is there even such a thing? Pinterest wants us to think so. But I don’t buy it. Not anymore anyway. With my first child, I truly thought things had to be perfect. He was always well-dressed, clean, and had all the latest baby toys and gear. Then, the second baby came along unexpectedly. I had every intention of doing the same things with her, but there was less of me to go around. She was a little less perfectly dressed, maybe a little dirtier, and had all the hand-me-down toys and baby gear. I had to learn to let go of the perfection a little. Then, along came baby number three. That’s when the shit hit the fan. In just about every way possible. Her clothes rarely match, sometimes I completely forget to bathe her, and she plays with garbage and rocks. But guess what? All three of my kids are ok, healthy, and smart. AND the world is still spinning!
Over the years, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I can’t do it all, even though I want to. Nothing is perfect, no matter how bad I want it to be. And guess what? The world didn’t end and I am alive to tell you all about it. The world didn’t end when I used the 6-year-old Pack N’ Play and baby swing instead of buying a new one. Life went on even though the baby didn’t have a “new” Christmas dress but instead wore something from a garage sale. These are some other things, that to my surprise, DIDN’T cause the world to end.
Wrinkly Pants – My kids wear them pretty much every day. They just dig them out of the laundry basket where they have been sitting since the week before. Hey, at least they are clean! The world is still spinning. I’m even pretty sure they have friends despite the crumpled clothes.
Non-Pinterest-themed Birthday Parties – My kids are perfectly happy with paid for parties at the local movie theater or bowling alley. No handmade invites, cakes, or party favors here! AND they have just as much fun.

Mismatched Clothes – It’s just not worth the fight. I let my three-year-old wear pretty much whatever she wants (within reason). A pink floral shirt, black striped pants, and two mismatched socks…why not. Leotard? Sure thing! She may look like a freak, but she is happy an I’m not late for work. Win – Win.

Yellow School Bus – My kids ride the old, yellow school bus to school every day. They also stand OUTSIDE at the bus stop and wait to be picked up. I wish I could drive them to school every day, but it just isn’t realistic for our family. Amazingly, no one has died because of this.

PB & J – We eat it for dinner. A lot. It’s quick and easy and the kids will actually eat it. It could be worse, right? We are all still here to talk about it.
See? No earth-ending catastrophes or deaths. Everyone has survived the horror of my “less than perfect” parenting. At least so far. All I can do is my best. And I guess my best is subpar…but I can hope that sometimes I might just be perfect in my child’s eyes.
Humor, Parenting

How Mommy Stole Christmas

Tis the season. I spent most my day today Christmas shopping for my kids. By the looks of the Target I visited, the rest of the world had the exact same idea. People were everywhere, in fact, there were literally no shopping carts available when I entered the store and I had to grab one from someone who was leaving. This was not a good sign. Nothing gets me in the Christmas spirit quite like pushing a shopping cart through a jam-packed Target store filled with oblivious shoppers. There I was roaming the crowded aisles filling up my cart with unnecessary toys and gadgets and crossing each of them off my long list one by one. Kitty Surprise…Check. Football… Check. Legos…check.  Shopkins…check.
Amid all the chaos, I started reminiscing about Christmases past. All the childhood memories of shaking my presents under the tree for weeks and impatiently waiting for the big day to arrive. The more recent memories of staying up late on Christmas Eve sorting and getting all the gifts wrapped perfectly for my own children. Thinking about my children waking up at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning and my husband and I watching their excitement as they open the packages that Santa left under the tree. And then there is the glorious memory of the year mommy threw the Christmas tree to the ground in pure frustration. Yep. You read that right. Mom lost her shit and threw that damn oversized tree straight to the ground. Fully decorated I might add.
Before you judge, let me tell you the whole story. It was one of the years that we decided to get a real Christmas tree. The whole family went up to the local tree lot and we picked out the biggest, fullest Christmas tree they had. No joke. This thing was massive. We have vaulted ceilings, so a 10-ft. tree should fit just fine. So, we strapped that bad boy to the top of the car and headed home for the decorating festivities.
We spent that entire evening setting up the tree and getting it decorated just so. Well…as perfect as you can get with a two-year-old. There it was…. the beast stood 10 tall feet into the air. It was fully decorated with lights, garlands, and ornaments. It was really beautiful. And then…it fell over. Crashed to the ground with a huge thud, spilling all the water from the tree stand onto the carpet and ornaments crashed and shattered everywhere. Great. We cleaned it up and back up it went. Phew. Crisis averted…Nope.
Over the next couple days, the damn tree fell over two or three more times.  Each time, we woke up to find spilled water all over the carpet and broken ornaments everywhere. Honestly, I’m surprised that I didn’t lose my shit earlier.  But like idiots, we just kept putting it back up.
One night, we were sitting in the living room relaxing and watching TV. Then it happened again…the damn thing started tipping. My husband leaped up and ran over to the tree and caught it before the whole thing crashed to the ground. Nice save. He asked me to hold it up while he did something to the tree stand so we could stand it back up. There I was holding the heavy, fully decorated 10-foot tree. The needles were starting to scratch up my arms, my back was starting to hurt, and the sap was all over my hands. I don’t know what exactly my husband was doing, but it was taking WAY too long. I had enough.  So, I yelled out in frustration and threw that massive bitch to the ground. Ornaments shattered, water spilled, husbands yelled, and children cried. I was done. The Grinch threw the Christmas tree.
After it all happened, and I realized what I had done, I remember turning around and seeing my two-year-old son just standing there crying and scared. Poor kid. He didn’t understand what had happened. He just watched mommy the Grinch smash his beautiful Christmas tree. Sadly, that will not be the last time he will see mommy lose her shit. I think he is adjusting well.
Lesson learned. After four attempts, the Bismark geniuses determined that the tree stand we had was just too small for the massive tree. We ended up getting a new tree stand and thankfully, it never happened again.


Well, there you have it. That folks, is how the Grinch stole Christmas. Merry fricking Christmas.
kids, Parenting

Then There Were Three…To My First Child

You are my first. That will never change. The day you were born, was the day that our world changed forever. Then there were three. The beginning of our family started with you

Even though you are no longer my only baby, you will always be my first baby. That is something special that no one else in our family can ever say. I know you feel forgotten sometimes amidst the chaos of our hectic lives. 

I understand that you feel I treat you differently than your two little sisters. It is hard to share the attention. But I need  you to know that you have something very special.

You have something that your sisters will never, ever have. You are the first. 

kids, Parenting

I’m Watching You, Love Mom

You are my children. You are my life. It’s my job to make sure you are safe and to teach you to make the right decisions and I want the very best for you. I want you to be independent and learn to make your own choices, but please know that I am always here if you need help or direction. 
I trust you, but I know there will be times you try to sneak one past me. Guess what? I will know. Mom’s just know. Like it or not. Mom’s know.
I know when you “sneak” three granola bars and stand in the pantry to eat them.

Read what else I see HERE!

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