Carbon Monoxide Detector (and our plan)

(Enter disclaimer text)  I was in a dead sleep, dreaming the night away, when Greg shook me and told me I had to get up. Our carbon monoxide detector was beeping. (Didn’t we have a plan?)

PRO TIP: Before you read further, think about your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Do you have them? Are they in working order? If not, stop reading and get yourself a carbon monoxide detector then come back over here and read what happened to us. 

(We didn’t have a plan.) Being the gen-x’ers-on-the-millenial-border we are, we Google’d the obvious. We needed to get out and call 911.

Thank goodness we have a Carbon Monoxide Detector.

Carbon Monoxide Detector

It took us an incredibly longer than I like to admit time for me to scoop up the babies and wake the big kids while Greg grabbed the dogs and car seats. I got the kids out, but didn’t know where Greg was, so I started to shake and cry, yelling into the back and front doors while my four kids sat on our porch in the middle of the night. Arianna finally spotted him, bringing our van to the front of the house (from our detached garage). Lesson 1? Have a plan and practice it. Time ourselves and get better at it. Have keys handy!

I got 911 on the phone (the 3rd time in my life to call) and somehow calmly explained / answered their questions. The fire whistle blew and the kids started to ask questions. Greg had them all buckled in and drove them out of the way of the trucks.

After what felt like forever (but was really only 4 minutes), two members of the fire department arrived. What irked me was that none of the houses on our street have really clearly marked house numbers. Greg was waving wildly and I was so glad it wasn’t a medical emergency. Lesson 2? Get bigger, bolder house numbers.

The fire truck arrived and after everyone geared up, they went in to detect the issue. It warranted enough of a check to call the gas company and for us to remain outside. I stayed in the van with the kids…running the van in the heat of the night. (Looking back, now I’m wondering if that’s what I really should have done, seeing that we were outside due to carbon monoxide and all…)

After almost three hours, the teams determined it was okay to go back in; however, they turned off the gas to our boiler and had us put in a service call for it. Turns out, the boiler is old (hello, so’s this house) and needs replaced before winter.

The good news is that we are safe, and none of us were impacted by the silent killer that is carbon monoxide. The bad news is that boilers are not current technologies and won’t be exactly covered under our home warranty (sigh). Again, the good news is that we are safe and that we’ve learned our lessons.

We need a plan, and so do you. Let this be your lesson to know what to do when the alarms go off in your house (or get yourself a carbon monoxide detector if you don’t have one – we suggest this (via our affiliate link) combination smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector with voice command). Most of all, have a plan on how you’ll get everyone out, stay out, and do it fast.

So, what’s your plan?


(My plan the next day was to enjoy a late, fruity breakfast. I vague posted about it on Instagram, now here is the whole story!)

Bzz! If you need tips on what to do to create your plan, check out these room-by-room tips on (from UL – the safety people!).

Go Be A Kid! (Tips for Independent Play)

Enter disclaimer text (These tips for independent play come from lessons I learned via Genius of Play.)


Every.Single.Day…we have to yell GO BE A KID to Arianna and Evan. I can be paying the bills, yet they’d rather be staring at me and claiming they are bored, oh so bored because life is oh so boring and it makes my Irish stir up. This week, instead of yelling, I am making a pact with my kids. They are going to go be a kid (aka Independent Play) for at least 60 minutes a day without parental intervention.


Back in July, I signed a pledge with the Genius of Play that I would help them reach their goal to “help guarantee 1,000,000 hours of pure fun (and beneficial) play this year” among American kids. Play is important because (according to Genius of Play), “through play, kids learn how to interact with others and develop skills critical for childhood development”.

Independent Play

So, how am I going to make sure my kids go be a kid this week? I’m going to encourage independent play! Genius of Play offers up some tips for Independent Play including:

Find toys that encourage open-ended play

Role-play toys (dress-up clothes, pretend food sets, cars, dolls, action figures, etc.), construction and craft materials (blocks and bricks, art supplies, etc.) and kids’ instruments are great for open-ended fun!


Start with shorter play periods of five minutes and work your way up to longer stretches of time. Remember that it’s actually okay for your kids to get bored – oftentimes they’ll get creative and find an exciting new way to play all on their own.

Take time to observe

Even if you’re not actively playing with your child, you can still watch! It’s important to make note of how successfully they’re playing on their own, what works and what doesn’t.

Independent Play

Ok. So I am not going to just yell that they need to go play. This mom is going to do the following this week to make play time successful:

  • I’ll be sure that they are aware of where the toys that encourage open-ended play are located in their rooms. They both have “Dress Up” totes in their rooms, but we probably could use a review of what’s in them because I’m not sure that it all fits any more.
  • Even though it isn’t necessarily called out in the tips from the Genius of Play, I’m going to set a timer for 5 minutes when they go off to play alone. If all is going well, I’ll stop by their rooms to praise them for playing on their own when it dings.
  • I’ll watch, but from a distance. My desk sits in a location that I can see into their rooms, so this is a bonus for me. I will get a little bit of work done and ensure that they are playing.

If I can do those three things all five weekdays this week, we’re sure to be yelling GO BE A KID a whole lot less. And just like anything in this parenting thing, there is still a lot more to learn when it comes to teaching kids how to play. The Genius of Play campaign is full of ideas to help YOU raise smarter, happier, healthier kids. Check them out at and on Facebook.

As I tell my kids…there’s not enough time to be a kid, and plenty of time to be an adult. Go enjoy it! And parents? It’s our second chance at being a kid, so go have fun, too!

What are your momfessions for getting your kids to play? Did you take the pledge to play? Tell us about it!