Captain's Log

Captain's Log, supplemental. We are into our third week of a sickness that started with the littlest human in the family unit and then sickness spread to the rest of the colony. The littlest human's spirit and energy level never seemed to be deterred by the virus she was battling (and spreading). As Captain, I have been affected by the sickness and I am also worried about my mental health...the days have seemed to last forever. I see no end in sight.

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I started to write this post three weeks ago when Little Miss first got sick...and then I got sick. I started getting the cold/flu on my birthday...what a bummer. And then I got very sick and of course my husband was away for work. I basically had to have the children raise themselves. Below is documentation of that stage of the illness. 

Live now; make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again.
— Jean-Luc Picard

There have been so many things that have happened in the last three weeks while we have been down with this sickness...

  • St Patty's Day
  • My anniversary with my hubby.
  • My birthday.
  • My first NBA game.
  • I started teaching again.
  • Lost and found the hamster in the house.  
  • Spring Break for both kiddos. 
  • Staycation time with hubby. 
  • Baseball started. 
  • March for Our Lives.
  • Out of town guests.
  • A ton of yard work...mulch and rock for days.
  • Easter
  • A million news headlines that make me want to rip out my hair. 

Oh, and Stephen Hawking died. Interesting note...Stephen Hawking is the only person to play himself on Star Trek. Oh yep, I am totally a Trekkie. 

Stephen Hawking was a crazy smart man who was an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author, and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge. He suffered from ALS. And one of my favorite quotes from him has nothing to do with physics or the cosmos, but about life.

Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.
— Stephen Hawking

Goodness...ain't that the truth? I have been in a time warp the last three weeks because the family has been sick and life marched on. Life doesn't stop for anyone...it keeps going. Life is hard and yet it is beautiful, life is unexpected and sometimes heartbreaking...through the good and the bad...life is funny. We have to find the humor in the day to day or this existence can be just crushing. 

I hope you find the funny today...even when your family is sick and everything goes to pot. 

Until next time...live long and prosper...and laugh your ass off. 

We're One!

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A year ago I started Posing as Parents. I have always had a family blog with my husband, but this was meant to be something a little different. This blog was a new project...personal, yes, but also more of a space for others as well.

In the last year, I have learned some things. I wish I would have blogged more regularly. I wish I would have used social media more for Posing as Parents. And I wish I wouldn't let this be one of the first things I neglect when life gets too busy. I love it here...I love it because of you. I started this blog to help create a sense of community. 

I have said it a million times...in a world that we are literally connected 24 hours a day, there is so much disconnect. Perhaps ironic that this a blog, but I can't invite you all over to sit for a spell. But YOU can invite others to be a part of your community. 

Why would you want to do that? You are busy, you don't have time for other people...people you don't know. That sounds like the worst. Can't someone else cultivate some community?

No. 

We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.
— Mr. Fred Rogers

It all starts with us. Every one of us. We are in this together. In the immortal words of Eminem, "You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime." This is it kids. This is our time here and now, make the most of it and don't you want it better than you found it? Not worse?

I talk about community and ways to create community over and over again because I truly believe it is our salvation. If you feel responsible for your neighbor you will find ways to feed them, clothe them, educate them, keep them safe, and love them. 

We have also talked about parties here on the blog. While they may not save the world, they sure can make people feel happy and valued and that is a step in the right direction. So here is a Quick Tip on how to throw a party. 

5 Tips to Throwing a Quick Party

  1. Get some flowers. Flowers (or some type of greenery) makes it feel festive and steps it up a notch. 
  2. Get out something fancy. Whether it is a cake stand, real china, a teapot, whatever...at least have one "real" dish out. Yes, paper plates can be a lifesaver with a crowd, but have at least one piece that classes up the gathering.
  3. Get your treat on. Buy a cake, make some cookies, or even something savory. Who says you can't celebrate with fried chicken or a beautiful salad. Pick something special and unique to the person/thing you are celebrating. 
  4. Get up a decoration or two. Paper Chains, Paper Tassels, or Pendants...it makes no difference what it is. Just hang something up to show that the space is different and that you are ready to celebrate.
  5. Get your stress out. The number one thing in having a party is having fun. Don't worry about it not being perfect. It totally won't be perfect and that is okay. It is about loving the ones that you are with. Enjoy the party and the time with people you like (or maybe love). 

I will leave you with another Mr. Rogers quote. Really because I love him so much.  Mr Rogers and my Nana are who I strive to be every day. But I think this encapsulates what I hope to do here at Posing as Parents and in the world. Maybe this will speak to you too.

As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has—or ever will have—something inside that is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression.
— Mr. Fred Rogers

Thanks for doing our human job with me. I hope that we can do even more for this next year. Thanks for being here and I will see you soon! 

Recipe for Happiness

Her Favorite Treat

Her Favorite Treat

 

Energy Balls

Chocolate Balls that Kids Hate

Makes: 4-8 Balls

Name of image (title of post is fine)

Prep time:

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • 2 Tablespoons Cacao
  • 1/4 Cup Almonds
  • A few Figs or Dates

Instructions:
  1. Mix it-Here it is...just dump it in the blender or food processor and crush and mix it all up.
  2. Roll it up-Here is another hard part-roll up the concoction into about 4 large balls or 8 small balls. The mixture will be wet and not super solid.
  3. Set it-pop them in the freezer or the refrigerator so they get harder. And then eat them! Easy Peasy!
He loves them!

He loves them!

Okay, one of my pet peeves when looking for a recipe is having to read a ginormous story before I get to the recipe. Dang, I don't need to know all the back story all at once. Maybe the story is great, but maybe I just want the recipe. So I am starting off with the recipe for this blog post. This recipe is an approximation...you know I hate to follow the constraints of a recipe and maybe you do to. I like to just eye it. 

This recipe was adapted from the millions of energy balls or fat balls that are out there. I made them so my kids would have some healthier sweet treats to satisfy our family's sweet tooth. I was so proud of myself. 

As you can see from the photos...my children weren't exactly crazy about them. My daughter acted like I poisoned her and then she immediately ate some candy to get the horrible taste out of her mouth. My son was a little more discreet, but obviously he isn't a big fan either. That is okay. I like them.

We have been focusing on what we eat lately. In my mind we are such healthy eaters, but then I realize that we get lazy and we have to reset. This is our reset. We are loosely following the Mediterranean Diet. It isn't hard because it is basically how we eat, besides the sweets. We have all want a little sweet treat now and then. So I thought I would make a healthy sweet. 

But, nope. They aren't having it.

That is okay...they can have real sweets. It is all about moderation. 

Right now in our family we are having a hard time with a screen time addiction...mainly with the under 10 crowd, but all of us could use a reset as well. This happens nearly every year during this time of the year. We get stuck inside with the weather and screen time fills our time. In the summer the kids are playing and out and about. But winter and even during the wet spring we get too much screen time. 

We are in reset mode. Diet, screens, and I would even say with our house. The first of the year is all about organization and then comes spring cleaning. We all need a reset once in awhile (or once a day, whatever, there is no judgement). 

Isn't that part of the recipe for happiness? Just being able to reset...something isn't working? Then start over. Nothing is set in stone. My kids get hung up on if something isn't right or it isn't how they want it or they screw up at something. They always talk about things not being perfect. Nope, things aren't perfect...but the beauty in this amazing life is that we get another chance, again, and again, and again. Things may not be perfect, but you have the opportunity to change that and make it the best you can. 

And if you don't like these energy balls then hit the reset button and start again. 

See you soon!

 

 

The Skunk Outside

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I was volunteering in my daughter's preschool class the other day and they had a lock down drill. I don't know if you have ever been in a lock down drill or if you know what one is. Basically a lock down drill is when you practice what you would do if there was an intruder, a shooter, or some sort of criminal act. The drill is to go to a safe room and lock all doors and shut the windows tight as you darken the room. I didn't have these drills when I was a child in the 1980's. In Arkansas we had tornado drills and I am suspect that the folder I had to put over my head really would be helpful, but I digress.

We actually had to leave my daughter's classroom, because there are too many windows. The children are targets in this room. So as I walked into the dark room with my daughter and her class and one of the teachers in the "safe" room helped explain why we were there. She quieted her voice and told us to be silent...we didn't want the skunk outside to hear us. She gently told the children that there was a stinky skunk trying to get in and we didn't want him to know where we were so we had to be still and quiet. Some kids laughed, some kids cried, but mostly they were so very quiet. 

These are preschoolers.

A couple of days later there was another school shooting. Another one.

High school students and brave teachers and coaches are gone. They are dead. They went to school on VALENTINE'S DAY and were killed. 

There are no words...just action. I am amazed by the survivors who refuse to be quiet. They are children.  The survivors who will not back down about talking about change...it is not too soon for them...it is indeed too late. These survivors are already talking about gun control. These children are doing things that adults have been too afraid to do...these children have been victims of gun violence (this week mind you) and are currently undergoing a crazy traumatic event and they are already mobilizing and taking action. God bless them. 

No one should have guns that can kill that many people so quickly. No one. Yes, we do need gun control. And yes, we do need to focus on the heroes not the people who do these things. And yes, we do need to provide mental care for people who need it. And yes, we do need to build community. 

Personally, I have connected with my local chapter of Moms Demand Action. You don't need to be a mom to join the group and they don't want to take away your guns. They want common sense gun control. Sign me up! 

And for me, one of the most important things is for me to build community where ever I go. We are connected 24/7 and yet we don't have real connections in our neighborhoods or in our communities.

Honestly, I am just doing my damnedest to be more like Mr. Rogers every day. He had it right...he showed us why we should love our neighborhoods and how we are interconnected, he taught us to love one another, and he taught us that we were valuable...that we all had something to add to our community.  

Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.
— Mr. Fred Rogers

So we have some radical love to share and some major changes in our current legislation that need to happen. Oh, and a bunch of other work. But we have to make a change. We can't send our babies to get an education and have them fear for their lives. And we have learned there is no place safe...not concerts, not malls, not churches, and not at schools. There are too many skunks getting away with too many horrible things. We have to make a change.

Love one another...you know, the really hard ones to love...them too. 

PHOTOGRAPH BY JOEL SARTORE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

PHOTOGRAPH BY JOEL SARTORE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Oh, and I actaully love skunks...they are just serving as a metaphor today. 

New Year...New You?

How is your new year going? Did you make resolutions? Did you break resolutions yet?

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I like the "clean slate" feeling of a new year...both for the first of the year and when birthdays roll around. I like the time to set some intentions. Not necessarily resolutions, but intentions of what I want for this next stage of life. 

I hate the phrase "New Year...New You." I don't know why it just bugs me. Yes...change what you want to change. Transform the way you want to transform. Be a damn butterfly! But know that the past is what makes us...the good and the bad. We build from our foundations. And if our foundations are shaky we reinforce them as we go...with love, with resources, with healthy relationships...with good intentions and even better actions. 

With the beginning of 2018 I am stuck in this weird reflective loop in my head...the big moments in my life...the small ones that stuck. I think it has something to do with the political climate, with the #metoo movement, with having kids and navigating through these times...and if I am honest it probably has something to do with being 42 and a birthday in the not so distant horizon. It is the season to take inventory of who we are, what we stand for, and the direction we want to go.

Every generation leaves behind a legacy. What that legacy will be is determined by the people of that generation. What legacy do you want to leave behind?
— John Lewis

These are lessons we want our kids to learn as well...to know who they are and what they believe. I get stuck on some of the hard parts of my life and wanting desperately for my children to not have to learn those types of lessons, I long for safety and security for them. Of course, life won't be all roses, but I hope that it mostly is for them...I am their mama...that is my job.

So for this year I am setting some intentions (with some realizations that help put life in perspective). And hopefully helping the kiddos do the same.

My intentions...

  • I want to be more organized. I want less clutter in my world. However, I am thankful for a home for shelter and to be messy in. 
  • I want to get in better shape and exercise more. Yet, I am thankful for a strong body that is healthy.
  • I want to eat more whole foods in our diets. And I acknowledge and am grateful that I am able to provide healthy choices for the family and that our pantry is full of food. 
  • I want to save more money. But I am thankful for the money we have and for the jobs that sustain our needs.
  • I want to help my children thrive in their educational settings. And still I understand that my children have a first rate education, that they go to schools with working heat and electricity, and in new buildings that aren't making them sick. 
  • I want to spend more meaningful time with our family. I pray for those who aren't able to be with their families do to various entities, laws, or ideals that keep them apart. 
  • I want to do good in this world. And I realize my own privilege and I chose to fight for representation for the voices that aren't heard or that aren't as loud. 
Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

For my children for 2018 and this life...

  • Be kind.
  • Be helpful.
  • Be a good friend. 
  • If something is wrong speak up.

That is all I have for them...that is enough. I mean, I'd love for them to set the intention to clean up after themselves, or do things the first time I ask them, but one step at a time sweet Jesus. I am not expecting a New Year...New You from them either. 

We are all doing the best we can. We just need to realize that we are all in this together and give each other a helping hand. We are stronger together. 

See you soon friends. 

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'Twas the Night

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It is the night before Christmas. Like many parents, I am helping Santa do everything in my power to make Christmas morning magical.

I hope this holiday season you have had joy, that you have been surrounded by people you love. If you aren't able to be in the presence of your loved ones I hope that memories sustain you. 

This season is full of activities.

This season is full of crafting.

I thought I would write you a few times the last couple of weeks, but we have had every sickness under the sun. 

Last week, I even wrote a little poem about my family and the sickness. 

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house were sickies who like to wipe snot on my blouse.

Mom is so tired, the only way she shows that she cares. Is to line up the teacups on the counter so germs are not shared.

And the kids were snuggled up in the beds, one with tissue and one with a puke bucket right by their heads.

And mama is in her yoga pants writing this ditty, while dad is away for work again in another city.

I am here texting, emailing, and calling the schools while trying not to cause a clatter. I am praying for the kids to nap, for just ten minutes would really matter.

We have gone through the Netflix Christmas movies in a flash. We tore through so many there’s bound to be some screen time backlash.

The list of ailments between them both seem to grow. I think my weariness is surely starting to show.

When, what to my tired eyes should appear,
But another type of virus showing up here.

With my mother instinct so swift and quick,
I get out all the tools to help with the sick.

An arsenal of goodies the kids thought were lame,
But I persisted and called them by name;

”Honey, tissues, saltines, and soup!
Oh, ginger syrup, essential oils, and Lysol to boot!”

If children are bored mischief they will try,
When they are soon met with an obstacle it is mom’s mad sigh.

So down to the basement they flew. With hands full of toys, that they threw all a-strew.

And then, when I thought I could take no more. A big glass of milk spilled all over the floor.

As I drew in a deep breath, the kids were scurrying around. My yelling and screaming was by far the only sound.

The kids looked scared and it made me feel sad.
As we cleaned up the milk, I assured them they weren’t bad.

My lost temper was not something I could take back. But I could certainly make up for the empathy I lacked.

As we talked, their eyes twinkled and looked so merry. I couldn’t tell if it was the sickness that made their cheeks the color of berries.

I told them I was sorry for yelling and letting my temper show. They ask for some make-up toys and I promptly said “no.”

Christmas is coming much sooner than we think,
The sicknesses, the shopping, and the busyness are making me want to drink;

The pressure is mounting with each passing day,
My to-do lists are really making me cray.

But for today I focus on making my crew not sick,
Some R&R will hopefully do the trick;

The last minute shopping and the prospect of wrapping is something I dread. I have a cold too and I can hear the calling of my bed.

But for now, I am on mama duty and I will get to work. I really don’t want to be that bah humbug jerk,

And as I pop some Day-Quil and I start to blow my nose. The spirit of Christmas in my heart definitely arose;

It isn’t about the presents, the wrapping, or the tinsel. Christmastime is about something much more simple.

So as I am covered in a blankie and sipping some tea. Merry Christmas to all...may healthy loved ones surround you under the tree.

I am pretty sure another member of our family is getting sick. It. Never. Ends.

But these moments are fleeting. The moments of joy that only Santa can bring. 

Wishing you the best day ever. 

Deck the Halls

Merry and Bright

Before I was a mother I HATED when people would play Christmas music or watch Christmas movies when it wasn't the designated Thanksgiving to Christmas Day time period. Then I had children, specifically I had children who LOVE Christmas all the time. This summer we definitely had the movie Elf on heavy rotation. And the truth is I am not even sad about it. I think we all need a little Christmas spirit.

I love the spirit of Christmas. Well, I love the spirit that Christmas is supposed to have. I love people being a little cheerier, I love giving gifts, I love the parties, I love watching the wonderment on children's faces when they meet Santa, I love being with family, and I love the ritual of it all religious and otherwise. 

Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.
— Charles M. Schulz

For me, I celebrate Christmas because of my religion. But I don't care what holiday you celebrate or don't celebrate...I am with you wherever you are.  I love our differences and what we each bring to the table. Look, we can thank the pagans for a lot of Christmas rituals. Like that tree? Thank a pagan. What I really care about this time of the year is being there for one another and just doing a little extra. You know, the things we should be doing every day for each other. 

Christmas will always be as long as we stand heart to heart and hand in hand.
— Dr. Seuss
Christmas Tree

I have been binge watching bad holiday films and my take away is that a lot of us are looking for that feeling that the holiday brings. The good feelings, not the mad rush of shopping, or spending too much money, or fighting with strangers over the perfect tree/gift/parking spot. 

These movies teach us lessons. Like the spirit of Christmas is something in our hearts (not in a box). Or that if we come together we can do anything (like save a town, a family business, or help a ghost in purgatory...I am telling you, I have watched A LOT of these movies...they are bonkers). Or lastly these movies show us to hang on tightly to the innocence, the wonder, and the delight of the season like a child.

Also, my take away is that we are willing to watch total crap as long as it is a Christmas movie. I know it isn't just me...Netlfix told me what is trending. 

Our family decorated the whole house with I think 9 Christmas trees of various sizes and not with the ornaments that I may have chose, but with what brought our kids joy. The lights are up. The mantel is all adorned. The nutcracker collection is on display. The Advent wreath and the nativity set are out. The Christmas mugs are in full rotation. We are seriously in the Christmas spirit as we deck the halls...and it isn't even December 1st.

I need this season and I am okay if it lingers. I hope you are able to have some holiday cheer as well. 

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
— Charles Dickens
Vintage Santa

Half Mast

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I came to pick up The Boy from school and the flags were at half mast. I just couldn't understand why the flag would be in that position.

Oh, because 26 people are dead from another mass shooting...this one happened in a church. In a place of worship. 

I can't keep up. I am numb to the numbers.

But these are not numbers. These are people. These are men, women, and children. 

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Half of those people who are dead in this latest shooting were children. They were children! Toddlers, preschoolers, school aged kids, teens...they are dead. 

We live in a country where we kill our children. It is horrible to say, but it is true.

Sandy Hook was 5 years ago this next month.

And don't get me started about how we fail our most vulnerable, our children, when we don't provide them healthcare. 

There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.
— Nelson Mandela

Look, I don't want to write about this stuff. I am planning parties right now and I want to focus on fun stuff like parties, but it doesn't seem right to pretend this isn't happening, because it is and it is horrific. 

This was a white man who had domestic violence issues.

And yes, there was a non-white man who drove a car into people in New York last week...and that is horrible and messed up. But if you look at our mass death numbers...it is overwhelmingly white men with guess what...domestic violence issues. 

I love white guys...I am married to one...I am raising one.

But how can I make sure the one I am raising doesn't loose his marbles one day, buy an AR-15, and take other people down with him? Seriously. Why do we have AR-15's. And how do I raise him to honor and respect his life and other people's lives? 

And how do we, as a society, help people feel like there are other options. This recent killer hurt his last wife and seriously harmed her baby. How do we help people like that? I do not know.

My initial response is to go away. I want to retreat. I want to hide with my kids and never go anywhere. I know this isn't rational or feasible. 

Since we had another mass shooting a month ago. I had some suggestions on what we can do next. Today I feel less motivated. I feel numb and anxious. I won't stay in this space, because this space is not where we make changes.

I don't know how to stop people killing other people, I don't know how to stop people hating other people, and I don't really know how to protect all of our babies. 

I do know that I love the United States. I do. I don't love where we are right this second. But I hope we can make some changes. 

In times like these I like to think about this prayer. 

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.
— Peace Prayer of Saint Francis

I want to be an instrument of peace. I want to spread love. And I want to find the joy. I want to pray for a better for tomorrow. 

But as we know, we are past just thoughts and prayers.

We need action. 

 

 

Be Our Guest

We are about to host a foreign exchange student. All four of us are so excited!

I mean, obviously a little nervous too. When people stay with you they get to see the real you. Eek!

He is a young man, 11 years old. He will only be with us for a week and a half. It is the perfect baby step for us for hosting foreign exchange students. Which I think is something we want to do as the kids get older. 

Have you ever been a foreign exchange student?

Have you hosted any students yourselves? 

Well, since we are new to this we really want to do it right. 

So we will be using Google Translate hard and we made him a Welcome Basket to start on the right note. Who doesn't love a good gift basket? 

I fell in love with gift baskets in the 1980's. My grandparents used to get so many gift baskets...you know the kind Hillshire Farms and the like. I loved them. 

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How do you make a good gift basket? Well, let's see if we can do Edna's Edibles proud (Fact's of Life reference).

Gift Basket 101

Pick a Theme- How you live life without picking themes is beyond me. This theme was just a little Welcome Basket so I tried to choose things that he would either need or that would make him happy.

Choose Things for the Recipient-This is easier said than done. You have to pick things that reflect the one receiving this gift...not particularly things you like. You can share things you like, but it isn't about you. I don't know this kid so I tried to get things that I know 11 year olds like...like a Whoopie Cushion and fake mustaches.  

Stuff It-You don't have to spend a lot of money, but you need to fill up the basket. Make it worth it.  Make it fun to go through. With this particular gift basket, I filled it with notebooks, toys, games, etc. If you are doing a spa basket, fill with extra soaps, oils, etc. Have one or two major things and fill the rest with either supporting materials or small items. 

 

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Well, I need to finish cleaning the house so this child doesn't get scared about our dirty home. I have to fake that I am a put together, clean mother. He can find out the truth during the week. 

See you soon!

#MeToo

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Me too.

On social media, women (and men) who have been sexually harassed or assaulted as asked to write "Me too" or #metoo as a status so we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem. Almost everyone I know posted it...including myself, 

It isn’t something that I talk about. There has been multiple incidents of harassment and there has been worse. At the time I tried to do all the things I was "supposed" to do…I told people, I tried to report it...I did the right thing. It was a different time. It was easier not to fight it, to sweep it under the rug, and to move on.

Then the Stanford rape happened and brought up all sorts of feelings. The biggest feels was from Joe Biden. 

When Joe Biden wrote these words I wept. I thought that our culture had changed. 

An Open Letter to a Courageous Young Woman-
I do not know your name-but your words are forever seared on my soul. Words that should be required reading for men and women of all ages. Words that I wish with all of my heart you never had to write.

I am in awe of your courage for speaking out-for so clearly naming the wrongs that were done to you and so passionately asserting your equal claim to human dignity.

And I am filled with furious anger-both that this happened to you and that our culture is still so broken that you were ever put in the position of defending your own worth.

It must have been wrenching-to relive what he did to you all over again. But you did it anyway, in the hope that your strength might prevent this crime from happening to someone else. Your bravery is breathtaking.

You are a warrior-with a solid steel spine.
I do not know your name-but I know that a lot of people failed you that terrible January night and in the months that followed.

Anyone at that party who saw that you were incapacitated yet looked the other way and did not offer assistance. Anyone who dismissed what happened to you as “just another crazy night.” Anyone who asked “what did you expect would happen when you drank that much?” or thought you must have brought it on yourself.

You were failed by a culture on our college campuses where one in five women is sexually assaulted-year after year after year. A culture that promotes passivity. That encourages young men and women on campuses to simply turn a blind eye.
The statistics on college sexual assault haven’t gone down in the past two decades. It’s obscene, and it’s a failure that lies at all our feet.

And you were failed by anyone who dared to question this one clear and simple truth: Sex without consent is rape. Period. It is a crime.
I do not know your name-but thanks to you, I know that heroes ride bicycles.

Those two men who saw what was happening to you-who took it upon themselves to step in-they did what they instinctually knew to be right.

They did not say “It’s none of my business.”
They did not worry about the social or safety implications of intervening, or about what their peers might think.

Those two men epitomize what it means to be a responsible bystander.

To do otherwise-to see an assault about to take place and do nothing to intervene-makes you part of the problem.

Like I tell college students all over this country-it’s on us. All of us.

We all have a responsibility to stop the scourge of violence against women once and for all.
I do not know your name-but I see your unconquerable spirit.

I see the limitless potential of an incredibly talented young woman-full of possibility. I see the shoulders on which our dreams for the future rest.

I see you.

You will never be defined by what the defendant’s father callously termed “20 minutes of action.”
His son will be.

I join your global chorus of supporters, because we can never say enough to survivors: I believe you. It is not your fault.

What you endured is never, never, never, NEVER a woman’s fault.

And while the justice system has spoken in your particular case, the nation is not satisfied.
And that is why we will continue to speak out.

We will speak to change the culture on our college campuses-a culture that continues to ask the wrong questions:
What were you wearing?
Why were you there?
What did you say?
How much did you drink?

Instead of asking: Why did he think he had license to rape?

We will speak out against those who seek to engage in plausible deniability. Those who know that this is happening, but don’t want to get involved. Who believe that this ugly crime is “complicated.”

We will speak of you-you who remain anonymous not only to protect your identity, but because you so eloquently represent “every woman.”

We will make lighthouses of ourselves, as you did-and shine.

Your story has already changed lives.
You have helped change the culture.
You have shaken untold thousands out of the torpor and indifference towards sexual violence that allows this problem to continue.

Your words will help people you have never met and never will.

You have given them the strength they need to fight.

And so, I believe, you will save lives.

I do not know your name-but I will never forget you.
The millions who have been touched by your story will never forget you.

And if everyone who shared your letter on social media, or who had a private conversation in their own homes with their daughters and sons, draws upon the passion, the outrage, and the commitment they feel right now the next time there is a choice between intervening and walking away-then I believe you will have helped to change the world for the better.
— Joe Biden June 2016

Now over a year later and I feel like we have slid back decades…not just about sexual assault or harassment, but about race, gay rights, class, etc.

Every day we are hearing more and more about famous sexual predators…even the ones that hold elected political office. It is just the tip of the iceberg. 

I am at a loss. 

This quote is also floating around and it speaks to how sexual assault is put on women and not on men. 

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The onus needs to be on the one doing the raping…not the victim. Our language needs to change. 

It isn’t about teaching our daughters how to avoid being raped…it is about teaching our boys not to rape.

My husband is a good man. He has always taught our children gentle lessens…you stop whatever you are doing when people tell you stop. Tickling or shooting Nerf or whatever it is…it is fun as long as everyone is having fun. My husband is always teaching the children about consent in a way that is age appropriate. He doesn’t use those words, but he is engraining that lesson over and over and over again in various ways. And when it counts, I hope our children make the right choices.

And I pray all the time that no one violates our girl or our boy. It is horrible to think of but I do...I pray that they are watched over and are safe and we set up systems to help keep them safe...in the world...online...every where. 

I hope that this current culture changes.  

What I can change is the words I use. I can surround myself with people who do not perpetuate rape culture. I can vote for politicians who stand up for women.  

I am a mama. I can raise kind children. The most important thing I feel I can personally do is to raise children who are good people...raise children who will be caring adults. I can work for a better tomorrow. 

In the future I hope my children never can answer "me too."

 

Detour

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So there was no Fall Craft on Tuesday. I just couldn't. 

Monday morning we woke up to the news that 58 people were dead and 489 more were injured in a shooting in Las Vegas. 

Later in the day we found out that our beloved Tom Petty died. 

A Fall Craft seemed trite after all of that. 

Monday morning my son woke up to the radio that told the story of what happened in Las Vegas. My nine year old then gave me the details. I just cried. I cried because over 500 peoples lives will never be the same. I cried because I can't protect my son from knowing about the evils of the world. I cried because this is not okay. 

What kind of world is this? We are numb to the stories. It seems like each mass shooting is the "worst in US history"...the keep happening and they keep getting worse. Well, I guess that is a matter of opinion. It was pretty freaking horrible when children were gunned down at school. But nothing has changed...people worked for change and congress did nothing. 

Look, it doesn't matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican...or neither. It doesn't matter if you are a gun owner or not. I really feel like we should all agree that is not okay and something has to change. 

I have struggled this week trying to find the good because I am mad. I am mad that our government is beyond messed up. I am mad that we are so divisive as a country. I am mad that more and more people have to bury their loved ones because of something so senseless. 

And the truth is, I am mad because I have to ask my children questions like "what do you do if there is an active shooter." And I am devastated that they both said the right answer. You run. 

This is not okay. This is not normal.

And I can mark things with the angry or the sad icon on Facebook, but that changes zero. 

I don't know what makes someone (mainly white men) want to take down as many people as they can before they end their own life. I don't know what would change their minds so this shit doesn't happen over and over and over. 

All I know to do is I have to take action...the most immediate change I can do is the following:

  • Work to make sure my state has good gun laws. I don't want to take away your guns...we are a family of hunters. But it makes sense that we have good gun laws. 
  • Work to elect people who don't cater to the gun lobbies. Period...I don't want the NRA directing our politicians...we didn't vote for them to run our country. 
  • Work to create community...it sounds silly, but  you may not shoot your neighbor, the people in your community, etc if you are connected to those people. 
  • Work to do more good. I can't control the bad in this world. I can't change the fact that my babies know what to do if there is a gun event. What I can control is the good things I expose them to. This world is scary and can be dark. Be the light. Your kids need that from you. 

If you will notice, this all requires us to work. I know we are all busy and tired, but it is important. This is all we have...this one life so we have to do what is right, we have to do what we can to make this place better, and we have to love. 

Speaking of love, I haven't even been able to talk about Tom Petty yet. He was the music of my youth...every stage of my life. He was there when I was a baby, through my parents divorce, through high school, through my indecisive twenties and thirties, he was always singing the song track for my life.  It is one thing my dad and I share...our love for Tom Petty. His songs play through my mind all the time. I will always love him. 

Well, hopefully next week won't be such a bummer and we can do something fun together. Enjoy your Fall weekend. Love your people...and your neighbor. 

I'm a Joiner

When I was in college I wrote for the school newspaper. It is actually how I met my husband...we were both editors for the paper...but that is a story for another day. When I would write for the paper I would cover university events. You know student groups, university activities, meetings, etc. 

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Inevitably EVERY event I would attend I would want to join. I am a joiner. I go to things and I get wrapped up in the energy, in the excitement, and I want to be a part of it all. I signed the clipboards, filled out the internet forms, all of it. 

That joiner mentality has followed me throughout my life. I always try to sign up for more...in my career, in my family life, all over. Being a joiner is about wanting a connection I think. Or that I really like meetings with groups of various people. Hard to tell.

But if it is the connection thing, I think all of us need that...even if we don't all want it. Look people, times are grim...they just are. Part of the way we make changes in the world is by connecting with others. We belong to each other. We are connected regardless if we think we are or not so we might want to make that connection meaningful. 

Here are 5 ways to make a real connection with others...

Put out positivity-Just put that stuff out there...be positive. Spread it, receive it, own it. The world needs your positivity. 

Mind your manners.-One way to connect and to be positive is to be polite and use your manners. Say “hi” and smile. Those little gestures can go so far.

Look into their eyes when you are speaking to them.-Our eyes are made to connect. We show that we are listening with our eye contact. Look at people...show them that you see them.

Be real.- No bs. Just really be who you are. Who has time to play games? You don't need to be anything, but who you are. That is enough. Unless you are a jerk, then don't be so real...try to be nice instead.

Pay attention-Of course pay attention to who you are connecting with, but there is even more. There is a lot going on. Keep an eye out for those who may need some connection, those who aren't a visible as others, or those that are unlike you. Pay attention to what is going on in the world.

 

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The connections we make in the course of a life...maybe that’s what heaven is.
— Fred Rogers

Living Your Story

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When I was little I used to get so upset when something would happen that I perceived as messing up my life story. (Turns out I might have been a weird kid. Like, why would I think about my life story? I don't know, but I did.)

There were plenty of things in my after school special life that I felt messed up my story. I grew up poor, my parents were divorced, I had domestic violence in my family, the list is long and sordid. And the truth is,  I made poor choices and other peoples poor choices that affected me greatly...they all led to my story whether I wanted them to or not. I would literally think "I don't want this to be in my life story." I also thought I was going to be like the youngest person to write a memoir. I was delusional about a lot of my life.

I was way too old to  realize that all of those experiences...the good and the bad...made me who I am. I couldn't just pick the things I felt were worthy of my story. It doesn't work like that. 

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Monday night I went to Together Live. Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach and some other amazing ladies were there.  It is this motivational, women focused tour and the theme is "Living Our Love Stories."  It was really great and hearing glimpses of other people's stories helps bring context to your own. There are no perfect life stories. Real people have real issues. 

You are not supposed to be happy all the time. Life hurts and it’s hard. Not because you’re doing it wrong, but because it hurts for everybody. Don’t avoid the pain. You need it. It’s meant for you. Be still with it, let it come, let it go, let it leave you wtih the fuel you’ll burn to get your work done on this earth.
— Glennon Doyle
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I honestly was not a huge Glennon follower...I think I read some of her stuff, but really I became aware of her when she and Abby became a couple. Their love and happiness is infectious. But the real thing that got me hooked on Glennon was a quote I just happened to find this summer that is from one of her books.

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I love this quote so much. It is the perfect reminder for me. I am continuously feeling like I am missing out on something...that my boat is gone. I have become obsessed with the quote so much that I even put a little boat that The Boy made on our front porch...the perfect physical reminder. So I liked Glennon, but I wasn't planning on going to see the tour.

And then out of the blue a neighbor texted me and said she bought two tickets and wanted to take me. This is a neighbor that we have lived by for years, but maybe have had 10 interactions with each other and she chose me. Isn't that the craziest? It was exactly what I needed and when I needed it. So sweet and It was nice to go with her and get to know her a little better. This unexpected gift of generosity is also a part of my story. 

My story (and yours) is constantly unfolding. The family I am creating with my husband is unfolding into chapters I couldn't imagine. We share our world with two amazing, riveting characters. I keep waiting for things to go wrong. But maybe not all stories need to be the inspiration for a made for tv movie. I can deal with us just being like a reality show. Who knows what will happen next. All I know is that I am in the middle of living my own love story. 

The only meaningful thing we can offer one another is love. Not advice, not questions about our choices, not suggestions for the future, just love.
— Glennon Doyle
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Love your people! See you Thursday!

Welcome Back

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Welcome back! I'm back and your back...it is the best. 

Summer break has come to an end...we get out late and go back late here in the PNW. Holy moly what a summer break it was! Road trips, camping, adventures...it was the summer of "yes." My husband and I talked about it and we really feel like we really seized the summer and have no regrets. 

Since school and sports have started. I do have some regrets about the amount of activities we have signed up for. We have a bonkers schedule. The boy has school, Fall Ball (with two games a week), soccer (with two practices and one game a week). Little Miss has school, gymnastics, Speech Class, and soccer (one practice and one game a week). I feel a little overwhelmed.

But honestly I am also glad to have the comfort of a routine. I already miss having the kids with me, but am thankful we all get to have a little space. I just wish I didn't make it quite so complicated.

Clearly I have not mastered my schedule yet and here are the ways I am acting out, screwing up, and/or acting a fool. 

  • For preschool Meet and Greet I had a dried blob of yogurt on my cheek the entire time. I just chatted away and no one said a word...that is until I got to the car. Then my daughter, who kissed me with yogurt lips that morning informed me I had some crusted to my face.
  • That same week, I went to pick up the daughter at preschool and had a label stuck to my skirt...luckily a nice grandmother told me.
  • This weekend, I went to a birthday party and got a stick stuck in my pony tail. My husband half heartedly helped me, but parts of the stick were still in my hair when I got home...hours later. 
  • Unfortunately, I forgot about an appointment with my son's brand new teacher and his learning team. I was at Target when they called me. I was 25 minutes late for the appointment so the teacher had to return to class. 
  • Turns out we have a foreign exchange student coming to stay with us and I don't 100% remember signing up. It seems kind of familiar and I am super happy...I just didn't have a clue.
  • My texts and emails have been atrocious lately...I am typing too fast and not proofreading like I should. It is embarrassing, because I am a writer and it is frustrating when your errors take away from the message. You can't tell how very funny I am if there are typos. 
  • Today I let my  son walk to school because we had a scheduling conflict. I didn't see him when I drove by so I texted other parents and then finally called the school to ease my worries. Those poor school administrators...they are freaking angels.
  • And for my big finish tonight, I was talking to a soccer mom about a child who I thought was this one kid's sibling and turns out I was wrong about everything around the situation. I made it a big weird thing with this mom. The worst part is the child I was mixing up and the child who was really on the team are the children of one of my favorite neighbors and when I was texting her about the whole mess I was calling one of her children the wrong name. I have known these kids since they were babies. Ugh. Adding insult to injury over here, people.  

I am a hot mess. I know this helps you feel better about your own parenting paths. I get it. I am never going to be a cool mom who does everything right. I am never going to have it all together. Competent mom? Sure! Fun mom? Probably. Crazy mom? Definitely. I am doing my best...or my best on a very little amount of sleep and a whole lot of kooky.

And I am sure you are doing your best too. Let's celebrate the crap out of that. I even may make a damn cake (and I will probably forget some key ingredient...like how I forgot to add baking powder to my biscuits a couple of weeks ago...stupid flat biscuits). Celebrate what you can and forgive your mistakes...learn and move on people. 

Life is too short to not laugh at ourselves and we might as well pack it all in while we can. Yes, there a moments that we need to take time to slow down and take time to soak it all in. But there are other times that we just need to embrace the full calendar and experience as much as we can. Life is all about the ying and the yang. No balance...just back and forth...too much and too little. Aim for the middle, for balance, but enjoy the ride.

I know her name, most days.

I know her name, most days.

his too, sometimes.

his too, sometimes.

Now that we are back on schedule. Let's try our Tuesday and Thursday schedule and go from there. Have a wonderful weekend!

Teach Your Children

If all you can do is judge a person by their appearance, because you don’t have the spirit to judge someone from within, you’re in trouble.
— Dick Gregory

Since the last time we met Charlottesville happened.

Nazis took to the streets in Charlottesville, Virginia to unleash their hate. Call them white nationalists, alt-right, the KKK, or white supremacists. Call them whatever you want...they are not who we are as a country or as humanity. We are better than this disgusting racist behavior. And we have to stand up for what is right. 

Heather Heyer died while protesting the rally of these Nazis in Charlottesville. She literally stood up for what she believed in and died for her beliefs of equality and of love for her brothers and sisters. Heather's family said that she knew that one person could make a difference. Even after her death, she is making a difference. We all can.

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
— Robert F. Kennedy

Charlottesville can sadly happen anywhere and at any time. How do we stop it? We start at home.

As a parent one of the most important things I feel I can do is to raise my kids to be good people...and to be kind people to all people. I, of course, want my children to be happy, but for me that is not the most important thing. There are plenty of happy assholes. There is research out there that shows that kids think we want them to be happy more than we want them to be kind. That is not great.

The Future is Bright

The Future is Bright

It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.
— Maya Angelou

Good news is that we are aware that our parenting may have taken some unintended detours. In fact, Harvard created a program called The Making Caring Common Project. You really should check it out. It has so many great resources about cultivating empathy, building caring schools, research, and parenting guides. A really amazing tool that this program has is this infograph...

As you can see, it gives you some strategies to help your children be caring individuals and if you explore the site you will see some really specific tips. I don't know about you, but I am always looking for some tips to help me...parenting, or otherwise. 

While trying to raise caring children, we will also start the ease into transitioning back into school in the next couple of weeks. Then I am back on track for a regular schedule. 

In the meantime, be kind...you are modeling behavior for your kids and your community. 

 

 

Every Day I'm Hustling

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Oh my, I have missed you! Yes, you! I have been a crazy woman (more so than normal) and I need this space to come hang out it in...to write...to connect. I miss you, my community. 

I have missed three posts and this one is woefully late. I said in my last post that I wasn't given any excuses...life is hard and busy and we have to give ourselves a break. While I won't give you excuses I will give a couple of reasons. I am worried about what you think and I would hate for you to think I abandoned you. 

Camping at Cougar

Camping at Cougar

The last of swim lessons was last week and those classes took up half of our day. It was great, the kids had fun, but I am happy it is over. And we went straight from swimming lessons to camping for the weekend with a bunch of friends. That was seriously the best. I am not notoriously a good camper, but I had a blast and I don't think I complained once. Then we got home and my mom's cat, whom we all adored, died. She was 16 years old, but saying good-bye is never easy. And then it was my mom's birthday and today it is my mother-in-law's birthday. Life is busy. Oh, and then I am worried about nuclear war. See, there is a lot on my plate! 

Celebrating one Grandma

Celebrating one Grandma

The biggest thing that has taken my time, well besides my children, is a freelance project I have been working on. As much as I love you all, a paycheck is nice once in awhile. In fact I am hustling, I am hustling to make money wherever I can. I am trying to do part time work with freelance writing when I can. And I am opening a little booth in a local vintage shop. I am super excited about that. It will be mainly vintage finds AND it will have some handcrafted items by yours truly (fast craft time) and some of my talented husband's woodwork. I am really giddy about this. 

Why vintage? I have problem shopping, I love vintage finds and I really shouldn't keep all of them. It is crazy because I remember my mother taking me to junk shops, thrift stores, flea markets, etc. as a kid and I HATED it. I didn't want people to think I was poor, which we were. At the time I didn't get the thrill of the hunt and I didn't understand how cool it was to have these things that are a part of our collective past. I just thought they smelled weird and that I may literally die if someone saw me there. Flash forward to me racing to pick up something on the side of the road because I saw on Nextdoor or Craigslist that there was a free pile.  Now my husband is hiding his face while he waits in the car. 

Opportunity is in the eye of the beholder.
— Jen Sincero

I didn't go from hating to loving junk just like that. In my 20s I wore a ton of vintage clothes...as you do in your 20s. I remember there was this awesome thrift store and everything was like 99 cents on certain days. I had the most awesome coats and dresses during that time. And my 30s was filled with working at the church and helping the ladies run the Church Bazaar. So that is when I collected old bowls, vases, and various hankies, table clothes, etc. Then my mom moved back to Oregon and we started junking together and now I have become an addict. 

One of my first jobs when I young was working at a flea market for my grandfather, Papaw, who sold old 501s and old uniforms. It was a pretty run down place, but my Papaw liked doing it and he knew everyone there. I don't remember a ton about it besides eating junk food from the food court area and reading Sweet Valley High books. I do remember walking around and looking at the different booths. It was mesmerizing. 

So I am opening a little booth that may grow into a bigger booth. Who knows what is next? Right now I am just about the hustle. I don't know if it is the time of my life or that I am a stay at home mom or that I am reading You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth by Jen Sincero (which I LOVE...all the quotes today are from her and I will write about her in another post). But right now I feel the need to make some money. My husband does an amazing job supporting us all and we are soooooo grateful for that, but the truth is one income is hard. Anything I can do to help I am going to do. 

Doubts, fears, and other people’s rules are no match for a heart on a mission
— Jen Sincero

So I am hustling. I am doing things that I love...writing and collecting treasures, all while being with the people I love. This is my baby girl's last year of preschool...I don't want to miss a second of that. And as our son get's older I feel like he needs me around more not less. I am not sure about having it all, but I am going to find some ways that I can have what works best for us. 

So I am sorry I have been neglectful. I am telling you, I need the structure of school even though I will miss my babies immensely and I do love summer so. I need some order and routine. 

On Tuesday I move in to my booth and I will take lots of pictures. 

See you next week! Have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

No Excuses

Here we are again. And this past week was pretty medical emergency free, well minus that urgent care trip for Little Miss because she shoved some old homemade playdough up her nose. We thought she may have it stuck in her sinuses so we had to get a professional to give it a looksy-loo. Besides that just a busy weekend and a busy week full of summer fun. 

I, of course, have a litany of excuses why I am failing miserably at my summer blog schedule. Swim lessons, the garden, trips, errands, chores, kids, the works...you get it. Life, man. But you know what? I am done with excuses. It is just what it is. Life is busy and there is always something to take our time. No excuses are necessary.  Why make excuses? Just live your life.

We spent the weekend camping (ish), crabbing, clamming, and just hanging out. While we were at the beach we had so much fun...I mean, we got hella burnt too, but just so relaxing and rewarding to sit and to just be. 

Beach Rules: Soak up the sun. Ride the waves. Breathe the salty air. Feel the breeze. Build sandcastles. Rest, relax, reflect. Collect seashells. Bare-feet required.
— Anonymous

We are lucky to be about an hour to the coast. But you can't always be at the beach. Maybe you don't live near an ocean or perhaps you don't have the time. 

Here are a few ways to bring beach life to you...

  • Find some water. It doesn't HAVE to be the ocean. Get a kiddie pool, go into the bathtub, find a stream...get around some water. Dip your toes in. 
  • Take it slow. Get on beach time. Being around the sea helps you wind down...replicate that. Just  enjoy the moment. 
  • Have a tropical drink. The Pacific Northwest isn't known for its tropical climate, but come on...a fun tropical cocktail or mocktail makes us all feel beachy. 
  • Seashells, sand, and sun. Get some seashells or some sand...put them in your decor. Add some blues and greens to your palette. Bring the beach to you. Sit in the sun (put on some sunscreen of course) and soak it in.
  • Go barefoot. Kick off those shoes and connect with this world. 

Summer, I love you and I am going to enjoy every last drop of you. 

Enjoy your weekend. 

A Very Special Episode of Posing as Parents

If you grew up (or were alive) during the 1980's you may remember there were lots of "very special" episodes on your favorite tv shows. Those "special" episodes were to have commentary on some social issue or heavy topic. 

Well, I haven't posted on my regular schedule this week and I had a litany of excuses...summer...the littles are only little once...etc, etc, etc. And that is true. All of it. Summer is kicking my booty. I love being with the kids all the time, but we need a schedule AND we are kind of getting on each other's nerves. It happens...even to the best of us. The bottom line is I am knee deep in summer mayhem, bad attitudes, and sleep deprivation. 

Looking up in our front yard.

Looking up in our front yard.

Then the other night we got a call from our neighbor a little after 10pm. I won't share her name to protect the innocent (like the do on Law and Order). And if you know me and know the neighbor just keep it to yourself please.

So this neighbor and our family have been through a lot together. My husband was there (and performed CPR) when her husband died and we have experienced many medical related issues together...hers and ours...and we share all sorts of happy times too.  She is family. And she actually was very sick at the first of the year and we were quite worried, but she is better and her health has been amazing so we were surprised to get a phone call from her for help. 

My husband grabbed the first aid kit and ran next door. 

Then husband texted me to bring rubber gloves.

I walked in our neighbor's door and I cannot describe to you what I saw. It was like a scene out of Dexter. I am 100% not exaggerating. As I walked closer to my husband and our neighbor it got worse.  

She had a cut on her foot and she is on blood thinners and there was blood everywhere. My husband told me to apply pressure to her foot and he left to get the truck to take her to the hospital. She wasn't in any pain and we just chatted until my husband came back.

When he got back he checked her foot and there was no bleeding. Mind you the house looked like a crime scene, but she was no longer bleeding and was doing well.

The problem was that she was giving herself a pedicure and had knicked her foot...when she got up and walked around she bled...that combined with the blood thinners it brought it to the next level of gruesome. 

I made my husband call my mom who is a nurse and they all agreed that the neighbor didn't need to go to the hospital. She had stopped bleeding, there was nothing to stitch up, and she felt fine. She laid on the couch while my husband and I got to work.

Let me tell you a few things about me...I am not good in an immediate crisis...I cry, I freak out, etc. I am really good after something has happened...I can clean, I can bring food, and take care of you...those are my strengths. My husband is the EXACT opposite. He handled the first of this situation and now it was my turn. 

The blood was EVERYWHERE. In the utility room, the kitchen, the living room, and the foyer. It was all over walls, floors, everything. It was a stream so things were covered in blood splatters. My husband and I are not really suited for this kind of scene. We were both pretty woozy, but we couldn't just be like..."Oh you good? Peace out!" We had to clean up for her.

I went home and loaded up on cleaners. My husband went home and got the shampooer. If you would have seen us going back and forth in the night it would have looked quite suspicious. 

Well, we worked HARD cleaning. It was in every nook and cranny in all of those rooms. We had to use a variety of products trying to remove it all. We cleaned for two hours straight. We looked like the team they call in after a murder to clean up. I was soooooo sweaty. My husband looked at me at one point and said, "I have never seen you so sweaty and I saw you after you did a boxing class." It was serious cleaning.

However, we were all laughing so hard. It was so funny the absurdity of it all. We laughing because at first it looked like a murder scene and no one could figure out was happening so each of us had made up different stories...a crime, a poltergeist, a wild animal...I mean the possibilities were endless. 

At the end of the night, she was fine...her house was mostly clean (we aren't professionals) and we had been through something together. I felt like we had been through a war or at least I felt like we were living a part of Reservoir Dogs. 

So why tell you all of this (other than I have to share this, because I am in shock still)? Well, I have to solid takeaways from this ordeal.

  • Be a good neighbor. Being neighbors with someone can be hard. You don't get to choose who you are spending your property lines and basically your life with. But it can also be awesome. I have amazing neighbors and we have been through a lot together. Don't be a good neighbor because of what people might do for you, BUT it doesn't hurt. You never know when you may need an extra hand or a cleaning crew.
  • Don't kill anyone. Seriously there is no way you are getting away with it. Blood splatters everywhere and you can't possibly clean it all. I mean, for moral and legal reasons, also don't kill. But seriously, you won't get away with it.
  • Blood is hard to clean.  If there is blood on something try to clean it immediately, when it dries...you are in trouble. When you spray (or pour) cleaner on the blood it may turn black and make the scene even grosser. Forget sponges and magic erasers...rags are the way to go. 
  • Laugh when it is hard. Holy hell life is freaking hard and relentless and sometimes ugly. Laughter is the best thing you can do to help find the beauty in the situation and sometimes in humanity. Don't think something is funny? Find the funny. It is there. 
  • Have an emergency plan. We thought we had our kids sorted out if something happened, but turns out not all the way. I left my phone for my son, but my husband brought it back to me...there was a lot of confusion on what to do and what was happening. We are looking into getting an old school land line so we can ensure there is always a way to call and get help. Our kids were ready to go to our across the street neighbors. Also, I realized we haven't told our  neighbors our plans that our kids are to go their house...so they can be prepared if two kiddies show up at their doorstep they know why. Oh, make sure your first aid kit has a lot of rubber gloves...lots of them.
  • Be easy on yourself. Our neighbor was embarrassed about what happened? Why? For being human? We are gross and vulnerable creatures. FYI, my mom had to clean up amniotic fluid from our first kid...gross. I have had to clean up after lots of humans...we will make messes and we need to be okay with that. And don't feel bad if you need help. We all do. Be thankful you have someone to call upon. 

Let's look out for one another. Have a great weekend and I will see you back here on Tuesday. 

 

Okay, I Got Distracted

I didn't have the blog up when I usually do AND I am not going to write about organization when you are traveling with children like I said I would do. I am just not feeling it. I will write about it next week, but not today. Today I am just rolling with the day.

At Home Entertainment

At Home Entertainment

Since we got home I have been cleaning, cleaning, and cleaning and buying a lot of groceries. Yep, that is pretty much the extent of it and keeping two kids, two dogs, a fish, and a hubby alive and relatively happy. There have been friends, some sports, swim lessons, etc. But I am in slomo when I can be. 

I think that after a trip it takes me a bit to get my bearings.  We all crave to be in our place with our stuff.  And with nothing to do. The last part seems to be harder to achieve.

Hanging with Handsome

Hanging with Handsome

This summer I am acutely aware of how fleeting the moments are...the good ones and bad ones. This is the only summer with my boy being 9 and my girl being 4. That is almost double digits and Kindergarten kind of summer. I have spoken about it before, but is a hard balance trying to let them grow and wanting these moments to hold onto forever. Each time my boy grabs my hand my heart smiles and aches at the same time. And my girl is sooooooo wound up I try to remember that this time is also precious and I want to honor that spirit and help it grow while keeping my sanity. This is the Summer of Strength I just didn't anticipate the strength would also be with my mama's heart. 

Eat Yo Veggies

Eat Yo Veggies

Well, besides working on not being an emotional nut job mom, I have more to do. Right now we are having a family "reboot" since the trip. Here is what we are trying to focus on...maybe it would work for you as well. 

  • Sleep- Sleep is magic. Our sleep has been jacked, so we are trying to go to bed early (I mean besides me) and we have been sleeping in (besides dad). 
  • Eat Fresh-Eat yo veggies. Our food choices weren't always ideal on the road so we are trying to eat more veggies, more fruit, and less meat. Our garden is going bonkers so that helps. I will admit that our son has been deep in on the box mac and cheese...that is new, but it is also fine...we will make up for it in other ways. 
  • Move Your Body-The kids have activities that get their body moving and they naturally want to play. BUT for mom, I have to work on it. I have started a new work out program that is very slow, but it is a start! I will have to incorporate more movement to have this really be the Summer of Strength. 
  • Read-We are all reading. Taking time to sit and dive into a book. The kids got a ton of screen time on the road and I think they are craving more than electronics right now. 
  • Play/Art/Etc-Be creative. The kids are playing and doing art. My husband and I have been working in the garden and in the yard...just taking time to be. Use your mind in another way. 

Have a great weekend...slow down and enjoy the moments. See you Tuesday where I WILL tell you about best tips for traveling with kiddos. I mean, I probably will. 

Road Trippin'

We are about to embark on an epic road trip. We will be going  through 11 states (that is including our own...Oregon). Embarrassingly, at first I thought we were going through 6 states. I have no idea why. Bad at geography? Bad at math? Maybe both. 

Regardless, we are going to a ton states in whirlwind trip. What a fun way to celebrate the 4th of July, by exploring this country! I told my son that this trip would be the life altering...it will simultaneously be the worst and the best. The worst because 3700 miles in a car is challenging, but the best because of all the things he and his sister are going to see and experience. Trips like these are etched in your mind, your heart, and your spirit and they live on in your memories for a lifetime.

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.
— Oliver Wendell Holmes

I have been searching through Pinterest and everything else I can get my hands on planning for this trip. My husband and I have done similar trips to this one more than a few times. It was a time before iPhones and I didn't have a DVD player in the car. Plus I can sleep for days if someone will just let me, so in the past on road trips, I would just sleep. But with the kids it is a different ballgame. 

Our kids have all sorts of devices to help numb the boredom. I know for a fact we will be breaking our normal screen time allotments by a lot, but the kids are going to want to do something more than just watch it and movies for days. So here is my plan to get us through at least Stage 1 of the trip...getting to Kansas City. 

Pan or Lap Tray?

Pan or Lap Tray?

Road Trip Tips

There are a ton travel tips online. There are plenty tips that I will be trying out on the trip. The baking sheet above is an example of one such tip and it is being transformed into an activity lap tray for the kids.

Here are some other tips...

So many IKEA bags

So many IKEA bags

Storage-The first thing I have been fretting over and considering is storage space. I have a minivan so there is a lot of room, but I am trying to be mindful of how we pack. One thing I did was purchase a ton-o-bags to make sure everything has a home for this crazy trip. IKEA is my best friend this week...so many bags. 

Homemade Jerky

Homemade Jerky

Snacks-I have been trying to load up on healthier treats for the trip so we won't make as many stops along the way. But there are some foods that  just scream "road trip!" Jerky is one of them, so I made a lot a jerky for the trip. Now if we can make it until we hit the road...the jerky supply seems to be quickly dwindling. 

Clean it up supplies

Clean it up supplies

Supplies- I am a mama and we are about to travel accross the USA with kids. I needed some supplies to keep us clean. Putting this stuff together helps the whole family have easy access in case something needs cleaned up. Praying for a puke free trip.

Games and More

Games and More

Surprises-This is the portion of the trip that is best unleashed in small doses. When the kids start going over the deep end I intend to give the angels a new little something to new to work on or play with...the kids don't know I have all of these goodies. For example, these foam flyers are something they can put together in the car and when we stop for a potty break or for a bit of exercise then the kids can have flyer races. 

Let's get building and flying.

Let's get building and flying.

The best things in life are the people you love, the places you go, and the memories you make.
— Unknown Author
Let's roll!

Let's roll!

So we are finishing packing up and getting ready to roll. See you from the road next week!