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! 

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

Attitude of Gratitude

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I love how some people list their blessings every day in November. I am not that disciplined, but I love that some people are. I like to read about what makes them thankful.

Thanksgiving is great time to be thankful...I mean maybe not if you are Native American. I am just saying it is something we need to be cognizant of when we celebrate this holiday. It isn't all warm and fuzzy. 

But I digress, we are talking about gratitude today.

I do like the idea of reflecting on your blessings at the end of the year. A time to take inventory. I especially like to do this with children before they get a crap ton of stuff for the holidays. I want them to have some perspective.

The other day I definitely told my children how other children in the world (and in our own country...our own state, heck in our own town) live much different, much harder lives. There was even some talk about children in diamond mines. I know, I know... it wasn't my proudest moment. I don't want to shame my children into being grateful.

It is a balance of learning about perspective, privilege, and place. This lessons are best taught with love (not shame or anger). 

And if I am being honest, I don't always feel grateful or thankful. I can get hung up on the things I don't have, the moments in life that aren't great, and the sadness and crappy parts of humanity. That is human nature. 

When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.
— Willie Nelson
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And let's be real, you can't talk about being grateful without talking Oprah. She DID tell us about writing in a gratitude journal all those years ago. 

I live in the space of thankfulness — and for that, I have been rewarded a million times over. I started out giving thanks for small things, and the more thankful I became, the more my bounty increased. That’s because — for sure — what you focus on expands. When you focus on the goodness in life, you create more of it.
— Oprah Winfrey

I want some of that...I want to focus on the small things, I want to have a space of thankfulness. And I want it for our kids as well. So here are a few things to get us in the practice of being grateful. 

Nurturing an Attitude of Gratitude

Name your blessings.

One thing that we do in our family (some times...not all the time) is that we do "Highs, Lows, and Weirds." You tell the best part of your day, the worst part of your day, and the part that was cuckoo. My sons class does a variation of this called "Cherries and Pits." It is a great way to get some perspective. Sometimes you feel like "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." However, sometimes it is just how you look at the world.

Read Books

C'mon, isn't that the answer for most things? Reading a book? Reading is a great way to broaden your perspective and to challenge privilege, and to explore place. Books allow you to enter other realities that are not your own. You get to view the world just a little differently. 

Being Thankful is a simple book by Mercer Mayer about being grateful and it is good for younger children. But there are lots of books about gratitude for all ages of children. Go to your local library or bookstore. They are the experts. They are definitely some people to be thankful for. 

Get Crafty

Make a gratitude tree or start a gratitude jar. Both a gratitude tree and a gratitude jars provide ways to develop habits of being both mindful and grateful. And these are tangible physical reminders of what you are thankful for. Plus, the act of making the craft allows the opportunity to make memories about just being together creating. Kids just want to be with you. 

Being Mindful

Spend time with your kids and be mindful of your time with them. My kids straight call me out. "Mom, you are on your phone." "Mom, you just said 'mmm hmmm' so you aren't really listening." Brutal, but good reminders. Let's keep each other accountable. 

This time is fleeting...it doesn't matter if your kids are 2 or 42...this time is going fast and it won't come again. The things that matter are our relationships. Model a grateful heart and spend time with you who you are most grateful for. 

Slow down enjoy your time together, talk, go for a walk, or whatever is "you." Point out the blessings. Hold their hand. Listen to what their are thankful for. 

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For more in depth discussions about gratitude and children check here and here.

And since Advent starts soon (Sunday, December 3, 2017) here is a great resource to continue the attitude of gratitude for the rest of the year ( you don't have to observe Advent to get a lot out of this exercise). It is called the Advent of Gratitude and the concept is this..."Most Advent Calendars present us with a gift each day leading up to Christmas. The purpose of this Advent of Gratitude is to remind us of the gifts we already have, what we often take for granted, what we can and should be grateful for." This calendar lists things to be thankful for and then suggests donating a certain dollar amount to a local charity. The Advent of Gratitude has a community on Facebook if you'd like to learn more. 

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Look for the blessings. Embrace a more grateful heart. And I will see you soon!

 

 

 

Being Thankful (That I Didn't Puke)

It is November and a lot of people do the "Month of Thankfulness." They list something they are thankful for every day. I admire that...I wish I could do that, but I am not that disciplined. BUT today I want to take a stab at it...and not because I am particularly thankful...more because I have to find things I am thankful for because it has been a shitty morning (pun intended).

My husband is out of town. He has been for a little while. And it has been pretty smooth sailing. We miss him, but the home is clean and running great. Until this morning.

My son saw it first. He yelled "Mom, the dogs pooped all over the living room." I was just waking up and not really comprehending what he was saying. And I was a little confused because out of our two dogs, the one that would do such a thing slept in my room all night.

Then I realized it was Duke.

Duke

Duke

Duke never does anything like this. He must of been sick or is just a complete asshole. Hard to tell.

Duke is a 150 pound German Shepherd. Take a second to think about how much poop could be in a 150 pound dog. Got it?

Well, that is actually not the worst of it. Most of our house doesn't have carpet, but the hallway and the front room does.  It has brown carpet. Some might even say poop brown carpet. Yep, that is where he pooped on the brown carpet so I can't see the poop that well since it is camouflaged. 

I can't adequately describe this blind poop hide and seek game. It was horrifying to say the least. And I have a keen sense of smell and a quick gag reflex...it was a recipe for disaster. 

However, I made it through...the first round of cleaning. And I am thankful. 

So Let's make a Thankful List

The Awesome Son

The Awesome Son

1. I am thankful for a son that is able to help out. He fed himself breakfast, he got himself ready, and he made lunch for both himself and his sister. Thank you Bubba...I appreciate you. 

Yep, that is poop water.

Yep, that is poop water.

2. I am thankful that we have a shampooer. Seriously things would be dark and horrible right now if I didn't have this to deep clean the carpet. Shit be real around here.

So yummy smelling!

So yummy smelling!

3. You know how a smell just sticks with you? Well, I am thankful for cleaners and lots of smelly candles. I just bought a new candle that smells AH-MAZING! The  Cedar Magnolia - Hearth & Hand™ with Magnolia... your know the Target Chip and Joanna Gaines line? I am basic. I am okay with it. That candle is helping me get past the poop smell. 

Me, and my basic self, enjoying coffee.

Me, and my basic self, enjoying coffee.

4. I am thankful for places with drive thru coffee and breakfast sandwiches so I can have energy to keep defunking my home. 

And last, but certainly not least...

So thankful.

So thankful.

5. I am thankful that I have a dog that we love even when he explosively poops all over the house and for the other dog (who actually eats poop, but that is a different story.) I am thankful for my kiddos, I don't know how I got so lucky to have such kind, helpful, funny, and amazing kids. I am thankful for my husband and will be even more grateful when he returns. I am thankful for a home that shelters us...it may not be perfect, but it is ours (well, it is the banks, but we pay for it). And I am thankful I didn't puke this morning. That is not another thing I would like on my list to clean today. 

There is always, always, always something to be thankful for.
— Anonymous

So what are you thankful for?

Over the next couple of weeks we will talk about being more thankful and explore some crafts for kids to get their own gratitude flowing. In the meantime, here are some suggestions to get you started.

Thankful Actions

  • Keep a gratitude journal.
  • Be in the present.
  • Think bigger than yourself.
  • Say "thank you."
  • Start focusing outward not inwards. 

Okay since I am getting over the trauma of the poop-apocalypse, I will get serious about my own thankful actions. 

Look for the good! See you soon!

Tell Me a Story

1977 Pure Gold

1977 Pure Gold

Tonight my daughter wanted to read a book that I grew up reading. It was a book all about daddies. I loved this book I would look at the pictures for hours as a small child and I remember my dad reading it to me. I was a total daddy's girl growing up. He and I were two peas in a pod. And it warms my heart to see the love my children have for their own daddy. 

Throwback Lovefest

Throwback Lovefest

It is funny how books can transport us.

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.
— Dr. Seuss

Our son hasn't fallen in love with stories...he loves books, but there hasn't been a story that just stops him in his tracks. The books he likes are guide books, how to's, manuals, graphic novels, etc. There hasn't been a story that he has gotten lost in. He pours over books, but the story isn't his hook.  I want that so badly for him. But we all have our own preferences and we all progress at different levels and at different times. The good news is he loves books...that is enough...I will take that. 

Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks.
— Dr. Seuss

We have a million books all over the house. There are just stacks of books. I love the idea of them surrounding us.

Our daughter moved into a new room a few months ago and I was putting books on her bookshelves. There were books that we read to our son. I could remember us reading to him as a baby and now the boy reads the stories to his sister. And our daughter wants the books my parents read to me. The circle of life in book form. 

So kids are going to read when they are going to read, but there are a few things that you can do to maybe help them. 

Reading Tips for Children

  • Let Them Choose- Have your kiddos pick out their own book. You can help guide them to assist them with reading levels, genre, or whatever gets them going in the right direction.
  • Get Comfy-Find or create  a comfortable spot to read in. Make sure there is plenty of light.
  • Make a Routine-Have a time that you set aside for reading. 
  • Let Them Catch You-Let your kids see you read. Modeling behavior is the best learning tool.
  • Recap-When they finish a book, ask them questions. What were their favorite parts? Favorite characters? Best illustrations?

Dang, this week has been all about stories. 

Hope your weekend is full of creating stories, reading stories, and everything in between. 

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!

Pulling it Together

I love getting gifts for people. Well, most people...I am looking at you Dad. He is the hardest to get gifts for...and I don't know if you know, but Father's Day is the weekend after next (THIS IS A CORRECTION FROM THE ORIGINAL POST). So I am still trying to button that gift down. 

But for everyone else I like getting gifts or making gifts. Making gifts is the best because you get to put part of yourself into the gift. You know, you get to put you love and care into the gift.

Unlike the time I was making something for a new baby and I used these crazy sharp fabric scissors I got from my husband (as a gift). Well, I seriously cut the tip of my finger off and bled all over what I made for the baby. That was a little more of myself than I wanted to give to a baby. Just FYI I didn't give the baby the bloody blankie.

Anywho, my daughter is about to be done with preschool (my son has a couple more weeks) and I have been thinking about end of year teacher gifts.  I usually like to make something for teachers...or have someone in our family make something. But I was at the store the other day and saw some adorable beach towels and I had a great idea.

For Making it Monday we are making a beach towel gift. But as I was researching other ideas with beach towels I saw my gift idea all over Pinterest. Turns out I wasn't original. Boo!

There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.
— Mark Twain

First you need your supplies...

  • Beach Towels
  • Ribbon
  • Luggage Tags
  • Optional Other Items-Magazines, Sunglasses, Sunscreen, etc.

!

Step 1

Pick out some towels.  Oh my goodness, I love these towels. You can get some cutie ones on Amazon like the Pineapple towel, or the Hibiscus towel, or the Blue Blocks towels. The last ones are not to be confused with BluBlockers. 

BlueBlockers

Remember BluBlockers? Those things really worked! I used to wear my mom's.  I may try to pull those off again. Well, probably not, but they did make life so much clearer...or it was that I was a teenager. 

Step 2

Pick out some luggage tags. These are adorable and here are some like we got for our teachers.  You can use these as your gift tags as well.

Beach Towels

Step 3

Roll up the beach towels, put a ribbon, and a luggage tag on it. BUT you could add magazines, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc. And bada bing bada boom you are done. Tell your teachers you love them and that you hope they have an AWESOME summer. 

Oh, BTW, I know my daughter is giving one of her teachers a poop emoji tag. It is an inside joke between them. One time Little Miss wanted to send a text to her teacher and she told me to include a poop emoji. I didn't, but I told her teacher and her teacher is quite funny and she said she wanted to send one to me for our daughter, but she didn't know if we would think that was appropriate/funny. Uh, we clearly think it is funny and funny matters...thus, the poop luggage tag. 

See you Wednesday!

Take a Picture It'll Last Longer

I hope your Mother's Day was awesome. I had an absolutely amazing Mother's Day. We had a brunch for several mamas and others in our life. My husband made Eggs Benedict for the mamas and a Benedict scramble for the rest of the crew. I am so bummed I didn't take any pictures, but I was too busy enjoying how freaking delicious the whole spread was. Here is the recipe for the Hollandaise sauce he tried for this particular meal. It was freaking delicious. 

However, the BEST part was how my husband utilized the kiddos in the morning. He had our son working as a sous-chef and the girls (Little Miss and a couple of friends) as a waitresses. They all had on aprons on. The waitresses took orders and delivered drinks and the sous-chef made fruit salads and provided refills. Afterwards the girls put on a performance and our boy was the producer. It was the best for sure. My husband is so great at including kids in activities and giving them jobs to help them feel needed and relevant. I am less great at that because I lose my patience. 

After the great brunch, I had a lllllooooonnnngggg nap, Mother's Day ended at a local nature reserve and it was magical. 

I take a ton of pictures. I always have...even when cameras had real film. Remember real film? Well now iPhones (and I assume other phones) take such amazing photos. We are doing a tiny photo Make it Monday.

Make it Monday.

  • Take pictures...all sorts of pictures...pictures of people, places, things. You can use them for cards, decorating, motivational quotes, etc.
  • Don't get hung up on getting the "right" shot...take several...you may be surprised on what treasures you may have captured. 
  • Here are some ideas of what to do with your own photos. Here are some more ideas for crafts and the such.

Have a great day and document your life! Life is beautiful!

Your Tribe

Mother's Day is this weekend. Maybe you are a mama, or perhaps you have a mama, or maybe you just have some kick ass ladies in your world. 

I have several women in my life that have helped shaped my world as a child and into adulthood...starting with my mother, my Nana (my grandmother), my Mema (my other grandmother), my stepmom, my aunts, church ladies, neighbors, friends, and various other family members. The truth is we are always being influenced and growing as we age...I learn things about being a better mom, wife, friend, and just being a better human every day from all sorts of people...especially some amazing women. 

Mother's Day (and Father's Day) can be hard for people because maybe they had some pretty crappy mothers (or fathers) or their mom (or dad) is dead or gone for some reason. I get it. I did not grow up in a world that it was all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows. My mom is one of my besties...I talk to her all day every day on the phone...we live 8 minutes away from each other...she means the world to me. However, our life has been hard. It doesn't take away from how I feel about her or what a great mom she is, but when I get to see her with my kids without all the drama we had when I was young it makes my heart sing for them. 

Nana time. 

Nana time. 

Before my son was born I thought we were going to call my mom "Yogi" and my little sister "Boo Boo"...we thought it was funny. I even made my mom an embroidred bag with "Yogi" on it. Well, Boo Boo stuck and our boy decided to call my mom "Nana." I wasn't having it. I had a Nana that helped raise me and as far as I am concerned was one of the most perfect people to ever grace this world. My mom is great and all, but she is no Nana. Well, she is their Nana. And while I didn't want her to have the name, our boy knew what he was doing.

My Nana

My Nana

I think it is so interesting what we call people. In the South our grandparents are not "normal" names (mine are Nana, Papaw, Mema, and Popaw). For my husband's family everyone is just "Grandma" and "Grandpa." Also  in my husband's family I couldn't even tell who was "real" aunts and uncles and who were family friends...they were all named "Aunt" or "Uncle." But turns out we now do the same, all of my besties are my kids aunts and uncles and my kids don't bat an eye. Well, my daughter does refer to her godfather as "her other dad" so that can get confusing. The bottom line is all of these people are a part of our tribe. 

Let's talk a little about language and using the word "tribe." It is a word that is used a lot right now...especially in the parenting circles. But let's look at Merriam-Webster's definition of Tribe...

Definition of Tribe

a:  a social group comprising numerous families, clans, or generations together with slaves, dependents, or adopted strangers                                                                                                                                                                                        b:  a political division of the Roman people originally representing one of the three original tribes of ancient a group of persons having a common character, occupation, or interest

My Tribe

My Tribe

I think those definitions are pretty spot on. For me, my tribe is a mix...a mix of my family, friends, and neighbors...in that mix there are parents-some with young kids and some with kids that have grown and left the home; some have never had kids; there are men and women, old and young; gay and straight; conservative and liberal (but c'mon let's be honest...mainly liberal); married and single...they all are a part of our world.  Think about your own tribes. You need those tribes.

Why You Need Your Tribe

  • It takes us all. It a million percent takes a village to raise children.  I have eyes and ears on my kids from the people in my hood and I am doing the same for them. We pick up each other's kids from school or sports and when needed we pick each other up from the lows of parenthood.
  • You aren't alone. Your tribe reminds you that you are not solo in this world. If you are a parent, and especially if you are a stay-at-home parent you can feel very isolated. You have people. You aren't alone.
  • You learn from others. Listen, none of us have this mess figured out and if you think you have...you either are lying or are delusional...you are something...but it ain't perfect. I love to hear (and watch) what other people are doing with their kids. Why reinvent the wheel? And also there is so much I would never think about...you need a different perspective some times to help you out. 

How to Celebrate Your Tribe

  • Where your girls at? Give your tribe a call, a text, an email...whatever you can do to say that you are thinking of them. Even better if you can see them in person. 
  • Share the love. Once you have located them, make sure you tell them how much they mean to you. Sometimes we take that for granted...we don't say that we love our people. 
  • Do something nice. Your tribe loves you and chances are they have done something nice for you (probably time and time again). So this time practice some good ol' fashion random act of kindness for them. Check this out to get some ideas on how you can shower them with love unexpectedly. 

Love your tribe, tend to those relationships to help them flourish and grow, and celebrate each other...for Mother's Day and every day. 

Here are some examples of my Mother's Days of years past. My favorite? The year that my son said that I like to "eat poop and drink pee."  Hope your Mother's Day is beautiful just like that sentiment. Word to your mamas.

Calgon Take Me Away

This weekend was the 9th anniversary of the idea of Posing as Parents...aka my son's 9th birthday. Yep, 9 years ago I gave birth to a giant baby boy (seriously 10lbs 12oz and 23 inches long...a GIANT) and the hospital let us take him home unsupervised. My husband and I were in shock as we embarked on parenthood and we have been making it up as we went along ever since. We are Posing as Parents. 

My handsome birthday boy!

My handsome birthday boy!

We had over 60 people at our house for our son's Nerf party. It was bananas, but also freaking awesome. We will be finding Nerf darts for months. I would say that my husband and I definitely walked away (or crawled away) with some great ideas for next year and some clear direction on what we would do differently. That is what my husband and I do...we do a play by play of events/situations/conversations/life and talk about what we would change/improve upon/next steps. It's our thing. 

Well, on Saturday night I went to bed at 2 am because I waited to clean until the boys were settled. The boys were awake a little before 5 am! I remember hearing them and asking my husband what that noise possibly could be. Turns out it was a bunch of boys playing! All day Sunday I felt like I had a hangover, but instead of drinking too much it was a "sleepover hangover." One of the first things I wanted to do was to take a bath. It's my thing.

I LOVE baths! I take them daily (sometimes/usually twice a day). They make me relaxed and give me so much joy. I wish I was exaggerating, but I am not. I may secretly be a mermaid. I have ALWAYS loved baths. When I was little I would take bubble baths...with Mr. Bubble. Oh my gosh, I loved Mr. Bubble so much. Well, until that fateful day my dad said to 5 or 6 year old me, "You can't take a bath every day with Mr. Bubble, it is bad for your vagina." Barf. Thanks dad...that scarred me forever. And alas I find myself saying the same thing to my own daughter about various bubbles and bath products. Circle of damn life. 

I still love you!

I still love you!

So what can you take a relaxing bath with daily? There are a ton of natural products out there. You could do Lush products...they are the best, but they aren't cheap (and yes you can make your own and we can do that together some day). But for this Make it Monday we are going to make a relaxing bath...the cheap, easy, and environmentally friendly way.

First you need your supplies...

  • Baking Soda
  • Essential Oils
  • Candles/Book/Music

Step 1

Run your bath. For me, the hotter the better, but you do what you like. If you have medical issues or if you are pregnant...talk to your doctor about your options.   

Step 1: It SAYS hundreds of uses!

Step 1: It SAYS hundreds of uses!

Step 2

My favorite thing to add is baking soda. Epsom salt baths are great too, but I don't always have epsom salt at my house...I do have baking soda. Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, can leave your skin feeling soft, smooth, and clean. Baking soda dissolves easily in your bath. I never thought of using baking soda until my daughter had a really horrible stomach flu one time and a nurse suggested giving my girl a bath with baking soda. Apparently, the baking soda is good for diaper rash, itchy skin, sunburns, and other skin conditions. Who knew? Well, I used it on my kid and then quickly starting using it on myself and I haven't turned back. Seriously that baking soda can be used for a ton of different things. Just Google it! For my bath I add about 1/2 to 1 cup of baking soda. 

Step 3: Getting your lavender on!

Step 3: Getting your lavender on!

Step 3

This step I don't do every night, but I do use it several times a week. I add essential oil to my bath...just a few drops.

I want to address essential oils a little bit here, because I know we will talk about them in the future. I have a lot of friends who sell essential oils. I do not. I really like them, but I also don't feel like they are the answer to all that ails you. I do think they are a great tool that everyone should use. I like to diffuse oils, mix them with carrier oils and apply them topically, put a few drops in my tubs, or I use them for cleaning. I don't believe in ingesting them. You might. There is a ton of literature out there now about essential oils. Check it out.

I have three oils that I use a mist diffuser for often...I use lemon, lavender, and peppermint.  Most of time I get my oils at a local store and the brand I choose is Aura Cacia. It is fairly inexpensive and I trust its quality. One time I bought some on Amazon that had questionable quality...they smelled horrible and gave me a rash (BTW Amazon totally made the situation right). You may have friends that sell doTerra or Young Living. Both are great brands and I will buy their products when I can, but for general use I just run to the store and get the Aura Cacia. 

For my bath I nearly always stick to a few drops of lavender. I mainly do it for the aromatherapy aspect, but it may have medical properties as well. 

Step 4

Perhaps dim the lights, light a candle, and maybe grab a book or turn on some music and hop on in. Some days I try to lock the kids out of the bathroom so I can have a few minutes to myself, but typically that means they just bang on the door and make me more mad and stressed. Do what you can do for some self care...even if it is just taking a stinking (but delicious smelling) bath!

Hop in the tub tonight and have a great Monday!

 

 

Hippity Hoppity

Easter is this weekend. Easter is a holiday that we celebrate in our family and one that means a lot to me. But I never even got our decorations out from the attic! I don't have any excuse, Easter isn't even early this year.

Luckily we have been gifted a couple of Easter related decorations and we did make that fun Pom Pom Tree, plus I transitioned the house into spring colors a few weeks ago...so we do have some Easter spirit. But still I am a little off my game. That is okay. Some days we are on...some days we aren't...I guess the same goes for holidays/months/years. 

Easter is a holiday that our family has some legit traditions that we do try to honor. My husband's family typically has a lamb made of butter. My mother-in-law used to make the butter lamb for us each year. But this past Easter, she gave all the families their own wood mold for the lamb. It is pretty fun we can now make it ourselves for years to come. 

Butter Lamb

Butter Lamb

In my family we make a bunny cake. We decorate it various ways. It is cake with coconut flakes and the face is made with candy or fruit. The example below is from the year when my son decorated the bunny with marshmallow eggs. Here is the problem...my son and my husband (and sometimes even myself) have birthdays close to Easter. So that can be a LOT of cake in a short period of time. Last year I felt pretty proud of myself when I thought to make a smaller cake and then I decorated it with mainly fruit. I will admit though, the smaller bunny cake was not as cute. 

I think my husband and I care about these traditions because we don't think we have a lot of traditions. I don't know that we have a lot of traditions as a culture any longer. For us, creating things we do (or don't do) helps give us some meaning in our holidays and our lives.

You may do things a certain way in your family of origin. Then you grow up and perhaps you fall in love and make a family with someone else. And this person did things a certain way in THEIR family of origin. Well, then you two have to decide on how YOUR family does things. It can be hard to balance for sure. I mean, we are cool on the butter lamb and the bunny cake...but after 15 years of being together, 11 years of marriage, and almost 9 years of being parents...I feel like we still negotiate a lot what we do as a family. It is funny as we go along, our kids tell us what our traditions are. They pick out the things we repeat or that we drop and help us define what our traditions actually may be. Fine by me!

(Look at our "babies" first Easters! The Boy is freaking adorable/looks like a mini version of my dad. And Little Miss...why did we think it was a good idea to put her in this basket? Poor baby!)

One thing that is kind of becoming a tradition for the KUs, is that we try to stay away from giving candy. It seems like everyone else in their world gives them their fill of candy, so we don't need to add to that. It isn't because we don't love candy...we do. But everyone in our immediate family, besides the Boy has self control issues. Our daughter definitely has a sugar addiction. Soooo to help her (and my husband and I) from going nuts on the sugar we just ask the Easter Bunny to not bring candy. (For reals, I have a little pile of candy wrappers right next to me as I type. Ugh...it is a problem.)

Easter Egg Hunt at the Neighbors...for Candy.

Easter Egg Hunt at the Neighbors...for Candy.

Last year the Easter Bunny filled the baskets with all sorts of cooking supplies and new aprons and chef hats. This year the word on the street is that the Easter Bunny is bringing Disneyland trip supplies. I can't be sure since it isn't Easter yet. I will have to post pictures once the Easter Bunny comes to our house. 

If you are still wondering what you can do to help the Easter Bunny this year. Here is a list of non-candy items that would be great for Easter baskets...

Non-Candy Easter Basket Fillers

  • Books
  • Games-Jacks, Deck of Cards, Dice, Board Games, Rubik's Cube, Yo-Yo
  • Toys-Bubbles, Bouncy Balls, Kites, Marbles, Legos, Stuffed Animals, Slinky
  • Personal Items-Temporary Tattoos, Sunglasses, Hats, Chapstick
  • Art Stuff- Play-Doh/Clay, Stickers, Stamps, Coloring Books, Crayons, Markers, Watercolors, Paint Brushes
  • Hair Stuff-Hair Ties/Bows, Products, Hair Brush
  • Teeth Stuff-Electric Toothbrushes, Mouthwash, Toothpaste
  • Bath Stuff-Fun Soaps, Shampoos, Bubblebath, Bath Toys
  • Cooking Items-Measuring Spoons/Cups, Spoons, Apron, Cookbooks

You know I understand that not everyone celebrates this holiday. But hopefully a couple of stories about tradition and some non-candy gift ideas can still be relatable. Have a wonderful weekend and I will post some pictures once that darn Easter Bunny gets here! Hippity Hoppity Easter is on its way!

I Would Like a Transfer

In the early 1980's I got one of the best gifts you can give a kid...a bike. And I didn't get any bike, we went to a real bike shop and picked out this beauty. 

I mean, c'mon what else could you want as a 6 or 7 year old? I guess that depends on the kid and the realities of their life, but for that time and place I was thrilled. I clearly remember pumping my bike (standing up and riding hard) and thinking I was invincible. During challenging times, I still picture that little girl and try to channel her. I can see it so clearly (I have a picture somewhere...like a real one)...I am wearing a white eyelet sundress and my bike was pink and I was invincible in that moment. I imagine this is how my badass little girl feels ALL THE TIME.

The coolest girl I know.

The coolest girl I know.

Anywho, back to me. I had this great bike and then Easter rolled around. I think I must have had my bike for a year at this time. I also think I was living at my Nana and Papaw's at the time, because I distinctly remember this happening in their backyard. Well, my Nana and I were coloring Easter Eggs with this gem.

Well, see on the box how the kit included 20 Easter transfers? Those transfers were suppose to go on the eggs we were decorating, but instead I decided to freestyle. I put ALL the transfers on my bike's beautiful banana seat. Immediately I regretted it. I had regret for a couple of reasons. One is because it didn't look that good, but the bigger reason is that it wouldn't be Easter ALL the time and I don't particularly love things that are out of season. (It used to be the thought of Christmas music any time other than December would make me so mad. Then I had kids. And they don't give a flip if it is April...they love Christmas carols, or to hear a Halloween story, or whatever else may be totally seasonally inappropriate.)

But kid me was so pissed I put these Easter transfers all over my beautiful long seat with the cutest little flowers on it. Since that time I seriously am not sure I have even touched another transfer until this weekend. And now we have Make it Monday!

Put those things on everything.

Put those things on everything.

First you need your supplies...

  • Transfers-I found a couple of sheets of transfers that were intended for Easter Eggs. (Oh no! Is it happening again?) The sheets were in the dollar section of Target, but you can get transfers all year long at the craft store. 
  • Things to stick transfers to-I used paper, glass, stone, and wood. They all worked great. (Oh, also you can use a banana seat as well if you so desire.)
  • Stick-The transfers came with a popsicle stick to rub the design onto objects. One of those bone folders would be perfect for this.
Step 1-Cut out what you want to use.

Step 1-Cut out what you want to use.

Step 1

Cut out your transfers. You don't have to do what they are intended for...you do you.  

Step 2-Honestly I may have this upside down.

Step 2-Honestly I may have this upside down.

Step 2

Peel off the paper (if there is some protecting the transfer paper). Since the transfer paper is slightly tacky it helps adhere it to your item. Press down to help it stick...and hold it in place for Step 3. 

Step 3-Rub it (you can't make that less awkward).

Step 3-Rub it (you can't make that less awkward).

Step 3

You seriously just rub the transfer paper like crazy. You can slowly lift up the paper to see if stuck to the item. And if not put it back on and rub over the design again. (Kind of like a temporary tattoo). Sometimes the design might "jump" a little or it might rub off it  wasn't attached good enough. Seriously it can make it have charm if it isn't perfect...try not to get crazy about it. It is a fast craft you are doing afterall.

I am going to be honest, I LOVE this fast craft. I loved it when I was a kid and I love it even more now since I have a better handle on WHERE to put these little cuties. So I think I will be searching for some non-Easter transfers to see what I can make next. I hope you have fun with this Make it Monday too!

Luck of the Irish

Do you like holidays? I love holidays! Real ones, fake ones, I don't care...I like to have a theme and to just go with it. And before you roll your eyes because you may think I am a perfect Pinterest mom, I am seriously hella lazy, so I am not doing anything crazy...just a little something to give a shout out to whatever holiday we are celebrating and to show my family I care.

The next "holiday" is St. Patrick's Day, which is this Friday.  St. Patrick's Day was my Nana's favorite holiday so it has a special place in my heart. I grew up with my Nana and she celebrated every holiday. She also liked a good theme and she would make the day special and in turn she made me feel cherished and important. I know there are a lot of people that don't feel like we need to make our children's lives magical, but I am not one of them. Look the world is hard, bad stuff happens all the time, and being a grown up can suck...so if childhood can't be magical then when can it be? My mom always told me growing up "Life's not fair and people don't act right." We have to learn that lesson from Day 1. I am not saying catering to our children's every whim or making yourself miserable trying to celebrate every dang holiday (that is my jam...it doesn't have to be yours)...I am saying just doing the little things so the people you love know you care. My Nana was way before Pinterest and mommy blogs...she just made an effort and I noticed and it made a difference, but alas I digress...we are talking about St. Paddy's Day (turns out it isn't St. Patty's Day...not sure I always knew that). 

Anywho, this holiday can go a couple of ways. It can be really G rated and where you wear green or if you don't you get pinched, maybe you build a trap to catch a leprechaun, and round it all out with some corned beef and cabbage and maybe some gold chocolate coins...case closed. Or the other way it seems it can typically go is you can get super trashed and do your liver no favors by celebrating the holiday hard. We are probably going to go with Option A since our four and eight year olds don't know how to do keg stands yet and I doubt they can even hold their whiskey. 

Every year we have a St. Patrick's Day meal (corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes) and everything else just depends on the year and where we are at as a family.  Last year I thought I would be clever and I made green homemade bread. It didn't go over well. The color was off-putting to the kids...maybe it was just one kid...I can't really remember other than they weren't that impressed. This year as I posted this picture, the four year old thought it looked yummy. Hmmmm. I clearly remember being a little kid and BEGGING my mom to make me green eggs and ham (I think you see where this is going). I PROMISED I would eat it. Of course she made it and of course I was not interested in eating it one bit. I don't think that went over well either. Food that is not a natural shade of green can be unnerving for sure. 

Green Bread

Green Bread

I am going to list the things we are going to do this year. Maybe they will help spark your interest...I mean I am giving you a couple of days heads up so you have plenty of time. 

  • We will be making a leprechaun trap or two the night before (Thursday night).
    • Popsugar has some great ideas on different types of traps. My son will build some crazy thing that will seem like a Rube Goldberg invention.
  • When the kids go to bed Thursday night (which will probably be late...thanks a lot Daylight Savings Time) I will decorate the dining room table.
    • By decorate, I mean I might add some green napkins, throw around some shamrocks, set a fancy place setting, etc. This is not a holiday they get gifts so I am just really focusing on the decoration. I go heavy on the green, but you could do gold or rainbows too. Check out 
  • On Friday morning it is officially St. Patrick's Day!
    • The family and I will go and see if we caught a leprechaun. Since they are super hard to catch, the kids usually find fake gold coins (plastic or chocolate...just depends). And the leprechaun usually leaves a tiny note taunting how he got away. What a little jerk!
  • Then we have some themed foods.
    • For breakfast,  I am planning on going rainbow...we already talked about the green food and how it isn't appreciated. However, a green smoothie may be just perfect. I will probably make Kodiak pancakes with a rainbow skewer of fruit.
    • For lunch, I am packing as green as I can...sugar snap peas, broccoli, green pears, etc...you get the idea. 
    • For dinner, we are having the corned beef and cabbage. (Thanks for having us over Mom).  
  • Everyone is wearing green!
    • I will make sure the kids are properly repping St. Paddy's day. I don't want them to be the kid who is arguing that they color they are wearing is "really green" but it is more a color in the blue family. We all know that kid!
  • We will probably make some kind of craft. This isn't specific to the holiday, we just love to craft.
    • I think we will either paint with the colors of St. Patrick's Day or we will make something with air clay...or we will make something with air clay AND THEN paint it. Boom! I just blew your mind,
  • That is it! 
    • I don't think we have any St. Patrick's Day movies or books...typically with a holiday we try to mix it up...we want to learn about the holiday in a variety of ways. I will probably read this Irish blessing that was read at our wedding (we had our wedding the day after St. Patrick's Day). 
May the road rise to meet you.
 May the wind be always at your back.
 May the sun shine warm upon your face,
 the rains fall soft upon the fields. May the light of friendship guide your paths together. 
May the laughter of children grace the halls of your home. 
May the joy of living for one another trip a smile from your lips,
 a twinkle from your eye. And when eternity beckons,
 at the end of a life heaped high with love,
 may the good Lord embrace you
 with the arms that have nurtured you
 the whole length of your joy-filled days.
 May the gracious God hold you both
 in the palm of His hands. And, today, may the Spirit of Love
 find a dwelling place in your hearts. Amen.
— Irish Wedding Blessing

Happy St. Patrick's Day! See ya back here Friday!