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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Setting Priorities

I would do anything for my kids.  Move heaven and earth for them. I have stayed up all night perfecting presents, I have held vigil in their beds when they are sick, I have cleaned up so many horrible things that came out of their bodies, and daily I make sure they are clothed, fed, healthy, and happy. I do it all because I love them. I make them a priority. I, like you, make a lot of things a priority...but not usually myself. Sound familiar? 

You're Number One

You're Number One

I stay up late at night to steal moments to myself, but turns out that isn't really taking care of myself or setting myself as a priority. I know I am not alone. Just check out  here or here or here.

Parents...and maybe moms in particular need a moment...a moment to ourselves. I love it when it is quiet late at night and I can read or watch something that is inappropriate for younger eyes or I can blog.

I never put myself first. I bet you don't either. 

Part of my neglect of myself is to let things I care about go first...

  • Too busy this morning to eat or have a cup of hot coffee? I will grab some kid snack later or I will slurp down that cold coffee. 
  • No time to workout? Oh, I can do that later. When? Who knows!
  • Can't carve out a little bit of time for me to get my hair done, or to get myself something, or to have a moment.
  • And sadly I let Posing as Parents go all the time. I care about this blog, but if I run short on time, energy, or even patience this is the first to go. 

Why? I would be so mad at my kids if they treated themselves the way I treat myself. 

I would love to make a sweeping statement about how the buck stops here...things are going to change from now on...etc. But that isn't sustainable is it? So instead I am going to make a pledge of sorts to myself to help me focus on what is important.

A Focus for Me (and you, yes you)

  • Making Myself a Priority-You KNOW it is important and it is what you would want for any one you love. You got to love yourself yo and make you a big deal. What do want? What do you love? What brings you joy? What feeds your soul?

And if you want some more explicit tips check here, here, and here

You are going to fail, that is okay. Keep trying. 

You are #1, baby!

 

 

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!

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!

 

 

The Summer of Strength

Running into summer full force.

Running into summer full force.

I know I have said that I love a good theme...for birthdays, for parties, for interior design, whatever it is it is better with a theme. 

This summer has a theme and it is the Summer of Strength. 

Listen, I am strong...I had a hard knock life like the kind Lifetime movies are about, I also carried and gave birth to a 10 pound 12 ounce 23 inch long baby, and I lived with giant tumors forever and was shoveling snow the week before surgery. I am hella strong. BUT I have room to grow.  We all do. 

Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
— A. A. Milne

I want to be stronger. I want a stronger body. I want a stronger mind. I want stronger relationships/friendships/communities.

I want strength. 

I want strength not just for myself, but because I am a mama...it is imperative for me to model a strong body, a kind heart, and the ability to make healthy choices...these are imperative to demonstrate a strong mama to my kiddos.

And there are things that we are helping identify with our children that we want them to work on being stronger. 

We want to help them be stronger readers, stronger writers, strong swimmers...there are things that we want to improve upon, to strengthen, as a family. 

The trick is when you are building your strength or anything really you have to remember that it is more than just building one dimension of yourself. A more holistic view is needed and you need an alignment of the body, mind, and soul. 

Our intention creates our reality.
— Wayne Dyer

How do you do that? 

  • Set your intention...an intention is a purpose or an aim.
  • Be clear and specific about what you want and put it in the world. 

  • Be good to your body...eat healthy, move your body, and get some sleep.

  • Practice gratitude...look at the good and spread that thankfulness.

  • Let it go. Practice like Elsa and "let it go"...put what you want in the world and release it.

Being yourself is strong and beautiful.

Being yourself is strong and beautiful.

Going to work on setting some intentions and on being strong. What are you going to work on?

See you Thursday!

 

Plans Change

Playing where we can

Playing where we can

Well, I usually post on Monday mornings. It is Monday night and I am just now sitting down to a computer. We had a crazy busy weekend. A dinner party for 21 people, had to buy a new dishwasher (that is right, the dishwasher broke BEFORE the dinner party...that is a lot of hand washing)  a 40th birthday party, a special baseball game, a whirlwind trip to Seattle to say goodbye to a dear friend, and to hug family. Some of those things we planned and some we didn't. That is life, right? 

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
— Robert Burns
Over it

Over it

This weekend may have kicked our booties, but it was the kind of weekend that fills your soul. Laughs with friends, conversations with family, and adventures. 

Summer has begun for most kids across the country...we are soooooo near the end, but alas we aren't there yet. In the Portland Metro area we start planning for summer in April...that is when you can register for the Parks and Recreation camps, swim lessons, etc. It kind of kicks off planning for the summer. By the time summer actually comes you probably have your summer planned (for months). The kids have swim, the boy has some sportsball camps and plans, and we didn't really have a vacation planned this summer since we went to Disneyland recently.

Well, plans changed. My husband has to go to Kansas City for work for 4th of July so we are going too. Since it is too much to fly to Kansas City for the family. You know it is one thing to drop a bit of money to fly to Hawaii...no offense, but it is a different thing to spend a bunch of cash to go to KC. In addition, we have been talking with my dad and my step-mom about meeting somewhere to get some family items that we don't want to ship so it made sense to drive. We will see grandparents and then on the way home aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Bottom line...ROAD TRIP!

I don't know about you, but some of my favorite memories/worse moments are from road trips. I definitely get crazy car sickness...I had to be drugged up on Dramamine most of my childhood. I am no stranger to a road trip. I have gone across country several times in my teen years and throughout adulthood. My husband jokes that I LOVE to sleep across the country. 

What I am most excited about it is giving our kids a road trip. I mean, I didn't have a dvd player or electronics to keep me occupied when I was a kid, but they will be making memories all the same. They will see our country in ways they wouldn't if they just read about the different states.

Because the greatest part of a road trip isn’t arriving at your destination. It’s all the wild stuff that happens along the way.
— Emma Chase

So I will be scouring the internet for road trip hints/hacks/help and I will share my findings. And if you have some road trip ideas I will take them! In the meantime, you don't have to drive across the country to have your own road trip.

Take Mini Road Trip

  • Find places near you to explore and plan your trip accordingly...or don't whatever floats your boat.
  • Plan to go 30 minutes to 2 hours away to make a fun day trip. If you live in Portland, a few places that would be great: McMinnville, Rockaway, Silver Falls State Park, Hagg Lake, Troutdale, or Kelso (Washington)...these aren't necessarily the big tourist places...there is more to Oregon than Multnomah Falls.
  • Pack some food...snacks or meals. You can do it to save some money, but even more importantly, it just helps you eat healthier...and it saves time.
  • Dress the part. I, for one, ALWAYS wear the wrong shoes. I never wear appropriate shoes and it is a problem. In the PNW, you need to always have a hoodie...no matter the time of the year. Other areas have different needs. And make sure you have sunscreen.
  • Have fun! It is about being together and exploring different places. Try to relax and go with the flow. 
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
— Mark Twain
Onto the Next Adventure

Onto the Next Adventure

Searching for Slo-Mo

Over it

Over it

It seems like everyone I talk to is a little (or a lot) overwhelmed right now. We are in the season of busyness. Granted I talk to a LOT of parents of elementary and preschool kids, but this time of year seems to be insanely busy. I think part of it is a combination of end of school events, sports, and just spring-going-into-summer stuff (like that technical explanation?). I mean for the love, we have to have our summer's planned in early spring to register kids in camps and summer programs. 

Summer is around the corner (a little longer for the kids in the Portland metro area. We had so much snow this winter that we had to add school days at the end of the year so we are in school until June 22)! One of my friends said she felt that it's bittersweet because she wants summer, but gets sad that another year has passed in the lives of her kiddos. 

Life in Motion

Life in Motion

It all goes too fast. I feel like I am constantly behind...for the love, I was able to blog while we were in Disneyland, but I was late for a posting on Monday...and I am home! I am just overwhelmed...I need to get kids to where they need to go, I need to get groceries, or run errands, I need to clean my house...the list is never ending and always growing. I am so stinking tired and I get snappy with my family. I think there has to be a better way...we must be doing some thing wrong because I can't do it all. I read the magazines, the blogs, Pinterest...and I am not living my best life...I am barely keeping it together most days. And just when I think I can't take any more and that something has to give...then summer comes and our load lightens, the days lengthen, and the most magical thing happens...the more we connect as a family.

The school year is so busy with school and sports and yes, we are together all the time, but yet we aren't. The time is fragmented and strained and the downtime we have is so precious that we do, in the words of Little Miss, we do what we want to do. She tells us on a daily basis "I do what I want to do"...shocker. And that is what happens during any moment we have right now. But I feel the moments fleeting. 

It happens before you know it, the handprints get higher and higher, then they disappear.
— Unknown

I sent my husband a text in the middle of the night a couple of days ago to inform him that we only have 9 more summers with our boy being our boy. Seriously it makes me cry. And then I obsess about those years...if he will want to be with us or his friends...or some day a significant other. You want them to grow and flourish, but you also want them with you. 

My daughter, who sometimes makes my days feel longer, has been modeling my obsessive mothering style. She told me that I am going to watch her children when she is older, I will live with them, and I am responsible for purchasing a lot for these future grandchildren. She talks about it all the time. I am game, because as I mourn each stage that is over with them. I store that longing away and I look forward to those stages with my grandchildren...and to the stages with my own children that I can't even imagine yet.

Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.
— Earl Nightingale

I secretly hate when people use the phrase "bucket list" for anything besides things you want to do before you die. A bucket list a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime. I especially hate Summer Bucket Lists...I think it is creepy.  So this is my Summer To Do list...whether you are in a part of the country that is already done with school or if you are in the same boat as our family and you have a few more weeks or you don't have either scenario...you still will be a part of the season so make your own list... or you can totally steal mine too if you want. 

Summer To Do List

  1. Work in the garden.
  2. Pick fruit-berries, peaches, apples, and pears.
  3. Swim. Put on the bathing suit and swim. 
  4. Go to the ocean-or a large body of water if you aren't near an ocean.
  5. Read. Read for me and have the kids read. 
  6. Explore as many playgrounds as we can. 
  7. Go to a drive in movie.
  8. Take some road trips. 
  9. Make and keep dinner plans with friends.
  10. Host another National Night Out event.
  11. Go stargazing with the telescope.
  12. Make homemade ice cream.
  13. Get out on the Slip and Slide.
  14. Have Nerf Wars.
  15. Make snow cones.
  16. Sew. 
  17. Make berry pies.
  18. Refinish a chair-this is pretty specific, but I want to make sure I do it.
  19. Go to the fair. 
  20. Bake-pizza, bread, all of it.
  21. Go on some epic bike rides.
  22. Work out.
  23. Visit some relatives. 
  24. Sleep outside.
  25. Take the dogs on an adventure.
  26. Start a new nature collection.
  27. Build a tree house.
  28. Get crafty with the kids. 
  29. Add to the rock collection.
  30. Play baby dolls or Legos most times they ask.

Well, I think that will start us off.

There is no slo-mo button for life even when we desperately want one to hold onto the moments and the people that we hold dear. I cannot capture this time, because to hold it is to suffocate it and life is all about the breathing in and out. So this summer I am going to try to do less and just be more. I don't want to squander a moment. 

Parents rarely let go of their children, so children let go of them. They move on. They move away. The moments that used to define them - a mother’s approval, a father’s nod - are covered by moments of their own accomplishments. It is not until much later, as the skin sags and the heart weakens, that children understand; their stories, and all their accomplishments, sit atop the stories of their mothers and fathers, stones upon stones, beneath the waters of their lives.
— Mitch Albom

Life is a busy blur at the moment...it ebbs and flows. I am going to try my best to do my best and then be forgiving with myself for the things I will inevitably forget, drop, ruin, etc. And in the meantime, I guess I will be collecting stones as we head into the next season. 

See you Friday!

Love a Little Harder

This paper isn't big enough.

This paper isn't big enough.

I was typing into the wee hours of the morning to have my post ready first thing Wednesday and then I started to doze off. I would type and look back at just jibberish so I decided the best thing to do at that moment is sleep and get the post out once everyone got to where they needed to be in the morning. But as I type my post has changed...I will write about teaching our kids empathy another day. 

Lately I feel like I am just a step behind. My To Do List is growing and turns out there aren't more hours in the day. Lame. So I am focusing on what I always struggle with...being organized and more prepared in my personal life. Once upon a time in my work life I was so on it, and for my family I got my kids lives and schedules worked out and I am there, but when it comes to me...I am falling behind. (Also, those last four words made me think of Cyndi Lauper and "Time After Time" and now I am listening to that...no wonder I can't keep on track! Good gravy, pull it together lady!)

This is just life. It is busy and there is only so much time and energy. I started a fitness group and it is so organized to help keep you on track and I feel like a hot mess trying to figure out what I am going to do next. I plan out my family's week, but for my own I just wing it. We all get caught up in the act of being busy...this isn't something that we should be proud of...it is not a badge of being a good person. I am much more impressed with people who are doing less stuff and creating more substantial relationships/work/art/etc. 

So if there is only so much of this life that we get, perhaps we should do a few things to capitalize on the time we have (this may be more for me than you...I am okay with that)...

We should do what we love.-Life is short, sometimes painfully so. Be with the people you want to be with, do the things you want to do, enjoy this time. Of course, we all have to do some BS, but for the most part try to focus on the love. 

Yes, we need to make money to pay for the things that are important to us. For our family, it is important to have a house, cars, activities for our kids, etc. Those things cost money so we have to make money to pay for it. Right now that falls directly on my husband. Listen, I know it is a privilege to be a stay at home parent. I am honored to contribute to our family in this way and I am eternally grateful that my husband works so hard to provide for us. (And a very generous grandmother helps too). I get that not everyone has this option. 

However, hopefully we can do things that bring us joy...sometimes that happens in our career and sometimes it doesn't. If you have to work someplace that doesn't bring you joy, then make sure you are spending all your other time focusing on what makes you happy...family, friends, pets, traveling...whatever that is.

Do what you love. Don't just talk about it...do it. 

My best job.

My best job.

We should set out our intentions.- You have to put it out in the world what you want. I don't know if I really believed this or thought about this until I met my husband. He is magic about this stuff.

Recently we got another boat. He already has a little one that he found a sweet deal on and the lady was so amazing and gave him all this other stuff (this happens to him all the time). BUT this new-to-us boat he set his intention on for YEARS. It was sitting in someone's driveway for decades. He would drive by to look at "his" boat. He would occasionally go to the door and ask about it. They had reasons why they couldn't sell it. So he kept on and on. He would drive by, he would talk about it, he had his eye on this boat. Last weekend he stopped by again and the couple said they were getting rid of it this weekend. They agreed on a price of $80 for the boat and $20 for the trailer. And he got the damn boat. He does that stuff all the time. He puts it in the universe and some how it happens.

We should all do that. If you want to get healthier, set your intention to work out, to eat whole foods, to get more sleep, etc. Set out your plan. If you want to be a better parent, work for it...set it as your goal and make certain your actions are consistent with your intention.

Willing something to happen isn't enough. 

The Boat (before it was washed).

The Boat (before it was washed).

We should value our time.-This one is really tough and as a parent it can be nearly impossible. Our time on earth is not infinite, your time is valuable...treat it as such.

What do you spend your time doing? I look at my phone WAY too much...it doesn't deserve my time. When I am an old lady I am not going to be glad that I spent time on my phone. I am going to be glad I spent time with my loved ones. I am going to be glad for the time I was with my kids, and my husband, and my family and friends. I am going to remember the hard times and the amazing times...they all add to the story of my life.

Your time is valuable for your work...that is why you should be paid what you are worth; your time is valuable for volunteer work you may do...it is valuable to the organization and the volunteering adds to the richness of your life (hopefully); and your time is valuable for spending time with those you love...you won't regret being with those who are your family...born into or made...whoever it is you call your people. 

The things you spend time on should reflect your values. 

Time after time.

Time after time.

We should love harder.-And last, but definitely not least we should love harder. In my family we love hard...you know that kind of love that kind of hurts...we squeeze you, we are passionate, and we are bursting with emotion. Maybe it is some kind of condition that I have passed down to my kids, but we love hard.

We all should love hard. Remember how life is short? You want the people in your world to know how you feel about them...I mean, unless they are a total a-hole...use your discretion to decide if you should tell them that or not. But definitely tell people you love them. Hug them. Give that compliment to that stranger. Smile at people on the street. Help your neighbor. Tell your kids you love them again and again and again. Don't let it ever be a question. Love your people and this life hard...your time on this earth may be finite, but love isn't...it keeps going. 

You are the love you want to see in the world...share your love...love hard. 

They love hard!

They love hard!

 

Well, I apologize that I didn't have the post up first thing...I like it posted early. I am going to set some intentions for myself, value my time, and love the crap out of this life. See you Friday!