Captain's Log

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We're One!

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

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

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

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

No. 

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

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

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

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

5 Tips to Throwing a Quick Party

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

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

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

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

The Skunk Outside

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

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

These are preschoolers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PHOTOGRAPH BY JOEL SARTORE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

PHOTOGRAPH BY JOEL SARTORE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

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

New Year...New You?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My intentions...

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

For my children for 2018 and this life...

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

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

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

See you soon friends. 

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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!

 

 

 

Oh Baby!

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This past weekend we celebrated babies. We are having a baby boom in our extended family and in our circle of friends.

We hosted a Sip and See for a new cousin. In attendance was another newborn...along with a bunch of doting women. The Sip and See was pea themed because they added a new pea to their pod. It was a play from their pregnancy announcement. So cute! 

And we also went to a Brit Tikkun (a Hebrew baby naming ceremony). It was a lovely ceremony where the parents promise to raise the baby in the Jewish tradition. Family and friends were there to witness, to love, and to support. It was a beautiful and meaningful service. 

It was a weekend of newborns and there is another baby on the way...another cousin. 

With all these babies it is hard not to get sentimental about my own "babies." Our Little Miss will be 5 this month and The Boy is 9 1/2. I feel like it was yesterday we brought them home from the hospital.

Look how cute they were!

I love snuggling these new little people in our world and inhaling all their newborn yumminess...well that is until they scream or poop all over me and then I feel a lot less wistful.

Parenting is hard work...it is hard work no matter the stage...just different kinds of hard. 

I feel like our number one job as parents (other than keep them alive...and some days that is all we have) is to raise kind people. Truly...the more kind people the better. 

Your job is to love your children and make them feel safe and secure. 

You know the way we feed babies, burp babies, or hold babies will change and evolve. The kinds of gadgets, beds, and car seats will keep changing. What doesn't change is that our children learn from what we model...so let's make sure we are modeling kindness. 

And one way we can be kind to parents...new and veteran...is to help them out.

So here is a list of ways you can help lighten the load for new parents.

  • Lend a helping hand. Come help with house work. Put away their dirty dishes, wash some clothes, etc. Maybe you aren't tight like that with the parents or they don't want people all up in their business. You can ask them what would be helpful (they may know) or give them a list of options of things you can help with (they may not have the energy to think of something themselves). Or if you can afford it offer to pay for a service...housecleaning, dog walking, or yard work (or you could do it yourself).
  • Let them sleep. When you share your life with  a newborn you get soooo sleep deprived. I told a friend it was the ultimate injustice of  parenting that these babies come into the world when you are already so tired and exhausted and babies basically say "Here, hold my beer" and they show you a new level of exhaustion you never knew existed. So offer to hold their baby so they can sleep. You can go over and sit and be on baby duty so the new parents can get some much needed zzzzz's. 
  • Make a dish. Bring them some food. Keep in mind likes and dislikes and dietary restrictions. And bring them something easy to manage. They don't need extra work. And if you aren't a cook there are lots of options...go the grocery store and get something pre-made, give them a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant (bonus points if they deliver), or even a food delivery service (or if your local grocery store offers online shopping offer to pick it up for them).
  • Shower them in love. Baby showers, Sip and Sees, or even baby naming ceremonies are about the baby for sure, but really it is about the family and you are showing up to show your love and support of the family. That baby has zero idea you are there, but the family knows. Sure you can tell the baby you were there from the beginning, but it is more than bragging rights. For baby gifts sometimes families have registries and sometimes they don't. I like to do a combo of something they ask for and something homemade like a knitted hat or a blankie I sewed (you know I am all about the fast craft).  It doesn't matter what you bring, what matters is that you are there. Oh, and be there in the beginning, but circle back in a few weeks...people tend to dissipate after a few weeks after a baby is born and some times that is when parents need the most love (and help). 

As a parent one of the best parts is having our friends and family love our kids and have their own relationship with them. It seriously warms my heart so much. 

Parents are trying to raise kind humans, help them by being kind. Babies may not remember you were there from the beginning, but they can feel that you love them. 

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I do miss the baby stage, but I am sure enjoying these two knuckleheads. And I know that these busy days are fleeting so I am trying to live each day to the fullest. 

These two will always be my babies. 

Have a great day!

See you soon! And be kind!

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!

Half Mast

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sandy Hook was 5 years ago this next month.

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

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

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

This was a white man who had domestic violence issues.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We need action. 

 

 

A Parenting Mess

Do you ever feel like you are just a parenting mess? You get stuff wrong? You drop the ball? You mess up?

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I, for reals, feel like that ALL the time. 

I can't find the invite to one of my dear friend's events. I forgot to show up for my volunteer shift helping needy kids (I know, I know...it is horrible). I didn't send slippers and a stuffed animal for my kid's special day at school. 

I screw up. A LOT. But it is okay. I am mostly cool with it. 

I also rock it and do stuff like Halloween themed food, including Jello brains. 

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I am pretty sure I faked having it all together for our foreign exchange student when he was here. I wanted to rep the USA well. 

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Life is not all Fakebook and the perfect Insta pic. 

I see the updates and pictures and I sometimes feel less than. And I read the updates and responses and the articles about how we all feel like we can't keep up. Let's just agree we don't have to. 

 I actually love looking at beautiful pictures on all my social media accounts. But I also know that there is more to the story...there is a another shot that isn't as great, that isn't as perfect. 

Before our foreign exchange student came to stay with us we set up some family rules.

1. No family naked time.

2. No bad words.

3. No yelling. 

Let's be honest most of these rules were directed at me. And I broke two of them. 

When I yelled. I asked our guest if his parents yelled and he said they didn't do it in front of other people, but they yelled at home a lot. Man, that makes you feel good, right?

I LOVE that they yell at each other.

Yes, we should all try to speak kinder words to each other, but seriously it makes me feel good that I am not alone. We aren't alone. And we are doing the best we can.

You can't craft every holiday? 

You picked up take out for your family instead of making a whole foods dinner? 

You gave your kids your phone so you could have a few minutes of peace and quiet?

None of it matters. We aren't in a competition. There is no score card. 

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We are all winners, baby.

Embrace being a parenting mess...there is beauty in the mess. 

See you soon...BTW you are doing great. 

Be Our Guest

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

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

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

Have you ever been a foreign exchange student?

Have you hosted any students yourselves? 

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

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

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

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

Gift Basket 101

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

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

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

 

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

See you soon!

#MeToo

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Me too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I see you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You have given them the strength they need to fight.

And so, I believe, you will save lives.

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

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

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

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

I am at a loss. 

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

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

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

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

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

I hope that this current culture changes.  

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

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

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

 

Detour

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

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

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

A Fall Craft seemed trite after all of that. 

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

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

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

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

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

This is not okay. This is not normal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just a Moment

Remember how I wanted the routine of Fall? This routine is kicking all of our butts. 

Actual picture of how we all feel

Actual picture of how we all feel

We are all so tired. The school, the sports, the extra activities, all of it. So this weekend we get a little family reprieve from it all. I hope you recharge this weekend too!

On Tuesday, let's do a Fall craft together. See you soon!

I'm a Joiner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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. 

Teach Your Children

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

Since the last time we met Charlottesville happened.

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

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

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

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

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

The Future is Bright

The Future is Bright

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Every Day I'm Hustling

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

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

Camping at Cougar

Camping at Cougar

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

Celebrating one Grandma

Celebrating one Grandma

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you next week! Have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

No Excuses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy your weekend. 

A Very Special Episode of Posing as Parents

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

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

Looking up in our front yard.

Looking up in our front yard.

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

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

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

Then husband texted me to bring rubber gloves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Okay, I Got Distracted

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

At Home Entertainment

At Home Entertainment

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

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

Hanging with Handsome

Hanging with Handsome

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

Eat Yo Veggies

Eat Yo Veggies

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

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

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