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. 

It Goes So Fast

This is such a crazy busy season. I have been busy with all sorts of personal projects. Our family went away and spent a weekend with some dear friends. We are all getting ready for the holiday.

PLUS our baby turned 5!

Little Miss has been 5 for a week and a half now and I am still in shock. We have three new babies in our family/life and in my head, she is still new baby too. Didn't I just bring her home from the hospital? 

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This year we gave Little Miss a new "realistic" doll...the main reason she got the doll is because she was begging to get her old baby clothes out to dress her dolls. Well, two things...I didn't want to go in the attic to get the clothes and none of her dolls fit the real baby clothes.  So now she has a doll  that fits the clothes from the attic that I finally got out. As I got her gifts spread set out the night before her birthday I remember doing the same thing for her five years before that...this time instead of dressing my baby, she was dressing HER baby. I thought about the time we will be getting ready for her own babies...the ones I don't buy at the store. 

It all goes so fast.

Each stage has its own challenges and its own rewards, but the thing that stays the same is that it happens in a blink of an eye.

Our children teach us far more than we teach them. And I feel this birthday our daughter taught me a few lessons that MAY be helpful for you doing this busy season. 

Five Lessons From a Five Year Old

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Celebrate the way you want. This chick wanted a ninja birthday party...even though she had planned a different party for months. If ninjas were going to make her happy then by all means, let's have a ninja party. Life is short...celebrate. 

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Do what brings you joy. Little Miss had NEVER been to Chuck E Cheese and for her family birthday gathering she really wanted to go. It doesn't bring me joy, but it did her so that is what we did. The look of excited on her face didn't disappoint. You do you and what makes you happy!

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Live in the Moment. This is a person who knows how to live in the moment. She isn't hung up on the past or the future. She lives for right this second. We should all be so lucky. 

 

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Love Hard. Little Miss loves hard. She loves life hard. She loves people hard. She loves EVERYTHING with every ounce of her being. Loving hard can take a lot, but it is worth it. 

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Be a Badass. I mean, she didn't say it.  But  I will. She is a tough chick. She makes me want to be a bad ass too. You are awesome...show it. You teach other people how to treat you. Teach them you are a badass. 

Life is short and it goes by so fast...I hope you are enjoying the ride. See you soon!

 

 

Deck the Halls

Merry and Bright

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. 

 

 

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."

 

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!

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!

 

 

A Very Special Episode of Posing as Parents

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

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

Looking up in our front yard.

Looking up in our front yard.

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

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

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

Then husband texted me to bring rubber gloves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Okay, I Got Distracted

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

At Home Entertainment

At Home Entertainment

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

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

Hanging with Handsome

Hanging with Handsome

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

Eat Yo Veggies

Eat Yo Veggies

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

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

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

Road Trippin'

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

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

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

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

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

Pan or Lap Tray?

Pan or Lap Tray?

Road Trip Tips

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

Here are some other tips...

So many IKEA bags

So many IKEA bags

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

Homemade Jerky

Homemade Jerky

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

Clean it up supplies

Clean it up supplies

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

Games and More

Games and More

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

Let's get building and flying.

Let's get building and flying.

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

Let's roll!

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

Another Chapter

This Face

This Face

Today is the last day of third grade. My son is so sad to see this school year come to a close because of his teacher. He LOVES his teacher...we all do.

Mr. A has been an amazing force of light, happiness, and learning for The Boy.  He made learning fun for our son and the whole class. His energy is infectious, his dedication to his students is awe-inspiring. He has the best ideas for the classroom and for at home so that the learning never stops. I asked him for some ideas to help prevent the summer slide specifically for our son and he gave me a ton of ideas. 

One of the most important traits for us has been his kindness and his open mindedness about all sorts of learners. Mr. A understands that there is not one type of solution for one type of child.

Our son has a learning difference. He is brilliant AND he thinks differently. It doesn't take away from him, it adds to him. The way my son sees the world blows my mind. He is an inventor, an engineer, an artist, a scientist...he is amazing. I tell my friends that I am confident that our boy will change how we look at the world...he will do great things. 

Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.
— Stephen Covey

In the meantime, it may be hard for him. School doesn't come easy. He has to work extra hard. Our boy is one of the kindest souls I know and one of the most sensitive. School isn't set up for how he learns...it is set up for the many. That can be hard. Luckily we have a great team of people who help him learn the way that works best for him. 

Recently there was a school activity that my husband and I had an issue with because it dealt with equity and accessibility. (Yep, we are those parents...I cannot keep my opinions to myself especially with issues that deal with exclusion of any type.) And the moment I expressed our concerns to Mr. A he was considerate, generous, and apologetic. It was a view he hadn't thought about. He is not afraid to learn along with the students and with us, the parents. He is a true partner. I know why my son is devastated to move on.  

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.
— Henry Adams

I told my son that there are teachers in your life that change you, that move you, that forever alter who you are as a person...this teacher was one of those teachers. 

Mr. A-The Super Star

Mr. A-The Super Star

He brought food to our family when I had a health scare, he came over and worked in the shop on classroom furniture with my husband, and he adores our dog. My favorite story about Mr. A was that he came to our boy's birthday party (which is pretty awesome in of itself) and all of the children jumped and screamed like they had seen their favorite pop star. It was the best thing ever. 

Needless to say, we end this year with a full and thankful heart.

And "hello" summer! We are coming for you!

 

 

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Making Space

You may/may not have noticed I am not posting on my "typical" schedule...Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Wellllllll, I am making a shift. Little Miss is out of school for summer and The Boy will be done soon so I am trying to make some choices.

Last day of school.

Last day of school.

I am streamlining the blog to come out Tuesday and Thursday for the summer. This helps me focus on the kids when I am with the kids and focus time on the blog in smaller chunks for summer.  Do you ever have the need to make space for things in your life?

We recently started just going through the house and getting rid of STUFF...some times you just have to clear it all out. Literally and metaphorically.  It is the best. It frees you up for so many possibilities when you get rid of the junk.

Make space in your life, space for health and happiness.
— Kris Carr
Our summer.

Our summer.

Our summer is full of all sorts of activities. But some of the activities aren't written out or fit nicely on my CSI style calendars. Some things just happen naturally. 

Habitat study.

Habitat study.

Shhh. Be vewy vewy quiet, I’m hunting wabbits.
— Elmer Fudd

For instance, I don't have "trap rabbits" on my lists, but here we are. My son is studying habitats to try to catch a pet rabbit. Look, I know this may not be a wonderful idea, but I am committed to the process with him.

We have to make space for surprises.

Make space for adventures.

Make space for learning.

Make space for each other.

This summer we are making some space. 

So I will see you here on Tuesdays and Thursdays!

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

Take Me Home Country Roads

I am originally from the South...Arkansas specifically. I was born and raised there until I was a sophomore in high school. Later I went back to attend University of Arkansas for a year. Most of my family still lives there. And even though I love Portland and I have been here most of my life, part of my heart will always be in my home town.

You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it’s all right.
— Maya Angelou

When I get homesick, I miss the feelings of home and less an actual place. Also, when I get homesick I really listen to a LOT of country music. 

I have been thinking a lot about the South. We are having a Southern dinner party. So I have been knee deep in looking at recipes and reminiscing about meals from my childhood.

Also, I MAY have gotten an air fryer. Have you seen these things?

This is the GoWISE 4th Generation Electric Air Fryer. It basically makes food crispy without frying. I am going to try to "fry" okra and make "fried" pickle chips this weekend. I am way too excited about this. I told my husband it seems like the perfect appliance for the modern Southern woman and the little smarty pants responded, "Oh, do you know any?" 

The South is no longer in my mouth...maybe the drawl comes out a bit if I am hopping mad or had one or two too many cocktails. But it is still my roots. It is a culture that I share with my children. They drink tea and say funny sayings. I am trying to raise them right.

What culture do you identify with? What are your traditions? What is important to share with your children? Perhaps this weekend (or this summer if you need a little time)...start considering sharing your culture...your community that you grew up with...share with your family.

Here are some ways to share.

  • Start with the food.- Share your favorite recipes or meals from your childhood.
  • Tell a story.-Tell your children your story...what was your childhood like, what was your community like, and explore how it has changed.
  • Teach your traditions-What are the things you family did and why? Take a moment to do those traditions with your own family.
  • Research-Become an expert on your heritage. Research together so you all learn about what makes you...you!

I feel like a native Oregonian because I have been here since a teenager. However, part of me will be stuck in Arkansas circa 1975-1990 ish. Since I don't have a time machine, I will be enjoying my not-fried-fried food, hanging out with Johnny, Hank, and Willie, and I will be remembering my own country roads. I hope your travel your own roads.