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.

star-trek-1.jpg

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. 

#MeToo

metoo.JPG

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. 

fullsizeoutput_7463.jpeg

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."

 

Every Day I'm Hustling

fullsizeoutput_6d7c.jpeg

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. 

 

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.

Phoning It In

So magical. 

So magical. 

We are home from vacation. It was great fun. We had a wonderful time in Disneyland. While the rides and the all the entertainment were amazing, the most fun was just being together. It was clear it is something that we all were craving.

My husband works long and hard at his job providing for our family and he feels like he misses out on the little things with the kids. So a week together, just the four of us, was what the doctor ordered. Typically the kids just want me all the time and by the end of the week they were wanting dad instead of me. It was heartwarming to see...even if it meant I rode a ride or two all alone.

The trip was a great reset for our family. We have had some challenging times with my recent medical scare so while we missed school and other obligations, we needed this time together to celebrate the challenges we have overcome and to kick start this new season of our life. We spent our time getting to know each other in new ways, we found out how to travel better as a family, and we really noticed how much we needed to connect.

We are all exhausted, but the world keeps spinning so we have school, work, classes, baseball, etc. Now this is life. This is for real our front room so this is what I will be doing today. 

When we were gone we stayed at a place that had a kitchen so that really helped us not only with expenses, but helped us keep up a similar diet that we are accustomed to eating. Our family doesn't do well eating out all the time. As you know, I don't menu plan and honestly I rarely follow recipes, BUT I do look for inspiration when planning on what to eat for dinner. 

So since I am a little behind and a lot exhausted, I am going to phone it in a bit for Making it Monday. Today I am going to share some new recipes with you that we have tried in the last month...

  • When we left for vacation I had a gallon of milk in the fridge that was going to expire the day we came home. So when we came back, I still had the milk. So I made it into cheese. I saved the whey to tenderize some meat and to make some homemade bread. 
  • One day a family member mentioned on Facebook that they their child wanted to eat school pizza. And then I couldn't stop thinking about school pizza. So I tried this recipe, it was pretty yummy. (We make pizza pretty regularly at our house. It is something that my husband's family made all the time. It is great for me because honestly I don't love marinara so for my pizzas I can put pesto, olive oil, or whatever on them. Here is a recipe similar to the one we use when we make "real" pizza.)
  • These chicken tenders were awesome. Healthy? Maybe not so much, just eat a big salad with this one. 
  • I am trying this recipe today for a Cucumber Quinoa Salad

Enjoy some pizza, chicken, and a salad and I will see you Wednesday! 

 

It's a Small World

Disneyland

The title is a little misleading, because as I type this we have yet to go to the It's a Small World ride. Not because we haven't tried, but it just hasn't worked out yet during our first two days at Disneyland. BUT it does speak to how small this world really is. 

The first day of our trip was a little overwhelming. Kids were overwhelmed and so were we. And hot, we were hot. The amount I sweated the first full day in Anaheim was ridiculous and disgusting and embarrassing. But the second day we figured it out a lot more. There were still hiccups along the way. 

Our daughter had an appointment at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. If you don't know what that is it is a place that does a princess makeover for your little girl (there is also a boy makeover option).

It is not super expensive and it truly is magical. Plus your child gets to keep all sorts of goodies and a little bag. The price includes a hairstyle (and that could even mean some fake hair and a metal tiara), a shimmering makeup pallette, a princess sash and cinch bag, a face gem (and you get to keep the whole sheet), nail polish (and you get to keep the entire bottle), and a little bottle of shampoo and a makeup remover towelette. I mean they treat the little princess like princesses. It was so sweet to watch and our daughter was really into it. 

So, we had an appointment and it turns out we had to wait an hour to even get in. They were having some problems with some of the guests and it was just super busy. Everyone was so sweet and the wait wasn't horrible. And for our trouble they gave us a fast pass to use on anything. It seriously was a wonderful, wonderful experience and I am super glad we did it. 

We left the appointment set to meet the boys and to use our new pass on a Star Wars ride because it was May 4th (May the 4th be with you). We got out of the ride and all of us felt a little sick. And the kids spent their spending money on some Star Wars paraphernalia in the gift shop...a double lightsaber and a R2D2.  We got back to our stroller and realized that someone had stolen our bags...they were cheap shopping bags filled with snacks, but still we were bummed. My husband and I had been talking about how we were going to tell Disney about the theft. We didn't think it was their fault, but we want them to know their was a thief among them. 

We were strolling along (pun not intended, but appreciated) and this woman came up and said we had her stroller.  She had frantically been working with Disney security for over an hour trying to find it. Well, we were skeptical at first, but turns out I WAS THE THIEF. I totally stole her stroller and ours (with the food) was safe and sound. We tried to give her something for her troubles, but she wouldn't take anything. She went on her way. The fact she found us and was able to determine which was her stroller out of a sea of strollers...it is nuts. 

Well, we just had to make it right, we felt horrible especially since we were just lamenting how bad it was when we thought someone stole from us. So we knew what ride the lady was trying to ride. We went over and found her and gave her an iTunes gift card my husband had in his wallet...well, really to her little girl because she refused to take it. I was a total thief and I had to try to make amends.

We went on our way and were outside of the It's a Small World ride, which was closed. My husband made a trip to the restroom and when he came back I asked where our daughter's newly purchased R2D2 was. He didn't have it. We were dumbfounded. We decided to retrace our steps. We couldn't find it any where. We thought it may be at the place we last saw the lady we stole from. It wasn't and I was getting sad. Well, my husband checked over where I had stolen the stroller and where our stroller was during all the confusion. For some unknown reason, the bag with this brand new toy was still in there. What are the odds of all this craziness? And we saw the lady AGAIN and told her what happened now. I told her we are hot messes and I wasn't even exaggerating...like even a little.

The return of the R2D2.

The return of the R2D2.

After all of this drama, my son wanted to go back to the hotel. My husband said this was a life lesson that when things go wrong we can go home, give up, and not risk anything or we can try to turn things around and kick booty. We decided to stay and end on a high note...the Mad Hatter Tea Party (aka The Teacups). Also, I think the take away is that people are mostly good and it is a small world after all. Oh, and if you are looking for someone to blame for your problems...look at yourself first.

Now if you will excuse me I am STILL dizzy from today...I have to go. See you Monday.

Have a great weekend!

 

Best souvenir on May 4th.

Best souvenir on May 4th.

Wild Child

We have two amazing, hilarious, creative children. They are both unique individuals. They are in fact polar opposites...from the way they look to the way that they act.

Our boy has dark eyes and dark hair and our daughter has blonde hair and blue eyes. Our boy is dependable, emotional, and a rule follower. Our daughter is spontainous, driven, and makes her own rules. I think it is safe to say that one of our children is what you call a wild child, a spirited child, strong willed, headstrong, etc. No matter what you call it... you know it when you see it or in our case when you meet her. 

Coachella has nothing on this wild child.

Coachella has nothing on this wild child.

Don't get me wrong. I love this crazy lady. She is honestly the kindest kid I know...she is sweet, polite, funny, intuitive, and caring. And oh boy, is she happy...just beaming sunshine. But she does exactly as she pleases and while she doesn't do things to make others bonkers...it does happen. She just goes to the beat of her own very loud drum...I mean, she actually may have her own marching band. 

The many faces of this child, she changes clothes no less than three times a day...EVERY day of her life. And as the neighbors can attest, sometimes/a lot of times she is just naked. As you can see in the above pictures that she also cut her own hair about a year ago. It grew back, but that was a hard one for this mom. Little Miss is ALWAYS doing something or getting into something. 

When she was younger we had to call Poison Control all the time...like double digit numbers. One time I was on the phone with poison control and she started eating hand sanitizer...something I had called about on a previous phone call to Poison Control. 

Sometimes she is a hard one for me. I find myself yelling or screaming, really, at her. I didn't do that with my son. He is wacky in his own way, but he doesn't want to disappoint us, he doesn't want to get it trouble. Our girl doesn't care about that as much. That isn't totally fair, she loves us and she wants to do the things we tell her, but she cares more about doing what she wants to do and that makes me freaking bananas. 

I am not proud of how I parent her at times. I subscribe to positive parenting and still I find myself screaming at a little child. These are the times I am clearly not using my best strategies. My daughter is relentless and since we are together 24/7 there are times I am not my best self. It is a difficult balance trying to parent this amazing, vibrant, curious child and not squashing her spirit as we try to make sure she is a functioning member of society. 

Her teachers tell me she listens to them. The preschool administrator assures me that she does what she is told. She did say that our Little Miss is 500% personality. And she is. I mean in so many ways she is my hero. 

Our daughter rarely walks anywhere, she literally skips through life. She is always hopping and jumping and dancing. Our girl is strong, and determined, and relentless, and so freaking clever. She has zero inhibitions. She is funny. She is a performer. She is just so much and she gobbles up life. She is all the things I want her to be as an adult woman, but raising a child who is so strong and obstinate is a challenge. I think she is especially challenging because her brother is so very different and parenting him takes a different skill set. Man, God is super funny.

Family Love.

Family Love.

So here are some parenting tips that I need to remind myself of and maybe they are relevant for you as well. These are tips that work with both of my children, but that I may use a tad more for the Wild Child.

Parenting Tips...

Think about how you talk to your kids. Sometimes my kids are really jerks and then I hear myself talk to them and I would NEVER talk to another person the way I talk to them. Turns out I am the jerk in that scenario. I wouldn't yell at an adult or another person's child, I wouldn't scold them or shame them, and even if it isn't intentional it is just sloppy parenting. Yes, they are going to break rules or not listen and they need you to parent. But they don't need you to be an a-hole. And when you are...apologize when necessary. 

Respond with positive redirection. If I come at my daughter with anger and negativity she is going to take it to the next level...and quickly. She doesn't react well with that. If I talk with her calmly and offer up some different solutions to whatever the problem may be, she reacts better to those options. But that is more work for the parent for sure. 

You may be thinking, "we are raising kids to prepare them for the real world and that is not how the world works." Well, kind of, as an adult I am more likely to have people start a conversation or offer some positive alternatives to a problem...not yell at me or get angry with me. 

Get down on their level and have them look you in the eye. You can't have a conversation with someone if you are looking up (or looking down) at them. You need to look in each other's eyes. Show your child that you’re listening to them. When you participate in active listening it sends the message that what your child is thinking and saying is important to you. Which I hope what they are saying is important. 

Be clear and consistent. Kids have been on this planet for a minute. They aren't supposed to be perfect. We have to give them guidelines and it works best when we are clear and consistent about our expectations. This is true in all relationships. If people don't know what it is you want from them how can they do what you want. So state what is expected and do what you say. Also, for us, when we aren't consistent about our schedules, diet, and sleep then we are all whack jobs. 

Give your kids time to move their bodies. Life improves when we move our bodies. It's true, it's science. Get outside and let the kids run around. And if you can't get outside, still get moving.  We live in the Pacific Northwest and according to the National Weather Service we have had 145 days of rain since October 1, 2016. So we have to get creative on getting the kids enough exercise...go to community centers, take classes, go to indoor parks, get into sports, whatever you can do to move! And when it is nice outside think of all the fun things you can do as a family...parks, the beach, cycling, hiking, skating, going for walks, etc. 

Know your kiddos limitations. As a parent you are uniquely qualified for something that no one else is...and that is to intimately know your own child. You know your children's expressions, their moods, and their limitations.

I can look at my boy and can tell what mood he is in and pretty much predict what he needs. My daughter is a little less predictable, but I can tell when she is about to crash/go bonkers.

Sometimes it is hard to set limits around your child...not just because you have to be the heavy, but also because you often are setting up restrictions for yourself, which can be a bummer. If we have to get the kids to sleep early so they can be their best selves then that means we are on lockdown too.

Oh well, we are in this together so watching their limitations can hopefully help me watch my own limitations...I have a bunch of them!

Enjoy the ride! Parenting is not for the weak. We go from just regular people to parents. We learn things about ourselves that we had zero ideas about. And we create these astonishing beings who turn into people. 

Our heart grows a million and our patience stretches soooooo thin. They aren't mini versions of ourselves, they are their own individuals. We can help guide them, but also there is so much that you can learn from them.

My oldest teaches me ways to think differently. And my wild child shows me how to live differently. They both crack me up, show me such incredible love, and remind me how freaking lucky I am each day...even the hard days. I am going to try to enjoy the ride either way, because this part goes fast!

Have a great weekend and see you on Monday!

 

 


 

 

You Be You

As you know, because I have talked about it ad nauseum, that we had a big party this past weekend. There were lots of jokes about us being brave/ridiculous. There were comments about the party, the house, the Nerf war, but the one that stuck out the most is one mom said "wow, you are a really great mom." And it was so kind, but it made me feel bad. I joked that she wouldn't think I was so great if she heard me yelling at my 4 year old...which I do. I haven't been able to shake the feeling I had after speaking with this woman. 

I am not a good mom for throwing parties. By the way, that is something I love to do...it is just a bonus that I have kids that let me do it. And the opposite is true, someone isn't a bad mom (or dad) because they don't do parties (or whatever it is that you may be talking about in your own life). Those sort of things don't determine our value as parents or as people. We are always looking to others to determine if something is good or bad and if we are measuring up. 

In grad school I feel like I really liked to explore the idea of Social Comparison Theory. (Truthfully, I think I liked it so much because it was one theory I truly understood and I could remember.) According to Psychology Today...

Social comparison theory states that we determine our own social and personal worth based on how we stack up against others. As a result, we are constantly making self and other evaluations across a variety of domains (for example, attractiveness, wealth, intelligence, and success). Most of us have the social skills and impulse control to keep our envy and social comparisons quiet but our true feelings may come out in subtle ways.
I wanna be like you. 

I wanna be like you. 

We compare ourselves to others all the time. It is human nature, but where we go wrong is when we base our worth on those comparisons. I have never felt that more than in Junior High/High School and now as a parent. 

Being a parent can be brutal. I remember when I first would go to pick up my son from school and I felt anxious standing around with these other parents waiting for our kids. I am a total introvert in new situations so small talk doesn't come easy for me. People would be chatting and they would know where to stand and what to do. I always felt like I was missing the page in the manual that everyone seemed to innately understand. In fact, I was sure I didn't even have the manual. There were people I would judge and make assumptions about..."they aren't watching their younger children the way they should," "oh, that woman thinks she's all that," etc. etc. I, for reals, made up stories about who they were and what they thought of me...I know, I seriously might be crazy. 

Then I started getting to know these people and liked them. Well, I liked like 98% of them. We are all in the same boat, we are all trying to figure it out as we go along...parenting and just humaning (that may not be a real word, but I am going to go with it). 

So I am not a good mom because I like to throw a party or two and I am not a bad mom because I lose my cool fighting with my 4 year old. I am just a mom and I am trying the best I can not to screw up my kids. And I am striving to be a good person and I am going to fail and also it isn't so black and white...good or bad. 

So here is our challenge...we are going to try to not compare ourselves to anyone but ourselves and we are going to reach out to others to help build understanding and maybe even expand our circles. 

An original.

An original.

You Be You-You have to be yourself. You can't worry about other people, just let your freak flag fly, because guess what? We are all weirdos. You are beautiful and amazing just the way you are. You can't go through life trying to please others or trying to be anything but who you are. 

You can do it!

You can do it!

Stick to Positive Self Talk-You need to think about how YOU talk to yourself. Are you hard on yourself? Do you make up stories about the world around you without any real information to substantiate your stories? Talk to yourself nicely.

Al Franken used to play this character on Saturday Night Live called Stuart Smalley who was a self help host. He would say things like, "I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me." You need to Stuart Smalley yourself. You need to remember that we all have feelings of insecurity from time to time or instances where we compare ourselves to others in unflattering ways.

Their own beat.

Their own beat.

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone-It is so easy to do the same ol' thing...that feels good when something is comfortable, but it helps us grow if we do things that are sometimes hard. You have to push yourself to change. And why do that? Well, we don't change to please others or to be like others. We change because it is good for us to keep evolving.

Holding On.

Holding On.

Make a Friend-Things are easier when you are in it with someone else. Seriously some of my best friends are people I didn't like at first. They were people I judged or compared myself to...and then something happened and instead of being frenemies we got to know each other. The journey is so much better when you have someone to share it with so get to know someone new. They could be your new BFF or at least another person in your world. 

Same but different.

Same but different.

Model Both Independence and Interdependence-Show your children how to be your own person. But also show them that it is good to make relationships, form communities, to be accountable to one another, and to rely on one another. It can be both. You can be independent and be who you want to be and do what you want to, but you can also have people that you can lean on at times and lift up at other times.

The duality of life is a trip. This not so great/but also awesome mom will see you on Friday!

 

Doing Your Job

Our kids are obsessed with my job, or lack thereof. I have been a full time stay at home mom for three years (this month actually). My son barely remembers me working outside of the home and my daughter only has memories of me being with her. And yet she is skeptical that this is what I do. So anytime I do ANYTHING for anyone...freelance work, volunteer work, blogging...she exclaims "I KNEW you didn't just watch us." Well, BTW I don't just "watch" them. But that is a tangent for another day. My main job (along with my husband) is raising kind, funny, and creative kids. Everything else is just gravy. 

Spread it

Spread it

Today I am going to go thank my doctor and the nurses, CNAs, and whoever else works on the floor I was on in the hospital almost 2 1/2 months ago. I feel bad it has taken me so long, but I am superstitious so I waited until I was 100% in the clear (and also I am a procrastinator). But yesterday I went to a couple of grocery stores and I filled up on snacks for the hospital staff. I mean, who doesn't like snacks? Weirdos, that is who. 

Why should I thank these people who are getting paid to do their job? Because it is the nice thing to do, it is part of being a polite society, and it will make them feel appreciated. Who doesn't want to feel appreciated? Probably those weirdos again.  

I come from a family of nurses...it can be pretty hard work...especially if you work with patient care. I was on the Cancer floor when I was in the hospital. I didn't have cancer...not a day goes by that I don't think about that and how lucky I am. I don't have cancer. I didn't have cancer. I am fine. But healthcare providers work with people that have cancer, that have other horrible diseases, or injuries, or a million other things that can send you to the hospital. That is a hard job...no matter how much you get paid.

Sure there can be some crappy nurses and jerky doctors out there...they are people and some people suck. But I am just going to say from the moment I was admitted into the hospital until the time I was released I had the pleasure to be with some people who really kicked ass at their job. They do hard and dirty work and they don't get a lot of appreciation. Not that people who are there are rude...when you don't feel well you can unintentionally be less than pleasant. It isn't your fault and it isn't the nurses' fault...it just is. So if I can help spread some kindness, why wouldn't I jump at the chance? 

As a country we have had a lot of conversations about healthcare. Don't think healthcare matters? Try paying for your medical bills on your own if God forbid something happened to you or someone you love. My hospital bill alone would have put us in serious financial trouble if we didn't have insurance. And still we will be paying for the care I had for awhile and we are one of the lucky ones...we have good coverage. Yes, the current healthcare system isn't perfect, but all people deserve care...whether or not they can afford it. 

We are called to take care of one another...by God, if your faith allows...if not, then I don't judge, but you are still called to look after your brothers and sisters because we share this world together. Remember how we are all apart of the universe? We share this space and time together. We are connected. We are family. So what do you do in a family? You take care of each other. 

Once upon a time I did have a career. I worked at a church for almost 15 years, and 10 of those years I was a minister. One of my favorite scriptures and the one I use as my moral guide is in Matthew (New Testament...duh).

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you invited me in,
I needed clothes and you clothed me,
I was sick and you looked after me,
I was in prison and you came to visit me.

“Then the righteous will answer him,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you something to drink?
When did we see you a stranger and invite you in,
or needing clothes and clothe you?
When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply,
‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine,
you did for me.’
— Matthew 25:35-40 New International Version (NIV) BIble

 

Well, nurses/CNAs/various other healthcare professionals spend their life taking care of us. If you have never been in a hospital let me just tell you they do a bunch of stuff that I wouldn't/couldn't do for any amount of money. They are with people during their most vulnerable times...even if you are in the hospital for something happy like a baby...it is still a hard/gross/demanding job. On top of it they see illness and death daily...and they help the patients' family as well. So even though they get paid...they still need to be told how much they are appreciated.

Loaded Up

Loaded Up

Well, you or your loved ones don't have to be hospitalized to be thankful. You can reach out to whoever you see that may need a little sunshine. Do you want to put together a "thank you" or a care package for someone too?

Here are some tips...

  • Find a container.- I love a good wicker/wood/metal basket, but since these particular "bucket of treats" are going to a group of people I didn't want them to fight...that could get ugly, plus the deep plastic bins hold a ton of things. 
  • Pick Out the Fixings.-Since this going to a variety of people that I don't know I just got a ton different things. Salty, sweet, healthy, junky...all of it. I tried to find things that were either individually wrapped, could be resealed, or that were large enough to share. 
  • Merchandise.-Put the big and/or heavy things on the bottom and pack things around the base and then layer smaller and fragile things on top. Try to fan stuff out and make it look nice. But since this is jammed packed with food items...I focused more on function over form. 
  • Add a Card.-Just make sure you include a note of gratitude. 

Find someone to be thankful for this weekend and maybe put together a little care package of your own to share. 

Have a great weekend!