Motivation to blog

Greetings Readers!

Nothing motivates you to write a blog post quite like the receipt of an automatic renewal charge on your credit card to remind you that you are actually paying for your domain name and extra storage space on your blog for posting words, pictures, videos, and songs.

For this reason, and more importantly for my love of writing and creating, today I offer you simple words, a picture, a video, and a song to reward you for the time you spent with me.

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What didn’t make me happy about my day

Last fall I came up with a ritual that my husband and I could do with our kids during dinner every night. I called it, “What made me happy about my day.” While eating we would all go around the table and share one thing that made us happy about our day. The point was to highlight and focus on the good in our lives.

Before long this ritual was commonplace and we would take turns going first, making family dinners that much more communal. When we had guests we invited them into our happy circle.

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On Halloween night 2

In our neck of the woods, trick-or-treat was Thursday evening.

That information is a precursor into the really annoying talking pumpkin we own that sings a song that goes like this…

I’m out of my skull on Halloween.

I’ll find a way to make you scream.

I’ll be everywhere on Halloween.

I’ll find you and I’ll scare you.

Ahahaha (evil laugh).

That’s right.

On Halloween night.

On Halloween night.

On Halloweeeeeeen.

Ahahahahahahaha (evil laugh).

I’ve written about it before, which begs the title On Halloween night 2. Not exactly like a horror movie, but more like a happy mommy remembrance, like the lyrics, all over again.

That pumpkin has claimed his place as the “it” toy that my kids and their friends are going to remember from Halloween. That creepy voice that they love and get scared of all at the same time. That voice that played nonstop tonight in the already noisy background of multiple families joined together in camaraderie.

Kids, costumes, chili, cornbread, homemade wine, candy, friendship and fun beckoned my door tonight. Buckets of candy chased nine kids into our home after an evening of trick-or-treating.

I found a half eaten lollypop under the couch and few Snickers bars in my daughter’s toy baby cradle as I cleaned up long after the guests had gone and my kids were in bed. On both accounts, I smiled.

My husband wore the same clown wig he’s been wearing for a few years, and I wore my, now traditional, cat mask. As a parent, it was one of those nights that I wonder who had more fun — us or the kids?

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Now the day is over. The annoying talking pumpkin, the spider candelabra, and the decorations are all put away until next year. The kitchen is clean; the house is quiet.

When my kids wake up, the magic will be gone. Their candy has been secretly screened (by me!), yet their buckets are in the same position they left them. They will feel enough ownership to remember the magic, yet a controlled (I hope) desire to make it last.

Tomorrow we will lounge in our pajamas and watch movies and know that another spooky night has graced our doorstep.

Happy Halloween, even if a few days early for most!

When Her Brother is at School

One morning per week, it’s just Vivian and I together because Lance goes to pre-school three mornings per week and she only goes two mornings. Wednesday’s are the morning we share when her brother is at school and she is not. For the last few weeks we have been settling into this newfound mother-daughter time together as she explores new paths without her brother.

As my second child, Vivian hasn’t had the one-on-one time with me the way Lance did during his first two years of life before she was born. That is starting to change, beginning with this one precious morning a week when it is just my girl and me. Next year when Lance is in school full-time it is really going to change, but for now we are easing into the transition.

On our first morning alone together, I drug her to the grocery store and on all of my personal errands at a rapid-fire pace because I had so many things I wanted to get done. In and out of the car, in and out of the car. She did not have fun. I lost my patience. Lesson learned. From here on out no more missed opportunities for time together due to unwelcome rushing.

Since that day, my only agenda on Wednesday mornings is her.

Last week we ventured to the library to play and attend story time together. I suddenly found myself sitting on the floor with her on my lap in a room with other kids her age. I gifted her my full attention, knowing it was exactly what we both needed. No agenda. No big brother to keep my eyes on.

I felt close to her in a new way, and she responded lovingly with relaxed snuggles into my chest. It took me back to when I used to take Lance to story time before she was born. As the librarian read, I admired my little girl as she listened intently, not competing with her brother for the stage.

I loved being at story time with only Vivian last week, and I’ll take her again on our special morning together, but we’ll also venture to other places. We will find fun out of nothing around town as we talk silly and laugh and bond. I’ll give her my unending patience and discover how easy it is with just one kid in tow because I couldn’t see it that way the first time around.

With all of these things in mind, it has been fun helping her unlock some of her own interests apart from her brother during these few hours when we are alone.

Yesterday we found ourselves trying on Halloween masks. It was spontaneous and we picked up whatever caught our eyes. We didn’t buy a thing, yet we walked away feeling full as we talked about trick-or-treating and just how magical it will be.

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Later we walked through the shoe department at Macy’s to beat the rain. I let her try on the “tippy heels” that she told me she wanted. Yeah right, but her smile at my willingness to let her engage in her desire chased away the rainy day blues for both of us. Typically I would have told her, “No we don’t have time or you’re not allowed,” or I would have had to divide my attention to pacify Lance who would have had absolutely no interest in this idea of hers. The moment would be spoiled.

Instead…

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Then she received a freebie make-up bag from the Clinique lady while I bought make-up. Even Mommy walked away with a few free samples from the lady. My girl and I are starting to make a pretty good team.

When we got back into the car, she insisted on sitting in Lance’s car seat.

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She misses him when he is at school and that has been an adjustment for her. He’s her security in a lot of ways, which I love, but I am encouraging and allowing her to walk in her own shoes during these small windows of time. Based on the tippy heels, I’d say she’s making some lovely foots prints.

Stand tall my girl.

Embracing the Imperfect

When we moved into our house a little over a year ago the toilet paper holder mounted on the drywall in one of the bathrooms was loose. Over time, it was clear we had to fix this imperfection.

Jan had to dismantle it completely and move it over a little onto an undamaged area of the wall and remount it properly. The toilet paper holder is sturdy once more.

There’s only one problem.

We have a gaping eyesore on our wall.

Ultimately, his plan was to repair the dry wall, sand it, and repaint it like a proper fix-it-man. But since I’d rather him spend time on the weekends doing important things with the family, like laying on the couch while the kids put on “shows” for us or adventuring around town somewhere, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

Cue the artists.

I mean the children and the wacko alternative-thinking mother.

Always looking for teachable moments, I called the two of them into the bathroom where we played school. As the teacher, I sat upon the porcelain throne and gave them a speech on embracing the imperfect.

In kid-speak I explained to them that nothing  and no one is perfect. That rather we are all flawed and that it is normal and okay.

Turning to the wall, I pointed out the imperfection. As their big-eyes locked on me, given I had just revealed a Sharpie and two Crayola markers, they listened intently as I told them we were going to help the wall feel special regardless of its imperfections.

I told them we shouldn’t hide our imperfections. Instead we should celebrate them, which is why I was giving us all permission to decorate the flaw in the wall as a visual reminder that not everything is perfect. In fact, the imperfect is beautiful and what makes us all unique.

Showing them I was serious, I went first by adding some verbiage. They know writing is my art and seemed pleased. Without being prompted Lance went next and added a green smiley face. I couldn’t have thought of anything more appropriate. Vivian followed suit and added some purple designs.

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Then I told the kids that under no circumstance are they ever to color on the wall again.

Ha! That mixed message outta teach ’em!

Nonetheless, as the metaphorical school bell rang, we had clear evidence that embracing the imperfect is the best fix-it repair job. The wall screamed, Kids live here and we aren’t perfect, but we like it that way!

I am not sure bringing the wall to life and coloring on it is effective yet, but I look forward to continuing the conversation about why we did it throughout the years. I am sure the wall will speak up when the time comes.

If nothing else, our artwork can provide guests with something interesting to look at as they take care of business on the throne. Maybe it can even spark a simple reminder within themselves to embrace the imperfect: the ultimate solution to so many problems.

Self-portrait

Last week I drew a picture of a juice box for no good reason and it felt kind of nice, so two days ago I took the kids outside with some sidewalk chalk for more drawing. Lance drew two rainbows, Vivian drew some lines, and I drew a tree.

A double-rainbow can only mean good things.

A double-rainbow can only mean good things.

Then this morning I found myself laying flat on my back in the middle of our driveway squinting to keep the sun out of my eyes as my kids, one on each side, used the chalk to draw my frame.

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Hey kid, that was my t-shirt!

I took my kids to a minor league baseball game tonight for the first time.

We enjoyed ourselves — ball park food, kids zone with a bounce house prior to the start of the game, and the Star Spangled Banner.

Ain’t that America?

It was just what we needed after feeling sad this week.

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