Sunday, October 19, 2014

Littleness

On our walk at the park in the morning last week, a very nice lady asked how old Terzo was. 

“He’s two,” I said.

“Oh! I have a grandson who is three,” she replied.

“I like this age, two and three are good!” I said as we continued on our walk.

I really am enjoying this little two year old!  He’s cute and clever and has a great time playing with me, his siblings, or on his own.  Sometimes, though, I wish I could start over with Prima and Segundo, and enjoy their little phases more.  I wish I could take this version of myself and be that way when Prima and Segundo were little.

I was so uptight about Prima doing what she was supposed to at each stage and I let so many outside people influence me.  I worried so much about all of the little nonsense stuff and couldn’t block out the opinions of other people.  Add in wanting to expand our family and I feel like I missed out on a lot of the good parts of her littleness.

The same is true for Segundo, although I was much more relaxed him on most things.  But I feel that I missed out on some of his littleness because there were two of them always needing something, and we wanted to have one more.

Prima is literally slipping through my fingers and I can’t slow Segundo down, either.  I’m holding on to Terzo’s littleness with an iron grip because I know too well how soon it will be gone.  I’m trying to enjoy his stubbornness and need to do everything himself, instead of getting so frustrated like I did (and still do) with Prima.  We aren’t so crazy about the little things because we’ve learned that they won’t last. 

So I do like Terzo at this age, and I think I did like it when Prima and Segundo were two.



Monday, October 6, 2014

Reaching a Milestone

A couple weeks ago, I posted about Segundo learning to read on my Facebook page, how proud I was and how I totally cried.  Some milestones are a bigger deal than others; they give you the sense that your kid somehow "made it".

Segundo is my motor-skill child.  Running, climbing, jumping, building, all those things come easily to him.  But when Segundo started remembering stories we read and asking questions about them days later, I wanted to hug him!  When he started reading a couple weeks ago, truly sounding out the letters and putting them together, I walked over to My Other Half and just cried.  Segundo had "made it”.

It’s not that I thought he was never going to read, I knew that he would get it eventually.  It’s just that I worry about when “eventually” will be.  This weekend, I was listening to other parents of kindergarteners and someone was talking about their child being stuck on certain letters.  And I said that they will get it, eventually it will stick and you’ll move on.  

But I thought about what I said later that night.  That waiting part, the eventually part, is hard, especially when their peers seem to get it and your kid is, not struggling, but just not there yet. 

In moments like that, I have to step back and take in the whole of my child, all the milestone moments that led up to this one in particular.  He has his own strengths and his own ideas.  He will reach all the milestones in his life, on his own terms and in his own time.  

Segundo, Prima, Terzo, they are going to make it, in their own good time.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A New School Year

Prima and Segundo go to a Catholic School.  But sometimes, you would never know it.

This school year hasn't even begun and it's already been a bit...interesting.  Parents up in arms about teachers and students in classes.  What happened to compassion and understanding?  You know, the stuff Jesus was talking about?

Yes, some kids are harder than others and don't get along well with others.  But you deal with it and you teach your child to deal with it in a kind and compassionate way.  Because you remember that they are all just kids and you remember that they all have parents that love them, even the hard ones.  You remember that you are not perfect and neither is your child.

And yes, some teachers are better than others.  But just because one is spot on and one is more laid-back, it doesn't make either one wrong.  Again, you deal with it, and supplement if you feel the need or learn to go with the flow.

You tell your kid they will have a great year.  You teach your kid skills to deal with other kids, skills that will be good for the rest of their life when they have to deal with co-workers as adults.  You teach them to make the most out of what they learn in the classroom and what you teach them at home.

Catholic School or Public School, it doesn't matter, these are the kinds of things you will find everywhere.  You would hope that a Catholic School, based on the teachings of a kind, compassionate man, would deal with these things in a loving manner.  These past two weeks have shown me differently and it makes me sad.  Sad that we ask our kids to learn about our religion, but then don't follow it.  Sad that we are not living out the most basic law to love one another.  I'm not perfect and I'm sad to say I've been judgmental, as well.  But I'm willing to change.

Starting with me, I'm going to approach this year with love and compassion for all the students and teachers.  We'll deal with issues as they come up with kindness.  For my kids and myself, it is going to be a good year.


Friday, August 15, 2014

This Is About Respect (Or the Lack Of)

There is a blatant disregard for Human Life in this world.

We think nothing of killing another Human, hurting, abusing, shaming

The problems in Gaza, Iraq, Africa, Chicago and Ferguson.  The problems with sexism and racism and religious persecution.  It is all this: We don't Respect our fellow Humans.  We don't believe everyone on this planet has a right to live.  If we did, then Humans wouldn't be starving to death, gunned down for looking different, abused for power.  If we truly believed that Every Human has value and a right to live, no matter how they choose to live, then maybe there wouldn't be riots in Missouri and a war-zone in Chicago and bombings in Iraq.

But that's just it.  We think Humans only deserve Respect if they behave and believe like ourselves.  If you don't share my beliefs, race, gender, then you don't matter.  You are a toy to use, abuse, and throw away.  Or you are simply invisible, not even worthy of notice.

EVERY HUMAN MATTERS.  Catholic, Muslim, Wiccan.  African, Mexican, Polish, Iranian.  Female, Male.  It absolutely does not matter who you are, you are Human and you deserve to be Respected.

We don't Respect Life on this planet, Human Life, Animal Life, Plant Life.  We just don't care.  We send our Humans to kill other Humans, all for what?  We end the lives of thousands of Humans because they go to a different place to worship, have a different color skin-tone, are female instead of male.  We destroy each other, day after day after day because we fear what we do not understand.  And we definitely do not understand that we are all a part of each other.

WHY CAN'T WE SEE WE ARE ALL CONNECTED??

Why don't we understand that when one of us is hurt, we are all hurt?  When one Human dies, we all die with them?  Every day a fellow Human is hurt or killed by another Human.  EVERY DAMN DAY.  We inflict pain and death on ourselves, we allow other Humans to inflict pain and death.  We have no Respect for Human Life.

WHY?

 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Uncoordinated

Prima and Segundo are uncoordinated.  My Other Half and I are, too, so it's no wonder that our kids are as well.

Prima has no idea she is uncoordinated.  She moves through life quite literally at her own pace and on her own terms, not caring how others are moving.  She is tall and built strong, and though she hasn't yet learned to use them, she is amazing.  Sometimes, though, I feel a little embarrassed by Prima's incoordination.  In her gymnastics class especially, I compare her to other girls and I cringe sometimes when she can't move her body in the same way.  She hasn't learned to use her height and her inherent strength yet, and so she looks awkward to me.

My embarrassment stems from me and my own expectations of Prima, and myself.  I want Prima to be well-liked by her peers.  I want Prima to not be socially awkward like her mother and father were (are).  I want Prima to be confident in herself and her strength.  But mostly, I don't want Prima to be a bumbling girl like her mother was growing up, and still is.

What I am most afraid of, though, is that Prima will learn about my feeling embarrassed about her.  I don't ever want her to think I care more for how she looks than for the kind of person she is.  Because I would rather have my clumsy, happy, kind, giving child over a graceful, coordinated but unkind child any day.

What I want the most for myself and Prima, is to be Prima as she is right now.  She doesn't care about the way she moves.  She doesn't talk bad about her body, she doesn't shame herself, and that little voice telling her she's not good enough is not there.

Prima is content to be just as she is right now, in love with life and unconcerned with anyone else's expectations, except her own.

I love that about her and I hope she never loses that feeling.  And I hope she can teach me how to be that way, too.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Taking a Break

The car ride home from Iowa was so quiet.  Prima and Segundo were still at the campground with their Grandparents and Aunt, spending an extra day and night there, and Terzo was fast asleep.  The older two had already spent the last three nights sleeping in the RV with their Grandparents and Aunt, while we slept in the cabin across the way.  My Other Half and I had only spent part of the long weekend with Prima and Segundo, as they had preferred to be with their Grandparents and Aunt, riding in their car, spending time at the RV instead of the cabin.  We were both a little sad at leaving Prima and Segundo behind, even though it would only be one extra day, because we had already spent so little time with them.

Don't get me wrong, I love that my kids love their Grandparents and My Sister.  They adore each other and love to be with each other.  And I know that a break from my kids every once in a while is a good thing.  It gives me a chance to decompress from their near constant need for something.  It gives My Other Half and I time to reconnect and have adult conversations that don't involve code words.

But I miss my kids.  And I think that is perfectly okay and normal.  It's okay to miss your kids.  It's also okay to take a break from them when you need it, not when someone says you should.

Some of us need weekends away or a weekly date night or even a couple days a week at the gym.  And if you need that, good for you!  Take it and run, and come back feeling awesome!  I don't need much time away from the house and my kids to feel back to normal.  Usually, a couple hours every couple weeks does the trick and I'm ready to get elbows deep back into parenting again.  And, again, I think that is perfectly okay and normal.

Just please stop insisting that I need to step back.  Because I know when I need a break, and I'll take it then.

But right now, I can't wait to have all my kids back!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Just Tired

My Other Half looked at me just before dinner and said, "You've been like this all day.  I think it's time to let go of your bad mood."

He's right, I have been in a bad mood all day.  And tired, too, even after a good night's sleep.  I really wasn't sure what my problem was today.  Until bath time.

I was just trying to help Prima rinse the shampoo out of her hair, and she back-talked to me.  I walked away from her and into the kids' bathroom where My Other Half was giving Terzo a bath.  "You know why I'm in bad mood today?  It's because I'm tired of the back-talk and I just don't feel good enough anymore.  I don't have the energy to do this anymore."

I'm tired of my screaming two-year-old:
I didn't know you wanted to drink from the drinking fountain and not your water bottle.
I didn't know you wanted to open the book since you wouldn't answer me.

I'm tired of teaching my five-year-old to behave appropriately:
No, we don't jump off the railing of the deck.
No, we don't climb over the gate at the top of the stairs.
Please don't stand on your chair / put your feet on the table / freak out about everything.

I'm tired of teaching my seven-year-old to have respect:
Please don't tell me you are "So Incredibly Mad" at me because I told you to put on your shoes so we can leave.
Please don't tell your brother what to do, you are not his mother.

Being a Mom feels so hard today and I don't want to keep correcting the same problems over and over and over again.  And I'm just tired.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Saying Good-Bye

My Other Half's Grandma died this month.  She was 93 years old.

The Wake was yesterday and, even though I took the kids up to see her in the casket, the sadness never came.  Maybe it was watching my three kids have fun with cousins and second cousins they have rarely or never met.  Maybe it was the fact that they weren't sad.  Maybe it was reconnecting with Sister-in-Laws and family friends.  Maybe it was all those things, and more, combined that kept the sadness away.

The Funeral was today.  And the sadness came when they said they were going to close the casket.  There is a finality to this simple act because this is the last time we will see them.  Forever is a long time.

The priest at the funeral mass did a wonderful job relaying all that my Father-in-Law and his sister told the priest about their mother.  How she went to school in a one-room schoolhouse and worked on the farm.  How she asked her then-boyfriend if he was going to be a farmer and only agreed to date him because he said no.  They later married and were together for 60+ years before he passed away ten years ago.  How important family was to her and how much she loved being a Grandma and Great-Grandma.

How much she missed her husband and how she was certainly reunited with him and happy.

My Other Half and I talked about this later.  Grandma missed her husband so much and she was ready to let go of her life.  It had been a good life, full of time spent with Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren, but it was time for her to be with him.

And I look at My Other Half and I know some day that will be us.  Someday, we will be separated by death and then ready to be reunited.  I wonder what it will be like, many years from now, when my children have to say good-bye to us.  Will they know how much we loved them and each other?  Will they look at their other halves and think the same things I am today, about how much we loved each other and how much we missed each other and how we were ready to say good-bye?

This is the source of my sadness, if I'm being fully honest with myself.  Because I know Grandma missed him everyday for 10 years.  And I know that they are together again.  And I know in my heart that this will be us.

Today was also our Tenth Anniversary.  Today, we were given a glimpse into our future, a sobering and sad glimpse, but our future all the same.

Friday, July 4, 2014

A Year Already

Today is Independence Day and it marks Terzo one year anniversary of walking.  It's been a year already, since we started this journey with Terzo's eyes.

May 24th, 2013 was the first day we noticed his right eye going cross-eyed.  He was almost 15 months.  The first week was full of worry until the ophthalmologist appointment.  After his diagnosis, I was hit with this crushing anger.  Anger at myself for not catching this sooner.  Anger that Terzo even had a problem seeing because he could eat and pick up small objects and play with toys, things we thought he shouldn't be able to do if he couldn't see.  But he wouldn't walk, wouldn't let go of the couch or table to take steps across the room, because he couldn't see.  That anger quickly turned to fear when we realized the full extent of Terzo's diagnosis: the ophthalmologist feared that Terzo was going blind in his right eye if we didn't correct it quickly.

On June 11th, 2013, Terzo received his glasses and he has literally never looked back.  He marveled a little at the flowers outside the glasses store.  I have a picture of him sitting in the car playing with a plastic water bottle like he was seeing for it the first time.

A month later, on Independence Day, Terzo walked across the room without holding onto anything!  On the videos, you can hear Prima and Segundo cheering loudly for him.  They were just as proud of him as he was of himself.  And I was in tears.  This was the proof I needed that everything was going to be all right.

His glasses work for him, they strengthen his right eye and balance out both eyes while correcting his astigmatism and far-sightedness.  Terzo will probably need glasses for the rest of his life and I'm great with that.  Because he can see.

No more anger, no more worry, no more fear.  He can see everything and do anything, and that is all that matters.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

10 Things to Smile About June 2014

I just found this great idea from Emmy Mom: 10 Things to Smile About!
This is such a great way to look back on the month, and I've been really slacking on my Grateful Friday posts, that I decided to join in.

Here are my 10 Things to Smile About for June 2014:

1. Field Day for Prima - I am so happy I got to participate and be the class leader that day.  It was wonderful to spend time with Prima and get to see her with all her classmates.  Her teacher is excellent and we had a great day!

2. Segundo lost his second tooth! - He kept his first tooth so this one he left for the tooth fairy.  When he found his dollar under his pillow, Segundo was so thrilled!  It's the little things, right? :)

3. Listening to Terzo sing the Thomas the Train theme song - He can sing the whole thing and it makes me smile every time!  Terzo has the cutest little kid voice and he loves to sing songs.

4. Our trip to Disney World - It was the best time, especially since it was just us.  I loved riding the rides with my kids and seeing their faces light up when we met the characters.  It was worth it!

5. Vacation time with My Other Half's family - We don't get together very often because we there are five families and we are spread out, but it was so nice to reconnect.  Prima loved her younger cousin, and my boys had fun wrestling and chasing their older cousins.

6. Eating home-grown pea pods - I love this time of year when we get to go out to the garden, pick some fresh pea pods, and eat them right away!  Plus, I could tell Prima and Segundo that they were eating food they had planted, watered, and grown!

7. Riding the wave runners with Prima and Segundo - I don't get time alone with just my big kids very often, so being able to do something fun and it just be one at a time was super special.

8. Strawberry picking - We spent last Monday afternoon with my parents and sister picking strawberries.  I'm pretty sure the adults did most of the work, but the kids had fun and enjoyed their donuts afterwards!

9. Ordering My Other Half's anniversary present - We don't do anniversary gifts every year, but this year will be our Tenth Anniversary.  I think I picked out something he will really like!

10. Watching my kids run around the backyard - A year ago, Terzo wasn't walking, let alone running, so seeing him race around the yard after Prima and Segundo makes me so happy.  Plus, I love running with them, too!

Link Up and share your 10 Things to Smile About!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Disney Trip 2014

The week after school got out, we headed off to Florida for a ten-day trip to Disney World! 
Not the greatest picture, but we were in the car :)

Not only was this an incredible vacation for us, it was also a number of firsts.

This was the first time we have taken a trip just our immediate family.  We have only taken extended family vacations, with grandparents, aunts and uncles, so this was a refreshing experience.  While I enjoy spending time with our families and it is a wonderful way to catch up, it was so nice to not have to worry about what anyone else wanted or needed.  No waiting on anyone else or worrying about anyone else’s mood.  We could focus on us and our kids.  And if they needed to eat or nap or just blow off steam, we were the only ones affected.  There is a sense of relief in that, to know no one is waiting on us either.

We’ve never taken more than 9 hours to get to any destination.  To get to Disney World, we drove for approximately 17 hours over two days, a total of 1200 miles.  The first day the GPS said we had 700 miles to get to hotel for the night!  That was exciting for Prima and Segundo; they loved knowing how far we had to go, what state we were in, and what was coming next.  We packed books, audiobooks, crafts, DVDs, coloring stuff, and tons of snacks, and I spent about half the time in the back with them.  Prima, Segundo, and Terzo were fantastic in the car there and back!  Now they are seasoned travelers and we don’t have to worry about being in the car for a long time because we know they can do it.
We traveled across more than one state! 

This was the first time our kids had ever been to Disney World.  They were super excited about the trip, especially since it was a surprise when we told them three weeks before we left.  Prima actually said that she thought she would be much older before we ever went!  And it lived up to their expectations.  Prima and Segundo have been asked, several times, what their favorite part was and they have always answered “All of it!  We loved all of it!”  From meeting Mickey, the Princesses, and Winnie-the-Pooh characters, to all the rides and shows, it was better than expected. And, for us, totally worth it.
Meeting Minnie Mouse!

We had a great trip, and I am so glad we started our summer together!  

Where are you headed this summer? 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Be Kind

*This post originally appeared on my old blog (It's A Beautiful Ride) after Sandy Hook.  I want to share it again after what happened in California.  It is not the easiest way to live, and I don't always act this way, but I feel as though it is the most important.*


I have been trying so hard to understand how a person could take so many lives, how they could target the innocent, how they could resort to such insane violence.  And I've been thinking so hard about what we can do to prevent tragedies like Sandy Hook Elementary and the University of California, Santa Barbara.

We need to start with ourselves.  How do we treat the people around us, at home, at work, in our everyday interactions?  Are we kind?  How do we resolve conflict?  With kindness and empathy or with emotional and physical pain?

We need to stop. Stop hurting each other, stop judging each other, stop intentionally inflicting pain on each other.

Just Be Kind.

That does not mean you have to like everyone or even ever see eye-to-eye.  It means recognizing we are all different, but we all have worth.  It means not judging the person in the store or the co-worker down the hall.  It means "You do your thing, I'll do mine and when we cross paths we'll be kind."

Start today, right now, right where you are.  Show kindness to the people in your home.  Resove conflict without inflicting pain.  And if you can't, then get help to learn how.  Teach children to be kind so that when they grow up they know how to peacefully interact with people.

We need to start, right now, being kind.  To EVERYONE.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ready for Kindergarten

I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive about what Segundo's teacher might say at his year end conference.  He is a pretty normal learner, not too fast and not too slow.  But he is so different from Prima, who learns mostly at lightning speed, that I sometimes worry about him and how he learns.  (It's a struggle not to compare them!)  Segundo has been with the same teacher for almost two years (there is substitute teacher now) and some conferences have left me feeling as though he was struggling a little at school, but not at home.  Plus, he is notorious for knowing way more than he let's on!

This conference was the best one I have ever had about Segundo!  His teacher said he was absolutely ready for Kindergarten, and meeting all his skill sets exactly as he should be!

End of Year Teacher Gifts

Today is his last day of preschool ever, and I cannot believe how big he is.  Segundo has grown so much in the past two years, from a little Preschooler with a backpack almost as big as him into an Almost-Kindergartener who has friends and can be super independent.  If I ask him a million questions about his day, he actually tells me about the things he does in school!  He plays with the other kids and gets excited about his projects.  He's quiet and shy, rambunctious and silly, and he's comfortable being who he is at school now.

Bring on Kindergarten; Segundo's going to rock it!




Friday, May 16, 2014

Grateful Friday: May 16th, 2014

"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." - William Arthur Ward

Things I Can't Say:  
Today, I am so thankful to Things I Can't Say for giving me a chance to guest post today!  Check it out! :)


Monday, May 12, 2014

Thoughts on Mother's Day



Mother's Day sometimes gets a bad rep.  It can be a day of hurt and pain for many people, instead of the celebration it was intended as.  People think that Mother's Day is only for those of us with kids.  But I don't think it should be limited to us "breeders".  What about all the other women who have touched your life in some way?  If you stop and think about it, there have probably been many "mothers" in your life:

The doctor who gave you the tools to get healthy.

The college roommate who talked you through a break-up at 2:00am.

The teacher who gave you extra help in school.

The counselor who helped you get back on your feet.

The stranger who paid for your meal.

The Aunt who played with you, spoiled you, and listened when you couldn't talk to your parents.

The Grandma who did the same thing.

The best friend who always knows what to say to cheer you up.

The spouse that took care of you when you were sick as a dog.

The sister and sister-in-law who always has your back.

You don't have to be a "Mom" to have been a mom to someone.  In some ways, we are all Mothers because we each affect the people in our lives.

So today, take a moment a say Thank You to the women in your life who helped raise you, no matter who they are.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What I Need

Last night, I really needed to go for a run.  I was in a super bad mood, tired and cranky, and getting down on myself about everything.  I really needed to run.  But I didn't.  I went to bed instead, in a bad mood, and woke up this morning, in a bad mood.

You know, running isn't usually something I need, it's almost always been something to check off my list and a way to keep healthy.  But over the last couple weeks, I've started to notice a small change.  I'll be in a bad mood, upset with a hard day or just really irritated with life.  And then I'll run, mostly on the treadmill while watching old seasons of The Big Bang Theory.

When I'm done, the bad mood is gone.  Something happens while pounding out some miles and ignoring everything else.  I just feel better.

So this morning, when I woke up and still couldn't shake my irritated feeling, I promised myself I would run after I dropped Prima and Segundo off at school.  Terzo and I got home, didn't even walk in the door, got out the stroller, and we were off.

And now my day is going to be awesome, all because of a run.  I kind of like that!



What do you need now that you didn't before? :)

Friday, May 2, 2014

Grateful Friday: May 2nd, 2014

"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." - William Arthur Ward


A Great Pediatrician:
Terzo broke out into hives last week and his pediatrician's office was phenomenal!  They answered every question I had, gave us super clear instructions on how to help him, called that night to check up on him, and then explained everything the next day at his appointment.  I couldn't have asked for better help or a better place to place my trust.

A shared cookie:
This past week, My Other Half came home tired from taking an exam from work.  Prima unexpectedly shared the big cookie she received from school with all of us.  While not out of character for her, it was still a super sweet gesture and brought us all a few moments of peace on a slightly stressful day.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Letting Her Do It

I'm determined to let Prima do her school work and her projects by herself.  She is so creative all by herself that she doesn't need me to interject my own ideas about how things should look when it comes to her schoolwork.

Prima's teacher assigned a very detailed project to her class: research facts about any animal not found around us and create a diorama for the animal.  Prima chose the Hawaiian Monk Seal.

Of course I helped a little, Prima is only 7 and she doesn't know how to find information on the internet by herself.  So I found the websites and she wrote it all down.  I made sure she knew everything her teacher wanted her to know about her animal.  These are Prima's notes:



She wrote down everything and anything she could find about the Hawaiian Monk Seal.  She loved it! It was so cool to watch her take notes as she read about her animal.

This is the diorama Prima decorated:


She did a great job of picking out the pictures and drawing the palm trees!

Prima turned in her diorama a week early, but we kept forgetting to send in her notes.  I figured that even though the project part was early, her teacher would wait until the following week for Prima to do her presentation.  Nope!  Prima gave her presentation from memory!

I was so proud of her!  She enjoyed doing the project and really learned about her animal.  And she did it all on her own, an accomplishment she can be proud of herself!

I can't wait to see what her teacher has to say about Prima's presentation. :)



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Small Steps...


Two weeks ago I began again and took my first steps towards becoming a runner.

My first run was....hard.  A full backpack in the seat next to Terzo, in a stroller not meant for running at all, let alone on a gravel path, the wind blowing at me no matter which way I turned.  I'm pretty sure I looked more than a little pathetic as walked more than ran the first two miles since before the crazy snow buried us.

But it was a start and, more than that, it was freeing!  Finally, finally I was lacing up my shoes and getting outside for a run, a real run!  Finally, I was not just saying I should run, I was actually doing it!  Ok, more walking than running, but I got out there. :)

It was enough to motivate me to sign up for my first 5K of the season.  In November of last year, I ran a "fun run" and had a very eye-opening experience that turned me off of more silly runs that don't really benefit anything or anyone.  I made a promise to myself that when I ran another race, it would be for a good cause.

I'm running with Girls on the Run, a great organization that gets girls out and running, while mentoring them along the way.  If you feel so inclined, you can donate to my fundraising page here.

If you are taking your first steps towards a new goal, I applaud you for getting out there and wish you the best on your way!  Let me know how it goes! :)


Friday, April 18, 2014

Grateful Friday: April 18th, 2014

"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." - William Arthur Ward

Sunshine and Blue Skies:
I am pretty sure my super bad mood from last week has literally melted away in the sunshine.  We've had more days with sun than without this week and it has been so good for my spirit and each of my kids' spirits.  

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Wasted Time?

I just spent over an hour reading around the internet tonight.  A blog post here, another there, scrolling through various people's websites and reading all about them.

Most days, when I finally come up for air from the internet pool, I lament the lost time.  I think "How could I have spent so much time doing nothing when there are a hundred things that have to get done today?"

Tonight, I felt as though this was something I needed to do.  I needed a break from my reality, a little time to peer into someone else's world.  Things around here have just felt really hard.  Prima is yelling at me over silly things, Segundo is having nosebleeds because of the crazy weather, Terzo is screaming when he gets frustrated.  We are all recovering from a nasty bout with a cold and being back to school is throwing everyone off and all I want is a break.

So I took a break and I read.  I read about other people's lives and what they find important to write about.  I read old posts from two years ago and looked at About pages to learn what makes the authors tick.  I took a step back from my world, related a little to each person's musings, and felt so much better.

Now, I can fold that mountain of laundry that has patiently waited for me tonight and when My Other Half wakes me tomorrow morning I will be in a better place.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Grateful Friday: April 4th, 2014

"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." - William Arthur Ward


Audio Books: We have been listening all week to How to Train Your Dragon on the way to and from school.  It's been so nice to hear Terzo ask about Hiccup in the car.  Segundo has been asking great questions about what is going to happen next and remembers what Hiccup and Toothless have been doing!

This Teddy Bear Sunflower:
Prima is growing this on our windowsill.  It's a great reminder on these cold, dreary days that spring will come.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Terzo and His Glasses

Terzo is two years old and has been wearing glasses for about 10 months.

At his very first ophthalmologist appointment back in May 2013, he had a complete and total meltdown.  Understandable, of course, as this was the first time Terzo had ever met this doctor and the doctor was shining all kinds of light into Terzo's dilated eyes.  My Other Half basically pinned Terzo to himself while a nurse held his eye open so the doctor could examine Terzo.

The verdict came back that Terzo was significantly farsighted and in danger of losing the vision in his right eye.  Glasses were prescribed with the hope that they would correct and strengthen both eyes.  And they have!

Terzo has responded so wonderfully to his glasses!  He always wants them on, except when he is in tantrum mode, and they are working to balance and strengthen both eyes!!

Fast forward ten months, and several ophthalmologist appointments later, to a recheck of Terzo's prescription.  My Other Half and I were anticipating a repeat performance of the meltdown from the first visit, so we called in the reinforcements (my sister) to watch Prima and Segundo, and My Other Half left work to meet me at the appointment.

Terzo was amazing!  He let the nurse put in the eye drops, he played contentedly while his eyes dilated, and he let the doctor examine his eyes!  Terzo sat calmly on My Other Half's lap while the doctor shined light through lens after lens after lens, checking and rechecking to make sure he got the most accurate reading from Terzo's eyes.

The verdict this time was that Terzo is still significantly far-sighted and his astigmatism is more pronounced than the doctor originally thought.  The doctor believes this is due more to the fact that Terzo was a disaster at the first check and he wasn't able to get the most accurate reading.

I am hopeful that this new prescription will smooth out whatever blurriness Terzo still sees and give him a lot more confidence in new environments.  I am so proud of my baby boy!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Too Much Fear

I have too much fear.

Tonight, My Other Half is sick with a cold and asleep by 8:15pm.  All three kids are in bed and asleep.  I am awake downstairs and alone.

The doorbell rings.  It's 8:45pm, dark and pouring rain outside.

I freeze and feel my heart pounding.  Do I answer it?  Usually, I make My Other Half answer the door at night.  But he's in that deep, sick sleep and can't hear anything.

The doorbell rings again and then there is knocking.

I scrape together whatever courage I have, turn off the house alarm, turn on the outside and inside lights, and answer the door.

It's my next-door-neighbor!  And he's letting me know that My Other Half's trunk to his car is wide open in the storm.  Oh how silly and stupid I feel!

I profusely thank him and he closes the trunk for me.

My heart slows down and realize that I have too much fear.  I almost didn't answer the door.  Why?  What has caused me to fear the doorbell ring at night and the person on the other side?

There is so much good and so much bad in the world.  When I allow the bad to be my only judge, then I have too much fear.  And while I understand that a healthy sense of self-preservation is wise, when I almost don't answer the door by myself at night, I've allowed the fear to rule.  I don't trust the person on the other side of the door.

But how do I balance the trust and fear?  I don't know the answer to that...


Linking up with Things I Can't Say

Sunday, March 23, 2014

It's My Birthday!

Happy Birthday to me! :)

This week marks 33 years on this earth.

I don't feel a day over 23. :)

It's strange to me to think I have entered into my thirties when, in my head, I always think of myself as the young kid just out of college and newly married.  Maybe it's that feeling of having your whole life ahead of you.  Because I still feel that way.

In those ten years, I've had a lot of new experiences: I taught junior high science, we bought a house, I left the school and became a mom three times over.  But I still feel a lot younger than my years.  Isn't the saying "You're only as young as you feel"?

Even though time and responsibility have proven otherwise over and over again, I just can't wrap my head around feeling older than a college graduate.  When I think of myself, I always see that 23-year-old.

The date tells me otherwise, but I choose to ignore it.  I'm still very young inside my head and I like it that way! :)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Fulfilling My Promises

One of the things I severely lack is the follow-through on a promise, big and small, to my children.  This can range from saying "Yes, you can have a snack" to "Yes, we can go to the library, museum, aquarium, etc. today".

It was disheartening when I realized that my kids didn't really believe me when I said I would play with them after I was finished with whatever task I was doing.  They didn't think I really would take a minute out of getting dinner ready to give them a piece of fruit.  In short, I wasn't following through on my promises and they were on the verge of not asking me to play with them anymore.

Last week and this week, I've made it a priority to do what I said I would.  I promised Prima and Segundo a snack this afternoon.  It took me over an hour to get it, but I finally cut up some strawberries for all three kiddos.  Segundo asked and asked for me to build one of his Lego trucks this weekend.  I said yes, clarified that I would work on it a little at a time, and between myself and My Other Half we finished it on Sunday.

What I noticed, especially this weekend, was that I tend to say "Yes, I'll do that" or "Yes, we can go there" but then reality gets in the way or I really don't mean it or I just don't make the time to make it happen.  And I end up with disappointed and disillusioned kids.

Making good on my promises has forced me to actually listen to what I am being asked to, think about whether I can make all or part or none of it happen, and then do what I said I would.  It has also put some things into perspective for me, and made me realize that I am much too obsessed with my own chores to enjoy playing with my kids.  It's forced me to step away from the laundry and go play cars with Terzo or build with Segundo or read with Prima.

And that has been the best gift about keeping my promises.  I've spent real time with my kids and they got their Mommy back.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

He Missed Me!

My little Terzo absolutely loves his Daddy!  He asks for Daddy, wonders where Daddy is and what Daddy's doing.  Terzo misses My Other Half so much all day long that when My Other Half is home, Terzo wants almost nothing to do with me.

Today, Terzo and Segundo spent the afternoon with Grandma while I was at Prima's school helping with recess duty.  Both boys were very excited to see Grandma and have lunch with her!  They had an extremely adventurous lunchtime involving my turning on the house alarm this morning, Grandma setting off the alarm this afternoon, and a nice visit with a local police officer.

When I came home, I apologized profusely to my Mother-in-Law (who was unbelievably kind about the whole thing) and said hello to my boys while they were eating lunch.  Terzo looked over at Grandma and said "Mommy's home!  Grandma go now!"  He was basically telling her to leave!  He wanted out of his seat and he wanted me to hold him!

Terzo missed me!  He actually missed me!  After freezing my behind at recess duty and worrying over the alarm, Terzo's snuggle when I picked him up was exactly, exactly what I needed.

My Other Half says that I spend so much time with Prima, Segundo, and Terzo that they actually don't have time to miss me.  Since he's gone all day, of course they miss their Daddy.  He makes perfect sense.  Still, it's nice to be needed and today Terzo gave me a little reminder of that.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Am I Unimportant?

I asked my husband last night if I was useless.  But I didn't mean useless, I meant unimportant.  Am I unimportant?

I'm not super passionate about being a fitness instructor, or a runner, and I can't remember the last book I actually read (even though I love to read).  I'm not a marathoner, a rock climber, a kayaker.  I hated being a teacher and I don't have a charity I am so into, nor am I even remotely invested in my kids' school (meaning I really don't volunteer there at all).  I just don't have this passion, this fire, for much.  

Except my family.

But how extraordinary is that?  I mean, that's ordinary.  To be a Stay-at-Home mom is a dime a dozen these days.  And those Stay-at-Home moms work from home, volunteer at local charities, run marathons, and save the world.  That's what your supposed to do, right?  Earn money or volunteer or do something extraordinary while raising children.

And I don't do any of that.

This morning I read these words:
"Review your life. Is it not composed of innumerable actions of very little importance? Well, God is quite satisfied with these. They are the share that the soul must take in the work of its perfection."-- Jean-Pierre de Caussade, p.7

I am not a very religious person at all.  Religion and I have some major issues, but this kind of struck a chord with me.  And then my son fell asleep in my arms on the couch this afternoon.  Terzo climbed into my lap while Segundo and I were listening to an audiobook.  Terzo laid his head on my chest and that was it.  And while I sat next to Segundo with Terzo asleep, I felt important.  I felt that I mattered.  At least in this little section of the world doing nothing that was super important.  

Here in these four walls, what I do matters.  How I act, what I say, it all matters.  These four people don't care that I am ordinary.  They think I can move mountains, even if those mountains are really just piles of laundry.  

And this is my extraordinary moment today.  Here among the ordinary afternoon tasks, I had a sleeping toddler on my chest and a growing boy sitting next to me listening to a great story.  For the first time in a very long time, it was enough for me.  

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Through the Cracks

Sometimes, one of my kids gets overlooked in the busyness of the day and my own mental to-do list.  

My Segundo fell through the cracks today. My Segundo and my Prima and my Terzo fall through the cracks a lot lately.  

And it breaks my heart a little to say that, to know that I didn't pay attention to them and their questions.  That I didn't ask about their day beyond my cursory question when I first picked them up from school.  I was too busy to listen, to ask, to sit with them and read a story. 

On days like today, I go to bed promising that tomorrow I will pay attention, tomorrow I will be there fully for all my children, tomorrow it will be different.

But most days it's not.  And I'm right back at the end of another day, making the same promises: that I will find a way to get all my stuff done without letting my kids fall through the cracks of another day.

Where does the time go, when you can blink and she's 7, he's 5, and he's 2?  Did it all fall through the cracks and we're just coasting by, missing out and not even realizing it?  Or, even worse, realizing it but not doing anything about it. 

This is where I am right now: I realize that I am letting the days slip through my fingers, but I'm not doing anything to slow it down.  I'm letting the stress and demands of the day interfere with playing with my children.  

And tonight I am making the same promise to do better, be better.



Linking up with Things I Can't Say

Friday, January 17, 2014

Crash and Kindness

Two weeks ago Husband was in a car crash.  We're pretty sure that he totaled the car.  He went back to the body shop this week to empty the car and he took some pictures for me to see.

It was a very sobering experience.  The entire front end of the car crumpled and basically took the force of the crash, doing exactly what it was designed to do in a collision.

For that, I am extremely grateful to the designers and manufacturers of the Pontiac Vibe.  You probably saved my husband's life.

Two days after his accident, we drove the hour down to my parents' area to meet my mom for lunch.  My parents very generously offered to let us borrow their truck so that Husband could drive back and forth to work.  It was a long car ride because of the snow falling that day and Prima and Segundo were very ready to be out of the car.

Imagine three kids and three adults in the restaurant, a place I had been going to with my parents since I was a little girl.  The kids were wound up, we were a bit stressed from the weather and the accident.  We ate and entertained the kids, Prima and Segundo played games with Grandma on their placemats, and then we got ready to leave.

That's when we learned someone had paid our check for us.  A stranger in the restaurant paid for the six of us to eat.  They couldn't have known how deeply that would touch us or how much that gesture meant.  After two stressful days of worrying about getting Husband to work and the kids to school, then driving in the bad weather to pick up a car from my parents, this kind and generous person made our lunch that much more special and gave us some clarity during a crazy time.

Sometimes, I really believe angels live among us.  Sometimes, perfect strangers know exactly what you need.  Thank you to our stranger, you made a difference for this family!

Because we don't know who did this for us, we have been talking to Prima and Segundo about what it means to pay it forward.  How we can't ever pay this person back for their kindness, but we can show someone else a great deal of kindness and pay this forward. Now it's our turn.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wonder

Prima and Segundo believe in fairies.  They believe in elves, dragons, Santa, and most other fantastic creatures. To them, the snow sparkles in the sunlight because the fairies sprinkled the snow with sparkle powder, elves move things around in the house so we can't find them, and dragons exist.

In Prima and Segundo's eyes, the world is alive with magic; you just have to believe first in order to see it.

They live a life of wonder. A balance of curiosity about the science of the world and the magic of the world.  They are innocent and imaginative, view life in black-and-white terms of good and bad, and believe anything is possible.

I am tempered by my (albeit young) life, by the slow unveiling the gray shades of experience offer, where reason and logic outweigh wonder and imagination.  I see, read, and touch first, then I believe.  

I miss it.  I miss the simplicity of being a kid, the joy of the world, the magic.  I want it back.  I wish there was a way to balance the sometimes harsh reality of life with a sense of wonder for it all.  Life is beautiful and hard, full of elves and forgetfulness, fairies and science.  

I am lucky to have three little ones to teach me to find the wonder in life over again.  And just maybe we can find a way for them to keep their sense of wonder all their lives.