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Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Shoulds and An Open Heart














Deception I tell you.
Another snow fall. Just enough to cover the ground and streets for half a day.
And it's cold. Our coats are still stuffed into the car seat buckles.
We are still in our boots and mittens.
It's spring but it's not really spring.
And it's got me thinking
about patience
about parenting
about how sometimes my parenting doesn't "look" as it "should."

I love them more than life. No one could ever love them as I do.
They are the brightest, the cutest, the funniest. I know them at their best and their worst. They have changed the world, they will change the world. All the same things mommas think and feel of their babies.

AND I have had some horrible days recently. The kind of days where all of the above thoughts don't seem to be in the forefront of my mind. Where connection never sparked. The kind of days where patience never rang the doorbell and even if it had I probably wouldn't have let it in. The kinds of days where my voice was loud, my face scary. The kind of day that requires forgiveness from myself first.

And why? What is behind these days that happen infrequently but happen?

Time lines. Pressure to get it done.
Conflicting agendas. Mine, theirs, ours.
Expectations. Of them and me.
Transition.

Three and one half and twelve months. Two very different people. Two very different ages. Both so active. Both so independent. Both need to be so close, in their own ways.  Both exploring their own worlds beside one another. Only one bridge.
Me.

Me. The one who should have all the housework done, or at least start it.
Me. The one who should read more parenting books.
Me. The one who should know all the right things to say at the right times.
Me. The one who should be a better example. ALL. THE. TIME.

It's tough.
It's scary.
I don't have the answers. Sometimes I don't even know where to look for the answers.

I only know what makes it a little bit better for me.

Find the soft spot.
It's there. Somewhere.
Maybe buried deeper than I thought.
With time, sometimes a lot of time, it can be
Uncovered. The spot where vulnerability lies.
Live vulnerable. Parent vulnerable.
Parent from the part of my heart that fears and
doesn't give up even after one hundred less than perfect attempts.
From the part of my heart that isn't afraid to say
"I don't know."
"Tell me how."
"I made a mistake."
"I am sorry."
"Let's talk about it."
Parent from the whole of my heart.
Be human.

Because more than all the things I should be doing, should be saying, should be teaching is to be human. To find the softness, the tenderness and stay there.
To forgive myself.
To practice.
To be patient with myself first.
To open my heart even when I'd rather close the door and put up the closed sign.

What an amazing gift... an open heart
imperfect
exposed
real
soft
full
human.

The Shoulds don't live there. Just Me.
Me. The one that was meant for them.
Me. The one that loves them like no other.
Me. Just Me
...
Some food for thought on this snow covered spring day.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Windblown

I just grabbed this book off the shelf at the library and hoped that it would be one we would enjoy.It was on the New Books shelf and sometimes I can't resist a clean, creaseless book with a sparkling new cellophane (library) cover. Plus, the next time we take it out and see the smudged fingerprint on page four we will know that we were the first ones to put it there. (Sorry! Sometimes, books and glue don't go together! P.S. I pay my fines. I do!)

Anyway, Babe-O ordered multiple readings. So, it has made it to the best books list. And the book basically begs you to bring it to life. It's so easy to do! Windblown by Edouard Manceau is a book about seven scraps of paper arranged to depict a fish, snail, chicken, bird, and frog who all claim the scraps as their own. But the wind believes the scraps belong to it, and blows them along to the reader with the question, "What will you do?"

I cut out the shapes for Babe-O and gave him some white paper and a black marker.
He immediately constructed the chicken and then got creative with jellies.
 

I really like how the simple shapes became like a puzzle challange for Babe-O, and he enjoyed working with the marker to add details. Simple, easy, fun. And easy to keep some scraps, paper, and a marker on the kitchen table for spur of the moment creativity. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Happy Spring!

It's here!
There is mud. There are puddles.
There are tiny bits of green surrounded by the last jewels of melting snow.
Spring!

Time to start the seeds. Time to blow bubbles. Time to leave the coats at home (even if we have to turn around and get them before we have left the driveway).

Time to try out all the skills we have been practicing all winter long (like walking and climbing).


 

Time to picnic. Time to tour the all the parks we can find in a 40 mile radius.
Time to play outside all day long.




This Spring will be busy with a first birthday, a new garden to put in, turtle hunting (well not hunting, surveying), our annual trip to the Palmer House, the rounding out of the semester before Sabbatical, and oh, so much playing!

Let's soak in these first few days of a new season.
The crisp clear air cleaning out the cobwebs of winter, fueling our excitement, our growth.
Let's touch everything like we did when we were just one and seeing everything for the first time.
Let's stay in these days longer than we are supposed to like we did when were were just three and not required to comply with grown up sensibilities.
Let's see spring as if we are living in it for the first time...
because some of us are
and why shouldn't we all.



Friday, March 21, 2014

Silk Dyed Eggs ? !

Who knew?
Not me.
You can dye eggs with old silk ties...
I found a few ties at the Thrift Store. Cut them open and cut a few squares. We blew out our eggs, because I had never done it before and Diet Coke Papa has. Fun! Babe-O even helped poke the holes in the eggs with a nail. And if it wasn't so much fun for babies and toddlers to grab eggs that are shiny and hanging on our egg tree we might actually have a few to save for future years.
We wrapped the eggs in silk squares (right side of the tie touching the eggshell). And then wrapped the silk wrapped egg in a piece of cotton (we used squares of an old t shirt). Use twist ties to close the wraps. Babe-O and Deo enjoyed helping with this part. 
In a pot, cover eggs with water and add about 1/4 cup vinegar. Boil for 20 minutes. Let cool. Or in my case run cold water over the "packets" because you can't stand to wait. Open each precious surprise with the kids and squeal with delight!   
Oooo! The red tie worked the best. It was our favorite.
 
 
For more detailed instructions on dying eggs with silk check out http://www.marthastewart.com/269788/silk-tie-easter-eggs
and for how to blow eggs out of the shell (hysterical video)
 
 
I used some wire and a few beads and hung them on our Spring Tree. To make them shiny I rubbed them with a bit of olive oil. Therein lies the rub, shiny bejeweled eggs hanging from branches. You'll have to imagine it because only a few have survived. Even so, we talk about them a lot since the tree is on the table and Deo has declared that this is the way we will be dying eggs every year.
 
So special! So fun!
Happy Spring!
 
 
 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sometimes Things Don't Go As You Planned

Well, actually, almost all of the time things don't go as I planned.
I have learned to am starting to am trying to accept that that is just how it is with a toddler and a baby.



Spring Break started with our awesome sort of sledding trip and ended with our interesting and awesome trip to Milwaukee, which was supposed to be a trip to Chicago, but those details are not important. In fact, many of the details are not important, as I will explain. But here they are anyway.



We stayed over in the "big" city for one night. We visited two museums, both of which were not exactly what we had expected. Stayed in one very trendy hotel (we found a Groupon). Ate at one, too fancy for kids, restaurant (also a Groupon's fault). We didn't leave on time, we didn't arrive on time. Our plans were ordered and reordered several times. We didn't have enough snacks packed for the time we were there. Naps and sleeping times were wildly disturbed. Some of us wandered the city in the VERY early morning hours trying to fall asleep and some of us wandered the city in the regular morning hours trying to let said sleepers get their rest. We argued over using public potties. We argued over putting on clothes and coats and diapers. BOTH of the phones seemed to be dead every time we wanted to take a picture and we forgot the camera at home.



But those are the details and without them being written down, I would have never remembered them. Here is what I will never forget about our Spring Break in Milwaukee:



Babe-O. I will never forget the wonder in your eyes as you picniced on the counter in front of the window to the city in our hotel room. You watched the traffic, the helicopters, the city workers as they submerged and emerged from man hole covers, the frozen river and the seagulls floating above the buildings. I will never forget that in all your awe, all your curiosity, you called for me. "Mama? Mama! Why did that worker go down there? He came back up! I am glad he came back up Mama! Mama! The batcopter! Mama? Why is the river frozen? What is on that building Mama?" I will never forget just how privileged and important I feel when you call for me to help you make sense of your world. I will never forget how much I look forward to being included in all your adventures everyday (make believe and otherwise). How your frenetic energy and elastic imagination are absolutely amazing and how I often feel sorry for outsiders who will never truly grasp the brilliance of your metaphors and story combinations. I think you are brilliant, intellectually and spiritually. I adore you. I just love being around you. I will never forget how, sometimes, in the right light, I look at you and see just how big you have gotten and how much bigger you will get. And how my heart aches to think of a time when you will let go.




Babe-ala. I will never forget how you squealed with utter delight as you splashed in the pool. How you fearlessly dunked your head underwater, blinked, and squealed some more. How you clung to me in the water, laughing and shouting, reaching for your brother who clung to your Papa. How your personality and spirit grow every day. How your smile can stop anyone in their tracks. You are magnificent. How I am so totally in love with you. I will never forget how we walked around the city in the morning light, exploring, just us. How we stopped in to the Cultural Center for a rest. How you slept on me under the gilded ceiling and marbled posts. How you cling to me everyday. How slowly and surely you will venture out into the world. How my heart aches to think of a time when you will let go.



Diet Coke Papa. I will always remember that no matter how bad the headache is, no matter how little sleep you have gotten, no matter how awry things have gone you are always up for anything. You are indefatigable. I will never forget that as we quietly ate and "contained" the kids in a restaurant that would have been perfect for any one of our - I can count on my hand the number of times we have been out alone since the baby was born - dates we were us, just us - our warm and fuzzy family, happily reading Scooby Doo (or wrecking havoc) and drinking water out of wine glasses under the watchful eye of the waitress. I will never forget - better together.



So when things don't go as planned, and it seems that I might be frazzled or frustrated, the truth is  that I would always rather go with you. There are no other people in the world better matched for me than the three of you.


There you have it. Spring Break. Over too soon.
No pictures.
No souvenirs.
Just memories.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

An Open Letter to Batman


Welcome to the March 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Everyday Superheroes
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about the remarkable people and characteristics that have touched their lives. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
***







Dear Batman,
I have a lot of questions for you.  But to begin, let me help you understand. 
My life is steeped in your presence.
I have a kid. He is three. Despite all of my efforts to divert the development of his super powers, he chooses to emulate you – The Dark Knight, The Caped Crusader, The Head Honcho of The Dynamic Duo, The Greatest Detective in the World. Therefore, I live with you.
I wake up with you. I take you to the bathroom. I drive you around in the various Bat Vehicles. I help protect your secret identity as I explain to everyone that despite being fully regaled in bat attire you are in fact Bruce Wayne when we are in public, NOT Batman. Like you, I have been bitten by the Great White Shark. I have been sprayed with bat spray shark repellant. In the dark hours of night, when the city and citizens sleep, I watch you swing from the bat rope (perhaps not meant to hold your weight) as you keep an eye out for the Bat Signal. I hold my breath and tongue as you slide down the banisters (the Bat Pole) to battle Joker, Two Face, the Penguin, and Cat Woman in my living room, remembering that you are learning about gravity and exerting your power as you jump off of the arms of the couch and the coffee table. I carry you to the Bat Cave when you are weary from fighting villains. I tuck you into the Bat Bed and kiss your head as I remove your mask and cape because I fear that they will choke you in the night.
You might think of me as being like Robin or Alfred. But I am not.
I am Mama.
I know, I know. Your Mom was murdered when you were young and you have spent your life seeking revenge (often violent) on criminals in the name of justice. I am sorry. Horrific. Unimaginable. I am not sure what to say to you about that. I am not sure what to say to my kid about that either. He really wants to know. Because, you see, he really, really wants to be YOU. I am just not good at death, especially being orphaned. So, can you please tell me exactly how to explain to my three year old how you became Batman?
I would also like to know how to make a cape that is safe for my Little Batman. He uses anything that resembles a cape, ties it around his neck, and dangles from poles (towel rods), walks down stairs, and climbs the walls. I need a cape that won’t trip him, strangle him, or leave marks on his neck. One that he can remove or put on quickly so that at the moment his true identity could be compromised or a villain is approaching so he doesn’t have to ask his Mom for help (because really? that is just not cool). More importantly, how I can make a cape that will protect my Little Batman’s heart?  That will keep it soft and gentle and help him remain connected to the world, to life and all of its beauty and tragedy.
I understand that you do not really have any super powers. You have developed your intellect, spirit, and physical self to battle your enemies. I get that. I do. We are working on those things. So why do you look so juiced up these days Batman? How much protein powder do you put in your smoothies?  I have tried and tried to explain to my little Batman that superheroes need healthy foods to fight crime. He still won’t eat vegetables. So, can you stop putting your picture all over junk foods that my little Batman sees in the supermarket? Please send me your meal plans and make it official looking so that he will be enticed. And Batman, can you reassure me that even though he so badly wants to be you he will know that true strength doesn’t come from being super cut? That what you look like on the outside isn’t a clear reflection of what lies inside? Can you tell me with confidence that despite your emphasis on fighting, he will develop all the parts of himself and overcome the most difficult of enemies any of us have, ourselves?
And while we are on the subject, let me address some of your violent tendencies.
In my house, violence is not tolerated. We don’t hit people. Not even the enemy. Well okay, little Batman sometimes hits people. But we talk about it and why it’s not okay. And one day, hopefully, he won’t hit anymore. He’s getting better at not hitting. But despite your sleuthing and outsmarting it always seems to boil down to a fight accentuated by awesome sound effects that only make it all look the more attractive.  And my Little Batman wants to be YOU.  So as you can see, you are working against me. I think it would be best for all of us (particularly little Batman’s sister), if you could model the intellectual and spiritual aspects of your power a bit more please. Maybe develop your creative side a bit more - you could use your weapons to make sculptures or something. Okay? (This one is actually an order not a request).
Next let me address your treatment of women.
On one hand, I have yet to see you hit a woman. (And let me tell you, I preview EVERYTHING.) I have seen you out-science Poison Ivy and out-smart Cat Woman. You tend to use your Bat rope and various Bat gasses when it comes to capturing villainesses. And even though these criminals ultimately have to be caught, I can’t say that I agree with your tactics of tying up and drugging women.
In addition, whether villainess or superheroine, the women you work with are anatomic anomalies. Their legs and waists could never sustain the weight of their busts and hips. I don’t know who you have to talk to about this but please, real women’s bodies are powerful and beautiful.  
Further, the female superheroes we have seen are merely an extension of their counterparts, as Bat “girl” is merely an extension of yourself. So, I am telling you right now I promote Wonder Woman. And when you team up with her or any other heroine to fight crime don’t offer to pick off the bigger criminal or use your advanced Bat tools. Treat her as your equal. (Also a demand). Your chivalry is patronizing.
So Batman, how are you going to help me make sure that my Little Batman is going to grow up and treat women with respect and dignity?  That includes not assuming that women need help or “saving.” That he will not abuse the power and privilege that comes with being a white male. That he will listen, admire, and support. That he will speak out against injustices against women and minorities.
This is a job for Batman. I would like a response from you. It’s a big responsibility that you have. And frankly, I need some support in raising a kid that really, really wants to be YOU. Get to your bat computer and get me some real good bat answers. Because otherwise I might have to let everyone in on our dirty little secret…
I am the REAL superhero. I am the one patiently, curiously, fearlessly, growing a beautiful, tenderhearted, brilliantly spirited, feminist little boy. A little boy who lets me know at the end of really busy Bat Day, “Mama? I don’t want to be Batman right now. I just want to be Babe-O.”
When you have answers, just send the bat signal. We know what it looks like and we are waiting.
Respectfully,
Mama

***
Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon March 11 with all the carnival links.)
  • I Am A Super Hero — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how she learned the hard way exactly what it means to be a real super hero and not a burned out shell of a human simply pretending to be one.
  • Quiet Heroics — Heroism doesn't have to be big and bold. Read how Jorje of Momma Jorje is a quiet hero…and how you probably are, too.
  • Not a Bang, but a Whisper {Carnival of Natural Parenting} — Meegs at A New Day talks about the different types of "superheroes," ones that come in with a bang and ones that come in with a whisper.
  • Silent courage of motherhood in rural Cambodia — Nathalie at Kampuchea Crossings marvels at how rural Khmer women defy the odds in childbirth.
  • Super PappyMother Goutte's little boy met a superhero in checked slippers and Volkswagen Polo, his grand dad: Super Pappy!
  • An Open Letter to Batman — Kati at The Best Things challenges Batman to hold up his end of the deal, in the name of social justice, civic duty, and a little boy named Babe-O!
  • My Village — Kellie at Our Mindful Life reflects on the people who helped her to become her best self.
  • 5 Lessons My Kids Taught Me — Children are amazing teachers, when we only stop to listen. They remind us to choose happiness, to delight in the small things, to let go and forgive. There is so much we can learn from our children. Justine at The Lone Home Ranger shares a few of the lessons she's learned.
  • Could you use some superpowers? — Tat at Mum in search shares a fun activity to help you connect with your own superpowers.
  • Like Fire Engines — Tam at tinsenpup tells the story of the day she saw a surprising superhero lurking in the guise of her not entirely mild-mannered four-year-old daughter.
  • Everyday Superheroes — Erica at ChildOrganics shares her list of Walker Warburg Syndrome Superheroes that have touched her life forever.
  • My Superhero of the Week: Nancy GallagherTribal Mama muses about the transcendent things her superhero mom has done.
  • My choice in natural birth does not make me a super hero — Bianca, The Pierogie Mama, discusses her thoughts on her experience with the perception of natural birth and putting those mamas on a different level. Does giving birth naturally give cause for an extra pat on the back? No! All mamas, no matter how they birth, are superheroes.
  • Someone's Hero — Sometimes being a parent means pretending to be a grown-up, but it always means you are someone's hero. Read Mandy's lament at Living Peacefully with Children.
  • Growing into a Super Hero — Casey at Joyful Courage shares how owning our behavior and choosing to be a better parent, a better person, is an act of courage.
  • A Math Superhero — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling writes that her 7-year-old daughter's superhero is an MIT-trained mathematician.
  • It Starts With Truffula Trees And Tulips — Luschka of Diary of a First Child takes a hard look at the realities of her relationship with her mother, and through this post goes on a journey of discovery that ends in a surprise realisation for her.
  • We Don't Need an Excuse — Maria Kang (aka "Hot Mom") asks women #WhatsYourExcuse for not being in shape? Dionna at Code Name: Mama asks Hot Mom what her excuse is for not devoting her life to charity work, or fostering dozens of stray dogs each year, or advocating for the needs of others. Better yet, Code Name: Mama says, how about we realize that every woman has her own priorities. Focus on your own, and stop judging others for theirs.
  • It's not heroic when you're living it — Lauren at Hobo Mama knows from the inside that homeschooling does not take a hero, and that much of what we choose as parents is simply what works best for us.
  • Superheroes, princesses and preschoolers — Garry at Postilius discusses why his preschool-age son is not ready for comic book superheroes.
  • The Loving Parents of Children with Special Needs – Everyday Superheroes — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares posts with resources for parents of children with special needs along with posts to help others know how to support parents of children with special needs.
  • Everyday Empathy — Mommy Giraffe of Little Green Giraffe shares why her secret superpower is everyday empathy.
  • The Simplicity of Being a Superhero — Ana at Panda & Ananaso explains what superheroes mean to her wise three-year-old.
  • My Father, The Hero — Fathers are pretty amazing; find out why Christine at The Erudite Mom thinks hers is the bees knees.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

After a long hard day of sort of sledding - DINNER!


I really need to work on my food photography! 

It's a new favorite dinner.
A hearty, healthy meal. Best enjoyed after a long hard day of sledding - sort of sledding in our case.

Okay. We can also call it Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce and Garlic Parm Buttermilk Drop Biscuit sans Gluten.
I'll try to get better at my meal naming.

WARNING: I got lots of fresh air today. I am a little spunky and I don't measure when I cook. So if that drives you crazy. Sorry. I did my best to get the measurements but if you add a smidge there or leave out a pinch there it'll be fine.

Okay. Well I'll be perfectly honest. This was not a favorite of  Babe-O's. Namely, because he did not try it.But Babe-ala loved it. And so did all the other clan members.


DISCLAIMER: I am sure that this is not an original recipe. I am positive that the like exist in recipe books all over the world. But I made it up without a recipe and I am writing it down here.

Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce

1 spaghetti squash
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 lb of ground beef
1 T oregano
1 1/2 t thyme
salt and pepper to taste
15 oz can of organic tomato sauce (no sugar added)
28 oz can of organic diced tomatoes
7-8 oz green olives, diced


Cut a spaghetti squash lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and coat the inside with a bit of coconut oil. (A bit means use your best judgement.)

Roast at 375 for 25-30 minutes. I left mine longer because I forgot about it. It was fine.

Let it cool for a bit. (A bit means as long as you need to to handle the squash with your hands. Or just use clean oven mitts if you only have five minutes before the baby starts climbing up your leg and Batman needs to go potty.)

Then take a fork and scrape the tender squash. If you have never done this before, its cool.
It sort of shreds up and looks like spaghetti.
So scrape it into a bowl and set it aside.

Next, heat the coconut oil in a pan. Cook the onions, pepper, and garlic until onions are translucent. Add ground beef and spices, salt and pepper.
Brown the beef.
Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes.
Let it simmer for a while. Like maybe 20 minutes or even 30 or 40 on really low (if you don't have hungry as piranha kids that are chewing your socks, waiting for dinner, and then don't want to eat dinner until you make real spaghetti. But that's okay, I can do that too.)
Basically you want to cook that special tin can taste out of the tomatoes and let all the flavors marry. ( I just like saying that. They say it on all the cooking shows.)
Taste it as you go. Add more spices as you find necessary. You'll know when it's just right for you.

Arrange on a plate in a beautiful fashion. You can use my design for inspiration if you need it :)

Garlic Parm Buttermilk Drop Biscuits sans Gluten

1 c brown rice flour
2/3 c garbanzo fava bean flour
1/3 c quinoa flour
1 T baking powder
1 t garlic salt
1/3 c grated parmesan
1 stick unsalted butter, cold and diced
1 c buttermilk ( I used milk with 1 T of white vinegar and shook it up in a glass jar)

Preheat oven at 375.
You can line the baking sheet with parchment for easy clean up. I didn't.

Combine dry ingredients in a ball. Add diced butter. Use a pastry blender (or fork) to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it is pea size. Stir in buttermilk (or substitute) until well incorporated.

I used a large spoon and "dropped" these onto my baking sheet. I shaped them slightly but they will spread out when they bake.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Try to make them look pretty in a bowl lined with a beautiful towel. I didn't do this because I was too lazy after sort of sledding all day. So you don't have to either, just gobble them up. They are YUM-O!

There you have it. Serve it up and mend your socks.


It's good.
We also put the meat sauce on top of the biscuit. GOOD! So if you don't have a squash, you're missing out, but truly, it's good without it.

Winter Lemonade


We are the kind of people who wait until the last minute to do things.
Not really.
But mostly.
And mostly when the things we need to do are really important.
Like sledding (and taxes).

You might call us procrastinators.
I choose to define it otherwise.
There is a certain kind of energy that comes with doing things at the last minute.
And doing things at the last minute provides a challenge, either to get it done at the same quality you would if you had spent more time or to make the best of what you've got.
Sometimes, waiting till the last minute takes the boring out of everyday tasks or things that have lost their luster, like snow related activities. 

Today we made the best of what we got.
We have been sledding this year (over Christmas break, because sledding with a three year old and a ten month old is not a job for one person. I don't care who you are.)
But we wanted to go again before all the snow melts.
So today was the day.
It is the first day that Diet Coke Papa is on Spring Break and the last day we will have snow on the ground, because this whole week is forecast  in the high 40's.



We packed a lunch and some hot chocolate, our sled, some firewood, extra warm clothes (because in our thawing brains it is still -72 degrees) and headed for the hills.
A park we had never been to, complete with a sledding hill, and warming house.
It was gorgeous!

An amazing feeling to breathe in the wild, open air, hear the bird calls, and feel the wind smack you in the face and snow fly all around you and make it's way into all the hermetically sealed seams of your snowsuit as you speed down the hill, grasping onto your blue plastic sled and your three year old for dear life. (NOTE TO SELF: a really good sled is on next year's Christmas list.)


Yeah,well.
 We had the wide white open and fresh air.
 Birds were everywhere and so was the sound of dripping melting snow.
It was magical.
Just not sled worthy.
(NOTE TO SELF: It has to be cold and snowy to sled. Like below 40 degrees.) 

But we are nothing if not great at making lemonade.
(I'll share a recipe sometime. Or maybe I should keep that a family secret?
There that suspense should keep you coming back to the blog.)

Anyway, turns out, wet, drippy snow makes for a slow, slow, very, very slow ride.
 Like slug slow.
Definitely not exciting enough to keep a toddler interested in anything but the warming house, where Diet Coke Papa had built a raging fire designed to keep us warm from...
the already warm temperatures causing us to sweat (a totally unfamiliar experience).

 And that's cool because let me tell you, this warming house is my new dream house! (Babe-O's too).

(Go ahead laugh. But, I am NOT kidding people. My dream is to live in a little log cabin in the middle of nowhere).

So after a few failed attempts at zooming down the hill on our butts, (and even Diet Coke Papa tried, because that's what you do when you have a torn hamstring)...

It got serious!


I am talking about Mama showing off her Olympic luge skills, like running starts, and belly sledding.

Even Babe-O tried! Note the disappointment in speed as he bows his head down toward the end of the ride.



You know what? We laughed, we played, we explored, we drank hot chocolate by a fire.

BEST sledding trip EVER.

And for some reason, during this panoply of my sledding and gymnastic abilities, I kept hearing my Dad’s voice,“Nothing embarrasses me.” He used to say this to us when we were kids after he had just done something potentially embarrassing but probably mostly intended to make us laugh.
It’s true.
I am not embarrassed.
I am not embarrassed that I don't know enough about sledding to have known that we wouldn't be able to really call what we did sledding.
I am not embarrassed that I "slugged" down that hill on my belly (and at times I was as terrified as I would have been if I would have been flying).
I am not embarrassed.
Not one bit.

Because Babe-O and Diet Coke Papa, even Babe-ala laughed their guts out. And we came home warm, happy, full of endorphins, with sore cheeks and smelling like campfire (oh, we LOVE that smell). 



So there you have it.
Procrastination pays.
Or maybe it’s more like: Have fun where you are with what you’ve got.

Because YOU are exactly what they need
YOU with all your procrastinating tendencies, with your tangled hair and smelly arm pits,
YOU with your unending supply of patience, peanut butter and jelly, and hugs
YOU and ONLY YOU can make them laugh so loud the birds fly out of the trees
YOU and ONLY YOU hold the secret recipe to THE BEST Lemonade on the planet!

And now I can honestly say I have had enough winter AND I can't wait to sled again with my Fam-O!



Thursday, March 6, 2014

Proof

I told you!

Climbing the walls (windows) to get outside!
Now, I just have to get The Babe-O to put pants on.
Then socks, then shoes...
we may not be going anywhere.

Monday, March 3, 2014

This moment.



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photo: Duck Family by Ari Moore

1.
This is that moment.
The house is quiet.
Coffee is waiting to be had.
The day is waiting to begin with it's usual clatter of breakfast dishes.
I am awake before the clan.
Unusual that we have not awoken together.
I have this moment to think, to write. To myself.
Wait.

The baby is stirring. She needs to be fed and be greeted on this new day.

2.
This is that moment.
Well, not exactly that moment but mid morning quiet time.
Well, not exactly quiet time.
The coffee is hot and I have a few minutes to think, to write...
with the backdrop of jumping feet and make believe stories.
Wait.

I am being asked to be a player in the puppet theatre.
How can I say no?

3.

This is that moment.
///////////////////////////ggggggggggggggggggg/////////////////////////////////////g,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,g
Until my son took over the keyboard.
Wait.

Okay. I may have "bought" myself this moment with a smoothie.
So now, this is that moment.
The one I have been waiting for all day.
To write down the steam of thoughts, goals, projects, questions I have about me, my kids, my life, our journey together.
To write them all down so that I see them on the screen and decide which make sense and which are just sleep-deprived meanderings.
Only, now that the moment is stretching out into minutes I am not sure where exactly to begin.
And I hear the dregs of smoothie being slurped up.
And I am starting to think of the to-do list.
     What am I making for dinner?
      I need to clean the floors. The bathroom.
      Did I cut their fingernails this week?
      Did I read enough books today?
      Are they turning out okay?
And I feel tiny hands pulling at my pant legs. Little, quiet "Ma. Ma. Ma's" asking for closeness.
Stop.

Much more important things to do right now.
(Some snuggles and a story with my babies).

4.
That moment is NOT this moment.
That moment is not coming today or tomorrow or any moment soon.
Acceptance.
Gratitude.
I am Mama.
I am needed. And I need.
More than a span of moments for myself.
More than any one complete task.
In this moment I am present.
In this moment, forever, I am with my children.