that stillness

I like this daily prompt. And not just because black is my favorite color to wear; anyone that steps into my closet can quickly tell that’s the case.

It reminds me of nighttime. When all is still. When the kids are safely tucked in their beds, all cozy. When it’s time to get things done…and reflect.

I miss them when they’re sleeping. I see their little toys scattered about as I pick up the house; I see their little shoes in the mudroom where they were tossed off. But as a relax into the black of the night, I have a sense of peace.

That we’ve had another great day…that they’ve grown physically and mentally….that these little wonders are mine to shape and help grow. And I realize again in that darkness, when my thoughts are my own and uninterrupted, how very, very luck we are to have each other.

 

via Daily Prompt: Black

my guys

The one on the left? That’s my husband. My partner in life. The person I know I will grow old with. That I’ll be spending all my days with once my children have long left the house and started lives of their own.

The little guy on the right? He’s the one that has made me realize how big my heart really is. Before he came along, we were a family of three.  My heart was so incredibly full with love for my daughter that I worried (probably like many other soon-to-be-moms-of-two) how I could possibly love another child as much. But then he came along…in all his perfection, a little boy.

I had one sister growing up so although I was around little boys occasionally, I had never  observed my mother with a son. I was utterly, completely unprepared for the special place in your heart that only a son can hold. It’s just the way he needs me – it’s somehow different than how my daughter needs me.

And those big blue eyes and long eyelashes. Somehow they just look even more adorable on a little boy.

Sometimes when I see my husband and son together, I’m so grateful that C completed our family. Obviously we would have been thrilled to be blessed with another daughter as well. I just love seeing my two guys. Perhaps my husband feels the same way when he sees me with our daughter.

So grateful.

 

halloween candy and allergies

In the past, I’ve always had two bowls of candy I handed out. One that was “regular” and one that was nut-free. I would always ask the kids before I gave them the candy to ensure they were able to actually EAT what I handed out when they got home.

This year – I’m going nut free. I realized I was singling these kids out unnecessarily. Why not just give out something most kids will be able to eat? I found plenty of bags of “safe” candy for kids with nut allergies (starburst, smarties, suckers). So this year, that’s what I loaded up on. The same for everyone (keep things simpler for me too!).

Happy Halloween!

miracle behavior charts

We use a behavior chart at home. The one we like to use is similar to this:

We use it for 5 year old S. I like that we can switch out the behaviors and write in our own depending on what she needs to work on a little. We have a reward system set up too. But ours isn’t as good as her teacher’s.  It’s like the one at school is a miracle! And you know what the reward is that all the kids strive for? LUNCH WITH THE TEACHER. Brilliant.

It’s a vertical chart with colors. Everyone starts out the week on the color green, which is in the middle of the chart. Throughout the week, she tells you to move your clothespin up or down depending on what is going on. You help a friend tie her shoes – you move up . If you are on purple (3 colors up and the highest on the chart) at the end of the day Friday, you eat lunch with the teacher one day the following week. If you are on red (3 colors down and the lowest on the chart) – you get a call home from the teacher.

The kids LOVE it. They talk about it constantly. And we’re almost 2 months into the school year and there is no sign of it wearing off. It’s like a miracle.  Part of it is not wanting to disappoint the teacher, but part of it is that amazing rewards.  Kindergarten teachers sure know what they are doing.

I think I’m going to give something like this a try in my home!

 

mom guilt and vegas

I feel like I have a different kind of mom guilt these days.

My husband and I were in Vegas a couple of weeks ago.  We went back and forth between going Fri-Sat or Sat-Mon.  A lot of things factored into where we ended up (Fri-Sun); a work presentation I had to make on Monday, coordinating with my sister’s flights, and childcare since this was a kid-free getaway. One of the things we considered doing if we stayed through to Monday was the Route 91 festival, since I am a huge country music fan and it would have been a dream come true.

So we ended up coming home Sunday night. And we all know what happened late that night, when hubby and I and most people in the country were tucked safely into bed.

In the midst of this horrific event we are all still processing, I’ve been reading the stories of the helpers. The heroes.  And I’ve been feeling a tremendous amount of what I’ll call “mom guilt” because I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s not the typical feeling I get of sometimes wishing I could do better for my kids (have seen a fall coming) or of wondering if I’m doing the right thing being a working mom. I mean that I think I would have run if I was there so that I could make it home to my kids.

That hit me hard. All of these people, these helpers, that stopped to shield other people or get them to safety…they all have families and many had kids. And who knows, maybe I would have done the same thing. But when I saw those people running, I felt like I would have been one of them. And it makes me feel like I need to do some soul searching and as cheesy as it sounds, become a stronger person. That if I had run instead of stopped to help, it would be selfish.

I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it’s something that I’m constantly thinking about. Some have told me “no, knowing you, you would have stopped immediately if someone needed help.” But the truth is, in the moment, would I have? Or would I have gone into self-preservation mode picturing my kids waiting for me back home?

I hope I never have to make that choice. But watching the story on the news unfold over and over again, and feeling that it hit so close to home for many reasons, has really made me think.

my time

I always stay up WAY too late. My husband is constantly telling me, “you need to get to bed early today. You’re so tired…don’t stay up to late tonight!” But the reality is, I need it. The time, the quiet, the wind-down. My kids are usually out by 8.30 each night. Then my husband and I sometimes eat if we didn’t eat with the kids (a few times a week, this is our way of having mid-week date nights; we put on a movie or a show and eat at our own pace, and talk). Then, it’s time to pick up the house, pack lunches, fold laundry, the usual.

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By the time ALL of that is done, it’s about 10. After that, you’ll find me in the bedroom, either sitting in bed with my laptop (like I am now) or sitting in my favorite chair. I usually don’t go to sleep until about 11.30 or midnight…and my alarm goes off around 6.20.

I wouldn’t trade it.  I know I’m probably getting an hour less of sleep each night. But without that time…without a few quiet minutes (or an hour) to myself, I don’t get a chance to just be ME.  Not mama, not a wife – just ME.

And isn’t that an important part of being whole? I LOVE my role. I love waking up every Saturday and making homemade pancakes or waffles for the family. Love taking my kids to their weekend activities. To birthday parties. To visit relatives.  But we all know that taking time for ourselves is critical to being our best selves. Yes, I do things for myself outside the home – an occasional girls night, mani pedis, etc. But the 60-90 minutes of sleep I may sacrifice recharges my batteries every day.

So yeah I may be a little tired the next morning. But, I know it also means I’m my best self.

 

what others think

via Daily Prompt: Irrelevant

Today’s daily prompt is actually something that I was thinking about last night. Sometimes I need a reminder that what others think is irrelevant.

Now, I’m not talking about being rude or insensitive to people.  I’m talking about decisions I may make for what I believe is in the best interest of my family.

My 18 month old goes to bed at 7. To early? It’s right for my family.

I still pick my 5 year old up if she’s crying. Too old? It’s right for us.

My kids are only in a couple of weekly activities. Not enough? I’m not interested in over-scheduling.

So this is a good word for today. Irrelevant. 🙂