Good morning! Shhhh the kids are not up yet…

I have this sign next to my coffee canister and coffee pot. It makes me smile every morning. 

Some mornings, like today, the weekend allows me to relax for a few minutes while the house is still asleep. And it captures how I feel. Don’t get me wrong, I miss my kids (even when they’re just sleeping!). But I have a few minutes to myself to sit in the sunroom and enjoy the morning. 

Soon the kids will be running around. My soon-to-be 5 year old S will be asking for our Saturday tradition of pancakes. C will be ready to climb into his high chair for breakfast. My husband and I will start planning out the day’s chores and fun. 

But right now, before I make my grocery list or call customer service at Bath & Body Works to find out why they cancelled my order of smartsoap for my kitchen, I’m going to peruse blogs and enjoy my hot beverage with the birds chirping outside.

Hope you friends all have a wonderful morning as well. 

Please stop judging, fellow momma

Something has been on my mind for a while now.  Something that as a parent, you can’t help but notice. It has been nagging me to the point where I think my husband is exhausted hearing me talk about it (and I’m pretty sure he’s ready to go buy some earplugs).

It’s the way lots of us judge our fellow mommas.  It’s something you don’t really notice until you become a mom, and I think dads are either oblivious to it or just don’t work that way (which is nice).  But fellow moms, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  It’s the looks, the comments of “oh, we use x” or “our family does y.” Topics like:

  • organic vs. not
  • GMO vs. non GMO
  • disposable vs. cloth diapers
  • cows milk vs. other options
  • food dye
  • grains vs. no grains
  • vaccines
  • stay at home vs working mom

And the list goes on. It’s the mom that starts the conversation with “so what kind of milk are you transitioning C to when he turns 1? Oh, you’re going to do cow’s milk? Oh we don’t believe in that.”  Or “Oh, your poor kid has the flu? Didn’t you say your family got the flu shot? That’s why we don’t do the flu shot, we just wash our hands.”  Yeah, like I don’t wash my kids hands. I just let them run around putting their mouths on water fountains and eating their food off the mommy and me class floors. (for the record, I do wash my kids hands and they don’t eat off the floor.)

What happened to the village? To supporting one another’s choices…to be a cheerleader for your fellow moms? We moms put enough pressure on ourselves already – questioning everything from whether it was the right choice to start solids at 6 months to whether it was the wrong choice to start kindergarten at age 5. We certainly don’t need to add to another mom’s second-guessing. And I certainly don’t need “friends” making me ruminate about the non-organic green beans I fed my kids with dinner last night.

Social media  has something to do with it, I’m convinced of it. Whereas before, conversations were more personal, more one on one – we now have the ability to blast opinions and share our position to the world.  It’s much easier to hide behind a screen and use that free speech thing. Think your friend shouldn’t have given her kids pop tarts as they walked to the bus stop? You can now “coincidentally” share an article on Facebook (targeted but not targeted, you get what I’m saying) on why pop tarts are bad for kids. Anti-vaccine and have a friend who just posted about 12 month shots? Easy to just happen to come across an article that talks about why vaccines are unsafe…and share away that afternoon.

So one thing I’m promising my friends and myself – you won’t see me sharing things on social media that make you feel bad about your parenting decisions. I will not condemn you for choices you make for your family that are different than mine.  I will not coincidentally post “Wow!” and share a post that talks about how you’re poisoning your kids if you give them anything that isn’t organic.  There is a difference between sharing information and strategically pointing out choices you don’t agree with…and us women know exactly what we’re doing when we pick one approach or the other. We’re pretty smart, except sometimes not when it comes to standing with one another.

Who’s with me?

what a happy end to mother’s day

I was tucking my 4 1/2 year old daughter in to bed last night as I usually do. We laid there for a few minutes before I said “what would you like to say thank you to God for tonight?”

She thought for a minute and then said “for making me your daughter.”

I couldn’t believe that such an amazing thing just came out of her heart like that… especially on Mother’s Day. I’m sure the holiday had something to do with it, but I was still so touched. 

All the flowers, handmade cards and gifts at school, everything combined, as great as those things are, pale in comparison to her recognition. Whether she remembers it today as she’s running around outside or not, she meant it in that moment. 

Her little heart spoke and it touched me in a way I’ll never forget. 

You got this day!

I’m up before the kids wake up….but only for a few minutes. So I’m going to just have. FEW sips of my coffee….before the craziness of the tag-teaming starts. 

I’ll get my son up with his warm milk….my husband will drag my preschooler out of bed. Then it’s a mad rush until we take my daughter to school and then we swoooosh rush off to work. 

I got this! And you got it too! With a little help from your friend, coffee. 

nevertheless, she persisted

I watched my daughter climbing up the rock wall on the back of our swingset a couple of days ago.  She has gotten fairly good at it, but it takes a few tries and she sometimes falls a couple of times before she is able to hoist herself all the way up.

“Mama watch this!” she said as she put one foot at a time on a foothold.  She got stuck, not sure what her next move should be, and I reminded her to move her arms up the rope to help pull herself up for the next step. She slipped, and determined to make it to the top, started back up from the ground.  Two more tries and she was up in the clubhouse.

I hope she never loses that persistence.  That sense of determination she has is something I’m so proud of. Sometimes it comes across as defiance; when she wants to finish coloring her picture just perfectly even though it’s bathtime,  for example. But if I really think about it, I never want her to lose it.

There will be so many challenges in her life, that I want to find a way to keep encouraging her to try and try again.  That desire to succeed, to make it, to accomplish something she sets her mind to is SO important, I think, especially for young girls. I never want her to think she can’t do something because of her gender. I’m not sure if the current climate has me thinking more about this, or just the fact that I have a young girl now.

So I’ll have to remember that, the next time she is trying to get a stubborn zipper up by herself and I’m standing by the door keys in hand rushing her out the door…I should stop to recognize her persistence when she succeeds. Persistence and determination will get her a lot farther in life than simply hurrying to the next thing on our list.

Our first baby

I have a lot of guilt about this one. 

My husband and I adopted our dog from a rescue the year we got engaged, and he was our first baby. We would rush home to let him out and feed him, he slept in our room with us, and we would take him to all our family gatherings. 
Plenty of people warned me that when we had kids, our dog would likely be neglected. I didn’t believe them – why would someone neglect a dog? They weren’t even that much work. You love on them, walk them, feed them, let them out. I said I would never let that happen to our sweet dog. 

Fast forward about 12 years later. We have a 4 1/2 year old and a 14 month old, and our lives have completely changed. Our kids naturally take up all of our waking hours, and we find ourselves asking each other before bed “did you feed the dog?” I’m not saying we ignore him – he usually accompanies us out on our walks and playtime in the backyard and hangs out with us wherever we are in the house. But I can admit he has taken a back seat….and sometimes I look at him and wonder if he actually, in a doggy sort of way, feels sad. 

He’s getting older…he can’t really hear anymore and he’s moving a little slower. So I find myself hoping that we have given him a good life, even if he doesn’t get as much attention as he used to. I dread the day he passes and I’m sure I’ll have some regrets.

I still love our sweet dog so much, our first baby. And oh he does still get to sleep in our bedroom, we never changed that. 

learning to read!

Figuring out exactly how to teach my daughter to read has been tough. She’s a little over 4 1/2, and starting kindergarten in September.  She does attend preschool, and of course they learn letters and sounds there. But I wanted some tools to teach her at home.

After looking into different methods, I settled on the one I myself used almost 40 years ago, when I was learning to read.  I know it sounds like there has got to be SOME progress since then in the “ways to learn how to read” department, but I swear this one is working.

It’s a book called Let’s Read (I got mine from amazon, link here). I’ll admit it may seem a bit overwhelming at first – it’s quite large and has a gazillion pages. But, it’s set up in a very logical way.

The rhyming and word patterns seem to give my daughter some confidence, and she is thrilled when she works through a page. She regularly asks me when she’s going to be at “page 100.” We read for about 5-10 min before bed each night. That seems to be a good time of day for us when there isn’t something else she’d rather be doing.

One other tool we use are the BOB books (again, I got mine from Amazon, link here). These employ a similar concept – patterns and a gradual progression in level of difficulty. And my daughter loves the fact that she can hold the book and read the entire thing, front to back. She’s so proud when she finishes one.

Anyway, thought I’d share!