Friday, February 8, 2013

Happy February!

This Valentine's Day mantle has really made me happy.  I love Valentine's Day; I feel like it is just about telling people you love them: your kids, your spouse, your coworkers.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Morning routine

Nutella toast is a favorite breakfast these days.  The first time I presented Nutella I was met with a strong "No, I don't want to try that."  He finally tried it and fell in love.  Since then, I use my "Nutella example" to urge him towards new foods.  Sometimes this works.

The routine of morning can be so difficult.  Some mornings just go wrong.  I have been in my closet - 10 minutes AFTER we should have left - with an outfit crisis of my own and a child who says his socks feel bumpy and he may need to change.  Mornings like that I just wish that a working mom could have a time freeze card.  Freeze.  Collect.  Regroup.  Change socks.  Okay, unfreeze, we are ready now.

Then there are other mornings when we really roll like clockwork. {thank heaven} Those mornings sort of shore me up and encourage me for the next one that may go very wrong.  But moments at breakfast, where we are sitting at the table, together - talking, reading, watching the woodpeckers, those short moments of still and routine are vital to me.  The effort of gathering, slowing a bit, waking up, being together. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Rabbit's snow dance

We have been loving this book.  It really makes my day to come across a book that is equally enjoyed between mother and son.  And in the back of my mind, I love it even more because I love folktales and animal stories; I believe in their power. 

You must read this book to truly understand my story, but in the book, there is a snow dance. 
Thump! Thump!
Thump! Thump!
Yo Yo Yo!
Yo Yo Yo!
The rabbit gets his drum and sings the refrain so that it will snow.  Well, for the past 3 nights, at about 8:30 p.m., Calvin and I could be found on our front porch, squatting low near the concrete. Calvin has been in pajamas and bare feet.  I've been in shorts and flip flops (despite very cold temps for us!) We've been singing the snow dance, loud and proud, beating the rhythm on the concrete as we go.  It has been exuberant.  It is just one of those times where, as a mom, you get a vision of yourself 20 years from now, looking back at this silly, crazy, delightful moment in time. Those moments make me pause.  They sorta make me want to cry, too, but they are such a reminder to me that this moment is this moment.  Time keeps going. A child keeps growing. The timeline on these precious memories is limited. 
In an improbable "snowed" on Tuesday of this week.  Quotations are merited. Anyone above a certain southern latitude would spew their coffee all over me if I called what happened on Tuesday snow. But there's a 5 year old who believes his snow dance worked. ! So we're going to go with that.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The view from Christmas

 In a twist that I've never experienced before, we had a white Christmas.  Sleet began on Christmas day and snow began on Christmas night.  I still can't believe this photo of our neighborhood street.  Goodness.

It was all fun and games {drum roll} and then the power went out!  And stayed out! For 3 days! I do not mean to complain - we had it far better than so, so many people.  Our fireplace kept us warm and worked so hard for us.  We have a gas stove and Jason is such a skilled cook.  Many people had such a harder time.

After regaining power on Friday, I got a jolt of perspective when I opened the paper that morning and saw that Our House, a local shelter for the working homeless, lost freezers and refrigerators full of holiday food donations. A month's worth of meals gone in a few days.  Other people had sick children at home, newborn babies at home, or ailing parents.  At those moments you catch your breath to think how very fortunate you are at this moment in time.

When the power goes out, neighbors come out.  We had some neighborhood fun.  We chatted, shared, offered things, traded things, gave things.  Sort of makes you wonder why it takes so much to get people connected.  The holiday had its lessons, I think.  Lessons of thankfulness, adaptability, community.  It was a good Christmas. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Play and Messes

A lot of time in my life is spent worrying over messes.  I wish this wasn't the case.  But, I function better if things are tidy.  With a 4 almost 5 year old, there is so much new ground to cover.  This little child has opinions on spaces and organizing, and I've found out - more than once - what can happen if you overstep.  (Not to say I let him rule the roost, but I have a tendency to go in his room and just clean it up.  And this, uh hum, is unwelcomed.)  And I don't want to be that mom. I really want to give him space to follow his creativity without worrying that mom will have a major freak out.
Last week, we had a spider web in our kitchen for about 4 days.  At one point, it involved stepping over a piece of yarn everytime we crossed over to the fridge.  At another point, the dogs had to have the "web" lifted for them to get to the backdoor.  This is when I can really admire my husband.  It doesn't phase him.  Let's make our whole house into a web, he might say!  Well, mama made it for 4 (almost 5) days before I took it down after he went to bed one night.  And bless his sweet heart - it was among the very first things he noticed the following day.
I must walk a careful line as a mom - between allowing the creativity and putting a major crimp in it. Even when it almost pushes me over the edge, I have to see it (admire it, love it!) for what it is - allowing my child the freedom to explore, create, invent. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mousie's Birthday

One day early in the year, quite out of the blue, Calvin announced Mousie's birthday was September 4th.  He requested that I be sure to write in on the fridge calendar.  As I flipped that calendar over when September came, I saw September 4th and thought, "hmmm...a party for Mousie!" 

Funny thing about that mouse.  He disappears for long stretches of time - off on his mouse adventures, certainly. So he was missing on his birthday.  Fortunately, he returned to us and we were able to celebrate on the 7th.  Cake, party hats, & a present were all in order.

Celebrating Mousie's birthday turned out to be such fun.  It wasn't something that was planned but just a cute little idea that presented itself.  A sweet idea, too, for remembering a little creature who is quite important to our family. And perhaps even a way to honor Calvin's childhood - I doubt a 15 year old would get too giddy over a mouse birthday party, afterall.  But a 4 year old? Absolutely.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A memory & a book

Parenting brings so many observations; some are simple and some, not so much.  A simple one is how a child can reignite joy for an activity that you view as...hmm, just something not high on your list to "go & do."  Like bowling.  Sure, it's fun - like, when you're 10.  I'm not much of a bowler but I'm glad people like it; I had several bowling birthdays as a child.  But as an adult, bowling alleys are gross.  Germ filled.  Other people's toe jam.  Eeek.  Until we took Calvin one night out of desperation for a new activity.  Joy filled is really the only way to describe his response.

And now I view bowling as a legitimately fun family outing.  Like I even suggested it the other day. As I helped Calvin put on his special shoes, size 10 lil' kids, I almost broken into tears.  Look at those feet.  I remember those tiny baby feet that used to wear puppy dog moccasin shoes.  I remember a new walker refusing to wear any shoes.  I remember a 3 year old's meltdown in Target over trying on a pair of flip flops - relieved that this past June, he eagerly tried on a pair and even thought they'd be "a good idea for the pool."  We are now in light-up Spiderman shoes and size 10 bowling shoes. How time flies and how it will continue to.  I don't ever want to forget how big these shoes look now & how small they'll look a few years from now. 

So this book came across my path in a special way, one I won't get into, but it was neat.  And it is just the book I needed.  It is about being present and calm.  About choosing peace and offering peace.  About listening to the heart of your child, truly listening, and then responding in a better way.  It's about compassion and perspective.  How to be the parent you want to be; how to be better.  I'm grateful to notice a precious pair of size 10 bowling shoes & I'm grateful for a book that teaches me to be a peace-filled and compassion-filled mom.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mail Center

I've been trying to create a little mail center with one goal in mind: keeping mail off the counters.  Having a lot on the counters increases my stress level - for real.  I try to be flexible and, a lot of times, I am the very person who puts things there, but I love to walk into a kitchen that is clean and tidy and ready for a new project.  I can get a little up-in-arms when I come into a kitchen that has to be cleaned and reorganized before the baking can commence.

My bulletin board was made with a yard sale frame (spray painted) and cork tiles from target for $5.  you can duct tape the tiles together, fit to cut your frame, and then cover in fabric.  Being the bunting fan that I am, I sewed some decorative buntings on this one (getting a little crooked on that 2nd row, oh well.)  I use this for things I need to see or refer to, trying to keep a bit off the fridge. 

The long mail slot is magnetic and very clever, I think.  I got it from See Jane Work, a site with all manner of cute office stuff.  I would like the incoming mail to go there, as well as outgoing mail, with the goal of sorting and getting out of sight a.s.a.p.  This is a work in progress for our family, but we will keep trying!

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