Thursday, October 4, 2012

Life, Death, and a cloud.

Today, I attended a funeral of someone, whom it seemed, was much too young, too active, too involved in life, to have actually died. 

But, he did.  He died on Sunday.  Unexpectedly.

And since I got the news, a strange cloud of...something...has been surrounding me.

A cloud that is heavy, deep, and draining. And, no matter how hard I try to wish it away, or tell myself, that I shouldn't feel it (because I am not a close friends or family), or try to ignore it, the cloud remains.

A cloud best described as a swirling mix of...
  • Sadness...for his family and his friends, 
  • Shock...that this man, who I had been in a meeting with on Thursday, talked to on Friday, and who sent me an email Sunday morning, was no longer alive,
  • Vulnerable...and acutely aware of the fragility of life. (of my life, my husband's life, my childrens' lives, my parents' lives, my siblings' lives, my friends' lives, etc...) and,
  • Memories...of moments past, and of loved ones who have passed.
Surely, I am not alone (at least, I sure hope that I am not) in feeling this.  And, I know that it is probably a normal reaction to the situation. 

What I don't know, and what I have been struggling with, is what I should do with this cloud... 
But, I suppose, there is nothing to do with this cloud. 
Nothing other than to see it, acknowledge it, and allow it to be.

So that is what I will do.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Really??? I thought the Mommy Wars were over.

I don't often get bothered by much.  I can let most things roll off my back and find the humor in it.

But recently, I have seen this card floating around facebook and, I have to say, I don't really find it funny.

It's not so much that I am bugged by the moms who posted it.  More so, I am annoyed that the sentiment of this card even exists. 

I mean, REALLY?

I thought the so-called "Mommy Wars" of Working Moms vs. Stay-at-Home moms were over.

But, this card leads me to believe that I was wrong. 

So I wonder...
Why do we perpetuate a divide between moms who stay-at-home and those who are employed?

Why, when motherhood is so hard, do we expend energy tearing each other down?

Why do we feel the need to one up each other and prove how much busier we are than someone else?

Why do we harshly judge one another?

Why?  I just don't get it!

Regardless of whether we spend our work day in the home, or outside of the home, we are all moms.

...Moms who struggle to find balance in the chaos of life.

...Moms who have made our own personal choices about how to raise our children.

...And, moms who question, from time to time, whether or not our parenting decisions (including whether to go to work or not) are the right ones.

Aren't we all just moms who are trying to doing our best for ourselves, our kids, and our families?

Perhaps I am living in a kumbaya-ish world, but I think that life would be better if we, as moms, simply supported and respected each other - even if (dare I say "especially if") our decisions are different!

Please, tell me I am not alone in this?!!?

Monday, June 18, 2012

What a difference a year makes!

We are on vacation on the shores of North Carolina!  Last summer we were here, about this same time, and it is amazing to me the difference a year makes!

Last year, the boys really couldn't read...This year, books and independent reading helped make the 13 hour drive a smooth one!

Last year, it took the boys a while to warm up to the idea of playing in the surf...This year, they ran directly into the waves and giggled in glee.

Last year, while on vacation they learned to ride on two wheels and were scared to go very far... This year, we are going on bike rides for miles.

Last year, they always wanted me to get into the pool with them...This year, they get in all by themselves and could care less if I am there or not.

Last year, there were tears when buckets of sand did not turn into a perfect sandcastle...This year, the buckets of sands are still not perfect sandcastles, but there are no tears, and the sandcastles are spectacular!

It is fun to watch them grow.  Sometimes I miss the cute babies, toddlers, and preschoolers that they were...but mostly I am enjoying who they are now!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My keep-the-kids-busy Travel Book

All the goodies, ready to go!
Tomorrow we will be traveling.

A thirteen hour drive. 

With six and seven year old boys.

Yep, from 6am-7pm,
all four of us...   In. The. Car!

So I planned and prepared for this "adventure!"

The car is packed full of goodies!
     Car games - that the boys only get to play with when we travel.
     DVDs and books - from the library - new to them!
     And the Keep-the-kids-busy Travel Book - my favorite creation!

The Keep-kids-busy Travel Book is simple but SO useful for, well, keeping them busy!  It is easy to create too...I went online and printed up free games (Mazes, Hidden Pictures, Math Problems, Word Seeks), storiesmaps (of all the states we will travel through), and state worksheets (that I purchased from and GBC bound them into a book.  One for each boy.

I created similar books the last time we traveled and I was pleased at how much the boys enjoyed them.  And, more importantly, how long it occupied them!

So I am crossing my fingers, and hoping, that Travel Books, plus the other goodies make for a quick 13 hours!

Wish us luck!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"I'm Having a Bad Day!"

It drives me crazy when my boys say they are having a bad day!

A Bad Day...Really?  It's only 8:00am! 

A Bad Day...Really?  Just a minute ago you were laughing!

A Bad Day...Really?  Earlier today, you were playing and having a blast!

So, I have tried to teach my boys to say, "I am having a bad moment!"

Because, a moment doesn't have to last 24 hours.
And, because, in a moment, everything can change.
One moment can be bad, yet the next can be extraordinary!

So, today, when Owen, with tears in his eyes, looked at me and said "Mommy, it's a bad moment!"  I could help but smile as I wrapped my arms around him.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Been around the block...RIGHT?

It's not my first time around the block...or is it? 

I mean...I have been around the block many times - I have walked it, driven it, ridden my bike, and even ran around it a few times.

It is a simple block - just 5th, to Maple, to 4th, to Beech and back to 5th.  No curves.  No hills.  And only a few bumps in the sidewalk.

This time, it's the same block, but it is very different. 

This time, I didn't go.

But, they did -
All. By. Themselves.

Multiple times.

Four wheels, two helmets, and two pedaling boys.  (With no mom!)

How did this happen?  When did they get old enough to hop on their bikes and just go??? 

Not that long ago...
they couldn't even walk.

Not that long ago...
their little chubby legs couldn't even reach the pedals.

Not that long ago...
they were afraid to take off their training wheels.

Not that long ago...
they were so wobbly that they didn't ride very far.

But, I know, I know...  I watched them - as they learned to walk, and grew tall enough to pedal, and the training wheels were removed, and they said "Look at me mom!  Just 2 wheels!"  And, I saw them become more and more confident. 

So, I let them go.  Encouraged them, even!

Yep, today, was their first time around the block.

And, I guess, in a way, it was mine too!

Monday, June 11, 2012

This summer, by the senses...

Tonight, as a member of the You Can Do Anything coaching group, I participated in our monthly call.  And, Jamie Eslinger, our fearless leader, led us in a visualization about the possibilities of this summer!

So, for me...this summer is going to...
taste like pop rocks
sound like ocean waves
smell like menthol
feel like the warm embrace of a blanket
look like fireworks!

Why?  ...All because I am adding more JOY through my CREATIVITY!

What is your summer going to
taste, sound, smell, feel, and look like?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Having the right tools and the right attitude...

My sister is moving.  And, she owns an elliptical (which she actually uses!).  So she planned to move the machine to her new place.  Simple enough, right?

But, much to her dismay, on Friday, the movers refused to move it becasue it wasn't taken apart.

My sister called the store she bought the elliptical at, and they couldn't get anyone out for 5 days - which would be too late.  She also called another business, that specializes in workout equipment, but they would only help on their products - which it wasn't.  And, as a last ditch effort, she called her trainer and asked for suggestions, but he was no help.

So, she decided, "Dammit, I will take it apart myself!"

Coincidentally, yesterday, I and the boys were scheduled to helped my sister with the remainder of her move.  Yep, you guessed it, the main task at hand was to take apart that stinkin' elliptical.

She had found directions to disassemble the machine on the internet and they seemed easy enough - so we grabbed the necessary tools (as listed on the directions) and started.  The first few steps moved smoothly - remove a few screws and take the protective covers off of the machine.  There were about 6 covers to remove and each came off in a snap...UNTIL, one particular cover was awkwardly placed and the 8 inch long screw driver was too long to be any good.  We tried other screw drivers...but each were too long. 

The directions never said anyting about needing short, STUBBY screwdrivers!!!!

Both of us started to get frustrated.  The boys, who were trying to help, started asking questions about why we were having troubles.  And, I snapped at them.  My irritation was showing, and it was not pretty.

My sister, on the other hand, refused to let her frustration get the best of her!  She smiled and said - "Come on, we're going to the hardware store to get the right tools."  She turned the whole experience into an adventure.

All four of us piled into my car and off we went to Ace Hardware.  We grabbed some stubby screwdrivers (about 2.5 inches long), made a quick pit stop at Dairy Queen for a little treat, and then headed back to work on the elliptical.

Those stubby screwdrivers made all the difference in the world!  In short order, we had that elliptical into three movable pieces!  It felt great to succeed!

But, this experience was about more than just unscrewing and unbolting the reminded me of two important life lessons that I had lost sight of... 

Those lessons are:
1)  Having the right tools for the job is incredibly helpful, and
2)  Maintaining a positive, can-do attitude - even when things get frustrating - (like my sister) makes all the difference!

It was a great reminder!
Thanks A!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Without Creativity...

“There is no doubt that creativity
is the most important human resource of all.
Without creativity, there would be no progress,
and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.”
 — Edward de Bono

Another fun creation...The Summer of Creativity continues!

Did you find time to create today?

Friday, June 8, 2012

CANI! - Our Family's Summer Pratice!

Alex and Owen with their CANI! books.
The other day I was listening to a Tony Robbin's CD and he was speaking about his system of CANI!  According to Tony, CANI! is based on the Japanese have a word, kaizen, that means constant and never-ending improvement.  Basically the premise is that if you improve one tiny aspect of your life every single day, you can achieve amazing accomplishments in uncommon time.

It made sense to me.
So, in that moment, I made a decision that this summer our family would practice CANI!

On the CD, Tony spoke of three questions that he utilizes for CANI!.  The three questions are:
1) What did I learn today?
2) What did I improve or contribute today? and,
3) What did I enjoy today?

So, I made a cover for a book - that included the three questions.  And, I recruited my husband (who is a printer) to make four books - in which we will record our CANI's!.  Then, as a family, we identified the items that we want to individually improve this summer and listed these goals in our books.

Alex and Owen's five areas of improvement are:  1) Biking, 2) Sports, 3) Running, 4) Being Kind to each other and 5) Contributing to the Family.         FYI: They picked the first three, and Jeff and I added the other two.

Today, we made our first entry in our books and the boys were SO excited!

Alex drew a picture of him cleaning up the backyard which met his goal of contributing to the family.

Owen drew a picture of him and Alex enjoying playing to together, with related to his goal of being kind to his brother.

It was so fun to see them get invested in CANI!
I am looking forward to see how the whole project plays out!

p.s. -  Taking the concept of CANI! and turning it into our family project also serves as today's daily dose of Creativity for my Summer of Creativity!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Summer of Creativity!

Summer of Creativity - Day 1
In 2010 when I started In Search of Me in Mommy - I set out to find myself, because I had lost myself in all the chaos of motherhood.

One thing that became apparent rather quickly was that I loved to be creative.  And, that if I wasn't expressing my creativity regularly, I would be cranky and unhappy.  So, I committed to making time in my life for writing, drawing, doodling, and all different types of creating!

In the last month or so I have been in a funk.  A cranky, unhappy, and, at times, teary-eyed, funk. 

And guess what?!!? 

Yep, you guessed it - I wasn't making time for creating!

I'm not sure when I it stopped being a priority.  But, obviously it did.

Starting today I am recommitting to my creativity!  My goal, this summer, is that every day I will make time for creating!

So I am deeming this the Summer of Creativity!
Anyone want to join me?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The tale of two birds.

About a month ago I was thrilled to see a robin building a nest on the eves of our porch.  It was in the perfect location - near our porch swing that each morning the boys and I sit on as we wait for the school bus to arrive.  The thought of a nest and baby birds chirping away as we sat on our porch made me smile.

For a few of days, we saw the momma bird sitting in the nest and occasionally she would fly off, only to return moments later.  The boys were eager each morning to go out to see our bird.  It added a bit of excitement to our mornings.  The bird's nest and the anticipation of new life, felt hopeful, fresh and anew!  

And then, one day we noticed that there wasn't any activity in the nest.  That day, and a few days following, after the boys hopped on the school bus, I sat on the porch quietly, watching for the bird to return to her nest, but she never returned. 

The nest was abandon.

The boys were curious about why the bird left.  They hypothesized that maybe she didn't lay any eggs, or maybe something scared her off, or maybe she made a better nest elsewhere.  They wanted to know why she was gone.  I told them that I didn't know why she abandon her nest but that sometimes, that just happens.

The answer seemed to satisfy them, but, I have to admit, I was a bit sad that our bird was gone.  There wasn't going to be chirping baby birds.  It surprised me that I was disappointed about a silly little bird - but I was.  And, in some weird way, it almost, almost, felt like a bad omen.

Fast forward to yesterday, when I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a bird flying into our wisteria-covered trellis.

And sure enough, there is another nest. 

This time it is the nest of a sweet momma Mourning Dove.

Perhaps, we will actually have baby birds in our midst soon!

The boys are excited.

And, I admit it...I am too!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I'm BACK!!!!!!

One morning, about a month ago, I woke up and immediately it hit me, "Dammit!  I didn't blog yesterday!"  And then the internal dialogue with my Inner Mean Girl, whom I call Catty Patty, (for more info about Inner Mean Girls check out this previous post) began...

Catty Patty:  "Yo, Nimrod...  You said you were going to post a blog EVERY day in 2012!"

Me:  "I know, but I forgot!"

Catty Patty:  "You shouldn't have forgotten!  You promised yourself that you would do 366 posts this year."

Me:  "I know, I did - but really, I simply forgot!"

Catty Patty:  "If you were truly committed to this, you wouldn't have forgotten.  This is just another fine example of you not following through with what you say you are going to do."

Me:  <sigh>

Catty Patty:  "It's just like losing weight, and the half marathon...You said you were going to do those too...AND, last time I checked neither has happened!"

Me:  "But, I am human.  I just forgot to it really that big of a deal?"

Catty Patty:  "If breaking a promise to yourself AGAIN, is not a big deal...then I guess you are right..."

Me:  <sigh>  "I wish I wouldn't have forgotten."

Catty Patty:  "Well, you forgot.  You FAILED.  Again.  Whatever.  I give up."  <guilt and shame induced>

Me:  <shrinking>  "I suppose you are right..."

Ridiculous, right?  I mean, seriously, one little blog post, and then <BAM> I deem myself a colossal failure! 

And, worse yet, I started to believe, that maybe I was...

PLUS, I thought I knew better than to allow my negative self talk take over. 

Yet, it happened.  And, to my dismay, I even watched it happen... All the time, (mostly) knowing that, me beating myself up about one missed blog post, was not deserving of the low blows, sucker punches, and mean jabs I was giving myself.

I guess my Inner Mean Girl, won that one.  ...For about a month.

But now I am back!
And, that feels soooooo good!

p.s.  In scheme of life, one month, is simply a blip.

p.s.s.  A blip I can learn and grow from  :) !

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Day 136 - Mocha, the backwards dog caught on film!

Last month I blogged about Mocha - our goofy dog who turns right in reverse.  A couple people mentioned that they would like to see her in action!  ...So, I decided to video tape her shenanigans!

So I am pleased to present... Mocha, our backwards dog!

I hope that goofy Mocha made you smile - or even giggle a little!

Happy Day!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Day 133, 134, and 135 - Hibernation is over!

I had a mother's day hibernation...and shut out the world.

On Saturday, I didn't mean to forget to blog. happened!  And, then on Sunday, Mother's Day, I decided to take a day off.  I didn't answer my phone, I didn't check my email, I just did a whole lot of nothing (in between dealing with my two feuding, whining boys). 

And, I have to say, a whole lot of nothing, felt good!

But, now, I am back!

And I want to share with you my two favorite mother's day gifts...

The first is from Owen (age 6).
I love my three faces of
Owen - silly, smiley, and serious!

And the second is from Alex (age 7).
Something about this bird melted my heart!

Oh, and my hubby got me flat screen TV (for our bedroom) which I love...  But, it doesn't compare to the gifts from my boys!!!

Happy belated Mother's Day
to all you WONDERFUL moms!

PS...a while back I made a video that I think is Mother's Day I figured I'd share it again!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Day 132 - Mommy's Spent (revisited)

This was origionally posted on June 15, 2010...and I still dream of silence! 

Silence is my dream
If the noise continues I am going to scream!

Stop the crying and irritating sighing
No brawling or name calling
No spaceship blasting off, Not even a cough!

And please NO
Whining or pretend coal mining,
Dinosaurs roars or beanbag wars,
Car zooming or truck vrooming

No talking - at all
No matter how small!

Mommy needs a moment
I am, oh so spent!

It was one of "those" days. Thank God, tomorrow is a new day!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Day 131 - The boys, Pitching in!!!!

We are doing more work at the new (old) building for my husband's business.

And it is a family affair!  Everyone is pitching in, including our two boys.  Some call it a violation of the child-labor laws...but shh...done tell them!
Alex, age 7, loved scraping up the flooring.
They have no clue that work is suppose to be no least for one of them...

There must be a gene that traveled from father to son (to one of them).  My husband, Jeff, loves to work.  Give him a big project - landscaping the entire yard, or taking down a tree, or building cabinets, or putting in a new window or door, or renovating a building - he is as happy as a clam. 

And, Alex, our oldest is SO much like him!  He tells me often "Mommy, I love to work."  Yesterday when I told the boys that we were going over to do some work on the building, after school, Alex got a huge grin on his face and jumped up and down in excitement.

Owen is a bit more like me.  He isn't that excited about work.  But, he is a good sport and pitches in - especially for smaller jobs that feel more manageable.  He really enjoyed moving the long pieces of molding.  He turned it into a game, by guessing with piece of molding would be the longest!

Owen (age 6) was having so much fun, that Alex
stopped what he was doing to help his brother.

Some piece were REALLY long!

I truly only expected to get about 45 minutes to 1 hour of work out of them, but two hours later, I was ready to be done!  So we packed it in and headed home.

Hopefully the novelty of helping out at the new building won't wear off too soon, because we have a LOT of work to do!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Day 130 - Plans and projects

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.”
― Leo Tolstoy

It's that the truth?!!!

For our family, every spring, the plans and project begin.

yard work
spring cleaning
the seasonal clothes swap
vacation plans
scheduling summer activities for the kids
building projects
plus more...

The anticipation of what can be is exciting!
And exhausting!

What are your plans and projects?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Day 129 - Storage Wars

The other day I talked about the Grubby, Messy, Yucky Work that I did over at the new (old) building for my husband's business.
A little OOPS happened to this one...Who knows what caused that!

Well, in addition to the building for the business, there are a few self-storage units on the property.  So when we got the keys, I was SOOOOO curious about checking out the storage units. 

I mean, I watch Storage Wars on the A&E channel, and the stuff that they sometimes find in abandon units is worth some serious cash-olly!

I should explain...  This property was foreclosed upon and owned by the bank and most of the storage unit were abandon for at least 1 year.  So, since we bought the building, the "stuff" inside is ours!

So there I was, dreaming of treasures, as we opened the doors, and all I saw was T R A S H! 

And, lots of it!  Piles of it, on top of more piles of it!  And, BONUS, some even included a crap load of mice poop!

Storage Wars treasures, not so much!

But I didn't walk away empty handed. 

I found something that I really like...

this is not the actual Dolly,
but this is what it looks like.
photo credit: Yvonne Emerson

I am the happy owner of an antique dolly.

Not sure what I am going to do with it, but I like it!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Day 128 - I'm NOT tired!

As I am writing this, my 6 year old, is screaming at the top of his lungs,
"I'm NOT tired!  I'm NOT tired!  I'm NOT tired!"

It is beautiful spring evening, the windows are open, and I am sure that neighbors in a four square mile radius can hear him! 

Clearly, my mother of year title has just been revoked!

This all started because my husband asked him to clear his dinner dishes from the table.  And suddenly, he was toooooooo tired to take his plate, cup, and silverware to the dishwasher (approximately five steps from the table).  He whined, moaned, and groaned about how tired he was. 

So I suggested he leave the room and go to the "fussy chair", until he was done whining, moaning and groaning. 

He promptly left the room, sat on the "fussy chair" and continued his noises, but louder. 

"I'm too tired!" 

"I'm TOOOOO tired!"

"I am SOOOO tired!"

So, I figured that he needed to go to sleep pronto.  I mean, if he is too tired to clear his dishes, then, obviously, it is bedtime. 

And, that is what I told him.  "Go to your room and get on your PJ's" I said.

Suddenly the tune changed - although it was still in the key of whine - and, presto, he is

"NOT that tired!"

Or so he tells me (and the entire 3 county area) at the top of his lungs.

Oh, the joys of motherhood!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day 127 - Grubby, messy, yucky work.

My husband's printing company is going to be moving to a building that we just purchased.  A building that has been foreclosed upon and vacant for a few years.  Needless the building is in disarray and need repairs, and remodeling - but it has "good bones."
See the 4 rectangles of green wall paper?
There used to be 4 large posters of scantily dressed
large breasted women - until I tore them down!

And when I say "good bones", what I mean is it is made of cinderblocks, bricks, and other hardy "stuff".  So, basically, should there be a tornado heading in our direction, this is the building that, in all likelyhood, is the place to be.

Since we just got the keys last week, much of the work is ahead of us. 

So today, we (as in my husband, my in-laws, my boys and me) spent the day doing grubby, messy, yucky work.

What is grubby, messy, yucky work?  you ask...

It is...Tearing up and ripping out overgrown ivy (it had even found a way to grow into the building), picking up litter (bottles, McDonalds cups lids, broken toys, and piles of lord only know what), cleaning a disqusting bathroom that only a microbiologist could love and kicking through dry wall (just because I could) plus more fun stuff like that.
A sink in an office - don't know why!!??!
And, yep, pipes broke while the building was vacant!

When we arrived home, we sanitized the boys and ourselves and treated ourselves to dinner out. 

Now the boys are in bed, and I am exhausted. 

Truly exhausted.

So while I wish I has some spectacular insight about our day of grubby, messy, yucky, work. 

But, I got nothing! 

Nothing but achey and sore arms, legs, and back.

Oh, the joys of grubby, messy, yucky, work!