Why I write…

I started this blog because sometimes I need to write down my thoughts. If you choose to read, then great. If you choose not to read, that’s great, too. It doesn’t affect me either way. I’ve been through quite a year. I needed a place to put my thoughts down. I also love to write. I’ve tried journalling with paper and pencil and I just can’t keep it up, but I can somewhat keep up with typing my thoughts (maybe a generational thing). I would love to be a paper/pencil girl but it just doesn’t get done.

This year has been crazy on a personal account and national account. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around stuff that has happened, especially this last week. I’m not typically an anxious person, but as a mom anxiety has trickled into my system. I have random fleeting thoughts. I think about the fact that as we sit in church, we all sit with our backs to the main doors and what if someone decides they want to go crazy by coming in and shooting. I am constantly looking around at large gatherings like marathons or metro stations wondering what others are thinking or if someone has left something behind. It’s not completely healthy, but at the same time, I do not let these thoughts consume me. I have them, but they are fleeting and I refocus my mind to something else.

But after this week, anytime I think about what happened, I think about how easily that could have been me or someone I love. That is an event I easily could have been to if it was in my neck of the woods. My eyes are tearing up just thinking about it. Then of course, my mind turns to my littles who I send off to school everyday and pray (and wonder) everyday for their safety.

I’m not someone that will EVER get into a debate with someone over gun control laws because frankly, I  don’t know enough about them to debate anyone and I honestly don’t think many people do. I do, however, think something needs to be addressed. Assault rifles are not something ANYONE needs. Mental health needs to start being taken as seriously as heart disease and cancer. People need to love more, reflect more, listen more, debate less.

I sat with my oldest (5 years old) and talked to her about being a friend to anyone who needs one. I told her that it’s important to look for the friend in the classroom or lunch room who doesn’t seem to be talking to anyone or has a hard time finding someone to play with and invite them in. It’s not going to erase what it going on in the world, but if I can raise two little ones to love unconditionally, be a friend to anyone around them, and be genuinely good people, than I feel like I have done something.

I love the fact that many news outlets were focusing on the heroes of this week. They were highlighting ways people were helping in the aftermath or ways people helped strangers around them. Highlighting

those throwing themselves on top of people they didn’t even know to shield them from what was happening. I believe that our world has more good in it than evil, but unfortunately the evil takes the spotlight. The evil has made me have these anxious thoughts and have placed fear in so many of our hearts and minds, but let’s remember the good we are surrounded by. Let’s focus on the love we receive and the love we are allowed to deliver each and every day.

Today, be kind to the person next to you. Smile at the stranger walking by. Lift your eyes off the screen of your phone and say hi to someone. Be the kind in the world, because that is all we can do and that’s what we need to live each day for.

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Are they disrespecting the flag?!

If you haven’t heard already, there is quite the controversy over what professional athletes are doing. If you haven’t heard, then you are clearly living under a rock because it’s not only all over social media, but the news.  I have been torn about the whole situation because I am an Army wife who sent my husband overseas for a year and had to take care of a toddler and preschool on my own. My husband is sacrificing a year of his life and our lives to fight for our country. We are sacrificing a lot as well. However, I also do not feel so offended as so many of my counterparts feel when it comes to this situation.

I can give you my own feelings about this, and I started typing them all out, but then I thought, I really should back up my thoughts and I wanted to look into what it actually looks like to disrespect the flag.

As I hear the National Anthem and see the flag, I don’t just hear words and see a piece of red, white, and blue cloth. I see those who have fought for that flag. I see those not just on the battlefield and in uniform, but those who fight everyday to make a life for themselves and their families. That flag represents our country. It represents what this country has been founded on. It does NOT represent the ideals that one person or party holds, but the ideals and values that this nation was founded on. Now, I want you to think about what it is you think about when you put your hand over your heart and sing our National Anthem. Do you think of the hate that goes on in our country? Do you think of the President? Do you think of your neighbor, friend, family member who is serving or has served? At first, I thought, that those that are so offended by the taking a knee have a hard time separating the flag from those in uniform, but then as I sat down and really thought about it, those men and women in uniform are what keeps this country what it is and they are in fact the reason that flag can still fly high.

Now, if we want to talk about if these athletes are disrespecting the flag, I turned to the American Legion and the United States Code (taken from https://www.legion.org/flag/code)

Title 36, Subtitle I, Part A section 301 United States Code – National Anthem

(a) Designation.— The composition consisting of the words and music known as the Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem.
(b) Conduct During Playing.— During a rendition of the national anthem—

  • (1) when the flag is displayed—

(A) individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note;
(B) members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute in the manner provided for individuals in uniform; and
(C) all other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and

  • (2) when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.

So, those players ARE IN FACT disrespecting the flag. Now, look around you at any event where the National Anthem is being played. I can guarantee at least 25% (most likely more) are being just as disrespectful. My biggest pet peeve is those who can’t take the time to remove a hat or be silent for the 2 minutes the anthem is playing. I also bet that many of us have disrespected the flag before without even knowing. It was through my research that I learned some valuable information.  According to Title 4, United States Code, Chapter 1, subsection 8:

Respect for flag

No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.

(a) The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

(b) The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.

(c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.

(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free.

Bunting of blue, white, and red always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker’s desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.

(e) The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.

(f) The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.

(g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.

(h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.

(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkin or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.

(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.

(k) The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning. (Disposal of Unserviceable Flags Ceremony)

So for those who are saying these men are taking a knee in silent but respectful protest, according to code, you are just wrong. There are other ways they can make their point, but when it comes down to it, they are actually being disrespectful to not only our country but to the men and women who have worked so hard and sacrificed to much to allow that flag to fly high.

Am I Kindergarten Ready?

 

Back-to-school is lurking around the corner. What emotions does that instill in you?! For some, it’s a welcomed sight to send kids off and get back to a normal routine. For others, it means back to work. For others, it means sending your baby off for the first time.

Welcome me. I once was the teacher who welcomed summer and wished it continued on with it’s wonderful journey of long stressless days, fun summer nights, and beach trips. Since being at home for the last 5 years as a stay-at-home mom, I have enjoyed letting long summer nights lead into long chilly fall nights. Pool and splash pad day trips lead into into fall festival and apple picking trips. Not being stuck to a schedule has been wonderful. I somewhat took advantage of it by spending long weekends away with family. Begging my husband to take days off to spend with us. But, in half a week, my first baby heads to school for a full five days a week. She begins her journey. I’m feeling a lot of feelings over this.

As a former Kindergarten teacher, I welcomed my lovely new kiddos on that first day. Prying them out of the arms of their parents who asked if they could stay a bit to make sure their kids were okay. I never understood these emotions. I very calmly and friendly told those parents that it is in the best interest of everyone to say your swift goodbyes and that all would be okay. I welcomed cute little 5 and 6 year olds into the classroom, many of them all smiles and hellos, a few with some tears. I sent parents home or to work- some running away to enjoy the time and others with tears in their eyes.

Now it’s my turn to send my baby off to full-time, 7 hours a day, 5 days a week school. A pit in my stomach forms and tears well up when I think about it. I’m now being that parent who wants to walk my little one to her classroom, give her hugs and kisses, and want to linger a little to know she will be okay. I struggle with wanting to send her off on the bus, something that might be super hard but overall might be easiest or driving her to school. I struggle letting her go off on her own or follow the bus to watch her walk into school.

The hardest part is being constantly excited about school for my daughter, while my heart and head are crying that she will be going off for the first time without me for 35 hours a week. I have never been away from her for that long.

Despite my feelings, I know my daughter is going to love school. She is sweet and compassionate and will make friends quickly. She is eager to learn and is so excited to be a kindergartener. I just sit here, writing this, praying that she continues to have a heart and mind eager to learn, she is blessed with a teacher who showers her with love and compassion while pushing her to be her best, and that she finds a group of friends she feels comfortable with to be beautiful self. I pray these things for all of your kids, whether they are entering a school for the very first time or heading to their last year of high school.

 

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Our obsession with pressed pennies

With summer coming up, road trips are on the horizon. I mean, who am I kidding, road trips are always a part of our life with family not close, but summer seems to be everyone’s excuse to get out on the road and explore the country. This usually means day trips to favorite spots like museums, zoos, amusement parks, and the like. If you have kids, you may like to get them little mementos to commemorate their visits and travels, or maybe you like to do this for yourself. I was once an avid shot glass collector. Now I’m a Christmas ornament collector. It’s nice to remember where you’ve been and the experiences you’ve had.

My kids recently became fascinated with pressed pennies. I remember getting these as a kid, too, and thinking they were pretty cool, but my kids LOVE them. Honestly, I love that they love them because I can leave any place with a $0.51 souvenir and they are overjoyed. I watch friends at the same place we are fighting over the fact their kid wants the $24 stuffed animal that once they get home they won’t ever want anything to do with it.

It was kind of funny, though, because this has become a recent phenomenon and then I saw a blog post pop up on my newsfeed. It got me intrigued about pressed pennies and if there was more to them then the fascination of cranking the machine and getting a flat penny.

So here are some facts I’ve compiled in case you were as intrigued as I was.

It all started in Chicago.

The first pressed, or elongated, penny was produced in Chicago during the 1892-1893 World’s Columbian Exposition that commemorated the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s discovery of America. They had four designs for that event. However, the first designer on record is a man named Charles Damm, who made the design for the 1901 Pan American Exposition in New York.

Their popularity has seen a few shifts.

The first 23 years of existence seem to have been the most popular. Then around 1916, the intrigue seemed to die down. No one really knows why, but they just didn’t seem as popular until again in 1932. It’s said they are being produced at a rapid pace now and it’s hard to keep up with.

There are collectors.

I guess there are collectors for everything, so this isn’t much of a surprise. With how many machines there are today, it is impossible for a collector to collect ALL the pressed pennies, so many have designated specialized subjects (politics, holidays, space programs, etc.) There is even an organization, (TEC), The Elongated Collection.

You can find the machine closest to you.

There is a whole website designed for you to located pressed machines. Our family happened to stumble upon one at a local zoo and then again at a rest stop on our way to visit grandparents. Both times my kids were SO excited to pick their design, crank the machine, and see their newly smushed penny. My son has seemed to have lost his both times, but again, I am okay with this because we haven’t lost a $24 3-inch stuffed animal that they “had to have,” instead a single penny has been dropped for someone else to find.

It is illegal to mutilate coinage, except for the elongating/pressing a coin.

It is actually illegal to mutilate or falsify US coinage with the intention of creating counterfeit money. Since elongated pennies are used solely as souvenirs, the mutilation of them is not illegal

This pressed penny thing is actually a genius idea for who ever came up with it. We provide the penny, OURSELVES. We crank the machine, OURSELVES. Yet, we have to pay $0.50 to get the penny. What a money making scheme!

So the next time you are out and about, see if they have a penny pressing machine. Maybe your kids will be just as thrilled with this prize!

 

*I gained this information from the following sources: Rosato, Angelo A. (1990). Encyclopedia of the Modern Elongated: A Complete and Authentic Description of All Modern Elongateds, 1960-1978. New Milford, CT: Angros Publishers. ISBN 0-9626996-2-4. And http://www.pennycollector.com

Hello. It’s me!

It’s been a month…. a crazy month and every day I think about my blog and how I need to post and talk real with you all and another day passes. Do you ever feel like when one big thing happens, a bunch of other big things happen and it knocks the wind right out of you?! That’s how I’ve been feeling lately. Some good big things. Some bad big things. Big things nonetheless and it’s taken me some time to function through it all.

I am learning how to deal with big things when it’s just me and my kids and let me be the first to tell you how much I am learning from my 5 year old daughter. She is wise beyond her years and I am so grateful to have her in my life. At 5, she is the one that grounds me. She has a very Bobby McFerrin way of thinking,

“In every life we have some trouble
When you worry you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy……”

And to be honest, I think I am going to start singing that song in my head when things get a little rough or I feel the stress coming on.

Today was her last day at preschool. Of course, she is my first born and I am devastated that these early years are gone and she starts full time school in the fall. She begins a huge journey of learning and I am so thankful that we are surrounded by amazing schools but since I got to be home with her every day until this point, the idea of letting her go for 8 hours a day makes me want to curl in the fetal position and cry. As she headed off to school today I asked her if she was sad about this being her last day at her school and she simply replied, “No, mommy. I am so excited for Kindergarten.” While inside my body I was a mush ball and wanted to say, “But honey, aren’t you going to miss your days with me?? You have to be in school and sit at desks and walk those big halls with the big kids and you are there all day!!” (Cue breath) But my outward appearance was all “WOOHOO!! KINDERGARTEN! WE ARE READY FOR IT!” She absolutely LOVES school and who am I to give her preconceived notions of what school is now.

I can get on my soap box about how age appropriateness (or lack there of in our case) about the classroom, but my daughter adores school. She loves to learn. She loves to trace letters and do simple math. She picked up workbooks on her own in the dollar bin at Target and wanted to do them at home– sitting for hours doing them. Who am I to scare her about what Kindergarten might be when in fact, she may love every single second of it.

On top of last day of preschool, we bought a house. A FREAKIN HOUSE! I don’t know what I was thinking, but holy crow. An amazing opportunity presented itself. I saw the house before it was even on the market and I got that “This is my house” feeling and we jumped. My poor husband was Skyping in to see it from half-way across the world because, you know, two small kids, being by myself– I thought, I need something else to do. Some friends and family think I am crazy, but when you believe in something, you don’t care what they think and you just go with your gut.

Oh wait– and let me add my father-in-law went in for some major melanoma removal surgery which was pretty intensive. Again, my poor husband- half a world away- was beside himself. Luckily all seems to be well, but just one more BIG thing.

These three things happened within a 2 week period. So to say that it all took me off guard is quite an understatement, but I haven’t gone completely crazy yet and I’m still standing. I’ve been SO lucky to have a husband, that even though isn’t right next to me, he is reachable (for the most part) and has been such a support. I have had friends who have come to look at the house with me and work through fears and anxieties when my husband wasn’t available.

You can collapse under stress or you can rise to challenge it. I’m not sure I can say I have completely collapsed or completely risen, but I like to think I’m closer to the rising above it then being crushed by it all. I’m amazed by so many mom friends around me who are dealing with so much more and I pull from their strength. Just like climbing a mountain– one foot in front of the other will get you as far as you can possibly go.

The Toddler Tantrum

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If you haven’t seen my latest FB post, please hop over to either feel like you aren’t alone or to get a good chuckle.

Parenting toddlers is H.A.R.D. There should really be a warning before you bring the baby home from the hospital. (WARNING: If you can get through 1-3 hour sleeping increments, feedings every 2 hours, 12-20 diapers a day, 2-5 outfit changes for baby, 2-5 outfit changes for you, they turn into toddlers and it could get worse!)
Join me on this probably very familiar scene in our house this morning. J (my 3 year old) wanted a firetruck shirt. The obsession is on the verge of insane asylum evaluation status. He is obsessed with all things firetrucks and firefighters. If you combine his other obsession, yellow, then the world is close to apocalyptic scenarios.
Today he woke up with the idea that he wanted NEEDED to wear a firetruck shirt. He has quite the collection of them so normally it isn’t much of an issue. As I peeled off his firetruck pjs, he insisted on a firetruck shirt and that just wasn’t an option. We are approaching laundry day in our house and you might as well tell J it’s the end of the world because that’s what it felt and looked like. The firetruck shirts are the first to be worn, leaving no option for the second half of the week. I showed him the variety of shirts he was able to choose from: yellow shirts, truck shirts, favorite character shirts, nothing was a firetruck shirt and nothing was cutting it.
Cue full mental breakdown. It included throwing every shirt being offered. Throwing oneself on the ground. Kicking. Rolling over and pulling at the carpet in a desperate attempt make a new firetruck shirt out of it. And this was all before 7:30am. Hello Wednesday, it’s been real!
Of course, there are plenty of parents out there who have similar, funnier, more pathetic reasons why their kiddo is now mopping the floor with their body. “The wind is blowing in the wrong direction.” “I didn’t let him drink from the dog’s water dish.” “The current TV show has ended.”
If you need some future evidence that these little people living in our house are a little unstable, head over to Buzz Feed to see other depictions of why kids are crying. They are hilarious and if nothing else, it unites us in this delicate, fast moving, unpredictable stage of life. Maybe it’s just the universe’s way of preparing us for more delicate, fast moving, unpredictable stages of life ahead (one of them called the teen years). Either way, each stage seems impossible to get through, (remember those newborn years that seemed to go on forever with no sleep, now they seem so glorious to the toddler tantrum years) but looking back, aren’t as bad as they seemed when going through. Embrace the toddler tantrum. Try to laugh through it because tomorrow, they will no longer be wearing firetruck shirts and you will be fighting over their wardrobe for a much different reason.
Stay strong, parents. If needed, throw yourself on the floor and have a tantrum. You may find it therapeutic.

Is it too late now to say sorry?

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I remember growing up and my parents forcing me to say sorry when I did something wrong or acted like a total jerk. Many times I would just say “sorry” in that under my breath, teeth clenched voice, not meaning it at all. While I always hated being forced to say sorry, I think it helped me realize when I needed to truly say sorry and how to properly say sorry.

Did you know there is an art to saying sorry?! I’ve learned this mostly in the last year. When you have been hurt and you feel like all you really need to get past something is a sincere apology from a friend, you realize how important words can be. It’s helped me be more truthful and sincere when I’m the one who needs to apologize.

People say “I’m sorry” throughout their day for any number of reasons from trivial blunders such as bumping into someone or dropping someone’s pen. Trivial affronts are easy to come by and don’t really need much (if any) emotion attached to it. But when an “I’m sorry” is needed for something much more hurtful, these words can be that much harder to come by. An ill planned apology can actually cause more anger. Even a well-planned apology can be undermined with the words we choose. So let’s look at the key points of a heart-felt, meaningful, apology that will let both parties move forward.

Apologies are not about you.

When you are apologizing, the apology is less about you and more about the person you are apologizing to. This is KEY and this is where most apologies go wrong. Too many times I’ve heard, “I’m sorry YOU thought….” That is not an apology. That is simply saying that you are sorry for them taking whatever you did or said in a way you wish they didn’t and you are not showing that you are sorry for doing whatever it is you did. Instead, your apology should sound more like, “I’m sorry that I….[made you feel that way]” or “I’m sorry I [hurt you]” or “I’m sorry MY actions/words….”. This takes responsibility for what you did and not saying that your sorry that the other person reacted.

I recently told someone who I thought was a friend of mine for an apology for accusing me something unthinkable. I told her that her accusations hurt me and all I wanted was an an apology for even thinking something like that about me. Her response, “I’m sorry you thought I was accusing you of an awful act.” That made me even more furious. All I wanted was for her to say something like, “I”m sorry for accusing you.” or “I’m sorry I made you feel that way.” Instead, she put it back on me and said she was sorry that I reacted, not for her actions. It shifts the focus off the person who is apologizing and really says, “I’m not sorry at all for the thing I did or said.” Psychologist and author Harriet Lerner talks about this in her first chapter of her book, “Why Won’t You Apologize?”

You can see how a simple word can change the meaning of the apology. Many times, I don’t know if people are realizing that they are even doing it. Dr. Lerner even talks about how humans are hard-wired to be defensive and offering a heart-felt, sincere apology is against our nature because it is an admission of guilt and makes us vulnerable. Not saying we are incapable of doing it, but it’s something we truly have to be intentional about.

It’s never too late to apologize.

It is true that time heals all (at least it helps), but when you hurt someone or someone hurts you, an apology, even years later (even if you have forgotten the incident) can be so meaningful. Sometimes I think an apology that is not immediate is more sincere because the person has been thinking about it and still feels that the apology is needed. Even if it isn’t NEEDED, it’s seems more genuine because it’s not just a reaction to your actions. Doing something hurtful toward someone else or being on the receiving end can effect both our physical and emotional health. An apology can help both the person offering the apology as well the person receiving it.

I know that I have a hard time with letting things go. If nothing else, I feel the need to say something to someone to find closure in a conflict, whether it’s to say sorry or to explain why I have been so hurt. Even in the times I apologize and a friendship seems over, I feel better because I know that at least I did what I could to fix the problem. I can confidently say that I did everything I could, I was sincerely apologetic, and my heart and mind can move on.

There’s no magic formula.

There is no magic formula or timeframe to finding forgiveness or providing an apology and every situation is different. In most cases, both people are at fault to come extent. An apology is also not going to guarantee that the conflict is over or that everything goes back to what it was, however, it can provide closure and provide a sense of peace to both parties, and allow each to move forward and allow time to heal wounds.

My Hesitant Nutritional Journey

 

carrot-1085063_1920We live in a very conflicting world. We are bombarded by images of “perfect” bodies, sex appeal, and 1,001 diets we can jump on to help us lose weight. At the same time we are also bombarded with stories about learning how to fuel our bodies properly, being strong and confident versus tall and thin, and loving the body we have been given. As an adult, this can get confusing, so imagine what it’s like for the youngest members of our family.

I recently decided for myself that I needed to change some bad habits. I have a HUGE sweet tooth and I love my carbs and dairy. Subsequently, so do my kids. I have been a part of an accountability group for months. Each month I feel motivated and determined, then week one comes and goes and then all of a sudden the month is already over without me making much of an effort and continuing to find excuses.

A lot of friends have jumped on the Whole 30 diet, Paleo diet, or 21 Day Fix diet. (I hate calling them diets because that has such a bad connotation.) While I am not ready to give up dairy, coffee, or the occasional glass of wine, I am ready to change some dietary habits. What has jumped out at me the most was the fundamentals of each of these diets; moving away from processed foods to eating more fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Luckily, our family is pretty good at limiting processed foods, but you put a vegetable in front of me and you might as well call the hazard team over.

Don’t get me wrong, I love vegetables. I love broccoli, Brussel sprouts, green beans, asparagus, but I genuinely HATE cooking. If I could have a permanent chef in my house to cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner- cutting up a fruit salad, preparing my dishes, I would eat SO. MUCH. BETTER. I now described wanting my very own nanny (maybe Corinne from the Bachelor was on to something) and now I am wondering why when I do this all for my kids, they refuse to eat anything. Don’t they know a good thing?!

Also, if anyone can figure out why I take the time to prep my kids meals and make them well balanced dishes, how do I manage to still eat like complete crap. This was where I knew I needed to start. I finally (after 4 years of prepping meals) that maybe, JUST MAYBE, if I also took a few minutes to put some extra fruit and veggies into a third bowl then I would eat a tad bit better. SO… that is what I started doing this week.

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So after weeks of inspirational and motivational posts from friends about eating mostly fruits and vegetables, feeling amazing, having more energy, sleeping better, feeling stronger, and no longer making the number on the scale a thing, I was convinced that it was my time to start doing this too. I know it’s not going to be easy. There are days I’m going to want to binge eat a package of Oreos and there might be days I allow myself to, but I’m going to stop making the number on the scale mean something and start making my body the priority. I need to be happy, healthy, and strong for two small kiddos who look up to me. If I can’t do a hard thing for myself, then I will at least do it for them and my husband.

If you are on your own nutritional journey, I would love for you to share. I know some have FB pages, some have blogs— share your story, because you never know when you will inspire someone else.

Green Little Leprechauns

It seems as though on March 17 (and the days surrounding), everyone becomes Irish. Green is worn with pride. Parades become a family tradition. Corned beef, cabbage, and Irish soda bread adorns dinner tables. I’m proud to have Irish blood in me and I love to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. I love it even more now that I have kids. Here are some ideas to make your St. Patrick’s Day a little more fun and a little more green!

Leprechaun Traps

IMG_7200This week, we worked extremely hard on our leprechaun traps. This became more of a thing for us when my kids entered school. I remember doing it with my students, but it’s way more fun to see your own kids at work. All you need is a box. It can be as small or as big as you can handle. My oldest started hers in school and brought it home and worked on it for another 2 days! Some traps are covered completely in green, maybe painted or wrapped in paper. Ours were simple and decorated with favorite stickers. Crayons and paint markers are our favorite decorating tools in our house and were also out, but my kids seemed to stick with stickers.

IMG_7203You set the traps the night before St. Patrick’s Day and put something inside you think the leprechauns would like. Some suggestions: anything gold/shiny, picture of a rainbow, a pretend leprechaun. Set the traps and kids go to bed. When they wake up, the traps are closed and inside may be a leprechaun, but in most cases, they are too sneaky and fast to catch and instead they leave behind candy or chocolate. Ours left behind notes, too.

Mischievous Behavior

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Leprechauns are known for their mischievous behavior. In my classroom, the kids would come in to overturn garbage cans, green footprints on the floor and up the walls, lots of glitter, things put in the wrong place, and green toilets. They are not AS messy at home, in our case. We wake up to a green toilet and a few green footprints on the toilet seat. Some friends woke up to green milk or green eggs, footprints on highchair trays, and books knocked off shelves. There is no changing food or drink colors in my house as I believe my kids won’t eat or drink anything green and I hate the idea of wasting food, even for a day, so maybe one day this will be in our routine, but for now, it’s just a little green on the toilet.

Erin go Bragh

No matter how big or little your St. Patrick’s Day traditions are, may you find a little Irish in your self today. May you find luck and good fortune.

May you always have…
Walls for the winds 
A roof for the rain 
Tea beside the fire 
Laughter to cheer you 
Those you love near you 
And all your heart might desire.

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(photo credit: my lovely momma on her trip to Ireland a few years ago)

 

When a village doesn’t feel like a village

We are in a unique world. Sitting with some friends this week, we had a very interesting conversation about where our expectation of being a “perfect” mom comes from and what we think a perfect mom does. My two cents was that we see the “perfect” moments people photographer-16022_1920share on Facebook. You know- the picture of the perfectly dressed kid making the most perfect bubble with the most perfect smile with the most perfect caption of being a perfect day with their perfect child and everyone is happy and healthy and perfect. You know those pictures? Except we don’t see the tantrum right after the picture was taken, a perfect bubble solution puddle developed and the wand and bottle were thrown in a tantrum or the mess of a mom on the other side of the camera. We don’t see the other kid swing upside down from the front steps throwing rocks and sticks. (OK– maybe this is just at my house?!)

So I find that we need a village to talk to, vent to, bounce ideas off of, but it’s hard to come by. We don’t live in the times of all stay at home moms who are doing their laundry together while their kids play in unison somewhere in the neighborhood. We don’t live during the times of one big casserole feeding a family of 8 and everyone is sitting down at the table at 6pm sharp. We live in a world of trying to buy the most perfect, organic, non-GMO food, preparing the best gourmet meals no kid  anyone would eat, while washing our clothes in the most environmentally stable detergent, and signing our kids up for all the top activities in town and we barely get a sit down dinner.

Our villages have turned virtual because that is the world we live in. So what’s the problem?! The problem is that people monitor and make rules to these virtual villages. By sharing a personal blog post, it’s look upon as “selling one’s ideas” and that topics need to be shared that are interesting to everyone. A village isn’t about what is convenient, happy, and perfect all the time, that’s why we need it. It’s about brainstorming ideas or thoughts around with others, venting when things get hard, looking for support when support is needed.

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I’ve decided this week (after my last post) that I don’t want to be a “perfect” mom. I want to be a mom who supports my kids’ ideas and emotions. I want to be the mom who other moms can come to knowing there is no judgement. I want to be the mom that embraces all parenting styles, regardless if it’s my own parenting style or not. I want to be the mom that when people stop to think about who they can trust, rely on, bounce ideas off of, vent to, that I come to mind. I want to be the mom that someone can drop by for a cup of coffee, tea, or wine and know it’s a safe place. I’m not saying I’m perfect. I’m not saying I have this parenting thing down, but I can confidently say that I will always do my best to be the most inclusive as I can possibly be. I can confidently say that even if I don’t agree with a decision you make, I will never make you feel judged or wrong just because I don’t agree. I can confidently say that I will do my absolute best to be the role model I want my daughter to have so she can continue in this light one day when she becomes a mom. I want to be a mom who NEEDS a village and is part of a village.

Let’s go forth, supporting each other in a true, real way! KEEP GOING, MAMA! You are a strong, amazing, wonderful mom and we are here to support you 100%!