.:30:. Happy Birthday to me. 


A late night post on the eve of my birth. I’m not big on my own Birthday, but each year has me realizing that it’s ok to take a moment and celebrate. Even if it is just a random blog post/poem.

#becauseican #becauseparentingalwayswins

Because ever since I turned 30, I’ve had trouble sleeping and well, I like to pretend that I know how to rhyme. #noshame

Putting parenting into perspective…

‘Twas the night before the day I turned 35 and all through my home,

Not a creature was stirring, wait who am I kidding… I’m a mom, I’m not alone!

All single socks lay in a pile with care, in hopes that someday I’d find the other pair.

The children were finally tucked into bed. While visions of relaxation bounced around in my head.

And me with my mouth guard and dad with his nasal strip, had just dozed off after a date with Netflix.

When out in the hall there arose such a clatter.
I sprang from my bed to see what was a matter.

Away to the hall I flew like a flash, tore open our door and threw on my glasses.

The moon brightly shining from our big window, sleepily reminded me that I needed to buy new lightbulbs tomorrow.

But what to my wondering eyes did appear, two little faces exclaiming they had a nightmare.

With two four year olds so sneaky and quick
I knew in a moment, I was being tricked.
So clever and witty, their demands made me guilty.

As they whispered and asked nicely with sweet droopy eyes…

I’m hungry, I’m thirsty, I have to pee, please carry me, I need you, please hurry mommy! Read to me, rock me, let me lay with you, last came a whisper… tomorrow, can we go to the Zoo?!

At the top of the hour, I was not at the top of my game. I said, “yes, now go to bed…” as I kissed each sweet head. 

So back to their room they went with glee, clapping and singing about tomorrow’s adventure with me.

And then in the silence, I heard by my ear… “are you really taking them to the Zoo, dear?”

As I drew in my head and was turning around, he peered from the covers as if he barely heard a sound.

“You were awake?”, I said. As he lay cozy in bed with nasal strip tight and pillow nicely under his head.

Now his face filled with regret and distress “It’s ok,” I replied, “you’re up next!”.

He answered their call with more requests from the hall.

He filled water cups, he rocked, carried and sang songs. He fulfilled more demands and was back in bed before too long.

See, I was starting to think that the thing about Birthdays and being a parent, as you grow older – is that it’s just a number with more wrinkles, demands, and serious things to ponder. Or is it?

I wonder. As I wake to 35 what will happen? I will get up, stretch, and grab my water. I will look out the window where the moon once sat and thank God for the glow of the sun. I will rise with a drive to do more this year. Read more books, drink warm coffee, be kind to all, really just learn to be – – like Hygge (that doesn’t rhyme, it’s actually pronounced “hoo gah”).

I will make a plan, change a way, or just continue to be happy each and every day. Fully aware that tomorrow night could be the same little circus, I still plan to celebrate in my own special way.

Take a nap with my dog in my lap, have some wine at lunchtime – what? It’s my Birthday, it’s not a crime. I will choose to relax even if chaos ensues… from those sweet little gals who are expecting the Zoo. We will sing, dance, read, and of course I will carry on with each and every daily mommy deed. We will eat good food, squeeze in extra snuggles, be nice take advice and even add a little spice! …and honestly if I just can’t help it and it’s something I have to do, well it’s my Birthday and I will cry if I want to!

So, Happy Birthday to me as I wake up my head and may you also enjoy each and every one of your days ahead! Oh yes, and I always thank the hubby who also got out of bed ;).

Fun fact: 30 posts ago (approx), I was 30 and I wrote my first lbjb post! 

*this poem is a fictional story filled with facts from past experiences. So, this did not all happen in one night but it has before (in some way) and if it happens next week, I wouldn’t be surprised at all!

.:29:. TGIF (parents)


Those overly expressed four letters.

A term in everyone’s vocabulary, conversation, hashtag, end of week post, greeting or facial expression while exiting work after a long week. An acronym we all understand and have probably expressed at one point in our life.

As a Stay-at-home-mom, I laugh a little when I say TGIF these days. I’ve seen the funny quotes and GIFs that say “Happy Friday! …oh wait, I’m a parent.” and thought, “oh, c’mon it’s just Friday, not that big of a deal.” …until it became a big deal. As a parent it quickly became a controversial day. A day I constantly looked forward to but didn’t have the greatest feelings toward, at the same time. I often think about how different I felt when I would say this as a school aged kid or a yuppie (young urban professional), pre-kids… working long hours, reporting to someone throughout the week and dedicating most of my time and energy to M-F. My week was filled with pleasing all the “suits and heals” for a pat on the back. I saw the weekend as my refuge and I was thankful for the last day of the week that lead me into two days filled with my own agenda.

Now I feel different when I share with the world how thankful I am for Friday. These days, I am always in my workplace, M-Su. My clientele may be small but I am readily at their beckon call. No real break. At least not a break where I could sit quietly and read or chat with a co-worker. Not a break where I could eat a nicely packed lunch made just for me in an environment that is void of all household distractions. Yes, I am still thankful for Friday but I also send my thanks for all the other days. Thankful I woke up with some sort of energy allowing me to be somewhat successful… leaving my clients not only happy but also fed, clean, cozy and in one piece at the end of every.single.day.


Monday is the start of a long tedious race that I will not win but I proudly signed up for and would never quit. It’s a race with a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. My cheerleaders are few and my shoes are worn and often feel like they were made for someone else. At times I find myself running into the wind and blazing sun, up a hill and in the rain, dodging trains and unexpected hail. I slip and fall a lot, yet still muster up the courage to rise with a grin.

Also, after staying home with little ones for so long, I think about how my relationship with Friday has dramatically changed. There’s no slacking, pat on the back or happily relieved head-nod from a co-worker who says, “TGIF!” while excitingly retreating to a weekend of freedom. After staying home with two little ones for more than four years, I think about Friday often. I think about the two days that follow with some extra help and more opportunities to rest and reset. For this I am grateful. When that second set of hands are in the door for more than dinner and our bedtime routine, I feel as though I can breathe a bit easier. However, I still find myself completely exhausted by the busyness of the weekend. We often do more on these days because we can. Routines are broken and all are tired from running around doing family activities. So, as I look forward to it, I find myself dragging by the end.

I am also grateful that the extra hands are even an option for me. I know many who don’t have this luxury, who don’t have the help and just keep chugging through the weekend, letting Friday pass by as if it were Wednesday. To those solo parents, I am amazed by your stamina, strength and continuous effort and I hope you are ocassionally or someday blessed by time to yourself – to fully rest and reset.

_____

Confession, I still say “TGIF!”. I pass it to a cashier while shopping, say it to a neighbor and hashtag it on my choice of social media along with a heavily filtered mug of fancy coffee or a tall glass of wine. I even jokingly say it to my husband while our children attack him with hugs and so many requests when he’s home. I am thankful it’s Friday, because I’m grateful to be alive and well and surrounded but those who mean the most in life. But in all honesty, as a stay-at-home-mom Friday is just another day.

TGIF 😊

 

 

.:28:. Like a gust of wind ~ Hello Again!


I walked outside this morning to (finally) put some Halloween decor away and a gust of wind hit me. With a deep breath I reminded myself that the week was 1/2 way over and then as a chill ran over my bare feet (true Minnesotan here) I realized that winter is right around the corner. Meaning… where did the summer and our always-too-short Fall go? I can’t even believe it’s November and we’ve already built a snowman, and the blur of the warm summer months have left me wondering what we did this summer…
_

Have you blinked lately and went from one month to the next seven? Well, that’s me today.

So, Hello Again!

Today I’m choosing to sit and thoroughly enjoy some silence while my girls nap. I’m not running around cleaning up, finishing laundry, putting dishes away, decluttering… per the norm. Nope, I have my feet up and words in my head, just for this spot. I love to write and try to figure this whole motherhood/parenthood/life thing out through run-on sentences, more than enough exclamation marks and probably too many question marks!!!??!!

This summer with 4 year olds was really kind of like a swift gust of wind. A breeze that can’t decide which way it wants to blow. An unpredictable breeze filled with high expectations, surprising demands and pure joy in the midst of little plans. I very vividly remember the baby days, staring at their tiny little everything, wondering what they’ll be like as walking-talking people.

Welp, here we are!


Mid summer, I had a realization. This just may be one of the last summers I really have with them. To be plan-less and pokey with long pj wearing mornings. I have a confession, we really had zero regular commitments. No planned activities. Besides a couple small trips, we had a lovely empty calendar, uncertain of where we would go and how each day would unfold. Like the rapid pace of our carefree and plan-less summer, I know we will soon be chasing the clock from one activity to the next and I chose to embrace a laxidasicle summer, enjoying my wild and sweet girls in their element. As parents we are under such pressure to keep our kids busy, stay active in the community, always participate, volunteer, bake, create, and more. We’re often running around racing each other. I’ve done that and to be honest, I don’t always mind the hustle and bustle of being busy and involved but I only recently learned that the unnecessary pressure can wear us out and spread us so thin that we have zero energy to enjoy the simplicity of life that really needs our attention! If it’s hard for us adults to handle at times, how do our kids feel?! So I’m waiting just a little longer for that busy-ness in life to set in and push us when we just want to sit. I will not force it. I needed this realization and I believe it’s made me a better and happier mom.

_

As carefree as this summer was, I found myself immersed in a foreign stage of life – not like the other stages with my girls…

I braced myself for the terrible twos but my husband and I agreed that age three was better suited for those expectations. Then, age 4 snuggled into our hearts so sweetly with a much bigger vocabulary and imagination, leaving us belly laughing and in awe of their profound curiosity. Then when we least expected it, this sweet age of 4 melted to the floor, flailed it’s arms and whined about everything under the sun… including the sun! And I’m not talking about a little bit of whining. On a sweet silver platter we have been served a large helping of whine, stuffed with whine, paired with a lovely side of whine and a dash of more whine… we accept our serving, and we think we can take it all, that we can handle it. Until we’re stuffed. Then we find ourselves ready for a very large glass of wine.

But seriously. What’s with all the whining?

So, I need to clarify… The terrible two expectations were dismissed by threenagers who busted down our walls, walls that lead directly into the exciting and crazy flames of wacky, wildly emotional, sensitive and strong willed 4 year olds.

Now, this is just our experience. I must say that age 4 isn’t only serving whine. It has been fun and so cool to see them grow – especially together. So, I’m not complaining about it all. It’s the emotions and power struggles that we’re dealing with – that yank our heart out one moment and want to snuggle in that very same moment. Like, who really is in charge? Every age brings its beauty and surprises us with its beast… just when we get comfortable and confident in our parenting ways.

I am so grateful for our lazy summer and hope I can find my bag of tricks while winter sets in for the next 5 months or so. And, like a gust of wind we will be singing the Birthday song to five year olds – I hear that’s a fun stage! 😉 😉

.:27:. Moth in a Butterfly world.


This is no illusion, yes that is a moth. In a container, in my kitchen… once a cute caterpillar that my girls named Sunny. After they learned about metamorphosis they begged to create a home for it to build its cocoon and turn into a butterfly.

A butterfly.

I informed them at one point that this will be a moth. A simple moth with fragile wings. I’d like to think of this as an allusion to a metaphor we are all stuck in at some point in our lives.

Twofold.

  1. We seek change in ourselves or others and have our own vision of the results, even after they have been revealed.
  2. We live in a world where hiding behind a mask is the norm. At the same time, we are just fine never seeing behind the masks of others. We contently see things how we want them to be, creating an ideal that is impossible to attain.

These, I can confidently say are two scenarios we have all partaken in. Maybe you were the main character, maybe you were the gawker, the hopeful seeker of your imagination. Whatever it may be – you chose to act in a certain way that let a result be something other than what it actually is.

I’m pointing my finger and saying you’ve done this because I believe it’s innate. Mixed with naivety, some lack of knowledge, sprinkled with unrealistic optimism… but still innate. This is not to say that striving for perfection or working to be better in certain areas of life, is bad – but striving for the impossible is just well, not possible.

My children who were told that our cute little fuzzy friend would be a moth, still called it a butterfly even after seeing it as a moth. One of my children said, “oh no, it’s wings are not pretty yet.” Then, after continuing to tell them, “well, this is a moth and this is how Sunny will always be.”, they began to call sunny the moth-butterful. I could see their minds working hard to wrap around the fact that Sunny is not the ‘butterfly’ they thought she would be. Their is an odd dissonence between a sweet furry caterpillar and a simple white moth. Almost as if it just could never be that way or something went wrong. Maybe it didn’t eat through that one piece of chocolate cake, one ice cream cone, one pickle, one slice of Swiss cheese, or one slice of salami like it was suppose to.

The real dilemma here is that I failed as a parent in this lesson. Ok, that’s a bit extreme but I kind of did!! I could have excitedly googled images of moths and talked to them about moths and shared with them the inevitable result of their caterpillar. But darn it, we have a few books that talk about butterflies and in their sweet little minds, that is what a caterpillar turns into! Something with glorious patterned wings that will happily land on your finger while dancing in a field. Lovely thought, huh?

If the extent of our knowledge on a certain topic doesn’t go beyond one result, than how are we suppose to react when we are presenting with a result we didn’t know existed? I halted their knowledge with little care, not realizing how it may affect them. Ok, I know my children will be fine but I missed a very simple teaching opprotunity, as I (dramatically) lament over the life of a moth…

Our poor sweet Sunny, however, is now living in a world that two little hopefuls are imagining for it. Welcomed into a world with unrealistic expectations, as my girls patiently wait for their friend to (never) blossom into the only result they are familiar with – – a butterfly.

I know this is just a moth but how can one not see the analogy? It hit me like a rock.

Let’s think about this for a moment. As people, we need to see each other for all that we are, accepting what we become and what we will always be. At the same time, we need to step back and take a real look at ourselves and love every inch of our being – even if it’s not what we had planned for or what others expected…

THIS IS US.

We are all moths living in a butterfly world yet we can be just as grand as any butterfly, if we confidently peel back our masks and unashamedly delight in our delicate world.

Sending Hugs! (Today Parenting)

Whether your loved ones live near or far, everyone enjoys mail and kids love to send it!

Our Valentine tradition is only a year old but I plan to continue this as long as we can, by Sending Hugs to those we care for during this special season of LOVE.

Here is what you’ll need to get started…

tosendyouneed

Next… check out the rest of the instructions here at Today Parenting!

A little love with a Vote would be great too!!

Click on          screen-shot-2017-01-25-at-3-11-13-pm and feel free to share!

Thank you, Cheers + Much love from LBJB.

 

Self-Centered: YOU do you (Today Parenting)

 

mom-relaxing*NOTE TO THE READER: Before you read ahead, please follow these 5 basic instructions…

1. Sit down: Yes, please, you deserve a seat! Put that dish towel down, leave the laundry, quit multi-tasking, and just stop working for a moment!!

2. Put your feet up: I know, I know strange concept. Couch, ottoman, tiny chair meant for a toddler, Lego box, pile of dolls, anything will do.

3. Grab a soft blanket: Why not? We all deserve to be cozy, even if it’s just a ‘lap blanket’ from our children’s collection.

4. Take a deep breath and smile: Ignore what’s around you because I just need a quick moment of your time… ok, let me re-word that. YOU just need a quick moment of your time!

5. Ignore my cheesy undertone and listen to my sincere request.

________

The world tells us to give and empathize, share and care, welcome and embrace {those around us}. Our hearts tell us the same thing but guess who remains in the corner with the other dust bunnies? YOU! And you’re probably embracing those dust bunnies too, like the awesome parent you are!!!

Don’t get me wrong, I am not at all saying you should stop doing the above wonderful things, I’m just saying that you can’t forget about YOU! …and those dust bunnies don’t need that much love.

Let’s be self-centered together. Just once and maybe monthly after that, and then we can progress to weekly and daily.

Try it: Be SELF-CENTERED. This idea is uncomfortable. The word is negative, conceited and egotistical. It carries guilt and shame that offends and lacks admittance. Or so the dictionary and society says. I also enjoy getting your attention with an unexpected word that causes a bit discomfort. Sorry (but you’ll be fine, I promise).

All of this sounds bad, but what you’re missing is that sometimes you have to spoil yourself a bit. Even when you don’t think you should – that’s probably when you most definitely should. Stop hugging the sidelines and letting everyone and everything else be in the center all the time. I dare you to selfishly finish all your breakfast while it’s hot. You deserve to pee with the door closed, maybe just once today. Please please give yourself a moment to breathe. I know you’re not holding your breath (well, most of the time), but I challenge you to step out of the chaos. Find a pantry or a hidden space in your home and deeply inhale and exhale. This is so darn selfish, but you NEED it! …and you’re kind of a super human who probably doesn’t say no to challenges. So……… GO!

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Feel better? Great.

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Now, I have one last request. Since you’re in the center now, this is perfect timing! It will feel weird, kind of silly, awkward, and well slightly egotistical.

Go to the mirror. Give yourself a hug, maybe a wink and say, “I am an awesome parent.”

The end! That wasn’t too hard, was it? Now, I suppose you have to go back to reality and be the darn selfless person you normally are. But I challenge you to do this again soon! Maybe next month, next week, or tomorrow?!

Good luck! It’s not easy being so self-centered.


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As always, Thanks for reading.

.:26:. Let it Be | My memories + a great reminder for all.

siblings

This is a favorite sibling photo of mine, but for this post add a few more years and a few more colors to my striped turtle neck…

Paul McCartney rings in my ears and I reminisce back to road trips as a kid. Six of us in our tan and brown suburban listening to the Beatles while on our way to a new campsite to explore. Sailboards strapped to the top, bikes clanking on the trailer, and the cab packed perfectly like a winning Tetris game. We all have unique memories from our childhood. Different moments that stand out more than others. For me, I often think of these car trips and how I could sing along to most Beatles songs since they were the soundtrack to many of our family trips. At least this is how I remember it.

My oldest brother probably listening to something more current on his yellow walkman while passionately drumming on his leg (Van Halen or Def Leppard make for some great leg drumming) and my other brother practicing card tricks to surprise us with at our campfire breakfast while chomping on Big League Chew. My sister paging through a Babysitter’s Club book in her white Keds and stonewashed jeans and my mom gripping on to an empty Wonder Bread bag just waiting for someone to get car sick. My Dad singing along to the Beatles and frequently sharing a cool fact about the Beatles or something fascinating about nature and me writing an especially awesome entry in my top secret diary or working on my 100th friendship bracelet – pinned to my pants.

Now, as a parent I get caught in the crazy moments and forget to just Let it Be. Written actually for his Mother Mary who told her son to “let it be” in a dream, this song plays in my head more often than I realize. Must be a mother thing…When I take a step back from the chaos of parenting, take a breath and actually soak it all in, I can faintly hear that Beatles song playing as if I were a kid again in the back of that suburban. No cares, no worries, no fears. Just dreaming about roasted marshmallows, skipping rocks, and where to hide the key to my diary.

Too often we get lost in the intensity of parenting. The control we think we have and try so hard to manage. But that control, that plan we are following and lists we are checking are just clutter. Clutter in our brains and our hearts, getting in the way of just letting it be. Clutter not allowing us to sing and act on this need in life. The day will come when we wish this clutter could consume us again so we could find ourselves making that big decision to let it be… while kids play, make messes, learn, create, and challenge us in more ways than anyone ever warned us about. At the same time, it is our job to help our children relax too. The toddler world I am living in now, is filled with silly emotions and a lot of frustration. I am learning to get down to their level, eye-to-eye and teach them how to ‘brush it off’, how to move on when things don’t go their way, and how to just let things be while “speaking words of wisdom”. I’ve even broken out in song and received crickets in the midst of a tantrum. Must be the shock of their mom joyfully singing at the top of her lungs while their current world is “falling apart”. But crickets are much better than desperate cries for help… because Barbie’s shoe is just too tiny to get on (I agree little one, I agree).

A healthy parent-child relationship is symbiotic in many ways, as we are essentially part of each other. We learn from each other and thrive because of each other and in some ways we cannot live without each other – or imagine life apart. So, I will do my best to practice what I am trying to preach to them and let it be. Let life happen as beautifully as it should while visions of leg drumming, magic tricks, babysitter clubs, and friendship bracelets dance in my head.

It’s amazing how great memories can seep back into your life at just the right time.

Mr. McCartney’s Mom was a wise woman – thank you, Mary.