Category Archives: parenting

Five

Today my son is five years old.

Just like that, he went from sweet infant to rambunctious boy.

He’s imaginative, energetic, happy, loving, and curious.

He’s stubborn, messy, overly dramatic, loud, and inquisitive.

I love all those things about him. All of those qualities mean that he can infuriate me like no one else but also melt my heart the very next instant.

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Happy Birthday, GMan!!

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An album review with a life lesson attached

In my less than stellar moments as a parent, I wallow in being unappreciated. Don’t my children know what I do for them? Don’t they realize that without me these things wouldn’t get done? Why must I tell them to pick up their shoes everyday and why must I answer the same questions over and over again?

I have to be careful and not let selfishness get the best of me. Living in the messy, exhausting day to day of life often robs me of perspective. They don’t need to see how they are blessed by me, I need to see how I am blessed by them. They are awesome. They take my breath away. They are precious and perfect and they bring such joy and happiness to my life.

Remembering that is what brings me to tears every time I hear the song “Ghandi/Buddha” on Kenny Loggins‘s new album, All Join In. While I disagree with the theology behind the song (past life karma), the sentiment of our children being so wonderful and getting to have them in our lives is a powerful message.

KENNY_COVER_FINALA few of weeks ago, One2One Network provided me with a pre-release copy of Loggins’s new album in exchange for giving them feedback. When I took their survey, they asked if I’d like to be able to offer downloads of songs to my readers. And guess what? I get to offer you downloads for 4 songs from the All Join In album! In addition to “Ghandi/Buddha”, you can get “All Together Now”, “There Is A Mountain” and “Your Lollipop”.

All Join In is a new children’s album from Kenny Loggins. But you know what? You’ll like it as much, if not more, than your kids!

The album includes fresh, creative takes of classics: The Beatles’ “All Together Now” and “Two of Us” (the latter being his first studio recording in decades with Jim Messina), Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”, the Dell Vikings’ 1950’s classic “Come Go With Me, “Traffic’s “You Can All Join In” (appropriately joined by the song’s writer and former Traffic member, Dave Mason) and Donovan’s 1960’s classic “There Is a Mountain.”

I keep this CD in my car and play it often. GMan especially enjoys it and has specifically requested that I play it.

So how do you get the songs? It’s fairly simple. Follow this link. Listen to the songs, answer a short survey and an e-mail will be sent to you with a link for the downloads. I hope you enjoy the songs!

Follow Kenny on Twitter | Become a fan on Facebook

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Summer Magic

Each season contains it’s own special magic. The sights, sounds and smells that are unique and particular to the current season all wrap together in a kind of aura that hovers over space and time. Unfortunately, experiencing that magic is often impossible in the moment. You recognize it once the moment is gone, often even years later.

As a mother, I find myself wanting to create that magic for my children. I long for them to have lovely summer memories that they look back on with fondness. Often, I try too hard to accomplish that. I engineer events and schedule outings in hopes that they will make some lasting impression on my children’s brains that they reminisce about in years to come.

Silly me.

What their brains decide to hold on to and remember will have little, if nothing, to do with my orchestrations. I’m not going to give up on it though because even if they don’t remember, I will.

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Gimme gimme gimme – the MOTHER of All Giveaways

glamour MaliaWhen I was kid and Mother’s Day would come around, I remember wanting to get my Mom something. And I remember asking my Mom what she wanted for Mother’s Day and her birthday (which is like a week later) and she would say the quintessential Mom thing, “I don’t want you to get me anything. Just being with you is gift enough.” I always thought she was just letting me off the hook since she knew that I only had $0.18, a rock and some lint in my wallet.

But now I’m the mom and I’ve fielded this question from my own kids and my answer is the same. Not because I know they only have $0.18, a rock and some lint in their wallets but because there’s nothing they could give me that’s better that the gift of themselves.

Mothers Day 2009However…if someone else wanted to give me some fabulous gift, say a well-known website for moms like, oh, I don’t know…5 Minutes for Mom (you know how much I ❤ them right?) then I would be more than willing to accept a token of their appreciation, or rather their sponsor’s appreciation!

So to all you moms out there who don’t want their kids to fork over cash for a gift but who would like a new laptop or a new Coach purse or a Blu-Ray player or an Elliot Lucca Satchel or another laptop, then head on over to the 5 Minutes for Mom Mother’s Day Giveaway and start entering to win these and other fabulous prizes while there’s still time!!

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Filed under by Malia, kids & family, life as a domestic goddess, parenting

Good-bye Maddie

maddieI don’t even know how to write this post. I’m crying over the loss of a little girl I’ve never met. In fact, I’ve only known about her for a very short time.

Maddie’s mom is Heather. Heather was one of the two other brave souls, along with me,  to host real life ultimate blog parties in her home. She had the honor of being the first one. I sat in on a Skype meeting with Heather and Barbara Jones and others from 5 Minutes for Mom before and during Heather’s party.

I’d never read Heather blog before then or followed her on Twitter, but I have been for the last few weeks.

The first thing you notice on Heather’s blog is a very cute picture of her daughter Maddie in a March of Dimes widget. Heather’s pregnancy was complicated and Maddie’s birth was extraordinary. She wasn’t really expected to live…but she did! She had some health problems but she was thriving child.

And now she’s gone.

I noticed a couple days ago on Twitter some tweets about Maddie being sick and in the hospital. There was a picture of her hooked up to tubes and monitors. I kept thinking that everything would be OK. She’d pull through whatever it was that made her sick. And then the work got around last night that she did not pull through.

I’m not sure why this has affected me so profoundly. Maybe it’s just my current mental state, coming through a round of seasonal depression, feeling so hopeful and then hearing gut wrenching, awful news like that. Maybe it’s something else entirely.

All I know is there is a mother and father this morning without the child they that fought so hard for to bring into this world.

My heart screams “WHY?” and “IT’S NOT FAIR!!!!”

My soul is at least a bit comforted by the response I’ve seen to this horrible loss. People everywhere offering condolences and donating to the March of Dimes per Maddie’s parent’s request.

Rest in peace, sweet Maddie. You’ll be missed more than you could possibly ever know.

Update: This post from Tanis (Redneck Mommy) is the most beautiful, heartbreaking thing I’ve read. I just had to share it with you.

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Filed under by Malia, parenting

A Menu of Ailments

glamour MaliaBoth of our children have wonderful, active imaginations. Pretend play has been a staple in their early childhood years. With JBelle it was acting out scenes from her favorite movies, which was funny because….

JBelle to me: “Mommy, you be Belle and I’ll be Gaston” or “Mommy, you be Analise and I’ll be Preminger”

…she always wanted to be the bad guy!

The GMan, on the other hand, is all about occupations. He likes to pretend he is working in an industry. His current obsession is all things emergency services related. We spend many days being fire chiefs, police officers and occasionally ambulance drivers. His other favorite is playing “restaurant”. He’s the server and we’re the guests. We get to order from an often unpredictable menu of options. It’s not uncommon to order something from his restaurant only for him to come back and sadly inform us that they are “out” of said item.

Then the other day, he happened upon a clipboard that I wasn’t using. He put a piece of paper in it, got a crayon and set up his own little desk in the kitchen. (The recycling bin is his desk and a cooler that is sitting beside it is his chair.) We even made a “name plate” for him and taped it to the desk.

So, I’m sitting at my desk, working on the computer when he comes up to me with his clipboard and asks me what I have on his “menu”. Since I’m used to the restaurant game, I start ordering food. “No, not food Mommy! What do you have? Aches, pains, chills, headache, hot flashes?”

Hot flashes? Did he really just say hot flashes?

Apparently we’re now playing doctor! He gave me his “card” with his phone number on it and a phone (wooden block) to call him at the hospital whenever I needed him. So every few minutes I would pick up my phone (wooden block) and dial his office to complain of an ailment. Fortunately, this doctor makes house calls and is actually a miracle worker because each of my diseases and sufferings were immediately cured by either an imaginary pill or what may possibly have been a voodoo hex. But since I still have only one head, none of my toes have fallen off and my eyes aren’t orange, I pretty sure that was all just make believe!

Though I’m still puzzled over the hot flashes.

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Filed under by Malia, kids & family, parenting, The GMan

Not Ready

glamour MaliaWhen your babies are babies there are times when they seemingly change right before your eyes. I think I remember reading, when my firstborn was an infant, that babies grow at a faster rate that first year of life than at any other time. It’s simultaneously thrilling and disheartening to see them change so fast. But the growth does eventually slow down and weeks even months can go by without any discernable differences in their growth or appearance.

Enter pre-puberty.

At the beginning of the summer, I noticed some physical changes beginning in JBelle. To protect her privacy and save her from any potential embarrassment, I’m not going to describe the changes. Suffice it to say, my baby girl is growing up. And since the day that I first noticed these changes it’s as if they become more pronounced and obvious with each passing day. Just like the days of her babyhood, she’s changing right before my eyes.

And I’m not ready for it!

I thought I had more time. I didn’t expect to be dealing with these changes at this stage of her life. Thankfully, for the most part, the changes are pretty much just physical. We do deal with some attitude and surliness but for the most part, she’s still a very sweet child. She loves playing with her American Girl doll. She still likes to wear dresses. She even still digs in the dirt on occasion.

For all the child that’s in her though, the innocence of youth is hovering precariously close to ruin. I’m even less ready for that inevitability.

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Mr. Encouragement

glamour MaliaLately it seems that there are more things that are frustrating about GMan than ever before. I was hoping that with his 4th birthday, the treacherous threes would abate and we’d have an easier time with managing his behavior.

Didn’t happen.

But underneath the tantrums and stubbornness and strong-will is a very sweet, little boy who is always encouraging us in everything we do.

I make dinner, he says “Good job making dinner, Mommy!”

DB mends a broken toy, he says “Good job fixing that toy, Daddy!”

JBelle emits a rather impressive burp, he says “Great burping, JBelle!”

He also, no less than a dozen times a day, will come to me, give me a hug then look up to me with the sweetest little con artist face and say, “I love you, Mommy!” Of course, my heart melts and if he’s been particularly naughty right before doing this I have to make sure that I don’t relent in any forthcoming punishments.

Lately he’s been known as Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde around here. He can change demeanor and emotions on a dime, throwing a tantrum of monumental proportions only to get up, smile through tears and pick-up right where he was before the tantrum. It’s simultaneously perplexing, infuriating and amusing.

But he’s still my sweet boy!

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Little Miss Smartypants

blissfulchicks_crop_christmasI realized the other day that there seemed to be a lack of Christmas anticipation coming from my children.

I remember, as a kid, being so excited about Christmas. I could hardly stand it! It occurred to me that one reason the anticipation was so palatable was because of the presents under the tree. What was lurking inside those wrapped boxes? How many were for me? Did the presents from Uncle Bud and Aunt Madeline come yet? The days seemed to crawl by until we could finally dig into the pile and satisfy our curiosity.

My  kids have certainly been excited but there was something missing – no presents under the tree. Now the reason for that is too long and boring to expound upon here. Suffice it to say, I decided to wrap some presents to put under our tree. Some stuff for family members and a couple presents for the kids.

Each year, the children get to open a present on Christmas Eve and that present is new pajamas for them to wear that night. That’s what I decided to wrap up. I did it one night after they were bed and the next morning, GMan was the first to notice the packages under the tree. He was so excited! Exactly the reaction I was hoping for! He got down on the floor and looked and looked and kept asking about them.

Then JBelle came into the room. He excitedly pointed them out to her, waiting for her reaction. She took one look and then turned to me and glibly said, “Are those our Christmas Eve gifts?”

So much for creating anticipation!

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Filed under by Malia, kids & family, parenting

Summer Camp & Letting Go

Last Sunday we took JBelle to Girl Scout camp. It was her first experience in being away from home for an extended period of time. She, of course, was just fine. I, on the other hand, was a complete and total wreck! The drop-off process went smoothly enough. She seemed excited, a bit nervous but she didn’t beg us to stay, she didn’t cry and cling. In fact, she was quite nonchalant about it. When we decided to go, she hugged us and turned back to the table of girls in her “house”. I purposefully stayed calm and didn’t cry or linger too long. And even on the drive back home, I was fine. It was after we arrived at home that I started freaking out.

“We don’t even know anyone at that camp!”

“We left our first born with total strangers!”

“Who does that?”

“What have we done?”

I kept my phone beside me the rest of the day. I just knew she was going to call crying and saying she was homesick and upset because someone looked at her cross-eyed.

The call never came.

Because she was fine.

That night I sobbed in DB’s arms. Letting go is so hard. But as her wonderful Daddy gently reminded me, our job is to raise her to be a responsible adult and that means we can’t always be in control of everything she experiences. And he reminded me that even in the 8 short years she’s been with us, those times when we’ve been apart from her she’s has shown tremendous growth, learning and maturity. It’s true and I knew it. Still, a knot settled into the pit of my stomach.

Monday I was still freaking out.

Tuesday I accepted that the knot in my stomach would not go away until I picked my little girl up from camp.

By Wednesday I had calmed down significantly and best of all, we got a letter in the mail from JBelle! A letter than simply told us that the food was good, they would be taking their swimming test that day and that they were 13 girls in her cabin. Short and sweet and not one mention of being miserable or longing for home.

Sigh.

My little girl is growing up.

And I can’t get this song out of my head

Wide Open Spaces
by The Dixie Chicks

Who doesn’t know what I’m talking about
Who’s never left home, who’s never struck out
To find a dream and a life of their own
A place in the clouds, a foundation of stone

Many precede and many will follow
A young girl’s dream no longer hollow
It takes the shape of a place out west
But what it holds for her, she hasn’t yet guessed

She needs wide open spaces
Room to make her big mistakes
She needs new faces
She knows the high stakes

She traveled this road as a child
Wide eyed and grinning, she never tired
But now she won’t be coming back with the rest
If these are life’s lessons, she’ll take this test

She needs wide open spaces
Room to make her big mistakes
She needs new faces
She knows the high stakes

As her folks drive away, her dad yells, “Check the oil!”
Mom stares out the window and says, “I’m leaving my girl”
She said, “It didn’t seem like that long ago”
When she stood there and let her own folks know

She needs wide open spaces
Room to make her big mistakes
She needs new faces
She knows the high stakes

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Filed under by Malia, JBelle, parenting