Category Archives: Friends

behind the blog (alternate title: “disclaimer”)

I haven’t been able to carve out time to blog consistently in recent months.  When I have limited time, I tend to sprint toward recording “things I don’t want to forget!”, focusing on the “family scrapbook” part of the blog.  As a result, recent posts have been full of highlights.  The momma in me loves that.  I want my kids to be able to look back through this blog someday and have those happy memories triggered by what they see here.

At the same time, this blog is more than a family scrapbook.  It’s also my connection to other moms.  Sometimes, I am able to get through a tough, lonely day where I am the only adult present for 10+ hours because when the fifth glass of milk tips over onto the table (and I want to scream!) – or I am trying to figure out how long I’ve been walking around with a child’s poop hanging from my ear (seriously, how does that happen without me noticing at the time?) – I think, “I can write about this, and another mother who reads this will appreciate what this moment is like for me”, and I smile.

Recording those crazy memories brings me closer to other moms, even if I never see those moms.

But here’s my question:  does recording our good memories have the opposite effect?

If it does, I am writing to say that if you have recently read about our staycations and trips and living room fun and activities and are thinking we have it all together, we don’t.

But in my little family, we have each other.  And that’s good.

And if you’re reading this, you and I have a connection.  And that’s good too.

To quote a blogger I read recently (at http://www.71toes.com/p/disclaimer.html)

“Disclaimer

 I love blogs.

I get inspired and rejuvenated when I get a minute to read what others write, and there’s something inside me that feels so fulfilled when I have a chance to spill out my own feelings and to make a record of what our family is up to in this blog. Once I write things down, it’s like my brain can relax instead of holding tight onto things that may otherwise get lost in the vast expanse of my own forgetfulness.

But some things trouble me about blogs….

One thing in particular has made me think long and hard about blogs lately. There was this one session we had back at my sister’s motherhood retreat in June that has knitted my eyebrows together in earnest concern ever since.

The topic was something to the extent of how to keep a positive outlook in your motherhood. The question was posed about what makes mothers spiral into depression or negativity.

And do you know what the most overwhelming answer was? Not health issues. Not finances. Not childrens’ behavior issues or the lack of having enough hours in the day to do what we need to do. No. The big answer from a whole slew of moms was that blogs are the problem. Yes, blogs.

And that made me worry. Because I have a blog. And the last thing I want to do with it is depress people.

In writing this blog, my intent is not only to do what I started it for in the first place: to help preserve memories and keep a family journal . . . . [But also to] bind mothers together [or at least feel less alone in the journey myself!]

The goal is certainly so very far from creating jealousy or comparison.

But the trouble with blogs is that we tend to accentuate the positive instead of the negative. It’s human nature. And that’s good, isn’t it? The bad part is that we see that positive “tip of the iceberg” that others are portraying and compare our worst to their best….That’s human nature too. And that comparing is not good.

Despite my best attempts to “keep it real” on this blog, somehow some people misconstrue the good stuff I write to mean that life is perfect all the time. And that just isn’t true. They haven’t seen the 90% of my iceberg that’s under the water hidden from view.

Those kinds of things make me wonder how I can make this more real life. I mean, I want to capture life as it is. But you know what? Life as it is, is good. Not because it’s perfect by any stretch of the imagination, because it isn’t. My kids fight like the best of them. My heart worries endlessly about random things that probably don’t need to be worried about. I forget important things. I have about a bazillion wrinkles. I get mad as a hornet about dumb stuff.

But life is good because I love it. And I’m thankful for it…especially when I break it down into moments. Especially when I slow down enough to enjoy the journey. And that’s the kind of stuff I like to write about.

So I guess this post is really meant to say that I’ve struggled with writing thoughts and feelings for the last while because I worry about making life sound like it’s all hunky-dory around here when there are a million worries and concerns along with the good stuff.

But I’m just going to go ahead and let it all hang out…[just] please know that just because I don’t write every day about things like how I have love handles doesn’t mean they aren’t there.”

: )

She has a way with words, doesn’t she?!

I don’t know why I felt the need to post this tonight.  Maybe because I have been struggling with some decisions about how many activities to involve my kids in this summer, and I have recently realized that I really have to let go of comparisons to what other people are doing and figure out what is right for us.  (More on that later, but man, it is a struggle!)

And maybe because I realize that while I’m listening to random folks and thinking, “I should be doing that!” and feeling badly that I’m not (even though I know it just wouldn’t work for our family), someone could be reading/listening to me and thinking the exact same thing.

So I’m quoting someone else’s disclaimer, because I don’t have the energy to write my own at the moment!  : )   And because in addition to feeling guilty about the things I’m not able to do with my kids, I was feeling guilty about posting the things I was able to do with them.

Motherhood is a very guilt-inducing state sometimes, isn’t it?!

I have no catchy end to this post, because my brain has sort of shut down (as it now does every night around 8pm!), but I can say this.  Sometimes, for no reason, I feel a tiny instinct that I should say something and I have no idea why.  And anyone who knows me knows that (sometimes for better, and sometimes for worse) I will usually err on the side of saying it.

And tonight, for some reason, my tiny instinct told me to write this.  And then, while ignoring that instinct and searching the internet for “tips on creating chore charts” and “advice about allowances for kids”, I stumbled across a new blog – and this disclaimer – that addressed the very instinct I had been trying to ignore.

So here you are!  A peek inside my muddled, unedited brain, in-between Disney posts : )

And a little blog hug from me to you!

Love,

K

 

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Everyday moments

Behind on blogging, so I’m posting a few photos to catch up.

Here’s a photo from our spring break “staycation”.

family outing

Honestly, it is one of my favorite family photos ever because it is completely unstaged.

The backstory:  On a random Saturday afternoon over spring break, we decided it would be fun to let the kids ride their bikes and scooters over to our community courts to play basketball and tennis.  We saddled everybody up, slung the baby bjorn, tennis rackets, water bottles, and a bag full of tennis and basketballs over the stroller handles and headed out.  En route, we paused at an intersection where a friend just happened to be driving by in her car with her husband and three kids.  She leaned out the window and said, “y’all look like you’re headed out for a fun afternoon…let me take a picture of you with my cell phone so you can have a record of it!”  She snapped the photo, and viola, an everyday moment captured.

(and unlike me, the person who lets photos languish on her cellphone forever, she was amazing and e-mailed it to me the next day…I know, she is incredible!  She later told me that, as a mother, she knew exactly how much work had gone into getting everyone and all that gear organized and couldn’t resist letting me see, from a different perspective, how smiley we all were about our outing)

Don’t you just love pictures that capture those precious everyday moments?  Just a Saturday afternoon, out for some good family fun.

Ready for the world

S’ preschool teacher sent this picture of S (on the right) and a friend via e-mail with the subject heading “ready for the world”.

I agree with her assessment.

Of course, it does beg the question…

Do you think the world is ready for them?

Holiday Letter 2011

A belated holiday letter from us to you!

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!  We hope you had a wonderful 2011.  Here’s a glimpse of our year, categorized by venue and starting with life…

Around the house… where, this year, the evidence of imagination is everywhere!  Daily, we watch the kids transform the ottoman into a pirate ship, the chairs into a doctor’s waiting room, the hallways into wedding aisles & the backyard into an African jungle.  The action?  Inspiring.  The aftermath?  Well, let’s just say there is no point in trying to “tidy” a pirate ship or a jungle (or at least that’s my excuse to myself & anyone who visits…)

T (18 months) is now walking & beginning to talk, and it’s no surprise that his first consistent words were “whoa!” (i.e. “I’m excited!”) & “night night” (i.e. “These people wear me out…”)  He is the foil in many of his sister’s productions, at least when he’s not busy obsessing over cars, trains, books, family photos or pacifiers (one in his mouth; a spare in his hand!)  He is at that precious moment of transition from cuddly baby to toddler-on-the-go, which leaves us savoring the snuggles, admiring the independence, & defending everything within reach.  Currently, the only thing he shows zero interest in is his high chair, where his newest word (“no”) & phrase (“yuck, yuck, pfffttt”) have made it almost impossible to feed this lovable, huggable guy.

S (3) and E (5) are most often in their princess costumes, inviting us into a magical world where gifts hidden too well in a box of packing peanuts mean “Nana sent us snow for Christmas!”  In addition to representing pure goodness (e.g. offering our nativity scene Jesus a room in their doll house), they constantly entertain and amuse us with their blend of impressive imagination and ever-increasing real world knowledge (one telling quote: “We have to run from the mean witch! Head for the woods!  And don’t forget to bring the GPS!”)

For those wondering about the parental presence in these productions, mom is part stage-hand (“Yes, I can clean dog poop off your glitter shoe…”), part villain (“Bedtime!”) and – on one occasion – a hero (when she affirmed E’s response to the Orkin man who told us he’d be happy to kill all our dandelions. E’s words: “No! We use those flowers to make wishes!  Don’t let him, mom!”)  Of course, dad’s role is that of prince charming, which is ironic since he is always kissing the kids, except when he is worried that doing so might actually wake them up.

When not playing together or with T, the girls are pursuing their own interests.  E loves to run (anywhere), draw (princesses and fairies), organize (things and people), perform (in costume, with a microphone), and help her mama bake cookies (but not clean up!  In her words “I’m E; not CinderE”).  She is pure joy, eternally enthusiastic, and a jumping-up-and-down, open-armed, caregiver to all.  This year, E has asked Santa for 101 real dalmation puppies, a request that has her parents seeing spots (& not the kind of spots E wants…)

S is more likely to be playing music (drums or piano), setting a table (for her 15 dolls – all named some variation of “Angie”), collecting (fuzz & pennies), painting (on any canvas, including her brother), and using her craft scissors (to cut paper, but also necklaces, and on one occasion her hair).  She remains eternally passionate (about everything), infinitely lovable (and loving), and greets the world with her head cocked, a hand on her hip and a twinkle in her eye.  At the age of 3, she calls everything just like she sees it.  Recently one assessment warmed our hearts when she told her dad he was “the best dad in the whole world… even Disneyworld”.

Around town:  You may have seen us taking E to Kindergarten, choir or space camp… S to preschool, playgroup, or princess dance camp… or T (my traveling buddy) to all those places plus his own playgroup at church.  If we’re not at those locations, try any UNC athletic event, where dad embraces both a job he loves and the opportunity to “take your family to work” on gamedays (despite S’ assertion that we’d get more milkshakes if he worked at our local, and much beloved, Chick-Fil-A).

Elsewhere: Trips to NY (including Niagara Falls!), the NC coast (& its turtle rescue center!), GA (the Santa train!), and anywhere else the kids’ imaginations take us. We are hoping 2012 will take us into 2 national titles (Bama football! UNC hoops!) & close to many of you.

And finally, from the deepest part of our hearts…  we are sending our very best to you and yours for a Merry Christmas and a wonderful new year!  God’s Blessings and the Peace of Christ to you all!

Love,

Mom, Dad, E, S & T

 

The upside, the downside (and clearly not enough of the outside)

The upside to having a gas fireplace in your house: 

easy firelight…just flip a switch and the whole family can enjoy the cozy living room.

The downside to having a gas fireplace in your house: 

someday, friends will invite you to make s’mores outdoors and on the way there one of your children will enthusiastically volunteer to “turn the fire on” and ask you to show them where the switch is.

It’s clearly time we introduced our children to more of the great outdoors.

Besides, how hard could it actually be to go camping with three children, ages five, three and one?

Don’t answer that…

Public Service Announcement (re: Grocery Stores)…alternate title: “Thank You Nana”…other alternate title: “These Are My People”

So, it turns out that our local grocery store does not open until 7am.

How do I know this?

Nana told me.

How does Nana know this?

She is visiting us, and was gracious enough to travel to said grocery store at 6:30 am this morning to buy one apple.

Who was Jonesing for one apple at 6:30am, you ask?

No one.  And normally, I would have served an apple core out of the garbage before loading everyone up that early for a trip to the store.

However, last night (too late to go out) I remembered that E was supposed to take an apple to school for her Kindergarten’s “Johnny Appleseed” unit.

I also remembered that Nana was here, and (God love her), she naturally follows the schedule my children have forced me into (i.e. she naturally wakes up at 6am).

So, when she graciously volunteered to use her early morning time to get us the apple…

and then upped the ante by volunteering to take the wide-awake T with her…

I took her up on the offer.  (Who wouldn’t?!  And, by the way, I was helping E get ready for school at the time, just so you don’t think I sent Nana off and then went back to bed!)

How was I to know that poor Nana would end up looking like a kid peering in a store window at some forbidden object for half-an-hour?  (the eternally forbidden fruit, it turns out, that bright red apple…)

Grocery stores have those bright, all-night, lights!  Who knew they weren’t open until 7am?

By the way, this might be another piece of evidence that although E is rocking her Kindergarten class, I am in danger of failing the “parent of a Kindergartener curriculum” (seriously, it is harder than you think keeping track of their assignments, completing the administrative paperwork correctly, making sure their spare cubby clothing is weather appropriate amid ever-changing fall temperatures, and remembering which days we pack shorts for gym, books for library, a fresh blanket for naptime laundry exchange, etc.)

Given my mis-steps so far (only one month into the school year), it makes it extra nice that instead of just buying one apple, once Nana got into the store, she bought a bag of apples for E to take just in case any other families forgot theirs.

Although we donated the apples to the pile as anonymously as possible, I think Nana realized that we should – even subconsciously – get in good with this group of families now, early in the schooling experience.

Because although I love all types of people (and secretly admire the more organized ones), the folks who appreciate those extra apples being there are the folks I understand, feel connected to, and will probably see most often.

They are my people.  They are the ones who forget the apple, but realize they forgot the apple, and will be intent upon moving heaven-and-earth to get an apple there, until they realize that someone dropped off a huge bag of spare apples.  They are not the ones who remember the apple effortlessly every time.  And they are not the ones who forget the apple, but don’t really care.

They are the ones who, when we create a cornucopia in November, will make up for an apple-oversight by dropping a few extra gourds in the pile anonymously, and by doing so, will save me a panicked trip to Target.

These are the people who I will meet at school as we drop off the lunches that were left on the counter in the middle of morning crazies.  They are the folks I will see when we’re all picking up posterboard at Target at midnight some evening because something spilled on (or a sibling ate part of) the just-completed project at dinner.  We will chat about how our kids will all be gluing things on a new poster tomorrow morning before the 7:50am school bell.  Craft party at my place; be there at 6am!

For better or worse, these are my people, and I love them before I’ve even met them.

Thanks for the effort and the apples, Nana!  And thanks for beginning my connection to my group of parents: the ones who are (1) invested enough to make it happen no matter what sort of Herculean effort is required to do so, and (2) imperfect enough that we can be friends.