Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rites of Passage

As a mother, there are certain situations you must endure to be able to call yourself "seasoned" in the parenting field.

One of these situations involves a tantrum-throwing toddler in a public place...such as Target for instance.

When my oldest was still small enough to ride in the cart, I thought I had everything figured out about this parenting gig. We'd pass by other kids having super-sized meltdowns, screaming at the top of their lungs while the parents tried to quiet them with bribes or just ignore them altogether, and I'd always think to myself, that will never be me. I will do things differently. I'd walk past the red-faced toddler and look at the red-faced, flustered, embarrassed mom and judge. Why can't she control them? Why don't you just tell them no? 

Well...guess what? All of my children have had scream-at-the-top-of-your-lungs, glass-shattering, spin-your-brain-in-circles, catastrophic meltdowns in public places.

And this sweet, dimple-cheeked, little guy is the latest offender.

He's going through the phase of tantrum-throwing I wish would pass over our house and land on some other mother who has the perfect child, has never heard of a tantrum, and forgets to take her judgy-pants off in the presence of other mothers with less-than-perfect kids.

Tantrums are not discriminating. They don't care where you are; who you're with; how many people are watching.

When this little man screams, heads turn in Exorcist style, people slow their cars down to make sure no one is bleeding, and I want to bury my head in a hole.

Good times.

There's no reasoning when it comes to tantrums; no bribes will work; getting mad only worsens the situation; so my best line of defense is to ignore.

Ignore the eardrum-shattering screams; ignore the stares from the strangers on the street; ignore the judgmental glares from other moms, shaking their heads in chagrin.

Soon enough, the tantrum will end. It will end whether I get embarrassed or not. It will end if I get mad or not.   It will end with shallow gasps for air. It will end with tear-stained cheeks. It will end with a "sorry" and a hug and "I won't do it again".

But the strangers and the judgy moms and the drivers in the cars don't get to see the end.

Pinned Image

I guess I've learned my lesson about judging people...

especially mothers with tantrum-throwing children who make their heads spin in circles.

  parenting BY dummies    

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tips for New Moms...not really

I don't give advice...especially to new mothers.

It's not that I don't want to help, if someone asks me, I'll be glad to tell them what worked for me...but usually you just have to figure out what works best on your own.

Sooo, when Sue came up with this Monday Listicle topic, I decided I needed to rebel, no offense, Sue. 

Here's my list of random...stuff.

I ran in the half-marathon on Saturday. It was AWESOME!!!!  I mean, it was take-your-breath-away, swallow-the-huge-lump-in-my-throat AWESOME!!

I finished in 1:54:40. I know, who cares about the seconds, right? Runners do; I do; the timer attached to my shoe did. I came in 493rd place out of 1418 other half-marathoners. I know, who cares what place I came in?

I do.

Those people? Best cheerleaders EVER!!

The sunrise? Amazing. Breathtaking. Beautiful.

The scenery? Not quite as vivid as this...but close. As I came down a hillside, I looked over my shoulder and saw a thousand other runners with the rising sun silhouetting their outlines in a giant line behind me. It was one of those moments etched in my memory; so vivid in detail I won't soon forget it.

In between the cheer-zones, and when the nervous chatter of the runners died down, the only sounds were the pounding of thousands of shoes against the pavement; the breaths of a thousand people in perfect harmony; all of us solace-seeking, lone runners uniting in one huge group run, not alone anymore.

My dad asked how I felt today; if I was sore or not.

I feel great! I feel amazing! I feel like I should have gone for a run today.

Clearly, I didn't run hard enough. I could have pushed myself to run faster; harder; finished stronger.

Maybe I need to put my big-girl pants on and go for the whole marathon next year...


Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Reflections are a funny thing.

They are often times distorted, blurry, out of focus. When I look in the mirror sometimes I feel that way. My insides and outsides don't match.

Sometimes I see the "plump girl" that I was at various stages of my life. My eyes drift to the wrinkles around my eyes that previously weren't there. I see strands of gray, imperfections, an uneven tooth.

Lately I've been wondering what my children see when they look at me.

Do they see those same imperfections? Are they too young to notice? They won't always be.

Do they see the shy, awkward girl I once was and sometimes still am on the inside? Or do they see the confident, strong, proud mama I project on the outside? Soon they will be able to know the difference.

Do they see a reflection of themselves in the eyes we all share?  Do they see the love for them reflected in those same eyes? I hope they can feel it.

Do they see the mom that wants to have a clean house AND free time to play and giggle and read and Go Fish with them? Do they see me struggle with the guilt of not being able to have both? Sooner rather than later they will realize it.  

When they smile, do I always remember to smile back? Or do they think I'm too busy to just stop for a moment and truly match their grin? I can do better at this so they remember their mom with a smile on her face rather than a crease in her brow.

When they do something well do they see how proud I am? Or do they remember what they felt like when they spilled the milk for the third time that day and I raised my voice because I was frustrated?  It's only spilled milk, after all. I remember how I felt when I spilled the milk as a child; I vowed never to make the same mistake with my own children.

My reflections of their childhoods will most likely differ from their own reflections. I hope they will look back and know how they were loved; wanted; the genuine happiness they have given to me.

When they look back and reflect, I hope they don't remember all the times they asked me to play and I said, "Not until I finish the dishes, sweep the floor, fold the clothes."...

My list is endless, but their childhood isn't.

This is one of my favorite posts I've ever written. Mainly because I feel like this every day, and every day I try to do better, be better; more patient, more kind. I'm a work in progress.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Apple-picking, pumpkin-patching, leaf-dancing memories.

Crisp, frosty morning runs; leaves crunching beneath my feet.

Silly faces carved in pumpkins; candlelight bringing them to life at night.

Warm apple crisp with scoops of vanilla; our cozy house filled with the soothing scent of cinnamon and our bellies filled with sweet, brown sugar goodness.

The countdown to trick-or-treats; costumes picked; candy buckets bought. Sweet candy dreams fill their little minds; already talking about candy trades while mama decides on her hiding place for Milky Ways, Milk Duds, and Kit Kats of her own.

Trying to hang on to the last slivers of the Indian Summer; the warmth of the sun; the walks to the park.

I soak up the sun and tuck it in the farthest corner of my mind; just like the memories of leaf-dancing, apple-picking, pumpkin-patching moments; forever to be cherished to warm my soul on the winter days to come.

Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive
autumns. ~George Eliot
For you, what does autumn evoke?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Our kitchen windows face the backyard.

When I was pregnant with our first baby, almost 9 years ago, I had all of these pictures in my mind about what motherhood would be like...

White picket fence, surrounding a large backyard; kids playing in it while I was cooking dinner; me looking out the windows with a smile on my face.

It is often not like this.

It is often me making dinner, yelling out the window for them to "stop fighting", "stop screaming", "stop picking on your brother", "what happened?", "get in the house now!", "no tantrums outside!".

But, tonight, while doing the dinner dishes, something almost magical happened.

I peered out the window, and saw the three out of four  kids laughing; running around; playing nicely together; the girls playing with a soccer ball, my oldest playing catch with my husband.

I dried my hands and grabbed my camera.

I heard them say, "What is she doing? Why is she taking a picture?".

I had to. This is how I pictured it all those years ago. The laughs, the smiles, the getting along.

"What are you taking a picture of?".

My magic moment...so I'll never forget. 

Also, linking up with two of my favorites: Seven Clown Circus and parenting BY dummies.

Monday, October 10, 2011

My Anna-girl

Funny and sweet; with a heart bigger than her body and one she wears on her sleeve.

Her giggle infectious; her smile lights up her face and mine.

The first one to offer help; to read her sister a book; to be my kitchen buddy.

"Girls' Day Out" has a whole new meaning, shopping 'til we drop in sequin-pink and sparkle style.

My first-born girl; still wanting to hold my hand; forever my heart.

 Photo Challenges & Photography Tutorials

I'm entering this photo into the iheartfaces photo challenge. This week's challenge: raise your hands. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011


I spent the better part of Saturday with my family...and by "my family" I mean my parents, brothers, and sisters. Of course, my kids were there too, but I was a daughter, a sister, and an auntie again. It's good to be taken care of sometimes.

The meal was planned and dessert was made, and I had NO part in any of it. Not that I wouldn't have whipped up a little somethin'-somethin' for dessert, but I didn't HAVE to...and that felt wonderful...speaking of dessert...
...you're welcome.

The cousins played together the entire time...which meant no fights between my own kids...and that, too, felt wonderful.

It wasn't at my house (which I thought about on the drive home, I did NOT help with clean up...SORRY JESS!!).

We had a good old time talking, laughing, and girl-bonding.

Grandma and Grandpa got to hang with the grandkids.

...I put the camera away before I got pictures of my dad and brothers...they were doing manly guy things, like moving furniture and stuff.
On a side note, my step-mom (above) started running this summer...doesn't she look fabulous? She's a pretty hip granny.

These two cousins are only 3 months apart...they will be trouble when they're older...wait, I think MINE might be trouble, and MayMay might be just along for the ride...again, sorry Jess!

It's always sad to leave...

we always say we need to get together more often...

but life gets in the way sometimes...

so, family of mine? Just know that I love you a lot! It's so fun to get together...

even if it is really loud and wild and crazy...

but we'll blame that on the boys.

You know the drill...right? It's Monday! Go over to Stasha's and link up your list!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Where I Am

I start my run on busy streets; crossing a bridge where semi-trucks zoom past, leaving me in a fog of dust and haze.

I cross the last busy street and step into another world.

With every step I run, I leave the whir of cars farther behind.

I hear the crunch of leaves beneath my feet; the chatter of birds nestled in their trees; the scurrying of chipmunks and squirrels gathering their acorns.

I look up at the perfect blue, cloudless sky and see the leaves floating gently down in their last descent until next spring; the sun's rays peek through the blanket of trees and warms my cheeks.

The breeze blows my hair; cools the sweat that glistens on my arms, my face, the back of my neck.

My mind is emptied of the constant swirl of the day; my feet are in perfect tempo to the beat of my music; my breathing comes easy, my lungs used to the work I force upon them.

All too soon, I have to turn around; start the trek back; back to the bustle of traffic and leave my perfect run behind.

You can't plan a perfect run, but you can have a perfect trail.

The Red Writing Hood prompt this week comes from assistant editor Galit.

This week, I want you to take me there.
Where is up to you: Someplace real? Imaginary? From your past? In your future? It can be fiction or creative non-fiction. But make your descriptions so rich that I can’t help but feel like I’m right there.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Baby Boy

This baby boy of mine is on the brink...

the brink of being a true big boy...

no longer telling me he'll "be my baby boy forever".

But I haven't lost him yet.

He still needs "one more kiss, and one more hug" before I head out the door or tuck him in bed.

He still needs his special string on his blanket to rub against his cheek to soothe himself to sleep.

He still gets excited about the glow of the moon and runs in to tell me I need to see it.

When will he stop needing all of those hugs and kisses?

When will he stop needing that special string that is so frayed?

When will he stop being excited over the magic of the moon?

I know it's important to help them grow up; to teach them independence; to give them their wings.

But I'm not going to rush it; to say "I can't wait until they..."; to stop being just as excited to see the moon glowing in the night sky.

I'm letting my kids be little for as long as they can...

or until they wipe off my kisses from their big kid cheeks.


parenting BY dummies

Monday, October 3, 2011


Her smile comes easily; her laugh leaves me breathless.

Her eyes twinkle; her sparkle makes me shine.

Her love is effortless; my love is endless.

Her adoration for her siblings; a thing to marvel.

Her zest for life; contagious.

Her hugs and kisses; melt me.

This sweet, curly-haired girl; completes me.

Write On Edge

Your memoir prompt this week comes from Assistant Editor Galit.
This week I want you to conjure something. An object, a person, a feeling, a color, a season- whatever you like.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Quotable Quotes

I love quotes; inspirational quotes; things my kids say; things that make you stop and think.

Here is a compilation of my quotable quotes. Thank you Pinterest...

and my children.



Bold words.
Harsh but fair..
75 inspirational quotes
inspirational quote.

"Mama, you're like the home-town for us." Jacob, 8


"When all else fails, start running." Dean Karnazes (ultra-marathoner)

Monday Listicles made possible by Stasha from The Good Life...she finally listened to all of us and now calls herself a professional photographer!! We knew it all along. Go check out her other site. Stasha B photography.