Monday, February 12, 2018

Self reflection at 36 years old...

When I was younger, I pictured my mid 30's to be a somber time. I had this idea that everything in my life had to be completed before then, otherwise, they wouldn't happen. So, I thought when I turned 36, I'd be petrified at the idea of being on the down-slope to 40...

But instead, I'm the most content I've ever been.

I never had "those years" that everyone else had. I never had a specific time frame to look back upon and think, wow, those were my best years.

My teens were an awkward mess... I didn't have a lot of friends and I never felt comfortable in my own skin. I spent most of my time trying to get lost in a crowd. And I never belonged in a certain place.

I met my husband when I was only 21 years old. And he saw something in me, that even I didn't see. And through him, I grew. And as I aged, my mind and body assimilated.

Then, after I had my children, my inner light was lit. I don't know if it was the empowerment of childbirth, or crazy hormones, but I begun to see myself in a different light... The same light my husband saw all these years.

And even though I'm no longer a size 2/4, and have more gray hair than ever, and have perpetual dark circles forever ingrained under my eyes, I've never felt more real.

Myself, at almost 40, has finally lived...

I have memories of travel, watching the sun rise up in over 20 different states, I had a paper map on my lap while I ventured across the country, and I went to enough concerts and band venues to fill at least two Ugg boot boxes with ticket stubs. I've taken random drives and gotten lost. Swam in an ocean in January. Drove through a desert at night. I have birthed two children and watched them surface Earth-side. I am in love with motherhood and inspiring other moms to do the same through my blog. I am writing, which I love to do, more than what I went to college for. And, I married the most perfect person for me. I survived the first year of marriage, survived colic, and survived a breast tumor scare.

My soul is a road map of where I've been... 

At 20, I couldn't say any of that.
At 25, I couldn't say most of that.
At 30, I couldn't say half of that.
But at 36, I can say all of it.

For me, aging has been a blessing. It has brought more wisdom upon me that my twenty-year-old self, never saw coming. With that, I see the world much differently now and I value my self worth based on my inner self, not what I have or what I can show off.

And I cannot wait to see what the next decades have in store for me, because I have a feeling, my best years are yet to come...

*Here's another past post of my birthday and how motherhood has changed me... My 34 trips around the sun... 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Public service announcement... Being respectful and more kind towards children...

If my children are going to be taught respect and manners and implement them in the real world, I'd expect you as adults to show my children the same in return... 

I'm baffled by how many times my children have said "hi" to a stranger, or complimented them, or held doors for people, or picked up a dropped item for someone in the check out lane, only to be flat-out ignored or never get a thank you in return. 

Then me, as the parent, has to create a teaching moment and let my children know that just because others are inconsiderate, you aren't. And you don't do nice things for the "thank yous", but because it's the right thing to do. 

And being kind is a contagious thing.
And you want to be patient zero.

But my issue is, when are we going to reach a point in society where children are given the same respect as adults? 

When their positive voice and positive actions aren't overlooked, but only their negative behaviors are brought to the forefront... I'd bet, if my children were tantruming in the store, or whining in the check out lane, another adult wouldn't hesitate for a second to offer their two cents... 

So why ignore them when they're displaying an act of human decency? Why not praise the positive and reinforce it by participating in the action? Or simply, just do it because that is the respectful way of the world.

No one is holding a door for you, because there is an invisible red carpet that only you see... The door is being held, because they were the last to touch it. And it would be impolite to have it close in your face -- So, say thank you. Especially, if a child is the one holding it. 

It seems pretty simple to me. You want a society of respectful children, then adults should start being more respectful towards children.

Take the extra second to acknowledge that little human standing next to you, the one who's ready to help or say something positive at a drop of the dime.

Stop assuming children will just eventually "get it." 

They need to be shown the adult behaviors of the world, in order to emulate them.

Remember, kindness begins with the littlest ones. 

And I'm raising my children to be the part of the movement where, kindness trumps all. 

Then maybe, it'll start spreading to more adults...

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Mid Week Humor: You take your breaks when you can...

You know you're a stay at home mom when, going to get a mammogram is like having a night out. I was actually by myself and chatting with people over the age of 5&7. And, I was the rare one who was happy to wait by myself in the little room for as long as they needed... However, even though I put on a bra and button front pants for this, I ended up in something I'd wear at home anyways. So there's that... 
The Happy Days Blog

Monday, January 22, 2018

The balance of video games...

It seems we're living in a culture where all of the sudden, screen time and video games are the brunt of a bad rap. But, what isn't looked at, is the balance of juggling them with other daily activities.

In today's world, you can be a millionaire by 7 years old, just by playing video games. -Being a YouTuber, is a growing profession- Which blows my mind why parent's still get upset when their children have the constant urge to sit and play... You wouldn't stop your budding piano player from practicing their craft daily. So why would you stop a child from playing something that can potentially be a profession later on down the road?

Being an early 80's child and growing up with the major video game pioneers like, Atari, Coleco, and Nintendo, I remember countless days of sitting in front of my TV, playing games. The difference isn't the games themselves, it was the balance.

There were days we played all the time, and other days when we didn't pick up the controller for a week... But none of that was to replace family dinners, family conversations, and family gatherings.... 

We didn't sit 24/7, playing video games or watching television, without human conversation. We weren't ignored by our parents, or we didn't want to ignore them. We played randomly (unless we were trying to beat Final Fantasy II, then that was all consuming) - but, we also played outside with the neighborhood children - playing baseball for hours, sleigh riding all day, bike rides, and long games of team hide-and-go-seek when the sun dipped below the horizon - a sad reminder that our times don't allow.

So today, our children moved forward with what our times do allow, when both parents are working full time and the outside is too dangerous to roam around without adult supervision. Children today, adapted to the modern era. They're not able to just pick up and run out the door first thing in the morning to a friend's house, the way we all did as children. So now, they must attain their social contact other ways, via online video games or social media.  

We've all become attached and reliant on these tools. They're the modern age kick the can, two hand touch football, hide and go seek, and anything else you remember from your childhood. 
*Kids can actually play hide-and-go-seek with other children from around the world on Roblox.

However, the most important information to absorb is, technology should never be a substitute for parenting, and in our home, it definitely isn't. In other words, you can't just hand your child a tablet or set them up on the Xbox, and walk away to catch up on your Netflix shows or hop on social media for hours, and expect there not to be any repercussions. But if you find the balance of family time and have a mutual trust and respect among your children, games/screens/technology can fit into your lives without feeling the "society downside." 

You can incorporate outside activities, friends, sports, family time, adventures, and anything else you want to do, along with technology. 

They aren't an all or none thing. 

They can be balanced...

And children can learn a lot from all of it, like how to strategize, count, colors, read, teamwork, determination, etc etc etc...

And video games can also be a fun family thing to do, together - like Mario Kart, The Voice, playing Obbys on Roblox, and especially, Just Dance... That game takes on a life of it's own.

So, enjoy the modern era of having everything at your fingertips. And having the ability to play all these fun games, without leaving the comforts of your home. But while also remembering, there is a huge outside world only a few steps from you... 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Five years ago, my little boy surfaced Earth-side... A tale of raising a boy with feelings.

Five years ago, I walked through my home, following around my newly turned two year old daughter. I rubbed my freakishly round belly and worried how in just a few short hours, my life was about to change.

A little boy, eagerly waited to come Earth-side. 

His wild swirls and kicks made his presences known daily. In the dark of night, I'd talk to him and I swore, he'd respond to my words... His big sister would read him countless stories and when she watched Dora the Explorer, she rested her head on my belly just to be closer to him... 

I couldn't wait to start this new chapter, but I was also very aware how different everything was going to be with a boy. 

But, all my hopes and aspirations for him challenged everything I've seen among the average boy. I never wanted to hear the phrases, "he's just a boy." Or, "he's all boy." I disliked those statements. It was like every boy gets a pass for his gender and the issues are never tended to. I didn't want to make excuses for him, which I hear so often. I wanted to spend the time raising him, just like I did/do with his sister.

My little boy was going to be different.

Not a boy to be forced into a role of expected social standards or have a gender specific title either. He was going to be raised the same way my daughter is, with lots of love and security. He wasn't going to be deprived of that, just because, he's a "boy."

He was to be his own person...

And 5 years later... 

He is so lovable and sweet.
Thoughtful and courteous.
Well mannered and kind.

He's not your quintessential "boy." Instead, he's himself, with a heart bigger than his almost 4ft frame.

He's a boy who loves Batman and Star Wars, but yet, loves Wonder Woman and playing home. He loves his video games, but yet, loves to pretend to cook.

He wants to save spiders and make sure the water dish for the outside birds is always full.

...He cries when his feelings are hurt...

And he loves his German Shepherd like a sibling and never walks past her without saying, how much he loves her... 

And, his sister is his absolute best friend in the whole world.

... Oh, and he's a mama's boy.

Five years later, and my life is nowhere near where I'd thought it would have been. I would have thought a boy would change everything. You hear about the blog's that say such scary things of what a boy brings to your life. But here, none of that is true. There's no rough and tough, no biting and hitting, and no aggression. Instead, just lots of snuggles and love. 

And now, I'm left with a 5&7 year old, who are as similar and close as stereotypical twins who shared a uterus.

So, on my son's 5th birthday, I hope for him to continue being himself and to always follow his interests -even if they're away from the norm. And to never change his long hair, because others are uncomfortable with it. But most importantly, to not let his school years jade him or change his love for any of his favorite things...

Because, all these things don't define who he is. They are only a part of him. Ironically, he is "all boy," just in his own way. His actions do not change his gender -not one bit. And I never want him to think he's not what he is supposed to be, because others are different. Or, think he has to change himself to fit in with his peers.

Because, being different is a marvelous thing... More of us should follow suit. 

And, he is exactly who he is meant to be...

**Here is a link to a past blog post about my son: My little boy, the 3 year old...

Friday, January 5, 2018

Today, time is on our side...

The north is currently experiencing some wicked below freezing temperatures this week. Our schools have been delaying daily and today, they were cancelled, due to negative 30 degree wind chills. And, we're just not used to seeing this...

Climate change, anyone?

But even though the bitter cold has left us home bound, we're enjoying our time together. And, our cancelled day of school has left us with one of the greatest gifts... Time.

Time to breathe in the moment and not rush out the door to follow someone else's time clock. Time to be present, without feeling the need to move onto another task or accomplish something in a time frame.

Time to make memories... To sit with my daughter and and make some Aqua Bead creations, while being silly on her mock VLOG channel. And by being silly, I mean, doing some "awesome" dance moves... And, build LEGOS with my son, while hearing him tell his famous knock knock jokes.

But most of all, time for my children to be under the same roof, at the same time, with no place to be, all day.

Just like it's supposed to be...

Time is that crazy little bugger that always resurfaces itself. When you're caught up in your daily grind, you forget it's moving. And moving so quickly. Then, when an opportunity presents itself and you have a moment to stop, that's when you realize how much you miss the days when play was the single most important occupation. 

The three of us are a little unit who travel through this life as more than just mother and children, we're best friends... We're silly, funny, sarcastic, and loving. We talk allllll day long... We're always there for each other, without judgement or fear, and we're supportive...

And when time moves as quickly as it does, and the punch card begins, I sometimes get caught up in the movement and forget how much I miss the simplicity of our trio...

And I'm grateful for days like this, as a reminder of how wonderful it is to have my home so full of life...

The way it's supposed to be. 

So when I'm old and gray, replaying my past memories in my head like an old reel to reel player, I'll mark this record breaking frigid day, as one of our warmest days.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Those days we danced silly in my kitchen...

Years from now, when she's a teenager and would rather be doing anything else on a Friday night other than dancing to tweener songs with her mama in our kitchen, I will miss this deeply. I will miss this so much, it kind of already hurts.

I could remember her being so little, cheerfully sitting in the outdoor red swing that hung from my kitchen doorway. She would sway back and forth and use wooden spoons as drum sticks, as I danced around to Joan Jett songs. She could barely talk, but the words "more" exited her mouth more often than not.

The same image continued over the years, with only the evolution of growth occurring. 

This "thing" we do, is probably my most favorite thing to do with her. It's our time to act silly, sing as loud as we want, and have dance offs (and just to add to the visual image, I can neither dance or sing)... You know, the silly stuff that you can either do at 7 years old, or 30 years old - when you're not so consumed with "fitting in."

And that time is quickly creeping up to us. The time when she'll start rolling her eyes and easily become embarrassed by me when I do something silly in public. Now, when Katey Perry's Roar comes on and we're in the store, I grab the nearest item and pretend it's a microphone and start jamming out... She laughs and joins in... But soon enough, she'll leave the isle and pretend she doesn't know me anymore.

And when that day happens, I'll fixate on those lost Friday and Saturday nights in my tiny kitchen. When her smile was as big as the sunrise and I was the most important person in her life. It'll seem like a story that I once read before bed. It'll hardly feel tangible. But, it'll be locked away, deep inside me. And I'll smile, and tear up, remembering those Happy Days that I once thought were so consuming.

But until those days arrive, I will gladly welcome a dance party with my little girl, any day of the week. 

And, I'll hold onto the moments -with both fist clenched, never letting go...