Raising kids of a different generation

Every day we are reminded how different life for our kids is compared to our childhood and especially that of our parents and grandparents. Sometimes it’s little things that dawn on me our kids will never do.

Other times its things I never even thought about as a child. Last year, the announcement of the end of elephants in the circus.
Today, Seaworld is ending their Orca/killer whale breeding programs and theatrical shows. Some say the changes currently effecting our society are positive, others argue they are negative.

I say either side is witness to what will be a huge generation gap. The current global climate creates even more reasons to seek out shared experiences with our children. It necessitates invested parenting and intentional decisions.

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A letter to my daughter on running and love

My sweet baby girl,

It is my hope that one day (a long time from now), a man will sit across from you with a beautiful ring, and ask you to be his wife.  Sweetheart, please do me a favor.  Stare into his eyes for a few moments and imagine yourself running a marathon with this man.

Will he push you to be a better version of yourself?  Help you up if you slip and fall down?  Think to carry enough water to share if you run short?  Will you laugh together along the route?  Is he strong enough to take the lead if you lose your way?

In young love, it can be hard to see the whole race.  The wall when you run short on energy, the hills, the curves, and the sore muscles.  It’s fun to admire the diamond as it twinkles in the sun, select the wedding dress of your childhood dreams, plan the parties, and open the gifts at the shower. I know it’s even harder to imagine, but one day that lovely dress may not fit.  Will he still think the girl is as beautiful as today?  The ring may not slide over your knuckle after that second baby, will he still honor the promises it represents?  Your little boy may break your beautiful porcelain making invisible ink, the spoons will accidentally get tossed with the trash, and the little apartment you are planning to decorate will become a distant memory.  Will you both grow together and work to keep similar interests?  You will lose loved ones, watch your children grow and leave home, change jobs, homes, maybe even states.  You will change until some days you don’t quite recognize yourself.  Will he still find time to surprise you, make you feel precious and special?  Will your goals and achievements become his?  Will his ambitions become yours?

Outlast the shower gifts, look forward to life together after the children are grown, build something together, and be the kind of running partner you would want by your side.  Sometimes love isn’t dressing up and going to a fancy restaurant.  Sometimes it’s circling the park on a bike while pulling the kids in a trailer, so he can check on you while you train for a goal of yours.  It’s standing on the side of the road with signs cheering you to finish your race.  Remember my precious one – the most important part – he’s running the race too, so support him.  Cheer for him, inspire him, honor your promises to him and make him feel cherished.

That’s what marriage is.  A marathon.  Others will line up to cheer you on and there may even be a few wise coaches to seek advice from.  In the end, you are running a marathon with this man.  God willing, as you near the finish line, you will still have each other –  along with amazing memories of the journey.

I ran my first half marathon yesterday.  Not everyone understood my goal, or the commitment it took from my family to achieve it.  Man rocked it.  He was all in on the “mom support team” from day one.  He was there on the long runs every weekend, at the finish line to catch a pic of me crossing, and all the little hills in between.  I’m so grateful to him for being my main supporter.  He made a fuss and celebrated my goal with the same enthusiasm he would celebrate one of his own.  He’s the best kind of running buddy a girl could ask for. 

The Season of Hope

  

 

March was trying. Uncertainty. Frustration. Aggravation. Followed by Calm, Reassurance, and Hope.
I think all of us feel that way sometimes.  We get a leg up, and the wrung on the ladder gives out.

Being a mom is definitely like that.  Labor even tries to prepare us for these times. It’s hard, uncontrolled, and usually unscheduled. Uncertain, sometimes frustrating, even aggravating at times. Those feelings are often countered by Calm, Reassurance, and Hope.

That’s what I like best about spring.  It’s hopeful.  The explosion of rebirth and new life around us.  The spirit of Easter resonates all season long.

If you’ve never read the Easter story, it’s the perfect parallel to spring.”  Matthew 26-28

S’more Mother-dom: one year later

Happy anniversary – Smoremom is one year old today.
This year I have learned so much about myself, my marriage, and my children. To commemorate some-more-mothering…
I come through the door, exhausted from a long day of messes, sticky fingers, and things to-do. The baby toddles around dragging everything out of the cabinets and checking on what her brothers are up to.  The boys are wound up being reunited since my eldest has been off at school all day, so an all out ninja turtle reenactment ensues.  I fix dinner, commence with the bedtime routine, and tackle the dirty dishes. I sit on the couch to visit with Man for a bit, realize he’s napping in his chair, and survey the post hurricane like conditions of my living room. 

I close my eyes for a moment, thank God everyone is healthy and safe, and giggle a little at how much things have changed in a year, and how much the stayed the same. Monday still will come all to quickly, my house cleaning is still haphazard (have you tried to keep a house clean with three little ones at home?), grocery shopping is much more regimented, but couponing is still a feeble attempt. Each week, there is still a mountain of laundry to do and half completed projects that need a finish…the list goes on. We come home late from ball practice and it’s a hurried dinner, baths and stories, then shoo the kids off to bed.  I start cleaning up the debris of the day, washing dishes, picking up clothes and finally heading to bed. 

Yep, I quit.  I resigned from my job and took on the title of SAHM.  As with all my plans and God’s sense of humor, it was nothing like I imagined it. It was hard and wonderful, and I have been so blessed and grateful for every second.

What happened to all the time I should have gained when I quit working? I play hide and seek, we attend library time, we go to the park, we tickle and giggle, and blow raspberries. A year ago I had great ambition. I was going to get the grocery shopping organized and enjoyable, housekeeping on a schedule, and find those little pockets of time with the kids I was certain I was missing out on while I was at work. I was going to exercise daily, get more sleep, create an awesome blog, and get myself pulled together (ya know – like when I was in my 20’s and only had Man to worry about). I was going to make marinara sauce, salsa, cocoa mix, all baked goods from scratch. I was going to be crafty!

Six months ago, I thought I had just been delusional. What I realized is this: I have been given the freedom to prioritize. I can relish the time I have with my little ones and get to the to-do list another day. I haven’t had to scramble to get classes covered if something came up at Kiddo’s school, I just go. Family appointments, important dates, and kids’ birthday parties fill my calendar. Travel for work usually involves a museum or the zoo. I have actually cleaned my oven. In the last six months. I can snuggle up on the couch when it’s cold and rainy instead of trekking to the grocery store. I have found a momiform that doesn’t make me cringe when I pass a mirror. I have learned part of the words to that Frozen song, and recently explained in great detail about minions. We pick up rocks, chase bugs, and gaze up at the moon.

I had disappointment in what I thought I would do and what I actually have done, but I have learned to let go of that disappointment and focus on being content. I have had time to thank God every day that I get those little moments that pass by so quickly. I thank Him that the days are long, but ask that the weeks slow down just a little. I’ve made time for me, time to work out, and time to call my grandma, drop in on a friend, and plant some flowers. I quit pushing and found out the really imperative things get done, and everything else prioritize itself.

I am having quite an adventure as a culinarian, wife, and stay at home mom.  I’m still setting out to find less work, s’more mom.

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I didn’t forget that today is also Mother’s Day. So, in honor of mother-dom…

I rejoice in the fact that I have a mother. She chose to have me. I was able to become Me and walk along my path in life.

I am glad my mother is still here. Crazy as she makes me, I will miss her when she’s not here driving me that way. So I will be glad when she calls as my three-year-old dumps an entire jug of milk, drops by unannounced, or is seemingly unreasonable. For one day…I may understand exactly what that reasoning was.

I’m thankful I have children. I’m thankful they are healthy and can play to make the laundry really dirty. I’m thankful my children are well, and our family has been provided for, so I can find joy in the dishes I dirty preparing meals for them. I don’t need a special day for that. I am reminded daily of how blessed I am, and how desperate I am to cherish the little “every day” moments.

Here is an honest & cute little something floating around the internet: If you are a mother anywhere, especially if you are a mother with young children, read this letter from Beth. Then, over the course of the year, read it when you have a tough day.

You are awesome! You grew a person! You gave birth! To a person! You work every day to make that person happy, productive, and well adjusted. Happy Mother’s Day y’all!

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Click here to read S’more mom’s first post.
Six months In
The Anti-SAHM

the thankful post

I am so thankful this year…for change, for completeness, and for grace.

This year has been a big one for us.  In many ways I would describe it as joyful, but mostly I would say complete. We now consider our family complete and for the first time in a long time, my life’s wish list complete.  We have struggled since our first son was born with my desire to stay home with our children and our necessity for my second income.  This year, we made the decision to completely change how we run our household and give me a go as full-time homemaker. A lot of people try to dress up that word, but I prefer to embrace it.  HOMEMAKAER. It is a job I worked very hard to earn, and I consider the title resemblant of a dying art, like a blacksmith or a butcher. It was Mother Teresa who said, “What can you do to promote world peace?  Go home and love your family.”  Homemaker today…Nobel Prize tomorrow.  I’m telling ya, there are so many mothers, educators, coaches, and youth ministers out there that saved a child they really should have a broader spectrum for the peace prize category.

Please understand, I am not knocking the working mother at all.  I am supportive of her, in awe of how she balances life, and empathetic towards the emotions she feels every time she begins and ends her work day.  It was something I prayed daily to be content with, but for me, life opened a window.  I think I will enjoy the fresh air while I may.

So for 2013, I am thankful for:

1. a God who opens windows.

2. a husband who has a serving spirit and who sacrifices so much for his family and for others.

3. my eldest son who is so smart, so sweet, and challenges me every day to become a better person.

4. my middle child, who I knew would be an adventure the first time I felt him kick.  It is so amazing to get a peek at life through a three-year old’s eyes and to be reminded each day that I matter to someone.

5. my daughter, who brings joy to our life each day and who needs her mother to be a positive role model.

6. our family.  God love them, each one is so different. They are challenging, they could be called crazy, but they are ours and we could not raise our family without this village.

7. true friends that stand the test of time. We really do have amazing friends…I don’t even know where to begin…old friends we have not forgotten, and new friends we have not yet met

8. our health.

9. our insurance, doctors, and medical care that have allowed us to safely have three healthy beautiful children.

10. grandmas.  The ones who love my babies and the ones who love me.  For the fact that they all have shared a room at our wedding and Kiddo’s first birthday.

11. traditions. The little things I miss from childhood or recreate for my own children.  School fight songs, memories and new ones in the making.

12. Texas.  Come on…you had to have known it would be on the list.

13. the outdoors. I’m still warming up to the great outdoors, but it is beautiful and we have had so much fun.

14. wet kisses, sticky hands, and lots and lots of messes.

15. time.  Time with my family, my babies, my husband, my friends, and myself that was previously taken up with items on my to-do list.

16. three square meals, steady paychecks, and a roof over our heads.

17. chocolate.

18. date nights with Man.

19. family nights with my little party of 5.

20. birthday parties, graduations, new babies, and all those things.

21. our soldiers.

22. the very wise, very funny, and very honest things children say.

23. family vacations.

24. daytime smiles and nighttime giggles.

25. warm sunshine in May.

26. brisk mornings in November.

27. snuggles.

28. lazy days.

29. all the things I have learned this year.

30. grace.

We are so blessed, and I am thankful every day for all God has given to me and mine.  Sometimes I even get that freaked out feeling that I am too happy or too blessed beyond anything I could ever deserve and then I remember…we have complete grace.  Doesn’t that really encompass everything we are thankful for?

Six Months In

I spent today cleaning my oven, inventorying dry goods in the pantry, helping the kids with fall paintings, updating our Christmas card list, and trying to get set for the holiday rush. That got me to thinking. First, how happy I was to be ahead of the curve this year. I can stock up on baking supplies and have a clean oven before the holidays hit. Second, wow is this different from how I was preparing for the holiday season last year. Then it occurred to me that Mother’s Day was over six months ago. I started my new job about six months ago. I started by blog about six months ago. Baby girl started solid food about six months ago, and my baby, the baby, the last one – is rapidly pulling herself to the one year mark.

What happened to all the time I should have gained when I quit working? Six months ago I had great ambition. I was going to get the grocery shopping organized and enjoyable, housekeeping on a schedule, and find those little pockets of time with the kids I was certain I was missing out on while I was at work. I was going to exercise daily, get more sleep, create an awesome blog, and get myself pulled together (ya know – like when I was in my 20’s and only had Man to worry about). I was going to make marinara sauce, salsa, cocoa mix, all baked goods from scratch. I was going to be crafty!

Apparently, I was delusional. I have completely relished the time with my little ones: I have finally been the baby hog, found time to laugh at just how many messes I clean up in a day, and appreciate that my boys (no matter how late we are running) take time to stare up at the moon. I now know what a bubble guppy is. I have come to terms if you put a boy in the backyard, you are going straight to the bath afterward. I have worn sweats so many times, I want to call What Not to Wear on myself!

I have had a lot of disappointment in what I thought I would do and what I actually have: things I swore I would make time for have remained neglected, I still don’t iron or mend, but I have managed to read one book. I have not made it to play outside every day, run, or have a daily devotional time, but we have been clean, fed, and on time to appointments. Seriously, being on time is BIG for me. Like 30 years of being late BIG. I have had time to thank God every day that I get those little moments that pass by so quickly. I thank Him that the days are long, but ask that the weeks slow down just a little. I guess things seem to prioritize themselves. AND last, I have seen glimpses of thoughtfulness that I booted out of my schedule years ago. Time to call a friend, drop a note, spend a morning catching up, deliver food, or leave a birthday wish on a door stoop. I didn’t realize the parts of myself that had been overlooked for so long. Is there something about yourself that you loved that has been whisked away in the day-to-day?

I could not have foreseen how greatly staying at home would change our family dynamic. I am by no means a new mom, but this seems like a completely new job. We will take stock in another six months. Right now, I have just been working my tail off, fumbling my way through my to-do list, and taking comfort in the fact no one has noticed all my mistakes and fired me by now. So what am I going to do with all of my lofty goals – well (in Texas, when we need more time to stall and think…you go for the long drawn out W-E-L-L) well – smile every day and adjust. Take something my presidential favorite Governor Romney said about his wife to heart. He said his wife always made sure he had the things he liked at home (his favorite bread, PB, whatever). It made me think, “Yeah, I need to work on first making home a haven”. I am going to focus on that – that, and clean socks in the drawer. The other stuff, it will come. Or it won’t, but I will still be here for my family and that was the plan from the beginning.

Other people’s posts that I found encouraging:
http://creativewithkids.com/you-know-what-will-ruin-my-kids/
http://mylifeandkids.com/tips-and-tricks-for-tired-moms/#_a5y_p=1053947

When are you just too old?

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I painted my toes beachy summer pink today and then added sparkles. Partly because I’ve been seeing all the teenagers with their sparkly nails leftover from prom and partly because I’ve been in a funk and they made me happy.

Then I thought…”Am I too old to pull this off? It’s weird how much that thought has crossed my mind this year. I wanted to join the pastel pant trend. It left me debating (the pink pants won out in the end).

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I have a vintage Mickey Mouse tee I have been hoping to someday fit back into. Which leaves me wondering if my efforts are only going to end with me looking ridiculous.

The other night…. Man: “now that you won’t be teaching, I think you should dye your hair bleach blonde, cut it short, and get that nose stud you’ve talked about”.
Me: ” What? Don’t you think that ship has sailed?” (ya know, accompanied with that peer over the glasses and one eyebrow cocked)

When do we reach an age where we should just hang up some of our rebellious urges and admit, “we’re someone’s parents. We should really act like it”, or do we say, ” forget it! I’m going to do this, wear this, listen to this because it makes me happy”?

When my pledge class all went and got tattoos and I decided not to, (in my head) I was thinking responsibly. No risk of infection, no pain from needles, no permanent marks I’ll regret later. When I decided getting a piercing before taking a teaching job wasn’t worth the hassle, I thought I was being practical. At what point do we go from acting like an adult to just being boring? If there’s an outfit that is a little too, low/tight/short, do you forgo it for the Oxford because you’re a mom? At what point should the what if factor out weigh the what the hell factor?

BTW – if I ever get back into that tee, I’m wearing it proudly…it’s sooooo soft.