Month: March 2014

NaBloPoMo Wrap-up

I signed up for the March NaBloPoMo with high hopes.  How hard can it really be to post every day for a month?  I’m a smart girl, highly organized with perfectionist tendencies, all qualities I would use to propel me to success with the challenge.  Or not.  By my calculations I missed a grand total of 10 posts.  10 posts!  I’m disappointed, but glad I did the challenge.  I now know it is just not possible for me to post quality work everyday AND be a present, attentive mother.  It’s a tightrope walk to keep it all going; being a busy mother, a fascinating wife, a steadfast friend, a diligent daughter, a supportive sister, my silly self.  Or as Rob Delaney puts it in his hilarious book: Rob Delaney : mother, wife, sister, human, warrior, falcon, yardstick, turban, cabbage.

Yep.  It’s hard trying to do it all.  I’ll find my rhythm.  Just wait and see.

 

 

Liberate Yourself

am - john green

This sums up my motto for the coming months.  It’s so much easier to create, especially as a writer, if I allow myself the chance to muck it up, be awful, get out that terrible first, second, third draft, throw it away, stomp my feet, slam doors, hit delete, delete, delete and sit down and start over again.

I’m working on pieces for submission.  Some of them are going well, flowing on the page, needing little tending.  Other pieces are stressing me out so much I’m forced to walk away out of frustration.  This quote talks me off the cliff, so to speak, and I’m able to see my writing for what it is; a work in progress.

Chats Français Sont Les Meilleurs

I absolutely love foreign films. I would watch them all day long if I could. Here’s a sweet little number for film fans and cat lovers alike.

The title of this post translated is “French cats are the best.” Now you’ve been entertained and learned something new for the day. Good for you!

But You Don’t Have To Take My Word For It

am reading rainbow

I see LeVar Burton’s face or hear his familiar voice and I’m transported back to my childhood. I adored Reading Rainbow. As a writer and bibliophile, I wonder if my early love affair with this show contributed to my obsession with books.  I can sing the theme song from memory.  I was crushed when I learned it was no longer on the air.  I wanted my own children to enjoy the same, sweet program that taught me the value in reading.

If you’ve never heard of Reading Rainbow, I’m so sorry.  You missed out!  Each episode centered around a theme and usually began with a children’s book narrated by a celebrity; Bill Cosby was one such example. Next, Burton would travel to various places talking to people about their work and expertise.  The final segment of the show, Book Reviews, featured children giving reviews of books they liked. I loved Burton’s tagline, “But you don’t have to take my word for it.”  I would always search for the books they mentioned at the library.

Lucky for me, Reading Rainbow has an app!  I just downloaded it to my iPad and while it’s not quite the Reading Rainbow I remember, it get’s the job done.  It allows children to read books, explore video trips with Burton, and earn rewards for reading, but it is not free.  😦

Eat Your Cookie

The great thing about kids is they will call you on your bullshit. Take this evening for instance. The whole family was getting ready to go outside to start a fire and make s’mores; peaceful, relaxing time to enjoy one another’s company. My husband and I were in the kitchen talking and I was eating a chocolate chip cookie my mother made. The girls came in, saw me eating a cookie and immediately starting pleading for one. “No way! We are going outside to make s’mores!” I had barely swallowed my last bite before I hear, “Well, why do you get to eat one then?”

I had no recourse. I gave them each a cookie. They smiled and happily left the kitchen.

Girls – 1   Mom – 0

A Blog a Day Keeps the Guilt Away

When I signed up for NaBloPoMo I viewed it as a good challenge to strengthen my writing chops, forcing me to make the time to post, but the reality is a bit different when I’m in the thick of it. Writing a well thought out blog post takes a lot of work and time, especially when you factor in editing, photography and credits, fixing typos or sentences that run on and on. It has been much more difficult than I imagined. A friend recently asked me how I liked posting everyday. At the time I loved it, but I admitted it was hard just finding the time. She shook her head in acknowledgement. She has a blog too. She gets it.

I’ve missed a few days this month with no posts at all. The guilt I feel about this is crazy! The perfectionist in me is saying just throw in the towel. It’s all ruined. You messed it up. Quit and start over some other time. The rational side of me disagrees with all of that, reminding me I’m posting now, even if it is a post about not posting. (Take that perfectionist!) The mother in me says you can’t quit now, how would that look to your children? You are their role model and you must persevere, if only to prove you did not give up when the going got tough.

So here I am, humbled, guilt-ridden, deflated at my perceived failure trudging on down this road, following the weary wooden sign pointing me in the right direction. Almost there…

Stop Doing Everything For Your Kids

I am so guilty of this, helping my kids do everything. All day long I chirp the same things: “Do you need help?” “Do you need me?” “Can I help you with that?” “Can I do it for you?”

Why can’t I trust them to do it on their own? Is it my own perfectionism getting in the way of their independence? When they pour the milk on their own, it spills, but it gets done. When they tie their own shoes it takes forever, but they are learning by repetition. When they wipe their own butts…well, you get the point.

Butterflies helped out of their chrysalis don’t survive. They need the struggle of beating their wings to break free, to live, strengthened for the road ahead. They emerge damp, wings folded, but are soon ready to venture off into the world, much like our children. We want more than anything for them to succeed and grow into strong, independent, responsible, kind human beings. If we help them every step of the way, it will make it easier for them now, but in the long run we are selling them short. They need to learn to do things for themselves, to become accountable, to gain self-confidence, to take pleasure in their own accomplishments.

It is hard not to help, but I am trying to let it go, this need of mine to do it all, to make it perfect, to help, help, help. Often my children surprise me, accomplishing things I would never expect; waking up and making breakfast for everyone, cleaning their rooms without being asked, mastering a pogo stick, navigating the tricky waters of friendship.

Flowers given water and sunlight flourish. They thrive. They don’t need much. Children are just as simple. A little love and space and they too will soar.

I’m Not Drunk, I Swear

Here’s an interesting story from The New York Times regarding sleep deprivation and cognitive abilities.  A study was done to determine the end result of 4, 6 or 8 hours of sleep and the results were shocking, yet oddly comforting.

“All told, by the end of two weeks, the six-hour sleepers were as impaired as those who, in another Dinges study, had been sleep-deprived for 24 hours straight — the cognitive equivalent of being legally drunk.”

Now I know why I can’t remember where I put the overdue library book and I stumble on my words when I’m speaking to someone important. I’m freaking exhausted, or according to the experts, I’m equivalently drunk.  I thought I was just losing my mind, but it turns out, every time a child wakes me up in the middle of the night, they are innocently sapping my inner resources for the next day.  And sleep deprivation accumulates, continuing to affect your abilities every day you lose out on sleep, causing a deficit that is nearly impossible to catch up on in just a few mornings of sleeping in.

I remember my mom breaking the news to me when I became pregnant with my first child that once you become a mother you will never sleep again.  Because even when they are no longer peeing the bed and waking you up at 3:00am for a glass of water, it gets worse.  They learn to drive and leave the house and don’t always come home when they should, leaving worried parents everywhere wide awake in bed fearing the worst.

So to all sleep deprived, drunk mamas everywhere, here’s to us.  Raise your imaginary glass and stand proud.  You might be forgetful or fall asleep with pasta water boiling on the stove, but you’re a damn good parent.  We can sleep when we’re dead right?!

The Leprechaun Was Here and I Have Proof

am green pee

Luckily, my kids are all still young enough to believe just about anything I tell them. So when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around I like to surprise them. This one was a hit. I first spotted it online. Please forgive me, I can’t remember the source, but she had a brilliant idea and I ran with it. A used a little green washable Crayola marker to color the side of my fist to make the foot and my pinky finger made the tiny toes. I put a little in the toilet water, but would definitely go darker next time. Easy as pie. Big wow factor here for the little ones and it was all done in less than two minutes. That’s my kind of holiday wonder.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I sure hope that sneaky leprechaun is coming back to clean my toilet…

How I Love This Woman

I first discovered Maya Angelou when I was in high school and searching for my own style of poetry. She had me from that very first sentence. Every time I read this poem I get chills, it is powerful stuff, and I walk away with my head held a little higher, a smile on my face, a twinkle in my eye.

So please remember, you’re not just someone’s wife or mother or daughter. You are a phenomenal woman. And we are magic aren’t we?

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Maya Angelou