Thursday, March 21, 2013

We're All Gonna Die!

Breakfast--kid style!
My 5-year-old daughter loves to ask questions…the more complicated and/or outlandish, the better. This morning was no exception. As I was sitting eating my breakfast, I was working at my desk. Since I had gotten distracted, my kids were already finished with their food, so I thought I’d multitask and be even more productive.

With some whirls, twirls, and leg kicks, my little princess came dancing into the room. She stopped at the corner of my desk, blinked her big brown eyes, and asked another one of her thought-provoking questions: “Mommy, which is more important--eating, sleeping, or drinking? I want to be healthy, so I wanna know.”

Not sure exactly what to say, I told her, “Well, they are ALL important.”

Looking puzzled, she asked, “What will happen if you don’t eat?”

“If you don’t eat enough food, eventually you’ll die.”

Becoming even more puzzled, she asked further, “Okay, what if you don’t sleep?”

“Once again, eventually you would die.”

“And water? What if you don’t drink enough water?”

“You’ll die.”

She thought this over for a second and then skipped out of the room to her big brother. All nonchalant and cheery, she exclaimed, “Guess what? Mommy said that we’re all gonna die! Let’s go get a snack and a drink…and maybe a nap.”

Somehow this is NOT what I was expecting her to take from this conversation at all!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Winter

Winter seems mostly behind us (knock on wood!).  The snow is all melted from our yard today, and as I was taking our family dog for a walk this afternoon, lots of birds were chirping and singing in the drizzling rain. With the air getting sweeter and the sun shining brighter by the day, I can’t help but impatiently await spring’s arrival.

But as this winter comes to a close, I can’t help but feel a little melancholy. Winter, after all, holds its own special memories of days spent with my kids. Races through the snow, snowball fights, sledding, snowmen, snow angels, and then hot chocolate afterwards to warm us again from head to toe…I just adore moments like these!

I taught my 5-year-old daughter how to make a proper snowball this year--only to have her fling that same snowball right into the side of my face. My 7-year-old son finally grew brave enough this winter to sled on his own. And since we moved into our new home, we got to explore the backyard together, trying to find the perfect spots for sledding. I ended up cracking a sled and getting stuck under a bush. Yes, this winter was full of fun and amazing surprises, and in a way, I wish it didn’t have to end.

As my family and I prepare for spring, I know our winter memories will remain close to our hearts long after the last snowflake melts. And I know we’ll be giggling for years to come about how Mommy tried to make a sled path and managed to get eaten by a bush (as my kids’ call it). All things must come to an end, no matter how wonderful they are. However, I hope we have just as many memorable moments this spring…and during the many more seasons to come!

Friday, March 15, 2013

When My Kids Get Sick

I absolutely hate being sick, but what I hate more is my kids getting sick. Luckily, my son and daughter haven’t inherited my poor immune system. I remember how miserable I was as a child during periods when I was sick more often than well. Still, I wish my kids never got sick. It breaks my heart every time!

This week both of my children came down with a cold. I have a touch of it, but I’m mainly miserable because I can see how bad they feel. No, it’s nothing serious, just your normal annoying cold. But what I wouldn’t give to take their sickness away right now.

Their little runny noses, nasally voices, and coughs bring out the mother hen in me. Lots of fluids, even more rest, and homemade chicken noodle soup—that’s what Mommy prescribes. They get a little grumpy at me with my smothering mothering sometimes. I guess I can over do it now and then. But hopefully one day they will see that I’m only pushy and obnoxious because I care and worry.

It is times like this that remind me of just how much my children mean to me. And then I am reminded that I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if anything ever happened to them. Most of the time, I’m a laidback mom. I don’t usually get too paranoid, although there are certain rules my kids are NEVER allowed to break (i.e., helmets must be worn with bikes).

Still, I know there is a protective side of me that would go berserk if anyone or anything threatened my kids. They really are my world. They are a big part of my existence. I realize now that I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I never had them. They bring out all the best things in me and make me constantly desire to be better. There really isn’t anything I would do to protect and provide for my son and daughter.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Leprechauns Among Us

Our leprechaun trap
This week, for a class project, my 7-year-old son was asked to build a leprechaun trap. His teacher shared a website with many trap ideas. My son chose one of the designs and decided to modify it to make it his own.

Since then, my children have been debating whether or not leprechauns exist and have been searching for evidence of their existence all over our home. Watching their curiosity and listening to their cute leprechaun discussions inspired me to write the following poem:

Look under the table,
And check under your chair--
A creature of fable
Could be lurking somewhere!

The windows are shut tight,
And all the doors are fast,
But during this March night,
Magic may come at last.

Hide all glittery things,
Especially the gold,
Before the gleaming brings
Leprechauns to behold

And steal it all away
To hide at rainbow’s end
For their joy night or day,
Brightened by colors’ bend

But for you brave of heart
And curious of mind--
Using science and art;
A trap nicely designed--

Could lure a leprechaun
And capture him tonight…
And St. Patrick’s Day dawn
Could promise treasure bright,

Yes, leprechauns, once caught,
Will give up their whole hoard
In their overflowing pot
If their freedom’s restored!

Will you and your family be brave enough and try to catch a leprechaun this year?  Happy St. Patrick's Day from my family to yours!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

That's So Rad!

A page from my my daughter's book

My daughter has decided that she wants to be a writer some day just like Mommy, so she’s been creating her own little books this week.  Since she is only in kindergarten, I am often amused by some of her little spelling errors.  Today, she made a 4-page story for me and my fiancĂ©, complete with cute illustrations and staples to hold the papers together.

As I read each page, I was so proud of my little girl!  Just this year her handwriting, spelling, and artwork have blossomed.  Her books are so adorable that I want to scoop her up in my arms and give her a giant bear hug every time.  Seeing her share my love of drawing, writing, and reading will forever stay in a special place in my heart.

When I reached the last page of her latest book, though, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud!  There, above a cute illustration herself, my daughter had written, “The hat is rad.”  Although I knew right away that she had meant “red” not “rad”, it made me chuckle until I teared up.  Confused, she asked me, “What’s so funny, Mommy?”

I asked her if she knew what “rad” means and she only shook her head.  In my explosive giggling state, her puzzled look only made me laugh harder.  How do you explain to a 5-year-old that years ago—which seems like an eternity for her—that you and your little friends used to think they were so cool by calling things “radical” or “totally rad”?  Yeah, we thought we were big shots back then.  Now those terms have fallen away replace all new slang words.

It makes me wonder what else my kids will never experience.  Because I still love to play records, they know what a record player is.  However, they have never seen someone make a mixed tape.  They have no idea what a pager is.  They have never gotten the chance to feel the frustration and then the sheer joy of having to blow into their video games to make them work.  They can’t imagine life without computers, cell phones, Leap Pads, and toys with tons of features.  They are shocked when I mention that I didn’t grow up with Sponge Bob, Dora, Diego, Phineas & Ferb, or Max & Ruby.  It’s just another reminder of how things are constantly changing and how fast time flies by!

Families That Doodle Together Stay Together

Daytime & Nighttime Dancers

Ok, doodling in and of itself is not the secret that binds families together.  However, this week, I was reminded of just how important shared interests and family fun are in encouraging strong bonds.  A friend of mine was talking on Facebook about a cool free site that she loves to use for doodle breaks:  After seeing some of her beautiful drawings, I HAD to check it out for myself.

Although not the most talented, I am an artist at heart.  Years ago, I regularly painted and sketched as hobbies.  But with the chaos of motherhood, I’ve sidestepped these interests for now.  This site seemed like a small, much less expensive way to appease my creative desires (much like my recent discovery of the joys of amateur movie making last month).  So I eagerly punched in the web address and set to work at figuring out the many tools of the Pixlr Editor.

Curious to see what I was doing, my 5-year-old daughter came to watch.  Seeing all the beautiful colors and neat designs I could make on the screen, she immediately started spouting ideas for things that I could draw.  As I was randomly doodling, a face started to appear in my drawing, and my little girl exclaimed, “Mommy, we HAVE to make a girl!”

As I let inspiration and her suggestions guide my hand, in time our shared project took shape and we decided to make it a doodle of daytime and nighttime dancers.  It’s not a masterpiece, but the smiles it brought to our faces were.  It was so incredibly fun to do something randomly creative with my little one and to see where our combined ideas could take us!  Within a half an hour, we had created something new and unique—something that neither of us would have been able to make without the other.  In this little drawing, I still see my princess’s excitement and enthusiasm and I can still hear her giggles and squeals of delight.

We have already made plans to print this doodle out, frame it, and then start our own wall of family art.  With a simple site, we have ignited a common family interest and years from now, we will have these memories and art to share.  There is something about hands united in a mutual activity that reminds us of how lucky we are to have our family and of why we work so hard every week to keep our family happy, healthy, and provided for.

What do you do with your children to help keep your family strong and connected?

Friday, March 8, 2013

My Babies Yesterday, Today & Always

My princess at 2 years old

My son and daughter will always be my babies, no matter how old they become.  However, now that they are a first grader and a kindergartner  I sometimes miss their younger days.  I know that every moment wasn’t easy.  In fact, they had me constantly on my toes with their creative mischief.

Still, every time I see an old photo of their dimpled smiles, chubby faces, and tiny hands and feet, my heart begins to melt and ache just a little.  I miss the koala bear hugs, the long cuddles, the sloppy kisses, and the irresistible giggles.  I long for the relentless curiosity, the sweet innocence, and yes, that new baby smell.

When my children were smaller I gave them both snuggle names.  My son was my Cuddle Bug, and my daughter was my Snuggle Bunny.  They were Mommy’s babies to the core and adored hugging and cuddling up with me for hours.  It was the greatest feeling ever!

My kids continue to be affectionate, but it has changed.  They no longer want to sit in my lap nearly as much.  They have much more important things to do these days like play with their friends or go off on their own adventures.  I still get hugs and kisses, but they aren’t nearly as clingy or slobbery.  Plus, they are usually reserved for bedtime or special times.

I know my kids can’t stay small forever, and I’m so proud of how much they have grown and blossomed over the years.  But part of me will always miss the days when I was the center of their world.  Life will continue to move on, and they will continue to grow.  They will eventually have families of their own someday.  Yet, one thing will never change: they will forever be the center of MY world!