Here I Am

Each day I’m taken by the beauty that is my hometown of Livermore. The fact that Livermore was one of the winners of last years Great American Main Street Award (which means our Main Street is one of the best in the country) is not really a surprise to any of us who live here.

But for me what makes this town great is all the memories of all the perfect moments that this town is full of. Memories of playing in the fountain downtown or learning to drive and of course memories of walking every single inch of this town over the course of my lifetime.

Friday was a reflective moment for me when I walked with Patrick’s class to Livermore’s own Firehouse 6 to see the world’s oldest light bulb. That same light bulb that has been burning for 105 years here in Livermore. As we walked along East Ave. watching the beautiful landscape of the Livermore hills I realized just how lucky I am.

Our life may not be perfect. We may not be rich and things may not always be easy for us. But our life, it’s full of little moments. Warm sunny beautiful moments. Field trips to firehouses’. Ice Cream on a Sunday afternoon. Roses in full bloom. Laughing with my husband. Water balloon fights on aspring day.

And of course, waking up every morning to find my bed full of the three most important people in the world.

We have so many little moments that I could never begin to count them all. And almost every single one is set against the backdrop of this town. My hometown, my Livermore.

Once upon a time I was a teenager here and I daydreamed about all the places I would someday live and wondered where I would someday start my “real” life. Never did I imagine that at 32 I’d still be here raising my own family.  But here I am. And there isn’t anywhere else in the world that I’d rather be.

The Story of Easter

Our Backyard Tree in the Dead of Winter

I’ve written before about how I’m not big on the whole structured religion thing and as my children get older I ponder how I should go about dealing with the topic of religion. Today was Easter, which of course brought the whole religious thing into question, again. So how do I explain Easter? I mean truthfully Easter originally is a Pagan holiday (Eoster) which (like Christmas) got painted with the Christianity wand. So what do I tell them?

Well I opted for a simpler tale of rebirth. Outside we have a huge tree that shades half of our backyard in the summer. It’s one of the most gorgeous trees I’ve ever seen. During the winter the tree has been bare but in recent weeks it’s slowly began springing back to life with tons of bright green leaves. Also in our backyard are the sprouts in both our vegetable garden and flower garden. There are coming to life as well and slowly growing into the full rich colorful gardens they will be throughout the summer.

So instead of trying to explain the story of the Resurrection I took my kids outside. We looked at the beautiful tree that had been dead all winter and examined all the signs that it was indeed coming back to life. That, I told my kids, was what Easter was about. The changing of the season. When the cold harsh winter moves away and all that was asleep or dead comes back to life again.

I think by giving my kids a good spiritual base that is more about nature and just the life force that flows in and out of all of us, I’m giving them a strong foundation to help them as they grow older to seek the path that works for them.

Or maybe I just don’t feel like going to church.

So if you’re not exactly overly religious, or not religious at all, do you make any attempts at trying to explain holidays like Easter? Or do you just let them thing the whole thing is Easter Bunnies and chocolate eggs?

Pictures

Most of you on Facebook may have noticed the retro thing going on with people’s profile pictures. Well considering how many dozens photo albums and picture boxes I have stocked full of millions of pictures, I thought it would be fun to pull out some old pictures, scan them and then tag all my old school friends. But instead I ended up spending an entire evening pouring through every single photo album and photo box I own.

I have pictures that of course begin with me as a baby, my childhood, teen years and into the years my husband and I were dating, our wedding and of course there were tons of both pregnancies and the kids all the way through now. My mind is kind of racing full of all the memories. It’s so weird to look back and see how much I’ve grown and changed. And even weirder to see how much the kids have grown and changed. I swear it was just yesterday that they were born. Then again I would’ve sworn that it was only yesterday that I got married or graduated high school…

There were so many pictures that just took me back. Friends and family that have long since passed away, friends that are still in my life today. So many people and so many memories.

Nothing puts your life into a sharper focus then looking back over your life in pictures. It reminds you of where you come from and who you are. It also reminded me of just how fast my babies are growing and that I should take time to slow down and smell the roses with them more often.

My dad took this picture when I was in elementary school. He told me to picture the woman I’d be when I was 30 and to say hi to that woman. And now here I am, 32, looking at that same picture, saying hi back to that girl I once was.

I never did scan any pictures and upload them to Facebook. Maybe tomorrow…

The Truth About Mommy

I will never be that mom who’s got it all together. I will never be the mom who remembers every little date, the gift for the teacher and the Tiger Scout meeting all on the same day. I just never will be.

I will always be the one whipping out the permission slip at the last possible moment where it is has sat crumpled and washed in the back pocket of my jeans. I am the mom who when asked for a tissue will always have one, it will just take 10 minutes of fishing through my purse to find it.

I can never go grocery shopping without forgetting at least one thing. In fact, I always count on having to go right back out again. Have I ever lied to my child that there were no more cookies, just cause I was saving the last one for myself? Sure, I’ll be honest. We’re all friends here, right?

But my kids are loved, clothed, and fed. It may have been hot dogs and macaroni & cheese, but they’re fed and they think I’m awesome…. Most of the time anyway.

It’s important to be honest about our imperfections when it comes to motherhood. Because we all have imperfections. There is no such thing as the perfect mother. All we can do is the best we can and laugh off the rest.

Any mom who appears to have it all together is just putting on a show. Somewhere beneath that cool mom exterior is a sink full of dirty dishes and a Calgon commercial waiting to happen. Just like the rest of us.

I think that’s why mom blogs and books like See Mom Run (edited by Beth Feldman, RoleMommy.com) appeal to me. I like to see the perfect mom come clean and show that she’s no better or worse than the rest of us.

So next time you’re not having one of you’re best mommy days, remember you’re not alone. And if you need reminding pick up See Mom Run and read Ciaran Blumenfeld’s “bad thai-ming” or “the secret” by Meredith Jacobs. Or any of the other hilarious essays in the book.

Just knowing that I’m not the only mom who actually has made a few mistakes on the way makes me sleep better at night. But just a little better, I mean I do have kids you know. So I don’t sleep that much…

This post was inspired by the svmoms book club book, see mom run, a collection of essays written by the world’s most harried moms and funniest women in the blogosphere.  I did receive a free copy of the book but have in no other way been compensated for this post.  If you want to borrow it you can, but please return it when you’re finished. If you want your own copy to keep join your own damn book club.

The Birth of Evil Mommy

Ok, so I know that Supernanny would probably be here in an instant. And I know that Dr. Phil would have me shipped off to his boot camp so fast my head would probably spin. I know all this because I have worked with kids on and off since I was in high school. I have credits in Early Childhood Development and a library of books on child rearing. Including my college textbooks. So I know what I’m about to tell you is soooooo wrong.

Recently in the heat of a weak moment I did something. The house was in shambles and the kids were refusing to clean up. Not just refusing, but downright telling us NO. And in a moment of complete weakness I broke down and told them that if they didn’t start listening Evil Mommy was going to come down and make them.

That’s right. Evil Mommy. I told my children that I was the good mommy and Evil Mommy lives in the attic and would come down if she didn’t like the way they were behaving. Evil Mommy hates TV. She hates video games and toys. And she ESPECIALLY hates little boys and girls who talk back to their parents.

My kids DID NOT LIKE THIS.

Right away through sniffled tears they started cleaning. Right away I knew what I’d told them was wrong. But is it really any different than threatening to cancel Christmas by calling Santa and telling him not to come? Something I KNOW many of you have told your kids at one point or another.

And there was a kid’s book that I loved growing up that had a similar story… Miss Nelson is Missing.

So while I know that somewhere Supernanny is cringing in her sleep, part of me found some evil satisfaction in the fact that my kids suddenly were very intent on listening to me.

I know, I’m a bad mom.

I have not come clean with my kids about the Evil Mommy not really existing. But I’m no longer threatening to bring her down either. You never know, I may just need to conjure her up again someday.

So tell me, what’s the worst thing YOU’VE told your kids in order to get them to shape up?

Catching Butterflies and Lessons in Love


Yesterday my little girl went butterfly catching. She went with a neighbor, her son and of course my son. They went around the corner to the park where there has been a ton of butterflies due to migrating habits lately.

When they returned my daughter was so proud that she had caught one. There was this precious little butterfly in a little butterfly habitat with a few leaves and some flowers. She proudly showed it to everyone she could and we placed it on top of the bookshelf to keep it out of Blossom the cat’s grasp.

I asked her if we were going to let it go, and she looked at me with her big blue eyes and said “NO Mommy! She’s my butterfly.” I figured we’d deal with it in a few days and let it go. This morning the first thing she did was take down the butterfly habitat and laid down on the floor next to it. She quietly whispered to the butterfly, “Hey girl, how was your night?” Needless to say, my daughter was attached.

Later in the day as I tried to round up my daughter for lunch, she refused to answer me. Which is not too out of the ordinary for my little Diva, so I went in search of her. I found her sitting quietly behind the couch downstairs beside our sliding glass door looking out into the backyard. Before I could tell her to come upstairs for lunch I saw the very crushed look she had on her face. AND the empty butterfly habitat beside her.

I asked her what happened and where her butterfly was. With big tears streaming down she pointed outside where I saw the leaves and flowers on the back patio. “I let her go home, and now I miss her!” She said as she ran to me and burst into a hyper cry.

While part of me broke inside seeing her so sad, a bigger part of me swelled with love and pride. My daughter had just learned a life lesson that I could never explain or teach her. When you love something, set it free.

I ached for her, but told her how happy the butterfly was and how happy the butterfly’s family was going to be to see her back home. Then we ate lunch, where she got a couple cookies for being so sweet to her butterfly.

4 years old and already she understands something about love that some adults never understand.

I love being a mom.