Wise Words for Wednesday

Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. ~Hans Christian Anderson
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Tips on Taking Time For Yourself Each Day, Even When There’s None to Spare


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Thanks to Crystal Light for sponsoring this post. To learn more about how Crystal Light can flavor your day with 30 refreshing flavors, visit http://www.facebook.com/crystallight.

As a mom it’s not always easy to find time for yourself. And often when you do it somehow feels like it’s at the expense of someone else in the family. But as research and personal experience shows, taking a little time for you is VITAL to be a good parent, a healthy person and just plain happier.

Even with my kids in school (one only in school for a couple of hours at that) I still struggle to find time for myself that doesn’t involve cleaning or working. But lately I’ve been working hard at making it happen, and I’m starting to get better at it.

Here are a few things you can find a little time to yourself even when you don’t have any to spare.

  • Garden – OK so gardening can be a bit of work in the beginning but once it’s going strong the actual “gardening’ part can be very therapeutic. Weeding, watering and harvesting have been soul-soothing activities for thousands of years. When the weather is right you can let the kids loose in the yard while you get some earthy time in the dirt.
  • Read – Most schools ask that your kids read 15 to 20 minutes a day, each day. At our school we actually have to sign a sheet that the child did read for that period of time. Instead of nagging your child from the kitchen, sit down and read a book or magazine of your own. This will help encourage your child to work on their reading and give you 15 minutes of quiet reading time.
  • Early to Bed Early to Rise – Make it a point to get up 15 to 30 minutes early than the rest of your house. Read, do some yoga or just enjoy a quiet cup of coffee before the chaos of the morning starts. And set a decent and early bedtime for your kdis and stick to it. Then use that time to unwind from the day, catch up on Facebook, go to sleep early or simply watch a little TV with your spouse.

These things may not seem like much but incorporating them into your daily routine can do wonders for your stress level, your health and even your ability to be a good mom.
Remember, visit http://www.facebook.com/crystallight to learn more about how Crystal Light can flavor your day with 30 refreshing flavors. I was selected and paid for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

On A Clear Day I Can See a Very Long Way

Today, while looking for some Christmas videos for the kids first day of vacation, I came across a stack of home movies. I pulled out one and popped it in. I started watching footage of me when I was pregnant with Patrick and went all the way to Cheyanne’s first year.

I was amazed.

Not just that my seven and five year old kids were ever that young, but that life was ever so simple. We looked so blissful and in the moment happy. Not that I didn’t know we were happy, I remember being very happy during those years. But I also remember being in such a hurry. Read more

The Magic of Santa

At seven and five respectively my son and daughter are not overly suspicious about Santa Claus. Though some things have had to be explained to them to keep the magic going, the actual idea if Santa Clause coming to our house on Christmas Eve and leaving toys for them is pretty set in stone.

The other Santa’s around town are easily explained away by telling my kids that those Santa’s are just the real Santa’s helpers because he’s far to busy to visit each and every town during the month of December. So while the Santa’s we see at the store are not the “real Santa” they do have a direct link and can easily report back to the big man any details about Christmas wishes. Read more

Our Summer Vacation

This summer was pretty awesome. Though I guess it had it’s not so great moments, but all in all it was a pretty awesome summer. We covered a lot of ground and really got out there to see some of our very own Bay Area.

I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that I decided to coincide a post on what I did this summer with a post I planned on doing on “what brings me joy.”

The obvious answer when asked what brings me joy is my kids. But that seemed too simple. And as I looked back over the summer I realized that it’s not just hanging out with my kids that have brought me joy this summer, but hanging with my kids at this age that they are at. Read more

Anne Frank and the Truths I’m Not Ready to Tell

Last week we went to the library. Each of the kids picked out a few favorites and I went in search of a couple of books I wanted to read to them. This month we celebrate the birthday of Anne Frank. Knowing that there were a few kid’s books about Anne Frank I searched through the stacks until I found one that seemed like a suitable book and checked it out along with the rest.

Anne Frank is such an iconic figure to me. I hold the memory of reading the Diary of Anne Frank for the first time very close to my heart. And even now in my 30s, nothing puts my life into perspective like thinking about Anne Frank.

Patrick and Cheyanne are seven and five. Way too young for the actual Diary of Anne Frank and for learning all about the Holocaust. While learning about both are important, at this age I feel like it would be too much for them. But I thought that a children’s book about her life would gloss over some of the aspects that they might not be ready for yet still show them what an inspiring girl she was.

Color me stupid.

That night I opened up the book and right away images of swastika’s and cartoon depictions of Hitler jumped out at us. “Who’s Hitler and why didn’t he like Anne’s family?”

I took a deep breath. Who’s Hitler? How do you explain to a seven and five year old that in the world there really are villains that are more evil than all the bad guys in the Marvel universe? Especially when in the past I’ve told them that the scary bad guys on TV and in the comic books aren’t real. How do I explain about Hitler without admitting that those bad guys do sometimes exist?

I closed the book as every picture and story I ever read or heard about the Holocaust flashed in my mind. And I looked at the book and realized that there really wasn’t a way to gloss over the fact that Anne Frank’s story ended with her dying in a concentration camp.

By telling them that story, right then at that moment, I couldn’t help but feel I’d be taking a tiny piece if their innocence away that they’d never get back.

I answered Patrick’s question simply by saying, “Hitler was a bad bad man who didn’t like people. But we’ll read this story some other time.”

Some may think I’m a chicken for closing the book, others may think I was silly to borrow it in the first place. Regardless, we all agreed on reading Humphrey the Lost Whale instead. A true story with a happier ending and no nazis.

The Things Kids Say

IMG_7241The recent banning of fast food toys has been a pretty hot topic in our house. I had written a post about the ban and how I felt about it (which, for the record I am in support of) and last week my husband and I were chatting about the ban while we were all sitting down to dinner. My son was listening intently, and after having heard us moms chattering on about it at school and now mom and dad, he was forming his own thoughts on the whole thing.

We do eat at McDonald’s. It’s only been recently that I’ve finally tried to abandon our trips to McDonald’s all together. So it was a kind of tricky moment at the dinner table trying to explain to my 7 year old why I thought it was a good idea to ban the toys. My son considered this for a moment.

Finally I asked him what he thought of it. I mean here is a7 year old boy with a toy chest full of McDonald’s toys. He is the one who would be most affected by this ban (if it were to happen on our side of the hill), so I was curious.

“I feel bad for the poor kids.” Poor kids? I asked him what he meant. He explained to my husband and I that there are a lot families who can’t afford to go out to dinner a lot. And they can never afford new toys. But sometimes they can go to McDonald’s. They get to go out to dinner AND get a new toy. How can that be bad?

His big blues eyes looked up at us and he spoke in a quiet tone. He really meant what he was saying. My heart grew about 20 sizes right then and there.

Now, my son’s argument isn’t going necessarily to change the way I feel about the ban. But it was the only argument I heard that made me stop and think a little bit more about it.

We don’t always have a way to gauge the kind of job we’re doing as parents. But sometimes, our children will open up their mouth to speak and say something that makes us, if even for just a moment, think, “Yea, we’re doing OK.”

This is an original post to the Silicon Valley Moms Blog.

Love and Laughter

I don’t think that there are really any right ways to be a mom. Every family, every house, every woman and child are different. But there are two secrets to surviving motherhood that apply to every mother. Love and Laughter. Now I think as mothers we generally have the love part down. It’s the laughter part that we seem to lose sight of from time to time. At least I know I do sometimes.

During the most chaotic days in my house I know I get caught up in the never-ending to–do lists of household chores, deadlines, homework, field trips reminders, prescriptions to pick up, etc. sometimes I forget to laugh.

But sometimes I remember. I look at my house, which is a mess, and my kids who have turned over chairs in order to create a puppet show where the puppets throw all the toys within reach across the room and laugh.

Because being a mom is silly. It’s exhausting and silly and crazy and wild. It’s like living on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Every single day. And totally the most awesome thing ever.

For the last couple weeks I’ve been spending every quiet moment I can spare (which are few & far between) to read bits and pieces of the hilarious SV Moms book club book, Just Let Me Lie Down: Necessary Terms for the Half-Insane Working Mom by Kristin Van Ogtrop.

Written as a dictionary with terms that every mom knows. It’s pretty much one big laugh out loud moment that reminded me that we need to take life just a little less seriously and enjoy it for what it is.

Awesome.

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