Thursday, January 23, 2014

Mom of the Year

Mornings around here can be a little rough.  

They start out good enough, full of good intentions and happy thoughts and warm fuzzies, but then, well, the minutes just keep ticking by and real life sets in.  Along with harsh realities and less-than-pleasant thoughts and a few words that get mumbled under my breath in hopes that my children can't hear them and repeat them at school.

They repeat everything at school, remember?

My son is a bit on the pokey side.  Ok, a lot on the pokey side.  As in gets completely distracted and lost in his own thoughts and forgets that he is actually supposed to be doing something in the here and now.  Morning just compounds this whole nature of his.  Adding on a Michelin Man layer of winter gear doesn't help either.

We've tried getting up earlier.  We've tried incentive charts.  We've tried letting him sleep a few minutes later.  We've tried laying everything out the night before.  All great ideas, right?  That's basically all they are.  Great ideas.  Nothing has actually worked to help him move any faster or be ready any earlier.

But miracles do happen.

Last week, there was a day when my son was ready early.  Yes, EARLY.  As in ready to go with a minimal number of kicks in the butt from yours truly.  There were high 5's all around and much jubilation and celebration and then the best news of all...I told him he had a few extra minutes to play before heading out to the bus.  

You should know it has been frigid...literally...around here lately.  Buses have been late with all the snow and ice, and waiting outside for the bus has been miserable.  We've been heading out the door at the time the bus is scheduled to come, and then usually still have a 2-3 minute wait.  Which still feels like 2-3 hours when it is 2 degrees outside.  Yes, really, 2 degrees.  And that is without the windchill.  But I digress...

Wouldn't you know, the day my son was EARLY (I said it again...EARLY!!) just so happened to be the day the bus was early.  WAIT, WHAT?!  As I sent my son off to play with his Legos while bundled up in snow gear from head to toe, and bent down to pick up his backpack near the front door, I heard a faint, familiar, rumbling sound.  As I looked out the window, I saw it.  I had visual confirmation of what I had just heard.

My son's bus cruising on by our house.

A full 5 minutes early, which was actually more like 10 minutes early from what it had been the last few weeks.

I was pretty much in shock as I turned to my husband and uttered the words, "His bus just drove by!"  The ONE DAY my son was ready not only on time, but EARLY, and I blew it!!  His moment of glory, his time in the sun, poof! out the window.  What's worse was that he now connected getting ready early to getting the frequently-asked-for-rarely-granted ride to school.  This was not the Pavlovian connection I was hoping for!

Sign me up.  Submit your paperwork now, ladies and gentlemen.  I'm a shoe in, hands down winner.  This fiasco has earned me top honors...

Yes, that is correct.  Mom of the Year, right here.

I wish this was the one and only time I can say I've earned this coveted honor.  But that would be a lie.  

There could be the time I dropped my son off at preschool and he was crying because he wanted to leave, my daughter was crying because she wanted to stay, and his teacher was letting me know I hadn't turned in any of the paperwork that had been due before school started.

Mom of the Year

Or the time I locked my kids in the car.  Along with my keys.  In my day care provider's driveway.

Mom of the Year

Or the time I was in a tickle fight with my son and in the midst of all the hilarity and laughing and good ole fashioned fun, I proceeded to completely scratch a layer of epidermis of my poor kid's cheek with my much too long (and apparently sharp) finger nail.

Mom of the Year

I could go on, but I don't want to intimidate anyone with my amazing parenting skills.  No, I'm not one to brag so I'll stop with my tales of my consecutive Mom of the Year titles right there.  I know, you're in total awe of my awesomeness right now...or perhaps you're just in awe that my kids have survived as long as they have!

We all have our days.  We all have our moments.  When you have your Mom of the Year moment, just remember, you're not alone.  Kids can be driven to school.  Locksmiths can come unlock cars.  Scratches heal.  You love your kids more than anything in the whole wide world, and that is what matters.  That truly does make you Mom of the Year.

Some days, you're Mom of the Year.  Some days, you're not.  Everyday, You Are a Good Mom.

If you have any Mom of the Year submissions of your own, feel free to leave them in a comment below!  I'd be happy to share my title with anyone who wants a piece of the glory.


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Thursday, January 16, 2014

One Year Later

One year ago, I made a really scary decision.

I hit "publish."

Actually, that's not true.  One year and one week ago I hit "publish."  That was January 10.  I had this crazy idea to start a blog and write a post about four little words a stranger said to me in Meijer just before Christmas and I hit "publish" and words I had written were out there on the Internet.

But not really.

Nobody really knew it was there, knew to look for it, knew where to find.  It took me about 3 days, and I shared that first blog post with my mom.  And then my sister.  And they both said lots of nice things, which I figured was their duty as my mom and my sister, but they also encouraged me to share it with others.  So I did.

But it took me a week.

It took me an entire week to work up the nerve to actually share that first blog post, to put it out there and let someone else read it.  I was terrified.  But then you came.  And you clicked.  And you read.  And you commented and you "liked" and you "shared."  And then it wasn't quite so scary any more.

I came to find out there were other moms...and dads...who had felt what I had felt, been where I had been, lived what I had lived, and connected with what I had written that day.  They had needed to hear those four little words...You're a Good Mom...just as badly as I had.  They needed to be reminded they were good enough, strong enough, worthy enough to take on the huge role that is parenthood.  They needed to know they were not alone.

And then I felt not quite so alone.

For that, and so much more, I say thank you.

Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.

Thank you for reading.  Thank you for following.  Thank you for commenting and "liking" and "sharing."  It means more to me than any of you will ever, ever know.

It's hard to believe it's been an entire year since that first post.  What an incredible, amazing journey it has been!  I am so very thankful for all of you that have come along on this journey with me.  

One later, now more than ever, please hear and take these words to heart...You Are a Good Mom.

In celebration of this "blog-iversary," would you consider sharing your "You're a Good Mom" moment?  Share a time when you most needed to be reminded that You're a Good Mom, a time when truly felt like a Good Mom, or even just encouraging words for others to read to remind them that they are a Good Mom.  I would LOVE to hear from you!  Feel free to comment below on the blog or on Facebook.  Thanks!


If you haven't already, be sure to stop by and check out the "You're a Good Mom" page on Facebook.  "Like" it and any new blog posts will be delivered right to your news feed! Thanks!!

Thursday, January 9, 2014


You could say we've had a little bit of snow around here lately...

Yup, just a touch.

And when that much snow combines with windchill in the negative double digits -- (Let that sink in for a minute.  Negative.  Double.  Digits.) --  you're bound to have a snow day.  Or two.  Or three.

And all those snow days can lead to this...

That would be an entire Christmas party for 26 kindergartners, complete with the class gift of 2 sets of Legos for the teacher, packed, waiting and ready to go.  Both the bag and package are packed and ready to go for my son's class party tomorrow, just as they were packed and ready to go 22 days ago.  The party has now been scheduled, re-scheduled and re-rescheduled for tomorrow.  Here's hoping the bag actually gets unpacked and the package actually gets opened.  Although based on the track record to this point, there is a high percentage there will now be a random snow storm, crazy flooding, or an unexplainable power outage at my son's school tomorrow.  Stay tuned...

To sum up all that snow day business, my son had a snow day the Friday before Christmas break, as well as the Monday and Tuesday following Christmas break.  I'm not yet sure how I'm going to explain to him for the rest of his educational career that no, he does not actually get nearly 3 weeks off from school at Christmas.  

All those snow days ended up being both a blessing and a curse.  By the middle of the day Monday, I was about pulling my hair out, as were both of my kids.  They were sick of me, sick of each other, and most of all, sick of being stuck inside.  By the time my son was headed back to school on Wednesday, I must admit, I felt a slight feeling of...well...relief!

But then a strange thing happened.  Wednesday morning came, and I packed my son up and sent him off to school.  A glorious day of no sibling fighting, getting back into routine, and hopes of finding the carpet in my son's bedroom under all those pieces.  Oh happy day!

Except it wasn't.  When I went to wake my son up in the morning, I found myself climbing under the covers with him.  I wanted to snuggle him for just a few extra minutes.  As he ate breakfast, I found myself listening a little more and talking a little less.  As I watched him waddle out to the bus stop in his layers and layers of winter gear, I missed him already.  The day before, I was counting the hours until school would be back in session.  At that moment, I was wishing for them back.  

Fear not...the day did have some quite happy moments, like getting to the grocery store, putting some Christmas toys away, and enjoying some one-on-one time with my daughter.  But I did find myself missing my son throughout the day.  I had forgotten how nice it was to have him around all day.  To hear his laugh, to see the goofy faces he makes, to just know he's there, even if he's playing in another room.  I think my daughter found herself in the same situation, as she asked me "Where's my brother?" no less than 5 times that day.

It seems like a lot of parenting ends up feeling like that for ponging back and forth between losing my mind and in a weird twist of events, actually finding myself missing the fact that I'm no longer losing my mind.  Being exhausted and praying for bedtime, but then missing their sweet little sleeping faces; counting down the days until I get a night out, and then counting down the minutes until I get to pick them up from my mom's the next morning; hoping to survive a snow day trapped inside, and then missing my son when he's off to school the next day.  

Now, if I can just get that Christmas party under my belt...

Whether snow days are your friend, your foe, or both, You Are a Good Mom.


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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Christmas Has Left Me in Pieces

I love Christmas.  Christmas decorations, Christmas songs, Christmas trees, Christmas morning.  Christmas, Christmas, Christmas.  I love it all.

But this year, Christmas has left me in pieces.

Hundreds of them.  Thousands of them.  Millions of them.

They are everywhere.

Playmobil pieces, Lego bricks, magnet dress up sets, craft name it, it's spread from one end of our house to the other.

To make matters worse, it appears as though the more pieces a toy has, the more my children love to play with it.  Everywhere.  In every room of the house.  Which of course means that of that 384-piece toy my kids love, those 384 pieces will never again all be in the same room, let alone bucket, basket or handy storage container that came with said toy again.  Ever.  

I enter the following photographs into evidence.  I take full responsibility, as many of these gifts were supplied by my very own hands.  Please note, none of these photos have been staged or altered in anyway.  This is just my real, live, post-Christmas house.  Don't judge.

Exhibit A: Angry Birds Pirate Ship

This game works just like the app.  You're supposed to build a pirate ship, complete with pigs nestled in random nooks and crannies, then send the Angry Bird (on overturned car picture above) up the ramp to knock it down.  Here is the problem.  It's supposed to break down easily, which means it pretty much breaks every time we try to set it up.  Hence the pile of pieces on the living room floor.  Thanks, Santa.

Exhibit B:  Art Kit

This picture does not do this art kit justice.  It came with stamps, stickers, paint, more stickers, crayons, markers, foam pieces, and more stickers.  Pieces.

Please note the handy dandy storage container next to the crayons and markers.  Quite effective, isn't it?  Yes, Santa, thanks again.

Exhibit C: Calico Critters Schoolhouse

Just imagine every single, little piece a mouse would need for school.  Books, pencils, desks, even a graduation cap and gown.  Yup, it's all there.  All of it.  

Exhibit D: Fire Truck Play Set

Apparently, this toy company was not satisfied with merely a fire truck.  Absolutely not.  It needed to add some more 42 street signs, some random cans and portions of the truck that can be removed.  It's almost like the fire already happened, and just left a path of destruction behind.  

Exhibit E: Legos

This is only the tip of the iceberg.  It represents about 1/100 of the Lego pieces we now have in our house, after all the Legos my kids received for Christmas this year have now combined with the Legos that were already in our house.  I think they've been somehow secretly reproducing at night.  

(Honestly, what I love most about this picture is that the Legos are in my daughter's room, on her night stand.  Like it was the very last thing she did before dozing off to sleep.)

Exhibit F: Nativity Set

Baby Jesus, I love you.  I really, really love you.  And I love your birthday.  But even your set up comes with pieces, pieces and more pieces!

Exhibit G: Reindeer Bead Kit

This one takes the cake.  Right there on the package, it boasts '225 beads,' like it's a good thing.  225 beads.  225 pieces.  All over my kitchen floor, about 14 different times over Christmas vacation, as my kids loved to start this project and still have yet to complete it.  

And just for good measure...

Some rogue Playmobil Knights, planning their next attack from under my son's bed.

Learning to Love the Little Pieces

Even though this Christmas has left me in pieces, there is a little part of me that actually loves it, just a little bit.  

(That part would not be my feet.  They hate it.  They have stepped on just about every type of teeny tiny toy possible in the last 10 days.)  

The part of me that loves it, loves it because all those millions of pieces all over my house actually mean some pretty great things.  

It means that my kids are playing.  Even better, they are playing with each other.

It means that they are using their imaginations.

It means that in order to leave those piles of pieces behind, they had to not be parked in front of a TV screen, a computer screen or an iPad screen.

It means that there are lots and lots of people in my kids' lives that love them, and give them lots of things with lots of little pieces.

It means that my kids are still kids, and they still love to play with toys.

It means that these memories of millions of little tiny pieces all over the place are mine.  All mine.  They can never be taken away.  Even when my kids have outgrown toys for electronic devices; even when they're out with their friends more than home with me; even when they're off at college and not living here at home with me.  I will think back to these memories of millions of pieces. 

And that, without a doubt, will leave me in pieces.  

No matter how many pieces are strewn throughout your house at any given moment, You Are a Good Mom.


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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Mom's Revised List of New's Years Resolutions

It's a New Year, so a new blog post seemed fitting today.

That, and sitting with my laptop, writing a blog entry, falls into the category "Can be Accomplished while Sitting on my Couch in my Pajamas."  

Other activities in this category for today include, but are not limited to, holding my sleeping 8-month-old niece, watching the Rose Bowl and drinking coffee while eavesdropping on my kids as they fill the laundry basket with their stuffed animals and send them down the stairs.  2014 is off to a good start!

Because I am, indeed, being so very ambitious on this first day of the New Year, I figured I'd jot down my New Year's Resolutions.  They are a work in progress.

A Mom's Revised List of New Year's Resolutions

1.  Serve only gluten-free, organic, vegan, free range, low carb, unprocessed, non-GMO foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

1.  Prepare delicious, homemade, healthy meals for my family every night.

1.  Provide some type of daily sustenance for my husband and children, whether at home, at a restaurant or from a drive thru window.  Leave enough Goldfish cracker crumbs in my kids' car seats so they can snack as necessary.  

2. Workout every day for 2 hours, while burning fat and building muscle, until I have rock hard gluts and chiseled abs.

2.Lift some weights to remove the "grandma jiggle" from my triceps and run on the treadmill daily.

2.  Try to take the stairs instead of the elevator at the mall every third Saturday of the month.  

3.  Go to bed by 9:00pm each night and wake up, refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to tackle the day with only optimistic, positive thoughts, at 5:00am each morning.

3.  Actually listen to my body, crying out from exhaustion, and go to bed when I'm tired at 11:00pm.

3.  Crawl into bed before 1:00am, after finding the inner strength and willpower to actually turn off Netflix after finishing an episode of "Bones," instead of letting the next episode start automatically for the 4th time that night.
4.  Sort, organize and label all of the photographs ever taken of each of my children, and create unique, detailed, creative scrapbooks of each year of each of their lives.

4.  Attempt to get all of the digital pictures off of my camera, and use those pictures to make updated picture frame collages to be displayed prominently throughout our home.

4.  Snap some photos with my iPhone and add them to albums I've already created on Facebook or text them to my family.

5.  Purge all unused, outdated, outgrown items from all closets, dressers, bookcases and storage areas.  Organize all useful items into color-coded Rubermaid tubs, providing easy acess for any member of the family at any time.

5. Keep toys and clutter picked up by completing one of the 2,354 organizational things I pinned on Pinterest last year.

5.  Try to have visual confirmation that there is actually carpet on the floor in either of my children's bedrooms or our living room on a somewhat monthly basis.  

With these few minor tweaks, these Resolutions might just be within my grasp this year...

...or maybe it turns out I'm not so good at this whole Resolution business after all.  I feel like it's something I try to do every year, but as soon as the calendar flips to January 2nd or "real life" comes back into play once vacation is over, all resolutions pretty much fly out the window.   

Even if a New Year's Resolution isn't my thing, I do feel like a New Year is a chance for a fresh start.  It's a time to reflect on the year behind me, and look forward to the year ahead. In thinking about finishing one year and being at the top of a brand spankin' new one, I suppose I do have a slightly different list of things I can focus on.

A Mom's Truly Revised List of the "Me I'd Like to Be This Year-lutions"
1.  Be more patient with my kids.  And my husband.  And myself.
2.  Live in the moment, and appreciate every one of them God has blessed me with.
3.  Laugh more.  Worry less.
4.  Let go of the guilt. 
5.  Trust myself and my instincts.

The moral of this story is as a New Year arrives, don't be too hard on yourself.  In this season of Resolutions, take a minute and celebrate all that was right and good and wonderful about last year.  Cut yourself some slack, and remember that while it's good to lose 5 pounds, clean our your closets and create a budget you'd like to stick to, even if those things don't quite play out the way you imagine, you are doing the thing that matters most...You're a Good Mom.  

Every day when you wake up and change diapers, pack lunches, read bedtime stories, wash underwear, run the dishwasher, drive to basketball practice and tuba lessons and drama rehearsals, you have carried out the very best Resolution of all: loving on your kids.  The everyday, seemingly mundane tasks you are doing day in and day out, that sometimes don't feel very "resolution-y" or life changing at all, are some of the most important.  You have resolved to stay committed to the most wonderful, exhausting, exhilarating, boring, rewarding, thankless job on the planet...Motherhood.

So Happy New Year!  Bring on 2014!  May it be filled with blessings beyond your wildest dreams and may the worst days of the year ahead be better than the best days of the year behind.

Remember, You Are a Good Mom.  There is no Resolution you need to make about that.

[And to every one of you that told me over the holidays you missed my blog posts, or asked me in the last few weeks if I had written anything new, or inquired if your iPhone somehow deleted my blog from the Internet, thank you.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  You can totally take credit for this post actually making it to the great big world wide web.  You were the kick in the butt I needed.  You actually read this entire post.  You rock.]


If you haven't already, be sure to stop by and check out the "You're a Good Mom" page on Facebook.  "Like" it and any new blog posts will be delivered right to your news feed!  Thanks!!
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