Category Archives: Happiness

Out of the Dumps

This is me, only my lips are smaller because I don’t have injections like the Kardashian people.

The weather is starting to chill and I can feel myself getting nervous as winter approaches. How terrible that I smell a breeze and my mind goes to the dreary-wearies, I KNOW! I’m the worst. I’m like the Pout-Pout Fish in that silly book my kids love!

Winter is coming.

I say this phrase aloud and then laugh because it feels so much more ominous now that we’ve become Game of Throners and we expect winter to bring war and carnage. Metaphorically, of course.

But I get down in the cold weather. If I feel my nose chill a little bit, I think, “Oh, dear! In no time at all, we’ll be bundled in hats and snowsuits! HELP!”

I’ve started a little mental list to help combat this silliness. It goes like this:

1.) Dance to Pharrell’s “Happy.” LM1 loves this song and so do I. He’s at the top of our playlist and we love to hold hands and bounce as high as possible while spinning in a circle. This brings up the smile count, immediately.

2.) Start sweating. I wear more sweaters than I need to and ask the kids to go for a walk with me. In no time at all, we’re wishing for a cooler breeze and catching our breaths in a pile of leaves.

3.) Get out the leaf blower. I mean, is there anything more fun that watching your kids fall down because you “accidentally” blew in their direction? (Sry, LM2, but you look like a Teletubby and it’s adorable).

4.)  Bake cookies. If there’s one great thing about winter it’s SWEATER SEASON…..and that means covering up! Bring on the COOKIES! Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe EVER. Right here! Wanna know my secret surprise? Use more brown sugar than white and use chocolate chunks instead of chips. Also, be sure to refrigerate your dough for an hour or two before scooping onto the baking sheet. YUM

5.) Sign up for swim lessons at the heated pool. YES! It’s like a bathtub, but it feels cleaner because it smells cleaner.Thank you, chlorine. And only other moms go there for the mommy-and-me swim class, so I don’t have to wear a bikini! I can wear a long-sleeved rash guard-looking thing from Athleta and NO ONE CARES. Amazing.

How are YOU going to beat the cold?!!?

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A New Natural State- Loving the Little Things

Love this day of tossing lettuce at the ducks. Amazing.

There are a few things in life that return me to what I have always thought of as “my natural state.” This phrase is simply my way of saying I’m blissed out– finding that peaceful space in my heart that is old and familiar, joyful and quiet. This feeling is something that had become less common since the little ones came along. It was just plain hard to get into my comfort zone and feel like myself.

Perhaps that sounds strange or sad– but having small children means there are more than a handful of things I cannot do for the duration and quantity of times I used to do them. This is not something to grieve– or perhaps it is, to a reasonable extent.
These pieces of my natural self felt lost:
– not getting out on the boat to read for 3-6 hours with Hubs at the bow.
– not working out at the gym for 2 hours at a time (let’s be honest– some days I’m lucky to get 15 minutes before a sweet older woman in a blue polo comes to remove me from the elliptical machine because “your baby won’t stop crying without you.”)
– not swimming by myself at the beach for an hour because, inevitably, someone wants to swim with mommy. (Still thankful that someone has yet to be a shark.)
– not taking time for simple pleasures like sipping coffee alone in a bookshop and perusing the aisles for new authors and titles means leaving my kids with someone who is not me.
– not writing. Because when I try to write while anyone in the house is awake (man, woman, boy, girl, infant, houseplant) I am distracted quickly by the other things I need to accomplish to keep our house afloat (no, we don’t live on a houseboat, but how many dishes in the sink is “too many?”). This means I write and rewrite, then I get frustrated, then I hate the paragraph I constructed, then I’m angry because I think this makes me a terrible writer– that I can’t write amidst chaos and noise.
Swallowing these facts over the years made this mom frustrated and resentful about it— which became so engulfing that I started to crave the feelings of frustration and resentment. THEY started to feel like my natural state.
Seriously. And, sadly.
I wanted to feel sorry for myself that life had changed– and fell into the seeming comforts of the “you’ve got it so toughs!” And the “it’s so hard for new mommys” and the “lets cry togethers.”
But those feelings didn’t get me so far. They distracted me from blissing out over new, intoxicatingly beautiful moments with my kids. They slapped me in the face and made me cry, and the pain took me away from catching the most incredible new memories we were forming as a family. Feeling sad and frustrated were normal and natural, but I let them take over. They distracted me from seeing that my natural state of being was changing, growing, and morphing in exciting ways.
My new self is a pretty decent mommy. What has felt, at times (too many times, if I’m being honest) like draining self-sacrifice has actually been an awakening toward a more mature, fuller, wholer (yes that’s a word (ok, no, I don’t think that’s a word)), less make-up wearing, more bra-free self.
Life is born in perspective. I was so busy mourning my former self that I forgot to welcome my new self. So my natural state, my blissed self, now includes recognizing and working on the following:
Real Fact: Life is different now.
Real Fact: I need to be more flexible. Everyday. Always. Endlessly.
Real Fact: My natural state is different than it used to be, but it doesn’t make me unnatural.
Real Fact: I can swallow my pride (ugh, literally my least favorite pastime!) and let myself go so I can become the me I have been waiting to become for a long time.
My natural state can appreciate:
– seeing my kid pantomime a pitch from the pitcher’s mound. While he cannot say pitcher, mound, swing, or miss, his heart and physical self are practicing for what’s to come
– reading books for 45 minutes with little men who don’t know how much mommy loves to read, but who love it all their own because we get to snuggle and ask each other questions (this week, particularly, about dinosaurs)
– seeing LM1 finally ride the tricycle uphill on his own– without even noticing the amazingness of his accomplishment, as if he was born to always do it
– hearing LM1 ask to visit family members we haven’t seen in a while because his memory and acknowledgment of love are so pure and natural, he merely has to ask and receive its sweetness
– seeing LM2 rebound from a fall like it was no big deal because, arent they all?
– admitting when I need a break, calling a grandparent, and accepting help from others
What have you noticed about yourself this week!?
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Slowing Down

I came across something recently that I thought to share. I read In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms, by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. I’m not one for uber-conservative, traditional thinking, but the title grabbed me just enough that I felt compelled to buy and read the book. I knew NOTHING about Dr. Laura or her radio-empire. So, it was an interesting read, needless to say.

I can’t say I would absolutely, resolutely recommend the book. I’m not into telling women what to do with their lives. I’m not into preaching at anyone to say that one way of living or behaving is better than another. So, some of Dr. Laura’s words fell flat for me. Hyper-generalizing the human experience feels so unfair. But my big take-away from her book has been in my heart for a few weeks now. I am playing something over and over again in my mind.

Dr. Laura admits that being home with the kiddies can be difficult sometimes. She acknowledges that the doldrums and monotony of housework and childcare can sometimes overwhelm. And although it sounds kind of simple, her solution for that was:

Play with your kids. 

She talks about the benefit of slowing down, relaxing, and letting yourself play with the kids. This made me consider how interesting it is that we’ve changed a woman’s title from “House Wife” to “Stay-at-Home-Mom.” One idea behind the change, as I understand it, is to acknowledge that the primary focus of the day should be on the children. We are moms before we are home managers. We are not home to clean and keep the house in order so much as we are home to care for our children in the best way possible.

When I feel like I’m failing, when I feel exhausted when I feel like I can’t get anything right, I have been thinking about that as my purpose and role:

To play with the kids. 

It’s my job to teach them, to show them, to speak with them, to share with them. It’s not my job to keep a perfect home or to make sure I finish every single thing on my To-Do list. It’s my job to raise beautiful, compassionate, self-aware, well-rounded children. And since kids learn through play, love, and attention, that’s where my energy can go when I’m bored, tired, or disenchanted.

I get down on the floor, pull out a toy we haven’t used in a while and use my imagination. I get creative. I force something up from deep down inside myself and look for the childish spirit that needs time to sprint around.

So, I’ve tried to follow through on that. I’ve worked to bring the idea into other areas of my life. When I’m just feeling plum out-of-it or a little blue, I look for some fun. I look for the things that make me feel more myself. I let myself laugh and giggle and play. The kids are learning by my example to turn a bad mood into something fun and uplifting.

I’ve even recommended the thought to Hubs. If he’s worn down, less enthusiastic, less himself, I say, “Let’s go have some fun.” We drop our projects and find something exciting to recharge our batteries.

A little play every day.

It sounds so simple, and yet, how often do I make time for real fun? Being a grown up gets a little less than sometimes.

What fun stuff have you been up to? What’s making you smile, laugh, or giggle with glee?

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Why Is Being Tired the Start of Craziness?

Whenever I get tired I start to lose my ability to function. I know this sounds obvious. Human beings need rest. We all do. But I have always been astounded at my husband’s ability to function, even when he is really tired. So I know there are humans out there who can handle exhaustion with considerably more grace than I can.

I was built differently somehow. I become beastly-monster-woman. Rationality escapes me. Short, punctuated puffs of air escape my nostrils, and no one thinks I resemble Daenerys Targaryen; they think I’m one of the dragons. And they’re probably right.

My red eyes, my menacing snarl, my desire to eat anyone who pisses me off…..I get it.

But the funny thing to me is that I entirely lose my ability to keep myself together, too. I’m not just in a bad mood: all kinds of weird and crazy things start to happen, one right after the other, none of which happened in the weeks before. Ridiculous events unfold in a matter of hours, swooping me up into what feels like a cloud of complete chaos.

Over the course of a few days, here are the ridiculous things that happened. And I PROMISE I will get some rest. And Dragon Mommy will disappear shortly.

1.) The soccer ball went into the toilet bowl. And then into the mouth of a babe. Wow #Ineedquickerreactiontime
2.) LM2 cracked my second pair of eye glasses in a month
3.)  LM2 colored on the sofa with crayons (that was a first for us)
4.) My kid squirted a stranger kid in the face with a water gun and threw a tantrum over being punished for this and having the water gun taken away (which wasn’t even ours! he swiped it from someone else!) — in public– for twenty minutes– and then tried to hug the kids for another five after the fact. Talk about split personality.
5.) I lost my cell phone.
6.) I found my cell phone– but it was outside in the rain, so it went into a bag of rice for 36 hours. Then I got rice stuck in the charge port of my cell phone and could not charge it. I’m thinking a paper clip should do the trick…
7.) I tried to go to bed early last night but was quickly rerouted by LM2’s vomit explosion. We will not feed him certain things in the future as a result of this one #lessonlearned
8.) I got kicked in the face by LM1 because (a) he didn’t want to take a shower and (b) he said the water was too hot, which I tried to explain is a fixable problem, but he didn’t believe me until I could prove it via faucet handle, after he settled down.
9.) I ordered dinner out but forgot to tell my husband where I ordered from. And my cell phone wasn’t working (I called from the laptop). Then I took the kids for a walk (because they were driving me crazy). So he had to drive around looking for us, finally found us, picked up the food, and everything was a little soggy and cold cuz it had been waiting for like 40 minutes after it was all said and done #whoops
10.) I fell at a wedding this past weekend and flashed the guests. With my nakedness. Like, the whole kit and caboodle #I’mtoooldforthis #you’rewelcome

All of this clearly means tomorrow will be an AMAZING day. I mean that seriously. I believe it! #herewego #keepcalmandcarryon

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DIY Bliss = Marital Bliss??? WTF

So, I think all the time about the things that make a marriage work…..and the things that make it not work. It’s a slippery slope sometimes, like any relationship. I used to think that fighting with my spouse, disagreeing, or getting into a bad mental place together was a sign that I had done something wrong. I would keep a running checklist in my mind, just waiting to get enough cons on the page to convince myself I was not marriage material.

This sounds so terrible to me as I write it, but it’s the truth. For many of our early years together, I just kept waiting to drop the shoe (because I was sure it would be ME to do so) all so I could prove once and for all that I was a terrible wife. I absolutely, positively do not attribute this bad attitude to my exposure to divorce, friends, family, media, crappy movies, or otherwise.

I was just a negative person.

I couldn’t measure up to my own ridiculous expectations because I hated all the traditional wifey things: cooking, cleaning, crafting, DIYing, hosting parties, gardening, interior decorating, baking, becoming a SAHM, etc. Mind you, I did all of those things but complained all the while.


It’s so lovely!!! Do you love it??? Ugh, I just love it!

What’s changed is my attitude. My frame of mind. My interest in being honest with myself and my spouse all of the time, without excuse. And what was the result? I’ve started to LOVE the things I hated. I LOVE gardening. WTF. I love anything with a pop of color (welcome to my planter, coleus), or an interesting texture (please grow here, astibles), or a fun characteristic (creeping thyme is beautiful AND you can walk on it!). I never expected to find myself in this new state of mind, but it’s working for me, which is working for Hubs.

And that leads me to DIY bliss….

As far as I was concerned, DIYing is super lame, more expensive than claimed to be, unprofessional looking, imperfect, and frustrating. I also thought I was not clever enough to attack projects because I never used to make anything on my own, aside from a Thank You card or maybe a delivery pizza order (ok, I never really did that because of my lactose sensitivity, but you get the picture).

This year I really wanted to find a new headboard for our bedroom. I don’t know why this struck me as important, let alone obsession worthy. But I started Googling and Pinteresting and started to dream about what I might like.

Saved from

Hubs encouraged me to find exactly what I might like. I think I surprised everyone (mostly myself) when I fell in love with a barn door headboard that wasn’t really even a headboard. It just looked so farmy to me, which is not a bad thing at all, but that has never been very “me.” But this headboard was beautiful. And I wanted to live in a more natural, peaceful, elemental space.

I started shopping and came across some old barn doors I thought we could paint or shellac until I learned they were $500 each. I hadn’t even sold the previous headboard in our bedroom yet, but I didn’t think I’d hit that $500 mark, let alone $1,000. But without blinking, Hubs said, “We can make that. That looks easy.”

Easy is now my favorite word. Let me help you with the definition of easy here, because I needed help learning what “easy” means:

Easy doesn’t mean fast.
It doesn’t mean simple.
It doesn’t mean perfect or even close to perfect.
It doesn’t necessarily mean cheap, either.
It just means do-able.
And now that know what easy means, I love it when we look at something as a couple, give each other that special smile and say, “Yea, that looks easy.”

Our easy-to-craft headboard was finally built out of pallet wood, all of which we hoarded and then broke down ourselves. We bought some fresh wood for the main framing and stained all the wood with a light gray. Well, that’s not entirely true: I thought I ruined it with a stain that was way too dark. So we stripped that, power sanded, and tried again (thank you, Home Depot Paint Man, for your assistance with that one).

We argued about the order in which we worked on the project. We moaned over working too late at night (cuz power tools and my little ones don’t really mix, so we were relegated to working from 8-11 p.m.). We argued about how to cut the wood at specific angles. We griped when we ruined or split certain pieces of wood. We fought about where to store the power tools and how to keep the garage tidy over our weeks and months of projecting.

We also brainstormed together. We laughed. We listened to music and danced while we worked. We teased one another about decisions and watched each other work in awe and interest…seeing new sides of one another. We looked forward to the evenings when the kids were asleep and we could stow away to the garage for a few hours to work on our little project. We built something together. Now we can look every day at something that signifies our ability to act as a team and to create. And ultimately, we had FUN.

It sounds silly, maybe. This little project that turned into something else. But it was great. It was messy and imperfectly perfect (I swear one side is still uneven). It was a little piece of magic we conjured up, and it was bliss.

What are you doing these days that makes your marriage sing? Share, share, share!

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On Loving Yourself

Ok, so, I guess I should just confess it right off the bat….

I don’t know that I l-o-v-e love myself. I like myself. I think I’m pretty decent. I’m a HIP. A Human In Progress. I have flaws and weaknesses, I have some strengths. My strengths are super cool (ie- I make well-timed, appropriately hilarious, well-delivered comments to my husband when NO ONE ELSE is looking or even nearby, my impromptu dance skillz are Uhhh-mazing, etc). My weaknesses suck (I’m not going to list my weaknesses here!!! Silly, silly.)

Oh, I should probably mention that the topic of loving yourself came up recently when I picked up a book called, You Are a Badass, by Jen Sincero. To be a true badass, I need to LOVE myself. Like, LOVE love. Like, want to spend the rest of my life with myself, and commit to myself forever and ever.

So it got me thinking…Can I say I love myself? I don’t think so. That’s, like, the wrong word. I would say I’m a fan of my work, and I’m curious to see what will develop in my peak years. I would say I’m an admirer of my life attempts.

Truth: uhhhhh…….I don’t think so. That’s, like, the wrong word. I would say I’m a fan of my work, and I’m curious to see what will develop in my peak years (which I assume will be when I’m 40). I would say I’m an admirer of my life attempts.

I guess this is problematic. Because more so than I want to be a badass, I want to teach my kids to love themselves. I want them to know the pure, simple joy of trusting yourself and loving that you are your own best instrument for success. But we can’t teach what we can’t model. I feel pretty confident about that fact.

What’s more is that as I’ve become a mother, there are new, different things I have to learn to love about myself. I used to be a different person before the kids. I was always on time. I was always clean, tidy, neat, showered. Now I’m…..uhhh….what’s that word? FORGETFUL. I think that’s the word I wanted to use.

I’m also moving in more directions. I’m prioritizing differently. I’m monitoring my thinking, my reactions, my attitude, my behavior. Because now I have an audience for everything that I do. So I’m a little guarded, and sometimes, that means a little less confident. While I would like to love myself (should I say I’d love to love myself?) most days I feel like I don’t even know myself. I’m under construction. I’m morphing and changing and growing, and I’m not ready to commit to this new version of myself yet.

Have any other new moms felt this way? That suddenly, you are a different woman, and you’re confused and feeling completely like, “Who am I now???” “Who are my kids going to think I am?” It’s completely likely that I am overthinking this, ahem, example of one of my weaknesses. Ok, there, I said it. I CANNOT be the only one though, right?!?!?

So, if a wisdom fairy were to float into my house, I’m sure she would say something like this:

Stop it. Just stop right now.
You either love yourself or you don’t.
You don’t wait until you become more loveable. Because when the hell is that supposed to happen?
Jump on this gravy train right now, and decide to start loving yourself TODAY.

So I guess if I want to be a badass, I need to suck it up and start the love-fest.
Orrrrrr…maybe I just want to be a badbutt. Or a badbottom. Or a badrump. Maybe those are, like, the baby steps I can work toward.

If Beyonce were around to teach me to power pose correctly, I feel pretty confident that I would NAIL IT.

No. That just won’t work. So, here’s my task:
I will wake up every day and smile at myself. Regardless of what I see in the mirror, I will smile and say, “Go get it, girl.” I will mean it. And on some days, I will play the Star Wars Soundtrack and tell myself that is almost as good as power posing.

Here’s to trying something new. Every day.


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My Cup Runneth Over

Lately I’ve been having these completely ridiculous moments in the quiet of my home when I look around and feel utterly speechless and overcome with emotion. It’s hard to describe, but here’s me trying to do so anyway:

I’ll be rinsing a dish or putting junk away in a drawer, and I’ll see the kids doing nothing special. Little Man #1 will color or push a truck or make the noises he’s learned motorcycles make. (It sounds like his Popop snoring…) Little Man #2 will spit up or giggle or coo or cry over the latest toy LM#1 has shoved into his face. And a thick red ball of unnameable hot something will crawl up into my throat. My eyes start to water and though I don’t cry, I know I could easily enough if I let myself.  But I don’t. Because I’m scrubbing a dish or putting junk away. I finish what I’m doing, let out a short puff of air, and smile. I feel inextricably like the luckiest person in the world. I am humbled by this stupidly simple but very very very perfect moment. I strangely feel part of something larger than myself, standing in my kitchen, shaking the water and peanut butter remnants from a bowl.

This is insane, in part, because I know I’m not actually the luckiest person. I’m one of many whose hearts swell over the simple blessings in life. I am like every other mom who wonders just how her kid got peanut butter into his eyebrows, but missed the cup I’m rinsing.

But in these strange, overwhelming, emotionally charged moments what is so fascinating to me is this: being a part of something bigger than myself was always supposed to be working for a nonprofit that resuscitated a community or brought clean water to the Congo.  I studied my butt off in school so that I could someday impact humanity in a real way, feeling driven by my need to effect change.

And then I’m in my kitchen. And I want to cry because the boys are beautiful and healthy. No one has a brain tumor, no one is hurting or crying, and no one is throwing applesauce at me. I’m not doing anything seemingly constructive for the good of the planet, or for civilization at large, but somehow, I’m nearly crying over how beautiful life is.

SOOO, I blame my hormones. I tell myself that one day after we’ve finished breastfeeding, I will return to my normal, rationale way of thinking, and something as silly as rinsing a dish will go back to just being what it is: a household chore that makes the house look less messy.

In the meantime, I’ll keep feeling my heart swell. And I’ll keep thinking that being home with them is maybe slightly less lame than I thought it was when I decided to stay home. Even if it means crying– or almost crying– as often as I do now.

#livingthedream #lifeisfunny #aintitgrand

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A Perfect Sunday

One of the trickiest things about juggling two little ones, for me, is managing a schedule. Because the babes nap at different times and eat all day long (Baby #2 is holding strong at every 2-3 hours now that his reflux meds are working) it can be tough to get everyone loaded into a car and find enough time to really enjoy something.

The best way to enjoy a sunny Sunday is to:

(1) have a plan. I need to know where I’m going and what time I need to leave the house. This is excessively annoying sometimes, but without the impetus to get up and get going, we’ll never get anywhere fast enough to ensure time for fun. Does that sound ridiculous? It is, I can assure you. But it works for us.

(2) alter expectations that the entire day will be spent in any one place. This simply cannot be if the kids are going to get naps. A great day is really two half days. And let’s face it, naps are crucial if we want to make it to bedtime without a meltdown. I can handle a meltdown, but I don’t particularly want to. I prefer tuna melts to toddler melts.

(3) pack lunches, snacks, and changes of clothes the night before.

(4) have a second plan in place in case of rain. Because sometimes sunny Sunday becomes shitty Sunday.

ChesLenPRES-11This weekend we really lucked out. The weather was perfect, we woke up after a mostly restful evening, and everyone was ready to roll by 10 a.m. This gave us 3 whole hours before naps and cranky time. The bitty baby naps in the car and falls asleep in his car seat, so we can get him out so long as there is a quiet spot to nurse him at points throughout the morning.

image1 (5) The perfect spot today was The ChesLen Preserve, out in Coatesville, PA. This gorgeous property sits on the Brandywine Creek and provides trails and shade where we could all splash and play, fish, and picnic. There are always lots of dogs playing in the creek, canoes and kayaks rolling by, and bicyclists traveling on the roads above the creek. It’s nature at its finest.

IMG_6776It’s incredible when everything works out just right and everyone feels happy and pleased with themselves. Little Man #1 caught a fish with Daddy’s rod, and searched out a crayfish with his bucket and net.  He threw rocks into the creek and floated on his belly.

image2 (3)Little Man #2 nursed well in the shade and fell asleep going and coming to our spot by the water’s edge. He loved facing outward in his Baby Bjorn Carrier, and watched while Daddy fished with a pole right in front of him.

A beautiful, safe, tranquil spot like this is why I moved to Pennsylvania. I love nature, I love water, and I love family time. It was a perfect day, and it made me smile to think how lucky we were to have it. I’m so thankful. A little planning on the front end goes a long way…

What are you thankful for lately?

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Sub-Par Wins for the Week

For a mom with a new baby, until the babe starts sleeping a bit, everyday feels like a continuous loop of time, stretched over hell, through a murky bog, and up through piles of poopie diapers. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: it’s at these times, especially, that I try to find the silver lining and smile over the wins for the week. Here are a few seemingly lackluster wins that managed to make my week laughable, enjoyable, and manageable. Enjoy and share some of your own weekly wins!

1.) Both kids passed out before 1 p.m. It was Wednesday and I got both kids fed, semi-clean, and poopie-diaper-free. One diaper may have had a little pee in there, but Baby #1 was asleep already and I had to move on…

2.) The little purple buds on my iris plant popped! I’ve been waiting, unsure if the part of the yard where I planted would work out and BOOM! Flower power. Gorgeous purple has entered the yard. Andddddd….. I sprayed some non-toxic yucko crap that smells like piss everywhere so the deer won’t eat it. Fingers crossed, legs uncrossed (get the joke, ‘cuz it smells like I peed in the yard….)

3.) I found the bananas. My older son approached me with sticky hands on Tuesday and I had NO IDEA what he’d gotten into. The consistency of goo was indeterminable from touch or smell, and I did NOT want to taste it. Then he said it. “Banana.” I searched the floor, behind the couch, under the table, found the smoosh-fest and got it clean before ants found it. #WINNING #wherewerethebananasbeforehegottothem? #canheclimbmycabinets #Ineedtohidethefruitbetter

4.) My son was quiet. Plenty of you folks know I’ve had a hard time feeding Little Man #2. Even though the medication is really helping, he is nearly in month 4 of life and is SUPER distractable. I needed to nurse him and Little Man #1 was up my butt, trying to show me his super awesome, very vibrantly noisy and light-flashing motorcycle (thanks, Grandparents….). I knew that if LM1 pushed any of the noise-triggering buttons on the motorcycle, it would end our nursing session. It could take some time before LM2 wanted to settle in to nurse again. So I kept whispering….”Shhhh, your brother needs to eat! It’s quiet time now. Let’s sit nicely.” And son-of-a-gun, he listened. We got through nursing and everyone was happy. Lesson learned: I need to figure out an organized activity for LM1 during nursing time. It probably shouldn’t be anything messy and it probably shouldn’t be time with the iPad because that makes me sound like a crappy mother.

If only mine looked this good....

If only mine looked this good….

5.) It rained. When the weather is gorgeous, and I get caught up inside with laundry and general baby shenanigans, I feel SO guilty about missing the sunshine. So, when it rained this week, I didn’t mind. I caught up on a few things, read books to the kids, managed to make banana bread, and felt just fine about missing a jog with the stroller. So, I guess sometimes when it rains, you get banana bread…

Question: Did I use the smooshed bananas my son made his mess with for the banana bread?

Answer: LOOK! I added chocolate chips and apple sauce to the recipe! How snazzy……

What were your weekly wins?

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On Being Supportive

I have often felt like everyone thinks they know what it means to be a supportive friend, mother, father, daughter, spouse, etc. But, the more experience I’ve had with being supportive, the more I’ve come to see how difficult it is. Truly being supportive in a compassionate, respectful, and helpful way involves a lot more self awareness and control than I think I’ve ever acknowledged. Here are some recent realizations I’ve made. As always, if you have extra thoughts or tips, don’t hesitate to offer them up!

1.) Keep opinions to myself. Lots of people assume that if someone is coming to you for support and help, they want to know what you know. But what you know is only based on your own perceptions and experiences. More often than not, being supportive means being there, listening, and placing no judgment on what’s being shared. This is hard, but for the most part, I’m pretty sure my job is to listen!

2.) It’s not about me! Sometimes I find that once I’m engaged in conversation there is something I want or need to talk about, too. I must refrain from this! There will come a time and a place to make it about me. A lot of times, when a friend comes looking for support, it is a real turn off to hear for him/her to hear all about ME. Even if talking with the person who most often offers you love and support, I have to make sure the timing of unleashing my own issues is appropriate. It’s usually my your turn to shut the f*$% up. #igotaclue

3.) Be patient. Being supportive does not mean fixing the problem right then and there. It may mean discussing and considering the problem over and over again. Even if I’ve made up my mind about the best way to tackle an issue, this does not mean the person coming to me for help has made up his/her mind. We resolve things in our minds at different times, at different paces, with different solutions.  I need to be patient and understanding. We’re not all the same, and this is a good thing!

4.) It’s not my way or the high way. I’ve heard asked this question more than a few times: “If you didn’t want to listen to me, then why did you ask!?” Lots of times, I’ve received excellent advise and support that led me to make good decisions for myself, even if it wasn’t the exact advise given. Sometimes talking and sharing gets me to the next step, even if it is not in line with what my supportive friend recommended in the first place. Who cares? So long as a person moves through a problem and comes to a solution, I need to consider my mission as a supportive confidant accomplished. #Getovermyself. It’s my job to let people live their own lives.

5.) Being supportive doesn’t make me a “yes man.” It’s not my job to agree with everything the other person is saying. It’s my job to ask questions. Help a person come to conclusions. I think I can be supportive without only agreeing with what the other person has to say. There are delicate ways to say things, without being too one-sided.

Good luck being supportive and share your thoughts!

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