Saturday, December 6, 2014

Christmas magic where are you?

A dear friend sent a quick message this week and it literally changed the trajectory of the entire week. 
I quote
 "How are you making Christmas magical and meaningful? I'm working really hard at being is just going by way too fast. Weeks are full, weekends are full and hearts can get empty."

Man I love my friends. 
If that wasn't divine intervention than I don't know what would be.
Our week was full.
Our weekends are full.
My mind was....overwhelmed.
My attitude a bit..shall we say "complain-y"
I guess I shall admit, My heart was teetering on empty.

I thought to myself when I read it "crap, I'm not. Apparently she thinks I am. I got nothing..crap." Sometimes we balance each other and this was a call, a plea, hidden in the message was a plea saying help me find the magic.
My only response to the message was:
"Stay tuned"

Here's the thing.
Are you ready?
If you can't handle the truth now is a good time to turn away,
shield your eyes.
Christmas magic, isn't magic.
It's not.

You have to actively choose to 
See it.
Find it.
Make it. 

I am starting my own 12 step Christmas Magic program. 
You can't wait for it to just "happen" because I have news for you...
You're going to be disappointed. 

Wanna join us?

As i was driving to work the next day....still only having replied "stay tuned." implying I had a great idea to send her way, but still thinking "crap..." I stumbled upon a favorite but slightly forgotten song on my playlist (Stumbled...not really. There are no coincidences). Thus Step 1 was born. 
My first instruction to my friend. Step 1 I said. 
Listen to this. 
Every morning.
It's like a prayer via song...a reminder.

Step 1
Slow down.
Listen to this
This week now I've listen to this every morning and every evening on the drive home.
No exceptions.
There have been a couple days this week that it was on repeat at least 3 times before my mind and soul could reconnect. Focus. Slow down. Moving so fast I'm forgetting my purpose...
*Christmas Magic is much harder to find, when you're not paying attention.

Step 2
Recognize the Magic.
It is so easy to see the problems.
The to do lists
You aren't going to have more time next week.
It's now or never.
Bad, terrible, sad and unfair things happen to good people.
It's all around us.
The struggles. 
Until it's natural you have to choose to see it all,
the pain, sorrow, and struggles of others
the magic.
All too often we forget that second part. 
Here's the thing: Tragedy is all around us. every day, but so is the magic.
We just have to choose to recognize it. 

Step 3
Now you found it, Give it.
Help someone else to remember to recognize the magic. 
"The miracle is this: The more we share, the more we have" ~Nimov

Funny thing.
Do Step 3 and you reinforce Step 2 because to give've got to see it. 

Step 4
Drink the kool-aid man
Sometimes it's the only way to reignite that spark inside.
Really feel alive.
Off the cuff....
Our Craziness looked a bit like this tonight

Don't you think Giant Marshmallows look a lot like snow balls?

I sure do.

The kids get home before I do....this was perfect.
HEEEEYYYY Cohen and Kadence!! HEEEYYYY!
Come outside and start carrying in groceries!!!
HEEEYYYY Come on! I need help!
(he heeee...come on I am totally ready to Ambush you)
Game on!

The only pics I snapped were these and
 they are blurry cause I was dodging flying marshmallow snowballs man!
 Welcome to the crazy Benson.

Here's the thing
sometimes you have to choose Craziness
There is indeed comfort in routine
but there is also...complacence. 
When's the last time you laughed so hard your lungs hurt?
When's the last time you were so caught up in the moment that your mind wasn't wandering to "what's next? What else needs done?"
When's the last time you dodged a giant flying marshmallow?
When's the last time you not only felt alive but full of life?
Step 4. 

I meant it. 

Ok well before you go....if you're thinking" I can't do that.
Johnny's allergic to marshmallows...woe me,
I'm dropping out"
I'll tell you a little something...

....see here's the secret, 
so listen up...
about the magic
it has nothing to do with the "event' 
and everything to do with the feeling.

Steps 5-12 you might ask...I'm waiting to see them yet....

Thank you friend for your message.
Thank you for reminding me to slow down 
and see the magic around us. 
Step 5.....

Thursday, November 20, 2014

empty yesterdays

I'm struggling lately.
I'm not keeping up
at home
or work.
There is a difference between quality and doing enough to get by.
Lately I have been, in my opinion, doing enough to get by.
I feel like I'm failing.
I know in reality I am not failing,
but it feels like I'm failing.

There's not enough time. 

"Sometimes it feels like I'm not enough, like I want to give so much but my reserves are low.That's part of loving too though...making it through the empty spots and finding ways to replenish the good." ~Kelly Hampton

The quote sort of spoke to me. A description if you will of my inner processing this week.

The reserves are low.
The warning light is on.
I need to find a way to reconnect with what really important.

The other day someone remarked "you're such a good mom"
Am I?
None of us really know if we "nailed"this parenting thing until, well, until it's too late, because every mom I've met is doing their best.
There are days that I am the mom I want to be,
but lately there have been more of the days where I know I am unable to meet all 3 of their needs.
Benson's not sleeping at night.
He was. Yes, all night.
However the last 2 months he is up almost every night.
Some say we should let him cry it out.
Re-Train him to self sooth.
In the deepest corners of my heart I fear its because
he's not getting enough from me.
He needs more... love.

Let's be honest evenings around here are not always filled with "love."
By the time I get home from work, we need to jump right into preparing supper.
Don't get me started.
We have maybe an hour between supper and bath/bed prep time.
In that hour I need to meet Cohen's need for one on one homework support,
Kadence's NEED for someone to see her. Someone to listen. Someone to pay attention.
Benson's need for a responsive caregiver. Someone to respond.


I can't do it.
I can't meet all of their needs.

I tuck them in at night knowing it wasn't enough. 
Vowing to try my best to better tomorrow.

Pile up too many tomorrows and you'll find that you've collected nothing but a bunch of empty yesterdays. ~The Music Man

I went to a conference last week,Nebraska's Prevention Summit. The focus was on strengthening families.  One tidbit that a speaker shared was the rule of 9.
The most important 9 minutes are: 
The first 3 mins after waking up.
The first 3 mins after walking in the door after school/work.
The last 3 mins before falling asleep. 
.......and 9 minutes of meaningful conversation.

Those are honestly some of the most stressful 9 mins in this house. 
This week I have intentionally targeted those 9 minutes. 
Little changes. 
Big results.


That's the hope.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

maximum capacity

My goodness, I am really starting to question my mental state lately. The irony is when I was the social worker at the nursing home I was responsible for administering the mini mental screener to assess for long and short term memory loss. At this point I am not sure I could "pass" it!

Right now you want to're just busy
or perhaps the just have a lot going on
or even the...welcome to the club...sentiment
but before you say anything perhaps I should share more.

Enter into evidence

Exhibit 1
A few weeks ago:
I volunteered to create the snack list for 1st grade.
I made the list.
I assigned the dates for who brings snack and when.
 I made the list.
I picked the dates.

Fast forward to me driving to parent teacher conferences on a Wednesday
On my way there I think, crap was it my week for snack? I am going to feel like a jack ass if it was my week and I made the list.  As I pull into the parking lot I remember "that's right I know I didn't give myself this week because it was a short week of school. I am in the clear! It must be next week that's mine.  For some reason I feel compelled to tell the above story to the teachers at conferences....

Fast forward to Monday Night (conferences were on Wednesday)
Kadence pulls a note from her back pack "Just a reminder this is your week."
That just happened.
I made the list. I assigned the dates. I told the story on Wednesday about how stupid I would have felt had I missed my week...........and then come Monday,
I had worked late that Monday so by the time I got home and got the note, which meant the class needed snacks for the next day, Tuesday, the grocery store in Shelby was closed already. At 7pm Monday night Kadence and I drove to Osceola to get snacks for Tuesday and then after work Tuesday I would grab the snacks for the rest of the week.
Lets talk about Tuesday.
The biggest thing on Tuesday's list.
Get snack for the rest of the week! Right?
Tuesday comes.
I go to work.
I go home.
No snack.
That's right. I forgot to get the snacks......again!
What the hell?!

I put it in my calendar on my phone for Wednesday.
Stop at store.
Buy snack for rest of week.
Shit got done thanks to that 30 min reminder message.
(Oh and on Wednesday morning daycare said that Benson needed more diapers, so I thought to myself I will grab those at the store when I get snack. Repeat to self: You need 2 things. Diapers and Snacks. When you go to the store you need 2 things. ok)
Bought snacks. Check. Was there something else? I don't think so.....
I swear I'm losing it.

I think multi-tasking has reached its peak and if one new thing must go "in" then something goes "out" There is room for no more.

In case you need more lets look at Exhibit 2

Just this week:
I think I want soup for lunch from somewhere.
I think about which establishments sell soup.
I ponder my choices and decide I will stop at Subway quick and get a sandwich and cup of soup.
While waiting in line I read my soup choices for the day.
I am happy to see that it is the soup I wanted!
Woo Hoo good thing I picked subway for soup today.
Today IS  MY DAY!
I leave subway with....
a sandwich, chips, and a bottle of water.
That's right.
No soup.
Not until I reach the van do I think.......crap I went there for soup! 
The only reason I stopped there was for soup!
Then I was completely disappointed in myself. Boo. Chips. guh.

I could go on.
However at some point its embarrassing and bit concerning.
I'm not sure what to do.
I think I've done lost it.
If I hit the lottery, that I don't play, I'm taking a long vacation!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

High Five Sista!

A friend shared this post with me today written by Susan Johnson. 

I can't lie here...I can relate to her points!  =)  Like in a, high five sista, kind of way!

Kids need to play! 

Disclaimer:   *sorry teacher friends* we can still be friends.......agree to disagree perhaps?

Dear Teachers,

I used to be one of you.
Overworked, underpaid, and under-appreciated.

For ten years, up until I got married, I was an elementary school teacher.
Back in those single days, before I had kids of my own, I felt pretty strongly about homework.

Kids should have it.

They should get used to it.

I’m not really sure why I thought that.
But I did.

Now that I’m a parent and I’m on the other side of the homework equation, things are different.

I still feel pretty strongly about it.

But not in the same way.

Homework sucks.

Kids shouldn’t have it.
Not much of it anyway.

My feelings on this matter aren’t due to laziness.
If you know me, you know that you’d have a difficult time finding someone who works harder than I do.

This aversion to homework is not about not wanting to work.


It’s about the value of time.

My time is valuable.

And so is my kids’.

Just because a human being is only five, or nine, or thirteen years old, it does not make his or her time less valuable than yours.

And I know you can relate.

There is never enough time in the day for a teacher.

And when some asshole sitting in an office in Washington D.C. or Hartford decides to add a useless standard or benchmark or whatever to the list of things you need to accomplish each day, it’s annoying.

Infuriating, even.

Those exams you have to take for your certification?
Imagine if, even after you passed them, you had to continue, for up to three hours nightly, in writing, to demonstrate that you had mastered those skills or memorized that information?

And once you were done with that, then you could get to all the other things you needed to get done?

Speaking of insanity, I’ve had my battles with that.

I’m no stranger to mental illness and depression.

And what I know about those things is that too much work can push you right over the edge.

I don’t want my kid to have to wait until she’s done a couple stints in the nuthouse to figure out that there has to be balance.

That all work and no play is really fucking dangerous.

That sleep, and exercise and music and sports and family and friends and quite possibly therapy are all important components to being a healthy and productive and happy adult.

Sure, there are days you will have to spend more time on an assignment or project than others.
Studying for tests takes time.

There are some things that just need to be memorized.

And there are some things you need to practice.

That’s how real life is. I get it.

If you want to play varsity basketball but you can’t make a free throw to save your life, well, you’re gonna need to spend some extra time practicing free throws.

But if my kid has demonstrated mastery of all her math facts, why does she need to do multiplication worksheets when she gets home from school?

My eight-year-old’s time is just as important as anyone else’s, no matter what age he or she is.

So I’ll make a deal with you.

You teach my kids to read and write and add and subtract and some important stuff about history and science and some different ways in which they can solve problems because everyone has different ways of learning things and figuring shit out.

I, in turn, will teach my kid to not be an asshole at school, and how to strike a balance with all the other things that we adults realize are important for overall health and productivity out in the real world. Things like exercise, and the pursuit of our passions, and maintaining healthy relationships, and listening to our bodies, and getting rest, and  following through, and taking responsibility.

If my kid is really struggling with a subject or concept in school, let me know. I’ll help you out.

But take it easy on the homework.

And before you assign it, think about why you are asking my child to do it, and whether or not it’s even necessary.

Because if I have to spend too much time helping with that,

well, then I can’t guarantee I’ll have enough time to work on those other things.

And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather send a healthy, rested, and well rounded child into school
than an asshole who can explain the irony of Edgar Allen Poe.

- See more at:

Thursday, August 28, 2014


If you know me at all you know I don't believe in coincidences
(as evidenced hereherehere,and here.) and in conversations I have with all of you day to day.

Therefore I'm sure it is no coincidence that this was in my "newsfeed" on Facebook!

That's all.

I couldn't have said it better.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

First Day of School

Well the first day of school has come and gone. 
Facebook has been littered with a variety of pictures of children with their backpacks and new tennis shoes. 

The ending of summer and the beginning of fall.  

The beginning of....
Does your child measure up?
and more tests
and more homework
I'm not ready.

The kids.
The kids were ready.

A child's excitement for the first day of school is unparalleled in the adult world. 
I'm a little jealous.(smile)
*so was Benson*

Enthusiastic to do  some extra 1st day of school pictures!

Here's to a new year.
4th Grade.
1st Grade.

Here's to balancing
who my kids really are as beautiful,unique,and completely different individuals.
There's no parenting manual for that one.
If you struggle with the same thing message me we will start a support group.

Friday, July 25, 2014

an attempt to release the negative...

I'm tired.

Not the "I stayed up too late last night" tired, but the "weight of responsibilities has gotten heavy" kind of tired.

There's a distinct difference.

The pace has been nonstop,
at work and home,
life's moving so fast I'm forgetting my purpose.

Rushing and racing and running in circles
but I'm getting no where.
Well just further behind....
while life passes by.

It happens to all of us,
but that doesn't make me feel any better about it.
As stress increases
parenting skills decrease.

The stories aren't cute.
The "mom watch me's" becomes like fingernails on a chalkboard
The "can we's" are annoying.
The thought of bedtime is your saving grace.

When its quiet.
When they're sleeping peacefully
and the thoughts of the  half listened to stories, the missed "Watch me's", the refusals of "can we"...creep in...that's when the gravity of my choices is the heaviest. ya know?

Like your conscious does it's best to remind you where your priorities need to be tomorrow.

But with the morning begins again.

With a couple weeks of summer left the kids made note of the final things
they want on their summer bucket list.
They posted it on the refrigerator.
Keeps me accountable.
I need that these days.

1 Challenge from Tina
2. Swimming. Lots of it
3. Glow Stick bike ride
4. Pontoon and tubing
5. Farmers Market

Fake it till you make it right!?

no comments necessary.
you have to acknowledge the feeling before you can release it.
its a process....

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Summer show down...

Summer is flying by and I'm not sure where time is going. 
As always we entered into summer with high expectations
and I suppose for the most part the season has delivered.

Thus far we've filled the weeks 
with baseball,


 and threw in a vacation to the black hills. 

We took a jeep road and smack into the middle of the buffalo heard.
They are gigantic animals
....and were so close we could have touched them.
*I honestly had to self talk at one point...buffalo eat grass. not people

It was a much needed get away.
Probably the best part.
Limited to no cell phone reception or internet.
Finding the balance between being successful at work 
and being the mom I want my kids to have has proven challenging this summer

I am unable to disconnect, from work, from life.
When I'm at work I'm constantly thinking about what needs done at home, what I should have done the night before, how I responded to the kids....and vice versa step foot into the house and my mind is back at work...
a never ending to do list
a never ending demand
so a vacation where the choice is made for you...
for me

I am hoping however to fill the heart of summer with more....
down time.
This pace isn't sustainable.
I'm tired.

It is my parenting goal this week to develop our end of summer bucket list.

We have about 4 weeks. 
It's not much, 
but it can be plenty should we choose to make the most of it.

...and I have every intent to make the most of it.

summer bucket list is brewing but I would love:
Bring it on. 

"The journey is the reward." Amish proverb

Sunday, June 15, 2014

This & That

I have no idea how we are to mid June already!
Time is flying by!

We tried like heck to convince Kadence to drop the training wheels last year and she resisted with every fiber of her spunky being.
Anticipating a big  resistance again this year, I asked and she said "Sure"
I took them off and well....
she took off.
She said "Look I just taught myself!"

If only everything in life worked that way huh!?

She is mighty proud of herself!

Speaking of teaching yourself,
Benson taught himself to climb the ladder on the swing set.
we're so excited *dripping with sarcasm*

The kid has an internal need to climb.

It seems as if we live life on the fly most days...
and for the most part, 
its true.

Kadence and Cohen both had tournaments this weekend.

A girl's softball tourney brought fun things we don't see at baseball..
glitter hairspray
blue glitter "black eye"
It was great!

The boys were on fire this weekend and made it to the championship game, 
there were some proud dad's for Father's Day today.
Such an outstanding group of men
shaping the lives of our boys...

 ....and the moms
they're a bit unpredictable.

They are growing up so quickly.

Notice what's left of Kadence's 1st black eye....last week she looked in the mirror and said "I cannot go to softball looking like this!"  

I know I stated  that it feels like life is flying by
and indeed it is.
When I go back and look at random pictures....
it reminds me that although the days are flying by for me...
the perspective is different for the kids.

These are the moments they will tell stories about some day....

We are always concocting something to add to the swing set.
This year Cohen worked up a pulley system for a bucket, 
all on his own....
I was impressed.

Until he dumped a bucket of water on his sister's head
and all hell broke lose.

*I never claimed every day was beautiful*

We attempted a little pinterest activity the other weekend
and it worked fabulously!

..however maybe I should have written: 
Dance in the chaos!

....just don't forget to dance.