Thursday, April 29, 2010

Things I Love Thursday: Potty Power

Alrighty, so it's Things I Love Thursday and I honestly love love love the children's video Potty Power. This is what my life has become folks...potty videos. Seriously, this video has brain washing effects!

The video's main character, a grown woman, comes on all cheery and bright eyed. She has a big encouraging smile and cheeks that you just want to pinch along with a voice that will convince your child that they want to be a big kid. She's got mad skills girls! My kids (yes both) love the songs! My daughter who was potty training a few months ago, took the whole thing very seriously. She marched and danced to the songs and when the song, "No More Diaper for Me" came on she mimicked the kids on the video, got all her diapers and threw them in the trash. Don't worry. I took them back out when she wasn't looking. I mean, if I'm going to put something in the landfill that will be there for 30 years, it's going to be dirty. If you're potty training or if you need a refresher course this DVD is worth it's weight in gold!

This post is a part of Things I Love Thursday from The Diaper Diaries

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

So Long Smile

My son lost his front tooth this morning. It was painful to watch and caused much excitement at the breakfast table. Now, an hour later, I'm in mourning.

It's ridiculous, I know. I feel like my little boy vanished with the loss of this tooth. His sweet little smile is gone. It's the last "baby" thing about him. WHAAAAAA! I know...I should save some of this melancholy for when he leaves for college. At least he still believes in the tooth fairy.

Our tooth fairy has been forgetful in the past. You can't really blame her..she has a lot going on. I explained her absence by telling my son that we had forgotten to crack his window for her. The next night she arrived and left a note. I can't tell you how much fun I had writing it! I used a font that looks like cursive and a pica of 2 or 4....tiny! We had to use a magnifying glass to read it. He was so excited about the note that he quickly forgot and forgave her tardiness. The note went something like this:

Dear ________,
I'm sorry I didn't come last night. All of your windows and doors were shut so tightly I couldn't get in! Remember to brush your teeth because this tooth is a little bit dirty and stinky! I'll see you the next time you lose a tooth and remember to leave your window open just a crack.
The Tooth Fairy

P.S. You snore just a little bit. It's cute.

Like any boy, he didn't find the snore part insulting at all and was very motivated to brush! The plan did backfire on me a bit when he found out that another little boy in his classroom is getting paid $5 a tooth. Come on people! $5?!!! That seems a bit high! He has plans to write a note to leave with the tooth tonight...oh,boy! I'm stuck in the middle of salary negotiations with a 6 year old and the tooth fairy. Any ideas?

Monday, April 26, 2010


We have a boulder wall in our back yard. When we first moved into our house our back yard was one perpetual slope. At that time, our kids were little enough that they would begin running, their legs turning like windmills, and unable to stop, they would eventually fall to the ground and continue rolling for a yard or two. It was slightly alarming but mostly hysterically funny to watch.

Last year, with the plan and vision from my dad, we worked to flatten our backyard. We installed one bolder wall that snakes through the yard creating 2 tiers. And where I see beauty and a place for my kids to play, our 6 year old son sees adventure.

The kids have always known that they are not allowed to climb up the wall but apparently, no one said anything about jumping off of it. I started to suspect as much when my son began complaining about pain in his feet. My suspicions were confirmed one day while I was doing dishes. Looking out the window, I saw a streak of blond hair go by, pause mid-air, and Geronimo...he was gone. I had to snicker at that one...boys will be boys after all. What is it about boys that makes them so daring? It's as if they come out of the womb looking for a challenge!

I could ignore the jumping. After all, I kind of enjoy it that my son is tough, brave, and dirty. He's all boy and I love that. But then I saw him walking his bike from the front yard to the backyard with a certain spark in his eye. We mothers can spot that look a mile away. We aren't boys....we never were...and yet, we know the look. All I had to do was crack the back door from our sun room and give him the look. He sputtered on about how he wouldn't get hurt and he would buy a new bike if this one broke In the end, I didn't let him try it. I know though...I'm not fooled. He's going to try it. He's going to wait for an opportunity when I'm not looking. My monologue about making wise choices had little to no affect on this idea. Sometimes one has to learn F=ma in a more practical setting.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Pretty Crier

There are 2 modes of crying. There's the tears that allow you to speak through them. You dab at your eyes in a dainty way all the while holding a conversation. It's a pretty cry. Then there's the crying that is so mournful no on can understand a word you're saying. It's not pretty. It includes gasps and hick-ups and broken apologies for the melt down.

I'm not a pretty crier. Guttural sounds escape me while tears course down my cheeks. I swat away the tears from my face while I try to apologize to whoever is with me. My face turns red and it grows increasingly wet as my nose joins in on the outburst.

I recall a specific incident when, as a new mom, I felt overwhelmed by the minute tasks of motherhood. I was trying to make my way through a mega grocery store with a baby who was hungry and wet. I was new to being a mommy and getting out of the house. Getting in the doors of my destination, with a baby, seemed more daunting then cimbing Mt. Everest. Just as my newborn's wails reached a new pitch, I looked down to see that my shirt was soaking (thing breastfeeding) and my baby's car seat carrier had a new yellowish-brown goo in it (think poop).

Some poor store employee caught my eye and asked if I needed help. Oh, the poor soul. I unleashed the sobs that had been building in me for the last My victim just stood there with a blank look (stricken even) on his face as I sputtered about just getting out of the house, feeding schedules, blow-outs intermixed with apologies. At some point, I must have just walked away, loaded the carrier into the car, and headed home. I don't remember that part very well.

Going to the grocery store is a breeze these days in comparison. I still have outbursts. Certainly, I have not achieved the status of a pretty crier. That's okay. Sometimes, it's just good to let it out!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Things I Love Thursday: my son's bedroom

It's Things I Love Thursday from one of my favorite blogs, The Diaper Diaries. And I love my son's room. I've said it before but while I'm not artistic I am creative. Nothing gives the creative side of my brain more pleasure than carrying out a children's bedroom theme to the fullest. My 6 year old son's room has a nautical theme. We live 30 minutes from Lake Michigan and we no longer own a boat but hey, it's a boy's room, right?!

So here are my favorite things in the room...

My son, like any boy, loves keys and key chains so we hung up this key rack. My garage sale queen sister found this port hole. I used windshield glue to insert a mirror that I picked up at the craft store near us. It does open and someday I'll paint something behind it.

I found this buoy lamp in a store near the shores of Lake Michigan. Perfect!

The nautical flags came from Pottery Barn. I'm too cheap to shop there regularly, but I love to look at their catalogs for ideas and paint colors. I have no idea if this spells something in flag language...or whatever you call that. I like to pretend that it says, "Mother of the Year Award".

I stole the idea of an oar growth chart from Pottery Barn. I bought the oar at Meijer. I used my husbands numerical punch set to indent the numbers into the wood. I then used a wood burner from a woodsy friend of mine to darken the numbers and add the dashes. Viola....growth chart for under $20!

This painting has no frame but I still love it. Actually I think I love it more because it doesn't have a frame. I considered adding ribbon to cover up the canvas fasteners but I like it looking raw and aged. It was a happy accident that the boat matched the painting...anoerher hand-me-down from the deal queen sister of mine.

I really do love these things...some day I'll get around to showing you what I did in my 2 year old daughter's room. Ohhhh, I love that too!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Never Quite Prepared

I'm not a girl scout and I never was one...or is it the boy scouts that are always prepared?

Either way, I never seem quite prepared enough. I went to the post office today to renew my passport. I thought I could renew it on-line but it turns out that since I've changed my name since the last time I traveled outside of the county, it's a little more complicated than that. I took the time to gather my birth certificate, my checkbook, my old passport, my driver's licence, and even my marriage license. I packed books, 2 matchbox cars, and sweets to bribe my 2 kiddos with but I still could've been more prepared.

My kids spent the time that it took for me to have my photo taken and fill out the proper paperwork, ...on the floor...of the post office...rolling on the matted rugs...pretending to be dogs.

Upon leaving, a stranger says, "cute kids". I smile, look at my kids and say, "To the bathtub!" in my best Batman, to the bat mobile, voice.

Some days are like that.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Keep it Clean

I like to clean. It's okay, we can still be friends. Here's the disclaimer: this doesn't mean that my house IS clean it just means that I like to clean it. There's a difference!

I clean to put myself into a good mood and I clean when I'm in a good mood. I love to clean on Fridays so that I can fully enjoy the weekend and I especially feel the need to clean right before we leave for vacation so that I can come home to a clean house.

Cleaning is like feeding me comfort food. I actually have fond memories of cleaning with my mom and sisters. Now, my mom will be the first to tell you that I also snuck off to go read Nancy Drew when I should have been helping. Maybe it would be more accurate to say I have fond memories of them cleaning. My mom would let us listen to Paul Simon's Graceland while we cleaned. I can still hear his voice singing "diamonds on the soles of her shoes..." and smell of Pledge and Murphy's Oil soap. It's comforting.

I also liked living in a clean house. I'm sure I didn't understand that not every kid had a safe and clean house to live in. Looking back now as a parent, I see that a clean house was an act of love that my parents gave to me. And now, I want to give my kids a clean house to play in. I want to teach my kids to take care of their toys and clothes. I want to teach them the pride of ownership that was taught to me. And that's why I have my kids clean with me. It might be easier or faster to clean by myself, but that's not the point.

I feel the need to mention that while my kids help, they are not responsible for cleaning my house. Clearly! Kids are kids and they should be allowed to be messy, and dirty, and play. That's their prime job!

Here are a few simple ways to get your kids involved:

1. Have little one's squirt the spray bottles. My 2 year old loves the job of spraying the glass cleaner. Of course, you need to be right there with them on this one! I tell her how many squirts per surface area and she counts them out. I finish up the job by wiping it down with the paper towel.

2. Three are a million mini- me type products out there. We have a couple that actually work and are fun for little people. Pick up a child sized broom and mop and let them work with you.

3. Dust busters are a 2 year old's best toy! Don't bother buying a toy vacuum. Get one that actually works! My mom picked up a dust buster at a thrift store for $2 and it's worth it's weight in gold. My kids both love to use it. When they make a mess, they can actually clean it up and they also love to vacuum with it along side of me.

4. When I take the time to wipe down the wood furniture with Murphy's oil soap, I give them a little bucket (a sand bucket is the perfect size) and a rag or wet wipe. I tend to go behind them on this one because it can get a little wet.

5. Give them a few simple jobs for their room and DON'T re-do it! Ask them to make their own bed. Sure, the comforter will be crooked but don't fix it! Fixing it tells them not to bother. Fixing it tells them that they're too little. Fixing it tells them that their best is not good enough.

6. Give them tasks that are in their reach. Give them a wet wipe and have them wipe down the trim along the floor. It's on their level and it requires no chemicals or fancy tools. You will be amazed at how much dust collects there.

7. Have them do a toy round up before you vacuum. We play a game where my kids run around "saving" the toys from the vacuum. They feel like heroes and I can vacuum with out the fear of sucking up a G.I. Joe. I also label their toy bins with pictures so that they know where to put them.

8. Have a few jobs that are above and beyond their call of duty. There are some jobs at our house that they do because they are a part of the family. Then there are those jobs that we call "pay jobs". I pay in cash and I pay in tickets (which should be a whole different post). For example, taking out the trash is a paying job at our house. While I don't believe in paying kids for everything, I do think that going above the call of duty should be rewarded well.

I'd love to hear other tips! Leave them as a comment! I'm always looking for more ways to get my kids involved.

Friday, April 16, 2010


And the winner is....Holly, who writes the blog A Mommy's Blessing. Congratulations Holly. I hope you and your husband have a great date night at Macaroni Grill.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Use Your Powers for Good

I keep reminding myself that my son will be an incredible man someday if I can just get him to use his powers for good and not for...well, evil. As long as I parent, I will never understand how one child can switch sides as quickly and seemingly effortlessly as my super boy.

Prime example....last week Thursday. So my mom and two of my sisters and I headed on out shoe shopping with my two kids in tow. During the excursion, I am struck (yes, struck) with a horrific case of the flu. By the grace of God alone, I make it back to my house...just don't ask the guy in the red truck what he saw me do in a shoe box at one unfortunate intersection. I know! I stumble through the back door and push the automatic garage door button in a lame attempt to contain the children. I make my way to my bed, then bathroom, then bed, then get the idea. Meanwhile, Super boy, kindly directs his sister to her bedroom where, I kid you not, he helps her put on a diaper, tucks her in, sings a song to her, sneaks out, and proceeds to fetch me Gatorade...on ice! Seriously!

The next day, the same boy, throws an award winning fit for all to witness at the local library. He actually screams, "You're a bad mommy!" while I, with the appearance of calmness, check-out. Super boy tops off the tantrum with a threat to throw the library's neatly tri-folded brochures into the trash. The librarian's eyes were pleading with me to leave. This was followed by Super boy, the same boy, throwing water onto our bathroom walls and, as if to top himself, cutting his sister's shirt, and here's the cherry on top, lying about it.

So there you have it. The good, bad, and even worse of motherhood. I get the ups and downs. I get the most "i love you"'s but I also get the occasional "You're a bad mommy!". And I'll take it all...and keep working on helping him use his powers for good.

The Tub Takeover

Am I the only one who gets attached to my kids clothes? A year ago, I had tubs and tubs of clothes stacked around our basement. I just couldn't part with them. It's ridiculous really.

Every once in a while, I'd feel this need to cut down the number of tubs so I'd pull up a stool and start sorting through bins. About a 1/2 hour into it, I'd realize that I was much too far down memory lane to call this a productive use of my time. I'd pull out an outfit and compare it to my kids current size. I'd mentally recall up what they looked like at that age... in the cute outfits. After a while, I'd pack it all up thinking that "someday" I'd thin the herd of tubs.

I'm proud to say that the day finally came. I released the clothes. My basement does not look like a Rubbermaid warehouse anymore. It's the ultimate spring clean! Here's what got me through the job...tag, you're it!

1. Have a sale. You have money sitting in your basement! Sell the clothes and gear before it goes out of style. Use the money to reward yourself for a job well done or buy some new cute outfits and gear that you need!

2. If you don't want to deal with the headache and work of a sale, give it away. We all have a friend or neighbor who could use some hand-me-downs. A few tips...ask if they want it first and have an understanding on what they are to do with it when their kids out grow it.

3. Remind yourself that you can buy new clothes and gear if you need it. I think one of the big excuses we use is the thought that we might just have one more kid. So, we NEED all this stuff. In truth, keep the 0-3 mo. unisex stuff. You can buy new or gently used items later if you really do need it.

4. If the task seems overwhelming, start by sorting out the stained and damaged items. You are not going to put another child in a shirt with spit up stains. Turn it into rags or pitch it already.

5. Dream about what you could do with the space you gain. Creating more space in your house should be huge motivation!

Leave a comment...what have you done to keep your tubs in check?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Date Night Giveaway April 9 - 16

Time to combine two of my favorite things... date night and giveaways!

So, my hubby Rob and I recently went through a fab class with five other couples called The Marriage Course by Nicky Gumbel. More than ever, we realized that the best gift we could ever give to our kids was the security of a strong marriage (gasp, yes, even over a college fund). Somehow, Rob and I lost track of date nights. They had been replaced by family trips to Chuck E. Cheese, D.I.Y. projects, and having other families over for dinner (which are all good things mind you. By doing family things, we lost track of doing couple things. We forgot that we were suppose to keep dating.

Marriage should be fun. It should be thrilling! He should still be asking you out and you should still be shaving your legs! It's time to call in a favor to a friend or hire that babysitter down the street. It's time to take off the mommy jeans and put on the going out on the town jeans!

So here's the challenge: Get out your calendar and schedule three months worth of dates with your spouse. Next, line up a babysitter or if you're blessed, Grandma, for ALL of the nights. Also, commit to making these dates priority. It's too easy to blow off your time to make room for somehting else. If you do have to move a date, reschedule it that night. Take turns planning the dates. If you're on a budget crunch, consider scheduling the dates for a time when the kids are tucked in and be creative and exclusive about your time. After all, it's not about how much you spend or where you go. It's about spending spoiling your spouse with your attention and time.

And I'm all about helping one lucky couple. It's simple...
I have one ($25) gift certificate to Macaroni Grill. (If there is now Macaroni Grill near you...we'll make it work. No worries!) To enter, become a follower of Parenting in Blue Jeans. I will pick one lucky winner from the group on Friday night. So, good luck and book a sitter!

Garage Sale Season

Elbows up's garage sale season! If you know me at all you know that:
1. I live for and love garage sales
2. I consider garage saling a competitive sport (I'm considering making myself a letter jacket for it)
3. I will brag on my garage sale deals to you and love to show guests everything in my house that came from a garage sale
4. I love to haggle over prices and know no shame

I don't know exactly why I love to garage sale. I think it might even be's certainly a family trait. Maybe, I'm just nosy and love to see the junk that people have been storing away in their homes. All I know is that I love the thrill of a good deal and I love to find a new purpose for something that might have been thrown away.

Now, not everyone has the mad skills that I have when it comes to garage saling so here are my top 10 tips:

1. Shop on Thursday and Friday. The sales are pretty picked over by the time Saturday rolls around.
2. Take some time and search craigslist or your local paper for sales. Don't get too crazy. It's not worth driving more than 20 minutes unless your hitting a neighborhood sale.
3. Bring plenty of change and singles. You can't haggle very well with a $20! Also, keep cash on you at all times. You never know when you might drive past a garage sale or spot one on a walk.
4. Try to offer less. It's a garage sale not Macy's! Use phrases like: "Are you firm on your prices?", "Would you take...", "I'll give you...for this.".
5. Look for things to re-purpose. Look at things for their basic shape not their original purpose. I have a sister who is genius when it comes to this. She turned and antique cart into a planter on her front porch. She took an old record cabinet and turned it into an end table that holds blankets. she found an old planter and uses it to store her pens on her desk. You get the idea. See past the junk!
6. Look over things carefully. I can't tell you how sad it is when you get something home and find out it's missing a snap or button. It's worth taking a few extra seconds to look things over.
7. If the seller won't budge on the price and you're not ready to pay that amount, offer to leave your phone number in case they want to reconsider your offer if the item doesn't sell.
8. Give your kids some money to spend at the sales. It's worth giving them $1 to keep them happy and content.
9. Take a friend. It's easier to find things with an extra set of eyes plus, if you have little ones, you can take turns hoping out of the car.
10. Avoid the drive-by. You need to get down and dirty. You can't see what treasures they have from the road. Pull up your sleeves and get in there!

Share your tips in a comment! We can all use a little help!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ultimate Blog Party '10

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

So, It's Ultimate Blog Party time...time to blog hop and meet new friends and find new blogs to follow.

If you're partying and stopping by....welcome. Parenting in blue jeans is meant to encourage myself and other moms. I write it to give myself focus and jot down the crazy life that I live in jeans. Well, I don't actually wear my jeans everyday but close.

"Parenting in blue jeans" is a good analogy for my life. I'm relaxed. I'm casual. I'm practical. Being a mom feels like wearing my favorite jeans. Both are stained and a bit worn, but are still comforting and a good fit. They both make me feel like a million bucks.

And....if I should be drawn for a prize I would love prize US 113 ($50 to Amazon) thank-ya very much.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

None ya

I think my favorite quote of all time is, "What other people think of you is none-ya business." Now, yes I did spell that incorrectly but it's done with purpose. you see, you really need to read this quote with a bit of a southern mama's accent and attitude. You need to read it with all the drama and directness of one of the characters from Designing Women....remember that show? I loved that show.

Anyway, I try to keep that quote at the for front of my mind, especially when it comes to parenting. Worrying about what other people think of you is like a disease that will rob you of all joy and strength. Still, every now and then I catch myself. My kids will do something naughty and dramatic in public and my first instinct is to scan the room or area for any onlookers.

The perfect and most hilarious example happened a few months ago in Florida. I now have official snowbird parents and I took a cheap flight with my two kids to liven up their lives for a week. One day, we must have been feeling especially brave, and we took a half hour trip to an outdoor outlet mall. My parents know how to shop which apparently didn't travel through the genetic DNA to me very well. While they kept on with the shopping marathon, I decided to spare a few of the shops the introduction to my worn out and bored kids. Whoever planned the mall decided that Florida was lacking in fountains and installed one at every single intersection of the malls crossroads. It made for good entertainment me and the kids, and thankfully, I was well stocked in pennies. At the last fountain, I decided to get a picture of my darlings. You can see where this is going right?

I still remember saying "smile" and hearing my mom telling our 6 year oldd to keep his whole foot on the fountains step. At that point, I totally dismissed her advice because they were both smiling at the same time and well, that just does not happen in our family.I took the shot and as I lowered the camera, I heard the splash. I screamed, and in what felt like slow motion, reached in to pull out two soaking kids. You can just imagine their howls. They were as shocked as I was.

The part that still drives me nuts is that the next thing I did was look around to see who saw the whole fiasco. I wanted to know how big of a crowd we had drawn and what they thought of it or more accurately, what they thought of me. Amazingly, no one was looking. Either they all had their hearing aids turned off or children fall in these fountains daily. My parents helped me dry tears and we did our best to comfort them without soaking ourselves.

Before I went off to buy new outfits for them (it was the perfect excuse to splurge after all), I snapped off an after shot. When I look at the before and after I just shake my head and laugh. It was awesome. There we were, making a huge splash in life. I'm sure someone did catch it and if it was a local they probably thought, "tourists!" and if it was a mom she probably thought, "glad that's not me" and if it was a grandmother, she probably thought "oh, mother's these days!" but really it's nona my business!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Don't Do List

Shauna Niequist is one of my favorite authors. I’ve seen her speak/read from her book Cold Tangerines twice. When she reads, all I can think is that I want her to read to me every night before I fell asleep. I find her language to be rich and utterly captivating. I love being a part of her audience. About a year ago I attended a retreat where she was the speaker.
The retreat lived up to its name, “Breathe”, in the sense that it gave me a chance to catch my breath and reflect on my role as a mom. Like the phrase “You can’t see the forest through the trees.” I realized that I can’t see my mothering through the moments. You begin your journey as a mother with a set of values, dreams, and ideas. A clear and ideal definition of what it means to be a mom. The mothering marathon picks up its pace and you seem to lose sight of that definition as you get swept up in the race. It’s those rest stop moments when we can see if we are on the right path. I realized that it’s time for me to update my definition. It’s time for me to pick up a few of the values, dreams, and ideas that I have dropped.
Shauna confessed during the retreat that she is a list maker…another reason for me to lover her. I too keep lists. I have to-do lists, a words I hate list, lists of things my kids have said, a good vacation idea list, a recipes to try list, a books to read list, and of course I need to add my grocery list among the list of lists. While encouraging us to pick up the pieces of what we may have dropped during the day to day of mothering, Shauna challenged the group of moms to make a list of “I don’ts”. My energy level picked right up. It was like someone had revealed something scandalous…a list of I don’ts! What a freeing concept. Don’t we all keep adding to the definition of what it means to be a mother, sister, friend, and wife without taking something away? It seems logical looking at it now that I’ve caught my breath. I can’t keep this pace up if I keep adding to my load without setting something else down.
Now, I pass the challenge on to you. Take a breather to reflect on your journey. Are you on the path you signed up for? Is it time to adjust your route? What have you dropped along the way and what do you need to let go of in order to make room? What social pressures do you need to free yourself from? What pieces of you did you lose when you became a mother? The beauty in making the I don’t list is that you free yourself from obligation. You recommit to not doing so that you can do what you truly desire. So here is the start of my I don’t list. I made it so that I can keep my lungs and life full…full not busy. I made it to give myself permission to not do. It’s not that I don’t find value in these things. I just can’t do everything and find time to do what I want.

Jennifer’s List of I Don’ts:
1. I don’t scrapbook.
2. I don’t run, jog, or move above the pace of a brisk walk.
3. I don’t sew.
4. I don’t wash my own car…that’s why they invented car washes.
5. I don’t make my bed regularly. Shhh…don’t tell my mom.
6. I don’t keep my fingers manicured.
7. I don’t get up before my kids do.
8. I don’t cut coupons.
9. I don’t pick up the basement toys. What is the point? They will just destroy it tomorrow.
10. I don’t wash the windows.
11. I don’t play Bunko.
12. I don’t belong to a book club.
13. I don’t twitter or my space.
14. I don’t write encouragement or get well notes. I think them, but I don’t write them

Feel free to add ideas to my list...I'm always looking to do less!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Another Day Down the Drain

We spent our entire day outside today. We ate and played outside and against better judgement, I let the kids off of the hook for naps. you can't nap on a day like this. It's been a strange and blissful spring. Headlining the season, are 70 - 80 degree days with blue skies and a slight breeze. It's this kind of weather that makes you walk around with an urgency to soak up every stray ray of sun. We know that another snowstorm is just around the corner. We are not fooled.

My husband came home to sand coated floors and pancakes for dinner. He understood. I couldn't break for mundane tasks like cooking. I was busy playing. My husband understands that today was a success. While the world measures productivity in paychecks, number of sales made, and hours punched in and out, a parent measures a bit differently. I know we've had a great day when my kids are pulled out from the bath, wrapped in towels and tucked into bed...I head back to the bathroom and pull the plug from the drain. The water could best be described as murky and left behind is the sandy residue of our day. This is the measure of our day. The sand and dirt make me smile and dream of dirty tomorrows.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Feeling Glamorous

Today, I dropped my six year old off for a day of fun at gymnastics. It appealed to him because he can jump into pits of foam with his friends and it appeals to me because it costs $15 and includes lunch. Anyway, a fabulous friend offered to have our daughter over for a play date and there I stood...FREE!

Suddenly, I feel unprepared for this moment. I have an 1 1/2 hr. to myself and I need to use it wisely. My feet were in a tragic state so I found myself one of those cheap pedi places where someone shouts "You pick color!" as you walk in the door. I spent the next hour watching T.V. that wasn't PBS, and having my feet buffed and polished. I left feeling nothing short of glamorous. It's amazing what friends and pretty toes can do for a mom!

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I'm constantly begging my kids for their attention. I use all the teacher and mom tricks I know, including but not limited to:

1. using their given first, middle, and last name
2. clapping and making them repeat the clap
3. whistling (after re-watching The Sound of Music I had to put a stop to that one.)
4. telling them to look me in the eyes
5. threatening the loss of all toys and playtime
6. literally holding their chin while I talk

Truthfully, I'm a distracted person myself. They tell me to "Look, Mom!" and my gaze can drop off in 30 seconds. If their story fades in and out combined with a bit of stammering, I sometimes move on to the next topic. While they can spend hours in the sandbox, I am dying to move on to something else within 15 minutes...okay, 5. Granted, I have different interests than my 6 and 2 year old kids, but when I have a minute to reflect, I realize that THEY are my interest.

My new tactic for giving my full, undivided attention to my kids is to leave the house. I go somewhere where I can't quick do the dishes, change a load of laundry, sweep or vacuum. In fact I don't even bring my cell because the temptation to call a sister, change a doctor appointment, or check in with my mom is too strong. When my attention is fully focused on them, it's easier to be drawn into their play.

There are added benefits when I give them mom time. I find that my credibility is a little stronger. They are more likely to listen later because I've invested some of my time in them. I find out little details of their lives that I might miss if I wasn't willing to chase, get dirty, or use my imagination.

I'm alright with being labeled as "distracted", as long as it means that my kids are the ones who are distracting me. That's living.