Thursday, December 31, 2015

2016: The Year I Stopped Vying for Mother of the Year

There is something about December 25th to December 31st that makes me feel like I am sitting on a emotional loop roller coaster without my seatbelt on!

Maybe it is the weeks of buildup of the Christmas Bliss that I look forward to all year - the lights, the tree, the endless Christmas carols, my beloved Hallmark Channel. Maybe it is the excitement of seeing the kids rip open their presents on Christmas morning or my eager anticipation of unwrapping their homemade macaroni necklaces and "MOM" artwork. I try my best to soak it all in before the screaming and "he's not sharing" tantrums blow up right on cue. But something happens right around lunch break - when the house is a calm, but crazy sea of wrapping paper and cursed-to-hell-toy packaging. I get the all-too subtle reminder that another year has passed. Another Christmas has come and gone and the kids will never be this age again. Next year they will be a little older, most likely a little bolder, and I am certain a little more curious about the Magic of Christmas.

Suddenly the stores are stripped of their Holiday glow. Valentine's Day Heart line the shelves. Talk of the New Year, New You takes over the airwaves, but if we are being honest here - I have no plans for stepping inside a gym when I flip my calendar page. Im not going to suddenly start drinking more water or alphabetizing my spices. And while I often discredit the Quintessential New Year, New You  New Year's Resolution bit, I often find myself doing a bit of soul searching over the past 365 days of my life: Was I a good mom? (I do yell a lot...) Was I good wife? (I did make him dinner!)  Did I make enough time for me? (Do showers count?) Am I being the person I would want my children to grow up  to be? Hmmm...

The answers are more gray than black and white. I have come to the conclusion I find myself TRYING to BE and  TRYING to DO a lot more than just BEING and DOING. Did I lose you there?

My point is - I often find myself TRYING TOO HARD. I spend so much time trying to capture the perfect snapshots of their childhood, that I am often missing out on things that are happening right in front of me. Right now.
 I spend a lot of time trying to be the 'super mom'. I try to be the 'good wife' (ok, TRY may be a bit of a stretch here!). I try to give my kids the magical childhood.  Looking back, however, some of our best days were the ones we never left the house! Undocumented Days we spent in our PJs and ate breakfast for dinner were the real Memory Makers - not the perfectly planned trips to the city or Pinterest craft disasters. A full trip around the sun and I am starting to realize the "Trying so hard," the online "mommy wars" drama,  the "keeping up with the Jones's," the "my-life-in-IG-squares-effect" is what I need to work on in the New Year. As cliche as it sounds: Yes, Less is More.

So this year when Jason and I make our little 2016 Post-it to stick on the (waaay back of the)  fridge, I know exactly what I am going to write down: Im done vying for Mother of the Year. This will be the year we slow down and scale back. Less TRYING, more BEING. Less Presents, More Presence. My hope is  2016 will be a year filled with giving them my undivided attention when they need it, making time to date my other half again, and reclaiming my ME time.
Truth be told, kids do not need us to make their childhood magical.

The secret to the magic lives within the hearts of children regardless of the shiny toys we give them. The magic is in the belief that any amount of glitter will turn them into fairies and princesses. The magic is hiding in the couch fort that protects them from their Swashbuckling Pirate brother. The magic is learning how to walk holding your big brother's hand. The magic is smacking both feet down in a puddle and feeling like you are jumping in the middle of an ocean. But most of all, the real magic is getting tucked in bed each night without a worry in the world that tomorrow will be another fun-filled day of one -eyed pirates and dragon-loving princesses.

As we bid farewell to 2015, I will take with it all the memories we made and the lessons we learned. I will remember it for the new friends we have made and those we have said good bye to. As we welcome in 2016 I will carry with me the reminder that the beauty of life lies in the little things, because one day I am sure to  look back and miss them all - the good days, the average days, the ugly days - not just the great ones.

To all of my Friends and family near and far, I am wishing you a Warm and Peace-filled New Years! Thank you all for all the love and support you have shown my whole brood over the past year and reminding us to Be The Good we want to see in the world.  May we all find what we are looking for on this wild ride - and meet again here next year! To another year of laughs, loves, and Cosmic Lucy Meltdowns we say Cheers to all of you!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Dear Mr. President....

Dear Mr. President, 
     I need your help. Last night I laid in bed wide awake. As a mother to 3 little ones, it's not that uncommon, but last night as my kids were tucked in their beds fast asleep, I stared at the ceiling and cried myself to sleep. I cried for every corner of this world which seems to be falling apart. I cried for my children's future. I cried because I don't have answers. And quite frankly Mr. President, I cried because I don't think you do either.   
   When I was a little girl I used to think Russia was the bad guy. I would hear stories on the news of that far away place and  I would pray for peace. Today the bad guy is everywhere. The bad guy is the lonely kid in his parent's basement who finds acceptance on the Internet. The bad guy is misunderstood religion. The bad guy is a gun or no gun.  The bad guy is Hatred. 
     Mr. President,  the world is falling apart and I don't know who to pray for anymore -  and I'm starting to think it may not matter. How do I teach my children to be loving and accepting in a world so full of Hate. How do I teach them they can be whatever they want to be when they grow up when I constantly feel  this sinking feeling that they may never get the chance to grow up. I want to scream the sky is falling! Paris is Burning! There is so much darkness and just not enough hope to hold onto. The bad guys are winning Mr. President. They have crept into the American Dream and unraveled a nightmare before us.
I'm scared Mr. president.  As a parent, you must be able to understand right? Are we supposed to go on living with our head in the sand as if the current events of our day don't exist? Am I supposed to take my kids to the movie theater and pretend I am not scared for our safety? Am I supposed to not watch the clock and hold my breath as I wait to see their precious faces hop off the school bus? Are we now supposed to teach our kids it is "normal" to have safety drills in school in case of a bomb or attacker?
     I need your help Mr. President because our world is falling apart and I don't know how to respond. I long for a time when the world was big, when the bad guys were a long distant thought, not a click away. I long for a time when all religions were accepted in our school not banned from them. I long for a time when kids could play outside free of gates and fences to keep the bad guys out. But mostly,  I long for a time when I could teach my kids to see the good in every person, because quite honestly Mr. President, I no longer think every person has the good in them.
    Mr. President I realize you don't have a magic wand. You can't stomp out evil and you can't eradicate hatred. But Mr. President your country is calling. We, the parents of the next-generation, desperately need you to reassure us we are headed in the right direction. We need to be reassured that you have Our Children in mind with every decision you make - not just poll numbers and approval ratings. We don't care about your party affiliations, we don't care about your bank roll, we don't care about your vacation plans. We care about our children and the children of the world who are growing up learning to fear and to hate. We care that our children our losing sight of The Good Guys in the world. We have no option but to hang onto hope.  We need to be the Light in all this Darkness. Help us Mr. President. Help us make this world a better place. If not for ourselves, for the children we will leave behind. We are staying up awake worried Mr. President, are you?

          A Tired, but Hopeful Mother

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

On the Brink of a Kindergartner

To My Dearest Sweet Boy on the Eve of Kindergarten,

I can't believe we are here.

You are fast asleep - Scout and Hoho in hand, Kindergarten glitter sprinkled on your pillow, surrounded in your bed full of toys, books, and stuffed animals. I'm sure you have a secret binky in there too - just in case the mystery noises in the closet wake you up in the middle of the night and  you can't fall back to sleep. I know the drill. I pretend I don't see it every morning when I make your bed. I tuck it back under your pillow because I know you think it keeps you safe - but if we are being honest,  I know you having a secret binky keeps you my little boy just a bit longer. I promise I will keep your secret safe if you keep mine.

Tomorrow is a big day for us Sir. Kindergarten. Even typing it momentarily takes my breath away. I have thought about this day just about everyday for the past 6 years. It always seemed so far away. Now it is just mere hours away - and while I know you are more than ready for this new adventure you are about to begin - I'm not so sure mommy will fare as well.

For years I have wondered how I would caption that quintessential "Kindergarten here he comes" picture. Would I say something snarky and witty about what your teachers are in for - or would I go with the standard "how is this happening?" disbelief. But the more time I put into how I would capture that very moment, the most fitting words I could come up with are simply: Thank you.

Thank you for being my gift.

Thank you for turning my life around and allowing me to find my purpose.

Thank you for making me a mother.

Thank you for reminding me to cling to the little things and ironically, teaching me how to love and let go.

You will always be my greatest accomplishment Buddy. You will always be my first look at pure unconditional love. It is cliche, but true - watching you is seeing my heart beat outside of my body.
Parenthood is a terribly tricky deal. At first you find yourself with this completely dependent, helpless little soul who literally clings to you for life. It is overwhelming and consuming in those early
months and years. It can be filled with routine, doubt, and defeat.  I once read a mother state I will 'look back and realize at some point I will put you down and never pick you up again.' That thought has rocked my world recently.  I repeat those words daily and try to remind myself to not take any of these small moments of childhood for granted because I know in the blink of an eye, all those sleepless nights and tantrums will have become a distant memory and I will find myself standing beside an emerging little man. That is when the REAL hard part of parenting begins - the letting go.

Letting Go is the worst kiddo. It takes both faith and courage and I am sometimes lacking in both departments. I will be honest - the last 6 years we have spent home together have been a lot about ME and my free-spirited-mama-bird venture into motherhood. The pictures, the blogs, the adventures - that was all ME trying to live out every motherhood dream I had envisioned, but as you step up onto the bus tomorrow YOUR story will be set in motion. YOUR Dreams will start to unfold. You will be one step closer to becoming the Big Boy you were meant to be and one step further away from Mommy's little boy. I will miss our daily adventures. I will miss your little hand holding mine as we eat our way thru the grocery store or snuggling on the couch watching Curious George marathons while the twins (pretend to) nap , but I know the trade off will be worth it. I eagerly await to hear stories about the friends you've made, your new teachers, "the way we do it at school". It is a bittersweet day indeed because I know that bus is taking you one step closer to being "all growed up" and I can do nothing but sit back and watch and hope and pray that I have given you MOST of what you need to take on the Big Wide World that is waiting for you.

You got this Kiddo. If ever there was a kid ready to take on the world, it is definitely you! Oh the Places you will go Isaac! You are everything I ever dreamed of in a son. You are smart and funny and a natural born leader. You have a style and swagger all your own. Most importantly, you know how to own who you are - and I hope you never lose that! So when you get on that bus tomorrow I won't shed a tear because my little boy is leaving me - I will shed happy tears of pride for the Little Man you are becoming.

So kiddo, Tomorrow you wake up a Kindergartner.  I hope this school year is the start of amazing things to come! I hope you make new friends and learn exciting things!  Always Remember Mommy's rules: Be Kind to everyone, Question Everything, and no matter what - Always Be Isaac  - just minus the 'poopy butt' talk and gun obsession -  let's aim for only going to ONE school this year!  I love you SO BIG Little Monster - Like Hugest Big! Go get 'em Big guy! We got this.

Love you to the Moon and Back and more than all the stars in between,

Love, Mommy.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

On the Brink of '15

Well Hoot Dang!

Somehow we happened upon the brink of 2015, and I realized it has been nearly a year since I have touched base with this blog.
A year. As in 365 days since I have found the time to sit down and reflect on this crazy little family story we created. It is not that I haven't thought about sitting down and writing all the comings and goings of 2014. It is just, well, I haven't. Not yet, at least. And I figure now is the best time to start - or re-start. So here we go...

2014, aah, what a good year!

It is hard to believe I survived a year that brought me two-year old twins and an overly active  and inquisitive 4 year old! I think I have questioned my maternal instincts hourly. But somehow we made it thru. Somehow Trips to the grocery store became even more difficult with the introduction of those God-forsaken Race car carts, a simple 'bite out to eat' were bogged down with 3 high chairs, bags of crayons, toys, and sippies. Not to mention the major increase in tipping since you little rug rats started eating table food! Most restaurants had to call a HAZMAT team upon our departure! ...and then there was the screaming - the blood-curdling-no-holds-barred-2-year-old-temper-tantrum times two (ok 3)! I am not sure how any of us made it out of those alive! But we did. It was definitely a year to remember - even at times we would rather forget!

My best big boy Isaac turned 5 this year. I am not sure how that happened so quickly! One day you were Daddy's little shadow who lived for Cailou and then suddenly you became this big kid with a (unfortunate) love of all things guns, camo, and army! Of course the little baby with the big mouth just grew into a big boy with a bigger mouth! Your questions and quips seem to catch me of guard daily! I love that about you! 2015 will be a big year for you! We will say goodbye to Cookie Corner ( :( )We start Kindergarten (gasp!!!) and we will start to watch you (finally) embrace your role as Big Brother. It is a role designed perfectly for you - and I am so glad Lucy and Jake have you in their corner. You have a very special gift of gab Isaac, and I hope you learn to use it to your advantage one day! It is so fascinating to see you all fall into the sibling hierarchy you all have created. I love sitting back and watching you all develop these bonds that are completely independent of any real plan I could have ever imagined for any of you! You are all growing into your own roles of this family and it gives me great pride to know that your Daddy and I have a hand in shaping such fine characters!

Oh my Jakers. It is so hard to put into words all the ways you have amazed me in such little time. You and Lucy have gone from my little 'things' to 'little humans' this past year! It just blows me away to look at pictures of how far you have both come! Your independence, your strength, your ability to put a smile on any and every face you come into contact with fills my heart with the purest joy I can imagine.
You are a Rockstar in every way little man. You let nothing stand in your way - and heaven knows you know how to work a crowd! I am so very proud of you Jakey! I wish nothing but the world for you in the coming year! Dare I say 2015 will hold a haircut in your future?....I would rather not say because I think you look perfect, lion mane and all! :)

Lord have Mercy on me Lucy! You are every gray hair I have plucked out of my head and 99.9999% of the tears I have cried alone in a dark closet with a bag of chips and a bottle of wine! When God was handing out Strong Wills my Little girl,  you must have grabbed the whole bag! Oh my Goosey you are everything I want in a Force -to- be- reckoned- with- (grown) daughter, but as a 2year old - you may just be the death of me! Ironically you have taught me so much about patience and independence. And you have taken me to my knees for every time I (pre-kids) had muttered "My kids will never do that!" or "well I would never put up with that if I were a parent" because I guarantee you - you make me put up with it! Unbeknownst to me I also have a "bat-shit-crazy" high level of tolerance for nonsense. If anyone has every seen me try to dress you in anything other than a princess dress they would completely understand. Oh my Big Girl, I can only hope you use your super powers for good and not evil someday! I have no doubt my little "Cray-Cray" will end up exactly where you want to be!

Well I have been at this parenting thing for a whole 5 years now and I can't say that it gets any easier. If this past holiday season is any indication of the future, I can say that time is flying by - and  I don't like it. Not one bit. I constantly find myself stopping in my tracks and reminding myself to take it all in. That these fleeting moments are the ones I will want back. The kisses, the hugs, the tears, the constant "mommy I hold you" wont last for long.  I keep telling
myself to put down the little screen of my phone and enjoy the big picture playing before me. Because that is our goal right? To not lose track of the Big Picture.

As one year ends and a new begins we are reminded of the constant cliches of the New Year's resolutions. As if tomorrow is some magical day that will wipe our slates clean and allow us to begin a new life. I have learned a little secret kiddos - EVERY DAY is that magical day that will allow you to begin a new life. Every morning when you open your sleepy eyes you need to thank God for the chance to do it all again - and make today better than yesterday. 2014 has been a great year for me. Other than the obvious Victories in surviving Motherhood, it has personally been a year of personal Awakening as well.  Earlier this year I had put to bed my angst of living "back in the Valley". I decided to embrace my current spot on the map rather than use it as my anchor. It has been one of the most liberating decisions I have ever made. Sure I still say "I live here for now" when people say "So you're back for good?" but I have to admit I kind of like it where we are at (please don't tell my mother that!). I like knowing people and having that sense of community that you can't get in a big city. I like my house and I love my neighbors and I love knowing my parents still think Dallas is too far to jump in the car and go! ;) I have realized we have a good thing going here - and I am not going to rock the boat....just yet. :)

SO farewell 2014 - you have served us well. We will fondly look back at all you have done for us - the blessings, the triumphs, the tribulations and the memories we have made. We hope for nothing less in the new year. As for you 2015, you have a lot to live up to! We look forward to seeing where our story takes us and the chapter we will write along the way!

Happy New Year my precious little snowflakes! Remember Mommy loves you to the Moon and Back!

Love, Mommy

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Twins Turn Two!! (A Year in Pictures)

My Dearest Tiny Snowflakes,
How can I possibly put into words what the past year has been like? The Ups, the Downs, The food, the meltdowns, the hair, the messes - did I mention the AMAZING amount of food you two go thru?? You two continue to amaze us every day and I cant wait to see what the Terrible Two's have in store for us! (ok, secretly Im terrified but I will play along) Thank you for all the amazing laughs you have given all of us each morning! I love you both to the Moon and back!

L: I dont know, they have to be in there somewhere...
Go. Away. Mom.

J: Lucy grow up we are almost 18months. Stop licking the table.

Competitive Peekaboo 

L: Dont you dare tune me out Jake! Do you hear me?? Two can play this game!!

Talk to the Hand Puppy Brother

L: Here, eat it, I did not like it.

J: Wow. Just, wow.

Go ahead, Just give me a reason to Bite you....

This is my Happy Face.


Lucy wins the Hunger Games!
...and then there was that whole "fear of talking bunnies" phase.

Feeding the Gremlins after midnite...

L: Hey! Where's my Sammich??
J: Whasammich?

J: So then I says to the broad "hey, I ordered the pancakes!"

Oh yeah???

Whatta you looking at???

Yeah, we're cute.

L: That was MY FAVORITE Cheerio!!!!

L: Go enjoy 'Merica Damnit. (4th of July)

L: You sicken me.
They clean up nice.

OutSTANDING. <3 br="" nbsp="">
Love you my little hot mess and my baby kong!
Love, Mommy