Sunday, August 8, 2010

One Year of Blogging = Goodbye

Today is my one year anniversary of creating this blog. 

I've loved it so much.  It's been a great way to remember how much I used to want to be a writer and how much more life experiences I now have to make that happen.  It's been cathartic and helpful.  And it's taken a lot of my time. 

When I told Husband that I was shutting it down after a year, but how sad that made me, he said, "but you knew this would happen, didn't you?  As soon as you took on this huge volunteer role, I knew you would eventually have to give up the blog to devote yourself to it instead." 

I'm glad he knows me so well, because I really did think I could do both.  And I imagine I still could if I wanted to keep limping along with a couple of posts a week with no real in-depth creative discovery like I had going on in the winter.  But I don't want to do it like that.  That makes me feel like a failure and if there's one thing the Happiness Project has taught me is that voluntarily doing things that make you feel like a failure are bound to make you feel unhappy. 

And it's heartbreaking to even write this - I sit here in tears as I type the words.  I will miss writing this blog tremendously.  I will miss the comments from my blogging friends.  I will miss the cathartic, sometimes physical stress release of actually typing the words that help my brain stop feeling so FILLED. 

I've learned so much more about gifted children and education that I didn't know a year ago.  I hope that I've helped some others along the way as well.  But I do feel like I've over-focused on Oldest as a topic, rather than who she is - a growing girl with real emotions.  So I've swept some of the more stark posts about her.  I don't want her ever reading this and thinking I didn't love her with every fiber of my being.  Because I do.  And I don't want Youngest to ever read this and think she grew up in Oldest's shadow.  Because she's not. 

I started this, in part, as a way to struggle through what it means to be a parent.  And I think I can explore that struggle better than I have on here for the last year.  Being a parent has little to do with the kiddos, specifically.  I think it has a lot to do with ME as the parent.  Or YOU, wherever you are as you read this.  Children's antics certainly have influence on who I am as a parent, but my "parent" status has more to do with how I handle it, rather than what they do to cause it.  Make sense?

And I have another concept in mind.  A much, much better concept.  It's something I started developing in February.  It's something I'm not ready to unveil yet, but it will involve a new site, with a way to better reflect my blogging goals.  It's going to involve building my own website (gasp!) and really poplulating it before I hit publish for the first time, rather than how I started this one - totally by accident.  I'm guessing it's going to take about 6 months to do this.  And I will likely be calling on some of you to help me.  Because it's a global mom concept, not just a ME as a Mom concept. 

So, friends, this is not goodbye forever, but it is so long for now.  All of you who I've met through blogging - worry not - I'll still visit and comment to yours!  I love you! 

Stay tuned.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Chaos can be Fun

Last night we had some people over for dinner.  My parents and another couple with grown children.  They can never get enough of my children's "cuteness."  All of the things that I "get after" my kids about, they love.  The wife always tells me how much I'll miss it all when they're gone, how she struggles with loneliness now that her youngest daughter's graduated from college and moved to a different state, how quickly this time goes. 

And they are game to do ANYTHING my kids ask!  I'm in the kitchen last night fixing the appetizers and I hear all of this hooping and hollering from the living room.  I go in and Oldest has convinced them both to "jump the couch" with her.  As in, take a running leap over the armrest and land on the couch.  She and Youngest showed it off a few times and the next thing I know these people in their 50s are doing it too! 

I come in, a bit agog, and they're like, "your kids are so fun!" 

Here I am on the final stretch of summer.  You know, that stretch where "kids" and "fun" can be mutually exclusive terms on some of these hot, August days when all of the "good" ideas were exhausted a month ago. 

So it was nice to see and hear that sometimes when kids "do the darndest things," it really is OK.  They're likely not totally appalling the older generation.  They're probably making the older generation smile a little, wishing they had these days back. 

And "jumping the couch?"  It really IS fun and is, in part, why we don't get new furniture.  Kids jumping a new couch would get a very different response from me than kids jumping a 14 year old couch.  That's just one of the Great Truths in our house. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Blog Award of Substance

Judy over at What I Live For, gave me this award earlier this week.  And it just made my day. 

The recipient, after thanking the giver (check) is supposed to sum up her blog philosophy in 5 words.  Hmmmm.  Ok, my blog in 5 words is:

A "For My Family - Sanity Saving" Blog.

Then I'm supposed to tag 10 people and I would, I really, really would.  But.  Butbutbutbutbut.  It's late, I'm tired. 

So I'll give it to you - do you think you have a blog of substance?  If so, why?  I do think mine is of substance.  I think it's grown over the year into having way more than it did at the beginning.  I'm ready for it -to have even more substance.  Hint - check back Sunday for what I mean - it's my 1 year blogging anniversary. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Happiness and a Maniacal Monday


It's Happiness Monday! I love My Happiness Project, where I decided to spend a year "finding" happiness with the help of Gretchen Rubin and her awesome book. Check out her website for more information. And buy the book! It's never too late to start your own Happiness Project.

It all started last night with the kids talking me into a state of exhaustion.  Then I stayed up later than I should, stuck on the phone for close to an hour, then trying to make up for that by staying up late to prepare my environment for the week.  Then I slept later than I should (7:15am).  Then the moment I got downstairs to take out the whining puppy, I hear this:  "Cry, cry, cry.  Mommy, I need to come out.  Cry, cry, cry."

Then the next thing I know, they're BOTH downstairs by 7:45 - at least an hour earlier than they have been this summer.  Uh, hello?  Still on summer time, anyone?  I am. 

And for an hour, it all went downhill from there.  You know.  Everytime I turn to my oatmeal, something gets spilled, someone yells, someone hits someone, someone's crying AGAIN.  I threaten things like sending them back to bed until they wake up "more rested and ready to take on the day." 

Isn't it amazing how LONG 60 minutes can seem sometimes?  Interminable.  Endless. 

And then, breakfast ends and everyone evens out.  And the day, thankfully, turns out good. 

Do you ever have those mornings that challenge your happiness, make you feel PISSED from the moment it starts?  How do you break out of it when it happens?  Today, it was a combination of luck and attitude.  Attitude is everything.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Super Sunday Series - Gifted Kids and TV

I've found some parents of gifted kids don't let their kids watch any TV.  I've heard the reasons:

  1. TV deadens the brain.
  2. TV wastes a gifted child's mind.
  3. TV prevents them from being creative.
  4. TV has too much junk for an extremely smart child.
And on and on. 

And I get all that.  Really I do.  But.  But.  But.  But.  But.  But.

I am a parent and I like to complete my days without yelling at my children.  My children are on full speed ahead and their brains do not stop going.  Hardly ever.  For example, tonight they have both been talking so much MY brain is dead just trying to keep up with the questions, observations and "guess whats!?"  that have been going on all, all, all, all day long.

During those 30 minute shows I try to strategically place through the day, however, we all get a break.  They each get one show.  One of them gets one in the late morning, one gets one in the late evening.  And sometimes they can "earn" an extra one through good behavior.  Sometimes they can watch a full length movie if that's the only show they choose for the day (this is usually reserved for weekends). 

Sometimes I don't want to do anything but sit and veg in front of the TV.  I need that down time.  And so do they.  Sometimes after a long, long, long, busy, busy, busy day, I'll give them a "free" day where they get a lot of TV.  Because I look at myself and recognize  that sometimes there's nothing more satisfying than lying on the couch for two hours straight. 

I know we gave up TV for Lent and we loved it.  I'm  not contradicting that.  I maintain how valuable it was.  I also maintain that we all need a little down time - especially in the summer time when we have 12-14 hours in a day together. 

It's all about balance.  And moderation.   And hopefully not rationalization of something I really should say no to. 

What do you do with your gifted children?  No TV?  Moderate amount?  Or tons?  Don't worry, I won't tell. ;)

And I have an announcement to make.  This is my last Super Sunday Series post.  I can't give it the time it needs, so it's time to hang up the Super Sunday.  My 1 year blogging anniversary is one week from today.  I have another announcement for you about that too.  Tune in next Sunday.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

6 Word Saturday

One year blogging anniversary next Sunday.

Friday, July 30, 2010

My Bucket List

My Bucket List

  1. Travel Route 66 - start to finish.  With our family.
  2. Finally visit Washington DC.
  3. Become published.
  4. Write a novel.  Or two.
  5. Be married for 50+ years.  
  6. Raise responsible, well-educated, self-moderating, financially responsible children.
  7. Visit the Greenbrier every year - or close to it.
  8. Read 1-2 books per month per year.
  9. Go to Scotland.
  10. Go back to England.
  11. Hold myself to a higher standard.
  12. Lose 20 pounds before I turn 40.
  13. Keep it off until I'm old(er).
  14. Age gracefully.
  15. Don't embarass myself if I forget #13 every once in awhile.
  16. See Our Lady Peace in concert 20 times.  #9 was in May.
  17. Keep learning. 

You know, this isn't all of it though.  Doesn't your bucket list evolve as you do?  Give me 2 or 3 things that are on yours - maybe I'll add them to mine.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What do you do when . . .


What do you do when people, ADULTS, kind of mock your child for their choices? 

Way back in the beginning of the summer, Oldest did a creative writing camp that she loved.  LOVED.  Right up her alley in how it fit her personality. 

At the end of the week, she had sharing day.  Husband attended and was amazed by her diction, projection, creativity and confidence.

That evening we all went to the pool and one of the Moms there said, "Hey, Missy, what kind of camps does Oldest do?  Sports?"

I said, "No, she actually just finished a writing camp.  It was an awesome one." 

"Riding camp?  Like horses?  That's so cool!"

"No, actually, writing camp.  Like creative writing." 

"GET THE FUCK OUT.  You put your child in a writing camp?  In the summer?  What kind of kid is she?"  Laughing. 

"Well, actually, she loved it.  It plays to her strengths.  She's a very creative girl."

"Yeah, but.  We just do sports all summer.  I wouldn't THINK of putting my kids in academic camps.  But whatever works for you!"  Laughing, while walking away.

Is it any wonder kids try to "hide" their giftedness?  Why parents of gifted kids downplay it, hide it themselves and therefore send the message to their own child that their brainpower is something to be embarassed by?

This notion that if your kid's involved with sports it's something to sit around with other parents, talking about it, strategizing about it, lamenting about the "travel schedules" is so tiresome to me.  I sit and listen to parents do this and sometimes they turn to me and say, "What sport is Oldest in?"  As if that's the only thing worth talking about when it has to do with your child.  No wonder I feel isolated.

I think I need to start a Parent Support Group for Gifted Children.  I wish SENG's educational materials  could be had without attending a weekend conference that requires flying halfway across the country. 

Thank goodness for the internet and the "gifted friends" I've made through that.    

Monday, July 26, 2010

My Happiness Project -Time

It's Happiness Monday! I love My Happiness Project, where I decided to spend a year "finding" happiness with the help of Gretchen Rubin and her awesome book. Check out her website for more information. And buy the book! It's never too late to start your own Happiness Project.

Do you consider time to be your friend or enemy?  I have times when it's my utter enemy - I get up extra early to get things accomplished and Youngest wakes up 20 minutes later, thus giving me no time.  Or lots and lots of time, hours upon hours, where I sit thinking about all of the things I planned to do that I can't do until much later. 

That kind of thinking makes me angry.  When I don't live in the moment, I get angry.  Makes it fairly obvious to say I should live in the moment, then, right?  It's hard though, we all know that!  How we "think ahead," which is necessary, but it causes us considerable grief in the moment and makes us not appreciate where we are right then. 

Sometimes, though, time is my friend.  Youngest slept 2.5 hours one day last week and Oldest spent the entire time creating her own personal "Pokemon handbook."  I had the full time to myself and was able to actually think, follow through and do some much needed planning that I hadn't been able to do for a couple of weeks.  It made me feel so happy.  I was able to live in the moment with the kiddies that afternoon because I'd been so productive in the hours before it.

Time.  Productivity.  Living in the moment.  Each one leads to the other.  If I have time, I can be productive.  If I'm productive, I can live in the moment.  And then feel happy. 

So on those days when it's no time and therefore no productivity, I still haven't figured out how to live in the moment.  Have you?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

School starts in 30 days.  Sigh.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Have You Hugged Your Gifted Child this Week?

This week is National Gifted Education Week.  I'm not sure why it's in July, but no matter!  Here are my suggestions for ways to "hug" your gifted children this week:

Get to know the SENG website.  Supporting the Emotional Needs of Gifted Children is oh, sooooo important.  Plus yours truly has an article on the site!  And I didn't even have to pay them to put it there!

Get to know Davidson Institute for the Gifted website.  Lots and lots of resources for parents seeking answers about gifted kids.

Do a #gtchat with Deborah Mersino on Twitter!  Really, what are you waiting for?  If you really, truly want to feel connected to other parents who totally get it, do this.  Find Deborah here.  Do you know how much these have grown since she started them in January?  This is helping the gifted advocacy fight really move forward!

Hoagie's Gifted.

Prufrock Press

Ohio Association of Gifted Children.  Parent Day is in October - check the site and go!  What a great way to connect with local gifted parents.  And the guest speaker, while not publicly announced yet, is sooooooooo awesome.  Like I own his books awesome.  Like I am going to trip over myself when I meet him awesome.  Stay tuned, Ohioans. 

This is a brief thumbnail of the resources out there.  I am still partial to that good old-fashioned thing we call reading books on the subject, but my book list is too extensive to reproduce here today. 

And drumroll, please . . .

What's the most important way to hug your gifted child this week? 

Hug your gifted child(ren).

Monday, July 19, 2010

My Happiness - The Good Side of Blogging

What do you love about blogging?  How is it connected to your happiness?

Blogging makes me happy because it gives me an outlet.  I can emote about things that I may not emote about to the check out lady at the grocery store.  Why can't I just open up a word document and emote there, though?  Why does it have to be blogging?

Because I might connect with people while emoting.  And no matter how much I like to hide behind my books or computer, no matter how much I like to be home rather than out and about, I need affirmation from people.  So emoting into a word document, while more satisfying because I would have to edit less, would be less satisfying because I'm not going to connect with anyone. 

I really like some of the people I've met blogging - people who I would have never met through Facebook or in public.  People I certainly wouldn't have met in a word document!  For that reason, I am so happy I began blogging close to a year ago.  I can't believe it's already been that long!

So what will I do for my one year Blogging-versary?  Wait and see, wait and see.  It's August 8th. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dear So and So - Summer hygiene

Head over to Kat's after learning about summer hygiene!

Dear So and So -

If cleanliness is next to godliness, is uncleanliness next to demonic possession?

Just asking, because it would be nice to know how seriously I need to take my uncleanliness

Dear summertime hygiene -

One of my favorite things about summer is that I need less clothing layers.  One of my least favorite things is that I walk around "just ripe, maybe one day short of rotten" in my personal hygiene.  I do not know why it's so hard to shower in the summer.
If you smell me coming down the street, walk on by, don't say something that will make me cry.  I KNOW already. 

Dear car that just got detailed -

When I took the car seat off the seat, I nearly wept with embarassment that I had to allow someone else to SEE the grime AND clean it.  Not one to be embarassed by other people cleaning my things (I've been known to farm out laundry, ironing, and I have cleaning people come bi-weekly - God BLESS them), I was mortified and drove home thinking I was the most slovenly pig on the planet.

Then I mentioned this feeling to the service department on pick up and he replied, "Yeah, that was dirty, but we've seen it sooooo much worse."  Whether you were lying to make me feel better or whether it was true, I don't care.  Bless YOU, service department man

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summer half gone

Poof!  At the end of today, our summer is halfway over. 

How does this make me feel?

Relief - we've made it to the halfway point with no major incidents

Sadness - I'm so busy this summer, I feel like I'm missing all of the relaxation.  A mentor of mine says that modeling positive involvement in an organization will help raise kids who are committed to their community and understand the importance of philanthropy, but sometimes when my 2 year old wakes up and says, "Mommy, what meeting do you have today?"  I wonder.  Or when my 8 year old says, "you're very busy, Mommy," and she's a perfectionist, it makes me worry that what I'm modeling is that she has to be running, running, running to be doing the right thing. 

Fatigue - that's just on my list at all times.  No matter what I'm doing or feeling, I'm just plain tired anymore. 

Dread - August is hard, no two ways about it.  This school year's going to be hard, no two ways about it. 

Nostalgic - watching your kids grow up right before your eyes makes you think about a lot of things in life.  Mostly how fast it all goes (no matter how long the days are).

Happy - we're having a good summer.  Even with its merry go round aspects. 

So what about your halfway point?  How do you feel about summer?  Good, bad, never want it to end?  Counting the days until the school bus arrives?

Monday, July 12, 2010

My Happiness Project - July = Pursue My Passions

It's Happiness Monday! I love My Happiness Project, where I decided to spend a year "finding" happiness with the help of Gretchen Rubin and her awesome book. Check out her website for more information. And buy the book! It's never too late to start your own Happiness Project.

So waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in January when I planned the year of My Happiness Project, July was to be BOOK MONTH.  I couldn't wait for it, because one of my biggest passions in life is reading, as I've listed on here before, numerous times. 

I planned to buy and read books, catch up on the books lining my nightstand (my goal for the month was 5 - waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in January I thought summer was perfect for leisurely reading with the kids).  More importantly I planned to do some things with the books I plan to write - I was finally going to start outlining them.  Or at least one of them.  And the books I've been neglecting were going to get some love - the family scrapbooks. 

Sigh.  Life changed between then and now and I've had to tailor this month.  I'm going to try to read 5 books still, but I have to table my plans to outline MY book(s).  This saddens me.  I have ideas, good ones (they're always best when viewed inside your own brain, aren't they?), but I have no time right now.  Maybe soon, or maybe I'll just have to continue to jot things into my book file on the computer when something really rears its head. 

And as for the family scrap books?  I really, really want to start working on them.  Maybe my first step will be to download that digital software I purchased in April.  Yep, can't start the digital scrapbooks until the software's in - even I know that.  Then see if I can carve out an hour a week for the rest of the summer.

What am I going to do to "buy happiness" this month?  I'm having my organizer come back and help me with my office.  It's the one place I've been LOATHE to tackle since I began doing the home re-org in February.  And it's yucky.  Unhelpful, time consuming and unattractive.  I've waved the white flag on doing it myself.  She comes tomorrow.  Hopefully we get some good work done.

What are you doing with the lazy days of July?  The halfway point of summer?  The time when summer's still pretty fun and we're not yet in that hard, hard part of August where it's TIME to go back to school (by the bickering and back to school shopping), but the calendar doesn't SAY it's time yet (because you still have 3 more weeks to go)?

Poor Missy.  I guess I'll head to the pool.  ;)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A weekend not jam packed = aaaahhhhh. 

Now go peek at Show My Face for the rest!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday - Follow - For - Fun and . . . AWARDS!

I've decided to do Friday Follow again this week - I found some great blogs last week and would love to spend another week "browsing!" 

If you are new here (from there) - welcome!  Happy to have you and I would love to meet you too.  Just leave a comment.  Some day soon my posts will be meatier, but summer time is about not enough time to blog apparently! 


And Hippie Mommie gave me two awards on Wednesday.  I just love her!  And not just because of the awards either!  She bubbles with enthusiasm and it's contagious.  If you want to feel more cheery - spend a few minutes on her site!

Rules are to say 3 things I love about myself and pass them on.  I'm a bad, bad, bad, girl.  I'm not passing them on.  Not because there aren't totally deserving peeps out there, but because of time - summer time that is.  Which means NO TIME.  Sigh. 

What 3 things do I love about myself?  Wow, tough.  Hard to shine the compliment spotlight on yourself, isn't it?  Makes you feel a little braggy?

Here goes:

  1. I love that my children make me cry over my love for them.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

  2. I love my sense of humor.  Some people don't get it, but that's the POINT.  It's not for simpletons - it's wit and wit requires a little je ne sais quoi in the cerebellum.  At least that's what I tell myself when people don't laugh. 

  3. I love that I'm comfortable being alone - or just with our family.  So many people I look around and see people who MUST be with other people at all times.  I am ok with solititude. 
happy weekend.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Happiness is a lovely weekend

I didn't get my Monday Happiness post in because my family and I were continuing our 4 day celebration of July 4th. 

July 4th has rocketed (get it?) into the top holiday slot for me in recent years.  It is filled with fun and freedom (get it?) from any and all obligations except those that we choose ourselves.  In other words, it's not an extended family holiday for us and I love that.  (For all of you family members who read this - no offense, people.  We all know that sometimes the best times are those spent with your own personal, immediate family.  I still love you all.)

That being said, our dance card was quite (QUITE) full this weekend, but I stress, with activities planned by, executed by or attended by just us.  Bliss, really. 

One of the weekend "dates" was a trip to see Toy Story 3 with Oldest.  OMG!  Am I late to the party here?  It was heart-wrenchingly sad.  I'm talking hitching sobs coming from not just me, but Oldest too (which, of course, made me cry even harder that SHE'S crying over the recognition that some day she's going to grow up and leave us).  The part at the land fill, you know, when they all start holding hands?  OMG AGAIN!  The two of us were crying so hard we were wrapped up in each other's arms like a couple of babies!  AND WE WERE IN THE FRONT ROW because we got there late.  Nice.

It was the kind of time with her that I will remember forever.  We spent the kind of afternoon that makes me say she is the best kid ever.  Her empathy and deep emotions - if she can learn to protect them from the tramplers ENOUGH - will help her become quite the humanitarian someday.  She is such a feeler and I love that about her. 

Other than that, we had parties, fireworks, parties, family time, togetherness and parties.  And we marched in our local parade!  So fun  and our first time.  The girls had a blast.  Here are pics of some of the weekend fun. 

This is a picture of me "on fatigue" apparently.  I was not loaded, though it looks like I was.  I was very, very tired.  I wouldn't include it, but I'm sometimes called out for including pictures that are flattering to me and a little less so to the others, so here it is.  So good of the others, you get zombie girl too.

I hope that your 4th was safe.  Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of a weekend like this it's easy to forget the meaning behind the holiday.  We talk about "safety" on the 4th of July and mean it about things like stray fireworks and drinking accidents, drownings or boating accidents. 

Our safety, however, is fully tied up in the fact that we are safe from tyranny, oppression, genocide and (hopefully) terrorism.  THAT kind of safe is just as important as "holiday weekend" safe.  Actually more important.  Without this kind of safe, we wouldn't even get to "weekend safe." 

Happy 4th - belated. 

Saturday, July 3, 2010

6 Word Saturday

Super hard week.  Much better weekend.

Now go visit Cate

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday Follow - Wanna join?


So here's a fun new Bog hop!  Little love to go around for us all.  Give it a try - you never know who you'll meet!

And if you're coming from Friday Follow to me, hello!  I am happy to meet you.  Happy 4th of July to all. 

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

We sing before bed

One of our nightly rituals is to sing in Youngest's room before bed.  SHE loves it, it is practically like oxygen to her. 

It goes a little something like this:

Youngest and I go into her room and sing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and The ABC Song.  Then she gets off my lap, barrels down the hall to the stairs (sometimes it looks like she's going to go right over the edge of the stairs) and yells "OLDEST, DADDY, IT'S TIME FOR BAH, BAH BWACK SHEEP," waits until she hears footsteps coming, then barrels back into her room to await their arrival.

Everyone comes in, we say "One, Two, Ready Go," then sing it with different variations.  Sometimes Youngest sings it "sad style," which ends up making us all crack up so much we can hardly finish.  Sometimes Oldest adds a little "Say WHAT?" right after "Have you any wool?" which is also very funny.  Especially the time we tried to teach Youngest to sing it too and this is how it went:

Hey Youngest, say "say what."


No, Youngest, say the word say and the word what.


Repeat after us:  "say."






No, say "say" first.


Are you going to say this?


We don't do all of this because it's funny, though (even though that's a great side benefit).  We do it as a family ritual and we all like it so much now that if one of us isn't here, we're all a little sad.  The funny thing is that I don't even remember how it started.  But I guess that happens with family rituals - they become so much a part of your family it seems like they were always there. 

What family rituals do you have to share? 

Monday, June 28, 2010

My Happiness Project - Mid Year Review

Well, well, well.  Here we are at the end of June.  6 months into 2010.  6 months into My Happiness Project, as defined by Gretchen Rubin and her lovely book with that title.  I thought it would be fun to check into my psyche and see if I'm happier.

My day to day ups and downs are very much related to the kid's moods - and mine.  If they're really difficult or low, I am too.  Then my bad mood will perpetuate theirs and create a circle that it's hard to break out of. 

I do believe, though, that I'm generally happy.  "Things happen" (or as popularized on a bumper sticker years ago) "shit happens."  Life it hard.  It takes effort.  Almost all of the time. 

But to quote the movie, Life is Beautiful too.  In all of its heartache, challenges and difficulties, life is quite beautiful and satisfying. 

Tonight I made a mistake in judgment on the way home from a party.  I convinced everyone to stop for Chinese food at 8:20pm.  We didn't get our order until 8:45, didn't get home until almost 9.  The kids weren't happy with their choices, everyone was tired and I just wanted to be done with my "mommy duties" for the night.  I got crabby with them as I was rushing them to bed.  Then Husband came upstairs to sing our family song before bed, saying "Your dog just had an accident, ladies."  Oldest immediately jumped up, said, "I'll take care of it - Mommy's having a rough patch here and I want to help her out." 

And that, right there, is why life is so beautiful.  Discovering your child really is developing empathy and a sense of community, underneath all that "kid stuff" that we get caught up in so often.  Getting glimpses of the adult they will become - seeing all of your hard work beginning to shine through, even if only for a moment.
Among other things, what I'm going to focus on in the 2nd half of 2010's Happiness Project is the process.  I will not arrive at happiness on December 31st this year, because happiness isn't an end state - it's found in the journey. 

What will you focus on in the second half?

Have a Happy Day. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

6 word Saturday on Sunday?

Last date night for 12 days. 

But lots of other fun is coming too! 

Whoops!  Forgot to schedule the release yesterday!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dear So and So - It's Nothing Personal

Dear, dear So and So.  I missed you last week, my wittle fwiend!  Let's get reacquainted, shall we?  Hello, Kat!  How are you?  Head over to Kat's place now to say hello, everyone.

Dear 500 sites I subscribe to:

Missy had to cut back.  Missy couldn't keep up.  Missy was missing too many good reads because she had too many blogs in her reader.  Missy had to make some tough decisions. 

How could I have authored a blog on blogger for a YEAR (almost) and just now located the "folders" in google reader?  Density - it ain't just a scientific term people - it's Missy in the summer 

Dear Blog Hops:

I haven't done one in awhile - what do you think?  Any good ones going around?  Do you like them?  Think they're fake ways to get followers?  Have you found really good ones through them?

Just askin

Dear new followers:

I'm always looking for witty, soul-searching, let's get through this together blogging friendships.  Remember the rules here, "You follow me, I'll follow you." 

Then I'll only unfollow you 6 months down the road if we never talk to each other after our initial follow.  Remember, nothing personal, just self-preservation

Dear Drunken Mom:

Thank you for providing this entertaining clip to me and others like me.


I'm warning you now, Husband's family.  Whoever we "draw" in the Christmas drawing is getting a shirt that is a variation of this story.  Just keepin it real, people

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Important Observations and Questions

Summer gives me time (ha!) to ponder the big questions in life and wax philosophic on who I am.  Here's a glance:

  1. What universal law dictates that all emergencies occur upon the ringing of the phone?
  2. Jumping spiders - no matter the size - are utterly horrific.
  3. Mosquitoes - a reminder us that no matter how good our lives are, a mosquito bite (or 5) can make us forget our blessings. 
  4. Summer TV would blow if it weren't for Big Brother - coming soon!
  5. Why DOES it seem like so little's being done about the BP oil spill?
  6. It's pretty hard to exercise in the summertime, when the kids are home 24/7. 
  7. Heat + unpoppable, under the skin zits = unhappy mommy.
  8. Sometimes when I start rubbing an eye, I can't stop until it's swollen shut.  That's just gross.
  9. I recently decided that a woman's work is truly never done. 
  10. I saw a police officer getting gas at the gas station today.  ???  I thought they had a "lot" where they did things like repairs and keeping their gas tanks filled. 
These are the things that flit in and out of the cavernous corridor that is my brain.  Summer = deep thoughts.  There's a lot to figure out in this world.

Monday, June 21, 2010

My Happiness Project - it Worked!

It's Happiness Monday! I love My Happiness Project, where I decided to spend a year "finding" happiness with the help of Gretchen Rubin and her awesome book. Check out her website for more information. And buy the book! It's never too late to start your own Happiness Project.

Pollyanna Week Part Deux is concluded.  And was mostly successful the second time around.  Wearing those silly, silly, silly bands seems to have done the trick.  Looking at them on my wrist really did help remind me to Carpe Diem with Joi de Vivre OR Seize the Day with the Joy of Life for those of you who don't want to decode latin and french today. 

Plus, the routine is getting more established  - and in a house where routine is about as important as sleep, that helps considerably. 

You know what was the best part of the week?  When I told Oldest why I wanted to wear them, she said, "that is the BEST idea EVER, Mommy!  Let's all do Pollyanna week!" 

So sometimes My Happiness Project brings unintended, positive results.  I like that very, very much.  Though I've had to tailor my original plan for the Project to accommodate my newly acquired volunteering roles, responsibilities and opportunities, here I am coming to the halfway point and can say it's definitely, absolutely, positively worth it. 

What are you learning on your happiness quest?  Anything helpful?  I hope so . . .

Saturday, June 19, 2010

6 word saturday

Whirlwind weekends are becoming the norm.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

From One Inspirational Mom to Another

Well, bestill my heart!  I've been featured at Hippie Mommie's blog!  She wrote up such a flattering intro that I'm convinced she's talking about someone else, but she swears it's me! 

Head over if you want to see her kind words, but also check her out - she is so genuine, such a hard working Mommy.  And she's totally right - WOULDN'T it be nice if children came with an instruction manual?  That was tailored to your parenting style and your child's personality? 

Ahh, maybe that's a book idea! 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oh, Poop!

Youngest will only use the following phrase when she needs to eliminate:  "MOM, I NEEDA GO POOP."  As you read that, make sure you do it in your LOUD reading voice to fully understand the vigor with which she communicates.

Yesterday she yelled this to me from the living room, "MOM, I NEEDA GO POOP."  She had a dress on, so I said, equally vigorously, "OK, GO ON INTO THE BATHROOM AND GO POO-POO."


I say, "NO, you can go to the bathoom honey.  Off you go." 

Next thing I know, there's a lot of grunting and straining coming from . . . the hallway. 

Time to investigate. 

 Here comes Youngest, huffing and puffing down the hall, CARRYING her potty, in order to GO POOP in the living room per her request.  That I denied. 

I say, "Honey, what are you doing?" 

She says, "Mooooommm, I REALLY wanna GO POOP in the living room.  I told you that two times already!" 

Montessori and its "kids are capable" stuff.  Really, sometimes it's just too much.  2 year olds moving toilets to eliminate in the location of their choice takes "kids are capable" to a whole new level, doesn't it? 

Got any good summer day stories of your own to share today? 

Monday, June 14, 2010

My Happiness Project - Pollyanna week - BLEH

It's Happiness Monday! I love My Happiness Project, where I decided to spend a year "finding" happiness with the help of Gretchen Rubin and her awesome book. Check out her website for more information. And buy the book! It's never too late to start your own Happiness Project.

Last week, I declared the month of June to be attitude month - I was going to have a good attitude about summer, its highs and lows, its banalities and boom weeks.  I also declared last week to be Pollyanna Week, as defined by and suggested by Gretchen in her book. 

What a colossal failure that was!  To just say "this week is Pollyanna Week," with no guidelines or boundaries, no PLAN for it was disastrous.  So by Saturday when I yelled at my kids in the car, violating one of my other resolutions for the year (NO YELLING - EVER), I realized that one way to guarantee unhappiness is to set yourself up for failure. 

Because then, not only are you unhappy about WHAT you're failing at, but you're unhappy about the fact that you've failed! 

So THIS week it's Pollyanna week AGAIN.  And maybe next week too.  I'm gonna do it till I do it right, darnit! 

Here is how I'm going to do a better job of Pollyanna week this week (most of these borrowed from Gretchen):
  1. Wear a reminder bracelet.  What better way to remember to act "Pollyanna" than by wearing a large bracelet to remind me?
  2. Think of things I don't like in a positive way.  Instead of "I hate laundry," how about "laundry provides clean clothes and folding warm laundry is the best."
  3. Don't talk about things that annoy me.  This one's tough b/c I have to talk about some annoying things this coming week.  Hmmm, what to do?  Maybe it's to refrain from talking about the FACT that they're annoying, just get through them.  Grin and bear it, if you will.
  4. Engage in "downward comparisons."  See your good fortune and blessings in relation to other's challenges.  For example, someone, somewhere lost a loved one yesterday.  I didn't.  I am blessed.  Someone will learn they have a life-threatening illness today.  I don't have that - I am blessed.  That kind of thing.  I talk about it a lot - "appreciate these moments - even the annoying ones - they won't last forever." 
  5. Get back to it - NO YELLING AT THE KIDS.  EVER.  Until this week, this has been rather easy.  A variety of happenings made me fall off the wagon this week - but I'm getting back on.  Nothing makes me angrier than when I allow my anger to overwhelm me and lose my temper with the kids. 
 So there you have it - Pollyanna Week Part Deux. 

OR if these don't work, maybe I should just lock myself in my room for a week?  Instant success!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Third day of Church Festival = FUN.

Head over to Show my Face for more!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Dear So and So - the Welcome to Summer Edition

Ahhhh, summer.  The bonding.  Read on.  Then head over to Kat's place

Dear "Oh MY You're almost 3, aren't you" year old -
When you scream at me to stop talking when I'm on the phone so that you can tell me something, you don't score points.  Especially when I'm on the phone with a store. 

Maybe I'll do that to you when you're a tween on the phone? 

Dear 8 year old -
When you stomp out of the bathroom angry because you didn't get to see Youngest's poo-poo before we flushed it, you don't win points with me.  When you do this at 7:45 am, you actually score in the negative.

You don't put your poo-poo on display for show and tell.  Do unto others, child . . .

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Silly Bands, Silly Fad

Oldest has discovered silly bands.  Have your children discovered them?  Have you heard of them? 

They are rubbery bracelets made in various shapes.  Kids collect them and trade them.  It's kind of like Pokemon cards from the last couple of years for Oldest.  Gotta catch 'em all! 

Quite literally, she went from not knowing what they were to being semi-interested in them, to now sporting about 20 on her arm.  She has slices of pizza, trumpets, Shrek, hippos, drink cups and more!  And she wants more!  And more!  And more! 

She went on a playdate with 5 school friends the day after school got out last week and they spent much of the day trading them back and forth to each other.  I've heard some schools banned them because of the problems they have caused with learning and concentration. 

So, as a mom, I think they're, well, silly.  Utterly unnecessary and annoying.  A waste of household time in how much she takes them off and on every day.

As a mom with a child who doesn't make friends super easily, I recognize their value as a commonality builder.  As a way to connect, establish bonds, share with other kids on a meaningful level (in kid world, that is). 

As a former kid, I remember this feeling.  We had those safety pin beads we shared and friendship bracelets.  It meant something to give those to certain people and it really meant something special to receive them from certain people. 

So I get it. 

But I still think it's silly. 

Do you?

Monday, June 7, 2010

My Happiness Project - Attitude is Everything

It's Happiness Monday! I love My Happiness Project, where I decided to spend a year "finding" happiness with the help of Gretchen Rubin and her awesome book. Check out her website for more information. And buy the book! It's never too late to start your own Happiness Project.

It's June and this month I picked "Attitude" as my Happiness Project subject.  Why?  Because as I said last Wednesday, summer time isn't my easiest time of year. 

I don't get as much time to do my work, though it's still there.

I am the one responsible for occupying my children every day.

I don't like bugs.  Or excessive heat.  Or sunburns.

It's tiring. 

But summer's great too:

I get to reconnect with the kids.

They get to recharge from a hard working school year. 

I'm reminded that slowing down is one way to appreciate life. 

So June is about attitude.  I can drag myself, kicking and screaming, into summer and all of its extra togetherness, or I can remind myself (like I so often do) that this time is so short. 

June's resolutions:

  1. Have a welcome to summer family party.  Whether it's going out to dinner as a family, spending an evening at the pool, or doing a real party at home.
  2. Do Pollyanna week.  Gretchen talks about one week that she did this.  No matter what was tossed her way, she responded with good cheer and a good attitude.  My week will be the first full week of summer - which begins today. 
  3. Don't talk about my aggravations.  Sometimes it helps, but sometimes it just perpetuates them.  Have you noticed that?
  4. Be easy to please
  5. Buy happiness - buy new sheets for our bed.  Nice ones.  What a great way to promote a good attitude - soft sheets.
  6. Don't listen to negative reviews.  Or in other words, don't promote gossip.  I'm doing this because the pool tends to become a cesspool of gossip about kids, husbands and people not there that day.  I'm not going to be a part of it - who wins in that situation?  No one.
So what would you do do foster a good attitude in a month when that's harder than others?  I would love to hear your attitude resolutions. 

Friday, June 4, 2010

6 word Saturday

Facebook is annoying and fascinating, simultaneously. 

Now head over to Show my Face

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Last Day of School

The last day of school.  Remember the feeling it evoked when you were a kid. 

Joy.  Exhiliration.  Freedom.  Relief, with a little bit of doubt mixed in as you got into your school age years. 

This is a bitter sweet day for me.  I'm happy to have some time with my kids, but dreading the days where they start bickering 5 minutes after they get up.  I am thankful they (especially Oldest) will get this chance to recharge, but feel like their recharging will happen at the expense of my recharging. 

I'm looking forward to the later bedtimes and therefore, later wake up times! 

And I'm looking forward to family time.  With rules.  Wanna see them?

Summer Time House Rules

1. Put it back after you play with it (downstairs).

2. Rooms get cleaned twice per week.

3. If you take it out of a wrapper, the wrapper gets thrown away.

4. Clear your own plate and one parent’s plate at meals.

5. You hang up your own towels and bathing suits after the pool.

6. No freaking out. Ask for help.

7. Yelling is for outside.

8. Use words to express yourself. No hitting, biting, pulling hair, etc.

9. If it’s out of your room, it’s available to all. If it’s in her room, ask first.

10. Everyone gets 5 minutes to complain about the injustices of life a day. This happens at 5pm.

11. Follow the chore chart. Or else you will get more.

I think we should all get 5 minutes to complain about the injustices of the day, don't you?  Wait . . . maybe that's what my blog is for????

Happy Summer, friends!

Monday, May 31, 2010

My Happiness Project - Memorial Day

It's Happiness Monday! I love My Happiness Project, where I decided to spend a year "finding" happiness with the help of Gretchen Rubin and her awesome book. Check out her website for more information. And buy the book! It's never too late to start your own Happiness Project.

I am happy today, for the reason I take for granted every day. 

I am free, I live in a free country, I have freedom of speech, assembly, freedom of choice. 

I have all of these things because countless, nameless soldiers have gone before me to ensure that freedom.  They have died for love of our country, for protecting its freedom.  They still die today for that same reason. 

NOT ONE inconvenience in my life is more important than the men and women who have sacrificed their life to help protect mine.  Not one. 

So I am happy today for all of my blessings, the #1 of which is my freedom, guaranteed by others. 

Happy Memorial Day.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

6 word Saturday

Pool Opens Today.  Hurray!  Yippee! Yay!

Now go look at some others.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Dear So and So

Head over to Kat's place to read more and write some yourself!  Totally cathartic. 

Dear Youngest:

104 temperature?  With 5 day of school left?  On Memorial Day weekend?  The day before Mommy's supposed to get her summer hair done?  You wound me, child.

Cuddles with sicky girls are extra nice, though, even if the timing is TERRIBLE

Dear Oldest:

4 days of school to go.  You can transition into summer without a major meltdown this year, I know you can do it! 

I know there are many changes coming.  We'll hold hands and take them together

Dear Husband:

When grown men play soccer, they are more likely to suffer injuries.  Simple fact of life.  Popping your ankle last Sunday could have been much worse than it is, and for that I'm glad.  But you're out from golf for how many weeks?  2?  3?

Some wives would be happy about this, but I'm not sure what to do with you on Saturday mornings.  Ohhhh, maybe we could take turns sleeping in until this little injury passes!

Dear Memorial Day weekend:

A little song for you.  Sing it to the tune of Barney's "I love you" song:
"I love pool.  Pool loves me.  But wearing my suit makes me panick-y.  Maybe a drink or two will make it all ok.  At least that's what I'll say today."

I shoulda been in show business. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Shave A Dog - Freak the Family Out

When the groomer called and said I'd rather use the shaver than the clippers, I said, "You know best, does shaving her mean she'll still have hair?" 

She said yes.  And I suppose she DOES still have hair. 

Lilly on May 9

Lilly on May 21st

Oldest bawled and said she looked horrid, Youngest asked what happened to big Lilly and is little Lilly still Lilly, Husband said she looked horrid.

Me?  I found her antics much cuter when she looked fluffier.  But I'm still feeding her, taking her outside, and playing with her.  You know, like a mom.

Moral?  Never think a shaver won't create a noticeable difference. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Technical Question Tuesday

It's Technical Question Tuesday, where Missy puts something out there that she has no idea how to solve and asks for help. 

Today?  Spam comments.

Why do some posts attract more spam than others?  I have one post - cycles - that keeps attracting spam - which is so strange that it's the only one. 

What is it about a title that attracts spam?  And therefore, how do you title your posts to avoid it?  Or can you?
Can anyone help a girl out today?

Thanks so much.

Monday, May 24, 2010

My Happiness Project - The Lost Edition

It's Happiness Monday! I love My Happiness Project, where I decided to spend a year "finding" happiness with the help of Gretchen Rubin and her awesome book. Check out her website for more information. And buy the book! It's never too late to start your own Happiness Project.

Today is an interesting day.  Last night, as millions of people know, was the Series Finale of Lost.  And it was thrilling, it was everything I'd hoped it would be, it was awesome.  But it was hugely disappointing too, though not in the sense that I didn't get answers or feel "ripped off." 

In the sense that I'm floundering today, thinking about how sad it is that Lost is no more from today forward.  Why does this make me so sad?

Because Lost was a mystery I could enjoy.  It was one that was thrilling in its distance from my own life.  It was a way to appreciate something without having to be the one coming up with the answers.  It was safe. 

We all have mysteries in our lives.  Some of them are quite difficult to solve and there's no clear answer.  Solving some carry a huge amount of responsibility.  Some solutions we pick may not be shown as the "right" solution for many years to come.  It's the old "hindsight is 20/20" maxim, right?  Some answers that seem good now, may end up looking colossally bad in the future.  Some painful solutions now that people are unhappy about may prove to have been the right, correct way to go - but not show that for awhile. 

We all have mysteries.  Lost was a big, big mystery for me that helped take away some of the challenges of my own myteries.  And I will miss it for that. 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Six Word Saturday

Puppy shaved.  Now rat-like.  Pictures soon.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friendly Friday

I was invited to join a new Friday blog hop last night called Friendly Friday.  And because I'm feeling extra friendly today (and may not have had the time to do Dear So and So letters), I said, "Great!  Sign me up!" 

So head over to the Frugal Novice and sign up too - you might meet some new friends today.  We all need friends, right? 

Happy Friday!  And rest assured, if you friendly Friday me, I'll come follow you.  It just might take a day or two - we're having a little family visit this weekend!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Teddy and the Blankie

I've never talked about my children's loveys. 

Oldest has Teddy.  Teddy has, quite literally, been with her her entire life.  I put him in her crib when she came home from the hospital.  We now have three of him (Teddy in Triplicate), but it's always been the "old Teddy" she loves (or pinkish-gray Teddy, as she named him at 4). 

Teddy actually got himself in trouble for a few years and had to stay home.  He just couldn't control himself and kept "making" Oldest say bad things - like Poop, butt, toots, etc.  Bad ol'Teddy.  ;)

Youngest has blankie.  Blankie, you may recall, almost got lost in Florida in March.  I let her bring blankie in the stroller and blankie dropped out, unbeknownst to all of us.  When we figured it out, my Dad, Grandpa extraordinaire (or Bampy to them), retraced our steps all the way back to the beginning TWICE before eventually finding that blankie.  Thank goodness and thanks, Dad.  :)

You know what it is about their loveys that my kids love?  Their satin.  Teddy has a satin ribbon around his neck and blankie is ringed with satin.  Both girls stroke the satin to calm themselves.  The satin gives them comfort.

Teddy and the Blankie are the reasons my children are good sleepers.  One of my sisters still lies down with her daughter at night.  One time I was touting the lovey concept to her and she quipped, "well, obviously I'M my daughter's lovey!"  And it was funny, yet so true.  Had I not pushed the loveys, I don't know that they would have become the independent (from Mommy at least and that's what's important, right?), lengthy sleepers they did. 

So here's to the loveys.  One day, they won't want them anymore.  One day they will be embarassed by them.  When that happens, I will be happy to pick up the pieces of those lovey broken hearts.  They were an integral part of my kid's lives, so that means they will always have a special place in mine. 

Kinda makes me want a lovey of my own, something to calm the daily strife, the internalization of the challenges we face as adults.  Doesn't it?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pics from the trip - a week late and thoughts on Canada

Canada was the bomb. We loved it. Except snow in May. The people are so friendly. Maybe part of it was our giddiness over our trip.

And Canada was beautiful. It's beautiful land, open and airy. We felt "free-er" there and I KNOW that has much to do with us "getting away from it all."

Here are a few pics:

Our view Friday night - pretty far away, no?

Post concert euphoria. 

Night 2 - front row, which was A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!!

Caught Jeremy's drumstick too.  No lie - he threw it right to us. 

I will tell you what Canada does have!  A HIGH cost of living!  It was noticeably more expensive.  And you know what else?  They measure every.  Single.  Ounce.  Of.  Alcohol.  It was fascinating, and no one could tell us why, either. 

But all in all, it's a glorious country and we fell in love.  With it and each other.  And Our Lady Peace, of course.

And then we came home.  To this:

Ahhhhhhhh, home. 
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