Tag Archives: family

Do a deed of simple kindness; though its end you may not see…

Sparrow

Image via crushculdesac.tumblr.com

Do a deed of simple kindness; though its end you may not see, it may reach, like widening ripples, down a long eternity. ~ Joseph Norris

Every so often, there is a story that is heard, or read, or stumbled upon that just won’t leave a heart or mind without leaving a mark. Last night as I browsed my Bloglovin’ feed, a post about a 3 year old girl, Sparrow Song, who is undergoing her third (and final) heart surgery, stayed with me and has prompted me to spread the message of this brave, little soul.

I do not know this family. I do not even know the sweet mama whose post brought this to my attention, though I do follow her blog, boho baby bump, where the original post can be found.  Please take a moment to read it and be inspired by a small baby girl who has more courage than most grown-ups.

What I do know, is that through blogging, there is a community and friendships can exist between strangers, no matter the distance or the differences in each other’s lives.
I try to put myself in the position of this family. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to watch your baby go into surgery. To see her hooked up to monitors, and tubes, and have to sit and wait while putting every ounce of trust and faith in the hands of surgeons who are hopefully working miracles. Put yourself in those shoes. And then imagine if millions of strangers were uplifting your baby with the power of positive thinking and the power of prayers. I am calling attention to this family’s story because it somehow spoke to me, and I want to call attention to Sparrow, and to let her sweet “Song” reach the pages of other strangers, who if nothing else will keep her and her family in their thoughts, and prayers, or send a card, or a care package if so inclined.

It doesn’t take much to send a message of strength, unity, and optimism to those who need to feel some rays of sunshine in their lives…and an army of people doing it together will certainly make a huge difference for those on the receiving end.

“Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.”
~ Sally Koch

Spread kindness, be peaceful and share the love. xo

Just because…

So, my bestie over at Kate’s Full Plate inspired me with her most recent post (above), and because I believe in this idea wholeheartedly, I wanted to share it.
It is my hope that it will prompt people to take the time to connect in a more intimate way (not thru social media) with the friends and loved ones that may have lost touch, and give the relationships that mean the most a little TLC in a sort of “Pay it Forward” kind of way…

I already have my special person in mind. Who will yours be?

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I’ve been reminded this week that it truly is a blessing to wake up each day.  I keep thinking about the fact that if today were my last day, I’d have a mountain of regrets. At first I considered all the things I never would’ve crossed off my bucket list – the places I hoped to visit or adventures I’d be proud to say I braved. But in the end, it doesn’t matter how many planes you’ve jumped out of or the number of countries you’ve travelled. Our lives are really summed up by the people we touch. Those that we leave behind are the only way to keep our memory alive.

Keeping in touch with people has never been my strong suit. I’m not good about calling just to say hi or reaching out to get together with friends. I have taken many relationships for granted and not tended to them like I should. I have…

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Working-Mom Guilt…Be Damned.

I had knots in my stomach all day.

I wanted to post something earlier – like yesterday – but life sort of got in the way of my creative juices.  And by life, I mean work, sucking it straight out of me. 

I have always been a working mom.  It’s necessary in our household, and I like having a job that allows me flexibility, good benefits, and the luxury of going to work, doing what I have to do, and leaving it behind at the end of the day so I can come home and play.

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Lately however, as work stuff becomes more complicated and less enthusiastic, the nagging feeling that things are going to change (maybe for the better?) has been weighing heavily on my spirit.  To make matters worse, I have recently been experiencing a severely nasty case of working mom guilt that has me thinking hard and trying harder to figure things out. 

It is time for me to stop underestimating and over compensating.  I’ve decided that I have to just start standing up for myself and what I believe to be right and true – and saying it out loud.  But it’s not easy.

I’m sure every mom feels it at one point – the tired, stressed, lumpy throated remorse that comes with the thought that there isn’t enough time in the day and we aren’t doing enough for our kids.  It’s all I can do to get through the nightly routine before I crash in the rocking chair with the baby in my lap.  And I have Mike to help – I have no idea how single moms do it.  But we do it – we all somehow conjure up some kind of super human strength that allows us to run, run, run, from early morning until late at night.  And when the house is finally quiet, and I have the time reflect on everything that’s been accomplished, and the lists have been checked off, I look at those sleeping faces and sometimes all I want to do is cry.  I’m not normally an overly emotional person, but my gosh, I have been so sensitive these days.

sleepy love

Coming into work on a Monday morning to an email stating that I would have to travel for two weeks did not help my mood either.  In fact, it sent me into a tail spun panic.  I am not in a position where travel is the norm, or necessary, or expected.  But with the current state of affairs happening in my department, I knew I would be contributing some knowledge to the cause…It’s nice to be needed.  But need me from my office.  I am in no position to travel and leave Mike with two energetic boys, one of whom is still nursing.  Not that he couldn’t handle it (love you babe!) but it would be a struggle.  Did I mention it was Two.Weeks!?  And maybe it’s just me – because I have friends who travel – and I know dads who stay home, and they do it just fine.  And if it was the opposite situation, and it was Mike who had to go away – would I feel the same?  I don’t know…I think I’d be ok.  Is that contradictory?  (yes.)

The reality is – working moms can’t please everyone.  Either work or family is going to be let down at some point.  And choosing which to invest most heavily in is a no-brainer.  But sometimes it feels like a risk – which is just so unfortunate.

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I have great work ethic.  I am passionate when I have challenges that are motivating.  I am incredibly positive and thoughtful and use “collaboration, influence, teamwork, and agility” (all that lovely corporate lingo/jargon) when needed. 

So after two days of anxiety – I scheduled a meeting with my boss.  It took coaching from my best friend, and talking with Mike, and texting another friend, and running the scenario over and over in my head before I could even hit send on the email.  I had myself so worked up about making the statement that I cannot travel, and Google of course gave me all of the worst case scenarios (including this scary article about what your HR reps won’t tell you!  Thank GOD I don’t work in HR).  Yes, I thought I could be fired.

And after a short and reassuring meeting, it all turned out fine.  I am staying put.  No plane ticket needed.  No lonely hotel room.  I will be working remotely, still adding my valuable (my word-ha!) insights to the team, but coming home to my much-loved, much needed family every night – just like I always do.  Despite my fears, and apprehension, I did what I needed to do – what I knew was right for me, and I asked for it.  And it turned out to work in my favor.  Lesson learned.  Use your voice.  Mom voice, work voice, whatever voice it takes – and make things happen for yourself, because no one else will.

So working mom-guilt be damned.  There aren’t enough hugs and kisses in the world to give my kids before and after a long workday, but despite that fact, they know they are loved.  And I know I am needed…and while I have to, I’ll give as much as I can to the 40 hour grind.  But when that whistle blows (for some reason when I wrote that I imagined Fred Flintstone riding down a dinosaur’s tail to his car…) – I am out of the reach of emails and at home reading stories, and tucking in, and savoring every second of the short amount of time the weekdays allow us to have together.

The Inside Noise.

Recently, a mom of one of Red’s preschool friends was hit by a car while walking in a store parking lot. Yes – walking. In a parking lot. Simply doing her day to day which was completely turned upside-down in a flash. The day it happened, when I picked Red up, the Director at his school shared the information with me because it was going to be on the news. The mom was in critical condition.

I have been thinking so much lately about how quickly time goes by – life in general actually, and how in an instant things can change. This morning when I asked the preschool teacher how the mom was doing, she said she was in pain, but is home and doing much better. Thank God. She then shared with me the story of how on the day of the accident was a day she had off, and she had seen the mom in the parking lot, probably moments before and greeted her with a cheery hello and they talked for a few minutes and were on their way. When she heard about the accident she was shocked.  It gave me goosebumps hearing how her encounter had happened just before such a tremendous turn of events.   

These kinds of experiences are so powerful. To me, they are reminders that time is fleeting. Relationships with our most loved are important and worth heavy investment. Kindness and generosity go a long way. My priorities in life are these few things.

Aside from this accident that hit too close to home, I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately, which is probably why so many of my posts have been about family time, memories, thoughtfulness and good intentions. I strive to be a better person for myself and my babes. Mike and I are the examples that they will follow, and just as I am always reminding Red to make good choices, be a good listener, and be a leader, I have to bear this in mind for myself as well.  I know I am probably coming across all sugary and sound like some unrealistic, sentimental, cliché-loving, self-righteous sap. I don’t care. Sometimes (and maybe more often than not) it is necessary to simply let the stuff that we define as “big” take a back seat to the little moments, which are far more  life-giving than money, material desires and work. 

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(This would be proof that we don’t take ourselves too seriosuly…)

It’s terrible that it takes a tragic event to catapult us back to the basics. When did life become so cluttered with outside noise anyway? Obviously my house will never be quiet with two crazy boys running around. Of course chaos comes with the territory when you have kids, but I can’t even remember what life was like before they came along.  They create the inside noise I want to focus more intently on.  I think recently my goal has been to redefine and rearrange all of the “importants.”  My family has always been at the top of the list, but I am now starting to freshen my outlook in other areas as well because if you believe it, and begin to live it – it will be.    (I made that up, but gosh it sounds impressively deep.)

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I love the colorful, creative, drawn outside the lines, inquisitive, think outside the box mishmash of lovely, if crazy, household ours has become, but it is not always picture perfect.  The boys are not always on their best behavior, toys are scattered everywhere (EVERYWHERE), food is stuck to the kitchen floor, laundry remains in baskets, and the “big” stuff (like money and bills) creeps its way back into my little euphoric mindset…and we get swallowed up again.  It’s not always as easy as I like to daydream it is. 

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But at the end of the day – at the end of our days – I want to look back on life and think that we made a concious efforts to hold the small stuff closest.  The chaos and clutter and noises from the “inside” will become my “happy place,” just like how when sit at my desk and my eyes glaze over as I think about my sweet babies faces and the love I’ll get when I walk through the door….ahhhh.  And how I look back at how much Red has grown up in the past five years and even Roo in only 15 months.  TIme.Goes.By!!!

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So while I know that we can’t ignore reality, or control every aspect of danger, or live every day like it’s our last, I want to be able to live in the moments of the small stuff now, and someday recall how the rambunctious, loud, sweet, laughing, charming moments that we shared as a family were the best of times, and the most important events, and the ones I remember most clearly – even if they were lived on a most monotonous day. 

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Sand.

It’s in every crevice, stuck to skin, underfoot, in our sheets, in the shower, in the car, in our shoes, in my pocketbook, in the corners of my phone case. Under nails, in hair, in diapers (and baby bums…)
But when an the idea arose to go on an out of the ordinary adventure to the beach on a steamy weeknight instead of following our humdrum dinner/bath/bed routine, we jumped, feet first, into the sand.
It was 7 pm and still incredibly hot.  Quick dinner, forgo the dishes, grab the towels as we poured our sticky, sweaty bods into swim suits. sand toys
Red barely had his life jacket zipped before he hit the water. Roo, a little more cautious, waded to his ankles, paused then smiled, squat down and started furiously digging with the blue shovel that he had been gripping since we arrived. The beach was just the right amount of crowded. We had no problem finding our own space without being on top of others. Red befriended a surfer chick, and his fearless outgoing self, invited his way onto her board to try his hand at paddling. I love his confident ability to befriend and charm just about anyone.
Roo was happy to walk, walk, walk, the beach. Little toes gripped the sand, still having some trouble balancing in the uneven mini-dunes that bigger feet created.

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Chasing seagulls, throwing rocks into the water, finding seashells, and mysterious beach treasure.

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What is that?

Getting sandy.
Soooooooo sandy.

But regardless of the vacuuming my house now so desperately needs, I would do it again. Every night. Without hesitation.
Even though Red gave a bit of a fight when it was time to go (i.e. not listening At.All.), can I really blame him? I was a little fish too when I was young, and probably pulled the same bold, swim-in-the-other-direction behavior that he exhibited last night.
Even with the extra work of late bath times, and late bed times, and dishes still in the sink this morning, what we now have in our summer memory bank is the adventure from the night we abandoned our normal agenda in exchange for a priceless evening of fun. And the opportunity to take some good pictures didn’t hurt either.

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As for the grit and dirt spread all over the hardwood, and in the car seats, in the laundry and on the changing table…I am considering every speck a little reminder of the beautiful sunlit night we spent as a family in the surf, salt and wonderfully messy sand.

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All Good Holidays Must Come to an End.

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So here it is, Sunday night after a long, fun, activity-packed holiday vacation.
As promised the weather has been sticky but sunny. I have acquired a nice summer glow which is part fake, but mostly real. Red has more freckles scattered across his nose and nice sun-kissed cheeks, and Roo has had his first official pool dip of the year.
We survived the heat, and the crazy schedule of previously mentioned dinners and picnics and the wedding with the kids in tow. As promised, there was dancing, good food, great company and sparklers.

4th of July Picnic 4th of July Picnic Wedding-Mal.John 124

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We have a few more bug bites, a little sunburn, sore muscles from cutting a rug on the dance floor, blistered feet from uncomfortable tuxedo shoes, a chipped pedicure (damn, I hate it when that happens), and probably some water in the ears, but these are the war wounds of some seriously gratifying time spent with family and friends.

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After so much merriment, the Sunday before another work week is for chillin’ (not literally unfortunately), and squeezing as much relaxing out of the day as possible before being faced with the monotony of a Monday at work.  And that’s just what we did – Lounge.  On days like this it is necessary. 
Tonight’s dinner was BBQ.  Is it just me, or is the smell of a charcoal grill heating up one of the best summer smells there is?  It was an appropriate close to a delicious long weekend. We are all definitely back on the health food wagon this week after days of sodium & sweets overload…but oh was it worth it.  Obviously:

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So until next year, 4th of July…

fireworks! fireworks! fireworks! fireworks! fireworks!

…It’s been real!

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Embrace the Madness!

We have a crazy couple of days ahead of us, with a rehearsal dinner, a July 4th family picnic, and the wedding for which Red is the ring bearer.  The heat and humidity (mixed with some equally humid drizzle) makes for a delightful (read: oppressive) cocktail of bad hair, sweaty pits and shiny skin.  I hate when this happens during events where pictures will be taken, I want to look good, I have a wedding outfit that includes four inch heels, and I should probably know better.  (I’ve been known to make the statement “fashion before comfort” but we’ll see how long I last while chasing Roo around!)

With all of the getting ready we have to do to prepare for these events (especially because as mom’s  know, 15 month olds come with lots of their own personal baggage), it should be mentioned that we have no air conditioning in our house.  Yup.  That’s right.  Bring on the sweat.

I am a very easy-going girl.  I am only relatively high maintenance, meaning that I like to play dress up, and wear makeup and get a spray tan (and/or maybe actually lay in a tanning bed- I know, I know…), especially when I am going  to events like a wedding.  I am already anticipating fighting with my hair to sit atop my head in a way that doesn’t make me look like I was just electrocuted, with little pieces sticking out everywhere, or as if I recently went back to the nineties and have that gel infused “wet-look” that used to be in style, though in my case it would be from brow beading courtesy of the sun or drizzly rain that I mentioned above.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I only had to worry about myself getting ready…but there are three other boys (yes, Mike I am calling you a boy in this case) that need tending to.  There is approving of the outfit (again, Mike, I am looking at you), ironing, packing gear and baby needs, including a change of clothes (just in case),  and making sure Red gets his tux on and stays clean and quiet for an extended period of time.  I have to remember the camera, make sure my phone is charged (because iPhone bribery works wonders with the staying clean and quiet bit) and get out of the house without becoming a wrinkled mess myself.

And when it all falls apart, and the temperature gets the best of us and whining ensues, and tempers get tested, and Roo needs a diaper change at zero hour as we are heading out the door (it’s inevitable), I have to remind myself to embrace the madness.  Because really, in the grand scheme of everything that is going to happen in the next few days, all we will remember are the lovely, laughable moments.  The times where we are together with family, playing cards and enjoying music, and lighting sparklers in the summer night.  We will be gushing over Red walk down the aisle with his ring pillow all dressed up with his sweet, shy smile, and revel at how cute Roo will be boogying on the dance floor.  Not to mention how beautiful my cousin and her husband-to-be will look and how wonderfully mushy I become at weddings.  All of that will overshadow the crazed chaos that we went through to prepare for such fun.

Maybe we’ll luck out and the weather will grace us with beautiful warm breezes to take the edge off.  In any event, I will surely have plenty of pictures from our adventurous holiday festivities in my next posts, and hopefully I won’t be too embarrassed to share them (as in my hair will look ok).

Happy 4th of July!