Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Most Magical Summer Yet

Since the girls were babes, I’ve dreamed of staying home with them over the summers and enjoying laid-back mornings, lounging at the pool, afternoon movies, seeking out adventures, trips to the library — ya know, a completely realistic idea of a summer home with multiple kids. Ha! 

But for the past seven years, that magical summer has eluded me. I’ve always worked, which, even though I was working from home, led to stressful days and very few adventures. The girls were also little and naps were still a thing, so our days were very routine-based. And then two years ago, I did take the summer off from my job, but I went and had a baby, so I was pretty much useless all summer. 

But guys, this summer, this summer is totally different. Thanks to Scott’s hard work, I’m able to drastically reduce my hours at work and focus on nurturing that magic. We wake when we’re ready. We eat breakfast at a leisurely pace. We set up a backyard water park with two baby pools, a sprinkler and a water table. We hit the splash parks and regular parks to spice things up. With so much less stress than previous summers, we are dominating swim lessons and theatre camp and spontaneous trips to the zoo. 

We have several swimsuits hanging in the shower, beach towels drying on racks. 

There are late nights back from the baseball fields, hands sticky from cotton candy and popcorn. 

We are nearing our second sleepover with the cousins. The first was full of adventures as we watched the sunset from the tallest point in town, played in our clothes at the splash park and ate ice cream. 


The other day I was at Target, pushing all three kids in one of those gigantic carts and out of no where, I just started smiling. My heart was so full of happiness, it felt like it was bursting open. I realized in that hot parking lot as they were each jockeying for the best seat in the cart, I had finally found my magical summer. Yes, the trips and adventures are downright delightful, but really what I’ve been missing all these years is the time. The time to truly enjoy my kids — all the smiles, all the laughs, all the tears, all the fights. There is no greater magic than that. 


















Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Moment I've Been Waiting For

I have been waiting seven and a half years for this. 

I spent all of last year wondering if they were ready and deciding to wait. 

Then they went to a birthday party and their curiosity was piqued. 

So, I decided it was time and crossed my fingers they were ready. 

**Be prepared to probably be disappointed by the following revelation. I may have built it up a bit too much. Also, be prepared to see into the depths of my nerdiness. I feel no shame.**

The girls and I started reading Harry Potter together. 

*Ha! I told you!* 

In 2004, I was interning at a newspaper in Florida and completely bored one weekend. I was milling about Target and found myself in the book section. I flipped through several before begrudgingly picking up The Sorcerer’s Stone.   

I think I finished it before the day was over. I went back to Target and grabbed Chamber of Secrets. 

I was instantly in love with the magic of the, well, magical world. 

I have read the series three times, seen the movies too many times to remember and once dressed as Ginny Weasley for Halloween. 

And now, I get to relive all of the magic and mystery with my sweet girls. I spend about 15-30 minutes each night reading as much as I can in between all the questions and theories. 



And the best part? In addition to being wrapped up in a story that I have so much love for, we are also soaking up some seriously needed Mom-daughter time each night. 


Win-win.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Their Joy is My Joy

There are things I miss about them as babies. 

Things I miss about them as toddlers. 

Definitely things I miss about them as preschoolers. 

I’ll never stop missing those beautiful memories we’ve had together, but I sure do love watching them grow, too. And I just can’t get enough of their joy. 














Monday, May 15, 2017

In All Its Glory

For Mother’s day, I usually just want to spend the day with my family, trying to soak up my kids and motherhood in all its glory. This year, I got a bit smarter. I asked for a day of exploration and adventure-seeking without complaints. And yes, I bribed them with donuts to sweeten our deal. Motherhood, in all its glory. 

About 3 minutes into our adventure (and that is NOT an embellishment) I had already uttered the words “complete and total failure.” The sun was beating down on us, with no shade in sight. Grace was complaining that she needed a drink. Claire was hungry. Henry was squirming to get out of his stroller and the dog was barking angrily at every passerby. 

But we persisted. And about 5 or so minutes down the path, our persistence was rewarded. We came to an unexpected off-shoot of our trail. That led to shade, a very unique-looking bridge (finding unexpected bridges on our adventures are always a highlight), which led to a mysterious trail, which led to the most perfect little park area. The kids played queens and sharks and all the things you play when you find an unexpected play area. It was deserted at this time of day, so the dog wasn’t barking at anyone. And when Grace and I felt very urgently that we needed to use the facilities, we found restrooms just a minute away that were so thankfully unlocked! 

After that, we continued on our mysterious trail that led to another smaller bridge and then back the way we came. 

It turned out to be such a fantastic adventure that as we were heading back to the car, Grace said “Mom, I hate to say it, but that was really fun.” 

Some day, they'll be grateful that their mother forced them into Saturday morning adventures, exploring their world and finding joy in the small things like wooded trails and and hidden bridges. 

Today, though, the donut-bribe lasted until the last 15 minutes of the journey. Hot, tired, my legs can't move another step, hot, thirsty, so tired complaints hit me from all angles. I guess that's motherhood, though, in all its glory. 















Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Mother's Gratitude

Today is Mother’s Day. This day can bring happiness, sadness, longing, excitement and probably a few hundred other emotions depending on your life’s circumstances. Today, I choose grateful. 

I’m so eternally grateful for my own mother. I’ve written about her before, but it’s worth saying again. She raised me to treat others with kindness, love unconditionally and never lose sight of my own strength. I’m so thankful that I have her in my life and that my kids get to grow up knowing her love and strength. 



I also couldn’t be more grateful for my mother-in-law. She helped raise a loyal, generous, kind son who spends his days finding ways to make our days better. She welcomed me into the family and consistently lets me know how much she loves having me here. She loves my kids as her own and helps nurture their spirits like only a grandparent can. 


I’m, especially, grateful on this day to be a mother myself. I knew from an early age that being a mother was my calling and it wasn’t too long ago that I was scared it might never happen. But it did. And for all the complaining that I sometimes do about exhaustion and whining and bickering and screaming, I’m thankful every single day that I get to be their mom. What an amazing gift and opportunity to love and be loved by them. 








Saturday, May 13, 2017

Little Sneak

Henry’s pretty sneaky for a one-year-old. 

Let’s take the other day for example. 

We were outside: him playing, me messing on my phone. 

I saw him start to move toward the off-limits area and so I looked up. He was looking directly at me. He said “Mom!” and pointed. I took this to mean, “Mom, look over there!” 

I asked him what he was doing and he pointed and said “Mom! Hone!” 

I looked back at my “hone,” while secretly keeping an eye on him and watched him slowly move toward the forbidden area, never taking his eyes off me. I’d look up every once in awhile and we’d repeat the “Mom! Hone!” But he just kept slowly making his way over there. 









When I finally decided that he had pushed the limits too far (literally and figuratively), we had the conversation about how he wasn’t supposed to be going over there. He didn’t take it well. 

He’s tried the distraction tactic several times since then, but he also implements the “hide while being naughty” tactic, too. He’ll grab whatever forbidden object he has and run and hide with it. If I follow him, he’ll do the “Mom!” and point in the other direction. 

Case in point: I asked him to use his pen on paper instead of his hand. He looked at me, didn’t say anything and went behind the couch. I continued to sit where I was, but I followed him with the camera on my phone to see just how naughty he’d try to be if he thought I wasn’t looking. 








Looks like I’ll need to be on my toes with this one.