We don’t need Pinterest, We need Memories

I use Pinterest, but I don’t love it. I think it’s a great place for recipes, and ideas, but honestly, I bet I don’t ever make any of those homemade presents I pin. And if I did, they would be so horrible, I couldn’t actually give them away without saying that Ana made them. Half the time, I avoid it because face it, you all pin flour laden, sugar filled desserts, which I can’t eat ever again. Anyway, enough about my opinion about Pinterest, I know so many people love it, and I am not bashing something I use. Secretly I am jealous of those of you who live in the Pinterest reality. 

The other day, Ana made a tissue ghost out of a sucker at a fall festival. Saturday, Ana sighed, “Maybe someday I can make another ghost.”

Suddenly, I was transported to Halloween decoration-making memories from my youth. I remember sitting at our kitchen table, stuffing tissues to make ghost heads, lovingly making scary faces on each decoration. My mom showed me how to make them, and she says, “I don’t have a creative bone in my body.” Before Pinterest, despite her non-creative mind, my mom taught me how to make ghosts.

“Ana, we don’t need suckers to make ghosts, all we need are tissues and string. We have those. Do you want to make some?”

“Uh huh.” We spent time making the ghosts together, just the two of us. It was so fun, we decided to make more crafts another day. I was tempted to go on Pinterest for ideas, but instead I went back to my memories. I remembered making witches in school, jack o’lanterns, and bats. I am sure there are a million better, more elaborate ideas on Pinterest, but why do those when the fun is I the creating, not the copying?

Today, we continued our craft time, my daughter had NO interest in my craft ideas. She spent the past few days coming up with her own ideas. I am so glad that I didn’t waste time pinning, and buying supplies for a craft my daughter didn’t actually want to do. She wanted art time with me, and I don’t need Pinterest to give her that. Our ideas might not “pinnable” special, but they are ours, and that is what makes them special to me.


Kids Give me Hope

I am so tired of campaigns, negativity on TV, news, and in social media.  It’s enough to make one crazy enough woman scream.  So, lately, the tv is off, Facebook is ignored, and life continues on.  I could sit back and think about the issues.  I could go on and on about how people’s view of education is wrong.  I could stand on a soapbox about many topics, but I won’t, at least not today. 🙂

Instead, I choose to focus on the little notes I have found lying around the house.  Ok, I finally picked them up off the middle of the floor after they had been there for too many days.  (Oh, the working mom’s house is back, and probably not going anywhere.)  I don’t know when they made them, but they did it all on their own.  These notes, give me hope, and make me smile.

Our country and world will be fine.  Education will be fine.  Our futures are bright.  Those are the lessons that working with children teach me everyday.

“I wish that there will always be freedom.” – McCartney

I can’t find the note that says, “I hope McCartney will always be my brother.” -Ana

“We all live in a yellow submarine.” -Ana 😉

“For Mrs. Beck, I like the Beatles. Paul, George and Ringo” -Ana






Moment of Triumph

The other day, after work and a photo session, the kids and I had to wait for Scott at the park.  It has been extremely busy lately, and I am afraid that I have missed fall.  As we waited, I pushed aside my long to do list that was burning in the back of brain, and was present with my kids.   I am going to miss the next few years of their lives, if I am not careful.

The day was perfect.  The air was thin, but not too cool.  The leaves were bright, with some trickling off the trees, one by one.  I could have stayed at that park, with my kids for hours.  Being lazy, I sat down on a swing and started to move.  The next thing I knew, my son joined me, and he soared through the air.  Swinging has been one of his favorite activities since he birth.

Ana also hopped into the fun.  She has never had the desire to actually learn how to pump and keep herself going.  I have tried “tough love.”  You know, I say, “I will give you one push, and then you have to keep going.”  Well, being the charmer she is, she manages to compensate for my meanness, and always finds another kid, including her brother, to push her.  If she can’t con someone into helping her, she usually jumps off the swing and skips to another activity.  On this day, for some reason, I really wanted to swing.  I mean, I really wanted to put my desire to swing over her desire to join us.  However, I did give her the one push that my mean momma self gives her at the park.

At one point, I looked over at Ana and noticed that she was attempting to pump.  Her body swayed back and forth, her legs went forward and back, forward and back, forward and back…

“Mommy, I am moving by myself!  I am swinging all by myself!  I can do it!!!”  she exclaimed in her high-pitched-over-the-top excited voice.  She was moving ever so slightly, but moving all the same.  She didn’t give up and kept gaining speed, little by little.  Baby steps, but successful.

“Look at you go, Ana! I love how you are working so hard on moving your legs and your body!  Yay!”  I let out a huge sigh of relief, my little big girl was going to learn to swing by herself sooner than later.  YAY!

Magic happens in these little moments and I cherish them all.

Shame on you!

So, only days and days after the really funny moms started a mom shaming campaign, I finally was inspired to join. (Click here for the other shaming posters). Basically, a bunch of blogging moms from our atomic reach tribe, Blogging While Mom, are admitting our sins and shaming ourselves for the whole world to see.  I am sure it was inspired by this dad’s story and the public out cry because of it.  I see it as funny, and I understand that others don’t, but whatever.

Anyway, this week, after thinking really hard, I started feeling like, “Whoa, my mom sins aren’t that bad.”  Or “I don’t lie to my kids, yay me!”  I was just about to give myself a nonexistent You are an Awesome Mom award when this happened:

After school, I emptied the kids’ backpacks full of worksheets and projects from school this week. After oo-ing and ah-ing over each little star, (they were watching a movie, but I am sure they could feel my pride in them,) I did what I always do with their school papers: Buried them deep into the recycling bin.  I continued on with my day.

Later, Ana, seeing that her backpack was opened, said, “Mom, what did you do with all my papers from school.”

(Knowing that she wanted to keep each one, and they would then end up all over her room, creating another fire hazard, until they were ripped to shreds, and then I would have to ask her a million times to pick up her room, where she would cry and whine about hard it is, until all fun activities were threatened, and her room would finally get somewhat clean, and those precious papers of today would end up in the recycling bin in a few short days…) I said, “Hmmmmm, I laid them somewhere.  Where have you looked?”  We then looked around for a total of 2 minutes when something shiny caught her eye and said papers were forgotten.

See, I don’t lie to my kids, but that doesn’t mean I am completely honest either!

What are your sins as a mom?  Come on share them, we ALL have MANY!

Check out these funny moms on Facebook.  Click “Like” (on Facebook) if you like to laugh! You can also “Pin” the Top 35 Most Pinteresting Moms too! (And the shame continues…)

Mommy’s Make-Up

Yesterday morning, in the chaos of getting ready for school, Scott found Ana in the bathroom trying to put on my eye liner.

“No, no, Honey.  Don’t put that on,” Scott said in his gentle, yet firm voice.

Ana burst into tears. “I’m sorry!  I just wanted to be like Mommy!”

“You don’t need make-up, you are so beautiful just the way you are,” I heard Scott say.

I stepped in and quickly washed Ana up.  As a little girl, I remember wanting to play with my mom’s make-up and I know this is a natural stage. “It’s OK, Ana.  Sometime, this weekend, when we aren’t going anywhere.  I will put some make-up on you.  It is fun to play dress up.  Five year olds don’t leave the house with make up on, but it’s OK to play.”

While cleaning up her face, before school, I was transported back in time, to when I would stare at my mom’s tiara from her pageant days.  I remember looking at her in her wedding photos, and pageant folders, thinking that no woman on this Earth could be as beautiful as my mom.  I remember wondering if I would ever be as beautiful as her too.

Later that day, Scott told me that he is worried about her self-image, if she already wants to put on make-up.  “No,” I insisted, “this is a natural thing.  For Ana, make-up is an imitation of Mommy, not a wanting to change anything about her.  It’s ok.  I will play with her soon, so she won’t get into it again.  I did this too.”  While I comforted Scott about the situation, it was a wake up call for me.  More and more I am understanding my importance in her life.

As I watch my little girl, and I am in awe of everything she does.  I love her spirit, her life, her caring about others, and there is nothing about her I would change. I even love her spaciness, although it can be frustrating.  I also find her absolutely beautiful on the outside too.  I love her eyes, and smile, and the glow about her.  She is a person that many love, just for being her.

Of course, looking at how much she imitates me and tries to do the things I do, I know it’s time to keep my promise to God.  Six years ago, before I was pregnant, I watched an episode of Oprah.  The episode was about young girls and their self-esteem, or actually their lack of it.  Of course, the ones who had a terrible self-image, learned it from their moms.  I promised God, in that moment, that I would learn to love myself.  I promised Him that if he blessed me with the baby girl I always wanted, I teach her to love herself, and she would learn it from not just my words, but my actions.

Well, I don’t make promises that I don’t keep, and I admit, I have been working on it, but not really holding up my end of the bargain.

I also remember as a young girl hearing from so many people (and I still do), “You look just like your mom.”  Some people would also say something like, “You both are so beautiful.”  I also remember my mom telling me how special and beautiful I was and then looking at herself in the mirror and frowning, hating what she saw.  When I was a teenager, I remember saying, “Why do you tell me I am beautiful?  I look just like you, everyone says so, yet, you hate how you look. How can you say I am beautiful?”

“You do look like me, Honey, but I do look different than you too.  You are beautiful,” was her reply.  I can tell you now, that while I wanted to believe my mom, I didn’t.   I admit, my love of my body, face, and features has been nonexistent for years.  I don’t blame my mom for my self-esteem, I feel what I feel, and I take full responsibility for it.

However, I understand what the message a mom’s self-hatred can do for a young girl and I don’t want the cycle to continue.  I am really making a commitment to learn to love what I see in the mirror, although it is not perfect.  Most importantly, I am working really hard at accepting compliments, and being comfortable in my skin.  I love Ana so much, that I desperately want to give her the gift of self-love, even if it is hard for me.

I made a promise to God.  He gave me a daughter, and I intend to keep my part of the bargain.  Ana is worth it.

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Putting the Plastic Plates Away

A week or so ago, I noticed that my kids still used plastic plates at dinnertime.  “Hmmm, why do we still use those?  They are both in school.”  As I was reaching up to the top shelf, I suddenly froze, tears entered my lids, and I realized, “I HAVE TWO SCHOOL AGED KIDS!”  My thoughts were racing, my mind was screaming, and I couldn’t believe it.

Yes, the past two years have passed about as fast as a group of snails on their way to bed, but the past 7 years have collectively FLOWN by.  I remembered holding my son for the first time, and thinking, “Our baby is so beautiful, it is our job to populate the Earth.”  On the other hand, where was Ana when I held McCartney?  I can’t even fathom our family without her.  She fits, and belongs, was there a time when she wasn’t with the three of us????

Our lives have moved from diapers, formula, and tantrums, to backpacks, homework, and discussions.  Our milk is disappearing by the gallons, and funny, I don’t have to pour it for them any more.  They get their glass, pour the milk, and put their dish by the sink, without me even knowing they had any.

Every six months, we buy new shoes two sizes larger than the time before.  Their socks are starting to look slightly smaller than mine, instead of tiny.

Ana’s dresses keep getting shorter and shorter, although we keep buying bigger and bigger sizes.  My son measures up to my chest, and he reminds me at least 4 times a week, my time as the second tallest member of our family will soon pass.

Homework, PG movies, sports, community service projects, and PTA meetings are our new reality.

No longer will a band-aid fix the boo-boos and my son questions my facts as truth.  “Show me the book that says that,” he says, instead of, “I believe you.”

The past 7 years are going by like lightning, and if I wait another 7 years to have a moment like this, I will have a teen and a tween.  Oh, my goodness, that thought feels unbearable today.

People told us, that time would pass quickly, and many times, while they cried or we struggled, that felt like a lie. But in that moment, as I reached up high, to place our plastic plates on the shelf, I believed it with my heart and soul.  Each day is a gift, a blessing, a stage to be enjoyed, because they grow too fast, and before you know it, you don’t need the plastic plates any more.

Making Gains – The “First” Soccer Game

Last spring, when Ana begged to play soccer, her first 5 games (out of 6), she was THAT child on the team.  You know which child I am talking about: the one that has fun, her way, no matter what the coach says or does.  The one who is hopping like a rabbit during drills.  The one that kicks the ball and tries to make sure her shoe comes flying off.  The one who laughs and squeals, when no one else is laughing.  The one who purposely falls into the net.  You know the one child on the team who has NO INTEREST in the sport.  After last spring’s fiasco, after a year of watching her behave this way in many sports: t-ball, swimming, gymnastics, we removed Ana from all organized sports until fall.  Even then, we only gave her another chance because she is older, calmer, and begged us to let her try again.

“I promise, I will listen this time.”  I love my girl, but I know her, and I signed her up, but I honestly did not believe her.

At dinner tonight, we, for the millionth time this week, went over the behavior rules in soccer.

“I will listen to my coach.  I will do what he says,” she promised.  I wanted to believe her.  I know she means what she says at the time, but the girl is not competitive and she loves to have fun, her way.

We showed up early, found our field, and waited as a family.  When I wanted to take her picture with my phone, this is the attitude that I got:

Needless to say, I was sure afraid that this fall was destined to be a big, fat repeat of last spring.  (Anissa, if you are reading this, I am guessing you are laughing, because YOU KNOW what I am talking about!)

When her coaches took the field, she walked over, confidently.  (Please notice, I said the girl walked, if you know Ana, you know she doesn’t walk.  She skips, hops, and bounces, but walking just isn’t her thing.)  Scott and I set up chairs, brought our books, and were ready to try not to watch another disaster season.  (Yes, we are those parents.  Judge us if you want, but it is SUPER hard to just watch your child misbehave over and over.  She is our second, and we have witnessed this behavior, many times. We have learned how to cope.)

I looked up during drills and saw Ana standing in line, with her foot on the ball!  I quickly grabbed my camera, hoping that she had turned a new leaf.  When it was her turn to kick the ball into the net, she did it!  Scott, McCartney and I cheered like she scored an actual goal.  You have to understand the train wreck that we watched week after week, last season to understand our reaction.

During the game, my girl, actually ran after the ball.  She even kicked it a few times.  She was in the middle of the 5 year old pig pile, trying to get the ball!  When she wasn’t where the action was, she was running after the action, trying to catch up.  She only came over for a drink, when her coach brought in another player and it was her turn to sit out.  Not once, did she ask to leave the game.

Over on the sidelines, Scott, McCartney and I were cheering so loud.  We kept giving her a thumbs up, and couldn’t praise her efforts enough.  It was going so well.  Of course, the game was probably about 5 minutes too long, because in the last minute, a boy on the other team, hit her head right on her ear.  Our girl, who had been stepped on, kicked, and thrown around the field cried and cried.  She was done with soccer today.  Who could blame her?

On the way home, McCartney said, “Ana, I am so proud of you!”  Despite the tears, still sitting her on cheeks, Ana smiled.

She admitted, “When I grow up, I just want to be a Mommy and a teacher.”

“Oh, Ana, when you play sports, it’s for childhood fun.  You don’t have to have dreams of being a pro.  You can play just for the fun of playing soccer,” I reassured.

“Ok.  Maybe I will play again next week.”

I sure hope so! Tonight’s game was SO FUN to watch (for the first 55 minutes anyway), and we all can’t wait for next week’s game.  I think our little Ana is actually growing up!

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