Our Reset

Earlier today, my mom sent me a text picture of Ana laying in the leaves.  First I smiled and then I cried.  Yes, I cried over a beautiful picture of my daughter.  I cried because I miss her.  I miss my son.  I don’t know when I spent quality time with them last.  I see them everyday in between school, chores, homework, and activities.  Our conversations are quickly about school and our days, then they move to cleaning up messes, getting ready for the next thing, eating, and their chores.  I have missed my son’s flag football games, and he only made it to 4 out of 6.  We don’t miss sports, we commit.  However, our commitments are lacking this fall.

Somehow, we became the family we never wanted to be.  We are busy, and not the productive kind either.  It starts with one yes, then another, and another…. before you know it, you are scheduling things on top of other things, and letting someone down.  UGH!  I am about to scream….instead I cry.  I cry because where is our pause?  Where did fall go?  Our treeless yard is full of beautiful colored leaves, but where is our leaf pile?  Where are the memories of sitting in a pile of leaves and throwing them in the air?  Where are the squeals and the laughter?  Where are our visits to the pumpkin patch or apple picking?  Where did we go?

Starting on Monday, our family schedule is being reset.  We will go trick or treating together, we will enjoy Halloween.  In November, there will be cuddles on the couch, piles of leaves, laughter and time together.  We, as a family, are pulling out of all extra curricular activities  with very few exceptions.

In November, I am giving my family the gift of time.  I am giving them my 100%.  I will be present and happy.  I promise this to them.  Life is too short to waste it being over-scheduled and busy.  It’s time to pause, to laugh, to enjoy each other. That is what our life is all about.

I will not forfeit another season.  It is time to say No.

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.

Be Gone, Double Chin!

Yesterday, Ana hijacked Scott’s iPad and took countless photos of herself in Photobooth.  Upon discovering this, I did what any good mom would do, I jumped in and played around with her.  It was so fun and silly!  We laughed, and I think Ana’s side almost split open a few times.  I almost wet my pants. 🙂  It felt amazing to laugh and laugh with my little girl.

However, that amazing moment isn’t what this blog is about.  As we were fooling around, I noticed something, my double chin is gone.  I mean, that I had to drop my chin way to my neck to even get a semblance of one.  Even in college, when I was at my lightest (which is 20 pounds less than I am now), I had a double chin.  It has been around since I hit puberty, and I completely thought no matter what I looked like, I would always have one.

“You have a round face.  Some of us just have that full look.” Are phrases that I heard years ago when I complained about my double chin.  I stopped whining about it, well because, what’s the point.  My double chin was on my “When I win the lottery I am getting plastic surgery” list.  Well, I am not saying I will never get plastic surgery, but it definitely won’t be to remove my double chin.

I hope you don’t think that I am bragging or anything, well I guess I am kind of bragging….  It’s just that for years and years I gained weight steadily, despite hours and hours of efforts.  I have shed countless tears and hated my reflection period.  I felt like the real me, was lost.  A few short months ago, I feared that I would be overweight, or possibly obese for the rest of my life.  At 33 that is a terrible feeling.  I desperately wanted to be found; to look like the face I wanted to see in the mirror.  I have worked hard for this weight loss. And lately have been taking insane measures to get to my goal size and I can’t wait to get my free t-shirt!  I have given up my vices, and my favorite foods forever.  (Now, I might even have to give up cheese and dairy because my body is not responding well to cow’s milk products any more.) I don’t care, well I do care, but I accept it.

I have given up so much, including my double chin.  Everything is, and continues to be worth it.

(No need to comment, this post is written 100% for me.)

Failure is Underrated

When I grow up and am in charge of the world, or at least when I can get others to listen to my strange ideas,  I want to teach people, especially my kids, how to fail. I think failing is underrated in this day and age, especially from those of us with big dreams, high goals, and almost unrealistic expectations for life.

“What do you mean? Don’t you want to succeed? Don’t you want your kids to be successful?” asked the skeptic.

My answer is simple, “Yes, I want to reach my dreams, I want success, and I want the ultimate happiness that Earth has to offer. I also want my kids to live a happy life, reaching for the sky. However, they will not get there if they don’t fail a few hundred times first. I firmly believe it, and little anyone can say will change my mind. The truly successful people in our world, learned how to make mistakes, and fail many times.

I don’t just want my kids to learn how to deal with failure, but I want them to know the heartbreak of it. I want them to feel those sad feelings of rejection, and cry the tears of disappointment. I will be there when they fall.  I will listen to their tears, anger and disappointment.  That is my job as their mom.  Then I want them to get over it, pick themselves up, and reassess what they could have done better. I want them to make a plan on how improve their past mistakes, and be even better than before.

It sounds cold, but when I look at how my life has improved because of my past failings, I can’t help but hope my kids know how to fail, just so they can succeed.

For years and years, I failed to lose weight no matter what I did. During my weight gaining/not losing process, I learned how to get up in the morning and work out. I learned how to get over the tired feeling, and which workouts I enjoy.  I learned the joy of completing a race, and that I can physically make my body do almost anything. I also learned the key for my body’s nutrition, and that is to get rid of gluten. I believe with my soul, that ten years of failing, is leading me to being healthy for the rest of my life, especially now that I am having weight loss success.  The mindset, “I can always lose this 5 pounds,” is dangerous, and I will never feel that way about weight loss.  I have failed too much, it’s time to succeed.

I failed to get a teaching job this spring/summer. This failure, opened me up to new opportunities. Because I wasn’t teaching, I able to have lunch with a friend. Over lunch, she told me about grad school. With a huge leap of faith, I enrolled in a wonderful program, that will lead me to the right job. Had I gotten a job, I would have ended up where I left off, which is not a good thing. Plus, I have wanted to get my masters for years, and now I am.  I love my schooling and the work that goes with it.  I finding this love of learning is feeding my soul and for the first time in years, I feel like I am moving forward to new and exciting territory.

I have failed at photography. I have always loved taking pictures since I got my first camera in first grade, but I never understood it. Once the digital age hit, I started taking even more pictures. I can’t even begin to count how many digital files I have wasted on a photography mistakes, nor do I can to even count the number of cameras I have gone through the past 7 years. However, now I know, what makes a good picture. I know how to capture the moment, and I know how to make it perfect, or at least represent the moment. Had photography been easy for me, I am sure I would not have learned the science of light. That has made all of the difference in my skills.

I have also made big mistakes out on photography jobs, those mistakes, which I have shed mountains of tears over, taught me how to fix my mistakes. Had I not messed up, my mind would not learn to check my settings, over and over again. I am confident in my skills, now that I have messed up, and learned how to fix it.  My lessons in photography have pushed me to learn more and more.  Now, I feel confident when schedule a photo session, and my heart sings even more when I process and can relive the love of a family again.  It is an amazing job, and I love it.

Yesterday morning, I awoke to an email explaining that I did not get a writing job. I had a moment of disappointment, but my second thought was, “How can I be better? How can I make my dreams come true, despite this unwanted feeling?” I know with my heart and soul that this rejection will lead me to something greater and bigger than I can imagine today. I just need to figure out how to learn, grow, and seek out the next opportunity.

I could go on and on about my failings. Few things in this world have felt easy for me, however, my struggles have led to lots of happiness. My life is better because I have failed time after time again.

So when my kids come home nd talking about how “easy” something was for them, I am slightly sad. I want them to work at a level that is hard, in a place where they might fail. I want them to learn rejection, so they can learn how to deal with it, instead of giving up. I want them to really understand that on the road to making their dreams come true, they might fail, but they will be better people for it.

Really successful people fail before they succeed. You don’t have to take my word for it, you can ask da Vinci, Steve Jobs, Dr. Seuss, Thomas Edison, Oprah…. The list goes on and on. Failure leads to learning, and life lessons lead to success.

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…)

Hurry, Hurry, Come on, Let’s Go

“Come on, let’s go, we’re in a hurry, we have [this, this, and this] to do before that [unimportant event that for some reason we can’t miss]!”  It seems like I am saying this to my family everyday.  I hate it, I hate it with a passion.  I hate that my alarm goes off around 5, I do a workout or two, rush the kids out the door, to drop everyone off at their places, and then barely make it to school on time.  Then, after school, I rush to pick up the kids so we can run home, have a snack, do some homework before we fly out the door again.  Sometimes we make it home before 6, and others we get home around 8.

I look at our schedule and lives and wonder, “How did this happen?”  I hate to be busy. I love leisure, I love moderation, I love a slow-paced life.  How did I let our family get so busy?  I can answer that, by saying, “Yes,” to one small commitment at a time.  Just like a bunch of small changes can add up to a big change, well a bunch of small commitments add up to too many.

I look at our commitments, and wonder, “What can we put on hold?”:

Sporting events – Nope, we have two left for each kid, we just have to hold on to that.

MOPS – Nope, I need my Mommy interaction, especially now that I am working and Scott’s schedule is crazy.

Boy Scouts – Nope, Scott went to one parent meeting and came home a den leader.  (Stay tuned for a photo of him in his scouting uniform.  I can’t wait!)

Grad School – Uh, no.  Can’t quit that!

Blogging or Photography – Only if i want to sink into a deep depression again.  Sorry, can’t do that.  I have cut down on both, and my soul is aching for it.  I can’t give up my art, it’s too hard and makes me sad.

Working out – Can I give up eating and breathing too?

Community Service – What would Jesus do?  What kind of message does that send?

Housework and laundry – Well, something has to go.  I guess I will try to do that… 😉

I guess I will continue to give up sleep, and hold on tight for the next couple of weeks, praying that no one gets sick.

Anyway, there is no point to this writing.  I am facing a writer’s block at the moment.  This terrible schedule is getting in the way of my family stories.  It’s time to find the inspiration again, but first, I think I need to breathe.

How do you supermoms do it all?  I seem to fail every single time…At the end of the day, I am not Superwoman, so I may as well stop trying and just breathe. Breathe.  Breathe.