Posts Tagged ‘Motherhood’

My Frugal Family: The Summertime Edition

Thursday, August 6th, 2009


This summer has been a quiet one for our family. Intended trips were vetoed in favor of staycations and saving fuel. Our backyard update has been just the fix we needed though to enjoy quiet afternoons and evenings in our very own space. Our sweat equity has paid off and we have felt less impacted by the rising cost of fuel because all we desire is to spend time in our fresh new space.

I plop myself into a lawn chair and I look out over our large yard. I can see two sets of feet dancing behind the sheets, as the clothes blow on our clothesline. The children are giggling uncontrollably as they play peek-a-boo and try to catch one another, flipping the sheets back and forth.

I have set up all of their outdoor toys and it is always the laundry line that is the most fascinating to them. My daughter pulls off a towel and runs over to me shouting, “Queen, Queen.” Yes, she has somehow moved up the chain of royalty and no longer considers herself a princess, but who can blame her? Given the choice, I would aim for the queen title myself.

My son has wrapped a blue piece of tape around his head and tells me that he is a Ninja. I laugh to myself as I see the Ninja and Queen are holding hands and running together. Only in my backyard would moments like these even be possible.

The kids run through the sprinklers and hold their mouths open to catch the water. Drinks rest on the picnic table, but there is nothing like a cold spray of water in your face to catch a drop of water in your mouth. They are soaked, but the sunshine keeps them warm.

I bring out the popsicles- the same exact color, design, and shape so no squabbles can form. I fear what would happen if a Ninja and Queen had to battle it out for the best popsicle in town. Thankfully, they are so excited for their treat that they forget to fight. They sit underneath our small tree for shade and laugh because it is so cold in their mouth.

My queen is getting tired though and I pull her into my lap and hold her close. Her beach towel is wrapped around her and I lean in to smell her hair. It is the smell of sunshine, of baby shampoo, of sweetness that is like nothing else. I curl my fingers around her pigtails and let them go so little wet ringlets form around my finger. In my head, just one word keeps coming to mind and I quietly chant it in my head, “Blessed. Blessed. Blessed.”

No matter what happens in the economy, no matter how high the groceries get, and no matter how much the gas prices increase… I am blessed. It is the first thing I think when I wake up and it is the last thought on my mind as my head hits the pillow.

I am one lucky girl!

Simple Writings Bring Simple Pleasures

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

One of my dearest friends and I built our relationship up through daily email exchanges about our lives. We started emailing when my husband and I were just newlyweds and she was in a committed relationship. Our emails continued as we journeyed to Massachusetts and settled down in our first home, through my pregnancy, her engagement, her marriage, and her first baby, my second baby, her second baby… each email carefully documented our daily joys and struggles. When I became a mother my emails were full of joy, but a lot of whining about sleep, difficulty transitioning into motherhood, problems nursing, and general woes. Her emails were filled with encouragement and hope of a light at the end of the tunnel. When she wrote about motherhood though, she rarely complained but just reveled in the joy of being a mother. She was like that, she just enjoyed life.

Whatever she wrote about though, I seemed to want. It wasn’t belongings, but a sense of peace and of tranquility that she seemed to capture, that I had never had. I was always running, always going, always busy…I now realize that I didn’t take the time to enjoy the simple things, the simple life, and the simple goodness that could be created by being still for a moment.

I am trying to transition out of the busy bee world and into a more quiet time with my children. Perhaps it is melancholy because my firstborn will be attending first grade next year or perhaps it is just the realization that I don’t need to be running or constantly entertained to enjoy a quiet spell in my life.

Today was just one example of what a quiet day for us is like. The windows were cracked and I could feel the fresh air blowing into our house and the smell of freshly cut grass. I look down at my daughter as I feel her deliberate and persistent tapping on my leg. As I look down at her, I smile because she is wearing a pair of my shoes on her chubby little feet. Of all her toys, it is these shoes she loves and she calls them her “tap shoes” as she scoots the sandals across the floor. I look over at my son who is curled at one end of our sofa with a book. I can hear him as he sounds out each word very carefully and slowly, just as he has been taught in school. I revel in his growing vocabulary and how much he has learned this year- he has grown so much.

The smell of fresh muffins travels through the room as I wrap up my baking for the week ahead. This batch of muffins is stuffed to the brim with oatmeal and a little bit of chocolate, to balance out the heartiness and make them more appealing to my children. The muffins smell like freshly baked cookies and the kids begin to count down the minutes until they will be cool enough to handle.

I hum a little bit as I tidy up the kitchen, from the day spent baking, and fill the sink with the dirty dishes. The suds and warm water fill the sink and I dip my hands into the bubbles to finish the day’s dishes. As I scrub, I look out the window at our sweet little garden that we planted together. I recall the tender way my son wanted to help plant each and every plant, asking each time, “What can I do, mommy?” He was there for each step of the process and helped to water our finished product. He was just as proud and dirty as me that day.

I then sit at the other end of the sofa with my son and the sound of my knitting needles, Emily’s tap shoes, and my son’s quiet readings are all you hear. We enjoy the quiet of this day and look forward to our idyllic summer together. This stillness is what I need and I see our children growing from it. Not from the organized activities, the well-thought and well-executed organized crafts, the busy running. No, they thrive in the quiet and stillness…and so do I.

Do you see how the mundane can be made to sound lovely? Just as advertisers would have us believe that a new car will give us this amazing life we have always dreamed of, simple writing about simple pleasures may invoke that same enthusiasm. Suddenly baking muffins, knitting, quiet moments, a tiny garden, and doing dishes sound lovely…and you begin to want that. Imagine if the whole world returned to these simple pleasures- joy in the laundry hanging on the line, kids playing in sprinklers instead of with electronic gadgets, freshly baked goodies straight from your own oven, an appreciation for the beauty in nature instead of the beauty of our exterior selves…I would imagine that it would put a lot of companies out of business.

Today I challenge you to a day of simplicity and I look forward to hearing what special and simple things bring you the most joy in your life.

Is it your children’s laughter? Is it a freshly cracked library book? Is it the quiet time you spend with your spouse after your children have went to bed? Is it that first cup of morning coffee with a dash of cream? What are some simple pleasures that bring you happiness? Revel in those things, bring those things into your life, focus on those simple and amazing pleasures and see if it doesn’t bring into perspective the beautiful life you are already leading.

What simple pleasures in life do you enjoy the most?

Graduation Day

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Ethan,

We are so proud of you, Ethan! You did it! You graduated kindergarten with flying colors and wowed us all this year. I can’t believe you are reading, adding, subtracting, multiplying, and doing it all with that boundless energy that we so admire!

I was sad to see you on that big yellow school bus on your first day of school. I clung to the side of the bus as you assured me that it was all going to be okay. You were so right. You did great and I could not be more proud.

This is just the beginning, son! You are going to do so many great things, meet so many great people, and touch people’s lives in great ways. God has a purpose for you and I can’t wait to see that all unfold.

xoxo,
Mom

Hope

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

We eat our lunch together, as we always do. Emily makes the same exact request as she always does- a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, a few chips, applesauce, and lemonade. She dips her fingers in the applesauce, just as she does every single day, and is eating it off her fingers. I try to guide her to use the spoon, just as I always do, and settle in next to her.

The scenery is different today though. We are watching the inauguration of our new President and she watches in awe of the fanfare, the tiny people waving their American flags, and wiggles in time to the music. She even attempts to hum along to the music and, for some strange reason, my independent little girl asks if I will hold her as we watch.

And I watch, with tears streaming down my face, as our President makes his speech. I feel hope in my heart for our country. This isn’t a political stance for me, but a hope that the changing of the guards will bring new ideas and new opportunities for our country. A hope that we can turn this economy around for our family, our friends, those we don’t even know. That life could be better. The possibility for what the future could hold. An undeniable hope.

Yes, some things remain the same and some things, they are changing.

Did you watch the inauguration with your children or are you discussing this historic day with them? Any family nights planned? I would love to hear what you are doing today and what you are talking about with your kids!

Today I Am 31

Friday, January 16th, 2009

I can make big things happen.

In the end, this is all that matters.

My desire to learn will never end.


My capacity to love my children encompasses every fiber of my body and embeds itself deeper every year.

Some moments in my life are far grander than I dreamed possible.

I can survive that first day of kindergarten, even if I cried like a baby for two days straight.

Each year that passes I will look more like my mother.

I have discovered the beauty in things I did not appreciate.

No matter how big I get, I will always be daddy’s little girl.

I have found a life of simplicity is the best kind of life to lead.

I will be rewarded for my hard work.

I am finding that the more work I put into it, the more my house becomes my very own dream home.

If I have only one word to describe this year of life for me it would be content. I am finally content with who I am and where I am going in life. I am content with what I have and the possibility of what might be attained.

It has been a wonderful year and I thank you for sharing it with me.

xoxoxo,
Amy

My First Notre Dame Game

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Despite living minutes away from the Notre Dame campus and enjoying all that tailgating has to offer, I have never been to a game. I don’t have the connections or finances to afford going to the game. It was one of those things that I always hoped to do and this weekend my day finally came.

My dad got two tickets to a game and a chance to dine for breakfast and dinner at a local country club through his work for free this weekend. My mom was his original date, but when I went on and on about how I have always wanted to go, she gave me her ticket so I could have a date with my dad.

Growing up, my mom & dad both worked and they equally shared duties with me. One parent worked nights and one worked days and I feel like I kind of got the best of both worlds. I am sure it was hard for their marriage, but it was great for a little girl who wanted to be the apple of each of her parent’s eyes.

Since I returned home five years ago, there are few opportunities for my dad and I to have that time together anymore. His work schedule is intense, my life as a busy mom can be intense, and we both long for that quality time together.

I don’t know who was happier in this picture, me or him. It was just what we both needed and I am so lucky to have a dad who shows me off like I am the next best thing to sliced bread, a mom who would give up her ticket so we could have this opportunity to be together, and a husband who would take care of the kids so I could have some special time with my dad.

This was the view from my seat- we were just behind the press and photographers for the game. I soaked this moment in for all it was worth- drinking in the beauty of the campus, savoring my moment in the sun, and at peace because my dad & I finally got some time together.

The pictures aren’t great because I took them with my camera phone, but I won’t forget any of it for a single second.

Go, Irish!

Thank you, Daddy, for bringing me with you- I will never ever forget it!

xoxoxo

Snacks For Mom: Do You Have Them?

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

I shared with you that I am trying to manage my time better, but one thing that often gets pushed to to the side are my own eating habits.

I can guide my children to make good food choices, but I can go for hours on end without eating well myself. Normally, I end up snacking towards the end of the day and it all balances out, but lately this plan hasn’t been working so well.

I am hypoglycemic, which is just a fancy way of saying that I have low blood sugar. I have always had problems, but after I had Emily, it has seemed to have gotten worse.

These past couple of weeks have been really horrible and I have felt really rundown. I break out in a sweat, I have the shakes, my vision gets blurry, I feel faint, and I get extremely irritable. It seems like something like low blood sugar should be such a minor thing, but it can suck up hours of my day where I feel sluggish and generally out of it. I am sure my exercise routine is contributing towards the need for more eating, but I have been letting it go.

I decided to make it a priority this week and stocked our pantry with some mommy snacks. I got myself some cheese sticks, yogurts, fiber bars, and some canned & fresh fruit. I also bought black beans and whole grain rice to make tortillas for my lunches and to replace any late night cravings for junk food. I don’t know why, but I find it difficult to “blow” grocery money on myself for these quick snacks. I feel like I should be making all of these things, but sometimes time is more limited and then I find myself in these slumps with nothing stocked to eat. The planner in me knows that I could do a better job of this, but sometimes it is nice to have a couple store-bought goodies packed in your purse for when you feel a slump coming on.

As I sat munching on my fiber bar this afternoon, I suddenly felt two eyes watching me. Emily came around the corner and pointed to my bar. She threw down her apple and started kicking and screaming for me to give it to her, as only a two year-old can do. As I shook my head no, my mouth full of food, she began escalating and I felt my stomach rumbling in protest from the interrupted and stressful snack. Can’t a girl eat a fiber bar without having to share it?

I will admit that I now find myself sneaking into the bathroom or an unlit corner of the house to sneak in a little nutrition for myself, lest I have to share with everyone else in the house. Images of my own poor mother hovering over the sink to shove a little treat in her mouth and all us kids circling her like a pack of wolves comes rushing back to me. We could sniff those Girl Scout Cookies out like nobody’s business and I doubt my mother had many meals where she didn’t have to sacrifice a few bites between the three of us.

Do you have a favorite healthy mommy snack that you could recommend? What keeps you going during the day? Secret mommy confession… do you hide your snacks or keep them separate from the rest of the family’s food? Fess up! Where do you put your stash?

And My Heart Breaks…

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008



I woke up this morning to red eyes and a tear-stained pillow because I had been anticipating the big event in our house. I still can hardly believe that he went to school today.

Last night we went to his back-to-school night and met his teacher. Ethan spent the evening working on a card to bring her and we got apples at the supermarket so he could give her one. When he walked in with his apple and card, he was so excited to hand it to her. “Will she put it on the corner of her desk, mommy?” I think he saw this on a show or in a book somewhere because the apple placement was almost more important than the apple itself. When she thanked him for the apple and centered it on her desk, he pointed to the corner of her desk. “Could you put the apple here instead?” She grinned, but obliged. I tried to make quiet small talk with the teacher and signed my name on the volunteer sheet. It took everything in me to not say things like, “My son is so amazing- you have no idea how amazing he is! He is so incredibly gifted and smart! Will you love having him around as much as I have?” I didn’t want to be that mom though so we said our goodbyes and held hands as we walked out the door.

It’s funny, when my daughter looks at a picture of our family she points at each person and says their name. “That’s my mommy. That’s my daddy. That’s my Ethan.” The inflection and the possessiveness of that phrase let’s you know just how special he is. He is hers and only hers. He is her big brother, her hero, and her best friend.

As I watch him climb the bus, that possessiveness rings in my heart. That’s my boy. That’s my colicky baby. That’s my stoic toddler. That’s my bubbly preschooler. That’s my gentle & kind son. That’s my Ethan. My. My. My.

Bittersweet.

Frugal Family: Summertime Edition

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

This summer has been a quiet one for our family. Intended trips were vetoed in favor of staycations and saving fuel. Our backyard update has been just the fix we needed though to enjoy quiet afternoons and evenings in our very own space. Our sweat equity has paid off and we have felt less impacted by the rising cost of fuel because all we desire is to spend time in our fresh new space.

I plop myself into a lawn chair and I look out over our large yard. I can see two sets of feet dancing behind the sheets, as the clothes blow on our clothesline. The children are giggling uncontrollably as they play peek-a-boo and try to catch one another, flipping the sheets back and forth.

I have set up all of their outdoor toys and it is always the laundry line that is the most fascinating to them. My daughter pulls off a towel and runs over to me shouting, “Queen, Queen.” Yes, she has somehow moved up the chain of royalty and no longer considers herself a princess, but who can blame her? Given the choice, I would aim for the queen title myself.

My son has wrapped a blue piece of tape around his head and tells me that he is a Ninja. I laugh to myself as I see the Ninja and Queen are holding hands and running together. Only in my backyard would moments like these even be possible.

The kids run through the sprinklers and hold their mouths open to catch the water. Drinks rest on the picnic table, but there is nothing like a cold spray of water in your face to catch a drop of water in your mouth. They are soaked, but the sunshine keeps them warm.

I bring out the popsicles- the same exact color, design, and shape so no squabbles can form. I fear what would happen if a Ninja and Queen had to battle it out for the best popsicle in town. Thankfully, they are so excited for their treat that they forget to fight. They sit underneath our small tree for shade and laugh because it is so cold in their mouth.

My queen is getting tired though and I pull her into my lap and hold her close. Her beach towel is wrapped around her and I lean in to smell her hair. It is the smell of sunshine, of baby shampoo, of sweetness that is like nothing else. I curl my fingers around her pigtails and let them go so little wet ringlets form around my finger. In my head, just one word keeps coming to mind and I quietly chant it in my head, “Blessed. Blessed. Blessed.”

No matter what happens in the economy, no matter how high the groceries get, and no matter how much the gas prices increase… I am blessed. It is the first thing I think when I wake up and it is the last thought on my mind as my head hits the pillow.

I am one lucky girl!

A Struggle to Be Faithful

Monday, June 30th, 2008

I adore my Emily. She is her very own little person with her own sweet little personality. I prayed very hard that we would someday have a little girl of our very own and here she is in all of her glory. She is the sweetest little girl with the best personality and she makes me laugh with her sweet quirkiness.

Emily has also challenged me in ways that I never dreamed as a parent. While Ethan slept through the night at three months, my Emily still cries for me at night (she is two and a half). Since she has been born, I have had rarely a full night of sleep. I can’t figure out why this is because we have done everything for her exactly the same as Ethan, but Emily doesn’t seem to really need sleep.

Ethan was (and still is) an extremely outgoing child. I could leave him anywhere and he would have a zillion best friends by the time I got back. I remember that my feelings were a little hurt the first day I dropped him off for school and he barely acknowledged my departure. He was just that kind of kid.

Emily is not that kind of kid. She is very shy and takes time to warm up to anyone. She really hates to be left anywhere and clings to my leg if she thinks I will leave her. She wails uncontrollably if she thinks we will leave her. It has been extremely hard.

Working out is difficult because I can hear her crying when I leave her in the babysitting area for my workout. I am constantly listening and my stomach feels like a little tight ball because I am on edge if she is making it difficult for the babysitter in charge. I feel selfish when I leave her there. Working out is optional and I feel like I am inflicting trauma on my child for no reason.

Worshiping is difficult because the children go to Sunday school while we attend the service and she really hates going. When we walk into church, she starts crying and when we leave her she is uncontrollable and inconsolable. This Sunday she screamed the entire time we were in service, and her screaming was worse if anyone looked or talked to her. When we got done with worship and the tears were rolling down her face, I felt like the worst parent in the world.

I honestly don’t know what to do. She doesn’t like to be alone at night, she wants me to be by her side all day, and I feel very badly for the people who are caring for her in my absence. At the same time, I know that there are times where we need that separation so that I can be a better mom to her. Things like working out and going to worship are important to me, but I feel very badly doing these things when I know how hard it is for the people who care for her.

It is bad enough that I don’t know if my husband and I should go to worship together. Maybe we should alternate services so Emily doesn’t have to go to Sunday School? Maybe I should quit the gym in favor of working out at home? I really am struggling with what is the best way to handle this. Do I keep doing this in hopes that she will figure out that we will always come back to her or do I wait until she outgrows it on her own?

I would love to hear from parents who are dealing with this or have watched their children outgrow it! Any help would be greatly appreciated!