Little Moments

Yesterday was a hard Monday to get back to work and remote school. Our family had a full weekend: soccer games, birthday party, the beach {hard life, I know}, an anniversary celebration for my parents and we learned of an unexpected death. By the time Monday morning rolled around, we were not our best selves and we were not ready for the week, although thankfully our fridge was not empty. 😉

As the day continued, I needed to fill my own tank with fresh air, exercise and sunshine. As I wrapped up my work day, I texted our au pair and asked her to get our son ready for soccer practice and get our girls ready for an adventure. {I find kids more receptive to change of plans when you give them advance notice}. While I was getting ready for our adventure, our 2 year old ran into our room crying; she was having a hard time self-regulating. I scooped her up and carried her downstairs while asking her if she wanted to go on an adventure. “Yes…” she cried.

I walked outside and my neighbor’s daughter asked me, “you’re going on an adventure? Can you text my mom…?” Instead of texting her, I walked across the street holding my two year old while yelling to my other two girls to get ready for a bike ride. I invited our neighbor’s daughter to join and asked her mom if she wanted to come with.

I walked back across the street as my older girl came out of the garage with her rollerblades on. “Sweetie. Bike ride. No rollerblades.”

“But…” she begged.

“We’re going on a bike ride on the rail trail, the rollerblades won’t work,” I told her.

Climbing & Hanging

We pulled the bikes out of the garage, grabbed the helmets, raised a few bikes seats, grabbed a water bottle and snacks and set out down the street, around the corner, past a playground, a school, onto a rail trail to another playground. There we stopped to swing, slide and climb. After the girls ran around, we had a snack, drank some water, admired the sunset and headed home. It was borderline frantic as we raced the setting sun {the sun won} and we pulled onto our street in the dark.

Sliding by herself

That evening, as we ate dinner, we asked the kids what the best part of their day was. Our middle daughter said the best part of her day was the bike ride and the hardest part of the day was her tired legs. Our older daughter concurred, the best part of her day was the bike ride.

These days, as remote school is hard and work from home days with interruptions, as you find yourself pulled in many directions, remember it’s life is about the little moments. It’s about an evening bike ride to the playground to spend time with your kids while they get their wiggles out. It’s about a quick phone call with a long-time friend. It’s about watching your baby spy a dog {doddie} on an evening walk. It’s about coaching your child’s sports team three times a week for a season. It’s about a last minute walk with a friend. It’s about conversations at the dinner table bringing your family together. Life is made up of little & big moments. While it’s easy to think the big moments are the memory makers, think about the little moments woven into your day to day. Little moments of family & friends supporting one another as they meander & sprint through their life.

What was a little moment in your life you will remember for a long time to come?

Family Time

Last week, I was invited out with girlfriends and I desperately wanted to go. It would be space for me to connect with friends, space for me to have fun, space for me away from my home office.

However, the same day I was invited out was the first day my husband didn’t have to work late AND we didn’t have a baseball commitment. We had the opportunity to have family dinner together. Slowly. Together.

I opted not to visit with friends and chose instead to visit with my family. Dinner was slow, almost too slow. We had good conversation however I was frustrated at how unfocused my kids were on finishing their dinner. The promise of dessert after was not enough to give them focus to finish. Finally, painstakingly, everyone was finished with dinner, dishes were cleared, leftovers were put away.

I made the announcement: “we are going on a family walk.” {It was already decided, by me. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.} The girls were thrilled, my youngest {have I told you she’s the household cheerleader?} shrieked with glee and shouted “yeahhhh!” They still didn’t hustle to get out the door, however at least they were excited about the prospect of a family walk. My son on the other hand, was less than thrilled. He had a negative attitude and complained about having to do what everyone else tells him to do. I shook off the negativity and said, “oh well. We are all going.”

The walk started off slowly, finding helmets, scooters, bikes, ambling around; meanwhile I grow more and more impatient as I imagine the daylight slowly slipping away and our walk won’t happen.

Eventually, we made our way down the street. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was happy. The older two were racing their scooters, my husband and I walked slowly behind them pushing the stroller. We chatted about our days, we yelled to the kids to stop at the end of the street {safety first & yelling was most necessary because they were so far ahead}.

Our goal was the airport near our home. Our kids love watching for airplanes {especially my littlest}. We made it to the airport and watching planes take off and land. Our scootering kids raced in the large parking lot and the youngest asked to “get out”. She wanted to walk around herself.

We meandered around the airport looking at small planes, large jets, old planes, and news helicopters. The kids eyes grew large as they found bigger & better or older & cooler airplanes. Our youngest shrieked with joy “airplane! airplane!” She was so thrilled.

It was a delightful end to a full day. It was worth saying “not tonight” to a night out with friends to spend quality time with my family. That’s not always the case, however it was this time.

Down Time With My Littlest

Yesterday was about Memorial Day Monday. Well, after we got home, my husband had to get to work for an evening shift and the kids scattered to play with the neighborhood kids. Meanwhile, I changed into gardening clothes, boots & gloves to work on my garden. I started a big project two days earlier {Saturday} and wanted to wrap it up.

My littlest came back to join me. She was my shadow while I shoveled mulch, she was my tail while I watered the plants, she was my sidekick as I shoveled compost and dug fresh holes for new plants. She helped me fill the plastic bucket with the mud/clay that graces much of our yard. {To ensure a plant will survive, we have to dig a deep hole, dump the clay/mud elsewhere and use fresh dirt/compost to fill the hole, THEN we can plant something and pray it thrives.}

As I carried on with my tasks, it was so sweet to have my littlest’s company. Occasionally she would clap her hands and say “dood job! dood job!” encouragingly. She is such a positive spirit and one who loves to encourage. She is a joy to have around, and we don’t often have one on one time with each other. She is in the shadow of her older siblings. She patiently comes to their various activities, waiting her turn without complaint, a smile on her face and shrieks “yeah! yeah” when asked to join.

As our older kids were playing with the neighborhood kids, the littlest and I had one on one time when she helped me in the garden. My tendency is to have a “to do” list and push to finish it all or push myself until I crash, whichever comes first. Monday afternoon/evening was definitely a “to do list crossing off” kind of day, however midway through my tasks, I realized how lucky I was to have company while I worked. I was struck with the realization that in a few years, she will also be off with the neighborhood kids and I may be tending the garden or working through some other aspect of my “to do list” alone.  In that moment, I paused, I wished I had my phone nearby to capture the moment, however at the same time, I knew it wouldn’t capture the moment the way my mind captured it. And so I write it down, in hopes I remember that Memorial Day I had an encouraging and sweet little sidekick to keep me company as I worked through my “to do” list.

Life is full of things “to do”, and I’ll be the first to admit I get caught up more often than not in the “to do” rather than the “savor the moment”. This pause was a reminder to myself to savor the moment, even if for a moment.

This week, think about the moments you savor. Think about the blessings in your life. And, if you find yourself in a “to do list” moment AND catch a glimpse of a “savor the moment”. Take a second, minute, or more to be thankful for the “savor the moment” you caught. It’s ok to go back to your “to do list”, in fact, that’s probably what I would do. However, take time to be grateful & thankful you caught the moment for what it was.

Later that evening, as I snuggled my littlest and got her ready for bed. I whispered into her ear, “thank you for your help. You are a hard worker and it was wonderful to have you helping me today.” She giggled and smiled and carried on as her normal toddler self, while I continued my normal self of hurrying to get the kids ready for bed.

Memorial Day Monday

The previous Friday, our son came home from school excited about Memorial Day and excited about honoring those who sacrificed for our freedom. {Thanks to his wonderfully patriotic teacher, we are truly going to miss her next year, she has been such a great teacher for him and it’s been a joy to watch him thrive & flourish this year, while learning all things patriotic}.

Fast forward to #MemorialDay, our kids were excited about going to our town’s Memorial Day Parade {while I’m being transparent, if our son hadn’t come home excited about Memorial Day, we probably wouldn’t have thought to attend, so for all you teachers out there, you make more of a difference than you may know or realize}. Our son’s enthusiasm rubbed off onto the younger two; everyone was bouncing around the house. Meanwhile, I wavered between being completely annoyed & irritated with the chaos and indifference, trying to ignore what was going on & focus on the fun we would have as a family later in the day.

We {barely} made it out of the house & watched the parade. Our kids waved an American flag they made at home. They listened intently as the speaker recognized & thanked current veterans and honored those who served & sacrificed by giving their lives for their country. After the first speaker, the entire group continued on about 7/10 of a mile to our town’s cemetery where another speaker shared more about Memorial Day. It was our first time attending our town’s Memorial Day festivities and we were pleasantly surprised. The kids paid attention and enjoyed the symbolic shooting of the rifles {shooting blanks, there was a mad rush by all the children after for the shells from the blanks}.

We feel privileged to live in the United States and thankful for our many freedoms. Often, there is more negativity and complaint on what our country lacks rather than focus on the good and positive of the United States {I’m not saying the US is a perfect country} . Monday was a powerful reminder of what we have gone through as a country {Independence War, War of 1812, American Civil War, World War I, World War II,  Cold War, Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, and currently the War on Terrorism} and what others have lost {lives, husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, friends, wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, grandparents, etc}. The US is not perfect, however we fought, we learned, we survived, we still have more to learn, all the while we continue to honor those who gave their lives for the safety of our Nation every Memorial Day.

After the ceremonies, we took to a local playground, had a picnic lunch and ran around on the playground. The kids had a blast enjoying being together, outside, as family with their silly dad chasing after them.  Until, one of the kids had to use the bathroom “real bad” and since there was no good place to use the bathroom at this playground {why can’t all playgrounds be equipped with a bathroom or port-a-potty?} we asked our child to “please hold it”, jumped into the car and headed home.

Picnic lunch

Day Off Fail or Day Off Win

Today, I took the day off…

I had big plans to get outside with my kids. Some large adventure, ski hike somewhere… however it started snowing. Snowing people! In April!

Don’t get me wrong, I love the snow. I love a good snow storm. But when I take a day off from work to play with my kids, in April, during vacation, I want warm, sun, and minimal wind. I want time spent outside without all the gear {hats, mittens, snowpants, etc}.

We desperately needed groceries, so I headed to Trader Joe’s with my youngest {she’s 2}. We had a good time; she snacked on a danish they were handing out and she got one on one time with me, which honestly doesn’t happen often in a family with three children vying for attention. Day off win for the youngest.

After the grocery store, I headed off for a hair appointment and got my hair cut; this was desperately needed. This was a day off win for me!

When I got home, it was time for lunch, a nap for the littlest and…

Rocket ship building

What you see in the picture, my kids, using their imagination.

I gave them each a diaper box and they proceeded to make rocket ships out of the boxes.

While I was busy tidying, ready to put the boxes in recycling, I asked them “do you want this box?” I was met with an emphatic “YES!” So they each got a box and happily used their imagination to make rocket ships.

Sometimes, it takes a rainy day, with your mom not paying attention to you {ahem tidying the living room}, for your imagination to run wild.

Some day in the next week, make space for your own imagination to run wild, whether indoors or outdoors. If you have kids, encourage them to do the same. 😉
You may find you {or them} are entertained for longer than maybe say… an iPad, iPhone or tablet? 🤷🏼‍♀️ try it.

Fort building
Fort building 

Later in the day, we got outside. We rode bikes, scooters, played with a little tikes car…

Then we continued into the back yard and the kids commenced their fort building. {helmet included because construction is dangerous work, you know?}

So, it’s safe to say, it was a #dayoffwin. Creative kids, down time for mom, cleaning/tidying for mom {does this ever end}, and ended with a little vitamin D, a little exercise and some fresh air. That’s a lagom day in my book. 😉

Down Time

Last summer, a friend told me about her early morning walks on the beach with a friend. As she told me, I was reminded of my summer days during my college years. I often went to the beach for an early morning sunrise or walk. I went to the beach EVERY day and some days, twice!

What changed? When did I get away from my regular beach trips? Why did I get away from them? Well, for starters, I moved away from my hometown, and my current town is not a 5-7 minute drive to the beach the way it used to be. I am married. I have kids, three to be exact. All of these factors make it slightly more challenging to make it to the beach.

That conversation, my friend inspired me to get back to the beach. By myself. For myself. Since that conversation last summer, I began regular walks on the beach, sometimes by myself, sometimes with a friend. Many times catching magnificent sunrises and other times waiting for that hopeful sunrise only to find the clouds covering the sun and its rays. Most times returning home energized and ready for a day with my family.

Eight months into beach walks, I can tell you I’ve branched out. I’ve taken walks around a pond, bushwhacked through woods, cross country skied, walked the snowy dunes of a beach, explored a marsh, walked the grounds of a mansion. It’s not always a beach walk, however it’s always an early morning walk by myself or with a friend.

These walks have been so good for me: my body, mind and soul. My body is refreshed from exercise & fresh air. My mind is rejuvenated from good conversation with a friend or my own thoughts. My soul felt renewed, probably from a combination.

Why do I write this? Why am I capturing this for the interweb? It is to serve as a reminder of something I loved to do, and forgot about or didn’t think there was time. As I dug deeper, I realized, if I went to bed a little earlier on a Friday or Saturday night, I could get up earlier and take an hour or ninety minutes to myself on an early Saturday or Sunday morning, at the beach, in the trails, on skis, and more. I would come home feeling relaxed and rejuvenated from time spent remembering who I was, I would come home ready to hang with my husband and children.

If you are looking for down time and not sure where to find it, think about something that energizes you and look for pockets of time where you can do that something. You may be surprised at where you find the pockets of time and you may surprise yourself with the results…

thankfulness & contentment

Paradigm Shift

Today I took the day off of work. I needed some down time. Life has been moving at a fast pace and I needed time to organize some things and spend time with my kids.

Well, it rained. I had big plans to sort through all the outgrown clothes. If you have more than one kid, you know what that means. It means the room looking like it exploded clothing…

With one kid hanging out with a friend and my other two kids sleeping, I decided to read a book. As I was reading, I kept thinking about how thankful I was with my life and how much we have been given.

I decided to put my book down and do a little creating; it’s fun for me. {Honestly, it’s probably fun for most people, if only you find the right medium.} It’s fun to get lost in a project. I pulled up pallets from the basement, paint and brushes from my art box, and sand paper from the garage. I set to work sanding, cleaning, painting and staining my boards.

It is easy to compare your life with everyone else’s; your neighbor, your sibling, your parents, your friends, your facebook “friends”, your followers on @instagram, the list goes on.

It takes intentionality to say “I am thankful for…” and “I am content with…” I don’t want to take life and all its blessings for granted. I chose painting these two words as reminders to always look for ways to be thankful and content with my life.

Life will throw you hurdles, however it will be easier with a thankful and content paradigm shift. It will be easier to walk through the hard when you can identify the thankful and content in your own life.

Instead of finishing out my day by organizing clothes, I took a moment for me. I pressed pause. Take a moment to think about what you are thankful for and what you are content with.

For me, I am thankful for my wonderful family and I am content with my home  {we have a roof over our heads, so many have much much less, may I never take it for granted}.

Skip Your Schedule

A bike ride kind of evening

The past few days have been hard. Really hard.

I’ve had to sit back, rest, recuperate and focus on me {which most people know as a mom is really hard}.

I remind myself the “this too shall pass” {which isn’t easy in the moment}.

Well, this evening I got dinner ready early {6pm is early 🙈 and was thinking the kids would be in bed by 7:30 so I could have a glorious 2 hours by myself and then go to bed early myself}.

Instead of getting the kids ready for bed, I decided to take them on a bike ride.

That was medicine for my soul. We ran, they raced their bikes, we laughed, we stayed outside for almost 2 hours!

The kids missed bedtime and bedtime stories {those are important, I don’t like to miss them}, however they enjoyed spending precious evening daylight outside getting bedtime wiggles out, fresh air, and the last rays of vitamin D for the day.

It’s not always like this, it’s not always glorious, however this evening was pure gold.

Some days are meant for skipping your regular schedule to create lasting memories. Take time this week to skip your regular schedule and do something you don’t usually do with your kids. {we ride bikes a lot, however this winter has been a bit challenging… so this is out of the norm for the kids right now.}

Open House

Today was open house at my son’s school, and I forgot.

I forgot.

I didn’t write it on my whiteboard wall calendar. I didn’t write it in my agenda and it wasn’t in my google calendar. Work went a little late. When the babysitter left, I breathed a sigh of relief. Time to prep dinner {ahem I mean clean} before guests come over.

My son says, “mom! Tonight is open house!”

Oh my gosh! I totally forgot. Like completely and totally. I quickly buckled the baby into her car seat, yelled to the kids to buckle up and ran upstairs to spray perfume & grab chapstick {#beingreal #notimeformakeup}.

I grabbed my baby carrier and jumped into the car yelling “buckle up!!!!!” We left for my son’s school and had trouble finding a parking spot. We finally parked and raced inside. My two older kids were thrilled and my baby, well she kept shrieking with joy to be on my back and be outside. We chatted with classmates and parents on our way to the classroom. Once inside, we bustled around looking at the different projects. My son was excited to show me “him” sitting in the chair.

It was such a joy to check out his classroom; I have no regrets.

I was late to my own dinner party {sorry}, however it was important for Sam that I see his classroom.

If I’m being honest, I was nervous about not wearing makeup, messy clothes and unwashed hair (#workfromhomemom), however I chose to show up for my son.

Will he remember my outfit? No.

Will he remember my hair? No. 

Will he remember my makeup less face? No.

Will he remember that I forgot about open house and he reminded me and I dropped everything to go? Yes.

Will I always be able to do it? No, but I was today, and that was enough.

It was enough for today. It was lagom and it was love for my son.

Self Portrait

Try to reach outside your comfort zone and do something today for someone else. You may surprise yourself. You may find a piece of courage and bravery you didn’t know you had. ❤

If I Could Line Up All the Little Boys & Girls in the Whole Wide World

“If I could line up all the little boys in the world, I would choose YOU every time.”

“If I could line up all the little girls in the world, I would choose YOU every time.”

Two months ago, I began saying this to my children. I wanted to convey to them how much I love and appreciate them. I want them to know they are special and unique. I want them to know they are cherished and wanted. When I say the phrase, their little faces light up with JOY, my baby included. It’s so fun for my mom heart.

My 3 year old now tells me, “If I could line up all the little mommies in the whole world, I would choose Sara every time.”

She says it with her little lisp, I love it. “If I could wine up awl da wittle mommies in da hou wide woiled, I would choose Sawa evewy time.”

When she says it, I smile and say, “Sweetie, I’m not little, I’m big.”To which she replies, “if I could line up all the little big mommies in the whole wide world, I would choose Sara every time.” 🙂My husband, is the person who inspired me to begin saying that phrase to our children. For those of you who don’t know, he is a preacher, and a darn good one if you ask me. He spoke at our church on Father’s Day. Have a listen here if you want: Father’s Day 2016. He talks more about the phrase if you listen.Anyway, he began saying the phrase to our kids and I thought it would add more if it came from dad AND mom. We are a team, we are raising our kids together. We are in it together.The bottom line is, I love being a mom and I love my children, however sometimes saying “I love you” feels repetitive. Do they know what it means? Do they get it? How many times can you say “I LOVE YOU” before it sounds automatic? I love the image portrayed when I tell my kids “I would choose YOU every time”. It wasn’t my idea, it’s not original to me, but it works. My kids love it; they know they are special.Take a moment. Try it out. Remind your kids how much you love them and that you would choose them EVERY time.