Monday, September 30, 2013

My First Ever Giveaway & My Top 10 Favorite Preschool Books!

At the library. No, he is not usually this still and quiet.
 I love reading with my kids.  It's the blissful part of our routine that I enjoy. It's a happy, Polaroid mental snapshot for me- all the moments when my little chicks are quietly cuddled around me listening to my narration of whatever rhyme or adventure we're reading together (I try to do voices, after all.  Who doesn't like voices?).

Before nap time today, I read a certain book with my two-year-old for the umpteenth time and thought, "You know, this is definitely one of our family favorites!  I should make a list."  But then, I thought it would be even more fun to share it with you!

 So without further ado, in no particular order, here are ten of our kids' favorite stories from the preschool era:

  1. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
  2. Priscilla and the Pink Planet by Nathaniel Hobbie
  3. Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle
  4. I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa Mccourt
  5. Goodnight, Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
  6. Where the Wild Things Are by Maruice Sendak
  7. Only In Dreams (Julius!) by Paul Frank Industries
  8. Five Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth
  9. Princess Bella and the Red Velvet Hat by T. Davis Bunn
  10. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
I wish I could tell you why each of these books mean so much to us, but it would take forever!  Bella had #2 memorized at one time.  My husband has a funny ditty he sings when he reads #6 with the boys.  And each tiny pair of hands wore out the cover binding on #8 just because they loved running their fingers over the ladybugs as we counted them. Such sweet memories for their mommy!

I would love to hear who else has any of these in their collection.  
Also, what titles would you add to the list?  I'm always looking for new books to read.

Since this is a GIVEAWAY, if you comment on this post, I will announce a winner on Friday.  Then, I'll order the lucky person their very own copy of one my favorites from the list! 

This will be fun! 
Happy Monday.
Happy commenting.
Happy reading.
And Good Luck!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

You Thought You Wouldn't Have to Pull Any More All-Nighters

Remember college?  Do you recall those delirious cram sessions you managed during exam week?  There was a time when I dreamily looked forward to the future when I would no longer need to pull an all-nighter.  I thought it would only be necessary to clock in and out of my day job and be rewarded with at least 9 hours of sleep every night- maybe more on the weekends.


If you're a parent, you read the title to this post and laughed.  Not the funny, belly kind of laugh.  You snickered knowingly under your breath, because a mom with experience knows that all-nighters did not end in college. 


Babies are born in the wrong time zone and on the wrong work shift.  They sleep remarkably well when you don't need them to and wake up when you're ready to call it a day.  So you're suddenly required to become nocturnal and turn to the shopping channel for some p.m. comfort.

Also, the kids get sick...or you do.  I like to shut those "24 hour bug" memories from my mind, so we will just stop there.  It goes without saying that when anyone gets sick, it will probably take you two or three days to recover from your nurse duties.

And finally, if you ever purchase something from IKEA, it will come with fabulous, wordless instructions with all of the tools required, but you will stay up all night tightening bolts and screws.

I guess, as much as we hate losing a little shuteye, it's all worth it.
We love our kids.  And our couch.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Little Progress is Still Progress

Are you like me? Instead of seeing progress, I focus on what hasn't been done yet.  
Do you see any of your accomplishments at all, or do you only see the uncrossed items on your checklist? 
I don't know about you, but that viewpoint causes me to become overwhelmed and discouraged. It makes me stuck- like I'm trying to run a race in quicksand.

So today, I offer you a few little mantras to remind yourself whenever the tasks bog you down:

Have a mantra of your own?  
Comment below and share it!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Mark the Moment or You Will Miss It

This is a season of fog: the work of raising human beings. Of mustering through, barely making it, wondering if you are going in the right direction.  You are driving without a map, hoping you gather all of your chicks and bring them safely to their scheduled destiny. 

While you fret about each decision and question your methods, your children keep moving ahead and growing up.  You can hardly find a piece of shade to take a breather and think about the next step.  They keep on going.  You chase them, grab their little hands, tell them to slow down and "Look both ways!"

If you're honest, when you're tired, you daydream of brief respites from all of this traveling.  You just want a soft pillow and quiet place to not worry, not to be responsible for so much.  All of the problem-solving sends you crashing to bed and simultaneously shakes you awake earlier than you wish.

You want to be less relied on at times.  You stretch your arms up for a dose of independence.  Freedom.  

You roll your eyes and hold your tongue when a well-meaning mother tells you, "Enjoy them while you can.  They grow up so fast!"  It doesn't feel fast to you, your feet always dragging.  HOW much further to the finish line?!
This is my toddler refusing to hold my hand to cross the street.  Mr. Big Britches.

It will happen though. You WILL arrive.  

One day you will no longer wake up every 2-4 hours for feedings. You won't strain every ounce of your creativity packing exciting school lunches.  It will not be necessary to check that everyone has what they need in their backpacks, diaper bags, suitcases, and sports duffel. 

What you thought would never end? One day it will.

Then you will be the woman tempted to tell a young, new mom, "Cherish that little one now, because they grow up so fast!" 

But for now, to get you through a season that takes longer than just some leaves to change colors, let's make mental pictures of the bright breaks in the weather.  Don't wait for later to see what is right in front of you now.

Stop and mark the moment.  
  • When you notice him sweetly taking your hand without you asking him to.  
  • When his sense of style is confidently wearing mismatched shoes to school.  
  • The face that lights up when you pick her up from preschool.  
  • The Barbies, the trains, the Legos, the markers, the crayons, and the smell of Play Doh. 
Caught! Same toddler hold my hand just because.  One of my moments.

For just a collection of seconds, forget the shoes by the door and the stain on the couch. 
Mark the moment...the morsel of a time that you will one day miss.

If you're in the mom season, post a comment below, share your moment on twitter or anywhere in your social network and tell us what your little piece of sunshine was today.  #markthemoment

Thursday, September 05, 2013

What This Mom Did With Six Hours of Freedom

It has happened.  My three kids are in school for a few hours every week, and I have discovered windows of quiet, free time to do WHATEVER I WANT!
This guy is on a mission to go to school like the big kids. 

I only dared to imagine this day.  A blessed time when I would schedule coffee dates with friends, spend hours writing my first book, or decorate my new house!

Oh, how  tantalizing the bliss of my far-off daydreams were!

In a cruel twist of fate, however, while my toddler was in a Mother's Morning Out program two mornings this week, I cleaned house, went grocery shopping, and did laundryWhat?! That is so utterly ridiculous.

The silver lining here is that I accomplished much more in three hours without interruptions than in a whole day with a full house! I've also enjoyed more face time with the kids now that I've had time to knock out some items off of the to-do list.

Next week, I'm going to try this again. Clearly, I'm out of practice ;-)

Moms, what do you do 
with your free time?

Monday, September 02, 2013

The "I Did It" List: You've Accomplished More Than You Think Today

In this season of endless household duties, it often feels like nothing is ever done. My "To Do" list keeps multiplying faster than I can cross something off.  On the days when it seems like I am never going to get ahead, I hit reverse and try something different.

With a pen and a blank piece of paper, I write down each task I complete, no matter how small.  
It's my way of visually reminding myself of everything I have accomplished, so I don't get overwhelmed by everything that's left to do.

Do you see how the simplest things add up?  Each small task helps this house run a little smoother and attests to everything moms do to keep their family happy. So next time someone asks you, "What did you do today?" you can hold up the proof and say, "All this!" instead of staring blankly in reply.  

Why don't you make your own "I Did It" list today!  See how awesome you really are :-)