Mommy’s Summer Bucket List

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After nearly 11 months since the first day of school, today marks the LAST day of school before summer vacation officially begins! We started this school year in early August in California, then moved to Washington this spring where they have an extended year due to excessive snow days this past winter…it’s been a long haul, and we’re all ready for a break. To celebrate the occasion I sat down with the boys this week and formulated a “summer bucket list”–a compilation of all of the wonderful things they’d like to accomplish over the next 10 weeks. It includes childhood gems such as making their own ice cream and sleeping outside under the stars.

As we were writing the boys’ summer bucket list the thought occurred to me that my own bucket list would probably look a bit different. Of course I want to eat ice cream and have adventures as much as (if not more than) the kids. Now that I’m on Team Mommy, however, my priorities have…shifted. As such, here is my Mommy Summer Bucket List:

  • Do NOT lose my cool when the kids whine that they’re hungry for the 3,000th time today. Especially if it’s only 10:00 AM.
  • Finally teach my kids how to tie their own shoes so I don’t have to tie them a million times a day for them. SELF EMPOWERMENT, people.
  • Wear my swimsuit like a boss. I’m gonna rock that thing like I’m Honey Boo Boo.
  • Remember to put on the dang sunscreen.
  • Read. Pinterest recipes, Lego instruction manuals, and books authored by anyone named “Seuss” don’t count.
  • Drink more wine. Our new hometown is the “Napa of the North” and boasts over 140 wine bars and tasting rooms. I’m going to have to drink a lot of wine if I want to make even a dent in the local offerings. This is basically just me supporting local businesses, which is basically community service, which basically means this is a social justice issue.
  • Resist the urge to hand my kids over to electronic babysitters every afternoon at 2:00 when we’ve all had enough of each other’s physical company for the day.
  • “Sleep in” past 7:00 at least once (this will probably require the assistance of the electronic babysitters before 7:00 AM, but this is a totally different purpose so it’s totally allowed).
  • Have 24 hours go by without saying any of the Phrases I Never Thought I Would Say (PINTIWS). Examples of PINTIWS include but are not limited to: “Don’t pee on your brother!”, “Pencils are not for stabbing!”, “Raccoons are not pets!”, and “Dude, where are your pants?!”.
  • Take a nap in the hammock. While “hiding” during a round of hide-and-seek.
  • Make friends with all of the other moms who have cool houses and pools in their back yards in hopes that they’ll invite us over to play.
  • Do not kill all of the plants in my yard.
  • Find a reliable method to minimize the number of public tantrums/fits/fighting matches between siblings we exhibit on our daily outings.
  • Eat healthy. And by “healthy” I mean that I will attempt to serve carrot sticks along with our hot dogs and marshmallows.
  • Drink water. Water mixed with coffee, cream and sugar is permissible.
  • Exercise. And by “exercise” I mean go to the gym multiple times a week to take advantage of the 2-hours per day of free childcare.
  • Do up-cycled craft projects with my children. All that beach sand I just vacuumed out of the car? Sand art! Red Dye 40-stained popsicle sticks? Popsicle stick log cabin craft!
  • Enjoy it. Because let’s face it, I only get 12 more of these summers with my oldest child…and only about 4 of those will be summers that he actually wants to spend any time with me. So no matter how long the days are (and they are LOOOOOOOOONG in the summer!) or how bored my kids get, just relish this season because it will be over I know it.

Now it’s your turn, friends: What’s on YOUR summer bucket list?

Life Lessons I’ve Learned From My Mom

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With Mother’s Day coming up this weekend I thought it would be fitting to dedicate a post to the most important woman in my life: my mom. Not only is she the source of my physical life, but she has shaped virtually every other aspect of my life as well. I would not be the woman, or the mom, that I am today if it was not for her love and support and guidance over the years. I could never put into words all that she has taught me, but here are just a few life lessons I’ve learned from my mom:

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The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Mom is love. She loves God, she loves my dad, she loves me and my sisters, she loves my husband and my kids, she loves her friends–and she always makes sure that we know it. Day in and day out, she demonstrates her love through her words, her actions and her motives. Her whole life is driven by love, and you can not help but reflect that love to others when you are in her presence.

thanksgiving '12 277Have fun!
The second, and equally important, lesson I’ve learned from Mom is to enjoy life. Mom is always laughing or making other people smile. She also looks for ways to make life exciting. Whether it’s going on a new adventure (like backpacking through the Grand Canyon) or learning something new (like taking up paddle boarding), she always has something new to keep things interesting–and she always invites us along to take part in the fun.

Put Jesus First
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Mom loves Jesus and she has always led me to Him. She prays for me, with me, and over me. She reads her Bible with me and I grew up watching her read the Bible herself. She encourages me in my faith, and she is always growing in hers. She is cultivating a legacy of faith for me, and my kids, and future generations. It’s beautiful.

IMG_0633Follow your passion
Mom has always encouraged me to do what I love, even if that means making some sacrifices along the way to make my dreams a reality. For me, this came into play when choosing my career, knowing who to marry, juggling my priorities in life, and being willing to step out courageously when it was time to make difficult decisions.  I have seen time and time again in her life that following your heart can be the quickest way to happiness.

Cultivate friendships and community
Mom is the best example of a good friend that I can think of. She never thinks twice about opening her heart, her hands, or her home to a friend in need. She invites neighbors over for dinner, she drives friends to appointments, she volunteers at her church. She is invested in the lives of the people around her, and everyone benefits.

photo (8)Don’t be afraid to get dirty
This one is a bit less conventional, but it’s a necessary part of life: Get dirty! From digging in the actual dirt of her garden to walking with me through the messy issues that come up in life, she’s never afraid to get her hands dirty.

Stay active
My parents are seriously some of the most active people I know. They run marathons, they surf, they hike, they cycle, they swim, they paddle board, they ski, they snowshoe, they skim board–you name it, they do it. Whenever I go to see my parents I actually have to train for a few weeks beforehand so I can keep up with them. Mom has been hiking with me since I was a baby in her backpack, and she’s never stopped setting the example for what a healthy, active life looks like. Some day, maybe when I’m a grandma, I’ll be as active as she is!Mother's Day 2011 16

Be there
I can not think of a single dance recital, sporting event, singing competition, science fair, or debate tournament from my years growing up that my Mom did not come to and cheer me on. When I move (which has been an average of once per year for the last 9 years) she always helps me pack up house and then visits me at my new place–even if it’s halfway around the world. She has always been there, physically and emotionally, to support me. It means a lot to know that she is there for me, always encouraging me no matter where life takes me.

I could go on and on and on and on about all that I have learned from my mom over the years. She is an inspiration to me and I look forward to many more years of lessons that I will glean. I love you, Mom! And to all of you amazing mamas out there, keep up the great work–your kids are watching you and learning every day. For better or worse 🙂

 

You May Be A Stay At Home Mom If…

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About four years ago I retired from my day job as a teacher and entered the ranks of a new profession: I became a stay at home mom. It is a choice that I have never regretted, yet my life is undeniably different now that I spend my days (and nights) tending to my children. I’m sure you already know if you are a career Mother but, just in case you were wondering, here are a few things that might tip you off:

You may be a stay at home mom if the days of the week and holidays have lost all sense and meaning: it’s either a “Daddy’s at work” day or a “Daddy’s at home day”.

You may be a stay at home mom if you swap out your yoga pants for a pair of jeans and feel like you’ve dressed up.

You may be a stay at home mom if you find yourself having conversations with imaginary friends. They’re called “adults”.

You may be a stay at home mom if you finish cleaning up breakfast just in time to start preparing lunch, and finish cleaning up lunch just in time to lay out the afternoon snack, and finish putting away snack just in time to start cooking dinner.

You may be a stay at home mom if a solo trip to the grocery store is about as exciting as riding a unicorn to the moon.

You may be a stay at home mom if you find yourself singing the “If You Have To Go Potty” song from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood every time you have to go potty.

You may be a stay at home mom if you’re exhausted at the end of the day but can’t remember a single thing you did.

You may be a stay at home mom if an unsolicited silence is your worst enemy.

You may be a stay at home mom if your idea of a great escape is watching Downton Abbey while you fold laundry.

You may be a stay at home mom if you find yourself randomly humming the tunes from your baby’s Jumperoo and your toddler’s push toy.

You may be a stay at home mom if you haven’t eaten lunch yet. This week.

You may be a stay at home mom if your husband gets home from work and you greet him like an excited Cocker Spaniel and don’t stop talking for at least an hour.

You may be a stay at home mom if the kids have been in bed for half an hour and you realize you’re still watching Dora The Explorer.

You may be a stay at home mom if the hot topics of debate among your friends revolves around which McDonald’s has the best playground and which library has the best story time.

You may be a stay at home mom if your daily exercise routine consists of running after a toddler, carrying laundry up and down stairs, squatting to pick up toys and crunching numbers to stay on budget.

You may be a stay at home mom if you’re on a first-name basis with the UPS delivery driver.

You may be a stay at home mom if the sight of your clean-ish house actually makes you cringe a bit because you realize that what has taken hours to achieve will all be laid to waste within seconds of your children re-entering the scene.

You may be a stay at home mom if nap time is the closest thing to paradise you experience on this side of heaven.

You may be a stay at home mom if your paychecks come in the form of slobbery kisses and squeaky “I love you’s”.

You may be a stay at home mom if you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have the best job in the world…even if you are broke, exhausted, and a bit disconnected from reality.

To all of my fellow stay at home moms out there, keep up the good work. It’s important work, perhaps the most important work you could be doing. And, if that’s not enough encouragement, happy Friday–Daddy will be home soon!