Day 17: Summer


All these lemons came from the same tree, and this picture made me think of my kids.

You see I’m thankful that I have one large, one medium and one small one.  As the two big ones are growing up and becoming more independent and less needy of me, I still have the small one to grow for a little while longer and this makes me very happy.  Having the little one makes me remember that the big one was once small too and makes me even more aware that the little one is going to get bigger too one day, which makes me be even more present with all three of them. This is an amazing, little, magical gift of three.

Today the little one and I went to the craft store together to get stuff to make stuff. We like to make things together and I love that he is creative. He picked out a wood burning tool and some wood pieces to create some art, even though we were really going in the store to find neon, erasable white board markers that would show up on his metal black board. Luckily we found some of those too on the clearance rack. 

And that’s my happily ever after story for the day.  How was your day?  Did you make lemonade from lemons today?  

Oh, and P.S., This was my way of making lemonade out of lemons today…I was actually momentarily sad about the feeling of letting go and really knowing that my kids are growing up. There’s usually a back story to every happily ever after, isn’t there? Just sayin’

nAMaste BeLoveRs

Date Night

Juliana and her friend went to see Justin Bieber tonight, finally unwrapping their Christmas present.  They were very excited and I felt anxious to drop them off on their own. 

  
Jeff and I took them to dinner and escorted them safely through the entrance before leaving them.  

  
  
We then had several hours for our own date before heading back to pick them up again. We went to dinner and then out for ice cream, where we felt like flys on the wall at the Santa Clara Mission Creamery observing and listening to college student conversations. We definitely didn’t fit in with the “strange” college characters.

   
   
  
It was fun to sneak away during the school week. I loved seeing how happy and thankful she was too.

Life is good.

My Baby is Growing Up

I am not really ready, but are we ever really ready?  

Today we had our first official college tour with our oldest. We have visited several college campuses in the past, but have never signed up for an official tour. Today things felt real. We are aware that the time is near and it just feels weird and normal and weird.  
 
My baby is growing up! Now if I could only slow down time. For now, I’ll just enjoy the moment.

Life is good. Love this life.

Amazed

I don’t often feel amazed anymore by the newness of life, as I’ve been there, done that. 

However, tonight I felt amazed while I straightened Juliana’s curly hair and helped to put on her makeup for her first formal high school dance. She looked gorgeous and grown up and I was amazed.

I was thankful that she was going with a great group of friends and that her friend’s mom graciously agreed to host a formal dinner for 11 girls and invited me to assist.

It was a beautiful evening and I loved seeing all the little girls dressed like gorgeous young women, looking very grown up, ready to dance and live it up. It’s their time to shine and they did. I was so happy to observe and to be part of their celebration, as a witness to time passing right in front of my eyes.

  
 
Life is good, even if my baby girl is really growing up after all.

nAMaste

New Driver

This was weird. Today my son and my husband happened to be driving next to Juliana and I, as Christian wanted more driving practice (Juliana snapped this picture.) Having him right next to me, yet in another car was strange.

I’m excited for him to be practicing and knowing that he’ll soon be able to drive on his own and can get himself where he needs to be and maybe even help drive his siblings and run errands for me. I’m also a bit melancholy, thinking that he’s growing up and taking flight and once he can drive early next year, he’ll be on his own much more and will need me even less. I’m letting go, letting out the heart strings a little more, like we all do and feeling the growing pains.  Yin and yang, and today I caught another glimpse in the rain, of joy and fear.

I wish you well Christian and know you will be your best and am excited for you and your growing independence. Keep up the good work.

nAMaste

Hydrating

  

I carry this water cup with me almost everywhere I go. I think I drink more water this way.  I actually have two of them in case one is empty or I misplace one or leave it in the car.

The funny thing is that it is always nearly empty. The reason is because I have helpers that help drain it for me.

My kids think my drink is theirs and they always want some. Since I believe in sharing and I want them to stay hydrated, I share, even though I tell them to bring their own. Maybe mine just tastes better. Maybe they are lazy and don’t want to fill their own. Or maybe I’ll just pretend they still need me.

My baby just turned 16. I think I’m in denial. Happy Birth-day!!

Cheers!!

Cool Teens

It was hotter than heck today and our first day of no school.

I have a few standards for the kids.

They can’t sleep all day and they can’t be in front of screens all day either.  They have to read and exercise and be helpful and do something active, creative and/or productive. They can choose, just as long as they aren’t lazy all day. I don’t want to be rigid and I want them to relax and slow down. I just don’t want them to be sloths. I expect them to contribute to the family and to enjoy their lives.

Today didn’t disappoint.  I loved their choices and just admired them.

My favorite part of the day was when their friends decided to come over and hang out all day. I love kids and I love them all at my house. I love their laughter and them just being.

They played board games and played with the kitties and watched sports and listened to music and laughed all day. Friends and siblings all hung out and filled my house with joy. I went to the store and bought them ice cream and fruit and helped serve them. I absolutely loved them being here and stayed out of their way.  I want them to come back and hang out every week. We have ten and a half weeks of summer break and today was the best beginning.

I didn’t take any pictures as I wanted to respect their space and privacy. My heart was full and I am content.

This was the best Monday in a long time! Happy summer days!!

nAMaste

The Old Mom

I am now the old mom with BIG kids.

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When did this happen? I see it. I know it. But it’s still hard to believe and I love this stage and I love my kids and danced around the kitchen in my jammies this morning, singing to them, “All you need is love.” I know they think I’m crazy yet luckily they laughed and thought I was funny and little do they know how much I adore them.  I am so in love with my teens and almost tween and love this stage of life. I know they’ll be leaving soon and I am enjoying every minute with them, so be it.

I read the BEST parenting article today by one of my favorite authors, Jen Hatmaker, that made me cry.  Check her out here:

http://community.today.com/parentingteam/post/i-wish-someone-wouldve-warned-me-about-these-big-feelings

You’ll cry too, because she’s funny, real, authentic, and totally gets this parenting thing like no one else.  And she loves women too, just like me and wants to lift each other up and support one another and buy each other wine and high five each other at Target when the littles are throwing temper tantrums.I love her and so does everyone else.  She gets life and is really funny.

I love being a mom. It’s what I always wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be financially independent, knowing I could take care of myself and my family if I had to, and then I wanted to stay at home and raise our babies. Here I am. Living the dream. I love what I do, despite the stress and chaos and craziness that surrounds me some days.

I love being in the car with them and their friends and taking them to and from – most days! Last week, was another story, but today I was good. I took Juliana to her ortho appointment and then we went to get a bubble tea and fried snacks because that sounded like fun to them after school. I didn’t want to be busy. I wanted to soak them in and spoil them while I can. I always struggle with that – not wanting to spoil them and wanting to spoil them at the same time. They were thankful and we had fun together.

When we came home, Juliana was busy tutoring a little girl so Charlie and I went to hide away in his “apartment.” We sat on his couch and ate our snacks and played Mastermind together, which brought back memories for me when my dad and I used to play together. We are usually running around with way too much to do, and yet today we slowed down and just played. Can I even tell you how sweet this was? I am so thankful that Juliana needed a quiet house and that Charlie and I got to hide away together for an hour.

I know I’m writing a lot – but seriously, I really do like and enjoy my kids and today was one of those BIG FEELINGS days. We were at a funeral on Friday, and at a Special Needs Brunch on Sunday and I am still missing Chase every day and am fully aware that life is fleeting and messy so while it’s good, I plan to love on them and live it up every day while I can.

Charlie made me cry tonight when he decided to make dinner for himself and Christian. He wanted special plates to make the meal look fancy. We cooked tempura shrimp and he molded rice in little cups to neatly place on the special plates.  He placed the shrimp in a star pattern and used a brush to place the sauce decoratively on the plate. He was so proud of himself and served his brother in his room, while he studied. He was like a little, proud, Master Chef, Jr. I loved this connection and loved that they share this bond together.

This old mom is content. Life is good and IS what you make it to be and I’m okay with things changing and aging. I am living it up today and everyday and loving this one life right now. And you? Are you living it up and loving it out wherever you are right now?

Namaste.

Vacation?

I was at the grocery store tonight and the clerk asked me if I was working a half week this week.  I laughed and actually told him I was working full time this week, because my kids were home from school and this was NOT my vacation!!  He laughed and the lady behind me smiled too, pointing to all the food she was buying for her kids and told me that they just won’t stop eating.

This was my third trip to the grocery store today. I took Juliana with me the first two times, and by the third trip, I just had to go alone. Charlie asked if he could come with me, and I thought how sweet it was that he wanted to be with me and then thought more wisely. I needed a moment to myself, even if it was just pushing the cart mindlessly through the store without interruption.

Jen Hatmaker made my day when she posted this on her Facebook Status today:  “This afternoon, I snuck out of my house and drove around in my quiet car by myself and ate crackers. It has come to this.”  I could TOTALLY relate.

I struggled today between wanting to be in the moment and present, enjoying my kids and wanting to pull my hair out. Juliana noticed my angst and asked me what was wrong. I told her nothing, but I was fibbing and she knew it. I thought about what was bugging me and it was EVERYTHING!! I haven’t been alone in 2 weeks and this feels weird.

I didn’t want anyone else asking my opinion, or asking me to look at something or ask me to buy something. I wanted to be selfish and alone AND be with her at the same time and I was totally conflicted!! Every time I went to move the cart, she was there. She wasn’t doing anything wrong but trying to be with me and shopping with me and I just wanted to be alone with no one asking questions and no one blocking my path.

And then I was frustrated by myself for not enjoying my sweet daughter who wanted to be with me and shop with me and bake with me.

After all, isn’t this my dream come true??  Sometimes our dreams need space. Because this was my dream come true and I felt stuck and trapped and I needed to snap out of it. Quickly.

So I did.

I told her what I was feeling and apologized for being short and explained my challenge in raising teen kids who have their own wonderful ideas and know everything. She wasn’t doing anything wrong. I was just agitated by her presence and questioning that interrupted my thoughts and planning and then I felt badly for being irritated.

I apologized and asked for a little break and she granted my wish and understood. I started decluttering my house and getting rid of the chaos that surrounded us, and I felt order returning to our “vacation house.”  Then I suddenly felt better. She gave me some space. I got to work without interruption and she was still with me, baking with her friend. And I felt peace again and told her thank you.

She gets me. She loves me. She understands and validates me and forgives me when I am short-tempered.

This is the best vacation. I am thankful.  Just keepin’ it real. Namaste.

15 Minutes of Service

I have teenagers living in my house. They are busy. They don’t have free time, so they say. I want them to help with housework and contributing to the family workload, but having scheduled chores doesn’t work for us when they have to get up early to leave for school at 7:15 am and they are hungry and tired when they come home from school and have after school activities and homework to manage, in addition to finding time to get to sleep at a decent hour.  I might be making excuses for them, but I truly believe that they have a lot to manage on their own, yet I still want them to help out and contribute.   How? How can I make this work?

We tried chore charts and we tried allowances, but these didn’t work due to luck and timing.

I came up with a new method that is working, although they did grouse a bit at first.  I think it is important for everyone to contribute to keeping the household running, clean and organized.  I don’t think one person should be responsible for it all. And when everyone pitches in, just a little bit, I feel happy.  And if the mama is happy, everyone is happy.

I used to subscribe to the FLY LADY, who taught me that we could do anything for 15 minutes. She used to tell me to set a timer for 15 minutes and pick a project and go for it! Spend the 15 minutes focused and working on one area. And every day she’d give you a new task or idea and to encourage me to set my timer. This worked!!  I was amazed and impressed and in awe. When you break tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks, they’re not so overwhelming and amazingly, stuff gets done that you never thought you’d have time for. 15 minutes can be squeezed in without feeling like it’s taking over our schedule.

So I’m practicing this with my kids. I am asking them to give me 15 minutes of service. For some reason, this seems doable and less daunting. And if they have 15 minutes to check their social media accounts, and to make food, or sit on the couch, etc, they have 15 minutes to contribute. This is not hard and it’s not too much to ask.

I am asking them to choose how they would like to be of service, and they are coming up with ideas which I love. If they can’t think of what to do, I give them suggestions of what needs to be done and they can choose. They are empowered and there isn’t a battle using this method, at least for this week.

Yesterday, Christian swept and mopped the floor. Juliana cleaned up both bathrooms. Charlie helped declutter his room and to declutter the house by putting shoes and jackets away.  Our house looks so much better and it didn’t take much effort!  I am so happy. I think they are happy too because they were industrious and gave and helped contribute to the household, which I believes makes them feel good about themselves too. Everyone has to do their part and I love that I am not the nag anymore.  I hope it lasts!!

How does your family manage and divvy up the chores? Do you have a method that works? Do share.  Or try this way and let me know how it works for you.

xo