Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day, my love.

My mom, the wise woman she was, always said if you could find the one person to complete your heart, you were lucky. Today, I'm thinking about how a number like one can bring so many other numbers to your life. 

Did you know one can become greater than 5,000? As of today, I've loved to for 14 years, 7 months, and 4 days. That's 5,333 days, to be exact. Although if I'm being honest, I fell in love with you the day I met you at Jose's apartment. So let's just up that number to 5,722. 

And 1+1 does equal 2 - two sweet, sassy, independent, funny, and sometimes aggravating kiddos. We've been parents for 4,082 of those 5,722 days. Because of you, 100% of my dreams of motherhood came true. 

10 will be another magic number in 2.5 months. We've been married for 3,580 days, which is 9 years, 9 months, and 17 days (a bit more than a quarter of our lives). And, at least on my end, I bet I've been happy about that for about 3,570 (oh come on, you're thinking the same thing).

We've probably had 1,000 disagreements, but 30,000 laughs; more than a full hand of hospital trips (thanks to bats and car accidents) and home repairs (so, what will break down next?!), but 10x as many happy and healthy adventures throughout the U.S. We've cried thousands of tears over miscarriages and family and friends lost too soon, but shared tens of thousands of smiles with the amazing family and friends in our lives.

There always seems to be a lot more pluses than minuses with you. Because of you, the hard times shrink while the good multiply. And I cannot wait to love you on day 5,723 - and day 5,724 (and so on, and hopefully thousands more!) Thank you for adding more to my life with every additional day. 

Love always, 
Your +1
 

 

 



 


Monday, January 23, 2017

A box of tissue

One morning when my son woke up, he had the beginnings of a cold. He had one simple request.

"Mom, tonight, would you please bring home a box of tissue? A box just for me?"

It seems like a really small request, doesn't it? And something that yes, I can very easily do on my way home from work. 

It might seem silly, but the thought crossed my mind that even as a simple request, it is a sign of how blessed our family is. Yes, we are blessed to be able to bring home a box of tissues. When I tuck him into bed with his tissues there next to him, I know that while he may feel icky with his cold, he'll still feel safe and secure. He won't be worried about if he'll have tissues tomorrow, because he knows he will.  

I hope that as he grows, he really understands how important that box of tissues is. There are so many children going to bed tonight - some tucked in gently and others tucking themselves in - who will fall asleep unsure of what tomorrow will bring. They'll worry if they'll have the basic necessities to make it through the day. Instead of sweet dreams, concern will fill their mind. Will they have food for their lunchbox or perhaps be embarrassed at school because their lunch account is empty? Will their clothes be clean? Will anyone notice they wore that shirt twice already this week? Will someone make fun of them carrying their books to school in their hands because they can't afford a backpack? 

There are many issues to address in today's world. As we watch the media and Facebook and the many other avenues of communication fill our lives with what's happening across the country and the globe, I hope that in 2017, we can all make an effort to add one more task onto our lists: creating a better community in which to live. 

Let's start small. 

Let's pick up one extra box of tissues to donate to a local women's and children's shelter so when a child has a stuffy nose, mom can provide him that small comfort that she might not be able to, because she's already deciding whether to use her last $20 to buy food or new shoes for school.

Let's buy a few extra cans of soup or vegetables and drop them off to the local food pantry. It doesn't seem like much, but it means a little something extra in someone's stomach for the night.

Let's clip the coupon for the diapers out of the Sunday paper and pick up a pack for a local shelter. Then maybe a mom can pick up a clean blouse for an interview instead of passing over an interview that would help her better care for her family because she has nothing nice to wear.

We don't have to save the world in one day (although that would be nice). What we can do is start small, start at home, and teach our children how to care about the others in the city they live in. Then maybe someday, tissues won't be considered a luxury.



Sunday, January 22, 2017

Oh, American Girl.

Oh, American Girl, I have to give you guys props, even though I have a complaint. It's not about your cost (hey, if people will pay mega-bucks for your brand, more power to ya), but rather how incredibly well you've developed your product and infiltrated my home.

We made the decision five years ago that we weren't going to have anymore babies. While it was a little sad to know that the baby days were over, I was also looking forward to the fun we would have as a family of four. And by fun, I mean not having to carry around a diaper bag or bottle bag again as the kids were potty trained.

My youngest is eight years old and has been potty trained for years. Yet here we are and I'm back to carrying around everything I was so excited to move on from.

Yesterday, I found myself at the grocery store with aforementioned kid asking if she can push the full cart. Sure, I say. To which she hands me her American Girl doll, strapped into a doll car-seat carrier, and a dolly diaper bag.

"Oh, how cute!" you say. Nope. Nope, nope, nope. You'd think a dolly diaper bag would be small, right? No way. This thing is only slightly smaller than an average human-baby sized diaper bag. And it's legit filled with the following: diapers, fake wipes, multiple clothing changes, burp clothes, bibs, an extra blanket, fake bottles, fake snacks, silverware and dishes to eat the fake snacks, shoes, doll-sized baby toys... you get the drift. (Thank goodness most of our stuff comes second-hand or we make clothes for them, like we did in a few of these pics!)

And here I am, 3 29-years-old (Again. And again. And some more agains.) and carting around a doll and all of her goods. (Which honestly, yesterday wasn't as bad as when she doesn't have the doll car seat carrier, because I end up holding the doll and bouncing and just look like the crazy doll lady picking out her groceries.)

Now, I love seeing my little girl playing with her dolls. (Not because "that's what little girls are supposed to play with," because little girls should play with lots of stuff, including mud and basketballs.) I love watching her care for and nurture them, with her big heart. She so carefully dresses them, tucks them in, and it's adorable. I know that those skills are helping her learn how to treat others, and helping her learn in a way she's comfortable with. And I love playing dolls with her (yes, I even have the American Girl doll Kit, my absolute favorite).

And though I complain, American Girl, you will probably find me at the grocery store next week bouncing her beloved (beat up and stained) Bitty Baby on my hip as I pick out bread for the week.


Touché, American Girl.

Score: American Girl 1, Allie 0.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New Year's Resolutions for Moms (Or, at least, this one)

If you opened up Facebook on January 1, I'm sure you found it peppered with well intentioned resolutions for the new year. Lose weight, get fit, feed the homeless, write letters to their kids to open someday, go one more date nights. All wonderful things, no doubt. And yes, I've been guilty of jumping on the resolution bandwagon and promising I'd lose all sorts of weight or learn a new trade. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's part of where my 40 Before 40 list came from.

But...

If you're a mom like me with younger kids (or maybe kids of any age), let's get realistic. I have an eleven year old and an eight year old who have a busier activity calendar than the Brady Bunch combined, and a full-time job. I would love to resolve to get fit, but I find the only exercise I have time for is running my mouth when I need them to get moving or walking stairs for the 15th drink of water one needs from the kitchen after bedtime. And eating right? Yeah. I'm eating right about anything I can find, including the kids' leftovers, because I'm busy packing lunches or doing dishes.

So sitting here tonight (yes, instead of exercising - I was exercising my mind), I thought about the things I AM going to resolve to do this year. How many of you moms would have a similar list?

In 2017, I resolve to...

  1. Make sure the kids actually DO brush their teeth EVERY morning before leaving for school, (I'm not saying it has to be a great brushing, but I'll take a solid 10 seconds of toothpaste touching teeth.)
  2. Watch to see that the kids leave the house entirely dressed. And yes, daughter, that includes socks. Yes socks. Yes, socks are clothes. They're made of fabric aren't they? So yes, they're clothes. Seriously, it's 10 degrees where we live, put on the socks. I don't care what socks, what color, what design. I don't even care if they match, just put them on. No, you cannot just wear the boots. (See, right about here is where I cave and say fine, wear the stupid fuzzy boots and no socks. But I'm gonna stay strong...)
  3. Actually eat more fruits. (Do Pop-Tarts count? I'm still determining the guidelines I'm putting on this one.)
  4. Watch less television. Yes, kiddo, Netflix counts as television. Yes, even if it's on a tablet. Are there people or animals, real or artistically drawn, speaking? Then it's television. It's 2017 television. Just turn it off.
  5. Do the dishes every night. (Husband, stop laughing. Just stop. Or I can tell you what won't be occurring more often in 2017.)
  6. Read a book. (Not more books. Just a book. And adult book. No, not that kind. Well, maybe. But a grown-up book, fiction or non-fiction. As in the whole thing, cover to cover. It will take me an entire year, but I'm gonna make it happen.)
  7. Paint something in the house. Not because I have to cover up wall drawings (thankfully I think we're past that phase). And not finger painting a scary, disproportionate hedgehog on a child-size easel, but a room in the house. One of the rooms we started painting eight years ago and gave up on. (Seriously. Last painted when preggo with the eight year old. Poor hubs put so much effort into painting the living room and dining room the colors I wanted - red and green - only to have his hormonal wife cry because the house looked like Christmas all year. And has every year since, because he was NOT going to take a chance on picking colors again.)
  8. Cook more at home. (Do TV dinners count? Especially if they can't watch TV while they eat?)
  9. Get more organized. Or, designate a drawer for all the stuff I know I'll pick up and say, "I'm really going to need this in three months" and then lose because I put it somewhere I'd definitely remember it was. Maybe having a designated drawer would help with that. Or closet? 
  10. Have more fun. It would be really fun to watch the kids do more chores (or ANY chores) so I think I can kill two birds with one stone by combining #9 and #10 together as I write the kiddos' chore lists.
I'm just kidding. :) Mostly. I'm not making any resolutions other than to be more present in every day life. Someday my house will be spotless (ok, not likely) and my free time will be plenty (again, not likely), and I'll be missing the chaos that has come to be our daily life (very likely). I wouldn't trade the here and now for anything; the chaos is what makes everything more fun!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Very excited to write again!

It's been a couple years since I've published a story, because, well, life. Kids plus full-time jobs plus activities = not much free time. Not that I mind - being a mom and watching these two grow is far more exciting than anything I could write!

Now that we're on a better schedule, I have been able to find a little time here and there to begin plucking away at the third book in the Healers series and shaping it into the story I've been imagining for the past three years. And hopefully, you will be able to have this book in hand by the end of the summer.

Here's a little sneak peek:
     "I believe that you will always know me. You might not know where you know me from, but you’ll recognize me.”
     “Will you be okay if I go?”
     “You tell me,” she smiled, reaching for his hand.
     “Rose, stop, we’re not supposed to look at each other's future…”
     “If you’re leaving anyway, what’s the difference? What do you see? Come on. What’s it matter if you break the rules?”
     With a sigh of resignation, he let his cold hand wrap around the warmth of hers and closed his eyes.

Who is "he"? What does he see? And what is Rose's future?

Well, I haven't written the very end yet, so I still can't tell you. 

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Poetry

Long ago when I first began writing, I fell in love with poetry. As most do, I have a particular taste in poetry, and I find myself always gravitating back to Robert Frost.

The prose, the flow, and the beautiful wording that he uses to embrace both playful and grim topics always caught my ear. Though I've read the work of many poets, his has been and will likely always be my favorite.

I came across a box of my early poetry while cleaning out the storage bins cluttering the basement. It certainly made me giggle to read the teenage angst scribbled across the papers. (Nothing I'll post here, simply to save some of my dignity!) It did, however, serve to remind me that it has been quite a long time since I've picked up a poetry book and read the short stories inside. Isn't it amusing how it can be so difficult to write a short story and cram into 2,500 words everything you want to say, and yet in a poem, a mere eight lines can convey the message and the emotion the author seeks?

One of my favorite poems of all time is this one, and I'd enjoy hearing what your thoughts on it are. I don't want to share mine yet, so as to not play my thoughts into yours before you've had a chance to read it. (Screen grab from Pinterest, no idea whose image it is!) Or, share what your favorite poem may have been. I'm always looking for something new to read!


Monday, January 2, 2017

A New Year...

It's crazy to me that 2016 is now over. I'm left standing here, wondering what the heck I'm going to do with 2017.

I could make resolutions, but I probably won't keep them. (Seventeen years of fitness promises made on December 31 and failed by January 2 are proof of that.) I didn't really do much on my 40 Before 40 list last year, so perhaps I'll work at checking some of those off. In my defense, I have two kids with better social lives than me and in addition to a full-time job spent most of my time chauffeuring kids to and from activities/play dates. 

One thing I am determined to do this year is get a few of my manuscripts edited and published. I spent so much time working on them (there are five), and all that's happened to them is the collection of virtual dust on an external hard drive.

And if I can really find the motivation, I'm determined to also finish writing two that I have started (of the many, many starts I have written in a notebook). 

So what are YOUR plans for 2017? Anything good? If not, please feel free to jump in on a few of the 40 Before 40 projects. (Especially if you're Chris Evans or Norman Reedus. Call me.)


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