Wednesday, April 9, 2014

We make this world

Another terrible thing has happened today.  Just a little ways a way, actually - in a town we just passed through on Monday night while traveling to see friends only an hour and a half away.

My heart aches for the parents and students that were terrified, worried, and afraid.

My first thought is never, 'What is this world coming to?'
Because this is not a question that moves us forward in times of sadness or fear.
Nor is it the answer to blame the world; or others.

I see myself in the parents of the kids hurt.
I see myself in the parents of the suspect.
I see myself in the teachers and staff.
I see myself as me; someone who learns about the incident only through the soundbites and snapshots that made it through the media.
I see myself as me; someone who will look my own children in the eyes everyday and say honestly and with hope, 'yes, this is a place that is beautiful and magical and kind.'

Because I know one thing is true:
WE are the ones that make this world.

WE create the world by the choices that we make that influence, affect, or impact anyone that comes in contact with us.  When in the presence of others; strangers or familiar - do we choose to react with patience at an inconvenience?  Do we respond with gratitude and kindness?  Do we leave people feeling refreshed, energized, and inspired?

and in today's world, that also means the contact that we have with others virtually.  Do we post and like and share things that lift people up?  Do we choose to ignore hate, fear-mongering, or gossip spreading? Or do we choose to ignite it?

So, the kids and I talked about bullies and standing up for others today, as we frequently do.  We talk about choices and use various words for the feelings that we have.  We look at characters on shows and movies and talk about aloud how we think they might be feeling and why.  We talk about what makes a bully, processing feelings of embarrassment and moving forward despite difficulties, and ways we can step in as  bystander for someone in trouble.  Each day we attempt to actively works towards being kind, compassionate, and patient.
Because we create the world today and will again tomorrow.

If interested, I find these very insightful and helpful when reflecting in moments like this:
Testing how a small acts of kindness create ripples
Yes, You can teach compassion to your son (and yourself)
My Kid would never do that:  bullying (Dateline video)

What I guess I want to say is; if we want the world to be a more beautiful, caring, and safe place, then we need to look to ourselves for the state of the world.

I am small, but even a grain of sand dropped in water will make a ripple.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Greyson at four is

Greyson at four is 
wild, unrelenting energy that bubbles out through wild swinging motions and loud outbursts coupled with fits of giggles.  It's endless jumping, climbing, dancing, sliding, and running.  Always running.

Greyson at four is
questions asked for real understanding.  No more endless, meaningless "Why?  Why? Why?" following every statement.  Rather, questions asked without warning and with surprising ranges of maturity and honest curiosity.  "What does tornado mean?"..."Why do you tell everyone we will be tired in the summer?  Does it never get dark and we won't sleep?"..."When will I be 14?"..."When Bullet and Trixie get dead will they go to our heaven too?"

Greyson at four is
a newly discovered gentleness to his baby sister and animals.  Always the first (and the most patient) to pet and snuggle up to our dogs.  It's asking for a new puppy for his birthday and a baby chick and white mouse for Easter.  It's helping his sister get dressed and playing "Daddy" when they pretend she is a baby or a dog.  These moments are in stark contrast to the normal pace of wild and they baffle me each time.

Greyson at four is
leaps and bounds in learning.  Recognizing letters, much improved fine motor skills, an ability to decipher first letter sounds in words, understanding numbers and value, hitting a pitched baseball, use of vocabulary words that were never there before.  Long gone are the days of getting something by him, he is listening and paying attention to every action, word, and reaction.  

Greyson at four
is my first child caught between baby and boy.   It's wondering aloud in disbelief (the both of us) how no one ever grows smaller; only bigger.  He wants to both be a 'baby in my belly again' but also be as big as Daddy's basketball players.  He wants carried to the house from the car when sleepy and also refuses to hold my hand unless we are in a parking lot.  He wants to do everything by himself, but also states that some things he will do when he 'gets a little bigger.  Maybe when I'm five."

Happy birthday to our first baby.
Each year seems impossibly too long and too fast at the same time.
You herald us into each new age and stage like a fearless leader, my darling.
The first one; the one who made us parents.
Thank you for your effortless, hilarious wisdom.
You are so wonderful, baby.

I love you forever and ever.
even when you get so big.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


We try to be very conscious in the way that we speak about life and the words we use to describe it.  I've talked about it before both at 12MonthsofKindness and we've practiced being better about it when using our Tacky Box.  There are things that we just don't say (tacky words) like:  stupid, idiot, dumb, or shut-up.  

There is one word, though, that we do say, and a lot.  That word is fancy.

Fancy is our response to how the kids look when they get dressed in nice clothes.  As an outdoor family and all-around rough&tumble crew, we are more likely found in what we call 'play clothes,' than anything that is fashionable or currently 'in style.' Play clothes are those that can be stained, dirtied, or torn and it won't matter much.  But when we put on 'nice clothes' or get dressed up, we call that fancy.

We tell our kids they are beautiful and handsome too - but that is never because they got fancy.  When we wipe their faces clean, we say, "I think my beautiful girl is under there somewhere!  Where is that beautiful face?"  Or when they wake up, we grab them up for hugs and say, "Good morning, handsome boy!"  Other adjectives are used to describe them all day too (kind, generous, 'good' big bro/little sis, etc).

But when we want to let our kids know that we appreciate how they look when they get dressed up, it is always by saying they look fancy.  We hope to ingrain in them that beauty is not something you get from better looking clothes, or make-up, or accessories, or a hair style.  You can dress up and be fancy for a little while - but you will always be beautiful no matter what you change to your appearance.

And there is no better compliment to me, when I get dressed up and my little Gemmi who has yet to be able to pronounce the /f/ sound; runs her hand down my clothes and says, "You look sancy, Mommy."  She's only two, but she's getting it.

Dear Gemmi,
You are beautiful because of who you are, never because of what you put on or take off.  Never because of the way your hair is styled or how expensive anything you carry might be.  You are beautiful because of all the things that make you, you.  Like how you care for anyone you think is sad or hurt and how you hold hands with those you love.  You are beautiful because of your smart, sneaky brain and your silly, nonsensical humor.  You are beautiful with your hair every which way when you wake up and with cheeto mess all over your cheeks.  You can dress up and be a fancy girl whenever you like, but know that your beauty has nothing to do with how fancy you are.  You are beautiful because you are you.

Love you forever and ever
even when you get so big,

Friday, March 28, 2014

Life Lately.

The lack of warm weather and green in the month of March always makes me feel like life is on hold.  Like we're just waiting around for Spring.  The holidays have died down, the busyness of basketball season has ended, we're all experiencing cabin fever.  It doesn't feel like anything is happening; we're just sort of waiting around; getting through the days.

Lenten countdown chart from here
But one look at my iphone photo album and I know that's not really true.  We have lots of little magic happening everyday and sometimes it's that sort of electric charge of looking in the mirror of a photo album to see that life is indeed wonderful and exciting right now.

Despite the cold, we still try to get outside for at least 20 minutes a day.  Sometimes its with the kids on the trampoline, or at the playground, or just by myself with the dogs.  

Yesterday was uncharacteristically warm (in comparison to the past few weeks at least) and we spent the afternoon at Greenhouse park chasing ducks and pretending to fish.  Oh spring, how we yearn for you.

Studerbaby #3 makes me blissfully happy when I try to imagine their little face and how the kids will no doubt love and dote on him/her.  September seems like a lightyear away still but I am certainly feeling pregnant.  I'm finding it hilarious (and horribly discouraging) that at 14 weeks pregnant my belly is as big as it was at 17 weeks pregnant with my first.  Oh body, how I love you and also I'm sorry.

In the meantime, we've been loving getting pic updates and facetime opportunities with our new favorite little baby, Andrew in NC with his mumma, my best friend Karpy.  He is precious and Gemmi makes up songs for him that are comprised of the words, "Andrew, I love you" sung over and over.

I feel newly liberated as we finally set up various 'holiday' accounts at our bank to separate saved money so that we know why and how much money we are actually saving.  Despite the sinking feeling that came with transferring money out of our savings account and watching that amount decrease - it is so inspiring to see money set aside for real purposes (vacation, home improvement, real Emergency, and gift giving/holiday).  

We had a great time last weekend, celebrating the wedding of two of our good friends in Ohio.  It was so wonderful to be back together with most of Brandon's W&J college friends and to laugh and celebrate such a beautiful couple.  In my hormonal state of bumphood, I had tears in my eyes repeatedly over a vast array of the mother/son dance to seeing Brandon with all of his best friends again.  No doubt I'll be in the background of many pictures weeping like a fool.  Tis the life of pregnancy though, eh?

The Hunting Daddies has slowed only slightly thanks to the wrapping up of our expos in early March.  We met so many families who are similar to us; raising their kids up in the outdoors - it was inspirational and re-energizing.  

We are now moving into Easter season with some awesome packages available just in time for Easter:)  Check them out if you're looking for great gifts for the outdoor kids (or grown ups!) in your life here:  The Hunting Daddies Gear.   

I found the following pic on pinterest recently (thanks Carli!) and although incredibly simple, it has been on my mind for the last few days.  (Picture from Elisa at Grateful for the Ride and Bored Board idea from Becky at I Lift Heavy Things).  There really is no reason to feel bored or uninspired - even when the weather is bringing me down.  And when I do - I just need to remember to recharge my batteries with any of these suggestions.

But whether or not Spring is on its way - we are on the path to an exciting April; Grey's 4th birthday, fishing season, Easter, and my sister's wedding.  Gemmi received her flower girl dress and Grey has been measured for his ring bearer tux.  So we've been practicing slow dancing and talking about birthday games, hoping Gem will finally get out of her Croods obsession ("Croods on"), and trying to talk Grey out of asking for a baby chick for Easter. Just the everyday sort of magic over here.

What is happening in your life lately?  Happy nearly April (and hopefully Spring!)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bigfoot & Us

While growing up, I always dreamed of becoming a mom and raising little kids.  I'd try to imagine what their sweet faces would look like and even blissfully daydreamed about their sticky little hands and how giggling and tiny feet would fill my future home with happiness.  But no matter how much you try to imagine the future; I know now that it is almost never like you thought it would be.

For example how I could not have guessed my current daily interaction with all things related to Bigfoot. we talk about Bigfoot in our house.

Sometimes we tell stories that involve Bigfoot, we seek out shows and kids' movies that include Bigfoot  (or anything close to him - there's more than you imagine:  Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer, Scooby Doo), we ask the Librarian for books about Bigfoot, or we pretend we are Bigfoot.

It is all about Bigfoot over here.

It started a few months ago.  Grey was watching a prank show with his Aunt (hi, Uch!) and someone in a Bigfoot costume was getting ready to scare his friend.  The show started feeling especially spooky, so Uch changed the channel before the reveal that it was all just a joke.  Which was actually turned out to be more scary than just watching the whole thing.  oops.

So for a few weeks, Bigfoot was really scary.  After lots of talking, stories, and reassuring, Bigfoot started to change from scary to fascinating. And because we just kept talking about it, now Bigfoot is a full fledged family friend.  Even Gem knows and speaks about BigFoot now and when she hears a noise outside, she says, "Bigfoot outside?"

So I spend my days making up little stories about Bigfoot, and pretending to be Bigfoot, and wondering aloud what BigFoot might be doing at any given moment.

How strange the path of motherhood is, no?