Monday, December 29, 2014

Remember these things for 2015

Each year as the days approach to New Years Eve many of us are pondering what it is that we will strive for in the following year. I have, in years past, set resolutions for myself. Some I have met, others I have failed. I feel goals are important. I think it is essential to our well being to strive for better things. To become better people. To look at ourselves and evaluate what it is that we need in our lives to feel accomplished, complete, and happy. I have been putting some thought into what I would like to achieve in 2015. A few things come to mind. The usual things like: being more patient, exercising more, and staying positive. This year I think I will not look at setting a New Years Resolution. No, I want the following year to be one of growth and accomplishment each day that passes. Instead of one or two things to work on, I want to remind myself of all the things I have done that have brought me happiness, love and strength. I want to reflect on these lessons and remember each day why they are important. I share these with all of you, may you find comfort in a few of them.

Remember: You are capable of anything that you put your mind to. If you want something with all your heart, you will reach it. Never say you can't, always believe that you can. The power of belief will open yourself up to possibilities you never knew were there.

Remember: It is easier to think a negative thought than a positive one. Each time you have a negative thought, try replacing it with something that is positive from that same situation.

Remember: Each day is a new day. A new opportunity for growth, adventure and challenging yourself. Do something you never thought you would do. Life is short, live your days as if it was the last one you were given.

Remember: You are going to make mistakes. You are going to fail. Instead of beating yourself up and dwelling on the mistake, accept it as a challenge and try again. We all have bad days. Do not live within guilt and let it own you.

Remember: Life is not suppose to be easy. We are meant to be challenged. Accept your challenges and meet them with strength and determination.

Remember: Keep in mind the power of words. Speak them kindly. Use your words in loving ways. People will hold on to what you say long after the moment is gone.

Remember: Take moments to stop: To listen. To dance. To sing. To be silly.

Remember:  You and only YOU are in control of your life. We choose the elements around us. Choose carefully and thoughtfully.

Remember: We are examples to our children. Be the person you want them to reflect. Teach them kindness. Show them love has no boundaries, no prejudice, and no room for selfishness.

Remember: Relationships are work. Each one; a lover, a friend or family member, requires its own unique attention. Give to each what you want in return.

Remember: Do not hold on to regret. Let it go, release it.

Remember: It is okay to cry.

Remember: Forgiveness. Forgive loved ones, yourself, and strangers. We all make mistakes.

Remember Be grateful for all you have. It is easy to want more or desire something another has. Look around your own life and count your blessings.

Remember: Be healthy. Eat foods that nourish you. Find an exercise routine that works with you. Eating right and being active can be healing to the soul as well as your body.

Remember: You are good enough. You are amazing. You are special.

Happy New Year to you all! May the days ahead bring you love, laughter, and happiness. Don't choose a New Years Resolution. Choose a better tomorrow for your journey ahead. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Sitting in the Pasenger Seat: Letting Dad be Dad

For almost four years it has been me who has put my oldest son, Chase, to bed each night. When the second son, Wesley, came along it was the intent that daddy would put Chase to bed and I would tend to the baby. A year later I was still assuming my mommy duties with Chase. He still insisted I put him to bed each night. Some of these nights included some screaming and crying...a little from him and from me. I would find myself sitting on the edge of his bed, rubbing his back, while nursing Wesley. It was either this or listen to blood curdling cries for "mommy" while I laid in bed and attempted to ignore the pain inside me from the sound of my son's voice. It would make me sad not to be by his side. I would find a way to get him to bed. I became a master at juggling around bedtime.

Then a switch went off in the middle of November. Jason, otherwise known as daddy, had just got back from being gone on a hunting trip for eight days. This is something he does each year yet now that Chase is almost four it was the first year that he was affected by him not being around. He missed his daddy. There was even a day he just started crying. I could feel my heart shattering at the sight of his little face crying. I just hate seeing my children cry.

Finally daddy came home from his trip and Chase was ecstatic. Jay and I wondered how the bedtime routine would go. Mommy had gone soft and allowed both boys to be in bed with me the entire time Jay was gone. We joked that since Jay was the one who left, he would be the one to put Chase to sleep in his bed again. That first night we braced ourselves for screaming, crying, and flailing body parts. Much to our our surprise it was the complete opposite. Instead as I waited in bed snuggled in with Wesley, I heard giggling and the sound of Jay telling Chase a story. A half hour later Jason emerged from Chase's room to report that he was sleeping. It was a miracle in our eyes.

This pattern has continued through the month of November into December. Most nights, not all, Jay has been the one to put Chase to bed. It was as if someone flipped a switch. There are still some nights we get the occasional crying for mommy to put him to bed. There are also some nights which it takes daddy a long time to get Chase to bed resulting in "chasing" him (we named him appropriately!) as he tries to run into our bed to get to me. Finally, after the chasing, more milk, more food, and another story...Chase is asleep.

Here's the thing I must admit: I miss putting him to bed. There it is, I said it! Even though juggling both boys can be exhausting, I like the moments that bedtime can bring. I believe it is important that daddy share in these roles as a parent. Chase is fortunate to have a father who takes part in his life. I am fortunate to have a partner to share parenting with. Though there are times I feel like co parenting is like being a passenger in a moving vehicle. I would rather be the driver than sit in the passenger seat. It is the same with parenting. Sometimes I find myself cringing as though I am afraid we are going to go head on in traffic. I have to stop myself from interfering or mediating a certain situation. I am learning how to let dad, be dad.

Just like Wonder Woman would have done for Superman, I need to empower Jason and let him share in the parenting duties. I need him to empower me in my parenting role. It's not me against him. It is us, side by side, doing this crazy thing called parenting together. It is supporting one another, cheering the other on, and letting the other one make their own mistakes. We are doing this as a team. Raising children isn't for wussies!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Battle of the Holiday Bulge

There is something about this time of year that makes me want to eat. I realize with the holidays we all battle this. We are surrounded by desserts, delicious dishes, family foods, and drinks made to please the pallet. It's more than that for me right now. I feel I am also not able to eat the foods I want on a daily basis.

The change of seasons has made grocery shopping less appealing for me. I love fruits and veggies. Have you seen how the fruits look this time a year?! Not only are they not as fresh and ripe as I would like, they are over priced. I find myself standing in front of the strawberries and blueberries pondering if I want to spend five dollars on them or keep walking. I am frugal in my shopping. I will bring a calculator and try to keep it at the allowed amount that day. When I see an item I want that I consider over priced, I sadly walk away.

It is important to me to eat healthy. It is equally, if not more, important for me to try to feed my children healthy foods as well. If you have a toddler then you may know how hard it can be to feed them a balanced meal. (Refer to my post in November: Can I Skip Dinner Please). Since both my boys love fruits I try to be sure I have an assortment in our house. These days it is slim pickings.

I have resorted to buying frozen fruits. They hold the same nutritional value and when I use them in my daily smoothies, they taste just as good. Frozen fruit is cheaper and you can get a little more for your money. Bonus right?! Yes and no. Have you tried to thaw some strawberries to hand to your wee one? They still are on the mushy side. There really is nothing like fresh fruit! I love strawberry and blueberry season. Right now I am mourning both.

Vegetables too are not at their peak. Luckily my grocery store has a good selection and isn't  disappointing me as much in this area. As with fruits, I am not one to buy canned veggies or frozen veggies. I keep a few on hand, the kids love peas. I just enjoy cooking and eating handful's of fresh fruits and veggies. I am missing our box garden to pick from.

The cold is now setting in and the nightly salad I would have with dinner is becoming less appealing to me. I want warmer, more comfort food these days. 

My diet is a way of life for me. What I put into my body is important. I work at keeping myself in shape. I am not one that can eat whatever I want and not have it affect me. Since I have had children my body has needed extra attention. Let's face it, I am not 21 anymore. There use to be a time it didn't matter, I am no longer in that time.

I have surrendered myself to the fact that during the holiday season I may gain a few extra pounds. I am okay with that. I do believe in indulging! Over the next couple of weeks there will be gatherings with friends and family and I fully intend to enjoy these times without restrictions. It doesn't mean that doesn't come with guilt though. I will be honest, I get food guilt after I have consumed that piece of chocolate cake or had that extra glass of wine. This just means I will work a little harder after the holidays. It is me against the battle of the holiday bulge. I will win in the end!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Dialing Santa and canceling the Easter Bunny

Living with an almost four year old at Christmas time can be exciting. Then there are moments when it can also be rather exhausting. Lately I feel like I am repeatedly threatening to call Santa. That's right, I tell my child if he does not behave I am calling Santa. I have even picked up the phone to "call" him. Moments like this I really wish there were a Santa. I would call him, have him march his ass over here and put my kid in his place. Then reality slaps me in the face and I realize that I am Santa and it is ME who needs to wrangle the little animal and hope to God that he pulls it together so I do not turn into the Grinch. 

How often am I dialing Santa? I pretty much pull out the Santa card twenty a few times a day. It is effective for short periods of time. It allows mama to pull herself back together and prepare for the next mishap in our house. This may not be parenting at its finest, this I understand. Let's face it, kids want there to be Christmas so in a desperate moment calling Santa may just do the trick.

The problem with this is that soon after we are left with no Santa. We have to wait months before we pull out the Santa card. Yeah, there is the Easter bunny. He too could just hop on by our house. I am sure that I may slip up and threaten that one as well. After Christmas I will still be left with the same child, and no Santa Claus. I have to also admit I pull out the: "If you don't start behaving you are not going to school today!" card. Chase LOVES school. For him to not go would be painfully sad for him. Let's be honest here though, if I kept him home it would be equally painful for me.

Parenting, as many of you know, is the most challenging thing we will ever do. There are classes, books, along with several professionals who are all ready and willing to tell you just how to raise your kid and what you are doing wrong. I may read the occasional article but I don't do those books. I believe each child and home is unique. Most of us are doing the best we can. Some days are harder than others. I feel like I am the biggest critic of myself. I know some days I need to try harder and be better. That is what tomorrow is always for right?! I am learning. My children are learning.

I know there are other tactics besides dialing Santa Claus, I do attempt those as well. Some days though it is just easier and more effective to call on the big guy in the red suit. Besides, does it this form of parenting ever change. There will always be some variation of it: taking away the car, not being allowed to go out with friends, and keeping them home from a date they have been waiting to go on. It goes on and on and on...

Happy Holidays to you all. If you are in the same boat as me, I send you hopeful vibes. Time for me to go...I have to make a phone Santa!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Remembering Bobby

Sometimes I can still smell his cologne. It happens at random times. I was running a few weeks ago and it was as if he was running right next to me, pushing me along.  Other times it's an old song that comes on the radio and suddenly I am right back where I was when I was 16. I still have dreams about him. Some more vivid than others. I still see his face and if I try hard enough I can hear his voice.

When you are 18 and 19 the world should be in the palm of your hands. You are setting goals. Finding out what it is like to be an adult. Falling down, then getting back up. At least that is what most young adults are doing. Others are leaving behind friends and family who years later will still miss them and wonder why they had to leave.It has been 18 years since he has passed on.

If you knew Bobby you loved him. There wasn't a person who didn't like him. Sure, he could get you mad but it was almost impossible to stay upset with him. He had a smile that was contagious and a heart as big as he was. His laugh would cause ripples in you like a wave and before you knew it you were laughing right along with him. He was surrounded by three beautiful women, his mother and two sisters, who he loved intensely. Family was important to Bobby. He loved the outdoors and the woods. He was strong, athletic, and passionate.

I was a freshmen in college when I received the phone call that he had passed away. I had just been home for Thanksgiving break. I hadn't seen Bobby when I was home yet had only talked to him a couple weeks before. I had spent a good amount of that summer before I left for school with Bobby. Leaving him was one of the hardest things I had done in my young adult life. He was one of my dearest friends. I knew leaving would change our friendship and we would move on in other directions. I also knew I would miss him terribly. I was not prepared for the heartbreaking phone call that he was gone forever.

There would be no more phone calls. No more letters. No more I love you's. A mother lost her son. Sisters lost their beloved brother and friend. Friends lost a piece of themselves. The world lost a good man. We all grieved. Our small little community suddenly had a crack in it from the place where he once was. He will always be there. He never left really. It's in those moments where you feel like your loved one is no where near you, that if you stop for a moment and try, you will feel them. You will be comforted and filled with the love they left behind.

He lives on within each life he touched. For however long or brief, he has left his mark on you. He lives on in his nieces and nephews. He lives on through memories and stories we all share. He lives on, waiting for us on the other side. Someday there will be laughter again shared with him.

Each person has a purpose. Each spirit has a divine meaning. We are all gifts to one another. Pieces of one another. The ones we love surround us, mold us, teach us and complete us. We all fit together like a puzzle. There are several pieces, many hearts, and they all fit together to make our world beautiful. Each soul is carried within us, hugging our hearts and reminding us that we are never alone.