I see you Mamas

The new school year has begun and with that comes the early morning drop offs, and if your like my family, right between lunch and nap time pick-ups.  With these times of day I am surrounded by mothers and fathers all getting back into the swing of things…it’s definitely been harder on us than I thought.  But I am determined to try and make the most out of these few minutes each day with the fellow parents I run into….cause we are in similar boats.   And yet, we all have such different stories, background and places to go.

And sometimes just getting to the school parking lot can be a victory in itself.  And I have showed up to school sporting all sorts of attire, bed head and screaming children.  I know what it is liked to judge and be judged.  It sucks. Both ways, and I deeply apologize for those moments where I didn’t have compassion or grace.  When we are struggling  to keep our heads above water, the last thing we need is for someone to look down on us, question our parenting, wonder why our children’s clothes don’t match or scowl at our screaming toddler who just didn’t want to get out of bed…I feel ya, kid.

So I’m not going to judge.  I’m going to see you.  I’m going to embrace you….yes, this means a couple of you may be receiving literal super awkward spur of the moment hugs from me.  You’re welcome.

I see you Mom, in your super cute yoga pants with matching top and shoes.  Regardless if you are actually on your way to work out or just didn’t want to get dressed, you inspire me to be more active.

I high five you!

I see you Dad, in suit and tie, late for work but taking those extra minutes to help your crying child walk bravely into their class.

Thumbs up to you!

I see you Mom, with bags of sleepiness under your eyes, juggling baby, extra large coffee cup and two kids while rushing to make it before the bell rings.

I feel you, I know you and I will probably embrace you on the way out.  We can both cry on each others shoulders over coffee.

I see you Mom, dressed to the nines, looking fresh from the shower with your hair curled and stiletto heels.  You look fabulous! Who knows if you have a job you’re on your way to or you just enjoy taking the extra time to look nice!

I salute you! oh, and teach me your ways.

No one ever told me that being a parent would be easy or glamorous, and sometimes it’s just plain hard.  So this school year instead of judging or criticizing or even coveting, let’s be encouraging, helpful and supportive.

Go you! You got this! and if there is a morning where you don’t, that’s ok to!

 

And of course, this video.  It’s awesome.  And I may have just cried over it.  again. remember, don’t judge :)


 

Working Their….Mine…OUR fine motor skills

Mommy Confession: We’ve been watching A LOT of TV lately. I keep telling the boys I can see their brains melting and oozing out their ears, and since they are of course boys, they love it.  But we needed to get back into doing some activities that stretch that mush between their ears, so today while at Hobby Lobby (with only one child in tow mind you) I picked up a giant variety bag of pom poms and a Perler bead set.   Cohen’s preschool class has a huge tub of pom poms and he loves it, and I’m all about the anything pom pom so I knew they’d love it…me, I’d love it…I just didn’t realize how much! Cheap idea for the win!

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IMG_0546We used all the play kitchen pots and pans and utensils and they had the time of their life! Seriously though! Of course teacher mom jumped in and we sorted by size and color and threw them at each other with hurricane force.

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I knew the boys wouldn’t have any trouble maneuvering and picking up the pom poms, but it was a little bit of a challenge for Emmy.  But her fine motor skills were pretty impressive!

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It wasn’t long before they decided these were the perfect things for a pretend ice cream shop, and I’m never one to say no to ice cream!

(Disclaimer: yes, these are all over my house.  Yes, they can be “messy” but I say to heck with it all! In the precious name of childhood!!)

Then when our sweet little game changer when down for her nap, I busted out an activity for the boys….and me. Perler bead kits. Look it up. Apparently they are a huge deal, one I don’t ever remember partaking in when I was a kid, but apparently they are pretty awesome. And we love awesome things! So I dumped all the microscopic beads onto a baking sheet, showed the boys the general idea and we set to work.
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After 10 minutes, my fingers hurt. Like, super achy. I soon realized that this was a fine motor activity for me just as much as it was for the boys. My fingers have never felt fatter…Probably would have been a good time to try using tweezers, as I’m sure all the professional Perlers do, but nah, thats taking the challenge out of it, right?
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I was really proud of how long the boys stuck with this, cause half way through my shape, I was ready to throw it against the wall and drink some wine. But they were determined.  IMG_0533
Word of advice for all you future Perlers, NEVER BLOW ON YOUR DESIGN. I noticed that Liam had a fuzzy on his shape, and since he had quite a few beads already placed, I decided that I would gently blow the fuzz away…and then, to my absolute horror,  all his carefully chubby finger placed beads scattered across the table. Oops, my bad. I wish I had captured his face…it was priceless. And then he sweetly said, “It’s ok Mom. It was an accident, but you have to help me fix it.” Sure bud.

Today was a good day.  Activities were done, conversations happened, brains were expanded and TV was watched just a little bit less.

All About That Birchbox!

A couple weeks ago, I posted a picture of my just-received Birchbox, to which a lot of you wanted to know what was inside that fabulous box! Well, I’m here today with my newest received box of magic and ready to share all it’s secrets!

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This totes adorbs (blah, can’t believe I just typed that) box contains perfectly sized samples of different beauty items and cosmetics based off of my personal beauty profile! Beauty and the box.

And let’s be honest here fellow Mamas, creating the perfect smokey eye or knowing the perfect facial toner for my skin type isn’t always hot on my radar…there are days I’m lucky if my teeth get brushed and my shoes match.

This is where the Birchbox comes in handy! Now, I can’t take full credit for finding this…my dear sweet husband thought it would be a fun surprise for me, created my profile and signed me up for a years subscription.

 (I’m trying to ignore the fact that he selected dark circles/puffy eyes as a problem area) :)

Love you, babe.

Back to the box of goodness

So each month I receive a new themed box full of different types of products to try and play with. Not everything I’m a fan of (like the NEON PINK smudge proof lipstick that was exactly that…no matter how hard I scrubbed) but there have been some amazing hair products, lotions, and perfumes!  If there is something that I absolutely love, I can skip on over to their shop and buy the full size!  Here is this months item description list!

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I’m excited to try the Shea Terra Organic Rose Hip facial cleanser and I gave the lipstick a spin around the kitchen while doing dishes and I definitely felt fancy!

Birchbox has a whole website full of tips, tricks, a shopping page and other wonderful things to read when you’re tired of school papers, dirty diapers, meal planning or just want to remember what it feels like to only have to worry if your cuticles are creamy or your face is correctly toned and your lipstick matches your nail polish (is that a thing).  They also have points you can earn so you can shop the products and a refer a friend system so you can get free stuff!

(cough cough, ahem…just saying)

Click this link :)

https://www.birchbox.com/invite/6qq9j 

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I wish I was more of a beautician minded woman who would take the time to try each product and review it, but that’s not me. I’m just in it for the fun, hopefully less eye puffiness :) and the chance to play with make-up again!

(but I do know a couple girlfriends who would be fabulous at it though…..ALICIA!)

Our Third Generation Playhouse

So, there is this playhouse up in the mountains, alongside a little hill, surrounded by huge Oak and Pine trees.  It’s our little playhouse…for the past 3 generations.  My Grandpa Don made it for my mom and my aunt when they were little girls in Jacksonville, CA with a lovely avocado green exterior and little pink stove that matched my grandmothers life size one.  With a scalloped trim and a wood shingle roof it was Trina’s & Karrie’s special little home.

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Then they moved, and of course the little playhouse moved with them, where it sat on top of a little hill in their backyard.

Then we came along…Justin, Mallory, Kelsey and Michael.  We’d run up the steep grassy slope to the playhouse, which was by now empty of all original furniture, or any furniture for that matter, but we loved it just the same.  It was our little hideaway at Grandma and Grandpa’s.  I vividly remember being dared to sit on a cactus in that playhouse on top of that little hill, which of course I did.

Then Grandma & Grandpa moved again, and of course the playhouse moved too. But this time we were gifted handcrafted furniture from my grandpa, pictures for the walls, lace curtains, pretend food and a brass kettle for our little stove.  It was once again transformed into a special little home…our little home.

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Then we grew up, sadly as all children must do and my grandparents gifted all the playhouse furniture my grandpa made to some children up the hill.  I, at 20 something years old was immediately transformed into a 10 year old girl who was super upset that my playhouse was now a garden shed!  Did anyone ask the playhouse if it wanted to be a garden shed?!

But wait, it ends happy.

Present day and we now have children of our own, who have ran up and around the playhouse but never inside, because it was full of wood.  But a wonderful neighbor gifted us with a darling wood set of furniture filled to the brim with pretend food and dishes and we convinced Grandma and Grandpa to return the “garden shed” back to it’s former glory as a wonderful little home…for the third generation of children to call their own.

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So this last weekend we drove up the hill to Groveland and set to work clearing out the wood and tools and spiderwebs and instead filling it with lace curtains, furniture and memories. Yes, I know…all sentimental. I’m pretty sure the adults had just as much fun as the kids setting it all up and turning it back into a little home alongside the hill. We still were waiting for a table and chair set, so we ran down to the local thrift store and got that great wood shelf, a TV tray table and some vintage linen napkins!   My grandmother, my mother and I sat on the playhouse porch as my kids concocted all sorts of delicious plastic treats and tea for us and Liam worked hard to rake all the pine needles so there was nice path for bare little feet to walk on.

The kids asked the next day when we would be able to go back up to play in their playhouse on the hill and I can’t wait either! I really hope this sweet little house continues on through generations to come!
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First Day of Summer Break

Today marks the first official day of summer break for us! It’s Monday and we didn’t have to be out the door early (Praise Jesus!)…although my kids didn’t get the memo and still woke with the sun! (Lord, turn my water to coffee) But I was allowed a lazy morning in my bathrobe.

About mid-morning I was struck with the sudden panic of what I was going to do with these 3 crazy lovable kids, and the Pinterest pressure kicked in.

What secretly nutritional snack was I going to spend 3 hours making? (which we all know, they’ll somehow spy the smallest piece of minced carrot and to the floor it will go) What educationally enriching project would we create? I need to make sure they read 3 books a day, while I make themed meals around each one!  Oh, and dang, I still haven’t made that “If You’re Bored” idea jar.

Then I remembered something: It’s summer BREAK! That means it’s a reprieve for me to.  Our summer is jam packed with activities and trips outside the home that I think we will welcome any “boring” moments.

My kids are currently lounging on the couch, half naked, eating fishy crackers (probably will throw in an applesauce and call it lunch) and playing video games…for the past 1.5 hours and they are happy, laughing and enjoying time together!

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Are all those Pinterest-y activities bad? Of course not! I will most likely do some this summer, but what I will do more of is telling my kids to go play! Go use your imagination! Stop relying on Mom to entertain you! I’ve told my boys many times that I’m pretty sure I see their brain melting out their ears from non-imaginative use.

So, fellow Mommy’s on the cusp of summer break….relax, enjoy yourself, pour another cup coffee (or mimosa) and JUST BE with your kids without the pressure of creating and planning and breaking the bank (and your back) over the idea of the “perfect” summer.  It will still be memorable and magical!
IMG_7388This picture is from our day trip to Pinecrest Lake yesterday. We brought a couple buckets and shovels and enjoyed being together in a beautiful place.

 

Making Lemonade

The boys have recently enjoyed watching a LeapFrog episode that teaches counting numbers and math as the characters make lemonade for their lemonade stand.
So naturally when the boys saw Nana’s tree full of beautiful bright yellow Meyer lemons, lemonade had to be made.
I decided to let them control the whole “experiment,” though I did cut the lemons.  They told me they needed water, lemon juice and sugar, though they didn’t know how much of each yet…hello, secret math lesson!

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After using all their muscles to squeeze the lemon juice, they wanted to give it a try.  By all means, have it gents!  Their facial expressions were priceless!

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I wish I had thought to video tape that moment, but the pictures of their faces are perfect.  They quickly decided that their lemonade needed A LOT of sugar, and Liam even suggested and tried dumping in the whole box. I quickly jumped in and suggested some water and then they scooped spoonfuls of sugar into the pitcher.

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It took a couple of taste tests and of course more sugar, but they finally decided they had perfected their lemonade concoction.  And I’m not just saying this as a proud Mama, but it was really good!

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Who doesn’t love a refreshing glass of homemade lemonade!

*I apologize for the horribly taken iphone photos. Especially as a photographers wife, I’m slightly embarrassed of them. But really, my life is busy with my kiddos and quickly capturing these precious moments are important, but not as important as enjoying the moment with them.