Living in the WILD – lessons from afourytale

Living in the WILD – lessons from afourytale

School has started. Enough said. Am I right? Whether you have kids in school or not if you live in the U.S., school starting changes traffic patterns, moods and daily life all the way around. And since my brain cannot function without examining the minutiae of everything, it started spinning and I thought this was as good a time as any to share the lessons that I have learned lately. As always, hopefully this helps someone else out there in this great big universe feel a little more normal – even though there is no such thing – and also maybe sharing will help my mind to stop spinning.

Mean people are people who are hurting

People who hurt act out. 

Don’t start judging me already; I get that is a pretty logical statement. However, when violence strikes we aren’t really acting in a logical manner these days. Experience has taught me control is an illusion. We make choices based on the events that face us, and we can make good choices or bad, but life doesn’t change. That shit has been rough since the dawn of time. I mean there has always been violence, destruction, hate, and awful stuff in general.

We now have media everywhere we freaking look, so it seems so very overwhelming, but it isn’t different in itself. It really is same shit, different day. We have to start reacting to what happens to us better and also being better at proactively offering solutions before the problem hits. It isn’t an easy deal to solve; I get that. But just as violence stems from anger and pain; great change also comes from pain and reacting with love, patience, compassion, understanding. We are meant to share our stories.

Don’t get me wrong, when people are acting mean that is my biggest pet peeve. Rudeness crawls up my spine and causes me to throw up a little in my mouth every.single.time. I am human after all. As a human though, we are the starting point of change. That starts with compassion, sincerity, honesty, the giving of our time to others. These things can heal someone else. We must listen to one another’s story and whether we accept it as our truth or not, we need to hear each other and offer understanding. Only then can we start to really change things.

I recently watched Brené Brown speak about privilege so beautifully, I fear trying to even touch that topic without mentioning her description could not even do it justice. Privilege is something you are born with and do not have to earn; like finding people just like you on TV or finding a doll with your same color skin in any store you walk in. We as a people, we can change that.

Change is all based on reacting with compassion. We know better and should be making better choices. There is far more good in the world and those acting out right now fear the change that is coming. We got this people – good and compassion and faith – we got this. We always have. Don’t lose faith and continue to respond with an open heart, ear and mind and then change will come. We can heal one another one person at a time; one choice at a time; one compassionate action at a time.

Like the size of your lifeLike the size of your life.

Some people choose big and lately that seems to be what our society is preaching and delivering. I choose simple. I choose small town everyday simple life. Simple, quiet beauty fills me up. I like the size of my life. I like it so much I am constantly trying to slow it down so I can soak it up with every fiber of my being. Somehow that never seems to work out; like sand it keeps slipping through my fingers.

There are advantages to playing small. Not many people write this down or preach it. Setting out each day to be a good human and do the simple, necessary things without a lot of hoopla; there is some real good in that. Doing what needs to be done every day without shouting look at me or tweeting it; instagram-ing it; Facebook-ing it; there is fullness in just the doing an act in and of itself.

Being who you are and doing the right thing when no one is looking means so much more than shouting it from the roof top. Choosing small, real simple life is wholesome stuff. It gives you time to really connect to those important to you. That is what really matters. The simple pleasures of homemade lemonade, family time, the view, and little love notes. Making a difference one person at a time in your every day ordinary life. I choose small. I choose simple. But whatever you choose; just like the size of your life.

Truth isKids keep it real.

This one is just what it is. Kids see things simply and say what they feel. Mythirteen-year-old has told me twice in the past three months two things that have profoundly changed the way I look at things. It isn’t that no one has said this to me before, but it is the simplicity with how and when kids say things that just rock your world.

I had been worrying about work stuff and change and as I tuck my son in at night he says,”You know mom, all that stuff you have been talking about lately it really isn’t big stuff that matters. It is really kind of small stuff that shouldn’t bother you at all.” Well take that slap in the face! Yikes! He was right. That shifted my focus lickety-split.

Then just this week, first day of school. The twins are in two separate classes. I have to rush to get my thirteen-year-old to school and so I can’t stay and walk the twins into class. Every other child has a parent walking them into their class, but not my two. And just like that there is not just one set of class parents judging me as I speed off with my older son, but two sets of class parents and two sets of teachers. Talk about the weight of judgement. My older son notices this affect me. I tell him that I feel bad; he always had a parent walk him in and now the youngest are getting a less than experience because I am pulled in different directions. To which he says, “Mom, you put a lot of unrealistic expectations on yourself. The things you think you should do aren’t really humanly possible.” Touché! You got me kid.

Not that I haven’t heard this before, but there is something about your child pointing this out to you that just makes it sting and set it in a bit deeper. If you have experienced this lately; I get you; I hear you; this parenting gig is not for the faint of heart and your kids change you in ways you never expected. And on that note…

Be dapper withPee protection is legit.

Not only does parenting take an emotional toll on you, but it also can wreck you physically. I am extremely tired of having to cross my legs to cough or sneeze. To have to stop jumping on the trampoline every five minutes so I can pee. Or to have to stop and pee when I run. Ridiculous! This seriously is not fair. Women give birth and carry these precious beings for 9 months and then we continue to love them despite the fact that they can push every single button and make us more upset and frustrated than we ever believed humanly possible, but NOW we also can’t even freaking sneeze without peeing ourselves. The injustice! The humanity! Good Lord why you got to do us like that?! WHY?! Okay, rant over. Just had to get that off my chest. Recently a friend recommends Poise pads because well the struggle is real and women around the world have this pee problem. The Poise pads help, they do. I just can’t stand putting one in my underwear every damn day. Blah! Blech! Ugh! But there is a solution and they do work; just in case you are wondering. Bottom line, getting older kind of sucks and I am still mostly just crossing my legs when I sneeze, but whatever – it is what it is.

Keep on plugging along peeps. Until next time,

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Humble & Kind

Humble & Kind

Tonight our family went to the local elementary school talent show. My daughter was singing Tim McGraw’s Humble & Kind.

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This show was something so special. There were acts with kids dancing, singing, playing the guitar, clarinet, piano, recorder and trumpet. One child solved the rubik’s cube in 56 seconds. There were classes that performed together and courageous little’s who stood and faced the crowd alone. Children hula hooped and showcased gymnastic talents. There was even an impressive improv act that stole the show. Alumni including adults stopped the show with a quick flash mob! There was just a little bit of everything.

One of the other uber cool things about our local school is that the tech crew, complete with sound, lights, and back stage crews is all student led. It is phenomenal. All trained by an amazing woman who runs the theater arts program. Who takes no credit and gives students the ability to shine both in front of and behind the stage.

Not at all what you might expect from a school amidst farmland and across the street from a field filled with goats.

But inside there was something you would expect from humble surroundings; it was what left me in awe throughout the show.

What left me in awe? It was not only that these sweet, innocent performers had the courage to stand up before their community, friends, family and peers to bare their talent, but they way it was received. No matter what the talent was the students would cheer each other on. If a name was mispronounced; other students corrected the MC who was a local junior high student volunteering their Friday night to host. If someone couldn’t be heard the tech crew rushed mics over trying to be inconspicuous as not to disrupt the performer. Acts were able to start over if they stumbled. If someone got nervous the crowd roared in cheers of support. Young children without the aid of a parent or other adult sought out a performer to tell them what a great job they did. There were hugs, high fives, and smiles between all the children.

This school community is something rare and special. A place I cherish. A place filled with an amazing group of educators and parents who have built a community filled with kids who truly care about each other. No wonder there were so many children ready to perform. They knew they were in a safe place filled with people who truly cared about them.

Our little country school with its amazing talented children is most beautiful because it is filled with students who are humble and kind.

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Still here; still learning…

Still here; still learning…

It’s been awhile I know. There is a lot happening in our fourytale lives. So much learning going on it is enough to make my head spin. In my quest to the best possible adult I can be (so that I set an example for my children; walk the walk and all that jazz) and to continually be authentic to the rest of the world (as opposed to hiding myself like a hermit in public places) I take a moment to jot down and share these lessons with all of you. It makes sense to me that there is someone out there that stumbles along the same pathways. So I share my musings to help that same someone; even if it is really just to make me feel a little less alone.

Loved this She.Is.Beautiful sign
Loved this She.Is.Beautiful sign

1. Let go of FEAR…

FEAR is the number one reason that we stop in our tracks and don’t take that leap of faith into something new. I am going to go ELSA on all your butts and tell you to “LET IT GO”, queue music and the throwing off of the cape.

Small amounts of fear of course keep us safe or a little bit of nerves keeps us on our toes. I am not saying live with complete reckless abandon; you can not blame me for what you do in Vegas on your next trip.

What I am saying is take that next step, try that new place, go to that movie by yourself if you really want to see it. Fear leads to regret and that is a heavy weight that most of us carry. Let go of fear before you are 40.

Swing at the park with your kids instead of just watching from the sidelines.
Swing at the park with your kids instead of just watching from the sidelines.

2. Be happy in your size 14 jeans or size 18 or size 2 or whatever…

Being healthy is important and that is something I still struggle with. But bottom line find happiness and enoughness right now! Life is short. Choose happy and move towards that no matter what size you are. Life is too short to wallow.

My happy place
My happy place

3. If you are an introvert…

Quiet is rare and much-needed if you are an introvert. Do not feel guilty for needing it. Extroverts are usually a part of an introvert’s life somewhere; their best friend, spouse, or even their child. These extroverts may make you feel a bit guilty for your need to have quiet to recharge. Don’t let them strip that quiet time away from you. Find it, savor it, and you will be a better person for taking that time to yourself.

IMG_10914. Don’t let your children take life too seriously…

Let’s take sports at 10 years old for example. As I watch my son run sprints, do push ups, and coaches fume at each other during and after a ball game I think to myself that all this is just a little too TURBO for kids. The parents get way too involved in the need to win and succeed. There is a lot of fun missing in kids sports these days. We need to remember that while kids are capable of a great deal, there is something to be said for just letting them enjoy this part of their life. Adulting is really not a ton of fun all the time. I mean, HELLO – mortgages, fixing and maintaining cars, bills, junk mail, rent, JOBS – EVERY SINGLE DAY JOBS – there is no SPRING BREAK in adulthood. So letting them be little is a bit too priceless for us to allow 10 year olds to treat their baseball season like a career.

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Stinker 1

 

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Stinker 2

5. Not really a lesson but…

So this isn’t really a lesson I guess, but maybe make sure your toddler age kids go to the bathroom before you sit down to eat – like an hour before. I swear to all that is holy in this world that every time I sit down to eat one of my twin boys needs help wiping their butt. It really should be a better weight loss plan, but somehow that isn’t working out for me either. But I think I am just passing this along as a word to the wise. If you can avoid butt wiping at meals, try. Maybe other people know this already, but somehow these two boys make a difficult task daily.

6. Trust your instincts…

Unless your instincts tell you to jump off a bridge without a bungee cord, trust your instincts. Lately I have had to do a great deal of that. I have had to listen to my intuition follow it and hope for the best. Each and every time it has led me to the right decision. (Yes, for those skeptics out there I just jinxed myself and you can read about that in my next post). No, but really, listen to your soul it knows what is best for you. Follow it and you will be so surprised where it can lead you. The things – friendships, healing, growth, spirituality that I have found by following my soul has been life changing.

Thanks for stopping by and letting me indulge a little by sharing my recent lesson learning experiences with you. LIVE today and ENJOY.

Until next time,

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December Lessons – an end to 2014

December Lessons – an end to 2014

Hello January

On a recent car trip home my husband asked me to tell him a joke, it was four in the morning and he was trying to stay entertained. I couldn’t remember any jokes so thank goodness for mobile phones and the Internet. Since kids were in earshot I found a clean one I could tell him, I thought I would share it with you.

Guy in a library walks up to the librarian and says, “I’ll have a cheeseburger and fries, please.”

Librarian responds, “Sir, you know you’re in a library, right?”

Guy says, “Oh, sorry. [in a whisper] I’ll have a cheeseburger and fries, please.”

While I laughed my head off, my husband just looked at me and rolled his eyes. Needless to say we each have a different sense of humor. I love a good play on words and he likes things that are actually funny.

The point is looking for jokes on our ride home got me thinking how I need to laugh a lot more. So as I reread my 2014 monthly lessons I also noticed that those posts are way too long! So my goal for 2015 is to share a lesson a week – keep it short and sweet and laugh more. And that leads me to today’s post; my December lessons are going to be short and sweet and told through pictures.

1. When life gets tough, throw on some shades and your serious face. If it doesn’t make you laugh someone else will and then all will be right with the world once again.

shades

 

2. Attitude Counts. My second to youngest son has the best attitude ever. So this lesson I learned from him, always try to see the positive side of things. This day is awesome, this is the best Christmas Tree ever, this is the best cup of ice-cold water ever, this is the best morning ever because really there is always an up side even in the darkest moments. And always say “the best ever” it makes a difference, just a word to the wise.

Everything is Awesome

 

3. Go see the lights. Even if it is a thirty-five minute drive and a thirty minute wait, go see the lights. Nike really was on to something – Just Do It! Life is short, do what makes you happy.

Go see the lights

 

4. Take the shot. Now you know I am not a fan of the paparazzi life – there is a limit to how many photos you should take, but you do want to take photos here and there because one day they will be a memory for someone else. So when you do take the shot just take it. It doesn’t matter what everyone’s face looks like or if the pose is just right – you captured the memory.

Just Vogue

 

5. Get down there with them. Sometimes when your almost teenage son thinks decorating the Christmas Tree with the family is just a little too much and plops himself down on the floor – get down there with him. Those moments won’t be there for long so take advantage of whatever you can grab.

Dogs and Dads

 

6. If you must go after the holidays shopping, go in good company. Grandparents are an awesome choice as they spoil the kids silly and you actually can sneak in a little shopping for yourself.

Shopping with grandparents

 

7. Good stories are the best medicine. Read, read and read some more. I loved Anne Lamott’s Help, Thanks, Wow. I am currently reading Small Victories and plan to read Stitches. Her idea of the God Box is something I am going to incorporate into my life. Basically it is a real physical way of giving up what you are frustrated, worried or overly concerned about to God and letting him take over to give you the answer in how to deal with it. This woman is pure poetic genius.

Read

 

8. Take the trip. Even if you are down and out and would rather do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING over your vacation because you are EXHAUSTED from parenting littles, working outside the home, or just plain living life, take the trip anyway. It does your soul good to get out and about. Plus if you are taking the trip with your people it can heal your soul.

Take the trip

 

May 2015 bless you with renewed vigor, a little extra patience, more sleep, and only first world problems,

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May Lessons 2014…

May Lessons 2014…

Hello June

It is that time again, to reflect and see what things have become more clear during the month of May.

May was pretty blurry and filled with lots of action, because there was just an abundance of goings on in our little lives as the month whisked by. I have put together a short list of my observations from this past month and hopefully you can reap some benefit from what I gathered.

1. Organization of toys is not necessary for a happy home.

Over the past 9 years of motherhood, I have purchased all kinds of storage units to organize my children’s toys (aka crap) and it is glorious when everything has been put away with great thought so that little hands can quickly get what they need and also put things away quickly.

Yep, glorious all right , but only for one glorious moment.

Then the littles play with said toys. If aforesaid littles are younger than six,  I have learned that the toys (aka crap) you spent hours organizing ends up in a catastrophic mess within minutes.

So here is my nugget of wisdom this month – I stopped caring which bins the toys are put in. Our play room has an abundance of bins and baskets and now as long as the toys (aka crap) is in those bins and not on the floor, I am saying that is a successfully organized and clean room. One day when the twins are 6, I will put time and thought into organization again, but until then if they just get their crap (aka toys) in the bin, the world is a happier place.

2. Pictures – take pictures

You must take pictures, especially if you are like me and have more than two children – okay even if you have one child you MUST take pictures. When all the toys are in their places, the beds are made, the floors are vacuumed, the furniture is dusted, the counters are dish-less, and every item is in its place – take pictures.

Yes, I am talking about taking pictures of your clean house.

I need proof for my own piece of mind that some days ALL the TOYS get put away in all their places and that ALL the DISHES are washed, and ALL the FLOORS have been vacuumed, that ALL the DUST is missing in action, and that ALL the THINGS being put away make me look like I am a wonderful housekeeper.

Those of you that are mommas get this; but we need to know that the work we did and that is undone in 0-9 seconds did actually happen and was not just a dream.

Clean Dishes

 

3. It is okay to postpone things.

Postponed

I know postpone may be a fancy word for procrastination, but in this case I am talking about how sometimes life throws you a curve ball you didn’t see coming and you have to change your plans.

I have had some health hiccups this past few months, and they are not health hiccups that I could fix on my own, so after many doctor visits and more yet to come, I have decided to postpone my 100 days challenge until my health is a bit more even keel.

At first I wanted to keep trucking along because people deal with so much great stuff than what I am working on right now, but sometimes it is too much to do ALL THE THINGS, so I am postponing this particular thing and will come back to it when the health hiccups are cured.

4. No matter how you slice it, Mondays in our house are rocky.

On one sunny Monday in May, when I was getting the kids ready for school, one of the little ones pooped in his underwear. That is always a delightful treat especially on a Monday morning 20 minutes before we need to walk out the door.

I get that cleaned up and put him in the bath to rinse off. As I begin to hose him down, I notice that it is raining in the bathroom. Yes, I said raining in the bathroom.

The attachment to our “shower hose” had become loose and water was spraying all over the bathroom. In the two minutes it took me to figure out what was happening, I was soaked in addition to the bathroom.

I finish showering off the little. Get myself changed, finish lunches, and dressing and shoeing kiddos. As we walk to school, not one, but two twins, break down about something I can’t even remember what. One on the way there and one on the way home.

When we arrive back to the house and I get settled at my desk – there are already several fire drills to execute and bad news – one of my co-workers had passed away. The day continues at that pace – refereeing wrestling matches with the twins, racing to pick up kids from school while on conference calls, homework, dinner that got made too late and well you know the rest this happens to you, too.

I have learned I am not a fan of manic Mondays.

5. I thought potty training all the kids would be one of my greatest achievements.

There was a time not so very long ago, when I thought that the day all my kiddos were in underwear and going to the restroom themselves would be a day of glorious celebration; and it was.

However, I think I have a new horizon to look forward to…they day they can wipe their own bottom.

That day there will be a huge celebration. If you hear me shouting “Hallelujah!” You will know that I have all children in underwear and that they can successfully complete all restroom tasks without assistance. It’s a big deal people; a real big deal.

6. Knowing everything is not all it is cracked up to be.

My son, C-Man, gets extremely frustrated when I am unable to translate what he is saying. This child will not give up trying to get me to understand; however he will yell, whine, and throw tantrums until someone figures out what he is saying.

I try to calmly explain how yelling won’t make me understand better and that whining only makes him more difficult to understand. This is to no avail; reasoning with a three-year-old is sometimes futile.

So the other day, when he asked me a question and I couldn’t understand him, I said, “I don’t know.” I thought this tactic might be a good redirect into more information from him so that I could decipher his original request. Well, color me gravely mistaken.

His reply was, “YES YOU DO.”

I answered calmly, “Sometimes moms don’t know the answers, can you tell me a little bit more and maybe we can figure it out together. I don’t know everything.”

To which he replied, “YES YOU DO!”

Fit ensued and I learned that knowing everything isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

7. Grateful for amazing educators.

I already knew this, but I just had to give a shout out to all the great teachers in our lives. Thank you! Thank you from the very bottom of my heart. Our family is so appreciative to all the teachers we have had and know. You make the world a better place. Enjoy your summer!

Frenchbraids

8. An old dog can learn new tricks…sort of.

Yes, I lived to 36 without ever doing a french braid. I know, I know. But look at the picture above. I have attempted and need a lot more practice, but for a first time I am going to say that’s not too shabby.

Excited for summer vacation and being just a tad bit closer to four-year-olds who know how to wipe themselves,

M

7 Reasons to Run and Hide…or just stay hidden in your closet

1. You have a closet full of clothes, but absolutely NOTHING to wear.

2. It is a school day morning – you did that yesterday and the day before that and the day before that and you are just so OVER it.

3. You ate the last of the girl scout cookies.

me eat cookies
me eat cookies

4. Every child in the house is whining or fighting and there is no chocolate in the house because you ate the last of the girl scout cookies.

5. You might have spent a little too much at the mall because you only actually get to go once a year and your husband just started balancing the check book.

6. Every single child in the house and your husband are all calling for you – all at once.

7. All four kids are really, really quiet all at the same time.