Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hello again!

If anyone out there has been following my blog, I apologize for being MIA lately. Between school, homework, sports, housework and myriad other things, I've been so stinkin' busy! I kind of lost myself in the shuffle. But I'm back!

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I am a children's book author, or at least an aspiring children's book author. (See Operation Publication blog below.) I have sent my manuscripts to dozens of publishers, and I have been rejected dozens of times. Just when I begin to take it personally and start to question my work, God always gives me a nudge to keep me going.

Just today I started feeling a bit discouraged that I haven't heard back from the latest publisher. I started to fear impending rejection again. But when you're a mom, you don't have that much time to worry about yourself and your dreams. There was laundry to do, dishes to clean and beds that still hadn't been made. So I set to work...

I decided to take a break from laundry and sit down for a few minutes while Charlie was napping. I turned the television on and began clicking away, and I landed on Oprah's new Life Class show. Not anticipating sitting for very long, I listened for a few minutes. Oprah's message was to not give up on your dreams. She talked about truly visualizing yourself in the role to which you aspire and work hard to get there. I felt a tiny nudge from God at this point. THEN, Oprah showed a clip from her old show in which she was interviewing J.K. Rowlings. Rowlings said she was rejected many times before finally becoming perhaps the most well-known author of our generation and the generation following us. She said something that will stick with me forever, I hope... She said she never had much self esteem but she never questioned the fact that she had an important story to tell. This was a little more than a nudge from God... It was a bit of a shove.

So I'm taking His hint and I'm going to keep plugging away at it. I have important stories to tell. I am eager to have my work published eventually and I also am eager to write more tales... The best is yet to come. Operation publication continues.

The moral of this storyteller's story: Don't give up or doubt yourself. Know that you are destined for great things. :-)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mom guilt

When you get pregnant and unsolicited advice givers start spewing advice left and right, they never ever mention "mom guilt." I'd say it's the most prevalent, pesky part of motherhood.

When Oliver was born, I felt guilty for leaving him each day to go to work. I cried every day for the first couple of months, but it got a tiny bit easier every day. I say, to this day, that those years, while I was working, I had the most quality time with Oliver because I didn't take a single moment for granted. I lived for evenings and weekends with my little guy. He had my complete attention.

When Henry was born, I became a stay-at-home mom because having two children in daycare pretty much drains a journalist's income. I wasn't sad about quitting my job. I was so excited to stay home with my little guys and be the perfect mommy, but after having Henry, postpartum depression set in, and I was sad all the time. It wasn't at all as I had expected. I constantly felt guilty for not giving my children the best me that I could. Several months of medication and diet and exercise cured my depression and I was me again. And the guilt vanished.

Fast-forward nearly seven years... I'm still a stay-at-home mom. I now have three little guys to fill up my days. But I find myself oftentimes not giving them the best of myself because I'm too busy doing laundry or doing housework. And, oftentimes mom guilt sets in once again. I constantly remind myself that, when the kids are grown, they won't remember how clean the house was. They will remember their time with their mommy. So I try to live more in the moment. And, when I do, I feel guilty for letting the house go.

It's a vicious cycle, mom guilt.

Now I'm contemplating going back to work, either part-time or full-time. I'm petrified. I'm so scared of missing moments with my kids. I'm scared of the mom guilt that will ensue; in fact, it's already begun... But, as my kids grow, so do their needs, and I know that financially, I should contribute more to lift the load off my handsome breadwinner husband. I know that going back to work will fill a need within myself to practice my craft once again. I know that my boys will respect me for going back to my career. And I know that the whittled-down time with them will be quality time that I won't take for granted. I just wish my head would inform my heart of all of this. Instead ... I just feel mom guilt.

So, I'll let you know who wins out on this, my head or my heart. Stay tuned...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Well said

Children have such clarity. Their little minds can offer up the simplest, purest, most beautiful explanations that the wisest academic could never ever devise. I know I've written about my oldest child's very wise words before, but I have to share what Henry, my middle child said today.

Henry is a man of few words. He is my active child. Like Forrest Gump, he's always running... or climbing trees... or playing ball... or riding his bike. You get the idea. But when he does sit down and talk to me, I could listen to him for hours. He's still got what I refer to as the baby accent. I know he'll soon grow out of it, and so I savor every conversation. In fact, we changed our youngest boy's name from Ben to Charlie just one week before he was born because we heard Henry say the name Charlie one day while watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and we fell in love with the name.

Today we were driving to the store, and it started to rain big fat heavy raindrops through the sun. Charlie, who's 2, started crying and panicking. He hates it when it rains while we're traveling. (I blame my husband who took Charlie with him to a drive-through car wash one time and traumatized the poor little guy. To my husband's credit, most kids really love going to drive-through car washes. But I digress...) Charlie was getting increasingly upset, when Henry leaned forward and smiled at him and said, "Don't worry, Charlie. God's just splashing around in His pool and making drips fall down."

I can think of no better explanation for rain on a sunny day. Can you?

Friday, July 8, 2011


Tomorrow my two oldest boys will spend the night with my parents (Mee Mee and Gramps) as they participate in the third-annual mega-adventure, otherwise known as Gramps Camp.

For the past three years, my parents have invited all of the non-baby grandchildren for one weekend in the summer to participate in the highly anticipated Gramps Camp. They will get spoiled and sugared up ... They will have water-balloon fights, make ice cream sundaes, watch silly movies and eat popcorn, play hide & seek and have the traditional Gramps Camp scavenger hunt. And they will enjoy every single minute of it.

But, more importantly, my parents will enjoy it even more. :-)

When God blessed us with three beautiful little boys, I had no idea how blessed we actually would become. When our children were born, we not only became parents, our parents became grandparents. These aren't easy roles to fulfill.

I knew that Dave's parents would be wonderful grandparents because I had seen how they interacted with Dave's brother's children so patiently and lovingly. But Oliver, my oldest, was my parents' first grandchild. So I had the huge honor of watching them become grandparents for the very first time. Since that time, they have welcomed four more grandchildren (two belonging to my sister, Jennifer).

Both Dave's parents and my parents have completely amazed me. I'm convinced they are the best grandparents in the world. (Though I am a bit biased.) Each brings something special to their grandchildren's lives. My mother is extremely imaginative and creative . She is the reason I became a writer. She could spend hours telling the children wild and fantastic stories that she makes up as she goes. My dad is a snuggler. Give him a baby to hold and he's happy for hours. Not a visit goes by that he doesn't tell each grandchild how much he loves them. Dave's mother is kind and gentle. She can diffuse any situation with a kind word and a hug. I'm constantly amazed by this and always thankful. Dave's dad is quiet and dependable. The boys can count on him for anything always.

They say grandparenthood is a sort of second chance at parenting. As I putter along this path of parenthood, I am taking notes from these second-chancers. They have got it down pat.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer in the mountains

Then followed that beautiful season... Summer....
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light;
and the landscape lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I love that quote. It so sums up my feelings that come with summer. This week, my Oliver has gone to play in the mountains at his grandparents' house. They live in little boy heaven. Lots of trees and bugs, deer and wild turkeys... and even the occasional bear. It's a beautiful place lifted from the pages of Thoreau or Longfellow. Who wouldn't want their child to go there for a week? Well, last year I really struggled letting him go... You may remember my blog entry at that time. I was a bit of a mess.

Well, this year is totally different. While I am missing him this week... I feel like my left arm is missing, in fact... I'm not sad or even worried this year. I didn't even cry when we dropped him off. I know that he is in the most capable, loving hands of his grandparents, who will spoil him rotten and will love every minute of it. And he will make such amazing memories on these trips. I hope he has a blast! (But I still can't wait to see him Friday!)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


My 2-year-old son Charlie and I have a pet bug aptly named Bug. He's invisible.

He has impeccable timing, often appearing on the cusp of a hysterical meltdown and deftly diffusing the situation.

My mother found Bug one day as we were shopping together with Charlie. He was mid-meltdown, screaming, tears flowing, trying vigorously to climb out of the big red shopping cart and attracting all sorts of attention (and not the good kind).

Mom, cool and calm as a cucumber, reached into her pocket and seemed to retrieve something small. She held it tightly in her hand and said, "Charlie, do you want to hold my Bug?" Charlie, completely caught off guard, abandoned his tantrum to see what his grandmother held in her hand. Mom opened her hand and put the invisible insect into Charlie's tiny palm and quickly closed it up. "Now don't lose my Bug," she said.

Charlie opened his hand to look inside and mom shouted, "Oh no! He flew away! Better catch him, quick!" Charlie let out a big belly laugh and quickly grabbed at the air in front of him and caught the invisible Bug. This game continued until we checked out. The whole way home from the store Charlie clutched his fist tight, so as not to lose his new pet Bug.

Now, whenever I need to stop a tantrum in its tracks when we're running errands, I pull Bug out of my pocket and give him to Charlie. And I thank God for blessing me with such a beautifully creative, imaginative and silly mother, who so kindly gave us Bug.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Folding up memories

This past weekend, I cleaned out my toddler's closet to make room for size 3T clothes. I carefully folded the size 2T and 24 month outfits as if I were going to stow them in the attic, as I have been doing for the past nine years with all my children's clothes. But it suddenly hit me that I wouldn't be packing his clothes up for the next child. Instead, they'd be making a trip to Goodwill. Charlie is, as we lovingly refer to him, the caboose. When he outgrows toys and clothes, they no longer move to the attic. They move on to another family.

When Oliver, my oldest, outgrew clothes, I'd happily pack them up into tubs, and Dave would move them to the attic. When Henry came along, we did the same. We always knew we'd have three kids. And, as blessings would have it, we did. And, to top it all off, all three were boys, and so all of those clothes that were so carefully packed away were put to good use. Many many memories were folded away in those tubs. As fun as it is to unpack them for the next child, it's equally as heartbreaking to have to give them up.

Tonight, as I folded my daily two loads of laundry, I had to remind myself not to resent the process. Pretty soon, all of the little pairs of shorts and popsicle-stained tee shirts would be outgrown and not needed.

Tomorrow I'll be taking two more bags of clothes to Goodwill. I sure hope the next little boys who wear them create happy memories in them too.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The best surprise...

Last week, we went to Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando. It was amazing. Amazing...
We planned the trip months ago and decided to keep it a secret. The boys had no idea. We only told them we were going to their grandparents' house, which we did (as a rest stop for our trip). We spent the night at Nani and Papa's and the next morning woke the kids at the crack of dawn and popped the surprise. They literally were speechless. Once it registered that the next six days would be filled with nothing but Disney and Harry Potter magic, they were so fantastically excited.

We arrived back home a few days ago, wearied from from the frantic pace of racing from roller coaster to roller coaster and the excitement of meeting our favorite characters... I may never catch up on the laundry that accumulated during the trip or the sleep that I lost. But my heart is full because for an entire week I got to be a little girl again and enjoy the wonder of a magical place. I got to witness such sweet joy in my little ones.

The laundry will get done... eventually. But that's not important. When my boys become men and think back on their childhood, they won't remember how clean the house was or how many loads of laundry piled up in the laundry room. They'll remember the fun times we spent together, like that morning when they were 9, 6 and 2 when their mommy and daddy woke them up before sunrise and whisked them away to Disney World.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Wisdom from a 9 year old

We grow up believing our parents are the smartest people in the world. That with age comes an immense smattering of knowledge. A couple of weeks ago I turned 37 and have yet to feel smattered. However, I have learned through the wisdom of my years (and the sprouting of several unseemly gray hairs) that the most important things I need to know in life, I have learned from my children.

My oldest child doles out wisdom on a daily basis. Without even trying, he says the wisest, most profound things. It amazes me. When he was just 3 years old, I remember the first truly wise thing he said... His little brother had just been born, and my head was spinning one day. I was so stressed out and just couldn't catch up. I'll never forget it. Oliver came up to me, tugged on my shirt tail and said in the sweetest angel voice, "Just be still mommy... like a statue." The depth of his little words made me do just that. I stopped dead in my tracks. Like a statue. And breathed. Wisdom from a 3 year old.

Just this past week, Oliver was working on a class project. He was preparing a biography on Martin Luther King Jr. Proudly, my husband and Oliver and I worked on his poster. We decorated a picture of Martin Luther King, glued words onto the poster that Oliver had chosen from magazines that best represented King and and his legacy. When it was all said and done, I asked Oliver how his board compared to his classmates. He looked at me strangely and said, "Well mommy, it's not like theirs. It's unique and different. And that makes it better." Indeed. Wisdom from a 9 year old.

I always worried that I would become a dumbed down version of myself when I quit my career to stay home with my children. I worried that I would stop learning and growing intellectually. I've never been more wrong in my life. Each day I learn something new about them. And more importantly, I learn from them every day.

Monday, January 3, 2011

An attainable resolution

Resolution - The state of being resolved, settled or determined; firmness; steadiness; constancy; determination. (Webster's 1913 dictionary)

Each year millions of people around the world make resolutions. I'm sure the vast majority of those resolution-makers are quite resolute. However, as the year creeps along, I'd venture to guess that probably two-thirds of those resolute resolution makers backslide or totally give up on their resolutions. I know this because I am a notorious backslider. I think maybe it's because we set ourselves up for failure by setting such lofty goals for the new year... "I resolve to never say another curse word AND to lose weight AND to work out six days a week AND to be the best mother in the world..." Yeah right. This year, I am resolving to just try harder. That's it. I'm going to try harder to be a kinder, gentler, stronger, happier and healthier person. And just trying harder to be a better person will make me a kinder, gentler, stronger, happier, healthier mother in the process. I'm resolute. :-)

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! And I hope your 2011 is an amazing year filled with lots of hope and happiness!