DFW Moms

For this post, I am simply re-posting a brilliant blog about how we, moms, are real people. Contrary to our children's opinion, we do exist, separately from them. More importantly, we are better moms when we remember this and take care to ensure the following things:
(These come from April Perry, who writes on the Power of Moms.)
Deep down, we need to think of ourselves as people

Occasionally, I stumble upon a message that really hits home. I may read it in the newspaper, on another blog, in a passed-along book. The wisdom seems to be just what I need to hear, or read, just at the right time. More often than not, the comfort comes from knowing that there are other people in the world who feel or think or worry about the same things that I do.

Baseball Tryouts make my stomach hurt.
I cannot throw, catch or hit a baseball worth a darn, so of course the thought of doing all of that, while a legion of coach-dads take notes from the outfield should strike fear into my heart, right?
Except, of course, for the fact that I am not actually doing any of these things.
When it comes to my seven-year-old son, though, what's the difference?
Last weekend, it came. The surest sign of Spring, yet...Little League Baseball Tryouts. Sign up. Pay your money. Report, in alphabetical order, for your dutiful hitting, throwing and catching drills. It's all over in 8.3 minutes, but for a mom who does not naturally have any of those talents, the 8.3 minutes seems excruciating. 
Until I take a breath for a minute and learn a lesson from my son. 
I watch him stand confidently and hit the balls. I watch him (okay, peek from behind the stands) run, catch and throw the ball, calmly and certainly. I watch him run off with a big smile. He did well, yes, but he also knows that baseball season is close. He'll be on a team and get to play with his friends, in the beautiful spring weather. I can see the anticipation in his eyes.
For him the 8.3 minutes might bring a few butterflies, but he knows he can do it. More importantly, he knows the pay off. He'll be a hero one night, and not so much, another. He'll have a cool uniform and snack tickets to spend on bubble gum and Gatorade after every game. He'll get to hang on the fences with his pals, and watch the bigger boys really play ball. 
After tryouts, as we head back to the car, he even says, "That was fun!" and then, for more perspective, "What's for dinner?"
Yes, this seven-year-old is both brave and certain of his priorities. What's a baseball tryout, in the grand scheme of things, anyway? I love it.

A big birthday approaches!

Preschool religion collides with kitchen work.

How does a seven-year-old choose?

The performers amaze and delight the audience.

School Fundraisers know their audience.

Should the school work be done by the parent or the student? Why is it so hard to find the right balance?


Being good at anything, even being thankful, takes practice.

Are you a new-baby lover or and older-baby fan?

If I had a magic wand, I would happily fast-forward to the next season.

I'm tired. I'm hot. I'm frazzled. And I can't seem to snap out of it. My mom-life is as messy as my car.

Summer schedules do not lend themselves to mother-of-the-year dining.

This mom is thankful for all of the positive influences in her children's lives.

"Classic" literature, from high school, leaves a different impression, on an adult.

I've figured out what I need to be a better mom....a chef.

An illustration combines a Kindergarten boy's many worlds.

In our family, we have a both a boy and a girl. Because the boy was born first, and because I grew up with a sister, I had a lot to learn about "boy stuff." Meanwhile, my husband enjoyed reliving the familiar trappings of his own childhood and laughed at my ignorance about sports equipment and race car trivia.

Simple things are difficult in mom-land.

One family's annual basketball tradition...

It's time for Spring Fever...the good and the bad.

Get ready! You're about to go through school, again.

A mom's Valentine responsibility extends far past her own sweetheart.

Birthday photos will capture more than just cake and candles!

The electric 'Corbian the Dinosaur' produced lots of ooohs and ahhhs from the small-person contingent.

rest, sleep, kids, winter

For many, January isn't really the "start" of the year!

Heavenly cooking is usurped by a good old hamburger.

With competing to do lists, it's a toss-up as to what will get done.

Humor results from kids blending the Santa and Baby Jesus parts of Christmas.

This week, my daughter had the opportunity to go to the Kimbell Art Museum. She attended a children's storytime/art project session that was focused on Self-Portraits. The first learning point, obviously, was understanding the term: Self-Portrait, in "kid-speak." My daughter's summary: "It's a picture of me, painted by me." Okay, so far! The resulting portrait was lovely, in my mom-eyes.

Casa Manana's production of the beloved Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has officially kicked off my family's holiday season! For those of us who faithfully watch the TV-version of the story, this production is wonderfully familiar. The dialogue, songs and characters are all in place. Rudolph falls for Clarice. Yukon Cornelius mines for silver and gold. Hermey still wants to be a dentist.

My kids have thoroughly enjoyed their Thanksgiving Holiday week. As compared to my memories of two days off, they've had the whole week. And, the highlight, each of these days, has been lounging in their pajamas in the morning. We've gone to the zoo, the park, art class, had a picnic in this unbelievable weather, yes, but the highlight, still, is the jammies until mid-morning.

Hooray! On Friday, I head out of town with my mom and my sister. Every November, we trek back to our Minnesota homeland for a dose of snow, shopping and our favorite restaurants. We stay at the hotel that hosted my wedding reception. We have wine every night in the hotel lobby and watch the beautiful people pass by. We eat breakfast at 11:00, lunch at 2:30 and dinner at 8:00.

Parental involvement is strongly encouraged at my son's elementary school. From his first day of Kindergarten this year, we have been invited to volunteer at lunchtime, on the playground, in the library, during computer lab, in art class....and the list goes on. It's a real testament to the strength of the school that moms and dads are a regular part of every day, in the hallways and classrooms.

"Mom, where are the Thanksgiving decorations?" This question, heard from my son not two minutes after we put away all of our Halloween decorations, was a reminder of how quickly October turns to December.

I spent a great deal of time this summer, trying to explain to my children that, yes, it really was time for bed even though, yes, it was still light outside. I understood that playing ball or swinging sounded like a better idea, given the sunshine that was still present.

I am entirely unable to write about anything specifically motherly this morning, because I am completely entranced by the coverage of the miners' rescue. I was up too late last night and I was late to work this morning, because I was watching that rocket capsule make its voyage up and and down that tiny hole.

What, indeed, you might be asking? At our house, there is a direct correlation between Football Games and Amount of Laundry in my six-year-old's basket. We cruise along, all week, with one shirt and one pair of pants for each day, without a problem. Dirt? Cool. Sweat? It'll dry. Food? Oh well. And then comes Saturday and Sunday. The first ensemble is donned along with ESPN's College Game Day site.

It's important to acknowledge the life moments that are pure joy. Often, they are fleeting and quickly forgotten in the continuous rush of the day. It's only after the fact that we can look back and relish the happiness. I had one of these moments, last week. My little girl had her first dance class. I was a dancer.

The culmulative effect of four weeks of Kindergarten seems not to be impacting my Kindergartener, but is impacting ME. There is so much emphasis placed on the child's adjustment to "real school," that I'm afraid the mom's adjustment is overlooked. It's not the adjustment to the schedule, homework, new school that's the problem, it's the adjustment to my level of exhaustion!

There are many, many parenting books available to us, covering many, many topics. Each of us, to varying degrees, have read some, believed in some, scoffed at some. In most, there are bits of wisdom to be gathered and applied.

It's officially "Girl Time" at our house. With big brother off to Kindergarten from 8:00 am -3:00 pm, my sweet three-year-old-daughter now has free reign during those hours. No one to swipe her babies from their naps and use them for footballs. No one with whom to argue over which show to watch while lunch is being made. No one to adamantly oppose playing dress up.

A friend of mine recently posted this statement in her blog: "I am a woman in transition, learning to do what is possible in today and let go of what is not." While she mentions being "in transition," I feel like much of my life IS transition and the statement, therefore, has a sense of permanency. Of course, the sentiment has special meaning for me, right now, as my son starts Kindergarten.

As my son gets ready to start Kindergarten, we anticipate the milestones. The first day of school. The first field trip. The first spelling test. The first fight. The first success. This week we had a double milestone that we weren't expecting. The first lost teeth! Unfortunately, my son lost the teeth the hard way, in the dentist's chair.

My family visited my hometown last week. Specifically, we traveled there for my high school reunion. Oftentimes, reunions have bad reputations for being stressful, political, depressing or some combination of the above. Whether this reputation is justified or simply a result of bad movie storylines, I'm not sure, but it was not our experience. Our weekend was terrific.

...time to get on an airplane with the kids. Although, at three and six, they are certainly less physically exhausting travelers, they are no less time consuming. Long gone are my days of passing the flight hours with a good book, a lone purse slung over my shoulder.

Being a mom means that you find yourself in a hundred crazy situations, on a daily basis. It's amazing, the problems a mom solves, questions she answers, tasks she undertakes. Here's a sampling of my crazy mom-minutia of the last week.

The older my daugter gets, the more I am amazed at her ability to pretend. Much more so than her big brother, she readily invents stories for her baby dolls and an entire world of imaginary happenings that are then reported to me. At first, it was just simple things like, "Mom, baby is upset.

Every so often, I am reminded that the phrase "Wisdom out of the mouth of babes" has deep roots in the truth. The past few weeks have been difficult at our house. My soon-to-be-six-year-old is testing the limits of my patience on a regular basis. He is ornery, sassy and disrespectful and he knows better.

When was the last time that you were alone in your own house? While this might sound like a crazy question, for moms with small children, it might actually be difficult to answer. My kiddos are going to grandma and grandpa's house one night this week for a "sleepover." As I pondered how to best use my time while they're away, I realized that it has been FOREVER since I was alone in my own house.

If your family is like ours, any extended car trip becomes our kids' opportunity to say "Let's Play I Spy!" Also, if your family is like ours, you are absolutely sick to death of this game. There are only so many things you can "spy" on the same billboards and traffic signs between home and Grandma's house.

It might be the "end of the school year, start of the summer" change. It might be the fact that I have been, literally, running from meeting, to baseball game, to party, to bed every night. Whatever the reason, I am not sleeping very well. At a time when I need true rest the most, it is elusive.

Last night was a big night in our family. Our son performed in his Preschool End-Of-Year-Program, effectively completing his time at our beloved little school. He's been there since he was two years old and has been loved and taught by some of the greatest people in the world. Because of his time there, he loves to read.

It's one of the oldest cliches in the book: "All I want for Mother's Day is for my family to be together and my kids to behave!" I remember my own mom saying this, and being frustrated. I wanted her to give me some hints about what gift to choose or some direction on what she'd like to do on the big day. Just "being good" couldn't possibley be enough , could it? Now, I get it.

This is, and always has been, my favorite time of year. Late Springtime means sun, warm weather, festivals and longer daytime light. Now that I have two small children, this lovely, longer daytime light is causing me some problems.

I have long heard that little boys are magnets for dirt of any kind. As soon as my son was born, mothers of boys were oohing and ahhing over him and his sweet-baby-ness, only to say: "Enjoy the sweetness while it lasts. Before you know it, you'll be scraping mud out of the carpet and scrubbing dirt out of his knees!" Oh, how right they were!

You have until April 18 to get your little ones out the door and over to Casa Manana for a delightfully-kid-friendly performance of Cinderella ! On opening night, the cast was in great form. As expected, the step-sisters were ridiculous, the fairy godmother was magical and Cinderella and Prince fell in love. The lead characters, especially the Prince, filled the theater with beautiful voices.

No, not me. That would be an entirely different blog...  I am referring to the fact that we are firmly planted in our three-year-old girl's world of "babies." It snuck up on us. It wasn't overnight. Little girls get baby dolls as gifts, from the time they're way too small to play with them; we've had the babies around the house for quite awhile.

Several years ago, I remember reading the popular book "Everything You Need to Know, You Learned as a Kindergartener." It was a compilation of life lessons, simplified and retold through the eyes of a five-year-old child. Much of it could be taken to heart and put to good use. Share your lunch if someone else forgets theirs. Pick up your trash. Practice your reading.

I love St. Patrick's Day. Right in the middle of plain old March, sits a lovely holiday with a great reason to have a fun time and absolutely no celebration pressure. There is no fancy dinner to fix for the relatives. No last minute rush to find the perfect gifts. No outside lights to hang. No neighborhood picnic to attend and bring "a dish to share." This is just a day to be happy.

It's Santa Claus! At your house, have you been saying "Be good! Santa is watching!" since Thanksgiving? As we all know, sometimes it's effective at improving behavior and sometimes it's not. However, if you're looking for a last-minute, fantastic Santa-reminder for your children, plus a good old-fashioned dose of Christmas magic, here's the website for you!

Every year, I promise myself that I'll plan farther ahead. Every year, I plan to buy gifts early and have them wrapped and under the tree long enough to enjoy them while they look so pretty. Every year, I think I will be more organized or more able to get things done, because my children are older and I've had more practice.

This weekend, I went on a shopping-eating-girls trip with my mom and my sister. We had a great time, enjoying our freedom to eat whenever we wanted and take as much time as we wanted in the shoe department at Nordstrom. Of course, I thought of this as my "getaway" weekend. It was. What I'm realizing, though, is that it was also a "getaway" weekend, of sorts, for my husband and my kids. 

I have recently resigned myself to adding at least 30  minutes to my family's "prep-time" to get anywhere. I had been fighting it for several weeks and have now given in. Although I have an energetic, smart five-year-old boy, he is, apparently, a BOY. This means that unless I demand it, he would prefer that I do things for him. 1. Help him get dressed. 2. Brush his teeth. 3.

Here's my semi-guilty secret: I am a Michael Jackson fan. No, not the Michael Jackson of weirdness and beyond, but the Michael Jackson of the amazing talent and showmanship. This was an entertainer that originally dazzled my then-teenage-soul with his dancing, his energy anmd his music. I knew every word of every song on that Thriller album.

A very wise woman once told me: "With children, the days may be long, but the years are short." Very true. Although there are 30-minute time slots in my days that seem like an eternity, the big picture is moving quickly. The life of a small child is a snapshot in time. I always  say that I am a woman and a mom "in-progress" and I have both brilliant mom-moments and disastrous ones.

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