Forget the Weeds. Focus on the Blossoms.

I don’t know what happened this year, but the dandelions are EVERYWHERE!

dandelions Go Mama O

AHH – dandelions and clover, over and over!

I have tried in vain to up root them (see right side of the picture) to prevent further infestations, but it feels like I’m fighting a losing battle.  We will likely just break down and buy a weed killer.

Spring has been rough here in Wisconsin, as it usually is.  April was especially cold and wet. It’s been warming up lately, and then today our tree was in bloom.

spring blooms Go Mama O

Ah, Spring at last! So pretty!

This was a little reminder today to look up and enjoy the blossoms. There will always be some weeds underfoot. Spring is a sweet and short season, leading up to summer fun. Forget the weeds. Focus on what’s beautiful. Breathe it in and enjoy!

blossom close up Go Mama O.

Delicate flowers and buds.

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To My Oldest Child: Stay Little, Stay Sweet

I can hardly believe that my firstborn, my daughter will soon be six years old.

Six years ago I remember celebrating my own birthday, thankful that I’d still have my own birthday to myself. Yet as my due date passed, I remember crying, thinking that my baby would never come! (Dramatic, I know, but hey, I was very hormonal).  Two days later, we met our firstborn, surprised and excited to meet our baby girl. Today I can’t imagine my life without her.

My baby girl

Sweet first pictures of my firstborn. As parents, we had a lot to learn together!

Lately I’ve been looking at her, thinking what a beautiful, sweet little girl she is becoming. I cannot even call her little anymore, as she responds, “Mom, I’m medium!” She has been spontaneously giving me hugs and saying, “I love you Mom.” So precious. And she’s thriving in kindergarten, just blossoming in her new setting with new classmates and learning new things. I’m so incredibly proud that my heart feels as if it will burst. It’s so wonderful to sit back and reflect with Daddy O., thinking, “Wow, we have done something right as parents, and to think that six years ago, we didn’t have a clue.” We’ve grown as parents right along with our daughter and younger son.

This fall - My medium girl is full of hugs - even if her brother doesn't want them.

This fall – My medium girl is full of hugs – even if her brother doesn’t want them.

There were some long days way back in the birth – two year old stage, when I thought we’d never get past blow-out diapers, then potty training, crazy tantrums of our strong willed girl, or whatever the drama of the day. But lo and behold, we did, learning a lot together as a family and enjoying many milestones (including these) and many million dollar moments. You probably wouldn’t believe that she once growled at people as a three year old!!

Today it is so much fun to spend time with her and watch her grow up. In the rough times, I wanted to hit fast forward, but in the good times, I find myself searching for pause.

As she continues to grow, and as we celebrate our birthdays in the next few days, my wish for her is to stay little, to stay sweet. Keep up the spontaneous hugs and “I love you’s.” Keep wanting to spend time with your parents and brother. Keep willingly posing for pictures. Keep talking to us and sharing the highs and lows of your days at school. Stay close to us as you continue to grow up because I know there isn’t a way to pause this precious gift of time. Love you, my medium girl!!

I see a pattern in writing “growing up” posts like this one on my blog, so here are some additional posts for your reading enjoyment:

“Own Every Second” Kids – a Wish from your Parents at Back to School

This song has been stuck in my head for some time, and it’s so appropriate for the emotional, reflective time that back to school season brings.

My sister first introduced me to this song and this video, and it brought tears to my eyes when I watched it. Check it out below.

My favorite line is:

I owned every second that this world could give

Love it! Don’t we all want our kids and ourselves to live life this way?

While my kindergartener can’t really comprehend what this line means, it IS my wish for her to “own” and embrace this beautiful life and many opportunities that she has been given.

The marking of a new school year is always a celebration and time to reflect on how far your kids have come since last year. It’s a time to be proud and hope for the best experience possible, as kids spread their wings a bit more and broaden their world beyond the comfort zone of home.  Enjoy, love much, and simply “live” in the moment!

Cheers to all parents & kids!

Wise Words from another Mama: Don’t Blink

Some more experienced moms share some of their parenting wisdom. I am all ears with moms (& dads) of older kids. They seem so relaxed and calm as I may be anxiously expressing concern about xyz for my 2 or 4 year old.  One common theme is how quickly time passes. Certain phases, such as growling in my oldest’s case, will pass in time. More experienced parents know this all too well.

In one recent email exchange about Fly on the Wall with an awesome blogger who writes at Baking in a Tornado and has a high school senior soon to leave for college and another college-age son, I commented that I can’t imagine what it must feel like to have children at that stage, since it seems SO far off for my family. In response to my comment, she wrote, “Don’t blink!”

And it’s so true…just in the past few months, I’ve noticed some big changes in my kids, as they learn and grow and become somewhat more self-sufficient (translation = a little easier for mom).  Here are a few examples:

  • My son gave up his pacifier after 2.5 after chucking it in the car (paci #1) and I discovered holes chewed in one (paci #2). And we were worried it would never happen!
  • “I wanna be your baby,” said my son whenever he wanted to be picked up and snuggled. This happened mostly after bath time, when he wanted to be wrapped up in his towel and snuggled to dry off and warm up.  Now I still pick him up from time to time, but mostly when he’s hurt and crying. I miss hearing those sweet words in his little voice.
  • I noticed my 4.5 year old daughter teaching my son how to go down the stairs outside our house by himself.  It was a sweet moment!  I don’t always have to hold his hand when he goes down those stairs anymore, but I gladly will whenever he asks.
  • My daughter is becoming more and more comfortable around extended family.  At a recent brunch, she was hugging and talking with her great aunts and uncles. A FAR improvement from last year, when she growled at people and would cling to our legs.
  • Another sweet sibling story – big sister will sometimes help little brother buckle-up (both the big buckle and the smaller ones).  She can even tighten the buckle for him, though I have to double check her work.  One I didn’t, and my son ended up going for a short car ride with only the big buckle secured. Oops…they both still need mom after all!
  • Looking back at pictures I realize how BIG they’ve grown.  It’s often when someone else makes a comment on them, making me take a closer look and compare pictures to a few months ago.  Oh yeah…they are losing that baby-look and moving to the little kid-look. (sob. sob.)

In all of this, I want the emphasis to stay on little!  My kids ARE little – even if it will be for a short while.  I can hardly believe big sister will be starting 4 year old kindergarten in fall. Little brother and I will have some one on one time when she’s in her half day class.  I’m looking forward to all that lies ahead, while trying my best to soak up the joy and entertainment that each day brings with them (and getting all emotional as I write this post).

The biggest thing I’ve learned from parents who have been there before, is that I should worry less and simply enjoy more. I can’t think of a better lesson in parenting or life in general than that.

What have you learned from more experienced parents?  Have you also been told, “Don’t Blink?”

Cheers for Friday and a long Memorial Day weekend!  Make it a memorable one!