Sort of #SilentSunday

I would normally stick with the theme #SilentSunday, but I have been so absent from my little blog that I feel obligated to write something!

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I setup a wide variety of paper, stamps, heart punches, and other craft items for the kids.  They went CRAZY making pictures and cards. While I wasn’t thrilled with the mess (or using blank cards as “picture paper,” I stepped back a bit after a few days and just enjoyed their creations that were made with love.

I believe my five year old made most of these. They are pretty sweet.

valentines

A whole lotta love went into these masterpieces

After all of their card-making, the kids insisted that we make cards for them, and so Daddy O. and I did.  It’s becoming a tradition each year, as I shared in this Fly on the Wall post from two years ago now.  Daddy O. broke out the Spirograph and even made me a card. It was pretty sweet.

So cheers everyone! I hope you felt the love this past week as much as I did!

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A New Tradition in our House

Who knew a five year old could be so profound?

This morning she said, “I love you all day, everyday.”

How sweet is that?  I returned the kind words, directing them to each member of my dear family.

It’s such a simple addition to the standard “I love you.”  The new tradition in our house will be saying, “I love you all day, everyday,” instead of just “I love you.”

It reminds me of one of those articles that go viral on Facebook or Pinterest – the one that tells you that your words as a parent become the words that your child hears. And what child wouldn’t want to recall, “I love you all day, everyday” in their little brain?!  Here’s the initial article that I found on Pinterest – 64 Positive Things to Say to Kids from the blog Creative with Kids.

This same sentiment is so beautifully expressed in the book called The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn. A clever racoon mama shares a way for her love to travel with her child throughout the day.

Be it a memory of a hug or a kiss, or the words, “I love you all day, every day,” I am definitely want my children to feel that they’re loved and supported by their mom and dad no matter what.

What little comments have your kids made that have inspired a new tradition in your house?

Happy Friday & have a great weekend. Go Badgers!

 

5 Things in my Holiday Survival Kit

I’ve had good intentions of wanting to blog this month, but have been distracted with the busyness that is typical of the holiday season. In the spirit of wanting to share some thoughts, I put together a top 5 list of things in my Holiday Survival Kit.

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A few things that make our holidays easier: Coffee, heated blanket (see snow & cold), Christmas lights.

Side note – I know we all have moments where we think about just “surviving” through the holidays. There is certainly a negative connotation with the word “survival.” Certainly we want to absorb, enjoy and relax in the company of loved ones during this special time of year instead of merely survive.  In other words, here are some things to make the holidays easier and more pleasant in my humble opinion:

  1. Coffee / select beverages: Late nights of wrapping gifts or celebrating too hard at holiday parties make coffee a necessity in my book! I discovered an organic coffee from a local roaster at our neighborhood Italian bakery. Love it! Other selected beverages in our house mean some apple cider, mulled cranberry juice / red wine (like we enjoyed at Austrian Christkindl markets), and a classic old fashioned mixed drink – make mine sweet with brandy.

    old fashioned mixed drink

    Old Fashioneds – a classic family get-together drink. Daddy O. makes the best ones!

  2. Gym Membership: After having a double header of Thanksgiving meals, I felt a little lethargic and lazy.  A few trips to the gym just make me feel and sleep better.
  3. Heated Blanket: It can get COLD in Wisconsin, so we love turning on our heated blanket to be cozy & warm and catch some needed Z’s!
  4. The Internet – This is one big old category, but it IS the BEST for shopping, streaming Netflix, and streaming variety of holiday tunes. What would we do without it?! Kids, ignore all of the boxes.
  5. Christmas Lights: There is something so peaceful about sitting in the glow of our lit Christmas tree. As a family we love looking at holiday lights, shouting, “lights out big sister’s / little brother’s side.”  It is pure joy seeing their excitement and sense of wonder at it all. Lights in general are an excellent reminder of the true spirit of Christmas.
enjoying our Christmas tree as a family

Last year I captured the magic of seeing our Christmas tree fully decorated. I just love these pictures!

The Light of Christmas 

It’s more than simply the lights that decorate our trees and homes. It’s the light we hold in our hearts and share with others not only at this time of year, but the entire year through. We need to be the “light” for one another, spreading joy, peace, hope, and love.

There are so many ways to share and care this time of year through giving of gifts, time, and money to so many causes. My kids and I shopped for presents to be given to the less fortunate in our area, and I was so impressed by the time and thought they put into selecting their gift to give away. There was no whining, complaining or fighting at the store, so this mom was quite pleased! This was one small way of giving back, and hopefully teaching my kids a little about being “light” for others.

The best cure for surviving the stress of the holidays is to look to the light.  Appreciate the season and reflect on its core meaning: peace, joy and love.

Wishing you all happiness this holiday season!

What helps you through the holidays? What traditions do you have to help spread or be the light?

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!

Elements of an Awesome Day

These were my thoughts last Friday, as the weather this week is leaving much to be desired! Still…here are some things that make for an awesome day:

  1. Plenty of sunshine and time outside to enjoy it. This meant playing in the park, doing some gardening while the kids played, watching my son “color” the pink big-wheel blue.
  2. Good books to read (either to my kids or myself).  We had a whole new collection of library books to enjoy together today. So fun! As you know, I love to read to my kids.
  3. Being greeted with a huge hug from my two year old, followed by a big monkey pile hug with my four year old and nephew (after I had a chance to quick run to the grocery store while my sister watched the kids play at the park). I just love these kids to pieces! AND it’s amazing how quickly I can shop-solo.
  4. Grilling out burgers and getting that “grilled meat smell” stuck to your hair / clothes. We haven’t had many warm days that have been suitable for grilling out, so this one was special, as were the blue cheese stuffed burgers! Yum!
  5. Scooping up a tired, two year old, who was so pooped out from all the fun of the day that he fell asleep on his blanket on the floor…at 6pm.  He was so exhausted from skipping his nap that I even managed to change his diaper without waking him. He stirred only a little when I picked him up to carry him to bed.

so tired

So many elements of this awesome day reminded me of my “Million Dollar Moments” post from my blog’s early stages in 2012. From that post, I explain:

“These are the moments when you wouldn’t trade a million dollars to be experiencing anything else in the world at that singular point in time. These are the moments when you are overflowing with thankfulness, and you want to freeze time to just be present in the beauty of your children and life as a whole.”

For such moments and days like today, I feel so incredibly blessed and grateful. God IS good!