Last year at Christmastime, I had everything. I had a beautiful Christmas tree, home baked goods, the love of my family and friends…
And an entitled three year old who thought SHE should have everything, too. Everything from the Target toy aisle, anyways.
No matter how I tried, I could NOT convince her to pare down her list. Every catalog that came in the mail, every trip to Target for diapers, even phone calls to the grandparents seemed to unleash her inner Gimme Monster. On one particularly bad, trying-to-make-a-list-for Santa Claus day, this Mama had had enough. Continue reading “Teaching Kids the Spirit of Giving This Holiday Season”→
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It’s the end of a long day, and you are one story away from watching Real Housewives in your PJs with a glass can of wine. You anxiously await your kids’ book decision. Will it be the borderline unbearable “5 Minute Stories” book with the stories that just don’t make sense and are dry as a bone? Will it be the longest children’s book ever written? Or will it be a book you actually LIKE?
Of all the back-to-school posts that I’ve read (and pinned. And obsessed over), the one thing that no one ever told me is that it would bring on the advent of weekends again.
For the last three years, I have been engrossed in the life of a stay at home mom. Yes, weekends were different in that my husband was at home, and I had a full-time parenting partner, someone to laugh with, someone to talk to. But so much of the weekend was just the same as the rest of the week for me. I was cleaning house, and watching kids, and hitting up the park, and cooking dinner. These are all things that I signed up for, and not even things that I particularly mind. It was just that they were everyday things, Monday through Sunday, and every day was much like the one before it. Sometimes that was a good thing, but sometimes? It wasn’t.
And then came school, and suddenly Fridays had so much more meaning. We’d survived a week full of rushed breakfasts school drop offs and homework and packing backpacks! Now I’d get two whole days to spend with my girl! Parks were a novel thing again, lazy mornings watching TV on the couch were a treasure instead of something to feel guilty about, and our pace was just DIFFERENT. She was tired from a full week of school, and ready for some downtime. Where the weekends used to be full of sameness punctuated by birthday parties, suddenly we were all looking forward to a little rest, a little less structure, and a little more free time to spend together. I finally remember why Friday used to be a thing, why everyone talked about weekend plans, and how the promise of two perfect days is enough to get anyone through a stressful, boring, or even just a normal-old-week.
So here we are, and I’m fully ready to open up my arms and embrace the weekend again. Take time to rest, to drink an extra cup of coffee, to snuggle up and watch some cartoons, and to not worry about rushing out of the door to get to school on time. I’ll stay up late with my husband, and the kids might actually sleep in, and we’ll play and laze about and spend Sunday evenings getting ready for the week ahead. It may not be everyone’s ideal weekend- heck, it may not even be mine- but whatever it may look like, I’m just glad to have it back.
Okay, so it can’t just be us- kids’ movies give us all.the.feelings sometimes. Trolls? Who didn’t shed a little tear at that beautiful True Colors Duet? Or Finding Dory-did anyone else catch that her poor parents missed her ENTIRE CHILDHOOD? They can’t get that back, people! But that reunion, sigh. So lovely. And don’t even get me started on Up. Like, I can’t. I just can’t.
The most recent culprit? Moana, by a landslide. But Moana can affect everyone so differently, and for such different reasons. Will you simply trip on a taro root? Remind yourself that you know the way? Or discover friggin’ happiness is WHERE YOU ARE?!? Whoa, Moana. Whoa.
So? Where are you on the Sob-Spectrum?
Jaymi: Oh dear God, Lila is Moana. She loves her grandmas, she strays from convention, and she has to go her own way. She is strong, beautiful, and brave. She trusts her instincts and chooses her own path, but thoughtfully and responsibly. She knows who she is and can always find her way. And we just don’t freaking understand her sometimes. So, it’s sweet little tears for the first twenty minutes or so. And then at the part where she decides to leave, and the dad is mad cause he doesn’t understand yet, and the mom just gives her a little nod and helps her pack?!? It is like a flash forward to college, when Lila’s heading off to study fashion design in Tibet and I have to be like, “follow that voice inside, Lila” when really I want to be like, “Get your ass into nursing school.” Total onslaught of waterworks.
Christine: Don’t get me wrong. I’m made of stone. The whole “daughter going on a journey” thing? I can keep it together there. At this point Moana is a delightful story of a girl that wants to be on the ocean. Love it. Catchy tunes, that Maui cracks me up, and OH the crab. I get my old times Flight of the Conchords fix from the crab. Fun, fun, fun. And then she’s alone. On a boat. With the ghost of her Grandma. Singing. And that’s kind of a game changer. Because for us – family is EVERYTHING. And yes, my Nana passed away a little bit ago, so sue me if I cling to an eccentric cartoon Grandma. So when her Grandma sings to her and there’s a freaking key change, so you know it’s about to get real, and Moana finds out that “the call isn’t out there at all it’s inside me,” yeah, I start to get a little watery. Can you blame me?? And sure, maybe when she runs back to Ghost Grandma and the music swells as she says, “I will carry you here in my heart you’ll remind me that come what may, I know the way” my eyes swell too. I mean, she IS MOANA.
Chad (Christine’s Husband): You guys are crying at the wrong part. You cry when Moana is walking to Teka to restore the heart. I mean, she’s crossed the horizon to restore the heart and fix all of mankind! It’s about societal restoration and no matter what people do to you it’s how you respond. Moana telling Teka, “they have stolen the heart from inside you, but this does not define you” is a message to all of us that we are more than our circumstances! And fighting doesn’t get you anywhere, that’s why Maui failed. But you need someone that sees you. You just need that love, someone to say “this is not who you are, I know who you are.” It’s all about the love.
Michael (Jaymi’s Husband): Wait, you guys cry at Moana?
Everyone Else: You DON’T cry at Moana?!?
Michael: I don’t cry. Also, it’s a cartoon. Calm down.
Summer may not officially be over until September 21, but let’s face it: It’s over for us. The kids are in school, the lifeguards are working their last weekend at the beach, and there’s football on the TV today. For all intents and purposes, it’s fall. But before we put on our cozy scarf and grab a pumpkin spice latte, we have a tradition of sitting down as a family and doing a Summer Send-Off.
And now, you can join us! Snag this printable and take a few minutes to capture the best, worst, and most memorable events from your summer!
What’s your favorite vacation memory?
Jaymi: We spent an amazing three days at a cabin on some remote coastal property in NorCal. The road trip there was intense, but man was it worth it. No TV, minimal internet, no work, not even toys… Just our little family and our friends, spending the days hiking, rope-swinging, roasting S’mores, and playing at the beach. Pure, unplugged magic.
Christine: On a whim, we decided to go down to San Diego for a night to go to the zoo. They were going to have bands and lights and a special bubble show off this giant bridge and it all sounded like fun. But all my kids wanted in the whole world was to see the hippos. So we walked around, we did the bus tour, but still no hippos. They were on the very very very far side of the zoo through very steep and windy paths. And we were pushing a thousand pounds of stroller. I really wanted to shut it down. We could see them next time. But the kids were insistent. We had to see the hippos. So right before the zoo was closed, we made our way to the right path. And it was DARK. This isn’t like some amusement park where they light everything up – no, this is like the wild. And it was a little spooky. And there were animal noises everywhere. You could barely see. And then we came upon the hippos. And there was no one there. Just us and one beautiful hippo swimming back and forth and back and forth. And my kids were the happiest I’ve seen them in a long time. I was so glad we went looking for the hippo.
What’s something from summer you’d like to forget?
The unnecessary stress I put myself through. I get too worked up over things that are supposed to be all fun and get caught up in the details. I need to try to relax a little!
The Great Potty Training Debacle of Summer 2017 – wherein my 2 year old, who we thought was ready to potty train due to one successful declaration of “I need to pee!” She was NOT apparently because upon us making the effort to train her she decided to go on a two week stint where she would poop consistently – and EXCLUSIVELY – in a pool. Not cool. What will you miss most about the summer?
I am going to miss all the opportunities for free or cheap kids’ activities. Cheap movies, wading pools, late evenings at the park, days at the beach. Anything that got me out of the house and having fun with my kids! And I think I’m going to miss having Lila home with us everyday (I mean, you never know. I could be like, “Thank God It’s Monday” on the regular. Only time will tell!). Having her home gave us so much flexibility, and so many opportunities for fun, that I know that I’m going to miss her. But summer will be here again before we know it!
I’ll miss our pool being warm enough to swim in everyday. Poop incidents aside, the pool is our favorite thing. And this year I had the added bonus of the big kids both being completely confident swimmers so I could sit on the side and watch them have a great time – and get hella tired. Early morning swims as the sun rose, hot midday swims while the baby napped, sunset swims where I had to beg them to get out to eat dinner and late night y’all should be in bed already swims. Soon the pool will be too cold for us to swim whenever and I’ll sure miss it. What was your best moment of the summer?
An evening at the wading pool. Hands down. So simple, but I was already nostalgic for it while it was still happening.
Is it so absolutely terrible if my best moment totally did NOT involve my kids?? During our staycation, we had the genius idea of getting a babysitter at the hotel. Vacations are wonderful, but all that togetherness and kids and hotel rooms and everything that makes it into a trip can be forgotten for one brief shining night when you get a babysitter! My husband and I went to Disneyland and went on rides and ate food without managing the needs of the tiny people and had conversations without interruptions and it was the kind of night that makes you realize why date nights really are that important. Which is why over after dinner drinks and some chocolate bread pudding that was bomb.com we decided we needed to make date nights a “thing.” So we did. And I definitely credit it to that one perfect summer night.
Now it’s your turn- download the printable and spend some time with your family talking about your summer highs and lows, and then share a little with us in the comments below!
It was a hot, salty summer day, and I was LIVING for the moment my husband got home. The kids and I were on our last strands of patience. We were tired and grouchy and so sick of our house and, frankly, each other. We were trying to keep it together, because we had BIG plans to head to the local park’s wading pool when Daddy got home at 5:30. An OhmHour was coming at 6, and I was gonna be darned if we were still in our un-air-conditioned house when it started.
And then it’s 5:30. And then it’s 5:45. And then it’s six, and we lose all the power (both literally and, like, the power to HANDLE MY LIFE, you know?). And I call the husband. “So what do you want to do tonight? Are you staying late?”
“I got a little caught up, but I’m coming home. I thought we were going to the wading pool.” And I almost lost it. We’d had a DAY, and there was just so much logisticking to do that I thought my brain was gonna fall right out of my head. The prospect of suiting them up and sunscreening them down and driving them over for only forty-five minutes of fun before unsuiting and towel-drying and redressing? I just. Didn’t. Want to.
But because we had no electricity, and it was either go to the wading pool or stay in a hot house with my cranky kids, I decided to give it one more bit of effort before I called it. I rechecked the times and found they didn’t close until 7:30. Truth be told, I was still less than willing to suit them up for those 45 short minutes, but heck, I had promised the wading pool already. And frankly, I didn’t feel up to being the bad guy that made the call that it wasn’t worth it. So my husband rushed home, I suited and sunscreened them babies, and away we went.
And, you guys. We had the best. Night. Ever.
It turns out that 45 minutes is exactly the right amount of time to be at a wading pool. And the later you go, the less odds that other people will still be there. And you might just get the wading pool to yourself, with your husband and your two small, perfect children, and you might look romantically at each other over their perfect little heads while the sun literally sets behind your husband’s happy face. And then you might go out for ice cream and kiss that sweet baby’s cheeks and smell his sunscreeny head and nearly burst from happiness while your daughter tells you that this is her most favoritest day ever.
And you would have missed all that if you’d decided to sit around being crabby at your husband and your kids. Don’t get me wrong, there are days to be mad. There are times when you have to turn on the TV for hours, or bicker with your husband about coming home late, and sometimes things get cancelled because you just can’t. There will be tense words and rushed dinners and early bedtimes. And that’s okay, too. Because that’s real life.
But once in a while, you’ve gotta embrace the lucky chances, push through the cranky, and go anyways. You’ve got to decide to be tired and crabby later, and be a family now, because we never would have gotten last night back. There will be cool drinks to ease the pain of long days, and bedtime will eventually come whether we enjoy the evening or not. But we need to take the time to embrace each other now. Cause I’m not gonna remember the irritation of the day (well not FOREVER anyways) but I’ll remember that perfect evening with my almost-perfect family for a lifetime.