As I look back on my first blog post of the year, my “word” of the year, I realize now that being present meant less blogging.
My position at work was converted to a 10 month position with the months of June and July off. I was super excited to have all this time at home with my children, engage in all kids of fabulous activities and blog our way through our summer adventures. But I was too busy being present to blog….
So here I am, at the end of summer, looking into another academic year and wondering where I go from here.
After poking around the internet I ran across all these “Word of the Year” posts for 2015. It seemed like a good fit for me this year. Last year I decided not to have resolutions, but thought that “goals” seemed like a good idea. After reflecting on the goals I had set for 2014, I realized that those goals truly had no end. There is no point in the calendar year when I can say, yes, I have accomplished “Being a more patient Mama”. 2014 was an interesting year for our family, for our careers for our roles as parents. We have taken on so very many challenges and I think we are better for it all.
Generally I take the first ten days of the year to sort out this resolution/goal bit in my head. Since my birthday is also in January, I associate that date more with the beginning of a new year than the beginning of the calendar year. After trying out several different ideas, I finally settled on a phrase that fit me and the goals I have as a working mama: Be Present
Be present at home
Focus on the immediate needs of my children and spend more quality time with them.
Be present with my husband
Enjoy where we are right now instead of always focusing on the next thing.
Be present in my career
Focus on work, at work, not thinking about home at work or work at home!
Okay, maybe I have one small goal too. Making our beds every day. Obviously the weekdays are the hardest times, but I have enlisted Connor to help me. I usually make our beds right as we are going to bed at night, but a nicely made bed just looks so much better. We will be engaging in some bed making lessons this weekend!
Be present in 2015!
Today I have completed the 31 Day Writing Challenge from the Nester, along with many other bloggers I have gotten to read through this community. My topic Stop, Drop and Parent was my second attempt at this challenge, after doing it last October as well. I did better this year, with regard to my posting. I only had to combine two days (Days 25 and 26) where as last year there were many more. And I hope I am a better parent too!
I think as the kids get older, there is a much greater opportunity to do more structured activities, which certainly helps on the blogging front! As a kindergartener, Connor wants to do more structured activities, like all of the Christmas Science projects. And Amelia is starting to go along with these activities since she wants to do everything her brother does!
Clearly the biggest benefit of this writing challenge is that it does make me more focused on what I can be doing that is stimulating and interesting to my children. This helps us build family traditions and memories. And to take photos to document such activities!
The fall is always a challenging time of year for me. Because I have just about always worked in education, it is the beginning of the academic year and thus super busy. But it is also the end of summer which makes me super sad. The timing of this challenge, helps me to engage in the fun that is fall!
Until next year!
Amelia loves her pony tails – or her “ponies”. She didn’t have much hair until well after her 1st birthday. She made up for it in adorable cheeks!
She first insisted on ponies at the sitter’s. Our sitter loves to do all the little girls hair Amelia climbed in her lap and instead on ponies as soon as she had “some hair.
Since that day she has become obsessed! She wants ponies all the time. She prefers the sitter’s ponies to mine. When I do her ponies they do tend to fall out more easily. I also tend to do the one top pony – two ponies are hard to get even!
And of course, Amelia want to do ponies to us too! Can I say ouch!?!?! Normally she doesn’t get as far as actually getting the elastic entangled in my hair. She just wants to pull and tug at my hair for hours………. And those pony tail elastics need to be kept under lock and key! They come in packages of hundreds and before you know it she has the whole box dumped in the middle of the living room floor!
So I always stop and ask her if I can do her hair. Most often she wants to wait and have the sitter do her ponies, but if she will let me, I will try. And if she want to do my ponies, well, I will probably let her…
My hometown has hosted an annual Pumpkin Festival for many years now. It all started in the 90’s with a few jack-o-lanterns around central square that could be viewed while driving downtown. It quickly grew as they captured the world record for the number of lit jack-o-lanterns all in one place. As a result, it became really crowded, especially when night fell. I went a few times as an adult, but we stopped going all together when we had kids.
Some friends suggested that we join them early in the day and for the children’s costume parade. We found good parking, participated in the parade, but we never did connect with our friends. The kids had a great time and we left after a couple of hours. Perhaps a post about our day coming soon…….
However, just as we were leaving chaos was breaking out just a few blocks from the Pumpkin Festival. Some blame the local college community. Some blame their out of town guests. Some blame the festival itself. After Friday night parties had been broken up, the police came back into an area with a lot of off campus housing to break up parties. It appears that by communicating through social media, the call to riot was made. According to police statements, 1000+ individuals in multiple locations began causing chaos, fighting, throwing bottles and leaping from buildings. A second set of riots broke out after dark with cars being overturned and fires set. Dozen of injured where treated on the scene and many more were arrested.
All just a few blocks from a quiet New England pumpkin festival. In my hometown. Our schools and community are shaken. The fate of the festival is unknown. This weekend my hometown made the news, local, state and national news. It was trending on twitter!
As a result, I had to explain to 5 year Connor what had happened. He had seen a little bit of the news on TV and was headed to school the next day. While I didn’t think his teachers would bring it, I didn’t know what the other kids might say and I didn’t want him to be scared. I talked about young adults making bad choices and hurting people and breaking things. I told him that we were safe and that the police that he saw on TV were protecting our community. In all honesty, they did a fantastic job of containing the situtaion which could have escalated to be a far worse situation.
So my Stop, Drop and Parent was explaining to my son about riots. Some parenting days are better than others.
Better late than never!
Since Amelia our second child, I have rarely spent any alone time together with my daughter. I kept Connor at home with us while I was on maternity leave only sending him to the sitter for a half day once a week. Usually when we split up the kids to do errands, Connor most often stays with me. And honestly, Amelia is a pain to shop with! So it was a rare treat when I had a work holiday that Connor still had school so Amelia and I had two whole days together!
Amelia and I just weaned from nursing well after two years. So most of out bonding time together has been very focused. I almost didn’t know what we would do to fill up two whole days.
At first I was tempted to just let her guide our activities. After 45 minutes of
hair pulling Amelia combing my hair, I decide that we needed try out some things that she normally doesn’t do with her brother because he either takes over or it is just more challenging with two kids.
First we painted. She was just ecstatic to get the water colors all to herself! She did a remarkably good job of keeping colors separated and not turning everything to mud. Connor would paint forever, going through stacks and stacks of paper, turning out picture after picture (he only gets cheap white paper these days!) So I was startled when Amelia was done after two. Discovering new things about my children every day!
We counted and color sorted with the counting bears. She had such a good time playing, counting and sorting them. She lined them up, played with them, made them talk to each other.
We did a lot of snuggling. Even though she is not nursing, she still needs that one on one cuddle time. She clearly needed that more than nursing, but it was very hard for both of us to let that go.
Mostly we did a lot of just hanging out and being silly as a mother and daughter! She is a goofy girl!
I remember the first time I referred to Connor as my son. We were checking in at one of his first doctor’s appointments when he was an infant. It caught me off guard a bit. Sometimes I am still amazed that we made this little guy! We spent almost three years as family of just the three of us!
Shortly after Amelia was born, I realized how important it was for Connor to have one on one time with us as individual parents. As much as he loves his sister and as quickly as he took to being a big brother, my son still needed Mama time especially. The hardest part for him was when Amelia was nursing. It was tough for him to see Amelia that close to Mama and being told that he couldn’t climb on top of us too.
Since they have both gotten older, it is nice to have one on one time. For his birthday he asked to spend the day at home with me while his sister went to the sitter. Often Daddy and I will split up the kids to do errands. In the past few weeks, Connor and I have had some time just the two of us to do some great activities that would be challenging with his sister around, like of Christmas Science projects or learning activities that require more patience than his sister has to sit through.
He loves spending time with his Dad too. Last weekend we put his booster seat in Dad’s truck and they hauled off leaves and brush after cleaning up the yard. Connor had never been in the truck before, a two seater so he was in the “front seat”. He told me that Dad cranked up the radio and they were rockin’ out!
As much a they love each other, I can tell my son needs some individual attention. Sometimes it is just cuddling and reading stories, but other times it is being able to do stuff that he can’t do with his sister around!