Dancing Flowers

“Guess I can mentally plan my to-do list,” I thought as I bemoaned my driving decision.  Of course I had chosen the route to the store that was under construction.

Library, bank, maybe the dollar store – do we have time for the dollar store? What did I need to get there again?

A tiny voice pulled me out of my reverie. “Look! Mommy, the flowers are dancing!”

I turned my gaze in his direction and discovered he was focussed on the weeds at the side of the road that were flapping in the wind.

“They like this song, too! They are dancing. Like me!” he said with an added little wiggle.images

I wasn’t particularly stressed out or harried that morning, but his preschooler observation derailed me from my “gotta-get-it-all-done” attitude of the day. The days when I keep looking toward the next thing. You know what I’m talking about. When you aren’t present in the current moment, but rather jump two steps ahead to your other tasks or obligations.

Life is busy, and some days are more hectic than others. Seasons of life bring their own challenges and obstacles. But with these hurdles also come opportunities for joy and wonder. It is easy to let the stress and pressure dictate our responses and attitudes, but it is so much better when we don’t.

I can choose to look toward the next chore on my list, the next meal I need to plan, the next load of dishes I need to wash, or I can take a breath, pause, and put on the lens of a three-year-old. Try it with me, you’ll be amazed at what you see.

Rainbows in the patch of oil in a parking lot.

Birds perched at the highest tip of a tree.

Leaf impressions left on the sidewalk.

A bean bag chair can be a pirate ship, beware the alligators on the bedroom carpet.

The floor really is hot lava.

The farting noise when you close the garage door.

The realization that you can be invisible just by closing your eyes.

The way a stick takes on magical properties and transforms into endless possibilities.

When I let these moments take priority in my day I smile more, feel more at ease and calmer. Yes, those chores need doing, children need to be fed, toilets need cleaning (repeatedly), but they needn’t be my focus.

Every day we make choices. We can choose to begrudge the extra few minutes that road repairs cause or we can watch the flowers dancing.

I see them, you’re right – they are  dancing. Thank you.

 


My New BFF

Being home full time is great, but truthfully it can also be lonely. The majority of my day is spent with a three-year-old. While he is a decent conversationalist, the content is somewhat lacking. I can only discuss the plot of “Umizoomi” for so long and he’s really not that interested in “Friday Night Lights”.

That’s why I made a new friend. I highly recommend it if you, too, are a stay-at-home-parent. How else can you make the most of nap time? By exercising or resting? No, having your own personal companion keeps you alert and helps your productivity level stay high.

There were many options for a new friend, but I finally decided on this guy, and let me tell you it has been amazing.

photo 1-17

He is an excellent listener

We do all kinds of things together.

He has excellent meal ideas

He has innovative meal ideas

We have so much in common

We even take our coffee the same - black, of course.

We even take our coffee the same – black, of course.

He's become a bit of a muse

He’s become a bit of a muse for me

Chores are no longer tedious.

He is a whiz at folding fitted sheets, I don't know how he does it.

He is a whiz at folding fitted sheets, I don’t know how he does it.

A good friend takes on those tasks you might find overwhelming.

His accounting skills are astounding.

His accounting skills are astounding.

Life is short and the days pass quickly, make the most of them with your own special friend.


Don’t Be Creepy

“Yes! You’re right, there’s your leader from day camp last week. Would you like to say ‘hi?”

Superhero socks are the perfect conversation-starter

Socks are the perfect conversation-starter

Off we went so that my outgoing five-year-old could see his leader from the previous week whom he adored.

He got about four feet away and clammed up, barely making eye contact.

“Why don’t you show her your new socks, buddy?” I suggested as a way to break the ice.

He quietly lifted up his leg so she could see his Ironman socks. She feigned the exact right level of enthusiasm, but my little guy was still acting shy. We headed back to our group of friends to continue our conversation.

As we left he piped up, “her voice sounds different.”

“Maybe she has a cold or something.”

A few moments later he was making eyes at her again from behind my legs.

“Would you like to go back over?” I asked.

He nodded.

“Alright, but this time you need to say something to Hollie otherwise it’s just creepy.”

So off we went again and he belted out a hearty “HELLO” and scurried away, giggling nervously (not creepy at all, nicely done).

It was as I trailing behind him that another friend quietly whispered in my ear, “um, that’s not Hollie, it’s Nicole.”

Of course it was, I knew it all along.

No, not creepy at all.

———

No names have been changed as the only identity needing protection is mine.


Who’s the Biggest Loser Now?

It’s time to face reality: I am not going to magically lose the lingering bit of baby weight. Our youngest is three now, so I’ve definitely given it enough time. I’ve tried all the popular fads: M&Ms Neolithic, The Oreo Fast, The Hershey AND the Cadbury, all for naught. The scale has not budged (in either direction, so there’s that). I’ve accepted this reality and have decided to take control of my health and fitness.

Yes, I’ve tried this before with varying results. I almost killed Bearded Husband with my bare hands when we attempted the P90X regime (and I would have done it, too, if I could have lifted my arms above my waist). Jillian Michaels can go shred herself. And Denise Austin‘s voice makes me sleepy.

That’s why I’ve decided to hire a personal trainer. I think the dividends will be worth it and I have found the perfect candidate.

Wish me luck!

Photo

Don't let the loose dress fool you - she's ripped.

I like my role models to demonstrate obtainable goals

Photo courtesy of Man on the Street, TW.


Lunchtime Made Easy

Making lunches is a lot of work.

Well, making lunches, breakfast, and dinner is a lot of work.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning snack, afternoon snack – so much time preparing food. And then there’s the clean up. My knees are developing arthritis from the amount of time I’m spending at the kitchen counter. I might invest in orthotic indoor shoes.

Let’s not even start in about the grocery budget.

So where does every parent go when they are looking for meal ideas for their family? Pinterest, of course. But what I found there was not time-saving lunch ideas. Nooooo. Instead I discovered a cornucopia of pins dedicated to sandwiches cut into fun shapes, fruit kabobs, and smiley faced vegetables. Um, I was looking to do less preparation. Who are these people?

As a public service, I decided to share my own great tips for Easy Lunches On A Budget. Here’s my first instalment.

Easy Mac and Cheese Your Kids Will Love.

1. Get two boxes, you don’t want to run short. Your kids are counting on you.

Two boxes lets them know you really care

Two boxes lets them know you really care

2. Prepare as directed. But why not go with 5% cream? It adds just that hint of decadence your family craves.photo 1

3. Serve. But not in those plastic bowls from IKEA. The real dishes, mom. Because nothing says “your worth it” like breakable dishware.

photo 4

4. Here’s a secret I debated about posting. But it’s too good not to share. Fresh-ground paper for a gourmet twist.

Just like grandpa used to make when he was left in charge.

Just like Grandpa used to make when he was left in charge.

Future Posts Coming Soon: Frozen Pizza – Not Just for Dinner, Bologna and You, and Sometimes Leftovers Are Your Friend.


Babies Don’t Keep

Before I ever had babies, I saw this sweet poem. Pretty sure it was done in a nice needlepoint tableau and hung above a toilet in my aunt’s home. Wait, no that’s the one about sprinkling when you tinkle. It must have been in the hallway. Maybe you’ve seen it. Maybe you even have a copy of your own.

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait til tomorrow

‘Cause babies grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow.

So quiet down cobwebs,

Dust go to sleep.

I’m rocking my baby

And babies don’t keep.

You might even find it on a fridge magnet.

Unknown

Double exclamation points make it more poignant

It’s a nice sentiment. It’s true, babies don’t keep. They change all the time.

You know what else doesn’t keep?

Bacteria

Mold

Mildew

Your veggie drawer

Dairy products

Lunch bags

Bananas (they are a very fickle fruit)

Friends, (see veggie drawer)

Of course, babies are more important than housework, but what if tomorrow never comes? What if you just keep reading that poem every day and heeding its advice? Wait, wait, wait – what if we really did heed this advice?

Can’t scrub the toilets today, rocking my baby.

Nope, sorry, not going to vacuum, this is time I won’t get back. 

Lunches are no longer my department, can’t you see I’m rocking a baby? 

You’ll always be my baby. Hold still, I don’t want to mop.

I’d like to empty the dishwasher, but my baby will never be this age again. Ever. Ok, he’s nine, but he’ll never be nine again. This is precious time, precious I tell you. 


The Dharma Washroom

It was just sitting there, alone, waiting for a friend.

“Hey, look at me so shiny and inviting,” it seemed to whisper to me.

I debated: Should I pick it up? Or leave it? Maybe the real owner might be right back to claim it. Better to leave it. Well, it’s doubtful she is going to miss it any time soon and it’s kind of risky to just leave it perched there.

What’s the moral high road in this situation?

How does one decide what to do?

I want to set a good example for my kids, after all.

What to do, what to do?

“Mommy, I all done!” chirped a little voice, shaking me out of my reverie.

It’s just a quarter on a toilet seat, get a hold of yourself woman. I reached to pick it up and stopped again. Cue the inner dialogue:

It’s on a toilet seat. All money is gross anyways.

Gateway to scrutiny

Gateway to scrutiny

It’s in a public washroom. So?

At a fast food restaurant. Still

Again I reached to pick it up, thinking I’d let my young son pocket it. And then it became clear to me. This was a social experiment. I have a psychology degree, after all, so I am quite familiar with creating artificial situations to find correlations no one really needs to know about. Someone had left the quarter in plain sight on the toilet seat and was waiting for some subject to claim it. Well, it wasn’t going to be me.

This is just like “Lost” but in a public restroom. Did JJ Abrams relocate to Canada? What’s the end game? Will a polar bear jump out suddenly and hand me my fries and pop? Where’s the black smoke? I don’t think I can handle time travel. HOW DO I GET OFF THIS ISLAND?

Before the paranoia had a chance to (fully) set it, I firmly decided that it was best to go home less twenty-five cents, but with my sanity mostly intact. Plus, I wouldn’t want to over think it or anything.


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