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Mantras For Moms, Moms Are Human, Parenting

Monday Mantra

May 4, 2015

best_everyday_mantra

 

Everyday, I wake up with the intention of doing my best; and most nights I go to sleep thinking I could have done better.

I know that I am not alone in these feelings.

Most days,  time goes by at lightning speed and at the end of the night I can’t even remember if I had a conversation with JBird; let alone if I gave her a hug that day. It’s all just a blur.

Thankfully, I’ve started becoming a bit more mindful about my days. As a result, I’m starting to feel like I actually DID give my best that day; gave it everything I had.

We all know that the days are long and the years are short, so why not strive to make every day count?

Why not wake up everyday with the intention that it will be your best day yet?

Try it. See where it takes you.

 

Everyday, Mantras For Moms, Moms Are Human, Parenting

Mantras for Moms

April 27, 2015

better_version_mantraHappy Monday!

I woke up this morning bursting at the seams with inspiration! What a great way to start your week; especially when you also have an early morning dentist appointment.

Starting this week, I am going to post a new Mantras for Moms every Monday. I envision these positive affirmations being things that any mom (or parent) can print out and say to themselves each day. A friendly reminder that we are all the perfect parents for our children; despite being imperfect people.

Let me know what you think and if this inspires you.

XOXO

Abbie

 

Everyday, Moms Are Human, Parenting

Every Mother Needs a Wife

March 26, 2015
soul_mate_featured

A few years ago, someone said something to me that resonated so deep within my heart that I will never forget it: Every mother needs a wife.

Yes. That. All of That.

That simple phrase is the key to surviving motherhood (especially in those early years).

I am one of the lucky ones who has about six wives.

Don’t get me wrong, husbands are great. I would be totally lost without my husband. He is a great provider, a perfect parenting partner, and all around awesome…

…but sometimes a mama just really needs a wife.

My husband travels a considerable amount for work; leaving me to rule to roost with a stubborn dog and two very outspoken young ladies. If it were not for the amazing tribe of women, who have banded around me and supported me during his times of absence, I would probably be locked away in a padded room somewhere. They have become  my life blood during those weeks when it’s just me and the kids. They are undoubtably my lady soul mates; my sister wives.

everymother

What is a Sister Wife?

Well, I think technically it’s a term used to describe a polygamous marriage partner BUT I use it to describe my closest of friends. That’s what they are to me. They are my sisters. They are my wives. They are my true kindred spirits.

We cook for each other. We look after each other’s children. We lend compassionate ears when one of us needs to share deep dark secrets or just vent about wiping butts 100 times a day.

We are intertwined in each other’s lives. We love each other; honestly and truly love one another. We understand each other and accept each other’s crazy. We talk of living in a sister wife commune together; or at the very least taking a sister wife vacation to somewhere tropical and full of chocolate (and booze).

When we first arrived in Wisconsin 4 years ago, I did not know a single person. Then, one by one, the universe brought these women into my life. Each was an instant bond; something totally unique and nothing I’d experienced before. It’s all very cosmic and amazing. With my sister wives I can share wild and crazy ideas and they typically respond: “ ME TOO!”

Sometimes plans change. Sometimes, people move away.

Maybe not today.

Maybe not tomorrow.

Maybe not even 1 year from now.

…but one day I will pack up my home and my life, and move away from them.

It’s the nature of life; always fluid, always changing. I take comfort in knowing that physical distance between our homes will not impact our love for one another.

Friends float in and out of your life; sometimes leaving a lasting impression, other times, not so much. But a sister wife is more concrete than that. Miles cannot separate the bond and love of a sister wife.

every_mother

To my Sister Wives: Thank You.

I am the mama and the woman I am today because of your love, support, guidance, and inspiration.

You motivate me to be a better person and a better parent.

Thank you for the endless love and support when I most needed it.

Thank you for loving my children as if they were your own.

Thank you for never judging me or my parenting choices; even on the days when I feed my children boxed mac and cheese and plant them in front of a screen.

Thank you for encouraging me to spread my wings and soar; and for being there to pick me up when I crash and burn.

Thank you for not thinking I am totally crazy for being in love with my dog.

Thank you for putting me on my current path.

I love you all.

Forever and Always.

…And to think, just 4 years ago, these women were strangers to me.

Book Lists, Parenting, Parenting Resources, School Room, StudioLab

Favorite Parenting Books for Creativity and Learning

January 21, 2015

parenting

(*this post contains affiliate links)

I take a creative approach to parenting. This probably explains why I’m drawn to parenting books that encourage parents to get creative in order to evoke deep thinking in their children. We’re a very sensory and play based home. There are lots of happy messes, art projects, and various play scenes constantly being built up (or torn down) in every room of the house

In a tech heavy world, I still get most of my parenting inspiration from actual books. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Pinterest and use it frequently to get ideas for daily activities, but it’s just not the same as flipping through beautiful pages of carefully designed book on creativity. With a real book, I can feel the author’s creativity jump right off the pages and into whatever plane of existence my own creativity is pulled from; something I don’t really experience from staring at a computer screen.

When I was just starting out on my mama journey, I found You Are Your Child’s First Teacher to be incredibly influential. It helped to cement in my head just how important and special these early parenting years are. It also gave me some great ideas for play activities with a baby who was only a couple of months old at the time. Sometimes, when I’m feeling too scattered and exhausted to make another day at home count, I check out this book from the library and feel a great sense of reassurance wash over me. It’s an awesome book.

I frequently reference Seven Times the Sun for daily rhythm ideas and it was my main inspiration for putting together Mealtime Verses and a Healing Basket. I stumbled upon the book in a thrift store, and knowing exactly what kind of treasure it was I bought it as quick as I could.

Here is a list of my favorite parenting and teaching resources:

Dad’s Book of Awesome Science Experiments- Mike Adamick

You Are Your Child’s First Teacher- Rahima Baldwin Dancy

The Creative Family- Amanda Blake Soule

The Handmade Home-Amanda Blake Soule

Rhythm of Family- Amanda Blake Soule

Playful Learning- Mariah Bruehl

Festivals Family and Food- Diana Carey and Judy Large

Seven Times the Sun- Shea Darian

Tinkerlab-Rachelle Dooley

Maker Dad- Mark Frauenfelder

The Write Start- Jennifer Hallissy

The Artful Parent; Jean Van’t Hul

Baking Bread with Children- Warren Lee Cohen

Junk Drawer Physics-Bobby Mercer

Show Me A Story- Emily K. Neuburger

 Beyond the Rainbow Bridge-Barbara J. Patterson and Pamela Bradley

Art Lab for Little Kids-Susan Schwake

I usually have a combination of at least 5 of these books checked out from the library at any given time. My favorites are: Play Learning, Rhythm of Family, Tinkerlab, and The Artful Parent; with Playful Learning being my go-to reference book when I feel like I’m in a creative parenting slump or need some new ideas for play space layout. It’s a beautiful book.

Cheers!

Book Lists, Homeschooling, Parenting, School Room

January Reading List

January 17, 2015

JanuaryList

 

Happy 2015! I thought I’d kick off 2015 with a January Reading List!

Here is a a list of the books we are reading this month in our home:

Animals in Winter- Henrietta Bancroft

Iggy Peck, Architect- Andrea Beaty

Rosie Revere, Engineer- Andrea Beaty

A Perfect Day- Caron Berger

Snow Moon-Nicholas Brunelle

When It Starts To Snow-Phillis Gershater

Toby and the Snow Flakes-Julie Halpern

Angelina Ice Skates-Katharine Holabird

Lemonade in Winter-Emily Jenkins and G. Brian Karas

Over and Under the Snow-Kate Messner

Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold- Joyce Sidman

Ladybug Girl and Her Mama- David Soman and Jackie Davis

Ladybug Girl Dresses Up- David Soman and Jackie Davis

Ladybug Girl Makes Friends- David Soman and Jackie Davis

Cold Snap-Eileen Spinelli

A Little Bit of Winter-Paul Stewart

Flannel Kisses-Mari Takabayashi

When Winter Comes-Nancy van Laan

When Blue Met Egg-Lindsay Ward

 

 

 

Everyday, Family, Moms Are Human, Parenting

Doing It All

July 31, 2014

doing-it-all

My husband travels a lot for work. A few years ago, it would stress me out having him gone a considerable amount of the time. Now it just feels normal.  In fact, our house is usually a bit quieter on weeks when Daddy is away. Go figure.

This week while he was away I had a pretty obvious epiphany that I’d never really thought about before: I’m doing it all right now. All the parenting. All the housework. All the yard work. All the teachings. All the bedtimes. All the clean up. Everything. It’s just me and I’m doing it all. All by myself. And it totally sucks.

Hooray.

The strange thing is that this realization didn’t make me feel bitter, or angry, or even sad. It just made me feel tired, and strong, and maybe in need of a beer.

When my husband is home, we have pretty split roles in the house. I take care of daytime care of the kids and the house, and he takes over at night. I cook, do the laundry, and do general picking up. He does garbage duty, lawn stuff, and deep cleaning when I freak out that our house is never clean. Bless him.

But sometimes he’s gone 50% of the time.

I feel like moms (and dads) who have to do it all aren’t allowed to complain or vent about how much they hate having to do it all. Instead, you’re supposed to feel grateful and blessed; never annoyed, or cranky, or tired. If you do step over the line and say “Ahh I Can’t Do It All!!” there’s usually someone on the other side who is more than willing to tell you how dramatic you are being

That’s a total load of BS.

If you have ever had to do it all, all by yourself, I salute you. Let us join hands and shout from the rooftops: This Totally Blows!

Here’s to the all the parents out there who have to be both mom and dad; whether it’s 1 day, 10 days, or every single day.

Here’s to fixing fuses and flat tires.

Here’s to baking cupcakes, mending clothes, and shuttling kids everywhere.

Here’s to helping with homework, mowing the lawn, and paying the bills.

Here’s to troubleshooting the wifi, fixing the DVD player, and straight up murdering the MFing printer.

Here’s to cleaning up a flooded basement, shoveling driveways, and plunging every drain ever.

Here’s to all night feedings, stomach bug clean ups, and over flowing toilets.

Here’s to drinking cold cups of coffee, eating dinner at 9pm, and not showering for longer than 2 minutes.

Here’s to nap strikes, bedtime stalling, and sleeping on the floor while a child (or children) hog your bed.

Here’s to never going to the bathroom by yourself. Ever.

Here’s to wiping up tears, spilled milk, and a bathtub’s worth of water off the floor…every damn day.

Here’s to the first ones awake and the last ones asleep.

Here’s to no vacations, no sick days,  and no off hours.

Here’s to hiding in the pantry in order to get a precious minute of alone time.

Because solo parenting straight up sucks.

S. U. C. K. S.

If anyone tells you otherwise you have my permission to punch them as hard as you can in the face. Twice.

 

Moms Are Human, Parenting

Mommy is a Unicorn

April 30, 2014

mommy-is-a-unicorn

*selfie take by my (then) 2.5 year old. I feel like she’s going to end up a film student.

It seems to me that “Mommy” is a concept. Not always a tangible thing.

I think back to my childhood, and despite being with my mother everyday, I really cannot recall memories of her until my adolescence. I remember being close to her. I remember eating food she made me. I remember going places she took me. But her, as a person, is absent. What’s most fascinating is that the more I talk about it with people, the more they too have similar experiences and memories. Are you able to remember your mother, as a person, before the age of 10?

I have a theory. Being a mother means you do not actually exist as a person until your children are older; even so much as moved out of the house. Instead of being a real person with real interests, fears, flesh, and blood, you are kind of like an imaginary friend. There are days when I’m pretty sure my toddler thinks she is the only one who can see me.

As a mommy you are always there. Everywhere. Even when you’re not there in body next to them, you always seem to know what they are doing; or at least that’s how they see it. You’re more of a presence and less of a person.

When I play with JBird, it’s not the all day engaged play that Daddy and Grandma are privy to; endless games of make-believe, limitless imaginative games. With Mommy, it’s a side by side “together” type of play. We read together, bake together, and paint together. She likes me to sit in the same room as her while she plays with her dolls. Sometimes I am asked to assist in the putting on or taking off of the doll’s clothes. Other than that, my job is to sit and be still.

This is probably why motherhood is so difficult at times. Knowing that your children really have no concept of you as a real person…and won’t until they are much older. Sometimes I just want to scream; probably just to validate that I am in fact a real live human being and not some sort of robot nanny.

But it’s also kind of great when you think about it. There’s a special power that comes along with being a mama.

Mommy is a magical creature.

Mommy is an entity: the all knowing, great and powerful, healer, wielder of bandaids, maker of the rules, queen bee, final say, comforter, lover, possessing all the virtues, muse, hero, warrior, bringer of the grilled cheese.

Daddy is a tangible person. Daddy takes me to the zoo. Daddy reads me stories. Daddy tucks me in. Daddy is special and important…but still real.

Mommy is like vapor. Existing, always there, but somehow not really a person. Mommy is mythical. Mommy is a unicorn.

Everyday, Parenting

P is for Whale Bird

April 17, 2014

thefeelgoodfoodie

We have this nifty book where pictures of animals slide back and forth to show the letter it starts with, then the name of the animal.

The other day, JBird decided to take it upon herself to spell out the names of the animals.

Ya know, what you do at 3.5 years old

Here’s what it sounded like:

A is for alligator. A-L-L-I-G-A-T-O-R. Alligator.

B is for bear. B-E-A-R. Bear.

So on and so forth.

Clever girl that she is, when she gets to Penguin she looks at the picture and says:

thefeelgoodfoodie

“P is for Whale Bird. P-E-N-G-U-I-N. Whale Bird”

thefeelgoodfoodie
Long pause

Mental gears turning

“Wa-wa-wa Whale Bird.”

“Pa-pa-pa P”

Another pause

(To no one in particular) “OH!! Haha! Penguin! Penguin starts with P!”

I went over to look at the picture once she had set down the book.

Yea, Whale Bird. I see it. Keen observation JBird.

Moms Are Human

Guilt and Parenting in the Digital Age

April 16, 2014

thefeelgoodfoodieMy life is neatly compacted and compartmentalized within the plastic confines of my lap top. My business, my blogs, my musings, my social life, my thousands of Pinterest pins, my address book, my photos, my music, my recipes…all live in my laptop. It is my digital body. I would, in fact, be lost without it (or at the very least, totally screwed without it). This my friends is the reality of the digital age.

Now, we can take this reality and cringe or sneer, or throw up a little in our mouths at the thought of it; but it doesn’t make it any less of a reality. We exist physically and digitally.

When I entered into this grand journey that is parenthood over 3 years ago, I did not want this to be the reality for my child. Foolishly, I thought “oh yea, we can just pretend this whole digital age isn’t really existing around us”; but I continued to live digitally.

For well over 3 years now, I’ve carried with me an enormous amount of guilt regarding the influence of screens, computers, and televisions on my child. I felt like I was failing myself for not stopping the digital world from entering our doors. I mean, only a generation before me lived and thrived without all this digital junk; why couldn’t I?

In our home life, we are influenced by the aesthetics of Waldorf education. It’s all so lovely and warm. Yet, I just cannot commit to a “hardcore” Waldorf mindset of zero screens. It absolutely does not work for our lives.

In our home, we make an effort to limit our use of screens for entertainment; much like we limit our consumption of sugar because too much of a good thing is never a good thing.

The truth is, I love technology. I freaking love it. I love everything that Apple makes. I love wi-fi. I love Google. I love Facebook.

I thrive on technology, and I am thriving in this thing we call The Digital Age. Blogs and business ventures and networking, oh my!

Why do I love technology so much? Here’s the deal: When you spend all day, everyday, with small children you tend to feel like you are going insane. This is not true for every day, but it is true for some days (and some times A LOT of days). On the days when I feel like a total crazy person, technology rescues me. Jbird quietly watches a show, while I fall into the black hole that is Buzzfeed.

It’s not perfect or even “ideal” (whatever that means), BUT it keeps me sane; and not losing my damn mind is pretty much my version of “ideal” right now.

So the next time you feel like you are being swallowed up by technology, know that you are not alone. It’s ok to unplug and walk away. It’s also ok to come back 5 minutes later to just check one more thing.

Do what you need to do. Don’t feel guilty. Keep on doing the best you can. Have a beer while you’re at it. You’ve earned it.

 

 

 

Moms Are Human

Far From Perfect

April 15, 2014

thefeelgoodfoodie

Sometimes, our house is an organic bounty of local goodies from the co-op.

Sometimes it’s fueled by $1.50 hotdogs from Costco.

Sometimes our house is filled with the beautiful sounds of classical music.

Sometimes the house is silent because a child is engrossed in the glowing screen of an iPad.

Sometimes 6 whole servings of fruits and vegetables are consumed in a day (this is a rarity…but it does happen).

Some days it seem like her diet consists of bunny crackers and string cheese.

Some days sharing and compromises make my heart sing.

Some days are perpetual meltdowns.

Some days we go outside.

Some days we don’t.

Some days I have the patience of a saint.

Some days I really really want to yell and scream and flail about.

Some days we go at a slower toddler pace; letting her lead the way.

Some days tiny bodies are hurriedly put into car seats.

Some days I encourage and embrace the messes.

Some days I get frustrated with the messy chaos.

Some days I come up with endless games and activities.

Some days I just want to lock myself in my room because my brain has shut down for the day…at 10am.

Some days I work out during nap.

Some days I eat a dozen cookies during nap.

Some days naps don’t exist and I eat 2 dozen cookies.

Some days we win.

Some days we keep winning.

I don’t let the burden of parental perfection weigh me down anymore.

I’m over the guilt.

We do the best we can each day.