Snow and Puddles

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I got home around 5:15 from This Is My Brave auditions on Saturday and immediately began to wrangle the kids away from the ipad they were playing on. We needed to get outside. My body was craving the Vitamin D. And although the sun was mostly behind the clouds, I still felt it.

The air was crisp and refreshing. The kids decided to go sans coats, but I had zipped up my winter coat as we left the house, knowing it wasn’t quite as warm as I’d like to go without a coat wrapped around me. The snow from Monday’s big storm had melted to almost nothing, yet there were still plenty of stubborn piles scattered about. But with temps in the upper 50’s, it would all be gone soon.

We called it a nature walk. I gave each of them a snack baggie and told them to “collect things from nature,” enjoying the obscurity of my instructions. Their faces lit up and they ran ahead of me on the asphalt path towards the little playground in our neighborhood.

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“Mommy, I found a acorn!” my daughter announced, crouched down in the mulch.

“I got a rock!” cried my little man.

I let the breeze enter my lungs and took deep cleansing breaths as we walked. The younger one gleefully finished filling her baggie by tossing in chubby little handfuls of snow, despite my warning that it would only melt by the time we got home.

As we neared the end of the path’s loop which took us home, a mess of sloppy, wet, sloshy snow blocked our way. Instead of turning back the way we came, I decided to forge ahead. I tiptoed in my sneakers, while the kids had a ball stomping and splashing our way through.

On the other side I realized they had more fun than I did. And I decided their approach was definitely the way to go. In life and in snow and puddles.

Best Day of My Life

{Have you heard the song ‘Best Day of My Life’ by American Authors yet?}

I woke up this morning to the sound of my daughter stirring in the room next to ours. Peeking into her room, I saw her sitting up smiling brightly in her teeny toddler bed, still tangled up in the flannel sheets with her lovey beside her.

Her eyes met mine and I managed a sleepy grin and a “Good morning, Sweetie” as I walked over to turn off her fan.

She hopped out of bed and I opened my arms wide to hold her and start our morning off with a hug. Her legs wrapped around my middle, wrists gripped snug behind my neck, she declared the perfect start to our day:

“This is going to be the best day evah!”

Yes, my sweet girl. With that attitude, you’re right. It’s another day we have together.

I made chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast because that’s what’s on the menu for the best day ever, of course. As I flipped the last of the golden brown circles into the pan, I eavesdropped on the conversation between my two littles at the kitchen table. They were exchanging giggles over whether to feed their Transformers tangerine slices or bites of pancakes, and I couldn’t help but catch it on video.

They play together while I do dishes and between sudsing up the pan and rinsing it off I look up through the steam to notice the snow that has started to fall outside the window. In the back of my mind I’m hoping this is the last time we see the white stuff this winter, but as I dry off the pan I am reminded of my daughter’s declaration and with that I remember the art project I had been saving for an occasion just like today.

A few minutes later the kids are elbow-deep in tempera paint when my son looks up at me and says, “Mommy, sometimes my dreams look like this.”

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And I think, you know what bud? My dream looks like this, too. Except it’s not a dream. It’s real and it’s every day.

It’s the best day ever.

Less and More

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Sitting here, on the barstool at our kitchen island – my new favorite writing spot once the kids are in bed and Ben has kissed me goodnight before heading upstairs himself – the house is quiet except for the hum and rhythmic click of zippers from laundry being tossed around in the dryer.

I’m snacking on a bowl of the granola bars I made with the kids today. It’s in a bowl because they never set and are all crumbly so I have to eat it with a spoon. I choose a kiddie spoon out of the drawer, realizing in that moment that we’ll soon be getting rid of all the kiddie cutlery. At three and five my kids no longer want to use a tiny plastic fork or spoon, protesting when I still serve them cereal with the brightly colored utensils.

Practically every night I worry that I’m failing them as a mom. Why is it I always play back the mistakes I made during the day, rather than recall the beautiful moments we had playing and laughing and snuggling together? I wonder if I’m too focused on my own personal goals and feel guilty I don’t consciously set goals as a mom.

I want to make significant changes in this new year, this fresh start. I want to check email less, and bake with my kids more. I want to complain less and drink in the giggles more. I want to not stress out over small things and hug my family and friends more. I want to be less critical and be more appreciative. I want to not freak out when the kids are simply being kids, and instead smile and file the memory of how they are at these ages away so I never forget.

Every day is a new chance to try again. Another day to try my best at being the absolute best mom I can be for my kids.

Double Playground Day {Just Write}

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My legs are heavy with the tingles of having walked four miles round trip to the playground and home pushing the weight of an almost-3-yr-old and a five-year-old who I still squish into the double stroller. Selfishly, I like being able to get my exercise logged for the day while at the same time providing quality time outdoors for my kids.

Two playgrounds in one day is something we haven’t done in a long time. I was drawn to be outside versus in because of the sheer perfection of the day. So we went. The sun warmed the air to the ideal temperature, while weaving her way in and out of the fluffy clouds.

I finished some work as they finished their breakfasts and played, then I rushed to shower and get dressed so we could run a quick errand at the post office. We raced home to put together a picnic lunch so that we could spend the rest of the morning outside.

The kids gulped down their lunches in a rush to get onto the playground, and I smiled as I watched my baby girl chase after her big brother and follow him up the tall ladder I didn’t think she would climb. [Read more…]