This is Friday

Friday mornings we’re up by 7:30am at the latest. I’m downstairs in my fuzzy yellow bathrobe, attending to priority number one: coffee. I talk the kids into cereal or oatmeal because it’s faster and less messy, even though they’d prefer pancakes or waffles if I could let them choose.

Three minutes later I look over and they’re deep in conversation together so I listen in. He talks of his excitement over his friend coming over to play later in the afternoon, a playdate arranged by the mommies since the two boys seem inseparable at school lately. She ponders what color tights she’ll wear from the rainbow of colors Grandma got her at Target the other day. Friday mornings mean her brother and I get to watch her gracefully twirl and shake and jump while my heart bursts with pride and joy. I melt at seeing how much she loves to dance.

By the time 4:30pm rolls around, we’re anticipating Daddy’s arrival home. He’s the pizza master, and since I’ve been thawing the dough since noon, it’s ready to go and so are our appetites. The kids and their father eat the meat, so they cover their side with turkey pepperoni. Mine usual is mushrooms and yellow pepper slices, whatever veggies are left in the fridge by week’s end. While it cooks we talk about our days. I show off Instagrams from the morning’s dance class and any from the afternoon that I’ve taken. We’re thankful it’s Friday. We have the whole weekend ahead of us, together.

I convince the kids to pick up the toys and puzzles scattered around the family room while the pizza cools, fresh out of the oven. We make it a game with a timer to see who can beat the clock. He hands me a glass of red wine, cheers, and we sit down to our family dinner. Everyone oohs and ahhhs over Daddy’s pizza skills and I vow to never cook again, again. Why cook when your husband is perfectly capable?

The movie starts at 7 and by then we’re all ready for some serious cuddling time. We line up: big person, little person, big person, little person, and stretch the big red furry blanket out over all of us. Phones are left on the kitchen counter, ipads and laptops and turned off. I don’t know a time I am more complete than when I have my children in my arms, my husband squeezing my hand from the other end of the couch, and I stop and appreciate all that I have.

This is Friday night with a three and a five-year old.

this-is-friday

Sure, there are squabbles and timeouts and messes to be cleaned up after every meal and snack. I’m highlighting here, for posterity.

The last few weeks this has been our new tradition. Lucky for us, our kids have only just begun to be exposed to the incredible world of Disney. Our past few Fridays have included The Lorax, Tangled, Brave, Frozen, all but one on loan from our best friends. Not sure what it will be tonight, but one thing is for sure: I love how we do Fridays.

#TGIF and Happy Weekend, everyone!

Snow and Puddles

snow-puddles-bipolar-mom-life

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.

Snow-puddles

“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.”

best-day-of-my-life

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.

Finding Focus

Finding-focus

She woke up shouting “Mommy!” at the top of her lungs and the shrill of her voice jolted me out of my deep sleep. Having stayed up past midnight last night didn’t bode well for the day ahead of me. I stumble sleepily into her room and turn off her white noise machine. After pulling on a hoodie and slipping on some warm socks, she reaches out her arms and asks me to carry her downstairs. I oblige, noting that in another year she’ll be emerging from her room by herself in the morning, on her own time, like her brother who is still curled up in his bed sleeping but likely not for much longer.

Breakfast is served, it’s oatmeal again and they both love choosing their own packet from the variety box of flavors. Milk added, to cool it down, I sip my hot coffee as their little voices chatter over their bowls. I mentally start to add up all the things I need to get done today. Worry seeps in but I refuse to let anxiety take over. It will get done eventually. It’s not the end of the world.

Once their bellies are full, my littles snuggle up on the couch under blankets, watching a favorite show, while I attempt to cross items off my list.

I have a lot going on these days. So much that I often hear, “I don’t know how you do it all. You must be so busy!” It’s true I constantly feel pulled in a hundred different directions, I have trouble saying no, and I stress myself out continuously throughout the day thinking about impending deadlines and the like. But I wouldn’t change my life for anything.

I’m learning to take things one step at a time. I’m working on staying focused on the task in front of me because in reality nothing matters more than the moment we’re living in; life does not come with the guarantee of tomorrow. I’m trying my best to practice all these things, and I catch myself smiling in the moments when I get it right.

This morning just happened to be one of those days when I felt like I had so much to get done that I couldn’t figure out where to start. I begin one task only to be distracted by my daughter asking for milk or my son asking me to play a game. It was no use. I gave up on attempting anything other than sending out a few emails.

Instead I closed my laptop, surrending to the morning. Scooping up my little girl, who was pulling at my sweatpants, begging for attention, I found focus. We rubbed noses, our silly little way of saying ‘I love you’ and she pulled me in tight for a big bear hug. As she pulled away, she stared into my eyes and asked me a simple question.

“There. Do you feel bedder, Mommy?” her head tilted to the side, a sweet smile dancing across her perfect lips.

It was all I needed to put things into perspective. Yes, I felt much better, I told her. Now, how about a snack?