Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Ban Busy.

Remember a few years ago when Sheryl Sandberg launched her "Ban Bossy" campaign.  The one where we should stop calling little girls bossy but instead say they had "leadership potential," "CEO skills,"and were "risk takers." (Side Bar….here's an interesting perspective on that.)

How about we add 'busy' to that list?  Being SO busy, so overwhelmed with life, crazy, insane, can't keep my head above water, don't have time to call you back because I'm running from here to there, can't commit to anything because something bigger and better might come along, and "oh, my word you wouldn't believe how much I have to do," has become the newest syndrome in America. And maybe it's not so much that being busy is the newest syndrome (because I know we were busy growing up--and my mom and her friends didn't even have Amazon Prime!) but talking about it incessantly. 

It seems to me that people like to throw around the "I'm so busy" line lately like this passive aggressive weapon that proves how important they are.  A way to say that their pursuits, appointments, schedule, jobs, commitments are more important compared to yours because they take up more time, are more demanding, and are more urgent.  Because heaven knows---no meetings, events, paper work, initiatives, after-school sports practices, cookie sales, budgets, schedules, or outlook appointments could EVER be completed without their input.

Just ask them if you haven't seen them in a few days or weeks…."how've you been?"  "Oh my word--sooooo busy.  It's crazy.  I can't even believe how busy I am. YOU wouldn't believe it."    

And I find all of that so, so, so frustrating.  And I bet it's safe to say that the majority of people we lament to about how busy we are would find it as frustrating.  It's not that being busy is annoying--it's the constant talking about it.  Because the truth is…..a lot of us are really busy.  With things we've chosen to do.

A more demanding job.
More responsibility at work.
More community involvement.
A full calendar for our kids.
Amazing opportunities to advance our careers.
More helping out friends.
Book Clubs.
Committees.......for literally everything.

Good things.  Fun things. Important things. Marginally necessary things.

But bottom line--things of our own choosing.

And we choose them because….generally….they're fun, and challenging, and fulfilling, and stimulating…..at least they were when we first started them.

But sometimes those things become less fun, less fulfilling, less life-giving, and less defining.....but we think they're now mandatory.

They become the things that erode our relationships because we're always trying to make them more efficient (hint--relationships--if they're good ones--can't be efficient) due to the calendar space we've abused, turn us into users-of-people, make us late to the next thing, and suck our joy out of the moment because we've got eight more "moment's" left in the day that we're supposed to find amazing.

So what I'm saying here to myself…..to you if you need to hear it……is to be busy if you want to be.  Suck every drop of life you've been given bone dry.  But please stop talking about it and lamenting about it and blaming your neglect of other things on it.

When people ask how you've been say "Great!, I have a fantastic job that keeps me on my toes, my kids are loving soccer and gymnastics, I'm repainting my bathroom and it's been a learning experience."  Or just say, "great," or "I'm a little tired--but it'll be fine," or "It's a tough season but nothing I can't handle--how are you?," or "I'm really sorry for not getting back to you--I don't have a good excuse." But not----I'M SO BUSY followed by a dramatic pause and sigh and the world-is-ending-but-I-don't-have-a-choice-because-I'm-so-crucial-to-the-sun rising look.

Because we always have a choice.  We absolutely do.  If you want to be busy--be busy, busy, busy....but embrace it as your choice, not as a cross you have to bear. And let's stop telling each other how busy we really are.

We can do it.  I can do it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Turning Pages

This is not the thought provoking post that the title alludes to.  It's quite literal.

I am always on the look out for beautiful new children's books that make my kids want to sit on the couch and flip through the pages of actual books.  I'm not anti screen in any way and think kids should be pretty adept at maneuvering their way around technology but I think it's fun to look at printed pictures together; to touch the words we're reading, see the colors in a big way--bigger than a phone screen can provide, and to work our way through a stack of books and claim victory over them.

Here's a few we've been reading the last few months....in case you're on the look out too!

1.  The books on the top of the stack in the picture above are AMAZING for the toddlers in your life who are learning colors, and letters, and basic vocabulary.  Xavier Deneux fills his books with thick cardboard pages and rich colors and a tactile element that is so perfectly done for little hands.  Everything sticks up and kids can feel the shapes of letters and objects to hold their interest just that much longer.  And he has so many books!  We have three--there are a lot more to pick from.

That little finger.  I kind of love it.

2.  Before & After.  Honestly--a genius but simple book.  Truly such a basic but engaging way to teach kids cause and effect, progress, the passage of time, and transitions.  There are no words in this book so the conversations you can have with your kids and the predictions they'll come up with are really fun.  If I was still teaching a great activity would be to have kids write their own narratives describing the sets of pictures and why A leads to B.  There are very straightforward cause and effect images as I've detailed below and even more in depth ones that span four or five pages that show the change in a plot of land over many years.

3.  A lot of kids are curious about Braille since it's on every bathroom sign they ever pass, but don't necessarily come in contact with people who use Braille on a very regular basis. Georgia was curious about it....and of course Amazon delivered with a very pretty book on Louis Braille.

4.  The "What do you do with...." books.  Problems?  Ideas?  We've all got them and sometimes kids (ummm--and adults too) need a little clarity on how to process them and know that problems and crazy ideas are kind of normal.

5.  I am a Story. I seriously love this book.  So incredibly much.  This book details the importance of story and how it is passed down from generation to generation and even how some stories have been shunned and burned at certain points in history.  Loved reading this one with Georgia!

6.  The House On Maple Street and At the Same Moment Around the World are perfect for helping kids to understand timezones and the passage of time.

7.  And finally, these two books about being home and what home means and all of the wonderful things that homes can hold are as visually interesting as they are thought provoking. 

January is maybe one of the most perfect months of the year to curl up on the couch and read books with your kids.  What are some of your favorites? 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Hey Little Blog.....

I had a moment of panic this afternoon when I decided to quick log into the control panel for Pink Shoes (for the first time in five months) and found myself locked out due to inactivity and I couldn't remember the log-in information.  I knew it was paid for because I had the confirmation e-mail from October--but the really rational side of me freaked out that everything was lost.

But here I am.......and here's Pink Shoes......safe and sound.....and really neglected.  I've been missing it for a long time now but clearly needed the threat of a break-up to feel motivated to return.  I have about 20 posts just missing a period or two that have been hanging out in draft purgatory since I took a "break" back in June.  Some of them were dumped immediately into the little figurative trash can and others are ready to go.

I don't want to make a resolution to write more, blog more (do people even really read blogs anymore the way they used to), or create more........I just want to hope that I get around to stopping in here on a more regular basis because I just really like to be here.....once I'm here.  And the more I'm here, the faster I return the next time.  That's kind of how it goes with everything worth doing right?

A few pics from the last six months.........

Okay--dipped my toes in the water a bit.......
I'll come back tomorrow.  

Friday, June 3, 2016

It's Friday, I'm in Love.

Putting these little temptation collages together keeps me from shopping online……sort of.  However, since I own half of this stuff--maybe it's not actually helping me at all.  But……a lot of it's really necessary, super-helpful, just plain fun stuff.

Anyway--it's the first Friday of June!  Happy Friday and happy shopping!

These reclaimed wood wall hangings are so simple and beautiful.  I love the leather strap too!// Sandals like this are a splurge but I have a feeling they'd become an everyday item if I had them.//  I don't think saying we listen to this 100 times a day is an exaggeration.  Georgia and I know it by heart now and we've completed some pretty awesome car concerts to it.// A great find at World Market and so cheap compared to others I've seen like it at more expensive shops.// I think I make batch of popsicles in this little mold a few times a week.  I use smoothies, fruit juice, and even ice-cream.  They are the cutest little size and perfect if you have a tiny kiddo (or a big kiddo) in your house. // Suuuuper tempted by this style this summer and I love Madewell jeans……so we'll see. // It's finally grilling season and I found this amazing seasoning salt at my grocery store and might just be using it on everything this summer. // I've tried on lots of jump-suits this year and this one is by far my favorite in terms of feel, fit, and price--size down if you try it……it runs big!// Roman and Leo is one of my favorite little boy clothes web-sites and I love Crosby in tank tops…..so striped tank tops win every time. // I didn't have a high chair for Georgia….probably because this one wasn't invented yet.  But if you're in the market for a high-chair and like modern design this is it!  Seriously the best ever….and it's $20.// These pants for Georgia are super great---not fitted pants (which she thinks the devil created) but not leggings either. // I'm not a girl who seeks out natural products but when I stumbled upon this one I was intrigued and now I'm hooked. Smells amazing, works just as well as regular deodorant, and doesn't have any carcinogens in it.//  Noonday is one of my favorites and I feel like these earrings will be in heavy rotation this summer. // This is a girls tank top from Old Navy--but if you buy a girls XL or XXL it's the same as a women's small or medium…..so there you go. // I've been on the hunt for a good vanilla perfume for years and I think this is it. // These little letter boards are kind of everywhere right now and I think they'd make a cute little wedding gift…..or just because gift….for someone (like yourself). // G doesn't love flip flops so these are a good alternative for cheap and easy summer footwear.  

Have a great weekend!  And 'whoo-hoo' for those of you already on summer break and 'you're almost there' for those of you who have a week to go!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A tale of two viral videos. The good & the "this actually blows."

Mother's Day season always brings out the video makers that know how to make us all cry.  And this year is no exception.  There are two videos making the Facebook rounds this week……..and I get why they've both gleaned a lot of attention.  One deservedly so….it's a super tear-jerker….I mean….it really is.  See the first video below.  There's not much to say about it other than it's an incredible capture of how us moms (and yes…..dads too….but let's not miss the point Internet cynics…..it was made for Mother's Day) feel when we watch our kids running across the yard and can imagine that same scene four short years ago and it catches our breath how much has changed and we know it's only going to start happening faster.  

And then there's this one….

and I'll just come out with it.  I hate it.  I watched it once and thought--that's cute, funny, gimmicky…..and then I kept thinking about it.  And I starting resenting it and feeling like it's another commentary on how we view children. I've been on a plane with a crying baby--other peoples and my own.  And here's what I don't understand about our culture……..when have children become so intolerable that people who might have to be subjected to a child who is crying on an airplane(where their ears might hurt, they're over-tired, they aren't used to being held on a lap for two hours, and on and on) or wherever, warrant getting a free flight or some other reward? 

I know--it's fake, they're actors, it's supposed to be a nice thing, everyone was pumped when the babies cried because they were one step closer to a free flight and the moms didn't feel bad……I understand all the nuances.  But I can't stand the underlying message here.  "Those of you who have to be tortured by hearing a baby cry on an airplane absolutely deserve a free flight---I can't believe you had to be inconvenienced for three minutes until you got your headphones on by hearing a BABY cry.  Does our society really need more fodder for feeling justified that it's okay to walk around about to blow at any minute when someone so much as puts their toe over the line? Does our society really need more reason to think of children as an inconvenience and a nuisance?  

I think a better use of time and Facebook likes would have been if every time a baby cried in their fake commercial Jet Blue gave a free ticket to the saint on the plane who stepped forward to offer genuine help to the mom who was trying everything in her power to get her baby to stop crying.  "I've been there.  It's okay.  Your kids are a gift.  Let me give you a ten minute break and I'll walk them up and down the aisle for you."  

That deserves a reward, not the random exasperated cranky traveller who believes that everyone is constantly imposing on their life.  

Mountain out of a mole hill here?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  
I suppose I'm just tired of messages that subliminally send the message that kids are a problem to be solved.  

So watch the first video again and again--because that's the real spirit of Mother's Day.  

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