Saturday, June 29, 2013

We Spend a Lot of Time on a Few Great Things.

Thank you Apple for that amazing line from your most recent commercial.  Every time the ad comes on I wait on the edge of the couch for it and I almost get teary every time your narrator says it. You better be careful.  Bob Costas is liable to steal it and use it in an equally touching and moving Olympic Games human interest story of how Russia's most thrilling new gymnast has trekked back and forth to the ramshackle gym in her Siberian village for ten years to bring home the gold.  The line is that good. It's truly amazing.

And so, so true.

We spend a lot of time on a few great things.

If you let yourself get really contemplative it's one of those lines that can take your breath away a little bit.  I've found myself thinking about that sentiment a lot in the last three weeks--ever since I first heard it.

Yes.  I've spent a lot of time thinking about something I heard in an Apple commercial.

But really, it's so true and sometimes when the opposite is true it's convicting in a crucial way.
What are the few great things that I spend a lot of time on?
What are the millions of unimportant things that I spend a lot of time on?

I want my list of the 'few great things' to be......

1.  My faith.
2.  My marriage.
3.  Georgia.
4.  Strong relationships with people I see on a regular basis.

And of course my list of a million unimportant things that I currently spend a lot of time on but I don't want to includes--but is definitely not limited to......

1.  Obsessing about losing five pounds....or ten....
2.  Dust in my house and other various cleaning obsessions.
3.  The computer.
4.  Other people that I have NO control over.

So what are yours?  What are the few great things that you want to spend a lot of time on?  A few, just a few.

I think you've heard it before. Quality, not quantity--when it comes to people, relationships, experiences, and everything in between.

Oh Apple.  You make amazing products and you challenge us to be better people.  All at the same time.  What can't you do?

On a semi-unrelated note.............

I made Georgia take a walk in the rain with me yesterday.  She didn't like it. We did it all the time growing up and loved it.  I'm confident one day she'll appreciate it.  For now though--she just kept begging to go back home.  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Summer Stream of Consciousness....About Food.

Summer has been jam-packed so far.  And I'm a-okay with that because I kind of feel like that is what summer is for.  I swept up grass clippings and sand from the kitchen floor last night after dinner and was happy about that, I've washed at least three beach towels and bathing suits each day for the last week and I'm happy about that too, and I've unpacked a weekend's worth of clothes each Sunday night for the last three weeks after Georgia gets to bed way past her bedtime, and I'm pretty happy about all of that too.  We are a good-summer-busy.

I had all these grand summer resolutions (which I'm learning are as futile as New Year's resolutions) when school was done for the year and have made barely a dent in them.  Which is frustrating and liberating all at the same time--more on that below.  

Instead, we've been spending most days like this.........

Rainbow prints....get some of that high pigment Crayola sidewalk chalk, draw a small rainbow, spray it with a water bottle, and when it's nice and wet gently put your foot or your hand on it and then make prints all over your driveway.  They're so cool!  Thanks to our creative Madi for coming up with these little sidewalk works of art.......

One of my goals for this summer was {kind-of} re-vamping my pantry.  And not really the organizational re-vamping--the what's in there kind of re-vamping.  I've read three amazing books in the last year, French Kids Eat Everything, Food Rules, and Bread & Wine that all deal with our attitudes and beliefs about what we put into our bodies, how it's to be enjoyed, and the way in which we should approach it.  They're all a little bit different, and a little bit the same.

Where one might discuss avoiding food extremism (which I'm all about) and just incorporating simple, easy-to-handle "rules" about being more healthy and aware, another one deals with what we teach our kids about food based on........ how many snacks we give them (just as one example), and yet another one gives practical and mostly healthy, whole, recipes to instill an intelligent love of food and making good meals for those we love.  They're all poignant.  And yet--I read them and I'm left feeling a little overwhelmed because there is just no way I can successfully do everything they mention--save for Bread & Wine; a book that is inspirational and convicting while not leaving you feeling overwhelmed.

So anyway--I knew that with the start of summer and the promise of more free-time {allegedly} I wanted to weave some of these ideas into our family pantry with more permanence.  One of the elements of Food Rules that I appreciate the most is that the author states right from the get-go that you shouldn't try and incorporate all of his rules.  You should do a few at a time until you're ready for more.  

One of my favorites?  Five ingredients or less that are things your grandma could pronounce.  In other words--ingredients that are actually food that you could buy.  In general--I'm doing fairly well at this.  I do have to stand around reading labels longer in the grocery aisle and I can't shake Georgia's love of nutri-grain bars and macaroni and cheese even though I've tired replacing them with various home-made versions--but I'm okay with that because I'm not going to make this an obsession--just a general good practice.

Additionally, one of the concepts that resonated with me the most from French Kids Eat Everything is the one about not letting our kids snack.  Because American kids are so frequently pacified with snacking while riding in the car, waiting in line, being patient while mom is on the phone, or because they're bored, they are less hungry than they should be at meal times meaning they are more picky about what is put in front of them.  They can be.  They're just not that if they don't eat what's put in front of them--no big deal.  They'll catch some fruit snacks in about an hour.  It's a lot easier to get kids to try new stuff when they're actually REALLY REALLY  hungry.  We've gotten pretty good about no snacks between breakfast and lunch and only one really good snack between lunch and dinner.  That one gets pushed a little bit since Chris doesn't get home from work until around 6:00 and Georgia's stomach needs a little more TLC than that.

And there's so much more.  So much more.  I'm trying to keep these things at the forefront of my mind on most days when it comes time to make lunch and dinner and go to the grocery store.  And like I said above, I want it to be a general good practice, not a rigid habit that results in it being a deterrent to good choices.

How about you?  What are your tricks for eating healthier?  What are your summer goals?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

DIY Nature Walk Purse

There was about a fifteen minute break in the rain and mist yesterday.  So Georgia and I headed outside to collect some 'treasures' for a little DIY that I had in mind. When we got back inside we laid them out to dry while we ate lunch. 

And then we got to work!  If you want to make your own--all you'll need is contact paper, outdoor treasures, some ribbon, a hole punch, and some colored tape.  Cut four pieces of contact paper to equal size.  Make them rather large--you're making a purse so you'll want it big enough to fit things inside of. 

Then, peel the backing off of one sheet of contact paper.  Lay it sticky side up on a flat surface and let your little designer get to work decorating it with some of the beautiful leaves and flowers you found on your nature walk. 

When there is enough on the contact paper peel the backing off your second sheet and lay it sticky side down, carefully, over your flowers and leaves.  Press the two sides together firmly to create a seal. 

You'll probably want to trim the edges. 

Repeat the above steps to create a second sealed sheet of leaves and flowers.  Now you have two sides for the purse.  Tape them together on the outside with some decorative masking or washi tape leaving the top open to make a pouch. 

How great do these leaves and curly-cues look? 

Then, punch two holes at the top of the purse on either side that you'll attach the ribbon strap to. 

Tie ribbon through each hole.  I had to measure my length of ribbon a few times to get it to hit in the right place on my four-year old.


Our finished product is big enough to hold some stuffed animals, necessary for every walk, sticks and stones we find along the way, a library book, or a picnic lunch.

You could do this so many different ways.  I'm so excited about how beautiful this turned out and how much of it my four year old was able to do on her own or help me with!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Listening to the messages our kids send us.

We talk about adoption in our house.  Of course we do.
Georgia asks me weekly when we're going to adopt a brother.  And it MUST be a brother.
Georgia asks me to tell her how excited I was when her birthparents told us their baby was a girl the first time we met them.  She'll say, "Yep.  I was a girl. And you and daddy wanted a little girl so bad. got a good one."
Georgia plays adoption day with her baby Polly. She even has me be the judge.
And on it goes.

We don't push these conversations.  They're organic and happen when Georgia wants them to happen.  Sometimes it's a couple times a week, sometimes it's once a month or less.  Sometimes they last about thirty seconds, sometimes they last about five minutes. It's really on her.

Georgia's middle name is her birth-mom's middle name. She knows that and is proud of it.  She's at the age where middle names come up a lot.  Kids are always asking each other what their middle names are and new parents that you meet seem to ask it too.  I suppose it's just a human interest thing.  There is usually a story behind a middle name; it was my mom's name, my best friend from college, my grandma's last name, the name of an amazing lady I met while going through a difficult situation, my favorite teacher, or maybe even a maiden name.  It's cool to hear stories about where middle names come from and to get a glimpse into someone's past and what's made an impact on them.  When Georgia's middle name gets brought up and she's around a beat doesn't go by before she chimes in,

"It's my birth-mom's middle name."

And she is proud.  Subsequently this leads to a conversation about Georgia's adoption and how proud we are of it.  She's generally right there adding bits and pieces to the story.  I think she likes to hear me talk about her adoption.  She smiles so big and beautiful when I talk about going to the hospital for the first time to hold her.  And she always tells everyone about the time she fell into the pool at Tarah's house (birth-mom) and Tarah just scooped her right out.  She loves her story and feels a sense of ownership and pride about it.

Last week we were talking to some new neighbors, playing with their kids, having the conversations about age and what we do and the discussion turned to names.  Our neighbor asked Georgia what her middle name was.  Georgia told her.  And then stared at me.  Quickly, she brought up another topic and ran off to play.  That was the first time I can remember that she didn't follow up announcing her middle name with a confident "And that's my birth-mom's middle name."  I've never said it.  She always does.

And I didn't say it that time for her either.  In that stare that she gave me after she announced what her middle name was, there was a conversation.  An unspoken one.  Just between the two of us.

She didn't want to talk about her adoption.  Not that day.  I don't know why. I didn't ask her.  I'm sure it was for no particular reason.  Just the normal, sometimes we don't feel like being at the center of attention and talking about ourselves.

But in that moment Georgia sent me a message.  And she counted on the bond that we have in order for me to hear it.  I believe that because we've always been so open about her adoption and have allowed her to talk about it or not talk about it as she's wanted to or not wanted to she feels confident that we'll respect her wishes when it comes to 'talking about her.'

It made me think though.  How many times do our kids send us an unspoken message by what they don't say? I'm not talking about the messages they send us regarding how tired (or selfish) they are because they're throwing a fit versus using words. I'm not talking about messages that sound like whining because they aren't getting their way.  I'm talking about messages that come in the form of intense eye contact, a look, a glance, a change of subject, silence.

I think it's easy to think of our kids, especially our little ones, as just  They don't have the ability to express a full range of human emotions in a logical and rational way....or do they?

Do they send the perfect messages in their silence?  A message that is meant for those they love without the need for miscellaneous and too many words.  I think sometimes they do.  And I consider it an honor to receive those silent, personal, just-for-me-because-I-know-her-better-than-anyone messages.

Those messages cement the fact that she is my little girl.  I am her mom.  And she trusts me.  Everyday.

Whatever those messages are that your kids send you in their silence, in their stares, in their timid grins; listen to them. It says a lot about how much they love you.  And trust you.  And confide in you.

And quite simply, that's a responsibility not to be taken lately.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Adult Stuff Disguised as Kid Stuff......

I've noticed since having a kid that a lot of "kid stuff" is actually adult stuff in disguise.  And I'm making no apologies for purchasing a number of kid things for myself.  For example--number 4 below--hello?  Awesome.  Kid stuff?  I could fill that beauty up with make-up lickety split.  And that sherpa puff from Pottery Barn Kids would go superbly in my living room. Anyway--just a few of my favorites from around the web!

1. Land of Nod...Obviously adorable in a kids room, but equally appropriate in a grown up bedroom hanging next to a wedding picture.
2. Land of Nod...These little poofs would be perfect on a deck or patio, no?
3. Fine Little Day....This cozy little baby blanket would be just as useful hanging over the back of a leather chair in your living room. 
4. J.Crew Crew Cuts.....Just plain awesome.  That's it. 
5.  Zara for Kids...This sweet little hair elastic would be great with a t-shirt and jeans. 
6. Land of Nod...Garland.  I just can't seem to get enough of it lately.  Hang amidst a grouping of photos in a gallery wall and you've got a whimsical finishing touch. 
7. Land of Nod...These nautical mirrors would look fantastic hanging above an entry way schmids. 
8. Pottery Barn Kids...With the popularity of sheepskin rugs, this sherpa poof fits right in!
9. J. Crew Crew Cuts...This necklace has little anchor cut-outs in each gold medallion.  Anchors are on-trend this season and this delicate piece of jewelry would make a great staple.  And the best part of J. Crew Crew Cuts are the prices!

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