I went to a wedding on New Year’s Eve which is the best thing you can possibly do on New Year’s so I’m now going to make friends with anyone newly engaged.
I hadn’t bought a new dress in ages so I thought I’d buy one for the wedding. But I wasn’t finding a lot of shopping time with the “traveling to Memphis with five kids” and “creating Christmas and Hanukkah magic” and “trying to send out holiday cards” with old addresses written in illegible writing on our 14 year old wedding gift list.
The morning of the wedding I tried to go dress shopping with three of my kids. 12 year old Dylan somehow left with a dress. I did not.
Later on that day, we dropped our children at my inlaws and my father’s house. My husband and I had about 22 minutes of spare time before we had to head home to get dressed. So I said, “Let’s go to Bloomingdales!”
I shopped for 22 minutes of uninterrupted, no children interfering time and left with two dresses. One for the wedding….
and one for a fun dance night out in Miami….
(I have no plans for a fun dance night out in Miami but once you own the dress, you really are obliged to plan such an outing.)
Once we got home, we quickly got ready and that’s when I realized the dress I bought for the wedding STILL HAD THE GIANT SECURITY TAG ON.
Bloomingdales was now a half hour away and closed. And our local department stores were closed too.
CRAP. CRAP. CRAP. CRAP. CRAP.
Since we had about 6 minutes till we had to leave, I decided that was the perfect time to haul the tool box from the garage and get that security tag off.
I tugged. I pulled. We tried a wrench. We tried needle nose pliers. And despite the fact that these security tags are not very good at making the alarm go off when you leave a store, they are very good at staying on when you need to get to a wedding.
I can be a very determined woman but I had been outsmarted and outmaneuvered by a security tag.
Rick suggested wearing a different dress since we had to leave 3 minutes ago. I finally relented and wore the “fun night out in Miami” dress.
We had a fabulous time at the wedding…
and the next day, we drove to Bloomingdales. I spotted two sales associates in the men’s department and marched up with my dress and receipt.
They were very apologetic.
“Wow. You really tried to get this thing off.”
At least my effort was recognized.
“Do you happen to have a wedding to go to tonight also?”
Surprisingly, I did not.
I told them not to mention anything to the woman who sold me the dresses. She was so ridiculously nice and I know she would have been upset to think of me with those needle nose pliers tugging and pulling with great frustration at my new dress.
Just tell her I happened to be in the store again – and I wanted her to know – it was a great wedding.
I was in Memphis for the holiday and I knew it was going to be a very special Christmas morning because the very first thing my daughter said to me was…
“You forgot to charge my phone.”
And I must have had a disapproving look on my face because it was quickly followed by… “I mean, Merry Christmas!”
And later on I was questioned whether Santa can return the nail polishes in their stockings for different colors. I immediately made a note to ask Santa about the North Pole return policy.
We were in Memphis with my sister and her family for the holiday and I always love seeing them.
Some of my favorite things this year…
The Christmas tree fell over. No one had any helpful information on how it exactly happened. 6 year old Chase said “when I walked in the room it was just falling” which seemed highly suspicious but no one else elaborated. Of course, the only other people in the room were two 3 year olds. And everyone was keeping quiet.
Luckily no one was hurt although the tree never quite bounced back.
Interestingly enough, in this very same room, a vine was growing through the window. Like seriously.
My sister said they kept meaning to go outside and trim it but who has the time when you have 3 kids – including a baby.
OMG the baby!
7 month old Cicely is the CUTEST. Here’s everyone trying to get her to smile for a photo.
Meanwhile, Santa wrote the sweetest note to the kids. But someone needs to seriously tell him it’s “Ho Ho Ho” and not “Hoo Hoo Hoo.”
Maybe he was doing his best owl impersonation. That guy gets giddy after visiting a few million houses.
The trip ended at Graceland where we had to say goodbye to my sister and her family before heading to the airport.
What baby? I’m not leaving with any baby.
A few summers ago, my daughter (then 5) broke her arm falling off the monkey bars.
When she got the cast off and had fully healed, she asked me if I could lift her up to the monkey bars and try again. I didn’t hesitate. Absolutely.
I mean, shouldn’t she work on her monkey bars skills so she doesn’t fall again? (By the way, have you tried the monkey bars as an adult? Really hard.)
And I have tried to never say to my children, “Don’t climb up the slide. It’s only for coming down!” in that sing songy voice. They should climb up it – as long as someone isn’t coming hurtling toward them. Who made this “no climbing up the slide” rule anyway? A jungle gym should be climbed, swung on and conquered.
And the other day, when I was at a playground with my kids, they looked up at this gigantic hill and said, “Can we roll down that?”
This time I did hesitate, because there are no hills in South Florida and I knew it was a garbage landfill under that hill. But I finally relented to their pleadings.
“Okay, let’s go roll down it!”
And as the sun set, they rolled again and again with shrieks of joy and not one sibling squabble. It didn’t even smell. I have no idea how that’s possible. Landfill magic.
This is what children are meant to do. Not spend hours and hours and hours sitting. But yet, we constantly try to demand that of even young children. According to Angela Hanscom, a pediatric occupational therapist and author of “Balanced and Barefoot,” “Elementary children need at least three hours of active free play a day to maintain good health and wellness. Currently, they are only getting a fraction of this time.”
This week, I spent over an hour trying to help my 6 year old son learn his spelling words. They were just too hard for him. He struggled with tears in his eyes as he misspelled them again and again. I was frustrated and impatient. He felt not-so-smart. I finally said, enough.
“You have done great Chase. You have mastered a bunch of words. Not all of them. But you will learn them in time. We will work on them one by one. Now go out and jump on the trampoline.”
And that’s what he did. I really believed it restored his emotional balance.
Our education system may be demanding unrealistic things from our children. But I don’t have to. I don’t care what he got on that spelling test. I want learning to be a fun experience (he’s in first grade and he adores his teacher!). And then he needs to be free to move.
Hanscom says in a Washington Post article that occupational therapists like herself are trying to get kids wiggling again.
“We encourage children to go upside down, to jump off objects, to climb to new heights and spin in circles to give them a better sense of body awareness. All of these rapid and changing movements shift the fluid around in the inner ear to develop a strong vestibular (balance) sense. A unifying sense, the vestibular system supports good body awareness, attention and emotional regulation. These skills are fundamental to learning in the classroom.”
The truth is kids spend way too much time sitting… from school to the car to homework to sedentary activities. And when they can play, adults are always trying to limit them.
“We say things like, “Get down from there, you are going to get hurt.” And, “Stop spinning, you are going to get dizzy.” We keep children in an upright position for the majority of their day. This does little to stimulate and challenge the senses. Its no wonder our kids are fidgeting like crazy, crying at the drop of a hat and slumping over their desks like rag dolls,” says Hanscom.
So get dizzy. Fall over. Swing on the monkey bars. Climb up the slide.
Let’s stop telling kids “to be safe” and start telling them “to spin.”
Their health depends on it.
This post is sponsored by Luvs.
I can’t remember when I learned about the idea of gratitude. But the importance of it, has always stuck with me.
Even on our worst days, we can all come up with things to be thankful for – it could be the smallest thing in the universe. A Gilmore Girls Reunion. The fact that the Halloween candy still hasn’t run out. My 3 year old blowing me a kiss. Finally locating the remote. Or finding a $5 bill my pocket.
Because $5 will totally buy one of those frozen yogurts that come in the way too gigantic cups. I mean, take a look of this photo of when Cash was a baby… What’s bigger – my baby’s head or the cup?
Hard call, right?!
I know in high school I was grateful for Sun In and diet soda and that my asymmetrical haircut finally grew out. And best friendships. And when a crush liked me back.
And in college, ladies night at our favorite bar. And my make-me-laugh-so-hard friends. And the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving which always seemed to be the most fun night ever.
And after college, I was grateful for a job.
And later on, the city of Manhattan with its energy and grit and never ending promise of opportunity.
And then finding a person who definitely made me a better version of myself.
And then these children. Who are beautiful. And inspiring. And so talkative. With so many opinions.
I look at my 3 year old son (our 5th child) and I’m so grateful for his spirited existence in this world even if we never really saw him coming.
Although he STILL refuses to accept Daylight Savings and cheerfully awakes every morning at 5:30 AM. I just love his sweet face, even as I am pleading, “GO BACK TO SLEEP. IT’S DARK. NO ONE IS UP. GO BACK TO SLEEP. I AM SO OLD. PLEASE.”
He doesn’t care at all (in case you’re wondering).
Luvs (the diaper company) just did a poll of moms across the country to take a look at parenting like it really is and here’s what they found out…
50% of moms value having an uninterrupted phone conversation and I’m absolutely positive that if I ever have one, I’ll appreciate it too.
53% of mothers value watching TV shows and movies that aren’t cartoons. (Yes, I still shudder about the time our cable was stuck on one of the kid channels for over 24 hours.)
And 81% of moms would prefer an entire day off from housework than dinner with their celebrity crush.
Moms, and I speak to all 81% of you…
I would be happy to dustbust my minivan for 12 hours straight if I could then kick back and dine with my super hot celebrity crush. I would tell you who he is – but you might dustbust your minivan for 12 hours and steal him from me.
You know what else parents are grateful for? Diapers that doesn’t leak. Luvs just introduced the new and improved Luvs Ultra Leakguard Diapers with NightLock Plus™. If you’re still in that diaper stage of parenthood (which lasts somewhere between two years and 10 billion years), you need to try these.
They are absorbent, affordable, easy fastening and offer ultra-leakage protection. What more do you want parents?! (I mean other than for your kid to finally get used to that Daylight Savings thing and sleep past 5:30 in the morning.)
And Luvs is offering a $1 print-at-home coupon. Just click here.
Saving money? Yeah, I’m always grateful for that.
Join the #WhatULuv Twitter party hosted by @iConnect and @Luvs, on November 29th, 9-10pm EST to share what you value as a parent.
This post is sponsored by Luvs. All ideas are my own.
Last weekend, my husband and I were out to dinner at a Fort Lauderdale restaurant called, Coconuts. All the staff wear shirts that say, “Be nice.” Seems like a perfect mantra in a post election world.
We bought one of the t-shirts because couldn’t we all use a bit more “be nice” in our life?
The next day, on the way to school, I was telling my kids about the restaurant and the t-shirts when my daughter Summer said, “Look at that car.”
And there it was. A sticker on the back that said, “Be nice.”
How funny. Sometimes the universe just points a certain way.
The following day, I pulled into a parking lot. Right next to me – another car with a sticker that said, “Be nice.” I was staring at it when the owner of the car came back. I asked him, “Where did you get that sticker?” He told me where and then said, “Have a great day!”
“You too!” I responded.
Well, I never even had time to buy one of those stickers because shortly after, I was at another event in Fort Lauderdale, and someone was handing them out. For free. I took one and now it’s on my car.
The universe wasn’t just pointing me in a direction. It was hitting me over the head.
I always try to be nice. Although I’ll admit I’ve had complete moments of failure when I’ve been waiting at a doctor’s appointment for a ridiculous amount of time and I start stressing about traffic and school pick up and well, it can cause one to lose their patience and their “be niceness.” But I always apologize, forgive myself and then try again.
It was my husband who taught me how to take nice to a whole new level. For example, instead of just saying hello with a smile to the security guard at your school – you can know his name, whether he has kids and you can mention how much you appreciate the long hours he works.
That’s the kind of nice that makes such a difference. It’s something to strive for whenever humanely possible. In a world where we often feel powerless, we forget how much our small positive actions can change the story of someone’s day.
This past week, I drove my kids to their piano lesson. All four were at the lesson and my 3 year old was asleep in the car. I was leaning against the car and breathing a moment of calmness. Finally a second to read a funny article that a friend had sent.
And at that very moment, this older women starts walking towards me on the street.
“Hi. I need to meet my friend at the movies but I don’t know how to get there. I’m told I can use my phone but I don’t know how to do it,” she said to me.
She even handed me the movie tickets to prove that she was indeed going to the movies. I wondered how she got the tickets without going to the theater but I didn’t ask. I only had 15 minutes until my 6 year old son would be done with his lesson.
“Sure, I said. You have a car, right?”
She did, around the corner.
So I explained how the maps app on her phone worked. I turned on her location services. I put in her destination and wished her a great trip to the movies. She said thank you and left.
And then my 3 year old woke up.
And a few minutes later, my 6 year old emerged from his lesson.
It was time to go to the playground while the others finished their lessons. I never did read that funny article.
But I like to think that woman went to the movies, met up with her friend and said, “There was this woman who helped me get here today. She was really nice.”