children, gratitude, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

The Goal is LOVE (Happy New Year)

When I began this blog, I didn’t really have any big goals.  I was still grieving the profound loss of my mom, which does and doesn’t get easier, and coping with raising two rambunctious boys.  I started writesforallmommies on a whim and it became a great coping mechanism for me.  It allowed me to connect with others in a way that my very introverted personality sometimes doesn’t allow.

Through the years, I have had posts that click with a reader, friend or relative.  That is the best feeling in the world.  To know that something I wrote resonated and hopefully made them feel less alone.  Let’s be honest, raising children (or life in general) can be very isolating.  We feel judged as much as we judge.  We question ourselves as much as we question others.  We put on a brave front that we know what we are doing, when in fact, we know very little about how our actions will impact the future.  It is frightening and exhilarating and mystifying and lovely all at once.

I recently received an email from a mom thanking me for my support during her daughter’s recent diagnosis of ectopia lentis. This is the same, genetic eye disorder both of my boys have. It is so rare, that it is difficult to find adequate resources on-line or anywhere at all for that matter. This mom is one of three that has contacted me through writesforallmommies.com concerning this matter.

To be able to help these moms cope with the overwhelming feelings that came with this bizarre sounding disorder has been one of the greatest rewards of writing this blog.  I share this with you because if you are going through a particularly rough patch right now, know that it is preparing you to be of service to someone else.  My boys were undiagnosed for a long, long time and not knowing anyone who had gone through the same experience was gut-wrenching.  I know I didn’t completely prevent the feelings of despair for these women, but I eased the way and gave them hope.  My boys are living proof that vision does not define them.  They are awesome, adaptive and remarkable.  No matter what happens with their vision down the road, they will remain awesome, adaptive and remarkable.

You are all those and more, dear reader.

Happy New Year!

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children, family, gratitude, happiness, humor, kids, life in pictures, motherhood, parenting

A Year in Review (Happy New Year!)

I am typing this with a sports-related pinkie sprain.  While I have learned some great lessons this year, apparently I still am slow on the realization that my husband is a competitive beast.  Even playing an innocent family game of touch football in the backyard brings out his win-at-all-costs attitude.  I blame him entirely for the injury, but I blame myself for even playing in the first place.

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In 2013 I think the biggest change I have noticed, especially with Full Speed, is the strange phenomena of actually being helpful without being asked.  I am rendered speechless when one or both of my boys volunteers to hold a door, carry a bag, let a dog out, etc. and in turn, make my life a little bit easier.  I didn’t think it was possible.  That’s not to say they are perfect or that it happens all the time, it’s just a tiny, little gleaming light at the end of the tunnel for those parents up to their neck in diapers, bottles and constant demands.  May this help us all set the stage for even more positive changes and growth in the coming New Year.

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Another major positive change was being reunited with our dog.  T.Puzzle continues to respond well healthwise to both dogs we have now, and seems to have completely outgrown his allergy to them.  Honestly, we never outgrew our love for her and we never will.

Supermodel
Supermodel

Mad Dog and I celebrated our ten-year wedding anniversary.  I can say without doubt, these past ten years have been the best of my life.  It’s not that life somehow got magically easier once we got married, in fact, we’ve faced some pretty major life events.  It has more to do with having someone in your corner that appreciates you for all the right reasons and sticks by you even when you are anything but your best.  My goal for my family is to create a home that is filled with love and acceptance.  With Mad Dog by my side, this goal is automatic.

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Familes, people, circumstances and life are never perfect.  The real lesson is to somehow find the love when all else seems dark.  There are always reasons to be thankful.  Sometimes it takes creativity to glean gratitude from your life.  Just make sure you surround yourself with awesome people and then finding the gratitude will be easier than you think.

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children, family, gratitude, humor, kids, marriage, motherhood, parenting

The Year in Review (Happy New Year!)

T.Puzzle transitioned from Pre-K to the big dance this year.  While he flourished in kindergarten in many ways, his attitude towards me has shifted dramatically.  I went from being his ‘best friend forever’ to… not. Trust me, my ego was ill-prepared for the loss of my little ‘Mommy’s boy’.  It helps when I think about what growing up is like for him.  He must get awfully tired of being told what to do every second of the day and he lets me know it, too.  It’s okay.  I’m a tough cookie.  I can take it.  No matter what he tells you, he’s always going to be my ‘baby’.

Full Speed continues to fulfill is pre-ordained destiny of being Mad Dog’s clone.  His mannerisms, his physical attributes as well as his attitudes about life and sports are all a spot-on mimicry of Mad Dog.  Thankfully, Full Speed couldn’t have a better role model.  Well, it might be nice to tone down that competitive streak but let’s be real, that isn’t going to happen.  All I can do is sit back and watch history repeat itself.

Mad Dog is painstakingly building a soccer empire right here in our cul-de-sac.  His intense coaching sessions even pushed me to win most improved at this year’s family soccer classic.  Trust me, after playing against Mad Dog, I know how to bring the hurt.  Even on the days when he scores a million goals on me, and those days do happen, Mad Dog remains my biggest supporter.  He trusts me to always give my best no matter what I do (soccer and otherwise).  This helps me to trust in myself.

As for me, first I want to share a blog secret with you my dear, faithful readers.  You may think that I have the most photogenic children on the planet.  This is simply untrue.  The key to my photographic success is that I average about a thousand pictures for every one, hidden gem that I post.

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See what I mean?

The other part I want to share with you is this year I pushed myself to face my fear of horses and have taken some riding lessons.  The first time my horse cantered, I about passed out from fright.  I held onto the saddle horn as if my life depended on it (I guess technically it did).

I’m slowly learning that fear cannot stop us.  We are the ones who stop ourselves. I hope by facing my own fears, I can help my boys be fearless.  I have a feeling these guys are well on their way.

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For me riding horses is a lot like motherhood.  It’s unpredictable, frightening, joyful, exhilarating and absolutely the ride of a lifetime.

Look out 2013! We are coming for you!

humor, kids, motherhood, parenting, tantrums, terrible twos

New Year, New Mom…Happy 2012!

When writing my posts I try to be honest.  My resolution for the coming year is to keep the honesty going.  Motherhood has not always been easy for me and I want to continue the truthful documentation of my triumphs and tribulations.

I would like to start this off by first of all sharing how far I have come since the birth of Full Speed.  In the seven years that I have been lucky enough to call this kid and his little brother my own, I feel like a completely new person.  I learned it was easier to accept the harsh realities of raising two extremely spirited boys than continue to fight it. The more I let go of my parenting expectations (like having a quiet house,  having children who exhibit minimal tantrums and/or power struggles, receiving gentle hugs, etc.) and embraced my kids for exactly who they are, everything started to get easier.  You can sense this evolution if you have been following my blog for a while.  The more recent my posts, the less pitiful they are.  2011 has especially been a turning point for me.  My boys are older and I am hopefully wiser (ha, ha).  I am now finally able to reconnect with parts of myself that I thought motherhood had taken forever.  My boys are more independent (sigh) and this has allowed me the freedom to return to myself a little bit more every day.

How do I know that I still have a long way to go?  Well, this is where the honesty part comes in play.  Every time I hear that a friend or family member is expecting a child, especially their first, a tiny part of me hopes that at some point their future bundle of joy will throw some serious, Grade A tantrums. There, I said it.

Full Speed, age 2, on the brink of a meltdown
Never to be outdone, T.Puzzle, age two, gets ready to rumble

I have yet to meet another Mom who has dealt/deals with as many tantrums as I have survived.  If you are out there, hang in there.  It gets better and so do the deals at the liquor store if you buy in bulk.

Anyway, I raise a glass (or two or twenty) to my best year of my motherhood experience yet.  Thank you 2011!

Can’t wait for 2012… Happy New Year to All!

gratitude, happiness, humor, kids, life in pictures, marriage, mommy cliques, mommyhood, motherhood, parenting, self care (or lack thereof), self-discovery

Happy 2011, Everyone!

Resolutions for 2011 are as follows–

T.Puzzle: To be Superman when I grow up!

That’s super, man.

Full Speed:  I promise to be the bestest boy in all the land.

Considering his initial behavior at our New Year’s lunch out by the ocean, this goal may be slightly on the lofty side.

Mad Dog:  To get fit and have more patience with my boys.

First of all, I think he looks fantastic as is and secondly, I’m thinking he wanted to add ‘and more patience with my wife’.  Since he was speaking this goal directly to me, he was wise to leave that part out.

Me:  To have more gratitude for what I already have.

Case in point...

That’s the great thing about motherhood, it gives you many reasons to be grateful.  I’m serious, mostly…, and no, I haven’t fallen and hit my head (at least not badly).

These are some of the lessons I learned throughout 2010.

1.  No matter how much you dream it or wish it, you are not in control of your life or your children.  It seems the more I try to micromanage Full Speed’s and T.Puzzle’s behavior, the more likely I am to fail and be miserable in the process.   Sometimes you have to let go and let them be who they are, even if that means they act wild sometimes, forget their manners and generally drive you and your spouse nuts.

2. On good days, motherhood is about the balance between caring for the needs of your kids and caring for your own needs.  On bad days, motherhood is about survival.  All you can do is survive until your children’s bedtime, chalk it up to a bad day and start the adventure anew the next day.

3.  When the bad stuff happens, it’s your best opportunity to learn.

4.  I am extremely lucky to have someone like Mad Dog as my children’s father.  Kids love to emulate what they see, and fortunately for me, this means they see love, respect and generosity as a way of life.

Full Speed puts his hands in his pockets just like Mad Dog on our day at the zoo.

5.  Frustration doesn’t get you very far.  Acceptance, an action plan and forgiveness go a whole lot further in this world.

6.  Having kids allows you to remember your own sense of fun.  It’s also a great excuse to wear silly hats when you ring in the new year.

Happy New Year, Everyone!