4/30/13

today.

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Today we ran in an open field painted yellow with dandelions.
Today we picked bunches of wild violets and placed them happily around our home.
Today we savored homemade popsicles under the shade of an old apple tree.
Today we lazily laid on our backs with clear blue skies and sang our little hearts out.
Today was good.

Please excuse our messy hair and dirty clothes. This is us. This is real life. We run, we play, we fall down. Our hair is messy and at the end of the day our clothes are worn. But today was good, and that's all that matters.

Now, I'm off to tackle some laundry!

4/29/13

17/52

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"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Jonas: The importance of happiness.
Joshua: The importance of details.
Jessica: The importance of play.

Thank you Jodi for hosting this Portrait series.

4/28/13

sunday stills. photo 17

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A single photo once a week.
To capture my emotions, to sum up the days.
To collect my thoughts and hold them in my hands.

Every Sunday, one photo.

On this Sunday: Dreamy days filled with warm breezes, dancing bubbles and running toes. The grass is cool and vibrant green, the flowers begin to blossom. Spring has arrived.

Good golly, where does the week go? I have so many posts lined up in my mind and written on the calendar, yet I can't seem to find the time to actually create them. I guess I'm too busy enjoying life, and that's okay with me :)

Well my friends, it's Sunday and you all know what that means in our house. A big family brunch, minus Jon since his soccer season has started. As I type I can hear the timer singing to let me know the German Apple Pancake (grain free, dairy free) is done.

Enjoy your day, find time to relax and enjoy the little moments in life.
That's what I'll be doing on this fine, and rainy, Sunday.

4/24/13

the battle of the binky.

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That's right, we are having a battle in our house and it's with Jessica and her love for the binky. This is new to me. The boys never took a pacifier, and Jessica, well she is absolutely in love with it. If it were up to her, she would have it in her mouth all the time. While we try to only let her have it during naps and bedtime, she finds her little stashes around the house and happily plops them in her mouth.

Last week I happened to notice, or at least notice in my own paranoid mind, that there is gap between her top and bottom teeth. I am convinced it's the binky's fault. I know it. Well, actually it's my fault because I've allowed her to have the binky, but let's just go with it's the binky's fault.

That was it for me. It's time to say bye bye binky. We talked about the "binky fairy," yet each night when it came time to give it up there was a battle. There were tears, begging and pleas. And then I had to listen to the boys ramble on how they lost out on the binky fairy, they couldn't believe they didn't know there was one (oh boy, what have I started).

I stopped talking about the fairy and decided to start with baby steps. Our new rule: binky stays in bed, you can only use it for naps and bedtime.

So far, we are on day two and I am so proud of Jess. When I tell her to take it out she happily spits it across the room and laughs. Sure, it's turned into a little game, but if it works then I'm okay with that. The plan is to go about two weeks with this rule and then move to phase two, bye bye binky.

Ultimately, my goal is to be over the pacifier by the time we go on vacation this summer. I have to admit, it drives me crazy. I don't often use the word hate, but I hate, loathe the binky. I want to pluck it from her mouth and throw it away. I want to tell her she doesn't need it. She's a big girl, and big girls don't use binkys.

But maybe, just maybe, she does need it. Maybe she needs that comfort. Am I willing to pluck that from my little girl and toss it to the wind? Or am I willing to set aside my annoyance for that little piece of plastic and turn my head on this issue. Am I willing to gather my patience and wait until she is ready. Or at least more ready.

The battle of the binky is a tough fight. I wish I knew the answers. I wish I knew the key to winning. I tend to be an all or nothing kinda person. A quit cold turkey, if you will. Rip off the bandaid fast and it won't hurt. I don't think this battle will be that easy or fast.

Do you know the key to winning? Suggestions? Answers? Anything?

4/22/13

16/52

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"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Jonas: Bug searching.
Joshua: Dirt digging.
Jessica: Flower picking.

Thank you Jodi for hosting this Portrait series.

4/21/13

sunday stills. photo 16

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A single photo once a week.
To capture my emotions, to sum up the days.
To collect my thoughts and hold them in my hands.

Every Sunday, one photo.

On this Sunday: A sunday morning favorite, crepes stuffed with goodness, lazy morning monopoly games and music drifting in the air. Life is good.

I feel like my sunday stills are turning into pictures of these little buddies! I can't help it, every time I turn around these two are off holding hands and playing together. They really are so much alike. The love they share melts my heart, and my Jonas, he is so protective of his siblings. I am absolutely in love with my family.

Enjoy your Sunday!

4/19/13

running to the weekend.

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I wish I could say I was running to the weekend with open arms because we had no plans. No plans but to take it easy, finish up the spring cleaning, pack away the winter clothes, bake and read.

That never seems to be the case these days, but I guess I can day dream a bit.

It's a fully loaded weekend. I have lots of work on my end, a Cub Scouts banquet, soccer (times two), t-ball, golf and family dinners. Phew, I'm exhausted just thinking of it. Hopefully we can squeeze in a much needed movie in mama's bed, or at least some very long reading sessions. Now that Jonas is a full fledged reader we love to cuddle in bed and read side by side. Pretty much my favorite activity.

Happy weekend friends!
I hope it's a good one.

4/18/13

thoughts on parenting. as they grow.

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The other day when I was at the gym I couldn’t help but overhear two mothers talking. One had a small infant and the other had a little girl around eighteen months. Perhaps they had another toddler, perhaps not. As I juggled Jess in my arms, trying to distract her while we waited for Josh’s swimming to finish, my ears wandered towards their conversation. “It’s just so hectic now, non-stop you know,” said the one mother. “Oh I know, I never imagined kids would be this hard. Look at the moms whose kids are in school and they stay home. That’s when it gets easier. I guess we’ll get there eventually,” replied the other. “Ya, eventually it will be easy.”

I wanted to run towards the young mothers, with arms flailing and my words shouting “Don’t be fooled, it only get’s harder! Prepare yourself!” But, as you can imagine, I didn’t do this. I silently smiled to myself and kept my thoughts inside my head. Now, I don’t want to scare any mothers out there. I don’t really mean that it gets harder, I simply mean the challenges shift. And I suppose I was never really ready for this shift in parenting. It tends to become less about the physical demands (the nursing, the waking in the night, the lifting of car seats) and more of the emotional type. I now find myself searching for answers to difficult questions that that I honestly can’t answer myself. Questions about God, religion, why there are protesters in front of a doctor’s office. I’ve had to explain divorce and why sometimes mommies and daddies don’t get along. I can barely understand these issues myself, let alone explain them to my five and seven year old.

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The emotional has overtaken the physical.

My days of toting toddlers around in a baby wrap have been replaced with chauffeuring them all over town and facing the challenge of being on time. My moments spent worrying if my two year old was eating enough vegetables is now spent worrying if he actually eats the lunch I pack. Does he trade off the healthy items I carefully choose, or worse, does he toss them in the trashcan? Is he sneaking in sugars and candy and frozen treats while at school? Has my healthy lifestyle that I uphold in our home backfired? And if it hasn't, will it in the future?

Do I spend enough playtime with my children? Our days are filled with so many activities, outings and homework sessions that I constantly worry if I give each of my children the attention they desire. The attention they need.

Did I practice math and spelling enough with Jonas today, did I read books to each of my children, is the binky that Jess loves causing her teeth to move, should I have Josh's hearing retested, will Jonas eventually warm up to the idea of swim team, is he making the right friends at school?

These are the questions that weigh on my heart during the late hours of the night. These are the questions that are always roaming around in the back of my mind. These and many more.

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The important note to take away is that we must embrace parenthood. We must embrace our roles as a parent at every step of the way, and there are plenty of steps on this journey. I can’t help but reflect on what I overheard the mother say, “Eventually it (parenting) will get easy.”

Nobody ever said parenting was easy. It doesn’t come with a map, an instruction manual or even a version of cliff notes, although many times I wish it did.

We create our own notes and manuals one day at a time. It is a continuous journey, and uphill struggle that is filled so many joys, and it is the over abundance of joys that make you forget about the stress and trials of parenting. One good game of hide and seek outweighs the sleepless nights, one round of family t-ball erases the memories of struggling to feed an infant, and the laughter of your children teaches you that happiness is all that matters.

These children of ours, they blossom and grow.
They expand and learn.
And as parents, it's our job to do the same.
To grow together.
Learn together.
Laugh together.
And this, I hope, will be the path to happiness.


4/15/13

15/52

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"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Jonas: Into the woods we go, to seek adventure with friends. To create new lands, to climb the trees, to become the kings. The imagination is a powerful tool.

Joshua: "This is my castle mom," he softly spoke, "tucked under yellow stars and cloud branches, and when we sleep we sleep on beds made of green grass and brown leaves."

Jessica: A tiny bug catcher. Chasing small movements over brick walkways, chitter chatter and sun touched cheeks.

Thank you Jodi for hosting this Portrait series.

4/14/13

sunday stills. photo 15

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A single photo once a week.
To capture my emotions, to sum up the days.
To collect my thoughts and hold them in my hands.

Every Sunday, one photo.

On this Sunday: A unique bond that I pray is unbreakable. These two share something special, something precious that not all siblings experience.

This moment is completely candid and was captured from our picnic the other day. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the two of them pick up a feather, run it between their fingers and toss it in the air. As Joshua reached out to pass it to Jess I knew this was a moment I had capture. Even if it meant tripping over the basket and stepping on our lunches :)

I hope you enjoy your Sunday! We're finalizing the plans for our garden and compost, we're taking the kids to a play, dinner with family and then home to watch Mad Men. Sundays are always my favorite.

4/12/13

museum adventures.

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It seems that the flu bug has struck every household we know, and unfortunately it hit ours during spring break. Plans were canceled and many movies were watched, but we did manage to squeeze in a day trip to Cleveland. Since it was last minute we didn't worry about much planning. We grabbed lunch at Lemongrass and then headed to The Cleveland Museum of Natural History for the rest of the day.

Jonas has been passionate about dinosaurs since he was three years old, and now he has Joshua and Jessica on board. They ran this way and that way eager to explore each exhibit. Megalodon was by far a favorite, and Jess couldn't get enough of Allosaurus. A trip to the local, or not local, museum is always a hit. Especially when dinosaurs and fossils are involved.

Did I ever mention Jonas has quite the fossil collection? My mom got him started and he has accumulated some fantastic pieces over the years, including a Spinosaurus tooth, a trilobite, an ammonite, several prehistoric shark teeth and more.

My favorite exhibit at the museum? The story of Balto by far won over my heart. I had no idea the history behind this Siberian Husky and made it a point to read and share it with the kids. Such a fascinating and touching story. And of course, I can never get enough of the rocks and gems display, but the kids never seem interested.

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend and stays far away from those flu bugs!

4/11/13

a picnic in the park.

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Spring has finally arrived! I can smell it in the air with the sweet scent of green grass and blossoming tulips. I can hear it outside my open windows as the birds sing with happiness. I can feel the April breeze roll over my winter skin. We have been longing for these days, waiting patiently, peering outside our smudged windows. Knowing that I need the warm weather to clean those dirty windows!

April tends to bring with her a pocket full of showers, but in between the rain we caught a moment. We grasped that moment and ran to the park. Well, the kids ran, I slowly trudged behind carrying the baskets, the camera gear, the balls, the blanket. Who knew you could bring so many items for a simple picnic?

And of course, Jess was so proud to carry her own lunch box and stainless steel drink bottle. She was even more excited to see that her name was on each item. As many of my readers know we strive to live an eco-friendly lifestyle. We always carry our own reusable lunch boxes, drink containers and baggies. Stuck on You has a great selection of products ranging from labels, to lunch boxes and bags, to clothing and gifts.

When Stuck on You contacted me on working together for a post I spent an entire evening cruising through their website. There are so many products and each one can be personalized with names and designs. I know Jessica is excited, but I'm just as thrilled that she finally has her own water bottle for our soccer Saturdays and outings, and a sturdy, lined and well made reusable lunch bag. I have a feeling these new items will be getting a lot of use as spring rolls into summer.

Thank you Stuck on You for working with Yellow Finch.
You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

*this is a sponsored post
*lunch bag and stainless steel bottle c/o Stuck on You