It's been a week of babies around here. Two separate friends welcomed tiny people into their families and lives. Jorge and I went to deliver a meal and chat with the new parents. The mom looked so tired and little wrecked. I had this wave of compassion come over me.
How is she doing it? It's so hard in the beginning. You are so exhausted, you did such a big thing and now you are keeping someone else alive.
I had similar feelings when I went on a getaway with a friend who has two under two. Then I saw my very pregnant sister this weekend and wondered how she managed to pull a birthday party off so close to the end. I was in awe and had total respect for each of these women.
I'm not sure why but I was so struck by my observation. The funny part is, I have done this myself, like four months ago. It barely occurred to me I have stood in those places before. When you are there, you just press on because that's what we do as parents. We keep going, loving, living. You have no idea how remarkable it truly is until there is some distance. I sometimes scoff at the idea that parenting is the hardest job in the world but in the world but in many ways it is. So pull out the old baby pictures or look at the one you are holding today, remind yourself how amazing you both are.
What do you remember about the early days of parenting? Tell me in the comments.
Normally, I would lift up my shirt and take a picture of my pregnant belly, but it seemed kinda weird to do over here and frankly, I'm a little creeped out about my outie belly button that miraculously appeared when I was 10 weeks pregnant. The Baby was like the size of a quarter at that point and I had an outie? Odd, I know.
This weekend was a busy weekend for us. We had a birthday party for the boys yesterday (more to come on that on a later day) and then I had to work a wine festival on Saturday. While a majority of my sales for my small business involves selling my tees online, my friend Wendy has opened my eyes to the world of craft fairs and shows. Opened my eyes in that if you attend a craft show or a fair, you apparently are there to spend money and if it is indoors, you are a relatively captive audience.
So there I was on Saturday in my little booth, selling away. I imagine in a perfect world at 36 weeks pregnant, I would have foregone this festival this year and waited until next year when things, I'm sure, will be SO much less complicated (hahahahaha). But thanks to this being the year that the dollar is not quite stretching as far as it used to stretch, I found myself under a mound of shirts, looking positive and cheerful and sales-y.
I had a FABULOUS day and sold out of most of my stuff. That is always good. But I had to pay for my successful day.
A kindly older gentleman stopped at my booth as I was sorting things out. With the air of an OB, he said, "You know, when you are this far along, you really should be at home in bed with your feet up on a Saturday."
My response? "If only Dominion Power would agree with you on that one rather than sending that pesky, 'we really weren't joking last month when we sent you that bill so you should pay us already' notice." We all laughed and he wandered away, enjoying his delicious looking Pinot Noir as my ankles swelled another 1/4."
His heart was in the right place and it was a lot nicer comment then the woman who stood three feet away from me and pointed me out to her friends and yelled "LOOK AT HER! SHE'S ABOUT TO POP!!!" In case you were wondering, I was NOT behind glass so I could hear her perfectly. She was (and this is lucky for her) outside of my swing range.
People mean well and we have all had a moment when our social filters are a little less effective than they should be. Share the best comment you have heard (said to you, said to a friend or, gasp, said yourself by accident). I know there is nothing to win today other than my undying love, but comment anyway.
Wasn't I cruel to make you wait for Friday's winner AND the grand prize winner announcement? HEY, I have heartburn. Cut me some slack. In the awesomeness of random number generator, our winner of the Philosophy Recipe Box was Commentor #1--Ann. Ann whose comment was thanking us for being a winner the day before. Ann, your lovely manners won you yet another something!
And the grand prize winners???? We made Jean pick the winners. We figured it was kinda like picking up your million dollar lottery winnings at the corner stop-and-rob. Everyone KNOWS you can only get your scratch off winnings THERE. You have to meet the BIG PEOPLE to get the BIG PRIZES!!!
Carrie wins the Graco SweetPeace (from her comment on Feb. 4 at 10:10 on the post Sing Me the Wintertime Blues) and Jess wins the HP Wireless Printer (from her comment on February 9 at 10:27 on the SuperWhy Super Giveaway post).
Thanks so much for everyone's participation. Don't ditch us because rumor on the street is that we are going to have a BIGGER giveaway right around the corner. Seriously. Trust me on this one.
Happy Valentine's Day, all you supersisters and superdads out there surfing the web on this notorious day of love! Isn't it too bad that it's not required that grownups get the names of all the other grownups on their street and have to sit down for three hours at the dining room table and sign your name to store bought (or homemade) valentines? Can you just see yourself picking the pink one for Anne and thinking that this one is waaay too mushy for Bob who always picks up your paper across the street? If only the instituted thoughtfulness of Valentine's Day could be par for the course your whole life long.
Well, there's nothing stopping you today, my friends, from sending some anonymous love to the people that you greet when you're walking down the street--thank you Sesame Street for permanently etching that song in my brain forever. Here are some love-filled ideas along with some inspiring links to help you spread the love, no matter what's going on at your house.
Love Notes to the City. This little idea sparked a lot of love and hope in not only my town but so many other cities (and countries!) around our globe. Take those leftover valentines that the kids didn't use yesterday, sign them from "the friend you haven't met yet" and leave them all over the bathrooms, bus stops, fitting rooms and deli counters in your neighborhood. I promise someone out there will be so very glad you did.
Need to salvage Valentine's Day from Hallmark? Wrench this commercial holiday free from all the store bought expectations and find out that love is alive and well at your house after all. Kindness girl (aka supersister Patience) has some great Rx to make your day great even if you-know-who is showing now signs of remembering the big Love day.
Feeling blue about all the love you lost or suspect might be permanently missing? You might be way more normal than you think. Superhero and mom Andrea Scher writes about a recent encounter with some dear friends who helped her see that when it comes to love, we're all in this together.
And last but not least, some of you out there are harboring big dreams that someday you will do something big and unexpected, something that will honor your life with your kids, something that will give you a chance to be wildly creative. Well these down-to-earth mamas in Richmond are inviting you to get out your video camera and tell it like it is when comes to love, life and most especially birth. Ricki Lake of the Business of Being Born is judging, so this is sure to be good, good, good. Not to mention filmmaker Abby Epstein.
And thank you all for participating in the Supersister Valentine Giveaway. Grand Prize Winners to be announced...
Oh, there are so many questions that I'd like to ask, but i'm going to keep it simple tonight. You are all very creative and crafty and i'm wondering if you have any great ideas for some fun winter crafts.
Well Christa, I don't know how crafty we are but we sure are required to get crafty in the dead of winter. Or maybe we get a little crazy?
Here is one simple idea of craft fun with some things you probably already have in your pantry somewhere.
All you need are some marshmallows, big or little will do.
and some toothpicks, my kids like the colored kind.
The boys went straight to building structures, while Lucy stuck with making a very long snake.
General joy follows as it always does when marshmallows are involved.
You know what is good for parents in the dead of winter? a long soak. Check out today's
very excellent giveaway.
This lovely recipe box for relaxation from Philosophy could be yours. Leave a comment telling me your favorite hot drink,(chai latte anyone?) and one lucky person will be announced the winner tomorrow.
Yesterday's winners of the 4 videos were Danyelle, Kari, Ann and Katrina. And remember that every day you leave a comment you get a chance to win that awesome Graco Sweetpeace or the HP Wireless Printer.
See this little face? This is the face of my trouble. Bless his heart, yesterday was Nathan's birthday. He was very confused because we took cupcakes to school the day before to celebrate his birthday. This birthday thing with kids is very complicated. He didn't go to school on his birthday. So for two days he was very confused about the whole thing.
He wasn't confused enough to turn down a random cupcake here and there. In fact, he kept telling everyone else "Happy Birthday" for two days. I think he was thinking it was some sort of new holiday that we were celebrating with cake at every meal.
His brother, however, was ONLY on the cake plan and not necessarily on the birthday plan. Ethan's birthday is on Sunday but he has already gotten into the swing of the week long birthday celebration. So much so that he decided to help himself to cake today when I was lying down. Then he helped himself to the container of frosting. Next up, a cake mix. I know. Did anyone see that coming? A half of a bag of chocolate chips later and I finally realized what was happening.
He was on such a sugar high that when I yelled at him (oh, you know I did), he began to scream. Really, really loud. It was really, really ugly. Suddenly Nathan's happy birthday was not so happy anymore. I felt horrible because it was my fault for leaving him alone in the living room while I took I nap. I know, I know. Sometimes you just need a nap and who ever thinks their child will eat a powder cake mix during nap time? When we picked Derek up at the train station, I was crying, Ethan was crying and Nathan was singing Twinkle, Twinkle at the top of his lungs.
It is funny. Nathan wasn't upset and his special day wasn't ruined. He turned 2. He never noticed that we took his special dinner to go and brought it home and he never noticed that his birthday "cake" was a leftover cupcake from his party the day before. He never noticed that his older brother lost his mind on sugar. All of my expectations for the day were slightly wilted but Nathan didn't care. Look at this face. How many times do you think we as parents let our expectations get in the way when our kids could not care less? I'm guessing more often than I would care to admit.
Share your birthday "FAIL" with us and you'll get a chance to win one of two Cyberchase DVDs or a Jay Jay or Sagway DVD (along with some fun other things). And remember that every day you leave a comment you get a chance to win that awesome Graco Sweetpeace or the HP Wireless Printer.
Kudos to Leticia for winning the ABC Activity Card set yesterday!!
To be perfectly honest, our family has been going through a hard time over the last year. Old bonds that once felt bedrock have fallen on more difficult times, and we are each in our own ways feeling the pain of unsolved problems and shifting expectations and roles. If you've ever had a major upset in your own family, you know exactly how painful a time like this can be. The worst part so often is worrying about your kids and wondering if they are really okay and if your own failure to work through your own problems is ruining them forever.
I know from experience that no one is fooled when you try to put on a good show and that no matter how hard we try as parents to shield our children from every sorrow, it's a mistake to think that our job is to make their lives problem-free. Struggle is a part of being human, and having someone on your side is a gift that can actually heal, especially during times when we feel most alone.
The other night I asked one of my children what was helping the most during this hard time in our family, and what immediately came to the surface was how comforted this child felt in the happy house of a dear friend. All the things missing in our family at the moment were present in the home of another and somehow that kindness was lending comfort and courage. My heart broke knowing I was unable to offer what was needed from our own family, but I told this child with all sincerity how deeply glad I was for this gift of compassion at such an important time. This sweet child of mine drifted off into a peaceful sleep, clearly relieved to confess how much was missing, but also glad to know that I could hold the truth, no matter how hard or how painful it can sometimes be.
It's not everyday I would share a story as personal as this one, but I'm aware today that for every blissed out Supersister there might be another in a secret, quiet struggle. Know today you really aren't alone in this, and that even when times are incredibly hard, our love for our children and our humility around our failures are offerings more powerful than we can begin to imagine.
No matter what is going on at your house, you can still leave a comment to be entered into our SuperSister Valentine Giveaway. Grand prize winners will receive a fancy schmancy HP Wireless Printer with all the bells and whistles or one highly coveted SweetPeace from Graco. Comment today and you could win some lovely ABC cards pictured here. Add your own kind thoughts in the comments and together we'll weave a nice thread of encouragement for everyone today who needs it most. And before I forget, the winner of yesterday's giveaway is Libby!
Every morning since the new year, I have had this catchy little song in my head. Things, for some reason, really feel brand new. This newness seems to be catching on to other areas of our lives. Everyone in the family has decided to try something new.
Lyra is rolling.
Lucy is potty training.
Jack is taking a tree climbing class.
Josiah took up pottery.
I started photography.
Jorge just had his first guitar lesson last night.
"Papa got an electric guitar? That is so cool!" Josiah said last night with a rockstar light in his eyes. They sat on the couch playing with the guitar while Lucy turned the knobs of the amplifier.
Jack has been scaling doorways "practicing" for the next class while I take pictures of anything and everything. Lucy changes oufits and underwear at least 352 times a day. I can't decide if she will ever potty train or if it's just about her future career in fashion design.
And Lyra rolls and rolls and rolls. And everyone cheers. Every single time.
All of these new experiences from young and old bring a certain energy to the house. I'm realizing we expect the kids to try new things but I decided it's good for them to see us following our creative dreams too.
It's all very Electric! Speaking of electric, today's giveaway is an awesome t-shirt from the favorite show of everybody's childhood, The Electric Company.
This t-shirt could be yours. Leave a comment telling me what new thing you would like to try if you could. It's a new day, anything is possible.
The fabulous winners of the Super Why videos and activity books are Selfish Mom, Leanne, Anna, Wife and Mommy and The Bearded Lady.
A couple of nights ago I asked Derek if he wanted to give Ethan the cold medicine before he went to bed. Please don't look at me that way. I know the recalls and the warnings and the fact that the back of the box says "NOT FOR CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF FIVE WITHOUT A DOCTOR'S CONSENT." He turns 4 in a week and he has had the most horrific runny nose and chest cough for the last six days. It's so bad that the skin on his upper lip is so raw from wiping that I think he might need a skin graft. I know they normally take skin graphs from your backside but the child has no backside. I figured we were going to have to fix this thing pretty quickly because we clearly don't have the normal solutions to these grave problems.
I've tried the traditional methods of fixing this. I am forcing large amounts of liquids down him at a rapid pace. The trouble is, I have been gone most of the week working and even when you tell people, "he really needs to drink this entire gallon of watered-down juice before I get back," you still come home to it 3/4's of the way filled. I have given him soda (SPRITE, GASP!!) in my attempts to encourage him to participate in flushing this out of his system.
I have the vaporizer going in his room. The trouble is, if you have a child that insists on keeping the door OPEN all night, it sort of negates the success rate of the vaporizer. Forty-five minute long hot showers in steamy bathrooms? Check. The child has traded in his snuggly bear at night for a roll of toilet paper to wipe his nose. He honestly has been cuddling a roll of toilet paper. I feel awful.
So two nights ago I gave him some medicine to dry him out. It felt slightly like handing him a pack of cigarettes. In case anyone was wondering, it didn't make him sleep better and it didn't hype him up. So there goes THAT remedy for long plane rides. It did, however, seem to dry him out a little bit. I was hoping for instant and complete success that would make it seem worth going against the tide of public opinion, but something is better than nothing. He seems to be back to his cranky nearly 4-year-old self. The nose is still running but I think we are on the back end of this illness.
Tell me. Illicit low dosage cough medicine for extreme situations or no? You can flame me out if you want. My feelings won't be hurt. The Valentine's Supersisters giveaway of the day is SuperWhy DVD's for FIVE (you read that right) people who comment today by 8 p.m. Remember that every day you comment is another chance to win one of those fabulous grand prizes: the Graco SweetPeace or the HP Wireless Printer.
Our winners of the flash drive bracelets from Saturday go to everyone who commented on Saturday. YAY, you for checking out Supersisters on the weekend!!
Here's a terrific project that every mom, dad and child can love. Send something lovely together as a family and you just might find your submission in a real live film like you've never seen before. Author and artist Amy Krouse Rosenthal has a sweet spot for goodness that is simple and heartfelt and she's still taking submissions.
Valentine's Day can be a challenge for the lovers at your house--and yes, I mean you! Just in case you're lamenting that you will ever have a meaningful, romantic evening ever again with your partner or spouse, here's a little Rx for the holiday of love. No babysitter will be required and I promise a night like this can only have a happy ending.
Are your kids despairing that there is no puppy to love in your house? Make everyone happy by doing a loving good deed that every kid (andforlorn puppy) is sure to love.
What is today's awesome giveaway you ask? 12 technology loving people will win a PBS Kids Go Flash drive bracelets!
Leave a comment telling us whether you are in total love with Valentine's Day or are wishing it away this year for your chance at winning a drive bracelet.
Our winter wish winners from yesterday are Lauren and Maria-Donna! Congrats!
"I wish that groundhog hadn't seen his shadow." Jack said. "I want Spring."
"I wish we could go sledding." Josiah chimed in.
Everyone wishes Winter would shower us with her white goodness instead of just being bitterly cold. Hats and mittens are no fun without snowballs. The stir crazy cabin fever is raging and wishes are all we have.
Here are my Winter wishes:
1. I gotta go with Josiah, snow would be lovely.
2. I wish the gym accepted babies under 6 months in their childcare.
3. I wish we didn't have to go out to school, errands, and do life so much.
A fun idea for winter wishes with kids: Write all your wishes (in words or pictures) on a piece of paper with markers or bright crayons. Tell your kids to close their eyes, make one more secret wish and kiss the paper. Then fold and cut into snowflakes to hang from a window. Use the scraps for snow play in doll houses and hot wheel tracks.
Do you wish you had a cookie right now? Maybe this guy or his friend Barney will magically bring you some? Leave a comment telling me your winter wish and 2 lucky winners will win one of these plush little guys along with some PBS stickers and other fun swag.
And don't forget that leaving a comment enters you into our kicking grand prize drawing for a Graco SweetPeace or an HP Wireless Printer.
Who are our lucky winners from yesterday who love preschool just as much as their children? Congrats to Sky and Johannah B for being our lucky winners!