Category Archives: Everything else…

Thank you moms!

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I am so proud to be a mom in today’s world. Really. There’s good and bad, but overall, it seems like for the first time, a mom can make the choices that work for her to lead her family in what works for her. Have I said ‘her’ enough? But it’s true. Crunchy, traditional, stay-at-home, glass-ceiling crusher…whatever it is, there are other moms there to support you. And yeah… there’s a fair amount of snark, but for the most part, we respect and help each other.

But it’s that support that makes me proud to be a mom. Having kids so far from any family has forced us to build a network. Thanks to friends, neighbors, social media, and of course, family, I have learned so much about being a mom.  Seeing all this around me has given me the confidence to try to be the mom I want to be.

Today, I wanted to share some little tidbits that have been ‘aha!’ moments for me that I’ve learned from other moms:

– freezing Gogurts to have yogurt pops: I spent the better part of last summer pouring yogurt into tiny ice pop molds and then fighting the molds to get the pops out. Gogurts are way easier, and I feel better about them than the regular ‘juice’ popsicles (although we have both).

– telling my kids ‘thank you for apologizing’ when they say they are sorry instead of ‘it’s okay’ because chances are, if they had to apologize for their actions, then what they did is not okay.

– asking ‘are you hurt or are you scared?’ when they are crying after a fall or something like that: It gets them to stop and think, and in the process, calm down a little bit and gives you a better idea of what’s really going on.

– brushing my daughter’s hair while she’s in the high chair having breakfast: She can’t run away from me, and she can’t fuss too much because she’s busy eating.

These are just a few of the solid, tangible ways that this great ‘village’ of moms around me has helped me, but there is so much more that I’ve learned that has allowed me to be a mom and to continue to grow in this amazing job. I can’t wait to see to see what else I learn as my kids grow. I only hope I’ve been able to support other moms as well.

So to all you moms – thank you! Thank you for the job you do for your kids and for the role you play in each other’s lives to make us all better.

Happy mother’s day!

People Watching: The Summer Tour Edition

Last week, my hubby and I had an awesome night out to see my favorite band in the world, the Barenaked Ladies.  The show was awesome, but I think my favorite part was the people watching.  As I mentioned before, living in the burbs, I don’t escape the bubble of my car enough to really see people out and about and experience street life.

But, oh…those summer night concerts…they do attract some good stuff, right? Between the spastic dancers, the dude with the “Keep Calm and Chive On” shirt (is he a chive farmer? is ‘chive’ code for weed? does he just really, really like chives? is there a ‘parsley on’ or ‘basil on’ alternative? unfortunately, after a google search, I learned that it’s just to promote a thechive.com.  how anti-climactic.), and the air musicians, my night was spent laughing more than grooving.

So, in the spirit of soaking up life and having some good fun, and inspired by conference call bingo, I came up with a scavenger list of sorts of what to look out for at a concert (perhaps a drinking game?):

Air Band: Can you spot an entire air band?  There’s always someone playing air guitar, air bass and probably air drummers too.  Bonus points for unusual instruments, like keyboard or the air harmonica solo we saw (Blues Traveler was playing).  I had high hopes for an air standing bass when BNL performed, but I think people just couldn’t afford $10 beers that late into the show and the air-orchestra-inducing buzz had worn off.

Oldest/Strangest  Concert T-shirt: I think the only thing to do with concert t-shirts is wear them to other concerts.  Can you find the oddest or oldest?  I think we had a combo winner: a circa 1992 Toad the Wet Sprocket shirt.

Spastic Dancers:  They are all there.  People hula dancing without meaning to, hippity-hopping, diva-snap arms…It was awesome.  I noticed the more spastic the dancing, the more fit the people were, and they were all having a blast.  I think once I’m able to drink again, I’ll join their ranks.

Praise arms: I worked at a church, so this is pretty common knowledge to me, but it might not be to the rest of the world.  You know when people hold out their arm out towards the stage and kinda ‘grab’ towards the band?  It’s most common with one arm, but double arms aren’t rare, either, if the band playing is especially moving. Usually it’s acommpanied by eyes squeezed shut and a painful, longing face.  These are praise arms.  I think they are trying to soak up the power of the power ballad (because that’s usually when you see them appear outside Christian concerts).

Woo Girls/ Drunk Girls Who Know Every Lyric EVER:  WOOOO!  These girls will yell that randomly at the oddest moments, presumably to be noticed by the band.  It might be girls that are too old to throw their bras onstage, so they hope their WOO!s will do the job. These girls also possess an amazing power as the evening progresses: even when drunk, they know every lyric to every song ever. They might even sing stuff that’s not even playing at the moment.  I am in awe of these girls.  Also? Somehow their makeup always looks good too, no matter the weather.  How is that possible?

Have you seen any on this list? Did I miss anything?

Happy Holidays!

I cannot believe Christmas is almost here! I just wanted to take a few minutes to catch up with you and wish you the very best this season.

Is it me or did all the festivities sneak up on us this year?  It knew it was coming, but I just wasn’t ready. I spent the last four years working at a church – Christmas was around me 24/7, and I didn’t get a chance to truly enjoy it.

This year, back in August when I turned in my two week’s notice, I began dreaming of all the awesome things I’d do to celebrate Christmas my way. My halls would be decked, I’d design the perfect Christmas card and hand address all the envelopes, a perfect Christmas playlist would be playing, I’d have hot apple cider simmering all the time because I’d of course have guests stopping by to share the good cheer of the season with me…But before I knew it, it was two weeks before Christmas, and my tree was still in my garage and all our ornaments and decorations were tucked away in the attic and the craft room closet.

My perfectly-designed Christmas cards with handwritten personal message, and adoringly hand-addressed and sealed with gold embossing?  Gone.  I didn’t even send out cards this year.

A house full of beautiful decorations, a tree that just sparkled in its festiveness (yeah, that’s a word in my world)?  Not quite.  My husband rocked the outside decor this year and we put up a couple of things, but honestly?  Not much was done.  Our tree stood in our living room for a couple of weeks with no ornaments, just twinkling away. We just finished our tree two hours ago, and it’s not as nice as it’s been in years past and we have very few other decorations.  I did, however, manage to make one of those ornament wreaths that I’ve been drooling over forever.  But it’s been a laid-back kind of holiday season for us.  But the sparkle in my son’s eyes when we light it up is all I need.

But even in its imperfections, I’m loving this season.  My son is starting to understand that it’s a special time of the year and he’s buzzing with even more energy than usual.  He’s curious about what he sees and he’s starting to get that wide-eyed look like he’s absorbing all the magic and wonder of this time of year. Despite not having had beautiful decorations and designing my own cards this year, I’ve been enjoying it a lot more.  I’ve been able immerse myself in the fun stuff of the season – going to more parties, spending time with friends, watching Ovation TV’s Battle of the Nutcrackers, making Oreo truffles and delivering them to my neighbors.

I have to confess that I do feel guilty.  I had a great start to The Teal Magnolia with my first craft fair in November, but kind of took a step back afterwards. I know I probably should have gone all-out on the shop for the holidays, offering awesome sales and new products and all that jazz.  But I decided to take it easier around Christmas for once. I’ve spent the past few Christmases tied to my job. It made the season a chore instead of a celebration.  This year, I didn’t want that to happen.  I wanted to have peace and joy and time to breathe.  The Teal Magnolia kind of came about so suddenly – within weeks I had a site/blog, a bunch of merchandise and a craft fair under my belt.  I decided that I owe it to my family and myself to slow down and keep myself flexible this time.

And it has been great. I am truly thankful for this simplified Christmas, both the parts that I wanted to simplify and the parts that I hadn’t planned on simplifying.  It’s allowed me to focus on the warmth (and not just the non-winter weather we’re having), friendship, wonder and love that is all around me.

And here I am, getting ready to go join my neighbors for Thirsty Thursday, in a twinkling home with my family here ready to celebrate.  Simple and perfect.

So whatever you celebrate this time of year – Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, the end of a year and a spirit of renewal – I wish you the very very best that simplicity and love have to offer.