Cherishing the Milestones: Sometimes we aren’t prepared, but we can still embrace the change

This week we got an unexpected surprise. J discovered a wiggly tooth, and a couple short hours later lost his first tooth! Needless to say we were not prepared for this at all. We thought we had another year before we reached this milestone, but the universe had different plans.

I had this idea of how this day would go. I would have already acquired an adorable tooth pillow in which he could place his tooth, and the Tooth Fairy could leave a little surprise. I would have had time to pow-wow with the Tooth Fairy to put cool little trinkets and items on the wish list for our kiddo. And, the supply for these items would, ideally, not be hindered by the COVID-19 restrictions.

But, you know what they say about best laid plans…

So, we embraced the milestone. We celebrated! And we spent a lot of time simply explaining the process of the Tooth Fairy, because we really hadn’t talked about it aside from when the neighbor kids mentioned losing their teeth. Logistics are very important to J, so we spent time talking about magic and entry and exit from our home; not to mention the skill it takes to remove the tooth from under the pillow and replace it with a gift.

Life comes at us fast, for all of us parents. When we are kids things seem to move slow. That’s the gift for us as parents. Their seemingly slow moving time gives us the opportunity to really cherish every milestone, even when we aren’t ready for how fast it actually approaches. We just have to do the best we can with what we have, and make their memories great! Remember, they don’t know what happens in our heads unless we tell them. And they really don’t know the efforts we put in as parents, but we do.

Monday morning J was so excited to find two dollars to add to his savings. He had just gotten a new (hand-me-down) wallet from his Papa, so he immediately placed his special Tooth Fairy money in it. And he told everyone…and I mean everyone! He wanted the world to know he lost his tooth and the Tooth Fairy came! It was fantastic watching him make memories.  And due to our gas leak debacle (see my Mombie Hack Monday post from this week) both my husband and I got to enjoy watching his excitement in this new experience.

Even though we weren’t prepared, at all, we still did the best we could. And we succeeded! And, less than five days later, we still aren’t prepared. This morning J came in to my office and told me his other bottom front tooth is wiggly and sure enough, it’ll likely fall out tonight or tomorrow. Hopefully it won’t fall out while he’s sleeping…but if he does, the Tooth Fairy still offers a reward even when the tooth is swallowed or lost.

Remember, as parents, we are often caught off guard. This isn’t just me, and it isn’t just you. All of us have moments we aren’t prepared for, and we just have to roll with it the best we can. You are doing great! You aren’t alone if you feel like you’ve dropped the ball. Your children will have fond memories, no matter how prepared (or unprepared) you are, as long as you embrace it and do the best you can.

In such an uncertain time, one thing I know for certain is the love from teachers

This week has been bitter sweet. We get this unexpected and blessed time to spend with our children due to COVID-19. No matter how stressful, overwhelming, and ever changing this time may be, we all have taken moments to cherish the amazing beings that are our children.

When J entered his first year of school this past fall, we felt unsure of what the school year held. He’s our first of three to go to school. Our school district was new to us, and though research said it was a good district, we didn’t know for sure. He was slotted to attend an elementary school that was older, and in some ways appeared warn down and weathered. Could this indicate a school that might not be great? And what about his age? He had just turned five years old only two months before the school year started, and we were unsure if it was the right choice to send him.

During our special introductory day just before classes were to start, J had a one-on-one appointment scheduled with his kinder teacher. As parents this was also our opportunity to meet the teacher and ask her any questions we had. She immediately set our nerves at ease. Her welcome was warm, and she formed an instant connection with J. We established a relationship with her at that moment too, where we agreed to stay in touch and discuss and work through challenges if they arose.

And oh boy did challenges arise! J is a loving kid, but also comes with many opinions. His will to do things, or not do them, can be strong. But we felt blessed because we were in the trenches with an amazing kinder teacher who loved our child and was dedicated to his success.

Then, something so unexpected happened. Schools shut down for what we believed would be six weeks. Then the rest of the year. Our hearts sank. This was never part of our plan when introducing our oldest to his educational career. This was a plot line from a movie, or the manifestations of a bad dream. Could one virus really shut down everything? Would it shut down the path to our son’s future?

But J’s devoted teacher never had any intention of letting her kindergarteners fall through the cracks. She got to work immediately creating plan, after plan, after revised plan. She set up meetings, then adjusted as the school district caught up and asked for more structure, then less structure, then more structure.

And let me tell you, she did this all while taking care of her two young children at home! It’s dedication to be a teacher to other people’s children, and a whole new dedication level to suddenly be your children’s teacher as well. But, she never let this interrupt her determination to make this sudden rift feel anything but seamless.

Today she shared her heart with the parents of her kindergarten class. A wonderful, tear jerking, passionate letter of how she would have changed things if she’d known her last day with the kids was actually the last day. How she would have given big hugs, taken extra time, and given even more love. This coming from a teacher who always gave her all, no matter what. No matter her overwhelming fear of exposure to a deadly virus. No matter her concerns over families, students and jobs.

The amazing thing…the thing we should be so very thankful, grateful for this Teacher’s Week, is that our teacher isn’t the only one with such a big heart. There are many, many teachers out there taking a giant leap, and trusting in what innovations they can make, so their students can thrive in this very different time. They are all working tirelessly, coming up with creative solutions, and making themselves available for all the different needs of individual students. These heroes are fighting for our students by encouraging learning at any and all levels, while more importantly making sure they are taken care of at a psychological and emotional level. Because they recognize this time is hard on our children too, and they often don’t know how to express it as adults do. And, as teachers, they continue their battles for inequity and food insecurity, and many even ramp up their fight for change because all they can think of are the many children and their families who have so little.

So today, I thank our wonderful Mrs. W. And I thank all the other teachers out there who are embracing this shift in our world, because they are devoted to our learners of the world. What you do is amazing, and special, challenging, and hard. Thank you!

P.S. – I’m also sending all the love to our hard working nurses. Happy Nurse’s Week! From one nurse to the rest, you are also amazing! I love all you do. There’s a reason Nurse’s Week and Teacher’s Week fall at the same time. Because you are all amazing!

Why do I feel so out of place in the surroundings I love?

Today I drove for the first time in a week or so. I drove baby B to his 12 month well-child check. As he was scheduled to receive vaccinations, this visit was still considered essential amidst the Coronavirus lockdown. I thought it would feel good to get out of the house, to see people outside of our home. But with the dynamics of our community shifted from comfort to fear, this simply wasn’t the case.

I found myself even wondering if it was acceptable to have my window down. The sun was out. The temperature was in the low sixties. It was an ideal day for a drive, windows down, wind blowing through my hair. But it did not feel wonderful. It felt like I was breaking an unspoken rule.

Walking into the doctor’s office felt unsanitary and uneasy. Not necessarily for me. I am comfortable in healthcare settings, regardless of who is sick and what they may have. It comes with the territory of being a nurse. But truthfully it felt uncomfortable to those who work there. The front desk staff were cordial, but not social like normal. I felt like all eyes were on me as i tried to fill out forms and make sure my son didn’t touch anything. The medical assistant told my one year not to touch her arm…

The only moments that felt normal were when our family doctor examined B and spoke to me. I really appreciated being around someone who didn’t make me feel like I was walking on egg shells. But this bubble burst when it was again time to leave and get back to our car.

I was acutely aware of all the businesses that were closed. I found myself amazed at the number of people going through the fast food drive thru, while also feeling concerned for the vulnerable window attendant. I relayed scenarios in which I would be pulled over to confirm I was out for essential purposes.

The worst part of the entire experience was feeling dirty. This wasn’t the first time I felt like this. Since the shift in society from Coronavirus took place I’ve felt this way in public. Like I’m not clean, because I may have come in contact with something. And honestly I’m not even concerned about myself, but instead what I could expose someone else with. What if I transfer the virus from one surface to another? What if I take it back home to my children? It’s funny, feeling unclean. Actually, it’s not funny at all. It’s uncomfortable and disheartening.

And the feeling of isolation in public, well that’s worse than feeling isolated at home. Nobody talks to each other. Eye contact isn’t acceptable anymore. There’s no socialization. I’m afraid to have a tickle in my throat from needing to simply take a sip of water. What if my allergies get the best of me in the wrong moment?

The sad thing is, I’m not the only person feeling this way. Many, many people do. We are driven by fear. If not our own fear, then the fear of others. We are so overly cautious and aware of our surroundings and what others say, think, and do.

During my drive home I found myself thinking of two important things. One, I wondered whether we could go back to society as it was before this virus. Would we smile at strangers and strike up a conversation of commonality? I do hope so, but it is unclear. Fear can really change people. And two, how very glad I am that our children are young and naive. That they aren’t going out in public and seeing this drastic shift. And that hopefully they will recover.

So, I leave this message simply with hope. The hope that our children only see the good in this. The hope that our society will connect again. The hope that our children will be the drive for this connection. And the hope that as parents, as adults, we can also see the good as our children do. After all, they need us to.

Setup YOUR Success Sunday: Schedule your content

This post is meant for the parent who posts regularly on social media. The parent that may be a blogger, a business owner, or a coach. Or this could be for the parent who is hosting a party or two through social media purely for fun and potentially earning rewards.

Posting content on the regular can be daunting, to say the least. A well written, well thought out post can take time to develop, edit, and get just right. And getting this content posted at the right time can be an added layer of stress and obligation.

Let’s face it, social media can take a lot of time. And for some it’s important to make sure you’ve got it all just right. And when you are utilizing social media platforms for promoting things, consistency is key.

But for parents this can be hard. This takes away from family time, and unexpected situations with the kids can cause a bump in your social media road to success. So today I encourage all the social media, go-getter, parents out there to schedule your posts!

Find a day each week to plan out and schedule your posts. Then let your platforms post for you, while you spend the week enjoying your family instead of stressing about how to get your social media tasks done.

Be honest, if you don’t do this, you are thinking you don’t need to. You’ll just get it done when you can, each day. But…how often have you said that only to not post several days in a week because things didn’t unfold as you planned? This is parenting reality.

So, if you post every week, or just need to post temporarily, utilize your resources. Get things set up, written, and ready to go before your busy week starts. Today is your day to start being organized and consistent. You will thank yourself later.

Active Saturday: Jumping Jacks

Have you ever had the pleasure of teaching your kids how to do Jumping Jacks? It can be fun, comical, and entertaining for everyone!

Kids love it when they get to see their parents do funny looking exercises. They want to jump right in and try things out as well.

The best part….kids don’t even know they are exercising! And because you are having a blast teaching your kids, you don’t realize you are getting active too.

So get to doing family Jumping Jack sessions today!

Family Friday: Cousin time

Our cousin time has been limited lately, with almost all interaction via FaceTime and Skype for months now. But as our world adjusts back to a new normal, we are trying to find ways to get the kids together, even briefly, for cousin time.

Of course, we take all cautions, make sure everyone is healthy, and not a risk to others. We don’t take our opportunity for granted, because we know so much effort has gone into preventing illness. But family is so important, and we miss them.

Today the kids got to see one of their cousins. They played together for hours outside. They had a blast! It made them all so happy and so grateful. It was sweet.

We can’t wait to do more again soon. To have sleepovers. To see the cousins who live in different states. To reconnect and spend quality time together again. For now we take what we can get.

Don’t take family connection for granted. Today, reach out to those loved ones you are missing. We will hopefully all be together again soon.

Self-Care Thursday: Care for yourself like you would a plant destined to bloom

If you have a plant, you take care of it. You plant it in the best place, either in the ground or in the best pot or planter. You use the correct soil and give it the right food periodically to keep the ground it sits on full of nutrients and vital growth components. And you water it; not too much or too little, just right.

You would not neglect the needs of your plant, because you care about it and wish to see it flourish. And with the right care, it’ll bloom and show you all the glory it was meant to be.

So why is it that parents struggle to do the same for themselves? If we do not care for ourselves we will begin to suffer. We will not thrive. We will dwindle, and we will not reach our full potential.

So what do you need to do to care for yourself? How will your potential blossom when you do? I cannot wait for you to find out.

Work it Wednesday: Organizing kid closets

Kid closets…well, they can be a challenge. But with a little organization they can be well functioning hiding places.

Let’s face it though, they don’t stay organized. So as parents it is our task to reorganize at least a couple times a year. I recommend reorganizing the children’s closets when they outgrow their clothing. This is a perfect time to clean out all the old (clothing and toys) and bring in the new to be placed in an orderly fashion.

This past week we were blessed with hand-me-down clothing for our two youngest kiddos. So naturally, I got to work. I pulled out all the clothing that was still hanging around, just too small. Sorted all the new clothing, and recreated the organization within the closets. Better function is key!

Once the kid closets are organized, putting things away becomes a cinch. If you haven’t organized yet, I highly recommend it!

P.S. – For those of you looking for the next level of organization, I recommend clothing separated by type. Just as you would put specific types of clothes into drawers of a dresser, you can do the same in a closet. Hang dresses with dresses, skirts with skirts, short sleeve shirts with short sleeve shirts, and long sleeve shirts with long sleeve shirts. I like to have some sort of section marker as well for visual separation.

Daddy Takeover Tuesday: The tribute

Today I would like to give a tribute to all the dads out there selflessly caring for their families.

This is a tribute to the dad that get up early to go work many hours to provide for his family. While you may or may not be the only provider for the household, you work hard. Your time away from home is not lost on your family.

This tribute is for the dad who makes two dinners. One for the kids, and one for the adults (because making the extra effort to make two meals is well worth avoiding the dinner battles). He never complains, and only aims to please.

This is a tribute to the dad that makes the same Lego figurine over and over, because his son wants it so badly. But the same son also wants to recreate a crash with the Lego figurine over and over, so dad keeps rebuilding it.

This is for the dad that cuddles his daughter, because she’s a cuddle bug and missed her dad all day. The same dad that also chased her about and asked her many times to stop climbing all over the furniture and not talk back.

This tribute is for the dad that keeps at all the parenting duties all day, every day, getting little time to himself, and never complaining. You are a great dad. A wonderful partner. You are appreciated, always.

Mombie Hack Monday: Eye cream

My BIGGEST secret for looking less like a Mombie is my eye cream! This is my truth. The item I will always pick as my one item to take with me to a deserted island. Not mascara, not concealer, not some hair care product. Nope. My eye cream.

And truthfully, I wear two. One for dark circles, one for puffiness. The two together make my eyes look so well rested. With them I look like a mom who has achieved the impossible; sleep.

Moms who do not have an eye cream that does this, I encourage you to start your search for the perfect cream. They are so worth it!

Now let me tell you a secret about application. Don’t put eye cream on right underneath your eye. The cream travels, and if directly under your eyes, it will end up getting in your eyes and cause the opposite effect, making you look more tired than when you started. Instead apply a thin amount on the border of where your delicate eye tissue and the rest of your facial skin (along your cheek bone) meet. This will give you optimal results.

While I wouldn’t typically recommend the same company back to back, I feel I should today because they are having a magnificent sale. The biggest sale I have seen since my mother joined three and a half years ago. And really, if I could recommend an eye cream product, this would be it. Rodan+Fields makes the eye creams of my dreams. (I do not get a commission or kick back for suggesting these products.) If you are looking to try something new, or at all, this is the moment. R+F has their promotion through May, 26th, 2020.

I also like Farmacy: Dew It All eye cream some nights before bed as an extra boost. It feels so luscious on my skin before bed.

Moms unite! If you aren’t using an eye cream yet, you should. Find one that works for you. You won’t regret it!

Setup YOUR Success Sunday: Be kind and success will follow

I received a great reminder this week. I believe in kindness above all else, and we teach our kids this value as well. Sometimes the added reminder of the ties between kindness and success are encouraging, and this week I was grateful to get such reminders.

Sometimes we can get caught up in things not going right. Not going our way. And when this happens, our kindness for others suffers. Sadly, it most often impacts those we are closest to and care most about. But it is important for us to give ourselves grace and then work to get out of this funk.

It is true, if you do good, good will follow. Kindness is so important in all we do. If we are kind to others, we will receive kindness in return, which ultimately leads to positive vibes and a path to success.

A simple analogy…if you shout at your children and get frustrated with their simple requests (something we all do from time to time), your children will reciprocate with acting out and refusing to follow directions. If you are kind to your children and take time to hear them when they are sad, happy, frustrated, whatever their emotions may be, then your children will feel respected and then respect you. This helps immensely when you are trying to get stuff done, whatever your tasks may be.

Same goes for our interactions with adults. Adults need a little kindness. We do not deserve just to receive though. Giving is the key. And when you give kindness you should not expect something in return. This is what makes your acts genuine. With genuine kindness, success will follow.

So today, and everyday this week, month, and year…be kind. It will take you far, and you will appreciate the effects it has on others and on yourself.

Active Saturday: Get creative indoors

Some Saturday mornings cannot be spent outside running and playing. Sometimes we are confined to the indoors. But that doesn’t stop us, and it shouldn’t stop you.

Today was a day to start inside. It worked out in our favor because Mr. B is learning how to walk which is harder to do when the others are riding bikes outside. When we are inside, and needing to find something to do, the kids turn to their imaginations. If that isn’t a perfect use of brain power, I don’t know what is.

Encouraging children to exercise their imaginations is just as important as encouraging movement through activity. Imaginations allow children to learn, preparing for the strenuous work that many years of education will require. It also shows them their wonderful creative power; something that will come in handy when they are adults.

Today, Audrey put on her dress-up dress, and got to work fixing her “car”. It was adorable! She has been watching her dad and wants to be like him, all while being a princess.

Days you can’t get outside and need to find activities to keep the kiddos occupied, I encourage you to ask them to pretend. You will enjoy watching them as their imaginations take flight!

Family Friday: The drive-thru, take-out, night out

Today is a day we are feeling confined. Restricted by all the regulations still in place in Washington state. This holiday weekend we would like to be going camping, or traveling to some fun destination to enjoy with our kids. But we are unable to.

When we were notified our drive-up and go grocery order was ready, we decided to make it a Friday affair. We aren’t able to go on a vacation, or go to a restaurant for a fun family night out. But we are able to go for a drive and pick up some of our favorite meals.

If you need an adventure, even small, make an event out of picking up food from drive-thru, curb-side, or take-out options. It will feel good to get out of the house, and your kids will enjoy it immensely. Also, it’ll give you an opportunity to support local.