Tag: parenting

So the Elf on the Shelf?

December 3rd, 2011 — 2:22pm

The first time I saw the Elf on the Shelf I was intrigued.  He looks so much like an elf my grandmother had in her house every year, so his face brought be back immediately to the magic of Christmas as a kid.

But I hesitated adding the tradition to our house.  Maybe the price point of the “package” made me hesitate–not sure.

Flash forward a few years to last week when I realized that after 14 straight years of having a “believer” in my house I have only a few years left before we stop leaving cookies out for Santa.  Tears immediately sprung to my eyes.  I began to re-think the Elf.  Would it be too late to introduce the tradition?  Would they buy it?

The answer is a resounding YES!

Remember these are all boys here.  Cheers went up when the Elf was pulled out of the bag.  The book was read twice the moment it was opened.  He was immediately named Canoodle (you have to name him to give him his magic).  They* hear him doing things–trying to kick out of the package the first day, notice small changes–when he turns in his position.  THEY HAVE NOT TOUCHED HIM ONCE.  And the best part?  I hear my youngest talking to him (I have to get this on video).

The first morning he was found in a tree.

This morning he was getting in a little reading.

There’s a bit of stressed involved in figuring out what to do with him each night, but having the boys bound out of bed wondering aloud where Canoodle will be this morning??


*Should anyone reading this know my teenager, I’m am sure he would want me to clarify that he is not taking part in this Elf thing.  As his mom, I want to clarify that he is so amazing about keeping the secret.

7 comments » | Christmas, Holidays, parenting, Time with My Boys

Holding the Moments

February 4th, 2011 — 9:34pm

I’m a mom.  I’m a blogger.  I’m a photographer for crying out loud, but have I captured my memories of your childhood?

I know I can’t hold on.  I can’t prevent you from growing up–from becoming an amazing man.

But you’re my beautiful little boy too.  You will always be my beautiful baby.  Even if you won’t cut your hair “until baseball season starts.”

As proud as I am of the incredible person you are becoming, I miss the little baby who disappears with every passing minute.

You are my reserved one.  Never my obvious cuddler, never one to be effusive.

Those giant blue eyes that you hide behind that hair–they take my breath away every time you let me see them.  I’m so grateful you give me a glimpse of them from time to time.  I’m sorry I grab my camera every time that you do, but I don’t want to miss these moments.

Because seven years of them have already gone by.

Happy Birthday my baby.  I am so proud to be your mom and I will love you forever.

3 comments » | birthdays, Motherhood, parenting, photography, Uncategorized

The Sleepover

January 16th, 2011 — 8:36pm

Is there a rule about mixing birth orders when hosting a sleepover?

My youngest and his good buddy from next door are having their first sleepover at our house tonight.  It’s the first time my little guy has invited a friend of his own over.  For our neighbor?  This isn’t his first night with a friend.

But here’s my fear.

I am the parent of three boys.  My oldest is in high school.  Things I would have NEVER let my oldest do at the age of 6, well…the children have beaten me down.

Not only did my oldest take naps well into Kindergarten, I was adamant about things like professional wrestling (or other inappropriate TV shows) not being on the television when my oldest was on the same level of the house (you know cause I can’t go without my WWE </sarcasm>).

Why were my kids exhausted on the first day of school this year?

Cause they went downtown to watch a live WWE match.

[insert eyeroll here–and don’t forget to hand over that parenting award]

What does this have to do with sleepovers and birth order you ask?

Our adorable neighbor–he’s the first born AND he only has one younger brother.  His sneakers are always clean.  I’ve never seen a rip in the knees of his pants.  I’m fairly certain he gets a bath EVERY night and I know his mother packs his lunch for school.

[sigh]  I remember those days–sorta.

So here’s the question.

What kind of damage am I going to unwittingly subject this child to while he is in my care tonight?

I remembered to tell the teenager to turn off Family Guy if the little guys go downstairs, and his parents have already fed him a wholesome dinner.

I do have ice cream though, and it IS after 8:00 p.m.


1 comment » | parenting

Get ‘Em Outside!!

April 7th, 2010 — 5:32pm

I was lucky I caught them sitting still.  It didn’t last long.  They spent the next four hours running and laughing and playing and goofing off with their friends.*

By the end of the night, they were dirty and sweaty and wore the biggest smiles on their faces.

Playing outside is what they were made to do as kids, and I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks so.

The National Wildlife Federation has launched the Be Out There campaign as an effort to get kids to spend more time outside (which is ironic since I live with three boys who could be classified as members of the wildlife community).

I was approached to become a member of the NWF’s Founding Mother’s Board to help get the word out about the campaign and it took me less than a nanosecond to say yes.  You see I come from a long line of mothers who constantly tell their kids to “go outside and play!”–and my mom and grandmother only had two girls each.

I’ll admit I typically send my kids outside to play because I can’t take another minute of watching them bounce off the walls, but now I have FACTS (facts I say!) to back up my desire for them to get fresh air.

Did you know that:

  • Children who play outside are more physically active, more creative in their play, less aggressive and show better concentration. (Burdette and Whitaker, 2005; Ginsburg et al., 2007)
  • Sixty minutes of daily unstructured free play is essential to children’s physical and mental health. (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2008)
  • Today’s kids spend 6.5 hours plugged into electronic media. (Juster et al 2004); (Burdette & Whitaker 2005); (Kuo & Sullivan 2001)
  • Children are spending half as much time outdoors as they did 20 years ago. (Juster et al 2004); (Burdette & Whitaker 2005); (Kuo & Sullivan 2001)
  • The most direct route to caring for the environment as an adult is participating in “wild nature activities” before the age of 11. (Wells and Lekies, 2006)


I know my kids have more fun outside.  I know they sleep better when they’ve been playing outside.  And I know we have more fun together when we have the fresh air and space of the outdoors to spend time with each other.

So when asked if our family wanted to take part in the Be Out There Challenge it was a no brainer–plus baseball season started this week, and well I feel like I’m cheating because we have a game or practice (or three) almost every night this week.  (Don’t tell NWF they might make me take the challenge in the middle of the winter or something instead.)

I’m trying to capture our outdoor activities to share with you in hopes that you might be inspired to take the challenge yourself.

Here are some of the other cool kids who are doing it:

Leighann Calentine

Ashley Waldvogel Gaddy

Jennifer James

Tracey Henry


Rachel Matthews

Kim Moldofsky

Asha Dornfest

Kristin Sundin Brandt

Anna Fader

Veronique Christensen

Holly Ambrose

Christine Koh

Cooper Munroe

Emily McKhann

Tonight after baseball, I’m dragging out the telescope while we have this completely unseasonable weather.  In honor of my strong and brave friend Susan who is taking yet another step in her journey today, my family will enjoy both the outdoors and the stars tonight.

How often do you get outside?  What activities do you undertake with the kids in the yard?  Out in nature?  I’m doing this all week friends.  I need some ideas!!

*Only 2 of these 3 are my boys, but my other is a teenager and is currently too surly to have his picture taken.  Plus this loaner kid?  Cute or what?!

5 comments » | Nature, parenting

Look!  Shiny Thing!

March 27th, 2010 — 12:32am

No better toy for two young boys than a giant cardboard box.

They were taking turns getting under the box and hopping around like a turtle with bunny feet.  My heart swelled with pride at their ability to share.  They even managed get under the overturned box at the same time to play together.

Small Fry: Hey I’ll get under there too and you be the front lights and I’ll be the back lights (suddenly they were no longer a turbit but rather some sort of vehicle I’m guessing).

Medium Fry: Sure get under.

Small Fry: Okay let’s go.

(One poorly executed lurch forward.  Laughter erupts.  Out pop two boys.)

Small Fry: (grabbing his face) Ow!  My nose!

(Medium Fry continues laughing)

Small Fry: (standing up and looking down at the floor)  Oooh!  Stickers!!

Attention spans are so over-rated.

Comment » | Brothers, Living with Boys, Motherhood, parenting

The Secret to Life–and Good Blogging

March 16th, 2010 — 8:46pm

My kids are tired of hearing it.  I try to change up the line every once in a while, but the message is still the same.

Even if you are born with a gift, you will never excel unless you practice, practice, practice.

My favorite current saying is “You play like you practice.”  The boys are already rolling their eyes at that one, but it’s true.

Anderson Cooper didn’t get on air right away.  He bought a camera and forged a press pass and took himself to Myanmar and filmed stories of the students fighting the Burmese government until his stories were good enough to be picked up.

Eighty-eight year old Betty White is still practicing sixty years after she began her career–and it’s paying off.  She will soon be on SNL and appearing in a new TV series.

Tiger Woods even has to practice (and he still couldn’t outrun his wife).

I’ve been blogging for a long time in the scheme of things, but I’ve often allowed days or weeks lapse in between posts.  That has prevented me from getting into a groove with my writing and my voice and is a habit I’m trying to break.

And despite the fact that I know this is true, it’s great to hear a master storyteller say the same thing.

I wish I could remember where I first saw the link to this video.  I’d love to give that blogger credit.  It’s helped me more than I can say.

What is something you’ve been meaning to practice more?  How has practice paid off for you?

3 comments » | Uncategorized

Oh the Things that I Think

March 9th, 2010 — 8:46pm

Words race through my head.  Oh to let them spill out here on the page would lift such a weight from my shoulders.

But I have a teenager.

I would never share his stories in the first place, that isn’t my place, but what we are struggling with is my story too.

Today I asked for help.

I realized that there was no more I could do to solve the situation by myself–it was time to call in reinforcements.  Years of living with an addict sibling and years pretending depression didn’t exist actually paid off.

Asking for help doesn’t signify failure it signifies sanity (or at least a moment of clarity).

Nothing changes immediately, but the simple act of admitting you can’t do it alone (or even within your own family) certainly lightens the load enough to take a few more steps.

No one is in danger here.  The world will continue to spin. Raising children though?

Tough work sometimes.  Tough work.

5 comments » | Motherhood, parenting

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