Summer is early

It’s that time of year again. Summer vacation. I mean, not mine, as I don’t really get a vacation. I’m mom 24/7/365. My oldest daughter however, she gets a summer break. And she gets it early. Today is her last day of school and it’s not even a full day. In a few hours I’ll head to the school to watch her end of year program, snap a pic or two as she crosses the stage for whatever award she is getting and then I’ll check her out early and we’re off to home. And then….then it’s two months of my girls squabbling (it’s what they do), of swimming, of trips down to the creek, of trips to the library, and basic mischief.

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The signs are already here (in truth, the signs have been here for weeks now). Signs of happy kids that is. The pool is up and full. The skin is tan (and a little pink where I wasn’t as great at the sunblock), the wet clothes are dropped over the old bouncy horse, and the towels hang on the line. This year there will be no big trip, just a sequence of days lunging around the house and driving each other insane. It’s a good life, and one I wouldn’t change at all. Even if summer comes early and doesn’t last long enough.

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Doing as I say, or, We’re off to see the wizard!

I told a friend the other day to make sure she was reading to her two year old. “It’s where they get their vocabulary” I told her. When my oldest was young I read to her everyday.  It never failed. It was our time together at the end of the day, or our time before nap to calm down. But something happened after I had my second daughter. My oldest was able to read to her. I let her. Good sister bonding time I thought, and I haven’t read a bedtime story since.

And you know what? That’s crap. It really is. I want them to bond, I really do, but it’s not my big girl’s job to do that. It’s mine. So in an effort to do as a say, I bought a copy of The Wizard of Oz to start reading to my girls. Because it is important to read to your children every day, even when they’re old enough to read to themselves. Also, I’ve never read it, only seen the movie and that needs to be remedied. I can’t wait to sit them down tonight and start to read it. To do funny voices. To look at the really cool illustrations.

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Do you still read to your kids? I can’t believe I let it slip. I still remember my oldest daughter’s face every time I read her The Spider and The Fly, which is still one of her favorite books, 4 years later.

The walk

There is something about a path you know so well, that you could walk it in the dark. A path that your feet has traveled so many times that you know when to avoid the satellite pole, or the pile of downed limbs that have been there for more then three weeks.  When it’s so dark out that you can’t really see more then a few inches in front of you, but you know where the small bridge over the empty rain run off is. When you know which of the wobbley boards on that bridge to step over. When you feel comfortable letting your kids walk ahead of you because you know this path. You trust this path. This is the path that always leads you home.

It might sound sappy, but it’s true. In a world that is increasingly getting more and more uncertain, the certainty of this path grounds me.  I walk this path probably a dozen times each week. It goes from my house to my in laws house. I sometimes let my oldest daughter take the path by herself. At some point my youngest will get there too. It’s a good path. It takes me where I want to go, whether it’s bright and sunny and I’m on my  way home to see my mother in law for lunch or to play outside with the kids, or when I’m on my way home after family dinner, our Sunday ritual.

Book recs?

It’s that time of year. Gift buying time. So what do you buy for a 8 year old girl who devours books as quickly as her Halloween candy stash? MORE BOOKS!!! So, here’s my question. What’s your go to book for the mid grade age (well, some YA as well)? She’s gone through Dahl, and is reading The Warriors series. She’s tried all sorts of dragon books, and Choose Your Own Adventures.  I need something out of the box.  What do you think?

 

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Also, don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win one of two prizes; a gift basket or an Amazon gift card.

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A rambling sort of post.

When you begin to blog, really commit yourself to it, you never realize there are days when you’ll not have a thing to say. Either your mind is too full, too empty, or too preoccupied; it happens. Today is one of those days. It’s another rainy day (day 4) here in the south. I have a huge list of things to accomplish today and I have strong coffee to help me get it done. But…and here’s the rub, I don’t really want to do anything. I sort of just want to sit on the couch and cuddle with my youngest. Watch cartoons all day, eat popcorn and just be the two of us. She won’t be home with me much longer, only two more years til she starts school, and I don’t want to waste any time with her. It’s times like this that I remember why I am doing this. I want her to be proud of me. I want to write stories that I know she’ll read one day and be able to say “My momma wrote this!” So that’s my inspiration to spend time here on my laptop rather than coloring with chalk with her. I need to keep writing, keep putting out books that she’ll read, that maybe one day she’ll read to her children.

Some days my oldest daughter is my inspiration, bu today it’s my youngest. Before I sign off on this very short blog, let me leave you with some of my favorite things about my youngest daughter.

  1. Her deep love for coffee. This morning it was, “you’re making me coffee milk momma? Aw thank you, You’re the best. Coffee milk is my favorite.”
  2. She tells me I’m the best at least ten times a day. I know this will change one day, so I’m storing them up for later.
  3. Every Sunday dinner with my in-laws she has to say her own prayer after everyone else is done. It goes like this. “You are all not douchenozzles. Not Momma, not Daddy, not (sister), not Nana, not Pooh, and not (uncle). I love you.” Yes, douchenozzle is one of her favorite words, no I don’t care. It could be so much worse.
  4.  She sings everything. Highly inappropriate songs, what she’s doing, and commercials. It’s seriously endearing. You’ve not lived until you’ve heard her sing Sugar by Maroon 5
  5. She needs a stack of books on her bed to fall asleep. I tuck her in and then she lays in bed looking at pictures and “reading” to herself. I cannot express how happy this makes me. I can’t wait for to actually be able to read.

So that’s my youngest daughter in bullet points. She’s so much more, but that’s about all I’m ready to share. So that’s all from me today. I’m off to watch cartoons before I tackle my next to do list item.

Be weird. Be fabulous. Be you.

Over the weekend I saw two separate posts, one written by my lovely friend Keisha Page, and another that featured the photo of Gwen Stefani, but the both of them were telling me the same thing. BE YOU. Even if you is the weird mom. Even if you is the fangirling kid. Or even better, even if you are the weird mom to the fangirling kid who is just now stepping into her own weirdness. I’ve talked before on this blog about how important it is to me that you are yourself. Most of the stories I write for kids have that same message, it’s that important to me. I came to it a little bit later in life. I had to hit 30 before I finally realized that pretending to be the “normal” that I thought I needed to be just wasn’t working for me. So I became my “normal” which is more like “weird.” And I am using those silly quotation marks because both those words are really, and I mean REALLY, subjective.

I embrace my weirdness. I mean, I don’t see it as weird, though society might. But on the whole, I care not what society thinks of me. I care what my daughters think of me. And my daughters see me as: silly, nerdy, different, CONFIDENT, smart, passionate, and slightly crazy. But more importantly, they see me as a person who is herself, who doesn’t follow the straight and narrow just because she is supposed to. And that is what I want for my daughters. Because as much as I don’t want to place the blame of all the worlds problems on our society (because really what would that solve), our society thinks it knows everything. It has definite ideas about what is normal, what is pretty, what is a girl thing. And man do I dislike that crap…….

So, if you’re nerdy then own it. If you’re smart then own it. If you’d rather have green hair then brown, OWN IT! Teach the younger generation what it means to BE YOU.

**featured image is me, trying to not get suffocated by my daughter’s stuffed animals. They think it’s funny. I think it’s parricide.

Time flies

Today my baby, I mean big girl, turned eight. Eight!! That means she’s been with me for almost ten years now. It seems like a lifetime, it seems like only a year or two. I am one of those terribly sentimental people who gets choked up very easily when thinking about the people important to her. So to say that I have been on the verge of tears all morning is not an overstatement. When I woke up this morning she was in our bed, because she still does that sometimes, and I hugged her tight, whispered Happy Birthday and tried not to cry then.

Since then we’ve had cake for breakfast and she’s stolen my coffee, as she does, and each time she tells me to tell a friend thank you for the fb bday wishes, I tear up. It’s going to be one of those days, I fear,

Her excitement of my book (which has just shown up) makes me happy and proud and teary all at once, because despite it being her day, she is still so excited for me.  In short, my girl is awesome, and I am super lucky. as is anyone who knows her.

Movie Monday

I’m still feeling a bit weird coming off vacation, not back on schedule yet, so I wasn’t sure what to write about today. Then I thought again about the amazing movie I had just watched and I figured this would be a good place to talk about it. So this is my first ever #MovieMonday

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Not long back I saw a trailer for the most adorable looking animated film, Song Of The Sea, out of Ireland. Now I love animated movies, I have two daughters who I so conveniently use as an excuse to watch a multitude of them. But this one was all me. I was looking for it streaming and finally found it on Amazon Prime, I said a little Woo Hoo, and called my girls in to sit down and watch it with me. The youngest girl didn’t last but a few minutes, but my oldest was hooked. So was I. I knew it was going to be beautiful and it did not disappoint. Completely different than any other animated movie I’ve ever seen, it sucks you in with the immediate magic that you feel watching this pair of siblings. You go an adventure with them, and at points you will get frustrated, sad at others, and then finally, happy.

I could go on and on, but really I just hope you find the movie and let it speak for itself. It’s lovely. Magical. Both my 7 year old daughter and I gave it five stars.

(if you click on the movie poster it should bring you to the trailer.)

Video Games For The Win.

I live in a video game fueled house. It’s true that we live in a digital age, and I’m fairly certain my family takes advantage of that. And here is why I don’t mind. It is true I sometimes wish we were raising our kids in a neighborhood like I grew up in, but we’re not and that is okay. Again, here is why. Pop culture, the digital age, all the electronics that people tell me my kids spend too much time on, well they are enriching my children’s life. And I don’t care if you don’t believe me.

In our house we have two phones (adults) two computers, one sad old tablet (nook), a PS3 and a PS4. And despite all that, I still have healthy active kids. How is that possible you ask? Isn’t all that electronics killing their little souls? No. No it’s not. And I’m actually quite sick of people saying it is. My kid play outside. They run. The play in the creek. They pick wild blackberries, and cultivated blueberries. They climb trees. They use their imagination to make me soup out of leaves (uh..yum?) and then when they are tired and worn out, they come inside and kill Orcs. I touched on it a little last week, but my oldest is a natural video game player. Seriously, at 7 she is amazing. Which means she is a great problem solver. And a pretty brilliant strategist, as well as an accomplished engineer. I thank Lego Hobbit, Skylanders and Minecraft for that. She’s also highly empathetic which comes across when she plays Ori and The Blind Forest.

My youngest is 3 and is learning to read on ABC mouse. I’m not saying I couldn’t teach her without my computer, I could, but this is helping and she loves it. She’s engaged. She doesn’t lose her interest as easily as she did when it was just her and me and a book. But here’s the thing, despite all the electronics. My girls are still book girls. Oldest reads a bedtime story to her sister every night. At any given point I can walk into the playroom and find them curled up on the giant poof looking at books together. So if this is true for my kids, and most likely other kids as well, why is there so much hate for video games?  At what point did it become: video games are the most evil thing in the world, and if you let your kids play them too much it makes them stupid? I seriously don’t understand. If you have an answer for me, I’ll be killing Orcs with my oldest 🙂

Encourage it all

I’m sitting here, my laptop on my lap, trying my best to come up with something to blog about this week. My brain is mush this morning, it is certainly a Monday. Beside me I have a empty coffee cup that has not done it’s job, I’m going to need more, and my oldest daughter. I ask her what to blog about and she spouts off a list of her favorite things: animals, books, Minecraft. All fun things, but aside from books, not things that I am super passionate about. I mean I do love animals, but despite her many, MANY attempts to get me into Minecraft, I just can’t. There are Doctor Who mods for it, we’ve looked at them and talked about them, and even though I love me some Doctor Who, it still doesn’t get me interested in Minecraft.

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The thing is, I AM interested in her. Every day she amuses me, annoys me, and astonishes me. So despite my distinct lack of love for Minecraft, I still watch her play. And talk about the videos she watches on YouTube. And I play with the toys. Because when you love someone, you encourage them. Even if you are not a fan of the things they love, you still encourage it all. It’s a fabulous part of the human condition, disagreement. I love you but I don’t love the things you love. I know there are some people who don’t handle that well, who demand that because it is important to them then it must be important to you. I disagree with that (see what I did there?). I think the best part of loving someone, whether it be spouse, child, friend, or stranger, is loving them despite the disagreement.

So in that vein, I watch a ton of Teen Titans Go, and listen to play by plays of YouTube videos on Minecraft. But the converse of that is, she listens to music she wouldn’t pick out herself, and reads books I suggest even though they are not about Minecraft (gasp!).  So I guess the moral of this post is: encourage the love, even if it’s not something you love. (ya know, unless it’s illegal.)