Posted in Children, Family, parenting

A Letter To My Daughter On Her 5th Birthday

img_3166I can’t help but wonder if all mothers cry when their baby turns five years old? As soon as my eyes opened, I began to think of you. Not that that’s anything new. You are always the first thought to cross my mind. And as a sidenote, you will always be the first thought to cross my mind, no matter how old you are, no matter how far from me you travel.  I think Willie Nelson sang a song along those same lines.

I couldn’t stop the tears this morning. And all through the day, I’ve fought to keep them at bay.

Five years. Five beautiful, wonderful years. They have been the most precious, most blessed times of my life. And that is saying quite a lot, sweet Emma Kate, because my life has been pretty marvelous. But when you entered the world, it went to a brand new level.

I don’t know the answers to all life’s questions. I certainly don’t know much at all. But I know that you have allowed me and taught me to love in a way that never seemed possible. Sure, we have our ups and downs. Life isn’t always a bowl of cherries, but when you step back and look at the big picture, there’s definitely more ups than downs and more cherries than pits in our bowl.

You are such a good kid. You are so smart. I have written to you for the first 12 months of your life, and then every year after that. Someday, I will print these out for you to keep and reflect back on. Reading back through, you will know how absolutely, infinitely loved and adored you are.

You have a great memory. You love to play a game with you daddy and I, especially on car rides, called “Remember when…..”. You usually start and say, “remember when we…” and you’ll fill in the blank. Then we all take turns giving our own remember whens. Sometimes, we all remember, and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes, I’m purely amazed at the things you remember from long, long ago. It’s also kind of sad when you don’t remember something that was pretty epic, so that’s one reason I write it down.

Because one day, my little lovebird, all you will be left with will be your memories. I want you to have good ones. Me and your dad are trying our hardest to give you an amazing childhood, but at the same time, being careful not to turn you into a brat. It’s a thin line to cross. Because sometimes giving your child everything is not the best, and someday you’ll understand that. It’s not about all the “things and stuff” in life, not the newest and greets, because those things always turn not so new, and not so great.

It’s about the “remember whens”. It’s about playing hide and go seek in the dark. It’s about birthday parties with family and friends, and adventures in the woods building forts, and hiking trails, and picking wildflowers. It’s about making play dough and playing dolls. It’s about lying in the yard and looking at the shapes in the clouds, or the stars at night. It’s about snuggles at bedtime and rocking chair time every morning with a blanket and chocolate milk and a warm,drowsy head on my chest. It’s about fishing at the lake, and swimming in a horse trough. It’s about dance parties through the house when our favorite song comes on, and sharing books together. It’s all the “remember when’s” that are too many to list.

It’s all about the time we’ve shared and the memories we’ve made.

You are growing into a great young girl. You are no longer an infant, no longer a baby, no longer a toddler, and pretty soon, you’ll no longer be a preschooler. You have learned so much. Most of your days are spent at St. Matthew’s where you’ve already learned to read 100 sight words. You are my little reader, but I always knew you would be. You understand numbers and how to put them together and take them apart. You also have a whole lot of dang common sense. You are practically perfect in every way. Much like Mary Poppins, huh?

Thank you Emma Kate for these last 5 years. They have been beyond my wildest imagination. I am so happy you’re mine. Someone posted on Facebook about you, that “God said ta-da”, and I think that sums it up perfectly. I love you oodles and gobs, and more, and more, and more.

Happy Birthday, my baby.

XOXO,

Mommy

 

Posted in Children, Family, life

Responsibility/Chore/To-do Charts for Preschoolers–A Pinterest WIN

 

It seems I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest. Anyone else?

I love all the “stuff” it offers, the great ideas, the pictures of beautiful places, the words of wisdom it imparts. Like this one:
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One of my favorites.

But I hate all the other”stuff” about it. The pressure it exerts to be the perfect, cutesy mom and do all the perfect, cutesy crafts; the outfits that look adorable and amazing on the model but will never look like that on me; the guilt I feel because it sucks my life right into it’s Pinteresty little claws and leaves me wondering where my day has gone and if I’ve fed my kid.

But today I’m feeling the love kind of day for Pinterest.

Today I have an Ode to Pinterest. A very short Ode.

(clears throat)
Pinterest, oh Pinterest,  how I adore thee
After 973 failed experiments
,
One finally worked
Yippee!

I attempted a chore chart for my pre-schooler.  Technically a chore chart, but casually called a to-do list because that really sounds so much more grown up.

You see my biggest fear, my greatest ambition, my strongest drive as a mom is simply not to screw my kid up. That’s all I want. Really. I just want her to grow to be a well-adjusted, responsible, kind human “bean” that does a little bit of good in this world and casts a little light in a dark place. Is that too much to ask?

I’m trying my hardest to keep her from being an ingrate. An entitled, rude, spoiled rotten brat. Uh…it’s not really going so good some days.

It seems simple doesn’t it?  Give her lots of love, boost her self-esteem, teach her manners and responsibility, don’t spoil her. Blah, blah, blah. I’ve read all the articles.

On Pinterest.

But it’s so much harder than that. Because this little human that I’m trying so desperately not to screw up, has a mind and a will of her own. And because there comes a time that your smart little girl who you’ve praised her entire life for being so smart turns into a little argumentative know-it-all in pigtails because she really believes she KNOWS IT ALL. And whose fault is that?  (All heads turn toward me).

Just trying to build her up and not tear her down and what have I created?

So that’s when I have to take a deep breath and just keep on keeping on.

Side note: to all you parents of teenagers out there—-I really don’t need to hear the “oh you just wait. These are the easy years. It only gets harder” crap. That’s not exactly words of encouragement, in case you didn’t know.

Now onto the chore chart/to-do list.
I stumbled across it on Pinterest and thought I’d give it a try.  Today was our first day with it and it worked beautifully! It was almost a game. A wonderful thing I tell ya.

Responsibility Chart/To-Do for Preschoolers
Responsibility Chart/To-Do for Preschoolers

I used this person’s idea

but instead of using a clipboard, I used a cutting mat because it’s what was here at the moment I got this wild hair.

I found the picture cards here
http://www.homeschoolcreations.net/2015/03/preschool-chore-charts-2/

These are awesome and have lots and lots of options for all age kids.

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We went through looking and reading all the pictures and then I put four on her chart (not the four in the picture because I decided to take a pic after the fact and those just happened to be the four I grabbed.

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She carried her chart around with her keeping track of her to-do’s (wished I’d gotten a picture of that), moving them to the DONE column as she finished. She was so proud. We added four more and she worked so hard to complete those too.

It was so fun, I think I’ll make myself one and I’m not even kidding. There’s just something about seeing those colored pictures and moving them to the DONE side that’s better than crossing out a to-do list, and I do despise a to-do list.

The most fun was the “pick up 25 things card”.  There are always things out of place around here. Hair ties. Markers. Books. We made it a little race to see who could get 25 things put away first.

I used velcro for our chart, and the velcro kept peeling off the laminated cards so I’ll probably have to add a little super glue. I think using magnets on a cookie sheet would also work really well.

I’m going to adjust ours and use it three times a day. Once for her morning routine, once for her chores, and once for her bedtime routine.

Hopefully the eagerness on her part will continue and the consistency on my part will as well. Let me know if you try this, how it works out.

 

 

 

Posted in Children, Family, life, Love

When Motherhood Becomes a Battle…….the Side I Choose


We danced in the rain, arms outstretched, face upwards.

We water-colored and crayon colored.

We cooked and sang.

We kicked a soccer ball and practiced writing the letter S.

We read books and looked for hidden objects in the pictures.

There are a million things my mind tells me I should be doing. Like packing to move 400? miles away. And cleaning the house. And fulfilling commitments that I promised I would do. I should be doing laundry and keeping a more daily skin regimen and I should not be eating icing from the can with a spoon.

I sneak in my “Me” moments, (which are not “Me” moments at all, but just the stuff you have to do to keep life running) at times when I can. I try so hard to balance the attention I give her with the other things that need my attention. Am I harming her more than helping, I can’t help but wonder. Will she turn into one of those entitled, selfish brats that I read so many articles about because of my “overparenting”?

Those are the things my mind tells me. And my heart tells me that sticky fingers do indeed wash and wearing the same jeans two days in a row is not the end of the world. That knowing she is loved and cared for is truly more important, isn’t it?  Isn’t it the most important? My heart tells me this time with my daughter is short; shorter than I realize. I have friends posting graduation pictures of their children on social media, and I count the years remaining. Fifteen. I actually count those years more often than I should. Fifteen years until I can have an uninterrupted conversation with my husband. Fifteen years until I can sleep late again. Fifteen years until I can go to the bathroom without someone barging in. Actually, I have way less than fifteen, I know.

Motherhood is such a battle at times. Your heart battles your mind. Your shoulds battle your should nots. Your selfishness battles your self-sacrifice.

Some days I wish it were easier. I wish that I could be assured that everything I’m doing is right and good and that this little person is going to grow up with fond memories of family and fun and me. That she will possess responsibility, integrity, morals, and high standards. That she will grow up self-sufficient and independent, yet never act arrogant nor pretentious. That she will grow up and know love, and be able to show love to others. I choose to give her my time and my attention. I choose to help her know she is important and she matters. Only time will tell if I’m doing it all wrong.

We picked a fluffy dandelion and she asked me what I wish for. I looked into her deep brown eyes and said I already have everything I could ever need. I wish for her wishes to come true. She looked around the yard and saw her purple chair and said she wishes for a purple chair.

Perhaps we both already have everything we need.

That’s what I hope.
Visit Angel’s profile on Pinterest.

Posted in Children, Family

The Latest Emmaisms—Edition 3

So, occasionally I like to blog about the funny things that come out of my daughter’s mouth.  Today, I’m keeping it short and sweet with the latest three funnies.

1)  She’s learned how to covet.  Something she often says is “I wish I had ____________(fill in the blank)”.  The other day while looking at Pinterest with me, she said “I wish I had that dress.  In my dreams.”  Maybe she’s realizing she doesn’t get everything she wishes for.

2)  The sun was shining last Saturday, so we headed out for a hike in the woods.  Although most of the snow had melted in town, we discovered a lot of snow, mud, and puddles on the trail while heading up.  Needless to say, I hadn’t dressed her in the best shoes for trekking through the aforementioned conditions, she was simply wearing a pair of “sneaks” as she calls them.  She was doing a great job hiking however; no complaining, no stopping, no slowing down when she fell in the snow.  Her daddy was bringing up the rear and commented, “Emma, you’re a trooper.”  She replied, “No I’m not!  I’m a hiker!”

3) She spent some time with her young male cousin recently during all the holiday visits. Today, while going potty, she informed me that “Maxx pees out of his belly button.  Silly Maxx!”

Oh the fun of it.

You can read her other cute sayings here and here.

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Posted in Children, Family

Two Year Old Snowman

Today is the first official snow of 2015 here in my corner of New Mexico.  Official snow in my book anyway.  There might have been a previous flurry or two, in which I consider that officially unofficial.

EK wanted to go build a snowman, but she didn’t want to wear all those clothes.  “They’re too tight.  They’re too tight,” she complained.  Also, the fact that they didn’t match produced a few tears, but after wearing them for a bit, she got used to the discomfort and fashion taboo-edness and didn’t want to come inside for forever.

It was a day of christening the Snowman Kit that EK bought for her daddy Christmas 2013.

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Her snowman when she was still two, but just barely.

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As JDub and EK packed on the snow forming a buddha-like belly for the snowman, I grew a bit nostalgic.  Today is January 13. In 15 days, my baby will turn three.  Two weeks and one day.  It’s not that I don’t know she’s about to turn three.  We’re in the throes of princess party planning, but sometimes the realness of a situation just hits you, you know?

I sat and thought of last year, of the snowman we built.  It seems like an eternity ago, and it seems like yesterday.  The thought struck me that this snowman will more than likely be the last snowman she will build as a two-year old.  The first and the last.

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Last year’s snowman, when she was still one, but barely. December 21, 2013

Even she knows how quickly time flies.  Recently, while holding up her little fingers just so, she said, “I’m two and I’m going to be three.  I’ve already been one.”  She’s already been one.  That’s over and done.  And in a few days, she will be able to say she’s already been two.

Excuse me while I blubber for a moment and go hold my girl, while she’s still two.

Posted in Children, Family

A Few More Emmaisms

I’ve got this almost 3-year-old, going on almost 30-year-old.

She says some of the funniest things.  I posted about them last here.  One of my faithful readers and commenters, Donna, coined them Emmaisms and I thought that sure sounded catchy.

Today I put on my 80’s playlist to get myself moving to clean the house after the holiday storm that rushed through here a few days back.  Trying to get back in my groove.  I began singing rather loudly to Journey.  You know how you do whenever Journey comes on. It doesn’t matter where you are, or what you’re doing.  When Journey plays, you sing.  It was a little bit of  Separate Ways.   I was belting it out pouring her some milk.

Someday love will find you, break those chains that bind you.  One night will remind you…….

Emma looked at me and said,

“Mom, let them sing by themselves.”

She lives in a fantasy world most of the time.  Princesses and fairies.  She takes turns wearing her dress up clothes with the matching shoes and hair.  Yes, hair.  If she’s Elsa, she has to have a braid.  Cinderella, a bun.  Belle, a half bun.  It is exhausting how many times she changes clothes and hair styles in a day.  The other day she just wanted to be Emma.

“I don’t want to be a mermaid.  I just want to be a human from America.”

Good enough for me, kid.

Don’t make the mistake that these little kids don’t learn how to make excuses at a very young age.  Whenever she doesn’t want to do something that she’s been told, she collapses into a limp noodle in my arms and exclaims,

“But I don’t have any feet!”

She’s my little homebody.  She never wants to go anywhere, not even the playground.  Or the store.  She says she’ll just stay home by herself.  The other morning, she looked at me with all the seriousness in the world and said,

“Mom, I’m not leaving today.  I’m just going to stay home and be naked.”

On that naked note, Material Girl is playing now and the house isn’t cleaning itself.

Have a great Tuesday!

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Posted in Children, Family

All About EK

I’ve got two reasons for this post.

1) my kid is darling

2) I occasionally run into ‘online’ friends  face to face who say they miss seeing my kid on Facebook.

Okay three reasons

3) I need to document the cute, funny, wise, serious things she says and does, and the baby book isn’t cutting it.

 

So for starters, here’s a pic or two.

She wants to be Snow White for Halloween.  Her costume came in and of course I let her try it on.

The problem is, I’m not sure if I snapped a picture of Snow White or Elvis.

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I love this picture of her.  Even though her eyes are closed.  Even though she’s itching her cheek and her dress is dirty.  Even though my thumb is in the picture and I didn’t have enough sense to crop it before I posted it.  I still love this picture.   This is beside our house in a “field” of wildflowers.  But we call it the Bear Forest.

 

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She has so many funny things that she says.  People tell me I won’t remember and heck, I know that’s true.

This week, I took a piece of paper and pen and decided to write down some of the stuff  she says.   Some of these, I’ll have to set the scene, and it may be they turn out to be a “you had to be there” moment.  But I was, so trust me, it was cute when it happened.  Or I wouldn’t have written it down.

 

Scene 1:

She loves to play with my phone and I’m one of those moms that let her.  She calls people, texts people, and I’m sure annoys the crap out of people.  She will blow up your phone with emojis.  String after string of them.

After sending a text, she said, “I sent daddy a text.  He got it in his pocket.”

 

Scene 2:

She’s a thinker.  Always trying to put things in their proper category.

“Why did an old lady live in a shoe?  She’s supposed to live in a house!”

 

Scene 3:

We had some friends come and visit for a couple of days and they happened to have some movies with them.  One of them was Beauty and the Beast.  EK had never seen it, but she knows all about the princesses, I can assure you.  We watched that movie and of course when they left, they took it with them.  The other day (months later) she was sitting on the potty….

Her:  I wish I had the Belle movie.
Me:  Maybe you can get it for Christmas.  Maybe you could ask Santa Claus for it?
Her:  Maybe Santa will go grab that movie from Suzanne.

 

Scene 4:

Don’t forget we have a teenager in the house, and with that comes that horrid teenage music.  Actually, there’s one song I kind of like.  It’s catchy, even though not really appropriate.   EK has heard it enough to be caught singing……

“I’m on the bass, on the bass. No trouble” (google it if you don’t know)

 

Scene 5:

Speaking of singing,

“What are little girls made of?
Spice and onions and sugar”

 

I’d say that’s right.