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What to Do with This Thirty Minutes?

Oh, I had a million things I could do, catch up on work, dirty dishes, sweep, pay bills, you know where I am going with this.  And, there are many days that I do this.  The kids were upstairs, content, no squabbles, no he did this, she did that, no tears, no screams of horror that need saving from mommy.  Everything pointed toward relaxation time, a time that comes sparingly.  Instead, a wild idea enters my thoughts to play with my three glued to the tv–hence the quietness–kiddos. Leaving the computer, thinking it is so very quiet, what am I doing, I enter the room.  “Do you want to play a game?”  They looked at me as if the Mom they knew had been captured by a magical creature (clarification, we do play games and this was not the first ever suggestion of playing games). They asked, “What game?” “You guys choose,” I said.  We cleared some room so we could play Dizios. I played working to block out the things to do all around me.  Many times I sit down to play and end up in my own game of pick up (better known as cleaning).  Not today, today my full attention was with my kids.  We played 30 minutes or somewhere around that time frame. Those 30 minutes could have been used to tackle many other things though I would not have ever had the moment–those 30 minutes of time with my kids.

Have you ever had an experience like this?

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Yes, Life is Achievable

Endurance. “With a little endurance, you will make it through.”  A phrase I have heard many times. I agree, put your best foot forward and plow through the deep waters of whichever circumstance may be weighing heavily at the time.  Though today, I was given a different perspective on enduring.  Often times when I think of endurance, I think, wow, I must complete this whole big challenge and come through it with flying colors and  feel a deep sense of happiness at the end–after I have endured for so long. Enduring, It can be such a cumbersome world that can suck the energy from you along with the fun and enjoyment of life.  When I hear the word endure, I can feel my anxiety and panic heighten, knowing I am in for the long haul and that even at the end of it all, I have found other things that need my endurance too.  This endurance thing is a lifelong battle it seems.  And, a dreaded phrase most of the time.  Though, today, today, I was enlightened, I was relieved of my imperfection and the necessity of battling endurance. Today, I have been able to take the word endure and see the positive, happy side of the most dark word somedays.  Today, I learned that enduring can be for a few seconds, for an hour, for a day, for a week. It can be adjusted to you and the amount of energy you have to get through the rough waters of life.  Much of the time when big goals are holding our for achievement, they become a drag, boring to do and the end gratification seems so far off.  With this new view on this word, these achievements seem attainable.  Getting through a hectic day with kids, pressing financial burdens, the idea of eating healthy every single day to achieve a fitness goal, health challenges, emotional challenges, spiritual challenges.  Today, I learned to endure is adjustable to how much you can handle and take.  It is there to nudge along, for encouragement and to realize, yes life is achievable.

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To Reminisce, to Dream, to Remember Childhood

Jack’s Five and Ten, Grape and Orange Popsicles and 1 cent fortune gum—the best gum—memories of the past but history of the future. Instead of sitting in traffic on the Kennedy Expressway, we decide to take Cumberland to get us into the city. We hit the city and the neighborhood, streets and areas become familiar. 2543 N. Kilbourn, we are by the first house I remember as a kid. It’s actually and apartment. My parent’s help manage it and took care of the tenants. It is where my sister and I ate our neighbor’s fundraiser Tootsie roll tubes. They looked so inviting in those tubes with the slots at top. Mom was not impressed. “I am going to have to pay for all of those.” Her words still clear nearly 30 years later. I thought to myself, we ate almost all of them. “Oh no!” The backyard comes into view and I remember my childhood play: “I knew a senorita with diamonds in her hair,” my favorite black shoes, the tons of stairs that led down into the back common yard. The garage, the ally. We continue on, “that is the high school you would have gone to if we didn’t move.” Mom says. Kelvyn Park we come upon next. Sprinklers, Metal swing horses—not sure if they were trying to eliminate kids because these swings though fun were deadly! 2825 N. Kenneth, my favorite house. My Mom loved this house. Creativity would sneak in on cold days—tape recording my favorite songs of my favorite station B96. Snowy days Barbies would visit Alaska right out the window of my bedroom. Down the street childhood memories return like the sun on a bright day: neighbors, tragedies, kids and kid stuff. At the stop sign we turn left, Barry Elementary, the grammar school I attended until 6th grade. “Look,” I say to my kids—“that is my grammar school.” “That looks creepy,” they say. I laugh, “you should see the inside.” Past the ally my mom would walk me through when I called home from the office, sick for the 5th time that week. I am lucky she did not follow the “Boy who cried wolf” fable. Teacher problems, I wasn’t really sick. Being a kid seems like a different world as my mind travels back to my childhood. Looking back that different world was forming much of who I am today. Life lessons were learned, fears faced—conquered and not, consequences paid, milestones met. “Mom, I have to pee,” my three-year old bursts out as we are driving. Where will we stop, the neighborhood has changed so much since my childhood, we found a restaurant behind my grammar school. I had not walked near that school in years. A zap, the memories. My kids, our kids, they are in the midst of their childhood. Inventions, technology has increased the speed of life. That is my philosophy anyway. Kids, they are so eager to grow up faster. I am old school I suppose, I say be a kid, cherish your childhood, it only lasts just a short while and “the little years pass so fast.” These are famous words, I hear them all the time. I have no rebuke. I am seeing my kids grow before my eyes.

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My heart and prayers go out to those kids whose childhood is less than a childhood in any way. I know that in certain circumstances…childhood can be less than optimal.

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Stress of Plane Travel Worth It?

Alarm clock set for 5 a.m., Yes! I can do it.  Dropped my husband off at work the night before so we could get there on time.  Nine and a half years ago Dicky started working for an airline. I resigned at my job to be at home with our then six month old baby boy. Deciding to stay home was an up and down roller coaster, though in the end, staying home was the end of one ride and the beginning of a new one.  The combination of flight benefits and the choice to stay home, William and I started using the flight benefits and traveling often.  We saw a lot of baseball, traveled to many states and visited my hometown of Chicago and Dicky’s hometown of California.  It was a time of fun with a lot of learning. Fast forward one year from my last travels on an airplane, relying on my early travel expertise, we set out to Chicago to see my side of the family as the oldest two kids’ summer vacation began.  Sitting on the airplane, I thought to myself, we did it! I did it! Security and the flight were successful minus a couple of blunders.  No major breakdowns and a mostly calm baby, an older sibling helping a younger and a nap for baby, big sister and Dad.  Yes, travels–on a plane (in a public space) with kids (little, young kids) can be stressful and feel not worth it, though with a few pairs of hands, a semi-plan of organization, a few musical plane chairs, trips to the hardly fit one person bathroom, a couple snacks (mostly sugar) and not worrying too much about the plane company, we pulled off our travels with four kiddos with mostly high spirits and arrived all in one piece. We are enjoying excursion number one of the summer.

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Hibernation for Twelve Months, Too Much to Ask?

2004, the year I found out I was pregnant with my first child.  Exciting and new and ready for a new adventure.  Pregnancy progressed and I saw my body changing.  I thought it was just the belly, that is where the baby grew after all.Time progressed, I got through the beginning, the hardest part for me.  Sick, tired and just didn’t quite feel like me.  Once passed the sickness, uncontrolled hunger.  Where did this come from?  I wanted to eat everything and my weight began to reflect it.  40 weeks passed and I gave birth to my firstborn son.  An amazing experience.  Now, I find myself in my 6th pregnancy, my 4th to term pregnancy and I have found that I am not the greatest pregnant woman nor do I marvel in being pregnant.  Hibernation for 12 months or so would not be so much to ask, would it?  Approaching my 28th week, entering my third trimester, I cannot believe the time has past as quick as it has for this pregnancy.  After a miscarry in October of 2013, I feel like I have been pregnant forever (I was able to get pregnant again in November 2014).  In my previous pregnancy, I really didn’t take the time to enjoy the life that was growing inside.  I was focused on the weight I was gaining and why with each pregnancy I feel like I have such lack of control when it come to food during pregnancy.  I have worked to focus on the growth of baby and not worry so much about  my lack of physical activity (though I try to be as active as possible).  My body hurts this pregnancy around and I know that this is the last time I will be pregnant.  I work at focusing on the kicks that are happening inside, the growth, the life that is living vs. the roundness of my face or the extra weight I will be left with after baby arrives.  As I write, she kicks, she moves and I know that she is there. It’s as if she knows that I am writing about her and her life to be.  Life is a miracle, the growth of a child is a miracle. As I realize this, I work to set aside my insecurities to enjoy these last encounters with pregnancy: kicks, side sleeping, rolling out of bed, physical limitations, round belly, awkward pregnancy waddle.  I know as this season of my life comes to a close, I will miss it. Though I am ready for the continued adventures of motherhood and parenting.

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Go, Climb a Tree!

“Mom, I want to be your age,” my oldest daughter, who is six, said to me.  My heart nearly broke.  When I think about life, being an adult and going from kid, teenager, young adult, adult, into older adult, getting older adult and so on…I think of how little the time is to be a kid!  12 years out of 100 or so (hopefully).  As a kid, I watched my parents, I thought, yeah, I want to make my own decisions when I get older, use the phone when I want, go to sleep when I want, eat when and what I want but I never realized how great I had it as a kid. Yeah, I had to listen to my parents and a lot of time I didn’t want to do what they said though as a parent now, I realize, I had it pretty good as a kid.  We had money to get us through,simple vacations and drive-able cars, my parents took care of us and taught us how to be self-sufficient.  We played with fisher price toys, played hopscotch, rode our bikes outside, caught lightning bugs on summer nights and enjoyed the stickiness of hot summer nights.  We scraped our knees, watched Scooba Doo, Gidget and I Dream of Jeannie.  Computers were barely coming into homes for personal use.  Now, it seems like computers and technology are taking over and kids feel like they have to move faster, live in fantasy worlds and give up their childhood.  I say, go climb the tree outside, enjoy the fresh air, spring breeze, fall crispness, winter freeze and summertime fun!  Swim in pools, read outside, play at the playgrounds.  Run, play tag, fall down. Have as much fun as you can in your 12 childhood years, being a grown up comes fast and then you wonder, where in the world did childhood go?  And, responsibility, isn’t that for parents?

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A+ for Creativity!

Capturing the moment in a picture is something I need to do! Like all kids, my kids do some of the most random things.  My three year old is a beginner potty trainer.  He does his best to use toilet paper for its intended use–he also loves to wash his hands.  His speech is not completely clear yet, though I could tell from his tone he believed he achieved something miraculous! I walked into the bathroom, to find the biggest ball of wet toilet paper plastered to the mirror.  Water dripping down.  He thought this was a magnificent achievement! I thought to myself, thank goodness they are not plastered everywhere!  An A+ for creativity and the perfect ball of TP.