Friday, November 21, 2014

This is life with kids. Crazy, beautiful, drive-you-nuts, fill-your-heart-with-joy-until-it-nearly-explodes LIFE.

We seem to be on a rhythm of one super awesome, smooth, nothing but fun week, followed by two REAAAALLY rough, pull-your-hair-out, count-down-the-minutes-to-bedtime weeks, then back to smooth, and get it. We were in the heart of loooooong stretch of ugly late last week and I was nearing my breaking point when a few things crossed my path of awareness.

First, we went to our preschool's Harvest Festival and Lantern Walk - 24ish preschoolers, plus older and younger siblings, plus parents, one medium-ish sized room, a potluck dinner (that my baby girls ate zero of), freezing (literally) temps for a short walk in the woods lit by lanterns (preschoolers and fire) and then clean up. It was after this somewhat beautiful (and rather overstimulating) event that I realized something...something very simple, but so important. This is just what 4.5-years-old looks like. That's it. It isn't that my world is upside down and all out of sorts. I'm not doing it all wrong and ruining my kid. It is that 4.5 is crazy. Fast running, rough playing, loud voices, big emotions, crazy. My heart settled slightly.

Second, I came across an article on Scary Mommy (if you are unfamiliar with this blog, immediately familiarize yourself). It is entitled "Wound Up Parent Syndrome (WUPS)". As always on this site, the author uses humor to make you think...and feel, to bring you down from your cliff and make you understand that you are not alone. If you have small children, it is really a must read. Parenting is hard. Motherhood is hard, even alienating at times. It is amazing and I'm eternally grateful for my job as Momma, but holy moly, sometimes you need to know YOU ARE NOT ALONE and YES, THIS STUFF IS NUTS!

Finally, way back when the girls were born, I was told about a podcast called One Bad Mother (they also have an FB page) . I listened to it in the weeeeee (I mean wee) morning hours to try and keep myself from falling asleep sitting up on the couch, strapped into a giant pillow with my babies hooked on to my boobs. ;) After a while, with packing and an out-of-state move and starting Beachbody Coaching and wanting to listen to trainings and the rest of crazy life, I sort of lost track of it. I'm so happy that last week, I discovered it once more! This episode is about mommy ruts. What they are, how to break them and a whole lot of laughter. Ruts, y'all. Ruts. This is a great episode. Check them out! Though be warned: lots of swearing. If that isn't your bag, you may wanna hold off. ;)

I'm pretty sure these three occurrences were aligned by the Universe especially for me to talk me down and bring me back to my heart and my life. This is it. This is life. Three beautiful (albeit crazy) babes running laps around my house (literally...we have a floor plan that is equal to having a race track in our home), screaming and laughing. Three babes who do not always want to play together or sometimes all want the same toy. Three babes who are learning how to negotiate social expectations. Hours spent in the kitchen cooking and cleaning up. Hours spent trying to get out of the house...and then trying to get home in time for the next meal or sleep time. Too few showers. So much laundry. Tears. Laughter. Joy. Frustration. LOVE. This is it. It is hard as hell, but I'm not alone...I can do this and I am so grateful that THIS is my life. <3

5 Alternatives to Throwing Out Thanksgiving Extras

Late last night while I was working on sewing my girls' stocking (yes, they are going to share one this's an improvement on the "no stockings" of last year. They take a while), I was watching Conan O'Brien. During part of his opening bit, he mentioned that every Thanksgiving, Americans THROW AWAY $282 MILLION in uneaten turkey! That is nuts! Apparently that works out to be over 250 million lbs. This doesn't even include extra stuffing, cranberry, potatoes, green bean casserole, rolls, etc that are tossed out. My brain nearly exploded when I heard that; it got me to thinking...and thus:

5 Alternatives to Throwing Out Thanksgiving Extras

1. The simplest of them all...BUY LESS! If you are just going to throw it out, don't buy it! And with the extra money that you aren't spending on excess, think about upgrading to an Organic or even a Pastured turkey! It is a little more expensive, but it is healthier for you and healthier for the planet! And you're buying fewer pounds anyway, right?!

2. Send your guests home with leftovers! No need to hoard it all yourself. ;) Ask your guests to bring a "to go" container with them and send them home with a bit of turkey love.

3. Be creative with leftovers. Don't just reheat the same ol' Thanksgiving meal over and again. Sure, that is bound to get boring. Re-invent it. Of course, there is the obvious turkey sammy for lunch. Make it into soup. Add the meat to a casserole. Make a breakfast bake. A salad. A pot pie. A quick "Thanksgiving leftover recipes" google search will yield tons of ideas!

4. Donate it. Contact a local shelter and see if they are accepting donations. After Nolan's first birthday, we had a ludicrous amount of sub sandwiches left, so we called up a shelter and they took them off our hands happily!

5. This is probably my favorite - package up some leftovers and truck them into town (or down the street...or wherever) and offer them to the homeless. Take your kids with you and teach them about generosity, taking care of others who are less fortunate and how important it is to treat everyone with kindness and dignity. :)