9/14/14

School Thoughts: Embracing the Time You Have

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I never imagined the day would come when I would send my youngest off to school. Even though we're only talking about preschool, it's still the beginning of the "school years," and as parents, we all know how quickly those years pass by. It honestly feels like yesterday that I dropped my oldest off for his first day of preschool. I can remember the smile on his face, his brand new backpack that was three times too big, the anxiety in my stomach and the hustle and bustle of the classroom. It seems like yesterday, but that same little boy is now a tall third grader who stands next to my shoulder. His backpack is no longer too small and his smile has become laughter and giggles that he shares with friends on the playground. Inside jokes that I don't understand. Suddenly, the kisses goodbye have disappeared and I'm lucky if I get a wave before he runs out of the car and into school.

So how do we embrace these early school years? How do we hold onto each moment and each small detail before they slip away?

I'm not sure there is a concrete answer to that question, but the answer I discovered is embedded in time. The time we spend with our children. Most parents out there are all in the same boat. Our days are filled with rushing here and rushing there, homework, sports, laundry, lost water bottles, lost jerseys, piano lessons, ballet lessons, later dinners, messy kitchens and the list goes on. Pair this chaos with life and jobs and the thought of time quickly goes out the window.

Somehow, though, we need to learn to slow down. For the sake of our children, we need to slow down and embrace every moment we have with them. We need to make those moments count. Spending twenty minutes with your child, fully engaged and focused on them, is far better than spending an hour with them your with phone by your side or running off to cook dinner. Taking a half-hour break during the day or after school to spend time in the park can be rewarding for both parents and children. Taking time period is important.

So how do I embrace the school years? I take time and enjoy them. I get as involved as I can with my children's activities and events, I volunteer in the school, I pop into the classroom, I sit and listen to their stories and I listen to their days. I know this time with them won't always be at my fingertips, so for now, I clench it as tightly as I can and pray that some of it stays forever.

*This post is in partnership with Stuck on You
Stuck on You provides name labels, personalized gifts, kids clothing, gifts and more. As a busy mother of three, Stuck on You has helped my life become a bit easier. When you enter our mud room you'll quickly notice a line of labeled backpacks and labeled lunches, you'll see soccer bags and uniforms with name labels ironed on the inside, you'll see labeled water bottles and even labeled shoes. When you have three active children, all involved in sports, labeling items becomes essential!

You can visit Stuck on You on their website, Facebook and Twitter.




9/5/14

34/52

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"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Jonas: He smiles! He actually smiles all the time, I just never capture it in photographs.
Joshua: He can't stop smiling.
Jessica: She smiles into the wind. She is filled with soul and spirit.

Thank you Jodi for hosting this series.

8/26/14

31, 32 & 33/52

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

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Jonas: Details landing in the palm of his hand.
Joshua: Sometimes we perform and sometimes we hide.
Jessica: Embracing the beauty of nature.

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Jonas: Doing what boys do best; being mischievous and throwing rocks into the water.
Joshua: Bursting with excitement as we ride the ferry over to the island.
Jessica: Dainty and fragile, surrounded in a field of Queen Anne's lace.

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Jonas: I think I'm going to see how many times the Messi jersey makes a portrait. They're starting to add up.
Joshua: Entranced by The Cleveland Orchestra's performance of The Beatles.
Jessica: A tired mind put at ease by the calming vibes of good music.

8/23/14

HELLO WEEKEND + GOOD READS

Babiekins Magazine | Tom & Teddy

It seems that August is quickly slipping by and before we know it September will be upon us. I sat down last night to figure out our fall calendar and I didn't know whether to cry or go fix myself a drink. Between all three kids and our schedules we have something every single day. And our weekends? They are booked until November. When did life become so busy? When did life become full of schedules and calendars, uniforms and projects, ballet shoes and piano books? Sometimes I think all the mothers out there deserve an award just for keeping everything straight. Or at least attempting to keep it straight, but let's be honest, who's really that organized?

This weekend was no different, but somehow, we're finding time to embrace these last days of August. We're getting in a couple more trips to the pool and trading our late nights for early reading sessions in bed. If only I could figure out how to get in bed for my own early reading session!

Sharing a few Good Reads:

I am thrilled to announce that Babiekins Print Issue 4 is now available!
Check your local Target stores, Barnes & Noble, Books a Million or online here.
Babiekins Digital Print Issue 14 is now available here.
Cordella Magazine Issue One: Old Growth is now available online. I am honored to have a poem, "The Desert," published in this issue.

I finally finished The Goldfinch.
(I remember when I used to breeze through a book every week. I miss those days.)
While this isn't a read, I am thrilled that The Killing is now available on Netflix.
If you are into Scandinavian crime fiction I recommend Lars Kepler, Henning Mankell and Jo Nesbo.
I just started The Bat, Jo Nesbo and am already hooked.

Good Reads for the littles:

The boys and I just started to read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Even though they are self readers, I firmly believe in reading aloud together even as they become more independent.
We just discovered National Geographic Kids website and we are in love.
Jessica insists on reading The Bunny Book nightly. We're big fans of Richard Scarry.

*You can see more of my photos with the boys above over on Babiekins Magazine Blog in a post featuring Tom & Teddy swimwear.

Enjoy your weekend and happy reading.

8/20/14

Lake Erie at the End of Summer

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Lake Erie at the End of Summer

The car ride to the lake always goes by quickly, as quickly as the peach stands and cornfields that pass by our windows with a blur. The second I decide to stop for fresh produce is the second that we have already passed by the stands proudly on display by the side of the road. But I always know that one last stand remains before we catch the ferry, and that’s where I’ll buy my peaches and corn.

The two-hour drive north to Lake Erie may be a short distance, but I always feel like I am entering another state. The air becomes a bit chilly and the open lake waters appear like the vast ocean, stretching for miles and miles. I always forget that I am in Ohio.

This trip was no different, with the exception of the rain. The rain that fell and fell like buckets being dumped from the dark gray skies. The rain that filled our tent, soaked our clothes and left our shoes to make squishing noises as we ran between the droplets. The bathrooms seemed so much farther from our site this year. It must have been the rain.

In our moment of weakness, and wetness, we sought out shelter. Literally. But the inns and resort were all booked. We had a moment where we almost jumped back on the ferry to spend the night at an indoor water park, but in a way that seemed like cheating. And we certainly don’t cheat in our family. We don’t quit either.

While the rain brought us down, it must have also been the rain that lifted our spirits because suddenly we decided to embrace and enjoy it. We headed to the general store where we loaded up on tarps, umbrellas, rain ponchos, steamers and Americanos. And of course some bribery toys since we vetoed going to the water park.

I will never forget that moment on the front porch of the Kelley’s Island General Store. That moment when our clothes became so drenched all we could do was giggle as we wrung out the extra water. That moment when we barely had enough coins to purchase a penny from the collector machine, but magically a quarter appeared hidden in my pocket and everyone was able to have a souvenir.

When we returned home, I safely placed the souvenir pennies in each of the kid’s books and silently hoped that I tucked those memories away for a lifetime.