Monday, October 26, 2015

Slow it Down

When the older kids were babies, the days seemed to slowly chug along. There was breakfast and nap time and play time, and then finally dinner and bed. Oh, how I eagerly anticipated bedtime! But, as every older, more experienced mom knows, the days eventually speed by so fast you can't seem to catch your breath.

I'm not even talking about the "I can't believe I have a 10 year old" phenomenon. I just literally mean the days fly there's not enough time ever to just sit and talk or read a magazine or play a board game. Mostly, it's because our kids, especially Julie, have become involved in so many activities. There's of course the nightly homework, and Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, basketball and Science Team. And then there's karate. I feel like our second home is the karate studio--we are there that much. Five days a week we're there for some reason...whether it's regular class, Julie's leadership class, sparring sessions or demo team practices.

I love that Julie and Johnny found something they enjoy, and something they're pretty good at, but sometimes I just feel like it's too much. Like I just want to all snuggle in a bed one afternoon and watch a movie, or just play outside until dark, or have a picnic at the park. We still do all of those things, but not nearly as much as we used to. Because we're running..constantly running.

A few months ago at church our pastor talked about the danger of constantly being busy. Like you make yourself busy to justify your self worth or your family's worth. So many of us fill our lives with events and activities just to feel like we're doing something worthwhile. I know I do.

It's nearly impossible for me to sit still. Scott complains that I never just sit and watch a movie or a TV show. I constantly have to be doing something--washing dishes, sweeping the floor, doing laundry, playing on Facebook. I can never just be. I think the busyness of our lives just compounds my inability to just relax and live in the moment.

But, I'm making it my new mission to take a little time each week to just be with Scott, be with the kids, be with myself. Just enjoy those moments, even when we aren't doing anything...especially when we aren't doing anything. That might mean missing a karate session or two but I think it's important. I don't think being busy is the answer to happiness. Busy is what makes life fly by...and who wants that?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Our baby model

I swear I won't become one of those moms from "Toddlers and Tiaras," but I am a tad obsessed with sharing pictures of baby Josie. I'm sure it's because she's our last baby and she's just so darn smiley and cute that I can't resist.

I constantly take pictures of her and sometimes enter her in little contests--Baby Gap, Gerber, Parenting....  She even  made the top 50 for Atlanta Parent Magazine's cover contest. Of course Scott and I thought she should have won the whole thing, but that's just us!

Most recently I sent her photo to a local baby talent scout. A neighbor, who did the same for her kids, suggested I do it. So, Josie's first modeling session for a toy company was last week, and it was so much fun. She giggled and smiled and played with the toys. I have no idea whether her photos will make the cut for the toy packaging, but I absolutely loved all the behind-the-scenes stuff. And Josie didn't complain a bit. It was like a little playdate for her because there were three other babies at the shoot.

I know it's a tad silly and a bit vain, but for now it's fun, and we get paid! Here's Josie on the set with the director. This might be our one and only photo shoot, but it was a fun experience, and a great addition to the baby book (which I haven't made  much progress on, but that's for another blog).

Monday, October 19, 2015

Living far away isn't easy.

For most of my life I lived less than an hour from my parents. I chose a college 45 minutes away from home just in case I wanted to see them on a weekend, and a few times I even drove home for a midweek meal...just a little pick-me-up I guess.

When Julie was a baby we moved three hours from my hometown of Baltimore--but our new town just so happened to be an hour from my Grandma's house--where my parents decided to retire. So, for the next seven years my parents were an hour away. We were together for all the family birthdays and holidays, and they came for some of the kids' soccer games and performances. We went there for dinner or just because. And it was easy for them to watch the kids if Scott and I went on little getaways.

Three years ago that all changed. We moved to Chicago and then to Georgia, and since then, our lives have changed. No longer can my parents drive over for a dinner or special event. Instead of impromptu visits, our trips are planned months in advance. And instead of quick dinners or an overnight, our visits are much longer---two, three, four weeks at a time.

Friends or neighbors are sometimes shocked or amazed when I tell them how long my parents visit. But these long visits are our new way of life and they are special to us. They can no longer be there for every little milestone or event, but in a way, they see  more of our everyday lives during these long visits. They get to know our routines and schedules. They know what the kids love to eat, how to help with homework and their favorite activities. In those visits, they live our lives with us, and experience our little milestones. This time Julie turned 10. Johnny lost his first tooth and Josie started to walk along furniture. We visited an apple orchard, explored the zoo and history museum and toured a nearby plantation. They volunteered in the school, watched the kids perform at karate class, played games and read books.

It's not easy living so far away, so during these visits we make memories together.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Not already....

I have a 10-year-old. Technically she's a tween, I guess. So, I'm not sure why I was so shocked when her pediatrician well visit  revolved around puberty talk. The doctor, who is pretty amazing, but also very candid and matter-of-fact, asked Julie questions that made me blush. Julie just giggled. I looked at the wall and  quietly wished for the conversation to be over.

I'm terrible at this. I'm not even sure my kids know the actual words for their private parts. When they were little they just referred to them as "front hiney" and "back hiney." I didn't correct them.

I know. I'm awful.

I just can't bring myself to broach the subject...especially now that Julie's 10. My parents never had a conversation with me. Ever.  I have no idea what age I was, but I once stumbled upon a book about sexual education. My dad was a teacher, and I guess at some point, he used the cartoon-illustrated book to teach the lessons. I remember thinking, at the time, that the book was gross, but also a bit funny.

Not sure how much I learned from that book, but that was my only lesson at home, until the subject came up at school.

I don't really want to leave Julie in the dark like that. I do want to talk to her and let her know she can talk to  me, but I feel sick every time I think about the topic. I just can't believe it's that time. How did this happen? Like I really have to talk about all this now? Already? It doesn't seem possible or fair that my little girl who is still very much a naive little girl has to grow up. I don't even think she wants to.

The doctor suggested I buy Julie the American Girl book "Taking Care of You." It's all about health and your body and changes that might occur. Unfortunately I accidentally bought the second version for older girls which includes way too much information. I was planning on buying the younger version and saving that one for later. But the other night I found Julie reading the book--which she quickly shoved in her desk as I walked into the room.
"You don't have to be embarrassed," I told her. "We can read the book together, but I have to get you the first version before you read this one."

Maybe that was the beginning of our conversation?? I'm so not looking forward to explaining all of this, but it has to happen, and I figure if we can talk about all this now, maybe she'll be open and honest later on. Wish me luck!