Friday, December 30, 2016

Living the Ordinary Life

I've been thinking a lot over the passed few days about the picture I paint of my life and the life of my kids via social media. 
I've been accused of over-posting in the past, criticism I take in stride. With each moment I capture and share, my thought process is always, "Do I want to remember this?", and "How do I want to remember this?" (i.e. which filter, angle, caption, etc.) because for me, social media is a place to capture the moments that define my motherhood and my kids' childhoods, without including anything (too) embarrassing or invasive. If you want to come along for the ride, great, but for the most part, I often forget that aside from close friends and family that anyone else is even watching the show. I don't always consider my complete audience and often make assumptions about what people already know. 
A few weeks ago, while thinking about how life has changed so much since having Piper and how I feel like my rating as mom has dropped from a solid 8/10 to probably a 2 on some days, a few sweet friends just-so-happened to message me via Instagram and asked how I always seem to stay so calm and positive. And I was completely blown away. 
"Me??? Positive?? Always??!"
Instagram for me is for the happy moments or the moments that are so chaotic they somehow become funny and I don't want to forget. And for me, it's going to continue to be that way, and I think many of you agree that you use it for the same reasons. It's the digital scrapbook of our lives. Instead of stickers we have emoji's and instead of hours spent organizing it all into large, heavy binders, we have compact books printed for us.
But when all is said and done, I'm always left wondering just how off the picture my incomplete message is to those I love.
I've said it before and I'll say it a million times:
I am a beyond ordinary person. 
And I fail all the time. As a mother, as a wife, as a nurse, as a friend, daughter, neighbor, what have you.
I can't tell you how many times Adam has come home from work to find me, aside from the occasional pursing of the lips, voluntarily catatonic on the couch because of the emotional and physical toll the day has taken on me. 
Or how many times he's come home and I immediately declared that I needed alone time and gone in our room and watched Netflix while he made dinner. And later confided that I felt like every day was just me trying to survive. 
Or how I can count on my fingers how many times I've shaved in the last four months and made my kids anything other than peanut butter and honey sandwiches and eggs for lunch. 
I've lied awake at night wracked with guilt from exposing my children to the whiplash of an unprovoked mood swing and I've looked into my infant's eyes unable to imagine anything more beautiful or incredible, and at the same time wondered if it's more terrible to be done having babies or to have another one. 
I scratch my head each week, wondering when the laundry baskets went from completely empty to overflowing and cursed my small-sized front loader for making it take three times longer to get everything washed, leading to my laundry room resembling my 14-year-old bedroom. 
I've dieted week after week, and when the realization that the weight just wasn't ready to come off would hit I'd have a few one-woman cookies and milk parties. 
And more positively, I've sat back while all three of my kids are on my lap, some laughing and some crying, and somehow found that in that precise moment I could never be more happy or grateful. 
I know that, by nature, the little moments we share only show a small portion of what our lives are really like, but my point in rambling about all of this is, in your social media consumption, however big or small: 
Don't forget it. 
Don't forget it's a piece, and usually, it's the best pieces. We don't want to remember the scary stuff. For me, I want to flood my feeds with all the good stuff, so when my kids and I look back each night and years in the future, they can see just how much they have always been loved and adored in their mediocrity by their super dorky mom. 

I never want anyone to ever look at me and think I'm more than I am. 
I am you. My crazy is your crazy and I have many of the same joys and demons as you do. 
So if anyone wants to talk crazy, I'm here. Always. If you want to talk happy stuff, same deal.

As Tina Belcher once said, "I'm no hero. I put my bra on one boob at a time just like everyone else". 
And Tina, you're extra special for even bothering to put a bra on in the first place. 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Top Picks for Children's Books

While finishing up some Christmas shopping for the kids, I found myself perusing the children's book section at Target in hopes of taking home a few new treasures I'd been eyeing over the past year. My kids love their books and pretty much destroy them within six months of getting them, and I knew we were overdue for some new ones. 
My intention was to pick out one or two from my list to purchase and then spend just a minute or so discovering some new ones. Five minutes turned to ten turned to 20 and I quickly became that weird lady in the corner, wearing brightly-colored sweatpants, sneakers and a full-length wool coat, laughing out loud at the bear in the Elvis costume and the pidgeon who swore he didn't need a bath. And then, every Target employee in America hated me when I found each book significantly cheaper on Amazon and purchased seven new books right then and there in between Click, Clack, Moo and The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Honestly, I could have done way more damage than that, there are just so many great ones, but for now, here are a few I recommend adding to your Christmas list for a special little kid (or just yourself) this year. Some of these may be old news, but still, a classic is a classic and deserves to be recognized.

1. There's a Bear on My Chair by Ross Collins. This one had me awkwardly chortling to myself in the aisle. It's so stinky delightful and silly, and its easy rhyming and rhythm make it a smooth read you won't struggle through. I'm talking about you, "What's Wrong Little Pookie". 

2. The Pigeon Needs a Bath! by Mo Willems. This snarky little rat with wings swears he doesn't need a bath, but anyone who's seen one of these guys land in a puddle of pee on a NYC street corner begs to differ. 

3. The Book with No Pictures by B. J. Novak. This one had me skeptical, but Ryan from The Office delivers. This book indeed has no pictures, but is surprisingly silly and honestly one of my top picks from the bunch. 

4. A Giraffe and a Half by Shel Silverstein. A standard classic that, along with The Giving Tree, belongs in every home. 

5. The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin. While reading this one I immediately thought of Scout because, due to her sassy and determined personality, I know she'll be an incredible force (for good) in the world. And its sweet words and illustrations create such a warm, whimsical and loving message. 

6. The Very Fluffy Kitty Papillon  by A. N. Kang. A chubby white kitty is so fluffy that he's lighter than air and goes on to explore the world. I swear, books like these are what childhood is made of. 

7. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt. 
The colors in Duncan's crayon box each have their list of grievances and detail them in individual letters to him, warning that if things don't change they'll quit. Yes, Blue is always filed down to a nub, and White, well, you're just useless. 
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