Thursday, March 28, 2013

Come Spring!

OK spring we are ready and waiting! As a mom who has about 20 million boots to put away and hats in every direction it is time for some sunshine and fresh air. I have been filling my kindle with books about the south and pacific, we have a coconut candle on the counter and mango smoothies for a snack today after school. We are calling for the sunshine to come out and play!

As a fun activity we looked through albums last night and here are some great spring pictures from years past. It is fun to play "Do you know that Otis?" Now that they are getting bigger some of the photos are getting harder to identify (not for mom...yet:)

Hope to get out there and snap some for this years album SOON! Melt ice, melt snow lets go out and play!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Parenting Choices

We are trying to make some big choices for our kids and it is not an easy task! It is always hard with the oldest because that is the only real roadmap you have as a parent. I always say if I was propelled back in time I would be the luckiest mama around, all these strong hardworking kids. But in our century, the measurement of personal success being in part activities and clubs, it is very difficult to support achievement.

If I could say, "Go build a cabin, find food to eat and make sure those other people don't die on your watch" my oldest son would thrive. Now same child say, "Keep your papers in order, keep your locker clean, dot your I's cross your T's and research this abstract subject" and you'll find him outside shoveling. He really loves to work hands on and he is very smart at the engineering side of any problem. He makes truly amazing origami, is technical and a natural athlete. But he is struggling and it breaks my heart. It really does.

Decisions for him, and for the other kids are difficult. Where will he and they be supported, challenged and guided? How many travel sports should kids participate in? How much should parents help with homework? Is a B student who did not receive any guidance really an A student in today's helicopter world? How can I use my energy to best serve my kids needs?

If anyone can answer those questions feel free to let me know I will buy you a glass of wine, or a beer or a cup of tea. See? I am willing to go down different paths to support friends, and to support my children. If only each path was clearly labeled.

Praying for a clear mind and time for conversation with my always level headed parenting partner.

Looking forward to the light and levity of spring.

May I always be a mother that supports the beauty &
difference each of  our children brings on this journey of parenthood.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Good Books, Margaritas & Kids in the Sun

Posing with a skeleton, the story is a sailor who waited FORVER for some big shrimp the kids got a kick out of acting bored, because they never are of course:)

Getting around cart style & very fun Mexican
place where you eat under a canapy of banana trees!
Suitcases to unpack, cream to rub on red noses and photos to upload. We are home and sleepy and missing the sunshine. This trip for our gang was especially wonderful. We had so much pure, messy FUN in the sand, in the water and even charades in the hotel room. Back to the basics of enjoying ourselves as a family and bonding with Grandma and Grandpa (Deirdre's parents). Also, visiting Uncle Steve and Aunt Marian further down Captiva Island The kids thought it was pretty cool we could only reach them by boat!

We had amazing weather, even on the blustery days we were able to jump waves and collect shells on the beach. The kids loved the Bubble Room a famous restaurant with kitsch galore. They thrived on the positive feedback and did really well moving efficiently as a big group in busy situations!

All the kids helped with Lucy in the water, she seems a day away from swimming already. Daisy and Mark were like fish this year so we could soak our toes in the pool while they played. Not being a big swimming it was nice to have such self sufficient kiddos. One downside we used sun block that was not water proof the first day on some noses (Mark & James!) and yowzers did they burn. Who makes non waterproof sunblock? Not helpful for a busy mom. But all in all we had a healthy and happy vacation!

Here is proof mom actually read, and finished two books in 5 days. Maine was a wonderful family drama reminding me of summers on Bailey Island and feeling grateful for a kind mother! 

The children were gems and happy to fight :) and play in the pool and ocean waves all day long. Remembering and appreciating every moment!

Hoping this vacation's heat and happiness can roll us into spring.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Flying cups, potty training toddlers & POOLSIDE soon!

This is one of those mornings where juice cups have been flying at siblings heads, coffee spilled on my favorite clean socks (the cushy ones from Costco) and someone managed to pour sand on the kitchen floor. Sand in March in Minnesota. It is like they find ways to be creative with mess. Lucy is potty training which adds another level of minor disaster to the everyday.

Spring break is upon us and this year we are excitedly leaving our house to a competent house sitter and hitting the balmy island breezes. I am guessing the house sitter will create less chaos than eight kids, so the house will be in good shape. What an adventure to pack for 10 and embark on a holiday mid winter.

James reminds readers this was when he was 11 and thus his pipes are simply not what they are now:)
Right now Nate is lining up pieces of paper with everyones names in the living room. Each person is putting their proposed travel items by their paper and then we will discuss the yeses and nos. We pulled out the summer bin and tried on flip flops and crocks. This may be where the sand originated, still not quite sure. Next we plan color days, yes dorky but an Otis tradition they all expect.

I am feeling a mix of overwhelmed and grateful. Praying for God to bless this vacation with fun, connection and perhaps a moment to read a magazine poolside. If this happens to be your spring break as well, wishing you and yours blissful R &R free from flying cups and potty training toddlers.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Faults and Hugs

We all have our faults. At a women's weekend away a few of us self diagnosed our biggest weakness. Guys would be talking about cars, here we are doing self help with our wine!

It seems fitting a blogger and mom of many would have the fault of over sharing. I know I have many faults so no need to send me messages, "Deirdre we really think adding green things to brownies should be high up on the list!" I have taken that one into consideration.

I realize there are upsides to being someone who always seems to say too much. One upside is I truly adore people, I am an extrovert and if I see you at the store or park I will genuinely want to chat! I will also likely tell you about my latest recipe failure, what kind of wood we have chosen for the new house and that I hate pairing socks. I love hearing about other peoples lives, struggles and triumphs. I hug all the time, last tournament a hugged a referee. He did say he loved big families but perhaps someone else might have just given a high five:)

When I recount highlights from a typical day it is the small connections, some of which might not have happened if I did not blurt out to a random person "You are rocking those skinny jeans I could never pull off seafoam!"

Downside of over sharing, sigh, is well wishing I hadn't.

It can make people uncomfortable and it can make my kids late for the next activity when mom is gabbing with the new mom of twins at the gas station. I do get it.

Thankfully, in this phase of life I have been blessed with some amazing friends who are willing to hear the ins and outs of the mundane along with the profound.

As much as I am both acknowledging and trivializing the behavior I am fascinated with change. How do we set goals and create new habits? How do we read what others need from us and how do we have a meaningful relationship? I am grateful to have people in my life who will tell it like it is. And I think working on things as a mom allows my children to see the power of self discipline. I am absolutely terrible at Minnesota nice, I would much rather hash things out Irish pub style until of course we are hugging and over sharing.

I promise not to ask you at the coffee shop what your biggest personal fault is, but if you happen to share I will be all ears.