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This Mother’s Day Banking on Small Moments, No Chores, and Mixed Tape Soundtracks

9 May

Wishing so much to travel and be outdoors with nature this Mother’s Day Weekend, and not being able to is a bummer. Not devastating mind you, just a bummer. This is the one day out of 365 days where it’s all right to think of myself and not feel guilty.

One day.

24 hours.

Now granted I have to go on a cleaning marathon the day before with the bathrooms, the laundry, the vacuum, the mop, and the dishes, but at least that gives me a day of nothing on Sunday. Can’t say what’s waiting for me on Monday, but Sunday is clear.

24 hours.

I’ll take it.

Even if it’s indoors.

Usually I’m sitting at the ballpark cheering for my Boys in Blue hanging with my family, enjoying the sunny day and loving the little moments in between the Big League hits. The smiles of my kids as we finally reach our seats, the view of the field with newly cut grass cut in patterns, the high fives when home rubs make an appearance, the walk-up-to-the-plate songs, the bloopers on the Jumbotron, the seventh inning stretch, Clayton pitching, Justin swinging away, and Max making great plays.

But I know this isn’t for everyone.

I know some people go all out in their Sunday best with fancy church hats and heels to champagne brunch and that’s super great! Maybe I’ll do that one day.

But I’m good with jeans and a baseball cap, Dodgerdog, peanuts, and a special beverage. Simple things like that always made my day. They make me smile. Everything but the parking situation makes me smile. That’s just a whole lot of patience required after all the goodness … but it’s kind of like a regular mom day. Highs and lows.

But if my team wasn’t in town I’d drive down to the beach and spend the day with the waves, boogie boarding, feeling the ocean wash over my toes, and hanging out underneath my red Tommy Bahama umbrella. Soaking up the sun and feeling the magic that comes with living near an ocean is something that always makes me feel good Mother’s Day Weekend.

Either way I’d have a plan, and this time, even though I can’t enjoy the Great Outdoors, or cheer my Boys in Blue to celebrate my momness, I still have a plan, I guess. Just a little different this time around.

I mean I can’t say I’m angry about it at all. I’m healthy, kids are healthy. We have each other, we have family. We have food, shelter, and what we need. We haven’t suffered a Covid-19 tragedy, we’ve been one of the lucky ones. Don’t live in epicenters like New York, but just in my city alone, not my state, but my city there’s been over 30,000 cases. I recently heard that someone I went to school with died from it. Age 44. Just like that.

So even though there’s no Mother’s Day celebration I’m grateful that we’ve been lucky. Being careful and following rules have helped us out, because sometimes even when you do the right thing, there are others that don’t, and it puts everyone at risk. Even the young healthy 44 year-old guys who have little daughters.

So the fact that I’ll have restrictions this Mother’s Day doesn’t necessarily burst my bubble. It’s not miserable. It’s an opportunity to make another good story. As in, you remember the time there was the Coronavirus and we were sheltering in place, but we still rocked that Mother’s Day?

Making stories is what keeps us going. When looking back most of the time they’re the more interesting or funny stories. Sometimes they’re sad, that’s true, but most times in retrospect they’re not. They bring smiles and laughter at how you can’t believe how you got through it all. Your resolve impresses you.

It’s a date on a calendar to be recognized, yes. But celebrations can wait until it’s safe. There will be so many celebrations when this is all over. But don’t get me wrong, there’s still life, and adventure just a different way of going about it.

There will be chocolate. Definitely. Chocolate and maybe a scenic drive where we can enjoy panoramic views from the highway while listening to our own soundtrack. This year, this Mother’s Day we’re banking on the little things, small moments, a mixed tape, and no chores done by me.

But until then I send you sunshine and waves from months and months ago 🙂

Buen Camino!

Finding The Moments Adds Space

25 Apr

So in all this togetherness I’m beginning to realize that there’s not a lot of space left. Space for a breather, space to take a minute. Like to exhale. That only comes at night when everyone else is asleep. But the sun is gone and the mosquitoes are out so there’s no outdoor anything happening, not even to the small patio.

I can’t imagine what a family of five must feel like. Not any one … A working-class family of five. Oof. Or maybe just three kids under the age of five. Dude.

Parents out there … I feel you. I feeeeeel you. You have to tag out sometimes just for sanity’s sake. But what if you have no partner? What if you can’t just leave when you need to?

That’s a rough one, that’s when the grays start popping up and you immediately try to remember how to take deep breaths so as to prevent a heart attack, because you feel it rising up inside of you. The frustrations of parenting in this tight environment gets to you. I mean it makes the small space you inhabit even smaller.

Quiet always feels good to parents after sustained chaos. But I also hear that loneliness takes its toll if you’re single and don’t have the loudness surrounding you 14 hours a day. Company and conversation are missed as you can only take so much alone time or online meetings. Connection is missed. And your space feels small.

Everyone’s struggle is different. Sometimes someone else’s plate looks better. But that’s for everyone.

Hang in there parents …

So you just try to find a moment … something that made you laugh or something that ended up right after a whole lot of wrong. Dude.

Listening to good poets slam their beats and touch a heart string to create a smile. That felt good, even if it was just a couple minutes while the kids played Legos. Finding a funny sign and it making you laugh, not just smile, but laugh.

Planting a garden from scratch for Earth Day felt like an accomplishment. It will be a while before I see any results but we still took steps in the right direction.

Talking to friends on the phone in a video chat gave a few of them a very needed outlet of expression and relief.

Finding the little moments add up at the end of the day, or week … Homeschooling distance learning week three went well as all work was finished by Friday and the kids continued to learn something new not just go through the motions. Sparta and Athens. Fractions and order of operations happen in real life, like when measuring and baking banana nut bread muffins, and step two needs to happen before step 4. Clouds have names, like cumulus, and they mean something to the weather. Learning to play the Star Wars theme song on your saxophone. Recycling old crayons was the best surprise moment as it was something new and in the process we created art for Earth Day.

Baseball was still the funnest lesson as Abbott and Costello informed them on who was on first.

Finding the moments helps expands your space.

Buen Camino my friends!

🙂

The Morning After Pill

14 May

The laundry still needed to be folded, the dishes washed, and the kids carpooled.

It was one 24-hour day to be appreciated or at least take a moment and pause to appreciate myself. Stop and think … I’m doing the best that I can at every moment, and sometimes there’s nothing left in reserve. So I fizzle out and then fill up the tank when I can.

I was grateful to have gotten a Mother’s Day photo with everyone smiling. I was thankful to have spent it my way … watching my Boys in Blue win a game and to witness a grand slam. I didn’t let the small moments pass me by, I took a minute to enjoy them. All the little ones added up to something.

It wasn’t filled with amazing jaw-dropping glitter and glam, just good-time-and-noodle-salad moments that kept my heart full until the stars came out.

And then the sun rose and Monday showed up with all its Monday Madness. The whining of kids not wanting to wake up, the failure to listen when I ask them to do things the first time, and the rush-rush-rush of being on the go and getting where we need to get to on time.

It’s parenthood chaos that sometimes leads to migraines, which is then followed my the Mother’s Day morning-after pill … Advil.

Because migraines suck any time you get them.

But … I was O.K.

I didn’t feel beaten down. The wave of my awesome moments still sat with me and I continued to remember even 24 hours later, when the Mother’s Day spell is usually broken.

But I woke up with peace in my heart and purpose for the day. Today was Monday and I was good with that … no Advil today.

Buen Camino my friends!

Letting Go

6 Mar

30 Days.

What the hell?

It was a completely unintentional a 3-hour-tour-Gilligan’s-Island disappearance on my behalf. I had no idea where my motivation fell off the ship, but with the help of The Professor and MaryAnn and rest of the S.S. Minnow Crew I’m able to tap away at the keys again.

It might have been the fact that our family kept up our New Year’s Resolution and tried something completely new that inspired this post and sent me on the most anxiety-mom-crazed-roller-coaster ever. Feelings like that tend to spur inspirational writing moments.

Growth is what people call it. Parenthood, I guess.

Our new adventure last month?

Away From Home.

Letting go.

Normally my people don’t do sleepovers. It’s something that I hear other families talk about and moms share stories over the preparations, fun times, and lack of sleep. But us?

Nope.

Unless it’s family, my kids have never slept over anyone else’s house. Aunts’. Grandma’s. Cousins’.  If you’re not a blood relative my kids were not sleeping over your place. Their Dad and I are both on the same page with this. And I don’t know what it is, but for some reason we’re just like this and we’re O.K. with it.

That was until the annual Fifth Grade Outdoor Science School field trip where everyone in the fifth grade goes away for three nights and four days, accompanied by teachers and parent chaperones. My son was excited to go. Looking forward to this all year. All. Year. And then neither their Dad, nor I got selected to be chaperones.

Duuuuuuuuuuude.

Huge dilemma for me. BIG.

For most people this was an easy decision. But I struggled with it for weeks. Now I didn’t want to be that crazy parent … the one… that didn’t let her kid go on this trip. I didn’t want to be that one, where the kid is on lockdown and never experiences anything because the overprotective parent is watching them like a hawk and protecting them like SuperMan everyday. I didn’t want to be that parent. Even though every fiber of my being was like nope, you just CAN’T let him go. You can’t. You can’t!  

But I didn’t want to be that parent. I know that with the best intention they have sometimes this kind of parenting does more damage than good. I know this. I do.

His Dad and I discussed it.

And I opened the gates.

It’s been the hardest thing I had to do as a parent so far. First time ever.

Let go.

It felt like the first time he went to preschool or kindergarten and I was that parent peeking through the fence, making sure that one kid didn’t push my kid off the tricycle. That was me. I had flashbacks. But I let go.

Letting Go

🙂

 

He was so excited when we gave him the news that he could go. I got that thank-you-thank-you-thank-you-thank-you-hug-you-so-tight hug. His sister was not that thrilled as they’re pretty close buds. And me? I was wrecked with anxiety and filled with summer camp 80’s movies and wondering if some jackass kid would scar my kid for life. Other moms seemed to have it so together, while I was losing it inside.

When the day came, we walked to the front of the school and waited. All I wished for was positive vibes and good things. I hugged him goodbye, waved as the bus drove off.

I felt the ugliness in the pit of my stomach and hoped for the best.  His sister was having a hard time with it, although I put on my Mom face and told her everything would be fine and he would get the secret letter she put in his sleeping bag and he would love it and be fine.

After she fell asleep, I completely lost it.  I felt like Morgan Freeman in Shawshank Redemption the last night Andy Dufrane was there. One of the longest nights of my life.

The next morning I realized I’m completely unprepared for when he leaves for college. I’m gonna be a complete wreck. Sobbing. Weeping. Heartbroken. I can totally imagine it. It’s going to be a disaster and this in no way prepared me. Sure I wasn’t that parent that kept her kid home and deprived him of an awesome learning opportunity, I wasn’t keeping him locked away from the world. I know he has to grow and learn and get beat up by life a little bit. But inside I soooooooo wanted to be that parent.

It was a serious internal struggle.

And in the midst of this internal battle and complete breakdown he came back early. Snowstorm in the mountains. Freak storm closing down the roads forced them to come home earlier than expected. Gone just two days instead of four.

I felt like an idiot afterward, just two days. But the anxiety was real, the worry was real, the stress, the emotions. I was battling my Motherhood worst-scenarios and he came back smiling and full of hugs.

Best hug ever.

He was disappointed that the trip ended early but grateful that he at least got the chance to go.

I ended up being NOT that parent, but I struggled every minute of it. I’m gonna need some advice from the parents out there about letting go, because I know I’m gonna have to do it again and I know I’m not prepared for it. I might be better at it the next time it comes around but I’m for sure not going to be emotionally prepared for it.

The college years will be here before I know it and that part of Parenthood is going to suck. But I guess until then I’m gonna make sure to instill lessons of strength, empathy, kindness, responsibility, resourcefulness, and humor. If I’m missing something I’m probably gonna pick it up along the way, but veteran parents out there feel free to let me know.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

 

It’s Never Too Late for Paper Airplanes

16 Jan

I had no idea I didn’t know.

For the past ten years I’d somehow managed to get away with not knowing. It’s important as a parent to know these things. You should know these things. I didn’t. I mean I knew other things, like how important it is to have Ritz crackers with you at all times, or how Legos rock the world, or how Neosporin and Star Wars Band/Doc McStuffins band-aids fix almost every injury.

I knew those things. But for some reason this parenting skill was missing, and I was completely unaware of it until the teenage kid from the robotics team at the local high school taught me.

Paper airplanes.

These aerodynamic origami wonders failed to make the list.

I never thought I’d need to learn how to make a paper airplane … but I did  … at age 43 … I did.

You see when my son was a baby I folded something that looked like a plane that glided for a second and then took a nose dive immediately. That seemed to entertain a toddler no problem. As he got older his dad usually did up the paper airplanes and made awesome ones that circled and landed with Wright Brothers dynamics. When my daughter was a baby same thing. As they got older, my son knew how to do that and just constructed planes for his sister and that’s how things were handled.

It wasn’t until I was sitting at the local library in this STEAM workshop that I realized I had never made one, a proper one for my kids. I was having a moment of wonder as this kid leading the workshop was so excited about the physics of building, that he inspired the kids and the rest of the parents to feel the same way.

There we were in a rainy day seminar, competing on the imaginary runways. It lasted longer than the robotics team thought. This simple bit of fun. I sat there smiling at the fact that I had just learned how to fold a paper airplane. I mean I could have easily just looked it up on YouTube. Everything is on there. I could’ve learned a long time ago. I mean I had to have known when I was a kid, all kids do right? But I couldn’t remember. Maybe my uncle and dad made them for me, or a friend from school built one and gave it to me. I don’t know. I was just tripping out on this very simple skill I happened to overlook before and now … I was a paper airplane genius. I looked over at my daughter and smiled.

“… to infinity … and your mom!”

Whoosh!

Plane would take off. She’d rush to get it, and start over again.

My son stood there, comparing his original design to the one he had just learned. He tried figuring out which one flew higher and longer. I was glad that this one new lesson brought some enjoyment with it and that it wasn’t some Pinterest or Parent epic fail. I have too many of those.

I was glad I finally learned something I hadn’t known before, and that if my kids every ask me … “hey can you make me a paper airplane?”

I can say … yes and make one for myself too. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced something like that before on a big, or small scale. But it ends up making you smile and enjoy the mini accomplishment you just checked off the list, because you realize it’s never too late for paper airplanes, even at 43, it’s never too late.

 

Buen Camino, my friends!

Finding Your Ninja Warrior Strength

5 Oct

You ever feel like that slow-motion action sequence in a film, where there is impending danger and the camera takes it frame by frame to capture your reaction and record your sense of urgency that equals the speed of an explosive Bourne Identity car chase?

Yeah. I had that moment today.

Now I normally don’t get lit up with anger by other kids at an elementary school pickup. Most of the time I’m just annoyed with the moms who show up an hour early to take up all the parking, leaving me to park two football-field-lengths away. But anger was a good description for today. You see, when one kid decides to grab my daughter by the shirt with a kung fu grip as she’s minding her business playing hide and seek with her other friend, I got a little fiery.

However by the time I walked over there, the kid had disappeared into the crowd of blue and yellow shirts, and I was left with a confused 7-year old wondering why this kid scrunched up her Ninja Warrior shirt.

Maybe as some people would put it, he’s just a kid, messing around, he doesn’t know better. Maybe he didn’t like Ninjas. I don’t know, if you’re old enough to play Fortnite or use Pokemon strategies to earn more cards, I think you know better, you just don’t do better. Otherwise he wouldn’t have run away.

But regardless, I’m not in the habit of having my kid be messed around with in that manner no matter what the reason. I’m in the habit of teaching my daughter that no one puts their hands on her. So, I investigated the situation. Apparently she stopped her hide-and-seek play to stare at the kids wrestling by the tree. Some kids don’t like being stared at I guess, thus the unnecessary roughness and my quest to find the offender.

I didn’t find the kid or his mother, but when I asked my daughter if she would be able to  remember what he looked like, she told me if she saw him on Monday she’d point him out. And so I would have words with this kid’s mom. Lots of them.

But what I didn’t understand was how my very vocal daughter who defends her Legos to the death remained silent as this transpired. She didn’t yell. She didn’t push him off.  She didn’t punch him. She stood still. Quiet. Looking confused.

I was like … what happened to you?

Surprised. She said she was surprised, sort of shocked that someone would do that. She didn’t expect it. She didn’t know the kids and she says she was staring at him because they were wrestling. And that’s when the kid stood up and grabbed her by the shirt ready to rumble.

So I wondered where that confident girl who spoke out at home against the injustice of losing in Connect 4 or Battleship had disappeared to … the girl that likes Muay Thai boxing and is fearless on adventures … I was like what happened? Were you scared?

I was just surprised. Maybe embarrassed.

That’s what she kept saying.

I explained to my daughter that sometimes you’re shocked when people behave aggressively or in an abnormal fashion. But she needed to snap out of the shock as quickly as she could so that she could defend herself and not let anyone hurt or disrespect her again. She had nothing to be embarrassed about, the boy was the one in the wrong and there was no way this kid was going to turn this around and play the victim.

As a mother you don’t want your kids getting roughed up, or worse, beat up, or assaulted, and you want them to set boundaries and find a balance. You want to make sure they stand strong and find courage, when someone is trying to hurt them, demean them, or make them feel weak.

I wanted to make sure my daughter knew that she didn’t do anything wrong and that the kid shouldn’t have done what he did, and that this boys-will-be-boys mentality is a cheap excuse that will never be a justifiable reason for misbehavior. Ever.

Speaking up is not tattle-telling, especially when someone is getting hurt.

She was worried that if she defended herself, his mom would get mad or yell at her. I was like you Rocky Balboa your way out of that situation any time and I will handle who ever comes your way. No one has the right to put their hands on you. Don’t ever be afraid to stand up for yourself. Don’t be afraid to be strong.

Who are people you think are strong?

She answered … Ninja Warriors.

So then Ninja-Warrior yourself, I said to her.

She smiled and we hugged it out.

Now even though she left feeling like she could conquer Stage 4 of the most Ninja-est obstacle courses I was still on a mission to find this kid and his mom. Don’t know if I’ll find them on Monday, but at least my daughter is better prepared for this kid if he tries anything again.

 

Buen Camino, my friends.

 

 

 

Finding A Way

3 Jun

It wasn’t intentional but it happened anyway. I stepped away for a minute.

Apparently I’d been carrying a heavy emotional workload and was unaware of this burden. It was emotionally draining and produced an unexpected writing sabbatical.

The last week of school happened and emotions were fully charged in everyone’s hearts.  Some fifth-grade moms in tears, some fourth-grade moms with emotional anxiety of what was to come next May. I overheard countless conversations about how these moms didn’t know how they were going to handle their kids graduating from elementary school, how their kids turned 10 this year and how fast that decade passed. This realization hit them as the school-year came to an end.

But this wasn’t something that made me sad.

The year hadn’t gone by fast at all. Our family had the power to stop time when life was good, with gratitude talks at night and notes in The Jar of Awesome. We also found a way to move ahead when life was crappy and things didn’t pan out the way we had hoped. The year moved at just the right roller-coaster speed.

But I was happy the school year had ended.

While it was an amazing year of triumph, growth, energy, and awesomeness for my daughter, it was a time of heartbreak, rough edges, disappointment, and life lessons for my son. This year was the most difficult for him and we haven’t even gotten to middle school.

That seemed to worry me.

I was happy for my daughter, but sad for my son. A tough spot to be in for a parent, but I imagine not the first time I’d be feeling this exact feeling. I imagine it happens often for parents. The ups and downs of family life.

And I know we’re supposed to go with the flow, but in truth I was relieved when the year ended. I was glad that my son didn’t have to deal with the harshness of friends who were no longer his friends, of eating alone during lunch because he didn’t know any of the kids in his new class, of kids who friends with him when they were in the same class, but who turned into acquaintances that sometimes said hello and sometimes didn’t because they no longer sat at the same table, or because he was into sports and they were into video games, or of being with a teacher who didn’t see his potential and wasn’t as inspirational as Stand and Deliver, but he still managed to find a way to get good grades make it to the end of the year.

The thing was he seemed all right. These social difficulties didn’t dent his spirit, as he’s always been independent. I’ve always tried to tell him not to follow the crowd, but to follow what makes him happy whether it lines up with what’s popular or not. He often played sports at lunch and got along well with the underclassmen. It was just difficult to see him have to find a way to get through the year instead of it just being a good year. It was the finding the way part … I thought that would happen when he was much older, but this lesson came early.

The year ended and relief set in and I had to take a moment.

As a parent I tend to worry a lot about what’s going on with my kid, is he doing all right, what happens at recess, how’s it going in science, why is this kid not your buddy anymore, how’s it going in class. All these questions pop up when I think about him, but when I was going to school, I don’t remember thinking any of these things myself as a student. I just went to school. I learned. I played tetherball and basketball. I studied. I don’t remember wanting to be cool or worrying about playing by myself. I always just played. I found a way to make it through school.

I had to remind myself of that. I had to remember that he’s a strong kid and that sometimes I worry more than I should about the ups and downs. And although there were times when chocolate ice cream and hugs needed to be there after school, most of the time fourth grade was all right. It wasn’t a spectacular year, but it was all right. He found a way, we found a way.

This year will still mark a decade of his life, but just part of it, the part filled with love of science and math, of playing America Ninja Warrior, soccer, and basketball at recess, of eating alone at lunch sometimes and being O.K. with it, of working on more book reports and oral presentations than any other class but being great at it, of knowing enjoying board games and Pokemon cards, of trips to the beach on Sundays, of watching Wild Kratts, Animal Planet, America Ninja Warrior, Star Wars, and Forged in Fire with his sister, of Boys Scouts, hockey games and baseball practice, of still letting me hug him before school and giving him my blessing, and of him charging me and hugging me tight everyday after school.

As we reached a milestone I was reminded of his innocence and resilience, of his heart and of his strength. As life didn’t turn out the way we expected this year, he found a way, (well together we found a way) turn things around. Hope you’re finding your way …

 

Buen Camino, my friends …

 

 

Inspired by Hanna-Barbera … Duct Tape Adventures Return

3 Sep

I look forward to this adventure every year, it takes me back to my seven-year old self, the one watching Hanna-Barbera cartoons on Saturday mornings.

I’ve told you about this before, my love for these kinds of races and the origin of it all …

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Cartoons were a big deal to me back then, that’s where I got most of my fantastic ideas. And this one — the Wacky Races —  has always stayed with me. So when I heard about this cardboard boat regatta down by the beach a couple of years ago, I jumped at the chance to participate in the fun. It’s actually turned into a family tradition. Something I hope my kids will look back on fondly.

The entire process jazzes me up. From conception to creation to craftsmanship. The annual cardboard boat regatta challenges the small artist I have in me. I’ve learned to enjoy the process, the trials and errors, the measure twice and cut once philosophy, the entire duct tape process, being present, and enjoying the building part with my kids was one of the many takeaways from this experience. I’ve been grateful enough to remember it every year. The actual race takes about five minutes so enjoying every bit of the process leading up to that helps slow time down and increase the gratitude factor. I’m glad I can remind myself of this, but feel even happier that I’ve introduced my kids to this life lesson. So it’s a win-win.

Creativity happens here and I’ve learned that it involves duct tape. I look forward to the seven rolls of duct tape that make my vessel seaworthy. This year it was five rolls of Gorilla Tape and two of silver duct tape, not that it matters or anything, but thought I’d share the supply list in case you wanted to get creative too.

The multiple trips to the local Do-It-Yourself Hardware Center become a weekly adventure during our creative process. I enjoy seeing whether or not the finished product meets my kid’s expectations. Most of the time it does, last year, it was so amazing that I even patted myself on the back. This year was a little trickier, considering inspiration came from Despicable Me 3, Gru’s car, and his minions of course. But we managed and came up with this …

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Gru’s Car/Speedboat

Cardboard and duct tape. Total Festivus Miracle! And not only was the creative process enjoyable, we also ended up winning our heat. For the second year in a row, after losing the first few years, we paddled our way to the finish line first, without sinking and eventually placed third overall in the parent-child category.

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Making it to the finish line … smiling all the way.

But in addition to paddling our way down the pool, hanging out with and talking to the other boat makers was so much fun. I enjoyed seeing some of the masterpieces and listening to the inspiration behind it all.

 

 

My son really enjoyed the Star Wars vessel and my daughter loved the Moana boat, but I have yet to recover the picture for that one. My favorite was of course this white one.

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AMAZING!

 

I couldn’t believe it when I saw this whole boat made out of cardboard, but it was only for display and not for racing purposes. The creative process on this one must have been great.

 

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🙂

Everyone ended up having a good time. Don’t know if they were inspired by Hanna Barbera, but something inspired them and the inventiveness came through in the form of cardboard and duct tape creations. Remembering that the process and being present were just as important as paddling to the finish brought sunshine to my heart.

Buen Camino my friends!

Getting In Deeper and Deeper

10 Feb

I mean it’s for a good cause … it always is … but it’s usually something that draws out the ‘ughhhhhhhh’ and a long sigh before actually doing it.

Fundraising.

It’s such a sucky word for parents because you know that it needs to be done for stuff like art and music, but it just burns you out. It burns me out. I’m sure some people would say no and not think twice about the kind of person I am. They don’t think less of me because I’m putting them through this catalog-ticket-chocolate-cookie purchasing venture, but I go through all kinds of scenarios where they despise me entirely, just hate it when they see me coming — The Fundraising Mom.

But they don’t … they could care less. I just have a big imagination that leads me to think such things.

But the thing is it’s not like I’m not used to rejection. I’m a writer. I get rejected all the time. But for some reason with fundraising, it’s just different. It makes me feel bad for asking. I just want to avoid it all together.

But it needs to be done and as it turns out I’ve been put on the Paint Night Out fundraising team for my daughter’s school and of course I was dreading the whole soliciting situation.

But then the chair person gave me the first item on the to-do list. Invitations. Seeing how this tapped into the creative side of my nature, I thought I’d have a little fun with it. Put a little Guat into it.

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I figured if The Paint Guy doesn’t bring people in, then no one will.

My cover art with Bob Ross was unanimously approved by the board.

But I did such a good job, that now I’ve been put in charge of the food/restaurant donations for the event.

I’m gonna have to stop being so creative, it just keeps increasing my involuntary involvement. Deeper, and deeper. I’m just gonna have to start sucking at stuff.

I’ll keep you posted.

 

Sandbox List Adventures 32: American Ninja Warrior Finds Mud

18 Apr

It all started two years ago.

I was just surfing the channels and I came across something that would change my son’s life.

American Ninja Warrior.

He was mesmerized by the challenge of the obstacles and the will of the contestants, just regular non-steroid looking type of people, who worked in an office during the day and sort of turned into Batman at night and conquered these ridiculous muscle crushing obstacles.

He loved it.

He started making his own obstacles, out of cones, hula hoops, jump rope, and mats. Both of my kids began their mini-American-Ninja-Warrior obstacle course sessions on a weekly basis. Sometimes they’d take it out to the playground at the park and we’d have our own race among the slides and monkey bars.

But it didn’t quite feel the same. It felt like training, and not the “real” race. He’d always ask me when he would participate in a “real one,” and no matter how many fun runs or color runs we did, they were not American Ninja Warrior caliber. Not until we found …

The Down and Dirty Obstacle Race sponsored by Suburu. The Adventure Kids Series.

Suburu you rock.

Both my son and daughter got a chance to test their mini muscles and grit against the Down and Dirty course. This was where he got a chance to cross the balance beam, jump through some tires, go under a cargo net, over a mini wall, dash through some mud, and race up an incline to cross the finish line. Although if you want to know the truth there wasn’t much dashing going on through the mud. And I was doing so much cheering that I forgot to save some of those Kodak moments for our Sandbox List Adventure memory book. I loved watching it live too much. But I did snap a few, and I was grateful I captured some of that.

I was grateful for another successful attempt at crossing things off my son’s list.

My son loved the fact that he was conquering all the obstacles and his sister wasn’t too far behind. He loved the fact that he was letting his American Ninja Warrior shine through, and we were there cheering him on. I loved the fact that I was able to give that to him and to my daughter. The smiles at the finish line were definitely worth all the mud.

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