Top 11 Childhood Christmas Memories

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Like many of you, my childhood was full of innocent magic and intriguing wonder when it came to celebrating the holidays.  Our family tradition each year was to drive to my mom’s parents’ house in Huntsville, AL. It was “had to sleep on the couch” small but we loved it.

Ah, the memories. Here are eleven of the most random, funny, weird ones that come to mind when I think of our Christmas trips to north Alabama:

1) Our grandparents always making a point to stay up late waiting on us to arrive so that we could decorate the freshly cut tree with the tackiest silver tinsel and the most mismatched lights you could imagine. Also, our grandmother would gift us with a, fresh from the oven, sour cream pound cake on the kitchen counter upon our arrival. We made art and got fat. It was fabulous!

2) Our grandfather announcing his departure to his bedroom for the night and dropping his drawers in the doorway for all of us to see. It was funny until one Christmas he forgot that he wasn’t wearing underwear. Three words: saggy…white…buns.

3) Lots of UFO stories: My granddad had held distinguished positions within the Huntsville NASA location (seriously, he was a big deal) and my dad grew up in rural farming country. They had both seen some stuff. I mean, both of those combinations are recipes for little green alien material. They bonded. Good times. My brother and I love sci-fi as a direct result.

4) Once again…our grandfather waking up every morning before the sun came out, turning on his night-light that illuminated the entire living room (this was our bedroom – little house remember) and then turning up the TV volume so that it could be heard in every room. He was a “little” hard of hearing. My brother got the brunt of it though. His assigned couch was right next to the light AND the TV.

5) My brother and I waking up every hour to see if Santa had come. How Saint Nick ever snuck those gifts in unscathed by us I’ll never know. Once we discovered that we were, in fact, on the “Nice” list, we opened our stockings, harassed the entire family to wake up starting at 5:00am and counted our gifts over and over to make sure Santa was an equal opportunity gift giver. Interestingly enough, I don’t remember my early rising grandfather ever being up with us in the wee hours of Christmas morning. Oh the irony…

6) There was one December that I realized I was the favorite grandchild (sorry boys). I was the only granddaughter and my grandfather NEVER told me “no.” I asked for a whistle one Christmas and Santa didn’t deliver. Therefore, he drug me all over creation trying to find me one. Here’s a little secret: I really didn’t want the whistle. I told him it was okay. He felt so bad but all I really wanted to do was cruise the driveway in my plastic skates.

7) The “Dumb and Dumber” moment. One Christmas it snowed. My brother got so excited that he licked the ice on the car bumper and got his tongue stuck to it. Food didn’t taste so well to him that trip since he left half of his taste buds on the front of my grandmother’s Buick.

8) There was that one Christmas I spent in the ER (or at least in a doc in the box). I don’t remember the details but the ER sounds more exciting. I experienced respiratory distress and O2 deprivation due to asthma. Sporting purple lips and eyelids was a wakeup call. My grandparents smoked back then. Shortly thereafter, they quit. The favorite grandchild. Wink wink.

9) Ice skating! It was our tradition to attempt half turns, spins and backwards skating at least once every Christmas visit. One of us always went home with a bun bruise but it was so worth it.

10) Butterbeans: My grandfather sang this song “Just a bowl of butterbeans” and he would yell out to my grandmother from the living room to where she was in the kitchen. There was no “Hey honey. Can you please bring me my food?” Oh no. He would scream at the top of his lungs “Heyyyy Wooommm!” My quiet little grandmother who rarely spoke would annoyingly yell back, “Whhhattt?!” Hilarious. He always asked for more pepper after she had already smothered his food in it.

11) Opening up a boxed gift adorned with air holes from my Aunt. I had begged for a fur ball. She delivered alright!  That cat instantly jumped out of the box as soon as I released the handle. Let’s just say the cat was just as excited as I was because it was covered in POO! “Yay! A kitty!” I chased her down, picked her up and consequently got the poo all over ME. We both got baths. I fittingly named her “Brownie.”

So there you have it: eleven things that I remember about my childhood Christmases.

All of our Christmas memories had been in my grandparents’ little two bedroom home up until my college years when major life events altered our traditions. Remember to cherish your memories, cultivate new traditions and celebrate your own family’s personal brand of weirdness as we do.

And have a very Merry Christmas!

 

 

What Are You Thankful For?

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It’s important to reflect and count our blessings. Feel free to do the same! This married mama of three is thankful for the following this Thanksgiving day:

T – Toys all over the floor (our home is lived in)

H – Hair detangler (for long-haired, drama prone daughters)

A – Answered prayers (son finally sleeps in his bed all night…he’s 10)

N – Nonvenemous critters (frogs, lizards and worms Oh My!)

K – Kisses (the ones you have to strategically plan for)

S – Spaghetti (the only non-fried meal all three of my kids will eat)

G – Girls giggling (and all things glitter)

I  – Inside voices (that my kids rarely use)

V – Victories during indoor family football (Daddy’s team always wins)

I  – Ice (for sweet tea, boo boos and those hot summer AND winter days)

N – New milestones (like no more diapers…oh wait, still buying Pulls Ups)

G – God’s generous blessings (all the things that money can’t buy, that we don’t deserve but He provides for us anyway)

Copy, paste, plug-in what you are thankful for, and share!

Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours.

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The One Thing NEVER To Say To A Friend

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Those of you wanting your children to be a better friend, this is for you.

For many of us, friends are like our backup catcher when life throws us a curveball and we are not properly positioned to maneuver what is thrown our way. Until the dust settles, and we are outside of the situation looking in, those closest to us serve as our lifeline to navigate through the harsh realities of unexpected heartache. Interestingly enough, it is during these difficult times that we discover where we stand with those that claim, or that we perceive, to be our closest friends.

As parents, we teach our children all the time, intentionally and unintentionally. Sometimes we score a home run and other times it’s an epic strike out. We take the life lessons we learn and use them to prepare their little hearts and minds the best we know how.

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curatedquotes.com

Friendship is one of those areas that has the potential to make or break their young adult years so there is a lot that needs to be taught.

We don’t want them to hurt like we did learning these lessons the tough way. We try to shield them, don’t we? Time heals but we never forget the way someone made us feel.

Case in point: try to take yourself back mentally to the worst predicaments of your life. Was is a job loss, divorce, death, bad decision or even the eternal scar of betrayal? Remember how you felt and hang on to that for a moment.

Regardless if the emotion felt was devastation, fight or flight, righteous indignation, shame or guilt, what we experience during these moments is very REAL and highly INTENSE. It doesn’t matter if they are rational or not either…perception is our reality.

It’s in these valleys that we need our friends. But how can you really know if someone is on your team?

havingtime.com
havingtime.com

Several years ago, I learned one of the absolute WORST things to say to a friend. I mean, I suppose it’s okay to say it if you don’t value the relationship that much. After all, we can’t be everything to all people.

One of the most crushing things to communicate to someone that will most likely TANK your valued friendship is to cause a person to presume that you aren’t emotionally invested in the deepest, darkest trials they face.

It’s communicated verbally and even in actions alone.

NEVER say “I don’t want to get involved.”

This six word statement speaks volumes about a person’s worth to you:

You ask for help but get the response, “I don’t want to get involved.”

Immediately, you may be justifying the words if you have spoken them before. I know I did. I have said that to people when I thought it was a situation that I could do nothing about and didn’t have the emotional energy to invest in.

But guess what? Would you ever tell your closest loved ones that you “don’t want to get involved?” Would you say this to your child that has just gotten severely bullied, a spouse that just got slapped with a terminal diagnosis or a lifelong friend that has just discovered his/her spouse has been cheating? Heck no! You’d be ALL IN because you are too emotionally involved with that person to EVER consider uttering those words.

If someone in your inner circle ever says to you “I don’t want to get involved,” it clearly communicates several things.

1) There is an absence of loyalty to you and your situation.

2) Personal interest or public perception of the individual is more important than actually engaging in your time of need.

3) This person is your acquaintance…NOT your devoted friend.

Bottom line: If life has thrown you into the trenches then your real friends will be right there beside you and, by the way, that could even be in the form of tough love. Regardless, the investment is something that can be felt and seen.

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ptprophet.com

Betrayal and disappointment can forever scar the heart, mind and soul if we allow it. Also, it’s something that we can’t completely protect our babies from forever.  People are all flawed and we say and do things that wound one another. It hurts and is almost impossible to get over and let it go.

Although we can’t control how our children will be treated by others, we generally have their ear on how they should conduct themselves.

Loyalty is a trait that seems to be fading in our culture. As time ticks on, the bible is very clear that people will grow more and more selfish, becoming lovers of themselves.

As life lessons are generally learned under intense heartache, it seems fitting to teach our children how to react in those moments.

I want my children to be the kind of friends that don’t cause more harm to someone in a horrible place but to be loyal, wise and faithful in their relationships with those they care about.

To be wholeheartedly engaged and involved.

What are some other ways can we teach our kids about friendship??

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quotesforyou.com

 

 

 

 

“Parent” Job Description

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“JOB DESCRIPTION OF A PARENT”

POSITION: 

Full-time Parent – also referred to as mama, mommy, mother, father, daddy, dad, incoherent grunt, “best friend” when complying with demands and Satan

LOCATION:

Flexjob– travel required, work from home, away from home, in vehicle, Chick fil a, pediatrician office, movie theater, Walt Disney World, convenience store bathrooms, ball park, gymnastic building, emergency room, sandbox and, a wildly popular favorite…Wal-mart

HOURS:

Variable – only one shift available at present time: 24 hour on call 7 days a week, clients strongly encourage 3:00am workload

PAY:

Monetary incentives highly unlikely. Document hours worked until management reaches the age of maturity, then bill in the form of chores, car washes, good conduct and then pass the torch of diaper duty when the job relocates to local nursing home

PROFILE:

Dynamic professional who demonstrates stellar interpersonal and organizations skills. One who can remain calm under duress and has lost all sense of smell, hearing, and modesty.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Multi-task oriented individual must possess ability to consume Nutella sandwiches while simultaneously eliminating code browns…candidates unable to distinguish between the two NEED NOT APPLY
  • Spearhead client gatherings at various locations, with dominant personalities and intense preferences, who do NOT want to comply with contractual agreements.
  • Identify, meet and exceed your client’s needs on a daily basis
  • Perform routine SWOT analysis’ of your performance. Examples: Strengths (toddler alive), Weaknesses (no sleep), Opportunities (more greens in diet), Threats (puberty)
  • Develop vast knowledge of sports, Disney Pixar, school playground drama, trains and Pokemon Go
  • Demonstrate high tolerance for cleaning, wearing and congesting bodily fluids
  • Pass client inspection of food preparation. Consistency is KEY to success. (construct meals the exact same way each time for maximum chance at consumption)
  • Maintain positive client relations in spite of temper tantrums, groundings and hormones
  • Exhibit ability to keep animals alive and well in the presence of new, less experienced clients
  • Consistently service residence, vacuum mode of transportation and declog toilets
  • Remain motivated, creative, and patient 87% of of the workday
  • Dedicated commitment to a lifetime of service
  • Must develop immunity to sleep deprivation
  • Background in Pinterest, Amazon and WebMD a plus

REFERENCES:

Certified documentation from OBGYN or…a simple EPT will suffice.

DRUG SCREENING:

Urinalysis is conducted with an OPEN DOOR POLICY, in a room full of three years olds and small pets

BENEFITS:

Snotty kisses, larger than life hugs, never a dull or boring moment the remainder of your tenure

Are You Lonely Mama?

lonelyHow can mother’s have someone on or around them almost every waking and non-waking moment and still feel lonely?

I’ll tell you why. Because there is little time to center ourselves. Whatever that looks like can vary from one person to the next but it’s the overall process of calming the mind, body and spirit in renewed solidarity that generally gets tossed to the wayside after procreation.

Kids are demanding creatures and they will get their mama time at all costs. Throw in a job, house duties, volunteering and another adult and you are left with mere scraps of time to do for yourself.

And sleep! What even is that? I don’t know about you but sleeping a full night is a challenge these days. I’m tired and have the eye bags, cortisol belly and short fuse to prove it. The good news is that my kids and dog love their mama. The bad news is that at least one of them likes to infiltrate my bed between the hours of 2:00-3:00am each night.

Case in point: It’s 4:00am. I’ve actually been up since 2:30am after being abruptly awoken to a body part being thrust into my side. Not only that, but I woke up drenched in a full on body sweat. Menopause? Nah. Too young for that. Or am I? Eh, maybe I lost a couple pounds.

After laying in bed and unsuccessfully reentering dream state, I relocate to the living room and abandon all hope of sleep. Within thirty seconds of entering the kitchen for a drink, here comes the dog. She woofs until she finds her furry self snuggled in my lap. Literally, five minutes later I hear “Mama, where are you?” He finds me, insists that I remove the dog, crawls into my lap, goes back to sleep and here I am, wide awake.

It is what is it. I’m definitely not alone but I FEEL alone. Does that make sense? I need desperately to rejuvinate and get back on track living my life with laser focused purpose but generally, in this season of life, the stars just don’t align.

Mother’s have to resolve ourselves to the fact that we don’t get much “me” time anymore and there will be seasons of isolation. Later on down the road when our houses are empty it’s then we will probably reminisce how we miss the busyness of a full house of little ones and then complain how LONELY we are.

Can’t please a woman. We want it all right now.

For the time being, I try to remind myself that other mothers are lonely too and it’s just par for the course.

In this season of life, we are: tired, short fused, human napkins, slaves to munchkins, cattle herders, band aid applicators, referees and all around considered meany mommies.

Ironically, my eyelids are now bobbling. I could seriously throw down some ZZZs, but it’s about that time to begin the morning rush.

Caffeine anyone?

Let’s do this…

 

 

 

 

 

12 Ways Kid Movies Change The Way You Talk

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You used to consider yourself cool.

You especially thought yourself hip when it came to your choice of Hollywood movie selections. Can’t you just picture you pre-kid, dressed to the hilt physique merrily marching up to the ticket counter?

“Yes, two adults please.”  Then, waltzing to the front of the line at concessions?

“Popcorn with my butter? Why, absolutely!” The metabolism was so superhuman that you could scarf down that carbohydrate ridden lard with a serving of Goobers and maintain the scales with little effort.

The real entertainment came after the movie credits had run. Socially approved one-liners from these movies made for hysterics when applied to well timed scenarios. Our favorites:

“The TRUTH? You can’t handle the truth!” (A Few Good Men)

“You complete me.” (Jerry McQuire)

“I’ll be watching you.” (Meet The Parents)

“We gotta keep our composure!” (Old School)

“Nobody puts baby in a corner.” (Dirty Dancing)

“Get busy living or get busy dying.” (The Shawshank Redemption)

“My precious.” (Lord of the Rings)

However, just like your post-procreation metabolism, your entertainment viewing options change as well. Like many of you, after birthing a litter of little ones and seeing our date nights obscure into oblivion, my husband and I find ourselves watching scores of kid movies. We have one TV by choice at the present time. That means, even if we aren’t actually watching, we hear EVERY SINGLE word, song and catch phrase so often that they are etched into memory.

If these 12 children’s movie one-liners cause familiarity of an instance where you said the exact same thing, then be comforted. Your dialogue is just as corny as ours!

(Consider yourself to have reached a new low if you are still quoting #12.)

#1 – Deciphering toddler talk:

“For the first time in forever, I finally understand.” (Frozen) 

#2 – Come back to a temper tantrum:

“You’re a sad, strange, little man…” (Toy Story)

#3 – A compliment to a yummy dinner mom cooked:

“That’ll do pig. That’ll do.” (Babe)

#4 – Night time ritual:

“I love you. I love you more. I love you most.” (Tangled)

#5 – Motivation for chore work:

“Git-R-done!” (Cars)

#6 – Response to irritation of any kind:

“Darn, darn, darn, darny-darn!” (Lego Movie)

#7 – Tending to mountains of laundry:

“Just keep swimming.” (Finding Nemo)

#8- The disrespectful, crazy driver at carpool:

“Thanks Satan.” (Wreck-It Ralph)

#9 – A wife feeling under appreciated:

“I am your wife! I’m the greatest good you’re ever going to get! (The Incredibles)

#10 – Stopping mid-conversation, thinking of something you forgot to do:

“Squirrel!” (Up)

#11 – When you clean all day and the house is destroyed in 30 minutes:

“Pluck my life.” (Angry Birds)

#12 – On the verge of losing it:

“Let it go.” (Frozen)

There you go.

We are enlightened enough now to realize that, although we really weren’t that cool before kids, living in the world of parenting has transformed our wit and sarcasm to the level of daycare playground conversations.

Parenthood.

Doing it perfectly is the stuff of kid movies: magic, fairy tales and make believe.

Take pride in the fact, though, that any cheesy, G-rated dialogue obtained proves that you spend a lot of precious time with your kids and that makes up for any lost cool points your newfound entertainment has cost you.

Two thumbs up.

 

 

 

 

“Stay-At-Home” Mom Needs to Go!

stayathomemomMy days look much different than that of five years ago.

I get to be available for my kids and spouse anytime they need me. I have more time to cook healthy meals and have a clean home (more time doesn’t always equate reality). I’m no stranger to the gym. If a kid is sick, I am the primary caregiver. My life is no longer privy to much of the narcissism, deadlines and undue stress of the corporate working world.

I am a stay-at-home mom. At least, that’s what society tells me anyway.

After resigning from a medical sales career, there is one silly thing that still bothers me: listing my occupation on forms!

I despise the phrase. Why? “Stay-at-home” is not what I do all day! It’s about as inaccurate as what our government tells us about its actions on a daily basis. It indirectly implies that a mother is “at home” and carefree during daylight hours. Rarely am I in one location for hours on end. When stay-at-home moms are at home, the majority are insanely busy, rushing to get things completed before the kids gets home.  This mother is on the go, working 24/7.

Interestingly enough, when I was caring for two young children working a full-time career, I still never felt the title of “Sales and Marketing Professional” to be precise. I may have been employed with a paycheck, but I was STILL a full-time mom.

If you really think about it, how we label mothers in our society can be offensive to all and is a great source of the whole “mommy wars” dilemma.

When faced with an instance where an occupation listing is required, I cringe inside. Of course, a title should never determine one’s worth. I just prefer that the terminology provided be ACCURATE.

Let’s get some things straight about motherhood and labels:

“FULL-TIME”

Every mama that lovingly invests and wholeheartedly involves herself in the life of her offspring is a “Full-time” mother.

Women that work a paying job outside of the home don’t stop being full-time mothers just because they draw a paycheck. An assumption that their paid employment title is more defining for them than being with their children all day isn’t fair. I’ve been there. The paying jobs they serve in may be something they love with their whole heart or endure for necessity but their children are always on their minds and actions. Many feel guilty for not being able to be with them more.

Furthermore, just because a mother is in a constant position of service to her family without pay CERTAINLY doesn’t suggest that her role is any less time-consuming or important. There is often guilt for not providing more to the family finances or concern that they are losing professional skills as a trade-off.

Regardless of the set up, all mothers are full-time. Period.

 “STAY-AT-HOME” versus “WORKING”

My pet peeve! This is just the worst.

To someone who has never been one, the phrase “stay-at-home” mom flashes up visions of a mother in her PJs, eating gobs of chocolate and watching Grade C reality TV all day. Wrong! It’s insulting. Ever had to explain a gap in employment with that title on your resume? Generally speaking, employers don’t get it.

Many are envied, yet are the recipients of mean-spirited remarks.

Mothers working in corporate careers get the shaft also. Why? Just because a woman works 40+ hours a week outside of the home should NEVER imply that she is not working in her home. When she is on the job she is thinking of her children incessantly and when home, she rarely sits.

Many a mother spending every waking moment with her kid envies the career mom because she gets financial validation, adult socialization and tangible successes.

Never bad mouth a mom for her occupational season in life. They are all busy, stressed and have their own set of guilt issues.

Every kind of mother is a working mama. Period.

NOW WHAT?

The next time I have to submit an occupation title on any form, in my current role, I plan on listing “Full-time, working mother.”

When I reenter the corporate world at some point, I also plan on indicating “Full-time, working mother.”

Why? Regardless of work circumstances, all dedicated mamas fit this description. It’s a title that unites us and doesn’t divide.

Sure, I’ll have to provide some answers. However, it gives me an opportunity to validate that mom working AWAY from her kids, struggling to give 100% of herself to family and employer. To build up the confidence of the mother that has little adult interaction and is desperate for confirmation of a job well done. To find commonality. A chance to help lift any guilt a mother may be experiencing regardless of what her motherhood role looks like.

There is zero percent chance of being a perfect mama but a 100% chance of being a good one.

Full-time, working mothers…period.

 

 

 

A Mother’s Insomnia

insomniaIt happens to all of us.

A mother’s insomnia.

Exhausted, as soon as your head hits the pillow you know it’s going to be a monumental REM cycle. That is, until someone or something causes you to be wide-eyed in the early hours of the new day.

A mother’s brain can be downright scary at times, especially one riddled with sleep deprivation.

“Endust! Your furniture is crying to be seen once again. Shameful! First thing in the morning.”

“The kids don’t play enough outside. Change the computer password before dusk.”

“Time to have the parents and in-laws over and cook for them.”

“Will my child ever become potty trained and sleep in his own bed? You KNOW he’s the last one is his class that wears pull-ups.”

“Dang it! Forgot to fold that load of laundry.”

“Drink more water today.”

“WHY is the dog on top of me, staring directly into my eyes at 2am?”

“I luuub ewe mama (kid wraps little arms around my awkwardly positioned neck). Sigh. Ok, sleep with me a little longer and don’t ever grow up.”

“You shouldn’t have drunk that glass of H2O.” Potty in the dark.

“Meals for kids: fruit and veggies tomorrow. Stinkers consumed too many carbs this weekend.”

“Hubs need to go to the gym with me this week. Use persuasive skills stat.”

I need to…

Clean the car

Organize the bonus room

Have the kids’ friends over

Schedule a date night

Shave my legs

Clean the hardwood

Read a book

Write a book

Do my devotional

Grow website

Sign up for a webinar

Buy friend’s birthday present from a month ago

Getting wrinkles…ugh!

Are my kids going to be ok?

Is my husband going to be ok?

The dog seems to be recovering nicely from surgery since she cleared a three feet jump in the dark. Check.

As the sun comes out, I sit on the back porch watching the dog do anything but potty and listen to our neighbor’s dairy cows moan and groan across the pasture. What ARE they doing over there?

Us moms are way too hard on ourselves.

Many of us over think things a little (or maybe a lot), which that shows we care and love hard.

Dust off the insomnia fog and get yourself some coffee woman! A kid just peeked around the corner and your quiet time is over for the moment, or the DAY.

Speaking of which, today is a new day. There will always be things to clean and nothing is ever a perfect paradise. However, it’s your imperfect paradise and you’re incredibly thankful that you have it.

REALLY gratuitous for caffeine right now. One of God’s most generous inventions.

Now, time for that wrinkled load of laundry!

 

Our Pre-Parenthood Days

ourpreparenthooddaysAs an adult, do you ever find yourself thinking about a favorite thing that you loved to do before love, marriage and offspring? Maybe the one interest that allowed you to be ALONE with no interruptions? That’s a gem right there.

Parenting leaves most of us completely preoccupied and the “I” gradually fades into obscurity as time elapses. Dying to self is an admirable quality in anyone and our families deserve all of us. However, I wonder if bringing back some of the things that gave us enjoyment in our younger days would help make us better moms, dads and contributing members of society in general.

Examples could be lugging your neglected, post parenthood body into the gym for the first time in years, locking oneself in a closet with a flashlight to read a book or even picking up any hobby or talent that used to refuel your spirit.

Sometimes a memory from our former life pops up to remind of us past enjoyments.

Unexpectedly, that moment happened today.

I had just completed the morning grind of Monday mayhem, dropped all three kids off at school and was sitting in the parking lot of my next “to do” on the daily checklist.

Sometimes mama goes nerdy. Nerdy as in dissing modern radio for the classics. Classics as in 1800’s piano music. Remember, nerdy is cool. That’s my philosophy. Free country. To each his own.

My absolute FAVORITE classical piano piece of all time began blaring from the car speakers. “Fantasie Impromptu” by Frederic Chopin. AMAZING. The chill bumps raced from my arms, shoulders and then to the back of my neck and the memory trigger of sound transported me back to my senior year in college.

As much as a campus extrovert and involved student as I was, my time alone was something I coveted. Hardly anyone knew, but I frequently snuck off to a tiny chapel at Troy University where I once played for a sorority sister’s wedding. Upon opening the heavy, double wooden doors, your attention focused immediately onto the organ’s pipes that lit up the center stage wall. Opposite the pipe organ, was a regal baby grande piano that had the most pleasant and precise tone.

It was here that I would unload my arsenal of hymn and classical arrangements, with an audience of zero, and tickle the ivories for hours on end.

“Fantasie Impromtu” was the most difficult piece I ever attempted. It brought out so many emotions and presented such a challenge that I just had to TRY.

Why was it so ridiculously hard?  Well, the piece uses many cross-rhythms. The right hand plays sixteenth notes against the left hand playing triplets in cut time. To average musicians like myself, it’s an unnatural sensation and the irregular speed combinations required during the fast portions on the song are quite an impressive feat.

Nevertheless, a very rough version got performed to memory. Although never ready for a public performance the process was one of challenge and enjoyment. Piano was my outlet and I could have played in that chapel for half a day with no break and been perfectly content.

I began working a full-time business career shortly after attempting to master the arrangement. That meant that as the years went on, my time on the keys dwindled to zero.

The point.

I was reminded today of something that I got to do before adulthood that I MISS doing now. The most important end result was that of renewing my soul. Do you ever have moments like this?

How often as parents do we take the time to get our heart, mind and soul in sync? I dare say RARELY. Maybe we would be better moms, dads, friends, employees and children ourselves if we were able to bring something back into our current life that rejuvinated us in our past life.

What would a fulfilling activity from your past be?

Realistically, I know finding several hours of uninterrupted quiet with no responsibilities isn’t feasible. However, fifteen to thirty minutes a day is a real possibility and worth it for my mental health and cortisol level reduction.

Best of luck in finding your outlet and using it to be a better parent and adult! I say it’s worth the investment.

Why The New McDonalds’ Happy Meal Toy Was A Winner

happymealtoy.com

Fast food boycotters look away! Everyday, “I never or sometimes feel guilty for buying my kid fried pink chicken goop” parents pull up a seat.

You know how every now and then, your kid comes home from school raving about a new trend? In my day, it was jelly shoes, stonewashed skirts, blue eyeshadow, teased hair, side ponytails and BEGGING my mother for Guess jeans as she emphatically turned me down because of the cost.

Well, lo and behold, the new thing that all the Third graders at my kids’ school are begging for is the latest McDonald’s Happy Meal toy. For real? Yep. You heard me right.

What is this diamond in the rough packed away with the Golden Arches’ staple children’s meal? A plastic “Fitness Tracker” pedometer bracelet.

Hilarous! It comes in a variety of colors and looks like this:

FullSizeRender.jpgWell unfortunately, I just learned earlier today that the fast food giant made the decision to pull the Fitness Trackers due to reports of skin rashes. No skin irritations going on in our neck of the woods. In fact, I know there are going to be some extremely disappointed kiddos next time they open up that kids’ meal.

It was a fabulous idea and, to date, a hit!

Apparently, over half the grade is sporting these babies around their elementary school loud and proud.

Now, I’m not one to encourage peer pressure antics or going along with the crowd but this one was GREAT!

Why? Three reasons…

#1 – It was CHEAP. $5 got your kid sustenance and social status in the blink of an eye.

#2 – It encouraged physical fitness. These third graders are competing to see which one has the most steps by the end of the school day. YOU ARE WELCOME PE TEACHERS.

#3 – It made me feel better as a parent. Now I know that the majority of moms and dads that I will be doing life with these next ten years or so feed their kids crap too! Thank goodness for the sliced apples and Go Gurt so we can validate ourselves after viewing how those deep-fried chicken nuggets are processed.

So there you go. We are not terrible parents for feeding our kids fast food every now and then, especially when our little ones get to feel cool and stylish.

Of course, what will we ever do now when that pedometer battery dies? Oh the travesty.

Until that day is upon us, I lift my child’s Minute Maid Apple Juice box in the air and declare a toast to not sweating the small stuff, enjoying the ride and much thanks to McDonald’s for trying to help us insanely busy parents get our kids moving with healthier food options.

I say fix the issue and bring those tracker jackers back.

Cheers!