Grocery Store Guidance

First of all, I’m alive. I’m sorry the blog has been quiet for a few weeks but it’s because I’ve moved across the country, moved into a new house, and done these things with two wild rhinobabies that I call my sons. SO, sorry I’ve been MIA.

But I do have a story that I’ve been wanting to share. This has language so if that offends you, don’t read it? Or just pop some candy corn and get over it because it comes from a good place.

I was in the grocery store and was experiencing that crazy little collision of hope and panic because you’ve actually gotten everything on your list and you are finally in the check-out line but the check-out line is long and you have two toddlers who are jumping around your cart like crazy people and throwing all of the embarrassing items onto the floor. No no boys, don’t throw the fruits and veggies on the ground. By all means, only throw the tampons, white strips, and cookies on the ground for all to see.

So here I am trying to look normal and you know “peaceful” and “grateful in all circumstances” but in reality I think that sirens are going off in my head and I’m staring at my kids who are officially screaming in unison now, “LET IT GOOOO  LET IT GOOOO I SHOOT YOU IN THE SKYYYYYY” ….. because apparently Bud thinks Frozen is a military documentary.

I start picking the shame items off the floor and while I wait for my turn in the line which is somehow growing and the lady in front of me is trying to find her coupon for 5 cents off of her can of 35 cent black beans out of her special little accordion coupon binder. And once more with feeling, the boys from my cart yell, “LET IT GOOOO LET IT GOOOO I SHOOT YOU IN THE SKYYYYYY”.

I shoot Bud a look that lets him know that my head is about to explode and if I don’t hear silence soon then he might have an early lesson in hitchhiking. He stops because he really likes his thumbs and doesn’t want to end up in Saw XXI. Bennett Rippy then starts grabbing all of the gum from the aisle (WHY DO THEY HAVE THOSE THERE?!) and throwing them on the ground. I take a deep breath and start picking them up and explaining to the boys in my weird I’mtryingnottoloseitinpublic monotone voice that we must respect other people’s stuff and not make a mess and to use an inside voice. I start to pick up the gum and this woman comes up and starts to help me.

And here is how I got some amazing grocery story guidance:

I look up and say, “Oh no no, it’s totally fine, I’ve got it but thank you so much!”

Angel-Lady: “It’s ok, let me help you. You’ve got your hands full.”

Me: “No it’s ok! Seriously, I’m totally fine.”

Angel-Lady: with this amazing, knowing smile says, “Well honey, isn’t that some beautiful bullshit.”

I literally burst out laughing. I’m talking the from-the-gut, boisterous laugh that sets all of the negativity that tried to sneak into my heart out into space.

I told her that was one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard and yes, she could help me pick up the 5,000 packs of Orbit gum that BR threw on the ground. I gave her a hug and left feeling a million pounds lighter because I laughed and set free those dumb dumb expectations that I put on my kids and myself.

So I’m trying to stop spreading the “beautiful bullshit” and embrace the mess. My sense of humor has always served me well and I don’t know why I keep forgetting it with motherhood. Because by God, I want my kids to remember my laugh.

 

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LeapBand Giveaway!

YAY! The winner is Erin Littleton! Congrats and thanks to everyone who entered! 

YALL! Remember when I talked about how I was going to get to interview Mia Hamm about ways to keep active with kids? Well, I did.

I am SO embarrassed to show the video because

1. It was 5:45am and they called 20 minutes early and I had no idea Mia was going to be on the phone like IMMEDIATELY

2. I hadn’t had coffee yet.

3. I had my ‘mom voice’ on so that I didn’t wake up the kids and apparently my ‘mom voice’ sounds like one of those late-night hotlines that SNL would make fun of. Just to give you a good picture, think of a transvestite who has been sipping too many wine coolers and is trying to talk to Mia Hamm about running…. because that’s what I sounded like. Sam listened to it and said, “Who is that? That is 100% not you.”  I think I even said “imaginary high five” at one point soooo there’s that.

4. I hadn’t had coffee yet.

BUT the good thing to come out of my epic fail of an interview is that I get to giveaway a LeapFrog LeapBand! These things are pretty much the mammerjammer and I’m in love. It is an activity tracker for kids that they can wear throughout the day. It gives them all kinds of different challenges and fun things to do to burn energy and reminds them that fitness is super cool. And lets be real, the kiddos look pretty legit with the watch on.

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I’ll be running the giveaway until October 6 and I will pick a lucky winner to receive a FREE LEAPBAND! Enter below, you are eligible for multiple entries! IMAGINARY HIGH FIVES ALL AROUND!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Leapfrog provided me with a LeapBand to review but all opinions are mine… which is that this LeapBand is awesome. 

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Fit Made Fun Day!

Leapfrog Leapband Fit Made Fun Day

 

Did you know that your kiddo needs at least 60 minutes of exercise a day?? I know that can seem hard to accomplish for our kids let alone for ourselves! But it’s important y’all. My boys know that each day, rain or shine, we are getting our hour of exercise. I want them to know how important it is to stay active and take care of ourselves even if it means Mama is cursing while running in the PNW drizzle.

On Monday, I’ll be conducting an interview with Mia Hamm (oh yeah no big deal) about how to stay active with our kids and the importance of fitness in our every day lives. I will be telling you how I exercise with 2 youngins and giving tips on how I trick successfully get at least an hour of fitness for both boys and myself.

I also wanted to let all my CA peeps know that LeapFrog is hosting an amazing event with Mia herself called Fit Made Fun Day! LeapFrog is collaborating with GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS to create a 3-hour event (from 1pm – 4pm) on the beach in Santa Monica (North of the Pier and by the exit to Lot 1550 on PCH ). While a DJ spins KidzBop tunes, local children and their parents will enjoy healthy snacks as they gear up to become the new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS holders for “Most children making sand angels on the beach,” “Most people hopping on one foot” and “Most people doing a swim dance.”  Children attending will also enjoy a few photo ops along with the musical entertainment.

And just as a little spoiler alert, after I post about my interview with Mia and share some of our tips on staying active with kids, brace yourself….. I will be giving away LeapFrog’s newest product, the LeapBand.

The LeapBand activity tracker comes with eight different customizable pets from LeapFrog’s popular Pet Pals franchise – a cat, dog, dragon, monkey, panda, penguin, robot and unicorn – which can be customized by color and name. With their very own virtual pal, children can play 10 preloaded active games and challenges with access to 40 additional free challenges. As they move and earn points, kids can unlock each of the additional eight pets and earn virtual toys for each of them as they stay engaged and learning with mini-games including Pet Boogie, Pet Chef and Pet Salon. Kids will have fun completing a variety of activities including “Walk like a crab,” “Spin like a helicopter” and “Pop like popcorn” no matter where they are. LeapBand activity challenges are designed to keep kids active by tapping into their own individual movements without any required equipment.

So stay tuned until next week for an amazing giveaway and tips on staying active!

Props again to LeapFrog for not only wanting to improve our kiddos’ minds but their bodies as well.

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Our hands are for work and love.

**Winner! Kristen Phillips! I will email you and hook you up with Emily so she can send you your new print! Thanks everyone for entering! 

I was slaving away in the kitchen preparing a five-star meal of hot dogs and applesauce when I heard Bennett Rippy crying in the den. I put down the food and started to run into the den to see what crime had just been committed. As I’m approaching, I hear Bud’s rhino feet running up the stairs.  I took a deep breath, armored up, and left our gourmet meal to go into battle.

I scooped up BR and made sure there wasn’t any serious damage…. aside from the other 500 bruises that he had acquired this week from doing his best spider monkey bit all around the house with his newfound skill of cruising/crawling/faceplanting.

“Bud, come down here now please.”

“No thank you.”

“……………….. now.” **insert scary Mama voice

That blonde haired little rhinoangel slinked down the stairs and sat on the bottom step in preparation for “time-out”.

“Bud, what happened?”

“I hit him.”

*** Bonus points for telling the truth but confession only goes so far in this household**

“Bud, what are our hands for?”

“Wuk and luz.”

“That’s right, work and love. Nothing else. Not hurting, not destroying things, just work and love.”

You see, that’s our family motto these days. I found myself having to say it to Bud a few times a day when he would get a little too rough with baby brother or if he would start to destroy something in the house. Perhaps it was divine intervention and God decided to pull through (He tends to do that) when I clenched my teeth and fists and asked that the Holy Spirit speak through me instead of Mama the Grouch. It came out because I think one of my biggest hopes as a mother is that I not only direct and shepherd, but that I raise him up to be a man who walks in kindness. So, instead of just saying, “STOP MAMMOTH CHILD!”, I give him a better option. I bring in the light. I show him what power our hands can have but my role as his Mama right now is to show him how important it is to use our hands for what they were created for. Work and Love. 

This world is nutso. There are terrifying things around every corner like serial killers and the Kardashians and coconut water. I’ve been burdened and empowered at the task before me to show my sons the light in the darkness. There are plenty of times when I feel helpless and despite discipline, Bud may choose to hit his brother with a Lego instead of helping him build a tower. But, the days when I hear them playing in the other room and I know he’s been tempted to use his hands in a hurtful way but he chooses to overcome that with kindness and goodness…. well, you can find me in the kitchen doing fist pumps in the air whilst I prepare my hot dogs and applesauce.

I’ve teamed up with my friend Emily who has started her own paper/design/everything art company called Blesser Heart Art. I mean… the name is perfect am I right?!?! She custom-made a print for one of y’all with our family motto “Hands are for work and love” and all you have to do is leave a comment with your email before this Friday! It’s as easy as that. I’m going to be proudly displaying this print in our new playroom and refer to it 5,698 times a day. So go ahead and enter to win this amazing print! You know you wanna.

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Check out Emily’s website for her stuff and you can follow her on Instagram at @blesserheartart. Thanks for the amazing print Emily!

 

 

 

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Bennett Rippy 11 Months

BR 11 Months

Honestly my boy, there isn’t much to report that is different from 10 months. You are still crawling everywhere, cruising everywhere, but recently you have decided that you can climb ONTO things which tend to be higher than Mama would like. For instance, your brother loves to jump on the couch and you think it’s HILARIOUS to jump on there with him but then slowly make your way over to the end tables and stand there looking at  me proudly like you’ve climbed Everest. Well, you haven’t my son. You’ve just climbed an end table and it’s still not ok.

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You are an excellent eater and no lie- you eat more than Bud. Albeit, Bud eats less than Kate Moss during Fashion Week but still, your appetite is impressive.

You still have 8 teeth and give the best toothy grins. The biggest news for this month is that you have decided that you no longer wish to receive your bottles. You placed a strict order that you want whole milk in your sippy cup throughout the day. I wasn’t quite prepared for this! I had switched you to sippy cups during the day feedings but was still giving you a bottle in the morning and night. But with the subtlety of a rhino, you batted away the bottles and reached for the sippy. So just like with Bud, I took your lead on when you wanted to wean and that time has arrived! You seem like such a big boy drinking out of your cup.

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Since you didn’t want your bottle at night, I tried to do a sweet nighttime routine to make up for our snuggle time in the rocking chair. I sang our song, tried to read you a book and do you know what you did? You batted the book to the ground, pushed my face away and reached for the crib. Um ok? So you are apparently too cool for this nighttime routine nonsense and just want to lay down with your Taggie blanket and be done with me. Sooooo opposite of your brother who draws out bedtime like it is his job.

You are going to be 1 in 10 days which is so fun and I can’t wait to celebrate surviving living a year with you on this planet!

Love you little dude,

Mama

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Written Name

*This post is raw and from my heart. I am resisting the urge to edit it to death and just leave it as it is so that it’s authentic and gives you an accurate picture of my heart hurricane.

I have been working on a children’s book series for two years now and been sending it out to any literary agent and publisher that accepts children’s manuscripts. Clearly, since you won’t find me at your nearest book store rubbing elbows with Pete the Cat or Mo Willems, it is safe to say that I have not, in fact, been picked up by a publisher yet. I know that authors receive a million rejections before getting a contract and I’m fully prepared for that. However, yesterday I was sitting down to send my proposal to a new group of publishers and I was feeling a bit more demoralized than usual as I drafted my “Please pick me, I swear I’m cool, JUST PUBLISH MY EVER LOVING BOOK! P.S. I’ll make you brownies if you say yes.” email.

I shut the computer and said an honest prayer.

Lord, I want these books in print. I want them to be in the hands of families and read in homes. I want these books to help parents and teachers navigate healthy conversations with their kids. And honesty, I want to see my name written in print. I want this thing to come to fruition. 

Silence.

Please. I’m trying not to lose hope. I’m trying to trust Your timing. But if your timing could be like… yesterday… that would be great. P.S. I’ll send you brownies if you say yes.

But this time, no more silence.

Your name is written my dear.  It’s written on my hands. It’s written on my heart.  

Oh. Welp, that should be enough then.

Now, where are my brownies? 

Ok so maybe I didn’t hear that last part. BUT the rest of it, yeah I heard it. I heard it with my heart. My hurricane heart. So here I am, trying to rest in that promise. I am rejoicing that my name is already written on the hands and heart of the greatest Masterpiece. And until my books are put in every hotel room in the country, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say He is probably the better Author. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still chasing down this dream- sorry folks, you aren’t getting rid of me that easily. But I’m chasing the dream with a renewed trust, a renewed fire, and apparently a lot of brownies.

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LeapFrog Review: Get Ready for Kindergarten!

It is no secret how much I love my sponsors over at LeapFrog. You can see my reviews about their products over here, here, here, and here. They recently sent me a new packet and series called, Are You Ready for Kindergarten?”

You can use this series with your LeapPad or LeapReader. It is chocked full of games, writing activities, reading activities, and it even helps you walk through some of the emotional issues that may arise in Kindergarten.

We’ve been working really hard with Bud this summer on his numbers and letters. He could recite the alphabet but hasn’t been able to recognize the letters visually. So I’ve been searching for activities that keep his attention to really allow the letters and numbers to become tangible to him and show him the context of each letter and number outside of just reciting them! This series has been awesome for that. He loves tracing the letters and numbers with his LeapReader and Mr. Pencil was already one of his favorite games so he is loving some of the other games in the series that make learning his letters and numbers WAY more fun than Mama making him go through flashcards.

He’s been on a dragon kick lately so he’s loving the Dragon Cafe game the most. It’s been improving his number recognition and so it’s a winner for Mama too. It helps by encouraging number and shape tracing so it’s a really helpful, slow progression for Bud.

LeapFrog has made it really made it easy for Kindergarten prep and have TONS of resources for parents at a site, “Get School Ready” –  here.

I honestly can’t recommend LeapFrog products enough. They’ve been so helpful for me in teaching Bud skills at home. I’m not a professional teacher by any means so I need as much guidance as possible and the resources I’ve found at LeapFrog have been amazing.

If you have a preschooler or kiddo about to head into Kindergarten, check out this new series. I think you’ll love it.

*LeapFrog provided the product but all opinions are my own. 

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Bennett Rippy 10 Months

BR 10 Months

Oh my guy,

You are crawling all over the place. You pull up on EVERYTHING and have even balanced a few times on your own with this look on your face like, “WHATTHECRAPIS HAPPENINGAREYOUSEEINGTHIS?!?!” It’s hilarious. I have no idea if you will walk soon or if you’ll take your sweet time like your brother but for now you love cruising on everything and pushing your walker like an old man.

You have caught some sort of virus which has been making you super feverish and waking up at night, soooo that’s fun. I’m hoping it’ll pass soon because it’s just pitiful seeing you sick again. You have spent about 2 weeks out of month 10 with some sort of sickness. Prayers for health on ya my boy!

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You have 8 teeth now and I’m waiting to see molars any day now.

You all of a sudden have started trying to repeat words we say. When we say “Good Job!” You say with the same inflection, “DooDawwwb“. You point at Roy and say , “Dah“. When you see Daddy come in you say, “Sam Metzler How are ya?!” just kidding, “Dada” is your fav word for him. And we play this game where we hand you different toys and we say “Thank you!” and you say “Dank dooo”. I fully realize that I am probably the only one who understands you and am half making it up that you are actually saying these words, but I swear, you’re a genius. I tried to capture it on video, you said “good job” at the beginning but then decided you weren’t a performing monkey anymore. Great.

You love to point at everything, still laugh at most of what big brother Bud does, LOVE your daddy, and do this amazing thing when we smile at you, you shrug your shoulders up and tilt your head and smile and it is all I can do not to fall out on the floor right there. Whenever Bud and I are being silly, you look at us with these wide eyes and close lipped smile across your face like you’re recording us for blackmail. Your Pops always says, “Bennett just has this look about him, it’s made of gold.” And it’s true, you’re made of gold little one.

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You love to dance, if there’s music on, you’re bopping right along. You and your brother both love to boogie. I finally have company for my dance parties since your daddy just looks at me like he’s going to institutionalize me. Make sure he picks out a nice place will ya?

I’m glad you’ve been in my life for almost a year little man! Time flies! (Except it doesn’t, I just feel like I’m supposed to say that. In reality, this has been a long year.)

Love, Mama

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A little something for your Tuesday

It’s so secret I love Rachel Held Evans. If I could sit down and have coffee with one contemporary author, it’d be her. She posted this thought today and I just had to share.

The alternative to patriarchy is not matriarchy. It’s mutuality, equality. This is what feminism supports. Feminism isn’t about hating men. It’s about advocating for the dignity and equality of women, who continue to face disproportionate violence, discrimination, and marginalization throughout the world due to their gender.

How does this strike y’all? Any thoughts? I love healthy and respectful conversation about this topic! So bring it on if you feel led!

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Awkwardly Confident

It’s no secret that motherhood is full of lessons. It is wonderful for bringing to light a kind of love that you never knew existed in your heart. It allows you to live gleefully through your kiddo’s imagination as you dress up as pirates and walk the plank across the baby pool. And you fully enjoy the empowering task of raising up men/women of character. But what they don’t warn you about is that motherhood can place a giant magnifying glass onto the worst parts of your soul. Sounds awesome right? (insert someone remembering to take birth control pill here….)

But in all seriousness, I feel like I’ve been going through this messy journey of self exploration for over 3 years now. I have learned about patience by trying to explain to my son through gritted teeth that “YOU NEED TO BE MORE PATIENT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!!”. I have learned that I needed to be kinder to strangers when I realize that my son watches my every move and if I want him to be a kind man, he needs to see kindness in action. I have learned that if I want my son to share, I’m going to have to start sharing my candy…. but that one is still under construction.

My latest lesson? I have learned that I have a really hard time vocalizing when my heart is hurting. If I’ve been wounded in some way, I’m the first one to make a joke to cover it up or just shrug and say, “I’m totes fine. No worries man.” Because nothing says “I’m totally fine” when speaking like a hybrid mix of Valley-girl and Rastafarian. As my brother kindly pointed out to me the other day in so many grace-filled words “You’re being an idiot and if I hear ‘I’m ok, it’s fine.’ one more time come out of your mouth I’m going to feed you to the seagulls.” And he means it. He sent me a play by play of a seagull attacking a pigeon at Granville Island.

I had a situation with Bud the other day that made me realize I needed to start resolving this issue. Bud’s feelings were hurt at the playground. A kid didn’t want to play with him, blah blah, normal stuff. But my kiddo is a sensitive fella who does not understand why the entire world doesn’t want to proudly wear the other half of his BFF necklace. So he was sad. He walked up to me with his pitiful, defeated face with his lip hung so far out I thought it would get caught under his dirtied up sneakers and said, “Mama, he huwt my feewings” and he looked at me with this look. Moms, you know the look. The look that screams, “Fix this. PWEASE FIX THIS FOR ME!” And while I was tempted to jump up and grab this kid by the popped collar and explain to him that my son was delicious and precious and that kid would be LUCKY to wear his BFF necklace and while we were at it, he should probably just tattoo Bud’s name on his arm because Bud is THAT cool. But I didn’t. Because you know, I try to keep my crazy to minimum in public.

Instead, I looked at Bud and told him that he should calmly walk up to Bane Junior and let him know that he hurt his feelings but it was ok, he forgave him.

And here is how the rest of the conversation went down:

Why?

Well son, because even if its awkward, it is important to be confident in how your heart is feeling. If it’s hurt, let that person know it’s hurt. And even if they don’t apologize, you’ve shown that you are confident in yourself and your voice has been heard. And then we always forgive people because anger is exhausting. Do you understand?

I unduhsand. Did you see that squirrel over der Mama?

The lesson may have not been life altering for Bud, but it was for me. I kept thinking about that little conversation we had on the playground and I realized I had been holding in a hurt that hadn’t been voiced. So I came home and wrote an awkward and uncomfortable email to a friend that I had felt hurt by. Immediately I felt like I had done everything I could, even if I never hear from her again. My hurt had been brought into light. I had to learn that to be confident in myself, I have to be confident in my voice and in my emotions…even if it means sending an awkward email.

If you are holding anything back or trying to shove down whatever your heart is feeling, sweet friends, please stop. Your heart was designed to FEEL. Even if it is messy, irrational, or if you haven’t finished processing. Start feeling out loud! Be confident in your awkwardness, in your mess, in your pain. By bringing it to light, darkness doesn’t have power over it anymore. So start talkin’…..

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