Tag Archives: Lifestyle

Dance Pants

We love music in this house. We sing almost everything from “where’s the milk” to “time for bed.”

It is perfectly delightful.

And at some point on almost every day we blast the techno. DJ Tiesto is a household name–Weasley even asks for it. Wiggles shakes her booty in a flurry of smiles and giggles and flailing limbs. In my eyes, nothing is more wonderful.

I was a dancer until I had children, my husband and I met ice skating and we love to go dancing on our nights out. Movement and music is part of us. And as such, it is part of our children.

In the parenting trend of Baby Einstein and The Mozart Effect, I diverge.

I spent Weasley’s babyhood immersing him in classical music and exposing him to every composer that would supposedly boost his intelligence. And you know what? Baby Einstein taught him how to sit in front of the TV and listening to Mozart pretty much bored him (except for Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca–that made him dance his funny little toddler pants off).

As a music major in college, I was convinced that classical music truly had the ability to “organize one’s brain.” But what I came to learn as a parent is that is just doesn’t matter. I honestly don’t have any control over my children’s intelligence level. And why would I want to control it anyway? We live in a society so full of messages that your kids don’t fit in a particular box. They move too much, they talk too much, they read too late, they walk too soon… It’s never just “your child is so good at who they are.”

Now, I am not saying I don’t have an appreciation for classical music. I spent my entire childhood dancing ballet to classical composers and went on to study music in college. I have a great amount of classical music education under my belt but I really feel that kids need a variety of music in their education.

Something that made me realize classical music isn’t the only thing your child should listen to is Kindermusik. I got my Kindermusik teaching license when Weasley was still a toddler. And I was shocked when I realized there were very few classical music pieces in the Kindermusik lessons. In fact, most of their music depended on what age the child was and how to get them interacting. Music + movement! This got me thinking. It doesn’t matter what music the kids are listening to as long it makes them move and smile.

For us, that’s techno.

And let me tell you, the kids love it!

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Keep It Real!

After taking the Mom Pledge I started thinking about all the things I have not posted on my blog–all the things about my parenting habits that I’m afraid to share with other mom’s. My honesty is held back for fear of being criticized. Last thing I need is to feel bullied when my goal in life is to be happy, right? Not if it means denying myself.

For me it’s time to start being me.

No pretending.

After all, isn’t pretending just a way of making other mom’s feel bad about themselves? I have no desire to “show anyone up.” But I do have a desire to be me. To be real. Because being yourself is so darn good!

So as part of my commitment to not giving a voice to mom bullies and to keep it real here on my own blog, I’m going to dedicate myself to, well, being me. I have nothing to hide and I’m proud of my kids, proud of my husband and honestly, I am proud of myself for how I care for and raise my absolutely wonderful and fantabulous family! So prepare yourself for a few posts about how I raise my kids in ways that some just might not approve of….

It could be shocking!

Simplification Tactics

Last week I tackled the kids toys. It was a bit overwhelming to start but once I got into it, it was easy. I threw out everything that wasn’t a matching set, was out of batteries, (I hate battery operated toys), broken, or anything that just wasn’t played with in the last few months (that took care of a lot of it). But in my very impatient opinion it took too much time to accomplish. So when I moved onto sorting kids books, I took on a new tactic.

We had lots of books that were never touched and I’ve often wondered if we should keep them for some unknown reason. So I pulled all the books off the bookshelf and stared at them all for a few minutes completely overwhelmed (and slightly buried) before I began sorting them into “keep, maybe keep, look at them again, get rid of, and torn.” Yeah, lots of piles and I was incredibly overwhelmed. That’s when I decided to only put the “definitely keep” books back on the shelf. When I looked at the rest of the piles, it was easy to just put them all in the “get rid of” box.

The shelf looked clean and simple and meaningful. I didn’t want to add anything else to it. So my new simplification tactic is to pull out all our “definitely keep” items from amongst the clutter and just give everything else to goodwill.

There is no reason to sort.

Just pull out what is necessary and discard the rest. It is much faster and takes less brainpower. Thankfully I am easily distracted so once something is in the goodwill box, I can’t remember what it is! (I never needed it anyway, right?) Simplifying this way eliminates the “what if I need this someday” question. That question is usually my downfall in simplifying.

I am very excited to experiment with this tactic throughout the rest of the house. Today I am tackling linens and possibly clothes. My next step will be to purchase some clear boxes and make sure everything has a place. Using the boxes will also make moving easier since everything will be pre-packed. And the kids will have a difficult time opening the boxes so I will always know when something is being played with–no more surprise messes.

I am so excited to simplify.

Hopefully by the end of Lent, the house will be completely decluttered just in time for spring and outdoor fun!

The Mom Pledge

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I am so excited to take the Mom Pledge and be a part of such an encouraging blogging community!

Raising kids is hard–especially if you are told you aren’t doing it right. Every child is different. Every parent will do things differently.
And there is no one person on this earth that knows how to raise another human being perfectly.

Discouragement is the worst thing a mother can experience. As a parent there have been many times when I have been told my parenting was insufficient. And it brought me down. Way down.

My desire is to love my children. If I teach my children nothing else I want them to know joy. And Love. I hope to give them a foundation for a happy life. Everything else is fleeting in my opinion.

If your child doesn’t have all their immunizations, if they don’t potty train by two, if they don’t learn to ready by five, if they throw a tantrum in the grocery store, it just doesn’t matter–it is a fleeting moment in time. None of that matters and I don’t want to know any one person’s opinion on why or why my child should or should not have or do a certain thing.

There is no magical formulation to raising a human. It is complicated. And personal. And difficult. And beautiful. And emotional. And amazing. There is no point in telling a mother they are wrong in how they raise their kids.

I have no desire to feel more knowledgeable or powerful than another mother. I want to be a part of a community of mothers that love their children and encourage each other. I hold no parenting answers. I will accept advice when it is solicited. I will admire the knowledge that another mother has learned over the years. But I will accept no hostile comments toward my motherhood. I love my kids. And I will do everything in my power to show them that and to raise them to be happy human beings. But in order to teach them happiness I need to be happy. Happy with myself and happy with my kids.

And I know I make mistakes.

And most likely I will know it when I do make a mistake. Telling me I am not a “good” mother for whatever reason will only make my life dark. I choose to ignore the hostile comments and focus on the love I have for my children.

I am new to the blogging world and I love it! But everything I say in my blog is my opinion and it is about things that work for my family. In no way do I expect what I say or do to work perfectly for another mother. But I do hope to share a laugh or encourage another mother. And I hope I gain encouragement from other mom bloggers. There is no reason to share hate or hostility.

I long for a community of women who listen, discuss and encourage each other. We are all humans raising humans and I love and respect the challenge and joy that comes with that.

And to all you mothers, you are doing a great job!

Reading Time

This picture brings me happiness. A six year old boy sitting on the stairs fully immersed in a book. He is engaged in another world. Images that he is creating in unison with the words on the pages make his experience and this written world unique to him and his mind. What could be better?

There is so much knowledge to be had in the written world. There are so many books that share insight and ideas into the world we live in. Books help form a child’s character. Fictional heroes can show a child how to act and behave toward others.

A few years ago we turned off the TV. We still watch things on Netflix and Hulu but at least I can limit the content to documentaries or selected educational kids programs. There is just something about having my kids stare at flashing light for hours on end that offends me. Especially when it comes to cable television, my kids are being forced media’s endless, pointless and in some cases harmful messages. TV seems to have the power to turn your conscious mind off and just be fed whatever is on the screen. Books are different in that matter as I think they actually turn your conscious mind on. There are very few books I have read that I have not thought about, considered or that haven’t changed my knowledge about something in some way.

Now I understand that there are, well, not so great books out there. But there are a wealth of books out there. Why read a poorly written one? Or one that doesn’t interest you? You aren’t fed anything when you read a book–you have to read it. It isn’t in front of you talking to you, you have to go to the effort to get the information off the page. You have to take the initiative to learn from what you are reading.

Yes, I love books. And yes, I love that without TV, my six year old is at a fourth grade reading level and sits on the stairs riveted in his latest book.

You Call This Security??

Ok, so as I said in my last post we traveled to Saint Louis last week. Travel these days implies going through security. Yup, the good ol’ TSA. Always something to look forward to. Luckily our airport security experience went as smoothly as is possible with young children. In line, however, Weasley wanted to know why we had to go through security. He wanted to know why we take our shoes off, he wanted to know why we have to put our bags through the x-ray machine, he wanted to know why we can’t take large amounts of liquids or our water bottles through security. My husband told him we don’t talk about those things in the security line (never say bomb on an airplane).

I wondered if he’d remember to ask again later. Well, he did. The answer? Fear. My husband explained that every hoop we are put through in the security line is because of one person that tried to hurt people in a particular way. Why do we take our shoes off? Because of one man’s attempt to blow up a plane with his shoes. Liquids? One man’s attempt to blow up a plane with a bottle of liquid explosive. And we all know the reason security is so tight in the US to begin with.

But where does it stop? Crime happens every day all over the world. At what point are we prisoners of our own fear and no longer prisoners of the criminals? At what point are we too afraid to question our own government? At what point does it go to far? Has it already?

We do not question. We cannot argue. This is where the first amendment turns into “freedom of speech except when you are told to shut up.” As is the case in the security line, if my husband had told my son “we have to follow these rules because of fear of bombs” would we have been targeted by security? You absolutely know that if we had argued with security about something we would have been targeted. A few months ago a women in Phoenix got targeted by the TSA for telling them she didn’t want her breastmilk x-rayed. She got put in a glass “holding cell” and missed her flight. (You can read about it here: http://exm.nr/gdk9NG) And thus the TSA earns our silence. Why question when it’s just going to make your life harder? Point made.

But it goes beyond that. See, I was raised in a world of minimal security as a kid. I have now become used to airport security but it isn’t normal. I have become accustomed to following the crowd, doing as I am told, teaching my kids to follow the airport security rules. But here’s what really set me off…

When we visited Saint Louis I took my family to see the Arch. It is a fun childhood memory for me and my kids and husband hadn’t been there. It was a beautiful day and we were in great spirits. Until we walked into the arch that is. As soon as we opened the door we were met by security. Really? Security? Again? Here? 15 years ago when I was here this did not exist. We would waltz right in and enjoy the monument. Not this time. Everyone is a suspected criminal these days.

But here’s the clincher…

It took us a good deal of effort to get Wiggles into her stroller before heading toward the arch. My first thought at having to take her out of the stroller so they could x-ray it? “There goes seeing the museum–we’ll never get her back in the stroller. She’ll be running around in toddler joy now!” Not so. She took one look at that conveyor belt and knew exactly what to do. She got out, sat on my hip and went right back into the stroller.

Then it hit me.

After three flights in her sixteen months of life, my daughter had been completely brain washed. She knew how to follow security guidelines better than she knew how to feed herself.

Next, we bought our tickets to go up into the arch. We were then escorted through the ticket line. After handing in our ticket stubs we were asked to stand up against a concrete wall to have our picture taken. No, you could not refuse. And no, it wasn’t a money making scam for them to get you to buy your family portrait. If fact, they didn’t really sell it at all. It was a record. A record of every person who walked into that portion of the building. Our family picture taken up against that cold wall was now part of the governments record database. Remind you of something? It did me.

The problem is that I am freaked out by this. For my kids it is normality. Is my generation the last one to remember a world without security? Is my generation to last to remember when the constitution meant something? My kids are going to have freedom of speech except when the government tells you that you don’t. (Did you see this? http://huff.to/g9NIL3 ) My kids are going to have the freedom to bear arms until the government says they can’t.

I usually stay completely out of politics. But I wonder at what point the bully becomes the one “protecting” the people from the bullies. Some people are expecting marshal law at some point in the near future. You know, that thing that happens some times in the movies where the government basically puts everyone under house arrest and mans the streets with tanks? Yeah, it’s always so dramatic. I don’t think that is the kind of marshal law we are heading for. I think marshal law is taking place slowly. In the airport, in the Arch, in our towns… Something is wrong. My kids won’t know what it is. I do but what am I going to do about it? I’m certainly not going to argue… that would make my life… well… miserable….

Saint Louis

Last week we took a family trip to Saint Louis. I spent my teen years there and it was like going home. Went to my best friend’s wedding, got to see old friends and childhood haunts. It was a great time. Here are some pictures I took of the Arch. It was fun seeing my kids enjoy places I did as a kid.


Looking straight down from inside the top of the arch


Tug boats are awesome!


That’s a lot of stairs!


At the top!


Bridge over the Mississippi River


Saint Louis has a lot of really amazing old buildings that are abandoned. Fun photo ops for sure.