watching and letting them grow

October 22, 2018

She IS the mini boss around here. I’m finding that letting my kids learn and grow means a lot of me observing. Of course I step in and stop the fighting. Like, you know, every other minute or so. But when no one’s life is imperiled, and I can actually keep my hands to myself, I try to just observe. Observe them laughing and saying funny dramatic off-key things. Observe them negotiating and haggling with a honed craft to make any street vendor proud. Observe them making dire proclamations about whomever they’re hating on that moment (Mama side bar: “we only hate the Devil”). And when I observe and I take meager mental notes and I pat myself on the back or, just as quickly, kick my own shins as to where they learned THAT, I remember. They are not mine. They are their own. They aren’t accomplishments of mine. They are their own masterpieces unfolding. They aren’t just an inverse of the mirror in Snow White (showing me my worst). They are their own struggling, gasping, reaching spirited person. Prone to virtue and vice. Made in the image of their Creator. I still have many years of big parenting work ahead. Guiding and teaching, disciplining and snuggling. But today, and maybe for you, too, today I am content to letting them grow with a little water and a little sun and a whole lot of air. — If you haven’t seen that the Blessed is She Advent reflection book is…

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Wall quilts, missed doctor appointments, chipotle on the floor and more

October 16, 2018

Let’s start with the juicy and messy story, shall we? I had had a day of it so decided to spend our once-a -month-or-so eating out budget on Chipotle last night. It’s a mere four blocks away so I loaded up the stroller and bundled everyone up and off we trotted. They managed to say polite in line and we made our way to the closest available table as my double stroller couldn’t weave to the far corner, where we probably belonged to contain everyone. I stashed the stroller and all the hats, mittens, and coats in a corner-ish spot while hissing to the toddler/baby/whatever you call a 22 month old to STAY ON YOUR BOTTOM. The hipster dude a table over with wireless headphones didn’t even look up, so I figured I was doing a great job. Then came the juggling of the tray that the kind cashier had stacked the meals on–in an attempt to make more space at the table, I urged my oldest, eight going on 15 (the eye-rolling kinda out-to-lunch but super sweet kind of 15 year old) to set it over there on top of the trash but not in the trash and now that I’ve poured apple juice for everyone, please also, put the jar in the recycling area, again, not in the trash. He went to set his big burrito down to do this task. He somehow dropped it face down on the ground instead of inside his recyclable dish. As I reached over to…

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New Parenting Podcast I Can’t Wait For!!!

September 26, 2018

My dear friend, MaryRuth Hackett, with whom I’ve worked for nearly four years over at Blessed is She is . . . a podcaster!! She has a PhD in Psychology and just so much wisdom on parenting. I’ve tapped into that knowledge for years and now you all can hear her thoughts, too! Such a gift. It launches October 2. You can tune in here. In the meanwhile, read this little interview I did with her to get you as excited as I am. 1) Dr. Hackett, how did you come up with the idea of the title of your podcast? We had a great brainstorming session at the dioceses one day with the soul purpose of finding a fabulous title. Parenting Smarts is just perfect for the podcast because we not only talk about the brainy-research side of parenting – that is what the research on child development says about best practices, but we also talk about the realities of how hard parenting is. Parenting hurts sometimes. Smarts has two meanings – both referring to the intellectual AND referring to the pain involved sometimes in parenting. 2) Now you have not only an advanced degree in educational psychology, but also are a parent yourself! Can you tell us a little about how your education has impacted your parenting? One of the comments I would get each semester I taught a Human Development class, was “I wish I knew this when I was raising my children.” Having a basic understanding…

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Looking into a week of madness and excitement

August 5, 2018

Well if it isn’t Nell, posting on SUNDAY, for her seven quick takes. Check out what Kelly and the gang have rolling over at her blog. 1. WILD I’m in an adrenaline holding pattern for the Minnesota Blessed is She WILD retreat this upcoming weekend. Seriously, cannot even stop being jumpy about it. We sold out a few weeks back and I’m just so bummed for the people who weren’t able to get their ticket in time. We always sell out at these retreats and this one was no exception. I’m the ground person so the last 8-9 months have been checking my list, talking to Beth, the director of retreats, checking back in with Saint Marks, the hosts, and then telling AA my head is going to explode. HA. Mostly from joy. Thursday we start in earnest getting everything ready and then the doors fling open Friday evening (complete with a trio of my oldest and his two best buddies playing their violins & cello for the ladies as they wait). Laura greets everyone and we eat, listen, chat, mingle, and of course, have Adoration! Saturday morning will be replete with breakfast, hearing a sister talk! confessions heard by over 15 priests from all over the archdiocese! art time, lunch time, more talks by Patty and Beth, dinner time, and then our private Mass with Bishop Cozzens and Eucharistic procession. My mom and sister are running the kitchen, dear friends orchestrating check in, so many wonderful women helping keep…

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What Did I Buy Online in the Last 6 Months?

July 17, 2018

It’s maybe the free shipping, or mostly saving me the hassle of trekking through a store with my four small children, but yes, most of my purchases for me, the kids, and the household, have been online in the last #forever Amazon prime day is some kind of celebration/deals day for Amazon? Trying to get people to sign up to be Prime members? I haven’t read the fine print. But I did think it would be interesting to see what I’ve bought on Amazon lately. So all of these are my affiliate links meaning I get a few cents based on what you buy through the link. Doesn’t cost you anything! H O U S E Shelves. These, these, and these. Finally hung more of this in the basement because #clothdiapers #drybetter Huge glass jars for my husband’s kefir obsession. K I D S For my rambunctious four year old boy, this has kept him happy for days! He’s all about tools. For my six year old girl, this is the perfect bribe gift for finishing her reading lessons. We literally set it in front of us, in the packaging, as we work through All About Reading. My eight year old wanted this stack of cards for a friend of his. M E This pink dress that I really love. Most exciting mom purchase of all. B O O K S My dear friend Laura’s forthcoming book on miscarriage. My sweet friend Haley’s forthcoming book on their life path. My amazing friend…

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Our Beach Vacation in 7 quick takes

July 13, 2018

We arrived home tan, rested, and bellies full of laughter and delicious food. In short, it was a wonderful vacation (an actual VACA not a trip with small children) and re-entry has been easier than I thought because I’m floating on the joy of a week with my sister and her family. Linking with Kelly and the gang. Always head to her site and read everyone’s 7 quick takes. It’s a blast! Travel was easier on the way there than expected! I’ve flown a lot with the toddler (4?5? times) since she was born, but this was our first family flight all six of us. She nursed and then slept the whole time, the oldest read happily in his seat in front of my husband and four year old (they played cards and games) and my sweet oldest girl curled up next to me with her pouch of random scraps and crap (I use the term nearly literally), happy as a clam to dig her nails into my arm any time the plane did anything remotely “scary.” It coulda been so much worse. A no-agenda trip is amazing. We didn’t have to rush anywhere. So even making our way from the airport to the rental car, through traffic to the beach house in New Jersey, and unpacking didn’t feel rushed or anxious. All of our other trips to visit family have centered around a joyous event, but an event. A get-dressed-be-there-at-a-certain-time-no-you-can’t-eat-that even. I love events! And now I know I love…

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