Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Letting My Faith be Bigger than My Fears

My newsfeed in the last week or so has just been blowing up with newborn babies from my friends to my own plethora of pictures I uploaded of my new baby nephew who made his way into the world early yesterday morning. First, I want to say I am so happy for my friends who for the most part are welcoming their second babies and my wonderful sister as she welcomed her third baby. I don't want what I'm about to share to take away from these wonderful moments as I know they are some of the most blessed moments life has to offer. In this new beginning time of the year I wish all of you welcoming new additions to your family a blessed and happy future.

This week also oddly marks the two months since our last miscarriage and in one week is April, which marks the month we were to be expecting our addition to our family with our first expected pregnancy and the month we would have found out the gender from our second expected pregnancy. So yesterday when I found myself in an internal battle not to let everyone else's happiness get me down, I again came across the message about letting my faith be bigger than my fears (the first time I got this message was about a week after January's miscarriage).

One of the many who shared their own personal experiences with me after I shared mine in January told me how experiencing something like this is kind of it's own grieving process and to not be too hard on myself for experiencing moments of sadness. Most of the time I would say I've accepted what happened and am moving forward. Really in many ways I am doing so much better and in such a happier place than I have been in years.

But right now I do cling to the hope that maybe someday our family will grow; we've always envisioned a bigger family. Honestly it's that hope that I think keeps me from letting the two miscarriages in five months get me down too much.  Recently I read another's post about their own experience with miscarriage in which she wrote about accepting that maybe the actual number of children she would have was going to be less than she had always hoped. I wish I could find her article now because she did a great job articulating that feeling of being grateful for what you already have but saddened in a way that made you feel incomplete because she had to give up her vision, her dream of what she imagined her completed family to be.

When I think about having to possibly accept that reality some day myself it saddens me, but just like her I know I'm incredibly blessed with what we do have. What we have is enough. But even though I can rationalize all of this in my head, it's still hard to not let the negative emotions in too when I see all these blessed babies and growing families.

There's a small part of me that thinks that should have been us too. Why aren't we getting to welcome our third addition like so and so? Even though I'm uncertain at this time what the future holds for our hopes of growing our family like we always planned, I remind myself that I have to let my faith be bigger than my fears. Whatever is meant to be will be in it's own time. I have found myself at these uncertain crossroads before and faith has always lead me to where I/we were suppose to be.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

I'm My Worst Mom on Thursday

Did you know Thursday is probably my least favorite day of the week? In fact when it comes to work days, Monday is probably one my favorites because it's usually a lower stress day.

By Thursday I am done. Overcooked like a damn turkey. Four nights in a row of  fighting with a sleeping toddler that thinks she needs to sleep upside down on top of the covers has probably limited my actual sleep to about five to six hours a night. My Mary Poppins patience has expired by Wednesday sometime so between dealing with other people's children all day and then my two the rest of the day, I have little tolerance for people in general, particularly miniature people that cry and whine a lot when they're tired.

I am short with my children by Thursday. I don't feel like taking care of my house anymore by Thursday. I don't have the energy or desire to go out and play with them like I did earlier in the week. Then I feel guilty for just wanting to be alone or do nothing. Then because I'm tired, out of patience with the human race, and now feel guilty I'm just incredibly grumpy sometimes by Thursday.

It was when at the front counter of ordering pizza tonight when I snapped at my daughter in what must have been my "I'm over this week" voice and my husband told me to chill out and check myself that I realized "man, I'm a real bitch by Thursday."

I've hated Thursday for a long time because I always feel my worse at that point, but it wasn't until tonight that I realize how much I let the exhaustion of the week put me in the running for worst mom of the year. Or maybe just the week. But just for Thursday.

I feel like a good mom on Monday and Tuesday. I think the kids still think I'm a pretty good mom on Wednesday. Friday we're all like zombies, including the kids, so that's like a dead day so we won't count that. Saturdays, well I guess it depends on if it's a fight or not to get everyone to help with the Saturday morning chores. But my Sunday I'm on my way back to feeling like superstar mom.

Are there certain days of the week that you feel like you bring  your A game to motherhood? Then other days of the week that you just don't got it that day.

Do you have your copy of my book,  Moms, Monsters, Media & Margaritas ? It examines the expectations and perceptions of motherhood in our modern day 21st century digital world. Check it out if you haven't. You can also read the latest review on it and follow the ebook links here.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Happier, More Accepting World of Childhood

I've loved little kids since I was probably not much more than a little kid myself. I guess even as I was losing my own innocence I've always been enthralled by the innocence and carefreeness of childhood. Why do we ever have to leave it?

I understand  why Holden wanted to be keep children in the rye and catch them before their fall from innocence would open their eyes to the harsh realities of adulthood. Not only is it about learning how unfair life is but so much else is lost and left behind as we enter adulthood.

I love listening to my girls' dreams and ideals for the future. I love the hope that is so clearly seen in their eyes and I know burns bright in their hearts. Yet, I know there will be a time when the doubt and criticism that comes with adulthood will sneak in, and that light that burns within them will start to flicker and dim.

I could watch them run and play all day. I love the freedom in which they play without a care in the world. But I know one day that freedom will be limited with responsibilities and obligations, and as much as I want them to grow up to be responsible contributing citizens to society, it still saddens me to know it comes at a price to that carefreeness of childhood freedom.

One of the things I've always been in awe about with children is their perception of humanity and one another. At first before they're exposed to adults for too long they don't see black and white, rich and poor, Christian or Muslim, and even if they see someone that is clearly different than themselves such as someone disabled  their finger pointing isn't about judgment but curiousity.

Unfortunately, you can see as they grow, depending on how much hate and judgment their exposed to from the adult world, this hate and judgment develops. The adult world hardens us. Not only do the harsh circumstances of life that are out of our control make us sometimes bitter towards life but one another at times as well. We lose our own hope and want to diminish others. Childhood curiousity is replaced with criticism for not meeting a certain "acceptable standard" . 

Maybe I've always been drawn to children and childhood because it's a happier, more accepting world. If you haven't visited it in awhile I strongly suggest it's a world you immerse yourself in for a time and allow yourself the opportunity to experience the world again as a child. There's a freedom and hope to childhood that we all need to hold on to as long as possible.

Do you have your copy of my book,  Moms, Monsters, Media & Margaritas ? It examines the expectations and perceptions of motherhood in our modern day 21st century digital world. Check it out if you haven't. You can also read the latest review on it and follow the ebook links here.

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

How your Sex Life after Kids is Like a Teenager's

In many ways your sex life changes as you grow older and add kids and everything else to the mix. However in a moment where we weren't necessarily caught so to speak but something embarrassingly funny (sorry I'm not going to share) happened Nate and I found ourselves amused with how sex after kids is in some ways similar to sex or virgin sex relations when you're a teenager, assuming of course you weren't the angelic good girl.

1. The art of being sneaky
Obviously if you weren't the angelic good girl and just giving Prince Charming pecks on the cheek under your parents' watchful eye, you experienced the thrill of sneaking around to you know do whatever it was that you were doing away from your parents' watchful eyes. After kids you don't have to pretend to the be angelic good girl anymore but damn if those little eyes aren't way more watchful eyes than parents ever thought about being. It's like they can sense when you're doing something they don't want you to see, which leads to number 2.

2. The guilty jumping apart
Remember that heart stopping moment when a parent walks in even if it's just catching you kissing. I haven't yet decided which one is more of an "uh oh" moment. Getting caught by my parents or my kids. They both result in jumping as far from each other as you possibly can, trying to convince either that it was just a figment of their imagination that saw the two of you so close together. This fear of not separating fast enough is what leads to #3.

3. Listening with one ear
Unfortunately, when you're trying to be sneaky and avoid being caught, it's hard to be fully in the "moment" because you have one ear attuned to everything else going on outside of  that "moment". Then with every little threatened noise you're stopping, then restarting, then there's a noise again, so you're stopping, then starting, and then you're thinking again "is this worth all the hassle?"

Do you have your copy of my book,  Moms, Monsters, Media & Margaritas ? It's only $8! Check it out if you haven't. You can also read the latest review on it and follow the ebook links here.

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                                                           Shop Gymboree for Spring Deals

Review of "Momma Don't Worry"

I recently reviewed a children's ebook Momma Don't Worry with my girls. The book is about a six year old little boy, who like my own six year old daughter, thinks he's so big and independent now. When his mother still insists that he holds her hand he claims he's too old for something so childish and uncool.

Then like my own daughter has done before in the store he wanders over to look at something away from his mother and the next thing he knows he can't find his mother. In that moment of panic and fear, he realizes that it's "I know  you know what lies ahead so you go ahead and steer".

The book has a cute rhyme and is a very quick read for those little attention spans. I highly recommend it for all you parents with young stubbornly independent children. You can upload your ebook copy to share with your kids on the Amazon Kindle or Barnes and Noble Nook for $1.29.


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Writing Fiction Again

I think it was shortly after I started this blog that I started thinking about writing fiction again. I've written in journals since I was ten years old, but from the ages of about nine to fourteen I wrote six fictional stories, handwritten, ranging anywhere from about 100 pages to over 400 pages. Even though having my own book in print has always been a goal of mine, it was never really with nonfiction, as was the case with Moms, Monsters, Media & Margaritas.

Even though I guess I could revisit one of the six I already wrote for some major revisions those stories seem very distant to me now almost twenty years later. The one I started brainstorming on around two years ago now is the first fictional story ROUGH draft I've had in almost twenty years.   I have about two chapters to go, and it's looking to finish up somewhere between 125-150 pages, which is probably close to 200 in paperback, with  probably around 50,000 words.  Seeing this one in print will be the one that really makes me feel like I reached the goal of that little ten year old girl that use to put her imagination to work on the notebook pages of those spiral notebooks so long ago.

Writing, in some ways is kind of like teaching, you don't do it for the money. Fortunately you can make a living off of teaching, which is good enough for me. The disappointing thing to me is when people think writer they associate it with fame and way more money than the majority of writers ever make. There are definitely the highly successful celebrity writers like Stephen King, Nicholas Sparks, and the author's of the classics, but people write for other reasons than the hope of becoming the next classic or Sparks. Writing is about so much more than the $$ sign in front of the numbers; it's about the story you have to tell connecting with someone. To me as a writer, no amount of money could give me the same level of contentment or feeling of success with my writing than when a reader tells me something I wrote really connected or touched them. Because to me that's what writing is about; it's about us as people sharing this crazy journey called life. With the two book publications (Chicken Soup as the first) and the hundreds of articles I've written for my site and others,  I've received well over a thousand emails, PM messages, comments on my blog, or comments on my posts on social media from readers over the past two years.  Not all of them by any means, but a good number of them go on to tell me how something I wrote really touched them or meant something to them. That response; that moment where I said something that really connected with them is worth more than the money I'll ever make. I'm pretty sure I'll get way more of those moments than I will dollars anyway. To me that's what this writing will always be about.

So what have I been brainstorming and writing about behind the scenes of this blog for the last two years? The story is inspired by my experience working in a very diverse school outside of Baltimore, Maryland. I taught students of all different languages, religions, races, and economic backgrounds. As a small town Midwest girl I came from one type of America and then moved East and found myself in a completely different America. As I sat almost in a way on the sidelines listening and watching things from the outside looking in, I started to see the internal struggle that is today's America. There are two different perceptions of what America is and those two worlds come crashing together in my titleless work with the modern day Romeo and Juliet story of Isabella Reyes and Jake Collins.

The grandson of a well known and respected Senator, Jake Collins, had always lived the ideal life as the scholar athlete and golden son that did as was expected of him. As Jake enters his senior year, excited for the year but anxious to be free of his parents’ control and constant expectations for a future career he doesn't want, he never expected to meet someone like Isabelle, that would open his eyes to the ugliness of discrimination, the strength it takes to fight for everything you ever wanted, and to the greed and selfishness in his own family's perceptions of the world.

Bella and her sister left their dying father to die alone at his pleading to not sacrifice everything he had done to bring them to America in hopes of an education and better life than the one they left behind on the drug lord run streets of Mexico. Heartbroken and tired of the constant rejection from mainstream society, Bella's idealism towards her father's dream hardened, she only holds contempt for people like Jake Collins, who had the world of opportunity at his feet.

They both find themselves trapped and misunderstood by society's labels that permanently mark them. Her as the immigrant girl, him as the wealthy Senator's grandson. Yet despite her resistance to believe in the good of people, Jake shows her they are all more than the labels society places on them. Together they are drawn into the movement for the upcoming legislative act, the DREAM Act, that would open doors to children and young adults like Isabella. But as the movement gains momentum and Jake gains media attention for publically supporting the bill his grandfather hopes to reject, they both find themselves at a crossroad to choose to be what is expected of them or shed the restraints society places on them to be the person they want to be regardless of what society and others expect of them. As they fight for themselves and the hope of opportunity that America always promised to stand for, the fight to be true to themselves and their beliefs will have to come at the price of their love for each other.

So there you have it. My writing secret out of the closest. I saw this post recently that said something about how telling people you're a writer or wannabe writer, which is probably my case, is kind of like telling people you're gay. They run away, unsure now how to react or treat you. When you're a little kid people will rave and encourage the child that loves to write, draw, sing, do any of those artsy things. But as you get older those things start to be seen as childish and unrealistic dreams. I really think we make the mistake of associating dreams like that with money and fame. A person can still write without being Stephen King, a person can draw or paint without being Leonardo, a person can sing without being the next Taylor Swift. All these arts are about passion, not fame and fortune. For those of you that encourage me to just be my own writer, I can't thank you enough. I would love your honest feedback on this. As a writer I know part of the deal is criticism and rejection, but as I am moving towards the revision process criticism right now is actually very valuable to the process.

I am also looking for readers. People that will just read it and give me straight feedback on what they liked and didn't like about the book. I'm also looking for editors so if any of my English degree peers are interested in being a part of this project please email me.



Friday, March 6, 2015

Pressing Pause

We all lead lives that are sometimes, maybe too often, too busy. Our lives are no exceptions  between work, stuff around the house, activities, our social lives, and everything in between that comes up sometimes I feel like we're living life on fast forward.

Then God gives us these little gifts called snow days. Snow days are life's pause button. We get to lay in bed later giggling and wrestling with the girls. We get to make breakfast or more like brunch by the time we get to it. We go outside and play together as a family or we spend afternoons cuddled together on the couch having "family movie time" as Ave calls it. Even though the house gets picked up and a load of laundry washed and folded, there's no big hurry to get it done in the hours between the end of work and dinner.

Tonight we went out tubing in one of the parks right as the sun was setting. We were the only ones there, tubing down the big park hill. As I listened to my daughter's laughter as she raced down the hill on the tube with her dad and the sun disappeared in the horizon, I thought days like this are God's gift to us to just pause life for a moment.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Fault in Our Stars: The Unsung Heroes

Cancer fighters and those that stand by these braver warriors to me are unsung heroes. The Fault in Our Stars reiterated my feelings for this. I am often unsure whose courage amazes me more: the one facing the death sentence of cancer or the ones that are left behind.

The biggest tragedy of cancer to me is that someone's life is left unlived whether it's a child, young adult, young parent, and even someone who still has half their life to live. As One of the main characters, Augustus Waters, faced the reality of his impeding death he feared living a meaningless life that wouldn't leave a mark on the world.  He always imagined greatness as living a life that all would know about and "would go down in history as meaningful and heroic".

As an adolescent he still sees greatness and heroic as something connected to the illusions we imagine as children-star athletes, celebrities, and warriors taking out the bad guys like those  in his video games. Even though there can be role models and heroes in these roles, living a heroic and meaningful life is possible for everyone. As he faces his mortality, his "star crossed love"  reminds him that he doesn't have to be known to the world to be special and have a meaningful life, “You say you're not special because the world doesn't know about you, but that's an insult to me. I know about you.” We matter and impact the lives of those around us. We leave our mark on them way after our death.  That mark we leave on our family, friends, those that had the privilege to be a part of our lives matter.

Besides facing death one of the other plot lines of the story is to track down the author of a book both characters read in order to get answers to the ending of his tragic novel. Hazel understands the literary meaning of the author ending his novel in the middle of a sentence. It ends before it's complete just as a person facing a terminal illness life ends before the story of their life is complete. Hazel wants to know what became of the other characters after the main character's life ended and these are the answers she seeks just as her biggest worry about dying herself is what will become of those left behind. Her metaphor of being a grenade, "I'm a grenade and at some point I'm going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualities," is what keeps her from truly living and building relationships at first. She's afraid to matter to others for fear of the emotional trauma they'll face after her death. But others that have been left behind will tell you it's better to have known and loved them than to have never known them at all.

Many say that beating cancer isn't about dying or not dying but rather about living. I don't know about you but I've known way too many cancer fighters in my life, one who lost her battle as early as age 10. We're all going to die, but it never ceases to amaze me how a person can live more of their life in 18 years than one may in 70. To me this is where they become heroes because even faced with such a bleak future I've seen so many real life heroes, just like Gus and Hazel, that choose to truly live and experience the joys of life despite the shortened time they've been given. "I want more numbers than I'm likely to get, and God, I wanted more numbers for Augustus Waters. You gave me a forever within the numbered days." We don't get to choose how much time we have but we do get to choose what we do with the time we do have.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. No matter how much time we have with our loved ones or to live our life it's always too short. To me the unsung heroes are those that continue to live and embrace life despite the fault in their stars because "the fault is not in our stars but in ourselves" (William Shakespeare)  if we don't make the most of the time and life we are given.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

All too Soon Too Big and Too Busy

As a mom who has struggled at times with balancing everything with two small children, I often look forward to the days my children will be more independent and we can have a little bit of our adult time back.  My husband and I were together for five years before we had kids, and it's a time I'm incredibly grateful for. We did many things whether it was taking trips, weekly Friday happy hours with friends, toured wineries and wine trails through close to a dozen states. When we started talking about having kids as much as we both wanted them we were both a little hesitant because we knew we'd have to change our lifestyle and with no family around for support there weren't going to be many escapes once we opened that parenting door.

Now six years later there is no doubt it was a door worth opening. Even though we may talk about the days we can take an all inclusive trip with adults, go watch live bands every Friday night, or indulge in all day wine tours again, we also often share the things we'll miss about these younger years of our children's lives because we know one day all too soon they'll be too big and too busy for these things.

1. Sharing our bed: Yes, sometimes we do wish they slept in their own beds more but one of my favorite parts of the day is laying in bed with them and listening to their chatter. As much as Kenz can drive me crazy with her chatter way past even my own bedtime, I am so going to miss her little girl voice going on telling me about her friend Jack or Benjamin, or her telling me how we have the same eyes, or that she loves me, sissy, and daddy. I know Nate loves his snuggles with Averi as she is his cuddle bug.  Even though they wake up before us pretty much every weekend we are so going to miss the morning giggles, tickling,  and wrestling matches with them. I know all too soon the thought of sleeping with mom and dad will be something for babies. This will all too quickly be a thing of the past.

2. Grocery Shopping with them: Yes, I know this is one of those things that can be a real pain. Trust me, there are times escaping to the grocery store by myself is like my sanity vacation from my life but in the chaos that is life at times this has always been a great opportunity again for just fun, lively chats with them. Even though those quiet trips to the store are nice I know there will be a time I will practically beg them to come keep me company at the grocery store and chat about their day, but again they'll rather go meet up with their friends or have something more pressing to do than accompany mom on a boring household chore. All too soon those sometimes crazy, comical trips to the store with little ones in tow will just a distant memory.

3 The Playground: Sometimes I dread dragging my kids to the playground but once I get there I always realize I'm glad they talked me into the trip. I love being outdoors and I love watching them just running free without a care in the world. I'm always in awe of the carefree and innocence of childhood. Even though I know their childhood is technically about eighteen years, the innocence of it only lasts for a little over half of that. All too soon I know they'll be too big and too busy for the playground. With the disappearance of that will also be the disappearance of that carefreeness that comes with childhood. They'll have obligations and agendas of their own to tackle as they move towards adulthood and all too quickly this will also be a thing of the past.

4. The playroom and collection of toys: Now I'm not going to lie there are certain things about this that I'm not going to miss. I like things neat and tidy and hate clutter so there are certain aspects of a toy room that drive me batty. However, I know when there is no longer a messy toy room there also won't be anymore imaginative play or two sisters pretending to be princesses, cowgirls, doctors, and future mommies themselves. When that room is empty and to be used as an office or some other adult room I know it will because my girls have become too busy with life to participate in the imaginative world of childhood anymore. The emptying of that playroom I know will also be the closing door of their childhood and those messes will all too soon be just a distant memory.

5. Friday and Saturday dinners out: I'm as guilty as the next of sometimes dreaming about those days where we can go out for a meal again without getting up right as the food comes to run some toddler to the bathroom for an "I have to go NOW" moment or having to cut up and force feed a reluctant toddler or spending our dinner drink money on kid meals. But when they don't have to go check out every public bathroom they are such entertaining dinner guests and watching them charm the servers always makes us smile. But again before too long I know this one will be running off on a Friday night with her boyfriend and this one will be taking off with her friends, and we'll be left with just one another's company once again. All too quickly these double date dinners with our children will be a thing of the past.

I know these are the crazy years. Sometimes we're going to feel overwhelmed and even frustrated, but these early years will really be over before we know it. This time in their lives and ours is just a blink in time. All too soon they'll be too big and too busy for sleeping and cuddling with mom and dad, running to the store with us, enjoying a nice day at the playground, for a playroom, and for going out to eat with Mom and Dad on a Friday or Saturday night. Now is the time to enjoy these things. It's so easy in the chaos and hectic moments that is young parenthood to forget that these little, sometimes annoying, things really are the big things that make the life of parenthood the amazing journey that it is.

Do you have your copy of my book,  Moms, Monsters, Media & Margaritas ? It's only $8! Check it out if you haven't. You can also read the latest review on it and follow the ebook links here.

This post is linked up at The Jenny Evolution

Monday, March 2, 2015

It's Our Life to Live

Over the last year we've been discussing and contemplating a possible big change with moving due to career change. I reflected on those in The War within Me at The Fork in the Road and Adult Decisions are Hard. We've also talked about moving back closer to our families or in a place that would make it easier to visit them.

Even though nothing is set in stone, far from it, but here are some conclusions that I have reached. First, much depends on Nate's job situation. He's ready to move out of the classroom so depending on where that opportunity is will probably be our first determining factor. I use to be unsure where I wanted that to be though but this is what I know now.

If that opportunity requires us to pack up and move, as much as I dread the transition I always love a new challenge and the new beginnings that come with change. Because we've done it  and struggled through and overcome transition before I know we can do it again.

It wasn't until I said this out loud the other night I realized my true feelings about moving away from here. I love Maryland. We have made this place our home. It has not been easy. It's been an uphill climb for almost ten years but here we are in this beautiful wonderful life we built together. It's more than enough for me so my first vote is stay here where the life we've built is.

I've learned to accept that the way and where I live my life is not going to make everyone happy so somewhere in the last year I got my I don't give a darn attitude back and know it's really not my problem. I'll be honest I've spent way too much time worrying about making decisions that will make my family happy or win their approval. God knows I love them, but I'm a grown woman with a family of my own and this is my life to live and not theirs. I've busted my butt for ten years to show them that I can and will have what I envisioned so long ago when I left. I know that I've proved to them and myself that I can build a life, family, and home here alone with the man I believed in when they doubted him and me so much in the beginning. Yes, I would love to see them more but again I've proved to them my ability to make time and money for getting home to see family a priority.

I don't know for sure where the future will have us living but I know wherever it is we'll be fine because I'm confident in who we are and what we can do together. Everyone may not agree with our decisions or even the way we live our life but it is our life to live. And our happiness as a family with it is all that really matters.

Six Years: 1/3 to Adultdhood!!!

It's hard to believe it was six years ago today that we rushed off to the hospital so excited to finally meet our first baby. Unfortunately, the first time they sent me home around lunch time. However, we went back and were finally admitted about eight o'clock that night. After being awake and in labor for over 24 hours you finally arrived into our world at 8:52 in the morning.

The thing that I will always remember was watching your daddy fall instantly in love with you. I think you had him wrapped around your finger at birth, girl. You've been his princess since day 1. You were such an easy baby and even from the beginning you've always just drawn people to you. You've always been such a beautiful little girl inside and out.

Watching you grow into your own little person these last six years has been the most amazing journey. You are such a kind hearted little girl. You're a great help around the house when you want to be. We couldn't have asked for a better big sister for your sister. Even though you excitedly reminded me that you'll be a teenager soon now that you're turning six, (you even counted down the years between six and thirteen for  me) I am looking forward to these years ahead but am in no hurry to rush through them. As you will be thirteen, sixteen, eighteen, and twenty one and all those other birthdays in between soon enough. I love it when you tell us you don't want to grow up and you never want to leave mommy and daddy.

The more you grow and discover the world around you, the more we get to glimpse the person you are becoming. Even though there are so many exciting things left for you to discover as  you gain more and more independence and create your own path, I hope you know you and your sister are our heart and always will be, little girl. One minute I look at you and all I see is what a big girl you've become. You are so independent. You're starting to read. You're a whiz with math. People are drawn to you like a moth to a flame because I can't even begin to describe this amazing personality that you have. Whether it's kids or adults you just charm them. They fall in love with you and your joy for living life. But sometimes I look at you and I still see the baby you were. As much you're independent and capable of so much you'll sometimes still want to just come sit on my lap or snuggle with me at night. I love that you're growing up and becoming your own person but sometimes I miss the baby you were.

I realized with your sixth birthday we're a third of the way through this raising you to adulthood thing. Just as we've experienced so many firsts these past six years I know there are so many more exciting and maybe not so exciting firsts to come. For these first six years you didn't really pick up on that we don't always know what were doing. However, as we move towards the next twelve and you've discovered this thing called a mind and voice of your own I'm sure you'll be letting us know when we're not doing it "right". One of the things I've noticed as you've started school is you've become very aware of the "right" and "correct" way to do things. You love to "parent" us, reminding me to clean the lent thing in the dryer, that I don't clean dishes very well because you hear daddy complain of that, when I "lied" which is anytime I'm wrong (have to work on understanding mommy being wrong doesn't make mommy a liar), when I'm too distracted and need to refocus. You are already so mindful of other people and doing the right things.

I have all the confidence in the world that you are going to do great and wonderful things, little lady. We are so blessed to be on this ride with you.   I hope you always remember to dance, our girl!

             Other posts written to the girls:

A Mother's Wish: I Hope you Always Dance

On the Eve of Kindergarten

My Sugar and My Spice

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