Friday Favorites

ONE
I can’t even begin to say how thankful I am for those who have commented, emailed, and facebook messaged me with their ideas on what could be wrong with Violet. I am compiling a list of every single possibility to bring up with her doctor. Several people recommended taking her for a neurological consult. After calling every neurologist on our pediatrician’s list that took infants, I was finally able to get one to squeeze us in for an appointment. In August. Because apparently her issues don’t sound serious enough and they are booked until then. Thankfully the nurse in our pediatrician’s office was able to call and get us moved up to an April appointment. Violet is currently on day 6 which is the longest one of these episodes has ever lasted.

TWO
Favorite Picture: My girls got matching shoes! You know how much Mariyah loves for her and Violet to match. We saw these at the mall last weekend and simply couldn’t resist. James is feeling a little left out about not matching, so I’m on the hunt for some cool gender neutral stuff in both boy and toddler sizes. Tea Collection is having it’s Spring sale, so I think we’ll go for a couple of the more neutral sweatshirts for those two.

My big kids are not digging the pictures lately, a quick snap of the shoe and Mariyah was done.

My big kids are not digging the pictures lately, a quick snap of the shoe and Mariyah was done. Mismatch socks for World Down Syndrome Day <3

violetshoes

New Shoes! (before she got sick)

 

THREE
Favorite Recipe: I am absolutely LOVING these Reese’s Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies from Tastefully Frugal. We (and when I see we, I mean my husband) is a HUGE peanut butter cookie lover, and these definitely make the grade.
REESES-Stuffed-Cookies-HERO

FOUR
Favorite Moment: James’s parent teacher conference was this week. It went fairly well aside from learning that much to his teacher’s chagrin he occasionally enjoys making fart noises to delight the other boys in the class. No that wasn’t my favorite moment. My favorite moment was when she showed me the inside of his desk, which was jam packed with books. “I just can’t get him to stop reading!” she told me. And then my heart soared a mile high.

For a day.

Until I gave him 10 dollars for the book fair. These are the things he bought: Magic Ink, Minecraft stuff, Pencils. These are the things he didn’t buy: Books.

FIVE
I can’t even with number 5 this morning. Let’s just say Happy Friday and declare this week officially over.

The “something is wrong with my kid” post

One upon a time in a land far, far away (known as Virginia) a young girl made a solemn vow that she would never ever have babies, because babies throw up. And throw up is gross. When the girl grew up she realized babies didn’t really throw up all that often. They just spit up a bit. Some didn’t even spit up at all. “Perhaps I’ll have one of those none spitty babies” she thought to herself as she made the giant leap into parenthood. And then God laughed at her.

The first time Violet vomited she was a pretty young. I can’t remember how young, but there was a piece of afterbirth in it, so you know, pretty young. You’re welcome for that visual. At the time I was a little worried at the sheer amount of liquid that she was able to spew fourth from her body, but friends assured me that this was par for the course of having a newborn (I had never had a newborn as James and Mariyah were older when we adopted them).

This vomiting stuff happened frequently over the next few days and weeks. I don’t remember how frequently because everyone kept telling me it was normal. I did bring to up with her pediatrician at one point who told me I obviously wasn’t burping her enough. I believe I was even given a condescending demo on how to properly burp an infant (In case you’re wondering, you rest the baby’s chin over your shoulder and pat its back). If you want to shut a conversation down, there is no quicker way then blaming a child’s ailments on something their mother is doing wrong.

Violet was around 6 weeks old the first time I became really worried about her. She vomited around 10 times a day for several days straight. The on call Dr said to bring her to the ER to check for pyloric stenosis. Just as I was about to bring her, she suddenly started acting like nothing was wrong. It was literally like she just snapped out of it. Imagine a 12 year old faking a stomach ache and then realizing it’s Saturday.

Over the next year these episodes continued. It was worrisome to my husband and I every time. Friends would commiserate that their child had also vomited often as a baby. People would comment that there was a stomach bug going around (even though no other child at day care or anyone in our family was sick). People said it was reflux and Violet would outgrow it (we tried reflux medication). I got the general feeling that most people thought I was overreacting. I decided to stop mentioning it and wait for the phase to pass as so many others told me it eventually would.

It didn’t.

Violet is now almost 17 months. Last night I went through my phone and wrote down all the times she’s been “sick”. In just the last 6 months alone she has had 13 vomiting episodes. These episodes last around 4 days with two days being heavy vomiting (as many as 10 times) and two being just a few times (1-3). She refuses to eat for the entire duration and does nothing but sleep, cry, and request her “bankie” which is usually in the wash from being puked on. If that paragraph had too many numbers for you, here’s the result of a little light math: Violet has spent almost 30% of the last 6 months “sick.” And she was sick just as often before that, I just didn’t keep a record of it.

violetsick

Last night my older two children confessed tearfully that they are afraid Violet is going to die. I’ve made it a big point to be very upbeat every time she’s unwell in an attempt not to worry them. I always remind them that in a few days this will pass. But honestly she looks so weak and lethargic I can’t blame them for being scared.

We have no idea what the problem is. Blood tests, ultrasounds, and GI series have all come back normal. The Dr doesn’t think it’s food related, as the symptoms are different than what people with food allergies usually experience, plus it started long before she was eating food. We did try some elimination diets long ago but that didn’t seem to make a difference. We have a referral for allergy testing just to be sure.

Has anyone ever experienced anything like this with their child? Or heard of anything like this? Someone anonymously suggest Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome the other day. If that reader is still hanging around I would love to chat more with you! I’m so tired of people telling me she just has a sensitive stomach. I’m starting to feel really desperate for answers.

Tuesday Morning Coffee Talk: Kids and Pets

JamesCoffeeTalkTuesdayIf there is one thing my children ask for lately with the same intensity to which they ask for cell phones, it’s guinea pigs. Yep guinea pigs. Cute. Adorable. Furry little rodents that sit around and do nothing other than sitting around doing nothing.

It’s not that I have anything against guinea pigs. My sister had one when we were kids and it was pretty cute. Actually she had two. The first one was pretty cute. The second one sprayed pee everywhere and stunk up the kitchen.

I know from childhood experience (7,000 hamsters) that rodents tend to loose their appeal after a couple months, weeks, days, or even minutes depending on a child’s attention span. After said interest is lost, who do you think ends up cleaning the cage for the next few years? I’ll give you a hint, it’s usually the person who never wanted the pet to begin with.

I’m not sure how long my children’s attention span for a pet would last, but I think I have a general idea. I once told them they could have a guinea pig if they read a book on taking care of it. You know those “how to care for guinea pig” books? Well needless to say, they never finished reading the book. I think they were like two chapters in before they deemed it too boring to go on.

I like the idea of a pet for children. I like the idea of them learning responsibility and having a little critter of their own to love on. I had one really awesome hamster in my childhood, “Sniffles” (may he rest in peace). I would love for my kids to have their own “Sniffles.” It’s just that I’m thinking about their fish and how much effort I had to put into cleaning the tanks and making sure people remembered to feed them.

jamesandjojofish

Our kids have apparently started soliciting their friends to back them up on the whole pet thing. The other day our 10 year old neighbor approached me and announced “I’ve been thinking about it, and I think you guys are ready for guinea pigs.” Well I’ve been thinking about it, and I’m not sure I agree. The kids might be ready for me to feed, water, and change their guinea pig’s cage every week but I honestly don’t think I can squeeze anything more into my schedule right now. As much as they promise to do it all themselves, I know it takes a good deal of parental effort.

I hope they don’t go through their childhood without ever having a pet of their own. But I just can’t. Unlike depriving them of cell phones, I feel a little guilty depriving them of their own pet. It seems almost like a childhood right of passage.

Did you have a pet of your own as a child? Are pets a great way to teach responsibility, or a giant time suck for parents who often end up caring for them? Are you allowing your children to have pets or not? Talk to me on this Monday Tuesday Morning!

Friday Favorites Egg Edition

Easter is almost upon us! My feelings about the Easter Bunny are pretty similar to my feelings about Santa Claus. But somehow we end up celebrating Jesus is risen with egg hunts and Easter baskets anyway. I try not to go too crazy with the Easter candy for several reasons 1) Candy isn’t the healthiest thing on the planet. 2) I have no self control. I also hate making a lot of waste or bringing a ton of toys into our house (hello small city apartment). With that said, here are a few of our favorite things to fill Easter eggs with (in addition to the tried and true option of candy).
5 of the best things to put in Easter eggs (besides candy)

1) Tooth Brush/Tooth Paste/Floss/Chapstick/etc
I know, I know, a personal hygiene egg doesn’t sound like the coolest thing in an Easter basket. But I’m always buying these items anyway, so why not put them in the basket?
egghygeine

2) Legos
If your kids have as many legos as mine, this one is a great way to recycle them. Find a few mini lego patterns online (LegoExample.com is a great source). Print out a pdf. Rummage in your child’s lego bin or under their bed or wherever else they store their legos. Grab the pieces. Put everything and the pdf inside an egg. Wa-la. A lego set. They’ll have no clue it’s made from recycled legos.
egglegos

3) Coins
Easter is my favorite way to use up spare change, especially for the egg hunt portion of the evening. Just put a couple coins in each egg and hide. The best part is at the end of the hunt, the kids always want to add up how much money they have collected. They will likely sit quietly counting for at least 20 fabulous minutes. Egg hunt turned math lesson. (Disclosure: we actually only put 2 or 3 coins in each egg, the Easter bunny’s pockets just aren’t that deep.)
eggcoins

4) Play dough
Some plastic eggs have a hole in the bottom and some don’t. Make sure to grab a few without holes for this one. Mix up some play dough yourself (1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cut water, food coloring) and pop it in an egg. Or just go to your cabinets and grab one of the 7,000 little play dough jars you already own and shove it into an egg. They’ll never know it’s not new.
eggplay-dough
5) Seed and Dirt
Fill half an egg with dirt, add a seed (or two), then close the egg up. Perfect little mini seed starter! Keep a real egg carton handy to set the plastic eggs in after they have been opened. Set the carton/eggs on the windowsill, water daily, in a few weeks your child’s seedlings will be ready to plant outside.
eggseeds

In search of some more cool egg or basket fillers? Try Little Blog on the Homesteads’s Egg-Cellent Bath Fizzes, Tastefully Frugal’s Easter Egg Surprises, or Cook. Craft. Love.’s Easter Cookie Decorating Kit
eggideas

Adoption Talk Link Up: Siblings

Welcome back to the Adoption Talk Link Up! This week’s topic is Sibling Relationships. If you have written something about siblings that you’d like to share, please feel free to link up at the bottom of this post.

Sibling Relationships, What’s Missing?

I love my little three pack. They are just such good buddies. James and Mariyah are the best of friends (or they’re fighting over who got the bigger bowl of ice cream). Violet is the little baby who they dote on constantly. I love every second of watching these three together. The way James and Mariyah pass Violet back and fourth, the way she runs to them yelling “Bubba!” (brother) and “Yiyah!” (Mariyah), the way they all snuggle together on the couch for a movie. It literally melts my heart every. single. time. They love each other to pieces, and I love seeing it. There is no question that this is one closely bonded little pack of siblings.

bohnkids

But sometimes, sometimes when I see them there’s a little twinge of pain in my heart. When my daughter tells me she wishes she had an older sister to read with, or my son tells me he hopes we’ll have another baby boy so that he can share his room, my heart skips a little beat. My heart hurts for them when I think that maybe by being together here, they are missing something out there. Like so many children who have been adopted, my older two children have more siblings in this world. Little people with the same smile, same laugh, same eye roll when their mom embarrasses them in front of their friends. I see my three snuggled up together and I worry, will my older two someday deeply regret the fact that they weren’t able to grow up with their biological siblings?

I know they love Violet to death, and they are her real siblings, even if they aren’t her biological siblings. But that doesn’t negate the fact that they are missing out on a relationship with their other equally real siblings.

Now I know what you’re thinking, and it’s the same thing I’ve thought to myself many times. Make the effort! Make the effort! And we try to. But it’s hard. It’s hard to organize getting several families together on the same day. Especially when one of those families lives several states away. And one of those kids has a baseball game. And another has a birthday party. Well talk on the phone of course! But it’s hard. It’s hard to think of things to say. And it’s hard to keep up with constantly changing phone numbers. And it’s hard to force kids to talk who would rather be outside playing with their friends because they don’t yet realize how important this relationship might someday be to them.

We do get together from time to time. And we’re thankful whenever the kids are able to be with each other. But it’s painful to know that my two older kids might never be as close to their other siblings as they are to each other. No matter how many times we meet at the park, or go to each other’s birthday parties, or exchange Christmas presents, it’s not the same. It’s not the everyday.

And what about their siblings? Their younger brother is likely still to young to think about these things, but I often think of their older sister and how she must be feeling. Does she wish she could share her room, or read them her favorite book, or fight over the biggest bowl of ice cream. Will their little brother soon feel the same way? At least James and Mariyah have each other.

There’s no great answer or insight on this issue. It’s just something I think about often. Am I doing my best to nurture their relationship? What can I do better? As a mom I hate knowing that no matter how much effort is made, there is nothing I can do to make it perfect for them. Missing out on sibling relationships has got to be one of adoption’s greatest losses.

siblings

Arm in arm, together in the park.

 

Now on to the Adoption Talk Linkup!

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This week’s topic: Sibling Relationships
Next link up: March 26th Next Topic: Anything Goes!
Get the schedule here so you’re ready for the whole year!
It’s not too late to add your adoption story to our first link up.

A few things to consider:
1) Be respectful of others. Adoption can be a sensitive subject, and opinions may differ from your own. Please be respectful to everyone.
2) Everyone is welcome. Adoptees, adoptive parents, birth parents, experts, foster care givers, those currently in the process. Anyone with a connection to adoption is welcome.
3) Try to read and comment on at least one other post. The point of a link up is to mingle and meet other bloggers. Have fun and check out a few of your fellow blogger’s posts.
4) Feel free to link an old post. We know you may have already blogged about some of the topics on our schedule. If you would like to link something you have already written that is just fine.
5) We would love another adoptee host. We are excited that some of our hosts are both adoptees and adoptive parents, we would love to also have a host who is just an adoptee so we can be certain to get that viewpoint in every week.
6) Follow Your Hosts. No need to follow everyone on everything, but make sure you follow in enough places that you’ll be reminded to link up.

Erin @ No Bohns About It | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest
Jamie @ Starfish Confidential | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest
Jenni @ Joyful Journey | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest
Jill @ Ripped Jeans & Bifocals | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest
Madeleine @ Our Journey to You | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Google+
Tamara @ Adoption Mama Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

7) Grab a button for your post or blog to help us spread the word so that other adoption bloggers can join in the fun.

No Bohns About It

And that’s it! We’re so excited that you are joining us!


What to Do on a Spring Day in NYC

Spring has officially sprung! Actually that’s a lie. But it’s so close I can taste it. Or at least type it. I am not a winter person. At. All. Every single winter I dream about living in some warm, California beach town. But then spring hits and I’m loving NYC again. Here are a few of our favorite New York City spring time jaunts. (And yes you can do many of these in winter. But I tend to stay inside and hibernate instead.)

whattodonycspring

The Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo is such a fabulous way to spend a spring day. It’s much larger than The Central Park Zoo, which keeps it from getting too insanely crowded. In the spring the animals are out, and just as happy about it as the people are. Plus there are flowers and huge trees, which make strolling the 265 acres a real treat. If you’re on a budget, Wednesdays are free (though a donation is always appreciated).
bronxzoopeacock

Coney Island
People often view Coney Island as a summer thing, but I absolutely love walking along the board walk on a beautiful spring day. If it’s warm enough you can even dig in the sand. Plus the New York Aquarium is right there for an added element of fun.
coneyisland

Shake Shack
There are plenty of Shake Shacks all over the city. But I swear there is no better meal then the original Shake Shack in Madison Square Park on a Spring day. There is just something about sitting by the Flatiron with one of those shakes. If the line is long, have someone go through the B-line and grab beers or concretes for those waiting in the A-line. My genius friend came up with that hack, and it has certainly made the Shack Shake line much more enjoyable.

Disclosure: This is actually the Shake Shack in Time Square. I'm not one of those parents who take pictures of their kids eating food so this was the best picture I had.

Disclosure: This is actually the Shake Shack in Time Square. I’m not one of those parents who take pictures of their kids eating food so this grainy cell phone photo was the best picture I had.

Broadway Shows
It’s no secret our family is filled with theater nuts. My husband is a set builder, my kids have seen more shows than they can count (not because it’s in the millions or anything, just because they aren’t great at counting), and I spend my mornings singing show tunes in the shower. It’s no surprise that seeing a Broadway Show is one of our favorite Spring time activities. A few of our current favorites are The Lion King, Matilda, Aladdin, and Wicked.

Trying on one of the hyena's costumes in The Lion King

That’s me trying on one of the hyena’s costumes backstage at The Lion King

Museum of Natural History
The American Museum of Natural History is great anytime of year, but my kids absolutely love going on spring days and bringing their scooters to ride in Central Park afterwards. The Museum of Natural History is so giant we tend to just focus on one section each trip. The dinosaurs are always a favorite. As is laying under the life size Blue Whale. If you’re on a budget or don’t plan to stay for very long, admission is technically by donation so don’t feel like you have to pay the entire suggested price.
naturalhistorymuseum naturalhistorymuseum2

Central Park
Central Park could probably have an entire post of it’s own filled with fun spring time activities. There’s space to run, tons of playgrounds, giant rocks to climb, a duck pond, performers of all varieties, and an endless supply of ice cream vendors. You can’t go wrong. A few years ago when I was freelancing near the park I thought I was needed at work one day, but I wasn’t. Since I was already there I decided to just go sit in the park for awhile before I headed home. I ended up spending the entire day sitting in Central Park just relaxing and writing. I ended up throwing everything I wrote away because it was terrible. But that day still goes down as my favorite day off of all time.
centralpark centralpark2

Statue of Liberty
Boat rides are always fun. The ferry to The Statue of Liberty is no exception. Plus Liberty Island and Ellis Island make great picnic spots. Lines and wait times can be insane on nice days, so be sure to get to Battery Park early. I’m having trouble digging up a picture of Lady Liberty. But just head down to Battery Park and look out across the river, you can’t miss her.

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That Time A Doctor Didn’t Ask Me Out

When I try to think of my most embarrassing moment, several immediately come to mind. I have a few friends who can’t think of any. But I’m one of those people who tend to have embarrassing things happen pretty regularly. Tripping, slipping, and getting food stuck in my teeth seem to be my specialty. I’ve gone to a playdate in my pajamas covered in vomit and embarrassed myself at Zumba class. Picking a most embarrassing moment is tough. There are far too many for me to pick from.

While racking my brain for one I noticed that many of my most awkward moments involve medical settings or professionals. There was the time I was walked in on by an entire family including mother, father, children, and either a grand father or elderly uncle while changing into a gown for a gynecologist appointment a few years ago. Pretty sure they were all there to witness the miracle of life on an ultrasound. Pretty sure I was not the miracle they were anticipating. There was also that time right after giving birth to Violet when the Dr was pushing on my stomach to help me deliver the placenta. I’m not sure how to eloquently state what exactly happened. Basically as the Dr was pushing, he pushed out a little something extra if you will. What’s the most polite term for fart? Well whatever it is, after the Dr helped me bring a child into the world, he helped me bring one of those into the world as well. For an entire room full of nurses as well as my husband. I could see them all try to stifle their giggles.

Now I know I’ve mentioned before that Violet has a bit of a puking problem. Basically every few weeks she starts vomiting, which lasts for 3-4 days and involves dehydration and panic from my husband and I, and then all the sudden she’s better. Now I’m used to puking. James was a puker. But his was short episodes and usually involved carsickness or dreaming about green beans. With Violet it’s much more constant and scary. We’ve been trying to get to the bottom of it. No luck as of yet.

Yesterday, in yet another attempt to figure out her issues, we took her for an ultrasound and GI series. I’m not entirely sure what a GI series is, but I do know that you have to drink this gross white stuff called barium, which is arguably the most disgusting drink on the planet. And I also know that insurance only covers it 50%. Anyway, so this barium stuff coats your insides so that they show on this xray thing (I think). If you guys have toddlers, you probably know that getting toddlers to drink and eat disgusting things is no easy feat. Well some disgusting things are easy. Like food off the bathroom floor or ketchup mixed with applesauce. But when you want your child to eat something disgusting, like broccoli or barium, it just isn’t going to happen.

Waiting for her appointment

You want me to drink what??

I tried all kinds of ways to coax Violet into consuming her bottle of barium goodness. I tried reverse psychology and pretended I wasn’t going to let her have it. I asked her if she wanted milk, then handed her barium when she said yes. I played peekaboo with the barium bottle. Finally I tried the old “I’m going to drink this barium bottle myself” routine. Violet was delighted. She slammed the straw into my mouth and laughed hysterically. I put the straw in her mouth and she chugged away for a minute, before shoving it back into my mouth. Back and fourth we went. She totally fell for my fake chugging and did a lot of real chugging of her own. Pretty soon she was ready for her test.

The nurse called what can only be described as Dr McDreamy into the room. “What a beautiful little girl!” he beamed at Violet. She flashed her 100 watt smile and I noticed her face was covered in a thick layer of barium. Before the Dr started the test I carefully wiped her mouth with a wet rag. Barium is super thick (think white paint) so it took a little scrubbing to get it off. But I didn’t want Dr McDreamy thinking my girl was a dirty little barium covered mess. Violet was placed on the table and the test was over mere minutes later.

While redressing Violet, Dr McDreamy came over to talk to me. He had this amazing twinkle in his eye the entire time we were talking. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a twinkle. It was like we knew each other. Or were old friends. Or something. He smiled and referred to me as mom. I smiled and referred to him as Doctor. Even after we were done talking about the test he lingered for a minute. He stood there just smiling at me. Almost like he wanted to talk to me more. Almost like he had something to say but just couldn’t say it. Does he want to ask me out or something? He must know I’m married seeing as I have a toddler with me. I thought to myself.

As I walked through the building back to the waiting room everyone I passed smiled at me. Gosh this sure is a friendly place, I thought to myself. I finally arrived at the waiting room to pay my bill. “How was your test? That barium stuff is pretty nasty isn’t it?” a receptionist asked me. “The test went well I think, but it wasn’t for me. It was for my daughter.” I answered her. “The test wasn’t for you? Then why is there barium all over your face?” She asked. “What?” I asked confused. “The barium. It’s all over your mouth, and cheek, and forehead. There might be a little in your hair too.” she said with an alarmed look on her face. And it dawned on me. My little barium covered baby with her little barium hands was touching my face and hair. And every fake sip I took was covering my mouth in a thick white coat. McDreamy was not planning to ask me out. That twinkle in his eye was not for me. It was for the giant white streaks that covered my mouth and cheek and forehead.

Monday Morning Coffee Talk: Cell Phones

MariyahCoffeeTalkA few years ago at a birthday party I noticed a friend of James’s taking pictures with a cell phone. On first glance I assumed it was her mothers. Later I heard her utter the following words to her friends: “Let’s take selfies with my cell phone.” Selfies. With my phone. As in her phone. As in someone gave that 6 year old child a cell phone and taught her how to take a selfie with it. I was a little taken aback so I said “Kayla, you have an iphone?” And she responded with a little shake of the head and the complete and total sass that only a first grade girl can muster “Doesn’t everyone?” Um no not everyone did. This was 2012 man. I didn’t have an iPhone. I still had one of those old flip phones where you had to press the number 2 three times in order to type a C into a text message. My son spent the entire first grade year begging for an iPhone “because Kayla had one”. I turned him down every. single. time. But did eventually decide to indulge in one for myself. Which he graciously taught me how to use.

kidsonphone

As the years have gone by I’ve slowly witnessed his friends one by one getting phones of their own. At age 10 I would say half of his friends have cell phones. James continues to regularly ask for a one. The good news is that he has persistence. The bad news is that every time he asks I’m pretty sure I start blowing hot steam out of my ears because I’m so annoyed with telling him NO 7,000 times a week. Yesterday he made the usual request for a phone of his own and I asked him who he would want to call. “Probably grandma” he answered. I reminded him that he can call grandma from my phone. And also that he hates talking on the phone. He responded that obviously talking on the phone would be a lot more fun if he was talking on his own phone. I mean of course, right?

Mariyah has recently joined the chorus line. In the minutes where James is not requesting a cell phone, Mariyah is now requesting one. She wants to take pictures, and she wants to call grandma, and she wants to play Temple Run. And I just want to scream about how in my day we didn’t have cell phones, and we used cameras to take pictures, and land lines to call grandma, and we ran outside in the yard with our friends instead of away from demonic monkeys in a never ending temple. But I also don’t want to sound like a 95 year old woman, so I just say No.

But what is the right age for a cell phone? Ideally I would go with 25, but I feel like that’s probably not happening. Do your kids have them already? Are you planning on allowing them at a certain age? When did you get a cell phone? Talk to on this Monday Morning!

Friday Favorites

In a total rush this morning! But Friday is one of my favorite post days so let’s see if I can get ‘er done.

ONE
Favorite Picture: Totally grainy cell phone photo of my 3 little snugglers on a Saturday morning. Yes we’re still doing Christmas jammies in this house.
sundaysnuggles

TWO
Favorite Recipe: My friend Meaghan from Cook. Craft. Love. came up with this AMAZING and SIMPLE recipe called Leprechaun Limeade which I am absolutely loving. It’s just about the easiest thing ever, which as you guys know is totally my style. leprechaunlimeaid

THREE
Favorite Piano: Okay so I know “favorite piano” isn’t really a thing. But we just got this SWEET white piano, how could I not post a picture of it? James has already taught himself several songs (he has a keyboard in his room so he has a bit of experience). And Mariyah is quickly catching up. Violet is enjoying banging away as well.
sweetwhitepiano

FOUR
Favorite Book: The kids and I recently started reading Jack Blank and the Imagine Nation. It was a gift for James from my sister for Christmas this year. We are loving it! It’s pretty much Harry Potter meets Where the Wild Things Are (so far anyway, we’re only a couple chapters in).jackblankimaginenation

FIVE
Favorite Story: So one thing I am loving about James being 10 is that he’s getting way more mature and totally starting to understand some adult things. It’s funny and terrifying. Well the other day I was driving on the highway in the left hand lane. I could tell the car behind me didn’t really like my pace and felt that life would be a whole lot better if my car was moving in the 70-80 mph range rather than the 60 mph range. I decided to switch to the right hand lane to get out of his way at exactly the same moment that he decided to switch to the right hand lane and speed around me. Because we both started switching lanes at the same time, he was forced to slow down and let me in. Mariyah loves waving at drivers who let us in (she’s in the back row of the minivan), and decided to give this guy the “thanks” wave. You know the one. She happily announced from the back seat, “Mommy, I waved at him for you!” “Great, thanks honey” I responded, not feeling the need to tell her this guy wasn’t exactly the friendliest fellow on the earth. Well a second or two after that he decided to switch back to the left lane so he could resume his normal speed (aka FAST) and zip on passed us. As he drove passed Mariyah announced proudly, “Look! He’s waving back!” and James said sarcastically, “Yep. He’s waving back alright.” I looked out the window and he was giving us the finger.

Carry On, Warrior! And Thanks for the Cookies

The coolest thing happened to me the other night. I got stuck on the Subway on my way home from work for a long time. That wasn’t the cool part. The cool part was what happened next.

Now I usually leave the office at 5:14 on the button. I like to leave at 5:14, because my train home always arrives at 5:18. It takes me approximately 180 seconds to get from my office desk to the spot where a train door will open. Yes I know exactly where that spot is. No I swear I don’t have OCD. One look at my living room and you can be certain of that. I just have the whole commute thing down to a science, because I like to get home right exactly at 6:00 when my husband places a delicious plate of dinner at my spot on the table. If I’m early there is usually a fair amount of whining from hungry people who are tired of waiting for dinner to be ready (the children of course… okay, me too). If I’m late there is usually a fair amount of whining from hungry people who are tired of waiting for me to arrive home (the children of course… okay, my husband too). So you see, 5:14 people. It works.

Recently I left work at exactly 5:14 and took a seat on my usual train at exactly 5:18 between a fellow playing games on his cellphone and a lady reading a book in her lap. A real one. With paper and pages and everything. You don’t see many of those in 2015. The train spent another minute or two filling up, and was ready to depart the station.

My usual ride home is 22 minutes. It’s not uncommon for the train to be a little slower during rush hour because of the sheer number of people getting on and off at each stop. Halfway between two stops the train came to a grinding halt. There were a few sighs, but people didn’t seem too concerned. Perhaps they just figured the train at the station ahead of us was taking longer to unload then usual. A few minutes went by. People silently played their cell phone games.  Or drafted emails to send when they had service again. My neighbor read her book. I twiddled my thumbs and started visualizing my dinner plate (spaghetti, and maybe a meatball, I hoped).

Pretty soon people started getting restless. The straphangers shifted their weight from foot to foot. The people on cell phones shoved their phones into their pockets as they ran out of emails to return or lives to use in Candy Crush. The looks on the faces of everyone shifted from slight impatience to downright annoyance. People were glancing around, as if somehow the inside of the train would reveal the problems that kept us from moving forward. The occasional “This is ridiculous!” could be heard muttered between riders. There was a lot of heavy sighing.

10 minutes passed. 20. 25. 26. No announcement of the problem was made. I’m not sure if you’ve ever been stuck in a crowded Subway car, if you live in a city you probably have been at some point. If you don’t, let me tell you that being trapped under ground in a small space, tightly packed with people, for an indefinite amount of time can be a little exasperating. It might not sound like a long time, but it feels like a long time (especially for those who need to use the bathroom).

Annoyance mounted to downright anger for some people. One guy banged on the conductors door and demanded answers. Another person yelled at him to leave the conductor alone. A third person yelled that everyone needed to stop yelling. People were craaaaan-ky. I couldn’t blame them. I was cranky too. But my crankiness generally manifests as silently screaming obscenities in my own head instead of at the people around me.

The guy who had just been yelling for answers from the conductor started complaining about how hungry he was and how he was missing dinner. The girl sitting next to me looked up from her book for the first time and smiled, “I have Thin Mints. Do you want one to hold you over?” The guy quickly took her up on her offer. Pretty soon the box was being passed from passenger to passenger in our section of the train.

Now I don’t want to get too cheesy here, but those cookies. They brought people together man. People stopped being so angry about the wait, and started talking about their frustrations. People had kids to pick up from daycare and didn’t want to be late. People had things to do that evening and needed to get home. People had claustrophobia and simply couldn’t handle being packed like a sardine for an extended amount of time. Everyone spent the remaining time chatting. “Oh you need to pick up your daughter from daycare, how old is she?” “Oh you’re cooking dinner for your best friend tonight? How did you two meet?” People still wanted to get home, but the frustration of waiting had been lifted by the girl and her cookies.

When the train finally arrived at the next stop, everyone in our section felt like old friends. “Have a good night!” people called as their pals exited the train. As the girl with the cookies walked away I noticed the book she was carrying under her arm. “Carry On, Warrior” by Glennon Melton. I was surprised I hadn’t looked at what she was reading sooner. “I know that book!” I wanted to call out to her. But she and her empty cookie box were long gone. A quote from the book popped into my head at that moment, “The only meaningful thing we can offer one another is love.” Yep. She offered everyone that. She took some not very happy people and made them happy. She took a not so fun evening and turned it into a not so bad one. So thank you friend. Thank you for reminding us to be patient. Thank you for offering myself and others kindness and love. Carry On, Warrior. And thanks for the cookies.

Carry On, Warrior! And Thanks for the Cookie.

Source: Momastery