Thursday, April 30, 2009

April Showers and Midwest Flowers

Spring is a gorgeous time in a Midwest garden, especially when you have camera in hand.

The past week has been rainy and warm, perfect weather for everything that grows. We had a brief respite from the wet yesterday, so I took quiet time in my garden for renewal. I found that the greens were greener than ever and much of the garden had sprung into bloom. Every corner of the yard had a pleasant surprise.

There were fragrant lilacs, waving in the breeze ...



... and tulips galore.




The grassy places were filled with wild violets, giving the yard a purple cast.



And these petite beauties had even started peeking out from their hiding places.




But the most spectacular sight of the season was one we will have to remember in our minds alone -- one no gardener could have planned or planted.

During a warm spell on Sunday afternoon, we hiked a local nature area with my parents. Our trail overlooked the river, and as the river-view emerged from the trees, before us lay endless acres of bluebells. It looked as though a misty pale blue fog was descending upon the shoreline. Just inside the trees, blue morphed into pale pink mounds of Spring Beauties.

How I wished I had my camera, just to share the beauty of it. It was breathtaking. And we stood in silence, drinking it in, for quite a long time.

At long last we continued on, circling down to the rivers edge -- a place we often play during hikes in the summertime. The water level was higher than usual, so the rocky shoals were all but buried. We spied a northern water snake innocuously sunning itself, and left it alone to enjoy the warmth. The boys picked along the shoreline in their water shoes and rolled-up jeans, looking for fossil rocks while my daughter plunged into the shallows. We took care to explain the swifter, deeper Spring current, but increased caution could not hamper their explorer's spirit. Even in the shallows, we played our hearts out.

The family returned home exhausted and happy, with muddy pants and sunkissed faces. I thought, such is the wonder of Midwest Springtime. And my father remarked to me on what a beautiful home we have made here. The image of the field of bluebells, he said, will remain with him for a long time.

I feel the same way. There is no place on earth I would rather be.

- Midwest Mom

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Compulsion Cleaning


Moms agree: there are certain types of cleaning that qualify as compulsion. It can be a three-week-long Spring cleaning binge or weekly cleaning before the cleaning lady comes. I have a friend who used to clean like a fiend -- for the exterminator. As for me, my compulsion cleaning is the cleaning I do before my Mother comes to visit.

What am I afraid of?

Will she disown me if she looks under the love seat and finds the lonely remnant of the stinky sock fight my boys had last night?

Will she click her tongue in disapproval at the tiny hand prints of my three-year-old left from watching squirrels play outside our dining room window? Will she check for dust behind the refrigerator? Will she scowl at an unscoured bit of shower soap scum?

Does she walk through my home judging, running her glowing white gloves over every surface?

Of course not. But in case you're listening, SC Johnson, if you ran television ads with only the words

YOUR MOTHER IS COMING

and the music from Psycho, I would buy every product in your product line.

What is funny is that my Mom and I have a good relationship, and I look forward to her coming. She is my friend and my children's treasured grandmother. But while she is here, I live in fear that she will notice something that needs doing around our home and utter those four fateful words no mother wants any other woman to say in her home.

"Let me do it."

When Mom comes to visit, I work myself ragged just trying to beat her to whatever job catches her attention. After supper, there is practically a race for the job I despise the most -- washing the dishes.

In any other circumstance, I would bring flowers to someone who washed the dishes for me. I have been known to pay my oldest son a whopping dollar to do a big load of dishes. Today's true confession of motherhood is this: our supper dishes usually wait until morning to be done. At the end of my day there are just a thousand places I would rather spend my last reserves of energy. So, dishes get rinsed or scraped and neatly stacked, but I do not load the dishwasher or wash the pans until morning. Need proof?


Voila. Last night's dishes. Martha Stewart perfection I am not.

Maybe that's what I'm worried my mother will suddenly "discover." It's my horrid truth of mothering, that I would rather have a tickle fight with my kids after supper or sit and watch the news with my husband than tackle a pile of dishes.

I guess that's why for the next five days there will be a race from the supper table to see which woman can get the fastest case of dishpan hands. It's a pride thing.

I suppose it's something I should work on. Maybe I should be more accepting of help or give my mother more credit for understanding the stresses of raising my brood. After all, she raised six of us, so she's no stranger to the cluttered life of a mother with young children -- right?

Right.

So, I'm resolving to do better during this visit, here, publicly, on Midwest Moms. (She arrives tomorrow... have I mentioned it?) I will try to let go of small details and stop this compulsive cleaning behavior.


Yep. I'll get started on that...


... right after I clean the grout in the front hallway. Anybody got a toothbrush?

- Midwest Mom

Friday, April 17, 2009

Moms Gone Wild

When the weatherman says it's going to be 70 and sunny mid-way through April, it's time for an impromptu girls day.

We're headed to the garden center. My daughter calls it the flower shop. We called her godmother on the spur of the moment and are taking advantage of the beautiful weather to do a little exploring.

I'm looking for hardy Spring-flowering shrubs that like acid soil. We have an area that just needs a little something extra to hide a nasty fence, and why not add color at the same time?

I'm hoping to find Forsythia, Azalea, Rhododendron, or Flowering Quince. We'll look at the size and color to see what would be best, and by the end of the day, we may have some new plants to put in!

Then "the girls" will head out for an outdoor lunch.

-Sigh-

Days like this make me appreciate this week's disappointment. There's nothing like getting a little perspective from a friend to help you appreciate the positive side of things. This time, it came from JCK at Motherscribe, specifically As to Why I Didn't Get the Job. A great read.

So, today, I'll sit back and enjoy this life. The warm sun will feel so good. I hope you enjoy it, too.

Sometimes what seems like a roadblock might just be a bend in the path.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

- Midwest Mom

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Resilience

resilient: adj. capable of resuming its shape, position, etc. after being subjected to stress, elastic. [from the Latin, resiliens, resilire, to spring back]


I often say it is my goal to raise independent, resilient children. As a Mom, though, it's hard to gauge how resilient I actually am.

At first, the relentless physical and emotional demands of caring for a tiny baby, of being responsible for his well-being, even feeding him from my very self, was a shock. It took a good six weeks for me to come to terms with the fact that motherhood was a 24 hour per day job. Until I did, resilience eluded me.

But with time and help, I adjusted. That first stretching into the new shape of motherhood almost broke me, but didn't. To my surprise I found I had a stronger, more flexible core than I imagined.

I have come to love being a Mom. And I have learned that this process of stretching, reaching, snapping back occurs on multiple levels over days, weeks, even years. Every childhood phase, medical scare or job worry pulls at me. In time each stress passes. I adjust and make my way again.

My life as a Mom has its undisputed high points. I had a few moments on Easter day when I stood fully in the warm sunbeam of familial love. When I felt the perfection of the day and of our life. It couldn't have felt better. What a contrast from those first difficult days.

There are lows as well, sometimes right on the heels of the highs.

On Monday, I was pounded by relentless waves of bickering. The children clawed through their last day of vacation by finding innovative ways to annoy and betray one another. I grew tired of the rancor. It was an assault to my spirit and my senses.

The sole piece of mail I received that day was a one-line rejection of a resume I had submitted to a local non-profit. It was for a job I knew I could do, was excited about, was hopeful for. Despite my skills, background, and stellar references, they didn't even interview me.

Talk about bruised pride.

It was a sad end to a difficult day.

I fumbled my way through supper and put the children to bed. My husband, seeing my disappointment, was quiet. He brought me tea and asked about my plans for the evening.

I was nestled in a blanket in a cozy corner of the couch, but three full baskets of clean, unfolded laundry glared at me from across the room. I gave them a nod, "tackle those, I guess."

"Nonsense. Wait here." Moments later, he left the house.

It was the nudge I needed to give myself a reprieve from the housework. I looked over the letter again and took guilty pleasure in finding a spelling mistake.

I was content with the quiet until my husband returned. "You need a distraction," he told me as he popped in a DVD.

It was Beverly Hills Cop. He knew just what would brighten my mood. Vintage Eddie Murphy.

I was so grateful for him. We talked into the night and I confessed my feelings.

The worst part of it was that I knew at least ten different ways I would have been able to help this non-profit do its work more effectively. He listened carefully and told me it was their loss that they hadn't given me a chance. The fact that theirs is a cause I care about just made the rejection harder to take.

It has forced me to face the question: How resilient am I?

My caring spouse gave me a pretty good bounce back in the attitude department. But the professional side remains unresolved.

I am a woman of action, impatient with waiting for others' approval. Maybe it's time to make my own opportunities. I may have been stretched, but I haven't shattered, right?

So I'll take some time to rethink, reset my priorities, and make a plan of action. Through the process, maybe the way forward will reveal itself.

There are times when I want to break instead of springing back.

Then I tell myself today is not the day for breaking.

It's not what Moms do.

- Midwest Mom

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How They Grow

We put a lot of effort into our garden here on the homestead. The seeds are planted and sprouting. The daffodils have bloomed in the sunshine and the clematis is climbing. There are pots of pansies on the front porch for a little dash of color.

But we have other things that grow around here. We tend them carefully, feed and water them. We talk lovingly to them. And they just grow and grow.

Some have long legs...



Others have broad shoulders...



And one is a beautiful flower.



Sigh...

I'm so glad to be their gardener.

- Midwest Mom

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sweet Temptation and Johnny Depp

One of the few things I cannot stand about the Easter aftermath is the fact that my house is now filled with sweets.

We are not a candy family, and yet I am now surrounded by...

M&Ms
Robins Eggs
Jelly Beans
Dove Chocolate eggs
Chocolate bunnies
Sweet Tarts
Carrot cupcakes
and three kinds of coffee cake.

Yikes.

To offset the monumental ingestion of sugar over the weekend, I worked out yesterday evening. I'm planning to again today (the first day my boys are back at school). But life would be a whole heck of a lot easier if my dining room table didn't look like a scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Wait a minute! Maybe all I have to do is think about this creep haunting my dining room...




[shudder]

Yep, that'll keep me from looking like Augustus Gloop by the end of the day... Then I can sit back and think about this guy instead.



MMM-mm. Now that's a sweet indulgence I don't mind in the least.

- Midwest Mom

Monday, April 13, 2009

Raising an Adventurous Eater

Try it, try it, and you may!
Try it and you may, I say!
~ Sam-I-Am


My husband and I love to cook. It's a pretty frugal alternative to eating out. We have some tried and true recipes, but we also love to learn new ways of cooking. That can mean making Thai or Indian or South American meals, or our most recent favorite, foods from the Middle East.

Friends wonder how on earth we get our children to do it. They complain about their kids' preferences for hot dogs and Kraft macaroni and cheese or wonder whether it is possible for a toddler to survive on carrot sticks and a bowl of Cheerios.

I will admit, our children like those kids favorites just as much as the next child does. But our oldest has an abiding love of Curried Brown Lentils. Our youngest gobbles up anything with Roasted Red Peppers in it. And our 6 year-old son, the most conservative eater in the family, considers fajitas with homemade salsa and guacamole "A 5-Star Meal."

To answer a couple of questions in advance: Yes, we started offering our kids a variety of foods early on. But No, I don't think that kids who eat nothing but grilled cheese and applesauce are too far gone to be brought back on track.

Here are some hints to get your kids to branch out:

Start Small: Introducing one new food at a time is the best practice for babies just starting to eat solid food. It's also the best way to ease a timid eater into unfamiliar taste territory. Offering one taste -- even a lick -- of a new food at every meal can help to wake up your child's palate.

When in Doubt, Choose Fresh: Fresh blueberries or raspberries, baby spinach, or cherry tomatoes are great foods to incorporate into your child's diet. They offer new textures and flavors without requiring a lot of preparation by you. The fresh foods you use to help your child branch out now may become tomorrow's healthy snacktime favorites.

Use Color: Offering a rainbow of foods can be so appealing to a child. Lightly blanched broccoli is so green -- a favorite for my children. Roasted red peppers are brilliant red, equally appealing. Toasted pecans offer a light, nutty sweetness -- and a beautiful brown color. Red Lentils start out orange and cook to a soft, golden yellow. When you create foods for your children that appeal to them visually, they are more likely to give them a taste.

Some Assembly Required: My children are inherently suspicious of foods that are all mixed up. (Something my Mother In Law is reminded of every time she serves them up a lovingly-prepared all-in-one casserole.) When I want them to try new things, I will often cook and serve the ingredients separately and have them assemble the dish on their own plate and on their own terms. They can eat foods separately or together. The more adventurous they become, the more they will find the combination that suits their individual palate. Sometimes one of my children will say to the other, "try this and that together! They taste great!"

Feed them Hungry: I don't think my kids have caught on to the fact that on nights when we're introducing something new, we usually eat a little later. Maybe it happens because cooking something new takes us a little longer. Maybe it's because we know that hungry children will eat anything in their path. Regardless of the reason, it works.

Make Reliable = Neutral: We always offer a reliable dish alongside an adventure food, but we never make it more appealing than the food we hope the children will try. Having a dish of rice on the side when you're trying a new main dish or a brand new vegetable combination really works. Often, my children will try the new foods first, then move on to the rice. If I were to use Kraft Mac & Cheese as my alternate, you'd better believe they'd be asking for seconds of that before they tried anything new.

Use the "Try It" Mantra: We recite those penultimate lines of Green Eggs and Ham when our children start to dig in their heels. "Try it, try it and you may! Try it and you may, I say!" They laugh and relent. One small taste is all we ask. My oldest came up with his own (I think borrowed from Elmo.) "It's National Try a New Food Day!" he will tell his brother. Only occasionally will his brother grumble back something about him saying that every day.

Respect Choices: There is nothing more discouraging than your children rejecting a food you love or have lovingly prepared. But parents who want their children to be willing to try new foods have to listen when a child says they don't like it. I don't force my kids to clean their plates, especially if they have already told me they aren't crazy about the adventure food taking up residence. I tell them, "different people like different things." My husband is crazy about beets; I can't stand them. I love feta cheese; my sons think it tastes like stinky socks. If I want them to trust me at the table, I have to be sensitive to their palate.

Try, Try Again: With that said, there is something to be said for persistence. Two years ago, my boys wouldn't touch spaghetti (one of my favorite meals). There was something about the sauce that just didn't hit their palate right. I experimented with the recipe, adjusting the spices or the sauce-to-noodle ratio. I found a combination that works for all of us. Now they ask for it.

Model Adventure: Finally, adventurous eaters usually don't come from parents who eat nothing but chicken and mashed potatoes. The more willing you are to try new things, the more curious your children will be about what, exactly, is on your plate. Why is Dad crazy for curry? Why does Mom flip over tabouleh? How would this taste with a squeeze of lemon like my brother uses? Do parsnips really taste like cauliflower? Mom, can I have a bite of your grapefruit? Children love to imitate. Take advantage of it.

Appreciating food is such a fun part of living. I hope you will have a little food adventure with your child soon. Don't be nervous. It doesn't have to be a battle. Just relax and start offering alternatives. Have fun with it.

Pretty soon, you may have an adventurous eater on your hands.

- Midwest Mom

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Parenting Through Easter and Passover:

Survival Strategies

This is the week of Easter and Passover. Families all over will be celebrating with family and friends. Although it is a meaningful and joyful time of year, it can also be a stressful time, especially for parents and children.

My own children are anticipating the next few days with a mixture of dread and excitement. We attend Holy Week services in the days leading up to Easter. Believe it or not, those services can be tedious and demanding for children, particularly because they are solemn. For parents who celebrate Passover, there are days of preparation and celebration that can bring children to the brink of their patience as well.

But we celebrate our family traditions because they are important to pass along from one generation to the next. Parents are, first and foremost, teachers. And so we ask more of them at this time of year than we ordinarily would.

For Christians, the prize at the end of the race is always Easter. It is a day of celebration, family dinners, egg hunts, and candy candy candy. For our family, Easter Sunday can be just as much, if not more demanding than any other part of the week. It is a full day, to say the least.

My goals during this week are twofold:

1.) To teach my children carefully about why we celebrate the way we do, and

2.) To keep them whole and cared-for in the process.

It can be a tough balance to strike, especially because my children range in age from 3-8. What our 8 year old is ready for, his little sister may not be. So, I start the juggling act.

Here are a few strategies for surviving the week:

Be Selective - Parents and children may not be able to participate in everything this week. Evaluate what your children might be able to handle and do one or two of those activities. If they won't sit through a 2-hour church service, make private time to pray at home. Find ways to honor your family's traditions that might be more age-appropriate.

Talk about expectations - Lay out your plan for the week with your children so they know what to expect. Let them know what relatives might be coming into town or who you may be planning to visit. Tell them in advance what kind of behavior you expect. If they know ahead of time, it will be easier to parent them through it.

Teach Before the Moment - Read children's books about the meaning of Easter or Passover. Find an activity to do each day, from simple crafts to special prayers, that will help your children understand the deeper meaning of your family's celebration. Children learn a lot from repetition, so the sooner you start to talk about what these holidays mean, the more able you will be to answer the questions your children are bound to have. Teaching in advance will make the celebration more meaningful for all of you.

Keep Perspective - Even though you are busy cleaning and making special recipes, decorating your home, and welcoming guests from out of town, your children have needs that will not go away. Do your best, despite everything, to keep that in mind. Taking time to involve them and let them know that they are loved can make all the difference. It can keep both of you from having a 'meltdown' further on down the road.

Watch the Big Three: They are, of course, diet, sleep, and exercise. Keeping your family healthy through the holidays means doing your best to keep some sort of schedule. When you know church services will run late, prepare by taking naps. If you know there will be a candy-fest at Grandma's, prepare by feeding your children nutritious snacks packed with protein, like nuts or cheese. Making time for 30 minutes of vigorous exercise outside in the sunshine can make it easier to ask them to sit still when you need to.

Let Love Guide You: At the holidays or any stressful time, it can be easy to lose sight of the reason you celebrate. At the core of our holiday traditions is Love. It is the reason we gather with family and friends. It is even the reason behind our faith traditions. Focus on that Love and don't lose sight of it. Even when the jello doesn't set. Even when your daughter toilet papers the bathroom 5 minutes before Aunt Gertrude arrives. Even when your nephew makes confetti out of the matzo. Take a deep breath and do your best to react with love and patience.

I know you can do it.

Have a safe and Happy Easter and a Blessed Passover.

- Midwest Mom


******************
Midwest Moms will return after Easter, on Monday, April 13.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Power of Change

It takes a lot of courage to release
the familiar and seemingly secure,

to embrace the new.
But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful.
There is more security in the adventurous and exciting,
for in movement there is life,
and in change there is power.


~Alan Cohen



My twenty-year high school reunion is coming up this year, so I've been spending time catching up with old friends on email and facebook. We're planning a summer trip to the old homestead to participate.

The reunion gives me cause to reflect on where I started and where I am now. It makes me wonder whether the woman I am now bears any resemblance to the seventeen year old girl I was when I graduated.

Some things about me have changed very little. Back then, I was a stubborn, shy, intelligent girl who loved to write. I had a few close friends rather than many. But I laughed a lot, loved sports and adored my Dad. Those things haven't changed about me.

But some things have.

There are the surface differences. My hair now is less like a fluffy pile of feathered wonder and more like a good pretzel -- golden brown with a healthy dose of salt up top. My body shows the signs of having borne three children. My hands are the evidence that I'm raising them.

There are also changes it would be hard to pinpoint in before and after photographs.

I know who I am now and I'm not afraid of what other people think. Back then, I spent a lot of time being afraid. I wanted to do everything right in others' eyes. Now I just do what I feel in my heart is right.

I've learned to trust my inner voice. Back then, I was more likely to trust the guidance of others -- I didn't even know what my inner voice sounded like. It's shocking to realize how much influence other people had over me in my decisions about friends and boys, even what to wear. But, those days are over.

I am more forgiving of other people's faults now, more compassionate, more generous and understanding. When you're a mom it's part of the job description.

I'm more politically Liberal now. I probably always was. I just couldn't find expression for it until college and afterward. Now that my core and I are on speaking terms, it's easier to keep my beliefs in line with my politics, and vise-versa.

I have followed a winding path to get where I am -- through college and graduate school, living in Michigan, DC, Russia, New Hampshire, and Illinois, working, through friendships and relationships, through heartbreak, disillusionment and disappointment, growth, rebirth, love, and marriage, bearing and raising three children. But I'm grateful for the path and happy with the destination -- this place, this day, this family.

I am not who I was. But I am satisfied with who I am.

It makes me wonder what kind of transformations my high school friends have gone through, what challenges they have succumbed to or overcome? The historian in me wants to know it all, to trace the pathways of their lives. The friend in me wants to be introduced to the new people my old friends have become.

Maybe that's what reunions are meant to do. Maybe they aren't about the 'glory days' so much as they are about using them as a starting point for new relationships. I hope so.

In a weird way, I guess that means I'm looking forward to this reunion.

How completely unexpected.

How unlike me.

How exciting.



- Midwest Mom

Monday, April 6, 2009

We Have a Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered the JumpStart giveaway over the past two weeks. It was such a treat to be able to try out and review their learning software. Because I could recommend the programs so highly, hosting a giveaway was the icing on the cake.

I know that many high-fallootin' review sites use a Random Number Generator to ensure that their results are truly, verifiably, unequivocally random.

Our random number generator was numbered pieces of paper folded in quarters and placed haphazardly in a pink Boston Red Sox baseball cap belonging to my youngest daughter.

My oldest son, notorious for taking so long stirring his hand around before making a choice that my arm felt like it was going to fall off, my eyes bugged out, and "pick one already!" came bursting out in frustration, made the selection.

And the Winner is... #10 - Sumpteretc . The Sumpter family will receive a free three-month full membership at JumpStart.com.

Here is the winner's comment:

Our 4-year-old just finished the two free levels of the JumpStart software we bought him. We are missionaries in Mongolia, so there are not a lot of options for buying new software here. We have been considering buying a membership for him, but I'd love to try it out for free before I sink $75 into an annual membership. Thanks for the opportunity.


Thanks for playing, everyone! Hope your week is off to a great start!

- Midwest Mom

Friday, April 3, 2009

Hop to it, Mom!


Easter is a week and a day away. And Moms and Grandmas everywhere are getting ready. Why, in the Easter section of Target the other day, I saw at least six of them per aisle, doing their best to hide their whiskers and long ears and filling their carts with every treat imaginable...

At our house, the -ahem- Easter Bunny is sure to include a few items that are not sweet treats. Sure, there are plenty of jelly beans, malted milk balls (this writer's favorite), Peeps and the requisite chocolate bunny. But we also enjoy small toys and games that will last beyond Easter Day.

Here are some great non-traditional Easter Basket fillers to try:

  • For an artist, try Crayola Pip-squeak Washable markers. They are small and colorful and fun.
  • Outdoor toys like jump ropes and bubbles come in many bright colors. They are one of our favorite Easter basket toys. Walmart and Target even sell brands of bubbles that are sweetly scented.
  • Tie a bundle of sidewalk chalk together with a pastel ribbon. Be sure to take time with your child to draw together outside in the sunshine.
  • The party favor aisle can be a great place to find fun egg-fillers, too. Try gold coins (plastic or chocolate), spinning tops, or super-balls.
  • For boys, there is nothing like opening an egg with cool matchbox cars or hot wheels.
  • For girls, try filling eggs with pretty hair ribbons or barrettes. Or go to the shoe department and get fun summer shoes like jellies in a couple of colors.
  • I like to add learning software to an Easter basket every so often. Some great games to try are Scholastic I Spy games, Bejeweled, Jump Start, or Adventure Workshop games, like Dr. Seuss Kindergarten or Arthur's Computer Adventure.
  • Fun Pads are always an inexpensive treat my children enjoy. They come in Easter themes with mazes, dot-to-dot, coloring pages, and word games. You can find them at Big Lots or virtually any Dollar store.
  • Story books are a fun addition, too. We like The Daddy Book by Richard Scarry, Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, or Runaway Bunny and Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. Pat the Bunny is also great for young ones.
  • Small LED flashlights are great. They come in all sorts of colors and will come in handy during your next camping trip.
  • School supplies are also a hit -- try glue sticks, erasers, Spring-themed pencils or crayons.

I have the most luck shopping throughout the season at a variety of different stores. Although I am a frugal Bunny Mommy, I do have standards when making a purchase. Be careful about buying toys at the dollar store, especially since many of them are cheaply made in countries with lax safety regulations. Be careful about toys with paint that might chip or weak plastic parts that may break or be ingested. Be extra careful about buying toys made of soft plastic or transparent toys that may puncture and leak whatever mystery substance fills them. Plastics can degrade, especially in sunshine, so remember that you get what you pay for.

I hope these ideas give you inspiration. I'll see you in the Easter aisle!

- Midwest Mom

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Giggles

My 6 year-old is one crazy kid. When he gets excited, he gets LOUD! His teacher even wrote it on his third quarter report card. I think she called it "enthusiasm".

But we have our quiet moments, too. He likes nothing more than time with Mom or Dad without all the distractions of the other kids.

This morning he came to visit me before his sister and brother woke up. We watched Curious George together.

He got the giggles.



Giggles turned to chuckles.

Chuckles burst out into raucous laughter. All because of a cartoon monkey.

This boy reminds me that sometimes life is just simple. And it feels so good to let yourself go and feel the joy of it.

That's a pretty good lesson to have learned by 7:30 in the morning.

- Midwest Mom
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