Facebook Flashbooks…Love Em/Hate Em

Facebook flashback love em/hateem

 

I have a love hate relationship with these Facebook flashbacks that sneak up on me while I’m peacefully drinking my coffee. Love them because they take me back to these sweet little faces…I’m mean…look at those cheeks, and tiny little hands. , I’m also reminded of the easy life that was Elementary school. (And, can I just mention that I was having a fabulous hair day)
And, I can’t help but hate these flashbacks…selfishly. They remind me that time can’t be forced to stand still. So, I’ll hold on with all my might, and watch in amazement as these wonderful little people transform and grow right before my eyes. (Through good hair days and bad.)
I’ve made it through this three times now…watching my kids grow up, and leave, come home, and leave. You would think it would get easier. It doesn’t.

Summer Is Like That

Summer is like that: Amy Hafele

August to me is a FOUR letter word. Oh, I suppose I could look at it as beginning of sorts; a Genesis if you will. I know, I know a new school year is about to start. The retailers have been warning of this day of doom with bigger than life pencils swinging from the ceiling…casting shadows on our summer since school let out. Backpacks have been purchased, school supplies are filling the aisles, calls for registration are on my voicemail. I deleted them immediately. I even heard a little excitement in Pickle’s voice when asked about going to 7th grade.

We have 21 days left…21 days.

I crave my children; their toothy grins, and their warm smell as they come down for the first hug of the day. Even if it’s almost 10. Summer allows me to slow down and take notice of the little things…like the fact that they grew almost an inch in their sleep.

These days of summer…they are truly the best. Having quiet talks with kids over a lazy breakfast. Nothing hurried. Just connecting. Listening. Summer is like that. Taking in their sweet smell as they lay their head on my shoulder at the movies. Summer is like that. We’ve hung out and played games, made cookies almost everyday, and truly enjoyed each other. Summer is like that. We’ve made pallets on the floor, and had movie nights; complete with a concession stand. No planned menus…Smoothies anyone? Who wants to make pizza? Summer is like that. We even took a trip to Japan with Sushi night served seated on the living room floor; complete with chopsticks. Summer is like that. Swimming until their fingers are pruny and the moon is full. Dinner with the neighbors on the patio…even if it’s not the weekend. Summer is like that. Splashing in fountains, picking blackberries, water balloon fights. Yes. Summer is like that.

Maybe it’s me, but we seem to laugh more, hold hands more, hug more, sing more, connect more, say “Yes” more…Summer is like that.

Summer is like that: Amy Hafele Summer is like that: Amy Hafele

I know school is a necessary, but man does it bring me down. Maybe it’s not just school. It’s the whole school “package”. With school comes a schedule (I know…a necessary evil), homework, extracurricular activities, Science projects, socks, meetings, fixing hair, social activities, social anxieties, getting dressed, college, lunches, carpool, tests, dioramas, PTA, standardized tests, bullies, bedtimes, fundraisers, the Sunday blues, laundry, alarm clocks… There are only 24 hours in a day.

Panicked, I wonder if we have etched out enough family time in this fleeting 2 1/2 months of summer. Did we snuggle enough? Talk enough? Reconnect enough? Slow down enough? Eat enough snow cones? Did we make enough memories? Will this carry us through the drought that is sure to follow during the school year?

21 more days….I will be seizing these diems!!! Whether my kiddos like it or not I will be holding their hands, smelling them, loving on them, laughing with them, snuggling with them…every moment I get for the next 21 days. I will be filling our cups up to the brim, so that when the school year starts to chip away at us we can quench our thirst for love and comfort.

Your Kids Won’t Hate Each Other…Forever

image

These are my reasons. I absolutely cannot imagine life without them. Now, I’ll be brutally honest with you. When they were little…all of them…12, 11, 9, 1, & 1….They made me question my sanity….daily. The constant civil war that seemed to wage….”He’s looking at me!”, “He called me an Idiot!”, “He gave me a swirly!” .The Cap’t and I would look at each other at the end of the day, take a deep breath, and assure each other that this too would pass.

There is hope…Your kids won’t hate each other…forever.

And, pass it did…quickly. Now, as I watch all five of my kids play hoops together, laugh over a board game, or play practical jokes on one another I am overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with love and joy over the friendships that have been formed. My older boys, who are actually adults…give each other advice, hang out, and look out for one another. Those three little boys who couldn’t stand each other when they were little are now great friends.

If you are currently in the trenches of raising Littles. Please don’t wish it away. I know…I know the squabbling seems never ending, and you may pull some of your very own hair out, but this time is fleeting. It passes so fast. (Cliché I know) When they are at their loudest, and you are at your weakest…take a time out, give yourself a break. I promise they’ll still be there. (Probably pounding at your door)

They will eventually figure this friendship thing out, and when they do…Wow!!! Job well done, Mom!

Our Family Merry Go Round is Outta Control

Live the minutes of your life

If you know me personally, then you know this photo is from my favorite place on earth, our land in East Texas…Arc Ridge Ranch.  Serene and special for reasons that run so very deep. I came across this photo, and it made me crave some much needed Peace in my life.

If if your family is like ours you know the drill. What games do we have? Who has a birthday party? Does this sound familiar? Guess we’ll split up…You know the drill. I’ll take this kid…hubby, you take that one. Maybe we’ll meet in the middle later. Y’all my head is spinning…my life is spinning; at a dizzying pace.  And, I’m quite certain if I feel this way then my Sweet Babes surely don’t know which end is up most of the time. Our family Merry-Go-Round is outta control!!

Between tutoring, Boy Scouts, Golf, Gymnastics almost every night, Student Council…oh Ya, and then there’s homework. We’ve even limited our kids activities (for our sanity) I know other parents who have kids in activities every night of the week. I can’t even comprehend how they keep up much less stay married. And, while we’re at it let’s go ahead and throw in some premature STARR Test Anxiety. Crapdamnit!!! When did life get this way? Surely it’s not just me digging my head deeper in the sand. My white flag is slowly rising. I am beyond ready to get off this Merry-Go-Round! It is very important to me that my children look back at their lives and have actual memories of our family life…not simply a list that was checked off. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I intend to figure it out.

These minutes we have been given are so very precious, and at times I feel like we are just squandering them away. What do we have to show for them? Stressed out parents, exhausted kids, maybe a couple of dusty soccer trophies on the shelf. Are these the THINGS we were after? Not me. I want snuggles on the couch, family laughter over dinner, kids playing in the yard, weekends enjoyed together. I intend to gather our precious minutes, and we are going to live them to the FULLEST!

xoxo,

Amy

Am I Out of Touch With Today’s Parenting?

Parenting

Somehow Parents magazine has showed up in my mailbox as of late. Um, hello…my address is not on these. Kind of wondering if someone is stalking me…sending a message. Do I need some help in this department? Am I out of touch with today’s parenting techniques? I’ve been doing this for almost 24 years…I have a little experience. Insulted? Maybe

Let’s see….after a brief lookiloo through these informational treasures here’s what I’ve learned. Let’s start with tecnology…face it, you can’t pass a stroller today without noticing  the cute cherub being hypnotized by Mommy’s cell phone. But, did you know that today’s kids need more apps on their devices? Better apps, learning apps, creating apps, apps for apps…because we would hate for them to have one single solitary moment of time where they actually use their imagination and entertain themselves.  Did you know that kids today shouldn’t have homework? Hmmm? Well, maybe if they didn’t have so many apps on their devices they would have time for the homework no one wants to tackle. Apparently, babies need approx. 200 gadgets just for sitting around the house…What the what? Bimbos, Boppies, BebePod…I don’t think I speak baby anymore. When I had kids we just laid them on the Cheerio, dog-hair, dirt, covered carpet and called it sensory development. They survived. Thrived even. Play dates! You can’t  just send your kids outside anymore shouting, “Come home when it’s dark!” Oh heck no!! You need a “theme”  in order to have a well constructed play date.  The suggested theme in this issue was “Drama”….like we all don’t have enough of that in our lives already.

Stokke Stroller

Stokke Stroller…it even sounds cool.

Ok, here’s an advertisement for what looks like a bucket on a stick with wheels, but I’m guessing it’s a stroller. For the price of this “stroller” you could have a Smart Car my friend….Heck, I’d be driving my baby everywhere.  Where do you newbies store all this shtuff and more importantly how do you afford it???

I glanced over an article about covering up clutter…ya, I’ve got this one, it’s called, Don’t open the door. Kids today do have a more distinctive palate by the way. Among the recipe selections offered in these magazines…Wild Rice & Quinoa Bowl, Chicken Curry, and Lemon Shrimp Orecchiette. (I can’t even pronounce orecchiette) How much time do you have and who are you feeding? Oh, and I hope you hand made Little Susie’s Valentines….because You have time for that in between making curry, and supervising play dates.

Alright, alright, I may be a little out of touch. I did have my first kid almost 24 years ago. But, we did just fine without most of the gadgets and hoopla that I hear about today. I’m still very much in the parenting trenches today…my youngest, twins, are 11, And yes, they do have some gadgets, not phones….I just can’t go there. (and, yes I know they are the last 11 year olds in the Universe without phones)  They also observe the 5 second rule…a little dirt never hurt anyone,  fight with each other…and make up on their terms, do homework, have play dates without my involvement, make crafts from crap, board games are one of their faves, and they hate broccoli. And, I promise they’ll grow up just fine

I  have to wonder with all of this micromanaging of our kids have we lost site of the big picture? Childhood. Just letting our kids play, solve problems on their own, use their imaginations, make messes, eat mac & cheese, explore….Isn’t that what childhood is about?

xoxo

Amy

***All of these opinions expressed are strictly my own, and in no way should reflect upon the publication Parents Magazine. Which does have a lot of parenting info. A***