Rounding Out the Week…

Day 5:  Today I entered the world of Kristen Hansen Brakeman and encountered a hysterical tirade about Vitamin Water, specifically a radio spot that featured a non-celebrity swimsuit model as a spokeswoman for the product.  You should read her post to get a taste of her spirited sense of humor and truly brilliant ideas for behind-the-scenes footage of Vitamin Water.  As I read, I thought about all the times in my life that I have gotten irrationally mad about something that I should have just let roll off my back.  The biggest offender in my life is drivers who use the shoulder to avoid sitting in a line of traffic.  I know I should just ignore them and hope that there is a police officer ahead to nab their law-breaking tushies.  But, my blood boils.  I grip the wheel until my knuckles are white.  I start to yell at the drivers, you know, because they can hear me, right?  And then, I am that person who blocks their path by driving half on the shoulder and half in my lane, all the while claiming victory, as my grip loosens on the wheel, my blood returns to its normal 98.6 degrees and I start to hum a happy tune again.

Day 6:  It’s Yoonanimous!  This reading challenge is so fun because I am just hitting gold at every turn.  Today, I visited Yoonanimous and read the most recent post about marital traps.  The author, Yoona Park, describes “marital traps” as situations she tries to avoid because of how much tension they create between she and her husband.  I think that anyone in a committed relationship can relate to this, so she had me at hello.  As I read on she related humorous stories about H&M t-shirts and her husband’s grill and how he gets very territorial about it.   And then I read her piece about the bike rack for the car.  I cannot count how many “nice” family days have started out with an obscene amount of F Bombs targeted mostly at my bike lovingly referred to by The Hubs as B****.  He and the B**** bike have wrestled each other countless times to simply be strapped to the car so that we can embark on a family ride.  I’ve learned to avoid the loading of the bikes process at all costs.  It’s best to load the kids in the car, lock the doors and turn up the music to drown out his verbal assault on the bike rack and B**** bike.  If am so stupid as to open my mouth to try to help, I will become the target and that is just ill-advised if we want to continue on to our family outing.  I also must steer clear of The Hubs when he is assembling children’s toys or furniture purchased from Ikea for the same reason.  What are your marital traps?

Day 7:  To round out the first week of the summer reading challenge, I decided to search the WordPress Reader for blogs with the tag “kindness.”  Once again, I was exhilarated with what I’ve stumbled upon.  Harula at wordsthatserve has embarked on a journey of doing at least one good deed a day for an entire year, and is documenting her acts on her blog.  Even better, she is documenting the kindnesses that she has received too.  I love this so much because often the focus is on doing good for others, but we sometimes forget to recognize how much goodness we have received!  Since she was inspired by another blogger to take the journey, you get a twofer today.   Harula’s inspiration is Rosie Amber who started her journey in April after reading A Year of Doing Good by Judith O’Reilly, a book that will be added to my Kindle library later today.  I always find it uplifting to read about how others are living a do-gooder life and these two ladies certainly are.  What is the last good deed that you have done?  When were you last on the receiving end of a good deed?

With the first week of the Do Good Read More Summer Reading Challenge down, I am raising a glass to this challenge and inviting all of you to jump on board for the ride.  I’m feeling inspired and invigorated in ways that I haven’t since launching my blog. Moreover, I am connecting with other bloggers and offering what little I have to give – my words in the form of comments on their blogs and mine about their posts.  I hope that my small acts of commenting and sharing links have helped build their community of readers, I know it has mine.  After all, this challenge, boiled down simply, is to do small acts of kindness daily  with the knowledge that small acts often produce a much greater return than expected.  So, are you ready to be challenged?  It is never too late to start!

final sum read chall

Pick Up a Ghabit

Light switch in the bathroom

Light switch in the bathroom (Photo credit: anotherpioneer)

Pick Up a Ghabit: Ghabit is short for Green Habit and is the creation of Milesh Jain, aka Dr. Ghabit. I love this concept of empowering children to be active participants in preserving the environment. By simply establishing a habit of turning out the lights upon leaving a room or walking to and from school, your children can be proud that they’ve reduced their carbon footprint and are actively helping the environment. So, get your family together and pick up a Ghabit. Carry a bag on your walks to collect litter, turn off the lights, use less water, walk more and drive less, the possibilities are endless and Mother Earth will thank you.

via Do-Gooder Kids Activities.

Riding in Cars With Kids, Hoagies and Fanny Packs

final sum read chall

 

I’ve come to realize that there is absolutely no way that I will be able to post everyday about my Reading Challenge discoveries.  Life gets in the the way of that – and I do not mean that to sound negative.  Yesterday, I spent a lovely day with my girls visiting one of our favorite indoor play areas and then took them bowling in the afternoon.  I am so lucky to be able to take the day and live it with my children.  So, I will post as frequently as life allows about my Reading Challenge finds and I will enjoy my children,  except maybe when one or both of them is engaged in a meltdown of epic proportions.  Then, I will just tolerate them.

Enhanced Kid Car Photo

Enhanced Kid Car Photo (Photo credit: clappstar)

Day 3:  Today, I followed the recommendation of the WordPress Reader and discovered some truly inspired writing.      I clicked on the link to Free Little Words and landed on a post about car trips with loud children.  YES!  I can relate to this.  My little darlings each have a healthy set of lungs and they love to use them in unison, in the car and especially when mommy has a headache.  Or so it seems anyway.  Keladelaide at Free Little Words vividly describes different types of car rides with young children that any parent who drives can relate to and makes you see the humor in them.   She writes about love in all its forms.  The love between mother and sons, brothers, lovers, friends and anywhere that love exists.  On the origins of the title, she writes, “The name of my blog came to be from those three little words we all wish to hear whether it be from a parent, child, lover or partner. ’Free’ was substituted for ‘three’ because they don’t cost anything to say and my little guy, then 2, could not say three properly-it came out as free.”

 

Dodgy Wawa Hoagie! (Hi-Res).

Dodgy Wawa Hoagie! (Hi-Res). (Photo credit: stev.ie)

Day 4:  I can hardly believe it, but I discovered a blog post today that contained the word “hoagie” in the title.  Do you know what a hoagie is?  If not, you must go read this wonderful post on an incredibly fascinating topic at The Misfortune of Knowing.  It is all about American dialects and how people in different regions identify the same item by different terms.  I personally was excited by the word “hoagie” because, as this map demonstrates, it is highly unique to the greater Philadelphia area.  Dialects, here and abroad, have always been of interest to me.   I remember, when working at a camp in college, I had a bunch of coworkers from the UK and we had a hell of a laugh over the phrase Fanny Pack.  You see, counselors had to carry bright red Fanny Packs to hold camper medicines.  While Fanny Packs are highly unfashionable to the point of being comical here in the US, my new friends from the UK could not hear the phrase without smirking and elbowing each other.  You see, to them “fanny” was slang for a certain part of the female anatomy.  We had quite a few laughs that summer learning their vocabulary: fags (aka cigarettes), snogging (aka making out), and  having a kip (taking a nap), among others that are perhaps better not mentioned.

 

Interested in joining the reading challenge, discovering new blogs, encouraging fellow writers and expanding your blog’s exposure?  Here’s how!

 

Day 2: This Mama is Keeping it Real

I needed a laugh tonight.  It had been my intention to post my Do Good Summer Reading Challenge post each morning and here it is 9:30 PM and I am just now getting to it.  Josie was up at 5:50 AM.  Here is the official SHOUT OUT to The Hubs for getting up with her.  I got to stay in bed with my little Lily who joined us at around 3:30 AM.  But, by 7 AM the household was buzzing and and by the time we left for school at 9:00 AM, I knew Josie was going to be a BEAR today.  On top of getting up at 5:50 AM, she also did not go to sleep until 10 PM last night.  So, while she normally gets 11 hours of sleep a night, she only got a little less than 8.  Not good for an already moody nearly 4 year old.  After school, she was exhausted and unwilling to take a nap.  So I laid with her for an hour while she cried and finally she dozed off.  But by that time, it was 2:35 PM and there was no way she could sleep past 3:30 PM.  Do you see where this is going?  I set her little pink alarm clock that she picked out at Target and it started buzzing at 3:30 PM and then I lovingly stroked her face and hugged her and welcomed her back to the world of the awake.  But, my Josie is not a happy person when she is awoken before her time and she proceeded to scream for another 40 minutes or so.  Only this time, the screaming ignited a hissy fit from her sister too.  As I repeated my mantra, “This Too Shall Pass” in my mind, I tried to think fast.  I knew she was just tired and cranky and I also GetAttachment.aspxknew that if I didn’t get a moment of silence, I was going to lose it.  So, I said let’s go to the mall and buy that new underwear you were asking for.  Within a minute, the waterworks had stopped, Josie had her shoes on and was helping Lily into hers.  So yes, not my proudest moment as a Mama and not the kind of behavior I typically reward, but Josie got her Days of the Week Underwear from Old Navy and Mommy got her peace and quiet.

That was a long digression, but I do feel better having gotten that off my chest.  So first, thank you for listening.  Second, you will now better understand why I felt a sense of camaraderie with The Mama at keepingitreal4mamas.  I was searching WordPress for humor tags and I read a couple, but this one spoke to me.  You see, The Mama’s latest post is about how she can claim victory (at least for this moment) in getting her child to take a bottle.  I like that she saw the humor in the situation – it is necessary as a mom to be able to step back and laugh at yourself sometimes.  But I also like that she is airing her dirty and clean laundry to help first-time moms survive the first year.  No matter how much you read, you are always surprised by something in your first year (or maybe 10) of motherhood, but this mama is attempting to help other moms feel “normal.”

I experienced a child who would not take a bottle and it is a hell I would not wish on any other mama.  Kudos to moms who are perfectly happy to breastfeed exclusively, but I was a mama who would have given almost anything to have been able to hand a bottle to The Hubs, go out for a girls night and give my boobs a rest.  But my sweet, lovable, animated little Lily refused.  That is, she refused until 2 nights ago when, at 22 months, she found a bottle stuck in the back of a cabinet and decided she had to have it at bedtime.  Really?   I am embracing the humor in that tonight and hope you can too.  lily bottle

Want to join the Do Good Read More Summer Challenge?  Click here to find out how.

Summer Reading Day 1: I Discovered Kindness Girl

final sum read chall

It’s only Day One of the Do Good, Read More Summer Reading Challenge and I have already hit gold.  For the first day I decided to search Google for “kindness blogs” and I stumbled upon Kindness Girl.  I landed on her home page but was instantly drawn to something called the Magic Wand Project For Kids.  Folks, let me tell you that this idea is just magnificent and, yes, magical too.  Patience Salgado overheard her children talking about magic one day.  The entire conversation is on her blog, which you MUST visit, but the quote that stands out was spoken by her 7 year old son Jack, “Magic doesn’t come from the world, it comes from people, and their kindness, that’s where magic comes from.”  Doesn’t it take your breath away?

In response to this conversation, Patience launched the Magic Wand Project For Kids.  She  placed 100 Magic Wands around her hometown, Richmond, VA, with a tag attached inviting the children who find the wands to do 3 acts of kindness and discover their kindness magic.  She also created a Facebook page where families could check in and tell stories of their Magic Wand experience.   I think every child finds magic to be fascinating and has at some point has pretended that a stick found on the ground was their own personal magic wand.  It is easy to see how thrilled a child would be to find a Magic Wand and, in turn, how excited they would be to do their acts of kindness.  The possible impact of this program is far-reaching.  Each child does 3 acts of kindness and then returns the magic wand into circulation for another child to find who will then do their 3 acts of kindness.  Patience has also made it easy for individuals like me to launch the Magic Wand Project For Kids in my neighborhood by providing links to download the tags and suggestions for getting started.  Let’s just say that I don’t think this is the last time you will hear of the Magic Wand Project on my blog.

The Do Good, Read More Summer Reading Challenge empowered me to actively seek out a new blog today and I am so glad it did.  I don’t know that I would have discovered this gem without the challenge.  Do you need some extra motivation to expand your blogging network?  Maybe you just need to find new inspiration and reading some new blogs will help you get there.  Perhaps you just love offering encouragement, feedback and constructive criticism to fellow bloggers.  If you fit any of the above categories, join me in the Do Good Read More Summer Challenge.  It is a small time investment to read and comment on a new blog each day but the return on your investment will be grand.  Click here to learn more about participating in the challenge.

Reading Challenge Starts Monday!

final sum read chall

Summer Reading Challenge Rules:

  1. Display the Do Good, Read More Summer Reading Challenge Image on your website and link it back to this post.
  2. Read one blog that you have never visited each day from June 24th – August 18th. Explore other blogging platforms, click on suggested posts, ask others for suggestions – the only rule is that the blog must be “new to you.”
  3. Leave a comment for each of the bloggers whom you have discovered. You can offer support and constructive criticism or share knowledge and ideas.
  4. Share the blogs you have discovered in any way you see fit. Blog daily, compile weekly lists, or write a “This is How I Spent My Summer” post sharing all the links.

Follow these rules and by the end of the summer, you will have connected with 56 new bloggers and your exposure will have grown considerably. Better yet, you will be supporting your fellow writers who, like you, take the time and have the courage to share their thoughts and ideas with world using blogging as their medium.

via Do Good, Read More Summer Reading Challenge.

Tea Party Chats – On Summer, Kindness and Helping Others

Josie and I rang in the first day of summer with one of our famous tea parties while little sister Lily was napping.  Thanks to Fancy Nancy, our conversations are typically of the hoity-toity variety, using fancy words like scrumptious and spectacular.  But today, I decided to interview Josie to spice things up a bit.  Enjoy Josie’s musings on summer, kindness and helping others, especially her extremely sincere, beautifully spoken sign-off.