The Wise Words of Five Women…Six if You Count Me

Today is a good day.  I showered for the third day in a row, no small feat when you are at home with 2 young children and can’t shower at night since the sound of the shower wakes up the baby.   And, I have caught up to the present day in the Do Good Reading Challenge.   Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is indeed a great day.

Day 22: “Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat.”  This quote by Napoleon Hill came to mind when I read 12 Days To Make Every Day Count  written by Diane Lang on her blog Creating Balance and Finding Happiness.  Number 7 on her list reads, “Every problems/issue or negative situation is a learnable, teachable moment. Always ask yourself: what can I learn from this  situation?”  I love this because it reframes the idea of a “problem” and gives you the chance to turn it into an opportunity.  When I was a manager in the nonprofit world, I would often tell my staff to come to me with solutions not problems.  It was something that a former boss of mine had instilled in me and I always felt empowered by it.  This is not to say that we wouldn’t discuss the problems and solutions, but I wanted my team to feel empowered to create change.  There is nothing like that feeling of knowing that you have solved a problem and made a significant contribution to your company, household, neighborhood or community group.  So, friends, next time you face a bump in the road, be creative and find the opportunity in it.

Bubble Bath 3

Bubble Bath 3 (Photo credit: MacGeekGrl)

Day 23:  On my journey through the Blogosphere today I met a woman who is on a mission to make positive changes in her life and be the person she wants to be.  Her blog The Journey of a Baby Giraffe is focused on the 100 in 2013 challenge that she has embarked on create change in her life in one year’s time.   I love this idea of creating a list of goals and working towards it over the course of year.  What makes this list unique is that it is a compilation of goals from the very simple (#83 – Take a bubble bath) to the very complex (#3 – Get into Grad School).  It is quite insightful of the author to recognize that the “little things” are just as important as the “big things” and deserve a place on the list too.   On a side note, I love finding other Philadelphia area bloggers and this happens to be one of them.  Yet another reason to follow her progress!

Day 24:  I feel validated about my inability to keep up with my daily reading and posting for the Do Good Summer Reading Challenge.   It’s one of the perils of summer time with children, according to JustMomMatters.   Her latest post, Summertime: When Inconsistency Is Inevitable, really rang true with me.  She writes honestly about how difficult it is to complete any writing projects when her three boys are at home and longing to hang with her.  Sure, she has started many drafts, but most have yet to be finished.  And that is okay.  She is doing what is truly important at this point in her life – being a mother to her boys who want her to play with them.  There will come a time in our lives when our kids will not want us to be near them, let alone talk to them.  So, we need to seize the moment and have fun with them when we can.  And this is why I am not upset that I am once again behind in my writing.  I have been doing important things, like painting with my girls, splashing in pools, having tea parties and playing house.Image via

Day 25:  How do you teach compassion to your kids?  That is the opening line of today’s blog discovery, All Day Mom.  The title of Carissa’s post, Teaching Kids Compassion: Family Does, caught my eye when browsing the parenting blogs because I am always looking for ideas on how to inspire empathy in my children.  Carissa’s grandmom recently had an electrical fire in her house and unfortunately her insurance does not cover cleaning or replacing her goods.  So the family has come together to help her grandmother recover from this crisis, because, as Carissa says, Family Does.  It’s true.  Family should take care of family.    In this case, Carissa went over to help clean out her grandmom’s house and her kids tagged along out of necessity.  It was not in the plan for them to help, but they jumped into action despite her encouragement to stand aside.  It was then that she had an “AHA” moment and realized that they could handle some of the tasks ahead and that this was compassion in action.  Her kids saw the state of their great grandmom’s house and wanted, no, needed to help.  Her point is that we do not need to shelter our kids from tragedy or crisis.  Within reason, we can involve them in helping in the recovery and nurture their inner-compassion. What do you think?

Day 26: Today, I found She Loves Mystery So Much She Became One and she made me laugh.  Thanks to her for that.  “Silence is golden. Unless you have kids. Then it is suspicious.”  This is something that every single parent on the planet can appreciate.  I can’t count the number of times that I have said, “It’s too quiet in here” and then leapt up to see what the girls were doing.   This was just the kind of post I needed to read on a Friday night, after a day that I spent wishing for silence so I could catch up on my blog.  Had my wish been granted, I probably would have paid for it big time.  Let’s face it, kids who are up to no good are quiet.  Quiet like ninjas.   They are so focused on their transgressions they can’t even be bother to make noise to disguise their naughtiness as normal play.  There was a time when our family was visiting with The Hubs’ best friend’s family who has a daughter about Josie’s age.  The two of them disappeared for a while and finally one of us adults observed that they were being much too quiet.  Oh boy.  The Hubs and his bestie went off to search for the missing girls and found them in the master bedroom huddled together painting each others nails. And their arms. And the floor. And let’s not forget the walls.  Yes, silence is golden until you have children.  What trouble have your children gotten into when you realized it was too quiet?

I found Lily standing on the kitchen table when things were too quiet.  She sat as soon as she saw me so this is the best evidence I've got.

I found Lily standing on the kitchen table when things were too quiet. She sat as soon as she saw me so this is the best evidence I’ve got.

Despite the fact that I am having trouble posting on a daily basis as I’d hoped, this Do Good Summer Reading Challenge has been awesome.  You should join in.  Let’s help each other find awesome blogs.


Recovering From Procrastinitis…One Day at a Time

Have you heard of the Procrastinitis epidemic that is spreading like wildfire this summer?  Have you succumbed to it yet?   I was sure this Do Good Reading Challenge was going to ward off the Procrastinitis bug, and yet here I sit like a sack of potatoes on the couch trying to find a reason to put off my reading until tomorrow.  Alas, I am out of excuses. I am no longer traveling with a 1 and 3 year old by myself as I did Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.  I have succeeded in trying to find the elusive last minute Jersey shore rental in OCNJ.  I’ve made a bunch of meal reservations for our Disney trip in October.  There are other adults available to help entertain Thing 1 and Thing 2.  I suppose I could go take a shower and that would be totally legitimate.  It has been 2, maybe 3 days, since I last showered.  But, the truth is that I really love writing and just the act of sitting down and typing out this intro has rejuvenated me.  I want to read others’ blogs and be inspired by them. So, Days 16-21 of the Reading Challenge will all be read on Day 21 – not exactly in the rules, but hey!  Rules were made to be broken, right?

Day 15: “Patience tells a toddler: You don’t have to be more than you are right now.”  Profound words, right?  I am a mom in the throes of the “terribles,” what I affectionately call the ages of one to four (and maybe beyond, but I haven’t made it there yet!)  Yes, any mom to a toddler has come to the realization that the “terrible twos” really begins around 18 months and lasts, well, I haven’t found the end yet and my oldest will be 4 in September.  There are some days I wake up with the patience of a thousand mothers and there are days that I can’t even muster enough patience to deal with the first tantrum of the day.  But, I read the line above in the post My Favorite Parenting Strategy at Science of Mom and immediately I felt a little bit of peace in my soul.  This is the kind of mantra I need to hold in my back pocket for those really hard days.  Alice, the author of Science of Mom, goes on to write that when faced with challenging situations, “staying calm is enough.”  I’ll leave you with another wise thought by Alice and encourage you to put these in your back pocket, and then have a glass of wine to unwind!

It’s tempting to try to fix the little challenges of every stage, but so much of childhood we really can’t control.”

tantrum #500

tantrum #500 (Photo credit: demandaj)

Day 16:  How to Ruin a Toddler’s Day.    Wait, there is a guide to ruining my toddler’s day? Because I thought all I had to do was put her right shoe on before her left and it would pretty much result in the worst tantrum ever.   And I guess that is what the mom behind this blog is trying to get at.  It is really easy to ruin a toddler’s day.  Smile at the wrong time.  Give her the green cup instead of the purple one.  Use the Dora shampoo instead of the monkey shampoo.  Horror of Horrors!  I happened upon a post on this blog that is titled Motherhood, Bullying and “Being Pretty.”  The post reads like an internal dialogue that every mother of daughters has at some point in her life.  We want to encourage our daughters to be more than pretty, to value intelligence, creativity and individuality.  There are points that I agree with and others that I don’t necessarily embrace, but the single most important thing I read in this post is that we, as parents, must strive to establish and maintain an open relationship with our children, to encourage communication, to teach them to be their own moral compass and to understand that not everyone is taught the same values.  Being a parent is tough, particularly in this age of bullying, but there are tools and strategies to make our jobs easier.  We just need to be diligent and seek them out.

Day 17:  I am in the midst of playing a game of catch-up on the Reading Challenge.  It is Sunday night, Day 21 and I am currently writing about Day 17.  It is frustrating not having time to focus on this blog, which I really do enjoy.  But, life gets in the way sometimes and that is why I was drawn to this post by Madi at Let The Words Escape.  Her time is crunched and her blog has been hard to maintain.  Life is getting in the way for her too, and, strangely, that made me feel better about my current predicament.  And then I clicked on this link that she described as a gorgeous depiction of the brain and it made me smile.  You see, Josie always talks about how her brain is a Rainbow Brain and this image helps me understand just a little bit. So, I will continue to push forward and get this project back on track.  Life may get in the way, but it will not sideline me indefinitely.

English: shocked expression on a girl’s face (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Day 18:  Parenting is so many things – exhilarating, joyful, frustrating, inspiring, maddening and, yes, often funny.  That is why I was so drawn to today’s discovery, Parenting is Funny.  Every parent has a funny story that is circulated over and over again at family gatherings.  This blog is an outlet for those “Do you remember the time when?” and “I can’t believe my kid said that” moments.   The mama behind the blog shares her moments that are better to laugh than scream about and invites her readers to contribute their moments too.  So, in the spirit of sharing, here is my Parenting Is Funny Moment:  I took my girls to the playground just like any other day a couple months back.  Josie was all over the playground, bouncing here and there and everywhere.  At one point, she slowed down and her sister and I caught up to her.  She turned to me and said loudly, “Mom.  Look.  That girl is brown.”  I gulped.  Turned red. And then I responded, “Yes, honey, people come in all different colors.  Isn’t that wonderful?  At the time, I was mortified, though now I just recognize that she was making an observation about her surrounding.   It’s these kind of moments you laugh about later, but, in the moment, you need to be fast on your feet and get through the moment.  Tricia, Mom of 2 Girls

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.

Random Act of Kindness Weekly Challenge 6.19.2013

This week’s challenge was inspired by another blogger who is documenting her bucket list journey.  Christine at Project Light to Life recently posted about how she found $6.00 on the floor at the mall and went on to leave $5.00 at the Disney Store where she hoped a child would find it.  I hope that a child did find it, because I can just picture the delight on his face at the discovery, can’t you?  I am sure that there was a pit in his stomach, the nervous excitement that comes with unexpected good fortune, as he told his parents about the discovery, all the while hoping he’d get to keep the money.   To find money as an adult is exciting,but to find money as a child is thrilling, don’t you think?

Group of five happy children jumping outdoors.

Group of five happy children jumping outdoors. (Photo credit: Lighttruth)

The Challenge:  Brighten a child’s day by leaving money with a note encouraging kindness where a child will find it.

There are so many ways you can accomplish this and I encourage you to be creative, but in case you are looking for concrete ideas, read on.  The amount of your “kindness donation” is up to you.  Do you have a ton of spare change around?  Fill a baggie with coins.  Do you want to really thrill a child?  Leave a nice, crisp $20 bill for one to find.  I’d suggest leaving your “kindness donation” at a playground, sports field, toy store, pool or community center.  Not sure what to write?  Here are some ideas:

  • “A gift from me to you, out of the kindness of my heart.  Remember, kindness counts.”
  • “Goodness is the only investment that never fails.” Henry David Thoreau
  • “From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.” Arthur Ashe

Turn Playtime into a Volunteer Opportunity!

I’ve written about it before, but this is by far the easiest and most fun way to volunteer your time as a family!  It helps teach your children that their opinions are valuable and that volunteering does not have to be boring.   Volunteering to map playgrounds encourages you as a family to engage in play, explore new playgrounds and communicate in new ways.  So, if you are heading out to a playground or park today, consider snapping some pictures and adding it to the Map of Play.


Put a Playground on the Map:  The Map of Play is a community generated play space finder and depends on volunteers to put playgrounds on the map. This is the ultimate family volunteer opportunity and perfect for children of any age. All you need to do to volunteer is sign up for an account on the Map of Play website. When you go to a new playground or park, snap some pictures and then ask your kids for their review of the space. Each time you add a play space to the map, you are helping other people find a great place to play!

via Do-Gooder Kids Activities.

The Power of Thank You

SONY DSCIf you’ve been reading for a while, you know that Josie donated her Chores For Charity earnings in March to KaBoom!  Well, her mommy had a terrible case of Procrastinitis and finally sent in her donation a couple weeks ago.   Yesterday, the postman delivered a letter addressed to Josie and she could hardly control her excitement.  We read it together as a family and I have to say that she has been beaming with pride about it ever since!  She is so excited that she helped to make a playground and the Thank You Note addressed to her was the perfect reminder.  It will definitely go into her memory box.

Of course, Josie was excited to get mail.  But, I think the fact that it was a Thank You card addressed to her was meaningful and really made her day.  So, my friends, don’t underestimate the power of a thank you.  Go forth and spread gratitude, thanks and goodness!



Is it bad that I already threw caution to the wind and let Josie skip her evening chore of cleaning up toys?  One day after recommitting to be The Choremaster and I have already sacrificed some credibility.  Well, I think we must have priorities in life and when mother nature hands you a lovely day you must Enjoy. Every. Moment.




And guess what?!  The toys were still here for us to clean up this morning.