Everyone Poops

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Books, Childhood, Childrearing, Family, Happiness, Life | Posted on 19-03-2017

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One of our favorite family books is Everyone Poops.

In case you don’t know this book, it should be part of every young child’s library. The book tells about how all living creatures, big and small, poop. Even insects. Even snakes.

My children and I have the lines memorized:

“A one hump camel makes a one hump poop. And a two hump camel makes a two hump poop. Just kidding.”

Publishers Weekly gave the book a horrible review, “Okay, so everyone does it–does everyone have to talk about it?”

Yes!

It’s fun to poop! It’s fun to talk about poop! Poop is part of life!

And don’t we, as parents, want to raise our children to be happy and confident pooper?

The review goes on to say, “Call it what you will, by euphemism or by expletive, poop by any name seems an unsuitable picture book subject.”

Unsuitable to whom?

Unsuitable to people who have no sense of humor, obviously.

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Which Way?

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Life, Life Lessons | Posted on 27-02-2017

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I went snowshoeing with my buddies. And for some reason, I didn’t really care where we were going.

Here we were at the base of a mountain, in search of a lake. We snowshoed single file talking all the while, stopping for water, for a Caveman bar snack, for a laugh break. The leader of our pack had the trail map. I was last in line, bobbling along without the need to navigate.

Instead, I focused on the patterns in the snow, the crispness of the air, the snow-laden trees, the crunching of my snowshoes, the sweat building up under my armpits.

We came to a map in the path. There was no “you are here” marked. We had little idea where we were. Where was the lake? Who knows? Onward we went, until we came to a snow globe-like mountain. We were surrounded with snow drifts and trees and magic.

We never did find the lake. But we found beauty and peace and laughter.

In life, we don’t always know what will happen next or which path we should take. Right now, I am at a crossroads in my life. With my children growing up. With my job.

Which way will I go? I’m not sure. For now, I’m doing my best to enjoy the journey.

Which way? #snow #winter #nature #snowshoeing #life #decisions

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It was like being in a snow globe! #snow #winter #nature #snowshoeing

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Big Things

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Children, Connections, Emotions, Family, Life, Love, Motherhood, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters, Mothers and Sons | Posted on 21-11-2016

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It’s the little things in life that matter.

Whatever.

Around here, it’s the big things in life that matter…to me.

My husband. He is 6’3″ and his heart is equally as big. He is always up for a hike, buys me my favorite movies like Love Actually on Blu-Ray, and scrubs down the inside of the splattered microwave without me asking.

My oldest son. He is 6’4″ and tells me he loves me every time he walks out the door. At 17, he’s gone more than he’s home. School, work, friends, gym. So, I hear it a lot.

My daughter. She’s 5’9″, now taller than me. She is as fun as she is sweet. Kind as she is talented. Lovely as she is loving. All that and more.

My youngest son. He now reaches my chin, having grown three inches since summer. He is a joy to be around. The twinkle in his eyes indicates that he is up for an adventure. Or that he ate the last four Oreos.

My dog. At 115 lbs., he pulls me up the steep hills when we run together (whew!), takes up 3/4 of the bed when he stretches out, and is the best popcorn-catcher I know.

Big grocery bills. Big piles of laundry. Big smiles. Big laughs. Big hugs. Big love.

Big gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Chicks, Ducks, and a Bunny…Oh My!

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Animals, Childhood, Childrearing, Children, Growing UP, Happiness, Ideas, Imagination, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Mother, Mothering, Pets | Posted on 17-10-2016

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Who buys her daughter baby chicks, baby ducks, and a bunny…in the middle of the city?

My mother…that’s who!

Imagine the squeals of delight one Easter morning! The joy! I was the happiest of happy!

We didn’t live in the country. Nor did we have the proper pens and enclosures yet built. We housed our extended family in our laundry room off the kitchen. Added some heat lamps. Purchased feed. Received a donated rabbit hutch for the backyard.

Our farm was set!

Like Fern from Charlotte’s Web, I fed, watered, nurtured, and talked to my animal friends every day. Their peeps and nibbles and sweetness made me overjoyed. My friends thought I was so lucky…indeed, I was!

One baby duck, Quincy, didn’t make it and died after a week. It was a tough life lesson. The other duck, Abraham, thrived.

When the chicks and duck outgrew their soft downy feathers and grew into their adult feathers, it was time to move them from the laundry room to the backyard, into coops and hutches.

One chick grew into–gasp!–a rooster and became the 5:00 a.m. alarm clock for the neighborhood, with his loud cock-a-doodle-dooing. Abraham was so well mannered, that you could leash him and take him for a walk. The rabbit was simply happy with carrots and came out for snuggles.

Our menagerie of animals represented my childhood: colorful, joyful, interesting, and full of life, love, and experiences. My mother was the ring leader, with her big heart and personality, always unconventionally fun and cool. I am so lucky to be her daughter.

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I Once Was Blind

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Life, Life Lessons, Metaphor | Posted on 04-10-2016

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I once was blind, but now I see.

Or so I thought.

A few years ago, my eyesight was going. Each day my vision was getting blurrier. My eyes stung.

I squinted and Googled my symptoms. Sure enough, I was going blind.

I had to wait three days for my eye appointment. Those three days were agony. I’m going to miss my children’s beautiful faces. I’m going to miss watching them grow. I’m going to miss my husband’s reassuring smile. I’m going to miss the flowers that I love to photograph. How will I see the world? How will I watch movies? How will I drive? How will I experience all of the color and sights and richness of life?

My depression and worry and self-pity mounted with each passing minute. I wept.

Turns out, it a bad batch of eye drops I had been using. After some tests, the doctor reassured me that my eyes were temporarily burned and my eyesight was 20/20 (thanks to Lasik surgery awhile back). After flushing out with good eyedrops, I’d be as good as new.

The next day was Thanksgiving. No joke. And, oh, how thankful I was.

Sight! My children! My husband! Flowers! The world! Movies! Independence! The richness of life!

This is one of my favorite memes: I opened two gifts this morning. They were my eyes.

When I think back to “losing my eyesight,” I am reminded (once again) about gratitude. What prompted me to write this was seeing a blind woman with her cane the other day, while on my run. She was stumbling up the steep hill, navigating the cracks in the sidewalk and the bumps of the curbs. Meanwhile, I was across the street, running downhill. In sharp contrast, I have it so easy.

I paused to see how she was doing. From what I saw, she had amazing perspective. She was outside walking, taking in the morning’s briskness, crunching on the fall leaves, bundled in her hoodie, for goodness sake! Was that a faint smile on her face as she took it all in?

Watching her (staring, actually), I stumbled a bit. Maybe because I was in awe of her calmness and her strength. She seemed to have a good handle on her path, her life. That blind woman opened my eyes. To gratitude. To grace. To strength. To awesomeness.

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Rock and Roller

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Childhood, Growing UP, Happiness, Life, Memories, Teenager | Posted on 29-09-2016

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The year was 1983.

It was a hot year for fashion. Hello, matching terry cloth outfit.

It was a hotter year for music. Here is what was on the radio. And on my newly gifted Sony Walkman:

Every Breath You Take, The Police
Billie Jean, Michael Jackson
Flashdance…What a Feeling, Irene Cara
Down Under, Men at Work
Beat It, Michael Jackson
Total Eclipse of the Heart, Bonnie Tyler
Maneater, Daryl Hall & John Oates
Sweat Dreams, Eurythmics
Do You Really Want to Hurt Me, Culture Club
Come on Eileen, Dexys Midnight Runners
She Works Hard for the Money, Donna Summer
Let’s Dance, David Bowie
Africa, Toto
Little Red Corvette and 1999, Prince
Stray Cat Strut, Stray Cats
Tell Her About It, Billy Joel
Goody Two-Shoes, Adam Ant
Rock the Casbah, The Clash
Come Dancing, The Kinks
Back on the Chain Gang, The Pretenders

For me, it was an even hotter year for roller skates. Those roller skates were my empowerment. I lived in a smallish town in California that was 1.7 square miles, rich in community and smack in the middle of the sprawling San Francisco Bay Area. I skated to buy doughnuts. Ten doughnut holes for a buck. I skated to 7-11 for Red Vines and Jolly Rancher sticks. I skated one mile to my bank where I maintained a modest savings account. I would sometimes deposit but mostly withdraw. Long before ATMs, I tucked my bank book in the waistband of my shorts, then walk on the tips of my stoppers to the teller and usually withdraw $10. I would fold the ten dollar bill into my skate where it would be nice and sweaty when it was time to spend it.

Ten bucks would last two weeks to feed my sugar obsession.

1983 was my freedom. Personal music. Transportation. Consumerism.

I remember those moments like they were yesterday. Skating over the bumps in the sidewalks. Wind in my big hair. The taste of a sour apple Jolly Rancher stick. And peach. And cinnamon fire.

Now, whenever I listen to one of these songs or savor a Red Vine, it takes me back to the days when I was free to skate from one end of town my world to the other, with only a pair of satin knee pads to protect me.

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Mud Girls

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Attitude, Celebrations, Childhood, Childrearing, Confidence, Connections, Encouragement, Exercise, Family, Life, Life Lessons, Metaphor, Motherhood, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters, Relationships | Posted on 13-09-2016

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I can’t think of a better way to kick off Mother’s Day weekend than to run a 5K Survivor Run with my daughter, navigating obstacles, slipping and sloshing through the mud, having a blast, and learning a thing or two about life lessons.

This race–complete with obstacles, mud, exertion, and fun–is a perfect metaphor for life.

You put yourself out there. You try your best. You face obstacles and overcome them. You find support. You laugh. You get dirty. You find your strength. You fall and you get back up. You learn independence. You are reminded that you can do it. You have fun. You are empowered.

What better lessons for a mother to bestow upon her young teenager?

It was not the medal at the end that made me so happy. It was the journey through the race, together. Through the ups and downs. (Up dirt hills and down into mud puddles!)

That Saturday, we were Mud Girls. In my heart, we are forever Mud Girls. Also known as Survivors.

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The (One) Time I Nearly Crapped My Pants

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Humor, Life, Life Lessons, Mother, Mothering, Nature | Posted on 03-09-2016

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There are several instances in my adulthood when I nearly crapped my pants. The most recent was last month, on a hike near Mount St. Helens. Upon entering the trail, the sign is warning enough to induce that stomach-is-churning-poop-is-coming feeling: Danger! Several fatalities have occurred in and around these waters. Stay on the trail.

Oh, crap!

Um, we’re staying on the trail. We hiked this same trail four years ago and I wrote about the seven lessons learned. Read that here.

The scenery is spectacular. It’s in a forest, at the base of Mount St. Helens. Surrounded by lush, Fir trees, there’s an aqua river that pounds through the lava canyon with such force, it has eroded the lava walls. Jagged cliffs greet you and the drop-offs are enough start crapping, especially if you have a fear of heights. Then, there’s the suspension bridge.

Suspended with cables, high above the crashing waters and lava rocks, the bridge sways. The slats are made of wooden boards with spaces in between, spaces so big that you fear your toes might get stuck like poor Vern crossing the railroad bridge in Stand By Me. Such big spaces, that our dog Otis wasn’t allowed to cross because of his innocent paws. I later read this about the bridge: “The bridge has no stiffening members under the deck at all, so each board is free to move bound only by the two cables it hangs from. Each board sinks a couple of inches with each step, giving the bridge what some have called a ‘trampoline’ feel…People with height phobias should probably turn back…”

I took a deep breath and took one step at a time. Gripping the handrails with white knuckles. My feet moved slowly, but my heart was racing. I reached the other side and my FitBit reported that my heart rate was 135 bpm. Pure adrenaline and fear.

I’m not sure why I felt compelled to take a selfie while on the bridge. Added to my fear of plummeting was my fear of dropping my phone. Proof, I guess. Proof that I did it. I knew I could. I had to. I had to overcome my fears, be brave, and set an example for my children.

But not really. Because I had sent them across first. 🙂

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Full of Pep

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Attitude, Confidence, Encouragement, Kindness, Life, Little Story, School, Teaching | Posted on 20-04-2016

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When I was in seventh grade, our teacher gave us a fun assignment. We were to write our names on a piece of paper then pass it around the classroom. Each student was to anonymously write something nice about each person: a trait, a compliment, what you like about that person. As the papers circulated, kindness filled the pages.

It was a great exercise to express the good in everyone and boost confidence. I still remember one phrase written about me:

Full of pep.

pep: noun energy and high spirits; liveliness.

I ran across this picture of me when I was in the seventh grade. Curly hair in braids, a big smile, heart-shaped sunglasses perched on my head. This was taken on our seventh grade camping trip in Yosemite. The same trip where I dared the boys to see who could stand in the freezing-cold river the longest. (Full of grit!)

The girl in the forefront is the one who wrote “full of pep.” (After we got our papers returned, she had leaned across her desk and whispered to me I wrote that. I still remember beaming back.)

Those three words written oh-so-long-ago had an impact on me and still make me smile. I will always remember my friend’s kindness and friendship…and…her accurate assessment. Wink!

Thirty four years later and still full of pep, I now have a daughter in the seventh grade. I showed her this picture and she was like, “Mom, are look the same!”

Some things never change.

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Teach a Girl to Bake Cookies and You Feed Her for a Lifetime

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Baking, Childrearing, Children, Cookies, Cooking, Kitchen, Life, Life Lessons, Mothers and Daughters, Parenting | Posted on 29-12-2015

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“Pippi makes the best cookies on Earth.” Everyone agreed. My soccer team agreed. My son agreed.

After years of baking and measuring and sampling and watching and learning, my daughter has learned the fine art of baking cookies.

Check out her gems!

The cookie-baking gene I acquired from my grandmothers has been passed down. This makes me happy.

"My Mom makes the best cookies on Earth."

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