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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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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Ballooning

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Emotions, Encouragement, Milestones, Mother, Motherhood, Mothering, Parenting, School | Posted on 07-09-2016

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You know Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web? And how he protects Charlotte’s egg sac for months? The baby spiders finally hatch and he’s delighted! But then he’s suddenly devastated because they immediately fly away?

That’s exactly how I felt when my three kids went back to school this week. After such a fun summer being together and adventuring, then poof, they were gone.

Wilbur tearfully calls goodbye to each of them and is fraught with despair. That was me, but trying to hold back the tears, and be encouraging. You will do great!

According to Scientific American, Charlotte’s hatchlings were “ballooning,” the method that baby spiders use to disperse themselves through nature. In fact, most spiderlings, after emerging from the egg sac, spin a dragline and balloon away. I read that baby spiderlings have no wings, but can fly as high as the highest-flying insects and birds, depending on the air current and weather and such. I also learned that baby spiders are called spiderlings. ūüôā

Charlotte’s spiderlings are full of hope and are excited for what’s ahead. They are ready to launch, days after emerging from the egg sac.

My three children have been nurtured a little longer than the spiderlings (ha!) and are each in different launch phases. My oldest son is now a senior in high school. My daughter is in the eighth grade. My youngest son just started sixth grade. We are done with elementary school with one and college is on the horizon for another…the other is in between. Each child is full of hope and excitement (and some angst) for what’s ahead. I am not worried about them adjusting and learning and experiencing. No doubt, it’s an exciting time! They are up for the challenges of academics and social–and everything in between. I feel confident that they are confident and prepared to launch. It’s just that their leaving makes me a little sad.

Janet Lehman, an author with Empowering Parents, emphasizes: “As parents, we really have to accept that our kids are growing into separate individuals. That’s a good thing, because that’s how they learn to function in the world.”

We want our baby spiders to “balloon,” don’t we? As parents, we want to instill in them love and support and encouragement that reinforce that they have the abilities and confidence to function, launch, and excel.

This is nature. Spiderlings venture off on their own. Each has its own path. So do humanlings. And they usually “balloon” on the first day of school. With backpacks.

Transitions are hard for me. One of the hardest is going from summer to fall. Summer, with its free-flowing fun and so much time with my children. Then, bam. Fall, with its schedules and rigidity and less time with my children. I can’t help it: I love to be with my children. Plus, who doesn’t like to eat ice cream and walk along the river and adventure in the city and play with Otis in the backyard shade?

My youngest saw my tears and said, “Mom, don’t cry. It’s not like I’m going to boarding school. I’ll be home later today!” He was right.

Chin up! As Charlotte would say.

Go, spiderlings, go! Fly free! (And I’ll see you at 3:00 p.m.!)

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Wieners In Your Face

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Humor, Mothering, Parenting | Posted on 29-08-2016

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Shit!

That was the first word uttered in Sausage Party. And that was my first reaction bringing my eleven-year-old and thirteen-year-old to this raunchy, totally-not-VeggieTales matinee.

When I watched the trailer, I thought what could be funnier than talking wieners?

We live in a family with three males, four if you count our dog–and two females. We women are outnumbered. Silly talk. Crudeness. Butt jokes. Wiener humor. We value openness and humor. It’s part of our family. My daughter and I are not phased. In fact, we join in with the comments. That what she said… This drawing is of a friendly penis, drawn years ago. Its artist shall remain unnamed. I keep it thumbtacked to my bulletin board for a giggle.

I was expecting Sausage Party to be full of wiener-dick-balls-buns jokes. It didn’t disappoint. However, we definitely were not the target audience. Ooops. Bad judgement on my part. Swing and a miss!

The movie had some good messages: how everyone has a purpose in life (including bagels and juice boxes). And everyone deserves to be loved. Except. Imagine animated horny hot dogs getting it on with sexy hot dog buns. Food porn. The final scene was an all-out food orgy on aisle 3.

I goofed taking my kids to this movie. All in a day of parenting, I guess, where there are hits and misses. Earlier that day, I took them to lunch at the Thai restaurant (hit), we shopped for school supplies (miss), and my youngest had his first guitar lesson (hit). Then, weenies in your face (miss).

I talk openly with my kids about anatomy. Anatomy is a part of life. I also admit when I’m wrong and I try to make things right. Mistakes are also part of life.

When we left the movie theater, I apologized to my kids that I made a mistake taking them to an inappropriate movie. I relish the fact that they forgave me.

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Let That Shit Go

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Attitude, Emotions, Encouragement, Exercise, Mothering, Parenting | Posted on 03-05-2016

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I have a great and full life. I am grateful (greatfull).

But often, I am overwhelmed. How do I make time for family, work, fun, chores, exercise, “me time,” and rest? How do I find balance?

“The key to keeping your balance is knowing when you’ve lost it.”
-Unknown

Um, I think I’ve lost it. It’s fine time I lower some of those pesky high expectations.

Some days I’ll work long hours and kick ass at work. Then my mothering skills fall behind. And I feel guilty.

Some days, I’ll spend amazing time with my children, then my work projects fall behind. And I work late at night to catch up.

Some days, I prioritize working out then I have no time to cook. And we make scrambled eggs for dinner. We go through a lot of eggs.

Some days, I’ll spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking then I run out of time to exercise. And no one likes to be around me when I don’t get my run in.

Some days, I’ll put everything on hold in order to play for the afternoon. And work projects hit the fan.

Some days, I’ll get so many chores done. And then I resent that I spent my precious time doing chores.

Balance is certainly not about perfection and high expectations. Nor is about having everything in balance. (I picture a teeter totter.) Balance is about acceptance. Accepting that things will be askew and being OK with that. Accepting that unbalance is OK. Accepting that everything is in flux. And to be OK with that. Accepting that sometimes good enough, is good enough.

‚ÄúI must remember to forgive myself. Because there is a lot of grey to work with. No one can live in the light all the time.‚ÄĚ
-Libba Bray, author

‚ÄúThere is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.‚ÄĚ
-Alain de Botton, philospher

And my favorite quote about trying to meet high expectations:

“Let that shit go.” #letthatshitgo
-hundreds of people on Instagram

Always balancing. #life #metaphor #balance

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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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A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

Jaw-Dropping

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Daughters, Love, Mother, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters, Women | Posted on 15-10-2015

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Motherhood: I went from jaw-clenching to jaw-dropping.

When I gave birth to my daughter, I clenched my jaw so tight that I developed TMJ (Temporal Mandibular Joint) disorder. This required physical therapy. More about birth stories here.

I can still make my jaw pop on command, anytime. Poppity pop.

But the second I first saw my baby girl, my jaw dropped. It was love at first sight.

Besides my jaw popping, do you know what else that girl has given me?

A deeper¬†heart from loving her so much.¬†Laugh lines from all the smiling and laughing. Tears of joy when¬†I think about¬†our sweet memories and her milestones. Bursting pride when I see her so confident, smart, strong, and accomplished. Giddiness¬†when I greet¬†her after school.¬†Amazement when I see her shine, doing something she loves, trying something new.¬†Understanding, when we talk about problems. Sadness and compassion; whenever¬†her heart breaks, my heart breaks.¬†Forever friendship–some people say parents can’t befriend¬†their children.¬†(I think that’s crap.)

Happy 13th birthday to a young woman who has already given me oh-so much.

Happy birthday to my daughter!

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The $100 Dollar Bill

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Life Lessons, Milestones, Mother, Mothering, Mothers and Sons, Sports | Posted on 06-10-2015

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Now that my sixteen-year-old son is driving, he runs errands. He makes decisions. And he buys his own football cleats.

Except, he still needs me for money.

When the time came to get¬†a new pair of football cleats, I handed my son¬†a $100 dollar bill from the red envelope that contained my gift money from last Christmas. Money saved¬†for “something special.”

Bring me back the change!

He drove. He shopped. He returned with a sparkling new pair of cleats.

Mom, you owe me $28.

What?!

Football season is well underway. As I watch my son tackle, sweat, and work so hard, I am so proud. Post-game, I always get a big, sweaty hug and smile.

So, yeah, that $100 bill was indeed used for something special.

Friday night lights.

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A Horse Penis and a Vegetable Garden

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Family, Humor, Memories, Mothering, Mothers and Sons, Projects, Questions, Summer, Teenager, Teenagers | Posted on 20-07-2015

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I get asked all kinds of questions around here.

It sure keeps things fun and surprising.

One of my sons asked me, “Would you rather get slapped in the face with a horse penis or jump in a swimming pool full of pee?”

Hmmmm…

Good question! But it didn’t really surprise me.

Then the other day, my other¬†son asked me, “Do you want to plant¬†a vegetable garden with me?”

How sweet is that?!

Now, this question¬†totally surprised me. I mean, he’s a teenager and I’m sorta not cool.

How could I pass up this opportunity to spend¬†quality time together? Planting a garden, no less. Nurturing and watching seeds grow–the perfect metaphor for life.

The answer is: I could not.

We immediately Googled what to plant in July. Lettuce, spinach, carrots, and radishes appeared to be fine crops for planting this late in the season. We were off to buy seeds. No time to spare!

Together, we tilled the soil, planted the seeds (some were the size of a pencil tip), tucked them in, and watered. We take turns watering and are looking forward to seeing the baby shoots peek out. We talk daily about “our” garden. Stay tuned for our¬†bountiful harvest…in late November!

Oh and as for the other question? Slapped in the face by a horse penis.

I'm getting so wise in my old age. ūüėČ

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Meteorites

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Attitude, Mothering, Parenting | Posted on 07-12-2014

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Last week I stopped by the library to pick up some festive books. Books about how the mouse saved Christmas, three French hens, snowmen coming to life, and gingerbread cookies running from an old couple.

I couldn’t help but feel wistful¬†when I saw mothers with their toddlers on their hips, sippy cups in one hand, piles of picture books under the other¬†arm, leaving story time with their little ones in tow.

We have ended our library-story-time-days years ago.

My library visit was brief, as I had no little ones in tow. I quickly checked out, and grabbed a few fliers about some upcoming activities, including a professor who was planning a talk on meteorites.

I was excited to show my two youngest children the book treasures. Their reactions were lackluster.

Duh.

My children have outgrown these stories. My youngest, who is nine, is reading the Harry Potter books now. But he let me read him the book about the three French hens. Just to be nice.

He was much more excited to attend¬†the professor’s lecture at the library on meteors, meteorites, and craters. So, we did! It was fascinating!

Then it hit me. Like a meteorite.

Life. Children. It’s not what it isn’t. It’s about what it is.

It isn’t library story time and sippy cups and picture books anymore. It’s space¬†and Harry Potter. Or, it’s Far Cry 4 and wrestling. Tomorrow or next week or next year, it will¬†be something different. My children are¬†learning and growing and changing. I want to¬†enjoy the¬†present moments and to accept and support my children’s¬†changes–at every stage.

Sometimes it takes getting hit on the head with a meteorite…

Tonight we learned about meteorites. #library

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