Showing posts with label Sharing is Caring. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sharing is Caring. Show all posts

Thursday, January 30, 2014

on writing, adorably

It has become a tradition for me to begin blog posts with an aside, a practice I could also refer to as "My 11th grade English teacher probably hates me." Hi Ms. Clinch! Anyway, this time my aside is somewhat related to what the rest of my post is about, and it starts with you reading stuff on other places on the interwebs. But promise to come back afterward.

Okay, here goes. Firstly, I am turning last year's post about gut health and antibiotics into a three-part series on MindBodyGreen, and the first article is up today. Go check it out! Next read this Onion article about Boston. Finally, watch this youtube video of bad NFL lip reading, which has nothing to do with anything but was so funny I nearly actually fell out of my chair laughing. [Dad, Billy will love it.]

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Oh hi, you're back. I thought of that Onion article when I mulled over the concept of this post because it's kind of how I feel telling people I'm thinking of writing full time, like, as a career. They smile and say, "That's great!," but in my head they are saying, "Awww, how adorable. She thinks she can wriiiiite."

People are probably not actually thinking that at all. Or, maybe a few are, but my anxiety isn't about them; it's just an excuse to keep me from writing. Once I stripped away those lame excuses, I had an epiphany. It's me. I'm the only thing keeping me from writing. This realization is both good and bad because now there's nothing stopping me. Well, nothing except watching that youtube video on repeat. Or feeling bad that I am not always writing now that I've had that epiphany, then gorging on peanut butter and bananas while watching that youtube video on repeat.

But even with all that banana-gorging and youtube gawking, I am somehow managing to write a little every day. I owe a lot of my inspiration to my parents, who are possibly the two most encouraging souls around, and...is this turning into an acceptance speech for a phantom award? I'll wrap it up before I get played off the stage...and to Anne Lamott for writing her very funny, very encouraging book about writing, Bird by Bird.

Something you may not have noticed, unless you're one of my children's grandparents, is that I haven't been writing about or posting Instagram photos of Vivi as much so far in 2014. There are several contributing factors to this trend. But the most essential point is that she is growing into a person with her own thoughts, feelings, and opinions, and I think she deserves to have her privacy back. It's bittersweet to see her become a little lady and be so proud of her but also realize that Vivisms are probably all but gone for good (which means no more tripping on butt cracks). I still write about being a parent, but I think I'll post less about my kindergartner's day-to-day behaviors and more about the postcard-worthy accomplishments.

My BRF when I am reading what I've written...more like CRF (creepy resting face)

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

counting our blessings {the frozen pipe story}

Over the weekend, one of our toilet pipes froze and burst after the temperature got down to -12degF overnight. When it had frozen but not yet started leaking, we frantically tried to warm it up with a hair dryer and space heater, but all we really did was prompt the water to melt faster and eventually spray out of the already-damaged piece of pipe. Luckily we were in the basement having a look at the crawl space under the bathroom when it happened, so we were able to shut off the water right away and clean up the stray water with towels. It was a low moment for morale in the Ranger house and yet another example of Boston loudly telling us we don't quite fit in up here.

Nate set to work finding a plumber who could make an emergency weekend house call even in the midst of many such calls from Massachusetts residents who were without heat and/or also experiencing burst pipes. It was a tough challenge, but he managed to find a competent-sounding dude who could come on Sunday.

We ended up having to shut off the main water line because the shut-off valve going to the bathroom wasn't working, so that meant we had no water for cleaning and flushing the toilet. Luckily we had plenty of snow in the backyard. After gathering a bucket of it, I went on Instagram proclaiming my new status as Ma Ingalls. As I was heating up water to do dishes, it occurred to me how blessed we are in our daily lives to have all the cheap, clean, convenient, hot water we could want, not to mention a dishwasher and washing machine to do the heavy cleaning.

When the kids began to notice the changes around the house that day, I tried to make it sound like an adventure. That part came easily to me since I was able to draw from a wealth of memories from my own childhood. I thought of all the strong women in my life--my mom, aunts, and grandmas--who did an excellent job imbuing me with the sense that I could overcome any obstacle, that nothing could hurt me because I was loved, and that life was beautiful. I hope I pass on that courage to my daughters.

My favorite moment when we turned the water on was Charlie excitedly exclaiming, "Now we can wipe and flush again!" It's the little things.

Looking back, I see that what we had was the best case scenario of where and when a pipe could have frozen in our house to cause the least amount of damage. It happened in the downstairs bathroom, located at a corner of the house over the basement. It also served as a great learning experience for us southerners. But you wouldn't have known that positive spin at the time to hear all of our moaning and griping to our parents about how "maybe we're not cut out to be homeowners after all." Fortunately our parents are all good, patient listeners who take hyperbole like that with a grain of salt.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

{girl rising}: go see it!

I never embed videos in the blog two days in a row, but the exception is worthwhile because this film is itself so exceptional:



I saw it a few nights ago at our town's tiny theater with girlfriends. Find a theater near you to see it for yourself. I recommend taking your daughters too, so long as they are 13 or older. There are stories of sexual violence and a child giving birth in the film, but they are handled with discretion for the sake of minors watching. A few moms and seventh graders were leaving the theater next to us, and I overheard one say to the other, "Oh thank goodness! I was worried about where we were headed for a moment, but I think it was just perfect." I couldn't have said it better myself. Powerful, inspiring, important.

If, like me, you leave the theater wondering how you can donate, check out this website. The issue of girls' education is one that is dear to my heart. When I left Kenya the second time, I tried to assist in the creation of a Kenya girls' education fund, and I learned much about the process of becoming a NGO, as well as other great life lessons. Now in my thirties, I'm happy to see there's an organization doing good work in this needed area. I hope that some day, girls won't have to live their lives on the street, selling their bodies to feed their hungry families.

I wrote about this girl in a post last year

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

my toddler, the terrorist

You'll have to trust me that there's a toddler under that blanket. Talking to some necklaces.

I'm fond of joking that Charlie is our very own teensy terrorist because of how often she reverts to scare tactics--screeching at the top of her lungs, crying, sitting down in the middle of traffic--to get what she wants. Sometimes I'm not sure even she knows quite what she wants. Add to that baby-psychosis that she is stubborn as the day is long. Often I have trouble finding the humor in my terrorism joke. Yesterday after a moment of such megalomania, I consulted the Interwebs and found that a humorist blogger I like, How to Be a Dad, has a post on this topic too. A few laughs later, I at least see I'm not alone in my occasional torment.

When the tyrant in her comes out, I say a little "Serenity now!" prayer and try to summon some compassion for her. I realize she isn't crying to manipulate me--at least not usually--and that it must be very tough to be the little sister. So much of her day she hears the word "NO!," from Vivi as much if not more than us. I vacillate between wanting to strengthen her patience muscle and just wanting to shut her up. While I feel like I fail at times more than I succeed, I have on random occasion achieved some success at calming the tiger.

When dealing with the terrible twos, I try to look at the bright side; for the most part, she's still my easy-going kid, eating pretty much everything that's put in front of her and using the bathroom since before the age of two. I count those wins as major victories. When she does fight me, I assume she is trying to gain some control in her world and offer her some control when I can. A choice between two options is often the solution, and if that doesn't work, distraction is my second favorite tactic. Talking to her in the voice of one of her favorite stuffed animals works quite well--Alligator says "Charlie, I really hope you'll put on your sweater because I think it's so pretty!"

I keep an arsenal of snacks at home and on the road to keep her blood sugar up, I try not to skip her nap when I can, and I keep TV and sugar to a minimum. From trial and error, I've learned these tricks help me most, although calamity still comes around despite my best efforts.

Do you have experience with this territory? How do you keep your tiny dictator at bay?

p.s. Because I loved it so much, I'm also sharing Design Mom's Olive Us episode called "How to Be Two." If you don't know Gabrielle Blair, her current two year old is her fifth or sixth child, and in my visions of what their life is like in France, I imagine them taking her tiny tantrums in stride, laughing and clucking about what an adorable soul she is. Meanwhile, I am sighing and playing another round of Candy Land.


How To Be 2 from Olive Us on Vimeo.

p.p.s. I liked up today with Works for Me Wednesday because this (sort of) works for me. Winky face!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

this is my message to you

three little birds

Politics don't mix well with the other writings on this blog, so I'll keep my comments as neutral as I can.  It's a day of mixed feelings for me. On the one hand, my guy won. But as a moderate/independent voter (fiscally conservative, socially liberal), I had actually struggled for a bit about who I'd vote for at one time, which puts me in a somewhat unique position of understanding how both sides feel today.

My concern resides mostly with a system that feels like it isn't working, regardless of who is in the driver's seat, so my happiness is short-lived. I long for a system I can feel passion and loyal pride for when speaking to friends from other countries. Yes, we all get to vote and that's fantastic and something to rejoice about in a world in which a simple vote is often denied. But I want more for us.

If you are hurting today and feeling lost, I probably can't offer you much in the way of consolation. Although it might be cheesy and mildly hippy dippy of me, I'll offer a song that added a small amount of warmth to my disconsolate heart back in 2004. It's Bob Marley's Three Little Birds, and I particularly like the version from Nick Jr/Noggin that has an accompanying cartoon.

Hugs to all aisles today!
xoxo
~J

Saturday, March 31, 2012

sharing is caring: {blogger lessons}

I'm sharing this post because I've been asked my opinion by bloggy friends on some web tools, so I thought I'd blab my thoughts with y'all on what I've been reading and learning about recently. I'll be back tomorrow to dish on some of my inaugural canning lessons (spoiler alert: I broke my jar cherry..and broke a jar!); if blogging isn't your thing, I hope you'll catch me on the flip side. If, however, you are a blogger, I hope you'll find this information useful. On a related note, I also wrote a few tutorials a while back that you might be interested in: How to make a blog button and How to make a social media bar.

A quick disclaimer: I'm sharing what I know as I learn, but if you feel like something I say doesn't jive with your knowhow, please speak up! I hope this blog will be a positive learning space for everyone, including and perhaps most notably me.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

calling all birth stories!

I learned today that 100% of my Facebook followers are women. 100%! Which got me thinking. If the comments y'all leave me are any inkling, most of you reading this post are also women (which may not be fair in this case, considering the post has birth in the title. Men undoubtedly ran screaming). I'm writing today to see if any of you lovely readers are interested in posting your birth stories on my new doula website.

When I was pregnant, the #1 source of help to me was hearing and reading mothers' birth stories. I read Spiritual Midwifery from cover to cover, which is a collection of birth stories that took place on Ina May Gaskin's farm in Tennessee. It was empowering to discover that many women not only gave birth without much outside assistance but that they frequently enjoyed the birth experience. Unfortunately being pregnant also seemed to draw out the random strangers (or even members of my family) who had very challenging labors, and I heard some traumatic stories too.

Friday, February 17, 2012

s'more Friday linky love...mmmm, s'mores....

                                                                                    Source: simplesong.typepad.com via Justine on Pinterest


Friday, February 10, 2012

sharing is caring: linky love

Hi everyone! Hope you've had a great week. Beantown seems relatively perky after the disappointing loss by the Pats at the Super Bowl. Here are some links to love for your Friday:


Pin It


A friend shared the site for this crafty blogger who's making stuffed animals out of children's drawings! I WANT ONE.

One of my favorite cookbooks, The Beekman 1802, has a website with recipes, blogs, forums, shopping, and more. Pardon me while I go browsing...I'll resurface again eventually.

Did you see Design Mom's Old Navy Giveaway? I think I might just be able to purchase clothes for the rest of my kids' childhood with $500.

I have already started logging when and where the spring consignment sales will be near me. Have you?

Do you read Family Sponge? It's a rabbit hole of parenting goodness.

I am already beginning plans for Vivi's birthday party, possibly because she wants to discuss it fourteen trillion times a day. More soon. I think we'll serve pink lemonade with these adorable mason jar lids and straws. Maybe I'll add some cookies or cheese crackers.

Editor's Note: This post is a part of 5 Minutes for Mom's Pin It Friday.

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