Source: HALLOWEEN HIJINKS
Fighting streaming from upstairs.
Piles of laundry everywhere
Dirty dishes in the sink
I want to scream, then stop and think.
Of all the places that I’ve been,
Of all the people met therein,
The three that are a part of me
Are in the chaos, a perfect dream.
Each new challenge met today
Makes me smile in a certain way,
As delightful as a sweet confection
My little piece of imperfection.
Our eldest is a hurricane. She started talking at six months, walking at ten months. The first thing people ask upon meeting her is, “Does she always talk that much?” My answer is, “Yes.” She wears every emotion on the outside, for the world to see.
When our little guy was born, it became clear that he was a completely different kind of kid. We quickly dubbed him the “normal one”. He is an observer, a thinker. He does not run on impulse, instead he takes his time. He looks at little bugs on the sidewalk, clouds in the sky . . .
Then he turned three . . .
He is still an observer, and he is still my Pokey Little Puppy, but there was an explosion, a burst of language and coordination, and silly fun. Now instead of the “normal one” we ask, “Remember when he was the quiet one?”
The timing could not be better. As our daughter is getting into the swing of Kindergarten, our little guy is becoming his own person. He’s stepping out from behind the hurricane and finding his own way to be, which is something like a monsoon, intense torrential rain with beautiful calm sunshine after.
It’s hard not to compare kids, it’s one of the key building blocks to education, sorting and categorizing. As parents, especially moms, that’s how we relate to other parents, we compare children, experiences, lifestyles. I don’t think comparing is a bad thing, it’s important to embrace our differences, but it’s also important not to judge.
I received one of the best compliments from a friend. She said, “You let your kids be who they are.” I replied, “I try to,” because sometimes it’s really hard. But by embracing their natural tendencies, and encouraging kindness and empathy, they are turning into little humans that are ready to take on the world!
Lauren Child has a way of creating stories that seem to have stepped out of any child’s life. The New Small Person, is the perfect example of this.
In this book a family of three turns into a family of four, and the biggest adjustments must come from the boy who was once an only child. As his new baby brother grows this big brother finally comes to the realization that maybe this new small person isn’t so bad after all.
My favorite part of this book is when he finally calls his little brother by name.
This is a very typical Lauren Child book, with the familiar characters and illustrations that go with it. It is full of texture and color and approachable dialogue that is fun and engaging to read together with your favorite “small person”.
So maybe, just maybe it’s time for us to stop trying to convince others to follow our point of view by trying to make someone else feel stupid?
Maybe we can actually speak to one another instead of posting mean hurtful things on social media?
Maybe we can be honest with ourselves and call ourselves out for being bullies . . . all of us.
Whether you’re right or wrong, aggressor or victim, justified or opposed, just because someone was cruel to you does not give you the right to be cruel back or be cruel to someone else. It doesn’t prove a point, it’s just mean.
At first I thought it was the election year with all of its negative rhetoric, but then I realized it goes so much deeper than that. It’s been a year of Black Lives Matter, Police Lives Matter, All Lives Matter. It’s been another year of justifying hate with belligerence on all sides. It’s been a year of selfishness, ego, and narrow-minded narcism . . . from everyone. Whether I agree with you or not, whether the majority agrees with you or not, this isn’t a post about my beliefs. It’s a post about treating people, like people, not profile pictures on the internet that don’t have feelings or families.
There are consequences for actions like these, and we will see them in the next generation. Our children are reflections of ourselves. They are like fun-house mirrors, turning our behaviors into over exaggerated versions of what they see. But if this type of behavior gets any bigger, I worry about what that means for us as a society.
I realize that in posting this, in a way, I’m giving into all of these things, but I’m tired . . .
I am a naturally positive person, so much so that I drive my husband nuts with thinking the best of people. But lately the light in people’s eyes has seemed a little dimmer.
There is hope, though, always hope. I see it in several Facebook feeds that I follow.
There are more, I know, and I plan on surrounding myself with them, and blocking/turning off the negative flood that has surrounded the people of our country. And I will pray for our country, for our leaders (whomever they may be), for the next generation. I will pray that they can all find compassion for someone other than themselves. That they can become selfless, humble, and generous. I will pray that we can all embrace our differences and grow together instead of tearing each other down.
There are thousands of books on bullies, but there is one that is close to my heart, and speaks a lot to the point I’m trying to make. Alexia Versus the Birthday Bear by my husband, Tevin Hansen.
In this book Alexia is a very smart girl who finds herself at the school bully’s birthday party. It is up to her to save her not so nice classmates from a party entertainer that is actually a real bear that wants to eat them all for lunch.
The premise is silly, but the story speaks to the enormous problem of bullying. Almost every character in the book is a little mean at some point. Even Alexia is a bully to an extent because she holds her intelligence over her classmates. There is a section at the end of the book that asks the reader to answer a few questions about the characters in the book and examine why each are, in their own way, a bully.
This book is a great conversation starter. And hopefully with a little thoughtful dialogue we can be honest with each other and honest with our selves, and finally put an end to bullying.
As I lay in bed, snuggling with my little guy, I realized that one day he would be a grown-up man. And I decided that there were a few things I wanted to tell the older version of this little person beside me. There are things from this stage of his life that I want him to take into adulthood. Things to hold on to when the storms of life bombards him.
- Remember looking at the little things. Every rock, every bug, every bird in the sky.
- Keep asking questions and keep finding answers. Never settle for half-truths.
- Remember the simple joy of running and jumping, of singing and dancing to the rhythm of the world inside your imagination.
- Remember that sometimes life is like a giant heavy duty cardboard box (like the one you played with when you were 3 years old). Somedays you need a “boat” to float down the river and explore far away places. Other days you need a “house,” with a roof over your head to keep you safe from the raging storm outside. Just flip it upside down, little man. That box can be whatever you need it to be.
- Be kind.
- Be happy.
- Be brave.
- Be yourself, because that is enough.
In the spirit of the fast-approaching Halloween season, my “review” this week is mostly a throw back classic that we’ve already read at least 50 times since September 1st, The Spooky Old Tree by Stan and Jan Berenstain.
This book is full of spooky fun. It’s also a very nice early reader book, that actually keeps your little reader entertained!
My favorite memory of this book happened at the Lincoln Carnegie Library in Lincoln KS. Miss Mary, the children’s librarian, set up a story time featuring this book where the kids actually got to go on an adventure through the library acting out the story. She even had a big brown ottoman so that the kids could climb over “Great sleeping bear”.
This book is a classic and not just a Halloween staple. We read it ALL the time, especially at Halloween! So grab your stick, rope, and light and snuggle in for a great spooky book!
I long to be”Just a Stay at Home Mom”, but I don’t think that hypothetical unicorn exists. I long for her, though.
You see, we homemakers are a tough bunch. We are chauffeurs, short-order chefs, maids, teachers, lawn-care technicians. We are office assistants, schedulers, organizers. we get you where you need to be, fed, clothed, and with the appropriate sporting gear . . . most of the time.
Now, as if that wasn’t enough, we must also be, clever, crafty, funny. We must blog, start our own businesses, and spread the joy of glitter to the world in unique videos showing everyone just how awesome we are.
I’d like to blame social media, or feminism, or men in general, but the fact is that these over-expectations, come from ourselves. Because in our heads being “just a stay at home mom” isn’t enough. But I want to tell you something, “It is.” And you know what else is enough? Being a working mom, being a work-from-home mom, being any kind of mom, it’s enough.
I am right there in the middle of this mix, perpetuating every single over-expectation. I AM a homemaker, I own my own publishing house (www.handersenpublishing.com . . . check it out), obviously I blog, and I make super-cute, crafty videos involving something called Thumb Theatre. But I’m also “just a mom” trying my best to do this amazing job that I’ve been blessed with to the best of my ability.
I am trying to be present for my kids, for my husband, for my family. And it’s enough, I am enough . . . you are enough.
This post is directed at moms, but in reality, it probably resonates to everyone in general. Should you strive to be the best you that you can be? Yes, a million times, YES! Keep exploring and learning and growing. Just don’t let other people tell you what that “best you” looks like.
No book review for this post, it’s enough . . . just as it is.
Imagined conversations, daily. Stories on Sunday. See the entire collection here.
We recently moved from an apartment completely covered in carpet (with tile in the kitchen and bathroom) to a house completely covered in beautiful hardwood floors. I’m guessing that there are at least a few of you that know what’s coming next . . .
Hardwood floors are always dirty and dusty and the little balls of lint that float around the corners drive me nuts!
I’m not naive enough to think that this dust and dirt and lint didn’t exist in my carpets (and I am, only now, a little disgusted thinking about it), but now I see it. I see it while I’m gathering laundry, and I sweep. I see it while I’m reading stories, so I sweep. I see it after doing dishes, and I . . .
Because let’s face it, there are a lot of other things I’d rather be doing than sweeping.
But there’s an accountability here, and I am thankful for it in some ways. The dirt isn’t hiding in the carpet, it’s out in the open. And that forces me to look it in the eyes and either say, “Your time is up, it’s time to sweep.” or “Okay, you can stay for now, nasty puff-balls of lint. I am going to jump on the trampoline with my kids.”
Sometimes we need hardwood floors in our lives.
My book review for this week is one that I won in a Facebook giveaway. And I’m SO glad that I did!
Is Lena Pretty? by Liza Dora is one of those books that has an important lesson to teach, but doesn’t say it in a preachy way. It is also very age appropriate and very approachable. This book is a wonderful tool for teaching character.
It’s important to mention that this is NOT a rhyming book. Don’t get me wrong, I love a whimsical, sing-songy rhyming book. I even write children’s poetry—and yes, it usually rhymes. But it isn’t always necessary.
This book is a breath of fresh air. The illustrations are simple and fit the text nicely. I love what author Liza Dora signed in the front of our copy: “Smart is the new pretty. And who says you can’t be both?! Keep being kind, and smart, and helpful, and keep reading!”
I really loved this book. And I hope that our household can be accountable for teaching these standards of beauty.
Momma smiles. “If I told you someone was smart, helpful, kind, talented, and brave, would you think they were pretty?”
Lena thinks for a minute before she answers: “I’d think they were beautiful.”
Visit Liza Dora’s website to get your very own copy of Is Lena Pretty? http://www.lizadora.com/books/shop/
Sometimes you just have to roll with it!
Guess Who? vs. Your Sanity
WARNING TO PARENTS: playing the game Guess Who? with your small child is a dangerous and miserable experience. Trust me. Although you will attempt to explain it to him/her, how the box states 5 YEARS AND UP, your two-year-old will demand you play that one, disregarding the fact that there are many, many other board games to choose from.
When the tears subside (theirs, for now; yours will come later) and you absolutely must partake in this nightmarish activity, make sure you are playing it on the carpet–the softer the better. If you play it on your hardwood floors, or on a table, your child’s asinine questions/constant changing of characters/attempting to explain how the game actually works, etc…you will soon be repeatedly bashing your sleep-deprived cranium on the nearest solid object.
I liken it to running a hundred meter dash inside a…
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