Tag Archives: moms

Shipping them to Grandma’s

It’s May . . .

That means

-Nice Weather

-End of Year Field Trips

-Wired Kids

-Later Nights

-Endless Laundry (I don’t think this has anything to do with May)

It’s the calm before the summer storm, if by calm you mean a schedule that has you driving to Family Fun Night, Girl Scouts,  a field trip at the Children’s Museum, a field trip at the Nature Center, end of year Preschool celebration. On top of orthodontist appointments, work meetings, swim lessons, checkups, and the constant question (because it’s finally nice outside) “Can we go to the park? Not the one by our house, the one CLEAR across town that we haven’t been to in forever because it’s been snowing for the last six months!”

My husband’s latest song keeps playing over and over in my head:

Let’s face it, we’re all exhausted!

So, what do you do when the school year is almost at an end? You plan to send the kids to Grandma and Grandpa’s the day after school is out.

The best part is, they’re really excited! They get all the spoiling: chocolate, no bedtime, one on one attention, candy, and snuggles, what’s not to love?

We get a few days to regroup before starting the summer fun.

I think we’ll all be in a better place for starting our summer apart.

When the kids come home we’ll be ready for popsicles, and trips to the park.  It will be time to go to the beach, have picnics, visit the zoo. There are so many things we want to do this summer, and by starting it apart we will have time to appreciate each other more. The kids can leave the school year behind, and mom and dad can take a breath to regroup and be present for the next few months of “vacation” . . . at least that’s what I’m telling myself!

Advertisements

National Poetry Month Week 3: Finding Inspiration

If you Google the top five questions that authors are asked one would probably be: Where do you find inspiration?

For me it’s a combination of a lot of things. Things that are happening in my life, people I’ve met, places I’ve been, the world around me . . . all of this inspires me. But I’ve also found inspiration in other poets.

Hope

I’ve mentioned Robert Louis Stevenson and Shel Silverstein in previous posts. I will always love these poets, but as I grew older, I found myself drawn to female poets. Emily Dickinson and Maya Angelou being the two most prominent. I even painted a “Hope” mural on my bedroom wall.

 

The picture above is not my artwork, I’m no artist, but the poem inspired some of my best awkward high school/college poetry. I fully intended to open up the old journals and spill my 16 year-old heart out, but alas the notebook cannot be found. I am so sad because there were some doozies. For now, you will have to use your imagination, or maybe break out your own journal to rediscover your own teenage angst.

17436305_1782618182055118_415387053472586384_o

 

 

I did find this picture of me with two of my amazing grandparents, yet another inspiration, but totally underappreciated in my youth. I’m sure I wrote a poem that went something like:

 

 

Cold day, Easter egg hunt,

Hawaiian shirts, and family fun.

Wish I could feel the sand on my toes.

Had to put sunscreen on my nose.

Instead I’m helping kids hunt eggs.

Running on their little legs.

Next time let’s just hit the beach.

Skip the eggs and have a retreat.

Fast-forward to 2018, and I’m helping my own kids hunt eggs on an equally dismal day. There weren’t any Hawaiian shirts, though. My, how times have changed.

Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 5.01.31 PM

Today is also Earth Day, so I thought I’d share a poem from my new book, Bumble Bee Sneeze, that was inspired by a nature scene. Thanks again, to my amazing husband, Tevin, for the illustrations. I gave him a challenge this time around. The illustration that follows this one is a “finding/counting things” that are from the poem.

Jump Grasshopper,

Slither Snake,

In the grass down by the lake.

Sunshine warm,

Gentle breeze,

Flowers full of bumble bees.

Fish are splashing,

Birds in trees,

Thankful for this nature scene.

 

Happy Earth Day!

 

Happy Poetry Month

April is national poetry month!

Most of you are probably aware of my career as a mother of two, and might even be aware that I’m the CEO of Handersen Publishing. But I also write children’s poetry.WhenIWasAGrown-up

My first collection of poetry was released in 2015. “When I was a Grown-up and Other Poems” was inspired by my two kids, and what it’s like to grow up. It includes poems about everything from parents who are too busy to play, leftovers that sing karaoke in the fridge at night, and dust bunnies that might carry you away.

To celebrate poetry month, I want to give you a sneak peek – every week – into my new book, and also share some of my favorite poetry books from my childhood.

30119

My biggest inspiration growing up was (and still is) Shel Silverstein. “Where the Sidewalk Ends” is the first book that I remember getting as a gift. Although we had lots of books in our house, this book was SO magical that I wrote my name in it…with a multi-colored pen. (You know the pen I’m talking about!)

BlogPen-05

Lazy Jane was a stand out, and I remember thinking, “This can be poetry? I want to write poetry like this! I want my poetry to be fun!”

BlogPoem

I still feel this way, and hope that I can bring even a quarter of the whimsy and creativity that Shel Silverstein brought to his work. I want kids (and adults, too) to want to write poetry and know that it doesn’t have to be complicated or pretentious. Poetry can be approachable. It can be relatable. It can meet you where you are.

That is what inspired “Bumble Bee Sneeze,” my upcoming collection of children’s poetry. Once again my very talented husband, Tevin Hansen has done the illustrations. This book will be a little different than the last. Each poem is still about growing up, and many of them still have silly elements, but sometimes growing up isn’t always funny. Some things are a little bit tricky to navigate, and this book has a few of those poems, too.

But today’s poem is all about smiles. This is the title poem, “Bumble Bee Sneeze”. Everything from the short length of the poem, to the cute little guy in the illustration, hints at the fun of the book.

Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 8.52.06 PM

Thanks for checking in, all! I will be back next week with more great poems from my past, and another sneak peek at the upcoming book!

I also have an awkward high school poem reveal planned, but you’ll have to keep following along to see when that gem makes its appearance!

PoetryMonthPromo-06

Happy April!!!

 

Because sometimes . . .

Because sometimes you wake up with a sore throat, an AWFUL attitude, and something growing on your face that looks like a second chin.

Because sometimes you just want to crawl into a hole for the next 3-5 business days, but there are still lunches to make, boo-boos to kiss, hair to brush…the list never ends.

Because sometimes the Wild Kratts’ Monkey Mayhem game is the hardest thing in the entire world, and Chris and Martin should crawl into a hole.

WildKratts

Disclaimer: I’m really quite fond of the Wild Kratts. Their TV show and most of their games are wonderful. It’s just that my almost four-year-old isn’t quite ready for this game, and it is the ONLY one that he wants to play.

Yo Mama . . .

I was picking my daughter up from school today, she was doing her daily round-up of the goings-on in Kindergarten: how many blue tickets she earned (good), who was sent to the “buddy room” (a.k.a. what we DON’T call time-out anymore)…the the usual.

We were dodging bikes, excited kids, and trying not to get smacked in the face by swinging backpacks. Then I overheard something that made me shake my head and laugh out loud.

A group of third graders were having a battle of “Yo Mama” jokes. Things were gettin’ real at the elementary school, people! This yo mama battle was intense. Someone’s mama was so fat, another so stupid, and someone else’s mama was something so bad that it could only be shared in a hushed whisper.

All I could think was: “Seriously? Yo mama jokes? Haven’t we come up with something better than that yet?”

According to gizmodo.com the oldest “yo mama” joke is 3500 years old:

Around 1,500 BCE, a student in ancient Babylon inscribed six riddles on a tablet. 3,500 years later, these proto-jokes lose a lot in the translation, but one thing’s for sure: the Babylonians are saying something about your mother.

I like to think that we, as a species, have evolved over time. We’ve had civil rights and women’s rights, we’ve eradicated deadly diseases, we’ve overthrown corrupt governments, but one thing remains . . . the “yo mama” joke.

Why is it always about the mothers?

Respect the Mamas, people!

Mothers lovingly raise you, they wipe your butt, cook your meals, drive you to football practice, dance class, boy scouts, 4-H! And yet, we take this constant playground punishment! Here’s one for you:

yomama2

 

I am going to skip the book review for this blog because we are currently on a rotation of 15 early reader Rescue Bots books. And I’m pretty sure, if you have a preschool aged boy or girl (my six-year-old daughter is also obsessed), you can guess what they are all about.

Instead, you can watch this video of the amazingly awesome 80’s inspired theme song!

This is NOT our normal toilet paper.

It looked like the toilet paper that I normally buy. It was the same brand, same packaging . . . I didn’t even read the label. It had been a long day of errands, and this was my last one. With two kids running around the store like maniacs, it was time to go. I just didn’t realize that when we got home and it was time to go, that we would have a problem on our hands.

Growing up, there was one rule in our house: “Don’t buy cheap toilet paper.” And I was grateful for that rule. Now as a mother, I try to live by it as well. Until, that is, Aldis changed their packaging.

My son put the toilet paper away. It’s his one big responsibility and he LOVES stacking the rolls in the bottom cupboard. So I didn’t realize my mistake until it was too late.

“Bogies, mum…” said my 3-year-old, arms at his sides–we’re trying to teach him not to use his shirt, or his arm as a tissue.

“Okay, hold on,” I said.

As I went to grab some TP, I was not greeted with the soft, two-ply, quilted delight that is usually there. This was worse than the toilet paper you find in mall bathrooms. This was one-ply, rough, falls apart, awful.

I went to the trash and checked the packaging. It was the same brand, but it was NOT our normal toilet paper. And now we had a LOT of it because when it’s only one-ply there is a lot more paper on each roll.

I’m pretty frugal, so I thought, “Hey, we can handle this. It’s just TP, right? Nothing to get upset about.” But it’s been over two months with this horrible and never ending cache of toilet paper. Our family will persevere. We will get through this. And from now on, I will take the time to make sure I get the right TP.

 

In honor of going, my new book review is Even Firefighters Go to the Potty by Wendy Wax and Naomi Wax with illustrations by Stephen Gilpin.

Firefighters Potty

This book had the kids and I laughing very hard because, let’s face it, what preschooler or toddler isn’t obsessed with bathroom humor? The premise is pretty simple. Adults from different professions are mysteriously missing. As you lift each flap, you see that they are in the potty.

This was a nice sturdy flap book, but it is not for the faint of heart, or the mom who is so tired of hearing the word poop, and jokes about poop, and kids talking about poop nonstop…that she just might scream. This book encourages dialogue about the bathroom, and all that it entails.

My little guy is already potty-trained, so I can’t say for certain that it would help with that. It might make it less scary to think that even people as brave as firefighters, pilots, and astronauts use the potty.

So if you’re ready for lots of giggles, especially about the train engineer’s locomotive themed underwear, then this book is for you.

 

 

4th of July in Denmark, Kansas

My favorite parts of the Fourth of July are:

  • Homemade Ice cream
  • Annual parade through the mecca of Denmark, KS
  • Patriotic Music (who doesn’t love a marching band?)
  • oohing and ahhing at fireworks – especially the lame ones

There are many reasons to love Independence Day. But my little guy will quickly tell you that the booms are not his favorite–too loud. Last year we spent the evening inside, wearing noise reducing headphones, while looking out a window, shaking with fear (him, not me).

20160506_154444

 

Maybe this year we can at least sit on the front porch?

So be careful, everyone. Have a fun (and safe) Independence Day.

 

Barbie2

I am boycotting a book review for this blog because we are on a repeat cycle of Barbie books at the moment. We try to let the kids choose their own books for story time, but if I have to read A Paw-some Mystery (Barbie and Her Sisters in the Great Puppy Adventure) one more time…I’m going to look like this:

Barbie

Expectations

I have a mantra, and it goes like this:

I will not worry, obsess, or dwell on the things, people, or situations I cannot change.

There’s another saying that goes something like “you can’t change the situation, only your perception of it.” Then there’s that one about having no control over anyone’s actions but your own.

What I’ve found, though, is that it all boils down to expectations.

Sometimes what you want isn’t what you get because what the other person has to give doesn’t meet your expectations. Maybe it’s better to change your expectations because sometimes what the other person is giving is more than they ever thought they could.

This isn’t about lowering standards, like the skit from MadTV. It’s more about empathy and understanding. It’s about being grateful, and working to make yourself a better person outside of the situations you find yourself in.

It’s becoming a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend. And when I reflect on past conflict, it mostly comes from ME expecting too much. Too much from myself, and definitely too much from my family and friends.

You have to meet people where they are at, and not expect them to know where you’re coming from or where you’re going. Because they are coming from and going to their own places. Places that are sometimes filled with conflict outside of your own.

I have one more mantra that I sometimes use:

Don’t throw dirt in my hole because I already throw enough on myself.

Okay, so maybe that one’s not as profound as the others. But if you dig yourself into  a hole that you created, that means you’re the one that should dig yourself out. So you better find a large, durable shovel.

As a mother this becomes all too apparent when it comes to scheduling. Especially when you run a small independent publishing house that just took on two new authors. This on top of your mom duties, wife duties, daughter duties, friend duties. Then you buy a house. Next up it’s being the maid of honor at your sister’s wedding. Now it’s time for your husband to start school, then your oldest kiddo starts Kindergarten.

Let’s just say life is full of dirt. It must be time for a bigger shovel.

 

My review for this week is appropriately titled Dig by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha with illustrations by Marc Rosenthal

Dig

This great board book is fantastic for your little ones that are obsessed with construction. And I know there are a lot of them out there. I have two myself.

In Dig, Mr. Rally and his dog, Lightning, have five jobs to do. As they go to each site to complete their tasks, they:

Dig up rock and dig up clay! Dig up dirt and dig all day!

This book has all the elements of a great beginner children’s book. There is counting, rhyming, and a repetitive rhythm that will have your little one “reading” along in no time. The illustrations are bright and offer little things for your child to discover along the way.

The accountability of hardwood floors

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 . . .

IGNORE IT.

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.

IsLenaPretty

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/

 

Happy Birthday Mom

We’ve all had that moment as a mom when you take a deep breath, close your eyes, and try to get through the next 5 minutes. I know my mom did. And I know this because I just did the EXACT same thing I saw her do a million times when I was a kid.

Yes, the fear that every daughter has is slowly coming true: I am becoming my mother. And in a lot of ways, I consider myself one lucky daughter.

My mom is an amazing person, and an especially awesome grandma.

She is the one who began my love of reading, and now she is encouraging my kids to start the same journey. Just as she does so many young readers as the children’s librarian in my home town.

So on this day, her most special of days, I wanted to share a few of my favorite books from my childhood:

 

And, I want to add one more special book (which has come back to haunt me).

Planetanimals: Mission Zapton.

427984

I loved this book when I was little, begging my mom to read it to me over and over. And now, I find myself trudging through it with my little ones. The only problem is that it’s surprisingly awful, completely strange, and hardly makes any sense. The worst part is that it is REALLY long. Thank you mom for suffering through this one, and reading with me, and encouraging me to read on my own. Although the last one might have been a selfish excuse to not read this book anymore.

Happy Birthday, I love you.