A Mama’s Thoughts on Halloween

  
When you have kids, there are all sorts of discussions about how to raise them. Will you be co-sleeping? Bottle or breast? As they grow, the questions change. When will you potty train? Homeschool or public or private? Can they attend sleep overs?

One thing that we talked about only briefly was whether or not we would celebrate Halloween. My husband’s family didn’t celebrate Halloween when he was young. In fact, in lieu of making him and his brothers feel left out for not dressing up or participating in parties and trick-or-treating, his parents packed them up and took them to DisneyWorld for a few days. And yes, I’d say I’d rather go to DisneyWorld than just go trick-or-treating down the block, but still.

We decided that if we approached Halloween the right way, our children wouldn’t be negatively affected by the holiday. Of course its origins aren’t exactly kid-friendly, but what the holiday has become is kid-friendly. If the focus is on fun, creative costumes, spending time with friends, choosing and decorating pumpkins, and eating candy, there is nothing wrong with that. If trick-or-treating is just a prankless way to show off costumes with friends, then we are headed in the right direction. We don’t need to focus on the scary things (especially the ones that aren’t even real) to enjoy our Halloween.

We have a few books we really like that are Halloween-themed. Little Owl’s Night, Five Little Pumpkins, and Room on the Broom (also a short cartoon you can find on Netflix!) are just a few of our favorites. Obviously, we also love “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” and Curious George’s “A Halloween Boo Fest” is always a winner. Even when it isn’t Halloween, we like watching “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (also obviously at Christmas time), “Coraline” and “The Corpse Bride”. (This is the part where I confess my undying love for all things Tim Burton.) We can have honest and open talks about what’s real and not real, and how we don’t need to be scared of most things in movies and books (children’s books, at least). I don’t want my kids to miss out on the entertainment value of fun movies and the love of reading they already have by greatly limiting their exposure.

So this weekend, you will find us all dressed up, visiting our church’s trunk or treat event, and trick-or-treating in our neighborhood with friends. What do you do around this time with your kids? Are there other books or movies you love for this time of year?

Things Toddlers Say

Hey y’all! Every Tuesday I think, “I can’t believe it’s here again! Do I have enough material to even do this again?!” And yes. Every Tuesday, yes I do. Here it is, y’all!

J got a new Batman hoodie from his grandmother. He loves it, and I’ve been singing the Batman theme song every time he wears it.
EK: Mom, he looks like fat man!
Me: No, honey. It’s Batman, with a B​.
EK: Yeah, fat man!
Me: No, Batman. Ba, ba, ba, Batman.
EK: Yeah! Bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble… fat man!

Recently, I must have told EK, “That’s the point.” The reason I know this is because she’s been saying it nonstop. When I tell J to do or not do something, she says, “Yeah, that’s the point!” When I tell her how something works or why we do something a certain way, she chimes in, “Yeah! That’s the point!” It began as cute. It is now VERY ANNOYING. And THAT, my darling daughter, is the POINT.

Getting ready for our road trip to Georgia…
Me: Yeah, you guys should nap in the car! Hopefully anyway.
A few minutes later…
EK to Hubby: Yeah! We gon’ nap in the car hopully!

On the way down to GA, we had made it SO far and the kids were all doing SO well, but there was a minute somewhere near Atlanta that they simultaneously (albeit briefly) lost it. J is squealing at the top of his lungs, I’m driving, and I blindly swiped my hand in J’s direction, knocking him in the leg. This is what I hear:
J: Not nice! NOT! NICE!
Hubby, pretending to be asleep: (giggles)
Touché, kid.

EK comes running from another room and attaches herself to my leg.
Nana: I tried to get her to sit with me, but she just wanted her mama.
EK, finally peeking around my leg: I just shyyyy.

Every time we see/go across train tracks…
EK: Mom! Tracks! The choo choo tracks!
J: Train! I saw da train! (Rarely, if ever, true.)

Heard from the back of the car…
EK: What the heck are you doing?!
I still don’t know who or what.

Also from the back of the car…
EK: Mom! My shirt is too widdle!
Me: Well maybe we can put on a different one later.
EK: I can’t get it!
Me: Stop trying to take it off in the car seat!

Last one from the back of the car…
J: Come on! Come on! COME ON!
Who knows.

Heard from the bathroom…
EK: My pee is green!
(Spoiler: It wasn’t.)

J, pointing at the front door: Necie in George?
Me: Aw. Yes buddy, Necie’s in Georgia.

At the grocery store…
J, pointing at the flowers: El’ Kate! El’ Kate!
Me: Do you want to get some flowers for your sister?
J: Uh-huh!
Me: That’s really sweet of you!
J: I hold?
Me: Yes, you can hold them. (Heart is melting.)

Well, that about sums up our week of giggles! What are those kiddos saying in your world?

Currently

What an eventful week and weekend we had! Last week was full of visitors, hanging out with friends, and pumpkins. The weekend was a road trip to see my family in Georgia. We ended the trip with a virus that seemed to go through everyone but EK, and we are getting over today as we drive home. More details to come!

I’m linking up with Becky at Choose Happy for today’s edition of Currently. Join us and let us know what you’re up to!IMG_0614

Traveling || seven hours in the car back to NC. I’m literally typing this on my phone while Hubby drives. The trip would take Hubby and me only five and a half hours, but it takes seven or more with the kids, depending on traffic and hopefully well-timed naps and meals. Our new car has been a huge blessing because everyone is comfortable, and I can reach the boys without getting out of my seat. We love the Acadia!

Healing || from a nasty virus that was mostly fever, but included a slight rash on the baby boys. EK managed to escape it, but the rest of us have had a crappy day or two.

Photographing || our pumpkin patch experience! A little hectic, perhaps, with three, but they had a great time! Here’s a little of what Hubby shot that morning:

  
  


Loving || some good time in Georgia. My kids love my family, for which I am grateful.

We also got to see a few good friends, eat at our favorite restaurant there (here’s looking at you, Schroeder’s Deli) and drink a few beers at the new bar downtown. It’s getting to be a nicer downtown than when I was growing up, and that makes it easier to hang out there now!

Anticipating || the busy season of holidays! The first thing I did when we got settled in the car was open my calendar and see the madness that’s building, culminating at Christmas. I’m excited, but also a little nervous we just won’t be able to get ourselves together to make it all happen. We are notoriously late all the time right now, since, ya know, only a couple of us can do anything by/for ourselves. And every time I think I’ll get up earlier to help the process along, it’s a terrible night for at least two kids, or I battle stress-induced insomnia. I’ll sleep when I dead, right?

Preparing || our Halloween costumes! We have D and EK nailed down, but we are still determining J’s outfit. You’ll see some pictures soon!

Well, there’s our crazy week, fevers and traveling and all. What are y’all up to? Any Halloween plans?

To the Dad at the Mexican Restaurant

  
My family and a few friends were out at our favorite local Mexican restaurant. We decided to sit outside, what with the cool weather and five children in attendance. We were having a great time just sitting outside, guzzling cheese dip and margaritas.

At some point, I decided napkins weren’t doing the job getting my son’s hands clean from the cheese dip and refried beans. I decided to take him inside for an actual hand-washing.

When I got to the area where the restrooms were, I spotted a little girl, precious in her pink leotard and tutu, with legs crossed and anxious face, waiting with her dad for the men’s room to become available. And because my daughter has been that little girl before, I decided to take the chance.

“In a totally non-creepy way, would you like me to take your daughter to the bathroom?”

“Really? That would be great, actually. Um… she’s got to go number 2…”

“It’s alright. I can handle it.”

Cue me taking a stranger’s daughter to the bathroom, to go number 2, and all that that implies.

In that moment, it got me thinking. I really went out on a limb there! What if I had totally freaked that dad out? What if he had looked at my son, covered in beans, and said, “No way, Jose! You’re clearly a crazy woman!” But he didn’t. He saw me, son in tow, lending a helping hand. And they were both grateful.

What’s more is that we understood each other. I knew I’d just help that gal maneuver her leotard and help her wash her hands. He knew she’d get what she needed a lot quicker if she went with me. We both went out on a limb. And it worked out.

To that dad: Thanks for trusting in humanity. You gave me hope that I could do the same for my daughter. Thanks for being grateful later, when we were leaving and you asked your daughter to tell me “bye”. That was awesome. Parents helping parents is my favorite thing to see.

It’s Fun to Shop Local!

As the daughter of a small business owner, I am well-versed in the advantages and disadvantages of small businesses, and the disdain for “one stop shopping” at Wal-Mart and the like. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE Target (and other stores like it) for its convenience and shiny red happiness, but I try to shop locally as often as I can. Here are a few reasons why:

http://www.opencopy.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/buy-local.jpg
http://www.opencopy.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/buy-local.jpg

Customer Service. Don’t you hate making a phone call to a huge corporation, speaking to someone who doesn’t know anything about why you’re calling, being on hold for 20 minutes, and transferred 13 times? It’s much better to call the small business with only a few employees. Every employee would be able to answer your questions, you wouldn’t be transferred anywhere, and it’s likely you’d only be on hold for long enough for the manager to walk across the store. When you go into a store and need help, small businesses want to help you, not just feel obligated.

Supporting Your Community. Small businesses are an integral part of every community. Every employee is a member of your community, and often if they’re outsourcing anything, it’s to another business in your community. Most of the money you spend in a small business stays local, and is invested back into the community. It’s cycled back in to other businesses, local taxes, non profits, and local families; you’re boosting your local economy!

One-of-a-Kind Products. Many local boutique stores have unique items that can’t be found anywhere else. Isn’t it fun to have something handmade or locally designed that you know not many other people have? Clothes, toys, jewelry, art, and furniture are just a few of the one-of-a-kind things you can find in small, local businesses.

It’s Trendy! This seems like a silly reason to do it, but it’s getting trendy to shop local, and that’s great! It means the overall experience of small business shopping is getting better: customer service, product quality, shopping environment/ease, and prices. The more people that buy local the better those things will get!

It’s Fun! Farmer’s markets, neighborhood coffee shops, small, local restaurants and family-owned stores often hold family-friendly events, draw other folks from your neighborhood, and may even have loyalty programs – those aren’t just for big corporations! And I like planning outings with and running into friends while I shop, and my kids do, too!

http://memegenerator.net/instance2/2467830
http://memegenerator.net/instance2/2467830

The pros of shopping local vastly outweigh the cons. And in addition to everything else, supporting local businesses just feels good. You’re helping families and your community. How much better can it get?

Check back next week if you’re local to me… I plan to compile a few lists of places I like to shop, eat, etc locally!

When You Just Can’t Find a Single Thing You Do Right

This week, one of my blogger friends posed a question on her Facebook page. She was calling out to the moms in her community, asking them to speak positively about themselves. It was truly a wonderful opportunity for moms to brag on themselves for a bit, because that never happens. She basically said this: What’s one thing you do really well? I just want to hear you say something positive about yourself as a mom.

When I read it, I was giving the baby a bottle, putting him down for his nap. I had been scrolling through my Facebook feed, waiting for him to drop off into unconsciousness, so that I could lay him down. My bigs were already napping, and this was about to be my glorious hour or two of quiet freedom.

What’s one thing I do really well as a mom? Get them to nap at the same time so that I can have a moment of sanity. Oh wait, that’s really selfish. How about the fact that I’m great at getting a workout and a shower in every other day? Well, that still benefits me, not them.

All of a sudden, my mind is reeling and tears are coming to my eyes. Why can’t I think of a single thing I do well for my children? All I can think of are the basics. They’re clothed. They’re fed. They’re (relatively) clean. Well, that doesn’t make me a good mom… that’s the bare minimum. I can’t think of a single thing that I do as a mom that’s outstanding. I know so many other mothers who fall into that category. I’m often short-tempered and easily stressed out. Do those things count?

The more I think, the more I realize that as a mom, and as a woman (and a southern woman in particular), I’m trained to just try to be better. Not to recognize something I do well. I should be humble, hard-working, and put together. I shouldn’t be focused on what I do well – those things don’t need attention. The things that need attention are the things that need improvement. That’s where I should put my focus, right?

I agree with trying to be my best self. I agree with seeing that there may be things about myself that I can improve, change for the better. But I should be able to call to mind a thing or two that I do well. Feeding my children healthy food at almost every single meal and snack. Working out with and in front of them, so that they know being healthy is a priority. Spending lots of family time together, at home or out on the town. Reading to them most days and every night. THOSE are things I do well as a mom.

Here’s your encouragement for today. I read the comments on her question. It was lovely things like, “taking my kids to the park a few times a week” and “teaching my daughter sign language” and “listening to my children and taking their words to heart”. Those are truly wonderful things that moms are doing for their kids. Why don’t we give ourselves some slack? We’re doing a great job, moms. Love yourself a little. Give yourself a break. You’re a good mom. I know it.

Currently

Hello, Wednesday! It’s a better day for this week’s Currently anyway. I’m linking up with Becky at Choose Happy and the rest of those great blog friends! Enjoy, and tell me what you are up to currently!

Loving || wearing boots! I have my trusty brown pair I ordered off of Amazon last year (the brand is “Very Volatile”) and I think I’m going to invest in a pair of booties (Do we call them that? I just mean ankle boots.) for this year! I like the fact that I don’t have to think much about my footwear- I just pop it on. 

Excited || about Halloween with my big kids. They’ve each got a couple of costume choices already here in the house, and we are headed to the pumpkin patch this morning to choose pumpkins and take a few pictures. It should be fun! We are also heading to the country club Halloween event next Thursday, our church’s trunk or treat event on Halloween, and then trick or treating a bit afterwards. Talk about busy!

Traveling || to Georgia to see my family this weekend! It’ll be our first big road trip with three kiddos, so thank goodness our new car has a DVD player! Hopefully D will hold out and nap a lot. It would take hubby and I a little less than six hours if we were by ourselves, but it’s taken up to nine with the kids and all the stops they need. Hopefully we won’t take nine this time since we aren’t leaving until noon!

Enjoying || fall weather! We got to spend some time on a friend’s farm on Saturday, and we’ve been playing outside a lot at home, too. Here is proof we love fall:  

    
    
 
Celebrating || my father-in-law’s birthday! On Monday we had lunch and dinner with the family. We love having the kids all together and knowing that we’ve got two more coming! We also just found out that the two coming are a boy (in January) and a girl (in March)! Blessings abound!  

 Well there’s my late edition of Currently. What are you up to?