Friday, July 22, 2016

Special Needs Spotlight || Emme

Hi everyone! I’m Lacey. My husband and I have two kids Emme (5 almost 6) and Corbin (2) who lovingly came to us through adoption. I am a family and wedding photographer and you can often find me in the mountains with my camera in hand. My daughter Emme was diagnosed with ADHD when she was the tiny age of 2, and is also showing signs of Bipolar Disorder. We take things a day at a time and sometimes minute by minute. Thanks for spotlighting us today!​

Miggy: Welcome Lacey and thank you so much for being here today and sharing your family's special needs journey with us. You have two beautiful children that came to your family through adoption. Your daughter Emme has severe ADHD and is also bi-polar. Can you take us back to when you first started to see some red flag and symptoms that something wasn't "right" with Emme? How long did it take you to get an official diagnosis? Do you remember how you felt? Can you compare those first thoughts and feelings with how you feel now?

Lacey: One of the first sign’s we saw with Emme was mostly sensory related, but really it was once she started to walk that we noticed her hyperactivity was through the roof. On a scale of busy to uncontrollable, Emme was an atomic bomb. Nothing went unscathed when she was around including other kids and animals. I remember one of her first goals in early intervention was to hold still for 2 minutes. TWO MINUTES!! I have countless stories of running after her down our street, destroyed furniture, and dirty looks from other moms. It wasn’t hard to realize Emme had some extreme behavior issues. I could write a whole novel on this alone, but the important thing to note is Emme was not functioning. Not even a little bit.

Thankfully we came across Early Intervention and that lead us to a place called The Children’s Center. And by thankfully I mean I literally ugly cried to the receptionist while making our first appointment. TCC was a huge answer to our prayers. At The Children’s Center we were matched with a therapist and eventually a psychiatrist. Emme also attended their therapeutic preschool for almost two years. It was at TCC that she was diagnosed with ADHD. Although, I’ve crammed this all into one paragraph it was actually over the course of many, many months that this all went down. It seems fast now, but at the time dealing with a non-functioning child it felt like forever.

Bipolar is a fairly new discovery and one that we are still processing and keeping an eye on. Her psychiatrist brought up the possibility about a year ago after noticing that Emme was falling into the functioning and non-functioning patterns those with Bipolar Disorder tend to go through. To be honest I am just barely getting to the point where I can talk openly about it. I had accepted the ADHD. Some kids even grow out of that at some point, but not this. To me getting this news felt like someone had punched me in the gut and then tossed me into the deep dark ocean where only the ugliest of fish live. It was rough and still is. Because she is receiving the same kind of treatment right now whether she is diagnosed or not we are not rushing into confirming it quite yet. Although the likelihood and signs are there, together as parents and doctors we want to see if the patterns continue for a little while longer before we say we are 100% positive that this is what’s going on.  

Miggy: ADHD, like a lot of disorders, has a huge spectrum. I think many people (myself included) don't really know what ADHD is and sometimes even dismiss it as something that gets over diagnosed for kids who have a lot of energy. Additionally I didn't know someone could be diagnosed with bi-polar at the age of 5. Can you please educate us about ADHD and Bi-polar disorder and explain how your daughter’s needs affect your day-to-day life?

Lacey: ADHD is short for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. There are three types; inattentive sometimes referred to as ADD, hyperactive-impulsive, and complex, which is both combined.  Emme has complex and is considered severe on the ADHD scale. Without medication her brain is so busy and full of noise that she is unable to handle simple daily tasks like getting ready or even riding in the car without major conflict. It’s actually really sad to watch because it is obvious she has absolutely no control over her body. The good news for Emme is we, as parents believe in using medication and because of that Emme is very high functioning during the day. Mornings and evenings can be hard, but they are good reminders that Emme needs the extra support of medication.  

The reason Bipolar has come up is due to the severe changes in Emme’s behavior about every 4-5 months and especially during the winter. She will be doing amazing and all of the sudden we will start to notice signs that a big change is coming. I don’t know how to effectively explain it other than saying it’s like Emme’s body has been taken over by a completely different person… a really energized violent person. The little girl who can often be found giggling and helping her little brother, switches to a girl who is attacking all of us and stabbing holes in my ottoman with a pen. She also becomes enraged about little things like asking her to wash her hands or pick up a toy. Her sleep is always disrupted during this time as well. It’s what her Dr. calls an energy surge. Our household turns into survival mode pretty quickly. The worst of it lasts about two to three weeks and it takes about two months to see our lovable Emme again. Without sharing too much for Emme’s sake just know that it’s a very dark time for all of us.

I am right there with you when you say you didn’t know something so big could be diagnosed at such a little age. In fact I asked her Dr. the very same thing. Although rare it does happen and when the signs are prominent enough, it’s hard to deny. Also, in Emme’s case she has been monitored very closely from a very small age. Never would Bipolar have been mentioned if we didn’t have almost four years of notes and professional observations to look back on. For that I am so thankful we sought out help when we did. Had we not, Emme would have none of the tools and skills she has worked so hard to acquire these last four years.  

Miggy: What are the biggest worries you face for your daughter Emme?

Lacey: I learned early on not to think about the future too much when it comes to Emme, but I definitely still worry about it often. Right now I would say my biggest fear is that one day she will make some bad decisions that have really big permanent consequences. I think we all worry about that to an extent, but where Emme tends to lean on the side of danger, it’s a big concern of mine.

Miggy: Now for a lighter question, I’m a big believer in seeing the humor in life and learning to laugh, so have you ever had any funny conversations/moments you never imagined due to your special needs situations?  

Lacey: Humor plays a big part in our family. A story that comes to mind is when we were visiting the local Aquarium and Emme was talking non-stop to one of the workers who were feeding the Stingrays. She was asking all kinds of questions then suddenly stopped and said, “I take pills every day!” I chuckled kind of nervously and the cute worker told her she had pills she had to take every day too. My husband and I had a good laugh later that night.

Miggy: Having a child with an invisible disorder comes with its own unique challenges. How can people best approach or respond to your child? Is there something you wish other people knew so as to avoid awkward or hurtful situations? I'm thinking that even friends and family have probably said things on occasion that have been hurtful, is there anything you would like your loved ones to know to avoid future hurt feelings?

Lacey: I think the best thing to do is just to not exclude her, but also realize there will be times we will have to decline play dates and certain events. Our immediate families love Emme so much and have been pretty understanding and patient with her. There have been many times that Emme has been aggressive towards her cousins and instead of their parents getting upset with her and us, they will usually take a moment to talk to their kids about why Emme is struggling that day. With that said, there have been a few instances of extended family members posting articles on Facebook about ADHD that are not quite accurate. I think it’s always easier to believe witty blog posts that claim they know best and have all the answers than it is to figure out what it’s like to have a disability like this in your every day life. It makes me really sad that people I love and have looked up to in the past would believe such an article enough to pass them around. They obviously haven’t witnessed a child struggle first hand on the level that Emme has.

Miggy: Tell us something you love about your daughter. A special story, a personality trait or just something others might not know.

Lacey: Emme surprises me quite often with what she is capable of. She has little fear and in some ways it makes life really fun. She loves public speaking and always gets really excited to speak in front of a crowd. On a whim one Fourth of July we entered her in a Mutton Busting contest and she did it without hesitation. Sure, she ate a pile of dirt, but that didn’t stop her from talking about riding a sheep for several months. She loves roller coasters and anything to do with boating. She can also be the sweetest little girl ever. Just the other day I got out of the shower to find her making my bed for me. Lastly, but not least, she gives the best hugs ever. They are super squeezy! These are the moments that my husband and I beam with joy that she is a part of our family.

Miggy: If you could say something to the mom who is just starting on this journey of special needs, what would you say?  What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since becoming Emme's mom?

Lacey: I would say trust your gut. Pray for direction and do everything you can to advocate for your child’s needs. Don’t forget to forgive yourself. You’re probably doing better than you think you are. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in being Emme’s mom is that parenthood is full of really important things and not so important things. I try not to stress over the not so important things. Emme dresses herself every day and is most likely sporting a messy ponytail because she wanted to do her own hair again. Where others see a girl in a mismatched outfit and untamed hair, I see a future independent adult figuring out the world--one cheetah print shirt mixed with tribal leggings at a time.  

Lacey that was fantastic--thank you for being so open about ADHD and Bi-polar and helping us understand a little better two diagnosis that are so often misunderstood. First, let me just say that I'm really glad you talked about the use of medication and how beneficial it has been for your daughter and your family. I did not understand what a different medication could make in a person's life until I took it for post partum depression. It was the difference between being unable to function at all and actually feeling happy and in control of my life. To quote a wise woman I once knew, "medication is a gift from God." I also loved your last line.  I often look at my straggly haired, messy faced children and see the vulnerability and purity that comes from being so completely themselves and doing the very best they can, and well that is something beautiful to behold. Thank you again so much Lacey and best of luck to you and your beautiful family.

YOU GUYS, please, please PLEASE help me find more amazing families and individuals to spotlight. I am always looking for participants so send them my way! Email me or have your friend/family member email me at thislittlemiggy at gmail dot com.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Bathroom Update + Remodeling Tips

As a renovation virgin I promised myself one thing: I would not expect the bathroom to be done "on time." Yes we would do everything to dot all our i's and cross all our t's, but I would give it a couple extra weeks no matter what. Well our promised time line + a couple extra weeks has come and gone and I'm starting to think this bathroom will never be done. I am officially that person who says, "It's taking SO much longer than we expected."

I know there are a million DIY and interior design blogs, but nothing beats personal experience. Even though we have both a designer and a contractor, I've still felt like I've been fumbling my way through this process. I thought I'd give you a little update and a few tips to anyone who is perhaps starting their own renovation. Keep in mind that this is not a DIY, that being said I've still been surprised by the amount of time it's taken on our end to get to this point. We did about half the renovation ourselves and even that was a lot of work. Huge props to people who completely DIY their spaces.

Anyway, here are some of my tips for any other first time home renovators.

1. Lower your timeline expectations, and then lower them a little more. Even though we've now surpassed my super-lowered-expectations timeline I'm still really glad I went in with them as low as I did because I basically allowed myself not to stress out about it. At this point, the only thing that would be different if I had expected to hit our timeline is that I would be a ball of angst and stress. The bathroom would still not be done, so I might as well keep it in perspective.

2. Be a squeaky wheel. Yes, keep those expectations low, but not that voice! Before I started this project I was under the mistaken impression that my designer and/or contractor would be the ones making sure everything keep chugging along. NOPE. Don't get me wrong, they are both great (and if you're a Cincinnati local, I'd be happy to give you their names) but they have other projects and things going on. I'm finding that I the more I text or call, the more stuff seems to happen. Which brings me to #3...

3. Have a conversation about expectations. I really wish I had done this. Sitting down in the beginning and just saying, "I'd like to talk about expectations so I understand where you're coming from and you understand where I'm coming from," I always find to be extremely helpful in almost every situation (including marriage!) Who is going to be my main point of contact? If I'm not happy with something what is my recourse? What is my role in all of this? Even though I didn't do it in the beginning, I'm starting to ask for a weekly and daily overview that way I know what to expect each day and if it doesn't happen, I can make a quick call and see where we're at.

4. Be cool. Honestly, I really do like my contractor and designer, but it's still business and sometimes you have to have uncomfortable conversations. It helps that over the past few weeks we've built up a good rapport-- we chat a little, I show them videos of my kids eating worms, and overall I just joke around with them and try to keep it light. That way when we have awkward conversations I feel like we're already standing on good ground. Being a jerk about things is not going to help anything. That being said...

5. Stick to your guns. We had our tile done a couple weeks ago and while the walls look amazing, the floor looked horrible! The spacing was way off and basically you could see the grid of each individual sheet of tile because of the extra wide grout lines at those intersections. It was really, really obvious. Luckily our contractor agreed and was just as concerned as we were about getting it right. But had he not been concerned, or had he tried to talk us into just going with it, we would have insisted that it be fixed. We're spending a pretty penny on this bathroom and we have the right to expect good results. It's still in the process of being fixed--fingers crossed for a good outcome.

6. Random surprises or issues come up. One of the things that you can't anticipate and one of the reasons it's taken so long are just random surprises. Having watched a plethora of HGTV in my day I was expecting this, yet I was still caught off guard when it happened to us--ha! For example we lost an entire week due to one tiny plumbing piece that wasn't ordered. We couldn't move forward until that piece came in but still, a whole week with no progress. Then with the tile debacle--the tile should have been a 1 week process in total, but fixing it took another whole week while everything else was on hold. Also, we spent probably 2 hours yesterday just figuring out how our vanity, mirrors, sinks, faucets and light fixtures were going to fit in the space. On paper we had this all measured out, but in reality it wasn't working! An inch! All we needed was one tiny but critical inch! The mental gymnastics to come up with that extra inch was exhausting, but we did it. While we didn't lose time on that one it was crazy to me how many issues I couldn't anticipate until we actually had to put things in place.

OK, ready for a little sneak peak?  (You can see before pictures here)

We might as well get some use out of the acoustics right? You can see the tile back splash, floor and the glorious skylight. I will say that it's been really fun seeing the transformation and I'm getting more and more excited by the day. Especially now we're finally onto the fun stuff and should have a working bathroom in a couple more weeks. (I just jinxed it didn't I? So maybe a month?)

Any other advice from those of you with a little renovation experience under your belt? I'm all ears! 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Onion and Garlic Bags

This Little Miggy || Onion + Garlic Baggies

I love garlic and onions, but I hate having those papery skins spread all over the pantry and fridge, but I don't like to keep them in plastic produce bags because they really do need to breathe. My solution was to sew some bags from light and breathable Ikea dishtowels. These honestly take about 30 minutes and will help keep your cupboard and fridge drawers a little cleaner. Minimal supplies and time make this an easy afternoon task. This would be a great beginning sewing lesson for your little ones too! (You could also opt to make a drawstring bag if you preferred.) 

1 dishtowel (or other natural fiber fabric)
sewing machine, thread, pins, scissors

1. fold dish towel in half and then cut your baggie pieces (2 for each bag). I didn't even measure, just eyeball it.
2. Decide which side you want to be the opening and then take your velcro and pin a side of velcro across the top of each piece of fabric on the wrong side. Sew velcro in place.
3. Option A) If you wish to do an enclosed seam like I did here, you'll place your fabric WRONG SIDES TOGETHER, pin in place and then sew around the 3 sides that don't have velcro. Then flip the bag inside out and make your seam width slightly bigger and then sew around those three sides again. Flip back around and voila, your seams are now neat and covered and back on the inside.
Option B) Place the rights sides together and pin. Sew the remaining 3 sides together, then go back and either serger the edges or zig-zag stitch over them. Turn right side out and you're done.

This Little Miggy || Onion + Garlic Baggies

This Little Miggy || Onion + Garlic Baggies

This Little Miggy || Onion + Garlic Baggies

Such a little thing I know, but it's the little things guys.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Gatlinburg + Dollywood + no Bears... Oh my!

I don't feel like I hold grudges on people, but I do feel like I hold grudges on life. One of these current grudges I'm trying to get over is living in the midwest.

First, there is nothing wrong with the midwest. In fact,  it's beautiful! I think the midwest has a romance all it's own that is really lovely. But I've lived in some really geographically exciting places and I guess I got used to being in the middle of exciting. I mean, we didn't just live in any city, we lived in New York City. In my early 20's I didn't just move to the beach, I moved to Hawaii. I didn't just live near the base of some hills, I lived in the valley of the Rocky Mountains. I swear, everytime I go back to Utah these days I practically apologize to those gorgeous Rockies for not appreciating them when I was there. Again, the midwest is beautiful, Cincinnati is a gem of a city but by comparison, sometimes it's hard not to feel like midwest living is somewhat settling. And that's the rub, comparison. I know better, but I still do it. If you were to give myself advice, I would tell myself to live in the present not in the past and to practice gratitude daily. But apparently, I have a hard time taking my own advice.

Whenever I'm out of town and meeting new people or connecting with old friends and I tell them I live in Cincinnati, they always say, "Oh, I've never been to Cincinnati." And jokingly retort, "Interestingly enough that's the number one thing people say about Cincinnati."

But with all that said, I'm starting to embrace living in a place that flies under the radar. I'm thinking of it like a new up and coming band that only the coolest kids know about. Right now Cincinnati is amazing little band that only plays small shows, so you can always be up close and personal. And while you want your friends to hear this new sound, you hope word doesn't spread too quickly because then you'll be forced to pay twice as much for a seat in the nosebleed section of a huge arena. Right now Cincinnati is my No Doubt circa 1995. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

One of my favorite ways to embrace this new part of the country is traveling. Of course. A couple of weekends ago we went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee in the Great Smokey Mountains. For some reason seeing this bug at a local ice cream place our first night in Gatlinburg made me think twice. I've never seen a bug like this in my life and I saw it here, in Tennessee. And it reminded me that there are beautiful, unique and rare things to see and do no matter where we are. If I only think about what I'm missing, I'll miss what's right in front of me. Live here, be here, enjoy now. Now is now. Yeah, I got all of that from a bug.

Enough waxing poetic, lets see some pictures shall we?
How crazy is this? We stayed in some random cabin in Tennessee and it was also Lamps birthday. (She's 6! You can always check out the spotlight I did on her last year for her 5th birthday.) So imagine my surprise when we walk into our cabin and see this little stool with the word Lamp inscribed on it. Sometimes the Universe makes me smile. (We figured out later that was the last name of the people who owned the cabin.)

The view from the back porch of our cabin was breathtaking. Behold, the Great Smokey Mountains.

And Dollywood. We went on Lamp's birthday and I'm still not sure if she liked that idea-ha! (She had a good time, I just think she didn't like not getting to choose what she wanted to do on her birthday.) On the whole I was pleasantly surprised with Dollywood. I expected it to be a run down and shabby theme park with Dolly's face and likeness sprinkled everywhere. To my delight, the park is NOT rundown and's actually really nice. And it's big! Bigger than Disneyland apparently. To my disappointment Dolly's face and likeness were not plastered everywhere. If I could make one suggestion to the folks at Dollywood, it's that I'd like to see more Dolly please--statues, posters, animatronic Dolly Parton performers a la Chuck E. Cheese.... a bust? (Wink, wink.) Regardless of the shocking lack of Dolly, we still managed to have a good time.

There are a a lot of rides geared towards younger children and overall I was happy to see that Lamp could ride the majority of the rides. For anyone interested, we had to first take her to the disability services office where they measured her and then gave us a card checklist with all the rides she was allowed to ride. This card also became our accessibility pass to bypass the inaccessible (and often longer) lines. I'm not gonna lie, this is one limb difference perk we love. And we'll take it and not feel an ounce of guilt about it. There was one rollercoaster she was allowed on but it was a little bit iffy if you ask her dad and I. But she LOVED it. We definitely had to hold onto her a little bit, but if there's one thing she'll tell you about from Dollywood it would be riding the big rollercoaster that went backwards and had real fire on it! So, worth it.

Vacation is eating at the same ice cream AND donut shop everyday. Ice cream and donuts? I don't know why more Americans aren't demanding these kind of establishments.

The hike. A 3.5 mile hike with 3 kids. We can do this, we thought. It will be fun, we told ourselves. And it was. For the first 2.5 miles, but that last mile was a doozy.

 Lamp and Zuzu were carried on our backs, so really they were fine. But PSP, well perhaps this was just outside her skill set. 3.5 miles is a decent hike for a 9 year old, I get it... but the ensuing weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth was pushing us all to our limits. B finally took turns carrying both her and Lamp for stretches at a time. At one point Zuzu got off my back to walk and I took a turn carrying PSP. And if I was going to carry my 9 year old on my back you better believe I was going to get a life lesson out of it. I talked to her about doing hard things and how they prepare us for life and make us stronger. I don't really think it was sinking in, but then I finally said, with her on my back while I was struggling uphill, "I want you to remember this moment. Your mom and dad will always do our best to carry you when life is hard, but you've got to do your part too kid." Her frustration finally started to subside. After a couple of minutes she offered to walk on her own again. And then, out of no where she said, "Thanks mom." Lately I feel like I've been shooting blanks with that one... not quite hitting the parental targets I've been meaning to hit. But that one? That was a bullseye. And it felt good. We needed that little connection.

Also, another bug I've never seen before. PSP named it the golden snitch of course.

So that was our trip. The only bummer? We didn't see any bears. Gatlinburg is famous for it's bear sightings. Oh well, there's always next time.

Does anyone else relate to living in a place that doesn't exactly resonate with you? Did it grow on you over time, did you have to focus on living in the here and now, did you eventually move, I'd love to hear any thoughts or suggestions. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Make: Hand Stamped Sleep Mask

This Little Miggy || Sleep Mask

First lesson in parenting: kids ruin your sleep.

I used to be a pretty great sleeper--I could sleep anywhere, anytime. Now I get to sleep with ear plugs, melatonin, a sound machine and always, always a sleep mask. I only have 1 sleep mask and have been known to go into a panic if I can't find it at bedtime. Additionally, I've been using the same ratty little sleep mask for a few years, therefore I finally decided I needed some new new masks. If you're a regular crafter and sewer you probably already have everything in your craft/sewing pile like I did. The stamping part is optional, but I love the customizable options.

Eye Mask Supplies:
2 different fabrics (one super soft for your eyes like silk or velvet)
quilt batting
binding (optional)
sewing machine and other regular sewing supplies

This Little Miggy || Sleep Mask

I traced around my current eye mask for a pattern, but there are tons of free eye mask patterns out there, so take your pick and then cut two pieces of fabric and 1 piece of quilt batting for each mask. I used thick velvet for the soft side of my eye mask--partly because it's soft but also partly because it's thick fabric that will block the light well.
This Little Miggy || Sleep Mask

Stamping supplies:
rubber stamping scraps (or potato)
exacto blade
craft/fabric paint
This Little Miggy || Sleep Mask
To create a stamp simply draw a template on your rubber stamping material (can also use an eraser or potato/sweet potato). Then simply cut the design out and hot glue it onto a scrap piece of wood. Cover stamp with fabric paint and give it a few test runs on paper. Then stamp it onto your already cut out top layer of fabric for you eye mask.

I'm going to show you 2 different ways to do this.
Here is option 1.
This Little Miggy || Sleep Mask
Take your two pieces of fabric (the front and back of the eye mask) and place them right sides together. Now, place your elastic strap inside those two pieces and pin in place on either side of the mask. Then place your batting onto of either side of the mask and re-pin in place.

This Little Miggy || Sleep Mask
Now sew a very small seam all around the outside edge of your mask leaving a 2 inch gap open. (Note, I left my gap along the bottom portion of the mask, by the nose--bad idea, sew along that line and leave the top straight edge open instead). Before flipping your mask inside out trim along the seam carefully cutting any big edges off. Flip your mask inside out, press with iron if necessary and press the open seams inward and then top-stictch all around your mask. Make sure the elastic doesn't get in the way.

Option 2.
This Little Miggy || Sleep Mask
This time, you're not going to turn anything inside out, so you simply stack all three fabrics together with the batting in the middle and the right sides facing out. Pin in place. Then pin your elastic in place on either side and sew around the outside. Lastly, take your bias tape and pin all the way around your mask and sew in place.

This Little Miggy || Sleep Mask

This Little Miggy || Sleep Mask

In all honestly I LOVE this new mask. So comfy and soft. If you've never tried a sleep mask before give it a shot. They're not just for the Holly Golightly's of the world.

Friday, July 08, 2016


No spotlight today, but hopefully next week.

Instead, and in light of recent events, I want to share something that happened to me earlier this week. Something that was bad enough at the time, but now feels like a huge wake up call.

On Monday, yes the 4th of July, we celebrated with in the morning with our local community. There is a lovely parade in our neighborhood every year for the 4th which culminates in a cul-de-sac block party with hot dogs, baked goods, and even games like a waterballoon toss and cup stacking. Standing there reveling in our small town-y patriotic goodness, with my beautiful family, talking with neighbors and watching the good natured games, I heard it.

"Just let the coon win." 

See, one of the games was down to the final few players, one team consisting of a black man and a black woman. You guys, a freaking neighborhood waterballoon toss and I hear this disgusting, degrading and racist comment and I am floored.

I looked to my left and there was a group of 5 teenage boys. Excuse me, a group of 5 WHITE teenage boys. And one of them standing in the back had quietly whispered this "joke" (or maybe outright racist epithet) to one of his buddies.

But not quiet enough because I HEARD IT.

And I stood there frozen. And angry. I shot him looks that he didn't turn to see and I turned to my husband to tell him what I just heard. And I just stood there.

Do I call him out in front of his friends? What if I say something and this escalates into a big deal? What if he gets angry or what if someone else hears? What if he and his friends know where we live and target my family for calling him out?

I just stood there. I couldn't focus or think about anything else the rest of the event. I was angry, I wanted to say something but what? In the end, we left and I didn't say a word.

And then this week 2 more black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, were killed by police officers for no reason at all. That's not true, they were killed because they were black.

And I am reminded of this quote by Edmund Burke:

Now I know what I should have done.


This is my public vow to you today that I will never stand by and do NOTHING again.

I am ashamed that I worried about being uncomfortable or feeling afraid. I have the privilege of never having to think about race or feeling fearful because of my race. Black people live in fear for their lives because of the color of their skin and I was worried about being uncomfortable? Maybe you've been in a similar situation, I hope like me you will reconsider your discomfort.

Like so many of you I don't really know what to do. But I'm starting by speaking up, sharing my story and listening. If you too want to listen or are not sure what to do here are some links to get started. Also, I found this post from DesignMom helpful and enlightening:

White privilege explained. It doesn't mean you don't have any problems or that you're rich just because you're white.

How to use your white privilege

Brandi Riley--quit talking to your children and talk to the white men in your lives

Advice for White Folks in the Wake of a Police Murder of a Black Person

How to research and support your cities police accountabilities procedures

**As I was putting this post together (Thursday evening) I just read that multiple police officers in Dallas were shot and killed at a protest. More bloodshed, more senseless violence. Retaliation and violence is never the answer. I am very much support and feel grateful for the thousands of good police officers who put their life on the line everyday. Though it should go without saying, I want to make it clear that supporting #blacklivesmatter is NOT a support for the killing and endangering our police officers. Honestly, where would we as a country be without the good men and women who put their lives on the line everyday? I wanted to share this important and timely story, but I don't want to cause any division. I'm not even sure what to say anymore, but let each of us take it upon ourselves to be sources of love and light.


Tuesday, July 05, 2016

The Summer of Doing

Straight up, I'm a lazy mom. Part of it stems from actual, genuine laziness and the other half stems from not wanting to over schedule my kids. While I want my kids to develop talents and find their passions, I don't want them burt out by the age of 10. I truly believe in boredom. Boredom breeds creativity and problem solving! I've seen it a million times. The downside is that boredom can also breed fighting and whining. So there you have it, the good and the bad, the yin and yang.

The other part of my laziness stems from the fact that outings are a bigger deal these days. Outings were easy when I only had 1 or even 2 kids. But three kids, including a toddler and a non walker with a power chair? And we always have to bring the double stroller just in case. So between normal mom-outing-packing-up I also have to schlep a power chair and a double stroller, while still carrying one child (sometimes 2) to the car, buckling two carseats and well the thought alone can be exhausting.

But I used to be an outings mom. Outings were my jam. I wasn't the sit and play dolls mom or let me push you on the swing forever mom, but outings I could do.

What I'm trying to say is that despite my laziness and not wanting over scheduled kids and the being-tired-just-thinking-of-going-somewhere, I decided that this would be THE SUMMER OF DOING.

Apparently this decree worked because DOING is exactly what we have been doing.

There have been early morning visits to Washington Park for activities and splash pads...

Yoga with the girls...

and the making of boo-boo bags.

We bought a behemoth, backyard water monstrosity that in my humble opinion has lived up to the  "investment" that I convinced my husband it would be. The hours we've logged on this thing already! Yes it's not cheap, but put it this way...if someone said to you, "I can take away at least 10 days worth of your kids' whining this summer for the low price of just $350 dollars." would you do it? YEP. 

We've ridden a horse named Cowboy (thanks Joni!)...

Taken selfies at the zoo...

And paid our respects to Harambe.

We've pic-niked at playgrounds..

Biked with cousins in Pittsburgh...

And reconnect with old friends in San Antonio.

But honestly, so much of our summer of doing has been right in our backyard. Post dinner dance parties introducing Zuzu to the ever popular London Bridges...

launching helicopters from our heads... 

Backyard nature hunts collecting moths and feathers...

And FINALLY having our first real family garden.

Plane rides, road trips, lessons, outings, activities...we've been DOING.

I hope this all doesn't feel like a humble (or not-so-humble) brag because it's really not about that. I've had many a summer (or season of my life) where just living life in the day to day was more than enough and almost more than I could handle. Resources--time, money, energy and even desire--fluctuate. Things change, kids change, people and situations change. This summer feels like a summer of possibility and of grabbing the bull by the horns, so I'm trying my best to do just that.

And in all this DOING what I'm really trying to DO is be present with my kids. Make memories that I hope will last a long time. Of course I know they can't keep them all--the memories that is--but regardless of what they actually remember, I hope that with each action there is an imprint somewhere on their mind or heart that stays with them that says, we did all this because we love you. Please know that where ever you go, whoever you meet and whatever you do, you were first and foremost cherished and loved for doing nothing at all but existing and being your perfectly imperfect selves. No strings attached, you were and will always be loved. 

Presents and stuff are fine, but experiences are the real currency of love. At least I think so. And trust me when I say I make plenty of negative draws on their emotional bank accounts--I am far from an ideal mother. But I'll keep trying. And this summer, trying looks an awful lot like doing.