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This week we are moving. The countdown is on. Just three days to go.  Rather than packing and organizing and preparing for our new life in a new home, I’m at a conference in Chicago as the clock ticks down our last days in our first home.  Crazy, right?

Well, in fairness, this is business travel, not a frivolous getaway and, Marketing to Moms is a really good conference.  Although the notion of moving has me totally FREAKED OUT, I have convinced myself that getting away for a few days will help me be better prepared to enter the fray when I return.  Even though my days here are long and filled with working and networking, it’s still a break from the chaos, stress and pressure of juggling a job, five kids and a pending move.  I’ve decided that there are some distinct advantages to this admittedly untimely trip…

I feel appreciated.  In the 8 hours since I’ve left home, I’ve fielded texts and calls seeking the whereabouts of:

  • CCD homework (my oldest son)
  • Thank you notes (my daughter)
  • Dinner (my husband! Even though I left food in the fridge and a message on the white board in the kitchen!)

I feel accomplished.  Not only did I advise (accurately!) on the whereabouts of the aforementioned items but I also found a few minutes to make a few calls that are mission critical to our move…

  • The movers (no doubt we need them!)
  • The mortgage company (one of the more important details for a closing, I now understand!)
  • The school bus company (which will be a key requirement for my grammar schoolers on Monday morning at 7:30!)

I’ve had a few opportunities I rarely get at home…

  • The chance to have dinner with a great friend who lives in Chicago and I haven’t seen in far too long – as evidenced by her greeting: “Wow!  Look how much lighter your hair is!”  By “lighter”, she meant “grey.”  Note to self: must see her more often and/or do a better job with hair color!
  • Shopping! My 7 year old has been walking around in pants that suggest he has either A. Survived or is B. Anticipating the great flood.  This kid’s pants are so short, he’s at risk for frostbite on his ankles.  And shins. The boy needs pants.  And, since I had the good fortune of walking by Old Navy (which would never happen at home!), now he has them.  And can look forward to warm ankles. And shins. Amen.
  • Sleep! No middle of the night visitors — no one who has to pee, feels compelled to tell me they peed in the potty or alert me to the unfortunate fact that their bed is wet.  And, though I love him, there is no furry four-legged friend trying to jump on the bed in the middle of the night… his own way of telling me that he has to pee!

Before signing off to indulge in some of that rare and elusive shut-eye, I have to mention one other benefit of this trip – and of business travel in general.  It is a chance to mix and mingle and be motivated and inspired by other working moms.  You know who you are.  You too have left sweet, needy children and husbands who can’t find their dinner at home.  You too have struggled with the juggle, the pressure, the quest for balance.  And, from what I’ve seen, you have succeeded.  And, given me the confidence that I will too!  Now, sweet dreams – this mama needs to get some rest so I return home ready for this move!

It’s hard to believe it’s already October.  Summer is over, school is in full swing and the busiest month of the year is upon us.  Why is October the busiest month of the year? Well, four of our five children were born in October.  And it’s our anniversary.  And then, just when you think it’s over, there’s Halloween!  All of these things require thoughtfulness and planning above and beyond the already challenging task of juggling an active family of seven and a full-time job.

Oh, and just to spice things up a bit, this October, we’re MOVING… which means that in addition to everything else, there is packing and cleaning and phone calls and planning to add to my daily routine.  Lest I should forget, there is also a 3-day conference in Chicago that will take me away from that routine just two days before our move.  Are you stressed out yet?  I sure am!

As I look at the calendar, I am reminded that our triplets turn four on Wednesday (tomorrow!) and our 10th Anniversary is on Friday.  The triplets are in pretty good shape; there is no party planned (yet!) but there are gifts to be wrapped and a cake to be baked.  My husband, on the other hand, is not so lucky; there is a card to be written but thus far, no gifts to be had.  Which leads me to the point.

As I look at the calendar, I am completely overwhelmed.  Completely and utterly overwhelmed.  How will I get it all done?!  There aren’t enough hours in the day!  So, to avoid a total mental meltdown (my family and friends might say that a partial meltdown is already progress), I have decided to take it just one day at a time and so far, it’s working pretty well.   Take a look at last weekend as an example…

Our daughter turned six on Saturday so, we made cupcakes Friday night and Saturday truly was “all about her” – she had her first big party, complete with dancing and goodie bags.  She had her first sleepover, complete with popcorn and a movie.  And we went to bed that night delighted that our only little lady had “the best birthday ever.”

On Sunday, we were up at the crack of dawn, lugging out our wares for our neighborhood’s multi-family tag sale.  We set up toys, books, housewares and the relics of our baby days on the curb, displaying it just so to maximize the appeal for would-be buyers.  Then the rain started.  So we lugged it all on the porch.  Then the hours passed.  And no one came.  So finally, we loaded our gently used items and memorabilia into the minivan… and had a big glass of wine.

The moral of the story?  Take it one day at a time.  If you’d asked me last Friday how I was going to bake cupcakes, wrap gifts, throw a birthday party, have a slumber party and organize a yard sale over the weekend, I would have told you that I had no clue, that it was too overwhelming to even consider! But now it’s Tuesday and despite the rain, our missions were accomplished and we somehow pulled it all off.  One day at a time.  That’s really the only way.

So, when I look at the month of October on the calendar, there is no denying that it is daunting.  But, we made it through the first nine days and will surely survive the next 22 – birthdays, anniversary, work, move and all!   Before I know it, it will be November.  Before I know it, my three year olds will be four, my husband and I will have celebrated a decade together and our family will be in a new house.  And then I’ll be wondering how to juggle unpacking and settling us in, planning our oldest son’s 8th birthday and preparing for the holidays.  When I start to feel overwhelmed (that’s assuming I ever stop!), I think I’ll reread this and remind myself: one day at a time. Everything is possible if you take it just one day at a time.  And have that occasional glass of wine!

Look familiar?

Does this picture look familiar?  With five kids who are now seven, five and three (times three!), this is a look I see all too often.  Like three times a day.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Times five kids.  That’s ten eyeballs rolling to the skies with pretty much every plate we ever place in front of them.

What’s a frustrated (and occasionally pissed off!) Mom to do?  We’ve tried reasoning with them: “Just try it, you might like it.”  We’ve tried pleading with them: “Please? Please eat just one!  Just ONE?!”  We’ve tried bribing them: “Eat your beans and you can have dessert.”  We’ve tried bargaining with them: “Ok, just eat seven beans because you’re seven years old and you can have a cookie.” And, as a last resort, we’ve even stooped to guilting them, just as our parents did to us: “You HAVE to eat it. There are starving children in (insert country here).”

Needless to say, none of these ploys work.  And, my frustration is growing in direct proportion to our growing grocery bills.  I just can’t stand — can NOT stand! — throwing food away.  We work hard for our money; we work hard to provide healthy, well balanced meals.  And, if that’s not enough to persuade our persnickety half-pints, there truly are starving children all around the world — and, for that matter, close to home as well.

My frustration reached fever pitch the past few weeks with the return of school — and the associated return of lunchboxes that came home almost as full as when they left.  Each evening, I was faced with room-temperature yogurt, misshapen cheese sticks and soggy sandwiches.  “Why didn’t you eat your lunch?!” I yelled at their little upturned noses.  “It was too warm.” “It was squished.” “It was soggy” I was told.  Of course, that wasn’t quite the truth.  The truth is that they were bored with the same-old options.  In an effort to control my temper and not further frighten my third-grader who was eyeing me like the madwoman I was, I gathered what wits I had left and asked him to write down five things he’d like to have for lunch.  This is what I got:

  • pasta and butter
  • mac and cheese
  • chicken nuggets
  • chicken noodle soup
  • grilled cheese

You know what these things are?  Dinner! Not every night, of course but, these are my lazy working mom’s go-to weeknight standbys.  I panicked.  If I give the kids mac and cheese for lunch, what will I do for dinner?!  And then it hit me.  Sandwiches! Yogurt! Cheese Sticks! Apple slices! Carrots sticks!  And all the other yummy, healthy things that I pack for lunch and unpack at the end of the day.  Yes my friends, that is the solution.  A weapon in your arsenal against picky eaters:  Make lunch the new dinner and vice versa!  It works!

From a kid perspective, it is fun and novel and new — and that is half the battle.  We’ve long enjoyed “breakast for dinner” on busy nights when the fridge can’t cough up more than a few eggs and english muffins but, the notion of “lunch for dinner” or better yet, “dinner for lunch” hadn’t occurred to me. Until now.  And so far, it’s working like a charm.  As for the old line about hungry kids around the world, well, we can’t help them all but we sure hope to help some.  This fall we’re going to bake brownies for a local shelter and deliver food baskets for Thanksgiving.  I’d like to think that we’re doing our (admittedly small) part in stamping out hunger and, selfishly, I will sleep better knowing that my own kids won’t be “starving” in their school cafeteria.

Do you have any tips for picky eaters? Please share — before the novelty of this one wears off for our brood!

It’s only Tuesday and already it’s been a long week.  The kids are still struggling to get in the back to school routine and, well, I am too. It’s exhausting!  Each day starts with dragging them out of bed, forcing them to make those beds and then rather unceremoniously shoving them out the door to the bus.  Each day ends in a frenzy of “Did you do your homework? No, you can’t play the Wii. Why didn’t you eat your lunch? Where is your library book?!” And so on until we shove them back into those nicely made beds.

I decided tonight would be different.  My husband had to stay in the city for a work-related event and I decided to make a concerted effort to be the kind, patient, supportive Mom I want to be rather then the tired, cranky, nagging Mom I often am.  I have to say, it kind of worked.  Not in a gold star kind of a way but in a “greatly improved” kind of a way.

After a quick dinner of “dinner eggs” (see, I told you there would be no gold star!), I ushered my four youngest kids out to the yard so I could have some quality time with my third-grader — the one who is most often on the receiving end of my bedtime barrage of questions.  Instead my typical yelling and accusing as I dash to and fro with pajamas and toothbrushes in hand, I sat down and I listened.  And he talked.  And he told me why sometimes it’s hard to finish all his homework.  And he told me what he would like to eat for lunch.  And it was all very reasonable. And we both felt good.

I then called in the little ones and asked my big guy to curl up with a book while I got them ready for bed.  We actually had fun as we put on PJs, brushed teeth and picked out a story. Separating “big” from “little” worked like a charm. Everyone felt like they got a piece of this tired, stressed-out Mama – and apparently, they like that!

Then I looked at the book they chose.  Want to know what it was?  It was called “Dad is Great.”  I kid you not.  I don’t how or when that propaganda landed on the bookshelf but boy, did it ever burst my bubble!  I mean, of course, their Dad is great but really, do we need to dwell on it tonight of all nights?  Tonight would have been a good night to read “MOM is Great,” is such a book exists.  If not, I’ve changed my mind.  I want that gold star!

Filling out school forms: painful!

As you know if you are a regular reader, I typically write a “Tuesday Tip.”  People tend to marvel at the way we seemingly breeze through life with our brood of five children and have asked that I share the things that work for us – snack ideas, vacation spots, general discipline tips, etc. – and so I do.  Here’s the thing though – it’s not always a breeze.  In fact, it rarely is.

When the clock struck midnight last night, I was still filling out school forms and realized that I’d literally timed myself out of my typical Tuesday tip.  I thought perhaps I’d share a nugget of “Wednesday wisdom”  but, I fear what you’re going to get here instead is a massive dose of “Wednesday whining.”

At the moment, I’m tapped out of tips. I’m tired. Exhausted, in fact. Ever since summer came to an abrupt close and the school year started, I’ve felt like a rat on a wheel.  Everything in our life seems to be stuck in high gear, in the fast lane.  My job, always fast-paced and challenging, has picked up in intensity.  Our two older kids, now officially first and third graders, are adjusting to a busy school year as we all struggle to get in the groove of wake up/school bus/ homework/ CCD/soccer /wash/rinse/repeat. It’s a never-ending circuit with backpacks, folders and soccer cleats constantly caught in the spin cycle.

Then there are the triplets. Almost four (how did that ever happen so fast?!), they are gearing up for preschool.  Hence the forms I was filling out late last night.  When did they first walk/talk/sit/stand/crawl?  I honestly don’t have a clue.  I was going to make it up but didn’t have the energy.  So, I simply entered “at the normal age of development” on all three forms.  Then I had to explain how our trio of tots differ – after all, they are identical and the school needs a few hints for telling them apart.  Think about that for a minute – I have to create copious notes for anyone who interacts with our three little fellas… teachers, babysitters, heck, even my own parents can’t tell them apart.  It’s not a breeze.

Perhaps most challenging for me the past few weeks has been writing our address on each of the zillion forms that have crossed the threshold – forms for Girl Scouts and soccer, for emergency contacts and basic medical information.  Each and every form requires our address. And each and every time I write it down I want to cry.  Why?  Because we are moving.  In just about six weeks.  Where? Once again, I honestly haven’t a clue.

We sold our house, which was the right thing to do.  We’ve outgrown it.  It has been the perfect “my first house” and now it’s time for the next one.  But where is it? I don’t know. And I’m worried. And scared. And totally freaked out.  I’ve tried to pack but I just can’t do it.  How can I pack if I don’t know where we are going? Will we find a house to rent and need to stick some stuff in storage? Will we find a house to buy and only live in limbo for a few weeks between close dates? Will we be flopping on the floors of friends and therefore only need our clothes? I don’t know. I just don’t know.  And that is why if I need to fill out one more freakin’ form with our current address – our home sweet home — I will, well, I suppose I will keep on keepin’ on. What other choice is there?  I will grin and bear it.  I will hope for the best.  I will try to have faith that it will all work out in the end.  And when it does, I just might share how it did in Tuesday Tip of the future.  Until then, stick with me and forgive me for the Wednesday Whine!

41 and an adult at last

September 6th, 2012 | Posted by Kerry Lyons in MaMa Moments | parenting - (2 Comments)

Here is the post I wrote on the eve of my 41st birthday.  An evening when I was feeling a bit down and out.  Today, the day after, the day I am 41+, I am feeling just fine. Why? Because of my amazing family and friends and the keen realization that whatever lies ahead, they will be there.  To understand my trepidation about what lies ahead, read on…

Tomorrow I will be 41. It feels so anticlimactic as compared to 40.  When I turned 40, I anticipated an “event.”  And indeed, I got one.  First there was a fancy dinner in the city – a great date that included a moonlit walk over the Brooklyn Bridge.  And then, a week later, just as I thought the notion of being surprised had passed me by, there was a party in the park, complete with our kids, family, friends and lots of cake and balloons.

I was pleased as punch and felt more like a 40 year old child than a middle aged adult.  I still do.  In fact, my own husband remarked just the other day that I was behaving like a child. And not in a good way.

I get cranky when I get tired. I get really cranky when I get hungry.  I get pissy when I don’t get my own way. Which is often, as it is for all parents. The needs of five kids seven and under simply must come first.

Even so, I still like birthday cake and presents. And parties.  I also like puppies and kittens and trips to the zoo.  And the aquarium.  Oh how I love a good aquarium!  I like sprinkles on ice cream and milk with cookies.  Sunshine makes me happy although, despite many a bad burn, I still hate to put on sunblock.

My childlike tendencies go on and on.  I believe people are good.  A small part of me still believes in Santa Claus.  I love Christmas, just like I love birthdays. But somehow, this birthday is different.

It’s not just my birthday.  It is my oldest son’s first day of third grade and the day our only daughter will become a first grader. It is a monumental day in their lives.  And that makes the fact that I am turning yet another year older seem pretty insignificant. Forty one. Big whoop.

As the date of my birth gets closer by the minute, it occurs to me that I am no longer that 40 year-old child.  I have great angst about the choices and changes that loom ahead.  As the kids start a new year in school, we are faced with momentous, life-changing decisions.  Do we sell our charming “my first house” or stay put a few more years? Do we move to a new neighborhood in pursuit of more space to stretch out or stay put because it is comfortable and easy and, well, practically perfect in every way?  What about childcare?  Our triplets are starting pre-school and their needs are changing. But what to do about it? Where is the guidebook? And what if all this change isn’t for the better?!

These are the questions that keep me up at night on the eve of my birthday. Before a new day dawns.  A day of new beginnings.  A day filled with the promise of a new school year and freshly sharpened pencils. A day filled with questions.  Big questions. And worries.  Big worries. And fear.  Fear of the changes ahead and the decisions we have to make.  A day that I still hope will bring birthday cake. And, with a bit of luck, wishes that will come true.  A day that is my birthday. But is certainly not all about me. A day that I think I am last ready to admit I am an adult. A 41 year old adult.  Hopefully, in a good way.

It’s official.  I can no longer ignore the piles of backpack catalogs and back to school coupons that arrive daily to remind me that fall is right around the corner – a season where paper of all sorts enters our home more swiftly than the leaves fall from the trees.  There are class lists and calendars. Cafeteria menus and permission slips. “Artwork” and homework.  You get the idea.  But what to do with it all?  With a third-grader, first-grader and three pre-schoolers, I have to have a plan to tame the paper beast.  And I do.  And today I’m going to share it with you.

For starters, get yourself some basic supplies. This is the easy part.  Clip some of those coupons, go to your store of choice and get yourself:

  • A label maker
  • A desktop file organizer
  • File folders in various colors
  • A small storage box for each of your children (note: these can be made rather than bought but I’m not that crafty!)

With supplies in hand, give yourself an hour to:

  • Weed through any lingering remnants from the last school year — in my case, these included a birthday invitation we never RSVP’d to, an expired coupon to a local aquarium and a class list from when our third-grader was a preschooler… proving that I’m not always good at following my own advice!
  • Put that label maker to good use.  I create a folder for each child in addition to a few extras to corral the mail, menus and miscellaneous papers that arrive via mail, backpacks and, as far as I can tell, by carrier pigeon too!
  • Set up a “memory box” for each child – once you do this, you will (hopefully) reuse this box for years to come.  In our house, each kid has a box (neatly labeled with his or her name, of course!) and each year we cull through what we’ve collected, keeping only the most precious of memories – first handprints, first report cards, etc.  It’s important to recall the items that are NOT worthy of the memory box:  random scribbles, spelling tests (even if s/he gets 100!) and ceramics which will break before you even get the lid on.  I have several good friends who assure me that when our children are grown and we are gone, they won’t be looking for these lost treasures… and needless to say, neither will we!

The last piece of the process is no doubt the hardest – it’s making a lasting commitment to control the paper beast. To tackle it daily.  To keep only what is critical and to recycle or trash what’s not. To actually use your file folders and memory boxes.  To keep the paper beast under control — before it grows big and scary and requires a bonfire to tame it.  Although, if all else fails, a bonfire isn’t a bad idea… it is, after all, a sure (and welcome!) sign of Fall.

You may have noticed that this post has a new look to it.  That’s because I recently bid Blogger a fond farewell and officially made the move to WordPress.  I hope you’ll bear with me as I learn how to navigate this new platform, continue to pull my old content over here and ideally, get back into a groove of more routinely sharing my musings on motherhood — along with some weekly tips and quips that I hope you find helpful and at the very least, hope give you a chuckle!

I am often asked why I write this blog and, for that matter, why I write at all.  The short answer is I love to write.  That’s why I’m thrilled you can now find me on The Huffington Post, Moonfrye and Irish Central in addition to some occasional stints on Parents.com.  The long answer is that for me, writing is a great way to capture the memories as the days drag on but the years fly by.  It is my way of preserving the minor moments, major triumphs and everything in between.  With that in mind, my “tip” for this Tuesday, is to keep a journal and jot down the funny, crazy, endearing things your kids say.  It need not be fancy (a simple notebook will do) but it should always be handy (in your purse, on the counter, etc.).  And if it is, you too will soon have a collection of gems just like these — all of which our clan has proclaimed in the past few weeks…

  • Overheard from the back seat — and delivered with compelling confidence: “Don’t you know that reindeer don’t live in the rain?!  They live in the forest dummy!”
  • An exasperated cry emitted far too often from our only little lady: “Ma, ____ peed on me!  AGAIN!!!!!”  (Such is the hazard of one little girl sharing a bathroom with three three-year olds with bad aim!)
  • From an uninvited three-year observer as I got out of the shower: “Hey Ma, your boobs got bigger!”  “Really?!” I responded rather gaily. “Nope, they just got longer.”  And then my heart sank. Apparently just like my boobs.
  • At the vet as one inquisitive fella interrogated the owner of a guinea pig:  “What is that? Why is it in a towel? What does it eat? Hay? Hay isn’t food! Is he sick? What is his name? Where does he live? Why is it in a towel?”  This is just a small glimpse into a long and priceless interrogation that only ended when the vet mercifully appeared to care for this shell-shocked animal… and equally shell shocked owner!
  • An unfortunate observation from our 7 year old “Ma, are you having another baby? Your belly looks big!”  Short answer: no. Long answer: your belly would look big too if had held five children, the last three at once and with a birth weight of over 17 pounds! So there!
  • A poignant observation from that same 7 year old: “Why is that man asking for money? We should help him.”
  • And, perhaps my all time favorite thus far: “Wow Mom, I love that skirt! You look like a princess!”  So what if he’s only three?  I now wear that skirt every other day.  Well, almost…

Let me know if you have some personal faves — my understanding is that commenting should be a lot easier here than it was before.  With that in mind, I’d love to hear from you and hope that in addition to sharing the funny things your kids say, you’ll give me inspiration for other “Tuesday Tips!”

I’ve been away for a few days now, living out my own “Lucky One” adventure while my dear husband has been manning the fort — quite literally, I suppose — since I left on Friday afternoon, artfully juggling five kids, their weekend activities and his responsibilities at work.  Here’s what I’ve learned as I’ve kept in touch from afar:  sometimes, Daddy knows best. And oftentimes, Mommy makes things more complicated than they need to be.  Here are three great examples:
  1. Let them wear what they want.  The weather in the Northeast has hit unseasonable, record highs in the days I’ve been gone.  And from the photos I’ve seen, the kids have been thrilled to wear shorts and flip-flops.  And pajamas without tops. Knowing myself as I do, I suspect I would have started a battle about the flip-flops, making the rational argument that it’s hard to run/play soccer/get from Point A to Point B when you’re a three-year old in flip flops.  And, I would have urged them to wear shirts with their pajamas, for fear they’d catch a chill in the middle of the night. As it turns out, in both cases, I would have been wrong, causing yet another unnecessary fuss.  As it turns out, they wore their flip-flops and lived to tell about it and slept as snug as bugs in a rug, with or without shirts.  Score one for Dad.
  2. Leave the luggage at home.  Here’s what I usually take a for a typical Saturday involving soccer, baseball and birthday parties:  5 juice boxes, 5 water bottles, about 25 snacks, a change of clothes in case a three-year old triplet piddles in his pants, sunblock, wipes, tissues, Purell and a few BandAids, just in case.  Here’s what the Dad packed for his weekend adventures with our tykes: nothing.  Nothing!  Ok, maybe a water bottle for the kid playing soccer but that’s pretty much it.  And you know what? They all survived! Score two for Dad. 
  3. Roll with it.  Before the breakfast is cleared away, I start to fret about what we’ll have for lunch and dinner. Before my coffee is consumed, my mind has planned the minutes of our day — every day.  The Dad does not work this way.  This can sometimes infuriate this Mom.  But, with some distance between us, I see once again the magic of his ways, the delight of a few unscripted days.  There was impromptu pizza for lunch and a late nap at 4:00.  There was no dinner plan but somehow it all came together.  The kids were happy, clean and fed.  Perhaps not on “my” schedule or in “my” way but, at the end of the day, well, they had a great day.  Several of them in fact. Score three for Dad!

I’ve learned once again that “my” way isn’t necessarily the only way or at times even the “right” way.  This Dad really knows what he’s doing.  So much so that this Mom just might start planning her next trip!

One of my little fellas who always pauses to smell the flowers
If you live in the Northeast, you know that our “un-winter” is just about over; with the unusual warmth this week combined with the extended daylight hours, it’s really beginning to look — and feel — a lot like spring.

Spring is typically a time of year when our already over-filled lives grow even fuller.  As we say so-long to basketball, we find ourselves in the midst of soccer, baseball, t-ball, lacrosse clinics and, in just one civilized respite, a ballet recital.  Suddenly the winter hours we spent in a chilly gym seem minimal in contrast to the hours we’ll spend on the grassy sidelines this spring.  The good news is that the dawn of spring and advent of summer allow us longer days and the occasional permission to linger… the time to stop and smell the roses, as they say.

Today I did just that.  Not in the literal sense; despite the warm winter and early spring, the roses have yet to bloom… although, many crocuses have come up to meet the sun and a few daffodils are in full bloom.  I witnessed them firsthand as I left my desk behind and took my lunch to a local park.  A local park where I knew the triplets would be playing and that just a few moments with them would brighten my busy day even more than the sunny skies.  It helps that they were thrilled to see me; at three years old, they are almost always thrilled to see me — and with a five and seven year old who are at times now slightly less enamoured, I want to treasure every moment that they treasure me.  And today I did.

I took off my shoes and played in the sandbox. I yelled “Ready, Set, GO!” as I raced them down the slide.  I walked them home and timed it just perfectly as the school bus pulled up and my two “big kids” hopped off the bus and into my arms.  It turns out they are happy to see me after all.  We bought lollipops at the corner store to make the stroll home a bit sweeter. Then I left them with our sitter and returned to the office less than an hour after I left; an hour that I will forever cherish and is a great reminder that spring is the perfect time to take at time-out and enjoy the beauty around you, wherever you find it.  For me, today’s beauty was captured in blue skies, purple and yellow flowers and five smiling faces sticky with lollipops.