Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Am I Doing This Right?

Today's guest post is by Rue at Crafty Crunchy Spicy. I think many of you moms will relate to the sentiments she shares. Enjoy!

Am I doing this right?

This is a question I have been asking myself since my daughter was only 15 minutes old and I nursed her for the first time.

In fact, as a first-time mom, I was kind of obsessed with this question for the first year of her life. Is she eating enough? Why doesn’t she nap like she is supposed to?  Is that eczema or a yeast rash? How the heck do you tell the difference?! Is this much drool normal?

Caring For Your BabyIt wasn’t until her first birthday that I began to ease up and feel like I was finally getting the hang of this “mom” thing. She was healthy and happy, and we were having so much fun together.  I was feeling more confident and happily dealt out advice to my friends who had newborns.

But before too long, a whole new wave of parenting concerns hit me. Tantrums? Sharing? Playground etiquette? Whoa. I felt confident that I could meet my daughter’s basic needs for sleep and nourishment but this was a whole new ball game. My work as a parent was just beginning—and I was only dealing with a 17 month old, what was it going to be like with a 17 year old?

Of course this wasn’t a completely new realization. I knew from the time I held that positive pregnancy test in my hand that God wasn’t just blessing me with a baby, he was entrusting me to play an important role in another person’s life. I would have the joy and challenge of being a part of her whole life, not just her time as an infant. 

And I hate saying it, but I have to acknowledge that the biggest parenting cliché out there is true. It goes so fast—at times too fast for my liking. But more and more I am excited about going through this all with my daughter at every stage of her life.

As my daughter grows and changes, I know each phase will bring with it different joys and challenges. What I am learning is that each phase is also an opportunity for me to grow and change as well.

Guest BloggerAm I doing this right?  I hope I’m always asking myself this question as a parent. Not with the anxiety that was always lurking in the back of my mind during that first year, but with the willingness to self-reflect, to make sure that I’m not running on autopilot and that I’m getting as much as I can out of this whole parenting thing.

Rue is a first-time, stay-at-home mom. She is a relatively new blogger who writes about craft projects, natural parenting, and her life as an expat. Check out her blog at

Monday, May 21, 2012

Road Tripping With My Three Favorite Allies

In a few days we will be embarking on an 18-hour road trip with a six-month-old and a two-and-a-half-year-old.

<Insert chorus of sympathy here>
travel with babyHonestly, I’m so stoked about finally getting out of here and going to visit family that I’m actually looking forward to it. No doubt there will be some hair-pulling moments, but at least we will be out of this house…out of this town…traveling toward our old home…toward everything and everyone we love and miss so much…

Yes, I’m ready. Bring it on.
But I definitely need to do everything I can to make this trip go as smoothly as possible. We’ve road tripped with a youngster a few times, so I know how important it is to be prepared for anything. Here are some things I’ve considered so far:

1)      Bring medication. No, not to knock the kids out (as tempting as that may be at times), but because you never know when illness might strike. Once, when Hannah was about a year old, she and I both came down with the flu just a couple of hours into a road trip. You haven’t lived until you’ve searched for an open urgent care in the middle of nowhere after surviving fevers and chills overnight in a hotel during a snowstorm.

2)      Hannah will be wearing a pull-up. She’s potty trained, but not while sleeping, and I’m not risking it. I don’t think I want to add “cleaning and sanitizing a car seat at a gas station in the middle of nowhere” to my “you haven’t lived until” list.

3)      We’re bringing the iPad, complete with newly installed kid movies. Hannah should be thoroughly entertained.

4)      I don’t know how Abram is going to be thoroughly entertained. In fact, I’m pretty sure he’s not. I know I will end up wedging myself in between two car seats in the back of our little Mazda and making silly faces at him while he squawks at me.

5)      I’m trying to decide if we should find a hotel before Abram’s 7 p.m. bedtime. He’s a very habitual little guy and gets pretty upset if his beauty rest doesn’t begin on time. I know it’s possible that he will simply sleep in the car, but it’s also quite possible that he will get cranky and overtired.
Is making good time worth the potential headaches? I’m thinking the answer is probably no, especially after we’ve all endured about twelve hours of road slavery.
6)      Keep snacks handy! And diapers. And wipes. And toys…oh dear, it’s getting crowded.
I think some wonderful family memories can be made on road trips, even when things go a little wrong, but it’s certainly nice to feel prepared! Do you have any tips on traveling with young children?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Flute Duet With A Two-Year-Old

Since I loved being involved in music programs growing up, I really hope my kids become interested in music too. If they don’t, that’s okay too – I just want them to find things they are passionate about.

Currently Hannah does seem to enjoy music – she listens to demos on her keyboard, dances, and plays the penny whistle.
You read that right – she’s a penny whistle player!

She loves playing duets with me, but I gotta say, there’s not much concentration on my part when we play together. I'm always watching her out of the corner of my eye.
You can see why below.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What It Means To Be A Mama

Today I'm so grateful for blessings and abundant joy, but I remember the times of longing and relentless heartache. I wish a peaceful day to all of you with mama hearts. xoxo

What You Need To Be A Mother

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Calling All Guest Posts! Time For A Vacation

Hooray! It’s almost time for fun! I need fun…oh, how I need fun.

We all just got over some colds…Abram has regressed in his nighttime sleep…the husband was working some late hours recently…so we’re all pretty exhausted. We need a vacation, and I am beyond ecstatic that we are getting one.

Fun…I see you. You’re so close I can almost touch you. I’m almost there…just a little further…
While on vacation I want to be as ‘unplugged’ as possible and concentrate on my family, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to publish some guest posts.  

If you’re interested, send the following to me at panoramicplayground @ by May 20th for consideration:

·        Your (not previously published) post of a reasonable length (mine are generally around 400 words or so) on a topic that fits with my blog (family, kids, childhood, life stories – you know what I like!)

·         A pic or two that fits with the post, if you’d like

·         A short author bio (and a link to your blog, if you have one!)

Ever since I started blogging back in September, I’ve been eager to have guest posters. I don’t know why; there’s just something about the whole community atmosphere that excites me. I loved being a guest on The Mommyhood Memos, and I love reading guest posts and getting introduced to other writers.

 Thanks for reading, and I hope you all are having fun (or at least looking forward to having fun) too!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Feelings, Feelings, Feelings...And Perspective

You know how sometimes, as a woman (if you are one), or perhaps simply as a blue personality, you just have times in your life when you experience a great deal of emotion?

It’s not that you’re simply sad or depressed or any one definable emotion…you’re just feeling a lot. And it doesn’t necessarily stem from something specific, but perhaps it’s a combination of many things all affecting you at once?

That’s what I’ve been experiencing lately.  And whenever I have these bouts of heightened sensibility, or whatever you might call it, I have a hard time pinpointing what it is derived from.
Though I’m not sure why I’ve been so delicate lately, I know there are several things that have deeply affected me.

Feeling frustrated with doing the same thing day in and day out and never feeling accomplished.

Feeling lonely and sorry for myself as I wish that I had more family around to help out.
Feeling like I’m at the breaking point with dealing with Baby Boy’s crankiness, only for him to be hit with illness and finding out what cranky really looks like.

Feeling brokenhearted and crying for someone I’ve never met who went into early labor and lost her twin boys.

And then feeling like a jerk for feeling frustrated when I should be feeling grateful that I have a sick baby to hold.

That’s a lot of feeling, right?

I generally have a pretty good perspective on things, but sometimes I fall into those ‘feeling’ traps and lose the positivity.
But when I do, it doesn’t take much for me to get turned back around. It’s almost as though God thwacks me on the head and says, “Hey, look. It could be so much worse, ya know?”

I know. I especially know when I think back to some of the harder times that have been, or even when I think forward to some of the harder times that have yet to be. This life holds so much. I guess all the pain and fear and wonder and beauty just gets to be too much sometimes.

Last night Abram had a lot of trouble sleeping since he’s so congested. All he could do was cry, so I cuddled with him until he finally calmed down. We laid there and stared at each other, and as he gazed up at me with those big blue eyes, he even gave me a little smile. He’s sick and hurting and tired, and he could still smile when he saw my face.

How’s that for a lesson?

Life is sprinkled with those moments, and maybe that’s why it’s so easy to get lost in emotions. There’s so much to feel. And maybe, even though it’s hard sometimes, that’s better than not feeling at all.

Friday, May 4, 2012

My Warrior Dash Experience

Warrior Dash photo
The craziest frickin' day of your life!

I wouldn’t exactly call it that. Honestly, I’ve had crazier days at home with the kids. But it was definitely an experience, and I’d even call it a fun one!

My good friend Maris talked me into participating since she’d done it last year and thought it was a blast. (Of course she did – she bikes, like, a thousand miles every weekend.) Also, I figured it would give me incentive to get back into shape after having Abram. (Which it did, sometimes, when he actually took decent naps and I didn’t feel like I’d been hit by a train.)
Now, we all know I’m no Jillian Michaels, but for goodness sakes, why is it that every time I mentioned to someone that I was going to do Warrior Dash, the response was something like, “You’re doing that?”

Yes, I know I just had a baby five months ago, and yes, I know the website makes it sound like only badass, hardcore people who enjoy gnawing on giant turkey legs – medieval style – would ever do such a thing.

But, you guys, come on. It’s just a 5K with some wall climbing and fire jumping. (Oh, and lots of mud.)

Plus, I’ve birthed two children. I’m more badass than you think. ;)

I saw warriors of all types and abilities there, so if you’re thinking about doing it but aren’t sure, I say go for it! You don’t have to worry about finishing quickly (there are even lines at some of the obstacles), and you just might make some friends along the way.

Warrior Dash sign photoNovice Participant Advice:
Start at the front of the line. I thought I’d be considerate and start toward the back of the line so I wouldn’t get trampled by the crazy warriors be in anyone’s way. Unfortunately, that meant I was at the back of the line at the Giant Cliffhanger (rope climb), which put me quite behind.
Not that it really matters if you’re unconcerned with your time…
Wear something wacky. There are costumes of all types, so get creative if you want. Or don’t, if you’d rather not call any additional attention to yourself as you’re getting pummeled by tires in the rubber jungle or precariously teetering across the tightrope. That’s okay, too.

Consider your wardrobe when applying sunscreen. I knew I was going to destroy whatever I wore, so I donned a ridiculously loud tie-dye swimsuit coverup that had been in the bottom of my drawer for years. I’m not used to wearing racerbacks, so I kind of missed some spots and ended up with a weird burn. Oops.

Go with a group. I can see how it could be so much more fun if you're with a bunch of other goofballs. We just took two of our favorite goofballs (our kids), and although they weren't allowed on the course, they still had a blast. Hannah ran back and forth between tents while yelling, "I'm running a race! I'm a fast girl!" Future warrior, indeed.

Kids at Warrior Dash

Taking the whole family to Warrior Dash

Maybe one day we'll run it together as a family, complete with costumes!

Conserve your energy just before you get to an obstacle. The photographers are on the other side of some of them. Right after you complete the obstacle, put on your best diehard warrior façade and grimace for the camera!
running Warrior Dash

I totally plan on participating again next year, but I’ve still got a long way to go before I beat this year’s winning time. In fact, I’m going to go ahead and put it on record here that it’s never going to happen. The guy with the best time ran six-minute miles. SIX. MINUTE. MILES. That’s impressive when there are no obstacles, but to do it when you’re also climbing cargo nets and swimming through mud?

I’d like to shake your hand, sir.