Being present

May 30

Yesterday I was challenged to come up with quality time for myself and the girls.  After they kicked off summer in a big way with NanaRoz and before they whirled off to their adventure weekend (camping with Daddy!), I had a few hours with them.  They have full calendars this week, but both of them have Mommy-Snuggle-Meters that must get filled up or else they start to get pretty wonky.  Maren begins to act like a sloth whenever she sees me and entangles her limbs with mine as soon as I hold still.  Greta, who holds it together for (most) everyone else, loses it and emotes in my direction if I haven’t been present enough for her.  I needed a quality time activity where I could both be present and engage with them, but also not tax myself.

I turned to the reliable old television.

I next-to-never watch TV with the kids.  When they are occupied, I see it as an opportunity to do something else in peace, and I always seize upon that opportunity.  Yesterday though, we snuggled together–me in the middle–and watched a movie together.  It’s funny how very intentional I had to be in that choice; Brad does that low-key time with them so much more naturally than I do.  I was delighted to find Honey, I Shrunk the Kids on Amazon Prime, and the three of us giggled and snuggled our way through it.  It was probably one of the best two-hour “moments” I’ve had with them this month.  I highly recommend…

See?  Giggling and snuggling through the funk.  Totally doable.

After the movie, Brad rushing about packing the camping stuff, so I decided to assist by turning packing their clothes into a game.  “Okay girls, run to your room, get your overnight bag, and bring it back here.”

They both ran off, got the bags, and deposited them in front of me.

“Great!  You guys are awesome!” I coached.  “Next: one pair of pajamas and a hoodie.  Go!”

“Two pairs of pants and two pairs of socks.  Go!”

Everytime Greta came back, she was absolutely wiggling with glee.  She loves doing things where she feels like a big kid.  She also just picked her favorite (or whatever was on top) for each item.  Greta is absolutely in charge of her own style.

Maren is a hoot because she’s just starting to care about her clothes, but — for now — her primary interest is in things matching and looking cool.  It’s hard for her to choose on the fly because she doesn’t have confidence in her choices; we’re working on that.  She needs to know that the only person who can decide with any authority whether she’s cool is she herself.

We got their bags together, talked them down from bringing half of their toys, and kissed them good-bye.  First Daddy-kid campout of 2015 is happening; several other dads and kids are there too.

As I’m resting in my R&R, I am making mental lists and planning and zoning out.  It’s what I do.  Perhaps you can help with what I am thinking on today…

-I love doing special outings with the kids, and they are at prime time ages for it.  My summer ideas list is epic.  My mom used to load up our van to capacity a couple of times a year when I was a kid and take us somewhere new.  I’d love to be able to do this and let them each invite a friend, but our cars are both 5-seaters.  Since Maren can’t ride in the front seat for years, how do other folks get around this?  Did the front seat rule exist when I was a kid?  Brad and I were on the cusp of getting a 7/8 seater right about when I was diagnosed, but our priorities obviously changed.

-It’s time to book some summer haircuts for the girls and I this week.  I’m tickled at the the thought that we could all have short (matching) haircuts for the summer, but don’t want to push them into what I want.  Either way it will be a fun outing; salon/stylist recommendations?

-We have Amazon Prime and Hulu.  Any series or movies to recommend for my R&R time?  (My only rule is that I don’t want to watch anything that will make me cry.  Crying makes me think about cancer now, and I just don’t need to go there.)

-I’ve used Shutterfly, Snapfish and Picaboo for family picture books; probably because I had a coupon for each one at the time.  Are there any others I should check out?  (I’m picture-sorting and have a LOT of books to print.)

I’m giving myself a pass on the house projects and the to-do lists.  I linger and wander over what I feel like doing at the time.  I’m not sure if I’m indulging myself or pacing myself, but I figure it’s okay either way.  I got a new vacation-themed shirt in the mail yesterday from my aunt, so I’m wearing it and it’s good mojo.  I’m alone in my own house, so I’m grateful for that strange and unfamiliar yet welcome respite.  I went through my closet pre-funk and pared down excess, so I’m making outfits for vacation based on what is left.  During my steroidal burst of energy, I rearranged Greta’s furniture, and Maren immediately wanted her room re-arranged too.  It seems like everything is shifting and anticipating the sweetness of summer.  I love that we get to live more by the sun and less by the clock in this season.  That’s what I’m thinking about today: being present in my present.


  1. Lisa Smith /

    I was JUST praying about being present and enloying my 2.5 year old even though being present with my sweet nugget means accomplishing VERY LITTLE each day. It takes such little effort on my part to be present with her (if I choose to) and the reward is so great. She smiles from EAR TO EAR when I let her do something like paint my nails when I would rather say ‘No thank you love’. I love how you address these all-encompassing motherhood blessings. You keep me in line and I am grateful. Love you.

  2. Michelle /

    On my maternity leave I started on episode 1 of friends and watched them all! It’s not a new series but very reliable :). (I was supposed to learn Spanish and organize closets and sort through a year of medical bills with three insurance changes but the only thing I truly accomplished was re watching every episode of friends!)

  3. Lindsay l /

    Being present in the present…sounds easy but it is a challenge, isn’t it?! Way to do it girl!
    Hair stylist recommendation: Karen Vogsberger at Pure Concepts in Kenwood. Love.

  4. Carli /

    Rockstar mama! You go girl! I love the Tudors on Hulu. Very downtown abbey-esque with a royal flair.

    Thinking of you all the time.


  5. Leese /

    I relate to a lot of the tension of things you’re facing, as I’m dealing with my own health issues and being essentially homebound. And as I’m sharing the not needing tear inducing things to watch…

    I have rewatched Gilmore Girls as a series a rather ridiculous number of times. Since it’s such a mother-daughter-friendship type of theme it’s probably a great one for you as well.

    Given that we’re almost the same age, the other thing I’ve gone in spurts of binge watching is Felicity, since it’s reminds me of good memories in HS and college when I watched it when it actually aired originally, but I have it on DVD and am not sure if it’s out there online at all. I know my library has it to check out, though.

    Speaking of which, there are gobs of things within my library system that I’ve gotten on interlibrary loan – I had no clue how many shows and movies they had that I couldn’t find online anywhere! If you’ve not also considered that, it could provide you with even more options.

    The movie Arranged is one I have also watched a ridiculous number of times – it’s a great story of friendship. There are times it has made my eyes welly once in awhile, but really only briefly and truly just out of gratitude for the friends God’s blessed me with.

    If you’re into (or up for) audiobooks, I’m entirely too hooked on those, despite thinking I’d never really be able to get into them because I’ve got such a thing for tangibly holding books. Anyway, if you’re up for those, I could give you a list a mile long of audiobooks you might enjoy! 🙂 I’ll spare you a list unless you’d like it! ha

    I love, love, love for printing books. I’ve done it for years and the quality has been great. I almost always wait for deals when I can get two copies of the same book for the price of one, and I have the second copy for passing on (or a backup if something were to happen to the first)

    Oh, and I’m not sure how many are on Prime or Hulu regularly, but both show websites have some, you might enjoy watching Chopped and Masterchef Junior (the latter you’d probably enjoy with the girls).

    I actually have friends who their favorite thing to do as a family is “play” Chopped. They’ve been doing it since their youngest kids were about Greta’s age, and just upped the challenge level progressively over the years.

    The kids LOVE to do it with their friends or for one another, and the youngest actually wins with whomever he’s paired with when they do 20+ people competitions (so 10 pairs) almost every time! Plus her kids never say, “There’s nothing to eat” because they just start themselves a round of chopped and give one another ingredients to have to come up with something to make out of them. LOL.

    But MasterChef Junior (it’s all kids from about 8-13) is super fun and encouraging (and inspiring) and so sweet as the kids cheer one another on and stuff! I’m sure you’d enjoy it, as I’m quite sure the girls would also.

    Shoot me an email if you’d like my audiobook list – I’ve found those great for sitting in the infusion room on a day I don’t have the energy to be very social, or during the drive back and forth, especially since somehow it seems to often take less braincells than trying to track with a book sometimes does! I don’t get out as often now, and don’t always do as well listening at home for some reason, but I have hordes that have been great for various reasons, and with enough diversity that if I wasn’t up for (or couldn’t handle) one thing I’d jump to another. LOL.

  6. Kara /

    For a show to watch with your girls, I absolutely love the sweetness of the Little Bear series. It’s a bit young but I still catch Sophie watching it from time to time. Also, the Disney/Studio Ghibli films are really interesting. We recently watched Kiki’s Delivery Service. Enjoy the happy anticipation of summer and, as always, sending love and hugs your way!

  7. Maureen /

    I know it’s old but I am re-watching Friends and am loving it just like I did the first time around (Netflix). Orange is the New Black is good and not sad but not a comedy either. I prefer comedies though. Life is sad enough.