Apr 272015
 

Accepting that as a mom, my kids' needs come first has been a hard thing to get used to. The daily struggle of managing schedules and organizing it all is a beast, but here is the one thing I remember when it all starts to feel too overwhelming. Read on to learn how to press through this season of parenting--it can be done!I write a lot about working hard to accept our age and stage in this life, probably because it’s one of the things I struggle with the very most on a day-to-day basis.

It never seems fair. Or right. Or like it makes sense.

It is that odd 12 minutes you have in between herding children through their morning routine (why is it always such a surprise that we have to put shoes on every morning??) and shoveling them into the minivan for school drop-off. The possibilities reach far.

Do you make a quick pass at a shower and brushing your teeth?

Screw the shower and fight through some vigorous sit-ups in a shout-out to the approaching summer months?

Pop out a few quick over-due emails?

Tackle the towering pile of dirty dishes? Maybe this will be the morning God gives me a shot of super-speedy energy and I could actually get them finished before we leave!

Sit and play “birthday party” with your kids as they’ve been begging?

Speaking of birthday parties, if you don’t get those invites addressed and sent out, your son won’t even have a birthday party.

The problem is that these are all good things. Valuable, important things to you, your house, and your kids. The fullness of this life means that each activity is a calculated trade. Every thing done means that there is something else that is not going to get done.

I want to be the super-mom who gets up before the sun, exercises, dresses in a chic outfit, checks in with work stuff and has time to fill the juice cups before my kids come down the stairs wailing for breakfast. But I want to sleep too, because that matters, right?

I’d love to catch up with paperwork, but there are friends who need me. A nice walk after my husband gets home to watch the kids would be sweet, but when was the last time we actually had a real conversation? Dinner together might be smart. Scheduling a needed haircut, but I have a meeting. Writing a post, but kids’ homework. This but that, thisbutthat, thisbutthatthisbutthatthisbutthat….

One morning when breathing through all of this was especially challenging, talked with my friend. “It feels like I am always robbing Peter to pay Paul,” I whined, “I never get it all done.” “Honey,” she lovingly “got” me, “You can’t.”

She is right. So right. While I desperately long for less jiggly bits around my thighs and passionately organized closets, for this season, I can’t. It’s a season of selflessness. As much as our own wants and needs flare up and jealously vie for a prioritized seat, things like kids needing Mommy to draw intricate sidewalk chalk roads on the driveway and endlessly sit in school pick-up lines power through with their pressing realness.

Accepting that as a mom, my kids' needs come first has been a hard thing to get used to. The daily struggle of managing schedules and organizing it all is a beast, but here is the one thing I remember when it all starts to feel too overwhelming. Read on to learn how to press through this season of parenting--it can be done!

 

When you break into the territory of need vs. need, it can get desperate. Really desperate, friends, I know. Someone’s something is taking a backseat. It’s a very hard line to draw but one that has no choice but to be drawn.

Since we have that darn stickey wicket of not being able to do ALL THE THINGS and since we parents are the grown-ups, it might be time to latch onto some acceptance.

Acceptance in the form that smudgy handprints on the refrigerator are the norm, right along with my dusty baseboards, and if you don’t like that, please leave my home. Acceptance in that if I only squeeze in a few squats, I can choose to focus on my pretty earrings vs. the enormity of my thighs. Acceptance in that I may be dozing off during bedtime stories with my kids, but at least I’m trying to read to them.

Acceptance in that I’m not superhuman and I’m going to have to bag up a lot of the things I’m yearning for and toss them in the backseat. Feel free to throw yours in there too as you drive these kiddos and their world around.

Maybe some day we can unpack our own stuff and pay Peter back, but for now, settle in, it’s going to be a long ride.

 

Second image credit, depositphotos.com, image ID:35208743, copyright:IuriiSokolov

 

Apr 132015
 

Just a little over two weeks ago, I Still Just Want to Pee Alone hit the shelves and my fellow co-authors and I have delightedly been watching the rave reviews roll in. This, on top of the recent news that the first book in the series, I Just Want to Pee Alone hit the New York Times Bestseller list, has left us all feeling very boss about our work and more delighted that ever to share these funny books with you!

Ladies Night Out just got sweet! Complete with shopping, sales, wine, cupcakes, and bestselling books, grab a girlfriend and mark your calendar!

Christine Burke of Keeper of the Fruit Loops and I are so excited to team up with Sprouts Consignment in Malvern to host another Ladies’ Night Out/Book Signing Event on 4/23/15 to promote this new book. If you’ve never met Christine, she is adorable and her personality is bigger than the room; our last signing was too much fun! Together we are thrilled to sell and sign books (we’ll have copies of the second book in the Pee Alone series, I Just Want to Be Alone too) and chat it up with you!

But this event is about so much more than our books! Grab a girlfriend or two (or 10!) and come out for an evening of treats and shopping.

When:  Thursday, 4/23/15, 6-9pm

Where: Sprouts Consignment Boutique, 288 Lancaster Ave., Frazer, PA 19355

What: Shopping, sales, wine, snacks, & bestselling books!

Wine and snacks are available while you shop, including some of the fantastic Wildtree goodies I just raved about and delectable cupcakes from Cupcakes Gourmet.

Sprouts Consignment will be offering an extra 10% off of their consigned children’s clothing and goods, so this is the time to stock up your kids’ closets for summer!

And cross off all of the Mother’s Day and teacher gifts on your list in one night! Come May, you’ll be patting yourself on the back for getting it done so early. Maybe make a few fun purchases for yourself too while you are shopping the goods of these small-business ladies:

Clean Slate Designs–beautiful one-of-a-kind repurposed wood items for your home

Chesapeake Ribbons–handmade ribbon belts and accessories

Chloe & Isabel–fashion jewelry

Jamberry Nails–trendy nail wraps

Beauty Counter–safe and effective skincare products

Mark your calendars now and get ready to hang out with us in next week! We can’t wait to see you there and are so looking forward to a fun night out!

The perfect Mother's Day gift is HERE! Come get it signed and chat it up with the funny authors who would love to meet YOU!

 

Mar 042015
 

Feeling down and depressed? You aren't alone. Dark places are known by so many, even though we don't always discuss. Beating yourself over something stupid? Find light and hope here with this one simple realization.I’d like to report that Monday, the three year anniversary of my mother’s death, ended up being a day of blessing, a day of reflective happiness spent with my children, niece and sister. Instead, I drove the minivan through the garage door.

You know that AllState commercial when the garage door is shattered by the foolish home owner? THAT WAS ME.

I’d love to share happy, gainful sentiments on how the death of one’s mother can be a beautiful self-growth experience. But I cannot. Because I was an idiot.

I could blame my daughter’s incessant 3-yr. oldness for my break with sane, rational precautions. Like opening the garage door before I drove through it. I could blame my continued destabilizing grief for not thinking clearly. I could blame preschool for the last-minute curve ball of needing to find the perfect solution for Dr. Seuss Hat Day.

The truth? It was all these things.

But I was still an idiot.

I very cautiously guarded who I could share my mess with. Because it was so very real, so very desperate, and so very, very messy. With that one horrific crunch of metal crashing upon metal, everything quickly fell into a rather dark state.

I wasn’t just mad and sad, I was hurt. I was ashamed. I felt alone in my stupidity and lack of ability to get it together. And truth told, I might have bottled up my circus show and privately berated myself for the pain of my mess, except…

My sweet sister. She visited shortly after the savage garage door attack. As I expressed my disillusion with my life with her through broken sobs, she very sagely, kindly, cautiously suggested that I am not the only one in this world who does stupid things.

Huh. I still refused to believe that anyone could be as big as a fool as me, but wondering if there might be truth to her bold insight, I ventured to tell a few others of the colossal disaster my day had become.

Accidents and stupid mistakes happen--to ALL of us, really. Feeling down and depressed? You aren't alone. Dark places are known by so many, even though we don't always discuss. Beating yourself over something stupid? Find light and hope here with this one simple realization.

And you know what? Almost everyone else had a story of some bone-headed move they’d rocked with their own vehicles. Tales of walls side-scraped, parking meters nailed, even getting stuck teetering on top of a median. My sister was right; I am not the only one who has done something fantastically stupid with their car.

I am not the only who has cost my family 1500 unavailable dollars by doing something really dumb.

I’ll be vulnerably honest, readers, I am still in that dark place, still furious with myself and genuinely doubting whether I will ever competently function on this earth.

But I will accept this: I will accept that I am not the only one who has been in this crappy place.

And lest you are in this place too, my only prayer is that you will confidently know you aren’t alone either. Supposedly there is a flip side. Supposedly someday we will laugh about tossing money at maintaining our homes after we’ve attacked them in our fits of foolishness.

In the meantime, cozy up here for a hug. I love you; God loves you. And there is a really fabulous circus show going by that we are privvy to watch.

 

First image credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:11093496, copyright:HASLOO

Second image credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:10629308, copyright:ersler

 

Feb 272015
 

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!My favorite day of the week! The hope, the promise, (albeit the very unlikely) dream that there will be a minute of relaxation or a snoozle of extra sleep hiding somewhere in the corners of your weekend…it could happen. Keep the fantasy alive, fellow warriors.

A few months ago, I started having a teensy celebration on my social media every Friday to recognize the day. I’m not sure anyone else is that into it, but it makes me giggle, so I’m keeping the weekly fun rolling.

Follow along with me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to check out the latest Friday laughs. And please share any of your own ideas for how you revel-it-up come the end of the week!

For now, smile the it’s the week is over, and go bold with a true wild mom-style move. Inspiration below!

 

 

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

 Happy Friday, friends! Go enjoy!

Feb 112015
 

Keeping a close eye on little ones all the time is TOUGH! Here is the perfect gadget to letting you make sure your kids are safe--while tackling your looming dish pile. It really works!We are entering a new stage in our household: independent play in our rooms. To those of you with older kids, this probably doesn’t sound like a big deal. For those of you with kids younger than my 3 yr. old and 5 yr. old, your mind is blown, “How does this even happen?!?”

But it does happen, trust me. Somehow baby gates get booted from staircases and your kids start saying wild things like, “Mommy, I am going to go up and play with my Legos.” The first few times, you will just nod numbly in shocked disbelief , stand at the bottom of the steps and hyper-vigilantly listen for the first possible indication that your child has injured himself.

Then, after a few successful unsupervised playtimes, you will start to relax a bit. You will enjoy the five minutes your children are happily occupied and begin to tackle the 16,000 tasks on your to-do list. Yet while the breathing room thrills you, your mom instinct won’t quit: “What are they doing up there?” “What is that thumping noise?” “Are they okay??” 

Obviously, we can’t watch our children for forever, but during this stage of not-quite independent, I would love to have an extra set of eyes. One that I could put upstairs so I can wash the dishes downstairs without panicking over the sounds coming from upstairs.

Enter the Safe&Sound® Pan & Tilt Full Color Video Baby Monitor from VTech. With a camera that pans up to 270 degrees side-to-side and tilts as many as 124 degrees up and down, it has your little ones covered. With a feature that allows you to zoom in up to 2x and a range of up to 1,000 feet, it can fully be your eyes even when you’re in another room!

Have more than one kid you want to keep an eye on? The monitor is expandable up to four handsets from one parent unit. And the transmission, however many handsets you use, is quality and secure. It is equipped with digital transmission. The signal is digitized and encrypted, ensuring video and audio transmission is always private. There is high resolution with a 2.8-inch color LCD and full-motion video with up to 25 frames per second and automatic night vision.

  • Talk-back intercom: Sometimes all your baby needs is to hear the sound of your voice. Comfort your infant from any room with the built-in intercom on the portable parent unit.
  • Temperature sensor
  • Wall-mount bracket
  • Vibrating sound-alert on the parent unit
  • Rechargeable battery with low-battery alert on the parent unit
  • Zoom the camera from the parent unit
  • 5-level sound indicator
  • Volume control

Keeping a close eye on little ones all the time is TOUGH! Here is the perfect gadget to letting you make sure your kids are safe--while tackling your looming dish pile. It really works!

The best news for you, readers? You have a chance to win one of five nursery safety baskets featuring VTech Safe&Sound® Pan & Tilt Full Color Video Baby Monitors! Hop in the Twitter party on Wednesday, 2/18/15 at 1pm ET for your chance to win. Winner will be randomly selected from participants who answer the trivia questions correctly. Prizes limited to U.S. participants only.

Follow the #VTechBaby hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP via this Vite: http://vite.io/themotherhood

I will be there, hosting the fun and eager to share more about this high-tech monitor while giving out a bunch of sweet prizes! Can’t wait to see you there–and here’s to keeping an extra eye on those young kiddos!

******This post is brought to you by VTech and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.******

First image credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:10837621, copyright:Wavebreakmedia

Feb 022015
 

Trying to figure out your role and strengths as mom is hard! Here's how to embrace it smoothly and why you should celebrate your differences! You'd be surprised where my strengths lie, but I'm embracing them anyway!I’m not shy about not being particularly good at this kid thing. I love mine, of course. And sometimes I even enjoy kids’ activities and playdates, but in general, I’m a flop at understanding what to do with the younger set.

This bothers me. It’s the kind of thing you feel weird discussing with others, because what will they think? I’m not good at kids, and I have them. I can hear the warning sirens firing off, demanding I start stashing up for my children’s future therapy needs now.

I’ve spent a lot of time pondering all the different kinds of moms. And I don’t mean the helicopter mom vs. permissive mom vs. any of the other parenting styles so often discussed. I mean different moms are good at different things.

Like, I have friend who is fantastic at doing crafts with her kids. I think her house must have a secret art supply stash room somewhere. And you know what? That’s cool because she enjoys doing creating stuff with them. Plus, when we visit, my kids always get to make something really neat.

Another friend is so darn good at playing with her kids outside. It doesn’t matter what the weather is, she is on it. Sleds and parkas in the winter get traded in for rain boots and sunblock as the weather warms. If it’s light out, she and the kids are out, soaking up all that vitamin D goodness.

I admire my friend who aces staying relaxed, something that is too often overlooked in our culture. She and her children chill, relax and play their way through their days. And don’t think she ever stresses. Her children are going to grow up to be the most zen creatures on this earth.

Another friend schools a bevvy of extracurriculars for her kids, another is the queen of fun kid vacations, another hasn’t stopped reading her daughter books from the moment she came out of the womb. Others are good at teaching, at laughing, at baking, at…you get the point, we’re all different.

And that’s okay, because we need a boatload of different people in this world. It’s a really good thing that people are raised in different ways with different focuses. Variety is the stuff of life, right?

Trying to figure out your role and strengths as mom is hard! Here's how to embrace it smoothly and why you should celebrate your differences! You'd be surprised where my strengths lie, but I'm embracing them anyway!

Recently I was chatting this over with a friend (you know, the real kind of friend, the one who doesn’t judge you for still being in your pajamas at 1pm) and she had a brilliant point. She noted that it’s not just the particular things we are good at doing with our kids, but the particular ages of our children that highlight our mothering strengths.  This made so much sense!

As in, at this age of my children, I might shudder with impatience at the idea of teaching them to play piano, but when my daughter is older, I would love to teach her to knit. My friend talked about the brutality of trying to entertain her little kids, but she now loves hanging out and catching movies with her teenagers. There will always be ages and stages we handle better than others, and this is okay too. We always love our kids, we might just have times that we shine a bit more than others.

What am I good at? Not young kids, for sure, but I do have hopes for future years. And while I suck at taking my kids to lessons, live in fear of glitter, and am terrible at Play-Doh, I’m not terrible at making a big deal of special little things. The silly days and events no one cares about? I probably do, and I celebrate them with our kids. Whether it’s trekking out to the Farm Show every year or throwing a rockin’ Groundhog Day party today, it’s probably a happening for our family.

So, it works. For us. And that’s the bottom line; everyone has her strength, and it might look nothing like the neighbor’s. Moms, find your glory, and go share it with your kiddos. Being you is one powerful gift to give your children.

 

First image credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:3267356, copyright:alenkasm

Second image credits: depositphotos.com, image ID:9305586, copyright:iofoto; image ID:63171059, copyright:kdshutterman; image ID:22165189, copyright:yanlev; image ID:5024549, copyright:Kzenon

Jan 302015
 

Buried in the day-to-day of motherhood? Finding your inner cool mom isn't that hard, and bonus? It's A LOT of fun ;) Check out these tips to get your groove going--stuff you haven't done in ages, but it works, trust me!Let me be clear: I am not cool. I have never been cool. Nope, I’m solidly of the band-geek variety. Even in my 30s, which is impressive, as I haven’t picked up an instrument in about 15 years.

But while I’m sitting over here, stewing in my own nerdiness, I realize that I am uncool enough to not only recognize the things that make me feel hip, but to delight in them. What makes me feel like plastic side clip on a neon tee in the 80s?

Put on Cake’s “The Distance” and I rock the most boss dance moves of all time–or at least in my kitchen during dinner-prep time, which really, is the same thing…Make it Queen or any 80s power ballad, and you have yourself the same awesome. What can I say? My suburban mom hip thrusts while I heat macaroni are inspiring.

Blast a track that makes you smile and let your inner grooviness roll. Bonus? More steps on that Fitbit.

In general, I’m not a huge baby-lover, but when I hold my month-old niece I feel all the good things of this world. She is sweet, she is small, she is beautiful, and most importantly, she doesn’t rage at me when I make her do her rainbow popcorn words homework. It works.

Hold a baby, preferrably not your own.

I am not a knowledgeable woman on this earth, and I will never be, but during a recent social media consult, I found myself spewing off terminology I didn’t even know I knew. This latent savvy comes only from cumulative hours and hours spent absorbing know-how, even when I didn’t feel like I could stomach learning one more thing.

Go ahead and school yourself in something unfamiliar. The pride is stymieing and enough to feed your day-to-day soul for days upon days.

Listen, I hate working out. I always will. Jillian Michaels yells at me and makes me do it anyway. For this, I love her. And then when I’m done, I love myself.

Do the hard workout. You will feel like you want to die, but it’s worth it. Think spaghetti straps in the summer and gnaw on that celery.

I often look at my day’s agenda and want to puke. There is no foreseeable way that I’m going to win this to-do list, even in my wildest imagination. You know what? My best results come from just closing my eyes and jumping in. Gracious no, I’ll never get it all done, but I can make a decent attempt and then fist-pump the air for the things I did manage to cross off.

Don’t focus on what you can’t do; look at what you can. Then attack it with a vengeance and curl up with a book when the day is done.

I have a really, really comfy long-sleeve t-shirt that I love. It has holes, stains, and a permanent odor of sweat. I need to throw it out. This regular life doesn’t always demand going fancy, but clean jeans and fresh deodorant can be very nice. I have heard rumors about some crazy thing called eyeliner.

Take a minute to spruce up. The thing is, if it makes you feel good, and is a way to care for yourself, it might just be a good thing.

It’s not an always thing, but when I sometimes do some of these things, I feel kind of cool. I feel a little bit on-my-game. Best said, I feel like I’m ready to rock this thing.

What makes you feel boss? How do you find your fantastic? When are you in your groove? However you find friends, find the coolness. It’s so worth it.

In the meantime, step aside friends, a cool mom is coming through.

 

Image credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:17616935, copyright:prometeus

Dec 052014
 

Didn't you know? Reading books is COOL! Snatch up a cozy read and hop in with our online book club. We're thrilled you're here!For those of you that have been reading with Carrie from Normal Level of Crazy and me through this online book club: WE LOVE YOU. Trying to make a go of anything new in this blogging world is can be tricky, but we’re going to keep up with this because, quite simply, we love reading. Also, most sincerely, we love you, readers.

After our last post, one woman told me how grateful she was to have someone else to read with, even if she never actually met them. She too is a book fan, but her young kids prevent her from the magic trick of leaving her house. Yet she still wanted to know someone else was reading the same book she was–and thinking about it and caring what she thought.

Being the sap that I am about connecting with others, I teared up when she shared this with me. And then I felt reaffirmed that this book club was a smart idea. I love my books. I can’t always go out like a normal person to talk about them face-to-face, but being able to read with all of you is a blessing.

So thanks for humoring us, friends–we are genuinely thrilled that you are here!

And make sure to leave a comment below to win a copy of our pick for this month!

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All that gushiness aside, our pick for last month was Yes, Please by Amy Poehler. This is hard review for me to write because I LOVE AMY POEHLER. But I was not a fan of this book.

As we noshed on chips and margaritas, I worked hard to put my thoughts into words so I could explain them to Carrie, but it’s tricky. My concept of Poehler is that she is sweet, genuine, very smart and wonderfully sarcastically funny.  I simply could not get this image to savvy up with the voice in her book, which to me came across as cocky and even foolish at times. All quotes and input from other people featured in the book served to confirm my original notion of her, but her voice itself confused me. Did anyone else feel this way??

My admiration of her was also disillusioned by some of the book’s content. It was disjointed and confusing. For example, on one page Poehler both noted the damage drugs can wreck on a family, only to then seemingly praise drugs for their redeeming qualities. The flow felt bizarre  and off to me.

Perhaps my feelings about the book mostly stem from my difficultly relating to Poehler. For while we have children the same age, our day-to-days are wildly different. Usually inability to relate to the people I read about does not color my opinions of books, but I think in this case, it did.

There were some very cool things about the book, though. Carrie noted her appreciation for Poehler’s recognition of the difficulty of book-writing, and I whole-heartedly agree. Poehler’s honesty about this was not only refreshing, but inspiring for those of us aspiring to write while feeling overwhelmed by the reality of actually producing a book.

I also delighted in the photos and excerpts that were included throughout the book. These served not only to break up text and provide levity but reinforced my original affection for Amy Poehler.

While I didn’t love this book, I remain a tremendous fan of Poehler’s work in general. I don’t think all authors are meant to write books, and this is fine. We need people to write amazing content for television so we can roll on the floor in laughter after we stash those kiddos in bed 😉

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After hearing WONDERFUL things about Jodi Picoult’s Leaving Time, we decided to cozy in for the holiday month with one of our all-time favorite authors. Please join us and read along this month–we will look forward to chatting about it with you the first Friday of January!

And if you’d like to win a copy of Leaving Time, just tell us in your comment below. One winner, age 18 or above, living in the continental U.S. will be randomly selected from the comments left below before 12/12/14 at 5am EST.

Here is the summary for Leaving Time from Amazon, along with the link to buy the book:

Jodi Picoult’s Leaving Time weaves elephant behavior into a search for a missing mother. The connection isn’t as odd as it might sound at first, and Picoult has written another page-turning novel, even as it focuses on motherhood, loss, and grief. Teenager Jenna Metcalf was just three years old when her mother disappeared from an elephant sanctuary. Ten years later, she takes up the search for her mother, Alice, by studying Alice’s decade-old journals on grieving elephants. The research itself is fascinating, the hints about Alice’s disappearance are compelling; but Jenna cannot find her mother on her own. By enlisting the help of a formerly famous—now infamous—psychic, as well as a down-and-out private detective whose career went south during the botched investigation of Alice’s disappearance, Jenna forms a sort of new family to help her in her quest. As the facts begin to come together—described in alternating chapters by Jenna, the psychic, the private detective, and Alice’s journals—it all heads toward a thrilling conclusion. And, yes, there is a big twist at the end. – Chris Schluep

Looking forward to reading with YOU, friends! Happy cozy holiday reading!

WE LOVE our books! Hop in with us every first Friday to talk about what we're reading and share your thoughts--we want to hear from YOU!

 

First image credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:30508017, copyright:massonforstock

Nov 072014
 

WE LOVE our books! Hop in with us every first Friday to talk about what we're reading and share your thoughts--we want to hear from YOU!It’s the first Friday of the month! In Mom of the Year world, this means it’s time to READ. Carrie of Normal Level of Crazy and I have been loving our monthly virtual book club–so much fun to share our reading obsession with all of you! Last month we read The Memory Box, and this month we are chatting Wild by Cheryl Strayed.

Carrie is filling you in on our in-person discussion below, so check in and then make sure to share your thoughts with us. WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! Also, make sure to catch the title for next month and leave a comment on one of our posts so you can get your very own copy of Wild!  Thanks for following along and reading with us, friends! Happy virtual book club day!

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Last month, my lovely friend, Meredith of The Mom of the Year, chose the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed as our book club read for the month of October.  I hope you all got a chance to read it or, if not, at least added it to your must read list.  Because it truly is a must read!

I’ll be honest, I’m always a little leery of these “Eat, Pray, Love” type books.  Let’s face it, I’m a mom.  I can’t go galavanting off to another country or wilderness to “find myself”.  Don’t get me wrong.  I want to!  Desperately.  Even Cheryl’s toenail-less feet and lack of decent food didn’t deter me from wistfully dreaming of doing exactly what she did … which was hike the Pacific Crest Trail for three months after the death of her mother.

I’m, of course, so curious to hear what you all thought of it.  A couple of things stood out to me personally.  I could relate so completely to Cheryl in the feelings she experienced in relation to her mother’s death.  Having experienced my own mother’s death at about the same age as Cheryl, I thought Cheryl did an amazing job articulating the ups and downs, the deep waves and the soft flutters of grief.

This paragraph, in particular, blew me away.

It was wrong.  It was so relentlessly awful that my mother had been taken from me.  I couldn’t even hate her properly.  I didn’t get to grow up and pull away from her and bitch about her with my friends and confront her about the things I wished she’d done differently an then get older and understand that she had done the best she could and realize that what she had done was pretty damn good and take her fully back into my arms again.  Her death had obliterated that.  It had obliterated me.  It had cut me short at the very height of my youthful arrogance.  It had forced me to instantly grow up and forgive her every motherly fault at the same time that it kept me forever a child, my life both ended and begun in that premature place where we’d left off.  She was my mother, but I was motherless.  I was trapped by her but utterly alone.  She would always be the empty bowl that no one could fill.  I’d have to fill it myself again and again and again.”

There is so much in this book! Join our virtual book club as we explore all the elements of Wild by Cheryl Strayed.Have you ever lost someone and found yourself struggling with that relationship?

I also found the way she explained her forgiveness of herself to be most powerful.  How do you forgive yourself if you’ve done something you know if so completely and utterly wrong?

“What if I forgave myself?  I thought.  What if I forgave myself even though I’d done something I shouldn’t have?  What if I was a liar and a cheat and there was no excuse for what I’d done other than because it was what I wanted and needed to do?   … What if what made me do all those things everyone thought I shouldn’t have done was what also had got me here?  What if I was never redeemed?  What if I already was?”

Have you ever had to forgive yourself of something that you had done wrong?  Is it possible to do this and move on and let go?

Lastly, I found this passage – where Cheryl is discussing the legitimate fears of taking this journey by herself – a woman alone – to hold a deeper sense of the real condition of anxiety and how it shapes us and can take hold of us.

“It was a deal I made with myself months before and the only thing that allowed me to hike alone.  I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed.  Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told.  I decided I was safe.  I was strong.  I was brave.  Nothing could vanquish me.  Insisting on this story was a form of mind control, but for the most part, it worked.  Every time I heard a sound of unknown origin or felt something horrible cohering in my imagination, I pushed it away.  I simply did not let myself become afraid.  Fear begets fear.  Power begets power.  I willed myself to beget power.  And it wasn’t long before I actually wasn’t afraid.”

Do you relate to this passage?  How about the stories you tell yourself?  Are they always accurate or do they help perpetuate fear and anxiety in your life?

Meredith and I would love to hear your thoughts!  Leave comments on one of our blog posts about this book and you will be entered to win a copy of Wild!!  This will only be available to people living in the continental U.S, 18 or older, who comment by 11/14/15 at 5am, ET.

And don’t forget to go see the movie out December 5th starring Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed!!

Next?

Amy Poehler’s Yes Please.

One of my most favorite actresses on one of my most favorite shows, Parks and Recreation, Amy Poehler’s new book looks absolutely amazing!  And I don’t know about you, but with the busy fall we’ve had, I could stand a few laughs!!

From the back cover:

In a perfect world . . .

We’d get to hang out with Amy Poehler, watching dumb movies, listening to music, and swapping tales about our coworkers and difficult childhoods. Because in a perfect world, we’d all be friends with Amy—someone who seems so fun, is full of interesting stories, tells great jokes, and offers plenty of advice and wisdom (the useful kind, not the annoying kind you didn’t ask for, anyway). Unfortunately, between her Golden Globe-winning role on Parks and Recreation, work as a producer and director, place as one of the most beloved SNL alumni and cofounder of the Upright Citizens’ Brigade, involvement with the website Smart Girls at the Party, frequent turns as acting double for Meryl Streep, and her other gig as the mom of two young sons, she’s not available for movie night.

Luckily we have the next best thing: Yes Please, Amy’s hilarious and candid book. A collection of stories, thoughts, ideas, lists, and haikus from the mind of one of our most beloved entertainers, Yes Please offers Amy’s thoughts on everything from her “too safe” childhood outside of Boston to her early days in New York City, her ideas about Hollywood and “the biz,” the demon that looks back at all of us in the mirror, and her joy at being told she has a “face for wigs.” Yes Please is chock-full of words and wisdom to live by.

Join us December 5th to discuss Amy’s new book!!  And don’t forget to leave a comment to enter to win a copy of the book Wild!

Oct 312014
 

Daylight Savings Time has a bad rap--well earned, but there are some potential highlights.  Like the extra 60 minutes and all the crazy things you can do with the bonus time! Set those clocks back and enjoy!I understand that logically, it’s not really an extra hour.  When you factor in all the gradual shifting of daylight and the hour forward in the spring and blah blah blah, it really makes no difference. I don’t care.

I understand that with kids, it’s really the same difference. Despite the clock reading a different time, you still have children. They are still active–and whiny and need juice cups filled. I don’t care.

I spent 99% of my life scrambling for minutes. Clearly, my last week’s goal of letting go of the bondage of my to-do list is working out so well.

So when Father Time decides to throw me an extra hour, I’m going to squee like a school girl with glee.  This mama needs time. In bad way. Yes, I might have that time all clouded up with young kids needing attention, but it’s time all the same.

This weekend, while Halloween is definitely the shining star, I’m going to go ahead and celebrate another little highlight.  It’s called Daylight Saving Time: The Fall Version.

All logic-filled explanations shoved aside, when I’m offered a free hour, it’s sweet news.  I’ll instantly start plotting and planning exactly how it should best be spent. Of course, I will end up just grumpily attempting to sleep in while my children awake at the literal break of dawn and commence racing through the house, but this is so beside the point. I will fantasize about that hour and I will fantasize well.

I may not have much, but I have my imagination. And I’m clinging to it.

After crowd-sourcing on Facebook, it became apparent that the #1 thing all moms long to spend an extra hour doing is SLEEP. I totally get this. Covert sneaking the Ambien your way and with you, my friends.

Other moms sagely spoke of using the hour to plan more sneaky alone minutes. Smart! Love the way these ladies think.

Someone else misread crowd-sourcing as crowd-surfing, and suggested this might be fun diversion for us moms. Others agreed, and we now apparently have a night of Moms Gone Wild planned. Works for me.

So what would this Mom of the Year do with that sweet, sweet extra 60? (Assuming sleep as a given and the children were entranced with Frozen…)

Sometimes in life, you just have to take the bad selfies--psychotic hair included. Snap away and find your sanity!

 

1) Watch a TV show. I remember a fun little something called Revenge??

2) My nails. They look like hell. I try not to make them look this way. I’ve been unsuccessful.

3) Read a rag. I don’t care what anyone thinks; I’ll never give up my crush on Star magazine.

4) Organize my Christmas list.  HaHA! Oh wait, that was a joke.

5) Take more stupid selfies of my crazy morning hair. Because it never gets old.

6) Watch Wheel of Fortune. Yes, I like it. Shut up.

7) Plan how I can see all of the book-to-movies that are coming out at the end of 2014. Then pinch myself and wake up; under no earthly circumstance could this happen before the next millenial.

8) Clean the playroom. Or not.

9) Tackle the beasty-things my eyebrows have become. Because it would take the full hour.

10) My husband. Yeah, because despite the bee-stings, I still kind-of have a crush on him.

So what ever your plans are for your luxurious “extra hour”, friends, enjoy. I will be right there will you, celebrating each minute for what it’s worth!

 

First image credit: depositphotos.com, ID:40622725, copyright:creatista

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