Sep 102014
 
There...one foot in front in front of the other.  It works :)

There…one foot in front in front of the other. It works :)

I feel dishonest of sorts.  You see, while I have shared about the challenge Kindergarten has presented to us, I have failed to tell you how it has utterly, totally slayed me.  I slam out my mornings in a vigor known only to moms terrified of misstepping the intricate school system and then, by the time lunch is squared away and I demand “rest time” of my kiddos out of desperation, I too am passing out come 1pm.

Entirely unproductive.

As I watch my professional life slide to the wayside and laundry pile up to my eyeballs, I feel stymied.  Will I ever find order again?  More importantly, will I ever remember to restock on mouthwash at the grocery store or am I destined to a life of halitosis?

I am tired.  My feet flail in efforts to find the ground and truly, the notion of a routine fled somewhere between the folds of preschool drop-off and Kindgergarten pick-up.

Also there is Letter L Show-N-Share day.  Good gracious. Why do we not have a stuffed ladybug readily at our disposal??

Vulnerability, true in state, can be a tricky thing.  Very few people are a safe landing spot, but when I shared my current disaster with a kindred spirit, she encouraged me, “Treat this like you did the early days.”  You know–the post-hospital days of horror, when you had no clue how tomorrow would figure itself out.  When you just had to trust that somehow, it would figure itself out.  That things would somehow start to make sense.

That if you just put one foot in front of the other, circumstances might start to sort themselves.

I have no idea why the emotional, physical, logistical, and social impact of this transition has been so traumatic for me.  For us.

That’s not totally true.

Perhaps the biggest steps of all...

Perhaps the biggest steps of all…

I have learned that big events in my life, post mom-dying, tend to bury me.  I lose all sense of logic, tend to burn things, and self-destruct in a cloud of unorganized grocery store lists and random Kohls promo codes.  Honestly, I think this disorder might prevail even if my mom still lived–chaos is a natural state for me.  

But…but.  I recognize it.  I get up every day, hopefully mix up my protein shake and fantasize that today will be The Day.  The Day That I Finally Get It Together.

It will not.  I will likely remember Show-n-Share and pick my son up on time.  I will remember to feed my babes apple slices with their lunch and push water intake.  I will then pass out post-lunch.  But, God-willing, I will manage to tackle one small thing on my to-do list.  It will not be a big thing, but the important thing is that I will have tried.

I will have put one step in front of the other.

Even when I didn’t know where that step should go.

Even when I didn’t know what the road would look like, where it was going, or what kind of footwear would be appropriate.

Even when I was scared, confused, and overwhelmed.

At least I made the step.

Sep 042014
 
EXACTLY my morning...

EXACTLY my morning…

I would be lying if I said this whole starting school business wasn’t slaying me.  After I finished supporting the Kleenex industry on the first day, I did figure on a general schedule upheaval.  I assumed my son would be more tired than usual.  I did not, however, count on how emotionally rocked we would all be by things like erroneous pencil grips, bus seating arrangements, and the tricky necessity of afternoon rest periods.

Nor did I figure that this would be one of the times in my life when I would entirely lose my capacity for reasonable thought.  It started on the eve of the First Day of School. I burned my hand trying to steam green beans, cried and vowed to never again serve veggies to my family.  This adorable inability to perform simple tasks continued throughout the week.  In short, I became stupid.

In this delightful state of mind, I found myself on my birthday morning, decidedly unbathed with yucky morning breath.  But I had gotten my son on the bus!  On time!

Feeling cocky from this intense victory, I became foolish.  What if I celebrated my day and tackled my grossness with a bath?!

I could do this, right??

I felt like I was running a covert op for the CIA.  I cued up Daniel Tiger, stashed up my daughter with Goldfish crackers and spoke in soft tones, lest I disturb the gods of potential baths.  I crept up the stairs, turned on the faucet, shut the door, and sank under the suds.

The door immediately slammed back open. My daughter walked in with That Face. She didn’t!  But in one sinking moment, I knew that she had.  She had pooped in her underwear.  Endless curses on this potty-training nonsense. Wear diapers until you are 25, for the love of God.

That situation, very wet and very nakedly, sorted out and I found myself back in the bath.  Albeit, a great deal grumpier.

Woe, the tragic injustice of electively having children and then having to care for them…

I relaxed back into the warm water, closed my eyes and worked to listen to the sweet silence of nothing.  I heard a small voice, “Mommy, can I watch you?”

My eyes flew open. “Um…sure?”

Does the lock on the bathroom door not work?  What insane person is running this house?

“I’ll help wash your hair.”

Excellent.

“Can I help with the razor?”

I madly searched for a paper bag in which to commence proper hyperventilation.

“I’ll draw pictures of the ocean for you!”

I especially enjoy the teal bathtub crayon, as it dyes everything a lovely aqua hue for at least a solid 24 hrs.

I love my kids. I do. A lot.

I also love baths.

Someday, perhaps, in the near 15 years, the suds and I will meet up again.

For now, it is certain that I must be locked in padded rooms whenever my children start Kindergarten vs. being allowed to make any decisions–at all.

The good news: I’ve got a “helper” who works a mean shampoo service.  And really, my skin is the most pretty shade of teal…

Aug 272014
 

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood Party @meredithspidel Margaret's birthIn my very particular world of parents with young kids who maintain a intense-to-insane dedication to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, the event of the century went down last week. Daniel Tiger’s little sister Margaret was born.

PBS pulled out all the stops for this one.  Somehow, my kiddos, who exclusively fan-crush on Daniel through Netflix, still managed to catch wind of the big day.  August 18.  AUGUST 18.  Forget our family day at the amusement park this summer or the start of school, a new baby was coming to the ‘Hood, and the calendar was marked.

The thing about all this hype?  I loved it.

Captivated!

Captivated!

You see, parents adore Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Give it up for public television; they hit it out of the ballpark with this one.   It’s a sweet show.  A kind show.  A non-annoying show.  The characters are cute, and aside from the fact that they are talking animals who wear clothes and adorable hair bows, they tread pretty closely to reality.  They deal with very real little-kid issues.  They get grouchy, they get impatient, they have to learn to use the potty, and go to bed.  And they have adults actively involved in their lives trying to help them figure it all out.

I wrote about the show last year, when we were first becoming acquainted.  I thought it was fantastic then; now we’ve gone and fallen in love.

The show is known for its catchy little tunes that stick in your head while reinforcing an important lesson.

“If you have to go potty, STOP! And go right away.”My daughter has actually made it to the bathroom on time more than usual after watching this episode.

“If you’re feeling mad, like you’re going to roar, take a deep breath and count to four”When my kids sing this to Mommy when she is feeling roar-y, I can’t say that she’s amused.

“Keep trying, you’ll get better”(with a considerable break, added syllable and up-note in the middle of “better”)–Listening to my son hum this under his breathe while working on getting the basketball in the net, I looked at my husband and said, “You do realize Daniel Tiger is raising our children, right?”  We were both cool with it.

Those who made the elite guest list

Those who made the elite guest list

So when The Show of our Children’s Childhoods decides to unveil a new addition…yeah, it’s time to make a big deal out of it.  Being a huge fan of celebrating the non-events in life in a big way because they are, in fact, the stuff of life, I understood a party was in order.

I began by texting my Mother’s Helper’s mom to tell her we would all be wearing red for the event (Daniel always wears his red jacket).  Being that my Mother’s Helper is the most wonderfully tolerant young lady on this earth, no one blinked an eye.  It also helped that she had hung out with us all summer and understood the mounting importance of this event all too well.

I then left the red-shirted crew and ran to the grocery store.  I was uncertain what the proper foods were to celebrate a tiger’s birth.  My eyes then landed on Baby Goldfish, and I knew a “baby shower” was the way to go.  Mini Oreos, the teeny-tiny baby-baby carrots, mini oranges (mandarins) and pizza bagel bites seemed like the solution…it was on!

Because apparently this is what one eats at a tigers birth.

Because apparently this is what one eats at a tigers birth.

Not a “go me!” situation at all–I only thought to shower-it-up very last minute and most of what I purchased for the event was processed crap, but…listen, I can’t promise not to go stupid over future silly stuff with my kids, and I can’t promise to do it well when I do, but I can promise to always get silly excited over occasions to wear red/buy mini carrots when I realize them for all that they are.

Everything is better in miniature, after all…

And I know everyone swoons after a baby is born, but really, Margaret is the cutest animated baby tiger I have ever seen…

Aug 252014
 
Probably not a bad idea for him to get started on if hes aiming high...

Can’t I just buy him a white lab coat and skip the whole school bit?

I was going to be The Cool Mom.  You know, the one who rejoices when her kids head off to school so she has a slice of time to herself?  It was going to be sweet; I had it all planned out for about six years (my son is only 5, by the way).  School bus for kid would = happy dance for Mommy. Surely.

But I’m not so super at self-estimation.  Somehow I forgot that every time I find myself on the brink of something huge and new, I tend to become a spastic mess.  I lose my crap, if you will; it can be a bit unseemly. It’s in these times of change that I really wish I didn’t have to be friends with myself.  She’s just so darn high-maintenance.

I remember bringing my son home from the hospital, carrying him up to the nursery, settling in my carefully selected trendy glider rocker, and promptly bursting into ferocious tears.  Sure, a few things like exhaustion and raging postpartum emotions were at play.  A perfect storm waiting to happen, but the heart of the matter was–I was scared.  Really, really scared.  I didn’t know how to do this.  I didn’t know how to manage spit-up, exist without sleep or leave the house with a newborn.  I thought down the road to navigating playdates and began dry-heaving in fear.

When things are unfamiliar, I get panicky.  A fight-or-flight reaction of sorts–one that leaves me wanting to flee to the safety under my bed covers rather than trying to push through something new.

New stuff is hard.

But we have to do it.

So I went to all three of my son’s Kindergarten orientations.  And…they did nothing but soothe my fears and make me fall in love with the school and his teachers.  More shockingly, despite my desire to avoid the terrifying newness of fellow parents, I found myself making friends, chatting people up and kind-of/almost looking forward to upcoming school events.  So weird.

As for my son?  He’s beyond excited and has been counting down the days for weeks. He couldn’t be more thrilled about starting school.

Huh.

So it would appear that Kindergarten is not a terrible place and that my son wants to go there.

In turn, this may indicate that perhaps my fears are unfounded.  That possibly, similar to those overwhelming early days of babyhood, we will somehow figure it out.

And it may end up being really cool.

Huh.

What does this mean for all my present panic?  Not one darn thing; let’s be real–I’m a Mommy.  With a Kindergartner  My terror isn’t going any anywhere.

While I’m madly cheering him on and occasionally even recognizing that we may survive, I’m most certainly still going to be That Mom–the one sobbing at the bus stop this morning.

And I think that’s okay too.

The one in which my son tells me it’s not okay for me to hang onto the back of the bus as it pulls away…:

 

Aug 182014
 

I’m a big fan of sleep.  I like it.  Of course, I don’t get enough of it; so I spend a large portion of my time distance-worshiping it, but that’s okay.  Gives me something to dream about, right?

Largely, I have been successful at passing my love of sleep onto my kiddos.  While naps have never been their strong suit, since a young age they have done a reasonably fair job at conking out for the night at a reasonable time and logging a decent night’s rest.   We’ve gotten into a groove and it works…except for when it doesn’t.

When our schedule gets disrupted, when we get off track, when we spend our days running wild, things get a bit dicey. Aka, welcome summer.  I have talked before about how I love summer, but all it’s sweet excitement can be a bit draining.  We’ve had a blast in these sunny days, but all our non-stop activity and pushed-back bedtimes have taken their toll.  That pretty little sleep schedule we had down pat? I’m switch between sobbing in the corner over the loss of it and hyperventilating into a paper bag about my son’s start of Kindergarten–it’s glorious times around these parts, friends.

We’ve got a week.  We have one week to get our crap together and try to recapture our routine.  Gracious knows I’m already worked up enough about sending my son off into the great, big, scary world of school, the last thing I need to is to worry that he will be too tired to focus.

Knowing this, I’m taking the tips in this article, Promoting Healthy Sleep for Kids, by Val Jones, MD on the OTC Safety website to heart.  I’m proud to know that we do some things well–we always stick to the bath/teeth/story/prayer/sleep routine with our kids before bedtime and we never resort to giving our kids OTC cold and flu medicine to help them sleep (as tempting as this may be sometimes, the unwanted side effects aren’t worth it–save the meds for when your kids are sick).

This has been the bed scene this summer--more  partying, less snoozing...

This has been the bed scene this summer–more partying, less snoozing…

This has been the general nature of our quality summer sleep...

This has been the general nature of our quality summer sleep…

But there are definitely things we need to work on (evidence above).  Aside from our major goal to get our kids in bed at the same time every night as we prepare for school, we need to work hard on limiting their screen time.  Since my kids have largely stopped napping, I do think it’s healthy for us to have an post-lunch rest time, but hanging out with the iPad all afternoon isn’t the way to go.  Rarely do my kids watch TV at night, but despite our heavy crushing on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, it might be smart to cut down our early-morning viewing as well.  The basic truth: that the more active kids are during the day, the better they sleep at night.

Heres hoping for more of this chicken hats included...

Here’s hoping for more of this (random chicken hats included, of course)…

...and this

…and this

So wish me the best, readers.  I’m going in.  I’m committing to the week of getting ourselves sorted so we can hit Kindergarten and preschool with a running, well-rested start!

****I am compensated as an OTCsafety blogging ambassador for this post, but my opinion are my own.****

Aug 132014
 
What ALL afternoons look like...in my dreams ;)

The someday bliss?

I have gone on before, at length, about how much I crush on our deck.  It truly is a lovely place.  I often consider moving in out back.  Maybe I won’t dramatically dismantle and relocate our bed, but I could set up a nice cot or something.  Maybe get a sweet lava lamp and milk crate night stand to set the mood?

The thing is, I love the deck, but moreover, I crush on SOLITUDE.  I don’t think I actively started craving this bliss until it was gone.  I love my privacy, I love my peace.  I love being able to think a thought and hear it in my own head without Daniel Tiger jingling a catchy tune in the background (though, dang, I do love that little dude–he’s adorable, smart, and does a far better job of raising my children than I ever will).

You may remember when I fell in love with a personality test several months ago.  And then talked about it endlessly ad nauseum and refused to shut up about it.  Why was I so taken with this quiz?  It defined me.  It reinforced that my need to be alone wasn’t some bizarre quirk, but rather an inherent component of my being, that was, in fact, part of an established personality type.  Ahhh…

Sweet revelation, but not a whole lot of room to go anywhere with it.  I was and am still up to my ears in Pull-Ups, messy dog drool, and kids who still can’t unpeel the plastic from their own Lunchables (again, I am Mom of the Year here).  While my husband feeds on being around others and socializing (doesn’t Dr. J’s peppy friendliness just exude this??), I am an introvert.  And I like being an introvert.

I try not to be stupid, to recognize there is stuff about every age and stage that will trip me up.  I do talk to friends with older kids and know that things, so many things, will get trickier.  That said, I remain convinced that one of the pleasures of this particular phase of my kids is that I am never alone.  There are no silly things like naps or entire days of school.  Nor is there the decided joy of peeing alone.  We get to be together all the time!

Yay!

So here I remain, fantastically longing to be near NO ONE, but in fact, solidly running show as a trio–from sun-up to sun-down.  That’s fine; I chose to have kids and I love them.  But…

One day, one singular unique day, I thought, “Why not?  Let’s let Daniel Tiger earn his keep.”  I cued up Netflix, plunked lollipops in their hands (again, Mom of the Year), and slipped out to the deck with my laptop.

I felt covert.

I felt sneaky and smart.

I felt awesome.  I was alone.  I did all sorts of sordid thing like checking my Facebook status and writing a new post.  It was fabulous.  It lasted approximately 19 minutes.

Not exactly enough time to write one’s life story, but oh well….we’re on our way, and isn’t the direction in life the only thing that really matters?

Aug 082014
 

You know how marriage is made out of the tough stuff of life?  The middle-of-the-night kids waking up, getting stuck with trash duty, hanging with your spouse through times when they need more support…from their underwear??  I know, I KNOW.  My husband is a saint…

It’s safe to say that some parts of me adjusted less well to postpartum life than one might hope. While I managed to reacquaint myself with my beloved Jillian Michaels DVDs in the months after giving birth, my bladder apparently didn’t get the memo that jump squats were now back on the agenda.

Upon mentioning this situation to my OB/GYN, she immediately suggested I begin a course of rigorous physical therapy for my nether regions.  While I’m sure this is indeed a smart and lovely solution, the notion made me laugh so hard I nearly fell off the exam table, archaic leg stirrups and all.  Pretty sure my doctor was not impressed, but making time for something like this when I still hadn’t figured out a time to replace my toothpaste or shampoo my hair? “Hey babe, I’ll see you in a couple hours. Good luck with our screaming newborn.  I’m off for pelvic therapy.”

So we settled into a routine.  I exercised; I peed myself.  My husband threatened most days to stop on his way home from work for a pack of Depend. It was a high time in our marriage.

Fortunately, things have sorted themselves a bit and the threatening panic of having to clear closet room for both my children’s diapers and my own no longer exists.  We have both largely potty-trained.

BUT the thing is, while I certainly don’t hope for a repeat period of leakage in my life, should it happen again, I’m not going to be so loathe to have my husband swing by the store.  I’m impressed with Depend’s new campaign.  The whole idea is that if you need help, get it.  Don’t let what is a common problem stand in the way of carrying on with your life.  While I didn’t feel very fortunate while surrounded by fussy kiddos and dirty bottles, I was actually super-fortunate.  I was able to be at home and do multiple loads of laundry a day if need be (not that I wanted to!).

But if you can’t be at home to manage the situation (or just don’t feel like running your washing machine all day), don’t let bladder leakage get in your way.  Go grab a pack!  The new designs? Look, fit and feel like like regular underwear and feature a cloth-like fabric for a sleek, ultra-smooth fit.  Seriously, GO CHECK THEM OUT.

Also, for the next three years, Depend is donating $1, up to $3 million, to the Simon Foundation for Continence and United Way for each person who participates in the Underwareness campaign, a social movement and charitable cause.  To participate, share a Depend photo or video and tag your tweet or Instagram posts with #underwareness or #dropyourpants.

Over 65 million Americans experience bladder leakage, and nearly half of them are under 50. (Can you hear that rejoicing?  That’s the sound of me giddy-dancing that, for once, I’m not totally “the weird one”–other young people have had this problem too!).

I know no one wants to talk about it, but if you should find yourself grabbing that pack of Depend off the shelf, know that you’re not alone.  No judgement from this Mom of the Year–just a whole bunch of high fives.

******Thanks to Depend for sponsoring today’s post about the #dropyourpants for #underwareness movement!*******

Aug 032014
 
We may have gotten our spots mixed up a bit...

We may have gotten our spots mixed up a bit…

Dutch Wonderland‘s tagline of “A Kingdom for Kids” couldn’t be more perfectly fitting.  Upon walking through the castle gates, you enter a land of fairytales-come-true.  There are princesses and dragons (all friendly, of course), kiddie rides galore, a water park, and magic.

I still remember going here as a kid and being wowed.  (Most specifically, I remember my grandparents taking me, sailing down a sliding board into a puddle of mud and my grandma hauling me to a store across the street to get a new outfit because I was a hot mess, but this is another story…).

I remember the mezmerizing-to-kids Dutch Wonderland signature features: the giant pretzel, the milkable cow (not real), the mini church, the birthday cake you could walk through and the gingerbread house with the teeny bakers-at-work.

A few days ago, my family got to spend the day at Dutch Wonderland, and one of my favorite parts was watching my daughter as enraptured with those gingerbread bakers as I used to be:

Sweet captivation

Sweet captivation

We visited on a gorgeous day, and I think my son would have played in the water park area for forever if we had let him.  I love Dutch Wonderland‘s water area because it is truly little-kid friendly.  It is isn’t too huge, so it’s easy to keep track of your little ones.  There are three separate areas: one for little little kids, one for water gun-shooting and other water play, and another with three not-enormous slides that are very well-manned by life-guards.  All are closely lined by lounge chairs for parents who want to grab a seat, but still keep a close eye on their kids.  In short, it’s a paradise for both kids and adults.

He was in his bliss!

He was in his bliss!

After running around the water park all morning and breaking for lunch, it was then time to hit the rest of the park.  We were all excited to visit Exploration Island with its new-for-2104 dinosaur exhibit and take a spin on the remodeled Turnpike:

What I love most about the picture is that my daughter wasn't quite tall enough to make it in--out her hands are still peeking out.

My daughter wasn’t quite tall enough to make it in, but her little hands still make an appearance ;)

Nothing like a late-afternoon drive.

Nothing like a late-afternoon drive.

Then we were off to (not-so-scary) roller coasters, the big flume ride, bumper cars, a family boat cruise and few old-fashioned kiddie rides for good measure.

Seeing her delighted over this ride was especially sweet–the exact same first one I rode as a kid and then operated as a teen!

Let’s be honest: a day at an amusement park with kids is never a relaxing event as a parent, but Dutch Wonderland makes a big day out pretty darn easy and fun.  It is truly a child-friendly park.  All of the rides are geared for little ones.  While my husband took our son on some of the “bigger” rides that my daughter was still too small for (The Kingdom Coaster and the bumper cars), there were loads of toddler-friendly rides (and gingerbread exhibits) within easy reach to keep us amused as we waited for the guys.

All of us had fun and were thoroughly delighted with our day in the Kingdom.  The only thing I’m left wishing for? That we get to back again very soon.

*****Thank you to Dutch Wonderland for hosting our family for the day!  Our delight in the park is 100% genuine, as is our desire to return ASAP!*****

Despite my best intentions to get a cute photo of my guys playing at the park in their new Tom and Teddy swimsuits "the softest, most comfortable suit Ive ever worn", according to my husband), I had to settle for capture their summer cuteness at home!

Despite my intention to snag a cute photo of my guys playing at Dutch Wonderland in their new Tom and Teddy swimsuits (“the softest, most comfortable suit I’ve ever worn”, said my understated husband), I ended up capturing their summer fashionableness poolside.  They are loving these suits–and I’m loving them in them!

 

Jul 212014
 
Go ahead, Summer, throw us your best, we are suited up and ready to take it!

Go ahead, Summer, throw us your best, we are suited up and ready to take it!

I love summer.  I love swimming in the pool, walking barefoot, and the splash of freckles across my nose.  I love lazy evenings on our deck, the smell of fresh-cut grass and sleeping with the windows open.  I love the ease of trading in snowsuits for sandals and how ridiculously blue freeze pops turn my kids’ tongues.  I love watching them chase each other through the sprinkler in the sunshine and then chase fireflies in the moonlight.

I love summer so much I’ll even tolerate the not-fun things.  The infinite number of flies that always get inside our house no matter how many times I holler to shut the door, the inanely popular notion that I should expose my legs to the world at large by wearing shorts, and my endless non-sexy sweating.  For the chance to wear cute sandals, I’ll agree to repetitive toenail-painting.  And because I am a good sport, I’ll even put up with the fact that those popsicles make every single surface of my home sticky, including my children.

I won’t lie; I jumped for joy when the school year ended.  Mostly because I had spent nine months fruitlessly trying to figure out how be on time and I had to officially resign my title as The Late Mom. Darn.

I longed for staying-in mornings, relaxed visits with friends, birthday parties, a beach vacation, precious help from my Mother’s Helper, an amusement park visit and lingering hours of daylight.  It was all going to be glorious.

And you know what?  It IS glorious–all of it.  I love every minute of our summer so much.  So much that it is actually starting to hurt. It hurts in the form of countless missed naps, running from dawn to past-dusk, endless fun with friends, completely obliterated schedules and lots of cherished US-ALL-BEING-TOGETHER-ALL-THE-TIME.

I was chatting about this with a friend who is experiencing the same “exciting summer intensity”. I went home, ruminated on it, and then had my epiphany.  “It’s the PACE of summer!”, I later declared to her.  “It’s the pace.  It’s all good, it just never ends.”

Those rare few minutes we could snag in the middle of winter of settling down into our couch? I’m honestly not sure if my couch is still there.  It might have been moved.  I’ll check in September and get back to you on this.

I know I have oft-shared how I pass out from exhaustion early in the evening, but let me give a true glimpse of how our summer nights go down:

My husband (who bizarrely has extended hours in the summer) walks in the door late.

I glare at him. I know, I know; he’s a lucky guy.

Shaking it off and coming back for more…

We may or may not eat dinner.  The kids and are in a fabulous state of mixed-dress combining elements of wet bathing suits, day wear and pajamas. If I attempted to put on make-up that day earlier, it is now streaming down my face and congealed in pretty globs as an effect of repetitively chlorine-bathing my face.  I am hot; again, he is lucky.

Somehow the kids land in their beds. I then romantically look at my husband and ask if he would like to watch an episode of Game of Thrones.  We cozy in, I pick up my knitting and then…

It is morning.  I have literally no clue how I landed in my bed or what happened after the yarn was broken out.  It’s sort of like wild college days with a more suburban, middle-age vibe and less booze.

Regardless, Summer has clearly won.  It has overtaken my life and weakened all my defenses of order and routine while exhausting me beyond capacity.  But like a classy victor, it leaves its adversary respecting its methods.  And in this case, it leaves me wanting more and more of all the sweet stuff it has to offer.

Well played, Summer.  Well played…

Jul 192014
 

A couple weeks ago I shared with you why childhood hunger is such a serious concern in the summer months.  When school isn’t in session, many kids lose their access to the free or reduced price meals they get throughout the year.  Thanks to organizations like the ConAgra Foods Foundation, taking steps to battle childhood hunger is within reach.

Remember this video from my first post?  As part of the Hunger-Free Summer campaign and through a partnership with Kid President, ConAgra Foods is committed to donate the monetary equivalent of one meal to Feeding America, up to two million meals¹ each time this video is viewed.  That’s right:  simply view, like or share this video to help out kids in need this summer.

For more information on this campaign or for more ideas on how to support happy and healthy summers for kids everywhere, check in on all the posts pinned to the A Childlike Summer board.  I’m proud to have teamed up with The Motherhood, ConAgra Foods and some super bloggers to create this collection of ways we can all work to make these sunny months a time of joy and play for everyone.  Check out the board and follow along!

The resources above are fantastic as you explore ways you and your family can tackle childhood hunger this summer, but in case you are in similar shoes to mine and are looking for some guidance explaining what this all means to the young kids in your home, I created this brief video.  In it, I outline a few key points to keep in mind when discussing childhood hunger with young ones. My kids also love words that sound funny, so I went with a “KUDOS” acronym to help me remember the steps I wanted to take when talking to them about the issue.

I don’t love the camera, so bear with and excuse any mumbling in advance!  Here are the steps I outline to help you follow along:

KUDOS 5 Step Plan for Talking About Childhood-Hunger with Young Kids @meredithspidel

K — Know your kids.  My son is super-sensitive, so I won’t be able to focus too much on hungry kids or he will start sobbing–and I’m serious.

U — Use words they can understand.  For my kids, I say, “Some kids don’t have enough food” rather than launching into an explanation of school lunch programs–they won’t get it.

D — Don’t linger.  Keep your explanation of the problem brief.  Attention spans are short at this age.

O — Outline simple ways to help, such as “watch this video together” or “put cans of food in a bag”.  Clear action steps work for young kids.

S — Set to work. Go do the activity you discussed.  Kids don’t plan very far into the future.  Tackle your plan ASAP!

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I worked with The Motherhood on this post, sponsored by ConAgra Foods. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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