Yes! Day. The Day I Said Yes to Everything.

A guest post my Jenny Oberhaus.

OK, let’s get real…

Y’all, I’m tired.

As a stay-at-home mom of an almost-5-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy, juggling two part-time jobs that I also do from home (can you say “multi-task”?), I am tired.

I’m tired of pretending to be interested in the intricacies of my son’s Minecraft village. I’m tired of feeling like a PR rep for the food I’m trying to convince my daughter to eat (“But Sweetheart, this type of mac and cheese is all the rage with First Graders these days!”). And I’m tired of staying up way too late just to relish in the peace and quiet that only exists after my darling children are snug in their beds.

But – truly, truly, TRULY – the thing I’m most tired of is saying “no.”

All. Of. The. Time.

I sound like a broken record of negativity and I’m over it. So I took a page from a friend’s playbook and declared a “YES! Day.” It’s meant to be an entire day when you literally say ‘yes’ to everything your kids ask to do. Being the Type-A, control-freak kinda gal that I am (and for our family budget’s sake), however, I did mentally set a few parameters:

  • Activities that charge a fee or admission were OK (within fiscally responsible reason).
  • Other purchases were OK as long as the kids used their own money. (I still see this as fun for them because I often say ‘no’ to the junk they want to buy… Even with their own money. Yes, I am that mom.)
  • I didn’t announce YES! Day ahead of time, lest they stay up all night scheming about how to take the fullest advantage of the opportunity. Heck – I didn’t even announce it that morning. I just started saying ‘yes,’ which was a sneaky-sort-of fun for me. [Insert evil mom laugh that will later be used for when I threaten to embarrass them as punishment.]
  • And, finally – and this is more of a suggestion than a guideline – I did this on a day where we had little-to-nothing planned. Otherwise, I’d inevitably find myself slinging the N-word all day long just to make the day work.

Yes!Day

So, our YES! Day went a little something like this…

YES #1: During breakfast, my son asked me to play Gangnam Style on my phone. I obliged and, as usual, I start dancing. Then the kids asked to join me.

Why, YES, you can!

So we danced like fools in the kitchen while our Eggos waited patiently.

YES #2: I had already planned to take the kids to the movies so, after breakfast, off we went. I paused at the concessions stand, fully prepared to rack up points on my Old Navy Visa by buying popcorn, candy and even – gasp! – soda. But the craziest thing happened: Nothing. They didn’t ask for a single thing. [Mom scratches head.]

YES #2, again: After the movie, they hopped on one of those scales in the lobby that charges a quarter to give a digital weight reading. Well, both of my kids plus two of their friends hopped on simultaneously, I actually put the quarter in (this is the anomaly), and we learned their combined weight was 164.3 pounds. It was such a cute moment and 25₵ very well-spent.

YES #3: I needed to stop at the grocery store on our way home from the movie and – despite the fact that it was almost lunchtime – they each delightedly scarfed down a cookie from the deli.

YESSES #4 & #5: We topped off our day with a post-dinner trip to the splash pad (their favorite place for summer fun) and stayed up past bedtime to enjoy popsicles in the driveway.

At bedtime, I finally divulged my secret. I got a strong finger wag from my son who – with the spirit of a spunky, 75-year-old school teacher – semi-scolded me with an “I thought something was going on today, Mommy.” My daughter, on the other hand, was quicker to mentally replay the day and recall moments she really could have capitalized on. In retrospect, she was a bit miffed.

I have a feeling they’ll both catch on much quicker when the next YES! Day rolls around.

Did I have to say “no” for some things? Of course. But they either (A) had no bearing on the current day (No, you can’t have a playdate with Alex this weekend, he’s out of town.) or (B) were for their protection (No, you can’t skip through the Kroger parking lot without holding my hand). Aside from my aforementioned parameters, I really did my best to stay true to all other requests.

All in all, I mark our first-ever YES! Day a success. I’m 90% sure I confused the heck out of my kids with all those yeses. I’m 95% sure that I typically say “no” entirely too much and for things that don’t really matter. And I’m 100% sure we all had a blast.

I think I’m ready for the next YES! Day!… Well, almost.

 jenny

So Many Questions! M.Y.O.B.

so many questions

Wanna play the question game? The what? Here, in the stage of endless questions from inquisitive young people, I stop and think about all of the interrogations we encounter throughout life and realize that while this stage is exhausting, it is also simpler than some of the other questionable times we have faced. Unlike in Jr. High when we could simply yell out M.Y.O.B. (mind your own business) to anyone and everyone at all times- because it was cool- I find that as we get older, the questions get harder and quick answers less satisfactory.

I would say the challenging questions start when…. http://knoxville.citymomsblog.com/so-many-questions-m-y-o-b/

How to Make the Most of Your Garden Crops- Cucumber Edition

Our kids LOVE cucumbers. It is their #1 go-to snack. So naturally, when planting our first vegetable garden, we bought a few cucumber plants. Little did we know that they would THRIVE and we would be faced with a new dilemma. What the heck do you do with so many cucumbers?! One can only consume so many dipped in hummus or tossed in a garden salad. “We should have planted zucchini!” I exclaimed, because I know there are so many different ways to cook with it. Little did I know that these savvy people had already come up with incredible solutions to our cucumber conundrum.

whattodowithcucumbers

Sure to impress, these vegan cucumber avocado rolls from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken are far easier to make than they look.

cucumber-avocado-rolls-easy-appetizer

The Housewife in Training Files had me at strawberries, and then cucumbers, and then feta, and then poppyseed dressing…  perfection.

A refreshing and crisp salad with spiralized cucumbers, juicy strawberries and feta salad all topped with a fruity poppyseed dressing!

This simple, refreshing cucumber noodle salad from The Healthy Maven only uses 7 ingredients- most of which you already have in the pantry!

Get ready to detox winter with this Healthy Cucumber Noodle Salad with Avocado Dill Dressing. With spiralized cucumber and a creamy avocado-based dressing, you'll be begging for this salad side recipe all spring and summer long!

This innovative cucumber & cantaloupe salad from Lori’s Culinary Creations will surely tantalize the tastebuds!

Cucumber & Cantaloupe Salad with Capers and Fresh Mint  l  www.lorisculinarycreations.com  l  #CIC #salad

This incredible basil, chive, cucumber and corn salad from Sumptuous Spoonfuls will surely be a crowd pleaser  at any summer soiree.

Basil Chive Cucumber & Corn Salad ~ Sumptuous Spoonfuls #cucumber #corn #basil #salad #recipe

The Midnite Baker may have cornered the cucumber market with these two tasty recipes!

                           Creamy Cucumber Salad | bakeatmidnite | #salad #cucumbers #recipe       Half Sour Pickles | bakeatmidnite.com | #pickles #cucumbers #recipe

This delicious tomato, cucumber, avocado salad from Green Valley Kitchen makes great use of all of the season’s colorful tomatoes to accentuate the cool cucumber.

One of my FAVORITE summer dishes! Tomato, cucumber, avocado salad. So colorful, flavorful and easy too !

My favorite thing about going to a spa is the cucumber water. Try this extra flavorful version from Krystal’s Kitsch.

Drinking water is more fun when it's infused! This easy recipe combines a few of my favorite flavors along with ice cold water. Drink up!

This colorful and zesty Mediterranean Cucumber Tomato Salad from Ceara’s Kitchen will be the perfect addition to any meal. You could even treat it as a salsa on top of chicken or fish.

Mediterranean Cucumber Tomato Salad

One of my favorite soups is a classic gazpacho. Here’s another awesome summer soup- chilled cucumber avocado soup from Pickles & Honey. It is nice and creamy, made with only real, wholesome ingredients.

One of my favorite summertime soups!  I love that this recipe has no cream or yogurt... wonder if it still tastes creamy?

This marvelous cucumber mango salsa from Oh My Veggies is the perfect accompaniment to any grilled dish. Throw it on top of steak, burgers, chicken, fish, or just your classic tortilla chip for a refreshing burst of flavors.

Cucumber Mango Salsa

Put your garden cilantro to use as well with this flavorful cilantro-lime cucumber salad from The Food Charlatan.

Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad

No foodie roundup is complete without a festive beverage! Check out this creative recipe for a Cucumber Martini from Happy Hour Projects.

You can also find all kinds of non-food related uses for cucumbers such as beauty secrets and cleaning products here or here!

Stay tuned for my next garden round-up – those tomatoes are not far behind!  What crop would you like to see a round-up for?

creative cucumber recipes

 

The US won and I’m Bummed (reflections on life.)

I’ve had a soccer ball at my feet since I was four-years-old. Suffice it to say I am an avid fan and could not wait to watch the Women’s World Cup final tonight. What I didn’t expect was to be struck with an overwhelming feeling of melancholy in the moments that I wasn’t on the edge of my seat.

I’m not sure if it was watching Wambach’s emotional interview before the game started or just poor hormonal timing, but instead of celebrating along with them, I found myself on the sidelines, lamenting the end of an era.

Ironically, I have never been a huge Wambach fan. I don’t dislike her- she’s obviously great- I just prefer Rapinoe’s style of play. Five years ago I probably would not have given her interview a second thought.

But tonight, now that I’m a mother, I was watching out for Abby.

As she tried to power through her pre-game interview it was evident that she didn’t want to accept this. I hurt for her as she choked up when discussing how her body is telling her that time is up. Through clenched teeth she spoke so highly of her teammates- the ones she is not ready to leave. She wasn’t touting her legendary career- she was basically implying that she isn’t ready.  As she accepted the trophy she kind of stood off to the side, perhaps feeling as if she was not really a part of this anymore.  Abby doesn’t feel done, doesn’t want to be done, but her body is telling her that she is. It reminded me of people who say they just “knew” when they were done having kids whereas for others their bodies decided for them.

I now realize my reaction is two-fold. It is the acceptance of aging as well as the constant struggle to slow down time.

wonandbummed

While I obviously never played professionally, I have recently begun coming to terms with the body’s aging process. It struck me that my time for playing sports at a competitive level has passed. (If you need further proof, two months after having a baby, in front of the high school team you coach, kick a soccer ball as hard as you can. You will soon realize how much ab strength that requires and how little you no longer possess!) My husband can no longer “just run a marathon” with very little training. My speed is not going to be my saving grace in athletic endeavors. In fact, we are more likely to get hurt doing the most basic of things. (i.e, throwing out your back tying shoelaces, anyone?!)

Of course adult leagues abound and we don’t have to completely write ourselves off from the sports we love, but when you are used to doing something pretty well and your body no longer cooperates with your brain, it can get very frustrating.  I find that I have less frustration when I play sports I was always just “okay” at- I am much more forgiving of myself!

In general, I am very proud of my body for what it can do as well as what it has done. Carrying 14 lbs of twins in a 5’2 petite frame is no joke!  My arms are far stronger than ever before due to carrying 25 lbs in each arm up and down the stairs all day long. I can still build endurance and strength pretty quickly. But it just isn’t the same. Sometimes I just miss running up and down the soccer field. And yes mom, I DO wish I had those extremely muscular legs that I always tried to cover in high school- the ones you told me I would wish back.

Just as we all will, Abby will undoubtedly move onto many great things in her next chapter. It’s true- there are definite benefits to getting older, wiser, etc, but it is equally true that sometimes it is just a big bummer. It stinks when your body dictates your limitations. You are forced to realize the end of an era.

My soccer player days are over and now I get to be a coach. I’ve always looked forward to teaching my children to play sports, but here’s the problem. I’m not ready! In the useless battle of trying to slow down time, I often feel sad. Time just goes too quickly. I know I will happily cheer my kids from the sidelines and would love to be a “Soccer Grandma” one day, but not yet! In my head I feel like my “babies” should be swaddled in soccer blankets- not needing me to lace up their cleats and secure their shinguards. I fear that if I blink they will be playing under the big lights of their high school stadium, embarrassed by my cheers in the stands.

I generally embrace the present moment (click here), enjoying whatever stage of life we are in. After all, there truly is nothing we can do to stop it. However, there’s a reason almost every single person you meet when you are out and about with a newborn tells you to enjoy this precious time. It’s okay to lament the passage of time, as long as you are still living the time you are in to the fullest! You never know what is around the next corner- each chapter is full of incredible potential!

soccerarticle

 

 

Be Kind To Your Motherhood Friends

As a follow up to this post, I have decided to write you a little ditty.   If you ever catch yourself feeling judgmental, sing this little song to the tune of Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever” 🙂

motherhood frends song

Lyrics:

Be Kind To Your Motherhood Friends                                                                                                                       For we all should support one another.
We all just want what is best
For our children and families.
You may think that your way is right
But be open to different ideas.
Join together in the motherhood plight,
and from the mommy wars free us.

 

 

Baby, You Are A Firework

Ever since you burst into our world, you have captivated our attention. You mesmerize us with your big curious eyes and keep us thoroughly entertained. From the explosive diapers to the unpredictable toddler years, you have truly blessed us with the most fantastic display.

You light up the darkest night- in fact you illuminate our entire lives. You scatter your joy for life wherever you go. Your boisterous nature and loud booming laughter fill a room faster than any shooting star. You dazzle everyone you meet with your glorious smile. Your colorful, multi-faceted personality makes you who you are. You are loud, excitable, fun, sweet, tender, and bright. With such great variety, you could never be a dud.

You even said so yourself. You simplysparkle and shine“.

firework3

You may still be small, but you are so very powerful. You start off shy, gradually build up intensity, and leave your mark on people’s lives with a bang. You catch us off guard and you take our breath away.

We find the rate at which you acquire knowledge so very impressive. Your ability to enlighten others with your perceptive thoughts is truly awe-inspiring. You honor tradition and do things a certain way because “that is just how we do it”.

You can be both solemn and celebratory– sometimes within seconds of one another. You demonstrate a flair for the dramatic as a growing toddler fighting to express your independence. You make every day exciting. At times your adventurous ways are daunting, intimidating, and over-bearing. Yet no matter how trying the day, you leave us with lingering good feelings and special memories.

As you blast out of toddlerhood, ready to spread your wings and strive towards becoming independent, please remember this:  No matter where you go or what you do, we will always be there, oohing and aahing for you. We will be your flag pole, supporting you as you wave- as you test your strength and blow in the breeze.

BabyFirework2                       BabyYou'reAFirework