A Valentine Tea Party

I love a good tea party.

The kiddo and I hosted a Valentine tea party.  We sent out invitations in true Emily Post fashion…Facebook baby!  The little girls that could attend received white gloves in the mail and Scout and I started making plans.  We also wanted it to be a craft party, so we went through our stash and pulled out all kinds of supplies.  I made a run to the local tea store, Savoy Tea Co. (conveniently 200 yards from my office), to pick up Queen’s Garden, Paris Morning and Caramel Apple Almond loose tea.  Fancy dress was encouraged, although not required.

Everyone arrived, looking very festive and ready for the party.  Given that we were experiencing unseasonable warm weather for February, the kids jumped on the trampoline and ran around the yard first before coming inside.  The tea table was decorated and filled with fruit, sweet and savory goodies and lavender sugar.

There was crafting, tea, sugar consumption and fun!!  The kids and moms made valentines for themselves and also to donate to one of the local retirement homes.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

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Relaxing the Mom-Tether

During a recent school holiday, I decided to take the day off and only look at my phone/email every once in a while. Instead of sending the kid somewhere and heading in to the office, I took the day off and we played in the woods. I texted my #nodramamama friend, asking if they wanted to come over for a simple picnic, mud-stomping and sun-soaking. Invitation accepted! We made sandwiches, shoved fruit snacks, chips and oranges in a bag, grabbed the long-handled loppers and emergency whistles and walked out in the woods. Everything was brown, crunchy and SUNNY! We established home base, hung the hammocks for the kids and told them to go have fun.

There we were, playing in a little spring-fed stream with acres of rough-tumble fun all around and the kids wouldn’t get more than 30 yards from us.  We kept saying, “Go!  Play!  Run around.”  They just kept coming back or needing our attention or assistance.  And then I remembered.

The mom-tether.

That darn tether.  No matter how much we encouraged them to run around, explore, get dirty, etc., they just kept snapping back to us.

I shouldn’t be surprised.  We are great moms.  We love our children and want to keep them safe.  We try to keep them from running into traffic, ingesting toxic substances and watching smutty television.  But we were in the middle of the woods, in January, in sixty-degree weather.  There weren’t that many dangers.  They should have been running around, pushing the boundaries and causing the moms to ask, “Have you heard the kids lately?”

It got better.  Eventually the tether started to relax and maybe even fray a bit.  The kids became more comfortable in their environment and started to actually play.  I showed the kids how to build a dam in the stream (favorite pastime of mine as a kid) and before we knew it, the kids were covered in mud and they no longer “needed” us.

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I don’t have any huge mom-epiphany or the ever-popular list of the top things moms can learn from their kids or vice verse.  I do know this…for me and my kid: she needs to play more.  She needs more unstructured play.  She needs more opportunities to create things that aren’t immediately graded or judged against her peers.  She needs more skinned knees and splinters.  She needs more mud.

Thankfully, I can do this.  We chose to live in the country, at the end of the road.  We have a lot woods and mud and space to run.  We have great friends that will come over and eat bologna, mustard sandwiches and play with us.  The tether will get longer.  I’m not sure if it ever severs completely (I get a little teary-eyed thinking about that possibility), but I will try and encourage healthy exploration and independence.

If that doesn’t work, I’ll duct-tape the kid to my leg and make it through life that way.

Check out my good, #nodramamama friend, Sarah at Musings of Motherhood for her take on the playdate and a lot of other great stories.

Be Awesome…Go Do Something!

I like to think I’m a funny person. I have dreams of a second career in stand-up and motivational speaking. But alas, what pays the bills right now is the responsible, commercial banking gig. A lot of funny stuff happens to me all the time, but I have to keep it to myself.

So, that leads to producing funny, somewhat punny memes with the photos I find on my phone when I’m trying to clear up memory space.

With the new year, I want everyone to figure out what they want and go be awesome. Stop sitting around, bitching on Facebook about all the things that are negative in your life (that you have control over) and just go DO SOMETHING! I’m not talking about starting new multi-million dollar companies (although I do see that happen more frequently than you’d think), but just something good.

Just pick something.
Do it.
Fail or be less than average at it.
Do it again.
Get better.
Ask for support.
Do it again.
Be awesome.

I’ll also just throw this out there: If you are an entrepreneur or solicit your professional services and your public/social media presence is filled with negativity, you are detracting future customers/clients/employers/employees. Those folks want to work with positive people who get their sh*t done, not complainers and excuse-makers. They want to work with the awesome people.

So, go be awesome. I can’t wait to hear what you do!
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The Rhino Dress

A good friend of mine just had her 40th birthday, as well as retired from 18 years of midwifery. She asked if I could make her a dress for the party, if she found the fabric she wanted. She wanted rhinoceros fabric. Not fabric made out of rhinos (who does that anyway?!), but fabric with rhinos on it (there is a story there as to why the rhino is important to Jennifer and her midwifery, but that’s her story to tell). We were dealing with a tight turnaround and the holidays, so the fabric sourcing fell short. Not to let a little hiccup like that get in the way, I thought it might be an opportune time to try out something I had been experimenting with…painted linen. I decided to paint her a dress.

I started with a lightweight dark navy prewashed linen. I cut out the pattern (very simple, swing shift), basted the side seam and went to work with some chalk from my kiddo’s art drawer.
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I then used soft fabric paint from the craft store to make the design permanent. I decided to use bright colors and really had no what it would turn into.

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I let the paint dry overnight, ironed the backside of the fabric to help set it and finished sewing up the dress. Voila! Not the most technical of sewing, but finished in time and, it’s a rhino!

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Congratulations Jennifer! You’re going to rock 40 and you have left a legacy of dozens of happy babies and families. You make our community a better place!

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#nomamadrama, NYE Style

A movement has begun.

Not really. More like a hashtag. But, every good movement these days needs its own hashtag.

Introducing, #nomamadrama.

I have some really great girlfriends. Some I have known since we were eating paste (look it up kids) together and some I have only known a short while. As we have become mothers, I have appreciated all of the support and kindness they have bestowed upon our family. Genuine, authentic support. No drama.
We all have different styles, priorities, goals, influences, etc., but those don’t come with judgement for the other.
Thus, the No Mama Drama Club, #nomamadrama.
(There will be more about this in future posts)

The latest gathering of the #nomamadrama club was this NYE. Plans were solidified about six hours before the event. Laundry did not get folded. Random leftover Christmas crap got shoved in the bedroom behind a closed door. High-traffic surfaces got wiped down with Clorox wipes (it is flu season). That’s was about the extent of the prep. Scout and I did turn the laundry room into a makeshift photo booth, using a shower curtain, Christmas lights and a bunch of random fabric from my stash (nothing like taking a photo next to a pile of clean socks and underwear…just crop it). We had a huge pot of spaghetti, meatballs (pre-made, store-bought), and sausages and potlucked the sides. The kids ran around and when tensions rose between them (future posts about that dynamic as well), what has become to be known as our standard line prevailed, “be kind to each other and work it out.” The mommies have wine to drink and feet to be put up.
It was fun. Laughs were had, bellies were filled and everyone was out of the house by 10:00. Success!

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The Executive Board of the No Drama Mama Club:

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Applications go online in the coming weeks….

Check out Musings of Motherhood for some more #nomamadrama fun!

Let’s Be Neighborly

We live in the sticks. Not as deep as when I was a kid, but we still live down a narrow dirt road and don’t just run to the store for milk at a moment’s notice. We have great neighbors that I wish I got around to see more often, but alas, I’ll take the social time when I can get it.
I was in a rather domestic mood the week before Christmas and decided to put together some goodie baskets for the neighbors. Butternut squash soup, sausage balls, ginger bread with lemon/ orange honey butter and assorted pickles.
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The kiddo and I had a good time dropping in on the neighbors and wishing them Merry Christmas.