Monday, February 29, 2016

Certain Things

Were there certain things, activities, hobbies that you dreamed about doing alongside your children as they grew?

One of the simple joys that I've been looking forward to is reading a book along with my son. Not a picture book or a board book [the days of The Hungry Caterpillar, Little Blue Truck, and the like are winding down], but an actual chapter book that I also loved as a child. One that interests both of us, but that he can understand.

The moment has arrived!

Roald Dahl has and always will be one of my favorite writers of all time. So magical! So imaginative! So unique! The list goes on.

I was recently looking for a random document in our basement [which I never found], and I happened to glance at my old bookshelf, filled with books from my teaching years and those my mom has sent me from my childhood.

There it was: George's Marvelous Medicine, by Roald Dahl!

You would think I had found a $20 bill in my jacket pocket I was so happy.

I knew I had to play things cool at this point. We all know that if we are too excited about something, our kids decide that they are not at all excited about it, right?

I casually held up the book with it's colorful cover and intriguing title, and said, "hey bud, maybe this will be our very first chapter book. We can read it together."

He raised his eyebrows. His interest was piqued, and I knew what I had to do to clinch the deal.

"It's for pretty big kids, though. It says it's for ages 8-12. I think you and I can probably handle it, but I'm not sure...what do you think?"

"Oh, yes! I want to read it!"

Ding! Ding! Ding!

That's how you do it, folks. My son thinks 'big kids' are the coolest people in the world, and that's what sold him.

The book is creepier than I remember (the grandma is pretty insane), and way less tame and PC than books written in today's era. But you know what? My little guy is loving it. So am I. It is FUN!

How about you? What is something you can't wait or couldn't wait to do with your own children?

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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Monday, February 22, 2016

The Fauxpliment

Have you ever had someone give you a compliment that doesn't make you feel very good at all? One that actually feels more like a criticism?

Here's one (along with its variants) I've heard:

I suppose people think it's okay to comment on someone's weight when they have a petite figure, but still... There are nicer ways to comment on someone's appearance than with a poorly hidden insult.

Other types of fauxpliments you may be familiar with:

You got a haircut! (Um, yes...and?)

You must have so much time on your hands! What do you do all day? (regarding SAHM)

You're already showing! (regarding early pregnancy) (Just what every woman in their 1st trimester wants to hear. Gee, thanks.)

You had a c-section? Was it, like, easy? (Whaaaaa?!)

Here's my point: let's be nice to each other. Let's resist making passive aggressive "compliments." Let's stop feeling like it's our business to talk about someone's weight, appearance, etc.

Better yet, remember the gem, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all?" Yeah, let's do that.

What about you? Have you received any of these "compliments" recently?

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Coffee & Showers

I'm serious. Kind of.

On Monday, my husband had the day off work for President's Day. I suppose I don't get true "days off" from my job as a SAHM, but there are a few perks when my husband is home, and I try to enjoy them.

One of those perks is [sometimes] an uninterrupted shower.

I love showers. I do not forgo showers; I didn't even skip them too often when my kids were babies. I need one at some point in the day (the earlier the better) to feel like myself.

I also need coffee every day to feel human and happy.

Why not combine the two?

Here is my simple how-to on how to shower with coffee:

1. Tell the kids to please not kill each other (this is crucial).
2. Run to the best shower in the house with a hot cup of coffee in hand (be careful).
3. Two options: Place mug on countertop within reach of shower (and reach out to take your sips).
If you have a longer bathtub-type shower style, the real badass move is to place mug on the bathtub ledge across from you, risking a bit of splashing into the cup.
4. Enjoy!

That's it!

What stealth moves have you mastered since becoming a mom? Do tell!

~Julia @ FranticMama

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Let's Rock: Family Soundtracks

One thing my family of four has in common: we all love to sing and dance. No, not "song and dance," as in musicals or any sort of choreographed set-up. We just love to turn on the radio and let it all hang out when our favorite songs come on.

What are we currently listening to? We are country fans, so our favorite band for the last couple of years is Florida Georgia Line.

[Maybe you think you don't like country, and that's fine, but you have to at least listen to these guys! They are so good.]

My current favorite FGL tracks are: Confession (their newest release), Anything Goes, and Sippin on Fire. [Seriously, after you read this post (of course!) go to YouTube or Vevo and find these songs.]

(No, I didn't take this photo (that would be freaking awesome). It's from their website. Hopefully they won't sue me).

My husband, kids, and I also try to select a 'vacation theme song' each spring when we head to the beach. As expected, it's usually a country song. One of our all-time favorites was Florida Georgia Line's "This is How We Roll." It's fun, happy, and just...awesome.

My son even chose to dress up as one of the FGL singers for Halloween when he was four. 
It was fantastic.
Yes, that's him!

This year, my son (5.5) is pushing for our beach theme song to be Drake White's rockin' upper It Feels Good. Even though I'm pulling for Luke Bryan's Kick the Dust Up, I'm tempted to let my son win on this because it is pure joy to watch him get into his groove when that song comes on. It's even better when my spunky 3 year old decides to join in.

Besides liking FGL's music and lyrics, my husband and I also think we have such an affinity for them for another reason: their songs have marked certain points of our life as a family. We think of a poignant memory and are often able to place a favorite song from that era as part of it. I wonder if any of you have family songs like this?

Granted, our choices may not be as traditional as some, but so far country music has served as our soundtrack since our son was born over five years ago. I wouldn't change the background music of our life for anything.

What's your favorite song? Do you and your kids listen to the same music?

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

Psssst! I have TWO Facebook pages. One for Frantic Mama, and a new horse photography one. Check it out, here!

Monday, February 1, 2016

"How do you find the time?!"

The number one question people ask when they find out I'm a freelance writer and blogger is an incredulous, "How do you have the time?"

Like many of the people who ask this, I have busy little children, now ages 3 and 5, at my feet. So I do understand where this question originates-- it's hard to wrap your head around the idea of getting anything done when you have children or babies who are in constant need of attention! It's really hard. I know this. I've been there. I am there.

I try not to be offended by this question, as I hope it comes from interest rather than judgement along the lines of, "she must have a full-time nanny!" "she lucked out!" "she must have it easy!" Those types of rationalizations.

None of those are true for me.

It's not luck. I don't have full-time help. I'm not drowning in excess alone time.

Here is how I find time to write: I just do.

You know how some people find time to work out? Others find time to go out to dinner or book club? Others regularly get their hair done, make crafts, or go to Yoga? They find time to do those things. That's great. I like those things too, but I make more time to write because I love it and I have to.

I do not scrub my house with any free time I muster. I do not constantly sign up for playdates, book clubs, or social outings. I sure as heck don't spend precious alone time talking on the phone or sweating it out at a gym. Those are choices and priorities I make in order to have room for my biggest passions.

I wake up early to write. I write after my kids go to sleep. If my husband takes them out for lunch to McDonald's on a Saturday (I try not to feel guilty), and I high-tail it to my laptop. If school overlaps for my kids? You can be 90% certain I'm sitting on my big yellow couch writing.

Huge chunks of free time are rare for me too, so I work efficiently and squeeze in 10 minutes here, 20 minutes there. I think that might be key: you can get more done than you think in half an hour.

You have to chip away at it.

There's also something to the old maxim, "hard work pays off." I did not magically wake up and get published and paid for my work. I have been blogging since 2011, and writing since... well, as soon as I could hold a pencil. I network. I write. I read. I write. I promote. I write. It is work. Work I love to do, but it's most certainly work.

Here's my point: If there is something you want to do, that you feel like you need to do, then you need to do it.

Something else I love to do: Riding! I make time.

"But I really don't have the time!" you think, exasperated with me. I'll admit, for some readers, that may be true for now-- perhaps you have a hungry newborn and a toddler who no longer naps at home with you all day, or you are raising young children by yourself, or your spouse is deployed. You are exempt and in my thoughts! Be patient with yourself.

I'm addressing well-meaning people whose lifestyles are similar to mine who tell me that they would like to take up X/Y/Z but can't find the time.

For many people, it means not committing yourself to things that don't matter as much for you in the long run-- volunteering at all of the preschool class parties (I don't do those), cleaning the bathtubs all the time (are you kidding me?), making meals from scratch (thank you Trader Joe's!), letting kids stay up late (no thanks!), driving 30 minutes to do XYZ when you don't need to (I hate highways). It means waking up earlier, or working after the kids are in bed. It means skipping the epic Costco run so you can work on your XYZ project for 30 minutes, and it means working on your laptop while your kids watch a movie... the list goes on.

Prioritizing is crucial when you have so little time to yourself.

Choose what matters.

You can do it!

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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