Taking Stock of the Moments

I know I complained A LOT about the cold this Winter (negative 20, people, and 40’s lasting in to May, how could I not?) But as long as this ‘season’ felt to me, as positive as I was that it might not ever end, I’m becoming more and more aware of the passing of the seasons as they relate to my small people, to my family and to the every day.

It’s a cliche, I know, but I remember once when Delaney and Cooper were very little and someone told me, ‘the days are long, but the years are short’. You’ve heard the quote, I’m sure, but right now, I’m living it. I sometimes wake up, exhausted for the eternal day before, positive I might not make it to the day’s end, and back to the ecstasy of my bed once again. And yet I do. Every time.

Tucked within each of these days – the eternal ones and the ones that seem to fly by….are the moments.

The moment he refused to let anyone but me help me get ready for his First Communion. He wanted help with every little detail. His socks, his hair, his pants, the buttons on his shirt, and yes his tie.

Taking Stock of the Moments

The moment he received his First Communion. He was so aware of the gravity of the day – of his special role, of his faith, and how proud he was that we were there.

Cooper First Communion

The moment Delaney wore a dress (something she detests) simply to honor her little brother on his special day.

DelaneyCoopFirstCommunion

The moment my son re-taught my father how to play chess.

CoopDukeChess

The moment they both asked to stay up past their bedtimes to read. And I said yes, because I just can’t deny a love of reading.

Bedtime Reading

The moment I was taking a selfie with my small dude and we were photobombed by a sea lion.

CoopMomSeaLionPhotobomb

The moment my husband surprised every softball and soccer mom on my small people’s teams with a rose on Mother’s Day morning for supporting their kiddos at the weekend’s tournaments.

MothersDayRoses

The moment I realized that my small girl is *growing*…. and measures herself by where she ‘comes up to’ on me.

DelaneyMomCoopsFirstComm

The moment Delaney’s Softball Team, The Smash, won the Mother’s Day Tournament – HAVING SO MUCH FUN, that they couldn’t wait to pose for a ‘crazy’ celebratory picture instead of just a formal one.

SoftballSmashWin

The moment that I had to embrace, ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’ when taking selfies with my kids’ – they finally prefer crazy-fun to sweet and sassy.

SassySelfie with Coop

The moment my long-lost best friend came over and shared a much needed glass of wine with me.

WineFleurdeLis

And stopped to cut both kid’s hair because only she knows how to do it ‘just right’.

TamiHairKids

And just in the past few days… the moments I spent by the beach in Mexico on a press trip…simply breathing in a world of sun, sand and ocean that I love.

GenerationsKarismaView

AND was able to share the experience with girlfriends I adore….from laughing until I cried to inspiration to yoga overlooking the ocean.

GenerationsKarismaYogaGirls

(photo credit to my friend Nadia from ChildMode)

I remember when I started this site more than seven years ago…. I found so many of us were struggling with the day-to-day chaos and missing the truly extraordinary moments.

It has been my wish – especially of late – (and I will explain why soon) to return to this as a true and beautiful mission.

Don’t miss the moments because the chaos of ALL THINGS LIFE takes over.

I get it. I DO.

Kids. Work. Family. Home. It is one heck of a juggle. But you’ve got this….because you focus on the moments.

Tell me – what MOMENT hit you in the past week? (the past two weeks? the past month?) Consider this a long-form version of ‘tell me something good’.

What moment did you see, capture, witness, enjoy, LOVE.

Tell me.

Breathing + Centering = Balance

Picture me as a great big ball of energy…..when I head to a conference, I think it seeps from my pores.  I’m smiling, I’m nervous, I’m jumpy….I can’t wait to pounce, to bounce, to hug, to jump, and to LEARN.

I figure, on some level, every person there is smarter than me….everyone has something to teach me.

But something about TypeAMom was different.

Because I am different.

It wasn’t until I was there…..Until I hugged…Until I laughed…until I LISTENED that I started to figure out just WHAT is different.

I am off-balance.

It is as though I am wearing one super high heel and one flip flop.  Like being on the high end of a see-saw and waiting for the other person to push off.  Or get off.

But I realized something. Something about that very see-saw.

It shouldn’t be about someone else pushing off or getting off. My balance should be all about me.

Right?

At TypeAMom, I realized I had forgotten how to breathe.  I have been doing and doing and doing.  I have been dog-paddling my way through my days – just keeping my snout above water but not making great strides. I have been making lists and managing life.  I have been doing laundry and making dinner, I have been handling carpools, packing and unpacking for trips, writing posts and editing videos.  I have been drowning under the weight of a full inbox, stressing about deadlines I should be able to control, saying ‘yes’ when I should be saying ‘no’, losing sight of my goals, passing over my passions and forgetting to breathe. Even as I sit here writing I find myself holding my breath.  The very notion of sharing this with you makes my lungs feel tight.

You know who I am?  I’m the girl who, from the outside, appears fine…..her kitchen counters are clean, no dishes in the sink, no clutter on the bed side table but DAMN don’t look under the bed or in the kitchen drawers.

Underneath it all, I’m cluttered and chaotic.  I’ve just been getting by.

And really?  Really?  It isn’t good enough.

When was the last time you took a deep breath?

Do it with me.  Right now.

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I can thank my friend Ria for reminding me to fill my lungs. Not only does she talk me down when I’m walking a tight-rope of mental chaos, but there is something in her demeanor that makes me pause, that stops the clock and says, “Danielle, it’s time….breathe.” I hope you met her last weekend or had the chance to hear her during her ‘How to Lose the Mommy Guilt‘ session.

I can also thank this group of amazing women for surrounding me with goodness – for helping me let my hair down, inspiring me to make faces, to JUMP and to ride the elephant (I’m talking to you, Alli).  Because every moment I spent with them helped me to center, reminded me of what is important in my daily life, in this crazy work life and in the ‘me’ I am choosing to be.

I am better for having them around.

I knew I would learn.  I knew incredibly intelligent, remarkably creative and inspiring women would get my work juices flowing.

But I didn’t realize it would be the heart, the soul, the love, the laughter, the beauty, the joy and all of the new and wonderful friends that would make me feel right about my place in the world again.

Thank you, friends……for teaching me to breathe again.

Today, my tightrope feels a bit wider, my dog paddling feels a bit stronger and I’m clearing some of the chaos.

(and thank you, to my friend Alli.…for taking these pictures and letting me swipe them….)

Life Lessons Learned at TypeAMom

I am home.  My family may or may not have missed me while I was gone, but I did miss them.  And I already miss the wonderful people from TypeA.

I had a wonderful time at the TypeAMom Conference in Asheville, North Carolina.

leahdjyl

I hugged, I chatted, I met amazing new people, I joined conversations, I took hours of video (that I am still working on putting together), I learned and I found myself both re-energized about blogging and our community and reminded that it is my individual voice that tells you who I am.

Sometimes I get lost.  I get tired of writing from my heart.  It takes energy, time and a willingness to ‘put myself out there’. But it is that process that allows you and I to connect on a deeper level.

I think giveaways are fun – but they aren’t why I started this site.  I started this site because I wanted to remind you – other Mommys – that you are doing something extraordinary, every single day.  I write because I want to connect, to share.  I vlog and use video because I want to engage with you – I want us to have a conversation – I want our community to see each other.

typeafionasandymichelejenBecause I adore this community – whether you call yourself a Mommy Blogger, A Parenting Blogger,  a Digital Mom, a Lifecaster, or you simply prefer Blogger – I want to share with you a little of my experience.

I will share the practical lessons (and there are many) in a future post.

But for now, I will go with my feelings. (seriously, how girly am I??)

Life Lessons from TypeA

  • We are all part of an amazing, growing community. We must respect each other and the varied way we share our voices.
  • Be true to you.  Occasionally stand back and reassess – are you blogging and communicating in a way that fits you and your brand?
  • Remember you are your brand.  (thank you Alli Worthington) Everything you do, everything you say illustrates who you are to the outside world.
  • Take the high road.  If someone engages you online, or you see an argument break out – stay out of it unless absolutely necessary.  A public battle is unfortunate and can be damaging to everyone involved.
  • Blog Karma is a virtual way to ‘pay it forward’.  There is enough room for everyone – and good things happening for one person paves the way for it to happen again.  Share with and about your friends.  A positive recommendation can go a long way.

trishadkadiThis community of women is talented and eclectic, beautiful and timid, outspoken and charming, classy and silly, opinionated and crazy, generous and sensitive.

And I am a part of that community.  So are you.

Welcome – picture a great big hug – to the new frontier of Mommy-Parenting-Digital-Lifecasting-New-Media and Blogging.

I am glad you are here.  I am glad I am here.

Thank you to the amazing women I spent time with at this conference – some of you I already knew and I couldn’t wait to see again.  Some of you I was dying to get to meet in person and get to know.  And still some are people I wanted to spend hours with, but I sadly, there wasn’t time.

I’m grateful as well to the sponsors – you added to our experience, shared perspective and engaged us in outstanding conversation.

And finally, thank you to Kelby for hosting and MomTV for sponsoring me.

View the initial TypeA highlights, and the TypeAMomSong.

(The picture on the front page of the site was taken by the Extaordinary @secretagentmama and features @janicecroze @velveteenmind and @jylmomif. In these pictures you see @bookieboo, @jylmomif @banteringblonde @organizersandy, @scrappinmichele @keepitclassyjen @momdotrocks @kadiprescott)

Gripe list

OK…so, I think I complained A LOT today…

I hate the cold.  In fact, I detest the cold.  And, today was, well, FREEZING.  Anything below 20 (really, I mean 50) is absurd.

I’m bitter about the freezing rain.  And waiting in my car for the windshield to defrost.

Frustrated that I had to make a last-minute trip to the store for items for a Pre-School party (my own fault – slacker).

Crabby about my messy house.  And my fighting kids.  And my stack of papers-and-such in my office.
Irritated about my inability to add that extra hour to the day I’ve been lobbying for.  And about my lack of sleep.

But….then I read a Caring Bridge journal entry from a friend. Her 2 year old has Leukemia.  She is cheery because her husband and little boy made it safely to the hospital for his latest chemo treatment.  She is hopeful because her son seems a little more like himself, they are no longer finding blood in his stool and the hole in his chest from his first port (which was removed after it became infected) has healed.

She is saying prayers of thanks and gratitude because her three older children (about 3, 5 and 8) asked Santa for something special when they saw him….for their little brother to feel better.

What’s Jack Nicholson’s line from A Few Good Men?? “Don’t I feel like a F*&^*$#   A**&5$#” 

I never have to look far for a little perspective.  I can Bah-Humbug about the cold and fighting kids all day long, but the truth is – I know my friend would give anything for those to be her only gripes.

So, tonight, instead of gripes, I will focus on gratitude.

A Chance Encounter Made My Day

So….let me set the scene for you.

I’m in Linens N Things….scouting out a little home decor (we’ve only been in our house for 18 months…figure it is time for me to get on the ball).

I’m singing along to the music overhead as I approach the end of an aisle.  What do I see at the end of the aisle?  A fabulous woman in her 50’s shaking her booty…singing and dancing to the music.  She’s playing it up for a few friends and turns three shades of red when she realizes I’ve caught her.  We share a quick laugh.  When she is in line behind me a few minutes later, she jokes that she is following me b/c she heard I was going to pay for her items.  I honestly wish I could have…and I told her so.  I said, “wouldn’t that be fun?  To just take care of someone’s bill for them?” 

She responded…”yes, it is fun…I’ve done it.  A few weeks ago, my family and I were at a local restaurant and noticed a serviceman in uniform and his family eating at a nearby table.  I know how little they make, I’ve had three kids in the military…and if it wasn’t for them, we couldn’t be free.  So, we told our waiter we wanted to take care of their bill.  We stopped by their table to tell them how beautiful and well behaved their children were….and then we hid close by to hear their reaction when the waiter told them their meal was free.  It was the best feeling.”

I was actually JEALOUS as she was telling the story.  I got goosebumps.  I can’t wait to do it. 

Happy, Generous, Giving, ExtraordinaryMommy in Linens N Things…..I think you are the BEST!  Thank you for making my day!

www.ExtraordinaryMommy.com