November 19, 2014

5 Fabulous Chapter Books for 8 to 10-Year-Olds

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It never fails. Every birthday and Christmas we end up giving the boys more gifts than intended - and often it comes in the form of books. Piles of books that neither Hubby or I can resist buying, which we end up putting into one big gift bag so they are technically one gift instead of ten. I'm okay with our over-giving of books though. What parent is going to look back and say, Darn, I really wish my kid hadn't had so many books?

So just in time for holiday shopping, here are five of my 8-year-old's favorite chapter books and series from the past few months - books full of adventure, fantasy, magic, and friendship. He's a pretty voracious reader, so many of these books would still be great choices for late elementary and middle school.

I wish I could tell you more about what these books are about, but now that Zip is reading independently he devoured many of them before I had a chance to flip open the cover. All I've got to go on is the book jacket synopsis and my kiddo's promise that they are really good.

November 12, 2014

Encouraging Kindness With Elf on the Shelf

This post is for the mommas and poppas feeling a bit trapped by Elf on the Shelf - wishing the little bugger had never turned up in your house, but knowing that his absence would break your kids' sweet little hearts. It is also for those of you who adore Elfie, but welcome the idea of making his presence about something more meaningful than silly pranks. Read on...

Does your family Elf?

November 7, 2014

Dear New Momma

Dear New Momma,

My stepsister and her husband welcomed their first child this week - an absolutely beautiful baby girl. (As if there any other kind!) As we texted back and forth, my stepsister sending photos of her newest love and me asking how things were going, I thought about my own first days as a a momma. I thought about how absolutely amazing they were. And how absolutely overwhelming and surreal. Then I wondered if you are feeling this way too, and whether anyone has told you yet how perfectly normal it is.

People are always saying that there is nothing that can prepare you for parenthood. We talk a lot about how amazing and beautiful it is to become a parent. And yes, we also give lip-service to how hard it is, but those words don't mean much until you've been there.

Hard? What is hard?

Hard is made up of experiences, but mostly hard is feelings. Feelings like exhaustion and worry and frustration in their rawest forms, because nothing will break you wide open like becoming a parent will. We don't hear much about those feelings, because that's not what motherhood is supposed to be about, right? Except, it is.

Now don't get me wrong - I'm by no means saying motherhood isn't an absolutely amazing experience. It is. I'm just saying that in those first months, it may feel more exhausting than amazing. More terrifying than amazing. More isolating than amazing. Or it will be all of that, jumbled up into one big beautiful mess.

I won't offer any advice. I'll just share my own story and, if just a bit of it sounds familiar, maybe you'll feel a little less alone. And that's something we all need in those first days of motherhood, to know that this is a path other women have walked before us and it's okay if it isn't paved in gold.

November 5, 2014

On Finding Balance & Making Choices

You guys, I found her!

The more patient mom. The one that can take a deep breath and soak in the moment, because her head isn't spinning with thoughts of everything that must.get.done. The momma who stops to play a game with her little one and has time to paint the garage and weed the flower beds, and it feels good because these are doing kinds of things - moving the body and accomplishing something real - things that end with a sense of accomplishment, but are not just about the accomplishment.

She was hidden in the most obvious of places: Buried under a too big pile of obligations, a never-ending to-do list, tucked behind a computer for too many hours. Things that began as a joy became a chore, too many demands on limited time.

October 30, 2014

Multiracial Round-up: Great Reads On Race & Family {Oct. 2014}

I have been really looking forward to putting together this month's round-up - there have just been so many great posts over the past few weeks that I cannot wait to share! And, sometimes I don't - I usually can't resist sharing on Facebook as I find posts and articles that strike a chord with me in some way or another. Still here they are, all in one place, just for you!