Confession

Ok, we got really deep around here for a few days … which I love because I am deep down dramatic and love sappy and warm talk.

However, yesterday as I sat and watched my three toddlers play in the sand and fight over bubbles, I realized something that I wanted to share. It’s not serious, but maybe it is… ?

This is pretty much life as we know it right now: Three toddlers. One Car. Do the math.

I’m usually (can’t believe I’m saying it out loud) bored when we play at home. At first it felt like I was a daughter of a dairy farmer declaring “I don’t like milk.” Since they are my OWN flesh and blood, shouldn’t I have a genuine interest in our play? I look at other blogs where the mom has colors, shapes, textures and playful snacks lined up for the day, ready to tackle a 12 hour period with energy, gusto and creative juice attractive enough for the most busy toddler on the market.

Most days our “play” looks like this: Whine and try to get in the cabinets while Daddy showers for work. Cry because we all want that toy. Push the baby stroller. Throw blocks. Open the media center, turn head half way with a grin and wait for time out. Disconnect all lines of cable on the main floor. Color on Elmo, but mostly color the windows and floors when mom looks away. Read books, until we realize mom’s lap only has seating for two. Blow bubbles, until someone eats bubbles or re-enacts “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and shakes it up, all over. And I’m usually trying to figure out a way to eat a meal or make a coffee and TRYING really hard to be present.

And I am going to say this out loud – this gets old. AND this age is REALLY hard for me.

I love them the same. I like them….ehhhh, depends on the day.

A few months ago I was sitting with a friend helping her feed her new triplets when she asked me when it got easier. And I looked at her, decided to be honest and said, “It’s easy now – for you – you just don’t know it. Now – as in when my triplets turned 18 months + and got really whiny, clingy and hard to please – that is THE hardest. This age, right now. I am struggling.”

She looked at me, with a straight face, recalling her older child’s toddlerhood and said, “Really??!! I loved it all! Truly – I loved every second!”

And as I recall this conversation, I can take a deep breath and I actually get it. This whole parenting thing – I get it. You just can’t possibly be in love with every stage. But you can be in love. And you can be a good parent.

Some of us like chocolate instead of vanilla ice cream – but still love ice cream,. Some of us don’t love this stage or that stage of parenting, but still love our kids. And that’s OK. We can still be a GOOD parent.

And to all of you that I secretly judged in my head when you said you didn’t “really love” pregnancy (because I was one of those people who had an opium ‘life is beautiful and everything tastes better and feels better’ when I’m pregnant type of pregnancy) – I am sorry and I get it. It’s OK you didn’t care for pregnancy. Maybe you are the mom that likes to finger paint with your 20 month old. 

And I ask you, mother of loving every second of your toddler’s day – what is your secret?

Tuesday Nourishment – In Case You Needed an Example

A lot of you sweet souls read this post Sunday night.
A LOT of you clung to this mention of a dear friend: A friend that is so sick that she can’t even watch TV. Not the flu sick. Sick with no answers and there is nothing to do, say or send to make it better
Many of you commented with well wishes, prayers, vibes, energy – whatever you call it, for just this girl. Out of all the things you could have commented on (people, I pooped my pants and barely any of you noticed), you reached out on Facebook, Twitter and in person to say, “I’m hoping your friend is healed/gets better/finds answers.”
In answer to you all – here is an email from my friend:
There have been many nights where reading your words brought me laughter, healing, comfort, connectedness, and peace. Recently, your words brought me prayer. I am going on 2 days pain free right now and it feels like a miracle. Maybe the prayers and mention on your website was exactly what I needed. I seriously cannot even describe how sick I was for so many weeks. To have a break in the pain; even if for only 2 days, makes me a believer in the power of devoted thoughts and prayer. I didn’t know how bad it was until I felt better smile To look at my babies and my husband through my now healthy eyes brings me to tears. They are so beautiful! Thank you for sending out the cry for help (for me) and believing in the connectedness we all so desperately need; especially when we cannot ask for it on our own. You are moving in a direction we ALL need in one way or another. Love ya girl!

Wow. THANK YOU friends, friends of friends, neighbors, moms or nieces. Thank you for your help in healing. It WORKS. Look at her ability to now see and pronounce the beauty of her family. I was lost but now I’m found - if even for a few days.

Sometimes we forget the power. Don’t forget the power. I just gave you a pretty damn good example.

Be nourished and for real, breathe in and breathe out.

 

Packing Backpacks

As we enter a fresh and innocent week — let us remember what matters.

Last week – most things I predicted would settle high on the list, either didn’t amount to much – or didn’t happen at all.

Instead, life happened, and here is what mattered:

Oldest nephew off to first year at college

Grandma showed up and was loved ” to the moon and back” by three little people

A certain son’s smile and pride after his first “potty in the potty”

A discussion between a girl and a boy – about the future…

My niece – in emergency surgery – after an appendicitis – and the healing that gathered around their little family

My first yoga class in the last month – humbling

Watching our three children, babies, walk into a school and turn into students. Watching ourselves walk into a school and turn into parents

One of those “watch your toddler fall face down in the kiddie pool” moments that makes you puke inside

The cuddles that happen after the “watch your toddler…”

The stomach bug that haunts you for four days. The one that makes you leave Target with new yoga pants. Enough said. (yep, I said it)

A friend that is so sick that she can’t even watch TV. Not the flu sick. Sick with no answers and there is nothing to do, say or send to make it better

Watching your mom phase out of 30+ years of a career she loved, one that still loves her

A friend that is beat to the core with exhaustion from a newborn’s demands …and her heart-broken toddler on the sidelines

A friend full of pink joy … as she awaits her first daughter

Celebrating the day she was born – with Grandma McKean

Having a glass of wine with women, at the end of a long day, shopping for ruffly pants for our daughters and feeling pure joy

Watching our children dance in the shower for the 1st time and scream… just to hear the echo

Sliding into home on a Sunday night, with skinned knees and the joy of a home team victory

Ready for a new week. With a prayer to clear my mind of what I think matters … and make room for what will matter most.

As you pack those backpacks for the week ahead of you, clear room for the un-expected, the un-explained and the un-predictable… that is what will really matter anyway. And you never know when that stomach bug may hit…

Packed and ready for our 1st day of SCHOOL tomorrow!

 

THURSDAY Taste. A Toddler’s Dinner Table

Spoiler Alert: Dinner Table with bells and whistles failed.

Plan B: Breakfast at the farm. The working toddler farm, that is.

The scene: Sunday morning. 9 am. Snotty nosed kids. Coffee gulping parents.

The music: Paul Simon

The attire: Sweats and pj’s

The menu: Zucchini and berry waffles with agave syrup spiked greek yogurt (sounds fan-cay doesn’t it?) and turkey bacon with hot to trot coffee and a fake-out of hot chocolate for the little people (boy did they think they were cool)

The work surface/crew: Fisher Price table. Mom. Dad. Three toddlers, will work to touch and throw flour

The vibe: Pretty dang close to “right up there with Christmas morning”

Watching the union of what I don’t let them try and what they are capable of is pretty humbling. It wasn’t the dinner table or the meal I planned. It was so much more. It was Harper smiling a crooked grin of pride when she poured the almost empty bottle of oil not so perfectly into the measuring cup. It was Quinn, watching and listening with a pleasing heart, as he was given direction to stir that, scoop this. And it was realizing Gracie is the most O.C.D. girl in the world while “ehhhh’ing” over a little zucchini on her hand, but then jumping right back in, un-scarred from the mess.

And, eventually we made our way to the table. All five of us. Together as a family. It was one of those “on paper boring moments” that just seemed to sparkle and ooze with glitter when you were the ones living it, sitting in the average Joe seats. Your kids, your spouse, your kitchen = your long time dream of a family…this family. Answered prayers that are always hidden behind exhaustion, laundry, dirty dishes and mis-directed Target lists.

It wasn’t about the table. Or the waffles. Or the way our kids learned something new. It was about the permission we, as parents, gave our kids and family. To just be. To make a mess. To spill a few things. To laugh. To stay grouse and not leave the house. And it was so simple.

Hidden behind the sticky – simple, the happy – sparkly dwells. 

Just let it be. And then breathe it in. When will I ever remember this?

How did your simple family sparkle and shine this week?

*Recipe for our favorite “made by toddlers, for toddlers”  waffle recipe below picture gallery*

Be nourished.

Made by Toddlers with Love Breakfast Waffle Recipe* 

*You could also just add zucchini and or berries to a pre-made whole wheat pancake/waffle mix. Trader Joe’s has a good version. You could use this recipe for pancakes, as well – just expect a more dense, crispy version of a pancake *

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour (I like whole wheat pastry flour)

1 cup applesauce

1 TB baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1-2 TB sugar (we don’t use any, sweet enough w/ agave syrup)

2 eggs

1 3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup cooking oil

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup shredded zucchini or squash

1/2 cup blueberries (more to add on top)

1) Stir together flour, sugar, bkng powder, and 1/4 tsp salt. Make a well in center and set aside. (Making well really good for kids to help with.)

2) In medium bowl, beat eggs slightly. Let kids dump in pre-measured milk, oil & vanilla. Add zucchini to egg mixture (kids loved man handling the shredded zucchini during transport to bowl).

3) Add egg mixture all at once to flour and stir until moist (should be kind of lumpy – if too thin, add more flour. If too thick, add more milk) Add blueberries and stir slightly.

4) Lightly grease waffle maker and add 1 – 1 1/4 cup to grids and cook according to your waffle maker’s adjustments.

5) Top with greek yogurt and syrup mixture (I like the agave/maple syrup blend found at Whole Foods. You could also use 100% Maple syrup or whatever you like on waffles – duh!)

 

Tuesday Taste – Brunette is the new Blonde

Well, I’ve been saying that for years. I also hear 40 is the new 30 and pink is the new black or maybe black is the new pink…

and this just in: Thursday is the new Tuesday. At least this week, in our world.

I’ll be back Thursday with the shocking conclusion to our first family dinner table experience. (Not nearly dramatic as I make it out to be.) I will even share the recipe we created together as a family. Yikes-o-rama! Triplets gone wild in the kitchen.

This week my sweet blog is on a little construction break. Or you could call it a coffee break, I guess. I’m over here learning with fab bloggers and our fearless leader Melissa from momcomm.com. I am in a virtual class called Content Brew  where I am learning and sorting through some exciting changes for our website. I am stepping it up a bit, so brace yourself mama (or papa or grandma or lady friend – it’s been nice to meet some of you non mama readers lately – turns out we all have a monkey brain.)

In the meantime, here is your assignment as my cyber-mama friend. Think about what topics you would like to read about, learn about and see more of? The goal is still the same – connect, nourish and accept.

Now, how can I help you do that? Tell me, don’t be shy. Thanks, forever grateful.

See you Tues-Thursday.

 

That Boy.

I take a shower at high noon (almost) everyday. It is my time to finally breathe, unwind and think about a meal with no whine-beggers. When I step out, my highest hopes are always for a green light on the monitor and radio silence from the nursery above.

Today, I found a quiet monitor and this:

 

20120817-195504.jpg

Sometimes, the other person has to remind you, before all of this … before the snotty noses, poopy butts and birthday party play dates – it was us. JUST US. Late nights, mid morning brunches and movies and trips on a whim.

And although I would never trade “us now” in for “us then”, it’s nice to re-visit “us way back when”…every so often.

Kiss your spouse and do something that reminds you of why you picked them…why they gave YOU the final rose.

Happy weekend.

Tuesday Taste – The Birth of a Family Dinner Table

Our first “meal” … many moons ago.

 

When I was somewhere in the zip code of my early twenties, I attended a wedding where the homily was centered around the importance of the family dinner table. The priest explained to the innocent couple and ttheir guests, that the heart of the family unfolds at the foot of the dinner table. Not only are meals served at the table, but bonds formed, lessons learned and hearts grown.

All around the family dinner table.

I remember picturing this family dinner table; solid oak with six tall chairs and hot steaming potatoes (OK, most anyone’s early twenties are foggy – I am imagining that is what I would have envisioned) sitting in the middle of happy hands passing the beans. And I am sure I thought to myself at this young, tender age, “Duh Priest-man…first comes love, then comes marriage, baby carriage…and then dinner table.”

And then I got married. And then I turned 30. And then I had triplets.

Most “dinner table” incidents happen something like this:

Me, coffee in hand. Food, lovingly (frozen waffles) prepared. Them, sitting in boosters, looking me straight in the eye. The rest is like a Western movie – we sit, eye to eye. Finally, they bring their smallish, dimpled hand up as to grab a shotgun. Will they put the waffle/egg/piece of cheese/pork loin in their mouth? I wait in suspense…ehhhh. Foiled again. The waffle/egg/piece of cheese/pork loin is on the wall.

And it finally hit me. They don’t even know what a proper dinner table is. All they know is a trough-table sort of object where they experience great displays of inconsistency by the tall, frustrated adults on the other side. The “I’m taking your plate and you are not getting it back” followed by “ONE LAST time missy” (because mommy fears you may starve in your sleep because, really, have you eaten more than one strawberry in the last 24 hours?) And then, of course, even my “good eaters” (rotating between Q & G) catch on and find they will get a trough-table, inconsistent dose of attention if they, too, throw the said pork loin on the wall.

And so, I have decided, and am declaring it here, the Hackman Five will hold family dinners. OK, that should read dinner, as in one dinner a week. Start small, build big.  All five of us, ’round the table, using utensils and behaving like a family. Birthing the family dinner table. So you are accountable for me, yes? I will report back our learnings. 

Wish us luck. It’s scarier than it sounds…this involves meal planning for all of us…and the other small detail – all of us sitting, eating … at the same time. Boo for us that we have done this maybe once or twice in almost 20 months and hooray for you if you do this often with toddlers. (PS, we go out about once a week and rock the “dinner table” at restaurants…so we can do this, right? Right.)

Any tips for dining with toddlers ’round the table? Family friendly recipes? Advice to distract toddlers? Wine suggestions? (Just kidding, silly. Everyone knows wine is for after bedtime.)

Be nourished!

 

 

 

 

 


Blogher’12 – For the Blogga’s. Top 10 Takeaways!

David Letterman is from Indiana. I’m from Indiana.

David Letterman is live from New York. I went to New York for Blogher’12.

We are practically next of kin. In honor of our kinship, top 10 things I would remind myself of in the future at blogger conferences…or tell a newbie going into the eye of the storm.

It’s taken me a whole week to write this…better than the whole year that I still sometimes use for giving wedding presents.

Non-blogger alert: THIS will be boring to you… just skip over today if you have better things to do like re-start the musty load of laundry sitting in the washer that never got dried or wipe out the bottom of your refrigerator Oh, wait – that’s on MY to do list.

 

Blogher’12 Learnings from the Newbie (that decided to forego all Blogher vet advice about NOT wearing heels. Go splurge on awesome flats and rock them. Ok, that was #10 1/2)

**If I linked to somebody, it’s because I think you should go look at their cool personal world**

10) Say “Hi, I’m (enter name here) ” to everyone. People that seemed to know what they were talking about in sessions and asked the good questions – I super hunted them down after & exchanged cards. If I loved a session, I went and introduced myself to the speakers. Everyone here is just a person that once pooped in diapers like you did, I tried to not be afraid of anyone. Two of my favorite people from the weekend were Kathy Cano-Murillo and Stefanie Wilder-Taylor – the two AMAZING best selling authors that are in the “blog celeb bracket.” But I talked to them, they were normal and they both went the EXTRA mile to help me out with guidance, advice and introductions! I mean, even the bathroom is a great place to meet…right NYCJenny and HalfbakedLife ? Or over food – that is good too…Travelswithlulu.

9) If you are new, go to Pathfinder Day. If you aren’t new – I would say skip it. I learned some great tips and advice from two of my new favorite blogger crushes – as aformentioned – Kathy and Stefanie at the small breakout session for “blogs as book pitches”. But really, the best part out of the day was the practice lap for your mind and nerves as you enter the blogger conference mystery weekend. AND actually being surrounded by people that are probably somewhat similar to you (since you both chose a small group that was centered around one common theme.) Actually, it’s a toss-up, maybe I would do it again. It was worth meeting these lovelies: Lady Sippington, Jen Has a Pen, Momtini Lounge or Suburbankamikaze and Realestatetangent.

OH…and if you are new and know NO ONE like I did…I highly suggest finding a potluck roomie on the Twitter hashtag or on the forums! It was fun, you save money, have a wing-man to walk to breakfast with and you get a new buddy like mine –  HowIPinchAPenny !

8)  When meeting someone, take a deep breath and just say who you are and why you are here and what you hope to learn..and then flip them a business card so they will flip one back. (Tip – keep your cards in your name tag badge so you don’t have to search in your black hole bag and have to tell jokes while you sweat and look for your cards that you so carefully prepared and packed.) I thought I had to have this elaborate “elevator speech” prepared, but NAH, just take the deep breath as to hold back nervous verbal vomit and then just speak and start a convo – it felt fun to naturally “talk shop” with all of these other bloggers!

7) Listen in sessions and jot down appropriate and well thought out questions. Raise your hand and stand up during the Q&A with a specific question about your brand or blog. I met a few people outside of class that tracked me down because they had similar sites or questions. A simple way to network! I also tried to shoot out a quick tweet that mentioned my speakers and a favorite “takeaway” so others could learn something and maybe follow someone that is an expert in the field mentioned. For example, during our vlogging session, I mentioned that Catherine McCord of Weelicious.com would be leading us in a vlogging session and then shared a great “how to” tip later that connected me to some other bloggers in the session. I thought this was a good way to create dialogue with other attendees for after the conference.

6) Be a creeper and track down people that asked good questions in class & exchange info. It’s nice to have a contact that may be working on similar areas of improvement on their blog. (Bonus: they may actually understand the SEO-enese that was just spoken in the last session& may be willing to help translate.)

6 1/2) Avoid a lot of the sugary snacks – you will crash. Bring a HUGE water bottle and fill up as you go. Dehydration ruins days.

5) Action steps and resources. I tried to jot down a few “homework” action steps out of every session with a few examples of resources to utilize once I got home. For example,”produce 1st vlog by end of August” or google this term or that plug-in was an action step. A sample of noted resources: “HARO” (help a reporter out) or Media Bistro.

4) Someone told me “let your feet vote for a session.” This is so true. I ended up in a political session that applied to about negative nine things that I focus on… I politely left and spent some good time chatting with expo booths that I was interested in getting to know.

3) You know how you circle a buffet and don’t grab anything until you get a good look at the whole selection? Do this with the expo. I took the 1st night to scan and not take anything (you just don’t need most of it.) And by the 2nd or 3rd day, I had actually gotten to know some of the booth vendors through all my “drive-bys” and we were able to have a natural discussion about marrying my blog to their brand. Focus on meeting brands that fit with YOUR brand…besides, you just don’t need 84 pens and three vibrators – but you could use two or three new sparks with a cool brand. Ok…truth be told… maybe I left with a few things. Hint, I didn’t bring any pens home.

2) Attack what is really important to you while there. For example, I REALLY wanted to connect with HuffPost Parents while in NYC because it is a media outlet that I adore and would love to contribute to. I stalked them and part of my vision unfolded – I met them and they were lovely – and now when I pitch them, they sort of kind of know who this new blogger with triplets from Indiana is.

I also wanted to milk all the info I could about publishing a book. I feel confident I discovered some truths and uncovered a few lies within this arena, so I feel good about it.

And to connect – that was #1 reason for going. And I also feel good about that. So although I missed most of Sparklecorn, didn’t make it to one minute of CheeseburgHER party and didn’t attend one GeekBar, I hit my priorities and I can feel good about that.

1) #1 takeaway: Take care of you. This weekend was the biggest and most fashionably dressed roller coaster I’ve even been on. Be prepared to not be prepared for some of the emotions and physical reactions you will feel. Don’t feel guilty for skipping this or attending that. If you cry, embrace it. If you compare yourself to all of the awesomeness in the room, sigh and move on. If you think you are better than “those people” – you’re probably wrong. I am happy to say I came home tired, over thought and stretched in bigger ways than ever before (how is that possible after stretching my human body to grow three humans?)

Goodnight Blogher’12 – I am done (lie) talking about you on this blog…real life can resume…I guess.

 

My 4th baby…

Worth sharing if you want to read where it all started…or if you really find triplets fascinating – I do.

Below is a link to our 18 month update…something I used to do every month with tender loving care throughout that 1st crazy year. My original blog – babiesbabiesbabiesinmybelly…a place that is so dear to me, I consider it my 4th child. Where I met many of you!

18 month Story of Us (I know, we are almost 20 months, oops) 

THAT was the belly THOSE babies were in…

 

Blogher’12 Conference – Part 1: The Takeaways

It’s been over a month since you and your dear college friend have talked. You see her ringing in on your caller i.d., but you “ignore” because you are about to make dinner and you just know that it will be one of those conversations. So much to catch up on, laugh about and be serious about.

Yeah, that’s what I’ve been doing to you. A full week has passed since my time in NYC at Blogher’12 and I am just now able to sort of digest the whirlwind and write about it. AND… not to mention…my buddy Mac decided he was done after the weekend. Upon arriving home from my trip, I opened my shiny silver companion, only to find a paralyzed blue screen. “Uhhhh-oooooh” my kids would say. And after he got fixed, a huge storm came in and wiped out our internet.

Coincidence?

I like to call it paying attention to divine intervention. And you know, it felt good to put my feet up and read an actual magazine after bedtime instead of stalking the Blogher hashtag or feverishly writing my heart and guts out, trying to make sense of the chaos.

I had started to write this REALLY long post of what I learned, how I would do it in the future and what I loved or loathed. And then I realized I had so much more to say. Yes, I learned A LOT and I met some beyond lovely real life people that live outside of their avatar pictures online. And I got connected into a community of hard working and ambitious women (and some men) bloggers. If you have ever placed blogging in the hobby bracket next to knitting sweaters or volunteering at the zoo, this conference would prove you wrong.

The real truth is that this weekend was like one big spiritual retreat for me. Honestly, not to offend those that L.O.V.E. the sparkly parties, big name speakers and way cool swag (did I mention they were giving away everything from Bibles to vibrators…yes, all kinds make up the blog-o-sphere), but for me, it was so much more.  It was a lot of looking inside my “why” and my “what.” And some of that learning came during a breakout session on “vlogging” (get ready for videos,friends!)  While other parts came while talking to a new bloggy friend in the bathroom over how funny it was that hemorrhoid cream was laid out for us (true story.) And better yet, some of my big AHA! (you’re my girl, O!) moments came while strolling Central Park alone and ending up in Little Italy with just myself, my journal and a glass of Moretti (and a big hunk of dough and cheese and basil.)

At the heart of all of this, I was able to realize I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. And the rest will come. G&R said it best, sometimes we don’t need to know all the answers …”all we need is just a little patience.”

So, with all my new and exciting ideas – I will keep moving forward – changing and growing. But with one goal in mind … to keep writing to heal and connect – for you, for me and for us. I am certain the wires didn’t get crossed between God and me on this one.  That’s it. That is the backbone of my first blog and the heart and home of this blog.

Heal and connect.

Which is where connect, nourish and accept were born and will continue to flourish…

Just not sure what that flourish entails…today. And that’s OK. I hope.

I chose to share a lot about my dreams, vision and ideas in NYC. And when you choose to share these things with others – you better be prepared. Be prepared for compliments and attention that will make you sail from room to room. And be suited up to accept advice and constructive direction that will make you feel small and soaked in hot tears.

Both happened to me over the course of my 4 days in NYC.

And both have made me stand a little taller, think a little smarter, be a little braver and breathe a little lighter.

I have a post that I will share this weekend going more into the the logistics, learning, and details of the weekend for you curious bloggers.  (Blogher’13 is in Chicago, IL – yeah Midwest!!!)

Here is a taste of the weekend … and a snapshot of my coming home reunion. So sweet, it was.

 

 

 

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