This magical moment.

Noticing the simple, magical moments in our everyday lives.

ThisMagicMoment

I am a worrier. I worry about my kids when they are playing rough. I worry about my to-do list when it doesn’t seem like I am adding enough checkmarks. I worry about my husband encountering distracted drivers on his way to and from work. I worry, and when I worry, my view of what is in front of me becomes a little cloudy and grey—the world becomes a lot less magical.

In January, I decided that instead of making a New Year’s resolution I would choose one word to live by in 2015: magical. I needed to focus on worrying less, especially about what I have no control over. And I needed to learn how to see the world through the eyes of my children more often. Yes, so much of what goes on in the world is scary and heartbreaking, but every day there are magical moments happening right in front of us. When we put our fears and worries aside, when we take a moment to breathe and open our eyes, we let the magic in.

As I look back on these past seven months, or seven days, or even the past seven hours, I admit that there have been many moments that were not magical. There have been many moments when my eyes have been closed and my heart has felt heavy with worries. But I am learning. I am learning to worry less. I am learning to see how beautiful the most simple and ordinary moments can be. I am learning a lot of this from my kids.

A couple of weeks ago, the kids and I were invited to attend Princess Wednesdays at the Hard Rock Café at the Mall of America. For attending and writing about the event, the Hard Rock Café treated my family to lunch. I went to the event prepared to take notes about our experience watching the princesses from Tiny Diva Princess Party perform as well as the experience of having lunch with my kiddos somewhere other than the park or our home. However, I ended up spending most of my time paying attention to my kids’ reactions. I sipped on my water, ate my juicy and spicy Fiesta Burger, and I watched my children. While my son was having more fun drawing on his kid’s menu, my daughter was absolutely delighted by what was happening before her eyes.

While the kiddos and I ate our food, we watched Anna, Elsa and Kristoff perform some of our favorite songs from Frozen. We had a great seat by the stage, and to be honest, I had a fun time singing along. While my daughter stared at the Frozen Sisters, I couldn’t help but stare at her with a heart full of joy. It was such a simple moment, but for my daughter, it was a magical moment. At one point during the performance, Anna stepped down from the stage to sing and dance with the dozens of kids at the performance. I was about to tap my daughter on the shoulder to encourage her to join Anna and the other children, but for the first time (in forever), she didn’t need my encouragement. She took one more bite of her macaroni and cheese, she gently set her fork down and hopped down from her chair, and she marched over to Anna to hug her. It was such a sweet moment for my girl, and it was a proud moment for me. My daughter tends to be quite shy in these types of social settings, and while she was still a little meek, I saw her take a big, confident step all on her own. And for me, that moment was magical.

HRCMeetAndGreetwithFrozen

The Princess Wednesdays event was fun and we enjoyed our meals while watching the characters perform. Afterward, the kids all had a chance to meet and take pictures with Anna, Elsa and Kristoff. As a parent, it was so entertaining seeing all of the kids excited about singing at their tables, dancing with the Frozen Sisters and meeting some of their favorite characters. The event was free for dine-in guests, and it was a great way to spend an early afternoon with the family. Kids meals are reasonably priced, and we all ended up taking leftovers home. And to sweeten the deal, all Twin Cities Kids Club members who attended the event received $5 off of their purchase of $25 or more at the Hard Rock Café.

Twin Cities Kids Club is sponsoring two more Princess Wednesdays events at the Hard Rock Café during the month of August, and I would love to see you and your kiddos there. The events will be held on Wednesday, August 12th and Wednesday, August 26th starting at 11:00 a.m. at the Hard Rock Café in the Mall of America (located on the first floor near the LEGO® store and Nickelodeon Universe®). On Wednesday, August 12th, all are welcome to dress up in their favorite princess gowns and eat a royal lunch with the princesses of Tiny Diva Princess Party. On Wednesday, August 26th, all are welcome to enjoy a theatrical story time performance of Diva Ever After with the princesses while eating lunch. To learn more about the upcoming events and to make a reservation, please visit the Twin Cities Kids Club Events page on Facebook here.

While guests pay for their own lunch at the Princess Wednesdays events, the performances, and meet and greets with the princesses of Tiny Diva Princess Party are free. So don’t forget to bring your camera! Guests who are also members of Twin Cities Kids Club will get $5 off of their $25 purchase by showing their membership card. To learn more about purchasing a membership, please visit Twin Cities Kids Club.

HRCFunnyFace

{Disclaimer: I received a free lunch from the Hard Rock Café for sharing my experience of attending Princess Wednesdays. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. I am also a team member of Twin Cities Kids Club, and I am excited to share my adventures of working with a fun, small, local group of talented individuals.}

A difficult woman.

A difficult woman: Some days it’s challenging to swim against the current. Some days the waves of tantrum after tantrum are too heavy.

ThisIsHerThree

“I pray for the man who marries you some day,” I mutter under my breath as I witness yet another episode of my 3-year-old daughter kicking and screaming over having to eat the bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios that she had asked to eat with such glee and excitement just 15 minutes ago. I have been awake for less than an hour and already the waves have formed and I can see them rolling in—one after another– far off in the distance.

I take a deep breath and channel my inner Bob Marley. “Rise up this mornin’, smiled with the risin’ sun,” I gently sing while making my coffee.

“Noooooo!” My daughter screams back at me. I continue singing as I wrap both hands around my warm cup of freshly brewed coffee. “Don’t worry about a thing, ‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”

“STOP SINGING, MOMMY!” My daughter shouts as she forces her body to slide from her chair to the floor.

My hands grip my cup of coffee tighter. This is just the beginning; the first wave of water brushes sand over my clean, dry feet. Within another 15 minutes, my daughter will calm down and she will let me wipe the tears off of her face. We will hug, she will smile, and she will giggle after her first bite of breakfast saying, “Mmmmmm. I love Honey Nut Cheerios, mommy!”

This is just the beginning, though. The waves are coming; I can see them getting higher. Let’s see how well I can swim against the current today.

***

These waves are heavy as they crash against my body. I try to plant my feet in the sand and stand strong in the rip current. But some days I lose my footing, and the water carries me farther from shore. The water carries me farther from you.

Oh, child. I love you with all of my heart, but these waves flood my mind from time to time. These waves make simple things so difficult. And I begin to only see the difficulties these waves bring. I begin to focus so intently on keeping my head above water, and I forget that you are trying to swim, too. The waves are crashing against you, too.

***

“Are you approaching your relationships with love?” Our pastor asks during his sermon this morning. I glance at you, and you are coloring quietly. You look up at me, smile, and point to what you are working on. The waves begin to recede.

Have I forgotten how to approach these waves with love in my heart? Am I letting the waves pull my love under the current? When you change your mind, and refuse to get dressed, and cry because I put your shoes on wrong, do you feel my love receding with these waves? Do you see that I love you? Or do you see the waves, too?

I glance at you again, and you look so calm coloring. Love floods my heart, and I feel the weight of the water pull away from my body.

I lift my feet out of the wet sand, one at a time, and I rinse them off in the calm water. Perhaps you are not the difficult one, my child. Perhaps I’ve been the difficult woman all along.

ThisIsMotherAndDaughter

 

Finding strength and happiness.

How to find courage, strength and happiness in 24 simple ways.

MonkeyBarBoy

Hi. I’m Aimee. I’m almost 30.

I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a writer. I am a dreamer.

Twenty-four months ago I would not have introduced myself in this way. Twenty-four months ago I wrote this. I was scared. I felt like a failure. I was lost. Twenty-four months ago I chose to quit my full-time job. Well, at the time I felt like I was a quitter. I felt weak. I was disappointed in myself for not being able to suck it up. So I started this blog to pick myself up. I started this blog to put myself back together. Twenty-four months later, I now see that leaving my full-time job had given me the opportunity to fight to become a stronger woman. I am braver. I am accomplishing goals that were once long-forgotten. I am proud of myself. Damn, I’m proud of myself.

Twenty-four months. In twenty-four months I went from working about 50 hours a week to working about 9 hours a week. My oldest child is months away from starting kindergarten, my daughter will be turning four in one month, and I am 22 weeks pregnant with our third child. In twenty-four months my husband changed jobs and completed four more semesters of grad school. We sold our first home and purchased and moved into our second –maybe forever—home. In twenty-four months I went from no blog to publishing 62 posts and having 3 (and soon one more!) posts published by other websites. I have met some amazing local bloggers, and I recently joined a writing group. In twenty-four months I went from feeling lost to feeling more alive than ever.

Leaving my full-time job was the craziest thing I have ever done, and it has brought me back to life. These past 24 months I have been slowly putting myself back together. I have been learning more about who I am and what I want and who I want to be when I grow up. I am learning. And I will spend the rest of my life learning.

Before sitting down to write this, I took a couple of weeks to reflect on everything that has happened these past two years. I could share with you how my life has changed since becoming a stay-at-home mother. I could share with you how I survive a typical day at home with my spirited 5-year-old son and my strong-willed 3-year-old daughter while my husband is at work from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. (is he home yet?!?!?!). I could share with you how I have been trying to make more time for my writing goals and making new friends. Yes, much has happened in my life these past two years, and many things have changed for the better for my little family. But I am more than a stay-at-home mother. I am more than a part-time receptionist at a hair salon. I am more than a wife. I am more than a blogger. I am growing. Well, literally, my belly is growing to make room for this sweet little girl who is growing inside of me. But I am growing. I am learning to take care of myself. I am learning to take pride in what I do as a caregiver, an employee, a partner, a friend and a writer. I am learning to make my goals higher priorities in my life. I am learning to put myself first, too. These past 24 months I have given so much of my love and attention and care to my family and others around me, but I have also been learning to do this for myself as well. While much has changed around me, I have changed the most.

After taking some time to reflect on the past 24 months and the two-year anniversary of this blog, I decided to share with you what I have learned about myself and becoming a braver and happier person since quitting my full-time job and starting this new adventure. I still have much to learn and there is always room to grow, but these 24 lessons have given me back my strength and happiness and my ability to dream:

  1. It’s okay to process things emotionally before logically. Sometimes you need to sort through your emotions before you can make a logical decision. It’s okay to feel. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to let yourself be angry. But when you’re done, piece yourself together and allow yourself the time you need to think.
  2. Change is good, even if it scares the hell out of you. Something has to light that firecracker under your behind every now and then. GirlSwingingOnTheSwing
  3. It’s also okay to stay right where you are. You may be right where you need to be for the moment.
  4. Letting go does not mean that you are no longer in control. Letting go means that you are willing to open yourself up. You are willing to invite others and the universe to teach you something or show you something new.
  5. When you are kind to yourself, you feel happier. When you are kind to others, more people feel happier. Choose to be kind. Our world needs more kindness.
  6. Take chances. You never know what opportunities may come when you do. Even if you make a fool out of yourself, you will gain something new from these experiences. TakingBigKidSteps
  7. Make new friends with people who share similar interests and goals. They will inspire and motivate you.
  8. Reach out to old friends you haven’t seen or talked to in a while. They will inspire and motivate you, too.
  9. Do something that is out of your comfort zone. And after you do this, do something else that is out of your comfort zone. You will surprise yourself by what you can do in these situations.
  10. Understand that you are more important than you realize. Others will surprise you with their desire to encourage and support you.
  11. It’s okay to need other people. You are not alone, and you should not and cannot always be as independent as you would like to be. Allow others to help you. You are part of a community, so help to build others up, and let them build you up when you are down. ThumbsUpGirl
  12. Be patient. Be patient with yourself and others. Allow yourself time and space to grow, and allow others to grow on their own as well. Take your time. Take up space.
  13. Allow yourself to breathe. Goals and priorities are important, but so is living. Enjoy stillness. Enjoy lazy days. Enjoy silence. Enjoy the little moments. Breathe. Enjoy this gift of life. Breathe. It’s good for the soul.
  14. When taking care of small children, lower your expectations. Your children will not be as obedient and well-mannered as you may have envisioned them to be prior to becoming a parent. Lower your expectations. This will surely lower your blood pressure, and your body and mind will thank you.
  15. There will always be something you can learn from your children. Open your eyes and let them show you how they experience the world around them. Let them lead you. Let them make up silly rules to their games. Let them play. Let them play a lot. And play with your children. Play often. MyKiddosAtPlay
  16. Embrace creativity. Let yourself brainstorm and daydream and free associate. You will learn more about yourself and others around you. You will open your mind to new ideas. You may see something you never noticed before.
  17. Go on walks. Go on walks with your partner, with your children, with a friend and by yourself. Walks are peaceful. Walks will calm your mind. Walks will stir your heart. Walks will move your soul.
  18. Be a dreamer. Live life with hope. Live life with goals, even if these goals seem silly. See all that is magical in your world. Dream up fairy tales and happy endings. You never know what may happen in the end.
  19. Wake up. Wake up early before everyone else in your house. Wake up late. Wake up so late that your children have to tickle you out of bed. Wake up. Wake up each day and see that it is good –see that you have been given a new gift. Wake up and go on your adventure. TakingNewSteps
  20. Let go and press the reset button. Don’t let your stubbornness paralyze you. Even if you are as stubborn as they come, learn to let go and press reset. You will do yourself and others a favor.
  21. Quit planning everything. Yes, plans make everything seem right and orderly in the world, but plans are not always necessary. Get wet, get sandy and get muddy. Immerse yourself in the experience. SprinklerTime
  22. Love your family, and never stop reminding them how much you love and appreciate them. Make it a priority to attend family gatherings, to keep traditions, and to create new family adventures. Your family is your first community.
  23. Love yourself. Care for yourself just as much as you care for others. See that you are good, and believe that you will do great things. Give yourself a break when you fail, and take pride in your accomplishments. Smile and remind yourself daily that you are here for a reason.
  24. Be yourself. Never stop searching your heart and soul for happiness and peace. Don’t worry about what others think of you. Be yourself and own it. Be yourself and you will find your purpose. Be yourself and you will find your community. Be yourself and you will find the strength you need to become all that you can be. Be yourself –that is all you need, and the rest will fall into place. Be yourself, and you will never cease to discover what this world has to offer.

Bubbles

I have learned how to breathe. I have learned how to open my eyes. I have learned how to grasp the world with my finger. And like my two children who seize each day with passion in their hearts and limited concepts of barriers, I can’t wait to see our baby girl do the same when she is born. I can’t wait to feel her hand grasp my finger, and I will show her the world is hers to hold.

Scary Mommy
I'm Published by Mamalode!
  • Happy birthday, sweet girl! It’s such a joy to be your mommy and to watch you grow! 💜 #adventureswithv #thisistwo #birthdaygirl
  • Just a gentle push to get my butt out of bed to work out in the mornings before the rest of the household wakes 🙃. #thisismotherhood #strongwomen #workit
  • Have you ever not done something that you really wanted to do because you were too shy, or anxious, or afraid of how you would look? I have been in this situation far too many times than I’d like to admit. My ear gets hot and red, my heart pounds, I feel nauseous, my voice shakes, that inner voice of self doubt kicks in, etc. Well, today I decided that I wasn’t going to let my anxiety take something else away from me. After almost a year of telling myself “No, you can’t do that,” I decided to say, “F it, I’m going to try.” I’m going to try for my kids, because they need to know that even adults are scared to try new things, but we can choose to still go ahead and do our best. I am going to learn something new for my kids, because they need to see that even adults are never too old or too smart to learn something new. I’m going to have fun trying something new, because my kids need to see that fear and worry can be turned into positive energy. So today I finally took my first Taekwondo class. And I was so nervous. Sooooooo nervous. But you know what? I survived. I had fun. And I earned my white belt. So the journey begins. What’s something you have been wanting to do that you haven’t tried yet? What’s stopping you? You got this. #motherhood #anxietyproblems #taekwondo #taekwondofamily #ninjainthemaking #storytellingmama
  • Birthday weekend begins for my baby who’s not quite a baby anymore 😢🎈🎉💜🦄🌸👶🏼 #birthdaygirl #almost2 #toddlermom  #wheredidmybabygo
  • Damn, I feel like a farmer 👨‍🌾. #urbangardening #potatoes #urbangarden #mnblogger #twincitiesblogger #hellofall #harvest
  • The green belt becomes a blue belt! #proudwifey #taekwondofamily #taekwondo #bluebelt
  • Hammer fist! So close to earning his brown belt. #perseverance #hammerfist #boardbreaking #taekwondo #taekwondofamily #purplebelt #proudmama #mnblogger #twincitiesblogger
  • No need to buy pumpkins this year because these beauties came from our own garden! I’d say it was a pretty successful harvest for our first pumpkin patch. #octoberbaby #pumpkinpatch #superpumpkin #urbangardening #harvest #mnblogger #twincitiesblogger
  • #riptompetty #wontbackdown #standmyground #kindnesswins #vegasstrong