Meaningful Mommy

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Back to School Supply List for Moms

Back to school is a time of supply lists for our kids but what about the moms?! Forget the pencils and non-purple jumbo glue sticks, here’s what we need!!

Mom “Back to School” Supply List

 

 

  • Two packs of Kleenex (one for your car and one for your purse). You will cry and you will get many colds from your now in school children. School germ pools are the worst. Restock as needed.

 

  • Antibacterial spray: to spray your children down when they come home from school. Have them hold their breath and cover their mouths and noses just like when you spray bug spray. Okay, maybe don’t do this but in the heightened cold seasons baths infused with hand sanitizer would be best. Okay, you’re right. Not safe. Hmm…I know! Masks. Lots of those white face masks from the doctor’s office.

 

  • A good friends number on speed dial. Call it, if needed!  Networks are important. Or a counselor. Probably both.

 

  • A “That was easy” button from Staples for the times we need a reminder that we do hard things. I know, sounds contradicting…the button is so after you push it and the voice says “that was easy” can yell “NOT” like a teenager. Especially useful after completion of all “not easy” tasks.

 

  • A Magic 8 Ball for those hard school decisions, because really most decisions we make just open up another one and it’s all just a crap shoot.

 

  • Earplugs to wear when you get into those conversations with other moms about what’s best for your kids. Or their kids test scores. Or that their school is better…yada, yada, yada…Earplugs, I’m telling you!

 

  • A really cute hat. Because there will be days you will be called into school and you have not showered for a few days and your hair is unmanageable. Or a scarf and big glasses…Maybe all three.

 

  • A good book or kindle/iPad to be in your purse or car. There may be days you just have to sit outside the school all day. Whether it’s from anxiety or a threat to your child that you really are watching them while they are at school. You will need something to do. Maybe knitting. That may look less stalker-ish.

 

  • A monthly refillable Starbucks gift card. For your self. Each month re-fill that bad boy so you can have a never-ending and always deserving coffee or tea pick me up. You deserve it!

 

  • Mom’s night out at least once a month. Just time away. It doesn’t matter what you are doing as long as it is somewhere kids aren’t allowed to go.

 

  • Abundant patience for yourself. You will make it through this year. Hit that frickin’ “that was easy button” yelling “NOT” as often as you need to. Add stomping and cursing and then take a warm bath or go get that coffee. You deserve it!!

 

I plan to be well ready for this school year! What would you add to this list as a must have for “back to school”??

 

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Our Garden Update

We have pumpkins starting to grow!!pumpkinpumpkin 2

 

We have lemon cucumbers and green cucumbers!!lemon cuke 2green cuke

 

 

We have squash starting to grow!!lemon cuke

 

We have baby watermelons!!baby wayermelonbaby watermelon 2Yay!!!! We are so excited!!

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A Liebster Award!!

One of my favorite blogs which got me started blogging had won a Liebster Award. I wasn’t sure what the award was, but I wanted one anyway. So much for the old adage “don’t covet what your fellow blogger has”…Well, maybe that isn’t really a thing….but anyway I was just nominated for my own Liebster Award!! Seriously! Me :)

Thank you The Not So Secret Life of an Average Mom for the nomination!! Seriously, from one average mom to another you are Awesome, so is your blog!!

If I had to give an acceptance speech it would be a bust! All I can think of are my friends who called me Megster…and how that rhymes with Liebster (at least when I say it) I know…ouch!

Now I know what the Liebster Award is. It is an award for new bloggers with less than 200 followers (I have as of this moment 130). It is a way to hopefully get your blog out there to share all it has to offer. Ok, I’m sounding a little full of myself, but I DID just receive an award mind you so let me revel just a little…

Here are the Official Rules for accepting the Liebster Award:

 1. Answer the questions given and then come up with 10 new ones to ask your nominations.
 
2. Nominate 8 other blogs, let them know you have nominated them and put a link to their blog in your post.
 
3. No Tag backs.
 
4. Nominations must have under 200 followers.
 
5. You must tell all the blogs that you nominate that you have nominated them.

 

WooHoo!!

Ok, here we go. The Q&A session…be ready to learn more than you may want to about the one behind Meaningful Mommy!!

  1. How long have you been blogging? I started my blog this year in mid April.
  2. How do you spend your time away from kids? Mom’s night out are a must have. We moms get together for pedicures, dinner, shopping, running and the aimless wandering of Target ;)
  3. What’s your favorite dinner recipe? Anything that takes 30 minutes or less to construct.
  4. How do you make time to blog? I try to wake up early to blog but I’m too tired…because I stay up too late writing after my sweets are in bed.
  5. What appeals to you most about writing? I started writing to clear my head and have something I felt was just about me. I mean it’s about my kids mostly, but something I did for me, because like most moms we mostly do for our children.
  6. How long does it take for your kids to mess up your clean house? My house hardly ever seemed clean because their toys were everywhere and they were right behind me taking things out. I recently converted our office into a playroom and now the toys live there. My house now feels so much cleaner!
  7. Other than being a parent, what else would you like to blog about? I blog about our current experiences with our first garden, travel, mental and physical health, parenting education and WordPress writing challenges. Obviously I just like writing.
  8. How many hours do you actually sleep a night? From 11:30 -1am when my oldest crawls into our bed…Then from about 1:30am until 4am when my littlest requires me to come lay in her bed. Then until 6am when my 145 pound St. Bernard thinks she needs to be fed. So what is that…1.5 +2.5+2=6 hours!! Ouch!
  9. Best thing about being a mom / dad? Not bedtime! Oh, the best thing….that for me is when they crawl up into your lap and just snug in. Like it’s the most safe, comfortable, happy place in the whole world.
  10. What’s unique about your blog? I don’t know if it’s unique, but I do try to be honest and help others feel like they too are doing the right things for themselves and their children, while offering helpful parenting tips for the days when you’ve just about tried it ALL!

Whew! I had to really think about some of those. :)

Ok!! On to the fun part!! Here are my nominations for the Liebster Award!

http://susiereece.com/

http://thegoodmama.org/

http://frenchtouchincebu.wordpress.com/

http://thinking-languages.com/about/

http://shortnotsosweet.wordpress.com/

http://shankari588.wordpress.com/

http://ethiopianmama.wordpress.com/

http://survivingtheunexpected.wordpress.com/about-me/

To my fellow new bloggers, now Liebster Award nominated bloggers,

:) Congratulations!! :)

I found most of you on the WordPress Weekly Challenge posts where there are so many wonderful writers. Your blogs are beautiful, inspiring and note-worthy in many different ways and I enjoy them very much! I hope you will accept my nomination.

Here are your 10 questions for us to get to know you better:

1. What inspired your blog name?

2. Do you have any hopes to write & publish a book?

3. What do you love about writing?

4. If you were stranded on an island with only one book what would it be?

5. What is your favorite blog to read?

6. Have you been awarded any awards before?

7. What is your biggest challenge when writing?

8.  What is your favorite T.V. show?

9. If you could interview anyone (deceased or living) who would it be?

10. What is one of your  favorite quotes?

There is no time limit for accepting the Liebster Award! You have time to answer the questions and find your 8 nominations of other bloggers with under 200 followers. (See rules)

I hope you all accept and keep up your writing and your blogs!! :)

~Megan

 

 

 

 

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Walking the Rails….

I was uncertain, but I kept going. It was pulling me along, the draw of walking that rail. Arms out to the side, head held high, eyes looking into the distance. It was a personal contest of balancing skill, but also  a mindless wandering where the scenery changed with every bend in the track.

With each step it pulled me further and further along. There would be no turning back.  At least until my foot slipped braking my meditative journey.  Bringing me back to reality…..but until then I was going to follow the track wherever it lead. It had me.

It was exciting, the feeling of the unknown. Would there be a new town or another beautiful field. It was peaceful walking along, not having to think of the right direction. The old track was the path and to stay on the rail was the goal.

 

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When my mom was my age….

I spent today celebrating my soon to be 39th birthday with my family.  I spent most of it looking at and thinking about my mom.

It’s funny, when my mom was 39 I was 14. I remember she seemed so mature. Not as in old, but as in put together and with it. She was responsible and seemed to always know what was best and what was happening. Extremely smart, competent and well, motherly. Beautiful.

When I look at myself in the mirror I do not see that mature woman I saw in my mother. I see me, trying to do my best. Seemingly one step behind, but hanging in there. Making mistakes, but moving forward. I see my hopes and dreams for myself and my family for the future. I see a woman who struggles to find balance with self, motherhood and family. I see tired eyes and the beginning of wrinkles. I also see contentment with where I am today and the fact that I know I do not need to be perfect.

My daughters are three and five. I often wonder what they see when they look at me. I wonder what my Mom saw when she looked in the mirror when she was 39.

I think I should ask her.

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Halloween Already?? It’s still f’ing summer!

Today is August 23rd right? I’m just checking because today when I ran into the grocery store I saw this

HalloweenYes, that is a  Halloween display complete with creepy tree and signs hanging everywhere… and the candy! Shelves and shelves of candy…

I’m not impressed. I am not sold and I am not down with even thinking about Halloween yet!!

School hasn’t even started yet.  Fall isn’t even here yet.

Why so soon? What’s the rush…?

Do they think I will buy my candy early and save it for over two months old by the time trick or treaters come?

Or, are they thinking I will buy candy now and eat it, then buy more, eat that, buy more and so on?

That’s it isn’t it.

The Bastards.

I’ll tell you what, it is not happening! None of it.

I refuse to even think about Halloween until at least October. Probably mid October. I do not buy my candy until a couple of days before Halloween, and I often wait until the day of. Halloween has no business in August. I refuse to buy into the panic or the hype.

It’s stupid, it’s irritating and it’s just ridiculous!

 

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Show me the LOVE…

What creates happiness? Fulfillment? Meaning? What is at the core of creating a meaningful life? I think it is simply love. LOVE is at the core of anything meaningful. If you love what you are doing, it will feel meaningful. You will feel content, fulfilled and happy.

If you love to travel, then spend your money on that! Save your money for an adventure! Plan your trip, take time to make it what you dream. The saving will be worth it and the trip will fill your spirit.

If you love music then go see as many concerts as you can! Your walls could be bare with nothing to adorn them but your ticket stubs and just looking at those will make you feel fulfilled. You will have many amazingly unique stories to share when people come over. The music will feed your soul.

If you love home decorating then make that your passion. Research colors, fabrics, furniture styles. Make your home a reflection of yourself. Be bold, be subtle, just be you.

If you love helping others then make service your passion. Volunteer with kids at a boys and girls club, be a big brother or big sister. Work with programs that help the homeless. Donate food, clothes, your time. Research charities whose cause you love and support those in any way you can.

If new experiences are what you love, buy up every Groupon or Living Social deal you can and get out there and try new things. I’ve gone kayaking, paddle boarding, blown glass, thrown pottery, painted a couple of acrylic paintings and done a ropes course 50 feet off the ground. Why? Because I had never done any of those things and they sounded fun. I was happy to spend money on those activities, happier than if I’d bought a new rug for my living room. And as a bonus, I have great memories to share.

Your house no matter how big or small will be a home if it is filled with love. You will feel content there. If you have a few things that make you happy, that add beauty and have a purpose, things you really love that speak to you, then they add meaning and you will feel fulfilled.

If you love gardens, forgo the fancy landscaped lawn and put in flower beds, a vegetable garden, fruit trees and berries. I guarantee you will use the space more and your life will feel more meaningful if you are looking at something you love.

If you love sports or one specific sport play it! Watch it! Buy tickets to events. Meet with friends to share the love of the game. Be that fan. The fanatic who lives and breathes the game. If you love it, it is worth it.

If you love learning or information, audit a class at a local university. Frequent your public library. Visit museums and art galleries in your area. Choose a hobby and find a class or a club designed for sharing the passion of that craft.

If you love the outdoors make nature your escape. The woods, the water, the mountains, the beach. Enjoy, experience and live in all it has to offer you.

Spend time with people you love, like-minded people who share your passions of life. If you love who you are with, the relationship will feel meaningful. You will feel happiness. If you surround yourself with people who are content and happy you will feel this too. Most importantly if you love yourself, you will feel meaningful. Our self-worth can only be as great as we believe it to be.

Then there’s that work thing. Our jobs. For some having a job that they love is meaningful. It makes them feel fulfilled. But if you just see your job as a means to be able to do other things you love, then use it as that. If you are lucky enough to have a job you love that also allows for you to do other things you love then that’s awesome!

Meaningfulness is all about love. So love what you do, love who you are with and most of all love yourself! With this mindset you are well on your way to creating a meaningful life custom-made just for you! The awesome thing about love is there is no monetary value that anyone can place on its power or importance. It is infinite. Love can conquer anything.

Meaningfulness = Love
Happiness = Love
Fulfillment = Love

 

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We all have a voice. What saying no can really mean.

A few months ago I wrote  ‘A Letter to My Sweet Daughter’ about an experience at swimming lessons. That morning I watched the instructor saying something to the class. I couldn’t hear what he said, but I watched my daughter look up and there was a slight shake of her head. The other kids were smiling but she was not. I let my eyes follow hers as she listened to her teacher say something one more time and I watched her shake her head. I saw the teacher move her along the wall to join the class next to hers while he took her fellow classmates up the stairs to the top. I then watched my daughter slowly look up to make eye contact with me. She was not smiling. She looked worried. I could see the beginning of tears. I walked over and crouched down. My daughter then quickly said, “Momma, I don’t want to do that slide. It doesn’t make me feel safe.”

I saw her take a deep breath. Waiting for my response. I could see the fear that she thought I may tell her she had to try. That she had to be brave. Honestly I thought about it. Those words were right at the tip of my tongue. I almost told her to just go with the class. I could have said to stop worrying and  give it a try. But I took a deep breath and looked at my sweet daughter and I could feel her struggle. Surprisingly,  I found myself smiling at her and instead of telling her she needed to be brave and go down that water slide I said, “That’s ok sweetie. I never want you to do something that makes you feel afraid.” Her eyes lit up and there was her brilliant smile. She exhaled and simply said, “Ok, thanks Momma”.  Today I am grateful that I had this moment of clarity.  I thought about the courage it took for her to admit her fear and make the choice she did. Her courage to tell her swim instructor and her mommy that she was afraid because what she was asked to do didn’t feel safe. I am still thinking about that day. I don’t want her to do anything that makes her feel afraid. Challenged, yes. Maybe a teensy bit nervous, sure. Butterflies are one thing, but afraid? No. That feeling inside when you just know something doesn’t feel right to you…I want her to keep connected to her intuition. That day at the pool, the floor to ceiling water slide and my daughter made me realize something huge about our ability to say no.

I realized my daughter was being brave. It took all she had to tell her teacher no, and then look up at me and tell me she felt afraid. She listened to her heart. She understands there are times to be brave and there are times to know her limits. That sometimes it takes even more bravery to not do something and to stand up for yourself.  She knows when to stand her ground no matter what. For herself. When I think about it almost all children are good at this. They challenge themselves (and us) trying new things daily.  They push limits and stand their ground. Sometimes we see it as plain stubbornness, but if we look close, at times it may be more than that. It may not always be just to disagree.  It might be bravery. We have a choice about when to let them have that say. We can let our children say no.  We don’t have to push our children into something they aren’t possible ready for.

I know as my daughter gets older, the more times she is brave by listening to her heart, by saying no, her confidence in herself and in her choices will grow. I know that by my respecting her decisions of when to push herself and when to back away will strengthen her self-esteem. I hope that every time I validate her feelings when she says she is not ready that I help her stay connected to her inner bravery. I hope it will be easier for her to continue to say no, when it will really matter, throughout her life. I want her to be able to say confidently say no to friends, boyfriends, situations, anytime where she doesn’t feel ready or when the situation feels wrong. I want her no’s to mean something when she says them. I want her to believe in her choices.

I know her confidence will also grow when she does challenge herself by saying yes, but there will be a balance. A balance of external and internal bravery that will make her a strong well-rounded woman. I want her brave yesses to be ones of excitement and positive challenge, not ones of fear. I want her to never lose the ability to voice her feelings. I want the times she is brave by saying yes to leave her feeling proud, not feeling compromised. I know from experience when we say yes, but are really feeling a no, the outcome does not leave a feeling of accomplishment or self pride. I will help her to continue to evaluate her choices by asking her to explain why she is saying no and listening to her reasons. Really listening.

Oh, and that water slide, my daughter may choose to go down it at some point. Or she may always be afraid of them. Adrenaline may never be her thing. This is okay with me. There is nothing wrong with not liking those types of activities. Parenting is often trial and error and I am grateful for the times I feel like I got it right and that my children often help me out along the way.

 

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Woohoo!! She’s off to school :)

Woo Hoo!! Woo Hoo!! Woo Hoo!! Wait, am I supposed to feel like that?! :)

So, our first-born daughter (aka our big sweet) is heading to school and I am having mixed feelings about my mixed feelings. See, I am mostly excited. Honestly I’m really excited. I get a goofy smile when school is mentioned and then I feel like maybe I shouldn’t be smiling. I do have a little anxiety because it is a change and change is always a little nerve-wracking, but mostly I am so ready for her to be in school. Yep, I’m super ready. Do I sound like a horrible mother?

My thing is her mind is busy. Well busy is an understatement. She is wicked smart and questions everything. Everything, meaning everything I say, everything she see’s, thinks, hears…everything is something to examine, contemplate, question and figure out. This is awesome and exhausting. I am actually grateful for someone else (her teachers) to be asked some of what she wants to know and for someone else (again her teachers) to add to her tools of how to get access to information on her own! I am so, so, so excited for her to have supplemental educators. I say supplemental because of course my husband and I will continue to be her teachers as well. We love learning with her and helping her grow. I’m just excited for her to have more!

I know she will love having science, math, reading, writing, physical education, library, music, recess, lunch, snack, art, circle time, playtime, and social interaction with her fellow classmates. She is going to have to build relationships with her teachers and kids alike without me there.  I know she is going to soak it all up like a sponge and then come home and ask more questions which I will be happy to help her figure out the answers to.

In my years of teaching third grade I watched my students learn so much more from each other and being in a school setting than I ever imagined. Much more than the academics I was teaching. Much more than I can teach her here at home by myself. I just hope the base I have given her will serve as a solid foundation for her to continue building on.

I of course worry like most all mothers hoping that she makes nice friends, that she listens and asks questions respectfully, that she tries her best and doesn’t give up. I hope her teachers realize her gifts and strengths, as well as her challenges, and they foster growth in all areas. I hope my daughter is brave and strong and kind and that she believes in herself. I hope most of all that she continues to be happy.

I hope she knows that no matter her successes and mistakes I will continue to love her for just being her. She is who I cherish, not her grades or if she is the ‘best’ at anything. I want her to make mistakes to learn from them. I want her to push herself by trying again and again if necessary. I want her to feel success and triumph. I want her to be brave when she needs to and to ask for help when she needs it. I want her to know that she is supposed to not know everything and that asking questions are what makes someone smart. I want her to learn from those around her soaking in the gifts everyone has to share. I want her to see that education is a journey that never ends unless you let it.

But that first day after she is dropped off at school and after I feel a little choked up (because yes, this is a huge milestone),  I imagine I will feel a bit like this video….

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Introduction to S.A.D. (Seasonal Affected Disorder)

I feel that mental illness and any mood related disorders lose some of their power if they are talked about and ‘normalized’ like any disease, such as diabetes or heart disease. People who suffer in silence are at a greater risk for heightened feelings of isolation, anxiety and fear about what their ‘disease’ may do to them (or cause them to do to themselves). Here in the Pacific Northwest the end of summer brings a gray haze that will settle over us for the fall and winter months. For some of us (like me) this gray tends to feel heavy and begins to weigh us down. Introducing S.A.D.

seasonal affective disorder
n. Abbr. SAD
A form of depression occurring at certain seasons of the year, especially when the person has less exposure to sunlight.

(The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.)

Here is some information thanks to Web MD

What is seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?

One type of depression is Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. It occurs during the same season each year usually in the winter. Someone affected may have felt depressed during the last two winters but then felt much better in spring and summer.

Anyone can get SAD, but it’s more common in women, people ages 15-55, people who have a family member with the disorder, and those who live father away from the equator.

What causes SAD?

Professionals aren’t sure what causes SAD, but it may be connected to a lack of sunlight. This lack of light may
upset your “biological clock,” which controls your sleep-wake pattern and other circadian rhythms. It can also create serotonin ( a brain chemical which affects mood) problems.
What are the symptoms?

Some common symptoms of SAD are feeling sad, grumpy, moody, or anxious. You may lose interest in normal activities. You may sleep more but still feel tired and have trouble concentrating. It is also common to gain weight because of craving carbs.

Symptoms come and go at about the same time each year. Most people with SAD start to have symptoms in the fall and begin to feel better in the spring.

How is SAD diagnosed?

SAD and other types of depression share many symptoms which is why a doctors involvement in diagnosis is important. You doctor will have certain questions they ask to get a clear picture of what may be going on.
For a SAD diagnosis one of the main symptoms to note is the seasonal regularity of the symptoms and that they go away when the better weather comes back. Other symptoms such as being very hungry (especially craving carbohydrates), gaining weight, and sleeping more than usual are common with SAD. Also as with any illness if you have a close blood relative—a parent, brother, or sister—has had SAD you are more likely to have it as well.

There are also blood tests to rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms, such as low thyroid (hypothyroidism).

Mental health assessments by a trained professional counselor or doctor may also help them to get a better idea of how you feel and how well you are able to think, reason, and remember.

How is it treated?

Light therapy is the main treatment for SAD. The thought is the light therapy can re-set your biological clock. Medicines and counseling may also help.

There are two types of light therapy: a bright light therapy which is a light box you put a certain distance away from you and sit in front of it for about 30-45 min. You can read or work on your computer hile you do this so it is a very easy treatment. The other is a dawn simulation lamp which lights up dim in the morning and gently gets brighter like a sunrise.
Thanks Web MD! *(I have discussed my personal S.A.D. situation with my naturopath and we have come up with a plan of attack for me. Web MD was used for information for this post not to diagnose myself.)

As with any illness it is important to be aware of the symptoms and have a support system in place. Knowledge is powerful, knowing what to expect and banking coping strategies makes any mental/mood illness feel less ‘big’ and more manageable. There is always something to try that can help and someone to talk to. No-one is really alone and if those around you know that you suffer from a mood illness they will be more likely to notice any mood changes and offer their support when you may not be able to ask for help yourself. Do not keep your illness hidden. If you suffer from anxiety, depression, bi-polar, panic attacks, chronic low moods, or any other illness talk to a professional and let your loved ones know. Just as with diabetes or heart disease your loved ones can help you watch your illness by noting your symptoms. There is no shame in any illness. * When I use the term ‘loved ones’ I mean the people you hold dear to your heart whom you trust. These people may or may not be your immediate relatives.

This year I have decided to try to combat my S.A.D. feelings instead of just ‘making it through’. I have been taking Vitamin B-12 and Vitamin D among other supplements and I ordered a SAD bright light therapy box. I plan to set it up next to where I have my morning coffee and read the news and write my posts. I’m hoping it will help. Here’s to open discussion about mental illness and mood disorders.

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