About thissideoftherainbow

First and foremost, I'm a mom & I love it more than anything else on this planet. I'm a talker. I'd like to think that keeping this blog will help me to reduce my chatter, but who am I kidding?

None of the Day

I taped a small 3″x3″ paper to my monitor. I placed it strategically in front of the volume knob and where the monitor on the left meets the the monitor on the right. Scrawled in blue Sharpie pen is one of the greatest lessons I will ever learn.

And I learned it from my four-year-old daughter.

Every day, we ask Charlotte two questions during dinner.

What was your favorite part about today?

What was your least favorite part about today? 

These two questions open up an opportunity for us to talk about wins in her day, as well as opportunities for growth. We can celebrate! And we can learn.

Most days, when asked about her favorite part of the day, Charli will tell us stories about fun activities from pre-school, sugar filled treats or special time with mom dad.

When asked about her least favorite part, she’ll recount a disagreement with a friend, getting in trouble or not getting something she wanted.

My favorite days are when I ask about her favorite part of the day while she bounces in her chair, eating her dinner. Without waiting until she swallows her bite, she bursts out: All of the day!

And when asked about the least favorite, she raises the eyebrows on her expressive little face and her eyes grow wide. She smiles and shouts, None of the day! 

None of the day.

The absence of anything negative in her day.

How fantastic!

Can you imagine if we all shared this same mentality? How might the world be different if we looked on our days and thought – no – believed that “all of the day” was our favorite part, leaving no room for any emotion other than joy?

I want to be undeniably in love with my life just like Charli.

So, I taped a small 3″x3″ paper to my monitor. I placed it strategically in front of the volume knob and where the monitor on the left meets the the monitor on the right. When I felt myself sliding toward negativity, my eyes darted to the paper to read the message.

What is your least favorite part of the day?

None of the day!

*Charlotte

I smiled and continued with the favorite part of my day – all of the day.

 

 

 

“I have my own bed!”

Today I was blessed to volunteer with an amazing organization that identifies kiddos without beds so the organization can then offer to provide a bed for FREE. Life changing, right?!

When I told HOS what I would be doing this morning, he let out a sound like someone had punched him in the stomach. I couldn’t have said it better myself. … At least not yesterday.

Now, I can tell you that today I made elementary kids smile. They listened, engaged and laughed. The students were grateful for an impromptu story time, as well as their snack and gift (duh!).

Sure, we had to ask an uncomfortable question, but it wasn’t uncomfortable for the students. They don’t know to feel awkward yet. I wish I were more like them!

One second grade girl – who definitely will grow up to be a leader – even corrected me when I asked them to check the box. The form said, “write an X.” Thank you, little rockstar, for being fearless enough to tell me, the grown up, that I was mistaken.

Another sweet girl hugged me twice in 15 minutes, which melted my heart!

The kids were so innocent and humble.

One little guy stuck in my mind/heart all day. I went to pick up his form and his little chest filled with pride when he looked at me, smiled and said, “I have my own bed! I have an air mattress.”

He was genuinely excited and thankful for that air mattress. It made me wonder how long he had had that luxury. And it is a luxury for him!

This school touched my heart with 20-25% of its students not having their own beds. I was shocked to learn that the program previously visited two other schools in our city, and 50% were without their own bed.

Let me type that again.

FIFTY PERCENT, one in two, half of  the student body at the other two schools did not have beds.

Wow.

While talking about the program, HOS asked, “How do these kids not have beds?”

What blissful ignorance we have had in our privileged life.

And I never thought I was privileged. …

Life changing is right.

 

 

 

Day 100, #100daysofinspiration

For 100 days, my Instagram and Twitter followers have quietly and calmly endured my daily posts of inspiration. They politely liked my mom-themed, career-focused and vaguely empowering posts. Thank you. And thank you for not unfollowing me … that I know of. 


Good news!!

Today is the 100th day. You may not see another inspirational post from me for the next 1,000 days. You’ve earned that! 

I had the best intentions with my #100daysofinspiration. I bought In The Company of Women by Grace Bonney in November and something inside of me stirred. Normally, this would be related to the Freddy’s steakburger I ate for lunch or the junk food I shoveled into my face before bed. This day was different, though. This day I felt inspired. On a whim, I started my #100daysofinspiration on Instagram and Twitter.

I learned some important lessons while posting the #100daysofinspiration.

  1. 100 days is a long time.
  2. Inspirational memes are awful.
  3. People are all talk (or text).

100 days is a long time.

I had no idea just how long 100 days would be. Sure, I knew the number of days, but have you ever done something every day for 100 days? Nearly 1/3 of THE YEAR?! 

Yeah, neither had I. 

I don’t recommend it.

Inspirational memes are awful.

I know what you’re thinking – uh, DUH!

This isn’t to say someone can’t be inspired by an image or story. We can find inspiration any where. I happen to think it won’t be found by scrolling through non-descript nature photos overlaid with quotes taken out of context from dead people. 

Besides, don’t we all see enough of these memes from our neighborhood Rodan + Fields consultants? 

Just kidding … 

Sort of.

People are all talk (or text).

In this digital age, we all have so much to say. We have plenty of memes to express those sentiments – the #100daysof inspiration showed me that much!

There is a lot of talking and very little walking. 

I’m the perfect example of failing to walk. I posted meme after meme about chasing dreams and putting in the work. I have done very little to follow through on this. 

I think about all the time I spent searching for a quote or a meme, and how much time I spent posting and it’s embarrassing. If I had spent even half that time writing a new book for the kids or continuing education or volunteering, I would feel much better about myself and my “challenge.” 

My next challenge will be 1.) MUCH shorter time period and 2.) focused on action.

At the end of the day, words are only as powerful as we allow. It’s our action, or REaction, that makes all the difference. 

Good Eats: Homemade Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup

Like most families with toddlers, we eat macaroni and cheese. Frequently. Unlike most families, we always have leftovers. 

HOS (I haven’t given him a post-marital name. Did I mention we are officially married?!) doesn’t eat the stuff. Me? Without reliving some lonely nights in bed with a pan of mac & cheese with corn and hot dogs mixed in, we’ll just say I try not to eat much of it these days. 

We also eat Annie’s Homegrown macaroni. We are big fans, especially Bernie’s Farm, but the pasta always seems dry and not cheesy enough. This is probably becaus it’s healthier! 

In an effort to cut down on bowls of old, dry macaroni and cheese lurking in the back of my fridge, and in an effort to increase the cheesy factor, we made a slight adjustment. I pour one cup of uncooked noodles into a ziploc bag and set aside. I cook the remaining noodles as directed. Voila! 

We eat all of the mac & cheese, and it was extra cheesy!

But what about the extra noodles? 

Make another kid favorite, of course! I threw together a batch of homemade crockpot chicken & noodles with Bernie’s Farm noodles. 🙂

Below is my recipe for the quick, “farm” chicken noodle soup. 

Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup (with excess macaroni noodles)

  

Ingredients

Left over dry macaroni
1 frozen chicken breast
2-3 whole carrots
1/2 small yellow onion
2-3 ribs celery
4 Cups vegetable broth 
(Optional) spinach 
1 Tsp black pepper
1 Tbs garlic powder
1 Bay leaf 

Recipe

1. Pour the vegetable broth into the crockpot and add the frozen boneless chicken breast.

2. Chop the onion, carrots and celery so there are about 1/2 inch thick. If using spinach, chop and place in fridge. Add onions, carrots and celery to the crockpot.

3. Add the herbs and spices.

4. Cook on low for 4.5 hours.

5. After 4 hours, remove the chicken breast. Shred the chicken breast and return to the crockpot.

6. Pour in the farm macaroni. Add optional spinach. Stir.

7. Let cook the remaining 30 minutes. Check to make sure the noodles are tender.

8. Enjoy!

I recommend some fresh rolls or biscuits as a side. Empty calories aside, you can’t go wrong with carbs. Right?

Is Vagina a Bad Word?

You winced a little when you read the word, vagina. Am I right? 

Vagina. Vulva. Clitoris. 

Why do people cringe and/or gawk at you when you talk about these body parts?

You would think I showed someone a pornographic image the way some people react to the word. …

Is it true? Is vagina a bad word?

My daughter and I ate dinner at a friend’s house this evening. There were five girls under the age of 12 running around, two female adults and one male. We were preparing to leave and Charlotte kept grabbing at her crotch. Not thinking anything about it, I asked her:

“Why are you grabbing your vagina? Do you need to go potty?”

Laughter erupted from the three older girls. I mean, sure, vagina is a funy word. I’ll give them that, but you would have thought I told the knock-knock joke of a lifetime. 

As I was taking Charli to the bathroom, I heard the girls’ dad trying to calm them down as they started calling eachother vaginas. He said that they probably haven’t heard the word before.

Wait.

What?!

These girls are roughly 6, 8 and 11 years old. The oldest could start her period any day. And, they have never heard the word vagina? 

We use terms like “pee-pee,” “privates,” and “down there” as viable alternatives to existing anatomical words. We don’t call elbows “arm-bends” or fingers “pointers.” Why create ridiculous words for vagina or penis?

The prudish way in which we treat sexual organs creates this mystery and discomfort. I’ve known many young people to react to reproductive organs and sex in ways not unlike the reaction many youth have to alcohol or drugs. 

We create the forbidden fruit for our children by how we choose to teach and explain. 

What do I know, though. Right? 

My daughter is only 3 years old. She thinks her dad has a vagina.

Then again, she doesn’t laugh when people say vagina. She doesn’t wince, cringe or look away awkwardly. She can talk to me about her body. 

I can’t even say the same for myself. I can’t talk to my doctors about my vagina, vulva or whatever without averting my eyes and laughing awkwardly. 

I hope this post and the 11 times I mentioned vaginas (oops, 12) helped desensitize you to the word. 

Also, sorry, dad. … This was probably very uncomfortable for you to read. I can understand that! 

Emotionally Speaking

The mind is a truly amazing thing. It can be highly controlled and systematic, or it can throw into an emotional abyss. I lean more toward the latter…

One moment, I was excited,  and a little stressed, about planning my wedding.

A split-second later I was consciously fighting off a sadness/panic/whatever attack when it hit me with a new, stronger realism. My mom wil not be at my wedding. 

I knew that. 

Of course, I knew that. 

Yet there I was, blinking quickly a breathing like a ’90s mom in Lamaze class! I was in rare form because I successfully fought back the attack, but I still feel the lingering ache from the emotional bruise of that moment. 

I wish I had a positive twist to this post. I wish a miracle would happen and mom would be here, but that is impossible. 

I will soon be Mrs. HOS. I will be surrounded by people I love, marrying the man I love. The day will be beautiful and perfect. 

No matter how amazing my day will be, I’ll still have a little ache in my heart. And I think that’s good. I feel this sadness because my mom was a blessing. I love her, and I miss her. If she wasn’t a meaningful part of my life, I wouldn’t bat an eye. 

Instead, I’ll be wiping them. Frequently. 

And reapplying mascara quickly. 

Thank you, mind, for reminding me a little of what I lost, but mostly of what I earned. 

Life Lessons from Snapchat

My 14-year-old niece recently taught my how to use Snapchat after finding out that I’m neither as trendy nor as tech-savvy as she had previously assumed. I’ll be honest. I still don’t get it. Why am I sending a Snapchat and a text message to the same person at the same time? Can’t I simply text the image?! 

Ugh. 

Anyway! A college friend added me and sends me pictures and videos of all the concerts, bars and events he frequents. The only thing I frequent is my refrigerator. 

I mean, c’mon! It’s a week night and he was sending me videos of bands I would like to know, but who has time for their own music when I’m listening to Fisher Price’s Little People CDs and Let It Go? (And yes, we are still listening to that damn song from Frozen.)

Naturally, I felt a little lame in comparison. I send pictures of my daughter, my cat, and my unruly hair. That is [most of] my life. 

In my best efforts to compete in this world of Snapchat, I sent a picture of my beautiful Charlotte and made a quip about her being my wild, and often times crazy, life. 

My friend conceded, but I still felt like I was missing out some how. 

Until I turned off my brain and really looked at my life. 

We, as parents, need reminders like these so we don’t go insane. Reminders that we traded in our nightlife (and everything else!) for something much bigger [to us] than a concert. 

There will be many experiences in this life that I will “miss out on” because I’m a mom. This isn’t the first time I felt envious of a non-parent, nor will it be the last. It is fleeting, though. I can handle missing out on things. I would be devastated if I missed out on Charli. 

Besides, we can hold a dance party as good as the rest of them. 😉   

  
So what’s the life lesson of my story? Be grateful for the life you have, and don’t expect any exciting nightlife Snapchat messages from me. I’ll most likely be sleeping.