Blog Archives

The Day of Big Parenting Talks

July 23, 2014

talking to teens, talking to kids, big parenting talks, parenting triumphs, tough parenting days, Naked ParentingWhew – I’m exhausted.

Today was a day of big parenting talks, ever have those days? The kind where topics arise that spur in-depth discussions, or behaviors warrant longer sit-downs. Today, I had both types of big parenting talks, and I had them with all three kids at different times throughout the day. It felt like tag from one kid’s situation to another one’s – topped off with a teary moment at bedtime that needed an energetic mommy-pick-me-up.

There were moments of utter frustration and feeling like I wasn’t being heard or getting through, followed by instances of triumph where I felt like I said or did the exact right thing. I’ve joked that we have our “Oprah Days” and our “Dr. Phil Days,” the picture-perfect and the ugly, and the everything in between. Today had it all!

What is 20 Years?

July 16, 2014

what is 20 years?, 20 year anniversary, platinum anniversary, china for 20th anniversary, symbol for 20th anniversary20 years is our first home with a deep front porch. It’s tearing out ugly mustard-colored carpet to find pristine hardwood floors beneath, it’s stripping wallpaper in dime-sized pieces. It’s sitting on lawn chairs and eating off stacked crates.

20 years is traveling far and wide, young and carefree, climbing historic church towers and hiking stunning canyons. It’s snorkeling, horseback riding, swimming in waterfalls and driving coastlines. It’s Hawaii, France and the Olympics, Prague, Poland and Germany, it’s islands, mountains and oceans.

20 years is the first plus-sign on the stick, the happy tears, the growing belly, the drive home with our new baby girl realizing she was ours to care for and protect and love. Forevermore. And then we were three.

20 years is first cell phones, cool-looking things with an antennae and no such thing as texting. It’s sleepless nights, dribbling giggles, first steps and ABC’s. It’s time with grandparents and families, time with each other. Time together. A family.

Prince George’s First Birthday

July 16, 2014

prince george effect, prince geoge birthday, when is Prince George's birthday, cupcake with crown, birthday crown cupcakeSo, I’m not much of a royal-watcher, but years ago, I lived in London for four months and, because of that, I have a love of England. As Prince George’s first birthday approaches, I’m thinking of my time there.

My flatmates and I would explore Hyde Park, shop at Boots, and poke around Portobello Market on weekends. Once, after I’d heard words almost exclusively in a British accent for months, I came home and in all seriousness, reported that I’d heard a lot of foreign languages that day, which wouldn’t be odd except that I was talking about American English!

While in England, I loved walking to school from my flat, remembering to LOOK LEFT before stepping off a curb, and “minding the gap” before hopping onto the Tube. I loved going to the theater, local attractions and taking side trips around the English countryside. We even once spotted Princess Diana taking her boys to school. It crossed my mind then, how difficult parenting as a royal would be, but as a mom, I feel it even more acutely now, watching Kate and her young prince.

Yup, I really loved my time there and my visits to London and England since. While there, I was immersed in the castles, the history, and even the Royal Family; it really can’t be avoided. Decades since, and a mom three times over, I both chuckle and sadden at the attention George and his parents receive. Parenting is tough: tantrums in the market, meltdowns at restaurants, bickering siblings waiting in line at the bank. Can you even imagine doing all that on a global stage? Sure George is only one year old, but we parents all know what’s coming.

Little George is even already setting trends as the little “Pre-King.” Have you heard about the George Effect and how items that look like whatever he wears are selling out by the droves and shutting down websites? I wonder what the wardrobe will be for Prince George’s first birthday celebration. No doubt we’ll see it in stores and catalogs before he’s even done celebrating on July 22nd.

Song Lyrics for the 4th of July

July 4, 2014

4th of July songs, country song lyrics about America, American songs, Independence Day songs, Happy Independence Day!

Last year I posted the meaning of Independence Day including the entirety of the Declaration of Independence. This year, I’m celebrating this great day with song lyrics for the 4th of July.

After years of resisting, and fighting my dear friend, Dana’s, attempts to make me listen, in the last eight years, I have become a country music fan. I get teary-eyed listening to the stories or laugh along with the songs with a sense of humor.

I love Zac Brown Band (I took my daughter for a one-on-one mother daughter weekend to see them perform and have written about his Camp Southern Ground) and get a little choked up still at the patriotic part in Chicken Fried. At our local elementary school, the kids sing Lee Greenwood’s Proud to be an American and I swear I cannot keep it together hearing those sweet little voices sing those incredible lyrics.

Love Thy Body – Agroterra Photography

May 13, 2014

Leah DeCesare, Leah DeCesare RI, Love Thy Body Leah, Agroterra Photography, My talented friend, Lisa Gendron, has launched a project entitled Love Thy Body – Women celebrate themselves in essays and portraits. Lisa invited me to participate and I’m honored to be the first featured in her series.

Click here to read my Love Thy Body essay and to see Lisa’s artistry in photography.

I bared myself in writing and physically for this project. Lisa and I spent a chilly morning together in her studio, chatting while she snapped away, making me feel like a model.

Since the photos accompanying the essay are on the Internet, I was quite selective in what I chose for Lisa to post, but all of the images are something I’ll cherish.

Lisa shared that she treasures an old photo of her own grandmother and told me that it will be so special for my children, and even my grandchildren, to have a beautiful picture of me years from now. I love that thought.

Building The Kampala Children’s Centre for Hope and Wellness

April 8, 2014

The Hope Center, Kampala Children's Centre for Hope and Wellness, Uganda healthcare, building medical center in Africa, Destiny Africa choir, Kampala Children's CentreI want to share something with you that is very dear to our hearts. This fall, our whole family fell in love.

It was late on a Sunday night this past October when the van pulled into our driveway. We greeted three tired girls and their chaperone who would be our house guests for a week. They are part of a choir called Destiny Africa and were orphans, taken in by the Kampala Children’s Centre in Uganda.

Arms squeezed us in hugs in the dark before we even lifted a bag to help them inside. Within moments, Claire, Shivan and Mary Phiona were laughing and playing a game with Ali, Michael and Anna, while Dorothy settled into her room. In those very first hours before climbing into bed, we already knew that we would be forever touched by these children.

They moved into our home for a week and into our hearts for a lifetime.

[caption id="attachment_3617" align="alignright" width="300"]Destiny Africa choir, Kampala Uganda, Wasiko, Mary Phiona, Dorothy, me and Claire[/caption]

While the girls lived with us, we learned about their home at the Kampala Children’s Centre and the love, education and family it has given them in fulfilling the Centre’s mission of giving the best to the least. They cooked for us, taught us some Lugandan words and traditions and I loved that they called me “Auntie.” I kissed them good-bye each morning and we welcomed them home each night, even when they returned after midnight, just as we would for our own children. We laughed and ate together, joked and prayed together.

As we ate breakfast just the two of us one morning, Dorothy, the first house mother at KCC, shared her story with me and a glimpse into the horrors of the war, poverty and HIV issues that have terrorized Uganda. It is unimaginable to our developed-nation-minds. Only a couple of years younger than me (more years younger than Nick), it was a startling to contrast our lives.

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