Explore 2019 #236: The power of saying yes

I talk a lot about the power of saying NO but wow, sometimes it feels really good to say YES. This week has been really tough for me personally and the last 6 weeks have felt way too busy all around. For a few weeks Violet has been asking to make cupcakes and we literally have not had a free afternoon for it. But this week I was like, YES, LET'S DO THIS, and then when we went to the store to get some last minute items and she asked for Halloween candy I was like YES, WHATEVER YOU WANT, GIRL. And when she asked if we could experiment with sinking marshmallows in the center of the cupcakes I didn't overthink the baking science and was like YES, JAM THOSE MARSHMALLOWS IN.

The marshmallows completely melted and sunk the centers of the cupcakes but we leveled it out with chocolate buttercream (#winning) and then the girls had such fun decorating with sprinkles and Halloween candy (Vi claims the pumpkins taste better than the candy corns...agree or disagree?). Anyway, it felt really, really great to say YES to this project, and to make things even happier, we delivered cupcakes to some friends + our amazing single mom neighbor, whose birthday is a day before her daughter's birthday...which means her birthday totally takes a back seat (#momlife). Seeing the surprise and delight on this mom's face when we delivered the cupcakes really put life in perspective for me.

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Explore 2019 #218: 15 lessons from 15 years of parenthood

Oh man look at that little pumpkin nugget...Happy 15th birthday, Laurel! And here are 15 things I have learned in 15 years of parenthood, rapid fire style:

1️⃣ Parenthood is basically one massive exercise in surrendering.

2️⃣ Don't force kids to do stuff that you wish you had done as a kid.

3️⃣ Give kids the space to make their own choices.

4️⃣ Your job is to put good food options in front of kids, not force it down their throat.

5️⃣ Avoid crazy ass sports parents (related: don't be a crazy ass sports parent).

6️⃣ Finding families where the kids and adults all get along easily and beautifully is magical unicorn material...love and nurture those relationships.

7️⃣ Don't be afraid of your kid being the least scheduled of their friends if they are a kid that needs a lot of down time.

8️⃣ Prioritize sleep for teens the way you do for toddlers.

9️⃣ Prioritize your relationship with your partner (if you are coupled).

🔟 Prioritize your relationship with your self; your kids' needs should not obliterate your needs.

1️⃣1️⃣ Letting your kids experience discomfort and disappointment is a good, healthy, and necessary thing.

1️⃣2️⃣ Experiences are better than stuff.

1️⃣3️⃣ Kids need to do chores...not for money, just because they are part of the family.

1️⃣4️⃣ Sometimes kids just need to have a big ass meltdown to release the pressure valve.

1️⃣5️⃣ You may think that because teenagers are way more independent than toddlers that they don't need you anymore, but they actually need you more than ever.

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Explore 2019 #202: First Red Sox family game

I'm almost a little embarrassed to admit this, but today is the first time we're at Fenway Park as a family! The Red Sox have always been my team...for example, I have no idea how they connected, but my Dad was friends with Sherm Feller! My brother George worked in the Green Monster! I nursed Laurel through the entire 2004 World Series!

But the thing is, my kids just haven't been into baseball so it was nonsensical to head to a home game with them, But last year, a switch flipped. While Jon and I were watching games, all of a sudden Laurel and Violet were sitting down to watch. And asking about the rules. And establishing favorite players (my 8yo looooooves Mookie Betts). It was so awesome!

And so HERE WE ARE and we're super excited! And given that I've been keen on local adventures this summer, it really can't get more quintessential than heading to a Red Sox game! I'll be sharing more in stories too! Big thanks to my friends at the Red Sox for facilitating this visit!

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Explore 2019: New family hobby

When you have kids who are 6.5 years apart (+ have different interests and personalities of course), it's a total unicorn moment to find an activity that everyone in the family genuinely enjoys. That's why skiing became such a magical thing for us this past winter, when Violet jumped on board.

Tennis is a huge source of joy for me and Jon, and when Laurel picks up a racquet, she's amazingly natural at it, though it's not the activity she normally gravitates towards. But Violet has shown zero interest. So typically, Jon and I head to the courts on our own.

Yesterday Laurel was off early to the beach and Jon and I really wanted to play so we asked Vi to come down to the courts with us. We packed snacks and an activity and most of the time she just chilled in the shade doing her thing, but then when we were done she asked if she could swing Jon's racquet. And all of a sudden was having so much fun that she asked us to dig out the kid's racquet my friend Anne gave us.

This morning I took both kids to the court and it was UNREAL. Laurel and Violet were on opposite sides and most of the time I just fed Violet balls and she would try to hit it over the net to Laurel. And she ended up being REALLY FREAKIN' GOOD AT IT and she and Laurel ended up rallying a bunch and each of them were hitting winners. I mean, WHAT??

Whenever Vi took a water break Laurel and I rallied or I'd practice my serve a little bit but largely I watched in complete awe as I fed Violet balls, and called out encouragement to both kids, and freaked out when either of them hit a winner, and we all just laughed a ton while a new spark grew for these two. I can't believe our whole family can now enjoy tennis together!

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Explore 2019: Commuting with Laurel

When you've got babies/toddlers, the milestones are fast and furious. In a way it's a little unfair because you're so damned sleep deprived that it's hard to appreciate them! So I definitely felt a little misty this morning, experiencing a first with Laurel.

Last week I talked about how crucial it is to teach kids about public transit and shared tips on how to get over the intimidation and get riding. Laurel has gotten super savvy on the T and can ride solo, but this morning, she was heading to a meeting via bus and I was headed to the train so for the first time ever we walked out the door to commute together. It was pure delight to chat and walk to her bus stop and then I waited with her at her stop before heading on to the train and man, ALL THE FEELINGS. It's crazy and awesome and emotional to watch your kids step out into the world and do their thing. I never thought I'd be psyched to commute, but commuting with Laurel is pretty rad.

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