Parenting Pop-Quiz

Pop

Since the birth of my twins I’ve been receiving somewhat of a pop quiz from the Texas Twin Project (my babies are TX born).  An assortment of questions ranging from what my little ones eat to when I read them stories to how I handle stress when I am in their presence. The questionnaires have been popping into my inbox every six months. Usually around 30 pages long and containing what feels like a million questions.

A parenting pop-quiz.

Truth be told I look forward to these pop quizzes. They keep me in line. They demand that I stop and take a deep long look at my skill set as a mommy. Filled with questions that ask me how I am treating my children as a whole and individually. I answer the questions with complete honesty. Thinking over my interactions with my minions. Analyzing the last six months of bed times, meals, arguments, hugs, games, books and struggles. Was I right? Was I wrong? They even ask if I think that I need improvement in my skills as a parent. Well, mommy do you????

A parenting pop-quiz.

Though just a simple email, just a series of questions, a click of a mouse and clatter of computer keys. Simple tasks that mean so much more within my mommy self. A parenting pop-quiz that makes me answer uncomfortable questions while confronting the struggles I face as a wife and woman who is a mother of three.  Why do I react to each twin differently? Why do I yell on bad days? How can I laugh more? Emphasize the good I am doing rather focusing on the bad I wish I would stop doing.

A parenting pop-quiz.

In fact, I like this questionnaire so much that I wish I received the same one in regards to my first born. Making me check-in with who I am as his mother. How I interact with my little man. How my mini-me is growing with me by his side. Though I am not receiving any formal questionnaire when it comes to my eldest, the one that hits my inbox every six months makes me create somewhat of an informal check-list and quiz within my mommy brain, taking in to account the words I’ve said and the actions I’ve taken when it comes to my little boy. My own version of a parenting pop-quiz.

A parenting pop-quiz. Holding me accountable for holding one of the most important titles in the world: Mommy. The brilliant minds behind the questionnaire never send me any results or data quantifying how great or bad of a mommy I am. They don’t need to. The questions they ask are enough. The reminder each six months gives me a reality check, gets me interested in the mom I am and the way my children are being cared for. I would say with each day my grade is different. Sometimes I am an A+ and other days I probably deserve a big fat F. Some days I’m a cool C+ being an average mommy, but other days I’m above average with a B+ or an A- after scoring big with no tears, easy school drop-offs, crafts executed with Pinterest quality and five star home cooked meals.

A parenting pop-quiz.

Have you taken your parenting pop-quiz this month??? What grade would you give yourself? How would you improve your scores?

 

Mirror Mirror On the Wall.

broken-mirror

One of the people I love the most heard a terrible secret. What made the matter even worse was the secret came from my own mouth.

I made the mistake of uttering the words that are a deep and dark secret within. A single sentenced leaked from my lips that make up the paragraphs that I utter to myself throughout the course of every day.

I spoke the words to my husband, forgetting my eldest was in ear shot, not out of neglect but out of feeling bogged down under the feelings of the adjectives I spoke ….

“I just feel gross and ugly.”

Hearing me, my oldest son responded, “No you’re not! You’re the most beautiful person!!”

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

I made the error in thinking that once I made peace with my weight that somehow I would be fixed. I was wrong. What I hadn’t known was the extreme focus I put on weight and what I ate would transfer to focusing on the faults of my appearance. A deadly obsession that seems to latch on like a life-sucking leech to a new life-source each month. Who knew that skin, eye brows, a nose, facial shape, eye shape and all the rest could be the source of much dismay???

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

To be in such distraught while looking in the mirror makes mornings sort of daunting. Being envious of the way others appear make getting ready for a public outing somewhat sad. Far from shallow, I believe everyone else to be attractive, pretty or beautiful as I stand alone in a category of misfit or outcast. I can only describe it as feeling like a handmade rag-doll that though made with hands of love, her physical characteristics are mismatched and awkward.

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

I want to be able to see what my son sees. I want to be at peace with who I am and what I see, but I know I am not alone. In fact, studies have shown that the majority of American women don’t like what they see in the mirror, all of us struggling each day with feelings of shame and inadequacy about our physical selves. Just the other day I read that 91% of women would not use the word beautiful to describe themselves.

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

Self-esteem at the reins of my body image.  A pesky little monster making me feel inadequate among the outside world, bullying my internal world with snide remarks and negative commentary on how I look. My body image a complete mess, broken and cracked. But smashed beyond repair? At present, more than a decade of self negative talk, it feels like that I’ll always be that awkward rag-doll made of bits and pieces that don’t seem to fit so well together while everyone else is a shiny new Barbie or Ken doll.

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

The answer to my problems seem to lie in my internal “mirror”. I just need to fix it, to make it a mirror of love and acceptance. I need a hugging mirror. I need to embrace who I am at the present and not for an image of perfection that I seem to be striving for each day, one body part at a time. I think my children are the most beautiful creatures on earth, each one made up of pieces of myself and the love of my life.   It’s so easy to love their parts, then why can’t I love my own?

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

I find that my thoughts drift back to the idea of embracing. Embrace > The word I keep fixating 2016 to.  Embracing my body and all it’s parts, not as something that needs to be changed but as a unique and beautiful creation that allows me to relish and live in the experiences of my every day life. A vessel that I can physically love my children with, hold my husband with and enjoy laughter and long talks with close friends.

Embracing the inner mirror.

An obvious beginning of a longer process, one in which I come to accept my body and physical attributes as they are in this very moment. When one day I’ll be able to say “Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all? You are.

 

 

365.

Calendar

365 days. 24 hours in a day with a minimum of 12 hours in which we are awake. 365 times 12 equals 4380. Roughly 4400 opportunities in which I can embrace the now.

4400 moments to share and love, showing myself and the ones who mean the most to me that I’m present and living mindfully.

In order to become more mindful of the present and to take advantage of these 4400 embracing opportunities I’ve devised a list of ways in which I can make the most of my 12 hours in each of my 365 days. My list is made up of actions or thoughts that I can practice in order to live presently rather than taking advantage of the present. I hope that my list will encourage you all to devise your own for these 365 days of 2016.

Each time we get into the car rather than becoming frustrated take the time to kiss each of my children.

Each time my child becomes frustrated with a puzzle or math assignment or opening a door, I will take the opportunity to let them know how proud I am of them for trying.

When I have nothing else to give or say, what I can give is a ten second hug to my little ones.

Each time I do something for someone else I will remember to do something for myself as well … even if that is sitting down to a hot lunch in the middle of a busy day.

Each time I have the extra time to give each child a separate bath I will, washing their hair slowly and rubbing their back gingerly rather than rushing a long to just get them clean.

Each time my children sing, I will comment on what beautiful voices they have rather than saying something like “Can you do that in the other room?”

Each time my husband asks for a kiss I’ll give him one.

Each time I leave the house I will tell my husband I love him.

Each time my husband enters the house I will give him a hug hello.

Each time I find myself getting angry I will ask first if it’s my perception and my doing or if it is the fault actual person or thing.

Each time I’m feeling blue I will remind myself that displacing the anger or hurt on someone I love isn’t going to solve anything.

Each time my children run through the house laughing and chasing one another out of fun and not anger, I will bite my tongue and enjoy their innocent laughter.

Each time my children ask to wear a favorite shirt for the fourth day in a row I will let them … as long as it is clean.

I will smile and say hello to at least one stranger a day.

I will be sure to always say thank you and ask how a person’s day is who is working to bring me customer service.

I will take more pictures and actually print them out of moments that I really don’t want to forget.

Each time my children ask to be carried to bed I will embrace them, hold them close and make the steps to their room.

Each time my children ask me to read a book or play a game I will let the dirty dishes and To – Do Lists go.

Each time I think of a friend or family member I will reach out to them.

Each time I think of calling my mom I will pick up the phone and dial … and not wait until nap time.

Each time I think of my husband I will take advantage of technology and send him a text.

If I am having a bad moment I won’t let it turn into a bad day. I always will take the opportunity to reroute where that moment is leading me.

Each time I think of taking a nap I will at least close my eyes and count to ten.

Each time I remember something from my childhood with my Dad I will call him to share the memory.

Each time one of my children sits next to me  I will scoot closer and hold their hand.

Each time they pull a stool up to investigate what I am doing I will share with them the steps rather then shooing them a way.

Each time my kids shed a tear I will do my best to make them smile.

Each time I find myself not mindfully in the present, I will take a moment to think of all the wonderful things, activities and people I cherish, I will reach out and touch that person or thing and dive deeper into my abilities.

 

 

 

Throw a Hug Rather Than a Punch.

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Rather than fighting the forces of nature, why not embrace the season of life we are all in. Why not give a great big bear hug to the now we are in rather than throw a punch with what we think we should be doing . How about caressing the present instead of coming at it with blows.

I will admit my guilt when it comes to questioning the present rather than just accepting it with open arms. I’m guilty of wishing for 7 pm to come faster, for the weekend to arrive sooner, for quiet instead of loud, for sleep instead of chaos. Wishes that are only fighting the now.

I question if the way we spend our days is “enough” that if we are using our time wisely, that maybe I should have the kids in more activities or if I should be dedicating my time to even more causes and people.

I wonder if I let the kids sleep too much.

I wonder if I should have them in the “real world” more often.

I wonder if I am boring with a ten o’clock bedtime.

I wonder if I should dress sexier or drink more until I become sexier.

I wonder if my husband and I are spending too much time on the couch.

I wonder if I should be enrolling my kids in some sort of program to create geniuses rather than letting them run through the house like screaming maniacs as they pretend to be holding some sort of makeshift light saber?

I wonder if my husband and I should be having more sex.

I wonder if my kids are getting enough exercise during the winter months.

I wonder if my kids brush their teeth efficiently or if they’ll become toothless at ten.

I literally lose hours of sleep each week with the number of different “wonderings” that fly through my mind as I lay in bed.

Living in a decade of long days but short years. When feet grow quickly and hearts grow strong. An era when innocence becomes something you want to hold onto. A time in which we should really be throwing a hug instead of a punch at the life we are dealt.

Throw a hug rather than a punch. After all, my days are made up of last times. I’m not saying that today will be the last time  for everything but eventually these times and daily happenings will be a thing of the past, things that I will crave as my babies grow taller and older, and as I grow, hopefully wiser and finer.

Throw a hug rather than a punch at the daily last times.

The last time my babies will be in cribs, I cringe at the idea of what my mornings will be like when all three have the run of the house.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

The last time my kids will nap, I can only imagine what “adventures” will be had when there isn’t that short window of calm.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

The last time when my little ones will have butts little enough to fit in my lap.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

The last time when they let me choose the books to read while finding my narration fascinating.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

The last time my husband and I will sit on the couch with all three little ones asleep, in 10 to 15 years we’ll either be sharing the television with teenagers or worried about where they are and what they are doing.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

The last time my little girl won’t care if her hair is brushed or if her tights match her shirt.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

The last time that hugging mom really tight and screaming her name when she picks you up from school is cool. (The day that my children no longer do this I may fall into a deep depression as I fall down the ladder of  cool people in their lives).

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

It’s okay to be who we are. It’s okay to do what we do. It’s okay to embrace our lives as they are, to love it and live it instead of planning it or molding it to what we think it should be like. It’s okay to be self-centered bitches thinking our lives and our time are important. It’s okay to make our own schedules, goals and memories. It’s okay to not follow the rules while making our own. It’s okay to throw a hug instead of a punch.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

Every mundane, loud, quiet, scary, funny, sad and loving moment takes place as a piece of a divine puzzle planned for each of us. In the end, no matter how much we choose to fight it, no matter how many punches or blows we throw, it’s all going to have the same ending. The difference lies in the path to that destination, will we come out bloody, black and blue from all our resistance or will we come out wiser and finer from all that hugging and embracing.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

Self Centered…

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With the new year ringing in I sat down with my better half to review the goals we had made just a year before.  We had separated the goals into categories of couple, family, Erik and Brooke. Reading over the words that streamed across the lined paper torn from a notebook, we began our year in review.

Tackling the goals under the family category we were able to place a nice and neat check mark next to each goal oriented task. Moving on to the “couple list” we were about 50% successful when it came to achieving the goals we had placed on our list. As we moved on to the objectives listed under each of our names it wasn’t even close to 50%. Though 2015 was incredibly successful to the outside world, what we had hoped for when it came to our individual achievements, it all had fallen sort of short. The first half of 2015 was full of a focus on our health and relationships, self and family. I could go on and on about the things we accomplished and experienced in the first half of 2015 that were more centered on self and family. However as the seasons changed so did our focus and responsibilities.  Looking at the lists and talking about the 365 days we had just lived out, 2015 had started exactly where and how we wanted. However, midway through the year the goals we had intended somehow had been forgotten as we became responsible for other things, other people and other responsibilities not to mention taking on bigger adventures and milestones.

Browsing homes turned into buying a home. Preparing for school turned into all three kids attending school.  A conversation grew into a new position at a new company. A vision of starting a MOPS ministry turned into building and coordinating the living breathing group. Jokes about a puppy gave birth to a new furry and energetic family member. Thoughts of volunteering turned into dedicated time to others. Lazy Saturday mornings turned into scheduled mornings of hockey, dance and karate. Savings went into new patios, house furnishings, paint and other fixer upper needs and wants.

Before we knew it the holidays came and went, with 2015 coming to a close. The birth of 2016 rushed in, right in our faces screaming like a newborn infant.  Just like giving birth to a new baby, I was literally exhausted in the first weeks of the new year. Rather than crawl into bed to hide from the cold and the planning of a new year, I rummaged through notes, calendars, old blog posts and old goals. I came up with a top-secret plan for 2016 that my family, my husband and myself could all benefit from and all enjoy in the process. Last year was the year of simplicity while this year would be “Self Centered Bitch Year”.

My hope for 2016 is to end it with check marks next to every single individual and couple goal. I want us to focus on ourselves this year. I want us to be self-centered bitches, demanding that we need time to grow and rest, doing what we want to because our hearts tell us so. I don’t want to worry if we are doing enough for others or if we are making everyone else happy or living up to the standards that Facebook subconsciously nails into our heads each day.

Being with my family makes me so incredibly happy.  Spending alone time, whether at a fancy restaurant or on the couch watching “Making a Murder,” with my husband makes my soul feel complete. Writing, reading and wandering though my mind in solitude without another soul in the vicinity puts me in balance providing enough motivation to rule the world. Why deny myself and my family of these precious moments, this happiness and passion? I cannot think of a single reason why, but I can think of five reasons why I shouldn’t … Brooke, Erik, Braxton, Travis, Hailey.

 

 

 

 

A Back Burner Babe.

Back Burner

“Look at her, she is one smoking hot Back Burner Babe.”

I’m pretty sure no one has said, “Wow she looked really sexy with her unwashed hair, no makeup and a worn-out cotton from head to toe fashion statement.” If they did, they would be talking about me.

A Back Burner Babe.

My ability to put myself on the back burner with such ease has lead me to the brink of a burnout look. I would describe my look as Back Burner Babe or Triple B. The Triple B is one that finds other tasks to fill the time rather than taking a shower, blowing out her hair or applying makeup. The Back Burner Babe can be found wearing an assortment of attire that is usually made of cotton and holds a level higher when it comes to comfort.  As an example of a back burner babe my hair is often in a pony tail or tucked under hat to hide the fact that I didn’t wash it today or didn’t feel like putting the time into “doing it.”

A Back Burner Babe.

Somewhere in the last year I’ve managed to slowly allow myself to wander closely to the edge of looking like I was just mugged in some dark alley. It’s become even easier to sport the look since joining a gym, now my fitness classes run into school pick-ups and drop-offs which lead into lunch or dinner which lead into errands and evening routines of baths, homework and stories which leads me right into bed with the same ponytail and plain face (minus  the yoga pants) that I rolled out bed with.  I’m ashamed to admit it since I have spent numerous seasons of Biggest Loser passing judgment on those that recited the cause of their situation as “I lost myself” or “It was easy to put the needs of my family before mine, and I never had the time.” I never understood and assumed it was just an excuse. But at the present day, I DO understand and have become an example of this too real excuse. It’s not an excuse these women had become Back Burner Babes too.

A Back Burner Babe.

I’ve tried my best in recent weeks to eliminate the excuse and make an effort to blow out my hair and apply more than just mascara. But when I do it’s such a foreign thing to my children that they bombard the bathroom as if it were some sort of amusement park. Scrambling to grab brushes off the counter while sticking their germy little fingers into pots of eyeliner and spreading lipstick across their tiny lips. The deed of applying makeup that I once enjoyed has become a form of torture and stress. Going without the stuff becomes a source of peace that now has turned into a shame.

Back Burner Babe.

I question if I am the only one who is doing this. What is the secret of these other put together mothers? How do they do it and what do they do with their children? Am I just in this era of struggle with priorities and sacrifice, where my children have become more important to myself rather than my self? I envy my friends that are able to put together outfits that looks as if they stepped from the pages of j.crew or leaves their home with a mane full and soft as if they just left the salon.   Surrounded by these beauties is me … the Back Burner Babe. Woe is me.

As we enter into a time of conjuring up lists of resolutions for the new year, one is at the top of my list … figure out a way to jump from that pot of forgotten muck on the back burner into the frying pan on the front burner that is smokin’ hot.

Yours Truly,

The Back Burner Babe

Women: Frantic Hamsters

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Frantic hamsters.

As I talk to more women it seems that we all begin to follow this path of check marks and lists. A list for yourself, a list for your marriage, a list for your children, a list for your life. It doesn’t matter if a woman is a mother, married, employed, young or old even our hobbies have rules and expectations set by not only our culture but ourselves. Consistently striving to reach a level of perfection that once achieved will only morph into another level to reach. A snowball effect that ultimately means perfection will never be achieved, leaving us women to run like frantic caffeinated hamsters on hot pink wheels in a plastic cage of life that we’ll never escape.

Frantic hamsters.

To further push this idea of perfection into the spotlight, like a carrot held out of reach of a ravenous rabbit, is the guilt that forces it’s self onto women day and night. A crazed little monkey holding tightly to your neck riding your back until you feel as if you can no longer breathe.

Frantic hamsters.

When I was in college I never worried, I let everything just happen.  I never worried about money or clothing or my weight. I never worried about what my house looked like when we had a party or meal planned for a week in advance. I didn’t think about failing and only thought about succeeding. I never lost sleep over things that were out of my control, I just let life happen. I wore what I wanted to and said what came to my mind. I made friendships that meant something and made no effort to small talk with people I didn’t care for. I let life happen. Now all I do is plan. Filling days with check marks and lists. I don’t let anything just happen.

Frantic hamsters.

Never saying “self-look what you HAVE done today!” rather than “what more COULD have you done?” Then the creation of the To-Do List for the following day begins. Knowing but not embracing that there is only REAL time in this moment now, the past is no more and the future isn’t even here.  Instead of flourishing in  It doesn’t matter if a woman is a mother, married, this exact moment we start preparing for what is to come and step over what is exactly here now. Failing to let it all just happen now.

Frantic hamsters.

What if women (and men) were to just let life happen? Would it be so bad? Reflecting on those days of no worry with life just happening, I recall only happiness and a sense of comfortable content. I think that’s why I love having infants because during that first year of baby everything is so unpredictable that there isn’t a need for check marks and lists, there’s only living (or if you have twins,surviving). All you worry about is holding this little amazing bundle of love that you created and life just happens. That frantic hamster doesn’t exist, that pink wheel is donated to Goodwill and life is good.

Frantic hamsters.

I don’t want to be a frantic hamster anymore, but I also don’t want to have another baby in order to donate my hot pink wheel of anxiety. I do want to start letting life just happen. I want to embrace the only REAL time we have. I want  to flourish in this exact moment because we aren’t guaranteed the next. I’m challenging my control freak self to let life just happen. In turn I challenge all of you to do the same.

Frantic hamsters unite.

Put away the hot pink wheels in the form of To-Do Lists, Pinterest boards, recipes and pedometers. Stop planning the next moment and live in the present. It’s amazing the amount of stress and anxiety that melts away and doesn’t actually exist when the layers are peeled away. Take inspiration from the leaves of autumn. Let the expectations and rules go, turning from vibrant colors in our lives to dark brittle dust that’s whisked away by the brisk winds of a new season of life, a season of happening, not planning.

It’s time for The Funny in Mommy to take a break …

When the school year ended and our calendar began to fill up I had a hunch that summer might be a little busy, a little crazy and a little fun. It turns out that I was more than right.  Not only has our family calendar filled up but also our list of obligations which in turn causes me to take full advantage of free time to play with and love on my babies or lay in bed with my husband. Even though with the days full of sun and longer hours, there doesn’t seem to be enough time for everything. so what’s a mommy to do? Simple, take a break.

It’s time to a take a break from writing.

I’ll be taking a break to focus on the really good stuff behind being a woman, mommy and wife. Rather than spreading myself too thin and writing some really crappy stuff, I thought it better to take a break and start backup when I can really put my heart and soul into the words that I fill a page with.

It’s time to a take a break from writing.

We have some really big deal events happening in the Halperin household in the next two months, not to mention a 7 year wedding anniversary and a 32nd birthday. We got a whole lot of good and dirty exciting family life stuff going down in just the next 30 days. I started to write in order to stay sane through the good and the bad of being a woman, wife and mother. I’ll still be writing but just not sharing. I’ll be hoarding the writing and jargon scribbled on napkins, flyers, Dunkin Donut bags and all the other random pieces of daily life I find myself writing on and about but I’ll be taking a break from sharing … at least for a little while.

It’s time to take a break from writing.

I’ll be back this fall with a new focus, getting fit. Getting fit not only physically but mentally, emotionally and financially. Getting “clean and organic” in my diet and even in my most meaningful relationships like my marriage, my kiddos and my friendships. While I’ll be filling our days with love and memories this summer, I’ll also be filing away information, articles and tips. Recipes, research and real life experiences will fill the feed of The Funny in Mommy when September blooms and the leaves begin to change.

It’s time to take a break from writing.

It’s time to a take a break from writing to go underground in the trenches of motherhood, marriage and womanhood. I got a whole lot of goodness and change going on in the next sunny and sweaty months. So much that I gotta stop and enjoy the here and now … today, this moment. #ethanproject

It’s time to take a break from writing.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and I’ll be seeing you this fall!

Much Love ~ The Funny in Mommy

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Living with Flavor.

To be honest, I am at a point where I’m not a fan of cooking. Though an avid Food Network watcher and fan, my days of slaving all day chopping, boiling and scooping have been cataloged away somewhere with fancy black and red lingerie in an unforgotten drawer.

I spend so much of my time trying to figure out how to introduce new flavors and foods to my kiddos on a regular basis this challenge seemed almost like my own personal hell invading my dream world of writing. I’ve spent days thinking about what to write along with putting it off as well. So why do it? Why do the challenge? Guess what? I didn’t do it.

I didn’t exactly do it per se. I didn’t literally introducing my kids to the taste of a new food but a taste of something different. A taste of life with no rules or schedules to be kept. The control freak let go and followed a different recipe for daily life achieving a different flavor … for at least 24 hours.

I let them feed Cheerios to fish (even though the sign may or may not have warned against that).

We looked at overpriced homes with breakables.

We ran through fountains in our clothes.

I didn’t check my Fitbit.

We ate on the dirt and grass.

I volunteered to bring baked goods to VBS on Wednesday … let’s just say they aren’t organic or made from scratch.

I let them stay up past bed time watching television in bed.

I let my oldest have a sleepover in my bed as we watched BattleBots.

Sometimes you just gotta sa.

I may have not followed the rules exactly but I nailed it on enjoying the here and now AND THAT is what the #ETHANproject is all about.

What’s your flavor??

Week 3 Challenge Grapic

Beautiful View, all about the (5-year-old) eye of the beholder.

As a mommy I am usually walking around with busy life blinders on, which sometimes causes me to miss the beauty in daily life. this fact is exactly why I planned on taking full advantage of the  Enjoy the View Challenge. I was being dared to find the most beautiful view in driving distance and share it with my clan of  little people. Easy right?

I identified my view of beauty. Then I told my kiddos we were going for an adventure. This is where my plan of beautiful viewing went to shit. It’s literally rained every day since I told them about this adventure. It’s rained so much we had to cancel our family pictures. It’s rained so much that I now know where all our unknown umbrellas are. It’s rained so much that my son actually wore a rain coat to camp today. It’s rained so much that we have actually had flood warnings. At one point we made it out of the house in effort to get to our beautiful destination but the second we walked out of the house, clouds rolled over and it began to sprinkle. I was ticked and  my clan members were ready to overthrow their leader and my broken promises of adventure.

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Back into the house we went where I let me kids play with sandbox toys and white rice. Thanks Pinterest. As I watched my minions squeal as white grains floated through the air like snowflakes, I started to really analyze my answer to this challenge, and what I came to realize is that I had answered the dare WRONG. It  was never the actual place that I found beautiful, it was the people who were there that had made it so beautiful. Because when it comes down to it, the most beautiful view for me is one in which all my children are smiling and laughing before me. What did it matter if there were blue skies or brilliant flowers or lush green grass?? There could be gray skies, mosquitos and mud, but as long as I was able to watch my children play and smile in all their innocence I would be sharing in the most beautiful view to me. Looks like I needed some rain and clouds to show me the answer to this challenge that was in front of me the whole entire time … my children. My children are the most beautiful view in the whole entire world, no matter the backdrop.

As I think about what beautiful really means I wonder if the definition I have as a 31-year-old adult would play to my little ones.  I think back to my childhood and the most beautiful view for me was pulling into my grandparent’s driveway and seeing their home.  It was so beautiful because of all the life experiences that unfolded there for me but also I always knew how much love and joy I would be experiencing once inside no matter the day of the year or type of visit it was.  So I decided to find out what beautiful really meant to my kids (well at least the one that is able to verbalize at the present moment, my five-year-old Braxton).

What does beautiful mean? Love.

What’s the most beautiful thing about your brother? His belly button. Your sister? Her head. Daddy? His smile.  Mommy? Your smile. Yourself? My brain.

The prettiest place you have ever seen? McDonald’s.

Most beautiful person you have ever seen? My best friend Vincent.

What is my most beautiful outfit? Your (Chicago) Bears football shirt. (Mind you this shirt belonged to my dad in 1986 and literally has holes in it to the point that it is almost see through).

What is the most beautiful animal? Polar bear.

What season is the most beautiful? Winter!!! Because it’s snowing out and I always want it to snow!

Do you feel beautiful? YES! How beautiful? Really beautiful. 

*According to my interview, I think I hit this challenge out of the park. #ETHANproject

Be sure to check in at the #ETHANproject Facebook Group and see what the other bloggers are doing.  Once you are there feel free to share your experience when diving into THE VIEW challenge, I dare you!

Challenge 2 Graphic VIEW