Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Thoughts on Letting Go and Being Happy

I think spring is finally here.  I live in Michigan, so although the weather is nice (for now), I do not count on the weather to coordinate with the calendar seasons.

For me, this year spring has been marked by the Listen to Your Mother countdown.  I also set aside a spring deadline for rebranding my blog.  So now that I have my new blog look (which I LOVE and will talk more about in another post) and Listen to Your Mother is right around the corner, I officially declare spring has arrived.

I am not sure if it is the changing of the seasons, but I have been in retrospective mood. My life has been so different since I started blogging almost five years ago.

I am thankful for the opportunities to have my work published on other websites, to be teaching again, to be a part of a production that was once only a dream.

I am grateful for the people that I have made along the way. They have pushed me out of my comfort zone, offered me their friendship, and often saw something in myself that I didn’t quite believe was in me.

I had this notion that I should feel nothing but happy for all of the wonderfulness that has happened.   So I was totally confused by an unexpected twinge of sadness.  I am writing!  I am teaching!  I am in Listen to Your Mother!  Just be happy already!

After some deep contemplation over some Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy Ice Cream, I have come to the conclusion that when one breaks away from their pack (maybe it’s family, maybe it’s lifelong friends) and begins down a path of self-discovery, not everyone will understand this new leg of the journey.

Instead of being happy that you are finally living life according to your inner compass, some question and may even resent your choices. 

For someone who is easily influenced by the need to make others happy (especially at the cost of my own happiness), it has taken an enormous amount of energy to remain true to myself and focus on all of the positive things that have happened.

So I think that unexpected sadness comes from the sense of loss – a loss for the comfy things in my past that were not really that healthy for me anyway. 

I am glad that I am taking the time to get to know myself. I now have the courage and confidence to see certain things - people, personal dynamics, my own destructive behavior patters – for what they are and let go.

Letting go has allowed light to shine in and good things to happen.

Elizabeth Gilbert's quote about happiness Mommy on the Spot
Working hard on this.

I'm working on this, but I can't help feel a little nostalgic for the past.

Do you ever miss things from a certain time period of your life?  How do you handle it?  Do you mourn it?  Do you chase it?  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tackling Math: Bedtime Math 2

One of the many fascinating aspects of raising children is you get to relive your own childhood.

When Marie get all excited about discovering Judy Blume books or the Ramona series by Beverly Cleary, I am surprised by the rush of warm, fuzzy memories of reading those same books.  Some details I can recall so vividly, like the time Ramona’s dad made pancakes for dinner when Ramona’s mom forgot to plug in the crockpot and the beef stew was not cooked.  I became so connected to these characters it was as if these things happened in my own life.

When I see Thomas taking his lovey, Baby Jammies, everywhere with him, it reminds my how I used to be so attached to my soft, yellow blankie.  I was so attached that when I was in first grade, I used to hide it when my friends would come over so no one knew about it.

I also remember my horrible struggles as they encounter their own battles.  I remember in crystal clear detail how much I hated the collaborative learning centers in my second grade teacher’s class; they just did not mesh well with my emerging introvert personality.

I also remember sitting at the kitchen table with tears of frustration streaming down my face as I attempted my math homework. Story problems were the worst!  A scenario involving trains going at different speeds to get somewhere at the same time – blah, blah, blah.

I was more interested in who was on the train.  Where was it going?  Why?  What kind of food was on the train? 

No mystery why I became an English major.

I shut myself off to math and declared it useless.


Clearly I had yet to use money or try to cut a recipe in half or have the pleasure of visiting Ikea.

Math is everywhere!

I do not want my kids growing up with this convoluted attitude about math that I did, so imagine my excitement when I discovered that Laura Overdeck wrote a new book called Bedtime Math 2 –This Time It’s Personal.

Now that Thomas is five and almost in Kindergarten, I can even do Wee Level with him, which involves simple addition, and working with patterns.  He was a tad resistant at first, but the stories about underwear (one of his most favorite topics to discuss) and birthdays (he could talk about birthdays and cake forever) won him over.

Marie loves the stories in the book, and I feel so immensely excited that she is doing math in her head.  In her head!!

This newest edition not only has the three levels with each story problem as in the previous book (Wee Ones, Little Kids, Big Kids), but has some really engaging Bonus Questions as well.

I love that both kids can sit down and enjoy this book together even though they are at different levels.

Mommy on the Spot Bedtime Math 2

This gives me hope that they won’t struggle with doing math in their head to leave a tip or figuring out the sale price or wondering if that beautiful entertainment center will actually fit on the family room wall.

Do you struggle with math?  How do you help your kids feel excited about math?

**Disclaimer – I was given a copy of Bedtime Math 2 – This Time It’s Personal to review.  These options (and admission about my math deficiencies) are all my own.