For the Love of Wildflowers by Sabrina

When I was pregnant with you Georgia Grace, I fell madly in love with wildflowers. I even wanted it to be your middle name, but the nickname GG seemed much better than GW.

It was August and I was hot and very pregnant, I would walk around the neighborhood and pick blackberries. Everything slowed down in that time, I noticed more beauty in the world. It was like my own little bubble, just you in my belly, the beautiful foxgloves and poppies and the birds chirping around. My memory of all this has a lens of rose colored glasses. Like I was a disney princess, skipping along with the bunnies, with flowers blooming and bowing as I dance by…But it was magical, and the sight of a cluster of daisies or sweet peas on the side of the road gave me such immense pleasure, it still does. I am the crazy lady pulled over on the highway picking a bouquet of weeds.

I think if I hadn’t been chosen to be your mother, I never would have found my way. I have always felt like Alice, lost in Wonderland. I was looking for all the things that everyone else had; a family, a house, a perfectly crafted life and home that I had cultivated. It turns out I was a little too messy, a little too wild for “all that” to work out. It hasn’t been easy to find my way back to the wildflowers, but my daughter, you let something bloom inside me and I will always be drawn to it now. You showed your mamma herself. The summer I fell in love with wildflowers was the summer you were born. You were so wide awake, and so alive already. Nothing will ever stop you from being you baby. You came into this world knowing…

About Mothering A Wild Daughter

It is a hard thing to stay wild in this world. It’s a hard thing to raise your daughter and not dim her light. I catch myself all the time, telling her to be quieter, nicer, and more agreeable. Of course I can’t let her run around acting like a brat, screaming and demanding without so much as a please or thank you. It’s not that, it’s all the rest. It’s hard enough to un train yourself and stand in your own wildness everyday, but to take on a whole person and not fuck it up. It is incredibly daunting and HARD. I’m not going to sugar coat it, it’s HARD. I don’t want to bury the most beautiful thing about my daughter and mold and change and critique everything she does until that wide-eyed knowing has disappeared and it’s all my fault. I have to stop thinking that way. I have to trust that I know and I’m not perfect, I’m messy and that’s okay. 

I just have to slow down and go back to that summer. It’s just me and GG and the wildflowers. They whisper all the things I already know, they remind me.

For The Love of Wildflowers will be my compass, my house, my family, and my truth. Whatever I need is held in their petals, safe and waiting for me to come looking.

Cheers, Mom. By Nicole

Here’s to the one woman that keeps me strong. The one I call when I have the happiest of news to share, and the one I call when my day can’t get any worse. The one who’s voice can comfort me in any situation, from 1000 miles away, just by saying hello through the line. 

Cheers, mom to you, for showing me unconditional love. For asking me, did you pray about it? For instilling in me the importance of loving everyone, for who they are. Thank you for knowing me, listening to me, checking in on me and thinking of me. 

For 34 years, we’ve shared highs and lows, we’ve shared hobbies and we’ve enjoyed the differences we each have. Cheers to you mom, for inspiring me to stay true to myself. For teaching me values that I now share with my daughter. 

It wasn’t until I became a mother that my appreciation for you became so much more. Understanding the love that you hold for me, fully. Knowing the heart wrenching pain some of my decisions brought to you, as I grew as a person. The sleepless nights, with thoughts of motherhood swirling my mind – bringing me to you and how you handled the same concerns as a mother. 

I feel closer to you than ever, with the connection of motherhood bringing us together in ways I never knew would happen. I am confident as a mother and know that whatever trials I find myself in with my daughter, I can turn to you. 

Cheers, mom. For making a difference, for being the best mom you know how to be, and exactly the mom that I need. 

How to Halloween Like a Girl by Missy

Recently I’ve seen several articles and memes about the inappropriate nature of little girls’ Halloween costumes.  The focus is on the fact that young girls’ costumes are often the “sexy” version of boys’ costumes.  While on the one hand it genuinely bothers me that some big faceless corporation would make such a thing, on the other hand I have to ask, how do you “Halloween like a girl” without being inappropriate? 

I am thankful that my little ladies, currently aged 9 and 6, have not asked to dress up as something sexy.  Over the years, they’ve dressed up as princesses and cheerleaders, but they’ve also dressed as fearless superheroes (Batgirl and Wonder Woman), bad-ass rebellion leaders (Princess Leia and Rey), and the cleverest witches of their age (Hermione and Ginny).  In fact, our whole family got in on the act of the superhero-themed year.  I dressed up as Wonder Woman, as well, and my husband was our “Daniel in Distress” (yeah, his name is actually Dan).  He bought an old suit at Goodwill, tore it up, drove over it with the car, and added fake blood.  The three of us girls were saving him. 

My husband and I want our kids to dress like kids.  We want to keep them young as long as possible.  We don’t want to hurry them to their teenage years.  And we definitely don’t want to rush them through such a fun and innocent time in their lives.  We’ve been fortunate that Halloween-ing like a girl at our house has focused on being awesome, not sexy.  So again, I ask, how do you Halloween like a girl and keep it appropriate? 

As parents, we need to dress our kids like kids, not mini adults.  Particularly girls!  They don’t need low-cut tops or bare midriffs or short skirts.  Your little one will be an amazing police officer or astronaut or witch, particularly if she is fully-clothed.  Plus, considering that Halloween is at the end of October, when it’s typically cold and often rainy, being fully-clothed is probably better. 

We also need to encourage our kids’ imaginations.  Why settle on a cheaply-made, potentially inappropriate store-bought costume, when your daughter could be a tennis player from Saturn or a unicorn herder or one of the seven dwarfs!  Make it happen!  And just because a costume’s package has a boy on the cover, don’t let your daughter think the clothes inside are just for boys.  Remind her that in real life a firefighter’s uniform is the same, whether it is being worn by a man or a woman.

Thankfully, I didn’t see any little girls this Halloween or last year wearing child-sized “sexy cop” or “sexy soldier” costumes.  While I would love to say maybe it’s all been made up by those anonymous meme creators, I know that’s not quite right.  The issue does stem from a place of truth, and as parents, we need to fight against it.  We need to teach our daughters (and sons) that “Halloween-ing like a girl” involves dressing up as someone we admire or something we aspire to be, something funny or clever.  Sexiness has nothing to do with it.

How to Have Halloweek In Your Home by Carly

Birthdays and holidays in our home are a big deal. And I feel like the word big is probably underselling it a little. My kids were born with a mother who strongly believes that celebrating anything should be done in grand, unforgettable ways. Their mother is also slightly obsessed with Halloween. Has been forever. I love the colors and crisp mornings. I love visiting farms and sipping cider. I can’t ever have enough pumpkins, gourds (of all kinds) or cornstalks. Luckily, I married someone who fully embraces this obsession and brings down the 783 bins from the attic full of decorations each fall (thank you love!).

I can’t even tell you where the idea from Halloweek came from. My own mom used to say the Happy Pumpkin (similar to Santa) visited and left little presents randomly on days leading up to Halloween. I remember my parents making it special for us kids more than one day each year. Most likely the idea of Halloweek was an excuse to officially extend my favorite holiday from one night into seven. We started it a year or two after Liam was born and it’s been a hit every year. Halloweek is all about being intentional with our family time. It’s about having fun together. Below are steps for you to try Halloweek with your family:

  1. Come up with a plan. I sit down with a notepad a few weeks before and draw out the week of Halloween. I think of things we already have going on in our schedule (i.e. swim lessons, preschool carnivals, etc.) and write those in first. I also make a note of really long days and make sure for that evening we do something simple. The days that are left blank, I either reach out to friends to see if they would like to meet up somewhere fun for a playdate (like NW Trek) or I hit up Pinterest for something fun to do at home.
    Here are some of the search words I like to use: halloween craft ideas for kids, halloween science experiments for kids, halloween cooking for kids). I make sure every year that there is a least one night devoted to: Science, Cooking and Art. When I find something I like, I write it down for that day. Get others involved to help with the planning. One night might be devoted to spooky games but my husband may plan the games we actually do.

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  2. Shop. Use your planned week to create a list of needs.Try to find items you have at home first. Do I always have 19 cans of corn starch in the cupboard? Yep. Great, science night is taken care of and I’m decluttering one (of many) full cabinets. Win, win. For the items you don’t have, get them and have them ready for that night.
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  3. Display your Halloweek adventures. I love to make a countdown and hang it where each day a kid can pull off that day and we can read together what the activity is for that night. I will buy gift tags, write the day number on one side and the activity on the other. Then I hang them somewhere visible to everyone. You could do this on a chalkboard or bulletin board. Anywhere really. This gets everyone in the family excited about Halloweek but also serves a reminder of what each day’s plan is. Because extra reminders are always appreciated.Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 6.50.11 AM.png
  4. Enjoy & have fun! This is the MOST IMPORTANT PIECE to Halloweek – keep it all simple!! I can’t stress that enough. It does not have to be insanely elaborate to make it fun. For example, I like to have one night of making fun Halloween inspired food. Because one, it gets the kids involved in the kitchen and two, they are more inclined to try new foods because its in the shape of a pumpkin. Another win, win. On a night of festive culinary fun, maybe we make a pizza that has olive spiders on it and call it good. Don’t feel you have to go overboard to make it a night of fun.
    The idea of stretching out your favorite celebration is not limited to just Halloween either. With our very busy days, really the goal was to make sure we enjoyed more time together doing something that we loved, with the people that we love. Happy planning your family’s fun!Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 7.50.49 AM

Sprinkle In Some Magic by Carly

Some days, I feel like I am telling my kids ‘no’ at least 2,378 times.

“No, don’t run with that!”

“No, we can’t make that right now.”

“No, we can’t do that today.”

It’s usually followed up with 80 questions of why nots or whining. I see their little defeated faces after hearing me so “no” over and over again. Then the guilt sets in.

One day of a particularly large amounts of no’s, I had my sons in the car driving to some annoying errand. My mind was set on accomplishing some silly task when we passed a 7-11. My oldest noticed the logo instantly and excitedly asked if we could stop and get slurpees. He followed up his request with noting that it was a very hot day and the icy drink would be refreshing for all of us (He was appealing to my usual comments about how summers are synonymous with slurpees. We would not be surprised one bit if law school was in his future). His little brother perked up in his seat at the thought, cheering for a blue raspberry slurpee.

I instantly said “no, not today, we have 400 things on our to-do list and slurpees are not one of them,” In the review mirror, I watched his face fall and it dawned on me. “Why am I saying no to this? It would take maybe 10 mins out of our day and it would make them so happy. And he’s right, it’s 93° outside, a slurpee sounds amazing!”

I went to express my change-of-heart but then paused. A fun idea popped in my head. Our boys like to pretend they are driving (as a lot of kids do) from the backseats, using whatever they can find as a steering wheel and make car noises. At that moment, my second born was doing just that. I pretended to panic slightly and loudly asked, “Oliver are you driving the car?!? I can’t steer! What is happening?”

His eyes got big at the thought and said “YES, mama I is!!”. My oldest looked confused but then caught on quickly and instructed his brother to turn the car into the 7-11 parking lot. The car veered in that direction as they both squealed wildly at the thought of being in control of the car. I was still pretending like something was wrong with the car as we pulled into the parking lot and the boys couldn’t stop cheering and laughing.

As you may have guessed, we did indeed slurp down those sugary, delicious drinks that day. It cost me a few minutes, six bucks and it was completely worth the smiles and excitement.

In a world full of rules and ‘don’t do that’s’, it was fun for a moment to not just say yes but to have them believe they were saying yes. They were the reason that we got a nice break and a treat that day. I also learned to chill more about running errands with them. Saying yes more often is better for everyone.

We never did get the car fixed. Every now and again it acts up and, somehow, some way, Oliver can control the wheel. He takes us to parks, Chuck E. Cheese, the museum and the other day we even had ice cream for lunch. He doesn’t know it was really to celebrate having a great first week in his new preschool class. All he knows is he saw a sign and drove towards it.

Mamas, sprinkle in some magic for them. Say yes more and remember they only have one childhood. Let them drive sometimes.