Category Archives: motherhood

3 Ways to Stay Young

Every time when I look in the mirror
All these lines on my face getting clearer
The past is gone
It went by, like dusk to dawn

I rarely drink from a straw, in fear of creating lines around my pursed lips. Lines that lipstick can bleed through, even though I’m not much of a lipstick wearer. Lines that will betray my age. But if I’m afraid of straws, will that mean I have to stop whistling as well? I bought wrinkle cream for the lines radiating from my eyes. They say that age is just a number, and my number is approaching 50. Grey hairs are slowly appearing, drawing fine lines in my mousey blond hair. Should I hide them with color or wear them proudly?

I started writing this post back in February, when I was thinking about my birthday. When I turned 47, I was celebrating a special anniversary–20 years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Ed and I trained and raised money to be able to walk 39 miles in the Avon Walk to End Breast Cancer. I was so excited about participating in that walk with Ed that 47 didn’t feel that old to me. This year, I turned 48; only two years until I turn 50. Ugh! Usually numbers don’t bother me, but I’ll be honest; this year’s number bothered me! It doesn’t help that many of my friends, parents of my children’s friends, are lamenting their upcoming 40th birthday! When I turned 40, I had a 4 year old, and an 17 month old baby with an ear infection. I was way too tired to even care about turning 40! (How do I remember? I wrote it down on my blog!)

My kids are older now, and so am I! I’m actually much less tired than I was back then. Raising my kids has been so fun, and they keep me young, along with these three things.

3 Ways to Stay Young
1. Learn Something New

As a 40-something, I took downhill ski lessons, which I do not recommend. If you are going to learn how to ski, do it when you are young and stupid, therefore not afraid of heights or going fast or falling and breaking your leg. There is nothing better to keep you young than to scare yourself to death. On second thought, maybe ski lessons aged me instead of keeping me young! So I went in the opposite direction and learned how to knit in my 40’s, which is a very low key and non-risky activity. Now I am part of a knitting group with some nice retired women. That will be much better for my heart!

How does this keep me young? Seriously, though, I love learning new things, including downhill skiing. It really gave me a sense of accomplishment. Learning new things stimulates your brain and helps memory functions. I don’t know about you, but I need help with memory! Where did I put my car keys again?

2. Volunteer

Okay, so I probably volunteer too much. On Wednesday, I baked 22 potatoes for a Lenten dinner. They barely fit in my oven all at one time! Most of my volunteering is at my church and at both my daughters’ schools. Volunteering is a great way to get perspective on age! When I was teaching Sunday school, somehow the subject of Jesus’ second coming came up. I talked about how Jesus was going to come down to Earth and take us up to heaven to live with Him, and how happy we would be. Well, one fifth grade boy did not look so happy. “You mean we’re going to DIE?!?” he exclaimed. “I’m just a kid! I have things I want to do!” So I tried my best to console him and said I didn’t think the second coming was imminent, which was a little tricky as a Sunday school teacher.

Recently I also volunteered at a high school for a show choir competition. Lily was competing in her middle school choir (they sang the song at the beginning of this post), and I’ve never volunteered at the high school level before. It was fun to talk with parents who have older kids than I do; I was able to help out while they went and saw their older kids perform since Lily had already performed the night before.

How does this help keep me young? Volunteering gives you a different perspective, whether it’s caring for old or young people, feeding the hungry, or just volunteering with people different from you. Plus, you feel good after helping others! When my kids are older and I’m not needed at their schools, I hope to volunteer at a hospital or library.

3. Traveling to a new places

Oh, you know this is Ed’s favorite thing to do! Well, somehow he hooked me on traveling too. We had so much fun driving to Yellowstone National Park last summer and visiting a lot of different towns and states. I just booked a trip to Maine, a new state for me! I’m so excited about our summer plans!

How does this help keep me young? The anticipation and excitement of traveling to a new place keeps me feeling young!

What helps keep you young? Let me know in the comments!

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story; A Parent Review

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

“Wait, why aren’t there more yellow words?” Lily whispered to me as we sat in the theater on one of our days off from school. This Star Wars movie was starting differently than all the others; there wasn’t an explanation of the story’s setting scrolling up the screen as in past Star Wars movies. I had been hesitant to bring my daughters to this movie, since the reviews said it was more warlike than the previous movies. But let’s be honest; the other movies had plenty of lasers from blasters firing across the screen. I still can’t believe I let Lily and Emmy watch Revenge of the Sith, when Anakin Skywalker transforms into Darth Vader. There is definitely a lot of darkness in that movie. So in then end, I took them to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on our day off from school.

It was very interesting to this lifelong Star Wars fan to get my daughters’ perspective about Rogue One. WARNING: Some of our conversation includes SPOILERS!

The beginning of the story begins when Jyn Ers0 is a little girl. It is obvious from the beginning that her family has a secret. Barely ten minutes into the movie, Jyn becomes motherless. Her father is taken away by the bad guys and Jyn is left with a gruff caregiver. We don’t really know what happens to Jyn at this point, and the next time we see her is in prison. The movie bounced around from setting to setting in the beginning, and it made for a very confusing plot at first.

Lily really wanted to see more of a backstory on Jyn and wanted to know more about her as a little girl. Although this would have made the movie much too long, in a way I agree with Lily. Jyn’s childhood is a mystery, and if we knew more about her character, her actions as an adult would be even more heroic.

Emmy, on the other hand, wanted to see more of something entirely different! To Emmy, Star Wars means light sabers, and there was not enough “swordplay” for Emmy. The fact that all the Jedis were dead or in hiding at this point in the Star Wars saga didn’t convince her about the lack of lightsabers.

At the end of the movie, (this really is a spoiler!) the Death Star is destroying the base that the rebels have overtaken. Our two main characters are swept up in a fiery golden glow. When I was lamenting that they had died, Emmy said, “What? I thought that was love!” No, honey, that Death Star ruined any chance of love!

Some people have said they they liked this movie more than The Force Awakens. Personally, I really liked both movies, but each movie had a different vibe. Are you a Star Wars fan? What do you think?

 

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Leaf Season

Fall Leaves
2013

Every fall my girls love when Ed rakes up a big pile of leaves, and then they jump right in!

2015
2015

This year, they raked up their leaf pile by themselves, and they have been jumping in the leaves every chance they get!

2016
2016

There is a problem with leaf season, however. Leaf piles also somehow start forming inside the house as well as outside the house!

I’m not complaining. Pretty soon it will be snow season…and I’m not ready for that!

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What’s at the End of Lake Ave?

When I stepped outside this morning to get the newspaper from my driveway, I felt a cool lake breeze. I was suddenly taken by the desire to walk on the shoreline and to hear the waves. My plans for the day included finishing laundry and scrubbing out burnt on crud in my crock pot, but I decided to be spontaneous. What if…

We live right off of Lake Avenue, which goes directly to Lake Michigan. I’ve never driven all the way to the lake; when I have driven those eleven miles, I’ve turned south to go into the city. What if the girls and I drove all the way to the beach?

Lake Ave

If you know me, you know I can’t be THAT spontaneous. I began to look at online maps for free parking! I was hopeful that since it was a cool week day, there would be plenty of parking spaces available. The girls and I packed a couple of snacks and beach towels, but we weren’t planning on swimming. It was definitely too cool to swim in Lake Michigan. Plus, the swimming beach charges about $10 for non-residents of that lake-front suburb.

With a plan in mind, we hopped into the car and…had to stop for gas before our adventure could begin!

Back on Lake Avenue, we drove over the Des Plaines River and under I294. Lake Ave. also goes by Hackney’s, where I had one of my very first dates when I was 16 years old. We drove past Wagner Farm in the middle of Glenview, where I’ve taken preschool students on numerous field trips, and over the Chicago River.

I was worried that the free parking would be full and we’d have to punt, but there were plenty of spaces. As we found our way to the water, we discovered that there was no swimming allowed because of the rip tides. But that was okay. We only wanted to dip our feet in the water and dig our toes into the sand for a little while, and then we would be on our way back home.

feet in sand

We had discovered a little bit of heaven just 11 miles from our house. It only took me about 13 years to explore that beach, to tear myself away from the laundry and the dishes and the sameness of being a mom.

running in the water

When’s the last time you were spontaneous? Do you find it hard to be spontaneous like I do, or is it easier for you? Tell me in the comments below!

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Motherhood After Breast Cancer: Pregnancy

Tonight as we were chowing down on burgers and shakes at the Choo Choo (our favorite birthday restaurant), Lily asked me to tell the story about the day that she was born.

My due date was November 20th, although when I first had gotten pregnant, I calculated my due date to be Nov. 10th. When I woke up on Nov. 5 (I always say my due date was more accurate than the one my doctor gave me) I started to feel cramps. I called my mom, Ed at work, and my doctor’s office in that order. Since I already had a doctor’s appointment at 11:00, the nurse told me I could wait until then to come in. I had told Ed to come home from work so he could drive me to the doctor’s office. It was a beautiful fall morning, and Ed spent the time waiting to rake the leaves into the street for the leaf truck. I usually went to doctor’s appointments by myself, but this time, I didn’t go home after my appointment. The doctor told me I was going to have a baby that day!

I’ve always thought of both of my daughters as little miracles from God. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get pregnant and have children after undergoing chemotherapy and taking Tamoxifen at such a young age. Many young women are pushed into menopause or become infertile due to cancer treatments. Before Ed and I got married, we talked about the possibility of adoption if we weren’t able to have children.

So it was unbelievable to me when it took only about three or four months for me to become pregnant with both Lily and Emmy. I was also quite fortunate to have healthy and happy pregnancies. Being pregnant was a wonderful experience for me, and the morning sickness I felt was nothing compared to the sickness of chemotherapy. My hair grew thicker instead of falling out and I was gaining weight due to a healthy baby growing inside of me. Ed and I felt truly blessed.

As we watch both our girls growing before our eyes, and celebrated Lily’s 11th birthday today, we still feel extremely blessed to be the parents of our miracle babies. Because as you know, our girls will always be our babies even as we celebrate birthdays and watch our little girls grow up.

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