Saturday, June 30, 2012

Thirty Day Challenge: Days 26-28

Journal Prompt #26:  This is another oldie but goodie.  Journal about your day.  Illustrate it, write it out...whatever.  Sometimes even the little mundane details of your day are just as special to document and commit to memory. 
Journal Prompt #27:  What is something that touched your heart today?
Journal Prompt #28:  Today I want you to make a list of 10 journal prompts that you could possibly use in your journal, after this class is over.  This is a tricky prompt :)  Sometimes it is really hard to come up with journaling prompts on your own so I think this will be a good way to get our minds ready for it.
(I got lazy and only did four)

Stellar Parenting.

Today I feel like a bad parent. 

I know I'm not a bad parent.  I know there are some really bad parents out there.  But what matters is that on days like today I feel like a bad parent.
 I feel like my kids are going to be permanently scarred by the things I've done, or the ways I've reacted to the things they've done today.  I'm afraid that in 12 years they're going to start bringing up the one time I overreacted when they........(fill in the blank)......and they were therefore scarred for life.

If I posted an honest Facebook status update it would have read: My kids should hate me.
But I wouldn't do that - because no one posts honest Facebook status updates when they're at their lowest point.  And if they do, they disguise it in the form of song lyrics or end up sounding whiny.
But back to my point.

The truth is that I've got a million excuses.  I could write them all down on here for all of you to read.  But I also know that you don't really care about my excuses.  I don't care about my excuses. 
Because over time these excuses aren't going to be what we remember.  It is going to be the way I shouted at Miles because he intentionally peed on the kitchen floor while he was in the naughty chair.  Or the handful of other ways I have allowed myself to be consumed by what is going on with myself outside of my children, and have taken it out on them.

Please friends, I'm begging you to understand that I love them.
So much sometimes it hurts.
In all my life I have never felt such love, hurt, guilt, exhaustion, worry, and intense moments happiness. 
When they are this young they are not good listeners.  They don't always follow extensive directions exactly how I want them to.  And it is easy to take it personally and to wish these moments away. 

But last night as I was sitting in the movie theater watching Ice Age 4, I glanced over at the two enthralled bodies next to me.  One had a giant popcorn bucket in his lap, both of them munching away and laughing at the screen.  THAT was an intense moment of happiness to the end of my otherwise not-very-good-day.

That moment exceeded all others.

So I hope you both remember that I love you.  And that I'm not perfect.  And I hope you remember the good times when I shine as a parent (because - believe it or not - I have those too). 

And when you're a parent I hope you remember that there are really bad times.....but that's normal, because people only write about the good times.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Thirty Day Challenge: Days 24 and 25

Journal Prompt #24:  Alright, today we are creating a Top 10 List.  This Top 10 list can be of anything!  This can be a Top 10 List that has already been established but that you want to document, or it can be a Top 10 list that you think up right this second!!

Journal Prompt #25:  "My wish for you..."  We all have dreams for our children, significant others, friends, and family.  Some of these wishes we can share with them while others we keep silent.  Today you are going to write out your wish for a specific person in your life.  You can be vague and keep in anonymous, or you can wish it out loud for them to see.  It's up to you!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

If I remember nothing else...

...then I want to remember these things about this time.
  • Liam has started counting on his fingers when he is trying to tell me that he wants more than one of something.  i.e. "I want 1..2..3..4...5."
  • Dustin asked Miles if he knew what his middle name was, and he responded, "YoSeb, GET BACK HERE!" 
  • Whenever Liam wants to say that he wants "two" of something, he holds up his two index fingers and puts them right next to each other in front of his nose.
  • Miles LOVES movies, and will re-enact scenes from movies every chance he gets.  He has this amazing memory for scenes that we as adults have to work extra hard to recall.  
  • There is a little tiny bike that the boys ride, and one day I hung a small bucket from the back of the seat.  Miles instantly gasped and said "I'm just like Wojtech!"  (Wojtech is a staff member who mows the lawn sometimes.)  Now much of our day is spent "mowing" the living room while performing various acts of maintenance on the "lawnmower", and "locking" it up when we are not used it so the "kids" can't play with it.   On Friday he would only answer to "Wojtech" and kept telling me he couldn't hear me because the mower was too loud when he was on it. Then on Monday he was pretending to be another guy on site - Matt, so he insisted on riding his bike with a backpack on and answer his play cell phone "Hey Dude".
  • Liam wants to "cuddle a wittle bit" every time he gets out of the bathtub.
  • Liam's favorite book right now is "Where's Wally" - the UK version of Where's Waldo.  He could look at it for hours, and often falls asleep doing so.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Thirty Day Challenge: Day 23

Journal #23: Free Draw.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Pomp and Circumstance

One of my earliest memories is of me graduating from "play-school".  I wore a lovely white cap with my name in glitter on it, a white sheet, and when I was reunited with my parents they told me that next time I shouldn't pick my nose when I'm standing in front of so many people.  The first piece of advice I took rather seriously.

Yesterday we attended the equivalent graduation of our oldest.  When I heard that they would actually have a graduation ceremony I was touched by the fact that Miles made the cut and will be going on to P1 (a.k.a. preschool).  Then reality knocked some sense into me and I realized that he was actually just receiving a diploma for playing, eating snacks, and not peeing his pants.  I made the executive decision to still be proud of his accomplishments, because friends, I'm not a picky mama and I'll take 'em where I can get 'em.  So this morning we braved the severe rain and wind (shocking, I know) and ventured into the Naiscoil (Irish for "nursery") to watch our oldest son graduate with honors (okay, I made that up, but if they awarded "honors" for eating potato chips and building big jets out of duplos, then I have not a smidgin of doubt that he most definitely would have received such accolades). 
First they started out by singing a series of songs that we, idiot non-Irish speakers that we are, didn't understand a word of.  However, it was really nice to hear how close Miles has been in singing these all along when he performs them for us at home.

With his struggles in speech, I've never been quite sure whether he was pronouncing them correctly, but it turns out he is pretty darn close.  If I was a pro-active mom that wasn't about to have her third child, I would totally look up the songs and figure out what they're saying, but I would rather wonder in silence and take wild guesses.

After the "ceremony" they had a little party for the kids, which basically just consisted of them devouring a table of snacks like it was the end of the world as we know it, and then running around pushing each other.  Great fun for all.
These two found friendship over a bowl of chips....make that three bowls of chips that they kept snatching out from under the noses of their peers.

And just in case you have a few minutes to watch cute little kids sing songs you don't understand.... while my son only sparingly chooses to participate....a video for you. :)  No one can ever accuse this boy of not dancing to the beat of his own drum... almost literally.

Thirty Day Challenge: Days 21 and 22

Journal Prompt #21:  What was your favorite story from today??

Journal Prompt #22:  What are some things that you are looking forward to?  These can be monumental things or they can be silly little things too!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Thirty Day Challenge: Days 18 to 20

Journal Prompt #18:  Today is all about altering a repeat image :)  Copy an image, or images, multiple times using a copy machine, or scanner and print the images in black and white.  

Journal Prompt #19:  Should you be doing something different with your life right now?  why or why not?

Journal Prompt #20:  Today your journal will be hijacked!!  Today you will give up control of your journal and let someone else create a page for you!!  

If you're ever at the Cliffs of Moher....

Tell them "Tiff says 'Hi'."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Riding in Cars with Boys

This past week I've been extremely busy doing things like eating delicious food, checking out natural wonders, spending way too much money, hanging out with family, and looking for the perfect Aran Jumper.   Dustin's brother and his family came to visit us and we've had a lot of fun.  First of all, it gave us an excuse to check out the west of Ireland, which we had never done before (even when I was here before), and it is always really wonderful to see family and to show them around.
On the first day we took a ferry over to the Aran Islands, which were filled with these crazy dry stone fences.

We also got the opportunity to check out the Cliffs of Moher from below on another ferry when we were done on the island.  
Getting ready to check out the Cliffs of Moher from the top.

All site-seeing is better with cousins around.
 I let Miles take a picture with my camera, and he did a pretty good job.
 Then I let Liam give it a shot.  Unfortunately the camera is almost as heavy as his head, so this is how it turned out...
 The next day we made our way slowly up to the north.  On the way we decided to stop in Galway.  We were excited to find this sign with "Chicago" on it in the Latin Quarter of the city.

sharing ice cream
The boys under the Spanish Arch.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Cousins

Thirty Day Challenge: Days 14 through 17

I promise I've been keeping up.  We have visitors this week, and were doing some traveling, so I was far away from any internet....and not at all minding it. So here are days 14 through 17.....

Journal Prompt #14:  What roles do you play? 

Journal Prompt #15:  This summer, I will not be defined by....

Journal Prompt #16:  Imagine.  I am a total dreamer when it comes to life. I am constantly asking myself questions like what if the sky was pink and the grass was blue, all of those silly kinds of things.  Anyway, today is the day to use your imagination and imagine a world full of things you would like to see!
Journal Prompt #17:  This prompt is all about our Fathers (or any significant man in your life).  Dedicate a page to them.  You can decided any topic or theme for your page just make sure that it centers around that special guy!!

Don't forget to check out the blog that sends inspiration my way everyday.....

Friday, June 15, 2012

Thirty Day Challenge: Day 13

Journal Prompt:  Imagine your favorite book character, what do they look like?  I love reading stories (that don't already have a movie tied to them) and using the descriptive words in the book to picture the character in my head while I am reading.  Choose a favorite character and then draw or cut out pictures of what you think they would look like if they were in front of you.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Thirty Day Challenge: Day 12

Journal Prompt #12:  What are some of your favorite places or spaces?  Document them.  Add brochures, use photographs, doodle, sketch, etc.  Show us some of your most favorite places and spaces.

Wordless Wednesday...wait...i think...i think they might be...


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Thirty Day Challenge - Days 10 and 11

I've been keeping up, but posting is sort of time consuming, and yesterday was a long day, so I just decided to save yesterday's for today to post. 
So here they are....

Journal Prompt #10:  Another List ( I looooove lists).  Today we will make a list of all of the projects we would like to accomplish this summer.  With the weather nice, and the extra sunshine, it seems like such  perfect time to start checking those things off of our lists right?

(since there is not as much "nice weather" in my life as there used to be, nor an official summer vacation, this list was a little harder to make for me.)

Journal Prompt #11:  How do you love?  Through dating, and marriage, I had always heard talk about the five love languages.  I never thought much about it because I was pretty sure I knew exactly how I loved :)  Once, I read the book, it made so much sense to me!!!  What is your love language, how do you love?
I think I feel loved and give love in two different ways, which seems weird when you think about here are mine. :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

the beach.

I should start off by saying that I very rarely feel homesick anymore.
This is so easily and naturally turning into home for us.

You could say it's taken me awhile.  But if you really know me, then you know that it has actually gone rather quickly.
It helps that this place is lovely, and the people are charming, and I love what I do.

But Saturday it felt as though I took two steps back.  First of all, because the journal prompt I was working on asked me to write about summer.  "What summer?" I asked the journal prompt with sarcasm and scorn.  So I wrote about my favorite summers...the ones I remember from my youth.  The second step was when we bundled up to go to the beach.  Don't get me wrong.  The beach is beautiful.  And lovely.  And I am so lucky to see it everyday.

There's always a "but" isn't there?

Going to the beach means something different to us than it did a year ago.
It used to mean throwing on your swimsuit and sunscreen.
It used to mean soft sandy beaches with beach towels and umbrellas.
Laughing in the sun and lounging on beach chairs.
It used to mean time with family and jumping in waves.
Now it often means throwing on a stocking hat and coat.
It means hard stony beaches with lots of rocks to throw.
It means bracing ourselves against the wind and sometimes rain.
It means going there by ourselves.  With no family other than ourselves.

I still love the beach.  I still love the sea, and seeing Scotland off to my right isn't so bad..

But there are days I miss our old beach. 
with the blankets.
and snacks.
and even the giant sand-dunes I never climbed up.

I'm allowed that, right?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A post NOT about the 30 day challenge

Things that could happen if you were to get your family photos taken by a professional photographer in June, in Northern Ireland...
  1. You could have rain everyday for an entire week and have to reschedule the shoot repeatedly.
  2. Giant balls of big ugly seaweed could wash up on shore forcing you to change the location.
  3. Your son could wake up with his eyes glued shut because of an eye infection.
  4. Your other son could have a cold sore.
  5. Once you get to the forest (a.k.a. new location), there could be tiny biting flies that are so fierce in number that it rivals the great locust attack that Moses predicted in the Bible.
  6. #5 could result in a nasty rash all over everyone's exposed body parts.
  7. There could be one tiny Liam-sized mud puddle in the entire forest that contended for the blackest, muckiest mud puddle you've ever seen.
  8. 20 minutes in your 2 year old son could face-plant into the blackest, muckiest mud puddle you've ever seen, therefore covering himself from head to toe (literally) in black slime.
  9. You could laugh it off and congratulate yourself on - for once - being the smartest mom at the party because you actually packed an extra outfit for above-mentioned little boy.

30 Day Challenge: Days 8 and 9

Journal Prompt #8:  On this day in 1867, Frank Lloyd Wright was born. Wright was a well-respected architect. He designed a number of famous homes. If you were able to design the house of your dreams, what would it look like?
Journal Prompt #9:  If you could scream something at the top of your lungs right now, what would it be?

Phew.  I think I'm all caught up.  I decided because of the time difference and ocean that separates us, I'm just going to be a day behind everyone else on purpose.  So now I can start doing other things besides obsessing over this challenge. :)  (Which I've really loved doing.)

And don't forget to check out the blog that started and now fuels this inspiration for me at:

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Thirty Day Challenge, cont'd.

Journal Prompt #6:  What does summer feel like?  What does summer look like?  What does summer smell like?  What does summer sound like? and What does summer taste like?  Use all of your senses to describe this wonderful season.  Have fun!
Journal Prompt #7:  What is happiness?  What defines your happiness?  What makes you happy?

I'm slowly catching up...then I can start actually blogging again.  I know you're all super worried. :)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Thirty Day Challenge: Days 4 and 5

I'm still trying to catch up. :)

Journal Prompt:  Go outside, set up a little journaling area, and see where your mind takes you. Journal it.
(I am not a martyr, so I sat by my big glass doors facing the outside.)

Journal Prompt #5:  What do you believe in?  A simple prompt that shares so much. 

I'm loving doing this, and putting some of my thoughts visually on paper rather than the computer.  I could see this continuing past June.  (Although not the posting part. :))