My Real Life

January 31, 2012

Truthful Tuesday

Filed under: Truthful Tuesday — Amy @ 6:00 am
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In today’s edition of Truthful Tuesday, I answer a question from DH.

DH writes:

I noticed that you keep a physical journal as well as your blog. I also keep a journal, and I try to write daily. But I find, the more I keep up with my blog, the less likely I am to write in my journal, and vice versa. Do you have the same issue? If not, how does your journal differ from your blog, such that you have fresh material to contribute to both simultaneously?

Good question, DH!

I do keep a handwritten journal for myself.

In fact, I have several journals and I write when I need to.  Sometimes I write in my journals several times a day.  Sometimes I can go a month without an entry.  It’s for me, and so there is no pressure to write every single day.  The blog and the journals are not for the same purpose, so I don’t worry about keeping both “fresh.”

Where do I get my journals?

Believe it or not…at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Every year, I take the 8th graders to D.C., and while we’re there, my friend, Tara and I, get our kids to the National Gallery and hit the gift shop.  Their selection of journals is unmatched, and I usually buy a journal and some stationery.

And, of course, check out the art.

But, onto the journals.

This journal is going to be my next diary-type journal.  The one I am currently using is just about full, so this one is on deck.

In this journal, I started my CrowdourcingLove project, because it’s my writing journal.  Sometimes I’ll get snippets of stories I want to write in my head, and I write them here.  Sometimes it is just a sentence that I imagine, and here is where I deposit it, until I create the perfect story to build…around just that one sentence.  I also write dreams that I’ve had that stay with me in this journal.

This journal is my journal for Monkey Girl.  The day I found out I was pregnant with her, I began keeping this journal for her.  I used to write regularly in this journal, but as you can imagine, it became sporadic, over time.  My plan was always that I would give her this journal when she became pregnant for the first time, but then I realized she may not want children, or perhaps won’t be able to have children.  So, perhaps when she’s 21.  Or, perhaps tomorrow.  Why wait?

This is my personal journal.  It’s a mish mosh of pages, and is probably very representative of the creative part of my brain.

I post pictures that inspire me in some way or another.

I photocopy parts of books that I want to always have handy to re-read again and again.

Articles that have touched me.

Love notes that came at just the right moment.

This one from Monkey in the Middle.

Amazing moments.  See Tiny in there?

And then, there’s the writing.  The pages and pages filled with my writing.

I write what I’m thinking and feeling and what’s happening and my hopes and dreams and conflicts and whatever is on my mind and in my heart at the moment.

I love my journal and am a big advocate for people keeping a journal or a diary of some sort.

The blog I write for myself, for my kids, for you.

The journal is just for me.

*Please feel free to submit a question for Truthful Tuesday any time!  Put it in the comment section of any post!*

January 30, 2012


Filed under: Adventuring — Amy @ 6:00 am
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Saturday was chilly, but not frigid, so the monkeys and I bundled up and headed out to do some adventuring.

Some might call it just a walk.

We call it “adventuring.”


Because my boys are always looking for treasures when we’re out, and when they find them, they call the walk a “Grand Adventure.”

This particular adventure yielded some interesting finds for us.

An abandoned bee hive.

A nail buried in the earth.

And the coolest find of all, (which was actually found in our yard), an abandoned deer antler.

(No worries…our hands were washed copiously after we got inside.)

Baby Monkey wants me to post this picture of his “pointy thing that came out of the trees.”

He says he knows there are hundreds of them in the neighborhood, but he thinks this one was the coolest.

Monkey Girl didn’t find anything, but came along to add to the aesthetics of the neighborhood.

It was a good adventure.

January 29, 2012

All the Little Pieces

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am
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So, the other day, Baby Monkey came home from school and wanted to make snowflakes.

Apparently, they were making snowflakes at the Kindergarten craft table, and he wanted to make some at home.

No surprise.

So, I started folding up the paper and he started saying, “No…no…that’s not how we did it at school!”

Because I never do it quite right.

Then, I remembered that I had recently read a post at Kristen, The Frugal Girl’s blog about Easy, Frugal Crafts for Kids.

In the post, she gave a little tutorial on making snowflakes.

I always just folded up the paper a bunch of times and started cutting.

Apparently, there is a method to making good snowflakes, and my friends, Kristen has found it.

So, I pulled out the laptop and showed Baby Monkey the tutorial.  We started folding and cutting and the result was great!  The best snowflakes I’d ever made, for sure!

Monkey Girl and Monkey in the Middle were impressed with our creations and decided that they, too, wanted to make snowflakes.

So, they got some paper, folded according to the tutorial, cut and made their own beautiful creations.

It was fun.  It was great.

It is now all Baby Monkey wants to do.

Which is not a bad thing.

He hasn’t turned on the computer in days, hasn’t watched a tv show, hasn’t thought about the Wii or the Xbox.

Still at the kitchen table at 8:00 Friday night.

Fold and cut.  Fold and cut.  Fold and cut.

His creations are beautiful.

Here are some of my favorites.

The only downside is that my home is now littered with little, tiny pieces of white paper.

They are everywhere.

I’ve even found a few floating in the toilet.

Don’t ask.

So, while I’m frustrated at the mess this new hobby has brought into my life, I think this is one of those things I’m just going to let go.  He cleans up after himself when he’s done, and if he misses a few, so be it.

The product, and by product I mean the smiles on my Baby’s face and the pride in his eyes, definitely is worth the mess.


***Remember!  I’m still taking questions for February’s Truthful Tuesday feature!***

January 28, 2012

CrowdSourcing Love

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am
Tags: ,

Valentine’s Day approaches, and with it begins the onslaught of commercial ways to say “I love you.”

Because, as you know, nothing says “I love you” better than flowers, which you have to take care of until they (always) die, and chocolates, which you regret eating as soon as they pass your lips.

A colleague of mine, MaryAnn Reilly, has invited fellow bloggers to envision Valentine’s Day in a new way, and to create ways to say “I love you” without purchasing anything.  She calls it CrowdSourcingLove.  She has posted two of her own, and other bloggers are beginning to share their ideas on her blog, as well.

Today, I’d like to share my contribution (hopefully the first of a few) to her project.

Your Story

No one can tell your story like you. 

The first moment you saw him/her.  The first conversation.  The first moment you knew this was something special.

You don’t have to be a beautiful writer.  Just write from the heart.

You’d be surprised how many people have never shared with their partner what they thought in those first moments, or what moment it was when they knew.

Write it down, on paper, in your own handwriting.

There is no story as captivating as the story of your love.

January 27, 2012

Conversations from my Dinner Table

I made chicken for dinner last night.
Baby Monkey:  What animal does chicken come from?
Me:  Um…a chicken.
Baby Monkey:  Yeah, but what animal does chicken come from.
Me:  Sweetie, it comes from a chicken.
Baby Monkey:  So, is chicken from a pig?
Me:  No, honey.  Chicken is from a chicken.  Like, bock-bock-bock-bock chicken.
Baby Monkey:  So, pigs eat chicken?
Me:  No.  No they don’t.
Baby Monkey:  Do we eat chicken?
Me:  Yes!
Baby Monkey:  Maybe you could make chicken for dinner some night.

January 26, 2012

Listening to Play

I was reading Rachel’s blog yesterday, and was really struck by the amount of kid-chatter she was able to write about.

And I realized, as I wrote in her comments, that one of my favorite things about the winter is being able to listen to the kids play.

The monkeys keep up an endless stream of chatter as they play with each other, and as they play alone.

It’s always struck me, because even though I was an only child, I was constantly talking, as well.

To myself, of course, but talking through play, nonetheless.

Although by the time summer rolls around, I am practically tearful with glee as I say “It’s beautiful!  Go outside to play!” I miss the chatter that goes along with their playing. I know they are still having these strange conversations that outsiders would never understand, but that they seem to understand instinctively.  They have that sibling language, where one word or sound sets off a chorus of giggles because they all remember the context from which it was drawn and it is meaningful…just to them.

When they are outside, I miss it.

I started to wonder how often I stop listening to the play and just let it become the background noise that is the soundtrack to my time at home.  I started to wonder how much I am missing when I’m not listening to the talk of play.

This winter, I want to be sure to really listen to the play that goes on in my home.  Try to decipher their language, and see what’s going on in those little psyche’s that only comes out when they play.


January 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Filed under: Wordless Wednesday — Amy @ 6:00 am

January 24, 2012

Truthful Tuesday

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

For my first “Truthful  Tuesday” post, I’m answering a question from Heather.

Heather writes:

Ok I’ve got one….to me, you seem like an amazingly confident mom…like it just fits you like a glove to be a mom….are there (or were there) any things or times in your parenting journey that were overwhelming or that “push your buttons” in terms of feeling confident as a mom?

I have about a dozen of said moments a day so I’m really curious if I’m losing it or semi normal. Lol.

Heather, I’m no different than any other Mom, and my kids are no different than any other kids.  I feel overwhelmed at least once a day.  I constantly worry that I’m doing or saying something that will mess up my kids.  Monkey in the Middle and I go head to head on a pretty consistent basis, because we are so similar.  I think I’m too critical of Monkey Girl.  I think that I probably baby Baby Monkey too much and let him get away with things the older two would never get away with.  So far, I don’t think I’ve screwed up Tiny, but there’s time.  My kids yell when they are mad because I yell when I am mad and they’ve learned it from me.

So, I’m not entirely confident in my mothering.  However, I am 100% confident that my kids know that I love them beyond all reasoning.  When they walk into a room, whether it’s been hours or minutes since I saw them last, I give them big smiles and hugs and kisses, because I honestly feel that that is what kids really need to feel good about themselves.  The feeling that their mere presence is enough to brighten the world for someone.  And, at the end of the day, when everyone is getting tucked in, if I’ve done something during the day that I’m feeling badly about, I apologize and let them know I’ll try harder tomorrow.  Every day is a new start for all of us.  They know I’m not perfect, and I certainly don’t pretend to be.

Being a Mom is hard, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t struggle with it.  People always say it’s the hardest job in the world, and they are absolutely correct.  Part of that is because the stakes are so high.  Part of it is because the “client” is continually changing and so what worked one day may not work the next.  And a big part of it is that it is the only job in the world where we are continually being judged by others…and especially by ourselves.  The viciousness with which Moms judge other Moms continually astounds me.  What we should be doing is lifting each other up and saying “Oh, I understand…I get it…good job.”

At the end of the day, I think we’re all doing the best that we can, and unless we are hurting our kids, I don’t think anyone is doing it any better than anyone else.

January 23, 2012

You Want to Know What?!?!?!?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

Every now and then, I’ll get an email from someone who reads the blog that will say “Why don’t you write a post about X” or “I’m wondering about Y.”

I’ve taken those questions and suggestions and sometimes, responded directly, and, other times, have crafted posts based on their feedback.

I have a feeling, however, that more people than just those who have email have some opinions about what they’d like to see on the blog.

So, I decided that, today, I’d open up the blog for questions and suggestions.

Got a suggestion for something you’d like to see me write a post about?

Got a question about the monkeys, Real Man or I that you are dying to have answered?

Leave your question or suggestion in the comments below, and I’m going to spend Tuesdays writing about whatever it is that you want to read about!

I hope that you’ll leave your name with your comment, but anonymous questions and suggestions will be answered as well!

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

January 22, 2012

Best Day Ever

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Okay, my wedding day and the days that the monkeys were born are probably the best days ever, but today was right up there.

We woke to snow on the ground.

Tiny and I enjoyed a quiet breakfast, watching the snow fall.

Once the big monkeys were up, they suited up and headed right outside while Real Man took care of the driveway.

While they were out there, Tiny played with toys in the living room, while I sat on the couch with my book and had second breakfast.

Tiny decided to watch his siblings outside.

Which was, apparently, exhausting.

The big kids came in for some Spaghettio’s…a snow day favorite.

While Real Man and I had fried egg sandwiches.

The monkeys headed back outside after lunch.

I played a little piano, and found I had an audience from the other room (with some help from Real Man).

Then, Monkey Girl came in and decided to play.

I baked some brownies.

Monkey Girl baked her first batch of chocolate chip cookies on her own.

And learned a valuable lesson about how unevenly our oven bakes things.

Real Man and Monkey Girl went to the Girl Scout Father/Daughter Hoe Down.

The monkey big boys played on the computer.

Tiny played with his kitchen.

And Mama played some Wii Glee Karaoke.


After Tiny went to bed, Monkey in the Middle “taught” Baby Monkey how to play chess, I played some Words With Friends, and we chilled until my girl and my man came home.

It was truly a great day and left me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.

I got none of the things I wanted to get done accomplished, but somehow, I just don’t care.

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