Socks, Bare Feet and Carol Burnett

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When I was growing up, I wanted to be on Broadway. I memorized lyrics, sang the songs, and in my heart, was a Broadway Baby. The girls next door loved musicals as much as I did. We would put together our own musicals on their driveway. Belting out show tunes, or made up songs. We were a regular drive-thru theatre.

We probably “produced” Annie a million times. The 1982 movie cemented the songs and dreams in our brain. I was often Annie, the most sought after character in our group. She was the lead, after all. As I grew up, my desired character shifted from Annie to Ms. Hannigan, because, well … Carol Burnett. (I also wanted to be Carol Burnett when I grew up, because, well … Carol Burnett!)

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Can’t you just hear her singing?

“Little girls. Little girls. Every where I turn. I see them.”

Part of this song has become a sort of anthem of my motherhood. I know, Ms. Hannigan does not portray the best qualities, or any qualities of motherhood. But stay with me, because neither does my attitude toward this one little area.

Socks!

Little (and now big) girl socks!

Ms. Hannigan sings it so well.

“How I hate. Little socks. Little shoes. And each little bloomer!”

She’s belting it out for mothers everywhere!!! The chore of matching little socks, those that are not eaten by the dryer, are my least favorite thing to do. It never fails. Socks go in, but they don’t come out. Also, have you noticed that the same socks, that came in the same package, and are washed and dried in the same machines, come out in different sizes? Also, why can we never find socks? We must have a thousand socks in this house.

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The Sock Basket. Where lonely socks go to die!

All fall and winter long, I hear the same question every day. Every day. (Sigh) “Mom. I need socks!” It’s like I’m living in the movie Groundhog’s Day. Yesterday, there were 12 pairs of socks in your drawer. Where are they today?

Then, something wonderful happens. That something wonderful happened on Sunday. The freezing temperatures are gone, the sun is shinning, and the morning air feels … warm. Dressing for church suddenly takes no time, because there are no socks or tights needed.

We have entered … The Bare Foot Zone!

And it’s wonderful. Sandals, flip-flops, and bare feet!!!

So, here’s to you, Ms. Hannigan and your “Little Girls” song. I also would have “cracked years ago, if it weren’t for my sense of humor!” Let’s hope I don’t end up in the nuthouse with you.

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Turn Your Family Rooms Into Libraries

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“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”

Cicero

Growing up, our house didn’t have a TV Room or a Family Room. It had a Library. Now, there was a television in that room, but it was still called the library. On either side of the television, were rows and rows and rows of books. There was a smaller bookshelf that was full. Books on the coffee table. Book in the bedrooms. Books!

I grew up looking at copies of Twain, Hemingway and Fitzgerald long before I could understand their works. Shakespeare, Frost, Whitman introducing me to poetry and language. Books with fine print far smaller than my Babysitter Club or Sweet Valley High books. Books with old cloth binding and gold lettering. Encyclopedias, anthologies, history books. A giant red atlas that I couldn’t lift. There were more books than I could possible read; but I wanted to. Books!

When I got married, out first apartment was filled with books. The simple bookshelf made from cinder blocks and particle board was one of the first things we put together. Filling it with books, mostly from our childhoods and from college. Many date nights were spent exploring Barnes and Noble, with Starbucks in hand. A few years later, when we moved to Princeton, NJ, we bought three tall brown bookcases from IKEA and quickly filled them. Books!

We have downsized out book collection over the years only to replenish it again. I think the only reason we downsize is so we can purchase mimage3 (2)ore books. Just like my childhood home, we have books on our bookshelves, on the coffee table, on the side tables, in all the bedrooms. Our children loves books and get excited to explore a Barnes and Noble Bookstore. Books are gifts at every birthday and every Christmas. Books!

We take huge tote bags to the library on Saturday mornings and fill them so full no one can lift them. The children devour them, sometimes finishing a book before we get home. Books!

My love of books and reading has gifted me the opportunity to be a part of several book launch groups. I get to read books before they hit the bookshelves and share about them. I didn’t even know this was a thing until a couple of years ago when I responded to an email, and a book arrived in my mailbox a few weeks later. These days I usually find myself reading 3-5 books at a time. Here are just some of the books I’ve been reading lately. All different. All great! So many books!

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I am about to start two new books for launches. One of the books arrives tomorrow and the other soon after! The Power of Positive Leadership by Jon Gordon comes out on April 24th and Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker comes out in August. I will be sharing all the scoop about these books and there will be more books to come. Someday, my book.

So, get thee to a library or bookstore and start reading! Fill those shelves, then fill them again. Turn your family rooms and TV rooms into libraries. Stack books next to your bed. Feed your children’s imagination with books and then set them free.

“They are the books, the arts, the academes,
That show, contain and nourish all the world.”
William Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost

 

Winning is Losing

Have you ever let your child win? Maybe it was a board game or a game of tag. Maybe you were playing Just Dance 2 on the Wii and you “missed” a few dance moves so your child’s score would bump up. At some point we have all done it. Perhaps to make them feel better about themselves, or “share the wealth.” And at some point, we’ve realized it was time to let them lose.

The other night I was watching an episode of Parenthood on NBC. In this episode, entitled “Sore Loser,” parents Joel and Julia are told they are coddling their seven-year old daughter, Sydney. Sydney blew up at a family gathering after messing up and losing her turn at charades. She yelled, threatened, turned over the popcorn bowl and stormed out of the room. Sydney thinks it’s her birthright to win. Joel and Julia are told that it is time for their daughter to lose. “She doesn’t need confidence, she needs humility.”

We learn about winning, and thereby losing, at a very young age. My two-year old daughter understands what it means to win. My older girls want to know who is the winner of every sports game, match or race. “Winning” became a popular catch phrase recently thanks to Charlie Sheen. apparently, he was “winning” a lot. Though most of us might have interpreted his situation as “losing.”

Some where along the way, it was decided that letting children win at everything was the best thing for them. Suddenly t-ball and softball games don’t have a winner. We’re all winners! “Fs” were taken off of report cards, because we don’t want to use the word “fail.” But, it is the best thing for them?

In his book Parenting by The Book, author John Rosemond says that a focus on self-esteem has taken over parenting during the past forty years. He says that “people with a high self-esteem possess an entitlement mentality; they believe that anything they do is worthy of merit. As a consequence, they rarely do their best at anything…People with high self-esteem have little tolerance for disappointment, frustration, failure, and criticism.” He believe we should be teaching our children the opposite. We should teach them humility.

So, the next time you pull out Candy Land or Stratego, who’s going to win?

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:11)