Sunday, September 20, 2015

Weekend Favorites, September 11

I had surgery on Monday, and it took me a little longer to recover than I had planned. Everything is fine - it was a pretty routine surgery, as surgeries go, and I had a lot of friends and family checking on me regularly to make sure I had everything I needed.

Honestly, I was terrified about the surgery. As in, my teeth were chattering and my whole body was shaking and tears were running out of my eyes at a prodigious rate as I moved from the waiting-area bed to the operating table. My doctor got me to laugh, and then they placed the mask over my mouth and the next thing I knew, I was woozy and then I was waking up. Before my surgery, I would do what any blogger would do: I got my social media affairs in order. Which means that I called my sister and made sure she had all of my passwords in case anything happened to me.

I know. It sounds ridiculous, because it is a little ridiculous.

In any case, I'm on the mend and back to work. I have some exciting opportunities coming up, and I'll keep you posted.

* * *

In case you missed it, my post on planning girls' night after becoming a mom was picked up by HuffPost Parents.

And LiveMom featured my review of the traveling Cirque du Soleil show Kooza live in Austin.

First, I give you Arnebya and her adorable son, who just turned 6.

Nancy Davis Kho is brilliant. This essay about suggestions on what to say and what not to say to seniors in high school is smart and thoughtful.

My friend Ava posted a lovely essay about the #beforeIdie campaign that the Texas Conference for Women is running. Don't miss it.

This post by Sherri Kuhn got to me. I  know exactly what she is saying about baby fever.

Great advice on happiness from Baby Proofed Parents at the Today Parenting site.

My son is really into this negotiating phase, and this was an excellent article on how to respond.

Wendi Aarons is hilarious, and her post about not being able to find personalized swag because of her name spelling is very familiar to me. When I was a kid, "Kristen" could be found all over the place, but rarely "Kristin".

This video needs no words. It's Mother's Day perfection.

This young woman from my hometown lost her teenage sister to cancer in a matter of a few months, and this tribute from her is worth reading. #sarahstrong

As you might remember, my son is allergic to eggs, and the school where he goes to kindergarten has a fantastic staff and excellent awareness of food allergies. Heather Spohr of The Spohrs Are Multiplying has a small child who gets it. Why doesn't everyone?

I love stories like this: teenagers who are using their power for good.

Have you ever heard of Esosinophilic Esophogitis? I hadn't either, when I was diagnosed 10 years ago. Then, it was considered pretty rare. Now, it's becoming quite common, and just like food allergies, I wonder why.
More of my favorite things:

My friend Rachel just released her new book, Hands Free Life, and I love it. Need a lift? It's exactly what I needed, and I think it's good for the soul.

This company, Komae, is doing something interesting with babysitting. Komae is a social app giving you the tools you need to exchange babysitting services with your most trusted friends. So imagine that you had access to your friends' schedules and you could exchange babysitting services without guilt or worrying about who owes whom. This is designed to help with that.

Enjoy your week!

Love, Kristin

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Catching fireflies: staying in touch after becoming a mom

As a girl, I pursued fireflies in the yard and captured them in a pickle jar with small holes carefully punched into the metal lid. Not much of a nature lover, I nevertheless enjoyed the tickle of the small bugs tiptoeing across my skin when I caught them, laughing with glee. It was worth the patience required to find them and watch them glow, and then release them back into the air to live.

As mothers, we are the fireflies, gliding through the dark and shining our light here and there, and sometimes camouflaging ourselves in the dark. We alight, flitting from place to place until we can stop and rest and share our light with others. It is exhausting to both be and to watch.

Planning a night out with these mother fireflies sometimes takes as much patience and luck and timing as it did when I was a child. The invitations are sent out, and perhaps one friend’s husband is traveling that day. Or another has another commitment. Or homework takes precedent. The event responses say “Yes” and or “No” but most often “Maybe” because our schedules, when we have children, hinge on child care and everyone staying well.

Plans are cancelled at the last minute, or changed, or adapted. We don’t get frustrated with each other because we know that all of have been in that situation and we will afford each other the grace that we were given too.

When I was in the heyday of my 20s, I moved to Atlanta, and met new friends every week. We met up on Wednesdays for trivia night and Saturdays to meet up and stay out late. We had no responsibilities except for ourselves, and our rent, and our bills. We had no idea that we were as carefree as we were then. Friendship looked like common interests and the ability to make each other laugh and listen to each other’s grievances about men and work.

Friendship looks both same and different now; we still laugh and listen and share common interests or even the occasional margarita, but those moments are condensed and squeezed into smaller slivers of time. Instead of afternoons lounging by the pool or happy hours savoring seared tuna and truffle fries, it’s thirty minutes walking together while the kids are at school, or an hour spent together chasing toddlers around the park and catching a sentence or two as you run in opposite directions. Those friends I had in my 20s now have two and three children and when I do have a chance to talk to them on the phone, it’s magical. The friendships are still there underneath the chaos.

A gesture of kindness from a friend who is a mother includes tolerance and understanding. It looks something like admiring the shoe polish decorations on a friend’s car for her son’s birthday, and her saying, “I saved the rest for you for your son’s birthday next week.” It’s lunch when we are feeling frazzled or a plate full of muffins dropped off at our porch. It’s a bag of coloring books and small toys for your son when he comes home from the hospital after surgery. It’s a quick text to say, “I’m thinking about you” when you don’t have time to talk on the phone. Because there is so little time to talk on the phone.

Without my friends, I would not have survived. It was another mother who recognized that I was drowning in postpartum anxiety and reached out across the miles to insist that I see a doctor. It was another mother who brought me my first dinner home from the hospital. It was my sister, already the mother of three, who flew across the country to teach me how to bathe my son and ease my fears. And my own mother and mother-in-law who endured my nitpicking at the way they held, changed, and attended to my new baby without a squeak of retort. They all understand.

I have learned that I can still keep my friendships with women without children as well and their friendship contributes to that survival. Last week, my best friend from college called me just as I was picking up my son from kindergarten. We are planning her first visit to Austin, and we’re both very excited. My son was chattering in the backseat, as five-year-olds do constantly, trying to join the conversation. He interrupted me to tell her all about his day.

“I’m sorry,” I said to her. “He just got out of school and he has a lot to say.”

“I love it,” she said without a trace of irritation. “I’m so glad that I get to be a part of your day.”

It’s these adaptations and understandings that give us the grace we need to lean into our friendships from different angles. The list of friends I want on my personal board of directors, as a mother, includes the ones that make me laugh. The ones that give me their shoulder when I cry. The ones who boost my spirits when I am feeling low. The ones who tell me the truth, and sometimes tough love.

The ones who love my son as their own. On any given day, each friend offers a little bit of each of these things. They allow me to go about the business of having a complete and happy life.
For now, planning girls’ night takes a little more patience, and we might not all get together at one time. The group is always morphing and changing and we wait until the next time we can catch up.
It’s worth the wait, every time.


Monday, September 7, 2015

Weekend favorites: September 4-7

I'm cooking up a few big things this fall, including the official launch of my freelance company. I'm working on the web site now, and will keep you posted when it's live. In the meantime, I have created a public Instagram site featuring things I love. Please follow along at this link.

The lovely Sarah Bagley asked me to join her on a podcast this summer, and it aired last week. I really enjoyed talking to Sarah, a mom and recovering perfectionist, like me. Take a listen here.

In case you missed it, I was featured at SheBuysCars last week with my first review for them. I had a chance to test drive the Tesla P85D, and I fell in love with it for a lot of reasons. I am thrilled to work with them, since I have a passion for all things automotive.

Also, I'm on the Today Show Parenting Team site with a post called "Happy Do-Nothing Day" with their "Get Happy" theme. Since we had a day this weekend in which we stayed in our pajamas well past noon, we are definitely living this. 

Just today, I found out that one of my essays will be included in the next HerStories anthology! This one is called "So Glad They Told Me" and will be published in 2016.

Last, but not least, I have an original post coming up on Mom Babble this week. Jennifer and Mary Katherine are wonderful editors, and I'm excited to be a guest writer on their page. Stay tuned.

* * * 

And now for some of my favorite posts for the week:

Nancy Davis Kho is brilliant and funny, and this post sums up a certain current event with her own brand of wit.

Need a good cry? Start here with this post. It's a 5-tissue alarm and heartbreaking, but beautifully written. It's worth the crying.

On that note, my little boy just turned 6, and Allison Slater Tate nailed the age we just left behind with this poignant essay about 5.

We have a brand-new Woom bike, and it's gorgeous. I'm still working on getting my son to learn how to ride a two-wheeler, but I knew we'll get there. In the meantime, Sarah discusses her husband's love and reverence for the bike, and the journey with her son Miles.

Bringing up racism with your children can feel awkward and difficult, but it's very important. This story at The Washington Post will illustrate exactly why.

This essay by Liv by Surprise at Scary Mommy made me want to call my mom. Right now. And I'm wondering what my son will remember, too. 

Jasmine is strong, beautiful, and fierce. This essay caught my breath at the very end. We should all know that our wings are always there and we can fly on our own.

My son is allergic to eggs, so I really appreciated this post from a mom of a peanut-allergic child. It's a scary world when your kid has a food allergy.

Keely is one of my favorite people - I met her in Chicago at BlogHer in 2013 - and she hits the nail on the head in this post as her oldest child heads off to kindergarten.

My Listen To Your Mother partner Leigh Ann Torres is a funny, funny woman, but when she posts something sweet and sentimental like this, I stop in my tracks. Her girls are adorable, and their personality (and Leigh Ann's) shines through here.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My debut at!

When I was a kid, my dad took me and my sister to car shows. He taught us about the different makes and models, and in fact, the first word my sister read was "Ford". All my life, I have been fascinated with motors and things that go, and I probably should have pursued more classes on how to fix and rebuild my own. It's not too late, right?

The opportunity to write for presented itself to me and I am thrilled to debut at their site with a review of the fast and sporty Tesla P85D. If you follow me for my writings about relationships and love and parenting, this is going to feel a little different to you, but I hope my passion for cars comes through. It's love in a different form.

Tesla P85D - P is for Performance and Then Some

Friday, August 28, 2015

Weekend favorites

Friday! We made it through the very first week of kindergarten with flying colors. It has been the toughest piece of acting of my whole life, pretending to be cool and confident about school so that my son would feel confident and excited. Underneath, I was thinking:

Please give him a kind teacher.
Please let him make friends.
Please let him be happy and excited about school.
Please don't let him be scared.

And all of these hopes came true. I'm exceedingly thankful.

The quote above by the wonderful Ms. Brown is about facing your fears and showing your vulnerability. Go out there and show up. Stand up. Say yes. Tell someone you love them. Have a beautiful weekend.

* * *
Be on the lookout for some of my work to go live at Mom Babble and She Buys Cars in the next week or so!

* * *
Now for some high-quality reading over the weekend.

Marriage, at its very best, by Lisa Rosenberg: The Vows.

This post from Danielle at Martinis and Minivans gave me some food for thought. My son had some experiences with friends last year that taught him about handling conflict, and I'm grateful that his new kindergarten teacher is starting the school year with a talk about "filling each other's buckets" and being kind to each other.

Thanks to Devon Corneal for sharing this hilarious and perfectly awesome "guide to killer confidence" from Mindy Kaling.

I wish, with all of my heart, that Vikki and her partner could be themselves, always, and not have to worry about safety and risk for her and for their kids

This essay from Melissa of One Mother to Another is beautiful and may require a tissue or two: When We're Not Together.

As a postpartum anxiety survivor, I know this piece by Katherine Stone is important: Why no one invests in maternal mental health

Oh, Josette, this one ripped our my heart strings and put them back together. Good Bye Summer, Hello Hectic Mornings...

And another farewell to summer from the lovely Christine Organ.

I cannot wait to read BrenĂ© Brown's new book, and this interview at Texas Monthly covers it very well. 


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Weekend Favorites: August 23

So this is it: the last day of summer. It has been a summer of family, swimming, bravery, and not taking for granted this time that I get to spend with my son while he is still small. He starts kindergarten in the morning, and I'm thrilled that he has a sweet, loving teacher who will watch over him. If all teachers could be like the author of this post, we would all be better off.

Also, Diane Davis Lang wrote a post that brings up an excellent opportunity to talk to your kids about how to treat others at school - and everywhere, in fact.

Here we go, 2015.

* * *  
Let's start with this funny from before we dive into deeper waters:

I know you don't want to hear "cherish every moment", but these posts will help you remember to stop and pay attention for a few minutes.

Mermaid Hair and Being a Grown-Up by Kim Bongiorno

Growing Pains by Allison Slater Tate  

I'm Afraid I Wished it All Away at Mom Babble by Kelly Suellentrop

Discovering Gratitude by Amanda Magee. Follow her on Instagram for a daily dose of beautiful images and words together.

I love the foresight of this beautiful 18-year-old young woman in this post to her future daughter

Brene Brown is a wonderful sorceress of emotions, and how to recognize and harness them. This post is so thought-provoking.

I could not live without my friends. This essay at Scary Mommy by Victoria Fedden sums up the beauty of friendships perfectly.

If you're looking for a fun way to get your kids to help out around the house, this is brilliant.

And one more funny illustration from Nicole Leigh Shaw at NickMom.

* * *
If you know me, you know I love cars. Be on the lookout for my debut post at She Buys Cars with my review of the Tesla P85 very soon!

When I was getting ready to attend the Voice of the Year event at BlogHer this July, I went out to find a new dress. After visiting a few of my usual favorites (LOFT, Ann Taylor, White House Black Market) I wandered into Chico's, which was relatively unfamiliar to me. I had twenty minutes to pick out a few dresses, try them on, and go get my son from summer camp. The saleswoman was kind and helpful, and handed me a few dresses to try as I was wriggling into the ones I had picked out, and when I tried the long white dress she had chosen, it felt perfect.

On the awards night in New York City, I walked onto the stage with confidence, feeling great about my choice. My friends took a few photos of me with the placard listing my award-winning essay, and I shared them via Twitter and Instagram. A couple of weeks later, the director of PR for Chico's contacted me, and send me a lovely gift for wearing and publicizing their clothing at this event. I'm happy and thrilled to be an ambassador for good service and great clothing from Chico's!

A huge thank you to Heidi Gollub of the local site Free Fun in Austin, who partnered with Radisson Austin to secure a fabulous room for a girls' staycation weekend along with Nicole of LiveMom and my Listen To Your Mother co-producer Leigh Ann Torres. If you're thinking about visiting Austin, this is the perfect location to catch the trail, the sunset, the bats, and within walking distance of several different areas to hang out and eat (and by the way, the hotel's peach crumble pie is delicious). Our favorite was Frank, a hot dog and sausage place that had surprisingly fantastic salads and a giant pretzel that is bigger than your head.

Happy Sunday!


Friday, August 14, 2015

Friday favorites: August 14, 2015

We have one week left of summer 2015. One week. I am holding on with both hands, my arms wrapped around the last bit of summer as though I could keep it here by sheer will and love alone.

But I cannot.

My son will step into his kindergarten class and meet his teacher for the first time a week from today. I think he's ready. I'm not sure I am, but I am pretending well. I'm lining up my other first-time-kindergarten friends so we can cry on each others' shoulders that morning.

We have talked quite a lot about kindergarten in our house, and I have found that what is he is holding close to him is the job I gave him.

"You are going to be one of the oldest kids in the class, and sometimes bigger, too," I told him. His 6th birthday is just a couple of weeks after school starts. "It's your job to help the younger kids and make them feel welcome. You are older, so it's up to you be a leader."

He is taking his job very seriously. I can see the light in his eyes and he puffs up his chest just a little.

You are already leader, sweetheart. Be a good one.  And most importantly, a kind one.

* * *
In case you missed it, I was featured at a few sites:

On the Today Show parenting team site, my revised letter to my son's lovey (originally written before he started preschool two years ago) had a sweet second wind. Tissues may be required.

In New York, I had the fantastic opportunity to attend the premiere of the Marvel movie Ant-Man, hosted by the star, Paul Rudd. I reviewed the movie (spoiler: I loved it!) at BonBon Break.

Here in Austin, LiveMom asked me to try Painting with a Twist, and I discovered that it's a perfect place for a relaxing girls' night out.

I'm proud to be a member of the Texas Conference for Woman Street Team, and I was quoted in this article about what I think the US Women's Soccer Team's win will mean to women's sports.

* * *
I am drawn to heavy, deep writing that elicits tears or butterflies, and I have plenty of those to share with you. But first, a funny post including summer-related haiku poems from Vikki Reich, one of my favorite people and fellow Listen To Your Mother producer.

I had heard of the amazing Luvvie and finally had the chance to meet her in NYC at BlogHer. She is a force of nature - wonderfully smart and poised and making a difference in the world. Check her out.

If you are learning, like me, about cultural differences and why the #blacklivesmatter hashtag is important, read this. It's a beautiful explanation from the owner of a bookstore who has an open heart.

This post at the Washington Post's On Parenting blog spoke to me: letting our kids take risks keeps them out of trouble later, the author says.

I had no idea that Denis Leary was married to a woman with such writing talent. Her description of their marriage and keeping love alive is worth reading every word.

Sarah Honey is one of the sweetest women on the internet, no joke. This post is vintage Sarah, and it's so true. "10 Ways to Show Love to Our Children"

Don't miss this story from Texas Monthly about a teenage boy, an accident, and his mother's deep love for him. 

My friend Katrina's hands shook when she clicked "publish" on this story. It's raw, heartbreaking, and powerful. I want to bear witness and share with you the beautiful and wrenching words she is sharing.

Have you ever needed a friend so badly, and one in particular emerged when you bared your soul? This is a great example. Share your hurts and let someone help.

I love Brenna's words about discipline and kids and where she draws the line.

One of my professional mentors in the aviation world is new to blogging, and his cerebral writing sticks with me. This one makes me want to stop and be quiet and think.

Lastly, I received in the mail Rachel Macy Stafford's new book, Hands Free Life. I am diving in, savoring every chapter; it will be available next month. In the meantime, I'm going to create two jars based on Rachel's description for two very special men in my life: my husband and son. 

* * *

Love, Kristin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...