If the magic happens when you step out of your comfort zone, then magic, pure magic happened almost three years ago when I stepped on the Listen To Your Mother stage to share my story one of my stories with the world. It is a story of motherhood, sisterhood, friendship, and most of all-love. 

Standing on that stage was a once in a lifetime moment. Being a part of something so much bigger than me was unbelievable. The bond I share with my fellow cast members is the best kind. They became friends and family. We still celebrate each other and cheer each other on. I have only the fondest of memories of the entire experience. In fact, I am honored that I was able to share this moment. It is one of my proudest mom/daughter/sister moments. Here it is.
I'm bringing this up in January of 2017 in hopes that you might be inspired to do the same! I hope you will step out of your comfort zone and write one of your stories. Or maybe share the story you  have written down already. OR maybe even the one floating around in your head. The story, your story, can be about your mom, you as a mom, your grandmother, you as a teacher who gets called mom, your significant other....anything having to do with motherhood! :)

If you are not so sure about all of this, watch the videos. My story happens to be a sad one. Some will make you laugh out loud though. Some will make your heart smile. Some will make you laugh, cry, and smile all in one! All of the stories will stay with you and many of them will remind you of a moment of your own.

If you are not in or near the ATL, visit Listen To Your Mother to find a city near you. If you are in or near the ATL, click HERE to find out how you can share your story.  We have amazing producers and alumni! Grab a friend and convince them to do the same. 

Want more? I wrote about LTYM here and here. Let me know if I can help you with your decision! I can read your draft, chat with you about your idea, or just have a drink with you to ease the nerves before you audition! 

Now, let's do this! Let's focus on writing in 2017! 

One Little Word

If you have read any of my ramblings over the years (how has it been years?) you know I am pretty serious about my one little word. I wait for it to find me. I spend hours thinking about it. I say it. I write it in fancy letters like a boy's name on my trapper keeper. I try to be one with the word. I commit to the power of my chosen word. One time I even thought about getting a tattoo of my word (#wimp.) 

Well, that was before I had M. I mean really, I barely have time to tie my shoes and when I do, I think he secretly plots a way to untie them. :) 

This year, my word once again found me, but it was more than a friendly hello. The word hit me like a ton of bricks. Like, HEY YOU! I'M THE WORD YOU SHOULD HAVE CHOSEN ALL THOSE OTHER YEARS.  

Here's my word.
-focus on what matters, including self
-focus on things I can control

Wish me luck with this handful.

What's your word?

Decorations Are Up!

Our decorations are always a work in progress, but this year we were a little later than usual (which is late,) and did not have them up until more than a week after Thanksgiving. In our defense, Thanksgiving was early this year! :)

T chose a shorter, chubbier tree than usual. He said it just spoke to him. How could we say no to that? 
Our tree is a crazy mix of kid made ornaments, gifts from students and family, keepsakes from our favorite places, and treasures A made for us over the years. M has only pulled ornaments off 5 or 6 times and the entire tree itself only once. I am feeling pretty good about that. 

My favorite ornament on the tree is this one. A few years ago, my Granny gave the little sister and I a box of her oldest ornaments. Each year I hang one on the tree. I tell the boys a funny story about Granny as we hang it. I still cry though. She is missed and the holidays always make it a bit harder.
As for other decorations, my second favorite spot in the whole house is our fireplace. Our family tradition is to decorate it with books. The books do not last long before being grabbed. Sometimes they read them. Sometimes we read the books to the boys. Sometimes they build with them. Sometimes we find them in the kitchen, on the floor when we are walking to turn on the lights and almost slip and fall on our face. Sometimes... :)
Another tradition we have is the big reveal. We do not reveal our Christmas card until they have been mailed. So silly, right? I know! 
In the meantime, from our family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

12 Days of Christmas, Teacher Gifts

People usually remember I am a teacher around this time of year. How do I know? They say things like, "So...what do teachers really want for a gift?" 

I like to keep my responses varied and fun depending on the audience. 

"Gifts really are not necessary. We really do love what we do."

"Nothing. Please, no gifts or goodies or notes."

"I think the pay we deserve would be a great place to start." 

"Anything you give your child's teacher will be appreciated. You might also want to throw in a handwritten thank you note." 

With any response, people usually go to question 2 and ask what I give T's teacher. This is an easier one for me. Our family is all about gift cards. We find out our teacher's favorite place or places and along with a beautiful note or favorite candy, send a gift card. You can't go wrong with a gift card. You just can't.

Last year though, my teacher BFF had an amazing parent give her a 12 Days of Christmas gift. Each day as they counted down until winter break, the parent sent a note and goodie to go with it. For example, on the 5th day of Christmas, her student gave to her (sing the tune!) 5 golden pineapple rings! Soooo cute! Susanne reminded me this year so I could do the same for T's teacher. Wanting to keep it personal for his teacher, we sat together and thought of items for each verse. Here's what we came up with! See if you can make the connections!

We included a cute note each day. Here's an example- "On the 1st day of Christmas, my 2nd grader gave to me... a partridge in a pear tree." On the back, we wrote, "or in our case, a super cute bird ornament." We also contribute to the class gift because well, our teacher rocks! 

Click the picture to download a set of free, blank cards to print! 
Your child's teacher really will appreciate whatever you give him or her for the holidays! As cheesy as it sounds, it truly is the thought that counts! 


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