Mighty Life List
Jan 31 2013

Kid Magic: 5 Ways to Make Your Little One Wish They Never Had to Grow Up

Many thanks to Disney for sponsoring this post. See Never Land like never before in the Peter Pan Diamond Edition , coming to Blu-ray™ and HD Digital February 5!

When I became a mom, obviously I worried about worrying too much. I didn’t want to be the kind of parent who wonders aloud whether my child should be in violin lessons, pushes flash cards on him, constantly warns him not to get dirt on his tiny three-piece suit.

I’m a rule follower by nature. So naturally, I want Hank to be the opposite of me – Flexible! Carefree! Laid back! So naturally he made constant requests that I wipe his face when he was a toddler, and now that he can read? He gets anxious when he thinks I’m parking in a way that defies municipal signage.

Still, I’d like him treasure his childhood enough that some part of him never wants to let it go. If he has to grow up (and he totally doesn’t forever and ever amen) at least I’d like him to hang on to a bit of wonder.

Over the years, I’ve found ways to put some cracks in the system so we can let the light in. Here are my personal rules for loosening things up, and introducing a little magic into my kiddo’s childhood:

1. Get sand in the car.

I get tired, you guys. Often the thought of cleaning up after mud pies, or glitter, or salt dough? It’s enough to make me suggest a rousing game of Chutes and Ladders instead of a day at the beach — followed by a round of vacuuming sand from the car.

So now if Hank wants to do something, I think about what will make a better memory later — another game of UNO, or a papier mache volcano. And then I lay down some newspaper.

2. Bend instead of snapping.

A while ago, we talked about your childhood memories, and Martha said she had always felt at home at her grandmother’s house precisely because her grandmother was so laissez faire:

“My grandmother had no rules: she threw away toothpaste caps and slept in her clothes. My mom was the type that kept the plastic on things. I loved being so free [at my grandmother’s house] because it always felt like I was getting away with something huge.”

Ulp. I think about this a lot, and it’s one of the reasons why we have snacks for dinner about once a week. Hank doesn’t love meals, but he adores snacks. He gets so excited when I announce that we’re having Snack Dinner. We even have a song. Snack Dinnah! Duh-da-DUH! … You may have to be there.

3. Wake your kiddo up.

Remember how much more special things were as a kid when it was dark outside? Tiny ones have so few memories of being included after dark. I woke Hank up to carve his pumpkin, decorate the Christmas tree, and sometimes I wake him just to have tea and toast with me if it’s an especially early morning. Sometimes we light candles. Kids don’t get much access to fire either, which is probably for the best.

4. Give kids some grown-up perks.

I’ve been trying to keep fresh flowers in the house, so I started picking them up when we go grocery shopping. It feels like an extravagance even for me, so when Hank asked if he could pick flowers for his room, I hesitated at first. Then I caught myself. Five bucks. I’d spend that on a crappy plastic toy that he might not look at again. Why not?

5. Think before you say no.

Speaking of which, “Why not?” has become my mantra when it comes to Hank. If there’s a good reason why not, I can provide it. If there’s not, and I forget to ask myself, I can always count on him to Remind me.

“Can I have a cookie?”
“No, love.”
“Why not?”
“I want you to be hungry for dinner.”

“Can I have a cookie?”
“No, sweets.”
“Why not?”
“You just brushed your teeth and cookies will stick to them and give you cavities.”
“Oh. Can I have a cookie when I wake up?”
“… Well. Why not?”

Jan 30 2013

Everyone’s Waiting by Missy Higgins

Everyone’s Waiting by Missy Higgins

You know what, while we’re here? Maybe just listen to her whole new album, which is called The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle. In particular:

Cooling of the Embers
If I’m Honest
Hello, Hello

It’s so rare for me to put an album on repeat anymore. What’s the most recent album you wore out?

Photo source

Jan 29 2013

I Cut Off My Hair

I cut my hair.

And I love it. Don’t you love it? Yay!

In the few days since, almost everyone who has seen me asks me why I did it. “Why? Why? WHY?”

Um. It was too long?

I’m not emotionally attached to my hair, it’s not symbolic of anything for me. I wasn’t recently dumped, I didn’t come to a profound decision about the direction my life is taking and decide to do something radical. The truth is, my hair grows fast, and I don’t get to the salon enough, so it seemed like a good idea to go short in the likely event that I don’t cut it again for another year.

Huge thanks to Casie Norris from the Lunatic Fringe Salon in Salt Lake City, she translated the photo I brought in of St. Vincent perfectly. And thanks to Jordan for the rec.

Jan 29 2013

Web Crush: Meg Keene of a Practical Wedding

I recently checked “Form a workplace with people I love” off my Life List. Now, every day until Valentine’s Day, I’m saying thanks to someone whose work online has inspired me. Today’s crush is Meg Keene of A Practical Wedding.

Photo source.

Meg is one of my favorite examples of how the Web has helped me find my people — she was one of my first readers-turned-friends. We met when she applied for the Mighty Summit with a list of accomplishments that made me wonder why I hadn’t already heard of her. The Internet is so big now, you guys.

MEG KEENE is beloved because:

– Every thought shows up on her face. When she’s happy, her eyebrows jump and her smile hangs open, like she’s shocked that any moment could be so good. Simple, important things make Meg cry.
– Meg is candid and loyal. She tells you the truth, with only passing acknowledgement that it might be uncomfortable. She does not hedge her bets, and she doesn’t have much interest in people who do.
– Meg says, “Yeah. Fuck that.” about anything that fails to be awesome.

From A Practical Wedding:

“As a blogger, there seems to be an expectation that once you get pregnant, you become a mommy blogger (troubling term notwithstanding). That, much of what you have to write about is going to have to do with pregnancy and parenting. But the trick is, unlike what the whole culture told me to expect, I still feel like exactly the same person now as I did before. The same person, with roughly the same interests. Turns out I’m not very interested in researching items to be purchased for the baby. (I hate researching items to be purchased.) Turns out I am very interested in decorating the baby’s future room (I love decorating rooms), and buying toys (I love toys). But mostly, I’m interested in things like vintage heels, food, excellent TV shows, making jokes with my husband, and my work. In fact, I’m really, really, interested in my work… read more.”

My Crush series is part of RedEnvelope’s Crush on You initiative, which is about showing gratitude to the people who make your life better.

Jan 25 2013

Life List Inspiration from Go Mighty

Jan 24 2013

Web Crush: Holly Burns, Nothing But Bonfires

I recently checked “Form a workplace with people I love” off my Life List. Now, every day until Valentine’s Day, I’m saying thanks to someone whose work online has inspired me. Today’s crush is Holly Burns of Nothing but Bonfires.

Photo source

I first heard Holly’s name through another blogger, who said, “Do you know about Holly Burns? She’s this gorgeous world traveler with a British Accent. I thought she was fictional until I met her.” I met her myself a few months later, she was a travel writer at the time, and fell for her self-deprecating wit and penchant for doing things just-so. She’s a girl after my own particular heart.

HOLLY BURNS is beloved because:

– Holly is one of the best storytellers I know, and she conceives of the world as a narrative arc. For example, she met her husband Sean on the beach when she was sixteen. She was on a mission to meet an American boy, and he happened to be a sailor in the U.S. Navy. I could hear the story a million times, there’s always a new detail.

– Holly likes a solid checklist. I told her I was doing The Big Eat, and she was not only enthusiastic about hitting five restaurants in a single night with me, she made a map.

– Holly loves her family. Loves them as a defining characteristic of her being. As in, they have sing alongs at Christmas while her brother plays guitar, she goes to pub trivia nights with her father, and talks about how much she misses all of them when they’re not visiting. It’s pretty winning.

From Nothing but Bonfires:

“No photographic evidence ever exists of [our family sing alongs], because it would be too easy for other people to use it as blackmail material. One year we took a video of us doing the Twelve Days of Christmas—complete with actions—and now none of us can ever run for public office.”

“The first time I laid eyes on Sean, I was sitting cross-legged in the parking lot of that beach in my JC Penney jeans. He rode up on a bicycle and started playing hackeysack. Ah, the nineties: simpler times. Times when a girl could like a boy who played hackeysack and not be ridiculed for it.”

In addition to being a great writer, Holly is also pretty darn crafty. Have a look at her Home DIYs. They will make you feel suitably inferior.

My Crush series is part of RedEnvelope’s Crush on You initiative, which is about showing gratitude to the people who make your life better.

Jan 23 2013

Web Crush: Erin Loechner of Design for Mankind

I recently checked “Form a workplace with people I love” off my Life List. Now, every day until Valentine’s Day, I’m saying thanks to someone whose work online has inspired me. Today’s crush is Erin Loechner.

Erin and I met at the very first ALT Summit, which is where I’ll be later today. She had long hair back then, and was wearing her grandmother’s boots. (Right Flickr? Right.) A couple years later, we spoke at ALT together.

ERIN LOECHNER is beloved because:

  • She listens. Erin is paying attention. She’s especially attuned to the people around her, always asking a followup question and checking in.
  • She’s tough. Erin leads with sunshine, and she has a lot of it in her, so everyone thinks of her as a kid sister. But try messing with her or someone she loves. Erin can be a mama bear when the situation calls for it.
  • She embodies my version of feminism. I don’t know quite how to put this, but to me feminism isn’t the rejection of girly things. It’s the assertion that feminine pursuits are no less valid than traditionally masculine interests. Erin leads with femininity, inclusion, warmth, a passion for beautiful, shiny, fluffy, vivacious, intelligent things. And she is crushing it in business. Crushing it. Go sis.

From Design for Mankind:

The Rebirth of Slow Blogging (and a New Direction)

“We live in a world of more; this much is obvious. More things, more information. More time-saving tricks we use to find the time to uncover even more time-saving tricks. We live in a world of Pinterest, where visual images shoot out like firehoses of pretty, manifesting themselves in the parts of our brain we reserve for planning elaborate feasts and fetes. We have hundreds of RSS subscriptions to blogs creating amazing tablescapes and Halloween costumes and DIY floor lamps. And we take it all in, bookmarking each project for future use when “someday” is finally today.

Yet friends, I fear that someday will never come. Because there will continually be more to do, to see, to buy. And our someday file will slowly become outdated with a new sea of ideas and thoughts promising to fulfill our lives in ways we never dreamed possible… read more.

My Crush series is part of RedEnvelope’s Crush on You initiative, which is about showing gratitude to the people who make your life better.