Thursday, February 20, 2014

Picture Perfect

Laurealism presents:

What you see vs. What you don't see.*

What you see: 
A snuggly little boy, in cuddle mode.

What you don't see: 
This little boy is refusing a nap. I give in, because he is bribing me with hugs (which are usually hard to come by.) Due to lack of sleep, in a few short hours he will terrorize us with a terrifying tantrum-apocalypse because I won't let him pee in the dogs' water bowl.

What you see: 
An adorable, bouncing, baby boy.

What you don't see: 
Said baby boy just got his first tooth at four months. And after a couple of sleepless nights, he still doesn't quite know the difference between a teething toy and say... my nipple.

What you see: 
A rather impressive block-town built together. Because I have all the time in the world to build block-towns.

What you don't see: 
Me, stepping on a triangle shaped block, 5 minutes or so after Henry-zilla terrorizes this humble little town. 
And there are exactly 100 other things I could (maybe should?) be doing instead of playing blocks with my son, but on this particular day I went with the playing because sometimes Mommy just wants to play, too.

What you see: 
A pretty cool fireplace.

What you don't see: 
My toddler picking that sand up. And then throwing it. Also just how terrifying those rocks will be when the baby becomes mobile.

What you see: 
A boy imitating his dog. And it is adorable.

What you don't see: 
The daily fight to convince Henry to wear clothes.
Also: splinters for days.

What you see: 
Two sweet pups.

What you don't see: 
Dog hair everywhere, always.
Missing dinner (I thought I put that chicken right here.)

What you see: 
Two brothers cuddling

What you don't see: 
It's 5:30A.M. and I stayed up way too late with a book because I needed a little me-time and got carried away. And Daddy who is usually the saving grace in this situation has an early meeting. There is likely an iPad hiding somewhere in these covers, which will buy me the time it takes for one Jake and the Neverland Pirates episode to pull myself together. Dry cereal for breakfast, anyone?

What you see: 
A mom who has time to create cute little crafts for her son's nursery school class.

What you don't see: It's 11P.M. the night before. I had to run out to buy these goldfish because I nearly forgot about the holiday party. Also the baby is literally wearing the last of his diapers. Say it with me folks: procrastination.

What you see: 
The whole crew excitedly watching Daddy walk in.

What you don't see: 
How excited I am to put myself in time-out once Daddy walks through the door. 

What you see: 
Children at play. Both children are happy, fed and dressed.

What you don't see: To the left is a seriously messy kitchen. Which will remain that way for at least another day (give or take a week.) 
Also, in a few moments Henry will feed William a pretzel while my back is turned.


*What's the point of all this?

It's this: I know I am very, very blessed with everything that I have in my life. But, I am far from perfect. There are many things I need more time for, many things I'd like to do better. 98% of the time I am just barely holding it together. If a picture can say a thousand words, a real-life situation can say a thousand more. 

I've read many stats, stories and posts lately on how people are unhappier in general because of social media: feeling they need to constantly compare themselves to other people and their picture-perfect social media lives. 

Friends: Comparison is the thief of joy. 

So I want to be clear: My life is not picture perfect. My social media presence is just me putting my best foot forward, as they say. I'm trying to share and spread my happiness, not hinder yours.

And I will continue to like and comment on and share in all of your picture perfect posts. Because frankly, why can't your happy moments be mine as well?

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Saturday, February 15, 2014


Happy birthday to me!

I've been feeling slightly overwhelmed lately. The cliched notion of so much to do, so little time seems to be constantly looming in the back of my mind. And while it applies to many aspects of my life (dishes, laundry, play-time with the boys, etc.) for me it also most particularly applies to reading.

It's estimated that there are 129 million books printed in modern history. If I live to be 100 (goal age!) I'd have to read more than 3500 books per day to get to them all. Suffice it to say, I don't think I'm going to get there.

But I can surely try to get to all the good stuff. And I like to think that I've gotten to at least some of that good stuff. Which is why I've compiled this list. Twenty-eight books. One for every year of my life. These are must reads in my opinion, spanning all ages and all genres.

Twenty + Eight Books:

Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster
The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis
Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein
Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling
The Giver, Lois Lowry
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Oh, The Places You'll Go! Dr. Seuss
The Awakening, Kate Chopin
Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield
The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk
Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris
The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
Charlotte's Web, E.B. White
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
Inglorious Basterds: A Screenplay, Quentin Tarantino
And the Mountains Echoed, Khaled Hosseini
On the Night You Were Born, Nancy Tillman
Olivia, Ian Falconer
The Bridges of Madison County, Robert James Waller
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
The Red Tent, Anita Diamant
Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
What Does the Fox Say? Ylvis

I cherish all of these books for one reason or another.

I remember my mom reading The Chronicles of Narnia to us. In fact, I remember so vividly how I imagined the children traveling through the wardrobe into Narnia that it may as well be a memory of an actual event.

I remember translating The Little Prince from it's original French in high school. It's magic moved me so much, that I've chosen it as the first book to read to all of my babies.

I remember how Chuck Palaniuk's writing really shocked me, initially. But then I couldn't put him down. It's like he could read my mind at moments.

And how I laughed with David Sedaris. How can the experiences of this man, who is in many ways my very opposite, resonate with me so much?

Many of these books changed my perspective. Many opened my eyes. Many took me on adventures I could never have imagined on my own. But most importantly, they allowed me to better know myself.

And it always amazes me; how can it be that an author fifty years ago, living a completely different life, in a completely different world, put into words an exact sentiment or thought I've had before? Words can really do wonders to bring us closer together as people.

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. George R.R. Martin

And I intend to do just that.

And what's more... I want thousands of wonderful adventures for everyone. Did you know that in some of the lowest-income neighborhoods in the U.S. there is only ONE book available for every 300 children? That statistic breaks my heart. 

So if you want to give me a birthday gift this year consider donating to the Laurealism Birthday Book Drive which I've organized through First Book, a great organization that provides access to new books for children in need.

Children deserve the chance to learn to love to read. So wish me a happy birthday by donating... whatever amount you can. Even a $10 donation provides four books to children who need them.

My Ideal Bookshelf

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