An Ode to Winter Break

Oh Winter Break, how I loathe—ahem, love!—thee. Let me count the ways.

One, you arrived so quickly after Thanksgiving break, which only ended twenty-four and a half days ago.

Two, you bring me ample amounts of time to spend with my children and make it too easy for them to invade my bubble morning, noon, and night.

Three, you trick me into thinking bedtime is near when the sky grows dark at five o’clock … when in reality, there are many hours left to endure.

Four, you actually last long enough (2 weeks, baby!) to the point where I’ve gotten kinda used to having my routine thrown off.

Five, you make me appreciate not having to pack lunches every night or rush around every morning.

Six, you force me to slow down and just be present with my kids, even as I fight the urge to check my phone.

Seven, you’ve given me plenty of chances to play board games, take silly selfies, do crafts, play video games, and eat lunch with two of the most important people in my life.

Eight, you help me rethink my priorities and encourage me to make decisions I won’t regret (years from now when the kids are grown).

Nine, you challenge me to be a better parent—one who chooses relationships over rules, routines, and rigidity.

And ten (the reason why I love you the most): You are SO MUCH shorter than summer break. 😉

On a more serious note (haha), I have been mostly enjoying winter break with the munchkins at home. Spending time with them during the day means lots of late nights so I can catch up on work, but it’s all good. They are totally worth it. I’m not saying I always choose wisely or even feel loving and patient all the time (I’m human after all!), but I’m much more mindful of making my relationship with them a priority. It’s not easy or natural for me to do this, which is why I’m SO grateful I recently came across the parenting blog, Untigering.com, and its Facebook group. Every one of Iris’s posts has resonated with me and moved me to reconsider my parenting style. I highly recommend checking it out (especially if you’re needing a sanity saver during winter break).

On another note, for this new year, I’ve decided to adjust my posting schedule on my blog from weekly to bi-weekly. This is mostly to save my sanity as I try to balance my roles as writer, wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter, and friend. My author career really picked up last year and I’d love to continue to grow that part of me. I’m trying to focus my energy and efforts on doing what is sustainable because, as I’ve come to realize, there is only one of me and only 24 hours in a day. I thank you so much for following along with me on my blogging journey, and I hope you will continue to do so every other week. 🙂 As always, feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts.

I’ll leave you with this powerful song from The Greatest Showman, “This Is Me”, sung by Keala Settle. The heart and raw passion that she sings with will blow you away. I’ve been listening to the soundtrack on repeat ever since I bought it, and the munchkins are even listening and singing along! Now I just have to watch the movie. 😉

How do you remind yourself to value relationships over rules, routines, and rigidity?

What Contact Lenses & Q-Tips Reminded Me About Marriage

I had an eye-opening—quite literally!—experience recently. Midway through my bedtime routine, I found myself with two contact lenses stuck in my eyes. They were plastered to my eyeballs to the point that they wouldn’t come out, no matter how hard I tried to pull them off. I had stayed up quite late the night before writing so my eyes were dry, and it didn’t help that this pair of contacts were a few days past their lifespan. The lenses were stuck, stuck, stuck! It felt like my eyeballs would never breathe again.

What did I do? Call for back-up, of course!

I went running downstairs to where hubby was standing in front of his computer screens (yes, multiple ones because an IT guy can’t have just one) and told him my plight. He looked into my eyes and troubleshot the situation (did I mention he’s an IT guy?), suggesting everything from using eye drops, to moving the contacts around in my eye, to lying down and relaxing. After I’d done all of the above and my eyeballs were still trapped behind their round plastic prisons, hubby knew that desperate times called for desperate measures.

And that’s when he pulled out these babies …

and stuck them in my eyes. Yep, I’d never felt more vulnerable or closer to hubby than in that moment. There we were nose-to-nose, looking into one another’s eyes as he used two Q-tips to gently pluck the contact lenses from my eyes. Yes, it was as unromantic and scary as it sounds! In between my attempts at staying still and busting out in uncontrollable laughter, I joked that this was prime material for a blog post on marriage. So, ta-da! Here are some marriage truths I was reminded of that I’ll share with you today. 🙂

  1. Marriage is all about being close. Okay, so it doesn’t require you to literally be in one another’s faces (except when you kiss or need to do an emergency contact lens removal!), but your spouse is quite possibly the one person whom you know the best and who knows you the best. When another person lets you into their world and shares all his/her dreams, fears, longings, and regrets with you, it’s a big deal. It’s a privilege not to be taken for granted.
  2. Marriage is all about being vulnerable. Trust is such an essential part of a relationship, but it’s one of the basic foundations of a marriage. Marry someone you can be yourself with, someone who is your safe place from the craziness of the world. Someone you would trust your heart with (and possibly your eyeballs, too). And be someone who offers that same kind of cozy and comfortable haven to your spouse.
  3. Marriage needs to be fun. And funny. Because laughter, inside jokes, and memorable stories you’ll talk about years from now help keep the spark alive when life gets hard or mundane. You can bet I’ll never look at Q-tips the same way again.

I’m happy and relieved to say my contacts finally emerged from my weary, bloodshot eyes thirty minutes later. What worked? Thanks to Google, I found out the best (and easiest) way to get contacts unstuck from your eyes is to use two fingers, and place one on the upper lid and one on the lower. With the finger on your upper lid, press straight down. With the finger on your lower lid, press straight up. The lens should pull away from your eyeball and come out! Trust me, it’s much more pleasant than sticking Q-tips in your eyes. 😉

I’ll close with a sweet song I’ve been listening to on repeat: “Rewrite the Stars”, sung by Zac Efron and Zendaya, from the upcoming movie, The Greatest Showman.

What truths have you learned about marriage?