#5words Sir Richard Branson Challenge


Inspired by Sir Richard Branson’s #5word challenge I asked myself, “Can I describe what I do in 5 words?” The answer was murky at best; are you asking the mommy-self, the writer-self, the activist-self, the educator-self,..the wife…the friend… (I’m a Gemini…we’re SUPPOSED to have a lot of “selfs” but I am sure you have more than a few in your pocket too;)

When it comes down to it, I believe my purpose on earth is to… Help people through my writing. But I love the simplicity of my motto… Laugh. Love…Serve …hey got it down to 3!

I got a kick out of my oldest son’s answer to the question above.

Luke to me, “Mom, your job is…To keep us safe…ha! I did it in 4 words!” he smiles.

Luke says about himself, “My job is… To help the little ones.”

Right on! What clarity for 8 years old; I think I had my nose in a book at 8 and hadn’t the slightest idea of what a Purpose was let alone have one of my own. I learn SO much from Luke it’s overwhelming at times.

A few weeks ago, I had a chance to teach him a thing or two 😉

 

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A few months ago I discovered a Mommy Recharging Station at CV Yoga with Andrea Spence. She teaches Yoga ropes on Fridays (anyone in the area check it out!!) One of the amazing benefits of having Andrea as an instructor is the super cool pics she takes of the students during class to enforce that anything is possible and that we CAN do unthinkable things. I would come home and show the victory of my efforts to the kids and they would go bananas!

“I wanna go! When can we try that?!” “I didn’t know Mama’s liked to play like that?!” …pretty great responses.

Andrea was gracious enough to welcome my oldest into her class when he was lucky enough to score a teacher work day one Friday.

When I experienced my first class and was told to “trust the rope” and “trust my body to hold me parallel to the floor” the chatter in my brain said NO WAY! RUN!! I obviously didn’t listen and had the time of my life pushing my own boundaries. Now it was Luke’s turn. Like the Champion he is. He knew my job was to keep him safe and wouldn’t ask him to try anything I thought would harm him. So…up he went! Amazing how he just needed a breath of encouragement and he took off like a Pro! Of course he could tackle the Yoga Ropes! He was safe, encouraged and eager to try something new. Now he is ready to teach the little ones….whooa…wait a minute….simmer down Luke!….though if he thinks his 5 year old brother and 3 year old sister are ready, maybe they are…after all Luke takes his job of helping the little ones pretty seriously.

Funny how the pure spirit of an 8 year old can sum up my job better than I can (4 words!) and knows his purpose too!

Do you know yours? Share it with me! Don’t forget to try the #5word challenge. Check out the link above and see what others have posted. Three Cheers for pursuing your purpose!

Laugh hard. Love strong. Live to serve.

Best!

Kimberly Crawford

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Mom on the Move


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Move

/moov/. verb. 1. go in a specified direction or manner; change position. 2. change or cause to change from one state, opinion, sphere, or activity to another.

noun. 1. a change of place, position or state.

My day started with a tearful Jax sullenly dragging his sleepy body back to his bedroom. Mike and I were pajama-less and I told Jax he could hang out with us on top of the covers or go back to bed in his own room. Taking my response as total rejection, iridescent globes of his pure little heart welled up at the edge of his eyes and silently slid down his sun-kissed and freckled cheeks. I struggled to rush through the waking process, trying to use my hands to sit myself up and rub away the sleep all at once, accomplishing neither. His crushing sobs bounced down the hallway which contorted the sound into an almost laugh or squawk which confused my morning mush-brain even more. By the time I located my robe, haphazardly discarded on Mike’s side of the bed, and plodded down the hall to my middle son’s room; I found him cocooned in 3 layers of blankets. Consoled by his stuffies, which were dutifully snuggled underneath his chin. One of his favorites, a corn-flower blue fuzzy bunny shielded Jax’s eye with a floppy ear. His face full of peace. I would have thought I dreamt the whole event had there not been the telling streaks of dried tears on his freckled face. Jax had been sleep walking again.

Like the other moments before, Jax would not remember this interaction. I, however, am left with the feeling of moving through a moment without being able to … i don’t know… what am I left with? A moment that I am experiencing alone, and yet not alone? So… weird.

On todays agenda was to hike with a new friend. We became acquainted through Jax’s friendship with her son: a really fun, spirited kid Jax loves to be around.

We had talked about getting together to hike for weeks. I had noticed something going on with her. Today she confides that she and her husband are separated with the intention of divorce. My heart felt so heavy for her. One look in here eyes and I could see the steps she walked were made with thoughtfulness and intent. Yet, I wanted to take her hand and start to just run. Run down the block and jump off the concrete street as if it were a runway and take off into the brilliant sapphire sky. I wanted to help her glide through the clouds and have the wind wick away the tears and hurt she was so honestly showcasing despite our fledgling friendship.

Instead, we hiked; we took off into the winding paths of Lake Chabot. As we talked and pumped our healthy legs to the rhythm of our raw truths, the world looked like velvet. The landscape, a blanket for our honest and raw words to softly land, despite the sweat-filled pounding of our feet. It was as if we were the toddlers Mother Earth held close to her belly and let us beat our fists against.

As our hearts pumped with action both verbal and physical, we were safe. Discovering new pieces of each other and realizing how alike we may be. I tried to keep my listening ears on and not talk so much or offer my suggestions; just listen. I didn’t do as well as I wanted too. I did my best in that moment.

I felt honored she shared such an intimate moment with me and trusted me enough to be so real. When I looked at her, as we finished our walk, I saw such a strong woman -walking in the present and toward the future she had not foreseen -with the purpose of being the best woman and mother she can be.

I was moved. Empowered, I hope to model some of her strength and intention into my day. What am I not doing for myself that I should be doing? What is the truth that I am not speaking? What actions am I not holding myself accountable for?

Maybe my feeling of being challenged by my sister-in-laws comment of “having all the extra time now that Ziva is in school, why was I not writing?” she asked, “What am I filling my time up with these other projects if writing is what I am passionate about?” Instead of saying, “good question!” I felt defensive and dismissed it. Now, in this moment… I see what she sees; why am I not being true to myself and putting this passion first (or even 5th!) No one is asking me to be a martyr or to have the cleanest house on the block.

Working on being real, letting people in and learning to trust and share my inner thoughts is what I should be practicing. Not worrying about what people will think if my kitchen floor has layers of dog hair, squashed strawberry tops and coffee grounds. If they are real friends, they will know that 3 kids, 2 dogs, 1 cat and a busy husband leads to an always moving household.

Though I love the pictures in my Dwell magazine and Architect Digest, they are no match for the epic pillow fights that spontaneously erupt in my front room. Or the awesome dance parties we have to shake off a funky day.

It is only 1:18PM and already I have learned a lot…the day is not nearly over. I am excited to go, walk, proceed, progress, advance, change, budge, shift, act; to Move.

What about you?

Laugh hard. Love strong. Live to serve!

Best!

Kimberly Crawford

Why Matt Mullenweg is someone worth following…


Why Matt Mullengweg is someone worth following…

Each of you is a pioneer in your little universe; a mini universe that is a part of the amazing one we share.

Matt Mullenweg (WordPress and Automattic) is a pioneer- hero cubed! Check out this article.

 It got me thinking about communication, definitions of success and failure and how people (and kids) will rise to the challenge when given the chance to take charge of something when asked to deliver on a set deadline.

Thank you Julie Bort and Business Insider for a great article. 

Did the article speak to you? Share your thoughts with me:)

Laugh hard. Love strong. Live to serve.

Best!

Kimberly Crawford

http://www.lastmomstanding.com

 

A Tale of “Gunny Dad” Gone Wild: NOT Unified on the Home-front


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Have you ever called your spouse in for “back up”, in order to show your kids that you parents are a unified front? I did that last night. Yep, I sure did! Called an emergency family meeting and had my husband come out of his home office to make a strong show of solidarity in our war on Unacceptable Behavior. Did it work, you ask?

*Sigh… Yeah, not so much….

Maybe I should have told my husband that he was supposed to be my partner, playing the role of the intimidating, muscle-y body guard/eloquent diplomat- type. Mike was supposed to sit beside me, with his arms crossed and stare down the boys as he helped me explain WHY we need to practice courtesy and mindfulness along with safety when opening the front door. Instead, I unleashed his inner marine drill sergeant!

One minute I am sitting across from the boys discussing behavior and my disappointment in how they morph into a swarm of crazed hornets whenever the doorbell rings and company is at the door; They put on this elaborate display of what we call “ultimate shenanigans”- running up and down the stairs, pants-ing each other (My oldest has still not figured out that wearing underwear would help him save face), attempting to run past the person at the front door and bolt down the street to goodness knows where…clothed or not, screeching at the top of their lungs as if they are being chased by a blood thirsty grizzly bear.

I drone on about how we need to practice better behavior when we have company at the door (this is when I expected Mike to flex a bit of muscle and chime in on how they are great kids but need to work on this area more, blah, blah, blah…).

Careful what you ask for ladies, your Man may be an overachiever like mine and go for bust.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Mike expand to twice his size, “That’s it! You have finally BROKEN your mother!” (I think to myself, Yeah, that’s right!Wait a minute, what? They have?)

He continued to bark out his declaration, “Now she has finally unleashed me!” (hold on, before… THAT was you on a leash? Wait, YOU think I have you on a leash?…is that an option?)

“We have tried it your Mom’s way, and now it is MY turn!”  Mike growled to the boys.

Instead of my husband, I see “Gunny” R. Lee Ermey from Full Metal Jacket sitting to my left. The boy’s faces were all eyes, lips as small as a button. Leaning back into the couch the revelation had hit them before it hit me. Dad was totally taking the wheel.

Tandem-bike parenting was out the window. Montessori Peace-tables, positive parenting and democratic discussions of problem solving and improvement were about to go down like the jelly doughnut found in Pvt. Pyle’s footlocker… ugh oh.

A litany of absolutes came streaming out of our newly charged Gunny Dad… “You are always wild, never listen, you have too much stuff. … I am taking the TV remote with me on my business trip to New Jersey!…” What the???? Am I on Earth right now or have I been sucked up through some crazy wormhole that has transported me into alternate universe of Parent McCrazyville.

No seriously, what just happened? I thought we were discussing how to answer the door without scaring away our neighbors? How did we get from THAT to taking away every toy they owned and giving them a cot, one sheet, a blanket and a footlockers’ worth of stuff?

The boys go from being startled to silly, the younger attempting to push the line and call dad’s newly dealt hand while the older is pretty sure this “new dad” means business.

I, on the other hand, am trying to keep my poker face straight while trying to figure out where we made a wrong turn…he’s taking the TV remote to New Jersey?? We don’t even watch TV during the week! …His parents are coming to baby sit tomorrow. ..How do I explain that the remote is in Jersey with their son?!

I break face and through my Barbie Doll-like grimace, I mention that his parents are coming tomorrow and they like to turn on the TV.

“Well then boys, I am going to give this remote with your mother!” ….Okaaaaay.

At this point, the crack in logic has been spotted by our 5 year old. Since he’s is more than aware that there is a no TV (aka no Ben 10, no Justice League, No Wild Kratts) during the school week policy and that the remote is a useless bargaining chip, he presses to call his fathers hand; holding his stomach, he starts to uncontrollably laugh, goading his brother to do the same.

This of course, infuriates “Gunny Dad” who moves to the next threat level. Operation Overkill:

“This disrespect and ungratefulness is unacceptable and will stop immediately. You are spoiled and have too much stuff. …”

He went on to basically say, “I am going to take away everything you own.” which translates to, “I am leaving on business for New Jersey this week, so your mother will be packing up all of your belongings and locking up the play room, enforcing my orders until I return!”

Yeah, uh- no. I am not spending the better half of a week alone with these firecrackers without the aid of Legos, matchbox cars and Star Wars costumes!

Yet, I totally felt his frustration with the boys’ behavior. It does just SUCK when they loose it and are out of control. I want to duct tape them to a chair so they will just sit still and stop moving at times! But just because I feel like it doesn’t mean it is the right parenting move. Wonder if R. Lee Ermey would oppose me on that one!

I can only imagine coming home from a long day at work with the fantasy of being greeted by your family with kisses and hugs, a glass of wine on the counter, the savory smell of dinner tickling your nose. Soft music playing in the background while you usher your kids back to their homework tables as you go upstairs to change out of your work clothes in peace and tranquility.

Instead my husband opens the door, sweeping aside the Ultimate Lego booby-trap that my oldest son has been painfully repairing from the stampede executed by his little sister and two dogs. The then begins to cry like his finger had been severed by an inmate’s makeshift weapon and accuses his father of destroying it on purpose.

Meanwhile, our two big dogs bound down the hallway, their paws loosing traction on the linoleum floor and crash into my husband’s legs; covering his newly pressed slacks in dog hair and what he hopes is mud. As he is yelling for them to get down, our 5 and 2 year old jump up from their intensive duty of mixing together every board game we own and join the dogs in their mosh pit style of greeting.

As I hear my poor husband in distress, I am not rushing to his aid. I am madly trying to finish the breakfast dishes that should have been done after breakfast but are the hold up for starting dinner, yes- dinner is due in less than an hour and it is not even close to getting in the pan. By the time he fights his way down the hall with kids attached to his legs and makes it into the kitchen to get his welcome home kiss, he is probably plotting how to get back to work! : /

Some days are like that. Sometimes, Too many days are like that. Most days are not.

I think our job as mothers is to practice being the best guardians for our children and the best pilot instructors for our family that we can be.  Though, at times it feels like we are more Air Traffic Control Tower Operators, avoiding the constant threat of family members colliding… we Moms have to guide our family; on when to pull back on the throttle, when to use the turbo boosters to get where they need to go and how to land safely when they arrive.

Looks like I have some homework of my own to study this week while Mike is away; Practicing peacefulness at home, getting more organized, and following through with consequences along with praising good behavior. And letting “Gunny Dad” steer the tandem bike more, because we are not a team if he feels he’s the one always stuck pedaling us up hill. Besides, who doesn’t need a dose of R. Lee Ermey every now and then?

What are your families “transitioning to home” routines?

Please share your suggestions and comments!

Laugh hard. Love strong. Live to serve.

Best!

Kimberly Crawford

Holidays and Super Heroes


“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?”  — Dr. Seuss

Jax, Ziva and I are howling Christmas songs  while on our way to pick up Luke from school. We are waiting through a red light and Jax suddenly asked, “Did the Romans place Jesus on the cross, in the sunlight, so he could turn golden like he is on the cross at Grandad’s church?”

I mentally broke away from the shopping list I was preparing in my head and replied “No, Jaxi, the Romans didn’t intend to make him golden. But now that you mention it… because of their choice,  Jesus is golden to us.”

His 4 year old face was washed with concern and after a long pause he finally said, “ Well I wish Daddy was there so he could have fought those Romans with his sword and save Jesus!”

Ah, the innocence and wisdom of a 4 year old! How incredible is it that these little human beings look at the world and everyone in it as having the purist of intentions (making jesus golden like the sun) or to protect those that they love. Jax, feeling that his daddy was powerful enough to fight off Roman Soldiers as one man, and save Jesus.

I was amazed, again learning more from him than I could ever teach. I was also humbled. We are so Mighty to them. In their world we manifest food, home, all of their needs and most of their wants. Many of those wants are so simple. Our time; the opportunity to look us in the eyes when they are discussing the dynamics of how they think Santa squeezes down the chimney; the freedom to be themselves and not the reflection of what we hope others will see them to be; compassion, hoping as parents, we remember how frustrating it was to learn how to tie our shoe or how painful it is to have an ear ache.

My moment with Jax reminded me that kids think their parents are Super-Heroes and that our mission is to champion FOR them and not fight at them or against them.

My wish for you this New Year is to be in the Present and enjoy everyone around you. Be the Super-hero your kids believe you are and Choose Happiness.

Laugh Hard. Love Strong. Live to Serve.

Kimberly Crawford

 


What an amazing, authentic way to remind ourselves, and teach our children that our words and thoughts are one of the most powerful gifts we have.

The WholeHearted Mind.

Not long ago, I read a story about a distant island where villagers would gather around wooded areas and utter curses until the trees fell one by one. The land, thus cleared, would be used for their settlements.

Can this be possible? Can your words be wielded as swords? What else could your words do?

My children and I set out to test this theory. Our scientific question was this:

Is it possible to alter the rate of growth of plants by exposing / speaking “good” and “bad” words to them?

On January 2nd, 2012 we setup our experiment as follows:

  • We took three clear plastic cups and wrote a set of words on each cup.

1) “Love” and “Thankyou”

January 2, 2012. Our three cups with three seeds.

2)”Stupid” and “Idiot”

3)Control with no words(please click on picture for a full view)

  • Wet paper towels were placed in each cup.We took three…

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Choose Happiness


I sometimes get caught up in the push and pull of life. The demands that I put on myself and, in-turn, exert onto my family; my kids.

As I run around the dinner table, cleaning, serving… anything other than eating, I wonder why my kids aren’t sitting still to eat their dinner…. Duh, why would they if I’m not?

Tonight, Luke had an especially hard time transitioning to bed. He said, “I am so unhappy Mommy. You never let me DO anything!” He dove his head into the pillow,  bursting into tears.

Wow. I dropped everything to sit on the edge of his bed. “Lets talk, okay?” Luke’s bleary-eyed face slid out from under the pillow, “Okay.”

“Listen,” I said, “I believe the Universe gives us energy. We get to CHOOSE what we do with it. So, that means we have a choice to be happy or sad.”

“But being happy is SO hard!” Luke whined. I thought to myself, he can’t be serious?! He’s a 5-year-old kid who has almost everything he has ever asked for (…hey we don’t have room for a pony, sue me.)

We sat in his room and practiced being happy. Smiling like crazed lunatics on a Skittles high.

Finally ready to rest his head on the pillow, we said our blessings and told God that we chose to use the energy provided to us for happiness.

What a HUGE concept for an adult let alone a 5-year-old boy!

So I ask you, Do you think that happiness is a choice? Or is it dictated by the external influences of your day? Do you think “happiness” something you can teach?

Laugh hard. Love strong. Live to serve.

Best!

Kimberly Crawford