I have almost everything I could want in life: 5 rad kids I want to keep almost all the time, a husband with emergency zombie apocalypse preparedness plans, a nose made out of my ear, and almost 2,000 likes on a Facebook picture of my ass. Only one thing’s missing.

Oct 12 2014

This is a Weekly Wrap-Up Post
… and A Birthday Request … 

Ready?

Here we go:

 

1. IMG_0635I returned this week from an amazing trip, paddling the Stillwater section of the Green River with my dad and friends. John of the Just Finding Our Way blog is writing a description of each day’s events. He’s on Day 6 now, the day my dad and I joined the trip with a box of doughnuts and a box for poop, both to share. Do we know what to bring to a party or what?

You can see all the pictures (none of which John offered to let me vet for angles that make me look skinnier… pffttt… ) and follow our daily events here at John’s blog.

P.S. The first picture John shares of my dad and me on the river is one in which I’m gazing adoringly at the box of doughnuts which just proves some people have an intuitive sense for how to capture the essence of a person on film.

 

2. ForTheLoveofFootballI asked my middle school daughter to attend her brother’s football game. Once. This entire season. And by “asked” I mean “cajoled” and “bribed” and “pleaded” and “tried to make her feel guilty” and then, when none of those worked even a smidge, I told her to get her adorable self in the van because “we are a family that supports each other, so you will go to that game and you will like it” because it’s really important to choose your battles and, when you tell your kid what she will do, that you have the follow-through and ability to make sure she does it. 

I knew if we could just get her out of the house and away from screens, she’d feel the excitement in the stands and breathe the fresh air and learn about the snack bar and be grateful we made her go.

And I was totally right! She was HUGE fan. OBVIOUSLY. I took this picture of her in her most enthusiastic moment. Literally. Her most enthusiastic moment.

Chalk this one up as a Parenting Win.

 

3. I shared this picture on the 5 Kids Facebook page because it’s important to me to be an example to my teenagers that we never, ever, ever take pictures of ourselves in our undies because they might end up on the internet and then TERRIBLE things happen. 

TERRIBLE THINGS. 

For example, one guy totally accused me of using run-on sentences. The jerk. I use fragments. Not run-ons. Geez.

MyAssDear The Internets,

I went to my son’s football game today. It was at the big high school stadium with other parents and football players and high schoolers and concession stand workers and cheerleaders and at least one candidate for city council. 

Then I ran errands. LOTS of errands to little shops with other shoppers and the ice cream parlor just FULL of Saturday afternoon ice cream eaters and the grocery store with kids and grown-ups and check-out people and managers and baggers.

Then I went to a friend’s house to drop my kids off for a party which is where I met up with my husband who, as my husband is wont to do, checked out my ass. My partially bare ass, as it turns out, because, unbeknownst to me and at a time that shall apparently remain a mystery, my jeans had ripped from stem to stern, right across my ample bum and purple granny panties. Wheeeee!

In conclusion, I remain, as always, fully committed to my ongoing mission to make you feel comparatively AWESOME about yourselves. If, in other words, you didn’t go out in public today with your ass is the wind, you are doing better than you know. Better than you know! Give yourself a pat on the back. 

And you’re welcome, friends. I do it because I love you. 

Yours Truly,
Beth Woolsey

 

4. AGirlWithABookGreg woke me up Friday morning with the news that 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Two years ago almost exactly, on October 9, 2012, a Taliban gunman shot Malala in the face, an assassination attempt due to her persistent and outspoken commitment to promote education for girls in the Swat Valley of Pakistan.

Today, Malala is a Nobel laureate – the youngest ever – and, more importantly, she continues to strive for all children and their right to equal access to education. 

“Extremists have shown what frightens them the most: a girl with a book.” ~Malala Yousafzai

 

5. Tomorrow’s my birthday. You’d think I already have everything I could want in life: 5 rad kids I want to keep almost all the time, a husband with emergency zombie apocalypse preparedness plans, a nose made out of my ear, and almost 2,000 likes on a Facebook picture of my ass. I mean, there’s not a lot more a woman of 41 can want, you know? But I’m going to ask you for something anyway, and it’s this:

Will you join me in giving $5, $10 or $15 toward A Girl With A Book? 100% of the funds we receive from this GoFundMe campaign will go to purchase books for Kindergarten through 2nd Grade boys and girls from Title 1 (high poverty rate) elementary schools. 

Books have always been some of my best friends, and I can’t think of anything I’d like more for my birthday than to put cherished words into the hands of kids who might otherwise not be able to keep them.

It’s a way to honor Malala’s work. And it’s a way to give back. I hope, if this space has brought you joy and mamaraderie over the years, you’ll join me with a small donation and by sharing the campaign with your friends. 

You can read about all the details at A Girl With A Book here: http://www.gofundme.com/agirlandabook

 

And P.S. You people really are the best. xoxo

On Falling Down on the Job. Just Utterly.

Apr 12 2014

Convo with a Friend:

“Let’s talk about your 40 Days of Lent: 15 Minute Projects series, Beth. It’s HORRIBLE. I hate it. Or YOU. I haven’t done a single 15 minute project! You’re supposed to make me feel better about myself and now I walk around my house looking at all the crap and feeling worse. WORSE. Because EVEN BETH is cleaning her house. Really, Beth? Every day with the 40 days? EVERY DAY? I thought you were my people, but YOU’RE NOT MY PEOPLE.” 

“Um… did you read through the projects, Erinn?” 

“No. NO! Of course not. I already feel like I should be doing the things I’m not doing! I’m not going to read through everything I’m failing to do.”

“Well, not to imply that I know what you can and can’t do right now or to impose my super, awesome ideas on you, but you might want to check out the list, because there are options like Make Guacamole and Sit in the Sun, and Don’t Burn Down the House, and Fall Down on the Job, Just Utterly – which is on there twice – so I feel like there’s something on there that might work for you.”

You know. Just saying.

……….

It’s Saturday, so it’s time for:
5 Kids Reruns

5KidsHand180x1805 Kids Reruns Here on the Blog:

New Post. Our Secret Weapon for the Zombie Apocalypse

New Post. Basic Rules of Flying. “Becoming a parent is like jungle flying. There’s preparation. There’s planning. There’s checking equipment. There’s second-guessing and am-I-crazying? And then there’s actually launching. Straight out. Straight up. Holding fast to courage and stupidity in equal measure and taking off into the unknown. Hoping to stay in the middle of the air. Praying bad things don’t happen past the edges.” 

New Post. On the Importance of Being Weird and the Super Heroes in Our Midst. “Here we are, chugging away in the middle of it all, scraping dried, gummy ketchup off our cupboards, or ignoring it altogether, our capes in tatters and our super powers well masked under our secret, mundane indentities. So secret sometimes even we forget we’re super. But we are. We are.” 

New Post. When I Stopped Hating My Husband for Loving Me. This one shows you the fissures in my heart. And maybe a few that are healing.

New Page: DONATE. On why I don’t accept traditional donations and a way we might help others in this community.

FB.socialmedia5 Kids Reruns on the 5 Kids Facebook Page:

A new entry in the Things I Think Are Obvious But Are Not Obvious And Therefore Must Be Said Aloud category.

My children tell me they have standards. I’m trying to be open to that idea, but I admit I’m grieving a little because I thought we were all on the same No Standards page.

Our priorities in this country are not right. NOT RIGHT.

We played I Spy with the things I found under a living room chair:

photo 1 (69)And I TOTALLY ate those Tic Tacs.

And we lit our lawnmower on fire. ‘Cause, you know, all the cool kids are doing it.

photo 3 (52)

Some Favorites Pulled From the Archives:

We Do Train Wrecks Here: Because this is the most important thing we do here. We do magic and mess. And tragedy and triumph. And chaos and compassion. And sacred and scarred. And weird and wonderful. And WELCOME.

Tricky Dick: Not a Story About Nixon: Sometimes kids Say Things, and sometimes parents have No Idea What to Do About That, because sometimes those things are Tricky Dick or, you know, calling Clifford the Big Red Dog by his other name: Bull****. All I’m saying is, WE HAVE TO STICK TOGETHER IN THE MADNESS, momrades. There’s no other way.

5KidsHand180x1805 Kids Reruns on the Internets:

New Post on The Huffington Post: 30 Totally Rotten Things Parents Do That Are RUINING Their Kids’ Lives

New Interview on Huffington Post Live: 30 Rotten (Hilarious) Ways Parents Are SO Unfair

And the Grand Prize Winner in the 5 Kids Family and Imperfection Writing Contest, Jen Hulfish, is featured today as a Mamapedia Voice with her awesome piece, Between Our Naked Toes. Congratulations, Jen! 

RSS.socialmediaDon’t Miss a Thing

You are the driving force behind the 5 Kids blog. This space is about community; finding each other, finding ourselves, waving to each other in the dark until the dawn comes, and always – always – about Love. 

Stay connected. You can subscribe via RSS, Email, Facebook and Twitter.

Announcing: Ad Scholarships and Our Secret Weapon for the Zombie Apocalypse

Apr 5 2014

There’s a kid who’s a year younger than my 7 year old twins, and my boys idolize him. I mean, the sun rises and sets on this kid, and if there’s anyone they could be like, it’s him. Because, dude, this kid has the coolest – the COOLEST – thing in world. 

A prosthetic eye.

Do you know what this means?

This means Hudson can pop his eye out of the socket and play kickball with it or marbles. You know, theoretically… and if his mom isn’t watching… and if he didn’t already misplace his eye, which I hear happens from time to time.

When the zombie apocolypse happens, Cai and Cael have plans to groom Hudson as humanity’s secret weapon, because, assuming he can be trained to drool, groan and drag one foot, he can walk right into the pack of zombies and not get eaten before he has a chance to wipe them out. As soon as the zombies get suspicious, he just has to squeeze that eye out, and they’ll be all, “Oh! I guess we didn’t smell brains, after all,” ’cause, let’s be honest, zombies aren’t all that smart. 

Of course, my kids don’t know that Hudson had cancer – retinoblastoma, a tumor that forms in the retina and grows – and so had to have his eye removed a week before he turned two. They’ve never asked. They just know Hudson is rad and that he has, in their firm opinion, a moral obligation to be a zombie for Halloween. We probably need to work on their sensitivity. Or maybe we don’t; I’m not really sure they’re wrong.

But for Hudson’s mama? Oy vey. 

Two days before I turned 2, a dog used his teeth to rearrange my face. Two reconstructive surgeries, two plastic surgeries and one oral surgery later, my face is reassembled. Mostly. As in, my nose is made partly from my ear, and doctors say I should have more work done to erase the scars that run from my nose through my lips and under my chin, but meh. I just don’t care enough to go under the knife again. Because my childhood was good. And my dating life was fun. And I made friends. And my husband won’t quit pinching my ass if I make the mistake of walking in front of him on the way up the stairs.

I’m OK with wearing scars on the outside; it’s what I do. It’s who I am.

But for my mama? Oy vey.

Like Sue, Hudson’s mama, says, “Hudson took it like a champ while I was a wreck.”

And yes. Of course. Of course Sue was a wreck. The mamas always are.

Because walking a child through cancer is tough on the mama heart, and watching him lose an eye to beat it? Something we want no mama or child to have to endure, no matter how TOTALLY COOL prosthetic eyes are. 

And her son’s cancer isn’t the only tough road Sue’s walked. Frankly, life gave her a real crappy hand to play there for a while, and I don’t know how many times Sue pulled the covers over her head, wanting it all to just stop, but I’m gonna make a wild guess and go with a lot. A lot of times. And probably a lot of sitting in the dark.

I asked Sue to share a tiny blurb about herself. Just a little get-to-know-you bit because I want you meet Sue so you’ll know where we’re headed.

Sue wrote, “I’m a missionary kid, a solo parent to 3 littles, and a Jill-of-several-trades who has finally found HOME. I lived in SE Asia from 7 years old until graduating high school. As a missionary kid, there’s an understanding that when you go back to your home country, you will never fully belong. I definitely lived into that reality for many years, and it wasn’t until we landed here in this little Oregon town in 2009 that things started to be different in a really powerful way. It felt a bit like God was having a good chuckle, saying “See, you thought you were just clumping around like a mismatched sock, but I was leading you here all along. Sneaky, huh?”

“My little tribe has been through some very rough waters these past few years and we would not have made it through without the love of this quirky, flawed and totally amazing community. My work week is a patchwork of cleaning, biscotti baking, babysitting and creating knit and crochet items. This chaotic assortment of things allows me some flexibility to be as present a parent as possible for my 9, 6 and 2 year old, which I am very thankful to be able to do in this season of life.”

I found it remarkable that when I asked Sue to share about herself, she shared about feeling like  a mifit and finding her place, and more about the importance of a weird, imperfect and deeply engaged community – and about belonging – than about tragedy. Because hello! Yes. YES. We all so desperately need each other.

I’ve thought about Sue a lot over the past few years, just like I’ve thought about a lot of your stories, and I’ve done what anyone in my situation would do: sat here feeling overwhelmed and a little hopeless.

Helpful, right? That’s me!

But I had an idea recently, and I’ve kicked it around for a while, examining it and fine-tuning it, and I’m excited to announce it to you today, because I think together we might be able to provide a little help. A little practical assistance to Sue and to other mamas and dads and people in need. And it’s not a great thing. It’s just a small thing. But like Mother Teresa said, “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” 

This is the small thing I’d like to do together. As partners in a weird, imperfect and deeply engaged community.

Announcing: Ad Scholarships on the 5 Kids Blog

Many of you have offered over the years to support this website and my writing with donations, and despite the sincerity and kindness of your offers, I’ve turned you all down. It’s not that I’m opposed to websites that support their inherent costs with donations; I completely understand their desire to keep their space ad-free. It’s just that I’d rather use my space to provide low-cost ads to the people who need it most – home-based businesses, writers and artists. It’s HARD to find affordable ad space, and these are the people whose efforts I want to support. 

But no matter how low the cost of advertising here is, there are many people who still can’t afford it – often the people who need the ad space the most.

Today, I’m inviting you to participate in funding ad scholarships. Your contribution of any size will support the costs of running this site while allowing me to provide discounted or free ad space to people who need it.

SueAnd, of course, I’m very pleased to let you know Sue will receive our first 5 Kids Ad Scholarship. After this, ad scholarship recipients will be anonymous, but I’m grateful to Sue for allowing me to use her story here today. 

Sue owns and operates Sweet Evie Knits, where she sells her gorgeous knitted and crocheted creations. “Yarn weaves its way into the crazy chaos of life with 3 kids. Whether pacing all night with a fussy baby, watching my kids play at the park, waiting at appointments or watching a movie in the evening, my fingers usually have yarn running through them.” 

SweetEvieKnitsLegwarmers2You can see Sue’s work on the Sweet Evie Knits Facebook page or at her Etsy shop. The Etsy shop is light on merchandise right now because Sue just finished displaying her work at a church; now that she has everything back, we’ll see updates to her site in a few days. 

To Donate to Ad Scholarships on the 5 Kids Blog: Send any amount to fivekidsisalotofkids@gmail.com via PayPal with “Ad Scholarship” in the memo line.

To Request an Ad Scholarship: Send an email to me at fivekidsisalotofkids@gmail.com with “Request for Ad Scholarship” in the subject line. Include:

  1. “Request for Ad Scholarship” in the subject line
  2. a brief introduction of yourself and your business
  3. links to your business (websites, Facebook, Twitter, Etsy, etc.)
  4. why you’d like to be considered for an ad scholarship
  5. the scholarship amount you’re requesting (a percentage or dollar amount, up to $30 which is the cost of a one-month ad)

All scholarships will be awarded on a one-month basis. Once approved for an ad scholarship, I’ll send further instructions, you’ll be placed on a first come / first served wait list, and your ad will be placed as funds become available. All requests for ad scholarships are anonymous and scholarship ads will appear on the blog the same as paid ads. 

……….

It’s Saturday, so it’s time for our new feature:
5 Kids Reruns

FB.socialmediaHere’s What Happened This Week on the 5 Kids Facebook Page:

I discovered my kid’s been using my earplugs as nose bullets; turns out, he’s kind of a butt.

We played fill-in-the-blank, and a chorus of congested weedwackers won.

My parents celebrated 43 years of not killing each other, not even once.

And I decided it’s foolish to continue to buy toothpaste when there’s another, obvious solution. Not baking soda; this is WAY more economical. 

Some Favorites Pulled From the Archives:

An Open Letter to New Mamas: For all the mamas (and dads and fellow humans) who are lonely and isolated and wondering where that illusive Village is. This is why so many of us who hang out here at the 5 Kids blog wave to each other in the dark.

On Not Doing All the Things: In honor of all of us who are plugging away and still Not Doing All the Things

This Is My Body, Sacred and Scarred: Because I’m feeling a little uncertain today, a little caved in on myself, a little small, but choosing to be brave anyway. This is to all of us, because we are, every last one, sacred and scarred.

5KidsHand180x180Here’s What Happened This Week Here on the Blog:

New Post. A Call to the Edge: Dedicated to every one of us who’s living a life different than the one we planned. Than the one we imagined. And who felt, at first, a little lost, navigating our way from the Way Things Should Be to a Life That Is Free.

New Post. I Dream Dreams. HELP. “I dreamed the other night that Greg grew very tall – perhaps 6’4″ or 6’6″ or something – which, obviously, enraged me.”

New Post. Abby made a special picture to show me how I look in the morning. She isn’t wrong.

We wrapped up the Family and Imperfection Writing Contest Features. Our 5 winners and 2 runners-up are:

Winner: Between My Naked Toes by Jen Hulfish of This Life Unconventional
Winner: Who Are You? by Lora Lyon of My Camo Kids
Winner: Foster Mother by Dawn Reed
Winner: All I Have to Do Today by Jenny Roth
Winner: On Doing It All, Not on My Own by Mandy Smith of Smith Silliness
Honorable Mention: Enough by Michelle Ruth Frindell of Maple Leaf Kitchen
Honorable Mention
: When Imperfection Looks More Like Love by Dominique Dobson of Entertaining Morsels

Our compiled list of 40 Days of Lent: 15 Minute Projects is up to date! This is a miracle.

RSS.socialmediaDon’t Miss a Thing

You are the driving force behind the 5 Kids blog. This space is about community; finding each other, finding ourselves, waving to each other in the dark until the dawn comes, and always – always – about Love. 

Stay connected. You can subscribe via RSS, Email, Facebook and Twitter. (Psst… I suck at Twitter.)