Bucket List? Become a Musher!

Mushing Nungessers

Okay.  So, technically, I had to look up the word Musher.  And really figure out what it meant.  I mean, we went dog sledding.  That one is obvious.  Musher.  I mean, I am a mommy, I am a “Professional Musher” of mashed potatoes, right?  That sounds like a musher.  You know, like smashing a lot of potatoes so they are mushy and buttery and delicious.

Or I love my children so much my daughter sighs, rolls her eyes, and proclaims, “Oh, Mommy, you are SO MUSHY!”  Making me a Musher Mommy, right?

Well, according to the real dictionaries my Mommy-ition of Mushers is all wrong.  Apparently a Musher is a driver of a dog sled.

So, I am happy to report that as of nearly 1 week ago, I have become officially (for an hour) a real-live Musher.

Also joining the “Musher Nungesser Crew” are:  Richard (the dad), Adelyne (the decade plus two eye roller), Maxwell (the Half-Musher as he helped the Main Musher French Fred), and Me (Brookie—the Mommy Musher).  Josephine was not a Musher.  She was a Musher’s company—meaning that she was plopped into her daddy’s front part of his sled and got to enjoy the VERY bumpy ride.  Good thing Daddy Musher did not tip, eh?!

Anyhow, dog sledding was an absolute and lovely blast that I highly recommend for all!

You first have to arrive where all of the dogs are chained up (just like in Iron Will) and then prepare with the instructions of driving your sled.  Let me tell you, I nearly wanted to be a passenger after the mini-Mushing-class (kid you not timid smile and nervous laugh inserted here).

Our instructor, Elizabeth got out a sled and said, “OKAY!  Here is your brake.  It is VERY important.”

Yes, Elizabeth—you were SO right!  Holy COW!!!!  Know how to use your brake!

Then she said, “ALWAYS hold onto your sled.  IF YOU LET GO, THEY WILL LEAVE YOU AND THEN YOU WILL HAVE TO RUN AFTER THEM…In the mountains.  In the snow. ”

BRRRRR.  And, NO THANK YOU.  I don’t even run after my own children, much less DOGS!

Finally she said, “BE THE BOSS!”

Yeah, right!

Easy for a lady that WAS the boss of the dogs.

But, in the end.  She was right.  You had to be the boss or those crazy huskies would roll around on the snow and want to go whichever way the butterfly traveled.

Okay—so there weren’t really butterflies considering it was like 19F, but, whatever.  Those dogs were hilarious.

Therefore, not only did you have to be “The Boss” (Sorry, Springsteen) of the dogs, you HAD to…Like a MUST…know the lead dog’s name.  Without that name, the dogs following were like, “La-di-da-da-da!”

With the lead dog’s name and a rowdy, “Let’s go, Chaussettes (Socks),” the others would pop up and follow your Socks (literally, the name of my dog in French was Socks). Which would then give you an opportunity to “Woo-hoo” while holding on tight—at times, bending the knees for the little “pop” over the crazy hill so you could feel like you were a true Musher and sway with the sled (lest you fall off and then are dragged while HANGING on so your dogs don’t run away for like…ever).

And there you have it.  You have officially become a Musher. For an hour.

And the hour goes FAR TOO QUICKLY.  And you wish you had the whole day. And you loved every minute although you and your family laughingly recall the moments you almost went over the railing of the bridge or smashed into the tree or tilted to the extreme sideways as your dogs did not stay on the path but crossed the icy hill ahead of you to take a shortcut.  Those lazy dogs (smile and wink for the feistiness of the husky).

Yes.  All things that pretty much happened in your hour as a professional Musher.  Or your professional Bucket List kicker!

Which is, after all, what you just did!  Filled and kicked that Bucket List right up with an awesome experience that your GoPro actually recorded so you have evidence of every “Woo Hoo” and “WATCH OUT FOR THE BRIDGE” moment.

Life with children can sometimes be mundane.  Messy. Tiring. And well…a million other things.

But life with a Bucket List and littles keeps life #fresh and #exciting and #exhilarating.

And Mushing.  Yes, I recommend putting that one on your list.

As long as you #hangontight!

The beats of my heart!

Life can be lived in the simple moments of family and nature, enjoying two of God’s priceless gifts.

I reflect, and often, on how my life was once full of sorrow at the hope destroyed of a baby we lost, bitterness at a marriage struggling, fear of a son dying, and exhaustion that it all never seemed to end. Seasons that seemed to toil forever.

Then I see these perfect mountains and I count 3 perfect children and I see a man I admire most on this earth and I realize that time can pull you through all things.

And God was there, steadfast, through it all.

Silence and struggle does not erase quiet, infinite care.

God bless you and yours, our friends, in your seasons of life.

#hisloveenduresforever #greatishisfaithfulness

Let them fly…

I usually post on Facebook.  It’s my way to connect to my life, friends, and family that are far and away.

Today, however, I thought that perhaps my feelings may be needed here, too…After all, I know that I am not alone in this world, raising kids, and letting them go.

Here’s to you, moms and dads out there…Here’s to letting them fly!

Do you feel the same as I???

Brooke HJ Nungesser Facebook post from November 29, 2017

i dropped max off for school this morning and left him in the capable hands of his teachers GOING on a field trip. needless to say—i feel literally like crying.

this little boy that i thought would NEVER go to school is now heading into the real world alone (well—with school  )…without me to protect his every movement.

if you are a parent of a survivor, you feel the grip of my fear.

if you are a parent of an allergy kid, you feel the grip of my fear.

if you are a parent—you FEEL the grip of my fear.

how is it that we are to raise them and let them fly???

i want to clip his wings.

alas, he is off—in this world—exploring.

without me.

#itsabigbigworld #howdidiletgo #staywithmeforever #mymax#and2makescrazy #motherhood

Not Naughty…I knew it (or did I?)

pissed-off-1859913_1280.jpg

I love reading about the development of my children because it makes me feel SO MUCH MORE LESS INSANE!

Plus, I simply just love learning.  Therefore, when I saw this post, I knew that it was researched, written, and put into the cyber world just for me.

But then I thought—well, that’s selfish.  You may like this read, too!

And, so, without further ado, I give to you a brilliant post by Dr. Erin Leyba the post shared on Psychology Today that is categorized under “Joyful Parenting” and Titled “Not Naughty:  Ten Ways Kids Appear to Be Acting Bad But Aren’t” with the note underneath reading: Many of kids so-called “naughty” behaviors are developmental and human!

I mean—WOW, right?  Just from the title and note—I just KNEW this article was for me as I continue to guide and love and discipline and raise three:  Adelyne, Maxwell, and Josephine.

It already requires (takes/steals, whatever === smile and wink) all of my good looks and sanity and so many prayers—so I love when I can get a little perspective from professionals that don’t know me, my kids, or my messy kitchen and they write posts that remind me that I am doing a-okay because my kids ARE as awesome as they appear EVEN IF they are currently on the floor in a melt-down fit.  THEY ARE OKAY!

It’s time I let you get back to reading the article while I run outside to my balcony and shout out loud for all my village neighbors to hear that my kids AREN’T NAUGHTY!  They’re HUMAN!  And I’m doing an a-okay, bang-up job…

May these 10 perspectives really help shape your understanding, like it did mine.

And feel free to SHARE!  I know there are plenty out there that need this, just like you.  Just like me!

xo from here to there,

B

“Not Naughty:  Ten Ways Kids Appear to Be Acting Bad But Aren’t”

Mombie Apocalypse 

You’ve all seen them.

You know they’re coming.

It’s not if.  It’s when.

There’s no stopping them. 

Ahhhhhhh!

It’s the Mombies!!!!

#mombiesgonnagetyou

But wait.  

You have time.  

First, they must: “Insert Coffee To Begin”

Next:  finish taking horrible Mombie selfies

In the end, these two things will give you a chance to flee. 

But not really.  

At your next recital or game or award ceremony or concert — or just even when you walk in the door from school with friends, these Mombies will be there.  Yes, perhaps, slightly better dressed and maybe even hair and makeup done — but plain ol’ embarrassing Mombies they will always be.

Well, basically it’s the #truth until you become a Mombie yourself.  And then we Mombies will buy you your very own T (shirt, that is).Welcome to the club!  

DISCLAIMER:  My children did not approve this picture or message.  Both mortify them (smile and wink).  Just doing my job, folks.  Doing my job. #mombievictory

Jet lag is like a fly

fly

Do you know that pesky fly?  The one that swirls around you?  It actually, even though an insect, begins to cause you self-doubt.  About hygiene.  Do you really smell that bad?  I mean, you know that you traveled for basically two days—but you thought you showered.

Or did you?

Or did you dream you showered?

Or were you DREAMING about a shower?

Or did you shower the kids but forget about yourself?

The fly won’t leave you alone and now you wonder if you need a shower!!!!!

#jetlag

It’s killing my sanity.

This is what my last 5 days have looked like:

Day 1:  Airplane (3 to be exact).  I slept approximately 1 hour on all 3.  At the airport, in Munich, I laid down on the benches after having my husband SWEAR on his very life and beard that he would WATCH our children with his 41 eyes and make sure no one stole my purse in the meantime, then I crashed.  For approximately 2 hours.

He has snoring video in public to prove it.

I don’t even care.

Night 1 in Poland:  The 3 and 5 year olds did not sleep.  Nearly at all.  The 5 year old eventually waned off as the sun was rising.  The 3 year old is more stubborn than a mule and beat the sun.  She finally seceded around noon.

The decade plus one daughter was already OUTTA the house and OFF to friends.  Goodbye, my firstborn.  WE LOVE YOU…REMEMBER US!

Yeah, right.  We haven’t hardly seen her since.  One night at Wiktoria’s house (Victoria in English), Oliwia’s a second night, and now Nikola’s.  Yep.  The decade plus 1 missed her little Polska wies (Polish village).

Nights 2 and 3 and 4 also lost to JOJO the GIANT!  She won hands down each and every time.  The sun has NOTHING on the spirit of our 3-year-old.

Night 5.  Ah, lovely Night 5.  My hopes were in you.

You were my precious.  I held you in my hand.  I cuddled you.  I made you feel important.  I knew you had a big job ahead of you.  And I knew you, Night 5, were the one to do it.

And, alas, you won.  At 1am, the 3-year-old fell asleep with me stroking and singing to her.  Yes, I sing in private.  Heck, I sing in public—you people just don’t appreciate it as much as my spawn (smile and wink)…

And with the delicate balance of tiptoeing and delicately stepping over EVERY TOY in Max and Josephine’s room which is currently out so that every single marble and doll will know it is loved even though there was a 6-week-absence, I made it out of the room without any crash.

Voile!

I crawled into bed.  THE FIRST NIGHT I would sleep in bed.  If one in the morning is still considered night—and I closed my eyes.

My respite was sweet.  And short.

Oh so short.

The 3 year old came and told me that she DID NOT WET THE BED but her PANTS were all wet.

Yes.  That is called “Not wetting the bed—it magically wet me” syndrome.  It occurs often with our third.  The other two have bladders that could win Olympic Golds.

So I took the daughter that was victim of the vicious bed to the toilet—hastily cleaned her off and threw her in bed with me.

That’s when my victory became my defeat.

She was NO LONGER TIRED.  She was wide awake.  She jumped, and crawled, and laid, and sprawled all over me.

Could she see my phone?

Could she watch a movie?

Could she hold my phone?

Could she see the lullabies playing?

Could she listen to my ear—after all, my ear was making the SAME noise as a volcano.

No, my dear…That’s MY HEAD!  And you are the cause of that.  (I thought to express this to her—but, come on, she’s three…She wouldn’t even care if I did).

To TOP IT OFF…My husband is on the other side of my daughter shouting in his sleep, “I’m going to get you!” Followed with actual karate chopping motion and sounds, “Katcha-katcha!”

I kid you not.

Somehow, miraculously in the midst of the karate chopping albeit sleeping husband and the “NOT TIRED” toddler, I managed to coax her to sleep—legs on top of my head and all.

By this time, it is now after 3am and DARN HER…Guess who is not tired now?

Me.

And so I sit.  With this pesky night fly swirling around my very head.  Touching my hand and invading all sorts of personal space (I LITERALLY CANNOT STAND FLIES—I have a bubble, flies, respect it!).  Typing. To you.  Because you care, don’t you?

And if you don’t, don’t worry.

I’m still here with my fly.

He doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

Just like Josephine’s jet lag.

Sigh.

I wish I could be like Richard, my sleeping husband, and “Get you, Jet Lag, katcha-katcha!” (insert super karate chopping action here)

Good thing today is Sunday—I need the glorious grace of Jesus to get me through the day and his ultimate gift of forgiveness because I ALREADY know MY FAMILY IS ALL GOING TO NEED IT as this Momma is going on 0 hours of sleep.

Thanks to jet lag…my least friend.

Don’t force Sunday school on the three year old…

Look.  Let’s get real.  The title should actually read:  don’t subject your screaming 3-year-old on the Sunday school teacher.

I’m right, right?  Can I get a holy Amen in here (Whoa, now…that was a little too loud. Smile wink smile).

But, in all honesty, my three year old fled and panicked today and did not want to be left in the huge Sunday school room alone.  So I did what I needed, I scooped her up, plopped her on my lap, and sat through church with her while I got to give her a million unappreciated kisses (as she loudly proclaimed in the service to Stop Kissing Her), cuddle her in my arms, hold and dance with her in worship, and take communion with her on my hip.  

And she was happy.  And I was happy.  And the Sunday school teachers were most likely ecstatic.  

Best of all????

These lovely selfies she took during the sermon time (insert scary laughter from evil selfie).

Praise Jesus???

Does this look like vacation?

I am fairly sure I don’t even need to write a lot.  

We are on vacation.  

But really???

Hashtag: life; reality; parenting; humor

No rest for the wicked…

Oh, wait.  I mean the mommies (smile and wink).

Greetings from La Jolla sunny California!

Dzien Matki — Mother’s Day in Poland

I am pretty sure I just ate candy my son gave me from his grubby fingers—and I am not sure the last time he washed his hands.  Or went to the bathroom and forgot to wash his hands.  I am actually gagging a little bit right now.  Really.  My stomach is not feeling so well.  Hashtag “truemom”.  EATING NASTY GERMS FROM GRUBBY DIRTY FINGERS.  Sigh.

Therefore, let’s just say that I am VERY VERY VERY happy to be celebrating the upcoming day about ME in Poland.  Dzien Matki.  May 26th.  Mother’s Day.

In Poland, Mother’s Day is the same day year after year after year.  Kind-of like Women’s Day, Wigilia, your birthday, your anniversary, New Year’s … MOTHER’S DAY!  It is set in stone and NEVER GOES AWAY!

Kind of like our kids, eh????!!!! (smile and wink)

Anyhow, this upcoming Mother’s Day I think that I am going to set expectations for my kids:

  1.  I am going to expect for them to make me frustrated.
  2. I am going to expect for them to make a mess.
  3. I am going to expect for them to NOT leave me in peace when I have to pee OR merely pick up the phone—EVEN THOUGH, moments before, they had forgotten about the very existence of me.
  4. I am going to expect for them to cry over their hair styles or crust.  YES—the crust on their bread.
  5. I am going to expect for them to have a small accident in their underpants—just enough so that they will not want to wear the same pair and not enough to make a mess on the floor.  The in between stage of wet.  Enough, however, where they will then declare that they must STRIP NAKED and be.  For the rest of the day.
  6. I am going to expect for my toddler to wake me at 3am.  Or 5am.  Or 6am.  And not at all appreciate that they day is about ME!
  7. I am going to expect for the pre-teen (nastolatek) to give me grief.  I don’t know about what.  About the volume of my voice or the fact that SHE CANNOT WEAR MY SHOES.
  8. I am going to expect for them to fight and argue about the 1 block.  On the floor.  When there are 1 million and 12 other blocks right next to the 1 block.  And there are 500,000 of those 1 million and 12 blocks that are exactly the same as the 1 block that they are rowing over.
  9. I am going to expect them to stub their toes, blacken their eyes, break their teeth, or scrape their knees.  I know this because it will happen.  My three year old currently has a black eye and a huge forehead mark from tripping onto the training wheel bike tire and also falling on the side of the trampoline.  All in a day’s work.  So I am going to expect a trip to the hospital, a broken bone, or a bandaged knee.  It will happen.
  10. And, lastly, I am going to expect a gazillion times over for them to tell me that they “Love me the most!”  And fight over it.  And cuddle me.  And then fight over cuddling me.  And then fight once again about who loves Momma the most.  Because it will happen.  I expect it.

And number 10 makes up for 1-9.

As I expect it should.

So, you see, Mother’s Day in Poland is really no different than Mother’s Day anywhere else in the world.  If you come from a dirt floor or a mansion that touches the sky, being MOM is full of a million and one expectations that always start with DISASTER…But that one moment (#10) will make up for all of the tornadoes that will come in and hijack your day.

In the end, however, you don’t mind.  Because it’s a nice feeling.  Being mom.

But NOT eating the grubby food from their fingers.  Leave that behind on Dzien Matki.  I am pretty sure that is not a nice feeling.

Not at all.

Happy Mother’s Day from Poland to YOU!

When You Are Raising a 4-Year-Old

DSC_0480

Several years ago, I was sitting in a meeting of International Women.  I was seated next to a beautiful Danish woman.  She had 2 children.  I had 1.  One 4-year-old daughter.

We bonded over that mere fact.

Being moms.

And, as we were virtually strangers, yet with something HUGE in common, we had a lot to talk about.

Okay—we had parenting and mom-ming and kids to talk about.

But it was one of the deepest conversations of my life.

We looked at each other and both of, respectively, said, “We are so thankful that we don’t beat our children.”

It’s as if we were leaning over to give one another high fives for keeping our children alive.

Like really.

We spoke on HOW difficult parenting is.  How hard it is to practice restraint.  How MUCH  you want to, well, basically, put your child in a VERY big box and shut the lid.

It was so refreshing to have an honest parenting conversation with another mom.  A mom that looked like she had EVERYTHING together.

Because parenting is HARD HARD HARD.

IT, your beautiful baby, your precocious toddler—turns FOUR…FOUR!

And you think…have I spawned the devil?

And these precious creatures we have spawned literally live to drive us bat crazy.  You feel as if you have no shred of self control left.  You literally have to physically leave the presence of your spawn.

Parenting is hard.  And I get so ridiculously crazy of these soft-spoken moms that are like “Blah, blah, blah…the beauty of parenting…AND MAKING BUTTER..” because I am all like…MY KID LIVED TODAY!!!!!

And I feel as if I should run outside and SHOUT IT ON THE ROOFTOPS!

And I feel as if they should literally make a MADE FOR TV movie about my heroism.

AND I.AM.NOT.KIDDING!

This woman.  This stranger.  She got all of that.  We talked for a long time about how people really should praise mommies for maintaining control.  We talked about parents that struggled with doing what’s right.  We talked about how much help we need as parents.

We need help.  The good parents.  The bad parents.  THE PARENTS.  We need help.

Because our job is the biggest in the world.  And it’s the hardest in the world.  And we have little little little people that trust us for safety and protection and life—as they should—even while they are trying to snuff that VERY life out of us.

Right now I am raising my second 4-year-old.  I say second, because my daughter was my first and she is now 10.

And she is the FINEST decade gal you will ever meet (decade gal is what she calls her 10-year-old self).

She is funny and kind.  She is smart and hardworking.  She is silly and fun.  She is outgoing yet shy.  SHE IS THE BEST!

I couldn’t ask for a more amazing child.

Yet when she was four—I thought she was the she-devil herself.  And I could hardly see straight because she drove me so insane.

And I PRAYED that we would BOTH live through that phase.  That phase of her being 4.

Stubborn.  Screaming.  CRYING…PUBLIC HUMILATION.  Up the wazoo.

I felt ashamed every time I walked in public with her because of her meltdowns and fits and tantrums.

I wanted to return this child I prayed so hard to receive.

And I thought I would never make it past this phase of being the WORST MOMMY EVER!

Yet here she sits at 10 as the BEST version of any kid I could imagine building on my own.  Like, literally, if I could design a child, this child would still not come out as great as my decade gal.

And so I have chosen to write this post today for me.  For you.  For every HONEST mom out there that is pulling her hair, just trying to survive.

I write this for the solidarity of US!

We do deserve high fives.  We do deserve made for TV movies.  We deserve honor and recognition that our children are alive despite the fact that we are now bald.

You are doing a fine job.  Maybe some days you want to cry because you feel like you are the worst.  But take a deep breath.  Go in the other room.  Cry.  And then breathe again.  Because your 4-year-old will not be a 4-year-old forever.

One day your 4-year-old will turn into your decade gal…and you will be able to look at your child and see that you have made it.  You have survived.  And you are doing a darn fine job of it.

Drink a coffee…Eat dessert.  And breathe.

Because the teenage years are just around the corner.