Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Frances' First Modeling Gig

Frances just spent a week with my parents. The initial plan was for her to help out my mother who just had knee surgery at the beginning of June. I had coached Frances multiple times about how this was not going to be like other trips to Grandma and Grandpa's house.

"You might need to help do laundry."
"I'd like you to make sure Grandma gets a good breakfast every day."
"Take some books you might enjoy reading to Grandma."

So you'll please excuse my surprise when I called down there on her first day away to check on her! My mom answered her cell phone and immediately said, "Hold on a second. I have to put this stuff down." Then she handed the phone to Frances and I began a completely unexpected conversation with my daughter.

"What are you guys doing?"

"Grandma just took me shopping. We are leaving the mall and she ha to but the bags down."

This was not the trip I had prepared her for!?!

I don't know why I was surprised. My mom has always been stubborn. It may or may not run in the family. I'm not telling! She had her knee replaced and jumped into her physical therapy and rehab. She had quickly graduated from walker to cane, and was doing laundry again within three weeks of her surgery. The day before I dropped Frances off, she had been cleared to drive again, so off they went.

While at the mall, Frances had picked out s new outfit from Belk. A saleslady there had recommended that Frances sign up for their Back-to-School modeling event. Frances dutifully explained that she wouldn't be around then and the saleslady told her to look up the event locally.

A photo posted by Rabia Lieber (@mamarabia) on

Sure enough our Belk was doing the same thing! Frances really wanted to try it out, and after a few scheduling changes, we were able to make it happen. I took her and Benjamin to the store on Saturday morning and let her pick out an outfit to wear. There weren't a whole lot of kids there, but enough to make it fun. They had games for the kids beforehand and snacks afterwards. She got to walk down a real runway and strut herself. And in the end she suckered her mom into buying her that new outfit at an extra "models only" discount.

Tweet: The beginning and end of our modeling careers! #1Word via @MamaRabia: <--Tweet this: The beginning and end of our modeling careers!

The funny thing is that even though this was Frances' first modeling experience, this wasn't a first for our family. In fact, I did almost the exact same thing 28 years ago as a Back-to-School model for JC Penney. I didn't get the outfit, though; just the chunky necklace!

A photo posted by Rabia Lieber (@mamarabia) on

This post was part of the One Word Blog Linkup hosted by Janine of Confessions of a Mommyholic and Lisa of The Golden Spoons! This week, the word prompt choices were Thunder and First.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Eighties Were, Like, Totally Rad, Guys!

I was born in 1978. That makes me an 80s girl. There was lots of really awesome things about the eighties. Some of them I'd love to bring back. I'm not even sure how sarcastic I'm being on some of these entries!

1. Jellies! I don't care if they sometimes hurt my feet, these shoes were awesome! You could get them wet or dirty and clean up was a breeze. Get a rock stuck in a hole on the heel? Now you have tap shoes! And I don't need to mention the amazing foot tans you could get, do I??

2. Nintendo! I don't play video games much now because they seem to all be about killing things or matching up candy. But back in the day, Super Mario Brothers was the bomb! I could fly through that game like nobody's business! And the Legend of Zelda? Epic!

3. Leg Warmers! Sometimes your ankles get cold, dude. But maybe not your knees or your feet? I for one like my feet hanging out of the blankets these days (monsters be damned!) and I think it's because I loved wearing leg warmers so much!

4. Bright neon colors! Think about this for a minute. We've got this big debate about free-range parenting versus helicopter parenting. Maybe if all the kids were dressed in Day-Glo colors it would be easier to let them free-range. You couldn't possibly lose sight of them, right?

5. Side ponytails! Currently there are two choices for ponytails: high or low. We are completely neglecting an entire range of placements for hair! Let's bring back the side ponytails and have some variety in life!

Tweet: Bring back the 80s, like totally, dude!! #TuesdayTen via @MamaRabia <--Tweet this: Bring back the 80s, like totally, dude!!

6. MTV! My kids don't believe me, but it used to be when you turned on Music Television there was...wait for it...MUSIC! Now it's all "reality" shows of people living lives like no one I know. Wouldn't it be nice to bring back music videos and see which artists are really talented enough to cut it?

7. Suspenders! Back in the 80s there was no worry about whether your pants would fall down; they were held up almost to your armpits by suspenders. I really want this trend to come back so I can find a better variety of suspenders for my skinny-mini boys who can't find pants in the right length!

8. 80s Movies! I grew up with some great movies: Back to the Future, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Ghostbusters and many more. Now it seems all the movies are re-makes of these classics or spin-offs of each other. Don't get me wrong, I love a good Super Hero movie, but how big is that Marvel boxed set going to be?!!

9. 80 Music! Power Ballads galore! Love songs and movie soundtracks. Music in the 80s told a story. Now it seems songs are all noise and yelling. Did I really just write that? Now I feel old!!

10. Being a kid! I'll be honest, I'm kinda tired of being an adult. Wouldn't it be wonderful to go back to being a kid again? Where someone else did all the grocery shopping and bill paying? Where your biggest worry was who to give the other half of your best friend necklace to? I wouldn't mind going back to being a kid; even if it's only for a week!

What trends would you bring back from the past?

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Monday, August 3, 2015

Words of Wisdom From Grandma

There have been a few things that have happened this summer that have made me quite nostalgic for my grandparents. I think the main event would have been Ken losing his grandmother. Now neither of us have any remaining grandparents. Of all four of my grandparents, I was probably closer to my dad's parents because they lived in the same town as we did for a good while. My brothers and I visited regularly and helped out with mowing the grass and working in the garden.

I learned a good deal from my grandmother that I have since began to share with my own children. I'll be honest, hearing my mother's words come out of my mouth was a bit of a shock, but repeating my grandmother's words was an entirely different feeling!

"You just have to try it"

We always had to "try it" at Grandma's house. No matter how many times we had attempted to eat that particular food before, we still had to take a bite. I remember hating Brussels sprouts because they were her favorite vegetable and we had to try them so many times. As a kid, I resented that rule; but as a parent I use it myself. I've told my kids that you have to try a new food 27 times before they can decide if they like it or not. There's research that backs that up, though I may have exaggerated the number!

A small note for Grandma: I actually like Brussels sprouts now. And so do my kids! I think of her each time we eat them.

"You can always take more, but you can't take less"

We've recently started letting the kids serve themselves at dinner. It was getting time consuming for me to serve up all the plates and my food was getting cold. We also discovered that Benjamin is much more likely to try new foods when he puts them on his own plate.

Now the kids ask how much they should take. This is a good way for them to learn about portion control and acknowledge how hungry they are. I hear my grandmother's words coming out of my mouth: "You can always take more, but you can't take less."

The kids asked me to explain that because it sounded odd. I told them that as long as they eat what they take, I'm happy for them to take as much as they want. However, you can't put food back in the bowl after you've taken it and then it would go to waste. I'd rather they eat seconds (or thirds) instead of wasting food.

"Ice cream fills the cracks in your stomach"

I don't say this out loud as often, but I think it. We used to have ice cream after almost every dinner at my grandparent's house. It was often butter pecan or some flavor of fruit sherbet. Any of those flavors bring back memories in my mind. I recall be stuffed fairly often and joking that there was no more room for dessert. Grandma always explained that ice cream doesn't take up any space in your stomach because it melts down and fills up the cracks. I justify my own evening bowl with these words going through my head.

The importance of an Education 

My grandmother was born in 1914. She lived in a time when education for girls was not seen as an essential. However, my grandmother not only graduated from high school, she went to college and finished her degree as well. After graduating from the University of Chicago, she became a teacher and spent many years in that profession. By the time she was my grandmother, she was no longer working, but I still remember hearing how important an education would be. My love of teaching, learning, and reading come directly from her and I see it being passed on as my kids bury their noses in books today.
Tweet: I am glad that my kids are learning from my grandmother, even if they never got to meet her. via @MamaRabia   Tweet: I am glad that my kids are learning from my grandmother, even if they never got to meet her.

Do you have any words of wisdom from your grandparents to share?

Friday, July 31, 2015

Holding on to the Past and Embracing the Future

It's a scary thing when your kids start to become independent. I mean, I'll be honest, I've been anxiously awaiting the day I no longer have to remind someone to change underpants or brush teeth, but when it starts to happen I also start to panic. What happens when I have no one else to nag?! I guess there's always Ken, right?

Frances and Henry have been having a great time with summer camps so far. Frances has been spending a lot of time with her new best friend, D. Her mother and I knew each other slightly before the two girls started becoming friends, and now we are communicating much more often.

D's mom has been doing the pick-up/drop-off for camp this week because it's closer to her office than mine. Yesterday Frances went home with D for a little while after camp. It was a spur of the moment thing and it wasn't until afterwards that I realized there's no more car seat exchange when people drive her around. I didn't need to give directions to my house for after because Frances can do that herself. She's growing up right before my eyes, but unless I make myself look closely, even I might not see it!!

Henry has been gone for two weeks. First at his overnight camp, and then for a week with my parents. He was home for about 40 hours in between and 16 of those hours he was asleep. I can talk to him on the phone while he's gone, but I still miss him. And he doesn't cry and say he misses me. I'm glad that he's having such a great time. I'm proud that he sure enough of himself to go on new adventures without me. But he's growing up too.

Benjamin and I had a conversation in the van this week. I told him that he wouldn't be able to take his babies (stuffed animals) with him to Kindergarten. He was a little bit sad about that, and so was I. He's been carting around his menagerie for three years now! I also told him he wouldn't have to take naps anymore. He started to get a big grin on his face, but then he stopped and said, "Wait! Are naps good for your health?" What five year old talks like that?! Mine does. When did he get so concerned about his health?!
This is the most recent picture I have of all three kids together!

This has been a great summer. We may not have gotten much of our summer bucket list done, but we've grown in other ways and had a ton of fun. As a family, we are really growing out of the needy toddler/preschool stage and moving on. It's a little bit sad, but I'm looking forward to embracing this new stage. I just wish I knew how to hold on to the past while also welcoming the future.

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. Today’s sentence is “I wish I knew…”
Host: Kristi Campbell from Finding Ninee.
Co-hosts: Mardra from Mardra Sikora and Jill from Ripped Jeans and Bifocals
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