I looked down at my two boys laying back on the blanket in our front yard and smiled deeply. I leaned back in my lawn chair and looked up to the stars.

“There, Dad! I saw one!” Anthony exclaimed as he pointed just above our head. I just caught the tail end of the meteor as it streaked across the sky.  I had woken both of the boys up at 4am; we only had a good 2 hour window to see as many meteors as possible. For the past five years I had been trying to share this experience with the boys, yet each year the weather or other factors had made it impossible.

One of the things I remember vividly from my childhood is waking up early or staying up late with my dad on or around August 12th. We would walk outside between midnight and dawn, throw out a blanket or lawn chair, lean back and just watch the sky quietly. He would sip on his coffee and I would gulp my 7-Up. Suddenly, he wold point somewhere in the sky and we would share that moment of watching a meteorite cross the sky.

It was important for me to share this moment with my boys like my father had with me. We sat there staring up at the sky, and I laughed as they asked questions like “what if aliens are using this to mask their landing, Dad?” and “What would happen if one of their meteors was big enough to make it to the ground? Could we find it?.”

I sent them back to bed at 5:30am, still filled with wonder. I hoped they would at least get another hour or two of sleep before bouncing awake to tell Kirsten, Papa, and Nana all about their great exploration. Sure thing, the next morning they were downstairs like proud explorers who had just come back from their long deep space exploration, telling everyone about seeing shooting stars, planets, and constellations. I smiled and laughed to myself seeing them relive every moment.

This is what it means to create those memories they will never forget.


Social Media and Parenting 2.0 (Overexposed)

After my last article on subject of social media’s affect of  our kids, I spent a while pondering the long term affects of exposing our children on the internet. We talk about Business to Business and Business to Customer marketing all the time in Social Media, but what about Parent to Child marketing? In 7-9 years, when Anthony and Ethan are trying to get into college, what is going to be out there on the net about them? Will the our boys be using Social Media to market themselves to colleges? You can be sure that the colleges and business will be using it to market to our children.

Our daughter, Keira has been involved in Social Media from 10 weeks in the womb. Mommy tweeted throughout the pregnancy, the birth and all the silly first moments on Keira’s own twitter account. There are more pictures of my children in photo albums online than I have in paper photo albums. This all leads me to wonder if my children are overexposed on the net. While they only get an hour of computer time each day, the amount of information about them on the internet is longer than some books.

Anthony, Ethan and Keira are all going to grow up with this presence on the world wide web. What will that be like for them, knowing that parts of their entire life are floating out there for anyone to find? Some of us (showing my age here) remember the days of CompuServe and BBSes. Yet, as we grew up, our interactions on those platforms slowly died away. When my boys turn 21 and start looking for a job, could they be Googled by their possible future employer? Are they going to find all the silly family photos, Facebook pages, Good-reads, and maybe even this article? Will employers have some kind of system that will red flag certain types of content for further evaluation, and base a salary and job position on how well they maintained their internet presence? Or could they lose a chance at a job when the boss finds photos of them and their friends being too social?

While I love talking about my kids and sharing photos and stories of the silly events that happen in our life, I’m left wondering if maybe it’s too much. What are your thoughts on children’s exposure on the internet?

Three kids – One of Each

When I was growing up, my dad always said, “I’ve got 3 kids; one of each!” As the youngest child, I’m pretty sure that I was the one labeled as “other”.

Now, at the age of 27, I find myself uttering this same phrase when talking about Anthony, Ethan and Keira. I don’t think I ever imagined that I would have three kids at this point my life. But sometimes life’s curveballs are the most cherished parts.

The world of three kids is a completely different world. With the two boys, Jason and I believed in divide and conquer. Handling one was so much easier than the both together. But now they have us outnumbered!

Sometimes the boys take advantage of this fact. Like now, when they’re supposed to be helping set the table for dinner and know that I won’t yell up the stairs while holding a sleeping baby. Then there’s the moments when Keira is having a complete meltdown and they ask to go out and play. “Yes, fine! Go!!” Did they count on me forgetting I just asked them to clean their rooms? You betcha!

But then there’s also been a beautiful transformation to “big brothers”. Ethan loves to play with Keira non-stop, singing, quacking, playing peek-a-boo… All in hopes that he’ll get a smile out of her. He’ll entertain her for as long as she’ll let him, letting me move on to my mommy duties. You can just see how much he loves his little sister when his eyes light up.

Anthony has become our Mr. Responsible. I’ll admit it. I had a little freak out this afternoon. With laundry piling up, a dirty house, not eating breakfast or lunch, and a cranky poo-exploding baby on my hands, I flew off the handle today. Unfortunately, as Anthony was the one around, he took the brunt of it. After I had taken a few breaths, I went up to him and hugged him. He could tell Mom was losing it and quickly went on a pick-up-and-do-whatever-Mom-needs spree! He loaded the dishwasher, got sick Ethan some water, picked up a bit, and talked to a fussing Keira while I loaded up the washing machine. All the while, he constantly asked, “How else can I help, Mom?” Wow. What a great kid.

It seems that adding Keira into this home has just brought us all together. I think Jason may have it figured out. We have three kids, one of each. Heart, mind and soul.