Sunday, September 2, 2007

For lunch we will be having cardboard

Over the past few months I have ecome increasingly health-conscious. I began by trying to cut out fats, progressed towards eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, and recently began an anti-sugar spell. My husband's doctor also gave me strict orders to get his cholesterol down. In preparation for a recent camping trip, I went to the store to pick up some healthy junk food, as if that is possible. I looked at sugar-free cookies and was appalled at the amount of fat. I looked at various 100 calorie packs and found them to be high in sugar. After much searching, I walked out with chex mix and baked chips. My family was not very happy. I announced to my husband that we were now on a diet of lean chicken, rice, fruit, vegetables, and cardboard. He gave me a look that I could not even describe and walked away. When the kids saw their food choices, they protested (as they do at most meals). Any great recipes that you could share would be greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Life in Hog Heaven

OK, so I need your help. When my husband and I married, we were in a classic car club and each member of the wedding party arrived in a car driven by a member of the club. This February will be our tenth anniversary and we are now into motorcycles. I jokingly mentioned to him that we should do a "hog heaven" themed party (we believe in any excuse to get our friends together). He liked the theme but he doesn't know about one little detail. His 30th birthday is the week after our anniversary and this really is a surprise birthday party, not an anniversary party.

Bottom line - I would love to hear your creative ideas for our "hog heaven" theme. We are, of course, encouraging those with bikes to ride to the party. Here are some ideas I have received thus far: serve BBQ ribs, cupcakes with creamy white frosting, and blue punch with ice cream in it; decorating with Route 66 signs (along which we live), clouds, and pigs with a blue background; and asking everyone to wear their best bikers clothes.

I know that in the coming months I can collect some great ideas with yor help. Send your ideas whenver they come to you and get help from everyone you know! I want this to be a party he will never forget. I owe him. He missed my surprise 30th party because he was at the dealership buying his first motorcycle. I love him anyway.

Baby night, night

My husband works nights, so our 2-year-old is used to crawling into bed with him when she is ready for her mid-morning nap. Today she missed her nap and was in need of a nap in the afternoon. I took her into the bedroom against her desire and we sat down in the bed. She stretched out with her head on the pillow but made it clear she was not going to sleep. As I placed my head near hers on the pillow, I pointed out the baby doll on the other side of her. I asked her, "Is your baby tired?" She said "yes." I answered, "let's put your baby to sleep." She looked over at her baby doll, turned it face down on the pillow and replied "baby night, night." She then climber out of bed and went back to playing in the living room. Although she did not take a nap, she went to bed nice and early.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Back in the Swing of Things

I would like to say that I took the summer off, but actually quite the opposite. I gave notice at my job that I would be leaving at the end of the summer and I have been scrambling to get things in order for my replacement. My mother visited for five weeks and kept me busy catching up since her last visit two years ago. My middle daughter was diagnosed with a heart murur that had me on my toes for several weeks trying to coordinate tests and doctor visits. Two of my children celebrated their birthdays this month (one turned 4 an the other 2) with a joint party and trip to Disneyland. Now, somehow, I have found a moment to write again. It won't last long I fear.

Next week I will begin homeschooling my second-grade child and dance classes start for her and my four-year-old. The followig week they will begin choir at church after a summer break. As crazy busy as I know it will be, I am thrilled to begin this new chapter. Stay tuned for updates...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Happy Mother's Day to You

On Sunday as I drove to church I felt a pull on my heart for mothers. Not just any mothers, but single mothers. Each year, we have a tea party in the two and three-year-old Sunday School classes for the children and their special ladies. Usually we have one or two children whose mothers are not there for some reason. This year we had several. What is even more difficult is our Father's Day Picnic next month. There will be even more children whose fathers will not be there. We have men in the church who are "dads for a day" for these children.

I guess I was so struck because I was thinking of the difficulties I face. I have a wonderful husband, thank God. He works very hard many hours each week and sacrifices much of his time for our family. Still, I have challenges. He works nights, so I alone care for our three children during what is often the most trying part of the day. I supervise homework and bath time, I shuttle the kids to dance class and choir, I make dinner and do the bedtime routine, and I break up the fights.

Then I realized that for all that I do, single mothers do so much more. They often have no one else to work while they care for the kids. They must do both. They have no relief coming in the morning when dad comes home as I do. They have no back up when it is time to discipline or they just need a break.

Of course many have friends or family that help and some dads are involved to an extent, but often single moms are alone and the absence of a second parent in the home makes such a difference.

To the single moms, I want to say that I commend you and I pray for you. Please know that your children appreciate all that you do (whether they know it or not) and you are valued for who you are and what you are doing for your children. Happy Mothers Day to you.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Why didn't we do this sooner?

I have decided to clean my house. Not just the surface stuff, but really clean. And get rid of stuff too. This is the longest we have lived anywhere - five years of our ten year marriage and I am starting to feel my stuff closing in on me. Not just my stuff though. My kids stuff is also taking over the house. With three girls, we have tubs full of Barbie toys, doll clothes, Peek-A-Blocks, Little People, Potato Heads, and cars (my husband is sharing his love of cars with his girls). We also have several doll houses, Barbie cars, strollers, and odds and ends. It finally got to me! I had each of my kids (the older two) take one big tub and empty it. They then each filled the tubs with things they wanted to keep. They could only keep as much as would fit into their tub and two big things (doll house, stroller, etc). I thought they would be mad, but they loved it. They raced around the house, working together, deciding what to keep and what to leave. When they were done, they got a trash bag and filled it with the leftover toys. No tears, no whining, nothing! My house is clean and my kids are happy? How good can it get? OK, I know it will end quickly, but I will cherish it while it lasts.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

A Day At Wal*Mart

I live in a small town, actually on the outskirts. We have many small, local businesses, but for a large portion of my shopping, my only local choice is Wal*Mart. We have three or four grocery stores depending on whether you count a discount market where you can find only a portion of your groceries, we have a Home Depot, and we have Wal*Mart. You want clothes, you go to Wal*Mart. You want DVDs or CDs, you go to Wal*Mart. You want toys, you go to Wal*Mart. I like Wal*Mart just fine. If I really want something from a different store, I can drive 40 minutes to the next town which is much bigger and has many more choices or one hour to a large city with any choice imaginable. With three kids and a tight schedule, I usually settle for a quick trip to Wal*Mart. Take this week for example. On Wednesday I needed to pick up my husband's prescription and a vacuum cleaner (my birthday gift to myself). On Saturday, I needed chips and soda for a birthday party I was throwing for my friend. On Sunday, I needed ice cream ingredients for the same party because the friend making the ice cream couldn't find it and asked me to stop. While I was out, I decided to get a new tank top due to the heat wave. On Wednesday I will do my normal grocery shopping. These activities all take me to Wal*Mart (I buy some groceries at the grocery store, but most of the budget goes to Wal*Mart). Just another ordinary day in my life. Not that I think you are really interested in my shopping habits, but it was on my mind.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Fabulous Birthday

My birthday was yesterday. I started the morning in bed singing "The Wheels on the Bus" with all of my girls. My friend showed up at the door early in the morning bearing flowers and a gift card for a craft store. She and I went to a day spa for a day of pampering, courtesy of our husbands. We each received a facial, sea salt scrub, massage, pedicure and lunch. It was the best! When I got home, my family was waiting for me and wanted to take me out to dinner. On the way, we stopped at another friend's house where they had dinner cooking in my honor. The host made ice cream (his gift to everyone on their birthdays) and my husband bought a cake for after dinner. My friends (one of whom requested the list) bought a digital camera and accessories for me. I also received cards and gifts from my children. I think this was one of my best birthdays!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Birthday Wishes

A friend asked me what I wanted for my birthday. This is the list I sent him:

1. candles* 2. a real piggy* 3. a smoothie from Starbucks 4. a fence around my back yard 5. flowers* 6. a laptop computer 7. dinner with my friends 8. a fan* 9. a new job 10. a day off 11. a trip to Disneyland 12. a digital camera 13. a card* 14. a blanket* 15. a day with no kids (inspired by the kids) 15. ice cream 16. bubble bath 17. a horse* 18. a new bedroom* 19. a day at the spa 20. a weekend in the mountains 21. anything from Michael’s(a craft store) 22. a family picture 23. a maid 24. cereal and milk 25. a car wash 26. chocolate 27. a dress 28. a cake* 29. a garden* 30. shoes 31. if all else fails, $$$

There are thirty one items for my thirty first bithday. The items that are starred are suggestions by two of my kids, ages 7 and almost 4.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

She would be so proud

Last Thursday the children and I planted three trees in memory of my coworker who died in a car accident. It was so crazy to coordinate that I almost was sorry I did it. Until it happened and then I knew it was so perfectly right. I read two books to the children. All of the rgulars showed up. After reading the books, the children each took a shovel and we went to the front of the building where we had a huge hole ready for the trees. My friend's mother-in-law was there, the only representative from her family. I asked her to put the first shovels of dirt on the trees and she did. Then each child was able to gather around the trees and heap dirt intot he hole. There were about twenty kids there and I had a moment to step back in the middle of the chaos. Children were happily participating, exactly as she would have wanted. It took my breathe away. I was so proud at that moment, not of anything I had done, but of the legacy she left for us to carry on with our children.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

No one right way

If I have learned nothing else from my three children, I have learned that there is no one right way to raise children. This is hard for me to say given my background. I am a black and white person who struggles with grey issues. To complicate matters, I took child development classes in high school. My college degree is in education with an emphasis in early childhood development. I have worked in several child care centers and schools in various capacities. Well-meaning mentors and teachers taught that there is one way to do things: their way.

My children taught me differently. Take bedtime for example. My oldest daughter always slept in her crib. When she was close to two, I spent a few nights sitting at her toddler bed singing to her and she quickly adjusted to sleeping alone in her "big girl bed." My middle child was sick most of her first year. As a result, I babied her and rocked her to sleep every night, eager for my child to just be well. Almost four, she either falls asleep on the couch sitting next to me or goes to sleep in a sleeping bag next to my bed. My third child has slept in bed with me practically since she was born. She had to nurse every other hour for medical reasons and it was just easier to keep her with me. Now almost two, she tells me "night night" and takes me to her bed or mine, climbs in, and goes to sleep.

Now, I know that there are many wrongs to be found in our family's bedtime habits, but it works for us and I have decided that nothing else matters. That can be said for most issues when it comes to raising children. Of course there are black and white issues, but I am adjusting to more and more grey issues as my children get older. Unfortunately one of those grey issues is my hair.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Missing my friend

My friend and coworker recently died on the way home from work. I was one of the last people to talk to her. She was a young mother with marital problems. She was trying to care for her aging parents and be active in her community. She had way too much on her plate (as most mothers do) and was feeling overwhelmed. I did my best to talk her through her difficulties, but often I just could not relate. Then, suddenly it was over. I had no more chances to talk to her. She was done worrying about the many things on her mind.

I feel so lost. It does not seem real that she is not coming back. Unfortunately, I have dealt with people close to me dying more than I think most people my age. Both of my in-laws died when my husband and I were dating in high school, two of my great grandparents died when I was old enough to remember, and I have lost several friends. I think this is hitting me harder because all of these people either were old or sick but she died suddenly. I walked into the parking lot and saw a car like hers and lost it. I recently drove the road where she was killed and was sick to my stomach most of the drive. I see projects she helped my kids make and cry. The triggers are so random.

Another twist is that because she was my coworker who worked with me on projects, I must now carry my load and a portion of hers until her position is filled. We worked so well together and I LOVED working with her. She had this contagious energy that is so blatantly absent now. We led a preschool activity together each week and my children were participants. Now that she is gone, my shoulders ache after the activity each week and I feel exhausted. I feel so burdened to keep it "normal" for the kids and carry her legacy. At the same time, I can't imagine doing it with anyone else. I have even thought of taking her job myself, but I can't take that step either.

In her memory the children and I will plant a tree in front of our workplace next week. Maybe that will help me, even a little.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007


Vacations are always an interesting event with a family. We are leaving tomorrow for a weekend of relaxation at a nearby lake. Before we leave, I will wash laundry and dishes so the appropriate clothes and sippy cups are clean to take. I have the priviledge of packing not only my clothes and toiletries, but those of our three children also. I get to plan the menus and purchase the food, pack the cooking and eating necessities, and load the car with snacks. I will make sure we have plenty of sunscreen and each child brings a hat and jacket. I will check the diaper bag for all of the basic necessities. I will remind each child to go potty before we get in the car. My husband will pack his clothes and check the fluids in the car. If I am lucky, he will make sure the front door is locked on his way out.

Before you worry about me, consider one thing. As soon as he pulls out of the driveway, my eyes will close and I will fall into a "deep slumber" until the precise moment when we pull into the driveway of our destination. Then I will have the priviledge of unpacking...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Welcome letter

I remember being in third grade and sitting in front of the first computer purchased for my school. It was exciting. It was breathtaking. We were taught to enter commands and watch as a little turtle followed our commands to make a picture on the screen. Our parents were speechless. A few years later, my family purchased our first computer and we would take turns using it for word processing and playing simple games.

Here I am, twenty years later, watching videos, having conversations, putting together publications, and performing countless tasks on a small machine sitting on my lap. I decided it is time to take advantage of this amazing technology that we take for granted and share my thoughts, ideas, and lessons learned.

Welcome to my blog.