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...