Thursday, September 29, 2011

one of those days + some humor

when i woke up i could tell it was going to be 'one of those days'.
i felt frumpy & dated,
not a good thing for a work day.
as soon as will woke up he started crying about not wanting to go to school,
the 3rd day in a row.
the van didn't start when it was time to leave to take sam to school,
(despite the new $100 battery).
at least having the neighborhood powwow at my van got will distracted.
he stopped crying for the 1st time since he woke up.
after we got the van started this conversation took place:

me to will: "well, now our problems are solved. the van is fixed."

will to me: "it didn't solve my problems. i still hate school."

and he was right.
it didn't solve his problems,
but it sure made me laugh.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

blast from the past

i write on my blog because i can look back on little gems like this,
and my children can continue to warm my heart over and over.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

the best of intentions

a few weeks ago a very good friend told me she stopped reading my blog awhile ago.
she said it made her feel like a bad mother.
i've been thinking about her comment ever since.
first of all, i'm still trying to figure out what on earth she is talking about!
second of all, i've been wondering why we do this to ourselves.
why we are constantly comparing ourselves to others in our same lot.
(me included!)
and that is why i decided to write this post....
to remind us that we mothers should really be in this journey of motherhood together,
to stop comparing our children and our efforts to every other mother around us.
there really is no perfect mother,
and on many days i find myself wondering if i was really cut out for this.
the truth of the matter is that i have more days than i would like to count where i don't feel like being a mom that day,
especially saturdays,
that's the day my mother brain checks out,
almost every week.
i have days where getting on the floor and playing with my kids is the last thing i want to do.
i say things to my children that i regret,
and i don't like them around when i'm sewing anymore,
and i yell at them when they are pulling my thread out,
and i yell at them for other things, too.
i've even been known to tell them that they are "driving me crazy!" or "killing me!",
and i would skip sundays all together.
many weeks i'm so bad at doing laundry that sam already knows to go look in the dryer when he is out of clean socks in hopes that there are some unfolded in there.
my house is much messier than i would like for it to be,
and i don't always take the mess in stride.
especially when my house smells like rotten food or kid pee.
i worry constantly if i'm loving my kids enough,
or if i am capable to teach them how to love themselves and overcome their insecurities.
so often i feel unprepared to be the kind of mother that i want to be;
many days i feel like i'm faking my way through this daunting task of motherhood.
i have a natural tendency to remember the negative things,
but that is not how i want to be,
and it's not how i want to remember these precious days with my little ones.
so, i write honestly on this blog about the good moments with my children because that is what i want to have in the end.
and i've always hoped that in sharing my experiences that other moms would see the bright side of their days, too.
that in some small way we could feel like we really are all in this together,
without judgement or criticism.
so, i'm sorry if i've done the opposite to any other readers.
it has never been my intention.
we are all just doing the best we can,
and that should be enough.

oh, in case you are still reading from time to time,
 i still love you CM!
your comment didn't hurt my feelings.
it just made me think. :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011


sam finally got a girlfriend today.
it was his 1st school report when he got in the car.  
he said he didn't know her name yet,
but he chased her at recess trying to get her to play spy with him.
he never caught her;
she never stopped running from him.
he said she is beautiful,
(which she really is),
and she wears pink tom shoes like his sister.
and there you have it...
sam finally has a girlfriend.                                        

Friday, September 16, 2011

friday book review: the mixed up chameleon

the mixed up chameleon
by eric carla
suggested reading level: ages 4-8

this is a story of a chameleon who does not like that he changes color to match his surroundings. he notices a zoo and all the unique animals there, and he begins to wish he could be like the animals. he finds his wishes coming true as he becomes tall like a giraffe, handsome like a flamingo, smart like a fox, and on and on. the more he wishes, the more he changes. he turns into a mixed up little chameleon as he takes on parts of all the animals. he soon discovers that the parts look great on the original animals but don't do very well together. he wishes to be himself again so he can reach a fly to eat. this book sends the message that being yourself is always the best, and that the grass is not always greener on the other side.

this book was read the first week of will's preschool,
and he is wanting to read it constantly ever since.
his teacher did a cute activity with a picture of a clear chameleon.
will has played with that chameleon almost everyday since.
he loves putting it over everyone's clothes to see it change.
i can imagine how this book must resonate with him;
he is our child who is already so comfortable in his own skin.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

phase out

i work on thursdays.
i have for many years,
and almost 6 years with children.
in 2005 my sister started watching sam,
and then in 2007 she added will,
and in 2010 i sent maggie, too.
as i was driving maggie and will there this morning,
it dawned on me how long this routine has been happening
and all of the changes that have taken place during this span.
particularly how sam & emi bonded from the beginning,
how the kid count went from 2 to 4 in a matter of a few weeks,
and how maggie made 5 kids to be watched at once,
how will finally stopped hitting mack & became friends who can play all day,
how many replay conversations my sister & i have had about the days,
what they ate,
how they napped,
and how they played.
i think one of the biggest changes so far is happening right now.
sam & emi are both in school,
mack is in preschool on thursdays,
so that just leaves maggie & will.
projecting to less than a year from now,
everyone will be in school except for maggie.
she will be the only one.
the era of auntie babysitting is phasing out.
this has been my 1st evidence of how quickly my children pass through phases,
how things will always change and end even when it becomes so normal that you think it will last forever.
just like auntie babysitting on thursdays.
there's no doubt about my level of appreciation for my sister.
she has been just like a 2nd mother.
she has selflessly taken care of my children just like they were her own.
i know how exhausting her days must have been watching 5 kids under the age of 4,
or how old it must have gotten cleaning up the hurricane messes,
and i don't even want to know how many things my kids have broken!
she has been the one who has provided a place for cousin relationships to blossom into lifelong friendships.
i love her,
my children love,
and i hope that in some way she will know how indebted i feel to her.
thank you for allowing us to all pass through this phase together
and for giving us many stories to talk about in all the years to come. :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

want not, waste not

let me just start by saying how annoyed i can be about spending money on food,
especially on food that is loaded with all things artificial.
i try to buy really good food as long as i can stretch my dollar.
because i am so annoyed by that,
you can only imagine how annoyed i am when i see the good food go in the garbage or left to rot in the fridge.
let's just say really annoyed.
i'm not the first who has ideas on how to preserve food so it doesn't waste,
but at times it feels new in our home.
i just couldn't bear to throw away another banana,
especially knowing that a banana plant only produces 1 bunch of bananas over its lifetime.
it just doesn't seem very considerate,
not to mention a waste of my resources.
blah, blah, blah....
the point is we have been making some pretty rockin' popsicles at our house,
and they are not loaded with artificial sweeteners, coloring, high fructose corn syrup, etc.
instead it's like eating a frozen smoothie.
the varieties we have made this week are...

*chocolate banana peanut butter
1 1/2 c. whole milk
1 1/2 ripe bananas
2 tbsp. peanut butter
ovaltine (enough to make it taste so chocolatey that it tastes like melted ice cream; you get the point. chocolatier than you would drink.)

blend all ingredients until smooth and then pour into popsicle molds. freeze until hard.

(this is a pete original; he's fantastic at little inventions in the kitchen.)

*blueberry swirl ice pops
1 c. fresh blueberries
3/4 c. sugar
1 c. plain yogurt
1 c. heavy cream (i used whole milk)

in small saucepan, bring blueberries & 1/4 c. sugar to boil over high heat. reduce heat and simmer, crushing berries against side of pan, until mixture is syrupy, 3 minutes. transfer to small bowl and refrigerate until cool.
in a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 c. sugar, yogurt, and cream until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. pour yogurt and blueberry mixtures, alternating them, into molds. with a skewer swirl mixtures together . insert ice-pop sticks and freeze until solid

(this is a recipe from martha stewart everyday food magazine)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

summer vacation

it was around this time 2 years ago that we planned our first summer get away to the oregon coast for a month.
what a wonderful time!
so wonderful we have decided we  will continue to enjoy summer vacations like this as long as possible,
so the planning has begun for next summer.
our main trip will be spent somewhere along the northern coast of california.
hopefully in this place...
with this front yard view...

a few other must go places on the list are this one....

and this one...

(can you guess, youngest sister?)

oh boy,
i don't know if i love the planning or the vacation more!
i can't wait!!
my kids are on board, too.
every place gets their stamp of approval.

Monday, September 12, 2011

through my child's lens

(Will's lens)

Friday, September 9, 2011

friday book review: late for school

late for school
by mike reiss
suggested reading level: ages 4-8

smitty, who lives in the city, has never been late for school. But on one particular day, after waking up late, he misses his carpool. as the morning progresses, his problems grow bigger. strange weather phenomena, prehistoric glitches, aliens, and snowmen are some of the obstacles he faces on his mission to school. as smitty faces one outrageous problem after another, he becomes more determined than ever to make it to school on time. what happens when he finally arrives at school delivers an unexpected twist.
children & parents alike will be drawn in by the grossly exaggerated illustrations and funny situations,
and the rhyming sequence. whether timely or tardy, many school age children can recognize some of the scenarios. however, the surprise ending throws everyone for a twist.

this is the first book sam checked out from the school library.
library time has been a hit for him,
and this book came out instantly when i picked him up from school that day.
this choice of book is rather fitting for sam.
he hates to be late for school!
i'm grateful for that trait,
and thankfully we have not been late for school.
even after today's morning adventures.
we normally walk to school,
but this morning i let the boys sleep in because i knew they needed it.
i knew we would be driving.
we went to the van in plenty of time to get to school,
but the van battery was dead.
quick thinking,
and i realized pete rode his bike instead of driving.
i ordered everyone to the black car while i got the keys.
well, there were no keys.
perhaps pete took them to school???
we were doomed to be late.
there was no way we could walk to school and make it on time at this point.
sam was facing his worst school fate.
he was going to be late for school.
thankfully as we started on our journey our friend jamie came down the street in her car.
she stopped,
we asked for a ride,
which she gladly gave,
and sam still made to school on time.
i felt like this book,
one catastrophic event after another.

*interesting side note... the author of this book was also a writer for The Simpsons

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

by small and simple things

i've gone to a few physical therapy appointments for my foot,
and i've come away mildly discouraged every time,
except for today.
i couldn't see the big picture.
i was certain the silly little exercises with an over-sized rubber band would never be enough to strengthen a leg and foot that have never been strong.
i was thinking much bigger,
something more along the lines of steroid injections or electrical impulse therapy.
so, one could imagine my frustration at coming home with the same small exercises that i spent an hour doing in the office each time.
i was such a non-believer that i didn't even want to do the exercises at home;
i was certain it would just be a waste,
not to mention discouraging.
somehow i knew inside that i could do the exercises and give it some effort
or do nothing at all and definitely not see more improvement.
when a decision has that type of logic,
it is really hard for me to not choose to do something.
so, i chose the exercises.
i've done them every morning at 6 am while everyone is still sleeping.
and guess what is happening?!
i am gaining more strength and control than i have ever had.
the physical therapist said there has been at least a 20% strength increase than where i started 2 weeks ago.
i never would have thought,
but i am delighted.
and once again impressed by the slow and steadiness of a simplicity.
and once again grateful for the team of doctors who have used their slow & steady hands & talented hands to enrich my physicalness.
which in turn has had a direct influence on my spiritualness, too.
this certainly has not been the first "by small and simple things" lesson i have had,
but i'm sure hoping this one penetrates me,
that my expectations will slow and my hope will increase.
hoping i remember that not everything has to be big all the time.
little by little, right?
just like this little foot of mine.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


this is what i have been thinking about.

Friday, September 2, 2011

friday book review: weird parents

weird parents
by audrey wood
suggested reading level: ages 5-10

this young boy thinks he has the weirdest parents on earth! why else do they laugh out loud in movies when no one else does? or show your friends how to do the "funky chicken" dance? or blow huge kisses to you when you are leaving on the school bus? their flamboyant and eccentric style is always embarrassing him. however, he knows his parents definitely love each other, and he does enjoy their doting on, so he is eventually able to forgive his parents of their annoying idiosyncrasies. the exaggerated & humorous pictures are full of quirky details that portray how "weird" parents can really be.

i think this book is hilarious!
my children don't think i'm weird just yet,
but i am anticipating the day when they think i am.
and when they do we will be reading this book.
that will probably make me weird,

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