July 24, 2011

Get spectacular kids?

Sparky would tell you that God just made them that way. I'd love to take some credit, but she's probably at least mostly right.

Today alone, each of my kids let me know they were incredibly awesome in their own ways.

We were to the local city festival this morning. Sparky played a toss game sponsored by a credit union. She won a lollipop, nothing particularly special until it ended up in her hands. She carried it around until she came to a man that was selling little glass bowls/candle holders. She offered him the lollipop and nearly insisted that he take it and she can be a bit pushy. (I have no idea where she gets that!) She didn't want the lollipop and wanted to share it with someone. I'm not sure what made her decide he should have it, but she made up her mind and that was the end of it. She started to walk away with Hubs, not expecting anything. The man called her back and picked out a candleholder for her and boxed it up and gave it to her. We in turn let the people at the bank tent and the information booth both know what a kind man he was and told them Sparky's story. We were so proud of our little girl for just doing something nice for someone else to brighten their day. Yup, she's a special one!

Before bed tonight, Spunky and I were playing a little bit. I pulled her towards me and said "Do you know you're a special girl?" Here's the rest of our conversation....
Spunky: "Yep! Mama special too"
Me: "Thank you honey! I love you!"
Spunky: "Daddy special too!"
Me: "Yup, daddy's special too!"
Spunky: "[Sparky] special too!"
Me: "Yes sweetheart, [Spunky] is special too!"
"Spunky: "Me special too!"
Me: "Of course you're special too!"

She's not yet two years old, but she recognizes specialness and can express it. Awesome little kid!

And, we took them swimming last night and it's official that we have two little fish! We've known Sparky was a fish for over well over 2 years. We've had our doubts about Spunky, but she confirmed that she is indeed a fish! Y membership, here we come!

July 7, 2011

Get Chipper?

Today was fairly lousy. The kidlets were troopers and so patient with trips to two thrift stores, a consignment store, and the grocery store. And that was all after an early wake-up. Ugh. Not my idea of an awesome morning, but the stops needed to be made.

They had lunch in the car on the way home and then we all just crashed when we got home. Since I fell asleep with them, it was also a short nap and Hubs working late.Yeah. Awesome. Just what I wanted.

The evening didn't get a whole lot better as I was trying to get some things done while the kidlets played. I lost track of time and then they didn't start eating dinner until it was actually time to go to bed. Spunky had a rough day trying to communicate herself which also resulted in Sparky thinking she should interpret all day. Suck suck suck.

Finally, two kids were sleeping, Hubs made dinner for us and we ate together while watching mindless tv. Things were looking up. I opened the computer to try to finish the work I started on earlier and there it was. Just the thing to cheer me up......

Oh yeah, that's much better! And tomorrow is a new day with fun stuff planned an no work to be done. Smiles all around!

May 23, 2011

Get Jealous?

Life's not fair. I know it, I'm generally okay with it.

Right now, in this moment. I'm not. There was a piece on the local news about photographers who take pictures for families where the baby doesn't survive. Babies who have minutes or hours, maybe days. That's hearbreaking in itself.

I have two healthy kids. I love them and wouldn't trade them for anything. But I'm jealous of the parents who get to hold their baby. I envy the parent who gets to hold their baby, even for just a few minutes. I envy that they know where their baby is. I envy that they don't remember flushing and thinking "that might be my baby".

I also have two angel babies that I know of. Babies I never got to hold or look at. Babies that I loved for the very brief time that I knew them and who I carry in my heart always. Babies that Sparky occasionally refers to. We haven't told her about them as much as she just knows. We don't tell her that she's being silly when she talks about her brother. We don't know if our angel babies are boys are girls or one of each. But she tells us that she has an older brother and she talks about him as though she knows him.

I wouldn't have my beautiful kids if the other two had survived, but that doesn't mean I don't want them all. I do. I want to be able to hold my 4 kids together and have them play together. I want them to be able to run and laugh together. I want to be able to give a straightforward answer when asked if Sparky and Spunky are my only or if Sparky is my oldest. I don't mince words about it for the most part, but it makes people very uncomfortable.

So it's not fair. It's not fair that babies die at all. It's not fair the people struggle with infertility. It's not fair that babies are born to parents who don't want them. It's not fair that people who desperately want to love a child have to jump through so many hoops. It's just not fair.

And don't misunderstand. I am grateful for Sparky and Spunky. I know that I'm fortunate to have them and be able to spend my time with them. That doesn't diminish the longing for my angel babies though.

May 18, 2011

Park it?

I had an awesome morning with 11friends and their kids this morning. We met quite a character who raises wallabies, wallaroos and kangaroos. Pretty cool, but when it was time to leave the ranch, the kidlets and I weren't quite ready to leave our friends yet. I suggested that we go to a nearby park and two friends took me up on in. What I realized later is that I never told them that the kidlets were going to have a picnic in the park. Oops, sorry ladies!!

What I also realized once we were there is that they didn't realize what kind of park we were going to. It's a beautiful park with pathways, lots of greenery and some pretty awesome lookouts. But no play structure. It hadn't even occurred to me that park=playstructure. I'm really not sure what I think about that. On the one hand, I feel bad that the park I suggested wasn't anything like they expected. On the other hand, I'm kinda pleased with myself that a park, in my family, doesn't have to be a place designed for kids with a manufactured toy.

There's definitely a place for park toys, no doubt. My kids enjoy them and have fun when we go. That being said, my kids didn't miss it at the park today. They played in the beauty bark, ran all over the paths, climbed on rocks, swung from the handrail of steps and explored an anchor chain. They were still active and playing but it was with nature (mostly) and other people.

Sometimes with playstructures, I see each kid doing their own thing with the structure. One is climbing, one is sliding, one is playing with the little puzzle-maze on the side, that kind of thing. Today, there were 4 little kids running together and playing and laughing and making their own fun. And I got to spend some time with two lovely women watching our kids running together. The kids got what they needed, and I got something I need to. Add to it a warm and sunny day.... just awesome.

May 17, 2011

Want to redecorate?

I was tipped to this awesome artist, Roz, by a friend.

I love the Leap People.

Her images are copyrighted so I don't want to carry them over here, but here's a few of my favorites:

Beach #57 (Hubs loves that one too)
Dancer #2 (I know that little girl)
Beach #11 (Reminds me of a photo of Hubs and I on our mantel)
Swing #45 (Just a little look into the future)

Really though, her paintings are just beautiful and I'm enamored.

May 16, 2011

Make delicious dinner?

Hubs has been working overtime lately so I've had more dinners than usual when he's not home. I planned ahead over the weekend a little bit knowing that this week might leave my time a bit thin. Over the weekend, I made potato leek soup. It's quite easy to make and really doesn't take long. Then today the kidlets took short naps so I was able to make muffins to go with the soup. Add some raspberry kefir and it's a decent enough dinner.

Potato Leek Soup (makes 12-14 cups)
9 medium potatos of whatever variety you have and needs to get used. Slightly old potatos are fine
6 cups water
3 teaspoons veggie broth concentrate (I like better than boullion)
approximately 3 medium leeks (or whatever the farmers market bunch is)
2 teaspoons butter
1/2 head of garlic (more or less, depends on your taste)
1 pint heavy whipping cream
a little salt (a dash or two)
some good grinds of black pepper

Cut the potatos into chunks, about 1" each. It's not rocket science. Cut them smaller if you need them to cook quick, leave them bigger if you don't. Put the potatos, water and broth concentrate in a medium pot (this makes about 12-14 cups) and let it cook on medium until the potatos smash with a spatula or until you've done the rest of the recipe.

Wash the leeks and then chop them into 1" chunks, or there abouts. Sautee them with the butter in a medium pan (think a 4 egg omlet) until they're soft. As they're starting to cook, peel the garlic, stirring the leeks every so often. Once the garlic is all peeled the leeks should be somewhat soft. Use a garlic press to add the garlic to the leeks and cook it until it's not raw anymore. It starts to brown sometimes, sometimes not. Again, not rocket science. :)

Once the leeks and garlic are done, add them to the potato and broth. Add in a little salt (remember the broth has a fair bit probably) and a couple good grinds of pepper. Stir it all together. I then whip out my handy-dandy immersion blender and make the soup all sorts of creamy goodness. Once most of the chunks are blended, add the cream into the soup. Let it all get warm again and then enjoy.

So that was the soup I made over the weekend. Some is in my freezer for my family, some is in the fridge for a family with a new baby, and some is in the fridge for later this week. Yum!

Here's the recipe I used to make the muffins we had with our soup tonight.

Banana-Apple Oat Muffins (makes 12)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3/4 cup brown sugar (you can make it with less and I normally do 1/3 cup)
2 eggs
2 large overripe bananas
3/4 cup applesauce
1/4 teaspoon salt (sometimes leave this out)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup thick rolled oats

Get your KitchenAid set up the way you like it and just trust me on the steps.
Turn the oven on to 350. Bake works better than convection in my oven for these, but I have a crappy oven.

Set the mixer on speed 2. Add the butter and brown sugar and let them cream. Add in the eggs. Add in the bananas (I break them into 1/3's first). Add the applesauce. Once that's all mixed well, add the salt and baking soda. Then slow down the mixer and add the whole wheat flour, unbleached white flour and oats. I know that's not the normal way things are made, but it works fine for these and makes fewer dishes.

Spray a muffin tin (holds 12) so they come out easy. Then just put the muffin batter into the muffin tin. They'll look really full. That's okay. It won't make a huge mess in your oven. They'll cook for about 35-40 minutes. When they're done cooking, put them on a cooling rack or slice the top off, put a little butter in the middle, put the top back on and enjoy.

May 15, 2011

Find a balance?

I identify myself as an attachment parenting practitioner. I came into it just by doing what was right for my kids, my family and myself. It's still not something I've deliberately read much about. It's just doing what we do.

One of the "tenants" of attachment parenting is balance though. That's the part I'm not so awesome at. I'm enthusiastic about things and tend to throw myself into things completely. Or at least, mostly. What that really means most of the time though is that we're always going and doing and out and about and and and....

As you may have noticed, I haven't been blogging much the past few weeks. It's not that I don't have anything to say. I always have something to say. :) I'm just trying for a bit better balance. A bit more real life and a bit less virtual presence. A bit more slowing down and enjoying life with my family.

We went away for the weekend last weekend and it was great. It rained all weekend, but we still went out for a walk in the woods and played inside. We enjoyed time together and were pretty much disconnected from technology. We watched the 11:00 news (because we're 60 ya know!) but didn't have internet acccess much of the weekend. It was just a nice way to get a bit better balance in our family.

It's a work in progress and probably always will be given my "I want to do it all!" nature. But, even when our balance is off, as long as we keep it in mind and keep trying, then I'm okay if the balance isn't exactly right. And maybe, just maybe, part of our balance allows me to be super busy much of the time. I've always preferred it that way and tend to be happier with it. :)

April 21, 2011

Fix it?

I like the international breastfeeding symbol. I like seeing it places and knowing that I'm welcome. I like it's simplicity. The one thing that I don't like is that it's only one option. When I had one nursing kid, it fit us. But I have two nurslings. And I've never seen it with more than one child. So, I worked my photoshop skills and fixed it so it does fit my family. I have to give credit to the artist who originally designed it though too. I hope he doesn't mind my tweeking it.

April 20, 2011

Have washable kids?

For starters, that's just how kids come. It's other things that get in the way of them realizing their full washability.

Sometimes I forget that they're washable. That doesn't really do much for them knowing they're washable either. I forget that their life experience has waaayyyy more value than their stainfree clothing. I just simply forget that dirt is good for them. I've been reminded this week. Or at least, making steps that way. More steps to make it a bit more consistent, but we're in the right direction and have plenty of time and opportunity to keep going that way.

We planted herb and veggie seeds on the picnic table before dinner yesterday. A little dirt, but not much. It doesn't really take much to plant tomatos, basil and carrots in little pots before they get transplanted into larger pots. We've got more seeds that need to be planted and a couple more I still need/want to get.

Today, we went and played in the tulip fields. It's a fairly commercial place, but the kids ran in the dirt, got muddy and loved every moment of it which made up for the fact that I knew it was pretty commercial. We bought some gladiola bulbs while we were there to plant this week at home too. It'll be a lovely way to remember the day in the tulip fields come August and the tulips are long gone. We also got some awesome pictures!

<--- Spunky

Yup, they're washable all right! And, the bonus good news is that their clothes are washable too! But, a bit of dirt is completely worth them loving outside and being comfortable exploring it!

April 19, 2011

Raise her?

We're not done with Sparky by any means, but man alive that kid impresses me sometimes!

I've got a kid who knows how to be respectful (most of the time), is lovingly engaged with her sister, and understands most boundaries that we've explained to her. Oh yeah, did I mention she's 3?

We've recently redistributed the play things in our home. As in, over 1/2 of them went away. It's generally not been a problem but we've had a couple stuffed critters sneak their way back somehow. Anyway, today we had a minor issue with those so they went back away and both kids had their birthday babies as the only soft toys. They each know which is theirs. Sparky was being a bit greedy with them off and on all day and after dinner it was just enough-is-enough.

She was told that she couldn't play them with them anymore today and to play with other things. It was only about 10 minutes before she was to start getting ready for bed anyway, so not a huge deal, but there's consequences to problematic behaviors.

Fast forward 2 minutes. Hubs and I were finishing dinner at the dining table while the kids played in the other half of the room. Spunky must have offered Sparky one of the birthday babies that she'd been told she couldn't play with. We hear: "No thank you. The babies are gone for me now today. You can play with those but I can't."

I just about told her it was fine and to go ahead! I was so proud of her for having the maturity to understand that even though she could have gotten away with playing with something she wasn't supposed to, she instead accepted her consequences. She was even polite in telling her sister about it.

I called Sparky right over and told her thank you and gave her a hug and let her know I was proud of her. She beamed and was proud of herself too! She's an awesome kid. Just love her, love her, love her!

April 15, 2011

Join the party?

The Peaceful Housewife

So here's where my mind is: I don't want to be obligated to write on my blog, but I do enjoy the community of my real life friends blogging and have some thoughts about parenting (who could have guessed that!) so I'm going to semi-join up for the natural parenting blog party! Here's post 1. There may be more through the rest of the month. It'll just be as my mood strikes.
  1. How many children do you have, and how old are they? I'm lucky enough that I have two kids that I can hold and touch, ages 3 and 1. I also have at least two others that I'm looking forward to meeting when I die who would be ages 4 and close to 2.
  2. Do you have a partner, or are you a single parent? Well that's a loaded question! I'm very blessed to have a partner and also be married to him.
  3. What are your “hot button” parenting issues? I'm not all the way sure that I have them. Talk to me and I'll know. Oh, wait. I'm going bonkers that my nearly 10 month old nephew doesn't have a name. It just feels disrespectful to him at this point. I'm not a fan of kids being disrespected.
  4. Have you made any parenting choices that you didn’t think you would make before you were a parent, i.e. cloth diapering a child when you had previously thought it was disgusting? Um... yes! We cloth diaper when I never thought I would. We co-sleep and didn't plan on that. I also have a nursing 3 year old and really didn't plan on that. Didn't plan on nursing a 3 year old and a 1 year old either, but here we are! There's absolutely other stuff too. I've always said I would never be a teacher, but we're on the road to homeschooling.
  5. Is there one book or person in particular that’s heavily influenced your parenting choices? Yes, Sparky, my first born, changed up much of what I thought about parenting. Spunky, my youngest, also changed things up all over the place since she's very different from Sparky.
  6. If you had to describe each of your children using only one word, what word would you use? Oh, I get to cheat a little bit! Sparky is effervescent. Spunky is joy.
  7. Is there one parenting decision that you regret more than others and wish you could change? I'm not sure that there is actually. I've made some mistakes probably but have learned from them and am a better parent because of my mistakes. I'd rather make the mistakes while they're so young that they don't remember than screw it up all over the place when they're more prone to hold it against me. And I don't believe that the early experiences don't affect kids. They do.
  8. Is there an area of your parenting you wish you were better at? Mindreading.
  9. Now for the fun questions – is there one particular food or type of food that you could eat every day? Popcorn. Hands down.
  10. Vanilla ice cream or chocolate? Vanilla with caramel sauce please.
  11. What’s your guilty pleasure? See above. :)
  12. If you could be part of any television show, which show would it be? Maybe Amazing Race, but maybe not. They often have to eat meat stuffs which I don't do. But it would be fun and interesting to travel and see what's going on with the world.


Still working on it a little bit and finding the right balance, but I jump on the facebook bandwagon a little over a month ago.

There's a whole lot of random crap people have to say out there! Oh my goodness! There's also some really great things people have to say! In the past month+, I've started reconnecting with my two best friends from childhood, gotten to see different sides of family members and gotten to know them better than the once a year family party, and peeked into my friend's lives. That sounds a little creepy, but I don't mean it in the creepy way. I've also at least semi-started to reconnect with friends from college, high school, past jobs, and really, every time of my life I guess.

There's a bit of me that's very excited about this. Some of these people were the most important to me at the time. We were friends for reasons. The flip side of that is that we also lost touch for reasons probably. But, I also know I'm a different person than I was a year ago let alone 5, 10 or 20 years ago.

My childhood friends are super exciting to me. I don't want to be overwhelming and obnoxious (well, no more than I actually am) and jump and hug and brain vomit all over them, but in reality, that's what I want to do. The three of us have kids similar aged-ish and I would love for my kids to form friendships with their kids and have that continuity. THAT would be super cool to me. Good people raising awesome kids together. Yeah, I'm all about that!

It's been a long time since I've talked to these women, but I know their base character is wonderful. Now it's the little dance of, "hey, wanna be my friend?" Not just a facebook "friend" because we all know what that actually means at this point, but an actual, "I know you, like you anyway and enjoy spending time with you" friendship. But I'm nervous about it. I don't know or remember why we lost touch. I was probably pretty preoccupied by a certain boy (reconnected with him too kinda) and probably just trying to figure out who I was and how I wanted the world to see me. Well, that didn't work quite right I guess. But, it's now been a long time, I know who I am and... the world stil doesn't see me as I see me most of the time, but oh well. I don't care the same way I used to. Again, the maturity of my 30's.

I kinda want to just have a big backyard BBQ and invite everyone over and love all over them but that doesn't really do people much justice I suppose.

The title of this post is probably the best I've had yet. It really is a question about if this whole facebook thing is really connective. It's a bit voyeristic or completely voyeristic depending on the person. I actually want to re-establish relationships and that's going to take more than random facebook posts and what people put of themselves online.

I'm limiting myself in how much I'm on facebook since I recognize it's role in my life. Even with it being limited, it's still added online time. Kids are sleeping, at least almost all the time, if I'm on facebook but it's still something that Hubs and I each spend some time on when there's other things we could be doing. Facebook won't ruin or marriage or anything like that, but the laundry pile isn't getting dealt with quite as fast and the car isn't getting cleaned out as often. Not problems, but does reconnecting online detract from my actual life? That's the balance of having both that I'm striving for. It's still at least a little bit of a question. Fortunately, it's very easy to say "bye facebook!" and not look back if needed.

April 13, 2011

Feel loved?

Let me start by saying this: I generally feel loved. Sparky and Spunky are both affectionate kids and make no bones about me being one of their top people. I'd say I'm their favorite, but I don't think I am across the board. But certainly in some ways. But this isn't about them as loved as they let me know I am.

This time, it's about Hubs. But not in a conventional way. He does a lot that let's me know I'm loved. He's good that way. He's good lots of ways.

He knows that I've had some people saying some unkind things about me lately and that I'm choosing not to engage with them. It's part of having given up drama for lent and part of just.... aiming for maturity in my 30's. Recognizing what I have room for in my life and what I don't. I do have room for spending time with friends and family. I do have time for learning new things and doing things for the sheer joy of it. I don't have time (and won't make it) for drama and junk. This is pretty much the only place I say anything about it. Anyway, that's the context for what's to come.

The other day I was on the phone with someone who was having some difficulties. I was in a position of having knowledge that could help (which is why she called) and am completely detached from her difficulties so I had an outside perspective. Hubs listened to my side of the conversation as I walked around on the phone. After I hung up, he said "Wow, you're good at that. That's not something you can be trained to do." It just made me feel all warm and gooey (yeah, I said it!) that someone who knows me so well and for so long paid me such a nice compliment out of the blue. He was still impressed by something that wouldn't have otherwise been a blip in my day and let me know he appreciates me.

Thanks Hubs! I love you too! You're my favorite!

April 9, 2011

Get Wise?

Sparky and I have been talking about princesses a lot lately. Lovely. Awesome. Just what I wanted. Then again, I'm glad she's talking to me about it and not just buying what the stores are trying to sell her.

As a side note, if you haven't read Cinderella Ate My Daughter, give it a read. It's thought provoking but not quite earth shattering. Oh, is it in poor taste to say that? Opps. I hope not.

We went to the ballet of Cinderella not too long ago and I forgot to tell her the story ahead of time so I don't think much of it made sense to her. It was pretty dancing, pretty costumes and a fair bit of whispered"mama, are they done?" She enjoyed it, but the one thing she seemed to understand was that Cinderella was a princess at some point. So far, Sparky thinks that a princess is a ballerina, or at least most of the time.

Today she was pretending that a wash cloth was a diaper (love it!) and said something about there being a princess on the diaper. I glanced over and it was the one with Angelina Ballerina on it. She has no idea who that is, but she recognized the costume and dance pose I guess. She understood that it was a ballerina which again, equates to princess right now.

I asked her if she knew what a princess was and she said no. I told her "a princess is the daughter of a king and queen, or the wife of a princess." Next thing I hear from Sparky: "this princess is the wise of a prince!"

Yup kid, you got it! :)

April 6, 2011

Want to fight like a 3 year old?

Thus far there's very little fighting in my house. Both kids bicker a little here and there, but that's about the extent of it. In thinking about it though, I like the way little little kids fight. They yell, they sometimes hit, they cry, they lay it all out. The have their fight, they feel their emotions and then they move on with life. I remember when I was growing up that the worst insult my friends and I would fling at each other was "You can't come to my birthday party!"

As an adult, the fighting I see around me is much more disturbing. Fortunately, there isn't much of it, but it's much more a war of words, agenda's and subtle insults that a 3 year old doesn't even understand. There's generally not yelling, hitting, or raw emotion spewed all over the place. Sometimes crying, sometimes absolute disrespect, sometimes just junk. It's not all laid out there, dealt with and then over. It lingers, the relationships change and often, things are never the same.

Maybe we should institute a "fight like a toddler day". A day to just lay it all out, deal with it, and then make up and play together.

March 31, 2011

See it in her eyes?

This kid I tell ya.
She's got her mom's troublesome nature and her grandpa's mischievousness.

At dinner the other evening, I looked at Spunky and she had the little twinkle in her eye. The little twinkle that said "I'm going to keep you on your toes mom and dad!" and "look out world, nothing can prepare you for ME!" There's a reason I call her Spunky!

Upon seeing said twinkle, I told her "I can see it in your eyes!" Little rodent promptly closed her eyes tightly, smiled her smug smile and turned her nose up at me!

I sure love my Spunky little girl!

March 23, 2011

Get drowned in pink?

I don't know when or how it happened, but sure enough, it did.
As I had both kids in my lap nursing before nap over the weekend, I counted no less than 13 distinct shades of pink in my line of sight. How in the heck???

I'm not a fan of pink and pretty much only tolerate it in my life because it was Sparky's favorite color for a long time and is a reasonably flattering color on me. It might still be Sparky's favorite color but it's hard to tell this week.

We also busted out some of the Christmas gifts that we had put away this weekend. Wouldn't you know, more pink. Big pink piles of pink. And tulle. Piles of pink tulle. How did I get drowned in pink?

March 22, 2011

Feel the weight of complete trust?

It happens the same way each night.
Sparky brushes her teeth, reads a book and then nurses. When she's all done, she uses the potty, goes to bed, has 1 song and some snuggles and then goes to sleep.

A couple hours later, I get her from her bed to use the potty before I go to sleep myself. She might be able to make it through the night without that potty time, but we're setting her up for success and knowing that she has a lot of milk right before bed, we choose to help her with the potty in her sleep. She doesn't wake to use the potty (or for anything else either really), instead, she trusts us to help her.

It's that middle of the night potty time that tells me she trusts me completely. I open her bedroom door and try to figure out where she's laying and how she's turned in the dark. Then I pick her up and can feel the full weight of her resting against me. She just snuggles against me while we go to the potty and I set her feet down. When we're done with the potty, she just stands there and waits for me to pick her back up to go back to her bed. She doesn't normally wake up at any point in this, but she is always sound asleep before we get back to her bed and she's tucked back in.

Sparky is also a kid who wants to be picked up, held upside down, danced with, helped with handstands and flung around like a swing dancer! There's never any fear of being dropped by Hubs or I as she is dangling upside down by the ankles, flipped over and in perpetual motion with parental assistance.

So if you were to ask me today what it feels like to be completely trusted, I would tell you it feels like 35 pounds of warm snuggly kid loving their mama. That's what it feels like knowing that Sparky trusts me completely.

March 21, 2011

Shift perspective?

As a kid, I had lots of kids that I lived by and who's parents each had different ideas about how to raise their kids. From what I know about all of us kids, we've all grown up to be reasonable adults that our parents aren't ashamed of. I used to think that one particular friend's parents were overly rigid and way too overprotective.

As an adult and parent, I'm eating humble pie and feeling like I need to appologize. So, here we go.

Kathy, Charles and Heather~
I am so sorry for making fun of your family and your rules. As a parent myself now, I recognize that you were setting limits for your kids and family and trying to raise your kids to be healthy and happy. From everything I know, job well done. I now find myself raising my kids with many of the same principles that I saw in action in your home. Thank you for showing me a different type of parenting than I saw in my own home.

March 17, 2011

Bathe in leprechaun pee?

It was actually the kidlets that did it. :)

With today being Saint Patrick's day and the kids wanting to play in the bathtub this morning, I gave them green water! A friend tipped me off that when it's in the potty, it's leprechaun pee. I'm not sure what it is in the bathtub, but it got your attention right?

Crayola Color Dots at Amazon

I had some reservations about these initially because of their artificial coloring but then I decided that as often as we use them, what the heck! Kids love playing in the bath and it's a pretty easy way to buy me 10 minutes. I also wondered about if they would dye the tub, tiles, grout or blond kids. Nope, not at all!

We received about 200 of these for Christmas which I have to admit is super excessive. But, it's a fun way to learn color blending and a bit of simple science. Yup, worth the about $5 a pack of 30.

March 16, 2011

Have a nostalgic moment, but updated?

Learning to cook has been a bit of a curve for me because I don't have a great foundation to build on. Pasta Roni and pork chops just don't cut it for me as an adult, especially when I'm trying to teach my kids how to eat diverse and nutritious meals.

Tonight however, I made a dinner that I've only seen made by my mom. I only know it as barbeque cups.

Barbeque Cups
1/3 batch easy biscuit recipe (enough for 8 biscuits, recipe is below)
3 cups ground meat or meat substitute (I used Morningstar Farms crumbles)
¼-ish cup barbeque sauce
2 tablespoons water
Cheese for topping

Make the biscuit dough per recipe and then divide into 8 pieces instead of rolling it flat. Press and spread each piece of dough into a cupcake pan space, being sure to go as far up the sides as reasonably possible without breaking the bottom of the dough or mending it if you do. Turn the oven on to 450. Put the water (and 2T is a guess, just a little bit to keep it from sticking initially) and "meat" in a small pan on the stovetop. Heat the “meat” and sauce on the stovetop while the oven pre-heats and then divide the “meat” mix into each of the dough cups. Bake for 10 minutes. Add cheese to each cup and bake another 5 minutes or until cheese is melty. If the cups are particularly full, put a flat baking sheet under the cupcake pan.

Easy Biscuit Mix http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Easy-Biscuit-Mixture/Detail.aspx
Ingredients (will make 6 cups of mix, divide into 3 parts while dry and put two parts in the fridge for another day)

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shortening
Mix 3 parts mix with 1 part milk (2/3 cup milk with 2 cups of dry mix and I use soy milk usually). Then I put it down on a floured surface, knead 10 times. For Barbeque cups, stop here and see notes above. For regular biscuits, then rolled out to 1/2 inch thick, and cut with a biscuit cutter (or a drinking glass). I baked in 450 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. 2 cups of dry mix makes about 8 biscuits and they freeze well.

March 11, 2011

Get my chance?

There's this poem that's on my mind right now. Here's the poem so you have context for the rest.

If I had my child to raise over again
by Diane Loomans

If I had my child to raise over again, I'd finger paint more and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less and know to care more.
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious and seriously play.
I'd run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging and less tugging.
I'd build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I would be firm less often, and affirm much more.
I'd teach less about the love of power, and more about the power of love.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely poem. Problem is that there’s no reason to wait and wish that you had a chance to do it again. If you’re a parent, you’re always a parent and you can make the changes now. If you’re lucky enough to be a grandparent, consider that your chance to do it again!

March 7, 2011

Celebrate Lent?

Okay, in all fairness, it hasn't started yet. It'll start on Wednesday.

In the religious sense, Lent is about connecting back to faith. That's overly simplified, but that's a start.

For those who aren't religious, it's still an opportunity to let go of the stuff that makes us less than stellar people. Or a time to add a new habit that gets us a step towards stellar.

I feel like I generally avoid drama, but I've been sucked into it lately. Today I decided that I'm giving up the petty drama for Lent. Hubs is in agreement with me on this. I asked him to eradicate a certain pair of drama mongers from my e-mail. Nothing more that they send will be seen by me. Good bye drama!

I'm fortunate enough and make decisions such that I have very few catty women (or men) in my life. Problem is, occasionally one slips in and then I get sucked into their negative vortex of yuck. For Lent, I'm just removing the people and their yuck from my life. I have way too many great things in my life to spend time or energy on yuck.

So, with the yuck removed, I'm adding back in the attention that a couple of my friendships are worth. For lots of (admittedly insufficient reasons), a couple of my dear friendships have faded or been neglected as of late. Now I can reinvest my energy into meaningful friendships with awesome people.

Lent officially starts on Wednesday, but this is one of those things that I don't have to wait for to start observing.

March 6, 2011

Let it all roll off?

There's been too much crap in my life lately. Today started anew.

Instead of continuing to deal with the crap, I said no more and let it all roll off my back like water off a duck. Quack quack quack.

Took the kiddos and Hubs to church where Sparky decided she was ready to sing audibly. She sings A LOT on a normal day, but this was the first time I've heard her in church. She can't read the words yet so she sings from memory and I think she's been intimidated. I could be wrong, but that's my suspicion.

It brought tears to my eyes a bit to hear my little kid singing a love song to God. Pretty cool kid, let me tell ya.

After church, we delivered a coat to a friend's son on our way to a special place in our family. Got there, got wet, loved it and left. We took the scenic route home.

Had to stop to get gas to make life easier the rest of the week and I checked my e-mail in the car while Hubs pumped gas. Yeah, he's awesome that way! In my in-box, lo and behold, there's a wonderful gift from a group of amazing women who I'm so proud to call friends. I've got it lucky!!

Instead of the kidlets sleeping when we got home, I got to! I think Sparky slept for awhile with me, but I just got all snuggled up and fell asleep. Just what I always wanted!

After waking, it was dinner with the in-laws (who I enjoy and usually get along with) including my favorite salad dressing at the Spaghetti Factory. Yum, yum yum!!!

Then a beautiful conversation with one of my favorite people.

Awesome day that just washed away the junk of lately.

Happy quack.

March 4, 2011

Feed a friend in need?

The original recipe for the chili is from Dad’s Own Cookbook (probably my favorite cookbook!) and the starting recipe for the chili seasoning is from http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/Chili-Seasoning-Mix-II/Detail.aspx. Both parts that I have here are adapted based on my family’s preferences and what we had available and needing to be used.

Vegetarian Chili
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 red pepper
1/2 orange pepper
1/2 yellow pepper
1/2 green pepper
1 medium yellow onion
2 cans kidney beans drained
2 small cans tomato paste
4 cans diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour (I’ll leave this out next time)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon powdered onion
1 teaspoon powdered garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
8oz frozen edamame
8oz frozen corn (left this out of the meal for my friend)

This makes 12+ cups, but it freezes fine and I split it into 3 parts. Just make sure you defrost in the fridge instead of trying to defrost as you cook it since it’s prone to falling apart a bit.

Put a large sauté pan on high heat for a minute or so to let it get hot. Add the oil, peppers and onion. Let it cook for 5 minutes or so until the peppers are bright colored and slightly softened. Add in the beans, tomato paste, diced tomatos and spices. Let it cook on low heat mostly covered for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so just to be sure it doesn’t stick. Add in the frozen veggies and heat until hot.

The original recipe calls for the chili to go on a taco shell with shredded lettuce, fresh tomato, and cheese. We normally serve it just as chili with shredded/grated cheese on top. Yum! 

Chili Seasoning
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon powdered onion
1 teaspoon powdered garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

February 27, 2011

Clean up?

I changed Spunky's wardrobe over! And then did some "editing" of Sparky's.

Spunky was outgrowing everything in the old size, so I packed it all away and unpacked the next size up. It was a bit crazy to unpack the things that Sparky as wearing when Spunky was born. A bit eerie I guess too. I'm well aware of exactly how long it's been and don't feel like time has been flying, but it's weird to thing that when Sparky was Spunky's current age, Spunky was on the way. Just... a little weird.

I knew that I'd be changing the closet soon so instead of putting things away like we normally would, we've been folding it out of the dryer and then putting it "in" the canvas bins in the closet. The closet was a huge mess which, admittedly, was part of why I decided to change the closet this weekend. Now, it's beautiful. Everything is folded and stacked neatly. The items that are hung up are hung by season since it's the same stuff that will be worn at least part of the summer. It's just a nice and peaceful sight to see.

When Sparky woke up this morning, the first thing I said was "you've grown!" as though there was room for that. I ended up pulling out some of the clothes that I expected to last at least into spring. Nope, away they went today. I just don't feel like it's right to make my kids wear high water pants when it's snowing. Call me crazy. No, don't. It's not very nice. It does make me glad that I have a tendancy to buy clothes a least a size up. More than once in the past 6 months it's paid off that I do that!

There's something about changing over the closet that just resonates with me. Yes, everything gets orderly and tidy again. Yes, it's fun to see what I forgot I bought. Yes, it's mildly exciting to just have different clothes for the kidlets. Most of all, it's heartwarming to remember things that Sparky did while wearing particular outfits and look ahead to what Spunky will be doing wearing them. I also make sure that Spunky has some things in each size that Sparky never wore. The possibilities are endless.

And I mean my kids, not their clothes. The possibilities are endless.

February 26, 2011

Cut the crap?

I walked away from something I've been invested in for over three years.

I've been an organizer of a moms group since autumn of 2007. I decided about a year ago that I was done letting some of the other organizers walk all over me. So when one particular person kept trying to push me around, I respectfully but firmly pushed back. That's been happening for about a year.

Today, I got sick of the insults, disrespect, name calling and general BS (or baloney sandwich according to Sparky) that I've been dealing with. I took the creative stuff I did for the group and walked away. Probably pissed some people off in the process too. Not a whole lot I can do about that now.

Hopefully the friends I've made through that group will remain friends. If this is what ends it, then um.... yeah, not friends in the first place.

I'm not ashamed, embarrassed or any of that about how things have gone. I'm very comfortable with how it's all gone. I've been respectful (until today when I pointed out that a grown woman was being a bully and I was agreed with by one of her "friends") and maintained my integrity. I don't have any real reason to tell Sparky or Spunky about any of this, but I'm comfortable with what I've done and could tell them.

I'm proud of the example I've set for them. Stand up to bullies, be respectful, maintain your integrity. Hold your head up high and don't let others knock you down. Rise above the crap. Or, better yet, cut the crap to start with.

February 24, 2011

Have mediocre lunch?

I had some coupons for $1 off a  Morningstar Farms entree.

Lunch has been a challenge lately so I decided to use my coupons and give them a try. I generally like Morningstar Farm products and was optimistic about their entrees.


Maybe I shouldn't have been so optimistic. They're convenient for sure, but they're not amazingly awesome.

I have sweet and sour sauce in the fridge that would have been better with one of their chick'n patties and then some leftover veggies from the day prior. That would have been better than their frozen entree and not any more difficult I don't think. Maybe an extra 2 minutes.

Today was sesame chick'n. It did the job of being lunch, but wasn't amazing either. Just okay.

I should be clear that I know better than to expect amazing from a frozen meal. But with that in mind, these entrees are really mediocre. I got three when I got them and probably won't get them again. Just my take on it.

February 23, 2011

Musical chairs?

Spunky decided that a "big chair" was needed at the dining table younger than expected. Okay kid, no problem. Now that it's there, the trick is staying in 1 chair for the entire meal.

Spunky doesn't eat much solid food. Some, but not much. She has much more of a tendency to have a couple bites, wander, sit in a different chair or on me, a couple bites, wander, repeat, repeat, repeat. Really she just doesn't eat much, but she seems to enjoy the experience of being at the table.

She ended up sitting at the table for our tea party today and seemed more resigned to using one same seat, but that might have been because there were bums on every other chair. It was pretty cute and a lot of fun.

Then came dinner. Spunky used every possible chair at the table and two different laps over the course of the meal. And might have eaten .25 cup of food. It's just her style and we go with it for now.

As annoying as it can be that we play musical chairs at every meal, it's also kinda cute.

February 22, 2011

Have an awesome day?

I spent it doing fun things with fun people!

For Christmas, I'd given my mom tickets to the local children's theater. Today, we got to enjoy an awesome show! Sparky, Spunky, Grandma, me and 4 of our friends went together and had a great time. After the super fun show, we then went and had lunch together and I had a chance to just hang out with a couple friends outside of any formal get together. Fun time with fun people.

Then, lo an behold, on the way home..... SNOW!!!! I love snow and was super excited!! Yippee!! Then home for naps and me watching more snow while snuggling with a sleeping cuddly little one. Hubs made an awesome dinner of eggplant Parmesan for us and noodles with sauce for the girls before Sparky and I got a little time together. We so rarely have time just the two of us and with Spunky being sick lately, it seemed like Sparky wanted some time with just me.

We went to Trader Joe's for some simple groceries, nothing more exciting than that. We're having a tea party, so we spent a fair bit of our time there picking out just the right flowers to put on our table. Sparky really wanted the alstromeria with tea roses and regular roses. The one she really wanted looked pretty old and grungy so I had to do a bit of digging to find the same kind, but fresh. When I did, she lit up and was so happy. It was just a nice moment. She loves to buy flowers for our house and asked me on the way there if daddy was going to clean the kitchen counter of so we could get flowers. Um.... yeah kid, one of us will clean the kitchen when you ask like that! So sweet and thoughtful!

As I was trying to find the right bouquet, an employee came over and offered a balloon which she polite declined. He was stunned and asked me if she had really said no to a balloon. He said he's never had a kid say no before. He went over and got a basket of candy and offered that to her. I politely told him no and Sparky didn't even bat an eye about it.

As we were checking out, the employee came back and told another co-worker that she'd struck out twice with Sparky. Then he offered her a sticker and he smiled just as big as she did. She was really pleased to spend the time one on one with me and pick out just the things we wanted and then stickers to boot!

The trip to TJ's might have been the best part of this tea party for Sparky. She'll like the tea party I think, but she just really enjoyed the trip to the store too. Yeah, my little kid is awesome.

February 16, 2011

Feel lighter?

Hubs lost his grandpa today. We knew it would probably happen this week, but still. He was able to see Grandpa yesterday and spend some time with him and have closure.

The kidlets and I most recently saw Grandpa at a Superbowl party and got to see him light up in seeing the kids and hear him extol their beauty. Yeah, they're beautiful kids, but seeing him light up is the real joy. It's something that people have mentioned to us repeatedly over the past year.

Grandpa had an accident about a year ago that changed him forever and he moved in with my in-laws. Grandma did too. It was a rough transition for the in-laws and the grandparents. Wonderful people who had just gotten settled into their adult life with adult kids were suddenly in the position of being full time caregivers again. They readily did it, but it was still not what they had planned for themselves.

Over the past year, we've watched my in-laws trying to juggle everything and frankly them doing a pretty kick-ass job of it. They are very giving, caring and loving people for sure. Hubs comes from good stock. :)

Grandma passed away last summer. Hubs had a chance for closure with her as well which he definitely appreciates. Since then, Grandpa has had his moments of being pure joy and also his moments of pure work. We've watched the toll it's taken on the in-laws and the weight of taking care that they've carried.

When we saw them tonight, they looked younger than they've looked in the past year and both stood a little taller. This post isn't about me being lighter. It's about the ease that my in-laws experienced today. They love Grandpa and will miss him. They also have the peace of knowing that he's no longer in pain or uncomfortable and that he's with Grandma again.

I really am lucky to have married into such a wonderful family. I've got great examples.

February 13, 2011

Go back and forth?

It's an ongoing thing.

This whole "facebook" phenomenon. I don't have an account right now. I don't know if I want to either. Hubs has one, tells me status updates about mutual friends some of the time. Other friends tell me how they've stayed in touch with friends from many years ago. So, it's tempting.

Then there's the other side of it. The vortex of time and energy that's spent reading mindless stuff and playing silly games that don't matter. The privacy loopholes. The pure nonsense that could turn a friend into someone I don't want to be around. Yeah, that's not so tempting.

So, I keep going back and forth trying to decide what's really the best choice. I don't think I'm above being on facebook. I just know that it's probably a bit of a commitment and I just don't know if it's one I want to make. Being more connected to friends would be fantastic, but spending hours online doing nothing is not fantastic.

Then there's just the outright privacy factor. Most anything I have to say can be read by most anyone interested in reading it. But every so often I have something I want to send out into the world and not have people know that I wrote it or I only want to say it to people who don't know me. I don't want the judgement or association with other things to bite me in the butt.

Not that I have horrible things to say about or to people or anything like that. But, sometimes it'd be nice to vent knowing without a shadow of a doubt that it won't get back to the object of my vent. And really, there's maybe 1 or 2 people that I have horrible things to say about. Don't we all? Don't we?

February 9, 2011

Get my heart broken?

Grab a tissue, or a box.

I like to read and tend to do it a lot. When I took the kidlets to story time a little while back, I grabbed a book for myself too. It's Day After Night by Anita Diamante. She's the author of The Red Tent and I get sucked in within about 2 sentances.

The book is based on the true story of a small group of women at the Atlit internment camp in Palestine in 1945. I am well aware that it is a work of fiction, but it's still based on real girls. Girls that endured unimaginable.

There's a part of the book where one of the girls is reflecting on her survivor guilt and all who died during the Holocaust. From Wikipedia: from the Greek ὁλόκαυστος holókaustos: hólos, "whole" and kaustós, "burnt". How's that for a descriptor? My stomach dropped when I read it. The things people do to each other is insane.

The girl, in her teens or so, is reflecting and thinking about the different ways that people hid or otherwise attempted to survive. She called out the baby that was suffocated so as to not give away a family's hiding space. I had never considered that possibility. My heart broken knowing that even though this was a work of fiction, that was almost certainly a reality.

Chosing between your new child that you grew to love before they were born and the family that supported you while the child grew. Oh God. Quite literally. Oh God.

February 3, 2011

Make parenting wine?

Okay, maybe I didn't make wine. I've made whine for sure, but it's not common and readily adjusted so it's not bad.

I've been hearing lots of wonderful parents saying how they're struggling lately. I won't pretend to have it all sorted out myself, but I can honestly say that our struggles are few and related to a brief issue. Not to say life is perfect, but it's pretty awesome. :)

Okay, back to the wine. I've been looking at the whole picture that I can see and one thing I see in common for these wonderful moms is imbalance. So, it trying to find a way to say it, I did some searching. First, I checked wikipedia. I liked that description (follow the link to check it out yourself, I'm not copy pasting the whole thing), but since it's not cited, I wanted to keep looking. It does all sound very familiar from my philosophy classes in college (one of my majors for those who didn't know) but I wanted cited materials at this point. I don't want to offend anyone but when I'm asked to help, I want to in a constructive way.

So, next is dictionary.com. There we go! Bingo! That's what I was looking for!

"3. mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc."
"8.(in winemaking) the degree to which all the attributes of a wine are in harmony, with none either too prominent or deficient."

There's the wine.

All attributes in harmony with none either too prominent or deficient. Yes, that's the definition I was looking for. Having the emotional stability and habit of calm judgement goes a long way in getting all the attributes in harmony.

Parenting wine is maturing in my house.

Our baseline is that we have a good balance of meeting everyone's needs and some of each person's wants. Hubs and I each have adult communities that we're connected to and that feed our needs for not completely relinquishing our pre-parent selves. We also have communities with kids that feed our needs to connect to other parents so we're not feeling isolated in our parenting. Sparky and Spunky have friends that they see regularly and who's company they seem to enjoy. 

We all have activities that we enjoy and get to be a part of. As a family and as individuals we have activities for each of us and things to keep us occupied, but we also have plenty of time to spend together doing things as a family. Even just the simple playing around the house things. Sparky and Spunky get time with their parents as they want it for the most part (occasionally they have to wait a few minutes) but they also get time to play independently as they please.

2007 and 2009 vintages from our cellars will be absolutely wonderful, I'm sure of it.

February 2, 2011


I got Hubs!

Spunky has a double ear infection and has been "on the dark side" for the past couple days. Yesterday morning we see the pediatrician and get her on the road to mending. We wanted to pick up some ibuprophen to have on hand in case her fever returned. Instead of me schlepping everyone to Target for meds, Hubs stayed home with Spunky while Sparky and I made the run and had a few minutes of time together. Yeah Hubs!

While we were gone (and taking our liberties with how long we were gone), Hubs made awesome dinner!! Double Yeah Hubs!! He made black bean soup and cornbread from scratch. Yum, yum, yum!!

Here's our soup recipe and if I had the original source for it, I'd share, but I don't know where it's originally from.

Low Toot Black Bean Soup
2 cans drained and rinsed black beans
1 teaspoon cumin
1 cup salsa (whatever your heat preference)
1 cup broth

Blend in blender or food processor. Heat to desired temp. Top with cheese or sour cream. Serve with tortilla chips or bread.

The cornbread recipe was from "Dad's Own Cookbook" which is a pretty awesome cookbook if I do say so.

January 31, 2011

Handle a curve ball?

Spunky has a cold. A nasty, snotty, mucusy, not-sleeping, coughing, junk of a time cold.

It sucks. Or maybe it blows. Or maybe it's just stuck where it is.

Yeah, that's it.

Her cold is just stuck. She can't blow it out and the snot sucker (aka aspirator) is seemingly torture and not worth using more than once a day.

It's a curve ball to my tighly planned week. Grrr.....

So now I have a back-up plan for two days and I'm hoping that plans after Thursday can go as planned. I'm not pleased to have to change things, but I gotta take care of my kidlet. It's part of my job as a parent!

I'd love to say that I'm managing it gracefully but that would be an outright lie. I'm frustrated with being unable to go and do the things that I'd planned and was looking forward to. I'm exhausted from not hardly sleeping for the past 4 nights while trying to help Spunky sleep. She nurses all night which isn't a big deal so much except that when she sleeps, she wants my back and when she wakes she wants my front. It just makes quality sleep not possible. Oh well, the choices I make as an attached parent! Could be worse!

I could have a snotty little kid who I wasn't nursing and had to actually work to help her be more comfortable! But since she's a breastfeeding kid, it's relatively easy. Curve ball handled!

See a new side?

It was shown to me!

Go get your mind out of the gutter... I'll wait.


One of my favorite people of all time has started a blog! We've been friends for years, have vacationed together and have pretty much supported and laughed through all life has had to offer thus far. Her C-man and Sparky are nearly the same age and we've commiserated and rejoiced as they've grown and developed together. Sparky has a picture of C-man on her wall and asks to see him every so often and I get all wistful to see them too. I miss my friend.

I don't get to see her nearly as often as I'd like to and for some reason her e-mail bounces anything I send directly to her. I actually had to set up a separate e-mail mostly just for e-mailing her!

I've thought that I knew my friend really well and then this past week she surprised me! She started a blog (which isn't really too much of a surprise), but it's her writing style that was a whole new side of my friend! I knew her education and some of her work history since that's how we met after all, but I've only seen her write grocery lists, work reports, thank you cards, holiday cards, etc. I might recognize her handwriting if asked, but her narrative style.... never would have guessed it!

It was just a pleasantly surprising bit of news last week. I also love that instead of identifying herself by where she is in life as so many of us bloggers are prone to doing, she identifies with where she started. So, head on over and visit margie's daughter at Strange Days Indeed. She's just an awesome person and poignant writer!

ps did you notice that I can now spell check and include a link! Turns out it was the browser Hubs had installed for me.

January 26, 2011


I met a lovely friend for dinner!

That may not seem so novel to some, but I haven't met friends for dinner without my kidlets in um... 2 years? A little less than that, but not much less.

One of my favorite friends recently finished her graduate program (Congrats!!) and e-mailed me saying she was trying to catch up on what she had neglected during her schooling. I haven't been as on top of our friendship as I could have been either unfortunately. Fortunately, ours is a friendship that picks up where it was dropped and time doesn't matter so much.

It was just so nice to spend time with my friend as an adult and without having to monitor kidlets while trying to eat my dinner. I love the kidlets, but occasionally, it does me some good to hang out with people that know me prior to my mom life.

After a bummer of a week across the board, it was just the reset that I needed.

Now the trick is to making it a standing "date" so we don't go so long between seeing each other and so that our friendship doesn't keep getting dropped. It's not fragile, but it is valuable. I'm just not in the habit of dropping things with value.

January 18, 2011

Get punched in the gut?

Figuratively, but literally might have been better.

I said something unnecessary. Imagine that. Then I had my ass handed to me after a big bite was taken out of it. I’m just feeling like crap and wondering what I did in the world.

I’m not all “but I’m the victim” on this, but come on people! Seriously???  Please don’t read into what I say and attach your own meaning without knowing or asking what I mean. I’m a pretty open book most of the time. Feel free to ask so I can correct your assumptions about what I mean because you’re wrong.

There are just some things that aren’t open for discussion with people below a certain threshold of importance to me. Arrogant as that sounds, it’s true with no apologies about it.

And that line was crossed in a pretty big way. It’s just an issue and a struggle and I kinda just want to tell someone where to stick it.

But that’s not really what I mean.

I appreciate constructive criticism and opportunities for growth as a person. I just struggle with character attacks and feeling like I’ve been told that my values are wrong. Nope, sorry. My values are mine. That’s off limits. What I said had nothing to do with someone else’s worth, it had to do with my own values. I’m entitled to them as is every other person in the world and the entirety of history. Grrrrr…..

So again, where are my values and how much do I want to let someone else impact them and what I do about them? Do I want to give someone else that power? Um…. Easy. Nope.

But, the flip side of that is that I’m me, always will be and I’m not going to deny myself. That doesn’t make for a happy or productive me. That makes for a bitch which I’m not. No more letting someone else make me feel like I am or tell me that I am. I know better and I know me.

January 16, 2011

Say thank you?

I returned a favor that I've benefitted every day of my life so far and will continue to benefit from for the rest of my life.

I have these wonderful grandparently people in my life that I am so blessed by. My genetic grandparents lived far away when I was growing up. Enter in the kind neighbors. They helped raise all the kids in the neighborhood. They invited us over for dinner and were understanding when we didn't like what they had lovingly made. They helped entertain us during the summer and gave our parents much needed breaks. They loved us and took care of us. They told us as we grew when we were screwing up and not to be brats.

Sometimes we listened and became better people. Sometimes.... we didn't.

I know that I'm indebted to these wonderful people. That's not lost on me. Every so often I get an opportunity to say thank you in little ways. For Christmas, Grandma M said she hadn't been able to do her usual cookies and canning for Christmas baskets. I let her know that it was okay and then I gave her some of what I canned this summer.

I also knew they didn't have a wreath this year. So I got one for them and had a little helper deliver it to their porch with a decorative bow on it that I'd made. It's not much really, but it's a little way that I can show my appreciation.

I was talking to Grandma M recently on the phone and she mentioned the wreath to me. She was pumping me for info and trying to see if I was the one who provided it for them. I simply told her "You and Grandma R have done a lot of really nice things for a lot of people over the years. Maybe someone just wanted to return the favor." I think she knows it was me.

I can never stop telling them thank you though. It's my obligation and right to tell them that they had a hand in helping raise me when my parents didn't know what to do with me anymore. I was a total pain in the ass. Anybody surprised?

January 15, 2011

Get it right?

I listened to my kids even though they weren't saying much.

We had a rough afternoon at our house. Spunky has been a finger sucker since birth and we're trying to encourage her to stop. We've been passively trying for awhile, but this weekend we decided to try to actively encourage her.

Enter nap time with two tired kids, one of whom didn't see me much this morning (Sparky went to get an oil change with Hubs). A bit of a recipe for not-good-ness.

We start nap routine same as usual. All is okay, but not great. Sparky is all wired up and not in control of herself. While trying to help her with that, Spunky gets more tired and more insistent that she receive milk. Now. No, 20 seconds ago. Okay, bad route. Redirect, get both kids latched, having milk. Everyone calms down a bit. Spunky unlatches, says she's done, starts crying in her effort to not put her fingers in her mouth. I try to console her and Sparky gets a bit upset because she still wants more milk. Okay, okay. Trying trying. Turn towards Sparky, get her latched, Spunky proceeds to air every single greivance she's ever had against anything. Loudly. Sparky takes issue with this and hurts me. Okay, now I have two tired kids, one crying, one mad at me, and I'm in pain. Not awesome.I try to tuck in Sparky and tell her good night. She's not having it. She wants me. She starts to cry. I pleed with her. Spunky gets in on it and starts wailing. We all end up in a pile of tears. Sucky sucky time. And it sounds like I got it all wrong to this point too probably. I certainly got some parts wrong. No doubt about that.

Eventually, Spunky and I leave the room, I nurse her again and she falls asleep. Probably out of exhaustion more than anything else. She was so tired but only slept for a small fraction of the time she should have. I'm not sure if Sparky ever fell asleep. She got some rest and we all got a break from each other so the day could continue.

We went to a friend's house to hang out and play. Two tired kids in tow. Yummy dinner, good company, better mood for us all, and some physical play for kidlets. Okay, things are definately looking up. So here's where I really got it right. I would have loved to stay and hang out with friends. But, I knew by sound in another part of the house (Hubs was with them) that it was time for the kidlets and I to head for home. They weren't crying or anything like that. They were just.... tired and letting me know.

I pretty much bailed on Hubs after making sure our friends would get him home and got the kidlets straight home. Then, it was smooth sailing. Both had a little bit more dinner, a book before bed, some milk and cuddles and then to sleep. There may be toys and books all over the place, but I don't care. I listened to what my kids needed and responded. They let me know it was time to go without a tantrum or any backtalking and then were pretty stinkin' cooperative once we got home. My adrenaline from the afternoon is now back where it belongs and tomorrow is a new day. I don't always get it right by any means. I know that. Today, I got it wrong first. Then, I learned from badness and got it right. My kids benefit from that today and into the future. I'm celebrating this little victory since I know I don't always get it right but I know I did this time. It feels good and resonates as right in my bones. Yeah me. If I do say so myself! :)
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