Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday Reflections

We just arrived home from my mom's where we spent Christmas. It was lovely, complete with an entire day in the house playing with Christmas gifts (although I did make it to the shower in order to be presentable for our dinner guests). We spent the day after Christmas exploring the wonders of the outdoors in Red Rock Canyon where our children climbed rocks and discovered caves, made arrowheads, and danced with the devil of a seemingly bottomless pool of water that was cold, very cold. But they tromped through mud and water, encouraged each other, climbed rocks that were pretty tough, and enjoyed themselves. What more could a parent ask for?

We returned from our adventures to a stack of holiday greetings, or should I say holiday pictures. One of my dearest friends loves getting holiday photos as long as they include the parents. "Kids are always changing," she says, "but it's MY friends that I want to see." I agree. It's nice to see everyone each holiday, if only a snapshot, in their finest attire, with their best smile. This is the time when everyone wants to look their best, or share their best adventure of the year, or simply sign a card that says Merry Christmas. Whatever the case may be, it's nice to be the recipient of so many happy faces.

I noticed the same feeling when I sent a text to the people who really make a difference in my life on Christmas Eve. The responses that came pouring back made me smile, each one. It is truly a great thing to share your feelings, however simple, with those who are important to you. It is hard to remember in the thick of things, but that is why I'm particularly grateful for a moment of clarity to compose a message to say, "You matter to me." I think everyone needs that, no matter what.

So tonight as I opened the cards in our stack of mail (I chose to ignore the bills for now and concentrate on the nice mail), I realized that there was only one "Year in Review." I wonder why that is . . . are we too busy? Have the lives of our children overtaken our own and we have nothing to report? Has this year been one we'd rather not remember? I don't know, but I realized that I'm in the same boat. Because of the nature of my business and busyness at the holidays, I just managed to pull together a photo montage with a New Year's message and I too am happy to address and mail away our cards. I think that's okay, but I still love to write, so I'll blog . . . for now.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

2010 Soups

If you're interested in making some soups, here are some of our favorites from this year:

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Walk a Mile . . .

I've been away for a while . . . mainly because my best friend and I started a business embellishing clothes. It sounds questionable, but is really fun and occupies the times of my day when I would consider writing a blog post or two. Here's our site if you care to check it out, but I digress. . .

As an only child, I always wanted 5 children, the first born when I was 25, and every two years after that until I was 33, and then if we wanted more, I'd still be at a reasonable age for more children. Three has been enough for me and us for now, but sometimes I look at my friends who are unmarried, or have one child, and I wonder what my life would be like if we'd waited to get married or have children. I think about the complications that are magnified by children, (and marriage to an extent).

There are many things that complicate a life. I pay our bills twice a month, do our laundry once or twice a week, pick up umpteen dishes/Legos/shirts/jackets/shoes in a day. I drive a carpool, shuttle kids to Brownies/soccer/baseball/camp. Make dinner, oversee homework, read stories, shop for groceries. . . The list seems to go on and on and on. I can't tell you how many times in a day I ask children to do what I asked them to do, or put on their shoes, or be nice to each other, etc. So naturally, I wonder if I would be more sane if I'd had children later in life, had more of a career, or had a job other than my home and children for that matter. I dont' have the answer, but I wonder.

As a young girl, I remember my dad talking about traveling the world once I left for college. He suggested joining the Peace Corps, or doing humanitarian work some other way. I left for college 15 years ago, and until November, he hadn't been out of the country.

My dad recently quit his job, rented his house for a year, and made flight arrangements to India for 6 months. Really. His bag was much smaller than those I've seen donned by contestants on The Amazing Race. He had little more than a rough idea of a few cities he wanted to visit, and was on his way. Leading up to his departure I was so excited for his adventure because he hasn't been an example of a risk-taker in my life. It's exciting to see him head off on this adventure.

He left in November and I've received one call from him, which I hung up on because I didn't know there was a delay in international calls, but mostly it's been through Facebook (thank you!) that I've learned about his adventures. Through his status updates, I've been able to view some really cool things (a 4 year old's right of passage getting a haircut, my dad giving school supplies to children in a very poor school, him giving hungry people rice, etc.). He's posted great photos, and then this . . .

He was meditating one morning and his shoes got stolen.

Dang it!

No matter how few possessions you have, how altruistic your motives are, or that the only one you are responsible for is yourself, there are still basics of life that require attention. My children will still need three meals a day, our clothes will still need to be washed regularly, and my dad will still have to somehow watch his shoes while meditating.

I don't know that this revelation on my part helps my dad any, but it sure helps me gain perspective.

Friday, September 4, 2009

If You're Gonna Spew. . .

Child #2 begins Kindergarten this Tuesday. If you didn't already know, it's a BIG deal, for both of us. For the past 6 years, he's been with me during the majority of each day. Preschool has never been longer than 5 hours, and never for days in a row. And while he's had playdates, been to summer camp, and I've been out of town on occasion, we spend the majority of our days together. Good or bad, it is what is . . . and we've certainly had our share of both.

Today was Kindergarten Orientation.




Hubby is out of town, so I've got no reinforcements. I wake up early and decide to get ready in the downstairs bathroom, so as not to wake the sleeping cherubs (all three of them). They eventually wake, and #2 just lies in bed. He actually looks like he could go back to sleep. He's a good sleeper, but he always wakes up early, feeling good.

He says his head hurts, he needs a drink of water, he needs help getting out of bed. . . you get the picture. I took his temperature (normal) but offer him some Motrin in case his headache really could be helped with something mild, which he declines. I quickly decide this calls for a huge dose of sympathy, so I lay it on thick. He eventually gets dressed, brushes his teeth, even takes a shower. He asks for toast for breakfast and can he eat in in the car on the way? Of course. #1 & #3 are off to the neighbor's house, and #2 and I are off to meet the teacher.

He and I sit through the 45 minutes of school director & K teacher talk. Fine. He acts nervous, but if you weren't his mom or dad you'd never know it. We meet a few other students and parents, and I stand around to talk to the teacher. I begin my greeting and look over at #2. It looks like he has a booger on his lip, so I hand him a tissue. I continue talking and look over again, and he's catching vomit in his hands!!!!


I shovel tissues his way, wishing I had one of those kidney shaped plastic things that are always in the hospital but never seem large enough to do the job. As gracefully as I can, I turn to the teacher and say, "It looks like we've got a nervous stomach. I'm going to step over here and break open those Clorox wipes I brought in today, clean up our mess, and be on our way." I do just that. His teacher asks him if he'd like to see something in the room while I get myself together. He agrees and everything is honky dorey. Really.

Here's the kicker - we get into the car. He eats the remaining three quarters of his toast and quickly says, "I wish I had another piece of toast." We head off to Target and he's back to his usual self.

"What just happened?" I say to myself.

At the Back-To-School potluck that evening, his teacher asks me if I think he's going to be okay on Tuesday. I sure hope so ("but I'll be available all day if you need me.")

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sticker Day Revised

When I was in high school my friends and I would hold random "Sticker Days." There was no rhyme or reason as to when they would occur, some days we would just decide, "Tomorrow is Sticker Day." The evening before the event, we would go to the local grocery stores and steal (yes, I said steal) packs upon packs of stickers from their stationary department. The next day we arrived, armed with stickers and proceeded to decorate anyone who wanted stickers with said stickers. We did not discriminate, all grades, all cliques were adorned by the end of the day. I seem to remember people seeking us out (which felt nice in high school) to get stickers, and there were some who adamently protested, whom we left alone (I think). The thing I remembered most was coming away from the day and having a genuinely satisfied and good feeling, that I had been a part of bringing people together and making some people smile. From my end, it seemed like people generally enjoyed those days, myself included.

Fastforward a few years and I just returned from delivering my cookies to three unexpecting friends. The first, it was her birthday and she had been craving them, the second because she lives across the street from the first and I'd feel foolish traveling that little distance and not spreading the calories (I mean goodness), and the third who hinted earlier that she had a hankerin' for some. I was able to meet one woman's little girl for the first time at one home and interrupt bedtime and be threatend with a piece of mind (which changed to a smile) at another.

My day began with a 5:30 am bootcamp (followed by bills, grocery shopping, laundry, making dinner, and the other normal occurrences of a Monday), but ended with my family reaping my wrath over things that were admitidly insignificant, but at the time, I just couldn't take one more thing. After they all slunk upstairs, I went to visit my friends, if only for a brief minute at the door, it was just the change of pace I needed to recharge my battery. I know about the adage that when you're feeling sorry for yourself, do something nice for someone else and you'll forget your worries (or something along those lines). I won't argue with that, at all, I just wish I could figure out another way to package up the frustration I feel at my family sometimes, and do something nice for them. Something different than paying the bills, stocking the fridge, cleaning the clothes and dishes, and making meals because those things don't seem very nice until they're not done. Maybe tomorrow on my way home from my spin class, I'll stop off at some store and buy a few packs of stickers.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Facebook Virus

Recently on Facebook there has been a virus going around. It's not a bad computer virus or even a bad medical virus, just a list of 25 random things you write about yourself, and you tag 25 people and they write their own. Here are my 25 random things:

1. I keep pens and chapstick until they run out. I don't lose them. I like Uniball Grips to write with (I hate ball point pens) and I like Burts Bees Beeswax Lip Balm.

2. I do not like tomatoes. When I was little my babysitter would make sandwiches for lunch with tomatoes. The texture grossed me out, so I put them on the side of my plate. She would shove them down my throat until I gagged. For the longest time I would gag if I accidentally ate a tomato. I'm not compelled for any reason to get over my childhood trauma.

3. I think Jack Bauer kicks ass!!!

4. I like attending sporting events. My favorite is hockey because it's pretty much all action and not a lot of contrived entertainment. I think it's sad that events like sports have become so overrun with what happens in between the sport itself. Is it too much to ask for a little down time? Do we ALWAYS need to be entertained???

5. I will see any action movie with Matt Damon.

6. Of all the habits I've had in my life, smoking has never been one of them.

7. I love watching old people who know how to partner dance. I'd like to learn before my 50th wedding anniversary, but hubby refuses. It's good I've got 39 years to soften him to the idea.

8. I took piano lessons as an adult. I stopped to take prereqs for a nursing program. I wish I had a real piano to take lessons again, or get my kids started. I think it's one of the only instruments that sounds good, even when practicing.

9. I don't listen to sappy music or see sappy movies because I'm afraid of becoming too sentimental about things . . . anything.

10. My right pinkie finger doesn't straighten, and I don't know why.

11. I have a problem with books. I like how some books feel when I pick them up. This presents a problem when in a store that carries books because I will always look and feel, and sometimes buy, even though my To Read pile is well over 70 now.

12. I love hot and sour soup, and I'm baffled that every Chinese restaurant has the same recipe, but I can't duplicate it at home, no matter how hard I try.

13. I appreciate people who say what they mean, and mean what they say, and I try be one of these people myself.

14. I love overhearing my children play make believe games with each other. I love it when they've organized a show with a performing dog or 3 year old on guitar. I think the thing I like about this most is that they usually get along and two are okay with one being in charge, and they just talk to each other and agree.

15. I love overhearing my children laugh . . . hard. It ALWAYS makes me smile.

16. I think a binary world view is a scary thing to have.

17. I ALWAYS have a book with me. Hubby makes fun of me when I travel and asks, "How many books did you bring this time?" when I'm leaving overnight and I have 2 books, and 600 pages to go in the first. But what if my car broke down on the side of the road and I had to wait for 6 hours? I'd wish I had my book with me if I forgot it.

18. When I go home I always go two places:
The Tattered Cover
El Taco de Mexico (7th & Santa Fe) for a smothered Special Burrito

19. I have only been out of the country once. Last year for our 10 year anniversary we went to Aruba. I'm willing to go anywhere, though.

20. I love camping, especially backpacking. I love the idea of having everything I need on my back. I don't even mind being away from showers or toilets, because it's one less thing that needs to be cleaned. (With regards to #17 I would probably only bring the book I'm reading at the time on a backpacking trip because too many books are heavy).

21. When I watch tv, I cross stitch to stay awake, otherwise the inactivity would knock me out in about 2 seconds flat. That's probably why I almost always fall asleep in the movie theater.

22. While the act of doing laundry is Sisyphean, sometimes I like the sense of accomplishment when it's all done, folded and put away.

23. I was born at home and had #3 at home. It was one of the coolest things I've experienced. I actually delivered him myself (we had a midwife there, but I did all the work).

24. There is a vacant storefront in my neighborhood. I dream of owning a bookstore there.

25. I feel inferior and am somewhat envious of women who work. I know being a stay at home mom is worthwhile endeavor. I know that being with my children is/will be rewarding and enjoyable, like today and yesterday, but sometimes the monotony can be mind-numbing. Sometimes I feel like I have nothing worthwhile to contribute to adult conversations. I think things might be different if I spent the bulk of my day talking to adults, but then again I'm sure some of my friends who work are tired of talking to adults and would just like to be home with their kids. The grass is always greener . . . and I'm working on appreciating my own grass.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Should I take a hint?

In preparation of our annual Christmas Soup open house on Saturday, I was wiping down the baseboards and walls in our kitchen and was reminded of my preparations for the event last year.

It was a rainy Friday morning, and I was running in between our little room in the back of our house where we keep our TV (we call it the back house). I hadn't showered or gotten out of my pajamas, but was getting the boys set up for a little auto-sitter while I enjoyed my morning routine, uninterrupted. The boys were happy, entertained and contained, so I made my way back to the house to get ready. I made my way carefully up the steps, to find the door . . . locked. Oh, that's right, I made sure to close it behind me so the rain wouldn't get in. No problem, I'll just call my hubby at work from the back house to run home and open the door. Back across the yard, pick up the phone and . . . it's off the hook in the house. CRAP!!! Now what?

Plan A: I pulled on the door handle really hard for about 15 minutes with tears (or was that rain?) streaming down my face. No luck.

Plan B: I grabbed a rock from my backyard and pounded away. Have you ever intentionally broken a window? It is a wild feeling. . . the anticipation of hearing the glass brake, your hand going through something hard that should be intact. Window eventually gave way, I was in the house, cleaned up the mess, then braced for the rest of the day. I successfully found someone to replace the glass that afternoon and everyone loved our party the next day.

Now today, hubby has a busy day at work, so he leaves early. I'm ready to leave the house at 8:35 to get #1 & #2 to school by 9. We go through the usual business of getting in the car and trying to ignore the plethora of distractions between the front door and the car. We get in and we're off . . . or so I thought. The car won't go into gear. CRAP!! I call hubby who can't get away. Now what? Thank goodness for good friends who were not too far away or too busy to add a trip to our house to pick up kids for school. Then I remembered I have been paying for Roadside Assistance on my cel phone. They arranged for a tow truck to our mechanic, and #3 and I are home for the day. Lucky for me, I bought new makeup yesterday and now feel like I can go out in public again. Urgh!!

On the bright side, I do have everything I need to make the remaining soups for our party on Saturday, and I have all the material to finish the quilt I'm making for my college roommate's baby (who is almost 2 months old now).

I'm not going to think about what adventures next year will bring.