Friday, December 31, 2010
I thought we could share what are goals or resolutions are this year for those who make them. I know sharing these types of goals can make oneself more likely to stick with them, it keeps one accountable.
I have a few.
I want to take better care of myself this year. I'm 38 now and I need to take a little extra time for myself so I don't wear out. LOL. Going to bed at 10:00ish, vitamins, water, and keeping stress levels in check are a few examples.
I have two mom friends that are battling cancer. They are a constant reminder to me that our lives are precious and quick and we shouldn't take our lives for granted. Taking better care of myself is an investment in my future.
I also want to "finish what I'm doing" before I jump to the next task. It may seem natural to many of you, but it is definitely a habit I need to work on. I always feel like I'm being pulled in every direction. I need to make choices to keep me on the right track.
Lastly, I'm going to spend 15 minutes a day dedicated to reviewing, purging, and organizing the items in my home. I want all our items to have been chosen by us, not just stashed and forgotten cluttering up space. I want the space around my items to have almost as much value as the items sitting in it. Over the year, it will result in 57 hours of my complete attention. That is over 7 8-hour days spent on the task. Also, it will keep me mindful throughout the year because I will be addressing it everyday.
I'd love to hear your resolutions.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
The new and improved Van Stone family meets Disneyland.
When carefully compared, the differences found on the two pictures: a brother and lots and lots of rain!
It all started on Thanksgiving day. We let the kids open a present once they finished their big dinner. They opened a long paper chain that had a scroll attached to it. The paper chain had dates on it, starting with Thanksgiving and ending on December 19th. The scroll, once unrolled, revealed the picture of Mickey Mouse and a message from us. Thus, our countdown began.
The kids were very excited to leave for our trip, to say the least, so it was impossible for us to change our plans even with the knowledge of the winter storm warnings that were bringing so much rain to Southern California. So out the door, in the car, and on the road we went early on December 19th, just as planned. Brandon and the girls were amazing little travelers. The last hour or two of our drive was rainy, just an indicator of what was to come for the next four days. The kids opened Disney related gifts in the car on the way. Disney lanyards and 8 official trading pins each for the girls and some warm Mickey inspired clothes for Brandon.
We were able to spend about 4 hours at Disneyland the first day. It was a long enough day with the drive and the rides. The first couple hours were great, just a little misty or just a gentle rain, but then it turned on us and really got us wet, especially on the walk back to the hotel with some of the deeper puddles. I was uncertain about what kind of experience we were going to have with the gloomy forecast that was ahead of us. Our suite was armed with an iron and a blow dryer, so they were well used to help dry out our clothes and shoes that we were going to have to wear again. After a pep-talk about the kind of family we are, and little orange diaper baggies on out feet inside our shoes, we were off to experience all that Disneyland had to offer. Brad had dry socks for the kids in his pockets, to provide some relief later in the day. We were able to spend 10 hours at Disneyland that day, and 10 hours the next. Although the weather may have dampened our fun in some ways, such as all the parades and fireworks were canceled, I’m sure we benefited in many others. We only had to wait in a few lines. We were able to get to see and do so much in the time we spent there. If it would have been pleasant weather, it would have been jammed and we would have been in line a lot.
I’ll post the highlights of our trip soon. A trip to Disneyland is more info than can be addressed in one blog entry. Our journey home was a little scarier. We saw some mudslides, flooding, and a lot of closed roads and exits/entrances. We had to alter our route, but we got home safely and that is what is important. In case you were wondering, Disneyland is still one of the happiest places on earth, rain or shine.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
I’m sitting here all giddy, seriously I can’t stop myself from smiling. You see, I’ve just emerged from the land of the infected computer. It is so beautiful here I hope you all are enjoying an uneventful day. Take a moment to appreciate your computer’s health. Heck, back up some files just for the fun of it. Don’t wait for the dark cloud to descend upon your home and family because it is not a matter of if it will visit you, more a matter of when.
I seriously can’t believe I’m able to access the internet and type here again. Merry Christmas.
This is the second time I’ve encountered a debilitating computer virus/spyware/malware... whatever it is, it’s not fun. Coincidentally, both occurred in 2010. The first time this happened I was freaking out. I panicked and it rocked my world for a day or so, then I gave up and surrendered my computer to our local Data Doctors. They fixed it, but it came with a price. I licked my wounds, became proactive with backing up my files and creating a copy of my system’s image. I wanted to make sure that I never was in as weak of a position as I was on that day.
So on Sunday, when this happened to our computer again. I was in a better “boat.” Looking back 5 days ago, I can see how badly I wanted this problem to go away. I knew that Data Doctor was not going to be an option this time. I was going to fix it this time. I sent Brad out to get Spyware Doctor 2011 that same day. Wouldn't you know it wasn't the latest version. It was a feat to just get the updated version via computer to computer transfer. From the beginning to the end, it was one road block after another. After a day or so of it, my stress level returned to a “normal” state for me, I’m always running a bit high in that dept. (I’m working on that too, but that is another blog topic.) I had actually considered pulling an all-nighter on Sunday night. I had a representative that assured me that I could do it! He would be waiting to work on the fruits of my labor. He informed me that he would be there for the next 8 hours to work on my issue. It was 11:30pm my time. Thank God, I chose to toss and turn for the next 6 hours, instead of trying to fix it that night. It never would of been successful and I would have been one crab-apple-of-a-person to boot. I woke up relieved that my dream where my laptop lid broke off the computer was not a reality. Phew! I don't think I could of handled that.
I will spare you all the fascinating “geeky” details of the road to recovery. I’m glad it is over. It was 5 days of following email and phone advice, usually to no avail. Sometimes, I would be successful and I felt like I was making some progress. It turns out that today was they day that it got resolved. I was truly surprised. I think it was such a new issue, that the tech people were busy learning about it as new information came in about the “beast.” Hopefully, this “beast” will all be old info and be easy to deal with if it ever does pay you a visit.
I’m so excited to be able to publish this blog today. I learned all about patience this week. It was a brutal lesson, but quite effective nonetheless. I hope I’m not put to the test anytime soon.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. I am especially talking to me. I have insomnia...again.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
I was inspired to make a healthy chicken tortilla soup for my family, using stock I made from a roasted chicken the day before. I'm sounding pretty good here, huh? I let Brandon gnaw on a freshly cut cob. He loves corn. He also loves TV. He decided to take it upon himself to take a load off, relaxing on the couch with his favorite treat.
My eyeballs nearly dropped from their sockets when I saw this. My first reaction was not good, so I stopped myself and grabbed the camera. I think I'll get a lot more enjoyment out of this for years to come.
"Ummmy corn, Mama." Here is Brandon, living in the moment.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
So we are officially in the terrific twos. This is my happy place that I am going to imagine when things are going less than terrific. He is in his big boy bed, free to escape at a moment's notice. And he does. We are in that training phase of trying to get him to sleep in his bed, all night like normal people, and then wake at 7:00 am, like normal people. Some days are better than others. Last night wasn't too bad. He went to bed at 8ish. Woke up at 9ish and came out all geared up and goofy. I'm not sure what happened there. I put him to bed again and he says. "Good night Mommy, bye." I'm not sure why I think that is so cute. "Bye," I tell him back. This morning he awoke at 6:15 sharp. I should be happier with that, but I'm hanging on to the fairy tale. Dream big, right? He laid in bed next to us for about a half hour, holding his breath and then exhaling in a big burst. Why do kids do that? I remember my girls doing that. There is nothing sweeter than the idea of a warm, snuggly child cuddled up in my cozy, incredibly soft bed. They don't breath like the ocean waves rhythmically coming into and out of shore. It is a quiet inhale, an awkward silent holding phase, and then a noisy outburst of air. So not part of my fairy tale. He sits up and I pray that he is heading for one of his sister's rooms. When I do eventually arise, I make it to my coffee maker that is unfortunately sitting cold and idle. Brandon peeks up from the couch, taking a momentary break from Miss Spider's Sunnypatch Friends, and asks, "Good sleep, Mommy?" "Yes Brandon," I smile, "I did have a good sleep." He seems so satisfied with this interaction that he now is asking everyone if they have had a good sleep.
This is a little reminder that we really create these little ones by how we interact with them, day in and day out, the good and the ugly. Apparently, I haven't ruined this one yet.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
I live in a busy household, there is no doubt about that. We all get distracted at times. Sometimes I wonder how things get where they get? The other day my two year old boy was sitting down eating. At least he started off sitting. He really is speaking so much now, he loves to practice his favorites sayings and manners. He also loves to go out on a limb and try new words and phrases. One day, he said out of the blue....”Miss Daddy.” Daddy was at work. So sweet. Anyway, back to my story, he asked for “Cheese please Mommy.” I was shredding some for dinner. I gladly shredded some on his plate. I went back to preparing dinner. I look up and see him sprinkling bits of shredded cheese in the tracks of my windows.
“No Brandon! What are you doing?” Feed flies Mommy. I look in the tracks and I see a random dead fly here and there, next to each one lies a piece of cheese carefully placed. Well I guess that explains that.
Monday, October 18, 2010
But then I thought that cowboys somehow made coffee without a coffee maker. I'm sure I've seen it on TV.
This is what we came up with.
The chop stick contraption nicely held the strainer in place so that we didn't accidentally lose the grounds. I understand that this isn't an ideal outfit here, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
Short story: Coffee? Check. Caffeine level achieved? Check. A quick trip to Bed Bath & Beyond set us straight. Phew! God bless the automatic coffee maker. It is just one less thing. Yee-ha.
Friday, October 1, 2010
Let's pretend I didn't just say that last comment.
Okay, back to my results. I had undertaken a new fitness goal beginning Aug. 1st. I measured myself, borrowed a weightlifting book, collected a ton of motivation and began. The first month I really stayed on the workout challenge. I got all the workouts in, both cardio and strength training. I could really feel that my motivation was faltering a bit. I saw definition and tone in my arms. The second month I was working more on the cardio side. I felt burned out on the weights. You see, I was reading a great book, so I wanted to spend my time doing more cardio where I can read at the same time. Then my dear Alison got mycoplasma pneumonia and erythema multiforme and my next week was, shall we say without workout, but with stress which may have the same net effect as actually spending time in the gym.
While my daughter was being diagnosed (difficult) and then healing (so sad because of the systemic allergic reaction she had to the bacteria that was infecting her), I realized that the little things really are very little. Dishes, laundry, kids' homework didn't cause me anywhere near the stress that they usually evoke. I was just so thankful to have her on the road to recovery. The next week I was completely wiped out, totally exhausted, understandably so. Then, I was back into the swing of things (workout wise) and I did the annual grass preparation. In the desert, you have to shave back, thatch, and rake up your grass before you plant new seed each fall. Something they don't advertise when they suck you into living here. Anyway, all that work, and dust and debris in the air, caused me to be super wheezy, so working out was out for the next few days. Now I'm feeling better and I wake up and it is Oct. 1st, my deadline.
Drum roll please.....
My weight was exactly the same as August 1st. In my defense, it was a great weigh- in on Aug 1st, I hadn't seen that number for months. It is probably what helped to get me inspired in the first place, hope. My measurements in 7 areas combined today were 9.5 inches fewer than they were on August 1st. I knew I was looking better, but the scale wasn't reflecting any of the positive changes that I was making. So diamonds, not bathroom scales, really are a girl's best friend.
Where do I go from here? Well, I can see how people (I) usually quit when they aren't seeing the results on the scale. I can also understand how people (I) get sidetracked as they put out the fires that are unexpectantly cropping up throughout the week, month, and year. And that is okay. Working out is like doing the dishes. It is something that needs to be done most of the time. It is fine to let it slide when other things become more important, but when it is said and done, you eventually need to get back there and "do the dishes." You know how much better you'll feel when they are done.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Good thing I already have the second book on hold. I'm currently at number 108. Who knows how long that will take. I better get back to the gym!
Saturday, September 4, 2010
My label maker is still in the box. I’ve had it for about 7 years. I think my problem is that I don’t want to “label” something until my system is perfect. Who wants to ruin a perfectly good label, right??? Also, I need to learn how to use it. So, to recap, I need to figure out the perfect organizing system, then I need a beautiful storage solution to label, then I need to learn how to use my label maker, then I need to make labels for all the solutions at once. I want to have everything ready and then go from unorganized to labeled in one afternoon. Oh yeah, I forgot, I need one afternoon uninterrupted.
I don’t think this is going to happen.
Enough is enough. This is my epiphany I had earlier this week. How can I be organized if I can’t remember what I store in which container? Once I put something away, I semi-forget about it. So logic would follow that is why I have things out, so I don’t “lose” them. I knew I had a reason for not picking up after myself....I like myself better already.
This week I have been looking around for smarter ways to store things that I have. I have thrown away a lot, donated some, and have gotten a lot smarter on what goes where. I had short things stored on high shelves, with tons of wasted space on top of that. My new best friend is an empty diaper box with a plain old hand-written label on it. There is nothing precious about this storage solution. I feel this sense of freedom knowing for sure what is in each box or tote. I’m hooked. Some people “love” their label makers (want mine?), I love an orange Sharpie and any old box.
Friday, September 3, 2010
The struggle is learning to achieve balance with all my jobs, hobbies, and projects. So my new goal for the gym is 3 times a week. That is close to what I was doing, however, I have to cut the workout to 1 hour maximum. Too many things suffer when I spend longer than that amount of time. This will free up more time to blog, declutter and organize. I will lose more inches in the long term if I stay on the plan, than if I give it my all for 6 weeks and then dropout completely.
So that is where I am. Working out is a lifestyle not a short-term obsession. It is just something that needs to be done, so that a long healthy life is ahead of me.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Well, one thing is for sure, working out at the gym is eating up my blog time. So is organizing my life. My waistline and refrigerator are thanking me. I have managed to make 10 cardio and 10 weight training sessions so far this month. Go me. Making it to the gym today was critical. I hadn’t been there for two days. I am still completely sore from Friday and I had stomach aches, etc. Wah, wah, wah. I was not in the mood. I managed to get myself there and I am so happy I did. I did take some measurements this weekend, and I am happy to report that a few inches have been lost. You will have to wait and see for Oct. 1st. I have gained a pound, hopefully, of pure powerful calorie-burning muscle.
As far as the refrigerator goes...I completely took it apart and cleaned the heck out of it. It is gleaming inside. My lovely neighbor picked up and delivered a fruit and veggie basket purchased coop style for me. As much as I like a bargain, I have my limits. 7 am, on Saturdays, is not for being productive. God bless Steve and Denise!!! See picture of produce above. I had this, plus another 24 ears of corn to put away. After shucking, cooking, cutting and freezing 24 ears of corn. I had a big mess plus the produce shown above to deal with. In typical Lauri style, I decided to empty the fridge and clean it, at that moment. My kids were worried for me. My husband was hopeful. My kitchen, once again, is happy and clean (it doesn't happen often.) I even managed to hit the corner in my kitchen where paper clutter and odds and ends go to die a slow painful death. I love that a photograph captures only the here and now, and not the baggage that I carry with me whenever I think of my kitchen. It is definitely a love/ hate relationship I have with the heart of my home. All I can see here is L-O-V-E!
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Yesterday was a perfect day, well, pretty close anyway. I dropped the girls at the bus stop, we said our good byes, and then Brandon and I found some good buys at Kohl’s. I was armed with good sales, the promise of an extra 30% off on top of the sales, and a $10 off coupon good towards kids clothes. And, to top it off, my little guy was the best little shopper. What a gift! The short story is that my soon-to-be 8 year old's bedroom is gorgeous. I picked up a few items to give it a fun, fresh, organized look. I came home, cleaned, organized and set up Alison’s room in a record two and a half hours. Brandon slept the whole time. See....I told you it was perfect.
This morning, however, it is back to reality. I am missing my morning gym session due to the fact that my oldest woke up, throwing up. It is my fault, really. Yesterday morning, she said to me optimistically, “I’m not going to miss any days of school this year.” I should have knocked on wood.
Gym update: I have completed 5 strength training and 5 cardio sessions. I’m on track for my goal of 13 this month. I also think I am seeing a little bit of definition in my shoulder muscles. One way or the other, I will be working out today. It will either be a home workout or one that I do after dinner.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
I have a friend, who I met while volunteering at my children’s school, that is fighting GBM Grade IV. It is a terrible form of brain cancer. You can learn more about it at www.faithforcathy.com. She is supported by prayer, donations, cutting edge medicine, doctors, friends, family and God. Her story is a constant reminder to me that we must refocus on the good and wonderful in our lives. Each day is a gift and the gift should be mindfully experienced everyday.
Thank you, Cathy, for reminding me to love and be grateful for each day.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
I thought I’d share with you an alarming statistic that I read recently. Beginning at age 35, women start losing about 1% of muscle mass per year. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so if we are more “fat” than we used to be, we aren’t burning as many calories as we did when we were younger. I’ve been noticing that it is harder to lose weight, and harder to even maintain an even weight. I also see that my body composition is not what I would like it to be, meaning I look like I’ve had 3 kids. I’m going to be proactive and try to stop this nasty tendency its tracks. I’m taking on the mission of gaining muscle.
My first goal is to have 13 total body weight training sessions and 10 cardio sessions this month. I started on August 1st. So far I’ve done 2 of each. By October 1st, I have goals of losing inches on specific areas. I won’t scare you with the details. I will, however, share the totals lost on October 1st. I’m not going to be concerned with the scale because muscle weighs a lot, so my weight might not change much at first. Over time, the muscle will help burn off the fat eventually. I'm practicing delayed gratification.
I have been totally blown away by a friend who recently completely changed her body through diet and exercise. She even won 1st place in bikini in a big body building competition. She is a mom of two and was competing against 19 year-olds. The change was inspiring. That being said, I hope that by telling you all of my plans of transformation, it may help me stick with my plans. I’ve been know to completely forget about goals. It will be harder to forget it now that I’ve told you all. Wish me luck.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
I am a stay at home mom, and I make no income, z-e-r-o, since I have made the choice to be home. I find that shopping wisely is my way of contributing to the family. I’ll share more of these tips in the future. When I do place an order, it is usually for merchandise that is about 50-75% off retail prices. Additionally, I often have a coupon that has a set dollar amount off when you spend a certain amount. For example, $25 off a $50 purchase. If not, I use a coupon code as described above. I rarely pay shipping. It is a rush for me to get things for such a great price.
Sometimes it doesn’t go so well, and I am robbed of the warm rush of retail therapy. Here is a specific instance that happened several months ago. The day started like any other day. I was checking email with my morning coffee at hand. I opened a “70% off” email from one of my favorite stores. I went to the site, very happy to see lovely things at such a great discount. I filled my cart with some pleasing choices. Unfortunately, I had no coupon to use, so I scoured the internet for additional discounts that could be applied. Hmmmm. No luck there. I tried a few expired coupon codes, okay many, and I kept striking out. This particular store always has a great coupon that accompanies great sales, but nothing could be found. I couldn’t pull the trigger on this order. The deal was not sweet enough. All of a sudden, a pop-up type box appears that reads, “Upon leaving please fill out this survey.” What????? I was just electronically escorted from the store. Hey, I’m taking this personal. How did I get this frugal? I’m blaming it on my parents.
Friday, July 30, 2010
I’m glad to be back in my somewhat stinky home. The stench of a wet load of forgotten laundry in the washer greeted our arrival. I also forgot to toss the once very ripe bananas. Did you know that bananas ooze bubbles after they pass the “banana bread” ripeness factor? Now you know. I’m also very happy to have my clutter dispersed over a 2900 square foot area, as opposed to our little hotel room and suv. It is much less disturbing in its diluted state.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
I had a nice day today. I had the annual appointment that we ladies look forward to so much. This time, however, my office offered a complimentary facial immediately following. I was game for that generous offer. It was wonderful, the facial that is. I felt so pampered. I’m not one to have a whole lot done for me. I do my own nails, my pool, my yard, my house cleaning. I’ve even cut my hair for about 13 years. I now actually have someone cut it for me. Don’t get me wrong, my husband helps with the yard and pool, but I’m seriously putting in effort in these areas as well. And when I say I do my house cleaning, I mean I’m not paying anyone else to do it. Let’s just leave it at that, shall we.
Anyway, I was so glad that I had shopped for school supplies before the blessed facial because I truly felt “too good” for back to school supply shopping. I can see how taking care of ourselves can really make us better, I mean nicer, moms. It takes the edge off. You know what else takes the edge off? A breeze accompanied by a 20 degree drop in temperature in an hour or so, in the desert, in July. My husband was able to wax the car, the girls made up a dance routine, and our boy played hockey in the driveway. We also were able to swim in a pool that was 5 degrees warmer than the air. That is always a delightful experience.
I must say today was a memorable gift, filled with pampering, retail therapy, a gorgeous sunset and I currently have possession of the TV remote control for the first time in about two weeks. Somebody pinch me. I’m not sure it gets any better than this.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
The morning after we arrived home from the airport, I was able to see the darling little guy again, hopping around our little grassy area. The wonderful sight was welcome considering we had just dealt with two more unsuccessful bunny events. Actually, our amazing, pool-watching neighbors handled one bunny loss (thank you) and we cleaned up the other. I can’t even go into the details of our clean up effort. UGH!!! It was the worst situation imaginable. It is just another reminder to keep your eyes open and be observant so you don’t miss the magic. It is there. And it will recharge you so that you can make it through the next “bunny loss.”
Monday, July 19, 2010
The short story is that Wisconsin won, and was successful in its mission of sending us back where we came from. I can take a hint! We had a great time seeing everyone on our 10 day adventure, despite my mosquito issues. We are very happy to be home. The desert welcomed our midnight arrival with 105 degree open arms. We also brought with us a few raindrops as our plane was waiting to unload at the gate, but they quickly subsided. Apparently Wisconsin has its limits. So, na-na-nah-boo-boo Wisconsin, you can’t get me here in Arizona.
Monday, July 12, 2010
In the first chapter, we are encouraged to pick our life’s metaphor. Apparently, rat race was taken, and it was the wrong answer anyway. This is what I picked. Life is a stroll on a beach. It is all a matter of where, on the beach, you are walking. Let me explain. Living in balance is like walking at the water’s edge, where the sand is packed and cool, it is both effortless and pleasure full. Where are you walking? Are you shuffling deep in the loose hot sand, stepping on sharp shells, maybe stumbling at times? Are you trudging ankle-deep in the water? It takes extra effort to get to the same destination. Algae and debris can get caught under your step. Occasionally you may be stung by a jellyfish. Maybe you are worried about some looming unseen danger hidden in the water.
I imagine that life can be the vacation beach stroll, where we are free to be human beings and not human doings. I recently read that eloquent human “doing” idea somewhere, unfortunately, I can’t remember whose lovely aunt said it. It is my choice where and how I walk. I’m aiming for the cool, damp sand where the water rhythmically refreshes me along my chosen path. Why don’t you join me?
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Well, I just witnessed him helping. And I feel like I could use an adult beverage. It is 5:00 somewhere, right? He was super motivated and loving his new role as a kitchen crew member. He was pulling my china dinner plates out of the dishwasher rack and heading toward the granite counter top with them in tow. The girls didn’t seem very surprised at this sight. Well, I’ve now explained the rules on “to what degree” a toddler can help and I think I may have to stick around just to make sure my guidelines are followed. Maybe I should just unload it myself. I don’t like where this is going.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Today I decided to make an appointment for my boy. He has been congested for a month. Mother of the Year, I know, I know. Seriously, he’s been happy, eating, sleeping, playing hockey, scaling tall buildings, etc. I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t a sinus or ear infection. No one needs a male toddler, sporting an ear infection, sitting next to you on a plane. His ears have always checked out fine on these appointments. This was not the case today. He has an ear infection in his right ear. She said it was probably slowly building up and he would have become miserable soon.
We live in an amazing country where we can call and get a same day appointment, drop off and pick up a prescription, and shop for anything we may need in a matter of a couple hours. Granted, they were a couple of hours I didn’t have to spare, but non-the-less, still a fantastic place to call home. The problem is that I couldn’t refuse the $.88 strawberries. So now I have two more quarts of produce that I have to get in the bellies of my crew. I can only imagine that our last remaining meals will become a little more creative, shall we say. One thing for sure, we will be exceeding the RDA in vitamin C.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
If you would like to read today's post, please find it under the July 4th entry, called Amazing frugal tip!!! Enjoy.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Rewind back to January 2008. Unfortunately, my husband’s grandma had been ill and made her passing. My husband made the trek back to Indiana on his own. He spent the few days with a huge extended family. Parents, aunts, uncles, cousins galore, in fact I believe the count was 22 grandchildren and 44 great grandchildren! He made his way back to us, only to jump in the car and drive to Disneyland the next day. We had a family vacation planned before Grandma’s passing.
As we were packing the car up that same night. He said very matter-of-factly, “I think I made my decision.” I stopped loading. Hair stood up on my neck. I have the uncanny ability to know what my husband is going to say by the tone of his voice, after the first two words have been spoken. I have to fight an intense urge not to finish all of his sentences. Trust me on that.
Our girls were then 7 and 5. I felt like I was home free. No diapers, soon to be no car seats. I had kids that listened. My world was rocking, big time. I sat in silence for part of the trip. I felt as an attorney may feel, planning the closing arguments. Let's just say, the con list overfloweth. I subscribe to a monthly publication called Daily Word. It has uplifting words for living. I opened the booklet to January 19th, and read. “I am healthy and wise, at peace, and open to my good. Let go, let God.” It continued and spoke directly to my soul. I was 35, and I had previously considered myself to be past that season. Short story is that I was willing to let go and let God, for one month, after my first mammogram.
I’d like to bring us back to last night, July 4th! We were at a restaurant with the kids prior to watching the fireworks. My boy was running around on the dance floor of the cowboy-themed restaurant, complete with peanut shells discarded on the floor. The girls had already eaten their meals, he had already refused his. It was our turn to enjoy our entrees. It came to me. The reason we waited so long, was that we needed back up. The girls are 10 and 7 and are always on call as back up for our little fire ball. God bless them.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
I guess this is so exciting because I would never use a new swiffer sheet on the garage floor or patio. I mean they are “outside” and are supposed to be dirty. I told this idea to my husband and oldest daughter. They seem to be missing something. They keep waiting for a punchline or something. Try this tip, I promise, you will like it.
My little guy is just dipping his feet into the time-out phase of his life. Time-outs are our first line of defense regarding discipline. Okay, they are the third. First we ignore, then we think “Hey, this kid is getting out of hand,” then we remember the blessed time-out.
As you know, if you’ve been reading here, our little guy is a climber. He looks proudly at us from each challenge he conquers. He acts like he has no clue that we mean business. We’ve gently introduced him to his time-out spot. No counting 1,2, 3 for him. When we come to an impasse (he climbs something and won’t get down after we ask 5 times or so), we say, “Okay I think you need a time-out.” He eagerly climbs down and sits in his designated time-out spot. We set the timer for a minute. He quietly looks up at us with the sweetest little face and waits. The timer goes off. We tell him to get up. He comes to us with kisses and hugs. Here is the best part, he forgets what he was doing to get into the time-out in the first place.
My girls think he is the most adorable thing ever as he serves his time. We are all careful not to let him know our feelings, until after the timer rings. We all wait patiently for our kisses. I think it is our favorite time of the day.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Having a little boy is quite different than how I remember things being when the girls were little. He wakes up, yelling and pointing with amazement “Ball! Vroom, vroom! Hockey!” He goes to bed, yelling “Moon! Dog! Ball!” Did I mention the climbing? We were watching a very girlie movie tonight. A field of flowers, where fairies live, is about to be destroyed by a bunch of big tractors and trucks. My boy’s eyes opened wide at the sight of the construction vehicles. “Wow,” he said in awe. The movie just became worth watching! Let’s just say that he has a passion for life. He is on the go and he loves life! We need to remember our passions that really light our fire, and not let the daily grind snuff out all sparks. You know, the endless laundry loads, the dishwasher full of clean dishes while the sink is full of dirty dishes, the dust bunny reunion in the back hall, please tell me I don’t need to continue.
Looking back 10, 20, 50 years down the road, hopefully we will look back and have so many unique experiences and memories. I hope that dishes and laundry do not make the cut into the Top 100 Exciting Moments of My Life. This blog is sure to remind me that there is life outside of chores and duties. I am blessed to have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those around me. I better get cracking, time is ticking.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Stunned, I tell my husband the news. “Good job, buddy! He’s a boy,” he proudly informs me. That was not my first response. He is 20 months old. I have no place to put him anymore where I know he will be safe. I’m in shock. I’m not sure how I’m going to deal with this. After the shock wears off, I attempt to put him back to bed. He willingly goes with me and cuddles up to his fuzzy blanket and dogs, as usual. As soon as I leave the room, he stands up and effortlessly scales the crib, dismounting with ease. He appears in front of me with the same wild expression.
In yoga class, the teacher explained to me that we are building muscle memory when we stay in difficult poses for long periods of time. Next time, the same pose will take a little less effort. Apparently, in male toddlers, the rate at which muscle remembers is accelerated. My boy is a prodigy, hence his father’s pride.
It took about 4 attempts of putting him back to bed, and a firm order to lay down, for it to finally stick. I’m not willing to give up on the 4-sided enclosure yet. Morning, thank you God, went fine. He was awake at 6:00 am and contentedly babbling until 7:00. Phew! I was worried.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
I present this question in light of packing for vacation. The intensity of my love for “early” packing is matched only by that of my hatred for unpacking. With the pull-back in the economy and the introduction of fees for checked bags, my propensity for early packing has been intensified. I believe that with all the laundry that I have to process for a family of 5, coupled with the fact that we have soooooooo many clothes, a week early probably wouldn’t raise too many eyebrows. If only I could wait that long.
Each and every item has been scrutinized, washed, folded, and in some cases ironed. My 7 year old recently asked, “What is that called?” “Honey, that is an ironing board,” I whispered. I’m not expecting a nomination for Mother of the Year for that one. This year on our 10 day family trip, we are not checking bags. Our toddler flies free as a lap child (pray for me), so we all have to absorb his belongings. I love a good challenge. I don’t watch Survivor on TV, but I imagine this is what it is like. It is all about strategy. My 10 year old is buckling down to finish the fourth Harry Potter book. She knows she can’t bring two Harry Potter books.
Anyone who has ever moved knows that when it comes down to the wire, moving day, and you think you have only about an hour of work left, in reality it is about 6-12 hours of stress-filled chaos. I guess I’m compensating for that last hellish hour. I’m not crazy. It is a form of self-love.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
My husband needs to print an important document. We are out of paper. Well, not really out, but the paper cubby is empty. I knew we were running low a while ago. That is why I bought another ream. I am the GM of this home, and I’m highly efficient at this role. Being a very informed GM, I also knew that I couldn’t find the ream. I had already looked for it, twice. I’m not looking good here.
Do you know that wonderful saying? Everything must have a place and everything must be in place? Well, that is true porn for women. I’m drooling of an image in my mind. You know the image in every home decor magazine, or heck, in every coupon mailer for closet solutions or cleaning companies. The mail is constantly bringing this trash into our home. You can’t think this literature doesn’t affect my self image. I hear my self talk, “If only my granite counters were shiny and crumb-free.”
I sometimes get creative with where I store extra supplies. We have a garage with lots of storage shelving. We also live in the desert, so I have to make sure whatever is stored in the garage can handle it. Six months of the year, we can store magma in its molten state. I just knew that a ream of paper could handle this fate. So, I’m out scouring the garage, again. I’m really hoping that the third time is a charm. Charming? No. I’m out, barefoot in the inferno (it’s 105 degrees here), when what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a snake. My problem is no longer a missing ream, but a four-foot intruder.
I have quite of few things by the garbage can. My newly retired gym shoes, some really great empty boxes, a collection of useful cardboard wrapping paper tubes, etc. I’ve got some stuff out there that I couldn’t commit to tossing, on account of them being perfectly good. So here are the answers for which you’ve been waiting. You keep a tidy garage because someday, a snake may find its way in it. You toss your crap because it may help the snake get out quickly. I’m sure we are all in agreement here. Just imagine yourself in my shoes, okay bare feet, and think to yourself, do I want this stuff or do I want the snake gone? I hope this helps. I’m a changed woman.
My husband, with his trusty hockey stick, expertly encouraged the snake to rethink his current living situation. No snakes were harmed in this story. Always keep a tidy garage for optimal snake preparedness, and CLOSE THE GARAGE DOOR.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
This is going to be hard for a few of you to read, Mom and Jay, you know who you are.
So, my 7 year old wants to go swimming. It is 6:30 pm. Dinner was served, eaten, and has been half cleaned up. My toddler says, “Wimming.,” and points to the door. Two against one. We get suited-up and swim.
Background information: we have a momma rabbit and babies in our gated pool area. We are diligent to keep our dog out of the pool area for the time being. Let’s just say that in the past we’ve had a situation involving the dog and a nest full of baby bunnies that did not end well. We have a dharma to play out. That being said, we love the idea of these precious little bunnies growing safely in our yard. Now back to my story.
All is well in the pool. Then, I hear it. That familiar noise of a screaming baby bunny. I think, oh....the momma must be back, and the babies must be happy to see her. This is not the case. I hear the scream getting louder and louder. How strange, I’m thinking. I’m looking over at the nest area, hidden under a swinging bench. Then, I see it. A snake is dragging a baby bunny away from the nest. I don’t want to be too graphic, on account of me being scarred for life and I don’t think it is necessary for you to be as well. It is not looking good. The bunny is a little bigger than my thumb and the snake is about as thick as my pinky finger and about 2 and a half feet long. My 7 year old is pleading to go in the house because she can’t take it anymore. I want a shovel. A good friend said it best, “The circle of life ends with screaming baby bunnies.” I couldn’t have agreed with her more. I go in to get a shovel and my husband. We head back out and the snake is gone. We can still hear the baby crying. Unbelievably, we find it in a dense bush and use a trusty hockey stick to pick it up and return the baby home to its burrow.
Looking back at the bigger picture, I am able to see that the snake is just trying to grow big and strong to have a family of his own. Blah, blah, blah, whatever. This morning the momma and I saw eye-to-eye, through the kitchen window, over a sink of bottomless dishes. I’ve got your back, momma.
Monday, June 28, 2010
I get the unexpected 8 am call from the neighbors. “Did you know your garage door is open?” I run out and realize that all is well and accounted for. Phew.
After my husband, I didn’t do it this time, left the garage door open, I gave a big lecture to the girls that we must always close the door when we are the last one to go inside. Fast forward two hours, and we are returning home from the grocery store and in the middle of unloading our merchandise. Our 10 year old remembers my lecture well. She promptly closes the garage door, beaming with pride that she is contributing to team family. “I closed the garage door,” she announces. My husband and I look at each other. After 22 combined years of dating and marriage, we both arrive at the same conclusion. Unfortunately, since we are in the middle of unloading, the tailgate of our SUV is still open. I run out and see the tailgate door mostly closed, in an awkward position. Upon inspection, the tailgate is deeply scratched, but functioning. The garage door is no worse for wear. This has not always been the case, but that is a different story, and I didn’t do it this time. We got lucky.
I look up from my task and realize, my toddler is not underfoot. The girls and I begin searching for him. Everywhere, twice. Okay, seriously, where is he??? Then, I find him, safe. Naughty, but safe. He has found the open jelly bean machine in a remote corner of my daughter's room, hidden from view between her queen bed and the wall, and is piling fistfuls of jelly belly beans in his 8-toothed mouth. “Ummmy,” he says. I know my son considered himself lucky.
I’m washing a sink full of dishes. It is bottomless. My wet, but clean, dishes are piling dangerously high on the nearby counter. I’m having a pity party for one. Then, CRASH! A china bowl, from the clean heap, plunges overboard and smashes e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e! Crap! Then, I think, please let that be the bowl with the chip in it that I should have thrown away years ago. P-l-e-a-s-e! Upon review of the surviving bowls...YESSSS!
Do you see where I am going with this? Say it with me, “It could be worse.”
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Now, I try to remember how she lifted the mood in the room with that simple question. Things really do not need to be as mundane and even painful as we make them appear. My husband and I tend to engage in a few do-it-yourself projects that don’t always go over gracefully. Don’t get me wrong, the job gets done and the project works, but graceful, not so much. My role, in these projects, is to be ready for anything, and (this is key) to be ready quick. I need to be well versed in tool talk. When he asks for a phillips screwdriver, I clarify if that is that the flat one or the cross one. Okay, so I need to brush up on the tool lingo, but if attitude is everything, then I'm seriously a team player here. When he was on his back, under the sink, balancing on his upper back and feet only, sweating while trying to connect the new water line to the new faucet, and water is dripping like clockwork onto his forehead, I squeezed my my head in there and asked, “Is that fun and easy?” It is a mood lifter. You should try it.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
I have actually been making progress decluttering around the house. Recently, I've organized the kitchen cabinets, my closet, the kids' rooms, the laundry room, just to name a few. I bought a new shredder and I'm making my way through piles of utility bills, statements, etc. It feels pretty good. I read somewhere, that the Golden Gate Bridge is painted everyday. Really, a part of that bridge is painted everyday. Once it is finished, it is time to begin again. So I try to imagine that the decluttering, that is required around here, is a daily practice. It will never be done. It is part of the journey, not the final destination.
On that note, naptime and Hannah Montana are almost over, and I can see a few areas that need some paint, if you know what I mean.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Meanwhile, in the same shopping trip, I have a 20 month old boy, belted up in the cart. He is supplied with goldfish, milk laced with chocolate Ovaltine, and a random m&m to entice compliance with our shopping program. It is not going as well as planned. He loses interest in each item we show him quicker than the next. He easily eels his way out of the restraints and somehow ends up in my arms. He then morphs into a semi-liquid state and finds himself free, running to the 20 inch bouncing ball display, the mother ship. I see the eyes of the Target employees wondering if we are leaving soon. I also see the understanding eyes of the btdt, been there done that moms and grandparents. I think they may think he's as cute as I think he is. Or, maybe they feel sorry for me. Either way, the only way out of the store, due to his eel-like, semi-liquid qualities, is to chase a big ball to the registers.
All is quiet on the southwestern front. The girls are playing, amazingly well, with their new dolls and accessories . The boy has been fed and is sleeping in his crib. I am here reflecting on how different parenting is in all its stages. The difference in boys, girls, their ages, my age, etc., I only hope I am doing this right.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
I suffer from a case of perfectionistic procrastination, of course I made that term up. I've heard it is a common affliction. I have an email box that only catches my attention once it is at the 1000+ emails level. So, I did something new. I did some quick mass deletions of junk email, and got the level to be about 500, or so. Then, I moved over all the old emails and put them in a folder called "old email inbox". Now, I am happy to say that my current inbox has only 16 emails. I enjoy reading, deleting, and actually managing the inbox. Who knew??? I was constantly punishing myself with the old inbox. I had read, once, that you should begin as you wish to go with current photos. Our tendency to get photos organized is put off when we have years of photos stacked up waiting and making us feel guilty.
I'm going to go pick up the pieces that fell, while typing my first post to my very own blog. My kids have reached their limit. I also need a refill on my coffee. I literally have my leg extended, trying to keep the 20 month old boy from climbing the computer tower. Oh yeah, my time is up!