28 March 2007

Raising a sensitive male

I'm not sure how, but I've managed to do it. Why else would he create this sweet little arrangement on the arm of my adirondack chair?

Why else would he sit tenderly in my lap and run his little fingers through my hair?

Why else would he happily let his sister decide what to watch (Angelina Ballerina, Strawberry Shortcake - you name it)?

Why else would he want the pink plate at dinnertime?

Or beg to help make dinner?

Woman to Woman was wonderful, yet again! Thanks to all who participated! Feel free to advertise this project on your blogs! Please use one of the two buttons we have provided for the official logo, in order that it will become the easily-recognizable symbol of Woman to Woman. If you'd like the URL for putting one of them in your sidebar, email
Morning Glory or me for the code. If you prefer, you can use it just on the posting for that particular day, but please use the logos provided. We'll have the next topic up later next week for the April 10 posting.

Also, I have been nominated by two of my favorite bloggers, Morning Glory and An Ordinary Mom, for the "thinking blogger award". Since it is my goal to make you think, I am very appreciative of the recognition! And in keeping with the spirit of the award, I am going to forward it on to 5 other bloggers that are good at making you think: my hip MOF Smart Mama, thoughtful Barb at A Chelsea Morning, Ivey Sirmans' amazing mother - Gwen, the always fun-to-read Shannon from Rocks In My Dryer and witty Rachelle at Teacher, Mom, Mad Woman.

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Should you choose to participate, please make sure you pass this list of rules to the blogs you are tagging.

The participation rules are simple:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative silver version if gold doesn't fit your blog).

26 March 2007

Woman to Woman: Is it really a family night out?

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A few weeks ago, my husband and I decided to face our fears and go out to dinner. As a family.

Now. Our kids have energy. And I mean en.er.gy. They have a hard time staying in their seat for the entire length of a meal. We're still working on using our forks instead of our hands to eat, for pete's sake. But, we want them to learn to act as civilized beings rather than animals, so we took the bull by the horns and we went out. To Denny's. And everything went well... because we didn't try to take them to a fancy schmancy place. We took them somewhere they blended in.

I think the same goes for formal events like concerts and weddings. As a musician, I perform a lot. And my 8 year old is just beginning to attend some of my concerts. We made sure she was ready to sit still and listen and appreciate where she was before bringing her. She will also be accompanying my husband and I this summer to her first wedding. Our middle two boys (ages 2 and 4) will not be attending, because they are simply not ready for such an event. It has less to do with their age than it does their temperament, however. Because I have seen some very well mannered toddlers. Some parents are lucky that way!

When my mother passed away 3 years ago, I got a sitter for my children during the ceremony. They attended the viewing and the burial, but the ceremony, which was more formal and quiet, not to mention very emotional for me, was no place for toddlers.

Church, I think, is different. I believe that is one place where children should learn, as soon as possible, how to govern themselves. I am LDS, so the set up we have is an hour long sacrament meeting (where our primary worship takes place, as a family), followed by 2 hours of instructional classes, geared towards the men, the women, and the children ages 18 months and up, respectively. Do they fidget during sacrament meeting? Yes. Do they cry? Sometimes. Do I feel, at times, like I got nothing out of it? Yes. But sometimes effort alone is enough. Do I let them run amok? No. It is simply a teaching experience, and I believe that church, as with some other things, is going to be a sacrifice from time to time on behalf of my children's welfare.

These days, there are many great opportunities for families to attend special events geared specifically towards little children. The environment is such that there can be noise, without concern over disturbing those around you... concerts and movies in the park, and children's museums, for instance. I really applaud the emergence of these opportunties, because they are enriching, and nobody wants to forego cultural experiences for the entirety of parenthood. Nor do they want to deny their children of the learning experiences they provide. So we need not feel like we're excluded from the finer things in life just because we are parents.

Back when we had our first child and could still afford to fly everywhere, we had a very unpleasant experience with a disgruntled passenger. He was travelling on business and wanted complete quiet so he could sleep. While I respected that he had a personal space not to be intruded upon, the air surrounding us was to be shared equally, and I could not tape and bind my child to her seat to assure that she made nary a peep or giggle. So I do believe that tolerance for children in some grown up places needs to be encouraged and learned. I'd even go so far to say out with the "children should be seen and not heard" mindset! But there is definitely a time and a place for children, and parents have a responsibility to consider carefully their readiness for social events, as well as to prepare them.

*Everyone participating sign Mr. Linky down there and leave a comment. Then go on over to Seeds From My Garden! Here, again, is your choice of buttons for your post or your sidebar.

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The html codes are available by email, or you can right click and save, host image through photobucket or flickr, and paste the html code generated by the host site in your template (changing the url to link to mine or Morning Glory's blog, of course).

25 March 2007

So What!

I have felt a fair share of legitimate guilt in my life. I've made some bad choices, even hurt a few people. That has all been resolved and is in the past. I've learned from it and become better for it.

There is also the kind of guilt that I am conditioned to feel (as a woman), by societal pressures, including but not limited to maintaining a more spotless home, eating better, volunteering more. I fall short on many counts, according to these ideals.

The pressure to meet these expectations plagues so many of us. And nothing is sacred - you can't even get through pregnancy, one of the greatest sacrifices a woman can make - without "rules".

There are women who consequently become obsessed with perfection, altering their features, starving their bodies, losing themselves in their careers, forgetting themselves in motherhood, beating themselves up over things they cannot help - like wayward children, infertility, depression.

When are we going to live in a world where we are welcome to be who we are? Healthy but not waif-like, competent but not obsessed, unique but not conceited, flawed but exquisite, tried but true.

There is currently a "So What" campaign inspired by Tyra Banks' response to the media calling her fat. I do not watch her show, but I am inspired by the responses I have read to this campaign here and here.

May we all have the strength to stand up and say "so what" to the unrealistic expectation that we "be" or "look" a certain way. Each of us is rare and wondrous!

21 March 2007

Woman to Woman

Tuesday, March 27 will be our second installment of Woman to Woman. Last week was a huge success. I was so excited to see so many new faces, a lot of familiar ones as well. Hopefully you'll all want to join us again, but you are welcome to come and go as you please. That is why we have posted a rough schedule of topics here.

Tomorrow's topic will be "Is it really a family night out?" in which you may share your views regarding children under age 5 attending formal events (such as funerals, concerts, weddings, even church services). We hope that those of you who have "tried and true" tips and tricks up your sleeve will share those as well.

Here is your choice of button, each linking back to the guidelines for Woman to Woman. Feel free to email either Morning Glory or I should you have any questions.

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

One of my most fabulous design secrets in the kitchen (lol) has been to use a floor tile as a cutting board. I dislike plastic cutting boards because of the slice marks that remain and turn gray over time. I dislike wooden cutting boards because they are porous and that gives my the heeby jeebies (sp.?). A floor tile (and anyone whose had their floor done probably has remnants lying around) is a sleek solution for me.

Do you have a WFMW idea? Click on the button above to share it!!!

**Have you heard about Woman to Woman? Tomorrow we will be explaining the topic for next Tues, Mar. 27! Please join us!

18 March 2007

Warning: Living with a two year old might cause self doubt

Drew was the easiest baby. He rarely cried, was content to entertain himself, went with me everywhere I went, slept great, and on and on. Just a very happy go lucky, jiggy-with-it babe! But toddlerhood with him has been very difficult, even for this zen-minded mama. The word "no" comes so boldly out of his cherub-like face, it startles me... his full pout stays pursed long after the word has escaped and I want to grab him and kiss him! And in that very instant I can describe perfectly what is going on... his cuteness collides with his naughtiness and I am oh so torn over what to do with this "supposed-to-be-my-last-baby-that-I-have-babied-so-muchly".

Look closely... there he is in the middle of this pile of toys he creates almost daily during "naptime". I want those 2 hours reprieve so badly that I still enforce it, and yet I spend a good part of it walking in and placing him back in his bed. He worked on this messy little project for about an hour and a half before his little body just finally gave in to sleep and collapsed right in the middle of the floor. Sigh - this is life anew with my little guy. I could spend all day running after him and cleaning up the messes he creates! Remember this post?

I feel like a novice here, and yet I am not. I know the age two very well: I have four, count them, four children! And yet somehow, this particular child has one up on me! He makes me feel REALLY out of shape. Lol. I'm pretty sure he's the child they had in mind when they invented safety gates. We have one permanently planted out the mouth of our kitchen. And thank heavens there is one room in my home that I don't have to worry about. One room that stays relatively clean all the time. I often think of just moving in there and conducting all my business through the net.

It is amazing how far emotions can swing, especially in a 2 year old. One minute we can be cuddling on the sofa and the next he's crying out that he's hungry, but does not want to eat. Lol! He makes my hormonal shifts look mild. I lay awake many a night feeling like I'm failing. Like this perfectly normal stage of development is a reflection on me.

How is it that we forget what it's like? I said to my husband, "Were the others this difficult?" And he can think of specific instances that I have completely pushed out of my mind. This blessing of selective memory that mothers have? Genius. It is completely responsible for populating the earth.


15 March 2007

I am so impressed...

... with the caliber of women we had participate on Tuesday. Reading your entries confirmed that this idea I had of joining perspectives "woman to woman" would be beneficial. I am so grateful that Morning Glory agreed to do this crazy thing with me... I know its success was matched by her ideas and her readership. I hope you all enjoyed reading some new blogs as much as I did. I hope you saw the benefit of being your own self and appreciated the differences of your fellow women as well.

My house is upside down right now. We are in the process of creating a play area for our children, which has meant undoing an entire room and building it back up from the bottom. I am also getting organized and purging while I have the drive. It's been a tiring and fun and tiring week.

In other news, my entry to Scribbit's Write-Away Contest received an honorable mention. You should really go read the other entires and winners. There are some amazing writers out there.

I know it's not often that I leave you with nothing to chew on. I promise I will be back soon with some new thoughts. In the mean time, visit my other blog for some pretty stuff to look at. :)

13 March 2007

Woman to Woman: In this skin...

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In my mind I am 18 years old. At that time I was heading off to college, and literally toward freedom. Life just took off and it's been a whirlwind ever since. No lulls whatsoever. So it feels as if time stopped right then and there. I still blast my radio and crack open my sunroof. I still enjoy a PB&J once in a while. I can hardly contain myself on Christmas Eve. I find myself saying some of the same catch words I did 14 years ago - "awesome", "cool" and "stoked". I remember prom as if it were yesterday.

The reality of what I see in the mirror, however, tells me that time did not stop. I just lost track of it. And so I have to stop and think when someone asks me how old I am.

32 years. It's just old enough to start seeing some prominent changes, but not old enough to start complaining too much. I have noticed my body is slowing down. I wake up to a few more stiff joints and sore muscles than even just a few years ago. I have stretch marks and other such battle wounds that really bothered me at first glance, but have since become a symbol of love. Things aren't as tone as they once were, but I take good care of myself . So I take all that in stride.

I really look forward to growing older, to entering the "winter of my life", because I have this idea that aging will bring me closer and closer to peace. And I don't look at aging as a physical thing so much as a spiritual thing. I am not insecure the way I was before marriage and motherhood, because there's just no time to waste on vanity. And yet, there is more reason than ever to check my butt over and over, ad nauseum, in the mirror before I leave the house.

I miss the care free college days, and reminisce from time to time, but am grateful not to have to deal with the stresses of breaking into the adult world anymore.

I feel settled. I'm content. There's no concern that I may be missing out on something, because my life has been full. The things I want to accomplish in life have little to do with my physical capabilities. "Climb Mt. Everest" is not on my to-do list before I die. I just want to remain healthy and live long so that I can enjoy the fruits of all my labors.

I can feel that the passing of time has helped me to become more serene over the years. And when I look at pictures of myself, it surprises me how that has become evident in my eyes, in my smile, in my whole countenance, and that although I notice the other not-so-positive physical changes in me, I am more radiant.

I say time has been pretty good to me.

But we'll see how I feel when I hit menopause. ;)

*Everyone participating sign Mr. Linky down here and leave a comment. Then go on over to Seeds From My Garden!

12 March 2007

Woman to Woman

Woman to Woman begins tomorrow and will continue to run every 2 weeks on Tuesdays. Our first topic is "In this skin...", in which you will tell us all how aging has affected you personally, your attitude towards it and what you've learned from it.

If you so choose, you may include a button in your post or sidebar. We have two for you to choose from. Let us know via email if you have trouble. The first was designed by Beth, Morning Glory's daughter (of Her Majesty's Throne). The second was designed by Zoe, my very good friend, from Fresh Preserves. Feel free to use either one. Being that we are women with color preferences and such :), we thought it would be fun to have options.

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(Please link back to http://seedsfrommygarden.blogspot.com/2007/03/woman-to-woman.html)

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(Please link back to http://accordingtolei.blogspot.com/2007/03/woman-to-woman.html)

Here is a tentative writing schedule for you to refer to. Some topics may change, as may their dates. But it will give you an idea of some of the things we'll be exploring. And each topic will be explained in more detail as it is announced.

3/27-Handling children under age 5 at funerals, weddings, concerts, theatre, church and such
4/10-Parenting/grandparenting difficult personalities
4/24-Enduring health problems, either your own or a child's
5/8-TIPS AND TRICKS Getting the family together
5/22-Getting advice from your peers rather than your parents
6/12-Pressure to have the "latest" baby everything
6/26-Share an important quote and what it means to you
7/10-TIPS AND TRICKS Keeping your marriage alive
7/24-Trying to be something/someone you are not
8/14-Dealing with aging parents
8/28-Learning to say "no"
9/11-Overcoming the "people pleaser" syndrome
9/25-TIPS AND TRICKS facing your parenting fears
10/9-A book review TBA
10/23-Dealing with grief
11/13-Being single again

See you all tomorrow!

10 March 2007

Childhood Memories

*This post was awarded an honorable mention by Scribbit in her March "Write-Away Contest".

I stare at the faces peering back at me. I smell pizza. The lunch bell is going to ring in 30 minutes. I repeat the word I've been given to spell in my mind a couple more times. Goddy. Gawdy? Seriously, how hard can it be to spell gaudy? I feel weak in the knees. This word does not ring a bell. Images of late nights, homemade spelling tests and a variety of dictionaries whiz through my mind. My mother encourages me with her eyes. Although the butterflies are clearly about to fly right out of my mouth I take another minute to compose myself so that I do not stammer. "Goddy, g-o-d-d-y, goddy".

"I'm sorry, that is incorrect."

All the butterflies flop back down into my stomach with a hard thud. I take a step back and sit down. There are only 4 students left. I'd won the 4th grade spelling bee and made it past 40 some odd 5th graders only to lose to the word "gaudy". And now I wouldn't be representing the school in the district spelling bee. Great. Just great.

I avoided my mothers eyes now. I'd disappointed her. And embarassed her. And I wanted nothing more than to disappear and show back up sometime next week when this was but a distant memory.

I don't have a lot of "fond" childhood memories. I came from a home where perfection was demanded and the repercussions of not attaining perfection were what I did not realize was "child abuse" until I was in my 20s. I've used what memories I have left (many have been stifled) to define my approach to motherhood. I feel that the best measure of how well I do as a mother is going to be what my children remember of their childhood. So, I am constantly asking myself, "Do I want them to remember this?" Do I want them to remember losing sleep night after night to the point of nausea to win a spelling bee? Or that I was the fun, spontaneous mom that let them have a camp in?

Thankfully I've chosen not to let ill childhood memories consume me. I am not bitter and I have forgiven my parents. I have instead chosen to find the good part in it all and use it to my advantage. Because of my mother's demands, I have interests and strengths to suit any fancy. And when I'm in desperate need of an outlet, I can choose to dance it out, play it out, or paint it out. I figure that in turn encourages my children to work hard to become good at what they love for themselves.

The curse that was my childhood has become a rare blessing, and because of that my memories have helped me hold onto the things I love. And I can wear them "around my neck like a rainbow, instead of a noose." (Hortense Calisher, Queenie, 1971 )

08 March 2007

Woman to Woman

I think that women tend to compartmentalize themselves, categories being: married, single, divorced, widowed, furthering a career, potty training, abiding by a soccer schedule, avoiding drivers ed., becoming grandparents... you get the picture. And we feel safe in our own little worlds, forgetting to reach out or try to relate to women that are in other stages of their lives.

I have truly benefitted from knowing women of all walks of life. And honestly, not just knowing them, but becoming friends with them, learning from them and loving them for all they have to offer me in my journey through womanhood. I've stumbled upon one such woman since I began blogging, and that is Morning Glory. She is genuine and encouraging and purposely reaches out to other women. I really admire that and think we need more of it in this world. She also happens to be in a completely different stage in her life than I am: she's been married for 36 years and has 6 grandchildren by her two daughters.

So, I've asked Morning Glory to help me organize a writing forum that will allow women, regardless of age or status, to see how their lives intersect with each other and how each of us have a very unique perspective (on a variety of both serious and lighthearted issues) that may be beneficial to one another. I was hoping she would lead me through this, but she would only agree to "hold hands and not trip over each other". Lol!

We are calling this project "Woman to Woman" (her idea... don't you love it?). And she found this wonderful quote, which I think serves as a proper toast:

Here's to good women.
May we know them,
May we be them,
May we raise them.

"Woman to Woman" begins next Tuesday, March 13, and will continue to happen on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of every month. Our first topic will be "In this skin"... in which you will tell us all how aging has affected you personally, your attitude towards it and what you've learned from it. Morning Glory and I will each have a Mr. Linky on our blogs for our readers, but we hope that our participants will branch out and get to know bloggers outside of their usual circles by visiting both of our sites. We will be providing two ultra fun and feminine buttons to choose from as a way to label your post and participation. They've been designed by two other bloggers in our midst, Beth (Morning Glory's daughter, from the former blog Her Majesty's Throne) and Zoe (my good friend from Fresh Preserves).

So, get hyped up for a really wonderful opportunity to share your unique thoughts and perspective with other woman bloggers and meet back here on Monday, March 12 to grab yourself a button. Post your thoughts on Tuesday the 13th, sign Mr. Linky at one or both of our sites, then leave a comment. Oh, and SPREAD THE WORD! We really want to see this opportunity reach bloggers far and wide!

06 March 2007

It's the really simple things I have come to appreciate in life: sleep, food, water. Maybe a smokin' pair of red pumps. But most of all I can appreciate a sincere compliment. "Mmmmmmmmmm, you smell good. Did you take a shower today?"

Note to self: bump sleep, add back in hygiene.


02 March 2007

I can...

These days, I often find myself short on time and running late. I've been busy; it seems like everyone wants my help with something these days. And I enjoy being the "go to" girl, but I'm not sure I can be her anymore. I've taken my time getting back into my groove since having Sasha, so I'm surpirsed that it's been such a challenge. The truth is, I am finally coming to understand that there are limitations to what I can do. Okay. That sounds a) cocky and b) totally obvious. Of course there is a limit to what I can do. I am human. I've just been slow to realize it.

I have often caught myself thinking of womanhood in terms of "all or nothing". I say womanhood, because I think all of us - with or without children, single or married, career women or not - have this idea that we are either passing or failing. And our definition of "capability" couldn't be more flawed.

We focus so much on what we cannot do, I thought it would be a good idea if we all thought of things we can do. So, ahem. All who would like to participate in this exercise (lurkers please join us:)), add your link below and leave me a comment. Your post should follow this outline:

I can lead the way.
I can make people laugh.
I can make my home a haven from the world.
I can make music.
I can catch a full cup of juice on its way to the floor.
I can catch a child on its way to the floor.
I can inspire others.
I can listen.
I can be the "best mommy in the whole world" without a huge stage production.
I can bake incredible brownies.
I can multi-task.
I can make my husband smile without saying a word.
I can pacify my children.
I can give hope.

Be as serious or funny as you wish!