Jean Knee, from put some polka dots on it! Congratulations, Jean! Email me your address, and your loot will be on it's way!
30 August 2007
Everyday, I choose to be a mom. I choose to devote my time. I choose to set me aside a lot of the time. I choose to bite my tongue when I am angry. I choose to give us all a time out when I feel like I am losing it. I choose to play Candy Land, even though I hate board games. I choose to sing the same 3 songs every night at bedtime. I choose to read my children books. I choose to smile and give hugs even when I am worn out. I choose to listen to their little concerns.
I choose to give them hope. I choose to teach them acceptance. I choose to let them explore. I choose to let them learn.
I choose to worry about them. I choose to check on them during the night. I choose to get teary when they accomplish the little things. I choose to let myself submit to them. I choose to take charge. I choose to relish the things in their little world. I choose to teach them how to grow up. I choose to say I'm sorry. I choose to teach them responsibility.I choose to take good care of myself. I choose to be able to run around after them. I choose to be well rested for them. I choose to share my passions with them. I choose to let them be part of my life. I choose to be part of theirs. I choose to receive heavenly guidance. I choose to tell them I am weak without guidance. I choose to give myself a break. I choose to give my husband experience. I choose to give my children independence. I choose to give them dependence.
Motherhood is a selfless existence, but the most nourishing one.
29 August 2007
27 August 2007
A lot of women feel like they have to "do it all", regardless of what may be realistic for them. Do you fall into this category? Can you just not resist the urge to be involved in everything? Or have you learned to say no? Have you taken a step backward and seen positive results? Share your frustrations or share your advice... Tell us what you think about the current trend to be all things to all people.
Thank you for joining us today! Please take some time to visit my co-host, Morning Glory.
24 August 2007
The topic for Woman to Woman on Tuesday, August 28th, will be "Learning to say no". A lot of women feel like they have to "do it all", regardless of what may be realistic for them. Do you fall into this category? Can you just not resist the urge to be involved in everything? Or have you learned to say no? Have you taken a step backward and seen positive results? Share your frustrations or share your advice... Tell us what you think about the current trend to be all things to all people.
In October we will be having a Woman to Woman book review! Morning Glory loves mysteries and I love fiction. So we decided that we would let you choose anything from those two genres. Start thinking now of a book that has had an impact on you. It will be fun to hear each other's reviews and I suspect it will also give us each some new ideas for "what to read next".
The remaining topics will be as follows:
8/28-Learning to say "no"
9/11-Overcoming the "people pleaser" syndrome
9/25-TIPS AND TRICKS facing your parenting fears
10/23-Dealing with grief
11/13-Being single again
12/11-Trying to be something/someone you are not
Come one, come all, and join us on Tuesday!
I need to close out the summer by giving something away. This time there is something for Mommy AND baby! So please leave a comment in this post (lurkers - you too!) and you will be entered in a drawing for this covered baby wipes container and miniature desk organization kit, all of which are very matchy-matchy and cute. The winner will be announced on Friday, August 30. So there is plenty of time to get a good group of entrees and create lots of yummy anticipation!
21 August 2007
This post was written for and submitted to Scribbit's Write-away Contest.
Her first obsession (that I remember) was with the color purple. It did not matter what the object was, she always bought a purple one. There was a store at the mall called "The Color Purple". When she discovered it, I remember thinking "Holy crap, there are other people out there who have a color fixation?" Never in one place have I seen so many people decked out in purple - purple shirts, purple jewelry, purple handbags, purple socks. Purple hats.
Her collections evolved over the years. Magnets, Coca-Cola memorabilia, watermelon arts and crafts, and cherub angels adorned our house. Regardless of what the current trend was, her interest in it grew exponentially, and she just ended up with a lot of junk. We lived in a modest sized home,and when she ran out of room to display all these things, they'd get stashed in a corner somewhere in her room. Eventually, she had piles upon piles of bags with unopened items in them, tags and all.
I was oblivious to the rise of this problem until she passed away. I was the first one to go through the house and begin to organize and sort through her things. I've known several people to enjoy "collections"... but to find garbage sacks full of receipts and Christmas cards dating back 20 years? That was a sign of something more like a compulsion. It turns out that she met the criteria for a psychological condition called hoarding.
When collecting "stuff" becomes a hobby, few things hold any real value. I discovered picture albums of my children, jewelry and art work that I'd given to or made for her, still in their original box. This caused me great sadness, to know that all the piles of junk comforted her and kept her company, while things that were thoughtfully picked out by those who loved her left little impression. Hoarding gave her a false sense of security... it helped her fight off the loneliness she insisted upon.
I've never had an ongoing collection of my own. I have a strong aversion to the whole idea. I know that collecting things is not unhealthy, but it was taken to such an extreme in my home that I'm leary of it. There have certainly been things I've liked well enough over the years, though.
When my mother visited us after the birth of our first son, she brought me a willow tree angel in the shape of a little boy hugging his dog. It was a perfect addition to the puppy themed nursery, and I loved its simplicity. It now sits on my secretary with a few others that have marked special occasions, and has become part of a tradition. They represent our ever growing family.
I bought my first antique bobbin at a tiny second hand store in southern Utah. The significance of it was that it was the first real decorative item I'd purchased for our tiny apartment. I loved the aged wood and the different shapes and sizes they came in. I loved that something old could become something new, as I'd chosen to use it as taper candle holder. I now have a bundle of them on top of an antique chest I inherited from my great aunt. Such unique and beautiful objects that hold a bit of history as well.
The first water pitcher I bought was for the top of my cabinets in the kitchen of our first home. I was bound and determined to stay away from those fake silk plants everyone else was buying, and it looked so elegant up there. It just didn't make the statement I wanted all by itself. Suddenly pitchers were catching my attention in every store I entered. But I bought only enough to fill the space I'd designated, and I think they say a little about who I am - eclectic and creative. Each pitcher is completely different from the next... one has polka dots, one has stripes, another a toile pattern. One is white, another is blue, a few are multi-colored.
I am content to have just a few of these things. I remember the circumstances under which I bought or received each one of them, and they are of value to me because of this significance. I love the idea of them getting passed down, generation to generation... of becoming heirlooms and telling stories about me and my life, my personality and my interests... of representing real memories.
20 August 2007
This morning I attempted to workout at home. I sent my older children into the backyard to play with the water table, and brought the baby into the living room with me for an hour of FitTV. I got down on my mat ready to crunch, crunch, crunch when Sasha seized the opporunity to climb on me. I struggled to see the screen,what with her in my face giggling. I struggled to lift my torso off the floor,what with her lying on my chest. Then I hear the instructor say,"Are you focusing?" And the answer to that would have been "No"! I persisted, taking short breaks to go out back and wrangle the kids back over to their activity, fetch more water and fish stuff Sasha had found on the floor out of her mouth. Again the instructor said "Don't let yourself get distracted, really focus on what you're doing." Okay lady, I thought... are you spying on me?
Of course this got me thinking more deeply (I have a bad habit of that,eh?)... I have not been very "focused" on anything lately. I have a lot of balls up in the air, and I am not sure anything is really getting my attention. My husband has always had a simple answer for this... "Cut back". To which I classically retort that everything going on in my life is of utmost importance and if I cut back the world just won't get on.
But I've decided to try and focus on just a couple things at a time. I figure every few months, I can juggle things a bit and focus somewhere else. But I have to get my priorities straight and see things from start to finish before taking on something new. I need to get my kids focusing, too. School starts next week and they are as much in the Land of Lala as I have been. Plus, if I am successful in getting them back in focus mode, then I will have fewer interuptions and be able to get my level of productivity back up where it should be.
At least when it comes to crunches. ;)
15 August 2007
I am fortunate to have music in my life. There are few things that provide me with such comfort. Often when I need it, the words of a familair hymn will slip into my mind. As we approach a new school year, there is much anxiety at my house... particularly in that of my ADHD 5 year old. This is very trying for me and I struggle with finding the patience I need to handle him on some days. One day last week, he'd been hitting and kicking and screaming and furniture leaping for several hours. And I'd yelled and screamed, and sent him to his room, and even thought of just sticking him in the backyard (yikes). Then, these words penetrated my thoughts:
5 Things I Was Doing 10 Years Ago:
1. Enjoying the life of a newly wed.
2. Gearing up for my senior year of college.
3. Discovering Martha Stewart.
4. Playing for various recording studios.
5. Sleeping alone for most of the night (dh worked graveyards).
1. Take Jonah and Drew to occupational therapy.
2. Go to the grocery store.
3. Vacuum downstairs.
4. Clean the fans.
5. Call Lexye about zilching (classical version of a jam session)
1. chocolate oreo cakesters (they are brand new and to die for)
2. reduced fat peanut butter on a banana
3. strawberry banana yogurt
5. tillamook cheese and wheat thins
1. "End of the World" by R.E.M.
2. "Closer to Fine" by Indigo Girls
3. "Wild Horses" by U2
4. "If You Leave" by OMD
5. "O mio babbino caro" from La Boheme
1. Open my performing arts school.
2. Fill those college, mission and wedding funds.
3. Buy dh a big boat. Lol.
4. Go to Italy and research the birth towns of my ancestors.
5. Get a Victorian fixer upper on the side.
1. I use Q Tips to clean my ears.
2. I rarely floss.
3. I stay up too late at night.
4. Overdoing things.
5. Forgetting to recharge my cell phone.
1. lycra stirrup unitards with clashing trunks
2. ribbons in my hair
3. splatter paint
4. fluorescent colors
5. Keds. I'm sorry, I just can't do it. No matter how hard they try to design a more modern sneaker.
1. My Nikon D50
2. My laptop
3. My Kitchenaid mixer
5. My graphic writing tablet.
13 August 2007
There are many women who still have one or both parents living. As our parents age and move into their 80s and 90s, they often need a family member to care for them. Are you currently the caregiver for a parent? Perhaps you are the caregiver for a beloved grandparent. What have you observed through this process and how have you worked this caregiving into your family life? What difficulties have you encountered, and how have you resolved them? What has been successful for you?
My husband and I have yet to deal with this, although his parents are currently in their 70s/80s. His father was diagnosed with colon cancer about 11 years ago, and received chemo for a year, but is now in remission. He is relatively healthy for an 81 year old, but the signs of aging are there and each time we see him he seems to have a little less pep in his step. I can tell this wears on dh. If we are not expecting a phone call from his parents, and we receive one, his first question is always "What's wrong?" But for now, our worries are unfounded. And we are grateful that he remains a very lucid, happy man.
Dh's mother, however, shared some thoughts with me from her experiences with caring for her father in his old age. It felt very natural for her to take him into her home. She was always very close to him, and when her mother passed away she knew instantly that she wanted to be his caretaker. It presented it's hardships, like lack of privacy. And he had some annoying habits, like continuosly crossing and uncrossing his legs. She could see it out of the corner of her eye as they sat and read in the quiet evenings. Furthermore, she could hear it, and found it to be very distracting. There were also times when he was impatient with her - wanting to have certain things done right away. And he'd follow her around the house until it got done. She'd sometimes have to find an excuse to shut herself off in her room and take a breather. But overall, he was kind and easy tempered. He enjoyed being around his grandchildren, and they him. She feels they gained a sincere appreciation for him (particularly the quarters he gave them for candy).
One thing she said was very successful was giving him his own space. His bedroom contained his own furniture, brought with him from his previous home. This provided him with both familiarity and comfort. The bedroom was also off limits to her children, so he could have privacy when he desired it. They owned a big leather chair which he loved to sit in during the day, alternately reading and falling asleep. It belonged to her husband, however, and when he got home from work HE wanted to relax in it. Sometimes her father would be asleep in the chair, oblivious to the fact that he was being watched and was expected to move. Other times he was awake, and more than willing to relinquish the comfortable spot to it's owner. But she took him out shopping for his own chair. He chose a recliner that he just loved, and that simple act really made him feel as if he was no longer a guest, but truly a member of their family.
To say everything was perfect would be false. Towards the end, as he got sicker, he'd take his frustrations out on his daughter. He became very hard of hearing, and including him in conversations became increasingly difficult for the both of them. He felt shut out much of the time, and she felt frustrated trying to communicate with him. He was always cold in the winter, and she could not keep him warm enough, no matter how hard she tried. He'd tell her that he didn't want to be there anymore. Eventually she began looking for a good care center, but could not hold back the tears at the thought of leaving him there. So she tried her best to continue to provide him with what he needed. One of her sisters stepped in and cared for him for the final 6 months of his life. This made her so sad, that she couldn't make him happy right up until the end of his life. But she has no regrets.
Providing for your parents is something we each need to be prepared to do, but not something we want to think about. I can't really imagine reaching that point with my parents. My mother passed away a few years ago, but my father is in his early 50s and nowhere near dependent on me for care. In fact I wonder if the thought has even crossed his mind. But, being that I am the oldest, and the only girl, I need to ready myself for the responsibility.
I have had the opportunity to have my brother, 17 years old, live in our home this summer. And it is interesting to me how my mother-in-law's thoughts and experiences parallel my own... right down to it feeling natural, but being difficult, and having no regrets. I've learned a lot about myself in this process. It's definitly been a growth opportunity for both myself and my husband. And in the brief period of time that we have had him in our home, we've changed. For the better.
Please leave a comment and then a link to your post on the topic. Then visit Morning Glory and do the same. Thank you for visiting!
It's been all about my kids all summer. They've had something to look forward to nearly every single day. We've been on vacation. Twice. Their adventures have been full, their need for popsicles fulfilled, and I think I see them sprouting fins. I feel like now, with school beginning so soon, I can focus on myself a little more. And I need to!
I've made a list of 5 things I plan on doing for myself:
1) Renew my exercising vows. I gave up on meeting the "workout 4 times a week" recommendation several weeks ago. I joined the Y at the beginning of the summer, and that went well until Sasha figured it all out ("When we come here, Mommy ditches me"). And with free childcare, they weren't real tolerant of her crying. Which is a shame, because my older 3 loved it and hated having to leave 20 minutes after we'd arrived. So, beginning the week school starts, I've got 10 sessions scheduled with a personal trainer. I do need to find a sitter for Drew and Sasha 2 mornings a week. I think I can manage an evening workout (dh can usually commit to being home at a decent time at least one night a week, lol) and have my 4th workout on Saturday mornings.
2) Eat what I like. I've been a plate cleaner this summer. I have enjoyed making the kids what they like to eat; they don't get hot lunches during the school year. But it hasn't left me with much desire to make myself a separate meal. So I eat what they don't. Or something really quick and easy. I am excited to eat all the things they turn their nose up at. Tuna salad, here I come!
3) Find some peace and quiet. Ah, every afternoon, from 1:30-3pm, my house will be completely quiet. Jonah is starting Kindergarten and he, like his older sister, will be in school all day. I cannot remember the last time I had a quiet afternoon? With my first, I suppose? I will finally take the advice I received 8 years ago at the start of this journey, and "rest when they rest". Or try to, anyway. I also need this peaceful time of day to recommit to personal scripture study.
4) Join a book club. I've got a few books I am dying to read and discuss with other women. "The Elephant in the Playroom" is at the top of my list! Again, not something I've done in several years. And I really,really miss it!
5) Finish some projects. There's a large unfinished painting, the white walls in our bedroom, and my daughter's half refurbished bedroom, to start with. I am sure I will uncover more once I begin the weeding process!
What's on your list?
P.S. - Don't forget Woman to Woman tomorrow!
10 August 2007
There are so many fun things you can do with photos for young children. I've made and received a few books/albums that have become cherished, prized possessions. Below are some of the layouts from those books.
The first was made for my now 5 year old. His transition to becoming a big brother was not a smooth one. This is one of the many ways that I tried to make that change easier for him. We talked a lot about what it was like when he was a baby, and he loved to look at pictures of himself as a baby- eating, crying, sleeping. It really helped him understand his new baby brother a little better.
I made this book for Sasha and gave it to her on her first birthday. If she's anything like her siblings, she'll love looking at these pictures of herself and seeing how fast she's grown.
I just love this book that my sister-in-law made. She used the text from a children's book called "I Love You Through and Through" by Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak, and inserted very apropos pictures of my son as illustrations.
Find this and other great project ideas at Creativity Cannot Be Stifled.
We'll be discussing the next topic on August 14th, and here it is: dealing with aging parents. There are many women who still have one or both parents living. As our parents age and move into their 80s and 90s, they often need a family member to care for them. Are you currently the caregiver for a parent? Perhaps you are the caregiver for a beloved grandparent. What have you observed through this process and how have you worked this caregiving into your family life? What difficulties have you encountered, and how have you resolved them? What has been successful for you?
Stop by next Tuesday and share your insights, observations, concerns with us. There will be a place for you to sign your name and link us to your post on the subject. You'll also be able to visit other participant's via their links. And if you'd like a button to label your post or place in your sidebar, email myself or Morning Glory.
09 August 2007
I love being a mother, but some days it might not be so obvious. I might be lucky to get out of bed before 9, feel snippy for most of the morning, and frequently "daze out". We all have days like this. You don't always have the 100% you wish to put into your job. Since there are no sick days or vacation days in the call of motherhood, here are some tips that will help you look like you've got it together when you don't.
1) Let a few things go. I always say, if my kids feel just as loved today as they did yesterday, then it is okay that we skipped baths, stayed in our pj's until 10 am and ate cookies much too early in the day.
2) Don't complain. The best way to mask your "off" day!
3) Stay organized (not a thing to let go). As tempting as it may be, don't let the kids run amok and wreck the house. That will just mean more work for you when you really need less.
4) Prioritize! Perhaps the dusting can slide, but if you don't spend time with your children, you'll really be feeling like a slacker.
5) Make an appearance... Whatever it is you're involved in: church, volunteer work, community, school, you may not be able to take on the next big project, but pop your head in and show your loyalty.
6) A few neurotic symptoms go a long way. It's no secret that motherhood pokes holes in your brain. In order to keep from letting things slip your mind, make LOTS of lists (and update those lists) and stay on top of your calendars!
7) Take a break. Prevent the overload. Call a sitter or arrange some time in the evening to get out of the house and catch your breath. You'll be much more likely to wake up feeling like your old self again. :)
05 August 2007
I got tagged by Lucy to do this meme, and it's a fun one!
1. If you could change one part of your body, what would it be? This bald spot at the nape of my neck! Lol! It appeared after the birth of our 4th child... and this is not just typical post pardum hair loss. It's like all that new pregnancy hair growth fell out of just this one spot on my head! And it's not filling back in like it usually does; I always get and then lose a lot of new hair at the nape of my neck and around my hairline. The spot is only noticeable when I pull my hair up high on top of my head (which is, well, never, because it's NOT the 80s). But still, I know it's there and is freaky.
2. How much money do you think you need to make to be "really comfortable"? (Think annual salary). For me and my family of 6, really comfortable means being debt free, having an adequately growing savings, living in a home with room to spare and not worrying about the coupon section in Sunday's newspaper. Here in Texas, I'd say that's about a $140,000/yr salary.
3. What is your greatest God-given talent? Music. I began studying violin at the age of 8 - with a variety of teachers and under a variety of methods. I climaxed under the tutelage of a professor at Rice. When I turned 15, I began studying the viola as well, with a professor from the University of Houston. I became much more serious about music at this point, practicing multiple hours day, becoming active in the city's reputable youth symphony and joining my performing arts highschool's symphony (where I was already enrolled for dance). Until my senior year, I was torn between my love for both music and dance. After auditioning in both these areas for a number of university scholarships, it became obvious to me that music was where I had my edge, and I chose to pursue a degree in viola performance and pedagogy at Brigham Young University. Since graduating, I have had some incredible experiences... touring Central and Western Europe, performing with the Utah Ballet and Honolulu Symphony, teaching both at a private academy and private lessons, and recording for movies/soundtracks. But greater than the blessing of ability itself has been the blessing that no matter how much time passes between musical opportunities (which have become fewer and fewer as I've had more children), I've never felt as if I've lost that edge. I truly believe that the Lord has given me this gift as my reward for dedicating myself to motherhood. It is amazing that it took so many hours of fervent practice to get to where I am, and yet I have maintained myself with very little effort.
4. Winter Olympics or Summer Olympics? I'm torn! Growing up, we always watched the Summer Olympics. We'd be on vacation in Galveston at a beach house and watch gymnastics, primarily in the afternoon/evenings after we'd been sunburned and exhausted. The family I married into loves to watch figure skating, and it wasn't until then that I began to pay attention to the Winter Olympics. Of course now I have children and never have time to watch tv. Or, I guess I'd rather be blogging. ;)
5. If you could have any career, and you were GUARANTEED success (no tests to get in, no auditions, no worrying about daycare, or money or time) what would you do? For a long time, I have toyed with the thought of opening up a performing arts school. I'd love for it to be public - open to anyone who qualifies (by audition). I'd want not only to be the administrator, but to teach as well - to choreograph, conduct the orchestra, teach an art class. I can't think of any other environment in which I could be involved in all 3 of my biggest passions. Maybe this isn't far fetched, but it's what I really want to do.
Now for my questions and the people I want to tag.
1) What has been your greatest accomplishment?
2) Name one book that has had a profound impact on your thinking.
3) Do you have any guilty pleasures?
4) What need does blogging fulfill in your life?
5) What is one thing people can appreciate about you?
I invite Meta, Kasie Sallee, Michelle, Lara and An Ordinary Mom to answer.
*you might notice a few changes to my blog over the next little while. it's going to look patchy until i decide what exactly i am doing. lol! i welcome comments on the new look as it progresses!
03 August 2007
I took Sasha to her 1 year well check this morning (albeit a month late). She hasn't really gained much in the last couple of months, and "only" grown an inch. She's still transitioning to table foods, and is still breastfed. The pediatrician (not her regular one) told me that I should be pushing whole milk - 16 ounces a day - and get a blood test to see if she was becoming anemic. We all know that breastfeeding (as well as many other personal mothering choices) brings with it a vast range of opinions, but what? Huh? This got me seriously thinking about my own private parenting myths. And the validity of my my parenting instincts.
Now. I am not all knowing and I'm not gonna toot my horn here. Sure, I think a little tv doesn't hurt, McDonald's is sometimes the perfect solution, and that all kids misbehave. And I am pro-breastfeeding. Those are a few of my humble standpoints, which may or may not make a difference in someone else's mind. But I want to know what myths you've uncovered since becoming a mother. I'm certain that somebody out there is just waiting to hear that it is okay that their 13 month old is still drinking from a bottle.
And that they should trust their instincts on that.
02 August 2007
I hope you are all enjoying my new playlist. I must say, I never expected to draw so much attention to my blog just by my musical selections, but I appear to have built up a reputation. And I aim to please. So I present you with a new "women that rock" mix, and must say, it is spectacular. I've enabled the shuffle mode so that you'll always be surprised... like a box of assorted chocolates, I hope that fills you with the delight of anticipation each time you visit (and out of curiosity, tell us what you're hearing in the comments section right now). If you like what you hear, you can view the artists' names and song titles by clicking on "View My Playlist". If you don't like what you hear - well, that is what the "stop" button is for. :)
*I put a little Dido and Jonatha Brooke back in there just for Scribbit and The Smiling Infidel (who have a similar discriminating taste).
01 August 2007
I learned that 3 days in the car with 4 children will either make or break you. It was tough. I mean, TOUGH. But I managed to make note of some funny things my kids said. And I have to share those, of course. Because if you can't laugh in hindsight at your
And I remembered my camera! (But we forgot the stroller. Sigh.)
My muddy buddies
Grandpop says something funny
Being silly with Aunt Emily
The most photogenic cousin
This one's for Morning Glory
Anyone know what these are? Wild geese?
Drewby sneezing (lol)
And discovering stars
The oldest and the youngest
Could they be cuter?
Fun in the sun
Lots of cousins
As much as I enjoyed my time away, it is good to be home. I'll be slowly making my way around to your blogs. Still getting my land legs back. ;)