29 May 2008

Thursday Thirteen - 13 blessings

I am extremely on edge right now. We are very close to moving into our new home and things seem to have stalled. I can hardly contain my frustration. I just feel like I am at the end of my rope! So I wanted to focus today on several positive things (aside from the obvoious) that have helped us deal with the stress of selling and building a new home (which, with 4 kids has been quite the feat).

1) Parent Connection, which is positively #1 on my list. We are very lucky to have this program in our school district. It's the only one of its kind. It allows parents as well as parents-to-be to meet each month with a parent educator, who teaches them about the development of their child/unborn child in utero. There is discussion about what milestones to look for - social, intellectual and physcial. There are activites for toddlers and preschool age chidlren to do while the parent and parent educator discuss any concerns about the child's development. In addition, every week there are playgroups. A classroom full of dvelopmental toys, divided by age group and ability. There are parent workshops... you drop off your kid in the playroom and then you might go learn about what color your children/your personalities are. Or whether or not they have sensory needs. Or all about Love and Logic. Since we moved in to this apartment I have been allowed to bring my children whenever I want to this playroom (which is a Lakeshore mecca). This has been such a blessing. We haven't made it to many of the organized playgroups since moving... the times have not been convenient due to proximity. Being able to drop in whenever I get a chance and let my children burn off some energy before returning to this cave has helped so much!

2)Family, who checks on us often and send small, simple goodies to the children. Checking the mail and answering machine has never been so fun!

3) Fabulous babysitters. I am so, so lucky. I have 2 really responsible babysitters who interact well with my children, and even clean up (including dishes). They are also young (13) which means I have a couple years before they are off the market (at which point I'll be able to take advantage of my oldest).

4) Weekends. My husband has taken me out every weekend, sometimes even twice per weekend, since we moved into the apartment. He can clearly see my need to escape and has allowed me to pick the restaurant or movie just about every time. It really "hits the spot" to get away by ourselves. We have also been more vigilant about spending time together as a family in the weekends, going swimming or out for a drive... it's nice to get out of the apartment but the side benefit is that we are leaning on each other and creating stronger bonds.

5) Parks. Every day after school the kids and I go to a park to run off some energy. We have been to every park within a 10 mile radius, I tell you! At first I kind of dreaded it, but knew it would be necessary to keep the kids' energy levels in check. Now I look forward to trying out a new spot every time, even though we are having temps near 100 some afternoons!

6) Nice beds. We are in corporate apartment, which is fully furnished. The beds here are nothing short of luxurious. Each one has a pillow-top mattress, duvet and comforter, and very crisp white sheets. And although it has taken me a while to get used to (always been a firm mattress girl) I enjoy the feeling of sleeping on a cloud. I also want to make the beds every morning just so I can turn them down (in all their fluffiness) every night.

7) Good neighbors... who despite my worst fears have not complained one bit about my loud, boisterous children. Who regularly jump off the furniture. And cry a lot.

8) Great scenery. I have the best views while I am running. It really is gorgeous here (very close to hill country). If I am lucky enough to get in a run right after the rain, the temperature is even enjoyable!

9) Few commitments. Life is pretty simple right now. Few people know where I am. Lol! Since we are between residencies, I've just taken a break from everything for a couple months. And it's been nice!

10) The excitement of anticipation (second only to anxiety ;), which can be fun. Picking out paint, new rugs, mentally figuring out the placement of our furniture in each room - I really enjoy that.

11) I've mentioned how easy it is to keep a small apartment clean. I'm talking clean in 3 hours, though. Bathrooms and kitchen and vacuuming... all in a few hours! It is bliss! I better gear up for what is to come in an almost 3,000 sq. ft. house! Ack!

12) Stairs. My heart thanks you. :)

(I'm really pushing it, lol)

13) Oh, I cannot forget our new to-be-neighbors! They have seen us come by the house at least once a day for the last 4 months. They always stop and talk to us. We do not even live there yet and feel like we are getting to know them! One even gave me the number of the company he used to install plantation shutters.

Technorati tags: ,

27 May 2008

Did I just say that?

As a mom who is rarely undistracted, I strongly believe that whatever comes out of my mouth should not to be questioned, except by myself. This should be a commandment.

Today at lunch Drew (3) kept getting up from the table. Over and over ad nauseum. So I kept trying to clean up his place at the table. And he'd come running back and say "I'm not done!" I found myself replying, "If you're going to eat, eat!" Which makes no sense really. And he's getting smart enough to realize that now. Giving me that puzzled look.

I never thought I'd mistake my children for one another. My own mother did it and it really bugged. Now I regularly go through the whole family's names before I get to the right one. Sometimes I don't even start with the right gender. Drew is always there to correct me. But I am exempt. Because I usually have a million other things on my mind, alright?! If I call a name and you are guilty, come running I say! Regardless of whether or not the name exists in our family!

"Because I said so." How many of you have that one on your list? It's losing it's effect on my 9 year old. But it still works great on the others, so I am standing by it.

I especially love it when I say "yes" to something I clearly meant to say "no" to. It's not until I hear the "YAYs" and see the backflips that I realize I just committed to something big. I don't think tantrums should be allowed if mom was approached under the influence (of blogging). Backsies, however, should be allowed when approached under the influence!

We need to recondition this line of thinking that "Mother knows best." Because sometimes mommy forgets her shoes when she leaves the house. And looks all over the house for the keys she is holding in her left hand. She may even try to put your socks on your hands when getting you dressed.

And you know what? It is O.K.

23 May 2008

It's ten to zero...


... with Sasha in the lead. The doorknob covers I put up in the apartment to keep her out of trouble (and keep me from having to follow her around) are losing by a large margin. Figures. Smart kid.

The safety gate at the mouth of the kitchen however is up for player of the year. Yay!

19 May 2008

We're gonna party like it's your birthday...

And it was my birthday, on Saturday! I had a marvelous day with total self indulgence being the main objective. I slept in, got fitted for some new running shoes, had a pedicure done, did a little shopping, ate all my favorite foods and saw "Made of Honor"(which was cute, if you're curious).

Speaking of birthdays and celebrating, about a month ago, Lisa Kothari at Peppers and Pollywogs approached me about sharing some of my party ideas on her site (which is dedicated to all things birthday). I love sharing my ideas, because that is how I got them... from the efforts of others who have also been willing to share.

If you're looking for a great site that will help you decide on a theme, which products are worth buying, or how to effectively throw a great party, I highly recommend that you visit Lisa's site. She's got decoration and invitation ideas; everything you need to get the juices flowing.

And if you'd like to read my article there, you can find it right here! Enjoy!

Technorati tags: ,,

16 May 2008


We've always lived near ranches and farms here in Texas, but since moving out of our house and further into the urban areas of Austin, we've come across even more unexpected wild life. Deer regularly dart out in front of our car. Turkeys, llamas, peacocks, and always a variety of cattle/cows/bulls are near by.

I'm not much of a country girl, but I've taken to photogaphing them a lot lately. My kids love to stop and visit for a bit while I snap away, admiring the beauty and simplicity in their stillness and environment (the animals, not my children :).





These photos can be purchsed in my Etsy shop, if you're interested.

Technorati tags: ,,,,

13 May 2008


I received a nod for this post today at The Mormon Times (which is affiliated with Deseret News). Thank you Emily!

I had a total a-ha moment at church on Sunday. Our bishop spoke to us in Relief Society and what he said was exactly what I, and many moms I believe, needed to hear. I just couldn't believe it hadn't occured to me before.

If you didn't know, I am LDS and we believe that through the atonement we are forgiven and can attain eternal life. However it's easy to get that shoulder to the wheel and keep going, without asking for help. After all you're feeling capable, you're feeling strong, and you forget that it's not up to you. The Savior perfects us. We do not perfect ourselves.

As mothers we stew over "perfecting the home". We desire to be excellent housekeepers, excellent teachers, excellent disciplinarians, excellent cooks, excellent organizers. We read books, we attend workshops, we ask for each others' advice, we observe one another, we hope to be more like one another. We begin to take the world on our shoulders without realizing this is how pride grows. And pride prevents humility, which is what is required of us to become perfect mothers. It is what the Savior requires to MAKE us perfect mothers. That's HIS job. Not ours.

I don't know about you, but this is a huge relief. (No more 3 decker birthday cakes;)) In all seriousness, I know this does not mean that I can stop cleaning, teaching, disciplining, cooking and organizing. But I can certainly allow the Savior to work out the kinks. I can stop stewing! I can stop worrying! A little more Mary, a little less Martha, know what I mean?

I was so grateful to have realized this. This week has been so much easier for me despite the constant bickering amongst my children and the backed up "to do" list (and there seems to be a lot of both these days). I've woken up each morning and studied my scriptures... not just fit it in somewhere between making school lunches and wiping down the toilets... but studied them. I made the time. I took a little bit of care of ME.

I have a responsibility to be the best I can and do the best I can, but the rest is up to Him. When I fall short it won't be because I am Slacker Mom. And when I don't fall short it won't be because I am Super Mom. It will be because I allowed the Savior to walk beside me. I invited Him to be in our home, to be with me and guide me and to make up the difference between being a PERFECT mom and being the BEST mom that I can be.

Technorati tags: ,,,

09 May 2008

Happy Mother's Day!



I had so much fun taking these pictures yesterday. And I thought it would be fitting for Mother's Day to share a mass of pictures of women and children that depict what Mother's Day is all about - tenderness and kindness and gratitude for the blessings motherhood or sisterhood or even just womanhood has brought us. This is not a photo contest, so share any old photo you'd like! And if you want to link here so that others can visit you, feel free to do so. I've got a Mr. Linky set up at the bottom of this post.

Oh, and stop by Chel's for a very fun, very cute give-away when you get a chance!

Technorati tags: ,,

08 May 2008

If only I could relax

Without "unbuttoning my pants". And I don't mean that metaphorically. I know this blog has become sort of a "chronicles of apartment living". I'm sorry for that, I assure you it is only temporary. Anyway - clarification on the pants (so you don't think I'm also becoming one of THOSE blogs, and by that I mean risque, and I'm just assuming they are out there). I really wish that I could kick back... now that the house is packed up and sold and everything is neatly boxed and waiting for it's new home. But I am anxious, people. And my kids have cabin fever. And, AND, I have developped a habit of ending my day with a pint of Ben and Jerry's. (Finally, the point) Imagine Whirled Peace, Peach Cobbler, Mint Chocolate Cookie... be still my beating heart (and bulging zipper)!

06 May 2008


Being sick and being a mom don't mix. It's been a long time since I've surrendered myself to illness. The pride (I'm tough!) and the guilt (I can't bare to make somebody else sniff for dirty underwear!) trump a silly little cold, in my opinion. Yesterday morning, however, my husband took one look at me and my not-so-sexy-crusty self and offered to stay home from work and telecommute. "Thanks" I managed to croak defenselessly. He locked my bedroom door and I rolled over and moaned.

So I spent the whole day in bed. THE WHOLE DAY. I got up to use the bathroom and that's it. Now, were my head not pounding I'd have really lived it up. Maybe ordered take-out and watched a few good movies. But the rest alone was nice. Really nice. And I peeked through a few catalogs and picked out some new paint colors for the house and chatted with some friends.

Today I am feeling loads better (thanks honey). But I've quickly decided that there is something tougher than being a mom and getting sick. And that is making up for being sick. Yep, there is double the work the day after you are sick. I should have done the math ahead of time, because I was a little shocked this morning. I've been picking up, cleaning up, and tidying up all morning. There is a trail of snacks from the pantry to the living room. We could have sat down to breakfast this morning right there on the floor! Okay, I may be exaggerating just a tiny bit, but I am surprised I wasn't a whole lot sicker with how dirty this place seems to be today. I feel like Monk trying to get in every nook and cranny.

So my advice to you, should you get sick and should your husband offer you the day off... take it, by all means TAKE IT! But send them all away. Let them make their mess somewhere else!

04 May 2008

Parisian Warm Chocolate

One of our bargaining tools since we moved into the apartment has been swimming. It has given the kids something to look forward to, if they "earn" it. Saturday we were supposed to make our big debut at the pool. And guess what? We got sick... cold, allergies, flu, everybody had something by the week's end. Oh the tears... the tears and the production that ensued. "Can't we at least put our TOES in the water?" "How about we just go LOOK at the pool?" "I'll only swim for 2 minutes, I promise!" And not only were the kids under the weather, but we had a cold front come through and the high was only 72 on Saturday.

I felt bad - really, really bad - for them. So I got out my "tool box" of mommy ideas and decided everyone deserved a special treat. Whatever they wanted, I'd go and get it for them. My oldest daughter made a very wise choice: hot chocolate. Sounded great to me, and I thought it might even be fun to try a gourmet-type recipe. I came across this one via google, called Parisian Warm Choclate, and it is divine. Have you ever read Chocolat? Well, this is what I imagine Vianne must have served in her shop.


1 cup whole milk
1/3 heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
5 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped


Simmer the milk, cream and sugar together until just boiling. Stir in the chocolate until melted. Don't let it boil.

Serves 4 (or in our case, 2)

Technorati tags: ,,,

03 May 2008

What kind of mom are you?

There's nothing like a little self-introspection to help you see where you need a little work. But it's also a great way to see where you excel. This week I was faced with the question "What kind of mom are you?" And there it was, the good, the bad, and the ugly, staring me in the face.

The Good

I cannot help but embrace the fun side of parenting. I am a kid at heart, probably always will be. So the birthday parties, the spontaneous adventures, the holiday extras - I am very good at.

I learn all I can about my children's development and ways that I can enhance that. 3 out of 4 of my children have required some kind of therapy - speech, occupational and physical. Naturally, I am drawn to interactive, hands on, very developmental play. So I am a conossieur, of sorts, of good "educational" toys and activities for kids. And I'll be blogging on that soon.

I am very involved in my children's education. I follow what they are learning and how they are learning it and develop good relationships with their teachers. I strongly enforce time together as a family.

I believe in active church attendance.

My kids know what a balanced meal is and what is good or bad for their bodies.

My kids are LOVED. I am very affectionate with them and rarely let them slip by me without grabbing them and hugging them.

The Bad

I wish I was a better "teacher" for my children. It's one area where I am not so patient... and I get told a lot how patient I am. But when it comes to potty training or homework or learning to skate I am lacking in calmness. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me; I love to see my children succeed and wait with open arms after their big accomplishments. But the process has always frustrating. (Their temperaments have a lot to do with it - they are passionate little souls!)

I fight structure a lot because I am such a creative free spirit. Problem is my boys need structure. They have energy, and I don't mean they are active, I mean they are rarely STILL. Without knowing what comes next, there is always chaos. I make charts for them, and do great for a couple weeks, and then slack off, and then try again, and then slack off. It's a constant effort for me. I've never really fallen into a good pattern with it. I keep thinking they were sent to the wrong mom. Lol! They need someone who is uber organized!

I am afraid to push my children too hard. To me, there is a fine, delicate line between encouragement and demand. I don't want them to feel like they have to excel at everything they do, nor do I want to overload them with extracurricular activites. But I see so much potential in each of them that if I followed their every interest that is exactly what would happen, overload. Still, am I denying them the opportunity to develop certain talents and interests by restricting them to one thing at a time? I don't know... I am trying to figure out what our balance is.

The Ugly

Now who wants to go there? Lol.

When my kids have tantrums, I freeze for a moment. I am not real confident when it comes to discipline or putting out fires. If I remember to redirect, I do great, because I can get creative and completely turn their attention to something else. I just have to get over my anxiety first! Otherwise I tend to ignor the episode and just hope it ends quickly! That holds true for maybe 1 out of my 4 children. She's my last and is very mellow in comparison to her siblings.

I yell a lot. Granted, it's the only way I am heard (as it gets quite loud in our house), but it just puts everyone on the defense and is bad for the overall tone in our home. This is another habit I am usually able to kick for a couple weeks, and then it creeps back up on me, and then I get control again, and so on. I know a lot of moms feel that way.

I also forget family prayer about 50% of the time. *blush* We remember to bless our food but by the end of the day I want them in bed and at the beginning of the day we are usually in a rush out the door. Making the time to kneel down together as a family would make such a huge difference in everything I struggle with as a mom. I KNOW that, and yet I still have not formed the habit. Tsk, tsk!

So what are your observations about yourself? What are you great at and what do you wish you could improve? I am sure there are some of you whose strengths are my weaknesses and vice versa. That's why I am careful not to compare myself to other mothers. I can learn from them, but it does me no good to wish I were more like them. Besides, what would we learn from each other if we were all the same?

Technorati tags: ,,,,