Friday, January 29, 2010

The Beat Goes On

Man, I have been up, I have been down and I finally feel like I am hitting the middle, which is great. This week was pretty good. Everyone was happy (for the most part) healthy and working together. Sophia's 3rd grade play was Tuesday for dress rehearsal. Wednesday was the BIG performance of "Portland-A- Musical" for all the parents and community. I can not get over how cute it was.

So life has been easier and bumping along. Last week, I suppose, was simple. Mom arrived on Wednesday to see "Portland-A Musical." Dad and Sal came on Thursday. Yes, everyone stayed with us because Rex had an open house at his office for the Oregon Human Society. The open house was good and the puppies were SOOOoooOO cute. The art was fantastic!

SO Rex has an open house and I get to be the hotel. I'm not complaining, I am just speaking the truth. We had 3 grand parents here for about 24 hours. The kids were thrilled and we really all got along well. I planned all the meals in advance so I didn't have to cook while everyone was here. It worked out well.

Then to finish off last week......I got a nasty cold just as everyone was. My sinuses were totally a mess and my thought was, "HUGH?" Why the hell do I survive all that just endure the sinus trouble? I am

This week....all the buzz in the neighborhood is about our neighborhood high school. As everyone knows, we live across the street from one of the best high schools in Portland. Long story short, the Portland Public School Board is considering closing our school! I can't imagine what that would do to our neighborhood, our kids, our greater community or our home. It's just nuts. So many of us bought our homes with that school as a factor. There was a big meeting last night but there were very few answers to say the least. As usual, it feels like the board has made up their mind and is just going through the motions of having meetings and voting. It is scary and frustrating not to have any control or real say in what happens.

On the plus side....and there are many pluses..... Mary Ann, bless her heart, made our family dinner, including the veggie and dessert and such on Friday while I was sick. I have been so blessed with my buddies! They take care of me and I "try" to take care of them when I can. My friends have done more for me then I could possibly ask for. I love them so much and am grateful that I have their support and friendship. I want to do the same when asked.... Ladies you know who you are and I am here when you need me.

I played some tennis, have ridden my bike and ran up and down the Alameda Ridge a few times. Lunched with the ladies and done a bit of shopping. I am beginning to feel a bit down and am going to fight the SAD. I need to go to bed at a regular time, spend more time in front of my "Happy Light" and exercise on a regular basis. That's what I need to do. Let's see if I do it.....

Friday, January 22, 2010

Mo' Bettah

Things are better then the other day. I can't dwell on all that anymore. This time of year if I get in a funk it could be the end of me. I get S.A.D. and it seems to get worse for me in February and March. I'm not sure why that is. I just noticed yesterday that it was light after 5 pm and that is the first time in more then a month that I recall.

The week started out sucky and improved slowly but surely.

Today we got new windows in our house. This makes me pretty happy....broke but happy. I am sick of being cold and not being able to lock some windows or open others. I shouldn't say I couldn't lock them...that's an exaggeration. I could lock them but it entailed using a screw and a screw driver and shoving the screw into the side of the window. I suppose on the upside with the leaky windows we would never die of carbon monoxide poisoning. But on the down side, if there was a reason we needed to get out and didn't have a screw know. These windows, open, close, tilt out, crank open and closed and all the fancy things windows can do. And they are supposed to magically save us money, keep us warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. I'll let you know.

Next we're getting the house air sealed.

I've got a few bids but again, it will cost a small fortune. I'll keep you posted on this too.

We have a lot to look forward to this weekend. Tomorrow Sophia turns 9. My beautiful girl is growing up. Yesterday she was "cleaning" her desk. She came to me whinning, "Mom, I need help. I can't do it alone. I don't know how." I informed her that she would need to do it on her own. I also told her, "Sophia, at 9 you are almost half way to college. I spent the first 9 years showing you how to clean and do things. Now you are going to have to take over some of those responsibilities." She looked stunned. And we both stared at each other knowing it was true, strange but true. It's so strange to think of what a short time we have to influence, teach, grow and help our children. Though, as I understand it, the next nine years will go much slower then the first nine. I pray we get along. I'll keep you posted on that too.

The boys have been playing so nicely together. That has been a shining ray of light in my week. I love to hear them play and make up adventures. Today the windown guys were finishing up in their room when they got home from school. Coulter immediatly started chatting them up. "Do you like Pirate music?" "Yes!" Coutler, "I have some!" So he put it on REALLY LOUD. Any time one of the window guys left the room Coulter would put the CD on pause. When they'd get back he'd say, "You almost missed a really good part but I put it on pause for you." The guys laughed and then would stay and listen to the "good part." I love this age. I am sure soon pirate music will give way to some sort of rap I can't stand. Pirate music is actually quite good.

Ohhh, Kees. He's started annuciating his L's. This is the last of the sounds that I wasn't sure if he could make. For a while I would say, "Say Leek." He would say, "LLllllll Week." While his speach was totally cute now, it wouldn't have been as cute when he was 9. I do not have that worry any longer.

Sophia's slumber party is tomorrow. Sophia and Meg have patched things up. Meg's mom and I have patched things up. Meg will attend and we will ALL have fun. Sophia is very excited. We'll have pizza, watch a movie, sleep? and then wake up to pancakes. In lieu of gifts Sophia has asked for dog and cat food for the Oregon Human Society. I am very proud of her. What she doesn't know is we got her a new bike. It is a 24" Raleigh 21 speed and it is brand new...she's never had a new bike. And grandma and grandpa are getting her a Nutcase Helmet to match. I hope she loves it. I'm hoping to gain a bike riding buddy out of the deal. So we'll give that to her during her party. So I'll let you know how all that goes too.

I have a lot of stuff to keep everyone updated on. I'll do my best to do right and keep you posted. Have a great weekend.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tough Times

Raising kids can be a challenge and be fun. Raising kids can be trying and exciting and so much more. Today it was trying really trying.....

Sophia is turning 9 on Saturday. She is having a slumber party with about 6 kids coming over. It was hard to narrow it down but she made her list. When we were reviewing her list there was one glaring hole in it. I noticed that she had not invited one of her best friends. We'll call her Meg for the sake of this blog.

Sophia and Meg are good friends but sometimes they have disagreements. When they do they can be pretty cold to each other. Meg's mom and I are good friends and have helped them work through some of their issues in the past. We sit them down, let them talk and we interject where appropriate and try to teach them how to talk to each other. So far they have done pretty well when we have these talks. Meg's mom and I have been proud of them for how they have handled themselves.

When I asked Sophia why Meg wasn't on the list she said that she was worried that in a group Meg and she might have an argument. If that happened it could polarize her party. She didn't use that word but that is the general idea of what she said. I said I understood her reasoning but didn't she think it would hurt Meg's feelings. She said she wouldn't talk about the party at school. I knew that it would get out but I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to force her to change the guest list for her party.

The Evite went out on Tuesday I think. I didn't hear much of anything from anyone for a few days. Over the weekend I heard that some of the kids at school were talking about Sophia's party.

Here's where I am the heal. I didn't talk to Megs mom. I didn't know what to say or honestly, how to explain it. Meg is a nice kid and I REALLY didn't want to hurt her feelings. I had a busy week and pushed it to the back of my mind in hopes that somehow it would just pass uneventfully.

I can tell you this much.....saying nothing was NOT the thing to do. Over the weekend Meg and Meg's mom not only knew but were dealing with Meg's feelings over what was happening. I consider myself to be honest, up front and unafraid to address adversity even if it is uncomfortable. I would rather face an issue and deal with the consequences then run around it and pretend it wasn't happening.

I called Meg's mom and tried to apologize. We were both upset. She was sad and grieving for her daughter's feelings and I was sorry for the whole situation. Sorry I didn't have a better solution in the first place. Sorry that I didn't talk to Meg's mom right away. Sorry I couldn't help Sophia be graceful in a tough situation. Sorry that now Sophia was feeling bad and upset and Meg was hurt. Just sorry all the way around. We talked for a short while. She assured me that it would be alright and I hope it will be. We are all mama bears when it comes to our children. When they are hurt it is our responsibility to make it better. Then the next time to protect them and teach them. I hope I am doing that now.

I told Sophia about my conversation with Meg's mom. I told her that we needed to make this right. And if we couldn't make it right, we needed to try and make it better. We talked for a while and she decided to try and call Meg. She couldn't get through and left a message. She'll see Meg at school tomorrow and is a bit nervous about that. I don't blame her. Having to deal with a friend that you have hurt is hard. It's hard but it is REALLY important to face these issues head on. I am confidant that I have taught her that. We need to accept our part in a situation when we have hurt someone.

So that is where I stand in this tough time. I hope Meg's mom and I can get past this. I feel terrible that I perpetrated some of the hurt and I could have addressed it immediately with her. I wish I had the right answer. I still don't know what that is. Hurting a young girl's feelings is definitely not the right thing.

May you move gracefully through tomorrow, next week and forever and wish me the same. Right now I really need it.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Funny Stuff

A couple nights ago Sophia and I were laying in bed talking about what she wanted to do when she grows up. She told me she wanted to be a veterinarian for horses. I told her that sounded really good and that if she was a good vet and lived in Kentucky she might make a LOT of money too. We laughed.

Then she said, "It will be so cute when the baby horses are born."

I said, "Well the horses may be cute but it isn't always so cute when they're born."

She asked why not. So I told her that sometimes the vet has to reach inside the momma horse to help that baby be born. Sophia said, "In her tummy?" And I informed her that the vet had to reach inside the horses vagina.

She then said, "When I have babies I just want them to cut a hole and pull the babies out like you did."

So the conversation shifted to people. I told her how most babies are born and that a woman's body makes hormones that relax the muscles and tendons so a babies head and body can pass.

Sophia said, "Oh man. I'm glad I can't have babies now. My body is only big enough fairy to come out or something."

We laughed for 10 minutes about that.

Coulter has been writing and it is so fabulous. He is fearless. Sohpia was always afraid to get things wrong. Not Coutler. He kid writes. He has to get it down on paper. This is what he wrote on Wednesday.

Today in blocks: I billt a pond. Nexst I made a tunl. I mayd booshes and mud. The duks faretid.

Translation - I built a pond. Next I made a tunnel. I made bushes and mud. The ducks farted.

Why is it always the farting with boys?

When my computer sits idly it rotates through the photos on my laptop. A picture of Ed, my step dad came up on the screen. It was a close up of his face. Kees said, "There's my grandpa.....and his beautiful face." It doesn't get much cuter then that.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Just a Stay at Home Mom

If you're a "stay at home mom" don't you just love it when people say...
"Oh, you just stay at home?"
"So you don't work, you just stay at home?"
"Do you work? No? What do you do all day?"
And so on. So many times people say it like you are just eating bon bons and watching soaps. Yes, I am living the dream. And honestly I believe I am but it isn't all bon bons and tv, it's hard work. Maybe we should turn the tables? "You JUST work at a paying job?" No, that doesn't seem right. Let's examine.....

I am very lucky. I have a husband who appreciates what I do and he knows better than to come home and ask, "What did you do all day?" We usually compare notes at the end of the day after the kids go to bed. I like to keep up with his work and I want to fill him in on what is going on with the kids, the house and make sure he knows what all is happening, keep him in the loop.

As most of you know we have 3 kids. Last year Kees started school and had one full day with Coulter each week. It was heaven to have the time but really one day isn't a lot of time. By the time you get home from drop off and such it's about 9:15. I'd have breakfast and then do whatever; shop, errands, laundry etc. 4-1/2 hours later it's time to get everyone, do homework, play and start dinner. I'm making dinner and then our own personal super hero "DADDY" comes home and there is much rejoicing in the land. Dogs bark. Children celebrate and totally ignore mom, she becomse invisible. But super DADDY is smart and comes into the kitchen to give mommy a kiss and ask, "How was your day?"

There are so many things that Stay at Home Mom's (SAHM) do. We pack lunches, do laundry, clean the house, shop for groceries, make 3 meals a day (EVERY DAY!) and clean the kitchen after those meals, oh, and there are snacks too, we shop for clothes, put away anything and everything, find lost items, take kids to and from school, listen to the never ending stream of questions and comments from kids, council kids, make doctor's appointmens, keep records, tend to home repairs / maintenance, pay bills, fix broken things, take care of animals, take care of sick animals, kids and spouses, make healthy meals, we bake cookies, create special days for teachers, do class projects, raise money for schools, plan auctions, bake for bake sales, do magazine sales and such, volunteer at school, then we kiss away boo boos, and eventually will mend broken hearts and so much more. Looking at that list there is not a lot of staying at home ON that list. It hard work and for the most part thankless.

I feel so blessed to stay at home. Bob facilitates my life by working and having a great job. It is my obligation to take care of what I can so we can have nice evenings and weekends. By staying at home and taking care of what I do I facilitate his professional life. It is symbiotic to say the least. We like our life. We are grateful for each other and appreciate totally what the other does. It wouldn't work if we didn't respect each other.

I wish people who are not SAHMs or dads for that matter would not discount what we do. Don't act like we chose not to work because it was the easy way out. It wasn't, it isn't. While they are working we are volunteering in their kid's class room, raising money for their kid's education and keeping our communities tied together. It's just what we do because it's the right thing. I'm not asking for a parade, just respect and maybe a thank you every now and again.

We SAHMs raised almost $80,000 last year at our school auction and another $35,000 with other fund raisers. Those dollars directly benefit every kid in our school and saved, music, gym and library. All of which are not required in school anymore. When did LIBRARY become "extra"? If you have small children you know that if they don't have gym they'll just expend that energy during math or reading and that is disruptive to everyone. And Music sooths the savage beast. All kids need to learn and appreciate music. To some kids it's the best day of the week, a reason to go to school.

I am a good cook and make healthy meals for my family....most of the time. My kids think I make "Yucky stuff" but I make them try everything. Some day they'll appreciate it. I am trying to do my part to teach my kids how to eat a healthy and balanced diet so they don't join generation XXL. I want them to know better then I did and WHY they need protein, veggies and fruit. Why carbs are not so great in large quantities and to listen to their bodies when they're full. I don't want to give them fast food unless it's a treat (or a road trip). Planning, shopping and cooking take time and I am very grateful to have that time. Luckily, I love to cook.

So if you work and have a stay at home spouse please appreciate them. I am sure they appreciate you. If you and your spouse work, occationally thank that mom or dad who volunteers in the class room or helps with school fund raising. They're working hard. And whatever you do, please do not call us "Just stay at home" parents. We know what you mean by that. It feels heavy and judgemental. There is nothing "JUST" about it. It is so often a thankless job. Again, no to the parade, yes to a pat on the back. And if you are a STAY AT HOME MOM or DAD wear the badge proudly. We take our work seriously and dang it, we are doing a bang up job.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Borrowed From Heaven

When I was growing up we went to church. I learned that you are born, are baptized, lead a good life, believe in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, you confess your sins, take Christ into your heart and then are saved. Then if you follow all the rules and believe, you go to Heaven. I firmly believed this alone until I had kids.

When Sophia was 3 she started talking about Heaven and what it was like. She didn't ask many questions and when she told me about Heaven it was matter of fact. You know, like she was recounting a vacation or talking about her day at school. She was telling me what she knew.

She told me how you are there not only after you die but before you are born. And then she explained to me what happens between lives. You have a "guide angel" and sometimes 2 or more. You discuss what it is that you are looking for and then, together, you come to some conclusions. At that point you go before the "judge angel" and either confirm your assignment or the "judge angel" has something new and unexpected. She explained how that can be exciting.

She remembers her brothers there. Not in their current form but as a being, a spirit. She couldn't remember what they looked like but she knew it was them by their being. Remember....this started when she was three. It was interesting, thought provoking to say the least.

Sophia talked about that on and off for 3+ years. She doesn't remember as much now but it is in the back of her mind every now and again.

Now the boys have started talking about being in Heaven and coming here various times. They talk about having different experiences and coming here before and what they want to be next time. Kees was talking about it very matter of factly as if you go to bed, sleep, dream and wake up. Instead you live, die, go to Heaven get reassigned and come back. It made me think that we're all just borrowed from Heaven.

Who's to say that they're wrong? There are so many different beliefs out there and many of them believe in reincarnation. I never did before but now.....maybe. It's interesting that the boys are having the same kinds of conversations with me totally separate from their sister. I try and just listen. I don't shut them down and I do ask them what they think will happen in the future, what they will be. They always want to be with me and I think that is wonderful and sweet. In their scenarios I am always the mommy and they are the babies. Of course that is what they believe now but who knows.

I love my family so much and I hope that we are together for all time. If we all have this life together and eventually are all in Heaven together great. But if indeed we are only borrowed from Heaven then I look forward to a few more Earth bound adventures together with these soles in what ever form we take. If we are borrowed from Heaven then that is our real home, our base, and I believe that there we are all one family.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Crazy Babies....

How is it that the very same things that make you crazy one day, make you smile the next? I think it's when I am busy and stressed that the noise and constant action makes me crazy. Today I am totally ZEN, in the moment and for the most part just just chillin'.

The kids all wanted a play date. We called the Strouds and Josie came to play with the boys and Carlie came to play with Sophia. Sophia and Carlie are posturing and sort of having a Mexican stand off. I don't care much. I told them to compromise and that they needed to work it out themselves. They have been out of my sight for a half hour so I guess they figured something out.

Coulter, Kees and Josie are running around the main floor making tons of noise, laughing, crashing into things and having a great time. Again, I don't care much. Usually I would be yelling, "STOP!!! Go down stairs!!!!" Today I have a big smile on my face and a knowing that this is only a short period of time. I will only have babies that yell and scream in joy while playing tag or monster or stay off the floor because it's hot lava, for a short period of time. Today I am just enjoying having babies by celebrating their sweet shouts of joy and letting that be the rain that fills my day, and for that I do NOT need an umbrella. I am going to sit here and get soaked by their joy.