11/23/09

A Time of Thanksgiving

Thanks. We all seem to focus on this particular part of the holiday; the thanking part. We begin to realize all that we are thankful for. We come together to celebrate our thanks for country, family, God, etc. I know that I've never taken much thought about the ending of the word Thanksgiving. Giving. I sit here wondering about what it is to give. I know what I'm thankful for, but what about the giving part of this holiday? How do I give? When do I give? Do I give? What do I give? You get the point. So, I took a moment to think about what I am thankful for, and it made me realize that I do give. That this time of year, and year round, hopefully, I am giving. This is not a pat on the back, but a reassurance that while being thankful, I can also be giving.

The things that cover my thanks and giving.


My family. Could life be sweeter than it is now? I try hard not to let this time pass me by with wishful thinking of "someday" and "what if." I have an awesome best friend as a husband, two amazing little boys, and an entire extended family that loves one another. My husband and I know life, right now, is happening now, and it's great! We are happy. We are healthy. We know how to work hard and play hard. We know how to sacrifice and enjoy life on the meager student income we have. We know about ups and downs. We know about heart ache and joy. We know about failures and successes, trials and triumphs. We know about poopy diapers and teething. We know about band aids and bruises. We know about drive through and time outs. We know about no-nos and hugs. We know about firsts and lasts. We know about each other. We spend time with each other. We love each other. We trust each other. There is never a day that goes by where we, as a couple and as a family, haven't done something for one another. Plenty of opportunity to give, and give thanks.


My testimony in a living Savior, Jesus Christ. In His gospel and word as contained in the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, and Ensign. In His living prophets that direct His work on this earth. In the restoration of His priesthood power, that I have witnessed change my life. In eternal families linked to our loving Father in Heaven and eternal family members. Knowing that I am a child of God, and I have a purpose and a divine heritage. A testimony that Christ died and lives for me. That Joseph Smith saw the resurrected Christ and the Father side by side. That he heard them speak, and open the heavens once again. For me. And for you. There is so much we can give with this knowledge, and many thanks we are indebted. Our service and voice is needed in people's lives who do not know the Savior.


So, with all of our thanks this holiday season, remember that to give is greater than to receive and we do have much to offer.
"The Widow's Mite" by James C. Christensen
Happy Thanks-giving.


10/22/09

My muse

There are few things that a mom can call her own once she is enveloped in a world of changing diapers, little people conversations, toddler cartoons, 2 am feedings, shower peep shows, potty-training, ankle leeching, lap buddies, food they'll eat, games they'll play, resturaunts they'll adapt to, their schedules, their toys, their clothes, their bath, their toilet, their movies, theirs theirs theirs. You get the point. Nothing feels like me.my.mine. For me, however, there is one thing that is a great escape. I've blogged about it before and it's music. Even when soaking in a hot bath do you ever feel like you're still on edge? The baby is still crying, the other child at the bathroom door knocking, the phone still ringing...etc. Put on your headphones and crank 'em up! WAAAAYYYY up!

There is a band in particular that has won my heart that I want everyone to know about. Okay, Led Zeppelin, sorry. I've been your faithful listener since I can remember and you'll always be that heart tugging, butterfly gut, mind reeling sound that I connect with, but I have to hand it to the British band, Muse. If you, Zeppelin, could be mastering your sound today, you'd probably be Muse. They are your younger brothers...they are genious, creative, fresh, and inspired by a mix of music genres rarely found in rock music today (much like what people experienced when Led Zeppelin hit the scene on British airwaves with their live BBC show in 1969). I've been following Muse since 2004. They've been aroud since 98-99 but never broke through to the American scene. And, they are still struggling to do so. Why? Could it be that we are still obsessing over watered down talent, pop sensations in leotards or rock groups singing soley about T'n'A? Are our minds muddled with too much media pushing Disney show graduates down our ear canals? Progressive rock has a new king. Muse. They've won best live show 7 times in the last 10 years,
their albums hit number one all around the globe and they're still cranking out the best rock sound to hit airwaves in a few decades!

A recent article in the music section of a local magazine FINALLY gave Muse some attention. I couldn't have been more proud of that article, so I will share it here (paraphrased) so everyone can understand what I think, and a handful of others in the American continent think about Muse.

"British band Muse is known and adored across the globe. With their new album, they attempt to finally break into the American hearts. All around the world, in nearly every major country, a single band has risen up and taken the long-abandonded mantle of the internationally mega-successful stadium-rock kings. That band is British chart-smashers Muse, who have taken fans and arenas alike by storm across the globe. That is, except for America.

With the long-awaited release of their newest studio album The Resistance, the band seems poised to finally cross the Atlantic and officially take over the States.

The Resistance is a big album in every way. It's been anticipated around the globe. The sounds, talent, and personalities are all larger-than-life.

The last three tracks of the record end with Muse's most ambitious project yet: a massive, three-movement symphony backed by a full orchestra playing a classically-inspired piece written in full by singer Matthew Bellamy.

When seperate, the three sections foucs on different strenghts and directions for the band, with the final piece being the most intimate and quiet music the band has recorded.

Time will tell if this release will be the one to finally break big in America. Even if we're behind the curve, their penchant for throwing caution to the wind and being over-the-top has already solidified them a spot in the greater annals of rock'n'roll history. It's exactly what makes for the pure fun that runs effortlessly through the entire album.

So give it a listen. Join The Resistance. It's just as surely one of the best albums of the year." -Brett Fieldcamp, BoydStreet magazine.

9/2/09

39 Things Every Mom should know

My post for today is taken from Parents magazine, Sep 2009 issue.

"When it comes to raising children, everyone's an expert. Your kids won't be little forever, so enjoy them! Wow, that was helpful. Thanks. But here's something very specific to enjoy about your little kids: They don't know what you're actually up to - so savor it while it lasts. When they get older they notice when you burn food or fall asleep at the school play. But with a toddler you can eat frosting out of a can while watching Blue's Clues and the kids will never bat an eye - or judge you for it. Want more unsolicited but toally honest advice from a mom of four kids ages 1 to 11? Of course you do.

1) You never have to go to obnoxious kid-themed restaurants. Ever. I wish someone had told me that.

2) Don't make birthday parties a huge deal.

3) Do your chores while kids are awake. Using up naptime to wash dishes or clean the bathroom is truly soul-crushing.

4) Put band-Aids on everything your kids want you to. Why not?

5) If the kids are awake, bite the bullet and be awake yourself. You'll waste so many hours trying futilely to extend early-morning snoozes that it's not worth it. If you are sick, pregnant, or it's the middle of the night, ignore this advice.

6) Just throw away the poopy underwear.

7) Don't beat yourself up if you have to use a bribe.

8) Teach your kids not to pee outside unless you're camping - you'll be glad you did. But if other people's kids do it, don't judge that parent too harshly - it's all about karma. (If you're in the midst of potty training all bets are off. You've gotta do what you've gotta do.)

9) Buy cheap shoes when kids are little. Feet grow faster than you think.

10) Don't forget about board games. You'll suffer through way too much Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders, but Connect Four and Battleship aren't half bad. And Clue rocks.

11) Embrace their quirks.

12) Know this: That stain won't come out. And it's okay. (The sooner you accept this, the better.)

13) At some point it will be February. Things will seem bleak. You will think about vitamins, glasses, more exercise, more sleep, more chores, less TV, more rules, fewer rules, and organic food. Just wait. Things will get better when the snow melts. Know that it will happen again at the end of summer, right before school starts. It's the circle of life, baby.

14) Always get boy's haricuts at barber shops instead of hair salons.

15) Answer this question: What is the worst thing that can happen if your kids sleep in their clothes?

16) Never stifle a generous inclination

17) Try to like what they like. It kind of sucks when it's Bob the Builder, but the payoff will come when they discover Lemony Snicket.

18) Teach the to pump on the swings ASAP.

19) If your child falls asleep occasionally without brushing her teeth, don't wake her; baby teeth do eventually fall out.

20) I know you are supposed to use natural consequences to punish bad behavior, but sometimes it's hard to think of natural consequences. In these cases try threatening your kids with clipping their toenails or some other activity they dread. I've had great success with this one, but you must find your own.

21) Get used to the word zerrissenheit. It means a state of disjointedness, and it's the new normal for most of us. At least you can feel fancy because it's German.

22) Buy kids deodorant before they need it.

23) Teach your children to make their own breakfast - and allow enough time so they can do it without pressure.

24) I can't stress this enough: Use duvet covers on your comforters and forget about a top sheet. Not only will you thank me for this advice, but your kids will thank me as well when they are learning to make their bed.

25) Remember clogging lessons are not in the best interest of the child.

26) Don't administer a punishment that hurts you more than it does them.

27) Always pack wipes. If your kids go somehwere without you, send along wipes. It's like having a mom with them.

28) Do not allow the word weinies in your home.

29) Dress you little girls like, well, little girls.

30) Make sure your kids know how they like their eggs and burgers cooked. You don't want them to feel stress when ordering at the diner.

31) It's fine to brag about yourself to your kids.

32) Buy quaint wooden toys and hand-knit stuffed animals, but don't expect your kids to play with them.

33) Just say "No" to any toy or doll that comes with packets that have to be mixed with water.

34) Teach them to like cool music. Why suffer through The Wiggles when you could be enjoying Wilco or counting along with Feist?

35) Don't buy the most expensive school-picture package. It's a waste of money.

36) Give out awards for actual achievements.

37) You're never too old to dress up and decorate your house for Halloween. And it's more fun for everyone if you are into it. It also entitles you to more candy.

38) If the school year, new babysitter, or karate class gets off to a rocky start, don't totally stress out about it. Instead, think of the improvement that can be made by the end of the year.

39) Independence is a wonderful thing. For everyone. So is together time. Make sure you have a healthy dose of both.

p.s. Yes, tiaras and shades do go well together."

I loved this article. Great advice for us parents!!!

8/31/09

Stay little.

There are many things on my mind today. For one, why do kids need to grow up? And so fast too! If they could only stay cuddly little balls of chubbyness... Kids are smart, too! I remember learning in one of my general psychology classes that children by the age of 2 have brand association. They know McDonald's from Burger King, Wal Mart from Target, Kids Gap from Children's Place. They don't just know the brand, they have a specific one they prefer. Not only does my 2 year old have this "brand" association (McDonald's Apple Juice and Fries) but he has "band" association as well. I never knew he was paying that much attention to our music choices, but he always danced and stuff. Well, now he asks specifically for "asia song" (United States of Eurasia by Muse) or "hospital song" (Hospital Beds by Cold War Kids) and others. He even sings along to most everything we play on our radio. It's amazing! If he hears snare drums he makes the sound with his mouth on the correct beat at the correct moment the snare drum sounds. Incredible! How did this happen to my baby? Now I have a three month old that, in a blink of an eye, will be doing the same thing! It's like kids go from "WAAAAAH!" to "Play asia song and have apple juice mcdonalds mommy?" You might not feel the same way. I'm sure you're sitting there going, "I can't wait for them to move out and be in college already" but I honestly don't want these young years to end! I'm sure I'll eat my words when my newborn is about 12 months old crying, runny nose, sick, running into walls learning to walk etc. But, until then...STAY LITTLE!

7/23/09

Time Out

These two words together "time out" are amazing. I love these words. It gets my toddler's attention every time I say them. Er, well...sometimes, not all the time. On our recent check-up at the doctor's office our pediatrician listened to me babble about the tough time I have disciplining my 2 year old. Am I too hard on him? Am I too lenient? Am I doing it right? I use "time outs" and they work, until he decides to sprawl out on the floor or roll his body to another section of the hallway (because he knows that getting up and walking away from time out will result in harsher consequences, so he rolls or scoots or sprawls just to test the limits). Doc suggested that for "time out" I tape off the section that he is used to sitting in. Doc had been observing my guy and suggested that a chair or mat would be too much of a temptation to play on, with, under, or around. So, to keep it simple and just tape off the area he is to sit in. So I did. Low and behold, it was another time for "time out". What happened? He sat in time out and tore up all the tape that I had just finished putting down. So, I re-taped and told him to leave the tape alone and he could sit in time out for tearing up the tape. When I returned the tape was balled up and half way across the room. I seriously did that laugh/cry/yell reaction. Then I threw my hands in the air and said, "Forget it. Go play." And he did. We can't win all the time. Needless to say there is no more tape in the hall and we're back to sprawling.

7/10/09

He's a boy. Deal with it.

Constantly apologizing for the actions of my two year old son is numbing my brain. I'm overly annoyed! Don't tell me that because your child sits still, he's/she's "good", but when my child runs around and jibber jabbers he's "a handful", "hyper", "disobedient". That's for me, his mother, to decide! News flash, boys act differently that girls. There. I said it. Yes, there are differences and it's not a "socialized" thing. The "thing" is, is that there are boys, and there are girls. Different, period! Don't write off my son's actions (or others like him) with strong-willed, aggressive, high energy, defiant, or naughty. Does that mean your child's actions are slow, not-able, docile, conceited, lethargic? Let my son explore his surroundings. He's a boy. No explanation necessary. No, he's not going to ransack the place, just peruse it with curiosity. He may even chase down the next person, pet, or plant he sees just to give a "hello tap", "tag, you're it" hit, or the test-the-waters touch. After spending hours on end crying myself to sleep over what a monster my two year old boy had become, (because I thought he would readily sit quiet during church, story time, and play with little girls while mimicking their temperament), I decided to dig deeper into the world of boys. Why? Because my boy wasn't sitting quietly all the times I wanted him to. He would hit and run, laugh after spitting on some random object, say no to anything and everything, run away from me, and pretty much try and do the opposite of what we were focusing on at the moment. Here are some interesting thoughts I found on pbs.com. I've decided that my son is going to have more play, less structured time (more unstructured play without me yelling "NO" every five seconds), and is going to be a boy. He is a boy, he's going to be a boy until the day I die, and there is nothing you can do about it, so neener, neener, neener if you get offended that my son flushes your toilet or plays drums with your building blocks. He may even hit the nearest object to get a reaction. Oh no! So, one final time, "I'm sorry."

Aggression Has Become a Label
"Calling boys 'aggressive' is an attempt to punitively try and control behavior we are not comfortable with. We rarely use this word in a positive way, so when we start by calling boys' behavior 'aggressive' we are already prejudicing how we look at it. Children use their bodies and express their feelings by pushing, grabbing, and fighting. This is age-appropriate for young children — they are in the motor stage of development. Teachers and parents need to help children find ways to resolve these conflicts. But the problem isn't that boys have these impulses and interests; the problem is that we over-react."

Joseph Tobin, Ph.D.

Professor of Early Childhood Education, Arizona State University

What did the boys play at recess today? Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader. Batman vs. the bad guys. And Batman won.

In most games, young boys clobber, kill, or cream someone. If four girls are playing house in a preschool classroom, it's not uncommon for four boys to go in and rob them. These games and fantasies, while disturbing to some, are not unusual. In fact, they are the norm. However if someone gets hurt during this play, a boy gets in trouble and is often labeled aggressive. But is he? And is this cause for concern?

What does it mean to be aggressive? According to Webster's Dictionary, aggression is "a forceful action… the process of making attacks… hostile, injurious, behavior… caused by frustration." Real life boy examples include physical fighting, name-calling, and rough-housing that results in injury. Aggression is part of the human repertoire. "All human beings have the ability to protect themselves and attack others when in danger," explains Thompson.

Why do boys become aggressive? Sometimes boys are aggressive because they are frustrated or because they want to win. Sometimes they are just angry and can't find another way to express that feeling. And some may behave aggressively, but they're not aggressive all the time.

An active boy is not necessarily an aggressive one. "We often see young boys playing out aggressive themes. It's only a problem when it gets out of control," comments Thompson.

Competition, power and success are the true stuff of boys' play. Many young boys see things in competitive terms and play games like "I can make my marble roll faster than yours,""my tower is taller than yours" and "I can run faster than you." But these games of power and dominance are not necessarily aggressive unless they are intended to hurt.

Fantasy play is not aggressive. A common boy fantasy about killing bad guys and saving the world is just as normal as a common girl fantasy about tucking in animals and putting them to bed. "Most boys will pick up a pretzel and pretend to shoot with it," comments teacher Jane Katch. "If a boy is playing a game about super heroes, you might see it as violent. But the way he sees it, he's making the world safe from the bad guys. This is normal and doesn't indicate that anything is wrong unless he repeatedly hurts or tries to dominate the friends he plays with. And sometimes an act that feels aggressive to one child was actually intended to be a playful action by the child who did it. When this happens in my class, we talk about it, so one child can understand that another child's experience may be different than his own. This is the way empathy develops."

Only a small percentage of boys' behavior is truly aggressive. While "all boys have normal aggressive impulses which they learn to control, only a small percentage are overly aggressive and have chronic difficulty controlling those impulses," says Michael Thompson, Ph.D. These are the boys who truly confuse fantasy with reality, and frequently hit, punch, and bully other kids. They have a lack of impulse control and cannot stop themselves from acting out. "They cannot contain their anger and have little control over their physical behavior and this is when intervention by parent or teacher is needed," says Thompson.

ACTIVE OR AGGRESSIVE?
CRASH! Boom! BAM!!! "You're dead!"

In their fantasy play, boys turn sticks into guns, balloons into bombs, and pencils into swords. They kill, die and get reborn in a matter of seconds, then hop right up to play some more. And yet many parents worry, wondering if their sons are simply normal, active boys, or turning into potentially violent men.

"Mothers are always saying to me, 'Why is my son racing around, not talking, and not listening? Why is he obsessed with playing war and shooting? What's happened to my sweet, vulnerable little boy who used to cuddle with me?'" says Michael Thompson, Ph.D. host of the documentary RAISING CAIN and co-author of the book of the same name. "This is a valid question, because no one wants their son to grow up to be violent. But interpreting play as an early indicator of violence is a misunderstanding both of the nature of boy activity and the real journey to violence that some boys undergo."

"Anyone who spends a lot of time with boys soon sees that most boys are indeed more active than most girls. A recent Harvard University study states that, "By school age, the average boy in a classroom is more active than the girls — even the most active girls don't seem to express their energy in the unrestrained way characteristic of most boys." While these findings support a stereotype some in our society have worked to eradicate, ask a kindergarten teacher and you'll likely hear that this description is true. "I've been teaching young boys for over 25 years and I don't see that their activity levels have changed, but our expectations for how long they have to sit still have dramatically increased," says teacher Jane Katch, author of Under Deadman's Skin: Discovering the Meaning of Children's Violent Play. "And that's a problem for a lot of boys. Some boys in my class need to move a lot. I call them 'high energy boys.' These boys simply can't sit still as long as most of the girls. They don't have the fine motor skills girls do, so many will make big constructions like block towers, while girls will work on smaller, more delicate pictures."

Experts say that you should try not to compare your boy to other boys and keep in mind that there are many different kinds of boys. They range from the highly physical and highly competitive at one end, to the very peaceful quiet boy, who prefers to read. "Not all boys want to compete in sports, wrestle, and shoot guns. It's important to remember that there are quiet boys and studious and bookish boys as well, and this is perfectly normal," adds Thompson.


Let boys develop at their pace, in their way. You'd want the same for your girls. More recess, I say. More hands on experiences. Not all boys are going to function well doing math at a desk. In the same light, not all boys are going to function well on a playground. Don't pigeon hole them, they are boys. Give mine some breathing room already!

6/27/09

A New Resolve

I am officially a mother of two boys. I clap my hands in respect to everyone who has crossed this threshold of life before! Congrats for making it. And I look up to you for continuing to multiply your family numbers. How you do it, I will never know. With that having been said...

I've decided that sometimes the only thing that understands how you feel, the only thing that really listens, that doesn't talk back, that doesn't have his/her 2 cents and knows exactly what you're thinking, is a journal. For some of us that journal is our blog. I have numerous journals. I think 7 to be exact. They are full. They started when I was in junior high school. If I count the diaries that I had in elementary, well, then we're talking 14 or so more "journals" full to the brim with ideas, feelings, realizations, and lots of girly emotions. I'm not sure where they all are, except my latest 7. I know I had them though, and I know they helped. My new resolve is to continue this personal journal tradition. What brought all this about? Well, I had a baby. My second son was born three weeks ago. EEk. Time has already gotten the best of me and I have only journaled once. I've realized that the world has gotten so casual and fast paced with feeling ie. twitter, facebook, myspace, and hey, even blogger, that no one looks deeply into each other's lives anymore (let alone ourselves being introspective for any amount of time). Our feelings, words, and current states of being are deduced to exclamation points here and uppercase letters there. An LOL every once in a while ended with =). Sure, it's quick, it's easy, it's a bit mindless but it hasn't changed me for the better. I realize when I sit down to think about things, my life at the moment and my true emotional state, and write it out in my journal, I change. My resolve then, is to change. Change is good. Some of my resolves are listed below. I will be accountable if I share them.


  1. Weight loss. Yeah, yeah...I know. You've heard it before. But, I'm serious. Pregnancy does a number on the body! Man, what we sacrifice for babies (men will never know the extent of damage it does emotionally, physically, and mentally)! How will I lose weight? I really don't know. I need to quit self-sabotage and exercise I guess. I need to walk using my amazing new compact double stroller. I will remind myself I can always take a nap in the afternoon so I will be motivated to get out of bed after the early morning nursing of the baby. I have at least an hour in between that time and when the two year old gets up and husband is off to work. I won't diet. I hate dieting. The closest diet I come to is diet pepsi. Hmm...I wonder if I'll lose weight without cutting out my snackage at night? Hmm, that sounds like self-sabotage. Ah, crap!
  2. Control my temper. Oh my! With a two year old tantrum-throwing, too big for his own shoes, too smart for his own good, boy...some days I wonder if he hates me because I probably seem so mean to him! How will I control my temper? I will try to count to 5 before exploding. Just kidding. I will count to 5 and hopefully not explode at that point. I will pray. I will read my scriptures. I will use soft words and a soft voice. Then, if that doesn't work, I'll just shut him in his room. There...that sounds pretty good.
  3. Journal. I will keep a journal. If not in my "personal" journal, then here on blogger. How? I will unchain myself from activities that aren't productive! Of course, I deem naps necessary for mothers, so I may not get on to journal as often as I am expecting. Just thought of that. And, at nights, aren't you so exhausted like me? Ya just want to veg out to nothingness? Well, now I know why we want the mindless and superficial world of facebook, myspace, and twitter. =)

3/25/09

Pretenses

Why do I never run into other mothers that seem frazzled or frustrated? Is it because they were injected with an alien serum that allows them to perma-grin 24-7? There are days when being a mom is annoying, exhausting, repetitive, gloomy, discouraging, unfair, and overwhelming. I admit it. I'm not putting a disclaimer on this post of "But I do love being a mommy" because this is just the way I feel sometimes. I don't hide the fact that some days I don't want to do anything that has to do with being a mom. I'm not in the market of "rubbing egos" with Stepford wives and putting on the bleached smile attitude of "life is beautiful here in apple pie-ville." In fact, half the time I don't brush my teeth at night due to passing out way before I think of it and I certainly don't know how to make an apple pie, or care to know. Maybe that's why those other moms have perfect smiles - they forget to brush too, but then overcompesate with Crest White Strips (please say yes because it would make me feel so much better). Honestly, I would rather watch late night tv, sleep in until noon, throw my hair in a pony tail and have nothing on the agenda for the day. No bills to pay, no deadlines for church services rendered, no errands to tend to, no diapers to change, no noses to wipe, no spilled milk to wipe up, no smooshed cereal in the carpet, no meals to prepare, no noises at 7am (I hate mornings), no playground trips (can I be spared being asked to play at the park for one day?), no baby talk and no frustrations of unruly children.
I've replaced
  • intellectual conversation with toddler talk to a child who probably thinks his name is "No-No"
  • morning and evening news with morning and evening kid's movies (as only to free up time for me to clean, launder, and straighten the messes)
  • great sleep habits with what seems like no sleep with my 7 month old fetus kicking me all night and aches and pains
  • sleeping in until I had to work with a between 6:30 and 7am toddler-in-room alarm every morning no matter what
  • shaved legs and good hygiene to shaving and plucking whenever I know I might be wearing capris or seeing people
  • eating my meals in peace to sharing my meals and lucky if I get a piece
  • taking Saturdays to shop and try on clothes to online wish lists and kids play areas at the mall
  • listening to church services to wondering why I even bother
  • sitting comfortably on my couch to being malled like a jungle-gym

You get the point... This would be the part where the disclaimer would say "But, I chose to be a mom, and everyday brings new and exciting things. Motherhood is an amazing calling." But, even with knowing that, it doesn't replace the facts of life that motherhood is trying and sometimes downright bothersome! Is it due to selfishness? Duh! You're dang right it is. It's not as if I'm going to stop being a mother. I'm not going to stop my daily tasks of caring for my family and home. I am also not going to stop having bothersome days of wishing for peace and quiet with a chick flick playing and having only one nose to wipe, mine. Where is that support group of mothers that doesn't require a membership to Lala Land? I don't need to put on the pretense that mom world is a perfect place 24-7. Laundry is calling, so are my smelly dishes (and I mean smelly). I send you my condolences if you're having a day like mine.

3/16/09

Creative

I'll admit. I'm not the most creative person. It means I'd have to be original, imaginative, inspired, artistic, and innovative (to name a few). Creativity runs through other mommy's veins like blood runs through mine, so I take my ideas from them. How lucky I am that other moms post their great ideas for me to copy! I found a not too salty, won’t dry your hands, recipe for play dough. You can visit //http://tutusandturtles.blogspot.com/2008/11/indoor-activity.html or read below

Homemade play dough
Ingredients:
3 c. flour
3 c. boiling water
1 1/2 c. salt
6 tsp cream of tartar
3 TBS oil
food coloring

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil.
2. Add boiling water and mix well. You can knead dough on floured surface until no longer sticky (do not add too much flour or dough will dry out).
3. store in air tight container or ziploc bags.


Also, ever wonder what to do on days when you feel a little lackluster? Here is another great idea for you! It's an I Spy game. http://littlewindowshoppe.com/make-your-own-i-spy-bottle. I'm sure all of you out there have one lurking around your house, but I don't. I thought it was a great idea. I've seen other versions, but this one was simple!

Are your family dinners getting stale? This is a game, but you could make it yourself. Each card has a different topic or set of words to get the conversations rolling. I'm a sucker for good food and good conversation!

3/5/09

FUN

This word, although defined the same, comes in many forms. It's something that provides amusement, enjoyment, and also describes being playful or lighthearted. To an adult "fun" has many varieties, but to a kid, it's pretty simple. Anything outside (parks, playgrounds, courtyards, walks, trikes and bikes) and anything engaging (soccer, swings, stairs, slides, and other kids). Granted, this picture is a year old, but still shows the joy my guy finds in being active. I find that it's mostly vigorous, entertaining, and playful styles of activities that are fun to most kids. My toddler is getting to be more of a simple creature to figure out. When it's 85 degrees outside, like it is today, seize the opportunity for playground time. It's outside, which kids think is fun in and of itself, and there are colorful toys to play on, in and around. A no brainer! Plus, it tuckers out my toddler and he's more than ready for a nap by the time he's done playing. Such a blessing to have good weather. Now, moms on the other hand may not think it's all that fun trying to cram in another playtime activity before lunch or naps, but, as for me, it's a lot funner than hearing the whine of my child from being inside and subjected to another cartoon while I do what I think are necessary or "fun" things. Get up, get out! It's going to be such a glorious week with a great weekend!

3/3/09

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Mar 2, 2009
Bigger

This is a word that can have a negative or positive impact on some one's life. When your bank account increases in size, you see it as a positive thing...but when your pregnant body begins to take on a bigger shape, a negative vibe is usually attached. I'm not so much the glowing pregnant type as I am sticky and sweaty, accompanied with bi-daily showers and oily hair syndrome. Since this third trimester started not only has my body increased in roundness (in front and behind) but so have my piles of laundry, piles of organized messes, piles of bills, piles of toys, and piles of dishes. My porch used to be clean but currently has a pile of trash that is getting bigger and needs to be taken to the dumpster. It's almost like the bigger and bigger I get, the bigger the messes get in my home. Even my toddler is getting bigger. He seems so huge and grown up some days. This pregnancy has been so different from my first. I don't remember feeling overwhelmed with laundry, dishes, housewife duties, duties in my church, mommy duties with a 2 year old, and then keeping up with myself on top of it all. But, after a long day of what seems like "slaving away" I sit back and it still looks like I haven't even scratched the surface of the organizing and cleaning that needs to be done! So, here I sit blogging during my toddler's nap time, instead of worrying about the messes. It won't do any good anyway! I don't remember being as scared as I am, right now, with my first. Maybe it's because with the first baby the excitement and naivete overshadowed any doubt or worry. Now that I know what to expect, and what lies ahead on the road to recovery from a c-section, sleepless nights, and breastfeeding (so NOT the funnest thing in the world), I'm a little more worried and anxious about it all. I have crazy dreams, crazy thoughts about "what if", I'm not sleeping well, and things just don't seem as exciting with this pregnancy. It's almost like myself, and husband included, have a "been there, done that" mentality. But here I am on this end of ignorance knowing what to expect with a major surgery and recovery, and trying to figure out how to do it with a very rambunctious 2 year old. I really need to relax and get excited about another little guy in our house. I know my husband has even seemed less enthused about feeling the baby kick, or getting new baby gear. Where is that excitement that should be synonymous with a newborn, that should be bigger than the worries? It's so different with the first, as I know most of you would agree. So, as I get bigger, so do the messes, and the worries.

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Feb 8, 2009
Certainties

Few things in life are certain. I use the word certain because this means to have no doubts about something, to have a guarantee something will happen, or, ability to be relied upon. I'm sure I could ramble on about all the uncertainties of life, but instead I will ramble on about the certainties. One certainty is that Valentine's day will occur at the same time every year, and being married, it reminds me to reflect upon marriage, and my husband.

My relationship with my husband is something that will last forever. There will never be a day in the eternities or on this earth that we will not be one. There is a bond, stronger than any worldly ceremony that binds us to each other. It was designed by a loving God to allow his children the blessing and honor of remaining in family units after death. Have you ever wondered, "Why we are put on this earth in families only to be dissolved after death?" Would we care about our spouses, our children, our ancestors if ultimately we were going to remain an individual for eternity? Why marriage and family units then? How grateful I am that I know there is a sealing power that binds on earth and in heaven my family, especially that bond between a husband and wife.

My friendship with my husband will last forever. With Valentine's day approaching (I know it's over commercialized and often cheapened by society) I thought about what having a husband means...especially, having the husband that I have. It's a friendship that few experience. It's a joy that few taste of. With a world gone opposite of marriage and family, I am certain that I will never wish for or look back on the days without my husband. He's the best friend that I've ever had. He knows his priorities. He knows what comes first after a long day of school and work. He knows that even though he may have had a hard day, I'm the one usually needing the laugh and the extra hug at night. When I gain weight, he never tells me to work out, or questions what I eat. When I cry about some physical imperfection I think I might have at the moment, he offers chocolate or a back rub. He celebrates when something good happens to me or for me. He loves our son, and our son on-the-way more than anything, and I know this because I see it in his panic when there is a scraped knee or near death stunt by our toddler. Never does he look at me with that "Are you going to rush over and help him up". He does it without question. He has never referred to me as "hey woman" or acted as though I were his maid. I feel like the bride and queen of the household. I know that everything he does, from his near penniless job, although still providing, to slaving away at tests and school work, is all for me. I know that his sense of humor was designed especially for me, to get me laughing, sometimes uncontrollably in inappropriate circumstances, every day. His hugs were designed for me. His lips, his back rubs, his foot rubs, his cuddliness, and his raspy and what I like to call bedroom voice, designed all for me.

When he's excited about a new rock song, and I just gotta hear it, he'll set aside time to let me hear it so I can appreciate it as much as him, creating another something we can share. New movies, new restaurants, new tv shows, new video games, new bands, new youtube videos...whatever it is, he'll share it with me. Not his guy friends, but me. I wonder if I'm worthy of all the sharing because he knows I don't love all the same things as him, yet he'll try and share with me anyway. The first time we officially met we talked about music, and he discovered that I knew a band that he thought only a handful of people knew about and vice-versa. From there on out we thought each other was pretty cool. Good thing he had the determination to track me down a year later and officially ask me on a date. The rest is history.

I know that he hears me. I'm certain that when I need to talk, actual girl talk (that whole venting and fretting that girlfriends do) he'll listen for hours! It probably annoys him, but he listens, and he even gives me input. He hates when I cry. He feels helpless when I do, but he'll try and help anyway. He takes my advice, even when it's harsh, and loves me anyway. He lets me pick apart his sense of style, weight, hobbies, mannerisms, etc, and still kisses me goodnight, holds my hand, opens doors for me, and makes attempts to change for the better because I've asked. He makes my senses sing, even when I cannot talk.

I know that he loves me. It's in every kiss. I'm certain he knows me better than anyone. The second night we hung out, after a date, we talked until four in the morning. He summed up what he thought about who I was and where I came from, and he hit the bull's eye. Inside I was thinking, "How in the world does someone know me so well after only a couple dates and a few hours of talking?" I still don't know the answer to that, but I'm certain it's because I needed him, and he needed me to know that he was the one for me. Could this be love? I know it's cliche sounding, but love isn't complicated. It's direct and to the point, and it happens in a matter of moments and continues forever. I'm certain of that!

So, to my husband I want to say that I am certain that I love you! I am certain that you are the best person to ever grace my life. I hope you know that you are my everything, even though I make things tough for you, you will know that I need you because without you I have nothing. When all we have is each other, that will be enough. I don't know if you remember life without me, but I don't remember it without you. When I reach that far back I still see you there, somewhere, in my life, in my memories. We have been through SO much since last Valentine's day...can you believe it? We've made it through worse, and better for that matter, but look at us...we're fine! We are together. We love each other, we have each other, and have certainties that will last forever! You make my soul fly, even when I cannot think to walk. I'm amazed that you are mine, and that you are my Valentine!

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Jan 28, 2009
Perfect Neighbors


Apartment dwelling is not the most glamorous living situation, especially when it comes to your neighbors. We have several neighbors (obviously) and we know a few of them. They all know that we have a 23 months old, who loves to run and jump (and sometimes falls hard in the process). We have a third story apartment, which means there will be occasional noise from us to our second story dwellers whom we don't know. We used to live on the first floor and we know that you can hear anything from people upstairs like chairs being moved across the kitchen, to the dishwasher running, parties, to click-clacking of shoes going up and down the stairs at all hours of the day/night. We even had drunk co-eds puke in our bushes by our first story balcony. Yes, not the most glamorous. However, we lived below and next door to lots of people, and noise was completely expected! When living in an apartment noise is pretty much written into the contract. It's like you sign a dotted line agreeing that you know there will be shenanigans that occasionaly make noise. There are rules about time limits and noise control on certain things, but other than that, you just deal with it. Our second story renters are the most annoying! They aren't noisy (unless it's 2 in the afternoon and it sounds like a rave is going on), but for the most part they keep to themselves. For the most part. If our son throws his apple on the floor, which we've tried to teach him not to, and then stomps off because he's mad, we hear pounding on the floor/ceiling from below. You know the sound...that broom stick hitting the ceiling to tell your neighbors to shut up! Yeah, that sound. We walk carefully knowing that we annoy them. For instance, our son has learned only to jump from the coffee table to the couch in a noiseless fashion, and has learned how to slide gently off the bar stools and chairs without a sound. When we remind him to "Walk slow buddy" he quietly slows down and creeps the rest of the way to his destination. It's humorous actually! But, I decide to chop some veggies for dinner or the buddy decides to run one evening and I can't be right on top of him, and bang!bang!bang! from below. It's REALLY starting to annoy me! You deal with noise when you live smooshed between two floors of co-ed, college apartments! I would love to show up on their doorstep at 2 in the afternoon and tell them that the rave party is annoying, and if they want to continue then I'm not going to bridle my son from running and playing! I've never stomped on the floor or banged on a ceiling to tell these teeny-bopper drunks to shut up. I deal with it. I can't wait until they have children (heaven help us) and they get dirty looks or banging reminders from neighbors!

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Decorating


This word alone scares and, frankly, annoys me. To get a look that's not completely tacky or that says "Hi, I'm super cheap" you need money and devoted time. I don't know how you feel about it, but decorating makes me groan. I know that if I am going to get the "look" I want it will be expensive and time consuming. I am a stay at home mom with a husband in school so how I make a look work is Do-It-Yourself style or bargain shopping. Mind you, if I chose to decorate my rooms the styles I really wanted, we'd be broke and have more consumer debt than is worth a few cute accessories. Although I do wish I could walk into a store, see a bedroom set, with all the bells and whistles, and walk out of the store with it. Ya know? I have plenty of pictures of perfect rooms that hopefully I'll be able to recreate in my own home someday. Until then, it's 50% off sales over a period of months at Hobby Lobby to finalize a vision of creation.
It's finally time to move my son into the spare room with a big-boy bed. I got really excited about the prospects of having a cutely decorated room. I decided on a vintage airplane theme. CHAH! I don't think anything exists in this department because vintage airplanes are not sports, cars, or the newest release of some action/disney adventure movie. So, it's been quite the adventure trying to come up with frugal vintage items and decor. Thus the groans! The online world is crawling with amazing things, "if" you have thousands to spend on creating a vintage airplane bedroom for a toddler. Still, I pulled out some old paint left over from the living room (a nice wheat color) and began painting. I shopped around and found a few vintage airplanes to hang from his ceiling, all on sale brand new (real vintage would cost an arm and a leg). Next, the bedding. Okay, I knew the colors that would work. My old stuff from college is not something my boy would want to grow up with, so I was stuck shopping for bedding. WalMart, NOPE. Stores at the mall, NOPE. I hate shopping toddler appropriate bedding and being limited to camping, cars, sports, and High School Musical....c'mon! I finally found some great finds at Target that would match the wall color and would be muted colors to go along with the vintage airplanes. However, the bedding sets were like $99.99! One quilt with the perfect pattern and array of colors was over $100. Whatever! He's a toddler... Am I being too picky?! Should I go with the plain blue and white stripe set from WalMart for 45 bucks? (The two beds we own are queen size, so that's the size/price range I am buying for) Well, I let a few months pass...he slept in the crib while we transitioned through holiday sleep at relatives, and then I broke down and checked Traget one more time because he is SO ready for a bed. It was like a ray of light shown from above down the clearance isle. There, on the second shelf were the comforter sets I had seen months earlier! 30% off!? WOW. But, I saw a king size set for cheaper than the queen. I knew if I asked the store people they would give me that whole BS story of "Things go on sale based on need to get rid of it and quantity etc..." So I didn't ask...I kept hunting. I went down the next isle. Found the same comforter set in king size cheaper than the one on the other isle. I had already shoved the queen size one in my cart thinking $69.99 is better than 100 bucks so I really should get it. I decided to look at accessories to see if Target had anything other than cars and sports (NOPE), but what that isle did have was the exact comforter set for 50% off in the queen size. Yeah baby! The hunting for a bargain worked! The colors were what I was looking for too! So, after many months we've moved him into his partly decorated, airplane themed, big-boy room.
Decorating? Can I just groan instead!? Anyone else with me?