Saturday, February 28, 2009

Random Picture Challenge!

Joining in Brittany's Saturday Random Picture challenge over at 4 little men and girly twins! This is the 11th picture from my September 2007 picture folder! This is a picture of Amelia at a train festival she went to with her dad and sisters. The interesting thing to note is her chin. She crashed into the corner of the couch the day before this was taken and had to have 4 stitches!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Average Joe.

I have been a pretty average person all my life. I was an average student in school in most subjects. Just so-so looks wise and lived in a middle class neighborhood. All my life I have sort of blended in with the crowd and been middle of the road in everything that I do. I have always been fine with that and even went to college and got a job with my average existence. I realized something last night after I attended conferences at the elementary school. Average just isn't good enough anymore. Olivia is reading at 2nd grade level and guess what she is IN 2nd grade! I am fine with that. Her teacher, however, made the suggestion of possibly finding help for her. I looked at her and said "didn't you just tell me she is reading at grade level?" I don't understand why that can't be good enough. Olivia is doing great and is ahead in every other subject but because she is right where she should be in reading she needs help? When did average become not good enough? She is 8! I don't buy it. I am more inclined to think that the reading thing takes a little longer for some kids to click into place and once it does things progress more smoothly. I told the teacher that I am willing to wait and see if she falls behind because for now average is good enough for me. The whole thing got me thinking about the pressure that has got to be on these little kids to be more then they might really be. Half the kindergarten kids come in being able to read and write as well as 1st graders could ten years ago. When my child can't do that the first day of Kindergarten that puts them behind? Being on a regular rec soccer league is not good enough either so now kids want to be on select and travel teams. Testing starts earlier and last longer and means so much more now.
I can see the pressure of trying to be better then average really clearly in my 4th grader this year. She wants to get the highest grade on everything and when she gets an average grade she feels she has disappointed us. The pressure is not coming from me. I certainly want all my kids to study and do their best but the effort they put into it is is much more important to me then the actual grade.
Not every one can be in the upper echelon of life and when people are groomed to try and get there they are set up for a pretty big tumble when something average comes rolling along and bite them in the tush.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The thaw.

Every year around the end of February I start to yearn for the blue cloudless sky and the hot sun. The carefree days of basking in the glow and throwing the schedule out the window.

The squishy sand between my toes and the frothy water nipping at my legs.

I begin to imagine the sweet smell of wildflowers and the chirping birds that wake me in the morning.

I hear the sound of laughing and frolicking echoing in my head like a happy even blocks out the winter whining and constant fighting.
I can almost hear the ice begin to thaw and the flowers and trees begin to bud.

Ahhh I hope Spring is almost upon us because I know Summer is not far behind!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Slippery Slope.

When your kids get to Kindergarten age you start to really think about the school system you live in and what it has to offer your offspring. We all want the best education for our children which creates the most opportunity for college and careers later on. We moved to a "better" district when Caroline was turning 5 as a lot of people choose to do. The schools are amazing and the opportunities are endless. The problem is all the rest of the things that come along with moving to a "better" district. The first is less diversity. The kids are basically exposed to other kids just like themselves and don't really see much hardship. They are surrounded by kids who get what they want because their parents want them to have all that they didn't have when they were young. They get cell phones at 8 and Coach purses by 10. There are playdates galore and not a moment of worry about where their next meal is coming from or if they will have a big blow out birthday party. I feel like we are sliding down the slope pretty fast around here. I want my kids to get the great education as a foundation for their future yet I also want them to be compassionate accepting people who see the good in all different kinds of people. Climbing up that slimy slippy slope and being able to balance between creating happy ,well adjusted ,diverse kids who have a stellar education is not going to be an easy task.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Queen Bee

My good friend Heather called me the other day to tell me she was dropping the kids (her 2nd grader and mine) off at Brownies and had to stop short to keep from hitting another mom who was walking across the parking lot. For each Brownie meeting the girls have to donate an item to a different charity. That night it was the Humane Society. I picked up a couple of pet bowls in the dollar section and Heather got a couple of cheapie dog toys. Anyway the mom Heather almost hit was carrying a 25 pound bag of dog food. She was struggling under the weight of her charitable donation. Don't get me wrong, I am all for these donations. I think it is a great part of Girl Scouts. What I am not all for moms who go out of their way to one up every other parent around. This mom not only donates bigger and better she is also the cookie mom who is in charge of all selling and money related to our troop's cookie sales. She is very precise and nit picky and practically makes you sign away your first born to be able to pick up your cookies (during her two hour designated pick up time only). The cookie Nazi is a great example but unfortunately only one of many moms I know that go way overboard in their quest to be the Queen Bee. The real question is what do these ladies have to gain by their actions. Lots of it is making the rest of the mom population feel inadequate and less worthy of their children's love. Some of it might be because they truly believe they really are in a higher category then most of us normal moms. A little tiny part is probably because they don't know any other way to show their kids they love them then to dedicate themselves to continually being at the top of the ficticious best mom list. I just wonder if they know that while they are way up there on their high horse looking down their nose they are the butt of many a joke down here in average mom land.

Monday, February 23, 2009

NOT ME Monday!

Joining in the blog carnival over at My Charming Kids! Confessing all the things I certainly did NOT do this week ...or at least the things I would like to pretend I didn't do :)

It is not possible I was taking a bath and the cat decided to walk along the side of the tub only to slip in and all the way under the water...scratching ME to get out..NOPE never.

Chris's two week trip could never have gotten way would that happen!
There is no way that I got a few hours of kid free time to watch a movie with a friend..nope NOT me!

I could never have told Amelia she was fine when she said she felt tired and sick only to find out a few hours later she had a temperature of 102.

No way did I almost run out of gas on the way to my sister's....and when I coasted in to her drive I certainly didn't have to use her lawnmower gas to fill my tank enough to get to the gas station. That could never happen!

There is no way I talked Chris into all the drop offs and pick ups for the birthday parties over the weekend..Nope never!

I could never have cried TWICE in one day...I just do NOT do that, really I don't.

There is no way I laugh EVERY single time the cell phone commercial comes on with the lady that says ..." guess who is calling ?? Your butt"...LOL...too funny!

I certainly could not have obsessively washed my hands every 5 minutes and Lysoled the entire house so I don't end up with whatever virus is making it's way through our house..nope NOT me!

I could never have gone to Target with my sister and laughed at my 2 year old nephew climbing out of the cart and under the cart and running all over the store wearing a yet to be purchased batman hat and huge movie star sunglasses...that would have been too mean especially since a few short years I was in her shoes! Nope I certainly did not do that!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I have collected a quite a few quotes from my three girls (10, 8 and almost 5) and my two nephews (2 and 5)over the last few weeks. I thought I would share some of them. They made me laugh and I hope they make you chuckle too!

"Mom do the poopies talk to each other as they go down the potty to the pipes?"

"WOW that place smelled like a big pile of garbage." (as we were leaving the cat rescue shelter)

Child: "The cat is waiting up in my room while I go to the bathroom." Parent: "Is he locked up there???" Child: "NO but my door is shut tight."

Child: "MOM look at this flaky white stuff in my hair..sob sob...what could it I dying." Parent: scratch scratch sniff sniff *** looking really closely***"...ummm it is SOAP you didn't wash out of your hair in the shower."

"I invited my whole class and all my teachers to my birthday party ." " I told them we couldn't go upstairs or in the basement because it is too messy."

"Dad your arm pits smell great!"

Parent: "Do you like Lucky Charms?" Child: I like the Smellows!"

Child: "Amelia has to sit down to pee because she doesn't have a wiener."

"My name is not Nick, call me Batman."

"I told my teacher she smelled much better then usual today."

Parent: "Why don't you ever wear those 40$ tennis shoes that you talked me into buying you?" Child: "They take too long to put on and tie."

"Why would that lady want to have 8 babies when she already has 6 other kids and no husband to help her?" "..and why does she look like Angelina?"

"I am sure a scary monster is scratching at my window with his one really long nail."

Looking out the window toward the sky at a plane: "Hi Daddy."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dressing up for the gym.

I had to laugh today when a mom at Amelia's preschool walked up at pick up time. She was dressed really cute with pointy boots and makeup. I started talking to her and she told me that on Wednesday's she and her friends drop the kids off at the gym babysitter and go to the cafe and have lunch. I think this is such an awesome idea but sort of caught me off guard. I am debating joining the same health club and just never considered doing anything but working out after I drop the kids off in the child care center. For some reason I have serious mom guilt when I do stuff like that yet I totally see the absolute perfection in the plan. I am coming around to realizing or more like admitting that I need time for ME. It has taken me until my youngest is almost five to get to this point. I have spent ten years feeling guilt over every millisecond I spend indulging myself in time without a kid hanging on my leg. I have spent the time debating everything kid related and immersing myself in play dates and potty training. Now I feel ready to admit I need to think about myself. If this is selfish, so be it but I think it is necessary. I also think women who do not admit the need for this time are lying to themselves. I know moms like that end up as a daily volunteer at their child's school, a room mother for every holiday and unable to go on dates with their own husband without a child tagging along. Those are the moms that kids end up resenting for hovering over them 24 hours a day and not letting them make their own choices. I am choosing to let my guilt go and admit my need for time away from my kids.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Top Dog.

I was watching my cats romping around and wrestling last night and it got me thinking about how their relationship mimics every relationship in my life. When you have pets there is always one that is the dominant personality. In our house we have two cats and one defiantly stands out as the alpha cat. He lets the other cat eat only when he is done and lets him sleep in certain spots. They love each other and get along great as long as the alpha cat is getting what he wants. In our house there is an alpha kid. There is one child that sets the tone for pretty much how everything goes in our house. If she is happy and pleasant then things go smoothly and everyone is smiling. If she is angry or grouchy the climate of the house pretty much changes to match her mood. She has a tight control on the household. The alpha thing applys to marriages as well although I think each of us is dominant in certain areas. He takes control of the finances. I have had no idea where our money is for the last 14 years. I trust him and I am sure it is where is should be but if he died tomorrow I would have no clue where to look. I dominate with the kids. I know their schedules and what activities are when. I know their sizes and styles. He has NO clue about those things. This all works to balance us out and makes us compliment each other. I also notice that in a group of friends there is usually one person that takes over the conversation and often picks the movie or restaurant. I tend to be attracted to alpha friends probably because I would rather talk about someone else and let them make choices since I hate doing that. All this leads me to wonder how many of our alpha qualities we are born with and how many we develop with the help of environment and circumstance.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Not ME Monday!

Joining in with the blog Carnival Not me Monday over at My Charming Kids!

I could never have written my Valentine blog post after a little too much girls night wine..nope that would never ever happen.

NO way did I go to old lady water aerobics and feel so stiff the next morning I could hardly walk.

We could never have opened a box of chocolates on Valentines morning and eaten them for breakfast..nope not us!

Chris could never have told me has has to be gone for two weeks IN A ROW in March that would have certainly driven me over the edge!

I did NOT fold a whole load of laundry and have absolutely nothing for myself in the load that would be silly!

I wouldn't have gone 2 shades blonder and felt like blonde's really do have more fun..nope not

I could never have made Chris take all three girls to an early morning dentist appointment so I could sleep in that would have been childish and unfair!

There is no way the preschool teacher had to comb my preschooler's hair because I forgot it was picture day AND forgot to comb her hair. I DO have to say her hair never looked better. (this one was actually donated by my neighbor Paula but I thought it was just too great not to include :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saturday Random Picture Challenge.

Joining in with Brittany over at 4 little men and girly twins for the Saturday picture challenge. Went to my January 2007 picture folder and found the 3rd picture.
This a picture of Amelia when she decided she wasn't tired yet in her bed and put a whole page of stickers up her arm :)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Lessons IN Love

* No one is perfect (except of course me :)

* Ice cream does make everything better

* Even when I say don't worry about it...DO

* Jewelry is the answer to everything

* Once a month is OK, it is no reflection on your manhood

* Forget trying to make plans because yours are already made for you

* If you travel too much for work you will probably come home to various new pets

* Seeing each other when you first wake up really is scary

* Mind reading is for professionals only

* Pretend to be listening (and nod in agreement) even if you aren't

* Naked is ugly no matter which way you slice it..accept it and turn the lights off

* Purses and shoes are an investment not a splurge

* At the end of the day just being together is all that really matters

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Road Construction.

You know how when you are moving along on a smooth road in life and all of a sudden you hit a speed bump? I am wondering if these bumps are out there to send us reeling onto another path to our certain destiny. Our small subdivision has been redistricted for the 2010 school year which means my kids will have to switch schools with only a handfull of familiar faces to a sea of new faces. It also means we have a WHOLE year plus to worry and wonder before the change actually happens. I wonder if this change will alter the course of friendships and education for the girls. Maybe there is a one of them will meet their future husband or the best friend they will every have (trying to stay positive here). Maybe they will have the teacher that inspires them to go to medical school. I am trying really hard to take the changes as they come and adapting to them as well as I possibly can. I know from past experience that these bumps are going to come again and again in my lifetime. A friend has had a few bumps of her own lately to deal with too. She is ending a toxic marriage despite her desire to keep her family together and her kids safe and happy. She is leaving her home and displacing her kids which will no doubt cause chaos and struggle When the dust settles I believe that these bumps in her road will lead to a happier safer more positive life for her and her kids. I hope that she starts on a new road, one with lots of new adventures and more importantly one where she feels loved and needed.
I keep reminding myself that that roller coaster feeling as you ride up the hill can sometimes lead to the most thrilling ride of your life!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Three Little Sweet Tarts.

Since it is Valentines week I thought I would talk some more about LOVE and all that mushy stuff. This time I am going to touch on a different type of love though, the love a Mom has for her children. I am hoping that writing this down on paper reaffirms it to myself since lately each one has been exasperating and challenging in their own way.
Caroline is my first born. I remember ever single little detail of my pregnancy and how I longed to have a baby. We didn't know if she would be a boy or a girl but she was so wanted and anticipated that the minute she was born she was surrounded by love. She was a darling little girl and was always the center of our attention. Probably a little too much because by the time we hit preschool she was very attached to me and had a hard time letting go. Once we got past that and into kindergarten she became quite the social butterfly. She has a very magnetic personality and people generally enjoy talking to her. Caroline is very creative and loving and will always be my first experience with every stage of childhood. I am guessing there will lots of tears from both of us as we enter the teen years. I think she will teach me a lot
Olivia came next into our world. She was bald as a billiard and cute as could be. Big blue eyes and long lashes. She didn't have much hair until around 2 and was always mistaken for being younger except when she opened her mouth and started talking. She had quite a vocabulary and a temper to match. Olivia is such a unique individual. From the outfits she wears to the way she solves problems she follows her own road and it is defiantly the one less traveled. That characteristic is one that I admire and hope she can continue to cultivate and exhibit forever.

Amelia is our last born and was actually the easiest baby. It is obvious now she was fooling us to get us to adore her before she let her true personality shine. She has a very strong personality to say the least. Actually everything about Amelia is strong. She is tall for four and has better defined arms then I do. She can debate and discuss pretty much anything and can make you agree with her either because you really do agree or because you just can't bare to hear it anymore. Amelia is one of the funniest people I know..even at four she says some of the most laugh out loud hilarious things you have every heard. She also has a real soft spot for baby's and animals. She absolutely loves our cats and can usually be found dragging a baby doll around every where she goes. I am sure that some day she will be a mom and a good one at that.
I love the sound of them giggling together. I love it when they come to each others defense and when they miss each other after a day apart. I love it when I see a flicker of Chris in them. I cherish all three of them for their strengths and for their weaknesses.

Monday, February 9, 2009

NOT me Monday!

I am once again playing along with the blog carnival started by Mckmama over at My Charming Kids! Join in, it is quite therapeutic!

I didn't almost fall off the chair when Amelia handed Chris the page out of the Sunday Target ad with the sexy valentine lingerie on it and said "Here Dad I know you like to look at this kind of stuff."

NO way I got super duper excited over the weather forecast of 45 and sunny.

There is no way we went out to lunch and Caroline absolutely refused to eat anything because it wasn't the place she wanted to go ..that would have been just silly.

One of the girls certainly didn't say "Mom ,what does Daddy need shampoo for anyway?? He doesn't have any hair!" That would have been mean and though totally true also totally RUDE.

I could never have agreed to go to water aerobics at the health club even though I have a severe fear of naked ladies walking around the locker room..nope NOT me!

It is impossible that I am seriously thinking about getting a kitten even though we already have 2 cats...I would be out of my mind to consider that!

NO possible way that I answered my door to 18 red roses with a card that basically said I read your blog I know what a bad week you had last week....that would have been too nice ! There is no way the flowers were just to cushion the blow that he is going to be gone some of each of the next two weeks....

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Random Picture Challenge!

Playing along with the Saturday Random Picture Challenge over at 4 Little Men and Girly Twins ! Come play along! This is from my March 2008 folder and is the 5th picture from the end!
This is on Amelia's 4th birthday in front of my Mom and Dad's (Mimi and Poppie) house! Mimi inflates the birthday cake in her front yard for every birthday but this was really special because the cake has four candles on it and she was turning four. She had just taken a bath in Mimi's jacuzzi tub and had her jammies on and wet hair. I love this memory!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Flutter flutter, flippity flop.

In honor of Valentines Day month and some red roses that arrived at my door today I thought I would talk about the stages of love. The first and shortest stage is when you first meet someone. Those first few weeks where your heart races every time you see them and your cheeks get red and you can't focus on anything but their lips. Your hands touch by accident and a tingle goes up your arm and you can't stop giggling. I remember this stage so clearly with Chris even though we were only 16 at the time. He would bike over to my house and we would take walks and talk for hours and hours. The next stage comes fairly quickly down the road of love. This stage is when you only have eyes for him and him for you. You are hopelessly devoted to being together. Usually this stage is cemented by some sort of formal statement that you are together as a couple. I guess that happened for us when Chris gave me a diomonique promise ring for Christmas. I wore it proudly and thought it was the most beautiful thing ever (I saw it in my jewelry box the other day and had to giggle at the cloudy stone and apparent rust on the band). Chris traveled to Russia around this time and sent me letter after letter expressing his love for me and I kept a journal doing the same. I remember crying every time I received one of those damn letters and feeling like my heart was breaking. He was gone for 3 months and to a 17 year old that was an eternity! Next comes the stage of no return. This is when you know that you will move on to hire level signified by a real diamond on your left hand. Chris proposed to me when we were both 21. We would sit for hours discussing out future together. How many kids we would have and where we would live. After we got married and got through the initial newlywed period we hit the next stage. We bought a house and started a family. With the birth of each child our love changed and became stronger. Three kids later and I still feel the flutter of my heart when I see him, I still miss him terribly when he is gone and I still love to talk for hours to him. I look forward to figuring out what stage comes next in our long and winding love affair. Whatever it is I imagine it will be magical and make my heart go flippity flop.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

one flew over the cuckoo's nest

Stick a fork in me I am DONE with this week. Between Chris being out of town again, going to a funeral and the mid winter whine of the kids I have had it up to the ceiling. Add in some throwing up, a peeing accident and complete insomnia for the last few nights you will get temporary insanity. When through the haze you hear your 10 year old yammering on about spelling tests and pizza being the lunch choice for tomorrow you now the end of this wretched week must be within reach. I am reaching far and wide and hoping to get to Saturday.
What I need is an hour (or ten) alone, a glass (or ten) of wine and deep restfull sleep but what I am going to get at least for now is tween TV, herbal tea, and another night of tossing and turning.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Mother load of guilt.

Ever since my children were born the one emotion I have been able to excel at is guilt. Starting with the guilt over choosing not to breastfeed followed by the guilt of using disposable diapers. On any given day I am sure I could find a dozen things to feel guilty over. From the kids not getting enough sleep and the right things to eat all the way down to them not having matching socks every morning. Mom's expect themselves to be loving, organized, friendly, creative and accomplished in every aspect of their lives and when they don't live up to their own expectations guilt creeps right in and takes hold. The minute the kids get off the bus we rush them to their activities and then feel guilty we didn't have dinner together as a family. If our kids are slow to potty train or ride a two wheeler then once again: guilt. Our society supports the notion that if something goes wrong with the child it is usually the mothers fault.
We try to juggle being a wife, mother, cook, housekeeper, friend but end up feeling like we aren't doing any one of them as well as we would like and feeling guilty about that.
How do we lessen the feeling of hurry, inadequacy and unobtained success? How do we make it easy to breath deeply and slowly and enjoy the process of motherhood and the small daily joys our children bring us?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes.

A few tidbits of Amelia over the past few weeks :)

We got a flyer in the mail advertising a special Disneyland was plastered with Mickey ears and Cinderella's castle. Amelia came running in with it yelling "MOM look I got an invitation to DISNEY..can I go??? What will I take Mickey as a present??"

I was shopping at Target and told Amelia I needed to look for a shirt...she showed me a t-shirt and wanted to know if it would work. I told her no I needed a shirt to wear to a funeral. She was quiet for a few minutes and then said "will you have to hold flowers?" I told her I wasn't sure about that. I continued to look at shirts and she was quiet for a few while but then she said "will there be a box?" Apparently Little Bear has touched on the subject of funerals...

"Hey Mom! littlest nail is sooo long that it looks like the lady in the weirdo world record book!"

"I picked my nose and put it on a tissue and threw it in the trash!"

"MOM the cat loved it when I made him a cage in my room...I even gave him food and water."

Amelia, to her two sisters as she turned on the music "Let's rock this house!!"

"Mom, what does pregnant mean??" What does having contractions mean?" All this said with her baby doll stuffed under her shirt... Guess I should mention that Baby Story is her favorite show."

"I love that lipstick Mommy, it makes you look like a movie star, just like Hannah Montana."

NOT me Monday!

Joining the blog Carnival, Not ME Monday! over at My Charming Kids again this week! Go check it out and join in!

There is no way that Chris was out of town AGAIN during the ice/snow storm this week.

I could never have baked my special cookie dough brownies to bribe my neighbor to snow blow my driveway after the winter storm since Chris was out of town.

I certainly didn't stick the kids wet snow pants, hats, mittens and coats in the drier when they came in for lunch and then send them directly back out to play some more.

I didn't let the girls play makeover with whatever makeup and hair products they could find just to keep them busy for a little while on yet another day off.

I would never tear up at the idea of Chris's flight being delayed that would be silly!

I would never in a million years be a little teeny tiny bit relieved Caroline woke up with a belly ache and I simply had to stay home with her instead of go sit at my in laws..that would be immature and just plain WRONG.

I could not have sat for pretty much two days straight on the couch with a blanket watching HGTV just because I felt like it... that would have been wasting time.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Shadows in the night.

Have you every had a dream so vivid and alive that when you jolt awake it takes a while to realize it was just a dream? That happened to me last night and I haven't been able to get it out of my mind all day. I wonder if the dream could be a sign or maybe represent something. To be clear I have to say this was actually NO dream it was a nightmare. I wish I could shake the uneasiness I have about it but I can't seem to no matter how hard I try. Maybe a stiff drink and a sleeping pill well lead to a deeper nights sleep with no chance of ghosts or goblins.