Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Yummy orange rolls

Princess loves to bake with me.  We did orange rolls last week.

They tasted great, even if the toddler got her fingers into the dough while it was rising. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Say thanks

Want to make a teacher's day? Have your kids write them a note. It needn't be long or complicated.

Strider has gotten a few thank-you's recently and I wanted to share my favorites...

"thank you for not making class boring, but fun"

"thank you for teaching something fun and interesting. _____ has always been an easy subject for me but you have made it more exciting"

"you're so cool and funny. I wish I was in your class again. you're the best teacher ever, man"

Friday, May 21, 2010

The lilacs are almost gone. This little visitor doesn't mind if the colors are fading.

Can you see him?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My new babies

We had a fish tank when the first two kids were very young.
There was a er, mishap
with a toddler and we lost the aquarium.

I so loved that thing, and have been complaining about
getting another one for years.  Well, for Mother's Day
Strider taped a picture of a fish tank to the wall where it now sits
and I was so happy.  I spent time reading and prepping.

We still had our original stand and I got a great deal
on another tank and a billion accessories.

On Sat we got our starting trio.  Three mollies.  I love mollies.

They are a little shy, but are warming up to
us and our chaos (read "NOISE").

And being live bearers, we expect tiny mollies
to come our way, too!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

You say potato, I say potahto

I saved this graphic years ago, and when I read the comments from my journaling post yesterday I knew I had to dig it up.

I absolutely love my blog, and I love the chance it gives me to be a writer and sort out some of my thoughts here and there.  I do see it as being very different from a journal though.  A stand-in for a scrapbook, or a way to let far away relatives see what's up?  Absolutely.

I have intensely personal things shared in a journal - things like financial struggles, faith promoting experiences learned through church service, miracles in my life, the transcendant power of birth, the rise and fall of my individual strengths and weaknesses.  Those are things too deep for me to share in a blog setting for the world to see.  Does that make sense?  Maybe I'm out of the ordinary, or more likely, there are a dozen reasons people keep up sites like this.  Just wanted to share an additional view of the purpose of blogging.

journals - diaries - blogs - personal histories - scrapbooks

i'm grateful for all of them!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Family ties

In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.

Alex Haley

Two months ago I was given a new calling (job) at church.  I was to be a Family History consultant.  We actually teach an ongoing class about Genealogy to small groups and it's been really amazing so far.  I have only done the tiniest amount of family pedigree research till now but my desire to do more has gone through the roof.

It's a time consuming hobby, but I feel strongly that I need to find ways to incorporate more family history work into my busy life.  Truthfully I can't think of anything more interesting and rewarding to do in my free time than to find out who has gone before me, who has paved the way, who has contributed to who I am.

My dad had a special meeting in his area last week about family history as well.  He has not participated in any research of the past as of yet, but he opened my way of thinking about this important task.  In his talk he spoke about linking generations together.  He reminded me that every memory and tradition is the making of family histories as well.  When we look at a family group record those aren't just names on a paper.  They are moms and dads, grandkids, aunts.  Those individuals shared a baseball game with a grandparent.  They sacrificed material wants so their kids could have needs met.  They read books to little ones.  They had jobs and bills and lawns and gardens and laundry.

My history isn't just then.  It's now.  And what we do next month.  And in five years.  We are living the legacy that we will leave behind.

I need to be a better journal keeper.  I owe it to myself and my posterity.  I did okay as a kid, and  I also have detailed entries for each child's birth.  But not a whole lot else.

I need to tell stories to my kids that my parents told me.

I need to record my dad reading those books that the kids love.

I need to write my own personal life history.  I can't even imagine the joy if one of my ancestors had left one for me.

I am so thankful for the broader perspective this new calling has given me.  I could kick myself for those things I've neglected to record over the last 10-15 years.  But better late than never.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I knew it would happen soon

This morning I got my first "It's okay mom.  You can drop me off here".

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Calm my heart

The lilac bush between my and my neighbor's yard is in full bloom and every year I bring in armfuls for short-lived fragrant vases.  They make me smile every time I walk in the door and they lift my spirits.

I could use any extra excuse to find serenity right now.  A tragedy involving a 4 year old boy has been in our local news.  I could only get through a paragraph of details and I had to stop.  Thinking about it makes me want to scream and hug my kids and vomit all at the same time.  I need peace in my heart.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Still special

Three days ago was Mother's Day. And three days in a row I have been served my meal on this plate.

My kids were VERY difficult on Sunday.  Think they're trying to make up for it?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Because I am a mom

My parenting philosophy
(hurry and read it - it will be different tomorrow)

1. Don't buy toys. Unless you have no grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc in your kids' life. If you have any of those then they will supply you with an endless amount of mess playthings.

2. When it doesn't matter, say YES.

3. It's okay to not love kid games. Get them started, stay nearby, and do your own thing, that's what I say.

4. If you want the best odds of having your kids love to read, have books EVERYWHERE, teach them that books are to be respected, and read often yourself.

5. Stop comparing your kids. It never makes anything better.

6. Sometimes they will hate you. If you are doing the right thing it will bring a little comfort, but it still hurts. Bad.

7. Cooking double will not mean you have an extra meal to put away for another day. They will just eat double the amount.

8. Parenting is a delicate balance of wanting to give your kids everything and at the same time teaching them to expect nothing. Gratitude will get you further in life than you expect.

9. Teach them early how to pump on the swings.

10. One parenting indescretion will set you back light years in the eyes of a child. Eons of diligence can be erased in a blink. I stare this fact in the face way more often than I am comfortable with.

11. Buy extra bike tubes.

12. Buy lots of bandaids.

13. Kids want you to see their point of view, not fix their problems. Most tattling around here gets an answer like "Oh, I'm so sorry that happened to you!" or "I bet that wasn't fun!".

14. Buy enough popsicles to share with the neighborhood.

15. If the contention is out of control, there are two possible reasons. Either you (mom) are being contentious or they need to get outside and play. It's usually that simple.

16. Preteens are exasperating, but so sincere. And they force you to be the same. They are masters at seeing right through a line of bull, so be real and give it to them straight up - just like they deserve.

17. All the details and money and planning you invest for a big trip/milestone/event will mean very little.  The simple things that just *happen* are the foundation for most of their memories.

18.  It's good for kids to work HARD.

19.  Teach kids to write thank you notes, make RSVPs, and do socially disappearing niceties.

20.  I pretty much have no idea what I'm talking about. Just do what feels right for your family.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Our week in pictures

my new faucet

a million field trip permission slips to sign

vinca is in bloom

bikes are ready for a new season

the scooters, not so much

leaves forming on the backyard tree

party favors ready for Jedi's big day

we say goodbye to the red and yellow tulips

just as the white ones near the street are ready to open

girls have had rough sleeping habits for the last little while;
we're just trying to keep everyone sane at night

hula hoops waiting to be made into costumes for Bugs' class performance

lilacs are half open; sure sign of Mother's Day

what I'm reading

what the hubs is reading

lots and lots of loving and nuzzling on these

What are you up to these days?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Left to Tell

I have been reading a lot more lately, which is like a little piece of heaven!

I highly recommend this latest book, Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust.  The opposite of a little piece of heaven, it is terrible and heartwrenching and confusing to see the human race attack itself in this manner.  But as with many survivor stories, the feeling the reader takes away from the experience of reading is one of truth and light and hope and positive energy. 

A Christian myself, I felt familiar with the experiences and background she shared as part of a deeply religious family.  At least I thought it was familiar.  As the book went on I was floored at the transcending power of faith in action.

One of my favorite quotes:
I was certain that God had a greater purpose for me, and I prayed every day for Him to reveal it to me. At first I was expecting Him to show me my entire future all at once – maybe with a flash of lightening and a clap of thunder thrown in for good measure. But I came to learn that God never shows us something that we aren’t ready to understand. Instead, He lets us see what we need to see, when we need to see it. He’ll wait until our eyes and hearts are open to Him, and then when we’re ready, He will plant our feet on the path that’s best for us . . . but it’s up to us to do the walking.

Folks, I know that I could not have faced these trials in the same manner as Immaculee.  It was a glaring reality as I read.  I admit I give up so easily in the face of difficulty.

Through her sharing her mindset with us and telling us what she learned I am forever changed for the better.  I closed the book filled with thoughts and plans of how to view my circumstances differently.  I also took with me the lesson of visualization.

Someone had once told me that it was important to visualize what you want to happen in the future, because doing so could actually help make it come true. Well, thanks to God, I’d become a big believer in that philosophy.

[ . . . ] I knew that whatever I envisioned would come to pass if I had faith and visualized it with a pure heart and good intentions, and if it were something God thought was right for me. It was then that I realized I could dream and visualize my destiny. I vowed that I’d always dare to dream for what I wanted. And I would only dream for beautiful things like love, health, and peace, because that is the kind of beauty God wants for all His children.

I like knowing that I have more control over my future than I previously thought.  I am going to implement little changes and experiments in my life, envisioning the me I want to become.  The me *HE* wants me to become.

Please read this book!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Just gathering the scattered thoughts

1. I went to my favorite store today, Tai Pan Trading. When I walk through the doors I feel a little faint. I bought myself fancy rubber gloves for Mother's Day. Plus some more microfiber towels. Really loving microfiber towels lately. No chemicals, just rubbing.

2. We got a Redbox movie yesterday (free code via text) and it won't play. My Princess is not happy.

3. Our USB ports are possessed. When we unplug something all our default storage locations change and now my last month of pics and docs are completely messed up and in different file folders on the computer. Hence the no picture for this post.

4. My life is going quite nicely at the moment, so I'm not really sure why I've no blogging voice as of late. Sorry about that.

5. My jaw line is breaking out like I'm 15 years old. What the..?

6. Strider installed our new kitchen faucet this weekend. It's incredibly beautiful. I love doing the dishes just so I have an excuse to polish it with the aforementioned microfiber towels. No pics, but it's this one: Moen Banbury Chrome Faucet.  Even more pretty in person, I promise.  Although any faucet that's not swaying back and forth and nearly falling off in your hand as you turn it on is an upgrade from the one we replaced. 

7.  Jazz vs. Lakers game 2 tonight.  Do we have any chance at all???   My dad took me to the close out game of the last series vs. Denver.  What a cool dad!  Here is a pic of us:  Jen and Dad

8.  Is it just me or is Scouting an incredibly expensive hobby/activity?  Nearly prohibitively so.  *sigh*

9.  I have had extra opportunities to serve in the last few days and nothing compares to how uplifting it feels to help another.  I have had the sweetest experiences doing so.

10.  Strider is working on his final papers for this semester.  A couple classes to do this summer and we are done with this blasted thing!