Monday, December 24, 2007
It's Christmas Eve - I can't believe it. It seems like we just celebrated Christmas, and now here it is a year later. Our house is decorated, we have a beautiful tree, all the shopping is done, presents are mostly wrapped and Christmas cookies for Santa are in the oven. I've steamed the clams for our clam chowder (Christmas Eve tradition).
Tonight, we'll have our little Christmas Nativity performance - this year it's a puppet show. Amidst all the gifts, it's important to me that the kids understand the real reason behind the gifts at Christmas. We have so much, and it pains me to think of Mary, giving birth to her Holy Child in a stable, full of animals. What thoughts must have been in her mind that Holy Night?
While I love opening presents and watching the kids do the same, the best gift I could give, or receive, this Christmas is a deeper understanding and appreciation of Christ and His holy gift to me.
Friday, December 21, 2007
This is a scrapbook I made for each of our 15 & 16 year old nieces. It's a place for them to record the friends, loves, fun times, heartaches, etc. that go along with high school years.
This is a canvas wall hanging made for our 12 year old niece. It has little post-it-notes on one square, and a clear pocket for pictures, etc. on the other square.
A friend introduced me to these evil treats earlier this season. A chocolate cookie outside, with a creamy filling, complete with real crushed bits of peppermint candy. If you haven't tried them, run to your nearest Trader Joe's, and buy a box. They are addicting, and at 70 calories per cookie, results can turn catastrophic quickly. So consider yourself warned...but they're worth it!
And in case you're wondering, these aren't all for me...I included a box with each of my gifts to our families this year!
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Once again, we have a classic Santa photo. I don't know why I expect anything less...all year I tell my kids not to talk to strangers, not to sit on strange men's laps, etc. And then December rolls around, and I attempt to plop them right onto a perfect stranger's lap and make them smile and talk!
Jack had been eagerly anticipating seeing Santa for about a week. Our Ward Christmas party rolled around, and he began to experience cold feet. He copes with fear or anxiety by falling asleep - he can literally force himself to sleep. So, he sees Santa walk in the room, and immediately says "I'm tired. I want to sleep in the stroller." I naively thought that once we got up there, he'd jump right up and tell Santa everything he wanted.
We waited in line, and as were were almost at the front, I look down, and sure enough, Jack is fast asleep. At first, I was irritated - after all, this is our traditional December calendar picture. Then I thought, "Well, I'll just park the stroller between Mrs. & Mr. Clause, no big deal. Grant and Olivia will smile..." So we get up to our turn, Olivia plops down with a giant grin and I attempted to put Grant on Santa's lap. Grant wanted absolutely nothing to do with him! He screamed LOUDLY, arched his back and wailed for me with his arms out. We quickly snapped a photo, then I rescued Santa...and years from now, I'll look back and laugh at myself for thinking this motherhood thing would ever be easy.
We stayed at an adults-only all-inclusive resort just outside of Playa del Carmen. The resort was beautiful, our view quite breathtaking!
As we were sitting in the San Francisco airport early Saturday morning, we made a vow to exercise each day, and return home in better shape than we left. Good intentions...and we actually did exercise on Monday. Unless you count rolling over on the lounge chair, or walking from the ocean to the pool, or from the pool to the bathroom, then I guess we exercised every day!
We did venture outside of the resort on Tuesday to see the Mayan Ruins of Chichen Itza. An amazing site for sure. It was incredible to see the detail and care that went into constructing these giant structures - without the help of modern tools, engineering or machinery. Truly a Wonder of the World.
I read 1 great and 3 good books (The Kite Runner, Wicked, Dear John and Because She Can) and enjoyed every moment with my hubby. It's a good thing to still like him after all this time. We had a lot of laughs, some much needed romance, and time to focus on each other. The food was great, drinks delivered all day right to our lounge chairs, and even nightly turn-down service in our room! We slept in (according to Cancun time...we still woke up around 6am Pacific time!)
We came home and found the kids in great shape. Grant is walking now, and got 2 new teeth while we were gone. He'll never know we missed that milestone! The time together strengthened us and gave us the "umph" we need to make it through the holidays, not to mention the next several months of busy life. What better gift can we give our kids than two parents who truly love each other?
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Grant has a new favorite pastime - climbing in the empty cabinet of the kids computer desk and playing catch...with himself. He throws a rubber ball against the wall, and it bounces right back to him! He's quite clever...and it keeps him busy and entertained for hours! I'm ready to get rid of all the clutter-creating toys with lots of little pieces. All this boy needs is a ball.
Friday, November 2, 2007
Last night, Olivia and I had the rare privilege of attending a real concert together! Hannah Montana (a.k.a. Mylie Cyrus) was performing live at the Oakland Arena, with opening act by The Jonas Brothers. We bought her tickets for her birthday back in August...and it was a sold out show.
I definitely felt old...the fan base for these acts is primarily 15 and under. I was looking around at the other moms, accompanying their daughters (and a few sons) and it was like we were part of this club, the "I'm here because I love my child" club. And yet, strangely enough, I found myself bopping up and down to the beat, and screaming along with everyone else. My ears will be ringing for days...!
The end of the concert came, and Olivia really wanted a concert T-shirt. The line was about 150 people long. I suggested buying one online at the tour website, but she really wanted one before we left. So, being the devoted, patient mother that I am (or at least would like to be), we proceeded to wait in line for 1 HOUR for an overpriced t-shirt which Olivia absolutely loves. It was worth the wait.
At the end of the show, when Olivia was telling me how much she loved it and thanking me profusely, I realized how precious this time really is. A few years from now, she won't want to hang out with me, whether it's running errands or going to a concert. I took so many pictures, so I can record the moment forever in my memory. And if my hearing never returns to normal, it will still be worth it!
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
This is the "E-card" I sent out to friends and family...and it depicts how I feel some days! While I'm not necessarily skin & bones (and long blonde hair), I do sometimes feel a little haggard keeping up with 3 kids! And yet, I wouldn't trade it for anything. They're my greatest "Treat".
So last night, as the boys were in the bath, and Steve & Olivia were cleaning up the pumpkin carving mess, we had an earthquake! All of a sudden, the bath water started sloshing a lot more than usual! I was on my knees washing Grant, and it took me a moment to figure out what was happening. It lasted about 10-12 seconds, with pretty solid shaking the whole time.
We quickly turned on the news, and found out it was a 5.6 on the Richter Scale, and was centered just a few miles away. It was the biggest earthquake to shake the Bay Area since the Loma Prieta, back in 1989. That's a little scary.
We didn't have any damage (nor are there any outside reports of damage), and no one was injured. But it got me thinking about what we'd do if a real BIG ONE hit us. I have 8 5-gallon water jugs in my attic. They're empty. I suppose those wouldn't do much good if we needed them. I think I'll have Steve pull them down this weekend, and I'll fill them up.
We have food in the house for at least a couple of weeks, if we ate sparingly. But what would I do if the house collapsed? Maybe I should have a backup plan.
I'm a master procrastinator when it comes to things like this. I always think that nothing will happen to us. Or that our house will be fine, or that the water will be fine. But what if it's not? I've got three little munchkins, who depend on me for survival. What about them? Time to get off my rear and do something about it.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Well, I did it. I actually RAN a 1/2 Marathon! Yesterday, I participated and completed the Rock & Roll San Jose 1/2 Marathon. It was an amazing experience, and I still can't believe I actually did it!
I had a great running buddy, Kristi, whom I met through the 10-week training at ClubSport. She motivated me and inspired me all throughout the training, and we had lots of laughs and crazy conversations.
15,000 people all running the same race makes for a pretty crazy start, but the race was very well organized. We crossed the start line at about 8:05am, and soon fell into a pretty steady pace. Our goal had been to finish in 2 1/2 hours, so we had a mile-by-mile pacer to help us stay on track. We did pretty good for the first 5 or 6 miles, then after a bathroom break, began to slow down a bit. By mile 9, I was feeling pretty tired and miserable...and still had 4 miles to go! We dragged ourselves along until mile 12, at which point I really wanted to die. Kristi grabbed my hand and pulled me along about 100 yards, reminding me that there was only one mile left to go. How could I quit when I'd come so far???
It was crazy to run with that many people, and it blew my mind to see the winners blowing by us at their 12 mile mark when we were at mile 6. Definitely humbling...
Steve was so supportive, and had Jack & Grant in a double jogging stroller at a few points along the course. It was so great to see them cheering and waving - being a healthy mom for them is my motivation. I couldn't have done the training without Steve - he played Mr. Mom while I was out running over the past 10 weeks.
When we came to the final stretch at the finish line, we tried to pick up the pace and "sprint", if you can really call it that! I ran across the finish line and I don't think I'd ever been so happy to stop running! I got a fun, colorful medal, a pair of cozy sport sandals (boy did it feel good to get those running shoes off!) and some water. I tried eating a bagel, but could barely swallow!
By last night, the exhilaration of finishing had been replaced by sheer pain. Every inch of my legs were throbbing, and I almost couldn't make it up the stairs to bed. During the night, even moving my big toe woke me up. But this morning, once the morning stiffness wore off, I felt pretty darn good. Just enough stiffness to remind me that I used my body yesterday. Amazing how quick recovery can be!
While I don't forsee any more 1/2, let alone full marathons in my near future, I am so glad that I can add this to my life list of accomplishments. And while my finish time of 2 hrs. 41 minutes didn't break any records, in my mind, I ROCKED this race!
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
I pointed out the chickens to Jack as we were stopped waiting for them to get out of the way. Jack innocently asked "Why do the chickens cross the road?" I giggled out loud for a moment as I replied, "Well, to get to the other side." What more could I say???
Monday, October 8, 2007
These two little frogs and a sassy witch have much to look forward to in the years ahead. While they sometimes (okay, often) drive me almost to drink, I can't believe how lucky I am to have two beautiful sons, and a wonderful daughter.
Last night at dinner, all three were screaming, whining, complaining, picking at their food or otherwise causing a big disruption. I looked at Steve and said "We're done. 3 kids is more than enough." He laughed in agreement. I meant it in a not-so-nice way then, just trying to deal with the chaos & confusion. But after their baths, when all were smelling sweet and acting like the angels they can be, I was just grateful to have been blessed with 3 beautiful babies. And while we are indeed done, and 3 is plenty, I will enjoy them and love them and cherish them every day that I live.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
I remember my parents saying at various times that they still felt much like they did as a teenager, and couldn't believe how old they were getting. At the time, I thought that was a big crock. They were OLD and had no idea how it felt to be YOUNG. Hhhhmmmmm, I'm beginning to reconsider that point of view.
Driving home a teenage babysitter a few months back, I looked over at her and had this weird flashback in time, as I thought to myself "Wait a minute, I'm supposed to be the teenage babysitter. How did I get to be the mom of 3 kids picking up a babysitter to go to dinner with my husband?" So weird.
So, what did I do to commemorate my 35th birthday? In a momentary loss of sanity, I decided to push my training and run 12 miles. My best running buddy ever, Kristi, showed up at my house at 0-dark-thirty (6am) with flowers & chocolate cheesecake. We took off in the pitch dark and ran for the next 2 hours and 45 minutes. What was supposed to be 12 miles, turned into just about 13, which confirms that: 1. I'm crazy and 2. I can indeed complete the 1/2 marathon for which I'm training.
My aches are starting to sink in, and I'm ready for bed. But instead, I get to take Olivia to soccer practice, then go to PF Chang's for dinner!!! I'll come home and enjoy my chocolate cheesecake while I watch the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy. And I'll be thankful to be a middle-aged 35-year-old mom of 3 who can run 13 miles...Life doesn't get any better than this.
Monday, September 24, 2007
POSITION :Mom, Mommy, Mama, MaDad, Daddy, Dada, Pa, Pop
JOB DESCRIPTION :
Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities! Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.
The rest of your life. Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf. Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers. Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects. Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks. Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next. Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices. Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product. Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.
POSSIBILITY FOR ADVANCEMENT & PROMOTION :
None. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you
PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE :
None required unfortunately. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.
WAGES AND COMPENSATION :
Get this! You pay them! Offering frequent raises and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because Of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.
While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and No stock options are offered; This job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and free hugs and kisses for life if you play your cards right.
So when Steve asks again when I'm going back to work...I think I'll just show him this and tell him I never stopped.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I was thinking today how sad it is that my children don't know any other world. They don't really know what they're missing, but I do.
Even as I remember this awful day, I am thankful for all the good in the world, and in my life. And even though it might not always appear to be so, I know that good can, and will, triumph over evil.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Now, for at least 3 hours, 3 days a week, I am down to just one child at home. Sometimes I can't wait for the day when Grant is also in school, and I actually have some time to myself. But then, I realize that I have the rest of my life to have time to myself, but just a few short years with little ones around me. And so, I'll savor every moment of carpooling, diapers, homework and laundry...
Thursday, July 26, 2007
But I will be able to add that to my "Life List" as something I never thought I could do and did. That will feel good. Plus, maybe it will help me get rid of the soft roll around my mid-section...
Monday, July 16, 2007
A couple of weeks before school was out, I picked Jack up from preschool and he was visibly upset. His shoulders were hunched forward, he had a scowl on his face and didn't say "Great!" when I asked how his day was. When I asked him why he was sad, his response was "Peyton sat on Megan". Turns out, Megan had gone to school with Jack that day (I wasn't aware that she'd been in the car with us that morning, but that's the trouble with invisible friends...you don't know when they're around!) and was sitting next to Jack at snack time. Peyton wanted to sit next to Jack, but he said Megan was sitting there, so she had to find another chair. Peyton disagreed, saying "Megan's not there, that's Mr. Nobody" and proceeded to plop right down in the chair, on top of Megan!
I reminded Jack that not everyone could see Megan, so we need to be patient with those "non-believers". He'll get over it, and I'll make sure I don't sit in an empty chair without double-checking with Jack to verify that it's really empty!
Saturday, April 28, 2007
But tonight, I was not brave. I was cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, and sent Olivia into the laundry room with some dirty clothes. She called out "Mom, there's a lizard in the laundry room". I did not believe her. Why and how would a lizard be in the laundry room? When she said it again, I dropped what I was doing and went to check it out. Lo and behold, there was a lizard, with about 6 inches of it's body peeking out from underneath a rug. I freaked out.
This is the part that makes me thankful for friends. I called my friend and neighbor Diedra, who loves all things creepy and crawly and is not afraid of anything. She dropped what she was doing, and came over to capture the intruder. After a few attempts, "Allie" (short for Alligator Lizard) was rescued and set free in our yard.
I have to ask myself why I am afraid of a creature much smaller than me, and as of right now, I have no answer. So THANK YOU DIEDRA!!!!!
Monday, April 23, 2007
The fall was a good reminder for many areas of life. I pedal along, cruising at a good pace and then all of a sudden, a red light comes along, and if I'm not paying close attention, WHAM, I hit the ground with a thud. These times force me to examine my life, and figure out why I missed the warning signs.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
So, I'm hoping that this will be a good solution for me. I spend time at the computer every day, and I certainly type faster than I write, so we'll give it a try.
What's happening in my life? Olivia is on Spring Break from school right now, giving us an excuse to be a little lazy in the mornings. After 5 loads of laundry, we went to the gym for a run (training for the Danskin Triathlon in June), followed by errands and a stop at the park for a little playtime.
It's amazing to me how fast the kids are growing up. Jack swings on the big kid swings now, and can do it without pushing! Yahoo! His little legs pump him up so high, it makes me nervous. And Olivia can easily reach a bar now that she couldn't even jump to last year. How does that happen?
Grant got his first tooth today - it's been working it's way in for about 3 weeks now. Thus begins the next year of teething pain, biting, chewing, oral exploration, etc. It also marks the end of an era of toothless baby grins in our family. I'll miss those...but look forward to the toothy grins that are to come.
Three kids make for busy days, and nights too, sometimes. But I can't imagine doing anything else at this stage of life. I love being home full-time (a bit of an oxymoron, as I rarely am actually at home these days!) and feel completely fulfilled by my duties. Olivia asked me yesterday when parents get "Spring Break", and I giggled as I thought about it. I told her that I'd get my spring break when all my kids are grown up and moved out of the house. So for now, I'll enjoy my year-round job of mom, while I continue to define the other parts of me as well.