Thursday, December 31, 2009

what a wonderful xmas!

finally getting around to blogging about xmas...i have been waiting to get the pictures from adam, who already took them off the camera and uploaded to his computer. so hopefully by the time i finish this post he'll have gotten them to me.

this year we didn't have the pay cut that we had last year, so it started out feeling not so tight as last year...although still not extravagant, since we knew we wouldn't be getting a xmas bonus again. but i got a 6month ad just in time that was $600, so i felt like we were going to be able to do really well...well...then a whole thing happened with at&t, when i was about halfway through my shopping (i always shop late because we rarely have money til late)...to make a long story short, we ended up paying at&t over $500 which cut into our xmas money greatly (and our bank account is still in the red, since we have held onto what little cash we had left to pay pg&e today...used our credit card for the rest of xmas, *sigh*, something we are loathe to do) ANYWAY, so there were a few days of stress and we will be a few months to catch up on everything now, financially, argh.

soooo....what i had originally planned for the kids for xmas was new bikes...since both of them need them. maeven's is far too small for her and tyr still has a tricycle and he's going on 4 and a half and really wanting a 2-wheeler. but, i realized finally that we just weren't going to be able to afford to get them bikes. so i came upon the idea of getting snow clothes for everyone. the kids have been bugging me for a trip to the snow for ages and i keep saying we'll do it every year and every year we don't. so i finally figured if i got them the clothes for xmas that it would force me to use them. (i hate waste) so that's what i did. and then i figured if i got them snow clothes that i would need some for us too because otherwise we'd be miserable. so everyone got snow pants, boots, and those that needed mittens got mittens (i already had some). also bought us a plastic toboggan. the kids were thrilled! (i was a little worried that they'd take it less enthusiastically than i envisioned, but i needn't have worried.)

let me backup a bit to xmas eve...we spent xmas eve with adam's family (though we did bring my brother along since my parents were at dos palos for xmas eve, where my dad preaches on weekends and special holidays). it was really nice because there was no pressure to do lots of gifts. everyone knew everyone was hurting financially so we did another year of not even discussing gift exchange (we used to draw names since there's so many people, but we stopped when things got tighter and tighter). really nice because it was one less thing for all of us to worry about, i think. :) we still do gifts for the little kids, though, so i did my best to get what i hope was gifts that they'd like but that didn't cost an arm and a leg. i think everyone pretty much did that. and that was really great because frankly my kids don't need all the tons of gifts that past xmas's have held. it used to get so overwhelming with all the gifts that we used to have to haul home from some xmas's. i'm glad that the kids are seeing less these days...they don't need to come to expect all that excess. each of my kids got 2 gifts to open on xmas eve--each got a really cool kite and then maeven got a magic kit and tyren got a cute animal game.

and again i emphasized the act of giving, to my kids, so i gave them some money (mostly maeven), to buy some things or supplies for things to make for their relatives. both maeven and tyren made all sorts of homemade things that they were very excited to give, and i swear they seemed more excited handing those out than they did in opening the few gifts they received that night. that is how i wanted it to be, so i was happy to see it. and the surprise that everyone expressed when the kids kept coming at them with more gifts (each little thing was individually wrapped). i think that added excitement for the kids too. so i was really pleased at how my kids got to experience the giving at xmas. so proud. :)

one surprise of the evening was the dvd player that adam's dad gave us for in our car. so each kid has their own screen now for when we go on trips. WAY cool! i never would have even thought to ask for something like that, so it was a nice surprise! especially since that weekend we did go on a trip to the mountains, and it really came in handy!

so we spent a few hours at adam's sisters for xmas eve and had a nice time, then went home for the standard santa cookies/milk, night before xmas story (which maeven read to us all for the 2nd year in a row). oh and oats (dry oatmeal) and carrots in their shoes out front for the reindeer.

xmas morning was the earliest they ever awoke before...it was about 7:45am...our kids normally sleep in til like 9am and have to be aroused and reminded its xmas! last year tyren was saying how stupid xmas was because he didn't want to wake up, LOL!

so we did the stockings (full of candy and art supplies...big hit!) and gifts of snow clothes and such...went over really well...and the kids also got 3 books each from mommy and daddy, and one book to share that was a klutz book about tying knots that i found on clearance at the scholastic warehouse sale...and 2 books each from santa...and adam got me the blue tooth and car plug for my phone that i had really wanted! and i got him the polaroid POGO printer he had been wanting more than anything. (had to run out the door in the morning like 2 days before xmas to get the last one they had at office maxx! i looked all over town for that thing!)

and then after we all got dressed we headed to my parents house and opened more presents. maeven was having a really weepy morning for some reason, so it wasn't as happy a xmas morning as i had hoped....we think it might have been from all the candy before getting anything substantial in her belly. she tends to get like that without any "growing food."

my parents got maeven 3 big origami kits, which she LOVES! (she's been way into origami for awhile)...and tyren got a paper airplane kit and a flying things kits with all sorts of flying disks and airplanes and such. really big hit as well! and we all got clothes, which we are always happy for. and various little things that were fun. and we hung out much of the rest of the day. then headed home before things got too rough with the kids behavior going downhill and my mom's patience wearing thin.

it was a nice holiday overall and we had a fabulous trip to the snow on sunday, 2 days after xmas.

pics will be inserted into this post after i get them from adam. for now, i do have all the snow pics up on our shutterfly site already.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

"the gift of giving"--sorta different perspective?

i mean "the gift of giving" in a little different sense. usually its used to mean that its a gift of giving something to someone, right? i am thinking of it in terms of giving my kids the gift of learning to give. its on my mind a lot lately, during this season.

i'd love to hear how other people instill this gift in their children...i'm sure we all want to have giving children...i'm sure we all have different ways of looking at this. right now i'm thinking about it as my little girl (9) plans out the rest of the gifts she's making for friends and family...and listening to her delight in planning it all out. and how excited she is to have them open them for christmas. she's so funny, she already has figured out that other kids aren't super interested in homemade things from other kids, but most grownups go gaga over them, LOL!

we've always encouraged out kids to give...since they were little, we've tried to get them to give something handmade...even if its just a little fingerpainted bookmark from a toddler. we don't necessarily do it every year for every person...but i try to somehow instill giving to my children each year in some way. sometimes its purchasing toys for a family in need.

a couple years ago we started giving maeven a little cash to purchase her own gifts for people...knowing that its very special to make your own gifts but sometimes there are things you want to buy as well. sometimes its supplies to put together, sometimes its a little item from a dollar store...they're all special. and dollar stores are great for this purpose, i tell ya. you can get a lot with very little and its all so exciting to little gift buyers. :)

maeven's been working extra hard this year on presents for loved ones that are homemade. and she also has things in mind to spend the xmas money on gifts for family as well. i talk to her about planning out who all she wants to purchase items for...and divide it up accordingly. she's done great with this in the past. and whether or not the gifts mean something to those that receive them, they mean something to her, and that's what i'm going for.

i hope i'm doing a good job at it. i am making it up as i go along, but she seems to be getting it. and tyren is still only 4, but he's slowly getting the idea some as well. this year i'm thinking of giving him a little xmas money to buy something for family members as well. and we'll do some homemade things as well.

there really is something so powerful to that feeling when you are able to give to someone else. its a feeling that i am very proud to share with my children. good heavens, i'm no saint. i don't give to every homeless person i see (and i see them every day)...i don't go out of my way to do wonderful things for people every day. i do what i can, when i can. and perhaps i could do more, but what we're doing seems to be working as i see the spark in my daughter's eyes as she talks about the special things she's making for her daddy and grandmas and grandpas and such. hopefully tyr will follow suit, as he gets older.

what do you do with your kids to help them experience the gift of giving? i really want to know! maybe you have some ideas i've not thought of that i might want to "steal"! :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

hallelujah!!

ok, i seriously suck at regular housework...i mean i do it all the time but i can't seem to maintain anything. and i've not been really great about consistency with the children with chores. i want to, and i really mean to...i just suck at it. i'm starting to really get that i suck at consistency in most anything and so i have been finding ways to make things work without it relying upon me being consistent about anything.

so, that's exactly why i got the program times up kidz for my computer...so that i don't have to hover over my children to keep them from being on the computer all day. also to avoid the fighting. so that's worked fabulously, and the kids now have resigned themselves to the program shutting them down after an hour. (with recorded warnings at 30min, 15min, 5min and 1min) love it!

so then i finally came up with another idea to help get the chores done. going by what dr phil calls "finding your child's currency", i figured out that for my kids, its computer time. i have been using the computer timer to remove time when they are misbehaving...but it finally occurred to me to make them earn their time on the computer.

so....instead of them getting 2 hours of computer time free each day (with an hour in between each hour, so only an hour at each sitting)...i took off an hour. so they only get 1 hour play time free. the other hour, if they want it, they have to earn. i also added that they have to wait 4 hours in between sittings...to get them away from the computer during a chunk of time during the day.

how do they earn it? they have to do their chores. if they do half their chores, they get an extra half an hour. if they do all, they get an extra full hour.

well, this isn't working super great for tyren...because, well, he's 4. so he still needs a lot of guidance and supervision for chores...but maeven...wow! its seriously working well!

not only that but i figured out that i need to rotate the chores to help keep them from getting old. this was something that i hated as a child. i basically had the same chores assigned to me my entire childhood. i didn't want to do that to my children, so i planned to rotate them and finally did a little and maeven was talking about how much more she likes her chores now! she just started talking about it on her own, so i was really pleased!

she ROCKS at doing laundry, i must say! i've given her laundry as part of her chores, broken down into steps, so one chore is to put a load in the washer, one is to move a load from washer to dryer, one is to take a load out of dryer and sort into piles, and another is to fold and put away all her own clothes. (not necessarily in that order) she really has been an amazing help!

ROFL, she just told me that she's almost done w/her chores and i said "really? all 9 of them?" (they have 1 chore per year of their life)...and she said "well, its easy when most of your chores are laundry!" LOL!

so are there days when they still don't do chores, and choose to just not get that hour on the computer? sure. and that's ok, because i don't do all my work every day either...and i figure its win-win because the days they don't do the chores, they have less computer time--which is good too! :)

we'll keep working on more consistency, but for now i was just really happy watching my little girl go to work on her chores today. :) another proud mama moment.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

proud mama

i have said here before that i tend to be very hard on myself and my parenting abilities and such. i am constantly critiquing myself and am my own worst critic.

so right now i feel like posting some things that i am very happy and even proud of.

something i was thinking about earlier today is how i'm very proud that we've finally managed to get both kids on a good bedtime routine.

for years tyren's routine was to fall asleep in the living room to a kids show on dvd. he just wasn't sleepy before about 11pm or even later and it was a battle nightly to try to get him to sleep so i just stopped battling and just let him be and darned if he didn't go to sleep when he was ready. but still i wasn't happy with this routine. i wanted him to be tucked into bed, like his sister. not in the living room on the couch. (i did take him to bed when i went to bed, though, so its not like he stayed out there all night).

well at some point a few months ago...not even really sure when this happened, it was so gradual. he started asking to go to bed in "the family bed" (he still sleeps with us, which is perfectly fine with us, that's not an issue right now). pretty soon we had your typical bedtime routine for him: shower (usually he showers w/maeven at night...his choice), pjs, teeth brushed, go pee, in bed with mommy or daddy for a story, then lights out.

it all happened on its own, and i'm SO RELIEVED! we seriously didn't make any conscious effort to make it happen, it just happened! but we did follow the momentum once it started.

usually i'm the one that reads to him and lies with him to go to sleep and generally its 5-10min after lights out that he's OUT. he's that fast now!

i am so very proud of this, even though i didn't really do anything...but i will take credit for being patient and setting up the environment to have it happen when he was ready. ;)

another thing i'm proud of lately is that i'm starting to get a handle on the electronic obsession over here.

computer games are verging on obsession lately with the kids and so adam and i have been discussing it and how we need to get a handle on things. tyren has been known to throw knock-down-drag-out tantrums when asked to get off the computer or when you want to stop playing a game he's enjoying watching you play. its gotten out of hand, so adam and i have been trying some things that seem to be helping.

first of all there's the timer on the computer, which has worked miracles. we've had it for months now but i can't say enough about how well it works to end the battle of keeping computer time to a certain time frame. not only that but i've finally realized i can limit the play time even more with this timer...and have a block of 4 hours in the middle of the day when neither kid can log on, the computer time is OFF during that time.

on top of that, i've gone from giving them 2 hours of computer time free (with at least an hour break in-between each hour of playtime), to only giving them 1 free hour. if they want a second hour they have to earn it by doing their chores. right now its just half of their chores because we're working up to full chores still. each child has 1 chore per year that they have been alive. so tyr has 4 and maeven has 8 (which i need to now add one more chore to her list since she's now had a birthday).

i have tried so many different ways of doing things and i have failed miserably. still can't get some things to work for us, like an ingrained daily routine (still working on that), so when i feel successful at something, i need to crow about it, dammit. :)

so anyway, just proud, that's all. its nice when things finally go well, for a change. :) i'm really proud of myself for noticing this problem and communicating with my husband about it (he noticed it too, of course) and figuring out some things that work. also working on getting the yard more popular, cleaning it up and researching inexpensive things to add to the yard to make playing outside seem more appealing to the kiddos. might even institute mandatory outdoor play time (weather permitting). not a bad idea, actually. :)

all this to get a grip on this computer obsession and get my kids to play physically and creatively more. going to work on filling up their schedules with more playdates and outtings too...get them out of the house and away from the computer. really excited by all this and just wanted to share! :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

building up our immune systems

just came back from whole foods, where i spent a veritable fortune on illness prevention. but i think it will be worth it if it works. found out that yesterday we were all exposed to not 1, not 2, but 3 sick people (2 of which were running a fever during our exposure).

before i go further...i must note that i do hope all are well soon, and i especially feel for the mamas & daddies dealing with the sick little ones right now...that's so not fun. :(

anyway, normally this wouldn't really be a huge deal to me, being exposed. because frankly, its just life, ya know? i am not one to stress too much over my kids being exposed....not that i like it either, but hey, that's life, it happens.

no, the thing here is that our closest friends are unavailable to us if we are sick, or if we think we may get sick. this is because the family has to stay completely infection free because grandpa (the mom's dad) is undergoing chemotherapy and anything they are exposed to, he could be exposed to and could literally kill him. and since the mom is spending hours every day with her dad, helping care for him, it is quite serious that we do not at all even possibly expose anyone in the family to any sort of illness.

why this is more of an issue right now is that tyr was recently ill. a very mild cold, but we stayed away for nearly 2 weeks while i waited for his symptoms to go away completely and we were really looking forward to next week being able to play with them again, after a 2 week separation, since he's finally showing no symptoms anymore. this is maeven's best friend and she misses her a lot right now. :(

*sigh* well, such is life. shit happens and all that. i'll cross my fingers that the echinacea, elderberry and vitamin c i just stocked up on manages to build up all our immune systems so that we don't develop any symptoms and we will still be able to play with our friends next week. its worked quite well in the past for us. i'll hope it comes through for us again. :)

i've been researching it on the web and it looks like the common cold and flu usually have a 2-5 day incubation period. and some symptoms can show up as quick at 12 hours after exposure. so i figure by next wednesday if none of us have any symptoms, we're probably ok. we normally go to play over there on mondays, but its not the end of the world if we go on a later day in the week, just to make sure we don't expose anyone to anything.

found out this morning that one of the sickies was in emergency last night with croup, so i researched croup as well...seems to have the same info as far as incubation period and the emergence of symptoms.

anyway, on a different note...i was out of lotion (i get seriously dry skin during the winter) and really wanted to get some more lavender lotion but found that the body shop no longer makes it so i looked for something at whole foods and found a lotion that actually smells like lavender! yay! you know how hard it is to find something that says its lavender scented that actually smells like real lavender? pretty hard, i tell ya! this has lavender essential oil in it so it really smells like lavender! ok well it made my day, LOL!

anyway, jen, if you're reading this...we're pounding the echinacea (with elderberry, which i've read is good against flus) and vitamin c and building our immune systems and i'll let ya know how it goes! :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

i'm just doing the best i can

i think. but maybe not. i know i can do better.

i struggle constantly with being what i think is a good parent. and i guess in the scheme of things, i am doing pretty good. but lately things have started to feel like they are going in a direction i'm not happy with.

case in point, my 4yr old son's current obsession with the computer game "plants vs zombies." i don't think i would have exposed my kids to this game, nor even checked it out, had my husband not gotten it and started playing it on his computer. then the kids saw it and started watching (adam's really good about not playing violent games in front of the kids)...and it seemed tame enough to let them watch. cartoon zombies eat plants, and you have to set up the plants to get rid of (ok, kill...ugh, i hate that word and that its in this game) the zombies. its actually a pretty cute game and i have rationalized that its not that bad, and adam had already been playing it with them watching for some time before i ever checked it out. and he even was letting them play it on his computer...so they were hooked. well, this got more and more obsessive and eventually i had to see what all the fuss was about and started playing the online free version (linked above) to the point that *I* was hooked, and had to go buy the full version (found it online for $6.99 here, if anyone's interested.)

and so here we are...i've played it so much that i'm actually getting sick of it, as is adam. but the kids still obsess on it and mainly tyren. he will even pretend to be a zombie and have you pretend to be a plant and he'll pretend to eat you. well its mostly pretty harmless...but there's still parts of it i cringe about and can't believe i somehow made myself believe i was ok with...like how when you kill the zombie (the plants do things like shoot peas at the zombies til they die, or there's a giant zombie eating plant that eats them whole), their arms fall off and then their head...its all done in a comical cartoon way, not gruesome, but i still am uncomfortable with it when i think about it too much. which i try not to do.

anyway, here's where we are...with both kids obsessing over it, tyren especially...and now i am starting to think that i need to make time in the days for him to be away from the computer more and playing outside more. so i'm making a mental note to get working on that. and find some new toys/games/etc for xmas that are NOT computer related. he has proven to have an obsessive personality already and is throwing tantrums at times when one of us stops playing (he enjoys watching others play as much as playing it himself)...really out of control at times. so this has to change.

thank god i already had a timer on my computer to cut it off after an hour. best $30 i ever spent. i can set whatever time i deem appropriate for each sitting, how much time in between times they are logged on, how much total time per day and even block out times that i don't want them playing at all. going to start making more use of these features. currently its set to each of them getting 1 hour of computer time at a sitting, and they have to be logged off for at least 1 hour before they can sit down and play again. and a total of 2 hours a day. it works really well. we used to have major fights over getting them off the computer, now we just don't. its set, its enforced by the computer. i can't say enough about how great this program is.

so i think i'm going to tweak the hours some and have them only get 1 hour per day for free and if they want another hour they have to earn it through chores or whatever i deem they need to do to get it. i'm starting to see how obsessive both my kids are with computer games...very much like their parents...and i need to get a handle on this now before it gets way out of control. at least they're not sitting at the computer literally all day, though. 2hours max. so i don't feel too bad, but i want them to obsess on non-electronic things too. like playing outside and making forts and such.

so i was just talking to adam about spending this weekend cleaning up our yard and making it more fun for the kids. i want to replace our swing that broke, i want to do things like clean out the sandbox and get new containers for the outside toys so they are easier to get to and easier to stay clean if they are out of the elements more. i know i can figure out a way to do this with minimal money. i know i can and i will.

and for xmas...i'm aiming at things to encourage them to play creatively. NOT on the computer.

i have to say one thing that i am pretty proud of right now though. we've nearly completely (and fully unintentionally) weaned ourselves off the tv. this seems to have happened a few times over the course of my time as a mom and i always find it amusing and wonderful.

we used to have the tv on nearly all day. at first it was all tv...network tv as well at PBS. i watched dr phil and oprah religiously and when my kids were littler, i even obsessed on some soap operas (horror of horrors). then over time the network tv time shrank til its almost never on. tv just isn't on pretty much at all after 5pm. occasionally we'll turn it on to look for something specific...like if i know that nova or nature is going to be on PBS...but network tv is a thing of the past around here. not even all those sitcoms i really enjoyed watching while i got dinner ready! very proud of us for that! the only network tv shows i watch are ghost whisperer and medium and sometimes private practice....and ALL of those i watch on the computer after the kids are asleep now! much less commercials and my kids aren't ever exposed to it.

now pbs was still an issue. i would have it on from the time they got up, sometimes turning it off after a few hours to just turn back on again in the later afternoon when the kids favorite shows are on. some days, sad to say, it did indeed stay on from about 9am-5pm. not proud of that. but i do still pride myself on the fact it was pbs, not network tv. quality shows, at least. and honestly, they didn't watch it all the time. often it was just on in the background.

well somehow that's changed now. its been weeks now of the tv watching dwindling down. mostly initiated by the kids themselves! they would tell me NOT to turn it on in the morning, god bless them! because of it not being on from the moment we get up...i don't mind putting it on from 2:30-4pm to watch their favorite shows. although some days we don't even do that.

yes, miracle of miracles...there have been a handful of days lately where the tv just doesn't go on at all! ALL DAY!! i can't even believe it myself! and we DON'T miss it!

i could care less about those sitcoms or dr phil or oprah and i REALLY could care less about the soap operas! haven't watched those in over a year, i think! i'm really happy not getting the bombardment of commercials...it really makes a difference. and i'm happy that it all happened pretty much on its own! i never seem to be able to make things happen when i force the issue. they seem to work themselves out on their own for many things. what a relief!

well...so there's the computer games issue now...so i just am going to work on the yard and finding appropriate gifts to put on their wish lists for xmas that will encourage creative play. and start to just let the computer start to dwindle down naturally, as they are drawn to other things. we'll see how it goes. i am pretty confident that things will work themselves out again. and we'll all be a lot happier.

oh and adam and i are talking about getting both kids bikes for xmas. tyren doesn't yet have a "2-wheeler" and maeven's far too big for hers. so i figure that could draw them outside and to play at parks a lot. :) good plan, eh?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

so much in my brain

as always, my brain is going a million gazillion miles a minute. i'm actually feeling really happy lately about not being on the go constantly. its a nice change. i really enjoy being able to know that i don't have tons of things to work on. still things to do, but not like crazy planning stuff like the discovery center event and maeven's birthday.

and yet my brain still goes into overdrive on ideas to work on. i do have to kick it up a notch for the learning village. i am going to do a solar system class that i'm really excited about. get to bring in a bunch of the neat activities and such that i used to use at SCICON and at discovery center summer camp all those years ago.

i'm in dire need of something to really get the learning village off the ground. that's my project right now. i need to put my energy into making it something that people will be lining up to join. so many ideas that i just have to put into action.

and also need to work on TDC stuff. we are planning a spring event, with an egg hunt. want to work on it now so that we can really make it awesome.

and tonight i was playing a game on shockwave, which was all about summer camp...got me to thinking about how fun camp was when i used to work at them. well not all fun, it was a lot of work and stress too. but i really want my kids to be able to go to camp someday. we just cannot even possibly afford it right now. but maybe if i am able to figure out something to organize, i might be able to make it happen for my kids.

anyway, its just funny how i always have all these things going on in my brain. and still always trying to think of ways to make money. always. someday i'm going to think of something that will more than supplement our income. someday i'll figure out a way to make enough money for us and still help others out by hiring moms to help them stay home with their kids too. someday. i think its just a matter of thinking of the right idea. someday.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

nearly there

in just a few days i'll be done with the madness of the past month. first TDC's event, then halloween, then maeven's birthday then her party...october/november are really crazy around here and i'm feelin it. will be glad to be done with it for another year so i can breathe and start gearing up for xmas. (ack, its not much longer til that crazy season, bleh).

anyhoo. i am determined to get this house shipshape. went to several stores yesterday just to buy the supplies needed. got tons of cleaning supplies (we were out of so many), and am attacking with vigor tomorrow.

still much to do on the party front but i'm trying to narrow it down to the easiest and cheapest ideas. it doesn't have to be perfect, it doesn't have to be wow, just fun. i have to keep telling myself that. and i'm getting maeven as involved as i possibly can. she's really a great help these days, and finds party planning almost as fun as i do.

going to have to figure out what to do with our large cardboard boxes we have collected...maeven wants a tea house with a roof, but i suspect that might be too much to do by sunday. well, its not a really difficult thing to make, but my biggest question is what are we going to use to paint it? i need to price paint and if i can find something affordable, we'll see...but we will need pretty much every color of the rainbow and then some. i'd just use tempera if TLV wasn't already so short on it. (and out of many of the colors entirely). i am thinking house paint would work best but i don't know how much it would cost for that many colors, even for the smallest of buckets. there's no way i'm going to be able to spend $50 or more on paint, no way. not feasible. i'll have to see what other sorts of paint might be available...i just doubt that tempera would cover the cardboard properly...it never really did before...hmmm...wait! i may have an idea...i think we have white house paint...and my dad might have some too...methinks i could paint it all white with what we already have and then see about getting more tempera to paint over it. it doesn't have to last...its going to be recycled after the party, most likely...but i just want the paint to pop.

hmmm...this could possibly work. it will be a lot cheaper to run and buy the tempera we are out of than to have to buy house paint in bright colors, methinks. i know i do have some colors, so i wouldn't need a ton. and i have plenty of brushes in all sizes. this could actually be quite fun! :)

and maeven's the resident artist so of course i'd put her to work on the main painting anyway. :) i'll just get the house assembled and we can all have fun putting the white base coat on and then see how it goes from there. tada! solution found. now i just have to go print up those house making directions again (i made one for maeve before, using our cardboard rivets.) and hunt down some white other neutral color'd house paint. voila!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Today is my dh (darling husband's) 39th birthday

So here's some pics in his honor. The many faces of Adam. :)

From recent goofy pics:


Tyren took these pics. I love how you can really see Adam's blue eyes in them:





One of my favorite pics ever of him:
(taken last year in front of our house)


To very old pics, of our wedding day in 1999 (were we really that much younger?)



Crazy to say, but he still makes my heart go pitter-pat when I look at these pics of him.


Yes, even after 12 years together, 10 years married and 3 children & much stress, heartache and joys later...

Lately we've had a LOT of stress, what with all the financial woes. But we are hangin in there and despite it all, Adam still cracks jokes and manages to get us all to laugh. Cuz that's just the kind of guy he is.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY! I LOVE YOU TO PIECES!!

RANT: Parents who dress children in scream masks

I posted all our Halloween pics on our shutterfly site. Kids had fun, but far too many instances of them getting scared. Maeven wanted to go home early because of it. :(

Just wanted to fume here for a sec about parents that allow their children to dress in those horrid scream masks...especially the ones that bleed! Good god, what in the world are people thinking? We saw at least 3 of them on Van Ness, maybe 4, where we were trick or treating...not to mention all the other really creepy masks and bloody costumes. But those scream masks freak my kids out the most. I don't blame them. Even if I hadn't gotten tricked into seeing the first Scream movie years ago (I HATE HATE HATE slasher films...had no idea that's what I was agreeing to), that mask is creepy with a capital C! And then they make them to bleed? I mean seriously, WHAT are parents thinking???? I saw kids that weren't even that big wearing them!

I seriously question the rationale of a parent that would allow their children to dress in something that is so creepy and scary that you KNOW that it will scare other children who are trying to also enjoy the holiday. There were a lot of little kids out and about, and I'm sure that mine weren't the only ones being scared by these things.

I don't think we'll be taking our kids to Van Ness anymore. There are HORDS of kids that go there...I'm guessing lots of parents drive their kids over there, as we did. It was so crowded that getting up to the houses and back again was a pandemonium. Popular neighborhood. I can't imagine how much those people have to spend on candy to keep the kids happy. Probably why most houses only gave one piece of candy out per child. I don't blame them. (Nor do I care, my kids don't need that much candy.)

There seemed to be a large amount of creepy and gross costumes there. Not sure why that is, except perhaps the families that seem to not care about their kids scaring other kids might have been from some of the poorer neighborhoods, and came to Van Ness because its a wealthier neighborhood. I don't blame them for coming there, that's why we came there too. But I don't know why it is that it seems like the poorer families tend to have more instances of kids in those creepy masks. Do they really just not care as much about how it affects others? Do they really not care about the message they send their kids, that its ok to do what they like and not to care about the little kids? Do they really not care that their kids even LIKE these sorts of scary/creepy/violent things? Are they already exposed to such violence that they don't care if they wear a representation of it for fun? Is there more here than I'm getting? Is it not so much as I'm reading into it? I really don't know, but I find it disturbing and I know we didn't see hardly any of this sort of thing in my parents' neighborhood in Clovis, which is a pretty well-to-do neighborhood and didn't seem to have so many children brought in from other neighborhoods (other than us, LOL!) Not so many scads of children either, and just overall not so scary for my kiddos. We will be going there again next year, whether my parents are home or not, because I'm tired of the creepiness and traffic at Van Ness.

Anyway, am I the only one that cares that people are allowing their kids to make MY kids Halloween scary? My nearly 9yr old is more freaked by it than my 4yr old, because that's her personality. She's much more sensitive. But even Tyr was getting scared at times. There were even what looked like college students dressed as the members of Kiss towering over him that scared him. It was just overwhelming overall, I think. I need to remember all this next year and go to a different neighborhood.

But seriously...WHY do parents allow their kids to dress in those hideous masks, knowing that they will scare the little ones? Good god! THINK, PEOPLE! SHEESH!!

Glad Halloween is over now. I like Halloween but it is too much sometimes with all the negative stuff and creepy and scary stuff. Even I had a bit much of it this year. Now on to Maeven's birthday.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

trying to get back to life as normal, whatever that is

well we made it through the event, (move it, dig it, do it: the science of machines) and it was a blast!! things turned out very well, even if the numbers weren't anywhere i hoped they'd be. everyone that attended was happy and really enjoyed the event! yay!

mary ellen and i worked our butts off on that event and we are already gearing up for another! looking into one for the spring that will include an egg hunt. that gives us 6 months to plan and we are still fired up from the success of move it!

but i must still get my house in order...slowly but surely...and get back on a schedule for homeschooling. its still difficult to walk around here since everything is a total wreck from the week or so of neglect while i worked on the event furiously in the final moments. all those last minute things makes life crazy!

today we have to go pick up the tables we borrowed from st paul's and take them back...and start working through the mess in the barn (we just piled everything back into the barn after the event, to go over later.)

but i'm feeling very proud of all we did! it helps make living here tolerable, to be making a difference in things. the discovery center needed help and mary ellen and i stepped up and took it on. we are helping to bring attention back to it. we are not doing it alone, so don't think that i think i'm single handedly or even double handedly (w/mary ellen) doing all this. we couldn't possibly do it alone. but it feels good to be the fire that is lit under those that are working with us and to be the organization that is needed for something like this to happen.

i learned a lot from the 6 years i helped organize (and in the final years, solely organized) the babyfest. this event, however, was very different and i learned even more from it, i think. it was an event focused on fun for kids, not education for parents. totally different focus. and i have to say, MORE FUN! so we are talking about taking the best of babyfest and combining with the best of move it, and making a spring event (we're tossing around the name "springfest") we need vendors to help pay for it, and we need the fun to draw all the people with their kiddos! :)

anyway, i was just reading a thing about this controversial mural in the tower district, and it led to something about the controversy of the thing that talked about fresno being dumb. just got me thinking because i wasn't entirely surprised by that thing. not that i put any major stock in it, but there's a lot of ignorance and uneducated people here. hell, there are everywhere. i'm not saying there's not fantabulous people here as well...i know a heckuva a lot of them. i know a LOT of people in fresno, believe me. i'm actually shocked by how many i know sometimes and how many know me that i've forgotten. lol! what with my website and all my mommy group connections, things i've led, things i've started, things i've done...i do truly know a lot of the good in fresno. but like i said in another post, there's good people everywhere. i can say that because i have lived a LOT of places. (grew up in the military, went to 9 schools in 13 years of school, if that's any indication...grew up literally all over the world). and i just truly believe there is a lot of good in the world. everywhere.

so why do i struggle so much with my intense dislike of where i'm living now? its not that there's no good people here...i guess its just that it gets so very hard to overlook all the ugly here. i suppose i need to figure out how to better shut it out. but that is difficult when crime is rampant, grafitti has even hit my own house, neighbors scream nastily at their children waking us up in the morning occasionally, a drive-by shooting occurred on my street that led to the death of someone, there's very little high quality educational things to do with your children such as museums and such (there isn't a children's museum in fresno! that still blows me away! visalia and oakhurst both have them...and really good ones too! but they are 45min away). the only real nature you have to travel to get to (i'm sorry, woodward park doesn't cut it...even lost lake mostly sucks because people have graffiti'd and trashed it...it just depresses me) yes i know we are close to yosemite...but its far enough that we've still not made it there. i know, our fault. but i long to live in the foothills where it is beautiful...but i've heard of a KKK influence there that was confirmed by a friend that used to live there...things like gang fights happen right next to the children's play place at the mall a block from my house (a friend of mine was there for it and saw the knife)...i can't even watch the news because it scares me to know all the bad stuff happening around here...the other night there were helicopters over our house and my daughter watched, with her father, out her bedroom window, as about 12 cop cars took over our neighborhood and went into our neighbors yards directly across the street with dogs to find a fugitive in their backyard...she saw them walking a guy in handcuffs down the street afterwards!! out her bedroom window!!

so is it any wonder i don't like living here? is it any wonder i don't feel safe in my own neighborhood. yes, i could move (if we had the money, which we don't) to a safer neighborhood...but that doesn't change what's still going on all over town. and it still doesn't change that there are not enough trees, and not enough green space (hell, that is evident when the parks & rec are drooling to get their hands back on the discovery center property because they say there isn't enough green space!!) not enough beauty. yes, there's beauty here. if i want to feel good about where i live, i go to parts of the tower district, or fig garden, where its pretty...and there are neighborhoods that have the kind of tree-lined streets that feel wonderful to drive through. ashlan has a whole strip that i regularly drive on our way to our friend's house on margaret hudson's property...who's property, by the way is a green oasis in this concrete town.

but its not enough. there is so much more i want for myself and my kids that is missing here, or not in enough abundance. i want more opportunities for green, for tall trees, for kids places like museums and play places that are full of ever changing fun and educational opportunities...for a lower crime rate (i know you cannot get away from crime comepletely, but a more tolerable level, please!) i want a place that doesn't have people driving down my street at all hours with their offensive gangster rap music vibrating the pictures off my walls...where being "gangsta" isn't "hip", even in the non-gang bangers...where an organization like FCASH doesn't have to fight so hard to make visible the cultural opportunities that are here but are overshadowed by the ugly...i just want so much...i guess it just gets to me sometimes.

but here i am. and here i'm stuck, maybe forever. so i must make the best of where i am and not instill on my children the feelings i have about where they are growing up. but i'll be damned if i'll raise them to not ever see all the wonderful and beautiful things that are out there that some natives of this city seem oblivious to. i WILL find a way to take my children to other parts of this state, this nation, and the world...somehow...i WILL expose them to all the wonderful things that i was exposed to as a child that helped me to see that this big world is full of SO MUCH BEAUTY. they won't get to live in sicily and live on a volcano like i did at my daughter's age...but they will get to visit, dammit. somehow i'm going to make it happen at some point. and before their childhood is over, dammit. they are not going to grow up only knowing this town and nothing of the wonderful world around them. i do not want them using this city as a measuring stick for everything else. i have to find a way to get them out of here even for short visits. i have to.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

feeling better today

yesterday's post was the result of feeling overwhelmed. the house falling down around me was part of that. so today i'm determined to attack this house with vigor and clean up our home so that we can have a calm place to live again. it really does make a difference. its dramatic, the stress the mess induces in me. i'm guessing everyone else feels it too.

anyway, i'm going to just not think about money woes today and only focus on getting the house in order.

oh and the fliers are going to the schools nearest the discovery center on monday. mary ellen and i spent a couple hours yesterday packaging them into classroom packets for them. i called and got permission to bring them and how many to package up. so that should take care of most of these things. plus mary ellen took the rest of what we had afterwards and is taking them to the halloween stores around town. i have some left still in my tub outside my house if anyone comes by (got one person say they were coming by, so i'm grateful for that! every little bit helps!) and i may even get more made and hit more schools. i think that might be a really good way to spread the word about this event, get it directly into the hands of those that live near TDC. we'll see.

but anyway, i'm feeling better today and i'm not going to let the stress get to me. going to attack my house with vigor and make things tidy and calm around here. damn it. :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

very frustrated

i need to get these fliers out about "move it, dig it, do it", and usually i ask the moms on the local moms groups to help me, and they usually come through like gang busters. but i've not had a single mom pick any up yet, or even say they would. :( and normally i would say, ok, no worries, I'LL hit the town hard and go everywhere. but right now things are so tight financially that its seriously getting scary to figure out how we are going to pay our bills. for the last couple months we are coming up short on the necessities and having to scrape harder then i think we've ever had to scrape before. so that means gas is a very valuable commodity and i simply cannot use up our precious fuel going everywhere all over town.

i'm not sure what to do at this point.

TDC paid over a hundred bucks for these fliers because they had run out of toner for their copy machine and i thought i had a team of moms that would blanket the town, as they usually did, and that i needed to get them copied pronto so janet, the director of TDC, said to go ahead and have them printed. that's money TDC really doesn't have. they are not making ends meet even worse than our family right now. which is why this event is so very important for them, so advertising like this HAS to happen.

anyway, so now i have this stack of fliers sitting outside my house and one inside my car, that i'm not sure how i'm going to get it out and i'm really frustrated because the event is a week away.

for babyfest every year i've had a whole slew of mamas that email and say they'll take even just a handful and they really came through every time. i thought it would be like that again, but its just not happening right now and its stressing me out!

not to mention our money situation is adding to all my stress. i swear, we are actually doing WORSE now than when adam had his 10% pay cut! its insane! the only thing i can figure is that PG&E just went up $88/month and he's not getting all the side jobs that helped us through the pay cut times. there's money out there that people owe him, a fairly good amount too, and he's just not getting paid what he's due because they don't have the money to pay him.

so we are having to stay home more because we cannot afford much gas. we are stretching our food at home and we have debts that we just cannot pay right now...medical bills up the ying yang because i don't have health insurance and the insurance adam has is pretty crappy. oh and the kids have healthy families but i only use it for emergencies so we have bills to their ped. then there's the credit card that we were so proud of being paid off, but now has about $1000 on it because adam had to buy some gear for work on it (for his freelancing) and we thought would be able to be paid off pronto, but then everything went to hell and we ended up having to use every penny he brought in for necessities and still are.

i know that people all over are struggling. i know that. but it doesn't make it any easier from where i stand right now, very stressed, over how i'm going to pay for my daughter's birthday party coming up which she has her heart set on and realizing that we again will have to cancel our homeschool day at marine world because we cannot afford it. not the end of the world, but still depressing. i don't even want to think about xmas.

oh and then there's the fact that i can barely see out of my glasses, they are so scratched up, our big room is still a nasty mess because we cannot even afford to pay the bills much less get that fixed up again, adam's car has been in dire need of new brakes for a LONG time (scary), the van needs some work, just about every electronic device in our house doesn't work (no joke--stereo, boombox, dvd/vcr sucks big time, cordless phones died, etc), tyren doesn't have a bed because maeven broke the box spring and while i managed to find one on freecycle the crazy lady for some reason decided i was someone that always asks for everything and never shows up and is suspicious that i may be selling things as a business when i've never actually emailed this woman before and she wanted to report me which is ludicrous and she gave the thing to someone else apparently (*sigh*), i have barely enough coming in to my websites to pay for the websites themselves right now, i don't even know how i'm going to pay the $10 for the art club that my kids really love that is next week, my computer has been blue screening again, and everywhere i go in my house i see things that need repairing or replacing and i cannot even begin to think about when we will have the money to do that.

yeah, i'm whining, and yeah others have it worse. at least we have a home and adam has a job. i know that. but if you cannot vent on your own blog, i don't know where you can! GRRRRRR.

ok now that i got that off my chest, i need to go buckle down and work on "move it, dig it, do it" so that i can get more help on it. and try desperately to find people to help me with these damn fliers. they HAVE to go out, TODAY!! hmmmm, i think we'll be doing some walking around our neighborhood today. save on gas and get some exercise. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

time to drag out my playful parenting book

tyren is seriously exhausting us. just in the past couple weeks he has been throwing the most hideous tantrums and fighting us on everything, and i mean EVERYTHING.

good god its exhausting.

i'm crossing my fingers its just a phase that he's going through and we'll make it through this eventually. i certainly hope its not a long phase. every day we tend to have the same fights over the same things, and the only thing that really seems to work with him is playful parenting.

example: tooth brushing, which had for awhile been going pretty good. never a breeze, its always been a struggle, but he was doing much better now that we force the issue every single night. well lately its been a huge fight again. we've even had to hold him down again a couple times and its just pure hell. it makes me dread bedtime. especially since he will NOT have daddy. it HAS to be me. good heavens, child, you spend every minute of every day with me...aren't you tired of me yet? apparently not.

anyway, tonight i just didn't want to go there with the fight, so i tried some silliness. it worked. usually does. i just don't always feel silly. but i've been trying to be more silly with both of my children. really it helps tremendously, i'm amazed.

i've even had an "ah HA" moment with maeven's spelling lessons...she's not particularly enjoying the lessons. its not even really all that hard nor tedious. all i do is read 20-25 words each day, give her a sentence for each word, and she writes the words on her paper. then she shows to me and if she spelled it wrong, i write it correctly on our little dry erase board, and she corrects her work. we do this as we go, with each word. its a really great program called sequential spelling. the words build on each other as well, so today she had in, inn, inning, beginning...etc. i love the concept. its just brilliant.

anyway i decided to spice things up a bit today and instead of doing the usual boring sentences, i'm trying to do the silliest i can think of. going to make it a point to do this every time, as i can. she was giggling like crazy and writing the words down without any grumpies. love it.

anyway, there's definitely a lot to be said about playful parenting. time to drag out that book again. i found it again in the shed last week, so i'm going to go drag it out this weekend and start reading it again. its an awesome book.

Monday, September 07, 2009

my happy girl

maeven's been so happy this weekend because of the new bed and rearranged/new room. i hope she stays happy like this for awhile. she's been so UNhappy for awhile now that its been making this mommy sad. i think part of it has been summer boredom...not much to do with the heat and mommy having so many things to do that i've not been able to plan enough things for kiddos. changing that now.

and part of it also has been the rough nights. i have no problem with her being in our room...adam either...we like having a family bedroom and we've never pressured her to get out because it just isn't important to us. i just want her to be where she's happy. and lately she's just not been happy at night. she's had such a hard time with sleeping. staying asleep specifically. she wakes in the night and cannot get back to sleep and stresses out about it.

got to the point that she was freaked out to try to even go to sleep, because it would take her forever to go to sleep and then once she did, she'd still wake in the night. she has had quite a few nights of tears and even one really bad night of hysteria over it. its scares the life outta her to be the only one awake at night. i know the feeling. i had the same problem when i was her age.

so we've tried to be sympathetic and understanding. but it really wears on you. i've tried to just not dwell on it too much, and recently things have seemed to be getting better. hopefully we're moving into a new phase now. and with the "new" bed (it was her cousin's, we traded beds. they got our loft bed, maeven got her captain's bed.) things are new and exciting. i just hope she stays happy. newness will eventually wear off.

but for now she's happy as a lark. its very cute. today we're going to (hopefully) take out her dresser and take it back to my parent's house (its theirs) and that will free up more space for her in her room. she's in there right now organizing things, really sweet. i'll take some pics once she's done.

Friday, September 04, 2009

My Dad's Dream

i'm reading "Prodigal Summer" by Barbara Kingsolver...it describes life in the appalachian mountains. it sounds just beautiful. it makes me ache to live someplace beautiful. its makes me realize what i'm missing here in fresno. beauty. nature. don't get me wrong...there are wonderful, beautiful PEOPLE here (and a lot that aren't, as with anywhere). but i've lived a lot of places. a LOT of places. and good people are everywhere in the world. sure, some places are friendlier than others, but in general i have found it to be true that there are good and kind people everywhere. so i don't think there's anything special here with that. there's a LOT of good people here, i know. i know many many many of them. wonderful people. i'm not knocking the people. sadly, the ugly people (and i don't mean outward appearance) tend to be louder and more visible. but i digress...

because the subject i wanted to write about was nature and being surrounded by the beauty of nature. if you've never lived in the middle of the woods. truly in the middle of the woods, not in a neighborhood with lots of trees. i'm talking wilderness. you don't know what you're missing.

i've lived in the woods at least twice that i can think of. i may be forgetting another home somewhere back in childhood...i don't feel like thinking on it too much right now...but at least twice. first i can think of was in north carolina, we lived on a peninsula in the boonies on camp lejeune. only 8 houses in our neighborhood, all in one row, only about half had kids, and the end of the peninsula stuck out in the middle of water...ocean inlet, i think. it was salt water but didn't have sandy beaches...only mud. but woods all around us. wildlife all around us. no sounds but nature at night, no traffic sounds. not many people. we lived there for a little over a year, i believe. 6th grade.

second time was just before i met adam. SCICON outdoor school. for one year i was truly in the woods. no radio or tv reception. not real great cell phone reception either, back then at least. no traffic save the few times the very few staff would be in and out of the campus. at the tip of sequoia national forest. wilderness. it was amazing.

so whenever i watch a tv show or movie about people living some place beautiful, or read about it...i feel an ache in my heart. because i know what it feels like to live someplace beautiful.

i used to literally feel dead inside when i visited fresno during my time i was living at SCICON. people thought i was just a silly hippie or something but honestly...being in a city, compared to being surrounded by nature. there's a tangible difference. if you've only lived in city, you don't know the feeling unless you go visit nature but you will quickly forget that feeling as soon as you go back to the city. but living IN nature for that year, i seriously felt the lack of vibrant energy whenever i would enter a city. even the little towns around SCICON. getting back to nature again, back home, i would feel the life come back.

fortunately or unfortunately i've lived in fresno so long now that i've adapted. i am not always tangibly aware of what i'm missing. but i feel it in my soul even when i am not thinking about it. and my heart feels the loss. i know that sounds dramatic. but i seriously ache for what i'm missing and what my children are missing. i always figured it would be different when i had kids...we'd move someplace that was beautiful. but the reality is that that would mean depriving my children of their extended family. and that, to me, is also a great sadness. something grew up without. i didn't know any of my extended family as a child. so i don't want that for my children so i tolerate living here. because all the family is here. but i'm unhappy. i can forget about it for months at a time sometimes, but everytime something happens like a tv show or movie or book, i ache. my heart aches to be back in that beauty. and for my children to know that beauty. not to visit nature, but to live among it. its a totally different thing.

so...where does this thinking lead me? my dad's dream.

the entire time i was growing up i remember my dad having these dreams for retirement. one was to have a hot dog stand. i think he outgrew that one at some point because he stopped talking about it in recent decades...and the other was to own a retreat center.

i remember vividly all the conversations of my childhood with my dad of his vision of this retreat center. he even had it planned out in shape and structure. it would be a circular building with collapsable curtain type walls so that it could be turned into a huge meeting room. it would have a circular fireplace in the center. it would have a porch allllll the way around it with rocking chairs. it would have a loft area above where my parents would live.

he would talk about his vision of this place out in the country somewhere and my mom and him running this place for churches to hold retreats and such...and his eyes would just sparkle as he thought about it. and i felt it with him. i didn't want it like he did. as a kid, i could really care less about that sort of thing. but i felt the energy it gave him. perhaps that's why i'm the dreamer that i am to this day. my dad taught me so much just by being who he is. i really am grateful to him for that. he's a wonderful person, my dad.

so now here we are, i'm an adult, he's retired, i'm married, a homeowner, a mom...my dad doesn't talk about his dream anymore. i am really sad about that. i think he figured he'd have attained it by now...but he's never actually done anything to try to attain it. my dad is a dreamer, but making the dreams a reality--he's not so experienced at.

my dad is 65. he's not going to be with us forever. his dream has become my dream. now i fantasize about that retreat center in the woods somewhere near here. i dream about having a nature center on that same property and my husband and i having a house on the property and my brother having a house on the property and my parents having a house on the property (unless they really have their heart set on that loft). heck, if my inlaws want in on the deal, they could build houses on the property too! :) lets make a big family commune!

so i read about people living in nature and i think...don't forget about that dream. i need to make that dream a reality somehow, sometime in my dad's lifetime. i NEED to get working on that dream because i'm dying inside from living in a concrete jungle (ok, a bit dramatic...i suppose i'll survive. but i'm not happy.) and if there's going to be time to develop it and for my dad to enjoy it before he's gone, we need to be working on it NOW.

there's some possible life changes for us coming up next year. i can't talk about them yet. i don't know if they're going to happen. its too soon to talk about them. but i wonder if they happen, will it put us closer to being able to actively pursue my dream? and will my husband ever be supportive of this dream that is not his?

i love adam to death, i really do. he's my soulmate. but we are opposites when it comes to this sort of thing. he's not a dreamer. he's a realist. and he could care less about living someplace pretty or ever leaving fresno. he's content. but i'm not. what to do? hell if i know. we'll make something work somehow. there has to be a compromise somewhere.

i don't want to live so far removed from civilization that we have to travel quite a bit to see anyone. i don't want that for my children. and i like the conveniences. i like being able to shop easily, whenever i want. but i think i'd live without that ok if i had to. its the socializing with other people that i won't give up. so we'll have to figure out a way to make it work that will not deprive my children of their playdates (and mine). i am not a recluse. i'm very social and so are my children. so i need to continue to look and think and see what comes our way.

i keep thinking that i will someday just stumble upon the perfect land. i will go to a site and there will be a retreat center or a summer camp or something like that for sale. and we will be able to figure out how to buy it somehow. i truly believe things happen for a reason and something will happen for us. i just don't know how or when and its kind of maddening in the meantime. :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

my poor sick baby girl

well those of you that read my twitter or facebook feeds, already know about the drama of the past 4 days. but i thought i'd blog about it anyway, cuz i feel like writing out the whole story.

so maeven started complaining about a sore throat the end of last week...maybe friday or saturday, don't remember exactly. by sunday she was crying about it. and by sunday night, she was crying hard about it and didn't sleep well sunday night. monday morning i called her ped's office and made an appt.

the verdict from mary, the ped nurse practitioner, was that it wasn't strep (they swabbed her). and although one of her tonsils was significantly larger than the other, and that was the side that hurt the most, she said that it didn't seem to be an infection. said it was a virus, and she recommended alternating acetomenophen and ibuprofen to help with the pain and ride it out.

another rough night and tuesday was pure misery. her pain was obviously more as evidenced by the sobbing fits and grabbing her throat. looking at her throat the tonsil in question was significantly larger still. and the pain meds didn't seem to do much to help her. i ended up calling the ped again and asked what to do. they said i may want to wait til morning and then take her to children's hospital ER. she thought they'd probably want me to come back again in the morning when the ear, nose and throat office opened, so better to go and get it all done in one trip.

i should note that maeven still did not have a fever...if she had, we all would have been much more alarmed. but her pain tolerance is about nill, so she was really howling by tuesday evening.

i had to make a trip to target tuesday evening in preparation for the evening from hell. our boom box broke the night before (figures), and maeven really relies upon listening to stories on it to help her sleep. now was not the time to wean her from that, so i went and bought a cheap alarm clock/cd player at target so as to avoid more stress for her evening. also got some more pain killers because one that i had gotten she was also refusing because of the taste (orange ibuprofen tablets apparently are pretty nasty), so i got her some grape liquid to avoid that battle. and when i got home i put adam in charge of getting onto itunes and downloading and burning a new cd of stories for the night. thank god because it really did help during a difficult night.

so tuesday night i planned for the worst night yet, and i was right...and i slept in her bed next to her as she woke every hour/hour and half crying from the pain and i had to put stories on, rub her back and talk soothingly to get her back to sleep. at this point she was refusing pain meds. they weren't really helping anyway, so i didn't fight that battle.

at 4am wed morning she woke up just WRITHING and HOWLING in pain. seriously like a raving lunatic. thrashing and hitting the bed and crying so hard she nearly was screaming. that was it, i packed us up and headed to the children's hospital ER. luckily, adam was able to take off the next morning from work to stay home with tyren, in anticipation of me needing to take maeve to the hospital.

at the hospital, after swabbing for strep again (came back negative, of course), they xrayed maeve's throat to check for an abscess. (which i learned through this experience is an infected area. they thought her large tonsil may have been infected.) no abscess. well that was good news.

they finally gave her tylenol w/codeine and she was a new child. they sent us home to have her drink lots of fluid and take tylenol w/codeine as needed. we got home wed morning about 6:45am.

incidentally, that was my first trip to children's hospital ER and i was very happy with the experience. i know they normally have a super long wait, but at 4am it wasn't too bad. only 5 or 6 kids. and i was happy with how kid-friendly everything was, and all the people were. :)

so we went home and crashed out in bed again...i woke up at 9am to her howling in pain again. odd, because she had had the tylenol w/codeine at 6:15, less than 3hours before. very disheartening. i had to jump up and run to the pharmacy to fill her prescription (pharmacies weren't open yet when we came home, i checked). adam called in the middle of my waiting for the prescription to be filled to tell me she was crying for me. *sigh* my poor baby.

finally got home and we still had to wait to give her the medicine! they said its really supposed to be given every 6hours, but this one time i could do 4hours. and that was still 45min away!! talk about a long 45min! but we made it and she got it and quickly fell asleep.

wednesday was full of crying and sleeping. i called her ped several times, starting in the morning, because i was really worried about how to make it through even one day (and i didn't know how many more days we'd have to go through this) with her being back in pain like 2 or 3 hours after taking the tylenol/codeine and we had to wait 6hours before she could have another dose!! they FINALLY called back at the end of the work day and said i could give ibuprofen when she needed it, in addition to the tylenol/codeine. but by then she was better, and i never had to. we made it through it, thank god.

that evening (still wed/yesterday) i had a meeting for the discovery center board so adam was worried that maeven would freak again while i was gone...but everything went wonderful because apparently we'd made it over the hump of her pain by then because she was starting to act more normal again. and i also dosed her with tylenol/codeine just before adam got home and i had to leave.

and she had a great night, thanks to codeine, LOL, and this morning woke up nearly normal again. and no meds at all so far today. yay!

so that's the drama of this week around here. thank god we are past the worst of it now, yay! :)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

someone shut off my brain!!!

so much happening, so much going on in my head. right now i'm feeling good about all i'm doing and yet still unsettled by all that i have yet to get done.

its absolutely maddening how nuts i can go with all the stuff not getting done. if i get too caught up in all the extra stuff (outside of family) that i am working on, i feel super guilty about neglecting my family and house (and still, i can feel good about what i've accomplished)...and yet when i focus on family and house, i feel good about what i get done, but i feel guilty for neglecting the extra stuff i have committed to. *sigh*

i know, i know, its all about balance. well i've always seriously sucked at balance. i struggle with it daily. and i constantly feel like i should be doing less outside of family and more with my kids and husband. and yet i know that if i didn't have outlets for my boundless creative energy that i would be very unhappy. not saying that family stuff is not creative...i just really need new challenges on a regular basis or i go nuts. there's only so much laundry and dishes and breaking up of sibling fights that i can take before i snap. ok that's a major simplification of a very complex life.

*sigh* i never thought i'd be one of those moms that says that i need more than my family. i always thought that was so selfish. but its true. i do need more. which is why i constantly fill my life with all the extras. at least i've figured out to not take on a million tasks. i've narrowed it down to 2 (admittedly huge) jobs. the learning village and the discovery center. and i've made a promise to myself that there will be no more added to my life. so that's something.

i think about adam and i feel a little better about this needing something. because my adam is an immensely creative soul. and i am absolutely certain that if he didn't have a creative outlet, which is what his fulltime and even parttime work fulfills, he would not be happy. at all. i'm no different than him in that. my creativity just comes out in different ways than his. he shoots and makes videos...i create events and organizations and lead things. i'm a leader. i'm good at it. not perfect, but good. i am confident in it. i feel good doing it. so that's what i do. i follow my heart and i do what i'm good at.

i'm not so good with domestic duties. but i can still do them. not as good as i'd like to do them. but i'm also a bit of a perfectionist so i doubt i'll ever be fully happy with how i do anything.

i berate myself every stinking day with the things that i feel i'm doing poorly (including motherhood)...so it really shouldn't be surprised that i tend to hold onto those projects that i know i'm good at and succeed at. plus...motherhood isn't cut and dry. there's all shades of grey that get so confusing. so hard to know what to do when. but with these other projects, things are a bit clearer as to what to do.

but still i struggle. and i go back and forth and back and forth with feeling ok with all i do and feeling like the world's worst mom and wife for doing all that i do. perhaps i always will.

some people say that just the fact that you question what you do makes you a good mom/wife. god i hope that's true. i hate to think that i'm messing something up royally.

as i get older i'm finding myself more and more introspective. i don't know if that's good or bad. but i am seriously exhausted from all this thinking! :)

ugh, enough thinking. time to do something that doesn't require any thinking. toontown or the bean trees? hmmmm...

my new favorite song

(and my new favorite musical scene from a movie!)

here's the video (from the movie "enchanted"...great movie, by the way!)


and here's the lyrics:

Giselle:
How does she know you love her?
How does she know she's yours?

Man:
How does she know that you love her?

Giselle:
How do you show her you love her?

Both:
How does she know that you really, really, truely love her?
How does she know that you love her?
How do you show her you love her?
How does she know that you really, really, truely love her?

Giselle:
It's not enough to take the one you love for granted
You must remind her, or she'll be inclined to say...
"How do I know he loves me?"
(How does she know that you love her?
How do you show her you love her?)
"How do I know he's mine?"
(How does she know that you really, really, truely love her?)

Well does he leave a little note to tell you you are on his mind?
Send you yellow flowers when the sky is grey? Heyy!
He'll find a new way to show you, a little bit everyday
That's how you know, that's how you know!
He's your love...

Man:
You've got to show her you need her
Don't treat her like a mind reader
Each day do something to need her
To believe you love her

Giselle:
Everybody wants to live happily ever after
Everybody wants to know their true love is true...
How do you know he loves you?
(How does she know that you love her?
How do you show her you need her?)
How do you know he's yours?
(How does she know that you really, really, truely-)

Well does he take you out dancin' just so he can hold you close?
Dedicate a song with words in
Just for you? Ohhh!

All:
He'll find his own way to tell you
With the little things he'll do
That's how you know
That's how you know!

Giselle:
He's your love
He's your love...

That's how you know
(la la la la la la la la)
He loves you
(la la la la la la la la)
That's how you know
(la la la la la la la la)
It's true
(la la la la la)

Because he'll wear your favorite color
Just so he can match your eyes
Rent a private picnic
By the fires glow-oohh!

All:
His heart will be yours forever
Something everyday will show
That's how you know
(That's how you know)
That's how you know
(That's how you know)
That's how you know
(That's how you know)
That's how you know
(That's how you know)
That's how you know
(That's how you know)
That's how you know
(That's how you know)
That's how you know!

Giselle:
He's your love...

Man:
That's how she knows that you love her
That's how you show her you love her

Giselle:
That's how you know...
That's how you know...
He's your love...

Friday, July 24, 2009

the drama of our lives

we have only 1 credit card...which i'm quite proud of (we paid off the others when we remortgaged our home and took cash out to pay off a bunch of stuff). and we rarely use it. recently we've had to use it, unfortunately, but we are paying it off as soon as adam gets some more money in from jobs that owe him money. should be pretty easy to pay it off, its still under $1000.

we've had to use the card recently for a few needed items (including groceries) and because of the whole dryer drama: thought we needed to replace our old dryer because it wouldn't heat anymore...so i recycled it (got a whole $4 for the metal, woohoo!) and we paid for a new dryer at best buy (way too much, we just weren't thinking and just wanted to get something fast. i had been without a dryer since the day before tyren's bday party, so july 9, and laundry was seriously piling up.) this was on monday, july 13. they said it couldn't be delivered til thurs july16. i wasn't happy about that, but resigned myself to a few more days of laundry piling up (and i am short on clothes, too, ugh). and doing the necessary items and hanging to dry as needed (which i hate doing...extra work and crunchy clothes=grouchy mama). got a call from best buy on thursday saying that the dryer STILL hadn't come in yet...should be delivered friday or saturday. never heard back...spent quite some time on friday trying to get someone at best buy to answer their stinkin phone to let me know what was up with our dryer (when they FINALLY answered their phone, they said i needed to talk to the clovis store and transferred me and then THEY wouldn't answer their phone!) FINALLY got ahold of someone that could tell me about my dryer and they tell me that it now won't be delivered til TUESDAY! (8 days after we bought it!) unbelievable. i was PISSED!

so i ran around town and did some research on machines...found used ones at salvation army but they were all gas (we needed electric)...didn't want to go the craigs list route because you really have no idea who you're buying from and no recourse if the machine doesn't work once you get home.

found some other used ones, but they were all around 10years old. didn't make sense to spend half as much but get something 10 times as old, so i went back to looking into buying new. went to a bunch of stores and found out that lowe's had a really cheap machine that was actually quite good! roper, which is made by whirlpool. all over the internet it was praised as being top of the list for least repairs. it just is a no-frills whirlpool basically. and it was the cheapest i found! so i went to best buy and got a refund on that dryer, and went to lowe's and purchased the roper and brought it home (which was a bit of a deal because i had to ask my dad to help get it with his truck). then turned it on and....it doesn't heat either! so we had to call an electrician to look at the outlet...turned out the breaker had indeed been tripped (it was something 2 different people had already looked at and apparently didn't flip it back right). paid $85 just for him to flip the switch properly. but luckily we also had some other work for him to do while he was here...the outlet that the front sprinklers are plugged into in the big room stopped working and i was having to do the sprinklers manually again (annoying), so he fixed that while he was here...so it was worth the money and the time to get both of these issues fixed.

then...get this...he leaves and adam discovers the dryer stopped heating again! looked outside and sure enough, the switch had tripped again. flipped it back on and voila! heat again! but now we know we DO have an issue in that outlet. the electrician said it was fine. so now adam is miffed that we have to have them come back again...and they better give us a deal on fixing that outlet! but at least now, i can do laundry. adam showed me where and how to flip that switch if it trips again. yay!

and i should mention that this whole dryer fiasco started july 9 and its now the 24 and its not yet over and during that time tyren got sick twice and maeven got sick twice! (she's sick again today).

not to mention the above 100 degree temperatures that have been sizzling us all out here (don't think we've had a day under 100 this whole month!)...and bad air days when we are advised to keep our kids indoors.

its been a rough few weeks! actually, tyren's bouts will illness started july 5, so its just been a rough month. he's been sick 4 times this month and maeven twice. and these are kids that really never get sick. so its just been a hard month all around.

when it rains, it pours. i'm looking forward to august.

POSTSCRIPT: just remembered that it seriously could be worse. i'm counting my blessings that dryer drama/heat/kid illness is all i'm contending with right now... a dear friend of mine lost her father this month...my heart goes out to her and her family.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

photoshop for kids!

wow, i never thought of teaching my kids to use photoshop! i'm still learning myself, and i think its just so complicated...but this article really has me thinking. maeven and tyren have both played around with computer paint programs and such...what an idea, to look for tutorials and videos to teach them how to use the photoshop tools to create art. wow. i think i'll be doing some research on this!

if you check out that article, scroll down to read the article and notice the kid's art work! wow!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

back to routines & schedules

i'm back working on a routine again. haven't gotten past the planning phases yet, but i dug out my old checklist i made awhile back and looked over it again. i do that from time to time when a blog entry makes me think of it again. and since the lazy organizer is talking schedules again, i thought i'd think about mine again. give it another shot.

i know how important it is to have a schedule for your children, but damned if i've ever been able to sustain one. this checklist i made awhile back is really quite good. i've done a little tweaking of it (it still had a nap for tyr on it, that's how old it is! he hasn't napped for like 2 years!) and i'm going to give it a shot again.

one thing that i can feel proud of lately (because i'm learning to hold onto these little moments of pride, since i fail so often at domestic duties, i gotta hold onto something!)...we have NOT fallen back into eating in the living room again. woohoo! go us!

its really odd...i find that things are really hard to change for a really long time and many attempts, but then all of a sudden something will just click and it will work. NO idea what makes it suddenly click, but for some reason i have been able to be adamant about not eating anywhere other the kitchen. despite the whining that they want to watch this show or that show or its too hot in there...i've been very firm about it and they've not really fought me on it. really a shocker. and of course, adam's wanted that rule for awhile so he's happy.

this seems to be the pattern for me. i wish i knew what it was that made things all of a sudden just click for me, but that's how its worked out for me with many things that i've finally accomplished after many failed attempts. if i knew the secret word to make them just finally click, i could solve so very many issues in this house! LOL!

anyway, we'll see how it goes...i don't want to get my hopes too high, but then who knows? maybe this will be the time when things finally click. i know that assuming i'll fail just sets me up to fail...and i already feel pretty dang down on myself for all the stuff in my daily life that i feel like a failure at. but i am not a quitter. i will forge onward! and someday i'll figure out how to get more things to work the way i want them to...and if i don't, then i'll learn to let go of my high expectations and just go with the flow. either way, it will all get solved, somehow.

Monday, July 20, 2009

what to do in this heat?

seriously things are bad around here. it was 112 yesterday! i'm not surprised. we didn't even attempt to leave the house.

we're watching videos and playing on the computer far too much for my liking...but really, there's not much else to do. well there is, but i haven't yet thought of something i actually want to do that the kids want to do. i want to take them swimming but the air is so stinkin bad. and frankly i don't want them out in the sun that much. but we'll go anyway, at some point this week. because, well, you have to swim when its this hot. i wish i could get a membership to swimamerica...they have indoor swimming. then the air and sun is filtered and i wouldn't worry so much about it. hm, i know they're expensive, but i may just look into it anyway.

i've been trying to think of stuff to do that the learning village could have something like a "summer fun" type thing...maybe like a drop-in summer camp, but for moms/dads and kids together...not just dropping the kids off and paying a fortune. a co-op. but there's not a big air conditioned building to do this at TDC. there's small buildings, but i was thinking something big enough to have several different activities going on at the same time. like a gymnasium would work. i guess i could look into a church fellowship hall...but i'm sure they'd all cost a pretty penny to rent them. plus i'd really rather be at TDC. they do have a bigger building, but they use it for summer camp...which goes on til mid-august, i think...plus if we were using that too, we'd need to rent it. i guess i can just think smaller scale and use the little building that we are already renting. it might not draw that many people anyway. i just need to have ideas for activities to do. that shouldn't be a big problem.

there's so much i need to get worked on but the heat is making me just lose sight of it all. i'd love to take my kids somewhere out of the heat...yosemite would have been nice this weekend, when it was free, but maeven was vomiting all day on saturday so that day was out. and sunday we just didn't feel it was a good idea to take her anywhere just a day after being that sick. so we just stayed indoors.

i have to say, though, we did get a few things done (grocery shopping, for one) including making some cardboard creations for the kiddos. i'll have to post pictures when i get some taken. maeven now has a cardboard playhouse in her room (takes up the entire room!) and tyren has a cardboard firetruck in the living room. he's in there right now, watching tv through the windows, LOL.

we also got a bunch of videos/dvds from the library on saturday when maeven was sick, so we still have some that they haven't watched. so that's something to do. but i don't want them in front of the tv all day.

well, i just have to think harder and get something sorted out. if only i had the energy! this heat seriously sucks the life outta ya!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

things i'm proud of

ok, this heat and the state of things at my house has put me in a depressed mood today...so i need to think of things to lift my mood.

gonna list things i'm proud of that i've accomplished in my life, mostly recent stuff. just the things i feel the best about right now so i can get my focus on the positive and away from the negative, which gives me a stomach ache.

ok, so lets see...

in no particular order:
  • my daughter is an amazing reader and bookworm now (she's 8 and a half). yesterday she was reading words at the gas station that i had no idea she could read, much less with no effort whatsoever! this is a girl who just a year ago really didn't enjoy reading much (she could do it, just didn't enjoy it so didn't have a lot of experience yet because it was still such a chore to her)...and *I* taught her how to read! ok, i used a book to do so and the rest she did on her own, because really, she did all the hard work. but i got her moving in that direction! i'm so proud of that! and when i'm feeling hard on myself for our homeschooling experience, i remind myself of this. my view is that as long as they can read, they can truly do anything.
  • my son is FINALLY fully potty trained! he just turned 4. i swear i thought he'd never be potty trained! he really fought it. did the same for weaning, but he's been weaned since last october, so i'm proud of that too. he's just becoming such a big boy and i tell ya, i'm happy to see it happen. i enjoy how cute they are when they are little, but it sure is nice to not have to do EVERYTHING for them anymore.
  • the learning village--my brainchild. its something i needed for me and my kids and i'm proud to be founding it, with the help of some wonderful families. as the president and executive director...i feel very proud to have put the wheels in motion and continue to move things forward. we are so close to being officially open. paperwork should be finished at this point, just need to go over it one last time to make sure i didn't leave anything out.
  • the fresno babyfest--i'm proud to have founded this and helped to successfully run it for 6 years. i'm also proud of myself for being able to finally let it go.
  • the discovery force, at the discovery center--volunteer group i'm forming (already have team leaders and moving forward in many ways) to kick butt at bringing the discovery back to the public eye.
  • fresnofamily.com--my local family resource website...even though i don't work much on it these days, i am still very proud of what i have there and how so many people benefit from it.
  • the fresno AP mommies group--another group i founded (back when maeven was a baby), and even though there aren't any regular activities happening anymore, the egroup is still hopping and there are still people finding it on a regular basis. its a great resource for local AP moms.
  • my children's birthday parties--i seriously love doing parties for my kids...and i always do them big. sure sometimes the preparations can get to be a drag, but once things are well underway, i really enjoy it. and i think i do some kick butt parties, i tell ya. i recently went through old pics and was reliving parties from the past and was impressed with what i had done! i had forgotten so many of the details...but i rock at parties, man! LOL!! i really enjoy making memories for my kids and the kids at the parties. i even did it on a budget this year! :) got a great idea that maeve and i are working on for her birthday this year already too! can't wait to see how it goes!
  • our financial situation--i'm very proud that adam and i have gotten out of debt, other than the mortgage. we do owe some to our credit card right now due to some unforeseen circumstances but his next check he gets (from a side job) is going to pay that bit off and we will be back to being debt-free again. this took a lot for us to get to this point and i'm VERY proud of both of us for maintaining it. its very tempting to think about going into debt again for different things but we've resisted. and along the same lines, i'm very proud that we are doing so well financially. sure, things keep happening that make it hard to stay on top of things and very difficult to get ahead...but despite having about 8months of living off of 10% less income (from adam's pay cut) and despite how everything is horrid in the economy right now...we are actually doing quite well. we are not at all drowning in things. we are doing quite well and i think we will continue to do so because we have our focus on the right things. we are not interested in having all sorts of new things all the time...just when things bust, basically...oh sure i'd LIKE to get more new things, but realize that realistically it ain't happenin. so we're doing good and i'm proud of us for that. and all this on one income. my websites bring in very very little, so it really is all adam that supports us. bless his heart...and with that i will add...
  • i'm so very proud of adam, my sweetheart, for busting his ass to provide for his family, every day. often extra days and nights, with his extra work. i tend to dwell on his faults and this is one time that i want to toot my horn for him that he is an AWESOME provider and really cares about his family first and foremost. he doesn't like to do anything that takes away from us, and he does this of his own volition...not because of me guilting him into it. i don't have to. he truly prefers to spend time with us and do things with us than anything else in the world and that's, i think, how it should be. so i am VERY PROUD of my wonderful husband. :)
  • i'm also proud of myself for being a good mom. because even though i doubt myself and criticize myself regularly...i know deep down that i truly am a GOOD MOM. i don't yell and scream at the kids all the time (not saying never, because i'm not perfect), i don't ever hit them (not that i've not been tempted, i tell ya! but i am adamant that it is NEVER ok to hit a child, and both my husband and i are in agreement on this and are firm on never faultering on that.) ...i am proud that the phrase "i love you" is, as it was in my family when i was growing up, the most used phrase heard in our house. not only us parents to the kids, but the kids to each other. tyren has been known to say to maeven "but i just love you SO much!" ...i'm proud of the things i decided early on to take a stand on...and am still firm on. the no-violent-toys/games/shows rule, for one...i still believe strongly in this and am proud of myself for this.

there are other things that i also feel proud about, but my kids are needing me now, methinks...as i hear some squabbling happening. time for me to go be a mommy again! i am feeling better now after listing those things and i am going to come back and read this again when i feel down again. sometimes you just have to remind yourself why life really IS good, ya know? :)