Thursday, January 31, 2008

This Post Is Rated "W" For Women

I can't believe that I am going to do this. Before I tell you what I am about to do, I would like to get rid of some people first.
Ryan, go away. I mean it. Off you go.
Male family members and friends, you really don't want to be here. Your wives, girlfriends and mothers are welcome and encouraged, but if you are a boy please find something else to read for today. I will see you tomorrow when I post a topic for all audiences.

So all I have left here is the girls right?
Okay, down to business. First go read what Kelly at Ordinary Art had to say yesterday. I'll be here when you are done. Go on read it! (Sorry for being so bossy, stress does that to me)

Great! You're back. So now you know that I am posting today because....

When we love something we embrace the good with the bad and hold it high for everyone to see. We say, "This is valuable and I love it regardless of what you think!" It is time for me to show that kind of respect for my body.

God gave me this body knowing what I would be, do, experience and need. Who am I to second guess his intentions and bad mouth his gift? It is time for me to face what I like to least and learn to love it the most. And so here they are, my legs.

First of all, this picture doesn't really show why I usually hide these beauties. I have cellulite. I have always had it. Skinny, fat it doesn't matter, it is part of me, part of how I was made.

I have two daughters. Two beautiful, wonderful girls in whom I want to instill confidence so that they will never doubt their beauty. How can they gain that confidence if they do not first see it in me?

This is for my girls.

I promise that I will no longer rush to put a towel around my waist at the pool or wear shorts over my swimsuit at the beach. I promise to praise my legs because they propel me to run and enable me to ride a bike. I will teach you that confidence is beautiful, and self doubt will only hurt you. I will be proud of how God made me because I am proud of how God made each of you!

For the rest of the girls out there. Perfection comes with confidence. It is time to look at our bodies for what they are instead of what they aren't. If you think you will feel better about yourself after you lose weight or tone up or have plastic surgery, you are wrong. I can say this with confidence because I have lost weight, 60 pounds of it. After losing weight I felt better but I didn't feel confident. We will only feel good about ourselves when we stop looking for our flaws and start celebrating our beauty. You are beautiful. Celebrate with me.

What do you think?

I was tagged by PB&J in a Bowl for this thought provoking meme. It seems pretty easy, let’s see how it goes.
Finish the sentence with the first thought that comes to mind.

I know I am loved.
I believe in God.
I fought the urge to think about my last fight.
I am angered, rarely.
I love sunny weather.
I need a new bikini.
I take care of myself.
I hear city noises while I work.
I drink when I’m stressed.
I hate the word hate.
I used PB&J’s answer for that last sentence.
I want my kids live near me when they grow up.
I like to think that we will get along.
I feel wonderful when I come home to my family every night.
I wear jeans whenever I can.
I left my parents house right after high school.
I do not regret that decision.
I hope to get to know my step-mother better.
I dream about the life I live now, I don’t think I could dream up anything better than my reality.
I drive an Audi.
I listen to people complain.
I think they are unhappy because they focus on their troubles.
I wish they would spend more time enjoying their life and less time complaining about it.
I should be more sympathetic towards them.
I regret some of the things I’ve said.
I care about what others think of me.
I said “I’m sorry” to people because it makes me feel better.
I wonder how many apologies I didn’t make that I should of.
I changed more diapers that I can count.
I cry when my children do anything for the first time.
I lose things very easily and my husband always finds them for me.
I leave the house each morning before anyone else wakes up.
I am grateful for my job, my husband and my children. They are everything to me. And whenever I am sad about other relationships in my life I remind myself that my husband understands me. My kids love me. At the end of the day, the year and my life THAT will be the only thing that really mattered.

Who shall I tag? How about The Sports Mama and LatteMommy.

What thoughts will this meme provoke from you?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Birthday Surprise





For more Wordless Wednesdays go here.

Don't Pinch Me Yet

I feel like I am living in a dream world. For the last week my children have been getting along with each other. They have squabbles, but they are resolving their issues quickly and without too much mediation. A couple of weeks ago my children spent a lot of time in these chairs.

No, this is not a double timeout (although I could see the value in that). These are our reconciliation chairs. Well actually, they are our kitchen chairs, but when the going gets rough we declare a ceasefire and the girls sit here until a truce has been established. We are not talking about arbitration, with a parent as a third party mediator. Our children sit face to face and figure things out amongst themselves. Usually it goes something like this.

Mad Child: You hit me!

Stubborn Child: No I didn’t!

Mad Child: Yes you did and I didn’t like it.

Stubborn Child: Sorry. I want the doll.

Mad Child: Maybe we can have minutes. (This means share with the aid of a timer)

Stubborn Child: Okay.

Mad Child and Stubborn Child head off to play together, because playing is way more fun than sitting in chairs and arguing.

This system is a lifesaver, because Jeff and I don’t need to insert ourselves into every argument. We are also helping them put some important life skills to practice at a young age. Such as getting along with people around you; fixing a relationship that isn’t going well; and learning to forgive and forget.

Last night Belle made and interesting observation about some friends of hers. She said, “Matt and Susie don’t share very well.”

She spent the day at Matt and Susie’s house so I asked, “With you or with each other?”

“With each other,” she answered.

“Matt and Susie are much farther apart in age and they are brother and sister, so sharing is harder for them,” I explained.

As I spoke, I noticed that Belle was holding the baby doll that she had received for her birthday on Saturday and Ariel was playing with the Fur-Real lamb that Belle also received for her birthday. In fact, the lamb has been nestled under Ariel’s arm for three days now. It does not bother Belle that she has yet to play with this birthday present. It seems one of our family rules has achieved its desired purpose.

In our house possession is nine-tenths of the law. It does not matter who bought it, who made it, or who received it. It only matters who possesses it. This rule has been in effect for so long that Jeff and I cannot remember which toy was given to which child, and neither do the girls. Creating this sharing atmosphere is significantly aided by the fact that our children are of the same gender and seventeen months apart in age.

I am weary of living in this Utopian state where sharing is easy and fighting is rare. I am enough of a realist to know that this will not last and we will return to daily reconciliation chairs sometime soon. Until then I will enjoy the peace and brace myself for the day when I come home to find my daughters confined to their rooms for constant fighting and Jeff silently rocking himself in the corner while cradling a depleted bottle of Grand Marnier.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Interview with a Blewbie (Blog Newbie)

Latte Mommy tagged me for this interview style meme. Here's everything you wanted to know about me and my relationship with the blogging world.

How long have you been blogging?

I started my blog on November 5th, 2007.

What inspired you to start your blog, and who are your mentors?

My Sister-in-law, Amy started a private blog over the summer. She posted once, and then added me as an user. We were going to use the blog as a bulletin board so our kids could share pictures and stories with one another. The project was abandoned, but not before Amy planted the blogging seed in my mind (well, her and Mark Cuban).

Shortly after I started my blog I found Gulf Coast Mommy at "I Love you too Much", and was inspired by her ability to tell a tale. Her blogroll lead me to The Mama Kelly at Taken with a Grain of Salt and before long I stumbled on Rachel at From the Land of Monkeys and Princesses. These woman showed me that a blog should be funny, engaging and wonderfully written. Their comments and interest in my blog encouraged me to work on my writing and keep on posting.

Are you trying to make money online, or are you doing it just for fun?

I do this for fun. In the beginning I was trying to get my posts to show up in Google search results. I read that by having Adsense, Google would index my site. I signed up and Google indexed me. I have no idea if anyone has ever clicked on one of these ad's, and I never bother to check.

What 3 things do you love about being online?

  1. The community. I transitioned from stay-at-home mom to working mom less than a year ago. I miss hanging out with other moms and being home with my kids. Blogging allows me to interact with moms, hear great stories and get advice. It's like a virtual play date. I love it!
  2. The challenge. I do not consider myself to be a good writer (there may actually be some grammatical errors in this post that prove it). Blogging allows me to practice this skill while recording the memories that matter most to me.
  3. The process. Blogging helps me process emotions and remember pieces of myself that I had lost. For example, last week I posted about a cake I had made. I intended for it to be a bragging, "aren't I awesome" post. I ended up thanking my mother, because she taught me to love cake making. I was half way through that post before I remembered watching my mom make cakes and recognized how that impacted me.

What 3 things do you struggle with online?

  1. Time. I blog in the evenings after my kids are asleep and before my bedtime. I find it impossible to get to bed on time anymore.
  2. Getting behind on my blog reading. There are days when I don't get a chance to sit down and blog. It feel terrible when I am unable to make it around to all the blogs I like to visit. I end up with a huge pileup in my Google Reader, and have to lurk or comment on posts that are several days old in order to get caught up.
  3. I'm going to have to say Time again, because it is my bedtime and I am not finished with this post yet! Yikes people, how long should it take to answer a few questions? Certainly not two hours!
Enough about me, how about you? I would like to interview...

Honeybell at The Bell Pages
Liz at The Lizness
AND
PB&J in a bowl, is it possible that you haven't been tagged for this yet?

Thank you ladies, I can't wait to hear your blogging story.
And so not to leave out the very important and often overlooked blogging daddies...

Suburban Daddy, who is celebrating his one year blog birthday!

Congratulations! I'd love to hear your take on this strange and wonderful world.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Daughter

These last four years you grew from a baby to a little girl with a fascinating personality and the desire to befriend everyone you meet. You have brightened the day of a lonely old lady by calling her Grandma and wrapping your arms around her. You are excited to make new friends and eager to greet them with hugs the next time you see them. You extend forgiveness without hesitation and offer sincere apologies. You are creative and silly, confident and secure, compassionate and caring.

You are radiant, don't ever let anyone dim your light. Believe in yourself, as I believe in you.

All my love,
Mommy


Friday, January 25, 2008

They are Watching Me!

Welcome MEMBERS OF THE WEEKEND BLOG HOPPERS. Are you not a member? Well then you are seriously missing out. Head on over to The Busy Dad Blog and find out all about it.

Here's something fun. I got this idea from dlyn. She went to Blogthings.com where you choose your favorite image and they tell you what job you would be best at. I am very wary of these things. I mean seriously, an image is going to reveal that much about me. We will see about that.

Ok, magic image that I adore. What does my selection of you say about me?


You Should Be a Manager

Seriously? Ok, smarty pants, why should I be a manager?

You're very organized, (sure) motivated, (absolutely) and methodical.(Why do you have to use that creepy word? Isn't methodical usually synonymous with serial killer?)

Fair and objective, you can see all sides of a conflict. You are a good mediator. (I can't argue with that.)


You are task oriented. (Let me consult my to do list.) You do well with deadlines and schedules.(Yep, I procrastinate right down to the deadline and then bust my a** to get it all done on time.)


And while you can be a task master at times,(At times? You mean like every time I open my mouth?) you're good at managing people and listening to their input.(Well that's sweet. I thought I was listening to their input so they would be more inclined to do what I ask of them.)


You do best when you:
- Must have attention to detail (Is that a bad thing?)
- Are in charge of people (I hate being in charge of people. I'd rather do everything myself. Less mistakes that way.)

You would also be a good accountant or personal assistant.

Well friends, that confirms it. Blogthings.com is watching me. They know that I am a office manager who's duties include accounting and anything else the CEO throws at me and they are using the information to FREAK ME OUT!

What does blogthings.com know about you?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Cake Legacy

Belle's Birthday is this weekend. I am very excited about how everything is coming together. Here are the invitations. Jeff did these all by himself.
Yeah.
I know!


I took some time this week to whip together a birthday cake. I baked two sheet cakes on Monday. After they cooled, I wrapped them up really tight and put them in the freezer. I did this for two reasons.
  1. It enables me to spread my cake making adventure over a couple of days instead of one very stressful event.
  2. A frozen cake is much easier to frost.
Tuesday, Jeff and I went to the Disney Store to pick out a toy for the top of the cake. Belle requested Ariel, Eric, the dog and a pirate ship. I'm pretty sure she meant the wedding ship, but it wouldn't fit on the cake anyway, so I omitted that.

On Wednesday I made my own frosting, and tonight I threw it all together. What do you think?


I'm pretty pleased with it myself. I think it is my best work to date.

I love making cakes. Growing up, my mom made our birthday cakes. She made other cakes as well, my grandparents' anniversary cake and eventually my wedding cake. It was beautiful.

I aspire to be like my mom in this way. I appreciated the effort she put into making our cakes. I remember watching her work and waiting until she was done so we could make use of the leftover frosting. Now that I have frosted cakes while my girls inch as close as they can get to my creation, I appreciate how nerve-wracking that must of been for my Mom.

Thank you Mom for allowing me to get close enough to learn. I'm sorry for sticking my fingers in the frosting when you weren't looking.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Dream Home

Last week Latte Mommy wrote this post about searching for her dream home. I would like to share my dream home experience.

A long time ago, Jeff and I owned a piece of property in California. It was a one-acre parcel in a gated community with a lake view. We planned on building our dream home on that piece of land. After much discussion of what our house would contain we bought blueprints.

Our house was three stories with bedrooms, the master suite and a sitting room on the third floor. The spacious kitchen, living room, dining room, office and spare bedroom were on the main floor . The bottom floor had a theater room and second kitchen so we could entertain by the pool without going upstairs for supplies. The house had a laundry room, bathrooms and all the normal things that a house should contain, except a playroom. This was all planned before kids, so their future needs were not considered.

We sold that property without breaking ground on the house and moved to Washington. The house I live in now is my dream home. It is not as elaborate as the one we planned, but it is perfect. I love my master suite and open floor plan. I love that Jeff has his theater room, and the girls have a play room. I love the play structure in the back yard and porch in the front. I love my kitchen with an island where my children participate in the baking. I love the window seat that we use every night for story time. I love that I have three full bathrooms. But all these things do not make it my dream home.

When we first moved here the neighborhood kids came over to ask if Belle could come out and play. I know that this is normal neighborhood behavior, but what amazed me is that Belle was 5 months old. The other kids were all over the age of 2 with the oldest being 6. Not wanting my baby to miss out on all the fun, we went outside to play.

This is a neighborhood where the kids play together while the parents gather on the sidewalk and hang out. Belle and Ariel have always been invited to play with the older kids. We have a wagon with seat belts so our girls can be the caboose of the wagon train. My girls have developed a love for bug hunts, berry picking, soccer and baseball because an older child took the time to include them. Belle, Ariel, Jeff and I have developed wonderful friendships, relationships that we treasure.

In the process of picking out a dream home it is impossible to know what kind of neighbors you will end up with. For years I had faith that God would place us amongst great neighbors. I prayed for it and believed it with all my heart. I feel fortunate that he answered that prayer, because we will never leave this house.
No. Matter. What.

Wordless Wednesday: Disappearing Act

Now you see her.

Now you don't.


Pictures taken by Jeff, editing done by Jeff with GIMP*.
Cuteness by Belle and Ariel with genetic contributions from Jeff and myself.

Happy Wordless Wednesday! For more participants go here.

*No, I am not a sales person for GIMP, I just love their product and the fact that it is FREE.

Do I Deserve This?

The Sports Mama at You Don't Have to Like Me presented me with this award to say that she "less-than-three's" my blog. What the....?!?

This award makes much more sense if you pick up your monitor (or laptop) and flip in on it's side. Do you see it now? The pink heart of affection? Yep, she loves me, she really loves me! Thank you, Sports Mama. Your affection warms my heart.

I am feeling a little undeserving of the award. I haven't posted anything really good for almost a week. Am I being too hard on myself? Probably.

I am in awe of all the talented bloggers who visit me and read my words. Sometimes I feel the need to write something really great for you. I sit at my computer and try to post without success. Other times I am going about my day not thinking about my next post. It is then that my thoughts, feelings or experiences well up within me and beg to be recorded. I have come to realize that blogging is not something you do, it is something that happens. A really great post comes from the depths of your being and pours from your fingertips.

I would like to pass on this award to a couple of bloggers who's words flow from their heart. They keep me riveted to the computer screen and begging for another post, because each post is a little piece of them.

Don Mills Diva is a new blog that I have found. She has put me under her spell, and I love it.

When picking the next recipient of this award, I tried very hard to pick someone not on my fridge. I love all the people on my fridge, but I want to give recognition to other bloggers. I have to give this award to my fridge mate, Kelly at Ordinary Art. She so perfectly fits my criteria, that it would be inexcusable to give this to anyone else. Kelly, I love your blog and your honesty.

There many blogs that I love, and many reasons that I love them. Thank you all for sharing pieces of yourself and your families. I value the time that I get to spend reading your words.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Take a Look Around

I have been blogging for over 2 months. I have sixty-eight posts under my belt and a serious addiction to being a blogger. You would think that creating a pleasant and personalized blog would have been high on my list of priorities.

It wasn't.

I was quite content with my simple blog courtesy of Blogger's boring template, until now. Take a look around. Did you notice the changes? If not, lie to me, because I spent many hours redecorating my blog this weekend.

Yes, that's right I* spent countless hours. That brand new custom header... Fabulous isn't it? Mine. Do you see my pink fridge? That's new too. I* whipped that together today. Do you know what I* am developing now? An award badge for the 12 bloggers on my fridge. I had no idea that I was so talented!

*(My husband will divorce me if I fail to disclose that
I actually means WE, as in Jeff and I worked on these projects together and Jeff is the true genius behind everything. I tried to keep this from you because you already know that he is a sexy, amazing husband and father who cooks. I want to keep some of his talents a secret or a hot momma blogger is going to steal him away from me.
Happy now, honey? Great! Can you finish up the award badge for me?)


My computer is suddenly a graphic designing, layer and image manipulating machine. Do you want to hear the best part? We spent zero money on Photoshop. Did we steal it or receive it for Christmas? Nope, we didn't use Photoshop. We used an amazing and FREE program called GIMP. Yep, that's right FREE, as in they are giving it away. You too can get GIMP at http://www.gimp.org/.

Let me show you what GIMP allowed us to do. Here is the photo that my new banner is derived from:

We separated the girls, flipped one image, filled in and smudged the center, cartoonized and gave a pink wash to the images. Finally we added the text. Impressed? I know!

Honestly, creating the banner was the easy part. Most of my time was spent wrestling with Blogger's templates and code so my header would be centered and correctly sized. If it weren't for my code writing skills, this blog would be a complete mess right now.

I hope you like the changes around here. There's some beer in the fridge, help yourself.

You can't find the beer? Oh sorry, I must of deleted that layer.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

The Sports Mama at You Don't Have to Like Me tagged me with this latest meme. The objective is to post links to some of my older posts that didn't get much attention.

Thanks for this tag. The hardest part about starting a blog is writing posts without feedback. I am grateful for the readers I have today, and curious to see what they have to say about my earliest work.

Here's the rules I am to abide by:

Go back through your archives and post the links to your five favorite blog posts that you’ve written.

But there is a catch:
Link 1 must be about family.
Link 2 must be about friends.
Link 3 must be about yourself.
Link 4 must be about something you love.
Link 5 can be anything you choose.

Post your five links and then tag five other people. At least TWO of the people you tag must be newer acquaintances so that you get to know each other better. Readers - don’t forget to read the archive posts and leave comments!

Okay here it goes.

Family - Little Miss Personality A delightful story about my Ariel's independence. This was the forth post I wrote, and if the comments are any indication it was read by one person.

Friends - Spy's Like Us This was a tough category. I don't often write about my adult friends. This post is about trying to meet the parents of Belle's preschool friends.

Me, Myself and I - Catch and Release I love to drive fast. I'm not to fond of being pulled over, but who is?

Something I Love - 12 Years of Dating, and this is what I get. Don't let the title fool you. This is about the two things I love most, my husband and date night.

Anything I Choose - What's in a Name? If you are wondering how Belle and Ariel got their blog names this post is for you.


Thanks for reading my past work.

Now who to tag.....?
Let's start with my new friends.
Don Mills Diva and Carrie, The Gremlin Wrangler

For the other three tags, I choose these writers who I haven't tagged before.
Buttermom at Classy Chaos, Kelly at Ordinary Art and Kellan at On the Upside

Consider this tag a statement of my love and respect. I enjoy reading your posts on a daily basis, and am excited to see what you pull out of your archives.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Where did it go?

Today PB&J in a Bowl posted about her daughters upcoming birthday. As I was reading this delightful post I glanced at my calender and had a "Oh No!" moment.

Oh No!
My daughters birthday is ten days away. Ten, people! As in the number of fingers on both your hands.

Oh No!
She is going to be four years old. Four! How did this happen? She was suppose to stay little. She is not suppose to grow up. Sleep through the night, sure. Learn to talk, walk, and feed herself, absolutely. Why can't she accomplish all these milestones and still be my baby? Little enough to hold and carry with me everywhere.

Oh No!
I only have one more year until she is old enough to start school. One year goes by fast. I'm not ready to wake up one morning and find that she is a kindergartener.

I really shouldn't be surprised by the passage of time, everyone told me this would happen when I was pregnant with her four years ago. Four short years ago when I was the only woman in her ninth month not begging for my baby to be born. I was as big as a house and I wanted to remain that way forever because pregnancy was a experience I understood, I was not ready for the great unknown that is motherhood.

Now I stand on the cusp of a new era. I am about to face a birthday that marks the first time I haven't wished my child older. My firstborn, my pioneer. From the day she was born I was always pushing her towards the next developmental stage. I wanted her to roll over, sit up, walk, talk, run, ride a bike, jump and swing. Now I want to freeze time. I want to go back to when she was born, and hold her a little longer and a little tighter. I want to breathe a little slower and sleep a little less in hopes that time will slow down.

I cannot do these things. What I can do is spend the next two hours playing with her and hugging her. I can treasure the time I have with her today and do my best to not be distracted from my truest desire, to love and be loved by my children.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Amy Means Beloved

Twelve years ago she walked into my life and changed it forever. My brothers finance. The woman that he saw from across the room when God said, "She's the one." Two months later they were engaged and I was meeting her for the first time. My brother, Tod, brought her to the Tahoe timeshare where Jeff and I were staying. We got snowed in. It is a weekend that I will always remember.

My future sister-in-law, Amy, made such an impression on me. Before meeting me she spent several days with my family. My family was not too happy with me at the time. Jeff and I had been living together for a couple of months, and I knew she had been briefed on my black-sheep ways. What I remember about that weekend was the love and acceptance that she offered me. I finally had someone in my family that would love me for who I was, instead of who they wanted me to be.

Since that day, Amy has been central to my sanity, happiness and self-confidence. Before long she became my best friend and my sister. As sisters we have shared many experiences over the years. We have camped together in the wilderness of Utah, slept in an RV on the infield of California Speedway, skied together, and spent countless hours on the phone with one another.

Jeff and I flew to Colorado so we could be with Amy as she gave birth to my niece. It was the most beautiful event I have ever witnessed. Sixteen months later I made a 3 am phone call to her because I was in labor. She bought a plane ticket and packed her bags. Hours later she was flying from Denver to Sacramento with her one year old daughter. Thanks to 30 hours of labor, she was with me when Belle was born.

I thank God that he picked Amy to be my brother's wife. Sometimes I am selfish enough to think that God picked her to be my sister, and Tod is just along for the ride.

My beautiful sister,
Thank you for all you have meant to me. Thank you for being a tremendous friend, sister, aunt, wife and mom. I love you so much, my heart aches from missing you. One day I hope that God will allow us to live closer than the 500 miles that separate us now.
Happy Birthday.

Wordless Wednesday

Friends at play



For more Wordless Wednesdays, go here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Daily Dose Award

I love blogging. Putting my thoughts and experiences into words brings me clarity. By sharing my heart, my family, my struggles and my dreams I have found fellow bloggers that I can visit daily from the convenience of my computer. As a working mom, the ability to be amongst other moms is essential to my basic needs. Just by turning on my computer I can get parenting advice, hear funny stories, be encouraged and hopefully be encouraging. These are all benefits I didn't expect.
And now I have received The Daily Dose award from Irene at The Green Greek .

Xandra, from Heart of Service created this award for blogs that must be read every day without fail . . . "They make you laugh, cry, think and feel connected every time you read a post. They give you a thrill as you see them loading into your browser and you get an equally satisfying thrill when you see that they have commented on your blog."

I am humbled.

Thank you Irene, for making me part of your Daily Dose and passing this wonderful award on to me.

Now, I'd like to give this award to blogs that are my daily dose. A couple of days ago I honored twelve of my daily injections by placing them on my fridge. There are a couple more that I tune in to and value. I would like to pass the Daily Dose award on to them.

  • PB&J In a Bowl who just missed being on my fridge by a hair. She amuses me with the stories starring her preschool aged daughter. She is about to turn 30, so head on over and show your support.
  • Nap Warden at The Chronicles of a SAHM is an amazing woman who has ran SIX marathons, so far. Can you say determination, perseverance and drive? She also provides web design services, chases 2 kids, and entertains the blogosphere.
Thank you ladies for giving me what I need each day.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Show Me Your Tongue

Chris at The SuperDad Chronicles tagged me for the "Seven things about me you don't already know" meme. I was tagged for this meme before. For my first seven things see "Work, Beer and Botox."

Since I am such a mystery to y'all, I will now share seven more things with you.

1. I have donated my hair to Locks of Love twice. I am currently growing my hair out for my third donation.

2. I had knee surgery in 2002 after a skiing accident. It wasn't until 2004 that I was able to achieve full range of motion in that knee. This is one of the reasons that I am so excited to run a 5K race this year. My body works the way it is suppose to! I want to utilize it before I get old and fall apart.

3. There is genetic controversy about the ability to roll your tongue into the shape of a tube. Is it a dominate genetic trait or is it just dumb luck? Let's take a look.

The man of the household can do it.

Firstborn is surprised by her ability

At 2 years old, Ariel is a pro!
This is my best effort.Conclusion: It's genetics.

What you just learned about me is that I am the freak of the family. My girls think I am not trying hard enough. They keep saying, "Come on Mommy, you can do it." To which I cry, "I can't do it. I can't roll my tongue. I CAAAAN'T!" like a frustrated two-year old.

4. My favorite number is 25. It's the number that appeared on my basketball jersey all four years of high school.

5. I love to garden. I could happily spend every weekend of the summer pulling weeds, planting flowers and re-landscaping our backyard.

6. I didn't wear lipstick until I was 20 years old. I remember my first lipstick. A boy gave it to me when he picked me up for our date. I should have been offended, but I wasn't. A month later he suggested mascara, so I started wearing that too. Eventually I married him.

7. I pack the same foods in a bag everyday and bring them to work. 3/4 cup of plain oatmeal and 1/2 cup of fat free milk for breakfast. 1 can of Campbell's Select chicken noodle soup and string cheese for lunch. 1/2 cup of cottage cheese, 2 Wasa crackers and a light Yoplait yogurt for snack. Boring? Maybe. When I was on vacation I missed my boring food.

Thank for reading my seven things. Instead of tagging more people for this meme, I am going to leave it open for anyone who wants to participate. Leave a comment if you do, so I know where to find your seven things.

The rest of you, for the sake of science, Can you roll your tongue into the shape of a tube or not?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Reasons He Rocks

Jeff and I had a little tiff. Just a tiny disagreement that had less to do with him or me, and everything to do with money. I feel bad, because I should not hassle him. I would be apologizing instead of blogging, but he had to rush out and return a movie to the Redbox.

In honor of my husband, who didn't deserve to be the target of my stress induced frustrations, I present to you 6 of the reasons he rocks:

Reasons 1 & 2: I made a discovery tonight when I was cooking pork chops. We have breaded pork chops once a week. He does all the cooking so, I couldn't find the shake-n-bake. After tearing through the pantry I discovered there was no shake-n-bake. Then I looked for seasoned bread crumbs. None of those either. Google helped me find a recipe that uses saltines.

As we were eating my "not as good as his" pork chops, I let him know about the bread crumb shortage. He told me that he doesn't buy bread crumbs. He makes his own. Yep, that's right. Once a week he toasts bread, works some magic with a knife and spices and creates an amazing pork chop dinner from scratch.
Amazing.

Reason 3 & 4: Most of you know that Jeff is a stay-at-home dad. What you don't know, and I find utterly insane, is that he takes our girls to the gym so they can go swimming. By Himself. Just the thought of a lone parent taking two young kids swimming makes my head spin.

Think of the logistics. Putting swimsuits on. Getting in the pool. Making sure no one drowns. Making sure no one pees (or poops) in the pool. Convincing them to get out of the pool when it is time to go. Showering. Getting everyone dressed again.
Would you do it? I wouldn't.

Reasons 5 & 6: I am a little biased, but I think he is good looking. Every week this handsome, witty and interesting man takes me out on a date. Yes, a date with my husband should be the number one reason he rocks, but I am still amazed by his pork.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Updating my Fridge

Welcome to the second installment of
Blogs that belong on my Fridge.

If you have seen my comments on your blog then you know that I am an avid blog reader. I currently have 40 blogs that I subscribe to in my Google Reader. While I would love to list all 40 of these blogs on my blogroll, I am a simple woman who doesn't like clutter.

(Okay, my husband, please pick yourself off the floor and stop laughing. I'd have you know that a cluttered blog is much more distracting than a cluttered counter top!)

So to keep my blog tidy, only 12 blog links are allowed on my sidebar. (Look over there, to your right.) I call this esteemed place My Fridge, and it is time to refresh, and post a new list of 12.

Without further ado, here is the list of the 12 blogs that impressed me the most over the last 2 months.

  1. On the Upside
    Favorite post: Sorry, Hon ... Were You Saying Something?

  2. You Don't Have to Like Me...
    Favorite post: Not A Contact Sport? Yeah, Right!

  3. Buttermom...Classy Chaos
    Favorite post: Will work for gifts...

  4. Ordinary Art
    Favorite post: Jesus even loves a ball buster like you.

  5. Moosh in Indy
    Favorite post: Literary birth control.

  6. From the Land of Monkeys and Princesses*
    Favorite post: Thursday Thirteen

  7. Taken with a Grain of Salt*
    Favorite post: A confidence booster for Mama.

  8. Sarah and the Goon Squad*
    Favorite post: Just ONE of the Reasons 3 Year Olds Probably Shouldn’t Watch Futurama

  9. The Bell Pages
    Favorite post: Honeybell's Great Day

  10. Latte Mommy*
    Favorite post: Open Mouth, Insert Foot

  11. The Superdad Chronicles*
    Favorite post: Busted by a Three-Year-Old

  12. Cry It Out: Adventures of a stay-at-home dad
    Favorite post: Who’s the sucker now?
Have fun checking these blogs out.

All you bloggers out there, keep writing funny and thought provoking posts. I will be reading and looking for a reason to put you on my fridge.


*
These blogs have the distinction of being on my fridge since November 2007.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Can I Get Child-Owners Insurance?

Last night I checked out my Google Analytics and found a surprising number of referrals from Babble.com. My investigative powers lead me a post titled Kids Scare Me into Not Having Them that was based on my husband's very bad day last week. The post was written by Mike, a favorite blogger of mine that you can find at "Cry it out: Adventures of a stay-at-home dad"

It seems that Mike was very traumatized by my toddler induced flood. I want to assure Mike that the damage isn't that bad. If you walk through my house today, you may not notice that the carpet has been recently cut and pulled back. You might not realize that the pad in a small section of our upstairs hallway is slightly thicker than the rest. More than likely you will not even tread on the affected part of our house, because we have decided to not give upstairs tours anymore.

Mike wants to know what kids are capable of. He wants to get a feel for what to expect before he invests in a house and commits to adding more children to his young family. So just in case Mike thinks our upstairs flood is the worst thing that has happened since having children, here's another story.

When Belle was 2 1/2 years old I allowed her to get into her car seat by herself. One very hectic morning I was loading both kids into the car. I left Belle in the garage to climb into her seat and went inside to get Ariel. I came out to my husband screaming "What are you doing!" at Belle. Apparently Belle was trying to open her car door all the way. The car door kept swinging closed. Jeff heard the pounding of metal on metal from the front yard. He ran into the garage to find Belle slamming the car door of our Audi into our BMW. I think you will agree that my husbands yelling was warranted.

Now, what may not come across in the telling of this story is that, except for the initial shock, Jeff and I were not mad about this incident. The same way we are not mad about our upstairs carpet. We realize that cars and houses are just things. Things break. Things get stolen. Things get destroyed. If you read this post, you know that the BMW was in a car accident over the summer. The dented door doesn't look so bad now.

So my reassurance to Mike is: Your beautiful daughter may become more coordinated and cunning as she gets older. She may accidentally damage something that is costly to fix. That won't change the fact that she is your beautiful daughter, loved beyond measure, no matter what she does.


All my other readers, please go over to Mike's post and leave a comment about what your kids have damaged or destroyed. I don't want Mike thinking that it is just my kids that do these crazy things.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Caldwell Park

The picture that I posted for Wordless Wednesday got a lot of attention. I want to thank my husband for editing the photo. He did a fabulous job. Jeff was also the man behind the camera. I appreciate that. Not only because he is truly gifted with a camera but because while he was snapping away I was playing with my children.


These photo's were taken on the first day of our Christmas Vacation in the middle of our 12 hour road trip to California. We stopped at Caldwell Park in Redding so the kids, dogs, Jeff and I could run and play. I have very fond memories of this park. This is the second time we have stopped here. I think it will be a place that our children remember because once or twice a year we will continue to stop here.

Do you have any places like this from your childhood. A place where you visited infrequently, but is filled with memories? A place that sticks in your mind and as an adult you seek it out so you can see if it is as spectacular as you remembered.

My childhood place is Dennis the Menace Park in Monterey, California. When I was a child my aunt lived in Salinas. When we visited her she would take us to this park. If you are ever in the area, you should visit. It is truly as wonderful as I remember.

Caldwell Park in Redding does not have a great playground like Dennis the Menace Park. Caldwell Park has open spaces with old trees. It is a place where the four of us bind together as a family with the singular objective of having fun. It is a place where we stick together and create our own adventure. Our experiences at this park define our family. We love each other and we enjoy our time together.

When I look at these pictures I realize that I am living the life I always wanted with the family I dreamed I would have.


*This last picture was taken on our July visit.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


Fun at Caldwell Park
For more Wordless Wednesdays go here.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Resolving to Resolve

It is six days into January and I have finally decided to make a resolution. My first resolution is to have a resolution. Years ago my New Years resolution was to not make any more resolutions. I am proud to say that I kept that resolution for many years. I wonder if by making a resolution this year is actually breaking my previous resolution.....

My 2008 New Years Resolution is to run in a 5K race.

I started jogging last summer. I have always exercised, but this summer I decided to go for morning jogs and forgo the gym. Some days I hated it. Most days I got on my bicycle instead and only jogged when it was overcast or raining (because jogging in the rain is safer than riding).

This fall when the weather forced me back to the gym I added a 7 minute run to the end of my weight training. My thought process was that I could do anything for 7 minutes, so I get on the treadmill to improve my speed. I have grown fond of my 7 minutes of running. Lately my 7 minutes have stretched out to 10 minutes just because I don't want to stop.

While in California for Christmas I went for a couple of 1 to 2 mile runs. I could probably go farther, but I have mind of matter issues. I enjoy running when I can keep my mind occupied. Most of the time my internal dialog goes something like this:

"Why am I doing this? This sucks, I'd much rather be on a bike. I am never going to run again. This sucks. This sucks. This sucks."

On Christmas Santa brought me a MP3 player. I have discovered that music helps me run farther and I love it. Ever since I started running, I have wondered if the competition of a race would give me enough motivation to run farther and faster. I also realized that it would be stupid to sign up for a 5K race when I can barely run 2 miles. Now that I have my music I can train for a 5K race.

So I am resolved to run a 5K race. I have an actual event in mind. Memorial Day Weekend our church has a Tinman Biathlon. I believe it is a 10K bike ride followed by a 5K run. I am picking this race because of the low cost and the fact that I would be racing against Christians, so if I collapse they would probably stop and help me, right?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Having a bad day?

Jeff had a rough day with the kids yesterday. He didn't want to rehash all the details over dinner, but he did tell me that the last straw was when walked into the bathroom and found it looked much like a scene in Dumb and Dumberer * where a melted chocolate bar gets all over the bathroom and the man of the house thinks it's poop. Except in our case it was poop.
*warning, movie clip contains profanity.

I felt bad for Jeff, but not overly sympathetic because kids sometimes do this sort of thing. It just comes with the territory, right?

After dinner we went to Target. Upon our arrival both girls needed to potty. I took them into the bathroom, while Jeff did some shopping. Both my girls are independent. They want to use individual stalls with the doors closed. I am left to stand near the sinks and help them as needed.

Ariel finished first and after washing her hands she decided that she needed to go potty again. After Belle finished, Ariel was still in the stall so I peeked through the crack in the stall to see what Ariel was doing. She had balled the bottom of her dress up in her hand and was dunking it in the toilet water.

I instantly felt more sympathy for Jeff's earlier poop experience.

These two ordeals in a single day seem like enough, but Ariel was not done with us yet.

At 9 pm our kids were tucked (so we thought) safely in bed, when we heard crying. Jeff went upstairs and found the bathroom and hall completely flooded and Ariel standing in the middle of it, dripping wet. She attempted to flush a whole roll of toilet paper. The flooding was so bad water was dripping through the ceiling and onto our downstairs carpet. Today we pulled back the carpet upstairs to view the damage.We will have to replace the carpet and the pad. I'm thankful that Jeff has house flipping expertise, and credit lines at all the home improvement centers.


Notice that our home builder marked the floor squeak and apparent low spot where all the water flowed before he covered it with carpet. So very kind of him.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Burn Out Bright: The Ipod Shuffle

A long time ago, Rachel at "From the Land of Monkey's and Princesses" tagged me for an Ipod shuffle. At the time I didn't have an Ipod or any portable music device. Santa must of heard my cries of shame because my stocking contained a lovely digital music player. Now I am fully loaded with portable music, and ready to participate in the meme.

Rachel provided me with a list of questions to answer with the title of a random song. So...I put my player on shuffle and here are the questions with the song title answers! Hope you enjoy this fun look at what I rock out to.


1. How would you describe your personality?
Ignition (Tobymac, Portable Sounds)

2. What do you like in a guy?
I am a Rock (Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Have a Ball)

3. How do you feel, today?
Why Go (Pearl Jam, Ten)

4. What's your life's purpose?
Work (Jars of Clay, Good Monsters)

5. What is your motto?
Get on Top (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Californication)

6. What do your friends think of you?
White Men in Black Suits (Everclear, So much for the Afterglow)

7. What do you think of your parents?
A.M. Radio (Everclear, Songs from an American Movie Vol. One: Learning How to Smile)

8. What do you think about very often?
Omaha (Counting Crows, August and Everything After)

9. What do you think of your best friend?
You Never Can Tell (Chuck Berry, Pulp Fiction Movie Soundtrack)

10. What do you think of the person you like?
Everything's Cool (Lit, Atomic)

11. What is your life story?
Sk8er Boy (Avril Lavigne, Let Go)

12. What do you want to be when you grow up?
What's my Age Again? (Blink 182, Enema of the State)

13. What do you think when you see the person you like?
Hit 'Em Up Style (Blue Cantrell, So Blu)

14. What do your parents think of you?
Dead Man - Heartbeat Mix (Jars of Clay, Good Monsters)

15. What will be played at your funeral?
500 Miles (Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, unknown album)

16.What is your hobby/interest?
Scartissue (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Californication)

17. What is your biggest secret?
No Signal (Tobymac, Portable Sounds)

18. What do you think of your friends?
Release (Pearl Jam, Ten)

19. What should you post this as?
Burn Out Bright (Switchfoot, Oh! Gravity)


That was fun, thanks so much Rachel!

If anyone else wants to participate, consider yourself tagged and leave me a comment so I can check out your music.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Home, Sweet Home

We arrived home last night from our rather lengthly vacation. When we walked through our door Belle said to me, "My house! I thought I would never see it again!"

We had a wonderful time, rather than bombard you with all the details, I present...

Vacation Statistics:

We were in California for 11 days.
Drove 1753 miles with 2 kids and 2 dogs.
Visited with 24 different families in 8 towns.
And recorded the adventure with 1061 pictures on our new SLR digital camera

The drive home on New Years Day was accomplished on 3 hours of sleep, took 14 hours, and included 5 doses of cold medicine for the children.

I now have access to the internet, so I can sort through the 259 unread items in my Google Reader. I hope to start posting again soon, but for now I leave you with Picture number 857.