1. Have you ever been stung by a bee? Yes. A few times and it sucks. I am not allergic to them but my dad and one of my sisters is. I am always afraid that my children may be too, but the fear is unfounded so far because none of them have ever been stung...
2. What's the sickest you've ever been? Summer of 2009 -- I had a kidney infection and ended up in the hospital with orange colored pee and feeling like I was knocking on deaths door. It was hideous!
3. What's your favorite form of exercise? I can't believe this is even a question someone would answer. Who actually LIKES to exercise? I, personally, am adamantly against exercise, unless being chased with a weapon -- in which case, I suppose I may run for my life.
4. What's your favorite Cyndi Lauper song? I can only think of two of her songs -- "Time After Time" and "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun". "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" should be every woman's theme song, I suppose.
5. What did you do for your 13th birthday? My mother always made birthdays special when we were growing up. I am quite sure I did something spectacular for my 13th but I can't seem to remember what... My parents 10th birthday (golden birthday) and my sweet 16th birthday were AWESOME and I'll tell you about them some other time.
Yesterday, I saw Little Man walking around the house with a baby doll that he was calling Dude.
At first I thought… WHO IS THIS BOY? I mean, my son, who has grown up with three sisters and a plethora of “girl” toys has rarely ever wanted to play with them. Barbies, princesses, dress-up clothes, strollers, babies, castles, My Little Ponies. Our house is full of them. But our Little Man has always been into trucks and trains and dinosaurs and other boy-ish or violent things. Oh! And let's not forget about ANYTHING electronic... the computer, video games, Wii, Xbox...
Then I thought… For all of my lip service about raising children without gender bias -- is this weird? My baby boy cuddling a baby?
Then I thought, NO! Of course, it is NOT weird even a little bit. It means that he’s sensitive. It means that he’s going to be a good father. I am an equal opportunity parent. This is 2010! My son can be anything he wants – isn’t that amazing?
Weeks ago we went swimming at my sister's apartment pool. I have been lazy and preoccupied and extremely busy and sick (and all the other excuses I can think of), and haven't had time to post the pool pictures. Enjoy my poor photography skills and enjoy staring at my darling children.
I love surfing mommy blogs. Blogs with other topics are great but they don't hold my interest. There are SO many talented, insightful, and resourceful mommies out there. Here are a few of my favorite blogs.
1) If you could travel anywhere in Africa, where would it be? I would relish traveling almost anywhere in Africa that included a photography safari. However, as long as we are dreaming of the impossible -- I want to stay at the Lion Sands Ivory Lodge. OMG!!!!! Check out their website and drool along with me. And while you are at it, enjoy Andy Biggs photo gallery from his safaris.
2) What did you have for lunch yesterday? Who remembers?
3) Where do you go for advice? My mom, Carol, therapist
4) Which do you use more often, the dictionary or the thesaurus? Definitely Thesaurus
5) Have you ever been snorkeling? Scuba diving? Nope, but I would love to.
Each Tuesday, Little Princess plays t-ball. This is her first year being old enough to play. She's on a co-ed team of four to six-year olds. She's such a doll! Most of her team mates are at least a head taller than her.
They are probably one of my very favoritest groups ever. They started as an acapella group and have moved more into children's music. Their tag line is "Great music for kids that won't drive parents bonkers," which I positively adore and appreciate. The Wiggles and Barney totally freak me out! GoFish is a huge step-up!
Their sound is infectious and light-hearted. Their lyrics are often tender and moving -- plus they are from my awesome home state -- MINNESOTA, Baby!!!
Why wouldn't one positively be head over heels for their music?
10 Commandment Boogie ~ GoFish Guys
(The ten commandment boogie) 1-2-3-4 (the ten commandment boogie)-5-6-7-8-9-10- whoo
It's the ten commandment boogie, gonna dance until I die Ten commandment boogie, you can do so it so can I If you follow it through, you'll be amazed what you can do So get your groove on with us tonight We'll do the ten commandment boogie, the boogie, the ten commandment boogie
Number one - no other God but the One who is true Don't worship any other, that's commandment two. Number three- use the name of God only with respect Number Four - on Sunday take a rest We're half way through with one that's just for you - Listen to your mom and dad 'cause what they say you gotta do
It's the ten commandment boogie, gonna dance until I die Ten commandment boogie, you can do it so can I If you follow it through, you'll be amazed what you can do So get your groove on with us tonight We'll do the ten commandment boogie, the boogie, the ten commandment boogie
Number six don't ever take somebody's life Seven feels like heaven but only with your husband or wife Number eight is great along with number nine - don't steal from others and don't ever lie And if your friend has something that you think is cool don't ever wish that it was yours and that's the final rule
In the ten commandment boogie, gonna dance until I die Tell everybody - you can do it so can I If you follow it through, you'll be amazed what you can do So get your groove on with us tonight We'll do the ten commandment boogie, the boogie, the ten commandment boogie
Do the boogie, the boogie, the ten commandment boogie (I wanna see you do the boogie) Do the boogie, the boogie, the ten commandment boogie It's the boogie, the boogie, the ten commandment boogie
Some people say that I'm old fashioned for believing in God's rules They're just fools (they're just fools) But the B-I-B-L-E, yeah that's the book for me And it's full of unbelievable tools
Just like the ten commandment boogie, gonna dance until I die Ten commandment boogie, you can do it so can I If you follow it through, you'll be amazed what you can do So get your groove on with us tonight we'll do the ten commandment boogie, Ten commandment boogie, gonna dance until I die Ten commandment boogie, you can do it so can I If you follow it through, you'll be amazed what you can do So get your groove on with us tonight We'll do the ten commandment boogie, the boogie, the ten commandment boogie
Our fabulous neighbor, Carol, got this awesome car/bike thingy and thought the kids would enjoy it, so she passed it on to us. And, oh boy! Was fun had!!! The kids love to push each other up and down the block on it... it's strange and almost like a go-cart, but not exactly because it's human-powered, not gas/fuel powered.
The wee ones can't actually pedal on their own and need constant pushing to keep it moving. Oh well! They love it nonetheless.
I don't think I've posted bout this yet, but I've been meaning to for several weeks...
I LOVE the Swagger Wagon commericals. The marketing firm who created these fantastic white folk characters rock my world. When you think of stuck-up, car pool driving, cul-de-sac-living, self-proclaimed perfect suburban parents -- aren't these the images that your mind conjours up? Mommies and Daddies who jump around, re-living glory days of their fantastic college life before they became hip parents?
Enough snarky comments from me. Watch the videos and laugh at the characterizations. I know I will.
Last week, on a perfectly phenomenally sunny Friday afternoon, three of the wee ones and I went boating on the St. Croix river with our fantastic neighbor. Husband was out of town on a boys-only golf weekend, so we decided to take advantage of the grand weather, and even better company.
It was a heavenly beautiful day!!! The wee ones were so exhausted from playing in the sun all day that they konked out on the boat ride back to the dock/launch.
Um, hello Friday! I missed you. Seriously, my patience has been tried this week and mama is all out of xanax!!! (Just kidding about the drugs...) The kids have been in rare form; work has been interesting; and people just have NOT been pleasant.
What the hades is going on?
TGIF is all I can say! I plan on taking my kids somewhere relaxing and just chilling out all weekend. I'm leaving the laundry for next week and I'm refusing to clean all week. I'm going to do whatever the hell I want!
1) What's the best costume you've ever worn? The homemade scarecrow costume my mom made when I was in 3rd or 4th grade. My sisters were Dorothy and the Evil Witch from the Wizard of Oz.
2) What's your least favorite word? There are several vulgar words I dislike, but I won't mention them. My least favorite "regular" word is phlegm. EWWWW! Just the sound of that word can make me gag!
3) If you had to be named after one of the 50 states, which would it be? Dakota or Carolina -- but do I have to include "North" or "South" in my name? If so, I may need to rethink it and decide to be named Mississippi or Nevada.
4) Who's your favorite Care Bear? Grumpy Bear was always my fave.
5) Describe something that's happened to you for which you have no explanation. My mind is drawing a blank and I guess I have no explanation for that...
At the exact same moment that I summoned my family for dinner last night, my Little Man experienced a partial loss of hearing.
While he didn't hear any of my 3 incrementally more hostile calls for him to come to the dinner table from 10 feet away, my darling son could make out just fine what Mario or Luigi was saying for the Wii game he was playing at the time.
After Little Man's player was inadvertently blown to smithereens by an monster of some sort, my son was instantaneously blessed with the miracle of healing.
"I'm ready to eat now!" he chirped as he came barrelling into the kitchen.
He was about ready to plop himself into his seat when he noticed that there wasn't one for him.
"Hey!" he shouted. "Where's my chair?"
I told him that because he was a no-show for his dinner reservation, he had been bumped to second seating.
Little Man had no idea what a "second seating" was, but he was smart enough to figure out that it wasn't desirable. He instantly started howling.
As I took a big, delicious bite of my dinner I explained, "Since you weren't available for this round of dinner, I've decided you can eat whatever is left over after everyone else is finished eating... that is, if I still feel like feeding you then."
"I COULDN'T HEAR YOU!" wailed Little man as he was marched into his bedroom for a timeout.
"Yeah right," whispered Princess G under her breath.
"I HEARD THAT!" yelled the Wii champion.
P.S. The Little Man had to wait 10 horribly, long painful minutes, but rest assured, he got his dinner in the end.
I love the movie "Walk the Line" with Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. Johnny Cash dealed with some serious addicition issues. It was so hard to watch at time because I felt so terrible for his wife and children, yet I wanted him to end up with June Carter.
I Walk The Line
~ Johnny Cash
I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time.
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because you're mine,
I walk the line
I find it very, very easy to be true
I find myself alone when each day is through
Yes, I'll admit I'm a fool for you
Because you're mine,
I walk the line
As sure as night is dark and day is light
I keep you on my mind both day and night
And happiness I've known proves that it's right
Because you're mine,
I walk the line
You've got a way to keep me on your side
You give me cause for love that I can't hide
For you I know I'd even try to turn the tide
Because you're mine,
I walk the line
Last month, I had to do the worst kind of shopping...
(UGH! Just typing "swimsuit" is enough to make me cringe.)
As I tried on suit after suit and just got more and more frustrated.
Noticing the stretch marks on my belly.
And the weird thing that happened to my belly button after 3 pregnancies.
And the criss cross of horrific scars across my belly after being sliced open 3 different times for emergency c-sections.
And my sad, saggy, no-longer-perky boobs.
And my thighs that touch - A LOT.
I thought, "I hate my body. I'm so fat."
But here's the thing: I don't think I'm really THAT fat.
I'm not model-thin (never have been) and I don't look like I did pre-baby.
And unless you are model-thin or a stick or have that nice toned pre-baby body or are a celebrity or have gone through cosmetic surgery, well, you probably would never dream of calling me FAT. You might say I could stand to lose a little weight, but you probably wouldn't use the word "fat".
When I look in the mirror though all I see are the imperfections. I look closely and see it all. All the things that I'd like to change. All the flaws. And I want to go hide under a big mumu. I imagine that I could get this lifted and that tucked and this sucked out.
I could have left with no swimsuit at all and attempted to hide inside all summer. But, alas, I needed a swimsuit to be able to play with my wee ones and to keep them safe at the pool or while boating with friends or even in the backyard with the sprinkler. So I heaved a big sigh and found one that I thought covered enough skin so that I didn't look like I was trying to relive my now non-existent pre-baby-body but was stylish enough that I wasn't mistaken for trying to channel grandma.
After I got home and fretted more about my suit choice, I realized that the only one who examines me that closely is me.
So, when my wee ones asked if we could go outside and play in the sprinkler, I said a loud "YES!" as I decided it was way too hot to be in anything other than a swimsuit. I sat out there with the darling little blessings, in just my suit. No hiding under a massively over sized t-shirt. And just for good measure, I even ran through the sprinkler a little bit too.
I realized that it didn't matter. My children think I'm beautiful and tell me so all the time.
I would love to be more confident and comfortable with myself as I am. My newest goal is to be able to look at myself in the mirror and see the good, not just the bad. I want to raise my three daughters (and one son) with healthy body images and an appreciation for all of the different sizes, shapes, types of bodies.
1) What's the best bargain you've ever found at a garage sale or thrift store? Too many deals discovered to share in one setting. My mom taught me to be a fantastic bargain shopper.
2) Where were you on September 11, 2001? I was in MN, working at a Fortune 500 company. I was covering the front desk for the receptionist who was stuck in traffic. I remember a couple of employees coming into the lobby/office exclaiming they had just heard a large plane had flown into one of the Twin Towers in NYC. The receptionist came in and I followed one of the Senior VPs into the cafeteria where he turned on the television. We sat in horror and watched as the second plane flew into the second tower live. It was hideous!
4) What's the most interesting biography you've read? It's not a biography, but I enjoyed reading "Memoirs of Geisha". It was an interesting (although basically fictional) glimpse into the lives of geishas.
5) What do you order when you eat Chinese food? Favorites include cream cheese wantons, egg rolls and vegetable lo mein
When I came of age (what age, I'm not exactly sure), I made a commitment to myself that anytime I saw children selling lemonade on the side of the road, I would stop and buy some. I think this commitment came out of the deep sense of rejection I felt as a young entrepreneurial child when cars containing what I thought looked like perfectly pleasant people went whizzing by my roadside lemonade stand without so much as a second glance. Those perfectly pleasant looking people always had to take a first glance due to the gi-normous neon-colored poster we used to advertise our delicious nectar (translation: watery kool-aid).
Even as a wee one, I recognized the cruelty of adults who wouldn't humor children trying to make a little extra dough the good ol' fashioned way. I vividly remember the delight I felt when someone would actually pull over and purchase a glass (translation: mini-dixie cup) of our hard made juice. These are among my favorite childhood memories...
So, today I had the opportunity to fulfill this commitment.
I stopped at a children's lemonade stand, instead of driving past. It was the perfect lemonade-stand-day... warm with a slight summer breeze. I almost envied the kids and the carefree way they were making a living. To my delight, inflation hasn't touched the lemonade business (or maybe the recession is hitting it especially hard) because I got a medium-sized dixie cup of watery lemonade for the bargain price of 25 cents... not a penny more than I charged 20+ years ago!
While I hesitated actually drinking the lemonade (you never know where their grubby little hands have been), I was pleased to see the ice cream truck stop in front of their house a few moments later and think that I somehow contributed to them finally being able to buy that bomb-pop popsicle they've been eyeing.
Cake: Zest and juice of 2 lemons (use fresh lemons - it makes a difference) 2 boxes of white cake mix (I prefer Duncan Hines) (I was not paid to say that.) 6 large egg whites 1 t. lemon extract
Frosting: 1 C. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature 1 C. solid vegetable shortening, room temperature 4 boxes (1 pound each) confectioners' sugar 8 T. milk 4 T. lemon juice (This recipe is already doubled to frost a large cake; you could half the frosting recipe)
Decoration: 3/4 C. blueberries, washed and dried 3 C. fresh large raspberries, washed and dried
1. Cake: Heat oven to 350. Coat two 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pans* with nonstick cooking spray. Pour lemon juice into 4-cup measuring cup; add enough water to equal 2 2/3 cups.
2. In large bowl, beat cake mixes, egg whites, lemon zest, juice-water mixture, and lemon extract to blend, about 3 minutes. Divide evenly between two pans. Smooth tops.
2a. Let the helpers get a few licks in.
3. Bake at 350 until cake springs back when lightly touched, about 20 minutes. Let cool on wire racks 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto trays and cool to room temperature. If making ahead, wrap layers when cool in plastic wrap; refrigerate for several days. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.
4. Frosting: Beat butter and shortening in large bowl 1 to 2 minutes until fluffy. Add confectioners' sugar, milk, and lemon juice. Continue beating on low until well blended and good spreading consistency, adding more milk if needed.
5. Decoration: Place one layer on serving tray. Reserve 1 Cup of frosting for piping. Frost layer, top with second layer, frost top and sides.
6. Mark off field for "stars" with toothpicks (approx. 6" across and 4.5" down) and fill in with blueberries. Place seven red "stripes" of raspberries on cake, leaving equal spacing for 6 white "stripes" between the rows of raspberries.
7. Place reserved frosting in pastry bag with star tip. Outline cake with piped stars, and fill in white stripes with piped stars.
8. Refrigerate uncovered to set frosting, then loosely cover with foil and refrigerate until ready to serve.
In my journey through parenthood (our eldest is almost ten years old -- double digits!!!), I have learned a ton, grown more than I thought possible and I may have even impressed myself by making a good choice or two along the way.
When I think of the fears and doubts that plagued me when I was pregnant -- midnight feedings, blow out diapers, ear infections, lack of sleep, choosing the perfect pediatrician, I chortle out loud. I remember thinking how daunting the thought of changing poopy diapers was before the wee ones arrived. If I had only known then that diapers, even awful-stenchy-blow outs, would be the EASY part!
Parenting is a perpetual, never-ending, job -- from worrying to loving, scolding to laughing, frustration to exhaustion. Being a mother is an amazing, rewarding, and challenging blessing of epic-ness. I love my little three girls and boy. I love ALL of the new experiences motherhood has brought into my life. Well, most of them...
Yet, I still feel incredibly overwhelmed a lot of the time. Some days it’s just a small, nagging thought in the back of my head. Other days, I feel like I’m trying to drink from the fire hydrant. (Too bad hydrants aren’t stocked with a lovely alcohol beverage.)
Do we as parents, especially mothers, ever just sit back and feel like we have all of our bases covered? Is there ever a time when we aren’t frantically running through endless checklists in our head? I’m not talking about feeling like our job is ‘finished,’ but whether or not we ever have the ability to take a deep breath, without feeling guilty for taking that split second for ourselves.
Lately I’ve been wondering . . . is it ever enough?!
Forget diapers, feedings, teething, naps, potty training, discipline through tantrums. That, too, is the easy part.
I still feel like I could/should be doing more. Shouldn’t I learn to sew and make cute dresses for their first days of school? Should I be making more of an effort to stay at home with them full-time? (I only work outside the home three days a week.) Would the wee ones get more/better/happier attention if they had me one-on-one all day long?
Ugh! The questions. The thoughts. So many things run through my mind all day long, every single day. Maybe this is a universal thing for moms to go through and I assume that someday soon, I’ll know peace of mind again. (If 18 years from now is considered soon???)
Maybe you’re not all as neurotic as me. Maybe you all have everything figured out. If you do, could you email me? Please? Immediately! Or, perhaps, five minutes ago?
A bubble machine. It is a parent's dream come true. You just fill it's little cavity with bubble solution, push a button and magic happens. Hundreds of big, beautiful, bubbles blowing continuously without you exerting a single breath!
Yesterday, while I was sitting at my computer paying bills and catching up on business, the wee ones were bored and begging for... I don't know what. I wasn't really listening. While I tried to focus on whatever I was doing, I absently ignored their little voices, "Mommy, you wah wah wah wah? Mommy, wah wah wah! Mommy, wah wah wah. Mommy! MA-OOOOOMMM!" I suddenly snapped out of my technology-induced coma. Huh? What? You want me to get your bubbles? Sure...
Our little man (age three) took my hand and led me to the porch. We went outside and I dutifully filled the bubble thingy, clicked the button and headed straight back for my computer where bills or my blog or email were awaiting me.
Suddenly, his sweet, angelic, lispy voice stopped me in my tracks, "Mommy, you want to share this with me?"
Of course I do! I want to share this moment of your childhood and watch you dance under the bubbles, smiling and laughing with joy only a three year old can feel. Bills can wait, but you, my dearest wee ones, are changing faster than the earth is spinning. . . and soon you won't be asking me to share in your small joys.
I love you, my precious children. Keep your joys in the forefront of your lives.