Sunday, December 30, 2007

I've experienced another full circle moment... Close to four decades ago, my parents had the forethought to purchase a wonderful, family friendly, house in the mountains of a tiny ski community. We've been sheltered by that house for every school vacation I had as a student. We often traveled here with lots of cousins and friends. Many of my fond memories of childhood and family are en grained in this building.

Things change and stay the same. How that happens at the same time I will never know....but this is one of those times. I can clearly remember learning to ski here at the age of three. Terrified for my parents to leave me at ski school, terrified of going too fast, etc. I suppose I should confess that I was usually terrified of everything. Fast forward 34 years, in 2005, my son took his inaugural ski lesson at the age of 3. As an aside, I think it's important to know that, at least in this ski town, when you learn to ski, especially a child, you don't use the chairlift, instead, a moving "magic" carpet. Fast forward a few more years and now my oldest is 5 years old. Yesterday was a pivotal day in his existence. It might not seem like a big deal for you, perhaps, it doesn't even seem like a bid deal to my son, but yesterday he went on the chairlift. All the way to the top of the mountain. He became part of that cute troop of little shushers in a row all skiing down in a snowplow behind their teacher. It seemed so matter of fact to him. He was so brave and his instructor said he was so "good at getting on and off the lift as well as making his piece of pie to stop" I don't know why this felt like such a big deal to me. Maybe because it proves that I'm no longer the child but the cheerleader parent. I'm so happy that this is not a struggle that my child had to endeur. I'm so glad he loves the sport and hope that I get to shuss down the hill next to him today.... I hope I can keep up.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Do You Believe in Magic?

C'mon, I know you are singing along and just can't remember the next line. It's okay though...I can't either. The Chicago public library (CPL) has a lot going for it. Of course it has some downsides too...what organization doesn't. However, every once in a while they hit the jackpot. For example, CPL offers free passes to over a dozen of the most popular, and some you may have not heard of, museums in Chicago. That means you don't have to shell out some insane amount for parking in addition to an entrance fee. Even better is ...

The rest of this post can be found HERE and click here for more info on this magician.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Shabbat Shalom

This is so fun. You can't help but smile when you hear or watch it.
Enjoy and Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Memories (Picture This)

First of all, you should know that this is Me. As in, the one swadled quite cozily in the blanket. As memories go, this was perhaps my first. After having my own kids...I think this strikes up a whole batch of new memories. I really love this pic and something about the fact that my Dad is holding me seems extra special, especially in the 60's. Don't feel bad Mom, I know you took the pic and in the way of Baby books, I didn't pull the long straw so thank you for snapping this shot.

Check out other Thursday Themes at Picture This

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Well Done RH Girl

I know we are several holiday past Rosh Hashana. However, this was so well done, with exception to the end, that I had to share. Enjoy - and thanks to ImaBima


Click here for Lyrics.

Monday, November 5, 2007

AbraCadabra....Woof!

Halloween is a fun holiday, but not one I've always loved...even my kids just "sort of" like it. Don't get me wrong...they love candy but my oldest didn't even want to wear his costume. He eventually saw his friends having fun and then put his on and also joined in the action, I just don't know what it is about this crazy holiday. However, the sense of brotherhood between my guys was just what I've always hoped for. My oldest even loved putting the makeup freckles on my youngest...It was pretty great to witness. Perhaps the moon of Halloween is what we needed.
This was my youngest first trick or treating experience and I think this picture captures his awe of the whole experience. Plus, you should know, everytime someone handed him a piece of candy...he handed them one. What a sweety. He also thought the bag was filling up by some magic...perhaps that of his brother who also helped to get the candy in his little bro's bag.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

the Mommy Ballet

I'm not going to even list an excuse as to why I haven't posted in so long. I'm just going to go with the fact that I post when I can and when time and creativity align. I'm not sure if it's PMS or the parenting world of guilt that are attacking me all at once. I'm sure it's all of the above. I feel like I'm disconnected. From myself, my social life and most of all...my sweet boys. How is it possible that I can work and be a good ENOUGH mother, wife, self? It's an internal battle I have constantly. I feel like their childhood is slipping away. How do I hang on to more of their sweet innocent yumminess? How do I make sure I'm preparing them for adulthood, self assuredness and the big world? How does anyone do it?

Last night I was concentrating on focusing only on them. It felt so good. We had a great evening of playdough and made our own animal train with the noises. At bedtime, they both got into their PJs and washed up and then I created the Mommy Ballet. I picked them each up independently and danced with them the way one dances when noone is looking and sang and spun and got on my tipitoes as well as a few dips and kisses. It sure made up for a crappy day and I think we all slept with smiles. My oldest felt the need to conduct a marriage ceremony for my husband and me. It was very cute and then he wanted us to do the "married dance". How precious. I have to remember this feeling so that I can remind myself that I'm not the worst mother.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Happy 2 Year Old Boy

I can't believe my youngest is two. It sounds so cliche' but I really don't know where 2 years have gone. Little one, you are my giggle guy, my easy sleeper. You have few words but communicate so easily. You LOVE to say my name and your hugs and kisses are hypnotically sweet. You have an uncanny way to brighten any sour mood and I relish coming home to hear you run to me, from anywhere in the house, while singing my name. You are patient with your brother, who isn't always the same with you. You are fiercely independent and think that anything your big, 5 year old brother can do, you can too. You make total strangers smile as you emphatically wave and say "Bye" to anyone you see. You easily make a game out of any small task and you adore washing your hands and wiping the table. It's hard for me to believe that just 9 months ago you were learning to walk. Now, I can't get you to stand still. 9 months before that you were just learning to crawl. Who knows where you will be 9 months from now. You never cease to amaze me. Your disposition is beautiful and I hope you continue to infect everyone with your gorgeous smile and your outrageously sweet laugh! I feel so lucky to have you in my life. I can only hope I steer you towards all the skills you need to stay so happy and peaceful.
I love you my sweet...Mom.
*I've also used this for a BSM...check out others HERE

Monday, September 10, 2007

BSM - FUN

This was just a whim...reminds me of a superman movie when they are locked in those plates of glass in the beginning. There is a great background story here...more to come.

Check out other Best Shot Mondays Here.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Dear Mommy

My weekend involved some a lot of cleaning. Too much I guess because my favorite kindergartener let me know with the use of his wonderful new skills.Dear Mommy, Have fun doing cleaning up the house, I (heart) you. -JK, age 5

Monday, September 3, 2007

BSM-Tickled

This summer I had the pleasure of meeting the ONE, the ONLY, Tracey Clark! I was tickled, to say the least. You rock Sister! Please keep us posted on all your NEW and fun adventures.

Check out other Best Shot Mondays Here.

Summer Silliness

This is the time of year when we often reflect on "What I did for my Summer Vacation". At first, I cringed at the thought that I didn't have anything exciting to report. However, with two kids, how is that ever possible. I've done a lot but my kids made me laugh a lot too. My oldest has come up with some real doozies in recent months.

1. Wheat should not be confused with Weed
VS
While on vacation in Colorado we went hiking. While on our nature walk, my oldest pulled a long piece of wheat from the ground and played with it. He pretended he was a cowboy and put it in his mouth, then it magically turned to a sword and a host of other imagination filled objects. At the end of the hike we headed back to the car and along the way came to a street crossing. If you know 5 year olds, then you know how important it is to them to press the elevator button, the crosswalk button and of course YOUR buttons. So, true to form, he pressed the crosswalk button. In doing so, he dropped his stem of wheat. This crosswalk is also a busy bus stop. Many locals and tourists were waiting for the bus to town. It was early and there was a strange hush while we waited. a moment later, I hear my oldest, quite clearly, say, "Mom, I dropped my Weed". All of us were hysterical. Perhaps the setting of a carefree mountain town made this a more comical moment but regardless, it was a great way to start the day.

2. TRAPPED My oldest found a love for the Backyardigans this summer. I have to say, it's a pretty good show. Even I don't mind having to succumb to it at the repeat frequency of a 5 year old. One of his favorite episodes was about being a detective and a spy. They referred to booby traps and spy gear. He was in heaven. A few days later, he was playing with a balloon. I saw he was putting them up his shirt where they found a home in his chest region. I chose to let him play and not really say anything about it's chosen location.

Just then, he came up with such a brilliant & hysterical comment that I'm glad I wasn't drinking anything at the time. If I were, it would have had no choice but to exit my nose.
He said, "Mommy, look, a booby trap" How clever is that?



3. Lake Michigan
There is no doubt that 5 year olds are smart. The other day, we were driving along Lake Michigan and my oldest was inquiring on how the lake gets "full". I made the mistake of getting too technical and tried to discuss evaporation etc. I backed off and discussed that Mother Nature (she) helped to fill the lake with rain. However, he was way more literal. He decided that Mother Nature put 169* buckets of rain into the lake. He was quiet, deep in thought for a moment. Then he said, "Mommy, how does She know when to stop filling the lake? How come it doesn't overflow?" I was speechless. What am I going to do when this child starts having homework?

*169 has been a theme this summer too. It seems to be the BIGGEST number that my oldest can equate to things...all things.

4. Navy Pier
I have to say that, in general, Navy Pier is not my first choice of where to spend time. That said, some of my favorite moments this summer have been at "the Pier". BlogHer goes without saying as well as the fireworks that followed. We also enjoyed an impromptu evening with friends on the Ferris Wheel and then dinner at Riva's. Another day we went to see Cirque Shanghai An Amazing show that really does amaze. My oldest and DH enjoyed an afternoon on the Sea Dog. We visited the Children's Museum and even escaped running up a bill at Build a Bear. I haven't cringed about the cost of parking as we've really enjoyed ourselves during each visit. Who would have thought?

We still have one more official day of Summer vacation. I know it won't be at the Pier, however, kite flying is sure to add some stories to our repertoire.

How was YOUR Summer?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Table for 4 please...

It's amazing how time flies. I feel like I refer to it so much that I should have given this blog that title. My younger son will be blowing out two candles on his birthday cake next month. I'm seeing that o so lovable "terrible two's" eeking its way into our already hectic family life. Hubs and I have decided that our family is perfect with the two babes we've got in tow and I'm delighted with the decision. However, I'd be remiss if I didn't say I had a few twinges of a third every now and again. These feelings have come more quickly recently as I watch my youngest grow and reach new independence at lighting speed.

I've always referred to my oldest as a "spirited" child. He is inquisitive and adventurous but still holds on to some caution. My youngest has been quiet and "along for the ride"....until now. For my youngest, his high chair has been a lifesaver when getting a meal prepared or even getting dishes from the sink to the dishwasher. He'd play happily, enjoy a snack or even color. The highchair is now no longer an option. This devilish little guy can crawl up into the highchair on his own. In one turn of your back you can age 10 years as you, frightened to the core, see him standing on his high chair seat. So, bye-bye high chair, hello booster seat. (with a seat belt thank goodness)

The aggravation the missing high chair has caused has allowed my heart to skip a beat and the corners of my mouth rise to make the wrinkles that smiling have developed on my round face. Last night we sat as a family around the dinner table. A Mom and Dad at either end and a child between us on either side. It was so nice. Our family of four around a dinner table, almost no whining and each participant eating their own food on their own plate. With a fork I might add. This mental picture touched me so. Have I grown to be a mother of two boys? Why does this 1950's image make me feel so validated as a mother. I have to confess, I've quickly updated this image to the 21st century as my husband actually cooked the dinner.

I secretly feel a pain as I watch my boys grow, age, learn and become independent of me. One day they will not need me in the same way and I will need them in different ways too. For now, I hope I can be in the moment, savor their childhood and help them learn to play, laugh and of course remember to wash their hands before they come to the dinner table so we can all share our adventures from the day.

This post is cross posted at Chicago Moms Blog

Click your Heels


I'm probably not the first person to discuss the storms Chicago had this past week. However, I found the storm exhilarating and exciting while also being reminiscent of the TV thriller "The Day After". I happened to be driving along the lake when the storm engulfed Chicagoland. It was eerily similar to what I thought a hurricane would be like. I drove around instant lakes, huge tree parts that littered the streets and avoided people that searched for cover and hung on to light posts so as not to blow away. The storm came in an instant and roared it's ugly head upon an unsuspecting urban oasis. I drove maneuvered, white knuckled, several miles home as I made my way through the obstacle course of the aftermath of the storm.

I arrived home to no electricity and my husband and boys who were armed with a shared flashlight under a homemade fort of sofa pillows. We didn't want to panic the kids and although we didn't have a crystal ball, we intended things would be OK and that we would make this experience an "adventure"....

The rest of this post can be found at HERE

Monday, August 13, 2007

BSM Swingin'

I suppose I'm all about archives these days. I can't believe that this is, my now, 5 1/2 year old when he was just 11 months. I love his giggle, can't you hear it? I love my husbands hand pushing...I just love this moment!

Find other Best Shot Mondays HERE

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Themed Thurs.-FLYING

I know I've posted this picture before (photo credit goes to my big brother), but It was indeed the first pic that came to mind when Tracey mentioned FLYING.

I suppose if you wanted to get even more literal, I could have used this one ~ when I traveled by myself with the boys and caught this break in an otherwise chaotic trip.

Other Themed Thursdays can be found HERE

Monday, August 6, 2007

BSM - CPA in Training

Future CPA...the little one. It's so nice to see my dad do stuff with my kids that he did with me. Growing up, I was not the best math student. My dad would often help me "check the check" at a restaurant. Here, he and my oldest found an error on the bill. Turns out the check was indeed correct but the $1.60 coffee, wasn't written down. What 5 year old doesn't love buttons - calculator.... a great thing for your restaurant bag of tricks.

Check out other Best Shot Mondays here.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

PMS & LIFE Make My Heart Hurt

Have you ever had one of those days weeks when you felt like nothing would ever go right in your world again? I'm hopefully FINISHING up that kind of week. I start a new job tomorrow and I suppose that and a healthy dose of PMS has really made me do some reflecting on my job as a mother, how I am to myself and me in general as a person. First of all, I have to laugh because I just haven't thought of ME as a person in so long. How sad. Another post topic indeed.

Well, DH had to work today. I feel the family is so disjointed when he has to work on the weekends. Today was additionally harried in that my almost 2 year old has been waking at 5am every morning for so long that I can barely function. DH leaves the house about 28 seconds before my youngest starts stirring and then immediately belting out the tears. It's almost as if it's choreographed. Every morning it's the same thing. I scoop him quickly from his bed so as not to wake my oder son. I have dreamy thoughts of snuggling with my young son in my bed as we both drift off to sleep for a couple more hours. EVERY morning I find myself getting more and more cranky as this plan never works. Somehow, in my own self deprecating disturbing way, I blame myself that he's up so early and that I must be a bad mother. My crankyness and raised voice do not help my case any. Don't ask me how I link the two but somehow I make that head trip during PMS each month. Some Visas should never be issued and I wish the governing party of PMS would stop being so generous with theirs.

The fact that it was raining cats and dogs this morning accompanied by phenomenal thunder made me;
a. not want to get out of bed
b. tell my older son that I'd take him to the movie Ratatouille.

I'm sure you aren't surprised to know that 2 hours later the sun had no cloud competition and her rays washed all over the city. Lovingly & thankfully, we met my folks for breakfast and they immediately commiserated and helped me divide and conquer with these two "curious" yet lovable little boy souls of mine.

How do you love two boys so much and feel so much strife in parenting them all at the same time. Two hot emotions that are such different ends of the spectrum. I constantly feel like I want to be "THERE" for them and yet there are so many details that have to get done. Afterall, I'm just one person . . . . who ends up doing an awful lot. How do I do less chores and still have good credit with my kids AND the bank? I'm not talking about keeping a clean kitchen. These are real life chores that must be tended to. So often I imagine playing ring around the rosie with my boys and having carefree times with them. I always find my very next emotion is devastation in that my oldest is starting kindergarten in the fall and his "at home Mommy time" is OVER. I always thought I'd be home with the kids the first 5 years of each of their lives and I feel like I've failed as a Mother because I haven't held to that. Our family needs the double income. Part of me would have died if I left the workforce for 5+ years. However, I feel that sacrificing ME has been a sacrafice that they will feel forever.

There is a family member on my husbands side that keeps a flickr account. They always make me yearn for the ability to give my children the carefree CHILDhood that this extended family is giving to their daughter. Trust me, on a single income, teacher salary they don't have millions in the bank. We aren't striving for that either. However, the choices that they have made are choices speak to their very strong sense of self. Their daughter is learning about life IN life. Getting dirty in Mother nature, exploring through a pumpkin patch or in a fantasy world of pillows and blankets. The images never have a "c'mon, we've got to get going" flavor. Instead, there is a consistent feeling of exploration and wonderment. What else could a parent ask for for their childrens growing up years? The fact that this extended family hasn't embraced our family only makes this wound sting more.

Motherhood to me was always a feeling of "filling". I'm so scared that I've created a void in them. I'm fearful that they don't feel strong in the who of who they are. I'm scared I don't have time to "fix" it. At 5 and 2 I can't tell you how close to 18 they feel. This pressure I put on myself is deafening, suffocating and yet so natural. How have I existed this way for 40 years. I'm at a cross roads and I hate that I feel like I must choose. I can't choose between me and them. They will always win. I just wish I felt stronger and more prepared as an adult to handle and help shape them into the self assured boys and men I strive for them to want to be. I'm terrified of failing. How do I BE the person, mother and wife that I've envisioned. How do I know when I get there? Is it ever too late? Does PMS exaggerate these emotions or help me to remember not to let them slide under the radar...my heart aches for my boys, for me... yet I yearn for a progress report from some all telling, unknown source to inform me that I'm on the right path no matter how my heart hurts along the way.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

BlogHer & the Fire Dept..

BlogHer was all I wanted it to be and more. My life, y'know, reality... on the other hand, got in the way. In honor of Monk, which probably makes me really old, "Here's what happened".

It all started on Thursday Night at the awesome party that SV Moms put together with the help of Yahoo. It was great to finally touch and talk to the virtual friends I've made in the last few months. Our fearless leaders, Jill & Beth, put together bags full of swag that could make any woman cry with joy. From peanut butter to nipple cream, blouses to DVDs, they covered it all. Some highlights for me were that I met two bloggers who actually live just a few blocks from me. What fun. When I first arrived at Viand, I checked in with the hostess. I told her I was there for BlogHer and she lit up and said, "You guys are a fun group". Little did she know. Little did we know. Anyway, I met so many fun blogger sisters that it's really hard to remember. AND, for a girl who was offering to print business cards at the show, I think it's pretty hysterical that I forgot to bring some with me to the party. 2 hours flew by and we were all enjoying succulent food and libations. I was driving and still needed to finalize some details for my booth so I grabbed my bag of swag and went home. (It's hard to be a good girl all the time. The party at the W really sounded like fun)

***Note*** This is where my BlogHer fun filled weekend lets reality sneak in again and again.

Unbeknown to me the valet at Alina drove my car into something white and hard and smooshed in the back left corner of my pretty van. However, at this point, I'm so happy with my new found friends and my bag of swag and the fact that I started blogging that this little fact doesn't present itself to me and the valet, I guess, didn't fee it pertinent. I wish I could say that THIS was a big deal but ahh, this is just icing baby.

I went home, did my work for the show and layed my head for the night around 1am. The fact that the boys were supposed to spend the weekend at my folks AND the reality that that had to be postponed until, perhaps, Saturday didn't even spoil my fun. I adjusted for their care and that worked out pretty well. (always looking for a silver lining)

I arrived at the show on Friday and had the best time. I met Bloggers who I've enjoyed reading for such a long time. My husband and I worked pretty well together in the business card booth and it was SO nice to hear the repetitive positive feedback for just having the forethought of offering the service at the show. He left in the afternoon and I was able to enjoy some of the show and the cocktail party. I was like a kid in a candy store. I was so thrilled to finally meet and talk to Tracey Clark, Pasta Queen, Kristin Chase, Friday Playdate, and so many more. I also got to meet a slew of others that I promise to post links to as soon as I tend to what you are about to read.

I finally hit the wall of exhaustion mixed with giddy about 9pm. I made my way down to the courtesy shuttle (aka luxury motor coach) and tried to get a cab. I was UNsuccessful and decided to hop on the shuttle and after getting dropped off at the "W", planned on getting a cab there. I'm always thinking! Anyway, first stop, City Centre, next stop, The W. The bus driver offered to take me home. Third stop...my house. I would post a pic but he was adamant that he would get in trouble and I hope none of my blog sisters will turn him in as he provided quite a nice service that brought his big bus down my little street as if it were a little coupe of some kind. I only wish my kids could have seen it but they were snoozin' and in for some real excitement the next day.

Finally, my folks got rid of their debilitating viral colds and were able to take the boys for the last day of the show. Hubs and I dropped them off at Nana & Papa's house around 7am and then made our way to the show. We got our booth all set up and even enjoyed some breakfast. Around 9am I got a call from our tenant who lives on the first floor of our two flat saying that she smelled something funny and that she thought she heard an alarm in our apt. I called my parents who, thankfully, made their way, with the kids, to the house and they saw smoke pouring out of everywhere. They called 911 who sent 4 engines, an ambulance and the Chief of the Fire House immediately. When they arrived they didn't know exactly what was causing all the smoke. They broke down the basement door and then a window. Smoke was pouring out so much that 2 days later my neighbor, two doors away, says his house still smells like smoke. The fire department continued up the building. My tenant lost some ceiling in her kitchen. Then, up to our apartment. The source had been found. Somehow the toaster oven had a short or got turned on and my bag of swag was on the counter. Unfortunately, It, along with a bunch of other cool stuff got tossed into the sink and now looks like this....

If you look hard enough, you can see the wonderful shirts and perhaps the nipple cream I was looking forward to checking out. I have to say - My house still smells like smoke - Every surface. However, I believe that that bag of swag may have saved my house. Perhaps it sheltered the fire from reaching the newspaper that was also on the counter. Our house has to be scoured and I have to deal with all the insurance details that go along with a fire but all in all, no one was hurt and we still have our house. (always looking for that silver lining) Honestly, Blogging may have saved my life, my family & our house!

My sweet hubs left the show and went to meet the Fire Dept and clean up lots of the house. I love him for that and so much more. I dealt with what I could from the show and tactually continued to enjoy the show. He finished up and then joined me back at the booth. I was able to witness Amy sedaris' humor. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting a delightful person & blogger, Jen Lemen. The party at the Children's Museum was fun and the fact that I won the Sk*rt giveaway of chronicle books was perfect timing. Tracey Clarks books were left off the list but here is her shout out.) I promise to link to all the titles when I come up for air and close this insurance file.

My hubs and I enjoyed the fireworks on Navy Pier and a bit of Venetian night but finally caved and headed to our hotel to pass out. I awoke to breakfast in bed and then to a party that was donned as my husbands boss's party but ended up being my 40th surprise party. I've never felt more loved in all my life and I can't wait to write all about the party and the "background story" soon. Adjuster is at the door, must run. I LOVE my BLOG!

Monday, July 23, 2007

What a difference a DECADE makes

One of my dearest friends emailed me today to see if I was enjoying my last day of my 30s. I stopped, froze is more like it. It seemed so real to me. On one hand I don't feel like what I envisioned 40 to feel like. I do feel youthful but still too tightly wound. I'm sure that angst ages me and not in a prolific way.

July 24th, 1997 - I was with my family as I celebrated turning 30. Personally, I was preparing to walk the Chicago Marathon as a quest for such an auspicious milestone. I've always set goals for myself. I'm also known to doubt myself and then surprise myself for the same goals. It's quite a contradiction and yet, it somehow adds excitement to my harried life. It's just how I'm programmed.

At the same time I was single. Dating a lot for a change and enjoying a young single city life. My sweet dog was often my after work companion. It was difficult to make my overworked work life mesh with that of a human. All was pretty good but secretly I wanted more...the fairytale. A husband, 2 kids, a yellow house with a front porch and a white fence...pickets optional and of course a dog.

What a difference a DECADE makes.

July 24th, 2007 - I now sit in my home, which, albeit not yellow, is a nice shade of khaki. Although my dog of 12 years has passed I've been blessed with a husband who helps me remember what it feels to be loved. We've shared in the experience of making and raising 2 gorgeous sons who can make me laugh and exhaust me all at the same time. It's probably not such a stretch that 10 years ago I drove a Jeep and now it's been replaced with a minivan. The dog, who will someday join our family WAY down the road has 2 goldfish in it's place for the time being. Work is still too many hours but in a much more fulfilling way. A new position starting next month is very exciting.

My personal goals change frequently. I'm getting much better at making them attainable instead of impressively overachieving. I don't find as much fun in that stress anymore. I'm getting closer and closer to being good to me. Putting myself on the to do list. Resting, eating better, feeling free to laugh, celebrate and not be so goal oriented. Finding the joy in my children while not letting it be the only joy in my life. Balance. I'm working towards balance.

I feel like this last ten years flew. So many life milestones. It scares me that my next decade will be at 50. Only I would plan a mid life crisis. I'll have to add that to the "I'll work on it list"

I did it. I've got the fairytale I longed for. I'll have to be careful what I wish for in this next decade. Being goal oriented can be dangerous. Here's to balance, peace and happiness.
Happy Birthday to ME!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Time Out Harry Potter

I'm not the biggest Harry Potter fan but I do love a kid free night out with my husband. When you add the fact that this was free and before anyone else got to view the film....I tell ya, I got goose bumps. I'm not hard to please, I know. The icing on the cake was the fact that we saw it at the Navy Pier IMax theatre which meant that we saw it on a humungo screen AND...got the full experience of watching a portion of the film in 3D. Way cool.

Oh, I'm sorry, you want to know how all this happened. I wish I could tell you that I knew people or that I was cool or that I was even lucky. Bummer, I can't fess up to any of those. However, good news...you could be cool and lucky too. Check out Time Out Chicago, and a host of other major cities in America and several other countries as well. They have a great feature that allows them to email you free movie premier tickets. We responded to one such email and poof...we were in the VIP line.

I must say, I, like Harry, Ron and Hermoine have certainly aged since the last installment of the series was on the big screen. For the movie rendition of the 4th book, My husband thought it would be great to see the first showing at midnight. I was very pregnant and at the time enjoyed myself but hated everyone, including him, the next day. This 5th book experience was a much improved... better for our marriage too.

I won't waste anyone's time giving away secrets or tidbids about the film. Go see it. You'll enjoy yourself. I did.

PS - Being at Navy Pier got me all excited for BlogHer. Hope to see you there.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Catching up to NEW



The house I grew up in was sold when I was away at my sophomore year in college. My family often jokes about needing to leave a forwarding address for my brother and I to find our way home at Thanksgiving break. It wasn't quite that dramatic but it makes for a better story. My parents have had a home in the rocky mountains for almost my entire life. This is the last standing structure with which our memories are etched in the woodwork. We've owned the house for 32 years but it was built 5 prior to that. Hence, the 1960's avocado counter tops and yellow refrigerator were really starting to bug my mom. Furniture, in our family, found its way here. 1000 miles west of our permanent residences, mine now included, to live out its final days. Nothing in this vacation house matches and we've enjoyed that ease of living. No worries that the kids would ruin something. Everything was perfectly worn in.

Having my own children enjoy this house now is quite bizarre to me. When I brought my oldest here for the first time, 5 years ago, and unpacked his little onesies and other necessities, I broke down at the idea that my child's items were being stored in my baby dresser. As he grew he started sleeping in the brass bed that donned my adolescent room for nearly 18 years. I have sat and played puzzles and games with him that my brother and I enjoyed when we were his age. The list goes on and on. Now that my younger son is coming up through the ranks it's that much more meaningful that these memories live on. I should be clear in stating that it's not the things in the house as much as the feeling in the house. A feeling that has been poured into the fabrics of the items inside. Many items carry a story all their own. The grandfather clock that only gets wound if my father is visiting the house. The dining room table that almost didn't make it through customs when my parents visited Mexico 40+ years ago and has had held holiday dinners, group gatherings as well as gin rummy or scrabble championships. Memories of laughter and family times are in every support beam and every mismatched, out of date appliance and accessory.

Last year my parents decided to level the house and build a new more expanding family friendly monstrosity. NooooOOO I exclaimed. I shared my above thoughts with them and they realized that they too had similar attachments to these peeling stucco walls. We compromised at renovating the existing structure. Keeping the footprint and updating much of the inside. My mom has a knack at altering a space while keeping the end users purpose of the space in mind all the while. I trusted her implicitly. After all, she too was attached to the memories of the house and the family times it stood for. Heck, she started this whole family experience that has now touched three generations. I knew we were in good hands.

In the past year she has made several renditions to the blue prints. Made even more trips to home imporvement stores to pick out appliances and countless trips out here to pick finishes, oversee construction as well as make sure that all was going as planned. It was not easy but she did it. This was not something any of us were willing to leave a stranger to handle. She willingly agreed to take on the mammoth details that a project like this requires - all the while living 1000 miles away.

My husband and I joined my parents out here last week. We seem to always find our way out here to spend the 4th of July holiday together. We love the cheesy small town parade and all the kid friendly activities. The clean fresh air is a pleasant relief from the city lives we all live. We are still in awe of the mountain peaks that make up our front yard view as well as the safari we sometimes see on the road at anytime of the day. The healthy activities and all the time we spend outside in the pool or with nature are endless. Although we mimic a family friend in saying that this is a magical place...I think I agree with him now and it really is no joke. This place is paradise and that is how I felt about this home. I'm a homebody so I get attached to where I live. I was fortunate to even call this vacation home my primary residence for 5 years after grad school. That, of course was a lifetime ago.

This trip was the first time I had seen the "new and improved" version of our family retreat. It is incredible! My mom did an amazing job. My father and I find ourselves saying, "It's like a new house but it's the old house". That was exactly what we were going for. I have to say that it's nice to go to the bathroom and actually be able to close the door all the way. Especially with a toddler running around. The water pressure is a huge improvement. The furniture is mostly the same. Some of the more tired pieces have found new homes. The kitchen is the most drastic change. Although it is all glammed out, it still has a rustic and homey feel. I see a picture of my son and I at the same age in a similar field of wild flowers that donns the wall. Special materials have been salvaged for memories sake and used in different ways. I love all the new doors and the warmth of the heated floors in the cold morning. The fact that all the towels match is bizarre but kind of nice. I feel like the house got a face lift. It's the same soul on the inside but the exterior has been refreshed.

We've so enjoyed the visit thus far. We can't wait to add new memories to these new materials. The fact that wireless internet is available everywhere in the house isn't anything to baulk at. I still go to the old trashcan location and find a refrigerator there instead. I have yet to find all the new light switch placements. However, I have to admit that this is my third day here and I'm just now emotionally catching up with the new digs.

Thanks Mom...you and Dad have created a legacy for us to cherish for many many many more years to come.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Beach

Check out another place where I post. I've got an entry over there today.

Friday, June 22, 2007

GLEE

Best Shot Monday now has a new feature. Themed Thursdays. This weeks theme was GLEE.
Glee: Joy; merriment; mirth; gayety; paricularly, the mirth enjoyed at a feast.
Here is my oldest on his 5th birthday. He is enjoying one of those ridiculously huge suckers that you would otherwise say N-O to at the store. I must say...he REALLY enjoyed it way more than I would have ever anticipated. That made me filled with GLEE. It didn't hurt that he barely dented it and 2 days later it found it's way to the trash. More Glee.


If this isn't pure GLEE, I don't know what is.
Also taken on his brothers birthday - with reminents of cake still on his face.

Monday, June 18, 2007

"muff " IN

My son and I were enjoying some together time. Just the two of us. It was nice to focus just on him and he on me without other distractions interfereing. We stopped at Caribou for a muffin and some water. Time was tight, for a change, and I made an exception and allowed us to enjoy our muffins in the car on the way to our next errand. When we arrived at the next location we chatted a minute before exiting the car. I said something like, "I sure love the tops of the muffins". He agreed and thought it was funny that I actually had a name for this portion of the muffin....Muffies. We didn't really talk about it any more.

A few days later he was enjoying yet another muffin with my Mom. He went into much detail with her discussing the fact that Mom likes the Muff- not the -IN. Get it... Muff - IN(referring to the lower portion still in the wrapper) It sort of loses it's simplicity and charm when I start writing and explaining the whole thing here. It was a fun moment none the less. Kids really do say the darndest things. Actually, now that I think about it. Moms tend to photograph the darndest things. Who would have thought I'd setup and take a picture of a half eaten muffin, only to write about it later.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

8

As of 6pm CST, I will have been married 8 years. EIGHT years. Wow, what a reflective place. We've made it through paper, cotton, leather, fruit, wood iron and copper. We certainly don't follow any gift giving guideline. However, as we fall upon bronze this year it seems fitting to present my mate with a gift to show what a balancing act marriage can be. The little human figures that make up this visually simple 4 letter word actually displays what a human feat it is to compromise and contort to make this union of marriage work some days - especially when kids are involved and you add a healthy dose of exhaustion. I must say that DH and I have had our share of knock down, drag out disputes. What couple hasn't? We have persevered. The infamous seven year itch didn't get the best of us either. I believe we are in it for the long haul. The good, the bad and the ugly. Lately we've had a wonderful dose of good. The kids are great, they show love and compassion towards themselves, each other and to us. We are communicating better. Our house has been transformed recently to a sea of (more) calm than chaos as well as more organization. I don't know exactly what to chalk it up to other than all the stars have aligned and we have worked our backsides off to make these things a commitment and not just wishful thinking. It's another thing I never knew or expected about marriage, parenting and growing up.

I endured a long bought of post pardon blues with my second child. It was a long haul to get to the light at the end of the tunnel. However, I can say that I made it. I finally look to myself as the adult and don't pine for my childhood days to be repeated. I'm looking to the future and it looks good. Fun, Hopeful. HAPPY.

With a 40th birthday 40 days away....what more could I ask for? More years I guess....especially when things are feeling so right. it sure beats the alternative.

I'm happy.

Friday, June 8, 2007

I'm Good at ...

I spend so much of my time beating myself up over what faults I have. I'm going out on a limb here to investigate what I'm good at, for a change. I often see posts on others blogs regarding things that make them quirky or have a negative self image to them. Heck, I'm guilty of it too. It's an attitude too many women take regarding themselves. I know I'm guilty of it on many occasions. However, this is a post to share what I feel confident I'm good at. Five examples feels like a tall order but I'm taking the challenge none the less.

1. I have an amazing "stick to it" attitude. The shear fear of failure will get me through just about any task.

2. I am excellent at parallel parking. Stick, Automatic, big van or compact. I'm your gal. I've been known to get out of the passenger seat only to get in on the driver side to park.

3. I have learned several computer programs by hands on, trial and error. Excel, Quickbooks, Photoshop, Word, My Publisher, Roxio Video editing etc. It's just the way I learn best. These types of books are great for reference but they just slow me down and confuse me.

4. Returning...this is not a trait most are proud of. However, I can return just about anything to just about anywhere. I'll have to include selling stuff on Craigslist here as well. My father jokes that if anyone stands still too long they risk being sold too. It's like business... (check out #7) I just love the banter and the victory over a good sell or return.

gosh....I'm really staring at this #5 wondering what else to list. This is so sad.

5. Mothering. I think I'm a great mother. FAR from perfect, mind you, but I have a mothering personality. I have an uncanny sense of how people are feeling without them having to tell me. My nickname in college was mother. One that I'm not always fond of but it was endearing none the less. I can tell exactly when my kid are going to melt down and how to soothe them. When to tease them and when not to. Along with Mothering I'm very good at organizing. A group, my office, a project...Again, it's just how I think and it comes in handy while mothering quite often.

6. Creative. My creativity is usually electronic these days. Printed books of my images for different events. Videos edited to include a keepsake for some celebration or another. And, I've recently acquired a 19" digital frame that hangs in our kitchen to display my images and our family's continued expanded memories. My youngest has started to learn names of many of our family members just by watching this frame.


It's so like me to actually list 6. Had to prove something. What I'm proving I don't really know.

So, what are you good at? Post it and link it back here!
The start of the positive revolution.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Wait for ME!

STOP WORLD!
These last few weeks have come to a screeching culmination. I want to play the biggest game of freeze tag where everyone freezes and I get everything put away & processed. I need to get caught up on errands, projects, chores, work and organizing. Hey you, no cheating. I don't have anymore days to borrow from or free time to use to do these mundane things. I feel like I can't breathe sometimes. Even a vacation seems like too much work right now. I just want everything in its place and every surface clear. I'm making decisions that involve many layers and I'm not thinking clearly. It's so not like me. I hate my cell phone. I just want to be free!

Then - I really want to move at lightning speed to keep up with everything and start to work on ME! Is this ever going to happen?

I must go...
rush to the next task...
hurry......
Someone PLEASE press pause for me.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Some Assembly Required



Many people have theories on how a couple should "test" their relationship before they walk down the isle. Some experts suggest counseling while others offer a checklist of discussion topics before knowing that this soul mate is "The One". I've decided that assembling furniture or toys together should be added to the list. Just think, IKEA could have a new tag line..."Swedish furniture, meatballs AND a litmus test of your relationship...all in One warehouse!"

My Husband and I will be married 8 years next month and, like other couples, we have had our share of struggles. There have luckily been more ups than downs to our history. Whether these difficulties have included family, finances, work schedules in relation to family time, rotating the tires, social plans or disciplining the kids. they became yet another measurement from which to test the strength of our relationship. We could have easily thrown in the towel on some of these shared experiences but alas we are still going for a strong shared future together. In hindsight, I think that some of these struggles have actually made our union stronger, even though, at the time, I would have thought differently.

Our communication has always been a beacon for us. It's simple really...I tell him we need to communicate better and he remembers to do so. : ) All kidding aside, we both work very hard at keeping each other in the loop as best we can. This is a tall order but one we are committed to working at. We, and I mean that in the best sense of the word, know that when WE don't know whats happening in each others lives, WE start to crumble.

Over the holiday weekend I purchased a new patio table. It amazingly accommodates 2 more people in a smaller footprint. Thanks to Craigslist, I recently sold our older mismatched, too large set. I started assembly by myself earlier in the day but the heat meant we had to head to the park with the boys and spend some time playing in the water. However, I'm very goal oriented and knowing that the project was only half done meant that I really REALLY wanted to get the new table together before we went to bed. My husband offered his assistance quite willingly.

We have put many things together. We've had numerous opportunities to get a system down pat. I like to make sure we have all the pieces identified before we start. He likes to peruse the instructions. He gets MY drill * and revs it a few times as if it were a handlebar to a motorcycle.


(Zoom in on that magnetic tip feature...Love it!)

Generally, I then read each step to him. He does that step while I prepare the pieces for the next step. It really works quite well. It took us 2 cribs, 1 desk, many bookcases and a changing table to really get this all down pat. However, we learned that drawers are tough and it's ok to say, "I don't know where this piece should go". Sure we've had our spats. Sure we've cursed the directions and of course we shared a few 4 lettered words louder than under our breath. BUT, we've always succeeded. We haven't even had to call the helpline if it was available OR had any extraneous pieces left over. We persevered the tough times. A real testament of our relationship.

So, Dear Hubby, thank you for helping me with the table. I hope we have many more opportunities to enjoy the result of our hard work as well as to continue our team work attitudes. May it be a lesson we instill in the boys.
------------------
*I only make it a point to say MY drill because I love tinkering and fixing things and have my own, Do it HERself tool set that has remarkably fixed most everything in our house. Yet again another quirky non traditional quip about me. My husband did not own even a hammer or a roll of Duct tape when I met him. (Correction: my husband has informed me that he did indeed own these items, just couldn't necessarily find them under the mounds and piles in his domicile.)
I'm not judgin'...I'm just sayin'. : )

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Waking up to M*O*M

My youngest (20 months) has about 4 or 5 words that perhaps only I recognize. We had an awful time with him and painful poops for almost his entire life. For the first year plus a few months he would wake in the morning, and from his naps, screaming in pain from these dreadful poops. We finally got it under control and lately he has been babbling in the morning instead of screaming. It is fun to listen to him on the monitor. We certainly don't miss, what we donned, "the G-d forbid I'm on Fire" scream...nor does he.

Well, this morning I got the treat of all treats. He woke up gently and was happily playing. Then he broke into a little sing songy... "Momma" (with a touch of come and get me in his voice) He was checking out the cause and effect a little while enjoying the independence and comfort of hanging out in his crib for a bit in the morning. He discovered how to start his John Lennon music mobile as well as experimenting with some fun with the crib mirror. I thoroughly enjoyed his peaceful play and of course I couldn't wait to go and get him and change the O so poop plentiful diaper I'm greeted with each morn.

Joy O Joy....NO SCREAMING. I'll take this wake up call any day.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Chinese Freeze Tag - MEME

I was tagged by Barely Controlled Chaos and was initially excited...'my first tag". However, this is a daunting task. I want to come up with things that are exciting. What if I realize I'm not exciting. What if others think of me as dull? I won't know unless I dive in I guess. So, here I go. Here are some interesting facts about me. Who knows, maybe no one will even read this.

Here are the ground rules so to speak: I write 10 interesting (ahem…you decide how interesting they really are!) facts about me and/or habits of mine.- I’ll “tag” someone else and then they have the option/obligation to write their own MEME.

1. I lived in Aspen, CO. for 5 years. Taught skiing, worked at a posh 5 star hotel and a mom & pop ski store. I managed a deli (not having any food handling experience) and left the corned beef out overnight. I worked at the local public school and city daycamp and had a thoroughly amazing time skiing over 100 days each season and hiking, snowshoeing, swimming etc every summer. I saved the most amazing dog from the pound who was my companion for close to 12 years. People often stopped me on the street to tell me how great he seemed...They were right.

2. When I returned to my hometown from Aspen, I decided that the concrete jungle wasn't going to get the best of me and decided to walk the Chicago Marathon and raise money for Leukemia along the way. They had an amazing program and I fulfilled my dream of completing a marathon by my 30th birthday.

3. While in Aspen I hiked to the top of the tallest peak in Colorado (14,444 ft) with my best friend and her now husband. We were so exhausted when we got back home that we went to a movie that night and she lost her camera proving we were at the summit. We KNOW we were there and that's that. I believe I have an athlete living inside of me. I'm very well coordinated and have amazing balance. I can't imagine what my body could do if it were "normal" I'll let you know when I get there. I know it will shock me.

4. I have felt that I am defined by my weight for my whole life. It's a hangup I can't seem to shake. Nor an attachment I can't seem to disconnect from. I recently found over 1000 slides from my childhood and had them digitized. I was absolutely shocked to see that I was of normal size. My memory is way different. I am so sad at how much of my life this burden has taken up. I feel closer to a solution now, more than ever. My solution will not include pills or surgery.

5. As long as we are talking about being fat, I think it's a great time to discuss my favorite snack. It's pretty much a staple in our home to have tortilla chips & salsa. A splurge would be to have fresh guacamole. Yum!

6. I was born with only two bottom center teeth not 4 (go look in mirror...you probably have 4) I have the most difficult time getting my mouth numb with novocaine. I've stumped 2 dentists and at least as many oral surgeons.

7. I love business. I love to talk about business and entrepreneurial ideas. I love to know how things are made. I love to be creative in making a buck. I love to streamline processes. I love a good blue pen. I love cleanly shaven legs. I love the smell of my children's hair after it's washed. I love lilacs & tulips. I love my digital camera. I love fixing things & using my own tools. I love being prepared. I love a clean car. I love to learn something new. I love technology. I love using "....". I'm sill learning to love me.

8. I don't recycle. Nor is my city properly set up for it. I haven't done anything to help change it.
9. I often worry that I'm not a good enough parent. I often wonder if there is a litmus test to check such a thing. It is often a very black and white discussion I have with myself. I often say often too often.

10. I always cry in movies when a dad walks his daughter down the aisle

11. I love John Cusack and Zach Braff. The humor and sensitivity they portray seem to be a great combo.

OK, in hindsight, it wasn't so bad. 11 just to prove to myself that I don't have a limited amount of interesting things regarding me. That's so me...having to "prove" something. I think I clarified some stuff for me along the way. I hope you will try it...I hope you found one or two things of interest. If you are reading this, consider yourself tagged. I don't have the heart to pawn this pressure on anyone else. If you do your own Meme...please comment here with a link to it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Happy 5th Birthday

My Dear Sweet First Child....
I can't believe you are 5 years old. I don't know why 5 is such a big deal. Somehow it just is. So much has happened in this quick time frame. I'm celebrating too. YOU made me a Mom 5 years ago. What a special gift that was, and continues to be. I like to think I have taught you many things. You have taught me too. Although I have taught you how to walk, rationalize, question and more, you have taught me that my heart can get even bigger. You continue to amaze me with the questions you think up and the sweetness you have in you towards me, your Dad, your little brother. You have shown such compassion towards intangible concepts too like mother nature, infinity, G-d, love, heaven, death just to name a few. I was lying in bed last night trying to figure out where 5 years have gone. It seems like just yesterday we were bringing you home from the hospital and trying to figure out how to change your diaper without you peeing on us. I wonder how many diapers I've changed in these past years.

Although I sometimes feel extremely taxed by you and your brother, I can't imagine wanting it any other way. You see, being a Mommy makes me want to make you and your brother feel safe and feel like you are getting what you need in any given moment. I know that sounds like a tall order and believe me...it is. Sometimes I think you need to be more independent and that is the hardest need for me to fulfill. I want you to still be my first little baby and yet I want you to be sufficient and continue to trust what daring moves you can trust yourself to do safely. Lately those have been all connected to your new bicycle. I love watching how rugged you feel on your new bike. The training wheels have given you a sense of security that I sometimes wonder if I have missed in instilling in you. You like to show me how you can ride while standing up and sometimes while you ride you like to take your hands off the handle bars for a quick second. I'm certainly not ready for your training wheels to come off anytime soon. You also love to jump. Nana & Papa gave you a mini trampoline for your birthday. You make up all different jumps that include straight legs, spinning around, closing your eyes, arms up and sometimes you like to put all of them together. It is always so nice when you give your brother a turn. You gently hold his hand so that he can get down safely.

I'm a worrier... I worry that I'm not spending enough time with you. Is there even such a thing? Is it ever possible to spend enough time with you AND enough time with your brother? How do Moms of many more multiple children do it all? Last night, while I was thinking about you and how you've grown, I was trying to come up with ways for us to be together and play. PLAY...not my strong suit. I don't know why that is so difficult for me. My goal for now is to focus on letting you teach me about how to play. No agendas, not too much framework...just relaxed interaction. Somehow I was thinking that it needed to involve getting dirty in the back yard digging up worms or something. See, I feel like I need to map it out. I'm going to work very hard at not working so hard. I want to spend this summer with you, when you are not at camp, and do carefree things. Wouldn't it be fun to visit the beach, try gardening, make bubbles, swim, make/eat Popsicles, have a lemonade stand and throw water balloons? Those all sound like such fun and the makings of wonderful memories to add to those we've already collected.

You are getting bigger, taller and wiser. You can count to 100. You can count to 20 in Spanish and 10 in Hebrew. You are starting to read and spell. You make the most wonderful cards and you recently learned how to cut a heart out of a folded piece of paper. The wonderment of that was priceless. You showed me at least 7 just at breakfast alone and were very happy to announce that the leftover paper made a beautiful frame for another project. You love to fold. You told me the other day, when you were folding a towel, that, "When I grow up I can work in a store and fold clothes and things for the customer people." You are so delicious I can't stand it. You love to sing. We make up songs and you like to sing in your Jacob Made Up Language. The best part is when you try to teach me these songs. You love to dance too. I love it when I put on the music and we all dance together.

You seemed to have fallen in Love this year. A wonderful girl.."B". I think it's funny that you were infatuated with that letter a few years back. You often tell me that you are going to marry her and that she is "Your Love". You are disappointed when you can not sit next to her and are always eager to remind me that your wedding will be at 7:30. She is a wonderful girl and part of an awesome family...I'm so happy that you are happy but perhaps you could put marriage on the back burner for now.

As for a future profession, you've had lots of top pics...Never the traditional fireman, cowboy, policeman etc. that I normally associate with little boys. Sometimes you mention wanting to be a garbage man so that you can ride while standing on the back of the truck. Sometimes you want to be a "payer" (cashier) so that you can press all those buttons. However, you really give me run for my money when it comes to negotiating. Daddy and I often say that you will be a lawyer when you grow up. You always see a new angle to a situation and I hope that will serve you well one day. Right now, it's very exhausting. : )

We drive by a large police station on our way to school. You always have many questions regarding this facility. You constantly ask why they have a truck police car and when I ask you what you think they use it for, your most recent comment was, "Maybe a bunch of police people go to a play together at a theater". I just about fell out of the car. First, I have to commend you on always saying "people". Rarely do you say policeMAN or WOMAN. I find this very interesting. But the fact that you picked a play in a theater was so advanced. I love this creative thinking of yours.

Daddy is coaching you in TBall this year. You are a New York Yankee. It is so nice to see you guys have so much fun. He bought each of you a new mitt and a bunch of baseballs. Everyone comments on what a great swing you have. Although you say you are bored in the outfield...Daddy says that you guys are working on grounders and last week you said you had fun out there.

All in all I think you are generally a happy kid with a lot going on his head. You are always thinking, analyzing and measuring a situation. You are usually kind to your brother and I LOVE to watch you teach him new things and see how excited you get when he does something for the first time. You have a big heart and I love to see you grow, learn explore and teach. I love you so much from here to "affinity" (cuz you are just too cute when you can't say INfinity)

Happy Birthday my sweet first born.
Love,
Mom

Monday, May 21, 2007

Best Shot Monday

We were asked this week..."What tangible object makes you feel like a Mother?" I was thinking about this alot, especially with my son turning 5 recently. I was getting very nastalgic and attempting to remember all the details of his first year etc. I decided that since I had the pleasure of growing and carrying both boys inside of me that their belly buttons were partly my skin. That is something we share that no one else can buy, wrap or package.

One Sunday night we started photographing all our belly buttons on a whim....I never knew I'd be posting them all here. Dad is here too because we wouldn't have these perfect belly buttons without him. If you are looking for something a bit more traditional...please check out this great neclace too.

And as always...check out other BSM here

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Mixed Messages

People often send out emails that remind us of yest er year. The remember when type. However, it occurred to me that our kids are getting really mixed messages as to today's inner workings and I can't help but wonder what type of "yest er year" content they will see in their future.

For example, I noticed that when my older son plays 'store' and 'cashier' that he often pays me for visiting his establishment. Which, by the way, doesn't sell socks. Anyway, I didn't think much of this in the past couple of years until he was helping me at checkout at the real store yesterday. I paid, as I usually do, with my debit card and selected cash back on keypad. AHA!, no wonder the poor child thinks he should pay me at the store. He thinks we get paid to shop and collect our groceries. This is so skewed. I tried to explain to him but he just got so intrigued in saying "cash back" that I lost stamina and let him have his almost 5 year old outlet of repetitiveness.

I'm already scared by the world we are leaving for our children. However, if, by chance, this world is around for them, how will they comprehend the workings of day to day life when all they do is push a button for their desires to be presented to them. How in the H_ _ _ are we supposed to expect them to understand patience when immediate gratification is available to them everywhere? I sometimes feel like I am fighting a losing battle. I'm still in it....still fighting and hope, everyday, that both my boys get a nice blend of the calmness of yest er year as well as the forward technology of tomorrow.

Monday, May 7, 2007

What kid needs R&R?

Note: This photo was taken by my Big Brother

I love when spring feels like summer. This was one of those moments when I was able to really have fun with the kids and not worry about all the othe stuff we worry about. Trust me, it's no beachfront getaway but then that would make me worry about bathing suits and such so...This made me smile & relaxed and therefore...my entry for this weeks Best Shot Monday.

* I encourage you to click on the picture to see the larger version...it's bound to make you smile too.

Check out other BSM at Picture This

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Say "UNCLE"

My big brother just left from a 5 day visit with us. Here is a Top 5 list of things we all learned in his quick visit.

1. 2T long pants can be dubbed as clam diggers on a 4T child.
2. A yo-yo is a great toy for an almost 5 year old...NOT for one who is 1.5.
3. Whining is more irritating when it's visually annoying a NON parent.
4. Visitors who bring huge bubble wands are heroes to 5 year olds.
5. Having an Uncle to distract his nephews while you do something else is priceless.

We hope to see you soon Uncle P.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

I'm BAAaak

OK, OK, OK...I've been out of touch for a while. Thank you so much for the many email messages I received from many readers I didn't even know I had. Here is a little insight as to why it's been so long since my last entry.

...School Daze Life CRAZE...

Living in a big metropolitan city has lots of bonuses...You can always do or get what you want or need. In my city, there are lots of parks. We are fortunate to have a great residential area near the city stuff. However, if you want to educate your children....take a deep breath and clear your schedules and perhaps your credit cards. Notice I didn't say pick up and move to the 'burbs. The burbs have been a very last resort for our family. We love being able to walk most places and the thought of using the car for everything is enough to make me want to scream. Don't get me wrong. there is nothing wrong with the suburbs. I am a product of them myself. Although I often dream of the vast back yards and horizontal rather than vertical living that is available there, I still resign myself as a city girl. Ah, but then I went and had kids and decided that educating them might be a great idea. . . . here starts the problem.

Picking an institution to educate my children has been a 2+ year endeavor. Having been an educator myself I thought I had a good handle on what to look for in a school. In hindsight, I don't think anyone can be prepared for this monumental task. My husband and I had a few hurdles to get over. For example, we had to decide if we were ready to trust our cities public schools to teach our children? Do we need to find a private school to do the educating? If so, do we want the private school to be religiously focused? It took us some time and lots of school visits, aka missed work and schedule juggling. We visited school fairs and talked to lots and lots of parents both in this same process and those who've, excuse the pun, graduated from it. The only thing that is consistent with all these parents opinions is this....this process is really tough. Many also said, "It all works out somehow."

We applied to one school last year for Jr. Kindergarten and were rejected. It still boggles my mind to actually set myself up for such a feat but hey, space in a city is limited and someone has to draw the short straw. After the schools organized play date for my son and informal interviews with the admissions director and my husband and me - it was tough not taking this rejection personally.

This year we focused on kindergarten and decided to look into our local public school. It seemed as if the scores were improving steadily in the last couple of years. That was promising. Class size wasn't too big, but only guaranteed to be 32:1 or less. That is a lot of little kids with one teacher. Forget the fund raising....show me a school who doesn't need fund raising and I might just pass out. The demographics were pleasantly diverse and the thought of walking to and from school was heavenly. Low and behold, at the school visit, I learned that classes were often broken up into smaller groups and portions of the students were taught reading by the librarian or, at some schools, the gym teacher. I'm no Einstein but I'm pretty sure that the education for librarians and gym teachers does not necessarily include the fundamentals for reading. And, again, just by the numbers here...I don't see my child pulling the long straw on the individualized attention concept either. The public school is not a bad options, rather, for us, our second option.

In the eleventh hour I cleared my schedule and looked at one more private school - Religiously based. I've been to a few events that were organized by this school. I had always felt so welcomed and warm. This was a true light bulb moment for me. I knew that the parents participation and comfort in the child's learning institution was of utmost importance. Getting to know the administration and learning that some of our friends also sent their children to this school was very refreshing. This school has its own setbacks. It's locationally challenging - carpool a must. It's a newer school and we'd be slight guinea pigs. However, it's exciting to think about the aspect of helping to build a new institution. We went for it. We applied and waited. And Waited. Oh, and we waited. Then there was spring break so we waited some more. School visits to my sons preschool meant more waiting and then.... ... ...

After 2+ years of much struggle, anticipation and grief as to whether we were going to HAVE to move to the 'burbs.... after so many open houses for homes in both the city and the burbs that I've lost count...I got the call I'd been waiting for. "We would like to welcome you to our school. We'd be so pleased if you'd join our family". Music to my ears. "They'd be pleased?" They have no idea how pleased we would be to be welcomed to their family. So, we sucked it up. Paid the deposit and poof. We have a school. We have a means, in the city, to educate our children. We couldn't be more giddy with relief. I guess it all does work out somehow. Sometimes I have to pinch myself that this is all for Kindergarten.......I keep hearing, "No Child Left Behind". But this was close. What will happen when we need a high school or even a college. Hoping that process won't be as daunting is naive but even I am not sweating that yet.