Thursday, March 26, 2009

These owls, "Big sister" and "Little Brother" were presents I made for Lucy, who will be getting a new brother soon.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Keeping It Real, Monday

When you're a mom, your need to pee is never top priority. Like today for example. I came home from multiple errands and I really had to go. When I got into the bathroom there was a bunch of TP in the toilet so I flushed first. I watched the water rising higher and higher in the bowl and panicked. Would cleaning up an overflowed toilet waylay my chance to pee? Thankfully, by quickly grabbing the plunger and plunging while flushing, nothing overflowed. Wouldn't it just figure though that when a mom really has to go, right before she can the toilet overflows so she has to clean it up first?

Sunday, March 08, 2009

"Hello, I'm here!"-Pee Wee Herman

In my life I have owned three bikes: my orange bike complete with banana seat from the 70's, the miniature blue Schwinn ten speed my dad bought me when I was eight, and the green mountain bike I got right after college. Though I put many many miles on the mountain bike, my arms and wrists usually felt sore because of the angles of the handlebars and how I leaned on them when I rode. It was a mountain bike that never saw a mountain, poor thing.

I knew I wanted something different this time around as far as the bike's design. There are many options these days, from Cruisers to Hybrids to Comfort Bikes. I knew I didn't like the frames on certain comfort bikes, the Flirt or the Townie for example, but I liked the idea of a comfort bike because of how upright you sit on them. They are designed like a mountain bike but intended for bike paths and roadways.

Meet my new bike, a Novara Metro which we got yesterday at REI with our dividend. After the guy sized me, I took the Metro out for about twenty minutes and was amazed how comfortable it was. It has a nice assortment of gears that are easy to change. Its shocks absorb bumps in ways that further preserve my comfort. It's lightweight to allow speed. The brakes were super responsive, which speaks to how much my old brakes had degraded.

I can promise you, the Metro and I, we're going to have some good times.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Dear Avery,
My degree is not in early childhood, it's in English, and these days my limitations for parenting a three year old are very clear, making me tired (oh so bone tired) at the end of the day. They say motherhood is about choosing your battles. The following are battles I haven't chosen that are starting to deteriorate my sanity.

You are a geologic force who loves moving stuff. You could win trophies for rearranging our world into little packages and piles, filling suitcases and purses and bags and baskets with collections of objects that all belong elsewhere. You aren't happy until all the toys from the toy closet are taken out. You feel completely entitled to have access to everything, and objects disappear from places they once were only to reappear in arrangements like the one seen above. I say, "Girlie, it's time to set some limits relating to stuff."

Let's talk about my closet. Yes, the closet in your room has my things in it, and that probably isn't fair to put it in there and then ask you to leave it alone. Still, that doesn’t mean those are your things to play with. The things in my closet need to stay in my closet.

The things in my bedside table drawer also need to stay in my drawer. My alarm clock and book light need to be there for me to use. When I can’t find them I feel frustrated. The linens, blankets, etc. should be found in the linen closet. I’m the one who has to fold them up and put them away if they are taken out. Great great grandma's desk in the hallway is also off limits. The chair is too old and fragile to be used as a throne.

If you want to bring things into the bike trailer or car, then you must bring them back out. You may bring enough things to fit into your small backpack.

Another battle we seem to have regularly that I'm so done with is shoes. When you wear shoes in the car, keep them on your feet until we get back home. Do not take them off before we are there and then take them off again before we get home. Please don't leave them in the car and walk inside barefoot. Speaking of the car, when we get in, help me out a little, instead of getting rigid and impossible so I can’t fasten your seatbelt around you. I know you're supposed to be exerting some independence but does the independence you demand have to be in all caps and boldface type with many exclamation points following it?

Given your fiercely independent status, I guess it's very normal that you are hard pressed to listen to anything your mother asks of you. An example: today I said you couldn't use a permanent marker, but you continued to reach for it. Eventually mommy flipped her lid. When we were on the steps together taking a break to calm down, you chose to headbutt me several times in the face. Later, we had another run-in. Don't think I will respond positively if you call me "Stupid mommy" and then ask me to do something for you. And this seems to be another common pattern in our day: if you've just woken up and you need something, tell me in a regular voice, don’t communicate every single desire in a whine.

Despite my complaints about your behavior, I realize that most of our problems have to do with me and my response. You are just three after all and each of the above behaviors, however trying, is NORMAL. I will be consistent. I will speak to you calmly. I will stop giving my attention to the cotton picking computer, (which even I resent for its magnetic force) and start investing time in teaching you the behaviors I want you to exhibit. I will strive to give you more opportunities for independence, because I believe that is what you need. I will say what I say and mean it. I will spend time with you and strengthen our connection.

All I know is, when I look in the mirror I see a very aged stranger looking sadly back at me, so something must change, for both our sakes.

I love you and want to be the best parent I can be.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Sun Sun Sun

The Northwest is supposedly very vitamin D deficient, but don't have to be on a day like today. I walked Julia to school and just felt so great being outside moving. The sun won't stick around long but I'm happy to see it and so is my avocado pit.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

You Sly Dog, You. Let's Go Golfing!

Many people are very ANGRY at Jason for his behavior this season on The Bachelor. For those of you who don't watch, he picked Melissa and then ditched her after six weeks, claiming that things between them were different once the show was over. Not only that, but he realized he had fallen in love with the other finalist, Molly, too. He decided a relationship with her would be better for him. Molly is the woman pictured above in blue.

This my friends, IS reality. It's not the Bachelor's fault that things worked out this way, rather the fault of ABC and their show for setting things up as they do and expecting the results they expect. Add the idiots who believe that this Bachelor thing is a winning way to meet someone and fall in love and you've got quite the recipe for a big fat joke, especially when you look at the Bachelor's track record.

If I were in charge of the Bachelor, I would require ABC to make a few changes.

1. Feature several bachelors so the pair-ups would occur more authentically.
2. Allow the couples to keep dating once they are down to their final three so their decision at the end is based on having spent more time together.
3. Require both the Bachelor(s) and women to show up at the Rose Ceremony in jeans and t-shirts, and in the morning sans make-up, like maybe have a surprise wake-up rose ceremony.
4. Let the men and women do everyday things together, (forget a date!)so that their expectations about life after the show are realistic.
5. Do not end the show with a proposal. This way, nobody will care if things don't last.

Here's the clincher: there's my attitude about the show and then there's my refusal to stop watching it. I get sucked in every time . I am one of the idiots that wants to believe in it.

My favorite woman this season was someone who did not win, Jillian. Though I was rooting for her, I actually thought that she was too good for Jason, and it all worked out for the best because she gets to do it all "agAIn" (pronounced the Candian way) as the next Bachelorette.

And I'll be watching.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Green School=Bye Bye Busywork

Julia's school is newly "green" so the kindergarten teachers, in an attempt to minimize paper use, have done away with the packet of homework that came home each Tuesday. It only amounted to a page nightly, which wasn't too over the top, but Julia was starting to form some very strong feelings about homework and they weren't pretty.

Now each week they must read to or with a parent several times, write in their journal twice, and choose two learning activities off of a calendar. Doable, meaningful AND green. Me likey.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Mothers Be Good to Your Daughters

I went to a parenting conference last weekend and one of the sessions I took was about parenting daughters.

One of the exercises we did as a group was to compile a list of qualities we wanted our daughters to possess at the age of 18. Something I've been thinking a lot about is how I want my daughters to have something that fills them up, that they get excited about, that completes them: a hobby, a musical ability, a sport.

The teacher of this class urged us to replace "diasaster films" about our girls with "best self" films. I like this idea. We all worry about what might become of our children, but why not replace those worries with terrific imaginings.

As women we are powerful models for our girls, and we must take care of ourselves and model balance in our lives.We must model healthy relationships.

The teacher also spoke about how we as a culture have stopped exposing our kids to community and its' members because we're fearful of trusting others, and as a result our kids' lives aren't as enriched by their connections with other adults. We can change this.

I came away feeling like my girls, with all their spunk and joy, are headed in the right direction and I can do a lot to keep them that way.

Monday, March 02, 2009

How Cute Were My Parents?

On March 2, 1968 my parents got married. Today they would have celebrated 41 years of marriage.

This weekend my mom and I went to a bridal shower and one of the games was to see who had been married the longest. My mom took home the prize for this, which I was so tickled about. She beat the other gal by a year. What was heart wrenching was that she stood and smiled during the game, and yet underneath the smile was a heavy heart because the guy who she was married to wasn't here anymore.

Today, on this day, I wish her smiles and tender memories of all her marriage held.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Thanks for the Laughs, Dale Sturdevant

This was funny long ago when it first aired, but still cracks me the heck up.