Sunday, December 27, 2009


I am so grateful that my children get to be part of a large, loving extended family.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Comfort Item

There are several words/phrases that can be used to describe me. Some that come to mind are: stubborn, dedicated, caring, with a touch of compulsiveness. Finally, there is the phrase "comfort item". Ryan had his "bubbies", and Luke had his "bubby" blanket, but Keira has me. When she is tired, falling asleep, hurt, or angry about something, she immediately turns to me. She will sit on my lap or have me pick her up and hold her. I don't think she even realizes it when she reaches up to cup her hand on my cheek. When she is falling asleep, she likes to move her hand around my face. I've been poked in the eye more than a few times. Oddly, it used to be my upper arm that she would grab onto. I had to laugh once, when the weather had changed, and she got offended that I was wearing long sleeves. "I need your arm skin," she wailed.

It's almost as if she is a soft little animal marking it's territory, with me being the territory. God forbid one of her brothers should sit down next to me, leaving no room for her. Even worse is when Luke climbs onto my lap for a cuddle. Keira will indignantly demand that she be allowed to sit next to/on me.

OK, I will admit that I did help to create this behavior; when she was a baby, she grew accustomed to sleeping in my arms or next to me. In my defense, her dad was working graveyard shift when she was a baby, and I didn't want her crying at night and waking the boys. Also, I knew she was my last baby, and it was hard to let that thought go. Now, though, she continues to want me next to her as she falls asleep, and if she wakes during the night and I am not there, she will storm out of her room to find me. Just the other night, she came out of her room around 10 pm, and asked me what I was doing up. She actually told me I needed to come back to (her) bed.

Sometimes, it is hard not to become annoyed by the hand groping my face in the middle of the night. It's also frustrating when she cannot share me with her brothers without a battle. It can make me feel more like an object than a person. That said, I also wonder how I will feel when this phase ends. She is my "baby" and I love her with all of my heart. It will be a sad day when she doesn't need me like she does now.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Elf Magic

Our "Elf on the Shelf" pops up in a new place every morning. Today, he was in the center of the Christmas tree. His mission is to observe and report, providing Santa with daily insider information about the kids' behavior. I wish I could have Luke wear Buddy around his neck tomorrow. To say that today was a very trying day with my middle child would be a serious understatement. We did not finish his last lesson of the day until 7:30 in the evening, and it's not like he had piles of work to complete. Granted, we didn't start until noon today, but we could have been done by mid-afternoon. Luke simply chose to be difficult. When he would actually sit down, he would chatter and ask totally unrelated questions. This sweet little boy who told me last night that he loves it when I lie in his bed and cuddle with him, made me want to scream and bash my head against a wall. I am worried about tomorrow; my sanity is at stake!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


So, Luke and Keira were subjected to yet another eye exam. This time we were back at the original office to see an opthomologist. This was the office that prescribed glasses for Luke that he did not need, in addition to "patching". Because of the situation, the exams were free. The opthomologist's diagnoses matched those of our second opinion optometrist; no glasses for Luke and his left eye the stronger eye, and Keira does display an intermittent eye turn. Still, the opthomologist would not admit that anything was done incorrectly. She tried to tell me that a child's vision can fluctuate from day to day, and the doctors have to make judgement calls. What it sounded like to me was that it's all a crap-shoot; maybe you get the right diagnosis and maybe you don't. She tried to tell me that Luke wearing the patch and the glasses would not have hurt his eyes. Well, o-o-o-k-a-y-y-y, but what about the fact that every time my baby did what he was supposed to, his vision was impaired. Not to mention the stress it put on him. And, what if I hadn't felt the need to get a second opinion for Keira? Luke would still be trying to wear those stupid glasses. Finally, there is the money that we spent on the glasses. The decision was that there was nothing they could do since we didn't buy the glasses from their over-priced dispensary. I know now that this decision had been made before we even came in. This didn't surprise me, and it was not the main reason for returning.

What's the lesson here? Doctors are not infallible. Trust your instincts, especially when it comes to your kids. Insist on your kids seeing an eye doctor who specializes in treating children. And NEVER go to a California Eye Specialist office!

Sunday, September 13, 2009


I'm letting you know up front that this entry is solely for the purpose of venting; read it at your own risk!

We had fun at a beach bonfire last night. The kids had an amazing time. By the time we left they were really worn out, and all fell asleep in the car. However, none of them slept in this morning, and all are pretty disagreeable. Keira bit Luke's face (luckily, not too badly). The screaming started five minutes into our day. Where was my husband in all this? He was getting ready for work, but he did hear everything that was going on.

So, why do I need to vent? Because, on his way out the door, my husband had the NERVE to tell me he wanted me to do a chore for him, with all of the kids in tow, despite the day I was already having. And, on top of that, he had the GALL to be upset with me, when I told him I could not do it. I won't go into the details of the task he wanted me to complete, but it should be pointed out that we had already discussed who's responsibility it would be to complete it (his), if it needed to be done. I'm feeling very unappreciated by "The Husband Who Never Goes Anywhere Except the Park and His Parents' With All Three Kids." He has never even been shopping with all three, which is what I am contemplating the need to accomplish today.

Now, here I sit, with three cranky kids, looking at the HUGE pile of laundry on my service porch floor. That pile does not include the sandy bed sheets from the kids' beds. What sits at the bottom of that pile? Oh, that would be the wad of MUDDY clothes and towels that my husband left there for me after the mud run he participated in yesterday. Yes, he lovingly deposited the pile on the floor, near the washing machine. Would he lift a finger to wash those himself? Never. And, today after work, he will leave his uniform somewhere in our room, expecting me to have it cleaned for him by Wednesday, when he goes back to work again. Hmmm...the muddy clothes will get done because I cannot stand to have those nasty things lying around. But the uniform? We'll see...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Plunging In

So, the decision has been made. The (brand new) textbooks are here. My new Pottery Barn bookshelf is set up and ready for school materials. As soon as our corner desk is delivered, we will set up the computer from CAVA (California Virtual Academies), so that the boys can use it for school. The boys' courses and lesson plans are now accessible online. We are meeting other home school families and building a support network.

I am so excited to begin this chapter in our lives. Yes, I will miss the mothers, fathers, and grandparents that I used to chat with at the elementary school. Yes, I will miss the great teachers that Ryan had, as well as a few of the dedicated staff members I got to know there. But, more than anything, I am excited and I am confident; confident that we are making the right choice for us and that we will be successful.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Losing Sleep

I have been losing sleep for the past week, because, even though I'm tired when I go to bed, my mind cannot shut down. During the past school year, I had pondered whether or not I should home school Ryan and Luke, who are going into second grade and kindergarten respectively. My main reasons centered around the district's budget cuts and changes at our local school. While not completely happy with some of the changes, I had my main concerns assuaged, and decided that the boys would attend public school in the fall. For the past couple of weeks, that decision has been nagging at me, and something has been causing me to reevaluate this choice.

I have no doubt that I want to home school my kids. I am organized and I have teaching experience; I don't doubt that I can do it successfully. However, there are circumstances preventing me from making the leap. The main one is that my husband is not "on board" with it. When I try to discuss it with him, he acts like he's listening, but it feels like he is not. He believes that I will have a hard time because I will not get a break. Well, hello, the purpose of public education is not to give parents a break! Besides, while I admit they do get on my last nerve sometimes, I actually like having my kids around. Keira will not be in school for two years, and the boys will have slightly different schedules, so it's not that simple anyway.

Ryan is a foot-dragger in the morning. Getting out of the house bright and early is just not his thing. I've had two years of struggling with him in the mornings, and it's not been fun. He's only just turning seven, and he thinks the school day is too long. He has resisted homework since he started getting it in kindergarten. How many times have I heard, "I already know this. I just did it at school. Why do I have to do it again?" Ryan is so bright, especially in math, and could probably progress much more quickly at home than in the classroom. With his personality, I think he would thrive on a routine in which he could have some input. He would also do better with a slightly later start to the day and being able to work at his own pace, rather than that of a class of 22.

Luke is part of my uncertainty. He has seen Ryan go to school for two years. Now, it is his turn, and I don't know if taking that away will upset him. He seems a little excited about going, but he has no idea what a five hour day at school will be like, since he has not gone to preschool or day care.

For the past two years, I have been an active volunteer at the school, helping out at least once a week in the classroom. I enjoy this, and have been available to the teachers to take some work home as well. Having two kids enrolled will make this more challenging. There are so few parents who are willing and/or available to help the teachers, and, I'm sure, some who don't even consider the need for it. I was the only room parent in Ryan's first grade class. (One first grade class out of the three didn't even have a room parent.) As much as I want to be involved, I get frustrated with the failure of other parents to help. I feel like I have to contribute in order to make things better at the school for my own kids; if I don't nobody else will, yet everyone benefits. If I am going to put this much time and effort into my kids' education, then, heck, I might as well home school, and give all I've got to them! After all, I don't want to burn out this early on.

I have done enough research to know that there are a lot of home school resources available. I don't worry that my kids will not socialize; there are a lot of home school groups with regularly scheduled activities. They will still take karate, and maybe start some art classes. They will still have friends to get together with. Outdoor activity is easy; we all love to run around outside.

A major appeal of home schooling is the freedom and flexibility when it comes to scheduling. We can make up our own "field trips" and take time off if we need to, without feeling guilty.

My wonderful sister-in-law, Erin, has been supportive of me. (She, too, intends to home school when her son is older.) My mom, also a former teacher, is hesitant to be supportive; I think she worries about my stress levels. But, I honestly feel that I would have just as much stress getting the boys to school, dealing with homework, fitting in other activities, and being active in each of their classrooms.

Oh, what to do?

Sunday, July 26, 2009


My husband took the boys to Lake Arrowhead for two nights, and I have enjoyed Keira's company, as well as the relative quiet. But, I have missed the boys, and I am looking forward to seeing them tomorrow. Now, I have to admit that I have a small worry nagging at the back of my brain: that Ryan and Luke will have had so much fun with Daddy that I will be replaced as Number One in the Parenting Top Two.

OK, so maybe that is entirely selfish, but I can't help it. I have stayed at home and raised my kids since Ryan was born almost seven years ago. I am the one who got up at night with them when they were babies. When they are sad, hurt, afraid, or sick, it is me they turn to first for comfort. I relish that fact. Ryan, as the oldest, needs me less than he used to, which is a little hard to accept. Luke is still my little cuddle-bug, who will crawl up on my lap "just because". (In fact, talking to him on the phone tonight, I could hear that he misses me.) Keira always wants Mommy, and hates to share me with the boys, so I think I'm safe as her #1 for quite some time yet.

I truly am glad the boys are having fun, and that Don is doing a good job with them. I do have to add, however, that he has NEVER had all three kids by himself for more than 5 or 6 hours, and even then, he usually called in the reinforcements (a.k.a. his parents). I won't even go into the flip side of that; the fact that I don't get "me time" for longer than that, and those occassions are few and far between. I would be digressing, and I will save that topic for another day.

For now, I guess, I'll just wear my blue ribbon proudly for as long as I can.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Other Shoe May Never Drop

Sometimes I forget to focus on my many blessings, and instead hone in on whatever has me irritated or upset. I think there are a lot of people who do this, so I'm not going to beat myself up for it. I do admit that I need to tip the focus scales a little more on the side of blessings. I am healthy. My family is healthy. I have three amazing kids. I have wonderful friends. I have a home and my husband has a secure job. Why, though, when I think about these things, do I occasionally feel a hesitation, and why does the expression about "waiting for the other shoe to drop" come to mind? Is there a limit to the blessings one can claim before some unforeseen tragedy strikes close to home, or even at home? I see people that I know dealing with serious traumas and terminal illnesses, and I wonder how they cope, how they continue to see the blessings in their lives in the face of an awful hand that's been dealt to them. Would I be able to do that? Would I be strong or fall apart or spiral into depression? I feel like I'm rambling a bit, but there's a lot going on in my head. I want to remember each day, all day, what I am grateful for. I don't want to worry or lose sleep over what could happen.

Sunday, May 31, 2009


Today, I am feeling very fortunate that I am able to watch my kids build relationships with my parents. I grew up seeing my own grandparents frequently (except for my maternal grandfather, who died before I was born). I am so glad that my kids get the same opportunities. Today, my parents had us over for dinner. The kids got to go out into my father's fabulous yard and pick blueberries and carrots. The boys got to share their vast knowledge of SpongeBob with my parents who have never watched an episode of the show. Keira asked for music so she could sing and dance for them. In the car, on the way home, all three kids talked about the fun they had. I hope my parents had as much fun as the kids. (I suspect that they did.) After all, as I asked them in the car, who does Granddad play with when we aren't there? Who does Grandmom get out the games and Play-Doh for? The kids had smiles as they thought about Granddad and Grandmom doing those things without any kids there.

I love you, Mom and Dad, and so do Ryan, Luke and Keira.

P.S. Dad, don't take Ryan's question about who gets the house when you die personally. He's merely curious. :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

If You Pee on the Bathroom Rug

Here is my version of Laura Joffe Numeroff's famous children's book, If you Give a Mouse a Cookie.

Dedicated to Keira

(Keep in mind that it is Mother's Day, and it would be nice to do a little less work today.)

If you pee on the bathroom rug, I have to wash it.
If I have to wash one bathroom rug, I might as well wash them all.
If I'm going to wash the bathroom rugs, I might as well clean the floors.
If I'm going to clean the bathroom floors, I might as well clean the bathrooms: toilets, tub, showers, sinks, counters, etc.
If I'm going to clean the bathrooms, I might as well clean the kitchen, too.
If I'm going to clean the kitchen, I might as well clean the tile floors.
If I'm going to clean the tile floors, I might as well clean the hardwood floors.
If I'm going to clean the hardwood floors, I might as well dust every room in the house.
As soon as that's done, I'm sure you will be able to do something that will involve the need to clean something, somewhere...

What just happened here?

Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Mrs. Perfect

OK, that's not me. That's the name of the book by Jane Porter that I just finished reading. For a work of fiction, it had a significant personal effect on me. The main character, after facing many struggles in her quest to be the perfect mother and wife, came to some very important realizations about herself, and why she had acted the way that she did.

I could draw many similarities between the main character and myself. Taylor is a stay-at-home mom who is eager to volunteer at her children's school. Staying fit is important to her. And she has a history of eating disordered behavior. Near the end of the book, an adversary becomes an unlikely friend. This friend points out the nasty and mean voices that Taylor ALLOWS to play over and over in her head. She even admits to having those voices, too, but she got sick of them making her feel bad. She urges Taylor to celebrate what she does right, instead of beating herself up for what she does wrong. Taylor goes on to think about the continuing dialogue that goes on in her head, telling her that she can't do anything right, she is incompetent, she is lazy, she is selfish, she is bad.

I have had those voices in my head for such a long time, at least since high school. There have been periods in my life when the voices have been louder, and some where they were more forgiving and less harsh. Still, I wonder if I will ever be able to completely silence them. I can't be perfect; no one can be perfect. Each person, I guess, needs to find a way to accept their flaws and embrace their reality. No one should have to say they are sorry for not being perfect, and everyone has a right to be happy with who they are, and like who they are. No apologies, no excuses. And, I bet that if we can silence those mean voices, we won't have that empty feeling inside that seems to never be filled. I have a hard time imagining a life where I don't verbally beat myself up, but I'd sure like to find it!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Trying to Blog

I have a topic I want to write about, but it just seems like there are so many distractions. It's impossible to blog when the kids are around; someone is always calling, "Mommy!" Relaxing in front of the TV with Don in the evening is not the right time. My latest editing job is lurking on the desktop of my laptop, "Edit me! Edit me! Edit me!" Sometime this week I will get to the task of discussing the thoughts that I've had because of a book I recently read. Even though it was a work of fiction, I related to the main character and was touched by the author's portrayal of her. Soon...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Moms and "Me" Time

Sometimes, when I do things by myself, even if it's just going to the market, I find myself feeling like I have to rush to get home to the kids. My husband is certainly capable of caring for three kids and entertaining them. Still, whenever I say I have to go to the store, he'll ask, "Which one are you taking?" If I do go alone, I speed through Target and Trader Joe's, a woman on a mission. I'm tired of feeling stressed out when I leave the kids behind; it should actually be relaxing. It's not like it happens often; I usually have two or three in tow when I shop. And, who says shopping for necessities is fun, anyway? I'd rather not have to shop, however, if I don't, it won't get done. But I digress...

Recently, I decided that I would get out to walk all by myself, as often as I can. At first, I would ask for the time, but now I am insistent. I've always exercised, but mostly with a stroller in front of me. Right away, I felt the benefits of the combination of exercise and "me" time. I can listen to any music I want. (Absolutely no Backyardigans or Wiggles.) I can go in whatever direction I want. I can walk as fast as I want. I don't have to talk to anyone or mediate any arguments. I get back home feeling better than when I left.

As a stay-at-home mom, I bear the lion's share of the childcare responsibility, and I gladly accept it. But I'm not just "Mom", although it's sometimes easy to forget that. So, I wonder why it's hard for mom's to ask for the time alone that they need. I know I'm not the only one.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Stirring Stuff Up...

I've been away from this for about a week, partly because I've been busy and partly because I've had trouble organizing my thoughts. Usually, writing from my heart and my mind comes easily for me. Recent events (namely reconnecting with people from my past) have driven me to reflect on my "lost years". I know we don't get do-overs in life, and that hindsight makes everything look so much clearer. But I can't help but wonder about what my life would have been like if I hadn't gotten sick; if I hadn't spent years avoiding life, friends, anyone and everyone who loved me. I can't help but wish that I hadn't wasted so many years and relationships. That being said, I am grateful for those who welcomed me "back" with open arms and hearts as I went through the recovery process.

So, for what reason did I have to go through what I did? I suppose it made me stronger. It definitely led me to where I am today, and if I wasn't here, I wouldn't have my amazing kids. I have to believe that I was meant to be their mom, destined to be their mom.

What keeps reeling through my mind is that I wish I could have avoided that misery. I wish I could have been comfortable in my own skin and accepted myself as I was. I wish I could have seen myself the way others must have seen me, at least the ones who mattered. I wish I could have simply enjoyed LIFE!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

No Fear

Keira can walk across the high balance beam at gymnastics unassisted. In fact, she demands that she be allowed to do it herself. At 2-1/2 she has become a regular little daredevil. She doesn't even look down at her feet at she places one in front of the other. At the end of the beam she pauses, looks around to see who is watching her, and then takes flight onto the padding below. Does she find it so easy to balance because she she doesn't know to be afraid? Also, because she knows I am near and believes I will catch her if she should fall? Those things are enough to make me afraid for her, but I have to step back and let her stretch her wings. I want her to be able to try new things without fear. The biggest challenge will be to help her learn to recognize when she needs to exercise some caution.


It's 4:33 AM. What's on my mind is sleep, and my lack of it.

S: slumber
L: lie down
E: exhausted
E: extremely fatigued
P: pretty sure I'm not going to get to take a nap today

I learned what lettuce seeds look like when I planted seeds with Ryan's class. They are tiny!

Monday, April 13, 2009

She's Not a Baby Anymore

I took Keira to her first "Mommy and Me" class today. She was a little clingy, which actually surprised me, since she's so independent most of the time. While I watched her play and sing and eat her snack, I couldn't help but realize how much she is growing up. It's a little hard to let go of my "baby". At least she still lets me hold her and cuddle with her. Nothing is sweeter than watching her little face as she falls asleep.

Today I learned that our hamster hides a lot of food in its bedding. Not earth-shattering, but interesting.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Sometimes my husband teases me about the daily to-do list that I keep on the white board in our kitchen. For example, "Laundry is on the list every day; why do you bother to erase it?" My answer for that is that I like to erase the things I get done so I can feel like I accomplished something. He teases me when I have already started a long list for the next day. But he never has to plan ahead like I do. He is content to live from day to day and let me focus on what has to get done in the next week or so. Keeping a list also helps remind me to make time for things that aren't a "ususal" task, like when I have an editing job that I need to complete. If I don't insist on some time to focus on a job, no one is going to just offer it to me. Finally, one reason I keep a list is that a small (very small) part of me secretly hopes that someone will read my list and take the initiative to complete one or two of the chores with out having to be asked (or nagged).

I've learned that kids should NEVER play with Moon Sand in the house. Enough said. Happy Easter!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Middle Child

I am the oldest of four kids, and the only girl in the bunch. I am blessed to be the mom of three energetic kids; the older two are boys and the "baby" is a girl. As my firstborn, Ryan, gets older, I am realizing more how I am able to empathize with him because of his position in the family. We've talked about things that are great about being the oldest, like sometimes going to bed later, getting invited to birthday parties of kids from school, and going to Disneyland first. On the flip side, we've also discussed the not-so-great aspects, such as being at school when the younger two get to go to the park and being the only one who has to rush to get ready for school in the first place.

I'll never be able to put myself in the birth order "shoes" of the younger kids. How will this fact affect my parenting? I've come to realize recently that my middle child, Luke, is becoming more verbal and noticeably louder. I'm wondering if this is his way of making sure that he is heard. It seems like he feels a need to talk over his siblings. My daughter, Keira, has been demanding and loud since she began speaking, it seems. Then again, she has two older brothers to compete with. Personality has a lot to do with it, too. Keira is not timid or shy; she lets anyone know what she wants. Maybe Luke is just learning to be more assertive, which is good, because the last thing I want for him is to be walked on.

Oh, and today I learned that I like Internet Explorer 7 better than 8 and there IS a correct way to boil eggs: