Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Getting Out of My Comfort Zone

My comfort zone is pretty cool. I like it here. A lot. I tend to want to stay here.

But ... that doesn't promote much growth now does it? So .. I'm tackling things that challenge me.

Like exercising. Comfort zone=walking. Briskly and with incline (in my defense). But still...walking. But I'm doing it. I'm up to about half and half. If I put in three miles on the treadmill, that means I have to run a mile and a half. Yep. I can do it too. I just still hate it.

Technology is the other area that is clearly out of the "zone." I made some progress in that area last night making some Christmas presents I would not have attempted a year ago. It made me really want to explore photography. Not as a profession or anything ... but just some photo editing that would enhance the pictures I do take.

My friend Rebecca has taken on this same challenge lately with fabulous results. Check out the yummy picture she took of Cooper at Sarah's baby shower. Of course, if you know Rebecca at all, you know she seems to conquer EVERYTHING she tries ... and makes it look effortless. And she's skinny too. So NOT FAIR. =)

So, I'm going to keep plugging along. If nothing else, my New Year's Resolutions are pretty much all lined up.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Join Us in "Not Going to Dinner"

Tonight is our dinner club. We are not going. Not because we don't enjoy it or our friends. We do. A lot.

But we have a sort of tradition in our house that is really quite exciting. It's called "We're Not Going to Dinner." We try to do it once a month. We stay in, make some leftovers, save the money, and pick a worthy cause to give the money to. The monetary value varies and we have been known to donate food or clothing instead. But you get the idea.

We get a family night, the kids learn about giving, and a worthy cause gets something they need. It's a win-win.

I try to let the kids pick the cause. I do narrow the field to a few selections. It's amazing to me how vested they become in the process that way.

Anyway, this month the kids picked our friends. They are going to China to get their son Owen. Read all about them here. I'm so excited for them and so honored to be able to be a very small part of their journey. I must say ... tonight I am glad we are "not going to dinner."

Maybe this is something your family could do too. Imagine all the causes in your communities that could use your help. It's a win-win. Just a thought. Just to make it more fun, if you do it, let me know. We could really start something here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Runner's High

I hate running. Not "dislike, don't care for, or prefer something else" - just outright loathing.

You know that "runner's high" people talk about? I don't understand it. The only high I get is when I'm done. Seriously. My endorphins don't get it either.

It's not as if I haven't tried it. Many times. High school ... college ... grad school ... after each and every baby. Still the same disdain. Rather like olives.

But - this time is different. I'm going with a different approach. I'm not going to pretend to like it. I'm just going to do it.

I ran one mile yesterday. All at the same time. I still hate it. But I'm going to do it again tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Step Away From ...

I've watched enough SuperNanny to know the right way to handle an anxious 4 year old who DESPERATELY wants to rock, sway, and bounce her little brother in the newest baby contraption.

Knowing does not mean doing.

I really needed a few minutes to finish the dishes and thought Cooper might be safe in his Johnny Jump Up while Claire finished her lunch. No such luck.

After the hundredth reminder not to twist him up and let him go ("just like that one ride at Disney - remember mommy?"), I must have given her the exasperated look. That's when she calmly stopped, took two steps back and said ... "I know mommy ... step AWAY from the baby."

I just had to laugh. She's been hearing that term from us a lot lately. I've mostly used the term when speaking out loud to myself during post-Halloween bag looting. You know ... "Step away from the Reese's", etc.

Apparently, some things are sinking in. Just not when it comes to half rocketing your baby brother into outer space.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happiness is ...

answering the phone and hearing your friend's voice after she's gotten some of the best news of her life. There's nothing like it. Congratulations to Sarah and Kevin on the final court ruling from Taiwan - declaring them parents of Hannah Claire. Check out the little Miss here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Monte!!!

You wouldn't know it ... but this handsome devil is 42! To celebrate we made several plans. First, we decided to go to dinner. You know - alone - as a couple. The kids nixed that idea as they wanted to be part of Daddy's day too. You can't blame them for that.

Then we decided to go bowling. But by the time we finished dinner and the German Chocolate cake, it was pretty late. We also discovered most of the local alleys have leagues on Saturday nights anyway.

We finally decided on letting the kids watch a movie Because of Winn Dixie (highly recommend it for family movie night) and the three oldest ones camping out on the blow up bed in the living room.

It may not have been a glamorous night out ... but we do have a sitter coming today for a little grownup time in the big city.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Belated Thank You

to Marci and Nicole for keeping Cooper for me when I attended a conference in Illinois. It was incredibly good to spend another "Thursday night" with my old cronies - indulging in snacks, beverages, women talk and Grey's Anatomy/ER.

Also, click here to see Marci's slideshow of Cooper. I do have bragging rights!

Just to Reassure You ...

that according to a registered nurse in good standing at my doctor's office - a nasal bulb syringe (aka "infant torture device") will "most likely not" cause any "permanent damage" when inserted into an infant's nose by a four year old budding pediatrician when the parent in charge is momentarily distracted by speaking to said nurse about scheduling flu mist appointments for the siblings.
I suppose it is more reassuring when there is giggling by said nurse. But I wouldn't know. It is all purely hypothetical.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Go Ahead. I Can Take It.

Take a second look at the picture. Cause I know that the first one was a cursory - just being polite because she's probably just posting a picture of the cute baby in his Halloween costume - look. I understand. I'm busy too. But this is serious business. Look closer. Do it for me.

I need your opinion. How old do I look? I mean, I know I'm not 21 anymore (thank you God), but do I have that geriatric look? Not that a woman can't be regal, sophisticated, beautiful AND mature ..all at the same time. It's just not what I'm going for right now. I only ask because...

the SECOND person (in the same day) asked if Cooper is my GRANDSON. Seriously. I know I'm not superhip or anything but I didn't see that coming. Twice.
So .. if you are my friend, you'll be honest with me. Are the lowlights not working for me? Am I wearing mom jeans? Or .. am I just - as my doctor so cleverly labelled me - advanced maternal age?

So bring on the botox. and the celery sticks. and the personal trainer. and the eyebrow tweezer. Cause I'm not taking this lying down.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Unveiling of "Roots and Wings"

Once again, a huge and heartfelt thank you goes out to my friend Sarah for updating the blog. She is gracious with both her time and talents ... and luckily for me, swayed by girls' nights out to yummy chinese restaurants and cute baby retail stores. It was fun to work with her on this ... she has an eye for color and creativity ... and for her to channel her "inner Amy" and do straight lines and so much "brown" ... well, I am sure it was torturous. I sooo owe her a cute baby gift.

But, I do LOVE how it came out. So do the kids. They love this blog. They enjoy reading what I say about them ... and they refer it to their friends when they are proud of something that is on it. Funny ... that is not something I imagined when I started on this adventure. It was mainly just a way to get over my phobia of technology and to update family on how quickly the kids are growing up. Making it a family project has been an unexpected bonus.

I saw this quote years ago and loved what it said. It is the essence of what we think parenting and family life is all about. Sometimes .. this is the litmus test we use to aid in our decision to do an activity or pursue a goal. Will it deepen our roots? help them prepare for their wings?

Add the symbolic flowers and butterflies, my favorite colors, and recent pictures of four of my favorite people .. and voila! My excuse for empty baby books, extremely dated journals and virtually no printed pictures.

So thank you to all of you who check in. I hope you realize how important you are to this experience .. and to us.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I'm Soooooooo Glad It's Over ...

the election that is. Yes, I am aware and proud that I and my family have witnessed the history making election of our first African American president. It demonstrates how far we have come as a nation. I believe we also have just as far to go. Still, I am so done with this campaign.


I'd like my kids to go back to being kids. Emma (being in second grade) first started hearing about McCain and Obama in kindergarten. A big thank you to our local schools for keeping the students abreast on current events, but enough already. I'm done explaining what stem cell research means, where Vietnam is and what "torture" and "POW" mean. The under 8 crowd (in my humble opinion) doesn't really need to know what "affiliation with terrorist groups" means.

I'm exhausted by attempting to explain what taxes are and breaking up disagreements between Girl Scouts and neighborhood kiddos who think they know which candidates will raise them or lower them. I've assured many a child that the results of the election will not have an impact on their piggy banks in the forseeable future.

My oldest two actually asked me if our family qualifies as "middle class." Heavens.

Don't get me wrong. I am all for educated, well-informed children. But seriously. I was sort of hoping we'd have a few more years of being called "poopyhead" and "doggiebreath" instead of "liberal" and "conservative."

Congratulations to president-elect Barack Obama. Now let's get on with it.