Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Our Christmas Tradition

Over the last four to five years, we have sprinkled Reindeer food on the lawn on Christmas Eve.

We make up a batch of this "tasty" stuff each year.  We mix oats and sparkles in a big bowl.  The smell of the oats attracts the reindeer and the sparkles twinkle at night with the Christmas lights so maybe… just maybe… the reindeer will notice our house and stop here first!

The kids love this each year!  They just reminded me we still need to make up a batch for this year.  It is a simple tradition, but so fun.  And sometimes a bell falls off Santa's sleigh that night and the kids find it on the lawn in the morning… so far two bells have fallen off in our yard over the years.  Maybe one more bell will be lucky enough to land in our yard.  That way each child would amazingly enough, have a bell of their own!  Wink, wink...

Monday, December 3, 2012

Thankful: Day 30

Day 30:  I am very thankful for Chief.  After over 15 years of marriage, I still smile when I think of him.  While marriage can be hard and life can get in the way for time spent together, I would not want to walk through this life with anyone other than Chief.

Another year of a month of thankfulness!  This will be a yearly tradition because while I might not post every day, this exercise makes me keenly aware of all the blessings I have in my life.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thankful: Day 26, 27, 28 & 29

Day 26:  YoYo Dinners.  YoYo stands for "You are On Your Own" for dinner.  Everyone knows they can eat what they can find (within reason) and I am off the hook for making dinner.

Day 27:  Lizard started basketball and her practice is inside!  Hallelujah.  I was able to read my book and watch her practice in realtive warmth.  I am also thankful she loves basketball.

Day 28:  Laying by the fireplace in the evenings.

Day 29:  For the multiple kisses and hugs Little Man gives me each morning at school.  Once I say "last one" so he knows it is time for me to go, I get five hugs and five kisses (on the lips!) from him and give him a "fake hug" in the air as I walk out of eye site.  I have to walk him to his classroom door everyday.  It would so much easier to drop him off in the car line (especially on cold, rainy days like today), but I know the time will end very soon that he will not hug and kiss me that way so I am very thankful.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thankful: Day 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 & 25

Day 20:  Having a excellent (and funny) OB/GYN doctor to care for me and deliver ALL three of my children.  My OB is going to phase out of daily office care and be solely focused on hospital care for his practice's patients.  This was probably the last time I will see him.  He choked up when he said good-bye saying he will be miss being a part of people's families.

Day 21:  My Dad being healthy and able to travel up for Thanksgiving.

Day 22:  Being a Mom.  I became a Mom 13 years ago today.  The hardest job ever, but also the most amazing job ever.

Day 23:  NOT heading out for Black Friday sales.  I understand the deals people find, but I'd rather spend time at home with my family.

Day 24:  Knowing that Chief and I are on the same page when it comes to big life philosophy type things … the ones that mean the most at the end of your life.  

Day 25:  Finally being able to go to church as a family again.  Activities mess with our schedule A LOT so it feels good to be able to go again regularly, at least for now.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thankful: Day 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 & 19

Day 14:  My healthy children. 

Day 15:  A brisk walk with a friend and our puppies.

Day 16:  Saying yes at the last minute to arranging a sleepover at our house for Lizard.  Sleepovers (and playdates) are not easy for us because of Little Man; it is not a relaxing break for us as it is for most parents when their kids are occupied with their friend.  It is MORE work for us.  So we don't do them a lot at our house.  But it made her smile and for that I am thankful. 

Day 17:  Heated leather seats.  God bless whoever created this feature.

Day 18:  A break from soccer for both Soccer Girl and Chief (from coaching).  It will be nice to have our activity scheduled lightened significantly.... at least for a few weeks.

Day 19:  Little Man and the silly way he says things.  He was telling me the time on my digital clock and he said "6-4-E" (cause you know the digital 3 looks like and E!).  And he said he can't wait to get his Adams Apple so he can match Dad, except for his face.  He also calls Mint Milano cookies (yum) "Limp Pilanos" and remote control cars "Mote Cin-Can-Troll."

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I read a wonderful post at inCourage written by Kristen Welch who blogs at We are THAT Family.  Kristen is one of my daily read (sometimes more than once!).  This post is a beautiful message for every women on aging gracefully and true beauty.   Read her post here.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelery or fine clothes.  Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.  
1 Peter 3:3-4

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thankful: Day 13

Day 13:  I am thankful Little Man is doing so well in school.

School conferences are in early December and Little Man's teacher indicated in an email that if there were any issues (socially or academically) she has already spoken to the parents so there are no surprises come December.  We get routine updates about his behavior and progress, but we have not had a special meeting!  I never in a million years anticipated he would NOT be having difficulties in school.  I know now we did the right thing moving to medication.  As weird as I still feel giving him his dose every morning, I know it is what he needs to succeed.  For that I am VERY thankful.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thankful: Day 9, 10, 11 & 12

Day 9:  Snuggling on the couch with two of my three critters.

Day 10:  Having a warm house to return to after an early morning soccer game in the cold (34 degrees!)

Day 11:  Having time to read.  I love to read and don't seem to find much time in the day so this was a treat.

Day 12:  An evening with NO activities!  This VERY rarely happens.  A true blessing.

Friday, November 9, 2012


I have been struck lately by the idea of authenticity and how that plays out in our lives on a daily basis.

Websters defines authentic as "not false… true to one's own personality, spirit, or charater…"

Social media (FaceBook, Blogs, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) have many of us presenting a life that is not necessarily as authentic or real as our lives actually are.  I have read blogs that have made me wonder if these people ever have dirty underwear on the floor and mold in their showers.  Their birthday parties for their kids are over the top… fancy cookies, decorations, horses.  I can't keep up with such expectations. It seems as if no one can be imperfect these days.

Teenagers post happy, cute, fun pictures of themselves on Instagram.  Always smiling, always looking their best… competing to see who as the most "likes" on a given post or picture.  That is so much pressure to put on each other at such a young age.  It seems to me that kids may always feel that they are not good enough.  So much is given to our kids so young and it is EXPECTED that they will have these things.  Parents don't seem to know how to say no.  Just because you get a good deal on a iPhone and data package does not mean it is the right thing to give a 13 year old.  Do they really need access to the Internet at all hours of the day, posting pictures on Instragram during the school day?  I want my kids to know they are enough, without the electronics, fancy jeans and 50 likes on their pictures.

The idea of being authentic has really struck me lately as I see people socialize with people that they do not necessarily like or at least they have indicated to me that they don't agree with the way they handle their lives.  They seem to seek out opportunities to be with people that they dislike or don't have much in common.  Please don't misunderstand me.  All of us are in situations where we socialize with people (on your kids sports team, your kids being in class with a particular kid year after year) that we don't agree with how they handle things or we would not be best of friends with them.  You know the ones.  But I am able to be kind, social and even enjoy my conversations with most people.  However, I will not seek out a friendship with someone who consistently handles situation with their kids, or at school or their personal affairs in a way that is counter to my beliefs and values.  That to me, would not be authentic to my personality or character.

One could make the argument that as a Christian, I should seek out those type of relationship to be a light to someone.  And, I do agree with that to a point.  I think I am a light when I am friendly and interested in most people I encounter and do my best not to judge someone else as I do not know their walk or struggles in life.  I think it is telling that I am NOT invited to certain functions.  I think some people can tell I am not willing to "play the game" that is so prevalent these days.  And while I might be initially hurt (I am human after all), at the end of the day, I want all my relationships in my life to authentic… to be based on honesty, integrity and real connection.  I want to spend my time with people who I can be real with and honest with without a second thought that the other person will judge me or use what I say in a way that could hurt anyone.  Or maybe they don't invite me because they think I am a stick in the mud!  Ha.  Either way, at the end of the day, I am OK with that.

When my life comes to a close, I want people to say I was authentic.  That I was real and genuine.  That I walked the talk.  I have a long way to go in many areas for sure.  When I am screaming at my kids to STOP YELLING (Oh, the irony in THAT ONE), I am not genuine or authentic for sure.  My heart and actions do not match.  But I think I am starting to actually feel and see the dilemma of living out my Christian faith in this world.  God lets me know instantly when I am made a bad choice (like a swear word in front of my kids or making poor financial decision that in the past I would not have thought twice about).  I can see the struggle my kids go through when they don't have the latest and greatest social media fad that all their friends have because the implications it can have.

But, I'll continue to walk this walk, grow and be as authentic and true to myself and my beliefs as I can.

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works and in your teaching show integrity and dignity.
Titus 2:7

For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.
2 Corinthians 2:17

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thankful: Day 5, 6, 7, & 8

Day 5:  Having a working garage door again.  Parking outside in the NW is miserable.  So thankful for a dry "warm" car in the morning.

Day 6:  The freedom to vote.

Day 7:  Listening to Soccer Girl's coach talk to her and encourage her to play to her ability.  And also how he related the skills she is working on to life (like if you have a problem, you have to communicate… whether that is on the field with your team or relationships in your life).

Day 8:  Finding Wildtree last spring.  I love this company and products.  I like introducing people to cooking a healthier way.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thankful: Day 3 & 4

Day 3:  For my husband to drive an hour out of our way to let me purchase a consignment store find I left behind 5 days earlier.  He did it without complaining or questioning.   He gets me.

Day 4:  Watching Soccer Girl at her ODP training.  She is playing very well despite being exhausted.  She is learning a life lesson about pushing through when you don't feel like it.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thankful: Day 1 & 2

In honor of Thanksgiving I am doing a month of thankfulness like I did last year.  It is wonderful to focus on being thankful each day for the big and small blessings in my life.

Day 1 - A quiet moment to close my eyes during the day
Day 2 - Four hours to myself IN MY OWN HOUSE while Little Man is on a field trip.

Friday, September 7, 2012


Soccer Girl tried out for and made the first cut for a state soccer training program.  Essentially the program (which most states have) evaluates players who try out to be in a training pool for six months.  Then each training center makes decisions about who will be on the "state" team.  She has passed the first hurdle.

Last year we kind of pushed her into trying out for the experience.  We talked to her about seeing what possibilities are out there, playing with other kids (she has played essentially with the same group of girls for years) and just seeing another level of play.  We told her if she does not make it, so what… she tried and stepped out of her comfort zone.  That is in and of itself is an accomplishment.  She did not make it.  

This year, we asked her if she wanted to try out again.  She thought about it and said yes.  It was her decision.  So off we went.  She missed the first of three tryouts due to vacation.  As we watched her two try outs, she played really well demonstrating her skills.  She messed up some as they all did.  But you never know what the evaluators see.  We felt she was right in there skill-wise with the other girls.  Overall we felt she did well, but seemed a bit tentative.  She is a kid that does not step out of her comfort zone much.  She didn't know many kids and was nervous.  But she played well and that is all we ever expect.  Then it was out of her hands. 

Her name was posted about two weeks ago as having made the training pool of players.  When I told her, I said, "You made ODP."  The look on her face was pure shock… I wish I had a picture.  She said, "I did?"  Then a moment later, she smiled slightly.  Then after a few seconds of thought she quietly said to herself, "Maybe I am good enough."  Bless her heart.

Sweet Girl, you are good enough… even if you didn't make it.  You went out there and played well.  You showed your skills and that is all anyone can ever ask.  I know it was not easy and you were very nervous and reluctant, despite your desire to try out.

So she starts training once a week for the next six months. She recently told me that maybe she doesn't want to do it now. That is her fear of the unknown, wavering confidence and nerves.  We are trying to boost her confidence and let her know that no matter what happens in March, the training she is going to receive is an opportunity to push herself and grow not only in soccer, but many other areas of life.  You will never know what will happen if you don't try.  
source:  http://www.fitfabcities.com/tag/motivation/

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

He Just Needs More Discipline… Gee Why Didn't WE Think of THAT?

I have written about other's view of Little Man and his behavior before.  While I do not typically vent publicly very often, I am angry.  When it involves my kids, I will come out swinging.  I will protect my kids.  Little Man is starting kindergarten.  I will protect him.  What has been said about him over the year's hurts, makes me angry and makes me want me to call "bullshit" now (to use a term from my friend).  It has been said that if we (Chief and I) disciplined Little Man more, he would behave.  This was just brought up to me again recently.

I call bullshit!  We have raised two well mannered, polite children before Little Man.  It is absolutely ignorant to think that Chief and I just need to discipline him more for him to behave properly.  Why would we throw discipline out the window with our third child?

He has been evaluated by professionals (people with actual degrees and qualifications - not some archaic 1950s viewpoint).  EVERYONE has agreed that he is a kid with ADHD.  Look it up, actually do some research.  His brain works differently than our brains do.  Therefore, the typical parenting/discipline does NOT work with him.  If it did, he would be a model child (like my other two).  Disciplining him more, spanking him, yelling at him, or whatever other's think we need to be doing more of, IS NOT the answer.  The poor kid is disciplined more than my other two children EVER were.  Just because you do not see a "disability" does not mean it does not exist.  Just because you don't understand something does not mean it does not exist.

His behavior is pervasive in all aspects of his life. He is constantly in "fight" mode over most everything.  We typically go into "fight" mode psychologically when our safety or the safety of our loved ones is involved.  Little Man's brain goes into "fight" mode over something as simple as asking him to put on his shoes.  His brain works differently.  If you take the time to look at him… really look at him… you can see the turmoil in his eyes.  And while he may "behave" for others at times, if anyone spends any extended time with him, they will see his daily struggles despite their "model" parenting skills or disciplinary actions.

It hurts me deeply that people that know us, believe the answer to his problem is for us to discipline him more (or we would not be having these problems with him if we had done it sooner).  Have you not heard us for the last 3 years?  Have you not paid attention?  Have you not done some research to try to understand what we are saying?  You obviously do not know us and you do not know Little Man.  It makes me really sad to think that nothing will change some people's viewpoint, even if we handed out copies of his testing and evaluations.

It angers me that our parenting (or apparent lack thereof) is a topic of discussion.  Judging our parenting is up to God - no one else.  It is holier than thou, ignorant and shameful.  I am not willing to put my child in a situation where he is judged constantly any more.  And, I am not willing to put myself in a situation where our parenting and every comment is under scrutiny.  Decisions will be different for our family going forward.  If that offends people, too bad.

If disciplining him more would allow us to go in public and not be embarrassed by his behavior, don't you think we would?

If disciplining him more would allow him to focus in school without constant teacher intervention, don't you think we would?

If disciplining him more stopped me from crying after hearing how his day went, don't you think we would?

If disciplining him more would allow us to do more fun things as a family, like hike Multnomah Falls, don't you think we would?

If disciplining him more allowed us to not worry about his future ability to hold down a job and relationships, don't you think we would?

If disciplining him more meant we did not need to resort to medication, don't you think we would?

If disciplining him more meant I did not sigh with relief when Little Man and the neighbor's daughter did NOT get in the same kindergarten class because I did not want his struggles at school to be a topic of discussion for them, don't you think we would?

If disciplining him more saved us hundred's of dollars in doctor's bills and medication, don't you think we would?

If disciplining him more got him an invitation like everyone else to a class birthday party, don't you think we would?

If disciplining him more stopped the negative comments made by other children to Little Man, don't you think we would?

Gee, why didn't WE think of THAT?  If it were only THAT simple.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Right or Wrong

I am sitting here at almost midnight finishing up some emails that I have been trying to get out all week.  My mind drifts to tomorrow, back to our doctor's appointment Tuesday, back over the last three years.  I try to focus on the emails I need to get out while it is quiet and no distractions.  But, the thoughts are there, turning in my mind and occasionally in my stomach.   

Chief and I have made a difficult decision regarding Little Man.  We have decided to do a trial of medication to help address his ADHD.  This was not a decision made lightly or without a lot of prayer.  And while I know there are many opinions on the use of medication, no opinion matters except mine, Chief's and our doctor's.  

Little Man has continued to struggle in school.  His behavior has impacted his social interactions and friendships.  His behavior significantly impacts our family on a daily basis limiting what we do and where we go.  He is more and more surrounded by negative comments, frustration and heartache.  While we have not seen too much of a negative impact on his self-esteem so far, we are starting to see glimpses of it now in his comments and reaction to things others say about him.  We can foresee the path he is on if we do not do something different.  We have been through the natureopath, pediatric behaviorist and psychologist.  And while they have all provide guidance and useful tools and information, nothing has drastically altered Little Man's path.  In fact as he gets older, his path has gotten bumpier.

So the decision has been made and it is the right decision at this time.  But as a mom, I still worry and struggle.  Are we doing the right thing? What if he really does not have ADHD and he is just really difficult or "all boy" as I hear so often?  Is this medication going to change his personality?  I have failed him.  It feels like we are just using medication so we can like being around him and make things easier.  Will kids make fun of him if they learn he has to take medication to be "good"?  Will he still make the "whoo, whoo, whoo" sound as he rides his bike outside?  Did we try hard enough on an altered diet and the parenting techniques?  I could go on and on… so many things have flown around in my mind for weeks, months and years.  But worry is fear.  Worry is negative energy and we have had enough of that around here.  I just want peace and to see a glimpse of what is possible for my Little Man.  

As I grind up his medication for the first time tomorrow, I will pray for God's peace in all this… for me to feel God's hand on my shoulder and for Little Man to feel His hand too.   

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, 
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, 
plans to give you hope and a future."  
Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, July 14, 2012

FinishYear… Again

Here are my revamped FinishYear Goals:

  • Finish losing 50 pounds by December 31, 2012. 
Still a goal of mine.  I hit the big 4-5 next January and I really want to meet this goal.  We are eating cleaner thanks to Wildtree and I am cooking and shopping regularly again. 

  • Finish starting an online eBay store as a fun little side "business."  I have already made my first thrift store purchase with eBaying in mind!  
Revamped!  I am doing some HR Consulting for a small business with about 14 employees.  Luckily this will be an ongoing job for awhile.  It is not super study, but has been profitable so far.  And, I started selling Wildtree natural food products at the end of June.  I am working on stepping out of my comfort zone and telling people what I sell.  I am excited about Wildtree and everyone can benefit from our products.

  • Finish learning to knit and make dish clothes for Christmas presents.  
No progress here, but still potentially a goal…not sure yet.
  • Finish rereading Proverbs over and over and over in 2012. 
Revamped!  Chief and I are going to start doing a devotional/study together.  
  • Finish praying consistently the daily prayers for my kids.  
Doing OK with this one.  These short prayers on on my fridge so I see them every day.  I am not super consistent but this is one I have done with some regularity.
  • Finish writing at least one handwritten note to someone each month.  
No progress here, but still something I want to accomplish.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Where Have I been?

Well, it seems I have commitment issues.  Mentally I committed to blogging more regularly… ahhh nope.  I committed here to Jon Acoff's FinishYear idea and updating regulary… ahh, nope again.  

But wow, the end of the school year hit, we have traveled, I committed to take on the team manager role for my daughter's soccer team (which is way more than coming up with a snack schedule and team party) and I started a new business.  It really has been a whirlwind of a few months.  So here is a simplified recap of the last few months:

1.  We moved my Mom to a dementia care facility at the end of April.  What a surreal thing to do.  She, in God's mercy, was at a point in her disease that she did not really recognize the move.  She has agitated and sad at first, but now seems comfortable and safe.  My Dad has been her safety net and thankfully the caregivers have become that for her.  Honestly the most difficult part is to see the transition for my Dad.  He is on his own in almost 50 years.  His wife is gone as if she has died, but she is still here living among us.  Dad is making his way, getting out and doing things he has not been able to do for quite awhile.  My only regret is I don't live closer.
2.  We traveled to California as a family to see my nephew graduate.  It was a really quick trip - lots of driving, but it was good to see my mom and the family.
3.  I took Soccer Girl to Seattle for a soccer tournament.  I am so thankful that Chief's parents came to help out with Little Man and Lizard.  Oh my what a chaotic trip it would have been if I had to take them with us.  It was good to travel with just Soccer Girl.  But there was no alone time.  Maybe another trip…
4.  I came across Wildtree a few months ago while surfing the Internet.  I had never heard of this company before.  After I clicked over to their website I was intrigued.  Wildtree is a direct sell company with an all natural food line that are made WITHOUT dyes, preservatives, fillers, MSG or high fructose corn syrup.  They allow you to make healthy homemade meals in the fraction of the time.  I mentioned what I discovered to Chief and wondered if this was something I could get into.  What is in our food has been a topic of interest of mind for some time… especially since we have had a gluten free diet for Lizard and have to watch food dyes and high fructose corn syrup for Little Man.  I pondered if the home party business was for me and kind of put it out of my mind.  Then within a two week time frame I can across Wildtree two more times, completely unrelated to the first time I had discovered it.  I was paying attention now God.  I contacted the company and after tasting some of their products I jumped in.  I am an official Wildtree Representative.  I am really excited about this opportunity.  It is a way to help people focus on healthy homemade food… I am excited about cooking again.  I can help people make easy meals that taste great without all the junk the food companies put into our normal grocery store items.  Plus there is a potential to add to our monthly finances from home... which is a must for me.  So click over to my website and take a look.  Let me know what you'd like to try.  I know you won't be disappointed. 

So those are the highlights.  I'll try my best to update more regularly.  And, I'll revamp my FinishYear goals.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Be Safe

Soccer Girl leaves for outdoor school tomorrow.  Three nights and four days away from home.  This is the first time she has been away from home that long without mom and dad.  No cell phones, no texting, no iTouches, nothing electronic.  My heart would feel better with one text from her that she arrived safely.  She is not too nervous, but did say this morning she doesn't really want to go.  So grown up, but still so little.  I am OK right now, but I think by Wednesday I might be just a wee but bit anxious.

I have faith she will make smart decisions, follow the rules and have fun.  From what friends have told me who went as a kid, it is memory she will have forever.  She will learn a ton and experience life without mom and dad, at least a little bit.  I pray she has an amazing week and stays safe not only physically but mentally and spiritually.  And my secret prayer is for to come home with a renewed gratefulness for her family.

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
Proverbs 18:10

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My FinishYear

I just now came across Jon Acuff FinishYear idea.  I am a little late to the party, but I am going to tackle this.  I am going to update here periodically on my progress. 

  1. Finish losing 50 pounds by December 31, 2012. 
  2. Finish starting an online eBay store as a fun little side "business."  I have already made my first thrift store purchase with eBaying in mind!
  3. Finish learning to knit and make dish clothes for Christmas presents.  I need to make about 20 so I better get going.
  4. Finish rereading Proverbs over and over and over in 2012.
  5. Finish praying consistently the daily prayers for my kids.
  6. And stealing this from idea from Jon Acuff - Finish writing at least one handwritten note to someone each month. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Pile

It has been a crazy month!!!

We had family visiting – first my sister (super fun and lots of shopping!) and then my in-laws (always fun to play cards!).

And, Chief and I got a little get away to Las Vegas.  While we were tied to him coaching soccer for his team in a tournament (Soccer Girl does not play on the team he coaches), we were able to relax and just “be” which rarely happens.  It was nice to eat grown up meals without refereeing kids and to sit like grown ups at a bar and TALK to each other.  It is nice to have a reminder that we do actually like each other, have fun together and be reminded why we are together.  That can get lost in the daily busyness with kids, jobs and a house.  I do love that man.

On my pile for awhile is my mom.  But in the last few weeks, my mom has gone down hill some, prompting my dad to finally make the heart-wrenching decision to move my mom to a facility.  My dad and my sister found a wonderful facility that specializes in dementia patients.  Dad is doing the paperwork and evaluations and most likely mom will move in April some time.  I will head home to help move my mom and all that goes with that.  It will difficult.  I tear up now just thinking of it.  When I picture my mom in a facility, no matter how wonderful it may be, I picture loss.  This is just further confirmation that my mom is gone.  While she is still here physically, she is gone.  And it sucks.  I am sure I will write more on this as time passes, but for now, I am sad.

To the pile we added our car that needed major work to the tune of $2500!  We need to replace at least one of our vehicles as the both have over 145,000 miles each.  We can swing something, but are not willing to tap our monthly cash flow for some big car payment.  I honestly can not believe that some people have car payments of $600 or more!  While I am the first to admit I would LOVE to drive around in a nice new vehicle with all the gadgets and gizmos, I am at a place in my life that I do NOT want the stress and burden such a car brings.  It is humbling and satisfying to live within our means.  Our cars are reliable.  That is the purpose of a car…getting from A to B safely and reliability.  I have to keep reminding myself of that fact.

And to add to our “pile” of things we are dealing with right now, our beloved dog, Boomer, has cancer.  Our eleven year old golden retriever has mast cell tumors, stage 2 or stage 3.  We notice a lump on his hip area in December.  He was licking it and caused it to open up so I took him into the vet in early February.  We discussed the options – the best course being surgery to remove the lump and have it tested so we knew what we were dealing with.  The cost of the surgery caused us to delay taking action.  This was a huge blessing because less than a month later, we noticed about eight more lumps in his belly area that were not there previously and the one lump we were watching, doubled in size.  They did a needle biopsy and we received the news.  One option is chemotherapy which unfortunately would only help if the tumors were stage 3, which we do not know definitely and is cost prohibitive.   And the other option is surgery which would be very difficult given the location and number of the tumors.  So we have made the decision to keep him comfortable for as long as possible.  Right now he is acting normal, eating and drinking just fine.  He is a fantastic dog, friendly and filled with personality.  As much as he drives me crazy with his dog hair and pushiness to get into the house, I love the big dummy. 

Also, adding to the “pile” is Chief’s job.  The company he works for is struggling financially and at one point we were worried if they would make payroll.  We knew heading into this job that it probably would not be a long term gig – he took the position to gain different experience in a cutting edge field.  And, while things look stable at the moment, Chief is in the job market again.  His resume is all polished up and he is diligently looking for his next adventure.  He LOVES this job, the people he works for, the experience he has gained and the flexibility his role provides.  I am praying his next position will be as satisfying to him. 

And ever on my pile is Little Man.  We are working with a physiologist and it has been helpful to talk about what is normal for an ADHD kid and work on strategies to help him.  He has a new teacher at school and she had put a lot of structure in place and that has been wonderful for him.  I have met with his future kindergarten teacher and discussed what ideas she has.  I know he is seeing a difference in our parenting, but as usual, I feel like I don’t do enough and am not consistent enough.  I just need to keep plugging away and know in my heart that we are doing our best.  Interestingly he has been teary eyed lately and gets visibly upset over things that in the past would have just make him mad.  I am not sure what that is about, but hopefully he is recognizing his feeling more and expressing them differently.  Who knows?

One thing I struggle with is whether to tell people he has ADHD (like his swim teacher).  I do not want it to be viewed as an excuse.  I know a lot of the world views ADHD as an excuse for poor parenting and unruly children.  But I do not want him labeled as a bad kid when he truly has a reason for his energy and difficultly controlling his behavior.  This issue is on my list for the physiologist. 

My pile continues to grow worrying about friends and family that are going through hard times right now.  Soccer Girl and all her tween issues are on my pile…and Lizard being squished in the middle.  Sigh. 

Life is hard sometimes.   The pile seems extra large at this time.  But surprisingly, I feel at peace… at least a lot of the time.  I am trying to turn these things over to God and trying to not let worry suck the joy out of any given moment.  There is a Carrie Underwood song that says that “mountain you have been climbing is just a grain of sand.”  That is how I need to view my pile at the moment.  It is a few grains of sand. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Intentional Parenting

I tend to be a reactive parent.  I strive to be intentional.  I work hard at learning and educating my kids in the ways of the world.  But unfortunately, I succumb to the tiredness and frustration and don't have the finest parenting moments a lot of times.  Like I blow my top when the dishes are put in the sink instead of the dishwasher for the 10th time that day (come on people, it is right next to the sink!).  Or I promise myself that I am going to play with Little Man instead of letting Legos entertain him for an hour after he gets home from preschool… but I succumb to the quiet the Legos provide and then feel guilty.  Not the finest parenting moments for sure.

But, I am proud to say I had a good, intentional, teachable moment with Soccer Girl last week.  While sitting at swimming lessons for Little Man and Lizard, I asked to see her cell phone.  I routinely spot check her phone, contacts and text messages.  She is fully aware of this and often it is done in a fun way after we have talked about some particular text she told me about.  Her reaction was out of character… she said "well Mom, I deleted {insert name of boy who likes her} texts so you could not read them."  I asked why and she said, again uncharacteristically, "well there are way more things going on than you know about."  This was said in a very disrespectful tone and again VERY uncharacteristic of Soccer Girl.  I simply said "give me your phone" and I put in my purse.

I kept my mouth shut for quite awhile.  I will pause here, because this is HUGE for me.  I normal ramble on and on making my point.  But, I wisely kept my mouth shut.  After a little bit, I asked what is going on that I do not know about.  She said that {insert boy who likes her} had texted her that he "loved her."  She said it was in a joking manner over a week ago and was not a big deal.  I asked her if it was not a big deal, why did she feel the need to delete her text?  Silence.  I then went on to say that the tone in which she spoke to me is unacceptable and that what he texted her was not appropriate.  I will pause here to say this boy is a good kid, very respectful and upfront with his parents and knows Chief and I are aware of his fondness for Soccer Girl.

So we finished up swimming, showered, and stopped at the store to get a few things.  I remained silent and did not comment or reprimand.  Again, HUGE for me.  Soccer Girl knew the seriousness of what was going on since my reaction was so out of character for me.  On the way home, Soccer Girl began to cry in the seat next to me and looked out the window.  I simply rubbed her back for a few minutes and again kept my trap shut.

The whole time I am talking with myself…. how are you going to handle this one?  What is making you so mad?  Is it that this boy said I love you or that she hide the text?  Is that she was so disrespectful?  It came down to trust.  I have never questioned Soccer Girl.  She has never given us any reason to not trust her.  That was the bottom line.  I was a bit peeved at the I love you statement.  But honestly, her actions were untrustworthy and that did not sit well with me.

After getting Little Man to bed, I talked with Soccer Girl.  We talked about what our actions tell people about ourselves and what our actions say to the other person about what you think of them.  I explained her actions told me I may not be able to trust her.  We talked about with trust comes freedom.  I also told her that the manner in which she spoke to me was disrespectful and told me that she did not think I have any idea what is going on with her or kids her age.  I explained I was not mad about what he texted (although it was totally inappropriate and raises questions in our minds about him); it was the manner in which she chose to handle herself.

We went on to talk about when she is with her friends, when she does/says something OR does not do/does not say something, she is sending a message to them about her values.  She needs to convey her values, what she believes is right and wrong in everything she does.  We talked about it not being easy, even for an adult.  But it is so important that her friends know where her "line in the sand" is.  This is a phrase we have used for a long time.  We have talked about why some parents let their kids watch movies we would not let her watch…. their line in the sand is different then ours.  We have used this in reference to music or ability to do certain things… it is all based on where our line stands.  So she knows what a "line in the sand" means.  We talked about if your friends don't honor your line, they are not a true friend.  But you have to let them know what is OK and what is not OK… where you stand.

Overall, we had a really good discussion.  I think she got what I was trying to explain to her.  She is smart like that.  And, I did not ramble.  I did not drone on and on.  We had a discussion and I think I set the tone for the teen years and how important trust is in our  relationship.  At least I pray I did.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Gift of a Blog Post

There are many blog posts that I read in my travels that have great information, a funny story or a thought provoking viewpoint.  But every once in awhile, there is some posts that are written TO me.  FOR ME.. and about what is in my heart.  A blog post over at Momastery the other day is one such post.  I only recently came across this blog through a good friend posting a link on facebook.  There have been quite a few gems in just a week or so (I haven't even had a chance to read her archives!).  In fact, I even took the time to read a few posts to Chief - again, some were thought provoking and some funny.  But the post the other day, was FOR ME at exactly the right moment.  To read "my" post, go here.

I have written about Little Man's struggles many times.  I know logically in my head that he is wonderfully made and it is the world that needs to adjust.  But, is has been a struggle for me to really believe that... deep down.  That is hard to admit.  I know there are many kids who struggle much more than my son.  I feel a little selfish and dramatic feeling what I do at times and saying how hard it it.  But it is.  I have parented two other kids who are "model" children.  So in contract, Little Man's challenges are big to me.  They are difficult and they are embarrassing.  

Glennon's post said everything I have been feeling so beautifully.  Here are a few excerpts:

"Every child is gifted and talented. Every single one. "   

"... if we are patient and calm... and we keep believing, we will eventually see the specific magic of each child."

"We have to actually believe that our kids are okay.

I know. Tough. But we can do it. We can start believing by erasing the idea that education is a race. It’s not. Actually, education is like Christmas. We’re all just opening our gifts, one at a time. And it is a fact that each and every child has a bright shiny present with her name on it, waiting there underneath the tree. God wrapped it up, and He’ll let us know when it’s time to unwrap it. In the meantime, we must believe that our children are okay. Every last one of them. The perfect ones and the naughty ones and the chunky ones and the shy ones and the loud ones and the so far behind ones and the ones with autism.

Because here’s what I believe. I think a child can survive a teacher or other children accidentally suggesting that he’s not okay. As long as when he comes home, he looks at his mama and knows by her face that he really is."
Having just received the official ADHD diagnosis, I have been thinking a lot about shifting my mind set.  Little Man is not TRYING to be naughty, defiant or difficult.  He wants to have friends and please us and his teacher.  I am thankful that he is young enough to not realize the impact of his struggles on others and himself.  We are praying we can help him learn to manage himself before he sees things clearly and how his behavior impacts him socially and academically.  
I want him to know he is okay... deep in his soul.  And that starts with me believing, deep in my soul that he is okay and will be okay.  
I pray that he knows he is okay... no matter what he does or says.  He has so many things to show the world.  It is my hope and prayer that he and I can say to the world some day "told you so."  

Monday, January 9, 2012

Time Does Fly!

Well, that was an unplanned break!  I can not believe over a month has gone since I last posted.  Honestly, I had lots of thoughts to write down last month.  I think I even sat down a few times to start a post and then got pulled away for some reason.  But, time does fly, especially when you are not looking...

So I am going to resort to a good old bullet type list to catch this blog up to date:

1.  I am back to working one morning a week.  My "free" time without kids last month was taken up with Christmas stuff - gift buying, trip planning and other such stuff.  It has been a very good thing to be home more again.  I think everyone is happier (except maybe the bank account).  I feel more like myself again.

Now that the New Year is here, I am trying to get a groove going.  I don't want to waste time.  I want to be intentional.  I need to focus on adding some more work to my schedule (consulting and/or some other avenue), but I am looking for a flexible from home set up.  Our family needs me home.  That is one thing I know.  

2.  We spent Christmas in Sunriver - just the five of us.  It was heaven!  We love our extended families to death.  We all get along, don't fight or have much underlying tension I hear some families have.  We have a good time playing games, eating and all that fun stuff.  But we have either hosted family or traveled (and all the house hopping that entails) every Christmas our ENTIRE marriage.  We have never had Christmas morning with just us.  It was waaaayyyy overdue.

We ate easy meals, I read a whole book in three days, the kids ran around and did what they wanted without too much correction from us to settle down, we went on bike rides, walks (hmmm, yah… there was NO snow!!!  I am still ticked about that), went in the hot tub and just enjoyed being together with no schedule or food to have done at a certain time.  It was a much needed refresher for our family.

3.  Lizard is starting speech intervention at school this week.  The crazy kid sounds like she is from Boston.  She was in early intervention for speech articulation in preschool.  When she was tested in Kindergarten, she did not "qualify" for intervention.  We have however, been watching her "R" sounds for quite awhile and while they were better in Kindergarten, they have slowly gotten worse over the years.  She is excited about fixing her sound.  Poor thing was upset about getting assigned the number "four" jersey in basketball.  She was upset that she would have tell people she was "four" and not be able to say it right because of her "R" sound.

4.  Soccer Girl is doing great in school.  She made honor roll!  Oh my...  The middle school drama.  She is not actually "in" the drama, but is having a great time telling me all about it… who likes who, who does what, who has changed, who she thinks is headed for trouble and all that.  She said to me after her first day back at school from break, "Mom, big news at school.  So and So (name removed to protect the innocent) got her eyebrows fixed."  Oh my, to be twelve!  She has been very open with us about the one boy (who she has know since Kindergarten) who likes her.  He is a good kid and very nice so I am not too worried… at least so far.

It is interesting how the boy thing works now days.  Texting has added a whole new level of communication between young kids.  When I was twelve, a boy had to get up the nerve and call you.  Now, they can just text you… at 10 o'clock at night.  Heaven help us!

5.  Little Man.  While there are times I could just eat him because he is so sweet and kind, there are other times, I could ring his neck.  We met with his teacher in December and received some sobering information, not surprising... but sobering nonetheless.  And, we have begun working with a psychologist.  She has diagnosed him with ADHD - hyperactive/impulsive.  We are not surprised since we have had so many issues for so long, but we don't believe it to some extent because the questionnaires we completed are just a snap shot in time.  And he does not "look" like the typical ADHD kid who hangs from the rafters.  But, any "diagnosis" for your child is hard to accept, I guess.  So we are starting our journey… I will obviously post more as we learn more and work out a plan.

6.  I turned 44.  Neat.

That, I think, are the highlights of the last month.  I am glad to ring in a new year with all the possibilities.