Friday, December 30, 2011

The Cats Pajamas

The Kitten.  Of late, rightfully named Darth Siddius, as he has been an absolute nuisance at night and the wee hours of the mornings.  It's rather like having a new baby in the house, at least that's my reference last I felt this sleep disturbed.

After her laborious endeavor to ensure receiving a "real live kitten" from St. Nick, Christmas morning the mewing package was opened.  The Firstborn is enamored of her feline to a point of distraction--which may not be saying much as she is a 5.5 year old.

kittenish in kitten pajama, with real, live, kitten

proper 'crazed' look of kitten
Porter was, er, less than enthused about Darth Kittius (code name: Breakfast Cheese).  After 4 days, the elder cat has begun venturing out from under the bedside tables (where he hissed and mowled at kitten's attempts to play) to his usual haunts.  We plied him with canned wet food, a rare treat, and a new collar with proper tag.  He is slowly becoming accustomed to the new addition.  To get a taste of what it's like cat + kitten, see Double Trouble.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Christmas to All

Busy bodies cramming visits amidst holiday errands and common responsibilities.
A tree arrives. 
Soft needles, strong gorgeous scent, beating light heart, 
the growing familial collection of ornaments.

Family visiting, pleasant and playful.  Uncle and Auntie then exit graceful.
Hidden gifts, secreted away, finally reappear brightly wrapped.
Excitement excruciating for little girls, 
counting days down.

Warm Christmas kitchen, spiced nuts and gingerbread. Oh-so-delightful aromas fill my home.
Gifts abound, goodwill is great.

Above all
spending time, making memories with dear friends, enjoying each presence,
better than presents.
The Spirit of Christmas is alive and well here, as I wish it with you as well.

Love & Light this season, 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Building materials

We held it together until we thought it was stuck, but then there was a holiday's all about the process though, no?  It was a valiant effort.  And after a few mouthfuls of candy we had to "stop serving" The Firstborn as it didn't bode well for dinner.

As it's about the journey, there is something to add here about building materials for long term friendships, this is one.  It's about the effort paired with presence, nothing whatever to do with quantity, it's all about quality.


Holiday Nuts outside?  Better put some inside as well.

Monday, December 5, 2011

My Brain Baby

I've been pregnant of sorts with a brain baby, and idea on my mind since February or so, finally came to fruition this past weekend, and here is the story...

I have a challenging, tenacious, outspoken five year old daughter.  It was her first summer day camp and she was having some problems adjusting.  One night after a trying day, an idea occurred to me, to tape affirming adjectives to her pajamas as she slept…”calm”, “respectful”, “cooperative”, “loving”.  I had just learned about Masaru Emoto’s work with positive & negative phrases and water crystals.  I figured, well, humans are mostly water it couldn’t hurt to try it.

It was as if a switch flipped.  She awoke her sweet self the next morning and had very good days at camp thereafter. 

With this success I ruminated on the idea.  Our homeschool co-op utilizes The Family Virtues Guide of The Virtues Project. Taking this as inspiration to my adjective idea a strike of mental lightning gave me my first three or so word-triplet designs.  It had to be “I AM” statements, adjectives that are interrelated and would aid me to be my Best Self. 

Once I had the matured concept on the brain, it wouldn’t leave me alone.   I love a soft, quality tee-shirt with a stylish pair of jeans, my mommy uniform.  If that shirt were to help me, “Patient, Loving, Kind,” with my daily endeavors to raise human beings AND if my dynamic daughter will wear a comfy tee that states, for instance “Peaceful, Respectful, Cooperative”, making my mommin’ even a little easier—I am all for it!

Of course, with all of this I became compelled to share this success with others.  After some tribulation with the How to get it done, I settled on hand stenciling the shirts.  Until I receive a massive order, I will enjoy the total customization possibilities, and the artistry of it all (I have had to begrudgingly admit I am an artist). 

So, here we are.  Joyfully moving forward on this new adventure!  This is LOViNTee, positively wearable.

the booth!

the table and design book

Logo on back of tees

Monday, November 28, 2011

Offspring Update

Miss Monkey has learned to tie her shoes!  And prefers tying everything else that she can get her paws on as well, I spent an eon of a moment waiting for her to tie the strings on my Thanksgiving blouse.  Little Girl has also decided that she wants a kitten for Christmas. There is hesitation because after all she is 5.5 years old---really, The Man is hesitant, I am all for it.  Santa gives us a tip on where to look for kittens that need a home, set it up that kitty will be here for Christmas morning, and away we go. Learning responsibility caring for another creature is a big deal, and I'm excited for this milestone.  In case Santa had any reservation about bringing a kitten to her, The Firstborn has made him a goodie-bag with a hand made (and much belabored) kitten necklace.  I'm not sure how to feel about this apparent tendency to butter Santa up before asking for what she wants, I need to explore the trend a bit more.  She spent almost an entire afternoon drawing pictures for Santa, adding to the little cupcake sack.  I figure we'll hand deliver her carefully written letter and the goodies when we meet Santa after Family Christmas.  So fun!

She's really been impressing the homeschool Mamas with her social skills in the discussion circle, it's so interesting to see her strengths (and weaknesses) play out.  Watching her problem solving has been amazing lately, especially since we stopped solving problems for her.  F is truly a social wonder, knows everyone in her Sunday class, and now and then laments that we haven't seen so-and-so lately.  It's already a challenge to keep up with the social calendar, I can't imagine what it'll look like in years to come.  The necklace for Santa was especially neat as Miss Monkey apparently when up to the play room with an idea and a plan, then worked so intently that when she finally came to the point of stringing it together and the plan went slightly awry, she needed some calming before she could continue.  She continues to daily amaze me, which means we're on the right track I think.

The Toddleator E has been exploring new areas of expressing herself.  Though picking up new words daily, and echoing much of what we've said, I still have to pay rather close attention to understand the baby-slurred words, and some phrases, coming out of her.  She is too too silly, and makes jokes sometimes at her sister's expense, it's especially entertaining as she mocks big sister when F is having a tough time attitudinal-ly.  Signing has been interwoven with speaking, and I've had to be sure to differentiate between "sign" and "say" when she's attempting communication.  Lamenting hungrily in the kitchen I heard "I-jus'-wan'-eeeeaat!" over and over.  Recently, reported by The Man; Toddleator E heard some gaseous emanation of his, she pointed to his behind and signed diaper change as if asking him, "do you need a change of pants after that one?"

One of E's favorite things to do is throw things in the garbage, "'darge" as she says.  I witnessed her accidentally scattering clothing as she dragged her basket to the bedroom.  I mentioned the clothes sprinkled down the hall, she came right back and picked them up then putting the items in her cabinet.  One of the biggest differences I've noticed thus far, E really likes to have her hands clean, does not enjoy spilling things on herself, and is generally different from her sister this way.  This baby girl really enjoys the sounds that items make, banging, rattling, cracking...when she discovers a new sound she'll pause and repeat the action over and over until she's gotten enough.  Since that day when she joyously and proudly walked 'round the kitchen, she's mastered walking and loves to trot from room to room.  One of the best noises, for us, is that mini-thud-thud-thud of the toddler trot across a floor.  Of course, we run into the little terribles now and then, she is after all a toddler.  I'm a veteran with tantrums now (plus Love & Logic) it's a lot more fun and less work.  She's been Little Miss Contradiction lately, asking for something and then squealing when it's handed to her.  We learned quickly to set things down nearby rather than get sucked into her dramatics.  We have potties strategically ready for the moment Toddleator E decides she's really ready to learning toileting.  Though she'll practice sitting on the potty, nothing has, er, produced yet.  She does however, let me know when she's wet her diaper, then staunchly refuses a change (Contradiction, right?).

Love'em, feed'em, they grow.  It's miraculous, not only that it's truly simple, but that they've their own very particularly individual personas arising that aren't necessarily dependent on my parenting skills.  NEAT-O.

edited to add:  A note about teeth.  The Younger has cut 4 molars just recently and really enjoys using them.  The Firstborn looks forward to losing some, she appears envious when one of her cohorts shows their gap tooth smile.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dear Fellow Patron...

Dear fellow 24 Hour Fitness patron,
While I appreciate that your dogs are “doing their job” as living alarms hanging out in your car, they are extremely aggressive.  It is an excessive challenge to wrestle small children and babies into a vehicle while crazed German Shepherds lunge from neighboring vehicle’s windows.  Please look at nearby vehicles in the future, check for infant seats or child boosters, and park farther away.  As a responsible dog owner, I know you’ll understand.
Thank you.

Oh the feelings that were induced with this incident.  A visceral fear, an anger that any-mama would understand.  It's the second time I’ve exited the gym to see this vehicle parked next to mine under rare shade of the gym lot. I stared down the slightly smaller canine in the back seat, but the larger one wouldn’t calm, I actually raised my hand as if to strike and watched the reactive animal become even more agitated.   A gentleman with an air of Police Officer in (my guess) an un-marked car witnessed the entire scene.  
He asked, "Are you okay?" 
I replied, “Yes. I think so. But I don’t like it.” 
“I don’t either,” he said.  
“I’d like to say or do something, but it’s a parking lot, I mean, really [gesturing to space] what could be done?”  

It actually flitted through my head to mask my fear—incredulous my internal dialogue became, “what?? of course I’m scared and I should be!”  The man in the vehicle offered me some mace, I refuse because I understand that the dogs are doing what they’ve been trained to do, to react with fight or flight anger.  I am not a basal animal, and I can respond with greater thought and compassion.   I had to wait a few moments before I wrote the note though.

Thank You Gratitude

I'm likening gratitude to a steam engine.  Some days it's challenging to get it going, the wheels might slip with that initial forward chug, but once the momentum has gotten the best of the weight of my activities, gratitude is self perpetuating.  This moment gives birth to the next.  If I fill this moment with gratitude, the next moment can't help but bring blessings.

A is for abilities, of which I have many (apple pie, too, I made for The Man's birthday).
B is for bounty, which will be on our table this Thursday.
C is for cat, Porter is older than the kids. <3
D is for downward dog, yoga-yoga-yoga.
E is for Toddleator E, whose bright silliness fills our moments with giggles.
F is for Miss Monkey, whose imagination, energy, and intensity are sparks through the day.
G is for gymnastics coaches who take my Bigger Girl and have aided teaching her strength and determination.
H is for help, and knowing when to ask for it.
I is for me, and the I Am that I Am.
J is for juggling, 'cause one day I'll know how.
K is for kites.
L is for love, that really does conquer all.
M is for magnets as grateful hearts collect blessings.
N is for night, when those babies are sleeping.
O is for others, those people that change me.
P is for pumpkin, with which I will bake.
Q is for quiche, because it's so tasty.
R is for ribbons for little girl hair.
S is for soup, 'cause Soup Season is here!
T is for The Man, he's totally tops I tell you!
U is for umbrella, as F is obsessed with them.
V is for vibration, and a higher frequency at that.
W is for water, running through my home.
X is for Ximena, who complimented my Spanish accent.
Y is for you, yes, I'm grateful, thankful, for you.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Point of Pride

It's startling for me really, the amount of giddy pride I had bringing Miss Monkey to her first gymnastics exhibition.  As I noticed this swell of emotion I also noticed how I relaxed and stretched into the feeling of pride for my girl.  How much fun I had watching her proudly display her strength with her team-mates!  It was too too funny when she finally spied her friends that came, Miss Monkey tried to wave to them mid-trick on the bar she was so excited.

At the meet we attended over the summer there were many photo-rabid parents hustling each other for the best spot, snapping gig upon gig of photos for their team.  Gratefully this was only an exhibition---I have time before I will really need a swami DSLR Nikon to use for these events (flashes are forbidden and besides the chalk dust in the air makes it near impossible to use one anyway).

The event was in order such that her intensive invitational pre-competitive team was second to last to show, right before the elites that compete seriously.  The strength of these six little girls was obvious, even to a novice eye such as mine. I could see a real difference between the Rising Tigers' strength and the rec[reational] levels that supposedly rank higher competitively.  After 6 months of conditioning and strength, these two great coaches had the girls doing their first real tricks within two weeks preparing for the Mile High Salute to the Armed Forces Exhibition.  The girls got brand new custom leotards for the event, and I happily configured the Firstborn's hair into a cute creation with enough hairspray to sleep in and hold over Sunday afternoon.  Back in the day, she would ask me if she could "make my hair" then spend a long while combing and affixing various clips to my head. Finally she can sit still long enough for me to do some serious learning about this "making of hair."  Who'd've thought, really, that I would ever have to crash course up-do's for competitive sports?

I look forward to more of this parenting adventure, and I gain confidence in our job of parenting thus far---I feel we're doing pretty well!

Got her hair did
affixing ribbons tomfoolery
hooray for coaches!
sister cuties
 Thank you TIGAR!

"It's easy!"

Has someone ever said to you, "Just try it, it's easy!" and then you find the task they coaxed you into trying is painfully difficult? Did this leave you feeling exceptionally capable or downright stupid…and embarrassed?

When this happens to the average adult, it doesn't take long for them to conclude two things:
  • This person who's trying to help me is nuts…and definitely not to be trusted!
  • Why should I try if I can't even handle the easy stuff?
Quite frequently I overhear well-meaning parents and educators using the "Just try it, it's easy!" approach in an attempt to urge a reluctant child into trying something they're afraid of. When the child finds the task easy, all is right with the world. When they don't, they're confronted with the pain of seeing that they might be so slow that they can't even do something really, really "easy"!
How often does this need to happen before our kids lose faith in our word? How often does this have to happen before our children lose faith in their own abilities? Are you willing to take this sort of risk with your kids?

Received in a Love & Logic Newsletter, re: Motivating kids to try.

I remember this as a kid, I remember feeling completely inept and stupid because I couldn't master something immediately and I remember giving up.  I think I also compensated by acting a know-it-all, adeptly hiding what I mightn’t know until I could BS my way into (or out of) a situation.

I remember now to avoid saying "it's easy" and instead go with "simple, but not always easy....let me know what you think"----even with adults.
Self mastery.
Was chatting with someone this morning about the connection between children's thought life and what happens "to" them sometimes.  I still see that children are like little receptors, seriously energetically charged and very sensitive to what's happening around them (some more than others of course).  Self-mastery is something that they have to be guided, or they'll make up their own rules about emotions/feelings/behaviors.  Maybe that's why it is a good idea to send children to monastery, i.e. Buddhist tradition, to get some serious self-mastery guidance.  It really is too bad that the mysticism has been weeded out of (what appears to be) most christian tradition (and others I'm sure).  Those of us who grew up with little to no guidance of self-mastery end up in a state of spiritual bankruptcy, consistently reaching for something outside of ourselves to ful-FILL us. 

34 years, I'm only just now beginning to master my emotions and understand my feelings.  As a parent I would be hard-pressed to do anything but address the things I need to grow through---in fact I cannot imagine how a person could have children and not grow, not with out a plethora of pervasive denial, blame, rationalization, and justification.  Then I guess that's what some parents fall into doing though...doing anything to avoid the mirror that is a child.

The thing about growth is that it can be addicting I think, once I figured some stuff out I started wanting more of that health in my life---even though it could be uncomfortable at times.

I have to remember that they're not little adults, developmentally reasonable expectations are okay (for my own development as well) nothing more though. 

I found that it's harder sometimes to behave/speak lovingly 'cause I have only a short track record for it, feels kinda weird to love with abandon.   It used to be easier to "go with what I know", even though I felt sick about it.
It's almost as if love feels more out of control than expectant anger and fear.  I used to think I could control my anger better than I could control love/loving feelings (then earlier this year found out quickly that I couldn't).  Fear is interesting 'cause while I think I can control it, the truth is it controls me.

My palms are a little sweaty writing this stuff out, still not used to talking this REAL. 
That's what Truth does, it budges us out of our comfort zone.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Spiritual work is always win-win.  Growth can be uncomfortable, it's worth it though ultimately.  It's kind of double edged though, 'cause once I've done the growth I can't UNgrow.  I can never go back to ignorance (at least not without considerable effort and damage).  The ignorance I'm referring to here is god's freedom misused.  We get what we expect, change my thoughts and I change my life.

Part of this little life-laboratory experiment has come to fruition with little winnings here and there.  I joyfully expect that I will win, hand it over to the universe to work on, let go, and be ready to gratefully receive.  In the past 3 months or so I have won a teething bon-bon from Little Spruce Organics, a new Yo-Yoo wetbag from Snaps & Snails, and a solid gift certificate from Nutured Family.  All three are stellar for all the crunchy mama needs!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Give them Wings

Finally updated Los Photos, well at least thru September.   Took long enough, eh?
In the mean time I made these:

Leia & R2D2

p.s. the wings idea from here

For The Man's Birthday...

...I gave him a bomb.  An Semi-Atomic Tantrum Bomb.  It wasn't on purpose, and I'm confessing here that I should've known better.
After dropping Miss Monkey at gymnastics I happily flitted off to procure apples for The Man's birthday pie at the nearest local produce market.  Slightly disappointed with their lack of spices (namely cinnamon) I pushed the mental schedule back another 30 minutes and headed to the grocery closest to our house, thinking of course this would be quick because I'm familiar with this store, eazy-peazy.  But then I can't find my new cheapo mini-wallet, I look up & down & all around, feel all my pockets.  Look again.

When it doesn't appear I immediately start heading back northward to the produce market where I saw it last.  Calling The Man on my way, informing him that he needn't pick up Miss Monkey from TIGAR as I would be in the neighborhood, wallet outcome questionable, etc.  Visions of re-licensing and card canceling phone calls in my head.  Arriving at the little market, it's dark, and no answer of the phone number I keep calling.  I pull back into the parking spot, check the area, peep in the window to the counter where I was last.  After some consideration, sitting in my little truck with Toddleator, I decide I should knock on the back door, there is still a light in what I assume to be the office.  Mr. Heines opens up, we greet each other and I explain I think I've lost my wallet.
Of course, he says, come on in and we'll look for it.
Well, the baby's in the car, I say, as I frisk myself once more...

and pull from my rear right pocket...

my wallet.

Oh! Hey, look at that.  Blush, embarrassed.  I'm sorry to have bothered you!

Back in the car chuckling, realize that we're too hungry, and there's at least 1.5 hours left before the Firstborn is finished with her class.  Use magic phone to look-up closest GoodTimes, head out to get snack of fries...and once there I couldn't resist the Egg-Nog Milkshake!  I mean who could, right?  

At first I figure, well, I'll just sip the shake, and save some for The Man 'cause he loves Egg-Nog.  But I can't stop.  I'm hungrier than I thought, my fries vanish.  Well, no one wants half or a third of a shake so I'll share it with the baby, I know I won't drink the whole thing.  Fast forward, Miss Monkey's class ending, I saved her some fresh cut french fries and she gets about the last third of the milkshake on the way home.
Now, consider, on the way home, her mouth stuffed full of salty potato-ey goodness, sipping on delectable creamy goodness, she manages to talk through the mess to inform me that she definitely still wants to eat dinner.  Okay, I think, cool.  She's probably pretty hungry anyway, right?

At home finally, I throw together what I do have for the previously planned manificent birthday dinner, except the broccoli is nastily bitter, toss it.  Supplement mashed 'tatoes. No soft white bread for the pulled pork ("lost" wallet at the grocery, remember), supplement bed of fresh baby spinach (actually really a great idea and tasty, too).  Add bowls of yummy pumpkin soup and voila, dinner is served, albeit without a celebration pie to finish.

Then She won't eat, she's complaining, and overly tired and overly sugared, and whining.  She ends up eating her spinach leaf salad and then being sent to bed, lightly caterwauling.

I'm so sorry, lover, I will do better next year.  : )

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Workout Wagon

I'm hanging on by fingertips to the workout wagon, haven't completely fallen off, but it's been close.  Spotty yoga, and running now and then, some weight training when  possible.  Since I've lost my suit swimming has been out of question.  I'm back to where I began years ago with yoga and running solely.  Without a trailer or a bike trainer I'm SOL for riding my bike and can only use imagination for the spin bikes at the gym.  Eating hasn't been too crazy (other than The Fever week).  I've managed to avoid too much process sugar eating alot of quinoa salad and smoothies.  Being without butter for over a week makes one creative with breakfast.  I realized I don't like to eat toast without butter, and I certainly couldn't bake anything.  The holidays approach though, and I'm loathe to try to change the menu, there's just so much comfort in those holiday foods.  Chatting with an acquaintence recently regarding eating vegan-esque, gluten free, etc.  I would totally do it if I personally didn't have to expend the time and energy making the switch.  If I won a personal chef/grocery shopper for a year I would definitely change a lot of what we eat.  For now though I make small changes, like not drinking much milk, eating fatless greek yogurt, more and more veggies and salads, simply cutting back on the bread.  Now that our mega-box store membership is back on I'm enjoying buying organic items (yay!).  A related note, that mega-box store membership happens to represent a big component of abundance & opulence for me.  It's comforting for me to see that there is definitely enough.
A brief fall rhythm synopsis.

One Wednesday
-Spanish for an hour or so
-Off to New Thought Mommies group, hanging around working on writing and letters with note cards for her friends (no other mommies today)
-Home for lunch and contributions to the household
-E fighting some illness, naps and down time
-To Yoga for Young Warriors
-Home again for dinner with The Man, and service work
-Final home again, yoga, studying, sleep

Awake again too early with someone coughing too much, then barely 40 minutes later someone else hollering.
I'm awake now for real, and not going back to sleep as I need coffee and eggs to bake something for potluck today. Grateful to be done with cold virus. Jog to the grocery for supplies and arrive just as The Man appears ready to begin shouting for me from the patio.

Just when I think we're into a rhythm something goes slightly awry and then there's flex time before settling back in.
Ah, the wisdom of uncertainty.


It'a 6:30 AM and my hands smell like play-dough. Trick-or-Treating was a success. Up and down a couple blocks and R2D2 battery was wearing down. It was hard to stop--what other time of year do we dress up crazy, knock on doors, and get such good will? Miss Leia Monkey had a full pumpkin bucket, and we know that's more than enough.
Today is candy day, 1. Whatever is left over tomorrow will be donated, 2. Candy can be consumed after decent protein meal, 3. If candy travels with child it must be shared with others.
Sugar is like crack for children. Ever notice the noise level in childcare places goes way up the day or two after Halloween?  It's the Sugar DeTox.   Bless all care givers, tell them "Thank You".
An amendment to this, as he came home that day, though most of the candy was gone anyway, Miss Monkey was lamenting that she couldn't eat it all before the donation day.  The Man decided it wasn't the best idea, promoting gluttony in a fashion.  So, we went with the original idea, that it's her candy and she can do with it what she wants, eating it as she sees fit.  Though I requested that she at least try to eat something with salt and protein before consuming too too much.  All turned out all right, no super crazy tantrums thank goodness.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pumpkin Carnage

Let the festivities begin!  Well actually began yesterday with co-op party, today we carve up our squashes, hit Boo @ the Zoo, and get some relaxation before tomorrow's adventure to see Lions @ Broncos. Too too fun!

Princess Leia & R2D2

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pick a Pepper

I grew a pepper!  And a few tomatoes the plants of which are still outside covered with a sheet. Hoping we might have more warm sunshine  weather just enough to red up the green 'maters, thinkin' that is a real stretch though. My plants fruited so late, at least 3 weeks after I heard everyone else talking about their tomatoes.  I figure they'll hang in the garage for a bit in hopes for more red-dy fruit. The herbs did really well, now it's time to dry and store them away.
One day soon I will have a real yard garden, bursting with gorgeous veggies in the fall.   Maybe even room enough for a fruit tree or two.
All growth is miraculous, plant a seed an it provides.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Snow <3

Snowy snow-snow!  I love the snow. When we were in the house up north as I brushed my car off I would ALWAYS end up smiling.  I don't understand anymore calling weather "bad", "messy", or "ugly". All weather is exciting and beautiful, yes, even the catastrophic kind.
One day soon I will get to shovel again. One day not too distant we will have all the outdoor-fun gear for snowshoeing, skiing, boarding, x-country, winter camping....SO excited! 
We were to head to DBG again for home school day, must phone them to confirm. Happy Day!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Fever

Day 1
A low grade fever, 99ish, no biggie. She’s a little out of sorts.
Day 2
Slightly higher fever by noon, 101ish, and when it hasn’t broken by bedtime I decide to medicate.  She’s been complaining about her diaper area, but no rash.
Day 2.5
It’s past midnight, she’s uncomfortable, it’s 102+. I call the nurse advice line.  No other symptoms, she says it’s time to take her to pediatrician if fever doesn’t break by tomorrow morning.
Day 3
It’s 103+, I’ve never seen this before. We need to seek professional help.  After some strategizing with The Man, I’ve a choice to make and it sends me into fits for almost a half hour.  I can lie about my child’s age to get her into Walgreen’s Take Care Clinic (she’s one month too young) in order to say a little money…but then also compromising my personal integrity, and possibly compromising my daughter’s health. I can take her to a local pediatrician and we’ll pay out of pocket (which we do everything).  After some tearful introspection & deliberation I realize that if I lie to take her to a clinic I’m volunteering to become “one of those people” that tries to cheat a system, that I would be affirming a mental attitude of limitation and lack.  I opted to go see Dr. Pediatric, in my choice affirming that we are cared for, we have everything we need—and more.
Dr. Pediatric takes a urine sample (bag not catheter—phew!) and we chat about why I think it’s a urinary tract infection.  Toddleator complains while urinating (and she does practically on cue as I spoke), urine spots as if she’s leaking while I change her, the fever, and no other cold-like symptoms.  Doc prescribes Amoxicillin, but counsels me to wait as long as possible until urine culture comes back to be sure it’s not a resistant strain of bacteria.  After nap she spikes 104.5F. Medicate.  Nighttime sweats from acetaminophen/ibuprofen alternations, spikes 105F. I’m frightened but still faithful all will be well. I know it’ll do no good to panic.
Day 4
She’s totally out of it, so sad to see her feeling so poorly, spikes a 105+.  Keep medicating, and after a few phone calls to Doc, The Man eventually takes over.  Doc says start the Amox’.
Day 5
Some improvement, though she’s eating a little more, fever not quite abated.  Doc calls to says it is a UTI but don’t know the strain of bad-azz bacterium yet.  Now little one has poops to boot ‘cause she’s never had an antibiotic in her life.
Day 6
My sweet sweet girl is writhing and screaming on the floor when I come home from church.  Like a tantrum but worse. I calm her enough to sleep for a while thinking that she was just tired and she’d be better when she woke.  No dice, she picked up exactly where she left off, screaming alternately with arching back and flailing.  She wouldn’t walk, she wouldn’t eat, and had adopted such a sad pout I had to cry a little while as we waited (post Doc consult) for the pain reliever to kick in.  If it hadn’t worked we’d’ve ended up in the ER for sure.  Kidney infections are painful, mommies.
Day 7
Fever somewhat down, more eating, and something new, a rash.  She wasn’t bothered by it, but it was all over her torso, little pink dots.  Warranted a call to Doc’s again.  We received return information that the strain of bacteria was not as sensitive to Amoxicillin as another antibiotic, so we’re to switch, and we did.  She’s eating more. At bath time I’m disturbed to see her little body so changed from her lack of appetite in the past week.  Evoking terrifying thoughts of starving children.
Day 8
Finally, some very real normalcy returns in Toddleator E’s personality.  She’s eating and eating and eating, giggling with her sister and playing.  Oh, thank God.
Now that we’ve come out of it, save the daily doses of cephalexin, I realize how poorly I was taking care of myself.  Stress-eating, no exercise except a spotty shortened yoga practice, not enough water, and certainly not enough sleep.  We stepped out on faith and were supported, we are healthy, we are grateful.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Anther taste of t'other side.  Monday morning, a tight schedule. Get kiddos up earlier than normal, get'em fed (which meant transferring oatmeal into baggies for "squeezie-packs" in the car), get'em in the car with everything we need for the morning, rush to The Man's office to pick item up, rush to get Miss Monkey to HSC (though we're early and that's nice 'cause I needed to skip to grocery and procure eats for her lunch), rush then to the focus group meeting I'd been tapped to do, meet with young friend to temp as nanny for 90 minutes, jet up the elevator and arrive precisely at 9am.  When it turns out they don't need me, I relax some with said young friend at the coffee shop while Toddleator E wanders about saying, "Hiii" to people.  And all I could think was, "wow, some people sign up for this kind of race every day of the week....not I."  Just another reinforcement to freedom of homeschooling.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Today.  Up early, before them.  Coffee, emails, then yoga with the Firstborn...short though 'cause we heard Toddler E up and at them.  Then cycle class at the gym, and a drive up to see some foliage.

Watching F standing oh-so-quietly, bedecked in pink sparkly formal dress and rubber boots, listening for grasshoppers to attempt capture for a pet.  Baby Sister scuffing shoes in the dirt, listening to the gravel crunch of the path, and baby-bouldering practice on the large mossy rock.  Elk bugling, not so far away several of a herd including the big male, great practice with looking eyes and listening ears.  My stifled laughter while I say, "Especially this time of year,"  as she sits in the back commenting on how "horn-ey the male elk are...mama, he had horns like this."

Gratuitous giggles in the chilly creek at our Lair o' the Bear stop. Exploring the riparian zone, chatting about food chains and water flow.  In classic form, Miss Monkey quips, "I'm keeping my self SO dry!" She loses balance on her cobble, comes so near an impromptu self-baptizing (only the hem dipped).  Collecting fall leaves for our window decorations, heading back with bare foot to avoid gravel in the shoes.  Toddler E runs away from me when it's time to load up, we head back down the mountain to join up with playmates pre-TIGAR.

A lovely day all in all.  And now for infamous chicken chili n' corn chips. nom nom nommm.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

as a bob

Swinging, on the BIG swings.
Towering, long chains may be twisted 'round and 'round for good long spins.
Gain momentum PULLing and pushing,
PULLing, pushing.
Eventually so high, easily touch all blue sky.

Pendulum pinnacle, the mighty delicate pause
swooshing tresses over eyes
swishes back from wide grin, stomach fluttery
With god speed, wind whispers, skirt whipping 'round
Balance in perfect motion

then a tip, a side swipe, all goes awry
and a choice

reconnoiter from a hard fought motionless position, scraping feet spraying gravel

or ride the wild undulation, eventually equilibrium restores
pulling, pushing, pulling, pushing

Friday, September 23, 2011

Today, we're all under the weather a bit, fighting a cold.  Headed to a co-op mom's house for a homeschool lesson and playing.  Some contention about the trampoline caused it to be closed for the remainder of the visit, some birthday singing over pumpkin muffins, Toddler E went down the super-fast slide several times and patted the dog.  The virtue this week is creativity (last week was confidence, and before was respect), storytelling and illustrating, then a little BrainPop video about Fall Equinox.  On our way home, babe asleep, we started pass a parade lining up.  Turns out it was Bear Creek Highschool Homecoming, too too cute.  We waited patiently and finally got to cheer them all on, I got to scream "GO CLARINETS! GO WOODWINDS!"  and "ORCHESTRA ROCKS!"  Every time I whooped and hollered some kid threw candy, Miss Monkey's pockets were overflowing with candy.  Continued home chatting about the parade, the band and the 4H horses were my fave, some bareback and standing up in their saddles, brave girls.  I didn't see a banner, but I could tell who the homecoming court were---beautiful kids all!  We read some books, E painted a bit, and I reorganized my fabrics.  There is a big bag of scraps for the firstborn to toy with if she chooses.  Started a set of wings for Toddler E, and then decided since I'd have to bathe both of them, we needed to do another hand/foot print paper.  Turned out well I think.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Summer Melted Away

But not without a flurry of activity before it was really over.  In classic form a very real shift in weather happened Labor Day weekend and since then we’ve not had a day over 75, with nice cool nights and almost chilly mornings, along with a lot of afternoon showers.  It was a pleasant summer I think, the hottest days occurring late August, just as it “should” be.

In typical end of summer quasi-panic I realized I wanted to connect with several Mamas and kiddos before summer totally quit and I set up lots of visits and activities, we were out doing doing doing (hence I was not inside writing).   So, an update of whatnot.

Toddler E is starting to be more and more interested in toileting, she really enjoyed practicing on the potties in the consignment shop (yes, people do consign potty chairs and the like).  She is adept at letting me know when her diaper is dirty and will tell me when she has gone “shee-shee”, signing as well.  We need to go ahead and make available child size toilet seat and tiny potty chair for her, maybe speed the process along.  She talks, big sister taught her, “No!” and “Mine!”  Then of course there are Mama, Papa, Bye-Bye (with kisses blown), Duurhtee, and many other semi-gibberish interpretations.  Maybe I’m more aware this time around, the quickness of progressive learning is amazing to me, and the silliness this one possesses is different, I observe, from the serious intensity of The Firstborn. 

Miss Monkey has started Homeschool Connection on Mondays, then Rising Tigers (invitational pre-competitive team) 3 evenings a week, Fridays we’ve our little co-op Mile Hi Mommas have put together, and the middle days are chock full of other activity.  I’ve yet to purchase a solid curriculum to work from, though we read a LOT, and explore even more.  Yesterday F & I had a touching conversation about growing up and how hard it seems.  Tried to impress upon her that she’s lucky to be aware of her growing so that one day she can look back and think, “it was so fun when I was little enough to do that!”  She’s been growing through some stuff lately, and Love n Logic has helped immensely.  Enki will be a wonderful diversion from standard homeschool curriculum it seems, fostering my own passion for learning to ignite my children’s.  This system expects that the curriculum should serve the family and not the other way ‘round.  Also, that trying to DO too much can backfire, down time (a.k.a. boredom) is the breeding ground for imagination.

Labor Day weekend The Man and I celebrated—yes actually set aside time and celebrated—eight years of marriage.  We tripped up to Vail for a night and a day to see the Gospel Prayer Meetin’ of the annual Jazz Festival.  The first time in 5 years that we’ve taken an overnight trip alone, it was fantastic.  We returned refreshed and enjoyed the rest of the weekend with the girls.

More to come, it’s late now and I’ve dreams to meet.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Conspiring to Teach

I've seen both sides of schooling this week.  Monday, Miss Monkey went to Homeschool Connection all day.  What a nice break I had!  While Toddler E was sleeping I had some very real time to myself, quietly paying bills, making phone calls, showering without accompanying peep-eye and sometimes sibling induced squeals.  It was nice.  I could totally see why moms all over are so relieved for school to start's an easy way to get some time to myself while I choose to be reasonably sure she's learning something (although what she might be learning could be up for debate, no?).

Then Wednesday this week.  We signed up for the Denver Botanic Gardens' homeschool days.  Four days this "school year" when we get to go to the gardens practically free of charge.  From 10-2 they have activities tables ready with manipulatives for kiddos to learn about habitat, adaptations, food chains, etc.  This time it was Colorado Ecosystems.  We were a little late 'cause certain of our party needed some attention before we left.  We cruised through the gardens, to each table, Miss Monkey participated fully and exuberantly especially at the pond study table.  It was really pleasant, and eventually we left and arrived home mid-afternoon.  I didn't have to match my schedule to some beaurocratic idea of what children should be doing, we went our own natural pace.  A lot of learning and none of it was boring, plus we got to be outside most of the day (granted it's pretty warm around here lately, there was plenty of shade, better out than in no matter what weather).  In a word, freedom.  While it can be taxing at moments, I would much rather take the freedom of "homeschool" over the controlling world of typical public school.

The evening after the gardens adventure I met up with 3 other mommas to get a plan in place for our little homeschooling co-op-ish.  Sitting there listening to the excited conversation about what we "think would be neat" I thought, "I wonder what our kids would think of us all sitting here conspiring to teach them something."  Thus far we've some science in a monthly pond study, music, drama, and story writing.  We've worked it out that we'll each take a Friday for a couple of hours and match a virtue to our activity for the day and let the kids learn at their pace--which is incredibly fast when they're having fun.

I'm thinking I might start referring to it as "worldschooling" instead.  I'm excited to have received in the mail my Enki Foundations Guide, now I really need to study up and get some more curriculum purchased!

Monday, August 8, 2011


My Papa's Shirts Dress II
My Papa's Shirts Dress I

My [partial] Papa's Shirts Dress III

Beach Dress

Jelly Fish Dress

Halloween Mermaid 2009
I had help, seamstress mentoring, so to speak, for most of these.  The mermaid costume being the most intense.  So grateful for the tutoring, I recently made a lovely little cape and an apron for two birthday boys (pictures coming soon).

Successes and Backfires

This weekend was a great learning weekend for Miss Monkey.  The delayed consequence of her antics at the zoo were no pool all weekend.  After being totally obnoxious and uncooperative on Friday, The Man and I let her know that she had until 1pm Saturday to pick up the playroom and put her clothes away in the bedroom.  Simple.  So, Saturday morning I had a grand time designing and finishing 2 gifts for the boys' birthday party we planned to attend that afternoon.  Miss Monkey was super excited now and then, kept asking about when we were leaving, to which we replied "We'll talk about that later."  All the while watching the clock.  I resisted urge after compulsive urge to remind, nag, insist that she must get her chores finished if she wants to get to the birthday party.  I had even surreptitiously aided a bit by picking up the baby's toys (but only those toys I knew Baby E left out).  As the hour approached my grin got bigger and bigger.  The Man asked if I would be okay, "Sure!  I'm great!"  When I asked him if he was okay a few moments later, "I dunno, it just feels so mean."  "Oh, but it's not. It's follow-through, be strong.  We can do it."
While I was in the shower getting ready to leave with the baby, I heard him deliver the news to her.  
OH, THE HUMANITY!!!  She screamed, and cried, and whined, and tried to make deals.  We were so empathetic, and I found and was able to show, for the first time, a very real empathy for her sadness.  Big hugs, kisses, and "Oh, man!  it's so, so, sad, I know.  I love you, this must be so hard for you!"  Over and over again we repeated various versions of these phrases, because over and over she repeatedly cried, whined, and tried to make a deal.

THEN, oh, my goodies-goodnesses!  I got to have a mini-yard (patio) sale Sunday afternoon.  What was it I was selling?  Why it's all the things I got to pick up for my dear daughter over the past weeks, stuff that had been taking up space in my closet that took us that long to decide what to do with it.  The story, Miss Monkey had a choice of time to pick up her room, she did not. I picked it up for her, everything is off limits until she chooses to earn it back with chores, it'd been two weeks and no chores done though we'd talked about what she might undertake.  After some discussion, The Man and I decided that as we might send it to consignment anyway, or have a yard sale, then I might as well make the yard sale a reality.  It came off beautifully.  I wish the woman that was going to purchase the watch would have followed through---she chickened out when F started caterwauling.  The woman uttered something about how "it's not her job to teach other peoples' kids lessons", to which I replied quietly, "well, I'm the one teaching the lesson, not you."  Ms. RandomNeighbor bought a child-size broom and hightailed outta here quick-as-could-be.  In the end there were a bunch of clothes pushed into garbage bags to donate (sad 'cause a lot of things in there she's worn and enjoyed and would still fit for coming seasons).  Interesting to see though what she sees as important vs. what I thought was important.  Everything was liquidation priced to sell, easy enough for her to purchase whatever she liked with her allowance money.  Lesson learned---for both of us.  Next time, us parents have agreed, as painful as it might be to give away things we've lovingly purchased, we won't go to the effort of a garage sale.

Move into Monday morning, and they've been up before us, something we'd like to avoid, but short of drugging them not sure how to accomplish this.  After breakfast it started with the dolls, of course.  Baby E wants one, F doesn't want to budge on taking turns with it.  There's screaming, and a lot of it.  "Uh-oh! Bedroom time, I love you, see you when you're sweet and calm!"  Baby E doesn't get the concept of "leave sister alone, she needs some time" yet.  And while standing too near the bed of isolation was fwapped with the blankie hard enough that I could hear it downstairs.  Feelings hurt she starts bawling.  There are scratches on her back.  More bedroom time...all in all almost an hour, then recovery time, and talking it out.  The door is still broken from exhibition tantrums a long while ago (she paid into repair from allowance).  There is no real way to separate them---though now that I think of it I could break out the baby gate again.  And here's the backfire, if she's to have the consequence of staying home, then I have to stay home as well, 'cause kidsclub at our gym would constitute a reward.  I called a couple of people who are Love & Logic versed, so that Miss Monkey might pay for the sitter with a toy.  It's a reach though, as we don't have family nearby to take advantage of, I'm stuck.  Another strategy session with The Man and we decide we'll have to eat the price of 1 gymnastics session today.  Not going to the pool when she wanted to didn't seem to affect her, maybe it did though.  So we'll delay consequences until a little later when it's time to get to gymnastics.   Currently mentally prepping myself for the theatrics to come.  Change can make things worse for a while before it gets better.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Well, today I feel like I won something.  I'm positive that many people at the zoo thought my daughter should've been thrown to the lions.

It began with her less than friendly demanding behavior, it culminated when she fought with her baby sister, couldn't work it out.

I let her know, "I think we're going to have to leave the Zoo, sweetheart."  She screamed and ran to the play area, took some time to herself with her umbrella.  I waited for a bit.  My friend, whom I had been looking forward to chatting with on this leisurely afternoon at our lovely Denver Zoo, offered to attempt to coax her back into good graces.  But I know this:  I have warned her once, very clearly, very quietly, very firmly.  If I waffle, she'll continue to dance on the boundary and see just what she might get away with, making a most miserable afternoon for me and the rest of our party.

"Oh, my, it's so sad. We have to leave the zoo."
"NOOOOOO!!!!  I. DON'T. WANT. TO. LEAVE!!" thunderous, she's gotten everyone's attention in the small pavilion near the seals & sea lions.
"I know."
"Hey, I think you're more creative than that."
"NO!" she's crying and caterwauling.
"Hey, that's pretty good. I think you can scream louder.  Show all these people what an actress you are?"
She's pushing the dolly stroller, holding her umbrella, in her long dress she was insistent to wear...she stops.  "Will you be bringing the stroller along?  Or leaving it here?  I know I can carry you, if I do though the stroller has to stay here."  
Crying and caterwauling she starts moving again, "I DON'T WANT TO LEAVE!!!"
We make a little progress to the exit.
"NOOOO!!!"  screaming.  She stops again.  "I'M NOT LEAVING!!"
"Oh?  That's an option.  How will you get home?"
She pauses, then starts moving, "YOU'RE DUMB!!"
"Maybe so, I still love you."
"Nice try (chuckling), I still love you."
"I know. It's so sad to leave the zoo, it's a total bummer!"
Getting closer to the Feline house, I ask her if she needs a hug.  She nods.  Then we continue slowly making our way to the gate, intermittently she yells lamenting, "I don't want to leave, though!"
And I respond with, "I know."

In these situations, it's not me that's embarrassed.  I'm not the one losing my mind in front of strangers---thank goodness I've got more parenting tools at my disposal now!

Eventually we made it to the car, loaded up, and had a lovely, silent, cool, ride home...and me grinning all the way.

P.S. Since we've a membership at the zoo, it's easy to leave knowing I haven't wasted "all that money" on entrance, etc. If we didn't have a membership, though it would've stung the wallet, and the resentment would be challenging to let go, I'm positive the follow through would feel wonderful next time we're at the zoo and she does behave.