Friday, February 27, 2009

In My House, We Recycle Old Food

Oh how do I welcome Friday, although weekends aren't necessarily equated with down time around here. I'm feeling like there is a lot of negativity in the media these days and it's getting me down. So out of the goodness of my heart, I thought I would share a little story with you. Something I overheard in my dining room the other day. It's a priceless story and hopefully you'll leave here feeling better after you hear it. Because to be quite honest, I can't believe I am actually going to share this.

This conversation took place between my hubby and my five year old daughter, on his birthday this past Wednesday.

Sj: Dad I made you this gift, open it, open it!

Hubbs: Wow cool, what is it?

Sj: It's a shaker, a musical instrument, I made it myself, without Mom's help. I washed the yogurt cup, filled it up, and wrapped it all by myself. Do you like it?

Hubbs: I love it. What did you put inside to make the noise?

Sj: I picked dried stuff off the floors.

Hubbs: Wow, great it's like recycling.

So truth of the matter is, I haven't washed the floors in awhile. But I promise I swept them today, out of sheer cringing on the inside. If you are having a bad day, I hope that made you smile. I'll take the embarrassment to make someone's day better. Oh and on my to-do list this weekend, hands and knee floor washing.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Crocs™ Make Me Smile

Today, you can find me over at the Crocs™ Blog. I wrote about the photo shoot and our life in Crocs™. I'd be thrilled if you would make the click through and check it out over there! I promise, it will make you smile.

My journey through motherhood has been a very natural progression, with the exception of a smattering of awkward moments riddled with some fear and anxiety...Continue on here!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Open Enrollment, Year Two....Sigh

Last year when I was trying to Open Enroll my daughter into a "choice" school for Kindergarten, I was very open about it and even touched upon some general feelings I was having about school choice and social class. This year, I just kind of kept mum about it. No need to tour schools, as soon as Boulder Valley Schools Open Enrollment began, I submitted my application. Then we waited a couple of months.

Then we received the post card with our choices. Then we waited some more.

Then we received a letter in the mail. The kind of letter that makes your heart start pounding like you just found a wad of hundred dollar bills mistakenly stuffed into an envelope in your mailbox. Or the kind of letter that makes you feel like someone just stuck a dagger through your heart, as for when it's open, it's words contain the exact opposite of what you wanted it to say.

I visualized driving to the school everyday. I mapped it out and put it on my Dreams board. I thought about lunches and how my hubby would drop our daughter off in the morning and I would pick her up in the afternoon. I thought about my baby being grown up and turning six years old and moving on from her cute part time Kindergarten class to full time big kid school.

But we didn't get into any of our 4 choices. We now wait for round two letters.

I'm sorry to say that if my daughter didn't get into school when there were 30 openings for Kindergarten, how in the world would she get in for First grade, when there are maybe one or two spots. Problem is, I have faith. I believed she would get into an Arts school that would feed her love of art and drama. That she would experience an incredible non-mainstream education, one full of Boulder zest and flair, one full of my dreams for her.

Whatever may happen, in the future rounds or letters, I am okay with it. Sometimes I feel a bit disgruntled and want to blame it on class and society. But other times, I know she's in a great school, one where she'll get a fine mainstream education.

I'm still waiting on good news in an envelope, I feel in my heart it will arrive. I am hoping on or around February 27th. I'll be sure to update. Anyone else out there going through school enrollment or choice enrollment blues? Sometimes it just feels so lonely being left out!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Pajamas in Public? Apparently I Did NOT Get This Fashion Trend Memo

Sometime over the last five years, a new fashion trend has emerged that quite frankly I've become appalled by. I don't know exactly when the shift took place, but I am over it. And what trend is this I am referring to?

The pajamas in public trend.

Hello people? Pajamas in public. Seriously pajamas are storming the world over, beware Levis your market is being barraged by our friend, flannel comfort and coziness. Now I am no stranger to running out of the house to the post office when I am in my lounge wear in the early evening. Heck I even picked up my daughter with my nightgown tucked into my jeans one day. But I did say tucked in, it looked like a floral shirt peeking out of my jacket. For the record that was just a bad day anyway, the thought of getting out of my pajamas was horrific. But I didn't throw on my slippers and hit the door. I put on jeans! At least I appeared to be put together.

But we have to draw the line. I believe it started with High School aged kids, running out to the library or to Target. Then wham it hit the college scene, then eventually Moms. Sigh. Shameful really. Are we too damn lazy to put on a pair of sweatpants. I rarely leave the house in sweats, but pajamas displayed in public, Never.

This pajamas in public post was inspired by two back to back incidents. I was sitting in the parking lot eating a Hot Fudge Sundae off the dollar menu of a local fast food establishment (if you know me, insert gasp!). This was the day after I tucked my nightie into my jeans to pick up my daughter, so I was still in the dark fog. My youngest was enjoying a Strawberry Sundae when I was wiping her cheek I noticed a mom getting out of her car. She was wearing blue satin pajama bottoms and pink fuzzy slippers, hair up in some disheveled ponytail. She grabs her daughter and heads into the Golden Arches. Hello "Mom In Your Pajamas" at four in the afternoon, there's this thing called a drive thru, you sit in your car, order the food, they hand it to you. No one ever has to know you are in your pajamas, IN PUBLIC.

Then yesterday I witnessed this, the proof the trend is growing. Obviously young men in their twenties, out with their very cute and put together girlfriends also are into the flannel look. Oh and it's hard to tell, but he was wearing his slippers as well.
Is anyone with me on this one. Or do you hate the thought of having to slip out of your flannel, just to go enjoy some lunch or pick up a few things at the grocery store?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Glimpse Into The Photo Shoot!

Wanted to share this photo from today...(Sj is in pink corduroys first in line)! Writing soon, I promise.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

When Reality Kicks Opportunity In The Ass

Sometimes I think about making a long list of all my responsibilities, just for the heck of it. Out of curiosity, to see it on paper. First there's the obvious taking care of my family, keeping the household running, finances, all the things the typical Household Executives are responsible for. Then there's other things on the side, like volunteering to be a Girl Scout Troop Co-Leader or overseeing the entire Scholastic Book Club Orders for my daughter's former pre-school (and soon to be my youngest daughter's new pre-school in the fall). Of course let's not forget Graduate School, which is something I wanted for myself, but wonder why. There aren't quite enough hours in the day for all that the course requires, but yet I am managing to stay afloat. Of course there is this blog (and Rocky Mtn Moms Blog where I contribute), which I don't quite have the overzealous energy for that I did in it's early days, but I am keeping it going. I like to call it, quality over quantity. Ha! I don't think I could give this blog up, it's a part of my identity, or as the social media types like to call it, my brand. If only my brand would pay me.

Life really is just chugging along for me, sometimes I feel balanced and other days are out of control. All normal. But then opportunity falls into my lap. Another thing, is it possible?

Believe it or not, an employment opportunity has fallen into my lap. Make money. Novel concept for someone that hasn't brought home a real paycheck since the 2003 Tax Year. I have made some money, but not regular good money.

Now for the reality part. The job that I was offered could either be full time or part time, flexible hours. A dream really. But I pay my babysitter $12 an hour, which I think is very reasonable, I whole heartedly trust her with my children. After I crunched the numbers, I would make oh about $20 bucks a week after paying for childcare. The problem is I would have to pay my babysitter an extra hour a day over which I would be payed, which is travel time back and forth. I would be getting paid for 9 hours of work a week, but paying for 12 hours of childcare. Hence the problem.

The disappointing part of the whole situation is that the opportunity would be wonderful. I would learn the skills to teach dyslexic students how to read. It would be a fabulous addition to my resume, which as we all know is lacking in the professional experience being a stay at home mom. There would be opportunity for growth, being the Director of the center.

My options are to; make no money, but gain experience and lifelong skills for my profession, pass on the job, or find cheaper childcare.

Seems like the timing is just not right for this opportunity. It's so hard to say no to something that feels so right. I have to continually remind myself that soon enough both of my girls will be in school full time. My time with them right now is priceless, a time I will never have the opportunity to get back.

Honestly, I can do with out so many things to be with my girls. Even if that's a really good career building opportunity.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Latest Airplane Tragedy, Hits Close To Home

Not again, the thought raced over and over in my mind. That's all I could think as I took in the broadcast images of a three story fireball and billowing smoke. Occasionally the flash of the intact tail of the aircraft was recognizable in the fiery chaos, the visual reminder that yet again there's been another airplane accident. This latest accident in Buffalo, New York resonated deeply within me for a few reasons. Some reasons, I choose not to talk about very often...

Continue reading over at Rocky Mountain Moms Blog.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Funny Things Happened, When A Shoe Fell Off...

A few weeks ago at Kindergarten pick up, I was carrying my two year old and her red shoe fell off. Her shoe is a little big on her, but she's at that age where she must wear it anyway. Another parent, whom I've conversed with every now and again was kind enough to pick up GL's shoe for me. He casually mentioned to me the same shoe company, which is locally based, was looking for kids for a national ad campaign.

Insert, seed planted.

Sometime later that evening, I tracked down the information on the casting call. They were looking for kids age 4-8, with a particular shoe size. I emailed it to my husband. I mulled it over in my mind. Should I submit her photo? What harm would come from simply submitting a photo or two, either they would like her or not. Then I proceeded to dig through the last six months of photos in my iPhoto library to find pictures to submit to the company. The original casting call requested a head shot and a full body shot. Considering we have never given thought to our daughter modeling, I didn't exactly have a go-to file of head shots, so I came up with the next best, family candids. I emailed off the information requested, some not even close to professionally taken photos, and was done with it.

About a week later, I received an email requesting Sj for a call back.

Then my mind started reeling. A call back? They liked our family photos. I have no idea how many submissions they received, but none the less we were excited. It was certainly a hesitant excitement, always in the back of my mind, are we really doing this? We drove out to the Corporate offices of Crocs™. We had a very casual and short meeting with the photographer and another employee. We said our goodbyes.

The next day, we received the news. Sj was cast for the photo shoot.

While I never envisioned my daughter becoming a model, I think this opportunity is wonderful. Sj has been charismatic from day one. She has knock out memorable dimples and a contagious smile. The best part of this whole whirlwind process, is that Crocs™ is a company that I have loved for years. When the Crocs™ explosion took over the country and respectively the world, we always felt proud our local company made the big time. Being a mother I can't help but throw in Crocs™ have seriously changed my life. I have a new pair of comfortable, casual, and not your typical Crocs™ and my girls, well they own about three pairs each.

I couldn't help myself, digging through my photo library, looking for a picture of Sj in her first pair of Crocs™. She was almost two years old and simply adorable. I remember the Crocs™ being a bit big on her, but she had to wear them (sound familiar?). This weekend I am going to make a photo collage of the girls rockin their Crocs™ over the years, I'll be sure to share when I finish. Crocs™ have truly been a part of our lives, every step of the way. 

Don't forget to check out the Crocs™ Blog or the outlet where there are some fantastic bargains to be found.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Giving Time, Some Here, Some There...

Have I ever mentioned that in my spare time, I volunteer with my Daughter's Girl Scout Troop, as a co-leader? Have I ever mentioned I don't know how I get roped into these situations? Honestly it's not that bad, I did say co-leader, which means I help out whenever needed. I am not required to be at every meeting. Most of the parents volunteer so it makes my rotation very manageable. Sometimes I just laugh though, thinking how did I get myself into yet another commitment.

But we all do it, don't we? Over extend ourselves, putting our children first.

As I go through the motions with my daughter, I learn more and more about being a Girl Scout. The organization, the promise, the plethora of opportunities, and of course most recently the cookie sales. Sj set a goal for how many boxes of cookies she would like to sell. Her goal was set with her eye on the prize, sell 230 boxes and get an Eco Ellie Elephant stuffed animal. Wowzers, that's a lot of boxes for a stuffed animal. But she did it. She also earned a few patches and a t-shirt.

This past Sunday morning, I went on the trek to pick-up the cookies for our Troop! I've never seen so many cases of Girl Scout Cookies in my life. Three of us were in and out, with plenty of volunteers expediting the process. Then it was onto sorting of the cases for the girls' orders, then coming home and sorting our 250 boxes. What a process.

My dining room table and buffet is still over run with brightly colored boxes of sugary treats. I'm on the second phase of getting everyone their cookies, if you are waiting on me, I promise by this weekend!

Here's a glimpse of what our truck looked like, pulling away from Girl Scout Cookie pick-up. Amazing! I had plenty of smiles at red lights on my five mile drive home. I am most happy to report, I didn't lose a box from the back of the truck.

Friday, February 6, 2009

All Those Babies...

Oh Nadya, Nadya Suleman the woman who's the biggest news story these days. Funny enough even though I am content with my two girls and have opinions about overpopulating our planet, you won't find me attacking someone else's choices. It saddens me that we are so quick to judge and blame, criticize and chastise. 

My opinions of her waxed and waned as the news reports flooded every avenue of communication without much information. For me the story first unfolded with a woman had eight babies in California. My response, Good Lord, eight babies. I sat watching the news conference as the Doctors shared, they thought there were seven, but voile baby number eight made her way onto the scene. Then it didn't take but twenty four hours for the judgements to hit the presses. Oh no, she already had six children. She just wanted another. She didn't have a husband. She doesn't have a job. Now she has fourteen children, of which many "may" have medical needs. 

Enter in lots and lots of name calling and personal attacks. 

But what do I think? I have always felt blessed to become a mother. Pregnancy came very easy for me, even with one surprise. My daughters were both born with 10 Apgars. From day one of seeing two pink lines on a pregnancy test to now, motherhood is something I have never taken for granted. I have friends that struggled with a whole myriad of issues surrounding their pregnancies and one friend that never was able to conceive. 

People, this is America. We don't have a limit on the number of children you can have. We are free to give birth until mother nature says times up, even if that's at 60 years old. We GLORIFY families of multiples, hello Jon & Kate Plus 8! Kate has admitted to just wanting one more and she got 6 more. Now they are living the dream in a new million dollar house, thanks to our obsession with watching them. Watching their every move with all those kids, curiosity at it's finest. As for the Duggars I'll refrain, but I watch them too. I shake my head in amazement. 

So let's talk about Nadya, a woman who always wanted to be a mother. Who just wanted one more baby. Seems to be the brunt of society attacks. The universe gave her eight more babies. Her life is going to be a struggle, but I don't think we should put her down for wanting to love and care for other human beings unconditionally. I think we'd be hard pressed to find a woman that has gone through the ups and downs of fertility procedures that would actually select to give up a growing baby, a life that is a miracle. 

With out knowing this woman, I say lay off of her. Let her live her life embracing the challenges she faces. Deep down I hope that she makes the best choices to give those children amazing lives, for they were destined to be here. Let's think about the Doctors that made these decisions, was it a best practice? There sure will be lessons learned from this. One more thing, let's not judge a single mother for not finding a person to spend her life with, yet. Once again it's America, where women can make the choice to have children even with out a man. 

I have a feeling this is not the last we've seen of Nadya. I am sure TLC has her number. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Inauguration Story, Would She Go Back?

This is a guest post, written by a friend Mandy whom attended the inauguration in D.C. She was so fired up, I asked her to write a post about her experience. Let's see if she would make the trip again...

When I think about my trip to last week’s inauguration many words come to mind; joyful, proud, hopeful, and biggest of all would be surreal. Nothing was truer of this than on the Sunday before the swearing in ceremony. The day starts early, with me having to drag myself out of bed at 4:30 a.m. to catch my 8 a.m. flight. This was no ordinary flight. I knew that the moment I got to the gate to find I was the only female there with about twenty guys standing and sitting around waiting for the plane. I later found out that we had forty sheriff deputies on the flight to help with security detail in Washington. Surreal – I picked a random seat and ended up in a conversation with a congressman’s wife, then I look up and see another congressman at the gate, and the governor and his wife standing to get on the flight. What a flight to be on and as my dad said, “This is going to be the safest flight in the air.”

But the surreal feeling didn’t stop there that day. I flew in on the side of the plane that was facing the Lincoln Memorial. There I could see people gathering for the We are One concert. This is when it started to become real to me and yet all the more unbelievable.

That night my sister was able to get tickets to a party for the Declare Yourself organization, they help young people get involved in politics. We were treated with a great concert with local acts, John Legend, and Maroon 5 performing for us. It was fantastic! Made even more so since we were only fifteen feet from the stage. I kept thinking I would have to pay serious money to get this close to Maroon 5. Not only are we seeing these great acts but we were also not far from Jessica Alba, Jamie Foxx, and Hayden Panettiere who were all there to talk about the organization. After the concert Sam Ronson was the DJ for the party. She is most known for being the girlfriend of Lindsay Lohan, my sister and I quickly go over to get a look at her and were stunned to see Lindsay as well. I honestly can’t believe that I’m seeing someone I’ve seen on countless magazine covers. It truly was a surreal day.

The next day was the Inauguration. We got up a little before 6 a.m. to get ready and were out the door by 6:30 a.m. to catch the Metro subway. We were all nice and bundled up for the journey. I was wearing tights, long underwear, and jeans for my legs; on top I wore long underwear, my Mamas for Obama t-shirt, a cashmere turtleneck, a wool sweater, and my ski jacket. I also had on wool socks, two pairs of gloves and a hat. I can honestly say that the only part of me that got cold was my hands since I kept taking off my big gloves to take pictures. In fact standing in the Metro subway car to get there I was roasting. When we got to our stop and went to get out there was a huge mob of people trying to leave. It took us about thirty minutes to get out to the street. You would expect people yelling and being upset but instead people were smiling, singing songs, and chanting “Obama” and “Yes We Can.” We walked to our gate, the blue gate, to stand in line. We got there about fifteen minutes or so before they opened the gate. Once they opened the gate we moved quite quickly until we got across the street from the gate. From that point until we reached security took a little over two and half hours. 

There was very little grumbling that I heard. We were entertained for a while by a lady that was selling hand warmers. Some person in the crowd would let her know that they wanted a warmer and the cash would pass through the crowd and then the warmers would pass the same path back. She eventually ran out of warmers. I thought about getting one but it wasn’t that bad. It was only later that the weather got colder and the wind picked up that I wished I would have bought some. My favorite part of the wait is when we would all get together and start singing songs like the Star Spangled Banner or If You’re Happy And You Know It. There were also a few episodes of the wave.

Once we got closer to the front of the line where security was, we had to go from a large mass of people to a more uniform line. As people were moving to form the line I started to move without actually moving my feet. It was like crowd surfing while standing; it was a very strange feeling. We got to security and had our bags searched, they tested my bottled water, and we had to turn on our cell phones and have them inspect it. Our section was the blue section which is the section right behind the seated section. My sister’s boyfriend and some of her friends were in the silver section and they were just patted down and got to their area about thirty minutes or so before us.

The great part of being there was being with the crowd and feeling such positive energy and excitement. We could also hear chants start from the back of the crowd and like wildfire they would spread to the front. It was great to hear the crowd’s reaction when they would introduce people. I’ve watched the ceremony on TV and much of the crowd’s reaction is missing. There was a lot of cheering and some booing and for some such as Laura Bush and Lynn Cheney there was complete silence. The biggest chorus of booing was for George W. Bush. You could actually hear the band double their volume to try and drown it out the booing from the crowd; and watching it on TV later I heard none of it. The great thing about America is people have the freedom of speech and while many booed I decided to say nothing at all.  

The great moments for me came when Biden and Obama were sworn in. The time had finally come for a new attitude to enter Washington, and the moment was electrifying. I was so elated at both of the oaths, words can’t even begin to describe how I felt. I also loved Obama’s speech about it is not just government that will get us on the right track but that we all share in this fight, that we succeed together or lose alone. The two music selections were remarkably different but equally inspiring to me. I just loved Aretha’s hat and she sounded incredible. When I think of the song ‘Simple Gifts’ it reminds me of those that came before me that made this country so great, and to hear it played so beautifully made my heart burst. All in all the ceremony was great and is something I will remember for the rest of my life.

Since I’ve come back people have seemed to ask me the same question, “Would you do it over again?” I answer a resounding, “Yes!” I answer yes for so many reasons. Yes to getting to spend some time with my sister who I love so much. Yes to going to support someone that inspired me to do things like volunteer which I had never done before. Yes to being a part of history and getting to witness this occasion in person. Yes to being part of positive movement which I felt the entire time I was there. Yes to seeing the joy and pride on the faces of so many people especially the African-Americans. This was especially brought home to me after the ceremony when we swapped picture taking duties with an African-American woman there. When we went to take her picture she pulled out photos of those in her family including her deceased grandmother that couldn’t make it so that they could be in the picture with her and share in her joy. So when I’m asked that question of would you do it over again? I answer Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes; Yes I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesday Tips: Another Reason to BAN High Fructose Corn Syrup

Well, first I am not going into a big diatribe about my disdain for HFCS/High Fructose Corn Syrup because I already did here. Please take a moment to read it, if you would like more information about the ills of High Fructose Corn Syrup.

For years I have believed HFCS is a major contributor to the obesity epidemic in this country. But now I hear of this news, this appalling news.

At least 33% or sometimes 9 in 20 samples of High Fructose Corn Syrup found to contain Mercury. Mercury is toxic to the body. Scary enough teens can consume up to 80% more HFCS than a normal consumer.

Does anyone hear a voice go off in their head when the terms Mercury and Autism are spoken? Once again we are doing our children wrong. I am sad and angry. 

"Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much high-fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply," the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy's Dr. David Wallinga, a co-author of both studies, said in a prepared statement. source, Washington Post

Time for us to speak up. We need to stop poisoning our children and our bodies. When will this end. To think of those ludicrous commercials that were put out by the Corn Growers Association. Shame on America.

Bring Back Sugar!

Monday, February 2, 2009

To Ski or Not To Ski...

Late Thursday evening, my husband casually mentioned to me the opportunity to head up to the mountains for the weekend. I jumped at the chance, as I am always interested in a little getaway. More importantly escaping the duties of home, laundry, dishes, cooking, a birthday party, and even a meeting. In turn I had to pack the bags, prepare the food list, and spend a couple of mindless hours knitting on the drive up. Even though I was hoping my knitting would keep my mind off of things, it didn't. I was drawn back to a slight hesitation I had in the back of my mind, the feeling that always winds up overwhelming me as we drive west on Interstate 70...

click to continue reading over at Rocky Mountain Moms Blog...

(This post was originally written for Rocky Mountain Moms Blog)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

She Can't Be Missed

The weather has been beautiful up in the mountains this weekend. Our five year old is really making progress on her skis. Me on the other hand, you can find out how well I did tomorrow.

Sj thinks her Burton Ski Outfit is too brightly colored, but you'd be surprised by all the teenagers that think it's so cool. Ha! Btw, this is a mobile post from my iPhone, I can't believe I did it!