Archive for September, 2011

An Avoidable Mommy Mistake

September 29, 2011

It’s never fun when your kids have a public meltdown and realizing that you may have been the cause of such an emotionally taxing event makes it even worse!

For the past several weeks, Gabi’s been working hard to earn 10 blue ribbons from her teacher. These little awards are given out for all sorts of good behavior in the classroom. Gabi’s been bringing them home and taping them to her bedroom door, anxious to get to her goal and earn the prize of a trip to the dollar store with me. 2 days ago she brought home her 10th ribbon. Whoo Hoo! We decided we’d make our trip out to the dollar store the following day. Happy, happy girl! On the way, I asked her if she’d rather get a drink at Starbucks or a milkshake or even a yogurt from the local yogurt shop. She answered “no” to all. Ok then! To the dollar store it is! But first I wanted to stop at a local department store that I’d been wanting to check out. Here is where I went wrong.

We meandered through the women’s shoe department and the home department and then stumbled upon the kid’s section. It wasn’t big, but it DID have a fancy, $10 Barbie puzzle that came with all manner of decor to liven it up after you’ve put it together. The idea of the dollar store went completely out of Gabi’s head. She wanted that puzzle! I pointed out $5 items instead, explaining that her reward was really only $1 ($2 on the outside, if she really couldn’t pick between 2 wonderfully eye-catching items). I said I was willing to go with one of the $5 items, but $10 was too much and I’d keep it in mind for her birthday. Once the meltdown started I even went so far as to say that there are often lots of things we want but that they just simply aren’t available to us. In my frustrated explanation I may have said something like, “if you’re offered a fancy cup of coffee, you don’t get to cry about wanting a new car!”. Maybe…

So I carried her into the dollar store, trying to lure her with the likes of fairy wands and whole bags of ring pops. Still the tears flowed. I finally let her know she could pick out 2 items and that I promised I would remember that she wanted that puzzle for the future. Still she cried. Eventually she picked out 2 items and we got back to the van where she started screaming that I needed to go back and return them because she DID NOT want them! Ugh~

We made it home where I asked her  to go spend some time in her room and that if she really REALLY didn’t want the 2 items, I’d take them back in the morning. I made dinner feeling like the worst mom. I totally ruined her experience!

The good news is that she DID get over it. She came out and broke open the paints and the lovely, rose suncatcher and had a great time painting it. Then we hung it in her window. All good.

Lesson Learned! Stick with the plan!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Learning all the Way~

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Have a Cup of Coffee & Help End Human Trafficking!

September 27, 2011

I’ve been spending time each day exploring all the new places around me and this is by far, one of my VERY BEST finds! There are global issues that make us all feel so small and helpless and Human Trafficking is at the top of that list for me. As a mom it’s one of those things that absolutely hurts my soul and I’ve never known what to do, except pray for the victims.

A couple of days ago, Lex and I were on the hunt for a new place to grab some iced tea or coffee and I saw the sign for Origins Coffee & Tea. It intrigued me because it said something about making a difference. A coffee house making a difference? I had to go in and see what it was about. I’m sure glad I did!

Origins Coffee and Tea was started by dads who couldn’t let this issue go without a fight. You can read Chad Salstrom’s blog here. Arianna, Maddi and I went in today to find out about volunteering and we were able to meet Chad, get a tour and hear a little of his personal perspective. The shop is run by volunteers who are asked to give a minimum of 4 hours a week for 3 months. These are people working for free to help this important cause. You can easily sign up to give a little time, but if that won’t work for your schedule, you can simply patronize the shop. It’s spacious and comfortable, offering free wifi and is open from 6:30am-11pm each day. Chad showed us the meeting room they have available for groups looking for a place to hold a meeting or a gathering. There’s no charge for this room! Think about holding your next meeting there and let the coffeehouse provide your drinks and refreshments.

I’m so excited about this shop and what they’re doing! The girls and I are signing up to donate our time and plan on visiting the coffeehouse often. I’m drinking coffee anyway, my caffeine addiction might as well help out those in need!

This is seriously Good Stuff! If you’re local to the Rocklin/Roseville area, consider visiting the shop, bring your laptop, your friends and your goodwill!

Doing the Dance of the Children With the Hope of Helping a Little~

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New Town, New House, New Business, New Decade-Turning 40

September 26, 2011

So here it is-40.

Today is the 1st Monday of my 40′s. I spent last week planning what great strides I would make when today arrived. I would let myself go through the weekend not worrying about much, but when Monday arrived, I’d be on it! All the things I let trip me up each day would be faced and overcome! I would be bolder, more on task and certainly more self-assured.

On my actual birthday I visited with two of my sisters, had coffee with one of them and a friend, went to dinner with one sister and two friends and came home to a cake that Maddi had made for me. The next day the house was full of extended family. One of my sisters shares my EXACT same birthday, so we had a celebration together and invited all the relatives in the area to join us. It was really nice to see that moving here, with the intent to get to know my family better and give my kids the sense that they’re part of a big, extended family wasn’t in vain!

Dinner out

Maddi’s loving creation

Me with 3 of my sisters

Opening presents with a lap full o’ kiddos

My back yard, properly filled with guests

My dad telling a joke

My parents and my aunt

I LOVE this picture! Tristan and Uncle Mike are playing foosball. This is Good Stuff!

I may not have gotten Monday off to the start I’d hoped for (it took me till 9 am to shower and get dressed), but I AM determined to look ahead, embrace all that’s before and see the beginning of my 40′s as a positive and bold stepping stone into the future. New town with lots of great new people to meet. New house to be filled with family and friends and lots of love. New business to be passionate about (Silpada Designs for this girl!) and the rest of my life in front of me! This is only the beginning!

Thanks to all those that helped my celebrate the next step in this life. The love and support I’m receiving make all the difference.

To Life!

Doing the Dance of the Children into My Future~

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A Mommy of Many® Review-RW Garcia Chips and Crackers

September 20, 2011

What could be better than a HUGE box of premium snacks being delivered to your door?

R.W. Garcia sent me a sampling of their premium chips and gluten free crackers to try out with the kids and when the box arrived at the door, it was torn into and several different kinds were opened all at once so we could compare and find our favorites. This is what happens when you let the kids in on a review! From their Classic Yellow Corn Chips to their super yummy Thai Sweet and Spicy Flaxseed chips, we all found our favorites (I hid the rest of the Thai chips for NOT sharing later. Yum!) and knowing that R.W. Garcia snack products are verified by the Non-GMO Project as meeting or exceeding GMO avoidance standards made me feel better about digging in! Give their flaxseed line of chips a try. The nutty taste and crisp, crunchy texture made them my favorite .

Look for the R.W. Garcia line of premium snack products in your favorite local market and don’t forget to Like them on Facebook. If you’re near me, you’ll have to look REALLY hard for those Thai chips because chances are, I’ve cleared the shelf!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Enjoying some Healthy Snacking~

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A Day of Loving the Things My Kiddos Say

September 19, 2011

Parents get frustrated. Parents get exhausted. Parents get tired. But sometimes parents get the chance to just enjoy their kids. Today I got that opportunity. Yes, they tested me today. Yes there were fits today. But the Good Stuff outweighed the other stuff. Let me bring you through the Good Stuff of being M.O.M. to these kiddos.

First of all, I had a home sales party today. We cleaned and prepped food etc. Then the older girls took the lil ones over to the spray park by our house. About 45 minutes into the kids being gone, I got a text from one of the girls that read, “Have the people gotten there yet?” I looked at my sister and sighed a little and showed her the text, because I figured this daughter was asking so that she could bring the lil ones home already. When I texted “not yet”. She texted back, “Don’t worry, they’ll come.” Awwwww!!!! How sweet is she?!

On the way to church, this evening, I got a text from my 17 yr old, who’s far away at college. It read, “please send me each of the kids school pics”. More sweetness! I felt bad having to tell her that they don’t even get them taken till this week. It will likely be October before I have pics to send her.

While we were in church, Lex (5yrs) turns to me and asks, “What kind of meat are we? Chicken meat or….?” I swear this kid is always making me smirk in church! I guess he does some of his best pondering in the “silence” of Mass time.

When we got home I was getting kids to bed and picking up when I hear Gabi yelling, “Mooooooommmmmm!!!!!”. I went in to check on her and she threw her covers back and said that I needed to lie down with her because she just loves me. Awwwww! She said it wasn’t fair that she always had to come climb into my bed and that I needed to come lay with her for a little while. Sweet stuff!

To wrap the night up, Maddi (15 yrs) decied to test her “ol’ ” Mom. She sent me a text that read, “I lost my phone. Can you please call it?” Hey! I may be getting “old” but I didn’t fall for that!

It was a good day with my kids. I was able to hear all their sweetness and enjoy the Good Stuff. There was some lesson learning in today, as well. Tristan and Gabi both wanted to get drinks at Starbucks and learned what it meant to “earn” something.

Tristan really really REALLY wanted to try a Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice latte and Gabi was hoping she had enough money for a pink lime frost. There was van vacuuming and clothes hanging to earn these things. I was really proud of them for working to get what they wanted. I guess it’s just been a good day, all around. I’ll take it!

Doing the Dance of the Children…to some sweet sounds~

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Struggling with Finding Solutions for My Kiddo with Aspergers

September 15, 2011

Every time I’ve sat down to write about a zillion different topics, my mind wanders to the same one-Max. Max, my brilliant, stubborn, imaginative, frustrating, lil guy who’s locked in a complicated web of ideas, thoughts, outbursts, social struggles, compassion and Aspergers. When he puts his mind to something, amazing things happen and when he’s got his mind locked against something, NOTHING happens. He does best when he’s busy and his mind is working hard on solving problems. But you have to be very careful of how things are presented to him. If he gets an inkling that you’re asking anything extra of him, he will completely shut down and this boy is STUBBORN! But, if something extra is presented as a competition, he’s on it! Oh the games!

I’m frustrated right now because his outbursts are interrupting classroom time, but this is a tough thing to define. There’s no IEP for Max’s “disorder”. He went through the GATE testing, but no GATE classes are available to him.

Just a mommy’s rantings over the frustration of wanting your child to have the best schooling experience possible-one that fits what they need, where they make friends and participate appropriately and are guided where needed and challenged accordingly.

~sigh~

Now that I’m mostly settled in the new house and I know what to expect of my routine, it’s time to seek out what’s going to benefit Max socially and educationally. Sometimes parenting hurts my head.

Doing the Dance of the Children and Looking for the Right Music~

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Reflecting on 9-11

September 13, 2011

Yes, it’s been 2 days since the anniversary of 9-11, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about it. I had intended to write on the actual anniversary, but I found too many thoughts crowding my head. I decided it was best to put it aside and help the kids understand the day, talk about what was happening in our house on that day and then take them out to the Patriot’s Day Festival.

We walked over to the plaza near our house and the kids were able to meet members of the SWAT team, try on some of their gear, tour a fire truck, enjoy a couple of bouncy houses and take in the sights from many booths.

I was thinking about this group of my 4 youngest kiddos and I didn’t even have 3 of them when 9-11 occurred! My brother was living with me and Clay was 2 days away from pulling in after a 6-month deployment. One of my sisters called me and told me to turn the TV on. After I did, I went and woke up my brother. We sat with the older kids and watched things unfold. We wondered if we were going to continue seeing tragedy after tragedy come across the U.S. from the East Coast to the West. I wondered if the ships would pull in or if they would be sent back out and I wondered what it was going to mean for us, as a military family and community. Those are hard things to try to share with kids who weren’t even born yet. And in light of how much my life has changed since then, it was really too much of a challenge to do too much remembering.

But I was thinking, with great pride, about all I saw happen around me-the incredible sense of community and the intense feeling of pride that we each felt for all those we knew who had been and continued to fight for all of our freedoms. Amazing! Living in a military community brings something with it that is tough to put into words. But all of you who have experienced it know exactly what I’m saying.

God Bless America and all those who risk everything each day that they go to work. And God bless their families~

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Finding Our Fun

September 11, 2011

Now that the house is unpacked, school’s in full swing and we’re settling into a routine, it’s time to start getting out and exploring our new surroundings. We’re learning what’s out there and figuring out what to fill our days with that fits M.O.M.’s criteria of-Entertaining for multiple ages, doesn’t require special equipment and is inexpensive. Today we explored Old Town Sacramento with my sister. It fit all the criteria. We ate lunch at home, packed our drinks and snacks and headed out.

I was worried about finding parking for my van, but was lucky enough to find a convenient spot, right away. Whoo Hoo! Our lil visit to Old Town was starting off on the right foot! Our first stop was a candy store. Everyone got to pick out a couple of pieces each. There was much negotiation, but they eventually got the message that they really REALLY were only getting to pick out 2 pieces each.

Then we spent a bunch of time in Evangeline’s. There aren’t any pictures because I was too full of busy worry that I was going to either lose a child or end up with an accidental shoplifter. They enjoyed the shop and I was happy when we were regrouped outside.


I love this pic of Lex! When everyone else was looking out over the water, he was chillin with his drink and his candy. He was just so content.


There was plenty of walking around and seeing what we’d like to come back to do another time. We want to make a trip to the railroad museum in the near future. We’ve always enjoyed the one in Balboa Park and I think it will be fun to see what this one has to offer.


We found some shade and relaxed for awhile. We’re still getting acclimated to the heat and being outside and wandering around tends to leave us hot and sweaty…which we’re just not all that used to.


Gabi took pictures of some old train engines.


The kids had fun with this gold panning station that’s in front of the History Museum.

We checked out a family adventure store and the kids each picked out a few pretty, polished stones to bring home.

We ended our outing with samples at Danny’s Mini Donuts. The kids have always enjoyed going to Krispy Kreme to be able to see the donuts being made and  here, the experience was recreated-in mini. The owner was super friendly and didn’t seem overwhelmed with his tiny store suddenly being filled with kids who wanted to take advantage of his sign that read-”Free Sample”. Don’t worry, I made a purchase for me and my sister. I wasn’t going to let the him hand out all those samples and not buy something yummy!

We had a 2 hour adventure in Old Town, spent about $20 and had a great time. A perfect afternoon adventure!

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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I’m So Glad I Was Wrong!

September 9, 2011

When I moved and found out that kindergarten in this area is a 1/2 day program, I was SO annoyed! I couldn’t believe it! Really?! 1/2 day?! After 2 years of 1/2 day preschool, I felt like we were just extending that experience instead of moving forward into a Big Kid role. I wondered how I’d be able to find a job and what sense it made to even look. I thought of a ton of reasons to be annoyed that my last kiddo, my baby, wasn’t going to be in school all day.

What the heck was I thinking?!

I am SO glad to have one more year of getting Mommy & Me time with my last lil guy EVERY SINGLE DAY! We get 2 hours together between when I pick him up and when I pick up the other kids. We don’t always do something exciting, but even if he’s watching a movie next to me, while I’m folding clothes, we are spending that time together. We’ve gotten milkshakes, met friends at the park, done grocery shopping and read books. No matter what it is we’re doing, I’m going to miss this time when it’s over. I’m so glad I was able to get over my annoyance and see the gift I’ve been given! What a lesson for me, to slow down and see things differently.

This M.O.M. is encouraging each of you busy, overworked, overscheduled and patience-worn-thin parents to take a big breath and enjoy the little bit of time in which your kids are still LITTLE. I know I’m going to do my best to.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Tough but Fragile

September 8, 2011

Sometimes its hard to juggle what each of my kids need. It’s easy to decide to label them for their strengths and task them accordingly. Every so often I’m reminded that I need to be mindful of their weaker points.

Getting ready for school is always a flurry of activity and me shouting out orders for tasks that need to be attended to. I’d make one heck-of-a drill instructor (not always the BEST quality in a mom)! But on a couple of recent occasions I’ve had a kiddo meltdown during this routine. The excuse has been clothing or shoes and not liking what’s available (how I miss uniforms!), but I know there’s more to it. I know that my tough, locked on, lil kiddo is more likely thrown off because the outfit that they’ve picked out and are not being allowed to wear is more tied to being in a new place and trying to figure out what’s going to be “acceptable” to this new peer group. Ugh! The brainwork that goes into parenting! This requires me being firm about what’s acceptable to be worn to school, but also takes me spending some time (usually in hindsight and after school) to sit with the child and discuss what’s really behind the meltdown over what’s being worn.

I’ve had to realize that under the tough exterior is a fragile little person who needs less drill instructor and more tender, Mommy time. I’m working on softening up my voice. I wake up with the intent to use a kinder, softer voice and it lasts about 1/2 and hour, while I watch everyone meander around with no actual direction and then the GET-ON-TASK, CAN’T-YOU-SEE-WHAT-TIME-IT-IS voice kicks in.

A lesson to keep working on. But you can bet I’ll find time this afternoon to take the lil one aside and talk to them about what’s behind the clothing and shoe issue. I’m hoping that picking clothes out the night before and getting them approved ahead of time will help.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Ask and You Shall Receive

September 7, 2011

Too often we forget to tell people what we need or what we may be looking for, which eliminates the chance for people to help or offer ideas

This weekend I was looking for something to do with the kiddos. We don’t know our area very well yet, so I’m not locked into all the places and opportunities that are available for families. After a little thought, I decided to put up a Facebook post asking locals for their best ideas for what the kids and I could do to fill our day. BUT, it had to fit this criteria-Fun AND Free. Soon after, I received a message with an invite to spend the day at a friend’s ranch. She lured us with such enticing offers as-miniature horses, a quad, turkeys, a garden and junk food. The kids (all of them!) were in!

Off we went, not sure what to expect or how long we would stay.

The boys leading Lex on a miniature horse ride

Gabi and Maddi visiting the horses

Max, Tristan and Gabi chillin in the hammock with the kittens

Anna and Maddi spent a good portion of the day giving rides on the quad. I let Maddi take me out. She was sensitive to the fact that I’m not a thrill seeker and wanted to go slowly.

This is just some of the wonderful produce we picked and brought home to enjoy.

We ended up spending several hours enjoying the fun and relaxing day.

Bottom line, if I hadn’t put the word out, this invite wouldn’t have come in. Don’t be afraid to let people know what you’re looking for or what you need. Good Stuff happens when you do!

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Boys!

September 4, 2011

All of a sudden my house has gone from girl-dominated to boy-dominated. Yes, I have 3 of each in the house right now, but my older 2 girls pretty much have their stuff down and I’m not “managing” them as much as I’m “managing” the 4 younger kids. And 3 of those 4 younger ones are boys. I am the oldest of 9 children. I have 7, yes 7, sisters and 1 brother. He’s the youngest. He was only 5 years old when I left the house with my oldest child. Then I had JJ, who was surrounded by 4 sisters. Now, I’m scratching my head and trying to figure out what’s the “norm” for a houseful of boys who are fairly close in age.

For the last few weeks I’ve found myself in constant “STOP IT” mode. I’m beginning to wonder if it’s me that needs to stop it and just let them battle it out, annoy each other, argue, wrestle and fight. I really just don’t know. I feel like they’re constantly throwing things, banging on things, battling each other and competing. Normal boy stuff? I sure hope so because I’m feeling worn out and my throat hurts from repeating the same instructions and directions a ZILLION times each day. How much is just what boys do? Even with an age difference do they still have to establish a pecking order? When do I intervene?

Help!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Wishing it Was More Like Dead Poet’s Society than Lord of the Flies~

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Hey Buddy, Let Him Dream!

September 2, 2011

I just had this conversation with Tristan;

Tristan-MOM! Lex says he’s going to be a pirate when he grows up. A pirate! He’ll get arrested, hung and die!

Me-Hey Lex, you wanna be a pirate, huh? Tristan, it’s gonna be ok! Chances of him ACTUALLY becoming a pirate are pretty slim. If it happens, we can have a different conversation with him. But for right now, let’s just let him dream. Remember when you used to tell me you were going to go to the Island of Metra Nui and be an explorer? You said you’d really miss us all, but that it was just what you were gonna have to do.

Tristan-Yes (a little slumped over).

Me-I never told you that you couldn’t go, did I? I just let you dream about it. I bet you’re not still thinking it’s something you’re gonna do, right?

Tristan-Right (again with the slumpiness)

Me-So let’s just let him dream.

Doing the Dance of the Children and Trying to Keep Their Dreams Alive!

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These Kiddos of Mine

September 2, 2011

Since yesterday afternoon there’s been a whole lotta parenting going on! What is it about getting home from school that brings out the beast in these kids? After listening to and being drug into the bickering for a couple of hours, I put on my M.O.M. thinking cap, told them to get their shoes on and sent them to do laps on the bike trail. Only Max (8) and Gabi (6) were awarded the consequence. After fighting and annoying each other, they became running buddies and kept pace with each other for each of the laps. When Gabi earned an additional lap, Max piped in that he would be doing it with her. Afterward they came in, used teamwork to unload and sort the shoe basket and then made up a fun game that kept them happy and busy. Someone pointed out that exercise releases endorphins, which in turn makes people (kiddos included) happier. Perhaps I should make everyone come home, drop their back packs and give me 5 laps on a daily basis. Hmmmm…

After all that was over I suggested they do puzzles. Good one M.O.M! Check out his ambitious mess!

He proudly completed one! Guess what I’ll be doing today.

As the little ones were playing I found Maddi in the freezer, for the zillionth time, to get Otter Pops. When I told her she’d had quite enough she responded with, “Mom, there are never enough Otter Pops, just like there’s never enough sangria. Are you gonna blog that?” Uh…She makes me laugh!

So this morning I woke with a full-blown, mouth-breathing, runny-nosed cold. Tristan has the same and is home from school. We’ll do puzzles, drink lots of fluids and fill the house with our Darth Vader-sounding breathing. Nice! I’m glad we’re facing a long weekend so we can get some rest…maybe.

Something I didn’t miss showed up here this morning-Angry/mouthy teenager. Seriously?! Go back to your lair! There was anger because the washing machine wasn’t working the way it should and I was gonna be the one to pay. Guess who isn’t going anywhere on this holiday weekend. I’m so done with getting yelled at, having doors slammed at me and being called a lovely variety of names!

Anyway, Doing the Dance sometimes means more parenting than others. I guess I’m getting a healthy dose in.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Three! Three Times in ONE Week That I’ve Lost my Blog Content

September 2, 2011

After writing a witty (if I do say so myself) post about this afternoon and evening’s goings on, my STUPID, I-can’t-yet-afford-a-real-internet-connection, connection failed me…for the 3rd time this week! Grrrr…

Yes, I need to start saving things as I write them (hold on, I need to save this…) and look into my internet options, but COME ON!

~sigh~

So there you go. That’s what I’ve got for tonight. Tomorrow I’ll try again. This evening really was worth hearing about. Let’s talk soon.

Doing the Dance of the Children and Trying to Write About it~

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