Archive for October, 2012

Please Don’t Smash My Pumpkins!

October 31, 2012

This year marks the first EVER time I’m not answering the door and handing out sweet treats to a zillion ghosts, goblins, fairies, mermaids, princesses and all manner of dressed up kiddos. I’m home, the pumpkins are lit, my own kiddos are out in the neighborhood, but the porch light is out and the 2 times the bell has rung, I’ve ignored it. :-(

I had to make a tough decision this year. I’ve always been one to say that there are just some things that have to happen. I love preparing for all the holidays. I decorate, I prepare foods, I send treats into the classrooms. But this year I had to look at my budget and decide that I couldn’t shell out the couple hundred dollars it usually takes to outfit my kiddos, send treats into all the classrooms and fill the neverending candy bowl for all the adorable kiddos that ring my doorbell. I had to cut it out. My kids had to put together costumes from what was in the house (I spent a total of $8.00 plus tax on the odds and ends that we couldn’t dig up at home and I spent another $14.00 on a large bag of candy from Costco, that I divided up into snack bags for a soccer team and then into bags for Lex’s class. When it came time to fill bags for Max’s class, I signed up for popcorn that I put in individual bags (40 bags for $1 at the Dollar Store). I already had all the popcorn seeds, butter and flavored salt. Snack for 32 kiddos…if you divide it out, it came to less than $1 because I didn’t use all the bags. So all-in-all, I was a super thrifty M.O.M. but then came the big decision not to spend the $40-$60 it usually takes to hand out treats to all the cuties that come to the door. I had to pass.

I’m trying so hard to make it all happen and stay on my super tight budget and this year there was simply no way around it. And don’t think I didn’t think about spending another $10 on the little, decorated baggies, filling them with popcorn and handing those out. But ultimately, I didn’t even have enough popcorn seeds to do that.

So here I sit, hoping not to hear my bell and thinking, “does one less piece of candy even effect all the kiddos?” And I know it doesn’t, but it’s the point of the whole thing.

Tough, but right choices!

On a happier note, here are a few pics from our day of dressing up for school and carving pumpkins at home.

Look who was in the store!

Carving pumpkins (my least favorite activity…next to plunging the toilet).

Gabi doesn’t have my hang-ups when it comes to getting into the pumpkin guts. Go Gabi!

Happy Halloween! I hope you’re having a safe and fun evening!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Staying on Budget~

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“Don’t Worry”-I’m Always Saying it. Now I Need to Practice it!

October 29, 2012

“Don’t worry!” “It will all work out.” “God has a plan.” “Worry never did anyone any good.” “Take care of what you are able to and leave the rest up to God.”
These are all phrases that I use regularly. I believe them and I’ve seen the truth in them time and time again, in my own life and the lives of those around me. But it simply never fails that when I’m thrown a curve ball or see a potentially life-changing situation coming at me, I can feel the worry come on. I feel it in my head, as it begins to tighten into a mild headache. I feel it in my shoulders as I tense up and wonder what the plan might be. I can feel it in my stomach as I play the worst-case-scenario scenes through my head.

Why?! Why do I do this?! Why is it so natural to go against all I BELIEVE and all that has been proven to me?

I am choosing to breathe deeply (literally) and I have a glass of ice water sitting on my desk. I’ve uttered prayers of “Your will be done” and I’ve thought of the very worst things that can happen in the unknown. Now…now I need to practice what I preach and let it go and know that there is a plan for every single thing that happens in my life, whether I can foresee the outcome or not. And I need to get back to what I CAN control…the rest of today’s work/getting Gabi to gymnastics/getting Anna to her tennis team party/making dinner/loving those dear to me and offering the unknown to my God, who has never, NEVER let me down.

I ask that if you are so inclined, that you keep my intentions in your prayers and send all manner of Good Stuff my way.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Monday Morning Lexism

October 29, 2012

Lex is always thinking and planning and this morning his thoughts went like this;

Lex-”Mom, please don’t stop me from growing a beard.”

Me-”I don’t stop you from growing a beard. Your body decides when it’s ready to grow a beard and then you decide whether to keep it or shave it off.”

Lex-”Well please don’t tell me I can’t. I want to grow a beard so I can get out of traffic tickets like Mr. Smitty (family friend, who apperently got out of a traffic ticket because of impressive facial hair).”

Me-”Well, your body will decide when to grow a beard and I will let you decide whether or not to keep it. But when you start driving, instead of trying to get out of tickets, why don’t you just make sure you follow the rules and are a good driver and then you don’t even have to worry about it?”

Lex-”Never mind! I’ll just ride a bike!”

Better safe than sorry?

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Road Trip for The Soul

October 20, 2012

Last week I had the opportunity to go to San Diego for the weekend. And I took it! My oldest son drove with me and we headed down after I got the little kids to school and got my work done for the morning. I hadn’t seen Maddi since June and I hadn’t been to SD since last August. It was time to let the sweet ocean breeze blow over my soul and take a few days to visit with friends, go back to my church, that I miss terribly, visit with my daughter and just be.  It proved to be all of that. Plus, I had the added bonus of getting new tires from our good friends at Big O Tires on Garnet. Good Stuff all the way around!

Maddi and I took some time to ride along the boardwalk in PB. I breathed deeply and took in all the ocean air my lungs could capture.

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I met friends at my FAVORITE restaurant, Cost Brava, for tapas, sangria and catching up.

Sunday Clayton, Maddi and I went back to Holy Angels and attended Liturgy. I’ve missed it so much! Then we were able to have some time with friends and capped it all off with a trip to Bird Rock at low tide. So much goodness for my soul! Early Monday morning Clayton and I headed back to Northern California.

To see our entire photo album of the trip, visit my Facebook page.

Now it’s back to Doing the Dance~

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Turning My Attitude Around in One Easy Step

October 12, 2012

Waking up on the wrong side of the bed is more common for me than I’d care to admit. But I am making a conscience effort to keep my attitude in check and do a better job of getting out of my funk so that my family and those around me don’t have to live a life of walking on egg shells. And frankly, when I’m in a bad mood or in an emotional tailspin, it effects me too. I don’t LIKE to be on edge or short-tempered with my kids, my loved ones, those around me. Ick! I want to be pleasant and come at life even-keeled. It’s just better for everyone!

So after I recognized that by 7 am, I was already at the end of my rope and there was a LOT of day left, I got the kids off to school, changed into my workout clothes and went for a bike ride. I had decided where I was going to go ahead of time, but once I got there, I realized I just hadn’t worked hard enough to ride far enough away from my bad attitude, so I kept going. I swear, I left the house as the wicked witch, with Toto in my basket

and returned a sunshiny, energy-filled M.O.M.,

who was not only ready to attack the day, but took it on full force! I made cookies, put chili in the crock pot and tackled all the work for my clients (ok, not ALL the work, but a lot of it!). That one physical act changed everything.

It’s no joke that physical activity reduces stress and helps in a host of other ways too. When I was working out each morning, I had a ton of energy, lost my dependence on caffeine and was able to handle the MOST stressful time in my life without losing my mind. Coincidence? I don’t think so!

All I have to lose is my Mommy Muffin Top and my little grey rain cloud, so I will continue to use activity to combat my ick days. And I encourage you to do the same.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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No News is Good News?

October 9, 2012

Max is now in 4th grade and for the last 3 years, I’ve grown accustomed to having regular contact with his teachers. There was lots of communication about how he was doing in class and on the playground, as well as working out strategies to help him become a more successful student. Don’t get me wrong-Max is a strong student. He just doesn’t like to do anything that he deems “extra” and he’s not so much a fan of homework. Because he is easily distracted AND because he becomes hyper focused on things, it’s a regular part of Life With Max, to constantly remind and redirect. However, it’s been VERY quiet this year. No emails letting me know of the challenges of hyper focused pencil sharpening, no notes home about how Max was in his neighbor’s space. No phone calls to discuss how to help him WANT to complete his homework.

I started to worry! I wondered what in the world could be going on in that classroom that he is so invisible. So I walked him to class the other morning to check in and make sure the teacher has my email and to talk about what must, surely, be happening that is driving her and other students mad. What did she have to say? Almost nothing. Ummm…I’m not used to this. Nothing?! There is NOTHING we need to discuss? You’re not going crazy over redirecting and giving him things to focus on so that he doesn’t overstep boundaries with the other students? Nothing? Nope! She calmly told me that she has 3 students who are fairly the same and that she comes up with ideas to keep them out of each other’s hair and that Max is a strong student and that she sees Max for who he is and that everyone is doing just fine. Well what in the world am I supposed to do with that?! Max is fine? The teacher has it covered? He’s making friends, getting A’s and B’s and everything is rolling along. I’m afraid to get used to this.

After I talked to the teacher I talked to Max. He confirmed that all is fine and said that his teacher really likes him.

Is this M.O.M. really supposed to let my guard down and let it go? No frantic checking in? No scheduling meetings with psychologists and school staff to discuss the best strategies? I’m cautiously moving forward into a realm of joy! Could it be that Max is getting older and learning some of the social skills that he was lacking? Or could it be that this teacher (who is also a mom) is super skilled at redirecting and focusing on her students’ strengths? Whatever the combination is, I’m grateful for a little break in all the head work of Max’s schooling.

I could get used to this!

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Lex’s V.I.G. Week-Good Stuff!

October 7, 2012

Lex is in 1st Grade. The school he goes to assigns an animal to each classroom. The kids then get t-shirts with that animal on it that they wear on Fridays and on field trips. Since Lex’s class is the Gorilla Class, they call the student of the week, the V.I.G. Lex was V.I.G. last week. I filled out the poster that was sent home, put together a few pictures and off he went to be in front of the line and be in charge of whatever classroom tasks the teacher assigns to the V.I.G. Then came Friday. That’s the day that we chose to send in a special treat and visit the classroom to read a story and answer questions about our family. Lex asked me to make Halloween “melts”-candy molds on pretzel sticks and to bring in a particular book.

On Thursday evening I got to work on the candy molds

These would soon turn into tasty rats, pumpkins, bats, skeletons and spiders


The Treats were then wrapped and ready for morning delivery


Delivering my V.I.G. to the classroom. What he didn’t know was that I wasn’t going to read a story. Instead, I had Clayton get ready to…


Juggle! WAY more exciting than mom reading a book! He juggled clubs and tennis balls and then brought Lex up and together they taught the class a song.


It was such Good Stuff! This is a day that Lex will always remember with pride and joy. It was really cool to see him have his big brother there to do something special for him. He definitely felt proud.


Then it was time to pass out the treats and finish up a little moment in time that will always be remembered.

Doing the Dance of the Children with Joy and Pride in my Kiddos~

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What’s Your Button?

October 5, 2012

My proverbial button just got pushed. You know, that one phrase that sets off the absolute worst reaction in you? Mmmmm M! I am so angry and upset! I decided to take to my blog to vent a little instead of seething until I blow.

You know how kids fight, argue and cross the line of pushing each other when they’re angry? You know…normal kid stuff that needs to constantly be both overlooked and redirected? That stuff goes on all the time over here. Both inside my house and in the mix of the neighbor kids. We have some kids here who are adorable to look at, but  spend a great deal of time giving my kids a ton of trouble. But you know…redirect. This has been going on the entire time we’ve lived here. Yes, we are fairly new (14 months) to the neighborhood and yes, we are renters and yes, I’m a single mother with a bunch of kiddos. But DO NOT come into MY yard and reprimand MY kids after YOUR kids have pushed and verbally berated mine and yell at MY kids! DO NOT! And when I come out to see what’s going on and I am told that I’m “*$#%ing nuts” and that my landlord is going to be called because I need to move and that no one likes me or my kids, please expect that I will tell you to remove your children from my yard…permanently!

Now, now that the spike of emotions is settling, I’m left with that icky feeling of doubt. You know, where you start hearing all the angry words over and over again and you wonder what truth could possibly be in them. Me?! Crazy? Inattentive to my children? Unliked? I hate this emotional roller-coaster that can be set in motion.

My reasonable voice knows, KNOWS that my children are well attended to and that I am an easy target. But my house is well tended and tidy and I keep my kids on a pretty tight schedule.

I am now going to go shake it off and make sure my kiddos have dinner, etc. You know…the stuff I ALWAYS do.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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What’s in M.O.M.’s Slow Cooker Today…

October 4, 2012

It’s getting to be grocery shopping time again, which means the cupboards and fridge are getting low. Time to look through what’s here and be creative.

Today I sprayed my slow cooker with cooking spray, dumped the bottom of the bag of tortilla chips into it (crumbled them up first), poured 2 cans of seasoned, diced tomatoes on top, 2 cans of corn (1 drained, 1 not), 2 cans of vegetarian refried beans, about 1 1/2 cups of southwestern salsa and topped it with shredded cheese. I’m hoping for a kind-of tamale pie result. It smells delish and is looking pretty yummy. It will be served with a salad and will make my busy evening managable. Plus, it uses up those stale chips.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Sunday Morning Good Stuff

October 1, 2012

A friend of mine owns a race company and I often times help out with the race day busyness. Yesterday, she put on an Adventure Race and Gabi persuaded Anna to run it with her. They picked a name-Electric Pink, made t-shirts and got excited for the fun.

Signing in and getting their bibs.

Team Electric Pink, ready for the race!

I was working a station where the racers had to read a plaque and add up the numbers. The girls are finding the numbers and adding them up.

The entire course was 4 miles long. Gabi made it through most of it, but needed a pick up at the end. But they made it through all the stations and had a fun day of SisterTime in the sunshine.

Clayton and I each worked booths and the boys went to a fun park with my mom where they were able to catch pollywogs, splash through some water and come back smelling like a bath was in order. It was a fantastic way to spend our Sunday morning! We look forward to the next race, whether we’re working it or running it!

Click here to “like” the J & J Sports Productions FB page, check out the fun pictures and let’s encourage this kind of fun event to continue!

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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