Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thoughtful Tuesdays

JJ has a wonderful idea for posts on Tuesdays expressing either something that you are thankful for, something that you have witnessed that was an act of kindness or something that you have done to "pay it forward".

For this first Thoughtful Tuesday, I will talk about what I have done to "pay it forward".

Earlier this year I joined a social group for women dealing with infertility. Originally I joined to get myself out there more socially (I tend to be an introvert). I also thought that this was a way to lend support to people who were going through the hard trails of being infertile.

Last month, the founder and leader of the group asked me if I would take over running this organization, as she was stepping down. I feel more of an obligation to provide support and social opportunities for these incredible women since I have experienced what they are going through--not just from what I had to go through, but through the many connections I have had through the IF community on-line.

Hopefully I will be able to keep this wonderful organization running.

Read more Thoughtful Tuesday Posts HERE.

Perfect Moment Monday

Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between. Once a week we engage in mindfulness about something that is right with our world. Everyone is welcome to join.

Moment #1: She is up. It's 2-flipping-a.m.(!) and she has awoken for some reason. We have a small noodge contest to see who deals with her (we had gone to bed around midnight--silly parents!). We ended up doing what we do best--work as a team. He went in a changed her diaper, I went in and rocked her and soothed her. We make a great team.

Moment #2: She is up again. For some reason, this is not our magic night. We have these nights rarely now, but sometimes, when she gets up, there is nothing to be done. It's 3 a.m. and we need sleep--so, in the bed with us she comes. In the morning, I am snuggling with a kitten and a 2 year old, my husband on the other side. As I struggle to get myself up and out of bed--she has her head tilted up, mouth wide open, sleepingly oblivious of the havoc she created a few hours ago. She is beautiful.

Moment #3: He has become more reclusive, going into his room and shutting the door--being a pre-teen on the edge of teen. Tonight tho, as I am reading to her, he comes over and hugs me. And we hug each other for a long time...I hold my son and he holds me...just cuz.

To see more Perfect Moments, click HERE.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday

Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between. Once a week we engage in mindfulness about something that is right with our world. Everyone is welcome to join.

This Saturday was exhausting, but in a good way. And you can tell what a day from this shirt:




We all wore our cool shirts--I was in my Spider-Man Shirt, hubs in his Hulk shirt, son in his X-Men shirt, daughter in her Dr. Who Cybermen shirt...

Our first moment of the day--when our friend took us out for lunch (his treat) to a Japanese Steakhouse. He bought lunch for all of us, including his sister and her husband, her daughter, and grandson. First off, our friend doesn't make too much money, and he had gotten a windfall--and the first thing he wanted to do--was to take us all out for a wonderful time. Second, he is often mysterious about his family, so to have him open up to meet his sister and her family was a special feeling. It meant a lot to me that he gave of himself that way to us.

My daughter loved meeting the grandson (18 months old) and she was so excited that she nearly fell off her chair--spilling cranberry juice on herself.

Then, we went to Canobie Lake Park for the second time this year, and she had a blast--seeing her smile was awesome!



Before we left, daughter had chocolate ice cream to add to her shirt...

Later, we went to the end of a pool party at another friends house (friends who we hadn't seen in 2 years). And we stayed and stayed until the wee hours of the morning. We re-connected so well, we vowed to meet up more often--and even calendared it up!

So, the perfect moments were many and messy and fun and exhausting. Meeting new friends, re-connecting with old ones. Enjoying our friendships and feeling loved and happy. Appreciating our connections in the world around us.


To see more Perfect Moments, click HERE.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Show & Tell - Cars

My friend Suzy has decided to revive one of my favorite things--Show & Tell!!

So, please stop over to her blog and participate!

Looking over at some recent photos I have, I wondered what I wanted to S&T today. I have TONS of Cape Cod photos, but I miss our time on Cape Cod so much now, I really did not want to remind myself that the summer is over THAT much...

So, we have pictures from the Spring! These pictures are from this May.

I find it interesting the little things that one finds when one is not looking for them. We had went into one of our favorite towns (Lexington) to just look around and walk around on a nice spring day. And...lo and behold, there was the Lexington's First Annual Classic Cars festival happening right there!

One of the gentlemen had brought in this car from 1901. He not only let Michael sit on it, he actually pushed Michael around on it, letting him steer it (yep, that is the steering mechanism that Michael is touching there), and then demonstrated it to us by starting it up and riding it around the parking lot.



Willow, not to be outdone, found a car to match her outfit.



There were various cars, an old fire engine and you could vote on what car you liked best (we voted for that 1901 vehicle which is in the background of this picture--the owner is the guy in the baseball cap).



It was amazing to see these old cars, especially since they were displayed right nearby modern cars.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On Flip Flops and a Certain Explorer…

The call on my cell phone comes at 9:15 a.m., I am sitting at work. I answer and I hear crying (um, well, really screaming) in the background and my husband says: “Okay, where are the DAMNED flip flops??!” We figure out where they are, and he hangs up abruptly.

Like anyone else, Willow has obsessions. But, being a 2 year old, her obsessions become YOUR obsessions—cuz, woe be onto you if she is left wanting….

This summer will go down as the summer of FLIP FLOPS. I bought her a cheap pair for use on Cape Cod. And since then (which was late June), Flip Flops are on her feet most times without fail. I have gotten her to wear shoes a few times (usually by using her sense of fashion—yep, my toddler has more of a sense of fashion than I do). We have spare shoes at the Daycare provider’s house, so that she can get her into them for safety reasons (for playgrounds, etc.). But, like some other obsessions she has, it is actually easier to placate her at this point…there is no real harm done…except when one cannot FIND the flip flops (she has 2 pair now).

Willow’s love for Spongebob and Fraggle Rock has waned and she has found another character that has captured her imagination. Do.ra the Ex.plorer has become the new IT Girl in our lives.

While Spongebob and Fraggle Rock, we could all agree on (and, truth be told, these were things WE watched and she became enamored with them)…Do.ra is the first character/television show that Willow has found on her own.

Do.ra is, well, she is cute and all, but kind of repetitive and, well…I guess my son can explain it best…he calls her “Do.ra the Bore-a”. Which is funny, of course, because HE had a love affair with her for a few months when he was 3 years old…and we have the DVD to prove it…which now we have dusted off for our daily viewing “pleasure”. I thank our cable company for DVR…because I can try very hard not to have to watch the same shows over and over and over (well, at least no more than 3 times). I have to remind Michael of his past discretions (oh, remember Drag. On Ta.les…Oh WE do, Michael. We do.) So far, I think we are all more amused than annoyed by this new obsession…but give it time and I will want to take a cross bow and….

Other obsessions have been on the new kitty and the cats’ new water bowl (she “cleans” her hands in it; she puts their dry food in it). Juice is another necessity that cannot be left out. And MONEY. She loves playing with money, putting it into a little purse, trying to put it into slots on toys, especially her rocking horse.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday - Musical

Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between. Once a week we engage in mindfulness about something that is right with our world. Everyone is welcome to join.

Moment #1: His friend comes over and the boys go upstairs, taking my daughter with them to play in his room. I hear jumping around, tossling, giggles...the typical stuff. As I finish making dinner, I then hear something I have not heard since school ended. Slowly, almost silently, I hear it. A familar sound to me, more familar than my son can guess...the soft tones of a clarinet playing Hot Crossed Buns; Are You Sleeping; The Snake Charmer song. He stumbles a bit, but hardly any squeeks. And I am astounded that my son is playing his clarinet so well, without any practice, without any prompting...he is playing his clarinet to his audience. Dinner is ready. I let it sit a bit, because I do not want him to stop.

Moment #2: Daddy is taking a nap upstairs in our bedroom, I have to distract her as my son and his friend go outside (it is too late for her to be going out right now). I have her go upstairs so that my son and his friend can sneak outside. And outside my bedroom, we sit in the hallway...and she sings songs to me. These are not songs that she has learned...these are songs that she has made up about her day or about her toys. Ocassionally I hear a word or two I know and understand...something about her baby (doll) and the beach. She stands as she sings and she sways her arms and hands, reminding me of those Hula dances you see on t.v. After she is done, we both clap. And then she says "Now, YOU." and I have to sing--I at first sing a made up song about her and how much I love her. And we clap. And then she sings another song. When it is my turn, I cop out and sing the ABC song (which she sings along with me). I am struck by the thought that singing is the ultimate in happiness...at least right now.

To see more Perfect Moments, click HERE.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Things Noticed - August 2010

His hair, his mannerisms, his lanky-ness and how he drapes himself on a couch...my son, the pre-teen teenager. His skulks away sometimes and I see him through sideways glances--but I do see him and wonder how amazing life is that I can see my son grow into someone I know/but do not know.

Her vocabulary springs forth in many surprising and touching ways, whether she is demanding "I want juuuuuuuuiiice!" "Tisses!" (kisses) or she is just singing her own songs, with words I know sprinkled amongst the words I do not.

He is over worked and over whelmed, but still finds time to send me a link to a site that he knows I would like. He comes home and she runs to him, hugging him around his long long legs. I worry about him. I love him, even as he drives me crazy sometimes....like when he leaves his many many glasses all around the house....

Kitten getting bigger and more adapted in our routines...loves to snuggle against me at night.
Cat is starting to show signs of enjoying the companionship--snuggles kitten (on her terms). Kitten reciprocates overly.

Mid-August all ready, and while I have enjoyed this summer to the fullest, I still feel like I haven't done enough this summer. School shopping looms and I dread it. School looms and I worry. I get my mind off of worries by having lunch outside--sushi and a good book...

ahh...summer, stay a bit longer, please....

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Shrimp, Bears and Freddy the Chipmunk of Terror

The camping trip was a great success. Michael and I had such a great time that I am certain this will become a tradition (for a longer period of time, for sure--maybe with Willow added next year?).

After buying groceries on Friday night, we slept over at our friend's house and then left the next day. We got there on Saturday morning, set up camp. It was nice and secluded, although up four flights of steep stairs (which, considering the food intake, probably was good exercise to burn those extra calories off!!)

My friend Ana had all the camping supplies, including a 6 person tent. Michael and I brought our clothes, our sleeping bags (new ones actually) and our air mattress. I have not been camping in a long time and it was great to have Ana the Expert there (I could have never set up this tent!)



Upon arriving, we noticed these warnings all about:



bears were in the area, so they had precautions on how we dealt with our food. Our food could never be unattended and we needed to take our food (and toothpaste) into the car after we were done with it (and make sure there was no scraps put into the fire or left on the ground). This was so the bears would not be attracted to our site. This was thrilling and very camp-like (and logically we had nothing to worry about), but that little undercurrent of fear would factor in later...

Michael embraced all aspects of camping...he loved snuggling into his new sleeping bag (his old one was a child's one for sleep overs--this one was a full adult camping one). He loved playing inside the tent.



Once we arrived, we made lunch on the fire--hot dogs!



Then, swimming in the lake, a ranger education program on turtles...and finally, the start of the really fun parts of camping--the campfire in the evening!!



Ana made shrimp kabobs, and a cheeseburger for Michael...YUM!

While we were waiting for the fire to get hot enough, Ana taught Michael how to whittle...


I love his expression..

As night fell, it was time for S'MORES!!


"Mom, these are the BEST S'mores EVER!! They are so much better on a real fire!"



I made sure to sacrifice one of my marshmallows to a firey death--cuz it looks so cool!



Afterwards, we sat by the fire and just talked. And, every so often, we heard a crackle of leaves in woods right near our fire. We all talked about how, if it were a bear, or other worrisome critter, the dogs would warn us...

Did, I mention Ana's dogs? Here are Ryka and Jack--the bestest dogs to go camping with!



So, every so often, we would say these words of wisdom and talk about the various small creatures that could be making those occasional noises so close to us. (However, you KNOW that BEAR or RABID RACOON was going on in our minds...right?!)
It was time to stoke the fire again. So, I stood up, getting close to the woods to pick up some of our wood...and out DARTS -- Freddy the Chipmunk of Terror!! I jumped a few feet (protecting my son--at least that is what he says--I don't recall).

The rest of the night was uneventful, we looked up at stars, talked and enjoyed the fire. Michael went to bed first, mainly cuz he was anxious to get the experience of sleeping in his sleeping bag in the tent under way. Ana and I stayed up later to enjoy the fire some more, making it last as long as we could.

We slept in the tent all together, Jack and Ryka included. Every so often in the night, I could feel a friendly nuzzle and lick. I woke up this morning, happy to have had this wonderful time with my son and my friend!!





Me, Jack and Michael.


Michael, Ryka and Ana.


Pancakes and Eggs this morning, a'la Ana!


Pancake Mask.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Show & Tell

My friend Suzy has decided to revive one of my favorite things--Show & Tell!!



So, please stop over to her blog and participate!

Tonight for dinner I made something that my husband and I like, especially during the summer...Salmon Macoroni salad.

I am amazed that I was able to make it tonight. First of all, huge traffic jam made me late picking up the kids, so I got home an hour later than normal. And then: the cats needed/DEMANDED to be fed; Willow would not leave Kif alone; Michael wanted to go take a B.A.T.H. (which he had to spell out because if Willow knew what he was doing, she would want to); change an extreme diaper blow out; give her a bath after my son; and go out for bread because I like the salad on toast and I thought I had bread in the house, but did not.

And yet...I MADE it!

I wanted to try something new for Show & Tell, so here is a video!



video

Artistically it was a mistake to stir while I was videotaping, but, I do like the squishy sound it made.


And here is a picture of the Salmon Macoroni Salad:



Quality Time

This weekend I am going to experience something I have not done in a while. Quality alone time with my son. My friend and I are taking Michael camping for the first time.

Since husband does not like camping, he has volunteered to wrangle Todd-lor this weekend (and good luck to him!)

I am excited, because it has been years since I have been camping (mainly because of the aforesaid husband-who-hates-camping-or-anything-too-outdoorsy) (which is funny, cuz it is about the only thing that we are not of the same mind on).

I am also a bit trepidatious about leaving Willow for a weekend because she is very Mommy-Clingy lately. Last night, I took Michael to his therapy and Willow was picked up by daddy. And, even though I was gone just a few hours--she was insistent in her calls of "Where's Mommy?" to the point that husband called me to talk to her to re-assure her I was coming home...so, I guess my cell phone is coming camping with me.

But, the BIGGEST thing I feel--is a strong sense of love and caring and happiness to be able to, without all the other distractions in my life and his, spend some time with my son. Before the new school year, before summer is waning. And I get to show him something that I cherish and experience something with him for his first time.

I have bought two sleeping bags. I hope that despite his often-times husband clone-likeness, that I find this outdoor part of my son that links me to him. Like his love of Mad Magazine and scary stories and Halloween and Christmas. I hope that this is an investment in future outings with my son.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday

Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between.
Once a week we engage in mindfulness about something that is right with our world. Everyone is welcome to join.


Glimpses

Moment #1: After falling asleep in the car, she is put down on the couch in the living room, under a blanket. About 15 mins. later, she rouses, sees that everything is okay, and goes back to sleeping, her flip flops hanging over the loveseat's edge.

Moment #2: He was staying overnight at a friends and he has come home. It is evening time, and he is going back and forth into the kitchen, grabbing yet another snack (after dinner) (usually healthy). He goes from there to the couch and lays there under a blanket--he obviously did not get much sleep last night (8 boys tend not to during a sleep over). I am suddenly struck by how much like a teenager he is acting.

Moment #3: We have a lazy morning, waiting for one child to return, watching other child play. As she returns to playing with toys, we sit on the couch and lay against each other...hubs says that he is going to go do something--I say, stay, let's just hang out some more (usually HE is saying this to ME). We do. Half and hour later, my son comes home and we are thankful we took our time to ourselves.

Moment #4: Kif takes a flying leap to Gabby's back; she tossles him to the ground; they grasp and grapple. And then Gabby goes back to what she was doing--until Kif tries to play again--and I swear that I see Gabby sigh.


More Perfect Moments Here.