Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Five Things You HAVE TO ask your Grandma

It has been 14 months since I've been "home" to Colorado.  I miss my family terribly, and am thilled to say that I've just booked my trip to see them again in April.  Yay!

I'm SO glad to have this trip booked since I feared that my next trip to Denver was going to be for a funeral.  I have several aging grandparents and whenever one of them calls, my heart skips a beat until I hear that there's no alarm in their voice.  (I guess this means I should call them more often!)

I lost my dad's mom the day before I was due with my first child. My last conversation with her was along the lines of childbirth advice, of which she was an expert having done it a whopping 9 times!  She's also the grandma that introduced me to sewing, and even though I hardly ever do it, I remember the basics that she taught me.

I'm lucky enough to still have one living grandma.  She's a wonderful cook and really enjoys video poker in Central City (the gambling town outside of Denver).  She's actually assembling for me a cookbook with all of her favorite recipes, and I'm so excited to see what it includes!

Based on a few converstions I've had with her, I would recommend (actually IMPLORE) you to ask your own grandma - memaw - nana - grandmother the following things:
  1. How to prepare your favorite meal that she makes.
  2. What her relationship was like with her grandma?  Mother?  Your parent?  Your grandfather?
  3. What has changed the most (about society, family, etc) since she was your age?
  4. What does she want you to always remember about her?
  5. Are there decisions she made in her life that she would have made differently, knowing what she knows now?
Hurry, you never know when she won't be there for you to ask.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Those Little Bits of Time

This has been one of those weeks where I think I saw my farmer husband, but I'm not really sure.  He's been SO busy for the last several days (not to mention that the rest of our family is busy too) that we've been like ships passing in the night.

But the weather has been beautiful harvest weather, and he must press on while the gathering is good.

In my 11th harvest as a farmer's wife, I've learned how to skillfully steal those little bits of time from him, without him resenting me or making him feel delayed.  Sometimes I just "happen to be passing by later" so I offer to bring him lunch.  Or I'll ask if the 2 year old (who seems to have a nearly unhealthy obsession with tractors) can steal a ride while I shuttle the older two around.  Quality time for them, and ease of getting in and out of the grocery store for me.  Win/Win!

But tonight he asked me to drive him about 20 miles west to pick up a semi that had been worked on this week.  He hopped in the car and we headed out.  We chatted about progress on the harvest, our plans for the weekend, and other odds and ends.  Actually, it could have been considered a date if it weren't for the kids in the back of the van trying just as hard as me to have his attention.  (I think at one point the poor guy actually fell asleep, but the kids just kept talking and never noticed).

So stealing those little bits of time has become an art form.  I'm so skilled in my stealing time "trade" that he felt like he was asking a favor of me, when in reality this time with him was his favor to me.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It Takes a Village

We've all heard the term, "It takes a village to raise a child."  I've always interpreted that statement as permission for me to ask for help when it comes to caring for and raising my own children.  Somewhat selfish, I know.

But I have recently had an opportunity to see this in a new way...where I'm the villager helping with another's child.

I have nieces, nephews, and friends with small children.  I've never been shy about helping that child grow or learn from mistakes. Sometimes I handle those situations much more admirably that I would with my own children!  But when I was made aware of a teenager who make a poor judgment call, I was stumped about what to do.  (I will refrain from some details to protect the privacy of this teenager)

I typically treat this teenager with the same respect and trust that I would with any other adult.  So when I learned of her lapse in judgement, I thought, "I should treat her like an adult then, and handle this one-on-one without involving her parents."  I chewed on it for days...almost a week...until I finally realized that I couldn't let it consume me any more.  And I had a convincing conversation with my Mom who said, "If someone were going to confront YOU when you were a teen, I would want to know about it.  And even though you treat her like an adult, SHE'S A CHILD."

So, I called the teen's Mom (who is also a friend).  It was hard to tell the mom about this situation, being that no one likes to know when their kid screwed up.  But she was thankful, concerned, and disappointed in her actions.  Then...get this...she thanked me for keeping an eye on her daughter and told me that I would understand, someday, that it's a good feeling to know that others are looking out for your kids.

It dawned on me that this was one of those It-Takes-A-Village moments.

Later that evening I did talk with the teen and settled things.  She's learned what she did wrong, both from her mom's perspective and from the "outsider adult" perspective (me).

With my kids being 9, 6 and 2, it looks like a have a lot of "fun" to look forward to in the teenage years.  So if you see one of my young ones doing something they shouldn't, PLEASE don't hesitate to correct them and/or let me know so I can!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What I've Been Doing With My Time

So here's what I've been doing with my time...

Ahh!  We're finally in the new house!  As you can see, whe need lots of work on the yard, so anyone who is getting ready thin their pernnials, please let me know.  I'd love some starts.

In April, I called in all kinds of favors and had many friends help with the project.  Throughout the months of April, May, and June, I painted walls, trim, stained doors, stair parts, and all the other things that go with the final touches of a new home.  Here are the stats:
  • Approximately 35 gallons of paint, including the Burnt Almond and Planetarium Blue seen in my bedroom below.
  • 37 oak doors, 14 stair treads, 7 posts and about 70 feet of hand and shoe rail using 2 gallons of Minwax "Early American Stain" and 3 gallons of oil-based Minwax Polyeurathane

So as I add a few finishing touches here or there, I'll make sure to keep you guys in the loop.  Thanks for welcoming me back to the blogosphere!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Play Dough kind of Mom

As mothers, we are constantly evolving.  The oldest children are correct when the say the baby gets away anything.  And I attribute that to that fact that moms are always striving to be better moms, to not sweat the small stuff, and in my case, to enjoy my children's childhoods right there along with them.

My goal is to be a Play Dough kind of Mom.  If this isn't already a phrase you find in Webster's dictionary, it should be.  When Cole was three (or four, or five), I would quietly curse the people who would lovingly give my kids little containers of play dough in their Easter baskets, stockings, etc.  Really?  That stuff is such a mess, why would you deliberately point out to my kid that MAYBE once a year they were allowed to break open the kit and play with the colorful dough.  And it was usually outside, in February or March, when I'd had just about enough of them inside the house.  And then the slightly OCD part of me would have to make sure (s)he was playing with it RIGHT.  You know what I mean - don't mix the colors, put one away before you open the next one, etc.  Yikes!  What was I thinking?

So today, I had an epiphany.  I was teaching Kacey's Wee Worship class and wanted to do an activity I hadn't done before.  The class has all kids of organized, labeled totes with arts and crafts supplies.  I came across the play dough tote and decided to go for it.  They opened the box and, low and behold, almost all of the dough was a gross shade of greyish brown.  But much to my surprise, they still enjoyed playing with it!  What?  How could this be?  How could another mom be so careless that she let them mix colors?  It was obviously a mom that was MUCH smarter and had been a mom longer than me.

So we came home from church, had lunch, and put the baby down for his nap.  Out came our supply of Play Dough.  I still lined the table and floor with old newspapers (old habits die hard), but I set it up and walked away from my 5 and 8 year old, telling them to "have at it".  The had a blast!  I felt really guilty because of the number of unopened dough containers in the play dough box, so we opened them ALL.  They made funny shapes, crazy hairstyles with the Play Dough Barber Shop, and pressed animals and letters for over an hour.  I even came back and made a few dough noodles with them myself.

(And you know what, they were careful not to mix the colors and I didn't say A WORD about that)

Monday, February 14, 2011

I'm a Traveling Mom...

How many of you know the song, "Traveling Man" by Ricky Nelson?  It's one of my favorites. Well, this month, I'm the "Traveling Mom," (certainly without owning hearts in every port, mind you). 

Funny how right out of college I took a job BECAUSE travel was involved.  I love adventures, I love going new places, and I love the organization of a packed suitcase.  Having been married almost 10 years and having kids for eight and a half of those ten, I still I love to travel. But it's certainly a lot more complicated now that I'm in the role of "Family Manager".

When I'm in the midst of motherhood (especially during harvest season) I would give my right arm for some alone time in a distant hotel room.  But not long after I actually get to have that time away, I'm quickly reminded of what I'm missing back home, and why I can't wait to get back there.  Sometimes it's the over-the-phone plea of my five year old, begging me to come home and spend some one-on-one time with her.  Or it's my toddler in the background of the same call, making silly noises that make everyone on that end of the line laugh. 

Hubby does a great job of holding down the fort.  He makes sure kids are dressed and fed before school, that dinner happens each night, and will maybe even get the dishes in the dishwasher.  I can't ask for much more than that.  Some days, that's about all I can get done around the house after a full day of work too.

There have been a few times recently when I wished that my job had NO travel.  This, I might add, is not a feasible situation for someone in the line of work I am in.  And not only that, I would miss the experience of someone else cleaning my room each day and giving me fresh towels.  (Do you see where my priorities lie here?)

So I guess the traveling for work has benefited me in many ways.  It gives me a break for the normal, daily chaos that is my life, and then reminds me how much I love that chaos and would want nothing else.  If only it could be spread out over a few more months of the year.  And that pile of laundry at the end of the trip would magically wash and fold itself.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving thoughts

Here are a few things I'm thankful for:
  • I'm thankful for my God
  • I'm thankful for the love of my husband and children
  • I'm thankful that my mom and I are the best of friends
  • I'm thankful to had my dad in my life for 24 wonderful years, and that he was alive to walk me down the aisle and meet his first grandchild
  • I'm thankful for my Indiana family
  • I'm thankful for good friends, especially for those who have dealt with me on a bad day.
  • I'm thankful for the roof over my head, food in my pantry, clothes on my back, and the financial security of having a job, insurance and money in the bank.
  • I'm thankful for my health and the health of my loved ones.
  • I'm thankful for my education and life experiences I've been granted.
  • I'm thankful for the arts - books, movies, theater, music
  • I'm thankful for my freedom (this should be much higher on the list)
  • I'm thankful for my cleaning lady.
  • I'm thankful for chocolate, peanut butter, Japanese food, Video Entertainment Systems in vehicles, LL Bean slippers, and the nights when my husband cooks dinner.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Note to Boilers - be sure to watch the BEGINNING of the Macy's parade.  The All-American Marching Band is the first band on Thursday morning!
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