Thursday, July 30, 2009
Fortunately, that is not the topic of this blog. For the love of my children, I went camping. There is something that seems simple about camping and somehow epitomizes the family vacation. I worried for weeks about all that could go wrong out in nature. I fixated on the amount of dirt that would be involved. I played through my mind the scenarios that could cause a trip to the ER. I envisioned meeting a bear or mountain lion on the trail. And, perhaps worst of all, I imagined the discomfort in which I would sleep.
I was right about two things for certain: lots of dirt and very little sleep.
I don't know if there is any single vacation plan the involves as much work as camping does, and it's the one thing our kids want to do the most. Of course I love being out in nature! But does it really have to involve sleeping in a tent??? I've always laughed at the 60 plus crowd and their huge RVs, but I honestly think that may be the only sane way to camp.
Now I have friends that will disagree. They love shacking up with the kids in a tent on the ground (okay, I'm pretty sure they use air matresses). They don't mind the dirt, they use camping cookbooks, and they camp with both full or no accommodations. In my mind, these families have inherited a gene that I did not. I'll call it the "tolerance for dirt and discomfort" gene.
In spite of myself, I enjoyed our camping trip. Yes, I was bugged by the dirt. Sure, I wished that I had learned a few more campfire recipes. But my kids were thrilled. We experienced the beauty of creation in a new way together. We were away from all of life's distractions. We made memories.
Would I do it again? Of course! Just not without an air matress.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Receipts galore (gas stations, fast food, restaurants, groceries, mega mart... you name it)
lolly pop sticks (thank you First Bank)
chip clip (???)
other coins of all kinds
keys (some I don't know what they open)
flyers (some of which were attached to windshield, unsolicited)
shopping lists (from months ago)
scraps of paper... who's phone number was that now???
This is honest to goodness what was in my purse when I attempted to clean it out today. No wonder I have back problems! What wonderful mysteries and oddities are lurking in your handbag?
Monday, July 20, 2009
1. Do you like to use short cuts? As early in life as possible, convince the kids that homemade simply means you made it "at home."
2. Want to feel good about helping to educate your kids? Spend a little educational time at the library. Everyone gets their own computer and you are guaranteed at least 30 minutes of relative quiet to read a magazine.
3. Ironing to do? Hang the wrinkled item in a steamy shower of 5 minutes. If it's still not wearable, toss it in the hamper and wear something else.
4. Have a housekeeper? I think the "don't ask, don't tell" rule applies. (No one needs to know...)
5. Roasted chicken anyone? Here's my recipe: Drive to the deli. Purchase hot, delicious, roasted chicken. Return home. Slip from bag to platter. Serves 6
6. Wish you could make the kid's messy rooms magically disappear? Here's a "spell" for you: S-H-U-T-T-H-E-D-O-O-R.
7. Kid's talking back? I haven't tested this, but I don't think you can improve on the old soap in the mouth tactic.
Have some other mom tricks... I mean, tips to share? Post a comment and make our lives a little easierr.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Now there is something to be said for chains: you know what you are going to get almost anywhere in the country. But, if you are looking for excellent quality, home-town service, and local flavors you can't beat your local or family owned restaurants.
If you are a mom, going out to eat should be one of the highlights of your month... maybe the highlight of your week if you are lucky enough to eat out more often. But it's not just about you either. You want your family to have great tasting, healthy options to choose from. Not only that, but it feels great knowing that you are supporting your neighbors my heading to the local eatery.
Take some time to leave a comment and tell us about your favorite local spots, the flavors we'll experience, and the people you love there (whether that's the owners, servers, or the friends you take with you).
I'll start by sharing my top 5 favorite spots in Littleton, Colorado!
#1) Old Mill - pub style... sit out on the deck and watch the sun set
#2) Merle's on Main - unique and fresh... sit in the bar for sports tv and open-air dining
#3) Big Bill's NY Pizza (Centennial, CO) - "the large combo pie and an order of garlic knots": our order every time... with YooHoo for the kids, of course.
#4) Tres Jolie - funky and fun; hundreds of teas... a great place for lunch with girlfriends
#5) Toast - the biggest and most decadent pancakes you'll ever find... you'll need to learn to share.
I would eat at any of these places any time of any day. Okay - your turn! Relive your favorite local food moments...
PS. If I was including chains, which I'm not, I would absolutely add Ted's Montana Grill to this list. Great... I mean GREAT... every time. Succulent buffalo, everything homemade, and environmentally conscious.
Monday, July 13, 2009
There are some things that I tend to plan for. For example, I usually have dentists appointments on the calendar 6 months in advance. If we are going to take a vacation, in general I like to have that thought through for more than a few days.
But then there is the spur of the moment that I absolutely live for. Even though we are already busy people and it doesn't always work out, I LOVE to get the phone call about the friend wondering if they can just swing by later or who would like some company for a trip to the store or the park.
I think life holds more excitement and satisfaction when I have the proper mix of planning and spur-of-the-moment. But here's my point: as most moms are looking a new school year square in the face (we're just shy of a month away from the first day of school here) I wonder if we have the best tools at our disposal for keeping track of our planned events. AND, if our planned events are documented, then we'll know exactly when we have time to procrastinate... or have some spur-of-the-moment fun.
Last year I discovered Cozi. Although I'll admit I have not done a very good job using it to it's full potential, this "online personal assistant" has tons of great features! Cozi is a completely free tool where you can do everything from compiling your grocery list, syncing schedules, journaling special moments, and saving pictures.
Give it a try and tell us what you think!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Obviously, what decade I belong in holds very little significance when I'm living, well... NOW.
But answering the questions made me think about the way we define ourselves. The questions were as trivial as my favorite beverage and as meaningful as how I would spend my final hours of life. No pressure.
But am I really defined by my favorite drink or the way I spend money or my preference of music? Well, probably. Some are more revealing than others, but I cannot extricate myself from these things that when combined and churned through the years of my life make me who I am.
And here I am, a mom, with the life of my children in my hands. Who do I want them to be? How do I want them to spend their time? What do I want them to value? If I don't think about it now, one day they will be all grown up and I'll wish I had done things differently. Maybe I'll wish that what defines me does not define them.
So what can I do... what can you do? How do we not only want to define ourselves, but how do we want our children to define themselves? These are both very important questions, because as mothers the things we do and say are not only a direct reflection of our own heart - but they are exactly the traits we will be passing along.
I have heard other mother's say things like, "I wanted to be exactly like my mom because she was so wonderful." Others might say, "My mom was everything I never want to be." But my guess is that most of us would say a version of, "My mom tried hard to do a good job. There are things I definitely want to carry on and other things that I am going to try very hard not to be."
So how would you define yourself? Maybe take some time today and write a list of the qualities - good and bad - that you would use to describe who you are. What do you love to do? How do you spend your time? Evaluate. Are these the things that you really want to define who you are?
Here's an example: I used to LOVE to shop. I would take my daughter from the time she was born and go shopping for hours at a time. I spent too much money and this took away time from doing other things with her. I soon realized that I didn't want my daughter to grow up thinking that shopping is for recreation. So I made a conscious decision that I wasn't just going to go shopping for "fun."
You may find things are your list that get double or triple stars for things that you want to define you and you may discover that there are some negative or detrimental habits that you want to change.
Bottom line - I'm not a life coach. I'm just a mom who thinks and writes about it. If you try this, share your results here because that's how we learn... from eachother.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Somewhere along the way I got tired of the sulking and depression that was always looming over my mundane tasks. I began to realize that if my sink was empty it would mean I had not cooked for anyone. Or when I looked at the puddle of pee from my recently potty-trained three year old son, I couldn't help but be glad for him in spite of the mess. And the piles of laundry, although daunting, meant that there was life being lived around me.
Do you see what I am trying to say??? It's time to be thankful! Please try this at home.
The next time you are wallowing in pity about the hours of work involved in raising children or loving your husband, remember to be thankful for them. There are plenty of things to be thankful is you just stop and give yourself some time. Honestly, in spite of the hard work, aren't you glad that you have who and what you have?
If you are reading this, I'd even suspect you have some free time. We have to make a decision to be thankful though. It's easy to see everything that is difficult and burdensome and even just plain gross. But your family is a blessing. Your job (whether it's in the home or out in the city) is a blessing. To have a home to live in, food to eat and clothing to wear is a blessing.
Are you starting to see?
It's all about perspective. Positive perspective makes for a happier life. I like happy and I bet you do too. And that's the kicker: it's up to you! Your life isn't going to change. My guess is you have a pretty spectacular life as it is. You just have to choose to be thankful.
Try it for a week. Be your own scientist and come back to share your results. Don't let it be one more thing on your To-Do List - make this the thing to do!