Monday, May 31, 2010

Ways to show I love myself.

Ways to show I love myself. Sounds kinky, but I'm taking this seriously. What do I do to show myself that I am a valuable, important, deserving human being? Okay, maybe I'll take out Deserving, because I think the word Deserve has lost all meaning, but that's another topic.

I was reading my daily message from (If you have any home cleaning issues, it's a great resource for conquering clutter, limiting the overwhelming chaos, and feeling empowered). Part of today's message was about different ways to renew your spirit and provide yourself moments each day of love toward your best (and sometimes worst) lifemate.

Flylady said:

Dear Friends,

How do I love me, let me count the ways!

On our "Renew your Spirit" day we can do this in many ways. This is all about you and what you need and like. Here are some ideas for you to try. You get to pick and choose.

1. Go to church
2. Listen to wonderful music that you don't hear often
3. Watch a movie that you love
4. Read a book
5. Go for a walk or a hike
6. Sit quietly in your favorite chair with your eyes closed
7. Take an extra long bubble bath or shower by candle light
8. Make a pot of soup for supper and let it simmer all day in the slow cooker while you relax
9. Take a nap
10. Go for a drive
11. Turn off your phones
12. Sit outside and listen to the birds
13. Take your dog for a walk
14. Curl up on the couch with a magazine
15. Build a fire or light a candle
16. Do a crossword puzzle

How do I love me? Let me count the ways!

Slow down and enjoy the moments by doing something you love to do and not
feel guilty over it. It could become a habit to each day. Peace is

Loving yourself is all about reducing the stress in your life one
moment at a time.


What a great thing to work towards in life! Doing something for yourself each day - not spending money, not being selfish, just doing something that will bring joy to your heart while doing it, and while thinking about it after.

This weekend, the husband and I took the kids and the dogs on a camping trip to Wabasha, MN. It's not too far a drive for us, and generally in the opposite direction of most weekend travelers in the Twin Cities. Wabasha is the town where the story of the Grumpy Old Men movies is based, and many places around the town were featured in the movie. That's a fun thing to note, but Wabasha is also a cool little town! It's on the banks of the Mississippi River, with loads of things to do both in town and in the surrounding natural areas as well.

We spent a great deal of our time at a campground called Pioneer Campsite. For camping destinations, it was pretty good. They had a pool (filled with well water so it had a slightly rusty but clean color), a huge Rainbow play system playground area, and is right next to a boat launch for the river. We had a great time, but as with all campgrounds with a large number of seasonal sights, the facilities were a little less than clean. They were far from gross, but I never saw proof that the bathrooms were cleaned during our stay and the men's room never had hand soap. All that aside, I had the opportunity to enjoy many of my favorite summertime activities.

I took the kids over to the pool for a dip. The shallow end was still 4 feet deep, so I got in to the Whoo-Hoo Cold! water and held onto the kiddos while they had goose bumps from the chill and squealed with delight. Check One for Fun.

I took a walk under the stars. It was only up to the bathroom after everyone went to bed, but it still counts and it was amazingly beautiful. Check Two.

After everyone else went to bed, and I had showered, I snuggled up and read a book with a little flashlight. Listening to the night noises while reading a book (though I wish that book had been a bit better) was magical. Check Three.

We spent one full morning walking around the Lark Toystore which has to be one of the largest and most amazing toy stores in the world! We rode a hand-carved, absolutely incredible carousel, played a fun game of mini-golf, enjoyed some fudge, and played with so many fabulous toys that the husband's head was literally spinning. He had to take a break and walk the dogs along the grassy area outside. The kids were in love with the entire experience. I loved that it really only cost us the price of one toy they could share, a cool picture the husband wanted for the basement and some inexpensive fun times. *Lark Toys* makes their own line of natural, wooden children's toys that are so cute and fun! I wish I had more money to send them out to everyone. Check Four.

We then drove toward the town of Pepin, WI and found a fun restaurant called The Pickle Factory nestled in between the train tracks and the river (or Lake Pepin, it's hard to tell where one starts in that area). We watched the boats and the trains while enjoying a tasty lunch. To get there we had to drive through the wetlands surrounding the Mississippi. I have never seen such a beautiful, intriguing natural area. It would be perfect to kayak around through the natural waterways through the woods to see what no one on any motorized vehicle could ever see. Check Five.

The husband and the kids built great campfires (very safely, of course) and we had great times sitting around, roasting marshmallows (that no one ever ate) and enjoying the moments. Check Six.

Oh, and we even went on TWO hayrides around the campground. The resort owner, Paul, took out the tractor and wagon and took anyone who wanted to go on a bumpy, dusty, fun ride around to see all that the campground offered. Everyone riding on the wagon took on the role of a member of a float in a one-float parade. I had the chance to chat with other campers (adults and children alike) and see what everyone else was up to. It was such fun. Check Seven.

Great trip. Even while I was making sure everyone else was safe, sunscreened, bug-repellanted, fed, washed, and having fun, I found moments throughout the days to do things just for me. Or to live in the moments we were enjoying together and take a mental picture of that wonderful spot during our time camping.

I'll look back on those moments now that we are home, and I look forward to our next camping trip (heading back to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan- Porcupine Mountains!) where I hope to hike, nap and play more, but always find moments each day to remember the joy in my own heart - to celebrate that fierce love I have for me.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"Calisthenica" or "Exertionis"

If people can eat, walk, have sex, fight, drive, and talk while they are blissfully sleeping, can we also sleep work out?

I'd like to sign up for one of those exercise classes. I know I could fit it into my schedule. I wouldn't have to line up a babysitter or work around my husband's schedule. I could choose a different style of exercise each night, and never get tired of it. (oh, ha ha. good pun.) And I could have loads of different coaches and instructors and trainers - maybe Johnny Depp one night for fun and my high school gym teacher, Mr. Sprute, for fear and degradation on another.

I think I've really stumbled onto to something here! Maybe I could work with the scientists who design those fabulous sleep aides that produce the dangerous, embarrassing, and fattening side effects and have them tweak those effects a bit.

I think there'd be some serious lines at the clinics around town if we saw commercials promoting "Calisthenica" or "Exertionis" sleep aides if a strong side effect was participation in an hour-long spin class while remaining asleep.

Can't you just see the commercials now? Roundish adults with sleep disorders drifting off to sleep in a softly lit, white room. Upon waking, they see a suddenly slimmer self in the mirror, well rested with tight abs to boot!

I've gotta get ahold of some of those pharmaceutical companies and have a chat with those researchers. There's gotta be some combination that would get us there. Somehow.

Or maybe I'll just sleep on it.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Okay, I know I said in a previous post that I would work on being less serious. I'm still working on that, but I want to share something very serious for everyone to think about.

I read the article, "Tragedy in the Backseat" by Melissa Balmain in the June 2010 issue of Parenting magazine. It discusses how mothers and fathers of young children are more likely to forget that their child is in the car; leaving them in a closed, sweltering car while the parent goes about their normal day without knowing how catastrophic their mistake will be. We've all had those strings of days - sick child or sick parent, little sleep, busy schedule, changes in normal routine, small child asleep in their car seat - and just one moment of forget leads to the loss of a cherished child.

It was over 90* here today, which is extraordinary for this state. Along with making me long for fall, the heat does help me to remember to send out a reminder to everyone, which I will do every year, to look into the cars you walk past in parking lots and curbsides to check in car seats. Pets are at an advantage in the "locked in the car" situation because they are able to move around, creating more to notice. Small children are so much smaller than the seats they are strapped into, that it would take effort to notice if a child was present or not.

While I was living in St. Cloud some years ago, a teacher had a string of days I described above. The teacher was a parent of a young child, about 18months, and took over driving this child to daycare on this day, which was out of the ordinary. It was a beautiful spring morning- sun shining and puffy clouds with the joyful finish to the school year only weeks away. This teacher left home and drove to work, surely thinking about the day of teaching ahead. Parking spot found, settled into their classroom, taught a decent day of quality learning. Walked to the car again at the end of the day, and realized they made one seemingly small but horrific mistake that day, forgetting to bring their formerly sleeping, beautiful little toddler to day care.

There isn't one week that goes by that I don't say a prayer for that parent and that family. I'm more disorganized than a good many, and have a slew of experiences leaving something important in the exact worst place. I know that I could easily have this sort of a life changing "small mistake" but I am blessed with the option to stay home with my children. By not having a daily car commute scheduled into my day, I am saved from the majority of those chances.

So as I wipe the tears from my eyes yet again, I ask each of you to reach a helping hand to those overtired, harried parents and their precious cargo. Every time you walk through a parking lot, or past a car parked at a curb, peak in the backseat. It takes an extra 5 seconds and the mental space to think, "Oh, there's a car seat!" If we could save the life of one child, no amount of effort would go to waste.

These aren't parents who are abusive or neglectful in other situations. Just those who are experiencing extraordinary parenting requirements and drop one of those "task" balls.

So share the message with everyone, and PEAK IN THE BACKSEAT!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

This child is exhausting

Last year, life was different. My daughter was about 1 1/2, and having great difficulty sleeping through the night. I am not one to "let her cry it out" so I spent lots of nights trying to creatively calm her back into a deep slumber. (Thank you, author Elizabeth Pantley for the great advice and motherly support! And to Julie O. who went through the same ordeal.) Overall, I don't need more than 7 hours of sleep, with 4-5 hours a minimum for a day or two. I have had so much experience walking through the house in the dark, doing my best to avoid all the really squeaky floor boards and scattered toys, that I am amazed when my husband stubs his toe on the leg of our bed in the dark. (It hasn't been in any other location for eight years.)

Between both my children's infancy's, I spent hours of painful awake-ness (?) in the dark, praying that this crazy creature would just give in already and sleep for gosh sake. Anyone else experience that overwhelming full-body pain I felt by just being awake and trying to calm a baby back to sleep? It's insane. No one ever talked with me about it, so I can never tell. But then again, no one ever told me about all the gross things that happen during pregnancy either, so I think it just goes with being a mom. (We don't talk about that stuff because either it's embarrassing or we know that we all go through it so who's gonna care? I personally would have enjoyed knowing that "cheeseburger crotch" was completely normal before I showed my swollen cootch to my old man OB.)

Now my dear daughter is a little older than two. She is funny and smart and does so many things exactly like her dad (good and not so good) and she is so independent, during the day. At bedtime, she still requires a bit more attention than I'd like to give her most days. She cried for ten minutes tonight because I failed to put her preferred amount of toothpaste on her brush, and after she wiped what toothpaste I had put on it onto the side of the sink, I refused to reapply toothpaste. (No I did NOT give in to the diva.)

Then, she pushed her brother out of his spot on his bed while we read him a book and was unwavering in her selections for her own stories to read next to her crib. She's getting so good at falling asleep with me just next to her crib, but tonight needed LONG hand holds and lots of shushing. She seems to try my patience at my most impatient moments, and I am thankful for that - it's strengthening my patience, but MAN, it makes me reminisce about those long years of our lives before we had kids, and all that sleep I got.

My daughter is currently in LOVE with he Olivia books.
There is a line from Olivia's mother in one of the books. After an especially tiring day together, her mother gives her a kiss and says, "You know, you really wear me out. But I love you anyway." And Olivia gives her a kiss back and says "I love you anyway too."

I think my little girlie and I will have many moments like this one in the years ahead. I am so happy to be the mom of this child, but man, she really wears me out.

Maybe I just need to eat more chocolate.

I think I've been a little too serious lately, which happens sometimes when I have too much time to think about things and not enough time to talk things through with other people. I've probably always been a little too serious, but I'm working on that. Sorry if I've bummed anyone out.

Maybe I just need to eat more chocolate. Not being able to talk a lot to other adults is one hazard of being a stay-at-home parent. Even though my 5 1/2 year old is wise beyond his years, he can't really hold up his end of a conversation about fair taxation or what the government's role should be in social welfare. Which are also not really topics we cover in the mom's groups I visit with, or things I get to very often while I'm at work (on those rare and golden occasions.) So I blog about them, and bum people out. Or tick them off. Or make them like me less, which I would rather people not like me than like me for something I'm not or don't believe.

Or maybe I just need to eat more chocolate (dark chocolate, of course). I think I'll go try that out today.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

what "marriage" means: my opinion (which is the one I think counts most for me)

As I have mentioned before, I am married and have been for almost, ummmm, 12 1/2 years. (I had to stop and figure that out for a minute, and even then I'm still not positive). When my husband and I worked it out that being married would be awesome (living together was just not enough for us) we talked about how I would NEVER divorce him. My parents divorced, along with most of my friends' parents, and I had figured out that divorce sucks for everyone, and my man and I were good enough friends to work out pretty much anything. (I did add that no matter what, I wouldn't divorce him, so he'd better be sure he wanted to spend the rest of his life with crazy old me).

So we signed on the dotted lines and stood up in front of everyone and I cried through the whole ceremony, mostly out of sheer exhaustion from not sleeping much the night before and being stupid and planning HOURS of pictures before we walked down the aisle. After all these years of wedded bliss (and wedded not bliss) we are still very much in love. Awwww. (*bleck) I know.

I live in a state that is currently working to pass a law/ constitutional amendment to define what exactly "marriage" means here. Well, I've got a few thoughts on what a marriage means.

To me, marriage means working together in a loving and supportive relationship, one of us providing most of the finances and the other providing a comfortable lifestyle within those finances. To a friend, marriage means financial security and a pleasant relationship. To an aunt, marriage means an attempt to find something in another person that is needed (she found some amazing people but never what she was looking for). To my parents, marriage in the past meant fulfilling a cultural expectation with a "nice enough" person. To my father, marriage today means spending life filled with love and adventure. To a neighbor, marriage means living your own lives in a parallel relationship.

I know each person out there has a different take on what marriage means to them. And all those takes on what marriage is (or is not) are true! All of them are part of our collective reality.

Reading articles and websites regarding what "should be done" with the issue of what legal definition is acceptable has solidified that take on the situation. I've even read polls that lean both ways for how the people of my state feels about the issue. (I think most of the media out there is really just crap dressed up.)

Here's what I've found to "support" the idea that marriage is designed for one man and one woman:
* it is for procreation
* it supports the need for a father and mother in a child's life
* it helps build a strong society
* a million little petty things that in a dream world occur in a marriage between a man and a woman, but rarely do in real life.

Here's what I think:
* Marriage itself supports and strengthens our society. (A solid home life for two adults, in support of each other, makes all those around them more solid.)
* Two adults are best to raise children. (Two adults working together to create a stable and loving home for children works best. But I myself would love to have another adult around on occasion, so maybe I would like to add on that having a stable home with a supportive network of other adults makes the best environment to raise children.)
* The separation between church and state needs to be just that, and a state sanctioned marriage is not dependent on the approval of a religious organization. (My father married my mother as a Catholic. He remarried, but never annulled his first marriage so in the Catholic church, he is still married to my mother. The state didn't really care much about that, as it shouldn't have.)
* Positive relationships between men and women are wonderful, but they don't just occur in the boundaries of a marriage. (So there.)

So personally, I think the legislators should just pass things along themselves and make the law say that any two consentual, able-minded adults can enter into a legally binding union "till death do us part". But I am also accustomed to not seeing what I want come to fruition, so I would almost be okay putting it up to a vote. But I also have trust issues, and control issues, and I just want everyone who wants to join the insane club of "marrieds" to get the official okay.

Because really, if the inclusion of gay and lesbian couples are to be the true downfall of marriage, then I think we need to revisit just how messed up a good number of the marriages around us really are. I don't think any of those problems were caused by a gay or lesbian couple asking to join the fray. Maybe the promiscuous neighbor, but not the quiet gay man or lesbian woman down the street.

Or if the inclusion of another group will be marriage's downfall, then it shouldn't be upheld anyway, since it isn't strong enough to include everyone.

I say, join the club if you want. Go ahead. So many that I thought shouldn't did anyway, and so many that I think should have turned it down. Commit and stick with your partner forever, and you will uphold the intention of what marriage is really about. And have a wonderfully happy life along with the rest of us!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Saving Money?

So I'm a home-based mom, married to a public school teacher. My husband makes a very good salary, but it is a stretch for me to stay home and still plan to have any life outside of it. Lately I've attempted to seek out more and better money savers. There are so MANY bloggers who share wonderful coupons, freebies and sweepstakes - and I envy their excitement for buying name brand products for pennies.

My inner cheapskate gets so excited for great deals! I snagged six Degree deodorants for my hubbie for 39cents a piece awhile back, and I was giddy for ages. But then, as I came back down from that "high" I realized that I was only happy because my husband actually USES Degree deodorants. I could have probably found lots of other cheap purchases, but I didn't pay any attention to them because we don't use any of them.

I am one of those people who is aware and sensitive to chemicals and what they do to our bodies and the nature around us. I make most of our own cleaning products, and avoid most of the synthetic products found at stores. I don't buy much in the line of beauty products. I don't buy many breakfast cereals, snack foods, or other highly processed foods. I don't really shop for new products very often, unless it's food products of the highest quality. (Like my favorite brands of dark chocolate!)

So I'm still trying to find great deals, but I'm getting less and less impressed by the "good deals" I'm finding online. I think my best deal as of late is the money I spent at the local greenhouse when I bought seeds and starter plants for our garden. I can't wait for our strawberries to ripen, our carrots to grow deep, our potatoes, beans, peas, tomatoes, zucchini, and pumpkins are ready to eat. The best quality produce and a fun family activity all in one! (Who needs a gym membership when you till your garden with one pitchfork?)

Friday, May 14, 2010

my computer is somehow connected to my kids

So it seems that there is some weird connection between my efforts to compose any writing for this blog and the demands for any contentedness for my children.

one interruption before this, and now, yes, there's another. awesome.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Feeling Thankful, my inspiration

Feeling Thankful, the title for my blog, is taken from the title of a wonderful children's book that I purchased through Scholastic book orders while I was teaching preschool. I chose it because I liked the title, but I read it each week (to my kids but also for me) because I love the message it gives.

The book is a picture book with a simple poem of joy in keeping a heart open and thankful. The back of the book holds the description, "Feeling Thankful invites young children to consider the warm, happy feelings they have about the people, places, and things that make their world feel safe. It is an invitation to smile and be thankful. It was written by Shelly Rotner and Sheila Kelly, Ed.D. and should be given to every child and parent in our nation.

My favorite lines of the poem are:

"I'm thankful for me."
"I'm thankful I have a home and good food to eat."
"I'm thankful when I walk in the rain."
"I'm thankful for the moon and the morning, when it comes."

I know that our nation is going through a transition to a more thankful attitude. This blog is my own focus on my journey to remain thankful for all that I experience in life, or at least my attempts at being thankful.

The book reminded me again tonight, that I have so much to be thankful for. And that so many in our world, nation, state and city need the help of those who are able to have the most basic joys in life. Check it out. It may be at your library, used book store, new book store or on the bookshelf of a friend.

And find something in your life to be thankful for right now.