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Friday, January 30, 2009

25 Random Thoughts

1. I love the smell and taste of homemade bread hot out of the oven.  I smother it in butter and honey or my favorite homemade raspberry jam.
2. I love to rest my face on the top of a baby's head and let their angelic hair tickle my nose.
3. I can't believe I have already started to feel my age, especially in my right knee.
4. Another sign of getting older is when your oldest son moves from cub scouts to boy scouts.
5. I appreciate two cars that run, because right now I would be out and about instead of writing this blog.
6. iMacs are the best!  Brothers who sell used ones to little sisters are even better!
7. My second to youngest child is my twin and is a sucker for back tickles just like me.
8. A "love of money is the root of all evil"...maybe that's why I hate it so much.
9. Luckily, it doesn't kill anyone to wear only one pair of pants.  
10. My biggest fear is that I'll be the only one left after all those I love have gone to the "castle in the sky."
11. We are all in the same boat, we just move through different waters--tumultuous or calm, murky or clear, shark infested or not--sometimes by choice and other times so we will have the chance to learn how to navigate better.   
12. I dream of performing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
13. I sometimes think that I should have been born in Mexico, cause I can't get enough Mexican food.
14. Christmas is still the best day of the year, even if you all forget to celebrate my birthday.
15. I love children's honesty until they start remembering all of my bad days.
16. I want to try out and be chosen for a part in a musical production on stage.
17. I thrive in a clean and organized house. Then why do I hate to do the laundry?
18. I'm glad I can speak Czech with my husband so the kids can't understand what I'm saying.
19. I wish I could read faster and with more comprehension so I could devour books more quickly.
20. It should be a law that everyone spells their names logically and with legible handwriting so genealogists don't have to guess so much. Oh, and tell me, how do children of same-gender marriages do genealogy?
21. There are days that I can't believe I landed the husband I got.  He is the epitome of patience since being married to me requires lots of patience.
22. I write too many run-on sentences.
23. I can't wait to go back to the Czech Republic so I can dip rohliks in yogurt.
24. My second biggest fear is that my husband will lose his job again.
25. Miracle of miracles! You made it to the end!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Getting out of the smog, super...going ice fishing, okay...











...whipping around on sleds and being with family, AWESOME!  

BENJI TURNS 11

Yep!  Benji turned 11 and got the friend party he has always wanted.  It wasn't easy in coming though.  

Background:  Since friend parties haven't necessarily been my cup of tea, I've told my kids that they can have a party if they plan and help carry-out the activities.  They can hire me as the chef, baker and main supporter.

Well, Benji made it through most of the planning stage, but forgot the most important part--inviting the guests.  Tuesday I asked if he had it all done and he said no.  "Well, if no one's been invited then I guess we won't be able to do it," I replied. He was crushed.  Darn those natural consequences! 

Natural or not, being the mom, I felt like maybe I'd been too hard on him and decided to make it up to him by throwing a surprise birthday party.  I set the date, called all the moms, and everyone came and helped make it a fun time.  I'm pretty sure Benji was surprised though his expression didn't reveal much.  

We also tried a new thing (did this for Ally's birthday last year too) for gift giving.  Instead of everyone bringing a gift for Benji, I asked everyone to bring a gift valued $5.00 or less.  It could be something gently used or new.  Then at the party each kid chooses a gift out of the middle, and everyone opens their gifts at the same time.  They are then given one chance to trade it for something else.  (I start the exchange with the person sitting next to the birthday person, so that the birthday person is the last one given the chance to trade.) It works great!  The birthday person doesn't end up with more stuff (he/she doesn't usually need) and everyone goes home with a "party favor".  At Benji's party someone liked what they brought the best so that's what they went home with.  (There are no rules about going home with your own gift.)  



HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BENJI!  

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Snow play

Taking advantage of all the beautiful snow (at the beginning of January), we ventured out for a little sledding.  We quickly discovered that Sammie has no fear of speed.  She took to the hill like it was her best friend! She made it to the bottom in a flash.

Getting back up the hill wasn't an easy task though...the windy conditions didn't help either.

Bundled "Bubby" and his daddy.

It was big-fun for everyone!

Watch out! The Pack train is a-comin'!

A few days later...




Eatin', 

















chillin', and...


























...squealin'!








The best snow on earth!

Christmas 2008 in Review






(If you're wondering if that is a duster behind Benji, it is!  Santa knows how important housework can be!)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

In response to my last blog I was sent a link of Glenn Beck talking with Richard Eyre about Eyre's new book, The Three Deceivers: How Today's Obsessions with Control, Ownership and Independence are ruining the quality of our lives.  I've included an excerpt (Eyre is speaking):

It's what we do in America. We control things. We own things and we become independent. They are like icons. They are like things we worship. And frankly, Glenn, they're great economic principles. I wouldn't argue with them for a minute. But we carry them over and make them spiritual principles. We measure ourselves by how much we own. We measure ourselves by how much we control. We get frustrated when we can't control things, even when we're talking about our own kids. We think we own our kids. We should control them, we should control the people around us, we shouldn't need anyone. And what we end up [with] is we get more isolated, we get more lonely, we get more frustrated and we get more jealous because there's always someone that owns more than we do and controls more than we do and so, you know, they all lead us away.

...these are three powerful economic principles; let's keep them forever. Let's never give up on them for our economy and for our private personal economies, but let's not carry them over to where they become our spiritual paradigms because they all lead us away from humility, they lead us away from a dependence on God, they lead us away from kind of a wonderful serendipity adventuresome kind of a life where we say, you know, I don't want to control everything; I want to just respond correctly to the things that surprise me every single day. 

Wow, an ah-ah moment! So I don't need to feel in control of everything and everyone.  I just need to respond correctly to those things that are out of my control.  Eyre continues:

I mean, I'm a Harvard business school guy. I had a professor there, my favorite professor, guy named Livingstone who had a mantra. He would walk into class every day and he would say, "Never be surprised. If you are ever surprised, it is because you failed to exercise sufficient contingency planning. You must be proactive. You must always act and never react." You get the idea.  

That's the ticket..."Always act and never react."  I waste so much energy reacting that I have very little time for acting.  Hmmmm....

Monday, January 5, 2009

I Survived the Holidays, Surviving Life...not so easy

I kept my holiday expectations on the back burner and just tried to enjoy things.  This year I didn't hand out the usual plates of goodies.  It just wasn't in me.  If stress takes over, the "meaning for the season" walks right out the door.  Simplifying to the basics is sometimes essential to keeping the true Christmas spirit alive.  

I did find time to organize and clean up a few things while the kids were out of school. (Thanks to a husband and kids who are really good at sharing the load. A little too good, because now I'm going through withdrawals.) Ally FINALLY joined Benji in the basement.  She is very content with having her own room--princess domain--whichever you'd like to call it.  Since Kayla's room had a vacancy, Sammie is now Kayla's roommate.  At first it seemed that it wasn't fair if Ally got to move, but then when Kayla got personal reign over the armoire, things got better.  If it's possible to feel "bigger" moving things around then everyone is feeling SO BIG.  Our house even seemed to get bigger.  The basement is no longer Benji's and the monsters' zone...Ally has made it more comfortable to be down there.  I guess she doesn't count as a monster.

The last week or so I've felt a back log of stresses revealing themselves and all of sudden I'm overwhelmed.  I'm trying to get back into the swing of things and it becomes apparent that trying to take care of myself AND everyone else is a full-time, and sometimes, overtime job.  Part-time I could live with, but this "normal" life stuff isn't turning out quite so normal.  It's been said that "if Mommy isn't happy, nobody is happy."    

So why am I babbling so?  Isn't talking to yourself a sort of therapy?  No really, it is good for me to "blog" it out. 

One last thing that came to me this morning...I've been thinking about how I tend to go into "me" mode when I'm stressed in order to cope with life better.  But I realized that taking better care of myself doesn't mean I have to become selfish.  Maybe I just need to respect my personal limits more, while still trying to be the best me.  Becoming selfish leads to pride, service and thinking outside yourself leads to humility.