Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2012

My family's reason for the season

When I was pregnant with my first, I was all full of how it was Going To Be. We would not be Those Parents, the ones who made it all about the gifts and went overboard. We would not be Those Parents who let Santa bring all the awesome gifts and get all the kudos. Since Christmas came only a few days after my daughter was born, how we'd Do Christmas was at the top of our First Parenting Tasks. And once we had both of our precious bundles of joy...it all went out the window. We just wanted to shower them with things that would make them smile. Eventually though, we realized the love we had for our kids and our desire to bring them joy made it all the more urgent to find a way to ensure other kids who might not get quite the same deluge did get joy for Christmas too. How I loved my kids somehow moved outward and made me want to protect and provide for every child. To know some children needed , hurt. It started when a club I was in adopted a family every Christmas. Their wis

Pumpkin Pie Yogurt Dip--Super Easy Holiday Treat Recipe

Image shamelessly borrowed from Chobani because they took a better photo than I did and I like that yogurt and they have a fancier recipe. That involves a mixer. I just use a spoon. And I never thought of cream cheese. This time of year I feel stuck in molasses. Every little thing seems a monumental effort. I think it is a drowning pool of too many things. I also get asked to make and bring a lot of dishes to events. Ages ago, when my oldest was barely two, and I had first mom duty to bring a "healthy but tasty for toddlers" treat for a school party...I felt stymied. That's when I discovered Pumpkin Pie Yogurt. I think I made it accidentally. Or it flew to top of mind after I heard about it somewhere. Either way, I had all of the ingredients on hand and I test-mixed a batch. Winner winner with both me and the kid! I took it to school and BINGO...not  bit leftover. Here's the easy peasy pumpkin squeezy recipe: Mix half a can of pumpkin in about 4-6

Value Kids Over Cuts: Why Head Start is Crucial

  “Over the next few months, Congress will be faced with tough decisions. Deep, across-the-board cuts to education and domestic programs loom. ” True story. “Cuts will dramatically cost America’s children: across-the-board cuts could mean nearly $5 billion in education cuts . The cuts have real consequences: Fewer services for more than 9 million public school students and job losses for 80,000 Americans .”   Whoa. Head Start programs are often first on the chopping block, generally cited as an unnecessary indulgence. Oy. What a misunderstanding of Head Start--who and how it helps. Take 19 year old single mom Rosalie and her daughter in Phoenix. Rosalie learned how to supportively parent her daughter, access preventive medical care, graduate high school, and get a job. Her daughter got the best beginning and Rosalie got herself and her daughter into a better position. But now, according to the New York Times , “Tens of thousands of young children from low-income f

The kindness of strangers...can mean the world

2012 has chosen its theme: The Year of Misplaced Trust. In large part, this is being let down by folks I trusted to care for my kids. Yesterday was another example of this. Persistence has been struggling with hearing issues, and all that stems from that, due to consistently congested ears. Nothing we've done has helped. We started seeing specialists about this early in the year, but we really amped up our efforts this fall. It's been a rough go, involving a lot of tests, poking, prodding, and constantly disrupted lives with doctor visits. She's worn out with it all. And it's a lot of hard and complex stuff for a little kid to process. She's being a champ about it, of course, because if ever a kid had a heart for putting her head down and plowing through, she's that kid. But she's ready for it to be finished. She's ready to have it fixed. And she's ready to launch into catching up on all she's missed and gotten behind on because her hearing

How to be a smarter (and more cost-effective, less stressed) patient

One thing we like to rail about is the high cost of health care -- and justly so. On the one hand, I don't mind paying doctors for their specialty (who wants to be the guy who says, "hey I want the cheapest doctor! who cares about credentials!") or drug companies for the healing medications they spend years and millions developing. On the other hand, sometimes I think we just aren't smart enough about our health care. Sometimes I think we are too fast to accept health care exactly as dispensed and too slow to consider ways to make it work better for us (our bodies and our wallets). Let me share a short anecdote and a few things I learned this week about being smarter with health care, choices we have that we may not know about and how to get doctors and pharmacists on board. In short, let me tell you about being an empowered patient who takes charge of our own health and wellness. It all started last Wednesday when the pediatrician leaned back from my daughter

How my kids learned to earn (and value $$$)

This summer I tried something new. I drew a harder line than I ever have before for purchases for my kids. Their, "I want I want I want..." mantra had been getting out of control and no was not the best, long-term solution. Now that they are 7 and 10, it seemed about time for them to get an allowance. But...how did we handle doling out an allowance? Handing out money to them each week simply for being did not feel right to us. We think it is important to learn how to earn. Also, I am a big believer in kids learning the value of their work and how to negotiate and discuss money . Tying money to their chores also did not feel right. We believe strongly that each member of the family has an important role and tasks that contribute towards making our home and family run well. Since they were very young, we expected our kids to do certain chores as members of the family. It started simply with picking up toys. Our expectations grew as the children grew. They must fold and

It may be an odd life, but it's ours: Why you MUST see The Odd Life of Timothy Green

They stood in the kitchen arguing about the child and What To Do. A couple, loving and supportive of each other, rarely fighting, but now, in barely suppressed yells, they had a serious go at one another's parenting choices. The child in question was upstairs (or so they thought) and he was their miracle. The longed for, finally gotten child. Exactly what they had always wished for. Except what they were learning is that even when you get exactly what you wish for, it doesn't mean things turn out how you want. Or thought you wanted. When the child appeared in the doorway and shouted, "Stop fighting!" They stopped. But they had been winding down anyway, realizing that they were arguing with fate or circumstance or something like it rather than each other. The couple is Jim and Cindy Green, and the child is Timothy Green. They are the lead characters in the new movie, releasing today, The Odd Life of Timothy Green . The unbearable lightness of being a par

Why I Will Miss Mary McCormack Most of All

I hear a number of my favorite television shows are coming to an end this year. I am not good with this. I'm not good with this because a good show is hard to find, and a good show with an awesome "I love you woman" main character is even harder to find. As this year becomes the year of trying to stuff women back into their boxes, I find TV shutting down its very best examples of inspiring women who never even had a box. It makes me sad. Missing , starring the oh-so-fab Ashley Judd, was not picked up for a second season. I suppose a super hot, smart and capable middle-aged woman was just too awesome. Or. Not politically correct enough in 2012. By which I mean, she wore a lot of pants (and hats, metaphorically) instead of being decorous in a flowery dress. (Bitter much? Why yes, yes I am these days, thank you for asking.) I say BOO on this one. I liked that show. Yes, I am a Judd fan, but also it was exciting. Former CIA operative running (usually literally) around

#epicfail and Other Parenting Moments

Running unprotected by water and stones . Have you ever noticed how some people cough *other parents* cough just love to kill the buzz? Okay let's take other parents. Say you're somewhere, like the playground, and you and the other parents are gabbing, and you maybe know some, don't know some, you know how it is. And you're being yourself, which in this case happens to a person with a very dry wit who often speaks rather facetiously. And you're all talking about your kids. And then you're all whipping out the iPhones to show kid photos. Even though the kids are all right there on the playground, for real. But you all just have to share this funny or magical moment caught by the phone camera to illustrate some parenting triumph. So you get your turn and you show this photo of your kid, maybe riding a bike, maybe a two-wheeler without training wheels, for the very first time. All the parents are oohing and ahhing and you feel it comi

What price an apology?

I read an article today about a man who spent over 30 years looking for his teacher, to make amends for a slight that had troubled him ever since. But why? And was it right? It's an amazing story.   39 years ago, a boy named Larry asked to leave a well-liked teacher's class and did not offer a reason. The teacher, Mr. Atteberry, was gay during a time that this could get a teacher fired. Some students suspected his homosexuality, and teased Larry, who was often praised in class for good work. The teasing escalated to bullying, and Larry thought if he left the class and never spoke again to the teacher, it would stop. So he left. Then he regretted it ever after. He kept trying to find the teacher to apologize, and nearly four decades later, he did, through a news article. That's where the article I read, " A teacher, a student and a 39-year-long lesson in forgiveness ," began.  It's incredible what weighs on us, causes shame. This troubled this man for

We are the tardy people...don't hate us

My kids are tardy, frequently. It is a source of daily stress and distress. I start every single day unhappy. You are going to judge me. Tell me it's rude and disrespectful. It disrespects the school, the teacher, the class, the other kids, and my own kids' access to learning. Tell me it is undisciplined. A necessary life skill, failed. You think I do not know this? You are going to assume I do not know what to do or how to fix it. You are going to tell me about sticker charts, incentives, punishments, egg timers, consequences, school talks, how you fixed it (therefore you understand but you also know it CAN and SHOULD be fixed), how your neighbor's mother's cousin's daughter fixed it. You think I do not wish I had the magic fix? You are going to think you know what our deal is. You are going to suggest I put my kids to bed earlier or wake them earlier. You will tell me we ought to make lunches the night before. Create schedules. You may offer websites, book

What to Read for Earth Day 2012 (Sunday April 22, 2012)

It's almost Earth Day ! What are you going to do? Turn out the lights for an hour? Plant a tree? Go green? Start a compost pile? Excellent. How about also...read a book! If you know me at all you know how much I work to get my active on-the-go kids to sit and read. I found two earth day friendly books they liked! My oldest is a big "how stuff works" fan. For her, we found she liked this : With a LEED certified architect dad, she enjoyed the look at structures that are earth friendly. Also,this book is heavy on call-outs and factoids. It begins with a look at the roles in building. Then it talks about elements of structure and building. Next, it highlights some incredible examples around the world of earth friendly structures . Throughout it offers some great ideas of DIY projects kids can do at home. Today I get to go buy more pipe cleaners to complete the cross-bracing experiment (page 13). Last night we got a string of jokes. Did I mention there are funny joke

Frog went a' courtin' and he did right...by Stevie Wonder

Last night, as I tucked in my oldest and sat with her for a minute, we listened to the frogs. It's spring and rainy so it is time for them to find their happily ever afters. Every night, a plethora of them call to each other. I always imagine they each have their own song, like Happy Feet. It used to bother me, the crazy racket. Then we put in a pond and the frog songs amplified from racket to live concert level loud. You'd think we could have foreseen this but no, we did not. We thought only of managing mosquitos and happily watching koi. So last night, my daughter and I lay in her bed and listened to the frogs. "What do you think they are saying?" she asked me. I paused, wading through the truth, which in my head sounded heavily open air market-like but in a vaguely "Good morning Vietnam-ish," with a little "Dear penthouse..." thrown in way. "They are singing love songs to find their loves," I told her. "What sort of song? How