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Archive for the ‘Kids and Family’ Category

The kids found a ladybug in the yard today and spent the afternoon entertaining it. They let it walk up their arms, crawl from hand to hand and built a rock playground for it. I can’t imagine how the ladybug survived (entertainment-wise) before it met two kids to occupy it.

What is funny is that I was sitting here trying to think of things to do to entertain the kids today. Where could I take them? How was I going to keep them occupied for the afternoon? For some reason it seems like if we stay in (or around) the house too long the kids go crazy. They get cabin fever. They fight and fight and they can’t seem to get along. Usually my options (to keep them out of trouble) are to go outside (go for a walk, play at the playground) or to someplace inside (the library, bounce house, or a toy store).

Today I discovered a new solution to my child entertainment problem and it is called the ladybug. What was great was that the ladybug was free of cost and provided hours of fun. Even a 993 piece Lego set could not surpass the value I got from this ladybug. One challenge was that there was only one ladybug for two kids, and obviously they don’t want to share anything. My other fear was that the ladybug would die or it would get lost. Unfortunately, the poor ladybug did succumb to a tragic case of ‘too much attention’ or maybe it was suffocation in my 4-year-old’s daughter’s sweaty hand. Oddly she didn’t even notice, because she thought it was sleeping.

I decided that next time I go to the garden store I need to pick up some ladybugs (not just one, maybe hundreds). The ladybugs aren’t only good for my garden aphid problem, but will save me from having to cart the kids from place to place to prevent war from breaking out in my living room or in the back seat of my car. The kids will be able to each have their own ladybug to entertain so I can entertain myself with a glass of wine and a good book.

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As I sit outside on this May morning I wonder why I feel chilled after the high 90’s temperatures of yesterday. I am wearing long black yoga pants, a long sleeve shirt, and flip-flops. My feet are a bit cold, or is it my ankles? Strange, but my body temperature (and comfort) seem to be solely determined by my feet. To warm up I have covered myself with a down duvet. It actually feels like I am in a cocoon. One might ask,”If you are cold, then why don’t you go inside?” Oddly, the temperature inside is about the same as outside, although it is air conditioning dependent.

If I could live without air conditioning, I would. I think that it is silly that all summer when the mercury is hitting 110+, I am sitting inside with long sleeve pants, long sleeve shirt and my precious down duvet. Insanity? Yes. This is what happens when you love the heat but your husband has a different idea about temperature comfort.

I constantly run around the house (in vain I might add) to change the thermostat for the air conditioning up to 82 (from 75?) so that I might gain a reprieve from the arctic air being blown at me. Of course, I am the one who always ends up getting seated right in front of the air vent!

Why can’t we as humans be more comfortable with the outside temperature? I totally understand not wanting to leave the house when the temperature hits 110 in the middle of August, but what is wrong with 80’s? I mean, it is still 30 degrees cooler than the outside? Why do we need to waste so much energy cooling the house just so I can suffer in the cold? If I wanted cold, I would move to Wisconsin. Then at least I would have the comfort of a ‘hot-dish’ to keep me warm regardless of the outside temperature.

I have made a choice to appease my husband and his need to live in a refrigerator (and leave the thermostat alone). I have retreated to the patio to enjoy the outside temperature. It is a lot more comfortable, and fortunately last year we invested in ‘outside’ furniture (not plastic chairs or wicker…real furniture! I sit in my comfy upholstered chair with my feet relaxed on a stool. This really isn’t bad at all. I could get used to this. Come August I will need someone to bring me some kind of iced beverage when it heats up. Although I enjoy the reality of the outside temperature, I am not completely oblivious to the heat – I need something to keep cool. How are you staying cool this summer?

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As I was sitting on the patio in a comfortable chair, enjoying the warm air of an Arizona evening, my 4-year-old daughter handed me necklace after necklace to put on. The necklaces were pink and purple with an occassional silver or white one thrown in. It was as if she had a bottomless pit of necklaces to hang around my neck. As I looked down at my collection of necklaces, I wondered, “Can life’s riches (typically jewelry more valuable than these plastic necklaces) weigh us down?”

If we weren’t hindered by our wealth, would we live our lives differently? Would we be willing to take more risks because we have nothing to lose? It seems as we gain money and valuables, we feel like they give us comfort and security. More comfort gives us more stuff to lose. We have nice things, yet I wonder if it just stresses us more because the ‘things’ are holding us back from true happiness.

Risks are for those who have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Do we stop pursuing our dreams because of fear? Or of losing what we have? If we always play it safe, we might never get what we really want and need. The heavy weight of our ‘necklaces’ strung around our necks pulls us down, closer to the ground. We become so heavy that we cannot move forward because we are so loaded down with our comfort and security.

The most important thing we have is us. What is inside. We are not defined by the stuff we have, or the things we surround ourselves with. I realize, as I sit here in my chair, the simplicity in which I could be happy. All the things around me – the air, the water in the pool, the light above my head and even the patio itself, are temporary. A pen and a notebook are all I need to write. A chair provides a place to relax, but any chair, pen or notebook would do. However, if I assume that all of the ‘stuff’ will be gone tomorrow, then when I wake up in the morning, I will experience excitement and euphoria that it is still there. Really? Or would I have more opportunity if I woke up to nothing? The best part of the day is waking up with the opportunity to live another day, to breathe another breath, or to run another mile. When the door of opportunity has opened, what will you do with yours?

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Today was Mother’s Day and I was awoken by an aroma that wafted into the bedroom. The smell reminded me of my favorite breakfast restaurant. Next, there in my bedroom was Tucker declaring, “Your brunch is ready!”. ‘Daddy’ and Paige stood behind silently with huge grins across their faces. My eyes could barely open beyond slits, but I could see the enormous smiles. Apparently they were very proud of the brunch they were about to serve me.

I peeled myself out of bed and took a look in the mirror to make sure my hair didn’t look too scary. I followed the kids and ‘daddy’ into the kitchen to see a perfect place-setting just for me. A glass of juice with ice, a cup of coffee, a brunch menu, and a perfectly folded napkin. The napkin could only be the work of Tucker, ‘master place setter’. Surrounding my place setting were cards – mostly handmade from the kids. They were wonderful. The interpretations the kids had of how ‘mommy’ looked was amazing. I never knew my arms came out of my ears like that? Or that my lips were quite that red! At least it seemed as if they liked me (and my looks) enough to make me this nice breakfast and beautiful cards.

After perusing the cards, including one store-bought card from ‘daddy’, everyone got hugs and kisses from ‘mommy’. Maybe this had been their plan all along – bribe me put me in good mood so they could get extra hugs and kisses today. Either way, I think we all came out winners. Next what was placed in front of me was a beautiful egg and cheese omelet and toast with strawberry jam. It was delicious. I was wondering if it tasted so good because I didn’t have to cook it or because ‘daddy’ really was a better cook than me. It is nice to know your family cares about you, especially on Mother’s day. I can only hope the kids are this nice to me for the rest of the day. I can hope can’t I?

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“Someone hurt me at school today”, said my 4-year-old at the dinner table the other night. This seems to be a regular occurrence at school, so I didn’t think much of it. She is constantly telling me who IS and who ISN’T her friend. The status of Paige’s ‘friends’ can change as quickly as New England weather, so it is impossible to stay current. I can’t tell you how many times she has said to me,”You aren’t my friend anymore”, and then proceeded to frown as she shrugged her shoulders up toward her ears. If she does this to me, I can only imagine how she reacts to her playmates.

Finally, I decided I should ask her about the perpetrator of the ‘hurt’. “Who hurt you?”, I asked. At this point I was expecting to hear Paige describe what her friend (or now non-friends) had done to her during the day. Paige finally replied to my question very matter-of-factly, “I hurt myself. I tripped and fell.” Huh? Was that a joke? I don’t think she even knew it was a joke because she said it so seriously. I laughed because it sounded so funny. She thought I was laughing at her (which I guess I was in an odd sort of way). She was a bit sad that I was laughing at her, but I still laughed nonetheless. How could I not?

I anticipate that Paige will return to school on Monday declaring that, “My mommy laughed at me, she isn’t my friend any more.” Oh well, sometimes you just can’t be a perfect parent because I laughed at an unintended joke. I think sometimes the unintended jokes can be the funniest, even if Paige didn’t agree with me.

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The whole family was sitting together on the sofa looking at some old photos and movies clips of the kids when they were babies. Daddy (Chris) kept asking,”What is that smell?”, and, “Who farted?”. Apparently the odor that was passing by his nose was not good. Not good at all! I was on the other end of the sofa, so I couldn’t smell a thing. (I actually thought he was imagining things.) Finally Chris realized the origin of the odor, our 4-year-old daughter’s feet. “It is her feet!”, he exclaimed. It seemed that this stench was so terrible that it couldn’t even come from a men’s locker room, never mind our dainty daughter’s feet.

Unfortunately, I am the guilty party here regarding the smelly feet. It isn’t because I let Paige wear shoes without socks today, but instead because I have passed on to her the ‘stinky-feet’ gene. For years this gene has been a real problem for me. So many times I have found myself scrubbing my feet with anti-bacterial soap in an attempt to wash away the smell. If you can call it a smell. A smell can sound nice, like roses ‘smell’. “What a beautiful smell!”, someone might say as they walk by an aromatic rose-bush. What I ‘sensed’ through my nose now, was anything but beautiful.

Realizing that Chris is suffering from the odor of Paige’s feet caused by my faulty gene, I take Paige into the bathroom and scrub her feet clean. How sad is it that Paige already knows the routine for ‘cleaning her feet’? An overall bath, sure, but how many kids run a bath for their stinky feet?

I return to sit on the sofa with Paige and her feet (that now smell like flowers) and suddenly I am overcome (actually my nose is overcome) with another vile odor. It isn’t my feet (I don’t think?). Then I notice my son Tucker and his feet that are actually covered in socks. Too bad the socks didn’t cover the odor like they did with his feet. Now the harsh reality hits me that he also has the ‘stinky-feet’ gene. Chris promptly instructs Tucker to enter the bathroom for his feet fumigation. Tucker removes his socks and Chris says, “Your feet have a toxic aroma. Let’s take care of that.”

I never heard anyone say ‘toxic’ and ‘aroma’ in the same sentence. Aroma is what you experience when you enter someone’s house after they baked cookies or burned a vanilla candle. It is too bad the ‘aroma’ of my children’s feet wasn’t more like the baked cookies, but you just have to deal with the genes you are given. I am just thankful that I live in a time and place where water and soap are plentiful (along with scented bubble bath) and I don’t always have to suffer from breathing air with a toxic aroma.

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I am sitting outside on the patio enjoying the warmth of the morning Arizona sun. For some reason the morning sun is warm vs. the afternoon sun which is scorching. I stare at the cactus sitting in front of me. It is so small and fragile. Just a tiny seedling found in the yard, now in its safe home in a miniature pot. I just watered it, although I wondered if that was even necessary. I mean it is a cactus? How much watering does it need?

The water absorbed into the soil, but I can see a few tiny water droplets clinging to the smooth surface of the cactus (not the spines!). The sun is shining on the cactus in such a way that it glistens. It makes me think of a child being nurtured and protected by a parent. The plant is glistening, shining and is so beautiful. I don’t want to do anything to interfere with its inherent beauty in its natural state.

Our children have that inherent beauty too, so why can’t we just let them be. See the beauty, enjoy the moment, and savor it, instead of stepping in and thinking we can fix them or make them better. What children (and plants) need sometimes is just to be admired for who or what they are. They really can be amazing and grow without us.

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