Tuesday, January 27, 2009
1. You matter.
2. You are wonderful.
3. You can succeed.
4. You are loved.
5. You are smart.
6. You can't do it alone.
7. You need to recharge.
8. You can't do it all.
9. You matter.
This got me thinking about what reminders I would pass on to another mom. Things that not only would make them feel good, but maybe get rid of a little of that mommy guilt so many are prone to. So here's my contribution to Important Reminders:
1. Your house WILL be a mess. Unless you get up, dress the kids and leave until bedtime, your house WILL be a mess. That means EVERYBODY. Now, if it is important to you (or your spouse) you can spend lots of time keeping it showplace clean. If you do, you won't be doing something else, like playing in the middle of that mess with the kids, experimenting and teaching kids to cook in the kitchen, and laying around on the couch reading books or just cuddling with the kids. Pick one. Having both makes you neurotic or at least cranky. House are to LIVE in - not feature in a magazine spread while raising little ones. Most people that have super clean houses will confess behind closed doors that they should be spending more time enjoying their kids. BUT - that doesn't mean you don't clean the house...it just means that you don't expect it to look that way all day! Live fully in your home, with your kids! (And homeschoolers have this times ten!!!)
2. You will be late. If you plan on being somewhere 30 minutes early...you might get there on time. Really. You have to plan on early or just forget it. The more kids you have, the more true this is. I used to think the younger the kids were the more true this was...but I have intimate knowledge on how that statement is not true...don't believe it. So - decide. Do you care if you are late? If you do, get in the habit of telling yourself your appointed time is 30 minutes earlier than it is. If it's not important, so be it! In either case let go of the guilt. If you are early, don't let the late mom's make you feel guilty for it. If you are late, same goes. Decide your take on it and live it fully.
3. Vomit, urine, poo and buggars will not kill you. But they might make you puke. There is no shame in this. Unfortunately, as the adult, one of these days you will have to deal with one of these things...even if your spouse has handled it up to now. One day they will be at work, or out of town. Prepare yourself. And know that when you get old...the shoe will be on the other foot. See, God is all about justice.
4. Every parent/child relationship is different. Think about it. Your relationship with your child will be different from your spouses relationship with your child. Your childrens relationship will be different with each of their siblings. You will have a different relationship with each of your children. In a house of 4 that is 12 different relationships going on. This is why what works for your friend and her kids won't always work for yours. Don't expect all advice will be good advice for you and your child. AND THAT IS OKAY. It is even good!
5. Know your boundaries and rules and stand by them. (That does not mean never change your mind or opionion.) When it comes time for the teen years, you'd better know WHY you have that rule/boundary. A teen will debate you. If you don't give them a why you have that rule it will be broken(because I said is a red flag to disobey). And know that sometimes, when that child debates you, you will learn something new or change your mind or see their side and change your mind. Totally allowed. But, if you don't have reasons/beliefs for your rules/standards, you will be debated to the kids side every time because you have nothing to stand on. You will not be respected, and you had better hold on for the ride you are about to be taken on. It's not pretty to be a wishy/washy parent to a teen in today's society. I've seen this so many times...and the heartbreak that follows. WHY do you have that rule? Know it. Stick by it. Have the discussion - and an open mind. Funny thing, when you have strong reasons for your rules, you very rarely change your mind...but it does happen.
6. You don't OWE your child every experience that comes his way. The easiest way to explain this is by example. When we were to travel to China to adopt our youngest, I was having a hard time with whether or not to take the oldest two. It was a huge financial thing, but I could not imagine going to China and not providing them with an experience like that. My father pointed out that we didn't have to provide them with every experience that came around. They could both go to China any time they wanted as adults. Wow. So true. Needless to say, I didn't take them, and don't regret it. Same goes with sports, dance, camps, trips and music lessons. If you CAN do it and want to....do it! If it puts a strain on the budget, ties up too much time away from home, makes the schedule too full, or you just don't want to....then don't! They can grow up and still do these things if they have an interest. There is almost never a "once in a lifetime" event that can't be dulplicated by an interested adult. And if you haven't fallen into this trap of providing over-much, when those once in a lifetime things do come up it is so much easier to say yes.
7. College is not a given. I can hear the collective gasp. Really, there is no law that says you have to pay for your child's college. NOW, let me state that I believe in paying for your kids college. But I also have limits. I will not automatically pay for college of a C/D/F student -- especially if they don't want to go. Talk about flushing money down the toilet. We currently only pay half of our son's tuition - and he's lucky to get that. His grades were ok the last 2 years of high school, but he didn't even WANT to go to college. We only paid half to get him to go at all. But knowing we coerced him into going did not make me want to take all the financial risk. If he owned part of that money he is more likely to pay attention to passing. And I'm thankful we did this as last semester he dropped to C's and one D. I'd be highly p.o.ed at him if I'd paid in full for those grades- but as it is, I'm not worried about it, even though its stupid as he is so smart. Also, if you can't swing it, there is the military. (Another loud collective gasp). They pay for college. So if you have a kid that has no immediate interest in going to college - or no money to send them - this is an alternative. So, as a parent, it is not ILLEGAL to not pay for your child's college. But if it is important to you, no matter what, DO IT. Just don't be guilted into it because of popular opinion.
8. Doctors and Teachers are not God. They don't always know what is best for your child. They do not have half or even a quarter of the interest in your child's well-being as you do. They can be wrong. And if you challenge them they will do everything they can to tear you down as a parent and make you out to be a bad guy. Know this in advance. Do your research. Know WHY you are disagreeing and go with your gut. Shots are a good example. There is plenty of research to support both opionions on vaccinations. Know your stand, WHY you take that stand, and be open to hearing and researching what someone else has to say. Do this and you won't have guilt. YOU (and your family) are the only one on this planet that will give 100% to fight for your child. You have the right to fight. Don't be a doormat to a talking college degree. THEY CAN BE WRONG.
9. Love is not all you need. Know that there are children out there that are hard to love. Children that don't want to be loved. Children with disorders that don't allow themselves to be loved. Even if you are one of the majority of people that never deals with this type of child, know that they are out there. And that kid over there acting so badly, might be one of them. Support the mother, don't trash her. It is not always a parenting issue. Too many people are not aware of the very real issues some children have, and are very judgemental of the parents. Withhold that judgement - because you just don't know which one of these mom's is in the battle of her life...and not the cause of it.
So there you go. Some of my mommy lessons. I hope that others that read this will pass on their mommy advice. Share some knowledge ladies!
Monday, January 26, 2009
This is also the time of year that I think alot about MM's mother. Is she enjoying the holidays with her family? Is she healthy? Does she have other children? Does she think about the little girl she left along the market road? And, WHAT WAS SHE THINKING?????
I know I can't understand a different culture with a different view of the value of life. I know I've never walked in her shoes. But mostly, I grieve for the fact that I have NO answers to give to my daughter. And it is highly unlikely that I will ever have answers. I have had someone investigate the police report and try to find out who found her and called the police. No luck. No trail. Nothing to offer my child other than pictures of the police station she was taken to, and the area she was found. Not much at all.
Right now my baby is all about who's tummy did she grow in. She wants to know if her China mommy went to the hospital. And all I can give her is an "I don't know."
I could do like others and tell her that she was "left to be found" or that of course she was born in a hospital. But why would I do that? I don't have that information. And I'm not going to make it up just to make my baby feel better....until she gets older and finds out that I'm guessing. Not touching that. But I really hate telling her that I don't know.
And how did this turn into a post about adoption????
So, back to Chinese New Year! Some of my favorite pics from the WWW.....
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Obviously once I start thinking about something like that I can't let it go. Why should I? After all, in our day all we have to do is go home and type in what you want to know on your trusty computer...and there you go! There's no reason to wonder...just find out!
So here is what I was able to find:
The three wise monkeys are a pictorial maxim (a saying that is notable in some way). Together they embody the proverbial principle to "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil". To the Japaneses, the three monkeys are Mizaru, covering his eyes, seeing no evil; Kikazaru, covering his ears, hearing no evil; and Iwazaru, covering his mouth, speaking no evil.
Sometimes there is a fourth monkey depicted with the three others; the last one, Shizaru, symbolizes the principle of "do no evil". He may be covering his abdomen or crotch, or just crossing his arms.
The source that popularized this is a 17th century carving over a door of the famous Tosho-gu shrine in Nikko, Japan. However, it probably originally came to Japan from China in the 8th century.In Chinese there is a similar phrase in the Analects of Confucius: "Look not at what is contrary to propriety; listen not to what is contrary to propriety; speak not what is contrary to propriety; make no movement which is contrary to propriety".
Though the teaching had nothing to do with monkeys, the concept of the three monkeys originated from a word play. In Japanese, zaru, which is an archaic negative verb conjugation, is the same as zaru, the vocalized suffix for saru meaning monkey - so this might be how the monkeys may have originated from what one would see as an amusing play on words.There are different explanations of the meaning of "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil."
- In Japan the proverb is simply regarded as a Japanese Golden Rule.
- Some simply take the proverb as a reminder not to be snoopy, nosy and gossipy.
- Early associations of the three monkeys with the fearsome six-armed deity Vajrakilaya link the proverb to the teaching of Buddhism that if we do not hear, see or talk evil, we ourselves shall be spared all evil. This may be considered similar to the English proverb "Speak of the Devil– and the devil appears."
- Others believe the message is that a person who is not exposed to evil (through sight or sound) will not reflect that evil in their own speech and actions.
- Today "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" is commonly used to describe someone who doesn't want to be involved in a situation, or someone willfully turning a blind eye to the immorality of an act in which they are involved.
Now, don't you feel smarter?
Friday, January 23, 2009
Angela has done many of my friends headers for them. Interested? You can find her at Creative Blank. She does great cards also. Check her out!
Thanks again Angela for the blog help! One day I'm going to get a program and teach myself...but until then I'll be bugging you!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Many moons back I posted pictures of the house on a "getting real" post started by Heather at Want What You Have. One was a picture of the garage. One was the laundry room. Both had not been touched since we moved in. I am happy to report that hubs has cleaned out the garage. It's not 100% put together yet, but it is also not the pit it was. And its only been two years.
And even better...I finally got him to put up cabinets in the laundry room. It had nothing. This was my storage:
It sat on the dryer collecting lint dust. Two years worth. You know I was too lazy to pull it out and dust it all off with the other house cleaning. The advantage of waiting two years to clean it was that by now it had a lint blanket...so all I had to do was peel it off. See, there WAS a method to my madness.
Anyways. As of yesterday, my laundry room now looks like this:
Oooohhhh! Aaaaahhhh! A normal looking laundry room with CABINETS! Aren't we handy??? We had never put up cabinets before. And can you picture me standing under them with the cabinet on my head while hubs screwed them into the studs??? Hey, it worked.
So hubs gets a brownie button today. Along with the muscle relaxers for the sore back. And that's what happens when your dear wife suggests you get a male freind to help you put them up and you decline. Like you've never had back surgery. Men.
And on the sewing front, I finished the bag I wanted for my Bible study books. I don't like it. First, I had to settle on the fabric as I couldn't really find anything I really loved in our town. In the one fabric shop we have. I did look at Hobby Lobby also but just didn't find what I was looking for. Second, I was afraid it wouldn't be big enough for all my books so I added about 3 inches to the width and an inch to the hieght...and its too big. So I will be making another with the original dimensions and just end up using this one for something else. Next project will be a laptop sleeve for my new laptop. Wish me luck!
The new year seems to have kicked us both into "get things done" gear. That's always a good thing. Lets see how long it lasts.....
Sunday, January 18, 2009
This is at a Temple in Foshan, China. Our youngest daughter is from Foshan/Nanhai. This is one of the pictures I intend to scrapbook one day when I work on her China Album. At least that is the plan.
Foshan is located in the northern part of the Pearl River, about 12 miles from Guangzhou(Canton), Guangdong Province. Foshan is made up of five districts: Chancheng, Shunde, San-shui, Nanhai and Gaoming Districts. The population is about 5.4 million - with about 1.1 million in the city center itself.
Foshan is a vital part of an active economic zone comprising of Guangzhou in the east, and Hong Kong and Macau in the south. There are miles and miles of factories...along with farming, big cities and little villages all in the same area. You have to see it to wrap your mind around all of it.
Foshan has a history dating back to approximately 5,000 years. It gained its name from the three Buddha statues unearthed in this area in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Having a temperate climate with abundant rainfall, it has been a land of fish and rice. Besides fishing and farming, the local craftsmen were also known for their skills in making ceramics.
Thriving handicraft industries, commerce, and the arts made Foshan one of the four most famous towns in Tang and Song (960-1279) dynasties. Foshan has a reputation as the home of Chinese ceramic arts, Cantonese operas and martial arts.
Foshan is a modern city. It was one of the earliest ports to engage in foreign trade since China's open door policy. Foshan has become the third largest city in Guangdong Province, combining its manufacturing industries with tourism. In recent years, Foshan has committed its resources to further expand its vibrant tourism industry.
The top attractions in Foshan are many. Highlights include Xiqiao Mountain and the Foshan Zumiao (Ancestral) Temple.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Today I am self satisfied and smug because I started a sewing project and finished it all in one day. (See, I'm admitting to not being humble so will probably get a smack-down pretty quick - but I know I deserve it.)
It was basically 8 straight lines and a hem. (Although I did have to square the material as it was really jacked-up.)
Even a pre-beginner could have done it. No funky curves or clipping corners. No zippers or buttons.
Behold...Songbirds sewing machine cover. My first project of the year. Her machine did not come with a cover of any kind. So I took her to the store and let her pick out fabric and there you have it. Pattern free from the internet.
Can I admit that I hate houndstooth or anything that resembles it? Don't tell Songbird. My eyes cross just looking at this thing. But hey, at least I got the pattern straight! I can't always say that you know!
Next project? A Monk's bag for my Monday Morning stuff. I'm tired of transferring Sunday morning stuff, then Wednesday evening small group stuff and Monday Morning stuff all in the same bag. Why do I even tell you this? Accountability. I'm hoping if I say it out loud here I will actually do it.
My track record is really not very good.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Took Songbird out the the Hillsboro Outlet Mall since we couldn't find the shoes she wanted in town for less that $40. She ended up having to compromise on her shoes and I let her spend $25 instead of the usual $20.
But the best part of the day was the purple leotard with built in skirt. $5. Mighty Mouse can now run around the house without her bum showing and mommy is happy. If it wasn't coming out of my mad money I might have spent an extra $5 and bought two. But on reflection I figured I could put up with the occasional underwear day while washing the leotard. I mean really - I might have to pass on a coffee date with my buds if I bought two. Not happening.
Friday, January 9, 2009
For Christmas this year we got Songbird a sewing machine. She was so excited. I was a little nervous because I figured she was either going to really love it...or really hate it. You never know with the teenaged animal.
She spent her time and her grandmothers wanting to sew constantly so I was hoping for a hit. Plus, she wanted a robe for Christmas so I bought a pattern and all the stuff she would need to complete a robe as another gift. I can't wait until she finishes it and I can spotlight it for you. It's very Punky Brewster meets the Pirates of the Carribean. Found a fleece with a crazy enough design to make her happy for sure.
Since we had Nano here with us at Christmas, my living room turned into a sewing room. It was very sweat shop looking in here for a week! All three of the ladies were busy with projects. Songbird was learning some basics (Yes I did get her the Sewing for Dummies book) and getting started. I had two projects. First was a pair of pajama's for Mighty Mouse...since she is outgrowing all of hers and wears her older sisters slips to bed (all tied up and falling off). It's a princess thing. Over my head. Second, I wanted to make a coffee sleeve for my friends.
(Does anyone else out there HATE paying for pajama's???? They are absurdly high priced and you don't even leave the house in them!!! I don't pay that much for outside clothes!!!)
Since I had two projects, mom wanted to do the pajama's for me while I worked on the sleeves. Since I was a little worried about the pattern I picked I was delighted to agree.
So here are some of my creations! I found the tutorial on the internet and the fabrics at a couple of different places. They were not hard to make...they were actually pretty fun. I can't speak for the others...but I love mine!
Mom made a nightgown and decided the neck was too big. This was my concern as I intentionally found a pattern with no buttons because I'm not a very experienced sewer. And mom is so good that she took the material, altered the pattern and made a SECOND pair out of the scraps. Now that is thrifty! I couldn't have pulled that off!
Excuse the incredibly crappy picture. MM picked out the material...it is ladybugs...her favorite. I tried to talk her into the monkeys but it was a no-go.
I'm hoping to spend more time on the sewing machine this year and even make a few gifts. I'm also hoping that Songbird does the same. I'd really like her to have the basics down at least by the time she heads to college.
On my list of things to make are a laptop sleeve...for my new laptop...and maybe as gifts for hubby and son. Also, Songbird's machine did not come with a cover so I found a pattern to sew one for her.
And did I mention that the coffee sleeve, laptop sleeve and sewing machine cover patterns were all free internet patterns? It's amazing the free patterns you can find!!
So what I wonder is how many of my freinds out there have a sewing machine somewhere, gathering dust? If you do, are you planning on dragging it out now that times are getting a little tougher and budgets a little smaller? If so, I'd love to hear what you are planning this year. I need more ideas.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Today...lets talk about kids. Now, most mom's REALLY want their kids to look great. Of course we do. As a matter of fact, when they were little, my kids always looked smashing. Part of that is due to grandma's sewing too, so it was unique and smashing. Good stuff. Even sloppy mom's like their kids to look great.
When my son was young I had him fashionable all the time. And this carried on for many, many years. Because let's face it...this boy could care less WHAT he's wearing...just get it on him or out for him so he can GET OUTSIDE. And the kid could stay outside for 7 hours, in Texas and Florida summers and never get tired (well, unless you are trying to get him to walk from the car into a store...then his legs were KILLIN' him!!???).
Along comes Songbird. She is dressed to the nines until about 3. She's a girl. At 2 she decided she needed to be in charge of her own wardrobe and make her own style decisions. Well, I'm okay with that. But I really had no idea she was Punky Brewster reincarnate. No kidding. She can come up with the most shocking combinations. Other mom's are horrified. I have one poor friend that said more than once..."Do you know what she is wearing?" and "You're ok with that??"
Yes. I'm a sloppy mom and don't want people telling me what to wear, so why would I tell her what to wear?? But we do have two basic rules: It must be 1. clean and 2. it must cover all strategic body parts that daddies want covered - no wiggle room. So, if she's clean and covered, she's legal.
Now we have Mighty Mouse. And up until very recently she was a fashion joy. She already dictates her wardrobe and has wonderful taste. But it wasn't until it got cold recently that I could get her to wear anything but a dress. Not convenient for playgrounds and other physical stuff...but she would have it no other way. Try to put her in pants and she would start screaming about how she in NOT a boy. Huh? So what is mom and sissy? We wear pants all the time.
Anyways. MM has a new favorite. A pair of tights. A tutu. A Dora pajama top. All topped with a scarf tied around her waist for a belt (missing from the photo).
Now this kid was stylin' this morning. I went to the gym and she was dressed in the best looking brown dress with hearts and some classy "The Children's Place" hose that went with the dress. Looked real good. As soon as we got home...it all hit the floor and she dug through her tights drawer and her dress-up box and her pj drawer and out she comes. And she's been doing this for 2 months. (If it was in the budget I'd put her in dance class so fast.)
The bad news is that I don't think it meets any of the rules. It's not clean...because she is doing this daily after she's been dressed a bit. A see-through tutu and a pair of tights is really not all that covered. Not to mention the too-small pj top...which doesn't actually qualify as clothes even.
This one is going to give me a serious run for my money.
So, if that isn't enough to make my days crazy, lets talk about MM and meatballs. NO, she is not eating them. The kid doesn't eat meat. For some reason though, meatballs are always on her mind.
New Years day I made Nori Rolls (veggie sushi). She took one look at them and dubbed them "Meatball eyes". Okay then.
But my all time favorite would be our conversation AT CHURCH yesterday. She decides to pat me on the ....er...chest. And then she asks, "WHAT are those??" I replied that they are one of my body parts - this is not the time for a discussion on boobs. At this point she looks up and me, pats me again...and tells me she thinks those are meatballs in there.
OK. So, I know I've gained holiday poundage...but that was really rather insulting. Hubs thought it was really, really funny. After all, there was also the time she was showering with me recently and looked at my chest and said "I DON'T WANT THOSE!!!" At which point I told her not to worry, Asians don't get them. Thank goodness she's too little to remember that return jab later on!!
And so that is the story about how my life is currently all about tutu's and meatballs.
I thought the teenaged child was supposed to be me hard one.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
A little bit back...in the black hole that has been the last 5 months, I read a post at one of my favorite blogs, Suburb Sanity, on Fashionable Moms. Actually, it was about a Motrin campaign and how they called baby wearing fashionable and the big public uproar and such. But it got me thinking about my perception of Fashionable Moms.
I am not a fashionable mom. To me, a fashionable mom is... well, fashionable. She wears nice looking outfits (and usually has more shoes than I have freckles). She knows how to put colors together (does not share my color blind gene) and has cool jewelry or a cute scarf or just that special something that just looks fabulous. Her hair is not only clean and combed...but actually styled.
Then there's me. Jeans. The staple of my wardrobe. A sweat shirt or a t-shirt. Almost always clean but probably not the best fit - tending towards overlarge or baggy. Tennis shoes. Hair - combed when I stepped out of the shower and then forgotten. Some days that gives me quite a shock when I pass a mirror. Then I will do another comb through to make it a little better...hopefully.
Up until now, my dealings with fashionable moms have been dismal. I'd volunteer at the school and when a party would come up (in the lower grades only I found) the fashionable moms would volunteer in droves to be a part of the fun. So here we are all thrown together.
Then, I would become "that mom". No, not the slouch....
The mom that bakes and brings in crafty crafts. That person that just does too much.
Are you kidding me?
I'm looking at the beautiful people and am amazed that I am the one getting roasted as the "over achiever". Their draw-in eyebrows are drawn down low on their faces. Their manicured nails are drumming on the tables or kid desks. Their tight gym bodies are upright with indignation. The beautiful lipstick is all puckered up.
They have all this and they are going to begrudge me a few cupcakes and glue sticks????? They honestly would use me as a yardstick (for cooking and crafts) and decide I was unreasonable and needed to change.
So...I've had a very bad attitude about Fashionable Mom's for quite a few years when you consider this started with my first child...and he is now in college.
2008 was the year that I was taught a new lesson. You see I needed to work on being unforgiving and judgmental toward Fashionable Moms. I needed a new perspective. And God has worked big.
I now find myself friends with a rather large number of fashionable moms. I mean great clothes, great style, great size, great kids, great talents....and great personalities. Humble, God loving, pee-your-pants funny, best friend material.
I'm still the slouch. But maybe that is improving just a little. Like the cool shoes I found when I was shopping for my funeral clothes. Not that I've worn them other than for the original purpose...but I think I'll be able to talk myself into it pretty soon. When its warmer. Maybe.
So, here is to Fashionable Moms. And to my special friends...you are all much more beautiful on the inside than on the outside. And that's saying alot.