Tuesday, January 30, 2007

feelin' the love--you caught me off guard

Blogging is great- I try to extol its virtues to non-bloggers but they don't get it- blogging changes how you think- and just when you are in the middle of a life crisis instead of breaking down- you stop think i am totally going to blog this! It is someone to share your triumphs and tears with. I was really surprised and feel very flattered to be nominated for this years Share the Love blog awards-Site Design (seriously I now feel very self conscious in my feeble template modifications), Woman Power (I am always one to give a shout out for great strong, thinking, world-rocking women but i have to say there alot of amazing inspiring women out there! but i take your vote as the sincerest compliment) and Blogger you most like to Meet (Really?--when and where?- i love to meet people) Anyway head on over and nominate your favorites today before it's too late- after all there are a lot of great blogs out there who deserve some love for their time and efforts and the inspiration and enjoyment they provide to all! And to whoever nominated me- Thanks- that was really nice!

Friday, January 26, 2007

of bottoms, bollywood and barns

You may remember the comical story of my disintegrated swimsuit bottoms . I have survived these two months with only half a swimsuit (thanks to the fact that i live in new england where even in the summer probably rarely gets hot enought to allow full usage of a swimsuit) but excitingly enough smart daddy-o and I are going to puerto rico for a week-- which does require a swimsuit- both pieces -- our trip is only 3 1/2 weeks away- which I was diligently attempting honey kalaria's bollywood workout (smart baby started grabbing my legs just as i was getting the bhangra hands down really well) so I bagged the workout and took smart baby to visit the cows (yes it's 7 degrees outside-with a negative windchill but when you are desperate and realize every waking moment the you stay in your house a new mess is created by your child you will brave even the bitterest wind) and while visiting our favorite dairy cows-we returned home with 17$ worth of pastries, and spinach and broccoli calzones. Good thing I bought a new skirted bottom instead of french cut...

** brief note on the bollywood workout- I have to give it 2 thumbs up- although a little cheesy in some parts,a decent slightly complicated workout (especially all those crazy hands), I figure it is good practice so I can land my breakout role in a bollywood flick.

change the world - one box top at a time

I will confess I am a volunteer/PTO junkie- no not one of those "highly-competitive-i-have-to-do-everything-mom"s- but I am an "always-sucked-into-a-good-cause-mom". When the blue volunteer forms come home I can't help but sign up. I guess I have come to appreciate the power of small and simple things. This week I was on Box Top clipping duty (you know Box Tops for education) my thankless job is to trim the box tops (removing the extraneous cardboard flash that remains when parents careless tear them off the cereal boxes and then to sort and bag them in groups of 50). These scraps seem insignificant, worth a whopping ten cents. But put them together and (after two rounds of collection in the fall yielded almost $3,000 dollars for our little town's school- yes $3,ooo - 10 cents at a time). This principle extends to opportunites. I can't help but teach the after school enrichment classes- helping kids learn to paint and while the money raised goes to playground equipment, books for the reading programs, science programs, etc.? Or gather donations for the town education foundation auction (thanks bose for the wave radio!) Yes I know i don't rock the world with my actions- but i am content to believe if we all took care of our own gardens the world would be a paradise.

I know women, mothers especially, often don't feel they make a difference. They feel like those tiny little 10 cent box tops (especially the torn around the edges ones with food remnants on them). Each kiss we leave as we tuck our kids in at night, every time drive them to lessons, or volunteer to help that teacher, or bring dinner to someone -- it all adds up to sums and products we can't imagine.

We never think we'll be the important one, the person who changes the world. We live to much in a world of big fame, titles, and celebrities. For me, I'm content to make my mark in life one little box top at a time.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

childhood friendship- thicker than blood but not tuna fish

I had to laugh tonight as I was tucking smart son into bed. We were talking about his day and he announced he had not sat with his dearest friend, B at lunch, in fact he refused to sit at the same table with him even. What could be the cause of such a fissure in a hard and fast kindergarten friendship founded on a love of legos at center time and the playing of superheros on the playground? He said he just couldn't sit by him or even at the same table... because he brought a tuna fish sandwhich for lunch! My ever tolerant smart son told me he just can't handle the smell. He admitted that whenever his friend B brings a tuna fish sandwich, he always sits at another table. Evidently this has been going on for sometime and B has been lobbying his mother to stop making him tuna fish sandwiches (so he will not be abadoned and ostracized by friend smart son- the fair weather not-if-you-bring-a-tuna sandwich friend) but to no avail. I tried to explian to smart son that B's mother should hardly be expected to change their diet and their lunch making routine to cater to his olfactory whims. I guess we need a lesson in tolerance.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

the year of the lego

forget the chinese zodiac- this is the year of the Lego- smart son got a 9v Lego train set and lego crane and lego tie interceptor. I bought him his first set of small legos when he was 3 and we have been going strong ever since. I have to say my love of legos is probably one things that well qualifies me to be a mother of boys (not that girls can have equal lego prowess- I mean after all I am the supreme lego master of the house and I am a girl) but I do believe my love of legos will create a bond of play between me and my sons for many years to come. I am competitive in few things and I take my lego building seriously. There was quite a bit of trash talk over Christmas as smart daddy-o (yes mechanical engineer) I were intensely engaged in the building of the lego Santa Fe engine-and I am sure it comes as no surprise to any of you that I still reign supreme as the master lego builder in our home. This is a family fact. (although still disputed by wanna be smart daddy-o) Evidenced in the fact that I was recently invited to be the building supervisor for the tie interceptor and in the words of smart son "Mom, you can help me because you are the best lego builder in our family, and dad can clean up the vomit in the car because I think he would be the best in the family at that" (after smart baby and smart son got coughing so hard they both vomited in the car on the way to the drs)
I know many moms who hate legos because of their inherent messiness and tiny pieces. I had to laugh as I was at the lego store picking bricks from the brick wall and many moms were talking about how once their kids built something with legos they wouldn't let anyone touch them and cursing the tiny pieces; all this as I am shaking down our pick-a-brick box to fit just a few more singles in the remaining cracks extolling the virtues and possibilities of each piece to smart son. We have the reverse problem both my boys and husband once they build something want to disassemble it, add to it, or make it into other things (it is that spatial/engineering gene) and seriously I can't deny that type of play. I actually encourage it- yep it is the teacher in me.

lately I have been doing a series of monochromatic themed vehicles
here are a few from our "mother son building time" as smart son likes to call it

the all terrain tank for the sandy planet tatooine
Blue and yellow train platform for the mighty santa fe
the red samurai warrior vehicle inspired by Night of the Ninjas magic treehouse book
the white hothmobile (inspired by the snowy planet on return of the jedi- you should see my skilled ton-ton impersonation!- remember when they went out on the rescue mission- this could have saved the poor tonton from freezing!)
yellow and black bee mobile- used for collecting nectar and honey
green lantern mobile- inspired by the superhero stamps for birthday invites
imperial spy (laying down) seriously this was a great creation
the ice mobile- made almost entirely of clear blocks- also good for the planet hoth

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

while we are revamping human life

could we add a few hours onto the day- I mean 24 just isn't cutting it for me- if we say added 4 hours to each day i might be able to get stuff done- or maybe sleep enough to actually feel rested (I am sure this proposal will meet with resistance from some like those who are pregnant)-

Any one else want to start a petition with me

Monday, January 15, 2007

one for human hibernation

Last night I crawled into bed early and I began to get warm (yes it is finally cold here in New England-it is a sort of bone chilling damp cold- even though we have yet to have snow) I turned to smart daddy-o and confessed my insane jealousy of bears-- I told him all I could think about was hibernation. How come other species get to hibernate and we don't. Yes I would like to cast my vote for human hibernation. To just crawl into bed and sleep and sleep and sleep- and not get up until spring....

It is especially great because your kids will also be hibernating, therefore no messes, also no shoveling, no freezing cars, no winter gear to keep everyone hatted, gloved, booted, etc, kind of like a mini vacation, and when you awake I bet you will feel like those people look on the prescripti*n sleep aid commercials-

Thursday, January 11, 2007

love, smart mama

well life is crazy here ---1/2 our family has pneumonia and i have no time to blog so i will give you a compilation of ways to say I love you so you can start planning a rocking valentines day for your spouse, kids, friends, etc. These are lists 250 Ways to Say I Love You I compiled for some classes and workshops i gave and and the list of 50 were my favorite new ideas from students in one of the parenting classes i taught at BYU.

And smart mama will also issue you a challenge to go out of your way and do something loving for someone this week and then report (either via comment of on your blog)! You can make the world better- one person and one day at a time.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Out of this world Party

We just finished smart son's 6th birthday party- He had 10 friends over- they are all so cute and delightful. We decorated planet cookies, painted space paintings on canvas boards, did marble planet relay, played planet-planet-comet (aka duck duck goose), did pictionary, and did a birthday space mural. I really love good homegrown birthday party-- I could tell smart son just loved having his friends in his home. There is something special in sharing your space with people- it just makes things personal. If you know me you know I am a deal master and love to make things nice without spending a lot-- And I am pleased to report we pulled off this very fun uber cool 6 year old birthday party for $58- yes call me thrifty mama- (that includes cookie supplies, cake, paper products, favors, drinks, everything. The rest of the smart family is enjoying the freakish 70 degree weather outside- but but I had to blog about because as any party hosting parent knows euphoria sets in when the event is finally over. My big tip though is plan the different activities in different spaces so you can easily navigate kids to the next activity without losing them and you can have the supplies all set out ahead of time and you don't lose the kids while you are trying to clean up one thing. We did cookies in the dining room, painting in the nook, relay in the studio, pictionary in the playroom, planet-planet in the family room, mural on the kitchen wall. Yes I went a little martha this year making the favors (We found all the stuff for them when we were on vacation in Kansas - i found the planet marbles at moon marbles and the cool writing pads and spider web pens at the crayola store- we just spiffied the pads up by covering them in black sticker paper andmaking custom labels) and I have to say the cakes were super fun-they actually came to me in a dream over vacation (yes freud go at that dream) you can see a close ups on the cake blog. I was so proud of myself for the mini smart son astronaut picture i crafted for it! and the assembly was less precarious than expected! I also loved the chandelier decoration that evolved out of my tardiness putting away Christmas and added cool bonus at 3oo pm just during party time the light shines in a reflects hundreds of light spots all over the dining room and effect is magic and perfect for a space party!

I'd love to show the pics from the party of all the kids showing their cookies and paintings but I don't want to do that without parents permission as their names are on their paintings and cookies. But here is a shot from pictionary. Now I will go take a nap!

Friday, January 05, 2007

of freud, fantasy, and wish fulfillment

Freud talked about how our buried emotions and desires surface in our dreams and our dreams enable subconscious wish fulfillment.

so the other day I dreamt about running errands and buying a dowel at Michael's to secure the tall layers of the 3-D rocket cake for smart son's birthday party together-(just wait until you see it- I am making it tonight) Sometimes I have really cool dreams (call it the work of a creative mind) like the time i dreamt in blog- but this was disappointingly mundane

I decided I must be pretty boring at heart if my deepest desires/fantasies are to go to Michael's
Although I am sure Freud would have something to say about out the rocket cake!
(BTW- love this childrens picture book on this subject of Freudian wish fulfillment- called What Do Ducks Dream- no only is it a cute story but the illustrations/collages are by Donald Saaf)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

gluttony thy name be smartmama

I am not someone who generally gains weight- but this Christmas I added 5 lbs- would you like a sampling of where those 5 lbs came from...1- Prime rib and gravy, roasted potatoes, peas and pearl onions, yorkshire pudding, and croissant bread pudding and haagen das vanilla ice cream.
2-Turkey with mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry salad, and 4- yes 4 types of homemade pie made by my friend jennifer (coconut cream, apple, pecan, and pumpkin)
3- Dinner out- a ribeye with asparagus and whipped potatoes, Caesar salad, fresh rolls, creme brulee
4- Lunch at the inn in Williamsburg- Mini kobe beef burgers with a citrus tossed salad (fresh lime segments and grapefruit- tart and tasty!) and decadent chocolate cake
5- Mongolian Beef and Honey Coated Chicken at PF Changs
6- Eggs, Bacon, Debra's Homemade coffee cake and Sourdough Pancakes and my grandparents great "green grapefruits"
oh and about 2 lbs of sees chocolates, lindt truffles, godiva bars- and a reminder to self- cake and pie are not breakfast foods!
I guess I know what my news years resolution should be...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I made it!

I 'm home!! I got in last night- which is a feat in and of itself (if you know smart baby- you will know why my mom and dad offered to fly me and smart baby home while smart daddy-o drove with smart son and were in fact standing by on travelocity to make instant reservations in case smart daddy-o left us at some airport on the way between virginia and home because things got too ugly). But I took one for the team and in the name of family bonding passed up a quick, semi luxurious ride- for being crammed into the station wagon for 11 hours in the role of official snack passer outer, navigator, and chief entertainment provider.

I am sorry I haven't blogged christmas- i planned on it but things were busy at my parents house and the dial-up (they have no high speed available where they live) is enought to make you rant and cry in the torture of slow loading! and i left all the pics there- so Christmas is coming in a week or so...And I have not forgotten you and your blogs- again blame my parents dial up-

We got home at 7:30 and I madly set to work getting things ready for the show I am hanging today- 19 pieces! I had to make cards for the backs, title cards for the wall, print price lists, artist statments, bios, and get those framed, varnish and yet unvarnished pieces, and get everythign in their frames and ready to go. This is the last time I agree to hang an art show the day after I return from Christmas break.
(okay I edited this- I just came back from hanging- here is the lobby piece)

On a sad note- I heard yesterday that the prinicpal at smart son's school died. I still remember sharing a table with her at the first PTO meeting and talking about her plans for the next few years. She was diagnosed with cancer in October- and an acting principal took over- and here a 2 months later she is gone. She was a kind and good woman who made a difference in the lives of many children. The world will always miss great people. So here is in memory of you Mrs. S. -You will remind us today to do good and use wisely the precious time we have.