Sunday, June 29, 2008

southern hospitality

Although I have lived in New England for almost 7 yrs I will admit I am still a Southerner at heart. When I first moved to New England, one of my native friends told me that it was readily apparent I was not a native (just as my husband once assured me that even though I was walking in the engineering building no one would ever think I was studying engineering!) I didn't "look, act, or talk" like a New Englander and evidently this had been gossipped about around the neighborhood. (just as I didn't look, act, or talk like an engineer) I don't know what gave it away, the long blonde hair (not common in new england), my gratutious giving of plates of homemade treats, or my willingness to talk to anyone about anything even if I didn't really know them. Maybe there is something that happens when you cross the Mason Dixon line, maybe it is because the Southerners are not tortured with unending winters, bad windy confusing roads, and high taxes but then again Southerners have to deal with big bugs and bad humidity.

I know this a gross generalization, but let me share some examples. Here people always let you merge in traffic, and always give the "thank you wave" when you let them in. Kids say yes ma'am and no sir and teenagers are polite (no I am serious!)!! In my recent shopping adventures, everywhere I go people go out of their way to hold doors for me. They smile pleasantly, come up and talk to me about my children, they are just downright friendly. And store checkers too, they really talk to you. Like last week when my checker queried me about a food lion card, I told him I didn't have one because I was just visiting. This prompted my college aged bagger to ask me very sincerely how I was enjoying my trip. By the time they finished ringing up my ice cream and bread, I had my bagger and checker rollicking with laughter at my train travel antics, a scene such as this would not have gone down in my local stop and shop. Similarly I totally bonded with the two women in front of me at Macy's the other day, after a conversation at the price scanners we met up at the checkout. The grandmotherly woman in front of me bought the same sweater as me, and we talked about her upcoming trip to London. I shared my coupon with her and I even felt sad at the end of my transaction leaving the nice ladies behind.

There is just a sort of easy joviality that people have. When I taught school here, and a guest like the principal or a parent walked into the classroom a few kids would quietly get out of their seats go and hug the person and return to their work. When the school day was done I would walk my kids to the bus. Most of them would hug me on their way out, then I would get hugged by about 50 other random kids as their classes filed past. All the teachers would stand there and wave until the buses departed. Not to knock my darling quaint hometown, but no random teenagers there come up to me (32 year old mom of 3) and tell me I am "totally gorgeous"(as one did today at my parents church)I am sorry but I can't turn down that sort of spontaneous flattery. So sorry New England for all your charms, I gotta go with the South on hospitality!

1. friendly strangers

2. feeling welcome

3. seeing being with friends

Thursday, June 26, 2008

summertime and the living is easy

Yes, I am serving up sporadic summer blog fare. I am too busy getting stuff done and relaxing to blog. I do have a few posts percolating but I am too busy enjoying my summer brain to get down to serious writing. In case you were wondering what I have been up to for the last few days:
making new floral arrangements for my moms house
a few shopping trips
going to visit my grandmother everyday for lunch
taking my petless boys to play with Hobie D&As fun labradoodle
out for dinner and gelato with D&A
buying new makeup for my mom
taking the boys to maymont park
harvesting many veggies from my parents garden
trying new recipes
sleeping in til 9:30 am and taking naps when I want
taking baths in the big tub
catching up on books and magazines
lunch and swimming at Westwood
seeing old friends
doing homemade coldstone over and over again
eating a yummy edible arrangement that I got from friends today YUM!
giving ss#3 baths in his new ducky tub
And can't wait to get together this week with three more sets of friends coming to town! My friend em and her son bentley coming from northern VA, my friend Chelsea coming up from NC, and our friends the Tooley's coming from CO.
(my apologies on pictures- blogger is being very temperamental- I'll try to add them later)
1. being spoiled by my parents
2. being with good friends
3. summer

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

all aboard amtrak

To get a good dose of summer fun, I booked a myself & my 3 boys on the train from Providence, RI to Richmond, VA. I opted for one with checked baggage, no transfers, and a red eye (thinking I could get my kids to sleep most of the way). I am notoriously cheap (oh wait the PC term is thrifty) so I went for coach (much to my grandmothers chagrin who doesn't believe in associating with the "hoi polloi" and believes only in going 1st class).
I realized the baggage checker at Providence must be crazy because as I went to check my 4 suitcases for my 3 week trip he suggested I just carry them on with me? Yes, in addition to my 3 kids, 3 backpacks, 1 stroller and two car seats! As I saw him pushing the cart with 4 bags down to the baggage car, I decide his argument was not based on craziness but rather laziness- if he had managed to convince me to bring my own 4 bags he could have continued to sit at his desk all evening. We made it down to the platform right on time. As the train pulled in I carried my baby and my 2 boys followed behind me with backpacks. My husband brought on the stroller. I was finishing situating everyone as the train pulled out of the station. To my surprise a my husband was behind me. He informed me that the second he went to step off the train the doors closed in his face and the train pulled out.
In somewhat panic, I explained our predicament to the conductor, who said the next station was Kingston about 20 min down the line! I asked what his options were going to be there at 11:00 pm on a weeknight. He said one last train might pass but only if it was running late or else a 40 min cab ride back to Providence. As luck would have it the last train was late and spry smart daddy-o ran a do or die mission up and over to the reverse direction track to hitch himself a ride back to or else face a $60 cab fare (he's cheap like me).
Once we really got underway, my night was a filled with the constant rearrangement of two half sleeping boys thrashing each other for somatic control of 2 seats they were sharing, which frequently resulted in someone being kicked in the face or being tumbled to the floor. Despite my seats generous 6 inch recline function. I did NOT partake of blissful recumbent slumber because:
1. my 7 year old exercised squatters rights over my neck pillow
2. my paranoid delusions that if I fell asleep someone might make off with one of my sleeping children at some stop between Mystic and Philadelphia.
3. the off and on of the lights and off and on needs of a nursing baby
4. the mother in the row in front of me whose idea of good parenting was allowing her 5 yr old to playing a Nintendo DS for 4 hours straight at full volume while she gabbed on cell phone
5. Or because I was carrying a check for $7 Gs in my wallet that I was transferring to another bank , I mean cmon I get nervous carrying $50!) (seeing as I am still ISO evil henchmen for smart momfia- I am left toting the dough)
After hours of replaying my husbands unfortunate train entrapment scenario, i took advantage of an engine change stop in DC to move my troops to a 4 spot in the front of the car, calculating for a faster break at the Richmond station. I feared being forced to drive to Newport News to reclaim one of my children who remained on board, orphaned, for 2 hours because he couldn't jump clear during the "30 second door open" window. In our new location we enjoyed the company of two grandmotherly southern women who ate fruit cups from their lunch box and praised and "amen"ed me for my consistent parenting as I negotiated whose turn it was for the window seat.
The train does have some amenities. I contemplated the cafe car, but the thought of carrying a baby and herding 2 kids through the 4 jostling cars ahead to get there left me to chose in favor of self starvation. I did manage to bum 3 dry corn pops off one of the boys, the backwash remants of a fruit fall drink pouch, and a sugar free lifesaver. And yes folks, a spacious family bathroom on board means forced potty time- everyone in, everyone goes! (and for your bonus enjoyment the flush water is blue!)
All in all, my boys found the ride very amusing. I think they rate it high because there are no seat belts. Also there are great sights out the window. The empire state building glowing at night, the majestic capitol building, helicopters taking off from quantico, the sun glistening off of coastal waters, as well as the backsides of warehouses, backyard filled with rusted out cars, and many burnout buildings. Ahhh a melange of Americana.
Really the train is not that bad-- I wouldn't put it quite on the level of commercial airline travel but definitely a step above greyhound! I am a firm believer in adventuresome travel- luxury is way overrated (and yields far less interesting blog fodder). I have travelled enough that I am pretty numb to travel inconveniences and philosphically I am a firm believer in adventuresome travel. Luxury is way overrated (and yields far less interesting blog fodder). Truely by the 11th hr of the trip you start to become part of the train, unfortunately that means when you exit you smell something like new jersey armpit and baltimore gym shoe.
Have no fear I arrived and was safely ushered into my my parents minivan to be hustled home for prompt showering. Let the summer fun begin.
1.seeing the sights
2.eating ukrops chocolate covered donuts
3.sleeping in late

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

backing myself in the proverbial corner

I am good at this- I think i do it subconsciously, probably when because I know myself well enough to know when it is do or die- I do. I always pull it out of the fire. I leave in a matter of hours for 3 weeks in VA!

to get the picture of how i shot myself in the foot--yesterday I:
-promised my kids monkey bread for breakfast ?? (next times its a cereal day!)
-did 5 loads of laundry
-packing 4 people 3 weeks worth of stuff
-allen's promised fathers day roast which has been delayed 3 x
-a stevesongs concert- at 6pm (which was fab)
-end of school year teacher gifts (for the teachers who don't teach him? I found this a bit ironic)
-made 37 cupcakes (chocolate and vanilla at my dear sons bidding) to take to all his friends and various school staff members up till 12 wrapping and tagging summer vacation treats~
-psyching self up and learning the intricacies of train travel c/o the amtrak website with 3 small children
-designing the basement "finish" plan so allen can start on it while I am gone (still deciding one room or two, bathroom, no bathroom?) ahhhh
-trip to the post office
-return library books
-paid this months bills
-6 phone calls!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

ISO "yo-yo sweet yo-yo" cups

Every child has their quintessential rituals.
Sometime around when my son turned two- he developed a love of "Yo-yo". I think it started as a love for drinkable yogurt, then a mother who refused to pay outlandish prices for drinkable yogurts , so she started mixing milk and yogurt together in a 1:1 concentration to concoct a homemade thrifty version and thus began "yo-yo". Some people wake up to their cup of coffee- for my 2 year old it's "yo-yo". A day doesn't pass without some. I can't knock it-- its healthy and nutritious, a good source of calcium and protein. The catch is has to made made in one of these 2 special style cups leftover from kids meals (triangle lid with the hole spout). My son always prefers the dingy Moe's cup, because he says it is "more beautiful with all the vegetables on it", to the classier crayola cafe one (hauled back from a Kansas city trip one year).

As you can see yo-yo is shaken and not stirred (and shaken in a very specific rhythmic pattern). And SS#2 likes full autonomy in the process, scooping of the yogurt, assisting pour in the milk, helping with the lid, and the all important mixing. And don't you dare put the green lid on the yellow cup or the red lid on the crayola cup. I fear the day when these cups die. The worst is if its a 2 round of yo-yo day and the dishwasher isn't done and I have to scrub them by hand. So I must grow the collection! So please blogging world if you are at a restaurant with this style kids cup -do send it my direction.
The title is a reference to the Yo-yo song on the Dan Zanes family dance Cd which ss2 believes is about his special drink.
1. fresh jam on toast
2. peaceful playing in the afternoon
3. almost vacation

Monday, June 16, 2008

spontaneous strawberry fun

This morning brought an email from our favorite farm saying strawberry picking had begun. So on a spur of the moment whim I loaded up my boys and headed for the land of berries. Our friends, joined in our Berryland extravaganza. It was a little cool and rain (so much so that my 3 year insisted on walking the fields with his baby brothers blanket tied around him cape style to keep warm). They were the perfect first berries of the season (I realized home much better I like picking early in the season when there aren't any rotten ones yet!) Even though my trip was small and spontaneous - the subsequent yield of the adventure- 10 lbs of strawberries determined the rest of my days activities. Lets just say Jam jamboree to be accompany many future loaves of homemade bread . I schooled my boys in the fine art of slicing and mashing. A few berries were spared jamming because and nothing says summer goodness like strawberry pie! (which will serve as a nutritious fruity breakfast for the next few days).
1. making it to the gas station without running out of gas
2. a cool lightening storm
3. charming new england farms

Saturday, June 14, 2008

To all the smart daddy-os...

My friend shelah wrote this great post over on the segullah blog. She got me thinking about how I appreciate the fathers in my life and their silent sacrifices. Being the creature of unstructuredness that I am, I cannot imagine being my husband and knowing that I will get up and go to work 235 days out of the year and will continue to do so for the next 30 years without end. All the while I enjoy days of relative freedom. Yes, I work hard to create a home and take care of our children, but I have a lot of freedom to structure my days. He never complains that I spend too much, or take for granted his hard work, which after all facilitates my trips around the world, my visits with friends, and my runs through the target clearance aisle. He supports my every action and decision. (you may remember a most recent example in my infidelity post)
I am lucky to have a dad much like my husband. Always working hard to be the one behind the scenes creating opportunities for his family. Their service and diligence brings us blessings! They are tireless, they mow the lawns, the take out the trash, the carry all heavy suitcases, the keep things around the house in tip top shape with nary a complaint. Being my father or husband means you get roped into a lot by virtue of association. Things like wedding flower and cake transport, portrait painting, poster making, PTO events, helping set up for big church events, tending kids (often more than just mine), or running the show while I am off giving presentations or at a church activity.
It is always said that behind every good man is a good woman, but I really can attest that behind smart mamas are definitely some smart daddy-os. I appreciate the hard work, sacrifice, and goodness of so many men around me. I look to them to teach my sons how to grow up to be good, strong, kind men! So thanks for all you do.

Today's assignment in a word I want something you love about your husband or dad...

(Ps - more good reading, another cute dad post by my friend sheree)

1. my husband
2. my dad
3. good men

Friday, June 13, 2008

Leslie, the child life specialist

Tonight I finished my recertification application documenting all my professional development hours for the last 5 years as a child life specialist. It is busy to keep up as an SAHM, but it is a part of who I am, and I get to use my skills almost daily to help children and families around me (like that great projection play therapy I was doing with my 3 year old and play bugs yesterday!).

I was really lucky to have great graduate and undergraduate programs at BYU. I was incredibly lucky to do my child life clinical training at the best place on earth-- the Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore with the pioneers in field of child life. Recently listening to a lecture by my former supervisor, Joy Goldberger, I realized what an incredibly masterful mind I learned under. She has an amazing ability to anticipate and reach the most subconscious psychological needs of children. After my internship, I was offered a fellowship to stay on and do specialty work in PICU and oncology, but at the time turned it down because I was dating my now husband, and had my 2nd yr. of grad school waiting for me. Sometimes I wish I could have done it, I know I would have learned incredible things. After finishing grad school I loved doing child life at UCSF (nothing like a quiet night in the teen room watching the fog roll in past the golden gate bridge!)

As a child life specialist I have worked with thousands of children across Asia and Africa on Operation Smile Medical Missions (that is the hardest thing I have to give up as a mother of very small children, is packing 2 suitcases full of toys and supplies and spending 2 weeks in an exotic locale helping children prepare for surgeries- it relaly is my idea of a good time!)

For those of you who don't know about child life we are best known for running the playrooms for children who are patients in hospitals. However If you have worked with a really good child life specialist you know they are not he "glorified babysitters" they are sometimes seen as. Child Life Specialists really do alot of amazing work providing psychological preparation and procedural support. They are superb at identifying psychosocial and emotional needs and they are masterful at planning coping strategies for anything stressful. They are great at ensuring family centered care and advocating for the developmental needs of children. We are also trained to work with trauma, grief, loss, and bereavement. In a day we might prepare a child for what to expect in a liver biopsy, help a child get through a lumbar puncture, or work with a child getting through the boredom of a chemo cycle and help a one year old child in traction for 7 weeks to to get outside and feel the fresh air. It is creative, difficult but enjoyable work.

It's funny sometimes to think back on those chapters in my life, because no one now knows me as Leslie, the child life specialist or Leslie, the college instructor- yet so many people have only every known me as that. My life has always been full of incredible opportunities, that always seem to fall directly in my lap and I truly have been blessed to have had many amazing opportunities.

I am looking forward to next years child life conference because it is in Boston, and for 3 days I will get to put back on my Leslie, the child life specialist hat, and be reminded of one of my great loves.
(The pictures above gives some glimpses of Leslie the child life specialist on Op smile medical missions, in my makeshift playrooms getting up close and personal with hard dirty floors of hospital hallways around the world-- you think you're house gets dirty (YOU HAVE NO IDEA!!) here are common sights from my world--a child with a bilateral cleft lip in Davao, Philippines; me with one of my favorite darling babies in agadir, morocco; me preparing mothers and infants before surgery in Nakuru, Kenya; row 2 helping a little Berber boy in Marrakesh learn about the medical equipment for his surgery, doing puppet play with a fearful child with an encephalocele in the philippines; in my playroom in Siberia with 2 children from a local orphanage; me with sammy one of my patients receive surgery for burns in Kenya- he wrote the most touching essay about how grateful he was for his surgery because his enemies could no longer bully him about his burn scars) This might give you a feeling for why I am so passionate about getting involved and doing more in the world around us!
1. a profession I love
2. traveling the world
3. getting my hours done for the next 5 yrs!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

the physicality of motherhood

I love the physicality of motherhood. My baby is 6 months old and I love being a part of his sensory, bodily world. Rolling on the the floor with him, I stroke and pat his soft doughy belly, I snuggle and caress his warm little body, I kiss and nuzzle perfect soft cheeks. I love the way his body can be held and moved a thousand different ways. I am rewarded in my mothering with the kisses he bestows when I hold his drooly wet pink lips to my cheeks, his exuberant laughs and smiles, and his blissful purring contentment when you shovel a spoonful of baby food apricots into his mouth. I love my little boy!

1. being mother
2. capturing a moment
3. baby boys

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

overheard early summer edition

Kid quotes are kind of like home movies, entertaining only for related by blood, but torturous for all others. So do pardon as I record our recent funnies here so my boys can appreciate them when they are older. (PS does my son not bear strong resemblance to an image in this collage?)

"My gravity won't let me get up there" as stated by my 3 year old trying to jump up to get something placed out of his reach.

"Look mom its Earth, my home planet!" by 3 year old holding a giant marble that looks like the Earth.

"Mom those spit roasted silkworm pupas look just like what we had at that Middle Eastern restaurant!" (after looking at global foods in my hungry planet book, as much as he was hoping for the exotic I assured him the kafta kebab was beef) by 7 year old

"For Christmas. I 'd like boosters for my bike filled with jet fuel, I know they might be expensive, and you'll probably say really unrealistic, but they would sure make me go fast." by 7 year old.

"You don't need a ziploc a fold over bag will do"- said by mom (baggie Nazi) to son gratuitously using a ziploc (did I really say that? we tightly control those ziplocs here!)

"That was fast- it take less time to drive home from the Indian grocery store, than it does to eat a bowl of ice cream, but about as much time as it takes to make a cup of hot chocolate"- 7 yr old (yes we tell time in ice cream consumption increments in this family)

"I'll have none of that Naan" -3 yr old half jokingly half contemptuous delighting in his alliteration in attempts to get out of going to Indian grocery store.

"Congratulations!!!, (insert #2s name) you slept in to 9:05 that's later than anyone in our family ever! "7yr old commending his 3 yo brother, who beams with pride!

Monday, June 09, 2008

world wide web love

Yes this post a special heartfelt thanks to my supporters. (No I am not ending my campaign/blogging career) Your comments brighten my days, truly. So thanks, thanks for taking a few minutes out of your day to share my life. I really do appreciate it. It makes my day when I hear my email *ding* and know there is a new comment just for ME! To cheer me on in the cause of motherhood, to laugh with me, and cry with me (when my glasses get flushed down the toilet or other such traumas) impart your wisdom and humor, and praise my meager projects. I don't want you to feel taken for granted. So thanks for sharing your love (and putting up with my typos, bad punctuation and publishing in rough draft form)! (And if you are afraid to comment don't be- really I am nice!) To my faithful following of few--Really I love you all, my life is better for knowing you! My friends through the www rock! (I would have sent you all these beautiful poppies but the people at the zoo probably would have been mad that I picked them so the photo will have to do instead)
xo smartmama
My Thankful 3
1. friendship
2. the www
3. a laughing baby

Friday, June 06, 2008

lessons from collage

Yes, lately I have been into mixed media/collage pieces. I know, I know enough already, you all signed up to read a mommy blog not a crazy artist blog! But the therapeutic professional side of me begs the question why? The surface answer is probably because it is something I can start and stop easily. Lately by 9:15pm I am just too tired for much of anything, maybe I need something that doesn't require much exertion. I think there is something deeper though.

Life as a mom can be hectic, and bluntly chaotic (at least my life lately- but I think that comes with having 3 boys in very disparate stages). I think this mixed media drive is a subconscious way of trying to make order from chaos. It echoes a greater theme in my life. When I pull images for collages I cut one little one inch square from a page, often a relatively mundane image, but one little part is so captivating, that perfect glowing light or texture of glass or balance of colors in a pattern. In almost every image there are these glorious little "bits" and "scraps" of brilliance. These tiny treasures when all put together make something beautiful. Putting them next to each other unifies them, shows them off, and the plain background sort of fades out. All the tidbits unify to create a rich image that only proves more exciting upon closer examination. These collages echo my life as a mom, sorting through my days, finding the moments, the treasures in my interactions with my kids, gathering together and adding them up to make something beautiful. The plain background is still there but only to contrast the beauty of the individual piece.
while i am at it- This week's pieces of the week- 1- Nest 2-Roses
On the art front a shamless mom shout out for my SS#1 who found out yesterday that his painting won 1st prize in the Curious George's (the coolest kids book/toy store in Harvard Square) art competition. It was so exciting for him, I can't wait to see what he cashes in his $50 gift certificate for!
My three for the day
1. other parents who relate
2. wise teachers through my career
3. a quiet night of creativity

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

busted in my "infidelity"

So there was a magazine article I read while back about a common type of women's infidelity "financial infidelity" stashing money, buying extravagant things (like $400 shoes and handbags), trying to hide the money trail, and purchases from their husbands.

I couldn't help but think of this article (and my quite comical variation) when my husband came down to see what I was doing and caught quite indecently with my credit card out funding more microcredit loans. I can pass up Jimmy Choo's but how could I turn down the Lebanese father of 6 trying to build up his spare parts business?

He's a good guy. He chuckles softly and returns upstairs with a bowl of ice cream to leave me to my madness. Deep down I know he agrees. I think I made a compelling case that our baby needed to have his own entrepreneur also.

1. a husband who works hard and trusts me
2. getting 3 things done
3 a "double shot" (2 kisses from my #2 son) his new speciality

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

ISO evil henchmen

So my husband was flipping through the channels, and what should catch my eye but a villain in his spotless shiny black car with tinted windows. I wondered who keeps his car spotless, certainly the cruel, villainous, torturing mobster, drug lord, or criminal mastermind is not out at the local spray and wash. So I decided this must be the job of the evil henchmen -- or as the PC term is these days "entourage" (lest we disparage the posse with words like henchmen, cronies, etc which must be considered pejorative labels) So spread the word! I am totally accepting entourage applicants to add to my "legitimate (domestic) business operation". Seriously this job sells itself...

1. You can call me "boss" or "smartmother" whichever you prefer.
2. Do my "dirty jobs" (no blood we're talking poop and vomit here)
3. Be a henchman pioneer, a trend setter, you can be the first riding around small town new england with a SAHM and 3 kids in a van - now thats scary and cool!
4. "Beat down" or "rough up" anyone who tries to mess with me (I'll arm you with a full complement of nerf ball shooters and pool noodle lightsabers)
5. Carry around briefcases full of bills (lets see the electric bill, the drs office copay, the mortgage, the cc bill)
6. Get good at "laundering" (clothes and linens that is not money)
7. Follow orders -("Put that picnic lunch on ice!")
8. Get to "Escort these fine gentlemen out" (my noisy boys from the church pews)
9. Get to "Clean up the joint" (I will provide all cleaning supplies including a vacuum, steam mop, etc.)
10. Take care of a "little problem" here and there (marker on the walls, settle disputes over lego wheels)
11. Lap up the scraps from my luxurious suburban lifestyle (there are some mean dinner leftovers in the fridge and a high quality Ikea pull out bed in the office).
12. Make sure my "presence is felt in the neighborhood" (by going on numerous stroller walks and bike rides.)
13. "Protect my terf" (from grubs and do regular fertilizer treatments and ward off pooping neighbor dogs)
12. (THE PRIZE) Keep one Honda Odyssey shining like the Chrysler building. I want to see my reflection in that automatic sliding door. (and if I so much as find a school paper or a french fry stub and its all over)

But hey I only want professionals, "high quality individuals"- amateur henchmen need not apply. What kind of (mothering) outfit do you think I am running here? I mean I don't want to get caught with any bumped off webkinz in my trunk and I don't want any diaper stink being traced back to me. If you rat out my dirty secrets you'll get locked in my basement to clean and sort till you've learned your lesson.-- and you'll be begging for mercy.

P.S. BYOSnS- bring your own sunglasses and suit or the best you'll get is from the target clearance rack!
(here is my 1984 orwell prediction- one day blogs will have read back software with various voices which i wanted for this post- so it would be my voice and then whenever i use mobster terms you'd get a good deep NJ accent henchman's voice (oops I mean entourage member)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

but seriously...

So this weekend we were preparing the gravel base for the arrival of our new shed to house our riding mower, snow equipment, and grill (during the 9 month snowy season!) When what should I notice on my driveway (yes the delivery drivers are too lazy to take my packages to my front door they leave them at my driveway??) but, my 2 new amazon books Hungry Planet (to hear more about this book here is an NPR clip) and Material World (photos courtesy of Peter Menzel). Every summer we do some fun reading and learning to help us appreciate what we have and respect others in our world.
It was good for us to sit down as a family today and read and see how other people live. I am desperate to help my children escape our culture of consumerism and entitlement. And until I can take them to these places to experience how others live, (which I definitely plan to do) we have to use books as our guides. Menzel's books are beautiful and capture so richly the lives of others. It was good for my boys to understand that in some places a family of 5 lives in a house about the size of our soon to arrive shed. Or that someones desire is to get a 2nd pair of clothes. Or that the per capita income in some countries is about what we spend on food in a week! Or the quanity and variety of food they have in a week is quite significant. I want them to respect these people, to feel a connection to them, to grow up with a desire to do more. I struggle to live with the have and have not of it all. Whenever I travel abroad doing medical missions, I return home with a sort of healthy mental disequilibrium about the luxury, ease, and frivolity of my life. I think we all need more reminders about the things that matter, the blessings we have, and our responsibility too do more. Some days I don't know how to live with all that I have.
Everyday we are bombarded with glossy magazine images trying to sell us one more thing, Where is the daily dialogue that reminders we can and should do more with what we have? We can all find away to keep better perspective: give up that trip to the movies, new pair of shoes, or an impulse buy. We need to inspire better living in our families, and our communities. As you know, I am a fan of kiva and microcredit. I love LDS Philanthropies. We can alll find a way to make a difference. Even if it is something small like letting your kids or yourself play (I can boast getting to a mere level 49, my 7 yr old level 12- and my 3 yr old sits by and commanding- "get some rice in that bowl!" ) or using goodsearch. I believe every good thing no matter how small can make a difference. So for today I'll be the reminder.
(activist baby bib a smart mama original made for my cute model smart son#3! )
1. ample food 2. more than I need 3. glimpses into the lives of others

June art giveaway

Time for the June art giveaway! How it works? Just post a comment on this post (by June 15) and you're entered to win- All are welcome to enter! If you are the winner (selected by random drawing)- you get to choose one of the above 16x20" or 11x14" paintings! I will ship the painting to the winner anywhere in the US.

Come back in July for the next round of the summer art giveaway! You can see more of my art on my gallerysite.

Congratulations to comment #23- our winner Lee over at 100% Pure Lee. See you all next month!

pieces of the week