Saturday, January 31, 2009

let the love begin

The countdown has begun....5-4-3-2-1...

Get ready for lift off, the 2009 Smart Mama Valentines Day Challenge is about to launch. Yes, 14 days my friends- don't let me down-- the world as we know it depends on you! I'll be here at mission control, monitoring your progress.
Now to be eligible for prizes you must return and report. If you have a blog, you can post about some of your favorite things you do or you can email me and let me know, maybe like this...

"Reader to smart mama- do you copy?"

"Copy that, reader, smart mama here."
"Mission accomplished, I repeat mission accomplished."

(deafening clapping and cheering, kissing, hugging)

"Congratulations reader, head back to base, smart mama out."
Then I'll pick a few winners...hmm let me think...maybe by categories-- this part is TBD- but the prizes are good!

and special thanks to my cousin Andy's wife-- Debby, who, inspired by the love challenge post decided to show me some love and mail me some darling photos of my family from her wedding. This photo is of my now 8 yr old, circa spring 2001! A seriously sweet and fabulous surprise.
1.clean 2. parties 3. babies

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Can I get a witness?

I hear voices, really not regular voices- A gospel choir. They sing to me in my head- they wear blue satin robes with white collars. And at various times through out the day I hear...
"Can I get a witness, wit-ness
Can I get a witness, wit-ness"

They are clapping and swaying very enthusiastically. My children often hear me join in with my choir and watch me jive and clap as I sing in the kitchen.

So either, I have some deep unfulfilled need for affirmation. Or maybe this is call for me to witness to others. Whatever the reason it's there.

Why a gospel choir? Not exactly sure. It certainly does not come from the choir of my religious heritage, the good old Mormon Tabernacle choir. They don't break into such exultant jubilee.

Maybe it's because a few years back though I served in an inner city branch of our church once and my favorite thing was as you gave a talk, the branch president (congregational leader) who was of course sitting behind the speaker, would gently nod his head in approval as you were talking and if you said something good you would get an audible "mm-hmm" as you spoke. And if the congregation liked your words you got especially loud Amen at the end. I loved the way other's truly witnessed with you.
Truth always deserves a hearty affirmation. So next time I am at church I'll be looking for some subtle head nods, and listening for some heart-felt amens--

"I wanna get witness, wit-ness"
1.snow day 2. clean house 3. fun with my boys

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I have a crush

I am married, I know I shouldn't, but I just can't help these feelings I have...for IKEA.

I know it's mostly plastic and pressboard and cheap MDF, and I know it can't last forever but, would it really be so bad to indulge in a little fling, I think it would be fun while it lasted. I just can't take my eyes of those little roomlets with every square inch of space maximized. Every little thing in a row. The allure of the clean lines and simplicity, how can a woman resist. The efficiency just gets me. And that no frills euro style makes my heart pitter patter. I get giddy, butterflies in my stomach when I unload those boxes and break out the allen wrenches and those step by step instruction booklets with the universal demo man and 30 minutes later am admiring a hemnes dresser.

My husband indulges me, as I snuggle under my fluffy down comforter and all starry-eyed peruse the pages of the 2009 catalog. Longing for a new set of canisters for the 5 types of chocolate chips I cook with regularly, or as I pine for some new light fixture or lamp, (I have a thing for light) or daydream about adding more doors to my bookcases to hide the books and the clutter. I just can't stay away, I finding myself constantly thinking of when I'll see it again.

So dear Ikea will you be my valentine this year? XO smart mama

ps- if anyone is going soon they were out of some fabric I need
1.canisters 2.dinner in the crockpot 3.organization

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Valentines Day Smackdown

I am throwing down the gauntlet my friends, the time has come for the 2009 Smart Mama Valentines Day Challenge. As we all know, smart mama is a big fan of love. As a professional in the field, by this I am referring to my graduate degree not my amazing kissing abilities, I am here to entreat you to engage in more "loving behaviors". Yes, I could enumerate from a psychological standpoint the importance of acts of care, empathy, affection, intimacy, but I will spare you the gritty details from old grad school papers in emotional and moral development (it was a great class Dr. Scoresby- no slight intended).

So this year smart mama is signing up participants for the 14 days of valentines challenge. Yes it's still January, I am just giving you a heads up so you can formulate ideas or pickup a few extra things as you do your shopping this week. Which means everyday from the first through the 14th of February you do something nice, something extra for your spouse, your kids, or your friends- or all of them. It's about personalizing our lives and putting more effort into the thing that matters most -- relationships. You can chose to take this your own direction, give it your own personal flair-- some like it cheesy (Like my friend emily of heart shaped hot dog and mac n cheese fame) or my friend becky with her stuffed animal bear with photobelly. Some like it sweet, others spicy-- pick your flavor. Your call. All that matters is that you do something. Here is a link to smart mama's 250 ways to say I love you page because I will not leave you idealess. And seriously if you can't think of 14 nice things to do for the people you love well it might be time for smart mama to take you on in the ring mano y mano for a real smackdown.

So bring your A game-- or rather you L-O-V-E game. Suit up and show me what you're made of!
Let me know if you're in...there will be prizes for participants--because oh how smart mama loves prizes!
So yes- keep track, take pics if you want. And either tell me at the end or as you go along about some of the great things you do! I want to feel the love and reward you!!
1. pie=love 2. a challenge 3. deserving recipients

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lifesavers wanted- marrow donor registry

Activist Smart Mama here today: As I was out shuffling my young ones to their Dr. well visits, and visiting the lab I saw the table to sign up to be on the bone marrow donor registry. So despite clutching 3 winter coats and 2 kids- I signed up, how could I not? It was a fast form and yes 4 cheek swabs (40 seconds of your time) and you're done. Then they input you into a database and if you come up as a match for someone in need they track you down and see if it can work out.

Hey you just might be that one who is a match. And what if you are on the other side of the bed and it is you, your spouse, or your child, waiting for a match? I used to work with bone marrow transplant patients as a child life specialist. I know what those many long fearful months of hospitalization, treatment, and uncertainty mean. Too often the stories don't end the way we hope. In the spirit of inaugural hopefulness and valentines love do this one little thing!

Here in New England, insurance companies are required to cover the cost of the donor testing. So it is no cost to you. And if you call this number you can learn more here or by calling 1-800-726-2824. They will they will even mail you a kit to your house for you to return. They are also looking for ways to spread the word to more so they can increase the database of potential donors (lifesaver!) so you can organize a donor drive at your work, with friends, whomever. Really being able to give someone else the gift of time.
Here is today's painting of day, I finished this week- Emerging Eden-
1. healthy kids 2. donor programs 3. miracles of medicine.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

drink deeply

My baby reminded me today to drink deeply from the bowl of life. Rapture and joy can be found even if you are wearing ugly, well worn pajamas and the bowl is filled with macaroni and cheese.

You can join me on segullah today where I talk about being a Mormon in New England.
1. being needed 2. stepping back 3. cakes baked

Sunday, January 18, 2009

an interview with smartmama

"Smart mama, recently you have been blogging as though you are being interviewed by some anonymous questioner, can you explain this?"

Well yes, after all we are taught to "be prepared" right? As is I am way too unpolished for improptu spots on David Letterman, ET, or 20/20 and should I stumble upon sudden fame I would find myself totally unprepared.
So today my readers you may ask smart mama all your burning questions and I will do my earnest to answer them to the best of my abilities...
1.snowy sundays 2. no school mondays 3. reading and writing

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

the ideal duane hanson sculpture

So this picture of my kids begs to be a duane hanson sculpture or a photorealist oil painting does it not? I was cleaning out photo files and had to share- The best part was it was taken at the MoMA.
1. quiet kids at cookie class 2. MA project completed 3. good ham

Monday, January 12, 2009

outdoing myself with smartness

Yep, sometimes I really outdo myself with smartness...Like this Christmas I bought my husband 4 half zip sweaters (in a variety of colors) to wear to work (don't want those engineers looking sloppy now do we) that way I wouldn't have to iron or at least feel guilty at not ironing.
Inspiring-- guilty as charged. When I do things like this I like to give myself a nice big pat on the back, reward myself with a good piece of European chocolate, and say way to go smart mama! All that positive reinforcement keeps those good (or lazy) ideas coming.
What smart things have you done lately--do share?

1. chinese resteraunt FHE 2. nice phone calls 3. granting forgiveness

Thursday, January 08, 2009

we start them young

...because truly life without good food would be tragic! My baby learning in the shadow of the great mixer.
1. helpful friends 2. children creating ala kandinsky 3.dominos delivers sanity

for want of a tub- percolating inspiration

I have sacrificed for the sake of my husband's career- let me explain. Our previous house had a bath fit for a king (or smart mama rather) a giant corner tub, an oversize shower, sprawling counter space and very well doubled as a small ballroom where we could host guests. But our move to New England brought with it a colonial residence, which although ample, has postage stamp sized bathrooms. New Englanders must reserve traditionalism and austerity you know. (I will pause to note my current wading pool of bath would be consider excessively luxurious in most parts of the world- so I will cease my ingratitude). Anyway back to my glorification of the bath.

I take my baths extra hot, no bubbles. I also like a fluffy white mat, and robe, and always double hung shower curtains. No I don't need candles or rose petals or other such accouterments.
Truthfully, I would like to return the bath to it's place of proper glory. I mean the Romans were big fans of the bath, I know this because I did many Latin translations about outings to Marcus and Sextus at the baths in my Ecce Romani book in high school) and hey Turkish baths, now there is an exfoliating scrub down for you. Really baths have been the ugly step sister of the shower ever since jerry seinfield disparagingly described them as a "tepid pool of my own filth".

I propose the bath is therapeutic and inspiring. Why do so many people abandon this practice at the age of 4? The bath is one of my secret weapons of inspiration. If I am formulating a talk, a lecture a presentation, some writing, some paintings I go and sit in my bath. It's like the heat steams out all the extraneous thoughts - brewing with perfect clarity whatever I am thinking about. In fact I wish they'd make a waterproof laptop because man I could crank it out from there. I can get so lost in thought that I don't even notice the half a dozen architectural digest insert cards floating around me or fail to be bothered by the playmobil people my baby tossing in at me.

I think this might also explain why during pregnancy I lose my creative mojo as I am banned from excessive temperatures. (maybe I should also share this post with my son's bus driver, who I am sure wonders why I often have wet hair at 3:15)

So what is your place of inspiration...

every moment in the world

someone is being born
someone is dying
someone is laughing
someone is crying
someone is dropping crumbs on my kitchen floor
1. colorful kandinsky 2. a new project 3. a child's penitant breakfast in bed for mom after leaving a rake out which punctured her tire.

Monday, January 05, 2009

am I a chuck-a-rama?

Smart mama has a sort of flavor of the week tendency, but yes, you knew that. She is always trying out some new little venture. Oh there might be some blogging, some writing, some painting, some teaching, some counseling, some cooking, some embroidery, some sewing, some food extravaganza, some volunteer work, some humanitarian excursion. Part of me wishes I didn't enjoy doing so many things and really my new years resolution involves simplifying more.

I was complaining to my mother that she and my father raised me to be a "USEFUL girl". The helped me developed varied interests and skills, and they have plagued my life with stuff. Cake pans, teaching files, professional books, every art supply on the planet. My creative lot leaves me like a butterfly, flitting from project to project -- a jack of all trades and master of none. Some people are truly masterful at a given thing (not that they aren't at many things, but they have truly perfected a given art), like my friend Emily Milner from Segullah is at editing, or like my favorite restaurant The Blue Point in Duck, NC. Where every single dish is deliberate, every herb purposeful every flavor impeccable. Everything compliments and harmonizes. Me, I am such a hodge podge of things, none of which are done with the finest ingredients or patience for perfection. No dish mastered in it's true form. I have a little something for everyone, I am a sort of mass offering...

Alas am I really chuck-a-rama or a bad sizzler buffet?
1.a good editor 2. healthy breakfast 3. playing Harpard Lake with #2

Sunday, January 04, 2009

the squeaky blog gets a knife

Let the chopping begin. My persuasive writing or parental guilting on my blog earned me one calphalon katana knife. That is until I can prove myself worthy and responsible of a whole set. Can you feel the love, the bond of a kitchen dwelling mama and a good powerful knife?
If you come to my house for dinner- I might let you hold it-- or chop with supervision...
1. the power to chop 2. parents who keep a good stash
3. unpacked suitcases!