Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dealing with Loss: How to tell The Kids...

Hey guys and gals, I have to apologize in advance, this posting is not one of my normal cheerful fun ones.

This week, my husband's grandfather passed away after a long battle.

Then we received news that my grandmother is in the hospital. Right now the doctors aren't sure but they've given us a bleak outlook regarding her recovery. My parents, especially my Dad, are trying to stay hopeful.

Our children are still young, so they may not understand what's happening right now, with all the planning going on. They just know we need to go here and there.

Our oldest being four, is now at an age where she remembers the events happening around her. She's also quite perceptive and it's likely the questions will soon follow, "Why?" "Where did they go?".

To be honest I'm not sure how to respond to these questions, but I don't want to hide the truth from my children.

Now my husband and I are not church going people, but we believe in a higher power. Do we know what truly exists? No. We know what we feel to be true and I was brought up on stories of the bible so I know what is expected of me as a human being in treating others as I would want to be. But, I don't trust churches (this is strictly a personal opinion). I'm not saying the church is bad, but it's more the people I've seen when I attended youth group back in the day. A person would act like a good hearted, god fearing Christian while at church but then be completely false to that persona outside of the institution. We had neighbors and friends who were the same way and it really burned our trust to be associated in the drama and clique like behavior that sometimes becomes associated with it.

No one should judge anyone. It's not your place. But people still do it and use religion sometimes as the crutch to guide them in ignorance.

One great example was when my brother came out to our family as being gay. He had come out to me years before when he was in his teens and I was almost 18. I was happy he finally found who he was, and I had known he was struggling with his identity for a while. However, when it was time to tell my parents, my Mom was none too happy and then turned to the church to "fix the problem" because that's what others told her to do.

Eventually she came to terms and listened to what my brother was trying to tell her all along. She is still a religious woman but she accepts him still as her son, just not so much of his lifestyle. But they still love each other and are close again. Love is love regardless of it's bumps and bruises along the way when it comes to a parent and their child(ren).

Now I know your wondering why the rant on religion, well now here is my point. As I explain Heaven to my oldest daughter she is now open to questions. "Who is God?" "What is Heaven?" and other such inquisitiveness that comes with this territory.

I tried my best to explain what I believed and who He is. I even talked to her about Heaven. We talked about how our loved ones never really leave us as long as we remember and love them.

But there was a doubt that maybe there was more that I could have told her, or exposed her too enough sooner, for her to understand this wonderful place we move onto after life.

My husband and I have talked in the past on and off about going to church, but my apprehension is still there. One such major one is what they will teach her. Like her uncle being Gay. She loves my brother and her other uncle, my husband's brother is straight. I don't want a favoritism to happen because of any seeds of ignorance planted into her mind.

Now I know what you'll say, there are new age churches, not everyone is like that. And I will say yes but it's a little more complicated than that. I wasn't raised in a church going home and neither was my husband. We know the stories of the bible but we also know of those who abuse the system and use the morals of those stories to force their views on others, especially younger people.

I want my kids to have a freedom to believe in what they want and to understand loss in a way where they can grieve and still look at life as something precious, not short with only judgement to look forward to.

So unless someone can convince me different, this is what feels right for our family.

I know I'll never be able to answer all their questions. I also know not everyone may agree with it. And if you don't, that's totally ok. You need to do what's right for your children, just as I feel I am doing right for my own.

I do recommend calling those around you often and telling someone close to you that you love them today, you may not have tomorrow.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Rainy Day FLF: PB Cookies and Tents!

 Rainy day blahs...NOT in this house!

The girls and I love rainy days, not just because it makes our afternoon walk more fun with splashy puddles but we also get to play around with forts and do something I do best, MAKING COOKIES!

My Mom is officially the best baker... like in the whole world, and I was lucky enough that she forced, I mean, passed on those skills to me, although sometimes my baking gets a little crazy. My husband still hasn't forgiven me for the 5lbs he put on around the holidays.

So while the rain falls, I threw together one of the easiest recipes I have.  PB Cookies. Only 3 ingredients.

-1 cup Smooth or Chunky Peanut Butter
-1 cup Sugar
-1 Egg

That's it!

1. Preheat Oven 350 degrees
2. Put the sugar, peanut butter, and egg in a bowl (or mixer) and stir until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
3. Take a tablespoon full of dough and roll into a ball. Put the ball on a baking sheet and press down with the palm of your hand. Then with a fork press into the top of the cookie, like a plus sign.
Once your cookies are pressed and crossed, place in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Once done, place on a cooling rack and enjoy!

 That's all she wrote, your done.

 And while we waited for the cookies to bake, we had some fun building our fort. Cause nothing is as cool as a chair fort.



I hope you guys are having an awesome Friday and are enjoying the weather today like us!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Confessions of a Cranky Pregnant Woman...

So hey guys, I need some helpful advise.

 So when we found out there was going to be a #3, my husband and I were pretty excited. Surprised, but still excited.

It's been about 2 weeks now that we've found out and last night he mentioned to me that the reality just hasn't sunk in yet. To be honest, it hasn't for me either. I thought maybe it's because of our upcoming move, or the fact we have so much going on with the house. But, most of that is all getting handled months from now.

For some reason I have not had the reality that we are having another baby. The symptoms however, are having a freaking field day with me. The aching lower back, morning sickness (no rushes to hug the porcelain yet), fatigue, and of course the start of the bump. My husband says I'm crazy but I swear it's already starting and I'm maybe 7 weeks from the doctors estimate.
However, I also think my doctor is an idiot because she won't see me until 10 to 11 weeks.......

So I want to know, from all you Mom's out there who are already expecting or have had their third, is this normal??? Am I just freaking out but my mind won't let me realize it?

What  do you think? I'd love to hear what you guys have to say.

DIYW: Wine Cork Reef

Yesterday was not a good day.

The initial signs of this pregnancy have started to rear their ugly heads. Luckily, the morning was about the worst of it and after a good nap, thanks to the hubs for watching the kiddos, I was able to feel up to getting this project done last night.

So where to begin...

Well I think this madness started when I was at Goodwill last weekend trying to find a nice desk, which was a bust. However, no trip is ever a failure. As I perused the store I ended up happening on this huge bag of corks for $7. Most looked like they came from local wineries from our area and the wheels started turning.

So, I decided I had to have them and I was going to make something personal, especially with us leaving this beautiful place soon.

Well, I'm one of those dorky people who loves front door decor and reefs. Christmas, Halloween and Thanksgiving. I totally have those covered. But, the warm season I just never really had anything because well, they don't really make any that fit our style. We're also hanging down in San Diego alot during the summer so we aren't really home any way. Nonetheless...

So I took the corks, bought some burlap ( on sale for like $2 a yard), a $3 reef, and a little welcome sign. Cause you know, I like people to feel welcome in my home. Solicitors...ehh not so much, but I have a different sign for them.

I took the reef and cut a strip of burlap about 12" long and wrapped a section of the base, then hot glued it down.

 To make the bow, I took another 12" section and folded it in half.  I sewed the section together and flipped it inside out so the seam was on the inside. Crimping the inside I pinned it then sewed a 3" x 3" strip of the same burlap and folded it in half and sewed the sections again, Making a 1 1/2" strip for the middle of my bow. I then removed my pins and adjusted the bow with the center section then sewn the back of the strip together on the machine to keep it secure. Then, hot glued it down on the wrapped burlap.

 Next I took my cork, found some plain pieces, and cut a them down for filler for some of the open sections of the reef. I just took an ordinary steak knife to do it (my Leatherman was MIA).

After I had my pieces prepped I laid the welcome sign down as a marker, so I knew how far I should go down, and started hot gluing the corks to the reef (using the filler where needed to get the corks to lay the way I wanted).

In some spots I had to lay hot glue in between the corks for a better grip. If there were globs (no clue if that's a technical term) I just took a paper towel and wiped them away. I highly recommend not using any appendages if at all necessary, that stuff is molten sometimes.

Once I had the corks in place, I removed the "welcome" and began painting. I took a simple blue and painted sections of the sign, then covered them with glitter (Martha Stewart). Now you don't have to use the glitter but my daughters love............ glitter. So mom got vetoed out 2 to 1.

Let it dry for about half and hour then hot glue the sign in place and done!
Hang it in the house, place it on a table, or in our case, the front door.

Welcome those you love into your home! Or just have an awesome little piece of decor that you can brag about because it has something local on it. I know it will remind us of home while we are overseas.

So until next time peeps, have fun with this stuff, and especially have fun with the kids doing it.
 It never hurts to include them...


Monday, January 21, 2013

#Kid Problems: The Difficult Eater(s)...

OK. I know I'm not alone but sometimes I feel like I am. Us vs. the Kids at meal times.

Breakfast, Lunchtime, and even Dinner are often a huge frustration for my husband and I when trying to deal with our very difficult eaters.

Now, I don't know how many other parents out there have kids who refuse to eat, but I know we can't be alone.

"I'm tired", "It's yucky", "I want a bath now", are just some of the many excuses that our girls use to try and get out of eating. It's not that they hate food, or even that we are trying to make them eat anything bizarre, they just cannot sit still long enough to pay attention to eating. They get bored.

Now our usual meals go like this. We sit down at the dining table, no TV, no music, and if necessary  no talking (because the whining has become unbearable), otherwise what we call a quiet family dinner.

Well within about 5 minutes, chaos erupts. Poking, joking, screaming, animal noises, or even making faces at each other. We even get the 20 questions treatment for sometimes an hour. One night went even as far as them dropping every fork or spoon we gave them on the floor!

 Timeouts, spankings, and even sticking them at the table for hours was just not working.

So I decided to get a little smart. I was going to try a different approach and talked to my husband about it. He completely agreed.

That night I went to testing my theory. I took out two small mason jars that I'd bought to make preserves. I pulled off the tops and cleaned them out. Then as we set the table, I placed one jar in front of each kid. I dropped in 5 chocolate chips to start. Then, I explained the rules.

For every portion of the meal you finish you get 1 chocolate chip.
For every meal you finish without being fed by Mommy or Daddy, you get 5 chips.
For every plate you take to the sink, you get 1 chip.
For being very good at the table the whole time you get 2 chips.

However, there is also punishment. For every time your told to eat, you lose a chip.
For any meal Mommy or Daddy feed you, you lose 2 chips.
For every, timeout you need to go in you lose your jar for the night, but you keep your chips.
If you do not finish your meal I take all your chips.

You can only eat your chips after dinner!

The girls listened and that night they finished everything. We were floored.

We've done this now for every meal and it's been steady progress, almost every time they finish meals without fuss. It wasn't an instant solution but it's getting better more and more, and the most important part, they're actually eating! Our four year old even wants to clean her dishes to earn an extra chip.

Now you don't need to use  chocolate chips, you can use animal crackers, jelly beans, maybe even stickers.  The point is giving them something to look forward to that they love.

We've even told our girls that they can exchange their rewards to go for frozen yogurt once in a while.

So, Mom's and Dad's out there with a picky eater or finicky muncher, I highly recommend giving this a shot.

Good Luck!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Quality Time: It's the Little Things...

So normally the kids and I get pretty bored with the inside of the house. Now with the prospect of a new little one in the picture it's even more important. Oh wait...I didn't mention....

Yes, as of this week, we found out the pregnancy tests came back positive.

February we'll find out how far I am. They estimated somewhere around 5 weeks.

So now with the newly needed exercise, which  was needed any way, we've decided walk every day. However, this Saturday had an added treat, Ducks!

We have a small creek on the backside of our house, near the jogging trails. With the recent rain, and snow in the mountains, we've had a pretty steady flow of water.

Saturday morning, we could hear them quacking from our bedroom windows.

Most mornings my husband goes on a run, and the kids wanted to get out as well, so I decided to get the girls dressed and walk the trail to feed the ducks. Plus, why not get some cute photos while I'm at it, right?

Back when I was a kid in Los Angeles we had two pet ducks, and I loved them. They are the best guard dogs and pets you could ask for. We built them their own pond and pen but they usually roamed our backyard freely. You can't really pen in birds that fly.

Sadly they both passed but now, when the opportunity presents itself, I love to share my love for Ducks with the girls. And on occasion I like to expose them to animals in their environment. Well as close to an environment as we can get.

Well hey opportunity, thanks for knocking...again.

We took some wheat bread from the pantry to at least give them a good treat, then headed out.

The weather was gorgeous!

The bread didn't last long, so we sat on the hill and I explained to the girls about why the ducks dig in the mud, swim, and clean themselves. They were enthralled.

Then just before we got ready to head home we ran into Daddy as he was finishing his run.

Overall, it was just a fun time with the munchkins outside.

Hopefully you got to enjoy a wonderful Saturday with the family as well. Cause, man, these little ones don't stay little forever.

Hope everyone has had an awesome weekend!

Till next posting...