Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Do I "have" to include the "in-law"?

Today is my mother-in-law's birthday.
In honor of the day she was born (a certain # of years ago), 
I'll share 55 statements that make me think of her.  
(Why that amount?  Oh, no particular reason...  ;)
 1.  Talented Cook
2. Appreciator of Good Food
3. Cook Books, large collection of - and adding to it as we speak!

 4. Supporter
5. Hugger
6. Well-Dressed
7. Lipstick

 8. Fun-loving
9. Musical
10 . Gum
11. Constantly Learning 
12. Adventurous

 13. Patient
14. Selfless
15. Enduring
16. Ruthless at games
(She can try to deny it, but those that know her best know better!
She'd crawl over one of her grandchildren to get a wild card!)  
17. Floor-Dweller: always willing to get on their level and be with them
(especially if it gets her closer to that wild card...LOL)
 18. Sound of Music
19. Do-er
20. Memory-Maker
 21. Traditions
22. Story times
23. Childrens Books
24. Studio 5
25. Ellen
26. Oprah
27. Matt Townsend
28. Andrea Bocelli
29. Mo Tab
30. Mo Tab Tickets :)
31. Collections
32. Gracious
33. Grateful
34. Detailed
 35. Devoted Daughter
37. Thoughtful
38. Proud of her roots
 39. Joy Luck
40. One of Brett's best friends
41. Shopping
42. Lunch Dates
 43. Little Sweethearts
44. Baby Blankets
 45. Laughs easily - what a wonderful quality to have!
46. Patronizes me and laughs @ my jokes - an even better quality!
47. Embroidery/Knitting Bag - where she goes, IT goes!
 (these were taken as part of a 
care package for a missionary)
 48. Testimony
49. Tender heart
50. Open to the Spirit
 51. Parades
52. Gardner Village
 53. Quilts 
54. Seasonal Decor
55. Effort & Hard Work

And so, I am brought once again to the title of this post.

During introductions or referencing you when I speak, is it absolutely required of me to follow "mother" with "in-law"?  I understand using the full title helps clarify my relation to you - I get it, I get it: it's not through blood, only through marriage.  But after a while it certainly doesn't feel that way.  I am as devoted to you as I am my own flesh and blood.  And I feel as much a part of your family as anyone else.  Why can't I just call you "one of my mothers" or my "belated mother" - since you came into my life a little later than my own cherished mom?  
No matter what society requires I call you,
to me your title is worthy of any 
reserved for parents of the highest-esteem.

"How blessed I am,
how fortunate I've been,
that you are his Mother,
and also my Friend."

Happy birthday, Mom!
I love you.
Hope Sig1

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Kuh-Rah-TAY! (Still working up to chopstick-catching-flies...)

 After trying many different things (soccer, baseball, blah-blah-blah) we have FINALLY found something Carson is not only interested in, but passionate about.  He's been doing Mushin Self-Defense karate with Sensei Bryan for a couple months now and he takes it pretty seriously.  In a short amount of time he's already earned 2 stripes for his white belt.  One more stripe and he'll be able to test for his yellow belt - his first advancement!  We're very excited!

 Other than a slight crush on Ralph Macchio 25 years ago [really, that long?!], I've never had too much of an interest myself in the art of karate, but watching Carson take such a serious, devoted interest - seeing him develop what could be a great talent - is heaven-sent for us.  We've struggled for a while to find anything he could feel special about, feel proud of, and now it's here.  
I also love that each week, 
Sensei asks the boys repeat 2 things.
First, their motto (the 3 R's):
"Respect for yourself, 
Respect for Others, 
and take Responsibility for your actions"
in addition to the Golden Rule
"Treat others the way you want to be treated"

It's been a challenge to find ways to get through to Carson, to help him feel responsible for his choices as well as feeling compassion to others.  Having these phrases to fall back on, even outside of karate in our parenting, has been an immense blessing, as he's realizing the accountability and power that is within himself to be greater than he currently is.  I'm so grateful for the opportunity he's had to do this, and hope it will continue to be a positive influence in his life!

Hope Sig1

Monday, August 19, 2013

Feeling about 3 kids lighter this morning...

Today the kids went back to school.
How do I feel about it?
Eh, it's alright, I guess.
I dropped them off and then came home.
I sat on the couch and heard...nothing.
I puttered around the house for a minute,
ending up in my bedroom.
It was so quiet.
So peaceful.
At that point, the beauty of the situation 
fully presented itself in my mind.
And then, it came:
A joyous release!

In all seriousness, I know by November I'll be sick of mundane routines, early mornings, homework and reading.  But no worries - by then Brett and I will be packing for our CRUISE to the Caribbean!
So you see, I have every reason to feel pretty darn good about life right now.

The first day of school always starts with a hearty breakfast.
(Enjoy it kids, tomorrow and nearly every day after that is cereal or yogurt.)
 French Toast Roll ups, Fruit, Sausage, Eggs, and Juice.
Our brains are nourished and ready to learn!

And then, of course, the kids are forced
to pose for the obligatory "first-day photo".

Here, they are "too cool for school":

Silly faces:

Let's be serious and smile:

As a kid I always looked forward to the 
first day of school with great anticipation.

Looks like not much has changed!
Hope Sig1

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Is it really necessary to feed my children?

Last school year, I found a great portion of energy and sanity sucked out of me every morning as I listened to my children complain and whine about having to gag down the school-provided lunch.
So this year, no school lunch for my poor, picked-on children.  
I've decided to not even go there, and instead only do home lunches.
This will spare me the headache of dealing with unhappy, school-fed people.

Now I get the headache of dealing with unhappy, home-fed people.

Because I'm obsessed with planning life out to the minute detail, and also hoping to curtail some of the anticipated complaining as well as an effort to manage portion control with our lunchbox food (yes, when left unsupervised, my pint-sized lunchmakers often find it necessary to pack themselves up to eight or nine items, just to ensure total engorging and overeating, depleting my well-stocked pantry in record-setting time!), I have written out a flexible Lunch Menu Rotation.  Hopefully this will aid in my grocery shopping, preparing lunches ahead of time, and rationing out food in a more budget-friendly and waistline-friendly rate!

I have fifteen lunches in the rotation, divided up into three weeks.  I plan on displaying "WEEK A" this first week on my pantry door, then next week displaying "WEEK B", etc.  In case anyone else might find this helpful, I thought I'd share it.  I'd also love to hear what makes packing lunches at your house whine-free, fast, and cost-effective!

Mon – PB&J, fresh fruit, Annie’s Crackers, Juice Box
Tues – Bagel & Cream Cheese, Celery & Apples w/P.B., Fruit Snacks, Chocolate Milk
Wed – Egg Salad Sandwich, Pudding, Chips, Gatorade
Thurs – Homemade Lunchables, Fruit Cup, 2 pieces of jerky, Juice Box
Fri – Rotisserie Chicken & BBQ Dipping Sauce, String Cheese, Graham Crackers, Chocolate Milk

Mon – PB&J, fresh fruit, Annie’s Crackers, Juice Box
Tues – Ham & Cheddar Wrap, Cucumber slices, Snack Box Selection, Chocolate Milk
Wed – Nachos w/salsa & Queso, Carrots w/ranch, Granola/Fiber One Bar, Gatorade
Thurs – Turkey Sandwich, Boiled Egg, Fruit Leather, Juice Box
Fri – Salad Kabobs w/Ranch, Celery & Apples w/P.B., Fruit Snacks, Chocolate Milk

Mon – PB&J, fresh fruit, Annie’s Crackers, Juice Box
Tues – Crescent Rollups (cream cheese & jam/ham & cheddar), Carrots w/ranch, Granola/Fiber One Bar, Chocolate Milk
Wed – Turkey Sandwich, Pudding, Chips, Gatorade
Thurs – Bagel & Cream Cheese,  String cheese, Graham Crackers, Juice Box
Fri –Pizzadillas, Cucumber slices, Danimals, Chocolate Milk

Bon Appetit!

Hope Sig1
"The democracy will cease to exist when you TAKE AWAY from those who are willing to work AND GIVE to those who would not."

Thomas Jefferson