Wednesday, June 30, 2010

In My Element

Last night I did make it to the Summer Camp Volunteer meeting. I was very late, but was able to sit down and get some of the information needed and figured out what was expected of me.

As I sat down looking at schedules, themes, and ideas for the week, I felt like I was back in my element. You see, in my former life, I was a teacher. I taught 4th grade (all subjects) for 4 years, and then I became a Middle School Reading Specialist and I worked with students 6th-8th grade.  I dedicated 110% of my life to my job (before kids).  My husband and I were both in grad school and were fairly busy so I could devote a ton of time to my job.  I loved the routine of teaching. Set routines and lessons, with the flexibility to change it up to fit the needs of my kids.  I loved introducing them to something new and seeing it added to their schema and expanding their knowledge.  However, I did it for 8 years and burnt myself out.  I joined the leadership team at school and then attended meeting after meeting and didn't get to spend as much time doing what I loved and that was being with the kids.  Even though one perk to being on leadership was that I got to develop school-wide programs that benefitted the kids and that was pretty cool!

I realize that since I'm home with my kids that I could create neat thematic units to teach at home that incorporate all of the subject areas, I'm still pretty burnt out from teaching a full schedule.  So I haven't done it with my own kids yet. But at the same time, I feel like I'm always teaching because I teach them new vocabulary the every day (like last week I taught my 4 year old the word "parameters"), simple math (the kids are 4 and 20 mos), history, and science. I encourage questions and do my best to answer them. So I teach them, it's just not formally.

Anyway, as I sat with the outlines for preschool summer camp, my mind started racing with ideas for guided questions, visuals, hands-on activities, and text to accompany it.  I started to get excited and began writing down ideas to start working on this week.  Last year I helped the preschool kids with art activities that supported the lessons. This year I will be a preschool teacher.  I'm really excited but a little nervous. To be honest, I do better with older kids. But I'm looking forward to working with the little ones. It will take a different type of teaching style, but I think I can make it work.  This year the camp is "traveling" to Ireland! How cool!  I can't wait to share this pilgrimage with the little ones :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I have no other title for this post other than GRRRRRR!  I am so frustrated with my husband's boss. And maybe it's not such a good idea to vent it on a public blog, but here I go anyway!

She doesn't seem to understand personal space or time. Working for the government, my husband is able to work a flexible schedule. It didn't seem to be an issue with his last job, but where he is now, it does not seem as if his personal time is respected. Maybe I'm expecting too much.

Let me give you several examples:

A)  Family Leave. When I was pregnant with our last baby my husband was supposed to take time off.  He had set aside 6 weeks to be home full-time to give me a hand. I know that I shouldn't complain because it's a heck of a lot more time off than other folks get. But he had it and he was taking it. His boss asked within days of me giving birth if he could wrap up a couple things, which led to his boss asking if he really needed 6 weeks off.  She also conferred with other new fathers and asked them how much time they had taken off for family leave.  It ended up that he worked part-time for several long weeks. He made it work, he always does...but it was frustrating. He was hoping to be home for several weeks with our new baby and instead he got part-time work.

B) My husband is on a flex schedule with every other Friday off.  He wasn't scheduled to go in the office on Friday. Even though he was technically off he was told to be available for a conference call. We had already scheduled to do family portraits with his parents.  He called, left a message and said he wasn't available. His boss proceeded to call his cell, our home, and my cell phone looking for him.  I really draw the line at calling my cell phone. Really? Isn't that an emergency contact?  Was it an emergency that I needed to be contacted? Really?

C) Today I had a volunteer meeting scheduled for my son's summer camp. I was really looking forward to this meeting and it's been on my calendar for several weeks. This weekend Hubby says he's got to fly to NYC for a day trip and asked what days work best for our schedule. I said "Any day, but Tuesday. I have a meeting that I'd really like to attend for summer camp. Please any day but Tuesday."  Well guess what? It's Tuesday, and guess where he is?  Of course he said he'd be home in time. Guess what? He won't make it, which means I won't make it.  His boss felt that any other day just won't do and that it really needed to be done today.  GRRRRRRRRR!  (I did try to call a babysitter and my parents to watch the kids for an hour or so until he got home to pick them up.  No can do.)

Maybe I'm just a PITA complainer.  Maybe I don't realize how good I've really got it. Feel free to tell me to suck it up.  I'm just frustrated. I feel like I can't make plans and that his schedule isn't reliable. My husband does not work for private sector and I realize that many people do and are connected to their Blackberries 24-7. My husband does not have that job or a Blackberry to go with it.  He does have a professional job with regularly (supposedly) scheduled hours.

I just feel like my time is not respected and that I can't enjoy time with Hubby when he's supposed to be off because his boss calls all of the contact numbers looking for him on his day off. I also can't plan anything to do on my own because he can't be home on time (and no I don't mean a girl's night out, I mean time to attend meetings and be part of several volunteer organizations).

Okay, now that I've vented, I've e-mailed the coordinator for the Summer Camp and told her I can't make it tonight.  I'll put on the Big Girl Pants and suck it up. But this totally bites!

Mother's Helper

About a month ago my husband suggested that we get a Mother's Helper for the Summer to give me a hand with a few things at home. Half the time I feel like I'm spinning my wheels and when I look around the house and it looks like the house threw up on itself with all the papers and stuff that I need to throw away, give away, or put away.

It's huge that my husband suggested a Mother's Helper. Usually he's the guy that says, "Two college educated people should be able to maintain a house."  Uhh, yeah, but when you throw kids in the mix and all of their activities, sometimes it looks like the house threw up on itself.

We've been gone so much the last few months for awesome things (Maui, College Reunion weekend, Beach wedding for friends) that I feel like I'm still playing catch up. I had unpacked all of our stuff from Maui right away, but since then I haven't been able to get in the groove to keep up with the house cleaning. With Summer here, you would think that I have all of my routines set, but the kids have had funky bedtimes which results into funky wake up times, throw in the gym, playdates, mini vacations, and our schedule is off, off, off.  So I'm trying to play catch up.

Yesterday was our first try at having a Mother's Helper. It's my usual babysitter and she's great with the kids. As soon as we got home from the gym she was already waiting for us in the driveway. We walked in the door and she took over the kids so that I could shower.  Then I holed up in my bedroom trying to menu plan our dinners for the next month and planned on hitting the grocery store.  However, within minutes of starting to menu plan the skies opened up and we had torrential downpour which resulted with spotty internet connection and me not wanting to head out in the rain.

I finally found recipes that I wanted to try and imported them in my Plant to Eat account. But it took a lot of time to find recipes that I liked and to type in recipes from my own cookbook.  I know that once I get the time to do it I'll have a treasure trove of recipes that I can pull up with a couple of clicks.  I also started planning another vacay for the summer and by the time I was done with that call, I headed out to the grocery store for a very short trip, where I got a few things, but not everything.

I had planned a bunch of other things to do when I knew that I would have some help once a week. But priorities took over and I had to reconfigure my time.  I need to get my act together or it won't be worth the time and money I'm spending to have  Mother's Helper once a week.  The upside was that while I was getting some of this done, my kids were having a blast and not sitting in front of the tv. They were in great hands and while I felt guilty about not spending time with them, I felt good that while I was trying to get things done they weren't sitting on the couch with their eyes glazing over.

I'm still learning this juggling act called "Motherhood."  I've asked before about what you do to try to get things done.  What do you do to avoid spinning your wheels and getting things done?  I feel like my self-diagnosed ADD prevents me from staying focused and motivated. Fortunately, I have a flexible husband and great kids and we make it work!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

In Appreciation of my Husband

It doesn't seem right that Father's Day comes and I haven't acknowledged my husband. This one's for you, Babe.

Often when people find out that I am a SAHM they say that it's a hard job and they couldn't do it themselves.  I get kudos for being able to stay home with my kids.  I have to give credit where credit is due and say that I couldn't do all that I do without the support of my wonderful husband.  He is awesome. He is a second pair of hands and my true partner in everything. I might have the kids all day, but his job is the reason why I can stay home and take care of our kids.

When my husband gets home he immediately takes over with the kids. He helps to set the table for dinner, he plays with the kids, he gives them a bath, and then he helps to put the dishes away.  He's been extra helpful around the house lately. He's been getting the kids to put away their toys before bed. I've come home from running errands to find that he's cleaned up the foyer or the living room. And the biggest "I love you," was that he cleaned the toilet bowl recently. Nothing says love like a clean toilet, baby :)

Really, I am truly blessed. When we thought that Boogie would have to go to the hospital for a spinal tap, he left work immediately to give me a hand and to be there in case we needed to run out.  I can't do what I do all day without his support.  It's a hard job to be a parent, and harder if you have to do it by yourself. On those rare occasions where I've got to play the single parent because Hubby has to travel I appreciate him all the more.

Hubby, thank you for all that you do. Thank you for your love and support. I love you!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Out of the Woodwork

Several days ago my son complained of neck pain when he woke up.  I took note of it, wondering if he slept funny and had a crick in his neck. (I also jumped to meningitis in my mind, but decided to watch him all day). He did just fine. The next day he complained of neck pain and then of a headache to the point where he was crying so hard and begging me to make it stop. All I had on tap was infant motrin. My Hubby wasn't home and I couldn't take the kids out to get more medicine so we rode it out. The kids went down early and Boogie woke up around 8pm full of tears and warm body. By 9pm his temperature continued to rise. I called the advice nurse hotline and was given some tips about what to do, but no appointment. 

The next day, my son continued to complain of neck pain and a headache, along with pain in his ears, cheeks, under his arms, knees, legs, and toes.  Being 4, he is able to describe everything. Hubby had bought Children's Motrin before coming home the night before and give it to Boogie in the morning. It seemed to make the pain more bearable, but it did not make it go away.  After some back and forth, I decided to call the doctor. The whole neck pain thing really worried me. I went to college around the time of the meningitis scare where several people had died. I remember several classmates in college going to the health center scared of having meningitis and getting checked out.  So I was ultra-sensitive about Boogie's concern about his neck.

When I called the advice nurse again, she made an appointment for us and also encouraged me to tell the doctor about the tick bite my son had had a month ago.  Unfortunately, my regular (and wonderful) pediatrician was on vacation and we were given to a nurse practitioner who had never seen us before.  We went up for a rapid strep test in the lab and came downstairs to pediatrics. We love the ladies in pediatrics. I've been there so often for Buggy's ear infections and well-baby check ups that they know us all by name. We were checked in and waited.

By this time Boogie's medicine had worn off and he was achy again and getting grumpier. He was less than helpful with the nurse practitioner and she snapped at him at one point. (Me, not happy).  Buggy was getting antsy and I was juggling both kids. While we were there the NP spoke to another pediatrician and she came in for another examination.  They said they were concerned and wanted to do a spinal tap on my 4 year old son. They also said something about meningitis and brain (all that I didn't process because my mind went to active mode of what needed to be done next).  They said they wanted to a Lyme disease test first and do some blood work. And then would move forward with the spinal tap. Being late in the day they would call us with the results and more than likely send us to the hospital.

As soon as we finished the lab work, I headed home and started making plans. I needed someone watch my daughter so that my husband and I would be available to go to the hospital.  My parents weren't home from work yet and I needed someone who watch her in the interim.  I absolutely hate asking for help because I never want to impose on anyone. Everyone else has their own families and I would never want to be an inconvenience. I have one friend who lives just minutes away that I could have called in a pinch, but she was already away on vacation for the summer.  I did what I thought best and posted on FB to see if anyone was available. It was the best way to reach a large group of people and at the same time, no one would have to feel awkward that they would have to say no.

I am very blessed. People came out of the woodwork to offer support. Whether it was to watch my daughter or to say prayers, they were there.  I am so touched and so blessed that people would take time out of their day to write something or to offer help. While all were friends, some of them were colleagues who I haven't worked with in years or maybe haven't seen in at least a year if not more. All were people that I kept in touch with on a regular basis through FB.  All were caring and supportive. I am so grateful. The first call that came in was from a good friend who is a volunteer firefighter at a nearby firehouse. He was at the firehouse at the time and offered to come immediately. Having daughters just a year older than my little one, I knew that he would be fine. Another friend offered to come and spend the night if needed. Several sent me their numbers (as our only form of contact had been FB), and others said to call them anytime. Others offered prayers. I feel so relieved that I had group of people to fall back on when I felt completely frightened and drained.  

A few moms posted the possibility of a viral infection. Never having experienced a viral infection before, their information was very helpful and made me realize that Boogie's condition could be less serious that first thought.  Come to find out all of the lab work came back negative. My son is definitely fighting an infection. But the instructions that came back were: if the conditions worsen, call us back.

My son seems to be on the upswing. He has more energy and his appetite is slowly coming back.  He is still complaining of aches and pain and he even walked himself upstairs to his room for a nap yesterday.  He is still fussy, but seems better overall. We're still keeping an eye on him.

I feel foolish alarming friends and family. But at the same time, it was all a real possibility of having to take my son to the hospital without having someone to watch my daughter.  While feeling foolish and posting the results on FB to let everyone know, I received many reassurances that I was not foolish.  That was really nice because I really do feel quite foolish.  I believe in the power of prayer and I believe in the love and support of friends. I had all the above. My son is doing better and so is my heart. I am so grateful for the many friends we are so blessed to have. Thank you!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Taking a Break...

My kids have officially finished their Spring sports season. Boogie played T-ball and Buggy played soccer. I'm so glad for the experiences my kids had and I'm glad that I enrolled them in Spring sports, but now I'm tired and I'm ready for a break.

I seriously considered enrolling Boogie for swim team this year. This is the first year he is eligible and I really, really, wanted him to be a part of it. I swam when I was younger and I loved it. Boogie seems to be a natural in the water and I definitely want to foster his love for swimming. But in looking at the schedule I realized that we would be miss 1/4 of our swim team time because of vacations. As a result I will hold off until next year and plan our vacations around it.

T-ball for Boogie was wonderful! He learned some very basic skills: throwing, catching, hitting, following directions, and running bases. His coaches were awesome and I was thrilled that the two coaches were amazingly patient.  The ages on the team ranged from 4-7. That's a big age range, but the coaches handled it so well. With Boogie being enthusiastic about everything, I was afraid that he would try their patience.  But fortunately, each coach had a great disposition and took everything in stride with every kid. I couldn't have asked for better. (A. if you are reading this, please give P. a big thank you for us!).

Buggy really seems to have a natural ability for soccer. Being so young (19 mos.) I was concerned with her ability to follow multi-step instructions. She did amazing! Her coach was also very patient and I think he loved her. She is easy to get along with and loves to follow directions.  She grasped the skills fairly easily and was always ready for the next new thing. I think we will keep her in soccer for the next few years unless she finds something else that she would really like to do. Another class I'm thinking about for her are dance classes. I'm concerned about the price of dance classes (and shoes, and costumes) but she loves to dance and I want to foster that love for music and dance.  I'll have to work it out.

In the meantime, we will be taking a break for the summer. We have so much else going on we can't really commit to any classes. But come Fall we will do it all over again. I'll enjoy the break while I have it!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Finding Me time, Your time, and Our Time

Recently (like in the last 2 weeks) I've been finding the importance of going out with friends by myself.  Usually I'll do a playdate or a lunch date and I've got the kids with me.  But with school ending and friends moving, I've needed and wanted to catch up with some friends who I won't see for a while. I've been out to dinner a few times by myself. It's been nice to have to only worry about what I'm ordering and not have to worry about a timeframe.

I realized that this is an important part of motherhood: reconnecting and staying connected to your friends.  Maybe you've already figured this out.  My life revolves around my kids (in a good way).  I'm always with them and I look for activities that they will enjoy and I love being involved and helping out. But it's good to take a step back for an evening and relax.

Before when my husband would call from work telling me that he might go to a Happy Hour (which he rarely ever does) I would be frustrated because I would be home all day with the kids and then have to do all the bedtime routines with them and not have a break until after 8pm. 12+ hour days are loooooonnnng days.  But I realize that my husband needs an outlet as much as I do. Recently (and for whatever reason) we've both have taken time to go out with our respective friends.  It's been nice. We both feel like we are a part of a social group again. Since we're both taking turns doing it, it just evens itself out.

In addition to going out with friends, Hubby and I have made a point to go on a date night at least once a month. I love this time together. We get a babysitter and we just enjoy an entire evening talking and spending quality time together.  Just two nights ago we had nothing that had to be done immediately and we decided to watch a Netflix movie on our Wii. No planning required. It was great.  It's been a while since we've had a low key evening.

Me time, your time, and our time....good times :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

No Agenda

I have three favorite vacationing spots:  Monhegan Island, Maui, and St. Mary's City.  Very different places but they all have the same thing in common. No Agenda!

Maybe that's the way it should be when you are on vacation, but again if you know me, if there is something to be scheduled, then I will schedule it.  For example I want to take the kids to Disney someday soon. I also realize that it will be a busy vacation. We will not be sitting back and chilling out. We will be in lines, we will be going from ride to ride, we will be trying to see and do everything!

But, when we go to Monhegan, Maui, or St. Mary's, there are definitely things to see and do, but you don't have to do any of them. There is no agenda. You go at your own pace and on your own time.

When we go to Monhegan we go with our best friends. We spend our days hiking, reading, or walking into "town." (The island is 1 sq. mile).  Our nights are spent talking, playing cribbage, or putting together a puzzle.  It's magnificent. When I was in labor with my first born I was told to come up with a relaxing picture in my mind. My first thought was the view of the water from the picture window of the townhouse we stayed in during our first trip to the island. Gorgeous every time.

Maui sounds like a "duh" option for a favorite vacation spot. Yes, there are so many things to do. But my favorite is that the beach is just feet away. We literally walk our our door and walk onto the beach. The weather is always perfect.  The kids are occupied for hours playing in the water or on the sand. The sunrise and the sunsets are amazing.  You don't have to go anywhere to be entertained. The evenings are filled with walks along the path, some musical entertainment as we walk, and stars popping out overhead.

St. Mary's City is another favorite place. After our recent visit for our 10-yr college reunion, I fell in love with it all over again. The college is right on the water. While we were there we spent hours on the shore. The kids loved playing in the water. We kayaked or played in the shallow end of the water. There wasn't an agenda and who could beat watching a river sunset, catching fireflies, or playing in the water with friends?  The best part of our recent trip was that we were their with our best friends. Our kids played together and we got to chill and relax with them.

I love that all 3 of these places seem to run on a different time frame. There is no "have to" unless you want to.  You go and you can truly relax and at the same time, and if you have kids, they are perfectly happy playing and entertaining themselves.

Friday, June 11, 2010

What a Difference a Year Makes!

Another school year has passed and Boogie just graduated from his 3 year old preschool class. My how time flies!  My son just received a poster from his 3 year preschool teacher with the picture they took of us on the first day of school. I also have a picture of us that they took just before Mother's Day weekend this year. Wow what a difference!  He looks older to me, somehow. And boy, did I lose some of the roundness in my face :)


Thursday, June 10, 2010


The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities--Stephen R. Covey

This was the quote I read today and it made me really go, "huh."  If you know me, then you know I'm a planner. I have my Tungsten (I really want an iphone!) and I schedule everything in it.  Everything's color coordinated so I know who is doing what and when.  My planner also has a "task" section.  Everyday I have a list of things that I would like to get done. I'm also realistic and realize that I won't get it all done, but I really, really like checking things off.

In my "to-do" list, which I update every Sunday (hello 1st born neurotic tendencies or is it OCD?) I always have a list of 100+ things I'd like to get done that week. It never happens, but I try.  Who says that being a SAHM is easy? I give myself things to do and ideas for the week. I like being busy and productive. However when does busy and productive become overwhelmed and stressed...when you literally try to check off 100+ things off your list.

So the quote from Covey has me thinking. What are my priorities and how do I schedule them?  My priorities are:

**spending time with my kids & Hubby
**having a morning devotional. I feel it really prepares me for the day. It's my time with God.
**blogging (SO cathartic!)
**working out
**making baby blankets for friends, family, and the pregnancy center

I definitely get to check off each of the above each's the other things that I would like to do, and some that should be priorities that don't get checked off. Something to think about.

What are your priorities? Are you able to get to get them on a daily or weekly basis? How do you schedule your time?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Stuck in the Middle, not so bad....

I guess I showed off my first-born neurotic tendencies in my blog post yesterday in writing about middle children. I'm not good with not knowing, so I have to know everything. If I don't know it, I ask about it and then I analyze it. Oh, boy!

I got a lot of great responses, yesterday, to my post.  Thank you to everyone, who responded!  What it boils down to (and I guess I already knew) is to love each of my children for who they are and what they bring to the table. Each kid will bring his/her own gifts and talents to our family. I will love each one differently, but not any less.  I remember being pregnant with my daughter and wondering how I could love her as much as I love my son. I look at her now and say: How couldn't I love you as much as I do? I love each child so much. They are very different and I love that about them.

Birth order certainly doesn't define a personality (thanks, A), and I will remember to show all of my children that they are loved for who they are (thanks, J), there are certainly middle-children who are fine (thanks, L), and yes, the world needs middle children to make the world go round (thanks, M).  Hubby and I will be the best parents we can be (thanks, R.)  I will continue to  pray for each of my children and I think that is one of the greatest things I can do for them.

The most experience I have had with a middle child is my SIL (sister-in-law). If I had one ounce of her diplomacy I would be a better person and my life would be easier.  She is also an incredible mom who pours her heart into her children making them well rounded, incredible individuals. She's a great example of motherhood. If my Buggy grew up with her diplomacy and heart, that would be a great thing :) (Love you, sis!)

So, as I wrote yesterday's post, I knew that Buggy would be (God-willing) the middle of three kids or the second in a line of four, five, or however many God has planned for us. Hubby and I have already decided that we want more kids, so no matter what, Buggy will be what she already is...our second child.  We'll see what the future holds :)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Stuck in the Middle...

I am the oldest of 2 children and my husband is the youngest of five. We compliment each other with our personalities. I tend to be "Type-A" and (somewhat) organized. I have a plan and a list and I always know what's going on in our household.  My husband is more relaxed, less frenzied, though his siblings would say he's intense. (One of BILs laughed when I said my husband was laid back).  Our personalities work together and we tend to balance each other out.  

As we contemplate Baby #3, I have been thinking more and more about the "middle child syndrome" or is it a syndrome that I'm making up? Is there any truth to birth order theories?  I've heard from friends who are middle children or have middle children in their family and there seems to be a concern for middle children. Do they fit anywhere? They aren't the oldest so they don't get to be the "first" and they aren't the youngest, so they aren't babied and when they were babied, they don't have any recollection.  They want to be noticed for who they are and not compared to their siblings.  Yet, it seems they get lost...well, in the middle.

I worry about this because we will be possibly making Baby #2, my beautiful daughter, the middle kid.  I love Buggy's personality! She's fun, feisty, sweet, mischievous, and perfect just the way she is. I don't want to give her a complex because she's become the middle child.

Now of course I'm speaking to this with absolutely no personal point of reference. Like I said, I'm the oldest of two. My husband says he doesn't know what I'm talking about. But somebody out there does!  I told Hubby that if we try for Baby #3, then we absolutely have to try for Baby #4 so there are no middle children...I'm even willing to try for #5 because I feel that even if there is a middle with 5, there would be enough kids to balance it out.

So what do you think? Am I making this up? What is your experience with middle children? Any ideas on how to make the transition smooth for my little girl when the time comes?  I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this, whether you are a middle child, have a sibling that's a middle child, or have middle children. What are you experiences and thoughts?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Frosted Glass Windows?

Do you all know about frosted glass windows? The ones with the bubbly texture? They are usually used for shower stalls in homes. I think they are fine for private homes. Not in public bathrooms!  With the frosted glass, bubbly windows you are sure to see the person, but no detail. Again, fine for a private home.

Just recently my husband and I took our kids to a kid's birthday party at a museum. It was way cool. They had fun party favors and then after food they got to play and build things. They could make a mess and have fun trying new things. Of course, with young children or and teeny tiny bladder like mine, you are inevitably going to take a trip to the bathroom.

I walked into the bathroom and thought I walked into the wrong room. I looked around. Yup, long row of sinks. Yup, a long row of small, closed rooms. Yup, I'm in a bathroom. Um, hello, is that a frosted glass window in front of the stall?  I peered, yup, I can see the outline of a toilet. Are you kidding me?  I'm a pretty modest person. I'm not a fan of changing in front of people. Even at the gym when I have to use the shower stalls (which of course have frosted, bubbly glass windows) I use a towel over the stall door for modesty.  A lot of the women don't, but I do. But I digress.

I'm not at the gym, I'm at a museum.  I realize that the farther you are from the glass, that less can be seen, but still I really don't want to see anyone sitting on the toilet or vice versa. This is called BAD DESIGN!!!!  Fortunately, it wasn't crowded and I jetted in and out of the stall as fast as humanly possible.   This might have seem like a fun idea to the designer.  I still call it BAD DESIGN! No wants us to be that intimate. Thanks ;)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Aloha Flavors Review

If ever you are in Maui, take a day trip to 'Iao Needle Valley State Park. It is a beautiful place. If you have young kids, this is a great place to go. The trails are super easy and it takes maybe 30 minutes to hike it. Just enough for little feet.

On the way back, stop at Aloha Flavors for a shaved ice.  This stand will be found in the parking lot at the Tropical Gardens of Maui, just down the road from 'Iao Needle Valley State Park.

After walking around and exploring, the whole family needed a little pick me up. We saw the shaved ice stand on the way to the park and made a mental note to stop there on the way back. What a great idea! The owner, Lani, is super-friendly, the prices are great, and the treats hit the spot.  She has a little of everything to satisfy the weary traveler. It's a perfect spot for families because she sells kid-friendly food:  shave ice, shave ice with ice cream, smoothies, hot dogs, chips, and drinks.  She even has a fruit stand on the side, so if you want a little fruit to bring home for dinner, she's got it for you!  Lani was great talking to our family.  We found out that we came to visit on her second day of business. We will definitely visit her again the next time we are in Maui.

My kids shared a rainbow shaved ice. They had to share it because it was HUGE. Even I got a few bites without putting a dent in it :)  Hubby got himself a smoothie, made with fresh fruit and a coconut milk, just the thing, since he isn't a big fan of yogurt smoothies. I was hungry and happy to find out that Aloha Flavors also sold hot dogs with the option to buy chips and a drink with it.  After chasing the kids and making sure they didn't fall off the side of the mountain, I had worked up an appetite.

Definitely a place to visit with your family. One note, there is only one small sign at the entrance of the garden center and you might miss it as you drive by.  Look for the Tropical Gardens of Maui and it's right in their parking lot.  Since it was only her second day of business there wasn't any seating available. The family and I parked ourselves on a curb in the shade to enjoy our snacks.  It was still a great picnic and we enjoyed ourselves. Aloha and enjoy!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Big Girl Pants

So I told myself I would be better about Hubby's business traveling.  I would put on my big-girl pants and suck it up.  Yeah, that lasted until the next time he had to start making travel plans.

 He called me from work a few days ago with new dates for a trip he is taking. He asked me what I thought about him traveling on our wedding anniversary. I quickly threw off the big girl pants and told him that if he had any say in it, then no that wouldn't be okay. I must have said a lot more than that and not very nicely because his response was, "A simple yes or no will suffice."

For now I've shucked off the big-girl pants. I'll try them on again tomorrow ;)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I Will Be The One

My mom is a little Filipino lady.  She has high standards, is quite efficient, has great spatial reasoning, and can be very demanding.  On the flip side, she is shy in new social settings, tends to keep to herself, and is happiest when she is doing something for others.

Growing up, my mom and I had a tumultuous relationship.  I felt like I could never meet her standards and that I always fell below in her expectations. Talk to my brother and you will hear the opposite. He told me that she always told him how proud of me she was/is.  The same goes for me, I don't think I ever heard what she thought of me, but I always heard how proud of my brother she was/is.  Its just her way.  She cried when she attended my graduation from college, but I don't think she ever verbally told me she was proud of me...she just told me to straighten my robe.  She's a tough cookie. But that's the way she grew up. No one expressed their feelings, but they showed that they loved you by doing things for you.

My mom's catch phrase is "I will be the one." I remember hearing it as a kid, and I still hear it as an adult.  My aunt (my dad's sister) remembers her saying it long before I was born.

Whenever dishes needed to be washed, clothes to be laundered, food to be cooked, house to be organized, things to be packed (as they inevitably needed to be as we moved every 3 years being part of a military family), my mom would say, "I will be the one."  And she was always the one.  It drove me nuts that no one was allowed to give her hand. She always did it and she always did it her way.  No other way was right or done well.  It's a very frustrating thing to have to deal with that all the time.

Over the years, I have learned that "I will be the one" means "I love you" from my mom.  She knew that she could things well and why trouble you with it, when she could do it herself, probably more easily and probably better. Let's face it, you've seen how I organize a house, she is definitely better!  I'm learning to back off when she says "I will be the one." It's her way of feeling useful and showing her love. I didn't understand it before, but now that I have my own family, I'm starting to understand her better.

Just recently my side of the family vacationed together.  One of the things that I noticed when we got to the condo was that they had a new dishwasher that was a little fancier and was a little harder to figure out. I figured it out and washed our dishes with no problems the 3 days before my parents arrived.  The condo also had a new high efficiency washer and dryer.  There were very specific directions posted over both machines. I figured it out, and washed and dried our clothes without any issues the 3 days before my parents arrived.

When my mom arrived she wanted to get to it.  For our first dinner together, she hopped up and began doing putting everything away and loaded the dishwasher. She paused, looked at the machine again, and asked my husband what to do. He said to ask me, because I'm the one who figured it out.  I taught her how to do it, and then told her, "I will be the one" and took care of the rest of the dishes. For a few days I was the one, until she figured it out on her own.  The same with the washer and dryer. She kept insisting on using the one detergent not recommended for the machine. It took a little explaining and finally I walked her down to the machines at the end of our hall.  She looked at me and said, "I don't know how to do this."  I told her, "I will be the one."  I loaded the machine with clothes, detergent, and coins, selected my settings and pushed start.  She watched me do it a few times over the course of the next few days and then she became "the one."

It's weird to be in this sort of role reversal where "I will be the one" referred to me and not to my mother.  For the first time in my life, my mom referred to me and asked me to help her (I'm sure not an easy thing to do for an independent and feisty Filipino woman).  I noticed as time went on, that I carried on the same character traits with my own family: when my husband asks me to find something (and my son said, "because you're good at it, Mommy"), when I clean up the dishes, pack our clothes before a trip and to go home, or to research something. I will be the one.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

An Almost 5 hour Layover + Almost Missing Our Flight Home = Good Times (NOT!)

We left Maui at 9:05pm and arrived in LA at 5:02 am, which was really 2:02 am Maui time.  Baby Bug did not sleep the entire flight. She wasn't bad, necessarily, but she wasn't great. There was no crying or screaming, she just couldn't sleep. For 5 hours it as "Mommy, Mommy, Daddy, Daddy" and a constant shifting between laps.  Her brother was a champ and slept the whole time. Daddy got maybe an hour's worth of sleep while I tried desperately to snooze while holding a squirming toddler. Needless to say that did not work out so well.  I finally resorted to the ipod the last hour letting her watch her beloved "Caillou." Wish I had thought of it sooner.

We arrived at LAX with no problems. Slightly grumpy, very tired, and hungry, but no problems.  We made our way to the bathrooms, out of security to find our new terminal, and back to a new check-in with a new carrier (that's what I get for going budget), and back into security.  Somehow in our travels we ended up in the business class section for United and the lady let us use their kiosks for checking in and we  used their security check in line.  At the time in my sleep deprived haze I didn't realize we were in the wrong line and told Will we should travel United more often since it was our easiest check-in yet. He informed me that we were in the wrong line and things are always better when you fly first class or business.'s a whole new world and it's so accommodating!  Of course we did not have business seats, just checked in at the wrong place :)

After finding  our gate, we did the usual, allowed the kids to run around the almost empty gate, ate some breakfast and took turns snoozing. We even popped in a DVD for the kids.  Our flight was supposed to leave at 9:50. Around 8:30 we made sure to do another diaper change for Bugs, and made sure that Boogie used the bathroom. I fell asleep on the seats while Hubby took care of that. For some reason he arrived back around 9:15...or maybe I was just sleeping heavily. I got up, looked around, and didn't see any agents, people lined up or an airplane at the gate. I went to the bathroom and did another check on the screens for departures.

ARGGGGHHHH!!! We were no longer departing from Gate 70A as per our tickets, but now switched over to Gate 83.  When did that happen?  We never heard an announcement (not that they didn't give one, we just never heard it!). I threw all of the stuff we had strewn out of the bags: dvd player, headphones, DVDs, pillow pets. I told Hubby we had to book it to Gate 83. He offered to go ahead and check things out and come back and get us.  I told him that we didn't have time and it was better to all go together.  Boy am I glad that we did. And boy am I glad that I work out! I grabbed the double-stroller with all our carry-on crap and booked it down the hall. Hubby had Bug and Boogie followed behind us.  At one point, Hubby had to carry both kids because they couldn't keep up. I flew down the hallway to find out, yes, indeed, they had changed our gate, and yes, indeed, they were already boarding!

How is it possible to have an almost 5-hour layover and to still almost miss the flight home? I swear my life is like sitcom and everyone else is laughing but me ;)  Hubby checked us all in, grabbed the kids, and all of the carry-ons and boarded the flight (not an easy task).  I stayed behind at the gate to gate-check the double stroller and to struggle putting it in the stroller bag. Thank goodness a very nice TSA lady helped me by keeping the bag open while shoved the stroller in it. Hubby wanted to pitch the bag from leg 1 of our journey, but I insisted on keeping it and being the one to struggle with it the next four flights (to Maui and back). I'm glad that I did. The stroller bag took a beating and was ripped in some places, but the stroller itself is still in good condition. I don't care if the bag is beat up, as long as my stroller is fine :) Priorities, priorities :)

Well we made it home. Everyone was able to sleep the second leg of the journey home.  We grabbed dinner on the way home and walked in our door at 8pm our time.  After our flights, it was a beautiful place to if only I could sleep at night...still jet lagged :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I haven't been blogging because I've been away for the last 2 weeks in beautiful Maui. We had a mini reunion with my side of the family.  We were able to spend time with my parents and my brother.  We haven't seen my brother in 18 months and he's never been to Maui, so this was a good opportunity to spend  time as a family.

In Hawaiian, ohana means family.  We were definitely Ohana-ing it in Maui.  My kids got to spend some time with their grandparents. This was a great opportunity for my daughter to get some individualized attention from my parents.  When my son was born, my mom took care of him for 2 years while I was working.  After I stopped working, she went back to work. She hasn't been able to spend the same type of quality time with my daughter as she did with my son.  I'm glad that they had this time for bonding.

My brother lives in another state and hasn't had much opportunity to spend any length of time with the kids.  The last time we saw him was for Thanksgiving 18 months ago. Buggy was only a month old at the time.  He was a trooper. My kids woke him up everything morning and I think my son wore him out by asking him to play with him all the time.

This was the first vacation that Hubby and I have had where we actually got to relax together a few times. We were able to sit by the pool while the kids were napping because inevitably the grandparents were there napping, too :)

This is the first time in about 12 years (I think) that my side of the family lived under the same roof. I have to admit that I was a little worried about the dynamics. It's never easy to travel and it's never easy to travel with someone other than your immediate family (in my case meaning my kids and Hubby). We all have our idiosyncrasies, and sometimes they don't go well together. But in our case, we really seem to vacation well together. This is the second big vacation we've taken with my parents and that went well, too.

Maybe there is something in the Maui air, but it seemed like we rarely treaded on each other's nerves. Maybe a little towards the end with the stress of packing up again and going back to our busy lives, but overall not too bad!

I even got to spend some one-on-one time with my brother. One night when everyone went back to the room he and I spent some time talking over some fro-yo. I go to hear about what's going on in his life in Nebraska and hopefully connecting with him again as adults.  My brother and I are fairly different.  He's outgoing, social, devil-may-care, easy going, relaxed, friendly. I'm definitely more up-tight, a rule-follower, a planner, more shy, hesitant, a list-maker, deliberate.  Growing up it made things difficult, because we couldn't relate well to one another. I'm hoping now that we are adults, that it won't be so hard to connect. Maui was definitely a step in the right direction.  He was so good with my kids and for that, I am very grateful.

We are back home and trying to get back in the swing of things. I hope that maybe my brother and I can spend more time together, maybe through Skype so that he can see the kids and maybe the kids can get a chance to talk to him. I hope that spending extra time with my daughter, that my parents feel as if they've connected with her a little more.  We are a still a little jet lagged at my house, but at least it's summer and we've got time. Life is good!