Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Oh the Places You'll Go

Andrea at Good Girl Gone Redneck nominated me for a blog award!  Thanks, Andrea!  Andrea and I met during a blog swap and she has been my bloggy soul sister ever since because she:
1.  Donates to Locks of Love
2.  Is a Read-a-holic
3.  Has a social worker mindset
4.  Is completely enamoured with Dove chocolate

What's not to like?

With this award, you are supposed to write about where you see yourself in 10 years.
This is really tough for me because I'm not much of a long term planner.  In fact, I think that living in the moment is a healthy way to live. 
Furthermore, I feel like in so many ways I have everything I could ever truly want right this minute. There is nothing material that I want.  I'm happy with teaching psychology classes part time. 
I have my family.
I have my husband and 3 beautiful, charming, laughing, loving boys.  I get teary just thinking of how much I love them.
I live in a small yet fun log home in the mountains.  Just where I want to be.
My life feels full.  I could count my blessings and never reach the end of counting.  I'm not saying my life is perfect.  Not by any means.  Sure, I struggle all the time.  Who doesn't with a toddler and 2 babies in the home?  Most days I'm happy just to keep my mind intact without losing it. But I'm just saying my life is whole and I have what I need right now.  And I'm so thankful.

So what do I want to strive for?  Surely I must have some sort of goal?  I guess my goals aren't so much tangible as philosophical.
See, in addition to my life not being perfect, I am not perfect.  Surprising, I know.  So I would hope that in 10 years I will have grown to be a better wife and mom and that I don't have regrets looking back.  I certainly hope in 10 years I can look at my boys and know that they have the start of a foundation in:
1.  Kindness towards others
2.  Equality.  Let me say that again for good measure because it is so important.  EQUALITY.  That they might see equality in people from all different cultures, backgrounds, educations, religions, and beliefs. 
3.  Curiousity.  That they might eagerly search for knowledge and new experience in life.
4.  Health.  That they might be physically active in some way daily, and that they might, in actuality, enjoy their fruits and veggies and water.
5.  A strong sense of family.
6.  Respect towards the Earth.  That they might seek to preserve the earth, not destroy it.  That they might appreciate and love nature on a daily basis.
7.  Anti-materialism.  This one will be hard.  But I hope that they don't spend their time wanting, wanting, wanting.  Wanting the next video gaming system or the next toy or the next movie or a new pair of shoes.  I hope that they can realize that material things aren't important.  Material things may be nice to appreciate, but life experiences are what matter.  I don't think this will come until after the teen years have passed.  But if they can just have the small pieces of this foundation, then after they pass those egocentric teen years it may come together for them.

In 10 years Pierce will be 13 and the twins will be 10.  If I can say they have learned to embrace some of the personality traits above, then I'm doing my job as a parent.  I know, I have a tendency to be idealistic.  It's in my nature, what can I say?  Besides, isn't goal-setting partly about dreaming anyhow?
Now I need to nominate 5 bloggers that I feel are 'going places'.  So difficult to choose because everyone seems to be headed in awesome directions.  Plus, I know I've picked so many of you before, so I don't want to tire you out with awards!
Here goes:
 Green Mama at Green Acres.  She's a friend of mine from high school and a new blogger with an old new farmhouse to renovate.  You know she's going to have some interesting tales in the years to come.
Jeremi at Ella and Zoe because her girls are always having such fantastic adventures.  And Jeremi takes such fabulous pictures to document them.
Lyn from Escape from Obesity.  I've been following her struggle to lose weight for years now.  I even use her blog as a teaching tool in my Human Development class.  She has a way with words that not many people can touch.  In the past few months, she has ripped past an old weight plateau with shocking speed.  She's an inspiration, and without a doubt, she's going places.
Jessica at Growing Home.  She's my cousin-in-law and a doula and just carries such a positive presence in everything she does.  Not to mention she just won a huge HGTV GREEN makeover for her laundry room!  How cool is that?  She doesn't blog very often, but when she does her words are so often profound.
Amber at Mommies on the Run.  She has twin boys of her own, and I first found her blog when I was pregnant with the twins.  It was so comforting to find a fellow runner and preggo w/ twins friend - even though I didn't have a blog at the time and never posted on hers.  She's one speedy runner + athlete and there's no doubt she's headed somewhere fun and amazing.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Splish Splash Boys

For Mother's Day Paul gave me a choice between a membership to the Science Museum or something else (I forget - mom-brain strikes again).  Anyhow, I said, I like that idea, but what about swimming lessons at a gym for Pierce?  If we did the lessons at a gym, I could put the twins in the child care center and Pierce and I could do the lessons.  Paul liked that idea, so it was decided.
Well, wouldn't you know I made phone call after phone call and couldn't get anyone to call me back from several gyms?
Not only that, but the one gym I reached didn't know what time of day the lessons would be and told me that child care wouldn't be offered during that time.  Um, okay, that doesn't even make sense!
Then one day we picked up the Sunday paper and saw how cheap little pools were.
Really not much more than swimming lessons + child care would be.
So why not?

Granted, by the time we built a flat spot in our yard and covered it with sand plus bought all the accessories it was a little more pricey - but still relatively inexpensive.
Maybe that's why people call these little above ground pools white trash.  What can I say?  We're embracing our white trash side.  At least it's behind the house and not in the front yard ;-)
I have to say, after a long run, hopping in the pool is therapy for tired legs.
And Pierce is enjoying his daily swims immensely.  So far he can blow bubbles and use his kickboard.  We're working on floating and doggie paddle.
Yup, it seems like everyone is having a grand time.
Everyone that is except for....

Ah, Mister Cortankerous strikes again.
Get me OUT!  I don't want to get WET!!
Well, maybe he'll warm up to it as the summer progresses?

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Celebrate Plate and a Carjacking

It's Muffin Tin Monday!  A few weeks ago I went downtown to the pottery painting studio with the Multiples Club.  I painted this alligator plate for Pierce (or the twins) to have on special days.  Pierce had a very nice day of sharing with his brothers, so he got the Celebrate plate.
He had pizza bites, and in honor of July 4th red strawberries, blueberries, and a squirt of whipped cream for dipping.
Want to participate in MTM?
Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Meanwhile, I haven't done a chicken update in a bit.
Look what Priscilla did this past week:
Can you guess where she is?
She hopped in the minivan while I was buckling in Reid.
She's a strange bird, and probably our most friendly of the chickens.
Once she was in she was all, "Take me to McDonald's.  I'll have some fries and a large Diet Coke"

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Baby Got Track

Last week Pierce got to participate in his first race and boy was he ever pumped about it.
It was steamy hot, but that didn't stop him from wanting to run.
First we watched the milers.

Note our friend Steve in the white t-shirt.  He loves track misery.

Cort was temperamental (surprising, I know) and refused to sit in the stroller.

Finally, it was Pierce's turn.  He got off to a slow start once the gun went off.  He ran the kid's 100.
Paul ran with him to the finish line.  Pierce held steady in the back of the pack.  Kind of like his mom ;-)
After he finished, he got his very first medal. 
A fun evening, and hopefully next month's All Comers track meet will be a little cooler!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Do I Have to Change My Profile for This?

Turning 35 kind of feels like passing over to the other side. Like youth is on one side of my life.  And 35 is on the other side.
I was thinking about why this would be?  Why 35 in particular?
I think it must be the stigma that comes with 35 in the whole child bearing thing.  Not that I'm having more children, mind you, but if I were, I'd be considered high risk because of my age
Furthermore, now that I'm 35, I move into a new age group with my running.
And with this age group, I'm old enough that they start adding a 'generous' 5 minutes to qualifying Boston marathon times each 5 years.  In other words, because I'm older, I now can run 5 minutes slower to BQ (Boston qualify) than I could've just two days ago.

Okay, well technically I guess 35 isn't over the hill.  I've got a whopping 5 more years before I get one of THOSE cakes.  Besides, according to Pierce, I'm getting chocolate Diego cupcakes for my birthday.  Now that'll be something to look forward to.
In the meantime, I'm off to change my profile to 'age 35'.  Ouch.  ;-)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Memory Lane Friday - A Birthday

Welcome to Memory Lane Friday.  It's a chance to preserve your memories for your family.  Each week is a different topic, and this week we're writing about 'A Birthday'.
By far, the most monumental birthday I've ever had (and certainly ever will have) was my 16th birthday.  And no, not because I had one of those pimped out sweet 16 parties like those teens on MTV.  I was, however, in another country for the first time ever when I turned sweet sixteen.  My 16th hit at the tail end of a mission trip I took with my church to Costa Rica. 
Note that this picture was during the awkward 'growing-out-the-bangs' stage.

They decorated the cabin I was staying in and got me a birthday card - in Spanish!
My mom had tucked a little package from her and my dad in my duffle to open on my birthday.  It was a silver cross necklace.
The trip was wrapping up on my birthday, but I had some fond memories from the two weeks.
We had taken a crazy curvy bus ride to a volcano.
Along the way some guys from a church in Texas tied bottles to their faces to see who could go the longest with a bottle attached.
I think they were in training for Road Rules some ten years down the road....

The volcano was in the middle of the rainforest, and the only volcano I've ever seen.
We did some hiking as well, and I have pictures of guys using leaves larger than umbrellas to block out the rain.

This is the work site.  We alternated days.  One day we would work on building the church, and the next we'd play with the kids and do crafts with them.

I learned how to mix cement and bend reebar (how do you even spell that?).
But the best part of the entire trip were the kids.
People in Costa Rica have beautiful hearts.  This is Alonzo.  His mother told us that he got into trouble all the time and didn't have any friends.  But this little boy took to us and he was always taking his machete to cut limes out of the trees.  The limes were sweet there, and you could eat them straight with no sugar.

This is a picture taken from beside the church, looking down the muddy road that came into the village.  The church was just made out of aluminum siding, like a big trash can box.  Which was why we were helping to build them a new one. 

More pics of the kids.  I have tons and tons of pictures of the children in my photo albums.  Note the girl on the left holds a parrot.  It was common to see the girls walking around with a parrot attached.

Looking back, I wonder where the kids are now...grown certainly, with children of their own.  Do they ever think of the teens who came and befriended them for 2 weeks one summer?  Certainly they touched my heart with their kindness and generosity in a simple, impoverished village.  And I can't imagine a better birthday.

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Next week's topic is 'Fourth of July'.  Except for my Canadian friend, of course.  Her challenge, should she accept, is to write about a distinctly Canadian holiday.  Enlighten me! 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mister Ed wasn't there, but some 'scary' dogs were

The horse show is in town, so the boys and I headed over on Tuesday.  Although I do enjoy having our 'backyard' horses, I certainly miss the excitement of the true horse world that filled my teenage years.
We walked around and watched people schooling over fences.
We saw all the big tents, full of horse stalls.  With temps well into the 90s this week, I felt a little bad for the horses, although with large box fans and plenty of water certainly they are fine.

More schooling arena...a beautiful dappled gray.  I've always been partial to grays.

Okay, how cute is this?  Horse people tend to have a sense of humor. 

The hunters were supposed to be showing, but weren't, so we watched the jumpers instead.  Hunters are judged on their style - both the rider and horse - over fences.  Jumpers are judged by how quickly they make it across the course of jumps without knocking any down.  I mostly showed hunters back in the day, but certainly the jumpers are a little more exciting to spectators.

After Pierce complained one too many times that he was HOT and THIRSTY (having consumed both bottles of water I'd brought in the course of 30 minutes, even though it was only 9:30 am) we decided to head indoors.
In the colliseum, things were a little slow.  They were doing some conformation and equitation classes. 
We watched two classes and then Cort launched a revolt of epic screaming proportions.  Turns out horses aren't his thing.  But at least I got a full hour fix of horsey time.  Hopefully that'll last me through the next year until the horse show comes to town again ;-)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Attack of the Bok Choy

This past weekend we went to a potluck hosted by our 'across the street neighbor'.  By across the street I mean their driveway is sort of diagonal (by about 50 feet) from ours.  However, due to the length of our driveway and their driveway, it's a good 1/2 mile walk.  We walked it anyhow.  It was all uphill.  And 90*.  And we were pushing 3 kids in a stroller.  But we made it.

I brought a new recipe - Bok Choy salad.  I'd never cooked with Bok Choy before, but I tried this recently at a Multiples club meeting and it was delicious (thanks to Shelly for bringing it - and the recipe!).  The reactions were....well....a little unexpected.

Bok Choy is pictured below.  It's kind of a cabbage.  For this recipe, you only use the white part and discard the leaves.

Below is the recipe:

2 heads Bok Choy
bunch of scallions
1 cup almonds, chopped
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 packages of ramen noodles, crumbled (and seasoning packet discarded)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sugar

dressing prepared separate:
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce

Chop bok choy (discard leaf part) and slice scallions - set aside

In skillet on medium heat add butter, sugar, sesame seeds, almonds, and ramen noodles. Cook until brown and everything is coated with butter and sugar. Cool.

Once cool add to bok choy, stir in dressing just before serving.
Now at the potluck I was sitting right next to the main food table (come on, easy access for refills is important).  I was feeding the twins and amusedly watching the show.  Because suddenly there was a gathering of people around the bok choy salad.
"What's this?"
"I don't know.  What IS that?"
Someone bravely gives the dish a little stir with my awesome Paula Deen spoon sent to me by Mary over at The Englar Fam.. 
"Is it?  Is it some sort of .... salad?"
"What's in it?"
I almost ran outside to get a stick so that they could poke at it to see if it were dead.  But instead I went to my neighbor J.P. from Home in the Hollow and said, "Hey, you've got to try this Bok Choy salad I made!"
Course J.P. tried one bite and was smitten.  And J.P. likes to share the love, so she went around telling everyone to try the Bok Choy salad.  That's right, people, it's BOK CHOY SALAD!! 
"What's Bok Choy?"
Ah well, by the end of the night I had people giving me little scraps of paper with emails so I could send them the recipe.
I don't know why, but whenever I cook something that people really like, it sure does make me feel good.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Remembering Age Five and Soul Pancake

Recently I discovered podcasts as a motivational tool for my running.  It surprises me how much I enjoy them, considering that I don't have the attention span to listen to books on tape or NPR.  But for whatever reason, podcasts are like mental Reese's cups for me.

So the other day I downloaded a few podcasts from Oprah's spiritual channel.  Two of which were an interview with Rainn Wilson.  You know Rainn, right?  He plays the character of Dwight from The Office (love that show!)

Rainn is a member of the Baha'i faith.  Prior to listening to this podcast, I knew nothing of Baha'i.  Wikipedia says that the Baha'i faith emphasizes spiritual unity - there is an emphasis in the unity of God, the unity of religion, and the unity of mankind.  So Rainn Wilson wanted to find a way to bring spirituality to people in their 20s and 30s.  He wanted to create a place to ask life's big questions.  To express spirituality through art and creativity.
This led him to found, with two friends, the website Soul Pancake.

Soul Pancake strives to dig deeper to discover what it means to be human.  And one way it does this is by asking 'big' questions.
During the podcast, Rainn (my fingers just automatically want to type Dwight!) tosses a few of these questions at Oprah, one of which is "What do you miss most about being 5 years old?"
Oprah is caught off-guard.  She doesn't really have an immediate answer to that.
So I thought about it.
What do I miss most about being 5 years old?
You know what I miss?
I miss that carefree excitement and thrill that came in each day.
The simplest things were blissful.
Coloring in a coloring book - okay, how boring is that now?  As a Mom, I do this with Pierce, and I'm happy to do it because it brings him great joy - but seriously, sometimes it feels like maybe a few brain cells are dying a long, painful death in the unstimulating process of coloring in the lines.  But when I was 5?  It was thrilling.  And Playdoh?  Now Playdoh made for a great day!  And furthermore, speaking of titillating was it on the rare occasion you got to eat pancakes!  For dinner!  With strawberries!
Good gosh, remember when every little part of the day was so new and exciting?
Before you were jaded by those 'seen it all before' glasses?
Before all the 'been there done that'?
I miss being 5 because that was a time when life was viewed through a kaleidoscope of constantly changing, colorful lenses where everyday was an adventure of excitement.
How about you?  What do you miss about being five?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Prom 2010

The Mommyologist is hosting a bloggy prom.  When I first read about it HERE I realized that it was true.  I did have a closet with several fancy dresses that never get worn.  But did any of them fit? 
Just 10 months post-partum from the twins, my body still hasn't recovered.
The first 2 dresses, sadly, didn't work.
But then I found one that was a little more stretchy.
Now that I had a dress, I had to do this my own way.
See, I'm a self-professed tomboy.  Sometimes I might wear a dress or skirt to teach my classes.  And I wore a lot of dresses when I was preggo with the twins (because face it - nothing else would fit over The Belly).  But that's kind of the exception.  So if I'm going to do something like put on formal wear, I need to balance that out a little bit.  Guess what else is gathering dust besides my dresses because I'm so wrapped up in this whole raising-3-boys thing?
My dear, dear horse Phoenix.
Who better to take with me to prom?
Of course, the minute I walk out the door in my black formal dress and tall black riding boots, who do I see?
My neighbor, Joe.  Embarassing.
"Where are you going in that get up?"
To catch my horse, of course.
Scooter, our border collie, acted as chaperone.

Phoenix didn't even try to eat my corsage.  I trained him well.

Pierce watched us leave.  No kids allowed at this prom.

Phoenix wore his black tie - a dressage saddle and bridle in formal black, with a black velvet saddle pad.  I think we complimented each other well, don't you?

Course he desperately needs a hair cut.  What can you do though?  He was totally raised in a barn.

I don't know about you, but I'm really looking forward to seeing what others did for Blog Prom 2010.  Go check out the Mommyologist to find out!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Josh the Mountain Junkie Fish and Poor Charlie

Friday was a special craft day at the library.  They were making the coolest things with the kids - fish wind socks, jellyfish mobiles, and more.  I was all kinds of excited to go, but Pierce said he'd rather go to the mall.  The mall?  I don't even typically like to go to the mall.  But I'd been promising Pierce for 2 weeks that I would get him a fish, and he was eager to go pick one out.
So I loaded up all the kids in the car (which, incidentally, takes 11 minutes what with all the carseat buckles and stroller business) and we headed out to the mall.
I had asked Pierce, "What do you want to name your fish?"
"How 'bout Josh?"
This was completely out of left field.  Josh?  The only Josh I know is the Josh I went to senior prom with...some 18 or so years ago.  Is there a Josh on Diego?
"Josh?" I asked, perplexed.
"Yeah, my fish is a Mountain Junkie!"
Oh THAT explains it.  Josh is the race director of the trail race series I have been running this spring.  But as far as I know, Pierce has never even talked to him.  Isn't it funny, though, the things kids pick up?
So we got to the mall to pick out Josh, and I wandered into J.C. Penney's to pick up a new purse very quickly, because the one I've been using for the past few years (seriously) was busted.  As we're walking the aisles this little boy comes up to us.  Short but muscled, with spikey brown hair, Pierce takes to him like cupcakes.  He says, "Hi!  I like your motorcycle shirt.  That's just like the motorcycle on Diego.  Do you watch Diego?"
And that was enough.  Charlie was latched on to us.
Meanwhile, I'm walking slowly through the store, peeking over clothes racks, looking for what must certainly be a frantic mother desperately seeking her son.  Where could she be?  Surely, any second now, there would be a page over the system for this charming little boy.
Charlie, who informed us he was four, seemed to evade Pierce's frequent and distressed question, "Charlie, where's your mommy?!?"  Charlie was too busy skipping up and down while making excellent motorcycle noises.
Finally, at least 15 minutes later, Charlie pointed out his mother.
Was she in tears as I would've been?
Was she frantic?
Was she angry?
No.  She was too busy gabbing to the lady at the cosmetics counter. 
She offhandedly looked at me, laughed, and said, "Looks like you picked up a fourth boy."
I don't think she'd even noticed Charlie had been gone for so long.
What kind of mother is she?
How do you not care where your child has been in a store?
It's supposed to be like an instant panic button the second they are out of sight, isn't it?
Even Pierce picked up on the utter WRONGNESS of the situation and said sadly to Charlie, "Do you want to come home with us?"
Should I have said something to Charlie's mom?
I didn't, but now I kind of regret not making an offhand comment that maybe she should keep a closer eye on her son. 
What would you have done?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Independence Day Whirligig Craft

Pierce and I decided to do some crafts to celebrate July 4th, which is quickly approaching. 
This one was really simple - perfect for a toddler.
Have your toddler color a paper plate in red and blue marker (in retrospect, we should've colored both sides)
After coloring, we added some gold glitter glue for sparkle.
You could also add in sequins or pom
 poms or anything else you had handy.

Then take a fairly large button.  Thread yarn through it.
Take a pencil and poke a hole in the center of your paper plate.
Then thread the yarn/button through.

Finally, starting on the outside, cut your paper plate in a large spiral towards the center.
Now it's ready to hang and swing in the wind!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Memory Lane Friday - My Dad

Memory Lane Friday is a weekly blog carnival to preserve your memories for your family.  Everyone is welcome to participate.  This week's topic, in honor of Father's Day, is 'My Dad'.

This is my favorite picture of my Dad and I.  The photo album it was in had gone missing, so I spent a great deal of time and frustration yesterday trying to track it down.  I just had to have THIS picture.  So then I asked myself why?  Why this particular photo?

Because it captures us candidly.  Unassuming.  And I love that in a photo.
Because it shows how fun my Dad is.  He always had adventures for us.
And because it shows my Dad as the leader he is.  Someone for his family to follow.  He taught us so much, in his quiet, unassuming manner, and I'm pretty sure he never even realizes this.

Case in point.  In high school, we were driving to pick up our pies from a bakery in Middleburg called The Upper Crust (read - Best.Pies.Ever).
It was sleeting and frigid as we passed a homeless man on the side of the road.
My Dad stopped the car abruptly and gave the man a $20.  As we were driving away he offhandedly said, "I don't usually give homeless people cash (i.e. prefering to give actual food), but it's Christmas and it's cold. This man isn't with his family today.  Everyone deserves to be with their family on Christmas."
My Dad always illustrated kindness to others through his actions.

Below is a picture of my Dad and I in his North Face down sleeping bag, circa 1977.

As far as I know, he still has this sleeping bag - which he used for some section hiking on the Appalachian Trail.  When I was 13, following in his footsteps, I joined a hiking club at school.  The year end hurrah of the hiking club was an overnight hike up McAfee's Knob (on the AT).  It's a steep climb up.
My Dad....well, he was right there in the action.  He volunteered to be one of the parent chaperones.
I was so proud to have a parent that wasn't just behind the scenes doing drop off.  My Dad was tough!  He was right there hiking with us the whole time, nursing acheing muscles the next day with the best of us.

I would be amiss if I didn't mention education.  My Dad set the example, working a job while putting himself through his undergrad at Virginia Tech, and later a master's degree (even while working full time and having 2 kids at home).  We all knew growing up the value of education.  Having been through the struggle of working and studying himself, my father didn't want us to have to do that.  So he made it possible (by working even harder himself) for us kids to attend college without having to hold jobs while doing so.
 I think this picture shows that as proud as I am of my Dad, he's proud of me too - just look at that beaming face!  This was the day of my graduation from Baylor.  I couldn't have done it without my Dad, I know that.  Thanks, Dad, and Happy Father's Day! 

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Next week's topic is "A Birthday".  Got a good birthday story?  Yours or someone else's?  Be sure to come back then!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Last weekend we spent Saturday at the lake house with family.  The water temperature was just perfect for some floating.
I tied two floats together and Pierce and I drifted in the lake for at least an hour while my parents listened for the twins during naptime.
About as relaxing as life can be with a toddler by your side.
Later Paul (who had been cutting hay) jumped in to join us.

Daddy is much more exciting in the water than me.  No more quiet floating about.

As you can see, Pierce didn't like all that rowdy splashing one bit.
Nope, certainly not fun.
Nope, certainly no laughing going on.
Or shrieking.

Ahhhh, summer!