Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A little note makes for a big smile.

When I was younger, my mom used to write me notes. She still does this and it still makes me smile. When she came to stay with us after my daughter was born she wrote me a note that read, "You have such a beautiful family. Thank you for sharing them with me." I still have it. She left it in the cabinet above the washer and dryer. I found it a few days after she left and it almost made me cry. Little things like that make me happy.

She started this with my lunch. When I was in elementary school, she would make my lunch and almost every day there would be a note in there. She would write quick little things like, "Have a great day! Love, mom" or "I love you, mom". Whatever she wrote, it made me smile. There was something about it for me. I loved knowing that she was thinking about me. That, while she was writing it, she was thinking about me and while I was opening it, she was thinking about me.

I also think it became a game. As I got older, in junior high, I was making my own lunch. Because she wasn't directly involved in the lunch process, she had to somehow distract me to get the note in there. I would always wait until I got to school to see if there was a note. I must admit, when there wasn't a note, I was a tiny bit bummed. But when there was one, it made me smile and giggle out loud. None of my friends thought it was strange. They all thought it was cute and fun.

Now that my own daughter is in pre-school, I am carrying on the tradition. I wrote her a note on her first day that said, "Enjoy your first day of school. I love you, mom". She had her teacher read it to her and when I picked her up, she told me what I wrote. She loved it. I try to do it everyday, some days I forget but when I remember, her face lights up when she gets to talk about it. And the great thing is, I know how that feels. A little piece of paper plus a few words equals a big, big smile.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rewarding the good!

I try to focus on the positive and the good in every part of my life. I feel like I give my kids some praise but I know I could be doing more. I say this because I am in a pretty tough stage of discipline. 3 1/2 year old girl and 20 month little boy. My little girl has a daily dose of meltdown and my little boy likes to hit, kick and bite. I feel like I spend 90% of my day focusing on disciplining the bad as opposed to praising the good. And they are good kids.

Lately, I am exhausted at the end of the day. Don't get me wrong, it is not just my kids but when you are tired, it makes parenting even more difficult. Often times the easy thing to do is ignore bad behavior but I have made "nipping things in the bud" a priority. The things to "nip" are manipulation and all the kicking, hitting and biting. I think I spend a good half hour sitting in time out with my son. And I am constantly negotiating with my daughter...I feel like I am Brad Pitt's agent.

When the air is cleared and they are done with their punishment, they know that I love them and we always hug and kiss but I feel I need to try a change in tactic. I want to focus a bit more on the positive. For instance, my son crawled out of his crib all by himself the other day. I was right there watching him do it. He was throwing a fit a few seconds before because he didn't want me to get him out. So I watched him struggle and struggle until finally, he was on the ground safe and sound. I was so excited for him. I clapped and cheered and all of a sudden, his grumpy face turned to complete pride. He was so proud of himself for doing it. And he changed his mood into a happy guy.

I will still discipline. I have is my job. But I will, for the next while, try to focus more on giving my kids praise for even the smallest things, like eating their cereal or opening the door for our dog. They do a ton of wonderful things each day and they should hear positive words more, especially from their biggest fan.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Believe in yourself and your goals

Oh man! My book agent got back to me today regarding the next book I wanted to write. It has a really catchy title and I think there is a REAL book in me but I had been struggling. I sent him what I had in hopes that he would help me figure out what I should be writing about and if I had anything at all worthwhile. It didn't go well.

Let's start with the positive. He thinks I have talent when it comes to writing and humor. But he doesn't see my book as salable. He said to me, "Sorry, but I do not want to represent you and do not want to discuss this any further." For the first little while, I was focusing on how much he liked my writing but as the day went on, I started to feel a little down. There isn't any other reason for it...just the darn book agent! He did tell me to keep trying and that someone else might like it. I actually do believe that (and I am really honest with myself) but, outright failure is pretty tough to take.

The other part of this equation is the fact that I am super self-conscious of my writing. I have been like this forever. I was ridiculously nervous about it at Stanford. You should have seen some of the comments I got on my freshman papers. Just thinking about it now, makes my stomach turn. So it was a big deal for me to hand over my thoughts and half-written chapters to someone who lives for the business and was going to look it over with a fine-tooth comb.

My point in sharing this with you today is that I am not defeated. He is one person. He is not a mom(although he has 3 kids) and I am writing a funny mom book. I love funny mom books. But this has fueled my fire. I am even more determined now to make it great and try again. This is a very important message we should be teaching our kids.

Our kids are going to fail. Some more than others. They are going to hear negative talk or phrases like, "you will never be able to do that", or "you aren't good enough". The only person I want my kids listening to when it comes to their dreams and goals is themselves. Every night my mom said to me, "You can do anything you want to as long as you put your mind to it." I believed this. I knew I had the power to work hard, dream big and not only recover from failure but be stronger and better because of it.

I am going to keep at my book. I am going to fulfill my dream and always look back on this day a great moment of learning and appreciation for the power of believing.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The best breakfast for your kids.

This was a big debate in our house the other day. I had a friend who said that eggs were, hands down the best thing to have for breakfast, kid or adult. I love eggs but I also brought up oatmeal as a wonderful option. This made me think. Am I feeding my kids the best breakfast possible. It is, after all, the most important meal of the day.

When I was younger, my mom made me oatmeal before every swim meet. She made it in the pan, not the microwave, and loaded it with brown sugar and milk. I loved it. She would say to me, "You better eat all your oatmeal. It sticks to your ribs." I actually believed this. I envisioned the oatmeal sticking to my ribs, giving me energy all day long for my races. Maybe that is why it gave me energy, because I believed!

When I was pregnant with my kids nothing could get me through my morning like a couple of scrambled eggs. The key to a good scrambled egg is butter in the pan. I don't even mix them up in a bowl ahead of time. I just crack um in the pan and break up the yoke right as they are cooking. I also add a dab of salt. So, every morning, while I was pregnant I had two eggs. And you know what, I believed my baby liked it and that it was good for me. Believed, sound familiar?

But now to the best kids breakfast. If you are like me, you are fighting them to eat before heading out for your day or to school. I love breakfast and most times I am done before they even sit down to take a peek at their plate. The most important thing is to give them something healthy. Never give in and feed them sugar cereal. It is 'nothing' before sugar cereal. I usually give them a choice between good cereal or eggs and toast. The one constant at every breakfast is fruit. My kids love fruit. The winner for the best breakfast is...whatever they eat.
Here are your healthy choices...
Cereal with fruit.
Oatmeal (you can get creative and add peanut butter, apples, nuts, etc)
Eggs with some toast and fruit

3 easy options to help your kids and you start the day off on the right foot! Help them believe that what they eat makes a difference in how they grow and behave! Habits start early, make them good ones.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

There is something about fall.

I find fall very romantic. It is as if there is something in the air that makes me take a few extra deep breaths. I guess I simply relax a bit more in the fall. I destress a bit. Now that I think about it, that doesn't make much sense since fall was always very busy for me as a kid, but it is true. I love all the seasons but the changeover to fall is my favorite.

After awhile, hot day after hot day gets a bit much. I love feeling the air a bit cooler in the morning. I love the way is smells actually. It brings back a lot of memories for me. I love the smell of crisp dew in the morning or the first rain of the year hitting the pavement. Even the grass smells a bit different in the fall. I also love getting to wear jeans after a season of shorts or putting on a yummy, cozy sweatshirt a night cause it is just chilly enough. Or maybe getting a chance to cozy up to my hubby under an outdoor heat lamp while watching the stars.(now that is romantic)

But my absolute favorite part of fall is the changing of the leaves. It is truly magical and amazing. The colors of the leaves are so brilliant right now. I grew up in Northern California where we didn't get much of a season change. Where I live now, it is spectacular. Every day, and I mean EVERY DAY, there are a dozen more trees that have gone from green to a bright red, orange or yellow. It is pretty amazing when you are keeping track of it all.

I am writing this blog to remind people to get out and smell the roses. Get out for a walk or a hike and enjoy the change of season. Embrace the new smells and sights. Take your camera and your loved ones and capture some awesome pictures. You can do it any time of day. I love to get up in the morning, pour myself a perfect cup of coffee and head out for a leisurely stroll. I try to slow my pace and take it all in reminding myself that life is pretty darn good and I had better thank my lucky stars a bit more often.

I sure do love the fall. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Schedule the Guys night and have a happy marriage.

The concept of the Guys Night was a collective decision. It came from a really cool group, our friends. I say "really cool group" because I feel so lucky to have found these people. It is fantastic when you find couples to hang out with where both the fellas and the ladies genuinely like to hang out. We all have common interests, kids the same age and a zest for life.(really, we do) What we also have is a respect for "girl time" and for "guy time".

Honestly, I don't know if we all would have been so UP for giving the nights to our spouses if it wasn't a group decision. But that is how it went down. We all decided that we deserved a night. It was great for the guys to hear it from us and vice versa. I think it meant even more because the spouse at home agreed to be responsible for watching the kiddos. That meant there was no stressing over finding a babysitter or whether the kids were okay. (life has gotten busy for a few of us so babysitters have occassionaly been hired:)

But here is the deal, I really like seeing my hubby have some true guy time. Don't get me wrong, the fellas work out together, go on bike rides and the like, but true nighttime guy time is really hard to come by when you have 2 little kids. I love how happy he is when he comes home. Happy cause he had fun and happy because I "let" him do it. What an easy and wonderful gift. And I know how it feels.

Last night my girlfriend and I went to yoga, grabbed some food and a beer to go and snuck it into a movie. (we kinda felt like we were 16 again!) We cried like babies in "Love Happens" and then swung by the grocery store on the way home. It was a fabulous night. I was looking so forward to it that I was watching the clock...waiting for 5pm. When I come home from a girls night I feel rejuvenated. Like I was refueled because I got "me" time.

So here's the deal. Don't keep score. Don't lay any guilt trips. Let your spouses have a night. Let your spouses have fun and be happy for them. I think it is good for the marriage and good for the soul. Give it a try!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The mommy at home office

I know there are a lot of us out there. Mom's who are working from home. We have our "at-home-office" where we attempt to work in the cracks. "Working in the cracks" is a term I got from my friend Kate Geagan. We were at the pool in the summer trying to have a conversation. It was Kate, Molly and myself. We were trying to chat while watching our kids...always a difficult task. We did take away a bit from the afternoon. I took away, "working in the cracks".

So what I am doing now is working while they are sleeping. Occasionally, my oldest will not nap and therefore mommy's at home office turns into Skye and mommy's at home office. This is why I think there is a real need for a mommy office make-over where the kids have a place to "work". I am going to do this to mine. I don't know if it will work but it is definitely worth a try. I have decided that if I can get a few things done on the computer while they are "paying the bills" or "working on their computer" then I have accomplished something and that is worth so much to me.

So, here is my plan. Mommy has her desk. Believe me, I am no dummy, I know they will only want to sit on my lap and work on my computer but over time and after countless, "not now's", they will realize that their work station is more fun. There work station will consist of a long skinny coffee table(i am thinking garage sale on this one), a box full of crayons, my paper that was going to be recycled, and any old mail they would like. They will also have a bunch of crafts lined up...stickers, stamps, and a chalk board. I might even put a "phone" over there just in case they need to make calls. I am opting out of chairs. I think it will just five them something else to fight over...and possibly cause injury.

When I imagine it from my fairy-tale-land, it looks really cute...all of us working on our own things. I am going to believe that it is possible and try to my best to give them the landscape to make it happen. And when it does, just imagine the big 'ol cracks in which will be able to work.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Letting your kids dress themselves.

My daughter is 3 1/2 and she has a very strong will. I should know better by now than to suggest a certain item for her to wear. When I do, she immediately wants nothing to do with it. It honestly could have been her favorite thing the day before but because it was not her pick, she doesn't like it. This is when I step back and watch her go to work.

She loves to wear several of one type of item. For instance, she will pull out 3 shirts and a sweatshirt and ask me if it will work. I simply explain to her that she has chosen all upper-body wear and that it might be tight but she can do what she wants. I look at her closet and at times want to give away 90% of her clothes. She hardly wears any of it and what she does wear doesn't match. The funny thing is that my mom says this is exactly the way I was. I would wake up from naps with 8 pairs of undies on or 7 pairs of socks on one foot. Like I was going for some record or something. I also only wore one dress in kindergarten. It was the dress I wore as a flowergirl. My mom saved it and it is in Skye's closet right now, just waiting to be obsessed over.

It is hard sometimes to watch her pass up the really cute outfits, but in the end, she I know it is good because she gets to create her own outfit, making her own decisions and living with those decisions until the end of school. And when she puts it all together and dresses herself, the joy on her face almost brings tears to my eyes. Today, she wore her red Christmas dress from 2 years ago, a skort...yes, the skirt/short combo and a pull-over pink sweater. I dropped her off at school with a smile and when I picked her up I said to her teacher, "She dressed herself this morning." Her teacher said, "As soon as I saw Skye I said 'YES' cause we were talking about red today!" What a coincidence!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Oh my Disneyland!

With our 3 1/2 year old and our 20 month old, we conquered Disneyland. Hmmm...well, maybe conquer is a little misleading. How bout survived?! We decided to go with another couple and their 2 boys. We had been talking about it for a few weeks. Going back and forth on whether or not we were going to actually do it. Both families had business and other activities during the weekend in LA already so we finally said yes. We finally clicked "Purchase" on our Delta flights. That is when we knew it was for real.

The kids were beyond excited when we told them we were going to Disneyland. Skye sorta knew what was up because I had brought home some Disney World Pamphlets from when I was in Orlando for a function earlier in the summer. (btw, Disney World is a whole other dimension!)
All she wanted was to see princesses and to eat the giant sundae with the mickey cookie coming out of it. (it actually does look pretty good)
Well, we saw princesses but somehow forgot the sundae.

We started the venture by getting bit turned around with parking. Once that was figured out, it was just a matter of finding a potty right after entering the park. We were all fairly new at the Disneyland adventure. The last time I had been there was when I was about 12 years old...maybe even younger. I kept my eyes peeled for some people who looked like they knew what they were doing and asked where we should start first with the young ones. They didn't hesitate, "Fantasyland". So that is where our big Disney adventure started. We went on the Toad Adventure, which was pretty cute. We went on "Small World" which everyone loved. The line moves really fast on that one and is fairly long so you get a good rest. From there we moved to lunch at Toonville. Very cute but it was also very hot. I think it was about 95 degrees. We tried to pack a lot of snacks and drinks but who can resist a little hotdog and some looney pizza?!

We tried to get the kids to nap in the stroller. Never works when you want them to nap. So we made our way over to "Pirates of the Carribean". Hindsight is 20/20. Now that I have a chance to think about it again, probably wasn't the best idea. We had one very scared kiddo. It is a little frightening. But the parents loved the air conditioning.

Sometime after that, we made our way back to Fantasyland, with a quick stop to see Pooh and Tiger and ride that "scary" ride. At Fantasyland they have a shop called "Bibbity Bobbity Boutique". Parents BEWARE!! This is where princess lovers live. Skye was in heaven. We had told her that she could pick one dress-up outfit before we entered Disneyland. About 20 minutes after entering the princess heaven, she exited as Cinderella the Bride with a tiara and wand to boot. As she walked down the street in Fantasyland, people were saying, "That is the cutest thing I have ever seen." And boy, did she know it. She was adorable.

We had hoped to stay for the fireworks or at least to get a run down the adult water ride but that didn't play out. The place was packed. The kids were so tired and we all were sticky and sweaty. So, at a stellar 8pm, we called it a night. The parents were tired and the kids were exhausted. But all in all Disneyland was a success. I do think that in 2 more years, Disneyland and California Adventure will be perfect. I will make a few suggestions to parents who are considering this very trip. If a grandparent offers to come along, do not hesitate. Then you and your spouse can enjoy an adult ride or 4. Take more pictures than you think. Bring a little notebook to get the character's autographs. Why spend a ton when you can get a little 59 cent one at the market. Drink more water than you think you should. And if it is hot like it was for us. Buy one of those fan squirt bottles. best $17 ever spent!

See you in a few years Disneyland!

Your master bed makeover

My friend has the best best taste in sheets. Her whole master bed set up is awesome. I just saw it again and it makes me want to change up my own bed. There is something about having a well put together sheet, duvet and pillow set that makes feel like I am going to have a good night sleep. Is that silly?

I guess I view our bed as a very important place to feel comfortable and at home. We, hopefully, get to spend at least 8 hours a day there, shouldn't we want it to be ideal? Part of the problem is that I have always had a hard time committing to a certain look. I can never decide between all of the choices out there. The problem is that most of them are really cool but not completely what I am looking for. I guess I have the perfect idea in my head and have yet to find it.

I think that everyone should make their bedroom as relaxing as possible. When I walk into my bedroom I want it to feel like a spa. I want the colors and the furniture to have a zen-like and minimalistic feel. If you don't have the funds to make a full over-haul, there are a few things you can do to give it that little change. Adding a simple plant or flower, rearranging pictures, getting rid of the clutter, reconfiguring your furniture or just adding a simple blanket. Going to some effort to make your space special will make your sleep special as well. We deserve it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Getting back to the basics with yoga

I love the way yoga makes me feel. I love getting in touch with my breath, opening up my rib-cage and lengthening my body. I have been doing it with a few friends every Tuesday night and I have grown to love both the night and the workout. During every class I would second guess the way I was doing a lot of the basic poses. So I decided to get a one-on-one lesson and get back to the basics.

Come to think of it, I jumped right into my yoga practice and would squeeze classes in here and there and never really had the tutorial on how to do everything properly. I would take my focus off of what I was doing to wonder if my updog was correct. I found myself constantly looking at other students to make sure my feet were where they should be and etc.

Then I found YogaWorks. First of all, they are not worried about right and wrong, they are worried about injury. I like that. That is why I asked for a one-on-one session to go over all the basic positions and get them down correctly. For instance, I was in tree pose and was shaking cause I was working so hard. It was awesome. I received so much information...don't know if I will remember it all but I love that I know have something to go back to instead of looking at the person next to me. My instructor was fantastic and I wish the class was 3 hours instead of 1. I guess that leaves more for next time. I do you yoga to make me a better runner and to make my running career longer. I truly believe it helps me and my body recover from running and life itself. I want to do the poses correctly so I don't injure myself and that is what I accomplished. So excited.
Enjoy yoga.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Traveling with the kids. Tricks and Treats

Today we flew to Los Angeles for a 4 day fun getaway and a fun day at Disneyland. My husband had business in LA and I lined up a few meetings so that we could mix a tiny bit of work with a whole lot of good times. Although getting here was quite the task.

I actually have a lot of anxiety about flying with the kids and I have done it a ton. The easiest time to fly with your kid is when they are newborn to about 8 months old. You can almost always guarantee that they will nap on the plane. I remember that during that time if they were fussy, I would breast feed them. I found myself apologizing to the person next to me as I was plopping down in my seat saying, "I am so sorry, but I will be breast feeding on this flight." Surprisingly, most people were totally cool with this and I tried to cover up as much as possible.

I usually try to schedule the flight during their nap time. I will go out of my way to run around with them before our flight or keep them up on the drive down just so they have the best chance of falling asleep on the plane. For me, this usually worked. And if they did get fussy, I would try my best not to look at them and let them work through it to get themselves to sleep. This is not easy as a lot of people are looking at you wondering why you aren't picking them up and consoling them. I found if I gave them too much attention, it stimulated them too much and they would get even more agitated. Once they fell asleep, there was a collective sigh of relief. I remember one time our daughter was so tired and she just couldn't calm down enough to go to sleep. We tried everything and finally Erik just leaned his head next to hers and told her a story. It took her about 6 minutes and she was out.

My pre-flight anxiety is caused by the fear of being locked in a space, with no exit and with two hysterical babies! Considering we have a 3 1/2 year old and a 20 month old, that is more than possible. Our flight was at 4:50 pm so I decided to let our son sleep at home. While he slept I got everything packed and into the car. I made an emergency bottle (just in case there was a major delay) and packed a well stocked snack bag. Everything was ready and in the car as I woke him up and went to go pick up my daughter from school. No matter how many times you run through it in your head, please ALWAYS allow for more time. Maybe a 15 minute cushion. Today, I didn't and therefore I was stressed. And because I was stressed, I rushed to get from the economy parking to the shuttle stop. And because of all the stressing and rushing, I left my cell phone on the middle console of our car which is parked safely at the SLC airport. Doesn't do me much good in LA. Oh well.

The good news is we made our flight, had the only empty seat in the house next to us (so we had a whole row) and we were a fairly happy crew. My daughter slept and thanks to the help of 2 life savers, 3 bottle caps and a handful of M&M's my son didn't completely disrupt the entire plane. A nice gentleman helped us with our car seat. He was 2 rows in front of us, but still, he offered and I accepted. Nobody offered to help us on the way off until we were at the end of the jet way, that is when we met Jeanie. She carried our car seat all the way to baggage claim. She said she had a 4 hour layover and wanted a cigarette anyway, but I think she was just downright 'good people' to do that for us.

Flying with kids is not easy but with dvd players, a little candy and some other toys to pass the time, we can survive and thrive. And when we arrive at our destination, what a sense of accomplishment. Now onto Disneyland!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Before my kids, there was my dog, Smalls.

Smalls is my first born. That seems so weird to say about a dog but it is true. I treated him like my kid. I took him all over the place. I got him when he was 9 weeks and I joked with people that he had enough frequent flier miles for a free ticket. He is a beagle. I named him after the lead character in the movie, "The Sandlot". There was a kid who's last name was Smalls and he was just a little dorky. In one scene he didn't know who the "great bambino" was so the other kids said, "You're killing me, Smalls." When I first got him, he was so cute with his super long ears and his cute little eyes I kept saying, "You are killing me, Smalls."

He has lived with me everywhere...Colorado, SF, back to CO, New York City, LA and now Park City. I actually think he really loved NYC. He could find a chicken bone a mile away. It is amazing how many chicken bones there are on the streets of NY. One time I looked down and he had a whole raw chicken in his mouth. Not kidding, a whole raw chicken. I had to pry that thing out of his mouth. I think I might have puked. But you know what, NY is good to dogs.

It wasn't just the chicken bones that got smalls in trouble. He is almost 14 years old now and he is Nortorious Smalls. He is infamous. He has had his stomach pumped at least 6 times in his life and 3 of them have been in the last 4 years. He has eaten moldy ribs, an entire chicken carcus, and some unidentified meat that was BAD. The ladies at the vet know him all too well. People really seem to like him a lot. They are always saying, "Oh, how is little Smallsy doing?"

Little do they know that if they had anything from an edemame shell to a filet he would chomp their fingers off. He is actually Houdini at times. One time he got up on the 4 foot high counter to get an apple cake. The craziest part about it is there were hardly any crumbs. He must have knocked it off perfectly. It landed without spilling. The only way we knew it was gone was that his stomach looked like he swallowed a basketball. I later found a ball of the uneaten cake under our bed. There are a million stories of Smalls stealing food. And even at 13 and 15/16 years of age he can still get up on the counter for something good, like my dad's beef jerky.

But the sad thing is that Smalls is getting old. He is deaf and almost blind. His kidney's are failing and he has a leaky faucet. But he loves us so much. He follows me wherever I go. He could have just made his way up the stairs and sat down at my feet and if I got up to quickly run into our bedroom and he would follow me. He beats to his own drum. He barks when he wants our food which is every meal except breakfast. He steals food out of the kids hands. He escapes out of the yard almost daily. But I will miss him. He is my first born. Since the kids have been in my life, I haven't had as much time for Smalls. I am sure he feels like he has gotten the shaft. But he means so much to me and I want to try to give him more attention in his final years. I owe him that and more. He has been with me through 6 moves, one divorce and one break-up. He slept right next to my pregnant belly when my husband was in Europe skiing. He is right at my feet as I am typing this, snoring like a drunken sailer and stinking like a dirty diaper but I will love him forever and always.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Why I love football!

My friend came over tonight with her two adorable little boys. Both our hubbies are out of town and we thought it would be fun to survive the mealtime together, which it was. I asked he if she wanted a beer and I proudly pulled out my freezer mugs (so in love with these btw). I then asked her if she liked football. She said she watches it but doesn't understand it. She has watched it for years and nobody has explained it to her. Sad right?! I actually became excited because I wanted to teach her about the sport I love so much.

See tonight was a big game for my hubby, his family and me. We are all Bills fans. My hubby's family is from Buffalo, I am a fan by marriage. Seriously, it was part of our vows. "Do you promise to love, honor and be a Bills fan?" "I Do." And then, it went to him. "Do you promise to love, honor and be a Sacto Kings fan?" "I Do." There you have it. I am a Bills fan and I love it. We try to make it back for a game every year. We missed it this year but 2 years ago we went to the Monday night home game against the Cowboys. Heartache! Absolute heartache.

I told my girlfriend that we could watch the game tonight and I would try to help her understand it a bit better. She wondered how I came to love football. And that is the reason for this post.

I don't officially know the answer but I think the reason why I love football is because my dad and brother loved it. We watched it every Sunday and Monday night. And, there is also the fact that my mom is from Nebraska therefore I can name almost every pro Cornhusker from my adolescence. But now that I think of it, there are other reasons. I only had one day off a week from swimming, Sunday. There is nothing more kick back and fun than football Sunday. I looked forward to chilling with my family. Also, we were Niner fans in the 80's...what is not to love about that?! To go from Montana to Young with Rice in there the whole time. (and Tom Rathman....I could go on) I also love cheering for a team. Football is unlike any other sport in that respect. You get one shot every week (except for bye weeks) to cheer for your team. The season is fairly short and takes place when the weather is cold, rainy or snowy so you want to be inside anyway. Unless you are at the game and then what I love is everything. Tailgate parties, cold weather, crazy fans, load music, the entire package. But, at home, what really gets me are the familiar voices.

Al Michaels has the best football voice ever. And John Madden is the king. Their voices are so relaxing and familiar that it feels like home to me. I love football because it is America. I know it isn't "America's pasttime" but it is my favorite TV sport. I am so happy the season has started. As for my Bills, it was a very sad night. Once again, they lost a game they should have won. The season isn't long enough for mistakes like that.

My friend had to leave before we could review what I was teaching her. I think she might have been overloaded with too much info and too many kid questions but I know she will come back for more. She was excited to call her hubby to tell him she was having beers and watching the Monday night game. I might even be able to convince her to cheer for the Bills...maybe! :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My kids and their budding friendship

I have to say, my kids are at a very fun age. There are times when it is super challenging but they just seem to be turning the corner in the friendship stage. It is adorable. The other day, I watched them walk into the zoo holding hands. It was the only way I could get my son to walk safely through the parking lot. After I asked him to hold my own hand without success, I asked him to hold Skye's and he jumped at the chance. It was like his face lit up at the incredible opportunity and Skye's face lit up because all she wants to do is mommy him. She is so very sweet to him and talks to him with this cute little caring voice.

She even tries to scrunch down a bit when they chat even though she is only a bit taller than him. She tries to ask him questions and give him instructions and they are beginning to carry on a few scattered conversations. They are also beginning to play together on their own and have a blast. It warms my heart to see so much love in their relationship. I had always hoped my kids would have a strong friendship.

My brother and I were super close growing up. He is 2 1/2 years older than me and we did everything together. Or, at least, I would try to do everything he was doing. Often times, if I wanted to play with him and his friends they would give me the worst playing catcher and shagging balls. As we grew older, we would hang out a ton. He was one of my best friends.

I think that it is important for siblings to have strong healthy relationships. It builds their confidence to know they always have someone watching their back. Someone who gets them and will laugh with them. And, it makes life at home awesome.

I know I cannot control every twist and turn in my kids relationship. I am sure they will fight a ton and have their moments of total frustration with one another. But I hope that through family vacations, family dinners and other random family time my hubby and I can help secure a super strong bond between our kids.

For now, I will soak up the sweet moments of the them chasing each other around the kitchen while laughing hysterically, playing sweetly with their toys or simply and proudly holding hands. This is a great time in my life.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Funk up your Date Night

Mix things up a bit. I know what you are thinking, "We rarely get out, Summer, we love going to the movies or going to dinner." I do too!! That is what my husband and I generally do on our date nights but we have tried to make a pack to spice things up a bit. Not in a lingerie kinda way. Although I need to work on that too(another post)! No, I mean spice things up activity-wise.

Before we had kids, we would have hike date nights. I remember falling on my butt one time cause it was in the middle of winter and the trails were packed with snow. We were out in the middle of darkness with headlamps on. It was beautiful cause the night sky was so clear, the air was so crisp and we were all alone. When I fell, we laughed super hard. You know one of those really great laughs that makes your face sore. In fact, I think I laughed so hard I peed my pants...hmm, probably too much info, but that was a really good date!

Well, those are the events we are going for. Night tennis, night hikes, bowling, bike to dinner,
"surprise me" date(where one person gets to surprise one week and the other the next). There are so many different ways to make your date night different and special. Since we don't get many of them with our busy lives, shouldn't we make them really count. And, if you don't like it, you can go back to the old stand by of dinner and a movie, that never gets old. Sneak in some M&M just to feel like the spice is there. :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Honoring by remembering

I, like most people in the world, will never forget everything about Sept 11, 2001. I remember how I woke up that morning...a call from our friend Steve Kostorowski from DC. He kept yelling into our answering machine to wake up. I had just gotten done working the US Open and had flown back to LA a few days before. I was set to fly back to NYC the next day. I remember sitting on the bed in utter shock all morning. I remember talking to as many people as I could get in touch with to make sure they were okay. I remember crying and disbelieving over and over again. I remember being annoyed at our local bakery because they didn't have the news on their radio. They were playing music and going about their day and I wanted to punch them and say, "Do you realize what just happened?!"

All this remembering is a good thing, I think. It still makes me sad and I hurt for all the families who lost loved ones in the tragedy. But I feel that if I don't forget. That if I remember. I am honoring them. If I remember, then they know they are not forgotten. I know they were heroes that day and will forever be a hero in my book. If I remember and think that, I believe somehow, someway they will know it.

I am just one person who, thank goodness, did not lose a friend in the tragedy. I was very lucky and I know that. That is something I will remember as well. Sept. 11 is a sad day but it can also be a day to honor and count our blessings. That is what I choose to do.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The last few summer nights

Tonight was awesome. We went to the pool for 3 and a half hours and played our heads off. I am so glad the weather is holding up and I am reminding myself and thus, you, that it won't be like this much longer. So, get outside and enjoy every night of it.

Today was smooth with the kiddos. We did lots of errands and they were real troopers. But my little fella was not in a good mood. He was up A LOT last night. So, I think he was really tired and super grumpy. That being said, I put him down a tad earlier than usual. I cleaned the house, wrote 2 emails and then put my daughter to bed. About 10 seconds later, my son was up. WHAT?!!! So, we snuggled a bit (I absolutely love that and know it won't last forever) but then he just turned super grumpers again. So, at about 3:45pm I woke up my daughter and to the pool we went.

My point in telling you this is that I could have easily stayed at home and, thus, missed out on a wonderful session at the pool. What a shame. Very Very soon, the season will change. And where I live, very , very soon, snow will cover the ground till May! So, soak up the sun and the outside as much as you can while you only have to put on a t-shirt!

Get outside and be happy!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Do Good

One of my friends has an automatic post at the end of her emails with her name, number and a saying. The saying is very simple but for some reason it hit me yesterday. It says, "Do Good".

I just casually glanced at it when I first saw it but my mind kept going back to it. It is simple but means and stands for so much. It can remind us to give more to people in need. It can remind us to help someone in need. It can remind us to be pleasant and positive. When you think of doing good, what does it make you want to do? How would we, as a people, change our behavior? Would we be super conscious of holding the door open for people or carrying someone's groceries?

See, I think "Do Good" just means be a good person. Do good things throughout your day, as much as you can. If you are faced with a decision to let someone in when merging in traffic or not, do the good thing and let them in. All of these simple, kind actions can change the attitude of a large group of people. Doing good really puts the choice in the hands of the person who read it. I guess I just like it cause it makes me want to deliver. I want to do good. I want my kids to do good. Don't we all.

We all reach our breaking point

As mommies, we are often pushed to our limits. We have great mommy days, good mommy days and, every now and then, not so good mommy days. I really despise the feeling of the "not so good" mommy days. In fact, there have been a few, okay several, that I have not been proud of. I am writing about this today because my best friend and I just had a conversation about this very subject. We described it as if we are a glass of water and with every whine, cry and meltdown the glass is filled more and more until the damn thing starts to flood the whole house. That is the moment to which all moms can relate. That feeling of needing to let go of so much frustration and anger and whatever that you just yell. Actually it is is more like, you just YELL!

Honestly, with me, I am really good right up to that point. Keeping my cool as my child is hitting and screaming. Telling her to "just relax" and that "this is not acceptable behavior". It's not until, after manhandling her into her car seat(for the second time) while she is out of her head screaming at me and pulling my hair that I slam the door and scream so damn f-ing loud that I think the entire west hears me. Then I proceed to get in the car and explain with another scream, "I just wanted you to get in your damn car seat!" Yes, this really happened. Not my proudest moment.

For real, I screamed so loud that my voice was horse for the rest of the day. This didn't do any good as both my kids were now screaming. And after the scream I felt like an awful parent. But during the scream, I felt so damn good. For a second, I sat there in the car and had this blank look on my face. Once I came to, I immediately tried to calm down my son and reassure my daughter. Then I felt this need to talk to somebody about it to make sure I wasn't going insane. Friends are good at making you feel normal.

My best friend and I told our stories and made each other feel better. We reminded each other that we are good, and often times GREAT parents. We cried and laughed and in the end knew that we all were going to survive.

We parents tolerate a lot during a day. It is a wonderful job and I just want everyone to know that we are not perfect but I know we are trying our best to raise really good kids. Keep at it and if you need to scream, make it a good one.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Collecting rocks and other things that make you happy.

Some people collect stamps and others collect cars, I collect rocks and shells. I like to think that each one has a special meaning since I picked them out individually from a vacation or trip. I keep them in a few places around my home. Most are housed on my desk and next to my bathroom sink. (Although I have found a few in my kids bathroom drawer. Funny how things end up there...hmmm. )

I have loved rocks since I was a little kid. I could spend hours walking around looking for the most interesting rock whether it be a cool color or a weird shape. I would look at them and wonder where they had been and the different shapes they had taken over time. Now, as I said before, I bring one home from every vacation. My favorite is a rock/shell from the beach in front of our land in Nicaragua. It is a white thick swirl with a few swirly indentations on the sides. It is so cool I sometimes don't think it is real. Every time I look at it I think that I am so lucky to have found it.In fact, I look at them often and remember the location of where I found them, the vacation or the outing. It makes me smile. (I must admit, I don't remember all of them.)

My kids have just started to notice all of these cool items floating around my space. I am probably a little too protective of them. After all, they are JUST rocks. But I care about my collection. So, today I explained the idea of a collection to my 19 month old. You can imagine how that went over. But, later in the day, I took them for a run and at the half way point I let them get out of the chariot and run around. At the end, I asked them if they wanted to pick out a rock...they said YES!

They are not at "collection" point yet but I think they are slowly learning what my rocks mean to me. I wonder, though, what their collections will consist of...
Skye already has several princess dresses...
My husband collected EVERYTHING. And I mean everything. My mother-in-law finally drew the line at sugar know that ones from the diner. I think to myself, if my kids did decide to collect sugar packets, I hope they are from all over the world. That could be a cool collection.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Good friends make for a better marriage

We have made some wonderful friends. The funny thing is that my husband has lived in this town for 18 years and has lots of established friends. But, it is true that once you have kids, you find a new set of friends that understand what you are going through. We have found a few couples and I am a firm believer that they make my husband and i better.

We are in the thick of it right now. 2 toddlers under the age of 4. Lots of crying and tantrums. Lots of loving and cuddling. I am trying to control the former and savor the latter.

Tonight, our friends walked into our house to my son screaming his head off cause he wasn't feeling well...I think teething. Most people would turn around and make like they were never there. But these friends walked in asked if they could help and ignored the incredibly disruptive noise. Having them there calmed me down as well. There is almost nothing more stressful than a crying baby. Especially when you want to help but can't.

I guess my point is that we are all in this together...our friends and us. It is fun and comforting to know that we have them to lean on, bitch to and laugh with!!

Thank you friends.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Haning with Jim

When I first met him, he immediately reminded me of my grandpa Charlie. A straight shooter with a warm, warm heart who just wanted to chat and tell his stories. His name is Jim and he was our dinner date this evening. Keri, my sis-in-law invited me to yoga and dinner with her friend. Yoga was a killer but super fun and sweaty. But the real fun came afterwards when we all met for dinner. I didn't know that Keri's friend's father-in-law was going to join us but I was so happy. He sipped on his red wine and told us stories of how he landed his job on wall street, went to the Korean War, spent 6 months in a hospital for fear he had TB (but didn't) and why he moved to Park City. He told us about his health and he would follow it all up with, "But who am I to complain." He was kind enough to let us tell a few stories of our own.

I spoke a bit about my grandpa and how much I loved him. I said that he was a similar straight shooter that would tell you to your face if you had bad breath because he would want you to know and wouldn't know any other way to do it. He had dinner with us practically every night when we were growing up. The funny thing is that I always knew how lucky I was to be that close to my grandpa. I always knew how special he was and how much he meant to our community. I hope my kids see their grandparents that way. I hope they listen to their stories of life and lessons and everything inbetween and know that there is so much to appreciate and learn from them.

I feel like I could have sat there with Jim and the girls forever. I miss my grandpa Charlie every single day and tonight Jim reminded me of how important it is to spend time with our elders. To hear their stories and let them shine. Boy they deserve it. As we left, Jim was saying goodbye to everyone...especially the ladies. I can't wait to meet him for lunch and hear more. Thanks for dinner Keri!