Sunday, November 30, 2008

Look Who Had a Sleepover...

As you can tell, many giggles were had during Marie's short stay.

We love you Miss Marie! Hugs until next time...


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Home, and Headed Out...

We made it safely home from the KC metro area this afternoon. Thanks to my loving husband for driving through the constant precipitation while the thermostat hovered around the 33 degree mark.

So now that where home, what's on the schedule...a night out with my peeps! We'll miss you Jason.


Friday, November 28, 2008

My Afternoon Hangout...

The suburbs depress me. I won't bore you with the reasons at this time. Let's just say, every time we come to visit the in-laws and are fully ensconced in suburbia, I'm reminded of the reasons we decided to relocated back to a more rural local almost 10 years ago now.

I mean yes, there is a Super Target not more than 5 blocks away (drool)...and as I discovered on my drive home this afternoon, not one but TWO sushi places within a 5 minute drive from the house (Boy how I wish I had a handful of ladies here with me for laughs over sushi and wine tonight!)...even so, I'm just not cut out to be a suburban soccer mom. I'm perfectly content to be a small town gal. It's what feeds my heart and soul.

After my disappointment of the morning, I was determined to find a little time to sneak out of the house for some ME time this afternoon...but I also wanted to do so in a way that allowed me to avoid the craziness of Black Friday. (I strongly dislike Black Friday craziness and usually totally avoid anything resembling a store the day after Thanksgiving.) I figured a coffee house, a little out of the way of the main shopping traffic, would be a safe option on this cool, overcast day.

After lunch, while the kiddos (and adults...mainly my hubby) were down for naps/quiet time, seemed like the perfect opportunity. After a quick consultation with Google maps, I picked my destination. I passed up 1/2 a dozen Starbucks within spittin' distance from the in-laws to check this place out. It was so worth the 10 minute drive.

I love locally owned coffee shops...and how perfect that it's also a bar. (I'm tempted to go back tonight for a pint to check out it's other persona besides the one I enjoyed for over 2 hours this afternoon with my trusty book to keep me company.) I felt right at home as soon as I stepped inside. The comfortable seating, the box of toys and shelf of random games, the funky music jammin' through the speakers. Just what my spirit needed today, and a comfy little sanctuary I'll look forward to visiting when we are next in town.


I'd Rather be Doing Yoga...

Don't get me wrong. You know I love coming here to express my feelings and thoughts. And I appreciate each of you who visits to read my ramblings. But today, at this time, it was not on the agenda to be sitting here writing with an ice pack on my knee.

For weeks I've been planning my day after Thanksgiving morning. I checked the schedules for the local yoga studios, I even emailed to Darling Yoga to make sure that this morning's 9:30 Vinyasa class was still being held. I have been playing and replaying in my mind the routine I intended to be my Friday morning. Right about now we'd be getting warm, the sweat would be beading on my skin, my breath would be deap and smooth. We would be finding our flow.

But as we all know, sometimes the best laid plans have to be scrapped...sometimes for totally unknown reasons.

I find it kind of ironic that I exercise for a living...well, ok, I TEACH exercise for a living, but that requires a fair amount of DOING during classes...yet a casual stroll through the nieghborhood yesterday is apparently the cause for this morning's pain and stiffness. It's my left medial meniscus ...and a little patellar tendon. (Yes, I'm self diagnosing as usual.) I'm guessing things was slighly out of alignment and the combo of a casual stroll and an afternoon spent on my feet in the kitchen were just enough to make it cranky. The totally weird knee hasn't been bothering me AT ALL...for months if not years! (Basically since I began practicing yoga regularly.) The stiffness started last night, but I thought maybe a good night's rest would be enough to quiet down the revolt. Apparently not.

So, after popping some Ibruprofen this morning in hopes the pain would subside enough to allow me to head to class...which didn't work...I gave in. I dished up a piece of pumpkin pie for breakfast (after all I did't have a piece yesterday after dinner...which naturally means it was a perfectly acceptable breakfast in my book) and poured a big cup of coffee and have spent a good portion of the morning mopping around...hardly able to hold a conversation with anyone for feared the tears will start flowing.

I'm upset that my STUPID knee hurts for no good reason. I'm upset that I'm not going to get a chance to just be a STUDENT in a yoga class on a day when time constraints and other responsibilities are plesantly a location I won't be visiting again for months. I'm sad that my planned morning for ME has been interupted. And admittedly, I'm having a hard time thinking this isn't just one more example of how life isn't fair sometimes. (Though I hardly think the universe is that petty...I'm just mad and want to point a finger.) Boo.

On the flip side...I don't have ANY hip or lower back pain today and no sciatic discomfort. Interesting. I guess every cloud does have a silver lining.

Well, I'm in the metro area and have probably spent enough time feeling sorry for myself. I think my book and I may head to a local coffee joint to spend a little quality time together....NOT shopping as is I'm sure happening in MAD form all around me...and unfortunately NOT doing yoga.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful for the Sun...

I'm remote blogging today from sunny KC. Seriously, it's been a beautiful day here. What a blessing to be able to sit outside in jeans and a T (barefoot none the less) and feel the warmth of the sun on my skin. A simple, but welcomed blessing.

The turkey is roasted. The dressing, sweet potatoes, and corn are baking. The pies are ready and I've already downed 1/2 a bottle of wine. Life is good.

Thanksgiving is possibly (after Halloween) my favorite holiday. No gifts. No specific religious ties. Just food and the chance to spend time with family or friends. That is such a gift in today's world of easy travel and the spreading of families across the country, and at times around the world!

Today I am thankful for the 2 hour conversation I had with my lovely Mom. Mom, I miss you so much on days like today my heart hurts. But I know our spirits are hugging even as I type this.

I'm thankful the chat with my brother (who is across the country in Nevada) as I strolled the suburban neighborhood in which my in-laws reside.

I'm thankful for my hubby and my two beautiful, cheer-filled girlies who brighten each and every day.

I'm thankful for my posse of friends who have loved, hugged, drank, biked, and laughed with me through the past year. (And beyond.) My heart is bursting with love because you are each a part of my life!

I'm thankful for life. For this amazing experience. This amazing journey. I recently read a passage in some yoga related article (the source is escaping me at the could be the 1/2 a bottle of wine) about living a purposeful and grateful life is NOT a race. We only get to take this journey once and getting to the end, to the finish line first, isn't really the point. That message spoke to me in so many ways...and so today, more than anything, I am thankful for the journey that is LIFE.

Blessings to you on this day of gratitude.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Laugh Out Loud Fun...

My husband sent me one of those email things yesterday. You know, the type where you follow the directions and then forward it on to others with your answer in the subject line. Very rarely do I participate in these things, and since people know that fact, very rarely do I receive them. However, this one was pretty funny so I decided to send it on to a couple of friends.

Well, if I thought creating my own sentence was funny, the responses I got back from my friends ACTUALLY MADE ME LAUGH OUT LOUD!

So I decided to post the short, easy to follow instructions here so that you too can form YOUR sentence and leave a comment letting everyone know a little something about you.

First to start your sentence, pick the month you were born:
January-------I kicked
February------I loved
March--------I karate chopped
April----------I licked
May----------I jumped on
June----------I smelled
July-----------I did the Macarena With
August--------I had lunch with
September----I danced with
October-------I sang t o
November-----I yelled at
December-----I ran over

Then the day (number) you were born on:
1-------a birdbath
2-------a monster
3-------a phone
4-------a fork
5-------a snowman
6-------a gangster
7-------my mobile phone
8-------my dog
9-------my best friends' boyfriend
10-------my neighbour
11-------my science teacher
12-------a banana
13-------a fireman
14-------a stuffed animal
15-------a goat
16-------a pickle
17-------your mom
18-------a spoon
19------ - a smurf
20-------a baseball bat
21-------a ninja
22-------Chuck Norris
23-------a noodle
24-------a squirrel
25-------a football player
26-------my sister
27-------my brother
28-------an ipod
29-------a surfer
30-------a llama
31-------A homel ess guy

And finally finish 'er up by picking the color of shirt you are wearing:
White---------because I'm cool like that
Black---------because that's how I roll.
Pink-----------because I'm crazy.
Red-----------because the voices told me to.
Blue-----------because I'm sexy and I do what I want
Green---------because I think I need some serious help.
Purple---------because I'm AWESOME!
Gray----------because Big Bird said to and he's my leader.
Yellow--------because someone offered me 1,000,000 dollars
Orange--------because my family thinks I'm stupid anyway.
Brown---------because I can..
Other----------because I'm a Ninja!
None----------because I can't control myself!

Put it all together and viola!

In my case: I karate chopped a snowman because that's how I roll.

Interesting facts revealed as I received responses back yesterday:
  • My husband is apparently secretly a minion of Big Bird. Hmmmm...
  • Laura has a thing for firemen.
  • My sweet little Sara is a rage filled driver.
  • Marie is sexy. (Well, that one's really more a confirmation of an already well known fact.)
So, do us all a favor, form your all telling sentence and SHARE it with a comment. I know full well I get an average of 45 visits here a we should all be laughing our heads off by turkey time!

Do it! Or the poor snowman won't be the only one getting a hi-ya.

(You've been warned.)


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Remember When...

Memories can be triggered in so many, many ways. Today while I was cleaning my office/guest room/the room where everything gets stashed "out of the way", it was a pile of beer stained coasters/postcards that did the trick.

Good times came to mind as I laughed through our various scribbled messages.

Good times with the dearest of friends. One of the many things I'm thankful this season.


Monday, November 24, 2008

That's the Way of the Bob...

Bob who you ask?

Bob Marley?

Bob Costas?

Bob the Builder

No, Bob the anteater from It's A Big Big World on PBS Kids.

Being a family without cable, we are so lucky to have a great line up of fun kids focused programing available throughout the day on Iowa Public Television. It's a Big Big World is a great show...diverse animal cast set in a rain forest who talk about caring for their shared home, the World Tree...well you can read about it at on their website if you really want to know.

Anyway, there's this song about Bob the anteater called The Way of the Bob. Well, technically I don't know what the name of the song is because I can't find it online to link you to a sample of it's melodic tune.

No, it's not some genius composition. It doesn't even have many lyrics. But on days like today when I hear it filtering through the house during our morning get ready routine...I end up singing it in my head ALL DAY LONG.

All day.

Seriously annoying.

Maybe I should go turn on some of that other Bob...the Marley one.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Chuggin' Along...

The Sunday busyness list was pretty well tackled today. In addition to shrink wrapping the living room windows for better draft protection (crossing my fingers that it indeed makes a difference) I managed to dig up the holiday ribbon ties for the curtains. Slowly but surly I'm finding the more clean, organized, and presentable house that used to once exist here in our little home.

And just like that...the weekend is drawing to a close and we're starting to prepare for the week. What a wonderful feeling it is to know that week is only 2.5 days in length...and then it's back to the weekend! Thank goodness for holiday breaks. This tired body could use a little break.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday Busyness...

Living room cleaned and rearranged in anticipation of the trimming of the holiday tree...


Sunday's busyness list includes, among other things, shrink wrapping the living room windows to see if maybe we can keep it at least within 5 degrees of the rest of the house.

Little things are slowly getting checked off the "to do before the end of the year" list in my head. Slowly, but progress is being made and that makes me happy.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Holiday Gifts...

So, as will be a topic of an up coming post, the whole holiday gift giving process is a HUGE source of stress for me.


As I said, I'll explain later about that.

But for now, let me just say IF I was making a list this year, this would be right at the top. (The big one...I need gigs!)

Well, after some things that aren't necessarily THINGS.

But again, I'll explain about that later.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Back to Words...

One would think after 7 days of being quiet here, I'd be full of wordiness to spill out on this page. As it turns out, I'm not. I mean there are topics I want to write about over the next few weeks, but for today I'm OK with keeping it brief.

Off to read stories with the girls and tuck them snug into bed, make some tea and then snuggle down with my book myself.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Talk, Talk, Talk...

I talk...a lot.

Not necessarily because it's naturally in my personality to do so.

I have small I talk as a function of mothering.

I teach group fitness/yoga several times a day I talk (what seems non-stop) for an hour at a time as we work though class.

I come to write here...and well, you've seen the length of my recent posts.

My husband commutes out of town to work and we spend precious amount of time together at day's end before falling to our we talk.

Some of my dearest friends and family live far, far away and so we keep up mainly though email...and we've already established my ability to amble on in writing.

Even with those friends who live close by I seem to struggle keeping in touch because of our differences in schedules and so we turn to email or Facebook to "talk".

And when I get the rare chance to catch up with friends/family face-to-face or on the phone, I have so much to say I feel as if I could never shut up!

Talk, talk, talk, talk. It seems like words are constantly flying out of my mouth or through the tips of my fingers.

Over the past several weeks I've had some misunderstandings between friends and at times a lack of feeling truly connected to those around me. I wonder if all the words I've been "speaking" are truly sending my intended message, or if I'm just making a lot of noise.

And so, for one week, on this blog (because it's practically impossible to do in other aspects of my life), I'm taking a vow of silence. I feel as though the best thing for me to do right now is to STOP "talking" and LISTEN.

Starting tomorrow my daily postings for 1 week will simply be in photo form. (Because I'm still sticking with the challenge of fulfilling the goal of NaBloPoMo.) A chance for me to get words out of the way and share my daily observances through the power of images.

No captions.

No explanations.

No title beyond which if the 7 days of the Celebration of Silence Project it is. (I guess my little experiment has an official title now.)

Just because I'm not talking, doesn't mean you don't have to! In fact, part of this project is for me to practice listening. I can't do that unless you're talking. So...stop lurking and leave me a comment. A quote. A compliment. A critic. For the next week, I'm all ears. (And eyes!)

Until we talk again...


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Browsing the Quilts...

We are so lucky to have a great quilt store here in town, Grinnell Fiberworks. Normally my taste in quilts is pretty traditional. Old fashioned patterns. Simple color schemes. I'm especially drawn to 30s reproduction fabrics and scrap quilts.

Grinnell Fiberworks is not one of those stores. Not traditional. Which is maybe why I love it so much. It makes me step out of my normal comfort zone and think about ALL the possibilities when it comes to fabric and quilting. Their selection of batiks...amazing. Plus they offer imported Asian and African (to name just two) that are simply gorgeous. Walking through gives me inspiration to keep dreaming that one day I will have more time to quilt!

Currently on display down at the shop is a gallery show celebrating Iowa art quilters. (Not that there's not always beautiful quilts on display there!) Last Friday the girls and I were chillin' out and so we decided to stop by the quilt store for a browse. (It helps that the shop has a play corner which can keep them occupied for 20 minutes or better depending on the day!)

I had a hard time choosing just a few of the beauties to snap pictures of to share here. (I hope the artists don't mind that I'm sharing their work.) I should have written down quilt and artist's names, but I didn't. (Sorry artists!)

First, one was of my favorites. This picture doesn't do the strength of the colors justice. A little inspiration by Van Gogh's Starry Night. A painting to which I've always been drawn. I think additionally it's the little buildings that speak to me. I've always loved the school house and saltbox style blocks.

One of the things I really enjoy about art quilts is their use of texture. This fall tree is fabulously colored, though I do feel the use of bright colors in the "background" somewhat took away from the POP of color that the tree offered.

Regardless, I loved how the tree had a very "leafy" feel offered by the raw edge applique that was used in it's construction.

This beautiful picture quilt is the first thing that catches your eye as you walk into the back room to check out the exhibit. I am amazed by the ability of those very talented artists who are able to take a photo (this was patterned off a real life photo) and reproduce the image in fabric. I love the pop of the green hedge balls, the details in the rake and shadows...

and of course the artist didn't miss the chance to let her quilting offer up some texture. A great attention to detail that really made the piece special for me.

If you're ever in the Grinnell area, and appreciate a good quilt store, I highly suggest you make time for a stop. I promise you won't be disappointed!


Monday, November 10, 2008

Looking to the Future...

Girls, your Mother here. In the future, when we go visit colleges which you are interested in attending:
  • I will expect you to dress, look, and act your age (17/18). Not like a 30-something-year-old headed to a job interview at a fortune 500 company.
  • I will NOT be wearing high heels to traipse around a college campus all day. May I suggest you choose more sensible shoes too.
  • If you Father and I are both with you on the visit, I will NOT be sitting in the back seat so my beautiful, brilliant daughters can sit shot gun. Sorry ladies, kids in the back.
  • I will expect you to be respectful of the places which you are visiting, giving people the same friendly smile and consideration you would offer up those in your own home town.
  • And while your Father and I will be there to support your decisions, I hope that you will base them on the quality of your programs of interest, not being afraid to follow your hearts regarding the WHOLE of your college experiences. Not making choices based simply on the name, reputation, location, or cost of any given school. After all, since I won't be there hovering around making sure you're OK, you best pick some place in which you can be happy on your own!
Glad we had this little discussion.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cleaning Frenzy...

It starts off innocently enough. I decide to tackle a cleaning project. Like today, I wanted to pick up our bedroom, clear off the dresser, and give the floor a good vacuum to catch all the dust/dog hair bunnies floating around the room. Simple enough. So I start picking up. I clear the trash off the dresser, take the books to the bookshelf and unwanted magazines to the recycle bin. As I start vacuuming I move the little night stand to get behind it, which prompts me to move the bed...and before you know it I've moved as much furniture from it's usual spot as possible and am on my hands and knees with a bucket of soapy water washing baseboards grumbling in my head about how there are probably people in Africa living in dirt floored huts who manage to live cleaner than we do! At this point everyone, including the dogs, have sensed it's best to just stear clear of my war path.

I have to admit, I have kind of a a manic-depressive housekeeping style. For the most part, our house exists in moderate disorder and I manage to do just enough cleaning to keep things livable. After all, I'm one Mom in a house of 4 people and 2 dogs. Keeping a house sparkling and clutter free in that situation usually requires some endless, super natural amount of energy...or a housekeeper.

Then one day I get this crazy idea to tackle a neglected cleaning task and I work myself up into a frenzy. Manically cleaning away, stopping to do little more than go to the bathroom when needed. Rarely do I even take time to eat because once I sit down, I may loose momentum. So I surge forward...until I hit a wall and my body starts to ache and screams at me to SIT DOWN AND EAT SOMETHING YOU FOOL! And so now, after 2 days of cleaning, sorting and organizing that has resulting in: FINALLY sorting through and boxing up 2 years worth of the girls' outgrown clothing (and I'm embarrassed to say, my maternity clothes) to be given to various people/shelters (that is the stuff I'm not keeping from Lexi to hand down to Brea); the breaking down for recycling of most of the cardboard that has accumulated in our basement (because "you never know when you might be able to use that box for some thing"); the sorting through of my Body Shop at Home business supplies and stock (ending yet another half-hearted attempt to make a few extra dollars through a home-based business); and cleaning/organizing of both our and the girls' bedrooms(ours was intentional, the girls' simply a result of my manic state)...I'm ready to CRASH.

My Mom and I have a theory that we're not the best of house keepers because we have a problem breaking things down into manageable tasks. It's all or nothing. Which means most of the time, that means nothing more than necessary. And then sometimes it means get the hell out of the way!

After spending almost 6 hours in my basement yesterday sorting, boxing, and cleaning I came upstairs for the night feeling somewhat accomplished, somewhat discouraged. After 6 hours of work I only made a small dent in what needs to be accomplished down there. I managed to disorganize my craft area as I moved things from various places to my sewing desk in an attempt to get it all together in one place. And I realized (though really, I already knew this fact) what IRRESPONSIBLE consumers we have been through our lives.

But at least I started, and that usually half the battle. And sorting with the idea of getting rid of stuff in the most responsible way possible (passing on to others, consigning, Goodwilling, recycling, etc) is a good reminder of WHY I'm trying really hard to be a more responsible consumer myself, as well as trying to help my family (immediate and extended) learn to do the same. No small task.

Our house is small, but adequate. Now that we no longer have a hairy, fur-ball of a cat living between the walls of our concrete foundation, we need to make better use of our basement to help ease the clutter in our main living space. That fact really hit home today as I was finding room down there for the luggage that's normally shoved under our bed and stacking the board games (that have been living in my closet..a space needed for, um, clothes) on a shelf that has gone mostly unused for the 5 years we've lived in our house. Next on the list is the organzing/shelving of our book collection; the removal of some old computer/stereo equipment that has been waiting to be electronically recycled; the cleaning up of various corners of bug/cat hair bunnies; the mopping of the basement floor (because it's just kind gross); the delivery of a car load (or possibly several) of random items to Goodwill; the relocating of some filing items from my office to a newly cleared space in the basement; and the re-sorting of my craft area so that I can get busy putting together some homemade gifts for the holidays.

But all that will have to wait as it's Sunday at 5 and time to start thinking about the start of our week. Unfortunately focusing on occassional, but time consuming, tasks means the day-to-day stuff has been neglected for the past 36 hours and I have a sink/cupboard full of dirty dishes that need tended to and supper to make before we start our Sunday night bedtime routine in anticipation of my departure a little before 8 to head to campus to teach class.

Luckily Scott is responsible for the laundry. Thanks to his efforts will all be able to leave the house clothed again this week. And damn it, the baseboards in my bedroom are clean!


Saturday, November 8, 2008

What a Difference...

a week makes!

One week ago today, Brea's poor little lip was a swollen mess of yucky. Kids are amazingly fast healers.

The girls are busy playing while I bustle around doing the normal Saturday morning activities: starting some soup on the crock pot, trying to get a handle on the end of the week dishes that seem to always get out of hand by Friday night, drinking my morning coffee while checking email and browsing blogs. Lexi tracked me down to inform me she was a princess mommy. She's taking care of 2 kids and 5 dogs. I suggested maybe she find new homes for some of the dogs. Her response:

"They do get annoying sometimes. So do the kids. But I can't get rid of them. I love them all."

Who says pretend play isn't a good training tool for real life!?!?!?


Friday, November 7, 2008

Quirky Confessions III...

Since leaving my full time job where I had to dress professionally each day to take on a more casual life as full time mom, part time yoga/fitness instructor, I've become obsessed with t-shirts and tank tops. Not just any Ts and tanks though, ones that have a message.

Don't get me wrong, these items weren't absent from my wardrobe before said transition. I've always had quite the collection of t-shirts. Who doesn't? If you've ever gone to a school; been a member of a group; played on/coached a team; participated in an event, chances are you've gotten a shirt to commemorate your involvement. Scott and I have had to repeatedly go through our t-shirts and thin them out to get them to fit in one LARGE drawer. (And I'm not even going to talk about the ones we choose to hang rather than fold.) Thankfully we haven't paid for probably 75% of the t-shirts in our drawer, so I don't feel to bad when they head off to Goodwill. And tanks, well let's just say my husband often wonders just how many ribbed tanks one girl needs.

In general I have a pretty basic wardrobe. Open my closet and you see a lot of black, white, olive, pink, and red. (Lately I've let a little more chocolate brown make it's way into the mix as well.) I've tried to step away from those basics, but it always back fires and I end up passing on the articles that don't fit my color guidelines without much wear. This general rule was/is the case with my professional wear (everything matches black in that category because I'm not a big dress shoe girl and if I find a pair or two I like, EVERYTHING has to match them!) and well, I guess it's just spilled into my casual wear too. (Though it's a lot easier to match "barefoot" than "black strappy high heels"!)

Now my "professional" wear consists of a lot of cotton/spandex, and cooling tech fabrics. (Of course all of which coordinate with black because we all know black is minimizing and when I've got something hugging my butt in the front of a class...I want all minimalization possible!) In between classes when I get a chance to throw on a pair of jeans or some crisp cotton shorts and a tank or T, I practically feel like I'm dressed up! And it's that daily wearing of tanks and Ts that has feed my obsession.

Actually, until last summer (2007), I was pretty happy with plain old shirts that didn't necessarily have ANY design on them. (Don't ask Scott about how many plain white, v-neck t-shirts I've come home with over the years. What can I say...I know what I like!) Then at the end of RAGBRAI I bought a shirt that summed up my first week long biking experience, and it's been down hill ever since.

Since then I've acquired some fun my pink Airstream shirt (inspired by Carlos),

my Gap (Red) T, a great long sleeve be.ology be.kind T from their vendor booth at the yoga conference I attended this spring (along with a SUPER soft organic cotton conference T), and this summer on RAGBRAI I picked up my notorious black Save the Ta-Tas tank top

I say notorious because I wear it ALL THE TIME (when it's not in the wash) and well, I haven't seen a whole lot of shirts like it floating around town. I sometimes wonder what's going through people's minds when they see me coming. (It probably doesn't help that I often go bra less when wearing this shirt because it's just the right combo of weighty fabric and snug, but not to tight fit that lends itself to such craziness! But maybe that's a topic deserving of it's own Quirky Confessions post.)

I guess there's just something I love about slipping into a soft, snug (but not tight), casual top that reflects a little bit about my mood for the day. (Or my mood in general I guess.) It's like the comfort that comes with putting on your favorite pair of jeans or a warn snuggly hoodie or your PJs.

Needless to say my little visit over to CafePress to browse Obama shirts earlier in the week, has me all worked up and wanting to add to the collection of opinionated upper body garments. I'm especially drawn to this beautiful image of peace, this simple quote from Buddha, the reminder to be compassionate with our care of the world around us, and this powerful Native American saying.

Just to name a few.

I'm trying to be strong...

no promises!


First of the Season...

We woke this morning just in time to see the first white, fluffy flakes of the season floating from the sky.

After pointing out the snow to the girls, Brea turned to me and asked:

"Is it winter now?"

Close Monkey. Very close.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Another Spot for You to Visit...

My brother is using a blog as a teaching/discussion tool in the class on sustainability that he's teaching this semester at Southwestern University. Do me a favor and check it out.

Do his class a favor and lend a comment!

It's his hope that posting and receiving comments will help his class dialogue in a broader manner than if they just talked amongst themselves in class. That using a blog can help expose them to other's ideas and experiences. This class is only 6 weeks don't waste any time!

I'll be doing my part in offering them something to talk about. How about you?

In case you missed it here to get to the SU "Greener" Lifestyle blog.



The Door to Their Minds...

One Saturday afternoon, several weeks ago, Lexi and Brea spent the day coloring and decorating their door. I normally don't allow them to tape things on the walls or doors...but since they had started before I realized what was going down...and because I just can't stifle creativity like this... it has stayed.

I love examining the pictures, over and over again. It's like getting a little peek of what's going on in their minds.

And, I'm glad that no dinosaurs are allowed. That's a load off my mind!


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

1 Billion Plus...

That's how many Americans stepped out of their own little worlds yesterday to cast their vote. Over a billion people all coming together on one day to let their voices be heard. Regardless of how you feel about the outcome of the election, that small fact is one to be proud of as a nation. I think regardless of if your "blue" or "red", we can all agree this was a historic election year in many, many ways.

I'm hopefully for our nation. I'm hopefully for the future of politics and have no doubt this campaign/election will forever change how politicians interact with the people who have the power to send them to office. That this campaign/election will forever change how we the people look at our ability to affect the decisions pondered by our government officials. I'm hopefully that my kids will grow up in a more accepting, more inclusive, more passionate, and more compassionate nation. For the first time, in quite some time, I'm hopeful and proud to be an American.

On a sad note, I was disheartened to see the passing of Proposition 8 in California, banning gay marriages in that state. My heart goes out to those couples whose love and commitment is no longer recognized today in the eyes of the law. Don't give up hope!

And to John McCain, thank you for such a classy ending to a not so classy process. I honor the service you have given our country over the years and appreciate the heartfelt, honest words of concession and encouragement you spoke last night. I hope today you got the chance to sleep in soundly next to your lovely wife and were able to peacefully enjoy a cup of coffee, a hearty breakfast, and the morning crossword puzzle in the comfort of your robe and bedroom slippers.

And now...back to life WITHOUT political focus. Next up on the posting list...door art, by Lexi and Brea! Catch you tomorrow.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day...

As has previously been established, I'm not usually one to follow politics. But I think we would all agree that this year's election is pivotal and even those of us who usually turn tail at the first sign of a political discussion have perked our ears and readied ourselves to make our vote count.

On Friday the girls and I headed to Des Moines to have lunch with Scott. Lexi didn't have school, the weather was beautiful, and it was nice just to get out of town for a bit. As chance would have it, Obama was in DSM that morning for a rally. I had somewhat spaced that fact off (though I don't know how I could have with the number of reminder phone calls we got earlier in the week!) until at lunch we were seated near some people who had attended the rally sporting their Obama gear...t-shirts, buttons, the usual garb. After lunch, the girls and I parted ways with Scott and headed to the zoo to check out how the animals were enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. On our way we passed the airport. Right there parked on the tarmac was a plane sporting the Obama logo. My heart skipped a beat and I tried to grab a quick picture before it was out of site. Due to a slight argument with my camera, no luck. Only the memory of that fleeting moment remains.

What? Me getting excited about..gasp...something related to politics? Really? Wow!

Since that moment I've wished that I would have myself had the fore-thought to get my own piece of Obama gear to wear today as I headed to the polls. I would have proudly worn and Obama shirt today (and beyond regardless of the outcome of today's election). From the his classic and highly recognizable logo, to designs more environmental and peace oriented, CafePress has no lack of Obama designs to suit everyone's taste. Heck, someone even created a Obama gear with a little Om! Actually the selection is overwhelming. And while yes, technically I could still order a shirt, I don't know, it feels a bit anti-climactic at this point. Almost silly. Not saying it might not happen before night's end, but...

Totally uncharacteristically, I'm nervous for the poll results to start rolling in and will be, as I'm sure thousands of others will be, glued to my TV tonight to watch as history is written. It's 4:30...hours from when polls across the nation close for the night. I think maybe I should grab a beer and turn on some Marley...I need a little destraction!


Chocolate is Sexy...

I had never really noticed the little tag line on a 3 Musketeers bar until today as I was swiping one out of Brea's trick-or-treat basket...

"Whipped Up, Fluffy Chocolate-on-Chocolate Taste."

It made me laugh. How sexy for such an innocent little candy bar.

(Did you know they now come in mint? Hmmmmm...chocolate and mint...I've never heard of such a crazy combination. I think I may have to research this fact!)


Monday, November 3, 2008


The past couple of days I've noticed this talk about NaBloPoMo on a few of the blogs that I read. So I decided to check it out. Apparently NaBloPoMo stands for National Blog Post Month. The goal, to post every day for 30 days during the month of November. Sounds fun. So I signed up to be a part of the event being as I had already posted the first 2 days of the month.

And then after completing my profile, I deleted it. I mean I really need to have my info floating around out there on ONE MORE social networking site? No. Enough is enough already. It's like Twitter. Cute idea, easy enough concept, but I don't see the difference really between it and Facebook status updates. Since I'm already fully invested in Facebook, no Twitter for this gal. (And the MySpace page is going away too. Seriously, I already spend enough time farting around here!)

So back to NaBloPoMo. While I'm not an official member, I'm still going to pick up the challenge and see if I can indeed post here every day for the whole month. Here's to post number 3!


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Kids and Dogs...

I think it's every dog owning parent's worst nightmare...having a beloved pet bite one of your precious children. Unfortunately yesterday that worry became a reality in our house.

I've had dogs in my life for as long as I can remember. As a farm kid I was surrounded by animals...dogs, cats, chickens, horses, cattle, rabbits, once when I was little we even had a goat. So it's only been natural for me as an adult to have animals as part of our family. From cats to dogs to fish to our current rodent resident, Herman the hamster, we've always had at least one non-human family member to look after. After loosing our cat this spring, our current animal menagerie includes Herman and our two rescued shelter doggies, Jasper and Tilde.

Jasper joined our family a little over 6 years ago. Scott had stopped at the shelter one day just to see what dogs were there for adoption and soon Lexi and I were joining him for a visit with Jasper. When we walked into the kennel room I instantly knew Jasper would become part of our family. While all the other dogs were barking and jumping around in their cage, he was calmly sitting by the door of his kennel, tail wagging under his parked butt.

The shelter workers were a bit nervous to allow us, a family with a 1 year old, to adopt Jasper because not much was known about his past. He was dropped off (abandoned) during the middle of the night at the shelter...literally dropped over a run fence. Their vet estimated that he was about 4-years-old and due to some shying behavior it was assumed he came from an abusive past. He had some major abandonment issues when we first brought him home which resulted in his wearing down (and actually breaking one off) of his canine teeth as he tried to chew his way out of the chain link kennel where we would put him during the day while we were away at work. It took him about a year, and his joining us on a family trip out to visit my family in western Nebraska, for him to really accept us as his family. But after that time it was like a switch was flipped. He trusted us, knew that we were his family, and over the past 6 years had turned into a wonderful, loving, and lovable member of our family.

Jasper is generally a quiet dog, except for when the mailman or a deliver person comes to the door or if someone rings the doorbell. He's friendly to visitors and in general spends his day following us quietly around the house, or more and more as he gets older, curled up in his bed napping. He adores the girls, snuggling up to them as they lay on the floor to watch TV and often curls up outside their door keeping guard when they are asleep in their room. When Brea wakes from a nap he's the first one to her door, alerting me that I'm needed.

He's not a perfect dog by any means, but he's been a great pet and member of the family. He hates the 4th of July and thunderstorms and will often crawl under our bed in the spring to wait out a storm, making our whole bed quake with his shivers. And, I'm sure because he is a smaller dog with an abusive past, he can easily feel threatened if startled. In the past 6 years he's maybe snipped at someone a handful of times, never making contact that resulted in more than a small red pinch. Each of these times he was napping and suddenly startled. We've learned that his snips come from a place of fear, not aggression, and happen so infrequently that we've never seen it as an issue, just something to be aware and cautious about. We're super careful when we have visiting kids in the house to keep Jasper a safe distance so he doesn't feel threatened by their unknown behaviors, and thankfully his snips have only happened with/towards one of the 4 of us.

I wasn't home yesterday when the incident occurred. But it doesn't matter. The scene was not an unfamiliar one. The girls playing in the living room, Jasper curled up near them napping. Brea reached over to grab a toy, startling Jasper and he snipped. Unfortunately this time connecting with more than just a pinch. Having caught the area of her right upper lip, the result was (and I'm simply going on what I've been told here) lots of blood and crying.

No stitches were needed and as kids tends to be, Brea has been a super trooper not letting her boogered up lip slow her down by any means. She shoves food right past the swollen flesh, lets me inspect and wash it when needed, and within the hour of the incident was giving us smiles. She is one tough cookie. We've found that little slows her down when it comes to scrapes and bruises. Her lip is going to take a while to heal, and it doesn't look pretty by any means. But it's just a flesh wound and in a couple of months I doubt we'll be able to see anything besides the tiniest scar as a reminder of the incident.

After spending some time out in the kennel yesterday, we brought the dogs back in the house and I mediated a peace making between Brea and Jasper. I can tell he knows he did something very bad and that he's sorry. Brea fortunately knows that her owie is from Jasper but doesn't harbor any bad feelings or fear from the event and was willing to give him loving pats and kind words for a few brief minutes before running off for more Polly Pocket play. Above all I want her to learn to be cautious, but not be fearful, around animals in general. Something we're not very good at fostering in the girls because we're so trusting of animals ourselves.

While I wish that this whole event would have never occurred, we can't turn back the clock and I'm just thankful it didn't end up being more serious than it is. Thanks to my fabulous friend Laura for making a house call to confirm that Brea was indeed OK and didn't need to make an ER visit. We're so lucky to have such wonderful, caring people in our lives!

We're being cautious this morning obviously, NEVER wanting to replay yesterday's events. Jasper has been his normal loving self, but a bit cautious himself. Unfortunately we know as he ages his tendency to feel threatened may happen more often. We've started to see the signs of age in his behaviors. More napping, less moments of exuberant play, less patience with Tilde as she bounces around him with endless puppy energy. But even after this unfortunate event I'm not ready to believe his time with us is coming to an end. Not quite yet.

It's a hard balance. Obviously my kids and their safety come first. But I don't believe this one uncharacteristic incident is enough to write Jasper out of our family either. I guess we'll move forward with caution. It's all we can do at this point.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

What Do You Get..

when a woodland fairy...

and a pirate...

get together?

A whole lot of trick-or-treating fun!

We could not have asked for a more beautiful night last night for trick-or-treating. The weather was warm, without any wind. After walking down our somewhat quiet block to a street where more young families live (our immediate neighborhood is somewhat older in age) the girls (and their parents) had so much fun going door to door for treats and running into friends who were out for some Halloween fun. Scott and I were almost giddy with excitement over the fact that good-old-fashioned-small-town Halloween fun does still exist and isn't just a memory from our childhood days!

I did learn that taking pictures in the COMPLETE dark is more challenging that one would expect. I mean how are you suppose to get a good shot when you can't find your subject in the viewfinder in the first place? (We got a bit later start than we had planned after spending the day enjoying the beautiful weather in Des Moines...lunch with Daddy, a trip to the zoo, cool drinks and snacks on the patio at a friend's. Hence, the complete darkness by the time we hit the pavement!)

We came home with quite the stash of goodies, which Lexi carefully sorted and counted to mark on the candy graph she had brought home with her from school on Thursday. After a quick supper, we each picked once treat to enjoy before getting into our PJs. By day's end, a day full of fun and excitement (and no nap), Brea just couldn't go any longer and around 9:15 crawled up on the couch on her own accord and crashed out!

I think her peaceful slumber says it all. A good day was had by all!

Hope your Halloween was frightfully fun!