Thursday, December 20, 2007

First Letter to Santa

R.P. (First & Last names spelled out so santa knows who it's from)
Dear Santa
I have been good.
Please bring presents.
Thank-you, Santa

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Catching-up Some - Potty Training

OK - I was looking back over my older blog posts (yeah I've got a few minutes on my hands as I wait for 110M files to save) and I was realizing I hadn't kept up with a few topics.
POTTY Training for one.

Well - except for a few accidents here and there let me just say WE ARE DONE WITH POTTY TRAINING - YAY!

We started trying with ER again over the summer. Actually - HE started going on the potty at school - and WE would praise him when we saw it marked off on his day sheets.

The first week that he had "potty success" almost daily on his sheet - we tried for it over the weekend but he wasn't interested. After the second week of success at school - we tried over the weekend and he did GREAT! And, on Monday morning while getting dressed he asked to wear big boy underwear - so I packed a bag full of extra underwear and pants and off he went to school!

It took about a month more before he had the poopie under control - and many soiled undies - though he was sometimes more civilized and went in his overnight pull-up. But by the time of his third birthday party the accidents were very far and few between!

We're still doing pull-ups overnight, but after our vacation, when the pull-ups run out NO MORE DIAPERS FOR US!


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Budget Season

One of the reasons my writing has been so sporadic over the past month is that it is budget season at work. AND to complicate matters we've been working with 4 financial systems.The General Ledger system (PeopleSoft) and three management reporting systems: Hyperion Essbase which we went live on in August and have been Parallelling since then; Khalix - which my group has been using for several years and are looking forward to moving off of; and Hyperion Enterprise which the folks in the Corporate Reporting department have been using for MANY years and are looking forward to moving off of.

Managing the data flowing between the systems, the what/where/when, has depended on me for 3 years now. One of my reasons for looking forward to the new system is that ALL of the reporting would come from it and my job of manipulating the data from system to system would become less involved.

Unfortunately complete adoption of the new system did not happen in time for the beginning of the budget season. This meant frantic creation of processes to move data from the new system ( which we were using for budget) to the old systems ( which corporate was still using).

It also meant that many nights I had to come home, feed the family, get the kids to bed and then log back on and do work until 10 or 11. AND it also meant that my Holiday (Halloween) and VACATION days were interrupted by work calls several times and that I had to work from 8pm to 2AM on the last vacation day - HALLOWEEN - due to a last-minute budget call due Nov 1.

Thankfully over the past week - things HAVE calmed down a bit...Corporate is now using the new system...and I'll be trying to play catch-up with blogging.....except that, well, I go on my first REAL vacation in 5 years in 4 days!


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Samhain 07

Since Halloween fell on Wednesday this year, and the boys are still little enough to be pretty cranky if you try to let them stay up late....especially if its a mostly adult thing they're staying up for....we celebrated Samhain on Sunday.

This year's group was back down to "the usual" friends/family- a gathering of 9 including the kids. Not the extended group we had experimented with last year. It had just gotten too crazy.

Samhain is one holiday I have maintained tradition with for about 10-12 years now. I use the same ritual every year - it's one that the friends I started celebrating with had adapted for use with their kids. It's short and to the point - and everyone gets to light at least one candle to represent the people/pets they want to remember. The celebration uses the symbols of the apple (death with the promise of rebirth - star inside when cut crosswise) and the pomegranate ( life who's shadow is death - seeds kept Persephone in Hades).

This ritual is also closely linked with dinner - so things usually go like this :
I'm busy preparing dinner and I ask my husband to print out the ritual - I know it's the one we always use, so I haven't even looked at it since last year. I run around picking the ancestor pictures from among the others around the house; try to find candles and other things we'll need for the altar...folks start arriving.
We get the ritual going around the dinner table and are calling directions when I remember that South and West are switched from the way we usually call the directions and think - "Oh well I'll fix it for next year".
I get choked up on reading about remembering family and frieds who have passed through the veil.
Someone inevitably has trouble lighting a candle - this year it was DH who commented that his ancestors probably wanted to tell him to pay them more attention!

This year we replaced the usual candle altar - I've used an old vanity mirror/tray and free-standing votive candles for a long time. It was great if you wanted to try and scry in the patterns of the candle wax - however it was a MESS to deal with. Several years it "leaked" the candle wax onto the tablecloth below it and last year the mirror cracked when I was trying to clean it up. It's still in my holiday bucket, but this year I purchased a candle chandelier which can hang or sit on the table - each candle is enclosed in glass. We sat it on the table during ritual and then hung it from the ceiling while we moved on to dinner.

We set the usual ancestor spot and gave them a little of everything we were having...Turkey, stuffing, pasta primavera, and cranberry apple pie. A bit more traditional than the Morroccan style Mabon celebration!

As usual it was good food, good friends and a celebration of the season. Right now, the boys don't participate much - even as far as listening to the stories of their grandparents & great-grandparents, but it is good practice for years when they will finally take an interest and ask questions about those who have gone before us and who played such an inportant role in making us who we are today.

Another thing to mention in relation to the holiday, serendipity etc...
We had recieved a forecast for the first frost - for Sunday or Monday night, so - appropriately - I went out Sunday with the ladies and we harvested the last of the tomatoes and peppers in the garden - two large baskets of green and lightly-colored tomatoes and a couple of bell peppers.

Blessed Be!


I know - usually these wonderful, magical, carved creations are made BEFORE Halloween and used to light-up Halloween night.

HOWEVER, have I said lately that things have been just a bit CRAZY here??????????

I did take vacation days Halloween week with the intention of picking them up early Monday or Tuesdayand doing this activity with them then....we had purchased one LARGE pumpkin and two smaller ones on Sunday ....then ER came home with another small one partially cut on Monday.

On Monday after I did the music class in the morning - I got involved doing some projects at home that require small curious boys not be present! and didn't finish up until too late to worry about pumpkins - and I had really thought Tuesday would be better anyway....
Then TUESDAY around lunch time I emailed DH and asked him where he had stashed the pumpkins...they were still in his van....oh, well so much for that....and of course we didn't have time ON Halloween....what's a mama to do????
Well, we just carved on Thursday. I left work on time (haha) which felt early, came home, laid out the newspapers and we carved.

DH had a warm, glowing, pumpkin-y greeting when he arrived home from work!

We don't get any trick-or-treaters where we are, so it really didn't matter that we were a day late...the audience was the same as it would have been a day or two earlier.


Ok - I know this is overdue - but I'm trying to catch up!!

So this year Mommy was A WITCH - ok - not much of a streatch I know....
And I was going to re-cycle costumes for the boys, but then...I went to the Disney store with my mom and found 50% off BUZZ and WOODY costumes and just couldn't pass them up - the boys looked AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This year I continued the tradition of bringing music to the daycare as part of the Halloween celebration...and the teachers were involved too!

At the begining of October - RC's teacher asked me to be involved in this year's Halloween party, so I put together a list of kids tunes with Halloween words and the teachers each picked their 2 favorites. The Wednesday before Halloween I took a day off and taught the kids the songs.
On Halloween week I had Mon-Wed off, and went in to the cent again on Monday to go over the songs and have extra time with the kids. As with the other times I've gone in, each kid had a chance to help me "play" the violin...they really love that!
On Wednesday when I got tot he school for the party they told me I would also be "leading" the children's parade - unfortunately I was NOT prepared for that - and had to figure something out on-the-fly - it was kind of rough at first, but I found a groove that worked and went with it.

We all had fun!

For trick-or-treating we met up with the boys cousins again this year, and went to the local development and let the kids walk around for an hour or so....

The big YUCK this year was that I had to get on a conference call during trick-or-treating and then had to work from 8-2am after...and yes, on my VACATION DAY.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

And...Daycare AGAIN!

WOW - I guess I should just be happy we had over a year of daycare with NO complaints before having some issues...but really..sometimes it's just crazy the things that make sense to you yet are issues for daycare.

One of the mom's I'm friends with and who has brought up the security issues with the "management" of our center has been FIGHTING with the center recently and I was all set to jump in - here's the situation.

Her son is newly potty trained...meaning he will go on the potty...but has not yet learned to do a good job wiping. Almost 2 weeks ago she stated picking him up with HEAVY poop stains in his underwear. When she asked about why she was told that it was center policy that once the kids were in underwear the teachers were no longer allowed to go into the bathroom with them or assist them with wiping. SO the poor kid sat in poop all day. She brought up the issue with the center's Asst Dir. who said she'd follow up and find out where the policy came from and if they would be able to change anything or NOT.

So, upon first hearing this - my thoughts were - geez when a PARENT leaves a kid in dirty underwear it's called NEGLECT....when a nursing home leaves a person in dirty underweare it's called NEGLECT. Why is it that a day care center can call it "policy" and it's OK???
It doesn't make any sense.

Then the next day I pickup my kid - and guess what - he's in DIRTY UNDERWEAR. The issue actually dragged on for a week and a half before they decided that it was a stupid policy and they'd go ahead and change it.

In the meantime my friend's son sat in poop almost every day for that week + and my kid came home at least 2 more times that way. She had fights with the teachers, assistant director and director almost every day during that time and sat at her desk crying many days due to frustration and concern for her son.

The good news is that the policy is now to assist the child after they've made an attempt themselves. The bad news is that it took so damn long. Is there NO ONE out there with common sense any more??????????

Quote - by Ronnie

Mommy, it's so cold the leaves are shivering on the trees!! -Ronnie 10/12/07

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What A Weekend!

Wow! Way to pack a weekend! Our niece got married by the bay close to Atlantic City this weekend. So we made a family trip of the event.

Saturday morning we packed the van with instruments, suitcases, toys, kids and grandparents.
We made our way to PointPleasant to visit the aquarium at Jenkinson's boardwalk.
This was our second time visting the aquarium - it's a great place for kids...small enough to take in without tiring...big enough to have some diversity of species and to make an impression on the kids.
We spent a few minutes with our toes in the ocean and the sand....then we were off again to Galloway Twp - for the wedding rehearsal...Clark and I were scheduled to play some classical tunes for the ceremony.
It was the kids' first time staying in a hotel room - away from their home or G&G's for the night. They did pretty well...

Sunday morning we got up and went to the Cape May Zoo - Our first Zoo outing...that was also really nice! Again not too big, not too small. The big excitement was the Giraffes - the boy giraffe was getting pretty frisky! Then the boys spent some time burning off energy in a park. After Lunch we went back to the hotel so Clark and I could get ready for the wedding....

The Wedding was BEAUTIFUL! The ceremony was on the 2nd green of the golf course among the marsh grasses and overlooking the bay...they had to bus out the bridal party and guests...
The cocktail hour was under an outdoor pavillion and was scrumptious!
For the reception the food was also good - but many of us were pretty full on the appitizers - which were actually better than the main entree...
Over the years as Clark and I have attended the weddings of friends we've come up with the "Perfect" wedding....Yummy appitizers...followed by or interspersed with some dancing...followed by vienese dessert hour.... No sit-down meal...just yummy stuff you don't get very often....
Anyway - it was a very nice wedding and we enjoyed it a lot!

On Monday we packed our bags back into the van and made our way all the tasks that went undone...and to my own wonderful bed...

We learned a lot of lessons to hold onto for the Disney trip coming up in November...
The kids can't go much beyond noon (attention wise or energy wise) unless you want to start seeing some unhappy behavior...
The pause in activity must be accompanied by a nap.
Strollers are GOOD!
When away from home - let the kids eat what they will eat - don't force the issue with "healthier options" - this is especially true if they are Lunch and beyond....Push the healthier options at BREAKFAST or you WILL be sorry.

Daycare Again

Well - I was going to post this last week - or even the week before but time got away from me.

First week at the new daycare center synopsis:
No one "in charge" was there the day to give us our pass codes or introduce us to the center and the routine. Even $$ wise, no one who was there first thing in the morning knew anything about what we needed to do. Found out on the second day that the director works 9-6 every day - so Clark will never meet her.Finally saw the owner at pick-up time on Wednesday.Every day when I ask Ronnie what he did today - he says "nothing".The take-home sheet with lessons indicates that they are learning about the letter "A" and numbers 1-3 this week. No wonder Ronnie thinks he's don nothing.By end-of-week Ronnie has pee'd on himself 3X during nap time. Something that only happens when he's really upset and not talking about it.I've had an uneasy/unhappy feeling all week.

Second week at the new daycare center:
Well, only Ronnie was going during the second week...due to Evan's Pneumonia...Monday - when I picked up Ronnie at 5pm they were watching TV. (I was aware of the TV and not extatic about it, but had been told that it was a 5:30 and beyond activity)Tuesday - Picture day - actually several things happened - Hubby found out when he dropped Ronnie off that Pre-K photos had been taken the day before, when he asked about a re-take since we had been unaware of that the teacher was a bit snippy with him. He also tried to drop off Ronnie's nap pillow that morning and was rudely told that it was NOT ALLOWED.The fact that the center uses only the state minimum employees:child ratio became a problem when several staff called in sick over the course of the week.The director was working in the classrooms daily and no one was "up front" in the office all week.There were several additional incidents as well as continued bed-wetting at naptime....but you get the picture.
By Wednesday last week I was strongly regretting taking the boys out of their old I picked Ronnie up at 4pm and we went visiting - and fishing for information on whether we'd be welcome back there again.

Third week at the new center:
Monday - I called the old center to ask if we could come backTuesday - I met with the new director of the old center to discuss the issues involved etc, and gave notice at the new center.Wednesday - Ronnie's rude teacher was actually nice to Clark this morning and actually took time to talk to him about Ronnie.
Wonders will never cease.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Happy Birthday to EVAN! My little guy is 3!

Months ago, when asked what kind of birthday party he wanted this year, Evan responded DORA! DIEGO!

So, Mommy of course, complied...heck, we've been thru 2 Blue's Clues parties how hard could it be???


So, last Friday I took the day off to get ready for the teaming hoards of young people who would invade on Saturday and wrote the great DORA adventure!

Party highlights:
It was a BEAUTIFUL fall day and the kids played outside a LOT! YAY!

We did go inside to do the big craft event - T-shirt decorating...

Toward the end of the decorating "Swiper the Fox" showed up and stole Backpack, but left "The Map" behind.
Map told us that our BIRTHDAY ADVENTURE would be to go Thru the Bounce House, Rescu Backpack in the Garden, and come To the Canopy to find Evan's Birthday Treasure!

Unfortunately, during the adventure some of the girl party guests had some meltdowns due to fear of Swiper....(Played by Auntie D).

We went back inside when Pizza arrived and had Pizza and Cupcakes...
Then back outside to play...

All-in-All while I wouldn't call it a TOTAL success it was a pretty good day - especially for the BIRTHDAY BOY!

Thursday, September 20, 2007


If it's not one thing - it's another.

I've been home 3 days this week - no - not enjoying the wonderful sunny autum days - nursing a sick boy....

Evan came home sick from the weekend with Gram and Gramp on Sunday. He'd been telling them he didn't feel so good all weekend, and Sunday he started running a fever. He seemed ok overnight Sunday, but I took him to the doc on Monday morning just because he's our sneaky ear-infection boy...and she kept listening to his chest....She sent the nurse in with the nebulizer and did an albuterol treatment in the office. When she re-checked his lungs - they still sounded congested and she sent us for a chest x-ray. Sure enough the little tyke had a touch of pneumonia.

So, Monday was spent in and out of medical establishments. Yesterday and today we've been staying close to home. He's not running a fever any more, but he's still not well either. Poor little guy!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Last Thursday was our 4th anniversary!
We started celebrating at dinner time on Wednesday when Clark got home - each boy got to bring mommy a dozen roses! And daddy brought her sushi (YUMM!).

On Thursday, the actual anniversary day I presented Clark with a yummy fruit basket - did I mention that the traditional gifts for 4 years are fruits and flowers?!?!?
Auntie D babysat for us that evening while we went to dinner on the Lake.

It was a wonderful day!!!!!!!!!
As one of my cards said "To the the joy...(to the boys...) happy anniversary.

Toxic Synovitis

On August 29 Ronnie woke up and told us he couldn't walk.
After trying to move through the morning in the usual way we ended up at the doctor's office and the lab for blood work.
The doctor asked us - wasn't he sick recently? - to which we answered no.
He said he thought it was Toxic Synovitis, a fairly common virus that causes hip pain, but was sending us for some tests because TS was usually preceeded by a really bad cold virus.
The symptoms in the links below described Ronnie to a T.
And to keep you from worrying unnecessarily - he was walking again by evening and running the next day.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Over the past few months, I've mentioned daycare woes.Let me start at the begining on this one.

We officially started full-time daycare in January 2006. Prior to that we had done as much home-care as we could and had done some part-time day care at two chain-centers (Goddard School and Lipton Corporate Child Care). Neither of those was financially viable as a full-time option - and even if they had been, I would not have chosen the Goddard School we used again.

We ended up at a local community run daycare, loosely associated with our public school system. From the first day there, we LOVED the center. The teachers were good, friendly and LOVED the kids. Included in the price, the kids are served breakfast (some days hot items) with fruit and milk, Lunch (almost always hot) with veggie, fruit and milk, and snacks. It was close to home and convenient for drop-off/pick-up. I got involved in the Parent Association immediately and Clark joined in a few months later.

In November of last year, the Director of the center, who had been there for more than two decades resigned. She took a position as a kindergarten teacher in the township.Since then, things have been in a slow crumble. The day-to-day care has continued pretty well, but we have gone LONG periods of time with no director; we had one for 6-8 weeks (Feb Mar time frame) one "acting" Director for 6-8 weeks (June-Aug time frame) and now have another. In addition, a new Asst Director was hired in April and the old one left in June. There have been long stretches of time with no leadership - no point-person - no one who had ALL the information about what was going on - no one who was totally RESPONSIBLE.

The parents association started bringing this up as an issue (along with other items) at the March meeting - by June we had all been labeled as troublemakers. I really didn't think too much of that until late-July/early August when the following happened:

I had been keeping loosely in-touch with a former center staff member who sent me information about how the parents association had been presented to the acting director and what actions were going to be taken.
1)The acting director was told that we had written to the board of directors with our issues without "going through channels"; and that we were being unreasonable about our requests - we were requesting staff coverage of the front entrance for all hours of business.
2)Further, the parents association was going to be disbanded and new parents would be hand-selected who were "committed to the center".
3)Then, one of the main teachers in Ronnie's classroom went on vacation. A teacher who loves him very much. The whole time she was away, I was told every day that Ronnie had had behavior issues. As soon as she returned the issues vanished. It really made me wonder about what was going on in that room...what the teachers were being told etc.

At the begining of August I had half-heartedly begun looking for other places. For reasons 1&2 above, and because we're starting to worry about kindergarten...our town only does 1/2 day and the before-and-after care associated with the school has a bad reputation. So one of our requirements if we were going to "bail" from the current situation was for the new center to have kindergarten offered. I went to and/or called at least a dozen centers between home and work. It was CRAZY - in the sort-of affordable price range - there was no one that offered everything you'd want. Of course for 300-800 more a month per place even had a swimming pool.We settled around 3:
#1 we're on the waiting list for - and has almost everything we'd want - the drawback for this one is that it is associated with the Catholic Church and closes the month of July.
#2 is in a strip mall - the classrooms have half-walls separating them from each other and the play area is across the parking lot. This one is a single-proprieter who has one other center. Plusses are that they do the nap-time laundry as well as food. In addition to offering kindergarten they also offer before&after care and our town will bus to them.
#3 is a brand-new facility but is corporate-owned and has that "by-the-book" feel. They have a wonderful in-door play area as well as a decent outdoor area. BUT - they do not offer food in the price or even as an add-on.

Then item 3 happened - and that brought back memories of having seen some things happen with the pre-school classroom that weren't to my liking...and one of those was hammered home by the child of a friend being asked to leave the center and labled ADHD.

I became convinced I had to have the kids - esp. Ronnie OUT of there. So, last week, I paid the "enrollment" fee at #2 and scheduled the kids to start there in a couple of weeks.

I gave notice last Friday at our current center - and still have mixed emotions about the whole thing. Clark asked me on Friday "What are we gaining by doing this?" and one thing is kindergarten and a presumably better before-after-care program, but besides that? I don't really know. All I know is that I'm not comfortable with the current situation anymore. What makes it harder is that I loved it so much for a while.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Breif Update

Haven't had much time to blog update on life:
Work - project my department has been working on for a year has gone live and we're shaking out the work has been unpleasant. The big "sport" at my company is finger pointing. Although there are errors and missing details in every area - we can't possibly work as a team to make it right...we have to spend as much time and energy as possible pointing out the other guy's flaws.
Home - garden is still pretty much as stated in the last blog. Squash Basil and tomatoes coming in - tomatoes did take a hit in a particularly nasty storm. They had grown over top of the cages and the storm knocked them down a bit....but they have finally started to ripen. LARGE bunches of basil and 2-4 med squash are being picked 2-3x a week. We had a great play-date with an old work buddy of mine ( we were preggo together twice so kids are same ages). She decided to stay home after #2.
Kids - Daycare - NIGHTMARE - I will actually need to devote a WHOLE post to this subject in the next week or so. For now just let me say I've visited 8-10 places this week....before work, after work, lunch time.....hence no time to blog.
More later.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Harry Reed Interfaith Hero - Found on the Net

Harry Reid, interfaith hero:
For the first time in history, a Hindu clergyman delivered the opening prayer for the United States Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev, had invited Rajan Zed, the director of interfaith relations at a Hindu temple in Reno, to deliver the opening prayer to begin the session on July 12. It is common for chaplains and clergy from various faith traditions to be invited to say the opening prayer at the start of each Senate session. However, most of the time it is delivered by a Christian. It's a shame that the voices of intolerance and ignorance spoiled this special occasion. As soon as Zed began to speak, he was disrupted several times by Christian Right activists who objected to a Hindu prayer being offered on the Senate floor. Three people were handcuffed by police and charged with disrupting Congress, which is a misdemeanor. This saddens me, because I don't see how anyone could possibly object to the following words in Chaplain Zed's prayer: "Let us pray. We meditate on the transcendental glory of the Deity Supreme, who is inside the heart of the earth, inside the life of the sky, and inside the soul of heaven." These are beautiful words and certainly consistent with the Christian belief that God is omnipresent. In addition, Chaplain Zed ended his prayer by saying "peace, peace, peace be unto all." This was appropriate, because after the prayer the Senate was going to resume debate on President Bush's Iraq war policy. So I have to ask those who objected to Chaplain Zed's prayer: What's the problem? Why did you object to this? Did he say something that was so different from your Christian beliefs that you felt America was threatened and that it would bring down the wrath of the almighty? If so, I did not hear it. Chaplain Zed's prayer embodied what I so frequently refer to as the common moral beliefs and values that most faith traditions share. One of the protesters said that he was a "Christian and patriot." Now how can you claim to be a patriot when two of the founding principles of this country are religious tolerance and diversity? I am proud of Harry Reid for inviting Chaplain Zed to pray. He's my hero of the month and has done a lot to promote interfaith education as a solution for community and peace building by using this highly visible, symbolic and powerful venue to highlight America's religious diversity. Sen. Reid, who is a Mormon, said, "I think it speaks well of our country that someone representing the faith of about a billion people comes here and can speak, in communication with our Heavenly Father, regarding peace." Yes, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is not only a hero but also a champion of interfaith. He's a shining example of how we can use religion as a tool to build community and not divide it. You know there are these voices of fear and intolerance in this country that perpetuate what I call a state of enemy thinking, in which it's us against them, or Christian against Muslim, Muslim against Jew, black vs. white, gay vs. straight, rich vs. poor, etc. In other words, if he or she doesn't look like me, worship like me, or vote like I vote, then he or she is absolutely wrong and I am absolutely right. We should not let these voices of intolerance and fear prevent us from honoring the beliefs of others and accepting that there just might be another point of view with some validity. And you know what - when we peer beyond the labels that the voices of fear and intolerance use to divide us, we just might find a lot in common. I am not a Hindu, and I found Chaplain Zed's words comforting and consistent with my beliefs. Thank you, Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Rev. Jay Speights has an MA in public policy and is an interfaith minister and the main U.N. representative for The New Seminary in New York . You can learn more about his work at the United Nations at The New Seminary website or at His email address is © copyright 2007 by Jay Speights.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Nature is The Art of GOD - Dante

Think about it....If you were GOD and you created HEAVEN out of nothingness ... and you created beings to live there and enjoy your creation - your HEAVEN... how would you feel about what's been done to it? Some of that having been done in YOUR NAME?
We admire the works of Monet of Ansel Adams of Georgia O'Keeffe - but the original artist was "God" "Gaia - the living Goddess" or name any of the myriad "Creation God/Goddesses".
"Judgement" for the sins of pollution, waste and hatred is happening every day. The climate is changing; garbage gets thrown carelessly everywhere; hate causes everyone to live in fear - with locks and walls.
And again : You MUST BE the change you wish to see in the world. No one is perfect; but how can we increase "walking the walk"?
I have a friend who just recently brought my attention back to an issue close to her heart: water. "WOW, as a family of 4 you must use (waste) a lot of water. I can honestly say that I try to be aware of this consumption. I make sure I run a full dishwasher and full washing loads. I turn the water off while I'm brushing my teeth (which we never did as kids). I use soaker hoses to water the garden when it hasn't rained for a while. So, I feel pretty good about myself....however I could do better.
Sometimes I use a large bowl to wash veggies in - sometimes I use running water.Sometimes I use the veggie wash water to water plants - inside and out - sometimes I dump it down the drain.I NEVER turn of the shower while I'm soaping up or washing my hair. And sometimes I let it run longer than necessary to come to temp.I sometimes let the water run while rinsing dishes and loading the dishwasher.
And that's just water.
I also heard a news story this week about plastic recycling. There are several industries which grew up around USING recycled materials as raw materials for their products; newer carpet factories are one.
Well - they can't get enough raw materials - and in-fact 75% (3 of 4) plastic bottles (soda/water etc) used in this country are NOT recycled even though there is a demand for them. Why? Because there is no HANDY recycling container. Sport/Entertainment arenas are a big culprit. What can be done about this?Letter/e-mail writing campaigns - to law-makers and to the centers themselves. Encourage/Demand easy recycling access or ask for fines to be levied.If you attend these events - TAKE YOUR CONTAINERS HOME to recycle.
And the biggest thing you can do is THINK. Think about - "what if everyone in the world did what I am doing; treated people as I am treating them" - what kind of world would we leave our children - our grandchildren?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

LOMB - Year 4

The Land of Make Believe 2007!

Ever since Ronnie was just over a year old we've been doing a day-trip per summer to the Land of Make Believe.
And this year is no exception.

It is always a wonderful experience - and Ronnie - at least is starting to remember it from one year to the next. He's been asking about when we'd go this summer for weeks now.

This year's trip featured both boys being able to ride the rides - we spent the first hour going from one to the next to the next...
The FAVORITE was the bi-plane ride.

After lunch we headed for PIRATES COVE - and we were better prepared this year with "training suits" for both boys - full-body flotation bathing suits.
Even though the water in the wading pool doesn't even get to knee high on an adult, it's a lot easier watching active boys when they have floaties on.
Ronnie LOVED the pirate ship - with it's water cannons and slides best, and it was difficult to get him to come away from it at all.
Evan just wanted to keep jumping in the water - as if it was a big puddle - preferably while holding on to an adult hand or two. Of course, that was not too comfortable for said adult who felt like their arm(s) were being yanked out.
After spending a couple of hours there - we made our way over to the lazy river and went three times around.
After all of the water time it was time to pack-up and go home. Another great trip to LOMB.
And I think Evan is going to start remembering it now too....he's already asking when we're going to go back!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Doin the Summer Music Circuit with the Family

We've got:
1) The activity bag - complete with bug spray; diaper & wipes; crayons and coloring pages for each boy; plenty of hot-wheels cars; magnetic drawing pads; goodie bags etc...
2) The cooler - with picnic supper and drinks
3) The camp chairs
4)The activity mat (aka Blanket)

We're ready to GO!
The past few weeks have seen us getting into the swing of the summer music scene! Music- in-the-parks - FREE MUSIC - scene that is.

So far we have been to 4 locations 2 very close to home; 2 a little more of a drive.
We have heard:
- an independant local singer/songwriter
- a swing band
- a couple of duos doing OLD standards (20's - 50's mostly) - and doing them nicely!
- a traditional bluegrass group
And we're ready for more.
Each of the places we've been has more concerts planned - and we're going to try to catch as many as we can.
As musicians, my husband and I are eager for the boys to be exposed to as much live music as possible. And the variety offered in these concerts is amazing!
The summer concerts are a GREAT way to expose young children to music in a setting that is child-friendly, parent friendly and FREE.
Heck - if your 2 year-old starts a tantrum - there is the possibility that no one will notice - and even if you do feel the need to pack up and go home - you are out NOTHING.
And, hey, you might get lucky - as we have for most of the ones we've attended, and get to really have a nice time listening to some decent music under blue skies, picnicing and relaxing with the whole family - invite some friends along and make it a party!
PLENTY of communities are hosting these concerts this year.
I highly recommend it.
Some good search words to find concerts in your area:
Music; Park;Concert;Summer+name of town etc.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Courting the "MUSE"

This Moon's theme is "The Muse" - As we have progressed in our study this year it has been amazingly affirming how frequently our We'moon calendar has corresponded with the monthly theme - and how frequently our own lives have taken us along for the ride.

The book we are using as our 'study guide', "Ariadne's Thread" by Shekhina Mountainwater, though frequently irritating in its datedness (it was concieved of and written in the 70s/80s), usually has some tidbits to learn from.

This month we are pondering "The Muse" and once again We'moon has some treasures:

Sometimes, the Muse
this poem
flung out of my pen
one day.
the ink wanted to go
like that.
excerpt Marni Norwich 2005

Volunteers she called them
Volunteers she called them,
my eighty-five-year-old friend Dorothy,
those flowers that appeared mysteriously
in her Ohio yard
without her planting them,
sown by the wind
or perhaps by bird droppings.

Volunteers, I call them,
those poems that appear
in the poet's dooryard,
of uncertain origin,
gifts from the bounty of the universe
Karen Ethelsdattar 2005

Several weeks ago as I was writing in my We'moon calendar and reading the current offerings, I decided to visit their website - to see what the '08 theme was going to be. Once there I found that the 08 calendars are indeed on sale, and they are still accepting contributions for '09. The theme for '09 will be "At the Crossroads" and I just happened to have several pieces of my own that were in keeping with that them which I have now submitted...again a chance happening which goes along with the monthly theme - honoring the MUSE!

I have also found that I am particularly verbose on my blog this month.....where usually I think of things I want to write about but don't ever type them in.....

Monday, July 9, 2007

Carbon "Footprint" - How do YOU help save the planet?

On Friday I took the "Live Earth" carbon footprint test - .

I can't find my emailed result right now but I think Iremember it being 250.

The national average for the USA is 350 - so my family is doing a little better than the rest of the nation...but there is a lot more that can be done.

I also signed the "Pledge" me this is more than just a "nice to do" for the environment.

This is saving MOTHER EARTH, GAIA, The Goddess - and making sure there's something of the NATURE I knew growing up left for my kids and my kid's kids.

What I do currently:

Recycle all paper and cardboard, plastics, glass, metals - curbside

Recycle batteries at the recycling center - approx annually

Compost vegetable materials from the house and garden

Most of the time:

turn off lights /equipment when not in room/or in use

Use dishwasher/washing machine only when full

Keep temps higher in summer (hardly use personal air conditioners at home anyway)

Keep temps lower in winter

Grow/purchase produce that is "locally" produced for the most part.

Freecycle unused household items

What I am committing to do going forward:

Re-use plastic store bags as frequently as possible - currently we use these for garbage recepticals as well and do not purchase separate "kitchen" trash bags.

Install more compact flourescent lights and replace some multi-bulb fixtures.

ALWAYS turn off lights/appliances when not in the room

ALWAYS turn off my monitor when leaving work

What do you do currently?

What can you pledge to do going forward?

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Thoughts on Mortality

(Not morality - morTality)
"Having children can change the things you think about." -That's a no brainer you say??

Well, one day while I was driving home I think I took it to a new level.

I have a close friend who's mother died before she turned 4, her mother left not only her, but a younger brother and an infant sister as well. Within a year, my friend's father had remarried (I imagine in self-defense, it was the early 70's Mr Mom was over a decade away). My friend grew up with this new person being her mother. Her birth mother did not abandon her, was not legally separated from her, but was ripped away from her by some sort of brain hemmorage. Her maternal grandparents lived many states distant and she grew up not knowing them - it was never clear whether this was by their doing or by my friends father and new wife. Her father and "mother" did keep photo albums of her mother and momentos of her early years locked away, and the facts were NEVER allowed to be spoken.I have known this story since our college days. It has always bothered me when I've allowed myselfe to think about it. But other than the one or two times my friend needed to get it out of her system and talk it remains a secret garden - hidden/overgrown/forgotten. She has only hints of memory of her mother...more of the chaos sthat ensued after her death than any concrete memories of the person who gave her life.

My children are similar in age to 2 of the 3 left behind by this mother. My connections to them are so vibrant, but what would happen if I wasn't here any more? Would they remember the times we've snuggled for hours? Would they remember the silly faces and giggling? Would they remember how much I have loved them?

I hope those questions never need answers.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Now, I GET IT!!!!!

Last night as I was driving home I had an a-ha moment. Actually, I had 2 but I can only remember the content of one. Anyone who has 2 kids less than 2 years apart can probably relate.

This particular a-ha moment was music related. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have been a musician practically since I was born. My primary instrument was violin, but over the years I had lessons on recorder and piano, and viola - which almost became my primary instrument during my highschool years.
Most of my musical experiences up to high school were pretty much fed to me by my father. He was a dance-band and orchestral musician, so Classical music was the biggie with Montovani and the like a close second.

One summer when I was in High School, my brother and I went to sleep-away music camp for 3 weeks. I got in on a viola scholarship, which meant I had to play viola in most of the groups I was scheduled to participate in. They did let me play violin in one quartet. However, to my GREAT disappointment, the music that was selected for that quartet to play was (horrors) a MODERN selection. With "MODERN" being spoken with the same disgust as a dirty word. It was dissonant and had a meter that constantly shifted. It wasn't the Mozart or Vivaldi I was used to - that I knew I could play.

I despized that piece of music - I was depressed that the only chance I had to play the violin was compromized by my lack of appreciation for the "ear-shattering" dissonance of the piece. I don't even remember who wrote it. I do remember that it was a brand new piece and that our little quartet would have been only the second formal performance of it. I say "would have been" because the four of us disliked it so much that it was never performance ready. Our coach - who picked the piece and LOVED it - was highly disappointed in our obvious disrespect and disdain.

That summer, I was introduced to another idea. The idea that music was linked to or could draw out our emotions. I heard one of the counsellors comment that the Brahms trio my brother's group was playing "made them cry" it was so beautiful....

That was new for me. I had always looked at music as a very mechanical thing. You played the notes on the page - with the inflection required by the composer - loud/soft/fast/slow etc. That gave me something to think about, and aspire to. But I didn't connect any of that to my dislike of the "Modern" quartet.

Years have passed - about 25 now - and I've been through a lot. Relationships have come and gone. My life philosophy has undergone stress and modification. I understand and appreciate everything from Gregorian chant to Heavy Metal. I don't ALWAYS want to have to listen to either, however. AND - my big a-ha moment - I LIKE music with"tight" harmonies. AKA dissonance. I frequently prefer it, in fact, and have for many years now...

Jazz, folk, rock, "Modern" classical.... It resonates deep within my heart and soul.

It is about emotions, it's about fear and loss, it's about getting to the other side.
It is about LIFE.
And Modern Life is not always - or even usually - harmonious.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Peace & Enviromentalism Continued

You must BE the change you wish to see in the world.
Mahatma Ghandi

Continuing to stand on the soapbox I got up on yesterday...
Peace and ecology go hand-in-hand. A lot of things are really about "have"s vs "have not"s.
If we can each make a smaller impact on the world around us it can only help the planet and all of mama earth's citizens in so many ways....
What Ecological footprint are you leaving? - Reusable Solutions

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Summer Solstice 2007 - Dreaming of Peace

Ours is a SMALL planet, but this planet is essential to us.
We cannot yet survive independent of it. We need its fresh air and water... we need the warmth of its sun filtered through its atmosphere...we need its gravitational pull on our bones. There is enough potential for Mama Earth to throw us off her back -all on her own - violent earthquakes - waves - monster volcanic erruptions.... We need to stop fighting each other and Her and live like the family we are. Sharing our resources; finding ways to stop laying waste to the fields and oceans; doing what's right for humanity.
We're all connected - in oh, so many ways........ - UNESCO's Transdisciplinary Project "Towards a Culture of Peace" -The Peace Project - World Peace Project for Children - Peace Pole Project - World Peace Prayer Society - The Everest Peace Project

Thursday, June 14, 2007

In anticipation of Father's Day

I was forwarded the following in an email - not sure who it is attributed to - but it is great!
10 Commandments of Daddy
Fatherhood, you might argue, is too complicated to be reduced to capsule form. But complexity only adds intrigue to the quest for guiding principles. And do we need guiding principles. After all the emotions, all the yelling, and all the laughter, I have distilled the duties and demands down to a decade of Dad dicta. Herewith, on behalf of all God's children and their male parents, the 10 Commandments of Daddy.

1. Hey, Dad, be big
In spirit, that is. Consider some of the big guys who have gone before you: Father Time, God the Father. You can't give this role a walk-through. You've got to play it. The kids expect stature from you. You're the anvil on which they hammer out their deal with the world. Be a presence in their lives-and in their minds.

2. Hey, Dad, be small
Yes, this contradicts the first tip. Don't be so big that you suck all the air out of the room. Give your kids space to move around in, to test their thoughts and strengths. Take a backseat three or four times a week. Say, "Maybe." Say, "I don't know." Now and then, tell the kids you're sorry-assuming you behaved badly. You'll feel brand new.

3. Hey, Dad, come home
Lots of fathers have two jobs. If that's your situation, God bless you, pal. You'll get no heat from me. But if you can pay the bills without working double shifts, get home when you can. Nothing good can happen until you do.

4. Bob and weave, Bubba
Stay light on your feet. Don't make too many hard-and-fast rules. Don't insist on having your way with the kids just because the rest of the world isn't always overly interested in the sound of your voice. There is a difference between authority and power. Have the first; don't abuse the second.

5. Never dance in front of their friends
Remember the cautionary legend of the father who once picked his kids up at a junior-high dance and actually went into the gym and did a few seconds of the Hully Gully with Margie Costanzo. His adult children still have embarrassment nightmares.
(Renee's addendum: This one depends on the execution - if it is appropriate to dance and the embarasement comes from NOT dancing then it needs to be done.)

6. Save your money, big man
If you're not careful, the kids will send you to the poorhouse three dollars and twenty-nine cents at a time. Think college tuition. Think down payment on their starter homes. Although it's true that money can't buy happiness, it can buy lots of other stuff.

7. Spend your money, tightwad
F. Scott Fitzgerald said the sign of a first-rate mind was the ability to have two opposite opinions at the same time. You're a first-rate mind, Dad. So spring for the glowing monster trading cards. If you've got the money, pop for the musical princess crown. What are you saving your money for, pal? College? Hah! You can't possibly save enough. There is the future, and then there is now. This is it.

8. Never go on a ride with the word whirl in its name.
Especially the Space Shuttle Whirl at the Great Escape near Lake George, New York. It's tougher to be a good father when your nervous system is permanently compromised. Stay on the ground and wave.

9. Let 'em be-they're not your second chance
We become most upset with the kids when they remind us of... well, us. Help them follow their own path, not your road not taken.

10. Love their mother
Hug Mom. Often. In front of the kids. Sure, sometimes marriages end, but the obligation to a woman doesn't. Be grateful to her. Speak to her with respect. Try to make her laugh. Listen. Even if you're not married to her, figure out how to love her.

(Renee's addendum: same goes for Moms)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Mommy, Did we Loose Missy?

Ok, I have SO MUCH to write about - things going on that are making me CRAZY!
BUT - Last week one night my big boy had a bit of a melt-down and as he was calming down from it he asked the cutest thing....
"Mommy, did we loose Missy?"
"Which Missy do you mean, honey?" I asked. I only know one Missy, but he goes to daycare, so you never know.
"You know Mommy, Missy & Julie"
Missy and Julie and Lizzy are our adult nieces, and Missy moved to Maryland last summer. We really haven't seen too much of her since then. She's been back north a few times, but schedules haven't really meshed. I explained that she lived far away now, but that we would see her some time, hopefully soon. But Ronnie was really upset, so I asked him if he wanted me to help him e-mail her.
"No, Mommy. Can we call her?"
Thankfully I still have her cell phone number - so we dialed it - he pushed the 'send' button.
We left Missy a message telling her we love her and miss her.
It is so easy to loose people, people we care about, people we love - unless we take the time to reach out to them.
Don't forget to connect with those you love today!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Happy May Day!

Our family has been celebrating the coming of SPRING for the past two weeks.
With frequent evening as well as weekend forrays outside, much garden/landscape sprucing and even dining al fresco.
The kids have been intoxicated by the breezes running and playing and "helping" with the gardening.
Sunday they helped fling grass seed and chanted words of welcome to the season.
Now that spring is officially here we wish everyone a happy WARM (not HOT) season to enjoy the birds and the bees , outdoor activity and relaxation!
How do you celebrate the season????

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Found on the Net

Rules for LIFE

1. You will receive a body.
You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours the entire period.

2. You will learn lessons.
You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called Life. Each day in this school you will have
the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant and stupid.

3. There are no mistakes, only lessons.
Growth is a process of trial and error: experimentation. The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately "work."

4. A lesson is repeated until learned.
A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can then go on to the next lesson.

5. Learning lessons does not end.
There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.

6. "There" is no better than "here."
When your "there" has become a "here," you will simply obtain another "there" that will again look better than "here."

7. Others are merely mirrors of you.
You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.

8. What you make of your life is up to you.
You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.

9. Life is exactly what you think it is.
You create a life that matches your beliefs and expectations.

10. Your answers lie inside you.
The answers to life's questions lie inside you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.

11. You will forget all this.

12. You can remember it whenever you want.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

April 22, 2007 - Song for this Earth

as the waters rise
and take back
dry land
while the sun still attracts
our planet
as we spin
round her core

and as the layers
that protect us
are vanishing

I sing a song
for this earth

as our friends the mammals
the fish, the bees, the snakes
all sea and land creatures
all things furry and
with legs and wings
in whose eyes
there is a knowing
far deeper than ours

are threatened
in their specieshood daily
their millennial existence
annihilated in our split seconds

I sing a song
for this earth

~Mary Steel 2005

Friday, April 20, 2007

BLUE'S CLUES 2 - Birthday Partying with Blue

Well, the 4th birthday was a BIG success!

Everything was ready when birthday guests started arriving...The boys had taken naps!!!!And everyone arrived "on time"- around 4pm.
So party games were able to start together...
Blues Clues "Notebooks" were passed around and Blue explained that we were trying to find clues to figure out what the BIG PARTY SURPRISE would be.
We all made Blue's Banana Pops for a nice snack to keep us happy while we did other things.The 1st CLUE was discovered as clean-up from the pops was under way - and everyone drew a WALL in their handy dandy notebook.
We quickly morphed into CRAFT activities of bug building and t-shirt painting.Blue's 2nd clue was discovered out the window, as that activity became less interesting and everyone drew a SLIDE in their notebook.
As the party was making it's way to the play room the 3rd clue "bounced" in to the room and everyone continued on to the "Thinking Chair"
My niece Rebekah was the first to figure out what the BIG SURPRISE was and then there was a mad rush to the door!
The kids had a BLAST on the Bounce House! Played on it and the other outside structures for quite some them back inside with calls of presents and pizza....and then it was all over.
I'd call it a BIG SUCCESS! The kids were always focused on an activity - there was no fighting, no crying - just FUN!!!!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Birthday Party Eve

Well - Tomorrow is the big day.
As hard as it is to believe, Ronnie turned 4 on Monday, but tomorrow is his PARTY! He requested another Blue's Clues Party several months ago...and everyone is set for a fun-filled afternoon.
Last year I was SO prepared for the Blue's Clues party - this year I've got A LOT more to do in the next 24 hours and I'm a little worried.

I have to go shopping today for a bunch of stuff...and put together goodie bags...and straighten the house...and figure out how to keep 7 sets of fingers from banging on the Piano tomorrow. (YES we have a piano now- will blog more later.)
The clues this year will be leading to the bounce house pictured above. I had started thinking about getting one of these SEVERAL weeks ago and hesitated to spend the money. SO, I got to the Tuesday before the party, yes 4-10 and still had no idea what we were going to do. On Wednesday I started calling everywhere I could think to call to see if anyone had any in stock to pickup - NO LUCK. So I went on ebay to try to find a local place - NO LUCK. So I called one of the ebay stores and asked how much it would cost for 2 day shipping....the lady said it would double the price. BUT she also said that normal ground delivery from her (Illinois) to New Jersey should only take 2 days. So, I ordered it and started praying!
Thankfully someone was listening - it is right now sitting on the UPS delivery truck ready to be dropped off at my house.

Unfortunately my prayers did not include weather wishes...and it is kinda iffy for tomorrow.
I do have a bunch of activities lined up so that if the bounce doesn't work for this party - at least we'll still have fun stuff to do.
T-shirt decorating....with special fabric markers and beads...

Banana Pop Creations - bananas with PB or Yogurt dipped in crunchy toppings YUM

Egg Carton Bugs...

Pin the pawprint on Blue

And of course playing BLUES CLUES!!!
More to come....

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Ten of Cups

Last night some friends and I met to do some divination work.
We shuffled the deck of tarot cards thinking about all the myriad things we are in the process of doing, all of the things we need to do, and all of the things we want in our lives.
We laid cards (face down) to represent each thing. And then - instead of picking a card/cards from the bunch and selecting something - we removed cards - eliminating things. We left ourselves with only one card - and each of us had a powerful message.
Mine was Ten of Cups. I wish I had the exact card image to display...I might try to get it and scan it to post later....It is a beautiful card with a rainbow and ten golden chalaces - calm waters and happy, satisfied people.
Here are the explanations I have found on the 'net...

10 of Cups: Count It All As Joy (c) Cheryl Lynne Bradley 2006

Joy is the will which labors, which overcomes obstacles, which knows triumph. -William Butler Yeats
The excursion is the same when you go looking for your sorrow as when you go looking for your joy. - Eudora Welty
Capacity for joy Admits temptation. - Elizabeth Barrett Browning Aurora Leigh (bk. I, l. 703)
We live in a world which is increasingly difficult to understand and to navigate. Morals, ethics and justice seem to be taking a back seat to greed, rampant consumerism, hatred and misuse of power on a global scale. The problems facing our world are all products of the corruption and self-destructive, self-absorbed lean of our society and our increasingly pessimistic view of what the future could hold. It doesn't look promising at all.when we see how many people in our world don't get enough to eat, don't get proper medical care, live in battle zones or have known nothing but war, unrest and persecution (real or perceived).
The 10 of Cups in the Tarot is a happy card. It contains images of happy families, rainbows and gives us a sense of joy and emotional fulfillment. Wouldn't it be wonderful if life could always be this full of happiness and contentment. The reality is that life is hard and sorrow is always plentiful. Our situations can change quickly, without reason or rhyme. As I always say, people can be cruel and disappointing far more often than they can be compassionate and supportive. Sometimes I think people are bored with their own purposeless lives (and so boring) that they have nothing better to do than be mean, petty and hateful. This card tells me that the people depicted have chosen to count only joy.
I believe that this card is telling us that no matter what is happening in our lives, no matter how difficult the situation we are in, that we have to count and consider it all as joy. We have to learn to fill ourselves up on the beauty of the past and the hope of the future, and to keep only these things in our heart. It is easy to get stuck on thoughts of what might have been, what could have been, what should have been and what we wanted it to be. It is much harder in some situations to accept the reality of what was. It is difficult to be clear and in the present when we are dwelling on events in our past that cannot be changed, but that may have been deeply devastating or traumatic for us. It overshadows any of the joys we may have experienced in that same past, but those joys were there, they did occur and they deserve to be remembered.
I do not see the 10 of cups as completion, (10 Fish in the Merlin Tarot by RJ Stewart).
I read the 10 of water as fertility it's self, (this is key). Emotional openess equals vulnerability and fertility. This is the type of vulnerability and openess that precurses pregnacy. (note:pregnancy is not an end result, quite the opposite actually). The Ace of Fire penetrates the 10 and we have conception, conception of an idea, an action and or a life
In this, the 10 of water stands as emotional history and the perception of that history and it's not repeating. Not knowing what to expect leaves one feeling vulnerable, (to say the least) regardless of how positive the difference. Simply being open to new experience leaves one with feelings of vulnerability and various levels of fears, but not locked into any one particular state. The 10 shows the openess, the movement, the changeability and most of all, the fact that there will be movement out of the 10.
The 10 is not as much about the current state as it is about how the current state can and will change.
With the 10 of Cups as your Daily Tarot Card... (This is the ACKNOWLEDGMENT card! It says: I appreciate what I have!) Today you ought to count your lucky stars, and revel in your good fortune! You have something to be happy about, so why not allow yourself to smile and enjoy it? Take the time to acknowledge whatever it is that is so good in your life now, for this is a day to take a break from the challenges of life...and stop to smell the roses instead!

Spring is the Thing!!

I know I haven't written much lately - it's those conflicts of work vs motherhood again.I'll write all about it once the conflict (ie the work) has settled down to a manageable level.

On a brighter note - SPRING HAS SPRUNG! - below are some thoughts on these two topics...

For the love of gardening is a seed that once sown never dies, but always grows and grows to an enduring and ever increasing source of happiness. Gertrude Jekyll

Spring Cleaning
Time for tulips, worms, resurrection
The tulips open and close, open and close
Like breathing wings
Testing the possibility of spring
Time for dawn to lick out the last
Of that rich dark bowl of night
And bleed her own colors into the world
Branches that were bare just last week
Shoot volleys of blossom in the sun
And green wood on the apple tree takes off
Like an arrow into the sky
Even old beams in the house begin to softly sing
Of leaves and the fresh arc of wind
Time to take a spade and shove sharply
With your heel in its old rubber boot-

See what survived, shake out the bugs
Get some air in the roots
Throw out piles of papers,
Unfinished projects
Like layers of old mulch
In the morning your heart is still
A cupped leaf holding dew
If you can match that stillness
And look into the sweet water of your own heart
You may catch the wild promise, a goddess just waking
The magic of your own rebirth

Miriam Dyak 1996

There Is a Need to ROAR
So, where do we go to ROAR
Where do we stand and stomp and shout
Where do we clench our fists and bubble like lava
There's no place to ROAR but this white flat page
(which chars at my touch)
To ROAR with such power and rage and anguish
That people run, windows break
Rocks leap, and trees grip the earth
To ROAT with such ferocity and fangs and spit
That the jagged ripples wreck and wreak havoc
Sidewalks split, buckle and grind to dust
Cars flip and collide like toys, asphalt melts and returns
To its prehistoric liquid pit in the earth
To ROAR and vibrate with every angry molecule who already
Exists aching for expression
Summon volcanoes and earthquakes
Tidal waves and tornadoes who wait for just this moment
Join the universal burn
The need to ignite, to change, to start over, to cleanse
Open your mouth wide
Because there is a need to ROAR

Elizabeth Kelly 2005

Friday, March 16, 2007

Being the Mommy I always wanted to be

I think every mom must start out with ideas of how she wants to be and the kinds of things she wants to do with her children. I know I did.
And then you have your babies...and you love them and you cuddle them... but everyday life crushes in on you. The house cleaning and maintenance , the laundry, feeding your family - and for a large number of us full or part-time employment. And that's not even taking into account the sleepless nights with sick babies - teething babies or babies who just won't sleep.
I always dreamed of being the perfect mommy; patient, letting the kids help with everything, teaching them all sorts of things about nature, music etc.
I certainly don't have the level of patience I thought I'd have. In fact - when I stop and look at my own behavior sometimes I'm amazed at my LACK of patience. I get so frustrated when the boys are boys and talk back, when they make messes with their food, when they won't go easily for naps or bedtime or when they won't clean up after themselves.
I don't get to do nearly as many activities with the boys as I'd like. I've been wanting to start Ronnie playing the violin....I've been talking about making pine cone bird feeders with them all winter....the weekends are always too short.
And I'm not alone, not that I've spoken with a ton of other moms, but the ones I know feel the same. They don't measure up to what they wanted to be. EVEN THE STAY AT HOME MOMS say they don't have as much patience with their kids as they'd like to have.
I know that at least part of the issue for me is sleep deprivation. I have caught myself yelling at the boys at the drop of a hat when I'm down on sleep (ie when Evan isn't sleeping well). When I'm regularly sleeping through the night I have a little more patience.
But that is certainly not the whole issue. And neither is not working outside the home. It's also not a lack of love and affection for the kids. I just adore my boys and love snuggling and doing things with them.......
So, what is it? Is it a normal part of motherhood to feel you don't measure up? To loose your cool completely on occaision?
I know that just being able to sit back and observe myself helps sometimes. I try a little harder the next time to have a little more patience...
And like I said I think that things have gotten a little better since Evan has been sleeping better. I just hope that I can keep it going in a positive direction; have more of the positive attitude that I'd ALWAYS like to have with my boys.
And so the quest find the inner mommy, to find the patience I used to have for nieces and nephews and children of friends.......

Monday, February 26, 2007

Moving Again...

No, no, not houses - rooms.

Boyz rooms to be exact.

Last weekend DH and I moved three rooms of furniture - blessedly almost all of it was already on one level.
When we moved into this house we designated the two smallish front bedrooms as the boys rooms. The center room, closest to mommy and daddy was the office/guest room. Well, about 3-4 months ago, neither boy would sleep through the night, so we did some experimenting and Ronnie ended up moving into Evan's room - which made Evan's room quite crowded... Around the holidays we decided that when Evan was done with his crib we would move both boys into the middle room and use the front rooms as guest and office. And about 4 weeks ago, Evan gave up his crib....kicking and last weekend we moved and moved and moved. the front three bedrooms are:

1) Boy fantasy land - Cars, Knights and Dragons

2) The Celestial Suite

3)The Library aka office aka craft room

And Mommy and Daddy's room is still in great need of cleaning and sprucing....hmm I guess some day there will be time for that....maybe when we've caught up on all of the lost sleep...

Friday, February 9, 2007

BRRRRR Enough Already!!!

OK...we're definitely NOT done with CHAOS yet.
This week has been frustrating - at least work wise - so much so that I'm starting to review my old books on Feng Shui again. Time to get some energy moving in the career direction! Without getting too much into the details of the situation - I worked in the office 8:30 - 8 yesterday, then went home and worked from 10 - 3:30 am.
Outside of work - the home stuff is chugging along without a lot of focus. The boys are stir-crazy from being inside too much due to the cold weather (It just broke 30F for the first time all week).
The light is really noticably returning - and waking the boys earlier and earlier but I'm just plain TIRED. I'm not quite sure why it's becoming so dramatic again....but I need to get some energy quick!
One highlight this week is that I spotted a FOX trotting across our patio a couple of days ago! And we actually managed to get the boys to the window before he disappeared! It was very exciting for all of us!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Music for Tykes

The boys have been in daycare for a year now. It has been a learning experience for us all.

We chose a community run daycare center for several reasons - location, cost and food. Yes food - our daycare center serves breakfast, lunch and 2 snacks a day - and usually the breakfast and lunch are hot meals. What our center lacks is extras like the "special programs", music & sports offered at the pricey daycares (which don't serve meals or charge mucho extra for that convenience).

Since then, I've been a mom with a mission! I have music experience! I have experience teaching music to young folks, I enjoy being only obstical is WORK. Last year when I first thought up the idea of going to the daycare and offering special music days I was still working for Atilla the Hun, but I was in the midst of a transfer. And yes now I work for better folk, but it is still Corporate America and asking for a few hours off once a month (which was my original thought) is like asking for the keys to the corporate bank accounts. (Not that they have any problems asking you to work extra hours on a weekly basis). So, I haven't quite gotten up the gumption to ask....yet.
What I have done is to do it on my own time. The first one was last Halloween. I used some vacation days to have a long weekend over Halloween - with the intent of doing some extra things for the holiday with the kids and doing some extra fall housecleaning. I also offered the daycare a special music program for the kids ....
I figured I'd bring my violin and do the usual nursery rhymes etc - then the director asked me what my "Program" was going to be - which forced me to really think about it. Thank goodness! I went in with a plan.
At the time, my boys had been listening to one of my chant cd's in the car and LOVED the song Grandmother Moon. They would call to Grandma Moon during full moon nights and sing along with the chant. So...since at Halloween the dark hours are growing - I decided to do Moon and Stars - Our friends as the theme.
I had Twinkle little Star, Grandmother Moon and a couple of other songs, a book "The Moon Comes Home", and in a couple of the rooms I used Elaine Silver's "Half Moon Rising" . Beyond that I did Happy Birthday where appropriate, and kids favorites. I played in the rooms for each age group - and had a different wonderful experience in each room. One thing that did stay the same - from 12 mos up - each kid had the opportunity to help me play the fiddle.
My next opportunity came on MLK day. Miraculously my company gives this as a holiday, but daycare is open. This time I went without a theme - and it was OK. Having lived through the experience once - I knew what to expect from the age groups. I must say, that the pre-school teacher is one of my best friends when I do this. She would really LOVE it if I could do this REGULARLY and build on what I'm doing. She has repeatedly offered to do prep lessons or followup lessons with the kids.
I guess I just have to get up the gumption to ask for a few hours once a month from my really wouldn't cost him anything. I already work overtime....

Happy Imbolc! Spring is almost Here!


The feeling in this still dark, unstable, muddy time
that the light at the end of the tunnel is my own soul
staring back at me on the inside
and I'm blind as a mole pushing through
some primal unseen path
with my stubby little snout and inexplicable will
If winter is a wide ocean of night
January is the hollow point, the trough
that holds visions too deep to fish up into morning
it is a cave too far down for light or even hunger
life hibernating in me suspended, waiting
and the mind floating free of the body now
like something promising but unborn
I want to lean over my own self to see if I'm breathing
I want to regress into a world of fur and blood
I am as slow as a stone's pulse
Into this no place, no thing
Imbolc comes at the end of forever
and the begining of all time
Suddenly there is one fiercely yellow crocus open
dreams pierce dense and soggy layers of sleep
right up into the thin clear air of day
just like the red torpedo shoots of peonies
pierce the ground by my back door
carrying all the courage that weeks later they will need
to unfurl those painfully delicate new leaves
I am asking for that courage, Mother
I'm ready as I'm gonna be
nothing more to wait for
just hold my hand while my eyes stumble into light

Miriam Dyak 1994

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Catching Up - OR - HOLIDAY FRENZY!!!

Whew! It's been a CRAZY RIDE!

The holiday season just blew by us this year - but not without much activity and sharing joy with our kids and family and friends.

Early in December our town hosted a "Pictures with Santa" event. This was the first year that "SANTA" had meaning for both, we took the boys and watched Santa arrive via Fire engine. Then we waited in line for our turn to talk to Santa and have our picture taken. When it came to our turn Ronnie didn't even hesitate this year - and because Evan does EVERYTHING Ronnie does - he paused only a couple of seconds before joining his brother. This was the first time we actually heard that Ronnie had a definite 'Wish List' and there was only 1 item on it - a tunnel...from that point we had a mission - to find out what he meant by tunnel.
The answer came during the next week - after grammy paged through the TRU catalog with him - it was a TRAIN TUNNEL!

Over the course of the next couple of weeks we had several cookie baking sessions - some which included small boys, and some which did not. Ronnie is a MOST ENTHUSIASTIC participant in kitchen activities, and was VERY proud of his cookie efforts! As this was Mommy's first year in a LONG time to actually bake, it was time very well spent! And MUCH appreciated by Daddy!

We celebrated the Winter Solstice as a family, by noting how far to the south the sun rose (it was to the right of our LARGE pine tree) - and trying to remember where it rose in the summer(much farther to the left over our greenhouse we think). As observed from our kitchen's bay window, this is a VERY wide arc of rising points. In the evening we celebrated by extinguishing all of the lights in the house to symbolize the dark time - then we began to bring back the light by lighting a small candle for each one of us -we then went through the house turning on all of the lights to help us remember that the darkness won't last forever and that the sun's course has changed to bring back the light again.
We bought our tree - in our family's tradition - close to the last moment - Dec 23 - and brought it inside. We decorated it on Christmas Eve when we had another small housefull of guests - Grammy, Grampy and Auntie Jill. The boys were exstatic - and VERY excited! Ronnie set out the cookies for Santa - and both wanted Grammy to put them to bed, but the excitement was so high that it took Mommy and Daddy to do the job that night! Then we had to stay up getting the train table setup and the presents under the tree!

Christmas day was AMAZING this year! The boys loved opening their gifts - were SO happy with everything they got - which was A LOT! And SO happy to play with it all. Nap-time was non-existant - there was FAR too much excitement for that!

We had our dinner at my brother's new house this year. It was delicious and the kids had a blast....all 4 of them running like crazy people around the downstairs hallways!

The boys' daycare closes for the 'week between', so I was home with the boys all week. We got in some play time with friends we don't see very often which was very nice. It was my intent to have Evan pottie trained during this week, but he had other ideas....
And then all too soon, it was New Year's Eve. Again, this year, we played dominoes with a couple of friends - a quiet and relaxing ringing in of the new year.

Hope every one had a wonderful holiday - however you celebrated - filled with family fun and magical moments!