Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving! and the Turkey Trot

This year we had Thanksgiving at Jason's grandmother's house. And a wonderful time we had! In addition to the niceness of seeing everyone and the yummy food, she put a lot of thought into the place settings and tablecloths, the flowers and just overall presentation. It was nice!

Granny and Nan came to visit us a few weeks ago and I forgot to get a picture of the two of them with the baby, but I'm glad we got one over Thanksgiving. Nan is the kids' Great-great-grandmother and Granny is the Great-grandma.

Two days after Thanksgiving I ran my first 5K Turkey Trot. The week leading up to it, I was cursing that I even signed up for the darn thing to begin with. I thought "What is this insanity that has caused me to pay $30 to wake up early in the morning to run 3 miles in the cold?" I guess I thought it would be motivation for me to finish the Couch to 5K program. So anyways, I did my fair share of complaining, but I suited up anyways on race day and the family all headed out to Bonelli Park. It was a beautiful morning, nice and crisp and there were lots of people. I honestly still didn't feel prepared for this thing. The max I had run without stopping was two miles. But I lined up anyways and when the start bell went off, so did I. My goal was to finish the race without stopping, and to not finish last. I am proud to say that I accomplished both of those goals. I have a slow jogging pace, but I didn't stop.

There were three things that I did right:
1. Wear a beanie so that my ears don't get cold. I am very sensitive and get a headache quickly if my ears get old.
2. Wear a light hoodie jacket. It was COLD but of course once your body heat picks up, things are fine. At the one mile mark I took off my jacket but was glad I had it as a warm-up.
3. Bring kleenex. Running always makes me have to blow my nose. So I'm glad I didn't have to try and figure that one out without a tissue!

In the end I finished in 40:45, number 101 out of 161, I was 10th in my age group, and my pace was a 13 minute mile. So basically I was on the back-end of the middle group.

I'm really glad I did it!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day Out with Thomas

Last weekend Jason took the kids to the Day Out With Thomas event at the Orange Empire Railroad in Perris. I had heard about this from a few people in the past, and about three weeks ago it occurred to me to check to see when the event would be taking place. Fortunately I looked at just the right time!

Adam loves loves loves loves trains. All trains really, and definitely Thomas the Tank Engine. In fact here are Adam's favorite You Tube's that he begs to see on a daily basis:

At the Day Out With Thomas event the kids got to take a 20 min train ride lead by Thomas, they got to visit with Sir Topham Hat and there were lots of toy train tracks to play with and bounce houses, train tattoos and other fun stuff. Jason said that Adam could have played with the train track sets all day long. I expected that Adam would be so excited and almost freaking out at the wonderfulness of seeing a real Thomas train, but Jason said he was silent all day long. He said it was as though he was completely overwhelmed into silence. I think this is probably true because now Adam talks excitedly about Daddy taking him to see the train and he also remembers that Grandpa has taken him on a train. So he remembers it and it makes an impression on him, but during the event he is stoic. My contribution to his love of trains is that I walk him over to see the Metrolink come in every Thursday while Frannie is in her ballet class. "Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!" That's his favorite part. And the whistle.

When I ask him if he wants to go play with James he looks at me with bright eyes and says "James has trains."

When I ask him if he wants to play with Nicholas and Catie he says "Nicholas. Train." Yes, indeed dear, Nicholas also has trains.

So I guess trains are good for his social life!

Every single day, several times a day, (in addition to asking to see the trains on the computer) Adam looks up at me and asks "Buy new one. Train."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Frannie Sings in Church

These days we've been going to St. Luke Lutheran Church in Claremont. We've only been going here for about 4 weeks, but one thing I like is that they give the kids the opportunity to sing in church! I wish I had known they were going to have them sing all four verses of the song, I would have taught them to Fran. But I taught her the first verse and she sure can sing the chorus!

Friday, November 20, 2009

My Big Fat Homeschooling Dilemma

If you are close to me in anyway, then you know that I am constantly going back and forth over whether to send the kids to traditional public school or to homeschool. I have been fretting over this for the past two years and the debate continues strong. A few months ago I would have told you that I had made my decision: I would be sending Frannie to regular K. So then why can't I just drop it? Why do I keep yakking about it, reading books about it, and asking a bunch of questions about it? Why can't I let it go?

It must be my need to fully research everything. For example, we are going to get some laminate flooring in the house next year and I've had four different guys to the house so far to show me samples and give estimates. Every person who has been here has taught me something new about the process so I can then ask more detailed questions.

But schooling isn't flooring obviously. It's much bigger, lightyears more important, and has taken me much longer to process. And I'm still processing every single day. I'm sick of it actually.

So here is my big fat homeschooling dilemma laid out:

Frannie is social. She thrives in group environments. I can't get her to eat so many foods, but if she is with other kids she will gobble up anything on her plate. I have seen time and time again how she dedicates herself to something if other kids are doing it too. So in terms of school I believe she will learn so much and just soak it all in. I suppose this could also backfire and she could adopt "attention-getting" behaviors that she sees. I certainly have seen her play the whole "us two are in and you're out" scenario with other girls. But in talking strictly academics, she does well in groups.

With homeschooling it is much harder to create a group environment. I know that I would sign her up for outside activities such as ballet, art classes, and possibly girl scouts, but what about an academic environment? I do worry sometimes that the school system has become so focused on test-scores that they are introducing concepts too soon and overburdening elementary aged children with homework. I hear friends of school-aged ones bemoan the amount of homework that their kids are taking home. It's all very time consuming and often just busy-work. Part of me feels that if I'm going to be spending an hour and a half on homework then I might as well just homeschool and get it done earlier in the day.

That said, homeschooling is such a huge responsibility. It requires long-term, short-term and daily planning. It's another job that is enmeshed with mommyhood.

So that is part of it. I actually have other concerns about the academic parts of home vs. traditional school but this post could end up being ridiculously long if I list absolutely everything that is on my mind.

So onto the social part of it. I go to an amazing homeschool group on Tuesday afternoons and there is just the best group of little girls and boys and they all play together so wonderfully. We are there for about 3 hours and it is non-stop playing and make believe and fun. Everything that is great about childhood is present in those three hours at the park. Every time I come home I think about homeschooling again because I really don't want to let that go. I don't want to let the park day go! I couldn't ask for a better group of children for my children to grow up with. Truly.

So when I think of homeschooling I feel like I am choosing between park days and flexibility but also taking on the sole burden of my kids' academic life, which I'm not convinced yet that I can handle! When I think of public school I feel like the academic burden is lifted off of me, and I think she will learn a lot, but I also see a future of social cliques (and all that that entails) and one-size-fits-all learning environments with lots of evening homework. In addition to Frannie, there is the matter of Adam and Natalie to consider. Obviously I have no clue what type of learner Natalie is, but Adam's style is starting to emerge. I actually see him as an independent learner at this point.

Right now I'm reading 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. It helps you to figure out your child's natural learning style, your (the teacher's) learning style and needs, and match you to curriculum that will fit. I have also read Discover Your Child's Learning Style. I recommend the latter book whether someone plans on homeschooling or not simply because it gives insights into what kind of learner your child is which is helpful to know no matter where a child goes to school. Before reading that book I was often confused about why Frannie would learn things well in some situations but not in others. After taking the little analysis tests they offer in the book and reading her learning profile it all made much more sense to me.

So at this point I am at the place of seeing if I can possibly find an educational method and curriculum that works for the both of us to see if I could handle the academic responsibility of schooling at home. Meanwhile, I am going on tours of my local elementary schools next semester to see how things are run in my district.

What about Jason? How does he feel about all of this? Well he is an open-minded soul. He can see the pros and cons to both decisions as well. If I give a convincing argument for either one, he is pretty supportive. My parents are the same. Either choice is fine to them.

Whatever decision we end up making, I hope you kids don't hate me for it in the future! Mama is just trying her best! Remember that!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

So I'm in a book

Many moons ago I was on the Hathor the Cowgoddess site and saw that the comic writer Heather was asking for birth story submissions. I went ahead and did a simple copy/paste from the quickie birth story I wrote up after Adam was born. Done.

I completely forgot that I did that until about 8 months ago I got a random email saying that she had chosen my birth story and would I please fill out a release form.


So I did, still thinking that maybe it wasn't quite anything. Afterall it had been over a year since I sent that story.

But it turns out it was something, and that something is now in the form of a book titled Simply Give Birth and I'm on page 79.

It is a bit strange to see my birth story because there was definitely some editing done. Certain moments that were important to me in the actual birth were edited so it doesn't read the same way that I remember it happening. Jason also feels the same about that when he read it. But either which way, it's there and it's kind of cool.

Holy Smokes!

I just realized that the Turkey Trot is in two weeks. A little less than two weeks. I haven't gone running in probably 4 weeks! Time to put my sneakers on.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Easy Breakfast for One- Dirties ONE dish

My dad gets a lot of credit for this creation but I took it a step further. To do this you need a small flat-bottomed bowl. Children's bowls work well. Pictured here is Adam's Lightning McQueen bowl. Here's how to create a super fast breakfast that dirties one dish (well, two if you count the fork):

1. Put a bagel in the toaster.

2. Spray bowl with Pam, crack in one egg and beat slightly.

3. Put in microwave for 30 seconds.

4. Egg will be fully cooked and in the perfect shape to put right on top of your now toasted bagel.

5. The possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Baby

She's always a part of the action. I'd say there is never a dull moment in her world. From that moment in pregnancy when I realized that God likely created so much protection for babies in the womb to guard against toddler elbow and foot blows to the abdomen, to these moments when there is pretty much a constant stream of whoops and shouts in her ear, she really has never been alone. She is sweet, mellow, joyful, always on the floor or riding on my hip. She's very nearly crawling. I enjoy watching her get up on all fours and do that back and forth rocking and big chest lunge as she goes for an object. She rolls all over the living room and spends ample time playing with her favorite toys: her feet. My heart breaks and rejoices every time I look at her. She's growing. When they are babies it feels as though they will be babies forever. And then something changes, and then something else a little more. Anyways, I cherish her and cherish her babyhood. I delight in all of her ways.

I love the baby fat rolls on her back.
Her infectious ample laugh.
Her pudgy feet.
Her soft brown ducky hair.
Her squishy booty.
The way her legs run run run when I'm holding her on my hip facing outward.
I appreciate that's she's pretty easy to put to sleep.
I like watching the kids make her laugh.
I love the huge smile she gets on her face when I pick her up out of her play pen after a nap.
She feels so good in my arms to hold and cuddle.

I'm feeling sentimental because I just realized today that she'll be 6 months old already on Thanksgiving Day and I can't believe it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Jenny took the girls to see Snow White at the El Capitan theater. These are a few pics that Doreen took. I am so happy my kids have cousins!! And wonderful Aunties!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My Boys at San Dimas Grain

This picture touches my heart on a few levels. There is the sweetness of father and son together holding hands. I think it is very cute that Adam and Daddy look so much alike physically but then we've got the same croc shoes, jeans, sweatshirt, and at-home clipper haircut. I also noticed how Adam is holding his little train the way he always does. The fact that they are standing in front of that big stack of hay bales is pretty cool too because I have a picture of Jason at age 20 bucking a straw bale right there in the back of the store.

San Dimas Grain holds a special place in our hearts as a family simply because that is where Jason worked for all of those years and he still works for the same bosses today (the former owners of the store are the developers of the dog food company Canidae.) He continues to be connected to the store and its current owners Scott and Deanna and does work for them occasionally. My parents have been going to that store for over 20 years now. I remember Dad taking Herbie there to get his shots when I was a kid and of course that is where Mom found little Archie about two years ago and called Dad telling him "You HAVE to come down here and see this dog!" During Jason's years of working there (was it 10 years?), Mom shopped at the store just about every week for horse supplies, dog food, crickets, you name it. As for our pets, Cookies and Crackers are San Dimas Grain kitties.

So there has been a lot of life and connection to that place for our entire relationship. It makes me happy to see those two holding hands at such a special spot. Maybe Adam will work there someday?