Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Here is a montage of the girls and I my husband made of us. He was working on a powerpoint presentation for the first day of his fencing class. That's foil, epee, and sabre, not barbed wire or white picket.....

My husband learned how to fence at the local university through their Fencing Club and has been teaching the class at the university for 10 years now, or 21 semesters, as he would put it. Click the fencers above to go to a What is Fencing? website.

Someday I will post more fencing pictures. Somewhere I have some cute ones of Dancer Girl when she was smaller fencing, and some of my husband.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today is your birthday, Dad, and we have been thinking about you all week. Every day when we do our calendar activity, Dancer Girl counts the days til your birthday, and then counts the days til your party. We are so excited about your party.

I have been thinking about the day you were born, and naturally I was thinking about your parents. I was thinking about your mother, and how much you must miss her. I think about about how much you missed. Then I think about your Grandmother, and all the family who loved you and took care of you. I am thankful for your Grandmother, and all the aunts and uncles, because they were your parents when your parents couldn't be there. I don't care how many times you may have felt left out or forgotten as a child, you are not forgotten now. We are not forgetting you. We are not forgetting your mother and father. I thank God for them, because without them, I wouldn't have you, and neither you nor I would be here.

Every day, I have been thinking, what special thing can I do for my Dad for his birthday? I have come up with a couple of ideas, but have not settled on anything yet. I guess you will find out :) when we see you. But I wanted you to know I love you, I think about you every day, and I am glad you are my father.

You have taught me how to be an artist. You have taught me how to see the beauty in many things. I have learned the value of working hard and doing your job with integrity and to the best of your ability from you. I have learned patience and unconditional love. I like how you wake up and look at the new day as a wonderful thing, and look for love and beauty in it. I am glad I have had a father, many children have no fathers. I am glad you and mom are still married. I am glad you value your marriage and your children. That is a valuable gift to me. I know there are many more things you have taught me.

I remember you and I sitting in a doctor's waiting room. I remember you showing me how to draw a flower. I remember you drawing me pictures to color like these. I remember you helping me learn how to write. I remember you playing with us in the yard. I remember you jumping into city lake to rescue me when I fell in. I think I was only 3. I remember thinking, Wow, Dad must really love me. Thank you for all the wonderful memories.

Thanks, Dad, for being there for me. Thank you for loving me, my husband, and my babies. I love you. Happy Birthday!

you can go to my dad's blogs(check his profile for all of them) Tomas, or to the wonderful family pages my dad has made to learn more about him and our family.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Quick Response from Quaker

Here's what I got in my inbox:
We're sorry your family did not enjoy the Quaker Instant Oatmeal Fruit and Cream Variety Pack, and was not pleased with the ingredients used in this product as well. For your dissatisfaction, we are sending a full value replacement coupon for that box in the U.S. Postal Mail. This coupon should arrive in seven to ten business days.

Each of the ingredients in a product is selected carefully based upon the flavor, texture and appearance that it provides. Nutrition, health concerns, and flavor stability are also considered. Federal laws regarding the use and labeling of all ingredients are followed carefully. Nonetheless, we are sharing your comments about the ingredients with our product development team.
We appreciate your business, KittenYarn, and hope you will continue to use our other products. We also invite you to visit our website at
www.quakeroatmeal.com for information about all of our oatmeal products.

Quaker Consumer Response

Thank you, Quaker Oats. That certainly gets you points. Thanks for listening and responding quickly. Just thought you guys ought to know....

Silly Cartoons

Just spent a few minutes reading silly cartoons, trying to find something funny to post today. A couple of them were cute and I chuckled at them, but alas, you can't see them, because they were not free.

You can google, "cartoon of the day," and look around, and blow about 10 minutes. If you don't want to waste 10 minutes, you can just read the silly joke I read on the package of instant oats (see, I guess you can find value in anything, ha)

Why do hummingbirds hum?

(I will give my mom about 5 minutes to answer :) , then I will post the answer in the comments). Sorry for the non-entertainment provided here today, just wanted you to know I am still here. Quite busy with school and home, etc. etc. I skim everyone's posts, mostly no time to properly comment.

Garfield found here

Friday, August 18, 2006

Take a Deep Breath

Well, we all made it to Friday. Whew! I woke up this morning a little more stressed this morning. So I remind myself to take a deep breath. I stop to blog a few minutes and remind myself that some things are out of my control (cats getting hit by cars, children waking up early, husband working overtime). And I think about the things that are in my control. The plug for the television set. The pull cord for the drapes that let in the morning light. My ability to feed the cats so they stop meowing SO LOUDLY, and therefore lessening the chances that Little One wakes up.

I find myself this morning tip-toeing around, trying to get things done before Little One wakes up. Once she wakes up, then there's breakfast to be made, and another day of what I call toddler negotiations. For whatever reason this week, Little One has stood her ground, and not much has been able to motivate her to do the simplest things she usually does with joy and gusto. Things like going potty, putting on her velcro light-up Strawberry Shortcake sandals, talking in complete sentences. Now I know she is barely 2 and a half, but this kid talks up a storm. So I don't feel bad making her say, "Help, please" instead of incoherent babbling, screaming, and crying. So this may be one reason to add to the stress pile this morning. Oh, if she would just sleep until 8 am. (ok, stop laughing at me, I mean it)

The other stress was that I have known all week that today was garbage day and this week I had to deal with something really gross (alert: graphic story ahead. If you are eating your breakfast, you may want to skip to another blog and come back later. I wouldn't want anyone hurling their oatmeal...oh, wait, that was last post).

Over last weekend (Saturday afternoon, I believe) we had to deal with a white kitty dead on the road around the corner. So here's how it goes....

My husband comes home with the bad news. He distracts the kids while I go out with bags and box to pick up kitty off the road. I set her carefully in the box with the bags on a table in our carport. Husband, who is the official digger and cat-burier, does not want to tell the girls, and has to leave to go back to work. So I think, and cry and keep it to myself all Saturday night and Sunday morning. After church, I tell husband, please can we tell the girls and bury the kitty. So we tell the girls (insert Dancer Girl, much crying). Husband goes back to work Sunday afternoon, still having no time to bury the kitty.

At this point I see lots of flies as I walk past the box. So on Monday or Tuesday husband comes home early to bury the cat. He is not happy with me because the cat is not actually in a plastic bag, but on top of an old vinyl tablecloth inside the box. So by the time he got to bury the kitty, the whole thing was not very pretty and did not smell well. So husband buries the kitty in a hurry, and because the whole thing is so gross, and smells so bad, he leaves the box and the tablecloth in the backyard near the burial site in a corner of the backyard. I am not mad at him, no ugly comments please, that is just what happened.

So here's the part that stressed me out. All week, I knew I was going to have to deal with that tablecloth and that box, because garbage day is Friday. I knew I would put it off til this morning. So picture me going about my business.....I wash my hands after going to the bathroom, glance out the back window to see my pretty flowers in the back yard.....and there is that box and tablecloth (on purpose I have not gone into gory details as to the exact state of the tablecloth). All week, I have not let the girls go in the backyard to play on the swingset, because of this box and tablecloth. All of this is silly, I know, but neither husband nor I wanted to deal with the little white squirmies. He reasoned that they would grow up and fly away.

So, then comes today. I wake up anxious and full of dread, knowing that today was the day. So I went out there (nothing touched with bare hands, mind you) and took care of it. It is done, the garbage is at the curb(insert multiple hand washings). There were no white squirmy things to deal with, though there was a lovely smell.

I suppose I must apologize for dumping this on you first thing in the morning. It is just that I woke up a little stressed (i know, i know, stress of my own choosing). The good news is that I more caught up with laundry than I usually am. There are only a few small loads to wash, and a few to fold and put away. We have had a busy and productive week at school. Some days I kept up with house things, and other days, they got left behind. I know I will feel better once I get the dishwasher loaded.

Isn't it silly how we let the external things in our lives control our stress and happiness? I say to myself, I will feel better when the dishwasher is loaded, when those clothes are put away, when the cat is buried. It is silly, and it is not. I actually find that I do feel better when I can see my counter tops and find clean underwear in my drawer. I feel better when there is nothing to trip over in the living room.

So again, I tell myself to take a deep breath. Though some of those things are in my control (laundry, dishes), there is no point getting yourself all stressed out before the day has really started. Um, I mean, myself. So I stop and think. What would God really want me to do today? What will the best things to do be?

get the family clean and dressed (including myself), feed the family good food on clean dishes, say Good morning with a smile and be glad to see them as they wake up, be patient with childish behavior (jumping, tickling, forgetting, going potty at all the wrong times at the wrong places, wanting Happy Meals every day, asking for every pretty doll on every commercial), sing songs to my family and with my family, play outside, let the children help fix the meals, let the children vacuum the floor (or clean the television screen or bathroom mirror) and not complain at how long it takes, read books, play games, get off the computer the first time my children ask me to, turn off the television, tell them the truth, etc.

I could go on and on, but this is my list for me. So, sorry for the gross story, but I really hope you have a good day. I feel better already.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Shame on you, Quaker Oats Company

First let me say that I LOVE oatmeal. Always have. My mom made mine with milk, lots of butter and sugar(thank you, Motherkitty). So here's the deal. My husband bought the girls some instant oatmeal in yummy flavors : Strawberries & Cream, Blueberries & Cream, Peaches & Cream, and Bananas & Cream.

So Little One picks Blueberries & Cream and I start to make it for her. As I stir, I peruse the ingredients list. Imagine my astonishment when I read that there are no blueberries in the Blueberries & Cream. That's funny, I think, what were those little dark blue things that looked like dried blueberries. Figs, I tell you! Ok, I give them credit, they did put some blueberry concentrate in there. Oooh. That was low on the list behind: "dried figs, dried corn syrup solids, modified food starch, sugar, dextrose, glycerine...." And then to make all that stuff, etc. blueberry-like they had to add "blue 2 lake" and "red 40 lake". Huh? How hard would it have been just to put dried blueberries in?

Ok, so know I am thinking, surely there are peaches in the Peaches & Cream. Nope. Dehydrated apples. Strawberries in Strawberries & Cream? Nope. "Sugar flavored fruit pieces": namely "dehydrated apples [treated with sodium sulfite to promote color retention], artificial strawberry flavor, citric acid, red 40". What? Where's the strawberries? Bananas in Bananas & Cream? This one was the closest with "banana flake powder."

To top this off, I went to the website for some info and found this in the FAQ:

Q: Are your oats organic?
A: No. However, it's important to understand that organically grown foods are not more nutritious or safe than foods grown using more modern agricultural practices. The same standards of nutrition and safety apply to both types of foods.
(emphasis mine)

What? Isn't is common knowelge that modern agricultural practices are filled with chemical fertilizers, chemical bug killers, and hormones, etc? How are all those things better for you than pesticide-free, hormone-free, other chemical-free food? Grrrr.

Quaker Oats, I am very disappointed with you. I am very glad that my children didn't like this very well. Dancer Girl thought it was way too sweet. You should have seen how big her eyes got when I told her she those weren't strawberries. That Little One wasn't eating blueberries. Sounds like deceptive advertising to me. Sure if you squint and look close enough on the front cover, in a font much smaller than the word "FRUIT," you will see the words "artificially flavored fruit pieces." Oh well. I guess this one gets a 2 thumbs down.

Contact the Quaker Company and let them know you what you think about this:

Call Quaker toll-free or Email Quaker (U.S.) or Email (Canada)

Later in the day update, after much rumination and meditation and discussion:
I also just noticed the amount of sugars (carbohydrates) in each packet of instant oatmeal. The low ones were 26 grams and the high ones 27. That is just about the same amount in only 8 oz. of Coca Cola. And we all know a can of coke is 12 0z., but still, that is a lot of sugar for a little bowl of oatmeal. From what I have read that is anywhere from 6-10 teaspoons of sugar per serving. This article states 10 teaspoons per 12 oz of coke. According this article, a big bowl of Frosted Flakes may have less sugars/carbohydrates than a bowl of this instant oatmeal. Would you make yourself a bowl of oatmeal and put 10 teaspoons of sugar on it?

Now don't get me wrong. I like Coke. I drink Coke. I gave my kids Fruit Loops for a snack today. It is just that sugar is so addictive. You expect the sugar in a coke or sugar cereal, not in your instant oatmeal, trying to pass itself off as healthy and full of fruit. That is the problem I have: this product falls in the same category as Fruit Loops, Coca Cola, Cocoa Pebbles, Big Macs, etc. to me. They can put what they want in the product, and let whoever wants to buy it. Just don't try to convince me that it is as healthy and good for you regular oatmeal with fruit in it that you added yourself. I send them a royal raspberry.

Ok, now I am done.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Birthday Pics

The first week of school has gone great! Dancer Girl and Little One have kept me very busy. Both are really enjoying school. We are starting to settle into a routine. It seems almost crazy but even with school I was able to keep up with dishes and laundry, more than usual it seemed. That is a plus. Dancer Girl's birthday celebration was fabulous. Yesterday, I finally cleared a path in my dining room, and got some of the pile of birthday things put away. Thanks to all who came. We had a wonderful time!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

First Day of Kindergarten

I am so proud of Dancer Girl. She just finished her first day of kindergarten. And when her Proud Long Haired Daddy asked her what she learned today, she told him a lot. She said today was August 8, she knew that the letter of the week was "Aa." She remembered that the season right now is summer. And she sang her daddy two songs with words in them starting with "Aa." She practiced writing, drew a picture, wrote a story, did a nature walk, did lots of math worksheets. She told her daddy that "Aa" is a vowel. This is the same girl who will go to get a pair of socks and come back with a new outfit on, and a deck of Go Fish cards(not a true story, just an example, mind you).

She and her teacher came up with a word list of words that start with "Aa." There was story time, and rest time at school. Dancer Girl's first day was a busy one, but very productive. And, I think she really likes her teacher :) ..... me.

Thank you to Long Haired Daddy for encouraging me to write about this today, and to be a teacher to my children. Even Little One was excited to do ABC worksheets, and drawing. She thought she was going to school, too. I couldn't be the mom and person I am without my husband's support. The best part is that it felt so good to teach the children today, and know that they were excited and happy to learn.

Friday, August 04, 2006

A Time for Dancing

As usual, I woke early and sit in the quiet dark of the house. This morning my thoughts are all towards my daughter. Today is her birthday. She is finally 5 years old. She is so beautiful and seemingly mature. She is learning to read, and loves to do math. Any time music plays, anywhere, she breaks into dance. This is why I call her Dancer Girl. Even when she was in my belly growing and growing, she seemed to wiggle, stretch, and twist. I will never forget that early ultrasound where she was jumping and leaping across the screen. Well, she has never stopped.

In fact, very soon after we got home from the hospital, I found that one of the only ways to get her to calm down and get to sleep was to bounce, sway, and dance with her. No rocking chair for her, too confining, she didn't like bumping her feet and head. I tell you, she couldn't be still. When I was pregnant, I always found myself standing and dancing, or swaying when music was on, I was so happy. I did this even in church. I would get out of my seat and stand in the back, where I had plenty of room, and dance as much as I wanted. Even to this day, if Dancer Girl comes to the big church service instead of her class, she wants to stand in the back and dance. And I let her.

So this morning, I am thinking of her. Last year, on her birthday she woke up to a bed filled with balloons (actually I did this on every one's birthday last year but mine, ha ha). That was so much fun. But this year, I am trying to think of something different to start the day. I am thinking of showing baby pictures, telling birth stories, and sharing the letters her grandma wrote to her when she was growing in my belly. And, of course, sing her all the birthday songs I know. That is pretty ambitious. I will probably just play it by ear.

I love parties, and of course my children have had big parties every year. So much fun. This year is no different. We finally settled on a flip-flop/hula kind of theme. I haven't had many RSVP's so I hope plenty of people come. Regardless of who comes, I know we will have a good time. For the party, we are making our own hula skirts. There are the leis, the flowers for the hair. We are going to make hula girl hand puppets. We even found a flip-flop cake at Wal-Mart. I even made flip-flop sugar cookies. You could kind of say that I have gone a little overboard.

Anyway, today will be a quiet family day about her. Ok, it will probably not be quiet. There will be lots of singing. There are two quotes (ok, there are not only two, do you really think Motherkitty could stop at only two quotes? just teasing mom....that means I love you, by the way) that my mom wrote in the letters to my daughter before she was born that really mean a lot to me:

"There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under heaven: A time for giving birth, a time for dying; a time for planting, a time for uprooting what has been planted. A time for killing, a time for healing; a time for knocking down, a time for building. A time for tears, a time for laughter; a time for mourning, a time for dancing. A time for throwing stones away, a time for gathering them up; a time for embracing, a time to refrain from embracing. A time for searching, a time for losing; a time for keeping, a time for throwing away. A time for tearing, a time for sewing; a time for keeping silent, a time for speaking. A time for loving, a time for hating; a time for war, a time for peace." Ecclesiastes 3:1


The poet Carl Sandburg said, "A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on."

I love you, Dancer Girl, more than you know. I am so proud of you. I love to see you happy, and dancing. I hate to see you crying, and sad. You are a gift to me from God, another way God has chosen to say that he loves me. There was a time in my life when I didn't think I deserved to be a mother, a time when I thought it would never happen. But when I see you, Dancer Girl, it is proof of God's love and grace, just for me. And that is why part of your name means "full of mercy". That is one of the prayers that your father and I have for you, that you will grow up to be a woman who is full of mercy, love, and compassion for others. We love you so much. We love you more than 100, 000 million :)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A Girl's Thoughts About Rocks

Quote of the day:
Dancer Girl:
"Mama, I want to see a melted rock one day." Make sure you pronounce "rock" like "wok", in a little 5 yr old girl voice. When she said that, it took about 5 full seconds of digesting in my brain to realize she wasn't saying "wok", but "rock." I asked her what she meant, and she said, "Lava. It is in a volcano." Oh, lava, in a volcano. Of course I reply, "Maybe, someday," like moms do when their children ask nearly impossible to do things.

Anyway, she is technically 4.99, and not 5 yet. Friday is the official day. Saturday is party day.

So, back to this girl and rocks. She keeps saying she has a rock collection. She tells almost everyone she meets that she collects rocks. She has one favorite little black rock that she keeps losing and finding. She keeps it in the Big Green Van. The truth is, she and her sister try to pick up every little gray rock in every gravel parking lot they come to. People's driveways are not immune, either. Then you hear my voice, the mother: "Put that down. You can't just pick up rocks in parking lots everywhere you go. If you want a rock collection there are much prettier rocks ." etc etc. Yeah, that's me, dasher of hopes.

Well, anyway, I got the girl a bag of rocks for her birthday. Smooth, shiny rocks. Black ones, gray ones, white ones. I am hoping it will be one of her favorite gifts.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Five Things Meme

I got tagged by my The Four Bears....

Five things in my freezer: frozen french fries, Schwan's ice cream, ice cubes shaped like stars and beakers, frozen broccoli (with cheese of course), Rocky Road
Five things in my closet:Trivial Pursuit, yarn, memory boxes, sewing notions, empty scrapbook with box full of things to go in scrapbook adjacent to it :)
Five things in my car (Big Green Van): Goldfish cracker crumbs; Scooby Doo umbrella; unused sparklers from the 4th of july; pool floats; scripture memory songs; bag of children's books, toys, and dolls
Five things in my purse: sparkly lip gloss, Dragon Tales pull-up, Wal-Mart receipts, sippy cup, Water Babies sunscreen
Five things in my wallet: stamps, more Wal-Mart receipts, butterfly/flower checks, picture of Dancer Girl and Little One from 2004 (ages 3 and a couple of months), Red Cross Blood Type Card (o-)

The Chosen Ones :)