Thursday, February 22, 2007

a stephen covey moment

Dave decided he wanted to renew his use of the Franklin Covey planner during 2007. During most of our marriage he has used this calendar system to organize his work and family life. The last couple of years have been chaotic and so he is just now getting back to his system. On Monday we were all off for President's Day. Jordan attended a Girl Scout event encouraging young girls to be engineers. That left the rest of our crew to run errands. After lunch we went to the Franklin Covey store in the mall. Perhaps you've been in this is quiet, beautifully organized, and full of expensive leather binders and briefcases. We arrive and make our way to the back of the store. William is hanging out near Dave and browsing alongside. Grace finds a glass shelf stocked with little charms you can clip onto your binder. She ever so carefully examines each one and then puts it back on the display. I decided to hang near Grace (though she was behaving) since monitoring seemed prudent in such a store.

Dave makes his selection and then tags me in the monitoring department so I can go browse. I am looking at all the neat "first things first" thank you notes, leather purses, and goodies when I hear Dave say, "Did you hear THAT?" Umm no, I didn't dear. I'm lost in all this put your family first literature.

Apparently Dave asked Grace to begin putting all her goodies back up on the shelf and get ready to leave. The child -- 2.5 years old I might add -- says, "This jewelry is soooo nice Daddy, but I'm not going to steal it today. No, I not going to steal it."

Gulp and double gulp. Where on God's green Earth did she add "steal" to her vocabulary? I suspect she picked it up during some older sibling squabble where one child would blame the other for "stealing" a seat, a nintendo dohicky, or a book. The girl has impeccable timing...using that new vocabulary word in a store that promotes good values. Ah parenting, dull is not thy name.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

daily grind

Last Friday was the Girl Scout's Father-Daughter Dance in our area. Dave and Jordan enjoyed their "date" out together. They started at a Japanese steakhouse for a hibachi dinner with a little appetizer of sushi. Then they headed out to the dance. Dave noted that there are not too many years to enjoy daughter dates...apparently there weren't too many older girls there at the dance past middle school age. I think it is a great way to teach a daughter her value and how she should expect respect once dating in her teenage years.

Today we attended the Georgia Music Educators Association District gathering to watch Jordan's elementary chorus perform for an evaluated score. It was amazing to see how crisp and sharp they sounded after months of performance and practice. Even more amazing to see how quickly the group is morphing into "big kids". They performed "O, Deysayo" which is an Angolan folk song and "Al Shlosha" which is a Jewish song. A sound group professionally recorded it so we hope to have a CD of the performance soon.

Valentines day was a big hit around here -- how about for you? Jordan and William wholeheartedly enjoyed the school celebrations and chance to eat candy. Grace got the extras so she was thrilled. She saw the older two creating valentines on Tuesday afternoon and made one for Pop-pop also. Holidays are fun with little ones.

I've been trying all the new recipes that go with Dr. Oz's diet. He has several good ones in the book and more on the website and I've had good luck with most of them. On Monday night I tried to make the Black Bean Soup. It was good, but the journey to complete the meal was rocky. I must have been brain dead Monday night because I forgot every scientific fact I learned in school. At the end of the recipe you need to puree it via a food processor or blender. First I put half the soup in my food processor and as I placed the lid it started oozing out of the bottom of the bowl part from the base of the processor. After a moment's panic I managed to get it back to the main pan. My next thought, as the dinner deadline approached, was to use the blender. I set it up in the blender, put the lid on tightly, and then cut it on. In a moment I created what my kids will forever know as the "Black Bean Incident". The middle part of the lid flew off due to the heat and pressure (remember basic physics?) and the soup completely covered myself and the kitchen corner. It even flew behind my cabinet doors and got onto all my plates and daily china. The kids thought it was really funny...especially since it happened just moments before Dave came in the door. It took hours to clean up. Ya gotta laugh, right?

You know, it's funny that I titled my post with a coffee reference. The only part I've had difficulty with on this "diet" (if you don't count reese's cups - hee) is the affect it has had on my daily coffee. Somehow skim milk tastes like water in the cup and the Splenda I use doesn't quite melt with the coffee flavor like sugar. (BTW, I've discovered that Equal literally turns to formaldehyde in hot liquids so unless you want to start embalming yourself early you might want to switch to any other sweetener than that one.) Anybody got any suggestions to make my home coffee brew taste better?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


We got a call last week saying that my almost 88 year old Grandfather was sick. Really sick. So sick that we had a suitcase packed with a full set of clothing for every occassion. All last week we were on hold, worrying and waiting for each update. Grampa had pneumonia a month ago and was hospitalized during the worst of that. It seems like his systems are still recovering from that and he recently began to struggle with heart and kidney functions. The strain of pneumonia was so potent that four people in his nursing home died from it. Amazingly Grandpa has pulled through the immediate crisis and was released back to his home yesterday. He's strong and always has been. Even though he is a stroke victim (almost 10 years ago) paralyzed on one side, I still remember him as the person who was capable of doing or fixing anything. It's hard for me to think that my children will never know the strong, hard-headed man I grew up knowing. But I am thankful that they treasure their relationship with their Great Grandfather and that he has gotten some pleasure in watching them grow. Jordan named him "Great Pa" (Great Grandfather plus Grandpa) when she was two and the name has stuck for all six great grandchildren to use.

It's funny, this may not be an award winning photo, but it is truly priceless to me. Knowing that my Grandfather can interact with William is special. (One day I'll post a photo of him before the stroke -- he was so handsome.) Technically the stroke took his speech capabilities, but somehow he utters each child's name while they are visiting. The brain is perplexing. Apparently the part which allows him to sing is intact so he can sing every word of a song clearly. He will burst into music to show his happiness during a visit. Grace was taken aback by the bravado of Grandpa's singing last time and it seemed she didn't like it at all. Two weeks later during one of her little nighttime prayers she stopped and said, " Thank you Lord for Great Pa. Mama, hey Mama -- you know Great Pa can sing sooo good! I like it!" and then she went right back to the rest of her prayer.

I've begun preparing myself for the inevitable goodbye that will happen one day. In reality I've been preparing for this since he had his stroke. I make sure to say a true "I love you" each time we visit and I've made sure the kids appreciate him. Still, it will never be easy to watch a loved one struggle to the end. Only God knows the true ending I suppose.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

weather, tea parties, and watchful mothering

Brrrr! I'm glad we live amid the seasons, but I readily admit that Fall and Spring are my favorites. We missed the seasons horribly while living in California and Hawaii. Georgia certainly has its share of each season -- and enough to keep us happy. Though I love my winter sweaters and coats, it takes a lot of effort to keep up with the gloves, hats, and coat linings required each day for three young ones. I am constantly finding an odd glove or hat around the family room or in the car. Even though they aim the majority of the items at the coat closet some things just get separated.

Yesterday my dear FIL took Grace for a few hours and took her on errands so I could begin to complete my resume and portfolio. I'm still gathering information and rewriting items. I've got plenty of substance on the resume, but the question is how to use it best for each job I want to apply. The portfolio is something that you business types never have to worry about. I've got a huge collection of projects -- websites, logos, interactive pieces, and corporate communications examples -- to display. My FIL has agreed (thanks to my husband's initiative and helpfulness) to take Grace twice a week for a month or so. I think it'll be good for Pop-pop, Grace, and me. She adores her Pop-pop and really felt special yesterday with him.

Speaking of Grace, we had a little tea party this morning. It was all her idea. I turned around from cleaning up breakfast to find her setting a "table" on the seat of a chair. She had pulled her lego box up for her seat and instructed me to sit on the floor. There was no doubt who was in charge during this play episode. She fixed pretend spaghettios and salad with milk. I imaginatively offered her a serving of bread from my hands and she got visibly upset. "I didn't cook bread for this meal. Wait a minute and I'll go get it out of my kitchen!" she said.

I later heard her humming and then joined in with the official song. Once again she got completely flustered with me -- "Mom! There are no songs at this table! It's just not right." Guess I got put in my place, huh?

You'll be proud of me. I decided to stay out of a school situation with Jordan. Some older (5th grade) girls had aggravated her during chorus and tried to make her look/sound bad to the choral director. On Thursday she was visibly upset when I picked her up from Choir practice. The two girls had been making "off" notes behind Jordan and then when the director would come over to investigate with his ears he would look directly at Jordan. The poor girl was almost in tears, but held it together. My mother hen instincts made me want to zap an email off to the choral director immediately. Dave took one look at me and mentioned that Mr. Tighe had an educated ear and was a smart teacher. I'll now admit Dave was right, but it was still hard to resist fixing the situation. On Monday the girls did not bother Jordan at all. I'm dying to know what really happened, but I do think the situation would have been worse if I intervened.

One last bit of news -- and I am SO EXCITED about this. One of my best friends, Patricia, from college has moved to Athens, Georgia from Baton Rouge, Louisiana with her family. Her husband is an outstanding football coach (and great person) and has been selected as the Offensive Coach for UGA. I'd love to live in the same neighborhood with them, but being an hour away seems like such a blessing. It was like getting a special piece of news for my birthday when I heard they were coming. They've had to move in a whirlwind because of the job's requirements, but I think they are happy to be back in the state where Stacey grew up. Here is an article about the whole move:

Stacey Searels hired as new UGA Coach

It was quite a shock for me to find so many articles in the media about an old college buddy. Pretty cool. I think he's going to be busy recruiting for a week or so. The SEC Football conference is fiercely competitive and loads of fun to watch.