Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
In the last month, I've noticed a huge jump in Finn's vocabulary. He's using words that I'm shocked about (in a good way) each and every day. On Tuesday, we sat at the kitchen table after school talking about his day. He asked me why there are so many vegetarians at his school. Surprised that he knew the word, I asked, "Finn, do you know what a vegetarian is?"
"Yes!" he said proudly. "People with darker skin and hair."
Finn attends a Montessori school that is vastly multicultural and I've seen the the lunch specifics that include not only allergies, but multiple dietary life choices for kids of all cultures. I immediately spun into a frenzy as a result of his racially slanted comment, although I know that's not how he meant it, that's just his experience at school. Grasping my "teachable moment", I asked, "Do you know what vegetarians DO?"
"Sure. They don't eat meat," he said.
At least the intelligence component was there! I quickly assured him that people of all looks, races, colors and creeds can be vegetarians, I mean, his own mommy has spent months at a time living that lifestyle.
Makes you think about how some misunderstandings begin and makes you want to uncover them all. At four.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Here's the word she missed:
fin: as in a membranous, winglike or paddlelike organ attached to any of various parts of the body of fishes and certain other aquatic animals, used for propulsion, steering, or balancing.
I'm sure you can guess how she spelled it:
Finn: proper noun. as in a tow-headed nuisance who she couldn't love more.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Here are a few shots of our geisha girl, our rainbow sorceress and Snake Eyes.
Monday, November 1, 2010
We did airplanes and lots of tickling and then I did this silly thing I used to do when they were really little: I sniffed his still baby-feet and put up a huge fuss like they were the stinkiest things on earth. In between his belly laughs and gasps for air, he said, "Remember that Mom? Remember when we used to do that?"
"I do, " I thought as I marveled as his near-adult like observation. "And the time I make for these moments is much too little." There is nothing like the uncontrollable laughter of your child from a good tickle. You know that at that moment, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that they are full to the brim with joy. All because of you.
What am I doing depriving myself of that?
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
As a mom, I can certainly imagine that teaching is beyond difficult and requires unheard of stamina and patience. In the one hour and fifteen minutes I was there today, I ran out. Fast.
There was the little girl I know from another walk of life that tried to make silly jokes throughout my "teaching". There was the boy that flat out refused to listen to me - he just kept spinning the globe at warp speed. I finally said "Hey you!" I know, totally inappropriate, but I didn't know his name! Logan said, "MOM! His name is Tony!" And I tried with Tony, I really did. But minutes after making his acquaintance, all I wanted to do was send him to the Principal's office. Then there was Wyatt, who refused to do the project, but created the most elaborate rubber band designs on record. None of which he got credit for because the child refused to make even one square on the stupid board.
I watched that clock tick down like it was 2:55 pm in 1989 and I was waiting for the bell so I could see my high school boyfriend. When my stint was done, I cleaned my desk and exhaled as Logan's awesome teacher sent them all away and back to their desks. As she came over and smiled, she said, "You survived!" And I said, "You're my hero. It's official!" And then, "Time to go!" I like her so much because she totally laughed. She gets it and then some.
Here's to all you teachers out there! I thought my job was hard....
After a long weekend of required activities resulting in not the best birthday on record, Mike and I took the kids to La Sorella di Francesca's on Sunday night for my birthday dinner. I mentioned to a few people that we were taking the kids and they thought us nuts. But it was perfect. They tried new foods, practiced manners and ordering and plowed through dessert with us like little celebrating gourmets.
When do we ever do something so nice? Not often, I'll tell you. While we sit together regularly, doing it in a swanky place, with delicious food and someone else cooking and cleaning up makes it a truly special occurence. From appetizers to wine and our ending cappucinos, I just kept thinking, "this is perfect."
If that's not a happy birthday, I don't know what is.
Friday, October 22, 2010
39. Coffee. Especially in the winter. I still long for the best cup I ever had on August 8th of this year at Glencoe Roast Coffee. It was a vanilla latte that can never be surpassed. Wish I lived closer.
38. Living in a little bit of country. The fog through the trees and over the cornfields at sunrise is amazing. Better with coffee.
37. Writing. The real stuff. It feeds my soul.
36. The fact that shirts got longer. I'm sure they'll cycle back again, but I love hiding the belly bulge.
35. My minivan. Who would've guessed?
34. DVR. It may just be the single best invention during my motherhood. I can finally relax at bedtime on Thursday nights.
33. Our bed. Good for so many things; there is no better feeling than falling into it at night.
32. Autumn. I really do like everything about this fleeting season. From the colors to the smells, it is everything that I love.
31. Feeling proud of my kids. The effort they put into most things is admirable and they deserve to feel great about themselves. They certainly make me feel great about them.
30. Crest Advanced Whitening White Strips. Seriously, these are the best. Nothing improves the
wrinkle-scene more than brighter whites.
29. Good quotes. I'm one of those people who they truly inspire.
28. Working in the dirt. I'm just a novice, but I love it. Need a bigger gardening budget.
27. Cooking. One of the most important things I do. Complete peace comes over me when I'm deep into it. Just need to learn not to take it personally when it doesn't turn out!
26. Lindt Chocolate with a Touch of Sea Salt. MMMMM.
25. The fact that Mike likes to clean up when we entertain. It's one thing I almost never need to worry about.
24. Good dogs. I've been lucky every single time.
23. Good doctors. They're far and few between, but it's worth the research to find them.
22. The way Finn plays with two items. Whether they're cars or birds or spoons, he retreats for a few moments to his own world.
21. How doing the right thing gets easier with age. Are we just too tired of the hangover? (Whatever kind of hangover it is?)
20. Logan's unstoppable excitement. I wish I had her happy energy. It does seem to be somewhat fueled by chocolate though.
19. Our vacation to Napa Valley. Still one of my most treasured experiences. I go back in my mind often.
18. The resiliency of adults. People say kids have it, but I think they just carry everything - it's all they know. Adults have no choice but to let go.
17. Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen. Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin. The Indigo Girls - I love they they make me think, for a moment, that my voice knows what it's doing.
16. Riley's athletic prowess. What a thrill she gives us each time we watch her compete.
15. Being blessed with both daughters and a son. I love learning about their differences, good and bad, each and every day.
14. Good friends: those lifetimers that have been along for the ride for a while, and those met only recently. Life would not be complete without any of them.
13. Family, the whole Logan - Anderson lot. The great, the good, the bad and the ugly. They're
mine, they're perfect and they're treasured.
12. Extra dirty Grey Goose Martini's with blue cheese olives.
11. Good food. Of any variety. For me, eating is one of the greatest pleasures in life!
10. Unexpected great times. We recently had a Sunday dinner with friends that turned into
what felt like an eight hour scene from The Big Chill. Great music and all.
9. Hosting Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday, hands down. Full of eating, cooking and all that's fall, it has none of the holiday hustle and bustle stress. And it's ALL about the gratitude.
8. Finn's uber cuddly-ness. He literally melts into your body and will stay for hours. I get a little anxious thinking about how I'll feel when it ends. I guess it would be weird if it didn't, huh?
7. Mike's strength. Physical and emotional, he has it all. When I wear out, he holds it together. Where would I be without him?
6. Dinner for five. Most nights, we accomplish this and don't take it for granted. As I hear rumbles about the TV going off or call them to the table for the tenth time, I do get frustrated. But once we're all seated and stories of the day are unfolding, I feel I have succeeded at something very important. I will hold on to this with both hands.
5. Logan's songs. They are a direct line to her soul and although they sometimes scare her Daddy with their adult-like topics and candor, her dedication to writing several per day is resulting in quite the little songwriter.
4. Riley's adult-understanding of most situations. It's like she knows a lot about everything.
3. The health of my kids, my husband and myself. It's true, "When you have your health..."
2. Logan, Riley, Finn and Mike. They all must sit here on one line, because without one, family, as we know it, would not exist. They are my reason, my purpose, for everything.
1. Making it this far. For all these blessings, quirks, loves and wonders bestowed on me and the many more that didn't make the page, I am grateful to the core. I am blessed, lucky, in the right energy field, whatever you want to call it. And I've made it this far!
Here's to another 39 - at least!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
It's funny how our ideas of "me time" pare themselves down from year to year, until finally, they land at what I did today. I spent almost two blissful hours alone, un-showered, at the grocery store. I had the biggest bill I've had in months, even after saying "no" to my devilish side's urging to buy Ben and Jerry's Key Lime Pie ice cream (it's a limited edition, you know) and sharp cheddar cheese with Carr's whole wheat wafers (it's a combo you must try.) I did accomplish the first Christmas present purchase, a big ticket item on sale, a bonus.
By the time I arrived home and unpacked, I had an hour and twenty minutes left before pick up. I managed a 45 minute workout DVD (currently on day 5 of Turbo Fire by Beachbody) and a really fast shower. My face was still beet red when I pulled up in Finn's carpool line. And although my morning alone and not working was not so exciting, I must admit, it was fully satisfying.
I guess the lesson is to remember that the most simple things can recharge and refresh us, so we should find ways to take advantage of them more often. I'm sure that I've been a better Molly all day today.
My last day at 38. I'll miss you '38'!
Saturday, October 16, 2010
During our trip to North Carolina this summer, my mother-in-law Mary gave me a clip from the local paper with a great at-home make-your-own ice cream recipe for kids. I immediately thought of doing this with Riley's Daisy troop, of which I'm the leader (and that's a whole other story.) Anyway, during a summer planning session with our sister Brownie troop, the one Logan belongs to, the idea was accepted and we chose this for our craft at the first meeting in September.
Allow me to set the scene: 24 girls arrive at our gorgeous neighborhood clubhouse - they have not seen each other in three months and are VERY excited. While they cartwheel and scream and laugh, I sit behind one of the kitchen counters with two other moms measuring amounts of sugar and cream, salt and ice in various sizes of ziplock bags. I realize now that I should have found some way to do this ahead of time.
I don't greet even one of the new Daisy members or their parents and as our precious hour ticks away, I have yet to complete the prep for our craft/snack combo. The girls are literally WILD. I am sweating. The room we are in has a migrane-inducing echo. Moms are throwing each other eye darts like nothing I've seen and finally.... we finish. We hand out the bags.
What ensures is nothing short of a horror movie, with the most unruly girls (who are always the same and shall remain unnamed) banging their ice-filled plastic bags over the high-end furniture, into the ping pong table, rolling it onto the couch. The idea of "kneading" seems to not have a home in their 8 and 6 year old brains. And then the bags start popping.
Salt water is EVERYWHERE - 24 bags full of it. As soon as we get one cleaned up, another pops, flooding the ping pong table, shimmering on the floor like a lawsuit waiting to happen. Some girls are laughing, others are on the verge of tears. Forty five minutes in, I'm hoarse, breathing like I've just finished an Insanity workout and I literally want to die. But even with the holes, at least half the girls are sitting and enjoying their DQ-style masterpiece, and liking it! We have a two minute break to clean before all hell breaks loose again.
While the older girls go completely bonkers on the indoor swing set (why are they on it? No one knows, but they are outside my jurisdiction), I try to wrangle my Daisies into a circle so I can at least introduce myself and my awesome co-leader, Jennie, to the girls. These sugared up 6 year olds do an amazing job of getting focused and we have a few "normal" moments together. As we walk through the 8 year old circus in the adjoining room to hand the Daisies over to their parents, I almost die of embarrassment and I'm certain they will never leave their children with me again. (As much as I hate my failure, the thought of this thrills me to the core!)
After an hour of rubbing salt water off every surface in the rooms we inhabited that afternoon, I drop my kids off with Mike and run to Jennie's house for respite and a recovery libation.
This job is driving me to drink.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
A good mother would likely go back in time and write posts for every remarkable, funny or important thing that has happened in the last several months. I guess I'm not that good of a mother. All I can do is try to recommit myself to what I consider an imperative part of my life and a story that must be told, if only for those participating in it. Someday, Logan, Riley and Finn will only have these words and their childhood memories.
In the meantime, I'll continue at warp speed, pausing only to wish my jeans were looser and my hair more often brushed. I'll deliver everyone to where they need to be, donate my time when needed, plan for the future, make sure teeth are brushed well, help them study the world's oceans, lead the Daisy troop, cheer on the athletes, work on things that might be lagging behind, write my butt off, drum up business, urge my kids to "eat a rainbow", catch my husband at some time during his 31/2 daily hours of commute, study tax requirements, cook, clean, hope and dream.
As I write this, I realize I have not posted for one reason only: the tag line of this blog. In truth, "finding good in every day" has not been something that has come easily lately. I'm sure it's pretty obvious from this Debbie Downer of a post. There's only one gal who can change this ship's course: me.
I've felt especially cheated because I hate feeling downtrodden in of all months, October. Autumn is hands-down my favorite season and I can't think of many others where I've felt so blue. But the fact is that it is just another season and soon to be over at that. Change is a comin'.
Debbie Downer signing off...for good.
Friday, September 3, 2010
"Press PLAY!" demands Finn.
"What?" I say.
"PRESS PLAY!" Finn repeats. Louder.
"What are you missing, Finn?" I ask.
"YOU - because you need to get over here and press play!" he responds.
Glad to see all my efforts are paying off.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
I learned in my debate to let Logan go or not go last summer that I just have got to let them go. One thing I can say for sure is that my children are not afraid. They are confident. They stick their necks out. They want to spread their wings. They feel free enough in their own skin to try (let's hope not) everything. From tasting something crazy to making pets out of bugs (I'll never forget my shock when Riley introduced me to her pet "spider", who in actuality was a tick named Blaze), these kids are excited about everything and searching out every new experience they can wrap their minds around. Fostering these amazing qualities is my responsibility, my desire.
This is exactly what I want for them. While I'm always up for something new, like joining a networking group, there is a notable amount of self-talk before I walk in the door. There's a little fear of rejection, a bit of worry about how I'll be perceived, some hesitation as to whether I'm good enough. I know these things aren't true and don't matter, but somehow that itsy bit of doubt sneaks in and taints my thoughts just a little.
Parenting is all about creating a life for your kids that is better than yours. I want to give them everything in terms of experience. I enourage them to follow their curiosities, dreams and passions. I want them to crave adventure and always be able to conjure up freshness in their spirits. I want worry to have no part in their futures.
So off they'll go, with no sign from me that I'm worried or hesitant. No sign other than the streaming tears, that will be certainly uncontrollable. And they'll fly off. And they'll land safely. And they'll call. And I won't be able to wait to see them again.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
The magazine runs nationally in newspapers across the country and should be out later this month. I'm working hard to get more info on distribution.
And as you might have guessed, someone is pretty excited about this!
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Riley began USAG team practices and logs 7.5 hours in the gym each week.
Finn is learning to roller blade and ride his bike with training wheels.
We took our first family trip to Great America. The kids loved ALL the rides and measured up to 51 inches (Logan), 49 inches (Riley) and 40 inches (Finn). They're already excited to see what rides they'll qualify for next year. There was nothing like Finn's face as he drove those old antique cars all by himself - remember those??
Daddy, Riley and Uncle Dan participated in a family relay with Logan for her time trials meet. They were the "Dream Team"!
We've experience major summer storms and power outages, with the strongest destroying our trampoline. We're hope to get some replacement parts for next year!
Logan attended a week-long Brownie camp at Camp Dean near Sugar Grove. It was an awesome experience and she got to experience things like archery, canoeing, creek stomping, hiking and so much more.
We've been swimming almost every day.
Riley had her first visit from the tooth fairy.
Logan and Riley got their ears pierced!
We visited the Geneva Swedish Festival.
We even rode to the top of the Sears (I mean, Willis) Tower and had flaming cheese in Greektown.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Even when budgets are tight, it's so important to find ways to get out of the day-to-day and to reconnect with our loved ones. Dream vacations may have to wait a few more years for us, but we still plan to take some fun day trips here and there, as well as our annual week in North Carolina at Lake Gaston with family. While raising young kids is the most rewarding job on Earth, it's the most exausting, too. Listen to the show in the "Past Shows" section, read my article and peruse the comments on the On Point site for some great tips on getting away, one way or another, this summer.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I'm not sure what they're getting out of it or why it's so fun for them, but they are definitely having a helluva time. This goes on all day and all night and I can't even escape bedtime without being asked something like, "What if my face looked like this all the time?" Use your imagination on the goofball faces displayed.
The exhausted and running behind Mom that I am just wants to scream "What if NOTHING? What if I didn't answer you? What if I don't really care if you had a waffle as big as the house or if Whoa Whoa learned to ride a scooter?" But, of course, I don't say those things. I pretend I've heard every word and answer as if my responses are well-thought out. I'm the Mom. It's my job.
What if I didn't? Happy belated Mother's Day to all the wonderful Moms out there!
Thursday, May 6, 2010
When we finally got home and picked up the kids from our neighbor Jennie's house (I mean, "savior" Jennie), it was nine o'clock and way late for bedtime on a school night. I was yelling like a wild woman to get these three kids in bed and asleep so we could sit down and digest the amount of money requried for Riley's new endeavor.
I yelled Finn's name several times and he finally flew around the corner of Riley's doorway, where he was looking out her window onto a huge cornfeild to the side of our house. He said with all the excitement his little bod could muster," Mommy, I heard you but Daddy was showing me that farmer on his tractor and he is out there making corn RIGHT NOW!!" It was his hand motions, the inflections of his voice and the speed of his words that got me. I would have let him stay up all night so we could sit around imagining the sight of the farmer "making" corn right now.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Celebrating an AWESOME day with a HUGE strawberry shortcake at Ted's Montana Grill!!
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Riley's new gym status comes with overwhelming responsibilities for us all, but she is so totally thrilled that we'd do almost anything to make it a reality for her. It will be a stretch for sure, but worth every bit of stretching. As the youngest member of the team, I have no doubt that there's lots of work ahead. I also have no doubt that Riley's up to the challenge.
Congratulations Riley Elizabeth Anderson, how very proud of you we are! Here's to all the good things to come!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
While we were eating, I asked Riley how she was feeling about the meet. She freely admitted being a little nervous. Mike and I dispensed our supportive parental advice and in the midst, Logan interrupted us.
"Riley," she said in all her honest sweetness, "Just so you know, the only thing wrong with fear.... is fear itself."
Riley was clueless (she was getting TMI from the three of us), but Mike and I couldn't help but chuckle. Logan might not have gotten Roosevelt's quote verbatim, but she certainly did get it right.
GOOD LUCK SWEET RILEY! We're all behind you!!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
At some point every day during this insane cardio workout, I am sure I am going to die. And yet, I don't. I survive and feel great (afterwards.) The difficulty level makes this a huge commitment - 60 days of about an hour of hard core, boot camp bananas cardio that leaves me screaming at the television and makes me want to cry every time. I'm following the eating plan as well; five small meals a day. I've never done this before and I really like it - I'm never hungry. On Saturdays and Sundays I give myself a break at dinner to enjoy a little extra. It's not on the Insanity plan, but it's on mine. You gotta enjoy your life!
So here's to getting healthier and living longer. Here's to pushing myself past limits unimagined. I'm not sure how insane my results will be, but I feel like a different person already. At nearly three weeks in, I think this new way of life may become a habit. (We'll see what I say when the intensity increases in week 5!)
Wish me luck!
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
The class had an assignment of sending a "flat Stacy" out of town with hopes that she'd have some adventures and then return to tell the class about it. Mary and Alby took it to the extreme, taking Stacy on a road trip to Florida and the North Carolina coast. They stopped all over and took her picture, had adventures, collected souvenirs. Mary made a travel journal and folders for every state they traveled through, highlighted maps and gave all sorts of facts on each state.
As you might guess, not many kids in class had quite the same flat Stacy project to share with their classmates. Logan has been telling me about it for two weeks and just brought it home today. It is AMAZING - such a loving thing for them to do and a truly exceptional learning opportunity for Logan and her class. My favorite part is the pictures, which are so funny, they make me want to cry. Here are a couple...
Special thanks to Grandmom and Granddad!
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Finn: He still needs to put on the slide.
Brooke: And the driver thing and the telescope.
Finn: Oh yeah, and the roof. How will he get up there to put on the roof?
Brooke: My Daddy has a big ladder.
Finn: No, Brooke, my Daddy has a really big ladder.
Brooke: My Daddy's ladder is the biggest of all.
Finn: Brooke, my Daddy's ladder is the biggest in all the worlds.
Brooke pauses, then: Are you kidding me?
Finn: No, I'm serious.
I laughed all the way to school.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Today Finn took his place among the big boys shooting hoops at the full-size basketball hoop on the street. They all snickered and teased him and I held him on my shoulders a few times until he started sinking a few. A neighbor called me over and I left him to his own devices, all thirty-some inches of them. Before I knew it, there was raucous cheering coming from under the hoop and the neighbor boys were calling me over.
"Finn got it again Molly! He's so little and he keeps doing it!!" And he did, again and again - it was amazing!
I swear, Finn grew six inches before my eyes right then. He is more boy then ever - what a ride this is! And even though he's only in the 25th percentile in height (thanks to yours truly, I'm sure) maybe this little man will cruise us all the way to the NBA! You never know.....
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Man did we get it. She rocked! She did awesome as the first child to compete on vault as soon as the meet started and her 9.0 totally got her fans juices flowing. Grandmom and Granddad, Nana and Tony and Grammy and Jim were all there to watch with Daddy, Logan, Finn and me. Riley even invited our good friends, the Marienthals – I think she must have known that she was going to give us a show!
As soon as she completed floor, her third event, I figured I’d tally up the scores. She had the second highest scores on vault and beam, so I wondered if she might be in the running for anything. I think I went into some kind of shock when I realized that she was neck in neck with two other girls, with one event left. When she put up an awesome vault and her 9.3 was displayed, I knew.
This was the craziest thing ever. I am not a nutty gym mom. I don’t sit there gossiping about other kids or pay for private lessons. I really just want Riley to have fun and as long as she’s having fun, we’ll make it happen for her. But I have to say I lost all my faculties when I realized my pipsqueak daughter, who turned only 6 one week before the meet, took all around first place for 6 to 8 year olds at her level. This must be what it feels like to win the lottery or something. I know that’s totally over the top, but it’s true!
I turned to Mike and whispered what I thought just happened, and he couldn’t even comprehend initially. By the time the news got around to her other fans in the crowd, most of us were crying. And ten minutes later when the scores were tallied and the trophies awarded, a very shocked pipsqueak was called to the top of the podium to accept her trophy for the Sweetheart Classic. For real, it was one of the most exciting moments of my life.
I’m sure it was for Riley, too, but she’s so reserved you’d never know. Three days later she told me in confidence that it was pretty awesome, but that was the extent of her outpouring. From the moment we arrived home that day, she continues to practice and perfect, but doesn’t talk about it much. It’s no big deal to her you see – she just loves it!