Sunday, August 31, 2008

No Vote, No Gripe

In November, the American voting public will take part in a historic election. What an amazing time this is! It doesn't matter whether the Republicans or Democrats claim the White House. No matter how the election shakes out, history will be made. We will either have the country's first black male president or the country's first female vice-president.

I don't care how people vote so long as they get out there and cast their ballots. The right to vote is an amazing perk to being an American citizen. We get to have a say in who will run our country. The power of the people is an amazing thing.

I truly believe that if a person doesn't exercise his/her right to vote then that person loses his/her right to gripe! Why would I listen to a person bemoan American politics if that same person chooses not to have their voice be heard? I get so frustrated on election day when the voices of the few make the choices for the masses.

My husband and I always go vote together. We go first thing in the morning on our way to taking our children to preschool and nursery school. We want them to witness us exercising our right to vote. We want them to be voters when they are older. We want them to care about their town; their county; their country.

So many people think that their vote doesn't matter. Think about grains of sand or granules of sugar. If you keep taking just one grain or granule away...eventually you will be left with nothing. It will take a while, but the pile will dwindle. That is how it is with voters. As voters we need to be a part of the pile! If voters keep choosing not to vote, then the pile will dwindle and the power of the people will be lessened.

Get out there on Election Day and exercise your right as a citizen of these great United States! I will gladly argue politics with you all day long as you vote. If you don't vote, don't gripe about who takes up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The little tourist

Thankfully Mitchell and Ellie will be spending the day at Grandma's house. Why is this such a good thing? Mitchell dressed himself without a hint of supervision this morning. He proudly showed me his outfit and announced he was "very handsome." How could I ask him to change after that?

What does the offending attire look like? I wish I had taken a picture! He has on a yellow and blue sleeveless t-shirt with a truck on the front. He followed that with a different shade of blue shorts. Not so bad right? He then put on crew socks that he pulled up to his knees and completed the look with brown, slip-on dress shoes. I think the accessory that pushed the envelope is an old, orangey, yellow hat that I wore when I was about five-years-old. I found it in the garage while looking for something for Ellie. The hat is made of canvas that has gotten stiff with age. It is an old-school, beach-style hat that engulfs Mitchell's head like a salad bowl. The best part? It proclaims "CALIFORNIA" in bold, topsy-turvey letters. Yes, my son is styling! He has gone where fashion never dares to go! He just needs a camera slung around his neck.

But, I have to say that despite his gear, the proud smile of his face did indeed make him "very handsome" this morning!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Tagged: 7 Things

The rules: Write a post stating 7 random facts about yourself. Then tag 7 others to do the same.

7 - I am training to run two 1/2 marathons just one week apart from each other...and considering a third.
6 - I LOVE containers and will organize anything given the chance.
5 - I am quite shy and over compensate by acting goofy and trying to make people laugh.
4 - I love reading at bedtime...first to my children and then on my own.
3 - I would love to be published some day...children's picture book, novel...something that makes people smile.
2 - I have a learner's permit to get my motorcycle license but am nervous because I am clumsy.
1 - My daughter is two and currently calls my breasts "Mommy's Balls."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Call me crazy...

...but I love to run! I know, I is not natural. Most people I know run for the benefit and not for the joy. I run for both! I began running in 1999 when I decided to give up skydiving for a land sport. I signed up to run a marathon for The Leukemia Society and so it began! Now my runs are much shorter and I run to complete the race not win it by any stretch.

These past couple of weeks I have been running four days a week and I am so happy to be putting the miles on my Brooks. Between my brother and a new running buddy, I am back to running on a regular basis and am starting to reap the benefits that running gives me. It helps me sleep better at night because it alleviates much of my stress; it gives me a clear mind to focus on the challenges of the day; it provides me with endorphins which help me to feel better about myself; and, goodness, it lets me eat like an absolute cow! I do love food!

My son has a pair of sneakers that he calls his running shoes. He helped me cross the finish line in a half marathon I completed in November. He stood at Mile 13 with my hubby and daughter and grabbed my hand to run the last tenth of a mile with me. (He must have know I felt like I was going to keel over. That is the last race I will ever run without properly training!) Mitchell is looking forward to the Susan Komen event held in Fresno every year. They have a kids run and he can't wait to put on his running shoes and race the other kids. The kids' route is extremely short and they win little gold medals on pink ribbons at the end. So, at four years old, Mitchell is already collecting race day t-shirts and developing a joy for the fury of fast feet.

I know! Many of you are shaking your heads thinking there is no good reason to run unless you are being chased! I felt this way too after my son was born and I attempted to get back into my groove. It just didn't happen. It would take me 20 minutes to run/walk a mile. At the end I was so exasperated and exhausted I never wanted to run again. I hung up my kicks, seemingly for good, but after my daughter was born I began to feel the pull again. I started slowly...running around the block...running to the end of the street... And, before I knew it I was logging miles again and loving it.

My poor husband hates to run so he was thrilled when he heard my brother was also taking up the sport. It saved my husband's knees and his sanity. I love to run in the coolness of the morning and my husband is less a morning person than he is a runner. We have our bikes that we enjoy together, but running is my passion alone.

I am looking excitedly ahead to the runs I have in the next few months. I also look forward to my training which brings me so many benefits. I may not run very fast, but I can knock out a few miles on any given morning. And, I get to be an example to my children to get out there and do something! Plus, there is just joy in the ability to stretch my legs and get my blood pumping on my own terms...not because I am being chased! Goodness knows if I was being chased I would trip and fall and there is not a bit of joy in that!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Weekend Fun!

What a fun weekend we enjoyed! We spent both Saturday and Sunday swimming with friends...a great treat to beat our Valley heat!

Saturday we visited my hometown and enjoyed a reunion of sorts. My parents best friends invited us all down for a day of swimming with their kids and grand kids. If you ever want to feel old, watch the little boy you used to babysit play with his own children in the pool!! Ack! In all, we had five children under 5 years old! What fun though! There were the beginning moments of shyness, but those were quickly displaced by belly laughs and squirt gun battles. Miss Ellie found herself as the only girl and rather liked flirting with all the boys...including the now grown man I used to babysit!

Miss Ellie and the boys! Mitchell, Ellie, Carter, Hunter, and Tanner

On Sunday we retreated to Hanford to spend some quality time with one of my dearest friends and her family. We enjoyed some swimming, some yummy barbecue, and some playtime for the kids. It was such a treat to relax in the pool and paddle around with the kids. I love spending time with my Hanford buddy because she is one of those rare souls who truly likes me for who I am faults and all! She is the friend who would not mind a bit if she found you rooting around in the fridge for a snack. Both Todd and I love visiting because her and her hubby's house is as comfortable to us as our house.

Cuter kids than this!?!? I think not! Little Mr. Griffin is on the left and Mitchman and Riley are on the right.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Miss Annie

I have blogged about my 'lil nephew and now I must blog about my beautiful niece! When I married my hubs I was so delighted that a niece came with the package! I was never an Aunt to anyone so this was quite exciting for me. Annie was in grade school when I came on the scene. I was amazed at how I instantly loved her! Kids really do capture your heart! She was a shy little thing with braces and I would just look at her and think, "That's my niece!"

In the picture, Annie is on the left and her friend Danielle is on the right. I think of Danielle as our honorary niece!

Annie is 19 now and a sophomore in college. She is extremely bright and very witty. She has fire in her too which I think all young girls should have. One image of Miss Annie that sticks in my mind is when she was in junior high or so and we were at Pismo Beach riding our ATC's. The four wheel drive went out on our truck and we found ourselves, embarrassingly, stuck. A "vulture" came by to tow us out. We have dubbed them vultures because they prey on the weak and feeble who find themselves stuck in the sand...they will gladly pull you out if you gladly give them a wad of cash. Luckily, a kind fellow with a pick-up offered to pull us out for free but the vulture still lurked. Annie noticed him and looked him square on and said, "Why don't you just leave!?" and then she flipped her hair around and turned her back on him. It was the funniest thing to see this little fireball in action!

Our kids absolutely adore their cousin. Annie is amazing in that she loves to spend time with them. My sister-in-law and I talk about how lucky the kids are to be so close despite their age differences. Whenever Auntie Shib and Annie come to visit they can hear the kids screaming in excitement as they come up the front walk. The kids just about explode when they see them!

My niece Annie is an amazing young woman and I am so happy to be apart of her world. I love being her "Anti-Jen"! I look forward to watching her life move forward these next many years. Annie is a girl who has a lot to offer this world of ours!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Say What?

Our oldest munchkin had a terrible time getting to sleep recently. At one point I looked at my husband and asked if he thought Mitch had been possessed? My dearest assured me that we were witnessing classic toddler behavior. Still unsure, I watched the fury unfold. We went from Mitch running from us, to jumping on the bed, to an all out temper tantrum. At one point I even tried to hold him down to stop the madness. He is a wiggly little thing so that was a wasted effort.

Finally, in an exasperated plea I ask Mitch, "Why are you behaving like this?"

He quieted down immediately and said, "Because you gave me root beer and the shoogar makes me act this way."


"It's the shoogar Mommy. It makes me crazy. And, I am pretty tired too. I should have had a nap."

What a smart boy he is! He twisted his poor behavior to reflect what was, in his opinion, my parental shortcomings of the day. As I tried to stifle a laugh, Mitch seemed done with the whole thing and peacefully went to bed.

I think I may have this parenting thing down by the time I am a great-grandmother!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Home at Last!

Thankfully I made it home from Baltimore with nary a travel glitch. Something to note in the record books! I practically exploded with excitement when I opened the front door and my children literally screamed with glee that I was home. Between them, the dogs, and my hubs, I received a warm welcome home! The kids immediately started rooting through my suitcase to find the treasures I brought home for them. I learned that Baltimore is not big on trinkets for the under 5 year old crowd. I was happy that Mitchell thought the huge rubber crab I brought back for him rocked. And, Miss Ellie promptly replaced her shirt with the new, bright pink one I brought home that proclaims she is a "sweet pea."

The meeting was a good one. It was very information packed which made it fly by. I didn't adjust to EST very well this go around, And, now that I am back to my normal time zone and my normal routine I am really messed up. I hope to be leveled out in a couple days. I had a dream the other night that I was napping. That is a throw back to the days when my children were newborns and sleep was something I literally dreamed about. I can always tell I am behind on sleep when I get the hiccups and when sleep enters my dreams.

It is delightful to be home! The kids are keeping an eye on me as they always do when I return. They don't want to turn around and find me gone. How lucky am I to be so loved!?!?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Three Amigos

Our nephew Lukas came to spend the night with us this weekend. Mitchell was ecstatic! Three kids made for a pretty full house! I have such respect for single parents and parents with more than two children. What a challenge! I felt more like a referee than a parent!

We had fun with Sir Luke and enjoyed his visit though he and Mitch can be ornery when teamed up! For dinner we had hot dogs, fruit, baked beans, and macaroni salad that we got from the deli. We asked Luke if he liked the macaroni salad and he replied, "Well, it's different." He was so serious and sincere that it was just too funny!

Now, I am in Baltimore for work. I made it with just one little hiccup in my air travel. Our plane arrived but our pilot was stuck in Chicago. Once our pilot arrived we were good to go. I wasn't upset as this was so minor compared to past travel woes. I figured the two-hour delay made for a better chance of my luggage making the connection with me. So, I am ticking off the days until I am back home with my hubs and my kiddos. I have completely lost my voice so the kids are a bit weary of talking to me on the phone. I say, "Mitchell it's Mommy!" and I can almost hear the crickets on the other end of the line. I am sure their alarm bells in their minds are screaming, "Stranger danger!" Thankfully, my husband assures them that it is Mommy but I can just imagine the looks they give him as they think, "Whatever you say, but have you heard this creepy, raspy voice?"