Waging war in the urban jungle

Monday, August 29, 2011

It's not easy being little

Paulo had his heart broken Saturday.

Rene was staining the deck and Dimitri was helping.  Paulo desperately wanted to help too.  He went out in the afternoon to work, but he was, rejected.  Apparently there wasn't a job available for one so small.  He was crushed.  He came back into the house, eyes filling with tears, devastated.  I tried to comfort him, I offered a walk, I offered a book, a board game, anything I could think of to lift his spirits.  He didn't want comfort.  He laid his sad little self down on the bench and there he stayed, watching his Dad and brother do what he was told he couldn't. 

He must have stayed on that bench for close to an hour, stewing.  It's so hard to watch your baby struggle with deep disappointment, when he hurts I hurt and he was really hurt.  He finally got up and eventually went back outside, he got permission to apply the final stroke of the stain.  I went out later to prune some plants and my seven year old came up to me and said "Well at least, I'm talking to my Dad again".  I told him that was a good thing.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

An uphill battle

Let me first preface this mini rant by saying I know I and I alone am responsible for controlling what comes into my son's body by way of food and into his life by way of toys, trinkets and media.  He's 7, he has an allowance but no job so his buying power is limited.  And even with the allowance he can't spend however he would like, I still have veto power!  He doesn't like that, but that's ok, he doesn't have to, I'm the Momma.

That said, I feel like I'm fighting a (sometimes) losing battle.  A battle against marketing for one.  He cannot watch a 30 minute show on network TV without being inundated with junk food ads.  Look Mom!  Those nasty Pebbles cereal are gluten free now! Can we buy some?!  And no, he's not saying "nasty Pebbles cereal" that's all me.  Have you noticed the uptick in marketing unhealthy food as "gluten free" as if that's somehow supposed to make up for the 4 different food dyes and the 8 teaspoons of sugar per 3/4 cup "serving"?  It's the latest fad label.  Gluten Free!  Now Gluten Free!  Finally Gluten Free!  Yeah, but still disgusting.  Now, I know I won't buy them and deep down he knows I won't buy them but does that stop him from trying? Nope.  He's a perfectly normal child who wants what he wants when he wants it and isn't afraid to ask for it.  And it wears on me.  Not enough to go buy the crap cereal but it wears on me and frankly it pisses me off.

My other battle field is one that I bet is all too familiar for many parents . I don't believe my 7 year old needs to play 1st person shooter games.  I think video games have a rating for a reason.  Paulo has a very active imagination and is prone to nightmares.  I like to sleep thank you very much and I do not want to be woken by a frightened child reliving the slaying of aliens in the dead of night.  My neighbor does not share my views, he thinks killing aliens is no big deal and his son-who is a year younger than Paulo-is an avid Halo player.  Paulo is locked in an inner struggle every time he goes to this boys house.  All his buddy wants to do is play Halo, he's 6....SIX....but that's all he wants to play.  Paulo knows I do not approve of him playing shooter games and he wants to please me and be accepted by his peers at the same time.  I feel for him, I do, but man, he's freaking 7 years old.  There is plenty of time for blowing up aliens LATER. 

That last one feeds right into this mornings debate.  There was a TV ad for the Nintendo DS 3D and Paulo ran into the kitchen to tell me the good news, Nintendo dropped the price!  Isn't that great?  Can I have one?  Uh...no.  For starters, from all I've seen even Nintendo doesn't recommend 7 year olds playing the 3D console, something about messing with their peepers.  I explained that to him and he let it drop....for a while.  Really he let it drop until he me as a captive audience and we were in the car on the way to swim lessons.  So...how old do I have to be to play the DS 3D?  He asks.  I pause, admittedly annoyed that we're back on to this topic and reply "18".  WHAT!?  Ok, not really, but we're covered this a million times, you are not getting a hand held video game system.  Don't get me wrong this child is not deprived in the video game department, there are five different systems available to him at home.  FIVE.  I asked him why, if he has five already, he feels he needs a sixth.  Didn't that seem excessive?  And here comes the kicker, he tells me that since I won't allow him to play the games he really wants, the FUN ones like Halo that he's bored and needs a handheld system.  Oh yes, he's good, he's not going to get what he wants mind you but he's good.  I have to give him some credit for a creativity. 

So, what's a Momma to do?  Stand my ground and be unpopular I suppose.  No one said it would be easy.  I just wish I wasn't fighting an uphill battle.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Back to what?!

It's coming.....it's practically here....totally right around the corner....

Back To School!

It's certainly no shock, Target has had the school supplies aisle stocked since July 5th.  In fact, we knew it would come as soon as school ended but still, I'm feeling a little off.  You see, we haven't had much of a Summer-again-here in the Portland metro area.  It's been cool, chilly, rainy even and some mornings have felt more like October than July.  To be honest I feel a bit cheated.  We had great plans for dining al fresco, we had high hopes for late night bottles of wine on the back deck, instead I've had to stop myself from flipping on my gas fireplace. 

I've spent the past couple days with the fact that Monday is August 1st rattling around in my head.  And if July is any indication August will pass in the proverbial blink of an eye and I will find myself in 30 short days muttering September 1st...September 1st?!  How did that happen??? 

I spent today perusing lunch box systems on Amazon.  I really like that laptop lunchbox set up and I'm thinking pretty serious about plunking down the cash for the blue box & bag combo pack.  Paulo's lunchbox from last year got pretty beat up, it's still usable, but really I think I'm just looking for an excuse to buy a new one. 

I have a box of back to school clothes to unpack and sort through this weekend too.  I couldn't pass up the super sales plus 30% off on Kohls a couple weeks ago so I stocked up on jeans (temporarily without holes in the knees) and long sleeved shirts.  I even got a new hoodie sweatshirt for him, he loves hoodies.  We need to sort through last year's cool weather clothes-some of which have had ample "Summer" use-and set aside the things he's outgrown-of which I am sure there will be many, that boy is growing too fast!

To be honest, I love back to school time, and fortunately so does Paulo.  He loves school, he was sad when school ended.  While I might feel a little stunned that September is literally around the corner I am also very excited.  I'm excited to get back to work with his school.  I'm excited to get Paulo into his new soccer team and go to practice and have weekend games.  I'm excited to see what new experiences await him in 2nd grade and I'm excited for the return of Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks.  Fall is my favorite season for so many reasons but one of the biggest reasons is Back To School.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

When does it become bullying?

My son is 7, he's a bright, empathetic, creative, rambunctious boy.  He doesn't have a mean bone in his body.  He's very big for his age and I worried when I saw how fast he was growing and how much bigger he was than all his classmates.  I worried that he might struggle to fit in, that he might inadvertently injure a child through the rough play that is so typical of children.  I worried about a lot of things, but I never really worried that he would be a bully because I know his heart and his heart is pure love.  I also never really worried that he'd be the victim of a bully, yet, he has been.  Bullying can happen to any child, I've learned that lesson the hard way.

Paulo's first experience was in Kindergarten, he was verbally taunted by an angry little guy, it escalated to the point where my bright boy didn't want to go to school any more and I had to speak to his teacher and make sure she knew what was happening and that she was going to get a handle on it.  Fortunately the hate language seemed to have stayed in Kindergarten and he's even friends now with one boy that was part of the problem-the ring leader transferred to a different school.  It was so hard to watch him go through that experience, he was filled with self doubt, he believed the boys when they told him he was stupid-even though he could read and they could not-he believed them when they told him that everyone hated him-even though we could name and count all the kids that considered him a friend-logic means nothing when confronted by rejection.  It broke my heart. 

This month though he was the victim of physical bullying and that really stunned me.  My son is not aggressive, he can get pretty rowdy-particularly when playing with his big brother but frankly I consider that to be normal-but he's not aggressive with other children and after last week I'm even more grateful for that sweet character and forgiving nature.  My son was punched in the mouth last week.  He was in a camp that used school buses to transport children around the city for outdoor adventures.  It was a great camp, he loved it, he got to run around in the woods and cover himself with mud as camouflage, it was a boys' paradise.  There was a boy that he met on the first day that he really bonded with, W.  Paulo said that W was really smart and could tell him all about large birds of prey and that they could talk, in depth, about Pokemon.  They spent much of the week together.  On Thursday I picked up my son at his Grandma's and he instantly tipped his face up so I could see his lip.  His lip that was cut.  When I asked him what happened he told me that W asked him on the bus if he wanted a "test".  Paulo assumed math test and said sure-he loves math-but then this boy punched my son in the stomach.  Paulo passed the test by the way, he shed no tears.  In typical boy bravado fashion Paulo asks him "you call that a test?".  W responds by upping the ante and landing the next punch on my child's mouth.  Again though, to Paulo's pride he passed the test and did not cry.  Now as he is telling me this story he shows no fear of this boy, he's not even upset.  He told W it was ok, he was ok, just "give me a minute" as he bled on the bus.  I will admit that there was a part of me that was proud of him for a couple of different reasons, first he didn't retaliate and hit the boy back, second he brushed it off, he's not dwelling on it, upset by it, being dramatic about it, none of that he's just stating the facts to me like it's totally normal.  Now, that's where we differ, I don't think that's normal behavior.  But wait...it gets even better....  I asked Paulo what his teacher said and he told me that the teacher didn't know, he was behind them on the bus and hadn't seen it and Paulo didn't tell him.  I asked him why and he said he didn't want to get W in trouble and the boy had told him that if he told on him he wouldn't give him the Pokemon card he promised.  Uh huh....nice...  I tried to explain to my 7 year old that this boy was not being a good friend to him, friends don't punch each other in the face.  I had to tell him that I would be discussing this with his teacher the next day because it's the camps job to keep all the campers safe and that sort of behavior should not happen on the bus and that while he wasn't badly injured or scared another child could have been.  He sort of understood.

The next morning I talked to his teacher, who did not know what had happened, but shared with me that this was the 2nd time W had been involved in an incident like this that week, which just reinforced what I felt, this was not normal.  Paulo had told me that he was the first kid that didn't cry which to me meant W had done this before.  Again, not typical boy roughhousing.  There's a part of me that feels bad for the kid, I wonder what it is he's seen and experienced that makes him think this is ok.  But the biggest part of me will always be focused on protecting my son. 

These incidents stay with me, I wish I could wrap my boy in bubble wrap and keep him safe forever, shelter him from kids that say mean and do mean things, but I can't.  He's growing up in our world which, sadly, seems so focused on cruelty.  It's everywhere, in the papers, magazine, music, movies and TV.  We love to be mean.  Turn on almost any reality TV program and you will see it, walk down any school hallway and you will see it there too.  I consider myself lucky that my son will tell me when someone's been mean to him, I know that's often not the case.  These incidents may seem minor compared to what some children suffer through but they're real, they're Paulo's experiences, and if it can happen to him it really can happen to anyone.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Meaning and signifigance

It's an odd thing when a day only really means something to one person.  Many of our milestones and special days are shared if not by the larger culture or society that we live in at least by our family.  Holidays and birthdays are shared events.  They mean something, not always the same thing, to a number of different people.  There is a sense of commonality in that, it's comforting, at least to me.

Today is different.  Today is a day that really only means something significant to me with very few exceptions.  Today is the 5th anniversary of my Mother's death.  Today is a day that is shared with my sister.  This is the day we became Motherless Mothers.  Today is a day I share with my Dad, this is the day he became a widower.  It's such an odd sensation, to have a day mean so much to you but to see the world going on around you as if nothing is different but inside your heart and mind, so much changed on this day 5 years ago. 

So today I remember my Mother, Sharon.  I remember the good; she was an amazing baker and she alone inspired my love of books by reading Little Golden Books to me until I was finally satisfied that the Poky Little Puppy did make it home.  I remember the bad; she was a complicated, often sad, soul that had a lot of growing up to do but never had the chance to do it.  And I remember the ugly; she had a wicked temper. 

I mourn the loss of what was but also, perhaps more profoundly, I mourn the loss of what should have been.  My Mother struggled while raising us, I can look back at my childhood now with the eyes of an adult woman and a Mother myself and find sympathy for her, I can see her, with the passage of time, as the flawed but lovable woman that she was.  But where she really shined was later on in life when she was finally blessed with Grandchildren.  She loved being a Grandma and she spoiled those girls rotten.  I was pregnant with Paulo when her dementia really took hold and we started seeing the early signs.  And it was immediately following his birth that her behavior took a dramatic change.  My Mother, who had to be put on a visitation schedule with my nieces, held my son twice.  Once the day he was born and one other time when she came for a visit and I gave him to her so I could eat.  That second, and last, time lasted about 30 seconds before she declared him too heavy and handed him back to me.  I remember being so confused.  Her visits to my sister had to be scheduled but with me she was ready to leave after five minutes and didn't want to hold my son.  I didn't know at the time that her dementia had robbed her of her ability to feel and express empathy and love.  I would not find that out until my son was 9 months old.  She never held him again, just those two times, and for that I will always feel that my sweet boy missed out.

I suppose with every passing year it gets easier, the pain less sharp, but it's still hard and every year come June I am struck with how much I miss having a Mother of my own.  My Mother was my cheerleader, whatever I decided to do she would support, and boy could I use some of that Momma love these days. 

RIP Mom, I hope you finally found the peace that eluded you during your time on Earth.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Paulo's surprise

On Saturday I cashed in my babysitting surprise.  Way back in February Paulo's teacher offered himself up for babysitting at our school auction.  Paulo loves his teacher.   I knew I had to get it for him.  I loitered around that sheet throughout the evening vying for the privilege of having my son's favorite teacher spend an evening with him one on one and I won.  Cost me $70.00 but it was worth every penny.

Paulo knew he had a babysitter coming and it was driving him nuts that I wouldn't tell him who.  He asked if he could guess and if he guessed right I'd tell him, sure...no problem, guess away!  I knew there was not a chance he would say his teacher's name and I was right, he never did.  5:00 came and he arrived, quite promptly.  I hung back in the hall with the camera and let Paulo rip open the door.  He was stunned!  He started laughing, he had the biggest smile on his face and then he promptly tried to push ME out the door!  We did the responsible parent thing and gave him the low down, left the check for the pizza and took off for our sushi dinner. 

We didn't stay out too long, we left around 5:00 and we were back a little after 8:00.  As we were driving down our hill we saw them, walking back from the park carrying a football, a soccer ball and a frisbee.  Paulo was in heaven.  He had the undivided attention of a man that matters almost as much to him as I do and frankly he wasn't ready to let go.  So his teacher ever so patiently stayed.  Paulo taught him the finer points of different Pokemon characters, he climbed all over him and we all talked.  I finally told him it was time for bed, time to say goodbye only to hear him ask his teacher to read him a bedtime story, which he did-way to make a Momma melt.  It was such a sweet moment for my baby boy and one neither of us will forget.  Paulo told me how lucky we were that we'd won his teacher for the evening and asked if we have to win him again to have him come back. 

It's not every child that can say he truly loves his teacher, it's not every teacher that is lucky enough to be adored by their students and I feel so grateful that he was Paulo's teacher this year.  I know that having this wonderful man, this positive role model, in his classroom day in and day out is one of the reasons my son loves school as much as he does and for that I am forever grateful.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Looking for inspiration

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. " - Nelson Mandela

Friday, May 20, 2011

Big fat D

D is for deficient, that's what I am...deficient...in vitamin D.  I had some blood work done as part of my check up recently and it came back that I was low on iron-not a big shock since I don't eat meat.  Today I got the second half of my labs and it turns out I'm also low on D.  I was low on D before, I take 2000 IUs of D a day, apparently that's not enough to combat the lack of sunshine in the great Pacific NW.  

One of the reasons I wanted my blood work checked was my frightening lapses in memory.  I'm 36 years old, and frankly I just don't think I should look at my friend/fellow 1st grade Momma and forget her son's name and that's what happened not long ago.  I stood there staring at this woman, trying to reach deep into the recesses of my apparently deficient brain, to pull her son's name out.  Now, her son has been a classmate of Paulo's for nearly two years.  I should be able to remember it!  But I couldn't!  And that, that freaks me out.  You see, I have a family history of early menopause and memory trouble was one of the first things my sister noticed, around my age.  Couple that with our Mother's dementia and you get a worried woman. 

Hopefully with a few small tweaks to my vitamin/supplement routine, which is already rather large, I can start to feel an improvement.  Being low in both of those can result in fatigue, depression, foggy thinking and the like.  All things I struggle with and things I want to see go away.  Often I wake up feeling tired, oh I can power through my day, but it doesn't feel good.  I don't enjoy it.  I can still run-which helps boost my energy-but some days it's a struggle to talk myself into my shoes.  For now, I've started on a low(ish) dose of iron, working up to slightly higher and 10000 IUs of vitamin D a day.  That's 5x that I was taking! 

So, here's hoping that I can sweep the cobwebs out of my brain and get some vitality back. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

7 years ago

7 years ago tonight I thought I knew it all.  7 years ago tonight I thought I was prepared.  7 years ago tonight I thought I knew what I was getting in to!

7 years ago tonight, I was wrong.

7 years ago tomorrow my life changed completely and I am forever grateful for it.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

And so it begins....

I had foolishly hoped to avoid it....

I should have known I didn't stand a chance.....

It has arrived....

The obsession of a lifetime for my oldest has been passed on to my baby boy.....

Paulo bought his first Pokemon deck on Friday. 

Lord...give me patience....patience to listen to him ramble about their HP, their attacks and the weaknesses, patience to listen to the cartoons playing on the TV, patience to play with him (thankfully right now he thinks you play with the cards like you play War, this works for me!) and most of all patience to play different people, a lot of different people.

It's already started, he's various Pokemon and I'm a Pokemon trainer and we ad lib our parts, mimicking what he's seen in a Pokemon cartoon or a book. 

You see, Paulo loves to play different people.  It is a true passion, some might say obsession, of his.  He loves to take on different personalities, become animals, characters he has read about or seen in movies, we play pretend all the time.  Seriously...every single day....multiple times a day.  When I feel like my head is going to explode and I just cannot take it anymore I remind myself that someday, sooner rather than later, he won't want to play different people with me and then, then I will miss it.  To be honest I will miss it a lot.  It's a special thing between us, oh he'll ask Dad to play sometimes and Grandma gets called on to the stage from time to time but us?  We play all the time.  Yes sometimes it makes me crazy but it is so important to him I try not to shoot him down when he asks.  There are times when I have to remind him that I like to be Momma and actually have a real conversation with my son.  He's usually good about giving me that real time...then we go back to playing different people.  I have been waiting for him to outgrow it...for the last three years, he's shows no signs of slowing down.

This weekend though we got a whole new source of inspiration....Pokemon...seriously, patience, and lots of it!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lead me not into temptation....

I stopped by the office this morning when I took Paulo to school and was greeted by a lovely woman holding out a plate of....brownies.

I'm still in the thick of my cleanse.  I declined. 

What struck me though was that they didn't even look all that appealing-no offense to the baker.  But when I looked at them I actually a negative reaction. 

This is new.  This would not normally happen.  I looooove sugar.  Sugar and me we go way back, I used to put margarine on a spoon and dip it into the sugar bowl.  I would eat my Halloween candy in days, not weeks, not months, days.  Nerds.  Gummy worms.  Lick-m-aid.  Chocolate.  Snickers.  I loved candy.  Candy however does not love me back.  Candy makes me a bit crazy.  Whacky even.  It's not pretty.  I know it won't make me feel good but still sometimes I find it hard *read impossible* to resist the little temptress.  But today, today I stayed strong and held my ground and politely declined the brownie. 

That's a big thing.  For me.

Monday, April 11, 2011

To break a fast and other things I've learned

Sunday's dinner
My first ever juice fast ended Sunday night when I peeled and ate a banana around 5:30.  It was a very interesting experience.  I can fully understand now why fasting figures so prominently in many religious rituals.  When you are not spending time consuming solid food it really does free up some time to think about who you are and where you are and if you're really where you need to be.

I feel like I learned quite a bit last weekend. 
  • I learned that I spend a lot of time in the kitchen regardless of what I'm eating, or not!  I still had a family to feed this weekend, while it might have been a lovely experience to have a whole weekend to myself...might? who I am kidding, it would have been!...that just was not my reality.  I still prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner for my husband and children.  But I did find that by my not eating the food it freed up time for me to clean while they were eating so I was able to get out a wee bit faster.
  • I learned to take my time with drinking my juice and to drink it from a pretty glass.  I have inherited my parents old purple fancy glasses, I think they might be brandy glasses, but I'm not sure.  I know my Dad has told me that they would sit after all of us kids went to bed and have a drink with those glasses.  That is what I used this weekend, my Momma and Daddy's fancy purple glass. 
  • I learned I really can survive two days without solid food. 
  • I learned that I feel great on a juice fast.  Seriously great!  With the exception of a stressful moment Sunday morning when my kids wouldn't stop bickering I felt calm and peaceful all weekend.  Even when life threw a curve ball Saturday night I didn't flinch.  Paulo mysteriously spiked a fever Saturday evening as we were getting ready to go to his school talent show and spaghetti dinner fundraiser.  So instead of going to have fun with his school we stayed home.  He was super bummed, he planned on performing in the talent show, but there was just no way to go.  By Sunday he was nearly back to his old self and today he's back in school like nothing happened, very odd.  In the past I have not reacted well to late minute changes of plans but Saturday, no big, baby's sick, stay home, make some spaghetti for the boys myself.  Easy.  It should always be that easy, but it isn't.
  • I learned a little first hand about cleansing reactions.  I've heard about reactions like skin break outs, aches and pains, colds and flues when doing a cleanse.  I also learned that they're not that bad and I can just push through them and when I clear the woods I will feel awesome.
  • I learned that when I'm fasting and taking control of my health I have the courage to address some things that fester beneath the surface with the people in my life and I learned that when I address them....nothing bad happens.  That's a big one for me, I grew up in a WW3 environment, every little conflict would dissolve into screaming, yelling, threats to move I've really struggled with overcoming that ingrained fear.  
  • I learned that I really liked this and I plan to do it again in a couple of months.  While weight loss was not my #1 priority I will admit it's nice to feel my pants a little looser today.  But more importantly I feel vibrant.  I feel alive.  I feel good, despite my little cold, and I know that this is an important piece to my health puzzle and one I will incorporate on a regular basis.
Now, back to dinner, I fixed myself a large salad and topped it with a spicy cashew cream from Susan's Rawmazing website and followed that with a plate of steamed butternut squash, asparagus and a baked yam.  It was delicious.  I will admit that by mid afternoon Sunday I was really ready to eat something!  While I hadn't really felt deprived or even all that hungry during the process I missed chewing food.  I love my veggies juiced but I prefer to crunch them!

I am still in the middle of my cleanse and I look forward to this week of getting back to working out, I had some aches and pains and low energy last week, and getting into the sauna to further help my body along it's cleansing path.  It's been great so far, I can't wait to see how I feel by the end of the week!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Day 6-Cleanse

Health, what is it?  What does it mean to you?  My health, my family's health, it means so much more to me that the mere absence of disease.  It means feeling vibrant, feeling alive, glowing.  But how to get there and stay there?

I felt like I finally turned the corner Thursday, by Wednesday I was feeling more like myself but still very very tired, but Thursday and Friday were much better days-energy wise.  Mentally I feel calm, which if you could see inside my head on a normal week you'd know is a marked change.  Physically I'm doing fine, I'm not pushing myself much to exercise this week, trying to listen to my body in that department, I definitely want to fit in some yoga this weekend before getting back to regular running next week.

Today is Saturday, the start of what I had designated my juice fast.  I've never done a juice fast before so I'm not 100% sure how my body will respond but so far...so good.  I've been up for a while now, Paulo has a small cold and his throat and stuffy nose woke him at 5:45 so he was kind enough to wake me.  Fortunately for all of us I had listened to my body and gone to bed early last night.  We managed to sneak in an extra hour of snuggle time but by 6:45 he was ready to go downstairs.  Now, after a typical Rodriguez Friday night this would have totally set me off.  Normally there's the pre dinner drink(s) and normally I stay up late trying to catch up on junk that we've DVR'd during the week.  Today, when my baby needed me, I was ready and willing to take care of him and I'm grateful for that. 

All in all I'm feeling very good about my food based cleanse, my Spring cleaning of sorts.  I have another week to go but I'm not at all worried about that, I know I will feel great when it's all said and done.  The process is not only a physical cleansing but a mental one as well and there have been some issues that have come up that I feel ready to face and that too is a very good thing.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day 3

I'm three days into my Spring Cleanse and I must say....it's a hell of a lot easier than last Spring!  I credit that to the fact that I have been living **mostly** clean all year.  That said, I do feel like Spring is a great time to really evaluate the diet and take on a cleanse if you're so inclined.  I know from last time that I felt great when I was done.  I had a lot more energy and felt more clear headed.  Did all my new found good habits last?  No, the coffee slipped back in, the extra drinks here and there came back along with the accompanying sugar monster episodes.  But I remember how great I felt when I was done.  I felt accomplished, peaceful, calm and it was all accomplished through food and I want to feel that again.  Food influences my mood.  This year I'm changing it up a bit.

This Spring my cleanse period is two weeks down from last year's three, two days of that will be dedicated juice fasts, this weekend in fact.  I've never done a juice fast but I'm really looking forward to it.  I'm forgoing coffee, sugar, wheat, dairy, soy and alcohol.  I'm eating TONS of fresh produce, grains like quinoa, rice and millet, I'm eating beans and occasionally fish and eggs.  I'm drinking what feels like gallons of water and herbal teas and drinking green juice daily.  Already I feel better.  I will say though I'm missing my caffeine.  Without any java I'm fighting to stay awake past 8:00!  I know my body will re adapt, I just need to get over the shock of the first few days.  I have had tiny twinges of withdrawal headaches but nothing to get too worked up about. 

To be honest, sometimes I wish I could just eat whatever I want and ignore the consequences but the bottom line is I like the way I feel when I eat clean.  I'm calmer, I'm happier, I'm more at peace and feel more patient.  I just wish it wasn't so much darn work sometimes!  It's easy to grab a bag of chips and nosh away it takes time and effort to make sure I have my fruit washed and cut up for the day, but darn it, I'm worth it and that's what I need to remind myself of again and again and again.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Race day recap

Sunday morning was coming very early for me.  I set my alarm for 5:00 am and went to bed early Saturday night.  That never happens!  But, I wanted to be my best for my first 10K race. 

I had been warned about the energy of the group by my dear friend, SM.  How you can feel the excitement.  The nerves.  The joy.  She was right, you can, I did.  I arrived at the Convention Center by 6:30, almost a full hour before my group set out. People were milling around inside the Center, stretching, chatting, preparing.  I made a dazed loop around the vendors and decided at the last minute to buy some gloves.  I've been running with some knit pink reindeer gloves when it's cold, and it's been cold a lot!  But I forgot those gloves at home and it was really cold yesterday.  It was only 34 when I got up and by the time I got the Convention Center it was a balmy...40.  So I made a quick purchase and watched as the 1/2 marathoners filed out to start their race.  

Last few minutes to stay warm!

After some stretching and more people watching it was time for my group to head out to the lobby and outside to the starting area.  There is such a buzz of energy before the start.  People are laughing, talking, smiling, but there's also a tinge of nerves-or maybe that was just me! 


Waiting for the start!
Soon it was time to get serious about starting and the 10K participants flooded out into the street to line up.  I found my pace marker, 10+ minute mile, and waited, a little nervous, wondering if I could really do it, wishing that I had a runny buddy with me.  Soon enough I didn't have any more time to wonder and the countdown started, then we were off!  There was so many people crammed into such a small space that I barely felt like I could shuffle my feet let alone run!

Soon though the space opened up and we had more room to breathe and get the legs moving.  We were sent off by a drum band playing and two rows of young volunteers yelling, cheering and shaking pom poms.  I will admit that this moment actually made me very emotional.  Something about running between these two rows of young people who are likely benefiting from the services that Albertina Kerr provides and having them cheer me out of the gate on my first race....I got teary. 

Heading over the Steel Bridge
We started across the Steel Bridge into downtown Portland.  It was an absolutely beautiful morning.  While it had started out very, very cold, it was now blue skies and the sun was rising up behind us.  The city looked so peaceful and fresh! 

Heading into downtown Portland

Downtown Portland is a really beautiful place and Sunday's route took us right along the water front where we could see the evidence of Spring in the blooming trees.  At this point, I'm just buzzing along, feeling great and more than a little surprised at the fact that I-Miss I Run If Someone's Chasing Me-is actually participating in a 10K race with 980 other runners.  Totally surreal moment for me.  I never, ever thought that I would do that....ever.   I always envied runners and I secretly wanted to be a member of their super cool club, but I never thought I could and I found myself thinking...well what do you know?  Maybe I am built for this!

Beautiful Portland Sunrise

We made our way over the bridge and along the water front for a few miles.  At this point I was regretting my decision to forgo my IPOD.  I knew that there was music along the course, there was a mix of live music and DJs stationed along the route and for some reason I assumed that I'd be able to hear something most of the time.  Uh no.  Not so.  Basically there was music every mile or so but in between was just me, myself and I.  After a short while of kicking myself for my lack of Black Eyed Peas I actually started to enjoy the silence.  I was able to hear the other runners and have that motivate me plus able to really hear my own breathing and the sounds of my feet hitting the pavement, it was rather...zen.  While I love my IPOD and my running playlist I think I will revisit the silent zen running. 

The climb up to Barbur Blvd.

Almost half way through I found myself facing the first sizable hill.  It was by no means a monster hill but after running a while I could feel the extra effort it took to get up the incline.  What kept me going was the knowledge that at the top I would find a water station anddecline!  
Yea for declines!
I finally spied a mile marker on my down hill journey and was thrilled to see I was about 1/2 way done and still feeling great.  I had not yet needed a walking break, or a potty break, and I felt that I was making good time.  I was enjoying the experience of running with 100's of other people through my city.  I drive these streets so frequently but when you're running on them you see things differently, you see things you hadn't noticed before and you can really appreciate the views our city has to offer.  I grew up here but on Sunday, I saw things differently than ever before.

Almost home!
Mile marker five and the euphoria kicked in!  I realized that I was roughly 11 minutes away from finishing my first 10K and I had still not needed a break!  I had goals for Sunday's race.  One of those was to finish in under 65 minutes.  Another, unspoken, goal was to run the whole thing.  I knew at this moment I could make that goal if I made it up the last big hill back onto the Steel Bridge.  This was also the moment when I started getting passed by the 1/2 marathon runners that left 20 minutes before my group and ran twice the distance!  I was in awe of these athletes as they cruised right on past me on that home stretch.  There were some amazing runners out on Sunday.

Tired and happy runners!
When it was all said and done I wandered back into the Convention Center for some snacks and to have my finisher's picture taken.  They had a great spread of fruits, granola, lara bars (my fav!) and bagels-which did not appeal at all.  I sat for a few moments to eat and watch the other runners.  I saw one of the 1/2 marathon runners that blew past me holding her baby who looked to be about 10 months old....again, awe!  After that it was time to wrap things up and get back to reality.  Groceries needed to be purchased, bread needed to be baked, life needed to be attended to.  I went about my day on Sunday with a permanent smile on my face, not a huge grin, just a small smile.  I proudly wore my race shirt to New Seasons.  When the checker asked if I was doing anything special that afternoon I told her I'd done something special that morning and ran a 10K.  I was proud of myself, I still am, and I'm already looking forward to the next race!

Sunday, April 3, 2011


This is it!  The big day is here, the day I've logged over 100 miles in preparation for.  My first ever 10K race. 

I have two goals for this morning:
  1. Finish.  Seriously, just finish the race.
  2. Finish in under 65 minutes, looking at my pace this should be doable, I'm just not 100% sure how the course looks, i.e., how many hills will I be taking on?
I'm excited and a little nervous.  I was more nervous last night though, nervous that I would oversleep, turn off my alarm, miss the race entirely.  Rene set his alarm for 5 too just as back up, they went off at the same time....it was loud....but I got up. 

It's a chilly morning, my thermometer says 34, I'm already looking forward to the 10K I signed up for in May where I doubt I will have to layer up quite so much!

I'm off, send me good thoughts at 7:30 Pacific time!

Thursday, March 31, 2011


I made a decision a couple of days ago to try to unplug...a little.  There's a lot of chatter on the Mommy blogs right now about the role technology plays in our lives, how much energy we give it, how much does it take us away from the things that matter most, i.e. those little souls we are here to nurture.

I sat at my desk and considered deactivating my facebook account all together.  Ultimately I decided against it, I do after all maintain a page for my company so regardless of my personal use I would still be there for professional use.  Of course my company page has nothing to do with my bejeweled obsession (by the way, over 540K points in ONE MINUTE, oh yeah baby...I'm obsessed!)

Since I couldn't take the full plunge and purge facebook from my daily life I took a baby step, I deleted the app from my smart phone.  I must say, it felt....liberating!  And also odd as I looked at the empty space where the desktop icon used to be. 

The other baby step I took, I shut off my laptop.  I have a laptop in my kitchen and it is traditionally on...all....the.....time.  But not anymore.  I powered it down.  And shut the lid! 

I haven't noticed any extra free time coming my way but I have reduced my Mommy guilt-a little.

So, where's the balance between me time and me overtime?  I'm not sure.  I do feel though that I was spending too much time online.  The thing is, it's not like I sat down as soon as I got home and never moved until bedtime, but it's 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there, the next thing I know I've lost close to a full hour of time.  Time that could be spent reading a book, doing a crossword puzzle, baking some bread and, most importantly, playing with my son.  Time that could be spent soaking in a hot bath.  Time that could be spent sleeping!  Life gets so busy sometimes that all I want to do is hide, to stick my head into the laptop and ignore it all.  The bad thing though is that the stressors are still there when I come up for air and sometimes, sometimes they are worse! 

All this technology is a double edged sword if you ask me.  Yes it frees up time on one end-thank you for not making me hand wash my cloths!  But it's also a huge time sucker, a vortex if you will, into which all our downtime disappears.  A vacuum of free time, of leisure time, of time to connect with real life, flesh and blood people.  I've often told Dimitri that human beings were not designed to life in a cyber world, we were not made to only chat on line or via text, we are pack animals by nature and we need face to face contact.  To get that contact sometimes, we have to take a couple baby steps and unplug.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


We've been working hard....

My boy has been really focused!

And all that hard work finally paid off!

When the last piece of the puzzle was put into place!

I love jigsaw puzzles. 

We've tried starting them before as a family....
he wasn't ready.

But this time....
He got it.
He understood.
And he was victorious!

He's already on the hunt for our next puzzle!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The voices in my head

I took on a challenge last January when I signed up for my first ever race.  I initially thought I'd do the 5K, play it safe, I knew I could finish 3.1 miles.  But after some loving prodding from a very good friend I took the plunge and signed up for the 10K and, in an effort to not embarrass myself, I started training.

The race is called Race for the Roses and it is a benefit for Albertina Kerr Center which helps foster kids, among other things.  This is a noble thing I think, to support children in a time of great upheaval and unimaginable stress.  This is what attracted me to this particular race.  I wanted my first race to have some personal meaning, figured it would help me as I plod along the course for 6.2 miles. The truth is I would love to be a foster family, I would love to shelter a child through a storm, it just isn't feasible at this point in my life.  So since I can't be a foster Mom I can raise some funds, right?  Right!

I joined a wonderful site to help me track my training, The Daily Mile, and I started running.  So far since I started in January I have run 73 miles.  That's pretty freaking awesome for a woman who used to say "I run...if someone is chasing me" and mean it.  I used to look at runners and think, "man I wish I could...but I just can't do that!  I guess I just wasn't built to be a runner."  I remember trying it in high school, I ran up and down the hill by my house....once...and promptly quit.  The shin splints the next day were brutal!  I tried again in college, I went to the track with a theater buddy....once....again the pain the next day was enough to send me running back to my couch.  Honestly I was not a healthy teen or college student.  My idea of breakfast was a diet coke and a granola bar or a bagel slathered with cream cheese.  I shudder when I think of all the crap I consumed and consider it a total miracle I made it through, hopefully, unscathed.  If I knew then....yeah, hind sight is always 20/20.  Looking back at my diet and exercise-and I use that word loosely-routine it is no wonder I was not successful when I started to run but the thing that makes me sad is how easy 15 year old me gave up and again how easy 21 year old me quit.  A little pain and I was out!  The truth is I didn't really believe I could do it.  I had no faith in my legs to carry me or my heart to beat strong enough for me to cover a single mile let alone the 6.2 I face in a little over a week.

That lack of faith is something I've struggled with all my life.  I didn't come from "athletic stock" my parents never pushed me to stay active the way I push (by push I mean encourage) my own boys.  I was on the basketball team in grade school, I believe I scored a basket...once.  In high school I was on the dance team and that was my only sports experience in high school.  I loved dance team but it was more social than athletic for me.  We competed but as a team, if we won it was because we all did well, it was not because I was the best at anything.  While I have very fond memories of my dance team days it was not a competitive thing for me.  I simply was not raised to get out there and fight for the ball, or kick harder, score the goal or win the race.  I wish I had been if I'm honest, I wish my parents had been more active and encouraged us to be, but they weren't and that message was ingrained in me from an early age-sports were...meh...who cares? 

As a mother now I know I care.  I care not only about my children being active in sports but I care about me being active.  It makes me a better mother, it makes me a better woman, it keeps me sane.  But still I hear the whisper of my childhood, the self doubt. 

What if you can't finish?  It whispers. 

What if you're last??  It snickers. 

Why can't you run as gracefully as that girl over there???  It goads. 

Oh seriously, I tell that voice, shut the F up!  Aye those voices, those voices, those voices...those voices can just kiss my butt.  Seriously, when do they stop?  Will I be plagued with doubt forever?  If it isn't running it's parenting, if it isn't parenting it's my hair, my nails, the size of my tush or my...whatever.  When does it end?  It ends now.

I think that's one of the other reasons I am doing this race.  I need to have that moment of finishing something I seriously never thought I could do.  I never thought I could run 6.2 miles but last weekend I ran 5.3, and I ran it all.  I was sore as heck the next day but did I quit?  No, I went to the gym for my weights and stretching training day.  I will not quit.  I also want my son to see me finish this, he's amazing, he doesn't get as discouraged as I do, he's hard on himself-sometimes harder than I think he should be-but that boy is determined and that will take him far in life.  I want him to look at me and be proud of me for setting a goal, training for it (I really did not want to make a fool of myself!) and seeing it through.  I want him to look at me and know that it is important to keep moving, to be active, to compete.  Even if you're only really competing against yourself.  He asked me what if I didn't win, I had to explain to him that at this point just finishing the race will be a win for me, it will set my time to beat for the next race and that is enough for me.  Between you and me if by some miracle the adrenaline kicks in and I did finish first I would probably celebrate it much like he did when he won Run for the Arts

So next weekend, on April 3rd, around 7:35 am think of me and send me good thoughts as I start my race and silence those voices.  I will not quit.

Monday, March 21, 2011

More Tea Tales

Those who live in the past limit their future

So true isn't it? 

The longer we dwell in our past the less vibrant and satisfying our future can be. 

I know it's true, you know it's true, we all know it's true so why is it so hard to live in the now?  To be present, aware, awake and enjoy this moment for what it is?  To deal with this challenge today for what it is, not what it would have been 15 years ago?

This is something I've struggled with all my life.  Living in each moment, fully present, it is something I aspire to, I think that's where the beauty and joy can come from.  It isn't about who I was or what was done to me it's about who do I want to be today and tomorrow and making decisions that will take me closer and closer to that goal. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tea tales

I've been saving the tags from my Yogi Detox tea the last couple days, they're quite profound and thought provoking.  I have some good ones, here's the first:

Bliss is a constant state of mind, undisturbed by gain or loss.

Sounds lovely doesn't it?  To be able to maintain your bliss regardless of the chaos that goes on around you.  To be able to maintain it in the face of the great tragedy that is unfolding across the sea in Japan.  To be able to maintain it in the face of the little irritations, the loss of keys, the gaining of pounds.  That is something I strive for.  To shore up my bliss reserves so that the ebb and flow of life does not drag me down in its current of negativity.

More tea tales to follow.....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lost, one groove, if found please return to....

I apologize in advance if either of my sons ever stumble across my blog and read this....

I am grooveless, devoid of groove, severely lacking in all things groovy.  This became painfully plain to me this morning as I sat, trying to relax, in the sauna in the gym.  You see, normally people are quiet in the sauna.  It's a place for solitary thinking, meditation, reflection....today however it was a meat market.  I entered the sauna to find two women and a man chatting.  It was unclear if they were friends before entering the sauna but when the dude started giving one of the chicks a massage it became a moot point.  The conversation turned to chick two's birthday and he was asking her what her dream birthday gift would be, after some thought she said that being with friends is the ultimate gift-good answer....then went on to share that what she really wanted for her birthday was to get laid.  Declaring it had been far too long-8 months in fact-since her last encounter.  I did not need to know this.  Nor did I need to know that this was her longest dry spell, but I know, I know now and the information is seared into my brain for all eternity. 

They left the sauna shortly after and I was left in quiet for that much needed reflection.  Now, I do not know these women, but I was left with the impression that they are very comfortable with their sexuality, they've got their groove.  I was also left wondering have I ever been that, seemingly, comfortable?  The answer was a loud and resounding NO.  No, Krista, you have never been that comfortable.  Sexuality is a loaded subject for me, it comes with more baggage than Paris Hilton on a weekend trip to the Bahamas.  I am most defiantly not grooving.  Why not?  What's throwing off my groove?  Life.  Kids.  Work.  Life.  My naturopath tells me that a lack of groove is somewhat common and to be expected at this stage in my life.  After all, we've been together for 11 years, we're raising children, we're running a business, there's a lot going on that saps the groove.  If it's normal then why do I feel guilty about it?  Why do I worry so much about it?  Why do I feel like I'm missing out?  Like I'm the only grooveless woman walking the streets of Portland?  So what's the secret to finding a lost groove?  I'm listening....

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happiness-what does that mean?

Happiness, what does that look like?  What does it mean?  Would I know it if I saw it?  Felt it? Touched it?  I'm not sure.

There seem to be some people that are inherently happy, I envy those people.  I spent last Saturday evening watching one of those people.  A family friend, she was throwing her hubby's 50th birthday and she looked happy.  She always looks happy, every time I see her, seriously.  To be fair I don't see her that much but every single time I see her she has a genuine smile on her face that reaches her eyes.  That's the kicker for me, does the smile reach the eyes or is it just a muscle reaction of the lips?  I envy her and I wonder what is it that makes it come, seemingly, easy to her yet be such a struggle for me? 

There were a few things that came to mind as I watched her, for starters she has a tight group of friends.  It was very apparent that the women who were there celebrating mattered deeply to her and her to them.  That's so important.  I've been blessed with some really great friends, unfortunately we're scattered to the four corners.  We do what we can to support each other but it's rather difficult to pour each other a glass of wine or go get a mani/pedi together-it takes planning...and airfare....I also have some really great friends here at home but life gets in the way and we just don't pour that wine or paint those toes often enough.  Along the friends line I noticed that her friends circle consisted not just of her friends and his friends but their friends.  I would love to have that, a group of married people that both Rene and I get along with, we have a few-but again we just don't see them very often.  Life gets in the way.

I also had the very distinct impression that she's living truthfully.  She's living honestly to her core beliefs, values and priorities.  What you see is what you get and again, I envy that.  I spent much of my childhood keeping who I was tightly under wraps, it's a hard habit to break.  I've never felt able to just let it all hang out, all my hopes, fears, insecurities and quirks, I still don't.  This woman seems to live life as an open book, hiding nothing. 

I'm not quite sure what I'm searching for to be honest.  When I sit back and look at my life objectively I don't have much to complain about.  My children are healthy, my home is open and inviting, our business is doing well I just feel like there's something...missing...and that's a hard thing to live with.  The feeling that there is something just not quite right.  That I'm missing my chance to live a joyful life, to live truthfully, and I'm not sure what to do about it but I know I want to do something.  I want my son to see his mother happy, I have so few memories of my own mother expressing happiness-true, honest, soul vibrating happiness.  I want him to live life truthfully and joyfully and for him to do that he needs to see me do it, I am his first teacher, and I want to be a better one. 

I'm a work in progress, I can only hope those around me are patient.  Perhaps I need to walk around with an "under construction" sign on my back.  I have work to do.  It's time.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sweet slumber and other random thoughts

Never underestimate the power of sleep.  I've been a good, good girl this week.  I've been in bed with lights out by 10:30 so that I can get up and function at 5:30 and be ready for Paulo to get up at 6:00 to get ready for school.  Last night I had an auction meeting, a wrap up to our awesome auction that raise over 25K for our awesome school!  I didn't get home until close to 10 which meant after puttering around with lunches and stuff I wasn't in bed until close to 11 which meant I was not ready to get up today at 5:30.  I got up, I dragged my unwilling body out of bed, but I really, really did not want to!  And now, now I just feel off.  That's the best way to describe it, I feel off, out of sync, off kilter, out of balance, I'm tired.  I wish a slight delay in slumber didn't throw me so far out of whack!  Rene functions on less sleep than I do-I won't say he always functions well mind you, but he seems to require less sleep than I do.  Sometimes I envy that.  I would love to get closer to 8 hours but that would require I go to bed by 9:30 and frankly that's just not going to happen.  So today I shall struggle through with slightly sleepy eyes and hope to reach the end of my day without biting anyones head off *keep your fingers crossed*!

I've been pondering a lot lately, I tend to do that, I'm a ponderer...is that a word? eh who cares!...I've been pondering my monkey.  No, not the cute furry kind, the proverbial one.  My monkey is two fold, I think the biggest baddest monkey I schlep around on my back though is sugar.  Oh how I love sugar, I am constantly tempted by the sweet...white....processed...crap.  I know it's crap, I know I don't need it, but man do I want it.  Most of the time I can control that monkey, I can resist the doughnuts brought into my office because I remember that the last time I had one I had a migraine within 30 minutes, and felt like I needed to throw up.  I can resist the candy bowl that resides five feet from my desk by reminding myself that I, like Pringles junkies everywhere, cannot eat just one.  If I start and put one single piece of individually wrapped sugar into my mouth I will end the day with at least a dozen wrappers guiltily hidden in my garbage can.  But the 2nd monkey makes the 1st monkey grow to King Kong size and I find myself standing in my pantry at night after my son is in bed stuffing marshmallows into my mouth-the big ones by the way, not the minis-then chasing those down with dried pineapple (at least I can somewhat placate my guilt on that one with the knowledge that it is indeed fruit and does not have any HFCS added, but still, dried fruit after marshmallows, who does that?!).  I stopped myself from devouring the girl scout cookies because I was too embarrassed to be the one that opened the sleeve of thin mints.  As long as they stay sealed shut they stay safe(ish).  The 2nd monkey to which I refer is alcohol.  I've made no secret of my struggles with that particular beast, I come from a long line of alcoholics and I can recognize my own addiction tendencies but sometimes, sometimes, I just do not care.  One drink turns to two turns to three turns to a marshmallow and dried pineapple binge.  Nice way to cap off the weekend, eh?  Oh to be able to wave a magic wand and rid myself of my monkeys, my flaws, my weaknesses-that's what they feel like to me, weaknesses.  I feel like I should be able to enjoy wine and sweets in moderation but man do I struggle with that word, moderation.  I'm still so all or nothing, my inner pendulum swings wildly from one to the other.  I seriously think this will be my challenge until the day I die.  Trying to find balance, moderation, the middle ground-it is really hard for me in a lot of aspects of my life. 

On other news, I decided to actually do the race I blogged about in January but opted to sign up for the 10K instead of the 5K!  I've never done any race at all of any length and I jumped into the 10K.  I'm nervous, it's about three weeks away, but I'm also excited.  I've enjoyed the process of training and of feeling my body become stronger.  A year ago I could barely manage two miles on the treadmill and last weekend I ran almost four, on the road.  Crazy!  This weekend I need to up that to at least 4.5 to start inching my way towards the 6.2 miles I will fun on April 3rd.  It's for a great cause, Albertina Kerr, and I'm really looking forward to experiencing the energy and vibe that my dear triathlete friend SM talks about.  I always wanted to be a runner but I never thought I could be, I guess I was wrong-not a bad thing to be wrong about! 

Friday, February 25, 2011

When it rains....

This week has really put me through the ringer. 

Paulo's school auction is tomorrow, so we've had a lot of last minute meetings and tons of work still to be done.  I'm trying to print the bid sheets for the silent auction.  My equipment is not cooperating.  First my laser printer toner is running low.  I KNOW I bought another cartridge a few months ago and it has disappeared.  But darn it I know I bought it!!  Naturally the possibilities exists that I did not in fact purchase said cartridge, that I only meant to, that I already used it and that I'm losing my mind.  So, I moved on to my other ink printer, and 1/2 way through a sheet, the black ink ran out....seriously, the Gods are against me!

On Tuesday Paulo woke up sick, fever, sore throat, garden variety symptoms.  He hasn't been able to shake the fever since.  Last night I went to my Mother in law's to pick him up after work and found him sobbing, curled up in the fetal position holding his right side-his fever was up near 103.  I kick into Mommy panic mode, scoop him up, put him in the car and drive straight to the ER.  My fear being appendicitis.  A couple doses of zofran for the stomach and tylenol for the fever and four hours of observation later we're sent home.  I'm reminded of why I refuse to get ill or injured, I really don't like hospitals.  The doctor didn't want to scan him needlessly-which I appreciate-and decided that it was viral.  She told me that there is a virus going around in our neck of the woods with those symptoms, high fever and severe abdominal pain.  We got home close to 10:00 and had a late, light, dinner and crashed.

So, add the stress of the auction, the stress of end of the month business wrapping up/expenses and my Momma fears with a sick baby and what do you get?  A woman that is one step away from crouching in the corner, rocking back and forth and crying...sometimes loudly....seriously I'm one more snafu away from a full blown melt down-which I do not have time for.  I just need to get through the next 36 hours or so, I need the auction to go smoothly, I need people to come and have fun and buy the wonderful things we've worked so hard to get donated and I need my son to get well, I just need to get to Sunday in one piece physically and emotionally.  Light a candle, say a prayer, burn some incense, whatever it is that you do, do it for me so I can survive the next 36 hours.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The rule of 80/20

Years ago, when Paulo was in preschool I took over the reign of our Co-Op Board.  I'd served as the VP for 1/2 the school year and the current President's child was moving on to Kindergarten. 

When I took over the outgoing President gave me some advice that at the time I thought wasn't all that accurate. She told me about the rule of 80/20.  80% of the work is done by 20% of the people.  I scoffed a little inside...then I spent the next year doing 80% of the work of running a cooperative Preschool.  I've always remembered that statistic, I'm not sure there's any science behind the numbers but it sure feels accurate when you're part of the 20%.  And, yes I have always been and will always be part of the 20%.

I was reminded again of that sage wisdom last weekend.  Paulo's school is moving.  We start classes in our new location next Tuesday and the building is....not....ready.  So Paulo and I spent a chunk of the day there Saturday and I went back for a few hours Sunday.  I stopped by Monday to deliver a book shelf and rugs to his teacher and I was struck by the sea of familiar faces.  You see, it was the same dozen or so people that I'd seen all weekend long!  80/20....a vivid example of the rule of 80/20. 

I love my son's school, which is why I do not mind being part of that 20%.  I love his teachers, I love the staff, they are truly wonderful people who work for next to nothing and if I can make their lives easier by hauling boxes and moving furniture you can bet I will be there to do it.  I love being part of a community of kindred spirits that are working so hard to nurture my son, to help him grow up and develop both academically and emotionally.  They are such amazing people.  Without a doubt I love being part of the 20%.   I love being involved with his school and truth be told I love that people know who I am.  I am Paulo's Mom, I am part of the 20.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The best day ever!

I had a visitor last weekend.  It was by far the most relaxing at home weekend that I can remember in a long, long time. 

My dear friend, SM, came to visit me from the land of sun and surf-Southern California.  I had the pleasure of showing off my beautiful city.  We started off our Saturday with a run-see she's a triathlete and she knows I'm dipping my toe into the running waters and contemplating a 5K-and then a 10K in May-so we headed off bright and early Saturday morning and ran a little over 2.5 miles.  2.5 miles of hills mind you, not flat, not easy, a lot of hills where I live.  After a quick breakfast-omelets with farm fresh eggs that a customer had delivered to us at work the previous day-and quick showers we were off on our day long adventure.

Starting off our day was a trip to Powell's.  Oh Powell's you beautiful, beautiful place.  There is just nothing like that moment when you first open the door to Powell's, the scent of books waft over you and the buzz of activity that greets you.  I just love Powell's.  Powell's represents all that was important to me in high school.  I spent hours there-some of those hours when I should have been in school-wandering the aisles, fondling books.  I love Powell's and I was so happy to share the experience with my friend, who is also an avid reader, I knew she would get it.

After Powell's we headed off to Hawthorne for lunch and some window shopping.  Another favorite part of town for me but not one I get to indulge often.  See for one parking is a nightmare, seriously we scored a spot but I was nervous for a bit.  But the bigger problem is my busy britches boy, he would want to touch everything and I would end up freaking out that he was going to break something or annoy someone.  But we were KIDLESS!!  We lingered over lunch talking about anything and everything.  We wandered up and down the street ducking into shops here and there at will.  We explored some cute vintage shops, some eco friendly decor stores and some really sweet clothing shops.  What I loved though was the ease, it was so easy.  We could wander into a store and I never felt like we had to keep in constant contact.  We could peruse things at our own leisure then meet back in the middle.  The conversation flowed naturally, nothing forced, no awkward pauses.  It's like we've been hanging out together all our lives but in reality this is a relationship nurtured mostly via email, text and the occasional quick phone call. 

We capped off our day with a visit to Ashiyu Foot Spas in Sellwood for a foot soak and reflexology treatments before heading off for some vege Thai food down the street. 

Oooooooh, I feel relaxed right now just thinking about our day.  I wish every weekend, or at least every other weekend, could be so relaxing and recharging.  That's how I felt when I drove home Saturday, recharged.  Refreshed.  Renewed.  It was the....best.....day......ever. 

Thank you my dear friend for coming to visit me, I cannot wait for our next adventure!

Monday, January 24, 2011

A whoopin'

This month is kicking my butt! 

Between work, kids and Paulo's school auction I am sitting here stunned that next Monday is January 31st.  The first month of 2011 is 7 days away from ending?!  WTH?!  Seriously, I'm freaking out. 

So much for my stop and smell the roses start to the year!  I stopped to sniff and got trampled by life! 

So what's keeping me so tied up?  First and foremost is Paulo's school auction.  Paulo goes to an awesome school, SW Charter, and our annual auction is a month away.  We've been busy little procuring bees but I'm running into roadblocks at the major hotels downtown, a lot of no, sorry, it's the economy when I ask if they could give us a night's stay.  Frustrating, understandable, but frustrating.  Once the auction passes I think I will breathe a HUGE sigh of relief.  I only hope we can meet our auction goals.

Work has been extremely busy-which I'm grateful for. 

And then there's just the little details of life, the cooking, cleaning and grocery carting.  The homework.  The bath time and stories and noses to wipe.  And the trying to squeeze in a trip to the gym every now and then.  All good things but still busy, busy things. 

Oh, and to increase my load I'm considering signing up for a 5K.  There, I said it, I put it out there in cyber space for all the world (or those few that read my blog) to see.  I've always wanted to but haven't taken the plunge and have been inspired recently by a couple of lovely ladies I know.  So now I'm thinking about that and trying to figure out how and when to train for that.  Yikes!  I ran today on a track for the first time in ages, it's different than running on a treadmill...a lot different. 

So there we go, that's what is going down in the house and mind of Krista.  It's been a very busy month and I'm ready for that slow down I promised myself, sadly I don't see it coming anytime soon.  In the meantime, I need to remind myself to be grateful that no one is sick.  That sound you hear?  That's the sound of me knocking...on wood.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

It's after 9:00 in the morning and I'm the only one awake.  We all stayed up til the ball dropped last night to welcome in 2011 as a family. 

Momma's little party animal

It was, by far, my most favorite New Year's Eve that I can remember.  And it was the simplest.  What was so wonderful though was the fact that it was just me and my boys.  We didn't do anything fabulous, we were just together, the four of us.  I was thinking yesterday that how you spend New Years Eve can really set the tone for the coming year.  I wanted to set a positive tone, a healthy tone, a family tone because I really want to focus on my family this year.  Not that I don't normally, but it's different, it's not just about feeding, housing and clothing them, it's not about meeting their physical needs or even just their individual emotional needs, I really want to nurture our connection.  I want to find ways to inject more fun in our day to day.  I want to seek out opportunities to bond with both of my sons as well as my husband-all of us together at the same time.  That might seem like such a simple concept but it's actually difficult when you have the family make up that we have.  The boys are separated by 8.5 years and Dimitri is only with us 1/2 the time, so it's easy to slip into a divide and conquer approach to the weekends and the fun stuff.  Rene and Dimitri do one, teenage appropriate, thing while Paulo and I go off on a separate, kid friendly, adventure.  That's something I really want to work on this year.  Don't get me wrong I love to see Rene spending time with Dimitri one on one, but I also know that it's really important for the four of us to be together.  Last night showed me that loud and clear.

Cheers from the Rodriguez Family

It was such a simple night.  We watched the special edition of Avatar we gave Dimitri for Christmas, plus all the deleted scenes-yeah it was about 4 hours of Avatar-then when it got close to midnight we switched on Dick Clark and the good old Rockin' Eve show and waited. 

Torture time!

To kill time, Dimitri tortured his brother a little.  That always helps pass the time you know?  I always enjoy seeing them play together, despite the fact that inevitably the noise level in the house skyrockets!


We played a little Uno and had some fruit and cheese while we waited for the big moment to arrive.  Paulo screamed out the countdown (in typical Paulo fashion) and then he yelled and screamed and celebrated the new year by beating his chest like Tarzan!  Oh yes, he's a zesty one!  It was, all in all, a perfect end to 2010 and believe me, I'm happy to say goodbye to 2010.

Last year was hectic.  It was stressful.  It was far too fast paced for my taste.  This year, I need this year to be different.  I know I cannot keep running at that frantic pace for much longer, I know deep in my heart, that I just can't.  I know I need to regroup, circle the wagons so to speak, and come back to what really matters and that is those three sleeping boys upstairs-my family. 

If I want them to be kind, I must show them kindness. 

If I want them to be patient, I must show them patience. 

If I want them to be loving, I must show them I love them every single day. 

I want them to be able to come home and escape from that frantic energy that fills our world and really feel like they can recharge, that home is a safe haven from the stress of life, not that it adds to their stress.  I want them to know that they are loved and special and welcome in both heart and home to be themselves.  I want this year to be different, for all of us.  Happy New Year to all my wonderful friends and family, may 2011 bring you joy, peace and love because really that is all that matters.