Monday, August 12, 2013

another tooth

You lost your fifth tooth
Hip hip horray
Just one day past
Your eighth birthday
You wiggled and twisted
And pulled it right out
Blood dripped down
As out of a spout
In a few days time
A new tooth will grow
A beautiful new smile
You'll have to show
You're growing up fast
Amazing Drew
Brush those teeth daily
And be sure to floss too!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Holiday Cookies

Some people might say I'm crazy (namely, my husband) for making dozens and dozens of holiday cookies each year.  However, I like to bake & decorate them with the kids, give them as presents, offer at holiday parties, and enjoy their sweetness and the memories of past holidays.  What are my favorite things to put on my cookie tray?  Mmmmm....

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
This year it was Drew who helped me with these...and his favorite part is putting in the kiss after the cookies come out of the oven.  I made a small change and used dark chocolate chips (instead of milk chocolate) and I think they came out fabulously!

Sugar Cookies
These are my FAVORITE to make with the kids.  Melia helped me with this batter - and even cracked all 4 eggs herself!  Usually, because it yield such a big batter and we can't fit so many cookies on one sheet, we roll & cut on one or two nights (maybe freezing some) and decorate on a few occasions as well.  These are so fun because they are canvases waiting for little people to add color and sparkle.  Plus, they're pretty delicious.

Butter Ball Cookies
These remind me of my Auntie Barbara, my godmother, who was called every year for her recipe (before there were baking bloggers, internet searches for recipes, and all that).  THIS was my favorite cookie as a buttery and sweet.  I think also of my grandmother, Mama, who loved these little sweet bites - walnuts please for her.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yup, these traditional cookies make it on my holiday dish!  Everyone loves chocolate chip cookies; they are nut free; and I am known for making a darn good one :)

I like to add fudge, cut into small pieces, for the sweet tooth (me?!?).  It's really easy and so yummy!

Peppermint Bark
THIS year I will be adding peppermint bark to my tray!  As a result, I may skip out on the fudge, bark seems like a good substitute, and I don't think anyone will mind.  My bark will have dark chocolate, white chocolate, and crushed peppermint...sounds perfect!

So, WHY do I make all of these things?

I make these treats because it's one tradition I've had since a little girl...and I would never give it up!  My mom loves to cook, but never enjoyed baking.  I, on the other hand, love to bake (and sorry hubby, I don't love to cook!).  Once I was old enough to ask for recipes and bake, I began collecting recipes and baking holiday treats.  ME!  And now I'm enjoying these recipes with my children.  Usually when I bake my recipes are full of healthy substitutions...but when it comes to Christmas Cookies I don't mess with tradition!  I love the way these cookies taste; I love seeing them enjoyed by friends and family; and I love the excitement that baking them brings to my three little ones.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, August 27, 2012

dear dean

Dear Dean,

It is the eve of your first day of kindergarten.  Tomorrow you will be entering a fabulous school where you will spend lots of time outside playing, where you can explore, learn, grow, create, and also be allowed two 20 minute periods of rest each day.  Ahhh...balance.  It is a small school, with 18 students in each class, and you will soon know all of the faces that pass you by...and you will discover a strong community.  You can stay in this unique school through 8th grade; I think you'll appreciate that.  I feel confident that this is a good place for you and hopeful that you will love it.  You are a gentle soul, a loyal companion, and a quiet boy.  You are so bright.  You are an observer who learns by watching; you are a great listener.  You are sensitive, kind, and thoughtful.  Yes, you can also be impatient, tired, and frustrated; but would we not say the same of nearly everyone?  You are a delight.  Your teachers and classmates are lucky to be receiving you.

I asked you what you are most excited for tomorrow, and you replied, "Playing on the playground with Drew!"  You also talked of coloring in the classroom.  I am happy when I picture these scenes: you finding Drew during morning recess and glowing with delight.  And you quietly working in your class ~ building, drawing, creating.  

I am nervous that you'll feel nervous - or scared, or sad, or alone.  I want you to feel safe and loved.  But I trust that in time, you will find those things within this community.  I can not keep you home with me forever...nor would you want that.  It's just that at the age of five, you seem so young and naive.  Will the world be gentle with your young heart?  I want you to know that I will do whatever I can to make this transition smoother for you.  I will make special lunches that you enjoy; I will keep our mornings calm so you are not rushed.  I will pick you up after 3pm each day with a little treat ~ wearing a big smile, arms open wide.  I will lay with you, as I did tonight, when you need to feel safe and connected.  I will listen as you share stories from your day...and tell me what you need.

I'm sad to see you go.  Melia and I enjoyed last year so two played so well together.  You both gave each other space to be creative, to laugh, to have fun.  It was so noncompetitive and so playful.  I'll miss those days.  But, you all must grow, and I must let you go.  Tomorrow I will watch you on the playground, as I did tonight, tears in my eyes as I say "goodbye!"  I hope you have a wonderful, happy day...and that everyone at school can see the loving little person behind the quiet.

I love you,

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Farewell Second Tooth!

Your second tooth
Has bid farewell
Another tooth grows there
As well
Your mouth is changing
As you grow
Teeth rearranging
New smile to show
Wiggly teeth
Are so much fun
Don’t you love
Showing every one?
Share your smile
Show off those spaces
Watch the excitement
In others’ faces
Change is fun
Growing up is cool
You have a new look
For your new school
A big boy now
Ready for 2nd grade
Remember to brush well
And floss every day!

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Farewell first tooth

Nine days shy
Of your birth-day
You lost your first tooth
Like a castaway
Fallen out at camp
While taking a bite
Then suddenly gone
Vanished from site
Almost seven years
That you had that tooth
It sprouted up at 9 months
Represented your youth
Now years gone by
You’re bigger too
And underneath
A new tooth awaits you!
Shiny and white
Please take good care
Brush twice a day
And a smile you shall wear
A smile shining bright
A smile from a boy
Who brings those around him
So much joy 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Arts

I love the arts.  I have always found musical, crafty, artistic people to be quite interesting; and I greatly value the outlet, or means of expression, that the arts can offer an individual.  As a young person, I loved writing poetry.  I also found comfort in listening to music ~ which I've always thought of as poetry with a melody.  (I'm a folk-singer, lyrical kind of music lover most of the time.)  Even sometimes now, when I feel down, I turn to my writing and my music to heal my wounds.  I want something like that for my children.  I believe our words are just one way in which we communicate and it's such a gift to tap into all the other means...or mediums...which will help us clear our heads, express our desires, fears, anxieties, and joys, and let go.  While I believe some of this is innate, I also believe any/all skills need to be crafted...with the help of others trained in that craft.

Perfect example: There is a young girl in my class this year who has amazing artistic talent.  She told me she began drawing (mostly sketching) when her brother (who has severe special needs) was adopted and had tantrums.  She would lock herself in her room and sketch.  Her artistic skill began to grow; and it was encouraged by her parents and teachers.  In elementary school she won a scholarship for her artwork and she put all of the money towards a year of art classes.  She began taking classes 3 times a week and she's still doing this three years later.  She brought in her portfolio and showed me her paintings.  (She learned to paint in these classes...she was mostly sketching at home.)  She explained how she paints from the back to the front; and how many layers exist in each of her pieces.  She told me of different brush strokes and techniques she's learned; she explained the patience it takes to finish a piece and how she never gives up on a painting even if it's not her favorite.  She spoke of her teacher and how much she has learned from her over the past few years.  Beautiful!

So, while she may have begun drawing on her own, it is with the guidance of an art teacher that her talent and skill were crafted.  I want that for my kids.

So, how do I find that special gift they have...and make it about their talents?

Drew, who is 6 1/2 years old, has always enjoyed music.  But I kind of think: what little kid doesn't like music?  All of my kids have taken music classes as toddlers and enjoyed it!  However, Drew's interest has, in my opinion, been different.  He used to love to play songs in a little Baby Enstein book we had ~ where he could follow the notes by the numbers in the book.  He loved to sit at the piano and gently stroke the keys.  He loves singing; and he loves making up rhymes (like me!).  Now he's been taking piano lessons for about 4 months, usually once a week, but sometimes not so often.  Not only was he already reading notes after his first lesson, but a few really cool things have happened since his lessons started...

*He has gone to the piano during moments of frustration and practiced his songs.
How cool is it that he could be upset and find some comfort in playing music?

*He has written his own song ~ lyrics and music.
Granted the song was about Chico, our cat, and how great he is...but isn't it amazing that he would let words flow from his head to paper and then bring those words down to the piano to write the music?

*He has gone to the piano, with no music sheet in front of him, and played around til he created the first few notes of a song he learned at school.  He then played them for his teacher and she recognized the song!  Replicating a song after only a few months of lessons?  Isn't that awesome!?!

I think Drew might have a talent here.  He may not end up being Mozart, and I'm totally ok with that, but he may end up being someone who writes music when he feels sad, or jams with friends on the weekend, or appreciates music and plays piano at home.  Who knows!  As his parent, I want to be tuned in to what he is good at and interested in ~ tossing my talents and dreams aside ~ and allow him opportunities to grow in ways I can not support.  I can't help him develop a talent I don't share.  But I can get him a good teacher.  I can listen when he plays.  I can tell him how amazing he is.  I can be his biggest fan.  And I can hope that maybe these lessons will allow him to really develop a gift...and discover a place he can turn when he is sad...a gift he can be proud of and share with others.

This doesn't mean every kid needs to play an instrument - or even that all three of mine will.  I don't know yet.  I don't see the same draw to music in the other two yet.  But I'm tuning in to them all, and trying to learn what teachers they might need to grow in ways that are true to who they are.

I'm watching.

I'm listening.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

So Thankful...

These three little people bring me so much joy; and for them, I am so thankful. I like to keep it real and I'm not ashamed to say this parenting gig is HARD WORK and at times, simply overwhelming. And while I may lose my cool or miss my ME time, I am filled with so much love and joy when I think about, hold, spend time with...these three. They are clever, creative, silly, affectionate, thoughtful, and loads of fun!

At this time of year, more than any other, "we" are reflective about what is good in our lives, how we can show kindness & appreciation, and what it means to give. This holiday I'd like to give the kids a little bit more of ME. A little less frustrated mommy, a little less tired mommy, a little less busy-at-the-computer mommy. A little more on-the-floor-playing mommy, a little more organized, patient, punctual, prepared, and calm mommy. I think that is the best gift I can give.

It's not easy being a parent. It's not easy being a young kid either. Life is filled with's about how we meet (and overcome) those challenges. We need to make the good moments GREAT and put the stresses away while we play. They won't be young forever; and I know I'll miss this chaotic time of life. I love them and appreciate the joy they bring me every day. I love that they embrace me as their mom - for better or worse - and appreciate that they let me sing and dance and laugh and hike and play and color and snuggle....with them.
I'm so thankful for my beautiful children, my amazing partner, and all the blessings I've received.