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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Uh-Oh. Here We Go Again...

So when school got out I asked Cole how he planned to spend the summer.

"Watching TV and playing video games."

Wrong answer. Since I'm from the imperfect philosophy that one must constantly be involved in an activity to provide some sort of tangible good, I decided to put parameters on the kids' summer. Of course, I do this every year... (Chores, reading time, outdoor activities involving physical exercise, etc. My success rate has been fairly low, however.)

In addition, I signed Cole specifically up for baseball, in hopes to spur the same passion his dad had for the game. Well, so far, it's been a bit like pulling teeth. Oh, he likes the camaraderie and the concession stands, but his love for the game hasn't quite peaked yet.

Or, maybe the kid's passion lies somewhere else...last week my dad and Cole finished a monumental project...Cole's first homemade Chopper. They cut up one of his old bikes and voila'.

Yesterday, Dad took Cole out for some test driving (baseball helmet intact). It must have been heaven. Cole confessed last night that there's nothing he would rather do than ride his chopper, every day, all day long.

Scary. I wonder if I can talk him into playing a nice little video game.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Lessons to be learned from Daughters

I’m visiting with Alex about her environmental project for science. She had to analyze the impact of letting water run while you brush your teeth.

“So, how’d ya do?”

“Well, most kids just measured the amount of water by inches in the sink, like I did at first. I was the only one who actually measured the capacity.”

I’m beaming with pride. “So, did you get the highest marks?”

She shrugs. “I don’t know. I got good marks.”

“But were they the highest marks in the class?”

Shrugs again, “Hannah’s might have been better.”

“Oh, really?" I inquire, wondering how Alex could have done even better. "What did Hannah do to get higher marks?”

“I don't know, Mom! I did good. That’s all I care about.”

Nothing like having a well-balanced daughter to set me straight. I’ve learned, most recently, in a profile assessment that I’m plagued with a personality trait called perfectionism. CLARIFICATION: This doesn’t mean I have a tidy house, for those of you who know me well… There are many versions of perfectionism – my particular form has to do with certain things never quite being good enough. Apparently a few of my standards are unrealistic.

So, I stop the conversation. Then I hug my daughter. "I love you, Alex. Great job on the assignment."

If she doesn't grow up hating me, it will be a miracle. Luckily, I believe in miracles.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

They've Cottoned to Bingo!

As some of you know, I subscribe to “A Word a Day.” This week’s theme has to do with metaphoric fabric words. Did you realize that another use for the word cotton is “to become fond of, or to get on well together”? It goes back to the idea that cotton clings well with other fabrics.
How utterly appropriate that my mother and I have ventured into this organic cotton business! We’ve become quite cottoned to the organic feel. It cottons well against the skin. We hope to cotton our relationships with our customers. It’s a darn, good thing that I am so cottoned with my mother!  Okay, you get the idea. Better stop before I un-cotton you all on this post…

So Alex has been bringing up the idea of going to Bingo lately…(Perhaps it’s yet another ploy to spend a bit more time with her BFF’s?) However, the opportunity to satisfy her wish came to us in the form of the involuntary “bingo work” assignment, compliments of St. Joseph’s Parish. Rather than complain and wallow in self-pity about my busy schedule...okay, let me re-phrase. I decided to stop complaining and wallowing in self-pity about my busy schedule and make the best of it. I invited BOTH my kids to come with me, in the name of quality family time. Alex’s requests would certainly tail off after a long night of chasing B9s. And I was curious how Cole would keep with the task. He was immediately smitten with the idea of winning money.
Strangely enough, our group of bingo cards were not terribly lucky. Actually, they weren’t lucky at all. Not one single win. Not even one single “I only needed one more!” As the long night drew to a close, the kids’ eyes glossed over, Alex grew eerily quiet, and Cole’s belly-aching was pert-near ostentatious. (“Mom – why can’t you just play this for me?”) Certainly Bingo fever was cured once and for all.

Then on the way home, the question was pitched – at the precise moment when clarity of the extreme boorish nature of game should have consumed them.

“Can we go next week?”
“You really want to go again?”

The idea even gave them a second wind. It began with a little chatter. Soon they were dreaming of how to spend the jackpot. Yes! More BINGO!

Didn’t see that coming. Looks like I’m gonna have to get a few more daubers.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Guest Blogger...Diane Stamp on Career Celebrations

My friend Diane sent this to me, so I thought I'd share...

Today—We celebrate!

It seems like it wasn’t that long ago. But it had to be!!! Twenty-five years have past! Do you realize how long that has been? A quarter of a century! A third of a life-time! Today we celebrate- 25 years in our careers - his with MidAmerican Energy and mine in the banking industry. Crazy but true! How did we get this far? Where did the years go?

I remember that day so well. I was working for Bob Boysen and Sons Elevator. I walked into the bank with a deposit and they offered me a job! And Jer- he had applied for a job at Iowa Power—one of 100 appplicants. Who would have guessed? Wo would have thought? We would both end up with new jobs- new careers- on the same day!

We both grew up with similar families – short on money, but long on love. Money was something we just didn’t have and we envied those who did. But we now realize – the true joy- the wealth of it all – was family love. And we had it all!

I remember that first day. Jerod was going on 5 and Jordanwas not quite 2. I needed a reliable source of daycare, so I inquired at our community daycare provider. Nope – no child was admitted until the age two. Well, what was I to do? Jordan would not be 2 until July 12th! After very little conversationwith the daycare director, it was decided that yes, Jordan would be accepted, and yes,thecenter would be cautious to hide the truth that we hid. Small communities—what a blessing! They wanted me to succeed as badly as I did! I had child care—Grandma and daycare- two sources that would provide a safe home away from home for my two precious sons. Life was good!

Today I look back. Wow have times changed! We had nothing! Jerry had worked two jobs, trying to put something back for our future. But that day, May 7, 1984, our lives changed forever. I remember posting our first paychecks into our check register. We had more money thanwe had ever known! It was amazing! As I starred at the checkbook, I remember thinking—what would we , could we do with the extra money! Yes, we had been blessed.

Today I look back. How many fascinating people we have met along the way! How many people have made a difference, shaping our careers and giving us encouragement for the future - Walt Doty, Paul Mitchell, Phil, Tom Whitson, Roger Claypool, Ken Woltmann, Stef Kramer,Robbie Gallinger, Kevin Campbell - to name a few. These are all people who will never be forgotten and who we will forever be grateful!

Today I look back. How many times I have become frustrated with my job. How many times have I been stressed by the pressures of a career. Once the golden girl, now the aging employee,how many times have I wondered what it would be like to have different job, a different carrer. But here I sit todayand I say ”Thank you Lord, for I have been blessed!”

It’s amazinghow time flies by and it’s amazing how things change,but some things still remain the same.We may have a nicer home, a newer car and money in the bank, but I’ve truly come to realize that a few extra coins doesn’t mean a thing. Today I am now wiser and today I celebrate. Our wealth, our joy, our pride still remains the same as it was that day way back when – May 7, 1984. For the greatest accomplishment of all is in our family, our love and the strong bond that hold us together. Today we celebrate! Thanks be to God!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Salute to Mother's Day on my 100th Post!

How appropriate for my 100th post on Mommyhood to pen a few thoughts about Mother's Day...

The weekend started off as perfect as a Hallmark card...we delivered a brand new acoustic guitar for my Grandma Shirley, who is losing her sight and is no longer able to read, quilt or sew. At least she can still play guitar; however, only recently did we discover her guitar has been broken. The gift brought her to tears (especially after thinking we had bought her a large fan). She and Alex have plans for a mini-concert at our family reunion this summer. Beauty.

Now for Sunday...I'm condensing this section to a few observations:

*McDonald's is a sparsely-populated restaurant on Mother's Day. But don't expect any Mother's Day specials.
*Mother's Day or not, kids still leave Walmart in a pout if you walk out toyless.
*It's never a good idea to drag your family out to buy flowers. Never. Remind me of this next Mother's Day.
*Compliments flow easily no matter what meal you serve on Mother's Day. "Mom, this frozen pizza is delicious!"
*Never plan on purchasing your own mother's gift the day of Mother's Day. There's a fairly good chance the store won't be open on that Sunday...

Lest me be misconstrued..I'm always thankful for the remind me how lucky and privileged I am to be a mother and have a wonderful role model in my own mother. God Bless.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Thing about Grandpa

Success. My kids are fed before 9:00 this evening, one is showered and one has socks for tomorrow. Sorry, I don't mean to brag...

So, the other evening, we're driving home, having another thoughtful discussion when Cole mentions, with a devious smile,

"Grandpa gave me a sip of beer tonight."

"What! No way. I'm gonna call him."

I call Dad, get voicemail. "Dad. Um, well, I'm just a little concerned. Cole told me that he shared a beer with you, and frankly, I think he's too young."

I don't receive a call back, but later that evening Cole has a secret conversation with Dad.

"Cole, I think we're in trouble. I got a voicemail from your Mom. We need to get our stories straight here. So, if she asks you anything, tell her that you only had one beer. Got it?"

"Okay. Got it, Grandpa."

I guess he pulled that one past me. Wonder if I can get Dad to convince Cole that cleaning one's room is a misdemeanor, that no mother should know about.

Too much Sprite? Or Beer?