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Showing posts from 2011

the Not Fake Holiday Letter - 2011

[Every year about this time I start to get daily hits for the Not Fake Christmas Letter post I wrote in 2006. I think it's about time for another one.]

Dear Family, Friends, and people who won't even open this when it hits your inbox.

It should come as no surprise to you that I'm not going to print this letter out and sign it and address it to each of you and then pay $40 for postage. It is 2011 after all, and I have a blog, and the feed goes to my facebook account, which is linked to a twitter account, and a Linkedin account that picks up the twitter feed, not to mention a google+ account. I have at least 5 email accounts that I monitor daily, or more, I've lost track really. I also have 4 facebook pages, a website, another blog to go with the website, another twitter account to go with the other blog, and that's one of the pages. I have social media profiles everywhere, some of which I even update daily, so unless you don't have a computer/tablet/ipod/smartph…

And the Girl is 8

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Hello solstice child,

The pagan doula who attended your birth held you for a while waiting for a gift from you, born in the dead of the longest winter's night. That was sort of odd of her, but I didn't mind. I think the gift was simply you.

Every parent has that child who is just a constant puzzle to them. That is what you are for me. I can understand pretty easily what goes in the hearts and heads of your other siblings, for various reasons. But I never know what it is that will matter to you, and what will just slide off.

You have strong ideas of what is fair and what isn't, and you are most easily upset when your sense of justice is offended, even if your ideas of what is just are very different from that of those around you.

You are clever. You see through people. You love to have fun. You love to be silly.

You look too old. You are too old.

Your bones are solid now, big kid bones. I can no longer wrap my hand all the way around your ankle. There is weight to you now. …

Little is 5!

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Dear Little,

I'm not sure how this happened. You are still my baby girl, yet so big, yet so little, yet so much a small child, but sometimes not. You are a girl in transition is what you are.

You still ask every night if you can sneak into my bed if you are scared, and I still wake to find you snuggled up next to your daddy on many, many mornings. I stare at you those mornings, not having a camera nearby, to trying to memorize every detail of your sleeping face, the line of your jaw, your dainty little chin, the long lashes brushing flushed cheeks, perfect tiny lips parted as you breath, and your hair falling across it. I look at how tiny you are next to daddy's big arm that is wrapped around you and marvel that so much personality can fit into a child your size.

This year to took it upon yourself to start blessing people every time we sat down to dinner. You would go around and say things like, "I bless you to always be my big brother and to love me forever because you a…

Of the Father's Love Begotten

After a super fun day of preparing for and hosting the girl's double, we were both born the week before Christmas, birthday party, I was telling Brenda that I had wanted to make a video for Neil Kramer's Annual Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert.

But since the deadline for entries was tonight, and I had a party to clean up after, a bunch of kids running around the house, ok, just my regular crew and Bug, hyped up on sugar, I didn't figure I'd manage to shoot a video. (Of course I didn't do it earlier in the month because hello, I have a non-profit to run, and they apparently suck all of the time you thought you would use to do other things all away in service of the never ending task list.)

She then promptly offered to shoot it for me.

We tried several times and each time about one verse in Bam Bam interrrupted, once by knocking over a drum, once by climbing into my lap, pulling down my shirt and nursing... He interrupts in this one too, but he&#…

So You're Worried Your Wife is Getting Fat

Dear man who has a wife or girlfriend or other woman in his life who may be putting on a few pounds,

You have been noticing a few extra inches on her figure, some extra softness and roundness in places it hasn't been there before and you want to talk to her about it. You know that to talk about it is to enter an emotional minefield, our culture is so good at messing up women and their relationships to their own bodies. It's really sweet that you want to figure out how to talk to her about this without hurting her feelings. Don't turn to an article like this for advice. Top 10: Subtle Ways to Tell Her She's Getting Fat That would be a mistake. It's like asking someone from Switzerland to help you navigate through India, only they've never been there before. I know you don't want to shame or manipulate her into conforming to your idea of hotness. You aren't that kind of man, and your woman isn't the kind of woman who can't handle a straightforward…

How to feel rich

The Girl really did not like the $2 day challenge. The day started with tears as I explained that she couldn't have one of the clementines on the counter because they cost too much and then we wouldn't have much more we could eat that day.

"But why can't I have them? You already spent the money on them to buy them? Can I have one, mama, can I?"

She really didn't understand. I don't know if you've ever tried explaining things to a loudly weeping 7 year old but it's a venture doomed from the outset.

They were, however, won over by the homemade bread to go with the lentils for lunch. And those who didn't like the dahl for dinner had the leftovers from lunch.

"I don't want to do this." The Girl whined several times that day and I didn't really have a response, until I realized no one does. No kid chooses to only have a certain amount and kind of food every day. No mother chooses to give her children the poorest, most meager meals…

The $2 day challenge

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"We're going to eat for only $2 each for the whole day tomorrow!" I announce. "Do you think we can do that?"

"Yeah," the boy exclaims, "I think we can."

"If we stick to basics and don't have treats or things like butter I think we won't even go hungry." I add. "I'll start some bean soup in the crock pot tonight..."

"I don't like bean soup!" the Girl whines. "Why do we have to do this?"

"Do you know there are people who don't have any choice about what they eat?" I ask her. "There are families who just have one bag of millet, one bag of beans and that's all they eat until it runs out, every day. If they are lucky maybe they have some vegetables to go with it. Those people are actually the lucky ones. They have food stored up. Some people buy their food every day with what they are able to make that day and if they don't make any money they don't get any foo…

St. Nicholas Day - How our family deals with Santa Claus

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If you've been reading here a long time you would know that we don't much go for the standard commercialism of the Christmas season. [Ideas for a non Commercial Christmas] We don't give each other Christmas gifts for example. We try to find a way that our family can be a gift to others instead. We don't do the Santa thing either.

Now, if you do I'm not going to tell you not to, don't worry. There is something to the wonder that a child is capable of and the way they so sweetly believe that I can understand why parents love doing the Christmas morning extravaganza for them to wake up to. I continue to try to find other ways for them to experience wonder.

But having struggled with the desire to teach my children to not want things, or think first of their own wants, and also to not be a totally downer mom who never lets them have any fun, ever, I'm pretty content with the traditions we have happened upon so far.

In the beginning they didn't even know who…

And Finally, Christmas decorating - a short tutorial on not spending anything at all

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Last Friday night I unplugged! I decided any work I wasn't finished with could wait at least one day and shut down the laptop. It has been years since have gone that long without internet while at home. I opened it briefly late Saturday night, but only to forward the lesson plan to someone else as I called in sick to teaching Junior High Sunday school the next morning.



The result of this crazy and drastic measure? Well, I spent a lot of time reading to my kids, and we went for a walk and stopped at one of the most well preserved adobe rancho houses in San Diego county for a tour and got a sneak preview of their Christmas decorations.



But then we came home, and I noticed all sorts of housekeeping I've been negligent about with this past month or two of NOTHING BUT FUNDRAISER CONCERT AND CHARIS PROJECT WORK MORNING NOON AND NIGHT.

Nothing like decorating to inspire some actual dusting and cleaning in rooms that haven't been given anything more than a quick once over and swep…

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

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I have a sleeping boy in my lap right now. He woke up from his nap still tired. It's been a while since I just held a sleeping toddler. He's very sweet. So I have a second to write a PHFR post.

 Pretty

 Happy



 Funny


Ok, these aren't very funny by themselves. Aaron took these Thanksgiving day. I made that sweater for the Boy a decade ago. I just think it's hilarious the way very small children will point at things as though the pointing will give them possession. "I can't touch it yet, but if I could it would be mine." Here he's after the little dog at Beema's house.

Real


Also real, the lack of any seasonal or adventish decorations in my house. I'm a little behind, didn't even realize the season until yesterday. Maybe this weekend.

Little is waiting for me to read to her so I must go. Bye for now friends.


L is for she LAUGHS at the days- an interview with Secret Agent Josephine

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After a long career as a super spy Secret Agent Josephine is now coming forward to tell her story in this colorful set of illustrated children's books written by Brenda Ponnay aka Secret Agent Josephine.


They are available in any e-reader format and hardcopy.

I've been reading about Secret Agent Josephine's adventures long enough to remember when she originally created the alphabet book as flash cards for her own baby Bug to learn with. Of course, as she showed us all the pictures one at a time as they were created, she generously shared with everyone else. Once upon a time you could get the alphabet Secret Agent Josephine style for free.

She's the most generous super spy I know, and blogger.

Now you can get it for only $2.99 on your super spy reading devices, like a kindle or iPad.

Even my big kids were enthralled with these books. It was evening and the light was awful when I showed them these but I grabbed some shots of them reading nonetheless.


(The next morning…

I think I've forgotten how to write

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I don't know what else to say when I come to this space besides, "Hey, look what I did over there, and there, and there. Oh and check out my to do list, impressive no?"

Sorry. I'm becoming a workaholic. Ask me the last time I went to bed before 1am. Actually, I hope tonight will be the first time in a while that I did. Yes, that does mean I even worked Thanksgiving Day. We were a bit late because I spent all morning stocking the virtual store.

But some of the things we did in the name of work last week were fun. We went on a few photo shoots for instance.

Sara and I pretended like we were directors and stylists and our kids and friends and family pretended like they were models, and also took pictures, and some of them turned out really fantastic and we have shots for the store now.

Maybe it would be fun for you to see them too? My SIL's are so pretty. The BIL's aren't bad looking either. And the rest, also pretty.















I got to be the fun mom for a change an…

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