Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dreaming of change

I want CHANGE! I want to move. I want to circle the calendar with a red pen and look forward to a date that makes tummy flip with apprehension and excitement.

For now, I wait. And wait. And wait. Ho hum. Yawn. Because of this are we moving or not limbo land, we have been SO GOOD about not spending money. But day after day I look around our kitchen and bathroom and want to throw some cash at some hideousness that needs to go bye-bye. But if we do move, we can't spend our tiny pile of cash on what will be a rental house. Not when the house we hope to buy NEEDS so much work. It is hard because sweet little Oxbow deserves some loving.

What can you do while you wait to hear if you get the Christmas present you didn't get? You daydream and plan!!!

Current Master Bedroom
Future master bedroom

Current side gate from drive way

Future side gate from drive way

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Casey's ME box week

This week in Casey's class he is showing off his ME box. This weekend we wrapped a cereal box and filled it with items that he cares about and pictures of his family. He then had to explain his choices on index cards and place those in the box as well. Everyday in class he gets to show an item from the box and read a card and take questions from his classmates. We didn't help Casey much with his ME box. We supported him, but I did not do his homework. He did an incredible job.

He used pictures of his family and Curly!

Casey drew a self portrait next to his picture.

Casey names all of his cousins (Ava, Lola, Liam, Lila and Rita) and shares how much he loves them because they are his family.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Working Mom

When I drop Erik off at Montessori or Casey off at school, I often see Mom's in their workout clothes getting ready to ease into their day, and on my bad days, I turn a bit green with envy.

Sometimes they say, "Oh Nora, you look nice today, I wish I had a reason to dress-up." I thank them and hold my tongue because I want to say, "I wish I could take my morning slower and hit the gym and pick my kid up at 2:30 p.m." For a glorious year and a half, I worked 32 hours. I had Friday's off. I grocery shopped and cleaned and volunteered in Casey's classroom every Friday. I felt balanced and more in the know with what was going on at Casey's school. Maybe someday my work schedule will be more flexible, but for now I need to work to pay for our home, retirement and a lot more. I don't want our financial burdens to just be on Pedar. I don't want that for us as a couple. I want to work as a team and make financial decisions together. I NEED to feel secure.

I am so GRATEFUL for my job. I learn new skills everyday. I LOVE the people I work with. Yes, it can be really stressful. Yes, I feel like everyday I run from drop-off at 8 a.m. to pick-up at 5:30 p.m.-- then we make dinner, lunches, give baths/showers and do the bedtime routine. When I finally put my awesome kids to bed around 8:30 p.m. -- I feel a bit worn out. But I am grateful for the bags under my eyes and my strech marks because they are part of my Mom experience. I love being a Mom. I GET to be a Mom. It is an honor. It is awesome. Every now and then guilt and doubt will sneak into my thoughts, but I HAVE to push them away, because when I see my boys happy faces and feel their hugs and kisses, I know I ROCK this Mom gig every damn day. My kids are happy and loved and their Mama brings home the bacon and fries it up in a pan. The end. Love, Mama Nora.

What Not to Say to a Working Mom
By: Devon Corneal.Lawyer, Mother

Recently, Amy Shearn shared a list of things not to say to stay-at-home moms. She could have just cited anything Elizabeth Wurtzel has written in the past year, but that would have been too easy. Instead, Shearn came up with a list that was funny and clever and pointed in all the right ways. Which got me thinking about questions or comments I've heard about being a working mom. I don't think anyone sets out to be rude or judgmental, but I've been surprised at what well-meaning and generally thoughtful people say to mothers who aren't staying home full-time with their children. There's a subtle hostility or judgment that comes through in some of these statements that makes me wish that everyone would, every so often, think before they speak.

(Before anyone freaks out, I completely and totally support stay-at-home moms. They work. They work hard. Their choices are valid and awesome and please stop glaring at me. There are days I envy them more than you know.)
Can't you afford to stay home?
Let's assume for a minute that I can't. Let's imagine I work to help pay the mortgage and buy groceries and send our kids to college. Where does this conversation go now? Awkward, right? Next thing you know, I'm going to be asking you how much your husband earns so you can stay home. Let's agree not to go there.

Then let's say I can afford to stay home. The question assumes the reason I work is entirely financial. Which is part of it, to be sure. If I could make money watching bad reality TV and doing yoga all day, I would. Since I can't, I work at a more traditional job -- but it's not all about the money. I value my education and the years I've devoted to my career. I think it is good for our boys to see me working outside our home so they know that a woman isn't confined to being a wife and a mother. I also know that some day our kids will be off at college or started on careers of their own and I want to keep a foot in the working world so when that time comes, I'm not staring at a big gap in my resume that makes it harder for me to get a job. I also like the equality that exists in my marriage because both my husband and I put money in the bank. That's just me. But this particular question devalues all of those considerations and, in turn, my choices. Please don't do that.

I'd give anything to get away from my kids for an entire day.

If you really mean it, I'm happy to help you polish your resume. You can be away from your kids all day, every day! Of course, along with that "freedom" you'll feel guilty about being away from them and will wonder if they're ok because they're home with a babysitter or in day care. Going to work every morning and waving to my kid from the upstairs bathroom window isn't a spa day. It's sort of like doing a triathalon. You start each day with a morning plunge into icy water, getting everyone to school/work then do an an eight-hour bike ride, all topped off with a half-marathon of dinner, homework, baths and bedtime. During your bike ride not only will you be expected to pedal hard, you'll also have to take phone calls from the school, the babysitter, and the doctor, respond to birthday party invitations, take a quick side trip to grab supplies for an art project, order groceries and a new pair of jeans and remember to return library books because it all needs to get done RIGHT NOW. If you're lucky, there's some wine left over in the fridge.

I'd miss my child too much to be away from him all day.

I know. I completely understand. You get over it. Because you have to.

The problem with this country today is that not enough moms are home raising their children.

I know! I couldn't agree more! Oh, wait. You're not advocating for paid parental leave, flexible work schedules or telecommuting, are you? You're not picketing in support for working parents (because, let's face it, some dads would like to be able to spend more time with their kids too) so they can make good choices for their families, right? You just want more moms to stay home. It's possible those families would be better off living under a cloud of financial or psychological stress to adhere to a traditional view of families, but I'm not buying it. If I see one more comment about how dual-earner families are undermining the very fabric of society I will lose my mind. Last I checked, no one in my family had shot anyone, stolen anything, cheated on a test, run a red light, or even so much as littered. Of course, I've been working all morning, so things may have changed since breakfast.

Why did you have kids only to let someone else raise them?

People have said this to me. People have said this to my friends. It's a good thing that I didn't have the power to incinerate them with my laser beam eyes. If I hear it again, I'll refer you to item no. 1 for the reasons I might work outside of my home. And then I'll just ask you to be a TAD LESS JUDGMENTAL THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I had Little Dude because every fiber of my being wanted to be a mother and we felt like our family was incomplete without another person in it. Loving and raising a child is not incompatible with having support to do that. We are grateful and proud to have wonderful people who help us -- from family to friends to teachers and babysitters. But make no mistake, my husband and I are raising our kids. We aren't home every day, but we are a presence in our kids' lives at every moment.

I don't know how you do it. It must be so hard.

It is. I don't know how I do it. But I don't think that's because I work, I think it's because parenting is hard whether you stay at home or go off to the office. I don't know how any of us do it. It's glorious and rewarding and full of love and it is the hardest thing I've ever done. Balancing kids with anything else, whether a paying job or running a household or finding time to watch Honey Boo Boo, is nearly impossible.
You must be so organized to be able to balance everything.
I have a love/hate reaction to this statement. At first, I bask in the affirmation. I believe I am organized. Then I remember -- I am one set of lost keys away from a meltdown. I have mismatched socks, my kid went to school with jelly on his face and I haven't exercised in a week. I have piles of books and clothes and god knows what else in my bedroom. I forgot a conference call yesterday and lost the planetarium permission slip. I let something slide every day. There is no balance. Only carefully controlled chaos. Pretty much like everyone else's life.
There's always time to work later, these early years are so precious.
All the years are precious. And why don't people say this to fathers?
You look exhausted.
Gee! Thanks! Wanna give me a day at the spa? And then watch my kid for me so I can relax? No? Then let's just pretend we can't see the bags under my eyes.

At least you treasure every minute you have with your son.

Well, maybe not all of them. Because sometimes Little Dude is a monster and I get home at the witching hour, just in time to force him to eat his carrots, make him brush his teeth and go to bed. Which, as any parent will tell you, is just the most relaxing time of day. This is why I keep a chilled bottle of wine in the fridge. Despite that, of course, I do treasure my time with my kids, but I have a hard time believing that would be different if I were home more.
Don't you worry you're missing out?
Every day. But then my son runs into my arms when I pick him up from school and climbs into my bed in the morning to tell me I'm the "best mommy ever," and I know it's going to be ok.

Oh, and just to be fair--here is a link to the article that listed what you should NEVER say to stay-at-home Moms:

Saturday, January 26, 2013

L is for the way you look at me

L is for the way you look at me
O is for the only one I see
V is very, very extraordinary
E is even more than anyone that you adore and

Love is all that I can give to you
Love is more than just a game for two
Two in love can make it
Take my heart and please don't break it
Love was made for me and you
-- Nat King Cole

Friday, January 25, 2013

Jelly Belly factory field trip

Pedar chaperoned three boys on a field trip to the Jelly Belly factory on Wednesday. He had a great time. They learned the history of this special jelly bean business and tasted some delicious and some really yucky beans!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mama time

I spent most of Monday with my Mom. We enjoyed lunch and a bit of shopping. I loved having a few hours just with her, without the kids interrupting or preparing food or cleaning.

She shared a story with me that I had never heard about her trying to learn how to snow ski. There are so many stories I haven't heard. I need to learn my parents stories so I can share them with my kids. I don't know enough about my grandparents and great grandparents.

What is something you learned about your parents that surprised you?

Monday, January 21, 2013

We are a skiing family!

We went skiing on Saturday with Jeff, Megan and Lisa. Mor Mor, Pedar and I took turns taking care of Erik and skiing with Casey. Thankfully, Pop Pop picked up the boys around 1:30 p.m. so we could enjoy a couple of kid free hours. Pedar enjoyed skiing with Jeff and I loved spending time on the mountain with my ladies. My confidence with skiing grows with each trip. I always hoped that I would get to a place where I wouldn't be snowplowing all day. I have been so jealous of Pedar and others that don't have to hold back-- they are able to get down the mountain effortlessly. I have taken some hard falls throughout the years and fear has settled in, preventing me from letting go. I don't want to get hurt.

Pedar tried to help me this weekend after a rather slow and difficult run. He said, "You're turning your shoulders too much and going up the mountain-- don't completely stop-- just turn and keep going." At first his "help" really pissed me off. How would he know what's it like to learn to ski in your late 20's and only get to practice about twice a year for 16 years? I hardly get better each year and I want to, terribly! Pedar left to ski with Jeff. I was steaming mad. I didn't feel supported or cherished. I have been trying to learn to ski for over ten years because my man loves it. But that isn't the truth. I have been learning to ski because I want to and I love it! 

So, after cooling off on a few easy runs, I decided to try it again, by myself. I sound like a three-year-old, don't I? I'LL DO IT ALL BY MYSELF!! 

As soon as I got off the lift I just went for it. I didn't stop and prepare myself. I normally take a second to pump myself up. I just dove down the mountain and I did pretty well. I went up again one more time and this time I felt myself swishing. You know, the back of my skis were fishtailing. I texted Pedar and told him to meet me at the lift. Jeff and Pedar met me and we rode up and then I hopped off the lift and went for it, again. I did it! I love ending my day on a high note.
Me, Casey and Karen (Mor Mor)
Pedar, Dawn, Gavin and Annika were at the cabin when we got back and we enjoyed a delicious dinner and wished Jeff a Happy Birthday!!
Lisa, Karen and Dawn had a great time at Homewood
The next day we went sledding and then said our goodbyes. We got home around 6 p.m. and I made breakfast for dinner. It was delicious!

Erik enjoyed  a few moments on his tiny skis.
Erik thought making snow angels was more fun than skiing.

Mor Mor on the lift!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Unconditional love

I want to love like this!!!


Last night, Pedar played monopoly with the boys. I was putting away laundry and texting with Mel and Margie. I loved listening to the boys counting and making rent payments. So many memories came flying back of playing monopoly for hours with friends and cousins.

Is it just me or does this week seem really tense? I feel like everything is a bit charged, like a fight is going to ensue at any moment. Come on good energy and peace, please come out, come out, wherever you are!!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tahoe weekend

We drove to Tahoe Friday night. Mor-Mor and Pop-Pop met us up there for a weekend of fun in the snow.

Casey wrapped Erik like a burrito.

Saturday morning we played in the snow a bit. We packed lunches and then headed to Alpine with Mor-Mor for some skiing. We tried to talk Erik into a lesson, but he decided he wanted to hang with Mor-Mor instead.

Mor-Mor created some magic rainbow fairy lights from a mosaic glass vase. It was beautiful.

Casey and I on the ski lift. Casey is doing so well. He is turning great! He is not nervous at all anymore.

Pedar skied for a little while on Sunday with his friend Andy. The boys and I played for a bit in the snow and just hung out at the cabin with Mor-Mor and Pops. I always feel a little anxious on Sunday's when the day starts getting older. I hate sitting on HWY 80, waiting to get home, with all of the Bay Area skiers.

Pedar and I had a peaceful drive home on Sunday. Both boys slept most of the way home. Must have been all the climbing up the mountain from sledding and the freezing cold weather!!We got home right around dinner time. It was perfect. We unpacked, started laundry and made dinner. It was a bit of a mad rush to get ready for the work week, but it was fun.

Bye Tahoe. See you soon. You are so beautiful.

Monday, January 14, 2013


“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.”

― Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

My question is: What is it in your world that you wish would get better??


Friday, January 11, 2013

Happy Friday!

Erik loves to hide under the covers in the morning and yell, "Come find me!"

Look at how long he looks in his car seat!

Pedar and Mor-Mor took the boys to the Crocker Art Museum recently. They loved it!

Love this picture of Casey!

Mor-Mor and her little artists! Casey is going to taller than Mor-Mor soon!!

This was Erik's favorite artwork. He kept sneaking a touch!

I enjoyed rocking out the other night on my neighbors new drum set. Super fun!