Monday, August 29, 2011

Giving, Sharing, Abundance

I strive to teach my children to give to others out of abundance and out of need. If we model giving when we have more than enough, then enough will never be enough.

I guess I should maybe be more vocal about this with my kids. I think maybe they only see me giving out of abundance, but maybe not. Currently, I have an abundance of garden food, and I am enjoying sharing it with others.

This morning I read an incredible story about the Fresno school chief giving up 800,000 in pay. The line that struck me the most was, "How much do we need to keep accumulating? There's no reason for me to keep stockpiling money."

I posed the question on the Just Moms' FB page, "How are you modeling giving and sharing to your kids?"

Monday, August 22, 2011

Eggs Without A Rooster?

I often get asked how we get eggs from our chickens without a rooster. Once a friend told me that she went to a comedy club and one of the comedian's routines was all based around the awe that eggs come and there is no rooster. The place was laughing, but probably wouldn't have if there had been any chicken knowledge in the room.

It is simple ladies. Let me state it like this: don't you get your monthly egg with or without your rooster? And what happens when your rooster gets involved....that is right, a possible little chick. But, the egg comes faithfully with or without your man.

Well, that is how it works with your hens, only their egg comes faithfully everyday. And I personally would rather have the eggs without the roosters and the possible fertilization.

So, whenever we get a new batch of chicks and a rooster emerges, whack! Dinner. The last time our youngest kept sounding off, "Cock-a-doodle-doo," the whole dinner. It wasn't quite as tasty knowing that we were all eating an "almost pet."

Our Rhode Island Reds started laying about a month ago, and just like you when you were a young girl, their eggs are small to start with. I thought you'd enjoy the pictures....and hopefully the compare and contrast between the hens and any of you ladies out there.

Friday, August 19, 2011

School Shopping for a 1st Grader

Last year I was appalled when I read that the average mom spends 600 per child in school shopping. We didn't come close, but we did have a very short school supply list and we get a lot of hand-me-down clothing.

This year I braced myself for a bigger list. It was bigger, but in total I think I spent about 25 dollars on supplies, gotta love those Staples sales.

I also added my middle son to the clothing mix this year, and between the two boys (including supplies) we spent 125 dollars. I think we are well below the average.

But I am noticing something: compared to most of the other kids my sons play with my kids have way less. Less toys, less electronics, less snacks, less outdoor contraptions...less, less, less. I worry a bit that they are going to prefer their friends' houses to their own, and yet I am actually being very intentional in my less-is-more approach to parenting.

I'd love to hear your thoughts over at the Just Mom Facebook page. I posed a question over there regarding school shopping and how to combat all this keeping up with the dream of more, more, more.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Coach's Wife

The coach’s wife, you’ve met her before. She’s the one in those feel-good-sports movies that appears exactly three times. Once in the opening scene, she’s up in the bleachers rooting the team on, and you realize she’s the wife after her husband’s team has lost, disappointingly, and the camera goes from her look of sadness to her husband’s slumped shoulders. The second scene she gets to star in is short, and the only time the writers give her any lines. The coach needs a little pick-me-up, and so the coach’s wife is there to let him know how much she believes in him and his team. The last scene she’s in is at the very end of the movie. Once again she is up in the stands, but this time she is jumping up and down and smiling because her husband has brought the under-dog-team to victory, and of course, they’ve won a championship. If she’s lucky the coach, her husband, looks up into the bleachers and smiles.

I’m the coach’s wife. I’ve been a coach’s wife for eleven of the twelve years of our marriage. And I keep wondering why there aren’t any blockbuster films where the wife is the star and the husband is in the sidelines.

I mean, I am a fairly intriguing and occasionally exciting personality. I’m the constant. I’m always there. I’m there in the preseason, the regular season, and the off-season. I hear all the team drama. I know all the squad secrets. I know what the coach really thinks of all his players: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I know what the coach is like after a win, a victory, a defeat, and an utter failure.
I’m that lady with the three little boys who is often not watching any of the games, but is instead trying to entertain the children: snacks, toys, bathroom runs, concession stand visits, and games of tag and wrestling in the grass. I often wonder if any of his players think, “Wow, what an amazing mom. Look at her wrestling with her three boys. I wish my mom was that developmentally appropriate.”

And I have my dramatic moments too. I have those scenes where the coach talks me out of quitting, convinces me that this is all worth it. That these late nights and no-weekends-with-daddy will all pay off. It’ll all be worth it for that one season when they win the championship. I too dream of glory. I hear the soundtrack running through my mind as I live the sport’s dream.

Fall is but weeks away, and so my friends have started to ask, “So, is Hans busy? Has soccer started?”

I want to yell, “When did it ever end! Do you realize there is no off-season anymore? It is a year-round obsession and commitment.”

But I don’t, “Yeah, daily-doubles start next week. Soccer widowhood here I come.”
They smile and nod and that is the end of it.

And then it hits me, the reason that there is no movie titled The Coach’s Wife is because then the wife would appear to be the true hero, and that would ruin all the other great sports films of history past. And we certainly wouldn’t want to have the mirage come crashing down, now would we.

(I read this out loud to my husband, laughing the whole time. His response, “Wow, a little bitter?” I told him it was necessary therapy, and not to worry. I’d be on the sidelines cheering them on, even during the wet games of November.)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

Guess What Was Found

Apparently Hans' aunt has sticky fingers. She came to visit us up at the cabin and saw our camera on the table, thought it was her daughters, and took it home with her. So I wasn't going crazy when I was totally befuddled with my inability to find it.

I was so elated to receive this returned treasure in the mail today. Here are some of the pictures from our vacation, before the camera went missing.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Missing Link

I’m trying to convince myself that it will be all right: we are still having fun, still having a good time, still creating memories. But, in the pit of my stomach is the knowledge that something dreadful has happened on our vacation: we have lost our camera. This grand disappointment occurred the second day of our family getaway. I can still visualize the few shots I got on that first day, which only makes me feel worse since I will never see them again.

There was one picture taken on a hike with Daddy leading the way followed by three perfect stair-step boys. Then there is another picture I took on day one where two of the boys are wearing their 4 wheeler helmets, the youngest has the cutest gleam in his left eye as he looks up at his older brother in complete adoration and excitement.

We took the camera with us on a 4 wheeler ride, my regrettable idea. My husband dropped it once, but came back and retrieved it. From that point on neither of us can remember anything else about our camera. We don’t remember having it when we got off the ATV’s, we don’t remember putting it on any of the cabin’s counters, and we don’t remember thinking we didn’t have it either. A mystery. It wasn’t until later that evening when the boys were sitting on the dock down at the lake with their bare toes skimming the top of the water that I thought, “Oh the perfect shot. I must get my camera.” At that moment I realized I had no idea where the camera was located.

With Biblical zeal I looked for my lost coin, I scoured every corner, swept every cupboard, looked in every logical and illogical location at least five times, but unlike the spiritual parable, there has been no rejoicing over the once lost camera now found, instead utter befuddlement.

That first night after I realized my camera was gone all I dreamed about were possible locations my beloved Kodak might be resting, waiting for me to find him. I could hear my beloved memory maker calling for me to rescue him. I was sure he had flown off the back of my husband’s 4 wheeler as we raced over mountain trails. So, I made my husband retrace our adventure, nothing. I kept hoping a lone hiker would knock on our door and hand us our lost friend. Sadly, my fantasy was not becoming a reality.

I try consoling myself that when we pack up the cabin at the end of our retreat, I’ll find that black case and red camera just sitting down in our luggage waiting to be found.

We’ve moved on. I have tried to release my loss. I want to enjoy my vacation, but this disappearance has made me realize something about how I live and vacation: a big part of creating memories for me is capturing them on film. I am the documenter of small and large events in my children’s lives, and it makes me sick to think that this family vacation will have no digital memories, just the ones we c an hope to remember in our minds.

I remind myself that many of my best childhood memories do not involve photos in an album. They are mine and mine alone. I am the sole keeper of these treasures. Surely my sons will capture these family adventures we make this week…forever. I’m taking special attention of photo-worthy-moments and trying to etch them into my mind. I value memory; I’ve always had an exceptionally good one.

However, I’m noticing something: the longer I live, the more memories I have, the more I am forgetting the most recent ones. Those old ones, those early ones, I never seem to forget. And that is why I’m still sad about not getting to preserve this family vacation with my trusty ally, my camera.

Instead of being in charge of my memory and what gets filed away forever, I am leaving it up to chance and my mind to sort out the important memories versus the forgettable.
I truly hope my mind sifts these picture perfect moments to the top of my brain, and that these short years when my boys all love and adore me are never forgotten in this cabin by the lake.