Monday, September 24, 2012

The Art Fart

I really hope Sophia doesn't decide to read the blog today.
I do believe she'd die of embarrassment.
I must write though
because it's stories like this that I don't want to forget.
And I do forget.
I forget as early as next week if I don't write it down.
LG's been playing with new camera more than me. I love it.
We finally got Sophia into an art class.
She has shown a real propensity for art since she was a toddler,
and I am so grateful we finally have the means to help her along.
Check out her very first project.
I dare you to say she's anything less than a prodigy.

And now, here's a little art fart funny from Friday.
I went into the studio to tell Sophia that I was there to take her home.
She was happily working on a picture of SpongeBobSquarePants in colored pencil.
Next to her was the cutest boy about the same exact age
working on what looked like a tribal tattoo.
They were both having a blast doing the art thing while bantering back and forth.
It made this mom very happy to see Sophia in her element.
When you know something about your kid, you just know.
And I have always known that Sophia has the soul of an artist.

Minutes later Sophia bounds out to the car and we head home.
I zone out thinking about all I have to do
to get out the door that evening in time for
a friend's birthday party and a choral concert of my nephew at BYU.
All of the sudden Bella and Sophia are cracking up.
I ask them what was so funny.
Through fits of laughter they tell me.

Sophia - Nooooooo, don't tell her.
Bella - I have to. Sophia likes __________!! (I can't remember his name)
Me - (Not surprised in the least.) What' so funny about that?
Sophia - Nothing. Nothing.
Bella - Well, Sophia and _______ were messing around hitting each other and being silly.
Sophia - STOP! Bella don't tell her.
Bella - And then Sophia...
Sophia - (butting in because if the story is going to be told, she's going to tell it) We were just playing around, and all of the sudden I farted. It just came out. I couldn't help it.
Me - Oh my gosh, how embarrassing. Did you just die?
Bella - It gets worse mom.
Sophia - So then the teacher comes in and asks us if we need anything.
Bella - And _____________ says, "Do you have a clothespin?"
Me - Did it stink?
Sophia as red as a beat - "I guess so."

This may not seem funny to any of you, but it's moments like this when I just love being a mom. It is so fun to watch your kids grow up and become adults who are embarrassed by bodily functions.

Now, here is something to make it up to Sophia whenever she reads this story.
Sophia brought this home last year from school after the class all wrote down anonymous compliments.
She is one cool kid, even with the gassy gas.

And me, you ask?
How's the photography going?
Well, it's going when I squeeze in the time.
Here is one of my practice shots
while I was outside the art studio waiting on Sophia.
We are learning about aperture.
Photography is art.
Maybe I should leave it up to Sophia.
It's a lot more complicated then I expected.
(That's why I've dragged LG into the hobby,
he's my scientific go-to man.)
Check out my the website of my super cool teacher.

Here's a photo of another one of my cool kids.
She's taking a cooking class right now.
I've always known that Bella would grow up to be a beautiful cook.

Shooting action is more difficult
especially without the right lens
but here is our Abigail.
I always knew she'd grow up to be a soccer star.

Notice that she's reading dad a bed-time story.
At 6 pm.
That's how it goes around here.

Isn't he cute?
I do believe my car is in need of a wash.

And here is LG's latest project.
An expose about the life of a housewife.
Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.
All the time.
Even on Sunday.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Embracing mom-hood

I'm learning to embrace my mom-hood.
It's kind of like man-hood, but with boobs.
And a whole lot of other stuff.

I have recently learned something about myself.
Something that has never dawned on me before.
I'm insecure in my parenting.
I don't know why,
I really am a pretty darn good mom.
I can only remember one time with my kids got in trouble in school.
Abigail was in kindergarten and she got written up for writing on her desk. In pencil.
What can I say? She was my first.

My kids are well-rounded.
They are kind for the most part.
Why should I be insecure?
I am now going to resist listing their good traits.
Because I am trying to learn to NOT need to do that.
It's not healthy.
My kids are MY KIDS.
What else do they need to prove to me?
They don't need to be a certain way for me to love them.
And they certainly shouldn't need to be a certain way for me to love me.

So in honor of embracing my impeerfections as a parent,
and in honor of the vulnerability 
that I've been learning about in Brene Brown's book.
Here is the kind of mom I am NOT.

1- I am not an overly anal car-seat parent.
I don't believe in making my kids ride in a car while suffocating.
(After posting this photo on facebook it was brought to my attention
that the straps should be tighter and the harness higher.)
I also usually don't remember to remind my kids 
to put on their seat-belts til we are at least 
out of the driveway and usually we are down the street a ways.

2- I hope to have one more baby to test this next mom item out,
but I don't believe I will ever be one of those wrapper moms.
Kind of like rapper mom, 
but with a big long blanket that goes around your whole body.
And inside the blanket is a baby,
wrapped to your body.
Clinging to you for their very life,
like a car-seat will kill their brain cells.
Hmm, maybe I am a car-seat mom after all.
I am a total believer in the baby carrier.
Always have been, and I believe I always will be.
I also secretly hope that my hubby would never
be a wrapper-dad.
I just don't find it sexy at all.
Unless we are in the African jungle,
and it would be the only way to keep the baby safe.
You know straddling his chest,
while he takes his machete to fight off the warthog,
that might be sexy.

3-My three year old goes to bed with a 
sippy cup of chocolate milk every night.
It is just a little bit of chocolate
and we only added the chocolate because my mom
ruined the perfectly good white milk on her last visit.
I have no intention of changing this tooth decaying habit
until  my dentist tells me I have to.
It's hard enough to get the kid to bed,
and at least we can bribe her with the cup.
And let's face it,
I'm soooo over it by 10 pm
when we finally get her to bed.

4-I put my three year old to bed at 10 pm.
If any of you would like to come over and wrestle her to sleep earlier
or keep her from her 4:00 nap every day,
more power to you.

5- In the summer my kids and I stay up til midnight
and we all usually sleep in until at least 10 am.
I always laugh at the parents who say they would love
for their kids to sleep in,
I've tried keeping them up."
Yeah, well, you have to keep them up for longer than one night.
Keep them up late for a week,
and I promise they will sleep in.
I think some parents take pride in their
early to bed, early to rise schedule.
I might be one of them if I could ever do it.

6- I really really love Little Ceasar's Pizza
and Taco Tuesdays at Del Taco.
I wish my hubby would let us eat out every night.
I don't really enjoy cooking
unless I am in the mood to bake.
I'm a good cook,
it's jut not my thing.

7-I only change my kids sheets as needed.
Sometimes we can go a couple of months,
especially when they sleep on top of their comforters.
A few dead skin cells
obviously doesn't kill them.

8- I only scrub my showers on a bi-monthly basis.
Get over it.

9-I make my kids fold their own clothes
and let their drawers be messy
if that's how they roll.

10- I yell at my kids,
but try to minimize that to
only once a day,
and even then I save the
really angry tone
for the big time
(like when they run in the street
and almost get hit by a car)
and then I hug them real tight
because I am so relieved that they didn't get themselves killed.

All while secretly knowing
it wouldn't have been themselves
to get themselves killed,
but my crappy parenting.

And there you have my worst fear.

I am totally anxious about my kids
growing up.
I don't want them to be living proof
that I was the crappiest mom in the world.

Oh but Alice,
the only thing a parent needs
to be a good parent is love.
Well, if I could just convince myself of that
then I might be ready for what awaits me.

Please God, don't let them go to jail
or get in a car accident
while not wearing their seat-belt.

The six cavities I can handle,

and the emotional immaturity,
and the inability to organize,
and the one who calls home from school once a week
because she needs more love,
and the whole nail polish kit
left outside for a week
with most of the caps off,
(they were outside because
they've been banned from inside)
the couches with marker stains,
the occasional B on a report card,
the one who is just like her dad,
and the other one who is just like her mom,
and the one who just never shuts up,
I can handle all of that,
and probably a lot more than I realize,
but my prayer
is that you don't let any physical harm
come to them because of my
inabilities and weaknesses
and the fact that I didn't want them
strapped to my chest
because I was just happy
for them to do their own thing.
So that I could do mine.
Please make sure your 
guardian angels make up the difference.

Because really,
that's all a mom can do.
Admit it.
Get over it.
And leave it in the hands of God.

Now, the way this works is you tell me something
about your parenting that makes you vulnerable
and then we leave our kids at home
with their dad while bonding over Olive Garden breadsticks.
You can tell me that you are really good at all of the above,
only if you are willing to dish out a list of 10 of your own
where you suck.
Because perfectionism is a myth,
and the sooner we all embrace that,
the happier we will be.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Book Review - Daring Greatly

This is a paid for review as part of BlogHer BookClub.
Getting paid to read a book that I would have been 
snatching off the shelf anyhow is a very proud moment for me.

Do you want to change the world?
Do you want to have more powerful interpersonal relationships?
Do you want to explore into your own soul 
to make sense of your life?
Do you want to live whole-hearted?
Do you want to rid yourself from shame?
Do you want to understand men and women better?
Do you want to give your heart a hug?

I thought I would do something different this time and give you a list of questions for this book review. This book is so jam-packed with the "hard stuff" that I don't even want to dare pretend that I get it all. I will be reading it repeatedly until I have absorbed and memorized every nugget of wisdom. I wish every other person on the planet would do the same. It would seriously bring world peace and most certainly would give everyone inner peace. I'm not kidding, It's that powerful.

I was proud to be a part of this book campaign. I was thrilled. I mean I jumped up and down when I got the e-mail confirmation and cooked a fancy dinner for my family when it arrived in the mail. I have been pouring over its pages and sharing parts with my hubby every chance I get. I have compromised my facebook relationships with the overabundance of quotes from this book. I just can't stop. It's too totally amazing not to share. YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK. If you don't want to buy your own copy, borrow mine. I can't share it though for at least another month until I have it memorized.

I had a powerful experience at work last night, using the principles learned in this book. I was substitute teaching a class at the therapeutic boarding school where I work. I gave the kids a reward for every half an hour of hard work. We listened to a song of their choice (with my approval). One boy chose a powerfully emotional song about a girl who wanted to be with her dying boyfriend forever. I loved it. Another boy in the class didn't. He started to shame the song choice kid. I stopped him and talked with the whole class about "shaming" and talked with them about giving people space to be who they are, even if they are wrong or different. I then turned to the shamer, and told him how much I loved him and admired him and that I would hope other people would give him space to love what he loved. He got teary-eyed. He turned to the other kid and said, "Dude, I am so sorry, I don't like that song, but it's cool if you do."

World peace, people. World peace.

A huge thanks to marriage counselor friend John Morgan who turned me on to Brene Brown just months ago. He shared with me her talks from Ted. I was hooked. Brene is a researcher and has a PHD and LMSW. Her life's work is shame and vulnerability. Here are her videos. Watch them both. Come back if you have to. They will make you understand why you need to read this book. Even if you aren't into that psychological mumbo-jumbo, you need to be.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Sing us a song
you're the cameraman.

LG bought me a new camera
and signed me up for a photography class.
He's so amazingly awesome.
I love it that he pays attention to my bucket list.

We went to a free rooftop concert on Friday night.
It was super crowded.
We couldn't get anywhere near the stage,
so we found a secluded corner of the parking garage.
We listened to the great music
with a bird's eye view of the stage.

And we made out all night.
Just like being teenagers.
It was awesome.

I know are sad that you weren't invited to the party.
Don't worry.
We played with the camera too.
Captured some goodies just for you.

Oh, how I LOVE this man.
Every day just gets better.

And now you see why I need a photography class.
How the heck do I make these photos larger
without distorting them?

It''ll have to wait.
I have to go to work.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Guest Post: Sonja Herbert

Remember the book review I did for Carnival Girl?

I know it's been a while, but I really did love the book and I wanted to give you all your own inside scoop about the author Sonja Herbert who has so generously offered to guest post. 

Isn't she so cute?

In my previous blog post, I mentioned how much I struggled with Sonja's mother's negativity in motherhood. I think Sonja gave me a greater appreciation for her mom with this write-up.

When I was a little girl, traveling in our small carnival caravan, I often listened to my mother talking
about how she used to be a model in Berlin, the greatest city of Europe, and how she had to leave and
hire on with the circus in order to stay ahead of the Nazis.

During the few times we carnival children attended school, I once received an A for a story about a
Greek myth I had written, and on that day I decided to write about my mother’s life when I grew up.

All through the time I raised my six children here in the U.S.A., this thought was with me, and when the
younger ones were a bit older, I started on my mother’s story. As the story unfolded, I realized that it
would not be complete unless I also told my own story, the story of my childhood and my life with my
Life in the caravan growing up with Mutti.

And that’s how Carnival Girl began. I originally called it Conversations with Margot (my mother’s first
name), but since the novel I wrote about her life isn’t quite finished yet, I decided to re-name the
memoir and publish it first.

As I wrote the memoir and remembered the things that happened in my early life, old feelings returned,
and I had to confront the childish assumptions of my younger self. Now, as a grown woman, I am able
to see things I had not seen as a little girl, and when my memoir was finished, I had a new insight and
understanding for my mother, who had suffered so much and still came out ahead.

My mother, Margot, is now ninety-one years old. She lives in Stuttgart, Germany, and is still going

Thank you Mutti, for everything you have taught me!

Thank you Sonja for sharing even more 
of your insight with us.