Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I love my family. I have a wonderful husband, 3 adorable and smart kids that usually are well behaved. (though we were asked to be a bit more quiet at the quiet pool today but they weren't doing anything bad; just playing Marco Polo)
My 4 year old has taken to calling me "Mama" this week. I don't know where it has come from. All my kids have called me Mommy or Mom. Never Mama. It just makes me melt. I don't know if it is because she's my last child or what, but it really is the sweetest thing hearing her cute voice call out "Mama". Perhaps I just am all too aware these days, as she is getting ready to enter Kindergarten this fall, that this precious time is fleeting.
I'd love to know what memories, recollections, quirks, words, etc. that you hold dear.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Bear with me. I have nothing to blog about so I'm blogging about my vacation. Yep. One of "those" moms whose only life is their kids and husband. Is it that bad a life?
Vacations. For us, it always seems to take a few days to really start getting into vacation mode. I'm not exactly sure why that is, perhaps just to unwind from the stress of packing, making sure one has all the necessary things for 3 kids, all appliances off, house locked up, mail stopped, etc. etc. There's quite a bit to do just to go on vacation! And the first night I still awoke wondering if I'd done this, locked that and turned off the A/C. (it's okay; I know I did)
The first day, all 7 hours of driving, my kids did amazingly well. Even though we have a minivan, at first they all wanted to sit together in the very back row. This lasted about 2 hours and I don't recall what happened but for the rest of the trip they were a bit more spread out. Got to Carlsbad, kids played on the beach, seemed very tired and yet they could not get to bed! Really! What happened to my kids that go to sleep right away?
Of course, the next day, which was supposed to be Legoland but we altered our plans so we'd not have to sit in their 90 minute lines that the other parents who'd visited the day before recounted horror stories about. Maybe they were just trying to scare off a few people, but I heeded their warnings and proposed we drive back to Carlsbad later in the week. My kids seemed okay with that but that morning was a very difficult morning. My middle child got no less than 3 time outs. As we explored the small beach towns 2 out of the 3 fell asleep; a bit of gentle encouragement that they were just exhausted and perhaps the whole trip would not be fraught with meltdowns, disobedience and complaints.
I am not a person who relaxes well. People even joke that I should learn to enjoy a glass of wine now and then. To just stop and enjoy things. Well, I don't like the taste of wine but I am trying slow down and enjoy this precious week with my family.
Last night, our first night in the desert, we went to dinner, purchased groceries, laundry detergent, toothbrushes for the kids (yep..... I did forget a few items) and all that stuff to make living here for a week more pleasant, like a case of 24 diet cokes for me and a 6 pack of Fat Tire beer for David. My kids were surprisingly good even though it was now nearly 9 at night. Since they were doing so well, we decided to explore where David hoped to meet some bicyclists for a group ride at 6:30am the following morning. When my kids saw the skateboard park they just HAD to check it out, and I think David did as well. (I married a skateboarder) While there they encountered the biggest bug they'd ever seen! David took a photo with is iphone. It was ugly. Have no idea what type of beetle it was, but my kids could not stop talking about it.
Got back to our accommodations and unloaded the car of all the groceries, my kids still giggling away at the gigantic bug they'd seen, a mix of awe, excitement and fear. I did not even have to tell them to put their pajamas on or remind them of the bedtime routine. They were tired and happy and went to bed right away.
Now THIS is vacation
Posted by victoria at 6/29/2009 06:25:00 AM
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Last Sunday I chose to cheer my husband on in his first olympic distance triathlon attempt. I'm sure I had more fun than he did! No; I'm joking. He had a wonderful time, and I had to round up 3 kids wherever I went, which was definitely not fun, but I brought plenty of drinks and snacks.
My plan was to be down at the lake before the swim started. I love crowd shots and thought it'd be a cool photo. Only it was a bit difficult getting my kids out of the house. I finally did so and knew we'd miss the beginning of the swim. (but got a phone call from a friend saying they were about 20 minutes behind schedule) Still, I missed the swim and knew I had.
On the way to the lake I realized that I was on the same course as the bike portion of the triathlon. Perfect! I decided to pull over and take pictures on the side of the road of all the cyclists. I'm bored so I started just shooting pictures of everyone. I thought it'd be good practice, as well as keeping me busy. My kids were cheering the athletes on, and it was fun seeing their reaction. Some of the athletes waved, others smiled, all seemed happy to hear them cheer.
I realized about 30 shots into things that my ISO was set to 3200! Way too high or a bright sunny day where the max would be 400. Not a problem,I changed it and things got better. I shot a few hundred pictures and heard David's voice calling out to us and the kids. Too late for a photo. (but looking at my random shots of people I don't know revealed I actually did get an okay shot of him racing) I stayed a bit longer, hoping to get a photo of another friend when I realized I filled up my CF card Of course, just then my friend raced by, calling out my name and waving. I felt so bad, I got in the car, went a few miles up the road and finally got a few mediocre photos of my friend, as well as several of others. My kids were pretty bored by now and clamored to go to the park. I think they actually thought we'd play at the park. Nope. It's all about the photo opportunity!
Had to park what seemed to be miles away but it was only half a mile at most, all this with about 18 pounds of photo gear on my back. Since this was my first triathlon viewing, I messed up and thought I was along the running path when I guess I wasn't. So I sat, waiting patiently for David and about 2 hours and 45 minutes into it thought it could not be taking him this long! He thought it was quite feasible to finish in under 2 hours and 30 minutes. Eventually I realized my error and went over to the finish line. I missed him! He'd come in quite a bit earlier.
Since he had some time to cool down, he looked great. He was dry. (but a bit salty) and I don't think anyone would guess he'd just finished a triathlon. He asked if I was thirsty and got me a strange non carbonated energy drink. What? No Diet Coke? Bummer. Saw a few of his friends, began chatting with them and listening to their varied stories. It was fun. My kids found other kids to play with and we all had a wonderful time being together and talking. It was a great way to spend a Sunday. I may never go back to church. (I'm joking)
Then it was time to go home. It was Father's day and we had a lot of other stuff on our plates with Grandparents and all that. So I trekked back the mile to my car and David rode his bike home and made it home before we did.
I asked David if he'd do it again and he said yes, but happy it was over with none on the schedule. But tonight I caught him looking online for an olympic distance tri in August or September and he went on a run and for a swim tonight.
Oh; he did very well. He missed his goal of under 2:30 but it turns out the run was a full mile more than what it should have been; I believe he was doing around 7:30 minute miles, so a the very least factor that in and he did accomplish his goal of under 2:30.
I love my husband, and not just because he's athletic and good at things like this. I just love him. He can be pretty competitive but is also one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
A first taste of summer! Every week a group of friends gathers together at this small amusement park. Today there were 12 of us; 3 moms and the rest kids. We went after VBS, so my kids were rather tired but still in good spirits. Although each child has a different favorite "must do" ride the two things that garner the most excitement and anticipation are the giant swing ride and the water area.
Here's a few pictures from our wonderful time together. Amusement parks are much more fun with great friends.
Posted by victoria at 6/23/2009 09:35:00 PM
Late last week a friend of mine emails me (it's pointless to try to call me; if you need to get in touch twitter, email or facebook me!) and asks if I'd be interested in signing the kids up at a (fairly) local church. This is the first year I can finally put all 3 kids in VBS so I said YES!
The church is about 16 minutes away, nestled by a school and in a neighborhood, yet still on a busy street. I sometimes make fun of "VBS hoppers" - those who put hop from one church to the next putting their kids in the programs so the mom can take advantage of a little free time. They (I) don't go to these churches, have no interest in switching churches yet feel content putting the kids in the free VBS program. It's great: Kids learn about God, get to play, sing songs, have craft and a bible story and the moms (me!) get a bit of free time. (though I'm spending it right now writing this blog and doing laundry)
Indulge me for a moment: What is the goal of VBS? Is it designed to be an outreach? To the community around the church or those that go to other churches and just need a break for a few hours a day? Do churches put on VBS as a service to their own congregation? Do the churches LIKE having us VBS hoppers? Are they just happy to serve and help the kids grown in the knowledge of Christ? Did they secretly hope that unchurched neighbor kids would attend and are they disappointed when they asked me today, "We don't have your home church listed; do you attend a church?" And I replied yes and proudly stated the name of my church.
Questions aside, I have to say in the past 6 years I've dropped my kids off at many VBS programs. Some really stand apart, as they make VBS fun without sacrificing the reason they are there. Some are a little on the boring side, especially for my 9 year old but he's still hardly complaining because he's with his buddy. My own church has an evening VBS, a rarity. Its 45 dollars and last year I thought that was so much money until I saw the quality of the VBS program; it easily outshone nearly all the free ones my kids had attended!
But I'm on a tangent. My post is about how I am being a church customer. There's been a lot of discussion in my circle lately about what undermines church growth and community. The three things a friend lists are: Materialism, Individualism and Consumerism.
But I wonder how one can stop being a consumer when it comes to church? And I feel that churches perhaps should be aware that people are evaluating their churches and everything from finding a parking spot, to the ease of finding the restroom are as important to a church visitor as the preaching or music. Then there's the whole concept of friendliness and "customer service:"
In fact, it seems that churches are more like a business than anything else!
So yesterday and today I was a church customer. This church had tables set out for the registration. My kids were pre-registered and they were organized and helpful. This step took only minutes as they verified my information, greeted my children and chatted with me about how I had heard about their church. They smiled, made great eye contact and were helpful. I felt safe leaving my kids in their care.
Most of the helpers were all women but there was one man present as well. He said hello to me and later I discovered he was the pastor. For some reason, it impressed me that the pastor would take the time to be a part of a VBS program. I guess my view of pastors are that they are extremely busy and delegate often. It's not a bad thing; I understand that pastors are busy and have to prioritize their time and that is probably why it struck me.
Obviously this is a smaller church because there were less than 45 kids present, and 10 of them were either mine or my friend's children. The first day they played on the playground until it was time to sign up. It seemed to me these kids were well trained! They all, even my kids, silently lined up when asked. The pastor spoke in a hushed tone and everything fell silent. I was amazed at how disciplined and controlled the children were, within mere minutes of lining up. I guess even with 3 kids I am used to chaos at my house!
I know nothing about their church. I am not interested in leaving my church but I have to say I was impressed and happy. I pray their church does great things for their community. I just left with a sense that they knew their purpose and were happy to serve Christ through their VBS ministry. Unfortunately, there have been times at VBS programs where I've just felt like one in an assembly line of people. It was good to feel welcomed, and even better to see my kids embraced fully.
I don't like having a consumer mindset at my church but it's easy to do. I seem to notice all the little details and even though I know church is not about "programs" and activities, I still really like both those things. I do expect much from my church, and sometimes I wonder if that's a good thing or a bad thing?
Well, I guess its time to pick up the kids from VBS. Hope they had a wonderful time. Hmmm... I wonder when the next VBS is offered? I think I like this free time.
Peace. What is it? According to the Merriam Webster online dictionary it can be defined as the following:
"1: a state of tranquillity or quiet: as a: freedom from civil disturbance b: a state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom
2: freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions
3: harmony in personal relations
4 a: a state or period of mutual concord between governments b: a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity
5—used interjectionally to ask for silence or calm or as a greeting or farewell
— at peace : in a state of concord or tranquillity"
I never watch Jon and Kate Plus Eight but how can one not know what's going on? The talk of the state of their marriage has been a big deal now for weeks, if not months. A quick peruse through an online chat community comes up with this consensus:
Jon is a jerk
Kate is difficult to live with.
People hate Jon for leaving his wife and kids.
The thing that strikes me on this (nearly all female) chat board is that the majority of woman would support another woman in her decision to divorce if she was unhappy. Why? Because no one should live in a loveless marriage. She should be free to pursue her happiness and not be stuck with someone who doesn't deserve her. Yet, the general consensus of this chat board was the Jon was at fault; he was simply being immature and selfish for leaving his wife and kids. Again, I do not watch the show. I have no idea what transpired or the details of their decision to separate.
It saddens me they can't work it out. It hurts me that Christians put people in the spotlight as role models because they attend church and don't believe in abortion, and then get so upset and sad when they turn out to be imperfect. It's just sad. It would have been really great if they had decided to do marriage counseling. Perhaps they did. It would have been wonderful to have seen their church community rally around to support and love them during this horrible time.
I don't know the issues Jon and Kate are facing. I did listen to a part of a tape and heard Jon and Kate state over and over that for the sake of peace, they needed to divorce. It's not good for the kids to live in a home where they are arguing, since they can't even be cordial to each other.
Why can't they? Why can't they be cordial to each other? How can a family have 8 kids, be married for 10 years and decide its not working? That they no longer love each other? I know; it happens all the time. I have heard the same argument: For the sake of the kids, we need a divorce. It's not good for the kids...... Yeah, but is divorce good for the kids either? Can't people work it out? On the chat board I belong to many are stating that so many studies show that its better to come from a divorced background where both parents are cordial to each other than to live in a home of constant bickering and unhappiness. I have read that though that can be true in high conflict marriages, in the majority of low conflict marriages divorce has far more devastating effects. I guess we can pick and choose whatever study we'd like to support our position.
As a Christian, it bothers me even more that they are Christians as well and can't work things out and seemingly aren't even fighting to work things out. I know; I have no idea what has transpired. I am not supposed to judge but it still saddens me. On one of the online chat boards someone posted this:
"They should be ashamed of themselves, what type of Christian behavior have they displayed to their children? What I hate are hypocritical religious types like Kate who treat people like garbage. Tell me how that's in any way a reflection of God. (I'm not religious by the way.) "
It's so sad. I am sure it is exponentially more difficult to live life in the public eye. It's just sad that the horrible stories are so publicized while the good stories of faithfulness seem to be out of the limelight. I hate the bumper sticker mentality of some that say when something like this happens, "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven". I know Christians aren't perfect. I know I am not perfect, and by God's grace He loves me anyways and I can repent and find forgiveness in Him. I know that. I guess it just saddens me that we are called to holiness: Salt and Light, and yet according to George Barna in his book Revolution, "The likelihood of a married couple who are born-again churchgoers getting divorced is the same as couples who are not disciples of Jesus."
So sad. I don't like divorce.
Peace. What is it? Is it worth this high of price in this situation?
UPDATE: I hate rumors and don't really tune into them but it seems the web is abuzz with speculation and perhaps proof that Jon was having an affair. So sad.
Monday, June 22, 2009
I always seem to get the new technology before my husband. I've observed that most women aren't as enamored with the new technological gadgets, at least in my circle of friends. I, however, have fully embraced certain fun things like an Apple iPhone or a macbook pro. In fact, I must admit an affinity for all things Apple. (except some of their software but that's another story)
As my husband pointed out, Apple is rarely the first to come out with things. It wasn't the first MP3 player; wasn't the first laptop computer or the first smart phone. But Apple seems to take the new, existing, radical ideas and make it simple. Beautiful. And accessible for all. I could espouse all day the virtues of my Mac and Apple products and why I love them, feel they are superior other products, and how impressed I've been with the customer service I've received at The Apple Store. But I won't. Chances are, you know. Doesn't everyone deep down want a Mac?
So, I got my macbook pro about 2 and a half years ago and now my husband has one too. Friday David joined the over 1 million people who purchased the new Apple iPhone 3G S, once again having a newer, better version than I have.
Isn't it beautiful? I can't wait for him to love it as I love mine. (though I've been told no one can love a phone as much as I love mine) Ironically, I rarely use the phone part of it: I love the internet, calendar, email, ipod, and all the other amazing applications that it can run.
I know. I'm addicted, but you have to admit: its beautiful in all its simplicity and function. Well done Apple. I don't think I'll ever be able to buy anything but Apple. I just am so happy with it.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
It is the day every mom can't wait for. The first day of summer vacation! Freedom. No having to get 3 kids dressed in the morning. No lunches hastily made before we head out the door. Nothingness. Beautiful Nothingness. A false sense that I am in control. I can choose my daily activities.
But can I? But do I?
First of all, I seem to recollect that this wonderful, beautiful sense of wonder, freedom and joy lasts about a week. Then I find myself contemplating why I thought this was something to be anticipated. Now I wish they'd go back to the routine of school!
I'm kidding. Or maybe I am. Not sure. Ask me in a week. As for right now, I'm happy to have not constraints. My kids are behaving quite well at the moment and its a beautiful, sunny day.
Today I have no plans. This is unusual for me. Its the first day of vacation! A time to be celebrated. A time for something special, but instead I'm cleaning house and my kids are outside in the yard with A, their neighbor friend I blogged about a few days ago. (Can You See It?) My kids are having a great time. Possibly a better time than any other "special" place I would have taken them. (for some reason "special" places are all places most moms really don't like, in example, the dreaded Chuck E. Cheese)
It is a good reminder to me that my kids need unstructured playtime. I am a planner. I can be spontaneous but I prefer things on a calendar, probably because if its not on the calendar, it won't get accomplished.
So, I tend to have something planned out nearly every day of the week! Really! Its all good and wonderful stuff: Swim team practice, book clubs that meet at the park or a friends house, swimming at a friends house, a weekly trip to an amusement park, etc. All great stuff. Stuff other kids would be thrilled to do, right?
My kids are thrilled to do stuff. But they seem to really appreciate the simple things like having a neighbor friend come over. Their highlight of the day so far? Laying out a picnic tablecloth and picnicking with their friend on the grass, sharing their sandwiches, juice, cheese, carrrots and goldfish crackers. (yes; it was a predominantly orange meal; I need to go buy more fruit)
How simple. A backyard picnic. My 9 year old hugged me, told me I was the best mommy in the world. For making him a sandwich he could eat outside with a friend!
When I was a little girl, (or gurl as my little K says) I thought it was the greatest thing to go to Marine World. I thought it was so far away and such a treat to go. I loved it. My kids have season passes to a local amusement park, and we've been going for over 5 years, and now they groan. They'd prefer a backyard picnic. I plan all this "stuff" trying to be a great mom, no boring summers for my kids, and yet I think they need the unstructured. Perhaps boring and unstructured is better.
Its definitely cheaper.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
This is my post to get my mind off another blog post that is bothering me today. I'd link it but there's no reason to. No one reads my blog. (and possibly his) anyways.
My pictures are of my adorable daughter K. Isn't she a cutie? Head to toe watermelon attire. I guess I am one of "those" moms that delight in dressing up their child while I look like a slob. It'd be a true assessment I suppose. I tend to think that most stuff look better on a 4 year old than on a 38 year old. Especially if its fruit or any theme. I think it is probably a good thing adults don't go around wearing themed clothing. Oh wait. Maybe you do? Sorry.
Which lead me to my real post. I'm upset. A friend of mine posted on his blog "Things that bug" and encouraged everyone to write in things that bug them. Unfortunately I probably ruined his post and his fun by condemning the idea of stating publicly what one hates about others.
Its an interesting matter. Its fun to talk about the little quirks that bother you. Its fun to rant about the various things people dislike because there are so many. Isn't it good to share these things, to allow people to get to know you better? Isn't it best to voice these things instead of silently think of them?
I don't know.
I do know that often when posts like that which asks what are your pet peeves are on discussion boards, the thread starts off fun and humorous but somewhere along the way feelings can get hurt. I realize that one can't please everyone but does it help or hinder a real community when one is trying to keep track of what offends this person and what this person hates or likes.
So now I have been going about my day a bit scared of interaction with others. Its a bit silly, i know. Who cares what others think of me? But I do care. Who cares if what I say offends someone but should I care?
I desire to be inclusive. I desire to foster community. To me, and in full disclosure I am a very sensitive person and I do realize that its all my fault and not his for taking offense at his comments, but to me having others in community list things that bug them can only be a bad thing. Again, I realize I'm too sensitive. I realize that most adults will realize that they can't please everyone and just allow that person to be bugged but I am a person who will take note of what a person likes and dislikes.
And if 10 people chime in "oh yeah, I hate that! People that do that are so dumb "or fill in the adjective. And there's a person that does that and has been doing that and now realizes wow..... so everyone thinks that of me? It hurts.
My friend listed a few benign things that bug him. Unfortunately it seemed to sear me. I'm guilty of half his list. I say "People say" or "they say"... Or making fun of how a person prays. I pray horribly out loud, which is why I don't pray out loud any more. But if we are in community and are supposed to be taking risks and want community to be a safe place to take those risks and get to know others freely, is it helpful to think that others may judge me if I pray badly or if I say the word "just" or if I show up with a casserole for potluck? How can we enjoy community and each other if we are so concerned with others judging us? Of course, I do realize that others bug me too. It is inevitable to bug others, but is it right to remind people that they bug you?
Back to my watermelon girl. You may hate looking at a kid with a fruit theme on. You may think I'm a fruitcake for buying the outfit in the first place. Would you tell that to my face? What if I read it on a friends blog? What if 20 people chimed in saying that irks them too? How would I feel?
I want to never pray out loud again. I want to hide and never do anything to offend another person again, yet I know thats not possible. And now I know that even though people don't verbalize what they truly think, they are still thinking it. Does that encourage community either?
I'm at a loss. I just want to go and hide.
Monday, June 15, 2009
I have three kids. I'm busy. Any mom with kids is busy. Too busy. Swim team is the worse sport a mom can put their kids in if they are already busy. Practice. Every Day. 2 kids equals 2 hours. Daily.
Then there's the swim meets. Saturday. Nearly all day. At least 6 hours. Get up by 6:30. Its a bit cold. Get to the pool. Warm up. The meet smells like chlorine and baked potatoes. Luckily I love baked potatoes. For 1.50 I can buy a HUGE potato with all the fixings I want. Its a bit dangerous because baked potatoes only taste as good as they smell when one puts a copious amount of butter, sour cream and cheese on top. (yum)
But swim meets are not about the food. They're about competition. So I have a 6 year old and a 9 year old on the team. Its a lot of hurry up and wait. You have to be there on time, sign in, write your event number, heat number and lane number on your arm with a sharpie. Oh, and put the information on the child's arm too but at this age they don't really pay attention anyways so the writing on the parents arm is more important than on the kids.
So then its a lot of waiting, getting the kids where they need to be, feeding them, etc. But I don't get to do that. I'm "working". My work? I'm the photographer. Its the best job at the pool but its a lot of work. For some reason, I think I leave the event more tired and sore than my my little fish. I typically take over 3000 photos of the kids.
So Saturday was our first meet. My kids did really well. 6 year olds are so cute to watch swim. It doesn't matter which team you are on, everyone cheers for the 6 and unders. They are just THAT cute. And determined. Nothings cuter than watching a 5 or 6 year old attempt the butterfly stroke. Nothings sweeter than seeing the tired but ecstatic grin on his face when he gets out.
I love it. Its worth it.
Today both my boys received the ribbons they won at the meet. C, my 9 year old, improved his time on all three strokes. My 6 year old, R, took a 5th place, 6th place and a 10th place. No improved times though. He's very proud of his ribbons. I'll post a picture tomorrow. In the meantime, here's a few I took at the meet. None are my kids.
Posted by victoria at 6/15/2009 11:08:00 PM
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
I never thought I'd blog. I so enjoy other's blogs and yet never felt I had anything to say that others would like to read.
That may still hold true, but I thought I'd try. I've discovered the joy I have in writing out my thoughts, questions, and observations. This will be a very random blog.
I've named it Illustrated Queries for now, because my life is filled with questions. Unfortunately blogs are not supposed to be about a blogger posing questions; blogs are supposed to be about answers or someone's opinion and thus what they feel are answers. I have no answers. Just queries. I label this blog "Illustrated" because my other passion besides questions is photography. I'm not particularly good at writing or photography but these are two things I absolutely love and want to share.
So, if you are reading this, beware that this will be a jumbled, random, mediocre blog of my musings, queries, doubts, indignation, happiness, etc. Little slices of my life. And my life rarely makes sense.
I hope you enjoy it but even more than that, I hope I do too.
Posted by victoria at 6/12/2009 09:39:00 PM