Oh my goodness! Oh my word!

I am a finalist in the Mother of All Bloggers: Mom-Logic competition!

Me?! Yes, me! Couldn't be?! It's true!

Happy Dance! Happy Dance! Yay! Hooray! Happy Day!

Sorry, excitement brings out the rhymer in me.

This of course means that I am throwing myself at your tender mercy once again, begging for your benevolence and your vote. Please oh please all you beautiful and brainy, kind and kissable, sweet and swell, wise and witty, daring and delightful, marvelous and merciful, ABSOLUTELY ASTOUNDING readers.... It would mean so much to me. Oh thank you! Mmmmmwah! I always liked you the best. (You know who you are, yes...you).

Now listen m'peeps. This is hardcore. I am up against some ggrrrrreat bloggers. Many of whom have a large established readership and therefore have lots of people ready and eager to vote for them. The competition is going to be stiff. Stiff I say. The road is loooonnnng....with many a winding trail...But together,with you at my side (virtually speaking)?....... Yes She Can.

That means I need you. I want YOU (I'm using as many political rallying cries as I can squeeze in here, this may be the only chance I ever get to campaign for myself).

Every single last one of you. Think of it as a vote for the underdog, don't you love the underdog? I adore the underdog. How often does one get to change an underdog's world?

So please, don't delay.. go over to Momlogic- it would add so many points to your karmic bank (I already checked with the karmic bankers, they said, absolutely). I'm the little green square like so:
(I only point this out since I almost missed it and was sure I hadn't made it and actually did a double take as I sadly prepared to leave..) with Momedy beside it. (Imagine!) If you would check the circle, I would be deeply grateful.

Like, you don't even know.

Chocolate covered kisses...(and thanks again to those who nominated me)

Expect scattered showers....

I anticipate much snot en trane (*snot and tears in the ever descriptive Afrikaans language) in the days ahead.

Tomorrow is....Finny's last day of pre-school. Let me reiterate the tragical nature of this post:
Tomorrow is the last day I will have a pre-schooler. I officially have... no more babies. (I think I have uttered that last sentence every year since he turned one, but this year it is the most real...)

Does it not seem like yesterday that I was traumatized about his first day of preschool?

To add great insult to injury, next week this same non-baby will turn five. There is something very final about five. You can't pretend a five year old is an infant as much as you may try.

I have to say Finny has been very sympathetic to my angst. In fact it has caused him some consternation. He ranges from...

sweet cajoling:

"Mommy, don't worry! Now I will be with you all the time, and we will have so much fun..we will play board games! And cuddle! I will live with you for the rest of my life! I don't want to marry anyone else, just you. I don't want to be a daddy! " (Norman Bates?)

to the matter of fact:

"Mommy, I am not going to change just because I am turning five! I am still going to be adorable. I am still going to have the cutest little bum in the world. I am going to be just the same Finny."

to the tough love:

"Mommy, I am supposed to grow! It is a good thing that I am growing! I am sorry but I have to. And really mommy, you have had a LOT of time with me already."

Surprisingly enough he has similar angst about me growing up, "I don't want you to be a grandma!" Change is hard on us all. Happily my grandma days are far in the future but tomorrow...my baby will no longer be a pre-schooler.

I choked up yesterday driving away from the school as the sweet little old man who lets me in and out of the gate wished me a happy Summer. He was going to be off today and tomorrow so could not say goodbye then. I realized I would not be seeing him again, not after Summer, not at all. The school has been a permanent fixture in our lives since we moved to Ohio. One child after another has passed through it's doors with no break in between. We have loved every minute of it there. One of my closest friends in the world has been their teacher. I won't be seeing her every day anymore...it's all just too.much.

And it's supposed to rain tomorrow.

Things are going to be very, very damp.

Above are scenes from our LAST EVER {gulp,sniff} preschool bike parade on campus earlier this week. They decorate their bikes and ride around the quad while students and parents cheer them on. Siblings running along side him as always (so sweet) and a quick pit-stop. After, he posed (with helmet head) by some of his finest art creations from preschool this year.

I'm busy writing a list of things that irritate me.....

is that wrong? It is somewhat soothing to get it out there. It started when Aaron told me a really long involved joke that involved repeating the same phrase over and over again, and then ended in a really, really lame punch-line. It angered me slightly. That's three minutes I will never get back.
First thing on the list:
1. Long story oriented jokes with lame punchlines. Actually, jokes in general-I'm not a fan. I like my humour to be organic. Doesn't that sound pretentious? That's because it is.

I'm already up to number 5 and going strong. I won't publish it. Probably.

Making Procrastination Work For You

Recently when I was no doubt avoiding washing the dishes, I came across this article by John Perry, a professor at Stanford University . It's quite genius. In it he explains, "an amazing strategy I have discovered that converts procrastinators into effective human beings, respected and admired for all that they can accomplish and the good use they make of time. All procrastinators put off things they have to do. Structured procrastination is the art of making this bad trait work for you."
He calls it "Structured Procrastination", breaks down the psyche of the average procrastinator, and works on the premise that if you put one dreaded item at the top of your "to do" list you will do a plethora of less heinous (yet still important) things to avoid doing it. Kind of like how you used to tidy your desk to avoid studying? So, in avoiding something you really don't want to do, you will accomplish many other things. In the end, it's a good trade-off.

You really must read the article (and the rest of his site), but yes, it does address the obvious question, " but what about the dreaded task you put off in order to do everything else?" He says for this method to work effectively the ideal avoidance tasks would:
" have two characteristics, First, they seem to have clear deadlines (but really don't). Second, they seem awfully important (but really aren't). Luckily, life abounds with such tasks."

He goes on to give an example from academia since he works in a university. Let's look at this from the standpoint of a SAHM mom. Let's pick for want of a better dreaded task: dun..dun...dun....laundry. And..... take it away, procrastinator jane:

I must, must,
must do the laundry today or my kid will have no clean clothes for his soccer game!

But first! I must clean the kitchen so that I can clear off the counter next to the washer, so I have somewhere to fold the clean laundry. Then, I need to go grocery shopping, because I am out of the stain booster I use and I will need that for the laundry, while I am out, I may as well mail that package that's been sitting at the front door, but
before I mail the package I need to make a card to put with the gift.

So check it out: by avoiding the laundry you have accomplished:
A clean kitchen, a clear counter-top, a grocery trip, making a card and mailing a gift. That's 5 really productive tasks at the expense of one. Is it a fair trade? Well let's see. The Avoidance job was? Laundry.

Let's see a couple of case scenarios which may emerge if you follow structured procrastination method:

1. You have just enough time to wash the laundry but you must toss just the soccer uniform in the dryer so it will dry in time. Not ideal for sure, a bit of a waste of energy and a bit stressful, but is it worth having 5 other jobs done? I'd say yes. You now have a full fridge, a clean kitchen and a happy friend, plus you worked in some time spent on a creative outlet too.

2. Worst case scenario-your kid wears dirty socks to his game. So? And then who died? Not exactly the end of the world, they'd be sweaty within moments anyway. When was the last time you scrutinized the uniform of a kid other then your own prior to them getting onto the field and muddied all up?

SO! How does this change your life? Here's how, it changes the way you think about yourself. You tend to live up to your self-image. So put yourself in a positive light.

Stop labeling yourself as a procrastinator, stop feeling guilty and bad about how you get things done. In the end you get things done. Doing the most unpleasant job first isn't necessarily virtuous. the most unpleasant task may not even be necessary to do in the end. Now that you know the secret about procrastinators: "the procrastinator can be motivated to do difficult, timely and important tasks, as long as these tasks are a way of not doing something more important."

you can:

"(shape) the structure of the tasks one has to do in a way that exploits this fact. The list of tasks one has in mind will be ordered by importance. Tasks that seem most urgent and important are on top. But there are also worthwhile tasks to perform lower down on the list. Doing these tasks becomes a way of not doing the things higher up on the list. With this sort of appropriate task structure, the procrastinator becomes a useful citizen. Indeed, the procrastinator can even acquire, as I have, a reputation for getting a lot done."

I don't believe there are any truly lazy people, only unmotivated people and disorganized people. This is a form of organization that works with the way you are best motivated. And that works for me.

Since I'm in the doggy theme. My new favourite commercial...

Oh it kills me. Every time.

To dog or not to dog that is the question

We have long promised our children that we would consider a dog when (or rather if ) all our children became self sufficient in the basics of toileting and self-care. Our youngest is almost five now...the time of reckoning has come.

On the one hand, I always had dogs growing up, they were part of the family. I have many tender memories of the loyalty and intuition I experienced from man's best friend. Nobody loves you like a dog loves you. Totally unrestrained and unconditional. It's the best.

Dogs are good security-I would love to have a big dog to run with and to watch over our home as we slept. In South Africa, where crime is rampant, one of the best deterrents to uninvited visitors is a big (loud) dog.

Dogs teach kids responsibility and blahblahblah. We all know who ends up doing all the dirty work once the novelty has worn off. Although when I was a kid, I did daily poop scooping in our back yard for our three dogs, regularly washed their dishes, fed them and occasionally walked them too. I would say my parents made good use of the responsibility enhancing properties of a pet.

On the other hand.

Dogs are expensive. First you have to procure the dog. Even those from shelters cost money, then there is the matter of their care-that costs money. In the last several months we have spent more on the medical care of our insane bunny then all four of our children combined (and that was just getting her spayed!). There is their food to think about, the fact that we live in a shoebox and a dog would have to be regularly walked (not a bad thing) and "let out" (just when I got done with potty oriented duties? Unappealing).

On the third, neutral hand, dogs need other things. I would say this was bad because they cost money and spending money for me automatically bodes ill. However, (and this is where we resume our ongoing series: "finding alternatives for more human babies" )

If you are a woman there is a good chance you find that shopping for small cute things to be fun.

And then there are the gadgets. Nothing makes me happier then the newest fangled gadgety baby bath-and they do have some pretty nifty doggy baths these days. (Gone are the days of running after them with the hose it seems). And you know, there's nothing like a new baby for poring over potentially life changing toys. Failing which, it would appear that there is nothing like a dog for an excuse to buy small and adorable objects. Look! Baby doggy toys! And ok how ridiculously adorable are the doggy toy-boxes? Did you know there was such a thing as doggy toy-boxes? Hilarious. The one shaped like a fire hydrant in particular, ushers great joy and gladness into my soul. Although it does make one wonder what might happen to it if left attended with Fido.

I have to admit I have recently begun to lust after doggy beds. There is no better way to make a design statement then with a stylish doggy bed. Trust me on this. I know things. Forget about cute crib bedding! You would not believe the variety of doggy beds/chaises/sofas/recliners/magical flying carpets out there. When we went recently on a mission to find a receptacle which the Crazy Bunny would deign to pee within on a consistent basis, I saw a doggy bed that was so perfect for my newly decorated kitchen that I almost wept with the yearning. Aaron said we weren't getting a dog just so that I could satisfy my need for a pink and green argyle dog bed.

Still on the fence about whether I'd ever subject my child dog to doggy clothing, but

I know that picking out a suitable leash would
be no small matter.

It would become a project worthy of much research
and opinion asking. Because you see, dog collars
and leashes are like... totally important fashion
statements, people. And if you desperately
miss the days of buckling a kid into a car seat,
they now have doggy seatbelts and even...
doggy strollers (which... seriously? Is
pathetic and sad and very disturbing on
many levels, and if you have one
you must stop that,
stop that right now).

Basically more then ever, when it comes to consumerism, a dog is a super awesome substitute for a baby. They have all the cute stuff (and then some) we are genetically programmed to salivate and spring a lot of cash for. And you don't get stretch marks bringing them into the world, plus you can get these really cool gizmos, (which you don't have to nag) to automatically feed and water them. Perfection! NOW...what type of dog shall we get....I must call the Obamas for opinions.

In all seriousness, we probably will not be getting a dog until our priorities are in better order, such as somebody other then Aaron or I will need to show that they are willing and able to take care of Thumper's Need For Pee (to be everywhere) and maybe my desire for the actual dog needs to outweigh my desire for a really adorable perfectly coordinating with my kitchen, pink and green dog food bowl.

Tiptoeing through the tulips

Tulips are my first floral love. There is so much about them that I adore. On this Tuesday I shall sing their praises.

Perhaps the main attraction is that they signal that Spring has indeed arrived, against all odds.

They remind me of my wedding day, I begged the grounds-people at the Salt Lake Temple to allow them to stand just one more week and I like to think they did, just because I asked. I was so delighted to be surrounded by tulips in my wedding pictures. Since then, my husband has shown his devotion to me by way of the tulip.

Tulips signify hope and love and everything good. But it is not just their message that makes me so enamoured of them..

The colours! Oh the colours! So incredibly vibrant. Have you noticed that when you see a bed of fresh red tulips, they have this amazingly vivid shimmer to them that makes them almost resemble a mirage? Sometimes when they are grouped together like that they look like a photo that has been too enthusiastically photoshopped, you can't even see the detail for the colour. It's surreal...but stunning.

I love the shape. The tulip is so classic but never stuffy. They are cheerful and happy but never unruly. When a tulip is in its classic half closed state it could not be more adorable. On their long elegant stems though they are somehow stately at the same time. Adorable and stately, it's a tough combo to pull off but the tulip can do it.

When they open their petals to bask joyfully in the sun, we are allowed a peek of their gorgeous faces. Streaked with colours they look like a painting of a sunset, impeccable stamens, liberally dotted with fluffy yellow pollen. They are the perfect specimen of floral beauty.

The only thing I don't like about tulips? They don't last very long! I spent some time yesterday afternoon photographing some of my precious babies from very angle. Click on the collage to enjoy their beauty with me. Do you love the tulip the way I do?

Look What I Won alternatively titled: The World Must Be Off It's Axis...

not to be a whiner or anything but I NEVER. WIN. ANYTHING. So truly, I could have won a year supply of dog food for my non-existent dog, and I would have been ecstatic at my change in fortune. But check. it. out : In a giveaway of several amazing (but mostly baby oriented gifts-and I have no baby-sniff) in which about a gajillion people entered, I scored this coolness:

Yes, that is a NO WHINING pendant

Now could this be any more appropriate given:

1.The tagline of my blog?
2.The fact that I whine about 98% of the time? ( I'm the crybaby nobody likes-so I speak from authority.)

No it could not.

I would say that it is going to be such a good reminder and inspiration to me to stop whining about everything, but let's get real, it's just going to be a piece of irony I get to wear. And I LOVE irony. Added bonus is that my kids may read it and subliminally absorb its message, but in the end all that I really care about is that. I.WON. SOMETHING.

I am now off to start my new career as a professional sweepstake/giveaway entererer, I think this is a sign.

The Voices Inside My Head Make Me Tired

I'm recently in from a morning spent with my boys, them running a 1Km race, prior to us all manning the water table for a 5K race, which with the gale force wind, flimsy cups and lack of manpower was a job that required all of our combined physical, mental and emotional energy.

There was the running for miles after the dropped cups as the wind tossed them across county lines. There was the figuring out of what within our nearby van could possibly secure the flimsy water filled cups onto the (downward sloping) table against the power of the raging wind.

There was the stress of trying to fill the cups up and pass them out to dozens of people at a time, without them breaking a stride while the wind blew the water out of the cups and the cups out of our hands. At one point we thought we'd run out of water, and as we saw crowds of sweaty red faced angry looking people surging toward us we felt fear. Raw fear. And I bet they could smell our fear. I bet the wind carried it into their flared nostrils and they became even more enraged.

Thankfully the water held out and my ten year old figured out a way to keep the cups on the table and my eight year old is a fast and willing runner after-er of cups, and the one young woman who showed up has asturdy thumb (for the pressing of the spigot). We survived.

But still...I feel as beat up as if I had run the race twice. You just don't understand the pressure, people. You can't. Nobody will ever really know what we went through. But at least we have each other.

Speaking of energy expenditure.

I realized yesterday that exercise is far more taxing on me mentally then physically. Yesterday, it was a cool and windy yet mostly sunny day so I decided to go for a run outside after dropping Finny at preschool. But the decision wasn't easily made. As I drove home I went back and forth...

Angel on my shoulder: You really need to go for a run when you get home
Devil: No you don't. You need to take a nap, or sit on the couch and stare at the wall. Running is about the worst idea I can think of.
Angel: No really, it will be good for you and just think how good you will feel when it's done
Devil: That's assuming you survive. I don't have a good feeling about you running today. I think it's better if you just stay home, you can run tomorrow
Angel: Truly, you will feel like a million bucks when you are done.
Devil: You'll feel like crap the entire time you are doing it though
Angel: No you won't, and besides you are only running like..three miles, you'll be back on the couch within half an hour. This is not a big deal!
Devil: It is a big deal! It is! It is likely to be painful and boring. And remember how long every minute seemed last time you went for a run? I bet it is even worse today
Angel: Nonsense! You are just that much better conditioned today, it just gets easier and easier. And you'll be out in nature.
Devil: Nature wants to kill you. Did you see that wind? Running against it is going to be like pushing a freight train
Angel: Unless the wind is at your back! Just think how a wind like that will propel you forward!
Devil: You and I both know the wind is never at your back.
Angel: Oh for heavens sake...
Devil: Remember that horrible ear-ache you got from running in the wind yesterday? Dude, that was excruciating.
Angel: Well it's not as cold today..
Devil: Whatever goodie two shoes, I give up. If you want to go out and do something totally irrational and painful when you could be sitting cozy and comfy and undisturbed on the couch eating caramel swirled ice cream and watching reruns of the Real Housewives of New York go at each other, be my guest. Freak.
Angel: You are a bad, bad devil. Get thee behind me
Devil: Sure, no problem you are on your own.

Conversation recommences as I leave my home:

Maybe you should walk to the trail, you know, to warm up
Yes but then it won't be a full 3 mile RUN
Maybe you should just shut up for change!
I'm just saying.. Oh look! There's the marker that says you've run half a mile already. Way to go! That's so far, you're practically there!
Whatever. Whenever you see that marker on the way back you tell yourself that it means you are almost home
But still...

The voices went on and on like this (can you tell why I get so tired?) And because I was running into *&(#^ wind which did feel akin to pushing against a freight train, "oh but it will be at your back coming back" (Actually it wasn't, it was blowing me from the side but anyway..) anyway apart from the fatigue from being buffeted by the wind and the voices in my head the wind also quickly dehydrated me completely. Because it was a cool day I had not thought to drink much before leaving and had brought no water with me. About a mile and a half in, I was in trouble. My mouth was so dry that it turned inside out. It did! Do you know how hard it is to breathe or think or exist with an inside out mouth?! Do you? I started gazing longingly at standing muddy water in the creek next to me.....
you should just drink some, if you get a stomach bug you won't die, you'll just lose a few lbs. Awesome.
No! Don't drink it! You can survive, this is not a marathon for heavens sake. Don't be such a wimp.
YOUR MOUTH HAS NEVER FELT SO DRY. Never. Not while running a half marathon on a dusty hill in Africa on a 105 degree day. NEVER. BEFORE! You might die. Really. You should drink the dirty water. What would that guy on the Discovery channel do? He would probably wait, or sieve the water through his shirt... Don't be an idiot, you're not taking off your shirt.
Ok here's a plan, find a succulent looking plant and eat it..

So I pulled out a clump of grass and started chewing on it. There I was, red faced with an inside out mouth eating grass like a cow. Thankfully, I was very much alone. It felt about as moist as sawdust. But in a minute or two..lo and behold salivary glands reanimated..spit forming, mouth slowly turned right side in again. I should have my own Discovery Channel Survival Show!!
Ok well just walk the rest of the way home now. You've been through enough.
No don't. Just run, you'll get home faster and that is what you have set out to do.
I hate you, Do you know that? I really hate you.
You don't mean that
I so completely do. This sucks, never ever do it again and as soon as we get home you need to cross that ridiculous 1/2 marathon off the calendar. It will suck too.
No it won't! It will be fun. And think of the sense of accomplishment..
Shut up, idiot
You shut up.

They both shut up. Or I blacked out, not sure.
I got home
I drank a gallon of water without taking a breath(I only peed again like 12 hours later)

I went and took a shower
There now, aren't you so happy you chose to do that? Don't you feel a glow of health and virtue?
Yes, yes it's fantastic...now about those Snickers ice cream bars in the freezer..don't you think you earned one? Or two? I say three......

Featured Friday Follower!......

By way of random generator and magical fairy dust, faithful follower KIY, aka Kimberley is the chosen one (doesn't that whole sentence sound quite cult-ish??)

Kiy is the author of the adorable blog Rocking chairs and a Tricycle and the mom to a son in a grad school and an adorable two year old daughter. How cool and brave is that, parenting on both sides of the spectrum? There is also a cute dog and a husband in the mix.

In her most recent post she talks about some of her favourite children's books and I got a lump in my throat seeing some of our favourite bedtime stories when they were little. Why do they have to grow?? Why Kiy, WHY???

Adoption is a topic near and dear to Kiy's heart and she has some really solid advice for parents contemplating or in the throes of the adoption process on her adoption page.

And there's a very delicious looking recipe box which has me craving blueberry pie at 9 in the morning.

Kiy's comments are always cheerful and fun and I can't wait to get to know her better. Kiy, or wait do you prefer Kim? Maybe Kimberley, since that is your name? I live to please. I will be contacting you about your gift.

Btw, because the gifts are tailored to the individual, the chosen follower is subjected to an interrogation. Last time the Lovely Mrs. M -web designer extraordinaire (have you checked out her design discount special on her beautiful blog yet?) received some goodies for her and her babies, (those here and the one in utero). One of the gifts was Dove chocolate which actually promised health and beauty enhancement on the wrapper. Because we need more reasons to indulge in Dove chocolate.

I think I am going to have to do Friday Followers more often because I am really enjoying this, this getting to know you, thing. It is is really touching to me when people add me to their reading list, I have a little happy-party each time. I know your time online is limited and your allowing me into your regular reading world is a real privilege. I am quite convinced that I have the most intelligent and attractive readers on the web. I mean, have you seen yourselves?? Remarkable.
Kiss kiss!

Dealing with Depression

My article over at Modern Molly Mormons today is about depression. It's a subject near (if not dear) to my heart. I think depression is somewhat epidemic in our time, but happily, for most people, it is completely treatable.

For many people though, understanding depression enough to get the treatment they need is a complicated and painful process.

I hope you will read it, because even if you are blessed enough to never encounter depression in your lifetime, someone you know and love will undoubtedly have to. I feel like I have lost a lot of my life to depression when it did not have to be that way, and it is my prayer that I can help other people to avoid wasting any of theirs on this insidious disease. Here, I must also express my undying gratitude and appreciation to the amazing people who have helped me through this difficult journey in the past. I will never forget your patience, wisdom and unselfishness. Your mansion in heaven will be made out of chocolate if I have anything to do with it.

My Mom Logic

Before my husband and I had kids, I was in awe of parents. I particularly marveled on a child's first birthday. I clearly remember saying to my husband, "Holy cow! they kept that kid alive A.Whole.Year! That takes a lot of work! You have to feed them multiple times a day and everything!" One could say that I gave motherhood and all it entailed my utmost respect and had very few expectations of mothers other then the survival of their offspring.

The moment I saw two lines on the pee-pee stick, however, merely keeping a baby alive did not seem nearly as awe inspiring or impressive a feat to me. My standards instantly careened to ridiculously high levels along with my hormones. I remember weeping copiously one night, telling my husband that we should arrange to give our unborn baby up for adoption because we could not manage to keep up with our laundry. Proper parents just did not have piles of folded laundry on their bedroom floors! Ever!

I suppose the pregnancy hormone cocktail could account for some of that, but the shift in my standards remained extreme even after I delivered the placenta.

I resolved that my child would not blow out his first candle until he had mastered baby Russian, Chinese, Spanish, German and French (I had the tapes and I played them to him every morning as he grinned happily and vacuously at me, no doubt more focused on his next poop then the "tonal memories" One Step Ahead had assured me would give him the edge over the other babies in the job market.)

When kid number two came along exactly two years later, I waddled home from the hospital mid-labor to watch my firstborn open his presents and blow out the candles on his cake until my groaning through contractions traumatized him too much and I had to tear myself away from doting upon him in order to give birth. (I felt real guilt over this by the way).
(yes, the lumpy figure in the photo above is me, filming him between contractions)

Lest I paint the picture of an all sacrificing Madonna figure, let me assure you that I got more real as the kids started piling up. I let child number two unravel the language taps so I could have a moment of peace, and by the time kid number three came along 18 months later, I was most disgruntled to be sent home to my toddler and preschooler only 16 hours after giving birth. I bear a grudge over that to this day.

I may be keepin' it a little more real now, but like most mothers I suspect, my mom logic remains skewed. My husband recently found me distraught with guilt over the many hours of TV I let our second child watch while I was nursing/trying to survive our third child, because "studies show that it lowers IQ by several points when kids under age 2 watch TV! I broke his brain with that Elmo video"

Now bear in mind that Kid #2 consistently scores straight A's, and has nary a hint of learning difficulties, but the "what-ifs " of Mom Logic still haunt me. I bet he could have designed a working Spaceship by now, using nothing but K-nex and recycled generic cheerio boxes if Seasame Street had not rotted his brain before he even had a chance..

As you can tell I've come a long way from the days of "Holy Smokes your kid survived a WHOLE YEAR IN YOUR CARE! High five sistah!" But I don't necessarily think it is in the right direction.

Imagine for a moment if you will, gentle reader that you or I are on a job interview. As we sit down nervously across from the interviewer she with all her sleek little power suited, smooth chignon-ed hiring power, she smiles and launches into her spiel:

" Hi Ms.Mom, we are happy that you are interested in our company. Let's start by telling you a little about the job shall we? Let's see.....you will be the CEO/CFO of a small, but successful and growing organization.

In addition to these responsibilities you will directly oversee:

  • human resource management,
  • public relations,
  • research and development,
  • job training,
  • security
  • transportation
  • and Union negotations.
Because of your transportation responsibilities, you will spend a lot of time on the road, but we expect you to be sure that things in the office are running smoothly at all times, and that those employees not traveling with you are well supervised in your absence. You would, of course, be responsible for hiring suitable individuals to take care of things while you are away.

Furthermore, you will be involved in employee mediation and conflict management several times a day.
Our employees tend to be irrational and explosive from time to time. This unfortunately, often coincides with our busiest times. Some periods of employee volatility are prolonged. Most of your employees will experience profound communication difficulties from time to time. Do you have any experience in psychology and human development? Oh good, that would certainly be an asset. That and the patience of a saint, ha-ha, oh no, just a small joke Ms. Mom.

Still interested? Moving on...
Understand that your responsibilities are dynamic and will shift and evolve constantly. The learning curve is more of a cliff. Once you have mastered a task, circumstances and situations will change, requiring you to find new solutions. You will constantly be expected to be on your toes, think on your feet, stay cool in emergencies and do it all on minimal sleep.

This position is not a good fit for you if you are inflexible.
You are expected at the office 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Vacation time is negotiable but expect none and you won't be disappointed. Incidentally, you would not receive sick or personal days either. We expect that you come into work when you are ill, but you would need to make every effort not to infect anyone else because you would also be the company nurse and your services will be required even if you are sicker then your patients.

Did I yet mention that the position includes all janitorial duties? (Frequent Haz-Mat situations will need to be dealt with-you're not squeamish about bodily fluids I presume?) Oh, and cafeteria duties would be yours too! We expect our employees to be fed nutritionally sound, well-balanced meals within our very limited budget, but please be aware that many of them require special "consideration" due to their ever-dynamic "preferences".

In addition, uniforms are worn on our premises, and we maintain an on-site laundry. You would be responsible for all laundering duties. You would also act as our groundskeeper and maintenance crew (you may or may not have someone to assist you in those duties, but you will almost certainly have to provide on-the- job training to that individual.)

Above all else, it is imperative that we maintain a high standard of morals and ethics in our organization. It is up to you to create a working environment conducive to employees developing in spirituality and character. You will need to provide constant instruction, encouragement and example to this end. Of course, regular disciplinary action will need to be taken. These situations can get very tense, so try not to take anything that is said personally. There may be years at a time where nobody will seem to like you. There will be times when you may hear or read rumors that your people hate you and/or wish you would disappear. Again, don't take this personally, deep down they will love you, even if they don't know it.

Under no circumstances will any employee be dismissed. This includes cases of poor performance, insubordination and embezzlement. Furthermore, our employees are to feel valued and appreciated at all times (even, no, especially when disciplinary action is being taken).

Compensation will not be, shall we say, traditional. You will get regular performance reviews, expect them to be harsh. You will be the one issuing the reviews for the most part-although there will be input from your subordinates-much of that will be negative too.

So Ms Mom, that gives you a general outline of the position, of course there is much more to the job... but that's the bare-bones gist of it.

So, why do you think we should hire you? What can you bring to the table?"

Now, I am aware that the whole mom "job description" thing has been "done" before, but I still think this sort of comparison/reality check is a valuable exercise. It helps to keep things in perspective.

Ok so that job description? Let's face it, is ludicrous, it's insane, it's impossible. It's what every mother I know undertakes every day. That and so much more.

Never mind keeping our kid alive! Keeping ourselves alive and even somewhat sane, is freaking fantastic! And many moms do it in addition to another career. It is simply super-human. It is indeed awe-inspiring.

But still so often we grossly undersell what we do. If we don't have the laundry under control, we feel inadequate, if our kid misbehaves we feel inadequate, if we feed the fam cereal for dinner we think we are failing, if we aren't enjoying it all we wonder what is wrong with us.

Where is the logic to this? Did you see that job description? Why aren't we more impressed with ourselves?!

Just because not everything is perfect all the time, or any of the time, the fact is we keep things rolling. We get out of bed, we don't fire our kids even when they desperately deserve it, we are on the job every single day, come what may. And the rewards? The compensation? Substantial, priceless even, we do it because it is worth it. But payday is erratic and unpredictable, and motherhood is the ultimate marathon, an exercise in endurance at times. Which is why we have got to give ourselves a break, a hand, and some real respect on the job once in a while-because that's real mom logic.

Every so often we've got to sit back, look at our progeny with pride and say, "apart from everything else, I kept that kid alive".

This is my official entry for the Mom Logic Mother of all Bloggers contest. If I should make it into the top 10 entries, I will be soliciting your votes, if not, it was an honour just to be nominated (even though depending on who you are, you were told,begged or threatened to nominate me)

I thought it was appropriate for Works for Me Wednesday too. For more on what works for other people on Wednesdays, check out We Are That Family.

Thoughts of Thalia (on her 25th birthday)

Not much other then Failure
rhymes with your name
But that doesn't fit
No, not a bit

But wait, let's try
Pretty as a Dahlia
Say hallelu-jiah!
It's the birthday of Thalia

Native South African
Now in Australia

Thalia is smart
Thalia is lovely
And even when she's in a mood
She tries hard to never be rude

Thalia served her mission on Temple Square
she loved it although the weather and dress code were a bear
And of course she was exceedingly successful
She did it all even when things got stressful

Thalia speaks French
Zut Alors!
And Afrikaans too
Goeie More!

Now Thalia has turned 25
Her life will really come alive
Yep,there's a buzz about Thalia
louder then a well populated hive

consumer of paper
and other paraphenalia
Why she eats note-books
Nobody knows. It's tres weird
But happily it has not ruined her looks

Lover of horses
and University courses
Perpetual student
Intelligent and prudent

Former ballet dancer
She's a leaper and a prancer
Maybe that is why her joints are shot
On the other hand maybe not

Perhaps it is arthritis
Because you are so old
But don't worry you still have
a heart and hair of gold

Thalia you are clever and funny
Witty and dry
Generally sunny

It is fun having you as a sis
And I really do miss
Sprinkling talcum powder on your head
When it was time for you to go to bed

Being Mr. Sandman for me was a thrill
Even though for you it was probably a pill
But you dealt with it well
And lived to tell
The tale
With narey a whine or a wail

I miss you too
So remember what I told you to do
Steal Shona's credit card
and book us some tickets
it's for the greater good
and that type of fraud is not wicked

It would be so much fun to live together
Enjoying the sunny weather
Being your unsolicited adviser
Because I am so much older and wiser
"When I was your age I had 2 kids, one on the way
So this is why you must listen to everything I say"

And to you this is what I say
On this your birthday:
Make this year great
Don't put on any weight
(not to say you can't afford an extra el-be or two)
It's just that weight rhymed well there, so what was I to do?

Have yourself lots of fun
Protect yourself well from all that sun
You are now a quarter of a century after all
From here on in, things will sag and fall
But hey, Happy Birthday! Hope you had a ball!

Lots and lots of love

Unprecedented Happenings

Biking outside in the sunshine!
Running outside in the sunshine!
Gardening outside in the sunshine!
Sitting watching soccer outside in the sunshine!
Lying on the deck talking on the phone in the sunshine!
Acquiring a sunburn confined only to my hands from the sunshine!
( It is true, I was caught unawares, sans sunscreen. And now I am red-handed. Ha...ha...hmm. And there is no denying that my little red gloves look extremely weird. Hey those of you who went on Std. 8 Veldschool with me-remember my legendary sock-tan?? But weirder).

If we are going to get all technical about it, I suppose some of the above happenings are not entirely unprecedented but many are unprecedented this year.

And actually I have not ridden a bike in ever so long, so it should count as unprecedented (if you don't count the bikes at the gym that go nowhere-and I'm sure you don't). Aaron and I got us some sweet rides off Craigslist and were able to join the kids on wheels rather then lamely trotting behind them whilst shouting unheard into the wind to KEEP RIGHT KEEP RIGHT YOU ARE GOING TO DIE IF YOU DO NOT KEEP TO THE RIGHT SO HELP ME I WILL KILL YOU MYSELF IF YOU KEEP DRIFTING INTO THE MIDDLE.....

This way was more fun. Speaking of fun, yesterday on my bike's maiden voyage, I got to thinking that biking the trail on which I generally run seemed somehow...easier, and perhaps even..dare I say...more enjoyable. But nah....maybe I was just being silly and imagining things...

But then I ran that same trail today and my suspicions are slowly being confirmed. Oh dear. Sadly you just don't burn the same number of calories on wheels. Not that I run to burn calories, of course not, it is all just about the love of the sport for me.....erhem

In other unprecedented occurrences-we took the crazy bunny out for a walk in the backyard today. Putting the harness on her required Houdini like sleight of hand and cat like reflexes. Not to put too fine a point on it-Thumper is freaking neurotic. To be fair I suppose they are sort of built that way-always with the expectation of imminent death). Anyway...she looked completely adorable in her pink harness and leash, sniffing flowers and grass and we were all swept away in the lovely picturesque moment when the neighbour (the one with eleventeen cats-and if you think I am exaggerating..well I'm not) informed us dryly over the fence that she'd most probably get fleas from this little jaunt. Just like that time she took her ferrett out for just two minutes....

Bubble burst.

After a short sojourn with nature, the Bunny hunkered down and started shaking uncontrollably. We were not sure if she was trembling with fear, or shaking with fatigue, or panting from heatstroke or just sniffing really vigorously. Aaron's theory is that she is just really out of shape and sniffing all those different plants was too much too soon. So we swept her inside again and have commenced the obsessive checking for fleas. Do you see why we will probably not be owning a dog any time soon?

This happy sunny day brought to you by Mother Nature who has not been taking her meds regularly and will be serving up something a little more like we are used to (about 25 degrees colder and wetter tomorrow). Hooray Ohio!

Stanzas for Seth

Seth. Nothing can be said that has not been said before
Your awesomeness is the stuff of legend and 'lore

Seth, you are kind,
to the jerk, freak and bore
You never mind
Helping others out of a bind

OH and Seth, you are funny, so funny,
never fail to make me laugh when life's not sunny
(and even when it is-it's not like you're one of those people
who are only "on" when someone is miz)

Nobody does an impersonation like you
Doing "monkey" as a kid put you at real risk
Of being thrown in the zoo

Your accents are convincing
Flawless, no need for wincing

You understand Crazy
When talking someone down, you never get lazy
and tolerate it well
if their logic gets kinda hazy
( I really do still think
that you would make an exceptional

Little bro you are thirty-wow!
Happily, you have a wife now
So whew, you are legit, no need for the 'ole self esteem to take a hit

No lie, turning thirty sucked for me
But I'm over it, now that I'm thirty-three
So I can now honestly proclaim, Seth- the 30's, they rock
You're confident, capable and care not when idiots dare mock
Ok to be perfectly honest it is on most days that this is true
(Although those days were much more few and far between when I was twenty-two)

I just know this decade will be your best yet
You'll fulfill childhood dreams!-What were they again?
A Game Ranger? A Vet?
But hey it seems like you've already got it made,
telling people how to spend their money
Living in your cool plek, all cozy with your honey
Being all hot and spirit-CHILL
Hanging smooth, keepin it real.

I don't have much advice to give
Except just.. LIVE! LIVE! LIVE!
live it up to a fault
'cos when the kids come
that'll all come to a screeching halt
Nah, just kidding of course
Kinda sorta...
I'll be sage and say just live so there will be no remorse

That is always good advice
If a bit lacking in spice

Samusani, I really hope to see hang with you soon
But 'til then Skype will be a boon

Happy birthday! I am proud to call you my brother
Lots of love

Foodie Friday!

Lemon Creams-aren't they pretty, and fresh looking? Perfect for a Spring tea-party don't you think? Go ahead, click on the photo to get the full feel for the lemony smoothness dripping off the feathery light cookie. Mmmmmmmmmmm..... I found them on Leigh-Anne's super site and they are really called Lemon Dreams.

But in South Africa we have a biscuit called Lemon Creams and it is one of the things I miss most about living there. Oh how I loved me a lemon cream...mmmm. When I saw this recipe I figured it might be a close approximation. I'm not sure if it is, all I remember is that they were indeed dreamy and aptly named and I shall be making them again.

I am easily intimidated by baking ventures but since Gracie agreed to help me, I gave it a shot. Although this looks a little more detailed then your average chocolate chip cookie, it is really straightforward. I added more lemon juice and rind to my lemon curd then asked for, because I am of the opinion that things can never be "too lemony". Go on over to Leigh-Anne's site for the recipe and make some immediately. Must be eaten with tea.

Friday FeelGood

Hello lovelies!

Don't you just love a feelgood opportunity? The Secret is in the Sauce is holding an auction today for Momitforward. Ahhhhh......FeelGood shopping. What could be better?

Momitforward are raising money for the moms in Kenya today. I have never met a Kenyan I didn't like. Let's help a fellow mama out shall we?

There are some fabu items donated for the auction including something from me. So skip right over and check it out.

Warm and fuzzily yours...

Easter Retrospective

Annual everyone had better smile nicely, we've only got one shot because we are late for church already matchymatch Easter portrait.

Our Easter Egg tree, complete with mouth blown eggs (grossly satisfying process that, isn't it?) dyed and glitter monograms. They're not Martha but hey....

Gracie skipping up the garden path

Finny hunting with the basket that has been carried by the baby since Benj was the baby. He refuses to give it up, even though it only carries three eggs. Thank you Finny.

Our bunny has awesome taste, non?For the big hunt with friends, Benj ditches the dinky basket...

Overcoming hurdles together

So dainty
Daffodils, Gracie, Tulips, Finny and Chocolate. These are a few of my favourite things...
Happy foursome

Gracie relaxes with the Easter bunny
I love watching my kids sacrifice eggs for each other. All of them look out for each other amidst the frantic search. Here Gabe is offering Finny this egg and Finny is saying, "no it's ok you can have it Gabe". They make my heart happy.

Annual Easter Line Up at the RichardsonsGo! Go! Go!

Spot the Easter bunny. Spot the chocolate bunny. Look hard. It's sooooo cute. It makes my heart (and mouth) happy too.
Under and over
Chef Aaron models his Easter-ish mitts. Isn't he lovely?

It was a perfect day. The Easter Bunny was exhausted.