Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I know it's the season for making a list and checking it twice, but I happen to be in the habit of making lists all the time.  Especially when I'm feeling stressed and/or slightly out of control of my life, I make a list.  Or two.  Or three.  I love lists!  I make them to organize life-goals, to make a plan for shopping, to write down all my wishes, and to remember whatever it is that I need to remember.  I guess that's how it works for me - I write it down so I that I don't forget.  Of course, I often find I've left the list or lost it altogether; but for me, the act of writing something down usually helps me recall what I need.

The lists pictured above are definitely the trying-to-gain-control kind.  You can tell by the scratchy writing and the crazy cross-outs and circles.  The bottom of one of these lists actually says, "Aaaaaah!"  Stress.  And now that I've shared these "crazy" lists, my mother will be disowning me.  Her lists are perfect.  She has just the right notepad, just the right pen, and gorgeous script!  Oh, and I think she re-writes them when she makes a mistake.  Maybe she won't notice.

How do you deal with stress?  Are you a list maker?  I'd love to hear about what you list!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday!

I can no other answer make, but thanks, and thanks.
                                                     -William Shakespeare


Wishing all of our American family and friends a lovely Thanksgiving!  We will be thinking of you and counting our blessings.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Me DRIVE!" Letting kids do dangerous things.

At the wheel.

We have a new driver in our house!  He's a bit short, can't quite touch the pedals, but he "drives" almost everyday.  It's hilarious to watch him.  He gets into the driver's seat, puts on his daddy's sunglasses, turns the wheel back and forth, and pushes any buttons he can find.  We figure this game will have to stop once he finds the horn!  Though he's not anywhere near moving the gear shift and Matt assures me that cars have to have the brake engaged in order to put a car in gear, I admit that I feel like a bad parent for letting him do this.  Beansprout's utter delight in "driving" and then "coming home" (through the back hatch of the car) make me put my worries aside.  The role-playing of him telling us he's home is priceless.  It's amazing how much they want to do all the things that we do when they're young, and believe me, I realize this is only the beginning.

Do you remember doing things just like your parents as a kid?  Did you get to "drive"?  I've heard that it's one of five dangerous things you should allow your kids to do!  Here's Gever Tulley's quick video about it on TED talks.  Do you agree with his list?  Anything you'd add?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pinterest Inspired Advent calendar

I've mentioned before how much I love Pinterest!  The trouble is, I collect a lot of ideas, yet rarely do anything with them.  So in the spirit of the Pinterest Challenge Sherry from Young House Love started with her friend, I've decided to create my own diy goals inspired by this wonderful website!  

First up?  The Advent calendar.  After receiving the best Advent calendar in the world from my "German Mom", I have been creating Advent calendars for family members for years now, actually for over 15 years!  More on that soon . . .  Now that Beansprout is old enough, I want to start the tradition for him.  And though I'm holding to my pledge to avoid decorating for Christmas too soon, with December 1st fast approaching, I need to have a plan.  

There are a ton of creative ideas out there, but I've decided on a combination of the following:  


An activity for every day of Advent.

I can't resist the baby sock Advent calendar, and love the fact that I really would have to stick to buying a small gift that could fit inside the little socks.  However, I have read over and over again that it is the experiences of life that bring us happiness, so the idea of creating a special activity for the first 24 days of December sounds lovely!

It's taken me this long to come up with a plan, because I've felt slightly paralyzed by the fact that I want this to be a tradition for Beansprout.  Once I finally let go of that and realized that I can change the what of the Advent calendar anytime, I was ready to embrace my idea for this year.  By December 1st, I'll have a row of 24 baby socks filled with an activity for the day hanging just out of Beansprout's height.  I can't wait to show you how it looks!!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Holding on to Fall

This time of year is challenging.  I seem to breeze through October thinking everything is going well, but with the drastic change of light and weather, November hits me like a semi.  I'm tempted to jump into decorating for Christmas, to keep my spirits up, but can't help feeling it's just TOO soon!  So with the sun peeking out in the late afternoon a few days ago, Beansprout and I enjoyed a walk/bike ride with the iPhone in hand.  My goal was to capture all that I want to hold on to of Fall.  I will have to keep returning to this picture for the remainder of the month, because today, three leaf bags stand ready for pick-up.  Amazing how quickly things can change in two days.  Hope you can savor these last few weeks of fall, what do you do to avoid the early holiday pressures?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday

Watching giraffes - Detroit Zoo 2011

"The soul is healed by being with children."
                                     --English Proverb

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Encouraging the Cautious Daredevil

It all started with peek-a-boo around the ladder.

As I kid, I never felt fearful of trying new things and pushing myself physically.  I swam in waters deep at a very young age, loved climbing trees, and took on new challenges without hesitation.  To be honest, I never even thought much about it until I was faced with a wave runner.  I was in college when a friend invited me to try one out.  Getting on the machine wasn't hard, but I found myself quite afraid of trying the flip-arounds some riders do so well.  At the time, I was extremely frustrated with myself for not having the confidence to keep trying it, for being afraid.  Later, I realized that it was often the encouraging voice of my dad that allowed me to feel it was safe to try new things as a kid.  I guess I had a trust that if he thought I could do it, I could.

Luckily, Beansprout is no daredevil - not by any stretch of the imagination, really.  For this I am truly grateful.  That being said, he is a cautious explorer, meaning he does indeed push himself to do the usual things kids need to do to help them develop.  This has left me in the conundrum all parents must I'm sure face - allowing him to do things that make me cringe because of my fear he'll get hurt.  Naturally, I know it's necessary and par for the course, but still, I cringe.

"So tall!"

Before I continue, I have to admit that in the spring I feared he wasn't challenging himself physically -- you know, developing those gross motor skills he needs.  I needn't have worried it seems.  We have a ladder in our home, leading to a cozy little loft space above our bedroom which with a little work could be the perfect kid's hide-away for our Beansprout.  Though I'm not quite ready for him to have his own secret loft space yet, I am trying to be that encouraging voice telling him he can do it.  I am accepting the gray hairs I can see growing right before my eyes as he heads (quite safely, I must say) up the ladder "two times".

How many gray hairs did you give your parents as a kid?  How would you handle encouraging cautious exploration of somewhat dangerous endeavors?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Saline and tissues

First cold of the season!
Beansprout's first cold of the season makes me remember:

#1) how I take for granted our cold-free summers
#2) how helpless I feel when he's ill, as there's really nothing I can do to help him
#3) how everyone wants their mom when they're sick

Though I'm cursing the germs, I'm relishing the extra snuggles Beansprout has for me and giving thanks for our overall good health.

Has cold and flu season visited you yet?  Do you have any special routines when family members in your home are sick?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday

Getting the hang of posing for pictures!

"Enjoy the little things for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."
                                                               ---Robert Brault

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pieces of Home

The bright colored leaves of Fall are making me homesick.  I guess it happens this time of year . . . even before moving away, I would usually get quite nostalgic with the change of the season.  The fall colors are a point of pride for Michigan, where you may even take a weekend trip away to see them at their peak.  British Columbia is one of the most beautiful places on earth, yet though I have admired the bursts of color here and there, it can't compare to the trees at home.  Of course, it's not really about the leaves.  I miss home.  To help me feel better, I've continued to add little reminders of "home" to my new home.  I started with a small collection of Pewabic Pottery from our first home together and received Woodward Avenue Brewery glasses as a gift to remind us of our second house (we tend to move a lot!)  These are all proudly displayed in what is now the playroom, until I figure out where they can be relocated.  It doesn't end there --- on my last two trips home I've felt almost a tourist, buying a Starbuck's mug of the Detroit skyline and most recently a Detroit Tigers t-shirt (in the airport!)  To take it a step further, I've postered University of Michigan all over a corner of my classroom!  This is my way of dealing with living thousands of miles away from family and friends - though they are just objects, the memories they represent comfort me.

Do you display, collect, or wear reminders of where you're from?  How do you handle homesickness?