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Monday, August 30, 2010

Observe Nature

I try to take time to observe nature a little every day. Ideally this happens at unexpected times and in unexpected places. I hadn't taken much time to "smell the roses" lately, and it's showing in my moods.

I was having a late start to my morning. My toddler was not ready to get dressed to go to PreK so I sat at my desk in the sunroom and I heard a funny noise. It sounded as if something was scratching the siding on the back of the house. As I went out back to check out what was causing the noise I found that a squirrel was decapitating one of my sunflowers for his morning breakfast.

He scurried along the deck railing with this huge sunflower in his mouth. I went back inside as he enjoyed his breakfast. Please ignore the dead fern plant. I have learned this year that wild ferns do not like living in pots very much. I'm hoping they come up again next year so I can put them into the ground!

I went outside late to inspect the sunflowers. The wind has all but taken them down. I am sure that Mr. Squirrels snacking didn't add much damage to them.

Later my son observed that the herb garden that the sunflowers are planted in has aquired quite a few catapillars. He took a photo of a few of them. He's a pretty good photographer!

Next time you are feeling stressed out...take time to observe nature. I'm not sure exactly why it works, but it least for me!

You Simply Amaze Me

Poetry. I gave up on my poetry over a decade ago. I rarely write anything these days. I used to be a good writer. I'm not sure where those skills went but I thought since I am having such a hard time blogging these days perhaps I'd try to return to my roots of poetry.

I wrote this poem for a very special person in my life. This person does not know it is for them, and I intend to keep it that way. I just picked one person and started writing. I'm not really pleased with the results, but I'm posting anyways...because I've got nuttin'.

Have a great day!

You Simply Amaze Me
by Leticia

I can listen to the sound of your voice.
Strong and confident.
And I know that I can always trust you. Completely.

There is a look in your eyes.
Soft and sincere.
It’s undeniable that your thoughts are heartfelt. Genuine.

I feel the pain in your heart.
Malicious and unkind.
I too feel that gut wrenching pain. Crumbling.

When I am near you it is the most natural thing.
Intended and effortless, it seems.
I cannot help but imagine that we will be together. Forever.

Your wisdom and grace moves me.
Onward and upward.
You help me see my highest heights. Success.

When I am with you it’s blissful joy.
2 pieces of the same small puzzle.
I am in awe of how well you know me.

I could talk with you everyday.
Every day and every night.
And never grow tired of our conversations.

You embrace your humanness.
Weak and strong.
Refusing to recognize limitations.

I will forever hold you in my heart.
Mind, and soul.
You simply amaze me.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Meaning of life

I've not had much to blog lately. Well...I have things to blog, I just don't feel like I can right now. I saw an inspirational video on Facebook and it's such an excellent message. Very much how I try to live my life. I typed out the message since the video is not on YouTube and I'm not sure I can post a Facebook video here. If it can be done please teach me how. :)



The Meaning of Life

Be happy

Show up.

Follow your heart.

Find a new perspective.

Have a sense of wonder.

Find people you love.

Set goals.

Help others.


Pamper yourself.

Face your fears.

Go to a museum.


Limit television.

Get in touch with nature.

Lighten up.

Get a good night’s sleep.

Read books.

Buy yourself flowers.

Don’t compare yourself with others.

Don’t beat yourself up.

Be open to new ideas.

Don’t focus on negative thoughts.

Focus on creating what you desire.

Make time just to have fun.

Keep the romance in your life.

Make a gratitude list.

Love your Mother earth.

Want what you have.

Be true to yourself.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


I've been doing some research this morning on income guidelines for various services in Indiana. Our oldest son (8th grade) was approved for the 21st Century Scholarship when he entered 6th grade. Thankfully that was a rough year for us, and our income was low enough to get approved for this. Sadly, we have recovered financially and now it looks like we are no going to meet the income guidelines for our daughter to receive the same scholarship. While I am super bummed about that, I am grateful for the income increase!

As I reviewed the state's income guidelines for a family of 6 I was sort of taken back. In order to receive services we would have to make less than $54,000 a year. For a family of 6. This is the high end, mind you.

We would have to do a whole lot more than modify our living arrangements. We'd have to completely start over to work with that budget. We'd be forced to live in a very small house, or rent in the inner city where crime is high and childhood's a rough.

Don't get me wrong...I'd do all of that and then some if we had to. Hell...I'd live in a tent if we had to. I just think it's very sad...that a middle class family such as ours works hard to keep out heads above water, and lower income families get more benefits on top of their pay than we make in a year.

A friend of mine receives $800 a month in food assistance. She doesn't work, and neither does her boyfriend. He works the occasional odd job for a month or so at a time. Meanwhile my husband works 5 days a week, and I work part-time outside of the home, and we should have just $400 budgeted for food from our income, based on budget calculators.

How does this make sense?

I'm not saying that lower income families do not need/deserve this help. I'm just confused why a family of four gets so much in food assistance when the recommended allowance of 12% of income for food comes to $400 for an income of $54,000.

Mind you, we make more than $54,000 and we spend more than $400 a month on food...but based on this budget, how does someone whom makes $12,000 a year receive so much more than the state says I require to feed my family of 6?

This is all so confusing that I don't even think I am getting my point accross here, but I just feel like these numbers don't add up.

Don't even get me started on the medical expenses!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friendship and Fighting

My daughter had a falling out at school towards the end of her 5th grade year. It was probably her 1st major drama with friends and it made the first few weeks of summer almost unbearable.

She recovered with a few of those friendships in tact. The one's whom were willing to ask for forgiveness were deemed worthy of a second chance in my daughters eyes. While I was struggling to agree, despite my modeling to her that all persons deserve a second chance and that everyone is inherently good, I keep my mouth mostly closed and allowed her to live her life and make her own mistakes. It's how we humans learn, after all.

One friend in particular didn't feel as though she owed Nadine an apology. Nadine accepted this fact and they parted ways. It was a shame because she'd known this girl since 1st grade and they had spent some time together outside of school, and in sports as well.

I had warned Nadine that when school started back up some of these friends would want to pretend as if nothing had happened. I cautioned her about allowing that to slide by. I told her that some kids do not have conflict resolution skills, and some just think time heals all wounds. I told her that the best thing she could do in that situation was stand firm to her feelings and let them know that their choices and actions had caused her pain.

We are ending our 3rd week back to school and sure enough, as her psychic (Ha!) mom had predicted, she ran into one of the old friends during the school day. This friend casually said hello and mentioned they hadn't seen each other since the whole situation last year. My daughter replied with something along the lines of "Yea, well...that situation still has yet to be resolved." and they moved on.

The friend sent her an e-mail last night and I was so impressed with my daughters reply that I wanted to share it...even though it is a private matter. It's times like these that I know I must be doing something right, and that these kids of mine...they really do listen to me sometimes!

The friend was telling my daughter that they couldn't not be friends. After all, they'd be spending time around each other at mutual friends parties, at school, etc. She didn't take ownership of her role in the relationship parting ways, and not surprisingly she tried to justify the incident while placing blame on other friends.

My daughters reply really impressed me. At 11 years old...such a wise young girl. She replied to her friend:

"What you did and said is not something I am going to forgive and forget. If you really want to be friends, and you don't want me to be mad at you than you are gonna need to earn it. If you want to have fun with me I need to trust that you aren't gonna back stab me again. I don't want to just go to a friend's birthday and use it as a chance to make up and be best friends without more than just an apology over email, it takes a lot of guts to tell a person you mean something in person. And if you can't do that than I can easily mind my own business and not mess you with you at the next party."

She told her what she expected, expressed her true feelings, and planned for a future event.

We should all be so willing to tackle life's struggles head on. She makes me very proud. She could have chosen to just go along with the flow and start talking to this old friend as if nothing ever happened. She commanded respect for herself, and held her friend accountable for her actions.

In my mind, this is just more proof that my daughter is a very good friend. She can take the heat and she is willing to sacrifice her pain in order to help her friends achieve their highest heights. I am impressed.

It goes without saying that my daughter shares her fair share of flaws. For those who know me beyond the blog world...I would hope that you know well enough by now that I do not think my child is an angel of perfection. What I do know is that I have 4 children, and I see a lot of kids respond to life in a lot of different ways. I just happen to be particularly pleased with how she is doing it.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

School pictures

As a mother, I think I will always cringe at the thought of the annual yearbook photos. My mother was not the best teacher when it came to styling hair, or make-up application 101. That's being nice. I love my mother dearly, don't get me wrong, but my blue jean and flannel wearing hippy momma did not put a lot of time into her look.

This resulted in a young girl experimenting with hair and make-up on her own. We didn't have YouTube videos back then, or even the Internet to learn such things. We were too poor for magazines so I scoured magazines at the local library and did my best to mimic the looks I'd see. I was NOT, as it turns out, born to be a make-up artist.

This resulted in some very clown-like school photos. I remember the day I brought home 6th grade school pictures. My father promptly tossed them into the wood burning stove and I watched my clown face curl up and fry. I had thought it was a good idea to wear blue and white eyeshadow, because our school colors were blue and white. It turns out that was not a good idea.

So here I am. My daughter just entered the 6th grade. I am always worried that I will do her make-up and it will look good to me, and when the pictures come back she will look more like a lady of the night. Yikes!

It's amazing how much our childhood memories stick with us as adults. It is the main reason I react, as a parent, in the manner in which I do. I'm more cautious about how I respond to my children, and react to their unsavory behaviors. I remember watching my school pictures go up in flames, and I felt like a complete failure, and unworthy of my fathers love and affection. It's funny how that memory stuck with me, and how the little things like that affected my self esteem more than the physical abuse that my brother and I endured.

So this morning as I did Nadine's hair and watched the pre-teen morning scowl on her face, as if she disgusted me for screwing up her hair...again, I remained calm, started over and kept at it until her frown turned right side up. Usually I would do it and if she didn't like it I would walk out of the bathroom and tell her she was free to change it if she'd like to.

When she asked if she may wear make-up in this years school picture I cringed. It was as if she had punched me in the stomach. I didn't want to do it. I didnt want to watch her do it. Her BFFs have been wearing make-up since 5th grade, and while my daughter doesn't desire to wear it everyday, I do feel like this age feels appropriate for a starter course.

I didn't dare take a photo of my end results. We'll wait until the photos arrive and hope that her beautiful smile distracts from any hair & make-up flaws I may or may not have given her this morning. Wish me luck!

I will say this. It felt REALLY great for her to wake me up in the wee hours of 5 something to help her. It's nice to feel wanted & needed, especially during these trying, hormonal pre-teen years. *sigh*

Just for fun, here's a few school pictures of my beautiful daughter and my 2 oldest handsome boys from last year. Enjoy, and happy picture day!

7th grade-Andrew
5th grade-Nadine
2nd grade-Dane

Monday, August 16, 2010

Aiden's 1st day of PreK!

Well, the time has come...our "baby" has graduated to PreK. *sad face*. I can't believe it! He was so excited to see his new classroom. I hope he continues to enjoy it!

He was anxiously awaiting his 1st day of school like a kid at a bus stop. & dad are driving you. We're not ready to put you on a bus yet baby!
He was looking very impatient!
C'mon guys...I have friends to see!

Aiden in the hall of his preschool.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Indiana State Fair: Day 2; Selena Gomez!

I took my 11 y/o daughter, and two friends to the Indiana State Fair and to see Selena Gomez and the Scene in concert today. They boys were with my husband at Grammy & Grampy's house for the weekend so this was a great time for some girl time.

We arrived at the fair at noon. I thought this was plenty of time to enjoy some of the fair, but was surprised at how fast the time slipped by. It seems to be the trend in our lives!

I had planned to skip the midway this time, but on the way to the fair the girls were talking...

Mykalah tells the girls that she hasn't been to the Indiana State Fair yet. I decided that this warranted a celebration, which clearly had to start at the midway!
Nadine told the girls they simply must ride the Kite Flyer. She thought it was very relaxing last week. I think I'd have tossed my cookie.
Peyton wanted to ride the Tugboat ride next.

After that we walked the midway for a while.
The girls fell in LOVE with all the big pig plush prizes.
This is the year of the pig, after all.

The girls decided to ride another ride. Who's crazy enough to ride the Crazy Mouse coaster?

Nadine & Peyton!

After that we had just enough tickets for one more ride...a Super Slide Race!

Peyton won!
Poor Mykalah's potato sack got stuck on the slide and she had to come down after the girls did, and she scraped her knee on the slide on the way down.

Next we visited the animal barns. Nadine loves to pet the babies!
As I took this picture the calf started eating Nadine's hair!
Of course the girls had to swoon over the piglets!
The girls wanted to sit on the pig statue. Poor pig...he was outnumbered!
As we were walking around in the search of dinner the girls kept doing this really cute thing. They called it a "shadow high 5" and I thought it would make a really fin picture. As it turns out a shadow high 5 isn't as easy as it seems. The girls weren't actually touching hands. They all had to move the hands just right to make the shadows line up.
Have I mentioned it's the year of the pig? Of course this meant delicious pork meals! We had pork burgers, and pork chops, and bbq pork, and they even had pork chop samis. It was delicious!
We hopped over to the Bridge to Japan, and enjoyed some AC while they gave a performance.
These hams will find a photo op anywhere!
We stopped by the IndyMoms table to visit the Mom squad and to say thank you for the tickets we won in a recent contest on their website!
We headed to the grandstands just in time to find our seats for the Selena Gomez and the Scene concert! The girls thought the metromix-Indianapolis VIP seats were uber cool.
I got lots of bonus "best mom ever" points for winning these tickets from! It's a good thing too because the 1st week of 6th grade had me way down in points!
The grandstands behind us were packed. They sold out! Selena later told the crowd of fans that this was her largest sold-out concert in her career. Go Indianapolis!
The opening band, Days Difference, was really good! We had not heard of them, but they boys did good!
When Selena came out the girls went wild!

The girls started climbing up on their seats. They were pumped!
It was crazy hot but that didn't stop these fans from singing and dancing with Selena.
The place was packed. We had such a great time!
Silly girls on the way out of the fair.
I am blessed to be able to enjoy these times with my daughter, and to be able to share this with her friends too. Today was a good good day!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sundays In My City: Kids Park

Unknown Mami
I haven't done one of these blogs in a few months. No particular reason, but I need a break from the deep stuff, and we've been a busy family squeezing in lots of fun before summer break ended. I took way more pics than anyone could ever need form a small I might as well put them to use!

There is a little park at McFarland and Banta on the south side of Indy at the Southport Baptist Church (2901 E. Banta Rd., Indianapolis, IN). We drive by twice a day on our way to and from cross country practice. My 4 y/o begs me to stop so he can play every time. 5 days a week. On the 1st day of school we had to run musical instruments to the older kids schools and of course had to pass this park. I had planned to take my toddler to the central library today, but he begged to see that park once again and so on our way home we stopped.

It was super hot so we only lasted about 35 minutes, but he had an awesome time! This little park is quite the undiscovered gem. I rarely see anyone using it, and if ever maybe just a mom and a small child or two. It's really quite nice to enjoy some quiet time while Aiden plays without worry about kidnapping, or fighting, etc.

As you can see from the photos...he can cover a lot of ground in 30 minutes, and I can take a ton of photos!