Now that Awsumb is old enough to have a voice I am outnumbered in this house 2-1... and well, super heroes, cartoons and video games are just part of our little home. So, when the boys choose Shrek 3 for family movie night I wasn't surprised. I figured I would catch up online and see what's going on with friends who live far, far away.
But when the movie started I was reminded why I really don't like Shrek. The first movie was all about this big green ogre names Shrek, who somehow ends up escorting the Princess Fiona back to her Kingdom, "Far, Far Away." At first the Princess is high maintenance and the ogre is well, an ogre, what more is there to say! LOL! And like all romantic comedies of this type, in spite of it all the two fall for each other. But a Princess can’t be with an ogre… even one with 'many layers.' Until of course she finds out SHE’S and ogre too! Happily Ever After…
What I hate about this story is that it doesn’t show that two people from different cultures, classes, etc. can be together. Could Fiona still love Shrek, and make a happy marriage with him, if she wasn’t an ogre? Why can’t the ogre just turn into Prince Charming? Or it just implying that we are ALL ogres?
All I know is that I could never have married an ogre, and am thankful for my Prince Charming… who I would like to remind would still be a frog without me!
Don't you just hate the sound of your recorded voice? Nothings makes me more mad than having to listen to my own messages that I left at home or on Kenneth's cell phone. If he ever listens to them he never deletes them. Does my voice really sound like a 12 year old?
But I must admit I simply love talking to my child on the phone. These days he talks like a teenager and seems so grown up. But on the phone his voice sounds a good 3 or so years younger. It is so cute and sweet I want to bottle it up!
To top it off, lately he says this at the end of the call...
"Wait Mommy, don't forget to listen for the kisses!"
As one of the journalists talks about in this movie I am one that has never understood modern art. I admit that somehow I feel like it is laughing at me, telling me that I am not sophisticated enough to understand it. I think mostly it's just because it is usually messy.
I took a pottery class in college. The first day we were told that everything we made was art and that if we followed the techniques and came to class we would all do well. Depsite going in on Saturdays for extra workshops and acing the written exams about the history of pottery, I still barely got a passing grade. My bowl looked more like one of those ashtrays kids make in second grade art class. In fact, mine wasn't even as good!
So when I found this movie a few years ago I thought it was quite interesting. As the story unfolds we meet Marla, 4 year old little girl who's father just happened to give her a few paint brushes. The next thing her parents knew, tv entertainment news hours were showcasing Little Marla... Is it really art? Is it really Marla? This documentary is very interesting study about what happens when we possibly place more importance on things that might not have been quite honest in the first place.
That being said, Marla is darling. I hope her parents pull back and give her a normal childhood and that they remember to pay some attention to her little brother. Could my kid paint that? Probably not. We all know I would never let my kid make a mess like that. He would have to paint outside in his undershirt LOL! Because I am sure real paint doesn't wash out as well as Crayola!
I was cleaning the kitchen when I happened upon this the other day and was again sucked into watching the story of Marla and her family. Have you seen this documentary? What do you think? Did Marla really paint that? Was she coached? Does it even mean anything anyway?Watching the buyers in the art gallery try to explain the little girls art was pretty funny. LOL!
Many people have said this was the summer of the STAYcation… But at our house, it was the summer of DAYcations or weekend get-aways.
It all started back in May when Awsumb asked if we could go to Mount Rainier. "Jump in the car!" we said and off we went. This was a quick trip, most of the roads were still closed. But it was still a beautiful drive.
In July we took a road trip through the Redwood Forest down the coast and to Southern California.
Then taking off during the big heat wave to cool off and get soaking wet while walking on the Dungeness Spit in Sequim, WA
We spent time in the cheesiest pretend German town you have ever been too, Leavenworth, WA. (Only to be visited once every 10 years! Don’t miss the Nutcracker Museum, Music Box Shop and Clock Repair shop.)
Exploring Awsumb’s favorite place to camp, a decommissioned Army base on Whidbey Island.
And finally making it to Mount Saint Helens, where Awsumb has been begging to visit.
Ending our summer with a final trip to Mount Rainier, the south side this time. Including hike at twilight in The Grove of the Patriarchs. (Barely making it out alive as the flying bats were coming out!)
And there you have it, we have been just about as far North and South as one can get on the west coast
While I love stopping at road side oddities such as all three drive through trees in the Redwood Forest and historical monuments… I have always been aware that many of the stories behind them was a bit sketchy. Lies Across Americais a great book that debunks monuments throughout the states. James Loewen tell us that “zamani” monuments tell us more about people who built them and the view they want you to have about history than about the events they are supposed to memorialize. What’s make this a problem is that they can change people’s political views today. Especially if the facts are wrong or just plain false.
The Daughters of the Confederates try to shape our views today by placing confederate monuments in states that were clearly on the Union side or states that did not even exist nor have any lives lost in the Civil War. Or, how about the fact that many of the names we have grown up calling many Native American tribes aren’t even the name they called themselves, but the name their enemies called them. Names like Navajo, Anasazi, and Eskimo - meaning thieves, enemies or eaters of flesh.
I think we have to beware of what we teach our children… trying to give them the fact from both sides and letting them make up their minds to learn from past mistakes. Why is it important for us to learn about our past? The Truth about Columbus. Lies My Teacher Told Me. The Real history of Thanksgiving and more about the way I think history should be taught next month…
The classic book about OCD is The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Washing His Hands. While it is a great book those who want to understand what is really going on inside the head of their loved one who suffers from OCD, I recommend The Devil in the Details to anyone.
“In this 1970s memoir, Traig describes how, from the age of 12 until her freshman year at Brandeis, she suffered from various forms of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), including anorexia and a rarer, "hyper-religious form" of OCD called scrupulosity, in which sanctified rituals such as hand washing and daily prayer are repeated in endless loops. The daughter of a Jewish father and a Catholic mother, Traig becomes obsessed with Jewish ritual, inventing her own prayers since her Jewish education is limited.” - Amazon Reviews
I loved this book and related to Jennifer's struggles. I found the scrupulosity about religious rituals hilarious because anyone who is religious and suffers from OCD has probably been there! To this day when I silently pray I feel like it doesn’t count and will not be heard if I hurry too quickly through the end… I must repeat the prayer, making sure I repeat the closing s-l-o-w-l-y enough to really pronounce the words perfectly in my head before I can move on. It’s as if I feel I am being disrespectful if I don’t. Because thoughts run so fast in my head this is often hard. And that is only the tip of the iceberg!
I have lived many scenes in this book.
A few years ago a friend of mine told me about her first encounter with me. One that I didn’t even know about. She said I was freaking out in the restroom at church. I had taken Awsumb in and was just going nuts about him not touching anything and getting washed up properly. I can imagine I was a little on edge during those potty training years. The funny thing is that Awsumb was often more freaked out than me, refusing to go in a gas station that had a rip in the flooring because it was “dirty.” LOL! Anyway, my friend said that she looked at someone else in the room with a “What’s her problem?!” glance and the other person just quietly responded, “She has issues!” I love it!
Yep, I have issues. I have severe issues about cleanliness and contamination. I recognize that many of them are irrational. But that’s the way OCD works.
Once while staying at my in-laws house I had washed a load of laundry… baby items. Kenneth was bringing them up to me and I saw something fall out of the basket.. You know what he did? He picked it up!! And just as he was about to put it back in I totally lost it! “I can see you! That touched the carpet! It’s contaminated!” And strike 254 with my mother in-law as she saw the whole scene and am sure felt bad that I thought her house was contaminated. The truth is that I feel this way about ALL carpeting including the carpeting in my own house. Carpeting is contaminated you know! If something touches the ground, that’s it, it has to be washed again.
The problem with an incident like this is that not only do I offend my mother in-law, but that I will no longer trust my husband, believing he will try to get away with something like that… and well, that’s not good for any marriage. I sure it is exhausting being married to me.
I used to have a funny ritual I would do with calculators. See, I didn’t know if I could trust them… so I had a series of calculations I would do to “prove” they were in working order before I would use them. For some reason my husband laughed his head off when I told him this. Similarly I love to check the compass with my new IPhone. Some of it is just for fun.. but also I need to make sure it really works in case I ever really need it… I am always thinking about things like this. Does something really work, how do i know... I better keep checking...
Over the years my OCD rituals come and go and I learn to live with them and even love some of them. There are some things too personal to share and some things you just don’t want to know. This blog is less about sharing every detail… because The Devil is in the Details!
"A bird does not sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song."
I am not sure where this quote came from... but I love it. I am passionate about so many things. Issues, causes, values, etc. And I feel a need to talk about them. And sometimes a need to shout them from the rooftops. But that does not mean I have the answers.
What is important is that I am conscious of my place in the world, the footprint I am physically leaving, the impressions I am making, the things that I am consuming...
No, I don't have the answers, but I am asking the questions and sharing what I have learned.
My tunes may be abrasive, I am practially tone deaf ya know... But the desire and obsession to share my thoughts is just to big to contain. While I may sometimes act like I have all the answers or have everything figured out, I am not perfect person...
And this tune spins in my head the rest of the evening...
"I'm not a perfect person There's many things I wish I didn't do But I continue learning I never meant to do those things to you And so I have to say before I go That I just want you to know
A while back I saw an Andy Rooney segment about the ingredients in Twinkies. One of them was the byproduct of jet fuel! (Insert video here! First one to find it wins a prize.) So when Kenneth put the book Twinkie Deconstructedon my Ipod I was excited to read it. The author decide to research the topic after his children asked him to explain the ingredients list on Twinkie package.
When it comes to Twinkies, and all process foods, shelf life is crucial. "Shelf life is the holy grail of packaged food," said Ettlinger. "In order to get shelf life, you give up something: fresh eggs, fresh cream, fresh butter…So you need to not only extend the shelf life with the product you're making but you have to replace those eggs with emulsifiers, you have to replace the butter with flavors or colors. You have to replace them with things. That's why the ingredient list starts getting long."
This book goes through the ingredient list one by one throwing out a few funny tidbits along the way. Did you know the creamy center of Twinkies used to be banana flavored? During WWI when bananas became scarce they began making the cream vanilla flavored. (Cue music: We have no bananas today.)
Do you remember that commercial from the 80's that asked kids to explain how the cream got into the center of Twinkie? My favorite was the kid that said, “It’s just born there!” I remember other kids having Twinkies in their lunches as school. But I don’t have many memories of eating Twinkies. I don't really care for that thick coated feeling they leave in your mouth. Do you wonder what that's from? This book explains it for you. Maybe I would like the banana flavored Twinkies? I prefer yellow Zingers!
Another book I recommend isCandy Freak. Kenneth and I listened to this on a road trip years ago and loved it so much we sent it to everyone as birthday gifts that year. It was especially fun to listen to on the road because we would scour gas stations through a few different states looking for specific candy bars. It is also a very interesting story about the history of Mars, Hershey, etc. Check it out!
When I was young I didn't like my nose. It seemed too cute and silly to me… along with my long red hair, freckles and the name 'Wendy.' I didn't want to be silly or cute. I didn't want to be the little girl with long red braids on the Wendy's Hamburgers sign. I wanted to be grown up and sophisticated. I wanted to change my name to be “Nancy Erekson.”
Of course I love my father very much. The very thought of him makes me giggle. And so, over the years I have come to accept this nose, as it is also my father’s nose. And of course now my little one has the nose.
Dennis Awsumb 1970
Ardin Awsumb 1942
So one day this summer I showed Awsumb these two photos my father and his father. I love these photos because together, they show a father and son in a rare state, at the same age…. Both about to take on the world, with maybe uncertain futures at the start of their service in the U.S. Army.
So I said to Awsumb, “Look at Great Grandpa’s nose and my Dad’s nose. Can you see that they have the same nose.” He studied the photos for a while and I said, "Now, look at MY nose.” And he recognized it as the same nose. Then I said, now go look in the mirror at your nose. And he ran to the bathroom making those cute little pitter-pats that I will never grow tired of hearing. After a moment I heard him exclaim, “I have the nose.” Then he ran back to proudly show me that he was of course a true Awsumb because he had THE NOSE!
And because it drives me totally nuts when other people put music on their blogs and webpages... Here is a link to appropriate accompaniment to this post! Pictures of You From one of my favorite CD's (do they even call them that anymore)Poison Kiss by The Last Goodnight
After years trying to conceive I was finally pregnant. The pregnancy had started out with a few problems, but by summer everything was normal and we were told we were expecting a baby boy. Still, after all those years, I couldn't let myself believe we were really having a baby. I didn't buy anything, save one little pair of overalls and two coordinating shirts (to combat a pair of pink socks and a pink blanket a girlfriend had given me... even steven ya know, I was afraid she had jinxed me and maybe she did.. for the better!).
So, there I was, about 7 months pregnant with none of the usual stockpile most expecting mothers had begun to gather... when I was told that I had preeclamsia and that the baby would have to be delivered right away. It was the last weekend of August. We had just been on a vacation to the Oregon beach. During the next couple days I was given steroid injections to help the lungs grow and was told that my baby would be whisked away to the NICU at the Children’s Hospital in Seattle and we wouldn’t even be together. Things seemed grim, but we were hopeful.
And so I laid on my left side, for all but a few minutes a day, trying to incubate that baby just long enough for him to grow strong enough to survive. Our routine was to go into the doctors office, every other day for stress tests and monitoring. 9/11 started like any other day and I soaped six times in the shower… Which I had been lectured about by my OBGYN bytheway... Yes, there was much discussion about my showers and cutting my routine down. But I digress…
Then we saw the news. At that point no one knew what was really going on. Just as we were about to leave for our appointment my brother called. He has been working for a U.S. Congressman at the Capitol building in Washington D.C. His wife at the time worked for the FAA and in the parking lot watched the Pentagon burn. He assured us that they were O.K. it was just a matter of figuring out transportation, which was completely shut down and getting home. We were not able to have any more communication with him until later that night. The distraction of our own situation forced us to continue on with our day... And after a few tests we were sent home yet again, to wait things out another day or so.
During the next few weeks I watched a lot of news, as this was about all I could do laying on my left side 24 hours a day. I remember watching the U.S. Army move into Afghanistan. Seeing these troops LIVE on the news laying on their bellies over some bridge … is this really happening?
Through many prayers and miracles I was able to keep my pregnancy for altogether 2 months of bedrest. During that time this baby was our distraction from the changing world around us. But also baseball. The Mariners were in the playoffs and being the diehard baseball fans we were that was exciting. We even watched the game the day I gave birth, all the while being told Awsumb would come at the end of the game… Well, we lost and Awsumb had still not arrived … and didn’t until 6:30 the next morning on October 19th when I finally gave birth to a perfect baby boy. And of course the Mariners had lost the playoffs and did not make it to The World Series.
That fall was such a time of sadness and joy and mixed emotions at our house. These are two documentaries I enjoy watching each year about 9/11. Each time I see this footage, especially the one from 9/11 I am taken right back to the emotions and puzzlement I felt that day.
9/11 is by two French filmmakers who set out to make a documentary about 21-year-old Tony Benetatos a firefighter trainee at Manhattan's Duane Street firehouse, located seven blocks from the World Trade Center. The only footage of the command center set up in the Lobby of WTC Tower 1. It’s an amazing film about these two brothers, separated during the call and their reunion back at the firehouse. And of course it also tell the story of the men at the firehouse, who miraculously safely made it out.
For something a little more heart warming don’t miss…
Came across this article today, "Even Babies Discriminate" in Newsweek. I have their book Nurture Shock on my list and thought it was a very interesting article. Although I grew up in a pretty sheltered area… we now live in a very diverse area. The area we live in has a great mix of people from Asia and India especially. During Awsumb’s Kindergarten year the only other two girls who were Caucasian were from Sweden. In the end we all just want the same things for our families and that is for them to learn and grow and be safe and happy.
I haven’t really talked much with Awsumb about race. One family that was close us to when Awsumb was born was Philippine. Awsumb spent a lot of time with this family. I do remember Awsumb thinking they were all his brothers and sisters, and us adults giggling about it because he looked so different than the rest of the kids because his skin is so pale. Even my own family teases me that Awsumb and I are pale because we live in the Northwest. Then in school he made a best friend right away with a little boy whose parents were from South Africa. The two were inseparable. I didn’t think he noticed or thought anything about race. I thought maybe because of the area we were raising him, because he was getting to know people from all over the world, that maybe it didn’t matter to him. This article suggests otherwise.
I found the study about the blue and red t-shirts very telling. Our children do notice differences and are waiting for clues to learn how to interpret them. Ignoring differences could allow them to group and classify people who look like them as good simply because they look like them (called essentialism). Much to think about… I have been inspired to talk more about his subject with Awsumb.
And you can bet I will be back to talk about Nurture Shock.
You know your sons a Lego Maniac when you go to give him a kiss goodnight... after he is supposed to be IN bed mind you, and find him on the floor putting together his new Lego set. That's right, for a while now he no longer waits for me to help him open the box, cut open the bags, unfold in the instructions "just so" and start sorting the pieces. He is proficient enough that he just dives in himself.
Awsumb began his obsession with Legos way before he even knew they were Legos. Kenneth and I worked hard to acquire some really great Duplo sets when he was a toddler. At the time Lego was going through some changes and there wasn’t much available other than the basic Duplo Bucket (Legos’s toddler version of their famous bricks, not to be confused with Megablocks or other such copy cats). We were lucky enough to score some great sets at a toy liquidator and of course the Bob the Builder sets came around just in time for his Bob the Builder stage.
Then sometime after his 4th birthday a friend gave him his first real Lego set. It was a small set with only about 10 steps to build a simple race car. Awsumb followed the instructions putting the set together, taking it apart, over and over again. Not yet being the Lego connoisseur I have now become, I asked my friend where to get simple small sets. I found Lego offered quite a few small sets… The first ones we started buying were of these little Knights that fans often refered to as the 'Rainbow Knight' collection. The Knight’s Kingdom collection was simple and sweet, each knight donning his unique color, thus many Lego fans regarded them as childish. The Lego website had some really great stories about these little Knights and especially one young, but fast Knight who learns and grows and becomes King. Awsumb was hooked for life!
The Legos that I had been stuffing in Kenneth’s stockings for years came home from the office to live at our house and Legos basically became part of the family budget! I called Lego parts department and was able to acquire all the little characters from the Knights set that he had grown to love (TIP- The parts department can be your best friend!) By the time Awsumb was 5 or 6 he was putting together pretty complicated sets. If the set was a large one we often helped him find the pieces or snap the pieces together a bit more tightly for him. Then over the years he took over most of the Lego building in our house.
Right away I began to have puzzling questions about Legos... How they should be played with, stored, etc. When I was a child we had one or two basic boxed sets. I am not sure they even came with any more instructions that a few suggested things to build on the box. The sets came with some wheels, minifigs and a few specialty pieces, but were pretty basic sets… what you decided to build was completely up to you. I quickly realized this wasn’t how Legos were these days. Legos came in sets… Branded Sets. Besides the original stories Lego was coming up with they had Star Wars and other popular characters. And of course those were the sets that Awsumb wanted.
This of course meant that one set was meant to build one or two specific things. Being the perfectly organized person that I have to be, I was struggling trying to figure out if I should be letting him 'free build' with all these cool sets, or keeping them all segregated to individual ziplock bags with their individual instructions. What I realized was that in the end that segregation was not fair. BUT I couldn’t have the little cute Rainbow Knights mixing with the Star Wars or other characters either! What was I supposed to do with this organizing dilemma?
I came across this article and it helped me understand where some of my anxiety was coming from. Click here to read Why Lego’s Can’t Click. Yes, Legos sets were a complicated issue. Thus a new decree was declared in our house… “Lego sets must first be built to the instruction booklet specification.” Then they would become part of a free build bucket… still segregated to their themes of course!
And this is how we came to build the wall that is now A Lego Bucket Wall in Awsumb’s room. (No, I won’t show you a photo!). Awsumb has one or more buckets for each theme: City, Knights, Star Wars, Batman, Indiana Jones, Racers, etc. Each theme is allowed out one at a time (thus proper segregation!). And the original instructions are filed perfectly away for future rebuilds (which does happen from time to time). But for the most part once the suggestion ship or car is completed it is cannibalized to become a new creation.
An additional tip is that when we reached the point that Awsumb’s Lego creations were displayed and being played with all over the family room I couldn’t take it anymore! So, I bought a train table, which turned out to be perfect because the raised edges keep the tiny pieces from falling on the floor. And finally we had a Lego Creation Studio right in our own family room! Do Legos still end up on the floor? Sometimes, but I always threaten with the vacuum and that seems to work!
You find yourself on your hands and knees HAND scrubbing the garage floor at 1:00am. Yes, I was really just outside doing just that. O.K., I didn’t really scrub the whole thing, just a small section. I dropped a can of Fresca that I was taking to the recycling… that must not have been rinsed out all the way and still had enough sticky soda in it to cause me to worry that it might attract ants or something worse.
My first thought was to get the hose. But I didn’t want to open the big garage door and deal with the cold water while in my night shirt. Could the problem wait until morning to be sprayed out with the hose? Not for me! I could have left it for Kenneth to clean up, but I knew I would do a better job. SO, there I was scrubbing the garage floor on my hands and knees.
The way you know you truly have OCD is that you cannot stop yourself. As I said before I was able to control myself and only scrub a small section. However, that led me to think about a few other things that needed to be neatened up in the garage. Like the slip ‘n slide, that obviously isn’t going to be used again this summer. In the Northwest it takes forever for things to dry out, so here it’s been stretched out across the pitch-back and soccer net for weeks drying out… Until I declare it dry enough to safely fold up and store away so it won’t mold over the long rainy months of winter.
Then I decide I just have to neaten up a few of Awsumb’s toys that weren’t put away “ just so” and next thing you know I am organizing the freezer… STANDING on the freezing cold FILTHY garage floor mind you! (there’s no getting around it, no matter how much we sweep and hose out the garage floor it’s just always black and icky… maybe I really should scrub the whole things on my hands and knees?) Anyway, back to the freezer, so there I am taking an inventory of what I have out there. Remembering that I still have a whole turkey that I meant to turn into A Totally Awsumb Summer Thanksgiving that never happened. And wondering why I have so many Otter-Pops, when no one around here really cares for them. And as I begin to restack the TV Dinners so the labels all line up I think, “What am I doing out here!”
That’s when you know you have OCD!
Update... you really know you have OCD when 3 hours later you find yourself updating your blog to say that the garage floor incident has thrown you into a cleaning frenzy and you lost track of the time while you were sorting through all sorts of other things in the house. Now I have stacks of things all packed up and ready to go to various places such as friends, donations, garbage, etc. Guess I have some errands to run tomorrow.
When did Gummy Bears become a food group? Since I have been a parent these 8 years I have not been able to understand the concept of Fruit Snacks? I see people regularly include these in their child's meal and count it as a "fruit" or feed them to their toddler thinking they are providing a nutritional snack.
Do they realize they are just feeding them Gummy Bears? Would they just give them a bag of Gummy Bears? I don't think so... but if Kellogg's puts it in a cute shape and calls them "Fruit Snacks" all of a suddent they are O.K.? I feel like this is just one more way our kids don't understand where our food comes from, or even what it is.
Let's compare their nutritional value. First lets start with the serving size. A bag of basic Gummy Bears claims 22, while Fruit Snacks have limited the package size to 10. So, for this comparision I cut the serving size of the Gummy Bears in half.
Seems clear to me. What's the difference? At least with true gummy bears you get a bit of protein, probably from the geletin? OH, I admit I am leaving out the 100% daily dose of Vitamin C that is included in Fruit Snacks and not in Gummy Bears? It still doesn't make sense to me. Especially when Gummy Bears on high on the list of dental "No, No's" .... AND have you ever eaten a Fruit Snack? They are gross, their texture is all wrong. I am not even a candy person, but Gummy Bears are much more pleasurable. So why does every grocery store have an entire 3-4 foot Fruit Snack display?
Have I ever purchased Fruit Snacks? Yes, to go along with a party theme as a treat! Join me and next time buy GUMMY BEARS instead!
Just a rant I have been dying to share since he was first served Fruit Snacks in his Church Nursery Class. And I was reminded of this when I served my son some Haribo Gummy Frogs as a treat during his living room camp out today!