Monthly Archives: December 2011

The Sunflower Sword

The Sunflower Sword

This is a really cute kids’ book that tells a good story about the surprising results of kindness over violence. We borrowed it from the library, but i think it’s one I might like to add to our personal collection.

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My Favorite Story, unedited.

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The new Facebook Timeline seems to be provoking a lot of conversation. Not necessarily about Facebook, but about personal history. People are suddenly concerned about their entire digital lives being laid out in front of them and in front of other people they are connected to. People are concerned about going back and editing their digital pasts to make sure it shows only what they want to show, maybe deleting evidence of past feelings and opinions that have since changed.

About nine years ago, I had a friendship end that was a big part of my life before that. I am better off without the friendship as after it ended I was able to look back and see that it was a volatile and lopsided relationship where I did a lot of giving and the other person did a lot of taking.
Anyway, after the friendship ended, I went through and got rid of all evidence of the relationship…pictures, mementos. I actually regret that now. Whatever the relationship was, it was a big part of my life at one point and as all parts of my life, helped make me the person I am today.

Then just this week, I was going through emails from two years ago, looking for some piece of information, an address I think. It so happens that at that time, my husband and I were going through a rough patch. It happens. We’ve been together for 17 years. We were fighting. It was just a time when the stresses of his long commute and my long days alone with the kids overwhelmed us both. I found myself confronted with some angry emails we sent each other, full of all the bad emotions we were feeling at the time. Things that were said out of anger and frustration. They were ugly. My first instinct was to delete them, make sure I never saw them again…just erase the whole thing. But I didn’t. They are part of a 17-year relationship. They are part of the “for better or worse.” They are part of lessons learned. They are part of our story.

I am not a believer in erasing evidence of the past. I believe in embracing my past. Looking back on it, learning from it, and growing. It’s all a part of me. Why would I want to erase any part of me…?

For something like a Facebook Timeline, I love that part of my history is so easily recorded. The thought of going back and editing that history hadn’t even occurred to me. I will look back at it and I will chastise myself, laugh at myself, and maybe even compliment myself on different parts of my past. A Facebook Timeline is just one facet of it, but it’s all part of the story…the good and the bad. It’s still being written…recorded in pictures, interactions in a social network, on this blog…and all the old pages are driving the writing of the new ones. It’s not a story I want to be selectively ripping pages from. I prefer to occasionally reflect on it, be entertained by it, enjoy the good parts, learn from the not so good parts, and use all of it to make the next chapters even better.


Musings, Not Resolutions

I’ve never been a fan of New Years resolutions. They have always seemed silly. People talk about them for a couple weeks and then forget about them. However, during the last few weeks of this year, I happen to find myself thinking about some things I would like to work on in the new year.

1. I will relax. I will stress less and enjoy things more. I will stop letting life pass me by because I’m stressing too much about all of the things I’m not getting done instead of just enjoying the things that are happening around me. I’m so busy stressing about everything, I miss out on enjoying great experiences.

2. I will spend more time with family and friends. I have been really bad about this in the past year or two and I regret that. It’s part of #1. I always have a million reasons why I can’t make time for family and friends because I need “to get things done.” I need to remind myself that people and experiences are more important to my overall well-being and quality of life than checking things off my to do list.

3. I will make more time for myself. Between work and commuting, my husband is out of the house a lot. So when he is home, I feel that it is important that we spend time together as a family. He works hard, but some of that time out of the house is lunch during the work day with friends, business dinners out, after-work networking events he chooses to attend, and stuff like playing basketball with his coworkers. I need to realize that it is okay and important to take some time to myself on the weekend after spending all week taking care of the kids. I recently read an article about stay-home moms having  a higher rate of depression than working moms because they end up feeling lonely and isolated. I can see that. But I also believe it can be easily changed by recognizing it and making choices to prevent it. Family time is important, but so is me time. I am better for my family if I am happy and sane.

These are the things I am thinking about as the end of the year approaches, but I don’t want to call them resolutions because I feel like resolutions are too easily broken, so let’s just call them New Year self-musings…


Fancy Chili

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This is the chili recipe I use from Real Simple. It uses fancier ingredients than most chili recipes, like semisweet chocolate and red wine vinegar, but that makes it so much more flavorful. I usually use turkey instead of beef, sometimes half ground turkey and half turkey sausage. I also use beer in place of the water for even more flavor. I’ve never put avocado on top either. I like mine with some plain greek yogurt on top. 

It sounds fancy, but the prep is actually very easy. Enjoy!


‘Tis the Season for Lying?

It’s happening.  My 7-year-old comes home from school this week and asks, “Mom, is Santa real?” Apparently, the kids at school are starting to talk. Some kids are telling all the other kids that Santa is not real and that it’s really just your parents.

I’m torn. I don’t want her to lose the sense of magic that comes along with believing in Santa. We get so little time to be kids and believe in magic and in the impossible before we have to face reality, I want that to last as long as possible for my kids. But I don’t want to straight up lie to her at this point either. She’s too old for that too. Especially since one of the big things I stress with my kids is that lying is a big NO…that whatever you do, lying about it is going to make it ten times worse. It’s important to me that my kids know that whatever happens, the most important thing is to be honest about it so we can talk about it and work through it.

So…how can I possibly lie to her?

I mean, I also try to teach them common sense. It’s okay to not tell the whole truth if you are planning a nice surprise for someone. That’s a good thing that the person will know about soon and will make them happy. It’s okay to tell your 3-year-old sister that the doctor checked her out too while she was asleep in the stroller during your appointment so she stops crying that she needs a checkup too (my 3-year-old LOVES going to the doctor for some reason). No harm done, happy little sister. And even in these situations, I kind of feel bad okaying lying since I’m so seriously against it the majority of the time. But, life isn’t all black and white, and you also need to teach your kids how to handle the grey areas, right? So…does Santa fall into this area of exception? A harmless little lie to make our kids happy…

So far since her direct questions started this week, I haven’t outright lied to her. I have been answering all of her questions with my own questions for her. I figure until I make a decision, I can just get her to form her own opinions.

Conversations have gone like this…

“Is Santa real?” “Well, what do you think?”

“Kids at school say he isn’t real.” “Well, why do they think that?”

“They say it’s just your parents pretending to be Santa.” “Well, how do they think their parents get all those presents?”

This has been my solution while I make a decision. Don’t outright lie….let her think what she wants. Let her figure it out or not. Let her decide what she believes. I mean, that in itself is another life lesson, right? Make up your own mind, decide for yourself what you believe in.

I’m definitely not going to lie to her at this point. I am definitely not going to look her in the eyes and say “Yes, Santa is real.” I value trust between us too much for that. And, honestly, I don’t want her at school adamantly standing up for the reality of a Santa that isn’t…based on lies we told her. But I also can’t imagine looking her in the eye and just outright crushing the magic of Santa for her. Not yet. And, yes, maybe part of me isn’t looking forward to admitting to her that we lied in the first place.

So I’m going to keep on guiding her to make up her own mind…telling myself that I’m not lying and am using the situation to teach her another valuable life skill in helping her figure it out on her own. The fact that she needs to figure it out based on lies I already told her…let’s just call that a grey area. A grey area all dressed up in a red suit and a white beard. Ho ho ho.