Sunday, April 29, 2012


Even though I started my two week vacation with a short trip to California, I spent my time off mostly in Omaha visiting family.  It's always tricky when you visit family.  On one side you feel fortunate to have one so you can visit and break the monotony in your own life, but on the other side being with family somehow gets you wrapped up in their issues and then you feel like their problems are your problems and you end up tangled in them.  By the time you are done visiting you wish you had another vacation from the vacation you just had.
I usually visit a lot more people when I am in Omaha, but I only had time for a couple of visits this time.  I went out with my dear friends Inge and Ann who I used to work with in the college library when I lived in Omaha.  Ann is the head librarian at the Fort Omaha Metro campus.  She used to be my boss.  Inge is from Germany and it was probably the European in both of us that made us bond.  She is now retired, but still meets with Ann even when I don't happen to be visiting.  I must say that in my working life as an adult I've been lucky to have really nice bosses and co-workers, the type that become lifelong friends.

Most of my time was consumed with kids.  I stayed with my brother who has two of his own, Marko who is 9, and Sofia who is 4.  One day we went to the Durham Western Heritage Museum.  This is a good place to take kids to get some culture, but to also play.  The lower level of the museum has trains.  From model trains, to big train cars and a locomotive.  The train cars are historically preserved, they are passenger cars that you could go in and sit and pretend that you are on a train adventure taking you to a new strange land.  If the kids weren't so wild and ran around like little puppies, I'd enjoy sitting in one of those train cars reading a book.  But I had to chase them and constantly remind them to not run, to slow down.

They only briefly allowed me to swing by the current exhibit that had movie costumes, and the only reason they even got tricked in doing this is because I told them that Captain Jack Sparrow's costume, the one Johnny Depp wore in the Pirates of the Caribbean, was there.  I didn't lie it really was there.  Photography was not allowed, I don't have any pictures from it, but here is a link.

I took them to the Joclyn Art Museum as well.  They had a free family day, and I should have known that 'free' means 'chaos'.  So many people it was crazy.  With 4 kids, even though there were 4 adults (my mom, my brother and his wife and myself), trying to keep track of excited children was not an easy task.  Here are my kids that got Egyptian eye make-up during the visit.

The weather in Omaha as changes about 10 times in the course of a day.  So the few lucky moments we had where it was not cold and rainy and windy, we played outside.  They chased butterflies, ran like crazy and played on the swingset at my dad's house.

The last 5 days of my vacation were consumed by flying to Seattle for work, then flying back to Omaha to get my kids.  And finally I am home, cleaning, vaccuming, doing laundry.  Later tonight I am going to pick up my husband from the airport who spent the last few days in New York City on a photo adventure.  This man owes me big time for the time off he had alone, to feed his soul with creative energy, and 'accidentally' left a sink full of dishes for me to come home to.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Body of work

Do you ever find yourself in need of an interesting conversation, but there is really no one around available to talk?  I was feeling like that.  Sometime I pick up odd books I find in the 'left on board and unclaimed' shelf at my work.  A few weeks ago I picked up a book called 'Body of Work' by Christine Montross.  It's a book the writer wrote about her experiences and thoughts as she was going through medical school, more specifically about her thoughts on the relationship with the living and the dead as she studied the human body with the 'help' of her cadaver.
At first it made me feel sick inside, reading about her nervousness leading up to meeting her cadaver.  I am only on Chapter 4 out of 12.
Here a sneak peak for you:

"The history of human dissection is a long and tortured one.  I cannot help but wonder what it must have been like for the first scientists and artists who dared to think of looking beneath a body's skin.  How did they go about their first forays into the dead?  I want to know what it was like for these audacious explorers, who were propelled by the same promise of wonder I feel yet who ventured into territory not only forbidden but largely unknown.  I want to understand in a deeper way the intensity of the taboo of dissection and the visceral aversion we feel even today to the violation of the human form."  (Chapter 4)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Art after midnight

Yesterday Maggie took a long nap in the afternoon, 4 hours my husband tells me.  When I came from work at 1030pm she was still awake and ready to play with me.  I was tired, the only game I could play was to sit and watch her draw.  We drew till 1230am.  It was all about Hello Kitty and here are some of the more interesting ones she made.

No mom I'm Patrick

My son, my sweet little man has a speech delay and they (the doctors and educators) think that he may be somewhere on the autism spectrum disorders.  When I first heard of this almost 3 years ago it really affected me.  I cried, felt confused and helpless.  I wasn't sure what to think, what to do, or what to expect.  Over time I got used to not expect anything, but to just go along, give him all the help and love he needs and he will be fine.
And he is fine.  A handsome little guy he is.  Very polite, he'd shake your hand, introducing himself and saying 'nice to meet you'.  And he is very helpful, the first one to jump and help me pick up the mess they've made.  Cleans up after himself when you ask him.  Gives hugs and kisses, especially if you appear to be hurt.  And his speech has come a long way, even though sometime he takes and answers things literally.  I said to him that he is my favorite guy, and he said: no mom, I'm Patrick.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Otter pops

This frozen flavored water leaves such a mess when little people try to eat them.  Sticky drips everywhere, and I don't feel like mopping every day.

And they love otter pops, they'd eat them for breakfast if they could.  Maybe I'll make my own, adding fruit and yogurt, then they could eat them for breakfast.

I try to be a good mom and have them eat at the table, but otter pops are not quite a table food.  So I let them eat in their playroom to contain the mess to one place.  Except when I go to work, the party begins.  I know the two of them and their dad eat them in front of the TV playing a game on the Wii.  They forget to put the plastic wrappers in the trash and leave them wherever they happen to suck that last drop of the otter pop.  They haven't learned to cover their tracks yet.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Easter celebrations around the world

Just about now people who celebrate Easter are attending chruch, kids are hunting for eggs, eating candy they received in their Easter baskets, families are getting together to have a feast of home cooked meals.  But not in my house.  After a wild evening last night from eating too many candies already, I packed their plastic eggs with dried cranberries, dried pineapple, cheerios, animal crackers and gold fish.  Among these healthy packed eggs were pigs from Angry Birds, instead of cute bunnies or chicks.
It didn't take long for the couch to become a fort for the pigs and the angry bird fight began.
Happy Easter however you may celebrate it!

Saturday, April 07, 2012

I am 33 today

Am I supposed to feel different, older, wiser?  After all it's sort of a magical number 33.  Well I don't feel any different, in fact I don't feel any different than a decade ago, except I have a title, Mom.
To some people I don't even look like a mom.  Like the lady at Lake Pleasant about a year ago who asked me where my parents were?  I was there with my kids, and my daughter was crying.  After comforting her she continued to cry, and I think the lady didn't think I was a fit mother, so I must be their sister, hence she wanted to know where our parents were.
Or the old man in the grocery store commenting that I am too young to have kids.  I thanked him for the kind compliment, but I really am not too young to have kids.  I am just the right age of 33.
And it's a great number age to be.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

My daughter the photographer

My daughter asked me to look at the camera so she can take a picture of me.  My young photographer, she got that gene from her dad.  Pretty good for a 3 year old, eh?  

Monday, April 02, 2012

Altered photos

I really should be more tech savvy, but I am not.  If it wasn't for my husband I probably wouldn't even have a smart phone (shhhh if it wasn't for me he'd be eating frozen TV dinners every day).  This is not to say I can't learn, sure I can if I only put my mind to it.  I asked my husband some time ago to teach me Photoshop, but I think because my skills in this program are below basic, he is annoyed.  What's second nature to him, it doesn't come naturally to me at all.
But there is this cool app on my phone where I can mess with photos, sort of like a photoshop, but a very dumbed down version of altering and manipulating photos.  I've enjoyed messing with it lately.

Holy Mary!

It's almost Easter and the Dollar Tree by my house had stickers of the Virgin Mary.  For me images of Mary symbolize motherhood, pure and unconditional love.  So when I saw these stickers at the Dollar Tree I had to have them.  By now you know that I like using paper, fabric and thread all at the same time, so it should come as no surprise that I had to sew these stickers and I made earings out of them.
Here is what you need if you'd like to make a few pairs for yourself:
  • Stickers
  • Peel & Stick clear laminate (the roll you line your kitchen cabinets and drawers, just get a clear one)
  • Brown roll paper (or a paper bag, this can be lunch paper bag or get your groceries bagged in a paper bag next time you go to the store)
  • Earring hooks
  • Scissors and a needle or seam ripper
  • Thread (preferably decorative but any color would do)
  • Sewing machine

First peel and stick the stickers on the brown paper.  Then laminate it both the front and back with the Peel & Stick clear laminate.

Cut the stickers as close to the edge as you can.

The funnest step for me is stitching a border around the edge.  I used a simple straight stitch, this works for me.  But you could use zigzag or anything else you wish.  The simpler the stitch the better, more complicated ones could ruin the paper by perforating it.

After I was done stitching I applied a little bit of fray check where the beginning and the end stitch met.  You could probably tie the htreads too if you don't have fray check.

The I used a seam ripper to poke holes close to the top/middle of the sticker and attached the earring hooks.

The earrings are very light weight and I added the little hook stoppers to make sure the earrings don't fall off when you wear them.


These two are so lucky to have each other
and I am so lucky to be their mother.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Being a mom

"Childhood is over in an eye blink, you don't want to miss the chance to love fully and to feel whole and to be fully loved, sensations no job can ever give you."
Surrender to Motherhood - by Iris Krasnow

I remind myself of this on days when I have too much to do and not enough time.  On those days nothing gets done except loving these two little people.  And it's ok.