Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I just finished sitting on top of the bunk bed with my 4 year old, Charlie.

There's nothing unusual about that. I know.

But if I told you it was almost 8 p.m. and that Charlie was munching away on cheese and crackers with a side of super sweet, plump strawberries, would you start to raise some questions?

Let me just come clean.

I took 4 kids to get haircuts after art, which was after school, which meant that by the time the haircuts were finished, the kids were begging for food.

Oh, by the way, no I didn't adopt a kid over night. Although, I would not protest that a bit. We took a friend of Luke's to get a haircut too. He's like family.

Can I say how awesome it is to have friends like that? Really, she'd do the same for me.


Anyway, back to the story already.

Being the nutrition conscious mom that I am (usually), we stopped at In-N-Out. Ok, fast food is a major source of guilt for me. I'll fess up on that one. To further reinforce that the kids were whining about how famished they were, I caved and also ordered milkshakes. For some reason, I thought listening to them whine justified a chocolate one for me. Here I go, fessing up again.

So cheeseburgers, milkshakes, and 2 hours later, Charlie, my non-cheeseburger eating kid was climbing up his bunk bed ladder when I heard him say to my husband in his sweet little voice...

"I'm hungry."

I was putting Jack to bed in the next room over and gasped when I heard him say this!

I forgot to feed Charlie dinner. No joke.

In the midst of dropping off our family friend, getting home, starting showers, and wrapping up homework, I forgot to feed my child. He's the middle child. I swear, the middles are always lost in the shuffle.

I can imagine the therapy bills now. Maybe I can pay him back in In-N-Out milkshakes instead.

So, I dashed in there and tried to explain to my husband who just got home from a late night at work about the whole situation. He's chill so I knew he'd think it was funny, but I was a bit concerned with preserving my "good" mom image. Then I realized that trying to play it cool as you say, "Sorry Dear, I simply forgot to feed our son" just makes you sound like a mama loser no matter how you put it.

That's okay. It wasn't my 1st loser mama moment and I know it won't be my last.

That's just how we roll in this house. It's all good.

Monday, March 28, 2011

my turtle, charlie

My Charlie.

There are so many words to described this kid.





S...L...O...W... as a turtle.

Everything in his four year old world revolves on Charlie time.

When he plays, he is fully engrossed in the moment. He is never thinking ahead of what's next on the agenda.

When he tells his (long) version of the story, I tend to have the desire to drive him to the bottom line, but he has so many rich details to reveal, that I've learned better.

But, I'm feeling so torn lately. I feel like he is constantly hearing from me, "Charlie! We need to hurry."

In the morning when we are shoving down breakfast and getting dressed, Charlie just wants to cuddle on the couch with his Skipit and take it slow.

Charlie is on Charlie time. I swear he is hiding a secret cruise control button on his body somewhere.

Meanwhile, I hear the clock ticking away.

Tonight, once again this came to the forefront. Charlie was enjoying his shower playtime. He had all his dinosaurs and other toys in there with him. He could play in there for hours. However, we had 3 kids to get ready for bed, homework to be finished, and truth be told, I was beat and needed the kids in bed before Survivior started.

As he slowly started to wind down his shower time by using Charlie time, I said, "come on Charlie, you are always as slow as a turtle!"

I know it wasn't anything too awful to say to him, but the kid does not need to hear "always" statements in his life already. It further nailed me to what I'm struggling with.

How do I let Charlie be Charlie, Charlie time and all, without going nuts?

How do I let the kid enjoy his moments when we really do have other places to go and things to do.

I reassure you that it is not always like this, but I just want to find a way to let him be without having negative consequences such as being tardy to school.

So as I was contemplating all the ways I can help Charlie learn to speed it up around here, it dawned on me that perhaps I am the one who has a lesson to learn.

Perhaps I could use my own cruise control button. Perhaps I can slow down, take it all in, and enjoy.

Just like my turtle, Charlie.

Much love,

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

easter tree bling

I found these plain Jane's at the Dollar Tree. Best part? I spent a total of $7.

But they looked sad and desperate for lil' something-something. As I was cruising through the dollar bins at Target I found the adorable spring ribbon.

I felt the inner wanna be Martha emerging.

My initial plan was to just wrap the pot with ribbon. Just put a dot when you start, wrap around, and add another dot.

But when I realized that I had quite a bit of ribbon left over, my wanna be Martha said, "You must not let this cute ribbon go to waste." So like the good girl that I am, I listened to my inner, wanna be Martha. You don't mess with Martha.

I measured, cut, glued and hung.

I kinda freaked when the boys were hanging them on branches without any care to spreading out the colors and separating the eggs with ribbon from the ones without ribbon in order to keep the trees looking balanced. But I let it go because they were enjoying the moment. If there is one lesson of motherhood that I've learned...Happy kids=Happy mama!

When they lost interest and moved on to bigger and better things such a Legos, I quickly rearranged the eggs to my liking. Is that crazy or are there other mamas who get doing that??? I hope I'm not alone. I did it with our Christmas tree too. Awful, I know.

Happy Spring, Friends.

Much love,

P.S. Rumor has it that there's a little give away from a place that starts with Star and ends in buck's on my other blog. To enter, you must click HERE, become a follower, and leave an encouraging note for the latest featured blogger, Janna.

P.S.S. I'm linking up to Heather's Life Made Lovely Monday here. Stop on by!

Monday, March 21, 2011

why i appreciate vomit

As I was laughing and sharing stories with two close girlfriends last night, I heard a text message ring inside my purse. My 1st instinct was to ignore it, but then the mommy guilt set in. What if one of the boys was in the ER? What if the house burned down?

Why do I always go to worst case scenario?

I reached down and hesitantly grabbed it out my purse, secretly hoping that it was a sweet message from my husband along the lines of, "hey babe, have fun tonight. You deserve it."

However, my mommy instincts knew better. It was about our 3 year old Jack. He was stricken with the stomach flu. Although part of me wanted to pretend that I didn't see the message and draw out our girl time as long as possible, the mama bear in me knew I needed to get home to my sick babe.

And as I walked upstairs to check on him, he and Kevin were defeatedly walking out of the bathroom, puke bucket in hand. I'm not sure who looked worse, Jack or Kevin. Cleaning up vomit is never easy. I felt sorry for both of them.

Kevin gladly passed the puke duty batton on to me and headed to bed. I grabbed a magazine, some pillows, and my laptop. Like any parent of a kid too young to know how to use the bucket or get to the bathroom on time, I vigetlanty waited for the next episode until my eyelids grew too heavy to read any longer.

Even though I have not slept on the floor since an elementary school slumber party and woke up cold more than once, I didn't leave his side. One, I didn't want to risk him throwing up without someone to help him. Two, for my own peace of mind. I couldn't sleep away from my sick cub. It was definelty a trade of physical comfort for emotional comfort. Emotional comfort triumphed.

When the sunlight crept through the wood blinds, a well Jack woke up and was ready for a new day to begin. The girl who is usually addicted to the clock and event planning on weekends, warmly welcomed a slow Ugg wearing, magazine reading, and kids making paper airplanes morning.

Little did I know that the paper airplanes would start in the family room...

to upstairs...

to outside...

Luke created a game for us using the planes...

You have to super duper love a guy that makes a "girl" plane for his mom. Everyone else got Angry Birds planes. Am I the only one on this planet who doesn't get what the heck that game is?

Just as they were burning out on paper planes a couple of hours later, our neighbors stopped by with a handful of water balloons.

As I listened to squeals of delight and watched little rain boot wearing feet jump with joy, I thought, this is what spring is all about.

It is finally here. Can you feel it?

I caught glimpses of it all around us this morning...

And the blissfulness of it made me immensely appreciative: the beauty, the games, the giggles, the togetherness, and the slow down of time.

Although I have very little appreciation for vomit, I am appreciative of the reminder to take it slow and soak in the glory of the mundane.

It is days like today that I want to remember when my boys are no longer my littles. For I know the day will come, despite my will against it. I want to look back and vividly remember the days when they fit in mini chairs and wore rubber rain boots while enjoying a perfect spring day just like today.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

In case you missed my blog post last week, I would like to introduce you to my new blog....

God Moments for Moms

Please take a minute and visit. I'd be so happy to have you follow along as different mommy writers share their stories on how God is using their children to teach them lessons about faith.

If you enjoy the blog, please become a follower and spread the word. I'd also love for you to write a post if God puts something on your heart to share.

Much love,

Saturday, March 19, 2011

venturing outside of the box

Confession #1: I've never made homemade muffins before.

Confession #2: I've always been a box kind of a girl.

When I made simple boxed muffins last week, I thought to myself, "Lady, you can do better than this!"

So I did.

And so should you. Go for it. They are way easy and beyond better in taste. Your family will thank you.

Here you go:

Batter Ingredients:
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
3/4 c. white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 c. milk
1 c. fresh blueberries

Crumb Ingredients:
1/2 c. white sugar
1/3 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. butter, cubed
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
2. Combine 1 1/2 c. flour, 3/4 c. sugar, salt, and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into 1 c. measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with the flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle
with crumb topping mixture.

3. To make crumb topping: Mix together 1/2 c. sugar, 1/3 c. flour, 1/4 cup (soft) cubed butter , and 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Mix with fork and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven or until done.

Enjoy! And trust me, you'll never go back to the box again!

Much love,

P.S. I'll be posting over at Heather's Life Made Lovely Monday over here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

join the new blog...pllleeeaaassseee!

Hi Mamas!

I've started a new blog called, God Moments for Moms (just click on the title). My hope for this blog is that it will build a community of readers and writers who love God, their children, and all that comes with this thing called LIFE. Please check out the new blog. It is still a work in progress, but you will hopefully get a feel for what it is all about.

And if you dig the concept, please become a follower.

You can also click like here: Facebook page

And if you super duper dig the concept, submit a story.

And if you super super duper dig the concept, please pass this new blog onto to your blog readers, Facebook friends, email. etc.

I can't wait to hear from you and how God is working through your littles to help you grow.

Lots of love,

P.S. If you would rather just continue to follow Minivan Diva, that's just fine. No worries, Friends!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

a change of mind

I always held firm to my belief that kids should not begin competitive sports until they are in elementary school. I just believe that our kids are growing up too fast and with too much pressure these days and I want my kids to enjoy the few years of just being kids before they add that additional element to their lives.

It was easy to keep up with that perspective with our 1st born. He has no interest in team sports. He prefers individual sports and is committed to karate. It works well in that he's with others in class, but the pacing and achievement are self paced.

I still ask him when I see sign-up advertisements for team sports if he wants to give it a go, but he always says "no thanks." I get it. It's not his gig.

And that's just fine with me. I have never wanted to be the type of parent to push my kids into doing things that I did or wish I did as kid. Kev and I just want each kid to find his "thing" whatever it is.

However, my view on team sports has been challenged this year by this kid:

From the time he could walk, he's been kicking balls, swinging golf clubs (resulting in his brother's stapled head), and pitching balls.

So we relented and signed him up because he want to play. It makes him happy. And truth be told, I learned a major lesson about forming opinions based on assumptions. Both his soccer league and T-ball league emphasize team work and FUN. There are no crazy parents fighting with coaches or coaches berating players for bad plays. These kids have smiles on their faces and enthusiasm to boot.

Despite the fact that he's only 4 and the tiniest kid on the team, he L-O-V-E-S it. He has erased all my concerns. It has given him a new confidence.

As a mom, I can't ask for more than that.

P.S. Thanks, Uncle Russ (professional photograher) for photos. You truly capture the moment.

left out

I wrote this post awhile back, but saved it for this month since it is Autism Awareness month. I will continue to post about autism throughout the month. I'll be sharing about my son's journey with Asperger's and have some really awesome friends who will be guest posting to share their experiences. Thank you for reading.

A close friend of mine tearfully called me a few nights ago. This is one tough lady, which made clear that the pain she was suffering was incredibly raw and real.

We get each other. Both of our boys are on the autism spectrum. Although their behaviors are very different, the struggle, heartache, triumphs, and celebrations are very similar.

Please forgive me for being vague, but I'm going to refrain from details. The bottom line is that another mother had called to discuss some concerns and through a false "in the best interest of your son" made some pretty awful statements about my friend's son. She even went as far as suggesting my friend consider a different school placement for her son.

People don't like different.

Autism is different.

When people don't like that your child is different it hurts.


My friend said it best, "I would like for her to try to walk in my shoes." Let me tell you, those shoes can be really uncomfortable and can cause a lot of pain. Unlike most shoes, these shoes don't get to come off at the end of the day. They are on all the time. The journey is long and arduous.

As my friend and I talked, it reminded me of a time when Luke was in preschool. His Asperger's behaviors were much more distinguishable in those early days and it was quite clear that he was not part of the group. Later, I found out, neither was I when another mom told me that she and every other mom in the class attended a jewlry party thrown by one of the other moms. She thought I had been invited, but just couldn't attend. No, I was simply not invited; just like how Luke wasn't included in the after school play dates and birthday parties.

People don't like different.

That is often the case for ASD (autism spectrum disorder) kids and their parents. The kiddos desperately want to be part of the group, they just know how. And their parents are heartbroken to see their children without friends. Imagine going through an entire school year without a singe birthday party or playdate invitation. It hurts. I forgot that pain of the preschool days. This particular conversation brought it all back. However, instead of feeling angry and hurt like I did then, I thought, "what can I do to make a change?"

I hate to admit that I have lost a bit of my passion for educating and advocating on behalf of autism lately. Luke has made such tremendous progress that he is undestinguished from his 2nd grade peers. Yeah, he may have a few quirky characteristics, but nothing different from other children or adults.

This conversation made me realize that I don't want to forget. I was reminded of the need for compassion. It reminded me of the need to include rather than to exclude. More importantly, it reminded me of the example we set for our children. We are responsible for teaching them to not fear and ridicule those who are different.

It starts with us.

Much love,

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

not for hgtv

Throughout my childhood, one week out of the summer was dedicated to spending time on my grandparent's farm in Minnesota. We'd pick fresh, red radishes and run through the towering corn fields.

I daydream of those days and wish that my boys could experience life out of Southern California suburbia; even if for one short week out of the year like what I experienced.

However, my grandparents passed away several years ago and trips to the farm are a thing of the past. So last spring, I thought I'd bring the farm to the burbs.

The problem is that we have a very small yard which only has hardscape. This is a challenge for a girl who has Martha garden visions of row upon row of raised beds of plump, ripe, and colorful fruits and vegetables. However, the emphasis for the boys is to work with their hands and to eat something homegrown. I want them to relish in the process and feel satisfied when they eat what their hands helped to produce.

So I moved beyond my Martha envy and solved the problem by buying large barrels.

The boys each picked a variety of organic seeds to plant.

Long story short, this was the end result:

Nothing grew. Not a single seed produced a bit. The only accomplishment was that we kept the herbs alive... for a few short weeks.

Then they kicked the bucket.

We're trying again this year with some gained wisdom.

We've narrowed it down to one type of fruit or veggie per kid.

We started from a small grown plant instead of seed.

We drilled a hole and added rocks at the base of each barrel for better drainage.

I actually read the instructions and know which produce are grown at this time of the year. For some reason, I thought that all the extra lovin' from the boys would passionately will the seeds to grow last year even though we planted them during the wrong season.

I was wrong. Big time.

I'm praying and hoping that my farm girl roots will find planting success this time around or I'm going to have some major explaining to do to 3 hopeful farmers.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

living consciously

The last few weeks have left me with a heavy heart:

Hearing about the recent loss of a precious toddler has been profoundly sad. I uncontrollably wept as I read his story via his parent's blog.

Through another blog, I read about a dedicated young mom who suffered a massive stroke and was then found by her daughter. Her slow recovery is nothing but a miracle.

And now the tragedy in Japan.

As I watch the images on I TV, I can only think about what if that happened here.

More than anything, the events in Japan have further impacted what has already been swirling in my head for the last few weeks. I have been evaluating how I can live my live more consciously. How can I take a greater role in making decisions that will have a positive impact in my life and consequently in the lives surrounding me.

For me it means a few things:

It means putting my gadgets down more often than not.

It means stop what I'm preoccupied with at the moment to look at my children when they are speaking to me.

It means less, "wait a minute, Honey" when the little guys ask me to play with them.

It means assuming the best in people instead of the worst.

It means less time with negative self talk and more time spent using my strengths to help others.

It means starting and ending the day in prayer. I need lots of it! So do others.

It means taking a deep breath when the cereal spills all over the floor instead of reacting in frustration.

In means saying lots of "I love you's" to each person in this house during the day.

What does living consciously mean for you? Please share.

Much love,

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

lovely march randoms

Just a warning that this post is a little of this and little of that with a lot of randomness with no connection at all.

Things making me happy this month:

Picked this up while waiting in line at Nordstrom Rack...

It is a perfect match for a non lipstick wearing girl, but one who needs a little color to make her look alive.

May I also just add that I don't know why I used to shop at Nordstrom and pay full price for everything? I go to the Rack and buy all my boys' clothes and save soooo much money. I usually find a little something something for myself too. I'm learning that mama needs to look good in order to feel good. I think I was just in survival mode with having my 3 boys, barely 5 years apart total, for the last 3 years.

I'm seeing the light, my friends. And it feels good.

And well, this, I can't say enough about this. I may or may not always have enough time to wash my hair in the morning. Just keeping it real. A quick spray of this dry shampoo and the problem is solved...

So I am feeling the need of a change with my hair. It is super long and winds up in the same old same old ponytail everyday. Besides the fact that my hair is half curly/half straight and requires a long blow drying session and a flat iron, I'm just really bored with it. Our friendship is strained.

I've always been a risk taker with my hair. That's the only area in my life that I take risks. But as I get older, I feel less confident with hair risks. It has become somewhat of a security blanket. And the hubby likes it long. Don't all guys? Grrrr...the pressure to please.

So this is what it looks like...

I really want to do this...

I've been secretly drooling over her cut for months. What do you think? Will I regret it? I've always donated my hair in the past, but I have bleach in it now so I can't. Hmmm...that takes away part of my reasoning. Help me pick which side of the fence I should be on with this one please.

And if I so happen to stick with the long same old hair, I bought this...

Hey, if I can keep the long mess of hair stick straight with shine like that, then maybe I can make up with the hair and be friends again.

It can't just be all about me. I was at Target looking for this new shampoo for kids...

It is made without harmful chemicals and it smells so yummy. They were out so I bought Suave Soothers (sorry, no pic). I have to admit that I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to kid products. I like it to be as natural as possible, but two kids were whining, fighting, and causing me to wish for death (for me) so I bought it in coconut and dashed. It makes me want to pour it into a tall pina colada glass, add a colorful umbrella, and drink it up.

I won't though. I'm sure that wouldn't turn out well.

So I'm feeling old lately due to my creaky left knee when I run. However, admitting that there was a problem was my 1st step. Then I actually purchased one of these...

Yep, it is majorly ugly and shouts "look at me, I'm injured", but it does the trick so it makes me happy.

Lastly, I need your thoughts on homeschooling. Our oldest attends a wonderful public school. However, there is a super cool program where I can send him to school 3 days a week and homeschool 2 days a week. I like that we can enjoy a curriculum that allows more flexibility, field trips, and extras like foreign language and music. Plus, I could put my teaching experience to use again.

What's a girl to do? He's happy where he is and doing wonderfully. He says he wants to do the homeschool option, but I worry. As a kid with Asperger's he has made great strides. He has buddies, participates in class discussions, and is overall thriving. I guess we can always switch back, right?

Hope your March is off to a great start. I'm linking up to Heather's Life Made Lovely Monday here. Come on over and take a look at many lovely posts.

Much love,