Wednesday, August 25, 2010

He's a Rockstar!

My son is a rockstar.  Seriously.  I don't just say this because I think he's smart and funny and super cute (all of which of course he is).  Our bright little 6 year old has always been a charmer, but lately we're seeing a side of him that's pretty...well...rockin.  On two different occasions, while visiting our friends who have a band of instruments set up in their basement, Elliot took to the microphone like he was born to perform.  He directed the musicians, and laid down some lyrics off the top of his head that were incredible. 

It started with his first time in front of the microphone and the "Candy" song that ensued.  Take a look.

Then there was a second visit that resulted in this little performance. I think the thing that blows me away the most is his ability to come up with rhyming lyrics as he goes!

Finally, here's his most recent performance in front of quite a crowd of adults and kids. It's a little grainy but you'll get the picture.

So the question is, how do you encourage your child's natural "rockstar" talent appropriately?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

This Crazy Family Travels

I have always loved to travel. There's nothing more exciting than hitting the road (or air) and landing somewhere new! Adventure has always been a pleasure of mine. In fact, when I imagined myself with a family I envisions trips around the world, weeks of backpacking in the greater outdoors, and exploring new lands and cultures. Fast forward many years, and 3 kids later, and I find it hard to make it to the local park let alone camping or overseas treks.

This summer, with our house on the market (and my inability to maintain the order necessary for showings), we thought it would be a great time to travel with the kids to our home town in Michigan for a little R & R with the family.

It started with a two-leg plan trip from Pdx to Detroit through Denver. After lugging 3 suitcases, 2 carry-on kids cases, 2 laptop bags, one diaper bag, 3 car seats and a jogging stroller from the economy parking lot via shuttle to the terminal I was already exhausted!

Once I plane I could finally start to relax. Normally a family who heavily limits screen time, Elliot was most excited to have unlimited access to movies and his Leapster on the plane!
Michigan was HOT...seriously hot...and humid. But we didn't let that stop us.

One day my mom and I took all of the oldest kiddos to the movies! Of course I spent most of the time escorting people to the bathroom and delivering popcorn, but at least we were in the air conditioning!

At Greenfield Village Elliot got to make candles, and be a printing apprentice.

And Owen was thrilled for the train ride and real Round House.

Clearly I was having fun. I was so hot and this frozen cherry-dipped custard cone was the bomb. Or at least most of it was, apparently my eyes were a bit bigger than my stomach.

The best part was seeing the kids have such a great time with their cousins.

We were sad to say goodbye and head home after a fun filled trip.

The flight home was horrendous. More begging to get seats together on the plane, and a middle of the night lay over with the kids made me wish I had a prescription for Xanax. But by far the worst part was having all three kids crying hysterically for the last 30 minutes of our descent into Portland. When everyone else on the plane was deboarding, our most dramatic 6 year kept crying out "I need a wheel chair, I need a wheel chair". The flight crew was more than a little irritated as we finally managed to usher all of the kids off the plan and into the gate area. We were the last ones of off! Ugh.

Waking up this morning was brutal. Why it's so much harder to travel back from, rather than to the Eastern time zone, I will never understand. After picking up bagels for breakfast, Dennis took Elliot to pick up the dog from our friends house. Our friend had reported that the dog had some accidents (which he's never done to us) , but that he was otherwise having a great time. Since he was out this morning he left the door open for Dennis to get the dog. You can only imagine how pleased Dennis was to find a huge poop on the floor there when he arrived. After cleaning up, leaving $40 (and a note offering assistance) for a carpet cleaner, as well as a lovely thank you gift certificate, Dennis and the dog returned home. Within two minutes, the dog stole Dennis' sandwich of the kitchen table. WELCOME HOME!

Back to the real world! Work, keeping the house up, and lots of laundry and sleeping to catch up on!

Here are just a few reflections from our trip as a family of 5:
  1. Book your family flights directly through the airline and not with some discount online program. Otherwise getting seats together is ridiculous.
  2. Always bring your bathing suit when traveling to a warm climate in the middle of the summer (Dennis!)
  3. Get real when packing! I could have forgone many items which took up a lot of room (sweatshirts for 5...ahhh). Though I did get to show off all of my fabulous new Silpada jewels!
  4. Frozen custard is very filling
  5. There is a thing called a heat index...don't look at, it will only depress you.
  6. Nothing is better than diving into a cool pool on summer vacation!
  7. Be careful who you leave your pets with when your away (if you want to keep your friends that is).
How do you travel with kids? Does it ever get easier?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Diva Packing

The new Silpada catalog just came out and as an Independent Rep, of course I had to get my hands on some of the newest pieces! They're amazing by the way. But, I'm quickly realizing this new business of mine has created an unexpected quandary. What's a girl to do when this is just some of the jewelry she wants to bring across the country with her?

Before my life with Silpada (when I'm pretty sure I was still wearing jewelry I purchased at Grateful Dead concerts in high school), traveling with my precious jewels was pretty easy. Necklace? Check. Ring? Check. One or two pairs of earrings? Check. It all fit together nicely in one little package which is maybe 3 x 4 inches.

My first business trip after aquiring all of my amazing new jewelry lead me on a search for something a little more practical for carrying the ammount of jewelry I now felt compelled to wear on any given day or week. It was tough finding something large enough, but finally landed on what I affectionately called "big green". My husband seemed disturbed that I needed to pack that much jewelry for one week away, and I have to admit I was a little concerned myself when I dropped it into my carry-on bag and realized how heavy it was! Wow, being a Diva requires great strength!

But perhaps, what is most disturbing is that I quickly realized that "big green" just wasn't cutting it. The compartments were too large, necklaces would tangle, earrings would slip out, rings would get swallowed up only to be found after returning home. And most still wasn't fitting everything I wanted to bring.

Now perhaps this wouldn't be quite a problem if I was the kind of person that could carefully pick out a few signature pieces that would go with many outfits, or pick out specific pieces and match them with specific outfits. But I'm more of a throw it all in the suitcase and see what happens. I never know what I want to wear before the morning I put it on!

So, you can imagine how thrilled I was when I found this baby at the Silpada Conference.

First of all it's about the size of a sheet of paper (8x10) and it has tons of compartments in various sizes, folders and pouches, several pages you can flip through, and even a special lining to help keep all of that sterling silver sparkling! When I came home from conference it looked like this:

So, today when I started looking at that whole new tray of beautiful jewelry a scary thought came into my head. Oh my gosh...I don't think all of the pieces I want to bring will fit.

When I mentioned this to my husband, his only reply was "that's going in your carry-on right? Not mine?" WIMP!

I guess the time has come to really pack like a lady. Now that I have the "big girl" jewelry I suppose packing like I'm not in college anymore is also appropriate. Sadly this is only the first part of packing. I still have the clothes to think about, and not just for myself but for the three kids too (assuming Dennis can do his own packing). Here's what I have to look forward to:

How do you Diva's keep it simple when traveling and minimize the baggage?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Exercise. How do we fit it in?

I've been really trying to get back on the right path towards exercise and healthful living. It's tough being a busy mom with so many commitments. For a while I was walking, then I stopped. I started running, then I stopped. I thought about heading to the pool a few days a week, but haven't made it once. The only real progress I've made towards a regular exercise program, is my pilates class which I attend once a week. I'm not sure how much I can claim this as a success since it's generally followed by wine and food with my girlfriend afterward. :)

I've always envied my husbands opportunity to ride his bike to work. Building exercise into your commute just seems to make so much sense! Unfortunately I work out of a home office in my basement. Even taking the kids to school feels like a feat with a minivan!

E is old enough now ride his own bike for a pretty good distance and D spent last year riding with him to school many days and teaching him about road bike safety. So I asked myself, "how can I get around town for errands or dropping of the kids with a 4 and 2 year old?" I considered it all, trailers, front and back child seats, extended bikes. Then I found this...

This is the Mundo Cargo Utility Bike. I call it our "family bike". This bike is amazing! Seriously I can fit all three of my children on this bike! Not that I really want to pedal all three of my kids around...but I can! This bike has made building exercise into my regular schedule so much easier. I've been able to drop the kids off at camps, go for family bike rides, and run errands during the day. I even rode to a wedding by bike! And the best part, is that not only does it give me one more opportunity to get exercise in, but it's so much fun!