Saturday, April 26, 2014

Precious Yes, Perfect No


   Before I get into the meat of this post I first want to have a disclaimer right up front before someone tries to bite my head off. ;)

   I love my children and grandchildren unconditionally and they are my world.  Nothing will ever change that.

   We live in a time where we are so concerned about "self esteem" in children that we have gone off the deep end and have forgotten what truly having self esteem is all about.  I have a real problem with the whole coddling children and making them think they are perfect in every way. No one is perfect, precious yes, perfect no.  My biggest complaint are parents and grandparents who feel their little blessings can never be wrong and never teach their offspring that we all have faults, we all make mistakes, we don't always win and we need to learn to be humble and admit and apologize when we are wrong or have hurt someone.

   We have raised 3 amazing sons, all of whom have very different personalities, strengths and weakness.  Each one of them presented different challenges to my husband and I.  Two of these sons are very competitive, not only with each other, but in many situations in life.  This can be a huge strength, if channeled correctly or it could have been a huge disaster if we had not taught them that they must be both a gracious winner and looser.  To me there is nothing sadder than a gloating "winner" putting down someone else or a sore "loser" claiming it was unfair and getting all upset and throwing a huge fit, especially when those people are grown adults!

   As parents, grandparents, teachers, etc. we set our kids up for failure if we do not model and teach truthfulness and humility and hold ourselves and our precious children accountable for our and their own actions.  Case in point, my oldest grandson Bradley is "strong willed", much like one of his uncles (who turned out great by the way). ;)  He can be the most endearing and entertaining little guy but can also be extremely stubborn when he wants to.  Luckily for Bradley, he has parents and grandparents who love him unconditionally and are very clear on what kind of behavior is acceptable and what is not.  Bradley is being taught that it is good to be kind, gentle and to apologize when you have hurt someone.  He is being taught that people have to share, take turns and that we don't always get what we want when we want it.  He has been given the freedom to explore the outdoors, paint, play, create and discover all kinds of new and wonderful things, while learning to be safe at the same time.  When he chooses not to behave or be safe, there are consequences.  He needs to learn these lessons now so that when he is older, he will not get himself into as much trouble (let's be honest here, we all get into trouble at some point, even as adults).  He needs to learn these limits within the safety of his family.  Children need to know what is expected of them and what their limits are in order to feel secure.  Because our grandson is very much loved by all of us, we are trying to do what is best for him and will set him up for success in life.  How many times have we seen children spiraling out of control because they have not been given limits?  That is scary for a child and for those around him/her that have to deal with the situation at hand.  As my husband says, a child needs to be trained up, not just left to their own devices.  
   Children need guidance, love, limits and the freedom to be the wonderful people that they are.  Investing our time and love into our children, even when it is hard, frustrating and we would rather just give in than continue to do what we know is right and best for the child (ever spent a week in the house with a child who has been grounded and is complaining about how unfair it is...yep then you know what I am talking about)is worth it.   Sometimes we feel like we are being punished right along with the child, and is some ways we are, but it is a sacrifice that we need to make for the good of our children.  Our children are our most precious gift and they deserve to be given the best chance at having a happy and successful life.


Friday, April 25, 2014

One Lane Footbridge vs Multilaned Freeway

   My husband and a friend were discussing the difference in the way that men and women think.  His friend came up with the analogy that men are like one lane footbridges whereas women are like multilaned freeways.  Men generally think about one thing at a time while women have multiple things running through their minds at any given moment.  A perfect example of this is how my morning started.
   After helping my husband adjust his new cpap machine mask so that he could get some good sleep I got out of bed, quickly dressed so that I would not wake him and then grabbed a cup of coffee and headed outside with the dog.  I went to check on the garden and was distracted by a hummingbird and a finch in our cherry tree.  Oh look, the apple tree needs to be pruned and is that a dead branch in the cherry tree?  I had better check on the pear tree and see how it is...what, you need your ball  Caesar?  Ok, I'll throw it one time and then I need to check the pear tree.  That reminds me, how is the kale and the thyme doing?  Looks good, the rhubarb needs a good top feeding and the strawberry bed needs to be weeded.  Better check the raspberry and blackberries while I am out here, darn, forgot to check the dog's water bucket.  Full, oh, I need to put him on his cable while I go inside.
   I sit down for a brief moment and look at the ads while I plan out what I need from the garden center and realize I have a allergy induced headache.  Better go and get some Sudafed.  On my way into the kitchen I see puffs of dog hair from the ever shedding dog and clean that up,  put away some groceries that were in bags on the dining room table and spy some fingerling potatoes.  That reminds me, I have a corned beef brisket in the freezer...I may have to make that this weekend. Go back into the kitchen and am distracted by a bag of mini bagels that my husband forgot to close up so I take care of that and remember I have a loaf of French bread dough in the freezer.  Hmmmm...that and some homemade soup would be great for dinner tonight.  Get that out and put it on a baking sheet, cover it with a clean towel and bring it out to the pellet stove so it can thaw and rise.  Sit down and take another sip of coffee and realize I still have that darned headache.  Oh....that's right, I was going to take some Sudafed.  My husband, being a man, would have taken the dog out and then grabbed the Sudafed.  See what I mean, one lane footbridge for him and multilaned freeway for me.
   I have a theory as to why we are designed this way.  Way back in the caveman days, men had to be able to concentrate on hunting to provide meat for their families.  Meanwhile, back at the cave, the women were busy keeping the fire going, tanning hides for clothing, making the occasional trip down to get water from the stream, picking berries, digging roots, preserving meat, and making sure the Junior did not wander off and get eaten by a Saber Toothed tiger, thus assuring that the next generation would live to reproduce again.  If we all were not designed this way, the human race would have started and stopped with Adam and Eve. ;)


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thankful Thursday

An attitude of gratitude goes a long way and today I am counting some of our recent blessings:

~a healthy family~
~my amazing hubby Jeff whom I love with all my heart~
~house hunting with Jaysn and Rachel~
~Easter spent with friends and family~
~watching Chris and Heather with their sons~
~Josh being in a very good place in his life~
~delighting in all the new things our grandsons are doing~
~friends that love and support one another~
~finding my new favorite wine once again ;) ~
~freshly baked cookies and bread~
~brightly colored flowers in my garden~
~the wonderful care and service we got while purchasing a cpap machine for Jeff yesterday @ Lincare~
~a short but sweet visit with my MIL yesterday~
~great finds and deals at the thrift store~
~a job I love~
~volunteer work that allows us to give back~
~kind and loving parents that are still with us~
~our hanai children~
~the awesome gift of art that our nephew Cade has~
~seeing some of our dear friends dreams come true~
~just being alive~

If you find yourself in a bad place, start counting all your will make you thankful for all you have and help you focus on what is really important in your life.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

CPAP and Savings

   Jeff is finally going in to get fitted for his CPAP machine later today and I could not be happier.  I am really hoping that it helps him to sleep better and that will help him restore his energy level.  This CPAP machine is not cheap by any means and the insurance will not cover it since we have yet to meet Jeff's deductible.  After paying off my medical bills, which were in the thousands (and I still have not reached my deductible yet either), we had to buckle down big time in order to be able to afford the CPAP machine.

Here are just a few things we have done in recent weeks to save up by cutting costs in other areas:

~watching TV shows online that we do not get with our DISH network plan
~doing my points programs like SWAGBUCKS and cashing out for and Walmart gift cards
~using the gift cards gotten above to buy things that we need or want
~using lots of coupons, combined with sales to get the best deal possible
~trying to plan our menus around what we have in the fridge, pantry and freezer
~making cookies from a mix that I got on sale and was able to also use coupons on...cheaper than homemade from scratch in this case

~used coupons from Bath and Body Works to get free products and put those away in my gift closet
~found some great deals at the thrift stores on things that we needed and wanted...many new with tags even
~saved the peels and ends of the carrots that I made for Easter and am giving those to the dog this week as treats...he loves them and they are good for him
~making bread
~stocked up at Costco on things that were the lowest price around and that we needed
~bought the combo dvd/bluray/digital of Frozen and gave the dvd to Bradley and Isaiah for Easter and kept the bluray copy here (Bradley was thrilled!)
~bought some old kids VHS tapes for the grandsons for .50 each that they can watch here also (Elmo, Bob the Builder, Sesame Street, etc.)
~planted the ends of green onions and celery after using the tops and they are growing great and producing more food for us
~getting some rebates on things that we have purchased
~bought a phone card (tracfone) when it was on sale 
~making lots of iced tea concentrate with some of the many varieties on tea I have on hand
~used a gift card to fill my car up with gas
~hung some laundry out on the line
~Jeff is doing more remodeling in our bathroom and has done it at minimal cost (he is almost finished)
~borrowing books and movies from the libray
~limiting our trips into the towns where we shop and trying to combine errands whenever possible
~cut some flowers from our yard to use inside the house

   There are many more things that we are doing but those are all I can think of for the moment. :)


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Just a few Inherited Treasures

   Family is very important to me.  I am the keeper of the family genealogy and I  treasure things that link our family all together.  I have been blessed to inherit some wonderful items and in some cases, I am adding to the collections and hope to continue passing them down to future generations.  Here are just a few that I hold dear.

  The following children's prayers needlework were all done by my Tutu (great grandmother) and hung on the wall in my childhood home.  I loved them and as a child long ago asked my mother if I could have them one day.  I will never forget the day a package arrived with these in it...I cried because it ment so much to me to have them.  They now hang in my dining room where I can see and enjoy them every day.  Please excuse the glare on the glass fronts.

   My Tutu also had a spoon collection that she started as a child.  Some of the spoons have her initials and dates engraved on the backs of them dating back to the late 1800's and early 1900's.  I have added spoons to this collection over the years also.  The old spoon rack with the copper bottom was also her's.  My grandson Bradley is fascinated with the spoons and looks at them every time he comes over.  I think he will most likely be the next in line to inherit them. ;)

   The painting below is one that my Grandma Jean had in her home.  I remember it hanging up on the wall and loving it.  She was drawn to all things Oriental because of their beauty and simplicity.  One of her most treasured trips in her lifetime was going to Japan and exploring the gorgeous and peaceful gardens there.  When I look up at this picture, I am reminded of her and my Grandpa Mark.  I miss them both so very much.  Again, please excuse the glare on the glass.

   All of these treasures hold special meaning to me and bring me great joy and comfort.  They bring back memories of time spent with my Tutu and my Grandma Jean and Grandpa Mark.
I think I appreciate them all the more now that I too am a grandmother and my own mother has now taken the title of Tutu to my children and grandchildren.  I imagine that my Tutu and Grandma would be very happy to know that their legacy ( grandchildren, great grandchildren and even great great grandchildren ) are still enjoying these wonderful treasures.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Walking the Dog

Bradley made Caesar a very happy dog when he decided that we were all going to go for a walk. :)  Is it any wonder that Bradley is Caesar's very favorite little boy in the whole world?  Buddies forever!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Dinner Anyone?

   My husband grew up in a household with a mother who worked full time, and was involved in her church and community and hosted large groups of people in their home.  She also tried to be there for all the important things in her children's lives and be there for her friends as well.  To say that she was busy is an understatement.  To help her balance it all out, she would cook on the weekends and had a limited set rotating menu of favorites of her family.  My hubby was very content  and some of those things are still favorites that I now enjoy also and we even requested one of those dishes as a Christmas present this year. :)

  My growing up years, food wise at least, were very different from my hubby's.  I grew up in Hawaii, with a very diverse and delicious food culture.  My mother made a great variety of dishes influenced by her growing up years and the culture around us.  Our school lunches were even a representation of the multicultural students.  To top that off, my father managed a resort, so we we frequently ate there and were treated to fine dining and foods from around the world.

  When my husband and I got first got together, I fixed a big Chinese food meal for him and some friends.  He loved it!  I went on to make him teriyaki, chicken in white wine sauce, a pork chop casserole that melts in your mouth and many other things that he had never tried.  He liked it all and I was determined that I was going to further broaden his culinary horizons. ;)  I made it my mission to provide him with meals (on a tight budget) that he would enjoy and create some new favorites for him.

   We have a busy life, but I still try to keep a varied menu.  Below are just a sampling of some of the things that have appeared on our menu lately.

Garlic and Herb Pork Roast, Chicken Rice a Roni, Carrot Sticks and sliced Strawberries (Hubby also had Yellow Wax Beans and skipped the Strawberries)

Italian Sausage Meat Sauce over Polenta served with Romaine Salad (Hubby had homemade croutons with his salad also)

Classic Pork Roast served with Roasted Sweet and Russet Potatoes, Asparagus and Garlic Carrots

Udon Noodles with Mushrooms, Green Beans  and Green Onions in a Miso Broth

Bacon and Shrimp Pasta Salad

Sweet and Spicy Glazed Meatballs, homemade Mashed Potatoes and Crescent Rolls

   As you can see, there is a big variety of food there.  My boys have grown up being exposed to all kinds of foods and are adventurous eaters themselves now.  I'm so thankful that I could provide them with a variety of foods and dishes from different cultures and that they still request their favorites including Italian Pasta Salad, Lemon Chicken Pasta with Peppers, homemade Mac and Cheese, Beef Stroganov,  Kalua Pig and Rice, and the much loved  Cream Cheese and Crab Wontons.   For me, making food for my family is one of the ways to show them how much I love them...and I love them a whole lot!

Trying to Catch Up

   I've been very neglectful of this blog.  Things happened in life that took priority though and to be completely honest, I was overwhelmed and did not want to blog when I was in that state of mind.

  I feel bad because I missed posting about Bradley's 2nd birthday.  He was so excited to have a party and to get a new bike helmet from his Auntie Jen Jen (who is also his Godmother). :)  

   Isaiah got his first 2 teeth and has more coming in.  Poor baby has been miserable at times and is chewing on everything!

    Chris graduated from the Idaho State Police Academy after 10 long and hard weeks.  He tried to come home on the weekends to see his family and only missed a few of those.  Heather, bless her heart, held down the fort at home with the 2 little ones. We are so proud of Chris and were there to see him graduate with his class down in Meridian, Idaho.

   Jaysn and Rachel have been house hunting.  Jeff and I went with them to see a few places and they have been sharing links online with us also.  We are hoping that with Spring finally being here and more homes being put on the market, that they will find their first home to buy soon.

   Josh is starting to run half marathons and is training to run in longer ones.  I am happy that he has found such a great and healthy new hobby.   He is also getting to visit with his grandparents (my mom and dad) who are in Washington DC on a visit and will also get to see my brother and his family, who are also on a family vacation back there right now.  I am so happy that he is having some family time.

   There have also been some really tough things happen that have taken a toll on us.  Our health insurance company pulled a bait and switch on us and we ended up having to pay about $2000 more out of pocket than we originally thought we were going to have to for my biopsy. All that money will not count towards my in-network deductible.  They dropped the hospital where I had it done as a in network provider without notifying me, even after I checked with them over the phone about it, just to make sure.

  One of our friends sadly took his own life and left behind his wife and son.  Jeff and I just cannot wrap our heads around it.  He was such a nice guy who would do anything to help a friend.  To think that he got to such a dark and hopeless place in his mind to make the choice to end his life is heartbreaking, both for him and for his family. 

  Another friend lost her father and I covered her classes at school while she took time to be with her family.  One of our hanai "Grandmas" also died.  The funerals for these two wonderful people were a day apart.  That same week, another friend died about 2 hours after we had seen him.  He went suddenly doing what he loved...helping people in our community and that has brought comfort to his wife.  That same night, yet another friend had a stroke.  

   It has been rough dealing with all of the losses of friends we love.  There have been other challenges also that have taken their toll and that is why I have been MIA in posting.  I am praying that we have a long stretch here of nothing but good things for awhile, for us and for our friends and family.  For now, I am going to continue to hold my family and friends close and make sure that I let them all know how much I love them.