Monday, September 28, 2009

Crafty Week

Remember my 1ST Quilt???? Yes, the one I started months and months ago? it is! The motivation?
My niece was born three days ago and I had no more excuses.

I was very content with the Pop that it had...I know how much infants are attracted to contrast and colors and thought this would offer both.

I fell in love with the backing just as much....very girlie...don't you think? All in all I calculated 100 woman hours of labor on my first....I pray that I get faster, otherwise I won't be able to make many more.

I would appreciate any tricks and tips from the Pros out there.

After I mailed out my Quilt, I had one more crafty daughter's 1ST Birthday Party. Ladybugs have been a part of her life since she was born, and the madness continues to grow. The theme for her birthday? You guessed it...ladybugs.

However, I wanted to created other points of interest at her party.

We (my son, husband, and I), decorated 12 mini-pots filled with moss and my daughters photos from the past 12 months. "See how she's grown." Not my original idea, although I would love to take all the credit. I found it on the Celebrate Express site that shares Honorable Mentions by Party Themes.

We enjoyed making them while reminiscing how the year just flew by.

I purchased the pots from Michaels for .69 cents each, bag of moss for $2.49, bag of Popsicle sticks for $2.49 and used construction paper and glue to bring it all together. Inexpensive idea with a priceless effect!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

School & Bullies

I was shocked to hear that my 6 year old is already being bullied in 1ST Grade. I was not prepared to hear about it or deal with it just yet. I anticipated those issues in Middle School.

He was best friends with the bully in Kindergarten. Towards the end of the year, this boy decided he no longer wanted to be buddies with my son and "fired" him from the "boys club."

Ethan came home hurt and crying. I told him he did not need friends like that and would have to move on to better choices, not realizing that the problem would persist the following school year.

Prior to the year commencing, Ethan expressed concerns about running into this kid again and was hoping that they were assigned to different classes. Thankfully they were. HOWEVER, they are in recess at the same time.

This past week, this bully and his friends were outside playing "Cops & Robbers." My son did not want to participate, because the teacher did not want them to play games like that outside. They tackled him anyway. Ethan was flustered and managed to get out of their grip. He began to approach his teacher to inform her of what was occurring. The boys ran after him and tackled him once more so that he would not "taddle." This time they were even more aggressive. All day long, they gave my boy dirty looks in school, and Ethan was scared of telling his teacher the truth. We found out the entire story when he got home.

Always take the time to ask your kids how their day was. It's the first question out of my mouth when I pick him up and again during dinner.

How to deal? Do we teach our kids to "stand up for themselves" and teach the bully a lesson or two? Do we tell them to go through the school system and hope they resolve it immediately? Do we tell them to "just ignore the problem?" What do we do?

Bullying affects a child's self esteem because they are dealing with the rejection of their immediate peers. They are in contact with the bully day in and day out. They fear them. Sometimes the situation feels hopeless.

What did we do? Well we taught him all of the above.

First, we spoke to the teacher and expressed our concerns. She promised to speak with the kid's parents and notify them of the current events. She then separated the boys during recess and made sure they had no contact with one another.

Second, we explained that if this bully were to sincerely apologize, he should accept his apology, but still steer clear of such influences, and find friends that respected him equally.

Third, we told Ethan that we were behind him 100%. We knew he would do the right thing and that he can always talk to us and look for support in our family circle. We want him to have confidence in us but most of all Himself.

So, now we wait and see how the remainder of the year will unfold. Ethan is OK going back to school, but you can tell that this issue is in the back of his mind. He is hanging out with other kids that are friendlier, gentler, and more respectful.

I would love to hear from any parent that has dealt with this issue and some insight you are willing to provide.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

9/11 Memorial Site in Broomfield, CO

Yesterday, I felt the urge to take time out of my daily routine and pay tribute to our Nation and those we lost of September 11, 2001. I just discovered by watching the news in the morning, that there is a 9/11 Memorial at the Broomfield County Park, which contains a piece of metal from the World Trade Center. It felt like the perfect place to go.

A Statue of a little girl and police officer comforting one another on that day.

A list of countries that lost citizens on 9/11. It wasn't just a tragedy for the US but for the International Community. Click on image for a closer view of the countries listed.

The numbers of victims.

"Let's Roll" Flight 93 Plaque and a list of the names. Take a moment a pray for the names, because they did everything in their power to make sure no more lives would be ended on 9/11.

The Pentagon

The World Trade Center Plague. On the back is listed the thousands of innocent souls we lost.

Once I approached this Statue I got chocked up and began to cry. It threw me back to that moment when it all came crumbling down. You cannot be here and not be affected by this piece.

This statue is representative of the mood and the heroes of September 11Th. People helping one another through a tragedy. Scared and unsure of the minute by minute moments.

Lance learned something new yesterday. That once in awhile we need to take time out of our lives and pray for our Country.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

9/11: My Beloved City & The People Lost

Where was I on 9/11? Within walking distance of the World Trade Center, visiting friends and family 9 months after leaving NYC.

My best friend was getting married that weekend. My uncle celebrated his birthday the night before. A friend from Charleston was visiting. My friend Michelle's leukemia had been labeled critical.

September 10, 2001 at 10PM. Our friend from Charleston wanted to go out for drinks downtown. Let's go to Windows on the World. We roamed over to the Towers joyously eager to sit down at a renowned restaurant overlooking the city from the 106Th Floor. We tried pushing through the rotating doors, but the Towers were closed. Oh well, maybe tomorrow night.

September 11, 2001 at 8AM. Husband jumped in the shower. He needed to run to his old salon and cut hair for clients that were missing him since we moved in December of 2000. I got on the phone to speak with Make A Wish Foundation who wanted to donate a Laptop to my friend Michelle. The conversation was somber which made me oblivious to my surroundings.

8:45 AM. Husband came running out of the shower while I was on the phone. "Did you hear that? It sounded like a plane just flew over your dad's building and crashed." I thought he was out of his mind. What were the odds of that happening? I chuckled at him and told him to get dressed and head to work.

8:50AM. Ended my phone conversation and turned on NBC's The Today Show. The only image on the screen was a huge gaping black hole in the North Tower. What? How? What was going on? "Kurt, Kurt, come out. You were right." We both watched the TV report not knowing what to make of it. Ran out in the middle of 6Th Avenue and Bleecker Street and felt as though we could reach out to where this horrific event took place. The NY streets were slowing down, as passer bys were looking behind them but still walking towards their intended destination. The subway, work, coffeehouses.......We did not realize it, but we had run out in our jammies and my husband in his boxer shorts. Ran back into my father's building to put on some clothes and grab the camera.

9:00 AM. Snapping away photographs and drawing our own conclusions with the New Yorkers around us. "What a shame. Looks like it was a helicopter. Didn't this happen in NY before to the Empire State Building?"

9:03 AM. As we are frantically clicking away with our camera, we see a second plane heading straight for the South Tower and a GIGANTIC but SILENT ball of fire came shooting out of it. A sudden GASP was heard from hundreds of people that were helplessly watching the events unfold with us. In a matter of seconds, we all were stricken with fear and tears. THIS was NO ACCIDENT!

9:05 AM. Ran back into my father's apartment to watch the news and find out the horrific reality of this warm, clear and sunny sky day, now filled with billowing smoke, and the noise of Jets and Sirens.

9:30 AM. Watched our President, George Bush, in terror, address the nation that we had been "Attacked". A Nation at War. Someone had done this to us intentionally? Was this real? Was I truly alive to witness this?

9:35 AM. I urged my husband to not go anywhere. Tenants from my father's building were running in trying to get a glimpse of the news on our screen and asking what floors were hit. "My friend worked on the 96Th Floor", I heard as my heart sunk knowing that there was no way she survived.

9:43 AM. Pentagon gets hit. More dread and terror filled my limbs. I did not feel safe. I was awaiting for a plane to crash on top of us too, but where else could we go?

9:55 AM. Ran to the roof of the building attempting to get a better view of the Towers from above. I had just purchased my camera, and it had a Zoom that could capture images up close from miles away. Again I snapped away and away documenting this moment. I zoomed closer and closer and my precious, expensive camera dropped out of my hands crashing onto the concrete. "What's wrong?", my husband inquired. "Korn, I just saw a group of four people holding hands and jumping out of the building, " I wailed uncontrollably. That moment I will never erase out of my memory, because at THAT MOMENT this tragedy became very tangible.

10:05 AM. I watched the South Tower turn into dust before my eyes. The soot reached all the way to our street. I cried and cried. How could something so mighty and so representative of our city just give way like that?

10:10 AM. Flight 93 crashes in Pennsylvania. How much can one nation take? How could we ever possibly digest all of this? How could our brains wrap around that our sense of security was diminished forever?

Received a call from my aunt residing on Nassau Street letting us know that she was OK, but that there were people from the Towers running inside her apartment for refuge and asking for water. The dust seeped through all the closed windows.

10:28 AM. The North Tower comes tumbling along. Up until that point we prayed and prayed that at least ONE would be left standing as a sign that somehow we did not completely lose this battle, but that was not meant to be. Kurt and I were in a trance. Could not speak, all we could do was walk the street like zombies with heavy hearts.

The seconds and minutes and hours and days to follow were draining. We treaded the streets lightly with masks on our mouths, delivering canned goods to volunteer stations, looking through posted photographs on fences and walls and parks for a familiar face, listening to Fire Engines and Helicopters and Jets all day long, and not peeling our eyes off the News stations for new developments. This went on for 7 days. We could not return to Salt Lake, and the honest truth was, that an airplane was the LAST thing I wanted to be on anyway.

Our families and co-workers called over and over again until they got through the busy signal to find out that we were all right.

The wedding was cancelled until further notice.

My friend Michelle dying from leukemia, was searching for answers in her hospital bed.

Our friend Sean from Charleston, hugged us tight out of sheer love and comfort that we were together.

When the day came to leave, a deep sense of GUILT filled me. How could I leave my family behind in a time like this? I would go back to Salt Lake City, and they were stuck in this WAR Zone. How could I leave my Beloved City behind? I grew up here. I should stay and volunteer and and cry alongside all the victims.

I boarded a packed plane suspicious of every passenger. "Did they spend too much time in the bathroom? What were they talking about on their cellphone or typing on their computer? Was the passenger on the plane with 5 other suspects?" The list goes on and on. But we landed.

9/11 proved to me that a lovely day could turn into a nightmare in a matter of seconds.

9/11 proved to me that we are not strangers, even in one of the world's most populated cities, we are all connected.

9/11 proved to me that we need to appreciate life and live it to the fullest.

9/11 proved to me that a Fireman's Oath is about protecting others FIRST. While everyone ran out, they ran in.

9/11 proved to me that money means nothing. That day rich people died along with the poor.

9/11 proved to me that we should not take for granted our families before we leave the house, because it might be our last.

9/11 proved to me that All Nations stand against evil as ONE!

9/11 proved to me that the victims on Flight 93 proved what "selfless" truly means and saved other lives in the process.

9/11 proved to me that we Still Live In The Greatest Country in The World where our Freedom of Religion & Beliefs is honored. These terrorists were trying to break that but LOST!!! There is no GOD, I don't care of what Faith you are, that promotes DEATH!

I love this country, I love NYC, I love our everyday heroes (policemen, firemen, doctors, the military), I love our diversity, I love mankind, and most of all I send MY LOVE to the families of ALL the victims that day. Thanks for your strength and dignity.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What Marriage Means To Me

Today's post is once again inspired by one of my fave blogs Mama Kat.

I have been married for almost 10 years, and the one question my single friends always ask me is, "How do you know when "he's" the "one"?

"I got lucky I suppose." No real formula, just a feeling!

However, after being married for so many years with three children, I do have a formula for what makes a marriage work and what it means to me.

1. Commitment.

2. Security.

3. Friendship.
My true best friend is my husband. He understands my ups and downs, my heart, my fears, my strengths, my abilities, my desires, my spiritual being, and everything about me.

4. Compromise.
This word carries a negative stigma with it, but it is a positive in my world. It means humbling yourself in order to make your partner happy. A marriage is not about "my needs" "my feelings" "my goals". It's about "ours" which in turn strengthens the "I".

5. Team parenting.
Kids will fall through the cracks if mom and dad do not stand tall "together". They rely on consistency and routine. Your children will learn how to respect and treat their own spouse in the future, as an example of how you co-parent and co-exist.

6. Laughter.
I love laughing with Kurt. We bring each other to joyous tears all the time. It keeps our spirits light and our bond strong.

7. Tradition.
We have maintained our old traditions and enhanced it with our own too. Traditions that are a direct reflexion of our values and priorities in life.

8. Spiritual oneness.
We are both of different faiths, but of one spiritual soul. We say "thank yous" at dinnertime and talk about the meaning of God and Faith and Religion on a regular basis. We agree to disagree while embracing the common good that is present in both our hearts.

9. Commonality.
We discuss our common goals as a family and as a couple at least monthly. We develop a plan that is accommodating to everyone and will ultimately get us to the finish line. We stumble along the way, but always check back in with one another to keep us on track.

10. Freedom.
Freedom to be who I am essentially without being judged. Freedom to pursue interests with the platform of my husband. Freedom to feel beautiful in my own skin. Freedom to feel wanted and needed and not lonely.

These are the 10 Things that capture the essence of a marriage for me. Every couple has their individual "secret" to a lasting marriage. We are all unique in what keeps us feeling loved and validated.
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