14 April 2014

I Am Not A Cupcake Mom


I had struggled for a long time whether or not this made me a bad mom.  It is now the trend that when kids have birthdays they take treats into school to share with their classmates.  Usually cupcakes.  When my kids started school, I rolled my eyes at this.  Really?  We have to make a big deal about birthdays at school?  Why?  Oh and don't get me started on the Halloween and Valentine's Day nonsense at school.  Who decided that kids needed to bring in treat bags for classmates on those holidays?  Nevermind, I know exactly who...Hallmark, Nestle, Hershey's and every other company that could make a dime off of this crap.  Mattel, Crayola...they're all in on it.  It's a conspiracy against parents to make them feel like crap if they don't.

I'm going to date myself but I grew up in an age where you went to school, your teacher and classmates often wished you a 'Happy Birthday' and that was the end of it.  No mom's making or buying special treats to either bring in or send in to school.  You went home and had birthday cake with your family.

So when Eriks started pre-K, I caved and followed the trend.  I didn't want to be seen as THAT mom.  You know, the one who is lazy...doesn't care...doesn't have time..(insert your own reason here).  So I took in cupcakes to his class.  Especially since I was hearing about all the treats the other moms were sending in.  Heaven forbid my child scolds me because I made him feel like an outcast because I didn't send in treats for his birthday.  I didn't want to feel like a dog that had had an accident right next to the door waiting to be let outside.  I've never dealt well with being reprimanded for my mistakes because even though I know better, I'm the person that takes them personally.  But that's for another time and another blog post...maybe.

Kindergarten year, I think I caved as well, but don't remember.  See?  That's how important I think this school birthday nonsense is.  From then on I gave up.  With one exception.  The 1st year Emi was in preschool, I sent in birthday donuts.  Even though neither one of them remembers it,  I had to be on equal footing with both kids.  You can't do it for one and not the other.  Because you know, if you don't do it for kid #2, when your 75, losing your memory and the kids are deciding what nursing home to put you in, it might come back to bite you in the ass with kid #2.  She may do something to spite you all because you didn't send in some birthday treat but you did for her older brother.

Trust me it's not easy.  Although I think where Eriks goes to school now there isn't a whole lot of birthday treats happening for a few reasons.  The school really doesn't want the distraction and many of the kids who Eriks goes to school with are from families of 5, 6, 7 and 8 kids.  We are the minority at his school with only 2 kids.  I'm sure those families who have 3 and 4 or 5 kids at his school don't have time for this stuff.  I know if I had that many kids, I sure as heck wouldn't.  Ditto goes for Emi.  I don't think it's popular at her school either partly because there are enough kids who live in the dorms during the week away from their families so there isn't anyone there to do it for them.  But at Latvian school we are definitely the odd family out.  In the 3 years we have been there we have never brought treats in to school and most of the other families do.

I've come to terms with giving up and no longer sending my kids in with birthday treats.  Personally, I think my reasons are valid.

1 - My parents didn't do it, so I shouldn't feel guilty because I'm choosing not to.  It wasn't the thing to do then and why should I feel obligated to do the trendy thing.  I don't do trendy.  I do Liene.

2 - I'm sure the teachers really don't appreciate the time they're taking out of their day to distribute your child's birthday treats and allow them to eat them.  Two words...SUGAR RUSH.  Bet the teachers don't like that either.  Luckily my kids are in small classes.  Eriks has 6 kids total in his 4th grade class and Emi's class may be up to 9 kids now.  I can only imagine what it would be like in a classroom of 25 kids whose systems are loaded with sugar.  Not to mention those kids with food allergies and sensitivities.  Then you have to make sure you find them their own special and appropriate treat so they're not left out...As we say in Latvian, "Nē paldies!!" (No Thank You!)

3 - I am cursed, blessed with a son who made his way into this world exactly 1 week before Christmas and a daughter who was born 4 days before Valentine's Day.  Seriously?  Those holidays scream candy and over indulgence.  They get enough sweet treats around those days, plus birthday cake that they don't need another treat on top of that.

So no, I am DEFINITELY not a cupcake mom and no longer feel guilty about it.  If that makes me a bad mom, so be it.  My guess is that most teachers and parents are thankful for that as they're not having to deal with sugared out kids at school.

13 April 2014

So the Resurrection of the Blog Never Happened...Until Now.

I really, really wanted to get back to blogging last year.  But I didn't.  I had been struggling with being ill and that was my excuse for being lazy.

So last year I was in extreme pain on a daily basis and finally started seeing a rheumatologist who diagnosed me with osteoarthritis at the ripe old age of 38.  Yeah, I didn't think it could happen to me so young but when it comes to me, I seem to be susceptible to anything and everything unexpected.  My pain is really bad in the winter when it's cold outside and was started on Prednisone to deal with the joint swelling then.  I'm currently being weaned off of it for the summer.

On top of that, I was just feeling so tired in general and out of it, that my cardiologist ordered a heart catheterization to be done.  So at the end of May, I was sedated for 8 hours to map my heart.  Yeah, my heart is so ass-backwards it took them 8 hours to figure it out.  They also plugged some collateral arteries that were probably making me feel bad because 2 weeks after the procedure I became this crazy ball of energy.  Think Tasmanian Devil whirly ball of insanity.  So it was good for me to undergo the procedure.  Especially since my cardiologist told me if things don't look good, he was going to highly recommend transplant.

Since then I started a part-time job working while my kids are in school.  They head off to school before I have to leave for work and I'm done with work just after lunch time and have an hour before I have to go pick Eriks up from school.

So, what exactly my plan is for this blog now, I don't know.  It's definitely going to be different from the way it was.  Yes, there will still be some documentation of my kids and their lives, but it will probably be more about me, my journey of life, etc.

20 February 2013

Will Resurrect this Blog Soon

I have been sicker than a dog on and off since the Fall.  I've had more colds than I can count.  Got one so bad right now, I don't know whether to sneeze or blow my nose.  My head feels like it's going to explode.  I've had the Norovirus.  Bronchitis.  Aches and pains that lead me to think I have arthritis.

When I've been well, which hasn't been often, my kids and the hubby have kept me on my toes running all over kingdom come.

I miss blogging and want to come back.  I just need to get my head above water and healthy again.

24 October 2012

Tired

Like my blog title says, "Never a Dull Moment..."  Doctors appointments for me mostly, but some for the kids.  The kids started back at Latvian school a few days after my last post.  Lane's in over his head with school work.  I started oxygen therapy which is helping but now I have a sinus infection that I have to find time to treat (making an appointment to see my primary doctor and get on antibiotics).   Eriks is starting Cub Scouts.  We have birthday parties the next 3 weekends in a row that one or both kids is attending.  There will likely be another one somewhere toward the end of November.  It's complete chaos right now.

I have at least one thing I need to blog about but I still haven't even uploaded photos from it.

I'll try to catch up soon.  I really want to.  Just need to find the time.

05 September 2012

Here Kitty, Kitty

This weekend as it poured here thanks to the remnants of TS Isaac, I pulled out my camera and decided to play with it.  Practicing focus, ISO, lighting, aperture, etc.  Especially with my first job shooting a wedding coming up.  My kids were hiding in the basement in front of the DVD player and I had to find a good subject so I picked this handsome little guy.
His name is George.  He's almost 15 if you can believe it and loves me unconditionally even after I yell at him for puking on the carpet or under my bed (which thankfully doesn't happen often).  Don't get me wrong, I love Lane and the kids more than anything but this little guy is my living teddy bear.  He follows me everywhere like a little puppy.  He's insane.  Chases laser lights, string, feathers and other cat toys like a 6 month old kitten, not a 15 year old cat.  Stares at shadows on the walls.  Seriously hilarious to watch him do that.  He helps keep our bug and spider problem to a minimum because he kills and then happily eats them.  A little protein can't hurt right?  He loves his stomach rubbed - completely unusual for a cat.  His most interesting quirk has to be his nightly ritual.  Sometimes it happens right before we shut out the lights.  Sometimes he does it right after the lights go out.  But with out fail, every. single. night, this little furball will go into our master bath where his food and water are kept, eat or drink a little and then like a lightning bolt, run like hell from the master bath out of our room and down the hallway and back.  If the lights are on when he does this ritual, he'll run back into the room and look at us like, "You got a problem with me doing that?"  Every night, it causes me to have the same response - a giggle and a shake of my head.  Lights on or off I shake my head and giggle.  I have no idea what I'm going to do when the day comes that I go to bed and I no longer hear or see it.  It will be extremely hard and weird. Crazy, lovable George.





03 September 2012

I Took the Plunge

Photography has always been a love of mine and within the past 10-15 years a passion.  I could honestly sit on the computer and look at photos all.day.long.  I also love taking photos.

I guess it started the day my parents brought home their first and only Canon film SLR camera when I was about 5 years old.  I think 1980ish is when they purchased it.  That thing has been around so long, I've lost track of just how old it is.  I was mesmerized from the get go.  I loved watching the lens be focused.  I loved hearing the click every time a photo was taken.  I can still remember when my parents used black and white film in it.  I don't remember how old I was when I was first allowed to pick it up and play with it.  But I do remember sliding the lens in and out of focus and clicking the shutter to take a photo.  I remember how exciting it felt.  Sure, I probably took my fair share of out of focus photos when I was allowed to touch it.  Heck, I still manage out of focus photos from time to time.  I remember the first camera I ever owned.  It was one that used 110 film and one of those long rectangular disposable flashes.  Of course I've come a long way since then, my equipment has gotten better and so has my photography.

Over the past few years the dream of doing photography on a professional level has been at the forefront of my brain.  What had been holding me back is my confidence.  After exchanging a few emails with some professional photographers in other states whose work I absolutely love, they have all pretty much said, "You just have to take the plunge and start.  You'll make mistakes and you'll learn from them."  That's pretty much what they all said but if you don't start somewhere, you'll never learn.

Rewind to May.  I attended two weddings two weekends in a row.  The first one I stayed out of the photographers way and took a bunch of photojournalistic photos.  I edited them and put them on Face.book.  A friend in a different state who also has a passion for photography and takes beautiful photos of her kids sent me a message asking, "Did you start your photography business?  I saw the wedding photos on FB."  I sheepishly had to respond, "No.  Those are just photos I took at my cousin's wedding."  Based on the photos she saw, she thought I was finally in the biz.  The following weekend, I attended another wedding for one of Lane's family members.  At that wedding, I found out that one of Lane's cousin's kids was getting married.  I asked who was doing the photography.  I was told they hadn't hired anyone yet.  That's when I took a big swallow of air and said, "I'd really love to photograph it."  What I'm being paid for it is not what my pricing will be when I launch a blog/website with my work and fees.  Mostly because this is family and I had to take the plunge somewhere.  I did show them my work and they liked it.  My main focus will be weddings but for now, I'm happy to get any work I can - babies, kids, families.

The name I decided on was Liene A. Photography.  My middle name starts with A and in discussing it with Lane, Liene T. Photography or using my entire last name just didn't have a nice ring to it.  So I let him have a say in it.  With that, I'll leave you with some of my favorite shots of the two weddings I went to in May.  Wish me luck this Saturday as I have my first gig as a photographer.








31 August 2012

Pre-K Field Trip

Emi had her first of what I have been told will be quite a few field trips.  I was told by Emi's teacher last year that the 2 Pre-K teachers really like getting the kids out of the classroom for learning experiences.  As summer is wrapping up, they are teaching them all about summer activities, things to do during the summer, etc.  Just the other day, the kids were talking about the ocean and the beach.

Last Thursday, the class went to a splash park and a local beach to participate in summer activities.  The parents are always welcome to participate but I was kind of disappointed that I was the only parent that was there.  Oh well.  I had fun anyhow.  The kids had a good time too.  Although they went to the splash park 1st and the water coming out of all the fixtures was not very warm and Emi was shivering after only a short amount of time playing.  I think it would've been a better idea to go to the splash park 2nd not only because it would've been hotter in the day but then the kids could've rinsed off all the sand from the beach.  Emi enjoyed playing along the beach more than she liked going into the water.  She's not really fond of going in water where she can't see the bottom very well.  I have no idea where she gets that from.  I too am not a fan of swimming in places I can't see the bottom.  I'll do it, but I'm not completely at ease doing it.

Enjoy the photos from her 1st field trip!







26 August 2012

State Fair Time!

A few weeks ago we took Emi and Eriks as well as my niece L to the state fair.  The weather was fantastic that day.  It was warm and sunny but not hot.  My kind of weather.  Edite, my sister went too so that we had 3 adults and 3 kids.  My sister was going to go with us that day and that morning, L was with my sister and was begging to go with us. Edite told L she had to call and ask us if she could go.  It was so cute to hear L's little voice on the phone say, "Can I go to the state fair?"  How could you say no.

The kids loved the animals, the food and especially the rides at the Midway.  I think their favorite of all the rides though was the giant ferris wheel.  We got to the fair about 3 pm and left 7 hours later.  All the kids fell asleep on the way home and slept late the next day.  Here are the pictures of our fun day.









21 August 2012

Insert Foot In Mouth Moment

While Eriks was in Texas with grandma and grandpa at the end of July, we had a bunch of time with Emi all by herself.  It's amazing how differently your children behave when the other one is not around.  Don't get me wrong, Emi had her moments and there is the possibility that being by herself without her brother for 10 days helped turn her into a sassy little diva (more on that in another post), but Emi was a well-behaved and fun kid to be with.  Not the normal whiny, clingy kid she tends to be when her brother is around.

Anyhow.  The insert foot in mouth moment actually happened with my daughter when I had some time with her all by myself.  Lane left the house for some alone time and Emi and I were playing.  I unfortunately was cursed with cuticles that are dry, brittle and tend to rip easily.  That's exactly what happened while we were playing and I started bleeding.  Because I'm on blood thinners, I tend to bleed easily so I went to the bathroom to get a band-aid.  Here's the conversation between Emi and me and the insert foot in mouth moment.

Emi - What's that? (She's watching me take the band-aid out of the package)
Me - It's a band-aid.
Emi - What's that?
Me - It's a band-aid for mommy's owie.
Emi - Oh.  What's that? (Pointing at band-aid)
Me - It's a band-aid.
Emi - Ban day?  Owie?
Me - Yes.  Band-aid for mommy's owie.
Emi - What's that?
Me - It's a band-aid.  Mommy hurt herself.
Emi - What's that?  (And I'm guestimating she asked me about a dozen times total before I finally said...)
Me - It's a BAND-AID.  What are you deaf?  (Insert foot in mouth)

Of course she's deaf.  She hears nothing without that very expensive hearing aid on her head, which she did have on her head at the time.  I realized later on, she's at that age where they're gaining independence and really grasping onto things and now that her new hearing aid is processing sound better and amplifying it better, her brain is processing the information more and more so she learns sounds, names of objects, etc.  All things that were harder for her to recognize with the old piece of garbage she had for a hearing aid before.  She had just had the the new hearing aid for about 6 weeks when this incident happened.

I laughed hysterically at my gaffe.  Everyone who I tell the story to laughs at it.  This morning when I ran into her teacher from last year, I told her the story and she laughed harder than I think I've ever seen her laugh.  She herself is the parent of a hearing child and a deaf child just like me and she says all of us have done stuff like that.  Sometimes we work so hard to ignore the disability and treat them like the average kid, we forgot and so the insert foot in mouth moments happen.

We'll see what else life will bring us as she continues to hear better and her vocabulary continues to grow.  One of these days I'm hoping to get her saying the word, annoying on video so I can post it here.  She does have her I'm going to be a complete pest moments with electronic objects like her play cell phone, her leap pad, etc. and she's pushing buttons over and over again and I have to say, "Emi please stop pushing the buttons.  It's annoying." She in turn says, "Annoying?"  Yes.  Totally.  Utterly. Annoying.  Hearing her say the word is so cute and funny.

And with that.  I will leave you with a photo of our cute, sassy, diva on the rise, Miss Emi.


18 August 2012

Unintended Hiatus

I took an unplanned break from blogging.  A few days after my last post, my in-laws arrived in town to pick up Eriks for his 10 days of fun with grandma and grandpa.  We went out of town every single weekend between then and the 1st weekend of this month.  So for 3 straight weekends we were in Michigan with my family at their summer place.  What's nice is next year we will have our own summer place around the corner from my parents thanks to their help.  After our last weekend in Michigan it has been a frenzied few weeks getting everyone ready for school.  Emi went back this past Monday.  Lane starts this upcoming Monday and Eriks starts school on Tuesday.

So here's the last thing we did before we took off to Michigan.  We met up with grandma and grandpa, as well as my sister-in-law and her 4 girls - L, B, A, and I for some fun at the Indianapolis Children's Museum.  They had a blast playing and exploring.  They spent most of their time Hot Wheels exhibit.  They did explore the dinosaurs, and an interactive area where they could play with water and other things.

 Diamond encrusted Hot Wheels Car.  I don't remember the value of it.






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