21 April 2014

Happy Easter!

This is going to be a short blog as I've got a million things going on right now.  However, it's been almost a week since my last post that I decided I needed to blog before I got behind.

Yesterday we attended mass at our church.  Of course it was extremely full and they even had a 2nd mass going on in the parish hall.  We attend a very large parish.  It has about 3,300 families and many of those families have 4, 5 and 6 kids or more each.  Our Sunday masses are always pretty full.  And then of course we have Easter & Christmas - the 2 largest Christian holidays that for some reason seem obligatory for those who don't attend church the rest of the year.  My sister call them "Christmeasters".  I should be grateful they attend church on those holidays rather than not at all but, for those who are truly faithful and feel that attending church every week is important, it's hard not to be critical.

After church, we headed to my parents' house for brunch.  My mom always over does it.  Every year she promises she's not doing it again and without fail she doesn't keep her word.  So of course there was a huge spread and we all stuffed ourselves.

Once we had finished stuffing our faces, we went and did an Easter egg hunt for the kids.  We ran around hiding them so I burned off a few calories.  It was fun to see Eriks and Emi run all over the yard.  Emi was much more careful when it came to looking closely for the eggs.  Every time she found one she screamed, "Found one!!"  It was super cute.  They didn't get anything but some Peeps in their baskets because I know they would get their fair share of candy from the egg hunt.   Then we came in and had dessert.  Let me tell you, I had the BEST homemade coconut cream pie I have ever put in my mouth yesterday.  My sister rocked it with that pie.  I honestly may never shut up about that daggone pie.  Most of the coconut cream pies I have eaten have had a super thick, dry crust and have been sickly sweet that I can't eat it all.  With this pie I almost licked my plate clean...almost.  I tell my kids not to do it, so I figured it would be a bad example if I did something I tell them not to do.

Up next for me was nap time.  I've been battling headaches and migraines for some time now.  If they stay bad, I'll have to go in for a CT scan to see if there's something more going on in my brain.  Yesterday I was still getting over a horrible migraine that started Friday and continued into Saturday.  I'll have what I call "aftershocks" for a few days after I get a bad migraine.  Sometimes I've had migraines that have lasted 3 or 4 days and then have had smaller headaches for another 3-5 days after.  So I dozed for about 45 minutes or so.  It felt great and I woke up refreshed.

Then...I got dragged outside by my son for a game of bocce ball.  It was boys against girls (my sister & and me) vs. boys (my dad & Eriks).  It was a heated battle that went back and forth.  For awhile my sister and I were ahead by a bunch of points and then Eriks and my dad caught up and went ahead.  It was at the very end that my sister threw the pallino in a great spot and the boys just couldn't get there balls there as well as we could.  And of course the adults made jokes about the bocce balls..."my balls are really heavy"..."just kick my balls over here"...you get the idea.  A few times we were laughing pretty hard about it.

By the time the game was over, it was dinner time so we sat down to leftovers from brunch.  The weather was beautiful and we sat outside eating our dinner.  It was time to head home and put the kids to bed after that.  Enjoy the pictures!!

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.
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