Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Surrounded by Workers

Today I am feeling grateful for all the groups that surround me that participate in charitable activities. I know for a fact that our family wouldn't get involved in most of the fundraising or charitable activities that we do if it weren't for somebody else getting organized and providing us with the opportunity to help out.

This month our Daisy Girl Scout troop has several different opportunities because of work that other troops in the area participate in. Our Daisy's made rice sock/bed warmers for the resident's of Issaquah's Tent City because a nearby troop committed to every homeless person in tent city getting one. Next our Daisy's will be contributing items for Easter baskets for kids at Matthew's House. Matthew's House takes care of kids while their parents are incarcerated and is a charitable focus of our entire service unit (all the girl scouts in our area).

Through my kids' swimming program, they can contribute to Project Ethiopia. Our swim instructor encourages each of her students to make $8 - $14 themselves and donate it to Project Ethiopia so that a child there can get a set of clothes and be able to attend the local school. My husband's cousin recently traveled to Ethiopia for some mission work and that provided an opportunity to help out in Ethiopia as well (her blog can be found at if you are interested in her work there).

My Father-in-law organized a fund-raising golf tournament for the SemperFi fund to help Marines and their families who need assistance. Our church group supports the missionary work & disaster relief in the Phillipines. Our preschool supports the local food bank. And the list goes on...

What's my point? All these efforts have been started by someone else...usually someone else that I know...and give us an opportunity to be a blessing to others. Some days it seems so overwhelming just taking care of my own family that I can't imagine putting the time and energy into a project like that, but then I wonder where would the world be without people like these who do dedicate themselves to organizing help for others.

I'm about to wander off into the political arena people, so some of you might want to start tuning me out now...

I think it would be awesome if all the world's ills could be fixed by generous people like this reaching out to help others. Ideally, I want us all to be aware of the needs of those around us and help out so the government doesn't need to step in with large scale, usually red tape filled programs to make up the difference. But that just doesn't seem realistic. I know many of those close to me (sorry dad) would just like the government to remove their hands from their wallet and let them choose whom to help and how much to give. I just don't think we are aware enough of the problems of society to do that. I don't think the "less pretty" illnesses would get very much assistance at all...and I think those groups need help too.

So, that's my $.02. I know I wandered off into a more serious topic than usual. Never fear, tomorrow I'll go back to wondering what color I should paint my girls' toenails. =)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lisa's observations from the Bon Jovi concert

1. Bon Jovi rocks.

2. Jon Bon Jovi certainly knows how to market himself to his female audience.
3. Many of Bon Jovi's female fans had more cleavage showing on the outside of their shirts than I have underneath. I really didn't think it was attractive. Maybe I'm just jealous, but I don't think so.
4. While Bon Jovi's newer songs are good, they cannot match the magic and nostalgia of the older songs.
5. Bon Jovi is a lot more politically active than I realized. It would not have been a good place to wear a "Dick Cheney is the Man" shirt.
6. Did I mention that Jon knows how to market himself to his female audience?
7. My husband does not care for middle aged women waving their hands in his face.
8. I think Jon must have taken a lot of ballet and dancing lessons to be able to bounce around the stage like that for 2+ hours. He kept jumping up on his tiptoes.
9. Richie Sambora can really play the guitar and has a great voice, but I cannot figure out why all those women dated/married him. It must be his inner person...
10. Jon had several clothing changes during the concert, but never changed his jeans. I think that is because it would take a team of people to get them off.
11. I really enjoy being able to sing, off-key, for hours without hubby asking me if it is karaoke hour. I couldn't even hear myself (which is also a nice benefit).

There's more...but I gotta run. Sigh.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sorry we don't eat your food

Last night I made a fancier dinner than usual. Which means that the kids hated it a bit more than usual. Which is hard because they usually hate dinner, so to hate it more means they really, really hated dinner.

I made a dish called Chicken in Puff Pastry. It was cubed chicken mixed with cream cheese, watercress, green onions, and butter wrapped in a pastry crust. My enthusiasm was good when I started making dinner, but my heart had sunk long before I finished the dish. I just knew they were going to hate it. While all the ingredients were things they like (well, maybe except the watercress and onions), they weren't going to appreciate them all mixed together. Unless the chicken is chunked, breaded, and then cooked, I'm unlikely to get a positive reception.

Usually I don't let it bother me too much. Usually I make them eat a bite or two and then they can get down. But last night it bothered me. I pouted. I glared. I complained. "Why can't you just try it? Not just a nibble of the crust, but actually take a bite out of the center and see if you like it?" "You are hurting my feelings" I said. "How would you like it if you worked for an hour on something and I couldn't find one nice thing to say about it?" I was irked.

Hubby invited to me to take a little personal time and soak in the tub. It was a generous gesture that benefitted the whole family, I think. While I was in the tub soaking (& sulking), he came in and showed me what the kids had been doing.

How can I be mad when they make me a big poster that says "Sorry we don't eat your food"? Sure...they aren't suggesting that they are going to make any changes, but at least they care that I feel bad, right?

P.S. I thought maybe that scribble on the right was their representation of my dinner, but they assured me it was just Cade's contribution to the poster.

Friday, February 19, 2010

New Readers & No Talking

Picked up an official new reader yesterday, according to I do love official readers. I know many of you read me on Facebook, but you are part of the unknown masses unless you happen to leave a comment. I feel like I can claim someone who identifies themselves as my follower on I have a right to think of them as my audience...even if they never read what I write again.

So I had the pleasure of seeing my mother-in-law today and we were talking about the differences in men & women. She was saying that she had read a book on how important it was for men and boys to have time by themselves...cave time...time when they aren't connecting to other people. The book she read said that is starts about 2 years old for boys. It made me think of three things. First, boy am I glad that hubby has his time at the firehouse. I think it fulfills some of that cave time for him because the guys there can all decompress together and not talk if that suits them. Of course, having a talkative person on shift (I wouldn't DARE to suggest the gender of that person) with them would screw that up...but generally speaking it is a guy-friendly environment. It is nice that he comes home glad to see me and I eagerly await his homecoming too.

I guess that leads to my second point. I need a little bit of that downtime too. I feel like I spend all day being talked to. Requests fly in more often that any one person can possibly comply. I am the solution to every boo-boo, every argument that they can't work out, every homework conundrum, every "did you know" or "guess what I heard". Sometimes by 8 pm, I don't want to talk to anyone anymore. And two or three nights a week, when I get the kids to bed, I have 2 hours of no-talking to look forward to. Hubby is at the firehouse, I don't answer the phone, and I just unwind. I wouldn't want it silent every night, but I need it sometimes too.

And so my third point. Hmmm...I seem to have forgotten it. Was it something about the Big Guy talking too much? Sweetness wanting to converse like an adult? I can't remember. I'd better get my butt in gear and get Sweetness out the door toward the bus stop, so I guess you'll all live without my elusive third point. Happy Friday people!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy or Interesting

I thought the following quiz was interesting. I borrowed it from a blog that I read called "The Brazen Careerist". Maybe it is interesting that I still read career-related blogs, even though I haven't pursued my career in years. I loved my career, but I love being a stay-at-home mom too. I'm just not sure I would enjoy trying to do both at once. Anyway, enough about my life choices, on to the quiz...

Test: Is your life happy or interesting?

Test: Is your life happy or interesting?
The culmination of my four-year obsession with happiness research is that I think people need to choose between an interesting life or happy life. (Note: This does not mean you are interesting or not interesting. I am talking about what values guide your decision making.) I think the things that make life happy have to do with complacency, and the things that make life interesting have to do with lack of complacency. If you want to read more about this, search on my sidebar "happiness" and "interesting" and you'll get a bazillion posts because I've been obsessed with the topic.

I have discovered that I would rather be interesting than happy. The good news is that even though I’m punting on the quest for happiness, I do have a good sense of how to know if you should be seeking happiness yourself, or if your quest for interesting makes happiness a lost cause.

Here’s the test:

1. Did you relocate away from family for a better job or another more interesting experience? Minus one

You would have to earn $150,000 more from a job if you were doing it far away from family, according to economist Nattavudh Powdthavee of University of York.

2. Did you relocate to be near family? Plus one

Happiness does not come from a job, or from being revered by your peers. It comes from personal relationships.

3. Are you nationally recognized as being great at doing something or do you have nationally-recognized expert knowledge in something? Or are you reorganizing your life in order to achieve this end? Minus one

Interesting people raise the bar on themselves. They are singularly focused because they recognize that in order to be great, you need to be focused. They will sacrafice other things in life for this obsession.

4. Were you a happy child? Plus one

Sixty percent of our ability to be happy is predetermined by our genes.

5. Do your friends pray? Plus one

People who pray are happier than people who do not pray, probably because having faith is fundamentally optimistic. (You can be any religion, and pray for anything.) Happiness is contagious, and we are more likely to be happy if our friends are happy.

6. Do you need your kids to go to a school that is recognized as excellent in national rankings? Minus one.

People who need the best of everything — maximizers — are not happy people.

7. Do you have fat friends? Plus one

Fat people are not generally maximizers. And if your friends are not maximizers than you probaby aren’t either.

8. Do you have an opinion on Picasso? Minus one

Peopel who focus on interesting are quicker to form opinions on subjective topics.

9. Do you have three friends who are a Jew, a Muslim and a born-again Christian? Minus one
Diversity is interesting, but in small groups (like friends) it does not make for happiness, according to Frans Johansson, author of The Medici Effect.

10. Are you a Republican? Plus one

Republicans are happier than democrats. This dichotomy is based a lot on personality. Repulicans tend to have personality traits that are uncomfortable with change, whereas people who lean democrat tend to have personality traits of change agents, according to personality research from Xyte.

11. Do you think Christmas is a national holiday? Plus one

Christmas is not a national holiday, because the US is not a Christian country. But regardless of what's true, homogenous thinking breeds happiness. It’s why countries like Sweeden and Finland are so happy. They are homogrenous.

12. Have you been to a therapist? Minus one

Peopel who are interesting but not happy have a point where they need to make sure they are okay. Also, they are interested in finding out about themselves even if they are fine. The ratio of therapists to citizens is lowest in populations that skew to optimizers (like New York City and San Francisco).

13. Do you know the difference between $70 eyebrows and $20 eyebrows? Minus one

It doesn't matter if you spend that much for eyebrows. But if you know why people who must have good eyebrows cannot take chances, and why most people have terrible eyebrows, then you took the time to find out enough about eyebrows to know what is best and how yours could be better.

14. Can you tell the difference between real diamonds and fake diamonds. Plus one

Trick question. An optimizer will have tried to learn to figure it out and will have learned that even experts can’t wihout a special tool.

15. Have you tried on a pair of $200 jeans? Minus one

If you are not intersted in seeing what they look like on you, you probably just want to be happy with how you are. People who are interested in new experiences are less likely to be happy, according to Psychology Today.

16. Do you think this test is BS? Plus one

Interesting people do not get offended that they cannot be happy. Happy people are offended that they cannot be interesting.


0 – 3 You have a desire for interestingness over happiness

6 – 8 You have a desire for happiness over interestingness.

4 – 5 You are suspiciously well balanced. Or lacking a self-identity. I'm not sure which.

Comment on: Test: Is your life happy or interesting?

Now, if anyone is still reading, I'm sure you can guess which I am. Come isn't even a contest. And I am HAPPY that you know me so well.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I found myself making up a song in my head, so I thought I'd share

Oh, give me a home
where the adults and the kids can all roam
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the voices are pleasant all day

Home, home at the Sanfords
Where the kids and their friends can all play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the voices are pleasant all day

Oh, a home it would be
where the counters are clutter-free
and the floors are all swept
and the dinners a hit
and none of it was done by me.

Home, home at the Sanfords
Where the kids and their friends can all play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the voices are pleasant all day

Friday, February 12, 2010

Does that chair have my name on it?

Well, it has been a week since my last blog post. Sounds a little like going to confession, doesn't it? Here we are again on another early morning. The kids are parked in front of the cartoons and not quite clamoring for breakfast yet. A few stolen minutes.

I think one reason that I haven't been posting as often is because I've added two new things to my life. One is exercise. I'd love to say it happens daily, but we're on track to make it 3 times for this week....IF I make it happen today and tomorrow. =) The second is a plethora of doctor visits. I've been to the doctor 6 times with the kids in the last month, none of which were well-care appointments.

It all started out with Spunky Girl getting a rash on her leg, which I basically ignored, and then it got infected. By the time I got her to the doctor, they were concerned it was MRSA and gave her tons of strong antibiotics. It wasn't MRSA, but it turned out then that she had an allergic reaction to one of the medicines, which resulted a body full of hives. So back to the doctor. It was about that time that the Big Guy came down with croup. And then shortly after that Spunky Girl ended up with a case of Vaginitis...probably another result of the strong antibiotics. Poor Girl. We just about get all those cleared up and the Big Guy falls of the kitchen chair and knocks his head on the wood floor. No big deal, right? Kids fall out of their chairs all the time (at least mine do). Well this time he managed to smack the floor just hard enough and just right to give himself a concussion.

The poor kid stopped talking for 45 minutes and kept trying to go to sleep, which freaked his mother out, so the doctor said we needed to take him to the Emergency Room for a Cat Scan. Turns out my Big Guy doesn't liked getting his head taped into a big Cat Scan machine. Wow, that was FUN! And, of course, when you finish spending your evening in the emergency room (with the other kids in tow because you husband is OF COURSE at the firehouse that night), they remind you to visit your doctor the next day to keep the medical care consistent. So there you have it...6 doctors month...and that doesn't even count the trip to the dentist to have the Big Guy's front two teeth pulled.

How does one have time to blog with all that going on?

I have to say, though, my overwhelming feeling about this last month is gratefulness. While I didn't enjoy spending the month in the doctor's office waiting room, I am so thankful to have medical care to rely on. There is such safety and security in asking a doctor what to do about something and following their advice. It takes away the worrying about whether I'm doing the right thing or not. I used to feel guilty about so many trips to the doctor, like I was abusing the priveledge or wasting their time. But then I didn't go a few times when I should have, and that didn't feel any better. So now I just call the nurse advice line and ask if I should come in or not. I enjoy my pediatrician so much, it feels like we are friends. This month, I think I've seen her more often than I saw my friends.

As the health care debate rages on, I think this is essentially what it comes down to. Is there a way to extend the kind of health care that I have access to to others without care, without making that healthcare so expensive or reduced services that it isn't worth having anymore. I don't know if there is a way to do that, but maybe I'll include that in my prayers tonight.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Marymoor Park, Scootering, and Rice Socks

Well, here it is...barely 7 am on a Saturday. Hubby is gone to work and all three kids decided on a pre-7 am start time. Isn't that peachy?

In keeping with my New Year's Resolution, I want to take the kids hiking this morning. I failed to remember to line up some adult help (usually my dad or FIL) so it will just be me and the kids. I'm trying to decide what to do. Part of me wants to grab the girls' scooters and just head down to Marymoor for the nice paved trail. In some ways it seems easier...less whining if the kids are zipping around, less mud, almost no hills, no need to layer up like Eskimos. But in some ways I think it could be more difficult. For example, Sweetness has a razor-like scooter which is MUCH faster than Spunky Girl's scooter. THAT could be an issue. Also, we could get a mile out there and one of the girls could fall off their scooters and want to be carried back. And when I say "No Can Do" to that, because I'm already carrying the Big Guy or pushing him in a stroller, they will try to find a way for me to carry their scooter and they'll limp slowly back to the parking lot...which will seem like a VERY long way back. Hmmm. Perhaps it would be better if I didn't consider all the possible outcomes and just went and did it.

Today I also need to find the materials to make rice sock/bed warmers. My Girl Scout Daisy troop is making these on Monday for the residents of Issaquah's Tent City (a homeless camp for those of you who are out of state or otherwise have your heads in the sand). Buying the rice and the socks is easy, but I want to buy stuff to put in them to make them smell lovely.

Rosemary, Lavender, maybe Mint. Anybody have any suggestions on where I can get that stuff? I figure I can buy Rosemary and Mint from the grocery store, but I'm not sure if the stuff in the refrigerated section is really what I want. It seems like getting rosemary twigs right off a plant would be better (and more cost effective?). And what about the lavender. I know there is a lavender farm on San Juan Island, but that trip won't fit into my day. I need somewhere local. Any ideas????

Okay, I'm off to get everyone dressed and going today. Hmmm...I think I'll start with me today! That's what people mean by "putting yourself first", right?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Today is the day

Today is the day I take the Big Guy to the dentist to have his front two teeth pulled. Not only is today the day, the this is the hour. I have to leave in about 40 minutes. (Why are you blogging then, you might ask, but there is no good answer to that question.)

I slept awful last night. I couldn't fall asleep when I when to bed and then I woke up every few hours. I hate when I do that. It happens whenever I've got something I'm stressing about happening right when I wake up. For some reason my body wakes up every few hours to check the clock...I guess to see if I can stop stressing now becuase the time has come or if I should keep stressing in my dreams for a few hours. It is totally lame. And now I get to bring the Big Guy to the dentist when I'm exhausted and he is going to be a handful.

The first challenge will be the fact that he can't have breakfast. He is cranky when he first gets up and he always requests (okay, he really demands) either his favorite cartoon or waffles and cereal. I can't wait till I get to say "no" to both and instead demand that we instantly get dressed and head for the dentist.

Well, Spunky Girl is up now too and my time until I have to leave has shrunk by 5 minutes, so I'd better start getting ready.

Sure would appreciate any prayers for my baby boy as well as for my sanity. =)