Liz' s Musings's

Liz's musings on life – mostly her kids though.

05/30/07 Memorial Day Weekend a little late May 30, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Liz @ 11:17 am

We had a mostly great weekend with little bits of icky-ness. It was Thomas’ grandfather’s 93rd birthday over the weekend so naturally we had to go to California for the weekend. I was not looking forward to 2 – 10 hour drives with a 2 year old in the car. Thankfully we broke up the drive down by going halfway on Friday night and the rest of the way on Saturday morning. Also Micah was with us so he was a great help keeping the little guy somewhat entertained. We spent the first night in Crescent City. It was nice to get up, go outside, and smell the sea air. I really miss that. The only bummer was it was sort of foggy. But as we headed south, the sun came out and was out all weekend!

We spent the next 2 nights in Redwood Valley with friends of Thomas’. They have a huge house with lots of land (complete with snakes for Micah). Christopher got to try fresh strawberries and kumquats. He also played a real piano. He’s really good for a 2 year old! He didn’t just bang on it he thought he was playing music and what came out was better than anything I could do. Micah got to fly an airplane. I think that event was the highlight of his life! It was nice to relax for a bit and enjoy peaceful surroundings. I started my art journal. I sketched a fence and tried to sketch a tree but I got interrupted. I also did a lamp. Hey, the instructions said just start with anything, so I did. I like my green pen and my moleskein book. If it’s good enough for Hemmingway then it should be good enough for me! Thomas got to show Micah some things from his past that are meaningful to him. I don’t know if Micah appreciated it but maybe someday he will.

Grandpa’s party was nice. It was at Thomas’ uncle’s house in Ukiah. We had a simple BBQ and everyone got a chance to visit with grandpa. Micah got him to tell some stories of when he was a kid. We got these on video! We have been trying to get some of grandpa’s stories on video for a long time. Micah did a good job of being unobtrusive so grandpa just kept talking.

On the way home we stopped at the beach just before Crescent City. Christopher got to put his feet in the Pacific Ocean. He was so cute … the wave would come in, his feet would be in about a half an inch of water and he would say, “Run!” and he would run towards Micah up the beach. He thought that up all by himself. How did he know you run from waves?


05/25/07 – The Terrible Twos approach … May 25, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Liz @ 10:32 am

… and they came early. I am working on this.

Connecting with Your Kids:Loving Your Terrible, Terrific Toddler
By Dr. Laura Markham

( – Toddlerhood can be a maddening time for parents. But you’ll be glad to know you can reduce your child’s rebellion by giving him freedom to do his developmental work.

How much is he allowed to explore? To set his own pace? To feel in control of his world? To discover that he’s a competent person? Can you appreciate his bids for independence without taking them as personal insults? Can you give up some control so he can develop some sense of mastery over his world?

Your baby is growing into her own person. Your challenge is to keep your sanity and keep her safe. Your best strategy is to cultivate a great relationship with her and enjoy her emerging independence. How?

1.Cultivate empathy for your child. Kids begin to develop empathy (and therefore, the ability to play well with others) as they themselves feel understood. And it’ll make you a better parent.

2.Don’t force her to share. Instead, encourage taking turns. Let her put her favorite toys away before another child visits.

3.Allow time in your schedule for your toddler’s need to explore the world. Rushing toddlers is one of the common triggers of avoidable tantrums.

4.Use age-appropriate discipline: distraction, reasonable limits, redirection. Don’t unwittingly teach your toddler that might makes right by spanking her. And if you yell at her, you’re teaching her by example that tantrums are ok.

5.Let your child be in charge of toilet training. They all get out of diapers sooner or later. Fights with your child about his body are fights you will never win. If your child shows zero interest in toilet training, find opportunities for him to be around other kids who are using the toilet, and he’ll quickly want to emulate them.

6.Sidestep power struggles. You don’t have to prove you’re right. Your child is trying to assert that he’s a real person, with some real power in the world. That’s totally appropriate. Let him say no whenever you can do so without compromise to safety, health, or other peoples’ rights.

7.Feeding is the toddler’s job. You provide the healthy food. She feeds it to herself. Don’t obsess about how much she eats; kids don’t starve themselves. Many toddlers are too busy during the day to eat enough and ask for food at bedtime. Build a bedtime snack into the routine to help him sleep better.

8.Forget about stimulating your child’s brain by teaching her the alphabet. The intellectual work of toddlers is about talking and being listened to, observing the world, being accepted and validated. Emotional self-management lays the foundation for intellectual development. It’s never too early to develop a love of books, if you want your child to love reading, then read to her and tell her stories.

9.Pre-empt whining. Whining is an expression of powerlessness. It can become a habit. Try to avoid making whining necessary, and if it does happen, try to avoid rewarding it.

10.Use routines. Kids develop self discipline partly by living in a safe, predictable structured routine where they know what to expect. When you disrupt routines with Grandma’s visit or simply exceptions for your own convenience, you can expect tantrums, difficulty falling asleep, and other challenges. Grandma, of course, is worth it, but choosing disruptions wisely is part of protective parenting.

11.Help your toddler feel more powerful by listening to her, letting her make decisions whenever possible, and giving her the opportunity to experience competence by helping you with simple household tasks.

12.Minimize or eliminate visual electronic media. Sesame Street creates a watcher, not a doer, shortens attention spans, and starts an addiction in kids who are prone to it. When they’re a little older, they’ll flip on the TV instead of reading a book. Not to mention that you’ll have stopped being able to monitor what they watch by the time they’re eight. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of two not watch TV or videos at all because it impacts brain development. The AAP recommends that children over two watch AT MOST an hour daily of nonviolent, educational TV.

13.Pre-empt tantrums. Since most tantrums happen when kids are hungry or tired, think ahead. Preemptive feeding and napping, firm bedtimes, cozy time with you, peaceful quiet time without media stimulation — whatever it takes to stay grounded — prevent most tantrums. Learn to just say no — to yourself! Don’t squeeze in that last errand with a hungry or tired kid.

14.Try to handle tantrums so they don’t escalate. If your kid does launch into a tantrum despite your best preventive efforts, stay calm. He needs to know you’re there and still love him, even if he won’t let you touch him. Don’t try to reason with him. Think about what you feel like when you’re swept with exhaustion, rage and hopelessness. He needs to know that you’re in control, and as soon as he’s ready, you’ll help him recollect himself. Afterwards, take some reassuring “cozy time” together, but don’t give in to the original demand that prompted the tantrum.

Dr. Laura Markham is the founder of, featuring a popular advice column and parent-tested solutions you can use every day to connect with your kids and create a richer family life. Dr. Markham specializes in helping families nurture the parent-child relationships that protect today’s kids.

Copyright by


05/23/07 Contractor nightmares May 23, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Liz @ 3:07 pm

I always used to read about people who had huge problems with contractors and sort of laugh inside. Mostly because I couldn’t afford to do anything that required a contractor and that it would never happen to me. IT IS FREAKIN’ HAPPENING TO ME!!! The worst part is that I work for the damn company!

We’re having our HVAC system installed this week (and part of next). It started with the guy who came out to talk to Thomas about where we want the registers and vents. He didn’t bring the drawing of the house he’d made. So we had to rely on him to remember it right until he got back to the office. Needless to say he got a couple of things wrong. With luck they got fixed today, but we’ll be painting a section of our bedroom ceiling when this is over.

Monday’s disaster was they lost Todd the cat (we found him yesterday.) I put Todd in Jonah’s bedroom because that is where the litter box resides. I also put his water and food bowls in the room. Jonah comes home from school, finds out that Todd is missing and calls me in a panic. I have to remain calm because I am the mom (well step mom but you get my point). I tell Jonah that we’ll find Todd but I am really thinking that the cat is gone forever. We search high and low for the cat. We’re all calling for him and we also walk up and down our street. No Todd. I even got up at 5:15am (I was already awake, I had to pee) to walk up and down our street again to see if I could find him. No luck.

Tuesday’s disaster was a gas leak. I come home, pull into the driveway, open the garage door, get out of my car, and am smacked with stinkiness. I see that they’ve run gas pipe out to the garage and the valve is off. I hope that by having the garage door open that it’ll dissipate. 40 minutes later it’s still stinky so I call for the service tech who is on call. By the time he arrives over 2 hours has passed since I got home and the smell is still strong. The tech goes under the house and finds the leak. Rather than him fixing it he suggests that we just turn the gas off to the house (we don’t need it for the evening) and let the install guys fix it today. While we’re waiting for the tech, we’re out in the backyard. Thomas & Christopher are in the swingy bench and Thomas hears Todd under the house. It took us about a half an hour (maybe more) to coax the poor kitty out from under the house. He’s none the worse for wear but he kept rather a low profile last night.

I am nervous to go home tonight. What catastrophe will I walk into?


05/19/07 Spring Flowers May 19, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Liz @ 12:06 pm

We have so much blooming right now it’s just incredible. I took pictures of most of the flowers in our front and back yards. Check out the pictures on our Pbase site. There are some that I don’t know, so if you happen to be a flower expert and know what something is, please let me know in the comments!

Yesterday was my mom’s birthday. I took her out to lunch on Thursday and we all took her out to dinner last night.

I am caught up on my PowerPoint homework through next Friday. I’ll have a small test, but it doesn’t get posted until Monday then I have until Friday to finish it. I have work to do on a team assignment for Monday but I really need to stop and breathe today. Thomas went to Portland, Jonah is at a study group for an IB exam and Micah is catching up on class work and homework that he hasn’t gotten done. Basically he’s in homework prison. Christopher is napping and I am enjoying the relative solitude.


05/16/07 Sketching – things to remember May 16, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Liz @ 8:34 am

I want to learn to sketch. It’s one of those things on my list of things I want to attempt after I finish my degree. My friend Mary posted this to a Yahoo group we belong to and I want to remember it so I thought I would crosspost it here …

This is from an article in the Eugene Register Guard. She posted the link then the contents of the article

http://www.register news/2007/ 04/05/ar. sketchside. 0405.p1.php?section=arts

Some tips on keeping a sketchbook
Published: Thursday, April 5, 2007
Here are some ideas Ken O’Connell uses with his students to help newcomers and veterans in creating a sketchbook:
• Feel guilty if you haven’t made a mark in your book in seven days. We spend a lot of time trying to avoid guilt in our lives, he says, but guilt can also be a healthy motivator. Use it.

• Divide the page into two or three parts, so you don’t feel obligated to fill the page or complete something. The worst stumbling block people have is fear of failure. The sketchbook will be full of fragments. Accept that.

• Pick something you like to draw and sketch it in your sketchbook again and again. It could be a place you like, an object, another person or a self portrait, but make it something you enjoy doing. That helps you get started. “Also I have another rule,” he says. “Draw what is in front of you. If it’s a piece of half-eaten cake or a peeling from an orange, just sketch it.”

• Don’t let your sketchbook become precious. “Even though somebody might give you a hand-bound book, and they’ve spent hours selecting the paper and sewing the seams, don’t treat it as valuable.” Then it becomes just one more excuse not to start. O’Connell doesn’t like expensive sketchbooks for that reason. If you end up with a very nice book, he says, “make a grocery list on the first page.” Realize that very few pages will end up being worth looking at in any book.
O’Connell says he’s happy with one good page in 25. Another way to avoid preciousness is to use the sketchbook as a scrapbook. Glue in maps, ticket stubs, photographs and post cards. O’Connell writes lists of addresses on a back page. You can keep lists of books you want to read, music you want to hear or places you want to go.

• Draw in ink. Add color. “I try to get people to carry something colored: colored pencil, markers, sometimes just a pen with red on one end and black on the other, and force themselves to put color into the drawing.” A simple watercolor set is good. Don’t make it elaborate. “You have to be careful that you keep it portable. That way wherever you
are, you have a studio. People say, `I don’t have any place to work.’ Well, you have your lap.”
A sketchbook also makes a portable exhibition space. When traveling, O’Connell frequently meets people who watch him sketch. “You can stop and open your sketchbook and everybody loves it. It’s a wonderful way to break the barrier of communication in travel.”

• Draw your tools. “Make a drawing of your watercolor set. Or make a sketch of your camera.” This will keep you from running out of subjects. “Buy a pastry and draw it before you eat it.”
Sketching is good for those of us with short attention spans, he says. “Every page that has a sense of capturing something gives a sense of accomplishment. You don’t get that when you’re working on a long-term painting.”

• Enjoy new tools. Buy a new pen or brush or colored marker and use it for the next 10 pages in your book.

• Date every page (see first item) and write the location down.

• Don’t worry about finishing things. “You just have to start things. The idea of starting is more important than finishing.”

• Use only one side of the page. Ink and watercolor may bleed through.

• Use words with the images. Draw a sketch of a tree and then fill the rest of the page with words about the tree, or about anything else.


05/14/07 Stamp prices 41 cents today May 14, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Liz @ 10:43 am

Buy stamps that are good forever or suck it up and pay more every time rates go up. I read one article that says it’s a terrible investment. You’re better off putting money in a simple savings account. I still have to buy 2 cent stamps. I have 20 or so 39 cent stamps left over.

In other news, today would have been my grandmothers 109th birthday (I think). Well I know today is her birthday, but I’m not sure what her age would be. I think she was born in 1898 but I can’t remember.

I hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day. I know we did. Rather than drag Christopher to a restaurant and have to wait for over an hour, then stick him in a high chair for more time that he’s willing to deal with (5 minutes), we had brunch at our house. It was YUMMY! We had lox, cream cheese, and mini bagels; brie and crackers; frittatasasone was spinach, mushroom & bacon and the other one was asparagus, broccoli, and ham); pasta salad; a fruit platter; spinach dip and bread; little pastries; and cake (for Judy’s birthday which was Sunday also). Oh and we also had mimosas and coffee.


05/11/07 I sprained it … May 11, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Liz @ 6:08 pm

I didn’t know it was possible, but I sprained my neck. Not doing yoga, gardening, or tantric sex positions … I was rear ended yesterday. Some big honkin’ pickup (probably over loaded) plowed into a little Acura who hit me. It’s definitely not the way I like to start my day. I went to the doctor today and he officially diagnosed me with having a sprained neck. He recommended ice and ibuprofin. They also took x-rays. I thought I would post my notes to recap the incident here, that way if anyone asks, I will have it available and dated …

7:40am Turned off of Hawkins onto 18th. Came to a stop in front of Willamette Christian Centre on 18th, just east of Hawkins. There was a long line of cars from the stop light at City View. I heard a screech. I looked to my left and didn’t see anything. As I was about to look in my rear view mirror I heard the pickup slam into the Acura then the Acura slammed into me. My head jerked forward then flung back into the head rest. The force of the hit knocked my foot off the brake but I was able to reapply the brake to avoid hitting the car in front of me. We all pulled over to survey the damage. I called Thomas, then 911.


My husband told me that the guy who hit us was telling his boss that the Acura turned in front of him. She couldn’t have because she had been coming down 18th before Hawkins. I know this because she was up the hill so I had plenty of time to make my right turn onto Hawkins.

As we were standing, waiting for the police officer to walk to his car and back to us the guy who hit us kept saying, “stupid, stupid, stupid”.

The skid mark was 8 – 10 feet long.