Monday, April 28, 2008

Last Thursday night, Trent & Little K has special Daddy time while I went to "A Celebration of Reading," benefiting the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and the Barbara Bush Texas Fund. When I offered to help my mom set up for this event, she misunderstood my intentions and got me a ticket to the event. Cool, right? Well, I'd rather stay home in the evenings to spend time with my daughter and husband but I went any ways.

It was amazing. We gathered in the Hobby Center and were seated. Former President George W. H. Bush and Barbara Bush welcomed everyone and introduced the first author, who would read a 10-minute excerpt from his book. Low & behold, in walked Former President Bill Clinton. Wow! He read from his book "Giving" and then announced that some members of the audience would receive a complimentary copy of his book (including moi). All politics aside, this was pretty impressive.

We then heard from a woman who said she had graduated from college without knowing how to read by faking it and cheating. She struggled to find work and said it was especially difficult to find the right products at the grocery because she couldn't read the labels on meat. Finally, she went to the Reading Commission and began to learn to read. Programs like the ones being sponsored at "A Celebration of Reading" helped this woman learn to read. Her goal: to read a book to her second grader's class. She was on her way.

Next we heard 10-15 minute readings from the following:
  • Jim Nantz: journalist for CBS Sports and author of Always By My Side
  • Immaculee Ilibagiza: survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide and author of Left to Tell
  • Amy Grant - contemporary Christian artist and author of Mosaic: Pieces of My Life So Far
  • Jill Conner Browne - author of the Sweet Potato Queens series
This is a photo of the stage, including a custom made book case that was designed and underwritten by the interior design firm where my mom works. The stage set was then donated to Ronald McDonald House Houston to help youngsters nurture their love for reading. Super cool.
I don't think anyone in the audience left the event without feeling inspired. Just in case we needed a boost, a light dinner and discussion followed.
Now I have a long list of books to read and plenty of inspiration to do good for others. Reading 20 minutes per day with my daughter is my first step.
Until the next nap time...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Kazdin Method Works

Yesterday, I finished reading the book The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child with No Pills, No Therapy, No Contest of Wills. The last phrase "no contest of wills" especially caught my attention and my husband's since he recommended the book to me. (No, he has not read the book yet.) I think this book is one that I'll refer to throughout Little K's childhood & teen years. I really like how it's broken into age-related chapters so I could turn to the preschool chapter and get the answers I need. In 10 years, I'll refer to the preteen chapter. (Wow, that's weird to think about.)

Any ways, we are now using the point chart, reward system & positive opposites that Kazdin describes and Little K is making remarkable progress. Yeah! She's excited about getting dressed in the morning "like a Big Girl" (1 star), some times she's willing to have a "Big Girl Tubby" (another star) and she's doing great with "Big Girl Bed Time" (another star). After so many stars, she gets to choose a treat like reaching into a grab bag or choosing a game for us to play together. Kazdin walks you through the pitfalls and makes it practical. Here's my online review of the book. I'm actually glad my husband put this on my "To Read" list.

Until the next nap time...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mother's Day is 2.5 Weeks Away

Yep, our special day is just a few weeks away & I've really been thinking about it. I'm very lucky in that my mom and my 2 grandmothers are still living. We also are blessed to have my mother-in-law Mary Ann and my husband's paternal grandmother in Illinois. Oh, and don't forget my aunt, who is also my Godmother, who lives one neighborhood north from me. Little K actually has 2 Godmothers. Whew! What a list. How will we spend time with all of these special ladies on Mother's Day?

Well, we won't. Despite some pressure that's been thrown my way, I told Trent this morning that I'd really like to celebrate Mother's Day at home with my immediate family. Maybe I can get my nails done that weekend and we can hang out by the pool with absolutely no agenda. The Salch trio could go to a nice dinner on Saturday night and just enjoy not being in a hurry. At some point, I'll head to my Grandmother's place around the corner to visit with her, too. Maybe I can take my own Mom to lunch on that Friday. I am just putting on the brakes because I don't want to be running all over town or all over my neighborhood trying to please all the special moms in our lives. (Note: it's interesting that most of these people are on MY side of the family. I think that says something about me as a people pleaser.) So here's the plan:

Grandma in Illinois: card
Mother-in-Law Mary Ann: gift & card
My Mom: card (I still want to find the right gift.)
My Grandmother: card and flowers
My Grammy in Ohio: card
My Godmother around the corner: gift & card
Little K's Godmothers: gifts

It's quite a list, don't you think? Hopefully, they'll understand that this Mommy needs some slow-down time. What do you WANT to do for Mother's Day?

Until the next nap time...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Life's a Beach

We really had a relaxing time in Galveston last weekend. The beach has very few people. The sun was warm but the breeze just right. I was so surprised when we walked on the beach at 5 pm on Friday and found amazing shells. I found a whole Sand Dollar, not a broken one. Little K and I even found what I think it an old hermit crab shell that's completely in tact. It was as if someone had decorated Pirates Beach with gorgeous shells just before we took our stroll. I think this is one of my favorite times of year to visit Galveston.
Saturday for lunch, we ate at Waterman's on the west end of the island. We sat outside so we could watch the boats pull up in the bay. The seafood was fantastic as usual. For dinner on Saturday night, we joined my in-laws at Guido's for an unbelievable meal. (Thank you, Cici & Popi!) My snapper with shrimp was scrumptuous. Little K mostly enjoyed eating her Popi's shrimp!
Sunday found us just lying around, soaking up some rays. Even our cat TJ found a spot on the patio to relax. If you can sneak in a trip to Galveston before summer is upon us, I encourage you to do so. I may even see you there.
Until the next nap time...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Markers Are for Paper

Here's the photo from Friday when I discovered that Little K had taken it upon herself to decorate her skin. She was not happy about me entering her nap room made art studio. Luckily, Little K did not decorate her aunt's bedding or walls. And we finally got all the marker off her skin, except her belly button. Every time I tried to wash it, Little K skirmed & giggled. Oh well. Little K is now very good at saying "Markers are for paper." I'll post more photos from our Galveston weekend soon.
Until the next nap time...

Friday, April 18, 2008

What Your Child's Doing Instead of Napping

I was busy working at my desk when Little K began to cry. She was supposed to be in the mist of a restful nap. I went it to the bedroom where Little K was supposed to be sleeping, and discovered...

Since we're spending the day in Galveston, Little K was "invited" to nap in her aunt's room. I didn't realize that Little K had markers and a coloring book in there. What I did learn is that the theory of coloring in a coloring book versus.. say... your face and arms hasn't sunk in yet. The craziest part about it was that I immediately covered my mouth because I didn't want Little K to see me cracking up.

"I'm going to walk out of the room for a minute because Mommy is pretty upset," I told her. As I entered the family room, I pinched my nose so I could laugh silently. I grabbed my camera. I just couldn't resist. Without commenting, I snapped two photos for proof later on. Then I calmly explained that we color in coloring books, not on skin and not during nap time.

I'll post one of the HILLARIOUS photos later. Thank goodness Little K does not have to go to school tomorrow. There's now more meaning to my sign off.

Until the next nap time...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Being A Present Parent

Today, I have to watch several Oprah episodes that I had recorded in an effort to get caught up to speed on Oprah's interest for a client. I think it's interesting how so many of her shows hit upon slowing down to "be present" and finding peace with yourself.

One Mom said that she had several adopted children who had lost their biological mother. Almost to make up for their loss, she tried to be the ultimate, the perfect mom. I do this all the time. Finally, this mom said she experienced a powerful awakening. "As a mom, I'm not perfect, but I am present." By present, she meant that she was emotionally, spiritually and yes even physically connected to her children. This was pretty moving to me, too, because I'm learning to let go of striving for this perfect mom (perfect entrepreneur, perfect...) image. This woman's comments gave me something to replace that struggle with. Instead, I can just be happy about being fully present with Little K and my husband. That's doable.

Another Oprah show featured Maria Shriver with some surprising confessions about her struggle to identify herself as Maria Shriver -- not a Kennedy or Arnold's wife or the first lady of California or even the journalist. (Maria was asked to leave the network when Arnold became Governor to avoid an appearance of inobjectivity.) Any ways, here's a quote from Maria that I thought was empowering:

"I was raised in a family that equated self-worth with personal achievement. Achievement brought not just acceptance but power, recognition and love. I'd been taught that if you weren't doing, if you weren't serving, if you weren't accomplishing BIG, then you really weren't being. You weren't even seen.

"I've learned that being seen actually for who you are, not for what you do is probably the greatest gift anybody can give you and you can give as a parent to your child and to your friends." -- Maria Shriver

I love it! Hope that gets your thoughts moving. Until the next nap time...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Playing Hookie

This morning, Little K just did not want to go to nursery school so... she didn't.

We ran an errand together and then met our MOPS group at Young at Art for paint your own pottery. At first, we attempted a salad plate with a princess drawn in the middle. I thought that would make a great "You Are Special" plate. One of my friends told me about that type of plate, which can be used on birthdays and holidays or just days when kids need a little boost of attention. Soon, Little K didn't like the fact that Mommy was painting most of it & asked for her own plate. Fair is fair. Little K's plate includes a handprint with pink and yellow designs. We can pick the plates up next week so I'll post a photo of our masterpieces.

Last night while putting Little K to sleep for the night, we said our prayers and Little K caressed my face, imitating how I prepare her for a good night's sleep. How sweet, right? Then she softly played with my hair, making small ponytails on either side of my head. Harmless, right? Then she shouted "LONGHORNS!" Hillarious! My sister-in-law should be proud. I cracked up.

Until the next nap time...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Trip to Hermann Park Train

On Saturday, Trent & I took Little K to the new train at Hermann Park. We had beautiful weather and loved the train ride. The new seats will actually fit two adults and a child so it was a good family activity. The train route currently doesn't have any stops (except at the entrance) but I believe future plans include stops at the local playground. I figure it's great entertainment for only $2.50 per person. The train runs from 10 am - 6 pm weekdays and until 6:30 pm weekends. My only concern was the parking. We ended up spending more time trying to find a parking spot than we did enjoying the park. Note to self: head to Hermann Park early.

Over the weekend, I also came across this "Kids Speak 101" article in a newsletter from the Rockwell Team in Ohio. "A fourth grade teacher likes to collect well-known sayings. She gave the first half of the saying to her students and they came up with the rest:
  • 'The grass is always greener... when you leave the sprinkler on.
  • A rolling stone... plays the guitar.
  • The grass is always greener ... when you remember to water it.
  • A bird in the hand is... a real mess.
  • You have nothing to fear but... homework.
  • A penny saved is... nothing in the real world.
  • The squeaky wheel gets... annoying.
  • Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and ... someone yells "Shut up!"
  • A journey of a thousand miles begins with .. a blister.'"
Until the next nap time...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Our Father

I don't think Little K can say the "Our Father" prayer but after watching this clip, I'm tempted to ask her. I should probably rephrase that. Perhaps I can start working with Little K on this prayer. Check out the clip.

Until the next nap time...

Friday, April 04, 2008

Grandparents' Perogative: High Heels

My mom used to get mad at me when I'd wear her high heels as a kid. That's why I find it so funny to catch her wearing my daughter's Crocs.

Little K insisted on prancing around in my mom's high heels the other day. Did my mom even gripe? No way. Grandparents play by a different set of rules, I'm told. That's interesting because my mom used to tell me that I couldn't play in her heels because I'd break my ankle. Perhaps Little K is more talented than me. That wouldn't surprise me either. I say, wear whatever shoes make you feel GREAT.

Until the next nap time...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Tales from the Diaper Bag Diaries

Well for you new moms or moms starting over with another child, here's a great resource for you. The Diaper Bag Diaries: A Mom's Guide to the Web is a cool Web site started by a Houston mom. It includes hip maternity clothes, great books to read -- sorted by various topics -- her favorite finds from window markers to pacifiers for twins, and much more. I'm looking forward to downloading some of the kid-friendly music she highlights and making our own collection. Hope you enjoy this new Web site as much as I do.

Until the next nap time...