Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011 - Remembering

Just a quick thank you to all those who have served and do serve in our Armed Forces protecting our country and keeping our freedoms safe here in the U.S.A. 

Both of my grandfathers went to war during WWII as very young men.  In fact, my dad told me that his dad (my Grandpa Schwan) was picked up from school since he had turned 18 and was drafted right then to be shipped out.  My grandpas served in the South Pacific.  My Grandma Ness(who is almost 92) worked on military aircraft in the U.S. wiring the panels on planes.  She has small hands, and so she was able to get into tight places more easily than most men.  My mom told me that Grandma was asked to work on an important plane, wiring it, and that it turned out to be General Eisenhower's plane.  And just last summer, going through some family memorabilia, we found a Japanese yen that my Grandpa Ness had brought back with him as a souvenir.  My hubby was able to piece together most of it with tweezers and used a laminator to save the bill.  So, thanks to my grandparents who set an example of patriotism and service to our country!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Busy Bees

Well, it seems I've been slacking off a little on the blogging.  I need to get in gear and post a little more often.  We've been staying busy here at the Garcia homestead.  Here are a few of our goings-ons recently.

-the hubby getting a colony of bees and starting the hobby of beekeeping (which he is loving!).  Surprisingly, we haven't seen any increase in the # of bees near the house or in the yard.

-Putting in new kitchen cabinets from IKEA, little by little.  This is a project that is very much in progress at the moment, but it has to get worse to get better.

-Putting up an above ground pool where the previous owners already had one.  It will feel really great on the 100 + degree days throughout the summer.

-Tending to the vegetable gardens which was very fun at first, but has recently become frustrating as we realize we have pocket gophers in several parts of the yard near our garden plots and roses.  They are vegetarians, so all plants and roots are very attractive to them.  So, hopefully we'll find a solution to the problem that doesn't cost too much $$$ and still have some plants left in the end.  We haven't had much time this spring to be very prepared in our gardening so it is more of an experiment the first time around, but I definitely want to put in raised beds next year and chicken wire under all new beds and plants to start combating our underground pests. 

-We were treated by friends (and babysitting grandparents) to a night away at a local resort and given tickets to see the PBR (Professional Bull Riding) the next day.  Gotta love a mini-vacation!  It was the first night away from #5 who is now 13 months, and she did marvelously!

Off to check on my tomato plants now and do some watering.  I sure hope they are still there . . . and alive!  :-)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Heading towards my Mid-30's

When I was a youngster, I relished the thought of turning a year older.  I was growing up and could have more responsibility and the priveleges that went along with having another birthday.  This feeling of great excitement over reaching the next year of my life lasted through my late teens and most of my 20's, but as 30 approached I began to feel differently.  To be honest, I wasn't all that excited to turn 30 because I realized that as I started this new decade, I was definitely moving out of the stage of my youth to something more of an in-between age.  It's not that I'm opposed to getting older in essence, but it is more the growing realization that time goes by so quickly and is fleeting.  It seems like the years go by ever increasingly more quickly.  Of course, from a scientific standpoint that is bogus, but I think you know what I mean.  As adults, life is busy and our days are filled.  All of a sudden, my kids are growing up before my eyes, I'm not just 30, but 34 and almost to the middle of the next decade, and I'll have been married for 10 years in July.  I love my life, my family, and all that has happened in our lives over the past years as we've become the family that we are.  I just realize that on this day that I am turning another year older, in my 30's, that I need to not let the little frustrations, crazinessess, and distractions of daily life keep me from enjoying and relishing each new year of my life to the fullest.  So, Happy 34th Birthday to me!  May it be a great year!

Here is a little look back at me in the past few years.  :-)
2003 - (Baby #1 at 26.)

27 years old.

Me at 28 (almost 29), with #2 and pregnant with #3 with a sprained ankle.
At 30, with #3 who was turning 1 year's old.  
Pregnant with #4, out on a date with hubby (31 years old)
32 and in Paris with #4.

33 years old.
Almost 34 (taken this spring).

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Birthday Freebies

With my birthday just around the corner, or tomorrow to be more exact, I am signing up right and left for fun birthday freebies.  I really should have done this earlier because sometimes it takes a few days for the e-mails to arrive in one's inbox, but most of the freebies allow you to use them during your birthday week and not just on the actual day of your birth.  Lucky for me, many of these offers involve free ice cream, one of my all-time favorite treats.  There are also a couple of fun girlie ones that I will enjoy - an Aveda salon 3-pack sampler and a body wash from Sephora.  Some are even for a free dinner entree at a restaurant.  I can guarantee you that I won't be cashing in on all of these offers as that would require too much effort on my part, especially considering the improbability of hauling around 5 kids and hubby to cash in on said offers.  But, if I even was able to use one, it would still be fun and best of all, FREE.

Here a few links to birthday freebies:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lessons I'm Learning From My Kids: Many of the Sweetest Moments are the Simple Times Together . . .

. . . such as a few days ago when I was holding my freshly bathed baby all wrapped up in a towel, smelling of baby soap, and giggling because she was so thrilled to have been playing while getting clean.  Those are the moments where I pause, hold my child close, take a deep breath, and just savor the moment knowing that these simple times together are sweet and precious - moments that I need not take for granted. 
It doesn't get much cuter than that!

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Balancing Act

As a mom, I feel like I am constantly trying to find a balance in the way that I parent my children.  This is probably something that will never change and that is okay.  It is a tug-of-war, a push-and-shove, mental acrobatics, and intense negotiations with my girls on a daily basis.  First off, I am a mom of a relatively big family and this, in and of it self, requires me to juggle many activities and responsibilities on a daily basis.  I like to refere to it as managed chaos.  As anyone who knows me can tell you, I am not a Type-A housekeeper or scheduler.  So, the struggle that I have in wanting to be a good mom is that I want my children to grow up to be responsible individuals that understand the value of hardwork, while at the same time also desiring for them to have a carefree and enjoyable childhood.  I waver between wanting to tightly schedule their every minute with piano lessons and practice (that I give them), chores, preparation for the next school day, and other valuable enrichment activities and just wanting them to be able to come home from school and run out the door to play and use their imaginations.  Because I am not very type-A, the highly regimented charts and schedules usually do not last terribly long; I wish I were more this way sometimes and will strive to work on being more consistent where it counts.  At the same time, I think that the spur-of-the-moment, spontaneous activities that we jump in to based on the girls' interest (like full-scale baking projects, arts and crafts, and outdoor exploration) are moments not to be missed.  So many of those times hold good memories and have been learning experiences (teachable moments) throughout the years.  Every mom is different and has different strengths and weaknesses; these are mine, for better or worse.  As Mother's Day approaches, I hope and pray that I will become a better and better mother over the years, learning from my mistakes and gaining wisdom both from the successes and the failures (only with God's help is this even possible).  So, day by day, I continue to walk the tightrope of motherhood, thankful to have been given this amazing opportunity and privilege in my life!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Child's Mind

I love to watch and listen to my children as they play and use their imaginations.  More and more as technology intrudes into every facet of our lives, I become a bit concerned that my children may lose some of their ability to imagine and play creatively.  But, for the most part, it would seem that their child's mind with which God has gifted them is alive, well, and hard at work.  Some days, it is expressed in the "Animal Shelter" game where they gather all their pet stuffed animals and toys and rescue them from all kinds of perilous situations.  Other days, half of them are the masters and the other half pretend to be the pets themselves.  This afternoon, they had spread out two fleece blankets in the dining room area.  The big blue one was the ocean and the big yellow one was the sand.  There was a boat (empty diaper box) in the ocean, and a beach chair on the sand with snacks and books.  This, of course, was accompanied by the donning of swimsuits to fully play out the roles of beach-goers.  Probably the moment of greatest creativity this past month was initiated by #2 when she decided to make herself a pair of elf ears, which precipitated #1 and #3 following her lead and doing the same.  Then, it turned out to be a misty night outside and my hubby ushered them all outdoors for an impromtu photo shoot.  It couldn't have turned out better if we had been trying for it.  There are challenges and frustrations to having 5 young children space closely together, but there are also so many joys and wonders.  Watching the girls play together, imagine, create, and enjoy their childhood in this way is such a delight and blessing to me.  I'm going to enjoy this stage while it last and try not to wish it away, even in the many moments of exhaustion throughout the day.