Sunday, October 31, 2010

MauldenNews October 2010

Hello All,

How is everyone? 

We've been busy with the usual things - school, work, 3 friends' kids' birthday parties, swim lessons, and of course, Halloween. We had a purple fairy princess and a Lightning McQueen racecar driver this year.

This month was pretty nice, weather-wise, for Utah. We did get our first snowstorm, with about 5 inches of snow at our house and more in the mountains. Ski season has begun. Still, Tammy and I have been lucky to have several good long runs together on Saturday mornings. I love keeping in shape and getting some extended chat time with a good friend. :-)

I've had a pretty good reading month, too. My book club read The Help by Stockett, which I really liked,  and I have slowly been working my way through Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child by Patty Cogen. This is my new favorite on adoption and parenting issues - I HIGHLY recommend it for anyone parenting any child with a complex background - very helpful insight,  interesting research reports, and best of all, practical wisdom and tools for every age and stage all the way to adulthood. Grateful to be reading it at this stage, as both kids are growing more aware of adoption issues and asking questions about their identity. I wish I'd had it earlier - am now more acutely aware of my many parenting mistakes  - but I'm learning. 

Other books that are worth mentioning:

Razing Hell by Sharon Baker - a well-thought-out, interesting and provocative look at the theology of hell. Actually it touches on other key theological topics as well - but easy to read for us non- (or amateur) theologians. This would be a good one to discuss - if anyone's interested or has read it - let me know! I really liked it. 

A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah - I listened to this on CD - it was painfully sad (story of a child soldier), but good. Not for the faint of heart.

Mutant Message Down Under by Marlo Morgan - I'm halfway through this one now - woman gets sort of kindly "kidnapped" by Australian Aborigines for a 3-month "walkabout" across the Australian continent. Intriguing so far...

And that's about it for us. As always, I hope things are well with all of you.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

first school photo - kindergarten

I was a little worried about how this first school photo would turn out, since this girl does not like to comb her hair. Plus, picture day was Papa's day to drop her off at school and who knew what she would be wearing. I think we got lucky! Whew.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

bedtime fears

Alex goes through stages of bedtime fears. I think it's a form of separation anxiety. She'll be fine for a while and then go through a period of being afraid. When we ask what she's afraid of, she'll say, "My room," or "the dark," or "my closet." The other night she told me, "I keep hearing ominous sounds in my room." :-) I didn't even know she knew that word!

We have developed a system that works for us. We put a sleeping bag or blanket on the floor of our bedroom. We tell her that whenever she is afraid, she is welcome to come in and sleep on the floor as long as she is quiet. When kindergarten started, she did start coming in about every other night. Gradually she's coming in less and less. It helps that our floor is not quite as comfortable as her bed.

I had forgotten all about the sleep fairy until she reminded me a few days ago. When she was 3, we had a really hard time getting her to go to sleep and stay in her room. We told her that the sleep fairy would leave her a prize under her pillow if she went to bed quietly and stayed quiet all night. The sleep fairy left pennies, raisins, pieces of candy, stickers, and occasionally small toys.

The other day she said she wanted the sleep fairy to come again. Maybe this was her way of telling me she is ready to plan on sleeping in her room every night again. So the sleep fairy has been visiting. Now that Sam is a little older, of course he wants in on the action, so he gets a prize too. I have to admit it's a lot of fun being the sleep fairy and coming up with new things to put under their pillows. I love to watch them sleep.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

book thoughts: A Long Way Gone

I just finished listening to Ishmael Beah read his book, A Long Way Gone. Oh, that book was hard. It's a first-person account of the author's childhood during war in Sierra Leone, including his years as a child soldier. It's the kind of book that makes you feel like crying on every page. It's hard for me to comprehend that it even happened. 

Despite the above, I do recommend it. It will change your perspective about things for a while. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Beautiful October; 9 miler

I love October in Utah. This month has been so nice and warm, with cooler nights (finally turned on the heat this month). We had our first dusting of snow on the mountaintops recently, but it didn't last long. The leaves are gorgeous.

Tammy and I had a great run together this morning on the Jordan River Parkway. It's so nice to start a Saturday running as the sun comes up. I went 9.25 miles in 1:42:49, a good bit better than my last run of that length (approx) - 9.55 miles at 2:03. Just happy to be doing it.

Sam's moment of genius

Yesterday was Sam's half birthday (making him 4 and 1/2). He made it a special day by reading "5 Hour Energy" off a bottle in the grocery store. I was astounded - normally don't kids start with little words like "cat"? Before you get too impressed, I'll just say he hasn't read anything before or since. But it was nice to know he is off to a good start!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rant: still trapped in between

Today I went shopping for some simple basics: black sweatpants and plain long-sleeve t-shirts.

I was quickly reminded why I have hated shopping for clothes ever since I turned 13. I'm sort of a freak of nature, but I always forget until I try to find clothes that fit.

I am still IN BETWEEN the girls' sizes and the women's sizes, believe it or not. Since the super-sizing of America, I swear women's "Small" sizes have increased every year. Clothes my size simply do not exist in most stores. The "petite" sizes are great for my pre-teen-length legs, but actual petites are few and far between, and if I find them at all they scream "grandma" or "reject from 8 seasons ago". The women's "XS" shirts are the only ones with a neckline that doesn't plunge below my nipple line, but at the same time their sleeves hang down to my knees. Who actually fits in these clothes? The women's sweatpants don't exist in XS, but the "S" sizes (smallest available) extend 3 inches past my heels. Since they are a cotton/poly blend, I don't think my old trick of washing them in hot water and blasting them in the dryer to shrink them will work.

So I head to the girls' section, since the largest girls' clothes occasionally fit, sort of. The advantage is, sometimes they are cheaper. The disadvantage: most girls' clothes are NOT appropriate for 40+ professional women. Sometimes the legs are short enough; most often they are too short. There isn't much hip or bust room, even though I've not got much of either. The "L" sizes are too tight and the "XL" sizes have legs that are too short combined with waists that are too big.

I felt fortunate to find ONE women's petite pair of black yoga/stretch pants, which were exactly the right length and cost 3 times as much as any of the regular women's or girls' pants. They were the only petite clothing item I saw in the entire store. I bought them.

It's one thing to be a teenager in this awkward in-between stage and eventually outgrow it. It's another to be permanently stuck there. My mom is still there too - at least I know I'm not the only one. And someday, maybe I'll be a grandma and all those grandma clothes will be perfect!

Friday, October 8, 2010

our little fish

Alex really, really loves swimming. Every time we take her to the pool, she gets this huge grin plastered across her face. When it's swim lesson day, her face lights up and she can't wait to go. When it's time to get in the water, there is no toe-dipping or getting used to the water - she just bounds in (head and all, under the water) as if there's not a moment to be lost. I don't think there's anything she likes better.

So when we won free swim lessons with Swimkidz at a school fundraiser silent auction, it was perfect! She LOVED her lessons and made great progress. The only problem is, now she is addicted to the one-on-one attention and wants the expensive private lessons instead of the cheap group lessons. Surprise, surprise.

Actually, I did see big improvements in her abilities after just 2 lessons. She is swimming on her back independently, diving to the bottom to retrieve rings, jumping off the diving board, making good progress in the backstroke and starting to learn the crawlstroke. So, how could we not give her more lessons? There is true joy in following your child's passion and doing little things that make them so ridiculously happy.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

scary dinosaur park

We've been having beautiful weather, and this weekend Bryan was on call so I thought I'd take the kids out to do something new and fun.
I'd heard about this Dinosaur Park up in Ogden, about an hour north of here, and it was a perfect fall Sunday afternoon so off we went. Darn it, I forgot the camera. Oopsie.

It was a good park, full of interesting facts and life-size models of all kinds of dinosaurs. There was a robotic display inside, in which a triceratops with 2 babies faces off against a T. Rex. Lots of posturing, roaring and grunting.

The thing was, they had the park all decorated for Halloween, including very loud realistic sounds coming from speakers all over the park. We could hear it from outside the gate. Howls, growls, roars, thunderous footsteps, and crashing-through-the-brush sounds. A sign at the front entrance read that some of the Halloween decorations may be a bit scary for young children. Yeah - do you think young children coming to a dinosaur park might find fake body parts and human skeletons hanging from the trees just a wee bit disturbing?

At first the kids were pretty freaked out. They stayed close to me especially when the sounds got louder and more threatening. We talked about how everything was just pretend and they understood that. Eventually they were able to enjoy the playground, the dino dig, real lizards and especially some popsicles I bought them, but overall I was disappointed. At least the kids seemed to survive and there was no evidence of nightmares the next day.

I just don't get all the gory, creepy Halloween displays. I'm a Halloween scrooge. I say, Bah, humbug.