Thursday, February 28, 2008

Food Fight

As far as letting go, being calmer, enjoying ice cream, finding mamahood blissful ---well, I'm a total fraud today. Totally lost it. Full fledge tantrum. Even squealed the tires on my minivan! in front of the new dad in the neighborhood. Pathetic. Why? School lunch. Making my kids lunches is by far the crappiest morning task I have. Trust me, I've tried to do it at night and it stinks then, too. It's not the task-- it's the contents and what my kids will/will not eat. They pretty much will not eat anything. They will eat most things at other meal times but not in a lunchbox for some reason I can not fathom. For example--

bananas? no. apples? no. with cinnamon? nope. cantaloupe? no. strawberries? not a chance. I'll add sugar. no.blueberries? no. dried ones? no. raisins? no. cashews? no. almonds? no. pistachios? bagel. no. with cream cheese? no. multi-grain crackers? no (they apparently break). cold cheese pizza? no. So I bought thermoses and offered hot foods---mac n cheese? no. soup? no. spaghetti? no. PB and crackers? no. (the peanut butter sticks to the bag). So Eric bought containers. How dare he, apparently that is so not cool! cheese sticks? no. cheese slices. no. yogurt? no. So then I resort to much less healthy food but can you see why I'm desperate? gogurts? no way, says Liv. Audrey has one daily, thank God. fiber one chocolate chip bar? no. fruit leather? no. (makes their hands sticky). peanut butter filled pretzels? no. chocolate covered raisins? no.

They will eat carrots, grapes, rice cakes, and some crackers--Liv won't eat goldfish but she will eat saltines--nice and healthy, 'eh? Here's a handful of white flour and salt basically. On top of all this I have to send Olivia to school with a mid-a.m. snack AND a snack for the afternoon on the days she has piano or cheerleading practice. So, back to this a.m. I was making lunch and every request was rejected. Oh, one more tangent--I KNOW not to give them choices when they are so picky because they will decline everything and the rational thinking is--if they're hungry, they'll eat SO I have sent them to school with what I want them to eat and then it all comes home. brown apples. warm cheese stick. soggy strawberries. And I can't stand the waste. So I lecture and remind them of starving children and how unfair it is that mama and papa work to provide for them and they let the food we buy rot in their lunch box. I know how awful my lecturing is too, trust me. And I know that at the end of the day I should probably let this whole school lunch issue go. But today I simply couldn't. Anyway, back to making lunch this a.m.--that was how my tantrum started. Then my computer jammed as I was printing something for a 10 a.m. mtg. And you can believe--it's a very bad hair day. So the kids are finally loaded into the car and Audrey does not have her lunchbox. Not that it matters. Would her body really miss a gogurt and a PB chip rice cake anyway? So I start to lecture about personal responsibility and send Olivia inside to find her sister's lunchbox that I set on the counter. And the clock is ticking. She could not find it. And the minutes are passing. Now mama is on the war path. I got out of the car SLAMMING the door behind me and I could not find it either. Not in my office, my bathroom, their bathroom, downstairs bathroom, not in either kids bedrooms, neither dog had brought it onto their respectives posts. Nowhere. I returned to the car. Not in Liv's backpack either. And there it was. It had fallen next to Audrey's seat on the side of the car. And now I was 10 minutes behind schedule. And I am usually 10 minutes behind "that" schedule so I'm now about 20 minutes late for everything...So I turn on the radio and blast the volume to 48 (another quick tangent--48 is nothing on my earlier, crazier mama tantrum days when both kids were babes--62 was my all time high and Eric bought me a shirt and had it embroidered to prove it--something I am so not proud of-- believe me). So back to the radio--Coldplay was on and droning, "Nobody said it was easy". I could not change it fast enough. Sheryl Crow's voice is now blaring in the car as she crooned, "Soak Up the Sun" and the lyrics are, "It's not having what you want, it's wanting what you have". And then that still small voice appears. Conscience? God? Telepathy from my kids? Turn it down, switch the station, and chill the heck out. And I did. I didn't want to. But I did. And thankfully for Liv we'd arrived at her school. Audrey got to ride the next few minutes listening to Radio Disney as she does most days. Upon arrival she spells I L-O-V-E Y-O-U and then she adds, "You're all of my dreams come true." Is this kid going to need therapy or what? So I turn the car off and hug her and tell her how wrong I was. I told her I had a tantrum over school lunch. And then I was mad that we couldn't find her lunch box so I was now upset over losing something silly. I told her how wrong that was and how I tell them not to get upset over clothes, hair, and things that can be fixed and found. But that I went and did it. I asked her how it felt when I acted like that and she said, "you're like a monster." ouch. She's right. So that "you're my dream come true" was more like a nightmare for sure. But she did not say it. She didn't have to. Bless her. But I know. "Mom, you need to talk to yourself and talk to God. It helps. He can send messages to calm you," she says. Good luck getting my attention. I then took her to class and spelled to the teacher that I was a real B-I-T-C-H this morning and so Audrey girl may feel the after effects. She nodded and assured me that this too shall pass. And then I was off. Turning the key in the ignition the radio comes on and The Wiggles greet me with "Fruit Salad. Yummy, Yummy". Are you kidding me? God apparently does have a sense of humor.

p.s. Got a new biz call last week from a company starting "healthy, fun lunch packages for kids" (kid tested/mom approved)! And they're delivered right to school and camp- no muss, no fuss. Was I interested in helping them with their public relations? YES, YES, YES. I may be willing to take compensation in trade I am so interested! Is that another sign?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Joy, Smiles, Cinderella, Death, & Sleeping Soundly

I was thinking of blogging about a crazy tantrum filled night with Liv last night and all the good and bad that came after it. I also thought about delving into God, oneness, Jesus, Islam, a buddha statue that's been on my mind, a spiritual adviser I ran into at the library, how the book "When Fear Falls Away" greatly impacted me and more but maybe I will do that another time. For now, I have my head on music (and my focus needs to be on work but I'll take a quick escape for a time).

I love music. All sorts of music. I am certainly not known for my taste in music and I do not spend any time surfing the Internet for new songs or shopping on iTunes (I've had a gift card since last Christmas from Eric yet to be used!). I forget to turn my sassy hot pink i-pod mini (again, thanks to Eric!) on most days and yet music conjures up so much in me and makes me think of others and count blessings and relaxes me and oh, so much more. Here are a few songs that came top of mind today....

You are my Joy by Reindeer Section (been out for a couple of years--still a fave). Eric (who is totally into music, does spend hours surfing the Internet for new songs/artists, spends far too much $ on iTunes and would never be caught dead without his iPod) played it for me one evening while I was making dinner and said, "Kate, this is for you." No wonder it's my favorite.

(not a fan of the video here but I was trying to find a way to have the lyrics heard and came across this video)

Smile, Smile, Smile by Dan Zanes.

Disney radio plays this song most mornings around 9 a.m. as I am dropping the girls off at school.

"I know what I'll do when I see you again I'm gonna smile, smile, smile." Makes the drop off so bittersweet.

"And your big heart circles the world every time you smile". Lovely.

Love Death Cab for Cutie. Already chosen "I'll Follow You into the Dark" to play at my funeral. Nice, I know. I have a whole set of songs I want played. Never did document them in ink. Hopefully Eric will remember...that was during my morbid stage. clearly. But really, what great lyrics, "If heaven and hell decide that they both are satisified illuminate the NO's on their vacancy signs."

Then there's the Dixie Chicks. Strong, smart, savvy mamas. I could not get enough of, "Not Ready to Make Nice" when their "Taking the Long Way" cd came out a few years back.

"Made my bed and I sleep like a baby". Another great line and something I do strive for. Doing the right thing and sleeping soundly because of it. Amen to that! Would love to hear some of your faves or what's playing in your head lately!

Sunday, February 24, 2008


My dear friend, Carrie, found a fabulous site for blog backgrounds, images, and such and here is my new look. I love it! ox, girlfriend! Big thanks!

love the name, too!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Me & June--Two Girls in the 'Burbs

June Cleaver eat your heart out. I too am learning to do some daily chores and find live blissful.

It's been a fabulous Saturday. And yet I haven't done much of anything. Or at least what I've done is not the least bit exciting. And yet it's been perfect.

Here's how this Saturday has been spent.

Audrey woke me up with her dreadful cough. Poor thing has been hacking and letting out whimpers in her sleep for 4 nights now. While that is certainly not "perfect" climbing into bed with her and being greeted with her beautiful bright smile and outstretched arms--that is perfect.

It was 7:30 and so we lay peacefully together until 8 and then I read her some new library books.

Made French Breakfust Puffs (cinnamon, nutmeg, sugary muffins) and the "big" girls woke up from their sleepover and devoured them.

Wrapped some up in a tea towel and dropped in front of Carrie & Darren's door.

Took out the Easter decorations. I know it's early but there are not many of them so scattered some things here and there and it feels a bit more like spring here at Wilkinson Manor!

Chilled in a sunny spot in the living room with the dogs and chatted with Eric about his first meeting with the new boss. He is a pro and it sounds like the new guy recognizes it- woo hoo!

Enjoyed a puff myself with an ice cold mug of milk.

Folded two loads of laundry as Audrey sorted the socks.

Washed Alice the dog in the tub.

Wrote loads of bills and balanced the family checkbook. $103.04 off (not in my favor-ugh)

And so I sit--thoroughly enjoying this sunny Saturday. Half eaten bowl of oatmeal in front of me, paperwork to be organized, chatter of kids playing in Audrey's bedroom, dogs are sleeping, Liv is at the neighbors, Eric is at the market, and it's date night. I doubt June ever had it so good.

p.s. June may not have had it so good but I doubt she was manic. Not 3 hours after I wrote this I had a tantrum. I was balancing my business check book and preparing to pay a big check to my SEP (self employment plan) since it's due near tax time. Which got me to thinking about the clients that never paid me. $22K+ is what I've lost over the years ($10K in 2007 alone). And I can't write the loss off--my accountant has some fancy explanation as to why but I am too pissy now to go into it. So I was totally unhappy all of a sudden. I went upstairs to get in the shower and popped into the girls rooms to straighten them up a bit. I spotted granola crumbs ground into the floor in Olivia's room and I lost it. Audrey was the last one eating granola so life for her was about to stink. I threw open the bedroom window and screamed to Audrey (who was happily painting rocks in the front yard) to "Get in this house NOW." Audrey came into the house sobbing. Nice. I doubt June ever yelled at Wally & The Beav for spilled cereal! And now it's date night and "Ward" is not the least bit impressed with me. I don't blame him a bit...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Letting Go

I let Audrey ride TWO cheesy department store rides today.

I hung out at the park with the kids. For two days.

I read a magazine there--guilt free, drank pink lemonade, ignored my folder full of paperwork, and chatted with the kids.

I pushed Audrey on her bike loads of times. The past two days.

And I was not antsy. Or pissy. Or guilt ridden. About work. About the things that needed to get done. And most of all-- I actually did not want to be anywhere else. More than that- I wasn't even thinking about being anywhere else. I was not trying to convince myself that this was the right thing to do and the right place to be. And I loved it. All. I really experienced the kids. And life. And the moment.

For those of you that thoroughly enjoy children & life each day and for those of you that have not known me the past 10 + years this may seem like a no brainer to you. Or, more than that--this may appear simply what parents are supposed to do and all the things they are supposed to enjoy doing. Believe me, I have read all the parenting books, studied all the "right" ways to raise children, laid in bed countless nights guilt ridden with all my mistakes, been up late praying for what seems like years now, I've poured my heart out to counselors, spent far too many girls nights AND date nights discussing how hard I try to DO these things AND enjoy them at the same time BUT I can't begin to tell you how much I fail. And how doing them does not come easy for me in the way I had always dreamed. I have lived through panic disorder, obsessing about dying of cancer, regret for being the world's worst mom, and so much more. I spent a cruise to Alaska devastated that my kids did not have a "present" mom. A romantic over the top trip to Mexico (a week at the Four Seasons!) was ruined as I diagnosed myself with breast cancer. The family reunion visits to Hilton Head Island are never without feelings of real doom and despair over my thighs in a swimsuit---and after age 35--my stomach as well. An escape with Eric to Rosario Resort was spent paralyzed with fear that I had ovarian cancer. I know how ridiculous it must sound as I regale all the fabulous trips and opportunities I have in my life. I am very sincere when I say I am blessed. I assure you I do not take any of it for granted. And while I have always been a very happy person, I have also had deep fears. And worries. And doubts. And so much guilt for it all. I have faith in God which clearly conflicts with my obsessive, negative thoughts about illness, death, loss, and what I believe is at the root of it all- CONTROL and letting go.

So here I am. Changing. I can't pinpoint when it started but for me life is changing. Or at the least--life the way I view it is changing. I have attempted to "turn it over" to God numerous times and simply surrender to life. And I can honestly say I can feel it's happening. If you saw my post about riding roller coasters in Disneyland let me tell you- that whole trip was a break through. A guilt free journey~ free of health worries and weight issues AND the trip was complete with roller coaster rides! For me, that was unheard of.

Tonite as I stood feasting over the ice cream carton and loaded up an ice cream scoop with chocolate chip ice cream, whipped cream and sprinkles Eric commented, "There are limits, Kate. Wow, I need a picture of this." Limits. Believe me, I know limits I told him. I have been bound by them for far too long. "Go for it," I said. "No, wait!" And then I reached for a bright pink peanut M & M and plopped it onto the whipped cream top!

Because I am living. And I am loving it. And I can't believe this is me.

And I hope the sun shines again tomorrow because hanging at the park, drinking lemonade, and chatting with little people I have come to find can actually rock.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Conversations with God

Tucked Audrey in bed tonite and she recapped what she learned in Sunday school. She explained how during the puppet show the characters were acting frustrated since they were late for a sleepover but then they learned that it actually did not really matter in the big picture afterall. She said they were trying to teach her to listen to God's voice in all things and to not let the little things get them upset. God is bigger than that she said. And then she went on. "Mom, you know how you tell me that you love me to the moon and back?" Sure do. "Well, I love you more than that. If you took a million people and spread their arms out and lined them up--I love you more than that. I love you beyond places that don't exist and even into fairytale land. And every day I love you more and every day my heart gets more full. And because you make my heart full, yours grows fuller too." "And, mom, because I lived inside you I understand you differently than most people do." Really?, I asked. How so? "Well, I know your body parts better than dad even." REALLY? "Yep, I know your fibula, fibia, phalanges, tarsals, parts like that better than him." Maybe so. So after a brilliant and beautiful conversation with Audrey aka "Dr. Phil with hair" --aptly named by Olivia when Olivia was merely 5 and Audrey just 2~ I kissed her goodnight and then went in to Liv's room to give her one more snug and found her fast asleep. Bliss and peace. Upon leaving, I turned to find sweet 4 year old Audrey standing in Olivia's doorway. "Thanks for the chat, Mom." she whispered. "My heart is fuller now. And yours is, too. I just know it." Is it ever, Audrey. Is it ever...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

February 16, 1962

Donna Jane Whitham married Frank Taylor Brown 46 years ago on a cold Friday eve at 7:30 by candlelight in a quintessential New England church in the small town of Fitzwilliam, NH. As the cermony went on, the snow began to fall in the village outside. And thus, my parents marriage began.

I thank them for honoring their vows. For truly loving one another deeply. And for giving me the greatest example of what God intended a marriage to be. One of devotion, love and much, much joy.

With gratitude and love~

Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sick Days, Sweet Sentiments, & Rockin' Out

Audrey E was sick today. Poor little lamb. I skipped a client event today to be near her and she spent 4 hours of it sleeping. Curled herself up on the couch with the dog while I was on a conference call and slept. So, I guess I did some work afterall but for the most part no guilt here. I was there if needed. We had to cancel plans with dear friends tonite,too~ fun, laid back, and dear, dear Wade & Sherry. A sleepover no less and a night at an Irish pub complete with a babysitter. I couldn't wait. But, it was not to be. Vomiting can sideline a lot of things.

Then I read a beautiful comment Liv posted on my blog tonite and it brought tears to my eyes. And Eric's. Along with some very wonderful, thoughtful, and articulate statements she wrote this, "I thank you for coming to help out in my class. I know you are very busy and so thanks for missing some of that so you can come just to be there with me!" How incredibly touched I am that she noticed and thanked me for it. I wish I did it more and when the stars align and I can be there I wouldn't miss it for the world. And I love that she cares.

So here I sat tonite--surrounded by bills, leftover pizza plate, and love, love, love.

As the clock struck well past bedtime we decided it was time to rock thanks to Liv jumping on our deskptop and cranking up Frank Zappa from our itunes library. So the party started. And once again I ended another day with so very, very much to be grateful for.

( Photo courtesy of A.E.W. 4~ dreamed up the title herself...she is the artist formerly known as Audrey Elizabeth Wilkinson, age 4)

Thursday, February 14, 2008



& Kisses

Happy Valentine's Day! Here's to experiencing love today & always. And in all sorts of ways!

friend love...

grandparent love...

family love...

(girls with cousins Elizabeth & Devon)

(Minnie with fabulous Aunt Cyn)

puppy love...

(Gramma & Alice)

(Audrey cleaning Fribble's feet)

big Papi love

sisterly love...

rock star love...

(eric & liv posing after we touched down in CA)

Bo Sox Love

(Go B'S!)

And lucky, lucky me. Once again feeling the love!


Monday, February 11, 2008

A Few of My Favorite Things...

Here are a few of the things lately that I have been celebrating. There is so much more but I'll start with top of mind for now and build as needed....

my 93 year old grandmother (a wonderful role model).

friendship- I have daily contact with fabulous ones and intermittent contact with friends from long ago. I treasure all of them.

handmade gifts from my girls

my Saturday night call from my dear Aunt Cyn congratulating me on Obama's Washington state win! ;)

prayers for others--Liv was praying for a very sick Eric last night (fever, chills, etc.) and it was beautiful despite his illness.

my brother Tim's sense of humor (probably the funniest person I am blessed to know!)

chocolate chip cookies homemade by my friend, Darren--the lack of evidence on the plate shows how much Audrey & I enjoyed them yesterday during game time.

receiving comments on my blog!

sleeping children (is there anything more precious or peaceful)?

a quiet home.

sipping tea with a magazine.

discussing politics, religion, life with Eric.

Boston fruit slices~ YUM! Almost gone...;(

recipes from my Aunt Pam sent across the miles.

thoughtful, helpful friends (and their kiddos) My friend, Eric, hung 3 of these darling chandeliers for me in the playroom!

my dogs even love my neighbors (on our evening walk last night Frib stopped at Gloria's door looking for turkey and Carrie's door since she's my dogs and kids surrogate mum!)

Audrey's kindness~ "I'm Sorry I do not have your card. So 'Go Fish', Mama, & Good Luck" her mantra when she does not have the card requested during Go Fish.

sweet husbands- Mara's husband sent her a surprise cocktail from he & their little boys the other night at girls night. His generosity made Mara (& me) cry. Prince!

honesty & ability to apologize easily (I am so pleased my parents taught me these traits!)

reconnecting with family- saw my beautiful cousins and fabulous aunts in California a few weeks ago. magical.

my mom's laid back nature (how I wish I got some of that!)

my brother Peter's positive disposition. great, great guy.

All for now. I would love to read some of your fav things, too!

For some reason I typed this post as a list of items but they all blend in a paragraph. Carrie, please help!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Guilt. Friendship. Teaching Moments.

Tonite was girls night. Long fabulous talks shared over yummy treats with a handful of my dear friends. It was perfect. And therapeutic.

After discussing my poor parenting skills and as a result my guilt, resentment, and helplessness I gained some perspective. I thank R & C for that tonite. And God. And Olivia.

After I arrived home and relieved the sitter I went in the girls rooms to kiss my sleeping beauties. I found this note on Olivia's bedroom floor.

"Mommy, I miss you. When you come in tonite can you sing, 'I've been working on the railroad?' You are so cool. Thank you for always being there for me. Love, Olivia"

I went to turn the page to write a reply and found this~

"Mom rocks. Notes about Mommy. She is the best. She is so cool. She is so nice. I look up to her because she does very, very good things."

I share this information here not because I believe it about me but because I don't. And yet Olivia does. And she loves me for me. And accepts me as I am. What a lovely gift. She is a wonderful teacher. Clearly I need to be a better student and do the same.

This picture was snapped the other night when Olivia was sharing a report with me on the person she most looked up to. And she named me. It was the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me. And it came from my child who knows all of me--good, bad, and ugly. I felt so loved.