Tag Archives: kids

My baby is getting married!

OK, not really.  When I say “baby,” I’m referring to my youngest kiddo. And when I say “getting married,” I mean he’s pretending.  For a time when Gus was in preschool, he would frequently include in his day his plans for marriage.  Yes, he had outside time on the big toy, circle time in the classroom, and yet he still had time when he met with a wedding planner.  He would tell me about his future brides.  Yes, brides.  It was usually a different lucky lady each time he would tell me about his plans.  He even let me know that he was willing to take down any other suitors who stood in his way of future happiness. A friend of mine recently told me that her preschool son was involved in a similar situation at preschool, which led me to wonder, why do our preschoolers want to get married? With my experience in early childhood education and 16 years of parenting, I’ve come up with a list of why I think wedding bells are in our babies’ heads.

1.  Role-play.  One huge way that preschoolers learn is through role-play.  Listening, negotiating, and compromising are challenging for 4- and 5-year-olds. Though children at this age are still egocentric, or unable to think beyond their own needs, working with others helps them develop an awareness of differences in people around them. These experiences in preschool provide a foundation for learning how to solve problems and communicate with peers. Play also helps build positive leadership qualities for children who are naturally inclined to direct but must learn how to control their impulses.* Simply said, if your child loves to role-play, CONGRATULATIONS!  This is a great leadership quality and your kiddo knows how to communicate and problem solve!  All things needed to learn and grow.

2. Your baby wants to get married because he sees what a great partnership you have with your significant other.  You’ve built-in him a role model and leader that he strives to be.  So, pat yourself on the back!  Your marriage has had an effect on your baby that you should be proud of!

3.  Your child wants to include all of his friends in this process, leading to the need to “marry” several different kids.  When Gus first told me about his plans to marry a new girl each day, I was concerned that my sweet little boy was turning into a “player.” But after looking at the situation more carefully, he is concerned with involving all of his friends.  This basically means, he doesn’t want anyone to feel left out.  Especially once I found out that this is a common occurrence in his preschool classroom.  Everyone was included in this game in some way or another.

The marrying game was such a passing phase in his early childhood years.  Now that he is a big kindergartener, girls are still cute, but kissing and marrying is yucky.  So, enjoy the lovey-dovey phase because the next time it comes around, it won’t be a game.  But I’ll leave that to another post. My teenagers are just about there. *sigh*




Today is Thanksgiving.  A day to remember what and, more importantly, who we’re thankful for.  A day to watch Santa welcome in Christmas alongside giant balloons and Broadway dancers in New York city. A day to gorge ourselves into a turkey-induced sleep coma.  All of which I will take part in.

One thing I love about Thanksgiving is how my kids have started to make their own memories. Audrey loves to wake up early and watch the parade with me.  She never eats breakfast because she wants to have that much more room in her belly for turkey and mashed potatoes.  Austen will sleep in, but will be 100% focused on family and potatoes once he is awake.  Autumn has already placed her hot chocolate order so she can sip along with me on the couch before everyone else is up.

My kids have great relationships and friendships with each other.  Of course they have their moments where they fight, disagree, argue.  In fact, sometimes it feels like that’s the norm.  It’s not, but when they’re all at each other, because they out number us parents 2 to 1, it’s a lot.  But at the end of the day they love each other and know how to show it.  In fact, they have started telling each other “I love you.”

I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, I NEVER said that to my siblings.  Of course I loved them.  I still do.  But the fighting between me and my younger sister was more present than it wasn’t.  I remember my mom sometimes crying over us because we fought so much.  I never would’ve imagined how my relationship with my sister would turn out as it has.

Michelle, my two-year younger sister, is now one of my best friends.  She loves my kids the way I love my kids.  She supports me, loves me, and is always available if I need her.  Michelle has a lot going on in her own life.  She is a single mom of two kids and works in the legal department for one of the countries largest companies.  She is strong, courageous, brave, and someone I would put on a pedestal.  Yes, my sister IS better than your sister.

Me, my mom, and my sister during our annual trip to Leavenworth in 2006

Me, my mom, and my sister during our annual trip to Leavenworth in 2006

But what I love most about my sister is that she is my sister.  We will always have each other and for that I am thankful.  We’ve gone through a lot together in the last few years, but we have a stronger relationship, friendship, than I could have ever dreamed.  Michelle, I want you to know just how much I love you and how much I cherish our friendship.  This year at Thanksgiving I am thankful for you!

Start small.

As I have previously stated in other blogs, I’m not the best at keeping with my goals.  I love setting them, but when it comes to crunch time, I’ve usually checked out 3 days prior. So as 2011 nears its end, I have been putting a lot of thought into what my New Years goals might be.

I usually go with the old standard goal of “Get in Shape.”  You know, cut out sugar and carbs, daily trips to the gym, and that sort of crap.  I usually do great with it until, like most Americans, 2 weeks into it and time gets ahead of me and I lose interest.  Next up?

I know, I’ll organize my house!  Clean out everything.  From top to bottom.  Everyday adding new and more chores to my list.  Except, even as I write this, the thought becomes overwhelming with 4 kids, a part-time job, and a house that I, for the most part, maintain by myself.  I guess it’s a good thing I got caught up on laundry this morning because now, I don’t want to touch it for days.

What’s a super busy mother of 4 in her 30’s to do?  Simply, start small.  One new-ish thing a day.  Yesterday, I tackled a project that I have been putting of for about 2 years.  I cleaned and organized my spice and baking cabinet.  It felt so good to accomplish something.  As small as it may be, it’s done.  And it feels great.  Today I will try something else small, like cleaning the baseboards in my bathroom.  Small yes, but it’s something that gets neglected.  Slowly, but surely, tackling things that I’ve been putting off.

And of course the “Get in Shape” goal is still on my list.  But I have a feeling that as I’m doing a cleanse of my home, my body and soul cleanse will come naturally.  It will also follow my mantra of my New Year’s goal – Start small. Maybe even with a trip to buy a new pair of cross-trainers.  Small, but oh, so satisfying!


Proscratination is not in my vocabulary.

OK, that’s not entirely true. Maybe I am a bit of a procrastinator.  I still wait until the last-minute to get most things done. But I’m way better than I used to be.  I’ve found that working outside my home gives me more of a desire to get things done around my home when I am home.

The definition of procrastination is putting off or delaying or deferring an action to a later time.

Having 4 kids and a very busy husband, often I would feel so overwhelmed with things that I needed to get done, that I would either wait until it was necessary or not do it at all.  Now that I have a job, I don’t have the luxury of waiting.  If I have the time, I do it.

It’s amazing to me how much “stuff” I can get done when I’m at home now.  My days “off” are more limited.  I have a certain amount of hours in the week and I have to cram as much into those hours as I can.  But the best part is, I don’t feel like I’m cramming anything.  I’m simply making the best use of my time.

Here’s a perfect example:  Today is my one day this week where I don’t have anything scheduled.  So I made the most of it. I actually made breakfast for my kids. Did a load of laundry before they left for school.  Husked and canned 6 stalks (now cans) of corn.  Baked and bagged 2 dozen cookies for school lunches.  Blogged.  And it’s not even noon yet.  I have the whole day ahead of me to clean, work out, prep for dinner, do more laundry, or just veg with a cup of coffee while Gus is napping.  Oops,  that’s the procrastinator in me.

What I’m trying to say is, how much can you get done in a short amount of time?  For procrastinators like me, it’s probably more than you think.  So go ahead, set the timer, and go.  Let’s leave the procrastinating to later tonight when we can relax with a glass of wine knowing we filled our day with good stuff for ourselves and our family!

Back to work

Today I officially re-enter the employed workers of America! I’m so excited! After being a stay at home mom for nearly 12 years, I’m definitely ready and willing to work outside of my home. Granted I had jobs here and there, none of which lasted too long. I found it difficult to work outside of my home when my kiddos needs were so strong. But now, I’m ready!

A look inside the new Disney Store.

My new “job” won’t really feel like work to me, though. I’m going back to my Disney roots and working as a Cast Member at the brand new store here in the Seattle area. For those of you that don’t know, I met my husband while working at the Disney Store 15 years ago. We got married in Disneyland. We vacation there about once a year. To me, Disney is fun, not work. I’m just lucky enough to get paid to have fun!

After being at home with 6 kids all summer, I definitely feel the desire to temporarily leave Mommy duties behind. Now, here I go!

The SAHM’s eternal question: Now what?

Maybe I should rephrase this into, my eternal question.  But from what I’ve learned from friends and social media, most moms feel this way.

This was my favorite book as a little girl and what helped me know that I wanted to be a mommy.

When I was a little girl, I vividly remember day dreaming about being a mommy.  Doing laundry and hanging it to dry on the clothes line outside.  Walking to the grocery store with my baby in a buggy, the sun beating down on us.  Quietly knitting in my rocking chair while my little ones played together in the living room.  Even as I got older and held a full-time job, I dreamed about what my kids would look like, what their names would be, how many would I have, and how far apart would they be in age.  If life was really like this, who wouldn’t want to be a stay-at-home-mom?

And then I had a baby!  Life was pure bliss!  We did take long walks in the sun.  I became crafty.  I was mommy machine.  Yes, this is what I always dreamed of!  But life wasn’t quite complete.  Duane and I decided to build our family.  Just a little.  19 moths after Audrey, we had baby #2.  My long relaxing visits with the sun and stroller became fewer and far between.  My craft skills got packed away in my craft trunk.  The mommy machine became tired.  What happened to the memories and dreams of my childhood?

Slowly but surely, I came out of my mommy-coma and started taking care of myself again.  It seemed like a long process.  In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t, but at the time, it felt like a forever.  Our little family of 4 bought a house, added two more kids plus a dog and a cat.  We were big and busy.  I learned how to grow a garden, can my goods and cook like a gourmet.  Yes, life was good again!  But still something felt like it was missing.  Just a little piece of myself.  Even though I had what I had ALWAYS dreamed of,  I felt deprived.  I couldn’t figure out why.

Thank God for God!  I put all of my hopes, dreams, and desires into what HE wanted for me.  I learned to be happy.  Take pride in everything I did.  After all, He created me.  I needed to be the best me I could be.  Even though I couldn’t quite understand why I felt like something was missing.  I had it all.

After I learned to actually trust God the way that I knew I should, He began to fill me up with what I needed to feel complete.  He revealed to me what was missing.  It felt so good to trust God and to know that I was doing what he wanted me to do.

I still feel a little envious of the “do-it-all-mommy’s.”  You know the kind that get up at the crack of dawn to make eggs and pancakes for breakfast, iron everyone’s clothes before school, have a spot-less house, car, and yard, plus crafts for the kids after school activities, 4 course dinner, and games before bed. That was the mom I thought I was supposed to be.

But I’m glad that’s not me.  Because just the thought of all of that sounds exhausting.  Yes, I still love to garden and can and craft and cook.  But my life doesn’t revolve around my kids.  It revolves with them. And everyone seems to like things this way!

Now, pass me my gym membership and glass of wine and I’m a happy mommy!

A Popcorn Kernel, A Little Girl, and a Crazy Father.

This was a blog entry written by my husband a couple of years ago.  It’s one of my favorite stories so I thought I’d post it myself.  Autumn continues to keep us on our toes!

A Popcorn Kernel, A Little Girl, and a Crazy Father

Autumn didn't seem too worried while waiting in the pediatric emergency room for the doctor.

She still doesn't seem super nervous even with the doctor about to yank the little bugger from her nose.

By Duane Montague

I was watching a movie with the kids last night.  We do it most Monday nights while Robyn is at her meeting.

Last night I made popcorn for each of them and we all sat back to enjoy the exploits of Indiana Jones.  I had a fedora on–I’d worn it all day because of my lack of a hair cut and desire to look better than a trucker, which is what I look like when it gets too long, kind of sticking out like wings under a baseball cap–and Autumn kept coming by and saying, “Be Indiana Jones,” so I would talk in a funny voice.   She wandered around–after all, the exploits of Indiana Jones aren’t exactly three-year old material–and while I was feeding August, she came by with something in her hand.

“I’m going to put this in his nose,” she said.

“Uhm, no you are not,” I said.

“Okay, I’m gonna put it in my nose,” she said.

“Uhm, no you are NOT,” I repeated.  “Do not put that in your nose.”

Clearly disappointed, she said, “Okay,” and put the kernel in her bowl.  We continued the adventure, she continued to call me Indy and things went along quite well.  Until she walked over to me and said, rather cutely, with an absolutely adorable smile on her face, “I put it in my nose!”

“What?”  I couldn’t believe she said what she had just said.  “You didn’t.  Autumn.  You didn’t put that in your nose.  Did you?”  I looked at Audrey, Autumn looked at Audrey.  “Do you think she did?”

“I did!” said Autumn.  “I did put it in my nose.”

Audrey frowned at me.  “I think she did, Daddy.”

“You did not.  Autumn.  You did not do that.  You did not put that in your nose.  Did you?  You did?  No, you didn’t.”  Was I trying to convince her or myself?  But by the look on her face I could tell she was telling the truth.  And suddenly, the adventures of Indiana Jones were nothing compared to the adventures of Kernel in the Nose.  I handed the baby to Austen and picked up Autumn as quick as I could, carrying her to the couch and holding her head back.  “Do. Not. Move,” I said, holding her as tightly as possible.

There it was–stuffed way up beyond the nostril, all the way into her right sinus cavity.

My mind was racing.  I wondered if I could just pick it out–like I do when she gets those nasty boogers little kids seem to get–but there was no way my fat fingers were going to fit.  I left her on the couch, ran upstairs and grabbed some tweezers.  In the next twenty minutes I proceeded to try everything I could think of to get that popcorn kernel out of her little nose.  I blew into her mouth, blew into her nose, used tweezers and am sad to say a few other absolutely ridiculous things that I’m sure will wake her in a cold sweat when she hits college.  Nothing doing, that thing was not going to come out.

I knew I was going to have to take her to the emergency room.  I really didn’t want to, not so much from the cost factor, but because she had two lovely bruises on her face, and having experienced the questions of hospitals when Austen had broken his leg–and I really didn’t want to go through that again.  (For the record, she is extremely fair-skinned so any slight bruise looks pretty nasty.  She had fallen out of her bed while reaching for a book one night and banged her face on the bookshelf–giving her a lovely green “Joker-esque” mark on her left cheek.  Then she fell out of our bed two nights later and got a huge goose egg from banging her head on my bedside table.  So she looked like she had been through the wars already.)   I had no choice–I could not get that kernel out, and there was no way, in spite of her reassuring me with “The popcorn doesn’t bother me at all now, Daddy!” that I was going to leave it in there.

Texted Robyn to tell her I was on my way to the ER, called my mom to come over and watch the other three, and hurried down the road to Valley General.  Luckily, Autumn was pretty calm by this point–all the torture she’d gone through as I desperately tried to pull a popcorn kernel from her sinus cavity had been forgotten because of the promise of ice cream after the doctor visit.  We did rehearse several times as to how she had acquired the bruises, in case anyone asked.

When it was finally our turn to see the doctor, she had charmed her way through the entire ER.  Her long blonde hair, cute smile, and the fact she was singing a made-up song to the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme, probably helped.  Doctor Rob came in with a crazy syringe contraption, and although I was going to film the whole thing for later posting on my Facebook page, by the time they got to almost pulling it out, she was crying too hard–mostly from the fact that they had restrained her arms–and the father side of me gave in and I just held her and told her she was going to be fine.

Through the syringe, eventual tweezers, and the amazing work of Dr. Rob, the kernel was eventually out.  I was going to bring it home for posterity, but I dropped it somewhere in the ER.  Every doctor and nurse made Autumn promise to never do it again.  Of course, I think she heard me tell the nurses that at least it wasn’t as bad as when her brother broke his femur.  Now I’m just a little nervous that her competitive nature might get the best of her.  Maybe I’ll make her spend the next month living downstairs…just to be safe.  And, of course, without any popcorn.