Showing posts from September, 2014

Anniversary Gratitude

Anniversaries have come and gone for us without enough pause. We have both been great about cards, and small meaningful things. Some long walks and a few of the last 13 years married, 14 years together, we have made it out of the house but this year was a concerted effort. We made it away, all 8 children were intact upon return. I had posted ideas about restaurants and Sheff wanted me to wait to talk about being gone until we were actually safely home. He is very nonplussed by social media and uses it sparingly and carefully. I can't say I always share his perspective, but in this case I agreed.  Our hidden little both at The Melting Pot, they took our photo and poured champagne. We ended up trying The Melting Pot, fondue restaurant. Really fun sweet date night idea. We usually go for as spicy as possible, Japanese or Thai food. This was a good out of our element place to try and  fun to be able to talk about our parents fondue parties of the 1070s, we were musing that the w

Why it Might be Important to Care About What Other People Think

Driving, carpooling and late night talks give way to conversations with my teen, preteen and elementary school age kids and their friends. Fall tryouts, tense games and new middle school dynamics make for constant backseat chatter. A phrase I heard often this week was "Why do you care what people think?" This made me wonder when we should care about what others think. As a culture overall I would argue we have gone too far in the direction of individualism. Not caring about how our actions impact others, impact the earth and choosing the image of self (selfies) over community. There are times when doing your own thing, trusting your gut or running with an idea are  commendable. There are also times to listen to other people's opinions, times to allow people you respect to be mirrors for actions in question and times to follow the guidance of another person. On a teenage level there are many opportunities to worry too much about other people's perceptions. Finding

Could we ever host a foreign exchange student?

We have had two houseguests this week. Two boys who line up with our sixth grader and our third grader, two very nice boys. I was unsure how this would work. I knew the positives were the boys shared classes and activities, and the negatives would be more about how my kids acted. For example, would the boys treat this like a week long playdate? Extra snacks, wanting x box over homework and so on? So far it has actually been just fine, the boys are good kids who are very happy to be caught up in the daily flow of Otis life. After school we always have a fun and a healthy snack. Yesterday orchard apples and candy corn mix, today homemade cookies and cheese sticks. Simple but enough fun to run from bus stop to home to see what is out. The visiting boys figured out this the only snack until dinner and then joined in with homework and getting ready for sports. We have plenty of beds for extras and the boys who gave up their own beds for the guests (John and Nate re located) think is fun t

Week one: Re-entry time

When one of the eight has a rare sleepover or is away at camp we always call the first hours home, re-entry. The physical change of adding a body back into the flow of life, the desire of the one away to share their experience while at the same time holding onto the time away as their own, sacred "me" time in a family of ten. Going back to school is always both a re-entry experience for the kids and for parents, especially mom. To get stories, antidotes and obligations sorted out for so many different individuals is down right daunting. Some one needs a family photo, someone needs a different color folder, someone's teacher wanted proof we are actually related to Amelia Earhart (we are), someone outgrew their back to school shoes (in two weeks, how?!) and absolutely everyone needs money. The first four days I have cried, celebrated, calculated, prayed and navigated with the kids. I have missed my workouts and missed my friends. I have attempted to be calm, all knowin