You Can Be A Stay-at-home Mom!

I was a stay-at-home mom until my youngest started kindergarten!
Now I work both in and outside of our home, first with our family martial arts business and also at our church office writing newsletters, bulletin inserts, manage our website, you name it. Most of all I write!!!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Protecting Your Kids

   In the news there have been several reports about child abductions and possible stalking of children who are walking out of school buildings. 
  Warning: I'm going to hit you right between the eyes now guys!

  While we can teach kids how to stay safe, be wary of strangers and aware of their surroundings, it is still a parent's first and foremost job to be your child's bodyguard.

  This means kids younger than 11 or 12 should not go places without a parent or guardian with them and kids older than this should go with another child the same age or older

  While Mike and I try to not create 'paranoid' parents or kids, you still have to realize that it is the parent's job to watch out and know where your children are. If they are at school it is the teacher and principal keeping your children safe, but the moment they walk out the door their safety is back in your hands.
  We sometimes fall back on technology to keep kids safe, cell phones, tracking devices, but none of these things will protect a child. And we must forget about being 'friends' with our children instead of being responsible for their protection and discipline.  Being your child's bodyguard means you are with them or have sent them with another responsible adult who will watch out for their safety. It does not mean relying on a cell phone for them to call if they are in danger.
  If you 'tween' balks at this, you must be the parent and say, "Tough, it's my way or stay home". Even in the "old" days responsible parents didn't let their kids run around the neighborhood without knowing where they were.  Moms were at home more then, somebody was always watching from the kitchen window, kids ran in groups and met in each other's yards.  Mom always knew where you were.
  We don't need to be paranoid, but we do need to remember that a parent's first job is being a parent. This is not a job we can outsource, pay another to do or hope for the best.  It's your job. You are the parent.

Friday, November 15, 2013

And Sometimes All Is Right With The World...

SF officials helping 5-year-old boy transform into superhero

Five-year-old Miles already has experience fighting villains - he's been facing off with acute lymphoblastic leukemia since he was 20 months old.
With his cancer in remission and his last bout of chemotherapy finished in June, his biggest wish was to continue living his life heroically. "He wanted to be Batman," said Patricia Wilson, the Make-A-Wish Foundation's Bay Area executive director.
We can do that, Wilson thought, and she began putting the call out to volunteers to help turn San Francisco into Gotham City for a day for the boy from Tulelake (Siskiyou County).
It might as well have been a worldwide Bat-Signal. Word of the foundation's efforts spread quickly on social media, and soon what started as a small effort to make a 5-year-old boy a hero for the day turned into a citywide extravaganza, with support and volunteers coming in from all over.
On Friday, by Make-A-Wish's count, thousands of volunteers will cheer on "Batkid" as he defeats the Riddler and the Penguin at locations around San Francisco. The mayor will present Miles with a key to the city. Police Chief Greg Suhr will step in as Commissioner Gordon to alert Miles when his heroics are needed.
"I thought I could do it on a scale that a 5-year-old would appreciate," said Wilson, whose foundation specializes in granting wishes to children with serious diseases. "But apparently, it's on a scale now that the nation appreciates.
"I've never seen anything go viral like this, with the outpouring of support from across the world," she said.
Suhr said so many people want to help out that officials have had to turn away some volunteers.
"My butcher at the grocery store was asking what he could do, the police commissioners was asking what they could do," he said. "Everywhere I go, the only thing people want to talk about is Batkid. I was just at a meeting with the attorney general, and Kamala Harris said, 'Tell me about Batkid!' "
Miles and his family, who asked that their last name not be released, arrived in San Francisco on Thursday, the foundation said. His parents have been briefed on Friday's events, but Miles still does not know the extent of what's to come.
Wilson credited the spirit of tech-savvy San Francisco, whose residents took to the idea immediately and began spreading word through social media.
"We have done other superhero wishes before at Make-A-Wish, and no city has embraced it like this one," she said. "There's going to be a lot of love in San Francisco on Friday."
Vivian Ho is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: vho@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @VivianHo


http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Thousands-of-volunteers-to-welcome-Batkid-to-S-F-4984043.php

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Do You Watch TV?

   Around our house we read a lot.  That's not to say we don't watch television much, because, well, we do in the evenings. But years ago we dropped cable and satellite and just went to network because THAT was so much better...(#tongueincheek, #totallynotserious)  We were cheap, tired of paying for junk.
  After a month we picked up Netflix which was great because you pick what you want to watch and they have lots of old shows.  We have watched lots of fun shows, including some British show called, "Rosemary and Thyme" about two middle age women gardeners who become murder solvers, and "Man, Woman, Wild" where a husband who was in Special Forces and his wife who is a British anchorwoman get dropped off in wild remote places around the world and they have to survive for three days.  My hubs and I love that show because we talk about stuff like that, no really...after raising three kids, rafting in whitewater in Colorado, doing aerobatics in a biplane and ziplining was no big deal! We may have some adventure show of our own some day.
  Just recently we found a fun caper type show called, "Leverage" with Timothy Hutton. He has a group of ex-thieves who go after "bad guys" and "big corporations" who deal in black market stuff and help out the little guys. In one recent episode they help an ex-National Guardsman who was shot by "friendly fire" and the company doesn't want to pay for his rehab. Turns out it's because he was a witness to their money laundering operation and they are out to kill him. But the team of Leverage goes after them because they feel it's right to help this guy out.
   So far, we've only watched three episodes so far and there are five seasons to go through, we have really enjoyed Leverage. Mostly because it's a caper show, with some interesting twists and turns and some decent chemistry between the cast.  It works.  And we're always about helping the underdogs survive and thrive. Good, Strong, Safe!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Being A Coach Is Hard Especially If You're A Mom

   This week we began our bi-annual Truck Drills where we teach the students how to escape from someone trying to carry them off or push them into a vehicle. We don't do this to scare the kids or their parents, we are just trying to give them more tools with which to keep them safe.
   As one of the coaches in this drill, I get to stand by and keep heads from banging on the car door or the ground. The real pain is experienced by my husband and my son.
   My husband, Mike, has been doing this drill for kids and women for over 20 years. And now he has passed the reins on to our son, Ryan. They still trade off, but since Ryan is in his twenties and Mike is, shall we say, not in his twenties, Ryan volunteers to take the brunt of the workout.
   Doing Truck Drills, which would be similar to our Women's Self Defense class only for kids, means these two heroic gentlemen put on padding, a big helmet and grab kids trying to stuff them into a truck. The kids are taught to use everything in their arsenal, screaming, clawing, pounding, elbows, kicking and head butts to make the 'attacker' let go so they can get away.
   The kids do an awesome job which of course means that Mike and Ryan come away with bruises, bumps, a loss of hearing and being really sore for a week.  But they continue to volunteer to do it.
   They are not gluttons for punishment, but much in the way cops, firefighters and military personnel, are here to protect and serve, these two awesome guys are wanting to help kids be safe.  Most kids don't know what to do if someone tried to abduct them. It's for this reason we do this drill. If they only get to use what self defense they learn in a martial arts class by hitting on pads and sparring tournaments, they will not know how to apply kicks and punches on an assailant which really work.
   In fact, most of what we teach kids to do in Truck Drills is not usually taught in most martial arts. And it is certainly not ever practiced in other martial arts classes.
   We've always tried to find what will help the student the most to stay safe and feel this is the best way to help them learn.
   So Mike and Ryan come away a little stiff and sore. It's hard playing a bad guy you know, not just on the outside with bruises and sore muscles, but also on the inside where your heart is telling you it's wrong to scare a child, yet you are doing this to help them feel confident about what they can do.
   So my heroes, and as a coach, my best players are these two guys! (and if I would let them, my two daughters, Laura and Cait would be right in the suit too!)
  Thank you Mike and Ryan! You are saving the world, one child at a time!
 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Please let there be peace.

   Please, please, please, let there be peace on earth and if only it could begin with me. I have a fellow blogger who lives in Lebanon and she is worried for her family's safety. She has little babies, she has fellow countrymen. 
   Please continue to pray for our world and for the world peace that still seems to elude us.
   God please hear the prayers of the few who listen to you, make us strong and have voices to spread your Word and your peace.


Genesis 18:32
31And he said, "Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord; suppose twenty are found there?" And He said, "I will not destroy it on account of the twenty." 32Then he said, "Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak only this once; suppose ten are found there?" And He said, "I will not destroy it on account of the ten." 33As soon as He had finished speaking to Abraham the LORD departed, and Abraham returned to his place

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Stupid Injuries and Other Insults To Pride

  
 Let me just say up front, I have always been a klutz. That is nothing new. My family is used to me walking along and suddenly turning my ankle, catching myself, and going along. But last week, call it, ahem, my body getting a little along in middle age, it began to rebel against my "I can be a klutz and not pay for it attitude," that I tend to have.
   While walking across our church's choir loft which is in the middle of a construction project I was carrying my 20 lb guitar,  my music books and finishing a conversation with my sister-in-law, I missed a step.   Now this is nothing new for me to do up there, but because of the weight of my guitar and the books in my arms, I landed awkwardly, twisting my ankle and my back. BUT I DID NOT LAND ON MY FACE! I caught myself, my guitar swung wildly in my hand for a moment, but was also safe. The first thing I was thankful for was my poor guitar. It's over 40 years old and very sentimental to me so I would risk my life for it!  That was probably my undoing since I had a death grip on it and didn't want it flying over the choir loft railing!
   My sister-in-law gasped as she watched in horror. But after catching myself I turned and said, "I'm okay." But I wasn't. My ankle hurt and my shoulder. I limped the rest of the way down a flight of steps very, very gingerly and hobbled back to my office.  While I was sore the rest of the day, I was thankful that once again I had escaped injury in my klutziness and went home.
   The next day was Saturday so it was a flurry of cleaning the house, vacuuming, running errands. Coming back from the grocery I leaned over to put away a package of meat in the refrigerator when suddenly my back locked up, as did my knees and down to the floor I went.
   Anyone who has had their back spasm recognizes what happened to me, but this was a first for myself. What the heck just happened. My husband had his back turned and didn't see this as did my daughter. What I didn't realize is that when your back spasms you can't call for help. Why? I've no idea. The pain was so intense I really thought I had some how broken my back!
   Finally, my daughter saw me and asked if I was okay?
   "Yeah...no..."
   She offered to help. "No, don't touch me right now," was all I could pant. By now my husband saw me and said, "Oh no, it's your back right?" I nodded. "Just wait until you can move yourself is the best but I'll be right here if you need help." He's been through before. I was thankful for the empathy and compassion in his eyes because I really thought something really bad was wrong.  I really don't deal with injuries to myself well, mostly because I rarely have big injuries to myself.  The time I inverted a rib I thought I was having a heart attack, oh, you only inverted a rib. That's painful, but not a heart attack. Then when the apparent arthritis in my knee from years of kneeling in church or and well maybe from 30 years of martial arts and kicking heavy bags,  caused me to trip and fall further swelling my knee, I thought I had torn something. Nope, the doctor said dismissively, it's only arthritis. ONLY arthritis I repeated?
   So when I fell in the choir loft I figured it was just another one of those shake your head, you are just a klutz again times. And it was, only this time I thought I had broken my back.
   I finally got up and limped to my bed, surrounded by my loving, understanding husband, my daughter who, apparently broke into a fit of laughing as a stress reaction to me getting hurt, and my dog and cat both of whom think it's perfecting logical to lick my face to cure me.
   So no major injury but man my back having spasms  like crazy. I spent the rest of Saturday on the couch with ice, and Sunday, except for going to church which was extremely painful also on the couch. Luckily Monday was Labor Day I didn't have to work so that meant more couch time with heat now and my back slowly healing.
   Now it's Wednesday, it still hurts and I'm supposed to play guitar up in the choir this Friday again. That means I have to lug my guitar up there and back. I'm not sure about that yet. I still can't carry my backpack across the parking lot without pain yet.  I don't think I'll be playing guitar in two days.
  And yes, I am being careful about my spine and know what to watch for that I really didn't tear or crush anything back there. But man, this getting older and not recovering thing really stinks! And I'm such a baby about it!  I wonder what would happen if I injured myself with something for real? I survived three C-sections, but that seems like a piece of cake compared to this back thing. For all the years in martial arts and banging away on pads, sparring with little equipment, falling down, etc. you would think my pain receptors would have toughened up. I'm a little disappointed with myself.  I can deal with the gray hair and wrinkles...I wish my body would too!
  
  

Monday, August 26, 2013

Right Between The Eyes and Other Hazzards of Multi-tasking

  There should be another warning label on those tube of toothpaste you know. A warning to women out there who are trying to get too many things done while visiting the bathroom.  The warning should read:  "While using this toothpaste on your brush and brushing your teeth with said toothbrush, user should not engage in other activities such as brushing hair, applying eye make up or facial cream. This may cause toothbrush to disengage from the oral cavity and shoot a spray of toothpaste into user's eye causing extremely burning sensation."

Hmmm...you ask, do I have first hand knowledge of a reason for this warning? You bet. Right between the eyes.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

No Such Thing As An Empty Nest

   I don't quite get it. Why do they use the term "empty nest" to describe when your kids move out of your home? I mean, you don't get rid of your nest? My husband and I still live there. 
It may not be as crowded a nest as it once was but then at times may be even more crowded when everyone is home visiting! 
   Our home never feels empty to be honest, even when it's just Mike and I there. Of course there is the dog and the cat, but that's not why it doesn't feel empty either. Mike and I are there, and we are putting our new time together to good use! We are making music together, literally!
   Mike has taught himself how to play the dobro, a stringed instrument similar to a guitar but it lies flat on your lap and you play with a slide and finger picks. If you know musician Jerry Douglas, that is what he plays.
  I have played a 12 stringed guitar for over 40 years, yes, ouch I am that old! And recently picked up a 6 string to play on too.  So many evenings you might find Mike and I "rockin' out" in the front room learning some different tunes to play and sing. Someday we may venture out onto the porch where people might even hear us!  But for now we are just enjoying each other's company learning a new hobby together. And it's a blast!
  Empty nest? I don't think so, not with music abounding and keeping the house filled with music and song.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Flashback: 2006

   While rummaging around on an old flash drive...I have a bad habit of writing things and leaving them on old flash drives. But it's kind of interesting to find them several years later and publish them. So here is a blog entry before I knew there were such things...This could have been the very first Obi-Mom Blog post. But I don't think I had thought about being Obi-Mom or even Banshee Mom at the time.
Anyway, here it goes...


  


 














2006
 
I look at the picture above and I wonder how come all moms don’t share more of these moments with their daughters? I am so thankful to God that my two daughters have fun with me and I with them. How did this happen? Laura is almost 18 and Caitlin is 14, I’m 47. Hmm....it began a long, long time ago...no, not in a world far, far, away, right here in the good old USA...

 
“Where are we going, Mom?”  To the park, to the craft store, to the grocery, to Grandma’s, to church. The whereabouts really didn’t matter. I just took my daughters (and my son) everywhere. We enjoyed each other’s company. I took them places I could play too, or at least hang out nearby. I liked the swings at the park too, I didn’t want to just sit on the side and talk with the other moms. I liked to be in on the action. I don’t think I ever really grew up and still haven’t!  I enjoyed their music, playing in the park or the backyard lots more than typing in an office, cleaning the house or whatever other chores that Moms are supposed to do. Oh, I did keep my house clean, maybe not spic and span, but it was hygienic, not too germy but it wasn’t Better Homes and Gardens. The other kid part of myself enjoyed singing along with the Disney music tape or whatever music tape we had picked up from the library that week. I enjoy having fun, laughing no matter where we are, as we drive all over town or sit at home folding laundry or while I am sewing something.  But the biggest reason we get along is, God gave me cool kids...they are just fun to be with and a blast to talk to. We laugh -  a lot.


How do you plant and cultivate a good relationship with your kids? It had been extremely hard, but I was a stay at home mom. No, we didn’t have it made financially by a long shot. I had earned a teaching degree to teach English and Journalism,  been brainwashed by all the feminists about being me, finding out what I wanted in life, had a job after college for three years before my husband and I had kids coming along,  I still looked at my mom who had stayed at home with my brother and sisters and me and saw how much I enjoyed our relationship and wanted the same with my kids some day. I didn’t want anyone else taking care of my kids. They were mine and I was their mom. It just made sense.

 
            And quite honestly, though we needed the money, I just couldn’t bring other people’s kids into the house to baby-sit. I was too much my own person, wanting to pick up and go for a drive, go to the library, go to the fabric/craft store and any point during the day. Okay, that was my concession to being “me” I guess, it was selfish, but I after spending one or two days taking care of a friend’s child when she was in the hospital with another baby, I knew I just couldn’t do it long term.


Okay, so here we are, in the picture above. Yes, we truly do have that much fun. Just ask Laura and Cait. They have grown up in a house where their dad and I work with lots of kids. We taught martial arts every Saturday at our church since just after Laura was born. I was pregnant with Cait and wearing a “gi” which is that white pajama looking uniform you wear as a martial artist and had the teenagers we worked with laughing with me over it. Neither my husband nor I or the other friend who taught with us, were afraid to laugh at ourselves with the kids and I guess that’s what our own children learned too.  I was an aberration among all the women I knew. I had always wanted to be a fireman when I was growing up and that made me different among my friends. As I got into college the urge to be a writer was stronger and so I went after my English and Journalism degree. Halfway through college I met and fell in love with my future husband who was fun to be around. The only down side to our dating life was he worked in a movie theater so most of his evenings were tied up, we were both in school, so most of our days were filled up and the only time we could go out together was to his martial arts class. I know my parents wondered what in the world I was thinking taking martial arts, but then they were already used to the off beat ideas I had about fighting fires or being a reporter/writer so they never questioned it. It was with a little reluctance that I approached the martial arts class. I mean, I had never in my life seen a martial arts movie. Bruce Lee? Chuck Norris? I didn’t have a clue. But hey, it meant being able to spend time with this cute, offbeat, but gentleman of a man, then I was all for it.  Now, 23 years later our family business is our martial arts school. It’s a family thing, my husband calls us a “Chinese laundry” where every family member is expected to learn the business. But our son, Ryan and the girls love it. They truly aren’t expected to be there every day, but they want to be there and they are all very good at teaching, working with the kids ages 4 to teens and twenties and answering the phone, taking money, all the things that come with running a small family business. It’s the biggest adventure we’ve been on and are enjoying. The entire family gets along well and we all enjoy each other’s company.

 

The secret to our relationship? We aren’t afraid to laugh ourselves silly in the mall at some garish outfit in a window, go for drives to look at the river we live near, start a “waving at other cars” campaign while driving to the library. We have long talks after dinner, sitting at the table still full of dishes and food and discussing current events, what’s going on in high school, college, the business, down at church. We are all active in our church, Laura and I cantor, Cait is an altar server, Ryan is a lector and my husband is a Eucharistic Minister. Do you think that has anything to do with our closeness? You bet. If you are in a loving relationship with our Lord, He will keep you close to your family. Our motto has always been, “A family that prays together, stays together” and it couldn’t be more true. It might be hard with all the different schedules we five have, but if at all possible we always eat evening meals together. We say our evening prayers together, go to Christmas novenas, Sunday Mass is always together. It makes me sad to see families of teenagers not attending Mass together on Sundays. Where is everyone? No, they are NOT working, not always. Where is the rule written that says once a child reaches age 14 you stop going to Mass with your parents? Going to Mass together on Sundays is as important to us as breathing, eating, all those survival skills. No, my husband and I don’t “expect” the kids to join us. They just do. They just know it’s important. But then we always brought them to Mass with us as babies, toddlers, school age. Yes, it was hard, no they didn’t always behave. I remember most Masses were spent standing in the back rocking back and forth until one of them fell asleep in my arms. Boy, my arms hurt and did I understand the gospel that day? Maybe not, but I knew God knew I was there, fulfilling my vocation as mom and it was important to bring the kids. How else would they learn to praise God by singing, praying, listening to the Word and waiting for their turn to receive Jesus in the Eucharist? I still remember the relief when Cait finally made her First Communion. It was relief I felt, because all my children were finally receiving that Grace of God in His Son through His Body and Blood. Wow, it was that was a great feeling!


            Until they were old enough to participate fully, I brought quiet toys, crayons and small paper, cereal to keep them occupied during Mass. They were happy with that. Oh they had bad days and we’d spend those in the back of Church too, but understanding that toddlers are moving type creatures, need to be occupied with something, albeit a quiet something, is what it takes to bring them to Church.  After my son started school, I would take the two girls to School Masses at eight in the morning. They found these interesting because they would not only get to watch for their brother coming through the doors, but also 200 other kids and smile and wave at them. When my sister-in-law started playing the organ for these Masses, I babysat her children too in the very last pew in the corner, at times there were five or six of us back there and they kept each other company and actually pretty quiet for the most part. Unbelievable? Well, it happened and it’s true and I can truly say now I’m glad I did that because her kids love Church now too.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Playing Laser Tag On A Hot Day!

   What is a 53 year-old woman doing playing outdoor laser tag in 90 degree heat? Having fun of course!  And receiving compliments from her children like, "thanks for being a FUN mom, mom!"

   Those are the things I live to hear! All the sweat, muscle ache and near mishaps are more than worth it to hear your kids admire your tenacity.  As long as you don't ask them how well I did shooting, although I did record the second highest number of hits in our first game!  Our vacation to visit daughter Laura in California was wonderful. I always have to laugh though because with this family, we never take those lazy kinds of vacations, the ones where you lay on a beach or in a lounger beside a pool and take it easy. If we aren't hanging upside from a bi-plane, soaring through trees on a tether, or rushing over rapids in a flimsy rubber raft, it was not a vacation in my family's mind!
   This year was pretty tame by comparison. We played two hours of laser tag outdoors at a football field sized obstacle course in 90 degree blazing sunshine. While each round only lasted 15 minutes, I can tell you it felt a lot longer running around walls, jumping into crates over and around giant tires looking for the "enemy" I mean, other members of my group to shoot. 
   I know it was startling at first to those little kids to have some crazed gray haired lady jump over a window sill and fire at them, they got used to it quickly and fired right back! But I was better at hiding than they were. Good thing too because by the second round, I did a lot of hiding and not so much running. I have a little more empathy for those football players who play in the heat on artificial grass. That stuff can really generate a lot of heat beneath your feet and it wears you out fast!
   So because the laser tag was tame stuff,  according to my kids, we had to go on a hike up the mountains surrounding Silicon Valley the following day. It was about two miles but it was all pretty straight up in the heat again. I thought northern California was cooler than this. Apparently we brought some Missouri heat with us.  We did finally get to see the view, looking down on the cities of San Jose and its surrounding suburbs, but only have a heavy breathing hike twisting around the hillside of wheat and wild flowers.
   This was the opposite hike we took last year when we visited when we went to the redwood forest and hiked down into the valley. That one was much cooler, but even longer and the hike back to the car was all back up the forest floor which took a lot longer than we anticipated. Did you know it gets dark in a forest about 4:00 PM even in California?  And we won't talk about the mountain lions and bears I saw warning signs posted for! 
   Nevertheless, I am always game when my husband and kids get an idea in their heads for adventure. What is life without some fun, life threatening sport?  A safer life? Maybe, but as luck and prudence would have it, I've never had to visit the ER during any vacation adventure, at least not so far!  And I would like to keep it that way thank you.
   But I come from a family of adventure, my own 80 year old mom still hikes with the family on our personalized family 5 K run/walk and my 74 year old father-in-law clambers up trees to cut them down piece by piece. So you see I have a lot to keep up with!
   Happy Trails to you too!