Thursday, January 22, 2015

My Word For 2015 Is Play

I've been working on my plan for 2015; not resolutions, but real, actionable, and attainable goals.  I'm really excited about this year!

While I was making my lists and putting deadlines on my calendar I realized that I was leaving out the most important thing, FUN!  I've been focused on slowly building my business so that by the time my daughter is in school full time, I will have enough work to fill my time, and be earning enough money to cover our expenses AND save for our future.  What I forget sometimes is that I need to prioritize and schedule play.  Not just for her, for both of us, and most importantly together!  

From the time she was born we've been together nearly 24/7 and I've always played with her.  It was me on the floor with her, coloring, putting puzzles together, mashing play doh.  It was me in the sandbox with her, building shapes that she could crush.  It was me in the pool with her, teaching her to swim like a mermaid.  Our early years were blissful, and I'm so grateful that together we built a relationship on a foundation of love and trust and joy.  At one point my Mom was watching us play and asked, "She's your best friend in the world right now, isn't she?"  I know a lot of parents, and experts, say that we can't be our child's friend, but I disagree.  If she's my favorite person in the world, the person I most want to spend time with, isn't she my friend?

We read together, eat together, snuggle up and watch tv together, paint each other's nails, and brush each other's hair, but since I started working more, I've relied on others to play with her, mostly her friends, her cousins, and my parents.  I make sure she has plenty of time to play with friends on the playground after school or on playdates, but more and more I feel like I'm watching, coaching, and refereeing her play with others.  

As she has become more and more independent, I've relinquished my role as her playmate, and we both lost something.  I got a taste of it the other night when she started dancing around the living room at my parents' house.  My Mom and I got in line behind her and mimicked her dance moves until we were all laughing and exhausted.  It felt so great to let go of being the grown-up and play like a 4-year-old.  So yesterday in my parents' rose garden after she performed a dance number for us, she asked us each to take a turn dancing.  There was no music, no judgment, no inhibition.  We danced with the abandon of preschoolers, and she loved it.  From the expressions on my Mom and Dad's faces, I could tell they loved it too.

So, my number one goal for 2015 is to spend more time playing.  I'm even putting it in my calendar!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Guest Post - I Feel Like I Live in the Matrix. Shocking Videos.

by Mark Rogers

This really was shocking.  If you still think that we aren't ALL fed a largely identical load of pablum from the news media, and that it isn't all coming from the same source, WAY up the food chain........then watch the two videos below!!
I found this truly disconcerting while being somewhat comical at the same time.  In fact, the entire first video is part of Conan Obrien's monologue, and predictably, the audience just yucks it up, while missing the deeper significance.

At the very least, just watch two minutes of the first video, and you'll get the gist.  The 2nd one offers further examples illustrating the point, but both videos combined will only take about 4 minutes of your time.

It really was eye-opening. 

This is absolutely maddening.

"Mark Rogers"
Author bio:
Mark Rogers may or may not be his real name.  If you are lucky enough to be one of the few people who are connected to his very spartan Facebook page, pay attention.  I've known Mark since the late 90's when we both lived in Cozumel. To be honest, I thought he was an ass when I first met him, but it turns out he's an acquired taste.  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

My Favorite Things About This Holiday Season Weren't Things At All

We had a wonderful family Christmas again this year.  My sister and her family traveled down from BC, and stayed with her in-laws who have a place about five minutes from my parents' house.  We ate fish tacos at my Mom and Dad's and slept over so the kids could all wake up together and open presents.  After the kids were asleep we played Cards Against Humanity and laughed until we cried, and two of us, I won't name names, peed our pants.  We had Christmas dinner at Jen's in-laws' and got to swim after dinner.   It was all fun and mostly stress-free.   We all agreed though, that next year when we celebrate up in Canada it will be a less commercial version of Christmas.  We'll let Santa bring each of the kids a store-bought gift, and we will exchange things we make while we're up over the summer.  The reason for this is the fact that the best parts of our Christmas together had nothing to do with the scramble to buy and wrap gifts, the counting to make sure the kids all had about the same amount of presents to open, and watching them tear one open only to set it down and reach for the next.  

The best things in December were the experiences.

Seeing the Wild Lights at The Living Desert.

Photo Source

Running into friends at the tree lighting at La Quinta Resort, and watching their fantastic projected Christmas display set to music, then having nachos and margaritas on the Plaza while listening to live music.

Lizzie Lau La Quinta Resort It's A Wonderful Life

A quick trip to Las Vegas with my parents.  They were going to see Burton Cummings and Shania Twain, but Ebi and I tagged along so we could see the sights and enjoy swimming in a large heated pool for a couple of days.

Lizzie Lau Las Vegas Mermaid Sighting Paris

Lizzie Lau Las Vegas Paris Liberty

A storybook themed 5th birthday party for one of Ebi's friends in a park in Palm Desert.

Lizzie Lau Palm Desert Park

A road trip in my parents' bus down to Oceanside so we could use tickets a friend gave us to Legoland.

Lizzie Lau Oceanside Beach Legoland

Lizzie Lau Legoland Fun with Grandparents

Lizzie Lau Legoland Fun with Snow and Grandparents

Having brunch at The Parker and then seeing a live production of Cinderella at the Palm Canyon Theatre in Palm Springs.

Lizzie Lau The Parker Palm Springs Four Generations

Lizzie Lau Cinderella at Palm Canyon Theatre

Hanging out with my sister.

Lizzie Lau JennyOnTheRock7 Sisters La Quinta Resort

Cappuccinos and archery competitions in Old Town La Quinta on Christmas morning with family.

Lizzie Lau Mom Gammy Grandmother Old Town Coffee La Quinta

Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Little Chef - Homemade Play Dough

My four-year-old loves to help in the kitchen.  I can't remember the last egg I cracked, because that's one of her favorite jobs.  She also loves measuring, mixing, touching, smelling, and tasting ingredients.  I think she has the makings of a good cook.  I think it's important to involve her in the kitchen and garden so she is invested in what we grow and create.

We make play dough several times a year.  It keeps well and I like that I know exactly what's in it.  I've never liked the smell of commercial play dough.  I usually toss it once it has attracted too many bits of dirt/hair/crumbs.  We get hours and hours of fun out of a batch, and part of the fun is making it.

This recipe makes enough dough to split into 4.

1 cup flour
1/4 cup salt
2 Tbsp cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
food coloring

Combine first five ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.  It will look like a sticky wet mess, but I promise it will become the right consistency.

Continue to stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes until mixture forms a ball in the center of the saucepan.

Dump the dough out onto a cutting board or clean countertop and knead.  Separate into 4 pieces and add several drops of food coloring to each piece.  Knead until the color is well distributed.

Store in an airtight container so it doesn't dry out.