Mama Ginger Tree doesn't live here anymore.  I have moved to The Norwindians.  The names have changed, but we're the same family.  Please add The Norwindians to your reader!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I Made a Decision

After all my indecisiveness... I have made a decision.  I am retiring Mama Ginger Tree and I will be blogging as Kirsten over at The Norwindians going forward.  And because I like to keep things as confusing as possible, I'm changing everyone's names.  

My name really is Kirsten so I'll be Kirsten/Mama Ginger Tree.  The rest of my family will go by their middle names.  Mr. Mint will be Jay.  Lolly and Frostine will be Sejal and Jayne respectively.  And Gloppy will be Raj.  

Are you confused?  Don't worry, you'll get used to it.  So change your bookmarks or your blogroll and add The Norwindians to your reader.  Or you can keep coming here and reading my archives if you don't like change.  I promise I won't change my blog name again at least for another 10 months or so.


I've posted today's Sunday's Simple Pleasure over here today.  Go check it out.

I still can't decide whether to switch my blog persona to my other blog, stay here for a while longer or what the heck I want to do.  I am usually a very good decision maker.  I weigh my options, and mostly just go with my gut and don't look back.  I get highly annoyed at when my sister hems and haws and talks all the options to death with everyone she knows before she decides whether to buy cupcakes or a sheet cake for her daughters birthday party.   Indecision drives me bananas and strawberries and oranges.  

But I cannot make a commitment on this one.  I am happy here in The Candy Cane Forest, but I also love The Norwindians.  Now that I have things all fancy over there, it just feels like something I could love with long after my family is past the Candyland, lollipops and gumdrops phase of life.  Is it better to just switch now if I am going to do it eventually?  Am I giving up all my readers by switching?  Am I going to want to start a whole new blog six months from now?  What is wrong with me?

Can someone please just tell me what the heck to do?  Can you call in your decision making crew please?  Help!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Healthy Competition?

There is always some kind of competition going on my house.  Who got the cup with the most juice.  Who has the best spot in the bed when the entire family piles into my bed in the morning.  Who's turn is it to get out of the bathtub first.  Who finished their homework first.  Who has the most stuffed animals.  Who does mom spend the most time with.   You get the point.

People often ask me which one of my twins is older.  A few people know the answer to that, but my usual answer is neither, they were born at the same time.  I don't really want them to know which one is older.  I kind of like not having an oldest and a middle child.  Gloppy will always be my baby, there's no escaping that, but I don't want to give one of the girls the "I'm older" card.  I'm conducting my own little birth order experiment.  What will happen if neither of them gets to be the oldest?  Besides, whenever anyone tries to guess which is older nine times out of ten they get it wrong.  I figure when they turn sixteen and I am forced to show them their birth certificates in order to get their driver's license they'll find out they are only one minute apart and the competition will turn up a notch.   

My neighbor who has one child always tells me a little competition is good for them.   My children know how to get under each other's skin and are always trying to one up each other.  And in the process they drive me a little bananas.  But then after I tell them they are driving me bananas they all turn to me and say in unison, "you're driving us strawberries!"  Then we all have a good laugh and we love each other again.


In the spirit of competition, I will now give you my Blogger Football picks for the week.  No trash talk, just my picks.  Game on.

NY Jets @ New England
Denver @ Atlanta
Detroit @ Carolina
Minnesota @ Tampa Bay
Baltimore @ NY Giants
Oakland @ Miami
New Orleans @ Kansas City
Philadelphia @ Cincinnati
Chicago @ Green Bay
Houston @ Indianapolis
St. Louis @ San Francisco
Arizona @ Seattle
Tennessee @ Jacksonville
San Diego @ Pittsburgh 
Dallas @ Washington

Monday Night Game: Cleveland @ Buffalo
Total score: 49

Check out the healthy blogger competition here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Click It

Please go here.  I promise you it's worth it.  Seriously.  GO!  I wouldn't lie to you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hug a Veteran

In case you weren't aware... today is Veteran's Day.  Maybe you didn't have the day off.  Maybe you view Veteran's Day as just another day the mail isn't delivered or another annoying holiday when you have to find back up child care.  Maybe you simply see it as a great day for a parade.  

Whatever your feelings are about the current state of our military or the war our country is tangled in, take a moment to talk to your kids about what today means.  We should honor those that serve our country.  

That's my mom during Air Force Nurse training circa 1965.  This picture was taken shortly before she met a handsome Air Force private seven years her junior who she would marry and have two gorgeous daughters with.

Happy Veteran's Day mom and dad.  

Monday, November 10, 2008

Taking My Old Self for a Spin

Mr. Mint drives a much, much nicer car than I do.  I don't really mind.  Afterall, I am the one who shuttles the kids around, grocery shops and all those other things that require a minivan.  The truth is I have never really cared that much about the car that I drive.  My (now four year old) minivan is the first brand new car I have ever owned.  I view it as transportation, nothing more.  I'm not defined by the car I drive.

Mr. Mint loves his nice car.  He has worked his @ss off to afford that car and he deserves it.  It's not over the top, just a nice car.  He rarely lets me drive it.  And by rarely, I mean never.  I can't say I really blame him, as driving has never been my forte.  But sometimes it is rather silly.  If I am going to my book club or to run an errand on the weekend, he never, ever offers to let me drive his car instead of my minivan.  Never. Ever.  (But I'm not bitter or anything)

A couple of weeks ago he took the kids to his parents house for the afternoon and I had an event to attend that evening.  I could tell it was painful for him, but it made no sense to put all three car seats in his car.  I can count on one hand the times this has happened in our six years of parenthood... the situations that require him to drive all three kids somewhere and me to be without any kids.  

I did what any mom would do with a couple of hours to herself and an empty house.  I folded laundry, picked up various shoes, toys and snack remnants from around the house, cleaned the kitchen and took a shower.  I took my time getting dressed.  I picked out a cute outfit and even put on some lip gloss.  I got into Mr. Mints nice car and sank into the comfortable seat.  I turned up the radio and cruised down hwy 101 to my destination.   I had a very strange, almost giddy feeling I couldn't quite put my finger on.  Granted I was attending a very mommy-centric event, but what was that look the valet was giving me as I pulled up to the four star hotel in my husband's nice car?  Was he flirting?  

Then it hit me as I was walking into the hotel.  That valet did not see a disheveled mom in a minivan with a potty on the floor of the backseat, fruit snacks smashed into every crevice, a random shoe under the seat and DVD's strewn about the front console.  He saw a smartly dressed, fairly decent looking, relaxed woman.  He saw me.  The un-mommy me.  I almost started crying.  But I didn't.

Instead I had a lovely time getting to know some other smart moms and listening to a UC Berkeley Graduate School professer lead a discussion about reading, education and raising our children to love learning.  It wasn't about potty training, timeouts, meal time or playdates (not that those aren't discussions I have with other smart moms on a daily basis).  

When I got back in Mr. Mint's car to go home.  I savored whatever it was that I was feeling.  I refreshed my lip gloss, even though I was headed home.  I turned up the radio again.  And there it was in a flash.  That feeling I couldn't put my finger on earlier was me feeling like no one's mommy.  No one was asking me to pull over so they could pick up the water bottle they just dropped.  No one was yelling for me to turn up their favorite song at the same time someone else was asking me to turn the music down so they could tell me something.  No one was bickering.  There was no echo of "mommy, mommy, mommy, MOMMY."  There was just me, the radio and the road.  When I got home all I had to unload was myself.   I felt young and refreshed.

Lately I've been thinking about why driving my husband's car was such an intense experience for me.  Have you ever seen that Suave commercial?  This one:

That is totally me.  Except I tried Suave and it didn't really make me beautiful and youthful again.  

I have immersed myself in being the mommy for the past six years and I have lost a little bit of the person I was before.  I still care about my appearance, but it is hard to find the energy some days to really put an effort into it.  Wearing sweats just seems so much more practical and comfortable for days when I will only be dropping off kids here and there and coming home to clean up the breakfast dishes and read blogs.  I do "dress up" for when I am in one of the kids classrooms, have an appointment or plan to meet someone for lunch or coffee.  But my "mom" wardrobe is very different from when I has a full time office job.

Being a stay at home mom has suited me just fine for the most part.  But what I am starting to realize six years in is that motherhood is amazing and wonderful and fulfilling, but is not the end all, be all of life.  And that is OK.  I'm hard on myself as a mother and want to craft a magical childhood for my children.  I enjoy them and I'm nuts about them.  But they also suck the life out of me sometimes.  Why do I need an evening alone and a drive in a nice car to remind me of my old self?  Why does she need to be lost?  She would be a good mother too.

What I have been asking myself is what am I really teaching them by having not much of a life outside of being their mom.   I don't want my girls, or my son for that matter to grow up thinking moms wear sweats everyday and only venture outside the house for groceries, book club and to vote.  I need to find a way to be The Mommy and The Un-Mommy at the same time.  It's a struggle sometimes.

I am making myself sound pretty pathetic, which in reality I am not (I hope).   I don't have all the answers.  I just know that I need to show my kids that there is more to life than listening to Camp Rock songs in the car.    

Perhaps I'll take a class at a community college.  Or maybe I'll just take Mr. Mint's car out for a spin more often.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday's Simple Pleasures III

I call this one girls in trees.  

The first thing Lolly and Frostine did when we bought this house was climb that tree.   At first it set of every mommy safety alarm in my body.   "Get out of that tree!  We don't climb trees!" I'd yell.  "You can play in the backyard, but no climbing trees," I'd admonish as they ran out the back door.   Then a few months later it was, "you can only climb the tree in long pants and sturdy shoes."  But just like I no longer have a gate at the top of my stairs and my third child never had a wipes warmer, I don't even flinch when they climb the tree nowadays.

They will only wear pants if I beg, plead or give them five M&M's, so they mostly climb the tree in dresses and flip flops.  Sometimes they even swing from the branches like monkeys. 

Mostly they sit on the branch together and have loud conversations with their friend across the street.  It's a pretty harmless tree.  And what's better than a little girl who isn't afraid to scuff her knees and get dirt under her finger nails?

Two little girls who love to climb trees... simple as that.