We love Daddy!

DaddyBest Daddy Award wasn’t supposed to leave Denver until later this afternoon, but he hates it when one of his family is feeling sick. So, he left this morning after his first appointment and should be home by 4 or so today. Jake had a headache and a 101.1 fever last night which got much worse by 3 A.M. and by 9 A.M. he was throwing up and had a 102.7 fever. I canceled my personal training and massage clients, by Jake’s request, to snuggle with him and be there to support him through his illness. But, even with my constant companionship for him, he asks for his Daddy.

Everything is better when Daddy is home, especially when you are feeling sick. He seems to help everything get better and calm down. Everything is taken care of when he’s here. He is the best caregiver of ALL TIME. Even when we try our best to take care of each other as he cares for us, it is impossible. I think it’s partly his huge “Papa Bear” arms and barrel chest which hug us so completely that makes him irreplaceable. He also is very aware of medications needed, when they were given, when they should be given and so on. We can truly relax and heal when Daddy is here.

Daddy makes everything better. Even when he’s not home, but in town, he makes things better. We know everything will be ok when he is aware of our needs. I don’t think the kids really grasp the completeness that is their Daddy’s care is for them. They won’t understand how comforting and complete it is until someone else tries to care for them and they will be shocked at some other people’s attempts at caregiving.

Not only care giving, but just caring, loving, noticing, supporting & involving himself is unequaled to their Daddy. It will be hard to find a good match for them, since they have been so well cared for by their Daddy. He smiles at them, looks them in the eye, notices their moods, questions, homework, hunger, sadness and a general need for a hug. He goes to games, concerts, church, skating, playdates, shopping, golfing, swimming, walking, all to be with them.

And not only to support his kids, but to just BE with them, calmly, lovingly, being content with simplicity.

What a great teacher he is, loving his wife, honest about who he is and who his kids can count on. He is leading by example, loving, generous, thoughtful, aware, forgiving, and wise.

He is the man…and he also happens to be…my man. 🙂

2013 Summer Bucket List

SumThe kids and I came up with the activities we wanted to add to this summer’s list of how to spend our time…besides relaxing, reading & traveling to Alaska.  We also try to add daily flashcards and writing.  The school work is good to keep track of with stickers for each completion to earn some “Toy store money”.

Since there were so many activities, we made a schedule of events and then invited some friends to have a itty bitty summer camp of fun. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  • Zoo
  • Aquarium
  • Explora
  • Natural History Museum (and Dynamax movies)
  • Romero’s Street Cafe
  • Gravity Park (Trampoline Park)
  • Stone Age Climbing Gym
  • Swimming
  • Xtreme Hangtime (Trampoline Park)
  • A day in the Jemez Mountains
  • Take the Rail Runner to Santa Fe
  • Putt-Putt Golf
  • Hinkle Family Fun Center
  • Cliffs Amusement Park
  • Isotopes Baseball Game
  • Sandia Tram Ride & Picnic
  • Radisson Water Park
  • Make Flubber
  • Gardening at Los Polanos Organic Farm
  • Archery
  • Hiking
  • Roller Skating
  • Ice Skating
  • Bowling
  • Movies
  • Water Fights
  • Water Balloon Tosses
  • Cooking Contests
  • Make Father’s Day gifts
  • Make Silly Putty
  • Have a Backyard Movie
  • Make our own Putt Putt course
  • Make an igloo out of milk cartons
  • Have a “Christmas Week” in July
  • Make tents, forts and swings
  • Plant an Herb Garden
  • Tea Parties outside
  • Learn to make smoothies
  • Learn to make healthy snacks
  • Make homemade “passports” or scrapbooks of the summer
  • Go to some Aquarium Concerts

Phew!  Let’s see if we can include all of these activities in our summer plans for 2013.  I’ll give you weekly updates on the progress. :))

What are you doing for the summer?

Massage is a Great Career Choice for Moms

There is so much discussion about women and their careers on whether women should be at home with the kids or whether they should

Massage is a Great Career for a Mom

Massage is a Great Career for a Mom

pursue great careers.

The problem is that women simply ROCK.  We can do it all.  Our ability to multitask and organize is amazing.  Plus we can nurture and heal, discover & teach, cook and clean. On and on.  Lately, in the past few decades, we have tried to do it all.  And we CAN do it ALL…we just can’t do it all at the same time.

The last conversation I had with my loving Mother-in-law before she passed away, which I will never forget, as I was playing mental tug-of-war, she said to me, “Ruth, you can do ANYTHING you want….you just can’t do EVERYTHING you want….especially all at the same time.”

It’s such an individual decision to stay home or hammer at work, it seems.  Women are so capable, and for that exact reason, the struggle to find the balance between family and career can be excruciatingly painful.

For me there was no question of whether I wanted kids…I always knew I did, and set up my career around that idea. But it hasn’t always been an easy road.  As I established my business, I wondered if I’d ever meet anyone…because I was working 70+ hours each week, then going home and washing massage sheets.  I was lonely, but I was on a mission to have an established business by the time I got married.

Once established and married and staying at home with the kids, I struggled with the choice of letting my business almost die to stay home, or to stay working long hours to continue the financial success, but let someone else raise my kids.  Sleepless nights I struggled & played tug-of-war in my mind of what is the best for my family.  No one could comfort me.  No one had the right answer.  All the while staying home as my business almost died, but I spent all my time playing with my kids.

It’s funny that “in the moment”, like Rush’s song FREEWILL, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice”, I WAS at home loving my kids, laughing, playing, but suffering with the withering of something I had spent so much time creating.  I finally let go and appreciated where I was in life….that this was one of the “have ANYTHING” while a career was part of the “EVERYTHING right now” part of my Mother-in-law’s advice.  She had been through what she was watching me struggle through.

The idea that those who are not in this position can’t understand is the push and pull from both sides.  Each side feels extremely justified in their convictions of YOUR time.  The very beginning of being a Mom is the hardest, especially with an established career:

  • Staying at home is actually MUCH HARDER than working!!
  • At work, I know EXACTLY what I’m doing and what to expect
  • At home, even the best plan rarely starts and ends the way it’s “supposed to”
  • At home, nothing is EVER organized, clean, put away for any amount of time
  • At work, I know where everything is, counters are clean, my mind seems peaceful and clear
  • At work, I am making more money for the family & keeping staff happy
  • At home I am spending money & keeping family happy
  • People at work want you at work and don’t care about those at home
  • People at home want you at home and don’t care about those at work
  • At work I can sit quietly, alone, and get oodles done
  • At home, I’m never alone, I worry and am constantly moving to manage the household…just to start all over again, it’s never done

This is the cycle of thoughts until a decision is truly made peace with.  The loss of my bustling business was all about my ego, and that part of me could wait. The kids and their daily milestones could not and would not wait.  This finally was crystal clear to me and the rebuilding of a career took back seat to being home full-time when the kids were home. What an incredible opportunity.  I am so lucky.

For those Moms who may be going through something similar with your career vs your family….hang in there.  Only you know the right answer for you and your family.  Meditate.  Force exercise and quiet time at home.  I think it’s good for our kids to see powerful women in the workforce.  And also, it’s so important for kids to have their Mom to be with and physically hang on to.  When you look back on your life, ask yourself, “what is most important to me” then make choices accordingly.  That’s what I answered for myself.  This answer is different for each Mom.

As a Massage Mom, this has been a great 20 years!!  I recommend this career and wouldn’t have had it any other way.

The PROS for a Mom as a Massage Therapist:

  • Able to establish an office and buy a house fairly quickly
  • Work while pregnant and raising kids all while working minimal hours making great money
  • Forced to stay in shape
  • Choose days and hours worked
  • Choose the clients I want to work on
  • Do what I love & make money doing it
  • Connect with clients in a manner that is extremely fulfilling
  • Be a “stay-at-home-Mom” with a career
  • Be with my kids most of every day
  •  Exciting daily work, always challenging, always engaging
  • Learning something new everyday
  • Honoring God with my work, using the talents I was given
  • And the best pro of all:  I’ve been honored to help the clients I love so much
  • Help them feel better in their lives
  • Keep my clients playing their sport
  • Allow clients to become and stay pain free.

The CONs for a Mom as a Massage Therapist:

  • Massage is physically demanding
  • My hands hurt after 20 years of working
  • There is little camaraderie in this profession

Bottom line:  massage is a great career choice for a Mom, especially before you have kids.  Strengthen your hands before you start and learn excellent body posture while you work.  This is true in any profession.  Good luck. 🙂

Remember the Crossing Guards

Redesigned logo used from 2011-present.

Redesigned logo used from 2011-present. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As we prepare for the end of yet another school year, I give money to each child’s Room Mom to collectively buy a gift for the teachers.

Sometimes I add to the “main gift” and sometimes I find something to give separately.  A Massage gift certificate is not always a good choice, I found out, depending on whether the teacher likes or has ever tried massage.  Teachers are also TERRIBLE at finding time for themselves, so they may not use a massage GC, or just give it to their spouse.

I have assumed (wrongly) that teachers like chocolate and/or Starbucks gift certificates …because that’s usually a safe bet and “there are 15 Starbucks fairly close to me” according to Siri on my iPhone.  But, again, a tad bit of communication with the teacher proves helpful.

At our school we can volunteer quite a bit and I do.  I love this year’s teachers and yet have not slipped the “what would you like” conversation between the “how’s my kid doing in class” conversations.

Though there is a “my favorites” list passed out at the beginning of the year for each teacher to answer such questions, I tend to like to get a unique gift that they will forever cherish….which is not at all on this list…a gift which I can figure out with my mind reading powers.

Here we are, at the last few days of school, which are jammed packed with massage appointments as I realize that my “open” schedule is about to go away for the summer months.  As you can imagine, this leaves me oodles of extra time to find an amazingly meaningful remembrance of our family to these wonderful Role Models.

I think we are also trying to savor the last bit of teacherly influence as the hours of belonging in their classrooms disappear.  Time marches on, and another set of students will take this classes place.  Maybe the gift I find can remind the teachers of the wonderful impact they had on my kids so they can continue their patience on a hard day with new students.

It turns out that the love-filled trips I’ve taken to the Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival with my Mom have landed the perfect gift ideas, especially from a glass art maker, Brian Vaughn from Tortolita Creations.

As I get out of my car with gift bags a-plenty, holding some with my teeth, closing the car door with my glorious backside, I look up with strings and tags in my mouth, only to notice the always-there, always-helpful crossing guard is smiling, keeping us all safe as we are oblivious to moving cars with texting parents inside…oblivious because our awesome crossing guard is doing his job keeping those dangers at bay. Oops. Forgot him again.

Back to Starbucks I go.

Holland America Cruise to Alaska

We are planning a trip to Alaska!  I’ve never been on a cruise and never been to Alaska.

  • Passports…Check
  • Shore Excursions…Check
  • Port City Travel…Check

The kids are coming and we are traveling with a large family group.  We are very excited.  My cousin is a costumer and she is bringing 1920 costumes for our entire family to wear to one of the dinners.  For some families, this is not ok.  For, us, we’re ready and excited.

To plan the shore excursions I used Trip advisor.

I will let you know how it goes as soon as we get back.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

My Dad with Jake

My Dad with Jake

Thank you, Dad, for being such a great Dad! Not only do you listen, support me, cheer me on, remind me to rest and take care of myself, fix things around my house, watch my kids, hang shelves, hang birdhouses, and take care of our dog, you also wash my massage sheets, fold and put those sheets away, do all the taxes, keep track and pay all the staff, take out the trash, water the plants, bring fresh drinking water, and watch over me in a quiet and gentle manner.

I appreciate your quiet presence at my office which I can tell is there from the jingle of your keys. The door is quietly opened when you arrive, and if I don’t catch you, you slip out like James Bond.

All you do for people, the staff here, the church congregation, the homeless you feed, the homeless you build houses for, you are an incredible example of treating people like Jesus would have. I love you, admire you, brag about you and hope my kids learn from you how to be generous, selfless, humble, brilliant and kind. The world would be a much better place if everyone had a Daddy like you!!

Happy Father’s Day, Love Ruth