Sunday, December 18, 2011

Good kids

I'd love for my kids to grow up to be rich, successful doctors. I'd be thrilled if they made it into the best colleges and earned big paychecks and were the smartest people around. But that's probably not going to happen (at least not entirely), and I don't have much control over it either. But one thing I do have at least a say in is how they learn to treat other people.

Though I grew up in a very homogeneous town, I grew up to be open-minded and accepting. My parents did it subtly, but I always understood that everyone deserved to be treated with equal respect regardless of any perceived differences.

I am determined that my children will grow up with the same guidance. I want my boys to be respectful of women and Lena to believe she can be anything she wants to be. I also want them to understand that they have a lot of advantages and not everyone has all the things they have. I want them to see giving generously as just a part of life. I want them to feel a passion for social justice and an obligation to pull up others who have fallen down.

This is a tall order of course considering they are just one, three, and five, but it's never too early right? And I feel that I also need to make helping people around me a structured part of life. Too often you give of yourself only when it is convenient. So T and I have decided to volunteer or donate or do something every month to remind us that we are part of a larger community, and we are all in this together.

We started in September. That first month, we printed out a list from the Humane Society, went shopping at the pet supply store, and dropped off our donations. We also took a little tour and resisted bringing home any new pets.

In October, I had an already-scheduled charity event for a women's fund, so I wrote an extra check. In November, we signed up to be bell ringers.

We really guilted some people into giving with this line-up. We tried to explain exactly what we were doing and why. I think Q started to get it, though R was more interested in helping to shove money into the kettle, and Lena just liked shaking the bell.

In December, T took the boys to Toy R Us to pick out gifts for Toys for Tots. That was a big test of course, as the boys get manic when they enter a toy store. They did a good job selecting their toys and did  eventually hand them over.

Especially this time of year when the kids become greedy little devils demanding everything they see advertised in colorful newspaper inserts or on television commercials, I want to make sure they are learning what we really value. If they grow up to be caring, generous adults, I will know I was a good mother.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

November Favorites

1. Instagram

I was due for a phone upgrade in November and got my hands on then new iPhone 4S. Among the fun little treats with which I have been entertaining myself: Instagram. This app lets you take pictures and then easily apply filters to make yourself look like a master photographer. Witness the documentation of my Christmas card construction:

Watch out. It's addicting!

2. Dermalogica products

I picked up som Dermalogica products when I got a facial last month and have fallen in love. I got this multi-active toner and also a hydration serum and eye cream. I especially like the serum, because your skin just drinks it in and is moisturized without being greasy.


For Christmas and birthday this fall, I am going for online shopping and homemade gifts. has the best, most clever gifts for kids. I have snapped up a couple things for my nephews. also is a great option for unique, useful gifts.

4. PIE!

I stopped eating meat in 2004 (and started eating fish again in 2009), so Thanksgiving isn't about the turkey for's all about the PIE. I think I could subsist on pie alone. Cherry pie, pecan pie, apple pie, peach pie, and pumpkin pie. The last few years I have made two pumpkin pies (from scratch of course. That's the only way to do it.) and eaten probably 1.5 pies by myself. This year my pesky children were into pie as well (perhaps there is a pie-loving gene?), and I didn't get my fair share. Even Lena was going to town on the pie. I managed to devour about eight pieces but felt still deprived. Next year I might have to increase my pie production. And I will state for the record that I firmly believe pumpkin pie makes a perfectly acceptable breakfast. It has vitamin A in it doesn't it?