Take Action

Show up or shut up; what is that saying? It’s a good one. I recently decided to start giving myself participation awards. Showing up seems a battle that everyone is fighting- how do we move from social media to a social event? There are so many moving parts when it comes to attending something as a family. It can be immobilizing to get pants on a toddler so we can go to the park; once we’re there it’s worth it for the family, for sanity, for sleeping. Personal goals of parents can fall behind as we put the needs/ desires of family first. A child acting out can be debilitating for personal goals.  So I made it a family goal, we all have to be involved in things we are all interested in.

Nevada Moms Clean Air Force with Michael Lienhard

Here we are at Sen. Dean Heller’s office.

One of the great reasons for being back in the states is the opportunity to stand with others and multiply our community voice. Another is the chance to meet with government representatives. I’ve been watching the VoteRunLead videos. They are so informative and interactive; full of great questions that get my gears going after listening to the videos. One question that stayed with me was from the first video; “Where do you show up in your community?” My first answer was online. I know it’s not what was meant but it struck me funny. I want to be more engaged and active in Reno- that’s not going to happen sitting behind a screen.

People gather for Charlottesville Victims Vigil in Reno's City Plaza

Before it started

Monday night we took the boys to a vigil in the City Plaza. I was too engaged to take many photos. We gathered and meet a few folks, more than 500 people attended. It was nice. Members of The Quiet Choir lead the group in, ‘I can’t Keep Quiet’, ‘This Little Light of Mine’, and ‘Imagine’. It was beautiful. For ‘This Little Light of Mine’ bats were flying overhead. It was right at dusk when all the candles were being lit.

 

Yesterday we (Wyll, the baby and I) had the pleasure of joining up with the Moms Clean Air Force here in Reno. We all went to meet Nevada Senator Dean Heller. Sen. Heller was busy with something so we met with Michael Lienhard, a regional representative. Michael, as he introduced himself, took a lot of notes, smiled, and promised to pass our concerns forward. In the meeting we, representing Moms Clean Air Force, talked about our concerns for the future of air and water in Nevada. It’s effects on public health were frequently noted. The focus was around cuts to the EPA and how that will affect us down the line. It’s been a long time since I had a meeting with a government official, my skills are a little rusty. Please check out the video of our meeting through the Nevada Moms Clean Air Force facebook group.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/MomsNevada/?multi_permalinks=211276499406127&notif_t=group_activity&notif_id=1503001588411632#

Weekly planning 

With the Elder in daycare and Wyll working, the baby and I get stuck with the house chores. We go shopping once a week and try to keep laundry down to three times a week. As much as we try not to, sweeping, mopping and dishes seem to be everyday chores.

The weather has been tres hot in Reno and I’ve been opting for things I can make in the instant pot. Yesterday I made red pepper hummus, falafels (yes the bean balls), and baba ganoush in the Instant Pot. I felt so professional! We fixed them up in pitas with cucumber, tomatoes and homemade tzatziki. Everyone loved it. We ate most of the pita but nothing like a flour tortilla to step up and be a wrap. Hurray for quick lunches!

Last night I made a big pot of yogurt in my sleep. It was so easy. We have things to go with it like apples, bananas, grapes which the baby has now learned he can grab them out of the fridge. This morning we had overnight rolled oats. They were so good and easy. Fridge cold and peanut butter chocolate, just mix together with equal parts oat and ‘milk’ (I did a cup rice milk with 1/4 cup PB and 1/4 cup chocolate pudding I made) and chill in the fridge. I will definitely be doubling it next time.

Beets are in the Instant Pot right now. So easy to steam them up then throw them in a vinegar marinade. I’ve been ‘roasting ‘ many vegetables this way, bell peppers, garlic heads and all my side veg- potatoes, carrots, squash, corn. It takes about an hour to do a pot of beans from dry with the Instant Pot. It’s easy to take whatever veg and beans then heat it up on the stove either in a tortilla with cheese or in a bowl with avocado.

Brown rice is easy to make in there too but I haven’t mastered white rice. I haven’t mastered the one pot pasta meal either but boy am I trying. I guess I’ll just keep a few pots and pans for the stove.

reDesign

Don't wait for opportunity; create it!

Creating work spaces

Over the last month, I’ve pursued old and new ways to find enjoyment in my adult life. July started out with the bold ambition of having my partner teach me Ruby on Rails; it’s a computer programming language that has proven beneficial in my household. Wowza, so stressful. It’s one thing to have a tutor glaring down at you; it’s way more intense when it’s your spouse! Two weeks after the initial start we realized it wasn’t working for either of us.

This coincided with putting our oldest into daycare, he hated it. Talk about grueling; every morning ‘I don’t want to go. I don’t like it there.’ Broke my heart. We called mulligan on that, too, scraping a month long plan. It just felt like all the things were wrong. Learning Ruby wasn’t going well. The toddler was extremely unhappy. He spent all his extra time telling us about what he didn’t want to do. I had connected with some mom groups in Reno, maybe I had abandoned them too quickly. Let’s give it another try.

The morning started out with the now very common daycare diatribe. I called the provider and cut ties; back to full time mom of two. As a family we went grocery shopping then ate pizza at the park. It was a good morning. Later that afternoon, our fist choice center called and said they had a surprise opening starting on Monday. We just gave up, now what!?! Do we try again? There were still chips to throw down, so much to discuss. So many un-turned stones.  As parents, we talked through it. What did we think we could get out of it? How could it be beneficial?

I still wanted to prove myself, but at a mother’s pace. A mother’s pace includes child disruptions and the weight of the ‘mental load’. Duties as house manager come first, taking precedent over my desires to learn a new skill or make money. While rigorously  studying the house went feral. It drove me crazy while I was trying to be focused on learning. So, regroup: I work on house stuff while the younger is awake. I work on me stuff while he sleeps like blogging and learning to code. While the older is at the center I can do house business and focus on what makes me happy. He likes this set up more. No tears today- first day of week 2. I met a few moms who are interested in coming over once a week to work. I’m excited to see where it goes.

 

July

Wow, how does one engage the mom brain for things other than home management. I’m getting back into coding. In my heart it feels like the thing I never understood I loved. In college I worked with HTML and CSS but the school wasn’t set up for teaching computer programming. My head is like how do you expect me to stretch when there was no warm up. I started a hundred days of code challenge. I started with a new language, Ruby. Similar enough to JavaScript but still challenging. Going through the exercises were ‘easy’. They were tough but they built on each other so by the end I had a list of functions I had made. I then used the functions to create a game. That was pretty cool. I wasn’t quite able to set up an AI player but I’m going to review that part today.

My oldest son is back in daycare and loves it. He’s playing with toys and hanging with friends which is what I aim for when it’s the two of us. The baby is getting his teeth so that is making the afternoon a little more difficult than expected. We got him some oral gel. I’m looking forward to more coding today. This mom brain hasn’t given up yet!

NV DMV

I finally made it down to the DMV with my two kids! Talk about adulting. I had an appointment, we were thirty minutes early and if I had all the right papers we wouldn’t have to go back. 

Lars was amazing. He wandered a little and eventually made a friend. They played around the chairs and laughed to my delight. I think the other mom was also happy that the kids wouldn’t be bored or getting into mischief. 

Along comes an old man with old ideas about how kids should behave. He said things that made everyone slightly uncomfortable. He told them they would go to jail if they kept running. He said the other kid’s hair was perfect to pick him up with. People around me started to whisper. He was crossing the blurred line into unfamiliar territory. 

What was I supposed to do? Call him out? “Sir, please don’t lie or be nasty with my child; I don’t want him to learn from your behavior. ” I laughed and threw myself under the bus. He reminded me of the old woman telling school kids doing homework at the library to ‘quiet down’. It comes from a different generation. Children are not less than human. 

Lars was scared. I didn’t see it or acknowledge it then but I remember it now. He put his fist in his mouth and asked the old man where his mom was. “I’m right here, honey. ” I was right behind him with a few rows of chairs between us. He scurried toward me and stayed seated the rest of our wait. 

Tonight my mind is working on a few things. I keep coming back to myself as a parent in a public place. Was there a way I could have provided support for the kids without humiliating this old man? How could I get the old man on my team? I often think that soon the youth will rule the world, but I don’t think telling him he’ll die soon will get me any where. 

Is there a way to show pride in something that someone else thinks is wrong?

House warming 

Yesterday we celebrated moving into our own place. It was nice having people over. We only have two chairs but we had a great time and even managed a table top game. Hacky sack was the game of the day though. Everyone enjoyed being in the sun and playing a non-competitive game. 

The apartment manager opened the pool, so we are hoping to have weekly dinners and swims. We were gifted some much needed items like a popcorn popper, you laugh but I’d been making it in a stew pot and it came out soggy more than once. 

The wildest thing we got was an Instant Pot, apparently we don’t need a stove or oven any more. This baby does so much, it claims to be a seven in one but it has 14 cook button options. I’m excited and nervous to get started. It came with a recipe book and I’m starting with the first recipe. I hope it moves from easy to hard instead of appetizers to desserts. It’s a squash soup, wish me luck, I’ll keep you posted. 

Growth

So we finally moved to our own place. It feels like forever since we had some personal space. Granted we loved being with family, it’s just time we had the room to argue, cry and be parents. We’ve been here for about a month-it’s flown by so quickly. We found a few gems and meet some nice people. 

Almost there!


Close to the apartment we moved into is Huffaker Park. It’s pretty nice with a stream that runs through on one side. It has two play structures and a big hill or small mountain that is most often jogged. There are plenty of people walking their dogs, too. Many of the dogs seem to be older. The laughing, chaotic run of a toddler pretty easily throws them off but we’ve had few confrontations. 

On more than one occasion I’ve found multiple groups with kids at the playground. Often moms, but sometimes grandparents or dads, with kids under eight years old. Today, it was a mess with two year old boys. Maybe, I exaggerate, four toddlers, two infants, one dog; plus two girls who came at the end. Watching kids interact who are the same age as mine was exciting. 

Developmentally, they are all so different. I can see that Lars is a little under developed when it comes to language, perhaps shy too. He’s very gentle but learns how to be more rough and tumble around others. I pick up things too like the advantages and hard work put into timeout and other forms of discipline. One mom commented on my “no thank you” routine, which I picked up from another mom in South Lake Tahoe. 

It feels good. I think we’re on the right path it’s just taken us a while to get here.