Thursday, December 31, 2009

The reason why this blog has been so quiet....

We were hibernating with Papa Bear's family in the state from whence he came..


I should probably apologize to you, Cyber Bears, for neglecting you so. But, did you just see those pictures? Yeah. They were taken from the deck of our cabin. I feel amazingly unable to apologize after enjoying that view on Christmas Day.

Hope you had a very Merry Christmas. Here's to a great New Year together.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bah! Humbug!

"External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was better than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty."

A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

A Letter to the "Local" Theatre Company Producing their Annual Performance of Dickens' A Christmas Carol:

I love Dickens' A Christmas Carol. It's a lovely story of redemption and renewal. But the real reason I love it, is because of my family. Let me explain.

As many Christmases as was possible growing up, our family of 5 drove 2 hours west to see A Christmas Carol performed by the Theatre Company in "the big city". I remember each experience vividly. The anticipatory drive into the city, the fancy red velvet seats in the theatre, the bigger than life actors, and - of course - the amazing story of Scrooge.

When my first niece was a cub, My Daddy Bear decided that we needed to renew our tradition, and pass it along to a new generation. When Brother Bear arrived, we inducted him into the now annual tradition. That was seven Christmases ago. That's right - do the math. We brought our then 3 month old cub to see the performance. Sure, we had to take him out at points. We were always considerate of the other patrons, and never once received a negative comment or a dirty look. Not once. Not even last year, when I brought my then 4 month old cub AND five year old cub to the performance. We had a perfect balance of kindness to fellow patrons as well as welcoming a new generation into our wonderful family tradition. It worked very well we thought.

"...for it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child himself." A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

This year was my first year to order the tickets myself (My Daddy Bear had previously taken care of these details). I called the number for the "Local" Theatre Company and was greeted by a representative for the new "INSERT CORPORATE NAME HERE Performing Arts Center". I guess now that the city has this wonderful Performance Hall, there is one central phone system for it all.

I noticed on their website, as well as on A VERY LARGE BILL BOARD on A VERY LARGE ROAD IN THIS TOWN that they were offering "Youth Tickets" for $15. That's great! Since our family was hoping to spring for the tickets this year, that would be a nice savings from the $45-$65 adult tickets.

So, I first asked the representative if my now 16 month old cub needed a ticket since she would be sitting in someone's lap the whole time. Her answer was a resounding YES. "EVERY PERSON who enters the theatre must have ticket," she tells me emphatically. Okay, no problem. While it seems a little overkill to me that my lap sitting, sixteen month old needs a ticket, I figure we can afford the extra $15 required for a youth ticket. I then tell the representative that I need 4 adult tickets and 2 youth tickets. I was then put on hold.

"Bah! Said Scrooge. Humbug!" A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

"I'm sorry ma'am. There aren't any Youth Tickets available," she says when she returns. Not any available? They were advertised ON A BILLBOARD. And your website says that "Youth Tickets available are for children under 18 years old with the purchase of an Adult ticket only". I'm buying 4 adult tickets, so I should be able to get my 2 youth tickets. I was then put on hold.


The representative returns again to tell me that there are only TEN youth tickets available for each show, and those ten tickets are gone for this performance. Huh? That fine print seems to be missing from the website as well as THE GIANT BILLBOARD ADVERTISING YOUTH TICKETS.

Now I'm a little frustrated. But I'm still intent on continuing the now beloved family tradition. So I tell the representative that I would now like to buy SIX adult tickets (gulp) starting from the end of the row so we can have easy access should we need to exit the theatre quickly. I was then put on hold.


For a while.

This time the representative told me that she was checking with her manager to see "if there was a minimum age requirement" for the performance. There wasn't. (Um, if she'd asked me, I could have told her that SINCE I'VE BEEN ATTENDING THE PERFORMANCE EVERY YEAR WITH MY BEAR CUBS FOR THE PAST SIX YEARS!) But she did, however, need to inform me that I would need to make sure that my bear cub behaved - and I might be asked to leave if she didn't.

"Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead," said Scrooge. "But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me!" A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

And that was about the time that I ended my conversation with the representative of the "INSERT CORPORATE NAME HERE Performing Arts Center". Okay. So maybe it was after telling her that I have taken bear cubs to this performance for SIX YEARS, and knew how to keep them in line, and what to do if they didn't behave. But I knew that I needed to end the conversation quickly after that. Because I was terribly frustrated at that point, and was NO LONGER THINKING LOGICALLY. (And, if you know me - if I keep speaking past that point it isn't pretty).

"But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round -- apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that -- as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefor, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good ; and I say, God bless it!" A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

After calming myself down, and sleeping on in for a few days, I recognize that this representative was just doing her job. The problem is that she had a job to do. And what I mean is, it seems that in all the fanciness and impressiveness that this "INSERT CORPORATE NAME HERE Performing Arts Center" has become, they have forgotten the beauty of Dickens' tale.

A tale of a man who is so focused on money and wealth to point of ostracizing family, friends, and anyone who comes in contact with him that he has nothing left but his money. A man who, haunted by ghosts of the past, present, and future finally sees the light. A man who is redeemed from the world of greed.

It's a tale that I see every year because I need the gentle reminder. It's a tale that I take my bear cubs to see, because I want to teach them about what is most important in life: gentleness, kindness, charity. It's a tale that, despite the experience I related above, we'll see again this year. I maybe a little jaded, but I'm not above offering a little redemption either.

It's also a tale that a few folks in corporate need to see this year too.


Mama Bear

" 'God Bless us every one!' said Tiny Tim, the last of all" A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

Saturday, December 12, 2009

"Lookin' Good"....And other runner's lies

I am running my 12th marathon tomorrow. I actually have the honor of pacing a new friend to meet his own personal best. This guy survived a heart attack in 2003. He has conquered much - now he's going to conquer this beast.

I love running marathons. What I love more is seeing people feel the accomplishment that running 26.2 miles gives you. It gives you a faith in yourself that (I think) nothing else can.

This quote was in this month's Runner's World magazine. I thought it was really funny. Hope you enjoy.

"Lying is NOT something we normally endorse. But it's perfectly acceptable to tell a runner that he (she) is looking good at mile 19 of a marathon when, in fact, he (she) looks like an insomniac who's trying to sneeze, and is confused because someone has switched his (her) running shoes with replicas made of concrete. The go-to lie is 'Lookin' good!' Or you could say, 'If I weren't so awed by the apparent ease with which you're navigating this course, I might be angry with you for nearly knocking me unconscious with your very awesomeness!' The key is to SAY SOMETHING. Even a zombie appreciates encouragement."

So, if you are out there tomorrow, please make sure you SAY SOMETHING to the runners. Every single one.

We need it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


The Holidays are stressful on everyone, but none more so than The Four Bears family pet. He's been known to be very naughty during The Holidays, and has often received only a lump of coal as a present. There was one particularly bad Christmas where he ate: a pan of brownies, a cookie sheet worth of gingerbread men, several ornaments, a doggie carrying case (not his), a doggie brush (not his), a pecan pound cake AND multiple pieces of the cake stand he broke in his attempt to liberate the pound cake.

Clearly, he has unresolved issues surrounding The Holidays. But a little doggie Prozac and aging seemed to work in our favor the past few years.

Until this year:
Yep. That is (what's left of) the Virgin Mary from our "Little People" Manger.

He'll be receiving another large lump of coal in his stocking for sure. And from the looks of it, he will be going to Hell as well.

Monday, November 30, 2009

And the winner for, "The Comic Strip Artist Who Lives in My Life" goes too...

Brian Basset of Red and Rover.

Seriously. I swear that this man must have met Brother Bear and our dog.

I'm still laughing. Hope you are too!

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Survival Techniques

Want to know the survival techniques I employ to make it through a week without Papa Bear?

Sugar. And LOTS of it.

For the bear cubs, of course.

Okay, maybe a wee bit for me too. Just a smidgen. I deserve it.

Right? RIGHT????

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Answer to, "Why does all the toilet paper in your house hang from the ceiling?"


I forgot this stage. Probably my body's attempt at self preservation. My house was messy enough before Sugar Bear starting walking around like the Tazmanian Devil and tearing it to pieces. I spend a good ten minutes at the end of the day returning things to their rightful place. I'm not sure why I even try...

I'm thinking of moving out to escape the mess. Do you think anyone would notice?

One of her favorite things to do? Remove folded laundry from the basket and throw it across the living room. Probably because clean, folded laundry is a rare sight in this den - but that's another story.

Good thing she's cute.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday, Papa Bear!!

To the bear who swept me off my feet

and still loves me 12 years (and 2 bear cubs) later.

Who can't remember a single thing we discuss

but is still the best Papa Bear to our bear cubs.

Who joined me in life and parenthood

And believes in partnership and teamwork.

The hardest working bear I know

As well as the most giving.

Who is hardest on himself

And sometimes forgets to give himself grace.

The bear who is not afraid to take the path less traveled

Even when he has no earthly idea where it will lead.

I'm glad we're on this path together.

"Grow old with me,

The best is yet to be."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Happy Veterans' Day

Below is a project that Brother Bear did this weekend. I could tell you that I researched and planned for weeks in preparation for this project. Or, maybe - just maybe - I was looking for something to occupy Brother Bear whilst Papa Bear was on a 2 hour Saturday bike ride and Sugar Bear was being real grumpy pants.

Either way, the end result makes me smile. Thought it would for you too..

Thursday, November 5, 2009

How long?

The question isn't how long do you leave your Christmas decorations up. The question is how long do you leave your rotting jack-o-lantern on your front porch.

Currently, we're at 12 days.

We have to wave off the flies as we wait for carpool. I hold my breath when I get the morning paper.

I refuse to touch it at this point. I have a delicate constitution...

Perhaps if I were some home-schooling genius I could turn this into a great science lesson. Or maybe, we could just start a compost pile right there on our front doorstep. I'll tell everyone we're "going green".

The Neighborhood Association Award for "Trashiest Neighbor" goes to....
The Four Bears!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Hope you had a Halloween full of Happy Haunts. Here are a few happenings from our haunted house:

Sugar Bear Monkey
Sure, she should have been a bear. But that would require me to have it together enough to think about it in advance. Instead of throwing her in Brother Bear's former costume at the last minute. Oh, and yes, I'm letter her run amok in the street. Thanks for noticing the fabulous parenting.

Star Wars Clone Trooper
Scared yet? I am. I'm sk-uh-air-ed. Because we've officially entered "the age of Star Wars".

Super Mama Bear
The scariest costume of them all...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Top of the List

A conversation between Brother Bear and his female carpool cub (thanks to the other Mama Bear for relating the story) :

Female Cub: Brother bear, I want to marry you.

Other Mama Bear: Well, two people have to day...after college...after you have a job...a long time from now. You have plenty of time to decide.

Brother Bear: Well, I also have a lot of girl cubs to decide from. Another female cub keeps saying she wants to marry me too. But Female Carpool Cub, is definitely at the top of my list.

Female Cub: What does "top of your list" mean?

Brother Bear: It means I like you the best, so it's possible that I might marry you.

Female Cub: Oh, ok. I'll marry you Brother Bear, if I don't have anyone else I want to marry too.

Brother Bear: But, Female Carpool Cub, you know (whispers) you have to kiss!

Female Cub: Oh, Brother Bear, that's ok. We'll be grown ups by then and we won't mind.

Brother Bear: But, ewwwwwwww!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tis the Season!

YIPEE!!! It's on the shelves again!
Little things, Cyber Bears. It's the little things....

(Oh, in case you were wondering, I in no way shape form or fashion was paid for this plug. In fact, I myself paid $2.99 for this post. Just keeping it honest.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hypothetically speaking..

I have a funny story for you. A hypothetical one of course!

Imagine if you will a harried Mama Bear on a busy Monday morning. In her normal fashion, she brilliantly scheduled her bear cub's appointment with a very-important-doctor-bear for 8 a.m. Downtown. (In her defense, she was worried about her bear cub missing something important in - get this - kindergarten). Additionally, Papa Bear had come down with a raging case of what they thought would soon be gonna-go-blind-itis and needed her to take him to an emergency eye doctor appointment later that morning.

The family scurried downtown and actually arrived 10 minutes early in order to meet with the very-important-doctor-bear. Everyone was on their best behavior for the first 45 - 50 minutes of the wait. Then, of course, things started to go south which coincided nicely with the arrival of the very-important-doctor-bear. Things only got worse when the very-important-doctor-bear delivered some less than optimum news. The Mama Bear attempted to stay strong but now had an angry, sad, bear cub on her hands.

The Mama Bear did her best to console her bear cub all the while trying to hurry him back to school so that she could take her betrothed to the doctor on time. With said bear cub back at school, she rushed home to retrieve her now nearly blind and incapacitated Papa Bear. They hopped back in the family vehicle and with little time to spare, were off to the next appointment.

In her hurry to get to the next appointment, the Mama Bear did a very poor parking job. But fearing that her spouse could lose his eyesight at any moment, she felt that there just wasn't enough time to correct matter. Thus, she left her car parked dangerously close to the one next to her and squeezed herself out as quickly as possible and rushed to the doctor.

(Now is a good time to insert some helpful information about this hypothetical Mama Bear. She's been trying very hard to reduce her post bear cubs fluff and has recently met with relative success. Not enough success to make her fit into her old sizes, but enough to give her just a wee bit of confidence that she someday could.)

Fast forward 30 minutes or so. Mama Bear, Papa Bear and the youngest cub return from appointment all relieved that Papa Bear will not lose his eyesight. Delirious with relief (and confident with her recent reduction in fluff) she eyes her previous parking job and assures herself that she and her bear cub can return to the vehicle as easily as they exited it. Why? Well, because she's confident, and her new ride has automatic sliding doors! That's why!

This Mama Bear gingerly squeezes herself and her cub in between the two vehicles. She contorts her body in order to buckle the cub into the car seat. At this point she simultaneously closes the electronic sliding passenger door and tries to enter the driver's door. Why? Well, because she's a multi-tasker, and because she thinks she can! That's why!

Shortly there after, the Mama Bear realizes that the electronic sliding passenger door is quickly coming closed on the, uh, right half of her, ummm, derriere. Panic sets in. Having never tested the "safety open feature", she fears the worst. She is certain that she is about to get half her fluffy fanny stuck in her vehicle door. Visions of a 9-1-1 call, fire trucks and giggling paramedics enter her head. Sweating profusely and near fainting, she shuts her eyes and squeals a prayer that the safety feature does indeed work as it was advertised.

Then what can only be described as as a miracle occurs and the door begins loudly beeping and starts its slow descent off of her derriere. The Mama Bear was safe. She looked up to see that no one (save her spouse and her bear cub) witnessed the event. Despite ribbing from the ever so funny Papa Bear, she would live to see another day.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Hypothetically, of course.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Creative genius?

Please, please, please tell me that the desks of DaVinci, Einstein, and Bill Gates looked like this when they were six years old:
It's creative genius, right? RIGHT?????

Friday, October 16, 2009

Love your neigh-bear

When Moses descended from the mountain with a list of heaven sent commandments, the list just happened to include "love your neighbor as yourself". When Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment, he gave two: love God, and love your neighbor.

For some of us this is easier said than done. However, I happen to be one very lucky Mama Bear who finds it very easy to love my actual neigh-bears. And I'm not tooting my own horn here. Because I have nothing to do with why it is so easy. It's all about my real life neigh-bears.

Let me explain.

Our Den is located on the corner of a lovely little street. Within walking distance, there are 7 families with pre-school aged bear cubs. Each family is different and unique, however we all share the same common bond of pre-school bear cubs. We've come to know and welcome each other as the years and bear cubs have grown. When the weather is nice, we're known to have impromptu yard events (optional for the kids: bathing suits, optional for the Mama Bears: wine). You can often see us on any given day shuttling bear cubs from one house to another for play dates, quick errands, or to simply give another Mama Bear a break. When a new bear cub arrives we celebrate in fashion. In fact, we don't really turn down a reason to celebrate at all!

It's becoming easier to understand why loving my neigh-bear is easy, huh?

With the arrival of both "school" and fall, it was decided that it was time to celebrate. A Ladies only (with one pint-sized exception!) luncheon this time.

As I mentioned earlier, we are each unique women. We all have our own talents, and bring our own skills to the proverbial table. (side note: I'm still trying to figure out what my particular talent/skill is..but that's another post) The two fabulous ladies that hosted this event are amazingly talented women in many areas (mothering, decorating, being neigh-bear-ly). But one area where they excel light years beyond my skill level or imagination is a party like this. Seriously. Think: Martha Stewart only prettier, nicer, and their children adore them.

So, today those of us who were able circled around a beautiful table and delectable food to celebrate. Celebrate what, you ask? Well, for starters, we celebrated the start of fall and an opportunity to get together over Mama Bear food, and Mama Bear drink and not have to share it (or listen to anyone complain about it!).

But more importantly for me, it was an opportunity of gratitude. I celebrated that of all the streets, in all the world, we all landed here, together. I celebrated the conversation: that it was fun and relaxed, not uncomfortable and forced. I celebrated the laughter that always comes when we are together. I celebrated that we are diverse in our lives and parenting, but we each love our bear cubs as fiercely as the other. I celebrated that there are women with whom I can share my children just as easily as I can a recipe. For that, I am eternally grateful.

I am not a perfect bear, and I may have challenges with the other commandments laid before me. But I guarantee with neigh-bears like this, loving them just comes naturally.

We entered to this. I told you - Martha Stewart! I'm so stealing this for Thanksgiving...

Just a little beverage to start..

Appetizers. There was egg, artichoke, and cheese. (supposedly, they were easy...)

A toast to our stage in life!

Soup: butternut squash goodness

Salad: orzo, feta delight

Dessert: sin on a plate. (I'm fairly certain I broke a commandment or two eating this...)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pick your battles

We learned early on with Brother Bear that we had to "pick our battles." As he's a very strong willed bear cub we found that if we didn't pick our battles, life would be nothing but battles.

And that's just no fun for anyone is it?

Yet again this morning, we were forced to pick our battle. It was either be dressed smartly and handsomely for church, or have some sort of clothing on our furry body and be on time to church.

You'll never guess which option we chose....

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I Went to the Animal Fair

Well, we survived our annual "jaunt" to the fair, and I lived to blog about it.

Have I mentioned I am not particularly fond of the fair?

Okay. That's not being fair. ahem. I like the local, quaint, manageable fairs. It's the fair-on-steroids that I don't like. You know what, it's not the fair itself that I don't like. It's the pandemonium, sensory and gastronomic overload, bleeding money, tear invoking, diaper soaking, coupon buying, aching feet, oh-my-god-where-is-my-child-now part that I really don't like.

I shouldn't complain. The kids had a blast. A policeman gave us free tickets, the rain never came, and I found $20 on the midway (after I tried to return it first).

But, alas, I just don't like the Fair-On-Steroids that we attend. Papa Bear has banned me (and my bad attitude) from next year's festivities.

Now, that's just not fair....

Here are a few memories:

inducting Sugar Bear to fair eatin'


driving the old beater


My lil' dare-devil bear

Papa Bear's snack (a.k.a. Fried Oreos) - he said, "it tastes like an oreo wrapped in a donut"

Fishing - where "everyone is a winner"...

Our fishing prize....until they took it away. Although "everyone is a winner," everyone can't win everything...
Ahh...gun time!

Holding off the rain gods

A hello on steroids

waving in the wind

Dessert. What can I say. I'm a purist at heart. (I only ate HALF of it...)

kickin' the tires (of a Corvette)

trying to escape via the parked minivan on display (I'm right behind ya Sugar Bear!)

EVERYTHING is bigger at the fair...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Personal Trainer

I have the sweatsuit and the root beer belly. Now, can someone please recommend a personal trainer? Pilates? Step Aerobics? Help a bear cub out!

Monday, September 28, 2009


Warning: if you are eating lunch, please do not read this post. You have been warned.

Also: this post is probably one of those posts that will land me in therapy with Brother Bear later in life...

The other day Brother Bear asked me why it necessary to wipe our bottoms.


Well, I tried to kindly explain to him that it is sanitary, that it keeps us clean, etc., etc., etc. Unfortunately, this did not answer Brother Bear's real question. It seems that what he really wanted to know was what happens in the process that then makes wiping our bottoms necessary.

Double gulp.

I tried my best to explain this topic on my own (although I did seriously consider a quick call to my Biology Professor Big Sister Bear). I soon realized that I would be unable to solely communicate this answer without the use of a visual aid of some sort.

So, the next words out of my mouth were, "Here, let me show you." With those (what seemed like) simple 5 words, I created extreme family pandemonium.

Apparently, I was the only bear in the den that knew I needn't drop my drawers in order to "show" the visual aid.

I am so misunderstood.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Red light, Green Light

One of the highlights (or low lights, depending on the bear cub) for all kindergarten bears is the school behavior/conduct system. Brother Bear is enthralled with it.

The system is based off of the traffic light system: green = good; yellow = warning; orange = time out; red = visit to the principal & call to parents. (Yes, I know that most traffic lights don't have orange. The school system, unlike the police, offers a little grace) Each bear cub has a clothespin with their name on it. Every day, they begin with their personal "clip" on green. Then, depending on their behavior, the clip moves accordingly. The final color is reported to the Mama and Papa Bears in the bear cub's Daily Folder. (BTW, have you noticed that The Department of Homeland Security's Threat Level is eerily similar? Just an observation....)

Did I mention that Brother Bear is enthralled with this system? Each day, we have to report not only our own behavior but the behavior of all of our peers. He is also very concerned with keeping his clip on green. Which means he's concerned about behaving appropriately. OH. MY. GOSH. WHY DIDN'T I HAVE THIS SYSTEM THREE YEARS AGO?? If I had know that this simple program would make my child a law abiding bear-citizen, I SO would have implemented it years ago!!

Fortunately for me, my industrious bear cub was kind enough to create one of these handy-dandy clip systems for our household. How kind. Here's a look at his creation:
He gets an "A" for effort at least!?!

Well. It seems that this household clip chart was not created to oversee the behavior of our eldest bear cub. Instead, this clip chart was created to keep track of Mama and Papa Bear and all injustices poured out upon Brother Bear. For example: having the audacity to serve him round pizza (read: homemade english muffin pizzas) instead of triangular pizza (read: bought at the pizza shop pizza) warranted me a clip move to Yellow. Whoops. Who would have known?

So, the other night, Papa Bear was putting Brother Bear to bed and was having a more-difficult-than-normal-time getting Brother Bear to pick up and put away his toys. After multiple threats, Papa Bear finally had to revoke privileges. Oh lordy. The weeping and nashing of teeth that ensued was monumental. Then, Brother Bear marched to the "clip system" and proceeded to communicate in no uncertain terms that Papa Bear's clip was moving to RED! Let's just say that Papa Bear wasn't fazed by the clip move.

After the skirmish was over, Papa Bear came into the room and I mockingly said, "Ooooh, you got moved to RED. I've never gotten a RED before." Do you know what Papa Bear's response was?

He said, "Hey, I'm an overachiever, baby!"

Overachiever indeed!

Oh. And, in case you are wondering, after that last "clip incident", the home clip chart has "mysteriously" disappeared....

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Happy 6th Birthday, Brother Bear!

Six years ago, I couldn't imagine life with you

Now I can't imagine it without you!

You may not be my only

but you'll always be my first.

I love the zest you have for life

(even if it wears me out sometimes).

Your curiosity is amazing

and your confidence is overwhelming.

I sometimes wonder if I'm up for the tall order

of being your Mama Bear.

I love your "huggles"

I treasure how you find that perfect cuddle when we read a book.

I'm thankful for every day we've spent together

(even when they were spent in time out).

You are a shining star

Shine on Brother Bear,


Friday, September 18, 2009

Line in the sand?

I just read this article in Newsweek Magazine (Kindle Subscription, of course!). It got me to thinking...

Where is my line in the sand with this blog? I started this blog as a way to further communicate the funny stories and life I experience in my daily life as a stay-at-home-Mama Bear. But in the process, I am sharing potentially embarrassing stories of Brother Bear and Sugar Bear without their permission. Is this wrong?

As you noticed right away, everyone involved in the blog has a bear-able pseudonym (har har har). My attempt at humor AND privacy. You'll also notice that the few pictures of my bear cubs never include a full view, or their eyes. I just couldn't face the idea of some weird-o happening upon my blog and oogling my children. So, I did make some choices in advance regarding what I would and would not share with you cyber bears.

But how far is too far? What story is too much? I have my own ideas, but I'd love to hear YOURS.

So, Cyber Bears, in this age of technology and blogging, what is your "line in the sand" regarding children and blogging? How much is too much? How do I have a blog, and avoid millions of dollars in therapy sessions with my bear cubs later?

I really want to know.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Catch a Tiger by the Tail

What do you do when Papa Bear says (one too many times) that Sugar Bear is growing a mullet and needs a haircut?

You catch that mullet by the pig-tail....

Friday, September 11, 2009

Crash Landing on Planet Mom

Busy as a bee! That has been me this week! Today we kick-off our fall semester of MOPS and I'll be co-leading the group this year. I'm thrilled to be on a team with such great mama bears that are as passionate as I am about ministering to other mama bears.

Because I've been so busy (and that last post wore me out!), I've neglected the cyber den. I hope you'll forgive me!

Below is a piece I wrote for our MOPS newsletter. I wanted you Cyber Bears to get a peek into why I love this organization with such an awful name. Oh, and for those of you don't know, the MOPS International Theme this year is Life on Planet Mom (this will help explain my writing below!).

And if you just happen to be (or happen to know) a mama bear out there that feels right now how I felt back then - please, please, please find a MOPS group. I guarantee you'll be glad you did.

Crash Landing on Planet Mom...

A little under 6 years ago, I “crash landed” on Planet Mom when my first child was born. Literally, “crash landed.” Nothing went right. The birth and subsequent first weeks of motherhood were not at all what I had planned.

Then I changed my plan and didn’t go back to work. My closest friend either hadn’t yet had children, or went back to work. I very quickly found myself alone with no earthly idea what to do. I felt like I was on a whole other planet.

I decided to visit a MOPS meeting. I was so clueless, that when it was time to split up for discussion time, I thought the meeting was over. I went to get my child and didn’t realize my mistake until I was in the parking lot!

But what I did attend of that meeting was fantastic. I found a community of women who knew what I was going through and loved me for the crazy alien woman I had become. I made instant friends, and had a support network that I could always trust whether it was a family crisis or the birth of my second child.

It has now become my mission to make other moms feel welcome, included, and comfortable with their role as a mother – even if they don’t do it just like me.

I hope that this year, you get the opportunity to see how YOU are an integral part of Planet Mom. I hope that in our meetings you truly feel our theme verse: “For where two or three come together…there I am with them” (Matthew 18:20).

We are here. He is here.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Shock and Awe

I originally began writing this post last week. At the time I was terribly angry, so much that I could feel my heart rate increase while typing. I decided that - even though this is my blog and I can say whatever I feel - perhaps I needed to hit "save" vs. "publish" and let my thoughts rest.

I gave it 2 more days and a few more edits, but still didn't publish. I still felt that I was writing the post out of anger, and my anger wasn't the message I wanted to convey.

So, 2 more days (and a really great sermon) later, here is the post. Edited, edited, humbled, and edited some more.

You still may not enjoy what I have to say. And I'm okay with that. But I still need to say it.

Here goes.

Last week, I received the following document in Brother Bear's "take home" paperwork (note: to protect the privacy of my bear cub and his school, all dates and other identifying information have been deleted. No other information in this document was changed):

That same morning, I just happened to stumble on the following newspaper article.


It seems that some Mama and Papa Bears are extremely riled up that The President of the United States plans to address the nation's students. So much so, that our particular school district has deemed the speech "optional", will tape it and play it the next day, and show it only to those with signed parental consent.

Please, someone tell me what is wrong with this speech?

I've read the speech several times now, and can't seem to understand what is wrong with The President of the United States encouraging my bear cub that he has talent, and should stay in school and work hard. I just don't get it.

By the way, have any of those complaining realized that this president, this president, AND this president ALL addressed the nation's school children during their tenure?

Why am I so upset over this? First off, let me tell you it's NOT because I voted for the guy and I'm trying to protect him and his policies. It's not because I'm a left winged democrat bear and I want all bears to believe just like me. Believe me, if this happened eight years ago (and I had a bear cub and a blog back then) I would be saying the same thing (but if you don't believe me, hear it from someone who didn't vote for him here).

Nope. I'm upset because of the lack of respect we are showing for the elected leader of our nation. Like it or lump it, one of the the many roles of President of the United States is to be an example and leader to the students of this nation. And if he (like his predecessors) feels that it is important to speak to all of the students of this great nation, then by gosh, by golly, I think those bear cubs should all be sitting on their furry little bottoms listening attentively and giving respect to the Office of President of the United States and what he has to say.

No matter what we believe politically, we all must teach our bear cubs to respect authority. And, while I would love for my bear cubs to follow in my particular political persuasion, my job as their Mama Bear is simply to educate them on all political opinions/views and then allow them to develop their own opinions as they mature. Even if it ends up being different than mine.

If I told Brother Bear he wasn't allowed to watch the Presidential Address because we disagreed with the President's political views he would immediately form an opinion based solely on my thoughts and feelings. I want no part of that.

Instead, I choose to give my bear cub the opportunity to respect the Office of President of the United States - no matter who it is or how I cast my vote. I want open and honest dialogue and free thinking in my bear den.

So I explained to Brother Bear that The President of the United States wanted to talk to all of the students in America about education. You know what he said in reply? He told me, "Mama Bear, I have to see that. It is important to hear what he has to say because he's in charge of America!".

Republican or Democrat, Liberal or Conservative. He couldn't have put it any better.