Monday, January 31, 2011

Crunchy Cough Solution

I don't consider myself granola at all. I've tried to make choices that are good for myself and my den, but, I'm definitely not granola.

Our household recently acquired a nasty cough. It started with Papa Bear, moved shortly to Brother Bear and finally landed directly in the path of Sugar Bear (I'm still crossing my fingers). Unfortunately, Hurricane Cough hit Sugar Bear extra hard. She, unlike the other bears, got a fever along with the cough.

I spent most of Friday and Saturday night up with her, trying to tame her fever and cough. Yucko. Nothing is worse than a sick cub, right?

Saturday afternoon I was in the car and (as always) listening to NPR. The People's Pharmacy was on and they were talking about home remedies for coughing. They mentioned the dilemma of cough medicine for cubs (bad for cubs if you don't know). They had a recipe for a safe, home-made cough "syrup" for cubs.

I was intrigued. I recognize that this sounds very granola but after 2 restless nights, I figured it couldn't hurt, right??

So, I made the cough syrup for Sugar Bear, and it seemed to take the edge off of her cough. It wasn't miraculous or anything, but I definitely think she got some relief enough for both she (and I) to get some rest.

It's so very easy, I thought I would share it with you. You are welcome.

Thyme Cough Syrup
(because of the honey, this is NOT for cubs under the age of 2)

1 bunch thyme (or 1 TBS dried thyme)
2 cups boiling water
1 cup honey

Pour boiling water over thyme and steep until room temperature. Strain. Add honey and lemon and mix well. Take 1 TBS as needed for cough. Keeps in fridge for 2 weeks.

This recipe makes a lot. I think next time, I would half the recipe.

Hope you have a great, cough free Monday.

Friday, January 28, 2011

What we have here is a failure to communicate

Do you think Brother Bear is trying to say something?
'Cause, I'm not so sure.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

His & Hers

Some couples have "his and hers" towels:

Some couples have "his and hers" pajamas:
Papa Bear and I? Yeah. We have "his & hers" these:
(If you have no earthly idea what these are, they are Nasal Sinus Rinses - an ugly cousin to the Neti Pot. If you have no earthly idea what that is either, God Bless You. You are one lucky bear.)

Kinda sad, isn't it?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Reason #943

why I need a bigger house:
My next house will have a dedicated "Lego Room."

Of course while I'm dreaming, it will also have a dedicated "Mama Bear needs some time away from you cubbies" room that includes: a massage table, a masseuse, a jacuzzi tub, a wine bar, a library, and a BIG, HUGE, PADLOCK on the door.

Until then, my kitchen (and muffin tins) will be overrun with Legos.

C'est la vie.

(P.S. - big prayers and huggles to my Cousin Bear who is bringing her 2nd cub into the world today! Can't wait to meet little Camille Jean!)

Friday, January 21, 2011



We are celebrating surviving the week with a yummy treat - Whoopie Pies. Actually, we made them for some school gifts, but had a few left over to help us ring in the weekend. Holla!

Here's the recipe. You'll thank me later. (Your hips might not. But I assure you, it's nothing a good long run can't solve.)

We have a special weekend planned, with family from both sides in town. We'll be celebrating and honoring Papa Bear and his awesome achievements. So, if I go missing on Monday, don't call the po-po. I'll be back.

I promise.

Until then, here's what cooking with cubs looks like in my den:

Tell me it's the same in your den too?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Learning Lessons

Today on Facebook, I am talking about learning from a preschooler. Click here to read more.

Mama Bear of the Year Award

Chalk this up in the "things you never thought you'd say to your cub" department:

After receiving news of Sugar Bear's actions during her stay at the gym day care, I had to say, "Now, remember, we DO NOT take our clothes off in public!"

Apparently while the teachers weren't looking, Sugar Bear stripped herself down to nothing but her Pampers and then proceeded to sit in front of the T.V. like she does this every day. Well, because she does. What can I say? The cub likes to be naked. Or, nekkid, as I am wont to say.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tea for Two

Who could turn down a spot of tea with this pretty purple princess-cub?

Not I, said the Mama Bear. Not I!

(Please note: Lest you worry, there is no actual injury to Sugar Bear's head. Currently, she loves bandaids almost as much as she loves princesses.)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hey! Hey! Hey!

I've spent the last few days trying to wrap my head around what happened this weekend in Arizona. And honestly, I just can't. It's impossible for me to understand how someone could do something so incredibly awful.

And yet the media and politicians are all jumping for a soundbite with fingers pointing and clear answers. What I cannot wrap my head around, these bears have solved with the magic wand of hindsight. I'm just not so sure I can jump on board with that.

As I was thinking about these events, it got me to thinking about this past year. Upon reflection, I realized one simple fact: I am blessed. Truly, truly blessed. How do I know this? Well, it's not just because I'm an eternal optimist (although, that does help a little).

No, it's because over the past year, I've witnessed much. I've seen a dear bear friend endure the unexpected and unimaginable grief of losing a parent, I've seen another bear friend be diagnosed with a brain tumor and then take charge of her health and her fears and undergo surgery to remove her tumor, I've seen my Brother Bear have the courage to dig himself from the pit of despair to to find the strength he never knew he had.

This year, I've been witness to the reality of life. And most times, that reality isn't pretty. But in the midst of the reality, I've seen so much beauty too. There is hope. Sometimes, we just have to look hard and long to find it.

As I continue to process all of this, I think the common denominator for me is seeking hope. Do you think it is possible that if the shooter had reached out to someone about the feelings and thoughts he was having, that maybe this tragedy would have been avoided? I don't know. But I'd like to hope.

So today I'm reaching my hand out and saying, "HEY! There is hope!" It's there. We just need to find it. We need to seek it out. But we also need to give hope. We can't just keep walking through this world like we are the only ones that matter. We can't ignore the wounded anymore.

How can we hope for anything less?

As I process the ways that we give (and receive) hope in our everyday lives, I thought of a few tangible ideas. Because just saying it is one thing. Doing it is another.

Here are a few I came up with:
  • If you think life isn't worth living, reach out and tell someone.
  • If you know someone is grieving call them, text them, write them and let them know you are thinking about them.
  • If you think someone may be dangerous to themselves or others, tell someone.
  • If you are being bullied, tell a trusted adult and keep talking until someone listens.
  • If you think someone has a problem with drugs or alcohol or any other addiction, intervene.
  • If you think you have a problem with drugs or alcohol or any other addiction, seek out help.
Bottom line people, we have to do better. I want my cubs to live in a world of HOPE. I want them to believe in hope. Most of all, I want them to share hope.

Don't you want that too?

If you do, pass this message along to your friends. Leave me a comment on how YOU are going to give some hope. Leave me a comment on how someone else has given YOU hope.

Let's start a movement, Cyberbears. A movement to share hope.

Sounds awesome, no?

For inspiration, click on this video below. I've mentioned this song before, but I think I need to mention it again.

Because it's high time we don't let another moment moment slip away.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Do you ever wonder if you give off signals to people in need? Is it the signal you intend? I'm grappling with this topic today on Facebook. Click here to read more.

As if I didn't already have enough complexes

Sugar Bear is almost 2.5 years old. Since she has no interest what-so-ever in the potty (despite our "incentives") we buy a whole bunch of these:

In EVERY SINGLE BOX of the above mentioned diapers, they are kind enough to provide me with a pretty awesome coupon. For these:
Are they trying to tell me something? Because I'm pretty darn sure that - if they are - I don't like what they are saying.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow day

This weekend we had our first (and possibly last - since we aren't a winter wonderland) snow day of 2011.

And I was sick.

So while the cubs were enjoying scenes like this:
*Not my picture/nor my neighborhood. Remember, I was sick.

I was downing gallons of this:

While alternately praying for these:

or this:

I'm just now back to the land of the living.

How was your weekend?

Monday, January 10, 2011


I consider myself relatively tech savvy. Not as tech savvy as, say, Papa Bear mind you. But I get by. Most everything I do is electronic save one thing: the newspaper. I'm totally retro in that department (my parent bears have actually eclipsed me on this one). That bulky bastion of information is still delivered to my "door step" seven days a week. I love reading it over breakfast (as does Papa Bear, Brother Bear, and Sugar Bear. Well, Sugar Bear just enjoys making a mess of it at the moment). There is just something about flipping those pages in my hands. I just can't describe it.

I recognize that for a bear who has passionately read from her Kindle since before it was cool that this sounds weird. But that's me. What can I say? I'm a mystery.

One of the things I really love is the funnies (also known as: the comic strips). As I love to laugh, I can always count on at least one laugh a day from the funny pages.

Recently the funnies did not disappoint and gave me a two-fer. Thought I would brighten your Monday with a good laugh (as well as give you a peek into my twisted sense of humor).

Funny #1

Funny #2
(in case you are wondering, I'm totally the cupcake in this scenario)'s interesting that both comics are about food, isn't it? Bet you'll never guess who is trying to re-lose some poundage after gorging herself through the holidays!

Friday, January 7, 2011


In the days before cubs, I worked for a large global accounting firm. My parent bears, knowing my disdain for numbers and anything mathematical, always found this very entertaining. Let it be known, I had nothing to do with the accounting side of things (lest you be inclined to blame the current economic climate on me). I was a recruiter bear for said firm. I loved the work, as well as the bears I worked with - even if they were a bunch of accountants (and later, actuaries).

I did my best to educate myself on what our employees did and how they did it so I could (hopefully) be a knowledgeable representative. While I didn't have a degree and I certainly never would have survived actually being an accountant, I was able to get by while working there.

But there was one often used word that I was never able to fully grasp. The accountants were always tossing around the word "immaterial." The definition of immaterial is: of no importance or relevance; inconsequential or irrelevant. My little non-accounting brain could never process how anything (especially as it relates to numbers or money) could be immaterial. But, apparently, immaterial is an accountant's best friend. Or, word, as it were.

So, fast forward several years (stick with me Cyberbears).

Brother Bear was now a part of our life adding joy and blessings beyond recognition. Of course, Papa Bear and I figured that the only thing that would make life better would be to add more joy (read: another cub). Being the worrier that I am as well as being a part of the Stay-At-Home-Mama-Bear community where everyone has an opinion about everything cub related, I worried about their age difference. I knew I didn't want them too close together, but I was more sure I didn't want them too far either.

When things didn't go as Papa Bear and I planned regarding adding more joy, I worried even more. I have such a wonderful relationship with my siblings, and I wanted more than anything for Brother Bear to have that too. But it just wasn't happening. During this time I heard (or read?) somewhere that if siblings are more than 5 years apart, it's as if you have two "only" children. I became possessed. Seriously. I set my mind that 5 years was my limit and I wouldn't go a day over. As I write this I realize how silly that sounds but, at the time, I wouldn't budge. No more than five years difference or no siblings. I drew my line in the sand.

Brother Bear and Sugar Bear are 4 years and 11 months TO THE DAY apart. I might possibly have had a conversation with God about cutting it a little close for my tastes (I'm still working on that whole control thing, Cyberbears). But we were overjoyed to say the least.

While I was pregnant, I worried incessantly about the age difference, and whether Brother Bear would "bond" with the new cub, have a worthy sibling relationship, etc., etc. etc. (Are you guys noticing a worry theme going on here? Yeah....I know...I need to work on that too). The worries might have all been in my head, but the comments from other folks didn't help. I remember one bear telling me, "this new cub is going to ROCK Brother Bear's world." Ugh. Yes, he was right. But what first child's world ISN'T rocked by a new sibling? I was very sensitive about it, and very concerned. Those numbers really mattered to me.

Fast forward 2 more years.

One evening recently, Sugar Bear was throwing a tantrum as only two year olds can. Nothing would appease her. N-O-T-H-I-N-G. I was at my wits end with her. She was literally inconsolable. Brother Bear sidled up to her and said, "Sugar Bear, do you want Brother Bear to read you a book?" She immediately stopped crying and hiccuped an oh-so-pitiful, "yes." He headed into her into her room, she pitter-patted after him, and I walked away for a moment to catch my wits.

I returned to find them cuddled together in their rocking chair doing this:
I now understand how a number can be truly immaterial.

Numbers don't matter. Nurture is just as important as nature. I watch it every day as I see my 2 cubs interact and grow. Papa Bear and I love to sit at the dinner table and just watch the interactions between these two. Now, I'll be honest, every day isn't roses and sunshine. There are days that are more thorns and rain (for example: Brother Bear has expressly denied Sugar Bear entrance to his room during the day because of the mess she creates). BUT, no matter what the numbers (or other bears) say, those two children are siblings and love each other exactly the way I had hoped.

I sure am glad that it was God, not me, in control. Because if it had been up to me, I might possibly have missed out on this mind-blowing joy.

And that, Cyberbears, would have been material.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Asleep at the wheel

Or blog, really.

My apologies very loyal Cyberbears! I had great plans for my post-marathon December. It would involve leisurely days with Sugar Bear NOT spent at the gym, yummy family dinners followed by meaningful time with Brother Bear and the Advent Calendar, and special time with friends, family and Papa Bear celebrating the real reason for the season.

Instead, it was a whirlwind of panic and chaos and rushed dinners and packing. Oh, and did I mention the school parties? Oh. My. Heaven. The school parties were the death of me. On just the last day there were THREE parties (because, one just isn't enough). I spent the last week camped out at the school which can put the loveliest of Mama Bears in a foul mood (and let's face it, I ain't the loveliest Mama Bear to begin with!).

And then we had 19 days of blissful vacation in which I had even more intended. We took a trip to the mountains with my family to ski and celebrate my Mother Bear's very important milestone birthday. In my mind I had great visions of the 4 days of driving. The cubs would read and play joyfully in the back of the van whilst Papa Bear drove and I tackled a host of to-dos that overflowed from my bag-where-I-put-everything-I-need-to-do. I even haughtily brought a post-it note with a list of writing ideas so that I could spend some time in the car catching up on writing and start the New Year off with great blog posts.

Yeah. Um, have any of you driven 2200 miles in a van with a 7 year old and 2 year old cub lately? Apparently, I was delusional. I spent the majority of the ride straddled between the front and back seats readjusting Sugar Bear's headphones for the umpteen-millionth time, refilling snacks and bartering over which movie we would watch next. So much for catching up!

But the final destination was totally worth it. I spent 7 magical days with my family celebrating my Mother Bear, skiing to my heart's content, and eating myself out of a pair of ski pants. Brother Bear and his Cousin Bear skied for the first time while my Sister Bear and I instantly aged 10 years. Good thing she's older. (you might need to put on your spectacles to catch that zinger, sis!) They both rocked the mountain and we are considering our training options for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Bode Miller, watch out!

Of course when we returned I was inundated with real life and laundry. Oh! The LAUNDRY. I've just now overpowered the pile of laundry and I put the Christmas decorations away last night. Shew!

Needless to say, I enjoyed the time off immensely save the guilt of not visiting the blog while. My apologies.

So, how were your holidays?

I hope they were full. Full of family, full of friends, full of fun, but most of all- full of LAUGHTER and LOVE. I truly wish that for each visitor to this little cyber den.

I hope I'm back in the saddle again. I have a post-it note full of ideas and stories to tell you. Let's just hope the cubs leave me alone long enough to figure out what I meant when I scratched those ideas/stories down over a month ago!

Until then, here's a link to my weekly Facebook column (we took a hiatus during the Advent Season).

Happy New Year, Cyberbears! I can't imagine a better cybercrowd with which to ring in 2011! Here's to a year full of laughter and love.

Today I'm posting my New Year's Resolution for all to see. Brave, huh? Click here to find out what it is!