Archive | mother’s work RSS feed for this section

Parenting Highlight

9 Jan

Sometimes as a parent, we get to sit back and feel proud . . . for at least a moment or two.
IMG_0455

After saving for more than a year, our kids saved enough to meet their goals.  So, we took them to the Apple Store yesterday and watched them spend their money.

They are happy kids today.

And, I’m a pretty proud mom.

Portrait of a 9 year old boy

6 Oct

In 2nd grade, my son started enjoying reading but still struggled to find books he could read that captured his imagination.  In 3rd, things got better but the books he wanted to read were still a bit beyond his comfort zone reading level.  Now, he’s in 4th grade and BOOM!  Part of it is his reading skills have matched up with his reading interests now.  Part of it is the Independent Reading Program we are doing at school.  We get kids to read books at the comfort reading zone and we ask them to respond after they read.  A one to two sentence response.  “I noticed that the character is . . . ”  “I liked the way the author did . . . ”  or “This part of the story made me think about when . . . ”  It’s not easy but it’s working well for Gage.  It’s also working well for many of my students.  I wonder how many parents are seeing this kind of portrait of their 9 year old sons and daughters this year because of a simple program that we are implementing in our school . . .

Fwd:

Endings are the new beginnings . . .

13 Jun

Ruth and Ms Chappell

Thursday, my daughter finished her elementary school career.  If I may be allowed a moment of indulgence, she was on Honor Roll every trimester during 4th and 5th grades (when we give letter grades at our school).  She is a well-rounded, well-liked, sweet, creative, loving girl.  I couldn’t be prouder of her.

Ruthie in Kindergarten

Especially since I can still remember where she started back in Mrs. Bruce’s kindergarten class.  Such a sweet, quirky little munchkin.

My heart bursts with pride!

And, now . . . middle school.  Bring it on!

Happy Mother’s Day!

10 May

P1190901

sipping coffee
reading poems written by a 9 year old boy
that touch my heart with his insight
the birds sing on the feeder


All content written by Liza Lee Miller unless otherwise noted.
© 2009, Liza Lee Miller. Creative Commons License

Sky Watch – Vultures

2 Apr

P1190360

Do you see that tiny speck coming in from the left?  My son did and knew exactly what to do.  He came and got me . . . good birds are worth disturbing mom.  Plus, he had a plan!

P1190362

Where there is one vulture, perhaps there are more.  There was no time to waste.  He flew (ha!) into action.  Or rather inaction.

P1190373

He knew that Vultures like dead meat so the threw himself to the ground and pretended to be dead!  That’s me boy!

P1190377

As you can see, it worked!  He lured in a total of six.  My husband was saying useful things like, “If they land, don’t let them start peeking out your eyeballs!”

P1190389

They rode around on the warm air currents of the late afternoon before flying off into the sunset, sans 9 year old boy eyeballs!

P1190397

And, what a beautiful sunset it was, too.

soar
into
view . . . vulture
carcass on the ground
may not be as dead as it seems
call your friends to check
there’s no death
alas!
soar

©2009, Liza Lee Miller

Allow me to brag a little . . .

21 Feb

Ruth played in her 5th grade Winter Concert last night.  She played with the whole band and did a solo.  She played Kum Ba Yah.  I was so proud of her.  Want to hear it?  You know you do . . . [click]

I put it up at Flickr — usually I do Google Video so I can embed them here in the blog but I prefer to keep all my media together on Flickr so I’m trying it this way.  You can leave comments here or at Flickr space.  Or nowhere.  I realize I’m being very indulgent here.  But that is a mother’s perogative!

Ruth playing the flute

Portrait of a Nine Year Old Boy

24 Jan

Gage's face

Gage's face

Gage's face

Gage is 9 today.  He is my silly, over-the-top, wild boy.  He’s also thoughtful, kind, and loving.  He’s loud and argumentative.  He’s cuddly and loving.  I can’t believe he’s 9 years old but that’s the truth.

9 years ago this morning, I was in the hospital as we tried to induce labor.  I had spent the night with strong contractions, listening to several woman deliver their babies in nearby rooms.  My water broke but labor was still not serious.  The doctor came to talk to me and they said that with my water broken, with my history with Ruth (40 hours of labor and still needing a c-section) that they’d let me labor until late afternoon but then they would need to do a c-section if he wasn’t born.  Greg and I talked about it and decided that there was no way.  Given my history, we just didn’t think it could happen in that timeframe.  So, we opted for a c-section.  By 10:24, he was born.  By 11:00 or so, I was holding him in the recovery room, happy as a clam, with family there with me, nursing him.  A big difference from the 40 hour ordeal.  Life with Gage has always been good.  He annoys the heck out of me at times but he is a joy.  A 9 year old joy.

Happy Birthday, Buddy!

Fun and games

22 Jan

Letting a nearly 9 year old loose with a camera is a great way to be entertained . . . and sometimes surprised.  Turns out Gage has a eye.  It’s fun to be surprised.  Here is Gage, having fun with my camera at an oil changing place in Santa Cruz.

Photos by Gage

Photos by Gage

Photos by Gage

Photos by Gage

Photos by Gage

Reason #4,537 that I love my husband

12 Jan

Last week, Greg attended MacWorld. While there, he bought the kids some games for their computer. Very sweet and thoughtful but not worthy of a declaration of undying love, I think.

When he got home, he had worked up a plan. Our Christmas tree was still standing with just the lights left on it. He asked me to wrap up the games and put them under the tree, way in the back. Then, we had the kids help him take the lights off the tree.

And, of course, they found the gift which was labeled to them from Santa.

Can you imagine the glee?

What a guy he is.

World’s Best Chili

31 Dec

Last Saturday, we took dinner to my mother-in-law’s house.  Usually, she’s feeding all of us but after all the work she did for the Christmas feast, we wanted to give her a break so I made my World’s Best Chili and took it over there.  It was a huge success.  When we eat chili, we eat it “make your own” style.  By which, I mean that there is a big pot of chili and then a billion bowls of fixins.  Our family likes:

  • grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • sour cream
  • Buffalo Chipotle Sauce
  • chopped avocado
  • chopped onions
  • sliced jalopeños
  • chopped black olives
  • and, of course, fritos

Although, fritos properly go in the bowl before the chili, thus making the delicious concoction of Frito Pie.

When we’re in a hurry, we used canned chili but when I have time to really cook, I make my own chili.  This is, of course, what I took to my mother-in-law’s house.  I also left out the fritos as, really, I’m the only one in my family who likes it that way (I am the only one in my family who spent significant time in Texas as a child).  So, I brought cornbread.  It was delicious and here is the recipe:

World’s Best Chili

1 lb (or so) stew beef (or a cheap roast cut up into big chunks)
(note: you can substitute hamburger meat but the stew meat
is WAY better!)
1 pkg Carroll Shelby’s Chili Mix
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 8 oz can of water
1 14 oz can chopped tomatoes (could be fresh, of course)
1 16 oz can pinto beans
3 T olive oil
1 c flour
1 T garlic powder
1 T black pepper
1 whole onion, chopped coarsely

Add oil to frying pan, heat. Mix garlic powder, pepper, and flour in shallow
dish. Add beef and coat in flour mixture. Brown beef in frying pan.
When browned, pour the whole lot (scrape the pan!) into your crock pot.

If you have all day, set crockpot to low.  If you don’t have a whole day, do it on high but know the beef won’t be as tender.

Open the Carroll Shelby bag. Set aside the masa packet for later.
Open the large bag of spices, pour all of it into the pot. Add salt
(white packet) to taste. The small red packet is chili powder. Add
this to your taste. When I’m making for just Greg and I, I dump the
whole thing in. If I’m making it for others, I do about half.
Haven’t had any complaints even among chili-wimps. :) Even the whole
packet is not mouth blistering hot but it is too hot for the kids to
really enjoy.

Add the tomato sauce and canned tomatoes. Add 8 oz can of water.
Stir it all up and leave it alone to cook.

1/2 hour before serving, open the can of beans and add to the pot.
Put the contents of the yellow packet into a small bowl, add approx.
1/2 c of water. Whisk together. Pour contents into the pot. Stir and
let cook for about 1/2 hour.

I have also made a vegetarian version when we had a chili party and some of the guests were vegetarians.  It was a huge hit and some of the non-vegetarians (meat-a-tarians!) opted for it as well.  :) Here is that recipe, too.

Vegetarian Chili

1 lb portobello mushrooms, thick slices
2 cups frozen corn
4 peppers (green, red, yellow, orange, in any combination)
1 whole onion, chopped coarsely
1 pkg Carroll Shelby’s Chili Mix
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 8 oz can of water
1 14 oz can chopped tomatoes (could be fresh, of course)
1 16 oz can pinto beans
3 T olive oil
1 T garlic powder
1 T black pepper

Chop peppers and onions into bite-sized pieces. Put in crockpot. Set aside.

Heat oil in a frying pan, brown mushrooms and onions. You want them to be
softened and browned but not thoroughly cooked. Put the mushrooms in
your crock or stock pot — scrape the pan.

When browned, pour the whole lot (scrape the pan!) into your crock pot.

If you have all day, set crockpot to low.  If you don’t have a whole day, do it on high but know the beef won’t be as tender.

Open the Carroll Shelby bag. Set aside the masa packet for later.
Open the large bag of spices, pour all of it into the pot. Add salt
(white packet) to taste. The small red packet is chili powder. Add
this to your taste. When I’m making for just Greg and I, I dump the
whole thing in. If I’m making it for others, I do about half.
Haven’t had any complaints even among chili-wimps. :) Even the whole
packet is not mouth blistering hot but it is too hot for the kids to
really enjoy.

Add the tomato sauce and canned tomatoes. Add 8 oz can of water.
Stir it all up and leave it alone to cook.

1/2 hour before serving, open the can of beans and add to the pot.
Put the contents of the yellow packet into a small bowl, add approx.
1/2 c of water. Whisk together. Pour contents into the pot. Stir and
let cook for about 1/2 hour.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.