Body Image

Last night I dreamed that I was the amazingly fit Cameron Diaz, but I still didn't feel good enough. Now I really have an excuse not to exercise.

Rodents, yuck!



Two days ago I saw a rat cross a four lane highway. It is kind of a funny story. Matt and I were driving down the highway, when suddenly Matt yelled, "Look, a rat!" "Where?" I asked. "In front of us!" he responded. And sure enough it was a rat. I couldn't believe Matt and I had just witnessed a rat leave Taco Bell and cross the highway to get to Burger King. These two fast food joints are across the highway from each other, so I imagine that this rat and many more like it, make that same treacherous journey daily. I'll know if this is the case when I start seeing overweight rat carcasses on this strip of highway. Rats may be fast, but a belly full of soft tacos and Whoppers can slow down even the best of us.

Mind Reader




We took the kids to see Santa last weekend. The entire ordeal traumatized poor Josie. When Santa asked her what she wanted for Christmas, she replied, "I'm shy." She quietly repeated that short phrase several more times before I escorted her off of Santa's lap. Then it was Hayden's turn to sit in Santa's lap. It was at that moment that I realized just how big he has gotten.(Hayden that is) He looked like a giant sitting there with Santa. Hayden quickly rattled off his list, and of course, he named only one item that we've actually gotten him. Every day he comes up with something new that he wants, but I know he will be happy with whatever we get him. He is easy that way. Lucas sat with Santa last. We did this intentionally because like all children 2 and under, we knew that the embrace of Santa Claus would bring him to tears. And it did. As we were leaving, I could sense that Josie was in deep thought. Her hand tightened around mine, and she curiously asked, "Can Santa read minds?" I immediately knew that she was worried because she didn't tell Santa what gifts she wanted for Christmas. I didn't want her to fret, so I reassured her that, yes, Santa can read minds, and yes, he knows that you want Barbie Mariposa for Christmas. Suddenly there was a spring in her step as we made our way to the car, and at that moment I knew that I was the hero for the night.

Sick and Haunted

Sickness abounds! Last week it was Josie with strep throat; this week it is Lucas with an ear infection. Next week I'm predicting will be Hayden's turn. Maybe he will come down with a flu virus on Christmas Eve-Tis the season to be snotty, oops, I mean jolly. Matt and I have stayed quite healthy this school year, although we do both fight a daily battle with migraines. So as to not suffer in vain, we like play a game called "Top My Migraine." Matt wins when he pukes from the pain, and I claim victory when my arms go numb. The victor is awarded the medal of agony; it is really quite an honor. I'm beginning to wonder if migraines are like yawns. Some days I'm completely headache free, then Matt will waltz in with a grimace on his face and proclaim, "My head is killing me." Slowly the pressure in my head begins to build. Finally I'll pronounce, "I have a headache, too." But enough with the sick talk. Let's talk GHOST. I've been a believer since I watched my first episode of Unsolved Mysteries. There were always families claiming that their homes were haunted. These seemingly ordinary people would list the many ways that the ghostly occupant was terrorizing their family. Week after week these families would recount the horrors of living with these ghostly spirits. "Why don't they just move?" I would repeat to myself. "It's not that difficult. Just pack up and boot scoot boogie out of there." But these families never did move and now I find myself in the same predicament. What predicament you ask? Well, Matt and I have been hearing footsteps. We have wood floors, so it is pretty obvious when someone is walking down the hallway. Many nights we just ignore the footsteps, but some nights Matt will peek his head out the bedroom door expecting to see a child heading to our room, but nothing. No one is ever there. Then he will walk into the kids room to check on them, and they will be sound asleep. Freaky! When this is the case, Matt comes leaping like a leprechaun back into our room, bounces onto the bed, and then pulls the covers up to his eyeballs and shivers like he just drank curdled milk. At that point I know that my bladder is in for a long night because this mama is not lowering the covers below her chin. So far, footsteps and random noises are the only sign of a ghostly presence in our home. Pretty harmless stuff I guess. I'll keep you posted on our ghostly happenings, but until then- Au revoir

Raw Performance

Note the dirty hall-
"Canada" by Joni Mitchell performed by Matt, my talented husband
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Alien Abduction?


It has been exactly 100 days since my last entry. There seems to be some time that I can't account for. Was I abducted by aliens, and am I just now returning to this place we call earth? Do I have a tiny piece of alien technology embedded in my nasal cavity that is monitoring my every thought and bodily function? I can safely say, no; I was not abducted by aliens, but I was in fact abducted by the roller coaster called life. Therefore, my blogging was put on hold. I'm not good at multitasking, so I should have known that I would not be able to keep a blog up to date. Prime example- my children's baby books. After their fifth month of life, I pretty much abandoned keeping track of their milestones. Hopefully they will not look back at those books as of a reflection of my love for them. I've often thought about going back and writing the words I Love You on all the blank lines and in all the blank spaces. I'm hoping that the thousands of photographs we've taken of them will suffice. Otherwise, I'm destined for the nursing home; no mother-n-law sweet for me. But I'm not going to think about that right now. For now, I'm going to think about happier things, like how adorable my kids looked in their Halloween costumes or how proud I am that Josie is learning to recognize all her numbers and letters. Even if I don't write it down on paper or document it on a blog, the collective memory of all those moments that I share with the people I love is with me forever, in my head and more importantly, in my heart:)

Surprise!












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We left for Orlando Friday afternoon with no intention of going to Walt Disney World, but after a hellish night of Lucas squawking like a pterodactyl, we decided what the heck, it can't be any worse than this. I'm not sure what the deal was with Lucas. All I know is that he hated the hotel room. He moaned and screamed from the moment we entered it till the moment we left. It was pure dreadful. We knew we had to do something to turn the family vacation around, so we decided at 8:30 Saturday morning that we would surprise the kids with an impromptu trip to Disney World. Believe me, they deserved it after putting up with "Wild Thing" all night long. The kids had no idea where we were headed. Actually, they thought we were on our way to the Bass Pro Shop. Suddenly an arch with the words "Walt Disney World" appeared up ahead, and it stretched across the eight lane highway like a rainbow sent from God. We said, "Hayden read that sign." As he read it, a huge smile appeared on his face. Both he and Josie began to bounce in their boosters. We knew instantly that we had made a brilliant decision. Going to Disney World was such a good idea. The kids didn't complain about anything, God gave Lucas a halo to wear for the day, and at the end of the day we were drenched with rain not sweat(that's a good thing). Yes, we rolled the dice and luck was on our side. Sometimes spontaneity pays off and this time we hit pay dirt!

Too Cool

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All Aboard


School begins in 4 short days, but miraculously I'm feeling enthused. This is not a new feeling for me. Each year about 3 weeks before school starts, the feeling of dread leaves my body and I become psyched for the new school year. For me each new school year is a chance to redeem myself for the perceived failures of the past year. Admittedly there are many weaknesses in my teaching, but each year I give a whole-hearted attempt to recreate myself into a teacher I can be proud of. Then by November, I am so overwhelmed by the amount of STUFF I'm not accomplishing that I plead to the Teaching Gods to just let the year be over. About a month ago I made a comparison between teaching and painting a room. Here it goes. Most teachers begin a new school year with so much enthusiasm that it leaks onto the walls and bulletin boards of their classrooms in the form of acronyms such as TEAM- Together Everyone Achieves More or alliterations such as Mrs. Bennett's Busy Bees. Teachers write plans, set goals, and purchase everything necessary to make each year more successful than the last. Just as teaching begins with a dream, so does painting a room. Homeowners first imagine what they want the room to look like, then they go to the store and buy all the necessary supplies. They are excited, enthused, and prepared to do the work necessary to achieve their dream of a freshly painted room. Both teaching and painting a room requires preparation. For teachers it is writing lesson plans, and for homeowners it is placing painters tape around every window, door, and piece of molding. Now just as with teaching, homeowners don't quite foresee the amount of work ahead of them. Some homeowners may be overly courageous and decide to tape off stripes in order to create a more dramatic effect. Teachers do the same thing. For example they may begin the school year by sending home a newsletter every week, but by October they are lucky if a newsletter goes home once a month. Mid way through the school year many teachers lose their enthusiasm and wish to goodness that someone else would come in and take over. The same goes for painting a room. I don't know anyone who didn't lose his or her enthusiasm half way through a painting job. Then it is time for the big reveal. For teachers this is when state test scores come in, and undoubtedly there will be students they didn't reach but should have. For homeowners the reveal comes when the tape is pulled away. It is then when they will see things such as drips, paint on the trim, or missing spots of paint. Both painters and homeowners will make excuses like, "I didn't have any parental support" or "I should have done two coats." The fact is that for most of us we go into both full steam ahead, and the truth is that very few finish with any steam left. Sad but true. Luckily there is always a new train coming, so I'm hopping aboard August 20th, and riding it till my steam runs out!

I feel vacationed, maybe






















We've been back from our vacation for a week, and I just now have enough energy to write about it. It was both relaxing and exhausting at the same time. One thing is for sure, we had a great time and made some fantastic memories. Matt and Hayden fished every single day. They caught sting rays, sharks, catfish, sheepshead, and a black drum. Hayden had a fish identification card that he carried around with him the entire week. Some nights he even slept with it. Every other word out of his mouth was about fish, which was cute the first three days but by day five, well, let's just say a nod of my head was about all he could get out of me. Josie liked the beach, but she still would much prefer to play dress up and play teacher in the house. She was a little disappointed because we did not bring any of her dress up clothes, so on Wednesday we went into town and bought her a Cinderella costume because she had been so agreeable all week. Every morning was spent drinking coffee and each evening was spent sitting on our deck tossing bread to sea gulls. During the day we floated in the warm waters of the gulf and searched for shells to bring home as momentos. I've never seen so many crabs, sand dollars, sand fleas, and periwinkles. The beach was gorgeous, but so different than the East coast. It looked like the beach was plopped down in the middle of a forest. We not only had palm trees in our back yard but pine trees as well. It was unlike anything I could have imagined. I think next year we will head South, maybe the Keys. Hayden and Josie would love to go snorkling, Matt would love the fishing, and I would love the scenery.


We love the beach!




These pictures are from February. Hayden got a kite for his birthday. He had to try it out, so we took him to Cresent Beach.



This was Lucas's first trip to the beach. He was busy taking it all in.





Josie had fun playing in the sand and waves. It was surprisingly warm for February.

















This picture is from our fishing trip in May to Rattle Snake Island. Lucas loved crawling in the coquina.


Matt and Hayden went fishing with Bapu. They caught three flounder. The third is not pictured. We fried these two up and ate them for dinner. Um, good eats!
I'd like to send a shot out to Mr. George W. Bush. Thanks to his rebate checks, we were able to purchase a small boat this summer. It has given us much pleasure to contribulate to the economy, while at the same time make some great family memories. We will be heading up to Alligator Point, which is a little south of Tallahassee on Saturday to stay for a week. The house we rented is on the beach, and we couldn't be more excited. I hope to build enormous sand castles, catch dozens of fish, and see my children dance in the waves. That is my idea of a vacation!

Splurge and Purge

It's nonsense really, the amount of junk I let pile up. The closets, the corners, the pantry, the two junk drawers in the kitchen, all littered with debris. Yes, our house is small, but it really is not small on storage. We just can't seem to get a handle on the STUFF, it's everywhere! Does Hayden really need nineteen pairs of mismatched socks, and do Matt and I really need to save every bill we've received in the last two years? The answer is no, so I've been purging. Some items have made it to the storage unit. Like the five enormous remote control cars that were played with only a handful of times. While others were taken to a clothing drop box outside of K-Mart. Purging is something I do every few months. How do I know when the purging is complete? I can see the color of my kitchen counter tops. It feels good, probably like going to a chiropractor, though I've never been. Once it has been done, everything feels right with the world. I sleep a little easier knowing that all of Hayden's socks have a match. Then a few days go by and suddenly I get the overwhelming urge to go buy STUFF to replace the STUFF that I got rid of. It's a vicious cycle of splurging and purging that fills me with immeasurable guilt. Am I whining, Phil Gramm?

Happy 4th of July!

The Bergen clan is pumped for the 4th. We are heading up to my parent's church at 4:00 p.m. for a cookout. I think they are going to have one of those blowup water slides. The kids are super excited. Later this evening we will probably walk down to the river front and watch the fireworks. We took the above picture last year. I love fireworks, especially the ones that look like a weeping willow tree as they fall to the ground.

Summer Stay

I can't believe there are only four more days left in June. The summer is passing way too quickly. In fact, I'm pretty sure I saw back to school clothes in stores already. Up until recently, I would have been counting down the days till fall. In fact, sometimes I would put out my fall decorations at the end of August. I loved it because fall was the kick off to the holiday season. The temperature drops slightly, making life in Florida a little more bearable. But I'm not so fond of fall anymore. Fall now signifies the end to countless hours of coffee drinking and television watching. It means deadlines, lesson plans, homework, but most of all a ROUTINE. Gosh, how I hate that word. Josie and Hayden are enjoying the summer just as much as we are. Some days they will ask, "Did we take a bath today?" and my response is, "I don't know. Did you?" The only bad part about summer is that the kids are eating every thirty minutes on the dot. Luckily Hayden and Josie are old enough to get most of the snacks themselves. There are many more days left before summer break is over, and I will try to savor every minute. I am making a promise to myself not to dread the coming of fall, but I can guarantee I will not be hanging any scarecrows on my front door come August.