Friday, August 31, 2007

GO AROUND - A hurried - should I say rude- soccer mom to another soccer mom

After dropping off my kids at soccer practice at Mary S. Young Park yesterday in West Linn, I drive to the end of the park to turn around, and come to this long drive along the many soccer fields where several signs clearly warn, “No Parking,” and for good reason -- if you do park there you block other drivers from finding their way through the park.
Common courtesy, right?
But this lady in her running, air conditioned Lexus SUV is stopping in front of me to wait for her child, who is nowhere to be seen and another car going the opppostie direction is also waiting there, and so I am stuck. Wanting to leave the park, but I cannot.
My son Ryan is actually driving trying to get his hours on his lerner’s permit and he waits there, and even sees the lady look in her rear view mirror to see us waiting, but she still does not move forward so we can move past the soccer fields. I look to see if her child might be coming from one of the soccer fields but there is no child around, so we do a brief honk, thinking perhaps she does not see us behind her.
She sees us all right.
But instead of apologetically moving her car on, she rolls down her window and snaps, “Go around.”
Okay, now I am thinking, does she want us to drive on the soccer field to go around? We cannot move in the very narrow drive by the fields -- the other car waiting in the No Parking zone is blocking the option to “just go around.” We just want to leave the park in peace I say to my son.
It is one thing to quickly drop off your child without getting out to walk him or her to soccer practice, but to wait there for pick up in a narrow drive clearly marked No Parking is quite another thing, especially if there is a car behind you trying to get around and your child is nowhere near being finished with practice.
I figured that once she saw us behind her she would pull forward into the parking lot and, gasp, walk to pick up her child, but no, instead we get yelled at. I was not happy and was thinking, I confess, some very un-Christ-like thoughts at that moment.
Finally, the car from the other direction was kind enough to pull forward so we could “go around” and leave the park while the Lexus SUV mom driver snarled at us again.
Have we gotten so busy in our lives that not only do we serve dinner at drive-through windows but we do pick up of our kids in a drive-through manner?
I remember being at a school function a while back and a lady pulls up and honks her car as her child waited in the foyer of the school.
I know we are busy and have babies in the car and have a million things to do and it is inconvenient and and and, but maybe we should try getting out and walking into the school or church or, I hate to say it, get our children a cell phone and call when we get to the event if we do not have the time to pick up in person.
But frankly, the walk will do us some good as well as actually give us the chance to connect with live people, other parents, picking up at events.
If nothing else, think about the message we are sending to our children. By picking them up in person, not just via a drive by or through method, we are communicating to our kids that they are worth it.

By Cornelia Seigneur

Thursday, August 30, 2007


I was at Safeway picking up some generic liquid ibuprofen for my 4-year-old and asked him what flavor he wanted, berry or grape or bubble gum.
“Purple, Grape,” he chose, so I looked for the best deal. The name brand Motrin was twice what the Safeway generic cost, so I was all set for that version of ibuprofen. Until I noticed a box with the words Dye-free written on it. I started thinking about dye in my kid’s medicine and did not like that idea at all, so I looked for dye-free in the generic brands, but just could not find it. The dye-free Motrin cost twice what the generic food-colored ibuprofen. I had not thought of it before but now that I had an option, I was determined, despite the cost difference, to get the non-colored box.
I commend medicine makers for creating dye-free versions of their product to help pediatric patients with dye allergies, but have to ask myself, what about those children – and adults for that matter – who do not have allergies but also want non-colored medicine. Just the thought of filling my body or my children’s bodies with artificially colored products makes me nauseous. But why should I have to pay twice as much to get a product with no dye in it? Generic brands need to produce dye-free products so there is competition, otherwise name brands like Motrin can charge whatever they want for their medicine as they know there are moms out there who just do not like the idea of putting dye into our children’s bodies, and will pay almost anything to get the product.

Cornelia Seigneur

Monday, August 27, 2007

MySpace WOES

I opened a MySpace account this past week and now the single most thought on my mind is how to get more friends on my friends section. Yikes, I feel like I am back in high school.
It just does not look good to only have “Tom” as your friend as everyone who knows MySpace understands that Tom is everybody’s pal.
A few years ago when my teenage daughter started the MySpace scene, I secretively opened an account to monitor her, but when she stopped the whole Cyberspace world, I quit as well. This time joining was for me, as I have been told at writing conferences that it is important for those involved in the arts --- including writers – to have a web presence. A website and a Blog, and to consider joining MySpace. To connect. To get your name out there.
I got my website going last year and this new Blog a month ago, which I have vowed to write in daily.
And now, MySpace this week.
After having only Tom as my friend for starters, I was thrilled when I got several requests to be someone’s friend. Yeah! Someone likes me. Someone wants to be my friend! It won’t be so obvious that I only have one friend on MySpace.
But then I realized that most of the requests were from single guys who had come across my portfolio and were in this MySpace cyber world looking for love. Whoops, I did not see the section on the personal details where it indicates whether you are married or not.
I quickly figured out how to change that to “married.”
I hope that means I won’t lose my new friends.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Misbehaving McMinnville Boys!

The judge finally saw the light in the case of the two middle school boys from McMinnville Oregon whose criminal charges were dropped this week. Their behavior last spring, swatting the tushes of girls at their school, was not acceptable but also not criminal. Boys at that age – my twins are getting close at almost 10 – are just goofing around with other girls and girls need to know how to be assertive and say, Hey, that is not okay, knock it off. Kids can work these kid things out themselves, and adults need not bring in the police. This was not an act of sexual violence which the term sex offender implies, and to label these boys sex offenders for the rest of their lives (which the original criminal charges would have done) –now, that is what would have been criminal. The judge did the right thing by letting the boys’ apologies, a $ 250 fine and completing an instructional program on boundaries for behavior speak to the situation. The boys – and others I am sure - learned their lesson. As the mom of four boys between the ages of 4 and 16, I know all about boy jokes and bathroom laughs, and as a mom I am helping to teach them what is appropriate and what is acceptable good fun. What those McMinnville boys did crossed the line and they needed to be told that, not sent to jail.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Does it take a study by the University of Washington to tell us what is good or not for our small children? Is that where we get our kudos from? In Tuesday’s (8-21-07) Oregonian ( I read an editorial titled, “Itsy bitsy spider bites back,” that notes how “Disney bristles after a study finds that specialized DVDs may not be the best way parents can teach babies language”. The videos in question, Baby Einstein, are a mere excuse for educating your baby. The study tells us what we already know intuitively if we are honest with ourselves as parents – that the best way to teach our children language is to – yes indeed -- talk to them, not sit them in front of a TV. Sure enough, there’s no short cut for instructing your child on Itsy bitsy spider but by doing it yourself. But, who’d want to miss out on that anyway.
Cornelia Seigneur

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

OH NO! It's back to school

So, I went to Rachel's cross country time trials today to watch her and the powers that be would not let her run as she is not "cleared" which totally confuses me as she is a senior and has competed in varsity sports since freshman year. Okay, paper work, I hate it. Always have. And perhaps I have, like my mom, been able to work around the system and it is catching up with me now. The doctor is saying they have no current physical on file, but then I ask myself, how was she able to run track, with a "clearance" form. Ah, I thought I finished school already. I have been on the phone for an hour and a half while at Mary S Young Park in West Linn, trying to reach the athletic director and doctors office and school district, and I am getting no where and my younger kids are in soccer camp for four hours so my time is totally precious. I love time alone at home and am wasting it here.
Speaking of back to school, so everyone I know already has all the school supplies for their kids and one mom of a fourth grader -same age as my twins- said we have to get a special pencil for them and I have not even looked at the ads yet. Then, I get mad at myself for being so far behind. Again. I had promised myself to be on top of things this year, to get supplies for my kids in early August.
At a party last night for our church community group, a mom of two high schoolers said to me, that she remembers the competitiveness of getting the best school supplies for your kids. Did you get RoseArt or Crayola? The big box or the little? I remember worrying about that when my kids were like in first grade only to find out when they got to Cedar Oak Park Primary School that the school supplies were communal and they would not be able to keep their top of the line colored pencils or crayons. Forget it I thought. I am just going for the best deals around. If I can still find anything out there at Target! Last year I remember going for supplies toward the end of summer and everything was sold out. Especially the good deals. I guess all the other moms figured out that the best deals - not always the best quality- are the way to go.
I am not ready for the schedule yet. For the making daily lunches. For the finding matching socks in the rushed mornings. Yet, when the kids fight which they have been doing a lot of lately, then I am ready for them to go back.
I do not remember my mom being as involved in my school as I seem to be for my kids. They invented the term multi-tasking for us moms for sure.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sweet 16

Our son Ryan turned 16 yesterday, wanting to have
a simple party at our home with his church friends that he connected with on our Mississippi mission trip as well as a few Boy Scout buddies. The friends your child chooses are so important, something I have prayed for my children since their birth. And now to see Ryan with such great friends, friends who have faith, friends with wonderful families, friends who are considerate of others, friends that do not need to go out and party -- as in drinking party -- to have fun.
At Ryan’s 16th, these mostly junior –in-high-school-to-be jumped on the trampoline in the rain, amused themselves at Foosball in our family room, rivaled one another at Wii, scarfed down hamburgers, gobbled up homemade chocolate fudge cake, and listened to music. Oh, and gave the birthday boy his 16 spanks. All in the name of fun friends. As Moms came and picked up their boys (not many were driving yet), I talked to them and said I am so glad our boys connected through church and a commonality of serving others. One mom and I noted that these boys are from all walks of life and it is their faith in Christ that unites them. There is a football player, a rugby athlete, a couple of cross country runners, band members, a golfer, a few fishermen and hunter-boys and a Boy Scout or two. I also talked to the boys that were here, telling them I am glad they are friends with Ryan.
As a mom I was smiling at the friends Ryan is making. I realize that you can help your child form positive friendships, connecting with parents and kids. It can make all the difference in the world.

Friday, August 10, 2007


In case you did not get The Oregonian yesterday, my monthly Real-Life Mom column can be found on the newspapers website . You can link on it via my website: -

Here is the Oregonian's link:

and the cut and pasted version of my column:

REAL LIFE MOM - Gulf Coast trip is lesson in gratitude
Thursday, August 09, 2007
By Cornelia Seigneur -
W hen I flew to the Gulf Coast last month with my two high-schoolers for a seven-day relief mission with our church, I sat next to a young Mississippi filmmaker named Ashley who was intrigued by our 200-member team.
"I have made two documentaries on Hurricane Katrina," Ashley said. "And our church has hosted many relief groups in Katrina-rebuild efforts."
But nearly two years later, people have stopped coming, she said. "They have forgotten about us," she said. "So you are an answer to prayer. Thank you for coming."
We found her gratitude repeated many times during our experience in Moss Point, Miss., where we joined our church youth group to partner with New Covenant Community Ministries and Forward Edge International. And that gratefulness rubbed off on us.
Call it a Mississippi Miracle.
First, when we landed at the New Orleans airport at midnight, dozens of church members were there to greet us despite the two-hour journey from Moss Point.
Then, on our first morning, we were welcomed with an assembly. City dignitaries, church leaders and school officials gathered with a band, balloons and welcome signs to thank us for coming. The local press was there. It was like one of those high school pep rallies where the victorious football team walks into a cheering crowd.
After the festivities, we began painting a local school. Teachers and school officials came by throughout the week to again offer thanks.
We, however, would realize that we were the ones who needed to do the thanking.
In the evenings, the church folks gathered to serve our whole team a supper that they started preparing early in the day: hand-dipped catfish, homemade macAaron and cheese, fried chicken and sweet tea to wash it all down.
Our youths had the chance each day to assist at church-sponsored sports camps. When we drove to the projects to pick up children living in poverty, they had the biggest smiles and they kept saying, "Thank you, ma'am" and "yes, ma'am" to me.
On our day off, we visited a large water park. After a couple of hours, a storm took us by surprise; sheets of rain blasted us, accompanied by lightning and thunder that sounded like large trees falling.
Parts of the water park had flooded by the time it closed. Our bus driver told me it was one of the worst storms since Hurricane Katrina.
But that night, when students shared what the week in Mississippi had meant to them so far, they did not complain about having to leave the water park.
Instead I heard: "Thank you, God, for that amazing storm which allowed us to get a small glimpse of what these people here have lived through, and a glimpse of your power."
Truly, a Mississippi Miracle.

Visit Cornelia Seigneur, a West Linn writer, editor and mom of five, at her Web site:

Thursday, August 9, 2007


I do so love to get the kids out into nature, into the woods and water, to get them away from the intensity of video games. To explore
So yesterday, I called up my sister and said, “Hey, let’s drive to the Columbia River Gorge, one of the most beautiful spots on earth, and take the kids hiking.” My twins kept asking before we left, “Can we have our DS’s because we have to show Mitchell and Erik something,” and I had to remain strong and say “No.” Besides, my daughter had them hidden and she is no-nonsense.
The twins survived without their neon devices as we drove the hour to the water fall, where we were meeting my sister for the 2-mile round trip hike to this water fall. Once out of the car, the kids were running ahead of us on the trail and splashing in the creek, and Ryan, 15, spotted a snake, and let his brothers Micki, 9, and Augustin, 4, hold it, then Ryan discovered an even bigger snake, and we took photographs, and it was sheer joy listening to them squeal in delight. Then, we found they found a cave and the kids went exploring through it, to see how far they could get; they later found large boulders to climb and rocks to throw into the creek. It felt so great, and all the way home they talked about the snakes and the creek and climbing the rocks.


On Tuesday, my identical twin boys, age 9, played with a friend of theirs who was “grounded from all screens,” as he called it, and I thought, kudos to his mom for having the discipline to take away electronics. . .Later that night, my 17-year-old daughter comes to me and says, “Mom, I want to take the twins’ DS's and X-Box and Gameboys away, they are getting way too addicted. Let’s hide them until. . . Christmas. . .and I will not give in like you always do.” She could be the next Super Nanny on the reality TV show.
I always talk about the importance of kids playing outside, and parents being strong enough to insist kids turn off their electronics. But I get weak at times as electronics I confess keep the boys quiet for a moment or too. . .but my daughter is my conscience.
Let’s see how long I last.
My daughter though grins at me: “Mom, I am not giving in.”

Monday, August 6, 2007


I just returned yesterday from the Willamette Writers Conference at the Sheraton Hotel in Portland Oregon. What a whirlwind of information about the world of writing and the publishing world. You either leave there encouraged - I heard, "yes, an editor wants me to send them my first 40 pages of my book" -- or you are discouraged, overwhelmed, think that everyone is better than you and you just want to quit writing and join the nunnery.

I left there somewhere inbetween. But for sure, came home to a mess and that is what I have been doing all day long - recovering the house and catching up on work and knowing I need to follow up on all the things I learned from all the workshops I attended, one of them being to start a blog. So, here goes. To be truthful, I have a blog elsewhere in cyber space and I hope that blog does not feel like I am deserting it (sorry reallifejournal), but I just did not update it very often and no one ever read it except my writing class students who I made read it for an assignment. . .okay, confessions of an unpopular blogger :). . .

I really need to be better about daily blogging, so by starting over on a more popular blog hosting site, perhaps that will motivate me. . .either way, this is my attempt to follow up on what I learned. . .I need to be modern about this all and participate in the real world of cyber space.

I loved the feel and the buzz of the writers conference -- everyone seemed very encouraging there and I tried to meet a ton of people and network. . .I have some books I want to write, many ideas I have had on my computer for a while and have been adding to them, but the tyranny of the urgent [gee, that sounds like a book :)] gets in the way - for me that is my newspaper articles for The Oregonian. Last week I had three due for instance, one being my column, Real-Life Mom for The Oregonian's SW Weekly section - found beginning August 9 at or in print in several local cities [West Linn, Wilsonville, Lake Oswego for starters.

Okay, now I will close. I had started a blog with this company before, but liked the name journal better, so I think I quit this one, or it got lost in cyber space.

Bye for now. Cornelia Seigneur


Hidden Lake


Cousins bicycling at Champeog Park

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