Thursday, April 30, 2009

APRIL- The Month In Review

Well, I feel like my first month of journaling has been beneficial to my well being. At the beginning of the month when I started I really didn't feel well emotionally. I had been feeling incredibly disconnected, desperate, and generally sad. I wanted to run away. I remember feeling those lumps in my throat all the time. Now, 31 days later, I feel more connected to my family, calmer, and have a more hopeful outlook. I attribute a lot of those feelings to this place HERE and to my friend Casio. I've learned to take Casio wherever I go because Casio always reminds me to stop and look around me at the beautiful details and moments in life. I still have a long way to go on the FORWARD part of my life but at least I can say that I feel HERE right now. Thanks to anyone who actually reads this blog and chooses to continue following my personal journey...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Painting Days are Here

Yesterday D had to coach a track meet yesterday and I was a bit anxious about finding something to do with the kids after school. It seems like from 4:00 until 6:00 are the crabbiest times for the children and I knew that all of us would need a structured activity. I decided that it was nice enough outside to paint. So, I poured myself a margarita, gathered the supplies, my camera, and a bucket of water and we were off to work. When the neighbor kids came home they joined in the fun too. I'm just sorry that M decided to play in her room and not join us for the fun.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mmmm Sugar

This is exactly what I was explaining in yesterday's post. S loves sugar! This morning he wasn't really feeling well(check out the runny nose), but when he saw the empty box of Apple Express (Walmart Apple Jacks...our weekly budget is another string of posts I plan on sharing here) he poured all of the sediment on the counter and proceeded to lick it up with his tongue. Thankfully my camera was handy and I was able to capture this fine moment.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 27, 2009

Something made me think about this...

Grandpa walks into the room and sees his 4 year old grandson sitting peacefully on the couch. The kid is obviously deep in thought. Grandpa curiously waits a few moments before breaking the silence. “What are you thinking about buddy?” The child pinches his lips to the side and says with a sigh…”candy.” (Ha ha ha. This is really very funny.)

I’m a sugar addict and I’ve surely passed this on to my children. I love candy- especially chocolate. I’m not ashamed to say that I love Halloween for the candy and find that dressing up actually slows you down when trick-or-treating. I should know because I went trick-or-treating well beyond the age limit that so many parents frown at nowadays….anyway, my son’s love of candy is the most obvious. When all of the resources in the house have been exhausted he resorts to climbing on the counter and scooping sugar out of the container by hand. And I get the fun job of sweeping the floor and scrubbing dried sugar barnacles off of the counter. So, I hide the crock of sugar for a few days and he goes to his next vice which is the cake sprinkles. Again, he climbs on the counter and rummages through the cupboards looking for the tiny bottle with colored sugar or worse yet the tiny, colored fake chocolate turds. Poor kid, they aren’t even that sweet.

He’s at that age too where he doesn’t hide it well. When I hear him in the kitchen I ask, “What are you doing?” and he says, “I’m not getting sugar momma…” or he answers with a hostile, “nothing! No…I’m not…” and when I bust him in the act he starts that uncontrollable laugh because he know I’m coming for him. I don’t have to wonder what is going through his mind when he does these things. I get it. I totally and completely understand what drives him and my two daughters to think, dream, and eat candy in excess.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Chicago Field Museum

I was one of 4 chaperones on the Freshman class trip to the Chicago Field Museum. These photos were only taken with one eye because the other eye was on the students...of course!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Perkins Flag

You can't miss the giant flag in front of Perkins restaurant. Yesterday they were at half mast. M is only 8 and she asked why the flag was "down so low." I explained to her that someone had died and only raised to half-mast as a memorial for that person. It was actually because someone had jumped from a bridge into the Mississippi River, but I didn't tell that to her. The kids, M, P, and S, love going over the bridge. Anyway as we were driving past it I yelled, "stop the car, I need to get a picture!" D turned around and I got out and stood right under the huge flag. As you can see it was pretty windy and definitely worth the stop. Thanks for all who have encouraged my amateur photography!
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ice Drink for the Birds

S was getting a little squirrely in the house one day. His two sisters had already been sent to their rooms for arguing and I was busy doing the dishes. After he pulled this old container out of the cupboard, I suggested he go outside and fill it with something. Anything!! Just GO PLAY!!

And then I came to my senses and suggested, "How about some ice?!!" He smiled, did a little hop shuffle and said, "Yeeeaaah!"

The filling of the container didn't take long before he wanted to start experimenting with water. I agreed and give him a cup of warm water so that he could watch the ice melt.

Naturally, he wanted MORE water so I filled the orange pumpkin so he could scoop it out with a cup. He decided it was faster to just pour directly from the pumpkin.

All finished! He named it, "Ice DRink for the Birds"

Watching the World Go By

Saturday was part of “International Weekend.”

8 foreign exchange students for the weekend, a school bus and a myriad of activities for 30 teenagers. I am the club advisor. My three young children accompanied us to our first stop which was the old train depot transformed into a museum. S was fascinated by the large bus window. He pushed his drowsy little face up to the window and just stared out into the world. I thought this picture was meaningful considering we had students from all over the world with us.

Old Friends...

Fourteen years have passed since I talked to one of my 3 best friends from high school. Yesterday I received a facebook message from him. I responded and left my cell phone number. Within a few minutes of my response, I received a text message. I called him. He must have already programmed me in his phone because after two rings he says in a low voice, "I'm in line at the bank, I'll have to call you back." I burst out laughing and so did he. HERE is where we picked up after fourteen years. It felt like nothing had changed.

We have a lot of catching up to do- including clearing up some reasons as to why he pushed both me and another one of our friends away from him for 14 years. But more importantly I want to concentrate on moving FORWARD...

Friday, April 17, 2009

E. B. White:

You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that.

Charlotte, "Charlotte's Web"

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Me Keepin' It Real

The risk it takes to remain tight inside the bud is more painful than the risk it takes to blossom.
-Anais Nin

I think that just keeping a record, about HERE - about my home life, helps me keep it real here. I am happy with my goal to find positive things about my home life each week, each day, each minute...and forward. Many days I picture myself like these tiny buds. I feel so small at times but the more I focus on lifting my face towards the sun the stronger I become and the more I open up. This picture is also pretty cool because it looks like each bud being held in an old woman's hand. Maybe an old woman's bony hand isn't all that comforting but I like the idea that it represents. I invite anybody reading this to keep it real and happy Spring!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Butt, Stupid, Dumb

"Mom?" M whispers to me on the way home from the park.


"Is Dumb a bad word?"

M just turned 8 and we are trying our best to teach her and her siblings "age appropriate" vocabulary...but shit, I'm frickin' telling you it is fucking tough when other people's god-damn nose picking little shits are running around the playground dropping the F-bomb and calling each other BITCH. At the park, the three other horses assess knew that they were out of line when one of them yelled, "I ain't no BITCH" and immediately looked over at me. I yelled, "HEY! watch your language! My kids don't know those words yet"...and then I smiled and winked at them. Damn it... these A-holes were the same age as M and I wonder where in the hell they are learning such crappy language. Damn parents these days. Thank God mine only know butt, stupid and dumb, Oh,and P stomped off last night with a "geeeshus"... I chalk their sweet innocence up to ME being a fucking polished marble pillar of wholesomeness!

"Mom?" S calls as he runs into the kitchen...


"Can I have more of that poop on a log?"
Poop is NOT a bad word...

Happy Easter

Looking for Color

From a distance the world around me is still and brown. I live on a wooded hill. When I look out the window behind the house I see a tangle of fat and thin brown trunks all the way up to the ridge. The ground is covered with brown leaves and brown dirt and brown rocks. The sky varies between blue and white. Looking out the front windows there is more color but most of that is due to things outside of nature. I went for a walk the other day. I took M and my camera. I told her we were going to try and find signs of life out here in this monochromatic hillside. I helped her learn to still herself a bit and really look around at the surrounding details. We made some lively discoveries in the pictures below.

BLUE!! I think a blue sky is a beautiful backdrop. It goes pretty well with brown too.

Yeah so it’s another brown tree but I was intrigued by the centipede like patterns under the bark.

ORANGE!! M and I couldn’t resist digging this up with a stick. It felt kind of rubbery. We both decided it was some kind of fungus.

Green!! Even in the tiniest of buds there is so much color. This one had threads of red and purple running through it.

GREEN!! The backside of the hill gets a lot more sun. I was amazed to see that the bushes on that side of the ridge had already leafed out it felt like another world over there.

BLUE!! This is what the path looks like at the top of the ridge. Thankfully the sky was blue.

PURPLE!! (my favorite color) and GREEN!! This plant was given to me by a neighbor last fall after I commented on its unusualness. She plucked it off a rock and told me to just set it on the ground. I simply placed it on the ground next to a rock and it is still there.

So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Here.Forward. in light of the walks I’ve been taking on the ridge. The ridge has recently been cleared for walking. Cleared as in, huge machines came in to knock and tear down trees. It isn’t a very pretty sight when you look at how many trees were just on the edge of the path and were shred standing up. Or the many dead trees that were just tossed into a jumbled pile off the side of the path. It really is a tangly mess of destruction. Oh, this happened just over a year ago- well in the past. What amazes me as I walk around up there is that there is an overwhelming abundance of life budding in the midst of the signs of trauma that have been left behind. Even the tree stumps that have been cut to the ground have multiple shoots circling them with buds. Despite everything that has been killed, life keeps moving forward.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Where's the Dog?

So, yesterday was election day here in our small town. We picked up S at the sitter and drove a few miles to our polling station which put S into a deep slumber. When we got home he was still sleeping so we opened the car door, unbuckled his seat belt and let him finish his nap. By the time he woke up the rest of the family had already been inside, snacked, and made it back outside to play. D must have gotten him out of the car because all I heard was crying for the next 15 minutes while I walked around trying to tame down some of the tall brown stalks that are in the yard. Finally he calms down and goes into the house..the girls come back into the house shortly after and everyone starts to play. I think I cut apples and do some dishes...regular stuff. We go to the basement for family haircuts and play the Wii for awhile...we just go about our afternoon activities. I mentioned earlier that it was election day- well a friend of our was on the ballot for Mayor so we were planning on going to the open house that he was hosting. So, in those few minutes that everyone was ready to go and we were just waiting around D says, "Where's Emmitt?" My heart dropped because I realized that I hadn't seen her since we were all outside and that was few hours ago. It was now 7:00 pm. I said half jokingly, "I hope the FOX didn't eat her up!" and M got all upset...because there has been a fox walking on the wall right outside of our imaginary deck...anyway everyone starts looking for the dog. I check under my bed and then command the kids to go upstairs and look in their beds. They all march up with their mission code while I run down to the garage. I peek through the car window in the backseat where S was sitting- empty. Then I walk to the driver's side and there is Emmitt laying on the front seat... Damn Dog! The kids wind up in the garage shortly after and they were happy to see her. So, if we hadn't gone to vote S wouldn't have fallen asleep in the car and the dog wouldn't have gone in there. But, if we didn't personally know who we were voting for we wouldn't have been going to the party which led us to find the dog in the car in the first place.

I don't have anything profound to say about this post...It was just funny. Maybe what I'm trying to say is that life is a story. It isn't always about where you are but rather the stories that come from the moment. That's life. So, I said something...not so profound but I found something to say....Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hello Spring...Goodbye Fall

The tulip is one of my favorite flowers. I love the shape that the petals make and the fact that they are one of the first flowers to start peeking through the ground in the spring. We have a TON of landscaping left to do around the house but the fall before last my mom and I walked around the property planting tulip bulbs everywhere. Yesterday I found this outside our imaginary deck. I love the feather laying in the mulch at the base-another awakening sign of spring!!

So, I've been keeping progress on my volunteer pumpkins all winter and this one is my favorite. All the pumpkins were lined up on the wall next to each other and each one decayed in its own unique way. This one retained its shape and grew black fuzz (mold?) all over it.

This one melted down quite a bit. The skin dried and is very flakey but I think it held up its shape pretty well considering it sat outside all winter. I love the texture of the skin.

This isn't my best photo but this pumpkin wins the prize for retaining it's orange color.
So, this intent of this blog is to celebrate life and all it has to offer. I think my pumpkin following this winter does exactly that. These were volunteer pumpkins from some other pumpkins that I can't even remember where we got them. They started growing on the hill of our very natural, unlandscapeded yard and the kids and I watched them grow all summer and fall. Their slow decay has also been part of their life as well...and I must say growing old can be a unique and beautiful part of life as well!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Going to the Movies

Saturday afternoon D and I took the kids to see Monsters vs Aliens. I made the mistake of telling them on Friday evening that, “If they were good…then…” As a mom I really should have known better than to tell them in advance because they were wound up with excitement until the next day. As a dad, D was on the right track when he told them that there would be a surprise but I blew it and told them what the surprise was.

So, Saturday morning P wakes up and asks if it’s time to go to the movie theater yet. It was only 7 am. “We will go after lunch,” I tell her. A few minutes later she says, “Can I have lunch now?” She cracks me up. The movie started at 2pm. We left the house at 11:30 because we had some errands to run- one of them being to pick up CANDY for the movie. We got a bag of twizzlers, a bag of peanut M & M’s and a box of malted milk balls. So, in the car D and I plan on how we are going to get all of this candy in the theater without advertising our contraband. Although it has only been in the 40’s neither one of us had a coat. I decide to take my purse (I’m not a purse girl- it’s more like a cloth bag…and I don’t really carry it much) anyway I shove two bags in my purse and then open the box of “chocolate balls” as we call them and start shoving them into the kids’ pockets. M asks why we can’t just take the box with us as I’m explaining the cost of movie theater candy for a family of five. Yeah-great mom- I’m turning my kids into criminals already.

So, we walk in and get a huge tub of buttered popcorn and pop which the 4 of us share. M being the oldest gets a kiddy pack and I make sure she doesn’t sit next to her sister.

The movie was good- I was most impressed with the graphics- the skin on the people looked so real, I mean you could see the tiny lines of texture and it was beautifully flawless. I must say that during the close up scenes I found myself studying their skin and wondering how in the world they do that. We didn’t splurge for the 3D.

When the movie was over we walked out of there without any leftovers. Between the 5 of us we polished off 3 large bags of candy, a ginormica- if that’s how you spell it- portion of popcorn, and a kiddy-pack. On the way out of the theater P says, “I’m hungry” and I ask her how in the world can she be hungry after eating for 2 hours straight? Then when we get on the road we hear, “My tummy hurts!” from each of them before all three kids pass out for the remainder of the ride home. I must say it was a fun family outing- and I didn’t have to cook dinner because everyone including D and I were too sick to eat anything until morning.

Sunday we drove to Davenport and met Grandpa for lunch…then we let the kids run off some steam at the John Deere Museum.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The name

To me it says, "I know where I am. I know where I am going."