Wednesday, December 28, 2011

what do I want to be when I grow up? Part 2: Who are you?

"The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence: at last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice.
'Who are you?' said the Caterpillar."

There is a screaming baby in my living room so I am not sure how long I will be able to write. Daddy has his screaming baby, I promise I have not just abandoned my child to cry, though at times it feels that way when I need to make a meal for the rest of my family or take a shower. Unlike I, she does not consider these things important.

Remember a while back when I was talking about what I want to be when I grow up? Well the thought has been plaguing me again. You see, I have just a few short years before I am entirely free (well, when kids are in school), however I have even less time until I have a little extra time on my hands. Once Kaylee is 1-2ish and less "hold me!" and perhaps takes a regular nap (or two) I will suddenly find myself free to perhaps start something. Oh the crying baby is asleep! My wonderful amazing husband is the one that did it. Have I perhaps mentioned that he is wonderful and amazing? If not let me do that now.

Speaking of...he and I were on a date last night and we were talking a bit about this. The whole job thing, not the crying baby.

The question come up, what do I really like doing?

Option 1 of course is go back to school. I need to finish my degree, and it is something I really want to do. Of course in thinking that, I speculated what I would want to study. I no longer believe a Communications degree is really what I want, but do I finish that just to have it finished, or do I go on the path that I want to be my true career? I said in this conversation that for sure, no matter what degree I ended up getting that I want to take some creative writing coarses.

You know how when you are good at something, say as a teenager and EVERYONE goes on about how great you are? Say you then, wanting to do this with your life, go to school specifially for that and you are for the first time surrounded by people just as good and much better then you at this particulour thing and you realize you are no longer special? I want that for creative writing. It is not that I consider myself to be excellent at it in any way, but I know it is something that I CAN do and I want to be surrounded by motivation to learn how to do it better. I want to aspire and I want someone who will unbiasedly tell me how to be better.

Most of you know I was home schooled all through-out the first part of my life. College was the first time I had ever known a real classroom. I can remember vividly on my first day, going into the classroom. I sat at the desk, fresh notebook in front of me, new pen in hand and started taking notes as the professor started listing information we needed to know. As I sat there I remember a thrill going through me, my dear friend Emily would call it The Flash. If you do not know Emily you should ask me about her. She should be friend to all in my opinion. Basically it was the pure joy of living coursing through my vains. Brought upon by the General Ed health class on my first day of college. I was good at this! I all of a sudden knew it. I had never known it before. I had only ever just done the work in front of me. I had never even thought to consider whether I was good at it or not. But here I was, finally in a real school surrounded by people, taught by a person and I was able to take notes well! I could write complete intelligent papers, I could study and master information in order to get good grades. This felt amazing to me! All through-out my college career I kept that flash. Certainly classes got old and homework tedious. But I always knew I loved to learn, so as frustrated as I got with classes I knew in the end I would look back on the time with joy and longing. I met my now husband in college, I met amazing friends that I still cherish. I "found" myself I suppose you could say. Confused as I may still be with my professorial future.

All that to say, going back to college excites me. I think I would LOVE it.  I have no illusions about how much hard work it will be. And when the time comes I will complain about teachers, and stress about work-load. But I will be learning. I have grown rusty at learning in my stay-at-home-momness.  It is a thirst that has been put on hold, but I will get there again.

We have had conversations about what can be done professionally as a creative writer.  I would love to write for the local paper. But I did terrible in my paper article writing class (see, I can't even remember what it was cal...journalism! That was it!) I did terrible in my journalism class because I was too wordy. I can write a 10 page paper and at the end of it I have said absolutely nothing.  But I can guarantee you will smile while you read it. So I would have to be a columnist of some sort. Short entertaining blurbs that don't really matter. I would enjoy that, but the chances of getting that job is rather slim.

I am a reader. Apparently that is odd since my eyes do this weird thing and the eye doctor says I should not enjoy reading because of it. But - I love reading just the same. Perhaps it is my mile-wide stubborn streak. I Especially love books that are written in a very particular way. I'm certain there must be a name for it. But Peter Pan, Pooh and Alice are all written like this. Some George McDonald and E. Nesbit books are as well. The author is almost a character. He has opinions, talks about the characters and sometimes to them. He is almost a narrator, but not completely because it is not just events he is describing but he is actually telling the story to the reader. You feel the author is almost in the room with you, painting the story as a masterpiece right there in your living room as you sit at his feet mesmerized.

So I have decided to write a book. I want to write it in this style so most likely it will be a kids book, though I am not certain of that. Perhaps my lovely sister would do the illustrations once we get there? How many innocent people have claimed they want to write a book? No clue, but I have now joined their ranks. I am not certain when this book will begin, who it will be about or why. But I want the reader to laugh for joy as they peruse it's humble pages. I would make it of a little girl who wants to be a pirate but I fear that has already been done.  So I will have to come up with something entirely creative. Any ideas?

"The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence: at last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice.
'Who are you?' said the Caterpillar.
This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, 'I - I hardly know, sir, just at present - at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.'"

I am not entirely sure at the moment who I am, I fear I have changed so many times in the past 8 years or so that it is a bit fuzzy. But I am fully confidant that when the time is write - I shall know. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Of paper planes and porcupines.

You know that old lady at church? The one that when you first meet her she says "We don't shake hands, we hug around here!"

Yeah, I hate that old lady.

I think it started when I was about a pre-teen. It was then that I discovered I was different. It started when I discovered I hated it when people touched my pillows. I know, weird. But you know as kids you hang out together in bedrooms, that is where your own things are. And I hated it when my friends touched my pillows! (this phobia was slightly less severe then my unusual fear of toothpaste. A phobia I still suffer from.) I could deal with it if it happened. But I didn't like it. Then it morphed into not really wanting to stand to close to people. You know those people that don't seem to have any sense of personal space and you find yourself leaning backwards while talking to them in an attempt to put a little distance between you without being obvious? Yeah there were several of those in my life at the time and it REALLY bothered me. A Beloved friend of mine used to tell me I had a very large and very thick personal space bubble. "Get into Sarah's bubble and you know it!"

I discovered that I emmited a very strong vibe.  A "don't touch me" vibe.  This is one of those fascinating things about humans.  How did everyone know? I never said it, I never acknowledged it. Yet if you spent any time around me you knew it to be so. What drove me insane the most? People that picked up on the vibe, knew it full well and still forced hugs. This is not a big deal to me now.  But as a teenager? I hated you for it. Church High school group youth leaders were the worst. Where does it say in the Bible that everyone has to hug everyone else?!?

Well, time went on and I entered into a world of theatre. Now, those actor types? VERY touchy. I knew friends that would kiss one another on the lips just as a general greeting. One of my friends had a weird biting thing and would regularly grab your arm, bite you and walk away. I think a squeeze on the ass was pretty standard as well. So within that group I was an outcast. I was lucky enough to never land a romantic role...of course with the whole "don't touch me vibe" that may have been the decision of my directors.  "No one will believe her anyway, just put her in the funny role!" Ok so I wasn't a great actor.

A while ago I read an article. My eyes went up in shock as I read this . You mean I am not alone!?! I cannot tell you how wonderful it was. For so long I had been this way, but never really thought it all out. I just knew this made me uncomfortable and everyone else seemed so ok with it. It felt great to get my prejudices out in the open.

I have a very dear friend. She and I were recently talking. We were laughing over how we two had been so very similar our whole lives. As an example of this we both spoke of our hatred of the standard hugging. She laughed and shared a story of herself years ago. As a part of a church group there was a poor gentleman who wanted to make her acquaintance on a more-then-friendship level. Whether it was coincidence or not she came to his house once for a group meeting to discover it was only the both of them. Knowing he had had his eye on her for a while she found herself in the moment of awkwardness. To hug or not to hug? This is a church thing after all, doesn't that mean we HAVE to hug? But being alone in his house the moment was feeling not right in her head. Sensing her uneasiness he stated the ever popular "I'm just a huggy person" to which she replied (and correct me if I did not get this phrase exactly right) "I'm just a prickly porcupine kind of person."

Yes! That explains me exactly. I am a porcupine! I bet in the world of porcupines no one feels like they have to hug one another just to be culturally accepted.

Now I would like to enter in here that this fear of personal connections does not apply to my husband and children.  I love their hugs more then I can say.  It is the feeling as if I have to hug someone to maintain personal dignity that I hate. And to be even more ironic if my above mentioned friend were to walk in my door right now the first thing I would do is run over to her and give her a hug. As she would me.

Perhaps it is not just the feeling compelled (though my natural rebellion does play a part in this) It is that I only really like giving hugs to people I love. I don't love the old lady that I just met 12 seconds ago. I don't love the creepy guy trying to unsuccessfully lure me alone into his apartment. Ok, so I'm sure that was not the intent. I don't love acquaintances that I see occasionally. I will hug those that I love, family and beloved friends...if they want me too. It doesn't bother me. I even want to on occasion. But I just don't see hugging as requirement for friendship. I can be your friend without all the awkwardness. Right? Ok, maybe this is all just me and I need to get over it already.

Though I will say one thing: Please, if I don't hug you do not take offense. I honestly don't think about it. So I am not trying to avoid you, it is just not my normal way of interacting with someone. Just as I do not automatically smack someone on the behind every time I meet them. Heehee, wouldn't that be great:

"We don't shake hands here at this church, we smack behinds!" Now that would be an awesome church! get the idea.

And just to be clear, this post has absolutely nothing to do with paper airplanes. I just liked how it sounded.

Merry Christmas all!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

'Tis The Season

Alright - I have my cup of tea in hand, I have a sleeping baby and Ayla is set up in the living room watching Charlie Brown. I am ready for...Oh this tea did not steep enough.  Oh bother! And it is my favorite PG tips tea and it is weak.  Blah.  Should I make another cup or deal with this one?  Hold on, I have to make another cup.  I want to ENJOY my tea.  I will be back.

Alright, the water is heating.

Do you know we don't have a Christmas tree yet? It is...hold on. December 7th and no Christmas tree graces our home. Of course waiting means that there is hope for a green tree on the actual holiday. And waiting is the wise financial move, it is also better to get one when we have the time to decorate it. Ideally 2-3 hours at home without plans of going out anywhere. 2-3 hours at home has been very rare lately.  When I first became a stay at home mom I would go insane being home all the time. When my Wonderful Amazing Husband would come home in the evening all I wanted to do was get out of the house, and all he wanted to do was stay in and relax.  I don't have that problem anymore. With carting kids to and from school, dr. appointments, playdates, church activities and general grocery shopping it feels sometimes as if we are never home.  Though we are home today, and the reason is because we have Life Group tonigth which means it needs to be possible at the very least to walk through my livingroom without tripping on mountians of toys and laundry.  And as you can see I have gotten a great start on all that by sitting and writing here. Does that go under the category of housewife fail? I think it does.  Don't you think it is funny that everyone says "Fail!" now? No one said that when I was a kid. Oh my, I just had an old moment.  Did you see it? Ugg. I will admit though, I am thoroughly entertained by current slang no matter my age.

Now I must check on my steeping tea.

Much better! I'm glad. Because I was not about to make a third cup. A third cup is where I draw the line.  I may be a tea snob, but I also have a blog to write and a house to clean. No time to make a third cup of tea...although there is a good chance it would have taken me a shorter amount of time to make said cup of tea then it took me to write all that out up there.  Heehee, that also entertains me.

I have enjoyed life lately. I have discovered that there are very specific things I need to stay content. I need kids that learn their lessons the first time. I don't mind the occasional tantrum or two. But I cannot stand multiple tantrums about the same thing. I need sex (won't my kids love reading that someday?) I need a once a week date with my husband and once a week alone time. I need some time once a day or so to spend alone talking to God and at least 3 books a day read to my children. I need kid hugs and baby kisses and at least a few hours a week spent with dear friends. I need coffee and tea, I need chocolate (especially in cookie form) and bread fresh right out of the oven with butter. I need a house that is clean-up-able.  It does not always have to be clean, but I need to be able to make it clean in 15 minutes or so if I need to. I need sun and occasional rain, a good book and a warm husband. I need a hot bath every few days or so (I'm a mom, it is a rare thing) and a well rested baby. I need a place to go everyday and a reason to stay home on occasion. I need a place to pour out my heart if needed and a captive audience that enjoys reading my ramblings. I need to sing, even if I am not very good at it anymore. And I need soul-moving music to grace my home.  I need beauty and poetry, I need my Father in heaven and my family on earth. I need pictures and videos and Oh!  Guess what.  I have been watching old videos of the kids lately. So much fun!  I wonder if I could put some on here...

And this one?

Aw it is not letting me do more! One more try...


Oh isn't it fun!?!  Ok, so maybe my old home videos are pretty boring for someone that is not mother or perhaps grandmother to my kids. But they make me smile so much! I love it. I should also post some new pictures of my kids shouldn't I. Alright, here you go:

There are my big girls.

And my baby - She is getting so big I can hardly stand it!
Oop, baby girl is awake! I will try to write more soon.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Tattoo

Next week I will be twenty nine and one half.

Does it make me a word person and not a number person when I spell out the number vs. using the actual numbers?  Hmmmm


When I was a teenager I wanted to get a tattoo. I remember going through all the options. I could get something cutesy like a little turtle on my ankle, or perhaps something that spoke of my love for music or theatre. I considered something "Christian" like a cross or edgy like thorns or barbed wire. I even had a fleeting moment where I considered something trendy like Chinese characters.

See, the problem is, when I was a teenager EVERYONE was getting tattoos and I will admit, that made me not want to get one. Not only that, every adult told me I would regret it if I got one...of course that just made me want one even more, just so that I could prove them wrong, but that was too trite and I was not willing to scar myself permanently just to prove a point. So I decided that if I really wanted a tattoo I would wait. I would wait until I was an adult and could make a grown-up decision I would not regret - I would wait until I was past what was considered juvenile and could therefore choose something that would represent myself as an adult as apposed to myself as a child/adolescent.  I would wait until I was 30.

Wait...there I wrote the number instead of spelling it. What does this mean!?! Heehee, I like over- analyzing things. It's fun.

So anyhow, I am almost twenty nine and one half (maybe it is the half thing. Harder to understand in number form unless you know how to do the tiny numbers...I don't) Which means I am almost 30 (see?) and I have decided I still want one.

Is 30 old enough to make this decision? I don't really feel much older then I felt at 18.

Anyhow, that means I need to start planning this. I do still want a tattoo, but not a cutesy turtle or anything.  I want one that represents my kids, one that is either highly and beautifully complex, or very simple and elegant.  I want something on either my shoulder/back or my upper arm.  Something I can completely cover up. I don't want it too big, but I also don't want it to look miniature.

I have three ideas so far.

One idea is a tree.  I like trees.

there are a lot of tree tattoo's. But there are not very many tree tattoo's I like. I like a tree because it represents life and friendship to me.  My best friends of all time used to say "a good friend is like a strong tree." And it would be easy to weave my kids names among the branches.

My second idea is cherry blossoms.

There are also a lot of cherry blossom/apple blossom tattoos to be found (also some trees) and some of these (like the first picture) I like a lot. I like how beautiful and simple it is. But It would be harder to get my kids names in there.

 My third idea is a ship.

I wrote an entire post on my love of ships just a little while ago.  And again, easy to get my kids names in there. I want the names in there cleverly. Not just written in plain sight. Does that make sense?

I think I need the expert advice and artistic talent of my beloved friend Zinah. Help! I have 6 months to find an artist, design the tattoo and save up for it. Any and all input and advice is appreciated. I have no experience with this so I really don't know what I should be looking for. That is...unless I become to old for it in the next few months. Hey, you never know.  I could bend over and become crotchety overnight. Crotchety old woman don't get tattoos. They are far to mature.

Well, since my baby is awake and this post has been written with one hand I will keep it short...

Monday, November 7, 2011

As I walked by myself.

As I walked by myself,
And talked to myself,
Myself said unto me,
Look to thyself,
Take care of thyself,
For nobody cares for thee.

Am I a difficult person to understand? Am I generally clear in my words and conversations? Do I speak in riddles or have a sarcastic humor that can easily be taken the wrong way? ok maybe yes on that one...

At least the first two - I never thought so, until now.  I also didn't really consider myself to be someone who is a delicate flower that wilts at the first sign of pressure. Nor do I consider myself to be overly concerned with the opinions of others so long as I know I am well. 

Perhaps all that is true, but yesterday I found myself apparently on the wrong end of a conversation.  Now, I am a part of several online boards, three to be exact.  One for each child.  So these boards are full of approx. 40 woman each that I have known for 6, 4 and 1 year. Now I don't expect to be loved and cherish by all the woman on all these boards and to be perfectly honest, I don't love and cherish all the woman myself - but yesterday there was a misunderstanding on one of them.  Thankfully the woman came to me privately instead of creating unneeded drama on the public forum - but she was deeply insulted by a comment I had made that was taken entirely wrong. So wrong that the meaning I had intended was not even on the scope of how she had taken it and I was so shocked to get a hostile email about a comment that had nothing entirely to do with what I thought I had said...apparently I was wrong. I found myself on the verge of tears as I read a letter that ripped me up one side and down the other.  Telling me I was being rude, sticking my nose where it does not belong and judging something that had nothing to do with me...and wrongly accusing me of being rude and judgmental to a number of other woman as well. Also not true - at least I have never intended to be...

What do I do with an email such as this? I can see where she miss-understood me. Perhaps I should have been more clear, perhaps I should have made no comment at all (how much chaos would we avoid by simply keeping our mouths shut?) But taken aback and hurt I found myself becoming defensive. I did my best to be polite, apologized, explained that was not my intent. Sadly I could not leave it there and sent another message saying THIS is how I had meant the comment. Explaining in detail my not so funny joke.

Why do we get defensive?  Is being misunderstood so terrible a thing? Perhaps my confused friend is reading this now and finding my thoughts on the matter entertaining? Offensive? I don't seem to know anymore. Sadly my defensiveness was catching.  She wrote back saying it was not just her, she had gotten 3 texts from 3 different people moments after I had made the comment.  And apparently she had asked me to clarify and since I had gotten off the computer for the day considered my lack of reply to be me avoiding the issue, further rudeness. 

This letter crushed me. For one, I now know that she texts with these other woman. A close relationship I have never had with them. So now I have discovered that I am not the good friend I had assumed myself to be. There is a circle of which I am on the outside. Furthermore, these 3 other woman went to her first talking about how rude I was instead of asking me what was up with that comment.  AND apparently I really did say something that although I thought it was innocent enough, really was a terrible thing to say when taken another way.

Am I over thinking this?

I was home schooled, therefore I did not have to deal with getting a thick skin when it comes to the insulting things other "kids" can say. I have never before been bullied, at least not by someone who I thought I could confide in. 

Now I will say to her credit she messaged me in private, she apologized for unnecessarily taking offense, thanked me for apologizing and I believe we have both moved on. Had she said to me what she thought I had said, I would have been upset too. So there was reason behind it all. And for now, I do believe for us both it is over and done with.

So why am I still dwelling on this? I wrote, after she said there were others that had mis-understood me that it concerned me that people had been talking on this without asking me. Perhaps it was my jealousy at finding out I am not a part of the cool crowd. I am not pleased to be the subject of gossip, but perhaps it is my fault that I often go 24 hours without being online so I really can't be one of the popular ones...and since they don't text me they have no way to clear it up.  But when I voiced my concern I got a letter back telling me in no simple words that this was not worth my concern and worrying so much as I had about what other people think of me, is unhealthy.

Now, most of you reading this know me. I am honest, I am cocky, I am direct, I am a little rough around the edges. I don't mince words, I don't flatter unless I REALLY believe it, I love deeply, I don't like hugs (except from my husband and children) I strive for respect and I don't take trust and friendship lightly.  I cannot tell you how many people have told me "when I first met you I thought you hated me." This bothers me, I have worked to fix it and I think I mostly have. But never, has anyone ever told me that I am weak, no one has ever told me I need more self-esteem (usually the opposite!) no one has ever told me that I think to much of what others think of me.  But then who would really say these things? Honestly it would be pretty rude of THEM (aside from a beloved friend or spouse - both of which I have and they have not said these things).  So how would I know?

So I had to ask myself, do I worry too much? Has other people's approval become more important to me then it used to be? Is my rough exterior just a mask hiding my inner coward huddled in the corner of me, just waiting for someone to come and crush it to smithereens?


Yes, I think to a certain degree that is true. I have become less sure of myself as life is harder then it used to be and sometimes I fail miserably. I am not around adults all that often and have lost some natural tact simply because I am out of practice. I am in dire need of friends and they are harder to come by. I am exhausted most of the time so it is hard to have a quick wit, and yes - I have the desire not to hurt those around me so I am more careful, and grieve when I have again failed miserably at this. Yes, I care. I care what those I love think about me and I forever strive to better myself.  And you know what? I think this is a good thing.

Yesterday I had trouble focusing because my mind was trying to figure out what had gone wrong in all those conversations. Today I have hardly thought twice of it (aside from writing this all out of course). I have always done this, when something has me frustrated or grieved I will give myself a day.  For one day I can be useless, I can obsess, I can cry.  But once the sun goes down and up again and a new day has begun I am done. It is over and behind me. Today I can analyze, I can look at it without the emotion. And today I can laugh. I am still so very sorry it happened, I hope all is well on the part of my friend and she feels alright. I will not write anymore emails. All has been said that needs to be said. I will distance myself from the group a bit, just for a while to clear my head but I will return.  Tomorrow I will be more careful, I have learned a lesson I will not soon forget.  Perhaps I will do better at keeping my mouth shut from now on?

I answered myself,
And said to myself,
In the self-same repartee,
Look to thyself,
Or not to thyself,
The self-same thing will be.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Very Nearly Tea

A Proper Tea is much nicer than a Very Nearly Tea, which is one you forget about afterwards.  ~A.A. Milne

When I was a child I enjoyed tea parties.  Now, this is not the pretend tea parties where a doll and teddy bear are both set up at the tiny table and cups of water are placed near their hands. You know, the kind where Mrs. Nesbit is in attendance? No...

No, I mean a real tea.  The kind where you spend hours in the kitchen with beloved friends putting together cucumber sandwiches, real ones. And then meticulously decorate the table, making it just so - often themed according to the season or current holiday (Michaelmas tea anyone?)  And then sitting together to finally eat the splendor you have created and remember, that it is always polite so long as you have your pinky in the air.  Of course, since my friends and I are not what one would describe as "girly girls" there were often pirates in attendance, and sometimes we were old ladies or kids trapped on a deserted island.  Or maybe we were maidens in a castle, held captive by an evil witch and this was to be our last meal - or maybe we had just gotten away and we were celebrating our victory (I have no memory of ever being rescued, clever as we were we always found a way out, we were never trapped by very smart witches). You get the idea.

So lately I have been wanting to have a tea - but not a Very Nearly Tea, a real one.  I want to invite friends over, sit and laugh together, raise our pinkies in the air and possibly sing a pirate shanty or two...

But Tea in and of itself, while lovely does get rather boring after a while...yes I said it.  So I think I want to start having parties once a month.  I saw on a random blog once the idea of a waffle party - see?.  You know, everyone comes and you eat waffles together. Somehow that grabbed my fancy and all of a sudden I really wanted to have a waffle party.  I'm sure there are tons of other ideas too - My beloved friend Val actually wrote a book a while back about different sorts of Teas you can have.  I have lost this book, I need to get another one.  Was the book published ever Val or did you just make enough for friends and family? Either way I need another one, just tell me how much it costs and I can send it. 

Don't you love how I can ask questions here and be pretty certain they will be answered?  Makes me happy! That and the idea of having a real tea again.

Alright - so I am going to do it.  I am going to start having tea parties.  I will cook for hours, decorate my house and invite friends over.  Once a month is my goal.

Who wants to come to my party(s)?  What day of the week should it be?  I am fine with kids getting invited and having it during the day, or in the evening sometime with only grown-ups.  Either is good with me.  Perhaps it will change month to month.  

I am serious here people.  I would love it if I could have friends from all over come.  Let some of the people I love get to meet one another.  So give me some feedback on what days/times you can do and I will plan it!

I believe my first party will be a Waffle Tea Party.  Then I can get both in there...and Maybe scones.  I love scones.

While searching for my first quote (yes, I really know W.T.P. so well as to know what exact quotes to look for) I found this one and it made me sigh a sigh of contentment.  With this I leave you:

 You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.  ~C.S. Lewis

True, so very, very true.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fathoms below

Those of you who know me well know that when I was a child I wanted to be a pirate.  Now, as an adult of very nearly 30 I still want to be a pirate when I grow up.  I love pirates, I loved pirates before it was the popular thing to love pirates.  Want proof?

That is my little brother and me, I am guessing halloweenish due to the pumpkins.  I think we look about 7-8 and 9-10 which would make sense, I had a pirate birthday party when I turned 11, it was a huge hit. Wonderful memories those.... 

Anyhow - I think I have established, I love pirates. Though if I am being entirely honest I think the real truth is, I love pirate ships...or perhaps I just love ships in general. 

Twice when I was a child I had the privileged of living on a ship. Ok, a boat. It only fit about 10 of us.  I think I was between the ages of 9 and 11 - so right in the same time-frame as this pictures and my pirate party.  No doubt we pretended to be pirates while on the boat, who wouldn't!

I think I can say with confidence that my time on the boat(s) is one of my very favorite childhood memories.  I can remember it very vividly.

It started in the evening, we left for the dock.  My best friend's dad had his sailing license and so we rented a sail boat from his club.  I think if I focused on it long enough I could even remember Her name.  There were six of us kids and 3 dads, one friend was sadly sick so she was missing at least one of these trips. It is different going places with dads verses moms. Moms make sure you are clean, fed, go to bed on time and don't get to close to the edge. Dads? Dads make sure you stay alive - which honestly is the most important anyhow right? I know we went twice, but I can't differentiate one trip from the other, they are all squeezed together in my head. But I remember vividly sitting on the front of the boat late one night with two of my friends. we were the dare-devils of our motley crew, if there was trouble to be found it was almost always started, carried out and finished by one or all three of us. The wiser of our group of kids had gone to bed - no grown-ups were around and all three of us found a perch at the very front of the boat.  I am sure the dads were keeping an eye on us, but we weren't aware of it so it truly felt like we were alone.

Have you ever been on a boat? One big enough to slice the water but not so large you are miles from it. I am not really a fan of the movie Titanic, a little too touchy/feely for me, not really my style. And cliche as it might be, remember his "top of the world" moment? Well I, my friends, have been there. Sitting on the front, as we were, we got whipped up as the boat moved foreword, and splashed by icy spray every time the boat lunged down. It felt like we were flying.   

I can't remember conversation, perhaps it was there or perhaps the three of us understood that it wasn't needed.  But all of a sudden we were not alone.  There was something that looked almost glowing in the water.  We were being raced.  A dolphin cut through the water next to us, I remember laughing with joy, my hands were ice cold holding onto a wire rope connected to the deck.  We watched the dolphin enraptured until suddenly one of us (I can't remember who) yelled "There is another one!" In all, four dolphins raced us that night. It literally looked like their bodies were glowing, I don't know if it was a reflection off the boats light or if it was just them.  But I wont ever forget it.

We got to see more dolphins later in the trip during the day, a whole pod of them. We also got to see seals, cormorants, flying fish and tons and tons of seagulls (hold a cracker up in your hand and they will take it from you mid-flight). We were free from mothers' picking, we didn't take showers, go to bed on time or dress warmly enough.  We swam in the ocean, got sunburned and ate and slept whenever we felt like it. It was heavenly.

A few years ago I went yard-sailing - not the same as real sailing, but still fun.  I found this painting and bought it for $5.  

It is hard to see the detail in my terrible photo of it, the light must be bad in the room.  But it is very detailed, beautiful and obviously hand painted. I can't imagine someone wanting to part with it, much less for $5. There is a signature on it, all I can really tell is it starts with a B.  See?

Perhaps someday I will discover who painted my picture.  For now it rests above my bed, perhaps giving me lovely dreams of being a pirate on a ship - but for sure reminding me of those wonderful memories.

Oh goodness, a little monkey is awake, so I must make a premature exit.

So for now, may you all have lovely dreams of pirate's, racing dolphins and 4 lovely days aboard ship.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I love cookies. I really do, my favorite is oatmeal chocolate chip. However, there has to be a little added extra flour to make sure the cookies stand up instead of go flat, they need to have about 2/3 of the sugar called for, they have to be slightly undercooked so they don't get tough and crunchy and the chocolate chips have to be Ghirardelli Chocolate 60% Cacao Bittersweet Baking Chips.  See?
Those ones. They used to only be sold at Savemart for $4 a bag, and I was known to buy 3-4 bags at a time if I was lucky enough to find them on sale.  But now Target and their blessed new grocery section has them for half that price and I am elated! Yes, I really love them that much. 

Cookies are my down-fall.  I am generally a very healthy eater. I mostly cook meals that I would consider on the high end of "good for you" (though when Kaylee is fussy that high-end moves a little downward due to my lack of hands. It is harder to cook in general without hands...even harder to cook healthy. boxed becomes much simpler) and I am good at controlling my portions. I can pretty easily say no to cheap out of the box desserts, or have just one and be content.  But homemade cookies, especially of the chocolate chip variety have me helpless. I have some in my frig now, hold on and I will get one.  You see, after talking about it so much I have decided I need one.  Be right back....................................................................................... ..........................................................................................................I got two. You see, they were sticking to one another and it seemed sad to just rip them apart...right? 

I am eating these cookies now as a demonstration to you of my addiction. Why you ask? Well, just in case you didn't believe me. I needed too....right? If I had just written down that I liked cookies you would have nodded understanding and moved on.  But now you know I REALLY like cookies and you are looking at me with your head cocked to the side and your eyes a little squinted. See now you shake your head just slightly and smirk a bit...starting on my second cookie.  I must re-unite him with his lost love lady cookie! It is for the sake of the cookies that I eat them.  We can't have a depressed cookie on our hands, that just wouldn't do! Now your eyes look up for a moment as you smile in pity and shake your head again, it is almost a laugh, but could also be taken as a guffaw.  Admit it, you did!

I have been on a weight loss mission since Kaylee was born.  I was my ideal weight and in pretty good shape when I got pregnant. I had worked hard to get there losing to 30lbs below my pre-pregnancy weight after having Ayla. I then got up to that weight again while pregnant - and added a few more. I gained 15lbs while pregnant with Taylor, gained 25 with Ayla and this time I gained close to 45. I think I better stop with three kids or who knows how big I will get! So after Kaylee was born the first 20 came off right away and then stopped. So I was faced with 25lbs still to go. 6 weeks pp I decided I needed to work a little to get the extra off or it would stay put so I started working out and watching very close to what I eat. Weight started to come off. I am proud to say that in three weeks I have now lost 8lbs and I am starting to feel more like myself. There is still a bit to go, but somehow 15ish lbs seems much more doable then 25. 

Goodness I am distractable today!  Is that a word? Firefox doesn't think so and he just put all those squiggly red lines under it. Makes me feel like I am being yelled at "BAD SPELLER! You wrote that word wrong! See? See? See those lines? That means you spelled it WRONG!" And yet none of his suggestions are correct. You see, I am a sight reader which means that I may not know how to spell a word, but I will recognize the correct spelling when I see it which means that spell-check is my friend - including Firefox and his wiggly lines. Well for now those lines will just have to stay there! 

You see what I mean by distractable? I joke that I have the attention span of my youngest child in order to keep-up with them.  That means that at the moment I can only pay attention for the same amount of time as a 2 month old.  I would also like to claim that this means I need a 3 hour morning nap and will possibly cry this afternoon for a few hours for no apparent reason.  I'll claim that is why my house is cluttered. I was busy crying...and possibly had eaten too many chocolate chip cookies....

Well I just caught myself staring for several minutes at a toy bear on the floor so I believe my blogging abilities are limited this morning - and you, my reader are probably very bored.  Would you like to see some pictures of my babies?

Here is Ayla on her first day of school - and just for good measure I will add one of Taylor on her first day too: They both feel so huge to me! Taylor is starting a bit of an awkward stage, which for some reason I love. It means she is getting bigger and we have some of our best conversations then. Her mind is just growing by leaps and bounds and I am shocked every day by her cognitive abilities. And Ayla? This morning out of the blue she said "Are you thinking what I'm thinking Mama?" I had to laugh, where had she heard that? But when I asked her what she was thinking she got all embarrassed and would only say "I don't know"and ran off to play elsewhere. She doesn't like being laughed at.

At one week old Kayle was just over 5lbs

See how big her newborn clothes were on her?

Kaylee was 7lbs 3oz and 20inches at one month old.

Almost a smile there. We got her first real smiles at just under 4 weeks

You can see the clothes fit her a little better. She rolled over for the first time at exactly 6 weeks. We were shocked! She did it three times in a row and now does it often when she is put on her tummy.  She rolls tummy to back, hasn't yet rolled back to tummy but hey, we have have time!

She just had her 2 month and now she is 9lbs 6oz and almost 22inches. The girl is huge! 
 Now we get smiles all the time and sometimes a chuckle that sounds very close to a laugh.

No wonder most of her newborn clothes don't fit her anymore! Now I need someone to give my newborn girl clothes too, anyone need some? I like giving my baby clothes where they are truly needed instead of just dropping them off at a thrift store. If I don't have any takers I will likely donate them to a shelter.

Now the little miss has woken. But I will add a few more one handed just because I like them. Enjoy!

All for now. Be well!

Friday, September 9, 2011

what do I want to be when I grow up?

When Taylor grows up she wants to be a ballerina astronaut.  I wasn't sure what Ayla wanted to be, so I just asked her and she answered "Captain" which means she wants to someday be in charge of the star ship Enterprise.  Yes, both my kids are crazy about Star Trek.  Blame my husband, it certainly is not my doing! 

My little brother used to want to be a dragon. I think he has since changed his mind...but I have not asked him recently so I can't tell you for sure.

When I was Taylor's age I wanted to be a Vegetarian (excepting pork products, I liked ham. Yes...I know) Veterinarian, mostly because I was a picky eater and loved cats. I can remember my mom asking me with that funny smile (which meant I was the butt of a joke I didn't understand) to tell people what I wanted to be when I grew up. I now understand the joke...and I am embarrassed for my 5 year old self.

Funny, as adults we like asking this question of kids.  And I am a little afraid that we don't ask it for any other reason then our own entertainment.  After all, how many people actually become what they say they want to be at 5 years old? I'm afraid the numbers are fairly low, and for those that actually do follow through, I believe it is more singular focus (or perhaps obsession?) in their life that keeps them on track.

But then I also wonder how many firemen said at 5 they wanted to be firemen?  How about spies? Taylor has been very into spies lately.  Honestly if asked now she might say she wants to be a ballerina/astronaut/spy. Because at 5 years old you really can be anything you want to be, so why stop at one profession when there are so many good ones out there?

As a parent, one thing you are told is to encourage the big dreams. "You can do/be/accomplish anything you set your mind to!" The skies the limit, the world is your get the idea. My question is: at what point is it too late?

I decided I didn't want to be a veterinarian one day when I discovered that it required the same amount of work (if not more) then a regular doctor - this means 8 years of school plus all the experience training.  At the time, all that school seemed like it would get in the way of all the playing I was planning on doing as an adult once I no longer had someone telling me it was bedtime. I never came up with another "when I grow up" idea. Not a real one anyhow.  I would jokingly tell people "when I grow up I want to be just like you." as a compliment of sorts.  I would see jobs I thought I would enjoy and think "maybe" but I entered college taking a major that was about as basic as I could discover, because after all, it is just the degree that matters right?

Next year I will be 30. Kaylee is still little so it will be a few years before my kids are all in school and I can have a "real" job. But I can honestly say that at almost 30, I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. Is "you can be whatever you want to be" still true? Has my freedom expired? The problem with thinking this way as an adult is that to often logic gets in the way. I am all to aware that if I want to captain a star-ship I am living in the wrong century.  Of course, so is my 3 year old..but she is allowed her dreams.  I would probably just be written off as insane...

When I was a pre-teen I thought the best job ever was to be the person that chose the order songs appeared on an album. I would program my boom-box (yes, that is what I called it) to play different albums in different orders then they were originally designed because I thought they sounded better that way.  I loved making "mixed tapes" because it allowed me to make that executive decision and I would get a thrill when I would listen to it and the transition was just perfect.

For the most part I enjoyed college, and as I am technically not finished yet...I intend to go back and complete a degree.  Of course the question is, do I finish the degree I have already started? Do I pick a more specific one that is more interesting to me? Or do I choose a career first and focus that direction getting the school needed for a real-life job?

My almost completed degree is in Communications with a theater cognate and an emphasis in musical theater (highly useful in today's cooperate world?).  I finished after 4 years (and $30,000 in student loans) with 158 units.  You need 160 to graduate. I was missing one class. College algebra. Yes, I am THAT person. I attempted to finish the class the summer after but with the stress of working, new marriage, new life and finishing school, it ended up being too much and the deadline to complete the class passed me by. I tried again this last summer to get things finished, but on calling APU (my college) I discovered that I was now missing 6 classes, one being language (that I didn't have to do then, but the requirements have changed) and that the university required for graduation that the last 24 units be taken through apu (could not be taken at a jc or another college and transferred) And each unit was $1300.00.  So somehow I had to figure out how to take Spanish (for $5200.00) correspondence, when they offer it 3 miles from my house at the nearest jc.  I asked how that was going to work and the counselor at my school told me to "take the other classes first and we would figure that would when we got there."  Yeah, not good enough for me. I gave up on that one.

Half way through my junior year of college I discovered I should have listened to my mom and been a psychology major.  I LOVE watching and learning about people and their actions, the reason they do things and how life experiences and personality affects actions and re-actions.  Problem is, I cannot see myself as a counselor.  The reason being I have no patience for ridiculousness.  I could not listen week after week to the same thing and not yell "suck it up and get on with your life!" to the client.  So I am not sure I am supposed to be a psychologist...I am not sure anyone would pay me. I know there are different psychology avenues one could take, but I am afraid that it would be a bit of a repeat to my Communications journey - lots of school in an area I am interested in, but with no real end in mind. 

So somehow I need a career that involves people, because I get bored all alone...but not where I have to deal with stupid or lazy people... 

I taught High School for a few years before I had kids and some of the time I loved it.  But parents that had not done their job and had resulted in raising weak, lazy and disrespectful children that had no faith in themselves drove me INSANE. I wanted to take the kids by their shoulders and yell "YOU ARE BETTER THEN THIS" every day of every week. Because they were, but they couldn't see that.  And the result was me sending off an adult into the world that was not ready, that was foolish and stupid and it made me want to curl into ball and cry. And yes, there were the smart ones too that had amazing parents and would make such amazing things of themselves, and have...but the lost ones that could do so much, but either chose not to because it was boring and they didn't care...or theyt didn't believe they could so they didn't try - tore me apart inside and I couldn't do anything about it.

Some people, like my amazing sister in law and several of my wonderful friends can teach everyday and come home and shake it off.  They can focus on the ones that they can help and say a prayer for those they can't and move on.  I can't. Perhaps that is why I will never be a counselor. I get overwhelmed by all the things I can't do that I get lost, and miss my chance to help the ones I can. I STILL ache for the kids I feel I failed, even though there was nothing I could have done.  At least not that I can think of.

Technically I am all grown up now.  Though I am not sure the growing up ever stops, so I suppose it should be ever present tense.  I am all "growing" up now. I like being a mom - most of the time. And finally now that I have three, (and after many many "learning" situations, that continue every day) I feel I am basically pretty good at it. But I don't feel that will be my final job.

I do know that someday I will go back to school. I will take college algebra and Spanish and get good grades in them - even if I am not sure what my ending degree will be. I do think that someday I will be able to say I was/had a career in _____________. But for now, I am still not sure what that title will represent.

You know, if I am being perfectly honest, you know what I really want to do when I grow up? I want to read. I want to read out-loud.  I want to read stories out-loud to people who really want to hear.  I love it, and I have been told I am good at it. I want to captivate an audience by just sitting still and reading - not acting, just reading. Perhaps I could do books on tape? Perhaps I could volunteer at a kids hospital or a retirement home or be the old lady at the library reading to a group of kids every Wednesday at 10am.

Or maybe I will go turn off the TV in the living room, curl up with my three year old and we will devour a mountain of books together. 

Yes, yes I think that will do nicely.

Monday, August 29, 2011

My Tom

If you remember a few weeks/months ago I wrote about how much Taylor, from her red hair to her red rimmed eyes reminded me of Anne.  Please be patient with my posts.  I rarely get more then a few minutes to write of late, so I don't get to go back to proof meaning this post will likely be riddled with errors.

One thing I have learned as the parent of 3 girls is that every child is so very entirely unique.  Now, that concept is not hard to come by, everyone knows that right?  But when you are the mother and you are so very aware that these kids all came from you and daddy, the same parents, the same dna and yet they are so entirely their own person it makes you stand a bit in awe. 

Taylor is my Anne, she is emotional and wants so very much to please, but tends to un-wittingly get caught up in whims that turn disastrous all too easily.  Ayla is not like Anne, she is not emotional, she could care less if she displeases you. After all, adventure is far more important to her then any parental approval. 

Taylor is like Anne.  Ayla? is like Tom Sawyer.

See? She even looks like him!

The girls and I have been reading Tom Sawyer together lately.  I never noticed before just how BAD he is! Funny how something can be just an endearing story, until you read it with your children and all of a sudden you notice all the little evils that you barely brushed past before.  Rather like watching a movie with a parent, you remember it as simply being a good movie, until you watch it again in their presence and realize it is riddled with sexual jokes and bad language that you had not even noticed the first time around.

Tom?  Well, as we know:  "He was not the Model Boy of the village. He knew the model boy very well though--and loathed him." And that about sums up Toms personality!  He lives on a whim, he will commit a crime and although punished, he will look on triumphantly through the lashings because he completed his crime, it was well worth it and no punishment can take that away!  I have no doubt he was constantly dirty and covered in bruises as is Ayla despite my best efforts. 

No tree or rock (or dresser or bookcase) left un-climbed. No dirt left un-touched, no noise left un-made.  Shoes? Who needs them! Mud? Pure heaven. Sticks can be anything you put your mind to and bugs can be the best friend you never knew you were missing. She can and will beat up her big sister, especially if she tattles (which she often does) and yet once cleaned up she has the face of an angle.  Who would suspect such a lovely creature of such mischief, it can't be.  She looks so sweet!


Last night Ayla and I had a battle of wills.  She came into the livingroom, her face covered in make-up. My make-up. There was no question, she got into my make-up and put it onto herself. But when asked, "what did you do Ayla?" Her answer was an innocent "nothing."

Why do parents always have to ask that question?  They KNOW the answer so they are just baiting. Daring the offender to add further offense to their crime.

But like most parents I wanted to hear the true confession from her and not just inform her of her offense and resulting consequences.  So I asked, "where did you get that make-up?"  She looked me square in the face and said "it is Matthew's (her imaginary friend) make-up and he let me use it." 

Now as the parent I am faced with a dilemma.  I have asked her a question, she has lied to my face.  What now? Do I punish the deed and the lie now? Or do I continue to pursue the truth? I chose to find the truth (and felt as I did the wonderful stubbornness God has graciously given me rising up in response to My Tom's challenge).  "No, that is not Matthew's make-up. Ayla is not telling me the truth. I want the truth NOW or you will receive a spanking."

Now, spankings are few and far between in this house. Usually reserved for the biggest offenses with the intent that they NEVER happen again. Usually the threat of one is enough.  Not this time. Ayla was insistent that it was Matthews make-up (to the point I started wondering if she could be telling the truth...) and received several spankings while bravely standing her ground. After going in circles for a while, I knew I had to change my tactics.  I WILL win this, but this method is not working. All I want is for her to tell me where she got the make-up from.  All I want is the truth that I already know.  But I want to hear her say it, I want a confession. 

At this point, it is no longer about the offense. That is long gone. Now it has become a pure battle of wills.  I want her to tell me the truth, she wants to get away with her lie no matter now outrageous it has become. 

Battles like this must really be comical to the on-looker.  Especially as I am trying to keep from laughing myself.  I do not want to spank my child again, in this case it is obviously not effective so I stand and look around the room; pausing to plan my next course of action. I am trying to find the correct currency as Ayla stands, hands on her hips in defiance. 

Let us try stuffed animals, "if you do not tell Mama the truth your big tiger (her "Nini") will go in time-out." she glares at me, "I want Nini to go in time out!" So away he goes. "Ayla, I need you to obey now and tell me the truth.  Where did you get the make-up?" "Matthew gave it to me!" she again insists. "That is not  the truth.  I do not like it when Ayla lies to me.  Lying is not acceptable." (looks around) if you do not tell me the truth ALL your stuffed animals will go in time-out." "I want them to go in time out!"

Alright, I need to change tactics again. Think....think....yes! "Ayla, I will count to three. And if you are not on your feet showing me where you got the make-up from, all your dresses will go away." (Howling) "BUT I NEED THOSE TO BE PRETTY!" Yes! Success, I made my child cry louder, I have found her currency!

How terrible is that? The louder she howls, the more successful I feel. I now feel terrible for feeling so good.  But I started this and I WILL end it victorious.

I take down all of the dresses and put them into a basket so she can see her empty closet.  "Ayla, do you want me to take these away or do you want me to put them back? All you have to do is obey and tell me the truth and they will go right back into the closet.  Are you ready to tell me the truth?" She stands, sniffs and nods. "I took your make-up mama."

Oh thank God, the ordeal is over. 

She takes my hand, walks me to my room where she points out her folly. She is completely calm now, just the occasional sniff. "I'm sorry for lying Mama." I forgive her, she gives me a hug, we talk about how we need to tell the truth.  We are both exhausted. The tiger and other stuffed animals will remain in time-out until tomorrow. Other then that I think we have both suffered punishment enough. Let us now celebrate telling the truth with hurrays and cheerfully return the dresses to their proper place!

I won. That is all that matters.

Lucky for Tom he didn't have me for a mother, or the stories would have been different!

I am glad I have my Ayla.  She certainly keeps me on my toes!  Life would just be boring without her right? And I have learned many lessons from her.  She is very much like me, and we learn some of the best lessons while looking into our child mirrors. I stubbornly hold onto my stories sometimes as God tries to teach me.  How foolish must some of my stories sound to him? About as foolish as obtaining make-up from an imaginary friend? And yet I stick to my guns no matter the consequences.

I have never been a huge fan of Anne. I cannot identify with that character.  Tom on the other hand? I laugh so hard while reading those books, because I understand!  I know the pain of sitting still, the pleasure of manipulation, the joy of being free to run around and get skinned knees and covered in dirt.  That was me as a kid.  Perhaps that is why I am hard on Ayla, I know she can take it.  Because I needed it myself at 3 years old, I got it, I survived and I am a better person for it. 

Ayla will be ok. She has lots of adventures ahead, some painfun and some exciting.  I am only glad I get the privilege of watching her grow. But for now? I have no doubt that the adventures and therefore, the stories will keep on going!

As the author wrote about Tom:

"When one writes a novel about grown people, he knows exactly where to stop--that is, with a marriage; but when he writes of juveniles, he must stop where he best can."
                                                                                               - Mark Twain