Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook...November 30, 2010

FOR TODAY...November 30, 2010

Outside my window...the skies are gray...rain is falling...it's warmer than it has been...the wind is quieter than it has been lately, too.

I am thinking...that it's time to do one of these again, it's been a while and this doesn't require a lot of brain power but delivers big journalling benefits.

I am thankful for...my health.  I had a bit of a medical scare yesterday and it reminded me that life is short.  Not that I was on death's door, but there were a lot of unknowns, a lot of tests, a lot of waiting, and a lot of questions still unanswered, but at least I know I didn't have a stroke, an aneurysm, or a brain tumor so that's good.  It reminds me to take care of myself, appreciate all that I do have, and love those in my life as often and loudly as possible!

From the kitchen...dishes need to be washed, piles need to be sorted, magazines need to be perused.

I am wearing...my (current) favorite pair of comfy cozy pants.  Flannel shirt.  Robe.  Real stylin' today, I know.

I am remembering...to stay up until midnight tonight to attempt to submit a grant for my beloved 2  & 3-year-old classrooms at Family Resource Centers!  Hopefully it works this month...7th (?) times a charm, no?

I am creating...a Christmas plan.  Who to buy for, what to get, where its cheapest, etc.  I'm running out of time!

I am going...to pick up some old time photos I had done of the boys for a fundraiser at Shawn's school (My BFF's son).  I can't wait to see them...they looked SO cute getting them done so I can only imagine!

I am reading...Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher.  I know, I know...but don't get too excited.  I've been reading it for a month or so and am only 40 pages in so I don't have high hopes for my being able to complete THIS reading project, either.

I am hoping...to feel up to going back to work tomorrow at 100%.  I have a grant due tomorrow and one due Friday that require my mental fortitude and I can't provide that 100% right now.  So, I hope tomorrow is a new day and sunshine and lollipops wake up with me instead of storm clouds!

I am hearing...Goofy on the TV, Nate putting out fires in PontyPandy on the computer, and Dave snoring loudly napping on the couch with Alex.

Pondering these words...
"Have you ever lost someone you love and wanted one more conversation, one more chance to make up for the time when you thought they would be here forever?  If so, then you know you can go your whole life collecting days and none will outweigh the one you wish you had back.  What if you got it back?" - Mitch Albom, For One More Day

I got this audio book out of the library and listened to it driving back and forth to work in three days...it was a great book and I love this guy's "voice"...I will definitely read more by Mitch Albom (Tuesdays for Morrie, The Five People You Meet in Heaven)

Around the house...I felt like I had finally won the ware against laundry (for about 5 minutes) over the weekend and looking around I realize, quite sadly, that I have not.  The battle rages on...

On my mind...my boys.  Again, not to be melodramatic, but I worry about them and what would happen to me if I were suddenly gone one day.  Life is so fragile and so out of my control.  It scares me.  My anxiety is at an all time high so that's not helping matters.

Noticing that...I'm going to have my hands full with Nate.  He has a serious coping skills issue.  Of course I hope its just his age, but he's so quick to get mad and frustrated.  He's always looking for the quick fix, gets angry if it's "too hard", and gives up too easily!  I'm not sure where to go with this, but it's becoming a problem.

One of my favorite things...my new computer system that stores and backs up my photos - (Thanks Joey!) - It's so nice having all of my digital photos (or at least most of them!) at quick glance.  

A few plans for the rest of the week:  Popcorn and PJs (can't wait!!), lunch with my old City Hall girls,  Melon Bean, hopefully feeling better.  

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...
Thanksgiving 2009 
(Would you believe I didn't have my camera this year for even ONE photo?!?)

Monday, November 29, 2010

When you give a boy a camera...and other life lessons.

I gave my 4-year-old my brand new Kodak Slice camera today (I can see my husband cringing now) and told him he had "an assignment".  He's been asking me to take photos so I thought I'd see what he came back with.  His assignment was "to take pictures of 5 things he loved most".  Standing in one place he said "That's easy...I love my firetrucks *click*, the TV *click*, my movies *click*, my trucks *click*, and that wall *click*...there...that's five things, right, Mommy?"

With that assignment in the books, I let his creativity take him where it lead.  Oh, the photos I got back on that camera were priceless (thank God for digital!).  He came back with nearly 100 photos and a story to tell about each of them.

"That's the laundry basket"

"That's me"

"That's me laughing"

"That's looking up my nose"

"That's the dog"

"That's Av's food"

"That's you, Mommy, peeking in on me in the cupboard" 

"That's the inside of the cupboard"

"Elmo is smiling"

"That's Alex sleeping"

"That's my bed" (floor, closet, TV, carpet, curtain, couch cushion...you get the picture)

A couple shots were actually pretty good, for a 4-year-old.  Most of them didn't make a lot of sense and many more of them lacked focus, subject, and pretty much all the photographic requirements necessary to make a decent picture, but he's FOUR.

For 10 (or 15 or 20)-minutes I got to see through the eyes of my child.  He took photos of what was important to him (or what just happened to be nearby and/or standing still) but it was teaching him something each time he'd snap a photo, look to see what he captured, and smile...and I got to "tag along" for the ride through his photos.

Needless to say, I deleted most of them except the few that I've shared here, but the lessons learned are priceless.  Was it the best idea to let my 4-year-old play with my brand new camera, maybe not...but he took very good care of it, and I would do it again in a heart beat.  Only maybe before that time I should figure out what I did with that old Kodak point and shoot I had kicking around before the big move...you know, just to be safe!?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Generosity of strangers

 Our family has been blessed lately by the kindness of strangers.  Particularly complete strangers who volunteer their time at local fire departments.  It has opened my eyes to the wonderful men and women who make up the fire service in our communities.  After a short but sweet letter was sent to local fire departments inquiring about the availability of a department patch for my 4-year-old wannabe firefighter's firehouse themed bedroom, we have received an outpouring of love and kindness from people in the fire service.  For months now, Nathaniel has received letters from firefighters explaining how they, too, loved firefighting when they were his age and grew up to be real firemen.  He's received patches from nearly 35 organizations.  One gentleman wrote a letter and told a story about his 5-year-old twin sons who didn't quite take to firefighting like their Daddy so he sent Nate a collection of patches he'd saved over the years.  We received packages with fire safety materials, key chains, stickers, pencils, calendars.  You name it!  The outpouring of generosity has been amazing.  As you may recall from reading this, our local fire district even drove the entire fire company over to our house to personally deliver Nate a patch, many goodies, and give him a real fire helmet and a ride in a pumper truck!  They have been generous to him and us ever since.  These are truly fabulous people!  

Now to a four-year-old boy who loves fire trucks, fire equipment, and wants to be a fireman when he grows up (yesterday!), this means the world!  He has made so many "friends" in local fire departments that he feels a part of this community even though he's years from being able to join their ranks. 

Obviously the excitement is infectious, as well!

So, a few weeks ago, when a member of the Albion Fire Department stopped by and asked if his crew could bring a truck over to deliver Nate an Albion Fire Department patch, we were thrilled!

I was impressed with the time and effort they had given us - on a weekend, on their own time, out of district.  So I asked the guys if they had training that day or if they were getting together just to pay my Nate a visit and one of the guys said, "We love doing this sort of thing because that (he points to Nate) was us when we were his age!"  

Nate kept running to the garage to get pieces of his "fire equipment" to bring back and show the guys (pliers, rubber mallets, air hoses, etc.), all with technical names (closet hook, pike pole, self-contained breathing apparatus) and the firefighters would show them their equivalent (the real thing).  Nate was in awe.  And the firefighters  were shocked at his wealth of knowledge.  One guy said to me, "he knows more than some of the guys who have been doing this for years!"

Finally, Nate's new firefighter friends suggested we get a photo of the whole crew in their gear....with their newest "member", Nate, among the ranks.  The gigantic hearts found beneath turn out suits and Nomex hoods is impressive to say the least.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Operation: 30-Point Buck

Noah and I with his buck 2009

Hunting is big in my family.   My father has hunted my whole life.  My (maternal) grandparents would come down every year to spend the week with us for Opening Day of hunting season.  My grandfather would hunt with the guys on our 58 acres and Grandma would do some Christmas shopping at the local malls with us girls.  

I still remember the excitement of Opening Day growing up.  Uncles, friends, Grandpa and Dad would gather in the dining room below my bedroom at some God-awful hour of the morning, drinking coffee and having a warm breakfast before they headed off to their respective blinds, deer stands, and nooks in the cold, dark, woods to sit and wait for their prize.  There was something about this camaraderie, the sport, the excitement, that was invigorating.  I always loved Opening Day.  I looked forward to hearing the familiar voices and often found an “excuse” to sneak downstairs and join the men in their annual rituals. 

I even remember my mother hunting, perhaps not when I could specifically remember it, but the stories I was told were fascinating.  My Mom can do just about anything the “guys” can do and I love that about her.  I strive to be even just a small percentage of what she’s modeled for me all these years.  So, about 6 or 7 years ago I decided to finally give this whole hunting thing a try.  I’m usually up for a challenge and love the motivation that shaking things up brings.  The reactions I’d get from fellow co-workers, friends, relatives – the surprise, the confusion, the doubt – they were just the fuel I needed to prove something to someone.  I don’t know what I was proving to whom, but it was the something I needed and wanted to do to prove to myself that I could do this. 

I convinced my father to offer a hunter’s safety course (he was a semi-retired Hunter’s Safety instructor by then) and gathered up enough interested “students” to make it worth his while.  That year I bought a camouflage hunting suit, gloves, blaze orange neck warmer, and headed out to my blind at some God-awful hour of the morning on opening day to accomplish something no one (including myself) thought I was capable of.   

I didn’t prove anything to anyone that first year (or the years that followed) except that I could dress the part, sit and wait in the cold with the best of them, and go through the motions.  I hunted the year I was 7 months pregnant with my first son (with doctor’s approval, of course!), I went out weeks after my second son was born, in between his (every) 3-hour feedings, (the whole time wishing they made nursing-accessible hunting clothing - Ha!)
 Me and my "doggy doe" 2009
It wasn’t until last year, however, when I took my first deer, that I finally felt like I had actually accomplished something.  It was the first year I was able to prove to myself (and a handful of doubting naysayers) that I could do it.  That I wasn’t just talking the talk…I could walk the walk, too.  Yes, it was a (very) small doe I took that first year.  But I did it cleanly, with one shot, and I followed through from start to finish.  It sounds silly and probably grosses most people out, but I was proud of myself for doing it all.  I did the gutting, the dragging out of the woods, the skinning, the processing.  It was important to me to handle it all and not pawn the “hard” parts or the “gross” parts off on my brother, my husband, or my father. 

I loved getting home last year with our deer (my husband and brother each got one, too) and seeing my (then) 3-year-old’s face light up when he saw the deer that Mommy had brought home.  (It’s important to teach my boys that girls can do anything boys can do.  This is just one way for me to demonstrate that.)  However, the best reward I’ve ever received is the pride I see in my father’s face and hear in his voice when he tells the story of his daughter that hunts.  That makes me proud and glad to be sharing this experience, this skill, this tradition with my father (and husband and brother!) 

So despite its controversies, I’m proud to say that I am an avid (Opening Weekend and Thanksgiving morning) hunter.  I say it like that only because, I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan of freezing my butt off, generally speaking.  But the excitement of opening weekend and the tradition and family roots found at my Mom and Dad’s at the crack of dawn on Thanksgiving morning every year is totally my cup of tea.  I look forward to it every year and I love the memories I’m able to make with my family!!  This is just one more piece of my story that my boys can hopefully share with their families someday. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Depression is...


For me...

Depression is waking up in the morning, forcing yourself out of bed, going through the motions of functioning because you have to, and wondering how in the hell you're going to make it until 9 or 10 at night when you are allowed to crash and burn and just hide from the world.

Depression is watching the most precious gifts in the world grow and learn and be around you and just not being able to enjoy it and fully take it all in the way you know you should and the way you want to more than anything!

Depression is constantly having to tell yourself "I think I can" but secretly knowing you can't - or worse yet, that you just won't because you don't know where to start or how to motivate yourself to do it.

Depression is dark and lonely and scary and frustrating and hopeless and never-ending.

Depression is barely getting by.

Depression is the deep divide between knowing you have to get something done and even wanting to and actually being able to accomplish it.

Depression is a dark cloud you carry with you even on the sunniest and brightest of days.

Depression is a fog that never burns off in the sunshine.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Googlie Mooglie

The boys and I are incessantly rocking out to this fabulous group of children's musicians, called The Jimmies.  And when I say "rocking out", I do mean ROCKING...these guys R-O-C-K.  They make listening to usually mindless, brain numbing children's music fun, entertaining, and cool!!  I think I love listening to them as much as my kids do.

So far be it from me to squelch my 4-year-old's desire to take one of the songs, Googlie Mooglie, and try it out in real life.  The song sings about a soothes-your-soul type concoction that is part "health" drink, part old wives tale, and 100% good old fashioned family tradition.

The words go:

"My Papa is a healthy guy, 
never sick a day in his life, 
and if ya had a cold or an ache, 
he'd give you this advice...
drink a Googlie Mooglie, 
he'd have one every day...
a Googlie Mooglie, 
he'd mix it and he'd say...
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 
then he'd start all over again 
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 ,4 ,3 ,2 ,1
and now your Googlie Mooglie is done."

"He'd take butter and sugar, and boiling hot milk 
and mix it all up in a glass...
and if you were willing to drink it on down, 
what was ailing you surely would pass..."

So, when we got home today after listening to this song, Nathaniel says to me, "Mommy, I want to make a Googlie Mooglie".  To which I replied, "Ok, do you know how?"

Silly me.

"Yes, Mommy!", Nate exclaimed...and then proceeded to sing the line above.  So that's exactly what we did...we "took butter, and sugar, and boiling hot milk and mixed it all up in a glass".  

There you have a Googlie Mooglie.  


It didn't taste half bad, except for the whole really bad for you part.  I kept telling myself it was cake batter, without the eggs or flour.  I can see how drinking one of those every day might keep you healthy.  Ok so maybe not healthy, but at least happy!  (Although, definitely not skinny!)  Just wait till he decides he wants Green Eggs and Ham for breakfast!  What fun!