Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Easy Peasy Buckeye Candy

1 c. creamy peanut butter (can also use crunchy if you prefer)
1/4 c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. confectioners' sugar
1/2 c. flour

1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

Line cookie sheets with waxed paper, you'll need 2. Beat peanut butter, butter and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in sugar and flour until blended. Form a ball using one rounded teaspoon of mixture, approximately 1" ball. Place on cookie sheets and refrigerate until firm (1 hour).

When balls are firm, melt semi-sweet chocolate chips. Spear balls with toothpick and dip into chocolate. Only cover 2/3 of ball so it looks like a real buckeye nut. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour or until chocolate is firm. Voila! Done! Now eat 'em up!

Stuffed Blueberry French Toast

I made this a few years ago & gave it to friends on Christmas Eve as their gift that year. Hope you like it, posted by request!

1 loaf (~20 oz) bread, I prefer to use Texas Toast (thicker than sandwich bread)
2- 8oz packages of Cream Cheese, cut into small pieces (cubes or chunks)
1 1/2 -2 cups Blueberries (depending on how berry you want it)
12 eggs
1/3 cup Maple Syrup
2 cups Milk
1 tablespoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
dash of Nutmeg

There are 2 ways to do this, you can either cut all the bread into cubes, or cut up half of it, and leave half the slices whole. The rest of the recipe is the same either way.

*Place whole bread slices (or half the cubed if you cut it all up) into the bottom of a buttered 13x9x2 pan. Scatter the cream cheese pieces over the bread. Then scatter the blueberries as evenly as you can over the cream cheese. Top with the remaining bread cubes.
*In a seperate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients & whisk well. Pour the mixture slowly & evenly over the bread.
*Cover & refrigerate overnight. Can be made the same day & refrigerated for 2 hours before cooking, but I find it comes out best when chilled overnight.

*When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover & bake for 30 minutes, then uncover & finish baking for another 30 minutes until golden brown. Center should be firm to the touch.
*This can be served as is, sprinkled with some powder sugar, or with your favorite syrup.

I like it with Blueberry sauce, here is the recipe for that:
In a saucepan on top of the stove, on medium heat, combine 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Heat until this thickens. Then add 1 cup of blueberries, turn down & simmer for about 10 minutes until the berries burst. Take off heat, add 1tablespoon butter to berry sauce, stir well, & enjoy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mystery Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Here is the complete recipe. Thanks for playing along. This is kind of an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, but because you ground the oats it is a completely different texture, I like them better this way!

2 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup (2 sticks) Butter, Softened
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
3/4 Cup firmly packed Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
3 Cups Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
1 1/2 Cups chopped Walnuts
1/2 Cup rolled Oats (Regular or quick )

*Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Either prepare 2 cookie sheets or cook in 2 batches. (if done in 2 batches, allow baking sheet to cool in between) For best results cover cookie sheet with parchment paper.
*Place oats in blender or food processor & process until finely ground. Then combine ground oats, flour, baking soda, salt, & cinnamon in a mixing bowl.
*In a seperate bowl, cream butter, sugars, vanilla, & lemon juice together using an electric mixer. Add eggs & beat until fluffy.
*Stir the flour mixture into egg mixture, stirring well until all ingredients are combined. Add the chocolate chips & nuts to the dough & mix well.
*Use 1/4 cup of dough per cookie, a regular size ice cream scoop leveled off works great. Place 2 1/2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet(s).
*Bake in preheated oven until cookies are lightly brown, about 16-18 minutes. Transfer onto a wire rack to cool. Cookies can be stored in a sealed container to keep them soft & chewy.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bad Blogger, no donut!

I have been a bad blogger! I'm not sure why I have been avoiding putting my thoughts in print. I do know that I have been in a fog. I barely decorated or celebrated Halloween, skipped over Thanksgiving at our house completely, & have been procrastinating getting out the Christmas decorations & tree. I just signed & sent out some Christmas cards yesterday. I usually have them ready to mail the day after Thanksgiving!

I have not just been putting off my blog. I have been putting off life in general. I was just getting into a place of mental health & well being about Kierra's death when Randy & Deb both died.. on the same day.. just 2 hours apart. Add in my accident & a few other stresses & I just shut down, shut out everything that required my personal energy or attention. I have been taking care of the kids & the minimum functions of every day life, but that's about it.

Hunter & I left the day before Thanksgiving & went to my parent's in Tennessee. Then we went to the horse ranch in Georgia. Hunter stayed a few days, then he went home (via Terri, Thank You!). I had a couple days alone, then Bri came up for the weekend. Last Sunday, the 6th, I came home. It was a much needed break. In some ways it recharged me, but not like it used to, or maybe this time my battery was just too low for a full recharge. But it was good for me. Thanks to Brian, Bri, Greta & Terri (& her gang!) for helping with the kids & making it possible for me to go at all!

Coming home I find I am different. Things have been different for Brian & I, so that is yet another change. I think it is all a part of the same issue. Life has been torn apart for us & we are still trying to mend the tears. It is an ongoing process. Then add more losses that shred us emotionally all over again. It can't be helped, there is nothing anyone can do. It is just the way our lives are now.

I know there has to be another side to all this. We are working on making some changes that will help us deal with it all a little differently. We are okay, just a bit tattered & tired. This time of year is always hard, and this year even more so than the years before. My ability to absorb it all & forge ahead full force has diminished. I have to accept that I am not the person I was before. I have to accept that I cannot fix anything for anyone else when I have my own damages to deal with. When even seemingly simple tasks overwhelm me it is time for me to step back & reorganize & prioritize what I do & how I do it.

Change is not, & never has been, easy for me. I have an auto defense mechanism that rebels against it. There were times I have been conflicted with myself over a change that was out of my control. I am learning to curb that. Trying to anyway!

So I am keeping more to myself while I sort it all out. I am keeping more to my home & family to give us the time we need to heal, to find what works for us. I am keeping more to my heart & less to my journals. That part wasn't intentional & hasn't necessarily been a good thing. I need to share, I need to let it out. So here I am, once again, spilling myself onto the printed page. Sorry for my absence, & for not having much good or positive to share. It is what it is, but I am working on that, I promise!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Each Holiday has it's own month!

I find it amusing how many people don't understand why we don't do anything Christmas related until after Thanksgiving. I don't do Thanksgiving decorations until after Halloween either, but that doesn't seem like such a big deal.
Maybe part of it is having worked retail & being inundated with Christmas before Halloween even gets here. I always hated that! I was sick of Christmas way before it ever got here.
Fall used to be my favorite time of year. I prefer Halloween & Thanksgiving to Christmas. I hate how they are pushed aside for the commercialization of Christmas.
A big part of it was being born & raised for part of my childhood near Plymouth, Massachusetts. I grew up running around the Plymouth Rock on Saturdays when we went into town. Plymouth Plantation was just another part of where I lived, nothing special. I didn't realize until we moved away what an integral part of American history it all was. I refuse to trivialize it by skipping over the day that memorializes that part of our past.
When we lived over in England it was odd to celebrate something that they considered a traitorous act. The Pilgrims fled England for a New World. That doesn't go over so well when you are an American living in England, even now! Our first Thanksgiving over there was not long after we arrived. I baked pumpkin pies & we drove over to Scott & Suzy's an hour or so away. Brian missed our turn so he went up over a median to get there. The pies were up in the back window & flipped over into the back seat.. needless to say, no more pies! We stopped at a British bakery hoping to get a replacement pie of some sort. The only option was what they called a treacle tart. It is a "syrup" pie. Thick, gooey, syrup pie! I almost tend to think they had that just for the local Americans they knew were celebrating Thanksgiving!
So even though this month holds the darkest day of our lives, it also holds a day I grew up appreciating as the day we give thanks. I am trying to go back to that, the celebrating & the being thankful. Bit by bit, piece by piece.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Where's my storm cellar?!

I can't seem to get ahead of this giant tornado that life has become lately. I get sucked into the vortex, everything gets trashed, & I am left standing in the rubble at the end of the day. There are good things going on, life is not all doom & gloom, but there are times it just really sucks!
Hunter is doing great at school. He is building confidence & study skills while this part of repeating 2nd grade is like a refresher course for him. I am hoping it will get him over the hump the 2nd part of the year when it is more challenging for him. He has a great teacher this year too, which makes a huge difference over last year! Hard to believe he will be 9 years old next month! He has lost 2 teeth the past week, both of his front teeth! Yes he is singing "all I want for Christmas is my 2 front teeth"!
Tristan is having more of a challenge with Kindergarten. He seems to be pushing his limits & testing the boundaries. He is being evaluated for hyperactivity. I know he is a boy, but his behaviors go way beyond the norm. His teachers & resource counselors at school are concerned & think it would benefit to have him evaluated & seen by Hunter's Dr. I agree. It is affecting him academically. He is very smart, he just can't control his impulses long enough to get anything done on paper.
Alexa is doing very well. Thank goodness! She has her moments of attitude & mood, but overall is an easygoing 5 year old. She has been into singing anything & everything lately. She sings about what she is doing, what the boys or the dogs are doing.. whatever pops in her head comes out in a sing song voice. Way out of tune & way off key, but she sings with her heart & soul!
Brianne's best friend lost her mother last weekend. The funeral was yesterday. It was hard to do, but I went to the viewing on Tuesday & the funeral as well. Amanda has been part of our family since right about the time we moved here. It is a tragic & senseless loss. Death has been way too busy in our lives. I am ready for it to move along!
Greta is having some health concerns. She is spending a few days in the hospital to get a complete battery of tests & work ups done to get some real answers about what is going on with her. She has not been well for quite a while but was so consumed caring for Randy that it wasn't a priority for her. She promised him she would take better care of herself & get things taken care of & now he is taking her at her word!!
I am trying to plan a getaway up to the horse ranch in December but will have to see what is going on & see what I can to do get the kids covered. I sure could use the recharge! They are giving me a free stay as a trade/thank you for giving them Reese, our Percheron-Paint Filly. She is doing great & I am glad to know she has such a great home.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lemon Lush

Crust ingredients;
1-1/2 sticks margarine (softened)
1 cup Flour
1 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts)

Layer 1 ingredients;
1- 8oz. Cream Cheese
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
1-1/2 cups Cool Whip (buy large container, need more for top layer)

Layer 2 ingredients;
3 boxes instant Lemon Pudding
2-2/3 cups milk
1 Teaspoon Lemon Extract (can use Vanilla instead)

*Mix first 3 ingredients for crust. Pat firmly into 11x8x2 pan. Bake for 20 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. Let cool.
*Mix next 3 ingredients for layer 1 & spread over the baked & cooled layer.
*Mix the ingredients for layer 2 ( It will become very thick) & spread over the top of layer 1.
* Spread the rest of the Cool Whip over the top. You can sprinkle with more chopped nuts if you like. Cut into squares & enjoy!

This recipe can be varied by using any flavor instant pudding you like & using the vanilla instead of lemon extract. It is a rich dessert, so smaller squares are better. A huge favorite!
I got this recipe from my friend, Sher Carlson when we were stationed at Plattsburgh Air Force Base in upstate New York. We were there June 1987-October 1990. Great friends, great memories, great food!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rigatoni with Pumpkin & Bacon


Coarse salt
8 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, halved & thinly sliced
1 (3lb) cooking pumpkin, peeled, seeded, & cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1-1/2 cups chicken stock/broth
3 tablespoons heavy cream
freshly ground pepper ( I use white pepper)
1 pound Rigatoni pasta
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (plus extra to sprinkle on top when serving)
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, toasted (for garnish, optional)

1.) Put water on to boil for pasta, add salt. While that is coming to a boil cook bacon in a large skillet on medium heat until bacon is almost crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels & let drain.

2.) Add onion to the skillet with the bacon grease. Cook until soft, 12-15 minutes. Add pumpkin, sage, 1/2 teaspoon salt, & the allspice. Cook, stirring occasionally about 5 minutes. Add stock & cream; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low & simmer until pumpkin is soft & sauce has thickened slightly, about 25 minutes. Season with Pepper.

3.) While the sauce is simmering, add rigatoni to the boiling water & cook until aldente. (about 15 minutes) Drain pasta & add to sauce in skillet. Add the bacon back in & the parmesan. Toss to combine all ingredients. Serve with parmesan sprinkled on top. You may also garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Makes about 4 servings.

A Very Merry "Unbirthday"!

I'm backtracking a little, but wanted to share my birthday with ya'll. I have made a point of not celebrating my birthday since Kierra's death. It felt like a betrayal to celebrate without her. And wether rational or not, it felt wrong to have a birthday when she never will again. So that is my reasoning, good, bad, or indifferent. Brianne always gives me my card & gift ahead of time as an "unbirthday" thing.
This year I had a free pass to Disney for the day & Brian had a day left on his Disney pass from when we went in June. Brianne watched the kids so we could go overnight. I didn't really want to celebrate my birthday as much as I wanted to use it as an excuse to get Brian to spend some time with me! I was able to get a discounted room for the night so Brian & I went Saturday, checked in early, then went park hopping! We went to Animal Kingdom, rode on the Mount Everest Expedition, then left the park to go to the next one. Brian joked we were like Pandas.. Eats.. Shoots.. & Leaves, which is the tagline for an old joke I can't remember! So we "did the Panda" all day, rode all the grown up rides that we can't ride with the kids & off to the next park. There were a couple neither one of us had even been on before. When we rode Mission Space at Epcot Brian made jokes about it because I got to be the pilot & we crashlanded! He was more carefree & humorous than he has been in along time. On the trolley to one of the parks they tell you to please hold on to any "loose" belongings & he wrapped his arms around me. I didn't get what he was doing at first, then I playfully smacked him for being a smartalek!
We really enjoyed the one on one time. We talked about alot of things we don't seem to get to in our day to day lives. It was funny to notice the "texting teenagers" in the lines while we waited. There were 4 girls in front of us in one line who were texting to, & about, each other! Times sure have changed.
There were bittersweet moments too. Alexa had me wear her birthday girl pin & because I promised her I would, I wore it all day. So alot of people told me "Happy" Birthday. It was happier than previous ones in recent years, but it was still hard to be told that because it wasn't all happy. There were tearful moments too. It is not possible to go to places we went to with Kierra & not think of her, not remember how much she loved the thrilling roller coasters & rides, how she laughed out loud with a huge smile on her face. She didn't do anything halfway. But we cherish those memories & push the pain back just a bit further than we used to. It still comes, we still feel it, but you learn to take it in & channel it differently. You learn to catch yourself before the floodgates of tears open wide so it doesn't happen every time.
It was a hot day, we drank alot of water. At one stand I was digging through the ice looking for something cold when I came accross a giant pickle. The kids have always loved those so of course it reminded me of how much Kie loved them too. We bought it & shared it & really enjoyed it! It was ice cold & refreshing. It can be the littlest things sometimes that catch your heart off guard.
The parks weren't very busy & we didn't have many long lines. We hit all 4 parks & the only ride we missed was Space Mountain because it is still under renovation til November.
My birthday tends to be my starting point for the fall series of events that run through until the twin's birthday in February. Halloween, Anniversary of Kierra's death, Thanksgiving, Hunter's birthday, Christmas, New Year's, then the Twin's b-day Feb. 4th. I am not sure how we will handle all of that this year. I am not sure what kind of celebrations or memorials there will be. We will take them one at a time. It is good to be able to allow myself to celebrate & enjoy my birthday again. Maybe next year it won't have to be an "unbirthday", although I think it is a cute tradition for Bri & I to share now!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Autumn Stew (Post 900!)

1/4 cup all purpose Flour
1-1/2 teaspoons Salt
1/4 teaspoon Paprika
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
1-1/2 pounds beef, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 Tablespoons oil
2 cups Water
1 teaspoon Pumpkin Spice
2 beef bouillion cubes
1 medium Onion, chopped
1- 14.5oz can Fire Roasted tomatoes w/ garlic
(or use stewed tomatoes & 1 clove minced garlic)

2-1/2 cups fresh pumpkin or hubbard (butternut) squash-peeled, seeded & cut into 1 inch cubes
3 medium potatoes, peeled & cut into 1 inch cubes

Mix flour, salt, paprika, & pepper. Coat beef pieces with flour mixture. Brown beef in 2 Tblsp oil in large pan or dutch oven. Stir in remaining ingredients, EXCEPT pumpkin & potatoes. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover & simmer until beef is tender; 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Stir in pumpkin & potatoes. Cover & simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

Makes 6 servings; 325 calories per serving.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Alex, Alexa, & Tristan 10.5.09

Alex is thankfully back from Iraq! He came for a visit last week & we had the chance to take the twins to Universal in Orlando for 2 days. It was a good visit, but as always, too quick. Alex got to volunteer at the school for the day while he was here too. I posted some pix on the photo gallery, but have more to post. I am constantly running to catch up with everything!

Gone to the dogs!

Kids & Dogs 9.29.09
Originally uploaded by mommanana
We went through a rough patch with Cali when Chad left for the Army. We thought another home would be better for her. It wasn't and we got her back. I had been thinking of getting another dog to be her companion, but Brian wasn't so keen on another big dog. I turned down numerous offerings of other dogs & wasn't really looking. Then along came Callie.. yes another Cali/Callie! I happened upon a posting about her & it was all meant to be. Her family raised her & trained her well. They were unable to keep her & needed to find her a new home. Lucky us! Callie-Hanna (on right) is a 4 yr old Harlequin Great Dane. She is about 15lbs overweight so our twice daily walks will do her good! It has been like she was always here, Cali loves it & they are best buds. So now we are a 2-dane family!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Cali Playing

Cali Playing
Originally uploaded by mommanana
Lots more pix posted to the photo gallery.. click on this pic to get there, or click on photo gallery listed on sidebar.. enjoy! More will be posted over the weekend! I was told to list a warning.. found some good pix of Kierra, & some of Randy, Kleenex may be required.

Friday, September 18, 2009

You can't "Catch" it!

Grief is not really contagious! It can make you feel sad, but you can't "catch" it & it doesn't rub off! I say that because that must be the reason people tend to avoid someone who is grieving. The most used reason is "I didn't know what to say". Honestly.. you don't have to say anything. And when it comes to grief.. you can't really make it any worse. Even if we ask for space initially, that doesn't mean forever. That doesn't mean don't call at all & never come see us. Kierra has been gone almost 4 years, Randy & Deb almost 4 weeks. Alot of people in our lives distanced themselves when Kie died. Most haven't come back. That seems to be what alot of people are doing to Greta. Yes, she is upset. Yes, she can be emotional. But she is still Greta. She is still alive & breathing, although there are times she may not feel like doing it! We are still capable of going to a movie, or a walk on the beach. We can still talk on the phone. If we think we can't, we won't answer. Leave a message & you'll usually get a call back. Reach out, don't step away. It only takes a few minutes to say hello, & let someone know you are thinking of them. Some days that may be just what we need when we are feeling so alone.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Out of Obscurity..

I just read back a few posts & didn't realize my life had been so consumed by dying & death.. I knew people I loved were dying, but didn't realize it had pushed everything else into obscurity!

*I missed posting Chad's 23rd birthday.. sorry buddy! He is in Tech school with the Army in Fort Huachuca Arizona. He should graduate March 5, 2010. His projected assignment will then be Honolulu, Hawaii! I guess I will just have to go visit!

*I missed posting that Brian is now a Sergeant with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. I am so proud of him & happy for him. All those years in the Air Force forged a need to advance, to be acknowledged for his work. He got that, but also got the crappiest shift they have.. 3:30pm-3:30 am. The worst shift for a family man. On days that the kids have school & he works, they don't see him at all. I get to be a MSP.. Married Single Parent.. I get the kids up & off to school, I get the kids home from school, handle homework, dinner, baths, bedtime, etc. It is something he has worked so hard for, but truly sucks! There may be an opportunity for him to change shifts at some point.. but honestly.. another carryover from the military.. those are Brian's guys now, that is his shift.. will he really want to move to a different shift/squad & start all that over? Is it fair for me to ask him to? I have followed him & supported him for over 26 years, why change that now? It is an adjustment.. one that I thought I left behind with active duty.. so it will take a little longer, but we will all get used to it eventually!

*I missed posting about the kid's first day of school! I will upload pix later today. Tristan is in a co-teaching classroom, which has me concerned, but seems to be working at the moment. Alexa is in the class next door with a very organized, structured teacher. I thought at orientation that they may have been better off switched, but we shall see. Kindergarten sure has changed over the years! Hunter is doing well. He was unhappy at repeating the 2nd grade, but I think it will be a good year for him to gain some learning skills & get the support he lacked last year. His meds have leveled out & he is doing well. They just did an EKG & bloodwork.. all is well.

*Cali has settled down remarkably well. I will post a current pic of her too. The kids take turns walking her to the bus stop right around the corner every morning & afternoon..a positive side effect of having no car! It is a cute picture to see these little kids walking this big great dane!

*The lack of a car has also kept me from the horses. I had so wanted to get on a schedule with them too.. Once I have my car back that is my first priority. I think that has been part of the funk I am in. I miss riding, I even miss grooming & working with them. When they boarded in GA I was forced to devote the entire weekend to them, to focusing on nothing else. Now that they are up in Callahan it is harder to commit that block of time & not let other things bump them from my priority list. Life has a nasty habit of getting in the way!

I am sure I will think of other things that got forgotten, but for now that should catch ya'll up.

Monday, August 31, 2009

My War with Words..

It has been odd, but I have not been able to blog. I have sat here several times without being able to type a single word. Other times I would type then delete. I am not sure even now what I have to say.
Words will not change the past few weeks. They can not change the grief & pain of those I love. I went to St. Pete & sat with my friend, Debbie for 2 nights & almost 3 days. She was in ICU until the morning of August 25th when she died there. I was not able to get back down there & words can't change that for me.
I was driving home from St. Pete. the night of Aug. 18th when 10 minutes from home I fell asleep at the wheel & wrecked my car. I woke up in time to avoid hitting a telephone pole, but hit a cement culvert instead. I am fine, my car is not. It isn't totalled but will be out of commision for at least another 2-3 weeks. I bruised my face on the steering wheel, but truly am okay & was very fortunate to walk away. The only casualty was a pigmy rattle snake I dragged under my car & decapitated. (The insurance guy found it under my car when he did the estimate.. wish I could have seen his face & heard those words!)
Randy went into the final stages of his life and was admitted to a hospice facility Sunday the 23rd of August.. Mada's day.. I had taken the kids to Disney with Terry M. for a last day of summer fun before they started school on the 24th. All I could think of was that I could not be out of town (on a Sunday as well) when someone else I loved died! That was a selfish thought but it was present throughout my day. Words could not calm that fear.
Late Monday night I went to be with Greta & Randy at the Hospice facility. He was in a state of coma/sleep that he did not wake from. I stayed until about 4 am in the early hours of Tuesday morning. I had just left to go home when I got the call that Debbie was gone. Her family had held out hope until the very end. There were some very hard decisions that they had to make & despite all their efforts she just couldn't fight anymore. I wish there were something I could say that would ease their pain. But I know from experience that words are hollow when your heart is breaking. Words can not change that she is gone from their lives.
I got home & crawled into my bed about 5 am. My phone was on vibrate so I did not get the call from Greta that Randy had died at about 6:10 am. She finally called Terry M. & I got the call as I was getting the kids out the door to school. I was already grieving for Deb, so wasn't suprised that I felt numb at the news. It took me a while to let my grief for Randy come.. I jumped into my day & tried to hold it at bay. I wasn't very successful & it won out. Grief has a way of doing that. Words don't make it any less persistent.
Randy's Memorial Service was this past Saturday, the 29th of August. He will have another one up in North Carolina next Sunday, September 6th. It has been hard to watch my sister watch her husband die. To watch her make all the arrangements for the end of his life. It is harder still to watch the pain of her grief. I can't say I know how she feels, because although I know the pain of grief intimately, I do not know her pain. But I can hurt for her & feel so utterly helpless to ease that devestating strike of lightening each time she is reminded that he is gone. I had not been to their home since his death until yesterday. Chad came home for the service & wanted to say goodbye before his flight back. Chad was joking around with Greta in the front yard so I ran into the house to grab my camera. As I ran in I yelled.. "Hey Randy.. you've got to see this pic..." and it struck me what I had said, & that he wasn't there. Why does our mind let us do that?? I will never understand how we can be so cruel to ourselves. How the intricate masterpiece that is our brain can let you do that, let that thought even form into words..words that cannot change that he is gone.
Almost 4 years of life without her.. I still do that with Kierra from time to time. The pain is almost as great as the first time it struck me that she was gone. Fall is coming, it used to be my favortie time of year. I brace myself for her favorite, Halloween, to go on without her.. then the anniversary of her death, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then the Twin's birthday. Fall is taken over by my heart's Winter season. My season of numbing my heart from the pain of grief so I can give the kid's the season of celebration that it all should be. Words do not make that any easier.
Obviously my words have not escaped me.. I just wasn't sure how letting them out would feel. I wasn't sure I was up to the battle between my words & my emotions. I may have won the battle this time, but the war wages on!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Enough Already!

I spent the majority of my day today going through files & photos on our old computer. It was full of memories, and emotions. It really wore me out! Funny how something mental can sometimes exhaust you more than physical activity can! Then this evening I found out a dear friend of mine is in the ICU down in St. Petersburg. We met when Kierra was about a year old. I worked at Zayre's & so did she. She ended up being my babysitter & a very dear friend. There were times in our lives she & her family were the only ones I had to turn to. No matter how long it has been or how far apart we have been, coming to see them is like coming home again. Deb has grieved for Kie deeply. She has a strong faith, but knows how painful it has been for me. It has been painful for her too. It seems hard for us to talk about it when we are apart, but when we see each other it is so natural to talk & share both the joy & sorrow of our lives.
I am driven to go to her, She has been ill before, but this feels different. I will hope that she rallies & gets through this. For her, for her family. It doesn't sound good. I will go see her, hold her hand, give her husband a break (he has been there 24hrs a day since she was admitted on the 10th.) & take the time to share ourselves with each other like we have so many times before. I am not ready to let her go, but neither have I been ready for Randy to go either.
An ex brother-in-law of mine passed away the 11th after battling cancer. The husband of a twin's Mom in our group died from Cancer the end of July. A friend of my parent's lost his battle from cancer on the 11th as well.. enough already!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Happy Birthday to my baby, Brianne!

Bri 1st Birthday
Originally uploaded by mommanana
She turns 25 today! Wow! From this bright eyed baby she has become a remarkable woman. I am so proud to have her as my daughter. I love you baby girl!

I just wish I could fix it..

I thought my grief over Kierra had given me an understanding of death, of loss. I have lost loved ones before, but nothing compares to what her death has done to me. I have been watching what my sister has been going through with her husband & I am not so sure I could handle it. The "knowing" would drive me crazy, as I am sure it is with her.
Randy has had time to see his brothers, sisters, children, friends, & most of his grandchildren. It has given him an opportunity to say things he wanted to say to those he loves.
Yet even with all that, the moment of his death will be just as devestating to those who love him as Kierra's death was to us. No matter how much you think you can "prepare" for death, nothing can prepare you for that moment, no matter how or when it happens.
I tend to be a "fixer". I do what I can to help the ones I love, to fix whatever makes them unhappy. I can't fix this. There is nothing I can do to make it better, easier. That makes dealing with it all the more difficult. I can & I will, but I can't turn off the need to help, to fix it.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Quite the conversation..

Hunter: Mom, are you awake?

Me: Yes Hunter, I am now..

I need to talk to you.

okay, honey, climb up here with me & we'll talk.

No Mom, you have to get up & talk to me in the other room.

come on Hunter, you can talk to me here..

No Mom, we have to talk in the office, it's important.

OK Hunter, let's go talk in the office..

So why are we talking in here Hunter?

I don't want to upset daddy talking about his Dad..Mom, Pop-pop (Randy) has dibeeties like Daddy's Dad did doesn't he?

Yes Hunter, he does.

Pop-pop has to go in the hospital alot like Grampa Shore did too doesn't he?

Yes Hunter, he does.

Pop-pop's kind of sick can't get all better can it?

No sweetie, it can't

How many more times will Pop-pop go to the hospital like Daddy's Dad before he goes to Heaven too?

Pop-pop doesn't want to go into the hopsital anymore, so he will stay at home so he can be there with Nana and visit with everyone.

And he will go to Heaven from his house?

yes, Hunter, probably. That's what he wants.

'cause his body is too tired isn't it Mom?

Yes honey it is.

That was not quite the conversation I expected to have. But Hunter has always been very perceptive & very smart when it comes to what is going on around him. I wish I could have lied...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Me on Lenny 7.19.09

Me on Lenny 7.19.09
Originally uploaded by mommanana
Not my best photo, but look at that handsome horse!
A friend of ours, Tanya, took Lenny & I to the beach this evening for a great ride. The weather was perfect, the horses were perfect, & the company was awesome! It was great to talk to a grown-up! We email & facebook back & forth, but that isn't a replacement for good old fashioned face to face! I know I talked her ears off! (That happens when you are with kids all day.)
I haven't ridden in over 2 months. It felt good to get back on. We rode for about an hour and a half. It was a great recharge from how emotionally exhausted I have been lately. I am hoping to do it again sometime. Thanks to Tanya & her beautiful mare Jaeger for sharing their evening with us!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Damn the little things...

I have reorganized our office/den/man cave recently. It is still all of those things, but it also has become my memory room. I have a wall quote that says "We do not remember days.. we remember moments". That is so true! We don't have alot of personal photos on the walls all over the house, so this room has been designated as the photo room. I have been going through photo albums & boxes to pick out our favorites & put them on display. I have also been taking photos out of those cardboard sleeves & putting them into protectors in albums for the ones I am not framing. I came accross some of Kierra & Brianne's class photos from England. They went to the American school on the military base there. I finished labeling Brianne's, I had written on the back of her's the teacher name, year & grade. I went to do the same for Kierra's and was stunned to see I had not labeled hers. I have no idea why not, but the information isn't there. I can figure out the order, but am not sure of the year, or her Teacher's names, or exactly, her age. I can figure out her age by other photos, which will give me the year, which will then help me figure out the grade. Brianne or Jessie (Miller) may recall the teachers, maybe not. I see familiar faces of other children in the photos, but can't recall their names. It struck me with a sharp stab of pain that I can't ask her, she can't tell me as she laughs over the familiar memories and stories of her youth. And with that thought follows; she can't ever tell me anything... ever again. Such a little thing, just a moment of thought. Something so little, yet it brings with it a pain so enormous it engulfs me, it brings me to my knees. Damn the little things, damn them, damn them, damn them!

Grown-ups & Guilt..

This has been a long week. Brian has worked over 2 weeks straight without a day off. That has given me alot of very long days with the kids. We have done some fun things, but bad weather & even worse finances have put a damper on summertime activities. We have been going to the free summer movies at Regal Cinemas, to the pool (when weather permits), to the zoo, & to a couple parks around town. As much fun as all that is, the days are still long & sometimes I just need a grown-up break! I feel guilty about that. Guilty that I feel that way sometimes, guilty that we need to tighten our purse strings & I pay a sitter sometimes to get away from it all.
This evening Greta & I were going to try to meet up & go to the beach. We had hoped to get an icy tropical drink & walk with our toes sinking into the sand. That didn't happen because Brian was working & I couldn't get a sitter. We will try again another night! I haven't done that in ages. During the day it gets way too hot in the summer here & the kids prefer the pool. I may have to take them one evening just to walk. There is part of Jax beach where we could even take Cali with us.
Tomorrow evening I get to stroll the beach on the back of one of my horses, Lenny. A friend of ours is picking us up at the barn with her horse trailer so we can go ride along the beach. I don't have a horse trailer, so I haven't taken any of mine to do that. I am so excited! If I think of it I will take some pix. Brianne & Justin are taking the kids so it won't cost me for a sitter, Thank You, Thank You! And a huge Thank You to Tanya for asking me to go & being willing to transport me & my horse too!
I managed to figure out a way for the twins to go to half day camp for 3 weeks. (Where there is a will, there is a way!) It is where Alexa went to preschool. Next week is Mad about Sports Camp, then the following week is Mad Science Camp, & the last week is Iron Chefs Camp. It is 9am-12pm Mon.-Fri. It is only for 4-6 year olds. Hunter & I will find other things to do. He got to go to horse camp for a week & stay at Terri's for most of that week so it evens out. It will give them a little break & get them used to a semi school schedule.
I'm not sure if we'll get to go anywhere or do much else this summer, but they got to go to Disney for almost a week & most kids never get to go to Disney at all. I know, it sounds like I am trying to justify things to myself, & I am.. I shouldn't feel guilty, but I do. It doesn't make sense, it just is! So I will enjoy my horse & my ride on the beach tomorrow night, I will enjoy my grown-up time & try not to feel so guilty about it!

Friday, July 17, 2009


I cry


I cry


I cry


I cry

7.17.09 mjs

Stanley & Kie Nov 1985

Stanley & Kie Nov 1985
Originally uploaded by mommanana
I was going to post another pic of Stanley, my biological father, but this one always ends up winning out of all my choices. He died the day after Brian's neice, Sammy was born. (She's my neice too, that just tells which side of the family she is on!) So sadly, I track how many years he has been gone with how many years old she is. Not intentionally, but my subconscious reminds me before I even think about it. To add to that irony, he died on my little sister Cricket's birthday, so I tell one sibling Happy Birthday, while I find a way to comfort 3 others. Just one more reason I almost hesitate to acknowledge the date of his passing. I have found with Kierra's death, & his, that I resent giving any power to the day they died. I will not give more energy to the day they died than I do to all the days they lived. Sometimes that can be hard to do. So I commemorate the day with this fun filled photo to share with you all. Not to be sad, but to bring a smile to your face, as it does mine..everytime I look at it!

Happy Birthday Cricket July 16th!

I always post this pic for Cricket's birthday because I luv it!

Happy Birthday Sammy!

11-22-07 Thanksgiving
Originally uploaded by mommanana
Sammy turned 11 on July 15th. This pic was in 2007, but is one of my favorites.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Our own little bubble....

I didn't realize we were living in our own little bubble. We did what we could to help those around us hit hard by the economy. We donate to charities. We live a good, full life & rarely want for anything. Now we find ourselves in a position we have not been in for a very long time. We find ourselves scrambling to come up with funds we don't have. We didn't notice the bubble bursting, we didn't notice that gentle slide down the slippery slope, until we hit the ground hard! We aren't alone. Many people are having to sacrifice & rearrange their priorities.
Life goes in phases & cycles. It runs around & around while we do our best to keep up. We've been through rough patches before & we will come through this one. It is just stressful to not see it coming then have to scramble to fix the problem. I miss our bubble, I miss the comfort that comes with financial security. I miss being able to work & contribute like I used to. I do, I really do!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

On Secomd Thought..

There is something else I need after all... a really good babysitter! I have Terri & the gang for when I need a weekend break, (or recovery from surgery!) or if I am going somewhere overnight, etc. They are always willing to take them on. Brianne has been a huge help & helps whenever her schedule allows. Greta & Randy even take them when they can. So I don't mean to complain or infer they aren't really good babysitters.... what I need is someone who can watch them so I can do things with Terri (& the gang), Brianne, & Greta (& Randy), and to fill in to give all of the above a break now & then because they all work full time as well. I have had the help of a couple friends who have twins as well, but I don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth, or burn out a friendship.
I had a couple referrals for teenagers in our neighborhood, but one of them is always busy with other plans, & the other one never calls back or comes over when she says she will. So those numbers were erased from my list. Of course, then there was no list! So I went back to using an hourly daycare center up in Jacksonville. But since I only need them occasionally it is cost prohibitive because their rates are high on a PRN basis, lower if you buy "packages" of hours. Not to mention they are about 30-40 minutes away from my house, a bit out of the way most of the time. It wasn't so bad when the kids were in school (pre-k for the twins). I scheduled most things during those hours. Summer has become a major challenge.
I am a starbucks addict (suprised?!). there are 2 starbucks near me. One is 5 miles north, just off the interstate, the other is 5 miles East on US1. They know me by name & my usual coffee! One morning while talking to one of my "regular" baristas we got on the babysitter subject. He mentioned a sister who may be able to help me out. I jumped at the opportunity to have her come over and see if it would work out for us both.
She came over for the day on Monday & watched the twins while I took Hunter to the Dr. It seemed to go well. She is 18, just graduated from high school. She watched them Thursday while I took Randy to the dentist. I warned her that they would probably play her & test her. I tried to give her the do & do not scenarios. Randy's appt ended up being almost all day. I called throughout to check on them & all seemed to go well.
I came home to absolute chaos! The biggest issue was that Hunter & Alexa had convinced the sitter that they were allowed to play outfront with their bikes & Hummer.... without her! Tristan didn't want to go, (he knew better!) & Cali, our great dane, wouldn't go outside for the sitter. Hunter told her she couldn't leave Cali alone in the house, which is true, but he also told her it was okay, he would watch Alexa. She asked him if I let him do that... Hunter & Alexa both told her yes! NOT. She checked on them often, & said most of the time they were drawing with the sidewalk chalk.. or so it seemed. Hunter & Alexa would keep an eye out & listen for the door alarm, then run & catch her before she discovered all the things they had gotten into in the garage. Here are just a few of the highlights..
*Red Bull from the garage fridge.. tried it, didn't like it, so played hockey with several cans.. somehow puncturing a few. The ants have invaded my driveway even though it has been sprayed down..bug spray is a wonderful thing! Red Bull cans were strewn all over the far right side of our house..furthest from our front door so no one would see!
*Duct Tape.. a large new roll. Taped everything & anything they saw.. wads of it all over the place from when they pulled it off so they wouldn't get caught!
*Tool Box.. I think that may have been connected to the Red Bull somehow..possibly how the cans got holes in them.. no one is fessing up.. tools strewn everywhere.
*Camping Chairs & various outdoor games.. all out & in disarray.
*Several bins emptied with various toys, clothes, etc.
*got into unopened toys I had in a dresser in the garage, opened them & had them strewn everywhere.
*Popsicle & drink wrappers here & there.
* Alexa was dancing on top of the neighborhood large green electrical box when I pulled up.. never saw her move so fast as she dove off of it, grabbed her baby buggy & actually tried to pretend she hadn't been up there!
*They had somehow gotten the top off of, & knocked over, the fireant killer, thankfully they didn't mess with it, just made a mess!
There are probably still things out there I haven't discovered yet. My front yard looked like a junkyard. The sitter was very upset when she realized all they had done. She & I had a huge talk about common sense & being more attentive to what they are doing. Tristan, other than not telling her they lied, was actually the good one for the day! I was glad they didn't get hurt, although sympathy might have curbed my anger!
She was so sorry & promised it wouldn't happen again. She didn't know & isn't used to 3 small kids at one time. She watched them again yesterday for just a couple hours.. Hunter still got into things he shouldn't have & didn't want to listen to her. He & I talked about that, and about what being grounded means. I made sure Cali was gated in my bathroom while I was gone so she wouldn't have a 4th child not listening!
She is supposed to babysit on Monday so Bri , Jess & I can go up to the horses. I asked her if she was still willing to babysit.. I figure this will be the truth teller.. they will either do better, or she may not be the right fit. I told her she can have fun with them, but can't be their friend, she needs to be firm & on top of them. I just don't know if she has the confidence or the experience to handle them. We shall see.
They are a handful, I am not dillusional, I know they are alot to deal with. I am hoping everyone settles down & it works out for the occasional time I need a sitter. I don't want the name "Shore" to send sitters running in the opposite direction. School starts on August 24th. I am hoping I can work out the twins going to half day camp for a couple weeks... so we'll just keep swimming, swimming, swimming through the rest of summer!
(although hockey is a pretty good use for red bull!)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

All that I want, All that I need..

There is such a fine line between need & want. I want alot, I need very little. I need time alone with Brian. (Here's some TMI)...not just for sex, although that is great when we can manage it! But just to be with him, to talk , to share, to just "BE" together. Between his crazy schedule & my being pulled in a dozen different directions, time truly alone together is rare. We both get plowed under by life & all that we do. We also get burnt out by those same demands day after day. We are not alone, it is how many couples live their lives.
I go through phases & I think Brian does too, when it all just gets to be too much. I NEED to be with him, need to have some time for just the two of us. More than a couple hours out at a movie, which doesn't happen often either, but it is about the only thing we do as a "date night" from time to time. That is the "big" thing we did for our anniversary. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't enough. We slow danced for a few minutes in the parking lot, & that was awesome.
It doesn't have to be the most romantic, or anything fancy. Just to be together, uninterrupted, & have the energy & ability to give our undivided attention to each other. I have planned a weekend for us to be "home alone" in a few weeks. We can't really afford to go anywhere, & honestly I don't want to. I don't want to go anywhere or see anyone else but Brian. It may sound selfish, but I don't want any phones, any visits, nada. I am not planning anything. We can sleep, watch movies, do something, do nothing. I don't care. He works so many hours & misses out on so much. We spent a week at Disney. Yes, he took a week off, but the only true time we had "alone" was a ride through the Haunted Mansion. I am not complaining, we had a great week. It was mainly for & about the kids. Now I want to give that same attention to my husband. For 48 hours I don't want to be distracted or exhausted from anyone or anything else.
I had Kierra when we met. 26 years later we are still raising children together. Neither of us would have it any other way, but that doesn't mean that we don't deserve to put each other first every once in a while. I don't NEED him all the time, every day. I WANT him all the time, every day, but sometimes the NEED is so great it hurts.
It doesn't have to be a weekend, but take the time to appreciate & truly "be with" the person you love. With or without kids, life can eat up all your time & energy. You know your partner loves you & you know they know you love them, but nothing replaces giving yourself & your time to the one you love. Nothing expensive, nothing fancy, just your time. You both not only WANT that from each other, you NEED that from each other.
We have a quote on the wall next to our bed, it says;
"Holding you, I hold everything" that is so true, all that I want & all that I need, rolled into one. So I will take the time to not just tell Brian that, but to show him that with my time & attention, just the two of us!
(HUGE Thank You to Terri, Dwight, Savanna, & Jess for being such great friends & such a great second family for the kids. We couldn't do it without you!)
P.S. It was a great idea, but once again life got in the way.. Brian ended up working & I had to move one of my horses, Reese, back up to Georgia.. so once again we got bumped to the back burner..

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

*IT* Happens...

some times more often than*t happens! Yesterday was one of those days. My phone was on the fritz, my GPS sent me to timbuktu, every time I needed to get out of my car it rained, Cali hurt her left front foot, Hunter left his window open & soaked the window frame, sill & carpet, Hunter has a sprained left wrist, (thankfully not broken..again!), the kids have been fighting non-stop, I had to take Hunter to an urgent appt. with his specialist, there was a glitch at the pharmacy when I tried filling his prescription, & on & on & on! Just another day in the Shore nuthouse!
Hunter has been taking medications for ADHD for about 2 years, & for the past year he has also been taking medication for Bipolar symptoms. (Bipolar isn't usually diagnosed until puberty, but he has all the symptoms of it.) His Dr. & I had decided to take him off all meds once school ended to cleanse his body & get a baseline of his behavior. I can usually handle Hunter, but I have to admit I was at my breaking point when I took him to his appt. yesterday. There is a big difference between "just being a boy" and the behaviors that Hunter exhibited when off his meds; he had emotional outbursts to the extreme. He became hysterical or enraged by trivial things. He broke things, or more often, cut things when he got mad or upset. there is no rhyme or reason as to what set him off. He became physical when playing or when he got mad. I could not leave him unsupervised at all. He made very unsafe choices, such as using a very sharp hunting knife he got out of a toolbox in the garage to cut a milk jug he was supposed to be putting in the recycle bin. He could have seriously hurt himself. He also jumped off the back end of his bunkbed trying to break his storage shelf because he was mad. That is when he hurt his wrist & we thought it was broken. He was also becoming more physical with the twins. I made sure they didn't play unsupervised to avoid them getting hurt. I would never put them or Hunter in danger. It is a hard admission for any parent to make.. that they are afraid their child is a danger to themselves or others. But it is what it is.. or was.. because I got him in to see his doc & he is now back on medication. It was a very rough month.
I think I was hoping there would be a magical change, a cure. That he would be unaffected by being off his meds. There wasn't. Those behaviors were out of control unmedicated. They are almost nonexistent when he is on medication. I wish he didn't have these conditions. I wish I could have done something to make it all better. I feel guilty that as his Mom I couldn't "save" him, or "protect" him from this. His Dr. reassures me that this is something no one, not even Hunter, can control without the help of medication. There is biological history of ADHD & Bipolar for Hunter. Unfortunately he has both. There isn't behavior modification for this. It isn't something he will outgrow. so we grab the bull by the horns & do what we have to do to help him, to do what needs to be done for him to learn & realize that medications are neccesary for him to fiunction to the best of his ability. But it sucks, it is not fair that at 8 years old he has to deal with this, as unfair as it was for him to lose his sister & gain 2 siblings when he was only a month shy of his 5th brithday. Life is rarely fair. You can overcome it or let it overcome you. Control freak that I am, I will overcome it, for him, with him, we will fight the fight and get this under control. He started back on medication today.
I would not trade Hunter, Tristan, or Alexa for any other child in the world. Anymore than I would trade having Kierra, Brianne & Chad. They are my heart and soul. They are why I get out of bed every day, even on the days like yesterday when I really don't want to! Yesterday was a bad day, but it was yesterday, not today, & hopefully not tomorrow. When the rare day like yesterday gets to me, I vow when that day ends the next day will be better, and so it is. We have the power to give in or get up. I got up yesterday & trudged through it, I got up today & walked a little stronger, & I will get up tomorrow be stronger still. Yesterday is over, done, finito.
It's irrefutable, undisputable... the fact is... *IT* happens!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

These Days..

These days.. life goes on
rambling with a mind of it's own
pulling me with it, like it or not
never caring where I'm thrown.

These days.. life goes on
with or without my consent
pulling me with it, like it or not
never caring if I'm spent.

These days.. life goes on
and I see more of the light
pulling me with it, like it or not
giving me back my sight.

These days.. life goes on
and it's music to my ears
pulling me with it, like it or not
as laughter drowns out my fears.

These days.. life goes on
knowing I'll never forget
pulling me with it, like it or not
I'm not done living yet.

MJS 7.2.09

Family Dynamics

I know families that have only 1 child, I know families that have 6 or more children. I know a few that had very little trouble with their teenagers, very few! The norm seems to be that somewhere between 16 to 20 years old they decide to drive their parents crazy! The age of 16 wasn't so bad for us with the older three kids. 18-20 was the rough phase for us. The age where they figure they can do whatever they want, even if they are still living at home, because they are adults now...hahahahahahaha! If that were true they wouldn't need their parents to fix their problems, or pay their bills, or get them out of trouble.
The oldest child usually tends to be the hardest to deal with when these issues arise. It is the first time you have to handle that type of situation. It is a hit or miss scenario. We try to avoid how our parents handled things because when we were that age, our parents did everything wrong... right? We also want any younger siblings to learn from other's mistakes, and have to think ahead to when we have to deal with their possible teenage angst.
It isn't the same with every family, but I notice middle children tend to be more mature, & do tend to learn from their older siblings experiences. They also tend to be less demanding on us than our oldest or youngest children. They almost tend to be invisible. Not intentionally, never on purpose. But I think we go to autopilot sometimes when we have stress from one child eating up our emotional resources. The youngest child is "our baby", no matter how old they are. We tend to give in more, tend to allow more than we do with the older children, again, not on purpose. We feed all our emotions about them being our last baby, about the mistakes we made with our older children, into how we react & respond to them.
Chad kind of went from our youngest to sort of a "middle" child when we took in Hunter. That was quite a switch in dynamics. It changed things for him, for us. Kierra's death in itself was another major change for our family, then add the twins to the mix and WOW. Bringing other children into your home changes the dynamics just as much as giving birth to another child. No matter how old they are, your other child/children will react accordingly. The dynamics change wether you want them to or not!
Changes in any family, any type of change, makes the dynamics change too. When an oldest child moves out, the next in line kind of steps into that slot, becoming the "oldest" in the household. Then the domino affect happens and the whole family has to adjust to the change. Sometimes everyone steps into their new slot seemlessly, other times it is not so smooth & easy.
I could not go "back home" to my parent's house when I left Indiana & came back home. The dynamics had changed too much & there wasn't that same slot waiting for me to step back into it. I wanted, and expected to be the "oldest" with all the authority & priveleges that came with it.
But I had become a mother as well & I didn't fit into the slot of being anyone's child anymore. My younger siblings also weren't going to step back into the roles they had before I left. I had expected them to change back for me, I had to change to the way things were at that time, not before. It didn't last long. I moved elsewhere. That was probably for the best. They say you can't go back home again, in many ways I believe that is true. It was for me.
I see the families around me all going through different stages of what I have already been through with the older three children. I am not so eager to go through it all again with these younger three! I can hope I have learned from my previous experience. Yet every child is different, parenting every child is different. So I will do the best I can, which is all any of us can do. All the best to you & your family, whatever the dynamics are.

Church Steps 7.1.1983

Church Steps 7.1.1983
Originally uploaded by mommanana
Brian & I had our 26th Anniversary yesterday. He had to work, I had the kids all day, so it was just another day for us. Greta watched the kids last night so Brian & I could have a "date". We went to a deli for a bite to eat, then went to see the movie "The Proposal". It is a very funny movie.( Funny enough I didn't mind seeing it a second time since I saw it Monday night with Terry & Greta!)
But the best part of the night for me was after the movie. Brian & I went to the truck to leave, but he told me to wait a minute.. he turned up the stereo & slow danced with me!
It was a song we used to dance to years ago. We had an agreement that whenever one of us played that song on our stereo we would stop what we were doing, meet in the living room & slow dance. The kids used to laugh at us & thought we were crazy!
So it wasn't so much a suprise that he remembered that, It was that he would do that in the middle of a parking lot. It earned him major brownie points! It wasn't an expensive evening, nothing fancy or flashy, but that few minutes in the parking lot are priceless to me!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cali June 29 2009

Cali June 29 2009
Originally uploaded by mommanana
Cali has relaxed back into the household, obviously! She was sleeping on her back in this photo, which is a very relaxed, submissive way for a dog to sleep. She was calm & quiet the first couple days, now she is coming out of her shell & more like she used to be. We are trying to let her have free roam of the house. She has done very well so far. Other than trying to chew on the couch pillows while Brian was home with her last night! We are glad to have her back home!

6 Days at Disney!

Lots of pix added to the photo gallery..check them out! I didn't take my laptop so I was "offline" other than my phone. It was hot, hot, hot, but we had a good time. The twins were not so keen on riding anything they thought would be at all scary or too fast, so my limited ability to ride some of the rides wasn't such a bad thing. They averaged about half a day before they were done & ready to go back to the hotel & swim in the pool. We weren't on a set schedule, so whenever we all got up & got going worked out well. A couple things were closed, but there was still so much to do no one really noticed. We still have a day left on our passes, so I think we will wait for cooler weather to use it!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Carousel

Have you ever ridden on a carousel? You pick the one you want to ride on, you climb aboard all excited. The ride starts, everyone is laughing & having fun. Then you notice that your horse isn't moving like the others, your horse is slower and isn't really going anywhere. You notice you aren't riding up & down as fast as everyone else. How can you all be on the same ride yet be going at such different speeds? The ride is still fun, but it isn't the same when you notice you aren't keeping up with everyone else. Most of the others on the ride don't even notice.
Or are you one of the other riders? The ones who are going along just fine, having fun & enjoying the ride, not noticing that someone else isn't keeping up, isn't having as much fun?
Life can be like that sometimes... whichever side of the carousel you are riding on.
And other times, it is what it is... just a ride.

Crazy Couple Days!

It has been a really crazy couple days! I have been running non-stop & am so worn out! Randy was in the hospital again.. he has alot going on, but they can't do any surgery to fix some of it until his infections are gone. he is so sick of being sick! He went home today so he can rest & get well before they decide what else they need to do. My brother Tommy came into town yesterday & should be going back to St. Pete tomorrow. I spent some time with him yesterday, then today I got some fairies like I have on my van for his van & put them on for him. He had wanted them & I was able to get them for him. He brought me an antique picture with an ornate cherry frame. It is of a mare & foal. I don't collect horse stuff, but will have to see if I can fit this in somewhere. It matches the office furniture..we'll see!

Brianne has a new dog at her house. A 6 month old Black Lab. She was one of the puppies born up at the stables where my horses are. A friend of mine got her, but they are moving into an apartment & couldn't keep her. She has settled right in at Brianne's like she has always been there. I may be getting Cali back next week. The woman who wanted her originally couldn't handle caring for her, there were some issues, so the woman who has Cali's sister has taken Cali in, but may not be able to keep her. I had hoped it was a good move for Cali, but it doesn't seem to be. It is so hard to trust that someone will love & care for a pet the way you would. We will see what happens next week.

Hunter has been at horse camp with Terri's nephew all week. He has a horse show tomorrow night. Mike spent the night over here Tuesday night, so Hunter is spending the night over there tonight. So it is just the twins & I. Brian has been working doubles all week so he can have next week off. We are going to spend the week at Disney with his brother & his family. There are special passes for the military right now, so with them having a timeshare, it is the only way we could afford to do something with the kids this summer. The kids are so excited. I am still pretty limited as to what physical stuff I can do, but am looking forward to some fun with the kids, & getting away from these walls for a few days! It will also be the only time Brian will be off & away from work to really enjoy being with us!

I have a to-do list that is getting longer & longer, so off I go to get something done!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Cavatini Supreme

1 1/2 lbs Ground Chuck
1/2 med-large onion, chopped
2 tblsp butter
1 tblsp Garlic Powder
1 tblsp Italian seasoning
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
6 oz Pepperoni, sliced or chopped
1 32oz jar tomato sauce (your preference)
1 cup uncooked pasta twists
1 cup uncooked pasta shells
1 cup uncooked ziti pasta
8 ounces grated Mozzarella cheese

Saute onion in butter in large pan. Add ground beef, garlic powder, italian seasoning, salt, & pepper. Cook until done.
Drain off any excess fat.
Add mushrooms, & Pepperoni. Stir.
Add tomato sauce, stir well. Cook on low while you prepare pasta.

In large pot of salted, boiling water..add pasta twists & shells.
Cook for 2 minutes.
Add Ziti in with rest of pasta, cook all pasta for 9 minutes. Drain well.

Add Pasta to sauce mixture. stir well to combine all ingredients.
Place mixture in 13x9x2 baking dish.
Top with Mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until hot & bubbly.

(Before baking you can freeze this recipe for future use. When you are ready to use it, thaw completely, bake uncovered 30-45 minutes)

Friday, June 12, 2009

There are Times...

There are times I can sweetly dream,
& you are right here with me.
There are times I can wake at dawn,
& relive when your life left me.
There are times I can see the sun,
& it pushes the dark away.
There are times I can feel happy,
& it keeps the grief at bay.
There are times I can move on,
& live the life before me.

Then there are the times......I cannot.

mjs 6.12.09

Thursday, June 11, 2009

All dressed up 6.9.09

All dressed up 6.9.09
Originally uploaded by mommanana
Alexa just had to have her hair curled for her Pre-K graduation Tues. night, also on her mother's birthday. More pix in the gallery. She was in my room while I was getting ready and said she HAD to have jewelry for her graduation, so please could she wear some of mine. I let her go through my earrings. I have dozens with all types of styles & designs..she zeroed in on the dragonfly earrings & then just had to wear the dolphin heart necklace. Kierra loved anything with Dragonflys, and the dolphin necklace was hers. It really caught me off gaurd. Of course I let her wear them! We are very proud of her too!

Mr. Pre-K Graduate 6.9.09

Tristan Grad 6 9 09
Originally uploaded by mommanana
Tristan had his Pre-K graduation Tuesday morning, June 9th. What would have been his mother's 28th birthday. It was a very bittersweet day. He was his usual self, constantly moving! There are other pix in the photo gallery. I am going to take tristan & Alexa for formal pix in their caps & gowns. we videotaped everything. I have a special part of the video to save for part of his high school graduation.. when he said his name he said "Tristan Jane-Marie Shore". I'm not sure he even realized he said Alexa's middle name instead of his, which is James. We are so proud of him!

Monday, June 08, 2009

I'll get through it..

I had a quiet, but long weekend. We didn't go anywhere & didn't really do anything. Brian worked all weekend, so it was just me & the kids. I think my mind is trying to get geared up for tomorrow. It would have been Kierra's 28th birthday. It is pre-school graduation for both Tristan (in the am) & Alexa (in the pm). So I have to put on my happy face & be around alot of people all day. I am so proud of them! I'll get through it. I have cried alot this morning, maybe subconciously I want to get it out of my system. I wish I could blame it on hormones, but I know this pain, I am familiar with the weight of my heart being crushed by it.
I know everyone means well.. It will get easier in time, She's in a better place, She would want you to get past it, move on... I get all that, thanks. The truth is, those are just words. There is no magic spell that can make this better. I know all that in my head, although I still don't buy the better place bit.. but my heart & my emotions sometimes have a will of their own. So I will surf the waves as they come, knowing I'll go under a time or two. Also knowing I'll come up for air, I'll get through it like I always do.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Bri & Brian 6-4-05

Bri & Brian 6-4-05
Originally uploaded by mommanana
Her wedding day! Happy Anniversary to Brianne & Justin. I love this pic. It comes in second to the one when Brian danced with her to "Baby Mine", which was also her ballet recital song when she was 4. Our baby girl, all married & grown up!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

My foreign body..

The world keeps spinning, going round & round. I feel like I am trying to keep up, but having to do everything in slow motion just throws me further & further behind! It has only been 3 weeks, it has been 3 whole weeks, either way there are still more weeks to go for my recovery & my patience with this foreign body of mine is running thin! I am not in control & we all know that does not bode well!
My oldest sister, Robyn, will be here tomorrow for a few days. She insisted on coming to help. I appreciate that to some extent, but I really don't know what she can help with. I am up & doing & getting things done. I have been off pain meds a week now, other than running the vacuum cleaner, I am back to doing what needs to be done. She will go to Greta's on fri night & fly home Saturday. Good thing we have a community pool & she likes to sunbathe or there wouldn't be anything for her to do! We used to have a close relationship, but issues changed that a number of years ago when our biological father died. It has been repaired some, but will never be what it was. Of course, no matter who it is, I feel like things need to be in order when someone is coming to visit. It just takes me so much longer to do everything, it gets frustrating!
The incision has healed well, but my insides are still sore, & a ways from being back to normal. It is strange to be limited by my body. It isn't something I am used to at all. So I will keep counting the days, & weeks until I am healed & can figure out what normal is for me again!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Blast from the past..almost 30 years!

I "know" alot of people. There are alot of different levels of "knowing". I do my blog thing here, I joined Myspace more to help Kierra's friends keep up with things too. The last holdout for me was joining Facebook. I knew nothing about it & figured it was just another Myspace. I finally joined & am so addicted to it. I even have it on my phone! It is the closest thing to grown-up contact I can get on such a frequent basis. I live a busy life. The few friends & family we have near us are very busy too. That leaves me with alot of kid time. Which, at times can be a blast, but not 24/7.
I had several people from high school contact me on FB (Facebook for the unknowing). I knew them, or knew "of them". It is great to reconnect with people who I may have otherwise never come accross again. Today I found someone I truly "knew" from back then. I wasn't sure they would remember me, but they did. It was fun to reconnect with someone who I had a genuine connection with so long ago. I have very dear friends from almost 30 years ago that I keep in touch with & am lucky to have close to me now. How wild it would be to not talk to them since way back then & just out of the blue one day say, "Hey, do you remember me?" & have them respond "WOW, yes I do"? I think part of that is because to me, I was invisible back then. I was among the un-noticed.
It was so funny several years ago, the girls & I went to one of the reunions that invited a couple years worth of Alumni, I think it was the 20th. Because I knew who all the popular people were (but never really "knew" them in school) & I am now fairly outgoing..haha.. they all thought I was someone significant. It was a blast. We are all grown up, in different worlds, but you put us all in a room & we tend to revert to who we were back then, or who we thought we were. We had a great time & I look forward to the next reunion. I think Brian's 30th should be this year, but we haven't heard anything about it. I'll have to check into it.
Anywho, this world is smaller than we think it is, & if we keep our eyes open, there's no telling what we'll see!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chicken Cheese Lasagna

This is dinner for tonight. I just have to get motivated & get it made! Just like traditional lasagna, it is even better the next day!


8 oz. lasagna, uncooked (about 9 or 10 noodles,)
2 c. cooked chicken, chopped
2 c. chicken broth
2 c. milk
1/2 c. flour
2 c. (16 oz.) Mozzarella cheese
1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 c. (16 oz.) cottage cheese (I use Ricotta Cheese)
2 (10 oz.) pkg. chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 med. onion, chopped (approximately 1/2 c.)
2 cloves garlic, crushed (I use garlic powder)
1/2 c. butter
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. oregano

Melt butter in saucepan, add flour, garlic, salt. Cook, stirring constantly until bubbly. Remove from heat. Add milk and chicken broth. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add onion, basil, oregano, pepper, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, Mozzarella cheese, stirring until cheese melts.

In ungreased 9x13x2 inch rectangular pan, pour 1/4 of cheese sauce (approximately 1 1/2 cup). Layer 3 or 4 lasagna noodles, overlapping if necessary. Spread 1 cup of cottage cheese over noodles, 1/4 of cheese sauce, 3 or 4 noodles, 1 cup cottage cheese, chopped spinach, chopped chicken, 1/4 cheese sauce, 3 or 4 noodles, remaining cheese sauce, sprinkle 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese on top. (I also top with Mozzarella.) Bake in 350 degree oven about 35-40 minutes.

It only hurts when I laugh!

*I had a huge debate w/ Hunter about "Double Dog Dares" & wether you HAVE to do them. After this intense discussion where he kept defending that you HAVE to do double dog dares, & I insisted you don't...he explained that was why he made his milk explode at lunch yesterday! ( I really had to work at not laughing! What he did was not funny, well, kind of, but the whole debate beforehand to help cover his own butt was!) I hope I convinced him to be his own person, that he can, & should, say NO when others try to get him to do something that he knows is wrong, or unsafe, or he just doesn't want to do. It is so hard to impress upon kids that what others think is not so important. Even at just 8 years old, he is influenced by the kids he spends his school day with. It is very important to him to be liked. I tried to reassure him & let him know, it is usually the kids who won't really be a good friend that try to get you to do things they know are wrong, or will get you into trouble. I wonder if it is a futile battle. But I will keep trying!
*Alexa caught Brian & I both by suprise last night. He walked in the door & before anyone else could say anything she ran up to him & said "Dad, we need to talk!" I was in the other room & couldn't help but laugh at how serious she sounded. I had no clue what was so important. He asked her to wait for him to get changed. The instant he came out of our room she was ready & waiting.... to tattle about something one of the boys had done! It had already been handled. She was just looking for some extra support & sympathy. Being Brian's Princess she thought he would defend her. He handled it well, but was thrilled I think that she thinks so much of him. I am so concerned how he will handle her manipulations when she is a teenager!
*We have been waiting for the Night at The Museum 2 movie to come out. The kids loved the previews & we have the first movie on DVD. Brian was off Monday so we met bri, Justin & some of his family at the theatre to see it. Tristan was sitting next to me. I almost choked on my popcorn when he quoted one of the lines that "The Thinker" sculpture says. He flexed his muscles & said "Boom, Boom, Firepowa". It was so funny because he said it when he saw the sculpture in the background of a scene..before the actual scene when he says it. He did it complete with was hilarious! He can be quite the mimic when he likes something. He picked up a word from the bobblehead Einsteins in the movie too, but I can't remember it. It is a long word, but it escapes me! I will post a note on here when I remember. (it wasn't Dumekopf)
(it was Vundeba!)
Now he is waiting for the movie "UP" because he likes Doug the Dog from the previews..I should make a DVD of kids movie previews & sell it as entertainment!

Dog Treat Recipes

My dog guru sis-in-law, Lisa sent me these for my lil sis Cricket to make for her new dog. I posted it on facebook & forgot to post it here!

Recipe #1
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup powdered dry milk
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
6 tbs. margarine or shortening
1 beaten egg
1 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 cup ice water
Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine flour, dry milk, and sugar. Mix in margarine or shortening until mixture resembles cornmeal. Mix in egg. Add enough cold water so that the mixture forms a ball. Pat out dough 1/2" thick on an oiled cookie sheet. Cut with doggie biscuit cutter and remove scraps. Pat out scraps and cut with biscuit cutter as before. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Recipe #2
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup plus 1 tsp. corn oil
1/2 cup chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350F.
Blend flour, cornmeal, garlic and cheese. In a small bowl beat egg with 1/4-cup oil and broth (use rest of oil to oil cookie sheet). Blend liquids into the dry ingredients with a fork. On an unfloured board work dough just enough to form a ball. Roll to 1/3" thickness. Cut biscuits and place on an oiled cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ham & Green Noodle Bake

Ham & Green Noodle Bake

1 Medium Onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 tblsp Margarine or Butter
2 Tblsp Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Dry Mustard
1 3/4 cups Milk
2 cups cut-up, fully cooked, Ham
1/2 cup shredded Swiss Cheese (about 2 ounces)
4 ounces uncooked Spinach Egg Noodles
2 tblsp Grated Parmesan Cheese
Garnish; (optional)
Twist of Lemon
Celery Leaves

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees.
Cook & stir onion in Margarine, (or butter), until tender.
Blend in flour, salt, pepper, & dry mustard.
Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until bubbly; remove from heat.
Add milk; heat to boiling, stirring constantly.
Boil & stir 1 minute, then stir in ham & swiss cheese.

Cook noodles as directed on package; drain.
Alternate layers of noodles & sauce mixture in ungreased, 1 1/2 qt casserole dish, then sprinkle with parmesan cheese. *(I just mix it all together & use a 13x9x2 baking dish.)
Bake, uncovered, until bubbly & light brown, about 20 minutes.
Garnish with a twist of lemon & celery leaves if desired.
Makes 6 servings. About 260 calories per serving.

Had this in the freezer, made ahead. Thawed it out & dinner is done! One of Brian's favorites!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A long road..

Tha past 10 days have gone by in a kind of blur. One day seems pretty much the same as the day before. I have tons of nothing to do. I miss the kids, I miss driving, I miss sleeping in any position I want, I miss being able to do the simplest of tasks. And I have 4-5 more weeks to go! Even then, I will still be on restrictions, but alot of the daily tasks will be off the list. I am getting stronger day by day. Just taking a shower can wipe me out for a couple hours. I am trying to pace myself, but it is hard. I couldn't believe just cutting up some chicken put me in pain the other day. So I am being more careful. It is a long road, but I am walking it one step at a time!

Lobster, Crab, or Shrimp Bisque

From Paula Deen's The Lady & Son's Cookbook

I thought making bisque was going to be a big deal, one of those fussy recipes that takes alot of time. This was so easy & so very good! Brian likes texture to his soups so I didn't blend it at the end like she suggests. Sure to be a real crowd pleaser! Thanks to Brianne for bringing me fresh lobster from her trip to Maine. It doesn't make up for me not being able to go, but it sure makes being housebound easier to bear when there is Lobster Bisque to eat!

8 ounces of cooked crab, shrimp, or lobster meat
2 Tablespoons sherry, plus extra to taste
Pinch of thyme (I used dry, did fine)
3-4 green onions with tops, chopped
2 Tablespoons butter
One 10.5 oz can condensed tomato soup
1 soup can measure of milk
One 10.5 oz can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 soup can measure of heavy cream
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

Finely chop crab, shrimp, or lobster meat & marinate for 30 minutes in 2 tablespoons of Sherry & the pinch of thyme. Saute' the onions in 2 tablespoons butter until soft. Add the crab, shrimp, or lobster meat & cook over low heat for 3-5 minutes. In a seperate bowl, combine tomato soup with 1 soup can measure of milk, then blend in cream of mushroom soup & 1 soup can measure of heavy cream. Add the combined soup mixture to the saute' of onions & crab, shrimp, or lobster meat. Stir well, simmer for 3-5 minutes on low heat. Add more sherry to personal preference. (I didn't find it needed more for our taste.) Cool, then mix in blender until thick & smooth. To serve, reheat in double boiler. Garnish with fresh parsley & serve.
(I don't have a double boiler. I used a non-stick pan on very low heat to reheat & it was fine.)

Friday, May 15, 2009


I came home last night. Settling in today. Trying to rest, eat right, & drink lots of fluids. Very limited on what I can do, walking is enough exertion for me right now. I am not a huge pain pill person. I am taking one rather than the 2 they say I can take. It usually makes me feel loopy & sick if I take 2, so one works for now. They ended up having to do the full open abdominal procedure which is more painful & more restrictive recovery. It is what it is, at least it is over & I am on the mend.
Lisa Spradlin came by to visit & check on me today. It was good to see her. Terri & Dwight brought the kids over. It was really good to see them & get some hugs. Dwight rescued an earring I dropped down my sink drain this morning, & he tried to set up a camera & skype on my laptop so I can communicate with the kids more while they are at their house. Have to find the driver for the camera. I hadn't thought of that, great idea!
Had to go online & handle some paperwork for my horses so thought I would update here real quick as well. I get tired so easy, & the pain can come on strong when I sit up for too long. I am not superwoman, & trust me, I do not want to prolong this recovery at all! I will keep in touch when I can. Thanks for all your thoughts & prayers. ttfn

Monday, May 11, 2009

Surgery & Recovery..

I will be having a total abdominal hysterectomy today at 2:30. They are doing the open abdominal method instead of a laparoscopic method so I will be in the hospital a bit longer & my recovery will be a bit more restricted & extended than I had originally planned. But it is what it is so onward we go!
If all goes well, & I am sure it will, I should come home from the hospital on Thursday afternoon. I will try to keep in touch with everyone in the next day or so, depending on how I feel. I will have plenty of time to blog during my recovery, so I will catch up on things then.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Fun in the Sun

Today Brian & I took the kids to the Fernandina Shrimp Festival. We used to go as a family with the older 3 kids & then with Hunter when he came along.We haven't been able to climb over the hurdle of grief since Kierra died to all go together. I think Bri & I came last year. So this was a big step for Brian to go. It was a good day. As with everything we do with the kids that we used to do with the older ones, it was different, and we are different too. And sometimes that can be a good thing. It helps us make new memories, it helps soothe the pain that can come when we are reminded of what we have lost.
Memories like these;
Tristan gave us a new word..Whisbee. That is his version of frisbee. Even when we told him the correct way to say it, he stuck with Whisbee!
Alexa tends to be "in charge". When we were driving home she was heard saying "Boys, I am talking now, boys..I am talking!" (I thought for a moment she was channeling her mother!)
So it was a great day! And to finish it off I am going to see Wicked (the musical) with Brianne tonight. It is my un-mother's day gift from her. More memories to make!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Seeing Both Sides..

I talk alot about parenting, mostly because that is the focus of my life right now.. again.. still. But I have not always been a parent. Some younger people may think I don't know what it is like to have parents who don't understand. I do not speak of what I do not know.
I worked & went to school. I didn't do much else & didn't have a car. But I did have a boyfriend, one they didn't approve of. Most parents don't approve of anyone when their daughter is only 16 years old! I babysat my younger brother & sister because both my parents worked full time. I did the majority of house chores for the same reason. By the way.. we did not have a dishwasher, were not allowed to use the everything got hung on a clothesline, and although we lived in central Florida, we did not have central air conditioning. I was not allowed to have anyone over & I was not allowed to go to anyone else's house. Life was not fun & it was not easy. I moved out of my parent's house on my 17th birthday while they were at work. I left after several weeks of constant conflict & ultimatums.
It wasn't much more fun or any easier when I left their home & moved in with my boyfriend. I thought it would be, I thought I had all the answers. I had alot of hard lessons to learn & did not have my parents help or support to learn them. I didn't speak to them for several months. It changed our relationship forever.
I may not always agree with how my parents did things, or sometimes how they do things still. But they did the best they could with what they had. I always said I would never have so many kids. My mother had 7. I will have raised 6 including the twins. Never say never!
I love my parents, I am who I am because of them, good, bad & indifferent. All the parts of my life have molded me into the person I am today. Even the bad parts. I see things from a different perspective than I did on my 17th birthday. I thought alot about my struggles back then when I was making decisions about my children during the difficult teenage years. I could have shyed from what I felt we needed to do because I didn't want my children to suffer or struggle. But they had a part in those choices as well.
Life is a constant struggle, wether we are thriving or just surviving. I have 3 more children to raise up through those teenage years. Every child has been different, and I know these 3 will have their own challenges & obstacles to get through. I am not sure what those years will be like. I do know I will do the best I can for them, and for us. Whatever may come.