Sunday, August 07, 2011

Photographs & Memories

Alexa reminded me this week that there are things I cannot give them. True memories are something you have, not something someone can tell you. They know what we have told them of their mother. I don't have any way of knowing what they can truly remember of her themselves.
Alexa was Prom Queen at camp on Friday. They had a prom type dance & she brought a fancy dress to wear to it. When I picked her up she said she was the Prom Queen because she had the prettiest dress & everyone loved her.. just like Mommy Kierra. She loves looking at photos of her mother. She especially likes the ones from Brianne's wedding & Kie's prom pix from high school. I see so much of her in them. I try to give them my memories. I tell them about her childhood & how much she loved them. It is like telling them a story, a fairy tale. Sometimes it seems that way to me too. But mine always turns into a horror story. One with a very unhappy ending. I so want to shield them from that. From the grief of her death. I worry how they will comprehend that loss as they get older. I worry so much for their happiness. I will make every effort to bring her joy into their lives. To bring her laughter into my memories & stories of her. Her life was so much greater than her death. It is hard sometimes to remember that, to over ride the grief with the good memories we have. After almost 6 years of having her gone, the 24 years she was here seems to fade sometimes. I want it to burn bright, to shine above the rest. I know I will never foget her. I just don't always know how to help her children remember...

Monday, July 25, 2011

That is enough for me!

I was talking to someone tonight about why I am the person I am. That is such a huge thing to summarize in words. Everything & Everyone in my entire life prior to this moment made me who I am at this moment. Good, bad & indifferent. Who I am now includes lists of pros & cons. But that's a whole other blog post to think about! The main subject of tonight's conversation was why I help people/animals/organizations.. what's in it for me?
I tried to step back & really think about it. The first reactive response is "because it is the right thing to do". Well, duh! But what gave me the gauge to measure it by? How did I come to feel the need to help anyone/anything beyond my immediate family & friends? I have helped complete strangers on the street because I saw a need. I have saved difficult to deal with animals because I felt they needed to be saved. Why? Why bother?
The answer that my heart gave me was "because my Grammy would be proud of me". Because my Grammy did more than just tell me how to behave & the right things to do. She showed me with her generous heart & giving nature. She showed me with her actions what values & morals were. I have not always lived up to her expectations, but she loved me anyway. So I don't do things for repayment or even acknowledgement. I do them because I know it would make my Grammy proud.
My love for animals wasn't shared by my Grammy. She would tolerate them in our lives, but rarely in her house! My Nana was the spoiler of her pets. She would take in & feed anything & everything. And I brought plenty of things home when I spent summers & weekends at her house! Her friends had animals they spoiled too & I always felt all animals deserved to be loved & cared for like that. So the rescuer part of me likes to think my Nana is proud of me too!
I enjoyed thinking of both my grandmother's tonight. I love them dearly & miss them more than words can say. I hope I am living a life that would make them proud. I know they loved me no matter what.. & that is enough for me!

Friday, July 08, 2011

It's 3 am

It's 3am, do you know where your children are?

I wonder about Kierra & the whole "Heaven" thing. I obviously still have some faith left or I wouldn't bother to capitalize the word! She has seemed more "present" to me lately. I know part of that is because Brian & I were married 28 years ago on July 1st. I typed celebrated, then changed it. It still is not possible to celebrate a day that included her so completely that her absence now makes it painful to even think about. I love Brian. It was one of the most wonderful days of my life. I will cherish it always. I can not remember the joy of that day with him & Kierra without the grief stealing it away & replacing it with the pain of her death. I have tried all the well intentioned suggestions to remember the good.. & I do. I can not control that pain, I can not prevent it or I would. It is like a lightening strike. I know the storm is coming, but can't find shelter from the rain...

Brianne is home with her husband & infant son, Daniel. He will be 4 months old on the 9th. What a precious gift he is! Such a good natured boy.. most of the time! Brianne has been back to work for several weeks now & I have been watching Daniel. She came over tonight to help me with a project. She has grown into an awesome woman & such a good mommy. I am beyond proud of her! I wish for an easier life for her. I wish her the peace of good health & a happier life. I see a light in her eyes with Daniel that has been missing..

Chad is in Afghanistan. It is almost mid day for him while it is the middle of the night for me. We have communicated more since he deployed than we have in the entire year prior. I am grateful for that. I send him boxes of anything I can think of that he may want or need. At least the things I can fit in a box. Other things I can not give him & worry he will not have the peace of mind he needs to do his job safely there. I guess it is my job as his mother to worry..

Hunter will be getting up in a few hours for his last day of surf camp. I am going to watch him in the afternoon. I have missed him this week. I want him to have as many good memories as possible to balance out all the loss he has suffered in his 10 years & all the struggles he has ahead of him. I hope he is having sweet dreams..

Tristan & Alexa are all snug in their beds. They will be up early for day camp. I wonder constantly what Kierra would want for them. I see so much of her in them, yet they have such distinct personalities all their own. I could not have imagined 5 years ago what they would be like today. I can't think 5 years ahead to who they will be then..

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chicken Cheese Casserole

3-4 cups cooked chicken, chopped (I like a lot of chicken so I use 4 cups)
2 cups chopped baby asparagus, chopped (1 bunch, cut stalk down about 1/2 way)
2 cups baby Portabello Mushrooms, chopped (8oz pkg, I didn’t use stems)
2 tbls butter & 1 tbls olive oil
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
¼ cup onion, minced
½ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon dried Oregano
A pinch of black pepper
1 cup (8oz) Mozzarella cheese, grated
½ cup parmesan cheese (1/4 cup for sauce, ¼ cup for top)
1 cup ricotta cheese (I sometimes mix in a little mozzarella &/or parmesan with it for extra flavor)

In large sauté pan heat butter & olive oil, add chopped asparagus & mushrooms. Saute on Medium High heat for about 4 minutes., set aside with cooked chicken.

In large saucepan melt ¼ cup butter (1/2 stick). Add ¼ flour, garlic & salt. Whisk until smooth. Let cook for a minute or two until bubbly. Add chicken broth & milk to pan, stirring constantly for about 3-4 minutes until it starts to thicken. Then add onion, basil, oregano, pepper, ¼ cup of the parmesan cheese, & the mozzarella cheese. Stir until the cheese melts. Add chicken & vegetables to sauce. Stir well until everything is combined.

In a casserole dish (4 quart or 13 x 9 x 2) pour half of the mixture. Top with dollops of the ricotta cheese, try to distribute evenly but does not have to be perfect. Top with the rest of the chicken mixture. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of parmesan cheese on top.

Cook in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes until hot & bubbly. Let cool about 15 minutes before serving.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Moving on.. or not

I am working hard to help Hunter with his grief. He has so many rampant emotions that I want to help ease what I can for him. This Thursday would have been, should have been, Kierra's 30th birthday. We have done different things to commemorate/celebrate June 9th over the 5+ years since her death. I have gotten varying opinions from his therapist & mine on how best to ease the grief this day brings to us.
Hunter is affected quite differently than the twins. They have almost no memories of her. They were too young to have the emotional impact that Hunter has. I keep hearing that it gets easier over time, I am still waiting! Thursday is also the last day of school for the kiddos. The tentative game plan is to let Hunter stay home & have a Mom & Dad day. Tristan & Alexa don't want to miss their parties at school. I am glad they can enjoy the day. Kierra would want that for them too. I want to give Hunter the ability to enjoy the day in some way, although I want him to be able to acknowledge his sadness too.
My practical self thinks I am handling this all quite well. Yet my emotional self is rolling her eyes even as I type this. I have taken months to get the house in order after a betrayal of someone I thought was a dear friend. I got the bed back upstairs & put clean sheets on it. Kierra's fairy sheets & her purple & white quilt. Why those? Because it makes me feel close to her. It continues to include her as part of our home. That may seem silly to you, & at times even seems silly to me.. but it is what it is. The effects of grief can often make no sense at all. Our hearts over ride our minds more often than not.
I hear all about "moving on", but am not sure what that really means! I wake up every day & put one foot in front of the other. Most days are busy & I can claim them as good days. There are moments that still catch me. Things that bring on the rain & make my heart ache. My heart doesn't bleed as much as it used to, but I know the part of it that was ripped out when she died will never really heal. Moving forward may not be the same as moving on, but for now it's the best I can do!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Facebook Fiasco!

I went online today to update the status of a dog I am fostering. I got a message when I tried to sign onto my facebook that suprised me. My account as been disabled because it was reported that I am not who I say I am. I had to laugh because beyond the fact I use my real name, etc.. I am brutally honest about myself. I share alot about myself. Sometimes it is alot about nothing, other times it is more than most people want to know. So I find it ironic to be questioned about provng myself. I did the steps required, just have to wait for them to get to it. I look forward to finding out who did it. Once I am verified they will tell me who, when, what was reported etc. Obviously the person had nothing better to do & doesn't know me very well at all. Most likely someone I have aleady cut out of my life. Which will just confirm I was right to do so.
In the meantime I have a room to paint. Now that we have our home back to just our family we have been rearranging the rooms back to normal, cleaning & painting as I go. It feels good. For those who don't facebook.. I have a 2 year old neutered male Pug who needs a home ASAP. Contact me if you are interested!

Monday, February 28, 2011

The simple life..

I remember a time when life was so much simpler. I remember a time when distance made the heart grow fonder & so many things in life were free! Now gas prices are higher than ever before & the cost of living life in this day & age has an expensive pricetag emotionally & financially. A price too high at times.
I think back to when my older children were very young. We survived on alot less money than we have now, of course, we lived simpler then too. We have a home now after so many years of renting while Brian was in the Air Force. We have so much more now than we had back then. But is that really a good thing? Now with the failing economy, and all that goes with that, we struggle to survive.
I am considering going to school in the fall. I am thinking of going to Culinary School. I want to have a catering business or a small cafe at some point. Some education to back that up will help alot. It takes more than just liking to cook to make it a business. I keep thinking of what I could do that I would really enjoy doing. That is top of my list. I am not sure if that is a realistic goal or not. I think part of it is needing to take control of my life again rather than just navigating the rapids as I float down the river.
I am not sure there is a way to make our lives simpler, but I have to have hope it will get better.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

You never really know someone..

I wish I could get inside people's heads so I could figure out what the hell they are thinking! So I could make their brain work & help them understand that they just aren't getting what I am trying to do/say.
My hubby says I give too much, do too much. Maybe I do. He feels I don't get enough consideration/ appreciation for my time & trouble. There are times I don't. Getting something back isn't why I do it. I thought I was helping someone out of a bad situation. I thought they wanted a better life, a place of their own. But I am getting burned out. I don't have the energy to constantly make someone else feel better. I can't help someone who won't help themselves.
I wonder sometimes what it would be like to have dinner fixed for me once in a while. I wonder what it would be like to be invited out to do something I like to do & have them actually pay for a change. It isn't just about that, there is so much more. It is about simple consideration.
But it gets turned around & twisted. We don't care, we don't understand. We are pushing them out when they thought this was a "forever" situation. They hear what they want to hear & hear nothing else. It is hurtful to give so much, to care so much & have it thrown aside so callously. Like a child's temper tantrum when they throw & break their toys. If we didn't care we wouldn't have opened our home, rearranged our children & home to accomodate them.
Yet none of that counts, providing everything for them has meant nothing. To feel used up & thrown aside isn't new to me, it's just been a long time since I let someone get close enough to do that to me. To feel like I was a means to an end, to be drained and turned into the bad guy really sucks. I didn't think it would become such a negative situation.
It will be a very long time before I help someone again. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.. I have several routes to choose from!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

For Brian.. Jes Voux Aime' Beaucoup

I came accross one of many journals I have kept over the years. There were entries from when Brian was deployed with Desert Storm. I had to fly from England to St. Petersburg, FL with the 3 older kiddos who were 11, 8, & 6 at the time. It was a 16 hour series of flights. All I could think of despite all the traveling & chaos was "Brian will be at the other end." That was Oct. 25, 1992. Here are a couple short poems I wrote for him while we were on our way..

On wings of air I am carried to you,
floating amoung clouds so blue.

My pulse quickens, my heart's a flutter,
the words rush out, all in a stutter.

How to express something so deep,
to give you my heart & soul to keep.

You are my life, my precious lover,
come to me now, I want no other.


The ache..
so deep
so pure
It's physical

The need..
so great
so pure
It's physical

The love..
so strong
so pure
It's yours..

mjs 10/25/1992

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Don't Make Me Come Up There..

I remember like it was yesterday
Saying the things we always say
Laughs & giggles, time for bed
Hearing noises over my head

Don’t make me come up there
I’m counting to three
Don’t make me come up there
I will, you wait & see

You stomping up the stairs
Slamming doors without a care
Wishing you would lose that frown
Hoping you would settle down

Don’t make me come up there
I’m counting to three
Don’t make me come up there
I will, you wait & see

Watching you sprout your wings
Packing up all your things
Going out on your own
Living so far from home

Don’t make me come up there
I’m counting to three
Don’t make me come up there
I will, you wait & see

Wish you were still up in your room
Your life ended way too soon
I remember like it was yesterday
Heaven is just too far away

Don’t make me come up there
I’m counting to three
Don’t make me come up there
I will, you wait & see

Mjs 2/10/11

Monday, February 07, 2011

Corn Chowder

I am creating this recipe based on what I had available to make it today. I don't have a set recipe for this. You can use the basic recipe for this to make clam chowder or fish chowder instead of corn chowder.

*28 oz potatoes (sunrise medley with white, red, & purple potatoes)cut into small bite size pieces. (Can also use 6-8 regular potatoes, cut up)
*1/2 cup minced sweet onion
*8 strips bacon chopped up into small pieces

Boil above items in large pan (dutch oven works well) for about 30-45 minutes, until potatoes are cooked. Just cover with water, don't overfill.

*1 can of evaporated milk
*1 stick of butter
*1 can of whole kernel corn with water, do not drain
*2 cans of cream style corn
(if you don't have cream style corn you can use 3 whole kernel & add 1 pkg of instant potatoes to thicken the chowder)
*Use salt & pepper to taste. I use Morton's Nature's Seasoning which also has garlic in it.

Let simmer for 15-20 minutes.

You can tweek this to your own preferences. Sometimes I add green onion when ready to simmer it instead of regular onion at the beginning.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Life is a theatre..

Invite your Audience CAREFULLY!
Not everyone is emotionally healthy enough to have a front row seat in our lives. There are some people in our lives who are best loved at a distance. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you let go, or at least minimize your time with draining, negative, incompatible, pointless relationships & friendships.
Consider your current relationships. Pay attention who lifts & who leans, who encourages & who discourages, who is on a path of growth & who is going down fast. When you leave certain people, do you feel better or worse? Who is always at the center of drama?
Seek quality in those you keep close to you. Seek honorable people to surround yourself with. The more you seek growth, peace of mind, love & truth around you, the easier it will become for you to decide who gets to sit in the FRONT row of your life, and who should be moved to the balcony.
You cannot change the people around you, but you can change the people you are around!

I saw this in an old newspaper clipping taped to a wall today. I had to copy it down, had to save it to read, and then reread again. I am sharing it because I think now, more than ever I have to make some decisions about my life. How much I give of myself & how much I need to reevaluate who I give myself to. I can only help those who are willing to help themselves. I need to realize I can't make others think or make choices if they can't or won't think or choose for themselves. Then I need to stop beating myself up because I can't do more or fix everything for everyone. I have a rough road ahead the next few weeks. I need my emotional energy to heal myself, to recover & regain my strength. I cannot afford to be constantly drained. Now if I repeat that 100 times I might remember it!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Deer Beer Chili

1-2 lbs. ground venison

1-2 lbs. deer sausage (spicy is best!)

1 med. onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed or minced

2 green chilies, minced (if you aren't using spicy sausage meat)

1 tbsp. oil (I prefer olive oil)

1 beef bouillon cube (or 1 tsp granules)

3 tsp. cumin

1 tbsp. chili powder (2 if you aren't using the spicy sausage)

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

1 large can tomato sauce

1 large can beans, whatever your preference.

2 (12 oz.) cans diced tomatoes (I use the ones with garlic, basil & oregano, Hunts)

1 (12 oz.) can or bottle of beer ( I prefer to use Sam Adams Lager)

Brown ground deer meat and sausage in 1 tbsp oil. When almost done add onions, garlic (& green chiles).

Then add rest of ingredients. Simmer, covered for 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Simmer another 30 minutes without stirring. Can also be made in crockpot on low for 3-4 hours. Even better the next day! Great over rice.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Another New Year..

Last year was turbulent, moreso than most I guess. Alot of loss, news both bad & good. Changes both bad & good. I like to think it all balances out. I try not to keep a score card. I try not to think or dwell on the things I cannot change.
Met Chad's wife & her youngest son for Christmas. It was a good Holiday. I took the kiddos to North Carolina for a winter getaway, just me & them. ('sEscape/HemlocksEscape.html) Might be my new retreat since horse back riding isn't going to be something I can do much anymore. That was another big adjustment. I still have all three horses, but will be looking to place my boys.
Brianne is due March 14th. Blue is the color of the day! So happy for her & Justin. I have her baby shower coming up February 19th. Trying to get things set for that before my surgery this week, the 20th.
I worked for several months, but it was a small business with a wife who had too much time on her hands & not enough sanity. Glad to be out of that situation!
Hunter turned 10 December 22nd & the twins will be 7 on Feb. 4th. Spring will be here soon. I am looking forward to some renewal, some sunshine & flowers. So starts the beginning of another new year..

Slow Cooker Chicken- Creamy, & Easy

1 lb boneless chicken thighs
1-1.5 boneless chicken breast, cut in half
2 jars sun dried tomato alfredo sauce
2 pkgs fresh portobello mushrooms, sliced

2- 8oz pks cream cheese, cubed

Egg noodles or Rice to go with it.

Put the chicken in a 4 quart or larger slow cooker/crockpot. Pour 1 jar of sauce over the chicken, cover with all the fresh mushrooms, pour 2nd jar of sauce over everything. Cover & cook on low for 5-7 hours. Add the cubed cream cheese over the top for the last hour of cooking. When done, stir well & serve, Enjoy!