Sunday, November 29, 2009

More birth on my mind

I found this wonderful new blog.  THIS is the link.
I can't stop reading.  I know this kind of reading isn't for everyone but since, oh, about the year 2000 I've been oh so interested in all things birth.  One of my doula friends calls it the 'birth junkie' syndrome.  And now, as we're hoping our family gets to go through the birth thing again to add a family member, I especially enjoy it.  I just wanted to pass along the link for anyone interested.  It is a great collection of writings. Enjoy!

Happy Birthday Natalie!

Happy Birthday to Natalie!  We celebrated her birthday Saturday.  She is turning 8!  We had a fun day, she got to take Makaylyn, and 2 new friends Gracie and Sophi with her to the movie then eat pizza and have a couple of hours to play before her grandparents and cousins came over to share the silly caterpillar cake that the four girls decorated with very little help.  I had to excersice such self control to not just decorate it myself but to let them do it.  It turned out oh so charming!  I'm glad I let them have free creativity over the project!
I so wish I had had better luck with my camera!  The decorating would have been a good time to get on film!
After cake we headed into town for the parade of Lights.  It wasn't snowing or raining this year so it was actually enjoyable!
It has been so fun to watch Natalie change and grow the past couple of years into this stlylin' little girl that she is now.  I asked her a few questions to 'capture' her personality now.

Here is Natalie's Birthday Interview:
1. favorite color:  Green
2. best friend: Makaylyn
3. favorite food: cheese
4. favorite thing to do with friends: put makeup on and do hair
5. favorite thing to do with family: put makeup on and do hair and watch movies and ride horses
6. favorite movie: "twy ieght" ( I know we should tell her it is pronounced Twilight but maybe we'll wait a few months, it is too cute.)
7. If you could do anything you wanted all day what would you do?  Eat candy and do hair and makeup with Mak and my other best friend cousin.  (Her other best friend cousin is Sydney, Nat is just not great with names:)  And make crafts and cut out pictures.
8. What do you want to be when you grow up?  A grown up.
9. What boy do you have a crush on?  NONE!! NOT ANY!!! I only like my dad thats a boy to hang out with.  And Spencer.  And sometimes David.
10. What music do you like best? The Angel songs.  (Angel of the Morning, we have a bunch of different versions!  She loves loves loves them!)
11.  What is your birthday wish?  um, um, um, Not the candle one because it won't come true but the other one is to have a sleepover with Mak at Christmas.  And see my dad more.  And get a Webskins.

Happy Birthday Natlaie!  We so love you!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, Chipmunk!

As we're getting ready for Thanksgiving at John's parents house I've been asking the kids to tell me things they are thankful for.  And here we go...
John (yes, some days he counts as a kid), says he's thankful for his cup of coffee, I guess I'll have to wait until said coffee kicks in before things like healthy kids or his amazing fabulous wonderful wife pop into his head as things to give thanks for!
Natalie says, shes thankful for dogs.  Then I prompted for more and she added her mom, dad, sisters, Dena, brothers and hair.  She looks especially pretty today, she got herself ready for the day and before we knew it she was decorated with pink and purple hair and very very very blue eyeshadow.  Oh and she's dressed head to toe in leopard print.  She's stylin'.  I think perhaps I'll try to get the 'good' pictures of everyone Friday.
Samantha says there is nothing she's thankful for.  That she just isn't thankful for anything at all.  She does have a cold and I suspect she'd be thankful if she could breathe!
Tia says she is thankful for family and computers.

David says he's thankful for family and guns and video games. 

Later tonight after our wonderful day at John's parents house, Nat, Mak and I stopped at my parents house.  That is where one of my favorite things of the day happened.  Nat said she wanted water so my dad gets both of the girls cups down and is helping them fill them.  Nat peeks in the pantry and says "wow, thats a bunch of food you're storing!"  Mak looks in and says, "yep, they're storing it for winter!"  Then together both girls say "Like Chipmunks!!"   My parents couldn't stop laughing.  I love that to these funny 7 year old girls it is so logical that if you are storing food it must be for winter and it automatically makes you like chipmunks!

We had a great day with our family!  Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone we didn't get to spend the day with!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

His list of Thanks

I, as I am every time my kiddo goes with his dad for a holiday, was sad to see him go because it feels so not natural to be away from him on special occasions, but I know he'll be safe and loved and have a good time so it is ok.  Before he left today I was making breakfast and I asked him since tomorrow is Thanksgiving and all what he is thankful for.  Then I decided to write it down.  Here is the list he came up with in about a minute.
Mom, John, Dad, all my grandparents, my whole family, all my friends, especially Brock, our house, our dogs, playstation, shoes, steak, our lizard and turtle, clam chowder, our cars, my toys, oxygen to breathe, water, the earth, our heater, elk.
Pretty good list.  A window into the heart of my boy!  I love that randomly in the list, steak and clam chowder show up. 

Now I'm just waiting excitedly for John to get home with the rest of our kids!

Turkey Shoot!

The turkey shoot was such a fun time this year!  Spencer and his friend Brock both got to shoot at targets and clay pigeons.  They had a blast, Sean and Zach helped them.    We played bingo, got a couple of turkeys, spent time with friends, laughed and laughed. It was a great time! 
I really like the picture of Sean helping Cade "blow his hands warm".  Cade came running up yelling "Dad!  Help me blow my hands warm!  Help me blow!".  So cute!
The boys were super excited about shells from the guns.  I think we came home with a good million of them carried safely in little boys' pockets!  
After hearing we were going to a turkey shoot a couple of my friends were picturing something along the lines of a bunch of turkeys wandering around and a bunch of people with guns chasing them and shooting.  That wasn't quite how it went at all.  To avoid confusion, Corie thinks they should rename the event.  Here are some of the ideas we came up with for its new name:
Happy Fluffy Day
Happy Fun Day near Thanksgiving weekend
Fuzzy Warm Fuzzies with free turkeys dasy
A kind of Thanksgiving celebration, with bingo!
Happy Fluffy Bingo with a Turkey
(This list actually could go on and on, we were perhaps getting carried away).  I think Happy Fluffy Day is a good one.  I wonder if the Lion's Club will want to rename it when they hear that we'd let them use "Happy Fluffy Day". 

Friday, November 20, 2009


These are some of my very favorite pictures.  As you can see from the date stamp, they are from September 2005.  We were at Mirror Lake, taking the day to walk and explore and do a little trail hiking.   Magical mommy son moments.  I had my journal with me (not much a surprise since I have it with me almost at all times).  We had stopped so he could get a snack out of the backpack and rest a minute.  I pulled out my journal and pretty soon he wanted to write in it too.  This was when he was very interested in Godzilla and really starting to be an artist when it came to capturing Godzilla on paper.  This journal has pages and pages right in the middle of Godzilla, Space Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, Destroya, "kinkidorra":)  .
I love love love it.
These pictures are so soulful and catch the pondering.  I love them.  These days Spencer has a journal of his own.  He writes in it now and then but at this point it is still mainly me that sits down and letter style writes to him about what he did on this day or week of his childhood.  My mom did the same for me and it is something I treasure and love to read.  I hope Spencer feels the same way later when he looks back on it.
My grandmother wrote and recorded so many things from her life and from those of her kids, those writings are also things I count among my treasures. There is almost no describing the passion I have for my journal and for rereading them time after time.  How fun was it to read back on my high school journals about John years later after we were engaged?  Or reading now about my tiny baby? And all the other things contained in those books?  Wonderfully fun!   There have been times over the years when my privacy was violated and my journals were read without permission and the thought crossed my mind  to not write.  Then I realized that getting rid of untrustworthy people in life is a better way to go:)  I know this purposeful writing is something I'll keep doing. And then share happily.

I'm Thankful, #5 ~Friends!

I just found this great blog entry about a so much fun long weekend that I had in September.  Since she did such a great job, and has some great pictures, I'll let her tell the story.  Just click HERE and go see!

Another thing I'm so very thankful for, my WONDERFUL friends!  I do have such great friends.  I'm pretty good at choosing them I guess:)

Are friendships with  girlfriends something that boys understand? The reaction John has when I go over cell minutes talking to Emily makes me wonder.
But when I just NEED to go be with Emily, or Corie then I do and feel much better about the world. I feel revived.  We do things girls do, we talk, we talk we talk, about the good stuff, the bad stuff, the silly stuff, sad stuff.  And we laugh, mostly we laugh.  We support each other and cheer each other on.  We celebrate each others little victories, we go on tiny hour long vacations when needed.  We have inside jokes, we create together, we are sounding boards for each other.  My list could go on and on.

I feel that I've been lucky my whole life with good friends.  We were talking tonight at dinner about when your birthday falls making you the older, or younger kid in your school class.  My parents were talking about how my birthday fell on the deadline so I had to wait to start kindergarten and was one of the older in my class.  That made me think how lucky that one little thing was, if not for that I wouldn't have had Teresa, Erin or Candice to hang out with in my childhood days.  And how would have I gotten through those teenage years without Shanie, or Cari, or Kym or Patty?

I've met a few friends throughout the years that I'm sure I knew in a past life.  Soul mate friends.   I think it took less than an hour to feel that Emily, Mary Lynn, or Amy were GOOD friends (and I was right, our years and years of friendship say). And Carey, and Suzy.
And now, with sisters-in-law, I've discovered what a blessing it is to have friends that are sisters.  I would never have guessed  how funny making pancakes could be.  I have a sister, and love her, but our age difference was always such that we were in such different stages of life that we were only close for a little while.  These new found sisters of mine are wonderful, and it is almost like experiencing having sisters for the first time.

Also, I'm so happy and excited to be finding such fantastic fun girls to hang out with here where I live! Yay for new friends!Yay for new friends who make you lattes!!  Yay for new friends who you can just be yourself with like you were old friends!!

For all of the fantastic women in my life, I am thankful.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

12 Days of Junkie giveaway

Go enter this fun giveaway! You know you want to! You just may win. Or I will, either way, fun to be had by everyone!

Great photo and card deals! here to get 100 FREE Photo Prints:
100 Free* 4x6 Prints with promo code: prints - *Shipping Not Included
and enter coupon code prints at checkout ... you will have to pay shipping...but still...sweet!!

Also, Freebies 4 Mom has an exclusive deal for 50 Free Photo Cards,
be sure to check out her post HERE.

These deals are worth taking advantage of! I just wanted to share!

Thankfulmonies #5

As I'm listening to "Cool as Folk" on Yahoo radio, with my cup of tea I realize how great most of my mornings are. I am lucky enough to have a job that never starts before 9, or 10 and usually a little later than that. So I always have a bit of time in the morning to get things done around the house, relax with my cup of raspberry tea, which thanks to some great coupons has temporarily turned into vanilla raspberry chai tea (Coffeemate creamer has a great new flavor, vanilla chai, and the coupons made the bottle of creamer only $1). Anyway, as I was saying, music, tea, morning sunlight coming in all my windows, fuzzy socks, slow showers, time to get out and walk with the dogs, these are the things my mornings are made of after the bus comes. ~Before the bus comes is a little more hectic, if you've met my son you know he's only a morning kid on field trip days! I do love those mornings I can get him out of bed early enough to have a long conversation/breakfast!~

I do love these slow mornings of me time. It gives me time to gather myself and my thoughts and be ready to face the day.

I'm also thankful for how giving people are! Our 4H group's service project is off the ground running! We have received so many great donations that we can pass along to some deserving kids! The outcome is going to be far more than we expected and we are still collecting toys and books until the tenth of December. We are going to be able to do more for these kids than we thought. Wonderful! It is uplifting to see how 'good' people are and how much help they're willing to give to this good cause.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I'm Thankful, #4

In the spirit of being thankful and tying that to where we live....
I really am glad to live closer to both sets of parents/grandparents. It really is nice to be able to see them both at least weekly if not more. And to be able to be here to help with little projects that need done. Today we spent a little while over at my parents house fixing the roof up for winter. Then stopped over at John's parents house for about an hour to visit and see the kids. And we were still home before dinner. Fantastic. Being able to enjoy things like weekend dinners, having grandparents at school programs, getting to see everyone on a holiday. These things are the reasons we live here.

The photo above isn't recent, but its fun. It is Halloween early 80s style. Those adorable kids in costume are my brother Stanton and myself. With my dad. Spencer thinks this picture is CRAZY! He says he doesn't remember when Grandpa used to fix his hair like this. He only remembers when Grandpa fixed his hair gray. Priceless.

Christmas card givaway at Your Card Bakery!

There is a great giveaway at Your Card Bakery. Click HERE for the details. Today is the last day to enter so hurry!


Our 4-H kids made marshmallow suckers at their last meeting. I had nothing planned to "make" but luckily we were able to gather a few decorative ingredients and fashion a treat of some sort. It seemed to be a lot of fun for the kids.

Friday, November 13, 2009

New minutes! Yipee!

Today I'm simply thankful that it is the day that our minutes reset on our cell phones!
That means I can call Emily!! (Who I am also thankful to have in my life!)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Recession, I like you.

I have realized that I'm really thankful for the recession. It has forced my dad to slow down and consider retirement. I think otherwise he'd have still been working far too much and too hard. It was very much time for him to be able to retire and the economy right now has helped him make the decision to take steps toward that.

Now he has extra time for important things like grandpa-ing and fishing with Spencer. And building beautiful things that he wants to work on.

We love him and we love this extra time we get to spend with him now that he's at work less!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Free Holiday Recipe Guide, thanks Nicole!

Here is something fun I found here at Nicole's blog. (she always has fantastic things to find on her blog!)

Free Holiday Recipe Guide:

You can't beat free! Enjoy some fun holiday cooking!

I'm thankful, post 2

I know this is an unorthodox picture to add in a post about things I'm thankful for because obviously I'm not thankful that poor chicken lost its life one morning. But alas, I couldn't find the picture I wanted anywhere.

A couple of things to add today. I'm thankful for mornings like this. I am sitting here with my cup of raspberry tea (that is supposed to be good for the uterus, which is supposed to be a good place to grow a baby, which is what we hope to use mine for someday). Anyway, my hot tea, my Counting Crows playing on the speakers, the sun coming in through the window through the colorful leaves right outside said window, these 2 sleepy dogs at my feet, a boy safely on the bus headed to school and a couple of hours to spend as I please before it is time to get ready to head to work. Peaceful wonderful morning really. These moments I'm thankful for.

And, on to the picture. What I wanted to say today is that I'm thankful for John's job. And for my wonderful husband who goes to his job to take care of us. I have spent much of our time living here having a hard time adjusting, missing teaching at the massage school, missing friends and nieces, missing being so much busier with my work, missing movie theater choices, dreading the 8 month winter here, feeling a little isolated. I do have my moments that I really enjoy living here and I do have many reasons I know we need to be here right now. But aside from all of that I know I am thankful to be here, for John's job. We have seen so many close to us going through such difficult job losses and related hardships and I know it is just selfish for me to complain when I know we have a good thing going here. We are still able to contribute (very modestly) to a couple of important charities and causes and still take care of our kids (and dogs:), times aren't as easy as they once were financially but we can't complain. And I'm thankful. (using that word a lot aren't I?) ~This all makes me realize that I need to focus on things I feel positive about HERE where I live. There's a goal for me!~

So I know I have some pictures somewhere of my husband at work, or at the very least the 'cabin' he's working on right now, but couldn't find them. This picture is a shot of him right after a day of work. His commute to work and back killed the bird, for that not so thankful. John thought this was a great picture though and especially wants his brothers to see it. (did you hear that Liza, Jen, Donna? If your husbands haven't seen this then show them now).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bear River Park and more

In light of the Thanksgiving Holiday coming up we've decided to keep something like a "gratitude journal". I've been struggling here and there with "the blues" and my husband and my son have been struggling with being just grumps in general some days. The days are getting shorter and colder and it is taking its toll on us. I thought focusing on the blessings we've had in our lives would help us all, there have certainly been many.

I've decided to write a bit between now and the end of the month about things I've been thankful for in my life. My Thanksgiving Posts. In no chronological order and no significant order at all, just what is on my mind. I'm sure I'll also add updates from Spencer and John. Spencer wrote last night that he's thankful for Grandparents and Polix. He's a lucky boy, that kid. He has wonderful involved Grandparents. Oh, and a dog that is his shadow.

Anyway, this picture was taken years ago at Bear River Park in Evanston. I've really been missing that park lately. I've been thinking of the healing place that it was for me and how it became like a friend. So many memories there. I spent hours and hours and hours on those trails when Spencer was a baby, and more when he was older. At first I wore him in a sling or pushed him in a stroller. My wonderful friend Rose (who happened to be the mother of a childhood friend) was a large part of those walks. We'd meet there almost every evening and walk for at least an hour or more, sometimes taking turns carrying my baby. I think back to how theraputic that time was for me, the conversation, the sunset, the walking. I learned and grew so much. Other times Spencer would be in the little seat on Doug's bike and I'd be on mine and we'd go ride on those same trails. I never would be over being amazed that my baby could sleep in a bike seat (especially when the parts of the trails his dad liked best were not the nice paved ones you see in the picture).

Sometimes I'd sneak to the park alone to walk and think. Even these times, or perhaps especially these times, were so healing to me.

As Spencer grew and changed so did my relationship with this park. Soon it was the place I'd take my little boy for long walks and exploring bugs and throwing rocks. Many times I'd end up somehow having to push or carry a tricycle and a little boy back to our house.

It was a magical land for Spencer and so it became so for me. As he grew there were many conversations with my little boy and many adventures we had at that park. Add to that the wonderful and heartwrenching things that have taken me to the trails there and the friendships that park has housed for me, Happy laughing times with my great friend Chad; tearful-figuring things out times with my dear friend Amy; Spencer's first Birthday party with our little circle of friends that had become our Evanston family. Yes a magical place.

But more than just the park and times I've had there I'm also thankful for the years that those times mark. Being a kind of single mom. I say 'kind of' because Spencer's dad was always involved and supportive and we had wonderful family and friends, I really had a great support system and never had to "do it all alone". Still, I look back with happy memories of the years that it was just the 2 of us. Spencer and I against the world. It was the time of learning and growing. For both of us. I learned who I was, how to stand up for what I believed in, how to be a mother. What I learned suprised me. That I was capable of loving so recklessly and so fearlessly. That I could give so completely. That I was so strong. That my role as his mommy defined me, it was a role that fit, that I felt, and still feel, is the most important thing I can do and my favorite too.

I wouldn't trade what I have now, a home with John that is more often than not bursting at the seams with kids. But I do cherish the memories of times when it was just my little boy and me. In our tiny apartment with the Big yard and the Big tub, playing Bob the Builder and super heros. The laughing and dancing and reading stories, going on trips. Quiet evenings with hot chocolate and christmas lights. I wonder how much of these memories that I hold so dear will Spencer carry with him? Will he remember those nights as a baby and toddler being rocked or walked to sleep in my arms? The days of laughing and learning and exploring? The brief moment in time where his life revolved around me and mine around him? Probably not, but I do hope that even though not remembered it lends something great to the man he'll become. I know it has been a huge blessing in my life.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Then, Now, Tomorrow

"Don't waste your effort worrying about what you have not done.
Spend your time working on what you now can do.
It's amazing how much you can accomplish when your heart is in it.
Drop the doubts, self-criticisms, and anxieties, and positively put your heart into what you're doing.
Enjoy the delicious feeling of making real progress based on your own focused efforts.
Have fun watching yourself accomplish as you complete each task.
Taking effective, meaningful action will put you in a positive frame of mind.
And that will open the door to many great new possibilities.
Go beyond wondering about it, or thinking it through, or planning for it.
Just go ahead and get it done.
Choose your destiny and delight in the fulfilling effort that makes it happen.
You can do it, and now is when."

- Ralph Marston

(by the way, the internet lives at our house now so I may be a post-a-holic for a bit, bear with me! :)

Happy Halloween Party a couple of weeks ago

A little later than usual but here are the pictures from our Halloween party this year. We had it on the 24th of October. It was so much fun! The menu consisted of only Halloween themed foods and beverages, always a hit. The entertainment was mostly just visiting and laughing with friends, with a little Karaoke for good measure, because really what is an afternoon at our house without singing? Oh, and some "blowing stuff up with dry ice". We like to encourage young scientists. Not rednecks, scientists!

The treat of the afternoon was that the kids went downstairs and set up a spook alley for the adults to go through. Terrifying. Really. At least the clean up was.

The kiddos were a grim reaper, a dead bride, a glamorous witch and a zombie this year (skunk, em, mak and 'boomstick') . John and I were cave men, er- I mean cave people. I wish I'd gotten a picture of my dad, he came dad! The kids were so impressed with his costume and how it looked so much like what he wears everyday!