Sunday, December 28, 2008

Not so Merry Christmas

So far not so good with the Holidays.

Last Saturday, as Erich and I were finishing (or trying to finish) our Christmas shopping, we got the dreaded call. One of our children had gotten hurt and we needed to come right away. Rose called, she was on her way to the scene. All we knew was that Clay had cut his leg. That's it. Amazingly enough, it took us mere minutes to get out of the mall and through the mall traffic and make it to Degarmo park, where our son was. I called Rose on our way, when I was sure she had time to evalute the seriousness of the situation. She told me that she thought that Clay may need some stitches. We got there, and sure enough, Erich and I agreed stitches were in order. 11 to be exact. First (and I'm sure not last) skateboarding injury.

Fast forward to Christmas Eve. We made it the 2/3 of a mile to my in laws for dinner. We ate some hors d'oevres, and were just starting to get things on the table, when my mother in law announced that she needed butter. I told her we'd run home and grab some, since I had alot. Successful journey home, then, as we were crossing the intersection on a green light a white truck turned left in front of us, and just like the All State commercial, WHAM! We were in a serious car accident. No one was hurt, but the cars were totally disabled. We had to call 911, I was terrified. All I could think, this can't happen on Christmas Eve! We were only going 2/3 of a mile! Our Bronco (Thank God we were in the Bronco) was munched and possible totaled. Had we been in the Contour (our small car) I would have been seriously injured or even killed, we hit so hard, I haven't been in many car accidents in my life, and never one as bad as this one. It was terrifying. As I type this, I am experiencing the panic feeling in my chest. That feeling that won't go away. All of the what ifs...It's the most awful feeling. I have had no appetite for all of the wonderful holiday food. I have bruises on my hips. Bruises I look at and am so thankful I have. Had it not been for the seat belt and those bruises, I would be in either the hospital or worse yet...

I am so thankful that no one was seriously injured, bumps, bruises and the customary sore muscles, but all in all we both are OK. I got to celebrate the season with my children.

The shear fragility of life (even though no one was hurt) is so apparent to me right now. Seriously, we went to get a pound of butter 2/3 of a mile away. In less than 30 seconds everything could have been gone. I hugged my children tighter, I realized just how important each person in my life is. I have so taken for granted my parents, my children, my friends, the blink of an eye changed my whole world, for I do appreciate my family, my friends, all that I enjoy because of the glimpse I got of what could have been.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

I am gearing up for the drive home. I don't really want to drive tonight. I would much rather just be there, put my finger on the edge of my nose, and wham-o I'm there. But, no. I have to pack all of our stuff, shove it in the car, pile all five of the kids, two dogs and husband in two cars, listening to the kids fight about who rides with who, and then they will fight about who gets to sit in the front of whatever car they are riding in. Then, an hour and a half of the kids telling me that they have to go to the bathroom, and that they are bored, and "are we there yet". Woo hoo.
The last few days have been restful and relaxing. In spite of the fact that my parents get up at the crack of dawn, I have enjoyed myself. The kids have, for the most part, gotten along. I got to bake and make Thanksgiving dinner with my daughter. I also got to reconnect with a dear old friend.
Tonight, I will drive down the mountain, listening to the radio, turned up to drown out the volume of the fighting kids in the backseat, singing off key to the songs that I know, and the wrong words to the songs I think I know (but really don't), and changing the station when the songs I don't know come on. I will enjoy the last remnants of Thanksgiving, and then, I will walk into my messy house, with luggage, food and miscellaneous kids stuff. I will got to bed with a smile on my face, knowing that I thoroughly enjoyed my kids, my parents, and my friends. Tomorrow, the real world comes back. Work, housework, laundry, dishes, bills, all of the real world things that I have been able to avoid the last few days.
My daughter just came to me and asked me when we will leave. I guess it is time to end the vacation from my life, and return to the real world with all of its responsibilities, and with all of it's little joys.
I am so thankful for all that I have in my life. The material things, of course, but mostly all of the amazing people I have the privilege of having in my life.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

And now there are 5

OK, I know it's been forever and a year since I posted. I am so busy, and I got tired of dial up (that was/is our internet connection at home) and I feel it is unethical to blog at least for I haven't been on top of it in forever.
In light of the fact that tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I've been thinking about all I am thankful for.
I decided to get out of town for a few days, so I went to my parents' with my kids of course. My four biological children, and my "adopted" Mexican son (he always tells me that's what I'm supposed to call him). Now I have to explain...When we moved into our house 14 years ago, our neighbor two doors down had a baby a few months older than TJ. When Raul was about 18 months old, his family went to Mexico to help take care of a family members ranch. So, I didn't see him again until he was about 3. He was out riding his tricycle, and I was walking with Rose and TJ. Raul struck up a conversation with TJ, in Spanish, he'd only been back from Mexico for a few days. Fast forward a year or so. The boys were about 4 and they would play in the yard, and they were fast friends. Raul was speaking English now, so they could communicate. Raul was a fixture at our house all during the week. His little sister is 11 hours older than Clay. Over the years, he has spent untold hours at my house. A few years back, his parents got divorced, and this is when the "adoption" began. His mom got a full time job, and Raul was at my house more than he was at his own. He began to call me "Mom", and spent 5 out of 7 nights at our house. Now, he is a Freshman in high school, and is having difficulties with his dad, and his mom has moved to Hamilton City. He goes to Thanksgiving, Christmas, Family reunions, etc, with us. We had family pictures taken this summer, and Raul is part of our family. I love him like I bore him. He is a sweet boy, who has become an integral member of our family. He and TJ are best friends, but more than that, they are brothers. He is always telling people that he is my Mexican son. It confuses people, since TJ and Raul are built very similarly, and they are 8 months apart, and people who know me often wonder how I had a baby, with another father, in between TJ and Rose, since they are only 19 months apart, thus the Mexican son explanation.
I feel the same fierce protection for Raul, the Mother Bear instinct, that I feel for the children I have raised from birth. I watched him play football this year, and I worried about him, in the same manner I would my own son. It breaks my heart when my boy is hurt. When someone hurt his heart a few weeks ago, all I could do was hold him, cry for him, and experience that feeling I feel when any of my children are hurt. The fierce need to protect. He is my son. He is my son by choice.
I went to the Almond Bowl (Peanut Bowl for him, since he is a Freshman) and he was walking off of the field at the end of the game. He looked back and saw me sitting in the second row of the stands, and he blew me a kiss, made a heart with his hands, and pointed at me. My heart broke with the weight of love that I felt from this little boy whom I have watched grow into a remarkable teenager and whom I will watch grow into a remarkable man. He has told people he doesn't know what he would have done had he not been accepted into our family with open arms, I don't know what our family would be without him as a part of it.
So, there are pictures on my desk at work of my five children. My four biological children, and my adopted Mexican son. All five of them are blessings to me, and I can only hope that I have impacted and changed their lives as much as they daily impact and change my life. I am blessed, I am the mother of five children, whether they came in the "natural" way or in some other precious way, and each of them is a light in my life.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It's Been Awhile...

I know, I know, I know. It has been forever since I blogged. Life got too busy...That's all I have to say about that.

I am the proud mother of two, count them, two high schoolers. Wow. I don't even know what to write about that, except that I am extremely young to have any high schoolers!

The end of the school year has been hectic at best. I still love my job, even though it gets a bit crazy back there at the end of the year/getting ready for the beginning of the next school year!

I did sneak away for a few days last week. I went on a girls weekend at Fort Bragg. What a blast. I can't even start to tell all of the fun I had.

I am a prude. I have never smoked a cigarette, much less pot. I don't care what anyone else does, I just don't do it. There was quite a bit of that going on. I didn't know that pot can make people sleep really well, and snore really loudly. I HATE snoring. It really pisses me off. I feel rather cheated when I am sitting in bed wide awake, unable to catch even 1 Z, when someone is sleeping peacefully, yet loudly, just across the room. I must say it is one of the things that gets my goat. It really makes me angry, and just a tad grumpy.

On that note, the second night two of our 4 roommates came in at around 1 am, made tons of noise coming in, plopped onto their air mattress, which squeaked and moaned like nothing I have ever heard before, and then promptly trotted hand in hand off into sleepy land with Mr. Sandman. Shirley and I were wide awake at this point. Shirley is aware of my intolerance for snoring, fortunately she, like myself, is a non snorer. One of my darling toasted roommates snorted loud enough to wake the dead, I flopped over in the bed, then burst into gales of suppressed laughter, as I heard Shirley whisper "Oh, no, you didn't!" I laughed until I felt tears streaming down my face. After about 30 minutes of non stop snoring, I decided that I needed to go out of the room, before I did something I would regret. Shirley and I decided to go down to the beach (at 2:30 in the morning). Since there really wasn't much else we could do, if we didn't want to wake everyone.

We walked the two blocks to the pathway that overlooked the beach. We didn't have a flashlight, and were unsure of how high the tide would get, so we sat on the edge of the pathway, and watched the ocean in the moonlight. This was on Friday night, the night of lightning storms galore...there's another story there, but I digress...We watched lightning over the ocean, we listened to the quiet majesty of the ocean. The ocean noises are beautiful during the day, but seriously, heightened in the nighttime, when all of the world sleeps (and snores...). We talked and laughed and froze our living butts off. But, it was a time I will always remember and cherish, even though I was pissed that I wasn't getting to sleep.

We returned to our room at around 4 am, laid down and tried to doze until the sun came up and we could go back to the ocean. Which we did, when we were awakened from fitful sleep by yet more snoring.

Now, I have to tell you the lightning story...Each night that we were there, Shirley and I headed to the beach to watch the sunset. Friday night, we were heading to the beach to watch the sunset, and noticed a bit of lightning and thunder. No biggie. We got to the beach and were heading towards the ocean when I had the sensation of my forehead crawling. I thought there was a bug on my head, Shirley thought someone had slipped her some pot(OK, Shirley is a prude too...). We turned to look at each other to ask what was on our heads, and lo and behold, our hair was literally standing on end! We took pictures with our phones, if I knew how to download them, I would. It was a little scary, but magnificent at the same time. We watched the lightning from the beach, which I hear was rather risky of us, I guess you could say we walked on the wild side...

We were privy to sights that none of the others saw. We were down at the ocean at an unusually low tide on an atypical Fort Bragg morning. The sun was bright, the sky cloudless, we saw more starfish than we could keep track of. We walked forever and breathed the clean ocean air. We watched boats off the coast, we could see forever and felt so small next to the vastness of the ocean. Two mornings later, we walked in the opposite direction, and sat literally yards away from seals. Tons and tons of seals. The seals put on a little show for us in the ocean mere feet away from where we sat. To our left, on the beach about 100 feet away were 6 seals lying on the beach. I have been to the coast many times, but never in my life been as close to the wildlife as I was Sunday morning. We sat for an hour on the rocks, until our butts could stand (or sit) no more. We walked away a bit sad that we were heading home.

Monday morning, I woke up, my first thought was to walk the beach...oops, nope, I'm back home and back to reality.

I love the ocean. I feel so peaceful, rested and alive when I am at the coast. I'm fortunate that I live in a place where I can easily reach the ocean in a matter of hours. I wish I lived closer, but, I love where I live too. For other reasons, this is where my dear friends are, the people who have cared for me, the people who love me and want the best for me.

I'm getting a bit sappy, and I am tired from being back in the real world for the last two days...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Two Weeks Late...

Ha, not that! I'm just two weeks late in blogging. The ol' computer was down. Sorry, Tricia.

The last two weeks have been busy and full of life. That is the story of my life. The first week back from vacation was the quickest week of my life. Then the week following that was the slowest week. Then this last week was just you normal run of the mill busy week.

My C. He is the sweetest boy ever. And the most annoying. He whines. This is his new 11 1/2 year old trait. It is driving me to the brink of insanity. But, the child has a heart as big as the whole outdoors. At least when it comes to me.

Ever since he was a wee one he has always saved the last bite of something yummy for me. If he has ice cream, the last bite is for me. If he has a cookie, the last bite is for me. If he has a candy bar, the last bite, yep you guessed it, for me. I am thoroughly convinced that this child of mine will be the one to feed me in my old age when I am no longer able to feed myself. When I was pregnant with M, C would rub my belly, rub my back, and when I was in the bathtub would come in and pour water over my huge belly, and talk to me about what's important to a 3 year old. He is my love. He is my champion. If someone offends me, says something negative about me, or in any way is unkind to me, that person is forever an enemy to him. He will stand up for me until the end. He is also my child who has been blessed with a learning "disablity". Because of this, I in turn, have to be his champion. I have to advocate for him in the school system. I have to explain to him, that it is OK to be dyslexic. That it doesn't mean he is dumb.

I have tried to be honest with him about the difficulties involved with dyslexia, I have also tried to teach him that dyslexia is not an excuse for not trying. He will sometimes have to try harder than the average kid. A week ago I found out what a sweet boy I have. A friend of his has an older sister. She is in the 6th grade at one of the local junior highs. She is dyslexic also. She attended a special school to help her learn better how to cope with her challenge (I hate calling it a disability). She failed a spelling test, her teacher called her into class to ask her what was going on. She was devestated that she had to try to explain that she can't spell. That letters just don't go together in the "normal" way for her. She was understandably upset when she got into the car. C was there with his friend, and listened as the sister talked about how dumb she felt. C said, "Why don't you just tell your teacher that you can't spell? I have dyslexia, and I need extra help, so I just have to let the teacher know I can't spell. It doesn't mean you're stupid, it means you can't spell good." The mom called me and told me that it warmed her heart to hear my boy try to encourage someone dealing with some of the same issues. He is a good boy.

He is whining up a storm today. He went to a sleepover last night. I am frustrated with him to no end. I decided that tonight is the night I need to dwell on the positive about him. I know he's tired. I know he's 11 1/2. I know life stinks sometimes when you are 11/12. Just posting about the sweetness of him lifts a bit of the dark cloud I have put over him.

Sidenote: Tricia, I pinky swear that next Friday or Saturday, I will post.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Joy of Being the Mother of an Irish Dancer

My daughter is an Irish Step Dancer. She saw Riverdance when she was about 4 years old and decided she wanted to be an "Ilish dancer" (she didn't say her "r"s so well). Now, 11 years later she is a mere 1st place away from being eligible to audition for Riverdance when she becomes an adult.

Needless to say, St. Patrick's Day is a big day for her. She is in great demand. It began the Saturday before the big day and continued throughout Monday. Actually, it began on that Friday. She has yearly danced on or close to St. P's Day at our school's All School Sing since she began dancing when she was 8. So, basically, it's a tradition. I picked her up to dance and then I had to run her back to the high school. She's running track this year. She's running the 100 hurdles right now, and occasionally the 4 x 400 relay. She is doing well and enjoying it alot. She was invited to the invitational at Chico High. The only freshman. (Yes, I'm bragging a bit) She raced the 100 hurdles and placed 4th, with a time of 19 seconds. This time advanced her to the finals. Did I happen to mention that she was the only freshman? She didn't finish very well in the finals, her time was 21.5. She said that her rythm got off. This was her first real track meet. She participated in practice meet the Wednesday prior to the real meet. She really amazes me, and makes me so very proud.

She had to dance Saturday at the Shamrock Shuffle at Chico State. She had to be there at 8:30 am. She was and she was ready to dance. In spite of the fact that she had a nasty headache and was coming down with a cold or a sinus infection or something. She danced for 2 hours at the Shamrock Shuffle, for another hour at the Home and Garden Show, and then for another 30 minutes at Oakmont, a senior assisted living facility. She talked with the elderly residents, and charmed them all. Sunday, we had the day off, but not the evening. She had been invited to dance at the Chico Women's Club at a ceili (kaylee) they were throwing. She danced for 15 mintes and floated on air around the room. It nearly always brings tears to my eyes to watch her dance. I stand in awe to know that she is part of me, and that I had anything to do with creating such grace and beauty. Monday, we were up at the crack of dawn (4:45 am to be exact) to be on "Wake Up!" on channels 12 & 24. She had been invited to dance on the news! What an interesting, exciting experience that was. She and 2 other girls danced on TV. R was the designated speaker, so she got to talk too! We raced home and were home at 7 am, and at 9 am we were at another assisted living facility for her to dance. She danced at two other retirement homes that day, then packed her stuff up and with a fellow dancer went downtown and danced in front of Duffy's (her dance teacher was dancing inside the bar). She made $40 in 1 1/2 hours of dancing. She was exhausted.

I got to drive her all of the places she needed to go. Our relationship has improved greatly in the last 6 or so months. I love her so very much and daily I am reminded that my time with her in my home is growing so short. She is amazing, creative, beautiful, talented, humble, kind, and I still sometimes wonder where she really came from. I love each and every one of my children fiercely, and find wonderful things about them all.

I have promised myself, that I must blog at least once a week. I need to blog. It makes me find the wonderfulness of my life.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

San Francisco

Well, my 11 year old's class had a field trip to San Francisco and stayed on the Balculutha Thursday night. I took two days off of work to drive down and stay in a hotel room with some friends, while C worked on the ship and other parents were "tall sailors". I did not volunteer to be a tall sailor, I don't like being cold that much.

Thursday we were to be at school at 8 am. My children couldn't remember any of their stuff, so we were late! My truck was the hauling vehicle for all of the kids' stuff. We loaded it up and were out of the parking lot by 8:30. It was raining and miserable all the way down to SF. We made it in about 3 hours, the directions were wrong, they said to stay to the left, but then you had to take the right hand exit...fortunately, I know SF well enough, that we took the scenic route, and it only took us about 10 extra minutes.

We got the kids unloaded and onto the Eureka to get ready for their big day/night on the boat, and we headed off to park our cars and check into the hotel. My truck wouldn't fit into the parking garage. So, I parked on the street to wait for the others to park then we were going to check into our hotel, and begin our fun afternoon. The red battery light turned on in the truck. I called Erich and asked him about it. He said bad words, then said that the alternator was going out and I had to turn it off right now! I was parked in a passenger loading zone waiting for my friend to park her car. I tore off to the hotel and parked there, checked into the hotel, and headed back to the parking garage to meet my friends. I was stressed out beyond words, Erich was going to take a half day off and drive to SF to replace the alternator in the truck then drive back home. I made arrangements for the kids back in Chico, and tried to not stress out too badly.

Let me take you on a side road for a minute. EVERY CAR WE HAVE EVER OWNED HAS BROKEN DOWN ON ME!!! I was feeling a bit sorry for myself and very concerned that Erich would be majorly pissed off about having to come fix the truck.

He made it to SF by 5:30 that evening. Replaced the alternator in 1/2 hour, and headed back to Chico at 6 pm. He was the hero. He does have his good qualities (I'm trying). Then the fun began.

We walked all over the Wharf and went to a cute Irish pub for dinner and some beer. We drank too much and had a lot of fun. We walked back to the hotel, and met some Australian men, who were rather funny, and tried to follow us to our room, we got in trouble from security for making too much noise. All in all, we had a really good time.

Friday, we picked the sleepy, wet, starving sailors up and headed to In -n- Out and then back to home sweet home. C and I got home at about 4:15. He wanted a bath, so I stuck him in the tub, left T with him, and ran out to pick up M. When I got home at about 4:45, C was sitting on the chair, practically drooling on his own lap, exhausted. I took him to bed.

Erich and I had tickets to a benefit dinner for Larry Juanarena, a local restraunt owner who is terminally ill, so I had to hurry up and get ready, Erich came home and we rushed out for that.

Long story short, C slept for 15 hours! I don't think I have ever seen that child sleep that many hours consecutively ever! He woke up and seemed quite refreshed.

This goes to show, that my life can never be all that easy. It always has to have a monkey wrench thrown in.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Hit me With Another Round of Antibiotics!

Mid January the flu hit my house. Our 7 year old was hit first and hard. He was throwing up and had a fever of 103.7. He was sick sick sick for four days. Finally, the fever broke and he seemed to feel better. He went back to school Monday, kicking, fighting and screaming all of the way. He sat in the office for thirty minutes, until one of the aides convinced him to go to class. Then Tuesday, he sat in the office (after throwing fits) for 1 hour until the principal got there. Then, Wednesday, he refused to leave the parking lot. I decided to walk him to class, after he landed a couple good swift kicks to my left shin, my good friend Trish grabbed him, and I took the babies and the two Funny Frogs and went to my office. After she held onto him for about a half an hour he went to class. Repeat performance on Thursday. We tried bribes, threats the works. Nothing seemed to work. Finally, Thursday he told us that a boy he sits next to was calling him stupid. We took care of that. Friday, he went reluctantly but without any major fights.

Begin the week again on Monday, again tears and screaming and kicking, I dragged him to class not once, not twice, not three times, but four times. He kept saying he had to go to the bathroom, and refusing to go back to class.

He was coughing almost uncontrollably, every time he moved. I decided to take him to the dr. Monday night. Sure enough, he had an ear infection and bronchitis again. Tuesday he was home from school, and started a round of antibiotics. Wednesday we had another hard day. But, then Thursday, exactly 48 hours after beginning antibiotics, he miraculously was cured of his tantrum throwing ways.

So, in case any body else wanted it, I got bad mom of the year award for the weeks of Jan 28 through Feb 7. I know I really wasn't being a bad mom, but it kinda makes ya feel bad when your baby has been feeling sick (even though he wasn't expressing those feelings with words) for about two weeks and I've been dragging a sick child to school. He wasn't feverish, just coughing. Sigh. I guess he needs something to talk about in therapy.

I don't know what I would have done without Trish though! She was a lifesaver. Becasue, she could step in and be calm, and not angry, no power struggles, just relief for me.

I came down with "The Cold" over this last weekend. I felt awful and spent the better part of two days in my bed. But, I am feeling much better now. Moms aren't supposed to be sick for too terribly long, ya know. Besides, who would drag me to work kicking and screaming? Trish?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

My Pants Don't Fit and Other Random Thoughts

After 3 months of a desk job, I can't seem to button my jeans. Well, I guess I can button them, they just don't button easily. I vowed to eat better, and walk everyday, and try to get healthier...but it started to rain...and wind...and, I decided to wait to walk, and I might as well eat...

This is the heartbreaker. My son T. Sunday night, he was trying to find what he was going to wear to school. He went into his room, and didn't come out for awhile, so I walked in to check on him. He was sitting dejectedly in the middle of the floor of his room. I asked him what was wrong, and he said, "Mom, I'm tired of being fat. I'm tired of being reminded by other people every day that I am fat. I know I'm overweight, why do people have to remind me?" Talk about breaking a mother's heart. I didn't really know what to say. I know (as most other mothers do) that he will grow into his bulk as he hits puberty. That's what his uncles did, he takes after them. But, I also know that those are empty meaningless words to a 13year old boy who feels fat. I told him that we could start to walk and eat right and that would help, but, he just had to wait until he started to grow. We went for a walk early Monday morning and had some really nice mom & son time. He told me about a day during break, when he went to the skate park with a friend and his dad. T was getting ready to drop into the bowl to skate, and some lady that was there, told him that he was too fat to skate it. I think I felt a little homicidal. I can't believe anyone would feel it's OK to say that to any other person. That takes guts.

I tend to be a bit of a Mama Bear. I get fiercely protective of my babies. I try to remain somewhat objective, in most cases. But, something like that just boils my blood.

On a different tangent, my daughter's friend is still without power. I talked to her dad, who is mightily ticked I might add, and he said that PG&E told him that they don't know when his power will be restored. They have lost all of the food in their refrigerator. All of it. A is staying with a friend for the night, so that she can dry her hair after she takes her shower. S & J are showering at the gym! This is insane. To say the least.

Well, homework is beckoning. Three boys with homework homework homework.