Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 in status updates

This is cool. It's called "A Year in Status" and it auto-generates a posting of status updates. Sadly, I have thousands upon thousands so it pulled from July through December. I made two because....well...I could. :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all of you out there who come by day after day to read what I write. As you know, 2010 wasn't the best of years for me so I am really pinning some serious hope that 2011 will be a kinder and gentler year for me with a generous mix of love, happiness, great health, friends, laughter, success and, of course, a rockin' awesome job that I will love and will pay well enough to keep things running at a good pace with room for extras (and will somehow compensate for the time the children will be in day care and not with me).

2010? You weren't so kind and gentle. You were harsh and unforgiving. You brought pain so deep in the past 12 months that I think it rivals the past 12 years. But, to be fair, you also brought to light the fact that I have some seriously amazing friends and even more amazing family. You taught me that I not only can be completely alone, I actually crave it. You showed me what things and treatment I absolutely will not put up with again and you showed me the good things I deserve and didn't have.

Oh yes. You broke my heart a few times. That goes without saying but in the the end I am still standing and to be quite honest, I had doubts several times along the year.

So here is to 2011. May the good outweigh the not good a million to one.

Enjoy the start to your New Year. The kids and I head north tomorrow morning and won't be back for a few days. the kids like to say......

See You Next Year! :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Has Left The Building

Without regret, I boxed up Christmas and put it all away. This is the earliest I have ever put away Christmas but I've had my fill and need it to go away from my day to day life. Yesterday I was stir crazy with wanting it away from me but the kids weren't ready yet so I left it alone.

Today though, out came the boxes and strapping tape and in no time at all, it was all out of sight. (I think I need to find a good place to buy discount office supplies though because I am out of strapping tape again. Where does it all go?)

I'm not sorry to see it go. It was a tough season for me in many, many ways and I am really hoping that 2011 will be kinder and gentler to me. I hope to see things come together for me and for the kids but more of all, I hope the year is filled with peace, joy, good friends, love and laughter.

Here's hoping the same for all of you.

New Couches

The couches in my house had seen better a long shot. I had taken to re-stitching the repairs I had already made over the years of dogs and kids being rough with the furniture. They were gross...and embarrassing and for the past year have, honestly, been taunting me. I have long dreamed of new couches but figured they were out of reach for a long while yet to come.

Then my birthday and Christmas and good friends came along and suddenly, I found myself being the owner of a new couch and love seat. And I love them!

Moving out the old and in the new took some serious strength, which I do not possess thanks to the damage to my spine and the resulting nerve damage. So Marlene and a son of her friend came to the rescue. I don't think they needed to read any testoripped reviews because their strength was pretty impressive. The old nasty couches were moved into the garage until a truck can be obtained to take them to the dump (They are that bad. Too yucky to even think about giving away for free.) and the new couches that make my heart sing, were moved in and set up.

The kids and I are VERY happy and I predict I will be finally spending time in the living room again (something I have avoided for most of the year). Maybe this is a really good step for taking control back in my life. A girl can hope.

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's Here

December 24th is here and, ready or not, here we go. The kids should be home from their overnight with Dakota soon and then it really begins. Maybe a Christmas movie watched together? Later this evening, Dakota and Vicki will be back for a Christmas Eve dinner, the tracking of Santa (thanks to the internet), the annual reading of the Night Before Christmas, the leaving out of Santa's treats...and the carrots for the reindeer, the chaos of Christmas Eve bedtime when two little ones will be too excited to settle down.

Then the adults will bring out their gifts for the kids and put them under the tree. Dakota and Vicki will return to their house and I will go to sleep so Santa can do his thing.

The kids, I'm sure, will be up and down all night wondering if it's time. Wondering if Santa really did come. I predict they will both end up in bed with me and there will be precious little sleep to be had.

Dakota and Vicki will come back at 6AM and we will free the kids from the back of the house so they can run to see what wishes have come true for them. I am looking forward to their excitement. Christmas is magical when you are little.....and I hope and pray the magic stays alive for them for a long, long, long time.

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone. May the love and joy of the next few days fill your heart and soul.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

We All Need Saving - Lyrics

It's Coming

Twas the night before the night before Christmas and Casey was in full denial that Santa would soon be there. How is it possible? I feel a little like the Grinch - wanting to hold it back, stop it from coming but, like the Grinch learned, Christmas comes anyway.

And so it shall.

I sat down and went through all the cards I received this year. Twenty-nine in all as of yesterday. Twenty-nine people sat down and thought about me and the kids when they addressed the envelope and signed the card. Hundreds of you a day come by here and each time, it's because you have thought about us...or are thinking of us. That's pretty amazing really. All of you thinking of us. And still....I feel alone and lost. How is that possible?

None the less, thank you. Thank you for thinking of me. I wish you all the very Merriest Christmas. I hope we all find peace and experience good will.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

You Asked For It.......

Peppermint Kisses

Step 1: Heat oven to 200 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with wax paper or parchment

Step 2: In a large bowl, combine 3 large egg whites and 3/4 cup sugar. Place bowl over a pot of gently simmering water, and whisk constantly until sugar dissolves and egg mixture feels warm to touch, about 5 minutes.

Step 3: Remove bowl from water bath. With mixer on high, beat until very still peaks form, about 6 minutes. (Which I've actually noticed takes 8-10 minutes).

Step 4: Spoon mixture into a large freezer weight bag fitted with a star tip (or cake decorating bag - that's what I use but warning: This step is MESSY!) and pipe kisses onto baking sheets. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Bake until crisp throughout, about 1 hour. To cool, leave in oven with door closed about 1 hour.

Makes approx. 4 dozen
And just in case you are wondering......I am still struggling to find some sense of peace. Thank goodness for my children.

Peppermint Kisses try to keep in line with Christmas' Past, I got up this morning determined to make Kelton's favorite Christmas treat, Peppermint Kisses. They aren't hard to make and took me three go arounds to get them right. I know the recipe by heart but my head is all over the place these days and I completely messed up. The first batch was a double batch which meant 6 eggs. When it wouldn't whip up correctly, I made a single batch (3 eggs). Half way through that mixing I realized that it wasn't whole was just supposed to be the egg WHITES. Holy cow.

Twelve eggs later.......the mix was perfect and I was ready to move to the next steps and I no longer wanted to use a kershaw blur on myself. Kidding. But still....I was close to the edge and thought that if I hadn't had two expectant little faces watching me, I would have ditched the whole project after the first disastrous results.

So...if you are lucky enough to eat one of these peppermint kisses, be incredibly grateful. This was almost the first time in 5 years I didn't make them.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Nugget of Wisdom

Dakota emailed this to me today. She in on the email list for this place but thought this was especially good to share. I thought so to. At least, it speaks to me.

"When you realize that every part of your life is working
to bring you closer to knowing your true nature more
completely, then life can only get better."
- from The Passion Test

Life is here for your joy.

When it seems tough, relax.

Let go.

Go within and gain clarity.

Your life is on the path of ever-increasing happiness . . .

If you will allow it to unfold.

Monday, December 20, 2010

“It has been said, 'time heals all wounds.' I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone.”

Rose F. Kennedy


This weekend I received an email from one of my readers which really shook me. It came in late Saturday night and I have to say, it kept me awake for a while. My heart was shattered for her. Last Thursday, her husband of 13 years killed himself. Apparently he had been living in a constant state of physical pain for the past 11 years and he finally reached his breaking point.

She wrote because she said she has been impressed with my strength over the past year and that she hopes to be half as strong while she goes through her own loss.

That stunned me. I starred at the words she had written and though "Strong? Me? What is she talking about? And her loss is so huge compared to mine." But then, as I sat there thinking some more, I could start to see the similarities. While I will in no way say they are the same, there is similarities in any big loss. But I still fail to understand where people see strength in me. I feel anything BUT strong.

I wonder if you installed hidden cameras in my house if you would still see strength in me. I doubt it. I still spin easily, I still cry often, I struggle daily to face the world as a single a person who has been rejected in one of the most personal ways imaginable. Damaged.

But then I can also see where I have finally found peace in being alone. Where I crave the silence and the peace so I can hear myself think. I have discovered that I need to take care of me and not just everyone around me. I'm finally on a list of own list.....but a list. I can buy things that make ME happy and not give a thought to whether someone else will like it...or judge me for my taste. I have discovered I like a different style of clothing and I no longer dress like "just a mom".

But's not all happy. The realization that I have no idea of who I really am hit me hard and without mercy on Friday when I went to the mall to pick up my last two gifts. I walked into the main mall which was bustling with moms and children. I was instantly aware of where I no longer fit. Something else that is forever gone. I am no longer a mom of young children. I no longer have someone to push in a stroller, to spend every moment of the day with. No permanent sidekick. The reality hit me so hard it took all I had to stay standing. The loss overwhelmed me.

I have lost so much in the past 12 months. The family I dreamed of and worked so hard to have, sacrificed so much for, the safety of being someones someone, my role with my children. I feel like I have been pulled under the water by a wave and I am scrambling for all I'm worth to find something solid to stand on but all there is shifting sand. I am working so hard to keep my head above the water and some moments, I am successful and others? Others not so much. And I will admit that sometimes I would be ok with the water winning. I'm not saying it's the right choice - I'm just saying I understand having a limit and being pushed beyond it.

Is that being strong? I don't know. But I do know this: I wish Linda strength as she travels the road of losing Mike. I wish her peace beyond measure as she faces this Christmas and every Christmas after because I know how hard it is to find peace in the holidays after having a loss you never imagined would happen.

Linda, I wish I could reach through and hug you. Please know you are in my thoughts. Feel free to email me any time. Maybe we can help hold each other up.

Jack the Elf

As you know from years gone by, Jack the Elf lives at our house from Thanksgiving to Christmas. He is like little hidden cameras (one of the best hidden cameras for the month of December) all over the place watching the kids and reporting back to Santa each and every night.

I'm not saying it's a perfect solution to the daily drama of childhood but it's a fun game to play. Jack hides in different places every day and does his own personal surveillance of their behavior and then goes to the North Pole every night to report to Santa. Kaylen asked if he had a tiny camera so that he could show Santa what they were doing. I had to say I didn't really know but maybe he does have a little nanny cam or something.

Yesterday when he kids came home, Kaylen stopped by to say hello to him. It was so cute. They wanted to know if he had moved over the weekend while they were gone. I said he did and that I think he was missing them.

Today, Santa's little spy is hiding on top of the entertainment center on the shoulder of a Santa decoration. I love when the kids spot him and yell out "I see him! I found Jack!"

Everyone should have an Elf on the Shelf in their house. It's such a fun tradition.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Read In Day

Today is Read In and Pajama Day at school and the kids were so excited. They both changed into the jammies they wanted to wear and loaded up their backpacks with books, stuffed friends and blankets. Kelton upped the ante by taking the beanbag chair. :)

They could not wait to get to school!

We arrived and the kids announced to everyone that it is my birthday and then, just for fun, told everyone how old I am. *sigh* I got the kids settled into their rooms and as I was starting to leave, the fire alarm sounded. Yikes. Kaylen's teacher and I looked around and quickly spotted the culprit: a toddler in his mothers arms pulled the alarm as they stood in the doorway to say goodbye to their kindergartner. The mom was horrified. I felt her pain - there but for the grace of God and all. The teacher took the kids outside and I walked over to the office to let them know where the pulled alarm was located. Needless to say, it was a blood pumping way to start the day. :)

I felt bad for all the kids standing in the field wearing nothing but their pajamas. Brrrrrrrrr. I'm sure most of the PJ clad teachers were wishing they were somewhere warm applying tanning lotions instead of shivering. I guess the silver lining is that the rain wasn't pouring down right then.

Oh - and here is something: Kaylen's teacher met me at the door yesterday to let me know that Kaylen had been rubbing her head and when asked, admitted she had a headache. Later, she complained of not being able to read the board from her seat. After asking some questions, the teacher moved her closer and she was able to see well enough. Necia, the teacher, said "I happen to have a 4pm appt Thursday with Dr. S and I can't keep it. I'll call and cancel and you call and grab it.

So - Kaylen is going to the eye doctor to get stronger lenses on Thursday. At least this pair lasted her 2 months instead of just 3 weeks. Poor girl. :(

That's about all from here today. It's bound to be a quiet day. The kids have early release but we have nothing planned other than hanging out and just being home together. And that is ok with me.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

I'm here

Nope. I haven't given up blogging. I just gave up on trying to find something to write about and, instead, chose to pull the covers over my head. Today is the first day I haven't had massive cobwebs filling my brain but just the same, I wasn't motivated to do too much. I did end up making an eye appointment for myself (Thanks to the Lion Club) since my vision is getting increasingly worse. I also vacuumed and swept not to mention dishes, laundry, etc. I'm not a total slug.....

Wednesday is my *gulp* birthday. I hope it passes quietly because every time I think about it, I get a "kick in the gut" feeling. December used to be my favorite month of the entire year but last year and this year I mostly just want to survive it and move on. Maybe some day it won't feel like this.

Judge me if you want but thinking about this month reminds me of the emotions I had when we were doing the funeral planning for my mom. Sure, there were moments of grins and giggles but mostly it was the kick in the gut feeling. I guess loss is loss though, you know?

I need to get off my behind and start working on wrapping the kids gifts and making sure I have everything in order for the big day. I was thinking I would get it done this week while they are at school but more and more I'm thinking I will spend my weekend taking care of everything. Pull into myself, be alone, watch something on TV and wrap gifts. During the Christmas break, the kids and I are going to not plan a lot besides looking at lights and making the Christmas goodies they like. I'm going to try to keep it fun for them without it being too much for me. A delicate balance to be sure.

Tonight is our first night of getting out to look at lights. They are very excited and I have to say, I'm looking forward to sharing it with them.

Fa La La La La

Monday, December 06, 2010

Brain Dump

I am finding myself really struggling mentally and emotionally right now. I mistakenly assumed that by the time the one year mark came and went, I'd be feeling better about my lot in life. Everyone said that the first year is the hardest and technically, I have started the second year so why isn't it coming together?

Did I expect a magical date to come and set all things in my world right? To make me suddenly happy and content more times than not? Maybe I did. Maybe I had my sights set so tightly on the year mark. But then....have I gotten to the year mark yet? Is there still hope for the magic bullet? Technically, Dakota didn't move out until January. Last December was it's own special hell for me and while this year isn't painful in the same way, it's still painful.

I close my eyes and take deep breathes often in order to try to keep my happy face on for the kids. They are excited because, it is after all, Christmas. I just want it over and done with. But then, I also want to freeze time right here.

It's very confusing to be in my head these days.

But anyway.....

The kids went shopping last week with Dakota to buy gifts for me. I've already taken the kids to get Vicki and Dakota gifts. It's no easy feat to come up with gift ideas the two kids can agree upon. Kaylen was determined they both needed jewelry and kept gravitating towards anything shiny. Her future partner is bound to have a jewelry loving girl on their hands. Thankfully right now, she doesn't know the difference between diamond and cubic zirconia engagement rings but I have feeling that once she is old enough, the will know every single gem out there. Anyway, I talked her out of jewelry and she finally settled on something else. (I can't say because I think they both read this.) Kelton made a great choice on his own.

I still need to take them out to find something for each other. That is harder than you think since I don't usually have one on one time with either of them. I'll have to be creative as to how I handle this.

I have a couple more things to pick up before I am completely done. I want to be done but because of the head games I play with myself, I'm having trouble just getting it done. Thankfully a friend of mine was kind enough to let me do about 6 hours of office work to make a little extra money to fill in the gift-gap. It felt really good to be productive and help someone get work done. And picking up some extra money didn't hurt either.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Paw Prints

Kaylen has been receiving paw prints at school almost daily. Paw prints are given out at school for positive behavior and once a week there is a drawing to see which student wins a prize. Kaylen will not put her paw prints in for the drawing (she says "I won't win anyway.") and instead brings them home.

When she first started getting them, they were few and far between and to encourage her do things on her own (which is one of the reasons she is getting them - bravery) I set up a special reward: on the day when she gets a paw print, she can sleep in my bed with me.

Well now. This week she has gotten a paw print every single day. Every. Single. Day.

I'm thrilled for her because it means she is really standing up to the challenges she faces every day at school but wow! A munchkin in my bed every night is a lot. Some nights, when she is particularly restless, I will move her back to her bed (which she seems to be ok with). I figure it's either that or I will need to start reaching for the sleeping pills to get some good sleep.

Is it wrong that I hope she doesn't get one today? Yeah, I know it is. Clearly I am going to need to come up with a new reward system. Though between you and me, most times it makes me happy to roll over and see her little sleeping face next to me. :)

Thursday, December 02, 2010

If You Are Only As Old As You Feel.....

...I must be 180 years old this week.

It's been an extremely rough week emotionally which equates to not enough sleep....or maybe that there just isn't enough hours to sleep. Last night I fell asleep putting the kids to bed and didn't get up until my alarm went off. Still - I crave more sleep. Sleep, I learned over the past year, is a great escape.

With all the sleep I try to get you wouldn't think I would need to read up on eye wrinkle cream reviews but you'd be wrong. On a good day, I still look like I have bags under my eyes. And my laugh lines? We really don't want to go there. :)

I'll be 46 in 13 days and today? Today I am feeling each and every one of those about 50 more.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


or lack thereof.

I'm exhausted these days. I've started taking all the vitamins again in the hopes that they will help. I sleep though probably not nearly enough as I need. I sneak in naps when I just can't function any longer. I take all my prescriptions as prescribed. I try to breathe and just take it moment by moment.

And yet I could use a miracle protein powder to boost my energy. Then maybe the floors would get attended to more frequently and the deeper cleaning would get done. As it is, I do what I need to do to skate by. I will actually Swiffer the dining room table when I can draw pictures in the layer of dust. The laundry and dishes are always caught up and beds are made every day.

But am I jumping up and down with an excess of energy? Hardly. My to do list seems daunting and it is, December 1st. As every mommy knows, this is a busy month. So here's hoping I have the energy to get it all done.