Tuesday, August 08, 2017

A Little "Me" Time and Other Lies I Tell Myself

Nickel and I both work outside the home and the children are often left to their own devices. And by devices I mean iPhone or tablets. Often upon arriving at home of the evening I spend anywhere from 15-45 minutes listening to Peanut or TheBoyWhoDidNotTalk(much) tell me all about the day. Sometimes Peanut is at work by the time I get home.o

After dinner tonight, I went to my bedroom to soak up some quiet time. Within a couple of minutes here came Peanut flopping on the bed beside me and started talking. Twenty minutes on probably only four breaths later TheBoyWhoDidNotTalk(much) wondered into my room waving a weapon he had crafted using colorful straws and a lot of tape. It reminded me of something that might appear in a Dr. Seuss book to be honest. I thought for sure he was going to poke his sister with it but he was a good boy and refrained himself. We discussed the quantity of straws used to make this giant gun/stick/thingymabob and tape. "Hey! If you leave tape just laying on the floor I'm going to use it!" he yelled in his defense. Well, he did make a good point there.

The rest of the night passed in the regular ebb and flow of a middle income family of four living quietly in the heart of the second largest city in the state. Before going to bed Peanut attempted to retrieve her phone charger next to the chair we lovingly call her nest when all of a sudden she cries out, "Ow! I didn't see that pillow until it was poking me in the eye." We laughed for a good five minutes over the irony of that statement.

I dearly love my family. I love that we can laugh together and at each other. I hope we always stay this way.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

One Week To Live

I haven't had nearly enough coffee this morning but here is my random musing for the day. Did you know that the average lifespan of a gnat is 7 days. That's it, one week to be born, go through the awkward stage, graduate high school, find a honey and die.

That's gotta be some pick-up line though, "Hey baby, I only 72 hours to live, want to hook up?"

What do you think the gnat that lives to 10 days says to their grandchildren? "When I was your age, last week, I flew around a banana for two hours. People were clapping and cheering all around me. Oh, those were the days."

Seriously, I need to go find some coffee. Have a lovely day.

Friday, July 28, 2017

12th Anniversary

On July 30, 2005 I published the very first entry on this blog. For several years I faithfully chronicled my thoughts, happenings and life in general. Around 2008 Facebook appeared on the scene and I was able to get more reactions in less time. As years past this blog received less and less of my attention, but still I kept for one reason or another. I love looking back at the stories I used to tell about Peanut, my daughter who is about to start her senior year in high school if you can believe it! These memories would have been forgotten had I not written them down.

I cannot say the same about TheBoyWhoDidNotTalk(much), but my memories of him are on Facebook, not as easily accessible. I should find a way to retrieve them. Memories are important. You never know when the deep desire to look back will overtake you. 

So on this, the eve (or close enough) of my anniversary, I renew my commitment to the blog. In a sort. There will be no promises to write my thoughts down often. I wish I could say that I will write every morning between 8 and 9 am, but that's silly for I do not know what tomorrow will bring. However, I renew my commitment to not delete this blog. As long as blogger exists, I will maintain this blog and from time to time I will write down my musings. 

An update on life-

Nickel is still my one and only. He and I recently celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. While in some aspects it feels as though only a few moments have passed in other aspects it feels as though we've spent three lifetimes together. One thing I know for sure, my love for him is deeper than it has ever been. Our marriage is a true partnership. We share responsibilities and I never feel like I'm going through life alone. My hope is that my children will someday find that person who makes them feel the same.

Peanut, as I mentioned is a senior in high school. She is both looking forward to it and dreading it. More than anything she despises hearing the "so, where are you going to go to college and what will you major in" question that EVERYONE feels compelled to ask. She knows it's a normal question for people her age but she's feeling a bit overwhelmed. Nickel and I try not to bombard her with our thoughts on subject, but she knows we would prefer she go to the college that costs the least. 

TheBoyWhoDidNotTalk(much) is going into third grade and he never stops talking. He still is difficult to understand at times, but through Speech Therapy has improved leaps and bounds. He recently celebrated his ninth birthday. When I asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday he said, "go to a museum." So, along with his favorite cousin GrahamCracker and my SIL we went to the Tulsa Air and Space Museum. The boys had a blast. They got to get inside airplanes, launch a space shuttle, fly a hot air balloon, and so much more.

Ecclesiastes 3: To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Donuts?

This morning I told my children I was leaving for that place I have to go to every day.

TheBoyWhoDidNotTalk(much) said, "The donut store?"

Um, I wish. Poor kid he really wants a donut.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Recovery Day Six

These daily updates are coming to a close as it is looking very good for a departure from the hospital sometimes tomorrow. The surgeon went ahead and skipped the clear diet and let him have real food for which he was very appreciative. 

He visited the playroom a couple of times today. Grandma brought by this monkey that he insists is a bear because it has a bear face- which I can totally see. Then this evening my friend Krystan brought George a very special gift- his own Superman cape and we got to see him smile!! 

I am exhausted but so very thankful to see my boy on the mend. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Until Death Do They Part

Pardon the seriously poor quality of this picture. The point is not the picture but that are people across the street from the hospital. These people started lining up on the sidewalk across the street from the hospital about 30 minutes ago so I went to the nurse's station to investigate. Apparently there is a gentleman upstairs in ICU who received some bad news and he and his girlfriend decided to get married. Today! All these people couldn't go to the wedding so in support they're here outside the window. I assume from the way they were bent over various devices someone was posting a live feed. I hope they're able to find happiness for as many days as they're given together.

*This blog entry was created on 7/28/17 based on Facebook memories. It has been located here to help me remember the truly important events in life. The gentleman, I later learned, was 18 years old. He had beat cancer 6 times but it came back for a 7th and that was more than his body could handle. He died 9/23/16, less than two months after marrying his high school sweet heart. Life is fleeting, life is precious. Take advantage of today because tomorrow is not guaranteed for anyone. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Recovery Day 3

Checking out the medal flower garden on our morning walk
Recovery Day 3: What a difference a day makes. Thanks to a lot of answered prayers and advances in modern medicine TheBoyWhoDidNotTalk(much) is starting to feel more like himself. Today they removed the IV from his hand (he didn't need it now thanks to the picc line) and the drainage tube. There is talk that we will probably lose the tube hanging out his nose this weekend and reintroduce food. We might even get a sponge bath tomorrow as his bedhead is getting out of control!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Voices From the Backseat

No, I'm not going crazy. Well, no more so than normal. Tonight TheBoyWhoDidNotTalk(much) and I picked up cousin Graham Cracker and headed to the local splash pad. These two are the best of friends and have been since they were knee high to grasshopper. Look at these faces from about seven years ago.
New Wheels
Some things they don't share.

Playing with Lane's kitchen

Look at these innocent faces!

 On the way to the Splash Pad TheBoyWhoDidNotTalk(much) told Graham Cracker about how we went to play at a nearby lake the day before. "Oh man! You got to go to the lake?" Graham Cracker exclaimed. "All I did yesterday is sit. I don't know what else I did. I'm really good at forgetting."

We all have to be good at something kiddo.

The boys of course had a blast. One woman there with her twin granddaughters asked if mine were twins too. Twin cousins perhaps, though their features are very different. At almost eight they're still about the same height, same size, same coloring, even similar hair color.
After shutting down the splash pad we got back in the car to head back to G's house.  Along the way the boys were discussing their favorite subjects in school which are P.E. and Art, of course. They're the easiest according to both boys. Neither of them are as fond of Music as the other "easy" classes. "But if they had more harmonica in Music, I'd like it more," G announced. "One day, I picked up a harmonica, put it to my lips and blew. And what do you know, I can play that harmonica good. I just know how to do stuff like that, you know?"

Then the subject moved on to TheBoy's 10 hologram dogs. What I love about these boys is how easy they get along. They don't argue and say the other can't be right about whatever he just said, they just accept that their friend would never tell them anything false. They don't try to out do each other with the I-Can-Top-That stories. TheBoy just starts talking about hologram dogs and G asks him how many are in the car now, because obviously that is a possibility, right?

Pure. Easy-Going. Innocent. Those three words describe these boys and I hope with all my heart they never lose those qualities. I pray they will always be the best of friends and depend on and watch out for each other.



Tuesday, May 24, 2016

We're Not Doing Community Service...well not THAT kind of community service

One of the really cool things about my new job in the Big City is how much my employer encourages giving back to the community. Annually, millions of dollars are pour back into the community for education, healthcare, food distribution programs, and road repairs. Along with those things at any given time employees can participate in raising money for charities, attending blood drives, and clean up adopted highways and parks.

Yesterday our whole team went to my hometown where we cleaned out flowerbeds, planted flowers, mulched, and other tasks at one of the local museums. After lunch we headed downtown where we set out as teams to pull the largest weeds, spray all the other weeds coming up in cracks near store fronts, along the sidewalk, and near seating areas. We swept up trash- mostly cigarette butts. My team for this part of the adventure consisted of two of my closest work friends. Along the way one store owner came out of her shop to ask where we were from to thank us for what we were doing. We spent a few moments visiting with her then proceeded with our task. After we completed our hot task we met up with other members of our team. Their experience wasn't quite the same as ours, as they cleaned near a law office a gentleman came to the door, and quietly locked it! Guess he thought we were doing that other community service. HA!
 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Goodbye School Year, Hello Summer


What a difference a year makes! Twelve months ago we were in the process of saying goodbye to our life on the Plains as we anticipated our move to Big City. Peanut and TheBoyWhoDidNotTalk(much) were preparing to leave the only place they had ever called home. Early in June I shipped the children off to The Land of Dial-up where they spent a couple of weeks with my parents and attended church camp. On our sixteenth anniversary, Nickel and I packed up the last of our belonging and headed East. We had friends and family to help us move, thank goodness.

When school time came around, I knew the kids would adapt, with time. TheBoyWhoDidNotTalk(much) had some major anxiety. I don't blame him he would go to a building he didn't know the layout, sit in a class with total strangers, get on a bus driven by a stranger with other strangers to learn a sport (Karate) of which he knew nothing! Poor kid, it was overwhelming. For months when I asked him about his day he would say "boring" because he didn't know how else to describe his loneliness. Slowly he made friends soon it was Ricardo this, Jack that, Evie, Seven, and many other names. Finally, this boy had friends. His teacher, who was very concerned about his beginning test scores started to notice the change in him as well, and the blasted test scores came up.

Peanut was very excited to move. She wanted the chance to reinvent herself and make new friends. Things didn't happen quite as she anticipated. Classes were much more difficult in Big City than the Plains. Then drama happened. The class I mean. She had a nice camera and without planning it, she became the unofficial drama department photographer. She made a few friends then added a few more. She got her driver's permit. She started a job. She started exploring her independence.

This year has been full of change, but these kiddos have triumphed, and I couldn't be more proud.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Begin As You Mean To Go On

“Begin as you mean to go on, and go on as you began, and let the Lord be all in all to you.”― Charles Haddon Spurgeon, All of Grace

I don't know where I first heard this saying, but it is stuck in my mind and plays on repeat almost daily. Begin as you mean to go on. 

Peanut is now at the ripe old age of sixteen. She has her driver's permit. She has a job, a checking account, and a debit card. Begin as you mean to go on.

I'm a pretty mean mom. I've instructed Peanut that she will put the first half of her paycheck into savings. Doing this will teach her to pay herself first and create a habit of saving money. I've also told her she needs to have 5k in her savings before she can move out. WHAT?! You may say, is that even feasible? Well, at the rate she's making money she can easily put $100 into her savings account each paycheck, biweekly. That would be about $2600 a year. She has two more years left in school so yeah, I think 5k is possible. As anyone who has ever moved, you know how expensive it can be. There are furnishings to buy, deposits to pay, and groceries to buy and rent to pay for the first time. Hopefully, when that day comes she'll already be in the habit of setting aside part of each check and will manage bills. Begin as you mean to go on.

With the other half of her paycheck, she has to pay her bills. Using 25% of her total paycheck, up to $200 a month she pays me back for the bills I pay on her behalf. She recently upgraded her phone, and though I pay for the line, she has to make the monthly installment. Her car, which is my old car, isn't quite paid for yet, so she helps to make that payment. I say she pays up to $200 a month but she doesn't earn that much money, that's just what her phone and car cost her parents each month. If by some crazy turn of events, she earns more than $800 a month she would get to keep that extra money. Perhaps this is incentive to work more? Begin as you mean to go on.

The final quarter of her paycheck is hers. All hers and she may do with it whatever teenagers do with money. Buy crap. Get her hair colored. Buy her mom coffee. Her little splurges. She's learning that that money goes fast. Begin as you mean to go on.

My parents didn't teach me about money, saving, or budgeting. I'm not blaming them for my money mistakes. I think it just didn't occur to them. As far as I know they didn't have a budget, and we were so poor I doubt they had much in the way of savings for many years. I did see my mom balance the checkbook, and she gave me the first lesson in reconciliation, but it ended there. For Peanut, though, I see these financial lessons as training wheels for life. I know there will come a time when she forgets to write a transaction down, and it will start a little domino effect. It has happened to us all. And of course, we're always here to help her pick up the pieces. Begin as you mean to go on.

And just to show you how mean I am, I've put a hold on this book at our local library and am going to insist she read a chapter a day this summer and then we'll discuss what she learns. Oh, the torture! 

While I'm not sure everything in this book will be applicable, it will introduce her to a whole new world of money. She will learn what a 401(k) is, perhaps ways to avoid the credit card debt so many young people find themselves in, and how to set and achieve financial goals.  Begin as you mean to go on.

And if all goes well, we'll do this again in 8 years when TheBoyWhoDidNotTalk(much) is in a similar situation. Begin as you mean to go on.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Crab Legs Are No Longer On The Menu

*Note: this blog was actually published on 7/28/17 in an effort to regain some of my memories.

Move to Tulsa, they said.
It's great in Tulsa, they said.
You'll have fun in Tulsa, they said.
There are lots new and tasty foods in Tulsa, they said.

What they didn't say is that TheBoyWhoTalks(much) is allergic to shellfish. In my defense, this has never happened before. A night in the hospital for observation and all will be well.

My poor baby.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Mom Files--Dealing With Static

I wok with a handful of 20-something year olds at the library. They are full of fresh new ideas, know the lastest lingo, and understand social trends. However, when it comes to practical life skills, they're still learning. A few weeks go one of the girls was having an issue with static in her hair. The question was asked in a room full of women what she could do to control it. As if on cue, three of us said "dryer sheet" in unison. The two 20-somethings stood with mouths agape at how quickly the response came. They decided that because the three women who answered were all moms that we must have "Mom Files" downloaded into our brains when we give birth. I prefer to think that we're just cool, sexy aunts who are here to help guide our little nieces into the world. Hey! It's my imagination.

So, for those of you who might have some static issues, I'll give you the Aunt Leslee's guide to dealing with static.

First, what to do when you're already 10 minutes late for work and your just won't lay down and taking another shower is completely out of the question--yes, it's happened to me.

1. Grab a dryer sheet on your way out the door. It helps control static in your laundry, why not your hair? Just run it over your hair, clothes, coat, hats, whatever is near your hair. It may not solve your problem 100% but it should at least get you through the day. As a bonus your hair will smell spring fresh.

2. Another cheap trick is to use lotion. It never fails that I get fly-aways when I'm out and about and seriously, who carries dryer sheets with them? Well, I don't generally. But something I do have my purse is lotion. I don't have a preferred brand, generally whatever someone gave me for my birthday or Christmas. Put a small amount your hands and rub it in like normal, your hands get a fresh dose of moisture that they crave during the winter months. But as you finish up, rub your hands over the top of your hair, or wherever the static is strongest. This will not only give your hair a little bit moisture but will also hopefully weigh the fly-aways down for the remainder of the day. The trick is not grease up your hair. You don't want to look like you went swimming in lotion, this is why I recommend rubbing into your hands first. Another bonus is if it's a good smelling lotion you'll get compliments on the nice fragrance all day. Win-Win.

On a side note, I've also been known to use coconut oil instead of lotion and it helps as well. Again, the trick is not overdo it. Greasy hair is not attractive.

So now that I've told you about my secrets for controlling static how do we simply nip so it won't come back.  Well, it's not that hard really, but it will take a little bit of effort and you have to do ALL of the following steps.

Step one: Wash your hair.
Yep, washing your hair will get rid of static, don't forget to use conditioner.

Step two: Wash your hairbrush.
Give all of your brushes and combs a bath whenever static pops up. The static in your hair will transfer to the hair in your brushes and the brushes themselves so give them a little soak. I fill the bathroom sink up with warm water and a bit of shampoo. Throw the brushes in to soak for a few minutes. Then remove all the hair from the brushes. Rinse them off and you're good to go again.

Step three: Wash your clothes, coats, hats, scarves, etc
As with the brushes, static will transfer to anything it comes in contact with. This includes your coats, scarves, shirts, and hats. Check the washing instructions for every article of clothing you wore while experiencing static and wash accordingly. If you fail to wash them the next time you put them back on the static will transfer right back to your hair and you're having another bad hair day. Those are NO FUN!

Now, I know I don't know everything so if you have a trick to calming or avoiding static let me know in the comments.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Who's the Boss?

Nickel and I were doing our best imitations of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck's "Rabbit season/ duck season" argument when TheBoyWhoDoesNotTalk(much) interrupted us.

"Hey! If you two want to fight, go to my room!"

I guess we were told.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

So, what is microfiche?

I don't consider myself old, sure I used computers with 5 inch floppy discs (briefly-more so the 3 1/2" discs), phones with cords, cassette tapes and AOL Dial-UP, but today a lovely young coworker was perusing some binders that I inherited with my office and ask me, "What is microfiche? Is it something Microsoft use to make?" I asked if she remembered microfiche or microfilm from elementary school to which another lovely young coworker replied, "We're not that old."
I started weeping then proceeded to Google "microfiche" for her to see what she missed out by being born so recently.
Rub it in ladies, just rub it in.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Summertime Learning and Fun

The Boy Who Doesn't Talk (much) as you may have gathered has a few speech delays. I didn't start to worry about them until he was 3 and even now I'm not overly concerned.  He talks when he has something to say.  He started working with a Speech Pathologist, who happens to be a very dear friend of mine, at the age of 3. After several months of progress she asked if I had considered putting him into the school system. At age 3. I had never heard of such a thing. There was testing to be done but we soon discovered that he did in fact qualify for school services at the age of 3. The Boy Who Doesn't Talk (much) enjoys school and it has helped tremendously. However, as we all know, summertime is when even the brightest children can have some regression.

To combat this Peanut has accepted the challenge of helping The Boy Who Doesn't Talk (much) during the summer months. I have come up with some "lesson plans". I use the quotes because nothing is really set in stone.  I have divided the summer up into units that have a specific theme.  For the first two weeks the theme centered around camping because the second week we spent at a cabin in the woods down by the lake.  Peanut and I read stories to him like "Curious George goes Camping" by Margaret Ray, "Just Me and My Dad" by Mercer Mayer, and "Fred and Ted Go Camping" by Peter Eastman.  There were crafts that could be related to camping like painting with marshmallows, making an owl out of feathers I found on clearance at Walmart.  Pinterest led me to some great activities such as colorful pages with rows of fish.  The fish were in a certain pattern and the fish at the end were in black and white and could either be colored but we used the colorful Goldfish Crackers and this lesson was fun, delicious, AND helped with math skills.


The second unit was about dinosaurs.  This is not The Boy Who Doesn't Talk (much)'s favorite subject.  He thinks dinosaurs are mean and scary and I had hopes that during this unit he would come away more brave.  Dinosaurs are still not his favorite, and that's ok.  He was able to work on his fine motor skills with a giant coloring book I found at the Dollar Tree. It only had 30 or so pages, but that was plenty for our two week lessons.  Each day I also prepared three lines for him to read and then rewrite in a writing tablet I purchased at Walmart. His Kindergarten teacher was kind enough to send home a copy of the sight words he worked on (and will continue to work on next year when we do another round of Kindergarten).  With these sight words and a few extra here and there I've come up with a few sentences.  During the Camping Unit his sentences looked something like, "I like to fish", "We like to camp",  or "I see a red fish". Fish and Camp were not a sight words but they fit the unit. I only add one or two non-sight words to his writing pages.  For the Dinosaur Unit I threw in the word "dinosaur". My goal here is that the more he writes these words the better chance he'll have at remember them.  I've noticed the words I used more frequently were the words he was able to read during a little quiz I gave him yesterday.

As a reward, Nickel and I took him to a local museum where they currently have a dinosaur display. Peanut was sound asleep when we left so we gave her the afternoon off from all of us.
Pictured here with daddy, The Boy Who Doesn't Talk (much) was a little nervous at the sheer size of the beasts that actually moved (albeit robotically) and roared.
This little gadget allowed you to put a "real" dinosaur egg in to be scanned and you could learn what sort of dinosaur is inside. There were four eggs and of course The Boy had to do them all.  We stayed in this area just long enough to see them but quickly moved on to see the rest of the museum and to play.  Outside, across the street there is a castle that with admission to the museum could play at as well. The Boy led Nickel and I to the top of one tower and around in circles.  I should have taken a picture of the castle as it is quite impressive.  At the back of the castle we found some xylophones and the The Boy wrestled with an alligator!

We concluded our Dinosaur Unit with a trip to Cherry Berry where we cooled down a bit.  Up next is the most anticipated Space Unit, which happens to be high on The Boy's interest list.  We're considering taking a trip to the Science Museum in OKC in a couple of weeks.


"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." Benjamin Franklin

Monday, June 09, 2014

Career Options

Last night The Boy Who Does Not Talk (much) came into the living room and though he didn't exactly say "Look at me! Look what I did" he had a bit of a smug look on his face. He was proud of himself. At first I noticed the blue maker on his leg as if he had gotten a little carried away. Then I saw the perfect "D" on his foot along with the now blue toenails. His fingernails were all this same shade of dark blue.  There was no way I could yell at him for what he had done. No sense in explaining that boys don't paint their nails, many boys do these days.  Besides, I only buy the washable markers and even if it didn't come right off what's the big deal, he's a little kid!  So I did what any good mother should do. I took his picture. I call the whole family in to see his accomplishment. Thank goodness this kid has some career choices.


  "Being a kid and growing up is such a cool part of life. When you're young, you have no worries, no drama, on your imagination. It's the best!" -Devon Werkheiser

Sunday, June 08, 2014

The Blog...take nine

Sometimes things require more than 140 characters or a status update that will be scrolled past for a day, maybe two before it's forgotten.  Sometimes things require a lengthy explanation so that years from now each moment, each emotion can be remembered and treasured. And this is the reason I still have my blog, long after they hype of blogs have worn off. Oh yes, lots of people still have blogs but I don't see very many personal blogs actively being used, but there are a few. Mine hasn't see much traffic over the last six years.  It seems a little crazy to me when I stop and think that this blog is almost a decade old (July 29, 2005 was the first entry). Through the Fresh-Cut Flowers I have shared some highs and a few lows.

Peanut was five years old when I started writing here. The same age The Boy Who Doesn't Talk (much) is now.  I feel this is significant and it is time to start again. Again. To pick things back up that I've put down for a season. Much has happened over the quiet years. I finished my Associates Degree and am continuing towards my Bachelor's Degree. I hope to accomplish that little goal in December of 2016.  Peanut will start high school in the fall and The Boy Who Doesn't Talk (much) will give Kindergarten another go. Nickel is still plugging right along. Recently, I was given a promotion at The Land of Books. While I enjoyed my job at the Circulation Desk and will miss seeing my regulars every day or week, I have moved into the roll of Administrative Assistant. I will like this job very much. I get along very well with the director and I believe we will make a wonderful team.  With this move I hope to be able to sit and blog again from time to time. The Boy Who Doesn't Talk (much) is as entertaining as his sister at that age (and what kid isn't?) so I will have stories to tell and maybe even a few pictures as well.

In the meantime I plan to clean up the blog a bit. Some of the 495 posts in my archives need to be weeded through for content sake.  That project alone might take a month. Eeks.

"The most effective way to do it, is to do it." Amelia Earhart

Friday, January 24, 2014

Coaxing Creativity

I am suppose to be writing an essay on Hamlet and how I see him as the "flawed and unique individual" that is expressed throughout the play, what devices win my sympathy for Hamlet and whether or not I think that Shakespeare thinks Hamlet can make a difference. I think it safe to say that Hamlet might be the most picked apart man of literature. For that, I almost feel sorry for him. Here he is, grieving for his father, cannot believe the audacity of his mother marrying his uncle-which is gross, and there are people spying on him at every turn. And there's a ghost. I might go a little mad as well, both real and feigned. Hamlet does pull at my heart strings and poor Ophelia is caught in the middle not knowing where she really stands with this man whom she loves to the point of madness. Her own father is killed accidentally by Hamlet and she is then left alone because her brother left for France near the beginning of the play and Hamlet is shipped off to England to be killed (which uncle dearest plotted).

So, instead pulling all my loose thoughts together for this essay (which I will probably end up writing over the differences between Catholic Baroque and Protestant Baroque in the end) I am trying to force my poor lax brain into controlled creativity. By the way, this 6-7 page essay is due on Sunday.

I use my brain all day in the library answering all sorts of questions but it's not the same as critical thinking for writing. I even put my bookkeeper hat on this week and created some invoices. I put my 10-Key skills to use and that was fun. However, that's not the same as critical thinking for writing either. Not that this little writing exercise here is very critical and minimal on the thinking part as well, but I'm stringing words together to form sentences and paragraphs that I hope in some way makes sense.

I need to focus. I need to decide on which essay I'm really going to write and begin planning it. I have to work tomorrow so that's 8 hours I won't have to write, but if I know what I'm going to write about I could research. Think. Think. Think.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Love is in the Air

The Boy Who Doesn't Talk (much) has a girlfriend.

The Boy has a hard time with transition. He doesn't like going to P.E., Music, the cafeteria, or recess. He would happily play in the classroom all day. One particular day when the teachers were insisting on fresh air a little girl took The Boy's hand and together they ran all over the playground. The Boy isn't overly fond of touching. This was significant. The teachers told me this girl would probably be moving into their classroom soon.

Today, Nickel asked me if The Boy told me about his girlfriend. He hadn't so of course I asked. She gave him some conversation hearts today. Apparently she is pretty and has brown hair like Mama. He's not giving up her name though. Somethings are private.

I will, of course, ask his teachers tomorrow.

He reminds me of Peanut at this age and the time Pokes Fan proposed. Such a fun age. 

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Three Magic Words

The Boy Who Doesn't Talk (much) has made leaps and bounds in his vocabulary over the last two years. When he was about three and a half he started seeing one of my best friends an hour a week for speech therapy. That helped, she not only helped him but she helped me learn ways to help him One day she asked if I would be interested in having him tested to possibly getting him into the school system early where he would get more help. This sounded like a great idea to me so we proceeded. With just a few weeks left of school The Boy Who Doesn't Talk (much) started going to school half a day Monday through Thursday.

He loved it.

When he turned four and started Pre-K he had the same teacher and went half a day Monday through Friday. More progress was made. He started calling me "Ma" and Nickel is "Da". To him, the word "no" comes out "nay".  I tease that he's obviously Scottish and we should get him a kilt.

Kindergarten brought us to full days all week but he has mostly the same kids in his class this year as last year. This helps. So far this year we've seen him pretend to talk on the phone to some of his classmates as well as an abundance of new words. We still don't understand all of what he says, it's sort of like talking to a two year old at this point. But we're getting there. Patience is a skill I am perfecting.

His whole life I have waited to hear those three magic words from him. The best three words there are. I tell him over and over, "I love you." I whisper it in his ear when he's sound asleep. I tell him when we're playing on the floor. I tell him when we're standing in the check out line at the store.

He has never said it back. I don't doubt that he loves me. Somethings in life you just know. But still, it would be nice to hear those words

Today, I needed to leave the house to work on some homework. I find it much less distracting if I hide in a corner of the library. So I was digging in my closet for my backpack (that I've had since my first semester of college in 1997 thank-you-very-much) when he came up behind me.

"Hey Ma."

"Hey Baby, what's up?" I asked without turning around.

"Iloveyou" He garbled.

"What was that?" He repeated himself twice before I realized exactly what he was saying. My son, the boy of very few words told me loves me. He ran off to play giggling over the whole interaction.

I held it together while I packed my bag but as soon as I got in the car the tears started to fall. Two hours later they still threaten to overwhelm me.

He told me he loves me. Those three magic words from the keeper of my heart.

We take words for granted. But when someone is stingy with their words you should always stop and listen. And appreciate. And love.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Mama Says

I just spent a very nice weekend with my mother. Just the two of us. No husbands. No little distracting children. I drove over to the pretty side of the state on Wednesday and Thursday morning we took off on our adventure to Northwest Arkansas.

We followed the directions I had previously printed out and made it there without incident. After a little bit of driving around to get a feel for where the hotel was at and what was nearby I asked Mom what she wanted for lunch. We had seen an Olive Garden as we exited the highway so of course my mama said, "Olive Garden." Being unfamiliar with the town and not entirely sure how to get back there I whipped out my phone, turned on the GPS and typed in my destination. The directions would have made more sense if we had been familiar with the town but we got there. We decided since our hotel check-in time was still a few hours away we'd go ahead and go to the craft show we had specifically come for. Again I turned on the GPS and familiarized myself with the street names and we took off. If you ever have a chance to visit Northwest Arkansas, the Ozarks, I recommend you go. Late October early November should be even more beautiful as the trees were just barely starting to turn.

The next day we did some shopping and decided to head to up Eureka Springs. Again, another lovely town. Mom really wanted to see the Passion Play but due to the terribly windy roads (without many guardrails) she decided it would be safer if we drove back to our hotel during the daylight. We decided next time we'll do better at finding a hotel closer to Eureka Springs. The town just begs to be explored. We ended up going back a different way than we went. This was only partially on purpose and GPS kept us from actually reaching Missouri (the wrong way). But Mama said she preferred it this way. Seems my dad only knows one way to wherever they go and she enjoys all there is to see.

Saturday brought an end to our trip. We checked out one more craft show (they're really big in Northwest Arkansas during Fall Break) and headed home. At lunch I consulted with the GPS again. I had planned to take the way back but didn't realize until it was too late that GPS was taking us home by a different route. I confirmed that the road we were taking would in fact get us there and just drove. Mama said she didn't mind and eagerly soaked up the scenery as it passed by.

After exiting the interstate highway we drove a two-lane road the rest of the way home. We went through several small towns that looked very interesting. "This is Summer, Arkansas!" Mama said as we passed by some old abandoned looking buildings. "My daddy brought us here one time. All the way to Summer, Arkansas." She told me how my grandfather would get an itch to go for a drive from time to time. Seems he too liked to see different scenery from time to time. So he would load up my grandmother and the four kids, pick a direction and just drive. Sometimes they would stop and buy a loaf of bread and a package of bologna. Grandma would bring a jar of water and they would have a picnic where ever they stopped, then they would load back into the car and drive home. Restaurants were fewer and farther between back then, but they didn't have money to stop at them anyway."Those were the best times! People don't do stuff like that these days." Mama reminisced. "Can you imagine four kids in the back seat?  We probably enjoyed it more than he did." Mama said looking out the window, no longer seeing what was passing her by in the present.

"Mama," I said though I never knew my grandfather, "I imagine he liked it just fine." I'm sure he liked it because they were together. And they were happy. What more could a person want for their family.  I'm glad my GPS took us home that way.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Please, Never Grow Up

My Heart. My Joy. My Reason.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Dark Side Has Cookies

The Boy Who Talks (much): Ma, why those cookies there?
Me: Um, because I was eating them.
The Boy Who Talks (much): Put em up. (waits a beat) Can I have some?
Me: Welcome to the dark side.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Smartest Stupid Thing I've Ever Done

I pride myself on not being a total idiot. Sometimes I am an idiot but I'd like to think that perhaps I'm not a total idiot. When I graduated from high school all those moons ago the State of Oklahoma said to me, "You're pretty smart and you're pretty poor why don't we pay 100% of your tuition to any school in the state for 5 years!" You know what I did? Of the 10 regular semesters I could have used that FREE money I only went for 4. See, stupid idiot.

My thinking on this was simply that I just didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up and wanted to take a stab at being a wife and mom. Not that I'm complaining about either of those decisions. Nickel and I still get along after all these years and Peanut is a pretty awesome kid.

A few years later I thought, well, why not finish up that Associates degree and so I did. Slowly, but I did.  Ironically it was while taking the last of those classes that I got pregnant with The Boy Who Doesn't Talk (much). A few years after the last course I actually applied for graduation and they said, "It's only been 4 years since you finished, why not have the piece of paper to go with it." See, stupid idiot.

But this latest decision I've made is perhaps the smartest stupid decision I've ever made.

I'm going back to college.
Again. But no more children this go around!

The University of Oklahoma says to me, "You only have 42 hours left why not take classes online? They're just 8 weeks a piece. Take a couple in the fall and see what you think." Ok, sign me up.

The website for OU is vast. The course outline for my first class scares me to death.

I have to write eight 1250 word essays in two months. Eep. Well, you know, I like to write. But I like to write like this. From the top of my head where grammar doesn't matter. Well, it does. For the most part but it's not like all 4 of you that read my blog are going to comment about any grammar faux pas unless they're really out there. For this class I have to make sense. I think. I mean, it's college they probably frown if your papers don't make some sort of sense, right?

But getting a college edu-macation isn't a bad thing. It might help me land a better job or a promotion somewhere along the line. Nickel's auntie wants me to continue on to get my Masters. I say, "Whoa Nelly!" Let's make sure I can survive the next 42 college hours before we go tacking on another.... I don't even want to think about how many more hours (and years) it would take to get my Masters. So, if you need me, I'll be around looking for an excuse to avoid my homework. Maybe this is the spark I need to really get blogging again. I have lots of The Boy Who Doesn't Talk (much) stories to tell.

Until then.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Best or the Worst, Take Your Pick

After today, my children will only attend school for 8 more days. Then they will officially be on summer vacation. They are both very excited. Though it means a lot more to Peanut than her brother as this is his first year of school. But he senses the excitement in the air.

It doesn't seem real. For instance today was the first day The Boy Who Doesn't Talk (much) wore shorts to school. Mother nature has lost her mind and refuses to let go of winter. I try, I really do try not to complain as I know any moment now she will snap back into reality and the lows will be in the upper 80s and the highs hovering around 110.

The weather isn't the only reason it doesn't feel like the end of the school year, time just seems to pass by quicker all the time. Remember when we were kids and the school year seemed to drag and drag and we thought we would NEVER get to summer? I sort of miss those days.

Because I work every other Saturday I get every other Friday off. That may change in the future but I'm going to fight it with all I have. Fridays off are the best. It's practically the weekend. I especially love them during the school year because I drop my kids off at school and then have 7 hours ALL. TO. MYSELF! It is glorious.

During my 7 hours I run errands here and there in town and sometimes do other mom stuff like laundry or house cleaning. Sometimes I go to the grocery store and buy just the food I want to eat without anyone else throwing silly stuff into my basket. I never buy Nerds unless some child is with me. Sometimes, if I'm lucky and plan ahead I have two hour visits at a local coffee shop with one friend (sometimes local author Lucie Smoker who is amazing and you should read her book if you haven't already) followed up by a two hour lunch with another friend! Those days are my favorite but on those days I don't get any laundry done. It's all about priorities.

But during the summer my Fridays off are spent with my kids. I'm not in anyway saying this is bad. I'm just saying there are no 2 hour visits over coffee and lunch is out of the question because it's just not the same with children there thinking they need to either be included in the conversation or dominating it. And that's fine too. It's just for a couple of months, totally doable.

But this year I have devised an evil plan. I'm either the best mom ever because I'm taking care of my sanity or I'm the worst mom, you can pick but don't tell me if you think I'm the worst mom.

This year, next Monday in fact, I'm taking a vacation day. WHILE THE KIDS ARE IN SCHOOL. A stay-cation because where would I go with only one day off? I'm trying to squeeze in the last little bit of school days that I can before summer hits.

It's like the Labor Day of the school year for this mom. Bwahaha!!!


Next Monday I plan on drinking coffee, having lunch, and who knows what else I'll get into. The kids might be counting down the number of days left in school but I'm counting down the number of days until my day off! Woot!

Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

I Saw My Mother Do It

I grew up on a in a small community called Etta Bend. Once a thriving community with a train stop, a lumber mill, a one room school house, and residents hunted in the tree-dense hills and fished along the river. Today, Etta Bend it a barely a dot on a rare map. The one-room school house burned at one point and the children went to other schools in nearby communities, there are no train tracks to speak of, I have no memory of the lumber mill and I do not know how it met it's end, but I like to think that the trees won the battle of territory. People still hunt and fish and the horse-shaped road is still dirt and rock. Supposedly, the county was going to pave it in 1970. Residents are still waiting.

I learned to drive on that dirt road. I even let my slightly younger best friend drive for the first time on a straight stretch of road. I like that dirt road, part of me hopes the county forgets to pave it for another forty years.

Etta Bend is home to one little church and as you might suspect, I grew up in that church. When I started driving I became Minnie's chauffeur. Minnie was a sweet old lady who was like a second grandmother to me. She had babysat me from time to time and was my Sunday School teacher more often than not. For all the years I knew her Minnie never drove. I don't know if she even owned a vehicle. I think I remember a rusted old car that sat near her home but I don't know the details. Minnie relied on people to bring her to and from church on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. When her family was close they performed the duty but as her family branched out my family picked up the slack.

I loved driving Minnie to church. Not only because I loved her but because I loved driving. It was a little thing to me, barely took an extra 10-15 minutes depending on road conditions.

But Minnie wasn't the only one I even played chauffeur to. Before I started driving a woman started attending our church. She too lived on Etta Bend, but this woman didn't smell very nice. She seemed to be forgetful and would say things over and over. I had not grown up with her and I am ashamed to say, I had little patience for her. Her name was Susie.

Susie would sometimes walk to church which was over two miles from her house up and down hills over this rock and dirt road with her cane. As a teenager with a sensitive nose I did not think too kindly of my mother offering rides to this woman. It was impossible to hold my breath all the way. But my mother did not complain once. She even smiled and talked to her which I knew required breathing.

I saw what my mother did.

By the time I was seventeen I got over myself and joined the ranks as one of Susie's chauffeurs when she felt up to attending church, which honestly became less and less over the years. Time gets us all.

Fast forward fifteen years and now I'm in my car with my teenage daughter after school. We're talking about homework assignments and the substitute teacher for the substitute teacher when I saw Mrs. Miller walking down the street.

Mrs. Miller lives a block over and I see her out walking almost ever single day of the year no matter the weather. But this was a cold and rainy spring day. I could see Mrs. Miller struggle with her umbrella, which is obviously broken, a cup of coffee, a small bag from Burger King, and her cane.

I had never actually met Mrs. Miller before though we have lived in the same neighborhood for ten years. I pulled over and rolled my daughter's window down, "Would you like a ride?" She only lives three blocks away but it's a nasty day and clearly she's struggling. She takes in the car and after a moment of deliberation she agrees to the ride. I talk her into handing the coffee and sack to Peanut hold while she maneuvers her umbrella and cane into the back seat. During the short trip she asks if Peanut goes to the same Jr. High her children and grandchildren went to once upon a time. We talk about the yucky weather we've  had but are thankful for much needed rain. Small talk that didn't amount to much at all. At her house I hop out into the rain taking the coffee and sack and carry them along with the broken umbrella up the three steps to her house. I smiled and said goodbye.

My daughter saw what her mother did.


Monday, March 25, 2013

The Highlander

It is no secret, I love a good kilt. Especially when the man wearing the kilt is hot.

Take a moment and Google David Tennant, Gerard Butler, or even Sean Connery in kilt.

Mmmmmmmmmm....see?

What was I saying? Oh yes, kilts. I like 'em. I like 'em a lot. I even like to read Medieval Romance novels set in the...you guessed it, the Highlands. Don't judge me.

Yes, I've read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. It was a good book and would totally read the others in the series except I became some bogged down by the story line that Nickel thought for two weeks it took me to read it I was depressed, unhappy, and was going to leave him. I tend to become one with a book (which is why I choose happily ever after romance novels over thriller horror books everyday) so I'll just let my friends tell me all the interesting plot points in the rest of the series and piece the story together in my head where everyone is happy. Especially Jamie and Claire. It works for me, ok.

Nickel knows about my kilt fetish. He still refuses to wear one for me. Bummer. That would be a sight!

Today I went visited with some close friends of mine. My Melodious friend served tea. Today's blend was a very nice Highland tea. It was delicious and I may have been a glutton drinking at least four cups. In my defense, I have a terrible cold and the tea soothed my sore body. But I digress.

After our adventures and tea I came home and made a lovely Cottage Pie for dinner and took control of the remote and decided on the 1986 production of Highlander. I've seen this movie before, many many years ago.

I now remember why I haven't watched the movie is so long. It's ridiculous, as most movies from the 80s are. What were they thinking?

I had to turn the movie off before the end because I remembered why it was rated R. Because movies like this think it's appropriate to throw in a random sex scene. "Hey baby, you just found out I'm over 400 years old. Wanna have sex on my hardwood floors?"

Uh, no.

I mean, come on, ew.

He wasn't even wearing his kilt in that scene. Not that his kilt was cute in the flashbacks. It really wasn't.

Since I have a young boy and a new teenager in the house I thought it more appropriate for The Adventures of Chuck and Friends to be our entertainment. As that genre usually dominates our airwaves.

And this, my friends is why you do not watch Rated R movies from the 1980s no matter if there are kilts or not. This warning should probably apply to the 1995 production of Braveheart as well.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Life of a Teenager's Mom

No, I'm not changing the name of my blog. I could, that would be a great title, but I think I'll stick with this one. Plus, it's kind of fun to be called "Fresh-Cut Flowers Girl" when being introduced.

I have much on my mind these days. Too much for a Facebook post. Besides, I'm on the outs with Facebook at the moment. I'm sure that tide will change again soon, but for now, old faithful blog, I turn to you to vent my thoughts and feelings.

Thirteen years ago I was in a lot of pain. Well, maybe not exactly thirteen years ago. I don't remember what time it was when I got my epidural. All I know for sure is that in a few short hours my Peanut will been a full fledged teenager. We've been through a lot that little girl and I. Some things were good and others weren't so good. I'm sure we'll have plenty more of those moments in the next thirteen years to come. I'm hoping by the time she's twenty-six she'll be the easiest person to get along with. I'm proud of her, my Peanut. She's quite an amazing young lady. She's smart, kind, and generous to a fault. The Lord is good.

Baby Butter, aka The Boy Who Doesn't Talk (much) has been talking more since he started Pre-K. He was able to start at the elementary school last spring in the Special-Ed program geared for 3 year olds that are delayed. Since he didn't talk much he was considered delayed. Not being overly worried about it we thought it was a great opportunity to get him extra help. He responded well to the teacher and the structure of going to school. As luck would have it, he has the same teacher again this year. Now he talks and sings and even recognizes some letters and numbers. He is especially fond of the letter "E" and the number "5". I don't know why but I agree that those are good ones. For all his progress I am thankful. The Lord is good.

I'm feeling off lately. I don't know if there is too much clutter or not enough time or just a phase or some sort of mesh of all of the above. There defiantly aren't enough hours in the day. After work all I want to do is sit down and zone out. Much like 97% of all working adults I'm sure. I miss working at the church where I had my own office and could take my time easing into work or starting off with a bang if I felt like it. I miss the quiet time where I could sit and write for a few minutes. I miss writing. I miss blogging. People make time for what they find important, they say, which is true. Obviously, I do not find deep sea fishing important. At least, not to me. But I do think cleaning is important, yet currently my desk is in such disarray that I'm having an inner battle just to ignore it and type this little blog instead. I should probably stop it and start cleaning. Declutter my desk and declutter my mind. I wish that was how it worked. I like things to be easy. But I fear I will end up distracted for my efforts.

Now that I've come to the conclusion that I'm just rambling about inconsequential things I will wrap things up. What it all boils down to is this. I love to blog but the truth of the matter is I crave feedback. I want to know how many people have read my little ramblings and I just don't get that kind of feedback here whereas Facebook has all those Likes and people actually comment on what I have to say more often than not. So while I would love to spend everyday blogging through my life and telling you boring story after boring story of what my children are doing I will probably stick with Facebook.

I think I'll go clean my desk now.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Long Night

10:58 pm
My bed is crowded with an extra body as I prepare to find my rest. I smile and gather the little boy into my arms and carry him to his couch. He doesn't like to sleep on his bed. His sister is already asleep on the other couch. I'm not sure why I even keep beds in their rooms really. The boy coughs in his sleep. I fill a humidifier to help him breathe easier throughout the night. Finally, I can go to bed.

11:24 pm
The bed shakes as someone crawls into bed next to me. I smile and make room.

11: 42 pm
The Boy cries and crawls out of bed. He coughs as he finds his way to his couch. I get up and find his cough medicine. His dad had tried to give him some earlier but the boy wouldn't take it. I try anyway hoping that in the sleepy haze he'll forget about how much he hates taking medicine. He hasn't but still he took some. I fix him some juice to help get rid of the taste in his mouth. He settles back down. I go back to bed.

12:17 am
A mumbled cry wakes me from slumber. I begrudgingly leave the warmth and comfort of my bed to follow the cries. In the darkness of the living room I find Boy Who Doesn't Talk (aka Baby Butter) standing there holding his monkey close to his heart. He coughs. I can hear that he is wheezing slightly as well. I go to him as he lays down in front of the dark Christmas tree in the dining room. I plug in the tree to give us some light and hold him. I rock him in my arms. Usually he does not allow this sort of comfort. He coughs again. He isn't running a fever. For that I am thankful. He sits up though he makes no move to leave me. He is still wheezing slightly so I set him down.

12: 24 am
I set up his nebulizer.  He actually allows me to place the doggy mask by his face. I am frightened by the sense of helplessness. After a few minutes I go get his pillows off the couch and mine off my bed. I grab the big Spiderman quilt I made. He has abandoned his breathing treatment for the pillows. I show him he can have both. We lay there together as he takes in the fogged air. I feel helpless as I watch him watch me. He smiles slightly. We lay there together for a long time. I tell him to close his eyes. He says no. Boy Who Doesn't Talk does talk from time to time.

12: 49 am
I move to a nearby chair. It is hard for me to lay on the floor. I'm not as young as I use to be. But I can't go back to bed and leave him alone. Boy Who Doesn't Talk sits on his knees and talks in a language I cannot understand to the tree.  He is excited and bounces on his knees.

1:29 am
He still admires the Christmas tree from his place under it. Most of the ornaments he placed on it himself. I wonder what he is thinking. The wheezing has past for now, I am thankful. "What's that?" he asks when I join him again. "Snowman" I whisper. "What's that" he asks and points to another ornament. "Dragonfly." "What's that?" he asks again. "An angel. What's that?" I ask him this time. "Car. Vroom." "And that?" I ask. "Ball!"

1:44 am
I remind him it is night-night time. He shakes his head at me and pokes out his bottom lip. I wonder when I'll get sleep again. He drags the Spiderman quilt into the living room and lays back down under the Christmas tree. I retrieve the quilt "Huh-uh" he says shaking his head and palm no. He goes and gets the quilt Nana made him. He and his monkey look almost ready for sleep. Almost.

2:14 am
The Boy is wide awake. I yawn and yearn desperately for my bed. The boy pats my head in comfort. "Heart" he says as he holds up the first Christmas ornament I bought his dad and my's first Christmas, two red hearts with each of our names written on them. I smile at the memory.

2:41 am
He's starting to wheeze again. The last breathing treatment has kept us up over two hours now. I don't know what to do. He's rearranging the ornaments on the tree and seems very happy doing this. Occasionally he lays down with me but only lasts a few moments before he up and busy again.

Sometime around 3:30 am
Sweet sweet slumber. Thank you Jesus.