Death Early, Death Late

Death is a strange thing.  It’s the one thing we will all face in our lives.  It is inevitable and yet it is an unknown.  This morning, on the radio, they were talking about a college tour bus that crashed last year.  Ten people died.  Ten almost adults lives were ended.  As a mom I can only imagine the feelings of those parents.  And like many (if not most) tragedies it made me think of my nephew.

My sweet, adorable, perfect nephew drowned 9 years ago.   He was two.  Losing someone you love is always horrendous.  Losing a child is exponentially worse.  It doesn’t really matter if they were two or 22.  No parent imagines that when their wee little babe is born that that sweet little being will be gone before they are.  It’s just not how it’s “supposed” to go.  I was thinking about how painful it was to lose our sweet nephew.  All the loss of potential.  We never really got to know who he was and we never will.

I guess that’s the quandary my brain is attempting to work through this morning.  The parallel pain parents feel when they lose a child.  For those who lose a little one they mourn the loss an unknown.  When our little D died my heart ached for all of the nevers.  We would never hear him speak.  We would never see him as a boy or a teenager or a man.  We wouldn’t know how he felt about almost anything and the loss of potential still burns in my gut.

When you lose someone who has lived their life you feel some of that.  When my dad died it hurt so much that he would  never see any of his daughters marry.  My children would never know their grandfather, and oh what a grandfather he would have been!  But more than that I mourned the loss of his companionship.  It hurt that we would not be able to talk and visit.  I walked by his desk for months after his death and still felt startled when he wasn’t there.  I lost a known being.

And that’s just it.  Loss of the known verses the loss of potential.  I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around how two different feelings can hurt so equally.

Loretta

I attended a beautiful funeral today.  Loretta was my neighbor for 15 years, almost my whole childhood.  While I didn’t know her well (a sixty year age gap will do that!) I am glad for how I did know her.

I know that she was a good, kind, gentle woman.  I know she had a very large family that she loved oh-so much.  I know that she kept a beautiful garden and that she painted.  I know we loved to give her hugs and that her husband was one of my favorite people.  (Grandpa Blair, we called him.)  Loretta was a wonderful bonus grandma.

Funerals are always such a good place to learn more about those individuals that you will not have the chance to get to know better in this life.  I learned that Loretta had five daughters and one son.  She has 25 grandchildren and over 60 great grand children (so far!).  I learned that Loretta didn’t learn to paint until all of her children had left home and that she loved to learn and was always reading.  I learned she grew up so poor that they didn’t have indoor plumbing until she and her sister, as teenagers, worked so they could buy an indoor toilet.  Loretta was a very loved woman and I am grateful for the chance I had to know her.  I only wish I had been able to know her better.

Farewell grandma Blair.  Until we meet again.

Lovingly,

Me

Passport

For the umpteenth time I’ve decided to apply for a passport.  I’ve always wanted a passport.  The idea of traveling the world has always appealed to me but the reality (ie: costs) have always held me back.  I’m thinking if I get a passport and the opportunity arrises I’ll actually be able to go.

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I don’t have a super long list of must-go places on my list.  If I had the chance I would first like to go the UK and Ireland.  My family history is mostly Irish and English so I have a burning desire to go there.  I want to see where my people are from.  As an adoptee I longed to know where I was from (it’s hard feeling to describe to people who have always known their ancestry) and now that I know I want to go.

Dunluce Castle

Dunluce Castle, Ireland

As a family I would love to take one big trip to New Zealand.  My husband had the opportunity to go as a teenager and it is on his (very) short list of places he’d like to go.  I want to go for a whole month, rent a camper and see everything we can see in that time.  Apparently the have a lot of wonderful campgrounds where you can drive place to place and even take a fairy from the north island to the south one.

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Queenstown, New Zealand

Last on my short list I would love to go to Venezuela.  I don’t know that it will ever happen with the political mess they are in now but this is the only other place on my husbands list of where he would like to go.  He lived there for a few years in his early 20’s and he has always wanted to go back.  I would love to go there with him.

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Angel Falls. Venezuela

And that’s about it.  Of course there are other places I would like to go if I had the opportunity but these three are the places I long to go.

For now, though, I will be satisfied to have a passport in hand and a dream in my heart.

How about you?  Where do you long to go?

Pity Party is Over (and some garden updates)

Okay.  Sorry about my little pity party yesterday.  I get so frustrated that I’m not one of those fertile Myrtle types, yada yada yada.  Anyway, I ate a bunch of brownies yesterday (I accidentally quadrupled the recipe for the staff appreciation party yesterday and ended up with extra), had a good nights rest (in bed with the lights out by 10:30) and the world seems good again today.

I thought I’d do a little garden update today.  My spring garden is in full force and I’m trying to figure out where to put my summer plants.

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Marigolds in the window.  I can’t believe how quickly they sprouted!

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At a baby shower last weekend they had us plant seeds.  I’m excited about having a pumpkin patch this year.  I’m not  bothering planting them in my grow boxes this time.  I cleared out a spot next to the house for my patch.

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Garden at a glance.

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Kale, snap peas, Chard

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The carrots are just about done (a place to plant something else. yes!) sunflower and a flower bed (trying to attract bees this year)

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Tomato bed (have one spot left for another tomato just trying to decide on which variety) and cabbage

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Cabbage, arugula, lettuce, yellow mulberries, red mulberries, apricots, cherries and grapes!

I’m so excited for summer.  I love me some digging in the dirt.  What about you?  Do you like getting your hands dirty?

Jealous

A close friend of mine told me she is pregnant today and my heart hurts.  I hate that I feel this way.  It feels disloyal and selfish.  It is disloyal and selfish and yet I still feel it.  And I hate myself.  I don’t remember if I’ve shared this here before or not but my husband and I have suffered from infertility before.  It took us three years to get pregnant with our first son.

08-IMG_4075I know I should just be thankful.  And I am.  I have three beautiful, wonderful children.  We have more kids, already, than most people want to have at all today.  And yet, here I am, longing for one more.

We’ve been trying for some months now.  Longer than my dear friend whom is now pregnant.  And I am not.

You Can’t BEET That

A few years ago, while at a wonderful friend’s home, I first encountered golden beets.  In all honesty, it was only a few years before that that I had ever had a beet at all, but that’s neither here nor there.  Any way, this friend is, by far, the best cook that I personally know.   I believe she can make just about anything delicious.  And while my first experiences with beets did not set a very high bar (boiled beets, plain anyone?) she leaped so high over that my mind was blown.  Who knew that something that tasted so much like dirt when I cooked it could be so, well, divine.

I have spent the last few years attempting to grow golden beets.  If you know me at all you can imagine what a hard time I have forking over the premium they charge at Whole Foods (the only place you can buy golden beets around here) for those little golden nuggets.  It’s just plain painful.  And considering the one and only time I bought them they DID NOT turn out anything near tasty I’ve gone back to trying to grow them.

Growing a garden is one of those wonderful analogies to life.  The first years you plant, if you’re like me, you just jump right in.  You throw some seeds in the ground and feel surprised when they don’t flourish.  8 years into this vegetable gardening thing and I feel like my life lesson catalogue is overflowing. I’ve learned that root vegetables need VERY soft ground.  I’ve learned that there are cool weather plants and warm weather plants.  Where I live beets grow in the spring and not so well in the summer.  I’ve learned that you have to thin beets well because each seed is actually a cluster of seeds so you NEED to thin, even if you plant just one seed in each hole.

I’ve learned a lot and I am happy to say I’ve reaped the reward:

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And I finally, FINALLY we get to have a golden beet salad.

DSC02038-1Golden Beet, Pea Shoot and Goat Cheese Salad

Serves 4

2 Cups Pea Shoots

1/2 Cup (packed) baby arugula

4 roasted beets cut into wedges

crumbled goat cheese (to taste)

juice from 1 lemon

drizzle of honey

Mix first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Squeeze lemon over salad.  Drizzle with honey.  Toss and serve.

Spring Break Woes

Last week I sat down at the kitchen table and wrote down a list of all of the fun things we could do for spring break.  Some were local some were day trip ideas.  I had plans for making sure the boys did a little school work, had playdates, spent time at the gym for me and them and that we ate healthy snacks and that we DID NOT spend our time watching TV and playing video games.

Then reality hit.

  • All three of my boys have wicked coughs.  (MMM spent all night on the verge of puking because his coughing was so bad.) Which means:
    • No day trips.
    • No gym.
    • No playdates.

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  • My husband had projects started so he didn’t have time to spend the whole day “day-tripping” to the beach.

You get the idea.  Things did not go as planned.

So, here we are.  All exhausted from illness and sleepless nights.  Watching movies, playing video games and napping are all on the agenda for today. A date night is in the works for this mama and hubby if the nana doesn’t mind these coughing kiddos. (She doesn’t usually mind so fingers crossed it happens!) And hopefully we’ll have some playtime out back while dad-ers works on the fence.

This will not be a spring break for the ages.  There will be no epic road trips, day trips, or galavanting around our fair city but we will survive. We will have time, someday, when the kids are not so small and prone to illness, when we can plan amazing day trips etc.  Those things can and will happen some day.  For now, though, my kids will know my husband I love them fiercely and, for me, that’s all that matters.

Happy April!

Ugly Stupid Unloveable

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Ugly.  Stupid.  Friendless.  Unloveable.  Annoying.  Inept.  Irritating.

Often I run through lists of all of my failures.  I put myself down constantly and I am tired of it.  I am ready to make a change.  I am ready to be a confident person.  I am ready to love myself.  I know that it will be a long road but I also know it is worth it.  I need it.  My husband needs it.  He can’t constantly be my buoy.

I am arming myself with this killer list of how to be confident and I am doing it because I AM WORTH IT.

(The picture is from yesterday.  We finally carved my son's Halloween pumpkin.  HAHAHAHAHA)

Long Time No Write

It’s been a while.  I, apparently, got a virus on my laptop.  Back before having internet on my phone I am sure that I would have been all over my husband to try to fix my computer but with quick access on my phone to check this n’ that I haven’t been too much in a hurry.  Long story short: I’m back.

(I’m backing-up all of my pictures off my point-and-shoot camera and while I was waiting I found some pictures of my garden last year.  I’m so excited for this summer’s garden!)

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The Bright Side

My husband has a weird schedule.  Pretty much he can work any time of the day.  They schedule him quarterly, at least, so we know for three months at a time when he’ll be working.

There are things I like and things I don’t like about each shift.  I like to do a mental count of the positives each time we get his schedule.  There are some things I really hate about each shift and if I don’t think about the positives the negatives overwhelm me.  For instance, he worked night shift over the holidays.  He and I both HATE night shift.  It’s hard on him, it’s hard on me, it’s hard on the kids.  But, the big BUT, my love (ML) had off every single holiday this season.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas AND New Years Eve!  How lucky was that?  It’s been years since he’s had off ALL of the holidays.  🙂

Today was the first off on his new shift.  I’ve felt a little down because all of last year he worked a shift where he had Thursday, Friday, Saturday and every other Wednesday off (they work 12 hour shifts).  I’ve come to love having most of the weekend off and I’ve been wracking my brain trying to find the bright-side.

Well, I’ve found my bright-side. 🙂  Mondays are hard at our house, just as they are at most people’s.  Getting everybody up and out the door on Monday is…difficult.  We’ll, now I have a partner for the Monday blues.  We were running late this Monday morning (as usual for Monday).  The house was cold so I had a hard time pulling myself out of bed and by the time I did I was late.  I forgot to my MO’s lunch last night.  The kids were famished so they had seconds (and thirds) of breakfast making us even later.  Are you ready for my bright-side?  Four hands are better than two, right?  ML picked up the slack and made everything run nice and smooth this morning.  Oh happy day.

And in the spirit of looking at the bright-side here is my list of other bright-sides for this quarter:

  • ML can come to Sunday dinners now.  (My in-laws host dinner every Sunday and it’s just not the same without my love.
  • Going on dates is so much easier Monday-Wednesday.  I do not enjoy crowds and nobody goes out to dinner Monday and Tuesday.  Yay!
  • Cheap Tuesday tickets.  Our local movie theater has cheap tickets all day Tuesday.
  • My love has his birthday off work.  Wahoo!
  • He’s no longer working nights.  That’s always a plus.

I’m sure I could think of more but this is a start, right?  Yay for a new quarter!