November 26, 2008

Any Time Of The Year

Thanksgiving is such a heart warming time of year. It becomes the time when the holiday cheer begins to morph, when fall transitions into winter.

Chandler, Alexis and Olivia have all been very observant of the Thanksgiving holiday and have noted well what it is they are thankful for. The words mentioned in their prayers express a deeper gratitude, A sure sign of maturing children. The things they are grateful for taken to paper in form of art work, a poem or kind letter. Each child so unique in their gifts, talents and spirit.

Tomorrows day of Thanksgiving will not be shared with the kids. In a way I will miss the busy ordeal of preparing a grand dinner together as a family, I know how much Alexis and Olivia enjoy helping in the kitchen. The ordinary holiday rituals and traditions will not be celebrated in the same way- Stephen and I are heading to Mimi's Restaurant, we will hit the movie theater and then get ready for our departure to New York the following day.

I have come to realize over the years that the actual day of the holiday is not all that important. Christmas and Thanksgiving can be any day we choose, as frequent as we wish. These holidays are symbolic and represent a spirit we continually grow throughout the year and throughout life. And when a family meal is prepared and we all gather round the table, bow our heads and give thanks continually for all we have been blessed with, this is when life feels so abundant. I look to the faces that surround me as we converse about the day or week and I take a few minutes to pause and learn who my family really is and what a treasure I possess.

Stephen asked me the other day "when do you feel most happy?" With out hesitation I know what is most precious to me, it is the time when we as a blended family are ALL together, this is when I feel most happy. Taking advantage of building a lasting relationship with sprouting kids who within a blink of an eye be fully grown.

Yes, I have learned a family can create Thanksgiving or the spirit of Christmas in the home as often as wished, I really believe this.


November 17, 2008

Free Bird to Zion

Saturday morning I woke about 6:00am, with a wild hair idea. I was going to pack the kids and do something spontaneous. I have been feeling a stir within, feeling the monotony of life enslaving me to the daily grind, not that my life is bad in any way- you just get in those ruts where life becomes so routine. I was determined to bust free of the feelings I had become consumed in, I was going to fly like a free bird. I didn't know where I was going, but I was going to find a place to perch in solitude. Some place where I could meditate and discover the air that makes me feel free.

So after some thought, I picked Zion National Park. Utah has some incredibly scenic and diverse terrain and this is my favorite park in Utah. The kids and I rushed to finish household chores and packed a overnight pack, stopped to get the oil changed, tires pressure checked and headed south for the next 24 hours. I booked a cabin in the park so we could take full advantage of our scenic trip. The selling point for the cabin resort was that they had buffalo on site. I knew the kids would go silly over this idea, and they did. Chandler packed his soft air gun and pocket knife convinced he was going to hunt a buffalo.

We arrived to our cabin feeling a little worn out from what I thought was going to only be a four hour journey, but ended up being six hours- after several pit stops, a sit down dinner and me trying to drive and navigate at the same time. By 6:30 we had made it to the park and now to find our cabin, this became a real challenge. Zion is a good size park and I was not really sure where this cabin was. No cell phone, but the kids helped navigate by reading me the directions I had printed off before hand. Chandler and Alexis were fretting in the back, convinced we were lost and that we may drive off a cliff or hit a dear. Olivia was in the very back reading her book, not even phased by the whole episode of the two older children. We made it to our nicely furnished cabin by about 7:00pm. Usually I would be against the Idea of watching movies while we were there to enjoy nature but, I selfishly admit I had started the ever so trendy Twilight book and wanted to sink into it.

The next morning we woke up around 7:00 and got ready for a day of hiking, adventure and lots of picture taking. The kids ran down to observe the buffalo and wild life while I finished getting ready. We had breakfast at the Buffalo Grill. As we ate our breakfast, we could look out from our window view and see the endless meadow full of roaming buffalo.

After a nice breakfast the kids picked up a souvenir at the gift shoppe, they all picked out arrowhead necklaces. Then Alexis, Chandler and Olivia played pioneers and Indians.

Rode in a covered wagon

Olivia rode a buffalo

Alexis "Princess Happy Home" (her Indian given name in 2nd grade) writing Indian hieroglyphics

and Chandler was still scheming how he was going to bring home a buffalo

After some fun play we headed for the trails and drove the scenic peaceful roads of Zion. No ipods, no games, no cell phones allowed during the time we were in Zion. My hope was with out distractions, the kids could really enjoy the serene and phenomenal surroundings that encompassed us.

The kids became quite animated about some of their observations. The wild life we saw, the brilliant colors that looked as though angels had used water colors to paint the evolving scenery.

Life tasted so sweet, my soul felt free and a compilation of a vibrant memory has been built, tucked and saved.

Mark Twain gave good advice: "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

A great motto to live by-

November 8, 2008

Being True To Ourselves

Over a month ago I took a job working in Salt Lake as a Sales Consultant. I was excited for various reasons. I purchased new clothes, shined my shoes, dusted off my laptop and stepped into a whole new class. Oh, did it feel liberating- Being at home full time, doing the daily grind- one may some times feel taken for granted. At work people recognize and reward hard work. Stephen and I would now share household duties and errands, involvement and responsibility with the kids would be divided more equally between Stephen and myself. I had it all worked out.

I was on the run. In a sense I knew by immersing myself into a satisfying job I would be able to dodge the heart ache and void I was feeling from the girls leaving to go to Kenya soon and the nagging pain I feel by splitting parent time with Chandler's father. From the time I was a little girl in pig tails I dreamt about being a "Mom" I didn't dream of being a career woman of any type. I would twirl about singing this dreamy song...

When I grow up I want to be a mother and have a family. One little, two, little three little babies of my own. And I will cuddle them when things go wrong and give them cookies with milk and yellow balloons.

I may not have the lyrics right and remember the whole song now, but the idea of the song created such a fantasy in my girlish mind. And now as a grown woman I find that I am grasping for the vision I created long a go.

Many years ago when Stephen and I married I made a promise to Alexis, Chandler and Olivia. A promise to ease the insecurity of the children's worries that come from divorce. I promised them that family would always come first. Olivia, who is most verbal in expressing her words reminded me of this, like a sting to my heart I could not deny that indeed, these were my words I had spoke with meaningful truth. Stephen was unhappy with the idea of me being out of the home, but when I heard it from my children, how could I take back my promise?

I came home from the grocery store today and had purchased a turkey for our Sunday dinner. The children are usually very kind to help put away groceries. Stephen asked Chandler to put the turkey out in the garage, sounds strange but is a great place to cold store a turkey this time of the year. Chandler's remarks "oh, so you want me to put the turkey in our food storage?" Presently we keep all our food storage out in the garage. It was pretty darn funny. Chandler- is still enjoying his BMX, it moves to a indoor track during the winter and he is really looking forward to the snow, getting out on his Dad's new invention the "snow bike." Also, this week Chandler's parent/teacher conference took place and it comes as no surprise that he had a very outstanding report. I really liked his poem about "Chandler Bear" a nick name I gave Chandler when he was a infant. There is a story behind this nick name.

Olivia- has been diagnosed with celiac disease, so it has been a very interesting to try and watch every label. It is going to take much more thought in meal planning and take a little getting use to the change. She had friends over for dinner tonight and one of her favorite meals is spaghetti, when you have celiac pasta is off the menu. We have quickly come to discover there are plenty of grocery stores and health food stores that carry great gluten free breads, pastas, treats, cereals and much more so this life change doesn't have to be to much of a challenge.

Alexis- Started basketball skills at Open Court and really has great ambition for the sport. We played ball a few months ago as a family and Alexis had a buried talent hidden, just waiting to be discovered. Alexis is also mastering her math skills. She challenges me most every day with her intelligence-

November 3, 2008


Halloween- The spookiest night of the year. You may see a luchador, alien, pup dog, biker babe or even Super girl.
For this is the time it all beings...

The rule of front porch stoops. Here they gather to giggle and taunt. Ringing doorbells, shouting "Trick or Treat," Only to be appeased by something sweet. Greedily they grab handfuls of candy, Stuffing it in sacks they always keep handy. The creatures then, vanish as quickly as they came, To torment others with their silly game. Midnight comes, the "witching hour," The sweets are sorted, ready to devour. In a short time, the candy has vanished, Into stomachs totally famished. Soon the creatures begin to moan, All that sugar making them groan. Slowly they crawl into their beds, Pulling the blankets over their heads.

We also celebrated Grandpa Gus's Birthday

Cake Melaine Made

The Birthday Dad

Pussy cat and "Money" the Mexican Luchador

A cute puppy dogs

The busy, flirty lady bug

Halloween Witch and Zoro

"Wendy" the burger girl and Police Officer

Buns and Guns