Thursday, February 28, 2008
1. Ate dinner at the park.
There was a favorite park of ours and during the summer we often packed up the car with food and headed to the park to eat it. Sometimes we cooked our food there, in the BBQ's the park provided. It was relaxing and fun. The kids would play on the big toy while adults set it up. We would eat our dinner and then go walk around the little lake and sometimes up the hill and down again. Then the kids would play on the big toy while I read or visited with my husband or a friend that often joined us with her kids.
2. Played charades.
I know this seems like an old game that has gone out of style, but we loved it. The kids enjoyed acting out the words and we all enjoyed trying to guess the answer. It was fun and educational for all of us.
3. Went to the beach. (ocean).
At least once every summer and once every fall we would travel to the ocean beaches and picnic and play. We always built a fire, roasted hot dogs and ate them with chips and fruit and then made s'mores. We would take kites and fly them or just walk on the beach and look for shells and rocks.
4. Movie night.
The girls went to their dad's house every weekend. The boys and I would cuddle up on Friday night and watch a movie or television show together. If they lasted through that, I would read to them and then carry them to their beds or sometimes just cover them up and leave them in the living room.
5. Skate park.
The boys all got into skating. The older ones had skateboards and Jeren had rollerblades. We would go to the skatepark and they would practice skills. It was always fun and enjoyable and I enjoyed watching their progress.
We used to go to the waterfront here in town. The sidewalk went on forever. I would walk while they skated or skateboarded. We would go out on the fishing dock and watch the people fishing. We usually did this at sunset so we could see the sun set.
7. Went to visit my friend in New Hazelton, B. C.
Ruthie lives on 83 acres. Her house runs on twelve volt batteries. (Nine of them). Her fridge is a box over a creek. Her husband gave the boys some saplings, nails, clear plastic and told them to build a fort. They built a two story fort in the woods. It was a fun trip for all of us. I don't have the picture of the fort scanned into my computer, yet.
8. Took them to Barkerville, B. C.
The first time we went to Barkerville it was free admission. The second time we paid 10 dollars(family rate) for a two day visit. We camped nearby. This is a fun place to visit. It is an old restored mining town with authentic buildings. The residents dress in the style of the period and re-enact little bits of mining town life. You can go in some of the buildings and only look in others. There is a stagecoach that provides rides and also a horse drawn wagon. There are lots of things to look at and plenty of souveneirs. We thoroughly enjoyed it both times.
9. Hiking, climbing and hanging out on Mount Rainier.
We used to go up to the mountain and take some of the day hikes. Sometimes we went to Paradise and sometimes we went to Sunrise. Either way there were plenty of trails and sights to see and a nice, scenic drive to get there.
10. Park hopping with Susan and her kids.
My friend Susan and I and our kids had several favorite parks that we visited in the summer. These visits usually included lunch or sometimes dinner. One of the parks was actually a school yard with a play area that the kids called the castle. It was quite a structure. They called it "Castle Park". We let them. It was win/win for all of us. The kids always had fun playing with each other and using the park equipment and toys. Susan and I got to visit uninterrupted while they played.
11. Building forts in the house.
Ahhh yes! The fun of a fort in the living room or a bedroom. Sometimes my boys would build forts in the bedrooms that would take up the whole room. Blankets hung from closet doors and dresser drawers, cardboard boxes to crawl through, blocks to hold things down. Yes, it was messy, but it was sooooooooooooooo much fun. I still can hear the question, "MOM! wanna come see our fort?"
12. Rubber bands.
What a cheap toy. I would buy two or three big bags of rubber bands from the office supply store. They would make rubber band balls, rubber band ropes, rubber band shooters. One time they stretched a rubber band rope from our doorknob to Grandma's doorknob across the street. One time they made a huge "slingshot" and used it to send the basketballs flying across the yard.
Cheap fun for boys!
I took my kids to the library once a week, minus one or two along the way. We all looked forward to library day. We spent at least an hour there, just enjoying the library. They learned to look things up on the computer as soon as they could read. They all checked out books on their own library card. They got library cards as soon as they could scribble their "name". Jeren got his at two and a half. He was very proud of that library card. I still have it in his baby book. They had to carry whatever they checked out. I had to make the rule in order to keep some of them from taking the entire library home. haha. We had a special place in the house for the library books so that they didn't get mixed up with our books. We also checked out videos. One or two per child. (With five boys it got out of hand otherwise.)
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
Today I am tired and still feeling a little confused about something that I can't figure out. For one thing, I realize that February is almost over and I can't figure out how to slow time down. My work week goes really fast because my Mondays are on Friday and the weekends are our busy time. The week just disappears, almost before it begins and then it is my days off again. I love my schedule for that, but I wish things could slow down just a bit. I feel like I need to catch a breath of air.
I hate having to censor myself when I write and I'm thinking I should start a private journal, just for me. I could do this on paper, but I'm much faster at typing and even paper can be found and read, so I'd rather journal things out in a blog. Apparently I've written something somewhere that is bothering someone and I can't figure out where. But it has made me realize that often I don't say what I really want to say about some things. I try to be sensitive about things and I have just figured out that I really don't stand up for myself like I should. I'm so tired.
I don't understand what happened to the world. Well, I understand it a little, but I don't get why so many things are tolerated these days and why people are so mean and selfish.
One thing I want to say is that I can't go back and undo choices I've made in my life in the past. Those choices, good or bad, were the choices I made at the time and they cannot be undone. I can only go on, learn from it somehow and continue in what is hopefully a better vein. (rut, path, whatever you want to call it.)
I shouldn't have to apologize for being me. I am who I am and I like who I am. It's a sorry state of affairs to me that I am not good enough to be included in some people's lives just because I don't choose a lifestyle of snobbery and riches and thinking I'm better than others less fortunate than I am. I was raised by my mom who taught me that "There but for the grace of God, go I." It was a powerful lesson and it taught me to realize that life can change for any of us at any time. We really don't know what is in store. We really can't control the outcome of everything we do. We really need to learn to live and let live and try to understand the people that are different from us. Different is not bad, it's just different.
Unfortunately it does not seem as if I was able to impart that same lesson to all of my children. I did the best job I could do as a parent. I was often overwhelmed and underfunded and in the middle of relationships that didn't quite turn out how I expected. I was promised love, faithfulness and forever. Unless the definitions have changed, that is not what I got. I tried to keep my children's lives on an even keel, even through all of the chaos that often ensued. I tried to instill values and morals and gave them lots of love, but I guess that wasn't good enough for some of them. I'm just not good enough for some of them. I'm not rich, but I'm comfortable. I don't live in a shiny new house with shiny new furniture and all the proper furnishings and decorations. Gee, I don't know. Raising seven kids mostly on my own, somehow impacted my budget.
I like fixer houses. I didn't know it was a crime. I didn't realize that by living in a house that isn't finished I was limiting my relationships with some of my kids who are too embarrassed to bring their significant others home to meet me. I'm tired of being made to feel like a second class citizen because I don't care for drapes and don't have carpeting and can't keep up with the yard like I used to do. I still have a lot of work to do on my house and that is mostly because I had kids. Raising seven kids doesn't give you a lot of time or money to do all the things you want to do. Now that they are mostly grown and I have a little more time and money, I am finally getting a lot of things done that have been waiting on the back burner. I still have to pace myself, though. I am not going to go deep into debt just to make my house perfect so that the "perfect" children can feel comfortable sharing me with their significant others. I'm not going to apologize for not being rich and not wanting the same things as everyone else. I'm happy in my life and my home. It's not perfect, but it's mine and I enjoy the process of changing it and fixing it and working on it. I'm old now and I can't do all the things I used to do with the speed I used to do them. I don't have as much strength as I used to have. I have learned to work around it and I still enjoy what I'm doing, so I'm ok with me. I'm sorry that others are not. I thought love was about love. I didn't realize that it was about keeping up with the Joneses. If I'm not good enough, then so be it. Such a sad way to be.
So I guess I had a lot more to write about than I thought.
Friday, February 22, 2008
I'm a little tired and don't really feel like going to work, but things should be fine once I get there.
It's time for a change, although I don't know what kind of change I need.
I really want to get things done outside. Spring is so close and the weather has been nicer each day and warming up, but it is still too wet to do much.
The garage is still too cold to work out there.
My head hurts. Wednesday, I clicked the button to put the back door of my van down. I pushed the button to close the slider and started to walk around the van. I heard the beeping of the back door, but didn't really get it. I had already forgotten that I had pushed the thing to tell the door to close. My old van you had to pull the door down yourself. So even though it was beeping, I walked under it and it banged me right on top of my head! At least I know the retractor works. It went right back up after clonking me.
OUCH! I have an egg there. I felt really stupid and looked around to see if anyone saw me get hit. Apparently no one did. I chuckled to myself as I continued around to get the rest of my stuff out of the van. I pushed the button again, to put the door down and this time I went around it.
I checked for bleeding when I got in, but luckily there was none.
Dumb, dumb, dumb!
Next time I hear the beeping, maybe I will heed the warning!
ok...got to go get ready for work. DRAT!
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Thirteen of My Favorite Photos From Places I've Been.
1. An almost smogless picture of Los Angeles taken from Griffith Park. April, 1998.
AND NOW:Posing for Grandma: aka Clowning around!
Monday, February 18, 2008
They live in Seattle, now, but they lived two years in Alaska, moving there when Trenton was only two. My granddaughter had lived there with her other Grandmother for a long time, but wanted to come live with my son and her mom and baby brother. They wanted to make the transition easy. Up in Alaska they lived in Seldovia, a town of 300, accessible only by boat or plane. The school is a modern rendition of the one-room school house. Grades are often combined and graduating classes are below ten kids. Trenton and Jackie went to school in the same school even though she was in junior high and he was in pre-school. Now he is in first grade and she is in high school.
They were able to find a K-12 school here so that the kids could still go to the same school, like when they were in Alaska. It's a public school, but run much like a private school. The kids seem happy there. I have missed being part of their everyday lives, like I was before they moved to Alaska. Even though Jackie lived in Alaska for much of my son's relationship with her mom, she was here in Washington every summer. They lived in Everett, up north from here, but she and Trenton spent a large part of their summer visiting here for the weekends. Before Trenton was born, I even took her to California with me one summer when I went to take my other grandkids home. She is not my son's child, but she's part of the family.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
A couple of examples:
The other night I drove my son to Best Buy. I saw a person get in their car to leave. (or so I thought). I put on my blinker and pulled over to allow room for anyone not wanting to wait behind me. I thought it would be nice to be parked where it would be easy for my son to find the car since I had already dropped him off at the door. I was tired and wanted to wait in the car.
This was a parking place right in the front area. I was waiting for the parking place when two boys walked past my car. These were boys in their twenties. As they passed my vehicle the one boy said, loudly, to be sure I heard him, "Is there some reason you are sitting there holding up traffic, fat ass!?" Then he and his friend laughed loudly, all proud of themselves for their clever comment.
I was completely shocked. It didn't make me mad or hurt my feelings as much as it made me sad for their stupidity. After all, I doubt he could even see me because he never looked my way while he was actually passing my car and from the back it would have been difficult to see me as my windows are tinted.
I had left plenty of room for anyone wanting to pass and there was just no reason for him to be rude. I wanted to go find him in the store and ask him if he had a mother or a grandmother or a sister. I wonder how he would like one of his female relatives to be addressed in that manner. I still think about how proud he was of that comment. I still think about his mom and how she would feel knowing that is how he treats complete strangers. Then I wonder how he treats her.
They didn't have the product he wanted at that store, so we went to another one in our area across town. My legs weren't hurting as bad so I went in with him to look around while he bought his computer. After we made our purchases, we got in the car to go home. On our way home there are two gas stations that are always having price wars and I try to get gas there whenever I'm in the area, so I stopped for gas.
There is a garbage can at the end of the pump island. We pulled up and there were two McDonald's bags lying on the ground next to the pump. It wasn't five feet from them to the garbage can. I picked them up and put them in the garbage.
Come on people! Five feet. Two steps and drop the bags into the garbage can or no steps and drop it on the ground. I just get so disgusted sometimes at the stupidity that is going on in the world. The lack of conscience toward others and the lack of conscience towards our earth in general just amazes me.
I just don't understand how people think sometimes. I work at one of the few places that still allows smoking inside the premises. I see these smokers drop their cigarettes on the floor (carpeting) and smash it out with their foot. What? Do they do this in their own homes?
Is everyone devoid of conscientious thinking these days?
Thursday, February 14, 2008
13 Things On My To-Do List:
1. Move the washer and dryer.
2. Build two walls, one in the living room and one in the kitchen.
3. Install the new cabinet for the bathroom that I got FREE from Craigslist.
4. Finish the walls on the tub side of the room and paint them.
5. Install the floor trim (also FREE from Craigslist) and new door on the bathroom.
6. Cut up the rest of the carpet in my room to dispose of it.
7. Build an aviary for my birds.
8. Get gravel and spread it in the appropriate areas of the yard.
9. Trim the suckers and cut some branches on my plum tree.
10. Plant the pear tree that David owes me.
11. Put up the shelves in the garage storeroom.
12. Buy and put together the pantry cupboards that will go in the new 'room' off the kitchen with the washer and dryer.
13. Finish sewing my shower curtain, the baby's quilt, the other babies's quilts, and some one yard blankets and make myself some new night shirts.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
So, it's another mundane Monday. I am trying to lay low and help my legs get back to normal size. The baby arrived sleeping and his uncles are both staying home today from work, so I was able to sleep in a little and that helped. Jeren was up half the night throwing up. David is not sick, but just having a day off after working extra yesterday.
My house is a total wreck, my routines are all cranked around the wrong way and I just wonder if life will ever return to "normal" for me.
I remember the days when everything was sooooooooooo organized and things were always clean and dusted and put where they belonged.
Why was it so much easier to keep up with things when the kids were young? You would think it would be easier now. I don't know how moms with young ones and working an outside job ever have a clean house. When I was a stay-at-home mom it was easy. I was home all day. The ones who were in school were gone and the ones who were not in school had routines. I usually found myself taking care of other children and routines were something I depended upon to be able to accomplish all I wanted to do. I had breakfast time, play time, lunch time, nap time and then the older kids were home. We had homework time, dinner time and then play or relax until bed time time. It was a wonderful life and I still miss it a lot sometimes.
Once I became a working mom things changed, but since I was working in the same school district as my children attended, it wasn't that bad. You get a lot of time off when you work for the school system and things could still be accomplished. It was fairly easy to keep up with both the house and the yard.
Then I decided to go fulltime at a "real" job and from then on it seems things have been chaotic. Between working fulltime retail management, which is like full time and a half, and the kids being home alone (teens or young adults) and then kids moving back home and moving out and moving back.....on and on, it became impossible to have even a small resemblance to a routine. I would get a routine going and then someone would move out and someone would move back in and it was a never-ending circle.
Finally things seem to have stabilized. I'm working full time, but no longer retail management. My job is easy and doesn't come home with me. David and Jeren live here with me and finally things seem to have come to a place where we are all comfortable and doing well. We've worked out the kinks in the relationships and have a nice roommate situation. It took some work to get to this, though.
They were paying a little bit toward the cost, but while they were having spending money each and every payday, I was struggling to meet the expenses. I started taking a realistic picture of what it was really costing me to have them here. I like having them here, but since they are both working "adults" I realized I should not be supporting them anymore. I helped out all of my other kids that stayed here. They paid a little bit to cover the costs of utilities and such and I was happy with that, but things were way more affordable then. The cost of gas has driven even the simple things up in price and when I really sat down and looked at it....it's a wonder anyone can afford even a simple life style. It was hard to realize that I was still carrying most of the boys's expenses and they needed to step up to the plate and start carrying their own weight.
I talked to David about it first. He is 24 and always paid more then Jeren because he had lived out on his own and knew what a deal he was getting. Jeren has never moved away from home. He just became an "adult" last spring. David and I took the bills and averaged them and divided them all by three and came up with a figure that was fair to all of us. We decided to give it to the end of the year and in January the rent for them would go up to reflect 1/3 of the actual cost of running our home plus a fair amount for gas while I am still driving them each to work. David and I each talked separately to Jeren about it. David was able to present things to Jeren as an older brother and also as someone who had lived out on his own and knew the costs of renting.
I used to buy all the groceries, figuring it was covered by what they paid. haha. It's nice to live with your head in a hole, but not realistic. David pointed out to me that I was still covering all the groceries, plus shampoos, soaps, laundry products, cleaning products, etc. In November I stopped buying groceries. We had made an earlier agreement to take turns and David pointed out that Jeren had never achieved his turn. Jeren was good at excuses, yet he had bought himself a Wii and put almost 800 dollars into accessories and games. I can eat free at work and David said he would fend for himself. He and I were done buying groceries for Jeren. haha. Pretty soon all our reserves were depleted. Jeren came to me and said, "Mom, we are out of peanut butter." I said, "Jeren, I don't eat peanut butter."
You have to understand that this is a child who lives for peanut butter. When he was little he would cry if it came to bedtime and he realized he had not had his "lunchtoast" which is what he called peanut butter and jam sandwiches. (I don't know why he called them that. It started when he was around two.) He has had at least one peanut butter sandwich daily for most of his life. The only time he doesn't eat a daily pb&j is if we are out of peanut butter.
A couple of weeks later, I went and bought myself some groceries. I bought veggies, salad stuff, and some skim milk. Jeren came to me and said, "Mom, you accidentally bought skim milk. No one is going to drink that." I said, "Jeren I bought skim milk because I like skim milk and since I can buy just for myself, now, I am buying what I like." Within a week my skim milk was gone and I only had consumed two glasses. (did I mention that we are milk-a-holics at our house?). haha. I didn't really care that the milk got used, because I drink milk at work and tend to forget to drink it at home. The whole point was still in getting Jeren to realize that he needed to keep his end of the bargain and chip in for groceries. The next thing he mentioned was the ketchup. "Mom, we are out of ketchup." To which I replied, "Jeren, I don't use ketchup." He and his friend went to McDonalds several times and each time loaded up on ketchup. haha What a guy!
Things were pretty scarce around here. It was nearly the middle of January and I still hadn't bought any groceries except that one time when I bought myself veggies and greens. David was carefully buying things to prepare for himself, but nothing extra. There were none of our mainstays in the house. No cheese, milk, eggs, tuna, hamburger, bread, tortillas, broccoli, peanut butter...the list goes on. The cupboards were bare. It was difficult for me to not go fill them up, but I held to my guns. Finally one night Jeren realized that there was simply nothing to eat here. He was complaining to David, his friends, my mom and anyone else that would listen. David finally told him that he needed to step up to the plate and uphold his end of the bargain. We all needed to be chipping in for the things we all use and then if there were things that we wanted specifically for ourselves we would each get our own.
Jeren finally went grocery shopping and he did a great job. There is a place near us where we can get ground beef at a great price if we buy over ten pounds. If we each take turns using less than 20 dollars we can always have that on hand. When hot dogs go on sale for ten for ten....we can each take 10 dollars and have 30 packs of hot dogs in the freezer which lasts forever! I told them we should each take ten dollars a payday and each of us buy a different ten for ten item. Then we can have things stocked up and if we each take one payday a month and be the one to fill in the extra stuff, we will always have stuff to fix. The boys buy their own junk food and I buy my own health food items. It's finally starting to work and Jeren finally got the picture. He just had to get over that "mom lives here" thinking. It's hard to make that transition from being the child to being a roommate.
Even just this first month of them paying the new amount of rent and with all of us chipping in together to buy groceries it has made quite a difference. Jeren bought his own shampoo and soap and he bought me some things, too. I finally feel as if I can have some spending money, too, that I can actually spend on me. I have been wanting to try a pedicure and some things like that and just couldn't afford them. I want to buy things for my grandkids sometimes. I want to even be able to take the boys out to dinner once in awhile. I finally see the changes coming. Things are starting to get more organized and I'm finishing projects.
I'm returning to lists to help me out. I'm exercising more and hoping that it will give me more energy and strength. I can't wait to get out in the yard and start the physical work of getting my gardens started. Jeren and I plan on building a gazebo-like structure for around the fire pit. David is going to help me with a couple of the garage projects and the yard. Most of all I am excited for the changes I see coming and enjoying the ones I've already made. It's weird expecting 'rent' from your kids at first, but it's realistic to realize that you can't support them all their lives. I think we will have a great roommate relationship. It's starting out well, already.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Well, I have to go to work early, so I can't write a lot, so I will give you some more pictures. It's like "Wordless Wednesday" all week long.
Here you go:
A blast from the past:
Jeren and Mikaila in Ventura in 2001. (he was 12 and she was 5)
We had a lot of fun there.
I heard on the radio today that there is a new furnace that is similar to the new hybrid cars. It uses both electriciy and gas. I'm not sure how it determines it, but I guess it uses whichever energy source is the least expensive, switching back and forth on its own to save you money. It was a commercial, so it didn't go into detail, but I just wonder how the furnace knows the price of electricity or gas?
hmmmm....might have to read up on that.
Cheryl and I are going to lunch, instead of breakfast, so I need to go get ready.
Not an exciting blog, really, but just what I was thinking about.
I leave you with this:
See the little chicken thingy by the fence. I want one. I have no idea who made it. It is made of metal piping. On top there is the chicken and there are little chicks on either side of her that you can barely see. There are wind-chime type pipes hanging in that space right under her and then chains (like from dog chains) hanging like a curtain, in the lower part, like you could walk through them. At the bottom of the pole structures are chicken feet, also made from metal and painted yellow with red ankles.
I love this thing and I am going to try to reproduce it this summer.
Have a great Saturday.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
This is the complete set of the metal flowers pictures. I am posting this for Christine B. I hope you enjoy them. They are a little dark because it was dusk and I needs a new camera, but you can see the pots in which they are standing and how they are placed on the sidewalk. I never knew they were there until the day I came down that street trying to get to somewhere else. I plan to go this summer and try to get some more shots of them with my new and improved camera, that I plan to get soon.
And in other news:
Ummmm....I think I could give them nothing for free!