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Why? my blog title "Better2me"

As a woman, mother, and wife my first instinct is to take care of those around me. I nurture those I love in many ways through out the day, but sometimes find myself neglecting me. Recently I realized that I need to nurture myself as well. So this blog is about ME!!!!! What fills my heart; my simple life of kids, husband, animals, home, and creativity. For being better2me leads me to be better to those I love.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Giving Thanks

So often we dwell on the little things that drive us crazy, the bickering between siblings that feels like our skin being grated down a cheese grater or the way one child whines how unfair it is that he has to help, even though he never leaves the couch while he does it, when really what we should dwell on is the memories that are being made and the story of family we are creating.

This hit home for me this Thanksgiving week when driving home from a five day trip to Mammoth. As we packed up to leave early Thanksgiving morning the boys began their traditional roles. Keaton up early and ready to conquer the world with his father, while Kellan who becomes testy when awoken quickly, sat quietly and whimpering on the coach sure he was going to die from a mild cold. I became aggravated with Kev, as I usually do, because he spends a humongous about of time cleaning the condo and making sure it is spotless, why at home he cannot even lift a glass to put it in the sink. As my aggravation grew, from watching Kev rewash the kitchen table, after I had practically disinfected it moments before, I caught myself in a moment of clarity……. How lucky I was to have my whole family together.
Usually we have many people that join us for skiing, fishing or the other adventures that can be had in Mammoth, but this time it was just us.

Sure we split when interests diverged; Keaton and Kevin went skiing and snowboarding, while Kellan and I watched movies. Keaton found friends in the area who helped him build a igloo. The three boys went to the jacuzzi while I enjoyed some "me time" knitting in front of the fire. But we did come together in the evenings to eat and visit and we even spent one whole day in front of the fire doing nothing as a storm eliminated everything in sight.

This unity reminded me of other vacations in our past; first with just Kevin and I as we learned to work together as unit while navigating new roads and a new relationship, then when Kellan came along and we enjoyed anew this same adventures through the eyes of child, and as the dynamics changed even further when Keaton joined the ranks and cries of “how much longer?” become dispersed with “He’s on my side.” But now when I look at those vacations and now in those comments that brought me angst I now only see joy at what a wonderful family I have.

Soon Kellan will leave for college and our dynamics will change once again. O’how a part of me wishes I could keep everything the same. How I will miss him in these moments of family and even when he does fill the void it will never be exactly the same. However, I realize from the past that not only is that impossible, but that I wouldn’t want it to really, for it is these moments that will fuel his family. Hopefully he will remember them with joy just as I have, and it will make him want to recreate them with his wife and children. And IF we are very lucky we will be included in those memories as grandparents.

So as we left I clicked a picture in my mind, (minus the bikering and whining ) of this moment in time and what joy I have had this week. On a second thought, I remember it is Thanksgiving and how truly blessed I am, may every day of the year be one of Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Keaton and the Christmas Store at school.

Keaton lasted five hours before he HAD TO show me the Christmas present he got me from the Christmas store at school :) I had to promise to act surprised when I opened it for real on Christmas day. Then he showed me Kellan's present and explained that "Kellan is going to have to disregard where it says 'world's #1 Dad' on his present because they didn't have any that said #1 bro."

I asked him what he bought for himself and he said "nothing, cuz I bought good presents for all of you."

These are the best gifts.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I find it interesting how our viewpoint can change in an instant into a totally different direction, yet we realize instantly that the change is the right one and suddenly it all makes sense. Well that is what happened to me last night.

My hubby is gone for six weeks of training, but still he cannot escape my daily deliverance of whining, pouting, along with a few good things that I throw in there so that he doesn't become tired of my negativity. Last night, I was on my usual subject of not feeling that Keaton is learning in the way that works for him. I ranted about how his teacher told him to rewrite his paper because if he didn't he was going to get an "F", but didn't tell him what to fix, so he basically changed the information around and rewrote it for the third time. When I emailed her about letting me help him at home with it, she responded that was great because she has no time to help children 1:1 in the classroom........(My teacher brain exploded). I raved to him that last year I never helped Keaton with anything because his teacher taught it so that he could understand it and then I wondered is it the teacher this year,or the curriculum. I went on and on and as usual my fears of what is going to happen in high school and beyond, burst forth.

Luckily my hubby knows me by now and he lets me rant and rave and then calmly he stated some basic facts. First of all, I don't want to be so caught up in this that I can't be effective for Keaton. Second, that Keaton will be alright, he is smart; he may not be a great student but neither was hubby and he turned out o.k. (I agree to that, more then o.k.) He may not be book smart, but he is amazing at so many things and that his weaknesses make his strengths even stronger. That Keaton will get through school in large part because I am here and have the time to help him reach his goals.

Then it hit me..... I have been agonizing for along time on what to do with my recently acquired education. I can't get a full time job because I need to be there for Keaton, plus the job market does not warrant it........ when all along that job has been here and I have been doing it, I just have not looked upon it as such. My job is to get Keaton through the next seven years of school so that he can go on to college if he so chooses. I have to stop whining about whether I made the right choices of teachers, or if he is getting what he needs at school, or feeling bad that we work a lot at home when he would rather be doing something else, or that it is I he gets mad at when things are frustrating or hard (although don't watch me on these because I probably will still whine), it is my job and I have to figure out how to do it in balance. The reason I went to school in my forties and acquired a BA, teaching credential, and Masters (along with a huge debt that I worry about paying off) is so I could teach Keaton what he does not get at school and to make sure he has the skills he needs to succeed.

See how smart my hubby is :) he changed my viewpoint of the situation which allowed me to move past that which was keeping me stuck.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What a terrible mom am I.

On a friends blog she is participating in the thirty days of blogging with a different topic each day. Today the topic was on the things that you like about yourself. It didn't take me very long to realize that list was not going to be very long and in fact today it is nonexistent. For you see, today I feel like a mom failure and since being a mom is my important job, it makes it so much worse.

By nature I am not a very confrontational person and instead I worry. I worry about things I cannot control and those that I can. I worry for days, and nights over the same little thing. But in the last few years I have learned that I can alleviate some of that worry, by taking action on the things I can control. Also, with Keaton having different needs as my older son, I have learned that I need to be his advocate and thus I have to confront many more issues than I ever have before.

This year I have found Keaton's teacher to be a good match for him in that he likes her and has no fears about asking her questions. Unlike his past teachers who where very structured she is less so and I think this is a problem for him in that less is expected and it makes things a little harder for him to grasp certain things. But all in all she is the best teacher for him in this grade. I have found however, that I do need to contact her more frequently in regards to Keaton and how she is finding him in school and issues he may have regarding homework then previous teachers.

I have tried to let little things go (such as recently when she told the kids to memorize the answers to a study sheet in order instead of really understanding the info. I told Keaton that was ridiculous and that he had to learn them, then he did not get the 100% that most of the class who had memorized the answers in order had) But recently she moved the kids around and put Keaton in the back of the class, when his 504 states he needs to be up front. He came home for several days saying that he couldn't hear and that the kids around him where copying answers and that he was getting distracted. I felt I had to mention it. I sent her an email regarding my concerns and she stated she had no room for him up front because of her other special needs students (although she had several gate students in the front row) and that she would try to move him.

She did move him, (although he came home upset because she told him in front of the class that he was being moved because he talked too much, I told him that I asked for him to be moved so he could hear better). But then she sent me an email which I feel was the real reason that he was not up front and in it she stated that Keaton had a problem with smelling bad! Gosh darn how terrible as a mom do I feel, that I didn't even catch that. That adults and kids have been talking about him (that is what she stated), Poor Keaton trying to fit in and being ostracized for something he didn't know.

Of course I immediately began to think of ways to rectify the situation and ran to the store to stock up :) Keaton is my child who never stops and sweats constantly he has to wash his hair more often then my other one because his is thick and coarse and catches everything, so I got him shampoo and conditioner that he can use on a daily basis. He wears his shoes without socks at play, which drives his father crazy, and does get smelly feet, so I bought a large supply of socks (like I don't have 50 mill already) and new shoes for him so he can wear one pair to school and one to play in. I bought things like body gel and scrubbers, that make showering more fun, instead of the soap that he usually uses. Since he is a total protein eater, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks he would rather have salmon then a cookie, I am going to change his diet to include more fruits and vegies and less protein. I got water bottles he can take to school, figuring he could drink water all day at school and that would help flush his system (he loves water, but doesn't drink enough).

But the worst part is that when I told Keaton to go take his shower because from now on he was going to shower every day instead of every other, he got so excited when he saw all the new stuff, because his teacher had told him last week about his issue and that he needed to do something about it. (do you hear my heart breaking now) That is why he had been taking a shower in the evening and then getting up 1/2 an hour early in the morning to take another one.

How long do you think this will stick in his head? At forty will he still think he has a problem because he remembers how it felt to be told he was stinky.......what a terrible mom am I.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

{this moment} - A Friday ritual(oops I'm late :) ). A single photo - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Soule Mamma

My moment comes from my son, Kellan, who left this on his face book page for all the world to see :) Just what I needed to validate that even though I do focus on my failures as a mother, there are some things that I do right!

Kellan Rothfus amazing chef + awesome knitter + awesome person = my mum

Friday, September 10, 2010

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. See Soulemama to play along.

Keaton and Berkly: siblings at heart!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Little Entrepreneur



Coming home from Labor Day, Kevin took Keaton and S boys in the airplane while I drove. Since they arrived so much earlier then I did Kev took them all on a tractor ride through the neighborhood, where they came upon Taitlin selling lemonade. Kevin said as soon as Keaton saw the twenty dollars Taitlin had made his eyes lit up and his brain starting working.

As soon as the tractor was safe in the barn Keaton contacted his best friend Jake and together they canvased the neighborhood for trees that hung over the horse trails bearing lemons. When I got home I was immediately enlisted to make lemonade and a stand was set up on the corner. In a short few hours my ever patient Keaton, and Jake made 5.25, the lemonade was empty and no more lemons remained.

Keaton quickly talked me into going to the store for more lemons, sugar, and cups and the next day when he got home he set up the lemonade stand again and was surprised when people gave him money for nothing. He told me he tried to give it back if they didn't want lemonade and they told him it was for being so patient and sitting out in the hot sun for two days.

Today when he got up he had to put on sweats and wear a sweatshirt to school. As he was walking out the door he looked up at the cloudy sky and stated "Today I think I will sell hot chocolate!".

He definitely is a hard worker and a future entrepreneur!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Flying Bug

I always say there are two types of people; those that love to fly and those that don't. Being married to a pilot I am ashamed to say that I am one of the later. Early on in our relationship, our first date was a flight to a nearby airport, I enjoyed the novelty of flying. As the years progressed I appreciated the convenience flying offered; being able to fly an hour to Mammoth instead of drive five. However, the older I get the less I enjoy flying, especially in small airplanes. Last year while flying to Mammoth the turbulence had me hitting my head on the cabin top and my son, Keaton's loud admonishment that it looked like the wings were going to fall off, had me literally shaking in my boots.

So I feel sad for my husband whose whole life revolves around flying on a daily basis, as a captain for a major airline, as a chief pilot for a large charter company, and as a check airman for the FAA, that he does not have a mate who shares his love of flying. I think he had hoped that our oldest son, Kellan, would be the one to share his passion. And although he does enjoy the art of flying it is not in his blood as something he must do.

When Keaton was born I think Kev has given up hope of a mini me. But we soon realized that Keaton has the flying bug in every cell of his being. Even as a baby Keaton loved to fly, where some parents would swear driving their child around in a car lulled their baby to sleep, Kev and I would state that for Keaton a bumpy airplane ride was what did the trick. Even today Keaton can sleep in an airplane during the worst turbulence and fear is not something he associates with flying. Recently Keaton has shown himself to be reading to learn the concepts of flying and who better than his daddy to do so.

Everyday that Kevin is home Keaton is putting the bug into his ear; when can we go flying, we have an hour lets just go up, forget the movies-swimming-party-fun activity- lets go flying. Being the kind of dad he is, Kev usually acquiesces. I don't know who has more fun Keaton or Dad!!!!

Recently I asked Kev to take some pictures of their afternoon adventure and they tell the story best:




Monday, August 23, 2010

Berkly and bumble bees

A few days ago I came home after a couple hours out to find the wood floors dry, nothing was chewed and the loaves of bread that I had left rising on the counter where still there. I knew something was wrong, but my attention was drawn to my youngest son and his friends whose bus arrived at that moment. After I got them a snack and watched them run down to the pool to cool themselves in the midday heat, I realized immediately what was wrong. There was no 90lb dog trying to beat them to the water. No wet mouth grabbing them by the swim trunks to pull them to safety.......I went looking for Berkly, our one year old chocolate lab, and found her under the umbrella tree. As I walked up to her I thought she was sleeping, but as I got closer I realized she was awake just unwilling to put out the effort to move. As I got closer she got up and lost her lunch at my feet. I realize her head and face were swollen to twice their normal size and she looked more like a sharpei with all their wrinkles, then a Labrador Retriever.

Rushing her to the vet, I had just been there that morning with my other dog, I wondered what had happened, had our garbage disposal pup eaten something that was her undoing. When I arrived, the vet was worried that, like two other dogs this week, perhaps she had gotten bitten by a rattler. Medicine was administered, five shots in all, and the conclusion was reached that Berkly had discovered and eaten a bumble bee.........

o.k. she is not the sharpest tool in the shed, but we do love her anyway :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

This is the letter I emailed to Keaton's teacher. I want to personalize him so that she can connect with him and hopefully see beyond the facade that he presents:

We are so happy that Keaton is in your class this year. He has come home excited about school and has a new story to tell every day. He enjoys your humor, was thrilled when you gave him a job to do and is so impressed that you may have more animals then we do. :)

I know you have received Keaton’s 504 and that you are well prepared to deal with his learning issues, but I am a neurotic mom and was hoping I could share my thoughts with you. For me understanding how Keaton works has allowed me to better help him in his learning, if this information is not pertinent to you, it won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t use it :)

Keaton’s was diagnosed inutero with Hydrocephalus, (excess water on the brain), the pressure compressed the Corpus Callosum, the main bridge between the two hemispheres of the brain. A neuro explained the CC to me as a highway; most people have six lanes, however Keaton may only have three congested lanes. That is why it takes Keaton longer to process information. Also, because this bridge controls interpretation of visual material , Keaton has trouble learning visually. Comprehension is also an issue because it entails the two sides of the brain working together.

However, a smaller bridge lower in the brain, that has not been damaged, controls oral learning and that is why Keaton is a great learner when info is presented orally. This is also why Keaton is a long winded talker (trust me I know:)). Where most people “think” through a problem, Keaton “talks” through a problem. He will do best where he can hear and see you clearly and when he can be checked orally for information being presented. A bonus would be to sit him near another student who does well academically, who he can discuss the information with.

This year Keaton’s dad and I have some goals for that I would like to share:

1 For him to realize that learning can be fun.
2. For him to learn to slow down and really analyze what is being asked.
Keaton has a tendency to speed through his work so that he can keep up with his peers, this along with his visual issues make him answer questions based on incorrect information.
3. For Keaton to remain learning at the level he is currently.
We have seen a great change in him in the last couple of years since this was diagnosed. He has risen from the low basic on testing to the last two years of being high proficient. I am not a great test advocate, but this shows me he is learning what he needs to and is not falling between the cracks. Many kids with his issues struggle more as they get into higher levels of thinking, but by learning in the style that is best for him he can continue to excel.
4. To work on his comprehension.
Keaton will always struggle with comprehension, but I would like him to learn how to dissect a story into steps which will allow him better understanding about the whole picture. At back to school night you stated you had twenty comprehension “strategies”, if you send those home we can work with him on them here as well as in school.
5. To help Keaton succeed on the honor roll.
The last goal seems frivolous, and to me is unimportant, but to Keaton it is a rating of his success. Last year Keaton made honor roll twice for the first time and his self esteem rose amazingly. This year he has made a decision to try even harder for it, so can you please let me know if you see any areas where Keaton may have trouble, (I will also be looking when things come home), so that we can re-teach before the testing occurs, because tests are where Keaton seems to break down the most.

Lastly, I know your plate is very full this year, so please let me help in any way possible. I can lead small groups, correct papers, run copies, and I have no problem taking things home to do.

Again, thank you for listening and thank you for making Keaton feel special. He is a great kid and we feel lucky he is in your class this year.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Is it spring cleaning already

So it is not spring, but still summer. The boys are back in school and I am motivated by the many blogs I see to create and nest. I realize I have been a shopper in the past running to buy each thing I need and adding to the cart when I got there. Now I want to enjoy my home and create a place there that is not full of things, but that is nurturing and inspiring. For me, part of that entails cleaning and organizing so that I do not have that hanging over my head when I am creating.

So today I tackled my freezer in the garage and my kitchen cabinets. We have started buying our beef in quantity by purchasing a grass fed cow that is then divided to our needs. We are running low on freezer stuff and I thought it would be a good idea to do it now while I have the time and not when are trying to unload everything brought down from Bishop (my hubby flies up and picks it up).

I also came up with the idea of writing down everything in the freezer (the outdoor freezer is for meat and long term items only, while the inside small one is for things I can and a few convenience foods we use). This makes it so easy to see what is inside and then cross it off as I use it. Here is the list I came up with today;

Freezer Contents

Beef

1 lb ground beef

1 lb stew meat

½ tri-tip

1 filet

3 london broil

2 T-bones

1 small rack ribs

1 pkg short ribs

1 pkg beef jerky beef

2 lbs ground sirloin

Pork

1 pork loin

Garlic sausage

6 pkgs Jim’s bacon

Plastic bag of Jim’s dried beef

Elk

2lb elk roast

Chicken

2 whole chickens

1 bag chicken tenders

6 chicken thighs

Fish

1 ½ lbs salmon

1 lb mahi mahi

6 trout caught by Keaton

1 lb sole

.1/2 lb tuna steak

½ lb shark

It is such a good feeling to be organized :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Is it school already?

There are those that cannot wait until summer is over and their routines are back to normal, their children are out of their hair, and they can do their errands and chores in peace. I am not one of those.

I love the freedom that summer offers; the ability to plan on the spur of the moment a day at the beach or to look forward to a few days away in the middle of the week. I especially love watching my sons do whatever, whenever they want. Each of their individual personalities coming out in the way their summer is spent.
One son sleeps in late and stays up to the wee morning hours. His waking time is spent troubleshooting how to make his go-ped faster, analyzing his golf swing through physics, rock climbing with friends or hanging out with his girlfriend. My eleven year old wakes up early and goes 110 miles an hour all day long; swimming with his friends, riding his bike or playing soccer, he falls into a deep sleep early in the evening utterly exhausted. Summer life is carefree, full of wonder and joy.

However, summer is now over and school has started and the quick thrill of new teachers and classes is quickly replaced by the memory of an old routine that reasserts itself. Every one must now have a bedtime in order to wake up for school. Homework must be completed and each child comes with their own issues; my eldest whose homework is done quickly and easily, is apt to toy on his computer or visit through text with his girlfriend. while my youngest would, if left alone, put it off until he frantically remembered right before bed, so I am constantly on duty arguing with both to take the time to learn and not to just "finish" it. Sometimes feel like a cowboy trying to keep steers enclosed without a fence. The school year also brings with it many other routines; four nights of soccer practice, several games a week, chores that must be done in a much smaller time frame, learning center for my little one twice a week, working in class, etc., basically a schedule whereas before there was none.

But what is the worst for me about the boys starting school is that my worries I have worried all summer about making the right choices as to teachers for them is either confirmed or held in question. I have finally realized, thanks to professional help lol, that I am a perfectionist when it comes to my children. I want them to receive what they need so they can accomplish their hearts desire and I want them to have people in their lives that support and encourage them. A teacher is with them for six hours a day and can either enrich their lives or impede it.

When my eldest, Kellan, was in elementary school I would worry worry worry about who to request, we were allowed two requests and would get one of them. When he received his teacher I would worry that it was the right one. The end of the school year would prove whether is was or not. However, he always seemed to do well because even though his personality, sarcastic to some humorous to others, might have him stand out, his intellect would allow him to succeed no matter the obstacles.

Keaton, my youngest, however, is very different. Although as intelligent as his brother he has a learning disability that makes him learn differently then other children. He does not visually process information, but is an amazing oral learner. A choice of teacher is even more critical. For example his second grade teacher, before we knew he learned differently, was a very creative teacher who placed him in the rear of the class. She did not have a structured environment and he struggled to understand what she was teaching as things came to him out of order and context. Yet, his fourth grade teacher was strict and unbending, allowing for all academics in an ordered manner. Her style of teaching allowed him to excel academically, but left him feeling like school was a painful experience.

This year I struggled to find him a happy medium; should I choose the strict, yet burnt out teacher, or the less structured teacher who had many unknowns. In fact I went back and forth handing in my letter with the first and then requesting it being rescinded and changing it to the later. I received my first request and immediately began to worry that it was the right choice? She is young, with enough experience, but is she structured enough, hard enough, capable to understand my child's method of learning without labeling him as less teachable. His only comment with two days of school under his belt is that she is boring, although today he stated that he thinks she likes him as she let him take something to the office..........positive? I hope so.







Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Chickens

I know that there are many out there that share the same obsession that I do for chickens, but in my urban oasis it is rare for my friends and neighbors to have them (although I have converted two so far and continue to work on inspiring others :) )

Chickens are an idea that my husband could not understand eight or so years ago when I got the great idea to keep them, yet he still supported it and went as far as building me two different coops (with a third one to be completed soon) He picked up the pieces(literally and figuratively) when we learned, the hard way, that raccoons enjoy chickens for dinner and so he was out early the next morning putting on a secure roof on the chicken coop. Today I think he enjoys them as much as I do and I hear him bragging to his friends about our flock.

Other chicken experiences have included my then four year old son who went out early in the morning when I was in the shower because he heard "the dogs that wanted to play with the chickens." When I heard the story and went to investigate I found we were short one chicken, further investigation found a neighbor who saw a pack of coyotes running down the street with one of my chickens in their mouth. Or the time I built a custom feed so the chickens would get feed every where, only to pick it up and find a dozen rats had built their next under it and didn't even have to leave for food and water.

So chickens have been a learning experience and it still continues. Now I am willing to take in chicks that others do not want, but I am also picky about getting different chickens according to their egg colors, others I know find the look of the chicken to be more important. I have learned a lot of pecking order and that chicks must be separated until big enough to fight back, and no I don't have a rooster because unlike popular belief you don't have to have a rooster to get eggs.

Can you tell I love my chickens and the joy and eggs they bring to my family........... Here let me share them with you.



Gladys named after my grandmother who also loved chickens.
Gladys is my sweetest chicken and was always at the bottom of the pecking order in her flock. I just introduced some new adolescent chickens and she jumped flock and went to be head of the new one.

Mabel is named after my Aunt Jerry's sister who was a pain and so is this Mabel
She lays white eggs and is bossy and loud and usually cracks her eggs after she lays them.



Buffy is a dependable layer and lays light brown eggs.

Not fully grown Goldie (due to her leg color) was a chick I inherited when her owner was trying to give her back at the feed and fuel. I already had two her age and she fit right in.

I have two Americana's that lay color eggs although they are not old enough to lay yet (they are replacing the two that our chocolate lab puppy "retrieved" and have since put locks on the coop doors. I think this one, Millie, will lay the avocado green eggs.

The other Americana, Sheba, is only the second white headed one I have had, the other one laid turquoise blue eggs and I'm hoping this one does too.

These three new chicks were given to me by a friend who knew I wanted dark chocolate colored eggs. This one is a Welsummer and her name is Summer.

Another Welsummer, we named Chicklette, because she is the smallest of them all.

This is supposedly a French Marran who lays the darkest chocolate colored egg. She is very pretty and I call her Marran.




Another picture of Gladys.

I'll keep posting as the new chicken coop gets built and as the chicks start laying.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fruits of my Labor

Every year I start out with the best intentions. I am going to grow soooo much. I start my seedling and nurture them daily as they grow. I get the garden ready and plant my tiny plants.....then we leave for vacation or Mammoth and the heat wave arrives when we are gone and decimates that which I had tended so carefully. So this year I decided to plant many things in pots and will wait until fall to plant a full garden, meanwhile I enjoy watching the fruits of my labor.



1/2 my chicken coop where the adult chickens live; Gladys, Buffy and Mabel.


The lower yard with my garden, barn, pool and pups.




My pizza oven with grapes .











My "pond" with fish and Turtle Turtle.....




One thing that comes back year after year in my garden whether I get to it or not is my artichoke plant that is now huge and productive.




Fresh Pea sprouts, nothing better then fresh peas!



Eggs from my chickens.



Monday, June 14, 2010

The Beach


If it was up to me I probably would never take time to spend a day at the beach: the sand, the people, the parking (or lack of), the stickiness, etc., is not my idea of fun. However, to kids the pull of the beach is unlike any other. So several times a summer I find myself throwing a few things in the car, packing up the kids and their friends and heading out for what I hope will be a half day event. Yet when I get there I find something magical happening, not only do I get immense joy watching them, but it also reminds me of the circularity of life as the memories of my childhood come rushing back.

Hence, this week we made the first of such a journey this summer. As we arrived at the water my ten year old son, Keaton, dug up the first sand crab of day to scare his teenage brother's friend, Wilson. Wilson having never seen a sand crab before (poor only child syndrome) is fascinated and a long discussion incurs as to which end is the mouth and which the tail. Being teenagers a contest ensures as to who can catch the most sand crabs. As I am asked to judge the winner by sticking my hand into several squirming buckets of crabs, I am suddenly transported to being ten myself. To the wonder of seeing a bubble on the wet moist sand, scooping a handful up and feeling the crab as it transcends through the sand to reach my hand, and the tickle it creates as it tries to go further through my fingers.

As Keaton and his friend Jacob body surf in the low waves they slowly make their way farther and farther from my view. As the distance increases so does my anxiety. When I shout to get their attention the waves drown me out and again my anxiety increases even further. I get up and trying to appear nonchalant so as not to look like a crazy mother I hurry in their direction. With a voice more shrill then I had wanted I admonish them of the dangers of getting too far from me. They give that "what is she so worried about" look, and comply. When I have time to analyze my feelings I remember similar episodes with my own mother. As I got older I always attributed it to the fact that she could not swim and therefor had a great fear of us drowning and that she would not be able to help. But now I realize it is more than that, it is a mothers internal radar a knowledge that she must protect her offspring at all costs.

As the day progresses I see the different stages of the beach come to life. My youngest is still all about the water, only coming out to eat, drink, or use the restroom. He cannot think of anything better then staying in the waves all day. My oldest at seventeen however has a different agenda, the beach is a good place to both get in shape and get a tan. His day is spent taking a run on the challenging sand, playing football and soccer with his friends, flexing for all the girls who walk by, and sunbathing (or should I say sunburning) on the hot sand. I am the last stage; under an umbrella with a towel over my feet that protrude into the suns path. I am there to caretake, observe and enjoy.

Before I know it the sun has begun to dip and I realize I had gone far over my half-day excursion. But I am not upset, because I have really enjoyed the outing and the time that I have been able to spend with my boys. As we pack up and turn to leave Keaton calls from the waves, "Mom, I just want to go faaaaaaarrrrrrr out there once." Even though my stomach clenches at the thought I realize that I must let him take chances so that he might learn from them, I nod in agreement and watch as he swims past the smaller waves and ducks under a few bigger ones, and then turns to ride in a much large wave then usual. As I see his silhouette against the white water I am reminded of my own childhood. How my godfather would take my twin sister and I past the waves my mom was comfortable with us going. He would hold our hands tightly within his own as the waves crashed down upon us. At times we rolled and somersaulted and had trouble catching our breath, but o' what fun we had. As Keaton pops his head above the water, my heart comes back to my chest, and my face is a mirror of his, which is filled with wonder and joy for all that he has accomplished; a life moment.

The last stop at the beach is always the showers. We have tried to make it home without them but sand, salt water, and sunburns are not good traveling companions. As I help the youngest erradicate the beach from their bodies I tell them about my own experiences. At my godparents beach house in Lagunita a door on the outside of the house led directly into a aqua blue tiled shower. It was always our first stop and after my mother had scrubbed us of the cups of sand that encrusted our bodies and had become trapped in bathing suits we would exit another more traditional shower door directly into the bathroom.

That night, our bellies full of In-n-Out, our skin roasted like an overcooked chicken, our bodies exhausted in a way that only a day at the beach brings, I am overwhelmed with a feeling of contentment that I have created memories that my children will bring to theirs. Then Keaton, who has fallen asleep on the couch, moves and groans and I realize he is reliving the waves as they flow into the beach and flow back to the ocean.........I too remember falling asleep to this feeling as a child and I curl up next to him and fall asleep reliving the days I have spent at the beach also.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The White Elephant

As I set up this blog I daydreamed about the posts I would add; about my children, my garden, my creative pursuits, so I find it odd that my first post will be about the the white elephant in the room, my weight.

I do so reluctantly because I know how many times I have tried, and failed, in the past to lose weight. However, I feel now I have the understanding as to why......I know I know many times we get that aha moment only to realize it was exactly that, a moment, and then we return to our old ways. Well for me it has been a long road that has gone past denial, ignorance and loss of hope to finally reach understanding........ I understand that I have not always been heavy and that weight began piling on as a way to "ignore" things that I didn't like about my life or didn't want to deal with. For example the other day my hubby and I disagreed about finances (I'm cheap, he is extravagant) and I found myself wanting to eat.....I wasn't hungry, in fact I was full. I realized then that I had to deal with my feelings, so instead of giving in I went and discussed it further with my hubby and we came to an agreement that both of us where happy with and surprisingly my hunger disappeared.

I know one "aha" moment will not change my ways overnight, but it made me realize I need to start facing that which sometimes makes me uncomfortable. In fact, since then I have been better at sticking to ultimatums I give the boys and to great success. I realize they will not love me any less and that they enjoy the structure and follow through. Discussing this with hubby allowed us to clear some things up. He feels it is his fault for I chose this path due to his early inability to be a good hubby (Trust me he has more then made up for it by becoming the most amazing husband and father) but I put his mind at ease in that it is my choice and I have to own it.

So I have begun the process, not only of losing weight, but of retraining my mind. No I will not lose 50 lbs by the time we go to the Cayman Islands and I will not wear a bathing suit and therefor will miss out of some activities with my family and friends, but I am no longer doing the quick fix, this is long term for my health and longevity and I am doing it the right way...... Writing down what I eat, exercising, and being Better2me.

about me

Alta Loma, California, United States
I am a wife of 28 years to Kevin, a pilot, a mother of 22 year old Kellan and 15 year old Keaton. I am caretaker to a zoo of animals including dogs, cats, chickens, fish, birds, turtles, etc. I am a gardener, a cook, a writer, a painter, a teacher, and I am truly blessed to be able to live life the way I wish too.