Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday is my Friday

Today was like a Friday for me since this was the last day for the "day camp" kids this week due to my trip to North Carolina tomorrow.  It was a gorgeous day, clear and cooler after the heat and humidity that have been plaguing our area for the last many days.  I had both girls today and my Dakota and once they were all here and ready we headed out for the morning.  Our first stop was to a dear friend to drop off some much needed things for her family.  Afterward, we went to Pasadena to Lake Waterford, where I was pleasantly surprised at the lack of people there.  The kids raced to the playground and I grabbed my chair, our lunches and my phones.  While they played I made the last transfers of numbers and information from my old simple phone to my new complicated smart phone. 

Now people will say you are stereotyping if you say "girls will be girls" and "boys will be boys", but if you have had both, you know this is very true!  While my boy ran and squealed and raced, the girls got on the swing, hung out by me and asked ten times when we would have lunch.  After about 90 minutes we unpacked our things and ate.  Darned if they didn't just pick at the lunches they had begged me to get out!  While we were picnicing, friends came and I let the kids play an extra fifteen minutes so they could chat with their friends and I could chat with mine.  Once home, the kids played Disney Apples to Apples, did beads and Legos and made picture frames that they colored and created on their own.  At 3:00 we took my daughter to work and went to the free craft time at AC Moore.  They made their own photo buttons today and I picked up the last two letters for my granddaughter's room and three yellow tshirts so the kids could use fabric paint next week to make something they could wear together. 

Both girls went home between 4 and 5 and my family had dinner together.  The older guys went to football and Dakota and I cleaned the car and packed up for our very early start to our trip in the morning.  The time has finally come to go and bring my daughter and her family home.  It will be a brutal two days with over twelve hours of driving, loading and unloading a moving truck, sleeping on the floor and cleaning her house, but it will be an adventure and it is surely for a good cause.  I can't believe the time is finally here and all my dreams and wishes for them are coming true.  They are coming home!  I can't put into words how much it means to me to have all three of them back in my life on a regular basis.  So I'm off the computer and off to bed.  I am hoping to sleep soundly, but right now I am too excited.  This time tomorrow we'll be there and packed up and this time Friday we will all be home here in Maryland.  Please God, grant us all a safe trip.  Let our vehicles be sound and sturdy, our children well behaved and quiet and our drivers wide eyed and alert.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Counting Down

46 Hours.  2 Sleeps.  The day after tomorrow.  Two days from now. 

I am counting down the time before I will be with my daughter and granddaughter again and this time it's permanent.  They are moving back to Maryland, right down the street temporarily, and I am looking forward to having them in my life on a daily basis again.  I want to feel the weight of my granddaughter's sleeping head in the crook of my arm.  I want to see my daughter's smile when she tells me a funny story.  I want to feel the soft baby skin on my lips when I kiss my granddaughter good night or hello or good morning.  Fifteen months is a long time, but I've made it through and the reward is within reach.  Unfortunately, there is a long six hour drive separating us, but that is just a nuisance.  We are leaving very early on Thursday morning and hoping to arrive by lunch time.  They have packed up their home and most of their belongings are in the garage waiting for the men in our family to come and help my son in law pack it into the moving truck.  My daughter has the steam cleaner to do the carpets and she is waiting for me to do the kitchen and bath (gee thanks!)  Friday morning my husband and older son will get into the moving truck and my son in law will pack the dogs into his car and they will leave early, getting to Baltimore and unloading.  My daughter and I will keep the two little ones, clean the house, hand over the keys and off we'll go, leaving it all behind them. 

I'm proud of my daughter and what she has accomplished in her adventure.  She and her husband made a home together with their dogs and all their belongings and made it a family when their daughter was born in May.  My daughter learned to make daily meals, clean, handle problems in both her marital life and her home and, most importantly, learned how to be a mommy.  She, like I did in the past, had to do it all on her own because there wasn't anyone to do it for her or even with her.  I had her in Germany, my entire family an ocean away.  I learned to trust my instincts and make my own way so that I was sure and strong when family came knocking at the door trying to tell me how it should be. 

So I am waiting.  Tick.  Tick.  Tick.  Waiting for Thursday.  Waiting for all to be right with the world again.  ..........  While daughter number two is buying her plane ticket today for her move to Tennessee in two short weeks.....Here we go again...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday, Monday

Today I only had one other child with Dakota.  We did a guided activity after breakfast and then headed out to a friend's to pick up some things for homeschooling and for another friend.  Afterward we went to the library and then had lunch at Sorrentos with big Brian before hitting Walmart and heading home.  There are storm brewing outside this afternoon and, while the two kids I have are a bit wound up, it is much better than Thursday and Friday of last week.  They have played for the last hour more or less quietly in Dakota's room and now they are about to watch Up until the little girl's dad gets here.  A quiet night is in store for the boys and I tonight.  Brian is worn out from his weekend at the ocean and Koda will quiet down and play in his room this evening.  I'm hoping to get some true September planning in the books tonight after doing my work folders.  We shall see.  Two more days to get through and then we go to North Carolina to bring my daughter and her family back to Maryland!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Weekend At Home

This weekend was HOT, as was Thursday and Friday.  I woke up early on Saturday to go and get a good friend and share an hour of coffee and conversation before I headed out to do my grocery shopping.  I hit the two major grocery store chains that I usually go to and then decided that Walmart would have to wait until one night this week.  I stopped at the bank and dropped off flowers and a birthday present to my cousin and then headed home to get out of the heat.  I got a very nice treat when, at 3:00, my husband took my daughter to work and took my six year old to Uncle Fred's for fishing, crabbing and pool fun for the afternoon (son #1 is at the ocean for a long weekend).  So here I was, home alone, and a multitude of possibilities ahead of me.  I cleaned a little, watched a little tv, played on the computer a bit and read some magazines and then treated myself to a sub and cup of cream of crab soup for dinner.  I watered the garden, unwinded a little more and thought about how much I was enjoying this time!  Usually these times away end early when my little son misses me and wants to come home, but he was having a great time and I ended up turning in and watching Elf on the bedroom TV until they came home at 10pm.  What a nice break!
Sunday was another hot day.  I left early to get some fresh produce for dinner and then let my daughter take my car to work so I wouldn't be tempted to go out.  I made brunch, did some chores, put alot of items on Ebay and made dinner before settling in to watch Wipeout with my guys and I have heard that there is a game of Disney Apples to Apples in my near future!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Feeling Like It Doesn't Really Matter

Some days are better than others.  We all know that.  Some days the universe comes together and the sun shines down on you and all the world is there on a platter for you to enjoy.  And some days it doesn't.  Today was a bad day.  The reasons are many and they really are unimportant in the big scheme of things.  The feelings, though, run a little deeper and seem to be reinforced over and over, enough that I have been doubting myself and what I believe in and what I am passionate about.  I get praised and then then insulted.  I am wonderful and then I am not worthy of a single good thought.  I feel accomplished and then unaccomplished.  I think I've achieved success and then wonder if what I've really achieved is a glorified failure.  What is success anyway?  If you truly believe that what you have accomplished is a success, does that make it so or if someone else considers what you've done to be a failure, does that make it so?  How confusing!  Do I have enough conviction in myself to stand up for what I truly believe, even against harsh oppostition?  Am I arrogant for believing so strongly in things, not being able to see the other side even when I try?  Am I going to wake up one day and find out that I've really and truly been responsible for everything wrong with everyone and everything I've invested myself in?  Sometimes it bothers me....all the time it bothers me.  Sometimes I'm strong enough to step over it and leave the doubt behind me.  Sometimes I am not.  Sometimes it creeps up behind me and pulls me down, turns me around and forces me to look in the mirror.  The problem is, I still see what I see.  Maybe that's the problem.  I've been accused of being blind to alot of things.  I've opened my eyes really wide, yet still I cannot see the other side. 

Today is a really bad day.  I know I can't see the forest for the trees.  Tomorrow will be better.  That's the way things go.  I will keep my chin up, throw myself into doing the things I love and not look back.  What's ahead is a mystery to all of us and if I've done wrong by those I love, let them rise above my decisions because what I do, I do for love, and what I believe in I cannot help.  I guess that's how we all feel.  The trick is to blend those passions with the passions of others and make our personal world a peaceful one.  That takes lots of work, but is always worth it in the end.

Organization and Sanity go hand in hand!

During my summer "day camp" I have been extremely organized.  The kids have come regularly and I have had a schedule on the door and we have followed it pretty closely.  The kids have gotten along well and we have had a pleasant experience.  Maybe it's me....most likely it is me....because at the moment I honestly can't remember Monday and Tuesday.  Oh yes, Tuesday I was off.  Was that really on two days ago?  Anyway, yesterday I was supposed to have all four "campers".  By 9am I was down to only two.  The boy who joins us occasionally was sick and Dakota's cousin's little brother was very sick and in the hospital so she would not be joining us either.  Dakota and the friend that was here are the easiest two to match up since she is older and brings out a bit more of the quiet side in him.  I had things available to them and we had to take an hour long roundtrip to my work, but all in all, until 3:00, things went well.  However, too much loosey goosey time made for wound up and bored children and I felt a bit frazzled by 5pm when her dad finally came to get her. 

Today we got our friend at her normal time, but Dakota's cousin needed to be picked up later in the morning.  The two kids did their entire packets that I printed and were doing well, but I knew I was not organized for the day and there was no schedule on the door for them to follow.  My mistakes were evident 30 minutes after I had all three children together.  Shrieking and screaming had them banned from Dakota's room after numerous warnings and fights over toys and games so I thought that having them in the playroom would solve the problem.  Not.  Out came the game of Sorry.  Huge mistake!  They all wanted to be first, be best, take THIS card or make THAT move.  Okay. DONE.  What they really, truly needed was an hour of running wild outdoors, but the heat index is 107 currently and, while I could surely use the break, I don't want to kill them!  I chose a movie, Dr Dolittle, that I thought they hadn't seen before.  I asked them to come in and get settled as I started it and wouldn't you know that all three of them were immediately wrestling over the recliner and shrieking one again.  I lost it.  Ms. Cindy was officially out of control! lol.  I gave them a lecture, put all three of them on a blanket on the floor and sat right behind them so I could monitor their behavior.  I had to say ridiculous things like "do not touch your friend with your toes" and "please keep Pikachu off of the fuzzy dog".  Currently I have said my son's name a good fifteen times in thirty minutes and each of the girls' names at least five times.  One is very interested in the movie, one is semi interested and one has her head under the blankets wishing the movie would just be over.  Since I still have over two hours to go and only a very slim shred of sanity left, I will sit here with them and continue to politely ask them to stop poking, prodding and kicking one another. When the movie is over I will sit with them at the table and do a craft and after that I will have a few more papers for them to do to keep them fully occupied until it's time for them to go home.  And tomorrow, you can bet, there will be a schedule on the door and plenty to keep them busy because if I have another day like today the men in the little white coats may just very well come and cart me away.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Day At St. Michaels

I was having some major issues with Blogspot, but it looks like things are back to normal again.  Yesterday my husband took me on a belated birthday daytrip to St. Michaels on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  I suppose it isn't for everyone, but we really love everything about the shore and St. Michaels is a gorgeous little town that seems like a step back in time.  It has colorful storefronts, lots of history, great restaurants and it's quiet and peaceful.  We could walk around for hours.  The drive is across the bridge and then when you make the turn towards St. Michaels it's a wide spit of land with water on either side.  In some spots you can see the water and in some spots it's just woods and scenic views.  We rode through the actual town, stopping for a little while to walk and then got in the car and continued to Tilghman's Island, another fifteen minutes or so down the road.  Once you cross the draw bridge there things change considerably.  It's a waterman's town and most who live there make their living from the water.  We saw deer in the fields and eagles and herons by the water.  We sat by the water (in the was HOT out!) and shared some watermelon and enjoyed not having to rush or answer to any obligataions.  Afterward, we headed back to St. Michaels and enjoyed a fabulous lunch at the Crab Claw, seated at a table overlooking the water, watching the small pleasure and fishing boats come in and out of the cove.  We had crab dip that was to die for and shared platters of crab cakes and scallops and the best stewed tomatoes my husband said he's ever had!  We didn't really stay long, getting home just before 4:00, but it was a wonderful day for us to reconnect without the interuptions from work, homelife and the kids.  I am already looking forward to next year's visit.  I hope we can go back to the Crab Claw then and that the weather is a little cooler, just so we don't melt on our strolls.  Thank you, Brian, for such a wonderful day.  I enjoyed every minute!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday is a welcome sight

After an exhausting week, Friday is a welcome sight.  I had two of my "camp" kids and we met my niece and great niece and nephew at the bowling alley.  It was chaotic and crazy, but the five kids bowled and I got a few sentences in with my niece.  It's very rewarding to have a friendship with this remarkable young woman whom I have babysat since she was an infant and all through her youth.  Life has some odds twists and turns and she and I had children nine months apart with Sierra and Dakota.  It has led us to have much more in common than we would have otherwise and we've shared some fun times and some wise words over the years. 

After two games, which was more than enough for the kids, I took my group home and fed them lunch and thankfully, they played pretty independently throughout the afternoon with only a few tiffs and squabbles.  I really needed the breather, because I was feeling mighty overdone by 1:00.  Now there is only one "camper" left and he will leave in about 45 minutes.  Dakota and I will go and pick up his cousin and her mom and we are headed to family night at VBS with skits, singing, crafts and ice cream.  Looking forward to Sunday when there will be a little down time around here.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Treading Water

The past week has been so crazy!  I've been waiting to write on this blog until I had time to catch up, but at this point, that might never happen.  I've been doing "summer camp" for Dakota and three other children.  They usually aren't all here at once, but at least one is here five days a week, another three days a week and the third one to three times a week.  I have tried putting up a tight schedule and keeping them on it and I've tried letting them just play and leaving things loose.  The schedule is definitely much, much better for all involved, especially me, but it's exhausting and I feel that I haven't had a spare minute to myself in weeks.  This week we have gone to the movies twice, including seeing Ramona and Beezus today, and Mariah and Dakota have had VBS in Arbutus every night.  Today, after the movie, we had lunch and a playdate here at the house with Kelly and her girls until three.  Mariah went home and Dakota went into his room and it was a nice two hours.  Then it was rush, rush, rush to get ready, out the door and to pick up Mariah.  I dropped them off at the church and then drove to Arundel Mills for the second time today and had a belated birthday dinner with my mom and stepdad at Red Lobster.  I ran into Michaels for a few minutes and found some great deals on craft things and then went to get the kids from VBS.  Got home, cleaned up, did laundry and chatted with my daughter on FB.  It's time for bed and I can't begin to tell you how glad I am that tomorrow is Friday and the weekend is close by!

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Walk on the Wild Side

Tonight my husband and I escaped for a little while and took a walk through our park.  We live squarely in the suburbs and pretty darned close to the city, but the park across from our house is a beautiful refuge for deer, fox, birds of prey, herons and other woodland creatures.  I always feel very priveleged to have the park, but especially when I have the time to stroll through and appreciate it for what it is.  I enjoy watching the seasons change there and currently summer is in full bloom and the heavy spring rains and yesterdays washout storms made everything lush and green and dewy tonight.  The underbrush was overgrown with huge green leaves, wild vines and grasses of many kinds.  The trees overhead hung low from the weight of left over moisture and if you listened closely you could hear the dripping of the water from the leaves.  Deep in the woods on a trail we were fortunate enough to see a deer, who stopped and looked at us like she just couldn't believe we were right there on her turf at that time.  She stared us down for a few seconds and then bounded into the trees, white tail flagged.  As we started home on the main road the birds were swooping low overhead, looking for that perfect roost in that perfect tree to call it a night.  Red winged blackbirds called to each other and a bull frog made himself known from somewhere hidden in the reeds. 

Life gets a little hectic most days and sometimes it's hard to remember to stop and smell the flowers.  Going to the park is always a guaranteed way to ease some of the stress and bring you back to the moment.  Every day is an adventure, never knowing what wildlife you may find.  There may be a fox on the trail, a deer in the brush, herons in the water or beavers by the boat ramp.  On a good day you may see two or three.  Today, just one.  Tomorrow, however, is another day.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

He's got a license and he's not afraid to use it!

My eighteen year old son got his driver's license today.  He wasn't mature enough at sixteen, but he is definitely ready now.  This was his third try because he kept failing the parallel parking, but he breezed right through and came out of the car from the test with a huge smile on his face and a swagger in his strut.  I'm happy for him...I do believe he's ready.  I know I will worry, but I've asked my dad to be the angel on his shoulder and I've asked the Lord to protect him and keep him safe.  I guess that's all I can do.  He's a good boy....responsible, careful and smart.  I can only pray that he makes smart choices and that when he does not, that angel will be there to keep him safe from harm.  Drive safely, my greatest love.  You mean the world to me.  Make sure that you stay aware and alert and never drive faster than the angel on your shoulder can fly.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

One last separation

Today I had to say goodbye one last time to my daughter and my granddaughter as they set off for their home in North Carolina.  They have 3 weeks to pack and then they will finally be moving back home here to Maryland where I will see them almost every day and become the huge part of my granddaughter's life that I yearn to be.  My daughter and I sat and chatted today, playing on our computers, commenting on the news and just enjoying being together like we often do when she is here.  She has been in North Carolina 15 months now and I have missed her every single day.  As I held my little Natalie and rocked her on the swing on our deck I tried to soak in her softness and her smell.  I tried to imprint the feel of her smooth baby skin and silky hair as it touched my lips when I kissed her.  She slept in my arms and I whispered how much I loved her into her tiny ear and hoped that somewhere in her sweet dreams she'll remember Nana's voice and it will stay with her for the few weeks it will take for them to pack and us to get there to help.  Tonight I'll dream of our adventures when she comes home.  We'll shop together, go to the zoo, watch the circus, sings some songs.  Often it will be her mommy and her Uncle Dakota and I that are all with her and sometimes it will just be her and I, swinging on the swing, snuggling down for her nap, fitting her on my lap for a story.  I am so blessed to have this sweet little angel in my life.  Please Lord, let me enjoy each day with my family for all it has to offer, but please let the next three weeks fly by so that I an have them both home again.

Christmas in July

Today we started a Christmas in July unit.  The kids thought is was really fun to color Merry Christmas signs, make stand up trees and "hang" ornaments on them, listen to Christmas stories outside in the 92 degree heat and do Christmas word games and puzzles. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Incredible holiday weekend

Usually our family tends to keep the 4th of July holiday pretty simple, but not this year!  My daughter, son in law and granddaughter arrived late on Friday night.  It was so good to see them again and to be able to hold Natalie and kiss her soft little head.  She hadn't changed as much as I'd feared.  We got to bed late and got up early Saturday to get ready for guests who began arriving at 1:00 to meet Natalie and enjoy good food, friends and family.  It was a busy day for everyone, but I did manage to get more than my fair share of Natalie time.  People seemed to seek me out to "return" her and I was happy to practice my Nana skills.  It was interesting to see the "children" with babies of their own.  There were lots of little ones around and it the house, deck and yard were full of squeals, cries and shouts.  After the main crowd went home there was just family and we made a bonfire and then we had a family game night.  I was just too darned tired tired to participate in the gaming, but I was happy to be in charge of the baby and she and I sat by the fire and enjoyed ourselves.  Sunday my husband and sons and I hung out and relaxed most of the day, eating leftovers and watching tv.  At 8pm we left for fireworks and I must say I was grumpy and not at my best.  I only got to see my granddaughter for a few minutes in the morning and, tired as I was when I had just turned off the light and crawled in bed, I got up to help my daughter as she came in from a long day of visiting and got to spend at least a few minutes diapering and dressing Natalie for bed.  Monday saw us up and out by 7:30am so I didn't even get to kiss the baby!!  My husband and sons and I met the young men from Spalding's football team at a parking lot to hand out jerseys and then we all lined up and walked in the Severna Park July 4th parade to support Coach Whittles, who was judging the event.  He was very surprised to see the boys and it was an emotional time for all when he came down and the boys enfolded him in a circle of love and hugs.  Life is short, as we all know, but no one is more aware of this right now than the Spalding team.  Coach Whittles has stage 4 pancreatic cancer and, although he is doing exceptionally well and looks great, we all realize that he is an incredibly special person and we want him to know that we are all pulling for him and hoping that he beats the odds and becomes one of the miracles that you hope for. 

After the parade we picked up crabs and headed back to the house.  It's been a lazy afternoon, but the busy week looms ahead and it's time to prepare.  I still haven't seen my daughter or granddaughter today and they leave after lunch tomorrow.  I can only hope that the next few weeks go quickly, that there are no surprises and that 23 days from today, we are riding down to North Carolina to help them finish packing and make the drive back to a new life back here at home.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Fourth of July theme ending

The kids I watch and Dakota have been doing 4th of July themed crafts and packets all week and today wrapped it all up.  We did our packets and they played while I finished my work and then we went to McDonalds for lunch.  I had just Dakota and Lindsey today....funny how much they have changed.   I watched Lindsey from age 9 months until 5.  I had Koda when she was not quite 2.  For about a year there I had Koda and Mariah, his cousin, who are only three weeks apart in age, and Lindsey, 2 years older.  They were so little then!  Next week I have all three of them again.  Now they are almost 7 and almost nine.  Things are so much easier now!  The two I had today chatted over lunch and then we hit the store for a few things.  I gave them each $3 and we went into the thrift store and it was amusing to see them budget their money and wonder if they should really spend $.99 on something since that meant they only had $2 left.  Their concentration left me plenty of time to get some books for my homeschool and I brought home two happy kids with little trinkets and toys.  After a snowball break we made red, white and blue windsocks with tagboard, sticker stars and streamers and they finished their packets before Lindsey went home.  I decorated the deck some and used the hose to wash everything down and water the garden.  The boys played basketball for awhile and then came in to get showers.  Everyone is napping or hanging out right now, waiting for my daughter and granddaughter to get in from North Carolina.  It's my granddaughter's first visit to Maryland and Brian David and Keri (along with all the other family and friends tomorrow) will be seeing her for the first time.  Natalie's Poppy and Nana, my husband and I, and her Uncle Dakota are "fighting" over who gets to hold her first.  This is one very loved little girl and in just a few short weeks she'll be moving back for good and our family will finally be complete again.