I went home this past week to visit my parents and to take my kids down memory lane with me during a trip to the Northern Pacific Ocean.
Here is how it went down… It was Beau, Knight, Ann Marie, my lil 4 year old granddaughter and myself. We started in Denver, flew to Seattle, where we took the light rail train from the airport to the Seattle/Bainbridge Island Ferry, crossed the Puget Sound on the big boat and went to the house I grew up in located in Kingston, WA.
The first adventure was the kids went in the woods behind the house to see what REAL trees look like. My parents have lived in this house for 45 years. The Douglas Fir and Cedar trees that were there when they first built their house were enormous back then, and now, they are even more impressive. The ferns, moss, the underbrush just unbelievable. The kids surely thought they died and gone to heaven.
Later that day, we walked to the beach that I had spent nearly every summer day. This is not a sandy beach like you might think. It has rocks, barnacles, oysters, fish, two freshwater streams that you can follow way up into the forest which by the way…the forest goes all the way up to the beach shore. When I grew up, I swam here, I got cut on barnacles here, I caught flounders here, and I found REAL arrowheads here. Later in life during my not so tame and innocent days I snuck out of my house in the middle of the night and met up with friends here! Yes great memories that I am happy to share with my kids (except the sneaking out of the house part..).
The next day we woke early and headed out to the Pacific Ocean. Not Long Beach, Washington or Ocean Shores, Washington – I hardly call those great oceans to visit. They remind me of a colder version of Huntington Beach, California. I mean it is fine for spending a day in the sun and playing in the sand, but this to me is NOT the ocean.
When I was small we would go camp out on Rialto Beach just outside of Forks, Washington. This is the most violent yet unbelievably peaceful ocean beach I have ever been to in my life. As you walk toward the beach you first notice large flat round rocks everywhere. Most are no smaller than 6 to 8 inches in diameter and every one of them is flat, no more than an inch thick. Next up is the giant stripped of bark bare logs stacked on top of one another like toothpicks. White from the ocean bleaching effect and ALL placed there by the beast known as the Northern Pacific waves. Once you climb over the jungle gym of logs you are finally able to see the ocean. The beach on the other side of the logs starts with the large flat round rocks, and slowly you notice the flat round rocks get smaller and smaller until you are in pebbles and then sand. The ocean waves are enough to take your breath away – literally. The sound immediately alerts your senses that this place is more dangerous than you can ever realize.
The senses overload is beyond anything I can ever replicate in any place I have ever been. The only way to describe it is like being in the most violent and peaceful place all within the same moment. Breathtaking…
Then almost as soon as the trip started, it ended. And I had to say goodbye. It happened to be Father’s Day. Having visited the place of my childhood- where I remember my dad walking on the beach with us, encouraging us to keep going as we walked more than a mile down the beach in order to go through the giant rock with a hole carved through it by the ocean, where we camped in sleeping bags in between those crazy logs placed there by the ocean….
It has always been difficult to “chat” with my dad. He doesn’t say much and you never know how to read him or even how to have a conversation with him at all. This time I tried to tell him how much I appreciate him giving me those memories, how much it means to me to be able to share with my children the same moments he shared with me all those years ago. I could hardly get the words out, but this trip I really wanted him to know. Then I said goodbye and cried in the car on the way to the ferry. My dad is not in the best place and I have never been more sad about it….
The trip was great with bitter sweet moments. I have cried more since I have come back than I have in 10 years total (people I am NOT a crier – I like to have a cast iron heart on purpose to protect my soul). I can hardly wait until my heart casts up again and I can be done feeling….
I guess if I could tell anyone in the world where they should visit before they die – Rialto Beach, Washington, you won’t regret it!
I am suddenly feeling slightly nostalgic. It just dawned on me that today marks my 27th Mother’s Day! Kaitlyn was just one day old when I celebrated my first Mother’s Day at 19 years old. I remember like it was yesterday…. first there was the pain a labor and the flash back inside my head of the “birthing classes” and the crazy psycho woman telling everyone labor feels slightly worst than cramps. I am here to tell you if that lady was standing before me in that moment, as I literally wished I would die of a heart attack rather than go through another second of that pain, – she would no longer be among the living!
As it turns out – over the last 27 years I would go on to have a total of 5 children – all via C-Section thank the Lord Baby Jesus! Cause I saw a live birth once and as much as I want to call it beautiful – I cannot thank GOD enough that I never had to experience that!
Honestly, I don’t think I have ever benefited more in my life than from my children. I attribute a big part of my humor to them! I want to thank everyone of my kids for giving me the ability to laugh at the moments I thought were utterly un-laughable! Like the time I saw my oldest (at 5 yrs old) with a baby snake wrapped around her hand and arm, kissing the snake (who pee through their skin by the way), and watching her express amazing joy at the way the snake feels as it crawls along her arm and wraps around her hand and fingers. Never will forget my response inside my head…. I am 100 percent sure I was screaming and jumping up and down in fear – but on the outside I tilted my lips to the sky in a giant smile and simply agreed that was super cool. I will NEVER forget that moment – the way my skin crawled – and to this day still does when I think about it.
And all the times Lyn, (who is now 24 years old and married) at 3 years old would ride her bike down the cul-de-sac faster than the bike was ever designed for! Everyday, she would wipe out on her bike or crash and burn during her daily sprint race down the middle of the street trying to set a new speed record. Everyone in the neighborhood would joke about her perma-scrapped up knees!
How about the time my then 4 year old son called my then 10 year old daughter a Vagina Cake when she was annoying him….. WHO says that and what the hell is a vagina cake? There is no lesson there… only laughter… what can I even say to that – it is unexplainable.
OH – and ALL the times that I was late for work!
Why??? Because my child’s socks, which have felt perfectly normal for the past 3 months, suddenly were filled with some kind of toxic chemical which makes them impossible to feel normal and I spend the next 30 minutes trying to find the perfect pair to get the fudge out the door without physically dragging my child to the car. Or the mornings when you great your teen with “Good Morning” only to be given the the look of the devil and death for NO reason at ALL. You simply breathed and that is it… Or the time when I was on a plane and my then 9 month old had lightening speed hands and grabbed my cup of coke and dumped it in my lap which when you are wearing white shorts it turns out coke dries to look similar to pee. Not to mention….she also had a MAJOR BLOW OUT on the airplane and it leaked out all over my white shorts to add to my now pee pants – I smelled like poo pants.
Then…. there are the times in the grocery store when you have reached the end of the rope, which your children have consciously taken you to the ultimate edge of sanity on purpose! You snap and scream at the top of your lungs and all the old people around you are looking at you like you are the crazy one…. but the truth is they are too damn old to remember their ankle biters taking them beyond any human mental capacity.
But…. all the times I have felt like I am going to snap and lose my shit so bad that I will never return to normal again or even remain a custodial parent to my children……and believe me – I have 5 kids ages 27, 24, 19, 9 and 7 – there have been SOOOOOO many I cannot even count – I remain mostly sane.
THE TRUTH IS
I love being a mom, I love all the insane stories I have to tell, I love being challenged on a daily basis to take the high road and not break down and scream out that YOU are the biggest brat I have ever met in my life to my children! I love when my kids ask me if they can sit on my lap, I love that my kids look at me and love me beyond anything they know….. As much as I joke about the craziness of parenting (cause if you are a parent you know – the majority of the time you are fighting mental warfare and YOU ARE LOSING!) – I would not trade a moment of my life with my kids for anything in the world.
One of the greatest things we can teach our children is the gift of giving. This past year I have been blessed to be able to support the Honor Flight Northern Colorado Endurance Ride. In doing so my children are learning a valuable lesson to carry with them into their future.
I want my children to grow up knowing what our military men and women (active duty and veterans) have done for our country and the sacrifices they make to keep America safe. Educating them and encouraging them to be a part of a charity organization teaches them compassion early on.
Start by discussing what the charity is for and then ask them what they could do to help raise money for a cause? Bounce around some ideas; a lemonade stand, selling old toys, or creating drawings and selling them to friends and family.
My husband and I donated money but wanted our kids to actively participate in earning and donating their own money. They decided to have a lemonade stand to raise money for the Honor Flight Northern Colorado Endurance Ride. This motorcycle endurance ride raises money for Honor Flight which pays for WWII, Korea, and Vietnam Veterans trip to Washington D.C. to see the memorials that were built to honor them.
This charity struck a chord for me. These senior citizen aged men and women who want to visit the memorials are on limited income and would never be able to pay for such a trip themselves. Many need special accommodations and guardians to accompany them on their trip. It costs about $1,000 to send a veteran to D.C. Is this not the least we can do for these survivors of war?
My kids thought this was a pretty cool charity for two reasons. The first reason – well Duh – Harley Davidson motorcycles are involved and the second because their dad served in the U.S. Navy and they had other relatives serve in the military.
If you want more information on how you can donate or have your kids donate click here: Honor Flight Northern Colorado Endurance Ride.
This story is about the single water bottle and a 45 minute road trip. The hubs and I load the kids in the truck to drive 45 minutes away – to where?? I don’t even remember… and honestly it doesn’t matter. One important fact I do remember is: we only had ONE – UNO – UN – EINS. That is singular – 1 lone water bottle. I know, most of you at this point surely are gasping at the sheer thought of loading two children into a car and driving 45 minutes with only 1 water bottle. What kind of mother am I?
Do you know what this singular water bottle represents to an 8 and 6 year old brother and sister? Let me enlighten you….
A singular water bottle, in a close confined space, where BOTH of your parents cannot escape represents the biggest winning moment for sibling children ever! If there was some kind of Star Wars mind degeneration power, a single water bottle in a car owns it!
We are 5 minutes into our journey when one of the two mid size humans discovers the single water bottle sitting peacefully in the cup holder of the truck.
Seeing the water, Ann Marie says: “I am thirsty.”
I oblige her by handing back the bottle of water which she promptly begins to guzzle. Here is where the word – Competition – comes into play. Instantly, Knight realizes he is nearly on deaths bed because he is desperately dehydrated and needs a drink instantly in order to survive a single minute longer.
He yells: “Don’t drink it all, I want some too! I haven’t drank anything ALL day and need some water right this second.”
To which then Ann Marie begins to chug-a-lug faster than a frat boy with a beer bong.
I, of course intervene (which of course is their plan ALL the Fudge Along!).
I say: “Ann Marie – ok, that is enough, give Knight some.”
She reluctantly, and slightly violently, gives Knight the lone water bottle. To which he instantly starts guzzling. To which then Ann Marie yells his name at the TOP of her lungs – which in a tightly confined vehicle bounces off every door, ceiling, and window to echo back into your ear equally as loud as the moment she screams his name.
Ann Marie: ” KNIGHT!!!!!! DON’T DRINK IT ALL!!!!!!”
Now – I am yelling at Ann Marie not to yell. Which is just stupid…. But I don’t really care cause damn it, I am gonna win this one!
I now grab the single water bottle which is nearly gone – and if I wasn’t so adverse to paying a ticket for a $500 littering charge would have thrown the damn thing out the window for sheer effect. Which being a mother of 5 (3 being grown humans), I know effect does one thing and one thing only…. make your kids laugh and cheer in delight inside at the power they have to mentally break down a perfectly sane adult.
Competition….. Make a note on this one….
Being a parent is almost like going to the grocery store with a list, checking things off as you go along. When your children are young there are obvious Check List Items; for example, your babies first word, sitting up alone, walking, talking, and so on.
Then in elementary school it is reading, playing with friends instead of along side of friends, and finally understanding jokes!
Middle school consists of watching your child’s perceived drama unfold and melt down, then think inside your head…. Oh Lord if only that was all I had to worry about, all the while supporting them in their time of need.
High school means watching your child excel at sports, academic achievements, driving, dating, dances and of course graduation!
And then… your child gets married…. There are so many ‘how could it be so’ moments that go along with this mile stone. 1: How the fudge am I old enough to have birthed a child and raised them to adulthood? Surely there must be a mistake….. 2: How is my baby…. the one who needed me but didn’t need me, who cried for help yet pushed me away when I tried to help, the baby… who relied on me for everything – who would not be alive if not for her parents feeding her and making sure she had her basic needs met….. HOW…. is she old enough to be a grown person, to have her own mind, to have her own love, to be in the world as her own human???? HOW????
This week the second born of my first set got married…. I watched her stress days before the wedding, I watched her get drunker than all drunk during her bachelorette party (like any young 23 year old would!), I watched her get ready – fret over her hair and dress, watched her walk down the isle, watched her stand with her husband to be at the altar, simply watched her grow…. watched her marry her love, her kindred spirit, the one…. who was placed in the world for her to find and cleave to….
I am speechless.
It was 23 years ago she was born… and 23 years later… she is grown and on her way.
It happens, I know…. Just way too fast….
Congratulations to my baby girl and her husband – my new son. As a parent, this is just another milestone that never crossed my mind as I was changing her diaper, or as I sat on the floor with my arms stretched out ready to catch her as she took her first steps, or when I saw her face light up as she ran into my bedroom waving a dollar the tooth ferry left her for that first baby tooth!
I keep telling myself, it is just another milestone, like all the rest, etched in my memory like it was yesterday. I will cherish this one like all the others.
Proud and Happy!!!
Personally, I think it means mama had a baby and then a few more and then they grew and mama became slightly more and more insane every day until her head popped right off!
OK, maybe, I am ever so slightly exaggerating.
My head is still attached.
Some days my kids look at me like I have gone mad. Right in the dag-gone middle of my mega mom melt down the corners of their mouth’s curl just enough for me to notice the gratification they consume over my monster-size justified fit.
So, waaaaay back when, so far back the internet does not even have the answer…. Small children were witness to their mom’s head popping off during a totally justified meltdown.
And that my friends is how that child’s favorite chant came to be.
Or maybe not but I think it fits and is reasonable so I am just gonna roll with it.
I am a self-proclaimed green thumb. Last summer I began my garden experiment with yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes and pumpkins. Unlike my cooking abilities and much to my surprise, I was wildly successful. I had zucchini and squash for all who wanted it. Our pumpkins flourished and gave us 6 cute lil Jack O’lanterns for Halloween. Tomatoes were plentiful, but I bought plants so I cannot take all the credit on those.
This year I decided to branch out. I still planted the basic yellow squash, zucchini, and tomatoes but added bell peppers, broccoli, cucumbers, and my favorite – watermelon. Having a garden is incredibly easy and tons of fun. The kids love going out with me to pick their own veggies. I love that they learn where food comes from, how to care for a garden, and most of all – how exciting it is to eat something you’ve nurtured and grown.
I keep thinking about how much more I could grow if I had an acre of land. Oh the things I could grow, corn, green beans, lettuce, carrots, kale and so much more. And how about some spices too! Until then, each year I plan on adding more garden beds to my tiny yard. After 44 years, I just may have found my passion.
Love My Veggies!
Tell me about your garden? What is the variety you plant? Do you have any space saving garden bed suggestions?
Join in on the discussion on Facebook.
Maybe I am just a hillbilly living in suburbia?
Last year Knight and the hubby went to the man store (aka, Homedepot) and purchased scrap wood. The purpose was to allow Knight to build something. And that he did. He built a bicycle jump with no plans and no help. ALL BY HIMSELF. It is awesome! However, based on suburbia standards this unsightly jump is an eyesore to all the people who must drive by. How do I know? Because my HOA let me know in the form of an official letter. Clearly, the hunk of wood is an embarrassment to the community.
Really? A bicycle jump built entirely by a 7 year old is a complete disaster? It works perfectly and he uses it every day. He drags it out onto the sidewalk where he and his neighborhood friends compare with one another how incredibly rad their jumps are. Should we not be celebrating such an achievement, as parents and community members. Has America become this entitled? It is shameful. I live in a nice house, in a nice part of town and yet I am embarrassed at how some people think. Is this who we’ve become? Our big houses, in shiny neighborhoods, displaying our perfectionism to the outside world, this somehow defines who we are? This is not ME. I am embarrassed, not of the jump, but to be associated with people whose perceived image ultimately corrupts the very world around them.
What does this teach our children? To be elitists, or worse materialistic elitists perhaps. Not my kids, they will know that every home you pass by has a story. Every person is equal to the next person, big house, tiny house, apartment, or living in a box on the street. There is NO difference. Living life with false perception is a wasted experience. My kids will know what defines you is not what you own, where you live, how perfect your house looks, or who you associate with. You are defined by the compassion you have for ALL people around you regardless of their ‘things’.
Perhaps I am just a hillbilly living in suburbia. If that’s the case, then I apologize for not conforming to this perceived reality. But I doubt that, God alone knows the truth behind all perfectly groomed houses, somethings you just cannot cover up.
Have HOA’s gone too far? Have you had experiences that have questioning the true integrity of people?
Beau & Calvin
Beau has been dating someone now for – I want to say half a year now. Maybe longer, but I am old so last week to me usually means two months ago. Anyhow, her boyfriend is a really nice guy and I totally approve. Whenever he is over, the hubby loves to drill him. One time, he was asking him all kinds of questions then suddenly says something about cleaning his gun. The boyfriend, we will call him Calvin, looked up so fast when he heard the word Gun, like when you’re at a little league game and you hear someone yell ‘Heads UP’, it was classically hilarious, I could not stop laughing. The look on his face was priceless, as in if there was a MasterCard Priceless commercial. The exact look that you want someone dating your daughter to have. Something like this:
Bowl of Cereral = $.50 cents
Daughter’s Prom Dress = $300.00
Look on boyfriend’s face when he hears the word GUN come from his girlfriend’s father = PRICELESS!!!!
Fast forward now about 3 months later. We had Calvin over tonight for dinner. The hubby was talking to him in is usual interrogation manner, something about how Beau never lets him buy her things, blah, blah, blah then hubby says, common, help us out and buy her some clothes. Calvin responded by saying: “so you want me to buy her some lingerie?”
Hubby had a mouth full of soda that literally projectiles out his mouth and nose upon hearing Calvin’s proposal. The funniest comeback and payback for the gun comment I have ever heard in my life. I could not stop laughing! Dude that was funny…. Ahem, as long as you didn’t really mean it, Calvin!
Knight & the Future
Tonight Knight tells me (apparently my cost conscious son): “If I don’t have a lot of money when I go to college, I will go to the one that I can afford, because it is better than not going at all.” God love this kid!
Ann Marie & Injuries
Strike 1: Back in May, Ann Marie broke her ankle on the trampoline. Strike 2: No sooner than when she got her cast off, we were on the last leg of our hike in the Rocky Mountains when she tripped and fell forehead first on the ONLY rock withing 30 square feet on the trail. The rock happened to be angled and pointed up, ideally perfect for major injury if you find it with your forehead. Chances are HIGH with Ann Marie that she would land on that rock. She had a black, bright pink, purple and blue eye for a week and a half. Strike 3: On our vacation to Montana, Ann Marie jumped in the pool at a corner, turned as she jumped in and hit her chin on the side of the pool. With an emergency run to the Target First Aid isle and a little creative Band-aide stitchery, we closed the wound and she is now on her road to wound-less-ness. First time in a few months. Keep it up Ann Marie so I can pay off the hospital bills before you rack up new ones!
What was the memorable moment of your week?