Monday, September 28, 2009

Special Blessings

Working with special needs kids has kind of made me more aware of special needs adults in our community.

We have a man at our church who is special needs. He's my age but I think we all think of him as a "young man". He goes to Sunday school with the teenagers even though he functions a bit lower than that.

Every so often it's his turn to bless the sacrament. His mom prints out the words for him to read and I think everyone in the congregation pays special attention to each and every word, each of us praying with him and praying for him, that he gets it exactly right and doesn't have to do it again.

It's hard to describe the special spirit that he brings to the routine of blessing the bread and water, but it is definitely felt as one hears his voice saying the prayer and struggling to say it just right, or seeing him with his limited motor skills breaking the bread.

It has happened that he has done the blessing on fast and testimony Sunday a few times and invariably, his special spirit inspires people to come up and bear their testimony. That's exactly what happened this Sunday. As soon as the time was turned over for testimonies, a gentleman in the back, who happened to be visiting our ward, popped up and strode to the podium. He said that this special man inspired him to get up, and that he rarely bears his testimony, let alone comes to church these days, but that he could not stay in his chair. He went on to bear a beautiful testimony of the gospel.

It's amazing how these special souls who walk among us touch others, especially if we open ourselves up to their unique spirits. I often wonder as I work with the 3 and 4 year olds at my job, what their future holds. I do know that they teach me more than I teach them, and for that I am grateful.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cuties, Kitties, Cousins and Booties

Our little cousins came to visit on Sunday and we were so thrilled to see them. Since they moved we don't get to see them on a regular basis and we MISS them!

Nat and Em went immediately to Nat's room and that's the last we saw of them until dinner time. They love playing Barbies and Nat also has a fashion studio toy that includes scraps of fabrics and a little dress manikin that they love to play with. Nat and Em love to design dresses or other girly things (they generally use tape to fasten everything together). They have decided that they will become designers together in the future and guess what they call themselves? The Cousigners, as in cousin-designers. They came up with that themselves. I think they're brilliant.

Moo spent all her time with little Zachy. He was tickling us with his booty-shaking skills and I finally caught it on video. Just too cute and I chuckle every time I see this:

We picked blackberries off our bush and later had them over ice cream. I can't even tell you how good that was!

Lastly, a little kitten goodness:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Old" Friends

I have a good friend at work. We met this past winter when she started working at the restaurant bussing tables like me. Usually the restaurant only hires teens for bussing and dishwashing, so it was nice to have another "old lady" (as we like to call ourselves) to hang out with.

We've become fairly close and just the other night we were discussing how hard it is to have friends, and she said I was really her only friend, and I feel the same about her. I have other friends, but as far as someone I would be really comfortable calling up to hang out with there are only a couple and she's one of them. It's nice to have someone that's easy to talk to and that you feel a connection to.

My friend has a son, and I've known for a while that she lost a daughter just two days after birth. The other night she really opened up about it to me. Tonight she brought the few pictures she has of her baby to show me. How touched I was that she would share this with me. How precious her little one was!

The true mark of friendship is having that feeling that you can open up and spill your heart out and the other person will be there to listen. I feel honored that my friend found that in me and that I could be there for her to remember her daughter.

I'm really thankful for my new friend. Goodness knows it's not easy finding friends when you've got a family to care for and a job to hold down and so many other things that take priority. We "old ladies" have to stick together!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Never Forget

In blogland today there have been a lot of posts of memories of what people were doing on 9/11/01 and how it affected them, so I thought I would write my memories as well.

Well, to start, just prior to 9/11, there was a forest fire burning nearby and our neighborhood was in evacuation stand-by, meaning that we should be packed and ready should the word come. We're no strangers to forest fires up here, but this one was especially fierce, and our stress level was pretty high.

Then 9/11 happened. I, like everyone else, was glued to the tv and horrified as the news kept getting worse and worse. It shook me to my core in a way nothing else has ever done before.

That same day, as the fire inched closer, the planes fighting the fire began circling right over our house on their drops. We lived at the top of a ridge and the planes were so incredibly close. The whole house would shake and the noise of the engines was so loud that nothing could be heard above the din. All I could think of was that those poor people in the towers must've heard something just like that right before those planes crashed into their buildings. The more I thought about it, the more freaked out I started to get. Every pass from the planes began to make me feel panicky.

Then it stopped. The planes were all grounded. Even the CDF planes fighting the fire. No one knew if they could get the fire under control without the air support, and that was even scarier.

The schools cancelled classes for an entire week because the smoke was so thick it was unhealthy for the kids to be outside. Soccer games were cancelled as well, and all we could do was sit around inside wait for news on the fire, and watch more of the horror of 9/11 unfold in the days following.

I began to go into a true depression. Our whole life had been upturned on a local level with all the daily routines put on hold, and our whole country had been upturned in a way I never thought that I would see.

Well long story short, they let the fire fighting planes fly again and the fire was put out, we never had to evacuate, and 2 weeks later I finally started coming out of the worst funk I've ever been in. It was so bad that I really considered seeing my doctor for medication because I knew I had to function for the sake of my kids.

I think the effect of 9/11 rocked me so badly because of my kids. I kept thinking, "What kind of world are they growing up in?", "Will the US be a safe place for them to grow up?", "How can I protect them and keep them safe?" It so scary as a parent to think such things.

Well, now 8 years later, I don't worry so much, and I'm thankful every day that I live in the USA and that my kids are growing up here. I know they will be ok, and so will I. But believe me, I will never forget 9/11. God Bless America.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Reflections on Labor Days Past

I remember Labor Day when I was growing up. School always started AFTER Labor Day (for my kids, it's the 4th week of school already!) so there was excitement and aprehension in the air.

There was also the Jerry Lewis Telethon which ruined all the good tv watching on this last weekend of summer freedom. Kids these days just don't get it. We had 3 main channels and a couple low rent channels and that was it. I never really liked Jerry Lewis or his telethon, but I admire him now. (He just raised a crazy amount of money again this past weekend, and didn't even spoil my tv watching to do it! Go Jerry!)

I always liked the excitement of new school clothes and shoes, school supplies, lunchboxes and finding out who my teacher would be. So much anticipation in the air. Of course all that got real old, real fast especially in high school, but still, I have good memories of starting another year of learning.

I still kind of get excited about the start of school for my kids (even though it starts in the middle of flippin' August). I like buying them a new backpack (which I never had!) and new clothes and always make a big deal out of finding out who there teacher is. The only thing missing is an annoying telethon dominating our tv. Maybe I'll work on that next year. I think my kids deserve the whole Labor Day experience.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Awkward Stages

So, someone in our house is going through a bit of an awkward stage. It's a stage where she wants to be grown up, but doesn't want to let go of being a little girl either. Which leads to baby talk and acting VERY goofy, and then getting all pre-hormonal and slamming doors and acting sassy.

It's the pre-teeny-bopper stage. An awkward stage, an annoying stage, a stage that reminds us both that time is marching on and changes are coming, and a stage that reminds me that this stage really isn't THAT bad.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Fruity Post of Rambling Thoughts

Gosh, there's already a nip in the air, and now that Labor Day has come and gone it's like summer has gone with it. Sad news, in my opinion.

I have the distinct impression that this house isn't going to be the easiest place to heat come winter, and I'll probably be wearing lots of layers and sitting by the woodstove. Have I mentioned how I hate being cold? I may just have to get over that somehow.

We have a fabulous blackberry bush in our backyard and every day when I walk the girls home from school up the steep hill to our house, we stop and eat a few blackberries as our treat. I hope that is one of the childhood memories they grow up remembering. I know it's one of the highlights of my day!

Last night we had a visit from the legendary huge bear that roams the neighborhood. No, we didn't see it with our own eyes, but we did see the evidence it left behind.

I grew up hiking in the woods with my dad and when we came across bear scat he was always interested in seeing what the bears had been eating (I'll just leave it at that). Suffice it to say I'm no stranger to seeing bear stuff, but honest to Pete, this was the hugest pile I have ever seen! If it's any indication of the size of the bear, this guy is gigantic! And he REALLY likes apples. I'm just saying...(and I'm glad he's leaving the blackberries alone.)

So ends my rambling post...cohesive thoughts are so hard to come by these days!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Komforting Kittens

Nat is feeling better and I haven't had to hose her off in the shower at all today! I call that success!

She spent most of the day in the recliner with her cozy blanket and I just had to take a picture of her and all her cozy companions.

How can you NOT feel better with this kind of company:

Please Read On An Empty Stomach


I don't do it well.

Meaning when one of my kids is sick, I just don't handle the throwing up all that well, and as a parent it's just inevitable. Yuck.

Take tonight for example. 12:30am, a crying Nat wakes me up standing next to my bedside telling me she threw up. On further inspection in the bathroom it looks like someone dumped a bucket of it over her. Holy Moly! The only thing to do is just start the shower and put her in, clothes and all. As her clothes get rinsed, I take them off of her.

Then I go to inspect the bed...

~insert the theme from Jaws or Psycho or other creepy movie here~

Not a pretty sight. Let's just say a cute, tented loft bed from IKEA does not make for a hasty retreat to the bathroom. In fact, it really hinders a child from leaving the bed in any kind of quick or expedient fashion.

I just went from one end to the other and rolled all the bedding in a ball and took it to the laundry to deal with later. Holy Cow!

I've actually been pretty lucky as far as pukey kids are concerned and I know it because I've heard some real mothering horror stories.

Probably the worst instance I've had to deal with involved Moo when she was 4 years old and had hair down to her fanny. Two words: Top Ramen. It only took me three go-rounds before I figured out that french braiding that hair out of the way would save me lots of time and trouble. Yeah...I'm quick like that.

Then there's that pukey suspense: will it just be an isolated incidence with this one child or is some evil virus having it's way with the others' digestive systems as well? Do you go back to bed or begin a tactical defense by placing towels and buckets near the sleeping, symptomless children in the household? It's like waiting for the other shoe to drop (and for some reason it likes to drop just as mom's weary head hits the pillow). Sigh...

And I'd just like to know why it always seems to start in the middle of the night. What is it about clean sheets, a quiet house, and an unsuspecting, slumbering mother that brings on illness? Truly one of life's deeper mysteries (and bitter injustices, in my opinion).

So, I'll admit it. I'm a pukey-kid wimp. I'd much rather deal with other icky bodily substances over throw up. I think it's unfair that it usually happens in the middle of the night (and in the middle of a bed), and that it causes undue suffering to all involved (especially those reading a blog post written by a bleary-eyed, sleep deprived mom on vomit watch in the wee hours of the a.m.)

Here's hoping my little Nat is better soon and not contagious!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Random Updates With Bonus Cute Pictures

The kitties are thriving and eating solid kitten food now. Yay! Buying kitten formula was a bit expensive! They still like to nurse on soft things, especially Moo's stuffed dog Scruffy:

And here they are afterward:

Suey is doing well with them. When they went from bottle to bowl, they would finish their meal with what I liked to call a "milk beard". They weren't very good at cleaning themselves up so I would let Suey lick them clean. Now they've bonded:

Here's Jo-Jo outside for the first time on a leash:

Here's Princess:

In other news...
Mike brought home a coconut for the girls to try. The coconut milk was gross, but they loved the raw coconut:

Our backyard blackberries, yum:

We must have 10 apple trees, plus a couple pears and tree that has either very small yellow plums or strange cherries on it. I haven't figured out what it is yet.

We had a bear visit our backyard and gorge on apples the other night. I could hear him crunching away right outside the bedroom window. As I was watching him, a skunk trotted across the yard, tail in the air, with a little skunk behind it also with it's little tail flying like a flag. Very cute and they didn't spray so that was even better!