Thursday, March 31, 2011

Love those average, normal, no drama days!

I have to admit, that my laptop has been sitting on my lap for about 45 minutes now, and I'm just not sure yet what to write about. 

Not that today wasn't a good day... it was.  It's just that it was a normal, average, nothing ridiculously exciting happening day.  So, I think that today I'm happy and grateful for those normal, average, no drama days.

Because on days like today no one was hurt. 

No car accidents,

No dog bites,

No falls down the stairs,

Not even a paper cut. 

You can't dispute that often the best blessings found in the day are in the things that are NOT happening, rather than in the monotony of what IS happening. 

I'm grateful for these days were things run relatively smoothly.  I like these predictable, scheduled days.

Oh wait... something funny did happen today.  YES

Okay... I taught Droid's greenhouse class today at the school, and the lesson was on water conservation.  When the lesson was done all the kids were to come up with a pledge about how they were going to help conserve water, and then write it on a banner, sign it, and hang it outside their classroom until after Earth Day.

So, we shot around a few ideas such as -take shorter showers - turn off the water when brushing your teeth - and fix leaky faucets, but those all seamed pretty obvious, and we wanted to come up with something fun and original.  I shot out a random suggestion, and the kids loved it! 

So, the banner hanging outside of their classroom reads:

We pledge to conserve water by,
All the kids drew a water balloon and signed their name in the middle of their balloon.

It was hilarious.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Corrections, Banquets, food and snowball fights!

Well… better get my facts straight!  I received an e-mail from my Dad today correcting me of a pretty big mistake I made in my previous post.  Although her second marriage wasn’t working out perfectly, they did stick it out for quite a while and they didn’t get divorced until after most the children were grown. 
They did move back to Arizona to raise the children, but it wasn’t because they had gotten divorced.  I guess I remembered that part of the story incorrectly.
However my Dad did confirm that although it’s been 55 years sense the death of Vaughn, my Grandma is in fact still in love with him.

And now… on to tonight’s post…

Tonight was Droid’s “Blue and Gold Banquet” for cub scouts.  We all had a lot of fun, although we all missed Dad, who is still on night float for the next couple of weeks.
All the boys were supposed to decorate a 9 inch circular cake for a cake decorating contest, so as soon has the boys got home from school I had them both roll up their sleeves and start frosting the cakes I had laid out and ready for them.
I knew that Oz would want to help decorate, so I let Oz decorate the second 9 inch cake, because Droid only needed to bring one anyway… I figured Oz’s would be for us to enjoy later.
Anyway, we all had a lot of fun mixing colors and picking out decorating tips to stuff into the pastry bags that I had just bought. 
All of the cakes were supposed to be decorated based on some aspect of the scouting program, so we flipped through Droid’s Webelo’s book, and decided to try to draw out the Webelo’s symbol on the cake.
I hate to brag (no… not really), but I think my kid did a pretty dang good job!

What do you think?
Well… I’m impressed.
The “banquet” was pretty good.  The fruits and veggie trays were so good, the sloppy joes… well… they were sloppy joes…
Droid brought his friend Bryce from school and he got to participate in all the different parts of the program.  Droid’s cake won an award for best “Blue and Gold cake”, and he also picked up some more pins for some achievements that he’s accomplished.
When it was over all the boys went outside to play in the snow (yes, it’s snowing AGAIN!).  I picked up the leftover cake and headed out to the car.  As I was leaving the building all the boys jumped out from behind trees and ambushed me with a barrage of snowballs! 
I had no weapon, and only one hand to fight back with, so I grabbed the closest clump of white stuff that I could find and threw it at the first boy I saw.  Oz got a fist full of cake to the back of his arm! 
Who would have thought that a snowball fight could so quickly be turned into a food fight?
After I dropped of the remaining cake in the car I turned on the boys.  I started throwing snow as fast as I could scoop it up, but the little stinkers kept running away so I couldn’t really “get ‘em” to my satisfaction.  So, I chased after Droid, caught him, and wrestled him down into the snow. 
Ha ha!  So there.  How about a whole body snowball slam!
Don’t mess with the Momma.
We all had a lot of fun, but it without gloves on it didn’t take long before we were all freezing and ran to the car for refuge. 
It was a wonderful night.  … just wish that Doc could have been there…
He could use a fistful of cake thrown at his back. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Hero

I think it’s time to tell you a little bit about my hero.

She is my Grandma Nonie.  Her name is Norma, but she’s always been ‘Grandma Nonie’ to me.  If you look to the right you will see her beautiful face.
Where do I start in telling you about this amazing woman?
Well, I’m not going to tell you the year she was born.  She is still alive, and will deny it anyway.  However I will tell you she was born on October 21, the same day as my little Oz. 
She fell in love hard at the age of 16 to a sweet, hard-working man named Vaughn. (His handsome face is just below Norma’s on the right).  It was during World War II, and on their first date they were driving down the road having a good time, and as they happened to be driving past a bar, a drunk man stumbled into the street right in front of their car!  Vaughn couldn’t stop in time and he hit him!  Thankfully he wasn’t hurt bad, and I heard that Vaughn gave him a good lecture on running out into the street.   … I’m sure it was a memorable first date!  J
They got married shortly after. 
Vaughn was either drafted, or joined the Army shortly after that (I’m pretty sure he was drafted). 
It didn’t take many days of Vaughn being away that Norma just couldn’t stand sitting around waiting for the war to end… she wanted to help in anyway she could to help it end sooner, so she couldn’t be with her Vaughn again.
So, she lied about her age (she was only 17) and she joined the WAVES.
As she was on a train headed for New York for training she wrote Vaughn this letter:
My Darling,
Still I’m on this darn train.  I’m so tired.  I wish you were here so I could put my head on your shoulder and just sleep, and then ever so often wake up and have you here to kiss and love.
Sweetheart, I’ve got it bad for you.  You’re still my dream man, and I know your always going to be.  I’ve never seen anyone that could even half take your place.  No matter how long we’re apart, I want you to know I’ll never forget you, or stop loving you.
We’re getting pretty close to Chicago now, so I may have to close for a little while.  We’ll only be there about an hour because this train is so late in getting there.
Darling I’ve got an address now, so you can send my mail to me in New York.
Gee!  I’m with some nice girls.  I run around with three that are really super.  We’re going to have our picture taken together when we hit Chicago.  I’ll send you one so you can see how cute they are.  Their all older than me, but they don’t know it.  They all think I’m twenty.  I’m going to let them keep thinking that too, cause if it should leak out I’d be a civilian again, and I don’t want to be that, do I?  Gee!  I love you.  I think you’re the swellest G.I. in the Whole world for letting me join.   It just goes to show that you love me and trust me too.  Oh Darling, I hope that I can make you proud of me, even if I am a Wave!  You do love me, don’t ya hun?
I’m going to close for this time, loving you more every hour of the day.
All my love & kisses,
Your loving wife,
P.s. Write soon, and please take care of yourself, cause I do love you such a lot. 
Hurry home Trooper Darling.

I love this letter.
For so many reasons.
But, to make a long story a little shorter… Vaughn made it home, and Norma fessed up about her age, and she was kicked out of the WAVES, so she was able to get home fast to join him there.  J
They had 3 boys.  The middle boy was my father.
They were married for 12 years, and my Dad was 4 years old when Vaughn contracted Rheumatic fever.  He was hospitalized, but because he was allergic to Penicillin, which was at the time the only thing that could help him, he didn’t make it.
Norma was devastated.  My Dad says that he remembers her walking around the house singing “Stormy Weather”. 
 Every time I hear that song now I think of her, and I get teary eyed.  (You have to watch (or at least listen too) the youtube video above... it's Judy Garland singing "Stormy Weather"... powerful, and amazing).
She got re-married a few years later and moved back to New York with him.  She had another boy there, and Norma worked in a factory to help make ends meet.  Unfortunately the marriage didn’t work out, and after they divorced she moved her 4 boys back to Arizona to raise them.
She was a single mother of 4 boys.
I don’t know how she did it. 
But she did.
She was tough, and she was kind, she was funny, and she was/is beautiful.  She can tell a funny story, and cuss with a smile.  My mom always winced when she cussed… I always smiled.
I’ve been told over and over that I’m just like my Grandma.  Right down to the cussing… which I’m trying to do better by.
She likes to sing, and dance, and get the job done.  If you were having a hard time of it, and you went to her for help she would tell you to “buck up!” 
Life isn’t in your control, but the way you deal with it is.
Years later, after her boys were grown she went to a dance hall with a friend and she met Bernie.  She has been married to my Grandpa Bern now for… well… I have no idea… sense before I was born.
I love my Grandpa Bernie.  He has always been a great Grandpa to me.  I’m so glad that Grandma found him.
I’ve always wondered about my Grandpa Vaughn though.  He was always a picture on the wall, very handsome in his Army uniform. 
As I’ve grown older, and have 3 children of my own, I am now about the age Norma was when she lost her husband.  The thought of losing my husband is terrifying.  I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for her to go to bed at night without him there.  Raising 4 boys, alone.  ... how does anyone do it? 
As I read the letter she wrote to Vaughn for the first time only a few years ago I cried.  Her letter was prophetic. 
 I’m so tired.  I wish you were here so I could put my head on your shoulder and just sleep, and then ever so often wake up and have you here to kiss and love.
Sweetheart, I’ve got it bad for you.  You’re still my dream man, and I know your always going to be.  I’ve never seen anyone that could even half take your place.  No matter how long we’re apart, I want you to know I’ll never forget you, or stop loving you.
She never did stop loving him.  To this day I know that she never did stop loving him.
And although Grandma Nonie is chronically stuck at the age of 29, I will never stop admiring her, and loving her.  She is my hero.

Teaching Late Night Lessons

Well, I have no idea what is wrong with my internet connection, but it won’t let me on tonight.  So, I’m writing this in Word, and hopefully tomorrow I will be able to post my blog entry for tonight.
Tonight I watched Bruce Almighty with my boys
… strategically skipping a certain part.
After the movie was over Oz was asleep, but Droid was still awake.  We ended up talking about why it is that sometimes we get what we want, and other times we don’t.  I told him some personal stories about times that I prayed for certain things, and I was impressed that what I wanted wasn’t what my Heavenly Father wanted for me.  As hard as it was, I followed His guidance and He opened a door for me that I never would have thought possible. 
He truly knows what’s best for us… we just have to have faith to follow the promptings that He gives us.
For me the hard part is discerning whether or not the feelings I feel when I pray are from Him, or just my mind telling me what I want to hear.
But there have been a few times when I felt so sure of an answer that I just KNEW that I had received an answer. 
There have been times that I have dropped to my knees, with tears in my eyes and confusion and fear in my heart, and I pray for guidance and peace.  After I’ve poured out my heart to Him, I felt such a feeling of peace and warmth rush through me.  My mind opened up to the question I had, and I just knew what I had to do.  Often it wasn’t what I wanted to do, but I knew it was what He wanted me to do, so I had faith and I acted upon my impression… and I prayed that I was right.
During those times that I’ve had these feelings, I look back and find that they were pivotal moments in my life… and I had no idea at the time that it would be.
I’m so grateful that Heavenly Father does hear and answer our prayers… even though we are so unworthy of it. 
It was wonderful being able to have this late night talk with my oldest son.  I hope that he remembers the lessons that I try to teach him, and that he will find the faith to follow God's plan for him. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Have I Mentioned that I LOVE My Husband?

Okay, I've had a problem the past week.  I was working on my song, polishing it up and getting it ready to submit to the church music compitition, and while I was plucking out a few different chords, my key board stopped working!  It was like there was a block or something preventing the hammer from striking the string.  I could pound on the key and not a sound would come.  It wasn't stuck or anything... It was the weirdest thing.  All the main keys from middle C to high F just didn't make a sound!.

My sis-in-law played the options for me over the phone, but with my cell phone it was difficult to really hear... it was frustrating, to say the least.

I called a piano tuner and repair man, but I've yet to hear back from him.  On top of the stress of finishing my song, I also have to learn an Easter piece to play for the chior, and I haven't been able to practice it all week. 

I came home from church today a little bumbed out that I was going to have to submit my song tomorrow, without having a chance to play the final arrangment myself.

As I walked in the door from church I noticed that all my books and pictures were off the top of my piano!  I walked over and pushed middle C.  ... It played!

I ran my fingers up the scale, and to my delight all the notes played perfectly!  I ran to the bedroom where Doc lay sleeping (he had to come home from church early to sleep as he is working all night tonight) and jumped on him and gave him a big kiss! 

I can't believe he fixed my piano!  He knows NOTHING about a piano, I can't believe he was able to figure out how to fix it.  I'm telling you, this guy can fix ANYTHING! 

I'm so grateful for my sweet husband who is so thoughtful of me that he would take to time to do this for me... even though I didn't ask him too. 

He's amazing.  He's thoughtful.  He's Sweet.  He's funny.  He's Smart.  He's loving.  He's a great Father.  He's my best friend.  He's everything to me.

And just looking at him makes my heart dance.

A Night Out with my Son

The other day Oz's best friend Josh (or I should say his Mom Veronica) invited me and Oz to join them for the opening night of Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. 

I was excited to have an evening with just Oz.  I think with him being the middle child he sometimes feels a little overlooked. 

So on Friday night Veronica picked us up and we drove to the circus. 

We had so much fun!  Although, I have to admit that I had to cover my eyes during parts of the high wire act, and during the part where the guy runs around on a wheel... pretty much during anything dangerous.  :-)

The drive home was just as much fun as the circus!  Veronica and I just talked, and laughed the whole way home.  I really enjoyed getting to know her better.  I'm so excited to have found a new friend.

Veronica writes a blog for the website  I really like this website.  If you live in this area you really need to check it out!

Anyway, I wanted to share her blog with you, so I copy and pasted it here. 


Opening night of Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey Fully Charged Circus

When I was a little kid, I always loved it when the circus came to town. I was a little scared of the clowns for the longest time. I do not know why, but I surely am glad that I outgrew that. HA!
Last night was the first time our 7 year old had been to a circus. I was keeping my fingers crossed that he would have fun and not be afraid of the clowns like I was. And he wasn’t. What a relief! He was too excited looking around and having fun with his best friend, Austin, and his mom, Becky, who went with us to the circus.
picture of Happy Kids at the Circus
Happy Kids at the Circus
I surely was glad that it didn’t take us too long to find parking when we got there. It cost us $10 for parking, which was reasonable for an event of this scale.
As soon as we entered the building, we were greeted by the many concession stands that lined the walkways. I loved the concession stands when I was a kid myself. There were so many yummy and colorful carnival food sold at the concession stands. We bought a big box of popcorn (it came with a cute big Ringling Bros and Barnum Bailey Hat), a bag of cotton candy, and two cups of snow cones in the cutest Ringling Bros and Bailey cups. Average food price at the stands is $10 each. Yes, it is too easy to overspend, so shop wisely.

picture of Circus concession stand
Circus concession stand
Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey Fully Charged Circus Acts
Of course, the “Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages” announcements still ring throughout the show, but the electrifying show started off with a parade of the circus performers, including four Asian elephants joining the parade.
picture of Circus Elephants Acts
Circus Elephants Acts
The elephants are the icons of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus for the longest time. They even have their own elephant conservatory center in Florida to ensure that the endangered species of the Asian elephants are protected and safe for the future.
Have you seen a human-powered merry-go-round? Ukrainian strongman duo (Dmitry Nadolinkskiy and Ruslan Gilmulin) performed an amazing act of human strength by supporting two telephone pole structure joint by a metal rope with four human riders at the each end and another person standing on top of the structure. Not only that, they were able to spin the whole structure at a pretty good speed at the same time. Each strongman consumes 7,500 calories a day. Wow.
picture of Circus Human Merry-go-round
Circus Human Merry-go-round
Clowns performed entertaining act, such as “How many clowns it takes to fix a light bulb show?”
picture of Circus How many does clowns it take to fix a lightbulb?
Circus How many does clowns it take to fix a lightbulb?
The performance of the tight rope balancing act was breathtaking, too. A human pyramid on a tight rope. Cycling on a tide rope. Jumping on a tide rope. Yep, you name it. They have it covered.
picture of Circus Tightrope
Circus Tightrope
A human hamster running and jumping on a wheel.
Imagine a human acting like a hamster, jumping and running with daring acts inside and outside of a giant moving wheel?
No circus is complete without animal shows. The tiger show led by Tabayara, the animal trainer surrounded with fierce tigers but obedient and trained like kittens is my favorite part of the show.
picture of Circus tigers tamed like kittens
Circus tigers tamed like kittens
Crossbow human launcher.
You have probably seen the human cannon ball, but have you seen a human fire arrow? The performer, Brian Miser aka the human fuse, set himself on fire and shoots out from a giant crossbow like an arrow. My son and his friend Austin thought it was the coolest performance.
picture of Circus Human Launcher on Fire
Circus Human Launcher on Fire
It was an enjoyable experience, whether you’ve been to a circus once or many times.
picture of Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey Fully Charged Circus Finale
Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey Fully Charged Circus Finale

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Happy 100!

I'd like to take a moment and pat myself on the back.

This is my 100th post!
I'm so stinking proud of myself.  I really wasn't sure if I would actually be able to write every night in my blog.  I know that I've missed a couple of days, but...   I'm just glad that I didn't beat myself up over it and quit.

I've learned so much over the past several months. 

First I can't help now but to try to see the good in everything.  I still get frustrated and mad a certain situations, but then I take a step back and remember all the things that are going right with my life, instead of dwelling on what's not.

I also feel more and more of a connection to my ancestors.  I find myself leaning on them.  With Doc being gone so much, especially with him working night shift right now, I do feel alone a lot.  When I feel down, or alone I think about the faith and strength of those who came before me, and I lean on their strength.  I know that their blood is in me, and that I can be strong like they were. 

I've also found that I'm a much more patient Mother.  I yell less.  I notice their little smiles and funny jokes and individual personalities more.  They are all so unique and special.  They are all healthy and cute... like their Daddy.  They all have strong minds and are very independent, and although that proves to be hard for me to deal with sometimes, I hope that if I can teach them correctly now, then I know that they will be strong enough to overcome their own trials or temptations in life.  ... after all... if they have the strength of mind to say "NO" to me, then surely they will say "NO" to drugs and things like that someday... right?

Finally I'm learning more about myself.  I'm finding that I have strength that I didn't know I had.  I'm excited to see me fulfilling a commitment that I made to myself.  I'm pretty darn good at making sure that I do everything I say I will for other people, but when it comes to myself... I tend to do the bare minimums, and if I'm feeling tired, I often don't even do that.  I always put myself last... and seeing how writing in this blog is the very last thing I do at the end of the day, I guess I am still putting myself last... but to me writing down my thoughts and feelings, and lessons learned and reliving wonderful memories is the absolute best way to end the day... so in that way, though I'm prolonging my bed time... I do feel like I'm doing myself a great favor by taking the time to write.

You should try it.  If you don't already, try writing in a blog, or journal, or diary.  Looking back and re-reading things that have happened teaches you so much.  It's so interesting looking back through the pages of a journal over the stressful times, or times when big decisions were going to be made, you often feel like you are walking blindly through those times... but when you look back on it, and read how the days and weeks and months play out, you can often see the hand of the Lord guiding you along the way... though at the time you can't see Him there. 

I find that if I ever want to know what the Lord would have me do I read the scriptures... if I want to see His hand in my life, I read my journals.

On that note, today I'm dancing because I've kept a promise.  I kept a promise to myself to write in this blog everyday and find the good in life.  And like Pollyanna (from the movie... not my sister) said, "If you look for the good in life, you will surely find it"... or something like that.  :-)

So, here's to my new favorite number!

At least for today.