Friday, April 29, 2005

Great Sites

Get your Hot Links Here!

I love surfing the web. I have a rediculous list of favorites both in AOL in Internet Explorer. I share my favorites fairly often, dropping them down in my journals and emails like crumbs left behind by Hansel and Gretel. What I share depends on my mood, of course. I have several journals, (I list them under other journals) each focusing on some facet of my life that is important to me. This one is the reflection of my life, and my family. My links tend to be family oriented here. My others focus on photography, writing, poetry, New Mexico and plain old Drivel.

So, since this is my family oriented journal I am going to share five websites that suit thefamily thing. And my current mood. :)

1) This is a fun page... simple, but surprisingly cool: imagiNation

2) I got this from someones elses Journal, and I am obessesed: Draw a Pig

3) This one needs speakers... but you'll love it: Singing Horses

4) I have used this site so many times, for so many reasons, that I should have a membership. Drop me a line if you need to know how to save yours: Tombstone Generator

5) This one needs java, but you can download it from the site. Plus, there's links to other cool stuff: Kaleidoscope Painter

And a link I think my mother would like? REI Adventures

Hmm... I think I am gonna have to do this in my other journals. It was too much fun!

Splendid Moments

Another quiet evening at home :) Keri, Mitchel, and Patrick are with their mom (Fridays are normally her nights) and both my boys are sleeping. (Logan in his bed, David is behind me curled on the couch.) The Dalmation is snuggled against my foot, a strategy, I believe, bent on ensuring that if I make a move to go anywhere he'll know it.

The only things I can hear is the hum of the heater, ( I have it on low, it's still a lil' nippy outside,) and the gurgle of the fish tanks. (We have three, a five gallon, and 55 gallon, and a 250 gallon ... all in dire need of cleaning.) I suspect that soon I will go bundle myself into the welcoming embrace of my bed and see if I can keep my eyes open long enough to read. Have I mentioned I love to read?

Brian is working tonight, but will be home around 4 a.m., and we'll sleep in tomorrow with any luck. I see him every day, we work together. I see him everynight when we come home. We spend very little time away from one anther. I am fine when he isn't here (Because I can do things like write in my journal and get some housework done,) but when he's gone for even a short time, I am very happy to see him again. He is soothing to my soul. Just thinking about him, his kind eyes, and the way he smiles at me, brings a smile to my face as I write this.

Am I corney, or what?

I can't help it. Whatever I may lack in material and monetary things seems insignificant in contrast to the joy this family has brought to me. :)

I know this poem (though I must admit, shame on me, I don't recall the author) that comes to mind when I think of Brian:

Not for the whole wide world I love thee,
Sweetheart, light of the land and sea...
The wide, wide world could not enclose thee,
For thou art the whole wide world to me.

Beautiful, is it not? If anyone has any poems, quotations, or little lines of their own to share with me about love, or those they love, I invite you to share them with me. :) Love shared goes a lot further than love kept to oneself. :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Sick and tired of being sick and tired

It has been a difficult week, to say the least. We’ve all been sick, and just about the time we start to feel better it seems to mutate and pass itself around again. Uhg. Logan and Mitchel have both missed three days each of school this week, not to mention laying around like plague victims all weekend. Poor things.

Logan has been talking about getting a job again, since we have hope that his jeep will be in running condition and registered by this time next week. It’s hard at that age to work, balancing school and school work, family responsibilities, and his own needs (like Karate practice and just having some social time with his friends,) and then working ones butt off for next to nothing while an adult who seems to hate kids towers over them. I gotta give him credit, he knows what it will be like, but still wants to do it. When he’s working he deals with it stoically. I remind myself it is good experience for the future – real adult life often involves many of the same obstacles and downfalls as being a teenager. I just can’t help wish as a parent that I could help him find a job that would keep him working hard, give him a paycheck that made it worth feeling so worn out every night, and gave him the feeling that he was doing something with his time that he loved. Not that many employment opportunities for teens though, surprisingly enough to me.

Mitchel has also been considering work, though at 14 his options are even less than Logans. I think we’ve convinced him to consider yard work and odd chores in his grandmother’s neighborhood. It’s god honest work that can pay a decent wage when you do it right and motivate yourself enough. Mitchel is a hard worker, I think he could make a ton of money.

We’ve been having some issues with David, who has been crying and starting fights with everyone a lot lately. I don’t know if it is the illness,or something else, but it is evident he has something going on that worries me. Sometimes I wanna holler at him to just stop, but I know David well enough to know if he’s acting this way, something’s going on. The trick is to find out what the problem is.

Brian and I have been talking about getting married, we’ve been engaged almost two years now, and keep putting it off for one reason or another. (Paying taxes as a married couple is a bigone…. Yupyupyup….) I like the idea of being his wife, giving the kids something traditional to see and live around (marriage… the old-school thing to do) and I don’t much care about ceremonies and whatnot. Brian wants a ceremony, and he wants some financial stability so I won’t inherit his debts as his wife. Plus, the truth is, we can’t afford to be married for a dozen reasons that are more important than the paper that won’t make us any more committed or in love than we are now.

We’ve been thinking about summer vacations. Probably going to do the camping thing again at least once, and hopefully something bigger, like the Grand Canyon (which is sooo close) if we can manage the time and keep the kids in one place for a week during the summer. The trouble with five kids is that there is so much individual stuff going on it is hard to plan a group thing… ever.

*Thought for the day: How lucky I am to have such little worries as I do, when the bigger, scarier worries are not a part of my life right here and now. I resolve today to remember my blessings and be grateful for the love of my family.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Notes and Friends :)

I had a friend wayyyyy back when I was in the Navy, a guy by the name of Joseph Blair. Joseph was a pretty good guy, and I ended up nicknaming him Joseph Bear, or JoeBear. (I had a teddy bear obsession.) I lost touch with JoeBear for many years, but we found one another last year, onlne. (long story, one I will tell another day...)Anyway, recently JoeBear kinda quit emailing or doing IMs for awhile... partially because of the Hurricanes. (he was in Florida when the bad ones came through.)
The other day I wrote him a quick poem... kinda a "where are you" poem. he wrote back. Here's the emails....
Hiya Joe-Bear!
How are you?
I miss our conversations!
Our little quips, and limericks,
and other annotations....
I'm hoping soon you'll find the urge
to write me notes again,
So I won't pine from sad neglect
and missing my dear friend. ;)
It is nice to see
my dear, young friend
that your psycic powers
do not end.

Was thinking of you
just yesterday
and how we use to laugh
and play.

A teasing touch
a warm little smile
that has been missing
for too long a while.

Your timing was perfect.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Parenting vs Friendship?

Parenting has never been easy for me. Balancing my friendly relationship with my kids, without crossing into that blurred area where they see you as buddies and not parents.

I love my relationship with Logan. It's open, honest, funny, friendly. I really like him. He likes me too, and we respect each other. We also have established a boundry where he knows to cross it means my wrath and punishment. I expect respect. I expect that my trust in him will be rewarded with honesty and a lot of work on his part to do the right things.

Sometimes he crosses that line. Of course, hello. He is only sixteen. And though seventeen looms just a few weeks away, that doesn't mean he won't do stupid things. Nope. If anything it means that the volatile mix of hormones, boyish pride, and a desire to be a grown man, will press him to do a great many more dumb things than I've even thought about being concerned over so far. Take that explosive batch of goodies and mix it in with his other friends, and peer pressure... and KABOOM!

Yeah. It happens. I am not a huge believer in beatings. I have spanked on occasion, but find it less effective than losing what is important to my kids. Hit them and they cry, scowl, and the only thing they remember about the incident down the road is that you hurt them. Take the Playstation, the television, the right to see their friends, and before too long they are pleading for mercy. Mine have begged for the short term kindness of a beating over the consequences I lay down instead.

Tonight Logan and I had one of those sessions. One of those... "oh wow, this was incredibly bad, now what do I do" evenings. He expected me to have a meltdown. Instead we had a discussion, and I took a great many of his privileges from him. At first he thought he'd gotten off easily, then about an hour later he really thought about what my edicts meant to his freedoms, and he slumped into a minor depression. Half an hour after that he told me it was difficult because he knew he deserved it, knew I had been considerate and fair in my punishment. And now he was feeling bad because he realized he was the only one to blame, and he'd let me down.

I could not have choreographed a better ending to the evening. It was the response I'd hoped for. It doesn't always work that way, but when it does it's awesome.

I often wonder how other people deal with their kids, and if my relationship with my kids is unusual or not. From the way my boys talk about their friends parents, we have a really good thing here. But it's a big world out there... lotsa parents we've never seen.

It is late, and my confrontations have wearied me. Perhaps I'll dream of a vacation... something soothing I can't afford right now. :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Biography of a family

How it works

Brian and I live in the East Mountains near Tijeras, New Mexico. I have full custody of Logan and David, who's father is in Virginia and sees them when he can. Brian shares custody of Keri, Mitchel, and Patrick with his ex-wife. Brian gets his kids Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Logan and Keri have drivers licenses and cars, though Logans is broken down at the moment. The ability of them to drive help hugely. The other boys, Mitch, Pat and David, get dragged around by whoever has the keys to the car.

Logan is the oldest, he'll be 17 in May. He's into Karate in a huge way. He took first place in his division last year at Nationals. He wants to work, and used to, but can't right now because he has no transportation until we get his Jeep working again. (It was stolen in January and when we got it back, it was damaged.) He goes to a Charter school in Albuquerque, a performing arts school where he is doing alot of dancing this year. (He enjoys old fashioned swing dancing like the did in the 30's and 40's, and has been doing Tango lately. This makes him quite popular with the girls.) He's independant, honest, funny. He's as responsible as I can expect him to be at 16. He has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) since he was seven years old, but has learned to manage it fairly well in the last couple of years. He has a large sense of honor and what is right, and a sense of humor that cracks me up even when I ought to be scolding him. He's easy to be around, and easy to like. Logan has a great relationship with me, and semi-easy relaionship with Brian and a father-like relationship with David. Logan and David room together. He gets along with Mitchel and Patrick most the time, (typical brothers) and he and Keri are off and on friends, depending on which way the wind is blowing.

Keri is the next to the oldest, she'll be 17 in July. She works at a pizza place a few days a week, and is in ROTC at school. She has won sharp shooter medals, and places well in competitions. She's a sports fanatic, and plays when she can. Academics are not her favroite, but she works to keep good grades because of her goals. She has a boyfriend, Shaun, and they've dating for about a year now, and spends a great deal of time with him. We see Keri the least around here, she's indepedant, and stays busy with things she does between school, work and friends. We've been working on improving our time with Keri, hoping to entice ehr to want to spend more time with us. She has a Good relationship with Brian, and uneasy one with me (we argued in January, and things have been tense) and she and Logan seem to be best of friends one moment and enemies the next. The other three boys seem to equally share the Titles of annoying little brothers.

Mitchel turned 14 in February. He is emotional, and he takes everything to heart and is either moody or happy. He took up guitar and seems to enjoy it. He likes the company of others mostly, and can entertain himself for hours watching movies with family if allowed to vegitate. He loves hunting (as do all of Brian's children) and building things, and he enjoys tearing things down. He has trouble in school, but that is almost always because he won't turn in homework. Friends and girls are big on his list of most important things. He tries to be friends with Logan, rather than brothers, yet has a competitive thing going with him. (He's always trying to prove he's bigger or stronger). He is close to Brian, and him and I get along well. He fights with Keri more often than not, though he loves her. He and Pat room together, and get along well as long as Patrick respects the fact that Mitchel wants to be in charge and in control.

Patrick will be 12 in July. He is outgoing, and though he isn't quite sure of himself yet, he's trying to define his own personaility. He plays guitar very well, and loves it. He is girl obsessed, and will talk for hours on the phone if someone doesn't intercede. He likes spending the night with his Granma Wanda on Saturdays (Brian's mom) so he can go to church with her on Sundays. Patrick is a bit of a slob, but will happily clean up anything you point to without much discussion. he tries hard to be amiable and helpful. He is very close to Brian, and tries to spend as much time with him as he can. Patrick and I get along very well. He likes Logan a lot, and enjoys sparrring and wrestling with him. Keri tends to take a motherly role with him, and he seems to be okay with it. He is fine with Mitchel and seems to have declared a truce by staying out of his way mostly. He and David are good friends, and play together alot. They fight now and then, but it is over as quick as it starts.

David turned 10 in February. He is one of the smartest kids I have ever met, and loves learning the way lots of kids like watching television. He is an avid skateboarder, and is obessed with games of all kinds. He get's angry easy, and reacts to frustrating situations too often by arguing, and often escalates into tantrums. He has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). He also has asthma, and gets frequent migraines. His friendships are important to him, but because he is so easy to frustrate his is often the target of mean kids. If I could give David anything, it would be the ability to be easier in the relationships in his life. He is a sweet, loving kid who reacts rather than be proactive, and it hurts him. David gets along very well with Brain, and treats him like a father for the most part. He and I have a great relationship. David sees Logan as half brother and half dad, and works hard to please Logan. David Loves Keri to death, and spends every minute he can with her. David seems to sense Mitchel finds him annoying, and I think he eggs it on. David likes Pat a great deal and has a good friendship with him.

Brian will be 39 in September, and is a very old fashioned kind of guy. I will be 40 in July, and I am quite a bit more liberal than he is, though I have some conservative leanings. Brian is a quite fellow for the most part, talking only when he really has something to say, where as I can talk for hours about virtually nothing. We've both been divorced, and had some hard times. We both see committment as absolute. We have similar values when it comes to family, home and religion, but often stray widely when it comes to politcis, cultural issues, his ex-wife. Anything that comes on the news is often fair game for hot debates. We grew up differently; Brian had s stable home with married parents, church, and lived in the same house until he grew up and got one of his own in the same town. I came from a family of multiple divorces, a tons of relocations, and a lot of trauma. Wherever we came from in the past, we both are in the same boat now. We both believe in family first. We believe in God, share most of the same morlas and values, and care about people. Throughout the day we frequently hug and are grateful we found one another. We will have difficulties and problems as long as we're together, I am sure. But I am equally as certain be together as long as we both live.

This family wasn't contrived, planned, or predicted. We stumbled on each other, fell in love, and we do whatever we have to do every hour of every day to make it work. That's what love and Family are about.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

What makes it work

It's been two years and six months since I met Brian. Wow. I only can tell because the kids are so much older. My love for the man is stronger and deeper than ever. We are such a good thing together.

Are there hard times? Oh yeah. We squabble, the kids squabble, sometimes things get icky. That fairly normal though, and we get through it. I worry alot, that the kids won't always get all they need (money is stretched tight when ya got five kids) and that something might happen to break up my dream that I wake up living every day.

But that's normal too.

I make my share of mistakes, we all do. But we live through em, and grow stronger and wiser, and usually closer, because of the bumps.

If I could wish the people I know one good thing for thier lives, it would be the love I have in my life. This is the kind of love that makes money seem insignificant, illness manageable, hardships an adventure. This family is the air I breathe, the heart that beats in my chest, and every hope and dream I have ever dared wish for.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Goodbye, John Ronin

I was going through some of my old stuff today, and came on this. I wrote it in October of 2003 when a very good friend of mine died. I wanted, needed, to talk about the feelings and memories I had, some lessons I needed to learn, and to share those with others. I decided to post this in my journal, because the lesson is still a good one. And my friend John Ronin is worth remembering over and over again.

My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend stopped running today.
-- Richard Adams, Watership Down

Some years ago the man who was my husband had a tragedy occur. His brother, David, died unexpectedly. My husband was devastated, because he had not had the opportunity to say goodbye. He felt that he’d left things unsaid, loose ends that he couldn’t take care of. His heartbreak taught me a lesson.
My sister and I hadn’t spoken much in the years the previous few years before my brother-in-laws death. We’d had an argument, and we were both still too hot to let it go, or too self absorbed to be the one to let it go first. A couple of days after the passing of David I called my sister and told her I loved her. It was a nice phone call. And it wasn’t the last I made. Realization of life’s fragile promise encouraged me to call her frequently, and to forge a new friendship I hadn’t had with her before. We are best friends today. As a matter of fact, I called almost everyone I had lost touch with in my family, and attempted to reach old friends as well. Things have been better in my relationships since then.
I had learned my lesson and that lesson has been one I have kept close in the last six years. But I guess I hadn’t learned it well enough.
Last week a friend of mine was struck by a car and killed. His name was John, and he was as nice of a guy as anyone could ever know. I have had a lot on my mind recently, so the last month or so when I saw John I chatted with him, but was always in a great hurry. You see, John liked to talk a lot, and it was hard to escape once he started gabbing. I always figured I’d make time for him later, when things were smoother in my life. But we can see how that worked out. John left some words for mewith a friend, the week before he died. I was sick so he couldn’t get in to see me. He was grateful, he said. I had done a lot for him.
I wish I had let John know how lucky I was to know him. John was quiet, and yet he could talk your head off. He was sweet, funny, and liked to smile. He had new teeth and was so proud of them. (Everyone should have had the pleasure of seeing John smile.) He took his work very seriously, and had pride in what he did. He liked to help other people, and he always worried about his friends. He was honest, determined, and had a lot of trust in those around him. He didn’t know anyone that held a grudge with him, everyone liked him, and he made people smile. I’ll miss him.
A lot of people will miss him.
Unfortunately the lesson I thought I had learned with David slipped when it became important. But isn’t that how it always is?
I urge you, if you have a friend or family member that you have something to say to – say it now. Don’t leave anything unfinished. It’s been said before, but it’s worth saying again. Regrets are bitter candy to carry with you.
Goodbye John. I am glad I knew you.
Accept the pain, cherish the joys, resolve the regrets; then can come the best of benedictions - 'If I had my life to live over, I'd do it all the same'. --Joan McIntosh
Don't be dismayed at good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends. --Richard Bach