Thursday, June 26, 2008

Missing My Mom

Yesterday was my mom's birthday. She would have been 55. She passed away five years ago, just a few days after her 50th birthday. She had suffered many health problems from a genetic disease of the liver (type I Hyperoxaluria).

I've been thinking about her a lot today, and I miss her so much. She was, in all honesty, my best friend. When I needed someone to talk to, she was there to listen. When I was sick, she cared for me like only a mother a can. And when I needed to cry, she held me and let me cry as long and as hard I wanted to.

We also had great times together. She is in most of my best memories. She took us camping for a full week every summer when we were young. As a single mom of four kids (now five, but back then she had four), I don't know how she did it. Taking my two kids camping for one night is a huge production, and I have a husband to help me! Those summer camping days were filled with adventure, laughter, and love.

She made Christmas absolutely magical. She spared no expense when it came to decorating the house. It was so beautiful at Christmastime. The tree went up the day after Thanksgiving, and stayed until New Year's Day. She was meticulous is her method of hanging Christmas lights; whether it was on the window, the mantel, or the roof, the lights were perfectly spaced and in perfect little rows. None of this "wrap a string of lights around the tree and call it good". Oh, no! Each branch had lights carefully wrapped around it from the center to the outer edges, and back to the center again. Her method of wrapping presents was meticulous also. I've never seen anyone wrap gifts as perfectly as she did! Each one was complete with fancy ribbons, bows, and a little gift tag to match the paper. And the amazing part is she enjoyed every minute of it!
She gave me such a wonderful childhood and taught me so much. It breaks my heart to think that she can't be here now that I am a mother. Oh, how she would love my little boys! I think of how much fun she would have with them, and how she would love to watch them grow. She loved children, and especially babies. She had two grandchildren before she died, and she adored them. I know she would adore all nine (soon to be ten!) of them now if she were here. I'm so sad that my kids are missing out on having thier Grandma here. How much fun they would have with her!! But I know that families can be forever, and we will be with her again one day.
Of course, every time I think of her, inevetably I start to feel regret and guilt for not being better to her while she was here. She suffered terribly the last few years of her life, and I wish I had been there more for her. Much of her time was spent in bed, and I was off with friends when I should have been by her side so she wouldn't be alone in her pain. She loved to read, but had trouble with her eyes and was unable to read for long periods. I should have read to her. I should have talked to her. I should have been with her more to comfort her and hold her and love her like she loved me. I'm sorry, Mom.

She was an amazing person. I could go on for hours, but I should probably call it a night. Here are a few photos of my wonderful mother.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Apartment Gardening Part II

I've been meaning to write this post for a week now. Life gets a bit crazy sometimes. With work, kids, plasma donation, applying for foodstamps (yes, sadly, it has come to that), and trying to dig myself out of the pile of laundry and dishes and toys, I hardly have time to post anything! But my kids are sleeping and the housework is waiting for a few minutes so I can sit and write about my flowers.

I planted petunias in April and have been anxiously waiting for them to bloom. I 've been watering and watching them grow (I would have been weeding, but they are in planter boxes). We went out of town over the weekend. When we left on Friday, there were two small blossoms on them. I gave them extra water so they wouldn't dry out during our trip. When we got home, I was happily greeted by this sight!:

Hooray! Finally, I have blossoms! This photo is a bit dark because it was late when we got home, but I just had to take pictures. These are my biggest success in my garden. My carrots were coming along nicely until my 3-year-old picked and ate all but 2 of them. It was partly my fault, though. I had him help my thin them last week, and we ate the little ones that we pulled. I told him not to pull any without Mommy's help, but the next day when I came home from work, Hubby said to him, "Tell Mommy what you did." He smiled and said, "I ate your carrots, Mommy!" He got in a lot of trouble for that. Here is a photo of the ones we pulled while thinning.

My cilantro was actually quite successful, but it didn't last long. It is now going to seed, which I guess I'd better harvest. Though I've never used coriander in cooking, I'm sure I can learn how. My tomatoes both died; one due to frost, and the other I think may have drowned. My parsley suffered the same fate as my carrots.

Here are some more photos of my pretty petunias!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Biking to Work

On Friday, I started riding my bike work (it's not actually my bike. It is my father-in-law's. I would be riding my husband's bike, but it got stolen a couple weeks ago, so his dad let us borrow his). Though I have to get up about 20 minutes earlier (my alarm is now set for 4:40 instead of 5:00), it feels great to get the exercise and fresh air. It's also nice to know I'm saving money that would be spent on gas, and doing my small part to help the environment. Hooray for bikes!

Lunch at the Park (or, Maybe This Place isn't so Bad)

Despite how much I complain about moving from beautiful Cache Valley to this dumpy town, there is one thing here that my home town doesn't have, and that is . . . (drumroll please) . . . Lunch at the Park! It's a summer lunch program sponsored by the school district. Every Monday thru Friday during summer break, kids (under 18) can get a sack lunch at the park absolutely free!
Here's how it usually happens. We head to the park (there are about 10 participating parks in town, we choose the closest, which is only a mile away) at around 11:00 am. We play on the equipment, eagerly awaiting the arrival of "the lunch truck". We hear a honk on the horn and turn to see it coming around the corner. As it drives to the pavillion, throngs of children (most of them quite young, with parents in tow) gather and form a crooked line, eagerly awaiting thier lunches. My kids squirm and wiggle as I try to keep them in line (the kids themselves have to get thier lunches- you can't stand in line and get it for them while they play). We finally make it up to the front. My three year old proudly gets his brown paper bag and opens it up himself. I hold my one year old and his paper bag in one arm, using my free hand to grab the goods and drop them into each boy's bag. They each get one carton of milk (chocolate or white), one carton of juice (to my delight it's 100% fruit juice, not the corn syrup-filled Tampico I was served in school), one bag of chips (usually Sun Chips or Baked Cheetos), one side (applesauce, fruit leather, or pudding) and then the main dish (choice of a hot entree like chicken nuggets, corn dog, cheeseburger, or old reliable cold ham and turkey sandwhich). We thank the lunch workers and take our now bulging brown paper bags to find the perfect spot to eat. Sometimes we choose a table in the shade; today we chose a sunny spot on the grass to sit and have our picnic. Once the kids are done, I finish off thier left-overs (wouldn't want to waste food, would we?), and then we go play some more. If ever I'm really hungry (like I was yesterday), I shell out $3.00 and get a lunch for myself.
We've gone every day this week, and plan on making it a regular thing throughout the summer. It's perfect: free food, fresh air, exercise, and the best part, no dishes! Maybe this place isn't so bad after all . . .

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Pilot and Me

My husband's cousin, Heidi had this cute hubby questionaire on her blog, and since I've run a blank lately on what to blog about, I decided it would be fun to fill out and post. Now you will all know about me and the pilot.

1. How long have you been together?
Almost 5 years (my memory of life before marriage is already fading... it's like it was a whole different world).

2. How long did you date?
Hmm... depends on who you ask. He would say we'd been dating for 4 months when he proposed, but it was actually only about 2 weeks (we have very different definitions of "dating"). I said no, and we dated for another 2 months before I said yes, and then we were engaged for about 3 months. So... I guess according to me we dated for almost 6 months, according to my husband 9 months.

3. Who said I love you first?
I'm pretty sure I did, but he claims he didn't hear me (I whispered it in his ear-guess I whispered too quiet).

4. Who sings better?
That's a toughy. He is better at making up lyrics and his own harmony, and he has a pretty good voice. I can sing parts by reading the music, and have a decent voice (as long as I'm not solo). I'd say it's about a tie.

5. Who is smarter?
Another toughy. He is definately smarter when it comes to anything mechanical and logical. But I am better at math, english, and putting the right clothes on the right kid (he's been putting size 3T shorts on our 16 month-old lately).

6. Who does the laundry?
Moslty me, but he's been doing a lot more since I started working part time

7. Who does the dishes?
Same answer, I've always done them, but he does them now too, since I started working.

8. Who pays the bills?
I do. Not my favorite job.

9. Who mows the lawn?
The landlord. But when we rented a house, he did it most of the time.

10. Who cooks dinner?
That would be me, except on very rare occasions.

11. Who drives when you're together?
Mostly him, but I do sometimes.

12. Who is more stubborn?
We are both very stubborn, and therefore butt heads a lot. But I am usually the first to say "I'm sorry" and I have to beg him to say it too.

13. Who kissed who first?
This one's kind of funny. He asked, "Can I kiss you?" Instead of responding verbally, I just leaned in and kissed him, but he didn't kiss me back. I guess he was too nervous. So I ended up kissing tightly closed, motionless lips. He'll never live that one down.

14. Who asked who out first?
He asked me. We went to see a double feature at the theater (Spider Man and Men in Black 2). We danced outside in the rain during the intermission.

15. Who proposed?
He did, but the better question would be how many times? Too many to count. Okay, in his defense, he only got down on one knee and actually said "Will you marry me?" once, to which I replied, "Can I think about that?" It was honestly the biggest shock of my life. I said no a few days later, and after that he just kept asking, "So, when are ya gonna marry me?" Obviously, I said yes after a while.

16. Who is more sensitive?
Me. Well, I show my feelings more anyway.

17. Who has more friends?
Friends? What are those? Just kidding. We each have a handful of good friends who we talk to about twice a year.

18. Who has more siblings?
He does, but only by one.

19. Who wears the pants in the family?
We both do, but his are bigger.