Wednesday, December 30, 2009

End of another year

It's hard to believe that we're a whole year older than we were this time last year :-) Looking back was hard for me this time. I go back to October and then kind of get stuck there. However, there were 9 really good months that occurred before the events of October 1st.

Sam turned five in June. Jake turned 4 in October. Chris turned eight in November. The boys are growing and thriving. Chris is making progress with reading and writing. He's still behind but we have an appointment with a developmental ophthalmologist in January. She'll be able to tell us if his eyes are tracking correctly or if we're dealing with another fine motor delay affecting something most of us take for granted.

Sam is talking a lot :-) It seems like I've been waiting forever to hear him voice his opinions and thoughts. He's still not a very clear speaker, but it's a relief to be able to converse with him.

Jake's having the most trouble dealing with Dave's loss. He doesn't like to go to bed by himself so he's been driving his brother's crazy trying to make them have "sleepovers" every night. I understand where he's coming from but I'm a bit worried that if I let him sleep with me on a regular basis it will make it even more difficult for both of us later. You just can't sleep with your mommy for your entire childhood.

We had a magnificent garden this summer. Dave made five new grow box frames for us. They made all the difference in the world. It was much easier weeding and watering in the grow boxes. We had sand delivered and worked it into our lovely heavy clay soil which made the plants much happier than they have been in past years. Sam and his dad planted pumpkins and melons all over the pasture. Chris had his own, interestingly arranged grow box. I planted 16 tomato plants and 12 bell peppers. We also made an herb bed this year. Next year I'd like to add at least three more boxes. We harvested all the squash and the last of the tomatoes the night before Dave died. It's as if summer ended and winter entered all in one fell swoop.

4-H went well this year. We had kids from 3 clubs working in rabbits and cavies together. It's always a better learning experience when you have greater diversity and a range of ages within the project. I am so proud of all of my kids! They had an awesome year and I enjoyed working with each and every one of them!

This was my first year leading cake decorating. It was thrilling (truly) to be able to teach something that I hadn't already led for years and years. I think I'm a much better leader when I'm challenged to provide new experiences and learn new skills. Katelyn and Chris were the only kids in the project and so we were pretty relaxed. I always enjoy working with both of them. Kate's taken rabbits with us for three years or so now. She's one of my favorite kids!

Next year I'm branching out in new directions. Leading cake decorating reassured me that my decision to move away from leading in the small animal projects was a good choice. I really am not as good a leader as I used to be. It's time for someone new and excited about the project to lead. Amanda Jo, thank you and best wishes for the upcoming year! I'll be co-leading in the sheep project. Luckily the sheep leader is very experienced because it's been years since I've worked with a large livestock project. Chris is ready for a market lamb and we're not taking rabbits this year to fair (hooray!). I also agreed to lead Vet Science and do Cake Decorating again. I'm hoping that my brain turns back on in time for me to do a good job for the members in my projects. Please, have patience with me guys :-)

Homeschool has been a blessing beyond my ability to convey with words. We've had an awesome year and enjoyed almost every minute of it. In January we had the opportunity to join a co-op in Boise and God must have smiled on us that day because I don't know what we would have done this year without those wonderful families. I've learned so much from the other moms in the group. Amazingly, not even half of what I've learned has to do with education :-) My kids love going and learning with the other kids. Experiencing other teaching styles and exploring subjects that we may not have chosen to cover on our own is so good for them! When Dave died the families in our co-op brought us flowers, food, and companionship. They took care of my kids when I couldn't and let me vent when I needed too. TEACH provides us with a sense of community that makes it easier to get through the weeks.

Another blessing that coincided with our TEACH experience is getting to spend a bit more time with my cousin La Donna. We haven't seen or talked to each other in years. I don't know what I would have done without her when Dave died either. She covered my classes for several weeks and drove my kids to co-op. She helped them maintain what little normalcy we had during the first few weeks. We've also enjoyed getting to know Jojo and Belle better. My kids are a bit surprised to find out that I have cousins. I have tons of cousins, just not many that live close or have children the age of mine. It's been an exciting development for my little family.

My Grandmother Loucks passed away in August which was an occasion for some weeping but also joy in renewing relationships with parts of our family we haven't seen in a long time. La Donna made sure we knew when everything was happening and kept us up to date as events occured. Once again- so thankful to have spent more time with her this year :-)

Other than the obvious exceptions it's been a good year. We've grown and changed (mostly for the better). Somehow the years seem to speed up the older I get. I'm not sure how that happens, maybe it's a time warp or something.

Friday, December 25, 2009

For the record- Xanax and tequila work quite well together :-) It doesn't take much tequila and the resulting mellowness seems to last well into the next day. I've even been sleeping!!! Now I'm wishing I'd given in and tried tequila or scotch much sooner. One shot in an evening and the world looks much brighter the next day.


Thursday, December 24, 2009


My poor neglected blog. I've left you alone far too long, but I'm just not sure what to say anymore. I have a hard time saying what I'm really thinking where the people I care about can read it. It's much easier to talk to people I don't know as well.

Today is hard. It's much harder than I ever imagined it could be. I miss my husband. I don't want to set up for tomorrow by myself. In fact it is such an incredibly unpleasant idea that I'd rather skip Christmas all together. If I could just go to sleep and not wake up until after Christmas- that would be fine with me.

Dave and I always did the holiday preparations together. I would sew and make gifts. He would watch the kids so that I could sew and make gifts. This year people will not be getting handmade gifts. I probably could have made them, but my heart just wasn't in it.

In a lot of ways it feels like I've gone back in time. Unfortunately the time period I've apparently chosen to visit is my teenage years. I didn't like being a teenager the first time I was there. I like it less now. Hormones, mood swings, self centered, generally unpleasant- yep, that's me. I don't like the way I feel right now. I don't like it at all.

On Christmas Eve Dave and I would always get everything ready for Christmas Day. We'd stay up late making sure everything was just right and then we'd fall in bed together to celebrate another good year. All of our years were good ones. We had so much fun together!

I feel like my soul's been ripped. It's injured and aching. Every day I wake up and try to be the best mommy I can be. Some days that mommy's not a particularly good one. It's hard being around people, even my own children. I'd love to travel to the ends of the earth and get away from people for a while. Of course, if I'm alone then I still tend to panic. I have some poor, abused facebook friends who can attest to that. I want to be alone, but I can't actually tolerate being alone.

It's Christmas, and we're all supposed to be happy. I find myself wondering how early is too early to start drinking tequila. Don't worry- I don't usually drink, it's not as if I'm falling into alcoholic oblivion. This is just so much harder than I thought it would be. I love my children and want the best for them. Me, present and accountable is the best I can provide.

They seem to be doing much better than I am. Of course, if you asked people around me I'm sure they'd tell you that I'm doing better than expected too. It's much easier to hide what you're feeling than it is to share it. If you ask me how I'm doing I'm going to tell you "fine."

Hopefully, sometime between now and tomorrow morning I'll have a revelation that will make the holiday better. Something will happen that will renew my faith and feed my soul. Until then, tequila sounds very, very good :-)

Monday, December 07, 2009

If I were dating...

A friend and I were talking last night about the qualities we'd look for in a man if we were dating. She's young and has never been married. I'm not so young and was married for nine years. Neither one of us is looking at the moment, but if we were- what traits appeal and which really, really don't?

So, in no particular order, here are the traits I find attractive in a man:

Good Sense of Humor
Ability to admit mistakes- and then deal with them
Love of the outdoors
Faith- you don't have to believe exactly the same things I do, but you'd better believe something
Love of learning- not necessarily formal education, just learn things regularly
Belief in the importance of family
Ability to learn anything you need to learn
Ability to shoot someone or something if the situation warrants it
Ability to remain calm during an emergency
Love and defense of liberty
Sense of adventure
Enjoyment of life's simple pleasures

And the deal breakers:

Hands softer than mine (and mine aren't that rough)
Inability to change your own oil- I pay to change mine, you can too- but for heaven's sake don't pay for it just because you're not capable of changing it
Stupidity- everyone makes mistakes but the ignorant can be educated
Not getting my sense of humor- absolute deal breaker :-)
Dislike of animals and/or children
Being grossed out by blood and other bodily fluids/functions- If I can clean it up, bandage it, or otherwise deal with it- you'd better be able to as well
Lack of mechanical skills- If I'm better at mechanical things than you are I probably won't find that a turn on.
Inability to be flexible- also not a turn on.
Inability to laugh at yourself- see previous disqualifications.
Unwillingness to continue looking for new educational experiences
Lack of interest in nature
Lack of knowledge about nature
Lack of understanding of basic scientific principles
Lack of understanding of basic logic and reasoning
Spending more time on your hair than I do- In my experience this means I'm really, really not your type.

I'm sure that given time and contemplation both lists will get longer. But for now... It'll have to do. I'm really not looking- just jotting my thoughts down before they leave my head never to be heard from again. Of course there are a slew of other traits that I find attractive or unattractive but I can be more flexible in those areas. In the past I would have said that I am attracted to tall, dark haired, dark eyed men. Of the three men I've spent any real time dating one was almost 6' tall, brown haired and hazel eyed. The other two were shorter, blond, and blue eyed. I thought Dave was pretty cute and he was blond, blue-eyed, and average height so it just goes to show- there are absolute must haves and must not haves, everything else is just stuff :-)

Jake camping in the living room

Jake camping in the living room