Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mississippi River can't keep us apart....

This year's vacation was going to be a new sort of vacation for me. That's right, a vacation with no planning.

Steven declared early on that we were to make NO reservations ahead of time, schedule nothing to constrain our time and take everything as it came.


So, we did.


We left out at 9:30 am which was going against everything I had ever been taught about vacation. That's right....."Thou shalt not leave house later than 7:00 a.m. on the first morning of vacation".


We drove for about 2 hours and ended up stopping in Mtn. View, MO. The town is only a bump in the road, but there was a nice little park that we decided would be perfect for a picnic lunch. With fried chicken from the night before, and drinks from the cooler, we ate and contemplated the beginning of our vacation.


After letting the kids run off some extra energy that they had accumulated from two hours in the car, we hit the road.

It wasn't much after this that I realized, and fully appreciated, a fear that I have developed since being a parent: Bridges.


Yes, bridges.



Isn't it crazy? As we drove over the bridge connecting Missouri to a very small portion of Illinois, and crossed the Mississippi River, I could almost feel the anxiety in my chest as my mind raced wondering that if, yes, if, the bridge were to collapse, what exactly would my plan be to get my children - and myself - out of the vehicle and to safety.


Steven? Well, Steven was on his own.


We no more than made contact with land before we crossed over another huge bridge, this time crossing the Ohio River, if I remember correctly. I have to admit that when we crossed the second bridge into Kentucky, I had the same sense of relief and completion that I have when a plane's wheels make contact with the runway.



Yes. I know. I need therapy.



That evening we arrived in Nashville, checked out the Opryland Resort, grabbed something to eat and started looking for a hotel. Of course, the only requirement was that the hotel MUST HAVE a pool.




We scoped out several places and did the required "drive around" until we saw the "perfect one". The kids enjoyed playing in the pool and would have been satisfied if that would have been the only place we stayed for the duration of our vacation.



That night as the kids and Steven lie sleeping in bed, I found myself warring with the idea of not having a place already lined up for us to stay in, in Gatlinburg. I got online and found a cabin that was available for the next two evenings. I roused Steven from his sleep and he muttered something that sounded a lot like "do whatever", and so I booked the cabin and crossed my fingers.





There is, after all, only so much you can find out about a place online. Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but I am a talker and I need more like a million.


*********************************


The next morning we left, heading towards Gatlinburg, and the kids were being troopers.





We stopped at a rest stop in Tennessee and they played a game of tag. Afterwards they watched about an hour of a movie. There was only once when Mr. B decided that maybe he had had enough of Miss L and he just wanted some peace and quiet. This is how he decided to achieve it. I think it was a good alternative to handle the situation:


Maybe we should try this tactic at home..... I think I definately will.


Once in Pigeon Forge, we knew we were close to our destination. We stopped, picked up supplies, grabbed our place in traffic and made our way to our cabin.


Once there, I realized that the cabin was, incidentally, perfect for us.




Rustic looking- for Steven, modern conveniences (like internet)- for me and a hot tub for, um, the kids.



From this pic, I am not sure what they like more......the hot tub OR each other? Something is fishy.......


Maybe they were just being EXTRA good to prepare us for a long night spent walking the streets of Gatlinburg and playing "Dukes of Hazzard" miniature (indoor) golf.


Yes. Dukes of Hazzard.
To be honest, I don't care if I see another picture of Boss Hog for a long, long time.


**********************************

The next day we grabbed some pop tarts, some gas and some groceries and headed towards the National Park. The first area of interest, that we came upon, was Laurel Falls. I knew that this was supposed to be really pretty (thanks, TSK), so we stopped, got out and prepared to hike a little over a mile to see the falls.

After hiking a little over a 1/4 of the way, we came upon a hiker returning to the parking area. He told us that up ahead, a little over 100 yards, was a mother bear and two cubs.


It was at this point that I realized another fear of mine: my kids being attacked by a bear. Considering that there have only been "supposed" sightings of bears around our house, and no actual documentation of one, I don't have to actively worry about this at home. Here, confronted with a mother bear and two cubs, the fear seemed a little more real.


As we continued on, Steven and the kids excitedly closing the gap between themselves and the bear siting, I found myself thinking of what I could do to prevent us from being featured on the nightly news.




"Miss L, don't smack your gum and keep your mouth closed...."

Steven turned around and said, "Why does she have to keep her mouth closed?"



"Because.....I read that bears can SMELL food. We can do what we can to keep from tempting them.."

I think it was at this moment that I was completely solidified in Steven's mind as being totally crazy.

Truthfully, I am surprised it took this long.

*********************


As we reached the area that where the bears had been spotted, we found a few other people trying to get a good view.


Steven took the kids over to where the view was better. We were so excited that we all had the chance to see, not one, but three bears, out in the wild.

Although you had to peek through some pretty heavy brush cover, you could, indeed, see bears.


And, surprisingly, they didn't try to attack us....... Probably because they didn't smell Miss L's gum due to my wonderful advice and motherly instinct.

After this encounter I relaxed a little. Although the bear was, no doubt, very strong, I felt sure that Steven could, at the very least, put up a good enough fight that the kids and I could make it back to the truck in time.


Isn't that what husbands are for?


Finally we made it to the falls.....and it was beautiful. The kids took off their shoes and put their feet into the cold mountain water....





They loved it!


They also liked climbing on the rocks to "explore" and go on "adventures" surrounding the fall area.


We made our way back to the truck and couldn't wait to call Aunt Sissy. You see, Aunt Sissy and Uncle Jason had went on vacation to Colorado with Mi Mi and PaPa.


Steven didn't want to go.


At the time I pouted and complained and it was only made worse by a phone call from Aunt Sissy informing us that she had, indeed, seen a bear. I was so jealous....


But now....yes now..... we had seen three! Life was good. As I picked up the phone to make "the call" I realized that we had no service..... and wouldn't for the rest of the day.
So much for bragging..... it would have to wait.
********************************

We made our way down the road and found a nice picnic area along side a stream. We sat on a log and ate our picnic lunch.

********************************

As we continued on towards Cade's Cove, we passed by an apparent local attraction. It seemed to be where two mountain streams combined and then converged into one stream. At this junction there were adults and kids of all ages swimming, and floating in the water. People could be seen jumping off rocks in the form of cannonballs, only to surface with their teeth chattering and their lips turning blue.


I could only imagine how cold the water must be.


Of course, Miss L, only thinking of her love of water wanted to stop and swim. Mr. B, however, was just buying time until the evening, knowing that we had promised him a trip to Pigeon Forge to take his turn driving Go Carts. Steven told her that on our way back through, we would stop at the water "and wade".

****************************


We made our way to Cade's Cove and the beginning of the 11 mile loop. I love history and everything the discovery of it brings with it and it seemed as if this was the place for me!


Our first stop was the cabin of the first settler in Cade's Cove.

(I think Miss L likes to pose....)



We then got on the loop road and continued on. We turned off on a gravel road to head toward an 1800's Baptist Church.



It was a narrow road and we approached a car that was heading back to the loop road. We both commented on this car and how, instead of hugging her side of the road, she was somewhat in the middle of the road, preventing us from passing her.



It was then that I noticed her wildly waving at us to look to our left.



So, I looked.




Before my mind even had time to register what I was seeing, my body was moving. In one fluid motion I grabbed my camera, turned it on, crawled over the console, kneed Steven in the groin and hung the upper half of my body out of his, the driver's side, window to capture this shot:




OK, so now we had seen four bears.


********************

We stopped and enjoyed a couple other churches and cabins. We were a short distance away from the mill area which had several historical buildings and a visitors center, when I noticed a group of people standing on the side of the road, outside of their cars. As we narrowed the distance we noticed that there was also park rangers....doing their version of traffic control. As we passed by, some of the bystanders started pointing up. It was at this point that I leaned forward and looked up out of the windshield and noticed a bear, above us on a limb.




Now, we had seen five bears.
******************

With every bear siting, the size of the bears grew, as did the story the kids were going to recount to Aunt Sissy.


At the visitor's center, Miss L picked up a little stuffed black bear and showed it to me. Considering that the kids had asked for nothing, I told them that they could pick out a souvenir to take home.


Miss L, being practical and sentimental, clung to the original stuffed bear she had spotted. Mr. B, on the other hand, said he wanted a stuffed Robin.


"But Mr. B", I exclaimed, "a bear would remind you of our trip! Think of how many bears we have seen!'


To which he replied, "Yeah, but I saw a lot of birds too..... I want the bird!"


And so, he got the bird.

****************
We toured the old buildings, took many pictures and made wishes in the water trough of the old mill.

As we left, we again returned to the loop road and immediately spotted an old cemetery, with only a few cars. We turned into the cemetery lane and parked and got out. As we walked up to the few people there, they began to point and show us that up in the tree there was a mother and her three cubs.

Yes. Three cubs.


Nine bears total. (Take that Aunt Sissy!)


(Baby bear taking a nap...)

I only had time to take a picture or two before another bystander shouted, "The mother's coming down...."


Now, although I had only finished reading my "what to do during a bear encounter" manual, my mind erased any trace of the rule about not running. Because, I will be the first to tell you that I am a follower and when complete strangers find it necessary to run from the mother bear....then I follow right behind them and run too.

Miss L was in front of me and Steven and Mr. B were behind.


Or so I thought.


Primal fear, instinct, or maybe it was just a really good understanding of my husband, made me turn around and take inventory.

Miss L in front. Mr. B behind. Steven still watching the mother bear.


I picked up Mr. B and scooted Miss L along until we reached the truck. I quickly deposited them inside and told them to stay put.


I watched the mother bear turn and head into the woods. She looked bigger than the others and I was thankful that I didn't have to sacrifice Steven to her.

It might not have been a fair fight after all.


As I took my place along Steven I watched as the three cubs, one by one, decided to follow their mother.

Although I am not sure why I had the preconceived notion that bears descended from trees much in the same way a cat did, I quickly found out that I was wrong. In fact, I would liken it to that of a firefighter sliding down a pole.

Fast.


**************************

We headed back towards the cabin and as we closed in on the swimming hole, Steven and I found ourselves trying to make a deal with Miss L.

You see, we had been out the whole day and it was already after six. We saw that we could bypass the National Park and take a Hwy straight into Pigeon Forge. However, if the kids swam (in their clothes) we would have to go through the National Park and go on into Gatlinburg to our cabin and THEN go to Pigeon Forge.


The kids agreed that they would just wade in the water and then we would go straight into Pigeon Forge, eat and ride Go Carts.


Everything was fine and well until Mr. B, slipped and fell into the water.


Plan aborted.


We were obviously going to have to head to the cabin, after all, and change his clothes. I gave Miss L the "green light" to go ahead and get wet.


And she did.

And although her teeth were chattering, her lips were blue and goosebumps covered her body, she was "NOT COLD".

Mr. B, was cold and decided that swimming in the water wasn't for him. Instead, he threw stones while trying to keep from succombing to hypothermia.


After they decided they had enough, we stripped them down to their skin, wrapped them up in their blankets, and drove 30 miles to our cabin with our naked babies in the back.

***********************

The next day we decided to head towards Chattanooga, TN. Once there we took in the Incline Railway (major anxiety trigger for me) and the "largest model train in the South".


(Incline Railway, 73% grade)



The kids were intrigued by the mechanical make-up of the Incline Railway and wanted to see how it worked. A nice man that worked there told us where to go to see the pullies in motion.



The kids loved it. Mr. B echoed my own thoughts...."What happens if one of the cables break?"

He is SO my child.


Both Miss L and Mr. B were thrilled with the detail of the model railroad. Of course, this wasn't your average model railroad. It was approximately 100' x 15'. The life like scenary and props brought it all to life.





They sat in silence, moving up and down, different parts of the track, for right at an hour.


***************************

Once we left the Chattanooga - Choo Choo, we decided to search for a hotel and turn in early for the night.




Although when we left we had no deadline, or itinerary, I found that once the truck started back West, it was really hard not to head on home.



We were ready. The kids were ready.



They had been troopers the whole way. Although I had packed movies, snacks, coloring books and Leapsters, they found themselves entertained by the new and exciting scenes that passed by their truck windows.




They never once slept in the truck. No naps. Nothing.




They watched about an hour of a movie and never turned the DVD player on again.




I couldn't have asked for better, more content, children.


*************************

That night we stayed in Murfreesboro, TN. The next morning we decided that we would sleep in our own beds that night.


And on our way home, in the same town that we kicked off our vacation, we ended it. Mtn. View, MO.....this time a different park, but fun just the same. The first park had a airplane in it and this park had a caboose. The kids spotted it on the very first day and we vowed to take them to see it on our way back through.


We kept our promise and the kids enjoyed their last hoorah before we arrived at home. Five days prior we had contemplated our vacation and this time we reminisced it.


Five days. Four nights.


We had a blast.
Still, there is NO place like home....

Go ahead and Levon me alone....

I found this on another blog and liked it.......


Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions.

Pick your Artist: Elton John (Love the piano....and the crazy lyrics)

Are you a man or a woman: Rock N' Roll Madonna

Describe yourself: The Bitch is Back (sorry!)

How do you feel: Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me

Describe where you currently live: One Horse Town

If you could go anywhere, where would you go? Take Me To The Pilot

Your favorite form of transportation: Rocket, Man (punctuation mine)

Your best friend? I Need You To Turn To

You and your best friends are: Tiny Dancer (s) (OK, so maybe we aren't tiny, Sarah, but we are totally dancers!)

What's the weather like: Empty Sky

Favorite time of day: I Cry At Night

If your life was a TV show, what would it be called: I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues

What is life to you? Candle In The Wind

Your fear: Original Sin

What is the best advice you have to give: Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

Thought for the Day: Sad Songs Say So Much

How I would like to die: Shooting Star/Return(ing) To Paradise

My soul's present condition: Stones Throw From Hurtin'

My motto: Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I would post a picture if I had one.....

I have written before about my hair and the unruliness of it.

This morning I had little to no time when getting ready. To top it off, I didn't have time to wash my hair last night. So, this morning I washed my hair and came to terms with the fact that I didn't have time to dry it or straighten it.

I grabbed some gel and a hairdryer and worked until the dampness left. I pulled some up out of my face and fastened it back.

I put Miss L on the bus, grabbed Mr. B's backpack and we headed for the door.

We started down the road and realized that the brown Nike flip flops that I had worn outside to the bus were still on my feet.

That would be great except for the fact that I was heading to work and I was wearing black and white "dress clothes".

I turned around and headed back to the house, grabbed some new shoes and jumped back into the truck.

It was at this time that Mr. B said, "Momma, why is your hair all crazy?".

I said, "What do you mean?"

To which he replied, "It is all curly and crazy...."

Hhhmmm, I thought, "crazy", not exactly a nice descriptive word.....

"Do you think it looks bad?"

And without a moments hesitation, he said, "YES!"

**********************

He might be on to something considering my friend, Becky, just brought me lunch and when she hit the door she started laughing.....

And Manda, you know how I said that I thought that big hair was a prerequisite for living in Texas..? I could so totally live there.

Monday, August 24, 2009

it's coming....

To my little guy,

I just arrived back at work after dropping you off at your first day of preschool.

I can't believe that you are now in a class of your own and aren't sitting on the sidelines with me at your sister's preschool parties. Now she is in 1st grade and you are the big boy starting preschool. It only seems like yesterday.......

Mrs. C has made your transition easier, as she is a familiar face to you. When your sister was in preschool Mrs. C used to let you participate in some of the fun and games. Mentally, you have been ready for preschool for some time. You love interacting with kids and the challenge that comes from learning new things.

However, it seems that the problem is that you have apparently now learned all there is to know. At least, that is what you told Tara, your daycare provider this morning. I think your exact words were that you "didn't need to go to preschool because I already know everything".

Is this what they call foreshadowing.....?

You are, emotionally, clinging to me and your youth, just as I am. As much as you love being "my baby" you are growing every single day and becoming more and more, simply, "my boy".

That being said, you will always be "my baby". I don't ever want to trade in the cuddling you crave, the kisses you freely give or the unprompted "I love you's".

As a boy you are a very complex creature. One minute you crave your independence, refusing help with a task, stating "I'll do it!" and the next minute you act as if every job is too hard, desperately needing my help. And I will help. That is what I am here for. That is what I love to do.

Rest assured that I have never loved anything more than being your mommy. It makes my heart ache, my eyes become misty and throat constrict when I think about the love I feel for you and the happiness you have brought me.....just by being you.

I know that next year you will be in Kindergarten and that in that short space of time you will grow in ways my mind can not imagine. You will learn things that you didn't even know you didn't know and you will teach me things that I thought I had already been taught.

I love both you and your sister fiercely. You are both very different and each perspective is new. Because of this I simply can't wait to see preschool through your eyes!

I love you and I cherish you. I will forever hold on tight to the little boy who holds on tight to me.

I love you,

Your momma


PS-Not possible.....




(The P.S. is a reminder for/to him of something I don't want him to ever forget, even when we are both old and gray. When I say, "I love you", he ALWAYS says, "I love you more". Of course, my response, which he has grown to expect, is: "Not possible".)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Taking it as it comes....

To my little girl,

Tomorrow you start 1st grade and I am amazed at how quickly this point in your life has arrived. As I tucked you in and kissed your sleepy head goodnight, I was reminded how each day goes by quicker than the day before. Every day I learn some new and exciting aspect of you and your personality and yet I feel I know you better than I know myself.


I can feel your independence from me increasing.....and I fight the urge to pull you back.



Last night we met your new teacher and I think that it just might be possible that we, some way, some how, hit the jackpot for the last two years in the teacher department. She couldn't be any sweeter and I know that this, too, will be a good year.



Mrs. D sent home materials last night and as your daddy and I looked through them one thing became apparent......when you need help with your homework, you are going to have to look elsewhere. The things they are teaching in the first grade this year are things that we learned (and have since forgot) in high school.



Fractions and graphing......1st grade. Really?



One homework assignment that I think that we have done OK on so far was a questionnaire about you.



That is right, you.



The first question was "What are 1-3 things that your child is interested in?" I quickly jotted down what I thought was the "correct" answer and then quizzed your daddy to see if he agreed. I covered my answers so that he couldn't cheat and waited for his reply. Do you know what? We were RIGHT ON!



After giving each other high fives we decided that before we got too carried away that we might want to actually run this question by you. What a concept, right? Asking YOU what you were interested in.



Do you know what? Your daddy and I "rock". (His words, not mine.) Your answers were the exact same. 1) Horses 2) Taylor Swift and 3) Cats, or more specifically, kittens.


**************


Other questions were a bit more introspective and since it was, in fact, to be answered by a parent, I decided to be as honest as I could.



Mrs. D wanted to know what you, Miss L, are afraid of. Initially I found myself thinking about how you really, truly, are fearless about many things. You don't like showing weakness and you try to appear tough....even when you are feeling anything but. However, you are afraid of something (even if you say you are not) and it is failure. I see you pulling back if you think that you might not be the best at something. You are fiercely competitive and hate to lose...even if it means you don't compete at all.


You must get THAT from your father.



We are working on this though, aren't we? I hope that someday that you learn that the honest effort that you put into something is all that really counts.



So I warned Mrs. D (in not as many words) about this fear of yours....and about the only other fear I am aware that you have, even though it might not be relevant. Yep, that's right. Snakes. You are fiercely afraid of snakes.



*********************



Your teacher also wanted to know what I thought were your strengths and to be honest, she didn't leave enough room. I might possibly be biased, but I think that your strengths outnumber the stars. You are determined, and ambitious. You are funny and driven. You have a sense of right and wrong and you love with all your heart.



When answering her question I couldn't help but think about you and the time that your determination and resolve shined the brightest. At the ripe old age of (barely) five, you had watched a show on training horses on TV. This show outlined how to take a horse and get them to lead into a trailer.



You thought this looked like something you could teach Peanut to do and so you set out to do it. One small difference. Instead of loading Peanut into a stock trailer, you taught her to stand on a tilt trailer with no sides. Your daddy said the only thing you needed his help with was catching Peanut and and putting her halter on. After that, the only hands on training Peanut got, was from you.


**********************


Although my heart is a little heavy with this passing of time, I am truly anxious to see what adventures you will go on, and what discoveries you will make, this, your 1st grade, year.


I am sure that what you will teach me will far outweigh what you - yourself, will learn.


I love you more than your mind can possibly imagine or comprehend.


Thank you for being you.



Hugs and Kisses,


Your momma




Mirror, Mirror on the wall.....

What began as an method of self-reflection, and an effort to see a clear cut path on the road less traveled, turned into something much more, or should I say, less.

First off, I never intended for anyone to feel like I was "talking about" anyone other than myself. That was what the post was about and since it is MY blog, I didn't feel the need to censure, edit or tone down what I was saying and feeling. This was my therapy and it has indeed sparked some very stimulating and educational conversations about everything from the ways of the world to the ways of God.

Most of the time the two are VERY different. Being human, I think that it is easier to spend most of our time cruising down Life's Highway rather than the "Highway to Heaven". (Boy that brings back some good Michael Landon memories.....)

Anyway, yes, I am human and I get caught up in this life and all the drama that comes with it. In fact, I am probably worse than others.

But I really don't want to be. (Does that count? Come on! Anyone?)

I was speaking with a good friend and in the course of the conversation we spoke of the differences in people and the way that people protect themselves. We all have our ways of trying to ensure our emotional safety or protect our feelings.

Some people create walls and hope to keep people out. Some people put on masks and pretend to be something other than they are....many times it is someone they WANT to be. And some people hurt others before they can be hurt.

The list goes on and on.

I think many of us fall into one or more of the categories.

I know that my personal favorite is telling people all (and more) that they need to know about me. And, yes, need is subjective.

I am guilty of providing people with the most dark (and dingy) parts of me and my life. I have often said that I am an open book, and this is completely true. I could pretend that this is because I am just such a wonderfully honest person, blah blah blah, but that wouldn't be true. My need to tell everything about me is also a defense mechanism on my part. I want everyone that is in my life to know everything about me so that they can then take stock and figure out if I am the person they thought I was, and the person they wanted me to be. If not, they can then slip silently away. I want people to know my faults, imperfections and mistakes because it is easier on me.

What? You are probably wondering how it can be easier on me to air all of my dirty laundry.

Well, it simply is.

You see, I live in doubt of myself and I always want to be better.

I don't want someone to say, "Kim is this......" or "Kim is that....." and for me to be wondering in the deep recesses of my mind if their opinion of me would be different if they truly knew me.


There have been times that I was certain that the truth would cost me some of the most dear relationships in my life. But I had to tell it.......

Once my husband told me there were things that he would've rather not known.......

You see, although different than pretending to be someone I am not, it is still a protective measure just the same. It can hurt people too.....just the same.

************************

I have enjoyed the emails and conversation that this post has brought about although I have to say that it was somewhat of a surprise to me. I think (for the most part) that people are doing the best they can with what they have been given.

I also believe that what Manda commented was right, too. People have "true colors" and sometimes those colors are ugly no matter what light you are looking at them in. You try and try, but sometimes, you can't make them be a color other than what they are.

You can add a throw pillow here and a nice quilt there, but the colors......they are still ugly.

It is at this point of realization that you have to decide what your reaction will be. Or coping mechanism, if you will.

I have found that many times my reaction is to try and "paint" over the person's true colors which I find offensive. Other reactions include backing off so that the view of the color's aren't as clear. And then there are others who go on, and like Mama Goose commented, try to show what their own true colors are and hope that the "offender" likes them as much as they do and wishes to change, or paint over. In simpler, non-color related terms, I think that we might call this leading by example.

In a perfect world, that is what we would all do. Lead by example. It is, after all, what we are called to do.

But I am not perfect and when I reach the point where I am so consumed with my irritation that I seem to "fester" and "boil" and be anything but what God wants me to be.......what do I do then?

I think that God puts people in our lives for a reason. However, is severing, or distancing from, a friendship or relationship, the better alternative when the only thing left to choose from is turning into a resentful, quick-to-find fault, "friend"? And, of course, I use the term friend loosely.

The only answer that seems to be right, is yes.

As in my job (I work at a funeral home), becoming somewhat "shut off" from, or hardened to, the circumstances around us, helps us to better serve the families that we help. If we, too, were upset by death and the grief that it brings with it, we would not be able to adequately help the people who need us. They require for us to be strong, and present, at a time when they simply can not.

I think the same can be said for "toxic relationships". Severing is the best solution when you become so immersed in the bad behavior that you can't adequately care for, and nurture, the other friendship and relationships in your life......regardless of who is at fault.

I need to emphasize that this, at least in my case, is not about fault finding. It has been about discovering traits in myself that I am not happy with or proud of.......and looking at ways to correct them. Sometimes you have to step away from a situation to see it clearly.

At the end of the day, the only person you can control is yourself.

**************************

Honestly, this topic is now officially wearing me out! I can't imagine what it is doing to those of you who are still here sticking around to read it!

I also want to say that although I love the kind comments, and emails that you have sent saying such nice things about me.....that isn't what I was searching for. Not that it wasn't nice to read..... and not that I didn't publish them in the local paper.... (hee hee!)

I, in fact, found that those of you who were saying that I was too hard on myself, or that I was a good friend, or whatever, made me want to write another post letting you know EXACTLY why I am not good, and not nice and not too hard on myself.

Again, I think this has something to do with my full disclosure issues, but your kind intent was not lost. Thank you!

*************************
Now, on the advice of another good friend, I am going to download the Eagles "Get Over It" and then I am going to sing it loudly for myself and for "others".

Consider yourselves warned.

Amen and Amen.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I am at a loss

You know how Thumper's mom said, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all"?

Well, if you've noticed, I haven't said much lately.

Don't get me wrong. Vacation was great! In fact I am still amazed that my children rode over 1500 miles in the truck, only watched about an hour of a DVD, NEVER once napped and got along fabulously!

However, once home, I have found myself letting things (and people) get to me.

We could explore the depths as to why this is. Sometimes I am certain that it is me and that I know that I couldn't be that annoyed by behavior unless there was something else, some bigger issue, rooted deep within me.....other times I am quick to blame someone else. Anyone else.

This personality trait, or flaw, as it may be, bothers me.

I WANT to like everyone. I might even go as far as to say that I really, ultimately, would like to "Love Everybody".


But the harsh truth is that I don't.

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I think that as we get older we start realizing the importance of drawing closer to God. In doing that I realize that we are all called to live as He wishes us to. I think that this means that I AM supposed to love everybody.

I am at a loss when the adult part of myself (my mind) knows full well that everybody has issues and that those issues surface in different ways and in different needs, but the childlike part of myself (my heart), just wants to stomp my foot and point out how selfish, one-sided and hurtful, people can be.

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I am probably the farthest from perfect, than any person I know. I do things everyday that are completely wrong and disappointing to others, and most importantly, to God.

Sometimes I feel so stinkin' self-righteous when I know that I am anything but.

I do feel like that I am open about my shortcomings. I will be the first to point out my flaws and I will be honest and upfront about my mistakes. From my viewpoint, what you see is what you get.

But I have to wonder if my view is the same as others.

I see people that claim to be one way, and are not. I see people represent theirselves to one group in a way that makes them "fit" into that group and then change and present themselves in a different way to "fit" into another, or to gain recognition or praise. I know this stems from their longing to "belong", but still, I see it as dishonest and it festers and oozes resentment from me. Why can't I let it go?

However, who am I?

Do I only think that I am straight-forward, the same? Do people feel that I change, too, depending on the crowd? Do I remain true to myself and my values, or do I become what others want me to be?

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Lately, I have been consumed with this and have needed some sort of reconciliation, if only within myself.

Above all, I don't want to be a hypocrite, and I am sure that on some level, I am.

I want to deal better with myself and others.......yet I don't know where to start. All I know is that if I don't figure out a way to cope, I am only hurting myself.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Taking a vacation after my vacation....

As we rest and recover from our vacation, and spend the remaining time before school starts doing all the things we want to do before school starts, I will leave you with a picture of one of the most exciting aspects of our vacation.

Oh yeah! A bear! In fact, there were nine.

I think this vacation can be chalked up as a success.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

If it isn't, it should be a new iTunes category

My mom was raised Baptist. My dad is Catholic.

I was raised Catholic and still am.

That being said, there are times the Baptist creeps up on me.

The Music Of The Protestants (yes, I think that is a iTunes cateogory) definately trumps that of the Catholics, (No offense) and I think that we have established that I am a person that loves me some music.

This weekend, while sitting on the couch surfing channels, I stopped on a channel with the Gaithers performing. I had never heard the song before (remember, I'm Catholic) but only about two words into it, I was hooked. I knew that I must find this song.

MUST. FIND. SONG.

And you know what? Thanks to the power of this thing we like to call the internet, I did.

If you have never heard this song, or this version, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Save money. Live Better. Love Hurts.

Dear Wal-Mart,

I recently heard on a commercial that I could do all of my "Back to School" - school supply shopping -for under $9.00 at your store. This, however, is a gross misrepresentation of the truth. That is unless, you were "Back to Traffic School" or "Back to Beauty School" shopping. If this were the case, I am sure that if that I could pick up several bottles of "Love My Nails" polish and a bottle or two of Aqua Net and still come out under the $9.00 level.

However, if we were to assume that you mean "Back to School of the Primary Education" variety, then I feel that the $9.00 is not going to even begin to cover the assortment of folders, paper, highlighters, pencils, markers, binders, Kleenex's, wet ones and composition notebooks that every first grader in this great nation finds themselves in need of every August.

(Don't even get me started on the paper plates, trash bags with drawstrings and ziplock bags that are required by the preschool....)

If you don't mind to alter your commercials accordingly, I would appreciate it. Something along the lines of "$9.00 and your first born" would suffice.

Also, at the risk of sounding old fashioned, might I make a suggestion? I understand that as parents, Steven and I are a little behind on the progressive scale. In fact, I might even go as far to say that we are not allowing Miss L to get a tattoo or nose ring, until at least the third grade. That being said, until that point I would like to be able to find her a tote bag that would possibly be a little more mature than, say, Tinkerbell, but falling short of roses and knives with the words "Love Hurts" written across the front. I am not arguing the fact that love hurts, oh how we know it does, but when she is still of an age where I have to remind her to not run with scissors, I think the knife and heart might be an overkill. Pardon the pun.

I am sure in a couple of years when we allow her to dress in goth style and dye her hair black to match the tat's, the scull and crossbones motif will go quite nicely. Until then, some nice girly colors would serve us well.

Thank you in advance.

Love (hurts),

Kim