fair trade

  
Good helpers. Blue supervising. Sneaky mom picture. Shhh don’t tell. They are front yard raking for chocolate cake I’m baking. Fair trade. I’d rather be raking with them than doing dishes. 
October 25, 2015

Advertisements

It is Valentine’s Day today. My boys each received a giant Hershey bar with a big red bow this morning. I was surprised they didn’t have chocolate for breakfast like on Easter morning. They could have, but they didn’t ask or just go for it sorta on the sly.
Instead of wearing red (I’m just not feeling bold like that) I chose my purple t-shirt with the hot pink sea turtles and the words “Aulani • Hawai’i.” We loved there. He and I. Our family of four cocooned together surrounded by Hawaiian island paradise. That was six months ago, at the beginning of August 2012, just three weeks before he died.
This morning my youngest son and I stood outdoors in quickly falling snow with Blue dog too. What began as micro flakes quickly changed to ginormous ones and was really coming down. This unexpected snowfall made me smile, as did the talking and laughing between us while while waiting for the bus. Sweet fifth grade boy has twenty eight valentines with nerd candy attached in his backpack, ready to give to his classmates at the party this afternoon. I’m preparing for a sugar buzz attack this evening, followed by a crash. He held his backpack over his head and asked me to go inside and get the umbrella to block the falling snow. I didn’t budge. Instead my hair turned white from snow accumulation because I’d left my hat inside. Enough landed there that I did blow dry it again once inside. Crazy winter.
I have a lunch date with my oldest son at his favorite restaurant to look forward to. Half day only at his school today. Parents Day in the lower grades. We’ll enjoy our afternoon time, just us two, before his brother gets off the bus returning home. He led me in a merry game of chase when I turned to give him a Happy Valentine’s Day hug before school. What a scene we made. Thirteen year old boy with the long legs staying just ahead, ten year old keeping pace beside me and Blue dog racing, not sure of the objective but not wanting to miss the merry go round of fun. I’ll get that hug. Later. The day is young. Good thing is, he “eluded me” by brushing his teeth before school at my reminder.
I’ll probably make a chocolate cake in my grandmother’s heart shaped cake pans. They are mine now, but they were hers first. If not today, sometime this weekend.
The dog is walked. The boys are at school. The house is quiet. The coffee is brewed. I started to reach for my blue “Oasis” mug. The one I glazed with the soothing colors of the Caribbean in early July while my children worked on 4-H projects alongside. Then I considered the earth tone mug in the unusual shape that I brought home from a summer art fair in 2011. That was longer ago than it sounds, considering all that has happened since. Instead, I chose the bright red heart mug today, on the day it is made for, Valentine’s Day. I bought two of these red heart mugs long ago, as Valentine’s Day gifts for my husband and I. Way back, before the children were born. I still have both of the mugs. Stupid earthly stuff. It stays behind with memories attached, both the good and the bad ones. So much to wade through.
Earlier this week on Monday, February 10, I wrote in an email to a girlfriend:
“Valentine’s Day won’t be as hard for me as our wedding anniversary on May 31. I always have considered Valentine’s Day “a Hallmark holiday” and still say showing your love isn’t about over the top extravagance on one *stupid* day you feel forced to make a gesture, but about the whole year of big, and mostly little things, that you do for one another. My 2¢. I’ll make sure to toast the day with chocolate and will spend it with my children, my two bestest Valentine’s, this year and every one. Hold each other close. Say, “Good morning, I love you” as the day begins and, “Good night, I love you” as the day ends. We got it right for the last month of our marriage, when all pride was finally shoved aside and we loved with our walls down. Beautifully. Fleetingly. It was good and all God. I told my oldest son yet again, on the drive to school today, “There were many miracles along the way, but the biggest one was the way God moved a stubborn man and a stubborn woman at the end of July.” It was all Him.”
I’m thankful for, and humbled by, the ocean of love and prayer that continues to surround my family of three people, one wild dog, and a cranky cat.
Now I’m on today. Valentine’s Day. All day. I’m finishing my last cup of coffee, a special blend sent across the ocean from Hawaii and looking forward to my lunch date. Later, I anticipate laughing later while watching Blue dog play outside on the long leash as I shovel snow, and then being tucked into home with my family tonight, with cake to follow soon. Lots of good stuff right there, in these quiet moments that no longer pass me by.
Aloha means, “hello,” “goodbye,” “I love you.” Feels right. Yes. That. Aloha. My subconscious knew, as I chose my souvenir t-shirt from our Hawaiian vacation to wear today, along with my sparkly heart love multicolor Venetian glass necklace, a gift from two GFF BFF friends, also from August 2012.
Happy Valentine’s Day, from me to you.
Love,
Janean

P.S. See?! I am trying. Getting there. Day by day. Grief is not for wimps…and this rambling post probably doesn’t make a lick o’sense. Oh well. I wrote it anyway. So there. Take that, Valentine’s Day! *sigh*

Ecclesiastes 7:8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

February 14, 2014

Adventuring

@CLCatHCC @Astro_Wheels #NightOfDiscovery

We met NASA Astronaut, Colonel Douglas Wheelock last night at Challenger Learning Center at Heartland Community College. He’s the real deal. He gave the best talk about how ordinary people can do great things if they can overcome their fears to follow their dreams, by listening to the balcony people in their lives, not the basement people. He was nine when he first dreamed of being an astronaut. He thought his dreams were too big. Nope. He praised that one special teacher that made a difference in his life. He commanded the International Space Station for six months and told a hilarious story… The best part of the night for me, was at 8:00pm as the talk was ending, when my teenage boy leaned over and quietly said, “Thanks for dragging my butt here.” You’re welcome. I love you. Meeting an astronaut was exactly where we were supposed to be last night. Thankful for the wonderful fifth grade teacher next door when invited us yesterday morning.
She texted at 7:15am, “How are you? Chocolate night tonight! I think I’m going to meet the astronaut at Challenger Learning Center tonight.”
I replied, “The astronaut sounds amazing. What time?”
LB: “6? I will forward info to you… Unique experience, free”
Me: “Thank you. Intrigued. :)”
Meant to be. Then there was that phone conversation on the way there over the RAV speakers… My boys telling a friend they were being hijacked…or kidnapped or something… Yep. Mission accomplished.

February 8, 2014

“Night of Discovery” 10th anniversary event was Friday, February 7, 2014 at Challenger Learning Center at Heartland Community College

So, there was a little hostage situation here last night…
My youngest son, age 10 in fifth grade, asked for the yardstick to measure the dog’s long, fluffy tail. When I didn’t immediately hand it over to him, he began taking items out of the pantry one by one, reading their labels aloud, stacking them on the kitchen counter as he stockpiled hostages. Along the way he found the yardstick and Blue did NOT want his tail measured, so my boy resumed taking pantry items hostage. Not just the extra food, also batteries, straws, flashlights, lightbulbs and the broom. Then, since I made white chicken chili yesterday, and the crock pot found itself surrounded by other hostages, that boy blocked his captives off with the yardstick and declared the crock pot hostage too. What?! The crock pot was an innocent bystander! Just sitting on the counter, minding it’s own business, after working hard all day, when it found itself surrounded by hostages and a crazed madman brandishing a yardstick about. Too funny really, both in the moment and as hindsight. Love him. The older boy too. He had his own smiling, trying to get my goat, way of pushing buttons last night. His grin said he knew he did too. My narrowed eyes didn’t convince him to move because my grin gave me away. He showered. Such a simple thing, but heaven forbid it be one. Thursday morning now. The sun rose. Both of my sons rose too, even though they were still rather tired, grumbly and wanting more sleep. Oldest is delivered to school and youngest is en route. Blue has been out twice. Time is 8:30am. I stayed in my flannel pjs and am making coffee now. Errands and cat duty and miscellaneous whatnot will all fill in the hours until those two boys who hold their mother’s heart return home again. I may have agreed to make a chocolate cake last night to free the hostages. I sort of think I did. I better make one, to appease that crazed madman, age 10.
~Janean

January 30, 2014
There is a new moon tonight. The second new moon of January 2014. There are two super moons this month, on the first and thirtieth, but actually, there were three because of the full moon in the middle. I have a feeling “moon effect” had a little to do with the antics at my house last night. The rest was a very creative, witty and hilarious way to avoid bedtime.

snowed in

Whether or not we get a bunch of snow and ice tonight, I’m declaring us, “snowed in” for the weekend. Enjoying the first fire in the fireplace in a really long time. Stacked dry wood in the garage before the flurries hit. We have cheese, bacon, and chocolate…oh, all right, we have the more traditional bread, eggs and milk too. Home feels good. Today had lots of happy in it.

December 13, 2013

Loving my backyard hangout spot, with my jean-clad butt plopped on a corner of the patio, not in a chair. My bare feet are in the grass and my toes are tapping and I am singing along to the Praise songs playing from my ipad mini. I’m posting this via mobile of course! My silver laptop, with letters long ago worn off the keys, awaits. The luxury of a full keyboard is a new one, after writing so much tapping via a tiny touch screen. That Birthday Dog is eating grass. Ugh. Best of all, the oven timer just went off, which means later today there will be a delectable chocolate cake. Maybe it seems silly to you to make all this fuss over a dog’s birthday, thinking, “Two years old, big whoop. He’s a dog.” It’s so much more than that though, as most things in life are. There are many layers and undertones. We bought Blue seven months into my husband’s two years and three month long cancer fight. That dog saved me. Blue got me out of the house and under the sky, at all hours of the day and night, walking, moving, and helped me take off the stress induced, comfort food eating, weight. A month ago my husband’s soul went to Heaven. He is no longer in pain. It was four weeks ago on Monday, but it is a calendar month today. Since I was a young girl being outside made it better. Whatever “it” was in my life, being outdoors soothed me from the inside out. I need the grass between my toes, the sun on my face and the breeze blowing my dark brown hair. Blue knows Outside Makes It Better too. He’s a really smart pup, my Blue. I love him more than I should, but that’s the beauty of love, you don’t divide it, you multiply it. A lesson from my mother. She’s really smart too!
~ Janean

September 26, 2013

9/26/13 at 8:30am
Today is Blue’s Birthday! My big, sweet pup is 2! Later I’ll be baking a chocolate cake for the people & icing it blue, in honor of the dog.

9/26/13 at 10:30am (photo above)
The Birthday Boy. Blue and I are enjoying backyard shade while the chocolate cake for the people bakes. Best part of baking a cake while the boys are at school is I get both beaters, the spatula AND the bowl. Mmmmmm

~ Janean

September 26, 2013