Nourish

Nourish by Elaine GriffinThe theme of this months NaBloPoMo is Nourish. As an aspiring food blogger you would think my mind would have immediately thought this would be a perfect opportunity to blog about food.

Interestingly, my first thought when I read the word Nourish was how to nourish my soul.

What nourishes my soul?

My little dude who is sleeping soundly in his bed.

My little girl who is balled up on my lap making it hard to type.

Good food, that I will gladly cook myself.

Good wine.

The company of all the family and friends in my life that I love and respect, who’s presence just makes it all better.

I have all of these things, much of the time.

There is one thing missing, though, and it is my desire to have all of these things at the beach.

Sure, I live in the beautiful Finger Lakes, with no shortage of lakes, sandy beaches, and waterfalls. But I long for the ocean. The smell. The sound of crashing waves. Pelicans. Dolphins. Warmth.

Someday.

What nourishes your soul?

Photo Credit: Katarina 2353 via Compfight cc

Our Trip to the National Museum of Play

Last week the kids and I played hookie we took a field trip to Rochester to visit a friend and go to the National Museum of Play. That place is seriously awesome. I can’t even put into words all they have to offer, so I will let them do the talking.

You’re never too big for this much fun! With more than 150,000 square feet of dynamic interactive exhibit space; the world’s largest collection of toys, dolls, games, and other items that celebrate play; a wide range of programs and activities; and family-friendly amenities, the National Museum of Play® provides educational, entertaining, and unforgettable intergenerational fun.

I didn’t take that many pictures, because I was too busy playing!

museum of play

We strolled along Sesame Street, and had a picture in Big Bird’s nest. We saw comic book hero’s, shopped at a kid sized Wegmans, and played in an arcade. One of the best parts was the butterfly garden. Even though there was a butterfly or probably a moth that kept buzzing my head/face. In case you don’t remember, here is my history with moths.

I love how the turtle looks like he is waving good-bye!

If you are a local or are traveling through Western New York, this is a serious must do! It is well worth the money, and I can’t wait to go back!

Great Risks and Great Rewards

NaBloPoMo March 2013Today’s NaBloPoMo prompt is, “Do you believe the saying that with great risks come great rewards?”

I think this is terribly cliche. I also think it is terribly true.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, my life did not really start happening until I started taking risks, and putting myself out there. It’s difficult to do, though, especially if you don’t feel confident, or if you are afraid of hearing someone say, “NO.”

When you take a risk, you are opening yourself up to gaining a reward, but it’s how we perceive the reward that is the key. Perhaps the reward is something tangible, like gaining a new client, or meeting new friend. How about the intangibles, though? Maybe the reward is in the gaining of confidence, or the acceptance of hearing the word, “NO.”

What do you think? Do you think great rewards come with great risks?

How Do I Make My House a Home?

Bedroom
Bedroom (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

Do you love your house?

I have a love/hate relationship with my house.

I love it because at least we have it. And I hate it because, well, it’s not what I want, or where I want to be.

My husband and I bought this house a few months before we got married. It has three very small bedrooms and one bath. It’s a 1950’s “bungalow.” My husband was in love with the house before we even looked at it. The idea of a bungalow was irresistible to him. Great marketing, right? I was never really that convinced of my love for the house, but I did love the ceiling fan in what was staged as the living room, so I agreed.

It didn’t seem like a big deal to me to not love the house. This was not supposed to be our forever home. We had planned to sell this house before our first child went to kindergarten. But then the economy happened. And the housing crisis, and we have our own financial struggles, so we stay here, in this super cramped house, for fear that we might not qualify for another loan.

Every day our 1950’s bungalow looks more and more like it has been rode hard and put away wet. Sometimes I feel like the house is crumbling around us, and truth be told, I feel embarrassed by it.

There are cracks in a couple of the walls. There are doorknob-sized holes in the walls where doors have been slammed into them. The poor-quality door jams are loose from improper installation, 60 years of wear and tear, and the occasional slam. The paint is chipping. Our bathroom needs a complete overhaul. Our bedrooms are way too small, and we don’t even have a closet in our room. In fact, our entire house has three functional closets. THREE! Our finished basement is wet and moldy. My office is in our dining area. I don’t even want to talk about the appliances. The garage roof leaks and the whole thing just needs to be burned down. For real. I have a hard time keeping up with the gardens, so they like an overgrown wasteland.

I’m not much of a decorator. I have decorations, and pictures, but they are not displayed, because I keep thinking it’s pointless when we need to paint – again, and try to put the house on the market.

How do people make this shit happen, because I feel stuck. I know all of the problems with this house are fixable. But where do we find the time and the money? Do we really want to take care of them, or do we cut our losses and run?

In the meantime, how do I OWN this house, and not feel embarrassed by it? How do I make this house a home?

 

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Blow the Stress Bubble Away and Just Be Thankful

It’s no secret that I live in a bubble of stress. Much of it is self-imposed, I can admit. This little bubble of what-if, prep for the next step, and be prepared is hard to shake. Hard to blow away.

And the last couple of weeks have not been easy. Work is busy, yet I’m still broke. My kids’ behavior is out of control. A couple of weeks ago it was my son. Now it’s my daughter. If you can call issues with a two-and-a-half year-old behavior issues. I feel tag teamed. By kids. By life.

As if any day isn’t hard enough, balancing work and kids, today is a no-school day. And for some ridiculous reason, I thought I might be able to work. Which I did. I started at 3 am. Got a lot done, was ready to crank out more, and then they awoke. It was downhill from there. Despite my efforts to take a break and have fun cooking, setting up crafts, Christmas TV specials.

It didn’t work out.

One of my biggest complaints today is the amount of things that have been spilled. Food while cooking. Beads while beading. Half a bag of un-popped popcorn they were arguing over. Iced tea all over the basement rug. A huge bowl of snacks.

Fortunately, by the time the bowl of snacks was spilled, and I thought I just might explode, I laughed. I give up, and it’s okay. No, it’s not okay. It’s wonderful!

With that laugh, I let down my guard and my little girl crawled up on the couch next to me. She put her arm around me and kissed my cheek. She loves me. In spite of me. And I her.

I look over at my little boy and smile at him, and he gives me the sweetest smile back. That boy has the most wonderful smile. Eyes twinkling say, “I love you mom, thank you.” No buddy, thank you. I love you to the moon.

thankful for my children from the laine list

Both of you.

And now I can blow that stress bubble away and just be thankful.

If You Could Live Anywhere…

Yesterday’s NaBloPoMo prompt was “If you could live anywhere, where would it be?”

This is something I have given a lot of thought to lately. Honestly, I’m very unhappy where I am. I try to make the most of my circumstances and find something to be grateful for every day. But our house needs work, and we have no money to do it. It’s too small for us. There is no closet space. My office is the dining room table. These things are manageable, but when you are in the middle of it all day, every day, it gets old. Depressing. Overwhelming.
And while I do have family that lives close – in-laws, aunts and uncles, cousins and nieces, my own parents and sisters live a two day drive away. And I miss them. Terribly. Every day that my children learn or do something new, or every time people who live close say they don’t see us enough is a heart wrenching reminder that my family gets to see us twice a year at best.

A couple of years ago we took a vacation to central Virginia. I loved it! I used to live in North Carolina and I hated it. Too many pine trees, and not enough fall color. But the mountains of Virginia are amazing, and it is relatively close to the beach. I have always wanted to live at the beach.

More importantly it is a one day drive to Upstate NY, and a one day drive to Georgia. A good happy medium, I think, with the opportunity to see both of our families more often. And the opportunity for more happiness and less heartbreak.

Autumn leaf color
Autumn leaf color (Photo credit: INABA Tomoaki)
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If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Exodus

It is my pleasure to introduce my first guest blogger, Jennifer Adams. Jenn and I are from the same little town in Upstate NY, and although we were little more than acquaintances in school, we have recently connected and become fast friends. She has a kind, gentle, and creative spirit, and I am so pleased that she volunteered to guest blog. Jenn does not have a blog of her own – yet – but I hope with a little encouragement, she will be ready to dive in with both feet. Here is her bio:

I am Jenn Adams, originally from a gem of a town, Trumansburg, NY.  I  now live in beautiful Bend, Oregon with my talented husband Aaron and our very busy son Clark.  When I am not gardening, cooking, or doing something artistic, you can find me camping or hot spring hopping around the Pacific Northwest.

Exodus

I remember it like it was yesterday.  Sitting down to take the SAT exam.  Literally preparing to unload your brain and see how you rank.  Anxious, exhausted, unsure of the future, I sliced open the security sticker on the side and top of the packet with my trusty Dixon Ticonderoga Number Two pencil and started to print my name at the top.  The smell of freshly sharpened pencils, overly scented deodorant (you know the kind that all the boys wore to be more manly) and cherry chapstick permeated the room.

OK-first question.  Here we go.

SENTENCE COMPLETION

  1. An exodus is _______.

(a)  the final scene of a play

(b) a mass movement of people

(c)  the outer layer of skin

(d) a category of plants in the vegetable kingdom

I felt a rush from toe to head.  THANK YOU BOB MARLEY!!! Every little thing IS going to be alright!!

Although exhausted at the end of the test, with a lovely reggae beat I had conquered the most feared exam that I was aware of.  Music has a wonderful way of guiding me through life.

What songs have helped you get through it all?

Eight Hopes and Dreams for Two Kids

It occurred to me around Mother’s Day that I have never really sat down and thought about my hopes and dreams for my kids. Of course, I want the obvious things that we all want for our kids – health, happiness, etc, but I’ve never participated in any deeper reflection, because, frankly, in general, it’s just not what I do. But I am making an effort to more fully enjoy life and appreciate all that I have, which I think requires reflection, so here we go.

1. Most of all, I wish for you both to experience true love. Even if you can’t keep it, although I hope you do, I want to know how it feels to love someone so deeply, you would go to the ends of the Earth for them.

2. I know this sounds really crazy, but I hope that you experience heartbreak, and I know you will. It will come in the form of disapointment at not getting chosen first in gym class. It will come in the form of teen angst when the boy or girl you like doesn’t like you back. It will come in the form of anger when we can’t send you to private college and we make you start at the community college. I promise you will survive, even though you think your chest has been cracked open. You will even be better because of it! And you know I am always going to be here to lend an ear. And probably also unsolicited advice.

3. This is another crazy one, but I hope you experience some struggle. Not the kind that kills your soul and makes you heartless and jaded, but the kind that makes you stronger, and better able to appreciate the beauty and joy that surrounds you. If you work for what you have you will never be sorry.

4. Speaking of beauty and joy, I hope that you truly appreciate the beauty of your life. Find beauty in the mundane, in the quirky, and in the grief. It is how you will get through life and move on.

5. I hope you are able to exhibit self control and the ability to step back and just breath. Enjoy without over-indulging. Make good choices in the face of pressure. Sometimes the most effective thing we can do is nothing.

6. Have the strength to chase your dreams and never give up. Also have the strength to realize sometimes dreams change, and that’s okay. If it’s your dream (not my dream, your grandparents’ dream, or your significant others’ dream) chase it, and help those you love chase their dreams too.

7. Although it is great to have your family and a significant other for support, make sure you have the ability to be self-sufficient. Get an education. Get a job. Don’t depend on other people without some sort of a backup plan. Shit happens, and you need to be prepared to take care of yourself.

8. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of you. Okay, it does matter what *I* think of you! I think you are great. You were put on this planet, in this time, for a reason. Be kind to yourself so you can fulfill all you were meant to be.

What are your hopes and dreams for your kids?

NaBloPoMo is kicking my boo-tay

I don’t even know what day it is today. I’m way tired, a teensy hungover even though I was far from drinking in excess last night. And even though I am trying to be happy and cheerful, November sucks swamp ass for my family, and we have taken another hit and lost another loved one; a very close friend. I’ve drafted an ode to her, but I can’t even bring myself to finish it, let alone post it today.

I’m bringing the focus back on the positive though, because what are you going to do, right?! Here are two highlights from this week.

My husband got an unexpected promotion and raise yesterday! Yay him!! It was really the boost he needed to get through more time at a job he doesn’t love.

Today I am meeting with my first bride and groom! That’s right, I can perform marriage ceremonies, and my first is marrying two very close friends of ours. We are so excited!

And that is about it.

What kind of happiness happened to you this week? I would love to hear about it!

Many happy moments make one giant, happy moment!

Happiness Parade at Grassroots
Happiness Parade!!

I cannot define the happiest moment of my life.

I haven’t ever been good at catching the happy times and just enjoying the moment. It’s something I’ve been working on, because I think that is where TRUE happiness lies. To take a step back every day and be thankful for all that I have, and to enjoy little fleeting movements, like watching your kids play together or love on each other. Or catching your parents sharing a hug.

In fact, I just had the best moment of my life when I was snuggling with my baby and she gently pushed the hair off my head and said, “peek!”

Later I will have the best moment of my life when I see my sweet boy’s huge smile when he jumps off the bus after a long day at school.

There have been so many moments that have been the happiest moments of my life. Every moment that someone is smiling, that I know we are healthy, with a roof over our heads, and clothes on our backs; that we are connected and truly love each other.

I cannot define the happiest moment of my life. And I don’t want to. All these little happiest moments compound to make one giant, happy moment.