Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Today is the day!

I don't know if anyone has even really noticed or not but I've been basically MIA from my blog for some time now. I feel like I have fallen into this rut and just can't get out.... so today is the day that I am going to dig myself out! I don't want to start another month feeling this way and hate the feeling that the longer I don't blog, the closer I am to never blogging... does that even make any sense? I have had so many ideas of things to write about, and have been writing little blog entries in my mind as things happen but I'm just so behind on here that I don't know where to start! I don't even know if anyone really reads my ramblings anymore but I feel the need to explain myself just the same....

I spent 3+ years absolutely hating TX... I hated the heat, I hated the constant sunshine, I hated that I had left my beloved Alaska and so many friends that had become like family.... and then the last 9-12 months or so, that all changed. I found a community of friends that became our family too and that last summer I didn't even seem to mind the heat so much...I surprised even myself when I was actually sad to leave... its funny how that happens. You'd think I'd be used to this nomad lifestyle. It's all I've ever known really and the thought of living permanently in one place terrifies me but at the same time is looking a bit better these days.  After 4 years of being in the south, I just thought going north would make everything better! We'd have mountains, and cooler weather and things would just work out... right?

Well, we've made it thru our first winter... a very dark.... very wet and dreary winter... and the sun is starting to shine again.... in tiny increments lol. I now understand why bears hibernate... it would be so nice to just sleep through all this gloom and wake up to a nice spring day! :) I know that moving is hard, and that it takes time to feel like you belong somewhere. I can give myself all the peptalks in the world and actually start believing it.... and then remember that we just haven't made those connections that I thought we would, and that we still haven't found a homeschool community like I had hoped and that I miss my TX friends desperately...

I feel like I am going thru the motions... we love where we live (in location) and love the experiences that we are creating for our girls. I finally feel like we are making a difference in what we are learning ourselves and teaching them too. And we are meeting people, some of which I really do like! :) It just takes time to build those bonds and memories ya know? I am starting to feel like I am coming out of my haze in baby steps but still have days that I just feel really isolated...

Another bump in our broken road hit about a month ago now. I was just calling for my morning chat with my gram ( who "I am really close with) when my mom answered the phone. It's not a totally new thing for her to answer as she is there often taking care of bills and groceries etc but I knew from the sound in her voice that this was not a normal day...Gram wasn't doing well and they were taking her to the hospital...they didn't know much more than that and I swear that was the longest day ever!! To make a long story short, she had a heart attack and multiple mini strokes...and more over her dementia is worse....so much so that she is still in rehab and I've only talked to her twice. It breaks my heart that I'm not there to help but at this point I would just be in the way and a trip across the country is a bit much for now.

So, I went from feeling really isolated to feeling more like a hermit! lol  Instead of feeling alone with at least my mom and gram to talk to I spend my days with just hte girls and our ever growing collection of poultry! :) We just got back from getting groceries and I realized that it was the first in a week that we'd left the house! lol I know to some that sounds like heaven but right now I'm just wanting more....

So.... todays the day.... no more complaining, no more excuses and no more feeling sorry for myself....I will get my house in order (good thing too since company is coming soon!),  we will enjoy every little bit of sunshine and nice weather Mother Nature sends our way and I will start blogging more. We really do have a lot of good to share!! So please forgive my abscence, and if you are still reading this incredibly long rant, I thankyou for listening...most days a good chat with a friend is all I really need to feel better....

Next time we chat I'll have more uplifting things to share, I promise! :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Family Memories

Scholastic and SeaWorld have come together to celebrate Inspiring Family Connections!  One grand prize winner will be given a trip to the Sea World of their choice!! Below is my entry and you can enter too!! But do tell, which Sea World would you pick? I think it would be San Diego for me! How exciting that would be!!

When we found out that we were being relocated from Texas to Washington state we knew our family was in for an adventure. What we didn't realize was just how big that adventure was going to be!
 We put our house on the market expecting it to take awhile, only to get an offer and sell it within 5 days!! That was in March and we couldn't leave the state until July! The days that followed are honestly a blur... but when it was all said and done, we had bought a travel trailer and were living in it with two small children, two cats and a large husky!! Talk about an adventure!
 We found ourselves having to make due with very little in the way of "things" and more in the way of last minute quality time with friends we would be leaving soon. There were extra park days, more packages of bubbles than I care to count, BBQs both at the travel park and at friends houses, swimming and water balloon fights, the list could go on and on. We spent our weekends making last minute memories in a state we could never truly explore in detail but those last minute road trips were priceless. For the first time since I was a kid, the summer really felt like summer. It was kind of like a break from reality and we just had to make the most of it. The time I spent with my girls in that tiny little trailer is something I will treasure for the rest of the life and I hope that when they are grown up with kids of their own they will get the chance to do the same... just to BE with their kids. It's not about the fancy game systems or the big flashy vacation destinations its about the time we spend together. A year later and we are still talking about the night we grilled steak and had friends over for one last visit. It was a magical night of chalk drawings and hoola hoops with friends who will be friends for the rest of our lives.
 Those 12 weeks in a small space could have turned out to be terrible but for us it helped us to simplify and enjoy the little things like new friends at the travel parks and new sites on the trip north. Late night games and early morning walks made the summer great. There was nothing fancy about our summer but in my mind we created golden memories for our girls to remember for years to come.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Knit and a prayer

feeling so helpless... saying prayers for those already hit by tornadoes, and for those waiting out the storms... knit knit knit away..... block by block....saying little prayers with each stitch... this blanket will find it's way to MO and hope it makes someone feel loved....

Monday, May 23, 2011

Five summer getaways every kid should experience

Every kid dreams of having the summer off from school.... the days of endless play and the nights of staying up late and sleepovers.... Lately I find myself thinking of what we were doing last summer at this time. We were getting ready for a huge move, packing up all of our belongings and living in our travel trailer for 12 weeks in the heat of summer!!! Sometimes I can't believe we did it and that we even still liked each other when it was all said and done, and then there is a part of me that thinks it was the best summer ever in summer vacation history. When I look back, I don't remember the small quarters we were living in or the lack of "stuff" we had around us, I just simply remember the good times, the laughing and the amazing memories we made during our travels thru 15  different states in route to our new home on the west coast...

When you look at it that way, our summer was what dreams are made of and the places we got to see are among the top of my list of things that every kid should get to experience.... So sit back with your favorite summer treat, get out a big atlas and come along for my list of five summer getaways every kid should experience!!

1. Local Festivals

This is one that everyone can do, no matter where you happen to be....It could be a Peach Festival in TX,  Apple festivals in Washington State or Lavender festivals in Oklahoma! Local festivals bring the community together and give our kids a chance to learn about the area we live in and take advantage of locally grown produce or goods known to the area! There are tons of festivals that go on across the country but my favorite of all time would have to be the Moose Dropping festival in Talkeetna Alaska!! If you look around in your community I'm sure you will find one just as exciting! lol I am looking forward to the Sandcastle contest this summer in Oregon! Maybe we'll see you there?

2. Food production

Again, this one can very based on your location. For our family it is really important to know where our food comes from and for our kids to understand the how and why of it all.  We have been so lucky to get the chance to experience so many behind the scenes adventures and I really think it's something every kid should get to see! We have seen where our Wilcox eggs come from, how Wild Berry candy is made and how to make bread at Great Harvest Bread Company but our favorite by far, and somewhere that all true Dr Pepper fans should put on their bucket list is Dublin, TX home of  Dr Pepper!! We got a tour of their museum, got to watch them bottle some grape soda and we each got to taste our very own bottle of Dr Pepper, made with pure cane sugar NOT corn syrup! :) Ours kids are still talking about that trip!

3. Zoo

And what summer wouldn't be complete without a trip to the zoo?! As a kid I used to love going to the zoo but as an adult I am finding that I appreciate going to a park that really tries to work with the animals and keep them in an environment closer to what they would have in the wild. Keeping that in mind, I think that Tanganyika wildlife park in Wichita, Kansas is a must see for anyone that is able. As we walked into the park, we quickly realized that this was no typical zoo when right in front of us was a giraffe enclosure that didn't include any fences!!! The park has used nature deterants like moving water and rock walls with trenches to keep the animals in but let them have the feel of being in the wild. It was truly a magical experience... even for the big "kids" such as myself! We even got to feed lemurs up close!! How cool is that?

4. Camping

Living in our travel trailer for 12+ weeks made for an interesting summer to say the least, so for us to have spent that much time in the trailer not counting the actual travel time, it would take alot to impress us with an RV park....the Flintstone theme park and campground did just that!!! It took me back to my childhood.... it truly seemed to encompass the joy of simple family fun. They didn't have fancy game rooms, and the pool was a bit small but they did have the charm of playing a round of miniature golf with your kids and the theme park with just perfect for little ones... I'm not sure who enjoyed it more, them or us!

5. National Parks

Now, anyone that knows me knows that I have a soft spot in my heart for state and national parks. My husband and I got engaged at Old Faithful in Yellowstone park, and were married in Chugach state park in Alaska so it's no surprise when friends ask me about vacationing at a theme park and I try to sway them into checking out a national park instead (Not that I don't love thrill parks too... I just like the simplicy of being out in nature!)  I think that every American should experience the thrill of watching Old Faith go off... or take in the beauty of Morning Glory.... I have been to Yellowstone park twice now, and haven't even experienced a portion of what I would like to.... I am so glad that my kids get to see such natural beauty and hope other families enjoy it as much as we do!

While I think of all the sigths in the world we could see...the ones in our very own backyard are the nearest and dearest to my heart. As we look off into the coming summer we are making lists of new places, yet to be visited by us and I am excited that we can offer these trips and sights to our children. It's the little things they will remember and hope that we will make many new memories along the way!

Welcome summer and may you have safe travels! :)

***I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Alamo blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.