Hello! Welcome to my blog! Here I post my thoughts about my family and whatever else I feel like talking about. Feel free to comment!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Meta thoughts... I guess.

I had a chat with an old friend today. Brought up some old memories. Some good, some not. Nostalgia in droves. It got me thinking about, well, me. And the age old question, who am I? Part of that is easy to answer. Woman, wife, mother. Daughter, Granddaughter, niece and cousin. Some are not so easy. Am I really me? Will I ever be able to be honestly me? Have I ever been really me? You spend so many years trying to figure yourself out, sometimes I’m not sure if I’m truly me or not.

I like to think of myself as multi faceted. And there’s facets that I’ve shown others over the years, and it’s part of me. It wasn’t always a good part of me, or the part that I want to go back to again, but it was me then. Sometimes part of my facets from the past come up, or manifest themselves some, but for the most part, I keep to my current facet.

But I’m always changing. I guess it’s from age and some sort of wisdom from life experiences. Although sometimes I wonder if I do actually learn something. Most of the time I just muddle through days and parts of my life that all run together, and when it’s quiet and late I wonder where the time has gone.

Sometimes I just stop and really look at myself. Not just the look in the mirror where you see if your hair is sticking up or you have food on your face. The one where you look, and stop, and see yourself like never before, and it stops you in your tracks. The one where you almost don’t recognize yourself. I did that recently, I caught my reflection in the computer monitor. And really almost didn’t recognize myself. In my mind’s eye I’m still that somewhat pudgy blonde haired blue eyed young girl I was growing up. But I’m not that anymore.

I see myself as my daughter’s age now.. eight. Not a care in the world, big dreams, a loving family. But I look in the mirror and that’s changed somewhat. I do have a lot of cares, I still have a loving family but not in the same respect, and yes, I still have big dreams.

I may be getting older and the dreams may be different, but I still have them. I have so much life left that I can do to accomplish these dreams and set many new ones. While I do have dreams for tomorrow, I still have to live for today as well. Otherwise life will pass me by and I’ll have nothing but regrets. And I don’t want that. I regret enough already.

I used to play the “what if” game with my past. I’ll admit, I still do have those thoughts from time to time. But it doesn’t eat at me any more. I can’t let it, and I can’t imagine the “what if” because it’s been so long since the past I’m wishing for was the present.

So what do I do now? I stay aware of the present, remember the past but try not to dwell on it, and look for the future with hopes and dreams. To quote from “The Shawshank Redemption”, “Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"But you just GOT here!" Kiss my exhausted keister.

There is nothing more irritating to me than going to work, and after about an hour, when I say that I'm tired, "But you just GOT here..how can you be tired?"

Well, yes, it is true that I just got there, at 4 pm. And I'm only working until about 9:30 pm. My job overall really isn't that hard. It can be busy, and sometimes tedious and repetitive. But 4-9:30 really isn't that long of a shift. It doesn't mean I can't be tired from everything else. And today is one of those days where I'm tired before I even get to my "paid job" where I'll make around $44 before taxes.

I want to ask, what do you think I do all day? Sit around and eat bon bons and read trashy romance novels? While it's true that some afternoons I do sit on the computer wasting time and eating too much junk food, even then I probably still have at least 2 or 3 things that I'm still hopping up to do, such as laundry, running the dishwasher, placating the cat, or making sure the kids aren't putting unnecessary holes in the house by jumping on the bed. Even as I'm writing this I just had to stop to make my girl a peanut butter sandwich, and remember that I had to e mail her summer school to let them know she is going to be gone Friday.

Today has been a busy day.

4 am. The cat woke me up. Thanks, cat.
5:15. Husband goes to work.
7:30. Girl wakes me up because her bed tent fell down. She's really insistent. I get up. Get laundry in the washer.
8:00. Husband's home for breakfast break.
 Get the kids ready to go to summer school.
8:40. Get laundry in the dryer. Get kids in the car and take girl to summer school by 9. Son just comes along.
9:15ish: Go to goodwill. Get some clothes.
9:30: Go to Walmart.
10:15: Come home from Walmart. Put everything away. Put the new cat litter box together. Clean one toilet.
10:35: Go with son to get lunch for me and Dad.
11:00: Husband is home on his half hour lunch.
11:15: Go with son to pick up girl from school at 11:30.
11:35: Pick up the girl from school, head to the store to get some things I forgot.
12:10. Finally home. Put those groceries away.Checked the mail. Started the dishwasher. Cleaned the other toilet.

And now it's 12:40 and the dishwasher's done. I still have to put laundry away, and a new fan to assemble and put in son's room. Tomorrow I need to pack my stuff and the kids' for our Wisconsin weekend, mow the lawn and trim, and work 4-9:30 tomorrow as well.

I appreciate those that work the 60-70 hour paid work weeks. I really do. But just because I "only" work 35 hours of paid work, doesn't mean I can't be tired or want to go home early or take an extra day off. I do a lot that people only realize I do when I DON'T do it, so please, just don't even start with me. I'm not in the mood to hear it. Most people don't know or understand.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Real baby advice

So one of my friends is going to have a baby very soon. I promised her way back in the early stages of pregnancy that I’d compile a list of REAL advice for a first time mom, not all that glossy magazine and parenting books you come across endlessly in all sorts of places. And, now that the baby’s due next week, here’s the list of REAL baby advice that no one tells you. (In no particular order.)

1. When you’re at the store, park as close as you can near a cart corral.
Seriously. It’ll save your sanity. Here’s why: At first, you’ll probably have a baby in the top part of the cart, in a carrier. You’re done shopping, and if you parked anywhere else, you have to lug a  huge car seat and your purchases into the car to all be tucked away. And you’re going to be exhausted because that is second nature after having a kid, so the less distance you have to carry kids and other stuff, the better. Even when the kids are older, this is good too, because you’ll want to hurry and get your stuff to the car before you or them have any more breakdowns. (Nervous for mom, behaviourial for kids.)

2. New babies don’t care about clothes.
Yeah, they care about the big things, like food, diaper changes, being held and loved. But for at least the first 6 months, clothes are not a big deal. When you’re going out, yes, it’s nice to have the cute outfits and matching socks and hats and bows, but that’s for adult sentiment. Not babies. When you’re at home and it’s just you, the baby and the dog watching The Wiggles at 7:30 am, that baby doesn’t care if it matches or not. As long as it’s dressed, that’s all you need. And besides, whatever it’s wearing is going to get soiled in some fashion, so it might as well be something cheap and comfortable. Goodwill or other store like that is a good place to look for early baby clothes. It’s cheap, and if it needs to be thrown out because of a blowout from one end or the other, you don’t feel guilty. And a side note, if you think it’s warm enough for baby, don’t think you have to put clothes on. Just something to cover the bottom up, and maybe something to cover a diaper too. Because those little hands will soon figure out how to undo diaper tabs. And that’s not pleasant. Trust me. On the other hand, I’m sure you’ve heard “Dress the baby in one layer warmer than yourself.” This really only works if it’s cold, I’ve found.(and don’t forget a hat)  If it’s hot, dress it in the same as yourself. It’s really just a judgement call. Do what feels right. You can always put layers on a baby or take it off, just as yourself.

3. Cloth Diapers.
I don’t care if your baby wears them on their butt or not. Pick up a package of these. The cheap white 12 count package is fine. Cause these make excellent burp cloths, and once again, for the first 6 months, you will live with these things. Seriously, have one under your baby when laying down after feeding, and if not under, within six inches of it. Cause random projectile vomit happens. Sometimes a lot. They’re machine washable and disposable if need be.

4.  Try to sleep sometimes when the baby sleeps.
This is an oldie but a goodie. I’m sure you’ve heard this one before. And you’ll say “Oh, I don’t need to sleep, I need to get stuff done!” etc etc. Yeah, well, forget it. I’m not saying you should sleep EVERY time the baby sleeps, otherwise, true, the laundry may not get done, or the dishes, or a shower for you, or anything else, but at least once a day during the first three months, up to the 9 months or so, TAKE A NAP DURING THE DAY WHEN THE BABY SLEEPS. You need it. And whatever else you’re doing can wait. Those dust bunnies aren’t going anywhere. Let them sit. You need to take care of you too.

5..  The diaper bag is your new best friend.
So pick a practical one. You’ll be lugging that thing around for probably at least three years, so get one you’ll like. Make sure it has lots of pockets so you can’t find what you want when you need it. Also, for you moms, don’t carry a purse and a diaper bag. Just throw everything into the diaper bag. But make sure you at least get your wallet and stuff out if dad takes the bag without you.

5a.  A side note on clothes and travel.
When packing for your baby’s diaper bag, even if you’re just going to the store for “5 minutes”, pack a whole extra set of clothes. Because Murphy’s Law is especially true for babies and bodily fluids. My rule is “Pack a set of clothes for your baby. Then an extra set. Then one more set.” Because some days, it’s going to be that way. Extra messy. Baby clothes are small, you can always stuff an extra shirt and pants in somewhere. Some day, you’ll be glad you did.

5b.  Plastic bags.
Whether it’s the plastic shopping bags from the grocery store or little one gallon bags you can find in the baby section, have some in your diaper bag. Because someday you’ll have a extra messy diaper you can’t toss right away, or something gross you need to keep separate from everything. Carry these around. The environment will understand. It’s okay.

6.  Baby Gates.
Not exactly a thing mamas need to worry about right away with little babies, but a point nonetheless. When you’re looking for baby gates, and you’re looking at the selection, keep this in mind. Don’t buy the cheapest baby gate. I’m not saying you have to buy the expensive modify your house ones, but if you think you can just buy the $10 ones and have it work right, you’re wrong. Buy the $20 ones. It’ll save you so much hassle.

7.  Savor it.
The first year is going to fly by. (So will the next few years, but the first year, especially.) Take some time when they’re little, especially in the first weeks and months when they can’t squirm away too much yet, to just hold your baby. Remember what it’s like for them to be so little, tiny and helpless. Look into their eyes and wonder what they’re thinking. Watch them when they’re reaching for a new toy or trying to catch a mobile over their head. There’s nothing quite like watching a baby when it’s learning, when you can see the gears turning. Remember that new baby smell and feel. Because it’ll be gone before you know it. I’ve already started that, and even though my kids are still young, at 8 and 6 I look at them now and say “where did the time go?” Next thing I know, I’ll turn around my kids will be 18 and 16, and almost grown up. So yeah. Cherish it.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Riding the emotional rollercoaster

So, for some reason, I've been having all these feelings lately, and two sessions at the computer later, the following word vomit came out. It's raw, barely edited and probably choppy and whatnot, but I don't particularly care. It's how I feel, and it's off my chest. It's about a crazy time in my life, when my dad died when I was 17, (July 1996), my grandpa died when I was 18, (January 1997) and my mom died a week before my 19th birthday. (October 1997)

So yeah. You were warned. Emotions abound ahead.


I have random flashes of childhood memories. It’s unknown what triggers them or what they “mean”, if anything. Suddenly it’s so strong, the feelings, the memories, the little things. How things felt, the smell. Little details flashing. A distinct textured wall. A sign outside. Distant memories come crashing back. And the realization that there is no one to ask about details, or even, “hey, do you remember this?”  No one is left. In the last couple years I was talking to my grandmother about something that happened, and we both realized that all the other people who where there are now dead, it’s only me and her left. That’s sobering at times.

Sometimes, I feel lost. Like no one is there for me. I know deep down this isn’t true, but the feeling is still there, deep down. I can’t call my mom and dad when I want, to ask advice, or vent about life. I don’t have that. And it’s said, whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. It’s true, but sometimes I’m not strong enough inside. Sometimes I’m just a scared little girl who wants to go home to mom and dad and have them protect me, like they always did, and take care of me, like they always did.

I go to their graves once a year. I don’t really get time to do any more than that, since I live 6 hours from where I grew up. I put in my flowers, maybe pull a few weeds. Take a step back and stare at the meager headstones, like somehow the image that is already permanently burned into my brain might have somehow changed in the last year. Which of course it hasn’t. But I stare anyway, letting my thoughts wander back to two days of two funerals which I barely remember, lost in my grief. I usually stand on the graves for a couple of minutes, and watch my kids run and hop around the section of the cemetery, looking at names or sniffing fake flowers or reading dates. With one more look down, maybe one more brush off of some dirt, then a deep sigh, then I move on to the next of the family tombstones.

After a few minutes reflecting at some other family stones, I usually head back to my parents’ graves one last time for a couple more minutes of reflection and staring before heading back across the road to the car. I mean, what else can I do? No amount of grave sitting or wailing or reflecting is going to bring them back. Six feet under where I was just standing are the physical bodies of my parents, and have been for 15 years. There’s nothing I can do about that. It must be hard for people who know me to see me, the only one left, just staring at the graves like there can be some kind of connection still if I look hard enough. Even if I’m with people, it’s still a very alone experience. Something that no one else can ever understand.

Most of the time, I function fine. There are some days that chaotic year and a half of my life doesn’t actively cross my mind. Those events did change my life forever, and shape it at a young age. But it isn’t always first and foremost every day any more. It’s been too long for that. But some days, it’s as if it just happened. Usually around anniversary dates, but it’s almost too early for that, as if grief has a timetable, which i know it doesn’t.

Time does heal all wounds. But not completely. The deep wounds still leave scars, and the scars can hurt too, even if it’s faint at times. I only in the last 5 years had tremendous guilt for the way I treated my mother after my father’s death, even though we were both too caught up in our own grief to realize what we were doing to each other. I’m trying to forgive myself.

Then the ‘what if’s’ hit me. What if they’d survived? What would my life had been like? How could I have done things differently? But I can’t dwell on that for long. I can’t say how it would have been different, and I’ll never know.

One of the oddest feelings is realizing you’re an orphan. It’s not as heartbreaking as seeing a small child lose both their parents, but realizing it can be hard. For me it was in my sophomore year of college, when I had to declare myself an orphan or a ward of the courts for college financial aid. To see that in black and white, so clinically, is jarring.

In the next 2 to 3 years, my parents will be gone longer than I knew them. That’s a weird feeling. But I’ll probably always miss them, and grieve, to a point. I could probably be 70 and sitting in a quiet corner somewhere, and have that bit of wonder, of longing. Of what might have been.

I feel like i’m forgetting them. Their voices, especially. I’m thinking of contacting my grandma and see if she has any old cassette tapes that she can send me, so I can somehow get it converted to digital and then I won’t lose that part at least, although she’ll probably think the cheese has finally slipped off my cracker.. One of my favorite pictures is one that is last dated picture of my mom and dad and my uncle. Not only because it’s one of the last pictures I can find of my father before his death, but because of the details. I can look at it and say, ‘oh, yeah, that’s the color of the kitchen wall,’ or ‘hey, i remember the little donkey salt and pepper shaker holder my mom had.”.. things like that. After my parents died, after the house was taken down and before the new one was in, I went over to the land. Even though it was absolutely flat, I used the well as a memory placeholder and from there retraced my steps through the ‘house’, ending in the kitchen where I would look out the window over at my grandma’s house.

When I go to my grandma’s house now, I’ll still gaze over there, even if the corn is too high and the house is different. I almost wish I could go over there now, just for memories’ sake, but I don’t want to alarm the current residents by having some random woman standing in the yard and driveway staring off into the distance, remembering. Like the lyrics from the Miranda Lambert song, The House that Built Me.

You leave home and you move on and you do the best you can
I got lost in this old world and forgot who I am

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it’s like I’m someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself
If I could just come in I swear I’ll leave
Won’t take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me

Time may pass, voices and pictures may fade, but the memories never will. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Looking back, trying to find myself..

I have realized that I don't really know my parents.

Which sounds like an odd thing to say. I mean, how can you not know your parents, especially your biological ones, the ones that gave birth to you, and loved you unconditionally your whole life. How can you not know them?

Well, it's kind of complicated. And I do know them, I just don't know them.

I know my parents. I know their names were Alvin and Idell Olson, their birthdays, their wedding anniversary, some information about where they grew up, and so on. But I don't really know them.

My parents died when I was 17 and 18, respectively. They weren't young by any means, my father was 75 and my mother was 58. My father was a lot older than my mother, and they didn't think they could have any children, so when I was born 19 year later when my dad was 57 and my mom was almost 40, well, it was a blessed surprise.

Being an only child, my parent's deaths changed my life dramatically. And it was hard the first few years, I'm not gonna lie. It's still hard at times now, and even though time may heal the wounds, scars can still hurt too.

I never really thought much about my parent's history in great depth, except that, you know, it exists. I've been a bit of a family history buff for years, but lately it's been ratcheted up a notch, and I've been putting information into a online family tree program with fervor.

I even managed to find some of my parents' friends from way back, and when I was trying to explain why I was looking for them, I really had to say, 'I don't know why I want to get in contact with you..I just did.' And even though I won't be physically able to visit these people, or any other of my family for at least another 6 months, somehow, I want that connection.. People that knew my parents better than I did.

I have the urge to literally contact people that knew my parents well, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc, and say, "I want to know more about my parents. Please tell me about them. Favorite memories, what they meant to you..", things like that. I can know the statistics all I want, but tell me about the person.

I'm afraid that I'm forgetting. Not my parents themselves, but details. I can't remember the sound of their voices, and I'm yearning for a way to hear it again. (I do have some very old tape of them somewhere, on a old fashioned reel to reel tape recorder, but I have no idea if it is my possession right now. If I have to guess, I'm have to say it's not, and I have some suspicion of where it is, which will be another 6 months before I can access that either.)

I have a lot of 8mm home movies that I'd like to get on DVD, which I never seem to get around to doing. I think I want to see those images of them, maybe it will be tangible again, and I won't feel this want.

My husband and I were watching 'World War II in HD' on Netflix last week.  It was a very personal thing for me, as the episode we were watching, I could reference my dad's Army letters and determine, that, yes, my father could have been in that very part of the world, only in about 3 months' time. Somehow, it made his letters and the situation much more real to me.

So why am I doing this, looking back, trying to reconnect with my past at this level? I used to want to go back to my grandma's house and "up north" to try to remember a simpler time, when I had no worries and life was more carefree. But I know I can't have that again. Is it because I see my children growing up, and the struggles and breakthroughs they have, and I wonder what my own childhood was like then? Is it because I know my children will never know their grandparents, and I remember having a set of grandparents I have little to no recollection about? Once again, I don't really know. I just feel it is important for me to try and reconnect.

This picture is one of my favorites. It was taken in October of 1995, about 9 months before my dad died. It's my dad with my mom, and my Uncle Everett (my dad's brother) on the right. I could have cropped it to bring my mom and dad more into the picture, but I didn't. And here's why. I want the whole picture because of the details, of things I don't want to forget about not only my parents, but the house I grew up in. The tacky kitchen wallpaper, the items on the wall, even the fact that I can look out the kitchen window and see a truck parked in the yard. (doubtful it was ours, but still, the memories...) I don't want to lose any of that in my mind's eye. And so, I guess I search.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A day in the life..

My day so far:

7 am: get up, get the son ready for school, take him to the bus stop.
Get the girl up, ready for school, get her on the bus.
Did some dishes.
Put some laundry in the washer.
Picked up the junk on the counter, took out some recyclables.
Started picking up our bedroom.
Husband came home at 9 for breakfast break, made him an egg.
9:30: Went to son's school to straighten out a registration mess.
Went to the ATM at the bank.
Went to the library.
Went to the gas station.
Went to the post office.
Went to Walmart.
Went to McDonalds to get lunch.
I was home by 11 or shortly after..

Yet to do today:
Figure out the school registration thing. (I think it's my laptop, gonna try the tower next..)
Put the laundry in the dryer.
Try to work on my fic that's due 6/2.
Work on cleaning up the rest of our bedroom.
Make sure the kids are fed/keep a general eye on them.

..I think that's it for today. :D Usually I don't have quite that many errands to run, but you get the idea. I'm one busy mama. And tomorrow I get a "Big Special Project", cleaning out our shed. Once a year the community we live in has a "trash amnesty day", where we can throw out all the big stuff, and leave our junk at our curb and they will pick it up. Well, this year, our day is Friday. But, Friday is Heidi's preschool graduation in the morning, so I won't have time for that Friday. So tomorrow it is. I am armed with my big black trash bags, and I will not be distracted by that tomorrow.

Friday is Heidi's preschool graduation. I can't believe the school year is over, and my little baby (she's 5) will be graduating and be in Kindergarten next year. And my son Roger's last day for the year is Friday as well, he gets out early and will be in 2nd grade next year. My little man..

The kiddos have summer school this year, and it'll be a supermama challenge to keep it all straight. The girl starts 6/13, and she'll go Monday through Friday for 2.5 hours in the morning for 6 weeks, and the son starts 6/22 and goes for 2 hours in the afternoon 2 days a week for 8 weeks. Neither are in summer school at the same time of day! And the girl is going to a different school for summer school (same district, different building..) But they are both getting bussed, so I just have to have them ready.

The girl was kind of sick last week, just a stomach bug or something. She was feverish, and she didn't want to eat for drink for about a day and a half, and the only thing she would take was tylenol.. (and that's still like wrestling a piglet to get that in, believe me.) And she was mad at me for the medicine, too. She said "you're fired" to me once, I just laughed..

But she did have a milestone, too. I finally got around to fixing the Diego trike and brought it in the house. She usually just pushes it with her feet, but this time, she's been using the pedals and doing it right! I'm excited for the weather to clear and time to permit so she can pedal outside to her heart's content. The son still can't ride a bike, he wants to but is having trouble with the brain/feet coordination. He'll get there.

Since it's almost lunch and husband will be home soon, I'd better wrap this up. To quote Frost, there are still "miles to go before I sleep."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The highs and lows of the autism ride..

So this happened Mother's Day.

Son: Mom, how do you close up this zooble toy?

Me: I have no idea, ask your sister. She knows those things.

Son: Okay. [to his sister, sitting at my feet,] Hey, can you show me how to close up this zooble? [He hands it out to her.]

Girl: Uh, okay. [she takes it from him, closes it, and hands it back to him.] Here you go.

Son: Thanks. [he takes it, goes off]

Girl: You're welcome. [she goes back to her toys]

A normal conversation between siblings, right? Maybe for a "normal" family. But my kids aren't normal, especially my girl. So for my girl to be so "on" and actually help her brother and respond to her brother and help him with what he wanted, without any prompting from me, well, I just about cried.

Then today, son was sick in the night. He stayed home from school, because his stomach hurts. Well, the truth finally came out that the reason his stomach was hurting was because his sister was beating him up last night and getting him in the stomach. The son is not much of a defender of himself, even though we tell him he needs to be more assertive, and tell us when his sister is being mean to him.

Sometimes there's progress, and sometimes there's regression. Well, one miracle per day at a time, I guess.