Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Moving: Why. What. Not Where.

Last time One of the last times I wrote, we were cozy in the living room, waiting in peaceful anticipation for my parent’s arrival.  This time, in more chaotic circumstances, we are waiting for Derek.  Oh, what a month this has been!  I am surrounded by boxes, and mounds of clothing, and all those annoying random bits and pieces that can’t be categorized when packing.  We are preparing our house for the market, as one event after another has led us to the realization that life could be better if we moved.  Mostly my health, which really does affect every other area of our life as a family.  I won't be sorry to leave, either...me and Philly never did become friends, though there are people in it that I've come to love dearly.  

This being the third year in our new home and the fourth year of my pelvic girdle pain, we’ve noticed a pattern in what was formerly understood as merely the “random” relief of pain during certain weeks and months, when I really had no idea why I felt better.  In addition to the pain factor, I’ve had major swelling in my hands, feet, face and body in general, with no clear reason why; it is so bad that I can only stand on my feet for about 20 minutes at a time before I can’t handle the pain and need to sit.  But this mystery was at least partially solved when my mom noticed during her last few visits that she also swells up (in the ankles and fingers)  when she is here…and that’s just during a few short days.  The swelling goes down immediately when she leaves the area.  We are assuming (and hoping) that my problem with fluid retention and much of my unrelenting pain will resolve when we move, as we believe much of it is a reaction to something in our surrounding environment.

We live down the street from a water treatment plant, very close to two major highways, two miles from an airport, around the corner from several gas stations, and only a few miles away from a long stretch of refineries and power plants.  The government has declared all such environmental hazards to be safe; other research contradicts, as does my health.  It’s worth a shot, and it’s not such a long shot, either, I think.  Well worth it, anyway.  It’s been a long and frustrating few years.  I am as full of energy and ambition as I have always been, but my body can’t keep up with where my heart aches for me to be. 

I’ve stuffed a lot of the emotional stress and handled the situation with a sort of numb and resigned attitude, simply adjusting plans to make them work; but with a possible end in sight, if things go as I believe they will when we relocate…I haven’t done so well withholding the tears and frustration, and I feel the limitations more deeply and with greater frustration than ever before.  If our house sells quickly, we are looking at three more months of this before I can start hoping to see positive changes.  I am so physically weak now, it will be a long recovery, but at least I will recover.  I don’t know to what extent.  Most women who recover report that they can return to ‘normal’ life, with the exception that they can’t run or jump.  Hey, I was never great at either of those, anyway.  No biggie. 

Anyway, that’s mostly a bunch of boring mumbo jumbo, and I don’t want to be one of those people who can speak of nothing but their aches and pains, but really, that is the ultimate reason for our move, and the deepest hope and desire of my heart (as far as my own personal well-being is concerned); I can scarcely think of anything else, but that beautiful physical freedom that seems like it could be so close.  I better think of something else in spite of myself, though…or I could be making the next few months the longest few months of my life.  

So, the moving business is what has made this such a chaotic time.  To make it easy for me to keep up with the house for showings, we are packing nearly all of our belongings and storing them in the basement.  We are also having new carpet installed on Friday, so we are rushed to get this done, as well as painting the baseboards and finishing up with the mudding and sanding in the dining room to prevent dusty carpets later.  In addition to all of this, we don’t know where we will go from here.  So I am packing for three purposes: To keep our house clean and clutter-free for showings; for possibly living in an apartment for a year, and therefore needing to keep some things in do-not-open-because-we-won’t-have-room boxes for storage; and for the possibility of making a long-distance move.  We’re really not sure at this point.  We may try to move away from not only the dirty city air, but also from the humidity. 

And that folks, is why I have been most absent from this blog, and much of life outside of home in general.  After Friday, everything will be in perfect order (hopefully!), we will prepare for Christmas, and there will be nothing else to do but wait and fill my time with the usual things, and a few more besides.  And maybe do a little more blogging.  I always want to.  I will make a greater effort.   It’s just…sometimes my efforts are a little…invisible.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Another Today.

A great service and time of worship at a new church this morning.  Cooler weather that eased my pain.  A short drive in the country, enjoying the autumn splendor while Joshua snoozed in the backseat.  A generous neighbor who gave us her son's old winter coats.  Starbucks.  Snuggles from Oliver.  Candy Land (the board game) with John and Joshua.  A bright, happy little boy who gave me every reason to smile.  A handsome and loving man who can still make my heart melt.  Dinner together around the table with both of those guys.  I'm thankful for another today.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Oliver Frisk

This is our new cat.

It's weird getting used to a cat.  I'm a dog person....but Oliver seems to have a bit of dog in him. He growls at weird noises, rolls on his back for belly rubs, and sometimes begs for food.  UNlike a dog, he's independent, which is good for me/us right now.  We like him.  :-)

Christmas in October

After Mark died, Mom and Dad wanted to go away for Christmas.  It was too hard to be home.  So they came to our wee apartment in Swarthmore in 2008, and they've continued to come every year since.  Now they're moving out west at end of this month and our tradition is unlikely to carry on, so we're going to celebrate one last Christmas together...even if it's early.  They should be here any minute now.  

We brought our mini Christmas tree up from the basement, though I didn't decorate it because it will go away tomorrow.  I want to make sure that getting a REAL tree is still fun and special for Joshua, and I don't want a little tree to detract from that.  Eh, it may not.  But whatever, I'm putting it away.

Boney M's Christmas CD (my favourite holiday music, aside from the Transiberian Orchestra) is blaring from the speakers and some light snacks are on the coffee table.  It's funny how quickly one can get in the Christmas spirit when the right music is playing.

Joshua is sitting on his bean bag chair, looking all toasty in his pajamas...so toasty in fact, that I got into mine, too.  Now I'm not jealous anymore.  He's playing some OLD video games that once belonged to John.


MERRY OCTOBER CHRISTMAS from our home to yours!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Lack of Inspiration and a New Kitchen

I have been to my blog so many times in the last weeks, but I've hit a wall.  I always want to write in the fall.  The rich colours; the crisp, smoky air and grey skies; the crunch of leaves beneath my feet; the ground littered with acorns and pine cones; farmer's markets with stands overflowing with the fruits of harvest; the haunting medley of geese flying overhead in flawless “V” formation; orange pumpkins and bales of hay; apple crisp; steaming cups of hot tea.  It’s a season of beauty and change, a season of the senses, and thus awakens in me a deeper appreciation for life and the simple pleasures that surround me.  It makes me want to write a brilliant post that moves the heart and souls not just of the readers, but for me as I write it...yet the words just aren't coming.  Too much on my mind, or perhaps not enough, but with such aspirations as mine when sitting down to write, every day life seems rather flat.  Not the living of it, of course, but the writing.

Nonetheless, the only way I'm going to get words on this blog is to do just that, focus on the ordinary.

We've been rather one-minded lately, putting most of our energy into fixing our kitchen.  Derek came two weeks ago to help us.  It started off as a simple idea: take out the window, install new-to-us cabinets, counter top and floors.  Then I had this brilliant idea to move the dishwasher, which would allow us to install MORE cupboards (who doesn't want extra storage space?!) and make the kitchen look much nicer in the process.  Well, this small idea turned into a rather large undertaking.  Seven days, one broken oven and 5 million trips to Home Depot later, Derek left and John has been working over-time galore, so the kitchen remains in a state of disrepair.  We're getting there, though.  John is off today, and has dedicated most of his day to finishing the drywall and electrical, I've done some mudding for him (it's like icing a cake...but not as easy), and it's getting there!

Joshua helped with the demolition.  

We got rid of the window, which only looks into the laundry room/back porch.

The first cupboard going in.  We found a fantastic deal on Craigslist, just a couple hundred dollars for an entire kitchen.

Pre-counters.  And the 'peninsula' cupboards still needed to be put in at the time of this picture.

That's the most recent picture I have, thus the end of "Part One."  I'm not ending with a very impressive looking picture, but I will post more soon...and look at that, I managed a blog update.  :-)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Aunt Mary's "Gluk"

I haven't posted in a while.  In truth, we haven't been doing much.  I've been in more pain than usual (seems to be a summer tradition), John's schedule has been switched around a lot thanks to baseball, we're getting ready for a lot of company, and preparing for some minor work in the kitchen when my brother comes next week.  That just kind of sums up life.  Life outside of the ordinary, anyway--I love the ordinary moments that make up each day, but my blogging would be rather redundant if I were to repeat them every day.

I want to blog more often this fall.  <---note to self.

I've been sorting through an ever-growing stack of papers on my desk, all those things that "I'll get to tomorrow."  Well, today is my 'tomorrow.'  I came across a recipe for my (great) Aunt Mary's "gluk," tucked between the pages of a book.  Kind of a famous recipe in the family, I guess.  Aunt Mary would make it for various family functions, and everybody, especially the kids, always ate way too much.

I made it once for John, but Joshua can't eat it because of the peanut butter, so I'm not likely to make it again.  Besides that, there's probably gluten in the graham cracker crumbs.  I haven't checked.  Anyway, that is irrelevant.

I've posted the occasional recipe here and I thought I'd post this one, too.


In a double -boiler, cook 2 beaten eggs, 1 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup butter for ten minutes.  In a bowl, mix 4 tbsp coconut, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs and 1/2 bag of miniature marshmallows.  Add to cooked mixture; do not overmix.  Spread in a greased 9x9 dish.


Melt 1/4 c peanut butter, 4 tbsp butter and icing sugar (to desired consistency) on stove.  Spread over bars.  Chill.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

An Ordinary Day

Joshua requested a picnic today.  While I showered, John and Joshua filled his new Thomas lunch box (compliments of great-grandma) with cheese, pickles, carrot sticks and cucumber.  He ate the tuna sandwich before it made it to the box.

John had to leave for work in a few short hours, so in the interest of time we just went to the park around the corner and ate while seated on the lone bench.  John pushed him on the swing afterwards.

It was an ordinary afternoon.  John left for work and Joshua had quiet time (if a Veggie Tales sing-a-long counts as "quiet?").  I wanted to use that time to make a grocery list/menu, but Joshua asked me to have quiet time with him today...lists can wait  We cuddled, instead.  Then we played a game together, ate dinner, did a new puzzle (more compliments of great-grandma), read some Dr. Suess books (my personal favourites!), and got ready for bed.

That's it.  Just a simple day in the life of us.  But I loved every minute of it.  I always enjoy being a mom, but some days I guess I'm just extra aware of how blessed I am.  Today was one of those days.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Just pictures.

Oh, and you ought to know that I was the only one who got a hole-in-one.  ;-)

When It Rains.

When it rains, and when the park across the street from your home floods with water, and when the rain stops and the evening is still young...you don swim trunks and go puddle jumping, of course!

Why not?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Beautiful Summer Days

There's this park.  It's well away from the road, with a man-made (but very believable) pond occupied by turtles, frogs and snails, a lovely little foot path with bridges (I love bridges), lots of trees, a great playground with plenty of seating, green grass, shade...it's perfect.  I love it there.  It takes me back to my teenage swamp-prowling, mud-tramping, frog-catching years.  After all, I hung out with my brothers a lot.

Looking for frogs.

John put a bug carcass on Joshua's t-shirt.  They both thought it was lovely, I was disgusted.  At first Joshua told me, "I will hide it with my hand, so you can't see it Mommy."  After a while, he decided chasing me with it was much more fun.  Oh yes, boys are boys, and nobody has to teach them how to do this well.  I finally got over it and took a picture for him-- grimacing all the while.  You can see the mischievous delight in his eyes.

I'm usually the one behind the camera, so here's a rare picture of me and my little man.  Still taken by me, I just realized, but it turned out pretty good.

I love beautiful summer days like this.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Month of June...and July.

Well, blogging every day for a month did NOT develop a blogging habit, though it certainly developed a greater awareness that I wasn't blogging when I would have liked.  I guess that counts for something.  I have been preoccupied with so many things in the last six weeks that blogging became a much lesser priority. Or...maybe it wasn't so much priorities that kept me away, but my inability to manage time.  I get so caught up in the task at hand that I neglect everything else.  I really need to learn how to divide my days so I can accomplish more.

So a quick recap to get me up-to-date, and then perhaps I will do better....?

I've spent a large chunk of my time researching, looking into an anti-inflammatory/Candida diet to help my PGP, and trying to ease myself into it.  It's the most extreme thing I've done for my health as of yet, and extreme is often difficult.  I've had to work out a lot of kinks in my plan, dealing with hormones, low blood sugar, etc. but hopefully I've ironed all the problems out this time and can jump in head first.  The plan is to reduce inflammation so that I can be more consistent with my exercises, restoring my core and low back function to potentially eliminate my pain, though to what extent, is yet to be determined.

In addition to research, I was working on an afghan I have been crocheting for Joshua.  It's finally done and I was pretty happy with the results.  So was Joshua.

When Joshua saw it for the first time, he said, "WOW!  I can't believe it!  I love, love, love it!  Why did you make this for me, Mommy?"

"Because I love you."

"Awwww," he said, getting up and running across the room to kiss me.

Made every stitch worth it.

We've been taking Joshua to story time at the local library.  The librarian reads a book or two, teaches the kiddos some cute jingles, and plans a craft.  Joshua's first craft was a noodle head:

John and I both sit with Joshua during the story time, and afterwards he picks out a few books to take home and read at bedtime.  I peruse the library myself, and came across some books by Lemony Snicket: "A Series of Unfortunate Events."  I read the first page and couldn't resist the great humor and classic writing-style, so I read all 13 of the books in the series.  

One of Joshua's newest hobbies is painting.  We have a whole stack of pictures he has painted.  This is his first time:

Show me your muscles!

 Of course there has been more to life than just this, but if I were to recap any longer, I'd probably bore you to death-- if I haven't already.  Daily blogging is unrealistic for me, but I hope I manage to make more frequent appearances in the blogging world.  

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chutes and Ladders

Joshua played, loved, and won (fair and square) his first board game today.  

Sunday, June 12, 2011


 All in a hard day's work, doing what toddlers are supposed to do.  Real life.

Typically, I believe in teaching kids to pick up their toys as they use them, but I have never had to do this with Joshua.  He's a pretty neat kid.  Then BAM!  He went crazy one day.  And of course it happened to be on a day when I could barely move to keep up with him.


So real life gets "realer."  It always looks worse before it gets better.  The war zone inspired me to get rid of some toys and organize the ones we had (again).  It took two of us, me and my hunny, in the dark of the night.  I mean, have you ever tried getting rid of toys while the owner stands there watching and finding renewed joy in each cast-off toy?

JOY comes in the morning!  (I couldn't resist the urge to re-arrange furniture while we were at it; it makes cleaning and organizing so much more interesting).

I am pretty excited that Joshua has stopped living for his train table.  He's barely touched it in weeks.  That meant I could move it out of the living room.  Now we have SPACE and even better, a whole empty corner!!!

Yes, that's what my living room really looked like two days ago....and then, that's what it looks like now.  Tomorrow....who knows.  That's all part of real life.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

June 9th

John's birthday.  I'm so grateful for his life, celebrated on this day and every other day in my heart, because I love him so much.  My best friend, my partner in crime, my confidante, my sidekick, and my lover.  The one who encourages my heart and who lets me see inside of his own.  The man who sticks with me through thick and thin, for better or for worse, and never falters in his strength.  My son's loving, caring, devoted Daddy. And pretty much everything in the world to me!  Happy birthday John!

We didn't plan much for the day.  There wasn't much we thought we could do during a sweltering heatwave and a temporary setback with my pain.  Then Rona called and we ended up going to her place and made use of her apartment's amazing outdoor pool.  Even I went in.  We picked up a pair of swim shorts on our way and they ended up too small.  I think I grabbed a Junior (girls) size by accident.  I sat on the edge of the pool in the glaring heat with my legs dangling over the side and Rona quickly talked me into coming in anyway, so when nobody was looking, in I went, jean shorts and all.  Ahhh! What refreshing fun!

Joshua showed no fear.  I was so proud of him.  He even jumped in from the side, with John there to catch him, of course.  Before long he was floating with the aid of his swimmies all on his own, kicking his way around, slowly inching across the water with his effort.  I think I'm going to look into swimming lessons for him this summer so he can keep up his confidence.  

Rona served a delicious lunch afterwards and the time passed so swiftly and pleasantly-- it ended up being the most relaxing day we've had in a long, long time.  

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Looking through old pictures...this one portrays most accurately how I remember each of our personalities as children.  I love this picture.  (Derek was as nerdy as he looked).

Monday, May 30, 2011

Fresh Veggies...?

I'm slightly pessimistic about our new vegetable garden.  The location isn't as sunny as I feel a vegetable garden ought to be.  There are plenty of hungry, seed-loving critters around.  Um, I could list a lot of things, actually...but on the optimistic side if things go well, we will be eating fresh-from-the-garden carrots, spaghetti squash and corn.

Next week, if there's enough room in our small plot, I'd like (them) to plant a few more edibles, but Joshua picked the first round of seeds himself.  It's really his and John's project.

John had to dig up all the ground, first.  This was his second day at it.  Joshua stayed faithfully by his side through every minute of it.  He has become John's shadow.  A rototiller would have been faster and more effective, but after John discovered a random pipe of unknown origins, I am very glad that he stuck to the old-fashioned way.

Dirty face.

An ancient relic of the past, unearthed by John.  

Planting the seeds.

Oh, and my roses are in full bloom.  The bush is over 50 years old and it shows off hundreds of blooms every spring.  

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Day At Work...

John has been wanting to do this for a long, long time.  Today it happened.  Joshua went to work with his Daddy.  I stayed at home and sorted through many months worth of outgrown clothing, something that has been on my to-do list for a long, long time.  So technically, John and I both achieved long-time dreams.  Okay, not really... (though weirdly, I do enjoy doing these things)

Anyway, I wasn't there and that's my point.  John took a lot of great pictures and they all made me smile.  I'm not going to put much in the way of explanations because...like I said, I wasn't there.  

I loved this picture.    

Eating lunch in the break room:

Looking like he owns the place!

Talking to Mommy on the phone.  He played sounds for me and filled me in throughout the evening on what he was doing.  I know I hear his voice every day, but there's something SO CUTE about talking with him on the phone.  

Singing.  John recorded it and then they phoned me so I could listen.  Unfortunately there's no way to put his solo on a CD.

John, I know you'll be reading this.  You're an amazing Daddy to our son.  I love you.