If We Were Having Coffee… 7/23/17

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Welcome! Come on in out of the heat. It is not even 10am and it is already eleventy billion degrees. We have had an oppressive heat wave here in the Midwest this week. In St. Louis we hit a record high yesterday (or maybe it was Friday? The hot days melt together in my brain) with an air temp of 108. And we have high humidity so it felt higher than 108. You can take several showers a day and still feel like a sweaty mess.

Given the heat, you may want to skip the coffee in favor of a cooler drink. We also have leftover birthday cake from my daughter’s celebration yesterday. She is 9 years old. It is hard to believe. I know it is cliché, but time really does fly, especially with parenthood. Her actual birthday was Tuesday and we had a small celebration that day. But since I had to work that day, we delayed the big cake/ice cream/presents party until yesterday.  She wore a couple of her presents all day (new leotard and tights and a hello kitty backpack). I also gave her some cash so we will probably hit some stores today.

We were in a minor car accident last weekend. Thankfully, minor is the key word. No one was injured and my car is driveable. There is damage, however, and since we were not at fault I have been dealing with the other driver’s insurance company. We are finally moving forward and I will drop my car off for repairs on Wednesday and pick up my rental car. My driver’s door is messed up and it makes a loud pop sound when I open it so I will be very happy to get that fixed.

Tomorrow is our go-live date for our new software system at work. We are ill-prepared and I expect tomorrow to be a complete dumpster fire. I have two meetings this week (one at 7am and one at 4:30pm), neither of which I really want to attend. I will be arriving late on Wednesday after dropping off my car. And I am leaving early on Thursday to go to my older daughter’s middle school orientation. My coworker is also on vacation. Overall, I think it will be one of those “praying for Friday” kind of workweeks.

I have been improving with my running in both speed and distance. I have to keep a close eye on my back and the pain has been status quo (but not worse, which is good). I think the running hurts my hips more than my back anyway. As long as I don’t see a significant increase in joint pain, I keep going.

Catch me up. What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

Thanks to our lovely host, Diana at Part-time Monster! Stop in and have a cup with our other participants at the linkup here.

If We Were Having Coffee… 2/26/17

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Hello coffee friends! Come on in out of the cold. After a stretch of springlike weather, Mother Nature has decided that it is still winter. It is not terribly cold, but much colder than it has been lately. We will definitely be having our beverages inside today, perhaps in front of the fireplace.

Two things happened in my household this week: my older daughter turned 13 and girl scout cookies arrived. It is hard for me to believe that I officially have a teenager. How can that be? Time goes so fast. It seems like just a short time ago that she was born. I just can’t wrap my brain around the fact that she will be driving in 3 years and graduating high school in 5 years.  Her birthday was on Wednesday and so we didn’t do much celebrating that day since we had school and work. We had a small party for her yesterday with cake, ice cream and presents. I wrote a post for her this week (breaking my long streak of only writing Coffee Share posts) which you can find here.

Cookies arrived on Tuesday. This is a busy and tiring day every year. The truck unloaded pallets of cases of cookies for our entire service unit. We then sorted the cases into individual troops’ orders. Then the leaders sorted their own troops’ cases into individual girls’ orders. Then we waited for parents to come and pick up. I have two troops so it is double the fun. I was very sore the next two days with aching leg and arm muscles. We have lots of deliveries still to make and I have three orders that I need to ship. We have two cookie booths in March. Fun times.

Am I the only one who feels like the weekend coffee share rolls around quickly? Every week I tell myself that I will write a couple of posts during the week and I inevitably run out of time. Like I said, I did get one extra post done this week. *sigh* I really want to do better. If only there were more hours in the day.

Catch me up. What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

Thanks to Emily at Nerd in the Brain for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share! Stop in and have a cup with our other participants at the linkup here.

To My Daughter on her Thirteenth Birthday

You changed my life on a snowy February night in Cleveland, Ohio.

After a precipitous labor and emergency delivery, I spent the first five minutes of your life praying. I begged God to let you live as the neonatal team resuscitated you. When you stabilized, a kind nurse wrapped you up and brought you to my bedside so that I could see you before they whisked you away for surveillance. With china-doll features and eyelashes that touched your cheeks, you were the most beautiful baby I had ever seen.

I flew by the seat of my pants in those early months, following my instincts (and always second guessing myself) and always in haze of sleep deprivation. The toddler and preschool years were a different challenge as you grew into a headstrong and defiant child. While you were a sweet and kind-hearted soul, you were also fiercely independent. You taught me to pick my battles, balancing between helicoptering and giving you the space you needed to learn and grow.

When you started school, you blossomed academically and socially. You are smart and have always excelled with high grades. That makes me proud. Kind, gentle and accepting, you were always a child that teachers would pair with a child who needed a friend. That makes me even prouder. You have even navigated the perils of middle school with grace. So far. I worry, of course. I am waiting for the first broken heart or the first betrayal by a friend – seemingly inevitable pitfalls of the early teen years.

So here you are… an official teenager. You may be a bit too fond of your phone and your tablet but you are a pretty amazing kid. You are polite and respectful. You love animals and they are drawn to you. You are good with children. You have a servant’s heart. You love the service projects that we do in scouts and you joyfully give your time and talents to others. You are a gifted musician, though I wish I could convince you to put your heart into it. While you have many interests, you have yet to find something that lights a fire in your soul. I pity anyone who tries to stand in your way once you do find that something.

You are not perfect. You need to be kinder to your sister. I know she’s a bit younger than you and sometimes you find her annoying. But she’s your sister. She will always be your sister and I hope that someday she will be your best friend. She balances you and I wish that you would appreciate what she brings to the table. You can also be hard on yourself. I understand that. Believe me, you come by that honestly. My advice is to loosen the reigns and learn to let some things go –  the things you can’t control. Spinning your wheels with stress and anxiety only hurts you. It has taken me a long time to learn that and I expect that it will be the same for you.

My dear daughter, happy 13th birthday. I love you more than you will ever know. You have brought immeasurable joy into my life. I am proud of the young lady that you have become and I am excited to see what the future holds for you. You are my heart. Always.

 

Weekend Rewind 2/21/16

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It’s time for Weekend Rewind – my weekly casual post to chat and catch up. No prompts, no rules – anything goes.

Let’s get random…

Nothing like a little Monday morning edition of Weekend Rewind (i.e. my weekend was too busy and went too quickly).

First I want to say happy 12th birthday to my daughter, Kiera! She had a great birthday weekend. I took her shopping and we had cake and ice cream with the family. She picked up some crafty things – a giant wooden “K” to paint and put on her wall, a small chest to stain and some fabric. She is also the proud new owner of a Betta fish. His (or her? Who knows?) name is Peacock, since his coloring is reminiscent of peacock feathers. We got the fish along with a small easy-cleaning tank system that is staying in her bedroom. This will be the first pet that is completely hers that she is 100% responsible for. God speed, Peacock.

Now I just have to plan her “friend party.” She doesn’t ask for much, she just wants to invite her couple closest friends and go into the city to a pizza/gaming center and have a sleepover. It just means that I have to talk to parents. I try really hard not to let my social anxiety affect my kids, but the more social they get, the harder it gets for me. I’ve been meaning to call one particular mom for a couple of weeks and I just keep putting it off.

On a more somber note, my chiropractor died over the weekend. He went into the city Friday and he was to spend the night at a friend’s house and then attend a medical conference on Saturday. He didn’t make it to either engagement. I found out on Saturday that he was missing and obsessively played out all kinds of foul play scenarios in my head. He was found on Sunday in his car (in a store parking lot) dead of an apparent heart attack. He wasn’t particularly old (in his 50s) and he was in pretty good shape so this was unexpected. I have been so sad about this since I found out. He was a gentle and personable man. When I threw my back out last spring and hobbled into his office scared and in awful pain, he was so kind and helpful. He has been treating my dad for years. You will be greatly missed, Dr. Bert.

Look what I found right after Valentine’s Day (!):

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Finally! And then this weekend, I found these:

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“What are these?!” I said incredulously as I plucked them off the shelf. WHITE mini-eggs. These are new! So, of course, I had to try them. They are filled with white chocolate so you must like that type of chocolate to enjoy these. I was both excited and apprehensive to try these newbies because my mini-egg addiction is bordering on out of control and I was hesitant to make it worse. They are… okay. I find the white chocolate to be richer and therefore I couldn’t eat as many in a sitting (which is not necessarily a bad thing). While I do like these, I don’t think I will buy them again. I am a mini-egg purist, so I prefer the originals (to the dismay of my waistline). Note to the Cadbury people: Nice try. I appreciate the attempt to branch out, but stick with what works. My original advice stands: expand the original product to more holidays!

Tomorrow is Girl Scout cookie delivery day. I am taking the day off work to sort and organize hundreds of cases of cookies. Wish me luck.

Have a great week, everyone!

 

Casual Fridays 7/17/15

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Happy Sunday! That means it is time for the latest installment of Casual Fridays (Sunday morning edition), my weekly chat post – no structure, no rules, no prompts, anything goes.  And please also check out Casual Fridays over at Helen’s blog, Good Woman.

Let’s get random…

So instead of getting closer to Friday this week, I actually got farther away… it’s Sunday morning. Fail. I debated whether I should post at all but I thought if I skipped the post altogether it would be an even bigger fail. Then I wondered if I should change the name – after all, it is no longer Casual Friday if I am posting on Sunday. But then I decided better late than never. And it’s my blog anyway so I can do what I want. Even if it doesn’t make sense to anyone else.

My job continues to suck my energy like a leech, but things are getting better. I think. By the end of the week, things felt like they were settling a bit. I didn’t feel quite so frazzled. I have a lot of patients next week but I have Wednesday blocked for office time so that is the beacon of hope to which I am clinging. I’m determined that next week will be a better week.

Yesterday was my younger daughter’s birthday. Seven years old. My memories of that day in 2008 are still clear and vivid. It’s hard to believe seven years have passed. Caitlin is my sweet, impish little sprite – a ball of energy and light that just goes at life full force.  She says things on a daily basis that make me laugh and warm my heart (or sometimes scare me, as I feel like the teenage years with that one are going to be a challenge). I am constantly reminding myself to learn from her and see the world the way she sees it. So a day celebrating her is always a good day.  And she did have a good day, full of love and presents and cake and ice cream.

We did something really fun this past week – a sleepover at our local zoo with both scout troops. Between the kids and parents, we had 30 people. Being an animal lover, the zoo has always been one of my favorite places. And it’s a favorite of my girls, too. There were activities for the kids through the evening and then we did a hike through the zoo after dark. It is such a pleasant place after the crowds clear out. We took a flashlight tour of the herpetarium (the reptile house). We slept outside under the stars. The only bad part of this was that it was crazy hot and humid – but after about 1am, the humidity broke and it was comfortable. It was pretty amazing gazing at the stars and listening to the sea lions bark and the lions roar. We were up by 6am and had breakfast. Then we took a morning walk through the zoo and got to pet the stingrays. It really was one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that I know both my girls and I will always remember.

Before the night hike, we were sitting on a balcony over a lake doing a frog watch. Basically, the guides played various frog sounds for us and then we all went silent and just listened to the sounds of nature. I sat back in my chair and looked up at the sky, lost in the vastness of it. It was mid-evening and with the humid haze there weren’t many stars out yet. But I saw one and I focused on it. Wrapped up in the sounds of the frogs and birds and insects, I had a conversation with that star in my heart, trying to glean its wisdom. I felt connected to the universe and my soul felt full. I was so thankful for that moment of peace and clarity. I have thought about that moment often during my busy week.

Well, I have to get on with my Sunday. Cleaning and laundry, so exciting. I am also going to take my girls to see Minions this afternoon. Have a wonderful weekend and upcoming week, everyone!

Things Worth Keeping

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “If I Had a Hammer.”

If you could learn a trade — say carpentry, electrical work, roofing, landscaping, plumbing, flooring, drywall — you name it — what skill(s) would you love to have in your back pocket?

As usual, I am not going to answer this prompt as asked… but it did remind me of a story.  So bear with me…

The ultimate handyman, my dad built a lot of things for me.  He built huge bookshelves to accommodate my book addiction that started at such a young age.  He built a beautiful dollhouse that was my pride and joy for many years.  He lovingly crafted every detail from the shingles to the shutters to the curtains to the furniture.  And he built two matching bunk-beds for my baby dolls.  They had wooden frames with mattresses and matching pillows.  They were sturdy but also light enough that I could drag them from room to room during play.  I adored them.

At some point early in my teenage years, the bunk-beds made their way into the basement along with my dolls and other childhood toys.  My parents kept a lot of my things,  my dad was careful to pack them in a way to protect them from moisture and time.  But after I left for college, the bunk-beds found themselves in my parents’ yard sale.  Considering the amount of my junk that they kept, I don’t know why the beds had to go.  But I do have a guess.  My dad, as talented as he is, is also humble and his own worst critic.  He probably didn’t think the beds were worth keeping.

Fast forward fifteen years.  As an adult I had moved back to my hometown and had a toddler daughter of my own.  A daughter who, I might add, thought her grandpa hung the moon.

His church was having a parish-wide yard sale.  The parish high school gym was crammed full of donations – clothes, furniture, toys, household items.  My dad was there helping sort through things and organize the day before the sale opened.  As he maneuvered his way through the narrow paths among the clutter, he spotted them.  He recognized his own handiwork and the familiar pattern on the mattresses and pillows – the bunk-beds that he had made for me when I was a little girl.  And they were still in good condition.  What a small world.  Thinking of my daughter, he brought them back home.

Fast forward another eight years or so and guess where those beds are today?  Yes, in my house, in our playroom.  My younger daughter loves baby dolls and so these beds are a treasure to her.  She will bring them from the playroom into her bedroom so that her dolls can have a sleepover.  Or she will balance one on a skateboard for a makeshift gurney when she is playing doll hospital.  They are definitely worth keeping.

 

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl

In response to Daily Post

 

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Happy birthday, baby girl.

Yesterday was my younger daughter’s sixth birthday.

Six is an awesome age. She just finished kindergarten. She is a beginning reader and she is learning how this skill can give her more power and independence. She is a social child and a natural leader, awarded with many responsibilities in her classroom.

Happy birthday, baby girl.

The world is still a magical place to her. She is obsessed with Hello Kitty. The iconic cartoon is on her clothes, toys and bedroom walls. She is in love with her numerous baby dolls. She takes them everywhere. She dresses them, feeds them, talks to them and disciplines them. She makes up stories about them. To her, they are very real.

Happy birthday, baby girl.

She is a free-spirit. She loves life. She loves to sing and dance. She plays in the rain. She never skips dessert. She approaches everything with enthusiasm and exuberance. She has unlimited energy. She is technicolor and volume on full-blast.

Happy birthday, baby girl.

As every parent knows, we learn as much from our children as they learn from us. She has taught me to stop and live in the moment. To enjoy the little things. To see things once again through the eyes of a child. To appreciate life’s beautiful things. She’s also taught me that I have to be creative in parenting. Strong-willed children can be a blessing and a curse in a way. They keep you on your toes. They push buttons like a pro. I am still learning how to keep her on the right course without clipping her sails.

Happy birthday, baby girl.

I love you more than you will ever know. I can’t wait to experience six with you.

 

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Image from freedigitalphotos.net