Brrr Baby it’s cold outside!

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”
Edith Sitwell

          Not too long ago someone asked on facebook, “What is your favorite childhood memory concerning the holidays.” It was not really the holidays, but more of a winter holiday.  This year’s cold weather started with a bang.  We’ve already seen more snowflakes this year than we have the last three years combined.

Winter was always the time of year when we seemed to be more of a “family” doing “family” activities.  My most favorite memory was playing cards with my sister, mom, dad, and myself.  My parents taught us Pinochle. It was sort of a family rite of passage to learn.  For the longest time my sister and I were partners and my parents were partners.  We got to beating them so bad we had to change it up.

There were always laughs and jokes.  My mom always had this bad poker face.  You just knew when to bid against her and when not to bid.  The wood stove was always warm and there was a nice supply of goodies and nuts to snack on as well as, hot drinks. There was always soft music playing in the background. It drove my mom nuts when it was classical music, so during the holidays it was nice to just hear Christmas tunes.

Every year one of the local radio stations would play 96 hours of Christmas music.  One year my dad used is cassette recorder to record a good majority of those songs.  My favorite tape he would play was the Music Box Christmas.  I have always had a thing for classical Christmas tunes.

For many years my sister and I would come up with an idea of how to “present” the Christmas story.  One year I did it on my own.  I used construction paper to make all the characters in 3-D.  That Christmas was special because our adopted grandma Clare came for Christmas Eve dinner.  I read and acted the Christmas story.  Even had my dad use a flash light to light a golden star that was hanging on the tree.  This was also the Christmas my dad realized “breaking” in mom’s dining room chairs wasn’t a good idea.  Gramma Clare got his chair and leaned back…. She did not fall over but poor old lady thought she was going to go over backwards.

The last memory is a tradition we carry on with our kids.  I always looked forward to the stockings.  It was not so much the toys in them but three other things: ribbon candy (old fashioned kind), an orange, and a bag of nuts.  Ok honestly, I never cared for the nuts.  As an adult I realized I missed out.  I loved the shape and look of the ribbon candy!  The orange…. What can I really say except “YUM!”

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Head in My Hands

No matter how bad things are, you can always make things worse.”
― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

     Well…  This was completely unexpected.  There was a small ounce of doubt, but the decision was not as we honestly expected…  Enough about this…  I want to brag!!

Football was awesome for Andrew this year.  We aren’t sure if he will play next year.  He enjoyed playing, but isn’t sure it is his thing.  We are glad he gave it a try.  He played really well considering he hadn’t tried it before.  I think he is like his older sister….a musician.  The finished the year having two loses, a tie, and four wins.  Not bad!

Speaking of musicians:

Marching band came to a conclusion this last weekend.  Amanda’s band qualified for state and placed fifth.  Of course I’m partial and thought they should get first place.  😛 Either way I am so proud of her.  She started this journey this last summer.  Everyday they would spend 8 hours on the field learning to march and learning the program.  To top it off she had to learn and memorize the music.  Not an easy task.  She has done spectacular for her first year!

next up….. swimming and diving.

We got some awesome but already known information about Amber.  She’s one smart cookie.  According to last years TCAP she scored above average on all tests for reading, writing, and math.  Dan and I always knew she was just naturally smart, but the test results don’t lie.  Now we just need to figure out how to harness her brains for something she enjoys.  She really enjoys art.  So I’m thinking about fostering that creative side and enrolling her into art classes.  I’ve said it time and time again…. I’m so glad we don’t push our kids in the direction we think they should go…we just open the door and follow them down their journey. Oh, and she is having her science project displayed at the district level and she will compete against other 5th graders.  Awesome!!

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So fall sprang up on us before we even had a chance to catch our breath from this summer.  Seems like I came home from our trip to Pennsylvania and BAM!

I really have not had the brains to sit down and focus or write.

My mind is a muddled mess.

We did everything we could to avoid a situation…. unfortunately someone couldn’t do their job and just give us the honest truth.

Honestly is better than being led into a falsehood.

“No matter how bad things are, you can always make things worse.”
― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

I picked this quote because I know how bad this could go.

First: shock.

Second: anger.

Third: the desire to make it someone’s fault.

Fourth: feeling sorry for yourself.

Stick that into a cauldron and you have a recipe for disaster.

But the question remains… how to change all that and try to find a positive in an extremely negative situation?

How do you convince someone it’s not his fault and to look forward to the unknown with an open heart and mind?

How do you look life in the eyes and convince yourself that growth will come of this?

What do you say to someone when you drop them off at the airport? have a great time… enjoy your vacation?

How do you prepare yourself for two years of lonely nights and emptiness?

(sigh……)

I’m tired of this house being torn apart.  There truly is something behind the power of an everyday touch.  A transference of energy from one person to another.  How do you compensate for that? How do you go so many months without a hug or a kiss.  Sure… with the gains in technology the voice will be there….but we are an actions speaks louder family.  Words only confirm action.  It’s an observation I’ve made. Like telling my child I will be there….but it really didn’t matter until she saw me there.

How do you fill the void everyday?

How do you avoid making hardship worse?

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A Year Ago Today…..

Hard to believe that a year ago today was the big surgery! A year later and we’re getting Amanda ready for High School, another year of junior high for Andrew, and Amber’s last year of Elementary (unless that changes in Japan).  If you would have asked if I thought things would be so good, I’d have probably laughed.  I remember the drive to Denver early in the morning.  Most of it was spent praying and trying to find that zen spot in my mind.  I was so excited that the cancer was finally going to be cut out of my body, but scared about how the physical rehabilitation was going to be. A year later and things are pretty much “normal.” I get stronger everyday.  The only thing that has changed is my daring side.  I tend to really think about things before doing them….like jumping off a bridge.

I’m starting to feel like I’m back to normal.  Well my usual normal as I know it.  It’s funny.  I can always measure my emotional state on how well my house operates.  My house is finally staying clean.  I guess a secret to me: when the house gets out of line…there’s something not right.  I like a really clean house.  I know that is something from my mom.  Her house was always clean.  Either we helped or she just did it all.  I like for my family to come home for the day and not be surrounded by clutter and dirtiness.  I feel like those two things breed negative energy.  I know they do to me.  I feel like I don’t have many options to show my family I care.  At the moment I’m unemployed so I can’t take them out for a special day….or buy them something they need.  I can’t give extra towards a family night.  I can how ever try and provide a clean environment and a good cooked meal.

We are still waiting for the code to drop off of Dan so he can be officially put on orders.  I think it’s driving him crazy….and me.  We have a pretty good idea on where we are going based on the only person in his field that is leaving.  I’m trying to create some sort of binder in my head of information.  There are a couple of really good website out there with lots of information.  I have a messenger camera bag I can carry with me on the plane.  It has plenty of room to carry my camera and equipment along with room to carry a binder of important documents.  I’m also trying to come up with some sort of a check list for when the time comes to do the actual move.

I’m excited about the move.  It gets me going through things and deciding if I want it or not.  A few days ago my two pack rats actually went through their stuff to decide what they did and did not want.  The clothes we donated to the Goodwill.  Actually they are sitting in the back of my blazer.  I’m trying to find out if Dan is serious about a yard sale or not.  If he is, then there are things here I think I could sell.  If not, it’s going to the Goodwill.   I think I should start researching and learning things about the country.  Maybe some sort of guide about the culture.  The last thing you want to do is go to a country and start out by insulting the people.

A quote has been with me this week:

“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”
-Dale Carnegie

    I’ve been really distracted by discouragement.  One aspect I won’t discuss, but the other is towards my photography.  I’d imagine a good part of it is just lack of attempts…but to be honest I can take technically sound pictures, but they are just pictures.  There is no WOW factor to them.  I think either my eyes are messed up or the lenses I was using are messed up.  Just about all of my astros were blurry and the rest…just pictures.  I guess maybe I rushed myself through a lot of them.  My main focus was spending time with my best friend.  Looking back, I’m glad because I probably won’t see her in person for a few years.  But still, just flat disappointed.  I’m not sure that finishing school would help, but I know having a mentor for sound advice sure would help.  Maybe I will meet someone in Japan who can offer that.  I’m not going to let this get me down.  It’s great encouragement to keep trying.  I think what I need to do is look at them again and write down what I dislike about them.  Figure out perhaps what would have been a better way to take them.  Again, it would probably has a lot to do with practice.

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Letting the Polar Bear out of the Bag

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

Last week I had posted on facebook about suprises.  To me, suprises come in all shapes and sizes.  The surprise given to us was described as an elephant…today it comes as a polar bear. So here its:

WE’RE MOVING TO JAPAN IN NOVEMBER!!

Dan called me on Thursday this last week to find out if I’d be ok with that idea.  He actually started the conversation out with, “Would you be mad if I said yes to something without asking you, first.”  I actually thought he both went out and bought something or…. I really wasn’t sure what to expect.  Of course I said yes.  Then a split second later I worried.  The whole purpose of staying here was to make sure our two older kiddos stayed in one place for high school.

Our oldest daughter is swaying back and forth.  Part of it is the unknown.  Here she knows exactly what she has in front of here.  There, she doesn’t know.  Really she made the decision to go because it is new and exciting, but inside it’s scary. I respect her so much. I respect that she’s willing to let go of comfort and stick her neck out there for something different.  Her dad and I know that no matter where she is, she has the grace and beauty in her spirit to be successful.  She’s proven it time and time again.  Our youngest wasn’t sure what to think, either.  Her and I spent the night looking at Japan and the different things she can do over there.  We found out that CYS offers surfing lessons and roller hockey.  I think the roller hockey sold her.  It isn’t ice hockey, but pretty close.  Bub… Bub looks forward to the historical aspect.  He’s really into WWII history and he’s excited to go to a few places and actually see and feel where it all took place.

You all know me… I can’t help but have a million and one pictures flash through my head.  I look forward to the food, also!!  It’s going to be an unforgettable adventure. We only have four short months to get everything ready.  Parts of me are full of anxious energy.  We don’t exactly know which place we will be going.  Once we do we can start setting things in motion.  Dan’s fear is us not all going together. I know it’d make things much easier if we did.  We are going to do everything we can to get Sav with us.  I know one place it is highly recommended that you not take pets to.  I’m hoping we don’t go there.

What is so interesting is what happen before this.  Over the 4th of July we had a family reunion with Dan’s family.  I spent some time with my family.  Took a road trip with one of my best friends and the other is coming out in a few weeks! It’s almost like the writing was on the walls!

So, let the adventure begin! Highs, lows, and everything in between!

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Dirty Toes

I’m a dirt person. I trust the dirt. I don’t trust diamonds and gold.
Eartha Kitt

So where does this post begin?

July 3rd a good place to start?

Not really.

I can say that we had a great family reunion. It was awesome to see Dan’s family and we had a really good visit.  I had fun playing in the pool with the kids and catching up with everyone.  Sometimes it still feels awkward to all be together.  I did try my best to chat with my sister-in-laws.  I know we’re not around much, and when we were…I never really took the time to sit and chat.

The crazy part were the little ones.  Sitting there watching moms and dads chase little ones around and remembering how complicated life seemed.  There were so many extras you had to haul with you.  I did feel bad at one point.  One of the little ones gets night terrors when she consumes too much sugar.  Well I had given her a little extra cotton candy.  For the most part, I think it was a good gathering.  It would be awesome if we could do that once a year.  Maybe not around the 4th of July. Everything was so expensive.. but at some point in the year.

Dan, Bear, and Bub went back to Wyoming the following Sunday.  Little Bee went to his parent’s house and I came back to my mom and dad’s house. This is where my story really starts.  I came here for one reason and one reason only…to battle myself and find some sort of deep courage and strength.

I came here to quit smoking. Crazy to think I needed to leave my “world” to do it…but in a way I needed that desert island to make it happen.  I needed to get away from the temptations and just focus on myself.  I knew there were 1 million and 1 things that needed to be done around here. I could keep busy….get away from the temptation to buy more… It’s been a rough week.  I didn’t just quit cold turkey.  I started limiting myself the amount I smoked.  Today will be the first day to go without.  Well I had my two and then tomorrow there will be no more.

When I first start I actually would panic about not having any.  I have learned that once that starts happening I just stop…take my shoes off and let my bare feet touch the ground so I can absorb the earth’s energy and pray for strength and courage.  Eventually it all passes and I return to work. Needless to say…my toes have been dirty a lot lately!

There’s a saying that keeps going through my mind:

It will take you just as long to swim back from that island as it took you to get there.”

Not sure where I heard it, but I know there is truth in those words.  All I can do is stay positive and busy…and try not to eat myself out of house and home 😉 Trying to snack on healthy things like fruit, salads, veggies, and drinking water by the gallons.

It’s defiantly an adventure that isn’t going to end anytime soon!

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Family Matters and a True Statement of Character

     We are one month into summer and have so much to be thankful for.  Yesterday was the close of an act in a play that I do not plan to repeat nor write a second scene to.  I finally had my port taken out.  For those who don’t know what that is…it was a device put above my right breast just under the skin.  Attached to it was a line that went up my chest, over my collar bone and to Grandmother’s house… wait that’s not right.  Seriously, it went into my carotid artery down to the top of my heart.  When I’d get chemo they would have to use a special needle to access it.  SO when I’d say I was getting plugging in…that’s what I was talking about.  They did this because of the high doses of chemo I was getting.  Not so much the amount of fluid, but the amount of toxic chemicals.  It they would have just accessed a vain, my arms and veins would have been shot in no time.  That little thing is finally gone! Its like saying we are finally finished.  As long as I could still see it, feel it, I wasn’t cancer free.

     Yesterday our youngest daughter turned 10. 10!! The night before, both Dan and I were sitting there wondering where on earth 10 years had gone so fast! It’s hard enough to believe we have an almost 14 year old…let alone some how the youngest had turned 10. No more single digit birthdays.  When we got home from he hospital I had expected that she would be awake patiently waiting to have cake and open presents.  yes, it’s a family tradition to have birthday cake first thing.  Even if that means it’s cake at six o’clock in the morning.

  Daddy actually had to wake her up.  We had a yummy cake.  Probably one of the best combinations, ever! She had me make her a strawberry flavored cake with vanilla frosting. Originally I wanted to layer the cake, but the cake stuck in my rectangle shaped pan. We were going to put fresh strawberries in between the layers.  Instead we put fresh strawberries on top.  Her cake was labeled “Happy Birthday Bee!” in pink gel and to top it off it had red fine sprinkles.  Her choice of ice cream was chocolate that had brownie chunks. After the frightful singing of “Happy Birthday” she got to open presents.

  Best darn present any of my kids has ever gotten: a cotton candy machine!  This was way too much fun and we were surprised how much cotton candy you could make.

     Thankfully we bought extra cotton candy sugar.  The machine we got did not come with any.  According to the directions, you can use crushed hard candy.  When we took her shopping, to spend her birthday money she got from family, we got her some candies.  She picked peppermints, butter scotch and root beer.  I’m going to crush them in the food processor and we will see what happens. After cake and shopping Daddy make the birthday lunch.  Lunch instead of dinner because bub had a baseball game.  I personally was in a food coma after lunch.

     Last night Bub had a baseball came.  I am really excited about this team he is on.  It was a rough start.  The coaches he started with … glad they got replaced! One coach thought the boys should do football style conditioning for an hour and the other coach did nothing but hit balls and the boys and yell at them in broken Spanish/English.  Most of the time Bub had no idea what the guy was saying.  They were replaced by an excellent coach.  I, along with other parents, believe that eighth grade and down is the time to learn the fundamentals of a sport.  Hone in on strengths and fix weaknesses.  Conditioning is excellent!  But you have to create a program that is specific to the sport.  Yelling at kids and not taking the time to explain what you are talking about is pointless.  Not to mention it shuts the kids down.

    So this new coach we got is amazing.  He doesn’t stop coaching the kids and working with them. He really reinforces the fundamentals of baseball.   What is more amazing, he emphasizes sportsmanship! So far we are undefeated.  One game it was a nail biter, the other three games were blow outs.  What was awesome about last nights game was the actions the coach took:

  •  After the second inning it was 12-0. He told the boys they were no longer going to steal on wild pitches
  • He put in those who aren’t the best at certain positions (like a pitcher who isn’t the best but wants to pitch)

This is outstanding because it is no fun to be on the other side of that game.  We could have probably tripled the score before the night was out, but instead he decided to make it fair and recognize the situation.  He taught those boys that just because you are winning, doesn’t mean you don’t have the chance to show real character and to keep learning.  Normally Bub plays third base, left or left center.  He plays that side because he can throw a ball really far with accuracy. Last night he had Bub on second base and catcher.  Bub played catcher a few years ago.  Well, the coach pulled him after two pitches because the ball had gone behind him.  Instead of just coaching and encouraging he was pulled.  Last night our coach kept encouraging him and after a handful of pitches he was catching, no pun intended, on and doing really well!

In the end the score was 3-14.  Way to go Rangers! The coach gathered the boys up and told them “You can have all the talent in the world and still lose games.  You guys win because you have heart.” That is the best line told to kids I’ve heard in ages!

  The coming week are only going to get crazier — but I’m loving every moment!

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Fantastic!

The difference between a Good day and a Bad day has less to do with the circumstances
than the power we have over our thoughts
.”
– Neil Sutton

    I really believe that quote has some power behind it. You know how you always hear about the power of positivity in healing… I think it applies to everyday life. I’ve really been tested in this category the last few weeks. Another favorite quote:

I hope everyone that is reading this is having a really good day.
And if you are not, just know that in every new minute that passes
you have an opportunity to change that
.”
-Gillian Anderson

    SO those thoughts aside… Yesterday was FANTASTIC! Probably one of the more memorable birthdays I’ve had. I started my day out with:

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   Coffee and my best friend. The night before both of us were boobing in our drinks about how we missed each other and how much we looked forward to her coming this way in a few weeks. Me being silly…I made a “Wilson” version of her. Unfortunately, no one in this house plays volleyball so a long lost baseball in the back yard had to suffice. After morning coffee my son made me waffles! Except once we got our plates…we realized the three of us had about a tablespoon of maple syrup to share. We all sat at the table talking about the day. I actually struggled for a moment. I was having a change of heart.

    Bub has found a new niche. He really likes making Mincraft videos. Since my camera has HD abilities…that the top choice to use. The night before, he asked if he could use my camera in the morning to make a new video. He went into depth about his topic and because he’s so passionate about it, of course I said yes. But, sitting at the table I was struggling to follow through. I knew Bee and I would encounter something while riding bikes and I knew I’d want to take a picture. As hard as it was, I let him use it.

    Yes, we found many things we would have taken pictures of. Bee and I went to the Fountain Creek area to ride bikes. I learned the day before that there is a trail that runs from Fountain Valley all the way to Monument. It’s about 30 miles. Wouldn’t that be a fun trip sometime…but not yesterday. It actually goes right through down town and the Air Force base. Perhaps next year? Any ways, we rode about four miles of it. We stopped in many places for water breaks. Ok, so mom could have a rest. It isn’t so much about being out of shape as it is fatigue in my leg. I can honestly say I am so proud of Bee. She has an amazing ability to spot all sorts of things. She spotted blue herons, turtles on rocks (that were across one of the ponds), fish eating off the top of the water, and cacti with blooms.

    On our way back to the blazer, I told her that when I was a kid, I used to pretend like my bike was a horse and I rode it everywhere. She said that was what she liked to do, also. So we rode our horses as fast as we could back. We stopped along the creek to give them a break. We both wanted to get our feet wet but we knew we had more things planned and didn’t want to get wet. We found a special rock to keep. Everywhere we go, we always find a special rock to take home. We put a date on it and add it to the collection of places we’ve been. We loaded Midnight and Duke into the blazer and went home.

    When we got home Andrew was done with his videos. I worked to transfer them from my camera to the desktop. It would take about 15 minutes to transfer them. There were two videos about 20 minutes long. My computer isn’t exactly new, so it took a few minutes. I decided to sit down for a bit. Let my battery recharge for my camera and decide what was next. I decided I wanted to go over to Memorial Park. I think that is what it’s called. It was the same park they do the balloon launch from. First, I wanted to head over and get some sushi rolls from the Asian store. I can’t recall what exactly happen, but as we were driving over to Academy, it started sprinkling. Looking at the mountain I knew we wouldn’t have much time if we went to the zoo. So I changed gears and we decided to go to the zoo.

    When we got to the zoo, the one thing we enjoy the most is riding the sky ride, was shut down because of the weather. Most of the time we wonder through the zoo visiting our favorites and at the end we ride the sky lift to the top and have a bucket of cotton candy. We were all bummed out but decided that we would go see our favorites. We always start out feeding the giraffes. Baby Waldo sure is growing up! We could reach down and feed him giraffe crackers and scratch the top of his head. He seemed to like that a lot. I always go into the barn and feed the ones on the inside. Most people don’t go in there because of the smell. It was really crowded today so we skipped through quite a bit. We did venture through the African Safari. Bub hasn’t been to the zoo since they opened the new exhibit for the elephants. We have to wait for the 4th of July for the lions to get into their new exhibit. Bub also hadn’t seen the new reptile house. He really enjoyed it.

    Lets see… After the zoo, the weather really moved in so we decided that since the monsters in our bellies were eating our back bones we’d go grab a bite to eat. I wanted my sushi rolls so we hopped along traffic to get over there. Went inside…all to find that they were sold out. After careful consideration we decided to go to Mc Ds. Not a favorite, but it was food. Bub ate a quarter pounder in five bites while Bee and I shared a few chicken nuggets. We wanted a frozen strawberry lemonade, but the machine wasn’t working. After a snack we headed home. By the time we got home I could honestly say that I was wiped out! I decided that I’d take a nap and figure out the rest of the day when I woke up.

SO why those quotes? I picked those quotes because so many things could have turned Monday into a “bad” day. I hint those by turning the text green.

The difference between a Good day and a Bad day has less to do with the circumstances
than the power we have over our thoughts
.”
– Neil Sutton

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Taking “it” for Granted…Patience and Lessons Learned

When it comes to life the critical thing is
whether you take things for granted or take them with
gratitude
.”
– Gilbert Keith Chesterton

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    June 1st! Are we already getting to the halfway point of the year? This month marks the start of crazy for us. Birthdays, holidays, baseball, and a new element: marching band. Andrew started baseball this week. I love it! They have practices 4-5 days a week. The coach said at least 4 days. He is working them hard on conditioning. At this point they all know how to throw the ball, catch it, and hit it; time to get conditioned. I did not think he would like it, but he does. Last night he came home and was really sore. He almost an entire pizza and crawled on to the couch and went to sleep. Next Tuesday, Amanda starts marching band practice. On the second to last day of school, she got her Chamber’s music and marching band music. It was strongly suggested that she got her music memorized so she could learn and focus on marching. It will be interesting!

    I’m trying to work things out with my sister about exchanging or just taking kids. Her kids have a lot going on this summer. There’s traveling to see their other family, camps, and other things going on (sounds familiar). Amanda really wants to make money this summer. I can remember being 14 and wanting to make money. Not old enough to get a job, yet. I’m thinking about meeting my sister in Cheyenne so she can go to my Dad’s house the week he has his surgery. This would give him the chance to have someone around while mom is working. Someone to keep him out of trouble! Amanda also wants to go see her best friend. I can relate. I know at some point this month I will get to see my best friend. I’ve missed her so much!

So I have a question…. What is the “it” you’ve taken for granted?

    Have you ever stopped and thought about or experienced the “it” and realized how much you took it for granted? As summer rolls out it’s carpet I realized my “it” is Washington. There were so many opportunities as a photographer! I get mad at myself that so much drama and crap got into our lives that it really cut off being and doing the things that we loved so much! I have truly been uninspired. I guess my challenge here is to find that same beauty and mystery. I like tiptoeing through the dark misty forests and sitting on the beach listening to the ocean waves crash against the shore. There was something magical about it. Something that would awaken my senses and the challenge to me was showing and sharing it through the lens of a camera. Here… I’m struggling to find that inspiration and excitement.

    I have joined a facebook group that has some truly talented photographers. I think it’s awesome that they put together outings to not only give people a chance to dabble in a particular genre, but also to share their knowledge. I’ve scrolled through all the events, but the biggest problem is this stupid messed up leg. I so badly want to hike through the Rocky Mountain National Forest next weekend, but I know I’d just be holding people back and the last thing I want is people to feel sorry for me. I guess I should just admit, that patience I so delicately learned…is wearing thin. I know it isn’t the will power. I could go with them and keep up, but when the weekend was over me and my physical therapy team would be shaking their heads. I also still run that risk of dumb fractures, and that would just ruin not only my weekend, but those around me. So I will wait….and grumble about it….

    OH! I know another “it”. WALKING!! Isn’t it crazy? You’d think that walking is the most natural thing we learn to do. How do we learn as babies? This old woman can’t seem to figure it out. SO many things have to happen from the brain to your legs… I feel like half of my body is not communicating! It’s rather frustrating. My muscle memory is so messed up and getting it fixed is daunting. I’m so thankful I have a team of people working with me to get it fixed. It goes back into patience. One slow step at a time.

    Anything else going on? OH! Camping was really awesome! It really went without any major hiccups. I did forget a few things: dish soap, chapstick, and ketchup. It was a good belly laugh at times. When we showed up Thursday night we were not sure if it was a good idea or not. The wind was howling and it was getting cold fast. The wind was blowing so hard we almost could not keep one tent standing. So Dan moved the truck behind the tent and it helped. I am not sure we got any real sleep that night. The next morning was fun! The wind was still stirring the pot, but it wasn’t as bad as during the night. It was just enough to keep the little propane stove from staying lit. So we used the next best thing, a camp fire. Quite interesting to cook fried potatoes, sausage, and bacon on the stove; ok it took forever! My most favorite part was coffee!! I’ve been waiting for camp fire coffee for years! So warm and yummy!

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The kids were playing with my camera…lol like my oversize hat? Can’t wait for my hair to grow longer so my head stays warmer!

    After we cleaned up breakfast, things could have really turned for the bad. Dan and I decided to go down and soak a few worms in the lake. Well, the third ranger drove up and parked next to our camping spot. Mind you this is the third ranger we had already seen that morning. He got out and asked the kids where the adult was. So Dan started heading up that way. Needless to say he gave us a ticket for not staying parked in the parking area. This is one of those lessons you teach your kids about rules are rules…no matter how much you have good intentions, if you break a rule you break it. We got to talking to the ranger and I was a bit mad. It wasn’t like we were our four wheeling. I was mad on the inside. All I could think about was this guy was telling my husband they were going to have to send someone out to “repair” the damaged we caused (by the way when he moved his truck you couldn’t even see tire tracks). Dan was very careful not to spin his. I mean I get the rangers point. Well, I blurted out how I felt sorry for the rangers because of all the litter that was lining the lake and campsites. Honestly, it’s the worst I’ve seen next to seeing Fountain Creek.

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nom,nom!

He explained that there was 20 miles of beach and not enough volunteers or rangers to keep things clean. I can understand that, but it’s a cardinal rule for us; what you pack in you pack out. You just assume that rule of thumb goes to all people using or visiting the lake. Well he went on his way and we resumed fishing. Dan and I were talking when he stopped in the public parking area and got out of his truck. He pulled a bright orange bag out and my heart sunk. All I could think was I possibly did something wrong with my crawdad trap. The ranger started walking down the beach and picking up trash. When he got to us I told him that if he wanted to leave his trash bag the kids and I would do some trash picking up. I knew that afternoon everyone would get board and why not do a good deed for the environment. He nodded and kept walking down the bank. On his way back he stopped and gave us a spinner. Oh, the amount of “fishing” trash was awesome! We got so many hooks and sinkers! There were all sorts of treasures lying around. Any who, the ranger stopped as he was walking away and turned to say, “In all my 27 years of being a ranger I’ve never made a deal with anyone. If you get your kids involved and pick up litter, I’ll void your husband’s ticket.” Know what I said? “Oh you don’t have to do that, I’m just passionate about trash.” (lol moment) He smiled and told me to have Dan meet him at his truck.

    I wasn’t trying to get Dan out of a ticket; I was just so darn mad about how inconsiderate people are. The rest of the trip went uneventful until late in the evening. I had my line in the water and was brewing a hell of a headache. Too much sunshine and not enough air to breath? So I propped my pole against a rock and ran up to get something to make it go away. While I was in camp I head Amber hooting and hollering. I was so excited! I thought she had finally got her fish she had been so patience in getting. So I grabbed my camera and “ran” back to the shore. Come to find out My pole had fallen over, so Dan told her to reel it in. The cutthroat on the other end had swallowed hook and all. So we say we tag teamed that fish. It got exciting! We thought that it was fish time. Nothing. No bites. Nothing until about 1:00 in the morning.

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Amber named our “fish” and she wouldn’t stop playing with him. 🙂

    Now I was exhausted, so I went to bed early. So did my bear. The boys (Amanda’s boyfriend came with us) and little Bee stayed up to fish with Dan. He said several times they had something on their line, but it spit the hook. What was so exciting was Brandon caught a fish for the first time in his life. He even took care of it after Dan showed him. This is my final “it”. You know sometimes I just assume that people have done these things. I am starting to wonder if we are unique. It’s important to us to not only get away from “city” life, but also to show our kids some survival things. You never know where you might need to use a slip knot or how to cook with fire. It was great that we could share these things with Brandon. When Dan crawled into the tent he said, “You know, sometimes you take the things that you have done and know for granted.”

Got me to thinking about all the “its” that I take for granted.

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Saturday in the Sun

“Here’s to the crazy ones.
The misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
― Apple Inc.

    I’ve always loved that quote! If you really think about it, it is those people, for better or worse, who have changed the world. Through invention or a social idea, they are the ones who stand outside of the box and make a difference. I met a lady like that yesterday. Forgive me, I can’t remember her name, but she has all my respect. It’s not because she’s a bus driver (lord knows they are special to begin with). No, this lady has a heart of gold. She drives the fun bus in the summer. The fun bus is a program that gives kids something to do. Most often the kids enrolled are kids that aren’t bad, just need a little inspiration to stay out of trouble. The kind of kids I decided, yesterday I wasn’t going to deal with.

    Talk about making a person feel guilty. She had no idea what had taken place, but the conversation we had stirred me up a bit. I knew I was going to chaperone yesterday. I just didn’t want “those” kids. Part of me was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with them and the other part saw the look on my daughter’s face when we were asked if we wanted to help out and chaperone them. They are the “popular” group (interesting that none of their parents showed up) an they pretty much don’t feel that the rules apply to them. They are a special group and everyone below them is just trash. So it wasn’t a surprise to the teachers that none of us parents wanted to deal with them. Isn’t that a sad place to be? We didn’t want to deal with them and I can’t imagine being on the other side. Although I doubt they gave any consideration to the situation.

    Any who, the conversation I had with the bus driver was spiritually stirring, but I also felt greedy and quite frankly I didn’t care about those kids. Being honest here. Normally I would have seen it as some sort of lesson to my daughter about swallowing pride and doing something you don’t want to do… but not yesterday. Perhaps the lesson she got is the way you act and talk goes along way. You can be a social imp or you can give respect to your authorities and fellow peers and follow the rules. Both paths have consequences.

    Yesterday was an awesome day for me. I hope my Bear had just as much fun as I did. We got to Elitches at just before 8:00a.m. The kids got their instruments and we marched into the pavilion to warm up. The choir sand first, followed by the band, and then the orchestra played. All three groups got awarded gold for excellence! I can honestly say that the band played the best I’ve heard them all year! What a real treat! After that we marched back to the buses and got into our group. At just after 10:00am we started riding rides.

    Of course, the first one we went on was the Tower of Doom! Someone before us described it as something better than a shot of coffee in the morning… yeah maybe coffee after one hell of a night of drinking. It was one of those rides that goes high up in the air and drops you down fast. I think I’m still peeling my stomach off the walls of my throat. Not barf feeling, but yeah…you just have to try it out. From there we went on the Half Pipe. It looked like a giant half pipe. On the skate board were to sections of seats that spun in a circle as you go up one side of the half pipe and back down. It was a bit comical because just before we got on it, they had to do some tests runs. Perhaps that added a bit more of adrenaline to the ride. We road just about every ride except the Mind Eraser. Not because of fear…but because of the long line. People were saying they were waiting almost an hour in line to ride it. I would say this: DON’T RIDE THE TWISTER! That rollercoaster sucks!! Talk about jerking you around. The cool part was the tunnel, but I think my neck and back hurt from that ride.

    We were a bit smart. As the heat started climbing up, we decided to go on the log ride. This is one where you go down a steep slope and slam into water at the bottom. We were in the very front so, we got SOAKED! It was awesome!! After that, things started to kind of fizzle out. It was 2:30pm in the afternoon and both of us were tired. We had been riding rides for close to five hours. We still had three more hours til we were scheduled to leave. Eventually we found a shaded bench and Amanda snoozed for a bit. I kept getting conflicting information about where we were supposed to meet. One teacher said the busses and another said the Ferris Wheel. We knew we had water at the busses (wasn’t going to pay 4.00 for a bottle of water) so we went to the busses. Which is where I got to talking with our driver.

    The drive home was insane. You’d have thought after getting a full belly some of the kids would have gone to sleep…nope, they were wired to an amp. They weren’t being obnoxious, just surprised that more of them didn’t fall asleep like us. We had to make one little side line stop. One of the dads wasn’t feeling well, so we pulled over. What a good Saturday! Still sad we didn’t win the big huge bear, but this day is filed under my favorites!

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Ever Wonder?

“For Attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone. 
People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. Remember,
if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.” 

― Sam Levenson

 

It’s no secret. The parking lot at my kids’ middle school is….(trying to think of a non explicit word). HUNGER GAMES!! That’s what it’s like!! This morning, with snow and ice, it was unusually worse than the norm. I like to go to the very end of the lot, turn to the left and drop my kids along the sidewalk on that end of the school. Sixth graders line up on that end and Amanda goes straight to band (her first hour class.) SO we do our usual. As they jump out I put my left blinker on telling other drivers I’d like to merge over so you can have my spot and drop your kiddos off. There are three cars ahead of me following this same thing. About five cars drive by us and stop to drop their kids, next to our vehicles. Really? Couldn’t give us three a chance to get out of the way. Well the vehicle in front got tired of waiting so they forced their way over. That leaves me and the car in front of us. Someone decided to pull in front of her….side ways. So now we are trapped unless someone lets me out. At this point my blood starts boiling. Why in the am I so damn nice and let people over? Eventually traffic slows, and we are finally able to get over…. I thought on the way home about how many times I could have jumped in between cars and made someone slam on their brakes or piss someone off. I guess at 7:30 in the morning my mean bone hasn’t woken up and I wasn’t in the mood.

So here’s my question: do you ever wonder if your acts of kindness makes a difference or are all those cute sayings a bunch of bull?

 

    Sometimes it feels like every step forward is two steps backwards. We are still in the same place. How do we finally start taking two steps forward? I don’t always mind falling back. Gives you something to learn from. If we never messed up or fell on hard times, would we ever know what our full potential was? I like what my oldest daughter said, “Mom, I don’t always have to be first or I’d never have anything to shoot for.” Very wise words from a young heart. I’ve never really wanted to be on top, just in a place in the middle. A place where goodness mattered and your heart was open for all to see. A place where people didn’t take advantage of your goodness or kindness. Instead they passed it on. Now isn’t that a fantasy. I feel like I have a mountain of kindness to share. An overwhelming amount of positive energy. It all came from others who took the time to stop and write a note, email or text to say hey I’m thinking of you. I want to share my good energy with others. But, this dark thought of not wanting to waste it on others who don’t care….. Guess that’s the faith. When you do something kind, you just have to trust that it will touch them in a positive way.

Ok too much deep thought….

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