Friday, December 17, 2010

Merry Christmas

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Don't Get Me Started


I'm not particularly a parent of the "let them suck it up and deal" variety. I hate it when I can't make everything "just right" for my kids. They have plenty of things to deal with at school (Middle School and High School drama anyone??) that I can not help with, so when there are things I can do to make their lives easier, I do it. (I do this for hubby, friends, family, etc. when I can too, it's just how lovely I really am.. ha!)

In the last few months Miss 17 has been dealing with different swim team drama. She is a captain this year, there is a new head coach, things aren't well organized, the list is long, I won't bore you. Suffice it to say I have been doing many, many things to help the coach and my daughter keep the team going forward in an organized manner. It's been a strenuous year for me and I'm not even swimming.
The State Meet came and went, Miss 17 did well, not as well as she would have liked since her heart chose right then to act up, but she was brave and pushed through her pain and dealt with it. Me, I was a nervous wreck, but that's another story.
In the end , because we just want it over with, I am now having to deal with the end of the season banquet planning, balloting for team awards, and all that goes with end of the year gift, plaques and so forth. I have secured the location, planned the food, created the ballots for awards, sent out emails to parents, sent out notes to team mates, counted ballots with another mother and done all the things needed to get this banquet (and this stressful season) over with.
In the meantime Miss 17 has to deal with the wrath of her team mates over silly things. Ballots were due on November 22. I collected them from the schools (3 different schools!) on November 23rd, just to give the girls a little extra time. I waited an entire week to count them so if there were any late comers I could get theirs too. But at that point we could wait no longer and another swim mom helped me count them and we called them in to get names put on the plaques at the engraver. Fast forward a few days and now Miss 17 is getting chewed out by the girls because they can no longer turn in their ballots. It frustrates the begeeberz out of me because I could not have made the process any more simple. (I couldn't have... the coach could have if she would have gotten it together enough to do the balloting AT THE POOL when all the girls were RIGHT THERE! Again, another story....) If I could have the girls chew me out instead, I would, it's not Miss 17's fault that this season was an unorganized mess, and I HATE that she takes the blame for any of it. I have worked hard to prevent the messes that occur if no one takes charge and gets things done. I have gone way above and beyond the call of duty for a mother, and yet it isn't enough that I have been able to make it "just right" for Miss 17. Things that aren't her fault, are getting placed right on her shoulders, things the coach should have done she's getting the fall out for. How I wish I could make it all better and this season could have been the perfect, amazing, exciting and fun season that she had dreamed of for so long. But I can't make it all better, no matter how much I tried. Does anyone have one of those time changing things that Hermoine Granger has? I'd like to borrow it, please.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Potato picking time! Here's one of the giants of the year. It makes Hubby's hands look small, doesn't it? His hands are definitely not small, though. It's all an illusion!
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Friday, October 1, 2010


We are feeling a little fuzzy around the edges at our house this week. Homecoming always becomes a torture with both girls in band, swimming and all the other chaos that comes with high school and homecoming. Early morning swim practices, think 5:30 a.m., early morning band practices, late nights float building, homework and the added workouts of "peak week" for the swim season. Today is the homecoming game, pep band, the parade, homecoming dance, etc. I'm not sure I was ever quite as involved as my kids have been, but they all tend to go all out this week.
It has however come at a cost for Miss 17. She spent the week with chest tightness, or as she calls it "a headache in my chest" surrounding her heart. She's had some mild dizziness and tiredness. Is this surprising, no, I remember this happening to her before. Is it concerning? Yes, a bit. We have scheduled a doctor's appointment for early next week, and her coach and I decided she won't be attending the swim meet this weekend. This despite her protests and uncontrollable sobbing. She's not crying because she's so anxious to swim, although she is anxious to swim and do well, she's crying because she feels such an obligation to her team mates and her coaches. She's worn herself down to the point that her body is protesting. Her SVT allows her to go so far and then shuts her down. We are working on teaching her when to listen to her body and just say enough is enough I need a break. Her team mates are disappointed she won't be there to lead their cheers, to swim on their relays and to be the positive support system they all expect from her. She needs to work on de-fuzzing her edges so that next week, and the following weeks, she can go back to being herself.
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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mama Bear Mama Bear What Do You See?

Here's what I saw on my trip south yesterday. Yes, that's snow. There were places that had 4 inches of it on the ground. We were lucky, no snow, but 23 degrees for the overnight low. Yuck! It's not even officially fall yet.
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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Buggin' out!

Here is a regular visitor to my yard this fall. Along with an entire hive of bees who seem to love my agastache. But that's ok, they are actually entertaining to watch, especially when a hummingbird shows up. I had no idea they were mortal enemies!
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Friday, August 20, 2010


Don't ask me why, but my sweet peas decided to wait until August to bloom this year. Regardless of when they bloom, they smell divine! This has to be my very favorite smell. Wonderful!
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

We have had an unbelievable amount of severe weather in our area of the world this year. I've never seen anything like it. We've lived here 17 years now, and in the 16 years previous to this I have had hail at my house 5 times. This year alone it has hailed 6 times at my house. Tomorrow night they are predicting another round of severe weather for our area. I'm not sure I can take much more of the stress level that brings. Regardless, the clouds sure have been pretty around the storms!
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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Summer Fun!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Daddy's Footsteps

I told you Miss 17 would get her day in the sun. Yes, you read that right, Miss 16 has decided yet again to continue getting older, and she is now Miss 17. I don't want to think about all the songs that have been written about 17 year olds right now, so please just don't bring them up!

Miss 17, how can I explain the way you bring light to my life? How can I explain the depths of despair to which you throw my heart? You are a study in contrasts. Fortunately for all of us, there is much more light from you then there is darkness. It is for that aspect of your personality that I am eternally grateful.

Your inherent innocence about some things never fails to make me laugh, and it is so good that you are also able to laugh at your self.
I'm so grateful for the friends you have who stand by you and support you. You've become a pretty astute judge of character and only the best of people are allowed in your life. Yet, even those who have somehow wronged you are still treated with respect, for the most part. You are a good friend to those who deserve you.
You are a work-a-holic, like your father, and sitting still is not something that you tend to do very often. Life guarding, coaching, private lessons and keeping yourself ready for swim season take up nearly all of your time these days. Yes, you get overly tired and eventually have to crash; but you realize when that happens, and you are good about getting the sleep you need.
You are attempting more and more to stay close to Miss 12. It's not always easy for you, and it's not always easy for her, but trust me, when you are in your 20's, no one will be more of a support for you than your sister.
Planning for your future has become a top priority for you. Knowing where you want to go to college, and what you want to go for, are becoming forefront in your mind. I know that you will be applying for scholarships and working even harder at keeping your grades up next year. This years grades were amazing, your ability to do difficult work so well astounds me.
You are so driven. I'm not sure where that comes from, and it's an incredible quality. Never stop pushing yourself.
You have become and continue to become an inspiration to your sister. She looks up to you and I know you won't let her down. You are a strong, intelligent and compassionate young woman.
May you always, always know how very much you are loved.
Happy Birthday Miss 17.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Miss 12 just graduated from 6th grade. She is our last child to go through school at this particular school, and it has been an emotional wreck of a week. (I can not get the underline turned off, forgive me.) In place of a tissue needing, tear producing, emotional wreck of a post that would match how I feel, I instead am copying a story that Miss 12 wrote last week for class. If you knew where she came from, and the work it has taken to get her to this point, you would be amazed. This story is her own. The only parameters she was given were that she had to include a monkey, a lost island, a talking cat and a fisherman. I did not correct mistakes other than to remind her to capitalize, to punctuate and to indent. There are mistakes, yes, but this story is so far beyond what I even imagined possible that just reading it makes me cry. Not because it is a sad story, but because she has come so far, and it's because of all the work the school was willing to put into her, and all the hard work we have done at home. She amazes me every day, as do my other children, but today, for me, it's about her and her progress. Miss 16 will get her day in the sun soon as well, just in case she's reading here today. I'll brag her up when she's least expecting it. In the meantime, enjoy Miss 12's original story and think of how far she has brought herself.

A Darkened Sky

Mariah’s diary day 3, week 6, year 1938, Me and Simon are below deck again because we’re going by Avalax and you don’t want to know what they would do if they found me. Here I go again talking about now and not telling how I got on a ship or how I got Simon. It all started when I was out getting flowers from the corner store. I was getting them because we were having a huge party to celebrate my sister getting married. My sister, Eliza, always seemed to be the star child to my mother. On Eliza’s thirteenth birthday she got a beautiful white and blue dress all I got for my thirteenth birthday was a cheap doll that broke within the first hour.

“Hey Mariah wait up!” Oh that’s Simon my best friend. We’d been friends since I fell out of a tree at a park; he was the only one who didn’t laugh at me. “Are you that upset about the party that you can’t even talk to your friend?”

“Hey Simon.”I said.

“I’m going to take that as you’re more upset then I think.” he said.

“No, I’m not it’s just that she always has to act like she’s the perfect child.” I said. “She always made me look like the bad guy.”

“Maybe if you came over to my place you would feel better.” he said.

“I wish I could but my mom is practically making me setup the whole party.” I said.

“Ok then I’ll see you later.” He said.

“Ok, bye Simon.”I said. As he turned and walked away his head was hung so low he looked like a solider defeated in a battle. As I turned around Mrs.Lossen’s carriage drawn by a beautiful white horse came down the road. I glanced over my shoulder to see if she was out looking for Mr. Lossen again somehow he always managed to sneak out of the house with his poker buddies without her noticing. All I saw was Simon crossing the lane. The next thing that happened went by so quick I didn’t even have time to think: Simon walking across the lane, the carriage getting too close for comfort, me dropping the flowers on the walkway and running to push him out of the way, and finally a horse along with a carriage hitting him and ending his life. The carriage hit him just before I could reach him, nearly 17inches away from my hands. I dropped to my knees and I looked him. His shirt was all stained with blood, his body spread out on the road. “Simon?” I said my voice quivering. The only answer I got back was the sound of the market. I started to cry. Not even one person stopped to help the little girl crying in the street. I looked down at him. His lifeless eyes stared up at me. Don’t cry, I thought, his life was good, great even. But I wasn’t that strong. I got up not wanting to bare the sight of him anymore. I took one more look at him and started to run away this time. Suddenly I was bombarded with memories of him. From when we meant at the old park all the way to his death. Nearly sixteen years of memory all at once.

I finally found myself out side of town in the old field Simon and I used to play in. I collapsed on to my knees and screamed up at the sky. Why take my Simon’s why not someone else? Only then did I realize I was being completely self-centered millions of people lose loved ones every day it was bound to happen to me eventually. I hugged myself and cried more than I ever had before. Finally I got up no time for self pity maybe I’ll feel better if I set up for something happier.

As soon as I stepped in the door mom gave me lecture number 34, the parties going to start soon where have you been. Then she wrapped it up with number 13, why can’t you be more like your sister. I answered calmly and softly “Simon died mom not that you would care.” “Honey your sister’s getting married we’ll worry about that later.” As soon as the party started I was being bagged on by mother “where did you put this and that and where do you think you’re going every time I tried to sneak away. I should really take lessons on that from Mr.Lossen. I thought.

Finally after I thought I couldn’t take it anymore the last guest left. I started to leave again but my mom yelled after me “Mariah Scarlet Ryan!” oh no, I thought, she’s mad she only calls me that when I’m in trouble which technically is all the time.

“Yes mother.” I yelled

“Pick up your skirts and come here.”

I walked to the front room where mother stood along with Mr. Bowvare, Simon’s dad, and also the best fisherman in the world.

“Honey Will here is going to take you up shore.” She said

“Why?”I asked questioningly.

“For goodness sake child do you remember anything that happens in a day?”She yelled “He knows you and Simon were really close so he thought that you and him would go on a trip to take your minds off his death.”

“It will be fun.” He said.

“Go pack your bag you’ll be leaving soon.” Mother said.

“But mother don’t you need help here? You don’t have sister to help you anymore.”

“You say that but you won’t really help me you’ll be way too sad.” She said.

“Can I please just stay for his funeral?”Mother looked at Mr.Bowvare as if he was my dad and she didn’t quite know what to say. He nodded his head as in a yes I didn’t know. He always nodded instead of speaking he could have been saying you look beautiful miss and you wouldn’t see the difference.

“Fine you may stay for that but as soon as it’s done you are leaving,” she said. “Do you understand?”

“Yes mother.” Now Mariah, go start cleaning up from the party. Now that was more like her.

By the time I finished cleaning up it was well past 12:30 at night. Everyone else would be asleep. I needed to talk to Mr. Bowvare about this trip he would probably be awake. Other times when I would say at Simon’s his dad would be awake past 2:00 in the morning. I wrote a note to mother saying….mom, went to talk to Mr.Bowvare I need to talk about this trip I’ll be back soon bye. I set the note on the dining room table and quietly walked out the door. Before I had left I had grabbed the old book Simon and I had made when we had first meet it had all of our secrets and memories in it from then and now, we had filled it up over the years and it was completely overflowing. I had thought that his dad at least deserved to see what his son had written about him. Up twelfth, down Sixteenth until I got to twenty second street it was normal. I was passing Mozes CafĂ© when none other than Roy Adams came out just my luck he had a record for the most times getting caught by the sheriff. The problem was that whenever he saw me he tried to steal whatever I happened to have. He started to walk toward me I got ready to smack him with the book.

“Mariah I’m sorry that I am always stealing your stuff” he said though he didn’t even look me in the eye.

“Excuse me?”I said. “What got in to you?”

“Nothing I’ve just changed” he said as he turned. Just then I had the flash back of Simon doing the same thing. I gasped.

“Oh, and by the way sorry about your friend.”

“His name was Simon.”I said sternly “thanks.”

By the time I did get to the Bowvare’s it was later than I expected. But I had to talk to him so I knocked on the door. He almost immediately he opened the door he was still fully dressed.

“Oh my aren’t you early well since you are here lets head out!”

“Mr.Bowvare I just wanted to talk to you.”

“No no dear we have to go,” he said. “Here your mother gave me your suitcase let me grab mine and we will shove off.”

Next thing I know he was practically shoving me out the door down the street and to the harbor. When we got on the ship he exclaimed “dang I forgot Simon I’ll be right back girl.”

“Um Mr. Bowvare sir.”

“Girl hasn’t your mother told you not to be rude?”

“Yes but...”

“Girl do you want a passage on this ship or not.”

“Sorry sir.”

“Ok then.” He said as he jumped over the railing on to the cobblestone path.

I waited for him to return but I must have dosed off. For one because I saw a talking cat that oddly enough was playing with Simon and singing our favorite song ‘happy days are here again’ that made me smile. And two because when I opened my eyes Capitan Bowvare, which is what I should start calling him, was standing over me with a small monkey on his shoulder. He started to laugh.

“Girl I pushed off the shore over two hours ago I thought yous was dead.”

“No sir.” I said “Not yet anyway but with the condition of this ship I’m not so sure I’ll last too long.” The smile on his face disappeared in an instant. So I started laughing.

“Anyway we will be going by Avalax soon so you should get below deck.”


“Is that all you can say?”

“Sorry why do I have to go below deck?”

“Better, because I don’t want the people there to think that I kidnapped you and I don’t want to pay your bail when you get put in jail for not having a passport and take Simon with you to I not suppose to have animals on the ship.” So that’s how I got here below the ship with a monkey and the journal.

“Mariah you can come up now plus you should see this.”

When I walked up the steps I was meant by the salty sea air. Captain Bowvare was standing at the bow of the ship.

“Watch closely now.” Suddenly an island appeared out of nowhere.

“Wow.” I whispered.

“The reactions of those who’ve never seen it before,” he said shaking his head.

Now we are landing on the lost island of Potea, which ironically means lost. Until I get back on the ship I can’t write so bye until then.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Give Back

Please go here and comment to make a book donation to a child in need. That's all you have to do, make a comment, someone gets a book. Simple, right? No child should go without books of their own.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New Tenants