Friday, July 3, 2015

Squinting At Fifty

In just over a month I turn fifty. Freakin' fifty! The big FIVE OH my hell, how did this happen?

I stressed a lot about twenty-nine.  For my entire twenty-eighth year I just couldn't bear the thought of twenty-nine. During routine household chores it would creep up behind me, blow its clammy breath against the back of my mind, until, just as I became aware of it there, "BOO!"

I anguished.  I hadn't really lived. I was an old married lady. I was a stay at home Mom with two little boys, they would be little forever AND I needed to decide if I was having more babies because twenty-nine was soooooo old.

Then suddenly I was twenty-nine and ridiculously morning-noon-and-evening sick with my third son. I hardly noticed as thirty came and went, then thirty-one and a lot of numbers in between passed by in a whirl of four more pregnancies, parks, and swimming pools, homework and job changes, moves, and trick-or-treating and Ground Hogs days, first days of school and last weeks of school, football games and choir concerts, baseball and orchestra, a foster kid, and five graduations, more job changes and hikes, and vacations, and crisis and emotions and laughter and, this year, a wedding...  Twenty-nine?  Pffffff, what do numbers mean after all?

Yesterday I went in with Adorable Hubby, #1, #4, and #7 for a MUCH needed eye exam just sure I'd come out with a prescription for, and I whisper this, bi-focals.  Praise Plutarch!  I only needed a bit stronger lenses.   I walked out of that exam room with dilated eyes and a youthful spring in my step, I felt twenty-nine again. Winky face.

But, I am I blind, nauseated and grumpy with my eyes dilated. Helping five people pick frames, realizing I had forgotten my medical card, going home to get it and coming back to pick out my frames and fit new glasses with a hungry eighteen year old, a nervous ten year old, a husband on a conference call and 100+ degree heat reminded me again that I'm nearly FIFTY.

FIFTY! I groaned as I leaned in too close to the mirror to actually see if the frames looked age appropriate while still looking twenty-nine something.

Soon #4 and #7 were fitted in their new glasses and helping me pick out frames.  Try these, no.  Try these, hmmm, no.  Try these, these, these...  finally I put on a pair that #4 really liked.  "What, these make me look like a crazy old lady," I said, squinting at myself in the mirror.

"Mom, YOU ARE a crazy, old lady!"

"Hmpfff, let me tell you, Sonny, I'm only turning fifty and fifty's not THAT old!"

Monday, May 25, 2015

Pour Some Sugar On Me

Four years ago our son Jeremiah was finishing his Sophomore year in high school.  He came to me one day and asked, more intently than he ever had before, what he could do to be cut.  He wanted a lean physique and defined muscles.  He wanted to look hot!

I suggested he quit eating sugar and corn syrup, something I've never been able to give up for more then a couple months.  This isn't a blog about shaming so I'm trying really hard not to hate myself right now because sugar is my addiction, my drug, my pornography have you seen how many cookie recipes I have pinned?  Yah, so I told my son, Do as I say not as I do, so proud, hypocrisy much?

And wonder of wonder, to his sugar shootin' up mom, he did it!  He just quit eating it and soon two of his brothers had joined him and suddenly I was baking sugar free granola bars and watching him exercise four or five hours a day and then he began to study health and nutrition and exercise science, compulsively read labels and for a while there he was standing on the edge of the eating disorder abyss, skinny dipping a toe or two in the murky but enticing ripples.

His dad was scared, I was scared.  His dad yelled and demanded he eat.  I lectured everything I knew, whether I could live it or not, about nutrition and appropriate calorie counts and moderate consumption of sugar and processed food and adrenal fatigue and elite athletics (for the record I know nothing about elite athletics or adrenal fatigue) his dad reiterated everything I said at eleventeen hundred megahertz.  The more we yelled and lectured the less he ate then one day I told him I trusted him to do what was best for him.  And though I was still cautious and hyper-aware  of every bite he ate I felt an overwhelming sense of calm. Now my lectures were sharing what I was learning about health and exercise.  His Dad spent less time yelling and more time cooking for him with his input.

Slowly he began to self moderate he increased his calorie intake to wise levels, he reduced his exercise times to something closer to reasonable. Then one day he told me, "I feel really great, and I want to help people the way you and dad helped me," and then he said the big thing, the thing that every parent needs to hear, "I got really close to anorexia, Mom, thanks for trusting me and sticking with me, I NEEDED TO SEE FOR MYSELF what it feels like so that I could help people."

Fast forward four years, Jeremiah is graduated, he's still off sugar and corn syrup, studying to be a personal trainer, working, two jobs, helping out the family when needed and making tough adult choices with grace and dignity, OK, he's stresses and yells like the rest of us but, ya know, so dignified.

And, I'm  ridiculously proud of him! And, still helplessly addicted to sugar.  And, two weeks ago he asks me to make him cookies, and cinnamon rolls and brownies, he's eating ice cream from a huge Iceberg cup "With extra snickers" he tells me.


"Mom, I can't even remember what it feels like to eat sugar" he says.  "How can I ask someone to go off it and help them through their addiction if I don't remember how it feels?"

I started choking back tears, just like that I didn't want sugar EVER AGAIN! An hour later we're (the flesh is so weak) eating my cookies and he's telling how good they are but they give him heartburn, and everyday as he describes how tired he feels and notices the new patches of eczema that had cleared up years ago, or comes in panting after wrestling with the dog, he is showing me my symptoms, teaching me the gut wrenching truth of how my addiction effects me.  And I think of Christ, how he willingly took upon himself flesh all of it, the addictions and pains and joys and appetites, happiness and anger, all of it. He experienced mortality so that I could learn to trust my experiences, and learn from them, and live them, shame free.

Christ teaches me that the divine purpose of my life is TO SEE FOR MYSELF, shame free.

My flesh may always say, head bent, "Hi, I'm Susan and I'm addicted to sugar."  But, my soul proclaims that I am free.

Thank you, Son!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Lose Yourself in Nature

This is my friend Suzie. We are standing in front of a map at the Big Springs trail head. The map is a bunch of squiggly green and tan lines also known as a topografical map. On the map was an arrow and one helpful direction, "You are here".

It has been a few years since I  hiked to Big Springs, thirty few years. My memory was a bit fuzzy. Some more helpful directions on that map would have been nice. Like, listen to the kid who says I think we should take this trail, despite being whiney he's right. Or, when you are two miles further then the Big Springs .2 miles sign, heh hem, you've gone too far, might have been nice. Also, you are going to have to dodge rain drops and psycho bikers, might have been a tinsy bit more helpful then, "You are here". Just sayin.

Still, the Utah mountains were gorgeous, the wildflowers were blooming their heads off, the kiddos adorable, Big Springs (when we finally found it) was a fun memory, and time with my best hiking buddy was awesome. Oh and the son of one of the counselors when I went to Camp Big Springs many years ago wandered the mountains with us. He's the fellow in the blue shirt.

So if, "YOU are ever HERE", it's a gorgeous hike, veer to the right, look under each bridge for trolls and bring your own directions cuz the map, well...


 Looking for the Grumpy Old Troll who Lives Under the Bridge...from Dora the Explorer.  Since I'm the Map, I'm the Map, I'm the Map... didn't really pay off.

 On the trail.  Love all the cute hiker bums!

 These berries were yummy looking but we didn't eat any.

 This meadow was sprinkled with Milkweed puffs.  So Beautiful.

I can't ever remember seeing so many varieties of wildflowers in bloom, but none compared to our gorgeous Miss Lilly!


 I have this thing for twisted, gnarly old wood.

 Aspens and wildflowers.

This creek is the run off from Big Springs.  You'd think that since we followed it most of the way up we could have found the source without a two mile detour.

We spent a lot of time looking for that Grumpy Old Troll and never found him....or did we??

We sure found a lot of cute little hikers on top of the bridge.

 This bridge.  Absolute darlingness.  I want to recreate this in my backyard in the worst way.  Let's see, bigger back yard, spring, moss, rocks, flowers, duoh!  I guess I will just have to come hiking more now that I know the destination.

The summer after 6th Grade I went to Camp Big Springs.  I remember the campfire logs and the sink (picture didn't turn out) I swear is the same one that was here all those years ago.  What a fun trip down memory lane. 

 Thistle flowers.  Oh Eeyore.....
We never remember to get the group shot before the hike.  I guess then you wouldn't get the walking sticks and the mud and the random strangers we pick up alone the way.   This guy was a lost as we were and is the son of one of the counselors from my Big Springs Days.  Too Cool!  
 We got dusty then rained on and that made for 12 muddy feet.  We made them eat, take off their shoes and shirts before they got in Suzie's new car.  
 And, homeward bound with our muddy hiking buddies.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

At 2:00 AM on July 4th Shouldn't Traffic Lights Be Red, White and Blue?

Yes, for the past three years I have worked the graveyard shift seven nights on and seven nights off; but, going to work at 9:00 PM and working until 7:00 AM in a brightly lit office has yet to conquer the mystery of 2:00 AM Brain.  I forget this though and every two months or so, in the dark of my bedroom, 2:00 AM Brain takes over, and suddenly I need, make that MUST, get out of the house.  Where do 2:00 AM Brain and I always end up??

Walmart. Of. Course.

Why?  Because, 2:00 AM Brain believes this makes good sense.

2:00 AM Brain wonders why I never decorated a bed room in Hello Kitty.  Cute, plentiful, cheap?  Have I missed my shot at a Better Home and Gardens article. Wait, don't I have a lot of sons? Some boys like Hello Kitty, right?

2:00 AM Brain thinks the entire family needs patriotic tank tops for July 4th...matching.

2:00 AM Brain is fascinated with Pez Dispenser Collections.  Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Bat Man... so many choices.


2:00 AM Brain wonders if the brain in 2:00 AM brain should be capitalized  every time or just part of the time or not at all.  2:00 AM Brain is wondering which friend wouldn't mind waking up to discuss the finer points of capitalization.

2:00 AM brain gathered all the ingredients for these super cute eagle cookies except the frosting.

2:00 AM Brain thinks we had better go back to Walmart for frosting and for plants because there may be a couple empty pots in the back yard, and for another look at Hello Kitty stuff, so cute.

2:00 Am Brain doesn't worry about anything scary at Walmart at 2:00 AM but it is terrified of making more then one eight foot trip into the house with Walmart loot. So it makes sense to gather all ten bags and pray the double bag on the ginormous bottle of Banana Peppers holds.

"Wow," you say.  "Is there anything 2:00 AM Brain can't make sense of?"
 Well, since you asked.  2:00 AM Brain is a little confused by traffic lights.  If the light is red but there are no cars coming the other way can we go or should we stop?  Usually there are other cars around to drop little clues. At night traffic lights are really bright and bossy.  If no one sees you turn left on a red light did it really ever happen?  Hmmm, sadly 2:00 AM Brain can't make sense of  everything.

Despite its challenges with traffic lights, 2:00 AM Brain thinks it would be a shame for you to miss out on it's brilliance so 2:00 AM Brain decided it made sense to create a blog post..

Happy July 4th! From 2:00 AM Brain and Boy Mom.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Yet Another Spring Break with My Best Girl and Our Crazy Kiddos!

I haven't posted much lately.  I intend to change that with this post.  I miss the journal keeping aspect.  I think I find it harder to post about teenagers because I worry that teen antics are not as cute or socially acceptable as those of little ones.  I have come to realize lately that while some may not understand or agree with my particular approach to parenting teens, that it is, nonetheless, what I am doing and I don't want to forget it because I was afraid of being judged.  So here goes...

Spring Break 2013 started on the Monday following Easter, unfortunately I had to be back to work Wednesday night at 9:00 PM so Suz and I decided to leave the Saturday night before Easter Sunday for our annual jaunt to the beautiful town of Loa, Utah and Capital Reef National Park.  

Our boys say Suz and I live in an alternate reality where we have our own time zone.   Suz/Sus time makes allowances for final trips to WalMart, obligatory Easter Egg Hunts, cleaning up paint spills, planting pansies, weddings and making  green smoothies (heavens knows we can't survive three days without Walmart and green smoothies).  

Getting on the road at 8:30 PM, if we're being liberal with the definition of, "on the road", is pretty good for us.  Gassing up one last time because Suz's dash board indicators like...oh, the speed-o-meter etc, sometimes work and sometimes don't, and one more stop at the bank etc. count as being on the road in Suz/Susan World and 3 hours later when we pulled into Loa with only one potty break, no road kill and eight sleeping kids we were pleased.  

Two hours later after settling our sleepy kiddos onto their own special chunk of carpet,  filling 25 plastic eggs with $1.00 in change each and 25 plastic eggs with candy and filling 10 bags with a water bottle, socks, bubbles, bandannas, glo-sticks, gloves and treats, and making an Easter Basket for Grandma, who's house we were staying in, Suz, who is not normally the potty mouth, turns to me and says, "We're f******* nut's!" 

"Uhhhh, yes we are, Potty Mouth." I reply

"Oh, no!" She says, I meant to say, nucking futs! And we start giggling like 12 year old girls seeing Justin Beiber leaving  the mensroom and that's when Grandma came out and asked if everything was OK? 

Evidence of our nuttiness and mad Easter Bunny skills.


 Easter Sunday dawned sunny and way to early.  We all got ready for church, Suz had her crew dressed in  Easter clothes.  Adorable!

  I looked down the pew at two of my crew dressed in semi-suitable Sunday attire, church clothes with tennis shoes, and my cute little, daughter-for-the-weekend, aka, #3's girlfriend, henceforth known as Flower, so named by her Native-American-for-the-weekend, boy friend, Eagle Who Farts in the Wind, dressed in a cute dress, and the rest in shorts, sweats, or torn jeans.  I thought about how much I loved them no matter what they were wearing and how happy it made me to sit there with them singing of newness and spring and re-birth and I realized that our loving Father in Heaven feels the same about each of us.  He cares only that we pause for a moment, however were dressed and whatever we are doing and think of Him. 

This is my rag tag bunch of Spring Break hikers! 

 This is Suz's cute group. 

And now, drum roll please, a photo line-up of what to expect on a Spring Break trip in Suz/Susan world.

Women Gone Wild  wild photo ops!  I think Suz is about the cutest best friend a girl could have!

Cute babies, well they're our babies. 

 Climbing, Mom style!

 Hooray, Mom!  You did it! 


 Climbing, boy style. 


One more really cool thing just a little further down the trail.  Water tanks.                                  

Snack time after a long hike. 


 Sunshine, shirtless boys, and really cool canyons. 

 Wild, and crazy bandanna wearing women.

 Trail markers!  These are called cairns they are placed by the park service each year to mark trails which may change due to rock slides or floods or vegetation etc.  A real cairn is a lot bigger, more noticeable and marks a trail suitable to the average hiker. This cairn was built by #6 who's trails make mountain goats pause and who isn't trying to compensate for anything with the size of his cairns.

Lot's of  hydration reminders.


  We see some incredible scenery.

  We pause for yoga breaks.

 And, laughter breaks.

 We wear bandannas in our own unique style. 

 Jedi, sans braid.


 Nearly invisible!

 Uhhhh, Flower and Eagle Who Farts in the Wind style.

 Braided  Boy Mom

 We start on hikes way to late in the day, notice the angle of the sun.

 We play follow the leader.

 We stop for potty breaks, and photo ops. Thanks Suz for not forgetting your camera,

 We play in the sand.

We contemplate flight, we're deep like that.

We find the hole we have been finding since #3 and #7 were much smaller (see below).

 The hole, numbers, 3, 6 and 7 and further below #6 and Suz's Milo circa 2007.



We fix the car. Darn thing wouldn't start unless we used the  jumper cables, not hooked up to another car, mind you, just had to use the connection because the battery cable was loose.  Sadly my twist tie, electrical tape fix was a fail but, on the plus side, I was right about the problem, now I just have to find me some cute, greasy coveralls.

 We take group pictures.

  We re-take group pictures.


We take Suz/Susan pictures.

 We retake Suz/Susan pictures.

But, mostly, we mark the passage of time and love, laughter and experience as our sweet little ones, seen here in 2007.

Have grown and made life in Suz/Susan world rich and full of joy.  Thanks boys and Lily for putting up with your wild and crazy mama's and for making our little spring break world so amazing.

Our Family

Our Family